What to Buy?

The money came in a white envelope, brought to the door by an agency — alternative and illegal — that distributes remittances. It was accompanied by a letter from the uncle who went to New Jersey thirty years ago and never returned. “Use it to celebrate Christmas,” he wrote, in his stylized handwriting, ending the note with a brief, “bye.” The lady closed the door, still in disbelief that the relative who emigrated had sent them, for the end of the year, these fifty dollars of salvation. She shouted to her son and daughter-in-law, while the great question started to take shape in her mind: “What will I buy?”

First they thought about repairing the roof that leaks every time it rains, but after subtracting the twenty percent tax levied in Cuba on U.S. dollars, there wasn’t enough to buy the materials. Another possibility was to invest in a license to sell juice from the door of the house. But her son quickly convinced her not to, as the profits from such self-employment would be too long delayed and they were desperate for money as soon as possible. He pointed out that his wife was going to give birth in three weeks and the priority was disposable diapers for the baby. But the lady of the house refused to convert all the money into Pampers; they could use the little capital to repair the washing machine that had been broken for years. “Besides, I need a pair of shoes, because it hurts me to keep going to work like this.” The uncle — far away — had no idea of the turmoil his remittance was causing.

They spent the rest of the week discussing what to do with the 40 convertible pesos they got from the bank. The dispute took on an aggressive tone at times, when the daughter who didn’t live in the house showed up to claim that part of the money was hers. None of them gave serious thought to doing what the exiled relative had intended: buying themselves some nougat, a bottle of cider and piece of pork for Christmas Eve. As a Saturday in December dawned, the toilet appeared clogged. They found a plumber who charged 38 CUC to repair it and replace a piece of pipe. Life itself had established their spending priorities. The woman sat down on the living room couch and wondered, again, what she should buy now, with the 2 CUC remaining.


50 thoughts on “What to Buy?

  1. @#50
    How would you know what it is to earn an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work
    Your “talk” demonstrates your ignorance n such mtters, you are all talk.
    I guess in your lonely life books are your only friends.
    Resentment seems to be the only thing motivating your thought.
    Since you belive: “I doy mierda” you must be eating it yourself, that’s why you are “lleno de mierda …”
    I bet your eyes & teeth are brown because of it.

  2. And while we are talking about Cuba, Here’s why you (the team “yoani” and similar dissidents with outdated and delusional ideas:


    Usanians know who is worth more to them tomorrow. The people in Cuba, not the cuban dissidents in the usa, who are practicing crime for living. Usa is already doing that and being good capitalists, they hate competition. They know well who they need to talk to if they want to finally get over their own delusions.

    The team “yoani” is clearly NOT on the list.

  3. If that was supposed to be a criticism of Marx, all we have to look at for answers is the disaster capitalism caused and the bancrupcy that is ravaging it to the core.

    1) who then decides the proper compensation, the production & the wage earned?
    Capitalist management
    2) when the “production plan” fails whose fault is it?
    Capitalist mangement
    3) when all the entitlements become to expensive to the government to pay who’s fault is it?
    Capitalist management

    Or, is it people’s fault that capitalist ideology has failed?

    Before blaming “people” for everything, rememeber that you, just as the capitalist managers, are the part of the “people” too…

  4. Production quotas are set by the “people” & as a result wages, entitlements & prices are then set according to everyone’s productivity.
    1) who then decides the proper compensation, the production & the wage earned?
    I know … “the people’s”
    2) when the “production plan” fails whose fault is it?
    I know … “the people’s”
    3) wheb all the entitlements become to expensive to the government to pay who’s fault is it?
    I know … the people”s

  5. Evidently, when the facts press on, the only weapon left to a defeated is the wind in the lungs. But the insults only validate the victorious, and leave a stench behind the losers.

    So I doy mierda and you are eating it like there is no tomorrow.

    Bon aprovecho to all the stupid losers like the below ones whose only argument in a debate is to write tehe word mierda in everything they write.

    It goes by association that they think about themselves when they write mierda.

  6. DAMIERDA SAID IN ALL HIS WISDOM!- “One thing the team “yoani” “protests” about, in their enormous ignorance is the prices of everything.”

    “”What goods can be had are often out of reach for average Cubans. A small 19-inch (48- centimeter) flat-screen TV can cost well over $2,000 in the few stores that supply them. That’s far more than the cost of bringing one in from the United States, even with the $270 import duty levied on electronics and the extra overweight charges.” (see post #40)

    DAMIERDA SAID IN ALL HIS WISDOM!- “Everything is “expensive” in “communism” (when they too know very well that there is NO communism in Cuba. Socialism is what they have in Cuba.”

    FASCISM-a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

  7. Now that the fuckwits have been brushed off (they will come for more, but I have no time to debate with wanker-loser immigrants working as lacqueys in slums of Miami. The life is too short to waste it on irrelevant humanoids.) let us revisit the points the team “yoani” offers as a “undeniable truth, emulating their mentors and idosl, the inept losers brothers Castros:

  8. Did I hurt your feelings dubir/cubano varadero/juan? Make sure you wipe the spittle off your keyboard after that last incoherent tirade you clueless moron.

  9. MIAMI HERALD:Innocence lost for freedom By Emilio Estefan
    You can’t put on one page the pain and sacrifice felt when a child is stripped of his innocence in exchange for freedom. I was a young boy when I heard my mother crying and my father telling her: “I think we are stuck in a communist country.”

    My destiny changed in that one moment when I decided to leave my family behind in the pursuit of freedom. During the five decades that followed, it has been a decision that millions of other Cubans and their families have made; a decision that has defined the tenacity and spirit of the Cuban people.

    Just shy of turning military age, a few weeks before my 14th birthday, my father and I boarded a plane to Madrid. When I said goodbye to my mother and brother, I didn’t know whether I would ever see them again, yet the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach told me what was to come.

    And when I looked into my grandfather’s eyes, I knew it would be the last time I would see him. I cried all the way to Madrid. We arrived in the middle of the night, stepped off the plane and walked down a long, empty corridor. With every step I took, I felt the ground was giving way beneath me. But my father told me everything would be fine, and that I had to think positively and focus on the future.

    When I was 16, I left Spain alone and came to Miami to live with my aunt and cousins. Through this period in my life, I was driven by one goal:reuniting my family.

    During the Mariel boatlift, I returned to Cuba to rescue my brother, José, and his children, Lili and Juan, and bring them back to the United States. I spent eight days at sea, just to be told at the port that I couldn’t take them with me.

    I witnessed the desperation firsthand when I saw the faces of all those who awaited rescue during that chaotic time.

    Years later, my brother and his family were finally allowed into the United States; it was one of the happiest days of my life.

    Throughout my life, I’ve taken every opportunity to turn anything negative into something positive. Castro may have taken away my innocence, but he couldn’t take away my spirit.

    Like so many Cubans, I was determined to rise above the difficulties I faced.

    Forty-two years after leaving Cuba, I returned to Madrid with Gloria and my children. I was walking through the terminal when suddenly I was overwhelmed with emotion. I realized I was standing in the same corridor that I had walked with my father all those years ago. My life had come full circle.

    When I saw the smile on my daughter’s face, I realized that the decision I made as a young man is what has allowed my family to live and grow up in freedom.

    In reliving my own personal memories, I developed a deep desire for the world to know our plight as Cuban exiles. The sacrifices that so many Cubans have endured is what inspired this book. It commemorates the tireless determination of the Cuban movement that has set a course in history, all with one common goal: for Cuba to be free!

    I am very proud of the exile community. This book is dedicated those who lost everything in Cuba, came to this country, and rebuilt their lives in liberty; those who survived the journey and especially to those who didn’t. They are our heroes. You will read here heartfelt testimonials from manywho have personally lived this experience and have achieved their American dream.

    This is our story — of pride, sacrifice, hope, and celebration. Deep in my heart and in the hearts of all Cuban exiles, I believe the last chapter of this historia has yet to be written.

    God bless America and God bless a free Cuba!

