In His Own Way

And now, the end is near
and so I face the final curtain...

To say goodbye can be accomplished with just a brief note left on the table, or by a telephone call where we say our final farewells. In the preparations to leave the country, at the end of a relationship, or of life itself, there are people who try to control the smallest details, draw up those limits that oblige the ones they leave behind to follow their path. Some leave slamming the door behind them, and others demand before taking off the great tribute they think they deserve. There are those who equitably distribute all their worldly goods, and also beings with so much power they change the constitution of a country so that no one can undo their work when they’re gone.

The preparations for the Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party and its sessions in the Palace of Conventions have been like a great public requiem for Fidel Castro. The scene of his farewell, the meticulous ceremonial demanded by him and realized — sparing no expense — by his younger brother. In the organizational excesses of the military parade, held on April 16, was seen the intention to “spare no expense” in a final tribute to someone who could not be there on the podium. It was clear that the announcement of the names of who would assume the highest positions in the Cuban Communist Party would not be read by the man who decided the course of this nation for almost fifty years. But he sat at the head table of the event to validate, with his presence, the transfer of power to Raul Castro. Being there was like coming — still alive — to the reading of his own will.

Then came the standing ovation, the tears of this or that delegate to the party conclave, and the phrases of eternal commitment to the old man with the almost white beard. Through the television screen some of us sensed the crackling of dried-up flowers or the sound of shovelfuls of dirt. It remains to be see if the General-cum-President can sustain the heavy legacy he has received, or if under the watchful supervision of his Big Brother he would prefer not to contradict him with fundamental reforms. It’s just left to check the authenticity of Fidel Castro’s departure from public life, and whether his substitute will choose to continue disappointing us, or to reject him.

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96 thoughts on “In His Own Way

  1. Humberto:
    I don’t care that ur a fag or not, what does it have to do w/the price of tea in china?
    Just keep on keeping on Bro yours is a service w/dedication. I was a revolutionary once … when the revolution changed into a rebolution many left, some were caught before their exit, others disappeared, some had airlane failures :-) … all in all, the ones w/fidel’s secrets of the time are either still kissing his culo, dead or somewhere where fidel can’t touch them; regardless … Viva Cuba Libre!
    If ur moniker gets used by someone else consider it an honor since it proves ur importance in between their ribs …

  2. Albert (qui ose gagnes)! Dont make me cry now! Remember I’m a fag (really)! and I like Cuban men specially, and Im single men (not boys)! I do it for my dad who died in 1962 but asked my family to take me out of Cuba when he saw the betrayal of Fidel Castro (he was an early Fidelista)! I think he would approve of this Ciberguens@!!

  3. Press Release:

    To all media! and Castrofacists! My “covert names” from now on will include the following! “Ciberguens@”, “Ciberm@mbi” and “El @v@l@nchito” of course! I dont want to be another “Damir” or “Cuba Libre” etc, etc, etc!

    Humberto Capiro (my real name)

  4. Humberto:
    Go my friend, don’t stop … nimrods abound but you are not one of them; in my book yours is a great service to us & to Cuba
    THANK YOU.

  5. Well the graduates of the class 2011 has graduated & now they are “cutting their teeth” here … here is an old question:
    If the rebolution in Cuba has done so much good why is there a need to put you guys to defend her? if the leadership is so good w/the people why is there is a need for repression & intimidation?
    Why does a citizen & resident of Cuba needs a permite to exit & or re-enter his/her own country?
    Why is it more remunerative to drive a taxi than to practice medicine (unlesss voluteered to serve in trade in anothe country) or why be a defense lawyer when to do it well might land you in prision?
    Go at it boys & girls … unless you all are Damir incarnations … :-)

  6. Simba Sez: “Cubans born in the island who comment on this blog have more “rights” per say than any others here!” I’m afraid not my friend, and all the explanation you wrote had nothing to do with that. I did not tell you what to think, I suggested you may want to rethink it yourself. How did it become your responsibility to inform me as to what Yoani’s blog was for?

