Mustard Colored

A sequence of roofs, avenues and narrow streets, reproduced with plastic and paint. A small scale city, locked in the Model of Havana room in the Miramar neighborhood. Yellow glasses let you travel, at a glance, along the streets, around the corners, up the little elevations and along the serpentine coast. The same magnifying lenses help us to enjoy the Capitol dome seem from above, or the dark face of El Morro. A model in miniature of a city that from any tall building seems to go on forever, but here it is, captured in a diminutive duplicate, trapped in a few square yards of cardboard.

The guide to this peculiar museum explains — once you enter — that the representation has been painted in four different colors: brown is for the constructions of the colonial period; mustard for the buildings from 1902 to 1959; bone-colored for the buildings erected in the last five decades; and white — striking and distant — for monuments and future projects. All the visitors and tourists end up saying the same thing, “Havana is mustard!” And I can see that yes, it’s true, while explaining a detail here, some twist or turn there.

Yes, my city is mustard, spicy and sour, seasoned by the old, increasingly distant from modernity. A sample at natural size, where there are days in which one would it like to be — like in the Model of Havana — made of plastic, or cardboard, but not suffering from so much ruin.

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35 thoughts on “Mustard Colored

  1. ***
    Current AVALANCHITO score: 12/35=34 percent based on number of posts. Much more if scored on area in square inches. John Bibb
    ***
    Presente “puntos” del AVALANCHITO: 12/35=34 porciento basada en el numero de “posts”. Mucho mas si calculan la area en pulgadas cuadrados. John Bibb
    ***

  2. it was fidel that said something to the effect that when his capacities as a leader were to be diminished (as well as that of man) he’ll rather do away w/imself …
    Nevertheless: he still kicking, I guess the “honey of power” is still sweet for him.
    On the other hand … I am sure fidel’s legacy (in his own mind) is what is left of him.
    I’ll bet he is not that sure unsure of his statement “history will absolve me” statement has come to a reality …

  3. THIS REALLY TAKES THE “CASTROFACIST” CAKE! OOPS, THERE IS NO CAKE IN CUBA!! UNLESS YOURE THE RULING ELITE!! QUE CARA TAN DURA!! BUT AFTERALL HE IS A “MUMMY” SO THOSE BANDAGES CAN GET “DURA”!

    ASSOCIATED PRESS: Fidel Castro happy with direction Cuba is moving

    HAVANA (AP) — Fidel Castro says he is happy with the direction in which Cuba is moving under the leadership of his brother Raul, his most explicit remarks to date about the sweeping economic changes the country is undergoing.

    “I’m content, because the country is moving forward despite all the challenges,” the bearded revolutionary icon told Cuban students in comments carried by the official Communist Party-newspaper Granma on Thursday.

    The elder Castro stepped down in 2006 due to a serious illness that almost killed him. He re-emerged from four years of seclusion in July, but has rarely spoken about Cuban current events, preferring to use his appearances to warn of what he fears is a looming nuclear war pitting the United States and Israel against Iran.

    Castro, 84, remains head of the Communist Party, though in his remarks to the students he gave the impression he had delegated many of his official duties to others.

    After telling the students he was not meeting with them in his capacity as party chief, Castro said, “I got sick and I did what I had to do: delegate my duties. I cannot do something if I am not in a condition to dedicate all my time to it.”

    Castro described himself as a “soldier of ideas” and said he “did not hesitate for a minute to relinquish my duties,” an apparent reference to his decision to step down as president.

    Part of the meeting with the students was carried on national television Wednesday, but not Castro’s comments about his brother or his decision to delegate official duties. In the 90-minute broadcast, Castro read word-for-word from a long speech he gave to students in 2005 that he said continued to be relevant today.

    In that speech, he spoke of the need to control corruption and the black market, and warned that the revolution could fail from within if leaders did not make the correct decisions.

    Since taking over — first temporarily, then permanently — in 2006, Raul Castro has warned his countrymen that the state can no longer afford to pay idle workers and must cut many subsidies Cubans have come to expect.

    In September, the government announced that it was laying off 500,000 workers — or one-tenth of its labor force — while allowing many to work for themselves in an expanded private sector.

    Raul Castro called a Party Congress for April in which the government is expected to map out details of Cuba’s economic future.

    A separate Communist Party gathering, called a Party Conference, is also to be held at some point in 2011, and there is speculation Fidel Castro might use one of the occasions to step down as head of the Communist Party.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hWHAxp87OMfzL8mkwIlS5k-xaS0Q?docId=6448ce30fd1f4342aa9d5a251bd9c044

  4. Albert, Yubano, Freedom, Micky and all those who take the time to read this blog and maybe sometimes things that I post. Unfortunately I dont consider myself a very good writer, but I do consider myself a very good editor and I like to SHARE news that I feel are relevant and devoid of left or right political views. It took a long time for this much information on the Cuban political scene to come to the attention of the international community. My father died in Cuba in 1962 from cancer, he was a big supporter of “The Revolution”, but even at that early time he realized what was coming and asked my mother on his deathbed to take his two boys out of Cuba. I feel it is an honor and resposibility for me to educate those who dont know the real cuban story. Thanks for your support and encouragement.

