Crazy Glue

Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

People are shouting from balcony to balcony and at first I think they’re insulting each other, but that’s not it. The woman from the building on the corner tells another woman that they have Crazy Glue at the little shop at Boyeros and Tulipán. Both are wide-eyed, gesticulating, “I thought it was gone forever,” “There’s been none anywhere,” they say. I chuckled while looking at the tip of my shoe, greatly in need of this instant fixative that the neighbors are announcing as if the ration stores had gotten a delivery of beef. If I get there in time to get a tube of the magic glue, I could fix the computer key that’s been flying off, and also the doorbell, which you can barely hear when someone rings it.

Surrounded by my list of broken things, I start to wander if there will be statistics on how much crazy glue is used each year on this Island. It is not a basic product, but I sense that there is a relationship between the need to repair our belongings and the seriousness of the country’s economic crisis. If not, why is the whole world running after an adhesive that is advertised as able to reassemble everything. Often I have bits of glue stuck to my elbows or on my clothes after making one the repairs I’m faced with every day. The last time I focused on these tasks I ended up with my thumb and index finger glued together, until hot water managed to separate them, taking off a piece of skin in the process.

In many stores, when this contact cement comes in you’d think they were having a big sale. People buy dozens of tubes, as if its great adherent power could glue together a reality cracked by frustration. We are not an excessively austere people, who can’t stand to throw out useless things, but we find it difficult to pay attention to the expiration dates provided by the manufacturers. When we break something, we rarely have a substitute. So I will leave this post here, and go and buy my share of crazy glue, my necessary dose of that instantaneous mender. Perhaps a few drops will help me to gather the pieces of that future we’ve dropped on the floor, smashing it to smithereens all over the place.

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12 thoughts on “Crazy Glue

  1. LATIN AMERICA HERALD TRIBUNE: Cuban Government Offers Dissidents Exit Visas

    HAVANA – Several former political prisoners and the family of a dissident who died behind bars earlier this year are being given the opportunity to leave Cuba, members of the internal opposition said Thursday.

    The Catholic Archdiocese of Havana conveyed the government’s offer to Reina Luisa Tamayo, mother of the late Orlando Zapata, a spokesperson for the Ladies in White group of political prisoners’ relatives told Efe.

    Zapata died Feb. 23 at an Havana hospital after an 85-day hunger strike he launched to pressure authorities into acknowledging him as a prisoner of conscience.

    Reina Tamayo told the archdiocese that while she wouldn’t leave Cuba without Orlando’s remains, she has no objection if her other children emigrate, according to Berta Soler of the Ladies in White, which comprises kin of the “Group of 75” dissidents jailed in March 2003.

    One of roughly a dozen Group of 75 prisoners who have been paroled on medical grounds, economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe, and his wife have also been offered the chance to abandon the communist-ruled island.

    The offer was made to them directly by a government official, the couple said in a statement.

    “I responded that I didn’t want to definitively leave my homeland, rather I wanted to be able to make temporary exits, that is: to be able to go abroad and have the guarantee of being able to return to Cuba,” Espinosa said. “My wife, Miriam Leiva, made the same decision.”

    The offer was likewise extended to several other Group of 75 parolees, including Margarito Broche, Jorge Olivera, Carmelo Diaz and Roberto de Miranda, human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez told Efe.

    The offers come as Havana is in the process of freeing political prisoners who agree to leave the island immediately for what the dissidents hope will be temporary exile in Spain.

    That initiative is the fruit of talks between the Catholic hierarchy and President Raul Castro, who said in July that all of the Group of 75 still behind bars – then numbering 52 – would be freed by the end of this month.

    Thirty-nine dissidents have gone to Spain so far and the archdiocese recently announced that three political prisoners who are not part of the Group of 75 are to be released soon and leave for the Iberian nation.

    More political prisoners are being considered for release, Cuba’s Catholic primate, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, said this week.

    The Ladies in White submitted to the church a list of 113 prisoners to be freed, including 12 Group of 75 dissidents who have declined to accept exile in Spain.

    The group demands that the Cuban government free those dozen prisoners without conditions. EFE

    http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=372047&CategoryId=14510

  2. EL TIEMPO: Ilusiones de cambio o cambio de ilusiones, por Yoani Sánchez-La ganadora del Premio Ortega y Gasset escribió para EL TIEMPO sobre los cambios en Cuba.
    Por suerte ya no me quedaban demasiadas ilusiones, porque de lo contrario me habría sentido muy defraudada hace tres semanas, cuando me negaron por octava vez en apenas tres años el permiso para viajar al extranjero.

