Autonomous Luggage

Under the seat one could see a patched grab bag, like those given to people who went on missions in the 1980s. Every time the bus jerked over a pothole, many eyes fixed on it to see if its contents had come spilling out through the broken zipper. Nearby, on the road to the town of Candelaria, a police patrol stopped the trip and ordered everyone out with their belongings. At the end of the aisle, along with others equally orphaned, was the mended valise of a one-time State security officer who had been in Europe or some country in Africa. No one made the least move to pick it up.

Two officers searched each row and piled the packages no traveler had claimed on the steps. They opened them with great care, cutting the corners, pulling out the staples, to expose contraband more pursued than arms and drugs: milk,.cheese, lobster, shrimp and fish. A sheep dog, trained to detect seafood, milk products and beef, searched among the packages people had consigned to the ditch, under the sun. “Everyone will be detained until the owners of these packages come forward,” shouted one of the higher-ups as he starts to fill the trunk of the police car with the confiscated goods.

Although they questioned and threatened the travelers at the station, they could not impute any crimes to them as there was no way to prove who owned the pounds of food surely intended for the black market. It was impossible to connect the suitcases “traveling alone” with any individual. Oddly, the buses that cross the country are loaded with these possessions no one wants to claim as their own. Autonomous bags, sacks and boxes who will only find an owner if they make it to their destinations, if they manage to make it safely through the check points, the searches and dogs’ noses.


28 thoughts on “Autonomous Luggage


    ASSOCIATED PRESS: Nobel a platform for outspoken Vargas Llosa- By IAN JAMES

    CARACAS, Venezuela — The Nobel Prize in literature brings a long-awaited accolade to Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, and also a new platform for him to assail leftist leaders Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba.

    The 74-year-old writer has been a combative political activist in denouncing what he views as threats to democracy and freedoms in Latin America. As he basked in praise for winning the prize Thursday, he pointedly singled out Venezuela and Cuba during a news conference in New York, saying those two countries represent a step backward for a hemisphere emerging from an era of strongman leaders.

    “That trend, which is an authoritarian, anti-democratic trend, is a trend that seems on its way out, for which there is less support all the time,” Vargas Llosa told reporters.

    “I’m going to keep defending the ideas I have, the defense of democracy, the defense of freedom … criticisms of all forms of authoritarianism,” he said.

    Vargas Llosa has regularly directed barbs at Chavez, denouncing him as autocratic. When the novelist visited Venezuela last year to attend a pro-democracy forum, he was stopped by authorities at the airport for nearly two hours. He said he was questioned and told that as a foreigner he didn’t “have the right to make political statements” in Venezuela.

    Chavez disputed that account at the time, saying his critics were putting on a show to discredit his government. Chavez invited Vargas Llosa and other intellectuals to debate on live television, then backed away from a direct debate after critics suggested a one-on-one contest with Vargas Llosa — with equal time for each.

    The author, who made an unsuccessful run for Peru’s presidency in 1990, said Thursday that he has felt an obligation as a writer to participate in public debates.

    “I think literature is an expression of life and you cannot eradicate politics from life,” he said.

    The usually loquacious Chavez did not have anything to say publicly about the Nobel announcement.

    But an article in the Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma criticized the choice, saying Nobel committee members “should have chosen him for the Anti-Nobel” in ethics.

    “No one doubts his innovative contributions to world literature,” the article said. It quickly added, however: “What he has built with his writing he has destroyed with his moral bearing, his conservative tantrums, the denial of his roots and his obeisance to the dictates of the empire,” a reference to the United States.

    Chile’s conservative president, Sebastian Pinera, praised the selection of his friend, who supported his political candidacy. Pinera saluted Vargas Llosa for his contribution to Latin American literature, “but also for his strong commitment to the values of freedom.”

    Vargas Llosa’s pointed political commentary, which has also been aimed at authoritarian regimes on the right, has long been a part of his writing.

    He burst onto the literary scene in the early 1960s with the novel “The Time of the Hero” (the Spanish title was “La Ciudad y los Perros”) — a book that drew on his experiences at a Peruvian military academy and angered the country’s military. One thousand copies of the novel were burned by military authorities, with some generals calling the book false and Vargas Llosa a communist.

