via_unoA few yards from the Plaza de San Francisco are the glamorous display windows of the Via Uno store. Leather shoes with spike heels, a bit useless for the uneven sidewalks of Havana. Pleated bags with gilt edges which seem to hold the world, to have room for the whole city. Curious people stop in front of the glass and some women go in for a closer look, although very few come out with a purchase in their hands. There is the teenager there who is about to turn fifteen, insisting that her mother drop her savings on some dusty red ankle boots. Also the functionary of a new corporation, mouth agape and eyebrows raised before the prices which run to three figures. On the other side of the street — directly across from the door of the boutique — an old woman reaches out her hand, asking for money.

Like an over-exposed photograph, social contrasts are perceived ever more strongly in Cuban life. While many wake up with the anxious question, “What am I going to eat today?” a new class — with hard currency in their pockets — boasts of consuming  items from exclusive stores. People who, thanks to corruption, private businesses, remittances sent from abroad, or government privileges, have access to more expensive clothes, better food, products out of reach for the vast majority. In tourist areas this chiaroscuro stands out more sharply. It is here where the different levels are more visible, more painful. It is here, where the concept of “equality,” still heard in countless slogans, still dwelling — like a mirage — in the minds of so many outside our borders, is given the lie.

Under the reflected glare from the sharp letters of an illuminated sign, a gentleman sells peanuts in paper cones. Not a single syllable of his cry — Peanuts! Peanuts! — is heard within that air-conditioned store, much less in the dressing room where someone zips herself into an article of luxury.


193 thoughts on “Boutique

  1. You petty little miami sewage inhabitants obviously do not realise that with every personal attack, you make Damir more right and yourselves more dumb, right?

    Fortunately wrong.

    Keep your vomit. It flies right back into your faces.

    And that works for me just fine.

  2. Freedomfree shackles, you are on LSD. Get help.

    And read what Damir writes with MORE focus.

    You are delusional.

  3. DAMIR, your the REGIME apologist and cheerleader for team Fidel. In cuba the people are hungry and the men shirtless. I have seen belts rapped around shoes to keep the sole from falling apart. Please do not blame the so called embargo as China sells plenty of shoes and even to Cuba. The ruling class is who is screwing the Cuban population. Soon the Pope will visit and the worlds attention will be on Cuba. Se va formar , can’t wait.

  4. How about this bit, directly from the above post. Self-declaration of being a liar:

    “People who, thanks to corruption, private businesses, remittances sent from abroad, or government privileges, have access to more expensive clothes, better food”

    So, there I S a BETTER FOOD AND CLOTHES available in Cub, after all!!!

    Who knew?

    Our “heros” the team “yoani” always said the oposite.

    Does this mean we cannot trust them?

    Of course it does!!!

  5. No content, just bullshift.

    Is that the best the team “yoani” and their delusional little servants can do?

    No. They cannot even do that. The nazist cia and their apparatchiks write the stuff these blind and deranged slaves then pretend to author here.

    And given the poor quality of that material, these cia elements must be almost as deranged…

  6. D.A.M.I.R.

    “Ranting and trolling just to have your fake names on the net…” Yep, that’s you.

  7. NOt that a single nazist propaganda posts here have anything to do with the “boutique” issue here.

    Ranting and trolling just to have your fake names on the net…

    Bunch of losers.

  8. A cr##in poster of 125, one of many pioneers of the support brigade – the deranged club of losers hoping that there will be someone, anyone really, to take them seriously yet no takers to date – needs her empty skull examined.

    There’s something called “sarcasm”. That is what the use of nazist gulag term is. Just to show further how st**id the ignorant really is, the word “gulag” does not mean the “System of prisons in the Soviet Union”.

    Not that educating an i^^t is possible, but for the benefit of normal, mental health issues-free readers (the people who laugh at you and the team “yoani” reading your s***d posts and “truths”), although I’m sure that unlike the mentally defficient morons who think they are Cubans after they spent a few years on the island, like the copy and paste creep, “gulag” is an acronym, not a word, let alone the “name” for a “System of prisons”, like the dumbest ignorant of all writes in her/his unsurpassed id**cy. It’s an acronym of an agency that administered and maintained the prisons.

    Contrary to your knee-jerk reaction (since you cannot think, that much is obvious) the agency was NOT filling the prisons. It was in charge of mundane things like food, clothes, fences, windows etc. Because it was poorly managed it became a synonimous with hard work and hard life.

    Look it up cr**in. Learn a thing or two before you post. The world already knows you are a de**il (think mentally ill…) no need to emphasise it every day.

