Without Fanfare, But Without Results

Image taken from adn.es

The July 26 event started early, in fear of the evening rains and to avoid the sun that makes the neck itch and annoys the audience. It had the solemnity that is already inherent in the Cuban system: heavy, outdated, and at times dusty. Nothing seemed to jump out of the script; Raúl Castro didn’t take the podium, nor was the speech addressed to a nation waiting for a program of changes. His absence at the microphone should not be read as a intention to decentralize responsibility and allow someone else to speak at such a commemoration. The general did not speak because he had nothing to say, no launching of a reform package, because he knows that would be playing with the power, the control, that his family has exercised for five decades.

In previous speeches, on this same date, the phrases of the Cuban Communist Party’s second secretary have created more confusion than certainty, so this time he avoided analysts reinterpreting them. Enough doubts have already been created with his 2007 predictions of mass access to milk, his unfulfilled forecast of having Santiago de Cuba’s aqueduct completed, and the unfortunate phrase “I’m just a shadow,” with which he began his speech last year. Perhaps because of this he preferred to remain silent and leave the address to the most unyielding man of his government: José Ramón Machado Ventura. Some portentous cannon shots shook the city of Havana just as the first vice president approached the podium and began his harangue filled with platitudes and declarations of intransigence.

Referring to the postponed measures to address the economy and society, Machedo Ventura declared that they will be made, “step by step at a pace determined by us.” The old confusion with the first person plural, the well-known ambiguity of the apparently consensual. The pace, the velocity and the depth of these long-awaited apertures are decided by a small group which has much to lose if they apply them, and time to benefit if they delay them. Some will say Raúl Castro’s silence is part of his strategy to avoid bluster and bravado. But, more than political discretion, what we saw today is pure State secretiveness. To make no public commitments to change, no visible implications of transformation, can be a way of warning us that these do not respond to his political will, but rather to a momentary despair which — he thinks — will eventually pass. By saying nothing, he has sent us his fullest message: “I owe you no explanations, no promises, no results.”


11 thoughts on “Without Fanfare, But Without Results

  1. @#10
    siggy do you think that some of the rebolution supporters are in vacation?
    Maybe their computer “activities:” got in the way …
    I was “cleaning” my computer the other day & found a virus w/the name of a frequent contributor, all around nice guy w/a gift for insults & coincivence have it … from the same geographical are of origen however: this fellow was arrested, accused of hacking & creating a few viruses.
    I hope (sincerily) is just a coincidence of name & place of origen.
    Go figure …

  2. I hate when I accuse castrofascism supporters writing in this and other pages of being agents of the tyranny and some people does not agree with this accusation stating that I have not proves……… In the last 51 years castro regime has stated in several occasion that there are not political prisoners in Cuba but criminals, regime has also stated that the paramilitary mobs that beats, repress, and harass dissidents, opposites and protesters in Cuba’s streets are “the people”……. But it happens that at times regime release the political prisoners recognizing in such way that the prisoners was political and not criminals as they stated before……. It happens that paramilitary mobsters stop their criminal and ridiculous activities when regime orders them to stop demonstrating in such way that those mobsters are not the people but paramilitary unities managed by regime…….. and it happens that castrofascism supporters that uses to write their shit in this and another pages disappear all at once at times in same uniform way that mobsters disappears of Havana’s streets…… I would believe that they are not a team if they disappear gradually and accidentally but they vanish in mass and unanimously!!!!!!……. what more proves is needed to understand that they are a brigade…. The foolish brigade…… so foolish that they can’t disguise their real nature!!!!!…… hahahahahaha……… I guess the strategic “commander” of this retarded brigade is damirsito!!!!!! …… AAAAAAAhahahahahahahahaha……. Hahahahahahaha…….. oh mama, those guys will laugh me to death !!!!!!!! hahahahahaha

  3. MIAMI NEW TIMES: Miami Cubans Now Overwhelmingly Favor Lifting Travel Ban- Michael Miller, Tue., Jul. 27 2010

    Mr. President, tear down this wall…err… travel ban!

    Nearly two-thirds of Cuban-Americans living in Miami now believe the island would be better off if the U.S. government’s travel ban were lifted, according to a new Univ. of Miami study.

    The apparent change in attitude towards the travel ban could give Democrats — who have already said they have the votes to pass the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act — the political capital to push through changes later this year.