    Emilio Estefan wrote the above foreword for The Exile Experience.




    WASHINGTON POST: Cuban-Americans haul goods home on holiday visits-By PETER ORSI- December 18, 2010

    HAVANA — In Cuba, Santa’s sleigh is a Boeing 737.

    Thousands of Cuban-Americans are heading to Havana this holiday season carrying everything from electronics and medicine to clothing and toiletries to help relatives back home supplement monthly salaries averaging about $20.

    Not only are Cuban-Americans visiting the island in far greater numbers since President Barack Obama lifted travel restrictions last year, they are bringing more stuff. One carrier says the average bag weight per passenger is up 55 percent – and many Miami-Havana flights are shadowed by a separate cargo plane just to haul the load.

    “They bring you things for the family,” said Paulo Roman Garcia, a 45-year-old Havana native who makes $9.50 a month selling fruit at a market in the city’s historic quarter.

    Roman Garcia was looking forward to a visit in the New Year from his older brother, who lives in New Jersey and will be coming down with stocking-stuffers such as clothing and treats, as well as big-ticket items including a stereo.

    “My son has asthma, and he’s bringing inhalers for his asthma,” Roman Garcia said. “Medicines are very important. Some don’t exist here, or they’re hard to find.”

    During the administration of former President George W. Bush, Cuban-Americans were allowed to visit only once every three years and were limited to $100 a month in remittances. Those restrictions ended in April 2009, although most non-Cuban Americans are still barred from traveling to the island.

    Cuba watchers and charter flight operators say travel between the United States and Cuba skyrocketed after the change and continues to climb steadily.

    “About 1,000 visitors are arriving a day from the U.S., and they expect somewhere close to 400,000 by the end of the year,” said Kirby Jones, president of Alamar Associates of Bethesda, Maryland, a consulting firm that works with American companies looking to do business with Cuba.

    “The U.S. is now sending the second-most visitors to Cuba than any other country,” after Canada, Jones said.

    The great majority are of Cuban heritage, and the rest are non-Cuban Americans traveling for officially sanctioned activities such as academic, cultural and sports exchanges. The figure does not include the small but growing number of Americans who sidestep the travel ban by flying in through Canada, Mexico or other countries, risking a stiff U.S. fine if they are caught.

    Traffic is even greater during the busy holiday season, when charters add additional flights that quickly fill up. Miami airport officials said 55 flights are scheduled to depart to four Cuban cities this weekend, among the heaviest travel days leading up to Christmas.

    At Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, Cubans crowded up against a low metal fence last week, straining to watch for loved ones as they emerged from customs pushing carts piled high with shrink-wrapped luggage, kitchen appliances, televisions, stuffed animals and cardboard boxes bursting at the seams.

    Arturo de Cordoba traveled from Miami with five suitcases crammed with cookies, sweets, rice and other goodies for his son and daughter, who picked him up at the airport.

    “I come here to share with my children,” said Cordoba, a jeweler who has been living in the United States for 30 years.

    Tom Cooper, the president and owner of Miami-based Gulfstream Air Charter, which flies a 146-seat 737 jetliner to Havana daily, said his company’s passenger load has doubled from about 23,000 in 2009 to approaching 50,000 this year.

    Also on the rise are baggage numbers.

    “We track every pound that goes on the airplane. Our average bag weight in the last year has gone from 85 to 132 pounds (from 40 to 60 kilograms) per person,” Cooper said. The first 44 pounds (20 kilos) are free, and there is a $1-a-pound surcharge after that, he said.

    The load is so great that for about half of Gulfstream’s flights, the company charters a twin-turboprop cargo plane to carry the excess baggage, Cooper said.

    The visits are something of a lifeline in Cuba, where, five decades after the Cuban Revolution, many basic goods that Americans take for granted are in short supply – from office supplies to clothing, makeup, aspirin, batteries and even cat food.

    The Cuban government blames the 48-year U.S. embargo, which prohibits nearly all commercial trade with the island, with the exception of food and medicine. A historically stagnant Cuban economy hasn’t helped.

    What goods can be had are often out of reach for average Cubans. A small 19-inch (48- centimeter) flat-screen TV can cost well over $2,000 in the few stores that supply them. That’s far more than the cost of bringing one in from the United States, even with the $270 import duty levied on electronics and the extra overweight charges.

    Ten-year-old Daniela Lezcano of West Palm Beach, Florida, flew in alone for a three-week visit with her aunt, uncle, grandfather and other relatives in Pinar del Rio carrying clothing, food, medicine and toys, including a red model of a 1960 Corvette. Her family planned a Christmas feast of roasted pork, homemade sweetened cassava and a typical rice and bean dish known as “congri.”

    “We are very, very, very happy to see other family members more often” since the travel restrictions were changed, said her uncle, Juan Miguel Guerra Pereira.

    Indeed, many say that as important as the gifts are, the emotional reunions are far more significant for families separated by just 90 miles (145 kilometers) of sea between Cuba and Florida, but torn by decades of Cold War tensions.

    Take Roman Garcia, who said he and 10 other relatives plan to be on hand at the airport to greet his brother when he returns for the first time since leaving Cuba in 1980.

    “We will have to cry a lot. It’s a very beautiful moment, but very sad,” Roman Garcia said. “We will go home together. … He is going to be very happy, because it’s the house where he was born.”


  12. Cubano Verdadero! Why dont you stop attacking people and making stupid assumptions about those of us posting here or the cuban diaspora in general and write something or post something that we can actually discuss! Are you capable of that?

    ASSOCIATED PRESS: Raul Castro touts economic changes
    HAVANA (AP) — Cuban President Raul Castro told legislators Saturday that the future of the country’s revolution is at stake as the government tries to institute sweeping economic reforms, adding that the changes are meant to strengthen socialism — not replace it.

    Cuba has announced it will lay off a half-million workers from bloated state-run enterprises, while simultaneously allowing more free enterprise. It has also begun to scale back many of the subsidies Cubans have come to rely on to compensate for salaries that average just $20 a month.

    Castro has argued that the changes are needed to boost notoriously low productivity, and that once that happens, living standards will begin to rise. He urged his countrymen to embrace the changes, and warned that anybody who doesn’t will be left behind.

    “The life of the revolution is in the balance,” Castro said in a two-hour speech closing out a twice-yearly meeting of the island’s national assembly. He repeated his contention that the dollop of limited capitalism being injected into the economy does not mean the end of the revolution’s ideal to create an egalitarian utopia.

    “The strategic economic changes are being made to sustain socialism,” he said. “They are to preserve and strengthen socialism, so as to make it irrevocable.”

    Still, Castro had a message to those who wonder if the Cuban government is serious this time around — since past economic openings have fizzled.

    He said the changes are “the result of profound meditations and analysis, and we can assure you this time there will be no going back.”

    He urged Cubans not to listen to naysayers — particularly in the United States — who have dismissed the economic changes as window-dressing.

    “Our adversaries abroad, as we might expect, have challenged our every step, first by calling the measures cosmetic and insufficient and now by trying to confuse public opinion by prophesying a sure failure,” he said. “Sometimes it seems that their most heartfelt wishes (for Cuba’s failure) prevent them from seeing the reality.”

    He also warned his countrymen that they’ll have to work in the new Cuba, and can no longer rely on the state for handouts.

    “Many of us Cubans confuse socialism with freebies and subsidies, and equality with egalitarianism,” the president said.

    Castro also announced that a major Communist Party Congress where many of the reforms are to be enshrined will be held April 16-19, with the end date coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Cuba’s victory in the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion. The government had previously said only that it would be held in April.

    Cuba’s economy minister, who also spoke to the legislators, said the government expected the economy to grow by 3.1 percent in 2011, up from 2.1 percent this year.

    Revolutionary icon Fidel Castro was not present. Normally a ceremonial seat is left empty for the former president, with a glass of water set out in front of it. But the tradition was dispensed with this year.

    Raul Castro also used the speech to blast Washington for its policies toward Cuba, saying it has shown itself completely closed to better ties.

