Wanting to scream


Life never returns to normal, it does not go back to that time before the tragedy that now – illusorily – we evoke as a period of calm. I open my datebook, try to resume my life, the blog, the Twitter messages… but nothing comes out. These last days have been too intense. The face of Reina Tamayo, in the shadows in front of the morgue where she prepared and dressed her son for his longest journey, is the only thing in my mind. Then the images of Wednesday piled on: arrests, beatings, violence, a jail cell with the stink of urine that adjoined another where Eugenio Leal and Ricardo Santiago demanded their rights.  The rest of the time I continue on like a mannequin, looking without seeing, furiously typing.

And so, there is no one who writes a coherent and restrained line. I so want to scream, but February 24 left me hoarse.

78 thoughts on “Wanting to scream

  1. Once again black persons in Cuba are giving the world an example of the love they have for the country, the strength of their race, the spirit of sacrifice and above all the admiration they feel for our great Antonio Maceo, a black Cuban fighter, the most outstanding general and leader in arms for the independence of the people from the Spanish Crown. The new Cuba will count on them as a pivotal sector of our future society based in race harmony and understanding. The Castro brothers hypocritally tried to use them against the white people and as tools of international propaganda.In reality they despised them and relegated them to second class citizens.The game is over. The Castro are at the verge of collapse, and the black people are giving them the ultimate nock outs.

  2. David Brookbank: you wrote:”Having worked at the U.S. Interests Section in 1994 and knowing many Cuban exiles intimately now, I can assure you that while all is not well in Cuba (just as it is not all well in many, many places in the collapsing U.S. nation and empire), the portrayal of Cuba in U.S. and other western media and in government propaganda is a combination of distortion, lies, and propaganda.” Based on the always present shortcomings of western free societies you apologize for the Cuban dictatorial regime.You affirm that the conditions of the Cuban people
    as oppressed are just lies of the international capitalist systems. Well, one has to be completely sold to the Communist propaganda machine not to see the reality that you apologize for.You write that you worked at the U.S. Interest Section in 1994,did you ever wonder why thousand of Cubans wanted to get our of Cuba, legally or ilegally by sea or whatever possible way? You are just, in my opinion, a brainwashed fanatic Marxist.And certainly, one who should not work for any official
    entity of the US government,although with so many Leftists running the State Department we should not be surprised at all.May God spare USA of “citizens” like you!

  3. Gathering a 100,000 people in Cuba is not difficult. In fact, crowds of a million plus are not uncommon in Cuba. Type PazSinFronteras.org into your browser and watch parts of the 9/20/2009 concert in Havana in the Plaza of the Revolution, one of the ten largest concerts in history. The problem is that the only gatherings of that size that can be generated are peaceful assemblies of the Cuban people celebrating and enjoying themselves or manifesting their rejection of the US imperial efforts directed at further destroying their country, maintaining the embargo, and preventing “free” U.S. citizens from traveling to Cuba to see the country. Having worked at the U.S. Interests Section in 1994 and knowing many Cuban exiles intimately now, I can assure you that while all is not well in Cuba (just as it is not all well in many, many places in the collapsing U.S. nation and empire), the portrayal of Cuba in U.S. and other western media and in government propaganda is a combination of distortion, lies, and propaganda. Saludos to Yoani. A word of caution to readers of this blog to do your own due diligence in attempting to understand Cuba, the US and the world. There is information here but it not necessarily “truth”.

  4. Cuba has lost its fabricated worldwide respect. Please everyone keep up the pressure so that maybe change can take place.

  5. Its time the government serves its people. Don’t scream, make a big sign and take it to the streets. The jails are full and soon in the public eye. The recent pictures of Cubas famous MAZORRA are dispicable.

  6. Yoani thanks for sticking to this blog. Stay strong and always keep your head up!”HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE”…

  7. Juan your lider maximo of 50 years has milked your country dry. The country is in shambles, the majority (not Castro’s) are hungry, good health care is for the tourist money. Blame is always given to others, infact Raul Castro blamed the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo on the USA, and today we read its because he did not have a TV or phone in his cell. What a CROCK. The SPIN Cuba is always famous for. Orlando Zapata Tamayo was beat inside Cuban jails by Cuban gaurds. Juan you have done your share to create Spin so you have earned your JAVITA for the year. I hear the Spaniards have closed the juice factory and now thinking about removing the SOAP FACTORY also.. I’m sure the US will also be blamed for this as they make a great scape goat for all you chearleaders of a failed abusive selfserving racist system.

