The Big-headed

plazaCrowded hallways, blinds that let the heat in but barely allow a breeze to pass through. It’s ten in the morning in any office, in any place that serves the public, with a waiting list, the length and breadth of this Island. A functionary calls the names and surnames of those who wait, reviews their papers, takes them into a little cubicle with cardboard walls. Around noon, an impeccably dressed and shod lady crosses the room and the director himself prioritizes her above all others, and even sees her in his office. When she leaves, someone whispers about her, “That’s the daughter of General So-and-So… so she doesn’t have to wait.”

In the Nuevo Vedado neighborhood ugly concrete buildings alternate with mansions set among spacious gardens behind high fences. “And whose is that?” asks the curious child walking down the street for the first time. The parents snicker, raise their eyebrows, and finally tell him, “It was given to the mother of one of the commanders who came down from the Sierra Maestra, but now her grandchildren live there.” And just as they pass the other corner, an old man is talking with his next door neighbor. As the inquisitive little boy nears he hears him say, “I’m going to see if my nephew, the police chief, will give him a scare, so he’ll turn the loud music down.” When the curious family is crossing Tulipan Street a car fails to give way at the corner. At the wheel, another big-headed “blue blood” who knows he will never be fined for ignoring the stop sign.

Ancestry, the family tree, sharing genes with another is, in the Cuba of today, an important safe-conduct for almost everything. Nepotism is manifested not only the work structure, or in the rising to certain political positions. To be “family of…” streamlines procedures, erases criminal histories, positions you higher on the ladder to purchase a house or a car, gets you into the best hospitals without waiting, guarantees enrollment in the most exclusive schools, and even ensures rapid cremation when someone close to you dies. Your parentage could be the trump card, or the losing one, the element for which many colleges will condone in one student what would never be tolerated in another. Because who would want to embarrass the powerful dad? Why make things complicated for yourself by saying “no” to the whims of the general’s sister? Who would dare to delay a service to the grandson of a senior leader? Everyone knows that anger, when it comes from Mt. Olympus in the form of a lightening bold, of thunder, can get people fired from their jobs, get them in trouble, and ruin promising careers.

75 thoughts on “The Big-headed

  1. el loco, do you know how many times you have used that Villa Marista joke? It wasn’t even that funny the first time. Why don’t you just get off this website if you have nontihg useful to say.

  2. I WISH THE CASTROFASCISTS “PUSIERAN EL HUEVO” (lay their cards on the table) ABOUT THEIR PLAN TO TRADE ALAN GROSS FOR THE CUBAN 5 SPIES! THE COY GAME THAT THEY ARE PLAYING ONLY MAKES IT CLEAR THAT THIS IS EXTORTION TO BEGIN WITH!

    REUTERS: Cuba says it proposed talks on jailed American, no U.S. response

    Cuba has proposed talks with the United States about resolving the case of jailed American contractor Alan Gross, but has received no response, indicating a lack of interest by Washington, a top Cuban diplomat said on Monday.

    Foreign Ministry official Josefina Vidal said at a press conference that Cuba had proposed discussions “as a first step for the development of a process … toward finding a solution to the case of Mr. Alan Gross.”

    Gross, 63, has been jailed since December 2009 and is serving a 15-year sentence for illegally setting up Internet networks in Cuba under a U.S. program that promotes political change on the communist island.

    The Cuban government views the program as subversive.

    Gross’ imprisonment put the brakes on efforts by President Barack Obama to improve long-hostile relations between the two countries just 90 miles apart. Gross’ wife said last week she feared for her husband’s life because his health is deteriorating. Cuba denied that.

    Cuban officials have said before that they would be open to talks about Gross, but this was the first time known that they have said they had proposed them.

    “I want to ratify today that up to this moment we have not received a response from the government of the United States,” said Vidal, who is the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s director of North American relations.

    “We have only heard some public declarations they made to the press in which the government of the United States has said that it has nothing to talk about nor anything to negotiate with the government of Cuba over this issue,” Vidal said.

    “Therefore, it is clear that it is not Cuba, but the United States that is not showing interest in this case.”

    She gave no details of Cuba’s proposal, but she spoke at an event concerning the “Cuban Five” – Cuban agents jailed or paroled in the United States on spying charges.

    Cuban officials have hinted that a swap of Gross for the five agents, who received lengthy sentences in a 2001 trial in Miami, would resolve the case. The U.S. has insisted such a deal is out of the question.