    Oh, that one just zoomed past his/her empty skull too…


    Just so you know before you open your toothless and brainless mouth again, majority of gulag managers have ended up in the West, and became “entrepreneurs”.

    It was on the net a few years ago when a number of families tried to find them to charge them with human rights abuses.

    The scum were always “some kind of pragmatic capitalists” in their hearts. One of them even said that his greatest fun was to torture those he knew were actually devoted communists.

    So screw you and your anti-communist rants you mo**on. It is ALWAYS the CAPITALIST SCUM that make the trouble and then blame the communists for it.

    Look it up, it’s all on the net waves, in sync with the “social networking” reBolution, as one of you cre**ns would say.

  9. I sorry, I wrote in Spanish. I think Juan Manuel Santos traveled to Cuba to meet “the guerrillas father”.in.order to obtain help in finishing the cruel and nasty war that has that country in a violent chaos

  10. To understand why revolutions so often go wrong, watch this excellent video lecture from Bill Whittle:

    The Battle of Big Ideas, Part 1: CONSTRAINED vs. UNCONSTRAINED

    Good stuff.

  11. “We reiterate that Cuba will not return to the OAS, and it is not interested in having any relationship with the organization that has served for purposes of domination, occupation and aggression,” Rodriguez said.

    “The OAS serves to the United States as a platform to attack and plunder Latin America and the Caribbean countries,” Rodriguez added.


    WASHINGTON POST: Cuba foreign minister blames Washington for its exclusion from Summit of the Americas

    HAVANA — Cuba is accusing Washington of pressuring to keep the island nation from attending next month’s Summit of the Americas.

    Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez says it’s no surprise given past U.S. policy toward the communist-run island.

    He calls it a “chronicle of an exclusion foretold,” playing off the title of a novella by Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

    Rodriguez spoke at a news conference Thursday, a day after President Raul Castro met with Juan Manuel Santos of summit host Colombia.

    Santos indicated that his country would not be inviting Cuba.

    Members of the leftist ALBA bloc of nations had proposed a possible summit boycott if Cuba was not invited.

    U.S. officials say Cuba does not meet the summit’s standards for democracy.

  12. YOUTUBE: “Fariñas, the indomitable mulatto” – A short film by Carlos Hernando- Guillermo Fariñas is a political dissident who used hunger strikes to fight for democracy and human rights in Cuba. In 2010 he conducted a hunger and thirst strike demanding the release of several political prisoners. In October of that year, the European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize Fariñas for Freedom of Conscience. ‘Fariñas, el mulato indomable’ – cortometraje de Carlos Hernando -Guillermo Fariñas es un disidente político que utiliza las huelgas de hambre para luchar por la democracia y los derechos humanos en Cuba. Durante el año 2010 realizó una huelga de hambre y sed reclamando la liberación de varios presos políticos. En octubre de ese año, el Parlamento Europeo concedió a Fariñas el Premio Sajarov para la Libertad de Conciencia.-SPANISH ONLY!

    Guillermo Fariñas Hernández (born 3 January 1962) (“El Coco”) is a Cuban doctor of psychology,[1] independent journalist[2] and political dissident in Cuba. He has conducted 23 hunger strikes over the years to protest various elements of the Cuban regime.[3] He has stated that he is ready to die in the struggle against censorship in Cuba.[2]Fariñas was born in Santa Clara. He won medals in 1981 while a Cuban soldier in Angola, when he fought under Colonel Antonio Enrique Luzon, and he was wounded in battle during the war. In 1982 Fariñas went to the U.S.S.R. to Tambov for military education. In 1993 he was elected in Cuba, as the General Secretary of Healthcare Union Workers. In 1995 he was sent to jail after blowing the whistle on corrupt activities of the hospital board director.[citation needed] In an 2007 interview with Harper’s magazine (“The Battle of Ideas”) Fariñas described State Security officers detaining him in Santa Clara, forcibly committing him to a psychiatric hospital ward overnight, and supervising his injection with unknown drugs. Fariñas’s father was also part of the Cuban military forces, and fought in the Congo under Che Guevara in the 1960s.

  13. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says Cuba will not be invited to the Americas Summit in Colombia next month

    The US had opposed Cuba’s participation, saying the meeting should only be open to democracies.

    The Americas Summit usually involves only members of the Organisation of American States (OAS), and Cuba was suspended from the organisation in 1962 because of its communist system.

  14. Noooo, you got all wrong. Fidel is an undercover CIA operative. It’s all in his book, but you must use a code to read it properly.

