My Dirty Piece of the Sea

Uprising called the "maleconazo" /5 August 1994 / Photo by Karel Poort

Uprising called the "maleconazo" /5 August 1994 / Photo by Karel Poort

In 1994 I spent many hours sitting on the wall of the Malecon. He preferred the area between the Gervasio and Escobar streets, which I called “my dirty piece of sea.” That was a border between the abyss and the abyss. On one side the rocks and the waves, on the other a sequence of ruined houses and starving figures looking out over their balconies. Still, this place allows me to escape the day-to-day strangulation of the Special Period. If my stomach burned from emptiness, there was still the hope of finding someone hawking — in a whisper — pizzas or paper cones of peanuts. When the power cuts made it impossible to be in my hot room, I also went looking for the sea breeze as a relief. On that concrete I loved, cried, stared at the horizon wanting to run away, and even passed a few nights.

But on the morning of August 5 of that year, the Malecón became a battlefield. Around the ferry dock to Regla people were gathering, encouraged by the hijackings of several boats throughout the summer. An extended sensation of the end, of chaos, of “zero hour” was palpable in the atmosphere. Those waiting to take “the next boat to Florida” were the poorest, those with the least to lose, those ready for anything. Their disappointment was great when they learned there would be no chance of getting on any of these boats. Undoubtedly, that was the spark of the popular revolt that broke out immediately afterwards; but the fuel of the protest was hunger, scarcities and desperation.

A contingent of construction workers, disguised as “enraged people,” lashed out against the unarmed crowd with stick and iron bars. The order from on high was clear: crush the rebellion, but don’t leave behind any imaged of anti-riot troops repressing the people. The epithets launched against the outraged of that day were “lumpen, vermin, criminals and counterrevolutionaries.” The majority of them would emigrate in the coming weeks, on homemade rafts, or simple truck cabs mounted on inner tubes. Others were sent to prison for facing the shock troops. Fidel Castro showed up in the middle of it all — only once the situation was under control — and the official media displayed his presence there as the confirmation of a great victory. But the truth is that after a few weeks the government had to permit farmers markets to relieve the misery. Without the pressure exercised that August 5, we would have ended up like a “Democratic Kampuchea” in the middle of the Caribbean, like the experiment of a stubborn tropical Pol Pot.

I no longer like sitting in front of my dirty piece of the sea. Some of the horror of that August 5 is still there, sandwiched between the cracks in the wall.

33 thoughts on “My Dirty Piece of the Sea

  1. And let us also take a note of the lies reverberated here ad nauseam only to, in the best fashion so typical for the delusional and inept team “yoani” (it goes to show the size of failure the usanian educational system really is) then demant themselves:

    “On one side the rocks and the waves, on the other a sequence of ruined houses and STARVING FIGURES…”

    NOW, JUST HAVE A LOOK AT THE PHOTO, SUPPOSEDLY FROM THE PERIOD THE TEAM “yoani” ARE TALKING ABOUT AND NOTICE HOW MANY

    F A T

    PEOPLE YOU CAN COUNT ON THE PHOTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    STARVING MY DONKEY.

    Only an ID**T, and the pin up granny is the tops of the crop, can say something like that and then put up a photo that makes the team “yoani” shine as a bunch of cre**ns.

    And liars, and terrorist criminals, of course.

    I am merely calling the goats what they really are. I am not sugaring the truth just to be politically correct.

    These criminals aren’t and that allows me to point out the facts exactly as they are.

    And they are

    N O T

    good for the terrorists and traitors.

  2. I must disagree with the statement “extremities of Cuban climate” in the article below. While it is true that Cuba suffers from prolonged dry seasons, the fact is that there are plenty of underground sources of water. There’s also a lot of rain in the rainy season so there’s no excuse for Castros personal incapacity to get the hell out of the industry and leave it to experts instead of inventing some stupid “targets’, like the sugar failure and then failing to meet them. Collecting the rainwater and drilling for underground streams is avery simple engineering task.

    It is also a fact that 40% of arable, and very fertile, land currently sitting iddle, is outside of direct hurricane paths, shielded by the mountains enough to avoid serious destruction and damage to the crops. The size of Cuban population is such that even just a half of that land could provide plenty of food for all. Urban agriculture in Havana has proven that a lot of food can be produced, and organically too, from a very small patches of land. There’s no shortage of fresh food in Cuba today. Especially in Havana.

    The lack of food in the past, while significantly augmented by the embargo, and yes a nazist one too, is really just a reflection of Castros own st*****ty. Let us all remember that Fidel was NOT personally interested in socialism and wanted to deepen Cuban-usanian relationship after he won the war.

    It was Raul’s and Che’s left orientation that was irking the nazists up north and nationalisation of all foreign properties after the triumph of the revolution (I’m here just irritating the traitors and terrorists with this famous Cuban phrase).

