The Horror From the Sweetness

In one of life’s random events I came across Letters From Burma by Aung San Suu Kyi in a Havana bookstore. I didn’t find it in one of the individually managed stalls selling used books, but in a local State store that sells colorful editions in convertible currency. The small volume, with a photo of her on the cover, was mixed in among the self-help manuals and recipe books. I glanced to both sides of the shelves to see if someone had put the book there just for me, but the employees were sleeping in the midday heat, one of them brushing flies off her face without paying me any mind. I bought the valuable collection of texts written by this dissident between 1995 and 1996, still taken by the surprise of finding them in my country where we, like her, live under a military regime and strong censorship of the word.

The pages with Aung San Suu Kyi’s chronicles — reflections on everyday life mixed with political discourse and questions — have barely touched the shelves of my home. Everyone wants to read her calm descriptions of Burma, marked by fear, but also steeped in a spirituality that makes her current situation more dramatic. In the few months since I found the Letters, the vivid and moving prose of this woman has influenced the way we look at our own national disaster. The thread of hope that she manages to weave into her words instills in them an optimistic prognosis for her nation and for the world. No one has been able to describe the horror from the sweetness as she has, without the cries overwhelming her style and the rancor being reflected in her eyes.

I can’t stop wondering how the texts of this Burmese dissident made it into the bookstores of my country. Perhaps in a bulk purchase someone slipped in the innocent-looking cover, where an oriental woman tucks some flowers, as beautiful as her face, behind her ear. Who knows if they thought it might be from some writer of fiction or poetry, recreating the landscapes of her country motivated by aestheticism or nostalgia. Probably whoever placed it on the shelf didn’t know about her house arrest, or the richly-deserved Nobel Peace Prize she won in 1991. I prefer to imagine that at least someone was aware that her voice had come to us. An anonymous face, some hands quickly placing the book on our shelf, so that when we approached it we could feel and recognize our own pain.

39 thoughts on “The Horror From the Sweetness

  1. In theory the share of power, the participation in goverment is possible.
    The reality however is in the pathological need for the members of the “ruling class” to hlod on power by means of control & enforcement.
    The same tactics anywhere in our world: the subtle represhions, the control of the “entitlements” they created like food, heealth & education just to name a few.
    Why would the most participate in a system they do not belive in?
    Why risk retribution for expressing a an opposing point of view?
    Why risk a by now “confortable” daily life, family & friends by acting upon a principle?
    Most likely the ones that risk are the ones that already “lost” something to the system, it can be their freedom, the control of their most intimate life, it can be simple dispair … who knows.
    Thru our history dictatorships by rebolution or not have had & have a thing in commun: represion.
    It does not have to be by force, it can be by intimidation, blackmail or starvation, physical, emotional or intellectual the results are the same.
    If the embargo is right or wrong … as a Moday morning quarterback … we can all offer an opinion for or against, the reality remains the same: it is used as an excuse & justification yet the people involved is the one that suffers the consecuences while the leaders confortably pontificate & pat each other in their backs congratulating themselves in their commitment to the “cause”
    Yeah … why participate when between the promise & expectation of yeasteryears & the disappoinments of over 50 tears prove the whole thing wrong …

  2. Post 37, finally a comment I am glad to say that I agree witha few points there, being written by someone who thrives in personal attacks and false moralising and patronising.

    But you have to admit that the embargo had greatly affected the current situation and contributed to Castros’ hard hand. Throwing a country into a financial dead end by blackmailing the rest of the world into not doing the business with Cuba has had enormous consequences on the people of Cuba, along with the evident incompetence of the Castros in economy.

    One has to be a Harvard-educated lawyer to force the industry to produce only sugar cane and sugar, instead of developing the industry as a whole. In accordance with the needs of the country.

    Sounds as if I am talking about the most of the recent usanian presidents, no…?

    There is no shortage of the food production in Cuba. The problem is that thre is no distribution syustem in place so a lot of food goes to waste.

    There are many mecaniqueros in the cities who are solvig that situation in a Cuban way. Cubans are not missing out on food, but the way they find it is a shameful confession of Castro’s failure to create a normal and prosperous country.

    In that he is just another incompetent wannabe communist who does NOT understand the science behind the socialist economy and society as a whole.

    But the solution is not in the radical cut and the system change. he solution is in removing the two brothers from the power and extending the power back into the masses, where it belongs. Socialism allows and favours just that. As Barbara pointed out recently, even in Cuba the laws allow people to organise political entities and participate in political process.

    It unfortunately depends on the people to see this to happen.

    And with simpletons like Yoani and the team, not to mention the retarded bunch bullshitting here to no end, that is not going to happen any time soon.

