Personal Catastrophes

Aerocaribbean plane ATR 72 (CU-T1545) at the airport Holguin, Cuba, similar to the plane that crashed today

How many human dramas around each victim in the crash of Aerocaribbean Flight 833. The similarity of names in the passenger list suggest that parents and children, brothers and sisters, couples with their offspring, have been lost. I remember that among the names mentioned on the news this morning was that of a Japanese tourist, who also lost his life thousands of miles from that other island so different from ours. I can’t stop thinking about him or the others who died in the plane that should have been a road, a bridge, a highway, but never the last one.

Behind each of the 40 Cuban passengers the tragedy is also enormous. They bought that fatal ticket three months before their departure day and waited in a long line to board a mode of transportation that in this country is rare and extremely expensive. Probably relieved to know that they would make the trip from Santiago de Cuba to Havana in something a little less chaotic than the national train. Their presence on that ATR 72/212 was the conclusion of a sequence of sacrifices that started just when they had the need — or the desire — to travel within Cuba, and that would end only when they arrived at their fate.

Misfortune lurks on all sides, this we know, but it is difficult to process the idea that people climb the stairs of an airplane and a shortly afterward their names are read, in a solemn voice, on national television. I return again and again to the images of the possible family embrace that was waiting in the arrival airport, of the mother who learned in Buenos Aires or Amsterdam that her son would not return, or of the pilot’s wife saying goodbye while thinking, like every other time, that he would soon return home. These are the personal catastrophes, the human dramas, that began to descend in the same minute that the plane fell to earth.

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23 thoughts on “Personal Catastrophes

  1. Damir your are a true asshole and the funny thing is that everyone on here knows it. Do us all a favor and fuck yourself you dumb asshole!!!

  2. CANADIAN BUSINESS: Cuba to decide economic future at crucial Communist Party meeting; 1st sinc 1997-By Paul Haven

    HAVANA (AP) – Communist Party leaders say Cuba should balance its budget, repay billions of dollars in debt and stop propping up failing state-run companies, according to a document being circulated ahead of a major summit designed to save this cash-strapped island from financial ruin.

    The 32-page paper, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, was handed out to local party activists Monday during a speech by President Raul Castro, in which he announced that Cuba would hold a make-or-break Communist Party Congress next April.

    The document also recommends ending an unusual dual-currency system and seeking new ways for individuals to buy and sell private property.

    None of the proposals are new, but putting them together in one place makes clear that the scope of the congress will be nearly limitless — at least in terms of economic ideas.

    The gathering, which last took place in 1997, is traditionally used to announce major policy changes. It is supposed to be held every five years, but has been delayed repeatedly as Cuba grappled with a change in leadership and a serious financial crisis.

    There has been intense speculation that the future of former president Fidel Castro’s role as Communist Party chief might also be discussed at the congress, though Raul Castro made no mention of his brother in his speech.

    “The Sixth Party Congress will concentrate on a solution to our economic problems,” Castro said.

    The document, which is meant to outline areas for discussion — not solutions — gives a merciless assessment of Cuba’s current economic situation, saying the country suffers from “inefficiency,” a “lack of capacity in both production and infrastructure” and an aging population.

    It says the country suffered greatly due to a 2003 decision to centralize control over foreign currency, with layers of bureaucracy that made it nearly impossible for state-run businesses to function.

    The paper, titled “Guideline Project for Economic Policy,” notes that inefficiency and incompetence have been exacerbated by simple bad luck.

    From 1997 to 2009, the country lost $10 billion due to a drop in world prices of the products Cuba sells — including sugar, tobacco and nickel — and a hike in the prices of products it imports, such as oil and many basic foods. The document notes the island was hit by 16 hurricanes in that approximate period, causing another $20 billion in damage.

    That’s an enormous blow for a country with an annual gross domestic product thought to be about $40 billion.

    Still the document makes clear that there will be no change in Cuba’s one-party, socialist political system.