    When the nazist dictatorship up north hit Cuba with blockade, Fidel, in his infinitely simpleton’s way went to whoever wanted to talk with him.

    USSR was, of course, just looking for such an opportunity to get their rockets closer to the nazists, after the nazists had created nato and trained thousands of long range missiles at them in Europe.

    So Cuban socialism is really the works of the idi**s in the nazist gulag up north, not Fidel’s.

    And everything else that followed was too of their own doing.

    Thankfully, they are now falling apart, and so fast, they are losing the grip on their own reality. And the focus on Cuba.

    Not that Cuba was ever any of their business anyway.

  3. Some of what is said here is ridiculous, to be honest. I’m seeing those words like ‘terrorist’ and ‘Nazi’ that we use in the EEUU used in place of fact, as is common with these phrases. The fact of the matter is that Gross was working against Castro in a way that could definitely be criminal in the obviously-skewed Cuban court system. The fact is, either way, the most important part of the story is whatever consequence there could have been to his actions. This Bush-era program he was admittedly part of is supposedly meant to bring about greater consciousness of the outside world in Cuba. However, the obvious underlying intent was to force a (generally more privileged, conservative, and influential) Cuban Jewish community toward United States-advocated democratic reform. The corporate nature of the act was shameful and we all know what a Cuban capitalism would mean for many foreign corporations, who used to own a majority of Cuban arable land.
    It was probably assumed that the added internet connection would breed more Yoani Sánchez-types.
    Two things I meant to say about this actual post. Both center on the reference to the horrors of Pol Pot, which even a Cuban activist would likely acknowledge to be ridiculous. Besides the fact that Pol Pot was not a traditional communist and was in fact ousted by communists, his forced labor is if anything relatable to the conditions on the corporate-owned plantations of pre-Revolution Cuba. No one can actually deny that Castro put an end to this. Now, these guajiros have access to universal education and healthcare, something that they didn’t exactly have in the killing fields. I completely believe that Castro has violated human rights in many ways, but to compare his rule to that of Pol Pot’s Kampuchea is not only extreme but a politically-motivated downplaying of the genocide which claimed the lives of millions under Pol Pot. Ms. Sánchez should realize that under Pol Pot she would be dead.
    I know that she said that this didn’t actually come to be, but the comparison is so ridiculous that I find more and more issues like these are losing their true factual arguments, turning into cries of fascism and genocide. After all, wouldn’t Castro’s government claim such ‘ideological deviation’ to be criminal? Wouldn’t he let the courts forget the true meaning of the conflict and resort to the cry of a great and infamous atrocity of human history?
    Another thing to consider is the reason for Cuban food shortages and the reason the half-century-long-oppressed Cuban underclass fled the island. Cuban agriculture before Castro very much relied on exporting cash crops and importing the American ‘king corn’ crop. Following the embargo, which we must remember was started by the United States, Cuba found that it had to produce its own crops, many of which could not be relied upon due to the extremities of the Cuban climate. The direct reason for the violation of humanity that Ms. Sánchez saw on the fifth of August was the attitude of the United States, and so we created a great deal of the evils of Cuba after the Revolution.
    And so even if the direct factors going into the situation are ignored, nonetheless only one of several guilty parties is blamed and only they are likened to a government so atrocious that no Latin American regime has since come close. There is nothing about the resolution of the situation that suggests that if the violence didn’t happen Castro would begin to purge the urban peoples from the island.

  4. I have already posted multiple times a whole number of usanian links that confirm the loser

    W A S

    a spy and was sent to Cuba directly by the usanian nazist gulag.

    Here’s one link, from the washington post, where it clearly says that he was working for usa nazist dictatorship:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/maryland-contractor-alan-gross-draws-15-year-sentence-in-cuba/2011/03/12/ABL6lMS_story.html

    “Gross worked for a Bethesda firm, Development Alternatives, which had won a $6 million U.S. government contract to promote democracy in Cuba. Most of Gross’s work involved distributing computer and satellite phone equipment to members of the island’s Jewish community so they could use the Internet, according to his family and U.S officials.”

    What is very interesting is that the Cuban Jewish community has on several occasions tried to make it clear that a. Gross NEVER CONTACTED THEM and that they did NOT HAVE any dealings with him!!!

    Instead’ the spy was delivering the laptops and telephones to selected “dissidents” and “activists”. These “democracy fighters” wee collaborators of a U.S. Agency for International Development program.

    Look the “agency” up and you will see that the “agency” is a covert cia-led spy and terrorist, criminal organisation whose only goal is to destabilise and change governments in countries that are troublesome to the usanian imperialist multinationals.

    Simple as that.

  5. The liars, terrorists and cia apparatchiks keep pretending that A. Gross wasa “good samaritan” despite the facts that he himself admitted bringing in satellite mobile phones, scrambled satellite receivers and laptops (not one but several).