  3. The reality of Cuba is that the dictatorship is not Cuba.
    The reality in Cuba is that the free “entitlements” that “benefit” cubans are not free at all.
    For starters thes entitlements are paid by the efforts & deprivation of most cubans.
    The famous health care, “model” of the modern world is not free & accessible to all but the few in the “nomenklature” the rest go without while the dictatorship uses the blockade as an excuse.
    The free education comes with consistent infusions of indoctrination & revisions conveniently & approved by the dictatorship, keep in mind … literacy is more than just knowing how to write & read, it is to be able to use this literacy freely while able to say & to think freely.
    The food & other supplies are used in their scarcity (artificial?) to control the population by now dependent on that particular “entitlement” while the excuse of equality for all has long been proven a lie.
    The black market condemnd by the dictzatorship is at the same time used by the ones that condemn it & rise their loud voices in outrgage & protest.
    The same members of the dictatorship that have profited from their power & control, even passing it onto their family & friends for decades to abuse in the name of the rebolution while pretending to be the ideal protectors of the people.
    The tangent to this is used to distract, confuse & most importantly protect the interests of the few who in the name of socialism have only succeded in empoverishing the nation while they themselves have become “fat” on the backs of the cuban people.

  4. @#35
    Have you ever lived under a dictatorship?
    Have you ever been forced to “adapt” your daily life to survive?
    Perhaps you have some preconceived notion of what it is to live in/under a dictatorship ruled society.
    Life goes on & no matter how represive, a dictatorship does not need to pick on all who oppose it, just fears & threats generates are sufficient to insure its survival.
    Dictatorships always test this limits but seldom crossing the line, otherwise it may fuel a “revolt” & lose its power/hold on the people.
    From time to time a few well placed “acts of kindness” serves the dictatorship’s suvival & justification …

  5. Post 34, Your question is applicable to you too. You have obviously spent no time in reading the blog from the start. If you had, you would notice that the blog in the beginning was mnore of a “diary” type, talking about the daily challenges in Cuba with no political undertones.

    Her “progression” was a slow one and it just so “happened” that nowadays team Yoani’s postings are politically charged. And even that is quie a moot point for team Yoani has no real goal, no real line, no real ideology. theirs is a chaotic series of mostly meaningless posts about things that really have nothing with politics. Like the post about the taxists in Cuba, or the posts about “Yoani” wanting to travel to Brazil, etc. To further draw any perceived paralells with Aung San Suu Kyi is plain ignorance. Team “yani” is NOT politically engaged in Cuban political environment. Aung San Suu Kyi is. Team “Yoani” is not imprisoned, Aung San Suu Kyi is. Team “Yoani” is not under any legal investigation or court process, Aung San Suu Kyi is. Team “Yoani” has nopolitical credibility nor history, Aung San Suu Kyi has.

    Where are anyone coming with the comparison is mind numbing.

    If you are still stunned, you need to read more. I suggest you start from the start (you know, the beginning of this so-called blog).

    None of your arguments hold any standing. If the dictatorship were so oppressive, how come she is free to do all this posting? Do you really think that they do not know and do not read it? And Yoani is still free to do it. In a small country like Cuba you think that her movements are “clandestine”…?

    You need to get some grip on realities of Cuba.

    Yoani uses her mobile and she has the internet in her house 24 hours a day. She does not use USB drives as you say, because she herself said they are hard to come by. If she does, she is a liar, what I have sugssted long tie ago. And many other posters.

    Yoani is also a political ignorant with just another naive utopical vision. She, and her equally inexperienced and naive team believe in some imaginary pragmatic capitalism.

    NOWHERE will you find team Yoani EVER advocating democracy. She does mention human rights when she perceives them to be violated to her personally, or to her closest family, but that is ALL.

    She and her team are just for capitalism. No democracy.

    Rightly so, because democracy does not exist in 95% of the “western” and “free” world either. Only capitalism. If usa were a democratic country, they would never have established warm relationships with some of the MOST OPPRESSIVE regimes in the world.

    So, let us get some perspective and facts here before posting from the heart instead from the brain.

    Some oppression that is.

  6. I am absolutely stunned by the lack of critical thinking skills of some of the posters here, especially juany and damir. Damir: you can’t be serious when you say that Yoani does not provoke debate with her writing. This blog is her personal journal and she has no obligation to propose solutions to the problems of life under the DICTATORSHIP of the Castro brothers. For the poster who questioned why this blog even exists if the Castro regime is so oppressive, wake up, Yoani had to move around clandestinely with flash drives in order to access the internet with a flash drive, something that we in America can do from our own homes, because we are FREE. Stop making pointless excuses for the never-ending oppression of your people.

  7. What’s whether we have ever met got to do with my observation that you frequently miss the point of posts that differ from you ‘views’? I assume infamiliarity with english is the reason?
    I guess that is why you copy slabs of material from other sources – as long of course as they appear to coincide with your narrow, old fashioned thoughts.
    Anyway after watching this site for only a few weeks I am already bored so i will leave you to your mindless activity. Meanwhile the world is changing around you!