    “Only socialism is capable of overcoming the current difficulties and preserving the victories of the revolution,” the document reads.

    The announcement of the party congress came at a celebration of the 10th anniversary of an economic pact under which Venezuela, which has become Cuba’s most important patron, sends the island billions of dollars worth of oil every year.

    Castro said that the meeting will “make fundamental decisions on how to modernize the Cuban economic model and adopt the paths for economic and social policy of the party and the revolution,” and that preparations for it would begin immediately.

    The Cuban leader was joined by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who vowed to continue supporting the Cuban revolution both economically and politically, as the two countries reaffirmed the pact for another decade.

    Chavez praised Castro for having the vision to shake things up.

    “Raul’s courage in modernizing socialism must be recognized,” he said, adding that his government would “accompany” the island going forward.

    Since taking over from his ailing brother in 2006 — first temporarily, then permanently — Castro has pursued a series of major economic reforms. In September, Cuba announced it was laying off a half-million state workers while opening up new opportunities for citizens to start private businesses. Those layoffs are due to be completed by the end of March, just weeks ahead of the congress.

    Castro also has begun to roll back the deep subsidies in food, utilities and public services on which Cubans have come to rely.

    At 84, Fidel Castro remains leader of the Communist Party and is still referred to as “commander in chief.” After four years out of the public eye, the revolutionary icon burst back on the scene in July and now makes frequent appearances to discuss world affairs, particularly his fear that a nuclear confrontation between the United States, Israel and Iran is inevitable.

    Before his health took a turn for the better, many speculated Fidel would step down from his party position at the next party congress. He has not tipped his hand either way.

    Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez contributed to this report

    http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/market_news/article.jsp?content=D9JCQ8T00

  3. NPR: Cuba To Chart Economic Future At Party Congress

    HAVANA November 9, 2010-Cuba’s economic future will be hammered out next April at a make-or-break Communist Party Congress, and President Raul Castro says any idea for pulling the island out of its deep malaise will be on the table — no matter how sensitive.
    The congress, which last took place in 1997, is traditionally used to announce major policy changes. It is supposed to be held every five years, but has been delayed repeatedly as Cuba grappled with a change in leadership and a serious financial crisis.

    There has been intense speculation that the future of former president Fidel Castro’s role as Communist Party chief might also be discussed at the congress, though Raul Castro made no mention of his brother in his speech Monday.

    “The Sixth Party Congress will concentrate on a solution to our economic problems,” Castro said.

    He said that the meeting will “make fundamental decisions on how to modernize the Cuban economic model and adopt the paths for economic and social policy of the party and the revolution,” and that preparations for it would begin immediately.

    He added that the summit, which will take place in the second half of April, will deal with every imaginable idea for economic progress.

    Party leaders began circulating a 32-page document meant to kick off discussions ahead of the Congress, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. The document calls on the state to balance the budget, repay billions of dollars in debt to foreign companies, stop propping up state-owned businesses, end an unusual dual currency system and look for new ways for individuals to buy and sell private property.

    None of the proposals are new, but putting them together in one document makes clear that the scope of the Congress will be nearly limitless — at least in terms of economic ideas.

    The document is merciless in its assessment of Cuba’s current economic situation, saying the country suffers from “inefficiency,” a “lack of capacity in both production and infrastructure” and an aging population.

    Still it makes clear that there will be no change in Cuba’ political system.

    “Only socialism is capable of overcoming the current difficulties and preserving the victories of the revolution,” the document reads.

    The announcement of the Party Congress came at a celebration of the 10th anniversary of an economic pact under which Venezuela, which has become Cuba’s most important patron, sends the island billions of dollars worth of oil every year.

    Castro was joined by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who vowed to continue supporting the Cuban revolution both economically and politically, as the two countries reaffirmed the pact for another decade.

    Chavez praised Castro for having the vision to shake things up.