    U.S. officials said last year they had suggested a swap of Gross for one agent, Rene Gonzalez, who is out on parole in Florida, but Cuba turned it down.

    Cuba feels the five agents were unjustly convicted and made their freedom a national cause, referring to them as the “Five Heroes.”

    At Monday’s event in the Cuban capital, U.S. lawyers for the five took part in a video conference from Washington to discuss their latest attempt to appeal the case, which includes charges that the U.S. government paid journalists during the trial and tainted news coverage.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/17/us-cuba-contractor-idUSBRE88G1HK20120917

  3. WASHINGTON BLADE: Cuban LGBT activists cite progress, ongoing harassment – By Michael K. Lavers

    NEW YORK– A leading Cuban LGBT rights advocate says that the country’s activists continue to suffer harassment and discrimination in spite of high profile pro-LGBT campaigns on the island.

    “We are starting to understand how to organize in a more effective manner,” said Leannes Imbert Acosta, national coordinator of the Cuban LGBT Platform, an umbrella organization she co-founded in June of 12 of the island’s independent LGBT rights groups. She spoke during a panel on LGBT rights in Cuba at the Schomberg Center for Research and Black Culture in Manhattan on Saturday. “There is more societal tolerance, but discrimination still exists.”

    The website Cubanet reported that two Cuban security officials detained Imbert Acosta on Sept. 11 as she left her Havana home to deliver to Mariela Castro, director of the country’s National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX.) materials for a planned exhibit on forced labor camps to which the government sent more than 25,000 gay men and others deemed unfit for military service during the 1960s. Castro, the daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro, has said CENESEX would conduct an investigation into these camps, known as Military Units to Aid Production or by their Spanish acronym UMAPs, but Imbert and other activists maintain that Castro has refused to work with them on this issue.

    Cuba Archive, a New Jersey-based organization that documents the Cuban government’s human rights abuses, said that authorities confiscated Imbert’s materials and pressured her to cancel the planned exhibit before releasing her 12 hours later.

    Castro becomes public face of Cuba’s gay rights movement
    Mariela Castro has spearheaded a number of campaigns designed to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and promote the acceptance of LGBT people on the island over the last decade.

    Castro successfully lobbied the Cuban government to begin offering free sex-reassignment surgery under the country’s national health care system in 2010. She has also spoken out in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

    Castro appeared at the New York Public Library with Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in May while she and other Cuban scholars visited the United States. She also met with other LGBT activists in San Francisco during the trip.

    “I honestly think that the activities of Mariela Castro and the CENESEX have been positive regarding the rights of LGBT people in Cuba,” said Emilio Bejel, a Cuban-born poet who immigrated to the United States in the 1960s. The government frequently imprisoned gays and lesbians until it repealed the country’s sodomy law in 1979, but activists and others maintain that authorities continue to use public decency and assembly laws to harass them. “The difference between the situation today and just a few years ago is considerable, but there is still a refusal from the Cuban government to give full rights afforded to LGBT people.”

    Achy Obejas, a lesbian Cuban American writer and journalist from Chicago who immigrated to the United States from Cuba with her family when she was six, agreed.

    “Mariela’s work has been, actually I think, very good in terms of getting non-queers to talk about queers,” she said. “We never needed Mariela for us to talk about us. What she’s done is sort of made the topic more accessible, more common in places where this conversation wouldn’t be happening unless there was a queer person present or a queer problem to contend with.”

    Mabel Cuesta, a lesbian Cuban-born writer who is an assistant professor in the University of Houston’s Department of Hispanic Studies, noted that police continue to raid private gay parties — Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar and French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier were among the hundreds of people detained at a popular gay nightclub in Havana in 1997.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/09/17/cuban-lgbt-activists-cite-progress-ongoing-harassment/

  4. Help #65

    Good point. I’ve never understood how the regime can possibly justify dynastic or blood-line succession with a straight face. They can’t, but they get away with it. It probably has everything to do with maintaining the status quo re corruption. In other words, keeping the army happy. Who’s next in line after king raul kicks the bucket? Queen mariela?