    Desde que el general Raúl Castro heredó la presidencia de Cuba, en febrero de 2008, el tema que ha gravitado con mayor presencia entre estudiosos e interesados es el de los cambios que se operarían en el socialismo cubano. Las especulaciones tuvieron su origen en la mención hecha por el propio general de que era necesario eliminar absurdas prohibiciones y realizar cambios estructurales en la economía.

    Como cualquier otro ciudadano de este país, confronté esas promesas con aquellas prohibiciones que afectan mi vida y al principio me hice mis particulares esperanzas en relación con la dirección, profundidad y velocidad con la que se llevarían a efecto las necesarias transformaciones económicas.

    Las primeras prohibiciones abolidas fueron aquellas que impedían a los nacionales hacer un contrato de telefonía celular, hospedarse en un hotel y comprar algunos artículos tenidos por conflictivos, como un reproductor de DVD o un computador con sus respectivos periféricos.

    Esas medidas sólo sirvieron para hacer válidos ciertos derechos que ya estaban amparados en la Constitución de la República desde hacía más de 30 años, pero al menos me permitieron legalizar el contrato de móvil que ya había conseguido por trasmano y tener acceso a las redes de Internet que, a un precio exorbitante, prestan servicio a los turistas en los más lujosos hoteles de la capital.

    Había tenido la fantasía de que serían abolidas también las restricciones que impiden a los cubanos residentes en la isla contratar en su domicilio un servicio de Internet, de televisión por cable o recepción satelital con antenas parabólicas.

    Supuse que se eliminaría también la absurda prohibición de vender una casa o un vehículo automotor y que finalmente el derecho económico de fundar una empresa dejaría de ser un privilegio que solo tienen el Estado y los inversionistas extranjeros.

    Pero mi más delirante quimera fue, desde que empecé a oír hablar de que venían los cambios, que serían erradicadas las restricciones que obligan a los habitantes del “primer territorio libre de América” a pedir un permiso para visitar otro país.

    Obviamente, no estoy hablando de la visa que estampa en nuestro pasaporte la embajada de la nación a la que se quiere visitar, sino del trámite que hay que realizar en las oficinas de inmigración para recibir la autorización de salida, conocido entre nosotros como “la carta blanca” y por la que hay que pagar 150 pesos convertibles, el equivalente a casi un año de salario de un profesional.

    Desde mayo de 2008 hasta el presente, en la misma oficina de inmigración de mi municipio, me ha sido negado ese permiso en ocho ocasiones, lo que me ha impedido participar en eventos a los que he sido invitada o recoger premios con los que he sido galardonada.

    En ningún caso he recibido una explicación, sólo la lacónica frase: “Por el momento, usted no está autorizada a salir del país”. Mi exigencia de que se me digan claramente y por escrito las razones de mi retención dentro de la isla obedecen realmente a una formalidad, porque tanto ellos como yo sabemos de qué se trata: pienso diferente y, para colmo, lo hago público.

    En la actualidad, las más llamativas señales relativas a la voluntad de cambios podrían encontrarse en la aún inconclusa excarcelación de los presos políticos y en las recientes modificaciones a la política laboral, que despedirá de sus otrora seguros puestos estatales a medio millón de empleados. La mayoría de los disponibles caen en esa definición a partir de la revisión de la malsana tendencia de contratar entre 8 o 10 trabajadores en lugares donde bastaba con dos o tres. Ahora, el improductivo

    Estado carente de una subvención foránea tiene que renunciar a sus poses paternalistas y confesar públicamente que las muy exhibidas bajas tasas de desempleo eran apenas una ficción. Los que sobran tendrán que ganarse su sustento con el trabajo por cuenta propia, o dedicarse a las labores agrícolas.

    En los días que corren hay una extendida sensación de pánico en las oficinas ministeriales y en todas las empresas de la abultada burocracia estatal. Incluso en fábricas y talleres, tiendas y cafeterías no se habla de otra cosa.

    La gente se mira con recelo por el temor de que unos a otros se estén haciendo sombra. El argumento de que será “la idoneidad” la palabra mágica para decidir quién se queda y quién se va, no convence a todos, pues es sabido que dondequiera que haya decisiones humanas éstas estarán matizadas por conveniencias, antipatías o factores de corte ideológico; la corrupción y el amiguismo también se sentarán en la mesa donde se estén discutiendo los casos.

    La peculiaridad más notoria de este proceso, que se ha dado en llamar de perfeccionamiento o actualización del modelo cubano, quizás sea la lentitud con que se viene ejecutando.

