Image taken from the website of the painter Pedro Pablo Oliva

We are experiencing another turn of the screw of intolerance. Just when individual daring is gaining ground here and there, the times of admonishment come along. The first signs appeared with the TV serial called “Cuba’s Reasons,” whose script seems to have been written in Stalin’s Russia rather than on this 21st Century Caribbean island. Then came the “rapid repudiation rallies,” increased police operations, monitoring cellphones in real time, detentions and searches. All this while the official press continues to say that “the improvement of the economic model” is well underway and that the Cuban Communist Party’s Sixth Congress “has been a resounding success.” We, meanwhile, face the shock of the correctives; no boldness is left without its everlasting punishment.

Among the lashes applied by Daddy State this time, is the closure of the cultural center run by the painter Pedro Pablo Oliva, located in the city of Pinar del Rio. Urgently called before the local authorities, this artist, winner of the National Arts Award, fell under a barrage of criticisms and reprimands. He was questioned about having declared in an interview that he was in favor of a multiparty system, and about having sent a most cordial letter to this writer to publish in her blog. He was also accused of opening the doors of his house to counterrevolutionaries, and even hobnobbing with diplomats from other countries. He was stripped of his position in the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power and a few hours later a farewell poster appeared in the door of his workshop.

The artists from the Writers and Artists Union of Cuba (UNEAC) have chosen, so far, to remain silent and look the other way. Like the little figures with empty eye sockets and forebodings that take Oliva months to paint on his canvases. I maintain that now is the time to support him, to say, “Relax, your brush will be more free without these ideological ties, without these partisan formalities.” It is also a good occasion for those of us sanctioned by insult, censorship and surveillance to do something. If we haven’t converged in our opinions and proposals for the future, at least we can articulate the pain, drawing closer because the blow received by one is felt by all.

136 thoughts on “Correctives

  1. Damir @ 105: “Communism and fascism are like day and night. Hitler and Mussolini hated communists and were devoted capitalists. So, the proper comparison would be capitalists/fascist.”

    Damir, I only just discovered “Generacion Y”, but I can see that you are going to be my favorite poster on this blog. A lot of fun. I think you will always give me something to respond to.

    Mussolini started out as a communist, and then morphed easily into a fascist. The fascist economic system does not “nationalize” businesses outright, but it does nationalize them in fact, because it has totalitarian control over everything. It controls wages, prices, where money will be invested and how much, what will be produced – everything. Since in any real sense “ownership” means the right of use and disposal, the fascist government is the actual owner of all business in a fascist dictatorship and has the power to determine every move the businessmen and capital investors make. The investors and heads of industry take all the risk, but they don’t have the freedom to make their own choices about that risk.

    Actual, full-fledged capitalism is a free market economy. The government’s proper job in such an economy is to protect all citizens from physical violence, threat of violence, fraud, and theft. Its job is to let people buy, sell, give, as they choose within the protected sphere of honest, non-coercive dealings. That doesn’t match up with fascism in any way.

    By the way, Hitler railed against capitalism as much as he did communism. He hated both. He hated communism mostly because they were Internationalist, whereas he and his nazis were nationalist – the master race and all that. But please remember that “Nazi” stands for “National Socialist”.

    But their differences didn’t stop Stalin and Hitler from teaming up to invade Poland, having agreed to do so and to carve it up between themselves. Stalin only became Hitler’s enemy and came over to the allied side when Hitler betrayed the agreement and turned against the USSR.

    Damir @ 105: “After all, nazists ran away to the usa, running away from communists in the WWII.”

    Nazis ran away to a lot of places. A lot of them were also captured and were tried at Nuremberg. And, excuse me… which side of the war do you think the USA fought on?

    Damir @ 105: “True democrats are accepting of any thought and difference of opinion. They do not judge people just because they differ in opinion. They compete respecting others, not insulting and attacking them, pretending that only their view is right.”

    There is some truth in this. It is good for people in a democracy, or who are trying to model living in a democracy, to discuss their differences in a civil way, with the aim of getting down to the truth. However, people being people, they often need to be reminded of this, especially when principles that live at the core of one’s being clash with those at someone else’s core. To get the best result – progress towards working out the whole truth and nothing but the truth (which is a hard goal to reach in many cases) everybody needs to keep their eyes on that prize and not get into trying to delegitimize the opponent. In other words, not get personal. Even among people who are practiced at democracy for generations, people are still people.

    Now this: “True democrats are accepting of any thought and difference of opinion. They do not judge people just because they differ in opinion…” is true in one way – true democrats recognize the right of every person to come to his/her own conclusions and to speak openly about those conclusions without being physically attacked for it, or legally punished. But that does not mean that a person who believes in democracy believes that all opinions are equally true, that the truth cannot be discovered, or that all people are equally honest in the way they reach their conclusions. People make judgments about other people – particularly about their honesty. A person can certainly be wrong in his judgment of someone, but as long as he doesn’t violate that person’s rights over it, he can say what he thinks of another. And that other person can rebut the opinion, if he thinks it’s worth the trouble.