  5. Humberto:
    as always, thank you for your dedication in passing along information.
    Consistently you bring to the blogg tons of info, w/verifiable links.
    THANK YOU HUMBERTO & EVERYONE contributing, giving their opinion & making this blogg work.
    For or against it does not matter, every opinion is free for the giving …

  6. Hi, @ HUMBERTO : I want you to know I always find your comments/articles very informative and appreciate them, you should consider starting your own blog, Im a New York native, not of Cuban descent but hate injustice and feel for the people in this world that are deprived of all the freedoms I was born with, it is incomprehensible to me, I must have been in high school when I learned that there were actual countries, like Cuba, that is run by a dictatorship, I could’t believe it, I thought that was something that should only exist in history books, key word HISTORY, not present. Well thanks for the time and dedication in being so informative.

  7. Humberto

    Why do you ask if I am a Ladino? From my understanding Ladino is a language that was spoken by Jews of Spanish origin. If that is what you are asking the answer is no, I am not Jewish nor do I speak Ladino. Do you speak and/or write Ladino? You may have picked up something from my spanish language comment posted earlier that made you ask the question, there is nothing there but the poorly written words of a self-taught Cuban-American who left Cuba at a very early age and speaks spaqnish as a second language. That’s how I came about my online nickname Yubano, un Cubano del Yuma…

  8. Thanks to Humberto Capiro for your comments. I always come here and I do two things most of the time: 1- read Yoani’s Post and 2- look for Humberto’s comments (articles). Sometimes I write a comment but mostly I just read, and I want to say again, I’m grateful to Humberto for his contribution to the Cuban cause.

  9. VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE FROM AN UKRAINIAN POINT OF VIEW ON RECENT CUBAN NEWS! I’M SURE YURII KNOWS A FEW THINGS ABOUT COMMUNISM!and THANKS YOUBANO FOR THE SUPPORT! YOU A LADINO?

    The Day Weekly Digest: Cuba to take a different road-Attempting reforms with capitalist methods-By Yurii RAIKHEL

    Cuba, the second-last Leninist-Stalinist socialist paradise on earth, is in its death throes, with the all but dead economy desperately in need of modernization. This is something even the Castro brothers, still in power, are aware of.

    As soon as Raul Castro took office he started talking about the need to reform. There being a difference between words and deeds, he found himself faced with countless internal and external problems, with his older brother remaining the main enemy of any reforms. Even though Fidel Castro had formally distanced himself from governance, he remained General Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba. On his website he theorized about the need to keep fighting American imperialism and defended Cuba’s command economy as a necessary aspect of this struggle. Fidel openly opposed Raul as the latter spoke about the necessity of reforms. This family squabble led to the postponing of the next Communist Party Congress, scheduled for 2008, without explanations. The obvious result of this confrontation was the slow but sure elbowing out of Fidel’s ranking companeros. This process took quite some time, but then it was decided to schedule the next congress for April 2011, although the Party Charter reads that these congresses must be convened every five years. The last one took place in 1997.

    Raul Castro has consistently shown an interest in the Chinese experience of socialist economic transformation. He started by taking small steps, probably because his hands were tied. For example, Cubans were eventually allowed to buy mobile phones, computers, DVDs, pressure cookers, and Internet access, even thought the Cuban in the street would first step into a store selling such goods feeling as though s/he were exploring an exclusive exhibit. In a country with an average monthly salary being the equivalent of 12 to 20 dollars, all such gadgets looked out of this world. However, the situation changed before long — in first place owing to remittances from emigre relatives in the United States, the country that is constantly cursed and condemned all over Cuba.

    Politics came next. In the summer of 2010, with intercession on the part of the Roman Catholic Church, 50 political prisoners were released under the condition that they leave the “Island of Freedom” forthwith (they were given political asylum in Spain). The Cuban government says there are no political prisoners left, although human rights champions insist there are actually 200 still being held in jail. That may well be the case, but it means that their time is still to come, and that their fate depends on Cuba’s home policy.

    There are many ways to pretend you’re doing fine while feeling lousy, knowing that things will get worse. In the end, though, people will notice. Raul Castro had known that the situation in Cuba left much to be desired, mildly speaking, before he took over Fidel’s post. Yet when he did, the truth nevertheless shocked him. He discovered that there were factories and whole industries that were unmanned, that the accounting and progress reports submitted by practically all government-run structures weren’t worth even looking through — with all statistics falsified to please everyone “upstairs” — just a heap of sheets good enough for starting a hundred campfires. Raul further learned that his older brother had allowed a thoroughly corrupt system to envelop Cuba during the 50 years of his rule; that this system embraced all walks of life, all the way from top to bottom; that corruption was rampant on all levels (except the army, then under Raul Castro’s command), and that it had reached “critical proportions.” The vertical of dictatorial power existed only for the opponents but by no means impeded total corruption. On the contrary, it facilitated bribe-giving and taking, as well as embezzlement. There was nothing the controlling authorities and special services could do about this, simply because they were part of this system.