    “Raul’s courage in modernizing socialism must be recognized,” he said, adding that his government would “accompany” the island going forward.

    Since taking over from his ailing brother in 2006 — first temporarily, then permanently — Raul Castro has pursued a series of major economic reforms. In September, Cuba announced it was laying off a half million state workers while opening up new opportunities for citizens to start private businesses. Those layoffs are due to be completed by the end of March, just weeks ahead of the congress.

    Castro has also begun to roll back the deep subsidies Cubans have come to rely on.

    Most citizens make just $20 a month in state-run jobs, but receive free education and health care and nearly free housing, transportation, utilities and basic food. The Cuban leader has said the state can no longer afford the outlays and accused his countrymen of believing they should get paid even if they don’t do any work.

    Despite the bold changes, Raul Castro remains an enigmatic figure to many Cubans, toiling in the shadow of his larger-than-life brother for decades before taking the helm. Even as president, he prefers to work behind the scenes, speaking in public only when absolutely necessary.

    Although no longer president, Fidel Castro remains leader of the Communist Party and is still referred to as “commander in chief.” After four years out of the public eye, the 84-year-old former leader burst back on the scene in July and now makes frequent appearances to discuss world affairs, particularly his fear that a nuclear confrontation between the United States, Israel and Iran is inevitable.

    Before his health took a turn for the better, many speculated Fidel would step down from his party position at the next party congress. He has not tipped his hand either way.

    Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez contributed to this report.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131174417

  4. Dumbir’s pyschotic obsession with the destruction of the US is but the pipe dream of every marxist douchebag. Dumbir and his “ilk”(the favorite word of his alter-ego Juan)are a bunch of losers who still beleive in a defeated and bankrupt ideology. Dumbir, the abandoned child of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ceauşescu, Kim and the assorted band of genocidal maniacs, and communist miscreants is left to wander the world, devoid of his heroes with only the taste of bile in his meely little mouth. Left to cheer for the progeny of his heroes, the castros, chavez, morales, correa and the mini-kims, even dumbir, his jellyfish level IQ not withstanding recognizes a losing team when he sees one. His delusional world view in a shambles and left without a side to root for he has become a walking void, a zero, a “person” with nothing to contribute except for spitting out hate and venom. He is but a broken shell of the once proud communist pioneer youth with his little white shirt and stylish red bandana. What he wouldn’t do to go back to those days, to live again in the embrace of his brainwashed, sloganeering empty-headed comrades chanting against the evil capitalists. What a waste…

    Dumbir, capitilism (and most certainly the US of A)will be around long after you are dead and long forgotten. Contrary to what tunnel-visioned, marxist morons like you beleive capitalism, free markets, supply and demand have always been around and will always be around, it is part of who we are as human beings and of the human condition to barter, trade, buy, sell etc… without a bunch of stinking, bearded power-hungry men around to control the process.

    Dumbir, keep your hairbrained, hateful diatribes coming, you set a fine example for the un-informed about what your side stands for.

  5. @#16
    what happened to your “accent & style”?
    Don’t “sound” like your old self …?!

  6. What a disgusting post from Yoani team!!! Only talking about 40 Cuban passengers, as if the rest, the 24 foreign tourists do not exist!

    Disgusting, but sadly expected from a vendepatria” bunch of traitors.

    What else to expect from those who sold their dignity to the foreigners who are working on destroying their own homeland?

  7. BBC: Cuba urged to free more prisoners-Opposition activists in Cuba have accused the government of failing to keep its promise to free another 13 jailed dissidents.

    President Raul Castro agreed in July to free 52 political prisoners within four months.

    Most have been released into exile in Spain, but 13 are still in prison because they refuse to leave Cuba.

    Relatives of prominent dissidents, known as the Ladies in White, protested in Havana to demand their release.

    The activists said Sunday was the deadline by which all 52 prisoners should have been freed, in accordance with a deal struck between President Castro and the Catholic Church.

