Anniversary of a Slogan

No, you’re not mistaken, the title refers specifically to the birthday of a slogan, a saying for which they want to light another candle. On this island the mania to commemorate has reached the extreme of celebrating the first time somebody said something. Although we were already drowning in anniversaries, they have now added to the list of commemorations those related to the birth of a phrase. They interview those present at the moment certain verbs and nouns were combined, as if every day doesn’t see the birth of thousands of expressions that could be considered. Today, for example, my neighbor – greatly inspired – said, “It never ends, in this house it never ends,” which could become the motto of all the housewives in the country.

In the inventory of expressions they only remember the positive, because it would never occur to anyone that the news might dust off the losses, the lies, the missteps. These do not come down through the years, they are erased from history, period, while others are remembered. So the official press only dedicates space these days to praise the appearance of the coda, “Venceremos!” – We Shall Overcome! – in a motto that was already quite horrific. For over fifty years the national impasse was contained in the schematic, “Fatherland or Death.” Five decades in which we have become accustomed to the stark reality of having to opt for the Grim Reaper, while on the other end of the phrase the word “fatherland” could be exchanged for “socialism,” which could also be substituted by the term “Party” or by the name of a certain leader.

So it goes here: passing to the plane of the noun, of what is said but not done. Making a cult of the verb, although reality denies it every day. That it’s worth blowing up balloons for slogans, and reminding us they’ve gone grey, though their age has made them no more venerable nor more true. Even dressed up for a party, the slogan, “Fatherland or Death: We Shall Overcome!” still fills me more with anxiety than with peace. Today, with half a century shared among those four words, they sound like the echo of times long past, when a whole people came to believe that choice. After so many repetitions, seeing it painted on billboards, hearing it from the podium, I’ve come to wonder if perhaps we have overcome, if what we have today could be called “victory.”


40 thoughts on “Anniversary of a Slogan

  1. Reading these comments, I’m saddened to see that this blog, where an intelligent woman describes her suffering, has become the pitch for the old right-left political match translated into personal insults. You guys really make me sick.

    On the left hand, there are those of you who spew the familiar “Cuba is great! It is the 9th best in the Americas! Best education system! Best Medical System!” ignoring the obvious truths before you.

    On the right hand are the “capitalists” who jack off to Rush Limbaugh and his insanities.

    The fact is that the U.S. doesn’t have its house completely in order, it does have many things that work. There is also the fact that although Cuba is in better shape than some other Caribeean and Latin American countries, its economy is not what it used to be and politically, it is not too different from what it was under Batista.

    What’s perplexing to me is:
    1) How can some of you say that Cuba is Utopia but still wish that the embargo would be lifted? If everything is perfect, what more do you need from the U.S.?

    2) If some of you care so much about Democracy in Cuba, why did you leave? Why do you ask the poor citizens of Cuba stuck there now to bring about the change? Why don’t you emmigrate back and join Yoani to fight the fight? If you’d rather bring about change from the U.S., where are the benefit concerts? What are you doing other than picking fights with other virtual people?

    Por Favor. No sean tan pendejos.

  2. 38JohnTheOne

    Junio 26th, 2010 at 07:30

    OOOOOOhhh shut up damir II……….. it is an ofense , you know????….. to be called damir II is one of the biggest ofensen in the world……. so, review your behaviors dummy… you writes nothing but damir like moron things….. no arguments no ideas….. just nonsenses…….. bye dummy II

  3. albertico and siggie, you have only managed to make Damir and his brief but precise evaluation of (both or the same one?) you quite correct.

    Nowhere have I seen anyone, including Damir clainming to want to destroy anything. He was always calling for civil and respectful behavior. At some point anyone will lose their patience with arrogant and insulting commentators who have got squat to say.

    Like you. How many nicks are you hiding behind anyway, I wonder. I bet behind almost all of them.

    Anyway pobrecitos, you need to understand one thing about “democracy” you pretend understand and want.

    EVERYONE has the right to say what they think.

    You clearly do not want that and are being obtrusive, insulting and all round primitive chimpanzee, in order to intimidate and push away anyone with “negative” influence on your senseless posting and relentless bitching about anything you can think of.

    How different are you really from your beloved Fidel then?

    Not at all.

    Not at all. You just hate him for usurping that space you so relish and dream of: to rule in Cuba instead of Fidel.

    And be able to quash dissenting voices with your little fingers.

    Your “practicing” here will never achieve that goal. It will always remain just a dream.

    You have no power to do that. Never will. Start learning how to live with it.

  4. @#34
    I think it is you that is the pretender, hiding behind anonimity, claiming to be an intellectual superior yet by your own hands the record speaks for itself about the worth of your intellectual power:
    Comments #: 23, 27, 30, & 34; all insults, name calling & bravado, I guess that’s your definition & understanding of your “intellectual expresion”
    Shall I go & check the other bloggs & quote its title & your comment numbers?
    By the reflexion of your attitudes yours is perhaps a lonely & miserable life …

  5. 34Damir

    Junio 23rd, 2010 at 07:40

    Normal person that have a faith, a believe, usualy have a ready answer when they are asked to explain their believing………. that’s why I say with all world’s reason that you are not a normal person…… you supposedly have a believe but you are incapable to explain it!!!!!!…… you want to destroy capitalism but you don’t know what you will use to substitute it!!!!!…… you want to destroy things because you find it funny????………. definitively you are a moron with no life that only comes here to kill the time………. bye dummy.