  7. Simba, please dont tell me to “rethink that one” nor tell my “what to think”! Yoani’s blog specially is to allow her an us to express ourselves FREELY! and that is what I am doing! As far at what I meant by “more rights” I will explain it the following manner.

    There are a LOT of us Cubans in the diaspora and inside Cuba who are pretty tired of everyone speaking for us. From the leftists Castro apologists to the small right wing Cuban community that is the most vocal. I’m from the center and I want to talk to those in Cuba who are not affiliated directly with the goverment. The Cuban people in and out of Cuba are the ones who’s feelings and view points matter the most, not the politicians from the USA, Spain or even Cuba. That is what I meant by that comment!

  8. Simba said- “You ultimately settled in a foreign land in sunny California, and are enjoying the good life that the United States has allowed you to have.”

    Simba, you bet I am VERY GRATEFUL to this country USA for giving me the opportunity to study without hardly any cost through their Community Colleges and Universities. I also received many grants and got a few scholarships to get my 5-year degree in Architecture. I was the first and only member of my immediate family to got to college, for my mom never really learned to speak English so all the arrangements to pay for my education I did myself! AND for your FYI, I got into one of the hardest Universities that has an B-Arch in the whole west coast without the use of my minority status, quite the contrary! I spent 3+ years at a Community College as well as took an unpaid apprenticeship with an architect all which helped me transfer for my last 3 years at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo.

  9. Simba Said- “At some point you turned your back on your country of birth and bailed out of it, leaving others to remain behind and suffer what you cared not to.”

    Simba, I was 9 years old in 1969 when I left Cuba with my younger brother and widowed mother (guajira with 5th grade education) because we were of the protestant religion. We were never part of the party so that is why I was teased at school by other children calling me a “GUSANO” while they wiggled their index figer up and down to imitate a worm. I dont think at that age I was ready to fight or handle any type of arms unlike the Cuban children who are forced to do in this film. This type of activity illegan in the world and Cuba is committing another INFAMOUS CRIME!

    YOUTUBE: Cuban children being taught to use rifles and guns! WHY?

  10. @Simba #85-
    “…you turned your back on your country of birth and bailed out of it, leaving others to remain behind and suffer what you cared not to.”

    Many who left did so because of the mass executions and imprisonment. Don’t simplify the exile of many as an exile of convenience.

    Regarding El Avalanchito’s quote: “Cubans born in the island who comment on this blog have more “rights” per say than any others here!” I am guessing that he means exiles have a better perspective of the situation in Cuba to comment on it…I do, however, think we need clarification on that one.

    To those who observe it, Happy Easter Sunday.

  11. Simba Sez: Humberto, let me see if I can get this straight. At some point you turned your back on your country of birth and bailed out of it, leaving others to remain behind and suffer what you cared not to. You ultimately settled in a foreign land in sunny California, and are enjoying the good life that the United States has allowed you to have. Now, that somehow gives you more “rights” (what the hell ever that means) than the crazy Americano Yankees that befriended you? Maybe you should rethink that one.

  12. Made a list of twitter accounts that deal with Human Rights Abuses. Feel free to use them for Cuba or any other repressive regime or goverments!AND Twitter Retweets are an important tool to disipate information as you have seen in the middle east!

    @pressfreedom @ONUHumanRights @amnesty @FreedomHouseDC @hrw @CarterCenter @UNrightswire @Radio_ONU @WOLA_org @SalilShetty @HumanSecurityRP @LSHumanRights @HumanRightsNews

  13. El Dorado and Cuba Libre! Thanks guys for all the attention! Here in Venice Beach, California I sometimes feel detached from the Cuban community and cause! Given the fact that I rub you both the wrong way makes me feel more CUBAN! FYI, Cubans born in the island who comment on this blog have more “rights” per say than any others here! No offence to my fellow Ciberm@mbises!!

  14. # 79
    I agree totally ElDorado, Humberto has this unique way of interpreting things to his advantage. If we see a glass that is half full, he will say it is half empty. He is like the guy driving on a one way street thinking he is the only one in the right direction while the other 1000 people are driving the wrong way. Its easy to use other peoples quotes to our advantage, weinterpret them to our use. Singers make songs to make money, and the more contreversy it extends, the more money they make.

