Again, Maria

All the women in my family tree are named María. Me too, but in second place, in a dissonant mix of modernity and tradition. I carry this extravagant “Y” in contradiction with the most common woman’s name. So the Marías have been everywhere throughout my life: one brought me into the world, another – gray-haired and with a smoker’s cough – took me to school the first day, and I even played dolls with a sister who also has that name. Years later, in Zurich, one of them opened the doors of her bookstore to me so that I could work surrounded by literature and love. And now a new María has come to my aid, whom I have never been able to meet personally.

She began to translate my texts into English more than four years ago. At first with very little knowledge of Spanish, María José tried to bring my daily brushstrokes into her mother tongue. Her first questions after reading my posts were very nice… “What is a ‘malanga’?” “How much is a convertible peso worth?” “What is a ‘cola’?”… because this transportation engineer has no fear of asking questions, nor does she think it ridiculous to ask about anything she doesn’t know. And that was what I loved about her from the start, her humility. When one interacts with the academic world where everyone shows off their knowledge while hiding their shortcomings, to find sincere people – not the least smug – comes to seem like a balm.

With so much browsing, and even more working, this woman who has now passed her fifties, created a supportive network of translators around the alternative Cuban blogosphere. She started helping me with my blog, and then extended her energies over many other virtual spaces that address the problems of this Island. Godmother from afar to these restless godchildren, MJ tells how her life has changed since embarking on such an adventure. And she doesn’t tire. She looks for translators for versions in French, Hungarian, Polish or Japanese; subtitles interviews; helps promote books; goes to American universities to narrate her experience, and still has time to work at her profession, and look after her parents and daughter. How lucky I am. A patient and generous María has come, once again, into my life, a María who although not part of my family tree, is part of my family.


60 thoughts on “Again, Maria

  1. “capitalist democracies” still searching for an economic model that works!!!!

    And failing at it.

    Just as “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” has failed long time ago. At the very start actually, but to inept wannabe ” some kind of pragmatic capitalists” explaining the basic mathematic impossibility of capitalism is impossible.

    See, to understand that 2+2= 4 it requires an organ called a “BRAIN”.

    Given the tons of indisputable evidence that proves the absence of that organ in

    E V E R Y O N E

    who is a wrong wing sympathiser, the task of explaining this mathematical fact is impossible.

    Imagine now how much

    H A R D E R

    it is to explain the

    F A C T

    that capitalism is unsustainable and self-destructive economic system to cre**s who can’t even grasp the 2+2=4 puzzle (well, a puzzle for them)…

    Ok, now I have to go to some European universities to narrate my experiences in my own field of work. Some serious theoretical and highly sofisticated work that wrong wing losers wouldn’t understand.

    Ever heard of theory of games? Not your gory war games where you “defend” de mock racy with murdering everyone against your nazism and imperialist hegemony.

    The serious stuff.

    Ah, I’m wasting my energy with brainwashed zombies…

  2. Cuba still searching for economic model that works

    Cuba faces a difficult economic situation despite Raúl Castro’s reforms, and a military-led economic transition appears more likely than a Vietnamese or Chinese model of change, Cuba analysts said Thursday.

    “The reforms haven’t provided results. There are too many limitations … there’s an enormous stagnation in society,”

    …the Cuban military and former military officers who have had vast experience in managing a large majority of the island’s state-owned enterprises are likely to have a strong voice in the island’s economic future.

    Cuba, Bye said, essentially faces two scenarios: a Vietnam-like shift toward a more market-oriented economy with space for small- and medium-sized private businesses but with the government clearly in political control or the perhaps more likely “authoritarian militarized transition” in which military technocrats take control through cronyism and corruption.

    “I hope for No. 1, but the tendency is very much toward the second one,”

  3. Re: Jack Spitz # 50

    So basically, what you’re saying Jack is that you’re an ignorant racist bigot and proud of it?

    Got it.

  4. Dear friendly translator…… my comments does not come to light since a while……. why????

  5. Wow, Jack, you’re very arrogant when you purport to speak for Americans. Cubans are some of the smartest and hardest working immigrants that I have ever seen. Of course, there are no lazy Americans who live off of the dole. The majority of Cubans manage to prosper here in America, after coming here with practically nothing.

    And you have a crystal ball that tells you that the Cubans who come here did not work in Cuba. Quite impressive! Where can I get one of those?

    All of you “anti-Yoani” conspiracy theorists get your knickers in such a twist over Yoani’s Paypal account, coming up with all sorts of wild theories as to how she managed to get one. LOL. The question that should concern you is why most Cubans cannot have one. FYI, Paypal has a feature called student cards, which one can procure in five minutes for one’s children, parents, friends, pets, etc. Frankly, you could put the name Marilyn Monroe on the student card and they really wouldn’t care. You need nothing more than the person’s name and email address to open the account. So there.