  6. 34Damir

    Junio 23rd, 2010 at 07:40

    Normal person that have a faith, a believe, ususaly have a ready answer when they are asked to explain their believing………. that’s why I say with all world’s reason that you are not a normal person…… you supposedly have a believe but you are incapable to explain it!!!!!!…… you want to destroy capitalism but you don’t know what you will use to substitute it!!!!!…… you want to destroy things because you find it funny????………. definitively you are a moron with no life that only comes here to kill the time………. bye dummy.

  7. Thanks JohnTheOne. As you can see, from the posts 32 and 33, there will be no substance ever offered by the resident insultor. One of those wannabe crimsons. Tough talking “latino” with the gun in his hand in front of a woman with children.

    I bet you anything that on the street this little worm is small and ultra polite. Servile. Anything that will help him survive the reality of the usanian crime and blood awashed streets.

    May I say that your posts are much sharper and eye-opening. I read the page about the rediculous laws in the usa and am still amazed with some of the rediculous prohibitions and severe punishments for something that is absolutely ordinary today.

    A woman cannot kiss a single man on lips because she might be hanged for it, for example…I think in Virginia?

    That is shocking.

    But the cow boots is one of the most rediculous. I think that the half of California is walking the hanging rope right now!

    Apologies for sying this about your country, but that is one seriously disturbed country when the above are death-punishable crimes.

    Why don’t we send yoani there for a month or two? See what happens. She ran back to Cuba from Switzerland, apparently. I can not imagine how fast would be she swimming back to Cuba after a month or two in the usa!!!

    When the reality of the capitalism and “freedom” sets in.

  8. 31JohnTheOne

    Junio 22nd, 2010 at 09:25

    Can you put aside your empty shit talking and help the retarded one to find an answer for a simple question?????…. or you maybe are as retarded as him and have any answer neither????

  9. 30Damir

    Junio 22nd, 2010 at 09:17

    A lot of stupid blah, blah, blah but no answers….. the retarded has no answer for a simple question…… you wnat to finish capitalism????….. ok……. what do you have to replace it??????

  10. Damir, I just cannot stop reading your comments. Hillariously entertaining and you burry the derechistas every time into their own pile of rubbish. I hope you keep doing that for a very long time.

    They do not understand what you are saying because, as we can all see, they are simply not the intellectual types. The reasoning is lost on them. The concept of civilised behavior is just not a part of their short school curriculums. And I doubt it will ever be. It is almost a pity they are unable to understand you.

    But you get to the point every time, no matter what they try. It is almost like reading haiku.


  11. Post 29, self-answering question. But since the poster is in that category, here’s the summary: the retarded are already using the system called capitalism. As for which one would “feed” the world, I suggest you ask the priests who said that capitalism is sinful and immoral.

    If you were an intelligent and respectful person happy to discuss themes respecting other people and their opinion I would tell you what I personally think, and it might surprise you to hear my opinion. But since you are a self-serving rude and uneducated narcisoid nazists whose only pleasure is in insulting others and debate through violence, there will be no exchange of ideas between us.

    At least until you change your attitude.

    Which is probably never because an old dog cannot learn new tricks…

  12. 28Damir

    Junio 15th, 2010 at 08:54
    Capitalism is an immoral and sinful system……….

    And…… which economic system will use the retarded to feed the world????

  13. How does this intellectualy disabled moron always hits right into his mouth with his own urine…?

    Funny how such a precision is completely useless…But then, what else to expect from a perpetual foul mouth.

  14. 25Damir

    Junio 14th, 2010 at 04:31

    Hhahahahahahaha…… retarded thug……… hahahahaha….. you needed 4 days to find a croat speaking helper!!!!!……. hahahahaha….. now you come with this history about you finding a life!!!!!……. hahahahaha….. don’t be silly thug…… retarded people have no need of a life…….. you better keep you comming here and vomiting your hate on cubans, indians, black people, and everything that is not you…… that’s your motto…….. that’s your anti-inferiority medicine……. hahahahahaha…… what a child……..

  15. Darko, nisam bio tamo, Callejon de Hamel, od 2006. Previse alternativan u to vrijeme, pomalo depresivan, pa nikada vise nismo isli. Nadam se da se sta promijenilo od onda…

    Nije li miramar malo prebucan? Previse turista i domacih. Muzika danonocno. Da li se tamo uopce spava ikada…? Doduse, prema universitetu ima dobrih kucnih smjestaja u predivnim starinskim palacima. Ako si gledao “Fresa y choclate”, poput zgrade gdje je onaj umjetnik zivio. Podsjeca me na moje splitske palace gdje sam odrastao. Samo su ovi u Havani puno veci.