    La divisa de vista larga y pasos cortos parece prevalecer en la mente de los hombres que poseen alguna responsabilidad en la máxima dirección del país, quienes tienen la convicción de que no hacer los cambios puede ser tan peligroso como hacerlos más allá de ese punto en que empiecen a tambalear las sólidas columnas donde se asienta su poder.

    Uno de esos pilares es la represión, fuente de la obediencia indispensable que se necesita para gobernar un país sin una oposición legalizada.

    Consecuencia inevitable de esa represión es la sumisión a la que se sienten obligados aquellos que tienen la pretensión de emigrar y necesitan -claro está- un permiso condicionado por motivos políticos.

    No obstante, si alguien sobra en este país son los cientos de uniformados que en las oficinas de inmigración dedican su indiscutible talento a sopesar la lealtad del que quiere montarse en un avión. La manutención de esas estructuras improductivas y violadoras de derechos es un índice revelador de hasta dónde llega la voluntad transformadora en el Gobierno de Raúl Castro.

    No hay que hacerse ilusiones con que ese tipo de cambio esté próximo a producirse: mejor es cambiar de ilusiones. Las mías no están enfocadas en la voluntad de mis gobernantes, sino en el peso de la obstinada realidad.

    Todo cambiará, aunque ellos no quieran. Mis nietos creerán que soy una mentirosa cuando les cuente cómo eran las cosas en mis tiempos y yo seré feliz de ver que ninguna de estas tonterías les cabe en sus cabezas.

    ¿Quién es Yoani Sánchez?

    Esta licenciada en filología y periodista de 35 años fue seleccionada por la revista ‘Time’ en el 2008 como una de las 100 personas más influyentes en el mundo. Ese mismo año, el diario ‘El País’ de España le otorgó el Premio Ortega y Gasset en la categoría de periodismo digital.

    http://www.eltiempo.com/gente/ARTICULO-WEB-NEW_NOTA_INTERIOR-8129782.html

  3. I GET ALL OF MY INTERNET VIA BROADBAND SO I DONT NEED A PHYSICAL CABLE TO GET DECENT INTERNET SPEED! SO WHAT IS THE ISSUE/EXCUSE BY THE CUBAN GOVERMENT ABOUT THIS CABLE LINK? DONT GET IT, MAYBE SOMEONE HERE CAN SHED SOME LIGHT. IS IT EASIER TO CONTROL?

    BLOOMBERG:Undersea Venezuela-Cuba fiber optic cable delayed-October 12,

    HAVANA -An undersea cable from Venezuela to Cuba to improve Internet and telecommunications on the communist-run island won’t be ready until July at the earliest and will cost more than initially thought, Cuban news media reported Tuesday.
    The Communist Party newspaper Granma said the project will lay 3,125 miles (5,000 kilometers) of cable linking Cuba, Jamaica and Venezuela, and that its anticipated cost has risen from $63 million to $70 million.

    The story cited Alberto Rodriguez, Cuba’s vice minister of information and communications, as saying that the project won’t be completed until July 2011 at the earliest. It did not say whether work has begun.

    Venezuela’s government has an agreement with the Paris-based company Alcatel-Lucent to produce and install the fiber optic line, but the project has been delayed repeatedly since it was first announced in 2007.

    Cuba says the U.S. embargo blocks it from using telecommunication systems in nearby countries, and that it must rely on satellite service from Europe and other faraway locales, making Internet and phone service costly and unreliable.

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9IQ94884.htm

  4. PUBLIC RADIO INTERNATIONAL: Preparing Cuba for the free market from the US-From PRI’s The World 11 October, 2010

    Cuba is flirting with free-market reforms, while Cuban Americans try to help prepare the country for life under a version of capitalism.

    This story was originally covered by PRI’s The World. For more, listen to the audio BY CLICKING LINK TO WEB SITE

    The Castro regime recently announced it was laying off half a million workers from the government’s payroll. Then it followed up by announcing that, starting this month, Cubans will have more freedom when it comes to starting small private businesses, within limits, of course.

    Some doubt whether or not these reforms will work. Antonio Jorge, who left Cuba in 1962 and is now a senior fellow at the Institute of Cuban Studies at the University of Miami, told PRI’s The World, “You cannot create a market economy simply by issuing a decree.”

    The recent moves remind Jorge of the so-called “periodo especial” or special period, after the Soviets ended subsidies in the early ’90s. Jorge told The World, “the Cuban government at that time allowed for the licensing of about 200,000 people to provide private services.” The economy still languished and famines broke out across the country.

