Apartheid Persists

Reinaldo took the side of yes and he insisted and insisted. I, however, am of the generation that thinks ahead of time that nearly everything is prohibited, that they are going to scold me at every step and prevent me from doing anything that occurs to me. So this time the matrimonial discussion was intense. He claimed that we could board that boat to see Cienfuegos Bay from the swells of its waves; while the little voice inside me shouted that so much enjoyment could not be available to nationals. For a couple of hours I believed in my husband’s optimism and like a tropical Candide he got away with it. We went to the marina office near the Jagua Hotel and an official there sold us two tickets for the coveted boat trip. We never hid our breakneck Havana accents, nor tried to pass ourselves off as foreigners, but no one asked for identification. We felt there were already a pair of seats on board the yacht “Flipper” with our names on them and the murmur of skepticism faded in my head.

We arrived at the dock half an hour early. The sun-burnt tourists began to board the boat. Rei and I reached the spectacular corner from where we took photos of that bay as big as an ocean. The dream lasted barely five minutes. When the captain heard us talking he asked if we were Cubans. He shortly informed us that we had to go ashore, “boat rides are prohibited for nationals at every marina in the country.” Rage, anger, the shame of carrying a blue passport makes us guilty — in advance — in the eyes of the law of our own nation. A feeling of deception on comparing the official discourse of a supposed opening with the reality of exclusion and stigma. We wanted to cause a scene and cling to the railing, to compel them to remove us by force, but what would it have served? My husband dusted off his French and told the group of Europeans what was happening. They looked surprised, whispered among themselves. None of them disembarked — in solidarity with the excluded — from that coastal tour of our island; none of them found it intolerable to enjoy something that is forbidden to us, its natives.

The Flipper sailed, the wake of apartheid was visible for a few seconds and then was lost among the dark waters of the bay. The face of the musician Benny Moré on a nearby poster seemed to have exchanged its smile for a sneer. On one side of his chin was the famous refrain from one of his songs: “Cienfuegos is the city I like best…” We left that place. Reinaldo defeated in his illusion and I sad that my suspicions had triumphed. We waked along the road to Punta Gorda while an idea took shape in our minds: “If Benny had lived in these times, he too would have been thrown off — like a mangy dog — from that yacht.”


96 thoughts on “Apartheid Persists

  1. Damir,

    I appreciate your response. As I am a new reader I am trying to make my way through the previous articles, as well as read other authors on here. It is taking its time, moslty not using a good computer internet


    – the minder thing is from O’Rourke’s quote – we did not have minder, only a guide. I was with a group of friends, I think the guess of a partner may be from O’Rourke’s quote as well (he stated wife)

    But what I would like to know is: what is your link or interest with cuban affairs, and why are the reasons you are (I guess) against this blog?

  2. Fresita, yo have written too many things to address them all. I’ll just mention a few comments because I find them interesting. One is your “minder”. As someone who was there many a time by now, and never had one, how did you actually get one in the first place? And why?

    I can understand a group tourist guide (which were highly opinionated back in the early nineties, no doubt. And some were outright rude too.), but you seem to have been just with you partner, judging from your post.

    The second is the wrong statement of that Bourke journalist you mentioned: “people can, do and will say anything. But people cannot lie about their actions.”

    Absolutely wrong. People lying about their actions is the main subject of our lies. 99% of all lies are about what we did and do not want others to know.

    It may appear that my posts are “angry” if you simply jump in and read nothing else. You should go back two or three years to see my original posts and the real anger my thoughts were met with. Insults and name calling, for merely expressing my opinion.

    You will notice that I do NOT call anyone by their name, unlike the losers here who do just that, showing the level of their primitive intellects.

    The fifth column is a term coined in Spanish civil war, by a general of Franco’s army, and it stands for internal traitors. He depended heavily on those traitors in the partizans’ army, in order to defeat them.

    Without the traitors from within, the Spanish civil war would have been won by communists, and there would never have been Franco’s dictatorship, which was strongly supported by the “free” and “democratic” capitalist countries.

  3. Damir – here is a quote from a journalist I enjoy, and it is regarding people speaking about their experiences. He was commenting on a previous quote of his that the last person to ask about the affairs of a country is a politician, and what to do instead

    P J O’Rouke

    “Always the best thing to do is look and listen. Because people can, do and will say anything. But people cannot lie about their actions. What people do is what they do. So hanging around in markets, hanging around in government agencies, hanging around with the military, hanging around with rebels, if you can, and watching what they do. Just hanging out.

    You know, people are such terrible blabbermouths. Sooner or later, if you hang around with people long enough, they’ll start telling you their story. They can’t help it. It’s something in people’s nature.

    My wife and I were down in Cuba and we got a government minder who took us around, to keep an eye on us, make sure we didn’t talk to any miscreants. That lasted about 20 minutes before he started complaining about his life and telling us how hard it was to buy a mattress and on and on. He was just completely spilling the beans.”

    My point for this quote is to show you that anyone can talk, regardless of potential consequence. People may want to talk, alleviate stress, share their story or just talk talk. I do not know where you are in the world or what cuba means to you, but do you discuss other causes with such passion?