    Something had to be done about the situation, and even Fidel Castro was aware of this. In an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg (September 8, 2010), he said: “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.” Two days later, CNN quoted him as saying at the University of Havana (a speech later broadcast on Cuban television) that he meant “exactly the opposite” of what was understood by Goldberg. He later said he had been quoted correctly, but that, “in reality, my answer meant exactly the opposite of what both American journalists interpreted regarding the Cuban model. My idea, as the whole world knows, is that the capitalist system no longer works for the United States or the world… How could such a system work for a socialist country like Cuba?” A ridiculous statement, considering the way the Cuban government would act afterward.

    Cuba’s official periodical, Gaceta Oficial, publishes legislative acts and regulations binding on business activities within the country, including tax rates, penalties, samples of forms required for business paperwork. The current government plans to liquidate some 500,000 posts in the state-run institutions. Another half a million bureaucratic jobs will be lost in the next couple of years. About five million people are employed in the Cuban public/state sector, hence the need for reductions.

    Ranking bureaucrats subject to these reductions can be offered other jobs within this sector or “find jobs in the non-public sector.” Those being relieved of their public sector posts are given government subsidies. Gaceta Oficial has a list of 178 lines of business Cubans can undertake, at their risk, including 83 that provide for manpower employment. Thousands of Cubans are standing in lines to the city councils to receive authorizations to start in business.

    Such economic reforms will rest on a political foundation. “We have decided to hold the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party in the second half of April 2011; it will pass fundamental resolutions aimed at upgrading the economic model,” Raul Castro declared after meeting with the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Cuba’s leading official newspaper Granma carried the Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party, including key ideological postulates reading that socialism is the sole principle of the new Cuban economic policy because only socialism can overcome the hardships and preserve the gains of the revolution. As it is, Cuba and its ruling Communist Party are in for a number of substantial changes.

    First, the next congress will take place come what may, simply because the current situation in Cuba cannot last any longer. The new economic conditions demand an appropriate political response, the more so that the dismissal of so many functionaries and the de facto prohibition of ration cards will inevitably cause social tensions. A number of experts (Cuban ones included) feel rather skeptical about the forthcoming upgrading. Their attitude is summed up by the following statement: “The miserable private sector is incapable of employing all of those relieved of their posts/jobs. Cuba is in for a course of shock treatment that may well turn out worse than that sustained by Russia in 1992, considering that the majority of the Cuban population is below the poverty line.” Whether the party and the bureaucratic machine will cope with this problem is anyone’s guess.

    Second, it is a short trip from Cuba to Florida, with its Cuban diaspora which hates the current Cuban regime. This diaspora’s economic and political influence on Cuba is bound to increase, which is a strong and dangerous challenge to the current regime. Until now this influence has been kept under control using clandestine agencies, but now this kind of control is bound to contradict the economic liberalization plans of the new class of owners which is being formed — it will be obliterated in the process.

    Third, the Cuban political leadership is faced with the complex problem of continuity. The Cuban dissident [exiled – Ed.] author, Carlos Alberto Montaner, believes that his home country is entering a defidelization phase, which is very interesting, considering that Fidel is still alive, and that he is directly involved in this process. There is no way Cuba can copy the Chinese experience, because the Cuban ruling tandem doesn’t have the main resource: time. Fidel will be 84 in the summer of 2011, and his brother will be 79. Although Raul looks full of life, his regular abuse of 12-year-old Chivas Regal is having its effect on his system. In other words, top-level cadre changes are inevitable and the next Cuban Communist Party Congress will have to deal with this problem.

    http://www.day.kiev.ua/317036

  10. ***
    HI EL DESCUBRIDOR–#20. What a vile hate filled post! And very full of lies. And without respect for honest and patriotic Yoanni Sanchez. Those who can’t read Spanish should get a translation of your post.
    ***
    Yoanni wants to see Cuba improve the lives of the people. She does not work for the CIA. And the evil Jihadis in Guantanamo receive better treatment than they deserve. The Geneva Convention allows summary trials and shooting of out of uniform combatants. One out of every five released Jihadis have returned to the battlefield. Prisoners get liberty when the war is over–not before. And Cuba is a jail for many Cubans.
    ***
    HOLA EL DESCUBIDOR–#20. Que mensaje tan sucio y lleno de odio! Y muy lleno de mentiras. Y sin respecto por honesta y patriotica Yoanni Sanchez. Los quienes no leen en Espanol debian recebir un tradducion de su mensaje.
    ***
    Yoanni quiere que Cuba mejorara las vidas de la Gente. Ella no trabaja por el C.I.A. Y los malos Jihadis en Guantanamo reciben mejor tratamiento que merezcan. El Convencion de Geneva permita cortes summarios y fusillando de combates sin uniformes. Uno de cada cinco de los Jihadis quines fueron librados han regresado al campo de guerra. Prisioneros reciban libertad cuando la guerra termina–no antes. Y Cuba es un carcel por muchos Cubanos.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  11. el descubridor