    Apsolutno sam sebican kada kazem da ne zelim promjenu na Kubi. Drazi njenih gradova i starinske mediteranske arhitekture me odusevljava do besvijesti. Sreca pa i moja supruga uziva u Kubi, pa smo u stanju pjesaciti od zore do sumraka po gradu i uzivati u atmosferi. Imamo dosta prijatelja vec pa nismo nikada sami. Vec nas smatraju “domacima” pa nas ni klinci ne ganjaju vise za zvakalice ili olovke.
    Idemo opet u deveti mjesec. Vec se veselim poput malog djeteta. Ja volim Cienfuegos takodjer. Ne mogu to objasniti ni samom sebi. Nije ni priblizno tako majestuozan kao Havana… Nismo jos stigli do Santijaga. Moja je krivnja. Imam neku averziju prema gradu zbog jednog filma u kojem su ga prikazali dosta sumorno pa sam prekondiciran da je sumoran prljavi gradic.

    Reci mi koliko sam u krivu. Vrijeme je da i tamo odemo vec jednom.

    Znaci i kolege smo? O cemu si drzao predavanje? Ja specijaliziram u sigurnosti, forenzicka analiza. Odusevljava me takodjer teorija igara, unatoc kompleksnosti parametralnog inputa…

    Dobra ideja da ih i dalje malo iritiramo, ove lokalne blesonje. Ionako su laka lovina. Nemaju sto reci. ponavljaju iste stvari do besvijesti. Ni Fidel im nije vise ravan, a taj je znao govoriti satima…

    : )

    Ako se zaletis u jesen na Kubu javi.

  16. What’s up losers? Already missing the truth from someone smarter than yourselves? Get a life. I’ve got a life and work to do and live, not just to teach you…

    Unlike you losers, I went for a week off work and had great time with my family in Lago D’Aosta. The place you primitive wannabe “democrats” are too busy with your utopias and fantasies to discover and enjoy.

    But entertaining to see how you are repeating your lies ad nauseam. Obviously you are realising no one gives a rats’ arse about what the handfull of losers think and you sense teh urgency to keep vomiting and diarrheing your worthless opinions in a vain hope that someone might actually fall for it.

    Heck, even teh bad old usa is chaniging the posture. Even they understood that 50 years of trying made no fricken difference.

    There are some Cubans where I live. Not one likes your gurus bros Castros, in fact many openly hate them, but not one of them wants you freaks back in Cuba either.

    See, despite all the crap you post here, the facts are simple: according to the OUN, Cuba is the ninth best country in both Americas, Cuba has the best education and healths systems, Cuba has the longest life expectancy (starving as they may according to you wannabe capitalist democrats), Cuba is the safest (lowest crime) country in both Americas.

    And Cubans onl want the two stupid bros to leave. Not to change the system.

    It seems CUbans like socialism. They do not like emigrantes and Castros.

    Who are the same and one shit really…Dogmatic and short-sighted losers who think they know something, when they know squat. Visible in Cuban economy, and visible in this blog.

    All talk, no brains.

  17. damiiiiiiirrrrr…….. daaaaaaaamiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrr!!!!!!

    Hey….. someone saw damir??????

    hey damir….. Darko has been 2 days waiting for you, men!!!!!!!………. you don’t want to play anymore????…… hahahahahahahahahahahaha

  18. AFP: Freed paraplegic dissident vows ‘freedom, democracy’ for Cuba-By Rigoberto Diaz and Isabel Sanchez

    MATANZAS, Cuba — A frail, paraplegic political prisoner freed after landmark talks between the Catholic Church and President Raul Castro vowed Saturday to push hard to win “freedom and democracy” for Cuba.
    Ariel Sigler Amaya, 46, had been in prison for more than six years. He was part of a group of 73 political dissidents picked up in a broad crackdown by the communist government in March 2003.

    “The story does not end here. We are going to press on in the struggle, until the last political prisoner has been freed, until we achieve freedom and democracy for the Cuban people,” Sigler Amaya, frail and seated in a wheelchair he began using two years ago, told AFP.

    Sigler Amaya, who heads the Independent Alternative Option Movement (MIOA) — an outlawed political group in the western province of Matanzas — has faced a series of chronic illnesses and has been in a wheelchair since September 2008.

    Surrounded by elated relatives, Sigler Amaya said he was released thanks to pressure from the international community, and not the will of the Americas’ only one-party communist regime.

    “Emotionally, I have mixed feelings, both joy and pain, because there are so many (dissident) brothers still jailed,” said Sigler, who maintains that he lost half his body weight in jail due to malnutrition and now weighs 106 pounds (48 kg).

    Cuban authorities told Cardinal Jaime Ortega on Friday that Sigler, sentenced to 20 years in prison, would be allowed to leave prison.

    Six other dissidents will also be moved to jails in their home provinces on Saturday to be closer to their relatives as a result of the talks, the archbishop’s office said in a statement.

    Sigler and the other six prisoners were among 53 of the original 73 activists picked up in 2003 still behind bars.

    Cuba’s government in early June started moving political prisoners closer to their families after talks with church representatives, according to dissident and family sources.

    The talks between Castro and Ortega, launched on May 19, were aimed at ending hunger strikes in support of the political prisoners, which have become a major political embarrassment for the Cuban government.