  5. Simba!! AMIGO! HERE IS MORE SPAM FOR YOU! JE JE JE!

    WASHINGTON POST: The Oswaldo Payá mystery continues – by Jackson Diehl – Deputy Editorial Page Editor

    On the evening of July 22, a string of revealing text messages and phone calls circulated between Cuba, Sweden and Spain and back to Cuba — where Oswaldo Payá, one of the country’s bravest and most influential dissidents, was lying dead on a rural highway. That, anyway, is the story of Regis Iglesias Ramirez, an associate of Payá and former political prisoner who says he is determined to expose what he believes was a state-sponsored murder.

    Iglesias, who was released into exile in Madrid two years ago and visited Washington last week, said he was contacted that evening by a Spanish Christian activist named Cayetano Muriel, who in turn had been called by Annika Rigo, a Swede who heads the Christian Democratic International Center in Stockholm. Iglesias says he was told that Rigo had received a text message from Cuba saying that a young Swedish Christian Democratic activist, Jens Aron Modig, had been in a terrible accident: A car in which he was riding had been followed and forced off the road by another vehicle. The text said three people from the car had been transported to a hospital, and one was missing.

    So Iglesias says he first texted and then called Payá’s wife, Ofelia Acevedo, who was in Havana, to see if she had heard anything.

    Payá’s family knew nothing. But soon afterward came the terrible news from Cuban authorities: Payá and another dissident, Harold Cepero, were dead; and Carromero, who was driving the rented Hyundai sedan they were riding in along with Modig, was accused of causing a one-car accident.

    Two months later, that remains the official story. Carromero appeared on Cuban state television, where he confessed to losing control of the car and hitting a tree. He also urged that international attention focus on “getting me out of here.” He faces trial on charges of negligent homicide. Modig was held incommunicado for five days in Havana, then allowed to return home, where he has remained mostly silent. His spare communications, delivered before leaving Havana and in Stockholm, contain two salient points: He claims not to remember what happened in the crash; and he is worried about Carromero.

    As far as Iglesias and other members of Payá’s movement are concerned, it’s quite clear what this adds up to. The accident, they say, was likely caused by Cuban state security, which has managed to silence the survivors by holding the 27-year-old Spaniard as a defacto hostage. The Spanish government, argue the dissidents, is content to tolerate this travesty for two reasons: It wants to free its well-connected activist, who is facing 10 years in prison; and it wants to avoid the diplomatic uproar that would necessarily ensue if it were acknowledged that Payá — a recipient of the European Union’s Andrei Sakharov human rights prize — had been killed by the regime.

    The activists claim there is more evidence of foul play than the July 22 text messages. Iglesias says friends of the Payáfamily traveled to the hospital where the victims of the accident were taken on July 22. There they allegedly encountered Carromero, who repeated that he had been hit from behind and forced off the road by a red Lada sedan. A local police officer read them testimony from two local witnesses who said they saw the Lada at the scene of the accident. According to Iglesias, the Payá friends said a state security officer at the hospital sharply disputed Carromero’s story and appeared to intimidate him into changing it.

    Why would the government of Raul Castro seek to kill a dissident whom it had left unmolested for a decade? After all, the regime has been seeking accommodation with the Catholic Church and Western governments; it has released most political prisoners (including Iglesias) and introduced modest economic reforms. Iglesias thinks he knows the answer to that. Payá, he says, had become an obstacle to Castro’s strategy, labeling the liberalization “the fraudulent change” and organizing support for an alternative platform demanding free elections.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jackson-diehl-the-drama-around-cuban-dissident-oswaldo-paya-jackson-diehl-s-death/2012/09/16/33f681f2-fdc6-11e1-b153-218509a954e1_story.html

  6. Correct my last post: Cuba has the same political system as many European monarchies of 500 or 1000 years ago, not the same economic system.

    Although some European states had serfdom until the 19th century, just like Cuba does now, at least none of those old monarchs banned the town market completely. Only a Marxist Monarch is nutty enough to do something like that.

  7. Simba Sez: “Yes, Yoani there are yet a few remaining faithful readers…”

    Simba! MY AMIGO! CAN YOU GIVE ME THE LINK ON WHERE I CAN GET THIS INVALUABLE DATA ABOUT YOANI’S BLOG READERS? YOU ARE A GENIUS/CLAIREVOYANT FOR YOU CAN TELL HOW MANY READERS READ HER BLOG!! I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT, YOU EVEN BEAT WALTER MERCADO! JE JE JE!!

