It’s Not The Same Water

My small end-of-year tribute to the commentators

Water* falls from the balconies. It’s midnight and sonorous waterfalls spill from the windows and doors that give on to the street and terraces. It is the overflowing liquid of a slow scrubbing, the residue of a national bath taken under tossed buckets and without soap. The body of the country badly washed, with filth here and frustrations there, smelling of sweat but still with the coquetry of talcum-powdered armpits, perfume over the stench, an elegant handkerchief wiping the forehead. If that torrent of midnight could talk, if instead of ending up on the asphalt and the on-lookers it could say something. It would be a scream, a death rattle. Water has been a permanent feature of every New Year’s Eve, the most constant. When there was no pork, no tomatoes, when even a pound of rice cost half a month’s salary, we still had this elemental and complex liquid to get rid of the anger, the frustration, the fear. Parents spread the food out on the plate to make it look like more, but when the time came to take a bucket and throw its content into the darkness, no one skimped. It was full, overflowing, like our monotony.

A few days ago on TV a white-coated scientist explained that water has memory, it carries the impressions and traces of where it has been. Thus, the streams that run every Saint Sylvester Night* by our facades give us away. If we put them under the scrutiny of a microscope that would reveal particles in the shapes of paddles and rafts, molecules that have adopted the profile of a mask, of a red card that some prefer to hide in the back of a dresser drawer. It carries our morning grimace, the sound of our knuckles in the washtub, the bubbling of water boiled for tea. Every drop of this substance is the most complete report that can be written about us today. The journey through the plumbing, the oxidation and holes of some; the new ones of plastic and teflon. The faucet that turns on with a single touch and another fixed with wire so it won’t drip all night. And, later, falling on the warped metal plates of many, or aerated by pressure above the pristine dinner service in some house in Atabey.

The child is bathed in a basin because the suds must then be used to clean the floor, and the bent-backed retiree drags a water cart from the hydrant to the shack where he lives. The jacuzzi jets in some hotel, the stillness of of the blue waves of one of those swimming pools that can only be seen on Google Earth, so hidden are they behind the hibiscus hedges and watchdogs of certain residences. It is not the same water. Evaporating in a pool from which a stray dog might drink, making a wet spot on a roof that won’t last another year before it falls in. That making concentric circles caused by the voice of the interrogator in some cell in Villa Marista.** “Do you want a drink? Are you thirsty?” A question and the prisoner knows that a sip of “that” might make him sing like a canary, or give him a crushing pain in the chest. But there is also another, cold with ice that we are offered on entering the home of a friend. The newcomer wants to know if it is boiled so as not to be left with amoeba that will remain for years, but prefers the risk to showing his distrust. Water with honey and egg white that dampens our feet in any doorway in Reina Street, because the “bad” must be thrown out, to put little footprints or droplets in the street is all the same.

And then, in unison, without being advised or ordered by anyone, we take a pot, a bucket, and wait until the clock strikes twelve. Our most reliable and free ritual of every year, the baptism with which we try to make this island ready for the twelve new months that lie ahead. But the water doesn’t reach far enough, it is not enough to cleanse and expel the accumulated waste. Purification is far from complete. We have to repeat it every December 31st, eager to empty the contents of our containers at the exact second of the new day. The pools down below continue to reveal us, the torrent speaks and in these diminutive atoms of hydrogen and oxygen we leave the mark of our desires. The most complete account of our aspirations will disappear in the morning, dried up by nothing more than the rising sun.

Translator’s notes:

*It is a Cuban tradition to throw a bucket of water out the door at midnight on New Year’s Eve to wash away all the bad things of the year that is ending. New Year’s Eve is Saint Sylvester Night in Cuba and other countries with a Catholic tradition.

**Villa Marista: Headquarters of Cuba’s security services/political police.


37 thoughts on “It’s Not The Same Water

  1. #35/36 – what are your traditions in your respective countries – are they wasteful also, in your view?

    #35 Cuba libre

    There are many peoples who, despite living conditions in different parts of the world, still do things that may not help them really, but they do it. Like spending lot of money at christmas or festivities but not having enough money for january or other times. Is tradition, no? Do you waste food sometimes on a normal day, not eat a full meal and then bin the rest – could a third world use this?


    Damir, just because yoani tells a experience of a tradition does not mean that she does not think that throwing water is wasteful – we have no trace of opinion of it here in this article. It is a description of what happens, not a debate on ecological and sustainable standpoint.

