Since the Appreciation

Had I hired an ad agency and a nimble publisher to disseminate the work of the alternative bloggers, I probably would not have accomplished such wide awareness of our existence, within Cuba, as that achieved thanks to the “Cyberwar” program shown Monday on official television. The tangible result is that my phone hasn’t stopped ringing and I’m hoarse from talking to so many people who have come to show me their solidarity. My sunglasses — as big as owl’s eyes — are no longer enough camouflage for me to pass unnoticed in my city. Every few yards someone approaches me on the street to offer words of encouragement and even big hugs, the kind that take my breath away.

What’s happening on this island such that those of us “stoned” by official insults have become so attractive? What happened to the time when aggravating State media represented years and years of ostracism and vilification? When did the spontaneous anger against those slandered, the sincere punch in the face for the stigmatized, fade away? I swear I was not prepared for this. I imagined that 24 hours after this pack of lies, told in emulation of Big Brother, everyone would pull away, stare fixedly at the cobwebs on the wall whenever I passed by. The result, however, has been so different: a complicit wink, a pat on the shoulder, the pride of neighbors who are surprised because a certain quiet and frail little woman who lives on the fourteenth floor is apparently enemy number one — at least this week — until the next to be stoned appears.

And I’m not the only one. Almost all the bloggers whose names and images appeared on the “Interior Ministry Soap Opera” are experiencing similar situations. Vendors at the farmers market who hand them a piece of fruit in passing, drivers of collective taxis who say, “You don’t pay today, sir, it’s on the house.” If the scriptwriters of that courtroom TV show had calculated such a response at the grass roots level, I think they would have refrained from putting our faces on television. But it’s already too late. The word “blog” is now irrevocably linked with our faces, glued to our skin, associated with our actions, tied to popular concerns, and synonymous with that prohibited zone of reality that is becoming more and more magnetic, more and more admired.

50 thoughts on “Since the Appreciation

  1. Yoani, este es el tiempo de unir miles en una protesta pacifica en Cuba, este es el tiempo.

  2. Yoani, te admiro!!, eres una de las personas mas valientes que he conocido en Cuba. Soy Cubana, y estoy tan orgullosa de ti, de ver lo que haces para ayudar a la gente alla.

  3. Perhaps there will be a Chavez Prize for literature ?
    By Luis Andres Henao

    LA PLATA, Argentina | Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:27pm EDT

    LA PLATA, Argentina (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who critics accuse of stifling press freedom, was given a prize by an Argentine journalism school on Tuesday for his contribution to “popular communication.”

    Since coming to power in 1999, Chavez has polarized his country and opponents say he has set out to silence criticism by refusing to renew the licenses of a critical television broadcaster and dozens of radio stations.

    Chavez, Washington’s most vocal leftist foe in Latin America who often refers to the United States as “the empire,” points to a plethora of daily criticism and mockery of his government as evidence of plurality in his own country.

    “Long live free thought … down with hegemony,” Chavez said while accepting the prize from the communications department at Argentina’s state-run La Plata University.

    He told a supportive crown of hundreds of students that Venezuela is promoting “a new dynamic of communication and popular information free from the media dictatorship of the bourgeois, and of the empire.”

    Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, one of Chavez’s closest allies in South America, and her late husband and predecessor as president, Nestor Kirchner, met as law students at La Plata University in the 1970s.

    The university was a hot-bed of leftist activism during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship and the prize awarded to Chavez is named after Rodolfo Walsh, a journalist and author who was killed by security agents in 1977.

    John Dines, a professor at Columbia University’s School of Journalism in New York, said the controversy over the prize revealed differing ideas about press freedom in Latin America.

    “For a journalism school to give (Chavez) a prize setting him up as a model seems to be a contradiction or it means the La Plata journalism school has adopted the view of communication viewed by Chavez: that … state-controlled, direct communication is preferable to independent media and journalism as we know it.”

    (Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Eric Walsh)



    MJ: There has been a good deal of animosity between Cuba and the exile community in Miami over the years. What were your opinions of Miami when you spent time there?

    PLF: I was taught from childhood that the worst of the worst lived in Miami. The discourse of the Cuban Revolution always spoke out against racism and social marginalization, and at the same time degraded those citizens who did not share the established political creed as gusanos (worms). By that token, I who grew up in the cradle of the Revolution was ready to strike from the map those depreciable beings who obeyed the postulates of Miami—a cave only inhabited by batistianos [supporters of Batista] and torturers. For a long time, that was Miami to me. Certainly Miami was the spot chosen by those who killed and tortured multitudes of Cubans during Batista’s reign, but islanders who had nothing to do whatsoever with that history also ended up in Miami, and the ideology did not want to admit to diversity among the opposition. In reality, people who risked their lives for the Revolution of 1959 sought refuge in Miami, as well as people who believed in socialism—people who were sincere believers in internationalism and went to the war in Angola.

    Visiting Miami was very instructive for me. I went through a long, contradictory, complicated, and painful process to strip myself of the ideology that had made me a mortal enemy of those who thought differently politically. I can now say that I have friends there too, and I lament profoundly having been at one time a carrier of that discriminatory ideology which made many decent and honest people who now live in Miami suffer.


  5. 18Damir

    Marzo 24th, 2011 at 18:35
    And again, my post is beign “moderated”………….