  4. Hello again to all

    Thank you for your information, I will look to consider your information carefully. Coming to Cuba again is not something I can do at present, or the Americas at all. I will do some more research and see if I can help where I am, or if you can direct that would be good. Thanks to Humberto and Help for their responses

    In response to Damir, I will give my details of Cuba. Hopefully you will see maybe where I have been or my experience.

    I was 19, and travelling with non Spanish friends, I was helping with translation. We went to Santa Clara mostly, and did tour of rest of island in five days with the tour guide. The non Cuban tour company made it clear that travelling without guide was a problem and that to do more than to be in Santa Clara we needed to pay for the guide (cuc). Perhaps being a bit naïve and the first time leaving home, I went along with it. We were told of danger and tourist kidnaps or robberies so we stuck to their tours and paid money to the European company.

    The guide for the tour was Cuban who had worked for an embassy but changed to tourism to fund his family. He talked at the time how taxes changed each month, depending on the current research or policies,and this made it difficult to plan financially, and sometimes there was not enough money. We all had questions like why no adverts on the street at all if there is only one country embargo? Why such limited goods if embargo is only with america? Etc. As we had high school education which only covered Cuba in the sixties and Cuba is told to other people to be a great equaller of common wealth, an example of successful communism and having excellent health services,and perhaps also because many teenagers in Europe have che and communism as a kind of role model I did not know before going people were so poor, or of the two currency and so on. So we had a lot of questions and I think rather than the tour guide telling us everything, he was trying to make us understand and it was a fine balance between knowledge and opinion. He told us he longed to travel but was not able, but he did not share such great detail as yoani does or perhaps can?

    We went on a boat and they told us about the seafood ban, outside of hotels we could not get beef because of the beef ban, no drinks we knew from before except the ron,instead state cola and state beer is it? Only one type- buccaneer? We went in hotels and the guide was not there sometimes. To his best he explained the posters (we understood it as propaganda) as they were all anti-American or pro revolution. Anytime we were left alone in the street Cubans surrounded us – the guide would come running back, ask them to leave us alone. I spoke to one person before we were herded away, they asked for cuc, they said one cuc would feed their family. The guide pulled us away, saying any victory would cause mobs. Reluctantly, we went. We were taken to specific shops prices in cuc only, they were quiet, and when we asked to go elsewhere, we were told it was not possible. In our visits to other towns we went only to their chosen shops and street vendors if we got away for a short time. We felt herded and separated from a real experience and knowledge.

    In hotels, we talked to cleaners. They told us that if they wanted jobs like doctors and teachers, the state paid for the education, but they had to give their time back at the end for free to work in poor areas, which is noble but not always practical, which is why they were maids to try and help earnings. We made a conscious effort to tip all the people who helped us, but it is difficult to get everyone fairly. As I said in my post I was naïve to the extent these things happened, and yoani blog helped me to put another view onto the trip – why were we always accompanied,private transport,did not meet Cubans socially, why are we always told where to go and who to speak with, why the limited resources, why the full fruits for tourist but not for nationals? I’m sure there is more from my experience, but I struggle to remember now all of it. Hopefully this makes my travel clearer for you

    Now my comment to you damir-

    What is fifth column? I have seen it mentioned many times by you and do not know. I admit I am reliant on internet and publication, I cannot return to Cuba for finances, so I do not know what you are talking about or how the wikipedia definition fits in here

    Usa agent – again, what is this? Perhaps I am naïve of this world but I don’t see how some federal people from America have any benefit to set up a blog and talk of Cuba. I do not know what nationality you are so I don’t know how you experience Cuba, or if you are Cuban. But what is the point of American agency? If the Americans have wars in middle east and so on why do they need argument being stirred with Cuba? Maybe if you have argument against the case held on these blogs maybe to write in common person terms. All this white god thing it confuses and I cannot discuss your opinion or even hold my own up if I do not understand

    Third – everyone has an opinion, including me, you, everyone here. Your writing seems so angry against others, why?

    Fourth – the feeling of oppression, fear or paranoia will vary in individuals the same as happiness, sadness or love. You say the tour guide should have been fearful – maybe he just was not? To use other example, other countries have had secret police – Nazi Germany, East Germany, Hungary, so on. At some point all of those systems will have arrested someone who said the wrong thing to the wrong person, did not praise in the right place, cast a disparaging look or offered to lend material to someone they should not. Their trust could have been misplaced, they could have been naïve, or perhaps they did none of those things and were reported, or they did those things for a long time and felt safe to an extent and did not continue with same level of security. Not everyone will feel the same level of fear, not everyone will use a small level of paranoia as protection from mistakes, and some people will be unintentionally careless. Just because he did not defacate does not mean it does not exist for others, no? There is a Russian sign, maybe common in other countries I do not know, you look to the ceiling silently. It means ‘they are listening’ translated this is – think about what is coming out of your mouth. There is a very good film about east Germany and oppression called ‘lives of others’ about someone who listens to someone elses life for the government. Go to the terror house in Hungary and see the cells for counter revolutionaries. The evidence is there for other places, so why so impossible in Cuba? what am i not seeing, from your view?