  2. Excellent point Cuba Libre. The thing is, not even the team “yoani”realise that simple truth.

  3. seems like everyone has strayed from Yoani`s post as usual and everyone has gotten carried away as usual. What it all comes down to is, at least in Cuba they have the bucket of water to throw out on New Year`s Eve. Ther are many third world countries who would put that bucket of water to better use like making their familes drink some water to survive another day.


    THE CHINA POST: Cuba not ready for ‘Arab Spring’: dissident blogger

    LIMA — Conditions in Cuba are not necessarily ripe for an Arab Spring-style revolt in the Americas’ only communist-ruled country, dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez said in an interview Monday.

    “I do hope that someday (Cubans) stop running away, and start resisting from within,” the award-winning blogger told Peru’s El Comercio newspaper.

    But in terms of using social media to organize rallies, she said: “I don’t think we are there yet. But I guess we could be surprised and it could start tomorrow.”

    “Unlike in North African countries, the ability to use social media in Cuba to organize (protests) or get together over social networks is minimal,” she explained.

    “Cellular phones are subject to a state monopoly with very high rates. So the idea of using a BlackBerry or iPhone to send messages like ‘Let’s occupy Revolution Square tomorrow,’ right now just is not there.”

    Most Cubans make less than US$20 a month and have limited access to a censored Internet.

    “Besides, people are very afraid,” said Sanchez, who in 2011 made Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

    Sanchez’s blog in 2008 won the Ortega y Gasset prize awarded by the Madrid daily El Pais for online journalism.

    The same year, Time magazine picked her as one of the world’s most influential people. CNN has called her blog one of the top 25 in the world.

    A revolt in Tunisia that toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali last year ignited protests across North Africa and the Middle East, leading to the fall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

    Many of the so-called “Arab Spring” demonstrations were fueled by new technologies and social media.


    IN SANTIAGO DE CUBA: Algunos opositores santiagueros se manifiestan en calles del reparto Vista Hermosa, en la ciudad oriental de Cuba. Estas pequeñas muestras de descontento popular y de perdida del miedo por un sector de la población están ocurriendo constantemente a lo largo y ancho de la isla. Estos valientes hombres y mujeres necesitan de tu solidaridad para ponerle fin a la dictadura más larga de américa, la de los hermanos Castro, Fidel y Raúl Castro. ¡NO LOS DEJES SOLOS!

    Some opponents from Santiago de Cuba manifested in the streets in the neighborhood of Vista Hermosa, in this eastern city of Cuba. These small samples of popular discontent and loss of fear by the population are constantly occurring throughout the island. These brave men and women need your solidarity to end the longest dictatorship in america, the Castro brothers, Fidel and Raul Castro. DO NOT LEAVE ALONE!

  6. Tom(ei)to, Tomato.

    Ans just because, some Ruben Blades:
    “A donde van los desaparecidos
    busca en agua y en los matorrales
    y por que es que se desaparecen
    por que no todos somos iguales
    y cuando vuelve el desaparacido
    cada ves que lo trae el pensamiento
    como se le habla al desaparecido
    con la emocion apretando por dentro.”

  7. Thats fine dude, ill change it to adapt to your observations:

    Funny coming from someone who supports a SYSTEM whose first slogan was “Paredon!, Paredon!”.

    But, im sure you will give us an argument trying to explain how that was warranted.

  8. Simba Sez: Damir, If I have this right then you are telling anyone who cares to listen that Castros are not good little dictators. Their dictator system is good, but you don’t like it because you’re not the dictator. Your example of Henry Ford versus the stockholders in his company sounds much like Cuba as it is today. The stockholders being the same as the head of the Cuban government. They want it all and the average Cuban gets as little as possible to survive on. Oh what a wonderful state of affairs this is! A good system? Hardly! At least I finally understand what it is you like about the Cuban government. It’s the system you like no matter how corrupt it may be.

  9. Wait, hold on, I’m drying my eyes from all of the profound quotes and pearls of wisdom from Damir’s last rant. And he accuses Humberto of being “copy and paste.”

  10. Ok, let me rephrase that:

    Funny coming from someone who supports a SYSTEM whose first slogan was “Paredon!, Paredon!”; and who currently hurts and penalizes individuals who think different than itself.
    But, im sure you will give us an argument trying to explain how that was warranted.