    Yo creo que mejor te llamarias “la cotorra”. Tus comentarios son las mismas mentiras, descalificasiones y metralla que repiten todos los imbeciles castristas. Aqui no engañas a nadie con tus idioteses comunistas e ignorantes. Nada mas que un castista asqueroso con menos de dos deos de frente se le ocurre acusar a una persona de ser agente de la CIA solamente por expresarse libremente. Los unicos “bendidos” in Cuba son los parasitos como tu que han bendido su pais y su dignidad por la vida miserable que los castros le han logrado. Mas barato y bajo que eso no es posible compañero cotorrita….

  12. I think Humberto’s posts are welcome and very informative. I do not believe that commments on this blog should be restricted to whatever Yoani has written about, anything and everything relating to Cuba should be fair game. Unfortunately Yoani and other Cubans on the island are not completely informed about world events or even all events occurring within Cuba due to the communications embargo imposed on them by the castros. The least those of us on the outside can do is try to fill in the gaps even though there are very few people within the island with access to this forum.

  13. Apologies accepted, no hard feelings. However, I have to say again that my comment was not selective and out of context. It was a response to a question. The question being the context. The irony about this disscusion is that it began with me agreeing with John Bibb post#5 that most comments here were off the topic presented by Yoani.

  14. @#20
    Vender la patria … donde si no hay nada para vender, lo que queda is las ruinas de una patria de anos atras.
    Lo que es hoy por hoy es una patria enganada con mentiras y condenada a vivir en pobreza, reprimida por los mismos poderes que tomaron poder en el nombre de la “libertad y de la patria”
    Acusando is la forma de defensa que usa el poder de los dictadors de este tiempo.
    Los dictadores en Cuba usan gente como tu para distraer, acusar y mentir usando ganancia personal y aprovecho como incentivo.
    Presentando acusaciones, la unica forma de rasonar, no ideas, solo acusaciones …

  15. Debería dar vergüenza a este elemento Yoani y todos los agentes pagado por el Gobierno Americano y la CIA. Empezando por Oscar Haza, Maria Elvira Salazar que dice no tiene pelos en la lengua pero parece que lo que tiene en la lengua Maria Elvira es escremento. Este elemento tuvo sentada al lado de el Presidente de Cuba en una extensa entrvista y se trago la lengua y des entonces handa yorisquiando y hablando lo que pica ella. Dime Yoani cuanto te paga la CIA? Que poca verguenza tienes, dale buen uso a tu laptop que hay mas que hablar de los terroristas Americanos que de Cuba pero la CIA no paga por eso.

    Como duermes de noche despues de vender a tu patria y como se debe sentir tu madre si es que tienes una. Quisiera que vivieras en los Estados Unidos sin ser parte de ningun grupo y ver como se vive aqui. Las unicas personas que viven bien son elementos como tu que viven del cuento, las mentiras , y la propaganda del Gobiero Americano y la CIA.

    Te contaron que el presidente de este paiz admitio haber autorizado la tortura de incluyendo ciudadanos Americanos y que el presidente de el cual tu tan biel hablas Obama y su administracion han bloequeado todo los procesos legales en corte para que no se envestique a Bushito por todos los atropeyos y torturas cometidos por agentes de la CIA Y soldados Amricanos.

    Cuando los elementos como tu dicen que en Cuba no hay derechos humanos seguro que estan hablando de lo que pasa adentro de la base en Americana en Guantanamo y los atropeyadores son soldados Americano y agentes de la CIA. Los unicos que han violado todas las convenciones contra la tortura son los Americanos, o acaso estavas viendo a Maria Elvira y te perdiste lo que Bushito dijo cuando admitio que autorizo la tortura. Dejame informarte que una corte en gran britana ha acordado pagar una suma millonaria a las victimas de la tortura por agentes de la CIA y el Gobiero Americano. Adonde esta el gobiero Americano en todo esto? deportando cientos de personas trabajadoras cada hora en ves de limpiar su casa de violadores de derechos humanos.

    Yoani no te confundas, saca tu cabeza del trasero de los agentes de la CIA que te pagan tus gastos para que atentes contra tu propia patria. Si tu vivieras en los EU y otro paiz te pagara pare que atentaras contra el paiz en este momento la mismas personas que te estan pagando te estuvieran torturando con la autorizacion del presidente del los EU. No te puenden pintar una foto mas clara que un president admitir autorizar la violacion de derechos humanos autorizando la tortura de los que ya se saben muchos eran inocente.

    Que dices del terrorista posada Carilles agente de la CIA que en una entrevista se responsabiliso ser el cabesilla de los actos terroristas en hotel/es en Cuba adonde murio si no mal recuerdo un italiano pero eso no es todo tambien se responsabiliso por otros actos mas y los escrementos como tu Maria Elvira y Oscar Haza que se llaman cubanos y pro derechos humanos lo pintan un heroe.

