A Man’s Role, or the Creole Viagra


The “gift bag” last month wasn’t very full. Supplies were scarce and he had to settle for some bananas and few pounds of chicken. Better times will come. Anyway, he felt blessed because when he got to his neighborhood with the ten eggs that were also distributed at work several neighbors came out to ask him — anxiously — where they were being sold. He blushed slightly, but told them, with a touch of vanity, that he hadn’t bought them, they were part of the portion given to all members of the Ministry of Armed Forces.

Wearing a military uniform on this olive-green Island has multiple advantages. Not only are there perks in the form of food and material objects, but each individual is invested with a certain capacity to cushion legal penalties, skip procedures that would take another citizen forever, and even expeditiously obtain new housing. The same official, who now better hides his food quota from his neighbors’ eyes, told me once that his grade of captain was like “a check made out to bearer.” When his younger son committed a crime it was enough for him to dress up in his epaulets and boots for the judge to send the “misguided youth” to serve his sentence under house arrest rather than in a penitentiary.

But our man with the pistol on his belt and his helmet aspires to more. Only senior officials, those who attain a certain level in the hierarchy, receive a frequent allocation of the drug PPG, also known as the Cuban Viagra. He has little time left to climb the ladder before retirement age, but he doesn’t want to retire without achieving his monthly quota of these little vitality pills. The Ministry to which he devoted his life will help him fulfill the role of a man, because a soldier must be ready to conquer — and to uphold the names of his leaders — not only on the battlefield, but also between the sheets of whatever bed he might come across.

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12 thoughts on “A Man’s Role, or the Creole Viagra

  1. Hello there Damir!

    You are comparing a Panamanian making 5 dollars a day (the minimum wage is actually 8.90 per day, and only if employed by a very small firm, otherwise it’s more like 10 dollars a day) with a Cuban making about 25 dollars a MONTH. And the Cuban has to pay higher prices for almost everything, as the libreta with it’s subsidized prices is a joke, even if everything on it would actually be available in stores to be bought. Cuba is a country where potatoes or chocolate or beef are an almost unattainable luxury for 99% of the population… While even for a poor Panamanian, a decent lunch or dinner, including a nice serving of meat is close to a guarantee.
    And for what? And don’t tell me about the wonders of free education and free health-care… Besides the extremely corrupt nature of both in Cuba, and besides the lamentable state of the services they actually provide in practice, there are states with comparable nominal GDPs that offer both, at better quality (Albania, Ukraine, Tunisia to name just a few) without imposing so many (in fact any) restrictions on their citizenry.
    And, because commerce is hampered by what amounts to a failed police state, and because import restrictions are ridiculous (most imports are state-controlled, those that aren’t are faced with ridiculous forex limits and delays), and because local industry produces almost nothing of use in terms of consumer goods, most prices are actually higher in Cuba, and have to be payed in CUC rather than in CUP. As a tourist in Cuba, one easily notices how EXPENSIVE everything is, even services geared towards locals. In Panama, the opposite is true. Try to make a Panamanian, an Argentinian or even a Salvadoran or a Bolivian or a Guatemalan live through what the average Cuban lives, and you will find out who lives better. Hint, not the Cuban!

  2. Everyone kows that except for an odd post, the usual loonies who crushed the site with their stupid and retarded “comments” about anything except about what the team “yoani” writes, have got nothing intelligent to say.

    So, to change the pace today, let us look at the article.

    The title is “A Man’s Role, or the Creole Viagra “.

    What is that role you ask.

    Let us look at the text for a revelation.

    Funny thing happened on the way to the “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” as eloquently defined by the team “yoani”… There is no connection between the title and the text.

    Not a single word explains what is that “role” of a “man”, and how that “role” works as viagra.

    There’s a mentioning of a gun, but not of a role.

    Guns represent power. Mostly the power over other humans, especially if they are unlucky enought not to be armed as the one holding a gun. But that power is universal viagra for both genders. In fact, it is a fact that women react more enthusiastically to power than men.

    Enters the team “yoani” and drools about the gun, fascinated with the man’s ability to be shy and blush, despite his obvious power over his neighbours.