  15. ElDorado, perhaps Humberto understands Patti Smith and Cuba better than you. Talk about living in a fantasy world with your “Miami guys” caricature. One thing I’m sure of is that at least 90% of Castro’s followers believe Yoani is “one of them millionaire Bastiano CIA agents”

  16. And believe me Humberto and 90% Miami guys here think that Patti Smith, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen just to name the most popular are just a bunch of commies and traitors of American interests (remember Living With War)

  17. ElDorado, you never cease to amaze me. Patti is pro-people, anti-government-oppression, pro-expression, anti-tyranny. Everything that Cuba is not today. But also she would not be pro-U.S. embargo. Patti and I run in the same circles today. Please don’t profess to know what Patti intends in her music.

    You are absolutely right and I didn’t say anything different word to word what you have written. I just said that Mr Humberto misunderstoods it and uses it for totaly different intentions. Where have I written that I stand for Cuba as it is today???

  18. Cuba Libre, I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to say. I understand you like the Castros, but you also say you like Yoani. So you agree that the Castros should stop persecuting Yoani?

    You also say we all complain too much and that: “The truth is Cubans don`t realize what fortune they have with their way of life … We always want to better our situation believing in fairy tales that life is always better somewhere else in the world. ”

    So maybe you don’t realize what fortune you have in Canada? Maybe you believe in a Cuban fairy tale?

  19. THIS SURE SOUND LIKE DAMIR TO ME!

    “It is the second class low life journalists like you who while sitting down on their comfortable armchairs critsize the hard working government in Cuba who is trying by everymeans it has to give its people a better life.”

  20. Humberto, then you wonder why the Cuba El Che and Mr. Castro had in mind never happened. Its because of people like yourself who are always one to critsize anything good governments have in mind. If you and others like you had half the heart set to work like Che had Cuba would be so much better off. Che Guevara would go work in the fields with the campesinos and never complain one second about his fate because he and Mr. Castro believed in the new Cuba. It is the second class low life journalists like you who while sitting down on their comfortable armchairs critsize the hard working government in Cuba who is trying by everymeans it has to give its people a better life. Its people like you and others like you who put down any other person`s opinion that doesn`t coincide with yours. Miss Sanchez created this blog so people could freely express their views and opinions. If you can`t respect my opinions, at least respect Yoani`s idea for freedom of speech.

  21. Humberto, I used to read your posts with lots of respect, now that respect is falling fast because you don`t listen or even pay any regards to other people`s comments. No I do not kiss up to anyone, I respect Yoani`s works and I look forward to buying her next book. Nor am I a tree hugger, nor am I a republican, if you had any knowledge about Canadian politics you would know there are no republicans here. You blab so much about freedom of expression, yet you are quick to criticize other people`s views who do not match yours. I never I never insulted or questioned your intelligence, I would appreciate you do the same.

  22. The truth is Cubans don`t realize what fortune they have with their way of life. Cubans are no different than any other people. We always want to better our situation believing in fairy tales that life is always better somewhere else in the world. Here in Canada we complain every day about high gas prices, yet environmentalists always block ways of exploiting the natural energies we have. c
    Complaining about the way it will pollute the environment. The tar sands in Alberta, the natural gas in Quebec and Ontario, the possibilities of drilling for oil in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence river, more than enough for Canada to be self sufficient energy wise. But all these possibilities are at a stand still because of environmentalists, yet they are the first ones to complain about high fuel prices. Irony at its max.
    Cuban youth now complains they have to resort to prostitution to make ends meet. But they forgot that prostitution was why Cuba was so welcoming before the revolution. In Yoani`s “Cuba Libre” (which I respect very much) she often talks about youths having to rely on the black market to make ends meet. They complain about the thefts that are emptying industrial and government buildings, yet they are the ones committing the robberies. Ironic don`t you think.
    People are never satisfied with what they have. And even if we did have everything we ever wanted and the way of life we want, then we would probably complain about how boring life is cause we have everything. We would probably also complain about the fact we have nothing to complain about.