    Better? Oh and, you dont know what I support and dont support, you also dont know how intelligent I am, or am not. Please, deja de hablar tanta mierda.

  11. Ignorance is my greatest enemy. And the ignorance by the pioneers of the support brigade is scary…

    Damir does NOT support the regime. Get that in your thick and empty skulls.

    Damir is OPPOSED to the change of the SYSTEM. And in particular a violent one, as is preferred by the team “yoani” who are happy to send their own children up in arms, but themselves are hiding one behind the other.

    Now, back to business of disintegrating the “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” ideology and delusions.

    In 2005 Larry M. Bartels of the Department of Politics and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, published the results of a very interesting study entitled:

    “Economic Inequality and Political Representation.”

    In this study Professor Bartels directly addressed the issue of representation in the Senate as a function of the economic status of the citizens presumed to be represented. The results demonstrated what most people who watch United States politics would guess: if you are of low economic status neither a Democrat or a Republican will represent your interests — at all. The situation improves as your economic status improves until citizens with obscenely high incomes enjoy very good representation indeed. Professor Bartels comments that:

    “These disparities [in representation] are especially troubling because they suggest the potential for a debilitating feedback cycle linking the economic and political realms: increasing economic inequality may produce increasing inequality in political responsiveness, which in turn produces public policies increasingly detrimental to the interests of poor citizens, which in turn produces even greater economic inequality, and so on.”

    That this is the systemic ideological tendency, a fundamental one at that, carmaker Ford has learned himself already back in 1919 when his stockholders sued him for sharing a small part of the profits with his workers.

    No, you can’t share the profit with the slaves was the scream. He had to repay the stockholders all the money he shared with the workers.

    This turned then into the law in order to prevent any “charitable” tendencies from any other conscious capitalist in the future.

    In 1919 Henry Ford was making more money than he needed, so he tried to be a nice guy and share his company’s profits with his workers. His stockholders objected. They felt that they deserved that money much more than the workers who actually produced the wealth, and sued him for his efforts. The stockholders won.

    The judge in this landmark case ruled that if Ford “wanted to pursue a
    [charitable end] he should do it with his own money, not with other people’s.”
    The principle forged into law by Dodge v. Ford continues today to force corporate management to maximize stockholder profits when they make expenditures. The law has been modified slightly since 1980 to allow for a somewhat more “social” flavor, but the legally enforced fiduciary responsibility of corporate management that Dodge v. Ford established in 1919 remains firmly in place.

    Excerpts are from the new book by William Bradford Cushman, PhD. His books can be found on

    When a doctor of science, someone who studies society out of professional and scientific interest exclusively, writes about the nazist and dictatorial nature of the usa and their “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”, it is time for slaves of the system to start paying attention.

    Or peril.

    Albert Einstein once observed that: “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

  12. Simba Sez: #21 Damir, The “Revolution” ended on January 1, 1959. That’s 53 years ago. Subsequent to that time Cuba has been under the thumb of a despicable despot who drove over a million of his fellow Cubans away from their homeland with his police and armed forces. Did he have the right to decide who he could chase out of the country? No, absolutely not. He had no right to chase anyone anywhere. He stole that right using might. As far as a chain of guilt, I don’t know what you are attempting to ramble on about. I’ve not seen any reports of violence coming from Cuba. Personally I can’t understand why there hasn’t been, but my opinion carries no weight in Havana. Arming a populace and maning the barricades is hardly an act of cowardice. Doing nothing at all, and knuckling under to an unelected dictator, is an act of cowardice.

  13. I guess I will never understand why you continually complain about thw way life is in Cuba. You complain of the lack of water, I visited several cities in Cuba like Matanzas, Moron, Caibaren, Santa Clara, Santiago, Varadero and others, and never have I witnessed any lack of water. You complain about lack of food, but never have I seen starving people anywhere I visited. You complain about sickness and disease, but nowhere in the world do they have competent doctors as in Cuba.
    Maybe you never read about, or seen documentaries about real third world countries. Maybe you never seen children in Ethiopia or Somalia with stomachs so swollen from lack of food and water. Maybe you never seen a woman in Ouganda breastfeeding a piglet before she breastfeeds her baby to make sure they will have some food in the future. You complai about not being able to wash and bathe as often as you would like, in Sierra Leone there is no bathing period. The only little amount of water they have is for survival only.
    It is easy to complain about our fates and the things we would like to have. Believe me, maybe if you looked at what`s going on elsewhere in the world you would count the everyday blessings that you have instead.