  8. honestly i used to think having a communist country would be a good idea,yes everyone gets the same amount of rights,but after learning in my latin american class,ive realize is not as good as we thought,having to work twice harder than everyone else and yet get paid equally its not fair.i disagree with everything that goes on in cuba.

  9. The article published in the Communist Party’s daily Granma with regard to Orlando Zapata’s death; consist of standard attacks without merit by the apparatchik journalists. The Granma is describes by the late Argentinean Editor and radical dissident Jacobo Timmerman, in his morning encounter with the paper during his stay in Cuba, as “a degradation of the act of reading.”

  10. We are screaming here in the U.S., Yoani, and crying. And praying for his brave mother and for you and for all the rest of you that put us to shame with your great courage. May God keep you safe and deliver you from evil.
    Estamos muy tristes, Yoani. Que Dios os cuide y os consuele. Mi papa es de Banes, como el nuevo martir. Gritamos contigo.

  11. Hey Ripple what happened to THE AVALANCHE – can’t deliver?
    So Miami has less racism than Cuba??? – really compelling argument but I guess it is break from your repetitive posting of repetitive articles. And apparently by your standards ANY country that has a white leader is less racist than the good old USA? That was almost a sentence you wrote. Well done. Pity about the logic though. The Miami mafia is pretty racist too by those standards – a lot of really old white guys!

    Now for Grade 1 try for explaining why keeping the blockade that the Cuban Government wants maintained undermines the Cuban government as Yobbo asserts.
    Alice In Wonderland indeed.

  12. Juan,

    USA = Barak Obama (first black president in a Developed Country, includes Europe)

    Cuba = 51 years of Fidel and Raul Castro (two really old white guys)

    Enough Said

  13. Yobbo says “It is unfathomable to me that there are still people that believe the propaganda that Cuba is being victimized by the embargo and that the Cuban government wants the embargo lifted.”

    Ah so the Cuban government DOESN’T want the blockade ended? Well it is lucky then that the blockade has been so successful after 48 years. No need to change anything – keep doing what the Cuban govenment want. Somewhat tortuous logic that only Miami would understand.

    And Humbug – no racism in Miami (or the rest of the USA)?!!!

  14. VOICE OF AMERICA: Political Prisoners Still Languish In Cuba
    The death of a human rights activist jailed in Cuba highlights the plight of political prisoners.

    The death of a human rights activist jailed in Cuba for opposing government policies highlights yet again the plight of hundreds of political prisoners being held in the island nation. The United States decries his imprisonment, and that of all prisoners of conscience, and extends heartfelt sympathies to his family for their loss.

    Orlando Zapata Tamayo died February 23 after an 80-day hunger strike to demand better jail conditions for himself and other dissidents. An Afro-Cuban who supported his family as a bricklayer, he was also a political activist when arrested in a police crackdown in 2003 and held for months without charge. Eventually he was accused of disorderly conduct and “contempt for authority” in his native Holguin province. He was convicted and sentenced to 3 years in jail. Later he was given a 25-year sentence for activism behind bars.

    In October, to protest jail conditions and the treatment of prisoners, he stripped off his prison uniform and refused to eat solid food. He was transferred to a prison in Havana when his health deteriorated and finally transferred to a public hospital the day before he died. He was the first such dissident to die in custody in recent memory.

    There are more than 200 similar prisoners of conscience jailed in Cuba, many in failing health like Zapata Tamayo. This violates international human rights law, which as a member of the United Nations, Cuba is obligated to respect. The United States again urges the Cuban government to allow the International Commission of the Red Cross and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Prisoners to visit Cuban jails. We also urge Cuba to release all of its prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally.


  15. The post No 58 is mine. I forgot to add my name, sorry for the inconvenience.

  16. ‘Obama Effect’ Highlights Racism in Cuba

    New America Media, News Analysis, Louis E.V. Nevaer, Posted: Dec 15, 2008

    “The European Union recently dispatched anthropologists to study racism in Cuba. Their findings were shocking: Not only was racism alive and well in the workers’ paradise, but it was systemic and institutional. Blacks were systematically excluded from positions that involved coming in contact with foreign tourists (where they could earn tips in hard currencies), they were relegated to poor housing, complained of the longest waits for healthcare, were excluded from managerial positions, received the lowest remittances from relatives abroad, and were five times more likely to be imprisoned. ”


  17. Raul Castro said in a cynical statement that he “regrets” Zapata’s death. Zapata’s mother responded, “You premeditatedly killed my son.” Zapata was brought to Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital only 15 hours before his imminent death. He was brought there to die.