  23. IS THIS PERSON IN TOUCH WITH REALITY? HAS HE/SHE BEEN SMOKING TOOO MUCH POT! AND MIGHT BE CONFUSING THE CASTROFACISTS WITH PEOPLE WITH A HEART AND BRAINS?

    THIS IS THE MOST LAUGHABLE QUOTE!

    “Achieving some of these indicators partially depends on other civil rights and liberties issues, scheduled to be addressed in a Communist Party policy conference next January.”

    HAVANA TIMES, April 23 — Taking a look at the reforms being/to be implemented in Cuba’s economy, I came up with some indicators that we can evaluate five years down the road (and consider along the way) to see if the reforms have a positive impact on life under Cuban socialism.

    – If Cuban workers can meet their basic needs with their salaries.

    – If Cuba greatly increases its food production and distribution networks and can thus considerably lower imports without decreasing already low consumption levels.

    – If Cuba’s housing infrastructure sees more repairs and/or new construction than collapse and further deterioration.

    – If getting to and from work on public transportation ceases to be a second job in itself for most people.

    – If low and high level theft and corruption cease to be a generally recognized norm at State companies/institutions.

    – If there is an improvement in public education and health care or at least a break in the decline experienced over the last decade.

    – If social inequalities sure to increase do not reach the typical Latin American proportions.

    – If young people generally feel positive about their future in Cuba.

    – If child-bearing age women increasingly feel secure enough to have children.

    – If the immigration status of Cubans is normalized with clear policies, eliminating the current restrictions.

    Achieving some of these indicators partially depends on other civil rights and liberties issues, scheduled to be addressed in a Communist Party policy conference next January.

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=42205

  24. MERCEDES SOSA, A GREAT ARTIST WHO WAS ENAMORED WITH FIDEL AND HIS REVOLUTION BUT SAW THE LIGHT EVENTUALLY! I GOT TO SEE MERCEDES SOSA TWICE IN MY LIFE AND EVENTHOUGH AT THAT TIME SHE DID NOT HOLD THIS STANCE I KNEW SHE WAS JUST ANOTHER DECEIVED!

    AP: Mercedes Sosa se aleja de Fidel Castro

    BUENOS AIRES.- “Hasta aquí llegó mi amor”, dijo la cantante argentina Mercedes Sosa, al dejar en claro que dejó de simpatizar con el líder cubano Fidel Castro, debido a los fusilamientos en marzo de tres jóvenes que trataron de secuestrar una embarcación.

    “Creo que uno debe tomar posiciones nobles ante las cosas que no están bien hechas”, subrayó Sosa en una reunión de prensa el martes por la noche en Buenos Aires, donde presentó su segundo premio Grammy Latino que acaba de ganar por su producción discográfica Acústico.

    Luego agregó: “Pienso que he luchado mucho por Fidel, en Cuba, en Miami y en otras partes del mundo y creo que ya es tiempo de no aceptar todo, porque entonces vamos a caer en dictadores”.

    “Entonces, hasta aquí llegó mi amor; con el asunto de que se mató a esos chicos que trataron de escapar, que se asesinó”, indicó Sosa, considerada la mejor cantante de folclor de Argentina y ex afiliada al Partido Comunista.

    Después, dijo comprender que “mucha gente se escape de la isla porque quieren estar en Miami. Es su forma de pensar y no puedo hacer una crítica adversa a la gente que se quiere escapar”.

    http://archivo.laprensa.com.ni/archivo/2003/septiembre/18/revista/revista-20030918-04.html

  25. Here’s a psychology question. Why do anti-capitalists worship at the feet of ultimate monopoly capitalists like Fidel. What makes one company owning every institution and business in a country so great? Why do socialist trade unionists who complain that 5000 dollars a month is slave labor, worship a country where trade unions are illegal and workers are paid 20 dollars a month?

    Those old-time robber-barons could only dream at what Fidel pulled off.

  26. Apologies to Patti Smith for my tyrannical retort to ElDorado, in case she is reading the comments on this blog. :)

  27. ElDorado, you never cease to amaze me. Patti is pro-people, anti-government-oppression, pro-expression, anti-tyranny. Everything that Cuba is not today. But also she would not be pro-U.S. embargo. Patti and I run in the same circles today. Please don’t profess to know what Patti intends in her music.

