That Silent Way*

To walk to the edge of the stage and speak only within limits, is required practice for certain critical artists still living in Cuba. Occasionally they offer us a phrase seasoned with dissent which will be published in foreign newspapers, though it will find no echo in our national ones. With one foot inside and one foot outside the Island, it must be difficult to go from speaking out to whispering. The long stays abroad have thus become a catalyst of opinions for some representatives of our culture. Evidently, interaction with other realities – with their achievements and their problems – have made the triumphalist slogans sound very distant while the intolerance in their own backyard becomes insufferable.

Pablo Milanes’ last interview – published in Spain under the title, “I want change in Cuba as soon as possible” – shows, on the one hand, the restraint with which he avoids burning the bridges of return, and on the other the audacity of someone who is very worried about what is happening in his country. There is, undoubtedly, an enormous risk in calling those who govern us, “reactionaries of their own ideas”; these are the people who have censored so many writers, musicians and actors for saying much less. The author of the song Yolanda walks the knife’s edge along which others have been cut to shreds. Protecting him in this undertaking are the strength of his international reputation and the support of people from every place and generation. An unknown neighborhood singer-songwriter would pay dearly, but they need Pablo.

Emigration has marked too strongly the artistic level on our stages. Not only have my colleagues from the university and my contemporaries from the neighborhood left en masse, but Cuban culture has a percentage of its representatives – some would say a majority – outside our borders. To lose, now, this strong voice would be to admit that those who composed the background music that accompanied the construction of utopia have stopped believing in it. So no website of any official institution is going publish an aggressive and threatening diatribe against the frankness of the interviewee. Nor will they inform the Madrid consulate that he is no longer welcome in his own country, nor accuse him of speaking with the words of an “American lover.” None of these stigmatizing strategies will be deployed against Pablo, but in the off-hour ministerial chats and the closed circles of power they will not forgive him for having behaved like a free man.

*Translator’s note: The title of this post is taken from the title of one of Pablo Milanes’ songs.

Image source:


94 thoughts on “That Silent Way*

  1. Pablo Milanes, I do remember I saw him when he was playing electric bass with “The Bucaneros”, in “The Pico Blanco” at the St. Johns Hotel. I was only fifteen, yes only fifteen and very mature like most of my generation. Pablo, remember the UMAP? Brother, what ever you need any time.

  2. … so the “party” is in itself a legislative & a executive power … above society & above the state …
    I am curious about how losada and/or any of his incarnations will “spin” … this one.
    By the way … I haven’t seen your “foot prints” in the spanish side yet … what name are you using there?

  3. “The party stated: “the cuban people have decided to have a single party” … all in the name of unity … ?!!
    There is a difference between words & practice … the cuban constitution says many things.
    The right & the power to violate & justify the transgretions of the law … resides in the “party”.
    “Communism is the guiding force SUPERIOR TO SOCIETY & THE STATE …” article 5 of the present cuban constitution.

  4. However write these articles about Cuba, this person must have an elite position that obstruct his vision of what is really happening to the rest of the population in the Island, this person does not have a ration book like the rest of the population or this person lives in one of the new emerging paradise like Brazil or Venezuela, however if you live in Cuba like the rest of the population you would never make such a full of yourself with statements like this.
    Article #3 is full of lies, why I say that, let me explain and disect this article in pieces.

    ARTICLE 3. In the Republic of Cuba sovereignty lies in the people (Pleaseeeeeeee, It does not lie in the people, it lies in a small group of old bastards that controls the communist party of Cuba, the rest of the population have no saying in any of the rules adopted by the party) , from whom originates all the power of the state. That power is exercised directly or through the assemblies of People’s Power( The translation of the previous sentence means: The CDR, which stands for Committee for the Defense of the Robolution, nothing more than a bunch of neighborhood snitchers) and other state bodies which derive their authority from these assemblies, in the form and according to the norms established in the Constitution(A Constitution? come on, give a break, there is no constitution only a piece of paper with words to serve their ilogic doctrines) what it is and by law.”

  5. KT:

    At least you are trying to make a coherent argument. For that, I’ll give you credit. Nonetheless, your analysis is flawed. Allow me to explain:

    The thing is – while flawed – the U.S. system for doing this: for exposing corruption, for working toward change, for having our voices make a difference – is more effective than the Cuban.

    This simply isn’t true. The stated goal of the U.S. Government and the belief in free market capitalism, which has its roots with the “Founding Fathers,” and is a philosophy that has become hardened over the years with the influence of thinkers like Leo Strauss, Ayn Rand and the for-profit think-tanks, today has neoliberalism on one end of the spectrum and neo-conservatives on the other end of the spectrum — a narrow spectrum, to be sure.

    For both of these schools of thought, there are a number of common threads:
    1) Society works best when corporations are given the same rights as human individuals and they compete against each other for the improvement of society,

    2) Class is a permanent feature of society and a lower-class will always exist — in fact, MUST exist in order to fill the service roles required by the rich,

    3) Individuals should compete against each other for currency, and currency should be necessary for everything a human being needs: health care, shelter, food.

    4) The less money you have, the less you will be able to purchase the basic human necessities that everyone needs: food, shelter, health care, etc.