    “They are deceiving and have played with the Church, the government of Spain, the European Union and with all the international community”, said the Ladies in White leader, Laura Pollan.

    “This is proof that their word has no value, and that they cannot be trusted,” she said.

    A Church official said they were surprised at the lack of progress regarding the prisoners.

    “It is not what we thought would happen,” Father Jose Felix Perez, secretary of the Cuban Conference of Bishops, told the Associated Press.

    Prominent dissident Guillermo Farinas has not ruled out resuming a hunger strike if the 13 men are not freed.

    Mr Farinas, who last month was awarded Europe’s Sakharov human rights prize, ended a long hunger strike in July when the government announced it was freeing the prisoners.

    Counter-revolutionaries
    Cuba’s communist government has never publicly discussed a deadline for the releases.

    It considers the prisoners to be counter-revolutionary “mercenaries” working for the US.

    But it agreed to free them in a deal brokered by the Church and the government of Spain, which said it would receive them.

    The government has also released or promised to release another 14 prisoners who were not part of the group of 52, including some who were convicted of violent crimes.

    The 52 were imprisoned in 2003 in a crackdown on opposition activists, government critics and commentators.

    Their wives, daughters and mothers formed the Ladies in White group to campaign for their release.

    Under Cuban law, dissidents can be arrested, tried and jailed for speaking and writing against the government under charges such as enemy propaganda, clandestine printing and unlawful association.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11707307

  8. EL NEGRO (Guillermo Fariñas) TIENE “TUMBAO” AND HE HAS PULL WITH THE MEDIA!!
    FOX NEWS LATINO: Fariñas Holding Off on Hunger Strike – For Now-By Elizabeth Llorente-November 08, 2010

    Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas said he is holding off on going on another hunger strike in support of 13 political prisoners until other human rights activists in Cuba find out why they were not released Sunday.
    In an exclusive interview with FoxNewsLatino.com, Fariñas — who is battling numerous health problems at his home — said that he and the political prisoners are waiting for a coalition of mothers and wives of the jailed dissidents to meet with Catholic Church officials and Spanish diplomats over the release of prisoners.

    “I have been asked by my fellow dissidents still in jail to wait for the ‘Ladies in White’ to meet with these officials before renewing a hunger strike,” said Fariñas, 48, who was among a group of more than 70 dissidents arrested and sentenced to years in jail by Cuban authorities in a massive crackdown in 2003. “We will see if their request for a meeting with the church officials and representatives of the Embassy of Spain is granted, and what these women are told as to the reason the release of the political prisoners did not happen.”

    Officials of the Catholic Church in Havana had indicated in the summer that Cuban government authorities had said it would release any remaining political prisoners from the 2003 crackdown by Nov. 7. The Cuban government has never addressed the church officials’ remarks, and it has never acknowledged a deadline for releasing the prisoners.

    Fariñas, who was once a supporter of the Communist revolution in Cuba and held government posts under Fidel Castro before becoming a vocal opponent of the system, held a 134-day hunger strike this year in support of his fellow dissidents. He won Europe’s Sakharov human rights prize in October.

    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2010/11/08/dissident-farinas-holding-hunger-strike/?test=latestnews

  9. AFP: Families, church press Cuba on dissidents’ release-By Isabel Sanchez
    HAVANA — Dozens of human rights activists marched and shouted “Freedom” here to press the Cuban government to meet its own deadline for freeing a large group of political prisoners.

    At the center of the showdown are 13 prisoners who have rejected exile, putting pressure on the government to release them in Cuba in order to meet a commitment it made to the Roman Catholic Church.

    “We asked for the government’s heart to be softened and for them to keep their promise because if they do not, they would be deceiving the Roman Catholic Church and international community,” said Laura Pollan, who leads a group of prisoners’ wives and mothers called the Ladies in White.