    This is one disturbing article on a Freudian level. It tells us more about the supposed “yoani”, the pinup female of this blog.

    But, as a “critique” of Cuban socialism, the article is plain nonsense.

    As if that would be a surprise, given the author/s?

  3. @#8 the article:
    … and the domino effect contines gathering momentum … the realities of life are after all following a natural progression … individual freedom of choice comined w/the inter-relations w/the rest of the world, Cuba is not an isolated country as the rebolution thinks & belives, Cuba is part of the world comunity even if the castros & their esbirros shout to the contrary.

  4. THE ECONOMIST: A Gross miscarriage of justice? – Mar 15th

    BARACK OBAMA has tried to encourage Cuba’s government to liberalise by promoting “people-to-people” contact with the United States. Since becoming president, he has relaxed most limits on travel and money transfers to the island. Cuba’s ruling Castro brothers have indeed shown increasing flexibility of late, releasing dozens of political prisoners and legalising some private economic activity. Nonetheless, they do not seem interested in reciprocating America’s gestures of rapprochement. On March 12th Cuba sentenced Alan Gross, an employee of a company contracted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to 15 years in jail for crimes against the state.

    Mr Gross, who worked for a firm called Development Alternatives Inc., was participating in a programme to improve internet access for Cuba’s Jews, which the government deemed “subversive”. His job allegedly involved distributing internet-connectivity devices, which are strictly controlled by the state, and possibly satellite equipment as well, which is banned. Foreigners arriving in the country are specifically asked to declare to customs officials whether they are carrying any satellite devices, and any that are found are swiftly confiscated.

    American officials have called the sentence “appalling” and called for Mr Gross to be released. Although Cuba says that during his trial, Mr Gross “recognised having been used and manipulated” by his company and the United States government, they note that he can still appeal the sentence, and could possibly receive a pardon on humanitarian grounds. According to his wife, Mr Gross has lost more than 40 kilograms (90 pounds) since his arrest, and his mother and daughter are both suffering from cancer.

    The Cuban government may well decide that it has milked the Gross case sufficiently to allow him to go home, after an appropriate interval. “I don’t think [the verdict] is necessarily the final word,” says Philip Peters, a Cuba analyst at the Washington-based Lexington Institute. “I don’t see it in Cuba’s interest to hold him for a long period of time.” However, the Castros might feel tempted to hang onto Mr Gross and use him as a bargaining chip to gain the release of five Cubans who were convicted in the United States of espionage in 2005. In that case, it might be quite some time before Mr Gross is allowed to go home.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2011/03/cuban-american_relations

  5. INTERESTING WIKILEAK FROM THE BRAZILIAN GOVERMENT!

    Subject Brazil: U/s Burns Meeting With Presidential Foreign Policy Advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia
    Origin Embassy Brasilia
    Cable time Tue, 13 Mar 2007 11:53 UTC
    Classification CONFIDENTIAL
    Reference id 07BRASILIA430
    Release time Tue, 18 Jan 2011 00:12 UTC
    History First published on Fri, 21 Jan 2011 20:36 UTC