    The poll found that 64 percent of Cuban-Americans now want to scrap the travel restrictions. Surprisingly, all age groups favor ditching the travel ban, including 62 percent of those 66-years-old or older. Overall, the numbers are up five percent from late last year, which was already at an all-time high. The new study was overseen by Dr. Andy Gomez, a senior fellow at UM’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.

    Unsurprisingly, 92 percent of those surveyed said they had given up hope in Cuban President Raul Castro improving social and economic conditions on the island. However, the poll was completed between June 28 and July 7, the day before the Catholic Church announced a deal for Cuba to release many of its political prisoners.

    Although Cuban-Americans may not be holding their breaths in anticipation of the Castros instituting changes, 73 percent still believe the next Cuban president will come from within the country — not from Little Havana.

    The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act has already advanced out of the House Agriculture Committee and could reach the floor for a full vote later this year. It will face stiffer opposition in the Senate, however, where the Cuban-American senator from New Jersey, Robert Menendez, has promised a filibuster.

    If the initiative fails, experts say President Obama could end-up lifting the travel ban by executive order.


  4. I am reminded of an old BBC comedy “Are you being served” …
    fidel as “the young Mr. Grace” telling everyone -“you’ve done so well”

  5. @#5
    first allow me to wish you a good & safe vacation!
    Secondly … I read the thing one & I must confess my eyes glazed.
    Yet … I admit you are right to the dot!
    Thank you for remainding me about it!!!

  6. Trudeu,

    Here is the speech!

    istory Will Absolve Me

    Spoken: 1953
    Publisher: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, La Habana, Cuba. 1975
    Translated: Pedro Álvarez Tabío & Andrew Paul Booth (who rechecked the translation with the Spanish La historia me absolverá, same publisher, in 1981)
    Transcription/Markup: Andrew Paul Booth/Brian Baggins
    Online Version: 1997, Castro Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2001


    Never has a lawyer had to practice his profession under such difficult conditions; never has such a number of overwhelming irregularities been committed against an accused man. In this case, counsel and defendant are one and the same. As attorney he has not even been able to take a look at the indictment. As accused, for the past seventy-six days he has been locked away in solitary confinement, held totally and absolutely incommunicado, in violation of every human and legal right.

    He who speaks to you hates vanity with all his being, nor are his temperament or frame of mind inclined towards courtroom poses or sensationalism of any kind. If I have had to assume my own defense before this Court it is for two reasons. First: because I have been denied legal aid almost entirely, and second: only one who has been so deeply wounded, who has seen his country so forsaken and its justice trampled so, can speak at a moment like this with words that spring from the blood of his heart and the truth of his very gut.

    MORE AT: http://www.marxists.org/history/cuba/archive/castro/1953/10/16.htm

  7. Albert,
    If you read the text of Castro’s two-hour defense when he was being tried for the attack on the Moncada barracks, it may strike you as an almost perfect description of what is wrong with Cuba now. I do not have the text to hand — am on vacation — but check it out if can.

  8. While I contemplate the “irony” of the Ladies in White …
    I remind all of Nov 14 1954.
    Cosme de la Torriente & Jose Miro Cardona were the leaders of the Sociedad de Amigos de la Republica (SAR).
    These leaders put together a movement of oposition to Batista by leag means & political negoation, on June 3 1954 the Manifiesto de la Sociedad Amigos del la Republica rejects revolutionary violence to resolve the political situation in Cuba.
    This Manifiesto was signed by the following parties:
    Autenticos (Partido Revolucionario Cubano PRC)
    Ortodoxos (Partido del Pueblo Cubano PPC)
    Movimiento de la Nacion
    Partido Democrata
    Movimiento de la Liberacion Radical.
    fidel (from in Mexico) decided to infiltrate the SAR & also instigate violence in the demonstrations of this group of political parties.
    Thing could haave been different today … does anyone remember 1953-1954?

  9. What I find ironic:
    There abouts the year 1955 while fidel & some others in jail as a result of the Moncada attack were supported by a “GROUP OF MOTHERS” (prisioner’s mothers mostly)who had lunched a campaign to attain their freedom; toghether w/the intellectuals & political leaders of the time they asked: for freedom for the political prisioners!
    The Cuban Congress, passed a bill, Batista signed & the prisioners were given amnesty & were freedom ….
    Today … the LADIES IN WHITE” ask for the same thing … but are considered mercenaries in the payroll of the USA.
    Ironic isn’t it?