  8. juany said,-Julio 5th, 2010 at 22:10 (post #29)

    “I can well understand why people with a genuine interest in Cuba come and go from this site as the input from regulars like yourself is so mindless, judgemental and so out of touch with the broad reality that those of who actually spend time in Cuba observe. The minority viewpoint you represent is often not EVEN in synch with Sanchez who by definition is obliged to be a tad polemical.”

    JUANETE! Is that a FREUDIAN SLIP with “as usual”? I dont recall ever meeting you! JUANETE, MOST of what I post here is NOT! MY OPINION! is INFORMATION from INTERNATIONAL MEDIA sources for those who read and participate on this blog! If you ATTACK ME you ATTACK FREEDOM OF THE PRESS! CONO!!

    juanete (spanish)-
    1 (en el pie- in the feet) bunion

  9. Hi Yoani,

    I just wanted to let you know that I purchased the same exact book in a Havana bookstore almost 8 years ago to the day! I saw your post and just felt compelled to let you know that I had a similar thought when I saw the book (regarding how it got to that bookstore in Havana in the first place). Very strange! Thank you for posting this.

  10. Juan Carlos, I do not see Yoani (team behind the person) as a symbol of anything, certainly not of democracy. Yoani’s posts have nothing to do with democracy. In fact yoani is not advocating it at all. If you read her posts carefully, and from the start, this web site started as a kind of diary of supposedly woman’s life in Cuba (accepting that Yoani really wrote any of these posts). Slowly, her posts have become more bitter and more critical about the government.

    But, as much as Yoani is belting the issues, she is not really provoking any debate, nor is she offering any, about the problems, clearly present in Cuba today.

    Yoani team offer their views from a clearly subjective position. They do not like Castros, who can blame them for that…?, but they are not really offering anything of substance to counter the obvious mismanagement by the bros except a lot of criticism.

    Unlike Burmese activist. if you know anything about her, you know that she is not even speaking ill of the military junta. She is addressing the problems in Burma in a constructive and reconciliatory way.

    Something Yoani team are yet to learn how to do, let alone apply in their posts.

    If you dig into their posts, you will realise that they do not really have much to say, and often criticise things that are common to any society, left or right.

    Like machism of Cuban taxists. How on earth is THAT a responsibility or fault of Castros…? Italian taxists rape 2 women every week. Communists?

    Not even in your dreams. Over 60% of taxists in Italian cities today are foreigners, many are muslims or indians.

    Things like that.

    In short, Yoani is far from being a true symbol of anything, let alone of democracy. Also, remember that she did not declare herself a supporter of democracy. This blog nowhere talks of its’ aim to fight for democracy. She only declared her sympathies and desire for Cuba to go capitalist.

    The difference is enormous.

  11. #15 as usual you missed the point of the original post by a rural mile!
    I can well understand why people with a genuine interest in Cuba come and go from this site as the input from regulars like yourself is so mindless, judgemental and so out of touch with the broad reality that those of who actually spend time in Cuba observe. The minority viewpoint you represent is often not EVEN in synch with Sanchez who by definition is obliged to be a tad polemical.

  12. ASSOCIATED PRESS: Cuban political prisoners list dips to 167 -WILL WEISSERT

    HAVANA — The number of political prisoners in Cuba continued a notable decline in the first half of 2010, the island’s top human rights monitor said Monday, meaning their ranks have dropped by nearly half since Raul Castro took power in 2006.
    The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation said the government is using less long-term imprisonment and turning more to a strategy of quick arrests and releases to intimidate those who openly oppose its communist system.

    It classed 167 inmates as political prisoners — a drop of 34 since January. But the commission documented 802 brief arrests for dissident activities or beliefs during that time, and said many activists are detained only long enough to keep from holding anti-government demonstrations.

    The report said Cuba’s government has made “false promises of ‘structural and conceptual change'” while “systematically violating all civil, political, economic and some basic cultural rights.”

    Still, there appears to be a concerted effort to reduce the island’s number of political prisoners. The commission counted 316 prisoners of conscience in July 2006, when Fidel Castro underwent emergency intestinal surgery and ceded power to his younger brother.

    Commission director Elizardo Sanchez said by telephone the drop has less to do with a transfer of power between brothers, and more with the shift in tactics against organized dissent.

    The new figure is likely the lowest since the 1959 revolution, which was followed by a roundup of officials of the toppled dictatorship, many of whom were quickly tried and executed.

    Fidel Castro said Cuba held 15,000 political prisoners in 1964, but officials in recent years say none of their prisoners are held for political reasons — all for common crimes or for being paid “mercenaries” of U.S.-funded groups trying to overthrow Cuba’s government.