    Years later, he satirized the Peruvian armed forces in “Captain Pantoja and the Special Service” and deconstructed Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo in “Feast of the Goat.”

    He is the first South American winner of the $1.5 million Nobel Prize in literature since Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 1982, and the first Spanish-language writer to win since Mexico’s Octavio Paz in 1990.

    Vargas Llosa’s writing is celebrated throughout Latin America, but his gradual shift from the left toward an embrace of the free market has put him at odds with left-leaning Latin American intellectuals.

    He was an early backer of the Cuban revolution led by Castro, but he later grew disillusioned and denounced Castro’s Cuba. By 1980, he said he no longer believed in socialism as a solution for developing nations.

    Vargas Llosa once irritated his centrist friend Paz by playfully describing Mexico’s political system — which was dominated at the time by a single party — as “the perfect dictatorship.”

    In a famous 1976 incident in Mexico City, Vargas Llosa punched former friend Garcia Marquez in the face, and later ridiculed him as “Castro’s courtesan.” It was never clear whether the fight was over politics or a personal dispute.

    Ricardo Gonzalez Vigil, a literature professor at the Catholic University of Peru, said Vargas Llosa “has never held back from giving his opinion about major problems.”

    He also has had his share of clashes in his native Peru, going back to the 1970s, when he was at loggerheads with those supporting the military government of Gen. Juan Velasco.

    In 1990, Vargas Llosa ran for president but lost to Alberto Fujimori. Disheartened by the broad public approval for Fujimori’s authoritarian rule, Vargas Llosa took Spanish citizenship, living in Madrid and London — a decision that led many Peruvians to view him, at least for a time, as embittered.

    He maintained a penthouse apartment in the Peruvian capital of Lima overlooking the Pacific coast, but tended to keep a low profile during visits home long after Fujimori fled to Japan in 2000 to escape a corruption scandal.

    Vargas Llosa remains active in Peruvian politics and helped win support for building a museum to the memory of the nearly 70,000 people killed in Peru’s 1980-2000 conflict with Shining Path rebels.

    He recently objected to a government legislative decree that would have put a statute of limitations on crimes against humanity. To protest it, he tendered his resignation as head of a committee picked to oversee the design and construction of the museum. The government later rescinded the decree.

    While some controversies he once ignited have faded, Vargas Llosa’s books haven’t. They are even widely read now at the Leoncio Prado Military Academy where he once studied.

    “The 800 students here read all of Vargas Llosa’s books as part of the Peruvian literature class,” said Carmela Fry, a teacher. “Many of them identify with the characters in ‘La Ciudad y los Perros.’ That book used to be prohibited here, but those times have passed.”

    Associated Press writers Carla Salazar and Franklin Briceno in Lima, Peru; Frank Bajak in Bogota, Colombia; Federico Quilodran in Santiago, Chile; Andrea Rodriguez in Havana; and Ana Elena Azpurua and Hillel Italie in New York contributed to this report.

  2. I can hardly wait for Yoani’s take on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

    The NY Times reprinted in its entirety Liu’s final statement prior to his December 2009 sentencing to 11 years in prison. I was particularly moved by the final section of the statement which is addressed to his wife.

    A short excerpt and link:
    “Given your love, sweetheart, I would face my forthcoming trial calmly, with no regrets about my choice and looking forward to tomorrow optimistically. I look forward to my country being a land of free expression, where all citizens’ speeches are treated the same; here, different values, ideas, beliefs, political views… both compete with each other and coexist peacefully; here, majority and minority opinions will be given equal guarantees, in particular, political views different from those in power will be fully respected and protected; here, all political views will be spread in the sunlight for the people to choose; all citizens will be able to express their political views without fear, and will never be politically persecuted for voicing dissent; I hope to be the last victim of China’s endless literary inquisition, and that after this no one else will ever be jailed for their speech.

    Freedom of expression is the basis of human rights, the source of humanity and the mother of truth. To block freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, to strangle humanity and to suppress the truth.”