    Walter Mercado Salinas[1] (born 9 March 1932), also known by his stage name Shanti Ananda, is a Puerto Rican astrologer. On 8 January 2010, and after a fifteen-year relation, Mercado announced that he and television network Univision have parted ways. As of December 2011, Mercado is appearing regularly on Telemundo’s AM show Levántate and 5pm news show Al Rojo Vivo.

  8. Gettin back to what Yoani wrote, it’s strange how blood line is so important in Cuba. Marxists were supposed to hate royalty, weren’t they?

    They overthrew an average corrupt Latin American dictator (Batista) to install a deranged monarch (Castro) who made corruption the national sport. If you’re from good blood, you can get away with anything, unless King Castro doesn’t like you.

    Cuba has the same system as Europe did about 500 years ago.

  9. Simba Sez: “Yes, Yoani there are yet a few remaining faithful readers here even if 35 of the previous 58 “comments” are actually SPAM by two people and not comments reflecting on your writing. It seems they do not realize this is your web log, or journal, commonly called a blog, and this is a comments section to be used for comments about what you wrote.”

    Simba! I HATE TO TELL YOU BUT YOANI USES HER TWITTER TO INFORM PEOPLE ABOUT THE DISSIDENTS AND OTHER IMPORTANT CUBA NEWS! IM JUST FOLLOWING HER EXAMPLE! FREEDOM OF SPEECH, HAVE YOU EVER HEARD ABOUT IT?? THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOU SUBTLE DEFAMATION! JE JE JE! NO SOY BOBO MI AMOR AND I WONT STOP! AND JE JE JE!

  10. Simba Sez: Hank, No, I never heard of that particular cartoon, probably because I am well into my seventies, and was before its time.
    You state you do not agree with my statiscal analysis. Did I count wrong? Possibly I did. I suspect you are right and that there are hundreds who read this that do not comment, but that does not change the numbers I quoted. I intend to drop this entire point soon because I too am doing what I find detestable, but I chose to give my opinion on the detraction from Yoani’s messages. After all, this is her blog. Humberto I sense is a fine gentleman and means well, but does not see the irony of doing exactly what the Dictatorship goons do, and that is lead the readers to all other topics than the one Yoani wrote about.

  11. Hi Simba,

    When I was growing up, there was a cartoon about a very cool cat called Simba. That show only ran for a couple of episodes as part of the Banana Splits, which I remember were associated with the Monkeys. Do you remember that? I don’t know if you model yourself after that cat.

    I don’t agree with your statistical analysis. Just becase a certain pretty well-defined number of people comment on this site, that doesn’t mean there aren’t others who do not. My guess is that that there are very many people who read what is posted here who do not comment.

  12. Simba Sez: Yes, Yoani there are yet a few remaining faithful readers here even if 35 of the previous 58 “comments” are actually SPAM by two people and not comments reflecting on your writing. It seems they do not realize this is your web log, or journal, commonly called a blog, and this is a comments section to be used for comments about what you wrote. One is an obvious tool of the Cuban Dictatorship, purposely detracting from your message.

  13. So, Cuba Liar, if you were diaganosed with some awful condition, like brain cancer or lung cancer, or colon cancer, would you leave Canada and make an immediate bee line to Cuba for surgery? Most rational people who know a little bit about health care would reply with an emphatic “NO!” Quantity is not quality.

    Be well, Cuba Liar, in your illicitly purchased 3-bedroom, within-walking-distance-to-the-beach-house that you will inevitably lose to squatters and the bad joke of a health care system that you will rely upon once there. And when you get that first infection living the dream in Cuba, remember where the antibiotics you’ll need to cure yourself come from and where they were invented. That’s right, the evil capitalist world you despise.

  14. THE F.A.R.C. LIE AND ARE TERRORISTS LIKE THE CASTROFASCISTS! BUT NOW THEY ARE AGAINST A WALL AND THEY NEED TO JUSTIFY THEIR VIOLENCE!

    BRISBANE TIMES: Colombian rebels will admit past ‘mistakes’ – Isaac Risco
    ”We never had a policy of affecting the civilian population,” Mr Calarca insisted. ”We know there have been civilian victims, but our goal was never to cause damage to that person.

    ”We will need to settle that at the table, but we do not understand that person as our victim. He is a victim of the war.”

    But Mr Calarca said FARC was open to debate the issue, and acknowledged the group did not do things perfectly in a conflict that has lasted a half-century.