    This philosophy is markedly different than socialism. The stated goals (in brief) include:

    1) Society works best when individuals are encouraged to co-operate with each other for the betterment of everyone in the community,

    2) Corporations should eventually not exist and, until this transition can be complete, corporations should not have the same rights as human individuals and should be regulated in what actions they can take against workers and human individuals that make up the community the corporations operate in,

    3) Money should not be the key to the essential needs of human life (food, shelter, health care, etc),

    4) Class division is a curse on humanity and society should strive to eliminate classes,

    5) Government is an ill on society and society should strive to eliminate its necessity.

    Taken on face value, socialism is more in line with the natural thinking of the vast majority of human beings on the planet. People separate themselves from the animal world, in part, by being able to rationalize and communicate with spoken/written language and agree to organize themselves beyond the barbarism of “only strongest shall survive.”

    So, my first, and overwhelming point, is that capitalism is a barbaric philosophy and in the evolution of humankind, it belongs in the dustbin. It should be obvious by now that society cannot function decently if all human beings must compete against each other to exist. That concept has left the world in a disastrous condition, where 50,000-some people die every day due to starvation, a tiny percent of the world controls the vast majority of the wealth (and, therefore, power) and only a tiny fraction of the world enjoys the luxuries you cite, and these luxuries are subsidized by slave labor in the rest of the world.

    That said, let’s look at the advantages you cite:

    Regarding your assertions of privacy … our phones are not tapped, our postal mail is not read, the government doesn’t use snitches and informants, we enjoy privacy of our medical/financial/etc records, etc and this is not true in Cuban society.

    That simply isn’t true. There is a right to privacy that the Supreme Court has INFERRED from the Constitution but those same rights exist in the Cuban Constitution. I refer you to Articles 51 – 59 of the Cuban Constitution:

    ARTICLE 54. The rights to assembly, demonstration and association are exercised by workers, both manual and intellectual, peasants, women, students and other sectors of the working people, and they have the necessary means for this. The social and mass organizations have all the facilities they need to carry out those activities in which the members have full freedom of speech and opinion based on the unlimited right of initiative and criticism.

    ARTICLE 55. The state, which recognizes, respects and guarantees freedom of conscience and of religion, also recognizes, respects and guarantees every citizen’s freedom to change religious beliefs or to not have any, and to profess, within the framework of respect for the law, the religious belief of his preference.

    The law regulates the state’s relations with religious institutions.

    ARTICLE 56. The home is inviolable. Nobody can enter the home of another against his will, except in those cases foreseen by law.

    ARTICLE 57. Mail is inviolable. It can only be seized, opened and examined in cases prescribed by law. Secrecy is maintained on matters other than those which led to the examination.

    The same principle is to be applied in the case of cable, telegraph and telephone communications.

    ARTICLE 58. Freedom and inviolability of persons is assured to all those who live in the country.

    So, what are you talking about? The exact same rights are guaranteed to Cuban citizens under their Constitution.

    In fact, the Cuban Constitution guarantees MORE rights to their citizens, including the right to education, health care … even DENTAL care is explicitly granted as a right in the Cuban Constitution.

    From the Cuban Constitution:
    “ARTICLE 3. In the Republic of Cuba sovereignty lies in the people, from whom originates all the power of the state. That power is exercised directly or through the assemblies of People’s Power and other state bodies which derive their authority from these assemblies, in the form and according to the norms established in the Constitution and by law.”

    Sorry, KT. You are just wrong.

  6. Attention all you communist fascists lovers, read carefully comment #87, you b a s t a r d s. I was going to print the word but decided to hyphenate it. Need to inject a little humor, jajajaja

  7. So much time and energy spent on exposing the mistakes, ills and crimes by the U.S. government and capitalist societies. Why? How does this shore-up Castro-fascim?

    Is the U.S. perfect? Not by a long shot. Is there / has there ever been / will there ever be a perfect governmental and social system?

    Absolutely not.

    Why? Because governments are run by humans. Corporations are managed by humans. Humans are, by nature, selfishly motivated. By money, power, security – good stuff for ourselves and those we care about. There will always be corruption, well-intended errors, and myopic decisions made.

    The point is, we can strive for better. We can work to make our community and our world a better place for ourselves, our children and the nameless, faceless poor who freeze to death or starve to death or who are imprisoned for their ideas. Humankind can strive to overcome our selfish tendencies and work for the common good.

    The thing is – while flawed – the U.S. system for doing this: for exposing corruption, for working toward change, for having our voices make a difference – is more effective than the Cuban. There are a boatload of examples where it doesn’t work in the U.S. Where the tiny voice is snuffed. But, there are a boatload of examples where it _does_ work.

    * We have unfettered access to the internet.
    * We can assemble how and where we want, for whatever purpose we want.
    * We have a free press, who can and do expose fraud, conspiracy, waste, inefficiencies.
    * We can work as hard as we want or as little as we want, and reap the corresponding wages or lack thereof.
    * Our postal mail is sent and received free from being read by any government party.
    * Our phones are not tapped.
    * Our neighbors are not paid to tell the state things about our lives.
    * We have a right to privacy, extended to our medical, financial and other records. No one tracks what books I check out or purchase.

    Of course you will be able to point out exceptions to the above. But why? I’ve already acknowledged that it isn’t perfect. But what about Cuba, where none of these statements are true?

    Well, could one argue that the benefit to giving up these things outweighs the negative? Personally, I’ve not heard any credible argument supporting the position that communism / socialism works economically. Nor that fascism / totalitarianism / dictatorship provides long-term, positive benefits for its citizens.