    “There isn’t the slightest willingness on the part of the United States to change the policy against Cuba, not even to eliminate its most irrational aspect,” he said. “The U.S. policy on Cuba does not have an ounce of credibility.”

    Washington has maintained an economic embargo on the communist-run country for 48 years, and effectively bars most U.S. tourists from visiting. Despite hopes by many that President Barack Obama would usher in a new era in Cuban-U.S. relations, little has changed and the countries remain enemies.

    Two U.S. diplomatic cables from late 2009 recently released by WikiLeaks indicate Raul Castro was perhaps hoping to change that, requesting through a senior Spanish diplomat that a secret back channel be opened between him and the White House. The overture was rejected, however, and Castro was told that if he wanted to engage he should do so through normal channels.

    Cuban officials have expressed exasperation that Washington is not more interested in talking, noting that the government has released many of the island’s dissidents and that they are reforming the economy to inject more aspects of the free market.

    A State Department spokesman on Thursday said Cuba had not made serious efforts to change the country’s political system — dominated since 1959 by Castro and his brother Fidel — or truly reform the economy.

    Associated Press writer Paul Haven contributed to this report.



    Cubano verdadero -quote- “It seems to me that soulless individuals like yuano, capiro, wannabe canadian and similar loudspeakers, need to experience what it is like to be constantly bombarded with the destructie and violent noise from dissidents and diaspora whose only goal in life is to point out only the dark and negative.”

    REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS: Like Nobel ceremony, Sakharov Prize ceremony to have empty chair – 14 December 2010

    “Reporters Without Borders adopts Fariñas’ message as its own. Cuban society will one day have to be reconciled with all of its components. The international community, especially Europe and Latin America, must continue diplomatic attempts to promote respect for basic rights and freedoms in Cuba.
    This is why Reporters Without Borders supports the European Union’s “common position” on Cuba, under which the normalization of EU relations is conditioned on Cuba’s effective recognition of these rights and freedoms. The Cuban government signed two UN conventions on civil and political rights in 2008 but has not ratified them.”

    mprisoned for ‘Dangerousness’ in Cuba by Nik Steinberg
    Published in: The Washington Post-February 27, 2010

    Under Cuba’s “dangerousness” law, authorities can imprison people who have not committed a crime on the suspicion that they might commit one in the future. “Dangerous” activities include handing out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, writing articles critical of the government and trying to start an independent union.


  14. After another short vacation in Cuba, I can tell you that the the desperation of the Cubans is growing. It seemes to me that they are doing worst than last year and I wonder what will 2011 bring for them. Another bar of soap, another bottle of shampoo. Hey Dumbir your people are begging for soap and shoes. CUBANS CANNOT AFFORD TO BUY IT. Imagine that. Soap and shoes. If you plan to spend some time in Cuba as tourist please take some bars of soaps, shampoo and other toleitries and offer them to the the staff that serves you or to Cubans on the streets.

  15. ***
    HI DAMIR–#32. The government of Honduras followed their Constitution and laws. Zelaya violated the law that a president could only serve 5 years. Zelaya wanted to be like Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez–another dictator violating the constitutional rights of the people. And the U.S. Government supported Zelaya! Thank you, Comrade Obama!
    Too bad Cuba doesn’t have the balls to help the people and liberty. May Damir live under this type of government–you seem to like their actions against the people. The people of Honduras elect their government–and give them a boot in the rear end when they are worthless. Liberty won in Honduras.
    HOLA DAMIR–#32. El gobierno de Honduras sigio su Constitution y leyes. Zelaya violo la ley que un presidente pudo servir no mas que 5 anos. Zelaya quiso ser como Fidel Castro o Hugo Chavez–otro dictador violando los derechos constitutionales de la gente. Y el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos appoyo Zelaya! Gracias, Camarada Obama!
    Que lastima que Cuba no tiene los cojones para ayudar la gente y libertad. Que vive Damir abajo de esta tipo de gobierno–parece que le gusta sus acciones contra la gente. La gente de Hondures elegin su gobierno–y les dan una bota en la cola cuando no sierven. La libertad gano en Honduras.
    John Bibb

  16. Cubano Verdadero
    If what you say truly comes from your heart……how sad.
    I wonder if the only thing that may traverse your misunderstanding of other human beings on this planet is if you were able to get off the island and actually experience the hearts of good people around the world. You may then realize that millions and millions of people in the US and Canada have only warm thoughts of you humans who live in Cuba. There are millions like me who don’t see people like you as “Cubans”, but as fellow human beings who happen to live where you live.

    Maybe this is what you need to break through your extreme paranoia of other countries. Your suffering comes from your own fear and paranoia generated by your own government, not by an actual threat that countries like Canada and the US who you fear want to come bomb you. But this is something you will only know if you actually experience what the people who live north of you are like. I understand my words will probably fall on unbelieving ears because words are just words.

    When I speak on the side of those who suffer, I speak on behalf of you Cubano. I am on the side of those who suffer. There are suffering people in every country, in the US, and even in this wonderful country called canada. Suffering is result of abuse of power, and it happens in all political systems, even democracies. The abuse of power comes from dark side of the human heart, and we are all prone to exercise that abuse. But it is clear from where I live that the level of structural abuse in Cuba, and in any dictatorship, is extreme, pervasive, and needs to be spoke against. Yet when those who live under the abuse fight back against those who are on their side, it makes me scratch my head.

    I fear you are being manipulated and psychologically jerked around by your tormentors. Those who want to abuse you and keep you down, are the very ones who feed you lies and manipulate you so you actually support the abuse. And it is sad that you have actually fallen prey to psychological manipulations of your abuser. From here in Canada, it is disheartening that people in Cuba can’t see what is happening to themselves. Humans like you support your abusers, you have your identity wrapped up in your abusers, so you fight against anyone who opposes your abuser like it is a family attack. And it is very sad to see it Cubano.

  17. Dumbir your stupidity is boundless. I am beginning to think that you must be about 11 years old. Amazing how you and cubano varadero seem to agree in back to back e-mails, so like minded that you even use the same inane phrasing and idiotic words.
    I can’t speak for other usanians but I am very impressed by your skill and shrewdness. When can we expect a return visit from juan? Between you, cubano varadero, juan and other alter egos you might conjure up we wouldn’t stand a chance. What a complete and utter buffoon …

  18. What, expected of cu=ourse, load of bullshit by a known mass producer of it.

    Yet another post of a known spammer, using the source (usa interest section cable supposedly) known for mass production of lies and deception

    To say that some person had visited and talked with cuban doctors, when the personnel from the usa Interest section CANNOT go out into the Cuba in the first place, and even if they could they would be surveilled which makes the statement absolute lie.

    Even the wannabe ambassador admis they are confined to gtheir offices and dorms in a note the cable about their allegation that Cuban authorities stamp ID cards:

    (Note: According to Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) officials in Havana, stamping ID cards used to be the case but is no longer the practice in Cuba, something we could not independently corroborate. End Note.)

    Anyone who was in Cuba recently, knows that that practivce has been abandoned long time ago.

    Except the nazist usanians… Who would know!!!!???

    The cable, when you read it in its’ entirety, clearly depicts a politically correct product from a nazist administrative apparatchik, who is sending the news his bosses want to hear in order to promulgate them further.

    The cable is a self-serving political propaganda. It contains no revealing information and it has no purpose other than to discredit the movie and Cuban health system.

    Which is in shambles, but for all the different reasons which the nazists in the usa and usa interest section in Havana would never admit.

  19. It seems to me that soulless individuals like yuano, capiro, wannabe canadian and similar loudspeakers, need to experience what it is like to be constantly bombarded with the destructie and violent noise from dissidents and diaspora whose only goal in life is to point out only the dark and negative. They need to experience what it is like to live in a state where there are no houses beyond your reach, no “exclusive” clubs for the elite, no right to walk freely in the middle of the night without fearing for your life to be taken by a bunch of drugged muggers looking for more money for their next shoot, and let us not forget those Miamians, the cuban scum bullshitting, 24/7 and threatening us with their “freedom”. To live in a state where just listening to their TV and radio only talking about our own country as if it is a place to bomb into the oblivion is the jail you are confined to because of those acfcross the water. To live in a state of fear from incessant threats of some invasion, war, murder and all in the name of some faint and elusive “liberty”.