  28. Well I think Mr Humberto misunderstood Patti ( not Patty that is completely different person !!! ) Smith completely and everything she stands for. Like Reagan using Springsteen’s Born in the USA

  29. @#60 – I could not help but chime in.

    “If all you say is true about the way life used to be before the revolution, why the hell would anyone want to change it??”

    As stated in #62, for the same reason people want/ed change in Gaddhafi-ruled Libya, Mubarak-ruled Egypt, etc. Imagine if Libya or Egypt were taken over by extreme muslim religious fanatics, backed by al Qaeda money. People would remember their hardships AND freedoms under the previous leader, but acknowledge that the new system was likely worse.

    “And like I also said, when we change things, we know what we leave behind, but nothing is more uncertain than what we are getting into.” Precisely the case with Cubans in 1959. The average Cuban did not know what Fidel & Co. had in store for them. Sometimes, a society must go through several revolutions/transformations to get it right.

    “But that is my opinion. Cuba has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, and that makes it one of the safest places to live in.” Saudi Arabia also has a very low crime rate. So did the U.S.S.R.

  30. NPR: New Leader Overhauls US Broadcasts Into Cuba-April 23, 2011

    A new generation of managers is taking the reins at the U.S. government’s radio and TV broadcasts into Cuba, promising to overhaul the stations’ programming in an effort to make them more relevant and reach a younger audience.

    The overhaul coincides with broader policy changes, as President Barack Obama has shifted from the Bush-era tactic of advocating the overthrow of Fidel Castro’s communist government to encourage more cultural and economic exchanges.

    Carlos Garcia-Perez, a 43-year-old Cuban-American attorney, took over the Office of Cuba Broadcasting in October. Unlike the Marti founders and most directors since, he is from Puerto Rico, not the anti-Castro exile enclave of Miami. He wasn’t even born when the last Marti director, exile Pedro Roig, participated in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961.

    Garcia-Perez insists the often-criticized TV and Radio Marti broadcasts still offer an important service in Cuba, where the government has an iron grip on the media and tries, often successfully, to block TV Marti.

    “To enable the free flow of information to our audience (in Cuba), that’s what we’re all about. It would be great if other commercial broadcasts had complete access, but that’s not the reality,” he said, noting the Cuban government in January removed CNN’s Spanish service from a package of channels provided to hotels and foreign companies. It gave no explanation.

    The changes include longer news programs, overhauling entertainment shows with some lighter fare and adding services for mobile phones, which families in Miami are increasingly bringing to their relatives on the island.

    One new radio show, “El Revoltillo” (The Scramble), features two hosts exchanging Regis and Kelly-like banter while reading off items and services for sale from a Cuban website. The program is more practical than overtly political because few on the island have computer access. Based on nothing more than a Cuban-style Craigslist, it seems to work, mixing useful information with humor. The hosts throw in an occasional jab at the island’s government but not with the same derision of past shows, such as “The Boss’s Office,” which frequently featured a bumbling impersonator of Raul Castro, Fidel Castro’s brother and the country’s president.

    Since it debuted this year, the show has received calls and even emails from Cubans looking to sell, rent or buy everything from a shower hose to the services of a private investigator. Unlike most previous Marti shows, callers aren’t necessarily dissidents. Garcia-Perez said that fits the broadcasts’ goal of facilitating more exchange among Cubans from all parts of the island.

    Critics have for years questioned the Martis’ management and standards, arguing the broadcasts reach few on the island and do as much harm as good for the U.S. image abroad. At least two recent congressional bills proposed dumping the roughly $28 million-a-year Martis, though they are unlikely to pass. And some critics particularly question the point of overhauling TV Marti, which gets most of the budget and is by most accounts successfully jammed by the Cuban government.

    Harvard professor and Cuba expert Jorge Dominguez, who occasionally visits the island for research, said there’s only so much the Martis can change given their low reputation inside the island and TV Marti’s limited audience.