  15. There it is, the “Illuminati” link. All the conspiracy theorist nuts post that one sooner or later.

  16. In #164 redcardinal wrote: “For those who dont know what I am talking about…”

    We have no idea what you’re talking about. Ever.

  17. US doesn’t expect Cuba upheaval

    US military leaders don’t expect Cuba’s reforms of its Soviet-style economy to lead to “dramatic change,” a key US general said Wednesday.
    “I don’t see a dramatic change happening in the future,” General Douglas Fraser, head of the US Southern Command, told reporters at a press briefing.
    He acknowledged that the Havana government “is in transition” but said real change on the Communist island would occur via “evolution.”
    “We are just monitoring that situation to help us understand what we’ll see in the future,” he told reporters.
    He said that Washington is “preparing,” however, for the unlikely possibility that a change in Cuba’s political regime leads to a mass exodus of Cubans on rafts and rickety boats.

  18. Is Castro fremason or part of the so called ILLUMINATI ? Does exist a plan for Cuba 2012?
    Humberto… should look to find out more about Castros with his research,copy-paste

    For those who dont know what I am talking about …listen here a bit about Illuminati;

    (To understand is better to watch all videoa)

  19. Castro’$ think they own Cuba and its resources. The cubans in Guantanimo recently took thier public protest to tbe streets. The “Shit is hitting the fan”,as the greengos say.

  20. USA is planning to go communistic like Cuba so with all the rest of the communist countries of Americas will unite with Cuba…so there is no more need to change Cuba to democracy when all Americas will be communism and socialism…Humberto dont believe the politics, medias..they just lie…because they all work together for the world communism in the future because as you know we are all socialist now.


    WASHINGTON POST: Colombian President Santos indicates Cuba not likely to receive regional summit invite

    HAVANA — Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos held talks with President Raul Castro on Wednesday amid a controversy over whether Cuba will be allowed to participate in a regional summit, but left indicating that an invitation is not forthcoming.“As we have said from the beginning, (the summit) is a matter that requires consensus, a consensus that unfortunately we have not been able to find,” Santos said at Havana’s international airport Wednesday night prior to departing.“We made it clear to President Castro that although we truly appreciate his desire to be part of this gathering, under such circumstances without having reached consensus it is very difficult to extend an invitation to him.” U.S. officials say Cuba, ruled since 1959 by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro, does not meet OAS standards of democracy and thus has no business taking part. “They don’t fit the definition of democratic countries and the development of democracy in the hemisphere,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “So at this point we see absolutely no basis and no intention to invite them to the summit.”

  22. Maybe not just… Humberto…but all the homeless,unemployed Miami Cubans,the sons of the old dissidents..will be helped by the Castro family when they move to USA and be its citizens. So the changes will happen and the present communists of Cuba will help their own people in Miami,not leave them to suffer homeless and hungry. They may get some jobs like gardeners,cleaners,drivers and bodyguards for the elites of the Cuban communists who will move to the rich areas of the USA,Florida soon…so they are close to Cuba and live in both countries USA and Cuba. This make sense and for sure will happen this year or next year for sure.I dont know if the dissidents like Yoani will get this chance and be helped by the Royal Cuba’s family to get a job from them.

  23. Some of the Royal Castro gods…little gods may decide to leave not only in Beverly Hill but everywhere in the best rich areas of Florida,New York and California…where they will be near Humberto…and meet him in the rainbow club or some strip club where the Humberto lives. So Humberto will be friends with them and who knows they may help him to be working for them too…instead of being homeless and welfare soon.

    I know that Humberto will refuse first but than for sure he will take their offer and work for Castros..maybe against all the dissidents,old and new. Perhaps they offer a job also to others who post here and of course their driver or bodyguards will be Cuba libre and Damir..which will help to introduce Humberto to the Royal Castro family who for sure will be the new citizens of USA…this or next year and move there

  24. After Royal Castros leave for Beverly hill buying there the Michel Jacson’s home and those of other famous artists…the present communists will create many parties in Cuba and they will be called democratic,socialist,republican and what ever,but they will be run all by the cloned little castros and the Cuban communists who will put in jails all the old dissidents’s families of those who are now in the Cuba’s prisons to meet so there their parents and if they are lucky they will be together with present dissidents like Yoani and others..who will be in the labor camps,working for few beans and bananas…but only if they work hard.The rest of the subhumans will be deleted as useless eaters. World banks will help Cuba and work hard to stay all the little castros in power,all the so called communists now,to be the future big capitalists-internationalists world tzars running so the world shared with other tzars