    The island’s government refuses to recognize the commission, which is funded by international human rights groups, but largely allows it to work. Its biannual lists are used by Amnesty Intentional and others, though some of the prisoners it includes were convicted of violent acts, such as a string of hotel bombings in Havana in the 1990s.

    Others are serving lengthy sentences on such charges as terrorism, disrespecting authority, resistance, threats and “pre-criminal dangerousness,” which allows authorities to jail dissenters because they believe have the potential to do something wrong.

    In February, jailed dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo died after a long hunger strike, the first Cuban opposition figure to die after refusing food in nearly 40 years. The case drew international condemnation and prompted another opposition activist, Guillermo Farinas, to begin his own hunger strike.

    Farinas is still refusing to eat and drink more than four months later, though he has received nutrients intravenously. He is hospitalized near his home in the central city of Santa Clara and the Communist Party newspaper Granma says that he has suffered a blood clot in his neck and could die at any time.

    Tensions over Cuba’s human rights record softened somewhat, however, after the Roman Catholic Church reached an agreement in May with the government to transfer political prisoners held far from their families to facilities closer to home, and to provide improved medical treatment for those seriously ill.

    Since then, authorities have transferred 12 political prisoners and released one for health reasons.

    All were among the 75 opposition activists, community organizers and journalists jailed in a crackdown on dissent in March 2003 and charged with conspiring with Washington to destabilize Cuba’s political system.

    U.S. officials joined those jailed in denying the charges.

    Many hoped more prisoners could be transferred or freed after the June visit to Cuba by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s foreign minister, but none have so far. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos is headed to the island and said Monday he hopes “to get results” aimed at improving the plight of the remaining political prisoners.

  13. Do you have it hard to believe????/…. Well, in such case you are the only one…….. as long as managers, directors, officials, heads and responsible of all kind are chosen in Cuba not because their ability, talent or knowledge but because their loyalty to regime and their history as castrofascism supporters it is easy to guess that more people in charge of everything in Cuba are neophytes with no expertise of any kind and an amazing lack of knowledge about outland things due to isolation Cubans suffers and the double isolation those semi-thug-managers in charge of everything auto-suffer…… that’s why we see so ridiculous things happening in Cuba like the guy working as buyer for Havana city that bought a snow cleaning truck, the project manager in Pinar del Rio that left the concrete mixer inside the theater until the construction was so ahead that they found no way to take out the machine and got to push down walls to “rescue” the machine!!!!!. That’s why no factory, no farm, no hospital, no restaurant driven by those thug like managers works properly but are total and scandalous fiascos. The only economical entities that works properly in Cuba are the co-owned by foreign companies because the foreign partner does not allows this stupid way to chose the responsible.

  14. 18Barbara Curbelo

    Julio 4th, 2010 at 14:19
    So Long, Far Ewell

    Another one bites the dust!!!!!


    EL PAIS: España confía en que Cuba liberará en breve a sus presos políticos-El ministro de Exteriores viaja hoy a La Habana para apoyar el diálogo con la Iglesia – M. GONZÁLEZ / M. VICENT – Madrid / La Habana – 05/07/2010

    El ministro de Asuntos Exteriores y Cooperación, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, viaja hoy a Cuba, solo ocho meses después de su anterior visita, en octubre de 2009, y a los cinco días de dejar la presidencia rotatoria de la UE.
    La urgencia del viaje se explica por el momento crucial que vive la isla tras la apertura de un cauce de diálogo entre el régimen y la Iglesia católica cubana. El objetivo de Moratinos es “acompañar”, según su propia terminología, este proceso. Es decir: impulsarlo sin que su papel pueda verse como una forma de presión o una injerencia, que podría resultar contraproducente. Pero Moratinos, que ha empeñado su prestigio personal en esta operación, está convencido de que culminará con la excarcelación de la práctica totalidad de los presos políticos, algo menos de 200; y, en especial, de los 52 miembros del llamado Grupo de los 75, detenidos en la primavera de 2003, que siguen entre rejas.

    Esa confianza se la transmitió el ministro a sus homólogos de la UE en un almuerzo el 14 de junio en Luxemburgo. Y por eso le concedieron una moratoria hasta septiembre para confirmar la Posición Común de 1996, que señala con el dedo al régimen castrista; o derogarla, como quiere España y exige Cuba.

    Hasta ahora, los frutos del canal de diálogo abierto en mayo pasado por el arzobispo de La Habana, Jaime Ortega, y el presidente Raúl Castro se miden con cuentagotas: la excarcelación del disidente Ariel Sigler, con licencia extrapenal por motivos de salud; el acercamiento de otros 12 a prisiones próximas a sus domicilios; el cese de los actos de repudio a las Damas de Blanco; y el juicio al opositor Darsi Ferrer, tras 11 meses en prisión preventiva, lo que ha permitido su salida en libertad condicional. Pero Moratinos cree que las autoridades cubanas tienen sobre la mesa medidas de mucho mayor alcance, que vaciarían las cárceles de prisioneros políticos, empezando por los 26 que se encuentran enfermos. Esa es la impresión que sacó de su entrevista con el canciller cubano, Bruno Rodríguez, en París el 10 de junio; y del encuentro que tuvo esa misma tarde en el Vaticano con el ministro de Exteriores del Papa, Dominique Lamberti, quien a mediados del mes pasado visitó La Habana.