    “Even the Cuban government no longer cares. It cared in the 1980s and 1990s, but I can’t remember the last time I spoke to a Cuban official who brought it up,” he said.

    Garcia-Perez has tried to shore up the broadcasts’ credibility since arriving, cutting more than a third of their roughly 100 outside contractors. Their positions were often derided as a way to dole out cash and curry favor with Miami’s Cuban leaders.

    Garcia-Perez also brought in another young Puerto Rican of Cuban descent from the Spanish-language network Telemundo to serve as the stations’ general manager. And he hired Humberto Castello, former executive editor of Miami’s Spanish-language paper El Nuevo Herald, to add meat and modernity to the Marti website.

    Castello isn’t exactly the new guard. Under his leadership, El Nuevo Herald faced an ethics scandal over payments a number of its reporters were receiving from the government-run Martis, but the paper also won journalistic prizes.

    Traffic at the website is up 25 percent since February, with an average of 4,000 daily hits, according to an automated analysis provided to The Associated Press. Many of those are from the U.S., Canada and Argentina, as Cubans on the island often use foreign email addresses.

    The changes at the Martis are part of a broader push among U.S. foreign broadcasts to remain relevant and do more with less. U.S.-funded broadcasters operate on a roughly $760 million budget, in 59 languages reaching an estimated 165 million people weekly, according to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees them.

    Voice of America is ending shortwave radio broadcasts in China. And it is working especially hard to justify itself in the Western Hemisphere, where people in all but two countries — Cuba and Venezuela — have an array of local media, satellite channels and Internet sites to choose from.

    Toward that end, the Martis and VOA are working more closely to pool resources, boosting the Martis’ credibility.

    Despite the changes, Garcia-Perez insists the fundamental mission of the Martis — to provide a counterpoint to the Cuban government — hasn’t changed.

    “We don’t try to tell the people in Cuba ‘Fidel and Raul are bad.’ They know that,” he said. “We want to be the number one station to bring the news to the Cuban people about what’s happening inside the island first and then a window to the rest of the world.”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=135657981

  31. Cuba Libre! If you look at some of the countries in the middle east, many of their population have a high standard of living BUT are still willing to protest and even die to bring down a corrupt facist goverment. Cuba faced a similar situtation with Batista, high standard of living is NOT ENOUGH to fulfill what people need the most which is FREEDOM in many levels of their lives. Fidel Castro sequestered The Revolution and lied thru his teeth and murdered many of his own compatriots to get what he wanted, A KINGDOM TO DO AS HE PLEASED! The Cuban people are not lab rats on a social experiment nor did they need a DADDY to tell them WHAT TODO, WHEN TO DO IT and HOW TO DO IT FOR OVER 52 YEARS.

    YOUTUBE: Fidel Castro interview by Edward R Murrow (1959) Fidel lying as usual.

  32. Cuba libre asks:

    “Why would anyone want to follow Mr. Castro and El Che to overthrow a government who was so good?”

    I’m sure Humberto doesn’t believe Batista was “so good”, he was only good compared to Fidel, as most older Cubans have told me.

    Why did people follow Hitler? Because they were empty-headed criminals who loved the taste of blood, that’s why, and the rest just followed out of fear.

    Stalin, Mao, Castro were a bit different. Some of their early followers were idealists who eagerly swallowed their lies. Fidel said he was an anti-communist who would hold free elections as soon as he came to power, and then shot anyone who disagreed with him. That’s why he’s called a “dictator”.

    Poor military dictatorships are wonderful places to settle for rich capitalist Marxists. Poor Cubans will smile and nod at your socialist platitudes in the hope of getting one of your dollars, and you’ll never have to suffer the discomfort of knowing what they really think or how they live. It’s sex tourism for “intellectuals” I guess.

  33. #45
    Humberto (El Avalanchito), If all you say is true about the way life used to be before the revolution, why the hell would anyone want to change it?? Why would anyone want to follow Mr. Castro and El Che to overthrow a government who was so good? If people were that well off why didn`t they kill the uprising when it first started?? why didn`t you talk about the non-exisiting health system in the pre revolution era? Why didn`t you state the percentage of analphabetics that existed before Mr. Castro installed the free schooling system at all degrees??
    Like I have said so many times before, we seldom see how well off we are and we want change. And like I also said, when we change things, we know what we leave behind, but nothing is more uncertain than what we are getting into.