    The Cuban Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission (CCDHRN) — an outlawed but tolerated group — says there are some 200 political prisoners on the island.

    Cuban authorities consider them a threat to national security, and claim the prisoners are “mercenaries” on Washington’s pay, out to smear the Cuban government.

    The last political prisoner released by the Cuban government was Nelson Aguiar, 64, who was freed for health reasons in October 2009 after the Spanish government lobbied for his release.

    Improvements for the prisoners come as the United States and the European Union have heavily criticized Cuba for its poor human rights record, especially following the February death of dissident Orlando Zapata after an 85-day hunger strike.

  19. MERCOPRESS:Catholic Church expects more gestures from Raul Castro on political prisoners-June 11th 2010 -Cuban Catholic church said this week that it expects the government of Raul Castro to make more gestures favouring political prisoners, although it added that in that “process” no fixed dates have been set for particular actions.

    “We expect that what was begun will continue … There is nothing to indicate that the process has stagnated or has ended,” said Orlando Marquez, the director of the Catholic magazine Palabra Nueva, in a meeting with reporters in Havana.
    Marquez also said that the moves by the Cuban government to alleviate the situation of political prisoners and their families “will be welcome at any time” they may occur.

    The Raul Castro government and the Cuban Catholic hierarchy have opened a process of dialogue that includes the situation of the political prisoners on the island, among other matters.

    The church’s role was confirmed at a meeting held on May 19 between President Castro and Cardinal Archbishop Jaime Ortega of Havana, who were joined by the chairman of the Cuban bishops’ conference, Monsignor Dionisio Garcia.

    As a result of those talks, which nourished the expectations of some dissidents about possible releases of certain political prisoners, the government decided to transfer at the beginning of June six political prisoners to prisons located in their home provinces.

    To date, that has been the only step taken by Cuban authorities with regard to the political prisoners – who number about 200, according to the internal dissident movement – after Raul Castro’s meeting with the Catholic prelates.

    The statements by Marquez came in a meeting with journalists to inform them about the celebration of the Cuban Catholic church’s 10th Social Week, which begins next Wednesday.

    The Vatican’s foreign minister, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, will inaugurate the event in Havana with a speech at San Geronimo University. In addition to his participation at the Social Week, a meeting is scheduled between Mamberti and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

  20. ASSOCIATED PRESS: Church: Cuba agrees to free political prisoner-By PAUL HAVEN

    HAVANA — Roman Catholic leaders announced Friday that Cuban authorities have agreed to free an ill political prisoner and transfer six others to jails nearer home, the latest in a rare series of concessions from a government not known for its tolerance of dissent.
    The decision means freedom for Ariel Sigler, one of 75 activists, community organizers and journalists arrested in a 2003 crackdown. Sigler, who was serving a 25-year sentence for treason, has been hospitalized recently for an unknown ailment.

    Six other prisoners — Hector Fernando Maceda, Juan Adolfo Fernandez, Omar Moises Ruiz, Efren Fernandez, Jesus Mustafa Felipe and Juan Carlos Herrera — will be moved to jails closer to their homes, bringing to 12 the number of imprisoned dissidents sent to new facilities this month.

    “This will be a relief for the families. The release of Sigler is very good news,” Elizardo Sanchez, who heads the Havana-based Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, told The Associated Press.

    The moves, announced by the office of Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega, are set to take place Saturday. They come just days before a visit to Cuba by the Vatican’s foreign minister, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

    Opposition and church leaders had expressed hope the communist government might make concessions ahead of the trip, the first to Cuba by a top Vatican official since Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state to Pope Benedict XVI, visited the island in February 2008.

    Mamberti is heading a gathering that is due to wade into some deeply political issues, holding discussions on the country’s economic and social problems as well as the issue of Cuban emigration and its effect on the family.

    The church has suddenly become a major political voice in Cuba, apparently with the consent of President Raul Castro’s government.

    In May, Ortega negotiated an end to a ban on marches by a small group of wives and mothers of some of the dissidents jailed in 2003 known as the Ladies in White.

    The cardinal and another church leader later met with Castro, coming away from the encounter convinced the government was prepared to start on a road to better relations with the opposition. Shortly after, church officials announced the government would allow transfers for prisoners held far from their homes and give better access to medical care for inmates who need it.

    Sigler’s release would be the first since negotiations began, and would raise hopes that more are on the way. Many opposition figures previously expressed disappointment the church-government talks had not produced more results. Church officials have been careful not to be seen to be publicly pressuring the government for faster action.

    On Thursday, Havana church official Orlando Marquez said he hoped for more progress, but no promises had been made or deadlines set.

    Laura Pollan, head of the Ladies in White, told the AP before the transfers began that at least 17 of those rounded up in 2003 were being held at jails outside their home provinces, 11 were older than 60, and 26 suffered from serious health problems. Sanchez, the right activist, said Cuba is holding some 180 political prisoners, well below the number a decade ago.

    The government had no immediate comment. In the past, it has left it to church officials to announce the concessions.

    Cuba denies it is holding any political prisoners. It says that those being held are common criminals and mercenaries sent by Washington to destabilize the government, and that every government has a right to arrest traitors.