    I would like to know why GY delete some of your comment and not all of them?????
    It is easiest to delete all your comments, like castrofascista places does, and make you disappear!!!!
    I believe you are just lying.

  6. MIAMI HERALD: Haunting scene in Cuba-BY EDUARD FREISLER
    We’ve all watched the TV images as dictators and autocrats in the Middle East and North Africa sent their thugs to the streets to attack pro-democratic protestors. These images have brought back to my memory a scene I witnessed almost five years ago in Cuba. It still haunts me.

    They gathered in front of Yamila Llanes Labrada’s house around noon. A vitriolic crowd dominated by the town’s elders. It was Saturday in the small town of Las Tunas in 2006, and it was very hot, with humidity on the rise. The oppressive weather made the situation even tenser. I had an unclear vision of what was coming.

    Yamila and her four kids were, at that time, waiting for her husband, José Luis García Paneque, to come home from prison where he was serving 24 years for dissent. Never giving up, she often looked out the window hoping for his return. José Luis was arrested on March 18, 2003 as part of Fidel Castro’s crackdown on 75 members of the Cuban opposition.

    I had talked with Yamila in her home the day before Castro’s people came. Yamila, a member of the anti-government movement Women in White ( Damas de Blanco), told me about the mob actions. When I gave her a puzzled look, she said: “A small crowd of people come to my door to verbally harass me. They call me many names. Bitch, worm, garbage, just to name a few. Come and see it with your own eyes.”

    This was all too familiar to me. I came of age under communism in the former Czechoslovakia where the party leaders and their backers used to treat people who opposed the regime with hatred and disgust.

    However, the mob scenes in Cuba were a new thing for me. I accepted Yamila’s suggestion to see it for myself. To be sure I could really witness everything, I found a hiding place in the bushes close enough to see the crowd, hoping not to be spotted. If Castro’s thugs were to see me inside the house, they would have “proof” that Yamila was “palling around with Western spies.” So to protect her and her children, I hid as I watched.

    Everything started on a calm note, as if the people coming to Yamila’s house were getting together for a picnic. Two men were chatting while smoking cigarettes; an older woman was slowly waving a fan in front of her face. Then, a group of five came to join them. After a while, another six people showed up. Most of the people were well into their 70s. The oldest Cuban generation is the most loyal to Castro because his revolution is their whole life, and they are prepared to defend it.

    I counted some 25 villagers gathered outside Yamila’s home. They started to shout nasty slurs almost as one. They called Yamila a slut, a terrorist, dirt. After a while, hysteria took hold. People were urging Yamila to leave the country and threatening her with prison. Some were stomping the ground forcefully. Pretty quickly, the scene got a bit hazy because the stomping mob stirred up the dusty road. Even in the haze, the mood became more intimidating. “This street belongs to Fidel,” a female voice suddenly cut the air sharply with this verbal assault. It was a high-pitched shriek that gave me a chill. I decided to retreat for my own security.

    A few days later, I went to see Oswaldo Payá Sardinas, one of the leading figures of the Cuban opposition. With the scene outside Yamila’s home still fresh in my mind, I had to ask him about it. “Castro borrowed these acts from Nazis pogroms against Jews and Mao’s cultural revolution,” Payá told me in his Havana home. “Castro’s thugs harass and beat people because they have been promised a new telephone or have been paid couple of pesos. Some of his adherents throw rotten eggs, vegetables or even animal excrement at the houses of the anti-regime people,” he added.

    Castro’s daughter, Alina Fernández Revuelta, who lives in exile in Miami, is also familiar with these brutal practices. “This is, by all means, one of the ugliest faces of the Castro regime,” she told me when I spoke to her in 2006. Fernández also revealed that Castro’s thugs had assaulted her a couple of times, even in Miami. “The scenario is always the same. They want you to get scared; they want you to break down.”

    Fortunately, the Castro regime did not break Yamila’s spirit. She and her children got out of Cuba and settled in Texas in 2007. Only now am I writing about what I saw in 2006 because I feared that press exposure could bring them harm. But even though Yamila left, her husband remained imprisoned in Cuba. It was only last summer that he was freed by the Castro regime and sent to Spain.

    There he told the press what his family had gone through and he described an incident involving even more ferocious psychological warfare than what I saw. Another time, around 50 of Castro’s supporters, this time carrying clubs, started to hurl stones at Yamila’s house and threatened to burn it down. Some shouted that they’d kill Yamila and her kids or in their words: “To burn the worms inside to death.”

    To this day, Damas de Blanco and other Cubans face this torment. Recently, the Cuban government might have started some significant economic reforms, but politically it is still a ruthless regime, ready to unleash its own thugs against pro-democracy people. This force of intimidation still works on most of the Cuban population except groups like Damas de Blanco. They march on…

    Eduard Freisler is a Czech journalist who lives in New York.

  7. Love Cuba! LOVE THAT THOUGHT!”Maybe Fidel and Raul can pull off some of their secret police from the Yoani case and start following some drug lords around? But I guess international drug cartels don’t bother them as much as Yoani does.” Taking notes here!

  8. Trudeau- as posted before the Original Air Date: February 5, 1991!I think this is pretty strong proof from a “left winged” organization like PBS and specially Frontline. They are the grandfathers of WIKILEAKS!