    Te vediste barato

  16. John Two and RickB! I must apologise! and you know how hard it is for a Cuban to do! I should NOT have called RickB a “REVOLUTIONARY RAT”! I thought his brief statement

    “Yes, him and his wife Elena were shot by Romanian paratroopers after an 2 hour trial.”

    was an apology of a murderer/facist dictator who deserved no mercy!I am sorry and I apologise RickB! Maybe this is my non-cuban softer side!

  17. A brief comment on the model of Havana above. It’s overwhelmingly mustard (buildings constructed before the so-called Revolution). I assume this model would have been okayed by the regime. I wonder if they missed the underlying message.

  18. Actually I don’t mind Humberto’s posting of news articles about Cuba or about Yoani. Saves me the time of having to go to a bunch of different websites. Having said that his comment about RickB was uncalled for.

  19. Rick B! Why so agitated? and accusations? Do you have some agenda? Yours was a very “selective and out of context” statement! I just wanted to clarify for everyone!

  20. What’s your problem Humberto? Igor asked if anybody remember what happen to Ceausescu and I answered. Did I defended Ceausescu at any time? I answered because I know the answer. I’ve been to Romania twice, I know the country and the history of Romania very well. Your Wikepidia reserch is wasted on me. By the way Brasov is a very nice city and so is Sibiu, but I have to say that Sighisoara is my favor.

  21. AFP: Cuban dissident blogger gets Danish think-tank freedom award

    COPENHAGEN — Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez Tuesday won an award from the Danish think-tank CEPOS for her struggle for freedom of expression in her country despite the risk of imprisonment, the organisation said.

    Sanchez launched the “Generacion Y” blog in 2007 and it quickly gained attention both in Cuba and abroad.

    It has since created such a stir that Cuban authorities blocked access to it from all of the country’s public computers, CEPOS said.

    “Despite the huge personal costs, Yoani Sanchez has shown amazing courage by expressing her honest and personal opinion of the society she currently lives in,” CEPOS director Martin Aagerup said.

    “Single-handedly and at great personal expense, she has managed to keep focus on one of the world?s most suffocating dictatorships,” he added.

    CEPOS, which stands for Center for Political Studies, said Sanchez risked imprisonment for criticising Cuba’s government, “a fate experienced by other Cubans who have dared to utter the mildest critique of the Communist regime.”

    The blogger has been invited to come pick up her 300,000 Danish kroner (40,000 euros, 54,000 dollars) prize money at an official ceremony to be held in Copenhagen “in the near future.”

    Her blog, http://www.desdecuba.com/generationy/, is translated into 15 languages by volunteers.

    CEPOS was launched in 2004 by Danish business people along with academics and cultural personalities and describes itself as “an independent Danish think tank promoting a society based on freedom, responsibility, private initiative and limited government.”

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5guwboUS-Caz0t1mH061nEx4b13BA?docId=CNG.41c503616bdbe31553dbcac1fbde091d.6a1

  22. YOANI BETTER GET A SECOND APRARTMENT FOR ALL OF HER PRIZES! KUDOS FLACA! WE LOVE YOU!

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    350 Fifth Avenue, Ste 4515
    New York, NY 10118
    Voice: (212) 246.8486
    Fax: (212) 643.4278
    http://www.humanrightsfoundation.org

    Contact:
    Thor Halvorssen
    (212) 246.8486
    info@thehrf.org

    Yoani Sánchez Wins CEPOS Freedom Award

    NEW YORK (November 16, 2010) – The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is pleased to announce that 2010 Oslo Freedom Forum speaker and Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez was awarded the inaugural CEPOS Freedom Award, in the amount of $50,000, by the independent Danish think tank, CEPOS. Sánchez, author of the world-renowned blog Generación Y, was nominated for the award by HRF President Thor Halvorssen.

    The Freedom Award is granted to individuals who demonstrate a principled and steadfast commitment to the values and ideas of individual freedom and basic human rights.

    “CEPOS could not have selected a more deserving recipient for this prize,” said Halvorssen. “Sánchez is a remarkable woman who has repeatedly overcome great obstacles and risked daunting consequences to make her voice heard, despite a dictatorship that systematically strangles freedom of expression.”

    Through her blog, Sánchez provides a window into the hard-hitting reality of everyday life in Cuba. Her elegant and thoughtful criticism of the totalitarian state has earned her the 2008 Ortega y Gasset Prize for Journalism and the 2009 Maria Moors Cabot Prize. She was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2008, and was selected as a 2010 World Press Freedom Hero by the International Press Institute.

    “Despite the huge personal costs, Yoani Sánchez has shown amazing courage by expressing her honest and personal opinion of the society she currently lives in. Single-handedly and at great personal expense, she has managed to keep focus on one of the world’s most suffocating dictatorships. CEPOS wishes to show admiration of her courage and dedication by awarding her this prize,” said CEPOS Director Martin Ågerup.