  10. 57 years ago a day like today (7/26/10) the fascist born, in fascism educated and Cuban neofascism creator Fidel castro launched a criminal attack on a “military” quarter in the town he was raised up and developed his student life, Santiago de Cuba. It was carnival time and by tradition all military quarters was open to the public under carnival time; military quarters became a sort of museum and shelter for the happy and festive people. So, to “attack” a military quarter under carnival time was not an honor exactly.
    Castro was 32 years at this time but all recruiters he brought to this criminal act was teenager between 17 and 20 years old. Most of those young people were recruited in Artemisa, a little town east of Havana more than 800 miles away of Santiago de Cuba. Those youngsters were lured to believe they will participate in a rebellion of the institutional army against Batista. Castro make them believe they will kill some few soldiers, some sick soldiers in a military hospital inside the quarter and then they will be raised together with the rebels military to form a new dictatorship and rule the country. The reality was that this attack was planned as an introduction of castro self to the Cuban nation, a propaganda act which goal was to raise the unknown castro to the political scenario. Castro planned everything knowing he will be protected by his family and no consequences of this attack will affect him. His father in law at this time was the interior minister of Batista’s regimen and his brother in law was senator of the republic. So, he knew no major consequences would bring to him this treacherous attack because the high influences of his family. He calculated right, he only spent 2 years in prison after this attack.
    The result of the attack for the young lured attackers and the reduced quarter guard was not so different. Most of the attackers (around 20) died as well as most of the quarter guard. Castro survived because he “could not reach the place of the action”……… he got lost (he stated later) in the city he was raised!!!!!!…..Castro got his popularity shut and many Cubans families started to mourn their deaths so early as 57 years ago.


    TORONT SUN: Mom of teen held in Cuba nearly broke-By Chris Doucette-July 26, 2010

    Time is running out fast for Danette LeCompte as she fights to get her19-year-old son out of Cuba.

    If the Canadian government doesn’t act, and fast, to help bring Cody home, the distraught mom says they’ll be forced to live on the streets of the communist country.

    “We can’t go on much longer, maybe a couple of weeks,” Danette told the Sun in a phone interview from her hotel room. “I’ve maxed out all of my credit cards, I have nothing left.”

    She has borrowed well over $30,000 since learning her son wasn’t allowed to leave the country three months ago because of a car accident, a crash Danette and Cody claim wasn’t even their fault.

    “My life may never be the same financially, Danette said, referring to the credit card debt she has racked up since the end of April.

    Cody, his mom and her cousin all suffered minor injuries in the accident and were briefly hospitalized. Cody’s hand is still quite banged up.

    The cousin’s Cuban fiancee, who was also in the rental car when it was broadsided by a truck, needed surgery to repair her liver. But she has since recovered.

    However, Cuban law dictates accidents be treated as a crime when a tourist is driving and a local is seriously hurt. That means Cody is guilty until he can prove otherwise.

    While he hasn’t been charged with anything, the Simcoe teen faces up to three years in a Cuban prison.

    They hope to have a court date set this week.

    Canada’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has said it is doing what it can behind the scenes, but it will not interfere with the judicial process of another country.

    Sun readers have expressed their support for the mother and son, as well as outrage over the federal government’s handling of the situation.

    “I feel isolated now, I can’t even imagine how I would feel if I had to stay here a year,” Cody said.

    His mom sprung for the two-week vacation to Cuba as a reward for getting into college. But Cody said his first school year will have to be put on hold if he’s not home in the next couple weeks because there won’t be enough time left in the summer for him to earn the money he needs to pay his tuition.

    Cody is more troubled by the financial devastation the ordeal has caused his mother.

    Danette vows she’ll stay in Cuba until she can bring Cody home.

    “I’m not going to leave my son,” she said. “We just want to come home. It’s very scary here.”

    One Ottawa woman, who endured a similar experience, warns Cody and his mom should prepare themselves for a lengthy stay in Cuba.

    “I was detained for a full year until I proved I was innocent,” Anne Lepage said.

    “There’s no way we could do that financially,” Danette said of the thought of being stuck in Cuba for another nine months.

    Cody had become withdrawn, but his spirits have been picked up thanks to the overwhelming show of support he has received from Canadians across the country.

    A trust fund has been set up to help Cody and his mom. Donations can be made at any TD Canada Trust Bank.


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