  9. From 1999:

    Friends and visitors to Cuba have told me the island is awash with drugs and controlled by Russian/Chinese/Cuban/etc mafias. Don’t know how much of the stories are true, but it is such a corrupt society it is easy to believe. Maybe Fidel and Raul can pull off some of their secret police from the Yoani case and start following some drug lords around? But I guess international drug cartels don’t bother them as much as Yoani does.

  10. I’d be curious to know more about the cocaine connection also. Fidel might have done an about face in the 90s, anyone know? Was the setup of Ochoa so he could make some deal with the Americans?

    I guess the point is that back then Fidel was preaching against the very drug trade he was heavily involved with. So how was he different from any other drug-cowboy caudillo?

  11. @#35
    and as a cash cow … which perhaps feeds de comandante’s discressionary fund, you know … the one used by hit to spread the rebolution where is needed, as sanctioned by the Cuban constitution & in case is not used for such lofty projects … to fatten the coffers which according to fidel do not exist !!???

  12. PBS FRONTLINE- “CUBAN AND COCAINE” -transcript of show
    Original Air Date: February 5, 1991
    Written, Produced, and Directed by Stephanie Tepper and William Cran
    In Havana last fall, Fidel Castro boasted that there was hardly any country less hospitable to drug trafficking than Cuba. But tonight, through DEA surveillance tapes and interviews with former Cuban officials and drug-runners, FRONTLINE investigates how Castro used drug smuggling as a political weapon

  13. YOUTUBE: FRONTLINE- “Cuba And Cocaine”
    Proof of the Castro regime’s involvement with the narcotraffic in Cuba

  14. If Jimmy Carter can do something to secure the release of Alan Gross more power to him. Had it been Bill Clinton going though the prospects would likely be better.

  15. REUTERS:Former President Jimmy Carter to visit Cuba

    Former President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn will visit Cuba next week to meet with President Raul Castro and discuss ways to improve U.S.-Cuba relations, a Carter spokeswoman said on Friday.
    The visit raised the possibility that Carter would get involved in the case of U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross, recently sentenced to 15 years in prison for providing illegal Internet access to Cuban groups.

    Carter was to arrive in Havana on Monday and leave on Wednesday in a brief trip “to learn about new economic policies and the upcoming (Communist) Party congress and to discuss ways to improve U.S.-Cuba relations,” said a statement from Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo.

    He was to meet with President Castro and “other Cuban officials and citizens,” the statement said.

    It said the trip was a follow-up to the Carters’ May 2002 visit to the island 90 miles from Florida and was a “private, non-governmental mission under the auspices of the not-for-profit Carter Center.”

    During his time in the White House, Carter took steps to improve relations with Cuba, but the island ultimately added to his re-election woes when the Cuban government allowed 125,000 boat people to flee to the United States in 1980.

    Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in his bid that year for a second four-year term.

    There have been persistent rumors that Carter would step into the Gross case to seek his freedom and help remove a major obstacle to progress in U.S.-Cuba relations.

    Gross, 61, has been jailed in Havana since December 2009 for his work in a U.S.-funded program promoting political change in Cuba.

    Cuba views the program as part of longstanding U.S. efforts to undermine the government.

    After a two-day trial in the Cuban capital, a panel of judges sentenced him to 15 years in jail for “acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state.”

    Washington has said there will be no major attempts to improve relations with Cuba as long as Gross is held.

    His wife, Judy Gross, has pleaded for his release on humanitarian grounds because both their 26-year-old daughter and his 88-year-old mother have cancer.

    (Reporting by Jeff Franks; Editing by Eric Beech)

  16. AFP: US hails Cuba releases, but rights still ‘poor’
    WASHINGTON — The United States said Friday that human rights conditions under Cuba’s communist regime remain “poor” despite Havana’s recent release of the last members of a group of dissidents detained eight years ago.

    “We welcome the release of the last of the 75 peaceful Cuban activists who were unjustly arrested for exercising their universal rights and fundamental freedoms during the 2003 ‘Black Spring’ crackdown,” Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said in a statement.

    The release marked “a step in the right direction,” he said.

    “However, human rights conditions in Cuba remain poor. The Cuban government continues to limit fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech, the press, and peaceful assembly,” said Toner, adding that Washington urges Havana to “release all remaining political prisoners.”

    He also pressed Cuba to allow the United Nations and Red Cross access to the country’s jails, “so that a fuller accounting of remaining political prisoners can be possible.”

    On Wednesday the government released Felix Navarro and Jose Ferrer, the last from the 2003 group.

    But Cuba’s opposition movement stresses that the prisons are not empty of dissidents, with one activist noting on Wednesday that there are some 60 people currently held on political charges.

    Last July, the Catholic Church struck a deal with the state to have the 2003 group’s remaining 52 imprisoned dissidents freed and allowed to go into exile in Spain, in the biggest prisoner release since President Raul Castro formally took power in 2008.

    But only 40 agreed to leave Cuba, and the remaining dozen insisted on staying, leading in some cases to months-long delays in their release.

    Toner said US President Barack Obama has focused “on increased engagement with the Cuban people in an effort to promote democratic ideals and improve human rights conditions on the island.”