    CEPOS has invited Sánchez to receive the Freedom Award at a ceremony in Copenhagen in the near future.

    “We hope that the Cuban government will give her the right to travel to Denmark to receive the prize in person,” stated Halvorssen.

    HRF is an international nonpartisan organization devoted to defending human rights in the Americas. It centers its work on the twin concepts of freedom of self-determination and freedom from tyranny. These ideals include the belief that all human beings have the rights to speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF’s ideals likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support nor condone violence. HRF’s International Council includes former prisoners of conscience Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Václav Havel, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Ramón J. Velásquez, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.

    Contact: Thor Halvorssen, Human Rights Foundation, (212) 246.8486, info@thehrf.org

  23. Corection :

    “Any anti-Castro comment is welcomed”

    PS: you can find the trial on youtube ( english subtitles). It was not much of a trial as even his lawyer made accusation against him, this was extremelly funny. They deserved the death penalty. On dec 18 1989, his wife ordered that the bodies of 40 people who were killed during the uprising to be cremated and the ashes were disposed in the sewer.

    This is how Communism worked : kill all the oposition and destroy the bodies.

  24. RickB -Noviembre 15th, 2010 at 18:36
    “Yes, him and his wife Elena were shot by Romanian paratroopers after an 2 hour trial!(THANKS FOR TRYING TO DEFEND ONOTHER HITLER!)

    RICKY BOY!I HAVE A FEELING YOU ARE A “REVOLUTIONARY RAT”!! F.U.A.C.A.T.A!

    Nicolae Ceauşescu (Romanian pronunciation: [nikoˈla.e tʃa.uˈʃesku]; 26 January 1918 – 25 December 1989) was a Romanian politician and dictator who was the Secretary General of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, President of the Council of State from 1967, and President of Romania from 1974 to 1989.

    His rule was marked in the first decade by an open policy towards Western Europe, Israel, and the United States, which deviated from that of the other Warsaw Pact states during the Cold War. He continued a trend first established by his predecessor, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, who had tactfully coaxed the Soviet Union into withdrawing its troops from Romania in 1958.[1]

    Ceauşescu’s second decade was characterized by an increasingly erratic personality cult, nationalism and a deterioration in foreign relations with the Western powers as well as the Soviet Union. Ceauşescu’s government was overthrown in a December 1989 revolution, and he and his wife were executed following a televised and hastily organised two-hour court session. One of the executioners later said: “it wasn’t a trial, it was a political assassination in the middle of a revolution.”[2]

    Ceauşescu and his wife Elena fled the capital with Emil Bobu and Manea Mănescu and headed, by helicopter, for Ceauşescu’s Snagov residence, from where they fled again, this time for Târgovişte. Near Târgovişte they abandoned the helicopter, having been ordered to land by the army, which by that time had restricted flying in Romania’s air space. The Ceauşescus were held by the police while the policemen listened to the radio. They were eventually turned over to the army. On Christmas Day, 25 December, the two were sentenced to death by a military court on charges ranging from illegal gathering of wealth to genocide, and were executed in Târgovişte. The video of the trial shows that, after sentencing, they had their hands tied behind their backs and were led outside the building to be executed.

    The Ceauşescus were executed by a firing squad consisting of elite paratroop regiment soldiers: Captain Ionel Boeru, Sergant-Major Georghin Octavian and Dorin-Marian Cirlan,[13] while reportedly hundreds of others also volunteered. The firing squad began shooting as soon as they were in position against a wall. The firing happened too soon for the film crew covering the events to record it.[14] After the shooting, the bodies were covered with canvas. The hasty trial and the images of the dead Ceauşescus were videotaped and the footage promptly released in numerous western countries. Later that day, it was also shown on Romanian television.[15][16]

    The Ceauşescus were the last people to be executed in Romania before the abolition of capital punishment on 7 January 1990.[17]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolae_Ceau%C5%9Fescu

  25. 30 years ago live behind the iron curtain started to change from bad to worst. For 10 years Radio Free Europe was thhe only outlet where we could get real news and also where fellow citizens were able to mail their story and have it read to the entire country.

    Any anti-Castro country is welcome. It’s just another brick in the wall, and soon the wall will be gone.

    The Cuban Diaspora who is posting here has left the country long time ago. Are you expecting them to comment on the small details Yoani writes about ? I think Cubans within Cuba should post their comments……..oh, I forgot, this website cannot be viewed/accesed in Cuba because of the dictatorship. Does anyone remember what happened to Ceusescu on Christmas Day ???

  26. John Bibb,

    You are welcome to take over more of the responsabilities of informing what Cuba is really like and what is happening there. Without context how can you even discuss Yoani’s post? Besides I always try to look for articles related to the subject directly or indirectly. Like the song says “You see, you can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.” SO I AM!!

  27. John you hit the nail right on the head! If a post has 50 comments, 48 of would have nothing to do with the topic. Sometimes I wonder if they even read the topic.