    There is no wisdom in your words. To people like all of you it is an intellectual exercise of trying to prove your own idea is right, at the cost of abandoning any moral and human sensitivities. You don’t feel what it is like to suffer, to go hungry, to live in fear. Because you haven’t felt it you can go off in your wrong brain and argue you stupid “democracy” arguments ad nauseam and still say nothing two weeks or decades later. Your words are like the chatter of the fool. You are disconnected to the experience of being human.

    Yet even these words will probably just inflame your stupid, outdated and violent position. There is no crack in heart where love and compassion for the suffering or powerless can enter. I doubt any words will break through the cement around your hearts, even if you had one, and you obviously don’t.

    For the sake of your own souls, not that you ever had one, I hope he some day you experiences living under constant threat, looking over the sea whether the barbarians are coming to destroy what little you have, bringing with them the winds of hell and smell of rotting flesh and cries of mothers for their lost children yet again, as if we haven’t suffered enough…

    For that is the only thing that might initiate you into being human. But, I just cannot see that happening ever.

  20. Speaking out against the Cuba and Castros has become a knee-jerk mantra for ill-informed and politically motivated people. The true hatred that must be broken is the one imposed upon the Cuban people by the cubanitos- the lowlife immigrants sucking up to the usa-nians as if there is no tomorrow. Where are the indignant voices of the Canadians, Europeans and others who are so quick to condemn the Castros but are so quiet when faced with the news of a new immigrant cuban mafia inspired atrocity inside and out of Cuba? The cuban immigrants in Miami in particular have been sucking up and coddling the usanians from the beginning. They are blind to the human rights violations that go on in Cuba, commited by themselves and their cronnies, on a daily basis while they sun-bathe away at the best beaches, f**k the bargain priced prostitutes and conduct business with the criminals who run the government, what a nice arrangement. I challenge any cuban immigrant, wanking white usanians on the beaches of MIami and elsewhere to tell me what positive changes have taken place in Cuba as a result of their OWN “engagement” with the totalitarian regime? How has the common Cuban citizen benefitted from those loud but brai deprived wankers playing patty cake with these gangsters who have so little regard for their own country and people? It is a shamefully disgraceful and morally repugnant policy. So please save us the indignant outcries about the “communism”, the cuban diaspora postion on Cuba is hollow, hypocritical and indefensible.

  21. I haven’t been to the commentaries in quite some time but having read them one thing ,hasn’t changed…the same old arguments thrown around about US/Cuba relations, having nothing to do with the blog written. See you again in a few months to see if it’s changed

  22. Speaking out against the embargo has become a knee-jerk mantra for ill-informed and politically motivated people. The true embargo that must be broken is the one imposed upon the Cuban people by the castros. Where are the indignant voices of the Canadians, Europeans and others who are so quick to condemn the embargo but are so quiet when faced with the news of a new castro inspired atrocity inside Cuba? The Canadians in particular have been sucking up and coddling the castros from the beginning. They are blind to the human rights violations that go on in Cuba on a daily basis while they sun-bathe away at the best beaches, f**k the bargain priced prostitutes and conduct business with the criminals who run the government, what a nice arrangement. I challenge any Canadian to tell me what positive changes have taken place in Cuba as a result of this “engagement” with the totalitarian regime? How has the common Cuban citizen benefitted from your governments playing patty cake with these gangsters who have so little regard for their own country and people? It is a shamefully disgraceful and morally repugnant policy. So please save us the indignant outcries about the “embargo”, the Canadian postion on Cuba is hollow, hypocritical and indefensible.


    GUARDIAN U.K.- WikiLeaks: Cuba banned Sicko for depicting ‘mythical’ healthcare system-Authorities feared footage of gleaming hospital in Michael Moore’s Oscar-nominated film would provoke a popular backlash

    Cuba banned Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, Sicko, because it painted such a “mythically” favourable picture of Cuba’s healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a “popular backlash”, according to US diplomats in Havana.

    The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.
    But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so “disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room”.

    Castro’s government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it “knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.”

    Sicko investigated healthcare in the US by comparing the for-profit, non-universal US system with the non-profit universal health care systems of other countries, including Cuba, France and the UK.

    It was nominated for an Oscar for best documentary feature but was also castigated for being naive and tendentious.

    The cable comes from the United States Interests Section in Havana (USINT) – staffed by US foreign service personnel and local staff employed by the department of state, the unit is formally a section of the Embassy of Switzerland, although it operates independently of the Swiss in virtually all but protocol respects.

    The secret 2008 cable is based on reports from the USINT’s foreign service health practitioner (FSHP) of her conversations with local people, unauthorised visits to Cuban hospitals, and experience of helping USINT American and Cuban personnel access healthcare.

    The cable describes a visit made by the FSHP to the Hermanos Ameijeiras hospital in October 2007. Built in 1982, the newly renovated hospital was used in Michael Moore’s film as evidence of the high-quality of healthcare available to all Cubans.

    But according to the FSHP, the only way a Cuban can get access to the hospital is through a bribe or contacts inside the hospital administration. “Cubans are reportedly very resentful that the best hospital in Havana is ‘off-limits’ to them,” the memo reveals.

    According to the FSHP, a more “accurate” view of the healthcare experience of Cubans can be seen at the Calixto Garcia Hospital. “FSHP believes that if Michael Moore really wanted the ‘same care as local Cubans’, this is where he should have gone,” the cable states.

    A 2007 visit by the FSHP to this “dilapidated” hospital, built in the 1800s, was “reminiscent of a scene from some of the poorest countries in the world,” the cable adds.

    The memo points out that even the Cuban ruling elite leave Cuba when they need medical care. Fidel Castro, for example, brought in a Spanish doctor during his health crisis in 2006. The vice-minister of health, Abelardo Ramirez, went to France for gastric cancer surgery. The neurosurgeon whoheads CIMEQ [Centro de Investigaciones Médico-Quirúrgicas] hospital – widely regarded as one of the best in Cuba – came to England for eye surgery, returning periodically for checkups.

    “After living in Cuba for two and a half years, treating numerous Cuban employees at USINT, and interacting with many other Cubans, the FSHP believes … preventive medicine in Cuba is a by-gone ideal, rather than the standard practice of care,” the memo concludes.


  24. Simba Sez: #24 John Two, I’m reasonably sure you have some reason to think that your position on U S trade and travel embargoes as counter-productive is correct, but I would like to question you a bit on it. I suppose first one would have to ask what you mean by counter-productive. That is counter-productive to what? I’m guessing you mean counter-productive to good international relations between the U S and Cuba? Trade with Cuba would not be trade, it would be a one-sided gift-giving as Cuba either cannot, or will not, pay for the goods in any sort of a timely manner. If the travel embargo were to be lifted and U S citizens began traveling to Cuba in large numbers it would be a financial gift to the dictatorial government of the island nation. Nearly all of the millions of dollars spent there would cost the Cuban government nearly nothing. They would be providing no hard goods for sale, merely some sunshine and friendship and raking in untold riches. There is clearly no advantage to the United States to enter into any such situation. If Cuba wants better relations with the U S the answer is simple. Provide a little common decency to their own citizens in the field of human relations. Is that really too much to ask? To expect the U S to pay Cuba, with goods and tourist riches, for friendly relatiuons with no improvement of human relations is asinine.

  25. Mr. Farrar’s points about the kowtowing of governments of other democracies (including mine – Canada) are well taken. While the US trade and travel embargoes are counter-productive in my view, that’s no reason to not meet with those advocating for democracy and human rights in Cuba and speaking out on their behalf.


