On my balcony there is a yagruma tree. Leaves in the shape of hands with rounded fingers, white underneath and green above. However, its sympathetic shape and its peculiarity in growing in a pot more than fifty yard above the ground are not what I like about it. Rather it is its capacity to adapt. It has understood for years that the concrete ceiling won’t allow it to grow straight, and so it leans outward, hanging its boughs over the wall fourteen stories up. After the cat damaged the trunk sharpening its nails it developed scars around a thicker bark, more protective. Before every obstacle it meets it finds a way to avoid it; before every attack a mechanism to protect itself.

Our daily lives are filled with lessons like that of the “potted Yagruma.” For example, in my neighborhood the young people have configured numerous wireless networks to exchange programs, games and files. Like the balcony plant, they don’t want to shape themselves according to the limits placed on them by reality, among which are the absurd restrictions on free access to the Internet. So they have created their own paths to navigate, although in a rudimentary and limited intranet. With a lack of information channels not under the strict supervision of the State other paths also arise to exchange, buy and sell foreign television programs, music and films. In a dizzying variety and quantity.

“How many terabytes do you want?” one of these boys asked me this morning; though he has barely turned twenty he’s already in the “information business.” His question short-circuited my brain because I’d learned to calculate in megabytes, and later in gigabytes, but this is too much for me. He then detailed his offer. He has packages of serials and documentaries, that run from historic themes, espionage, science and technology, to complete biographies. As he could see that I was reader he also added a collection of interviews with the most important authors of the Latin American “Boom.” He left for the end titles such as “The Great Assassinations of History,” “The Drug Route,” “Extreme Surgery,” “China: An Abyss Between Rich and Poor”… And I stood there with my flash drive in hand not knowing what to choose. In the end I took several gigabytes of a wide variety and ran home. With the same sense of victory as that yagruma which, despite the strict limits of the roof… has managed to slip away toward the vastness.


18 thoughts on “Terabytes

  1. AUDIO FROM CUBA: Detenido violentamente José Daniel Ferrer García y otros opositores (Violently arrested Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia and other opponents in Santiago province) – 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.

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL URGENT ACTION: UA: 229/12 Index: AMR 25/019/2012 Date: 1 August 2012

    Former prisoner of conscience José Daniel Ferrer García was arrested on 30 July in Cuba’s eastern province of Holguín, and his whereabouts are now unknown.

    Political activist José Daniel Ferrer García has suffered a government campaign of harassment since he was released, in March 2011. He was arrested on the evening of 30 July in the province of Holguín, and his whereabouts have been unknown since then. He is the coordinator of an umbrella group of dissident organizations, based in eastern Cuba, the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unión Patriótica de Cuba, UNPACU). He was travelling by car with UNPACU member Antonio Blanco and two others when they were stopped by police. They had been travelling from their home province of Santiago de Cuba to the city of Holguín, in neighbouring Holguín Province. Antonio Blanco has said that they thought it was a routine police check, but once the police realized who José Daniel Ferrer García was, they arrested him. Antonio Blanco and the others were returned to their homes in the province of Santiago de Cuba.

    José Daniel Ferrer García was granted conditional release in March 2011, having served eight years of his 25-year sentence. Under the terms of his release, he could be sent back to prison to serve the remaining 16 years of his sentence. He was arrested in April 2012 and charged with “public disorder”; he was released 27 days later and told that he was being released on condition he give up his political activism. Amnesty International believes his latest arrest is yet another attempt to repress his and other UNPACU members’ peaceful dissident activities in eastern Cuba.

  2. A Redneck walks into a bar and is about to order a drink when he sees a guy close by talking very loud in Spanish and wearing a Marlin’s baseball cap and gesticulating like a wind-mill.

    He doesn’t have to be an Einstein to know that this guy is from Miami, so he shouts over to the bartender so loudly that everyone can hear, “Drinks for everyone in here, bartender, but not for that Cuban over there.”