    Jorge says the Cuban government needs to lay the foundation of a free market. And some nonprofits in the United States are trying to help, by preparing Cubans for life in a more capitalist society.

    “We help the small business sector in Cuba by providing what we call a business in a box,” Teo Babun, a nonprofit consultant who’s been working to build small businesses in Cuba for more than ten years. He helps Cuban entrepreneurs by sending them a box with everything they need to get started. A kit for a graphic designer, for example, includes tools for cutting and pasting graphics. A newly minted graphic designer in Cuba would also get lessons on basic free market principles: How to price your services, how to market your business, what to do with revenue.

    There is plenty of cash floating around the island with which to start businesses. The Cuban American community sends millions of dollars each year back to their families in Cuba. Babun estimates that “it could be from 800 million to a billion dollars a year of assistance that is provided by the Cuban American community to the Cubans.”

    That money could be put to good use through free-market efforts like Babun’s. Speaking about a recipient of one of his kits, he told The World, “when you consider that you earn an average of $20 a month in Cuba, this person is a middle class person in two weeks. God bless them and now we have one more independent, self-employed person in Cuba.”

    PRI’s “The World” is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. “The World” is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston. More “The World.”

    http://www.pri.org/business/social-entrepreneurs/preparing-cuba-for-the-free-market-from-the-us2407.html

  5. Albert, I wonder if there is enough to glue the Castrofascists mouth, eyes and ears forever.

  6. I wonder if there is enough crazy glue to repair the many lives lost and/or ruined.
    The many minds perverted by political indoctrination.
    The many families separated and/or destroyed.
    The many hearts broken by disapointment & lies.
    The many dreams broken by the totalitarism exercised by criminals.
    I wonder …

  7. Derek

    You are absolutely right, communism is a cancer on humanity. It serves as a vehicle for demagogues and megalomaniacs to to grab and sustain power over the poor and ignorant. There has not a been a single, successful communist regime that could stand on the merits of it’s accomplishments. Communism has only been successful at destruction. Entire societies, cultures, economies, ethnic groups and ecosystems have been irrepairably damaged or erradicated by the likes of lenin, stalin, mao and their lesser bretheren like Romania’s ceacescu, the kims of Korea, brezhnev’s shoeshine- boy honecker and of course castro and his merry band of tinpot, banana republic dictators: chavez, ortega, corea and morales. An ignominious rollcall of amoral, murderous vultures one and all.

  8. Translator in this “taking off a piece of skin the process.” it should be
    “taking off a piece of skin in the process.”

    Julio — CORRECTED! Thanks!!!!
    Your Friendly English Translator

  9. Age:40Joined:January 03, 2008Last Visit Date:4 months agoSubscribers:11Communists are those who read Marx and didn’t understand it.
    Anti-Communists are those who read
    Marx and did understand it.

    Destruction, that is your action. Destroy the production of the machines of the civilized world so that women, men and children may live in poverty and misery like in Cuba. And when I speak of Cuba it is because i was born there, and as a child i saw how that country was destroyed materially and how thousands of prisons rose as well as concentration camps. And how thousands of desperate men sought suicide and how others ran at the guards and how they were massacred by them. Others were killed for merely thinking differently. And how thousands have died at sea, in an effort to escape that communist terror. And yet it is of little importance to the western world, the tragedy of the Cuban. We have been slaves, 90 miles off the coast of the greatest country in the world and it’s indifference towards us is as great as the country itself. They only make politics and yet the en-slaver is there dying, where he can only take cowardice to the tomb. Cuba in the year of 1959 had the same standard of living as the southern parts of the united states and we were one of the countries in Latin America with the highest standard of living. That is why I say the the motto of communism is to destroy and why i say that Cuba is one of the most poorest countries in Latin America. Not only was the destruction materialistic but physical as well. Hundreds of thousands have been murdered by the machines of destruction. Communists are sadistic, perverse, cowardly, liars, frustrated, filled with hate and against society and progress. Democracy needs to stop being weak and be humane. Just like they confronted Nazism, they have to confront communism, which has been mush more destructive and murderous. If men who love civilization and a future for those to come, they should take with seriousness these destroyers who although do not represent an international danger they abuse and enslave it’s people. Or are we only going to look at Hitler as an enemy just because he was an economic threat. Communists destroy their economy but they enslave and murder there people. For me Fascism or National Socialism and Communism are cousins who do not get along and we must treat them with and iron hand. Long live Democracy and DOWN WITH COMMUNISM AND FASCISM.

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