  28. ***
    It seems like 90 percent of the comments on this site are from Humberto Capiro (El Avalanchito). Good comments–but maybe this site should be called LITTLE AVALANCHE. Most of the comments are off the topics discussed by Yoanni Sanchez.
    ***
    Parece que 90 porciento del commentario en esta sitio son de Humberto Capiro (El Avalanchito). Buen commentos–pero por supuesto el sitio debia llamarse AVALANCHITO. La mayorea de los commentos no tratan de los topicos que discuta Yoanni Sanchez.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  29. BEEN A LOT OF NEWS ON CUBA THIS WEEKEND!SO THOSE “REVOLUTIONARY RATS” MONITORING THIS BLOG, BETTER TELL “LA CHINA” & “THE MUMMY” TO START SHIFTING GEAR TOWARDS DEMOCRACY BECAUSE THE DAYS OF “CASTROFACISM” ARE NUMBERED!

    SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: Released Cuban dissident maintains rage -Isabel Sanchez -November 15, 2010 – 10:54AM

    Just freed after years in prison and refusing to go into exile, dissident economist Arnaldo Ramos has slammed the communist government saying chaos was looming if Cuba did not launch economic and political change.

    “I’ll be involved in the same activities I did before they sent me to prison, which were not criminal but opposition” in nature, Ramos, 68, told reporters on Sunday.

    Cuban dissidents hailed the release of Ramos – one of 13 political prisoners Cuba agreed to set free but who remained in jail for refusing to leave Cuba – and expressed hope the rest of his fellow inmates would also be set free within days.

    Ramos is the oldest member of a group of 75 opponents of the Cuban government arrested in a 2003 crackdown on dissidents. He was allowed to stay on the communist island after returning to his home in Havana late on Saturday.

    Under a deal brokered by the Catholic Church, President Raul Castro agreed in July to release 52 of the political prisoners who were still held.

    Of those, 39 were let go after agreeing to emigrate to Spain with their families, but the remaining 13 refused to be exiled.

    The agreed-upon deadline for their release expired a week ago.

    Another of the holdouts, Luis Ferrer, has agreed to leave Cuba and will be released shortly, opposition sources said. Ramos said Ferrer changed his mind after Havana assured him his family would be able to stay at his home in Cuba.

    Shortly after his release, Ramos said the seven years he served of an 18-year prison sentence for dissident activities did not break his will to fight for human rights.

    “I was told that my release was unconditional, and I would not accept anything else,” Ramos said.

    “I owe nothing to anybody. I will stay in the country and continue my political activity,” he added, noting his continued antagonism for longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, 84, still the Cuban Communist Party chief.

    After joining the dissident group Ladies in White at their Sunday mass and later their weekly protest march in Havana, Ramos made statements critical of the Castro administration’s recent stabs at minor economic reform.

    “I don’t think anything is being done to change the situation. We’re going from stagnation to chaos if we don’t see at least a real economic opening-up, although it should also be political,” Ramos warned.

    The deputy director of the illegal Cuban Institute of Independent Economists, was criticising Cuba’s recent reforms including laying off half a million state workers and allowing more private small businesses to open, albeit he said with many restrictions.

    Ladies in White leader Laura Pollan, whose husband Hector Maseda is one of the 12 prisoners refusing to go into exile, urged the government to free the remaining prisoners and allow them to stay in Cuba under similar deals struck by Ramos.

    “They have begun to loosen the yoke and hopefully, in the coming days, they will release the 12 who are missing,” she told AFP.

    Dissident sources say some 100 political prisoners are still held in Cuba, in addition to those in Ramos’s group.

    The government considers the opposition “mercenaries” in Washington’s pocket. It insists there are no political prisoners in the Caribbean nation but rather criminals jailed for threatening national security.

    http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/released-cuban-dissident-maintains-rage-20101115-17tct.html

  30. ***
    National Geographic Magazine shows many old pretty buildings in bad condition. Havana was prettier in the past. And now they also have an uglier government. Poor city–and poor people.
    ***
    La Revista Geographica Nacional ensena muchos edificios bonitas en mal condicion. Habana fue mas bonito en el pasado. Y ahora tambien tiene un gobierno mas fayo. Pobre ciudad–y pobre gente.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  31. ASSOCIATED PRESS: Cuba dissident says he will keep pushing for political change, expects others to be freed soon-By Anne-Marie Garcia

    HAVANA – A Cuban dissident vowed Sunday to keep up his political activism and predicted a chaotic future if the country does not further embrace free-market reform.
    Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique, a 68-year-old economist, was freed on parole Saturday night — the first of a group of prisoners who had refused to go into exile if released.

    By Sunday, he was the star attraction at a weekly march of the Damas de Blanco, or Ladies in White, a dissident group made up of the wives and mothers of 75 activists, social commentators and opposition leaders including Ramos who were jailed following a 2003 crackdown on peaceful dissent.