    #47
    Igor my friend,
    I cannot marry a Cubano for the simple reason I am a man, and not gay, lol. But I would gladly marry a Cubana if I weren`t already married, and happily married. I love Cuba. I visited other caribbean countries but never do I find the warmth and welcome I find in Cuba. I plan on renting a (casa particular) for one month this year, and maybe for 3 or 4 months in the years to come as my retirement approaches. If it weren`t for my children, I would even consider moving to Cuba for good if I were allowed. I know for a fact the population is divided on the way the government rules there. Mr. Castro and his brother have ruled there with the little means they have, and have done a very good job at it. But that is my opinion. Cuba has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, and that makes it one of the safest places to live in.

  34. The Mariel boatlift was a mass exodus of Cubans who departed from Cuba’s Mariel Harbor for the United States between April 15 and October 31, 1980.

    The episode started when on April 1, 1980 one Hector Sanyustiz acted on a plan he had been organizing secretly for months. He boarded a bus, and along with four others (including the driver), stopped several blocks from Embassy Row in downtown Havana.

    The driver, who was a friend of Sanyustiz, announced that the bus had broken down and emptied the vehicle, leaving the four others who were privy to the plan inside. Sanyustiz took control of the bus and drove it through a fence of the Peruvian embassy.

    Some of the Cuban guards who were positioned to guard the street opened fire on the bus. One guard was fatally wounded in the crossfire. The five had taken desperate measures to ask for political asylum, so the Peruvian diplomat in charge of the embassy, Ernesto Pinto-Bazurco, granted it.

    The Cuban government immediately asked the Peruvian government to return the five individuals, stating that they would need to be tried for the death of the guard. When the Peruvian government refused, Castro threatened to remove the guards at the entrance of the Peruvian embassy, and proceeded to do so on Good Friday, April 4, 1980.

    On April 5, 1980, about 750 Cubans gathered at the Peruvian embassy in Havana and said they wanted diplomatic asylum.[4]

    The news of these events spread by word of mouth and by Easter Sunday, there were over 10,000 people crammed into the tiny Peruvian embassy grounds. The Cuban government quickly ordered a large number of guards back into place and blocked access along the perimeter of the embassy. Additionally, travel by motor vehicle was halted in the suburb of Miramar, home to most foreign embassies in the City of Havana.

    Inside the embassy, people occupied every open space on the grounds, eventually climbing trees and other structures and refusing to abandon the premises despite the lack of basic service infrastructure. The dangers inherent in this situation were allayed somewhat by the actions of other embassies, including those of Spain and Costa Rica, which agreed to accept a small number of refugees.

    Castro ultimately stated that the port of Mariel would be opened to anyone wishing to leave Cuba, as long as they had someone to pick them up. While news of the situation was not broadcast in Cuba, Cuban exiles in the United States rushed to Key West and to docks in Miami to hire boats to transport people to the United States.

    YOUTUBE: Embajada del Peru CUBA 1980 – The Peruvian Embassy, Cuba 1980

  35. Patti’s words are powerful. Next time I see her, I’ll direct her here. :)

  36. Mandy Marcelo! Its hard to watch but the world has to watch hard things to learn what is happening around us! The FACISTS around the world are getting a taste of the INTERNET! From Egypt, Syria to Cuba! INFORMATION is THE KEY! PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER!

    YOUTUBE: Patti Smith – People Have The Power (Video clip)

    Patty Smith People Have the Power Lyrics:
    I was dreaming in my
    dreaming of an aspect
    bright and fair

    And my sleeping it was broken
    but my dream it lingered near

    In the form of shining valleys
    where the pure air recognized

    And my senses newly opened
    I awakened to cry –
    That the people have the
    power to redeem the works
    of fools

    Upon the meek the graces shower
    it’s decreed
    the people rule.

    The people have the power
    the people have the power

    The people have the power
    the people have the power.