    No es la primera vez que el régimen castrista aborda una excarcelación masiva: lo hizo Fidel Castro en 1979, cuando liberó a 3.600 presos, muchos de ellos comunes; o en 1998, cuando salieron más de 350, tras la visita del Papa Juan Pablo II a la isla. La diferencia es que ahora ha aceptado dialogar con una institución cubana, la Iglesia local, convertida en interlocutora ante la falta de oposición reconocida. Por eso, Moratinos tiene previsto entrevistarse en La Habana con el cardenal Ortega, el canciller Rodríguez y, muy probablemente, con Raúl Castro.

    La operación no está exenta de riesgos. El diálogo entre el Gobierno y la jerarquía eclesiástica tiene enemigos, tanto externos como internos, y hay factores impredecibles, como la posible muerte de Guillermo Fariñas, cuya salud pende de un hilo tras más de cuatro meses en huelga de hambre, que podría hacer descarrilar la mediación.

    La propia ejecución de la medida resulta compleja, pues el Gobierno cubano parece apostar por la salida del país de los excarcelados. España se ha mostrado dispuesta a acoger a un grupo, igual que Italia, aunque la mayoría podría acabar en EE UU.

    Falta por saber cuándo se tomará la decisión, aunque lo más probable es que su aplicación sea gradual. Moratinos confía en que se materialice en breve y sus colegas de la UE le han dado un margen de confianza que no llega a tres meses, aunque el concepto cubano del tiempo es mucho más laxo que el europeo.

    Lo más importante es evitar que, como en ocasiones anteriores, las cárceles vuelven a llenarse de disidentes a los pocos meses de vaciarlas. Nadie puede asegurarlo, pero las fuentes consultadas estiman que la salida de los presos generaría una nueva dinámica, que permitiría a la UE y a EE UU dar pasos de aproximación hacia Cuba, y consolidaría un clima de distensión.

    Aunque sin igualar el optimismo de su ministro, también el presidente José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero se muestra convencido del éxito de las gestiones. “No debo ser más explícito [respecto a Cuba], pero hemos trabajado para mejorar las condiciones de los derechos humanos allí […] y creo que en las próximas semanas podremos decir que esto ha dado frutos, y no solo por lo que have el Vaticano”, le respondió el día 23 en el Congreso al portavoz de CiU, Josep Antoni Duran Lleida.

    El ‘factor Fariñas’
    El caso Fariñas es una variable relevante e impredecible del tercer viaje de Miguel Angel Moratinos a Cuba. El estado de salud del opositor se ha agravado después de 130 días en huelga de hambre. Ahora un coágulo en la vena yugular puede provocarle una trombosis, complicación que podría resultar fatal. Este sábado el diario Granma publicó una entrevista con Armando Caballero, jefe de los Servicios de Terapia Intensiva del hospital de Santa Clara donde Fariñas está ingresado desde el 11 de marzo. Caballero asegura que el “peligro potencial de muerte” es una realidad y que los médicos están llegando al “límite” de sus posibilidades para salvarle la vida.

    En medios disidentes, la inusual entrevista de Granma fue interpretada como la “preparación” del escenario de la muerte de Fariñas, un hecho que tendría repercusiones internacionales y podría interferir la mediación humanitaria. A Fariñas, que demanda la excarcelación de 26 presos políticos enfermos, aunque ha dicho que podría abandonar su ayuno si el Gobierno excarcela a los 10 o 12 más graves, se le está acabando el tiempo.

  16. I’m with you Simba I don’t beleive barbarian/culerodefidel is going anywhere. She’ll be back to continue teaming up with dumbir to offer us the best comedic farce one can find in any blog. If she left I would miss their particular brand of slapstick comedy where one makes totally nonsensical and irrelevant comments and the other moron can’t come up with his own insults, he just repeats what’s been said of him, indicative of his 5 year old intellect. We’ll look forward to “sniffing out” culerodefidel when she returns with a new name, she will be easy to spot, she’ll be the idiot making the same nonsensical references and inane comments. She’ll mutate in name only, much like her beloved dumbir/darko/juan has done.

  17. Simba Sez: The odds are about 100 to 1 that the Barbarian is not really leaving. Just like in marriage another day will bring another name change. Same old garbage, but another truck.