    Many other countries experience oppression, and as I have got older and less materialistic and selfish, and more interest in charity- I read amnesty internation, a non government human rights charity. I became more interested in helping the world instead of just myself, and this is why I am writing here now. So concluding, anyone can feel oppressed, anywhere. They had the Arab springs in Arabia, which is display of systematic oppression. There are concentration camps in north Korea which can be seen from satellite, people have escaped and told their horrific stories. ‘wild swans’ is a book about a woman who experienced Chinese oppression through the cultural revolution. So if oppression is world wide, why cannot Cuba be oppressed also? Why cannot people want change? Not everyone will feel oppression or even know it exists if they see nothing else.

    Hopefully this post was not too long or useless, and may allow for some debate


  5. Castro courtship of African American leadership has been for political gain. His intervention in Africa was based on geopolitical calculations to serve the interests of the Soviet Union and prop his regime. He saw the plight of Africans as an opportunity to be seized to advance his own interests.

    A number of Cuban blacks made it to positions of great political power during the democratic era. Batista, Cuba military leader, President and strongman, was of mix race, white (Spaniar) and Taino Indian. During his leadership a large number of the army officers were black and mulattos. The black population was proud of Batista mix ancestry. Under the Castros’ military dictatorship blacks and mulattos, that comprised 36% of the population, hold only six seats in the 24-member Politburo, and only 15 blacks hold seats in the 150-member Central Committee. Only three backs are among the 52 most senior members of the regime government. Castro brothers’ military leadership has practically no blacks in its ranks, where 95% of high ranking senior officers are white.

  6. Post 76, a few very interesting points:

    1. Don’t you find it funny that you visited Cuba so many years ago and did not see any oppression you read about here (mostly stupidities and lies written by the usanian terrorist agents)? And even your tour guide talked about the problems in Cuba to foreigners. If you were to believe the team “yoani” lies and propaganda, the tour guide would have been soiling his/her pants just by thinking of telling something, yet yours actually TALKED about problems at the time of your visit.

    This from you:”I am sad that when I was younger and I went to Cuba that we did not know of the restriction people had, our tour guide told us of some problems”

    2. Your other question:

    “We were told by the tour company (not the tour guide cubano) that we had to buy everything legitimate from the state owned shops as everything else is fake and you cannot leave the country with fakes and without goberment stamps on the things – is this true? Are the tour companies stopping people from contributing to the common person?”

    I suggest you travel again and SEE for YOURSELF how many people are selling souvenirs, just like in any tourist destination, and you CAN bring them out with you out of CUBA.

    Rather than naively believing the nonsense so deliberately presented on this site, I suggest you go there and make your own conclusions.

    You will be surprised and you will see that the real CUBA is somewhat different to Cuba these fifth column and traitors of their own country (it runs in the genes) are trying to make you think is real.

  7. Yeah, let us see how blacks fare under Castros:

    Let us talk about a country full of those hated (according to the pioneers of this support brigade to the failed “democracy fighters”, the team “yoani”), niggers.


    You, “freedom fighters” and “humanists” to no end have already even forgotten about it.

    Too busy talking stupidities and total nonsense about a foreign country, called Cuba, that you have no right to speak about. Or against.

    See, Haiti was facing pandemonium with cholera only a few months ago.

    And what did the “charity” organisations do in the wake of a possible epidemy?

    They just about all LEFT the country and left the people of Haiti to their own devices.

    The only doctors, who were there well before the earthquake, the CUBAN doctors!!! remained on the island.

    And it is exclusively thanks to these CUBAN doctors that the epidemy of cholera was prevented and another massive human disaster averted.

    So much about Cubans hating those “niggers”.

    The only haters here are those losers whose loser status seems to be gentically transmitted from parents to children.

    These real losers then find a Marx-forgotten “blog” page like this one and spill their venom, and loser shift, to their hearts content.

    Being losers they do not understand that it is in vain.

    Once a loser, ALWAYS a loser.

    That is why they are now foreigners and live in a country that keeps them alive because, let’s face it, someone has to clean the sewage, swipe the streets, baby sit and waiter in restaurants…

    More than that one simply cannot get out of those empty losers’ heads who look at you and see a white “god”.

    It is quite uncomfortable telling another human being, “Stop licking my feet, you stupid…”

  8. How blacks have fared under Castro? Cuban blacks, along with the rest of the Cubans, do not have the right to their own opinion if it runs contrary to the Castros regime line. The treatment in prison for the black are harsh, but even worse for those who voice their opinions against the regime. The truth is that the existence of black dissidents is a slap in the face for the Castros regime, and that is the reason they treat them even worse that other dissidents.

  9. Fresita! Thanks for you story and concern! I usually get asked to bring small flash drives and blank DVDs! You can put many books in a PDF format and videos etc in these flash drives and the Cubans there will do the rest via the underground networks. There are ways for this information to be passed around even if selected pages.

  10. Fresita,

    I can only tell you what happened to me and people I know. I suggest you contact people in the Cuban community in America and ask their advice. Maybe Humberto can give you some contacts.