  3. Humberto,

    MLV was responsible for getting Norberto Fuentes out of jail after he had been caught trying to flee the isla. As a result we have Fuentes” brilliant and deadly Autobiography of Fidel Castro — highly recommended. I think MLV has a house in Cuba.

  4. Always criticizing others, seldom taking into account what he said in the past, using the excuse of how things change “fidelious rectum habitantis” puts himslef in the position of judge, pointing an accusing finger at everyone will ignoring the other thre fingers of his hand pointing at him.
    Oblivious perhaps to what he has done to his so called beloved people.
    His legacy is one of fear & suspicion, a life of false entitlements, false ideals & harsh realities.
    In a society where it was to be equal … now we have the ones in power, allowed to do searches, areest for a differen opinion & incarcerate without sense.
    In all this reality I ask myself:
    Since there is so much love & confidence in the rebolution … why does the rebolution need so many “enforcers’?
    If crime is so low in the rebolutionary Cuba … why is there a need for so many policemen?
    If the rebolution has created a new society which takes care of its citizens … why is there discontent?
    If things have been going so well w/the rebolution … why is there no allowance for an oposing opinion to the regime?
    If things are so well … why are Cubans so tightly controlled whne they want to leave Cuba?
    Just question that come to mind …


    THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE: The Nobel Is the Best Revenge-Posted by Macy Halford-October 7, 2010
    It’s always fun to tease out the Nobel Literature committee’s picks. Often, it seems that they are trying to use books to make a statement of geopolitical importance that will please those who are already sympathetic and fail to move those it is intended to move. (Have any of us stateside stopped writing or reading our own “insular” fiction following the Nobel’s admonitions that we should a couple years ago? If our current darling, “Freedom,” is any indication, the answer is no.)

    But this year’s pick is interesting for many reasons other than the greatness of Mario Vargas Llosa’s work (and it is great). First, the committee has picked a writer that basically the entire world has read, even if the choice is still something of a surprise, to us and to Vargas Llosa, who commented, “It had been years since my name was even mentioned…. It has certainly been a total surprise, a very pleasant surprise, but a surprise nonetheless.” Second, the notoriously lefty committee has picked a writer who is politically active on the right—Vargas Llosa might not have won his 1990 Presidential bid, but the Nobel is a nice consolation prize. Third, the choice returns the spotlight to a writer of the so-called “Latin American Boom” of the sixties and seventies, recently and famously superseded by Roberto Bolaño and others. And fourth, now Vargas Llosa has something else with which to get back at fellow “Boomer” Gabriel Garcia Marquez for “what he did to Patricia.”

    You might recall that in 2007 it was reported that Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llosa had reconciled after thirty-one years of not speaking to each other, following a heated evening in a Mexican cinema in 1976. The two had been good friends since the late sixties, but it all fell apart in Mexico. According to the Guardian, Garcia Marquez went up to Vargas Llosa, said, “Mario!” and got a punch in the eye (a shiner photographed by one of Garcia Marquez’s friends). Then Vargas Llosa shouted, “How dare you come and greet me after what you did to Patricia in Barcelona!,” Patricia being Vargas Llosa’s wife (and first cousin), with whom he had three children. The Independent had the scoop:

    Mario strayed. He fell in love with a beautiful Swedish air stewardess whom he met while travelling. He left his wife and moved to Stockholm.

    Distraught, his wife Patricia went to see her husband’s best friend, Gabriel. After discussing the matter with his wife, Mercedes, he advised Patricia to divorce Mario. And then he consoled her. No one else quite knows what form this consolation took…. Eventually Mario returned to his wife, who told him of Gabriel’s advice to her, and of his consolation.
    Vargas Llosa had other issues with Garcia Marquez, too, famously calling him “Castro’s courtesan.” Just imagine how he must have felt when Garcia Marquez got the Nobel Prize in 1982—which brings me back to this year’s decision and why I like it. Maybe, just maybe, the committee wanted to help old friends settle a score; maybe it based its decision on something personal, emotional, and messy—something, in other words, quite literary.

    Well, we can dream, anyway.