    The six men to be transferred to jails closer to their homes were serving terms ranging between 12 and 25 years.

  21. It seems the foolish brigade is going through a training week…….. each time the freedom fighters inside Cuba makes a movement the brigade vanishes.


    ASSOCIATED PRESS: Cuba expands program cutting free lunches-By WILL WEISSERT
    HAVANA — Nearly a quarter million Cuban workers are discovering there’s so such thing as a free lunch.

    The government is dramatically expanding a program that shuts workplace cafeterias while giving people stipends to buy food on their own. It is part of a larger plan to chip away at the raft of daily subsidies that have long characterized life on the island.

    The Communist Party newspaper Granma reported Friday that a pilot program begun in October to eliminate free lunches for 2,800 government workers will grow to include another 225,000 as of July 1. The move will save the cash-strapped country $27 million.

    The reform is being extended to state bank workers, employees at the tourism, transportation, foreign investment, natural resources and foreign relations ministries, as well as workers at the government retail giant CIMEX and the Office of the City of Havana Historian and the Cuban Chamber of Commerce.

    The new round of cafeteria closings means that in all, about 5 percent of Cuba’s official work force of nearly 5 million will have to fend for themselves at lunch time, though the government will provide about 70 U.S. cents per work day to help pay for it.

    The government controls well over 90 percent of the economy and almost everyone works for the state. Education through college and health care are free and housing, utilities, transportation and food are heavily subsidized, but government workers earn an average of less than $20 per month.

    The reform represents a change in philosophy for the government, which has traditionally micromanaged many aspects of Cubans’ lives — from monthly ration books to determining who can own a car.

    Cuba’s always-fragile economy has been hit hard by the global financial crisis and President Raul Castro, who took over from his elder brother Fidel in February 2008, has said he wants to cut costs by streamlining the stifling bureaucracy and putting a measure of decision-making in the hands of citizens.

    A simple meal like a pork sandwich from a street stand costs about 25 cents, while pasta bought from a vendor may run about twice that — meaning some workers could save money.

    Still, some were dubious.

    “It doesn’t seem good to me,” said Susana Garcia, a 35-year-old who has worked in the Havana City Historian’s office since 1998. “If you don’t go to work or you get there late they dock you, and what you get isn’t enough to buy anything — it’s two packets of chicken per month.”

    Others affected by the new rules told The Associated Press they were called to meetings at work last weekend and informed that their free-lunch days were numbered.

    Interviews Friday with six state employees who will lose them yielded only complaints, though many declined to give their names for fear of landing in hot water at work.

    Some said that even if they can find a way to bring food from home — no small feat in a country where things like plastic kitchenware are hard to come by — they have no way to heat it up without access to state cafeterias. Others said they work nontraditional hours and will have trouble buying food during the times they have to eat it.

  23. I wonder how much difference the lifting of the travel ban will make. The Cuban hotel industry takes it as a given — just look at the expensive extension of the Parque Central hotel in Havana. Cuba needs much more than tourism, and under the current system, highly centralized,it will always be profoundly second rate (most of the money comes from the dreadful packaged tours, where the foreigners are kept away from the locals.) It certainly won’t be enough to change the fundamentally dead command economy.

  24. Lifting the travel ban without significant changes taking place in Cuba would be sending the wrong message. The infux of capital coming from American tourists will be a boon for the regime.

  25. I agree that the travel ban should be lifted, now whether this is THE RIGHT TIME to do it is ANOTHER MATTER! If “LA CHINA” & “THE MUMMY” keep moving towards releasing ALL the political prisoners I dont have a problem with the US doing that!

  26. 11Humberto Capiro (El Avalanchito)

    Junio 10th, 2010 at 16:45

    …… proposed legislation that would lift the U.S. travel ban to their country.

    It only means someone/s will die or will be jailed shortly…… each time US gov “menace” to lift some of restrictions on castrofascism regime reaction is to kill or jailed some people. Right now with a-la defensive position the Cuban nation has drove tyranny regime can’t afford to lose the victim of empire illusion that gave until now a pretext to repress and kill in the name of self defense……… the better prove for this maneuver is the repetitive comments about moneys donated by US gov to Cuban dissidents and oppositions and their families that are being economical isolated by regimen in order to avoid them to fight for freedom.