    Here’s my opinion. The stuff you left for the cleaners probably went to good use. People will either use, trade, share or sell almost everything you leave. The only thing is the stuff maybe didn’t get to the cleaner, someone else in the hotel could have stolen it. I put everything right into the hands of the cleaner, and in private where her boss won’t demand a cut. If you’re leaving bigger things like clothes, not money, make sure you wait for the cleaner and show it to her in your room. You can just explain that you didn’t want anyone stealing it.

    Don’t worry about the tour companies. These days you can always leave their company, make friends with ordinary people and help someone in need. The person who told you that story might have been ignorant or just trying to con you. Almost nobody who works for a tour company will be honest, there are exceptions these days though. But they usually have to get to know you first.

    The only problem we’ve had with books is when we brought in a lot. In the past they sometimes spent an hour browsing every page of every book, looking for something subversive. If you bring in subversive stuff, like 1984, just put it in your handbag and make it look like it’s for you, although you’re safer bringing in more politically correct material.

    And like I said, don’t believe anyone. It can take time before someone will tell you how they feel. Especially people who have good jobs or are connected to the communist party. I’m not kidding, some people who you think are hard-core communists and always go to hear Fidel or Raul speak really hate communism and Castro. Just a type of prostitution, the only job available after 59.

    I suggest you go down with nothing in mind, walk around a lot and make friends, and if you want you can walk into a few churches and ask how you can help the poor. The only source of income for almost all Cubans is 1) their families outside of Cuba 2) tourists 3) the black market. If they don’t have one of those, they risk starvation.

    Thanks for wanting to help.

  11. Helo

    Firstly, thank you to Yoani for this great blog. I did not know of it before, and I was watching a television channel, which houses a lot of independent documentaries and there was one on Cuba, where you were discussed amongst other things about hidden Cuba. I am so glad for the education, and I will look at other blogs now.

    I have two questions: Firstly, I have seen the list of ‘help’ on how people can help, donating money and more. Is this tracked by ayuntamiento, and can there be problems from this because of identity? I would like to have send things to Cuba, but I know no person and no address – so it would be that money would be the only way?

    Secondly, I was a tourist in Santa Clara many years ago when I was a lot younger, I also went to Trinidad, Habana and many other places on my tour. Do Cubans think that tourism should be boycott to tell the regime that responsible tourist will not go, or will this cause more harm as tourist provide tips/propinas to the persons?

    I am sad that when I was younger and I went to Cuba that we did not know of the restriction people had, our tour guide told us of some problems, nothing direct but obviously now I am older I see that there was issue to tell us of what was really happen. We left all of our non essential items for the cleaners at our hotel, we were hoping that they make use of them, maybe now this was not the case. We were told by the tour company (not the tour guide cubano) that we had to buy everything legitimate from the state owned shops as everything else is fake and you cannot leave the country with fakes and without goberment stamps on the things – is this true? Are the tour companies stopping people from contributing to the common person?

    Another question, now that I am writing. I am a fan of bookcrossing.com, it is a way to spread books for free. Should tourist bring their books and leave them in Cuba? Would this help to bring and leave books from other places, if to bring electricals get taken from them as books are not likely to be check at airport?

    Another scheme i like is stuff your rucksack, taking things like pencils to local orfanages so that they have things to work with. is there anything else like this in cuba?

    Hopefully this was not too disjointed and it makes sense to someone.

    Abrazos xxx

  12. I hope when Iran starts nuking people, Damir is there. Last words from Damir will be: “please God, I take it all back”

  13. Castros don’t need to tell to Cubans nothing about the usa. Cubans are intelligent enough to see through the glitzy-rosy paper and realise that the presents do not exist. Only a lot of shift. And with the usa now ramping up the attack on Iran, when only the last week they were “complaining” about Israel’s recalcitrance and hrad-headed approach to Iran, it is clear that the pretext is being made for the fsailed nazist dictatorship to revive its’ only profitable industry – weapons of mass destruction,

    I suggest we nuke the usa an have them see how does it look and feel being attacked simply because “we don’t like you” shifty attitude.

    Who reckons they wouldn’t like being bombed into the oblivion?

    Luckilly, no one cares what the usanians would think about being dusted up. Nazists are irrelevant and should be destroyed at sight. Start with all the surviving ex-“presidents”, and the finish off the job with whatever is left standing.

    And finally there will be some peace on this sad little planet where criminals talk “democracy” and “freedom” while killing people who have done nothing against them.

  14. Castros’ regime has told the people of Cuba for 52 years, that the United States is a racist government. What are they going to tell them now? They were tricked 52 years ago, only to find out that all the promises of a better tomorrow were just that, promises, empty promises that he never intended to keep. The majority of casualties in foreign wars ware black Cubans, and 80% of prisoners are black Cubans. The Castro brothers’ regime will not be able to use the race card again.

  15. Damir
    Noviembre 12th, 2011 at 11:04
    And let me remind all readers, no matter how few there are, of the post by the copy and paste genius, who also contradicts herself on a daily basis, that she not so long ago posted an interview with a Cuban pensioner who had RETURNED to CUBA after 340 years of slavery in “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”, and said that
    “The life in Cuba is G O O D !!!!”