  6. I JUST LOOOOVE, THE TITLE OF THIS WEB SITE AS IT RELATES TO THIS PARTICULAR STORY!! “LA CHINA” & “THE MUMMY” ARE CERTAINLY BOTH “MONSTERS AND CRITTICS”! THIS WAS TOO EASY! (Monsters and Critics (M&C) is a web-only entertainment/celebrity news and review publication)

    MONSTERS & CRITICS: Cuba slams Vargas Llosa’s “reactionary” ideas – 10/7/10

    Havana – Cuban state television on Thursday slammed the political ideas of Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa as ‘reactionary,’ though it also described as ‘unquestionable’ the literary career of the man awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize.
    ‘Regarded as one of the members of the famous boom of Latin American literature, Vargas Llosa has also attained fame for his controversial and often reactionary political positions,’ Cubavision news said in a brief report.

    The programme did not, however, mention Vargas Llosa’s frequent criticism of Cuba’s communist regime.

    The author visited Cuba several times in the 1960s and worked with cultural authorities in Havana. However, he soon distanced himself from the government then led by Fidel Castro. In recent years, he has frequently criticized Cuba’s closest ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

    Last year, Castro called Vargas Llosa and other intellectuals who are critical of Cuba and Venezuela ‘the cream of oligarchic and counter-revolutionary thought.’

  7. The Nobel Prize in Literature 2010 was awarded to Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat”.

    “Like many Latin American authors, Vargas Llosa has been politically active throughout his career; over the course of his life, he has gradually moved from the political left towards the right. While he initially supported the Cuban revolutionary government of Fidel Castro, Vargas Llosa later became disenchanted. He ran for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 with the center-right Frente Democrático (FREDEMO) coalition, advocating neoliberal reforms. He has subsequently supported moderate conservative candidates. In 2009, he was named a “Distinguished Speaker” at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics.”

  8. Technical Glitch Responsible for Loss of SMS Twitter Service from Cuba
    Tomas Bilbao — Oct 6, 2010.Social media giant Twitter has confirmed that the loss of service experienced by Cuban bloggers posting messages using SMS technology from the island was the result of a technical issue and not the result of censorship by the Cuban government. A statement issued by the company via its Twitter account @twitter_es today, stated that:

    “We have disabled “long” coding for sending tweets via SMS”

    This technical jargon basically explains that when twitter changed the numbers to which users send their SMS messages from “long coding,” meaning real phone numbers, to “short coding,” meaning 5 digit codes, it interrupted any SMS messages sent to the original long telephone numbers from being posted on twitter. They are working to correct this issue. In this tweet, Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez explains how Cuban bloggers send messages via SMS.

    Yoani Sanchez reported to the Spanish news agency EFE last night that: “we’ve been left without a voice in the world of 140 characters.” Sanchez learned that messages she had been sending via SMS were not reaching her twitter account after followers alerted her that no activity had posted to her profile since Friday. Ms. Sanchez called on Twitter to clarify whether a service interruption was to blame:

  9. At the hotel I stayed , I watched the hotel security guards checking the bags/purses/pockets of the hotel staff ( waiters, cooks, cleaning ladies). This happened as they were leaving the hotel after they finished work.

  10. This is the kind of story that people will make people shake their heads in disbelief, but to Cubans is an everyday occurrence. It all goes back to the new 1976 constitution. All rights of the people cease to exist if they undermine the revolution. And they decide what undermines the revolution.

  11. What has occurred with Yoani’s ability to post to Twitter by using her phone and sending a SMS text?

    Has the Castro regime blocked access through the Twitter short code number from Cuba as yet another measure to deny Cubans the ability to contact and express their views to the outside world as part of their continuing repression of all dissent?

    I am able to continue posting to a Twitter account using a mobile phone and SMS text from outside Cuba but Yoani is being denied this ability from inside Cuba, the people at Twitter need to be made aware of this and required to publicly explain the reason why her access has been denied.


    INFOBAE ARGENTINA: “El acceso a internet en Cuba es tan escaso como la tolerancia”

    La bloguera Yoani Sánchez denunció que desde el viernes pasado no puede enviar mensajes a twitter vía SMS. Exigió que la red social explique si es una decision propia o de la dictadura de los Castro

    La premiada bloguera cubana denunció en su cuenta de twitter que todos los usuarios de la isla ya no puede actualizar sus estados en la red social a través de mensajes de texto.