    The Catholic Church also urged the government to release the prisoners and ease the suffering of their families.

    “We hope that decisions are taken and that it eases the suffering and anxiety being created among the wives and other relatives of the prisoners,” said Jose Felix Perez, the secretary of the Cuban Conference of Bishops.

    President Raul Castro agreed on July 7 to release 52 prisoners over a four month period ending Sunday.

    Dissident sources say there are around 100 political prisoners still jailed in Cuba, in addition to the 52.

    Most of the 52 have left the country for Spain with their families, but 13 have opted “not to emigrate for now,” Bertha Soler, the other top leader of the Ladies in White, told AFP. Her husband Angel Moya refuses to be forced into exile.

    As the Ladies in White walked out of Saint Rita church in Havana’s upscale Miramar district, where they march every Sunday for their loved ones’ release, Pollan charged the government was “used to deceiving” prisoners and their families.

    But she said she was hoping for more, as Havana’s public commitment on this occasion has been greater than usual.

    About 30 of the group marched longer than they usually do, waved pink gladioluses and chanted “Freedom,” also making an “L” sign with their fingers in reference to “Libertad,” the Spanish word for freedom.

    “The church has told us to be hopeful, that they believe, as has the embassy of Spain, that they will be freed, but they (the prisoners) have heard nothing. This government is very closed-mouthed,” said Pollan, the wife of political prisoner Hector Maseda.

    “We have got to keep hoping. I trust the president’s word,” said Oscar Espinosa, one of 75 dissidents rounded up in a major 2004 crackdown who later was freed for health reasons.

    National Assembly speaker Ricardo Alarcon said in Geneva on July 20 that the Americas’ only one-party Communist government wants to free all of those on international dissident lists who have not been imprisoned for violent crimes.

    Dissident Guillermo Farinas, who won this year’s Sakharov rights prize after going on a hunger strike demanding the release of political prisoners, last week said he thought the government would meet the deadline.

    “If they don’t, it would make the church look bad,” said Oscar Espinosa, a freed former dissident. “But the government is pressuring them until the end to try to get them to leave the country, because they are a stone in its shoe. This is just unfair.”

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j3PcTtxVl7KyUpVqIWBAlf86l3ug?docId=CNG.1ec17e6b417fa531977cea8fc63ac880.1a1

  10. REUTERS AFRICA: Cuba missed dissidents prisoner release deadline –Sun Nov 7, 2010

    HAVANA (Reuters) – The dissident group “Ladies in White” accused the Cuban government on Sunday of failing to meet a deadline to release political prisoners and vowed to continue their weekly protest marches until all are freed.

    They said Sunday was the day by which 52 prisoners were supposed to be released in a July agreement between the state and Catholic Church, but that 13 of those remain behind bars.

    “They are deceiving and have played with the Church, with the government of Spain, with the governments of the European Union and with all the international community,” Ladies in White leader Laura Pollan told reporters at the group’s weekly protest march on Havana’s Fifth Avenue.

    The Church announced on July 7 an agreement with the government to free 52 prisoners jailed since a 2003 crackdown in process it said would take “three to four months,” although it did not set a specific date.

    The government, which views the prisoners as mercenaries in the pay of its longtime foe, the United States, has never publicly discussed a deadline for the releases.

    As part of the deal, Spain said it would take in the prisoners, who the government wants out of the country.

    So far, 39 of the 52 have agreed to go to Spain and been freed, but the rest, who include Pollan’s husband Hector Maceda, say they do not want to leave Cuba.

    The 52 are husbands and sons of the Ladies in White, who have marched weekly since their arrests demanding that they be freed.

    In the meantime, the government has released or agreed to release another 14 prisoners not included in the original 52.

    iIt has told the Church it wants to free all political prisoners, but there is disagreement on who qualifies.

    Cuban authorities have reportedly said they did not want to free political prisoners who committed acts of violence, although some of the 14 not included in the original 52 were accused of hijacking and other violent acts.