    On Monday in a speech in Chile, Obama urged Cuban authorities to “take meaningful actions” to improve the rights of Cubans.

    Ties between Washington and Havana, which have had no formal relations for more than 50 years, thawed slightly when Obama took office.

    But Washington was incensed when in December 2009 Cuba arrested an American contractor, Alan Gross, for delivering communications equipment on the island.

    On March 12 he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for “acts against the independence or territorial integrity” of Cuba.

  17. RADIO FREE EUROPE: Cuban Blogger Faces Down Big Brother- March 25, 2011

    Internationally acclaimed blogger Yoani Sanchez says that the Cuban government, in its attempt to destroy her by denouncing her on state television, has given her the greatest gift of all — recognition within her own country.

    Since the program “Cuba’s Reasons” accused her and other bloggers of joining the United States in a “cyberwar” against the communist island — while publicly displaying her name and face — she says she has experienced unprecedented praise for her work by fellow Cubans.

    She wrote in her blog, Generation Y, on March 23:

    The tangible result is that my phone hasn’t stopped ringing and I’m hoarse from talking to so many people who have come to show me their solidarity. My sunglasses — as big as owl’s eyes — are no longer enough camouflage for me to pass unnoticed in my city. Every few yards someone approaches me on the street to offer words of encouragement and even big hugs, the kind that take my breath away.

    What’s happening on this island such that those of us “stoned” by official insults have become so attractive? What happened to the time when aggravating State media represented years and years of ostracism and vilification? When did the spontaneous anger against those slandered, the sincere punch in the face for the stigmatized, fade away? I swear I was not prepared for this. I imagined that 24 hours after this pack of lies, told in emulation of Big Brother, everyone would pull away, stare fixedly at the cobwebs on the wall whenever I passed by. The result, however, has been so different: a complicit wink, a pat on the shoulder, the pride of neighbors who are surprised because a certain quiet and frail little woman who lives on the fourteenth floor is apparently enemy number one — at least this week — until the next to be stoned appears.

    And I’m not the only one. Almost all the bloggers whose names and images appeared on the “Interior Ministry Soap Opera” are experiencing similar situations. Vendors at the farmers’ market who hand them a piece of fruit in passing, drivers of collective taxis who say, “You don’t pay today, sir, it’s on the house.” If the scriptwriters of that courtroom TV show had calculated such a response at the grassroots level, I think they would have refrained from putting our faces on television. But it’s already too late. The word “blog” is now irrevocably linked with our faces, glued to our skin, associated with our actions, tied to popular concerns, and synonymous with that prohibited zone of reality that is becoming more and more magnetic, more and more admired.

    Sanchez, by her own admission, long remained a virtual unknown in her own country. The communist island has one of the lowest Internet-penetration rates in Latin America, with 14 percent of the country online, up from 0.5 percent in 2000. But, as Sanchez writes, only senior Cuban officials and foreigners can set up the Internet at their home, and the vast majority of Cubans cannot afford to pay to use it at hotels and cafes.

    And, even when locals are able to access the Internet, it remains heavily censored. The state started blocking Sanchez’s blog in March 2008, about a year after she created it. Only last February, for reasons unknown, was it unblocked.

    Sanchez often sends entire blog posts via text message to people outside Cuba to be posted on Generation Y, and international volunteers help translate the blog into 15 languages.

    In 2009 she was chosen as one of “Time” magazine’s 100 most influential people, and Generation Y was listed as one of the 25 best blogs in the world. Her blog gets millions of hits every month, and each post thousands of comments.

    The Cuban government made two bets and lost them both in attacking her on state television. First, that it could frighten her into scaling down, or stopping her activities. Second, that the people of Cuba support their government’s scare tactics and believe its propaganda — and maybe, that they support their government at all.

    — Courtney Brooks

  18. COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS: For Cuban blogger Sánchez, a government ‘distinction’-By Karen Phillips/CPJ Americas Staff

    Acclaimed Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez has had her share of honors lately. Last year alone, her blogging, which offers a personal and critical view of life in Cuba, was honored by the Dutch Prince Claus Fund, the International Press Institute, and the Danish Centre for Political Studies. This week, Sánchez received a very different type of distinction–from the Cuban government. She was featured on Monday night’s installment of “Las Razones de Cuba” (Cuban Reasons), a state-sponsored TV program and website that chronicles perceived threats to the government and singles out independent journalists as enemies of the state.

    Monday night’s half-hour program was dedicated to the topic of “Cyberwar.” (“Not a war of bombs and weapons, but one of information, communications, algorithms, and bytes,” the announcer intoned). About halfway through the half-hour broadcast, sinister music announced Sánchez’s appearance, next to the word “cybermercenary.” The program went on to list her international accolades along with the prize money that accompanied each award. Next came some fuzzy footage of Sánchez entering foreign embassies in Cuba. She was criticized for having secured an interview with U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009.

    The program’s message was clear: Independent bloggers such as Sánchez are being paid by foreign interests to undermine the state.

    Luckily, we are told as the music changes, there are hundreds of bloggers who believe in the government. “Las Razones de Cuba” ends on a positive note with Cuba striding triumphantly into the future with an army of pro-government techies to overcome the menace of cybermercaneries such as Sánchez.