    ”Perhaps in such a long process there have been mistakes, yes. Mistakes that we detected or actions that were once valid but that later, in a different context, stopped being valid,” he said.

    Asked whether kidnappings were such a mistake, he insisted they were a ”valid” policy at one point but caused FARC ”political problems”, which meant they had to be abandoned.

    Mr Calarca dismissed claims by the Colombian authorities and others that FARC engaged in drug trafficking.

    ”We claim taxes, which could be equivalent to the alms that drug dealers give to the church,” he said. ”In a village, at the time of the prosperity of drug trafficking, all the money in circulation in that village was from drug trafficking. Or, to put it better, from illegal crops.

    ”We don’t understand that as an involvement in drug trafficking, because we never said ‘grow coca leaves’.

    ”It was a reality that imposed itself. What we did not do was to act like the police of the state we are fighting.”

    Formal talks are set to start in Oslo on October 8 and continue later in Cuba.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/colombian-rebels-will-admit-past-mistakes-20120916-260ao.html

  15. Thank you for proving me right once again Humberto, my hermano. Cuba did rank 11th in 1959 as far as doctors per capita is concernend. Today it ranks first in the world with 6.7 physicians per 1000 people.
    MUAH !!!!! besito

  16. EXCELLENT ARTICLE ABOUT THE CUBAN YOUTH! ITS LONG BUT WORTH THE READ!

    GAWKER.COM: The Punks on G Street: Tracking Cuba’s Rebellious Youth 50 Years After the Revolution – Julia Cooke

    I met Liván, Takeshi and the rest of their band of frikis—rock and metal fans of the punk-and-anarchist subcategory—around nine one Thursday night on the median of Havana’s G Street. I’d come to Havana to write a book about what it was like to be a young adult in the post-Fidel city and, since G Street was the biggest party in town, it was where I began.

    Every weekend and some weekday nights, clouds of cliquey, fashion-conscious, loud-talking teenagers and young adults descended on the avenue. By nine, dozens already stood on street corners in loose circles that, since the night was particularly busy, grew amorphously into traffic until drivers honked horns and policemen shuffled toward them and the kids retreated to their sidewalks. Surrounded by so much youth, the impossibility of 80-somethings governing in perpetuity felt as evident as the statues of martyred leftists lofting impotent machetes above the grass below.

    These boys loped down the hill four in front, and then three, pushing each other into onlookers. They wore torn jeans, wallet chains, boots, scruffy Converse, inked limbs. Each had sculpted his hair into a Mohawk or some variation of it. They wanted to take up space, and they did: as I sat on a bench, watching, their group stopped a few feet away from me and a photographer out to capture images of the more colorful Cubans on the avenue asked to take a few shots. The camera’s flash made the shiny leaves of the bushes in the background gleam along with the studs in the boys’ lips, eyebrows, noses.

    “So, what kind of music do you listen to?” I asked the boy who sat down on the opposite end of the bench. In the five years since I’d first lived in Havana for an electrifying teenaged semester at the University of Havana, G Street had bloated from a few stonefaced friki hanging out after weekend shows into the nexus for all tribes of young Cubans. It was both threatening and threatened: People rumored that the government would shut it down—send policemen in on a Friday night and round everyone up under the charge of “social dangerousness” or “a pre-criminal danger to society,” hazy legal terms that carried with them up to four years in prison. So much collective youth was undesirable to Cuba’s government. Understandable, in light of the average age of dissenting movements across the history of one-party political systems.

    “Poooooonk,” a different voice shouted from three feet away as Liván turned to me.

    There’s no right to public assembly in Cuba, so really, the kids’ claim on G Street is tenuous. But even if it’s only symbolic, G Street is the sliver of Havana that belongs to them—not to their families, like the crowded apartments where they live with parents and grandparents, and not to the government, like concert spaces and cafes.
    And it’s free. The people on G Street spend what cash they have on tangible goods, clothing and accessories and phones. Wearing brand names is a small, silent ‘up yours’ to the revolution’s goals of non-materialism and equality—Ed Hardy, Nike and Tommy Hilfiger labels as tightly curled fists against the drab green canvas of identical-looking bureaucrats.