    A government should be FOR its people. It should be accountable to its citizens. It should listen to its citizens. The U.S. system is inherently better designed to do that. The Cuban is not.

  8. 82M. piñeiro losada

    Marzo 18th, 2010 at 10:51


    Yawn: I was born free. I believe I have the right of freedom with all its benefits, priviledges & responibilities not just for me but FOR ALL CUBA.

    This has all the insight of a bad Hollywood movie. You could take these words and place them in mouth of an Israeli, or a Palestinian, or a Nazi German, or a French partisan, or a Mongol invader, or a British imperialist, or an Indian resistance fighter, a contra or a Sandinista, and they would equally make as much sense……..

    Dear patient, by this mean I inform you that you now on are under psychiatric treatment to try improve your lamentable mental condition. I am glad to announce to you that your disease is not curable but able of improvement. After analysis of your case in meeting with my team we arrived to the conclusion that you suffer of severe ideological-mental retarded syndrome . The treatment chosen to revert this condition is simple: 3 daily doses of XXXLLL solid enemas of common sense.
    here is your first dose:

    To compare this: “I was born free. I believe I have the right of freedom with all its benefits, privileges & responsibilities not just for me but FOR ALL CUBA”, with Hollywood movie, words and placed them in mouth of an Israeli, or a Palestinian, or a Nazi German, or a French partisan, or a Mongol invader, or a British imperialist, or an Indian resistance fighter, a contra or a Sandinista……. shows the confusion in your mind caused by years of castrofascism indoctrination that make you incapable of finding differences between Israeli and Palestinian fighters…..or…. a Nazi German and a French partisan…… etc, etc.
    It could be very dangerous for you because your bosses, those that pays you, does not like to be compared with assassins and tyrants despite they are exactly that.
    Be careful patient…….. your live is in jeopardy due to your confusion.

  9. Albert:

    Again, you talk in generalities, no specifics, no ability to form even one coherent argument against the Cuban Revolution.

    As for your assertion that the Cuban Revolution is “moldy” … wake up and look at the world around you. What is “moldy” is the militant Cuban-American mafia, who are rejected by the Cuban-American youth for their insane fanaticism that has led to the violent deaths of thousands of innocents.

    What is “moldy” is the US Empire, shown to be in decline in nearly every statistic imaginable and by every public opinion poll, everywhere in the world.

    What is brand new and gaining momentum — AGAIN — is the resurgence of socialism in the Americas. Whether you are talking about the 100s of thousands of people at the Battle of Seattle in 1999, the defeat of FTAA/ALCA at the Guerre de Gaz in Quebec City in 2002, the MILLIONS of people who opposed US imperialism leading up to the war in Iraq in 2003, the political revolution that has swept Socialists and the Foro de São Paulo parties into power in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Ecuador, Argentina … the opposition to the G8 in Genoa, the opposition to the PRIistas in Oaxaca, the birth of the Indymedia electronic movement (which predates and far surpasses the right-wing imitators), and on and on and on.

    In case you didn’t get it, THIS is the tendency in the world today, as we prepare to kick capitalism into its grave.

    Your way had its chance and we see what it gave the world: capitalist dictatorships, the greatest gap between rich and poor the world has ever known, capitalist torture camps, capitalist cocaine cartels, one finance market rip-off after another, the violent destruction of labor unions, etc.

    You aren’t living in the 80s anymore. The people have risen up, overthrown many of the capitalist dictatorships that plagued the latter half of the 20th century, and we are well on our way towards destroying the remaining capitalist oligarchies.

    Take a look into the minds of the youth of today:

    Viva la revolución cubana! Viva Hugo Chavez! Viva Evo Morales!

  10. I don’t care how you word it, the point still remains … we are talking about the present regime & the present conditions in Cuba …
    Your attempts to deny a truth by repetition does not work pal.
    Your attempts to “create” a truth by repetition does not work either pal.
    Add to it: you are living in the past trying to use the moldy heroes of the castro revolution & the old tired slogas to inspire the “tired of hearing the same thing” people of Cuba.
    Words are cheap pal … results … what does the present regime have to show? add to it the implicit denial of ALL THE REGIME’S FOSTERED & FOMENTED COVERT OPERATIONS TO “CREATE MANY VIETNAMS” (as your argentinian hero used to say)” BY THE PRESENT REGIME SINCE THE 1950s.
    It encompased most of south america, africa & parts of europe.
    The fact is like it or not:
    YOUR experiemnt has failed, every scheme, from agricultural to industrial & in between.
    You blame the US & the embargo but purposely ignore every other country which conducts business w/Cuba (most of them still waiting for your payments for goods delivered) perhaps there is a reason for some of the same countries do not choose to continue doing business w/the present Cuba?
    What most are against is what YOUR leadership & people like you do to the regular cuban people.
    Perhaps you’ll pause & think what you have been told many times already:
    We are talking about Cuba, not all the countries around her.
    We are talking about the quality of life the Cuban people have, not about the quality of life for people from other countries.
    We are talking about the Cuba, not about another country.
    I know for certain … you have nothing but fabricated, twisted & misrepresented facts, figures * quotes for your parrotings.
    You demonstrate little to nothing about human care, sensitivity & compasion.
    The way you talk … it tells me: you have never suffered repression, incarceration, torture & loss, the way you talk demonstrates as well that you don’t even know what it is to carry w/you the scars … physical & mental caused by the repression of the regime you so love… you are all talk.
    You talk about it like you know what it is & how it feels … you didn’t; represent me then from any of your “comitees” nor you represent me now!