    While “Las Razones de Cuba” is designed to discredit and humiliate the critics it features, being singled out on the program can have a positive side effect. In an interview with CPJ on Tuesday, Cuban blogger and lawyer Laritza Diversent explained that a mention in “Razones de Cuba” generates substantial publicity in certain circles.

    In a blog post last week, Sánchez herself commented on the program’s unintended effect after watching Dagoberto Valdes, director of the online news magazine Convivencia, get a mention on the program:

    A websurfer is well aware of the hits an attack on national television can bring to any website, even in a country with connectivity as low as this one. But beyond my enthusiasm for these statistics, I realize that my friend is taking a public stoning on prime time television. Dago is strongly denigrated with no right to reply, demonized in a way that causes several colleagues to call me, frightened, “Will he be imprisoned? Shot?”
    Public campaigns against critical online voices are not new, CPJ research shows. The government sponsors hundreds of blogs devoted to promoting Cuba’s image and attacking its critics. In addition, independent bloggers are called in for questioning, followed, denied visas to travel abroad, and told to curb critical commentary or face sanctions, CPJ found.

    In reaction to the program, Sánchez and a number of her colleagues have created their own program, “Razones Ciudadanas,” a sort of citizen round-table, whose first chapter was posted Monday night on the video-sharing site Vimeo. In the video, six men and women sit in a semi-circle and have an informal discussion about something more frightening than a perceived “cyberwar”–the enormous barriers that Cuba citizens face in expressing independent ideas.

    Karen Phillips is interim research associate in CPJ’s Americas program. A former associate in CPJ’s Journalists Assistance program, she is the author of the CPJ special report,

  19. I have young friend in Havana who gave me his email address. It had the numbers 1984 in it, and when I asked why he was making a reference to George Orwell, I realised he didn’t know what I was talking about. 1984 or Animal Farm would be stopped at the border, like Yoani’s anthology. Censorship still looms large. A Canadian artist friend in Havana shooting a film that was a homage to Alea’a Memorias del Subdessarrollo ended with him being thrown out and his camera confiscated. Thought control, but we can see what is going to happen by looking at the middle east.

  20. Nuevoz, good to hear more and more of those stories. So far we’ve been too scared to go anywhere near her building even though we would like to give her a hug too. Same thing for most of our Cuban friends. So if you see this Yoani, virtual hugs from North America and 11 million hugs from Cuba.

  21. “a certain quiet and frail woman who lives on the fourteenth floor.” Quiet? Frail? Yoaini’s voice is heard all over the world.

  22. I was recently in Havana and met a young Cuban man for coffee. I asked him if he had heard of Yoani. He said he knew her and had met her several times. He is concerned about being in contact with her for fear of losing his job or being harrassed, but he said, “if I see her out on the street, I will run up to her and give her a big hug.”

  23. @#22
    Sandokan, I like your comment, the metaphor is quite right … adding to it … a small stone is all it took to kill the giant.

  24. From the web site “CubanInformacion” or Propaganda/Defamation-R-Us! Translated one of my favorite paragraphs!

    “Collusion could not be more grotesquesly represented in the medal award given “in absencentia” in Miami to blogger Yoani Sanchez. A banquet held at an expensive restaurant in that city was the location of the event. At the peak of the mafia’s meeting, it was announced the delivery of the medal of the Cuban Liberty Council (CLC) to Sanchez

  25. Yoani physically is a small woman, but she has a quality that makes her stand out. The regime (Goliath) use repressive measures against free speech to oppressed and control the Cuban people. Yoani use her blog (sling) to inform about the reality of everyday life in Cuba under the Castro brothers regime, and that, in their perverse minds, make her an enemy of the state. Her courage to challenge the system in spite of the insults and threads, have encourage other bloggers, that were afraid, to join her in spreading the truth.

  26. @#18
    since your “valuable” comments are mostly “misunderstood” or because the low level of intelligence(as per your own statements)of most all other contributors fails to “learn” from your pronouncements & compounded w/the censure you claim to be subjected to I can’t understand your persistence in participating in such evironment of hostility …

  27. Dr. Damir, as I mentioned before that even I, member of the YOANI TEAM cannot post all the time. Try again the next day or posted under anonimo and then post a short note mentioning which post is your! This is NOT CUBA my dear Dr.!

  28. Damir u full of it man nobody censoring you gimme a break

    If that’s the case… Why don’t you just charge it to the game and leave this blog alone????

  29. And again, my post is beign “moderated”. Read, censored, so that it doesn’t make waves among the faithful…

    Go “democrats”!

    I am sorry that I am unable to write something in support of the team of liars and manipulators… But when they write pure propaganda, it is hard for anyone intelligent to simply agree with the lies regadless of the fact that these are just lies.

  30. Looking forward to the entire interview! Mr. Andres Oppenheimer is one of my favorite journatists!

    MIAMI HERALD:Obama unlikely to make new gestures to Cuba without action from Havana-By Andres By Oppenheimer

    SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — For a man who prides himself on having taken “unprecedented steps” to try to ease five-decade-old U.S. tensions with Cuba, President Barack Obama did not look eager to make new gestures toward the Cuban military regime when I interviewed him Tuesday.

    The ball is in your court, he seemed to be telling Cuba.