  6. Jack Spitz said: “Most of the comments seem to be written by Humberto Capiro. a real imbecile if there ever was one.”


  7. Yoani is certainly not translated by this woman who thinks Batista was maligned; she does translate a blog a few times, but most of Yoani’s blogs carry the words “translator unstated”. Most of the comments seem to be written by Humberto Capiro. a real imbecile if there ever was one. Yes, there are Cubans going to the U.S. to be parasites; I am an American paying for these lazy people to show up, get on welfare, take away jobs americans need and prolong the fascism of Batista and other Miami Cubans. I would send them all back to Some deserted island where they would have t do some work rather than live off the sweat of my brow. Yoani is a parasite living off my taxes as well; she is an agent of the U.S. government, and as a result of the USIS, Brisa Williams and the Department of State and Treasury, she has a pay pal account that Cubans are not allowed to have. But none of you fascists are going to reply to how that is done without being an agent of the U>S. government, but until you do, you are wasting your time with inane propaganda. The American people detest these Miami Cubans who live off their work, and who did not work in Cuba and will not work in the U.S. unless it is in a job subsidized by taxpayers and where they work one day a week and get paid for seven. Yoane has never had a job, and is a parasite as much as the other fascists who support her. They are all in Miami anyway, not in Cuba. My advice to all you cubans who want to come here: don’t. Decent people do not want you nor Yoani.

  8. YOUTUBE: Familia de Jorge Cervantes decide abandonar la vivienda – The Jorge Cervantes family decides to abandon their home in order to provide safety for their two small children. Jorge Cervantes who is coordinator in his hometown Contramaestre, in eastern Cuba, of the Cuban Patriotic Union, UNPACU, is an ex-political prisoner with an extraordinary will to struggle peacefully for a democratic Cuba. His house has been an assembly point for UNPACU members in Contramaestre, and as the house lies in a street where many cars and people pass, the anti regime signs he had written on the walls of his house could be seen by many. For over a week ex political prisoner, Jorge Cervantes with family has been victim of a horrible government attack with stones and excrements.
    For more information UNPACU and their activities for the freedom of the Cuban people call: Luis Enrique Ferrer, Rep. International +1 786 553 1666 (USA) – UNPACU, or Patriotic Union of Cuba, is a civil organization born within the prevailing political repression in Cuba, we advocate peacefull but firmly fight against any repression of civil liberties on the island of Cuba.


    BABALU BLOG: Fresh from the Cuban rumor mill: more on the “accident”- By Carlos Eire

    Here are the bare details:

    — Payá’s rental Hyundai was being tailed by two other vehicles from State Security. Their plan was to simply force them off the road and to arrest Payá and Cepero on trumped up charges of reckless driving. In other words, this was a harassment and intimidation “accident” that would have put the Cuban dissidents in jail and scared the living daylights out of the two Europeans.

    — The Hyundai was bugged, and the entire incident was recorded, along with the occupants’ conversation.

    — One of the two State Security cars bumped the Hyundai from behind, then sped up to pass it, grazing its left side. Then it pulled ahead. This was to “de-stabilize” the occupants of the Hyundai and throw them off balance.

    — Then the second car, still behind them, sped up, forcing the Hyundai to go faster.

    __ This chase had a predetermined end point, at which a tractor was waiting for a signal from the State Security agents. The tractor’s driver had orders to pull onto the road and bump the Hyundai. At the appointed time, the signal was given and the tractor did its job.

    — The impact from the tractor caused the driver, Angel Carromero, to lose control, go off the road and hit a very small tree broadside, with the worst impact on the rear left, or driver’s side.

    — Oswaldo Payá suffered a non-lethal head injury and Harold Cepero a broken leg. The vehicle that was tailing them slowed down, but no one got out to help or to check on the occupants. Instead, it merely filmed the accident scene, and contacted State Security, so someone else could clean up the mess. In other words, all of this was recorded and filmed.

    __ A truck soon arrived to carry away the injured. Both Payá and Cepero were alive when pulled from the wreck . Payá had a head wound. But this is not what killed him. It was a second blow, received when his head was intentionally slammed against the truck bed, to finish him off. Cepero had a simple fracture, and was not attended by medical personnel for a very long time. He died mysteriously, waiting on a stretcher for a doctor. The official report listed a pulmonary embolism as the cause of death, that is, a blood clot from the injury that made it up to his lungs.


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