  14. As Gandhi said, “An ‘eye for an eye’ policy would left the whole world blind.”

    Funny coming from someone who supports a regime whose first slogan was “Paredon!, Paredon!”.

    But, im sure you will give us an argument trying to explain how that was warranted.

  15. As Gandhi said, “An ‘eye for an eye’ policy would left the whole world blind.”

  16. To add to my response to the post 14, Is it possible that the whole revolution is the reaction on Cuba’s interests in its’ own country that was given away by the then government to usa mafia?

    Surely you know what “usa interests” existed in Cuba under the real ruler Lucky Luciano.

    Don’t tell me that people did not have the right to decide who to chase away out of their own country, whether you like it today or not.

    And we could follow this chain of guilt all the way to Columbo’s arrival to today’s Cuba.

    What I am advocating is the breakage of that chain. What the traitors and hypocrites advocate is another round of violence, repeated just the other day in “Escape…” post, calling for an uprising of the next generation.

    Pushing their own children on the barricades with the guns in their hands is the ultimate and the most disgusting act of cowardice possible. It comes directly from the cia handbook. They did that with their own young when they send them to Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Warmongering criminals. Should be put in jail forever.

  17. Simba Sez: Damir, before I go to sleep let me advise you that Fidel Castro never seen the inside of Harvard, and it is doubtful about the outside. The information about the United States being Cuba’s fifth largest trading partner from 2001 – 2006 is absolutely taken from Cuban documentation. If it is brainwashed propaganda blame the Castro government. Remittances alone are in the billion dollar range. The only reason for the United States being in fifth place is that they demand cash, not buying on credit that will never be paid like the others. Have a nice night.

  18. John Two: yes, I remember that. I hope you were right. Wouldn’t it be something? So far nothing concrete that I know of.

  19. Hank #13. I pointed out two threads ago that F Castro hadn’t published any “reflections” since November 14. Somewhat curious but he has taken hiatuses before. Having said that, at some point on of these recurring rumors will become fact. The man is 85 going on 86 and not in great health.

  20. Post 14, of course. Contrary to what (understandably unable) supporters of the team “yoani’s” rants think I do not really condone or identify myself with any of the current ideologies. I go by the facts.

    And the fact is that politicians in order to achieve their goals, use dirty lies and immoral tactics to deceive their own people and to sway public opinion into accepting and supporting the course of action politicians prefer.

    Sadly, usa has the darkest record of all. Pearl Harbour has been proven as one such deception, Vietnam war started after usa sank their own ship, cold war was started on the west (remember that it was usa who threw the first nuclear bombs, and then started creating panic in the usa that “Russians are coming”, while Stalin thought he was friends with Roosevelt), Moon-landing was the biggest hoax of all in my view.

    NASA’s own bio-physicist published her work confirming and proving conclusively that in 1998 there was NO VIABLE technology to protect space travelers from radiation in space, beyond Van Alen’s belt. Anything that remains in open space 7 days or more would be exposed to lethal doses of radiation. Moon is on the other side of the belt and every moon “mission lasted at least nine days.

    Then the twin towers and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, then Jugoslavia, Libya, now Iran…

    You are conveniently forgetting that asgtros were not waging a communist revolution. After all, Castros are from a RICH family Fidel is a Harvard graduate.

    It was the usa who slammed the door in their faces and made them turn around for other allies.

    That the usa is the fifth largest “economic partner” of Cuba is, of course a plain lie and a brainwash propaganda.

    No one from usa is doing business in Cuba except the government in “humanitarian help” form only. The size of that “help” is a mere billion per year, on average. Last few years was actually less at some points.

    usa govt ‘buys” and then sells to Cuba for less money or give it to Cuba under the “humanitarian” pretenses.

    Not my conclusions, the usa govt own written records, cabinet reports and similar qualify their “help” with those terms and categorisations.

    So, to ask me such a question is really an ideological duel from your part.

    I am not in ideological duels because I do not subscribe for ideologies of any kind. The world is way too complicated for a simplistic black/white approach.

    It was Batista who was the bastard who started it all.

    Yes, but where did he get all his ideas? He was elected once because he begged communists for support. Once they got him elected, he killed and imprisoned them en mass.

    And I’m sure he had his own demons to justify his actions.

    But that doesn’t make them right.