    Pollan said there are at least 33 prisoners who should be released because they committed no acts of violence.

    She said the Ladies in White will continue marching until all political prisoners are freed, not just their loved ones.

    “The Ladies in White are going to continue fighting while there exist non-violent political prisoners,” she said. “We want there to be no political prisoners in Cuban jails.”

    (Reporting by Jeff Franks; editing by Cynthia Osterman)

    http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE6A62GG20101107

  11. LOOKS LIKE THE CUBAN GOVERMENT IS GOING TO MISS TODAY’S DEADLINE TO RELEASE THE PROMISED POLITICAL PRISONERS, SINCE AT LEAST 13 PRISONERS OF CONCIENCE REFUSE TO
    ACCEPT DEPORTATION AND EXILE AS A CONDITION.

    Agencia EFE: Las Damas de Blanco acusan al Gobierno de engaño si no cumple el plazo de las liberaciones
    La Habana, 7 nov (EFE).- Las disidentes Damas de Blanco acusaron al Gobierno de Cuba de “engañar” y “jugar” con la Iglesia católica, España y la comunidad internacional si no libera hoy a los trece prisioneros de conciencia del Grupo de los 75 que aún quedan en la cárcel.

    Laura Pollán, portavoz de estas mujeres familiares de presos políticos, se pronunció así en la jornada en que vence el plazo anunciado en Cuba para liberar a los 52 miembros del “Grupo de los 75” que estaban en la cárcel, de los que 39 han sido ya excarcelados y viajaron a España en los últimos meses.

    Todavía quedan en la cárcel trece presos de ese grupo (adoptados como prisioneros de conciencia por Amnistía Internacional, al igual que el resto de los 75) que se niegan al exilio como condición para ser excarcelados.

    En las últimas semanas el Gobierno de Cuba, sin haber completado la totalidad de las 52 liberaciones comprometidas el pasado julio, ha ampliado las excarcelaciones a otros presos no adoptados por Amnistía Internacional pero considerados “políticos” por organizaciones de derechos humanos y otros colectivos.

    Las Damas de Blanco reclamaron hoy, tras acudir como todos los domingos a misa en la habanera parroquia de Santa Rita, que el Gobierno de Cuba cumpla con lo prometido, al tiempo que se mantienen a la espera de ver qué sucede durante la jornada de hoy.

    “De no cumplir no nos van a engañar a nosotras, a los presos o al pueblo de Cuba como acostumbran a hacer. Están engañando y están jugando con la Iglesia como institución, con el Gobierno de España, con los gobiernos de la Unión Europea y con toda la comunidad internacional”, dijo Pollán.

    “Sería una forma de demostrar que ellos no tienen palabra, que no se puede creer en ellos”, agregó en referencia al Gobierno cubano.

    Laura Pollán también subrayó que las Damas de Blanco no van a dejar de luchar “los suelten o no”.

    “No son solamente nuestros familiares, quedan muchos presos políticos pacíficos por los que hay que luchar hasta que estén en libertad”, dijo la portavoz de las Damas de Blanco, cuyo marido, Héctor Maseda, es uno de los trece prisioneros que aún quedan en la cárcel.

    Según manifestó Pollán, la Iglesia y la Embajada de España en Cuba ha pedido a las Damas de Blanco que tengan esperanza sobre las liberaciones.

    “Pero ellos no conocen nada, ustedes saben lo hermético que es este Gobierno”, indicó Pollán a la prensa internacional.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/epa/article/ALeqM5iB5H0kXo8l0wSqdx2Afpy-xVBVCg?docId=1400995

  12. MORE UPDATED INFORMATION OF THE STELLAR RECORD/INCOMPETENCE OF THE CUBAN AIRLINES/GOVERMENT! THEY ARE BOTH GUILTY BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SAME!! TIME WILL TELL WHERE THE BLAMES LIES! I HOPE!