  18. Culero! Mi amor! I gave you the best information I could find about the lies of “LA CHINA” and “THE MUMMY” and you are leaving us and ME? If you are having trouble posting my dear, I will tell you that so do I sometimes, is a problem sometimes in the system. Dont accuse this blog censorship, leave that to the CASTROFACISTS! Try not putting your e-mail, it works for me sometimes.

  19. So Long, Far Ewell

    There’s a sad sort of clanging from the blog
    And the lies from extremists too.
    An absurd censorship prevents me from expressing
    True facts of history cook-coo cook-coo, cook-coo
    Regretfully they are just cook-coo
    But firmly they compell us cook-coo
    To say goodbye cook-coo…
    To you…

    So long farewell, auf weidersehen good-bye

    I’m glad to go from this absurd website

    So long farewell, auf weidersehen adieu

    Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you

    So long farewell, au revior auf weidersehen

    I may be back some other day again

    So long farewell, auf weidersehen goodnight

    I leave, you heave a sigh and say good bye – goodbyyyyyyeeeee!

    I’m glad… to go…. I cannot tell a lie

    I leave, you to, your delusional farce…

    Reason…you’ve none, too bad, and sooo sad
    So long…farewell…auf weidersehen goodbye…

  20. GUARDIAN U.K. : Cuban communist party expels intellectual for exposing corruption-Prominent intellectual Esteban Morales published article criticising unnamed high-ranking officials-Rory Carroll -Friday 2 July 2010

    Cuba’s communist party has reportedly expelled a prominent intellectual for blowing the whistle on high-level corruption.
    Esteban Morales is said to have been “separated from the ranks” of the party over a bombshell article, which accused senior officials of looting the state before it crumbled.

    The Playa Municipal branch of the party has stripped Morales of his membership and the historian, a frequent commentator on state television, has disappeared from public view, the Havana Times reported.

    Morales broke taboos with an article in April that criticised unnamed, greedy apparatchiks. “It has become evident that there are people in government and state positions who are preparing a financial assault for when the revolution falls,” he wrote on the website of the state National Artists and Writers Union of Cuba.

    He claimed in the article that corruption from within threatened to destroy the 50-year-old communist state. “Others likely have everything ready to produce the transfer of state property into private hands, like what happened in the former Soviet Union.”

    The article quickly vanished from the site, but was copied and circulated among intellectuals and analysts.

    “To publish an attack on high-level corruption on a state-controlled website was fairly amazing,” said one European diplomat.

    Rumours of a corruption scandal involving Havana airport have been circulating for months. Rogelio Acevedo, the civil aviation minister, and Jorge Luis Sierra Cruz, the transport minister, have been fired. In addition to this, dozens of airport employees have been arrested, amid claims that state aircraft were used for private gain.

  21. Here is the article by Esteban Morales which caused him to be expelled from the PCC.

    Corruption: The true counter-revolution?

    By Esteban Morales
    From the UNEAC website

    When we closely observe Cuba’s internal situation today, we can have no doubt that the counter-revolution, little by little, is taking positions at certain levels of the State and Government.

    Without a doubt, it is becoming evident that there are people in positions of government and state who are girding themselves financially for when the Revolution falls, and others may have everything almost ready to transfer state-owned assets to private hands, as happened in the old USSR.

    Fidel said that we ourselves could put an end to the Revolution and I tend to think that, among other concerns, the Commander in Chief was referring to the questions relative to corruption. Because this phenomenon, already present, has continued to appear in force. If not, see what has happened with the distribution of lands in usufruct in some municipalities around the country: fraud, illegalities, favoritism, bureaucratic slowness, etc…… And what can you tell me about the street vendors, outside the large hard-currency stores, offering to sell everything. It is a corruption in which almost everyone participates, generated by the corruption of state functionaries. Because, as far as we know, in Cuba there is only one importer – the State…. Observe, too, the movement of pork meat from state-run stores to private outlets, the prices of beverages and water sold at the various tourism chains. The suspicious differences in prices that we stumble on so frequently.
    In other words, it is evident that there is an illegal flow of products between the state’s wholesale trade and the street commerce. An entire underground economy that the State is unable to control and will be impossible to set aright as long as the big imbalances between supply and demand that today characterizes our economy exists.

  22. MIAMI HERALD: Catholic Church, Cuba slowly begin engaging-BY FRANCES ROBLES-07.04.10

    To Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, the Cuban government and the Catholic Church are like teenagers at their first unchaperoned party.
    They’re anxious, kind of shy, but secretly hoping for some interaction.

    “The partners will look across the room eyeing each other and each one is perhaps a bit nervous about asking for that first dance,” the Most. Rev. Wenski said. “Things sometimes come together. Hopefully, this is an example of coming together.”

    For the first time in 50 years, the last communist dictatorship in the hemisphere and the Catholic church are taking steps toward that dance — without getting a schoolmate to pass notes between them.