    CUBA ¶6. (C) Turning to Cuba, Garcia noted that his deputy advisor, Marcel Biato, had just returned from five months as Brazil’s charge d’affaires in Havana, and his views were incorporated in Garcia’s perspective. Garcia said the GOB believes it is highly unlikely Fidel Castro will ever return to exercise real power. The waning of Fidel over the past year had caused the Cuban population to begin contemplating a different future, but everyone has difficulty imagining what that future will look like, Garcia said. Cuba, in the past forty years, had a system built on a single charismatic figure, and that is not sustainable. Raul Castro is not his brother and seems more inclined to take a committee approach to leadership that is pragmatic, at least on economic issues. Garcia was doubtful Cuba can replicate the “China model” with economic opening but continued centralized political control. “China is a civilization, Cuba is not… they do not have the patience, resources or organization” to emulate China’s approach,” he opined. Moreover, Cuba today lacks an “economic vocation,” and has not been able to place its tourism industry, its medical capacity or its bare handful of other productive sectors into a strategy for productivity or increased self reliance. Brazil wants to help, and is offering to provide both assistance and markets for Cuba, but the Cubans have to define a direction for themselves, Garcia said. ¶7. (C) Asked by U/S Burns about Brazil’s views on Chavez’s role in Cuba’s transition, Garcia said that Cuba and Venezuela in the near term are mutually dependent (i.e., “oil exchanged for expertise”), but Fidel’s passing will leave a vacuum Chavez will try to fill. However, Chavez’s brand of strident populism “has less space to grow in Latin America than you may think,” Garcia said, and could be curtailed if Cubans perceived other openings — especially if the U.S. lifted sanctions on their economy. This would be the single biggest step the U.S. could take in easing the transition in Cuba toward a positive direction, Garcia opined. Conversely, the U.S. needs to avoid public recommendations to Cubans about their political future, since Cubans’ traditional nationalism and sensitivity to U.S. influence assure negative reactions. ¶8. (C) A/S Shannon said the United States has tried to assume a careful, low-key position in public on the Cuban transition, but the U.S. believes that others in the region need to speak out for democracy there. If a transitional government could take certain concrete steps — e.g., release of political prisoners — the positive reaction within the U.S. would be considerable. But someone other than the U.S. must pressure Cuban leaders toward such actions, he said.

    http://www.cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=07BRASILIA430

  6. @#1 uups! you got cought … little boy … you’ll need more than PPG to get this one “up” for the rebolution & remember … if it stays up for more than 4 hrs. go & seek medical attention …

  7. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Cuba must release prisoner of conscience on hunger strike- 11 March 2011

    Amnesty International has called on the Cuban authorities to release an activist on hunger strike who was detained for his human rights work three months ago and is set to face trial at the end of March.

    Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina, the president and co-founder of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy, was arrested last December in relation to a meeting he organized at his home in August 2010 and anti-government banners he displayed outside his home.

    Néstor, his brother Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina and three other members of the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy – Enyor Díaz Allen, Roberto González Pelegrín and Francisco Manzanet – have been charged with public order offences relating to an attack on his home by a mob opposed to the meeting.

    The five men were arrested in August 2010 but released the following month. Only Nestor Rodriguez Lobaina was rearrested.

    “Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina has spent more than three months in prison for expressing his opinions, defending democracy and promoting human rights in Cuba,” said Gerardo Ducos, Cuba reearcher at Amnesty International.

    “Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience jailed solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and is calling on the Cuban authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally, or bear the responsibility of the impact of the hunger strike on Néstor’s physical integrity.

    “Néstor’s imprisonment is yet another example of the suppression of the rights to freedom of expression and association in Cuba.”

    Held at Combinado de Guantánamo prison, Nestor started his hunger strike on 15 February. The next day he was transferred to an isolation cell and denied water for eight days.

    Nestor’s health deteriorated during his hunger strike and on 28 February he was transferred to a health post in the prison. He was then transferred to Augustino Neto Provincial Hospital on 1 March.

    Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina was arrested by state security agents in Guantanamo on 9 December 2010. He was pepper sprayed and manhandled into a police car in front of his 10-year-old daughter who was left alone in the street as her father was taken into custody.

    While in detention Néstor says he has suffered beatings and threats from other inmates.

    Read More
    Cuba urged to release jailed activists (News, 7 February 2011)

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/cuba-must-release-prisoner-conscience-hunger-strike-2011-03-11

  8. Hello everybody:

    While meditating on the nuclear disaster in Japan and praying for its people, and praying that governments around the world wake up to the need for clean energy, I recalled what would have been one of the world’s worst disasters:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juragua_Nuclear_Power_Plant

    Can anyone (in their right mind) imagine the Cuban government properly maintaining a nuclear reactor or dealing with a nuclear disaster? Or properly maintaining a nuclear reactor?

    Cuba being nuclear free is attributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Helms-Burton act. Whether you agree with the “trade embargo” or not, the Helms-Burton act may have saved Cuba, and parts of the rest of the world, from becoming a radioactive wasteland.