    He had confirmed the facts to Amnesty International reps who had visited him in the prison.

    Now the losers in teh team “yoani” camp will come out barking and accusing the AI of being a communist propaganda machinery working with and for Fidel and the gang…

    I bet you any money they will. Such losers are these criminals and terrorists.

    Where’s the firing squad when one is needed…???

  6. Freethinker,

    Cuba is in a stalemate of it’s own creation. 53 years of Castro and Communism have empoverished the nation and enslaved the people. The Castros need a constant battle with the US to feed their propaganda and justify keeping the Cuban people locked up. The US has moved on long ago. Aside from Cuban exiles, Americans are indifferent to what goes on in Cuba.

    In the argument over whether or not Gross was a spy, a more telling detail has been overlooked: his “crime” ws to supply an isolated group of people with an Internet connection. That’s something nearly everybody else in the world has access to. But not Cubans. The Castro regime fears the day the Cuban people can communicate feely with each other & the world.

    Whether Gross was a spy might debatable but that the Cuban regime is anything but a brutal totalitarian dictatorship, is not.

  7. Re: Humberto #25,

    So the Internet equipment Gross brought to Cuba enabled an old
    Jew to see video from Jerusalem? Well then, that proves it! Gross really is a spy out to destroy the Cuban revolution. How dastardly !

  8. Freethinker81 !! THAT LINK ON MY COMMENT #13 WORKS FOR ME PERFECTLY AND MAYBE FOR OTHERS AS WELL! TOO BAD IT DOES “NOT WORK” FOR YOU BECAUSE IS A GOOD READ WITH 9 PAGES WITH SUPPORTED FOOTNOTES OF NEWSPAPER ARTICLES AND OTHER SOURCES AS REFERENCES! THE CASTROFASCISTS KNEW OF ALAN GROSS GROSS’ WORK, NOTHING ESCAPES THEM ESPECIALLY SINCE HE HAD BEEN THERE 5 TIMES BEFORE HIS ARREST! EVEN “LA CHINA” RAUL SAYS SO! AND IT DOES MATTER IF PEOPLE LIE ABOUT “THE CUBAN 5” SPIES AS BEING ONLY 5 LITTLE HELPLESS GUAJIROS! YOU ARE JUST DODGING THE QUESTION!

    N.Y. TIMES: Senators Urge Castro to Release American -By JONATHAN WEISMAN – February 24, 2012
    The meeting with Mr. Castro was the first high-level contact since former President Jimmy Carter dined with him in April 2010. The imprisonment of Mr. Gross has chilled any thaw that might have happened in the wake of the resignation of the longtime Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, and the assumption of the presidency by his brother Raúl.

    Mr. Gross, a Maryland resident, was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison after his arrest in 2009 while serving on a democracy-building project financed by the United States Agency for International Development. Mr. Gross, who was accused of bringing satellite and other communications equipment to Cuba, was convicted of crimes against the state, not espionage. Cuban authorities “do not consider Alan Gross a spy,” Mr. Leahy said.

    Mr. Gross had traveled to Cuba five times in 2009 under his own name before his arrest.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/us/politics/senators-meet-with-raul-castro-seeking-release-of-alan-gross.html

  9. JEWISH TELEGRAPHIC AGENCY : Op-Ed: Plea of Alan Gross’ wife to GA – By Judy Gross ·- November 9, 2011

    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.

    CLICK LINK FOR ARTICLE

    http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/11/09/3090210/op-ed-wife-of-alan-gross-makes-plea-to-ga

  10. Freethinker81 said: “Sounds pretty clear to me the US State Dept threw this guy under the bus if the Jewish community didn’t even know why Gross was there.”

    SORRY TO BURST YOUR BUBBLE BUT THE JEWISH COMMUNITY KNEW GROSS FROM HIS PREVIOUS TRIP, SOME WERE UNDER DURESS TO SAY OTHERWISE MUCH LIKE THE SPANISH DRIVER Angel Carromero HAD TO DO A “MEA CULPA” AND HIS SWEDISH PASSENGER Jens Aron Modig HAD TO SAY “IM SORRY” FOR HANGING OUT WITH DISSIDENTS! AND YOU STILL DID NOT ANSWER MY QUESTION BELOW! WANT TO GIVE IT ANOTHER SHOT?

    1. IF THE CASE WAS SUCH A “SLAM DUNK” WHY WAS THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS BARRED FROM HIS TRIAL AND THE SUBSEQUENT APPEALS?