  25. Castros now are at least 3-4 million little cloned one,the sons and grandsons of the communists and all those who have raped and killed the rest of the Cubans…copying the Russians or Soviet Union killing system or inquisition.After the god-Castro family leave the country for Beverly Hill in some famous home of an artist…Cuba will be run by the little castros…but as capitalists communists…but the rest will be punish by them even more.They will be called subhumans.The world elites will help little castros with loans to be big capitalists internationalist who will come to by together with Russian tzars most of the USA’s houses and lands taken from the Americans. The problem is that Chinese tzars after they buy all Canada..they may move down to take what is left from USA and that may create a big war,a big conflict between Cuban,russian and Chinese tzars,little cloned communists,mostly from the royal communist families. this happen in China and ex-Soviet Union,socialists of EU and of course is happening now in the red North and South America.Next to take over is Africa,Oceania and Middle East and they are all working on it and that is the easiest part to be occupied…

  26. anton, Castro’s son is an artist, not a dictator in training. Che’s son too. The problem for the regime is all the old Heroes of La Revolucion are in their 80’s. No new ruler will have the authority of Castro. That applies to the people too. The young don’t care about the stories of the bad old Batista days. They care about how they will feed their families today & tomorrow.

  27. Interesting video Humberto, explains why Cuba won’t allow inspectors into its prisons, hospitals, or anything else. I’ve seen some residences just as bad.

    The US prison at Guantanamo is really a country club by comparison.



    YOUTUBE: CUBA: Imágenes inéditas de calabozos en Santiago de Cuba – Opositores miembros de UNPACU logran entrar en las celdas de la Unidad de la Policía Micro 9, Santiago de Cuba la cámara de un celular para documentar las condiciones de los calabozos castristas.-
    Unpublished images of jail cells in Santiago de Cuba – Member the dissident group UNPACU manage to enter into the cells of the Police Station Micro 9, in Santiago de Cuba, a cellphone camera to documented the conditions of the jail cells of the Castro regime.

    The Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) is an umbrella group of dissident organizations, based primarily in Santiago de Cuba, but also in neighbouring provinces of eastern Cuba. UNPACU seeks democratic change in Cuba via non-violent means. Since UNPACU’s creation in mid-2011, its members have faced constant harassment and intimidation form the Cuban authorities, including arbitrary detention. One of UNPACU’s members, prisoner of conscience Wilman Villar Mendoza died in January 2012 following a hunger strike in protest at his four-year prison sentence following a summary trial. This repression is part of a general crackdown against dissidents in the eastern provinces of Cuba which has gathered pace since mid-2011.

  29. GRIFFIN…the anti-Yoani commenters…should be with Yoani and help her, example suggest here to WORK… If she decide to do some work in the fieldS and help the peasents to produce more beans and bananas will be like Ernest Miller Hemingway… so it is good to get some experience and not do nothing.
    The work makes people BUSY and happy…so the best is to leave the dark rooms and get out in the sun…beach and not stay all the time inside the Havana…the old museum or Cuba’s getho.
    If she does not like the sun and beach,the paradise of nature of the island,she can work in the farms and eat some more food there,feed Cubans and herself and put all some extra weight…Tell to Yoani this please…make her happy.

  30. If one Castro dies there will be other Castro and if he die too,there will be a new Castro…because the Castro family is like the Bush and Clinton families; the holy families. Cubans will cry and some will be happy each time a Castro comes and go…but Havana will be a old museum and the people in it just like images that make the museum live or alive.UN has in mind to make all the world cities like Havana and turn them to gethos…and their people like zombies…specially in EU and North America.The world wil be all as Cuba and the distribution of wealth in the 99% will make all the world humans like Cubans…happy to worship their god-elites or holy families,so the plan is to create the world FEUDALISM…DESPOTISM

  31. John,

    I don’t think there will be riots when the Castro’s die, but their will be a great deal of confusion about what happens next. The regime will try to carry on, put on a big show of the State Funeral and try to exhort La Revolucion! But nobody will buy into it. The real challenge will come when Hugo dies and the new gov’t of Venezuela cuts off the free oil. Venezuela will be happy to sell their oil to Cuba, but not for free anymore. No oil means no taxis, no busses, no farm equipment, no industry, no electricity. The whole thing grinds to a halt.