    Enojada por la medida, Sánchez le reclamó a la red social que aclare si fue una decisión propia o si “la dictadura de Cuba” los ha bloqueado. “¿Censura interior o problemas tecnicos? Espero que sea lo 2do, porque lo primero rara vez tiene arreglo”, aseguró esta tarde en un tweet desde un locutorio.

    Y agregó: “Sin poder mandar nuestros tweets por SMS, dejamos de ser twitteros, porque el acceso a internet aquí es tan escaso como la tolerancia”.

  13. Simba Sez: I must be confused. I thought this was a site for English speaking fans of Yoani.


    NEW YORK TIMES: Cuba makes guayabera shirt its official garment
    By WILL WEISSERT- October 6, 2010

    HAVANA — When Fidel Castro suddenly decided to shed his trademark olive green military fatigues and don street clothes in public for the first time in 35 years, a white guayabera shirt over blue slacks is what he put on.

    A resolution from the Foreign Relations Ministry published into law Wednesday makes the guayabera Cuba’s official formal dress garment and mandates that government officials wear them at state functions. That’s welcome news in a country known for its steamy summer weather.

    The law confirms the decades-old reputation of the cool, roomy cotton or linen shirts – with four large pockets and pleats down the front, traditionally worn untucked – as the island’s most quintessential fashion choice.

    “The guayabera has been a part of the history of our country for a long time and constitutes one of the most authentic and legitimate expressions of Cubanism,” the resolution said.

    According to the law, male officials are to wear white, long-sleeved guayaberas at state events; women can vary color and style.

    Nearly all Cuban officials already shun suits and sport jackets in the tropical heat, so the law isn’t likely to change much.

    The guayabera also is a fashion fixture in Mexico, parts of Florida and even as far away as the Philippines. It is said to have originated in this country, though no one is sure exactly where or when.

    Cuban legend has it the shirt was born in the early 1700s in the central province of Sancti Spiritus, on the banks of the Yayabo River, where families of recent Spanish immigrants fashioned light work sheets out of linen and equipped them with pockets where they could stuff enough cigars to get them through long days in the fields.

    The local river may have inspired the garment’s name, though some insist the shirt was designed to fill its many pockets with guava fruit – and that the name comes from that.

    The resolution offered no definitive answer as to the shirts’ origin, but gave the tradition a political and socio-economic spin: Guayaberas “have been worn with pride and satisfaction” by Cubans of all backgrounds, it said, “evolving from their rural roots to reach various sectors of the urban population.”

    In Castro’s case, his wardrobe shift came during a 1994 summit in Colombia, and only then at the urging of his friend, Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

    After a health crisis forced him to cede Cuba’s presidency to his younger brother Raul in July 2006, Fidel Castro took to wearing 1970s-style track suits, short-sleeve dress shirts and other attire – though he now sometimes appears in fatigues devoid of any rank or insignia.

    Raul Castro dons guayaberas for many public occasions, including sessions of parliament and meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries.

    In 2007, Cuba opened a guayabera museum in the city of Sancti Spiritus, capital of the province of the same name, and the shirt has symbolic value predating the revolution that swept the Castro brothers and their bearded band of rebels to power on New Year’s Day 1959.

    Islanders who battled the Spanish for independence wore guayaberas as a symbol of resistance, and revolutionary leader Narciso Lopez was wearing one when he raised the Cuban flag for the first time in May 1850.

  15. Por Agencia EFE : El Gobierno desmiente que bloquee las cuentas de los cubanos en redes sociales
    La Habana, 6 oct (EFE).- El Gobierno cubano desmintió hoy que en la isla se limite el acceso de los cubanos a las redes sociales, después de que la bloguera cubana Yoani Sánchez denunciara ayer la posible implicación de las autoridades en el bloqueo de su acceso a Twitter.

    “Cuba no bloquea el acceso de ningún ciudadano al envío de mensajes a las redes sociales en Internet como Twitter o Facebook y ello es una calumnia que se ha levantado contra nuestro país”, dijo hoy el viceministro cubano de la Informática y Comunicaciones, José Luis Perdomo, en declaraciones a la agencia oficial Prensa Latina.