    Yawn: I was born free. I believe I have the right of freedom with all its benefits, priviledges & responibilities not just for me but FOR ALL CUBA.

    This has all the insight of a bad Hollywood movie. You could take these words and place them in mouth of an Israeli, or a Palestinian, or a Nazi German, or a French partisan, or a Mongol invader, or a British imperialist, or an Indian resistance fighter, a contra or a Sandinista, and they would equally make as much sense.

    If all you have is platitudes and flowery language, who can disagree? How can one disagree with someone who really has no point?

    If there is reason for the anti-Cuban terrorists to complain about pro-Cuba repetitiveness, it is entirely because all we have to do is simply restate the fundamental case and it should be clear to anyone.

    The facts are that DEFENDERS of the world’s military superpower, with all of its aggression and terrorism and torture and dictatorial history, simply cannot co-opt the language of people yearning for hundreds of years to be free of colonial and imperial control. Revolutionary Cuba represents the freedom from that imperial control.

    As for whoever wrote that “no dissident walks free in Cuba” … this works for me. This is either a false statement or there really haven’t been many dissidents in Cuba, and for those that do exist, we can plainly see that they are very well represented in the Capitalist Free Press.

    As for those who mock the dangers of being a dissident in the United States, I direct you to the case of Fred Hampton, gunned down in his own home by COINTELPRO. I direct you to the car bomb that hit Judi Bari in the 90s. I direct you to the assassination attempt carried out by Alpha 66 against Pastors for Peace who were violating the anti-Cuba blockade to bring needed medical supplies to Cuba. I direct you to Mumia Abu Jamal, framed for a murder he didn’t commit and sits on US death row today. I direct you to Geronimo Pratt, who suffered in prison for 27 years for a crime he didn’t commit. And the hundreds of others who continue to suffer for opposing the US regime and I can promise you this: when THOUSANDS of us come out to protest in favor of them, the Capitalist Free Press does not spare a drop of ink or a second of TV coverage to mention us at all. But 20 Cubans is portrayed in the same press as damn near a revolution.

    Still, the world community stands behind Cuba’s right to exist as a revolutionary project. The world community stands behind Cuba’s right to be free of the inhuman economic blockade. The world community stands behind Cuba’s right to be free of terrorism at the hands of the anti-Cuban terrorist movement … specifically, Alpha 66, Luis Posada Carriles, Otto Reich, Orlando Bosch, USAID, the NED and all the other terror organizations given safe harbor by the United States Government.

    Yes, your arguments fall flat. Yes, you cannot defend your aggressive anti-Cuban position in the face of the facts. Yes, the vast majority of Cubans have spoken and they reject US interventionism against the Cuban Revolution. Yes, the vast majority of Latin Americans have spoken and they support the inevitable realization of Che Guevara’s dream of a Latin America free from capitalist tyranny and dictatorship, and they support it every day in Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Bolivia, Paraguay and all over the region.

  12. Siggy
    an ingnoramus like myself can help but wonder about how such a fragile looking lady deals w/the pressures & stigma atached to her (and us) by being called a gusana traidora, mercenaria all pago the los yankees?
    I am sure she can be used as the poster girl to illustrate the consecuences of a decadent life & from a diet of wheatties.
    However: I do aplaud your philantropic offer sepecially because of the sacrifice it entails to stop driving your taxi cab & working at the hotel in order to practice your art …
    … while I am scared to death I am ompressed by your “team” of caring specialized nurses.
    Please use the present cuban system of health care for use of any equipment & payments.
    thanks again for the laugh !!!

  13. 76Albert (another silent voice)

    Marzo 18th, 2010 at 08:30

    Dear Albert…… I don’t know if you (and the other readers and commenter in this site)know(s) that I am the “official” psychologist of the Spanish page of this blog…… well, I’m…….. I got this position by acclamation of my fellows commenter, moderators and (I suspect) the very very Yoani’s approval. I never wanted to develop such activities in the English page too but……… I am afraid it is impossible…… luck at the poor losada mental condition!!!!!……. the duty calls dear friend……… With all the readers/commenter and moderator’s permission I would gladly take care of the patient………. with the help of my team of specialized nurses…. let me introduce you them.
    My dear and effective team leader and personal secretary Ricarda, Ricardita as we use to call her:

    …… and …….. The team:

  14. Siggy:
    old buddy I needed a pick me upper … thank you for the laugh !!!
    Your humor honors you!

  15. 66M. piñeiro losada

    Marzo 17th, 2010 at 23:36

    ……….all of this because of my involvement with dissident blogs in the United States. It is not a risk-free proposition to actively support Cuba and socialism in the United States………….

    Hahahahahaha………… this dirty agent delires ……… hahahaha……… disidents in USA!!!!!!!……….. risk to defend castrofascism!!!!!! hahahahahahaha…….. delirum tremens !!!!……… “socialism” in Cuba????!!!!!….. hahahaha….. total arrebatus !!!!!
    Those cyberthugs are no ashamed at all…… knowing that everyone who read all things written by this castro agent will know that are lies!!!!!!…….
    Ptsssss….. you…….. castrofascist……. are you no ashamed of readers opinion about your lies????……. millions of people of all over the world is reading your crap…… did you know it????