    CBS NEWS: Cuban Jewish leader knew imprisoned American-First member of Cuba’s small Jewish community admits knowing and talking to American Alan Gross, imprisoned for allegedly smuggling illegal satellite communication devices-By Portia Siegelbaum

    Miller is the first member of Cuba’s small Jewish community to admit knowing and talking to Gross.”I know the person. I know exactly the person you’re referring to,” he said in a phone conversation with CBS.”I met him at the Jewish community [the building housing Beth Shalom Temple, known as the Patronato, the largest Jewish community center in the country]. He came there more than once,” Miller said responding to questions. Adela Dworin, who took over as president of the Temple following the death of Miller’s grandfather Jose Miller in 2006, had denied knowing Gross when asked shortly after the American’s arrest in December 2009. More recently she told reporters that so many Americans come to the Temple, she simply didn’t know if he had been one of them.Miller said he won’t speak on camera until after the trial, adding, “Let me tell you, the solution to the problem is coming very soon. It’s complicated. It’s hard even for me.”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/24/501364/main20036259.shtml

    Social dangerousness or Pre-criminal danger to society is a legal charge under Cuban law which allows the authorities to detain people whom they think they are likely to commit crimes. The charge carries a penalty of up to four years in prison.[1] The Cuban government has been accused by Amnesty International of using the charge almost exclusively against critics of the government.

  11. I don’t know if it’s my browser that doesn’t display this site properly, but where did this document come from? The site looks like a repository of some sort but I don’t see the title of the publication. I imagine it’s some kind of magazine?

    In any case, whether it was 12 or 1200, does it make a difference? The US spies on other countries all the time. In fact, pretty much EVERY country spies on its neighbours and perceived enemies. Wikileaks has shown evidence of that in the hundreds of thousands of cables it has uncovered. The fact is that Cuba and the US are at a stalemate and both are using these prisoners as pawns in their political game. Until they can actually sit down and hash things out, nothing will ever improve. The exchange of these prisoners on both parts, would be a show of good faith.

  12. Freethinker81 !! LOOK AT MY COMMENT #13, THE DOCUMENT IT’S THERE WITH FOOTNOTES & EVERYTHING!!

  13. Humberto, it doesn’t matter whether I think those people were dissidents or not. What matters is that the Cuban government thought his activities were a threat to international security, and thus in their minds had a justification for detaining him. He knew what he was doing was illegal in the eyes of the regime.

    Upon your suggestion I looked up the case on Cubadebate and here it says:

    “Gross was paid a half-million dollars as a USAID subcontractor, according to U.S. officials familiar with the contract. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the case.

    “U.S. officials say Gross’ work was not subversion because he was setting up connections for Cuba’s Jewish community, not for dissidents. Jewish leaders have said that they were unaware of Gross’ connections to the U.S. government and that they already were provided limited Internet access. USAID has not said why it thought the community needed such sensitive technology.”
    ============================
    Sounds pretty clear to me the US State Dept threw this guy under the bus if the Jewish community didn’t even know why Gross was there.

    What do you mean by “…how many spies there really were?” Please explain.

  14. Freethinker81 ! THANKS FOR YOUR RESPONSE BUT YOU FORGOT TO ANSWER MY FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

    1. IF THE CASE WAS SUCH A “SLAM DUNK” WHY WAS THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS BARRED FROM HIS TRIAL AND THE SUBSEQUENT APPEALS?

    2. HOW COME PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO SUPPORT THE TRADE OF “THE CUBAN 5″ SPIES FOR ALAN GROSS NEVER MENTION THE WHOLE STORY ABOUT HOW MANY SPIES THERE REALLY WERE?

    Freethinker81 said: “Alan Gross may not have been officially accused of spying, but he was certainly aiding the dissident community with money or material goods.”

    Freethinker81!! AS YOU KNOW, I HAVE FOLLOWED THE ALAN GROSS CASE VERY CLOSELY AND I HAVE YET SEEN ANY PROOF THAT HE WAS AIDING OR MET WITH ANY DISSIDENTS. IF YOU HAVE SUCH INFORMATION PLEASE PROVIDE A LINK. WILL EVEN TAKE A CUBADEBATE ONE!

  15. @Humberto #17, I’m glad you’re so certain of that. And I truly hope that you are proven correct. But history has shown time and again that the US thinks of the Western Hemisphere as its own domain to bend to its own will.

    #18, Again, I didn’t say he was a spy. I said he, and more appropriately the State dept were stupid for putting him in harm’s way and thinking that he could just stroll in there and do whatever he wanted. The Cuban intelligence services are very savvy, so sending some guy who doesn’t speak Spanish to do that kind of work was just idiotic.