    Obama, who talked extensively about issues ranging from tensions with Venezuela and Argentina to the pending U.S. free trade deals with Panama and Colombia, said he has made some of the most significant changes in U.S. policy to Cuba in decades but the Cuban leadership has not responded in kind.

    “We have expanded remittances, we expanded travel, we have sent a strong signal to the Cuban people,” Obama said. “The Cuban government made some gestures about releasing political prisoners and starting some market-based economies with small business opportunities. (But) we haven’t seen as much follow-through as we would like.”

    Obama said that Cuban authorities must take some “meaningful actions,” but was not specific when I asked what would be the minimum measures Cuba should take to improve bilateral ties.

    Obama did not mention the case of Alan Gross, the U.S. contractor who was sentenced to 15 years in prison this month for taking telephone equipment to Cuba, but other U.S. officials have asked for his immediate release in recent days.

    On the pending U.S. free trade deals with Colombia and Panama, I asked Obama whether he sees a better than 50 percent chance that he will send them to Congress for a vote this year.

    “I won’t put a number on it, but I am very interested in getting those deals done,” he said.

    But this year? I insisted. Republicans are accusing Obama of dragging his feet on both deals because of resistance from U.S. labor unions whose support Obama will need to be re-elected next year.

    “I am sending my team to Colombia and Panama to see how we can quickly resolve any final differences before we put them to Congress,” he said.

    This year?, I insisted once again.

    “Whenever you put a timetable, people complain if it happens even a week after your deadline, so I try to avoid those numbers,” he said.

    My translation: Obama is not ready to spend much political capital on the two pending free trade deals with Latin America, at least not yet. And if he doesn’t do it this year, it’s not likely to happen during an election year in 2012.

    On reports that Venezuela is secretly helping Iran obtain uranium in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program, I asked Obama whether he is concerned about this issue, and to what extent.

    “We take non-proliferation very seriously,” Obama said. “I wouldn’t make categorical statements to you about these issues, but we are concerned that international law, international resolutions, are observed, and we want to make sure that they are observed.”

    My translation: Obama has been told by his top aides that recent allegations by top Republicans in Congress that Venezuela actively is helping Iran circumvent U.N. sanctions for its nuclear program are politically-motivated, and that there is no smoking gun yet tying Venezuela to Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

    On the recent U.S. diplomatic row with Argentina over the South American government’s decision to seize equipment from a U.S. Air Force cargo plane that had landed there for a joint exercise, I asked Obama whether his White House spokesman had over-reacted when he described the incident as “serious,” and whether the whole issue has already been solved.

    “No,” Obama responded. “It is serious in the sense that Argentina historically has been a friend and a partner of the United States. They have some of our communications equipment. There is no reason not to return it. And next time I see President (Cristina Fernández de) Kirchner, I will mention, ‘Can we get our equipment back?’ But it’s not going to be a defining aspect of the U.S.-Argentine relationship.”

    My translation: Obama sees the Argentine government’s decision to seize the U.S. equipment as a gross electoral propaganda move by Fernández de Kirchner’s government to capitalize on anti-American sentiment in that country in anticipation of this year’s presidential elections.

    In my next column, Obama’s responses to my questions about his claims that he is starting “a new era of partnership” with Latin America, and his views about what the United States and Latin America should do to improve their education levels and become more competitive with China and other Asian countries.

    EDITORS NOTE: Part three of Andres Oppenheimer’s exclusive interview with President Obama will be published on Sunday.

  31. FOX NEWS LATINO: Cuba tries former official, Chilean businessman for corruption-Published March 24, 2011
    Havana – A Cuban court is now weighing its verdict in a corruption case against former government minister Alejandro Roca Iglesias and Chilean businessman Max Marambio, Communist Party daily Granma said Thursday.

    Marambio, who boycotted the investigation and prosecution, was tried in absentia.

    Roca, dismissed as Food Industry ministry by President Raul Castro in March 2009, was accused of taking bribes for the awarding of contracts and faces a potential 15 years in prison.

    The Chilean entrepreneur is charged with bribery and falsifying financial and commercial documents.

    Marambio and the Cuban government were equal partners in Alimentos Rio Zaza, a food company operating on the communist-ruled island. He resides in Santiago and last visited Cuba in December 2009.

    The Chilean was represented at the trial by a court-appointed attorney, Granma said.

    Cuba’s investigation of alleged bribery, embezzlement and fraud at Rio Zaza became public in April 2010 after the firm’s general manager, Chilean engineer Roberto Baudrand, was found dead in his Havana apartment.

    Medical examiners attributed his death to “acute respiratory insufficiency” associated with drugs and alcohol.

    Once a close friend of retired Cuban President Fidel Castro, Marambio was the principal backer of independent candidate Marco Enriquez-Ominami in the 2009 Chilean presidential contest won by right-wing billionaire Sebastian Piñera.

    In his 2008 book, “Las armas de ayer” (Yesterday’s weapons), Marambio recounts that he trained as a revolutionary in Cuba and later became chief bodyguard for Chilean President Salvador Allende, a Socialist who took his own life during the 1973 military coup that toppled his government.