    GUARDIAN U.K. : WikiLeaks cables: Cuba’s ‘best friends forever’ ignore human rights-Australia, Canada, Switzerland and Spain among countries damned by diplomat for ‘kowtowing’ in hope of trade favours

    Australia, Canada and several European countries have stopped pressuring Cuba over human rights in the hope of winning commercial favours from Havana, according to confidential US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

    The western governments continued to pay lip service to concerns about political prisoners and censorship, but in reality were appeasing the island’s communist rulers, said Jonathan Farrar, the US head of mission.

    The diplomat made scathing remarks about his colleagues shunning democracy activists, “kowtowing” to the Castro regime and joining what he scornfully termed the “best friends forever” camp.

    “The Cuban government has been able to stonewall its independent civil society from foreign visitors who have, for the large part, been all too ready to give in to Cuban bullying and give up on these encounters,” Farrar said.

    He named and shamed the countries Washington considers offenders in its battle, started half a century ago by JFK, to keep an international squeeze on the island.

    “The Australian foreign minister, Switzerland’s human rights special envoy and the Canadian cabinet level minister of the Americas not only failed to meet with non-government Cubans, they didn’t even bother to publicly call for more freedoms after visiting Cuba in November,” Farrar wrote.

    Canada had softened its position over the past year, he said, with newly arrived diplomats minimising civil society contacts. “Promoting democracy may play well in political circles in Ottawa but the Canadian government appears to have decided that doing anything serious about it in Cuba under the current regime could jeopardise the advancement of Canada’s other interests.”

    He railed against the European commission for sitting “snugly in the best friends forever” camp and siding with Spain – which seeks warmer ties with Havana – against more hawkish EU members. “Their functionaries share with us their reproach of the ‘radical’ Swedes and Czechs, with their human rights priorities, and can’t wait for ‘moderate’ Spain to take over the EU presidency.”

    The US envoy mocked those who claimed to push for human rights in private meetings with Cuban officials. “The truth is that most of these countries do not press the issue at all in Cuba. The GOC [government of Cuba] … deploys considerable resources to bluff and bully many missions and their visitors into silence.”

    The criticised governments are likely to reject the memo as an example of sour grapes from a country that has seen its Caribbean foe embraced by Africa, Latin America, Asia and increasingly the west. Even Washington’s allies consider its embargo a cold war anachronism. “Demented,” as one European ambassador put it.

    Cuba’s opposition is small, fractious and powerless – split between groups who favour hardline US policy and those who think the softer approach of other governments will do more to open up the island.

    The confidential US memo said the Castro government was determined to drive a wedge into the EU’s common policy on Cuba, which in theory obliges member states to lobby hard for human rights. Britain is among countries that refuse to send a minister to Havana without concessions.

    Farrar approvingly categorised this as the “take your visit and shove it” approach. “Germany, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom may pay a price in terms of lost business and access from their principled stance. Others who stand in this camp have less to lose from sticking it to the Cubans, and include Poland and Sweden.”

    There is no mention of William Hague, the then British shadow foreign secretary, and Lord Ashcroft meeting senior Cuban officials in Havana last year. The pair did not meet democracy activists, but since taking office Hague has promised to continue the British policy of not sending ministers.

    Farrar said those foreign delegations that shunned civil society activists and avoided mention of political prisoners reaped few dividends. “For the most part the rewards for acquiescing to GOC demands are risible: pomp-full dinners and meetings and, for the most pliant, a photo op with one of the Castro brothers. In terms of substance or economic benefits they fare little better than those who stand up to the GOC.”

    In a separate cable, Arnold Chacon, the American charge d’affaires in Spain, noted Croatia’s effort to placate the US by playing down the importance of a trumpeted visit to Havana last year by Stjepan Mesić, Croatia’s president at the time. Croatia’s ambassador assured the US envoy that the trip had “zero value” and that the visitors were in fact “embarrassed” by the red carpet treatment.


  27. Trying to reason with the mongrel dumbir is a waste of time. He is but a crazed and rabid dog. There is no intellect or reason behind his lunatic ravings, only bile, hatred and ignorance. He is the poster boy for the ultra-left who’s views are always tainted by a virulent and obsessive anti-americanism. These types of compulsive, brain damaged individuals are incapable of reason, compassion or redemption.

    All references to dogs aside dumbir, your bark has zero bite, you may pretend to be a doberman of the left but you’re merely an annoying, little poodle. The worst you can do is tinkle on the leg of some big, bad capitalist with that shriviled up, microscopic excuse of a pecker you fumble around with every day.


    EURASIA REVIEW: Quo Vadis Fidel? Where are you going?-By Irving Louis Horowitz
    The enormously talented and courageous woman, Yoani Sanchez, summarized the meaning of the forthcoming April 2011 Conference Guidelines for the Communist Party’s Sixth Congress in her biting blog called Generation Y. On November 9th, 2010, she wrote “not a single line refers to the expansion of civil rights, including the restrictions suffered by Cubans in entering and leaving our own country. Nor is there a word about freedom of association or expression, without which the authorities will continue to behave more like factory foremen than as the representatives of their people.”

    However, other than castigating the “bloodsucking character” of the thirty some odd pages of text containing economic proposals, “more appropriate for the Ministry of Finance than for the compass of a political party,” she treads lightly on the bureaucratic contradictions that drive the Cuban Communist Party at this critical point in time. The emotional turmoil of present day Cuba she gives voice to as a “detective of the unexpressed.” She rarely is excelled by anyone in an overseas context. However the political economy of the moment remains fair game for foreign policy analysis.

    Other than those who remain dedicated to the cause of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, I suspect that most serious analysts would correctly claim that the forthcoming assembly can only seek to preserve and protect the Communist party apparatus. To expect it to declare itself out of business and defunct is too much to imagine from a single party that monopolizes every organ of public opinion and political mobilization. But this very domination of politics is a source of deep weakness; it demonstrates the absence of legitimacy in the Castro brothers’ regime. It may rotate leadership elites, but it can not change the course of totalitarianism.

    In a system of dynastic communism, practiced to a fine art in North Korea, but mocked everywhere else, its impact beyond the 800,000 members of the Communist Party ranges from negligible to indifferent. The decision of the Communist Party to reform the economic system from within is faced with a cul-de-sac from which it cannot readily extricate itself. Reduced to a political faction of less than ten percent (closer to seven percent) of the population, and faced with a variety of cultural distancing from the regime-ranging from rebellious youth to religious revivalism as a mobilizing device-the system at the level of ideological superstructure is a ghost of what it was in earlier periods of Cuban communist history.

    Turning toward the political economic base, the system seems even more vulnerable than in the past. The natural history which transpired in 2010 augurs poorly for a party conference scheduled for late spring 2011. Even the supposition that the actors in this drama will remain the same is dubious. Leaders in their eighties cannot presume immortality.

    1. First, there is the strange September 8, 2010 interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, the National Correspondent for The Atlantic in which Fidel Castro admits plainly that “The Cuban [Communist] model doesn’t even work for us anymore.” Castro’s post-interview shifts and qualifications hardly constituted damage control.

    2. The government apparatus of Raul Castro declares a reduction in the size of the central bureaucracy by at least 500,000 to 700,000 individuals. The size of the public sector was thus reduced from 85 percent to somewhere between 75-70 percent.

    3. The problem is that there is no private sector available to absorb such a huge exodus from government employment. Not only is this population redundant within the bureaucracy, it has little tooling or educational retraining in the largely pyrrhic private sector.

    4. Often overlooked is that the culture of communism strongly discourages business skills and private sector initiatives. Those who engaged in such practices in earlier decades were rapidly forced to surrender its activities; or failing that, pay exorbitant taxes for the privilege of embracing the private sector as small time entrepreneurs.

    5. The swollen public sector exiles thus must turn to the black market or gray market in order to survive. Already rife with a myriad of widely reported illegal activities in the black market, from stealing of any moveable parts, to services rendered “off the books” in repairs and services, the situation is grim.

    6. The currency situation created by the new edicts will do little to strengthen the value of Cuban currency, certainly neither abroad and probably not within Cuba itself. What it is likely to accomplish is the further flight from the Peso Cubano (moneda nacional) into convertible currencies such as North American dollars and European euros.