    The team “yoani” too have their own personal issues that they now project outwards and on to the government. We have been through this last year and the year before the last.

    Their personal issues and delusions, however, do not give them right to call for another internal war and government change.

    And least of all, you usanians. Your own countryu is self-pulverising. Yet, you are still going arou nd imagining yourselves to be some self-appointed “democracy defenders” when your own country is a nazist dictatorship straight from hitler’s “mein Kampf”.

    Have you ever considered THAT possibility in your own world?

    I suggest great read:

  21. Yoani Tweet 18 minutes ago: The national news just ended and the most important news was that the temperature will go down tonight due to a cold front.

    Termina noticiero nacional de TV y la noticia mas importante es que esta madrugada bajara la temperatura por culpa de un frente frio

  22. Most recent Yoani Tweets:

    Tweet dictated by telephone: “The goal for 2012 is for the citizenry to gain space, unite in our differences and achieve an inclusive Island.” tweet dictado x telef: “El reto para este 2012 es ganar espacios ciudadanos, unirnos en las diferencias, lograr una Isla inclusiva” 6 minutes ago.

    Tweet dictated by telephone: “My cellphone is full of calls and questions, but I caution everyone, there is no reliable news of ANYTHING” Tweet dictado por telefono “MI movil repleto de llamadas y preguntas, pero yo llamo a la cautela, no hay noticias fiables de NADA”

    The “sellouts” who I know now sell pieces of our country to foreign companies, they prefer the foreign to the domestic. Los “vendepatrias” que conozco les venden ya los trozos de nacion a las empresas extranjeras, prefieren al foraneo que al nacional

    Tweet dictated by telephone, “Friends, the day that ‘rumor’ is true, we Cubans will be the last to know.” Tweet dictado via telefonica “Amigos el dia que ese ‘rumor’ sea verdad, los cubanos seremos los ultimos en enterarnos”

    Tweet dictated by telephone, “Regarding the rumor that is gaining strength: there is no reliable information from here. Tweet dictado via telefonica “En relacion con el rumor que gana fuerza alla afuera: no hay ninguna informacion confiable aca adentro”

    Tweet dicated by telephone: “Of every 10 tweets I send, only 1 gets published. We continue to experience technical problems publishing via SMS.” Tweet dictado via telefonica “De cada 10 tweets que envío solo se publica 1. Seguimos con problemas tecnicos para publicar via sms”

    Below my building it says “The sellouts will not win” But the only sellouts I know of sell pieces of our country for golf courses. En bajo d edificio dice “No se van a salir con la suya los vendepatrias” pero vendepatrias q conozco venden pedazos #Cuba para campos d golf

  23. Simba Sez: # 11–Damir is it possible in your world to consider that an economic embargo was placed against Cuba by the United States as a counter-action against Cuba’s “Nationalism” of American interests in that country without just compensation? Could this economic embargo have been increased as a result of Cuba’s collusion with the USSR’s placement of nuclear arms on Cuban soil aimed at the United States? Could it be that despite this economic embargo the United States of America is yet Cuba’s fifth largest trading partner. Is it a failure on your part to never look for the actual cause as you stated in your diatribe, or is it merely you do not care to face the truth as it doesn’t fit your agenda?

  24. There are new rumors that f castro is dead. Probably not true, but the rumors are flying.

  25. Very poorly conceived and written metaphora. It fails to make a sensible connection between a custom and a perceived reality.

    It makes it even harder to sympathise with certain aspects of Cuba’s everyday life when the actual CAUSE for lack of soap is not addressed.

    And how could it be when the actual reason, as confirmed by the pin-up granny herself in an interview with the french, a real intellectual, doctor of science and a political analyst Salim Limrani, the NAZIST’S usa ECONOMIC BLOCKADE.

    As mentioned a couple of days ago, Cuba is like Japan. It has very few of its’ own resources and it is forced to import just about everything in order to provide for its people even the basic products.

    However, to shed some light on this supposed issue with the soap, there are a number of pharmacies that make their own soaps, perfumes and deodorants. There’s also a range of products from Cuban cosmetics industry, available on the shelves in supermarkets.

    Yes, the quality is not what complainers from overseas “rich” “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”-style countries are used to.

    Cuban engineers have to do with what they can lay their hands on. Not becaus eFidel and Raul are sitting on a stash of chemicals, but because Cuba is cash strapped thanks to the NAZIST usanian ECONOMIC BLOCKADE.