    The avenue fulfills some of the same functions as the Internet, which only 15 percent of Cubans regularly access, if that—trustworthy statistics are maddeningly elusive. G Street is email, Facebook, and YouTube rolled into one. Parties are planned in the shadows of stubby trees. The avenue’s promenade is a place to publicly trace the linked circles of social groups, of visually similar but philosophically divergent cliques differentiated by sartorial choices and what sort of music they like. And would-be performers compete for audiences: breakdancers and capoeira athletes whirl on the pavement, earnest troubadours strum guitars and rappers that make your shoulders twitch do jam sessions, all with small circles of onlookers. I’d gone to a breakdancing practice session once, in an empty public building on a Saturday, and watched skinny kids spin and flip and shout and clap for one another in what used to be a restaurant with marbled floors and full-length windows.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://gawker.com/5943543/the-punks-on-g-street-tracking-cubas-rebellious-youth-50-years-after-the-revolution

  17. C.L.! HERE IS MORE DATA THAT BACKS UP THE UNESCO DOCUMENT THAT I POSTED WHERE IT SHOWS CUBA’S ILLITERACY RATE PRE CASTROFASCISM AT AROUND 25% OR LESS! JE JE JE!

    PBS AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: FIDEL CASTRO- Pre-Castro Cuba- Cuba’s capital, Havana, was a glittering and dynamic city. In the early part of the century the country’s economy, fueled by the sale of sugar to the United States, had grown dynamically. Cuba ranked fifth in the hemisphere in per capita income, third in life expectancy, second in per capita ownership of automobiles and telephones, first in the number of television sets per inhabitant. The literacy rate, 76%, was the fourth highest in Latin America. Cuba ranked 11th in the world in the number of doctors per capita. Many private clinics and hospitals provided services for the poor. Cuba’s income distribution compared favorably with that of other Latin American societies. A thriving middle class held the promise of prosperity and social mobility.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT, VIDEOS ETC.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/castro/peopleevents/e_precastro.html

  18. C.L. LETS SUPPOSE CUBA HAS ALMOST 99% (according to the UN is 96%)! THE TRUE TEST OF ANY LITTERACY PROGRAM IS THE POSITIVE PERCENTAGE CHANGE NOT JUST THAT SINGLE FIGURE! BELOW IS A CHART THAT CLEARLY SHOWS THAT NOT ONLY ARGENTINA AND COSTA RICA HAVE A SIMILAR PERCENTAGE INCREASE BUT THAT THOSE WHO MADE REAL STRIDES ARE COUNTRIES LIKE Colombia, Paraguay AND LOOK AT Brazil’s 73% INCREASE! AND PLEASE DONT CHANGE THE SUBJECT TO THE BAD OLD U.S.A., BUT THAT’S EXPECTED!

    COUNTRY NAME – Latest Data Available for years 1950-53 (%) – year 2000 (%) – and % Increase
    ARGENTINA: 87% – 97% – 11.5% (increase)
    CUBA: 76% – 96% – 26.3% (increase)
    CHILE: 81% – 96% – 18.5% (increase)
    COSTA RICA: 79% – 96% – 21.5% (increase)
    PARAGUAY: 68% – 93% – 36.8% (increase)
    COLOMBIA: 62% – 92% – 48.4% (increase)
    PANAMA: 72% – 92% – 27.8% (increase)
    ECUADOR: 56% – 92% – 64.3% (increase)
    BRAZIL: 49% – 85% – 73.5% (increase)
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: 43% – 84% – 95.3% (increase)
    EL SALVADOR: 42% – 79% – 88.1% (increase)
    GUATEMALA: 30% – 69% – 130% (increase)
    HAITI: 11% – 49% – 345.5% (increase)

    Source: UN Statistical Yearbook 1957, pp. 600-602; UN Statistical Yearbook 2000, pp. 76-82.
    a. Data for 1950-53 are age 10 and over. Data for 1995 are age 15 and over, reflecting a change in common usage over this period.
    b. Data for Argentina 1950-53 is current as 1947 data, the latest available, and reflects ages 14 and over.
    c. Data for 2000 are age 15 and over

    http://ctp.iccas.miami.edu/FACTS_Web/Cuba%20Facts%20Issue%2043%20December.htm

  19. C.L. ! THE LITERACY LEGEND OF THE CASTROFASCISTS SEQUESTERED REVOLUTION CAN BE BEST ANALYZED WITH NUMBERS FROM THE U.N.! BEFORE THE CASTRO FAMILY OLIGARCHY MAFIA TOOK OVER, CUBA’S ILLITERACY WAS SIMILAR TO MANY LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES LIKE COSTA RICA AND PUERTO RICO AT ABOUT 20-25%