  27. ASSOCIATED PRESS ;Church in Cuba hopes for more progress on inmates-By PAUL HAVEN
    HAVANA — Cuba’s Roman Catholic Church hopes the government will make more concessions to improve the lot of the island’s 200 political prisoners, with a church official saying Thursday that the recent transfer of some to jails closer to home has “raised expectations” for more change.
    “We continue to hope that gestures like the first one they made continue,” Orlando Marquez, a church official in Havana, said at a news conference. “Any gesture they make would be welcomed by the church … which wants to improve the situation for the prisoners and their families.”
    The church has suddenly raised its profile on Cuba’s political scene, particularly in regard to dissidents.
    Last month, Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega helped negotiate the end to a standoff between the government and the Ladies in White, comprised of the wives and mothers of 75 people arrested in a 2003 crackdown on dissent.
    Ortega and another church leader later met with Cuban President Raul Castro and the church announced that the government would move political prisoners to lockups closer to their homes, as well as granting prisoners better access to medical care.
    Six prisoners have been transferred so far, fewer than many family members had hoped. There has been no word yet of increased access to medical care. The Cuban government, which considers the dissidents to be paid stooges of Washington, has had no comment.
    Speculation has grown that the government might take more steps during or around a visit to the island next week by the Vatican’s foreign minister, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.
    Marquez would not say whether the church expects such a move.
    “We’ve never talked about a date or marked down on a calendar when these things will happen,” he said. “Whenever these gestures are made they will be welcome, independent of the visit of Monsignor Mamberti or if they are made before, after or during.”
    Still, Marquez made clear the church thinks the concessions will continue.
    “Once they made the first step, they raised expectations,” he said. “Even though no other gestures have been made up until now on prisoner transfers, there is nothing to indicate that the process has stopped.”
    Mamberti is the first top Vatican official to come to Cuba since Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state to Pope Benedict XVI, visited the island in February 2008. He is scheduled to meet with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, and hold talks on the island’s economic challenges and the effects of emigration and the families torn apart by it.
    Relations between the church and Cuba’s government have often been strained. Tensions eased in the early 1990s when the government removed references to atheism in the constitution and allowed believers of all faiths to join the Communist Party. They warmed more when Pope John Paul II visited Cuba in 1998.

  28. ASSOCIATED PRESS:Cuban dissidents cheer bill to end US travel ban

    By WILL WEISSERT (AP) – 2 hours ago
    HAVANA — Seventy-four Cuban opposition activists — including the island’s best-known blogger and a hunger striker who has garnered worldwide attention — signed a letter Thursday cheering proposed legislation that would lift the U.S. travel ban to their country.
    The declaration, addressed to the U.S. Congress, supports a bill to let Americans visit Cuba freely and expand U.S. food exports to the island.
    “We share the opinion that the isolation of the people of Cuba benefits the most inflexible interests of its government, while any opening serves to inform and empower the Cuban people and helps to further strengthen our civil society,” the letter said.
    It was released by the Center for Democracy in the Americas, a Washington-based group that advocates freer travel and trade with Cuba.
    Signers include blogger Yoani Sanchez and hunger striker Guillermo Farinas, as well as Elizardo Sanchez, head of Cuba’s most prominent human rights group.
    The letter applauds a proposal introduced on Feb. 23 by Rep. Collin Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat, that would bar the president from prohibiting travel to Cuba or blocking transactions required to make such trips. It also would bar the White House from stopping direct transfers between U.S. and Cuban banks. That would make it easier for the island’s government to pay for U.S. exports.
    While travel to Cuba is technically not illegal, U.S. law bars most Americans from spending money here. Cuban-Americans, journalists, politicians and a few others can visit with special permission from the U.S. government. Washington’s 48-year-old embargo chokes off nearly all trade between the U.S. and Cuba — though cash-up-front sale of American food and farm products to the island has been allowed for the past decade.
    Peterson’s bill must pass the House Committee on Agriculture before it can go to a vote by the full House.
    A string of similar measures to expand travel to and trade with Cuba have died without reaching a full vote by either the House or Senate in recent years, but it is unusual for so many prominent Cuban dissidents to join in supporting a single piece of U.S. legislation.
    Cuba’s government offered no comment. It routinely dismisses activists who criticize the country’s single-party government as paid agents of Washington out to undermine the communist system.
    The government released a statement saying Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez met with European Union officials in Paris on Thursday and that the EU should abandon its “common position” calling for a transition to democracy and better human rights guarantees in Cuba.
    The announcement came a day after Manfred Nowak, the U.N.’s independent torture investigator, complained that Cuba had blocked him from visiting the country despite inviting him earlier. Cuba had said its invitation still stands but that a date for the trip has yet to be agreed upon. The government says it needs no independent verification it doesn’t torture.
    Sanchez’s blog, “Generacion Y,” uses caustic, often witty posts to describe life in Cuba. In November, President Barack Obama took the unusual step of providing written answers to questions she submitted to the White House.
    Farinas stopped eating and drinking after the death of jailed hunger striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo on Feb. 23. He is not imprisoned but has received nutrients since then through a tube at his home in central Cuba.
    Other signers included Miriam Leiva, a founding member of the Damas de Blanco, or Ladies in White, a support group for wives and mothers of 75 opposition activists jailed during a government crackdown on organized dissent in March 2003. Her husband, dissident economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe, also signed the letter, as did Juan Almeida Garcia, whose father fought alongside Fidel Castro during Cuba’s 1959 revolution and rose to the rank of vice president before his death last year.