    Soon after the drinks have been handed out, the Cuban gives him a big smile, waves at him, then says, “Muchas Gracias and “Sankiu!” in an equally loud voice.

    This infuriates the Redneck. He once again loudly orders drinks for everyone except the Cuban.

    As before, this does not seem to bother the Cuban guy. He continues to smile and again yells, “Sankiu”.

    The Redneck asks the bartender, “What’s the hell is the matter with that guy? I’ve ordered two rounds of drinks for everyone in the bar but him, and all the stupid idiot does is smile and thank me. Is he nuts?”.

    “Nope,” replies the bartender. “He owns the place.”

  3. Proud to be Cuban –

    U.S. Census Bureau : Facts about Cuban-Americans – But we will never forget Cuba.

    Cuban-Americans have acquired an enormous amount of wealth and prosperity in an extremely short period of time; no other immigrant group has achieved this as quickly as the Cubans. Many immigrants have never achieved it at all, despite being in this country far longer than Cubans.

    Second-generation Cuban-Americans were more educated than even Anglo-Americans. More than 26.1 % of second-generation Cuban-Americans had a bachelor’s degree or better versus 20.6% of Anglos. Thus Cuban-Americans in 1997 were approximately 25% more likely to have a college degree than Anglos. Other Hispanic groups lag far behind. Only 8.1% of South Americans had a bachelor’s or better. Puerto Ricans, despite being U.S. citizens by birth, recorded a disappointing 11%; Mexicans only 7%. In 1997, 55.1% of second-generation Cuban-Americans had an income greater than $30,000 versus 44.1% of Anglo- Americans.

    Thus Cuban-Americans are approximately 20% more likely to earn more than $30,000 than their Anglo-American counterparts. All other Hispanic groups lag far behind in average income.

    In 1997, 36.9% of second-generation Cuban-Americans had an income greater than $50,000 versus 18.1% of Anglo- Americans. Cuban-Americans were twice as likely to earn more than $50,000. Also, approximately 11% of Cuban-Americans had incomes greater than $100,000 versus 9% of Anglo-Americans, and less than 2% of other Hispanics.

    Cubans comprise less than 4% of the U.S. Hispanic population, Mexicans 65%, Puerto Ricans 10%, Central and South Americans 11%, and “others”

    Yet of the top 100 richest Hispanics in the U.S. more than 50% are of Cuban descent (ten times what it should be on a population basis) and 38% of Mexican descent. The rest is scattered among all other Hispanic groups.

  4. FOX NEWS LATINO: Cuban dissident’s widow does not buy accident story

    Ofelia Acevedo, the widow of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, once again on Wednesday rejected the government version that her husband’s death in a car crash last month was an accident and renewed her call for an “independent” investigation into the matter.

    All of Paya’s relatives continue to be “very grief-stricken” over the death of the human rights activist and on Wednesday night a Mass will be celebrated for him in a private home in the Cuban capital, Acevedo told Efe in Havana.

    The judicial process begun as a result of the accident “doesn’t mean anything” because it “doesn’t change at all the opinion” she has “about the official version of the events,” Acevedo said.

    There must be “an additional investigation independent of the Cuban government,” Acevedo said.

    The widow said she wanted to speak with Carromero, who is being held in the Interior Ministry’s confinement center in Havana. She has not filed any accusation against the Spaniard because she believes that “he should have been in Spain for a while” because “he is innocent.”

    “I’m demanding to meet with him without the presence of Cuban state security” because he was “the last person to see my husband” alive, Acevedo said, adding that she had received information that another vehicle was on the road at the accident site when Paya and Carromero’s vehicle crashed into a tree.

    Contacts continue to be made to resolve Carromero’s situation, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.



  5. Help,

    I toured a non-functioning sugar mill in Cuba. The tour guide told us the mill was shut down because of the US blockade. I pointed out the mill was running up until the early 1990s when Russia was buying the sugar, so obviously the embargo didn’t stop them from working this mill. The tour guide hemmed a bit and said, “well since the Russians stopped buying it we couldn’t find anybody else to buy the sugar.”