    Just as the team “yoani” and their pin-up granny have confirmed and stated.

    If they said so, then the support pioneer brigade should shut up and stand behind their “beloved” leader.

    he good thing with the Cuban products is that they are natural and organic.


    Out of necessity, of course. But better for it. Something we in the “free democratic” west fight to have instead of our “superior” carcinogenous products.


    THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTIONS: Reaching Out: Cuba’s New Economy and the International Response- Cuba, International Organizations, International Relations, Latin America- Richard Feinberg, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Latin America Initiative

    Once its overriding political objectives had been secured by the late 1990s, the Cuban government
    chose to halt and partially reverse the economic opening. Once again, Fidel Castro shifted the government’s ideological posture, denouncing private enterprise and open markets as unacceptably petty bourgeois and prone toward corruption; the revolutionary leader characterized the emerging private sector not as a source of productivity and opportunity but of “parasites” breeding injustice and inequality. A series of onerous taxes and regulations choked the incipient micro-enterprise sector, decreasing the number of independent enterprises. The dollar was withdrawn from general circulation in favor of the “convertible Cuban peso” and a dual currency system. The government recentralized the authorization of foreign exchange, requiring joint ventures to appeal to the authorities in the Central Bank and Ministry of Foreign Trade for approval of international transactions.
    Overall, the economy remained centralized and socialized, with the state employing most of the work force (over 80 percent), owning most of the means of production, setting most prices, and authorizing most investment and production targets. Government functionaries and communist party officials had again solidified their domination over economic decision making



    ASSOCIATED PRESS: Church announces dates for pope’s Cuba trip- By PAUL HAVEN
    HAVANA (AP) — The Roman Catholic Church in Cuba has announced the dates and a partial itinerary for Pope Benedict XVI’s much-anticipated visit to the island, the first by a pontiff since John Paul II’s groundbreaking 1998 tour.

    The church said in a statement Sunday that the pontiff will be in Cuba from March 26 to 28, following a visit to Mexico.

    The itinerary outlined by the church is far less ambitious than that undertaken by John Paul 14 years ago. The 84-year-old pontiff will only be on the island for about 48 hours and appears to have no plans to visit important regional cities such as Santa Clara and Camaguey, both of which received John Paul.

    Benedict will touch down on the afternoon of Mar. 26 in the western city of Santiago, Cuba’s second largest, where he will be received personally by President Raul Castro. He’ll then be driven through town in the glassed-in popemobile.

    Benedict will make a private trip the following day to the sanctuary of Cuba’s patron saint, the Virgin of Caridad del Cobre, then fly to Havana. In the capital, the pope will meet Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega and other church leaders.

    That afternoon, he will have a private meeting with Castro. There is no mention of Benedict also meeting Fidel Castro, who is retired but often weighs in on world events through opinion pieces published in Cuban state-run media.

    On Mar. 28, Benedict will perform Mass at the sprawling Revolution Plaza, where hundreds of thousands turned out to see John Paul II. The pope will depart following the Mass and a trip through the capital in the popemobile.

    Benedict has been noticeably frailer and weaker in recent months, according to religious leaders and others who have seen him, which could partly explain the trip’s limited scope.

    The visit coincides with the 400th anniversary of the appearance of the Virgin of Caridad del Cobre. But the timing also appears to reward the larger role the church has assumed in Cuba in recent years. Ortega personally negotiated the release of political prisoners in 2010 and 2011, and church magazines have become a forum for articles offering advice to Cuban leaders on a process of free-market reforms by Raul Castro.

    The Cuban leader even cited Benedict’s visit in announcing in December that Cuba would free 2,900 inmates as a humanitarian gesture, including a small number jailed for political crimes.




    When Marx and his wife and children were living in London, a visitor wrote a description of their lifestyle in their 3-room flat.

    Not only did the Marx children have to endure the hunger of poverty, they were raised in filth, or what his friend described as “a pig-sty”.

    There was not one good piece of furniture in the flat. There was a chair with a leg missing, a sofa “tattered and torn”.

    The table where Marx sat on his backside to read and write was covered with pages of his writings, with newspapers and books, his glasses, his inkstand and pen, and his pipe, as well as dirty and chipped tea cups, dirty spoons, and whatever else someone dropped there, such as some children’s playthings and his wife’s sewing.

    Everything in his flat, according to his friend, was dirty and covered with dust.