    Last month the Catholic church embarked upon an unprecedented dialogue with Raúl Castro. The church intervened when moms and wives of political prisoners were harassed by pro-government mobs, and it secured permission for their Sunday afternoon march. After a four-hour meeting between bishops and Castro, a handful of political prisoners were transferred to facilities near their homes, alleviating what had been a longtime gripe.

    As the Vatican’s foreign minister was poised to visit the island last week, one paralyzed political prisoner was released.

    Experts are watching the talks closely, and expecting the church to slowly use the access to pave the way for increased breathing room for the church in Cuba, where Mass is often held in people’s homes for lack of a place of worship and a seminary has taken a decade to build. And they’re expecting Wenski, Miami’s well-respected new archbishop with deep ties to Cuba, to play a leading role.

    “The larger goal is not necessarily to engage in one-upmanship or to say, `Well, I will give you this dance only if you grovel before me,’ ” he said in an interview with The Miami Herald. “Neither party wants to be in that position.”


    Wenski, who visited Cuba last year with Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, said it was the first time the two sides talked without the papal nuncio, the Vatican’s representative in Cuba, as an intermediary. The Cuban government initiated the talks in the face of a dire economic crisis it is desperate to overcome, O’Malley said.

    “It has certainly taken a long time,” O’Malley said in a telephone interview. “Hopefully this is a first step toward greater participation in the life of the country and hopefully it means moving toward greater freedom for the Cuban people.”

    Both clerics agreed that the church is a long way from the day it can expect to see Catholic schools again. But they can hope for easier access to copy machines and new vehicles, which require daunting red tape. The church is eager for the ability to build new houses of worship and longs for its own radio station, Wenski said.

    The relationship now, he said, is “better than it used to be — but not what it should be.”

    “Progress often moves very much at a snail’s pace,” Wenski said. “As anybody that knows Cuba would tell you: no es fácil.”

    It’s not easy.

    Wenski is no stranger to Cuba. In 1996, he was appointed director of Catholic Charities, where he established a relationship with Caritas Cuba, the social service arm of the Catholic Church on the island. He was named auxiliary bishop in Miami a year later and bishop in Orlando in 2003.

    He was installed as head of the Miami Archdiocese in early June. He knows all his counterparts in Cuba, and several attended his recent installation.

    Wenski said he hopes to play a role in the renewed talks, but shrugged off the notion it would be on orders of the Vatican.
    “Obviously the Castro brothers might not be term-limited, but they are certainly time-limited,” he said. “Whether the term runs out or the time runs out, the transition will take place. That’s an uncertain time and uncertainly can make people very nervous and make people very fearful. People when they are afraid might not act in ways that they would later on want to remember.”

    For that, he said, the church hopes to be poised to help the status quo Cuban government have a “soft landing,” — one without bloodshed.

    “It’s obvious there is a transition underway in Cuba. Nobody really knows the contours of the transition as of yet, but everybody knows it cannot stay the same,” Wenski said. “It’s to everybody’s interest that there be a soft landing in whatever type of transition there is.”

    The revitalized relationship between the church and state was made possible in part because of three back-to-back hurricanes in 2008, which wiped out vast swaths of both eastern and western Cuba. Caritas was the only player with nationwide reach that could collect and distribute aid.


    In the face of that economic crisis, the Cuban government began making changes to agriculture and even beauty shops, which suggested steps toward decentralization. But the government this year also cracked down on dissent, underscored by the sudden harassment of the Ladies in White. In a show of support, Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega for the first time gave Mass to the ladies’ group at the church where they kick off their weekly Sunday procession.

    “With all due respect to his eminence, I do not believe that since Jaime Ortega has been cardinal, he has taken an active role in defending human rights or the rights of political prisoners,” said Andy Gomez, an assistant provost and senior fellow at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami.

    “I’m convinced these are orders from the Vatican.”

    Wenski’s appointment comes at a time “that’s crucial to building bridges,” and was probably no coincidence, Gomez said.

    As the head of Cuba’s “neighboring diocese,” Wenski will undoubtedly be a key figure, Cardinal O’Malley said. But the first move was made not by the Vatican, but by Cuba.

    “I was surprised,” O’Malley said. “Just a few months ago, the government seemed to go in the other direction. This is a good sign of some openness.

    “I wonder if it isn’t that they’re looking for a way out of this situation.”

  23. I think that I`ve made a little mistake on my prior comment. The problem, opinion’s disapproval is respect to Generación Y Spanish version.
    Not here, obviously

  24. juany said (post #12)

    “To compare Cuba with Burma is truely absurd. Cuba is actually closer to the USA in a variety of ways (not that is necessarlly a good thing!) than it is to Burma.”

    Sorry Juanete but the statistics say the oposite!