  32. Having watched the Ciberguerras on youtube (that American capitalist company engaged in Cyberwar against Cuba) I was happy to learn about all the diversity in Cuba. Now can you tell me where I can buy George Bush’s biography in Havana? I have some Cuban friends who want to read it. They also want to read Yoani’s book and a whole bunch of others critical of your government, but for some strange reason, I can’t find them anywhere? They also want to listen to Voice of America, but for some strange reason, they get a lot of interference.

    Another question, I keep asking you when you intend to hold those elections you promised in 1959, but you have never replied. I have Cuban friends who want to express their diversity by voting against your party, what should I tell them?


    YOUTUBE: “Ciberguerra”, en Las Razones de Cuba 1/2- 4,012 VIEWS
    YOUTUBE: “Ciberguerra”, en Las Razones de Cuba 2/2- 2,733 VIEWS

    VIMEO: Razones ciudadanas-by Yoani Sanchez 11.4K VIEWS

  34. Love Cuba is right Eugenio, thanks for sticking to the facts. Ordinarily I would comment “sour grapes” to our perennial friend at MININT. While I was away, I missed the marxist bufoonery of Damir. I was happy to see he is still true to form with post #5

  35. Damir,

    A two-word answer –Radio Bemba. I am always surprised by the power of word of mouth in Cuba, and how much people know what is going on, even in the Stalinoid machinations high in the power structure, where the people right under the Castro’s keep getting fired, even executed.

  36. Eugenio, thanks for sticking to facts and common sense, you hit the nail on the head (there’s a few more TV stations now but they all repeat the same line). I’m amazed at the disappearance of fear over the years. Cubans who were once afraid to come near us now talk as loud as they can about their hatred of the government, communists are embarrassed to admit they are party members, and big communists I know who used to make speeches praising Fidel have let me know that it was all an act. And now finally, the isolation of the dissidents appears to be crumbling. Yoani, I can feel your happiness, thanks for sharing this with us.

  37. DAMIR is that Dog.
    Yoani is THE QUEEN of Cuba. She is looking out for the common peoples best interest. She seeks basic human rights and freedom of expression in a peaceful manner. She is WORLD FAMOUS and has won important prizes from around the entire planet.
    I would be proud to be considered TEAM YOANI SANCHEZ. Damir your team has been taking advantage of the Cuban people for too long. Soon something is going to snap, maybe like what happened with the music group Los Aldeanos when they went to visit the LIMA brothers in Holguin and the police had to get involved.

  38. Damir, im trying to find a single cohesive and factual thread in your post…it is difficult.

    2 points:

    1. Tv – I dont live, nor have I ever been in Cuba. But considering there are (and I may be mistaken, please correct me if I am) 2 official TV stations in Cuba (both controlled by the government) there is by simple math a 50% you will see her “name” if you happen to be watching TV. Knowing how totalitarian governments are known for bombarding the media with their “message” and propaganda, I think its pretty safe to assume that the promotion Yoani got was significant. Im sure this was not a simple foot note in the bottom of a soap opera. Besides, coming from a Cuban family raised in another caribbean culture…I can guarantee you dissemination of information is EXTREMELY fast. Us Caribbean people…we are a talkative bunch.

    2. Cell Phones – Who has mentioned that there are no cell phones in Cuba? It is very well known that cell phones started happening a few years back, however due to their insane price in comparison with the typical income of the average Cuban…it is usually out of reach.

  39. BBC NEWS: The Cuban governmen Dissidents’ release draws line under Cuba crackdown

    By Michael Vosst has freed the last two political prisoners detained during a major crackdown on opposition activists in 2003.

    Felix Navarro, 57, was a teacher and political activist; 40-year-old Jose Ferrer a fisherman and member of one of the opposition movements. They were serving 25-year jail terms and considered prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.

    Both returned home early Wednesday morning.

    “My dad is in great spirits, very upbeat, very happy, and prepared to pick up where he left off in 2003,” his daughter Sayli Navarro said.

    Their release means that all of the 75 leading intellectuals, opposition figures and activists detained during what became known as Cuba’s “Black Spring” are now out of jail.

    At the time there was widespread international condemnation at the mass arrests and long prison terms, with the European Union suspending all its co-operation programmes.

    Some of the prisoners were later released on health grounds.

    But the real breakthrough came in July last year, with an unprecedented, ground-breaking deal brokered by the Roman Catholic Church in which Cuba’s President Raul Castro agreed to free the remaining 52.

    Within months, the majority had left with their extended families for Spain. But the process stalled when a dozen of the men refused to go into exile, demanding to be allowed to return to their homes in Cuba.

    Now, at last, all 12 men are back with their families.

    Some like Felix Navarro have indicated they intend to maintain their roles as critics of the government.

    Angel Moya is another dissident who opted to remain in Cuba.

    His wife, Berta Soler, is one of the leaders of the Ladies in White movement. These are wives and mothers of the 75 who campaigned for their release, marching peacefully every Sunday since their arrest hoping to keep the issue in the public eye.

    “I am very content and nervous at the same time,” Berta Soler said after her husband’s release, adding that the protests would continue despite the fact that all their loved ones are now out of jail.

    “It is very important that we fight, not only for the freedom of the 75, but also for other prisoners.”

    Just how many other political prisoners there are is hard to gauge.

    The Cuban government has gone beyond its original pledge and allowed at least 60 other prisoners to go to Spain. Eleven more are due to leave shortly, including the last man listed as a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International.