    “Cualquier persona que desee enviar ese tipo de mensaje lo puede hacer, pues nosotros no impedimos esa posibilidad de ninguna manera como política, ni tenemos nada implementado para eso”, añadió Perdomo en declaraciones fechadas en Moscú.

    Aunque no menciona directamente el caso de Yoani Sánchez, el viceministro parece salir al paso de la denuncia realizada ayer por la bloguera tras varios días sin poder acceder desde La Habana a su cuenta de Twitter.

    Sánchez, quien ha recibido varios premios internacionales por su blog “Generación Y”, pidió a la red social que aclare lo sucedido para determinar si el Gobierno de Cuba está implicado en el bloqueo del acceso.

    En declaraciones realizadas ayer a Efe, la bloguera indicó que Twitter se ha convertido en una especie de “canal informativo” alternativo para los cubanos y resaltó que, en caso de que se compruebe que el incidente fue “censura”, significará que “se corta un camino de expresión ciudadana para los cubanos”.

    Según explicó, ella misma ha dado capacitación “a más de una veintena” de blogueros que utilizan Twitter, y resaltó que se trata de algo significativo en “una isla donde el monopolio de Internet estaba en manos del Estado”.

    El viceministro cubano subrayó hoy que plataformas como Twitter y Facebook no tienen acuerdos con la Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba para permitir el servicio gratuito de mensajes a esas redes desde teléfonos celulares, debido al bloqueo económico y comercial que EE.UU. aplica contra la isla desde 1962.

    Perdomo precisó que esa es la “verdadera causa por la cual a veces la comunicación es compleja”, y recordó que Cuba no puede acceder a otros servicios como los mapas de Google, debido a que EE.UU. incluyó al país en la lista de patrocinadores del terrorismo.

    “Tal es la causa real por la que la inmensa mayoría de los cubanos carece del acceso gratuito y de la posibilidad de beneficiarse de las mencionadas redes sociales”, añadió.

  16. all the while …
    jose luis perdomo states that there are NO limits for access to the internet & other modes of social networking … for cubans.
    That all talk of limmits is a lie from Yoani & others … and … mark your calendars: 10/06 is the designated day (according to #279)to conmemorate “the victims of state terrorism (mainly caused by the United States).
    Please refrain from laughing, keep in mind, the people’s representatives work hard to pass laws …

  17. Por Agencia EFE: La bloguera cubana Sánchez denuncia que su cuenta de Twitter fue bloqueada

    Washington, 5 oct (EFE).- La bloguera cubana Yoani Sánchez denunció hoy que desde el viernes pasado no puede enviar mensajes a través de su cuenta de Twitter y pidió a la red social que aclaré lo sucedido para determinar si el Gobierno de Cuba está implicado en el bloqueo del acceso.
    Con la ayuda de un amigo que tenía acceso a internet, la premiada bloguera pudo colocar este mensaje: “#twitter debe aclarar si su servicio nos ha censurado publicación de tweets por sms o si ha sido el gobierno de #Cuba que nos ha bloqueado”.

    “Nos hemos quedado sin voz en el mundo de los 140 caracteres”, dijo a Efe Sánchez en entrevista telefónica desde La Habana.

    “El Gobierno cubano no había encontrado la manera de bloquear la posibilidad de enviar mensajes a Twitter a través de un teléfono celular (…) no sabemos si esto ha sido obra del Gobierno cubano” o si es un problema técnico que involucra a Twitter, dijo.

    Para Sánchez, Twitter se ha convertido en una especie de “canal informativo” en el que los cubanos pueden “enviar noticias, opiniones, e información al mundo, y lamentablemente parece que ha habido un bloqueo”.

    Si se comprueba que fue “censura”, continuó Sánchez, “lamentablemente se corta un camino de expresión ciudadana para los cubanos”.

    Según Sánchez, ella misma ha dado capacitación “a más de una veintena” de blogueros que utilizan Twitter pero su número en “la comunidad de tweeteros alternativos en Cuba podría ser mayor”.