    After a meeting with President Raul Castro on July 7, Havana Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega announced that 52 dissidents still in prison would be let go over the course of four months. Thirty-nine of the men were freed and sent into exile in Spain, but progress stalled as most of the last 13 refused to leave the island.

    A Nov. 7 deadline passed without news on the men’s fate, but the government indicated it still planned to make good on its word.

    Another one of the 13, Luis Enrique Ferrer Garcia, was also freed after accepting a deal to go into exile if the title to his house could be transferred to family members and if he was allowed to return to the island to visit a brother still in jail. When Cubans leave the island permanently, they normally must forfeit ownership of any property.

    Ramos was serving an 18-year sentence for treason and other crimes. He said he refused to accept exile because he had done nothing wrong.

    “I am a Cuban, and I want to continue with the same activities I was doing before I was sent to prison,” he told journalists at the march. “What I was doing was not a crime, but rather an act of opposition.”

    He said he was not impressed by the reforms Castro has announced in recent months, which include firing a half-million state workers while offering citizens increased opportunities to work for themselves, set up businesses and even hire employees.

    The new businesses will be limited to 178 approved activities, however, and entrepreneurs must pay significant taxes. Taxes and required social security payments could approach a combined 75 percent of earnings in some cases, though many costs will be deductible.

    “Up until now I don’t see anything serious in the changes,” Ramos said. “If they don’t make it a true and honest economic opening, the island will fall into stagnation, and with that comes chaos.”

    Ramos described his time in jail as having “its highs and its lows,” complaining that the food was terrible and it was hard to stay in touch with the other political prisoners.

    He said authorities gave him the impression that the remaining political prisoners who have refused to go into exile would be released shortly.

    “They made that understood to me without explicitly saying it,” he said.

    Laura Pollan, a Ladies in White leader whose husband is one of the dissidents still in jail, said she was very excited about Ramos’s release. After the women finished their short march down Havana’s leafy Fifth Avenue thoroughfare, she and the other 40 Damas each handed Ramos a white gladiola.

    Associated Press writer Paul Haven contributed to this report.

    http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/market_news/article.jsp?content=D9JG54800

  32. REUTERS AFRICA: Cuban political prisoner who refused exile is freed-By Jeff Franks-Sun Nov 14, 2010

    * Free dissident to continue opposition activities

    * His release may signal others to be freed soon

    HAVANA- Cuba has freed one of 13 political prisoners who refused to go into exile and will let him stay on the island, in a signal that all may be released soon.

    Arnaldo Ramos told Reuters on Sunday that he was in good shape after more than seven years in prison and planned to resume his opposition to the communist-led government.

    “I am in perfectly good condition and very happy to be home,” said the 68-year-old economist, who was released and allowed to return to his Havana home on Saturday night. “I’m going to return to the same activities I did before.”

    He went on Sunday to the weekly protest march of the dissident group “Ladies in White”, where he posed for pictures beside leader Laura Pollan.

    He told reporters Cuba must open its state-controlled economy to get out of its current “stagnation” and that planned reforms by President Raul Castro to cut government workers and expand the private sector were insufficient.

    “Cuba will go from stagnation to chaos if there is no real opening, at least for the economy,” the slight, soft-spoken Ramos said.

    He was one of 75 dissidents arrested in a 2003 crackdown on government opponents and one of the last remaining in jail, serving an 18-year prison sentence.

    In a deal brokered by the Catholic Church, Cuban President Raul Castro agreed in July to free the 52 who were then still behind bars.

    But the government also wanted the jailed dissidents to leave the country and tried to convince them to go to exile in Spain in exchange for their freedom.

    Spain has agreed to take in the former prisoners. Of the 52 dissidents, 39 accepted the offer, but the remaining 13, including Ramos, refused to leave their country.

    “I am Cuban,” Ramos said. “I want to stay to continue my activities as an opponent.”

    U.S. SUPPORT

    Ramos said his primary work was analyzing Cuba’s economy, but that he was also involved in political activities.

    Havana views the dissidents as traitors working for its longtime ideological foe, the United States. Ramos and others jailed in 2003 were accused of getting U.S. money and support.

    His release was a concession by the government and likely signals it has given up on getting the rest to go to Spain.

    The church said on Saturday another of the 13 prisoners, Luis Enrique Ferrer, will be freed soon but will go to Spain.

    Ferrer agreed to go into exile after reaching a deal with the communist government to give his home to family members remaining in Cuba, said Elizardo Sanchez of the independent Cuban Commission of Human Rights.

    Another prisoner who has insisted on staying in Cuba, Diosdado Gonzalez, has been told he will be freed soon, dissidents said.

    Castro pledged to release the prisoners in a move to quell international criticism after the February death of imprisoned dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo after 85 days on a hunger strike.

    The government also has freed or agreed to free another 14 prisoners not included in the original 52, all of whom have accepted the offer to go to Spain. Cuba has told the church it wants to free all political prisoners. (Reporting by Jeff Franks; Editing by Anthony Boadle)

    http://af.reuters.com/article/metalsNews/idAFN1420372320101114

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