  16. Freethinker81 !! ALAN GROSS WAS “PLUCKED” FROM THE REST OF THE TOURISTS BECAUSE HE WAS IDENTIFIED AS A POSSIBLE HOSTAGE TO TRADE FOR THE “CUBAN 5” SPIES DUE TO HIS WORK WITH USAID! HE HAD A RECEIPT FOR WHAT HE BROUGHT IN AND THAT FACT CAME OUT IN THE TRIAL! THIS WAS SOMETHING THE CASTROFASCISTS WERE NOT PREPARED FOR! THAT IS THE REASON THEY CHANGED HIS CHARGES FROM BRINGING IN A “SATELLITE” PHONE TO “CRIMES AGAINST THE STATE”!! MR. GROSS DOES NOT SPEAK SPANISH! SOME SPY! AND IF THE CASE WAS SUCH A “SLAM DUNK” WHY WAS THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS BARRED FROM HIS TRIAL AND THE SUBSEQUENT APPEALS? CAN YOU ANSWER THAT QUESTION FOR ME PLEASE?

    NPR : In Cuba, Jailed American Alan Gross Faces Trial
    BLOCK: Now, foreign journalists, I understand, are not allowed into the courtroom to cover the trial. You were outside the courthouse today. What were you able to learn there?

    MIROFF: That’s right. He’s being tried in a small municipal courthouse far away from the city center.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/03/04/134272743/In-Cuba-Jailed-American-Faces-Trial

  17. Freethinker81 !! YOU KEEP PUTTING THE BAD OLD U.S.A. AS THE MAIN PLAYER IN THE POST CASTRO CUBA! I BEG TO DIFFER, IT WILL BE THE CUBANS IN THE ISLAND AND CUBANS IN THE DIASPORA WHO WILL SET THE TONE NOT THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT NOR THE CASTROFASCISTS AND THEIR FOLLOWERS!

  18. THE CUBAN PEOPLE ARE LOOSING THEIR FEAR OF THE CASTROFASCISTS! THEY BETTER NOT MESS WITH THIS STRONG AND BURLY AFRO-CUBAN!

    PHOTOS: CUBAN WRESSLER MIJAIN LOPEZ USES THE HAND SIGN OF THE “L” FOR LIBERTY AFTER WINNING HIS GOLD MEDAL IN THE LONDON OLYMPICS. THIS SIGN IS USED BY DISSIDENTS AS A SIGN OF PROTEST! Mijaín López overpowered Estonian Heiki Nabi to capture the Olympic title in the heaviest Greco-Roman weight class, now Cuba climbs the medal count of London 2012 to the 14th position with 3 gold, 2 silvers and one bronze medal. With this performance, López ratained his Olympic title and wins the final with relatively little effort. Heiki Nabi was just the supporting actor of a soap opera whose final episode was broadcast earlier on the whim of this event’s organizers. But Mijaín López wins again to prove that he is one of the best Greco-Roman wrestlers ever. All Cuba is proud of him and with this medal the island betters its performance in Beijing four years ago. Now o Mijaín López goes down in history, as Camaguey-born Filiberto Azcuy did it before him, as the only two Cuban wrestlers with two Olympic titles. Now we just have to wait to see if he can compete in Rio 2016.

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.432773143432183.95503.173839132658920&type=1

  19. @ Help, “Trying to change evil regimes is a good thing!!” I agree with you, but that should come primarily from within, especially when you don’t know what the true motives are of the outside country trying to do the changing. I just don’t trust the US to grant the Cuban people all the economic and social freedoms they are due when and if the Castro regime falls. The States have backed many coups throughout Latin America, to the detriment of the local populaces. Just look at what happened in Haiti with Aristide, and Honduras and Paraguay more recently – there are many more examples of this throughout history.

  20. Freethinker81 !! ITS NOT CUBA WHO IS PARANOID, IT’S THE CASTROFASCISTS OLIGARCHY MAFIA! PEOPLE WHO THINK THAT A “GOVERNMENT” HEADED BY THE SAME CASTRO FAMILY FOR OVER 53+ YEARS IS A “DEMOCRACY” REALLY NEED TO SEE A SHRINK!

    Summary of State Dept-John Kerry Q&A- USAID

    Excerpt: “These programs are comparable to what we and other donors do to support democracy and human rights in repressive societies all over the world. Possible counterintelligence penetration is a known risk in Cuba. Those who carry out our assistance are aware of such risks. …the Cuban government arbitrarily arrests and detains citizens who try to exercise basic freedoms…Unfortunately, given these circumstances, we are not always able to publicly convey the details and impact of our programs.”