    She returned to Cuba after 340 years in the United States? She lived a very long life, we must be doing something right.

  16. An instance where one person said that life in Cuba was good means that everyone thinks that life in Cuba is good? Wow, you must have graduated from the school of pretzel logic. Find another quote, please, you’ve rolled out that same old tired quote ad nauseum.

  17. And let me remind all readers, no matter how few there are, of the post by the copy and paste genius, who also contradicts herself on a daily basis, that she not so long ago posted an interview with a Cuban pensioner who had RETURNED to CUBA after 340 years of slavery in “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”, and said that

    “The life in Cuba is G O O D !!!!”
    The censors of this web site only removed the incriminating interview excerpts after DAMIR pointed it out and made them all, both the team “yoani” and the copy and paste “genius” the laughing stock of internet.

    It may not be widely known but the joke on those losers and traitors was raging in various forums around the internet.

    Some are still calling the culprits the names I cannot repeat here, not being “one of the boys” and will have the post deleted immediately if I did.

    Unlike those brain-deprived “democracy-fighters” with democracy credibility in the vicinity of -100%…

  18. And the post 65, merely another one in a long line of self-delusional self-censure…

    Talking about racism against ALL Cubans…

    How on earth is that a racism, if both white and black Cubans are subjected to it?

    It is sort of self-explanatory, but let us see if I can make the poor brainless “genius” understand the size of his/her eh… shall we call it error…?

    Racism is negative treatment of one distinct group of people against the other distinct group of people. The distinction is by definition dependant of the colour of the skin, as the colour of the skin is the most visible racial ID.

    It can also be a religion or ethnicity- based.

    But, if all groups of people are subjected to the same treatment, then it is not racism we can talk about. It is discrimination.

    Funny thing is, the only people who do not understand these fundamental, and very simple, definitions are the biggest whinners in the world: cuban traitors and fifth column…

    The good news for these low life forms is that their white “gods” have a sympathetic ears for those cries and whinnings.

    I guess, cretens of all colours unite and find each other no matter where they are.

    They can smell the shift at extremely large distance and recognise each other in the masses instantly…

  19. Oh, and did I mention how great is to be back in “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”? The country is falling apart, the prime minister finally leaving because his own party disowned him and turned against him, the economy in shatters and the whole EU walking on the brink of disintegration.

    All the while the “leaders” of the free imperialist world (that’ll be the beloved “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”) on the other side of the Atlantic drowning in their own excrement while still pretending all is well because there’s China to come to the rescue.

    But, and please someone correct me ifg I am wrong, is not China a communist country?

    Yet the “best system ever since the potato peeler was invented, the “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”, is on its knees and begging commies to save them from their paradisiac system and the complete collapse…

    Talking about absolute hypocrites.

    Why not asking “god” to save their arses? The “in god they trust” one… Secular democracies that they are… exemplars of tolerance and friendliness (see Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Jugoslavia, Iceland, South America, Grenades, etc.etc.)


  20. Another creten posting her/his lunch freshly fished out from the sewage of white “gods”:

    “The stupidity of the following statements is astounding:

    “Secondly, this post AGAIN DEMONSTRATES the size of self-delusion and size of their lies!
    If they were correct, then Cubans are massively pro=team “yoani” and other similar dissidents.
    Once they were on the waves, the boat skipper would simply ignore them speaking Cuban Spanish, wouldn’t he? They would be all one big dissident family!!!”

    Show me where Yoani has EVER claimed that every single Cuban agrees with her.”

    No one ever said that.

    Do you try to reason with a creten, or do you let this stupidity go because a creten simply cannot fathom the simple facts?

    Smart people will know the difference so I choose to let these stupid and immesurably funny comments go… They speak for themselves (not to mention their authors…).

    And make all those “millions” of visitors laugh histerically.

  21. Castro declared to the world that he had abolished racism in Cuba. Those who said the contrary were simply denigrating the revolution and were labeled “agents of American imperialism.” By denying the existence of racism in Cuba for 52 years, the regime guaranteed a safe haven for the perpetuation and growth of a rampant racism in Cuba. Cuban society continues to be today a profoundly racist society.

  22. It is time for the world to know how blacks are treated in Cuba, how everyday their rights are violated. They are constantly followed and provoke by the police, who throw them in jail for any minor charge they can think off. Castro brothers’ totalitarian regime squelches all human rights in the island. Racism remain widespread under their regime.

  23. pamela, it’s too bad your posts always show up late and Dumbir’s always show up quickly. You know, the 14,265,327 posts where he claims he’s censored and can’t post to this site.

    Back to the subject here… the discrimination against Cubans goes way beyond racism. The main reason blacks are turned away from hotels more than whites is that whites are more likely to pass for European or American tourists. Many of the doormen doing the turning away are black. In the past, many of our white friends have been able to come into our hotel when management thought they were tourists, but the minute they opened their mouths the troubles began and they were blacklisted. At the same time, some black friends didn’t have problems because they knew the right people at the hotel.