    7. The trade unions mandated by the government now stand exposed as the ideological voice of the Communist Party and its edicts, or must face the prospect of opposition to the regime itself. This is a situation strangely parallel to Poland during the founding of Solidarity in the Gdansk shipyards in September 1980 where Lech Walesa and others formed a broad anti-Soviet social movement ranging from people associated with the Catholic Church to members of the anti-regime Left.

    The larger, external macroeconomic factors for Cuba offer little comfort-dependency on Venezuela or at least on Hugo Chavez parading about as the savior of the island for providing petroleum products at reduced rates and bartering professional personnel in exchange for such assistance. This offers little succor to either the Party or its leadership. The declining markets for sugar and tobacco produced as a result of stiff competition from other nations and regions also have become part of the permanent Cuban landscape. The island is unable to compete, and even less able to revitalize established industries much less institutionalize new technologies that have become routine even in less democratic parts of the world. The pressures from the embargo by the United States (which are real, despite Fidel’s repeated past blaring that they counted for little) do weigh heavily on the regime. Add to this Russia’s loss of support on a variety of finished products, the Castro brothers are faced with impossible choices. Not even Chinese good will can bail out the system.

    The Castro entourage would be wise to retool the getaway airplane used by Fulgencio Batista, and try for January 1, 2011 as a fine one-way departure date. And so might this prove to be the peaceful end of the Communist regime in Cuba: not in a thundering manifesto of historical absolution, but as a quiet departure of a frenetic politburo that should have taken place years ago. The Cuban people will have to figure out who to punish and how to move beyond more than a half century of authoritarian rule. They will also need to examine options and alternatives before them in the torturous road of re-entry into hemispheric civilities and global economics. But this upcoming event — Proyeto de Lineamientos de la Política Económico y Social — far from alleviating the situation will only exacerbate matters. It will focus attention on systemic failures, and add substance to Fidel’s off-handed remarks in the Atlantic interview. In this way, Fidel may yet prove a prophet of doom, rather than a harbinger of the future.

    Irving Louis Horowitz is Hannah Arendt distinguished professor emeritus of sociology and political science at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He is the author of The Long Night of Dark Intent: A Half Century of Cuban Communism, and co-editor with Jaime Suchlicki of eleven editions of the “bible” of Cuban studies, Cuban Communism.


  29. It seems to me that soulless individuals like Damir need to experience what it is like to be powerless. He needs to experience what it is like to live in a state where your limited choices are dictated by those in power. To live in a state where forced hunger is the jail you are confined to because of those in power. To live in a state where your voice is invalidated and unaffirmed by those in power. To live in a state where your individual freedom to even speak freely is taken away from you by those in power.

    There is no wisdom in Damir’s words. To him it is an intellectual exercise of trying to prove his idea is right, at the cost of abandoning any moral and human sensitivities. He doesn’t feel what it is like to suffer, to go hungry, to live in fear. Because he hasn’t felt it he can go off in his left brain and argue his intellectual arguments to of who is right. His words are like the chatter of the fool. He is disconnected to the experience of being human.

    Yet even these words will probably just inflame his position. There is no crack in heart where love and compassion for the suffering or powerless can enter. I doubt any words will break through the cement around heart.

    For the sake of his own soul, I hope he some day experiences loss, failure, powerlessness, defeat…….for that is the only thing that will initiate him into being human.

  30. Seems that the resident wankers and moronic cubanos immigrants in Miami, and elsewhere, are sensing the shit filling their ugly monkey-like nostrils…

    Here’s more of what those idiots without educatin and manners want for their own country:


    The so-called “leadre” of Kosovo, Serbian southern province is nothing more than a mafia leader. His resume includes drugs, arms and organs dealing and trade. Apparently, the usa, who are his staunch supporter (no surprise here, usa is but a nazist dictatorship. just look at those idotic cubans posting here talking about how “god” is their saviour, and then talking murder and destruction…) and the EU, who are just like those stupid cuban traitors (hello yoani!!! and wankers like yugo-cubano, humpederasta and alikes) licking the shit off the street where yankies drop it for them to eat, all knew back in mid nineties that tachi was a scumbag.

    But, as always, he was “their” scumbag, and they needed someone to screw up the balkans to the core, so they actually helped him.

    Just as they are helping the Cuban dissidents.

    In short, if the nazist gulag usa and their lackeys EU are behind you, you are a scumbag.

    Not worth the air you breathe.

    The best remedy: end your own life. Do not have someone else do your dirty job for you.

    Lift your worthless self for one time to a level where a mirage of decency may appear and be mentioned once you are gone.

  31. The EcuRed site is a knock-off of Wikipedia right down to using the same font and lay-out.

    Many of the entries are unintentionally hilarious as they report as fact the most ridiculous falsehoods and conspiracy theories. The entry on George W Bush was a real howler.

  32. BOOK: Mañana in Cuba: The Legacy of Castroism and Transitional Challenges for Cuba- José Azel (Author)
    Editorial Reviews
    Product Description
    Mañana in Cuba is a comprehensive analysis of contemporary Cuba with an incisive perspective of the Cuban frame of mind and its relevancy for Cuba’s future. Part one of the book critically explores the mindset Cubans have developed living under a totalitarian system and introduces modern concepts of choice architecture and governance that can be employed Mañana in Cuba to foster a democratic civil society. Part two turns to a discussion of the principles that should guide sociopolitical and economic transition policies in line with Cuban culture and history. Mañana in Cuba offers a sophisticated analysis of the challenges and opportunities that will be present in post-Castro Cuba with an eye to intelligent, nuanced, and often “outside the box” solutions to aid business and government policymakers interested in Cuba’s future. A unique aspect of this book is that it does not seek to unnaturally mend a decimated civil society, but rather, it offers policy approaches anchored on current Cuban ethos and society. This is a book about finding ways to facilitate the Cuban transition from totalitarianism and a centrally planned economy to liberal democracy and a free-market economic system. As the author argues, the alternative visions presented for Cuba’s future matter because one of them will crystallize into the sociopolitical and economic narrative of the country for generations to come.
    About the Author
    José Azel left Cuba in 1961 as a 13 year-old political exile in what has been dubbed Operation Pedro Pan-the largest unaccompanied child refugee movement in the history of the Western Hemisphere. He is currently dedicated to the in-depth analyses of Cuba’s economic, social, and political state, with a keen interest in post-Castro-Cuba strategies as a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) at the University of Miami and has published extensively on Cuba related topics. Dr. Azel was one of the founders of Pediatrix Medical Group, the nation’s leading provider of pediatric specialty services and served as its first Chief Financial Officer. He co-founded and serves as Board Chairman of Children’s Center for Development and Behavior, an organization dedicated to providing therapies for children with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. Dr. Azel was an Adjunct Professor of International Business at the School of Business Administration, Department of Management, University of Miami. He holds undergraduate and masters degrees in business administration and a Ph.D. in International Affairs from the University of Miami. Dr. Azel has a comprehensive general management background integrating broad functional experience in corporate governance, organizational development and finance. –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

  33. It appears that some of the entries on Miami in this rediculous attempt at spreading disinformation, EcuRed, where written by our own moron-in-residence dumbir.


    MIAMI TIMES: EcuRed, Cuba’s Castro-Approved Wikipedia Clone, Launches, Has Curious Take on Miami

    The resurgent Fidel Castro — riding a new high as the world’s foremost peddler of Bilderberg conspiracies — has lately been helping his island nation lurch toward the Information Age. Last year, we wrote about Cuba’s answer to Craigslist, Revolico.cu, where jerry-rigged ’50s Buicks are hot sellers.

    Now, Castro’s regime has launched its own version of Wikipedia: EcuRed! It’s just like Wikipedia, except that the government probably edits all the “user-written” material, which leads to some odd takes. Like, for instance, describing the Magic City as a place where “terrorists peacefully walk the streets.”