    2) Question: Democracy programs were supposed to evolve under the Obama administration. How is that happening?
    Answer: This isn’t regime change anymore. We’re helping Cubans “freely determine their own future.” Also, the emphasis has shifted. We’re channeling as much aid as possible directly to Cuba rather than spending outside the island. We’re helping a wider range of people, not just legacy dissidents, but LGBT groups and the disabled.
    Excerpt: “This focus on the island supports our efforts to reach broader segments of the Cuban population, while deepening the direct impact of the programs.”
    Comment: I wonder if support for the LGBT community is a jab at Cuban gay rights activist Mariela Castro. She directs Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education and is President Raul Castro’s daughter.

    http://cubamoneyproject.org/?p=1961#more-1961

  21. Freethinker81 !! HOW COME PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO SUPPORT THE TRADE OF “THE CUBAN 5” SPIES FOR ALAN GROSS NEVER MENTION THE WHOLE STORY ABOUT HOW MANY SPIES THERE REALLY WERE? ARE YOU GUYS TRYING TO HIDE SOMETHING? CAN YOU RESPOND TO THOSE QUESTIONS PLEASE?

    NOT “5” BUT 12 CUBAN SPIES:

    The “Five Cuban Heroes” proclaimed by the Cuban regime were actually part of a network of 12 spies that infiltrated the U.S. In addition to the five spies who maintained their innocence but were convicted in a jury trial (with no Cuban-American jurors), five pleaded guilty to charges of spying in exchange for reduced sentences, one was deported, and one fled to Cuba to escape arrest. The trials cost U.S. taxpayers one million dollars to provide the defendants with a free legal representation. An appeals court is reviewing the five spies’ conviction.

    THE CUBAN 5 (actually 12 total) “WASP NETWORK” A SUMMARY OF HISTORY AND TRIAL!

    In 1995, after obtaining FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court approval, the FBI obtained warrants to surreptitiously search apartments and monitor telephone communications by a group of Cubans who were Cuban intelligence operatives. The group, through its principal agents or illegal officers, communicated directly with the Cuban Government about its activities and received specific missions and taskings from the Cuban Government. The instructions were subsequently relayed to the other members of the spy ring as appropriate.

    During the searches, the FBI uncovered and read the contents of the communications from and to the Cuban Government. This information was concealed in hidden files on computer floppy diskettes kept in the residences of three of the principal agents.

    At Cuban Government direction, the Cuban spy ring collected and reported information on domestic, political, and humanitarian activity of anti-Castro organizations in the Miami-Dade county area; the operation of US military installations; and other US Government functions, including law enforcement activity. The spy ring also carried out tasks in the United States as directed by the Cuban Government, which included attempted penetration of US military installations, duplicitous participation in and manipulation of anti-Castro organizations, and attempted manipulation of US political institutions and government entities through disinformation and pretended cooperation. The spy ring received financial support from the Cuban Government to carry out its tasks.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE DOCUMENT!

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=94546591

  22. THE CASTROFASCISTS THUGS ARE AT IT AGAIN AGAINST DISSIDENTS! THEY DONT UNDERSTAND THAT THESE VIDEOS ARE SEEN ALL OVER THE WORLD AND ARE ARCHIVED FOR FUTURE USE WHEN THE RULE OF LAW WILL REIGN IN THE POST CASTRO CUBA.

    YOUTUBE: “Act of repudiation” against a member of the “Ladies in White” her family – by Hablemos Press. Havana, August 7. – A “Repudiation Act” was perpetrated against “Ladies in White” member Leydi Coca Quesada and her mother Ines Quesada Lemus and her family, residing at No. 4312-A 80th Street in the municipality of Marianao, in Havana.

    YOUTUBE: Acto de repudio a Damas de Blanco y su familia – Por Redacción de Hablemos Press. La Habana, 7 de agosto.- Un de repudio fue realizado a las Damas de Blanco Leydi Coca Quesada, a su mamá Inés Quesada Lemus y sus familiares, residentes en el No. 4312-A de la calle 80 en el municipio Marianao, en La Habana.

  23. Freethinker81

    If Carriles is guilty he should get what any terrorist deserves, the rope.

    But Gross did nothing wrong, and if we accept no government should ever interfere for human rights in another country, then we should all have accepted Apartheid in S. Africa or never fought Nazi Germany. I’m glad our government does some good things, despite all its hypocrisy.

    By the way, the same hands off Cuba mentality was told in Mississipi in the 50s. We were told segregation was the business of the Southern States, and the Feds and Northern States had no business interfering. Or what the Castro crowd nowadays calls “regime change”, as if that’s bad!

    Trying to change evil regimes is a good thing!!

  24. INTERNET and communications is a CRIME in CUBA. FREE ALAN GROSS. In the USA they have a jerk by the name of EDMUNDO GARCIA that promotes the CASTRO REGIME on his radio show. Alan Gross was not from the CIA or trained by US military. Cuba is a police state where people do not have CIVIL RIGHTS. People should not take food or band aides either as it helps the CUBAN people???

    The CUBAN 5 are trained CUBAN SPIES, unlike ALAN GROSS.