  29. Damire, baš mi je drago da sam eto ovim putem upoznao čovjeka koji razmišlja slično kao ja. Znaš i sam mi smo u načelu jedan mali prilično ksenofobični narod i potrošačko društvo i mentalitet potpuno nas je okupirao, strah od drugih i drugačijih i odbojnost prema svemu što asocira na prošla vremena. Pored toga čak smo i iste struke, također se bavim informatikom. Radio sam u Tesli dok je još bila Tesla i potom otišao u privatne vode. Apsolutno se ne mogu potužiti na kvalitetu svog života osim sadašnje krize koja je naravno prije svega naša.
    Kuba me jednostavno usisala i pored cigara i glazbe koji su moja pasija teško je zapravo i objasniti zašto svake godine idem tamo. Valjda zato što je potpuna suprotnost ovim našim društvima. Sve što si naveo potpuno si u pravu. Već 3-4 godine povezan sam s nekim ljudima tamo i sa mnom govore potpuno otvoreno. To ovi seronje ne mogu shvatiti jer se vjerojatno radi o poluobrazovanim primitivcima kakva je uostalom bila i naša emigracija, netolerantna i isključiva. Doista ih je panično strah upravo njih, droge, kriminala i nasilja koje im u slučaju potpunog otvaranja ne ginu. A zamisli tek kod njih grabež oko povrata imovine i nekretnina.
    Inače u Havani sam običnu u Miramaru, uvijek uzmem auto pa mi je to nekako najugodnije. Obožavam Callejon de Hamel, ako si tamo bio, 2009 sam čak i predavao na informatičkom kongresu pa sam i tako stekao dosta prijatelja i poznatih. Sve su to profesori, intelektualci i umjetnici i oni govore, vjerojatno znaš i sam, jednu potpuno drugačiju priču od ovih budala. Naravno da su često i naivni u svojim razmišljanjima. No npr jedan profesor je dosta putovao po Južnoj Americi i prestravljen je mogučnošću da bi Cuba postala jedna od takvih država i društava.
    I sami znaju da je promjena nužna, no strah ih je i nemaju rješenja.
    Ove godine sam bio prvi puta u Santiagu i potpuno me oduševio no da vidiš tek tamo, problemi s prijevozom, u dućanima nada samo voda i tjestenina.
    Inače sreo sam u Guardalavaci neke naše iseljenike koji žive u Kanadi, jedan od njih počeo mi je soliti kako Hrvati ne znaju cjeniti da imaju državu, kako je udba još na vlasti, kako se oni od ustiju svoje djece uzimali za HR i te slične gluposti. E upravo su me oni odmah asocirali na ove majmune.
    No ipak se nekako nadam da će kubanci naći neki svoj put iako iskreno teško je to očekivati.
    A dalje ih možemo nastaviti bar malo nervirati….

  30. For the past 10 years, while Americans struggle to keep their jobs and not loose their homes, and while families of US soldiers risking their lives abroad have had to buy them protective bullet-proof vests, our government has squandered $70 million of our taxes on a handful of Cubans in Miami. The money wasn’t given to solve housing problems, unemployment, crime, etc., in Miami, but to, well read on about your tax dollars at work (waste):

    Maybe now with the first $15 millions released by Congress this website will get professional translators, and the paid regulars will take a few English lessons to help them past the incoherence, epitaphs, and slogans; and everyone on the English blog can actually figure out what Yoani is saying.

  31. No voy a mandar correos a la dirección de Moderacion ni a Yoani, Opino lo siguiente : Lo que está pasando en el blog en español (en mi modesta opinión) sólo tiene que ver con algun tipo de malware que bloquea las IP de comentaristas que agudamente defienden las ideas que preconiza el Blog:

    Cuando puedo entrar con mi nicknname entonces el WordPress dice que el comentario está repetido pero no lo muestra en los comentarios.

    Llevo dos dias sin poder comentar. por esta causa.
    de todas formas lo Hare en Inglés o en español segun me venga en ganas pero será
    en este blog o a traves de otro.



  32. Well as the Spanish version of the blog do not allow me to place a comment in spanish I done it here in this English version

    Ignorance of the judges or the owners of Absolute Truth

    The Cuban Humorist H. Zumbado said appear in the arena to cover myself with glory or to hedge glierda. There are those who imitate him and none other than the brave Ciarasio, troll finally attacks the person, not their ideas because they do not have to answer to the logic unbeatable comment for this Post, and Knight cagante which comes to the fore but not covered in glory but goes out and covered up the eyes glierda citing an article of faith the views of Cubadebate precisely and very well the authoritative opinion of an anonymous newspaper seller whose main virtue is to sell one of only two official newspapers of Cuba, which as everyone knows can not claim to be very prolific in terms of number of pages, not much to say remaining about the balance of information.

    Fontana Yohandry the author of these assertive phrases on the lists, the very substance and manipulated Yoani interview of Salim Lamrani, one interview to anyone with half a brain takes it seriously and do not hesitate to qualify as stupid responses Yoani

    Sample of such a pearl:

    “Privatize, do not like the term because it has a pejorative connotation, but to put in private hands, yes. That puts the Fontana Yohandry such as a Yoani stupidity ”

    Is known, Spanish is a language so rich in nuances that can be said to worsen rather derogatory to clarify a concept, according to the Royal Spanish Language Academy is: that of a word or a mode of expression indicates an unfavorable idea, then I wonder where is this stupidity? In response Yoani or ignorant assessment Tontana Yohandry does not know the meaning of a word derogatory

    Also what is the sin that someone thinks of privatization or a concept on this?