    RATIO OF IMPRISSONED JOURNALISTS PER POPULATION – the lower the ratio the worse the offender! Cuban has 109 times more prisoners than China and 6 times more than Iran.
    China- 1,337,790,000/24 jailed journalists= 1 per 55,741,250 citizens
    Iran-74,196,000/23 jailed journalists= 1 per 3,225,913 citizens
    Cuba-11,236,444/22 jailed journalis…ts= 1 per 510,747 citizens

    Committee to Protect Journalists-Journalists Jailed around the world

    China: 24
    Iran: 23
    Cuba: 22
    Eritrea: 19
    Burma: 9
    Uzbekistan: 7
    Azerbaijan: 6
    Ethiopia: 4
    Egypt: 3
    Tunisia: 2
    Yemen: 2
    Cambodia: 1
    Cameroon: 1
    Gambia: 1
    India: 1
    Iraq (in U.S. custody): 1
    Kazakhstan: 1
    Mauritania: 1
    Morocco: 1
    Russia: 1
    Saudi Arabia: 1
    Sri Lanka : 1
    Syria: 1
    Turkey: 1
    Venezuela: 1
    Vietnam: 1

  25. I’d like to write better in English … but read in Spanish is good for learning Cervantes’s language..
    Uno de los DDHH que se reconocen,es el de la libertad de Expresión. Es muy contradictorio que éste blog, GY, que defiende ese derecho para la Cuba de hoy, ejerza en su blog, la censura, el bloqueo a algunas personas sin que se sepa exactamente el motivo. Es mi caso.
    Pueden consultar la argumentación en , blog personal editado en España y que aporta información de Cuba 2010 tanto desde las posiciones más oficiales, hasta las posiciones contrarias.


  26. To compare Cuba with Burma is truely absurd. Cuba is actually closer to the USA in a variety of ways (not that is necessarlly a good thing!) than it is to Burma.
    And if Cuba is so repressive how come this blog exists? Or the competition publicised in the previous post?

  27. Damir you are way way off .The this too woman are a symbol of democracy and civil society keep in check by very similar military junta.

  28. By the way, Aung San Suu Kyi is a symbol of the moderate, and modern, left.

    The irony that a wanabe right winger, a “pragmatic capitalist” like the team Yoani, talks about a leftie as a symbol of their own ideological aspirations, is just hysterical.

    Another wasted opportunity for team Yoani to say something sensible. It seems that the need to nag is stronger than the need to say something intelligent.

  29. Barbara, post 1, as always a shap eye for some simple and obvious contradictions from the team Yoani. Love your work. Pay no attention at those few geriatric ward patients filled with the last drops of their impotentcy-induced hysteria.

    Their time is gone, they have achieved nothing, and have really nothing to say. So, a few words are left to them to use. A few meaningless and irrelevant words which may appear to be rude, but when they come from these oldtimers with zero achieving efficiency in their wasted lives, they are more like their own life summaries.

    Self – confessions.

  30. Post 6, what a nice gesture. And so timely too. The usanian government “democraticaly” abducted the kids of those russian spies and took them to an undisclosed location.

    What a wonderful democracy!!! Give one to Yoani, she wants it.

    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Usually that is because we cannot really see it, and we rely on stories, hear-say, rumours and mostly legends about how some “paradise” is just waiting for us to come along.

    When we finally do, the reality hits hard… But a few would ever admit the truth about the paradise. Let other fools get screwed too.

    Human smallness is enormous.

  31. Yes Ms Curbelo It was my experience when I life in Cuba.I remember my time in the army 1985 my lutenist didt know Van Hallen .Stop chilling for a dictatorship.

  32. To compare Cuba with Burma is truely absurd. Cuba is actually closer to the USA in a variety of ways (not that is necessarlly a good thing!) than it is to Burma.
    And if Cuba is so repressive how come this blog exists? Or the competition publicised in the previous post?

  33. ASSOCITATED PRESS: Cuba makes unprecedented report of dissident’s protest-Carlos Batista

    Spain’s Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos arrives in Cuba Monday to try to facilitate dialogue. He offered to take Farinas to Spain for medical treatment. But Farinas said no.

    “There are moments in history when there have to be martyrs,” Farinas said earlier this year in an interview with Spain’s El Pais.

  34. You said it Barbara…. inept, ignorant, repressive…. welcome to “Macondo”.. = castrofascismo .
    Service Temporarily Unavailable

    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

  35. It is remarkable how on other posts we have heard from this young woman about how Cuba is so repressive and vigilant (with rapid responses that beat you up and don’t leave bruises, and cameras everywhere) that nothing escapes big brother.

    Now, we are to believe that big brother is so ignorant and inept that they wouldn’t recognize the name of a 1991 Nobel laureate.

  36. Pingback: Tweets that mention Generation Y » The Horror From the Sweetness --

Comments are closed.