    So while racism is definitely a problem in Cuba, the problem that Yoani writes about is the discrimination that ALL Cubans suffer at the hands of the communist mafia nobility.

  24. when i saw castro gave that guy death for stealing the boat to come to america i was shock i never thought he was that hard core that sick i did not keep up with it thou he probly is dead wet foot dry foot law must change people are dieing out there but still they will still come they are other country out there too plus its hell viva humanity

  25. when i saw castro gave that guy death for stealing the boat to come to america i was shock i never thought he was that hard core that sick i did not keep up with it thou he probly is dead wet foot dry foot law must change people are dieing out there but still they will still come they are other country out there too plus its hell viva humanity


    NBC MIAMI: 3 Cubans Wash Ashore in Miami, 4 Missing After Boat Sinks -Group left Havana on wooden boat Wednesday, reach Miami a day later

    Three Cuban refugees made it ashore and four others were missing after their boat sank off Miami Beach Thursday morning, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.

    According to the Coast Guard, the three survivors — 46-year-old Osmany Cala, 44-year-old Leonel Caea, and 31-year-old Larizat Perez — had left Havana around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday with four others on a 15-20 foot wooden boat with an outboard motor.

    When the boat began to sink, the group split into two, clinging to innertubes.

    Cala, Caea and Perez arrived at the Tropical Food Market at 1025 Northeast 79th Street around 5:30 a.m., where owner Ruben Lopez gave them food and towels to warm them up.

    The four others, three men and one woman, were still missing late Thursday morning and the Coast Guard had initiated a sea and air search for them, officials said.

    The three who made it were taken by U.S. Border Patrol for processing.

    Lopez told an NBC Miami reporter in Spanish she’d come to the U.S. because she “wanted a better life” and that “things were ugly in Cuba.”



    THE ECONOMIST: Business in Cuba, A risky venture- Arrests of foreign businessmen reflect the cautious pace of reform

    STANDING beside Belarusian tractors and Chinese machine parts at Havana’s annual trade fair last month, Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuba’s foreign trade minister, said the presence of 3,000 executives from over 60 countries proved the appeal of joint commercial ventures with the Cuban government. Many in the audience saw the speech as an attempt at reassurance. Since July Cuba has arrested several foreign managers, and closed three such ventures.

    Most recently, on October 11th, Amado Fakhre, a British citizen and the head of Coral Capital, an investment fund, was woken at dawn and taken for questioning by state security agents. He has been held without charge ever since. His company owns Havana’s poshest hotel in partnership with the government, and hoped to win a $400m contract to build homes around a golf course. Its Havana office has been closed and declared a crime scene.

    Two Canadian executives, Sarkis Yacoubian and Cy Tokmakjian, have met a similar fate. Their questioning has gone on for months, again without charge. Their companies imported cars (including the president’s fleet of BMWs) and machine parts destined for nickel mining.Cuba’s official media have not published details of the cases. But rumours of the allegations—which range from overpaying local staff to offering kickbacks for contracts—highlight the difficulties for foreign investors posed by President Raúl Castro’s incremental approach to reform.

    After the fall of the Soviet Union, Mr Castro’s brother and predecessor, Fidel, decided that Cuba had to court foreign investment to survive. Hundreds of companies, mostly from Europe and Canada, soon began investing in oil, mining and hotel construction. However, the government never set up tender contests to pick its corporate partners, encouraging corruption. It also required firms to hire workers through a state employment agency that paid meagre salaries, and to restrict any perks—even extra-tasty lunches in staff canteens.

    As public finances deteriorated, the government cut distributions of subsidised food. Meanwhile, prices for items like soap and petrol have soared. State salaries of $20 a month can no longer cover basic expenses. Cubans fill the gap by trading on the black market, receiving foreign remittances or stealing from state firms.

    Raúl Castro is trying to be bolder than his brother. To shrink the public payroll, he has legalised self-employment in over 180 professions. Last month he authorised Cubans to buy and sell homes and cars. Perhaps because some of these steps are controversial, he is also cracking down on corruption, which the cash-strapped state can no longer afford to fund. Gladys Bejerano, the comptroller-general, has had dozens of employees in the sugar, mining, telecom and tobacco industries jailed for graft.

    Yet for now, Mr Castro still considers letting foreign firms pay market wages a step too far. That has forced companies to break the law—and run afoul of his newfound efforts to enforce it. “My people help run a business which brings in millions of dollars to Cuba,” says one European businessman, who pays bonuses to his entire local staff under the table. “I need to pay them a monthly salary which is rather more than the price of a taxi ride home.”




    VATICAN CITY—Pope Benedict XVI is looking into visiting Cuba and Mexico next spring and will make a final decision shortly, the Vatican said Thursday.
    The announcement marks the first word from the Vatican of a possible foreign trip for the pontiff next year, and signals that despite his age — he turns 85 in April — and increasing frailty, Benedict still intends to travel far to meet the world’s Catholics.

    In recent days, the Vatican asked its papal envoys in Cuba and Mexico to inform religious and political authorities that Benedict is studying a “concrete project” to visit the two countries, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

    Lombardi said a visit by Benedict to Cuba would offer “great encouragement” to the island’s faithful, particularly as they celebrate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the image of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint.