    “The last passenger plane crash on the island occurred in March 2002, when a Soviet-made biplane carrying 16 people – including 12 foreigners – plunged into a small reservoir in central Cuba. The plane was operated by a small local charter company called Aerotaxi.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/americas/plane-carrying-68-crashes-in-cuba/article1786610/

  13. Suzanne’s Cuba Blog

    In summary, Cubana has the worst safety record of any airline in the world. If you’re into airline crash statistics you can take a closer look at this on http://www.planecrashinfo.com/ It makes very interesting reading, as long as you’re not reading it just before taking a flight.

    The figures on this site are just for international airlines. Apparently it is not a requirement to report statistics for domestic flights, so you can probably imagine that the statistics for Cubana’s domestic flights could well be even worse.

    Just to add to this, I also read that most of Cubana’s fleet of aircraft are made up of old Russian planes and the service (cabin crew, entertainment, food etc) is pretty bad.

    http://www.suzannestravels.com/cuba/2005/06/cubana-airways.html

    Cubana de Aviacion 27 Mar 1962 Santiago de Cuba, Cuba Ilyushin IL-14
    Cubana de Aviacion 09 Feb 1967 Near Mexico City, Mexico Antonov AN-12
    Cubana de Aviacion 18 Mar 1976 Havana. Cuba Antonov An-24B
    Cubana de Aviacion 06 Oct 1976 Off Bridgetown, Barbados McDonnell Douglas DC-8-43
    Cubana de Aviacion 13 May 1980 Off Varadero, Cuba Ilyushin IL-14
    Cubana de Aviacion 19 Jan 1985 Havana, Cuba Ilyushin IL-18D
    Cubana de Aviacion 03 Sep 1989 Near Havana, Cuba Ilyushin IL-62M
    Cubana de Aviacion 23 Mar 1990 Santiago de Cuba Antonov AN-26
    Cubana de Aviacion 24 Oct 1990 Santiago de Cuba, Cuba Yakovlev YAK-40
    Cubana de Aviacion 11 Jul 1997 Off Santiago de Cuba, Cuba Antonov AN-24
    Cubana de Aviacion 29 Aug 1998 Quito, Ecuador Tupolev TU-154M
    Cubana de Aviacion 25 Dec 1999 Bejuma, Venezuela Yakovlev YAK-42D
    Cubana de Aviacon 03 Feb 1980 Baracoa, Cuba Yakovlev YAK-40
    Cubana de Aviacon 21 Dec 1999 Guatemala City, Guatemala McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30

  14. EL UNIVERSAL: On Cuba’s way-A total of 1,200 villages without electric power supply remind Cubans of the crisis following the collapse of the USSR. While the Cuban government is opening its economy to prevent its demise, Venezuela heads for the Cuban way

    Analysis
    Since Monday, October 25, Cuba’s post offices and kiosks have been selling two special editions of the Official Gazette containing the regulations on curtailed government payroll. Public servants, street vendors and free-lancers are looking for the Gazette which states the terms of the new economic plan governing in Cuba after Raúl Castro’s address to the nation last year. Then, Castro acknowledged depletion of the economic model that has prevailed in Cuba for 50 years.

    The context where Cubans receive the new economic measures was depicted by Fidel Castro himself. He conceded that in the middle of the 21st century jobless account for 8 percent of the labor force and about 1,200 villages continue living in the 19th century, that is, in the dark. Also, in the late nineties, Cuba spent 244 days of outage and 2,444 schools lacked electric power supply.

    Perhaps this reminds Cubans of the “special period,” in reference to an economic crisis that lasted 16 years and was unleashed by the collapse of Cuba’s major supplier, the Soviet Union. Now the Bolivarian revolution relieved it in playing such role.