    Keep in mind, economists around the world are expecting a second dip in the recession as the Eurozone crisis comes to a head and China’s economic problems trip them up. The US is far from out of the woods either. When that happens, the number of tourists travelling to Cuba will drop. So the one money-maker in their economy will be hit too, at the worse possible time.

    People will starve again, as in the early 90’s. Then they will riot. But this time, there will be thousands of tourists in country seeing it with their own eyes. Unlike the 90’s when the Castros kept the worst of their crisis hidden, this next Special Period will be blogged, twittered and YouTubed.

    If I may quote Cuba Liar: “The truth will be heard.” Only this time, it will be the actual truth, not the regime propaganda.

  32. CIMEQ and the myths of Cuba’s healthcare system,

    Cuba has two parallel health care systems…One for its regular citizens usually lacking a lot of supplies, with Hospitals lacking medicine, paramedical supplies and with old equipments and superstructure; the other is the one you can see in Michael Moore’s documentary or even get in touch personally when a foreigner visits Cuba. CIMEQ belongs to this second kind of institution,

    …CIMEQ IS NOT a health care institution to regular Cubans. It is for government officials, and it has been Fidel Castro’s personal hospital since it was opened in 1982. It was built close to his permanent residence (unknown by the majority of Cubans) as you can see in the next aerial picture:

    Keep this page bookmarked for the next time the Useful Idiots parrot the propaganda of Cuba’s excellent healthcare system.

  33. Good post Griffin. I’m interested in your opinion – what do you think will actually happen when Fidel and Raul die? Will there be riots in the streets or just more of the same old same old with a younger regime??

  34. In #146 Help wrote: “There really is nothing to discuss regarding Cuba, the Marxist experiment has been a colossal failure in every respect.”

    Ah, but that’s what we can discuss. The regime will fall. That much is certain. The only question is when & how. It cannot survive long after Fidel dies, and if the Cuban people are lucky, they’ll get a hat trick this year: Fidel, Raul & Hugo Chavez all go off to meet their maker. (Good luck to them, they’ll need it.) The paranoid Castros have made sure there are no possible successors waiting in the wings.

    But what happens next? If their economy collapses again when their Venezuelan sugar daddy cuts off the oil, Special Period II, how will the people respond? Bread riots are not a pretty thing. How will the regime respond? If the past is any example, they have three basic responses to public protests: 1) Violence. 2) More violence, or 3) a lot more violence.

    Will the post-Castro regime introduce political reforms to go along with the limited economic reforms? Free elections with a multi-party system? Free speech? Freedom of travel? That’s what the people want, but is the regime prepared to give it? If they do, it may mean the end of La Revolucion, or at the very minimum, accepting the fact they have to share power and political space with other ideas. But if they don’t grant the people freedom, the people will rise up and take it, sweeping the old guard into the dustbin of history.

  35. Griffin #145 – agree; Anonimo #144,143 I think you’ve hit the nail on the head; Humberto #139 – Couldn’t agree more. I wonder if there’s a website where Damir is ranting his head off about old Yugoslavian conflicts?

  36. I agree Griffin. Anything hateful is a waste of bandwidth actually.

    Too bad Marxists aren’t interested in reality. There really is nothing to discuss regarding Cuba, the Marxist experiment has been a colossal failure in every respect. I think their greatest failure is not economic, but creating a society ruled by dogma and hate.

    If we’re smart, we’ll learn from their mistakes.

    The only good things in Cuba, like the people and the sun, were there before Fidel came along. Or maybe it wasn’t, maybe Fidel created the sun? I’m sure Cube Libra thinks so.

  37. For the record: I am not interested in hearing about anybody’s sex life. Boooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnggggggg!

    Can we get a moratorium on all that?

    Let’s discuss Cuba, Yoani’s essays and related topics. Anything else is a waste of bandwidth.

  38. UnSor, is a declared bisexual, she was also abused in childhood; her biography is posted on hundreds of blog postings as she loves to speak against whoever contradicts her beliefs. She is a bit funny as she has many imaginiary boyfriend-girlfriends, imaginary six-figure salary and imaginary travels to all over the world. She only travels to metal festivals where she dreams of being f**ed in a tent.

    Damir, on the other side had an active role in butchering civilians during the Serb-rest of world conflicts. He might be dangerous because he is a lunatic dreaming of blowing up the entire western world that destroyed his peacefully Eastern European existance

  39. Here’s my guess:

    Damir: Could not get any attention or love growing up. Self-loathing, anger problem. Deranged.

    UnSoricel: Closet homosexual and ashamed of it. Comments way too much on other’s sex lives. Frustrated. Overcompensates.

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