    The flat was also in one of the worst sections of London, where the rent was low.

    Marx and his wife knew eachother as children and married when Marx was twenty-five, not so young in those days of 1843. He would have been considered a grown man, mature and able to assume the responsibilities of husband and father.

    Both Marx and his wife came from comfortable homes, hers more prominent. Her father was a Prussian Baron. And she, Jenny, was an educated woman when she married Marx.

    Together they had 7 children. Four of those children died young. Only three survived to achieve adulthood.

    Every biography of Marx reports that his four children who died young died because of the poverty they had to endure.

    The Marx way of life has been described as a hand-to-mouth existance, which generally means you don’t know where your next meal is coming from.

    Marx occasionally wrote articles for newspapers and he wrote his long papers and books full of his philosophies about the ‘struggle’ of workers, but he never worked a day in his life.

    Instead, he sat in his pig-sty and found all sorts of reasons he shouldn’t work.

    Mainly, he thought he was too important to work.

    Marx wrote that a slave needs a master and the master needs a slave. And that opposites must be equalled. And that a slave cannot be separated from his master.

    Care to argue with that nonsense?

    I’ve known men like Marx. They’re just plain lazy. As he was. He didn’t want to work, he wanted to sit in the filth at his table and pretend to be thinking important thoughts.

    Marx was also a hypocrite. While he wrote with such sympathy for the men who worked in factories, calling them slaves, the money he lived on, the charity he received from his friend Friedrich Engels, came from the Engels family interest in a factory. So the ‘slaves’ were supporting the Marx family, while Marx sat and thought.

    Watching his children go hungry, seeing them live in filth, is neglect. It is abuse. There was no need for it. He had an education and could have earned an income, and he knew where he had come from, a comfortable life with his parents. He could have provided for his family as his father had provided for him, but obviously that was not important to him.

    Karl Marx was not well known in his lifetime. It was only a small circle of fellow Communists who knew who he was by his writings.

    An eighth child was born to Marx, but not with his wife. It was an illigitimate child.

    As it happened, Jenny, Karl’s wife, received an inheritance and so she hired a housekeeper to oversee their better quarters. His eighth child was born to the housekeeper.

    Marx tried to convince his wife that the child had been fathered by his friend Engels, but she didn’t believe him. Let’s add liar to his description.

    Eventually, Marx admitted the truth. The child was his son.

    No one ever reported the housekeeper’s side of the story. Had she been a willing partner for Marx? Or did he take advantage of her lowly position in his home? Personally, I think he saw her as nothing but a servant and one he could ‘have his way’ with.

    By any standard, Marx’ life was a failure, as a husband, as a father, as a provider.

    His theory of Marxism has been a failure, too. The Soviet Union failed dramatically. Cuba’s people live in poverty. And in North Korea the people truly are slaves to their Marxist beloved leader.

    Under Marxism, more than one hundred million people have died, either from being murdered or from starvation.

    When a man in his selfishness and laziness is willing to watch his own children die from the poverty he has imposed on them, of course his philosophy will do the same to anyone forced to endure it.

    Marx abused his children, his wife, his housekeeper, and Marxism continues to abuse everyone living under a brutally uncaring Marxist government.

  29. Wow. Moving to say the least. I’ve read this post half a dozen times. Happy New Year, Yoanni.

  30. Gato Negro Su comentario está esperando ser moderado.
    Enero 1st, 2012 at 17:31
    Su mucho gracias.

  31. ***
    Happy New Year, Yoani. Water now–gasoline later! Celebrate with Molotov Cocktails. Free Cuba in 2012.
    Feliz Ano Nuevo, Yoani. Agua ahora–gasolina mas despues! Celebra con coctels “Molotov”. Cuba Libre en 2012.
    John Bibb

  32. Exceptionally written, Yoani! Wishing you — from the US — Light and Courage to continue to speak these truths in a way, it seems, you do best. Blessings, CC

  33. All the Best to you and your family, Yoani, Happy New Year! I hpoe to meet you one day.
    As I was reading a book published by National Geographic with my 7 year old grandson, “Weird but True”, all the water we have on earth, is the same water that has been here for centuries.
    My wish for Cuba and all her citizens, is that you all may have enough clean water to drink and wash in, and one day very soon, we will all know the communion.

  34. Yoani, may your tradition finally wash the old out and allow a bright new future of reconciliation and an end to the oligarchy of the Castro regime.

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