    The majority, though, were jailed for what human rights groups describe as violent but politically motivated crimes such as attempting to hijack boats to flee to the US.

    Elizardo Sanchez, head of the illegal but tolerated Cuban Human Rights Commission, estimates that there are about 50 such prisoners still behind bars. His list, though, includes those jailed for murder, bombings, and other serious crimes who are not generally recognised as political prisoners.

    So why this change of heart by the government?

    The political prisoner issue had become an unwelcome distraction for President Raul Castro as he prepared to push through some tough economic reforms, including cutting jobs and reducing subsidies.

    The death in jail last year of the dissident hunger striker Orlando Zapata Tomayo refocused world attention on human rights in Cuba. The issue remained in the headlines after another dissident, Guillermo Farinas, began his own prolonged hunger strike.It also emboldened the small and often divided opposition groups.

    By turning to the Roman Catholic Church, President Castro was able to broker a “Cuban” solution without appearing to bow to outside pressure. The head of the Church here is Cuban-born Cardinal Jaime Ortega.

    It is also an indication of the growing influence of the Church, which today is the only significant non-state grass roots organisation on this communist run island.

    The US has welcomed the releases while criticising Havana’s attempt to ship most of its high-profile critics into exile abroad.

    The EU is due to consider in the coming months whether to fully normalise relations with Cuba

    Opposition in Cuba

    Cuba remains a one party state and despite the releases, the authorities continue to harass opposition groups even though they appear to have little impact amongst ordinary Cubans.

    Earlier this month saw the 8th anniversary of the 2003 crackdown. The remaining Ladies in White and some of the released prisoners met at the house of one of the organisers intending to hold a short march.

    Instead the house was besieged by several hundred pro-government supporters chanting abuse and forcing them to stay indoors.

    The Cuban government denies that it holds political prisoners and considers dissidents as mercenaries financed by the US in order to destabilise the government.

    It likes to quote one of the confidential US diplomatic cables released by Wilikeaks allegedly written by the most senior US diplomat on the island, Jonathan Farrar. In it he complains of the dissident movement’s preoccupation with money and obtaining resources from the US.

    Perhaps more damning is Mr Farrar’s assessment of the effectiveness of the opposition in Cuba, calling its leadership old, largely unknown and badly divided.

    “We see very little evidence that the mainline dissident organisations have much resonance among ordinary Cubans,” he wrote in his cable to Washington.

    If there is one group which is starting to concern the communist authorities it is the small band of Cuban bloggers who tend to be young and with no prior political affiliation.

    Blogs like Yoani Sanchez’s Generation Y have won international acclaim and countless awards, yet she has never been allowed to travel abroad to collect them.

    A recently leaked video of an interior ministry meeting shows officials being briefed on how the US is now allegedly encouraging dissent through social media such as Facebook and Twitter with the goal of toppling the government.

    Cuba may have one of the lowest levels of internet access and mobile phone ownership in the Americas, but social media, it appears, is slowly starting to have an impact.

  40. And we should believe this post on the face value…???

    Just because someone comes out and writes “my name appeared on TV”, we should believe that suddenly his/her face is recognisable on the street?

    How exactly does that work? I can understand that people who know me, recognise me on the street.

    But, those who know me, they also know already what I am doing.

    Those who do NOT know me, how do they recognise me suddenly on the steet, if only my name appeared on the TV?
    And in a country where there anre no phones, according to the team “yoani”, how do they find out my telephone number and call…???

    Pure and cheap self-promotion. I am tempted to take some credit for this desperate attempt to ramp up self popularity, but with posts full of “intelligent” comments like this one (and many other and much, much better post in this respect – full of laughable nonsense), the team “yoani” are doing just about 99% of discreditation themselves.

    Thank Marx for princes of Belgium ( a country that is disintegrating by the way, what is that telling you about the “award”?), anonimous Denmark and Spain “awards”, known outlets for secret state-terrorist organisations, which use those “awards” to sponsor dissenters of their choice and turn them into pop-culture heroes of the day.

    Because, the team “yoani” is only capable of shooting themselves in the foot with every post they make.

    Unbelievable and histerical.

    And the funniest part? If they had something that is called a “brain”, they would listen and learn.

    But, why listen and learn? That is a hard work, particularly when the there is no brain to store the lessons.

    Just send the dogs and tear apart the dissenters.

    Wait… That sounds familiar…

    Damned, where did I hear that before?

    : o

  41. Navarro & Ferrer have been released, the catholic church looks good, the rebolution “keept” it word, now what?
    Nothing the rebolution does has a straight meaning, all is done a la “end justifies de means”
    I guess we’ll have to wait & see the new twist this dying rebolution will come up with …

  42. The best recognition you get “flaca” es the amount of resources the rebolution dedicates to you & the silent voices in their attempts to discredit you all.

  43. YOANI, your a SUPER STAR world wide. The Cuban State has nothing better to do than to make a program about YOU and other cyber bloggers. Technology and modern progress does not favor or help the current archaic REGIME in power. This like a fine wine will only get better with time.

  44. ***
    What brave Cubans! Free Cuba!
    Que valientes Cubanos! Cuba Libre!
    John Bibb

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