    Damir @ 105: “The team “yoani” and their two and a half supporters do not fit description of democrats. Little wonder their parents lost the war against the Castros…”

    This is a perfect example of what not to do when discussing serious topics. This is hitting below the belt, and does not engage the intelligence. It is purely an emotional and quite mean-spirited attack.

    I have not read enough of this blog to know whether you have been treated unfairly or not, but even if you have, it is better to maintain the intellectual and moral high ground than to sink to that kind of reply.

  2. @ #100, #106:

    This blog uses Gravatar for the avatar images. Look it up. Gravatar is a third-party web site used by many different web sites to provide avatars that correspond to email addresses. When I post on any site that uses Gravatar using my email address, that site will display the image that is registered to my email address.

    More interesting than your ignorance and unfounded paranoia, is the question of what would motivate you to search for any possible way to discredit this blog? By doing so in such a transparent way, you’re validating this blog and confirming its accusations of state-sponsored bullying.

  3. Humberto Capiro (El Cibergues@)
    Mayo 26th, 2011 at 23:44


    “ANUSNIMO” is worth the money. He meets his quotas.

  4. If “watching paint dry would be more interesting than what you proposed in post 116.”.
    I gladly paint something for You so You can watch paint dry.

  5. You mean all those incredibly vibrant colors in Cuba are just an optical illusion? Don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t say I like to watch paint dry. What I did say, which sailed way over your head, was that watching paint dry would be more interesting than what you proposed in post 116.

  6. Dear Pamela.
    I see why You like to watch paint dry. Cubans do not have opportunity to do that. Nobody paints anything in Cuba. To much work.

  7. Dear Komar/Anomino:

    Mayo 26th, 2011 at 20:05
    Pamela, will you go with me to see Cuban National Ballet in L.A.?

    Thanks for the invite, I’m flattered, however, I’d rather watch paint dry. AND, I never associate with men who consider themselves comrades.

  8. On 27 May, the team “yoani” announced (in a tweet above this) a dissidents’ party to mark number 8 of their “Voces” publication.

    Everyone is invited.

    If they were telling the truth, we can expect a brigade of policemen to storm their home, brutalise them all and arrest them. If the team “yoani” were telling the truth (and we know that they never do), we’ll never hear from them again because the evil regime will throw them in dungeons and lose the keys.

    In reality, I expect the team “yoani” to continue their littering of internet unabated and undisturbed, just as they were so far.

    Which will only furhter confirm them to be just a bunch of liars.

    Who wants to bet on this?

    Any takers?

  9. All three and a half supporters of the team “yoani” cannot stop the truth, no matter how much they ry to stop people like myself.

    They have abundantly demonstrated how little of democrats they are by censoring their own ilk when posting the inveitable truth.

    Like that, now cut out, but it is still in my own posts in the same thread, statement of a retired Cuban lady who returned to Cuba after 40 years of slaving in “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”:

    “Life in Cuba is GOOD.”

    Or, when the team “yoani” said that draught reigns in Cuban, their own (how do you grade such “intelligence”…?) supporter comes out with a loooong list of cities and records of precipitations in those cities.

    And concludes the inevitable: There is NO drought in Cuba.

    Now, that, if they have had the brains, the team “yoani”, would hae had to be the real theme for that failed comment. To demonstrate how, despite NO drought, the water is not freely available in Cuba.

    But, hey. To connect the dots and actually write something INTELLIGENT, an organ called BRAIN is needed.

    And they wonder why Castros beat the hell out of them and still rule in Cuba.

    One look at the alternative, and Cubans easilly see how stuffed they could yet be.

    After all, the “alternative” is learning about “democracy” from books like “Blogging for Idiots” (see that first video, the book is right behind the naive and inept, prominently displayed on the shelf.

    Or, that video of the lecture by some Cuban IT guy. The team “yoani” accused him of using words like “enemy” traitors and alikes incessantly.

    He said the word “enemy” about 5 or 6 times during his 50 minutes presentation. Once every ten (10) minutes.

    Now that is “incessant”.

    If you are a cuban “alternative”, or “democrat”.

    A plain and rather obvious loser really.


  11. Good job, pal. You shut-up comrade Komar and comrade Damir and now You have comrade Anónimo.

  12. Comrade Komar and comrade Damir are my friends, They are not afraid of censorship.

  13. Humberto Capiro
    Mayo 26th, 2011 at 21:43

    “Please moderator! Keep these posts dont erase any!”

    Are You going to censor Anónimo?
    Good luck, buddy.

  14. Please moderator! Keep these posts dont erase any!

  15. Humberto Capiro (El Cibergues@)
    Mayo 26th, 2011 at 19:26

    “Anonimo” you sound like Daniel Bellas with an attempt at an eastern block CASTROFACISTS SYMPATHISER ACCENT!

    I might sound like Daniel Bellas, but You have not much to say, do You?