  29. Castro brothers’ regime continued to exclude Cuban blacks from tourist-related industries, where they can earn hard currency. They are frequently excluded from jobs and responsible positions that require contact with tourists. They live in inadequate housing. Racism is alive and well in the workers’ paradise.


    JEWISH TELEGRAPHIC AGENCY: Gross’ wife, Judy, in an address Tuesday to the 2011 General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America in Denver, made a plea for his freedom. Here is her GA speech.

    Nearly two years ago, on the night of Dec. 3, 2009, the Shabbat table was set. In a half hour, Alan would be walking through the door, putting on his kippah and saying the motzi. When a half hour passed, I thought that his flight must be delayed. I checked and was a bit startled to find that the flight had landed on time. I began to have a sinking feeling.
    After a few phone calls, I learned that Alan had not made it onto the flight. I knew then that something was very wrong. I learned later that night that Alan had been arrested, the charges unknown, and he was in a maximum security prison. This was the beginning of almost two years of incredible suffering for Alan, our family, and our friends.

    Most of you don’t know Alan, so I’d like to say a few words about him. Above all he is a humanitarian. He has devoted his life to helping others. He has worked in over 50 countries with one goal: to improve the quality of life of the disadvantaged. Alan is also passionate about the Jewish community, both here and abroad. He worked for both the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization and the federation in Washington, and he has always been active in our congregation.

    It is the combination of these qualities that brought Alan to the Jewish community in Cuba. He wanted to do what he always does: help his fellow Jews. The Jewish community in Cuba is small and spread out, and it is difficult for them to communicate with one another and with the rest of the world. Alan jumped at the chance to be able to help to improve their ability to connect and share. He helped them to better access the Internet so they could download prayer books and communicate with Jews around the world. He tried to help them create an “intranet” to bring the community closer together, allowing them to share things like recipes, prayers and even sports scores. This is what he was doing in Cuba. Nothing more.

    Believe it or not, one of the most touching aspects of his work in Cuba came through during Alan’s brief trial in Havana. The Cuban government called several witnesses from the Jewish community to testify about Alan. I’ll never forget one man’s testimony. He was an older gentleman; he had trouble getting up to the witness stand. When the prosecutor asked him what Alan showed him on the Internet, he became emotional.

    “We saw the world!” he cried out. He explained that Alan had used the Internet to show them places they had never seen before — pictures of the Western Wall in Jerusalem and the city of London.

    And it is because of this humanitarian work that Alan is sitting in a jail cell today. That Alan has been convicted of crimes against the state of Cuba — and that he has been sentenced to 15 years in prison — for helping the Jewish community share prayers and look at images of Jerusalem is beyond any sense of reason. It is inhumane and it is unjust. Alan’s only intention was to help the small Jewish communities in Cuba. Nothing more. I believe that the Cuban authorities know this. They were at the same trial that I was; they heard the same testimony that I heard.

    You may know about the health challenges we have faced in the family since Alan has been imprisoned. Both my daughters are suffering terribly from the thought that they may not see their father again. One of them has been diagnosed with — and is now battling — breast cancer, without her father by her side. Alan’s mother, who is also fighting cancer, is heartbroken that she may never see her son again. And of course there is Alan. He has lost more than 100 pounds. He is not well, and he is suffering every day, mentally, physically and spiritually.

    Alan and we are desperate for him to return home. On the eve of the two-year anniversary of his arrest and incarceration, we want our community, our country and the world to remember that Alan Gross needs to be released from Cuba. We ask you to please join us in this effort. Contact your members of Congress and tell them to take action on Alan’s behalf. Tell everyone you know about Alan. Write letters to your newspapers. Let the Cuban government know that the Jewish community wants Alan home.

    On behalf of Alan and our family, I want to thank all of you for your concern and your anticipated help. Thank you.

    (This address by Judy Gross, the wife of Alan Gross, was presented Tuesday to the 2011 General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America in Denver.)



    “…a crackdown on corruption that has given Cuba’s international business community the jitters will continue and warned that no one was immune from prosecution.”

    REUTERS: Cuban official says corruption crackdown to go on – by Nelson Acosta; Writing by Jeff Franks; Editing by Kevin Gray and Anthony Boadle)
    – Cuba’s top law enforcement official said Wednesday a crackdown on corruption that has given Cuba’s international business community the jitters will continue and warned that no one was immune from prosecution.

    Attorney General Dario Delgado, speaking at a conference on corruption, said the anti-corruption drive now underway in Cuba is “systematic, permanent” and necessary to strengthen the communist country’s economy.

    “We will continue fighting until exhaustion, mercilessly, against all manifestations of corruption in the country, committed by foreigners or nationals,” he said.

    The crackdown began when President Raul Castro succeeded older brother Fidel Castro at the country’s helm in 2008 and said widespread theft and graft had to be eliminated because it contributed to the Caribbean island’s chronic economic woes.

    It coincided with reforms to strengthen Cuba’s socialist system. Dozens of Cubans have been jailed, including former government officials and top executives of state companies.