    “Why not?”, I asked “World demand for sugar keeps growing.”

    “Oh but the price is too low. We can’t afford to sell it that cheap.” There was a Canadian farmer in the tour group, who like most farmers knew a thing or two about food commodity prices, “No, sir. The price of sugar has been rising. Brazil is producing record crops.”

    “Oh, the Cuban government is talking with Brazil about investing in our sugar mills again. Maybe soon we can make more.”

    As the tour moved on, the guide quietly admitted to the farmer & I, “It costs too much to make sugar the old way, we cannot pay the workers enough so they leave for the city. We need to invest in new machinery, but we have no money.”

    I asked the tour guide if they had souvenir packages of cane sugar and molasses to buy at the site. He looked puzzled as if it never occurred to him to offer such things to tourists. And he wonders why they have no money.

  6. Griffin, you asked the most obvious question possible, which no Marxist can answer.

    If socialism had anything going for it, you’d think at least one people in the world would want it.

    Cuba is dying for labor to cut sugar cane, but they can’t even recruit the poorest Haitians, who prefer getting on rafts and risking the sharks on their way to Florida rather than working for Fidel.

  7. On the topic of the previous thread, but I post it up here:

    Corruption in Cuba: Castro and beyond

    The roots of administrative corruption in Cuba can be traced back to political, institutional, administrative and rule-of-law practices during four centuries of Spanish colonial rule. These institutionally and culturally determined practices were reinforced by political and economic developments on the island during the Republic (1902–1958). They were later greatly transformed by the 1959 Revolution but persisted, taking new forms under different ideological and institutional premises, only to reemerge in pre-revolutionary incarnations following the 1989 socialist bloc collapse. As a result, traditional forms of corruption coexist in contemporary Cuba with equally pernicious forms of corruption that are typical of countries with centrally planned economies or transitioning from command to market economies, creating a complex national landscape of corruption. The juxtaposition of these three corruption trends (traditional, socialist, and transitional) is ominous and portends a very challenging transition scenario for Cuba. Regardless of the circumstances under which the long-awaited Cuban transition materializes, it will likely be accompanied at every step of the way by the specter of corruption.


  8. Re #3: Cuba Esclavitud,

    Your mother told you, no free internet until you clean up your room.

  9. Marxists tell us that Socialism is the more advanced and superior form of organizing society. And yet, the Cuban regime and their Castro apologists keep whining on about how terrible the “blockade” is on the poor Cubans. If Socialism was so great, then the US embargo shouldn’t be any problem.

    After 50 years of the US embargo of Cuba, shouldn’t it be that the US economy has suffered from the embargo? Shouldn’t Cuba be the country with the successful wealthy society?


  11. EDMONTON SUN: Three more Cubans missing – By Allison Salz

    With a total of four Cuban players now missing from the World Cup of Women’s Baseball Championships being held in our city, an Edmonton group is aiming to give some insight to their disappearance.

    Three more players were absent when the delegation showed up for closing ceremonies at Telus Field Sunday night.

    The team had already lost a 21-year-old female outfielder last week, who eventually resurfaced in the U.S.

    The Cuban Edmonton Solidarity Committee says the term “defecting” dates back to the Cold War, and does not accurately depict the state of the country today.

    Rod Loyola, 38, says Cuba is largely misunderstood, viewed as a communist country with repressed people.

    The committee aims to educate Canadians, specifically Edmontonians, about the reality in Cuba.

    “It’s not that they’re staying because of political repression in Cuba. In fact, what’s going on is that because of the economic blockade on Cuba, there aren’t a lot of opportunities,” he said.

    “Every Cuban is allowed to leave Cuba when they want, but they don’t always have the resources to do so.”

    Loyola is referring to a U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, which dates back to 1962.