    Vengeful aspects became
    suspect and bending low as
    if to hear

    And the armies ceased
    advancing because the
    people had their ear.
    And the shepherds and
    the soldiers lay beneath
    the stars

  37. @#54 – Repudios are difficult to watch. Kids lied to and lured to a repudio, to act, sometimes violently, against other human beings on behalf of the government…I just don’t have words.

  38. Sara Marta Fonseca recounts and shows video of the acts of repudiation by mob and how they vandalized her home and how they used school children to serve as political tools which is illegal. This is what we call THE CHUSMAS or THE NEW MAN as the CASTROFACISTS like to call them.

  39. @#42 – Tanya, what nationality passport do you hold? Does it say anything about your heritage on it? Most likely, you can go without issue on a licensed flight and if you play by the rules while there.

    Cuba has a policy on paper that essentially states the same thing to my mother. My mother does not like to visit Cuba, but she feels obligated to, for her surviving relatives there (who are brainwashed, but not so much that they cannot greet her with outstretched palms, ready to receive their next big cash gift from my democracy-loving, capitalist pig mother). When she travels to Cuba, she is sometimes given a lengthier entrance/exit interview. The last time she was in Terminal 2 in Havana it took about 15 minutes for her to enter and leave Cuba(yes, folks, I said Terminal 2. Not Terminal 3).

    For the record, she was spied on and quietly threatened during the revolution while her neighbors were executed. My traumatized mother left Cuba, adopted another citizenship, but her passport clearly states where she was born.

  40. @#31 – Humberto El Avalanchito – 30%? You’re lowballing yourself. To keep the plotlines and facts believable, you’d have to help Damir a little (okay, a LOT) and get a much bigger percentage. I’d say around 90% :)

    @32- also Humberto El Avalanchito – I’d love to, but I’m afraid there wouldn’t be many Cubans in the Brit/Cuban Telenovela. ;)

    @#37 – albert — It’s an WEB-REPUDIO. But we already knew that.

    @#39- Love Cuba — Agreed, it’s a blockade on paper. The U.S. is the fifth largest exporter to Cuba, cash currency trade. U.S. citizens can take unlimited cash to Cuba (but cannot withdraw from U.S. accounts while in Cuba). And somehow, Fidel Castro always finds a way to stock up on those Coca-Cola bottles on the island. Strange blockade, indeed.

    I also feel compelled to remind that Canada is part of “America” and Canada represents the 2nd largest trading partner with Cuba.

  41. Thanks for the link Chicago.

    Tanya, I’m glad your mother made it out. I’m sure one day you’ll get to make that trip to Cuba and get in touch with your roots.

  42. Love Cuba: For the longest time I’ve heard through the grape vine from relatives and friends, that the younger Castro was an alcoholic. Way before he made it as the top banana. In addition, years ago, I read a report from a lady journalist, whose name I can’t recallect, (not Barbara Walters) to the effect that he was drunk when he received her for an interview.
    For addional info you may wish to follow this link from the Telegraph:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1579162/Younger-brother-Raul-Castro-has-his-day.html

  43. Is Raul an alcoholic? I’ve heard that somewhere before. No doubt both brothers are unbalanced, ruling a kingdom unopposed and unquestioned for over 50 years isn’t great for one’s mental balance. Wish I knew more about the Cuban ruling class soap opera, my Cuban friends are always thirsty for gossip, which is the only news they get.

    Igor, the poster reminds me of the Red Cross who reported that Nazi concentration camp inmates were being fed a scientific and nutritious diet. Ditto the Stalinists who introduced Westerners to a few fat Russians living near Red Square and forbade them from going to the suburbs teaming with homeless and starving children. Ditto, Mao. Ditto, Pol Pot. Ah yes, but of course, I forgot, Fidel was different.

    Not only is the ration book insufficient in calories, many Cubans have never known a month where their rations were completely filled. Only last year, rice was completely unavailable for several months. And the only rice available for over 10 million Cubans is nutritionally dead white rice. Perhaps vitamins, enzymes, and fiber are just CIA propaganda and Cuba’s world-class scientists have figured a way to survive without them?

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