    “Pareciera un número pequeño, pero en una isla donde el monopolio de internet estaba en manos del Estado, es algo significativo”, observó.

    Sánchez dijo que otro bloguero que logró acceso a Internet desde un hotel, se ha puesto en contacto con los responsables de Twitter pero “no ha recibido respuesta”.

    Sánchez señaló que se enteró hoy mismo de su situación cuando varios seguidores suyos le dijeron que desde el viernes no recibían sus mensajes a través del servicio “sms”, aparentemente el único medio por el que los cubanos, armados con un teléfono celular, pueden colgar sus mensajes en esa red social.

    Asimismo, Tomás Bilbao, director ejecutivo del grupo “Cuba Study Group”, dijo a Efe que ha contactado al Departamento de Estado y a Twitter para que se investigue lo que ha sucedido con la cuenta de Sánchez y otros blogueros.

    El aumento en el número de blogueros que usan la red social de Twitter “posiblemente ha levantado el perfil” de estos activistas y ha atraído la atención de las autoridades cubanas, dijo Bilbao.

    “De ser cierto que el Gobierno cubano haya logrado bloquear el acceso a Twitter a través del servicio sms, eso sería sorprendente dado que en el caso iraní, el Gobierno no pudo bloquearlo”, dijo Bilbao, del grupo empresarial no partidista.

    Bilbao se refería a la llamada “revolución Twitter” en Irán, donde una vibrante comunidad de blogueros ha recurrido a esa red social para denunciar abusos, pese a los esfuerzos del Gobierno para utilizar filtros que bloquean cierto contenido de internet.

    En julio pasado, el grupo de Bilbao publicó un extenso informe en el que promueve el apoyo al pueblo cubano a través de la tecnología, como una forma de alentar la democracia en la isla.

    Ese informe, de 52 páginas, destacó, por ejemplo, que si las compañías de telecomunicaciones estadounidenses pudiesen ampliar sus servicios de telefonía celular y de internet, eso daría al pueblo cubano las herramientas para desarrollar su productividad económica.

    Efe también intentó contactar a los administradores de la red social, pero hasta el momento no ha tenido respuesta.


    “I felt really happy for being part of the (division-clinching) celebration,” Chapman said. “I felt lucky because (of it) being my first year in the majors. … If I begin to pitch in the playoffs … (late) in the game, it means the team trusts in what I can do.”

  19. U.S.A. TODAY: Cuba’s finest: Reds’ Aroldis Chapman follows boyhood hero Jose Contreras into postseason-Seth Livingstone-Oct 05, 2010-

    Lots of kids in the U.S. and Cuba dream of throwing a baseball 105 mph, like Cincinnati Reds rookie Aroldis Chapman.

    Turns out Chapman’s own boyhood hero will be on the field in the NLDS.

    As a child in Cuba, Chapman, 22, says he followed closely the career of right-hander Jose Contreras, 39, a three-time Cuban Athlete of the Year, now a member of the Phillies’ bullpen.

    “Jose Contreras — he’s Aroldis’ hero,” said Tomas Vera, a trainer in the Reds’ organization who doubled as Chapman’s translator Tuesday.

    Like Contreras in 2002 and another Phillies pitcher, Danys Baez in 1999, Chapman defected from Cuba in 2009 before signing his lucrative deal (worth more than $30 million for six years) with the Reds. Chapman, a 6-foot-4 left-handed reliever, said he’d never met either Phillies pitcher in person before chatting briefly with Baez before today’s workout. Baez, who is not on the Phillies’ Division Series roster, says he hopes to talk at length with Chapman in the near future.

    Right now, he’s a bit more focused on left-handed hitters like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley who he could be facing with NLDS games on the line.

    “When I was a kid, I started to follow Jose,” Chapman said through Vera. “Back then, he was our best pitcher in Cuba, so I really liked him.

    “I was impressed with the way (he pitched) and the amount of quality pitches he had. I used to follow him when he was part of the National Team and when (he went) to the international competition, like the Olympic Games, the Central American Games. I feel really good to watch him. He was the best in Cuba.”

    Chapman says he was unable to follow Contreras’ career the same way once Contreras made his way to the U.S.