    Cuba is free to trade with other nations, but the U.S. continues to threaten sanctions against foreign companies that don’t abide by its restrictions.

    As a result, Loyola says there is not much money to be made, not many opportunities to be had.

    He says the players likely jumped at the chance to come to a country like Canada, where they would be able to make money and send it to family members back home.

    “They probably don’t want to leave Cuba, but because of the economic situation there, they’re forced to,” he said.

    “Refugees from around the world come to Canada because they think there are better opportunities here, and then send money back home. I would put the Cuban baseball players in that category.”

    The players are not considered missing officially by police because they were in the country legally and could leave the team if they chose.

    The World Cup of Women’s Baseball ran from Aug. 10 to 19.


  12. Cuba Liar,

    You’ve missed the point entirely — yet again. Yoani isn’t advocating not having to pay for internet access. She’s advocating for access that isn’t restricted by the dictatorship and its endless, self-serving control. The word she used in her Spanish language post is “libremente” and it means just that, unrestricted. Your constant distortions are tiresome.

  13. Let`s keep it rellevant to the topic at hand Humberto, my hermano. All your comments have nothing to do with the present post. Wait I think I heard that before.

  14. And why would internet access be free in Cuba, when it isn`t anywhere else in the world?? Here in Canada, in the year 2000, the government promised free high speed internet access for everyone within the next 4 years claiming that the benefits would pay for the accessibility. Here we are, 12 years later, not only internet is not free yet, the prices have skyrocketed. The internet providers were quick to capitalize rather than allow free access. I now pay $60 a month for high speed.
    Also here you are in previous posts whining about how hard it is to access internet, and that you had to sneak into hotels for access. Now you are boasting on the limitless possibilities and options offered to you byt this young geek. When will your lies end, and who are you tryint to fool??


    WASHINGTON POST: Cuba convicts ex-officials, workers at joint Canadian nickel concern in corruption probe

    HAVANA — A Cuban court has convicted a dozen people of corruption including high-ranking government officials, an executive at a state-run nickel company and workers at a Cuban-Canadian joint concern, official media announced Tuesday.

    In a case involving a contract for the expansion of the Pedro Soto Alba nickel and cobalt processing plant at the Moa mine, the sentences range from four to 12 years, Granma said.

    The court in the eastern province of Holguin took into account “the gravity of these acts and their harmful consequences in one of the strategic activities for the nation’s economy, and the conduct of the accused, characterized by the loss of ethical values and deception,” the bulletin read.

    The announcement was the first official confirmation of a probe that since last year has been the source of rumor and private discussion by diplomats on the island, part of a wider crackdown on graft that caught up several foreigners and sent a chill through the small foreign business community.

    The stiffest prison terms were handed down to Alfredo Rafael Zayas Lopez (12 years), Ricardo Gonzalez Sanchez (10 years) and Antonio Orizon de los Reyes Bermudez (8 years), all former vice ministers at the Ministry of Basic Industry, which oversees nickel production.

    Cristobal de la Caridad Saavedra Montero, business director of state-run Cubaniquel, was given six years.

    Accounting executive Alfredo Barallobre Rodriguez and deputy production director Orlando Carmenaty Olmo of Empresa Moa Nickel SA, jointly operated by Cuba and Toronto-based mining company Sherritt International Corp., were sentenced to six and five years, respectively.




    REUTERS: Diana Nyad gives up latest Cuba-U.S. swim attempt

    Veteran long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad was plucked from the Florida Straits on Tuesday after giving up on her fourth and likely final attempt to make the 103-mile (166-kilometre) swim from Cuba to the United States.

    The 62-year-old American, who battled squalls, rough seas and jellyfish, had set out from Cuba on Saturday. Nyad spent more than 60 hours in the water before she abandoned the swim.
    Mark Sollinger, a leader of the crew and support team accompanying Nyad in five boats as she made the attempted crossing, told CNN a powerful and “extremely difficult Gulf Stream” had pushed her badly off course.



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