  25. @Help, Alan Gross may not have been officially accused of spying, but he was certainly aiding the dissident community with money or material goods. Surely you don’t think he would have been naive enough to think that if he got caught he would only get a slap on the wrist. Again, I’m not saying it to justify his detainment, but regimes in power do whatever it takes to stay in power. If anything I would blame the US govt for putting the guy in harm’s way. It’s incredibly stupid for the State dept. to think Gross wouldn’t get caught.

    And by the way, since you brought up the issue of blowing up aircraft, what do you have to say about Luis Posada Carriles?

  26. Freethinker81, the Cuban 5 were caught spying, have admitted spying, and being members of Cuba’s spy agency. Their own government admits it!

    All took part in the operation to shoot down Brothers to the Rescue aircraft over international waters, which is why the US government cracked down. One even admitted they all were involved in the conspiracy as part of his defense.

    Alan Gross has not been accused of spying, does not work for a spy agency, and has not even been accused of killing or spying on a Cuban mosquito.

    He has been accused of some vague thing like promoting regime change, something you and I and thousands of agents promoting China to Iran to Cuba do legally in the USA every day!!! It’s called free speech and lobbying, every heard of it????

    Talk about hypocrisy!

    Jonathan Pollard is spending a life term in a US prison for spying for Israel, a supposed ally. He never blew up a US aircraft or took part in any acts of violence, but has no hopes of getting treated lightly like the Cuban 5.

    A double standard treating Cuban spies, you are absolutely right!

  27. Seems to me that if the reverse had happened, that if Cuba or some other country was actively promoting and paying agents to institute regime change in the US, the Americans would treat those captured agents with about the same or much less hospitality. And there we see what happened to the Cuban 5. Whether they were spying on the US on behalf of Cuba is up for debate, but the US’ hypocrisy in refusing to release them while demanding the return of Alan Gross is just laughable.

    The US states openly that it promotes regime change in Cuba. So can you blame the Castro regime for being paranoid and doing everything in its power to prevent just that? Any other government would have done the same. I’m not saying all this to defend the Castros, but I call out bs when I see or hear it.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/6/11/will_the_real_terrorist_please_stand

    Excerpt:

    AMY GOODMAN: Saul Landau, is there any deal being made behind the scenes to free the Cuban Five in exchange for—who is Cuba holding that the U.S. would be interested in releasing?

    SAUL LANDAU: Well, the Cubans caught a man named Alan Gross, who was working as a contractor for a company that was contracted with AID, the State Department. And their job, essentially, was to promote regime change in Cuba. And it says so in the legislation, and they got the money to do this. Alan’s job was to set up dissidents with super-sophisticated satellite communication systems that would work through satellite phones and laptops that were untrackable and impenetrable. And I really don’t think that he was trying to keep the Cubans from learning our secret matzo ball recipe. The excuse is, he’s innocent; all he was trying to do was help the Jewish community get better internet access. This is total nonsense.

  28. Terrorists and human right violators keep returning to the nazist spy A. Gross, who himself had long admitted his was a spy mission to equip and help organise the internal traitors, such as the team “yoani”.

    A great documentary by John Pilger, famous journalist from Australia dedicated to unmasking the true face of tehe nazist gulag usa and their imperialist plans to rule the world through their “useful idi.ots”, as they officially call them in cia, reveals what the cia and the usanian nazist government really think about “democracy” and “freedom”. This from Puilip Agee, a cia spy :

    “In the cia we didn’t give a hoot about “democracy”. I mean it was fine if the government was elected and it would cooperate with us, but if it didn’t then, “democracy” didn’t mean a thing to us. And I don’t think that it means a thing today.”

    The cre..tin reagan confirmed that by calling the butcher of Guatemala, gen. rios montt, “a man of great personal integrity”. Probably for keeping his word and killing hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans just for daring to vote for a “communist” president and elect him

    D E M O C R A T I C A L L Y !!!!!!!!!!!!

    But, then, we know by cia’s own agent confession, the usa are NOT interested in democracy.

    Never have been and never will be.

    That makes the team “yoani” and the delusional pin-up granny just a bunch of useful idi..ots, bot literarilly and factually.

    For, as noted above, that is what cia calls their domestic collaborators and traitors. Losers who prefer to lick the shift of the usanian white “gods'” a .rses, rather than to build their own country, to serve their own compatriots instead of a foreign country.

    The country that only an useful id.iot to the nazist dictatorship in the usa can believe in her/his delirium to be a promoter od “democracy” and “freedom”.

    A very interesting segment about Cuba in teh documentary.

    The nazists even openly

    A D M I T

    to trying to blow up power stations and strategic points in Cuba, committing numerous terrorist acts against a sovereign nation as a fait compli and official usanian nazist dictatorship policy to destroy Cuba.

    And yet, these useles idi.. o ts such as the team “yoani” and other internal traitors and terrorists still have the face to come up and patronise Cuban government about “democracy” and freedom”!!!!!!

    Bunch of brainwashed and delusional useless i***s.