    So on are all the supposed stupidity,

    Certainly for the advocates of state monopoly on truth, this is invulnerable and must not have cracks, except that in spite of everything with his sharp Yoani Cyber comments often makes hollow on it

  33. La Ignorancia de los Jueces O los poseedores de la verdad Absoluta

    El Humorista cubano H. Zumbado dijo : voy a salir a la palestra para cubrirme de gloria o para cubrirme de glierda. Hay quien lo imita y no es otro que el valiente Ciarasio, troll al fin, ataca a la persona, no a sus ideas porque no tiene que responder a la imbatible lógica del comentario de este Post, y cual caballero cagante sale a la palestra pero no a cubrirse de gloria sino sale ya cubierto de glierda hasta los ojos citando como articulo de Fé precisamente las opiniones de Cubadebate, y la muy bien autorizada opinión de un vendedor de periódicos anónimo cuya principal virtud es vender uno de los dos únicos periódicos oficiales de Cuba que como se sabe no pueden alardear de ser muy prolíficos en cuanto a número de páginas, sin que reste mucho que decir del balance informativo.

    Yohandry Fontana el autor de estas asertivas frases que el enumera, de la muy enjundiosa y manipulada entrevista a Yoani de Salim Lamrani, una entrevista que nadie con dos dedos de frente toma en serio y no vacila en calificar como estupideces las respuestas de Yoani

    Del muestrario una perla:

    “Privatizar, no me gusta el término porque tiene una connotación peyorativa, pero poner en manos privadas, sí. Eso lo pone el tal Yohandry Fontana como una estupidez de Yoani,”

    Que se conozca, el español es un idioma tan rico por sus matices que se puede decir peyorativo en lugar de empeorar para precisar un concepto, según la Real Academia de la Lengua Española es: dicho de una palabra o de un modo de expresión: indica una idea desfavorable, entonces me pregunto, donde esta la estupidez? En la respuesta de Yoani o en la apreciación ignorante de Yohandry Tontana que no sabe cuál es el significado de una palabra peyorativo

    Además cuál es el pecado de que alguien opine sobre la privatización o sobre un concepto sobre esto?

    Así por el estilo son todas las supuestas estupideces,

    Indudablemente para los defensores del monopolio de la verdad estatal, este es invulnerable y no debe tener grietas, excepto que a pesar de los pesares Yoani con sus afilados Cyber comentarios a menudo le hace huecos,

  34. Andy,

    There is a work by the Habanero artist Jose Toirac that consists of press clippings that compare the life of Castro to the life of Christ. The miracles are when Fidel visits hospitals for the blind. The Crucifixion ? Forbes Magazine naming him one of the richest men in the world. In primary schools the little ones are told, “do this and Fidel will love you.”
    I am collector of slogans. The clearest and perhaps most Orwellian I found in Camaguey — The Party is the only guarantee of Democracy. Incidentally, ou will look in vain for anything by Orwell on the island. I am trying without success to get my hands on a copy of the list of proscribed books. Of course officially no such list exists, but we do know that Yoani’s book is on it.

  35. So why is Christmas celebrated in December when it’s thought that Jesus was born in the Spring? Because to get people to adopt a new god and give up their old ones, they had to be allowed to continue to celebrate old festivals — so the old ones were overlaid with the new.

    Seems like Fidel has the same idea. Catholicism of course is full of celebrations of the saints, there being more than one saint for each day in the calendar. So why not replace saints with slogans.

    Voila! Every day. Another reason to pray at the altar of an old man’s ego.

  36. According to castrofascism lack of answers to the new way of fight started by Yoani and all other information champions that today makes possible the world changed it point of view about regime we have to say another slogan of another apprentice of dictator that never passed the course: Augustine Neto….. and we can say today as him….. “Victory is certain!!!!!!”…………. Thinking about the weak and disoriented answer of regime to Yoani publics chronics about daily live in Cuba, I wonder a lot about the reduction in castrofascism capacity to find ways to fight the new era trend in technologies used by the new warriors inside Cuba…… the only weak answer implemented is to place some incompetent cyber thugs to write bold lies……. to write bold lies about things most readers get informed each morning while taking breakfast and reading the morning paper or watching the morning TV news……. castrofascism never thought the new way of fight would move the battle field from the mountains in Cuba to the international global information world and it would cause shortage of trained counter-fighters…. they got to use same indoctrination agents used to fight the ideological war in the closed room inside the country with total control of information….. those agents does not know how to indoctrinate well informed people, they are used to the old violent and mandatory indoctrination, they fail in this new scenario……. the ideological and informative war started by the new generation of Cuban fighters is already won….. the world is now informed about castrofascism crimes and is condemning the tyranny in a massive and unexpected way….. formers radical supporters of castrofascism that knew very well regime truly criminal nature has been in need to change their public position and become condemners of their former ideological idols……. slogans are now changing too…. the new kamikaze slogan of castrofascism must change, it is more adequate to yell “Information or Death” than “Socialism or Death”….. anyway, socialism no longer exist in the twisted economic and political system created by castrofascism and information control changed of hands……… that’s why it is time to start to exercise our slogans to, it is time to yell with confidence…… VICTORY IS CERTAIN!!!!!!!

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