    These days, everyone is following Chapman, who was clocked at 103 mph in his major league debut and as high as 105 mph in the minors this season. He’s yet to face the Phillies, but is looking forward to his taste of the postseason.

    “I felt really happy for being part of the (division-clinching) celebration,” Chapman said. “I felt lucky because (of it) being my first year in the majors. … If I begin to pitch in the playoffs … (late) in the game, it means the team trusts in what I can do.”

    Reds manager Dusty Baker knows that Chapman’s velocity can create problems for even the best of hitters.

    “There is a point where they have to commit earlier than normal,” Baker said. “Therefore, you have a tendency to swing at bad pitches. And if he’s throwing strikes and if you’re worried about swinging at bad pitches, it’s by you before you know it, (even if) it’s a strike and it’s a good pitch.”

    By Seth Livingstone

  20. ***
    HI MICKEY–#6. Cuba has WW2 style food shortages and rationing for most Cubans. A black market exists where food can be sold for money at a profit. It’s illegal to have more food than your allotted amount. Communist leaders get their own special stores and money–the peasants get much less.
    Like the kings of old. A good life for the king and his people. A hard life for the others.
    HOLA MICKEY–#6. Cuba tiene falta de comida–como los Estados Unidos durante la Guerra Mundial II–por la mayoria de los Cubanos. Un mercado negro exista donde uno puede venderlo por ganancia. Es contra del ley tenir mas comida que permita el gobierno. Los jefes del gobierno communista tienen sus tiendas especiales–y su dinero especial–los peones reciben much menos.
    Como los reyes de siglos pasados. Una vida buena por el rey y su gente. Una vida dura por los otros.
    John Bibb

  21. Hello, Im confused, WHY is food considered contraband? Milk products? Beef? Cheese? Fish? Whats the problem with that?

  22. ***
    Cheap buses go from El Paso, Texas to Denver, Colorado. The Border Patrol stops some buses and checks all the suitcases and boxes. Some have drugs in them–but nobody admits to owning them! What a surprise! It’s O.K. to take food to Denver.
    Camiones baratas van de El Paso, Tejas a Denver, Colorado. La Patrulla de la Frontera para unos y rivisa las maletas y cajas. Unos tienen drogas en ellos–pero nadie admita ser duenos de ellas! Que sopresa! Esta bien cargar comida a Denver.
    John Bibb

  23. A friend of mine who visited Cuba recently, travelled on a tourist bus from Havana to Varadero and thought the buses were not too different from Greyhound equipment, in terms of seating confort and air conditioning. However upon arriving at the hotel at the destination, somewhere in downtown Varadero, he noted how a civilian guard at the door of the hotel, stopped locals from so much as looking into the lobby area.

    That evening after dinner, he watched the doorman’s behavior from the corner of his eyeas while seated at the lobby. He further noticed how this somewhat muscular individual (or goverment thug) stared down with steely predator eyes, all locals who just happened to walk by in front of, and past the hotel entrance on their way to the beach. He even seemed to have a problem with anyone stopping by anywhere near the entrance to the hotel, unless they were wearing the wrist straps marking them as tourists.

    Apartheid is alive and well in the fiefdom of the feudal brothers. I’m sure as I write this, they are talking to their Korean cohort Kim Il Sung, asking for advise on how to continue their dynasty, now that the alkie Sung (who reportedly keeps a dresserful of expensive alcohol bottles) has named his son as his successor.

  24. Translators:

    Two observations on the above translation:

    – The officers opened the packages or bags without care (or ripped them)

    – The dogs were shepard dogs (as in German Shepards)

    Thanks for your time and effort.

  25. Simba Sez: As there is no accountability for the goods so confiscated it might make one wonder how much of it will yet see the black market? Is it merely a question of who retains the profit, the weary traveler who lost his livlihood, or the police officer that took it from him/her?

  26. Interesting.
    I traveled recently using de modern VIA AZUL buses and there was no road checked baggages.
    Maybe we were all foreigners or tourist and such actions against foreigners will not speak well of the Socialist paradise.
    Once again, Cuban Authorities kiss foreigners behinds and spit the faces of their citizens.
    The more things change, the more they remain the same.

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