  29. LETS NOT FORGET ALAN GROSS FOLKS! ANOTHER VICTIM OF THE CASTROFASCISTS!

    ABC NEWS: Md. Man in Cuban Prison Dreams of Baseball Games – By JESSICA GRESKO

    An American man imprisoned in Cuba for more than two years would like to see a Cuban baseball game, eat ribs and drink Scotch if and when he gets out of prison, his older sister Monday.

    Bonnie Rubinstein, the sister of Cuban prisoner Alan Gross, was in Washington Monday for a weekly demonstration in front of Cuba’s equivalent of an embassy.

    In an interview afterward, she said her 63-year-old brother is a Washington Redskins football fan who has grown interested in Cuban baseball because his jailors watch games.

    She said he would also like to enjoy ribs with her and other family members in Texas and her husband recently bought a bottle of 12-year-old single-malt Scotch he plans to save until his brother-in-law is home.

    It could be a while. Gross, a Maryland native, has been in prison for almost 1,000 days. He was arrested in 2009 while working for a U.S. government subcontractor as part of a democracy-building program in Cuba. He is now serving a 15-year prison term for bringing restricted communications equipment into Cuba.

    Rubinstein, who is four years older that her brother and lives in Dallas, was one of more than a dozen supporters who stood in front of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington chanting “Free Alan Gross Now” and “Let Alan Gross Go.”

    Rubinstein described her brother as gregarious and outgoing, a lover of music and a whiz at picking up and playing musical instruments. She also expressed frustration that her brother remains in prison in Cuba with a number of growing health issues.

    “Why is he still there?” she asked, adding that she feels “he’s being ignored” by the U.S. government.

    “Alan does not want to be forgotten. He doesn’t want to be left there. He wants people to know about him,” she said.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/md-man-cuban-prison-dreams-baseball-games-16942655#.UCCAOqPFWSo

  30. Canadian Medical Association Journal – July 29, 2008

    Manuel Franco and colleagues have analyzed some of the health consequences of Cuba’s socioeconomic collapse in 1990–1995, when the country lost the funding from the Soviet Union on which it had relied for the previous 30 years.1,2 During this period, Cubans essentially experienced a famine: adults had an average daily protein intake of 15–20 g and lost an average of 5%–25% of their body weight. Franco and colleagues neglected to mention many of the negative physical, mental and social consequences of this so-called Special Period.

    The famine in Cuba during the Special Period was caused by political and economic factors similar to the ones that caused a famine in North Korea in the mid-1990s. Both countries were run by authoritarian regimes that denied ordinary people the food to which they were entitled when the public food distribution collapsed; priority was given to the elite classes and the military.3 In North Korea, 3%–5% of the population died; in Cuba the death rate among the elderly increased by 20% from 1982 to 1993.2,4 Thirty thousand Cubans fled the country, and thousands of these emigrants drowned or were killed by sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. Cuba accepted US donations of food, medicines and cash in 1993, and a system of private farmers’ markets was set up in 1994 to provide access to locally grown food.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT!

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2474886/

  31. The Maleconazo, as it is known, took place on August 5, 1994 around Havana’s well known waterfront route, near the port where the ferry to Regla is moored. Here, hundreds took the streets when rumors flew that the ferries had been hijacked and were leaving for the United States. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, subsidies from the once superpower ceased, resulting in a major downturn for Cuba’s state-run economy. The economic situation became dire, with blackouts and food shortages, and many of Cuba’s youth – then as is the case today – sought to flee to the U.S., taking the path they know best to escape the lack of opportunities and liberties in Cuba. The government’s response to these actions was to send the state’s fast-acting brigades (department of state security officials) to the congregation at the port, in an effort to control any possible uprisings. What ensued was a large protest by Cubans who began shouting: “Freedom; Cuba yes, Castro no” and scuffling with police as they expressed their dissatisfaction with conditions on the island. Havana residents began pouring into the streets, significantly increasing the number of protesters. Discontent over the lack food and other basic needs had been building up like a pressure cooker; this was the eruption.- by Carmen Ferreiro

    YOUTUBE: Extended Street Footage- El Maleconazo- Cuban Uprising for Freedom on August 5, 1994

  32. I learned about the special period during my time in Havana a couple months ago and it was heart-breaking. I still can’t believe what my friends told me. There was so much scarcity of food, that often times for example pizza shops would put fillers in the dough or cheese to hide how meagre the supplies were at the time. One time they even found a condom in their pizza – no joke! At least things are not nearly as bad now as during the special period, but you still hear people complaining about shortages sometimes even in loud voices out in public.

    Cuba really needs to try to develop its own industries and be more self-sufficient. It can’t afford to overly depend on Venezuela’s Chavez. Otherwise another special period will befall the island, and the stakes are much higher this time with the speed of the media.

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