  16. losada (in all your incarnations)
    so it is understood:
    I admit will never match your wit and mastery in quoting “manufactured facts” nor your mastery for msidirection.
    I am a simple old man who knows the following:
    I was born free.
    I believe I have the right of freedom with all its benefits, priviledges & responibilities not just for me but FOR ALL CUBA.
    I believe I have the right to choose freely AS SHOULD ALL CUBANS.
    I believe I have the right to choose & vote freely whom I want to represent me in a democratic goverment AS SHOULD ALL CUBANS REGARDLESS OF CREED, COLOR OF SKIN, RELIGIOUS PERSUATION, POLITICAL CREED OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION.
    I believe I have the right to the choose my own way to happiness AS SHOULD ALL CUBANS.
    I do not believe in a system of goverment forced on me BY THE FORCE OF A GUN OR BY MERE INTIMIDATION.
    I do not believe in being forced into an ideology I do not agree with.
    You can twist & turn, talk circles around me but you WILL not change my beliefs.
    I AM A FREE MAN who agrees to live in a free society which even with its imperfections allows for freedom of speech, choice & representation; with free elections, with a “check & balance” of power & with accountability.
    In order to mantain the present regime you & yours have crossed the line of my beliefs by force using intimidation, repression, incarceration & torture with impunity.
    just keep in mind, what goes around comes around, not even you & yours will escape the consecuences of your choices, everyone is accountable yes, even you.

  17. losada:
    be careful whith what you say … if I am to belive you: you “have been visited on numerous occasions by the FBI, local police and even stranger goverment officials who refuse to identify which agency they were from (they were accomapnied by local police) – all this because my involvement with dissident bloggs in the United States.
    “It is not a risk free proposition to actively support Cuba and socialism in the United States” and in reference to “the facts” you say: ” Aside from those facts, it is difficult to make a case against the Cuban Revolution when you are talking to someone who is informed about the situation”.
    What would warrant you to “under the microscope”? probable cause? no … perhaps suspicious activities? no … perhaps unregisterd foreign personnel? no … perhaps non registered alien? no … regardless, in your cuba, suspicion would have been suffucuent reason for an arrest w/all its consecuences.
    Nevertheless, you must be alright … you are still free to express yourself, you are still bloggin …
    If the US, you were “visited” & you can rest assured that you will enjoy all available benefits of the law is called: due process.
    if you just want to be a “victim” by the actions you take in a country not of your own, conspiring against its safety or attempting to subvert & instigate, what would you expect to happen (I forgot consecuences to actions don’t exist)?
    Are you a paid agent working for your cuba?
    Are you engaged in unlawful activities in behalf of your cuba?
    If not, you have nothing to fear, at worst you are innocent until proven guilty.
    So again … your misdirections don’t work.
    The topic of the blogg is comentaries for FREEDOM … the topic is in reference to what happens in Cuba..
    Not in any other part of the world.
    Not in another country.
    Not to other people.
    Is about what the present cuban regime does to it people.
    Not to what other countries do to theirs.


    Ultimo Video de la represion y golpiza a las damas de blanco
    Last Video of the repression and beatings of The Ladies in White
    Includes the voice of Reina Luisa Tamayo mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo giving Fidel and Raul hell!

  19. Losada, Losada, Losada:

    No, the Ladies in White were not treated “just fine.” A group of women dressed in white walking down the street with flowers in their hands do not warrant being violently accosted and taken against their will into a bus by state security agents dressed as civilians. You’ve got it wrong. Again.

    Let me know when you sign the petition.

  20. M. piñeiro losada (#67)
    Marzo 17th, 2010 at 23:48

    “Thank you for this opportunity to educate people on the history of the Cuban Revolution, by the way”



    COURTESY OF HANK (#52)…..3=&s4=

  21. CNN INTERNATIONAL:Venezuela debates Internet regulation
    March 18, 2010

    (CNN) — The Venezuelan National Assembly took up debate on Internet regulation just days after President Hugo Chavez called for online restrictions in televised remarks.

    The legislative body was not expected to propose new laws regulating the Internet but to establish sanctions for those who break existing laws regulating media, the state-run ABN news agency reported.

    At the center of the debate Tuesday were online communications that incite hatred, violence, murder and coups, ABN said.

    “These [Web] pages can’t be free to say whatever you feel like,” Chavez said over the weekend in response to false reports posted on a news Web site that one of his ministers had been murdered.

    The Web site, Noticiero Digital, retracted the false report, but Chavez said laws were broken.

    “There’s a constitution and laws that must be followed,” Chavez said in the televised remarks. “I can’t put anyone in prison, [but] there are state authorities and they must act.”

    On Monday Venezuela’s attorney general signaled she was ready to act on the directive.

    “The Internet cannot be a lawless territory,” Luisa Ortega Diaz said, according to local reports. Her office opened an investigation into news Web sites and she asked the national assembly to consider regulations, the reports said.

    At the same time, Venezuela sought to defend its Internet record.

    Lawmaker Manuel Villalba, president of the assembly’s science and technology committee, said the issue in question was not censorship or restriction of the Internet, but a look at the irresponsible use of the technology to spread false information.

    “Freedom of expression or information is not being damaged. We have witnessed how there is a permanent freedom of expression in this country,” Villalba said in a televised interview, according to ABN.

    According to him, the Internet has flourished under Chavez.

    “The government has boosted during all these years the democratization of the Internet. In such way that in the past the Internet was a tool that only the richer sectors of the country could have access to,” he said.