    UNESCO: WORLD ILLITERACY AT MID-CENTURY: A statistical study published 1957 (p. 30)

    TABLE 5: Number and percentage of illiterates in the population 15 years old and

    COUNTRY: Year – Total number of persons – Cannot read and write – Per cent illiterate

    COSTA RICA: 1950 – 457,786 – 94,492 – 20.6%
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC : 1950 – 1,185, 424 – 677,293 – 57.1%
    PANAMA: 1950 – 442 249 – 132,978 – 30.1%
    PUERTO RICO: 1950 – 1,255,328 – 335,799 – 26.7%
    ARGENTINA: 1947 – I I,318,896 – 1,541,678 – 13.6%
    (could not find Cuba on this table)

    UNESCO: WORLD ILLITERACY AT MID-CENTURY: A statistical study published 1957 (p. 41)

    CUBA: 1950 – 3,400,000 – 680 to 850,000 – 20-25%

    http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0000/000029/002930eo.pdf

  20. Cuba Libre said: “Humbertito, my hermano, being the well-informed journalist that you are, you do not need any links to prove the poverty there is in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.”

    C.L.!! THAT IS NO MY QUESTION MY DEAR! HERE IT IS AGAIN, MAYBE YOU CAN TAKE OUT YOUR READING GLASSES AND RESPOND PLEASE!

    QUESTION: WHERE IN HAITI, THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC OR IN ANY OTHER LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRY DOCTORS, ENGINEERS, NURSES AND OTHER PROFESSIONAL GET AROUND $20/MONTH?

  21. f one were to believe the Castroist propaganda, one would have the impression that Cuba was a country with a 40% illiteracy rate, with the greedy hands of multi-national US conglomerates controlling every facet of the national economy; a country without doctors,where workers and farmers were horribly exploited, with a high level of unemployment, and with houses of prostitution and gambling casinos on each corner.

    Of course, Cuba was not a fully developed country, nor were its resources distributed equally among all its people -nor have they been equitably distributed during Castroism-, but in 1958 only 14% of the capital invested in the island came from the US, and there were no more than 10 gambling casinos in the country. At the same time, 62% of sugar mills, the principal sites of sugar production -which itself was the most important component of the Cuban economy- were owned by Cubans.

    In 1953, Cuba was 22nd among the world’s nations in the number of doctors per capita, with 128.6 for each 100 thousand inhabitants.

    The mortality rate was 5.8 -third lowest in the world-, while the mortality rate of the United States was 9.5 and that of Canada 7.6.

    Towards the end of the 50s, the island had the lowest infant mortality rate of Latin America, with 3.76, followed by Argentina with 6.11, Venezuela with 6.56, and Uruguay with 7.30, as per data provided by the World Health Organization.

    Cuba was number 33 among 112 nations in the world as far as the level of daily reading, with 101 newspaper copies published per 1,000 inhabitants, which also contradicts the argument that the country was inhabited by a great number of illiterates.

    Even as far as so-called luxury items, in 1959 Cuba had one radio per each five inhabitants, one television set for each 28, one telephone for each 38, and one automobile for each 40 inhabitants, according to the Annual Statistical Report of the United Nations. www2.fiu.edu/~fcf/cubaprecastro21698.html

    Cuba Before and After Castro:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9q0KZo3CKk&feature=related

    Jean-Claude Duvalier, nicknamed “Bébé Doc” or “Baby Doc” (born July 3, 1951), was the President of Haiti from 1971 until his overthrow by a popular uprising in 1986. He succeeded his father, François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, as the ruler of Haiti upon his father’s death in 1971. After assuming power, he introduced cosmetic changes to his father’s regime and delegated much authority to his advisors, though thousands of Haitians were killed or tortured, and hundreds of thousands fled the country.[1] He maintained a notoriously lavish lifestyle (including a state-sponsored US$3 million wedding in 1980), and made millions from involvement in the drug trade and from selling body parts from dead Haitians while poverty among his people remained the most widespread for any country in the Americas.[2]

    Sounds like a veritable angel, no? Life must have been grand for the average Haitian under this regime. Well, as long as they could get free food from the dictatorship, right Cuba Libre?

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