    The site, which was developed by the swinging-sounding Youth Club of Computing and Electronics, doesn’t exactly aim to copy Wikipedia’s neutral, well-referenced articles.

    The founders, instead, pledge that it will help “create and disseminate knowledge from a standpoint of decolonization.”

    In EcuRed’s entry on the U.S., for instance, the site notes that America has taken “by force territory and natural resources from other nations, to put at the service of its businesses and monopolies.” Presidents gazed longingly at fertile, delicious Cuba “like those who admire a beautiful fruit that will end up falling in their hands.”

    Mmmmm. Fruit.

    Miami’s entry, meanwhile, starts off reasonably well: We’re third in the U.S. in tourism! We’re known for our beaches!

    Then comes the entry “Terrorismo en Miami,” and rhetoric cranks up. “The gang of criminals, torturers and embezzlers left Cuba and found a new home in Miami, cradle of the Cuban terrorist Mafia,” EcuRed announces.

    There’s also a nice photo of Luis Posada Carrilles and a caption reporting that “Cuban terrorists peacefully walk the streets of Miami.”

    Unfortunately for Fidel’s tech crew, they should have perhaps focused a bit less energy on busting the colonial myths and a little more on securing bandwidth.

    The site officially launched yesterday, but has been all but impossible to access so far.

  35. It is ironic how the moron dumbir uses the countries that were captive communist nations under the soviet boot as examples of failed democracies. He maybe right that some of them are failed, but is it because of democracy/capitalism or, as I believe, they are failed/failing because of the their communist lagacy. Many of these countries are being run/controlled/influenced today by some of the same nefarious communist pigs that opressed them prior to the soviet collapse. Corruption, cronism, lack of respect for democratic institutions and the rule of law are rampant in these countries. Should we be surprised by this? No, after all we are talking about countries were the majority of their citizens today were born and had to survive under stalinist conditions. As in the Cuba of today they had to lie, cheat and steal just to survive, to live with a double face, to trust no one, and to skirt the laws and rules whenever necessary. Should we then be surprised that these new democracies are having a tough go of it when their citizens were not trained/programmed to be “democratic” thinkers. Democracy and a democratic thought process cannot be imposed on any nation overnight(as we can see today in Iraq and Afgahnistan). Democracy takes time, like a seed that must be watered and allowed to grow into a plant/tree. The lesson of the eastern european countries unfortunately does not bode well for those who think Cuba can quickly transition into a truelly functioning democracy. I believe the one most important thin a newly “democratic” Cuba can do to hasten the process is to ensure a clean sweep of all castristas and communists from serving in a new government, outlaw the communist party as has been done in some European countries and as the Germans did with the nazi party.

    Despite your reptitive, childish and inane arguments dumbir, it is your beloved communists who have been the biggest blight in the history of mankind. Your bosheviks heroes have been responsible for more death and misery than anyone, including the nazis. Even though the soviet union is no more we are still suffering the consequences today. We can only hope that some day the castros will meet the same fate as your idolized comrades the ceausecus and allow cuba to wipe the slate clean.

  36. DAMIERDA- quote- “The poverty is provoked largely by the illegal economic sanctions of the dictators in the usa.”

    HAVANA — More than 1,000 travelers from the United States are arriving every day in Cuba on average, most of Cuban origin, making Havana’s long-time foe its second source of visitors after Canada, travel industry and diplomatic sources said Monday. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40533558/ns/travel-destination_travel/

    The United States ranked among Cuba’s top five trading partners for the first time in 2007 despite the decades-old U.S. trade embargo embargo (ĕmbär`gō), prohibition by a country of the departure of ships or certain types of goods from its ports. Instances of confining all domestic ships to port are rare, and the Embargo Act of 1807 is the sole example of this in , as U.S. agriculture sales increased by $100 million, according toaccording to
    1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

    2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

    ….. Click the link for more information. Reuters.

    Trade data for 2007 posted on the website of Cuba’s National Statistics Office placed the U.S. fifth at $582 million, compared with $484 million in 2006, including shipping costs.

    The United States, which began selling food to Cuba in 2002 under an amendment to the embargo, placed seventh in 2006 and 2005.

    Venezuela and China were Cuba’s top trading partners at $2.69 billion and $2.46 billion respectively, with Canada placing third and Spain fourth, each at more than $1 billion.

    Before the 1959 Cuban revolution that swept Fidel CastroNoun 1. Fidel Castro – Cuban socialist leader who overthrew a dictator in 1959 and established a Marxist socialist state in Cuba (born in 1927)
    Castro, Fidel Castro Ruz into power, the United States was Cuba’s top trading partner by far. Cuba’s total trade in 2007 was $13.8 billion, with exports of $3.7 billion and imports of $10 billion. U.S. food trade is expected to grow this year due to high prices for Cuban imports such as corn, wheat, soy and chicken.

    “The economic logic of U.S.-Cuba trade is so powerful that it trumps political hostilities,” said Dan Erikson, a Caribbean expert at the Inter-American Dialogue The Inter-American Dialogue (IAD, and also known as “the Dialogue”) is a non-profit organization located in Washington, DC. The IAD was begun in 1982, and its website bills the organization as the “premier center for policy analysis, exchange, and communication on issues in Western policy group in Washington. “If the embargo were lifted then a flood of trade and investment would pour into Cuba, transforming both the economies of Cuba and South Florida in the process.”

  37. And what is our “valiant” team “yoani” doing in changing the economic situation in Cuba anyways…???

    NOTHING. She receives the money from her foreign masters and keeps shooting (the word is actually slightly differenct…) her misplaced “civic dissent” and gets a few claps from the far right end of the spectrum.

    That is how the eastern block was destroyed.

    Anyone with the eyes can see what happened to those countries once the “freedom and democracy” moved in.

    Crime, bribery, murders.

    Even under Ceausecu in Romania, there was safety and the numbers of people murdered were by far lower than today. By FAR.

    Now the flow of drugs and arms on the streets of the “freed” ex-socialist countries is more akin to a flood.

    And there is no escaping to a flood.

    That is what the inept losers behind the inept “information technology afficionado” want for their own country.

    The solution is NOT in changing the system. The solution is in changing the executive. Every system is good as long as the executive is good.

    How many “free adn democratic” counries today are bankcrupted, or are facing bankcrupcy?

    There are no Castros leading England, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Iceland, Hungary, Croatia, Italy.

    Yet the economies of these supposedly “free” countries are in shambles. Nepotism, bribery, governments stealling the money and taking it out of the country and into their personal bank account in capitalist safe havens is pandemic.

    THAT is what those “pragmatic capitalists” in hte team “yoani” are after.

    Divide further and rule by fear. Get the money and make sure you leave before they can get you.

    The capitalist dogma has crumbled and disintegrated in 2007. Only a retarded idiot, and there are a few still alive and posting here lieke there is no tomorrow (and for these shiteaters thre isn’t), still thinks capitalism is a better option.

    It IS NOT. A better option is a better executive.

    And that is only in the hands of the Cuban people alone. Not the retarded and primitive traitors and arse-lickers livning in the slums of Miami, and other cities throughout the usa. The same ones crawling behind the white yankees, licking spit and shit those whites drop on the streets for those low-life immigrants to eat and keep the streets clean.

  38. And what was the point of yet another pointless post by the now infamous team “yoani”?

    It is clear that the team “yoani” has long ago ran out of anything to say. Let every reader note one huge identifying detail in this poast: there is NO political neither anti-Castro nor anti-Cuba statement.

    In fact not even a subtle critique.

    How come?

    Mainly because there is nothing to complain about Cuba and Castros in the described story. Even the inept team “yoani” know that the situation in Cuba is A LOT MORE complex than that.

    So, just to post for the sake of posting, here’s a story to break your heart!!

    To awake your emotions and make you “think” about Cubans and the hardship they are going through.

    But let us also bear in mind the facts.

    The poverty is provoked largely by the illegal economic sanctions of the dictators in the usa.

    Let us bear in mind that, first and foremost. Then and only then we can also blame the two, just as inept ass the team “yoani”, brothers sitting on the throne and maltreating their own people.