    Chavez’s comments that those responsible for posting the false information on the Noticiero Digital Web site should be punished had been taken out of context by the media, Villalba said.

    Noticiero Digital stated wrongly that Diosdado Cabello, the minister who oversees the telecommunications regulator, had been assassinated, along with another party leader.

    Laws are on the books that make it illegal to incite hate or damage the honor and dignity of another person, Villalba said.

    If Venezuela decides to follow a path of increased Internet regulation, it would not be alone.

    “[Regulation] exists to some extent in every country,” said Larry Downes, a consultant and author of the recent book “Laws of Disruption.”

    In general, “the more stringent [the regulations], the less content you’re going to get,” and that can affect free speech, he said.

    In the United States and many other countries, the publisher of information is not generally held responsible for false information it puts on the Internet, Downes said. However, in order to keep this protection, a publisher must fix or remove false information when confronted with it.

    Some countries are more strict.

    In Italy, for example, a court recently ruled that Google was responsible for vetting all videos for offensive material before they are published on YouTube, instead of simply removing them once they are flagged.

    While Internet filtering is a growing trend, in Latin America, the only country really filtering is Cuba, said Jillian York, project coordinator for the OpenNet Initiative.

    Concerns that Venezuela could follow Cuba in restricting the Internet were raised earlier this year, when Chavez hired Ramiro Valdes, a Cuban with expertise in Internet regulation, as a consultant for an electricity project.

  22. “If this protest in Cuba is the worst the Cuban Government does to protesters, they are literally pacifists in comparison to any US, European, Russian, Asian or African Government.”

    Not only is this statement a callous disregard for the truth, it is also a plain and simple falsehood worthy of the Nazi propaganda chief Goebels himself.

    There are human beings who are prisoners of conscience in jails today in Cuba. They exist in appalling conditions designed to slowly kill them. That’s what the government in Cuba does to people it disagrees with. And it is what they do not want the outside world to know.

    The prisoners are there because they protested in Cuba. They spoke out and said things the tyranny did not like. They are dying right now, slow, painful deaths, beaten by their guards and denied medical attention and systematically starved.

  23. John Two:

    Re: the meager 15,000 signatures on the petition …

    I’m not talking about the quote — I’m talking about the petition organized by that student movement with 500,000-some signatures on it to Free the Cuban Five. Or, any of the other petitions that have been served up over the years to Free the Cuban Five, TRUE political prisoners who have been tortured in US prisons for years now:

    Five activists protesting the injustice of the “Cuban Five” case, on Sept. 12, 2008, were arrested, around noon today, outside the White House. When the police ordered them not to cross a “police line,” set up arbitrarily on the sidewalk, they refused to comply in an act of civil disobedience. Prior to the arrests, a rally was held on the street, (just north of the White House). It was sponsored by the “National Committee to Free the Cuban Five.” When the rally ended, the demonstrators walked over to the White House gate and attempted to deliver Petitions containing over 102,000 signatures, from 78 countries, to President George W. Bush. The Petitions demanded freedom for the “Cuban Five.”

    That’s just one petition and it had more than 102,000 signatures for the Cuban Five. Now, THAT’S a petition. Hell, there are more than 15,000 Cuban exiles & their extended families and you can’t even convince them to sign it.

    Regarding the DOD Document, you miss the point entirely. The point is to illustrate the continued existence of COINTELPRO, an illegal terrorist operation that was directed at domestic dissidents in the US and illegally directed at the Cuban Government.

    Fifty years of terrorism against Cuba, that’s what the Ladies in White stand for:

    Thank you for this opportunity to educate people on the history of the Cuban Revolution, by the way.

  24. Hank:

    The Ladies in White were treated just fine. They had their protest, they were VASTLY outnumbered by Cubans who support the Cuban Revolution, and they were protected by unarmed women from the government when the situation started to escalate.

    That’s exactly how freedom of expression works. I wished that’s the way protests were handled in the US … instead of heavily-armed robocops in body armor beating and spraying people with chemical weapons arbitrarily and mass arrests.

    You had twenty-some people who are affiliated with known terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles come out and protest, you had literally hundreds more Cubans come out in support of the socialist revolution and it all ended peacefully. Not only was there freedom of expression but the people made it clear — the vast majority of Cubans support the socialist revolution.

    See my longer post on this (#60 here).

    Viva la revolución cubana! Viva la revolución bolivariana! Viva Fidel! Viva Raul!

  25. The diatribe of “Mr Pinguero Estofado” could be the English version of the round table of the Cuban Tv

  26. Losada,

    I did a quick search on the OZT petition website — did not see your name there and was frankly, just a little, disappointed. Ok, I was REALLY disappointed. But I did see a lot of other Losadas.

    Won’t you join us in demanding that the tyrants who run Cuba like their own little fiefdom release the political prisoners? The prisoners of conscience? People who are in jail for expressing ideas, nothing more. You have ideas — are you in jail? C’mon man, it’s the least you can do. I challenge you to sign the petition. You seem like an outstanding human rights supporter.

    And where is your moral outrage about the way the Damas en Blanca were treated?

  27. John Two! YOURE JUST MARVELOUS! JUST MARVELOUS! As Billy Crystal’s would say!

  28. Posted in #58: “Hell, the Vancouver-based Students Movement ALONE delivered 500,000 signatures to free the Cuban Five … and that’s just one national political organization in Canada.”