    In recent months, executives of two Canadian trading companies and a British investment firm have been detained while investigators probe their finances, diplomatic and business sources said.

    Last year, a Cuban joint venture with a Chilean firm was shut down and its Chilean executive Max Marambio sentenced in absentia to a long prison term for graft. Marambio, once a close friend of Fidel Castro’s, stayed in Chile and denied the charges.

    The legal actions have created unease among foreign businessmen, many of whom say they fear being unjustly accused of illicit acts. Those worries discourage foreign investment in Cuba at a time when the island needs it, they said.

    Delgado, speaking to reporters after his speech, said the government had no problem with foreign businesses nor had the foreigners complained about the crackdown.

    “They have understood that (corruption) has to be eliminated. It is a very noxious practice,” he said.

    “We will never stop defending the flags of honesty and dignity. It is our duty,” Delgado said.


  32. mister bait you cuban spy the syria story got your communist blood broiling i am going to use a big revolution weapon from the story we’d rather die than live like this viva fascist sucks

  33. mister bait you cuban spy the syria story got your communist blood broiling i am going to use a big revolution weapon from the story we’d rather die than live like this viva fascist sucks

  34. mister bait you cuban spy the syria story got your communist blood broiling i am going to use some big revolution weapon from the story we’d rather die than live like this viva mouth revolution

  35. mister bait you cuban spy the syria story got your communist blood broiling i am going to use some big revolution weapon from the story we’d rather die than live like this viva mouth revolution


    YOUTUBE VIDEOS: ALJAZEERA – The Stream speaks to Yoani Sanchez- She responds to the following questions in a series of Youtube Videos.

    What’s the effect of the Arab Spring on reporting in Cuba?

    How has the Cuban government responded to the Arab Spring?

    What are the rules for international and local journalists in Cuba and how do these rules affect them?

    What’s the sentiment on the ground after the death of Cuban activist and founder of the “Ladies in White” Laura Pollan?


  37. I know it’s not the issue here but I just have hear about what mariela Castro is now saying about what she said for Radio Holland, what? is she an university graduate from Psyclogy and Sexology???? I have serious doubts, she doesn’t speak Spanish? or only the Italian learned at bed?, she was clear and evidently cynical and also derogatorial about prostitution and cuban women, how she dare? They (the Castro clan) are so arrogant that give me nausea. Better if she begins to think about what she’s going to do (or to talk about) when at last the regimen falls, or that is a problem already fix?
    Of course Yoanny, there is apartheid, they think are better than common cuban people, their slaves for whom almost all is forbidden unless that the performing gets them dollars for their personal accounts, it’s a real shame, are there even one in the world who defends that system? Shame on them

  38. viva stupidity is a fake and a coward hide behind no name viva mouth revolution hahaha i got a web name viva viva viva

  39. viva stupidity is a fake and a coward hide behind no name viva mouth revolution hahaha i got a web name viva viva viva


    YOUTUBE : CUBAN Documentary – “Wishes on a Falling Star”- Wishes on a Falling Star – feature length documentary- by Paolo Cellammare, Jacopo Cecconi, Giammarco Sicuro- Featuring Yoani Sanchez

    Cuba, in the 50th year of the Revolution: While the Castro brothers face their certain end, an uncertain future hangs over the island. Some people are afraid, many cannot wait, but all shudder and hope that the changes will be positive.This documentary leads the audience through the discovery of this hope, through a tourist’s camera which looks to be turned off and oblivious to the conversation at hand, yet is focused on candidly capturing each person’s wishes.
    There is the old guerrillero who took part in the revolution, the lady who met Che Guevara and lives thanks to the government social card, and also the young boys and girls — those who wish to make a career within the rules, as well as those who only try to escape abroad.
    Clandestine underground shops, businessmen experienced in all things illegal, dodgy pimps, mothers who force their daughters into selling their bodies — the hidden face of the State which welcomes tourists into its luxury resorts is openly displayed beyond censorship’s control.
    One special guide is Yoani Sanchez, the independent blogger, a leader of the new, peaceful revolution — the revolution of ideas. The internet is its main instrument, while the government attempts to limit computer use with any means possible in a pushing and pulling of ideals. In the interview, recorded in a secret location, the young writer speaks about her country’s ruin, and where Raul’s reforms have no effect on everyday life.
    Castro’s supporters and dissidents, young and old — none deceive themselves that the star of the revolution will shine on for much longer. And this is what this project focuses on: the wishes on a falling star.


  41. Las Damas De Blanco are leading the way to changes. They have been able to stir the pot and call attention to the abusive dictatorship. All those who support them are known DAMAS DE APOYO. We all need to show our support and help them with resources so that they can continue. Yoani is also a BRIGHT STAR in CUBAS FUTURE. Fidel and his Mafia are fading out and will not last forever, so change is eminent.

  42. nobody reads my stupid posts but i have to keep on posting them because i need the attention

  43. english please pbs frontline has under cover reporting in syria is cuba like this

  44. english please pbs frontline has under cover reporting in syria is cuba like this

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