    Race is a crucial factor in the regime’s fears, since most of the regime opponents are blacks like Orlando Zapata. There is a small representation of black among the regime leadership, the unemployment level is twice of the white population, and blacks comprise 80% of the prison population. This time-bomb could go off at anytime.

  18. NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Clinton To Focus On U.S.-Cuba Relations On Trip
    March 1, 2010

    “As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton embarks on her tour of Latin America, one of the most pressing issues will certainly be American relations with Cuba. Latin American leaders have been increasing pressure for the U-S to change its policies toward that country. Guest host Lynn Neary speaks to NPR’s Tom Gjelten about how Cuban American relations could be affected by this trip.”


  19. HUFFINGTON POST: Does Zapata’s Death Mark a Turning Point for Cuba?
    March 1, 2010 02:03 PM
    What Do These Signs Indicate?
    By Reinaldo Escobar

    “In the last days of February 2010, there have been very clear signs that there is not the slightest intention on the part of the government to release its stranglehold on political control of the nation. They seem like isolated events but it would be hard not to see the thread that connects them.
    The most notorious was the death of the prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo, which occurred on the eve of the second anniversary of General Raul Castro’s assumption of the presidency. To leave someone to die, to allow them to die, not to do something to prevent the death of a person who is the exclusive responsibility of a penal establishment is, anywhere in the world, a very serious thing. As serious, I would say, as letting patients in a psychiatric hospital die of cold and hunger.

    Then when, in a peaceful and civilized way, some people tried to sign the book of condolences, they were brutally repressed and detained in police stations. At about the same time the Cuban delegation to the Spanish Language Academy’s Fifth Congress announced they would not attend because unsuitable people had been invited (by whom they meant the writers Jorge Edwards and Mario Vargas Llosa and the Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez). In the same the newspaper Granma where the note from the academics appeared, it was announced that Cuba would not participate in the Central American Games to be held in Puerto Rico, because they had not complied with all of the demands made by the Cubans.

    In the meantime State Security–how do they get anyone to actually work for this institution?!–visited dozens of citizens to intimidate those of us who had signed an initiative called “Candidates for Change” whose purpose is to nominate people who would be inclined to introduce economic, political and social changes demanded by the opposition and even by some government sectors.

    Finally, February was not yet over and at a motion picture event known as the Exhibition of Young Filmmakers, they prevented a group of young people who are filmmakers, but not government addicts, from attending.

    Right now other opponents, some in prison and some free, have started new hunger strikes. In the provinces in the interior of the country they have not ceased the arbitrary detentions: the Council of State ombudsman’s office cannot cope with all the citizen complaints. The discontent, the repression, those inseparable brothers at each others’ throats threaten to raise their visibility.

    Are all the events mentioned here isolated incidents? Are they unequivocal signs that the revolution is stronger than ever and that the construction of socialism is advancing smoothly? Or perhaps they are indications that the days when no one listened, no one saw, no one understood what was happening, are coming to an end?””


  20. What part of Havana does Yoani live in. I was in Havana on the 24th and 25th and was wondering that. Also now on the generacion y site there is audio (in spanish) that starts to play. What is that?

  21. Albert, are you for real. The “new man” that you refer to is all for trying to get to the Florida Keys as soon as possible and to incorporate himself to the life that for 50 years he was taught to hate with the added convenience of been able to talk all he wants againts USA and in favor of the Castros. So to answer the question with which you started to commentary, yes Alberto YOU ARE WRONG

  22. Avanlache
    You are the best. I didn’t notice comment #27 .Sorry. Take care

  23. Sigmund:
    yes, that is another way of putting it.
    Even as a game it shows how elititst this “equality” revolution (like many others) is.
    From the thoughts of some “arm chair” philosophers & thinkers …
    Their mere stipulation of God’s non existence cements the contradiction like the mere negation of the human nature as known.
    The later is perhaps the strongest contradiction to the whole enchilada.
    How do they know the root of human nature can be changed just by changing the environment? … uness it is repressed, unless it is violently manipulated … by whom one may ask? … who chooses the “messiah or messiahs” who make take such decisions & make them become a reality for the “serving the cause”; would these “messiahs be a “highier class” if so … where is the equality for the society they work for?
    Who are they accountable to & how?
    After 48 years of it … what ?

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