  16. CASTROFACISTS can shut-up comrade Damir, but they can not shut-up me. I become Anónimo.

  17. “Anonimo” you sound like Daniel Bellas with an attempt at an eastern block CASTROFACISTS SYMPATHISER ACCENT!
    You look like guy in Opera Society in L.A.

  18. “Anonimo” you sound like Daniel Bellas with an attempt at an eastern block CASTROFACISTS SYMPATHISER ACCENT!

  19. Pamela! One of the few things these CASTROFASCISTS’ fans can do is point out small text issues like misspelled words or capitals in your case! Is called pulling at straws!!

    grasping at straws
    Fig. to depend on something that is useless; to make a futile attempt at something. John couldn’t answer the teacher’s question. He was just grasping at straws. There I was, grasping at straws, with no one to help me.

  20. Most interesting blog. I see here Cuban dissidents can speak freely, without any censorship. I like posts by Humberto. His posts are more interesting than Fidel’s speeches and just as long. Thanks, Yoani, for lending space on Your blog to all dissidents who, risking their freedom, can express theirs opinions. And, thanks to dissidents like Humberto, we, in California, can see the Cuban National Ballet.

  21. The moderator must be that evil “Pamela.” I hear she also is the supreme controller of all avatars. Ha.

  22. Damir:
    This blog is some kind of joke. Note that Yoani is the owner of the blog and for some reason never takes part in discussion under her posts. Humberto Capiro took over Yoani’s blog and writes some political crappy comments. Note, that his comments are as long as Castro’s speeches. He props-up his political gibberish with Pamela’s gibberish, that he writes himself. Note how quick they got avatars and that they always write at the same time. Humberto is organizer in some opera society and there he wants to build his reputation as an anti Castro dissident, to build his ego.
    Humberto Capiro
    Organizer of Hispanics for Los Angeles Opera
    While Yoani is risking prison time in Cuba for writing this blog, he is doing anti Castro barking from Los Angeles and waits for Cuban National Ballet performances, which he likes a lot. How pathetic is that?. If he has so much to say, why he doesn’t get his own blog?. Why he should?. It is easier to ride on Yoanis back.

  23. Damir
    Mayo 26th, 2011 at 08:35
    It is kind of funny. All dissidents complain about lack of freedom of speech in Cuba. I just posted something and now I’m waiting for moderator to publish it. It is interesting that “pamela” posted something three minutes before me. I wander who the moderator is?.

  24. @Miguel Angel,

    I couldn’t agree more. Fidel’s fan club speaks for itself.

    Those who have posted here have ranged from the misinformed who have never been to Cuba, to the socialist frat club tourist who once spent 2 weeks at Hotel Nacional listening to Fidel and claims to be the world’s leading authority on Cuba and world politics, to our habitual stalkers who never tire of displaying their twisted delusions and poisonous hatred.

    Keep it coming my deluded friends!

  25. Komar, well spotted in post 100. Only administrators can add images to their posts. It goes to show that many before me were right when they said that this page is visited by a smal group of unemployed cuban emigrants fighting for their own self-worth and purpose in life.

    Sadly, failure is for life. Once a failure, always a failure. In their case it is a family affair.

    Litle wonder Castros beat them into oblivion. Internet is not going to change that. Barking is futile. How many books did the team “yoani” sell? None. Not even local two and a half supporters (once used to be three and a half, but two peronalities dissapeared recently…) felt like parting with money for their team “yoani”.

    What is that telling us?

    That despite the “awards” by dubious and failed “western” entities, the worl is still failing to worm up to another pathetic “we are democrats” attempt to play apitalist game by a bunch of diletants.

  26. Previous post is written in the same monotonous tone so typical of those half “men” below. Communism and fascism are like day and night. Hitler and Mussolini hated communists and were devoted capitalists. So, the proper comparison would be capitalists/fascist.

    After all, nazists ran away to the usa, running away from communists in the WWII.

    Not even basic history can be tought to these capitalist/fascists pretending to talk democracy.

    True democrats are accepting of any thought and difference of opinion. They do not judge people just because they differ in opinion. They compete respecting others, not insulting and attacking them, pretending that only their view is right.

    The team “yoani” and their two and a half supporters do not fit description of democrats.

    Little wonder their parents lost the war against the Castros…

  27. It is funny how some Americans who enjoy democracy in the US condemn those who fight for the right of the Cuban people to be free. How easy it is to support a fascist/communist tyranny like Castro’s madness from a democratic society while they enjoy the blessings of liberty! I hope that these individuals keep writing in Yoani’s blog. It is the best way to show the whole world the totalitarian mentality of these persons. (Please note that I am no calling them “worms” or other derogatory terms they use to describe those who want freedom for Cuba)

    Please, those of you who write with these crazy pseudonyms that remind the readers of Stalin’s USSR keep sending the nonsense that you write. In supporting the Communist/Fascist tyranny you are doing the cause of Cuba’s freedom a great favor. Thank you.

  28. And by the way, Why You just started put-up You picture and how did You do it? Why all Your previous posts are without picture. Did You stopped to be hypocritical?

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