    I assume you’re referring to this:
    “The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s national students’ organization representing more than one half million students across Canada. At our May semi-annual general meeting, students’ unions passed a resolution calling on the Government of the United States for their immediate release from prison.”

    The Canadian Federation of Students wrote a letter to former President George W. Bush after passing a resolution at a semi-annual general meeting. They did not collect or deliver 500,000 signatures.

    And with regard to your earlier reply about wikileaks (#38) the proof is in the pudding. The website is still up and running to this day, and even its editors had to concede that two years after the DOD report was written, they had not suffered any repercussions nor had their sources been exposed.



    What a shock it is to see the Capitalist Press distort, misrepresent and make a huge deal out of 20 protesters in Cuba!

    This picture says it all:

    What happened is that hundreds of Cuban citizens came out to support the Cuban Revolution. Without a doubt, some of those citizens were informed about the counter-protest by their local CDR. So what? The point of the CDRs — Committees in Defense of the Revolution — is to do exactly that. Does that make the opinion of any of the Cuban citizens who came out to support the revolution any less valid?

    Then, what happened is that the Cuban police ordered a group of UNARMED, ALL-WOMEN POLICE SQUAD to escort the anti-Cuban protesters away from the mob before violence broke out.

    The tactics are so transparent. The “Ladies in White” are openly aligned with the US Special Interests Office, which has funded terrorism against Cuba for 50 years. It would be like a group of Al-Qaeda supporters protesting in New York City. Of course people will come out to aggressively counter-protest!

    If the Cuban government DON’T protest the anti-Cuban protesters from angry Cuban citizens, they would be blamed for allowing a public disturbance to get out of hand.

    If the Cuban government removes the “Ladies in White” into air-conditioned buses which then take them to a house (not to jail, mind you), then the Cuban government is blamed for “stopping the protest.”

    The Capitalist Press relies only on people’s lack of knowledge about Cuban history to misrepresent the situation — which is no surprise, given that the Capitalist Press has been complicit in the terror campaign directed at Cuba since Day One.

    Note that the Ladies in White REFUSED to leave on their own. Instead, they intended to stay and taunt an enormous crowd of angry people. How many of those Cubans lost loved ones in the Air Cubana bombing? How many of those Cubans lost loved ones in the Bay of Pigs invasion? How many of those Cubans lost loved ones in any of the other hundreds of “commando missions” executed by Alpha 66 or Luis Posada Carriles or Orlando Bosch, all of whom are terrorists and are protected by the SAME PEOPLE that the “Ladies in White” work with?

    If a group of protesters KNOWN to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda protested in New York City, excuse the expression but they would be beaten to death in a “New York minute” and the cops would probably join in on the beating.

    Instead, you can clearly see in the pictures that no harm has come to the “Ladies in White”, no one has “beaten them” or anything of the sort. Truly, the WORST PICTURE is one UNARMED, WOMAN COP who is holding one of the protesters by their hair. GIVE ME A BREAK.

    Meanwhile, the United States gets by with using “pain compliance” as their method of dealing with the same situation. You can see it in action here:

    Or just go to YouTube and search for “Seattle protest” or ANY protest in the United States for that matter and see what real repression is — it involves heavily militarized riot police in full body armor beating and attacking protesters with chemical weapons.

    If this protest in Cuba is the worst the Cuban Government does to protesters, they are literally pacifists in comparison to any US, European, Russian, Asian or African Government.

    I dare anyone here to challenge this logic.

  31. Hank:

    As I write this, over 15,000 people from 86 different nations around the world have signed the petition in Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s name denouncing the dictatorship and demanding the release of all political prisoners in Cuba, NOW.

    By the way, Hank… 15,000 people out of the whole world? You are bragging about this?

    Hell, the Vancouver-based Students Movement ALONE delivered 500,000 signatures to free the Cuban Five … and that’s just one national political organization in Canada.

    Meanwhile, as I write this, the United Nations is planning to pass a resolution in support of the Cuban Government, demanding that the illegal and inhumane blockade against the Cuban Revolution be ended immediately, the same resolution that EVERY SINGLE COUNTRY IN THE WORLD except the United States and Israel has passed EVERY YEAR for going on TWENTY YEARS now.

  32. Hunberto,

    Thanks! It is a compelling report, TVE did a great job. I would love to see the video translated with subtitles into MANY languages.

    OZT’s mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo Danger, everytime I see or hear her speak, strikes me as an incredibly powerful, forceful, articulate and wonderful woman. I am humbled by her. I am beginning to understand the origin of OZT’s strength.

  33. Hank:

    Neither one of us has any fear of being arrested, thrown in jail or tortured for writing the things we believe.

    Sorry, that’s not correct. COINTELPRO is alive and well where I live and I’ve been visited on numerous occasions by the FBI, local police and even stranger government officials who refused to identify which agency they were from (they were accompanied by local police) — all of this because of my involvement with dissident blogs in the United States. It is not a risk-free proposition to actively support Cuba and socialism in the United States.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time as you do for the present exercise, so I am not going to further rebut the statements you make. All I can say is that our points of view are completely and utterly different. I disagree with you on every possible level.

    I didn’t think so. You arrogantly demanded facts for my assertions, insinuating that I was lying, and I dumped a mountain of facts on you.

    Aside from those facts, it is difficult to make your case against the Cuban Revolution when you are talking to someone who is informed about the situation. Anti-Cuban reactionaries depend on people not knowing, so they can bully their way through an argument. You weren’t able to do that with me so you quit and I’m not surprised.