    Not like the shit eaters from the slums of Miami, one of the most dangerous cities in the usa, mostly thanks to the cuban immigrants, traitors and in general spineless retards dealing drugs and arms, or working for usanian criminals (including the dictators’ secret services) in destabilising their own country, killing their own people (who can forget the bomb planted in hotel in the very centre of Havana, which killed just a couple of ordinary Cubans!!!??? The veryt people the team “yoani” and the rest of the hypocrite crinnies supporting them here, claim to fight for!!!!)

    Retarded idiots, all of them.

  39. Hi Dear Yoani! : )

    Very interestind Your Yesterday Column. About it, some ideas ans Tips come to my mind:

    About the Forced Monetary Charge of the Plunde in the Metaphoric/Reality Tale that You relate, the Family could be instaled a ‘Composting Toilet’ that funtion without the critical needed existence of potable water and without bad odors, bring treated good and necessary fertilizer and that is promoted by the Earth Policy Institute (EPI) and the UN Organization:

    And about how to do how fuction it it’sis showed here:

    On the thing of the “Pampers” or disposable diapers”, I agree absolutely with the Mrs. of the history with the wash of the old ones of fabric, and the implicit thing of to no feed the global plague of Dumping Places and come to begin at last the massive activity of Recycling!

    And last, but not least as says the English speaking people, a last Tip about Money and a Different or New Economics System, launched recently in a Conference in Ireland of lider thinkers of the Ecological Economy and Economics (or monetary) System, named “Enough is Enough” (Lo Suficiente es Suficiente”) – para una vida digna y en términos materiales, agregaría yo:

    Warm Cheers and for a Really Better World! : )


    I forget to add to my previous Comment the possibility of to Plant Fruit & Nut Trees in the Parks and Side-Walks of the Streets of Cities and, in a Post-Oil World, even to plant with grains the de-paved Soil of part or all the present Paved Streets.

  40. Animo, STAY OFF THE BOOZE OR THE POT!Before commenting on this blog!

  41. ***
    HI THOMAS–#2. Yoanni Sanchez is just reporting how most Cubans struggle in a dead economy. Most Americans don’t know how bad the Cuban government is. Long ago Cubans used to live much better than Mexicans–now they live in poverty compared to Mexicans.
    HOLA THOMAS–#2. Yoanni Sanchez es reportando como la mayorea de Cubanos luchan en una economia muerta. La mayorea de Americanos no saben que malo es el gobierno Cubano. Hace muchos anos los Cubanos tenian una economia mejor que los Mexicanos–ahora viven en una pobreza en comparison a los Mexicanos.
    John Bibb

  42. Thomas, I do not think her view is negative.

    What she is expertly writing about is something she knows about well. The daily struggles Cubans have to endure. Many people around the world go thru very similar struggles. Specially those who live in 3er world countries.

    Would you like her to be cheerful and joyful about a government keeping a 20% tax on money people get as gifts?

    They are stealing from the poor to give it to the elite ruling class.

    I wonder if any of the elite have these same problems?

  43. MIAMI HERALD: Cuba bars Fariñas from getting award-BY JUAN O. TAMAYO

    Represented by an empty chair draped with a Cuban flag, dissident Guillermo Fariñas was awarded the Sakharov prize — the EU’s main human rights award — on Wednesday.
    Havana’s refusal to allow him to attend the award presentation in France “is the most irrefutable evidence that, unluckily, nothing has changed . .. in the neo-Stalinist regime,” Fariñas said in strongly worded video message he sent to the European Parliament, which awards the prize.

    “I hope God does not allow an unnecessary civil war between Cubans, just because of the blindness in refusing to accept that socialism has failed as a political model,” the 48-year-old psychiatrist added.

    The prize, which came with $60,000, was placed on an empty chair covered with a Cuban flag during the ceremony in the French city of Strasbourg.

    The empty chair recalled another used just last week to hold the Nobel Peace Prize for imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo during that award ceremony in Norway.

    Fariñas said his phones were ringing off the hook Wednesday with congratulations from Cuba and abroad, but insisted the prize was a recognition for all government opponents on the island.

    “It’s an important day for Cuba’s liberty, because what was recognized was the rebelliousness of the Cuban people during more than 50 years of communist dictatorship,” he told El Nuevo Herald from his home in the central City of Santa Clara.

    In his message, he urged the European Union to maintain the “Common Position” that links EU relations to improvements in Cuba’s human rights record.

    The Raúl Castro government is only “feigning supposed economic reforms . . . so that it can benefit from credits and investments” from Europe once the Common Position is lifted, he argued. “Don’t let yourselves be fooled by the siren song of a cruel regime of `savage communism.”


  44. Thomas and Simba:
    I gues you guys are right. This family should be happy to be able to sit at their toilet and contemplate their condition without having their “sh…” running all over the floor.
    That is how happiness is described in Cuba these days.

  45. Simba Sez: Thomas, are you sure you read the story correctly? The uncle in New Jersey was delighted that he aided a relative in poorer straits than himself. The Cuban government was happy because they got 20% of the gift for doing absolutely nothing. The plumber was happy with his 76% of the gift. The family was happy as they now had a functioning toilet and money left over. No one was unhappy so there was no negativity. You mistake the toilet for a glass. It was a half-full toilet, not a glass that was now empty. What a wonderful tale of happiness.

  46. Only Yoani, in her dark view of Cuban life, could see a gift of fifty dollars as something negative. To her, even the half-full glass is empty.

  47. ASSOCIATED PRESS: EU human rights laureate calls for change in Cuba

    BRUSSELS — A Cuban dissident used a video address at Wednesday’s award of the EU’s main human rights prize to call for the release of political prisoners in his homeland and for the government to end attacks on the opposition.

    Guillermo Farinas was not allowed by Cuba to travel to receive the Sakharov human rights prize in Strasbourg, France.

    Farinas, a 48-year-old psychologist and freelance journalist, said the travel ban was “irrefutable testimony to the fact that unfortunately nothing has changed (in Cuba).”

    An empty chair — set out for him — sat in the middle of the legislature with a Cuban flag draped over it. EU Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said it signified a “sad day” on the annual occasion when the bloc wants to laud a stirring example of bravery in the face of human rights oppression.

    Farinas won the Sakharov prize in October after his 134-day hunger strike helped draw attention to the plight of activists, opposition leaders and social critics in Cuban jails.

    He had been kept alive through periodic intravenous feedings at a hospital in his hometown Santa Clara, but began accepting food and water a day after an agreement between the government and Cuba’s Roman Catholic Church to release 52 political prisoners.

    Farinas has spent more than 11 years in prison for a variety of offenses, though he was not behind bars during the hunger strike. He has said he decided to launch his protest after the death of a jailed political prisoner following a long hunger strike.

    Cuba’s government considers him a common criminal paid for by Cuba’s enemies in Washington, and notes that some of his legal troubles include an assault on a co-worker and other violent behavior. Farinas says all the charges are linked to his activism.

    Previous winners of the prize include Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. It was awarded twice before to Cubans: in 2002 to pro-democracy activist Oswaldo Paya and in 2005 to a dissident group, Ladies in White.

    On the eve of the ceremony Farinas said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press from his home in Cuba that authorities denied him permission to travel because the government never received a formal request from the European Union. Cubans hoping to leave the island must request a “tarjeta blanca” or “white card,” from the government.

    In his video address, transmitted to solemn silence at the legislature, he compared it to a card the slaves had to carry in colonial times.

    “I had everything ready, my passport, a visa for France and my tickets,” Farinas told the AP. “The only thing missing was the political will of the Cuban government.”

    He welcomed the prize. “This prize for me represents first and foremost a reason to increase my commitment to keep up the fight so that we will one day have true democracy in Cuba,” he said.

    He called for the release of political prisoners, respect for peaceful opposition, the abolition of laws contravening human rights, rights for a free media and trade unions and a call to allow the Cuban diaspora to become involved in political life.


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