    The crisis of the nineties took a breath of fresh air in the 21st century under the administration of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez. More than once, Fidel and Raúl have recognized such an alliance. “Venezuela and Cuba have one single government,” it was proclaimed once. Anyhow, while Chávez takes hold of Orthodox Marxism in the early years of the Cuban revolution, Cuban communism tries reconstruction in order not to succumb to the economic failure.

    Fidel and Venezuela
    Recently, Fidel Castro, in a meeting with a team of pro-government media workers, voiced his commitment. “You have supported the revolution, and that revolution has moved the hemisphere. And for us, it meant a lot in the hardest times of the special period, where aid came and saved enormous sacrifice for our people who have been fighting for almost 50 years.” Castro’s remarks recognized the media work of Venezuelans in favor of both revolutions.

    “You deserve a statue.” Reference was made both to the disseminators of socialist ideas and President Chávez, who has been a fundamental economic support. However, it should be noted that the Venezuelan assistance has not been enough to dampen the structural crisis of the Cuban model.

    According to the estimates of the Economic Research Center (Cieca) based on the announcements made by the Venezuelan government from March 2005 through October 2010, Venezuela has spent USD 34.38 billion in deals with Cuba, including health care program Barrio Adentro; purchase of food; electric power supply; building; agricultural plans and communications, among others.

    Interestingly, the export of medical services of which Venezuela is the main consumer accounts for 50 percent of Cuba’s income for exports of goods and services and more than twofold the revenues from tourism. This means that about 25,000 Cuban physicians are abroad, most of them residents of Venezuela.

    Fifty years of errors
    The economic support supplied by Venezuela in the hands of Hugo Chávez enabled Cuban leaders to narrow the opening allowed to cope with the “special period.” But the Venezuelan situation has been changing and the Venezuelan government will hardly keep the aid at the same rate as in 2006 and 2008. Cubans are keenly aware of it; hence the economic volte-face.

    Both the Cuban and the Venezuelan revolutions are walking in different situations and historical times. On the one hand, the Venezuelan revolution is undergoing Orthodox radicalization. Widespread nationalization and sweeping seizures of property are leading Venezuela to scenarios similar to those prevailing in Cuba in the early years of the revolution. On the other hand, Cuba is eager to clear the way for the private sector in order to survive.

    In Cuba, beginning in 1968, extreme nationalization resulted in seizure of even small and medium-sized enterprises. This was part of a “revolutionary offensive” similar to the mechanisms currently implemented in Venezuela. Then, 58,800 small businesses, particularly in the cities, were confiscated. Nowadays, Cuban economy is feeling the effects of such unnecessary hunting and trying to remedy those measures.

    Slower, but similarly, in 2007-2010 the Venezuelan government has seized 174 industries and three million hectares of plow lands. As a result, the public sector and state bureaucracy have thickened; economic capacity has dramatically downsized, and the agricultural production has dropped. The government has been forced to import items that used to be exported, such as rice, coffee, beans and beef, whereas food imports have soared.

    http://english.eluniversal.com/2010/11/05/en_ing_esp_on-cubas-way_05A4689693.shtml

  15. ***
    My Father flew from Florida to Cuba in World War 2–looking for German submarines. Sometimes his PBY flying “boat” had problems landing. Later he flew in the South “Pacific”. His cargo planes had 3 landing accidents and was hit by Japanese bullets once. He was never seriously injured–but he was afraid of airplanes the rest of his life.
    ***
    But the airplanes are far safer than the drive to the airport in a car.
    ***
    Mi Padre volo de Florida a Cuba durante la Guerra Mundial 2–buscando submarinos Allemanes. Su avion “barca” PBY tuvo problemas atterizando. Despues volo en el Mar “Pacifico” Sur. Tuvo 3 accidentes atterizando y una vez les pegaba balas de los Japoneses. Nunca recibio heridas serios–pero tuvo mierdo de aviones por el resto de su vida.
    ***
    Pero los aviones son mucho mas seguros que manajando al aeropuerto en un auto.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

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