  9. “What a joke of a story, yet again from certified liars and manipulators” actually refers to people quoting a reader’s comment at the bottom of an article and not the article itself, and then providing a link to the article. Strange. I could make up facts and figures here, but that would be dishonest. I have yet to hear one informed honest piece of information coming from a defender of the regime in Cuba, and yet to hear one false note from Yoani.

  10. Facts about Cuba and Panama:

    Population GDP/billions Value of Exports Per Capita Yearly

    Cuba 11,200,000 62.7 $2.40 billion $5,984
    Panama 3,450,000 40.32 $11.41 billion $11,000

    Considering that Panama gets relatively few tourists compared to Cuba, plus the fact that it is one third the size in population and half in square mileage, I’d say Panama is doing pretty well under that “savage capitalism”.

    In fact, if the cuban population was allowed to produce per capita, as much as the Panamanians, they would have an economy that would be about five times bigger, not counting tourist dollars which would add even more (since Panama tourist industry is smaller).

    Case closed. What’s next?

  11. ***
    HI DAMIR–#1. Cubans lived much better before Fidel made himself King. Speaking evil of Yoanni Sanchez and those who don’t live in the ruling class doesn’t hide the poverty of most Cubans. Yoanni is a decent patriotic woman–not a prostitute. She wants a better life for all. You have a sick mind and a dirty mouth. Free Cuba!
    ***
    HOLA DAMIR–#1. Cubanos vivieron mucho mejor antes que Fidel se puso Rey. Maldiciendo de Yoanni Sanchez y los quienes no viven en el grupo que manda no esconda la pobreza de la mayorea de los Cubanos. Yoanni es una decente mujer patriotica–no una jinetera. Ella quiere una vida mejor por todos. Tienes un mente enfermo y una boca sucia. Cuba Libre!
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  12. What a joke of a story, yet again from certified liars and manipulators!!!!

    A “man with a pistol on his belt”… The first rule of journalism is to report the truth.
    The second is to verify the report with photos and names of protagonists of the story reported.

    None of that is even remotely suggested here, and a reader is expeced to believe this supposedly “real” account of something that may have happened somewhere on the other side of the world.

    What’s next? A huge stash of the weapons of mass destruction will be uncovered behind some poor bugger’s room, in a secret chamber in the middle of a residential area where no one would ever look?

    Please… It takes a cuban wrong-wing dissenter to come up with these rediculous and plainly stupid stories and excpect intelligent people to believe them…

    In the meantime, let us look at one shining example of “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”, and it is not even Mexico, let alone Argentina, tow of the biggest Latin American capitalist experimenting failures of that beautiful and wonderful (as only a jinetera traitor can intellectualise it) conceptof “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”:

    “Panama also has the third-worst distribution of wealth in the world. Forty seven percent of the population lives in poverty and 16 per cent lives on under a dollar a day. The expansion of wealth has not benefited those who do the work but only the few who continue to control the the commercial and governement sectors. The system in Panama is the worst of capitalism and such a system is the reason for the rise of Hugo Chavez and others like him. Beware Panama could be in line to come under the influence of radical reform predicated by corruption, the inequtable distribution of wealth caused by profound structural problems.”

    http://www.latinbusinesschronicle.com/app/article.aspx?id=618

    As a response to the above post, some rather intellectually challenged response followed, like:

    “I will like to meet anybody who makes less than a dollar a day in Panama. Unless they are unemployed, I believe the minimun wage is more that 5 USD a day; this is totally enforced by the Panamenian Goverment and a total breach of the labor laws.”

    As if $5 a day, which is $155 in a good month (wait for February and hyou’ll understand…) actually make a difference in a country where to survive one needs at least $750 per month…

    But there’s a job, for $5 a day, for almos anyone who wants it. Any takers, Cubans!?!?!?!?! Jinetera? Want a better job in your “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”? Plenty in Panama, just for you. Lots of “white gods” looking for a cheap and obedient desperate Cuban nanny.

    Viva “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”!!!

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