  34. Hank,

    Thanks for the video, put that web site on my favorites! They are getting lots of “scoops” even before CNN! Which in this case means “Cuba Nice Nation”!

  35. The words of Fidel Castro return like a boomerang to haunt him and his tyrannical regime.

    On September 15, 1981, Fidel Castro gave the opening speech at the 63rd conference of the Interparliamentary Union, which was held in Havana. These are Castro’s remarks on the Irish Republican Army who died during the hunger strike. Here it is from the “horse” mouth:

    “In my opinion, Irish patriots are writing one of the most heroic chapters in human history. They have earned the respect and admiration of the world, and likewise they deserve its support. Ten of them have already died in the most moving gesture of sacrifice, selflessness and courage one could ever imagine.

    Humanity should feel ashamed that this terrible crime is committed before its very eyes. These young fighters do not ask for independence nor make impossible demands to put an end to their strike; they ask only for something as simple as the recognition of what they actually are: political prisoners.

    The stubbornness, intransigence, cruelty, insensitivity before the international community of the British Government faced with the problem of Irish patriots on hunger strikes until death, remind us of Torquemada and the barbarity of the inquisition in the middle ages.

    Let tyrants tremble before men who are capable of dying for their ideals after 60 days of hunger strike! What were Christ’s three days in Calvary, an age-old symbol of human sacrifice, compared to that example?

    It is high time for the world community to put an end to this repulsive atrocity through denunciation and pressure!”

    Indeed it is. This is one of the few times that I totally agree with the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

  36. YFET, from the previous section:

    Glad I am able to help with translations. I wish I could do more. Please keep up the tremendously great work that you do! We appreciate it.

  37. Look at the video below showing how the Damas de Blanco, “The Ladies in White,” were brutally treated yesterday by the cuban tyranny. The bastards must really be afraid of these flower-toting women.

    In Spanish, the title of the report is “Cuba reprime a las Damas de Blanco en una manifestación pacífica. Al menos treinta de ellas han sido subidas a la fuerza en dos autobuses por la Policía tras un nuevo encontronazo con partidarios del régimen cubano.”

    Translated: Cuba represses the Ladies in White during a peaceful demonstration. At least 30 of them were forcefully put into two buses by the police in a new confrontation with supporters of the cuban regime.

    Good for TVE! Where was Shasta of CNN?


  39. ASSOCIATED PRESS: Cuban security agents break up protest march (INCLUDES PICS)

    HAVANA — Uniformed Cuban security agents prevented the mothers and wives of dissidents from marching on the outskirts of the capital on Wednesday to demand release of their loved ones, shoving them into a bus when they lay down in the street in protest.
    It was the second day in a row that a peaceful opposition march by the Damas de Blanca — or “Ladies in White” — degenerated into a shouting match, raising tension a day ahead of the anniversary of a major crackdown on dissent.

    The group is made up of female relatives of some of the 75 dissidents arrested in a sweeping government operation on or around March 18, 2003. Some 53 of the dissidents remain jailed, many of them sentenced to decades in jail.

    As about 30 Ladies in White left a church in the Parraga neighborhood, hundreds of pro-government supporters crowded around them, shouting “Long Live Fidel!” and “Get out, worms!”

    The women shouted back “Freedom!” and said they wanted to call the world’s attention to the plight of their husbands.

    Such “acts of repudiation” have become something of a ritual in Cuba. The government claims they arise spontaneously as a result of disgust with the dissidents. Others believe that the government organizes them and that many of those taking part are members of state security.

    As the women marched down the street clutching pink gladiolas, the crowd followed them. At nearly every corner, Cuban police and Interior Ministry agents asked the women to voluntarily end their march and take shelter in a government bus, but the women refused.

    The women were hoping to march to the home of Orlando Fundora, a dissident who lives in the neighborhood, but a group of female security agents in olive green Interior Ministry uniforms and blue police uniforms formed a cordon at the end of the block, preventing the march from continuing.

    When the protesters lay down in the street in protest, the security agents picked them up and put them in a government bus by force. The women were dropped off a short time later at the home of Ladies in White leader Laura Pollan.

    The pro-government response to the marches has grown more forceful each day in the lead-up to the anniversary. A march by the Ladies in White on Monday came off peacefully. On Tuesday, government supporters shouted them down as they marched in Havana.

    Wednesday’s march was the first time state agents physically intervened. The Ladies in White say they plan to march again on Thursday’s anniversary.

    Cuba’s human rights situation has been a cause of renewed international tension since the Feb. 23 death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo after a long hunger strike in jail. Another man, Guillermo Farinas, has refused to eat or drink since shortly after Zapata Tamayo’s death, though he is allowing himself to be fed intravenously periodically at a local hospital.

    The European Parliament last week voted overwhelmingly to condemn Cuba for Zapata Tamayo’s death, and a group of artists and intellectuals including Pedro Almodovar have begun to circulate a petition criticizing the Cuban government’s actions.

    On Tuesday, the human rights group Amnesty International called for the release of all political prisoners.

    Cuba has lashed out at the criticism, saying it will not accept pressure or give in to blackmail. The government describes the dissidents as common criminals who are paid by the United States to destabilize the government, and says every country should have the right to jail traitors.

    Editor’s Note: Associated Press writer Paul Haven contributed to this report.

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