Linguistic Reforms

We will never yield to blackmail from any country or group of nations no matter how powerful they may be.

We will never yield to blackmail from any country or group of nations no matter how powerful they may be, come what may!

Don’t worry, reader, this article isn’t about what you think it is. It’s not a call from the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language to expedite the process of accepting new terms, nor even a demand to reduce the complexity of Spanish spelling. None of that. It’s been quite a while since I hung up the robes of a philologist, and I now understand more about bytes than syllables, more about tweets than conjugations. I am speaking, rather, of those peculiar twists used in Cuba to describe economic, political and social phenomena. The “reforms” that we are experiencing seem to be happening more in the field of linguistics and semantics than in concrete reality. I will offer up some examples… don’t despair.

In our country there has been a call to “update the socialist model” through measures that are simply adding elements of a market economy to the system. What is called “self-employment” is known in other parts of the world as the “private sector.” Nor are the unemployed designated with the corresponding word, but rather given the label of “available workers,” a very smooth way to describe the drama of unemployment. In hospitals, when they greatly reduce the number of X-ray and ultrasound technicians, it’s explained as a chance to “enhance the clinical diagnosis.” Which, translated into a truthful statement, means that the doctor must discover with her eyes and her hands everything from a fracture to an internal hemorrhage.

In the official discourse, popular frustration with the reforms is simply a sign of “misunderstanding and indiscipline.” If, in addition, this disagreement leads to protests in the street, then the participants are neither “outraged,” nor “proletarians demanding their rights,” but rather “mercenaries” and “counterrevolutionaries.” On this Island, the expression “the people” is one of the many pseudonyms for the powers-that-be, so you can imagine the confusion this often creates. When you read, “by the decision of a sovereign people…” or “with the participation of all the people,” you can substitute for the subject in each of these phrases “the Communist Party.” Nor can the cholera epidemic be mentioned by its seven letters, because the newspaper Granma has already coined the phrase “an illness of acute diarrhea.” And those impoverished neighborhoods that stretch around the periphery of the city, don’t even think of calling them favelas or slums! They are, in the distorted semantics surrounding us, “low-income communities.”

I don’t understand anything and neither do you. A meta language has taken over our lives and no word is what it seems. But trust me, reader, and “don’t worry yourself,” which is just the way we say every day that “the situation is worrisome.”

105 thoughts on “Linguistic Reforms

  1. Oh, look! Capitalist propaganda at its’ worst! The New York Times states, confirms and removes ANY doubt!

    The usanian gulag imposed a crippling embargo/blockade</b? on CUBA!!!!…..amp;st=cse

    This from the article:

    “debate over Washington’s 50-year-old trade embargo”

    See? You are


    if you claim tha your nazist gulag does “not” have any embargo on CUBA. You are


    if you deny the fact tha the economic blockade is in fact a



    But, we knew that already, didn’t we?

  2. Help… mammy I see Pedro has taken the words out of your mouth…

    After YOU i.e. your banks philosophy of MORE is better etc, have run this world into the ground it is still the fault of the dead dictators wow!… We know that responsibility is not an American virtue quite the opposite.. probably you need 300-400 years of history before you should feel responsible for messing it all up for a lot of people outta of greed… I wonder maybe the 2008 crash was the fault of the red skin natives, since they didn’t pay taxes for those casinos!… Or worse they refused to die too many at Wounded Knee… and that had a knock on effect…today!

    Man, we know that this is always the strategy of anyone coming into power – to blame the past… but you are not coming in you are going out… If Castro can hang on for 10 more years he should see you relegated to 3 or 4th place in the world… and your recent biased policies towards everyone but your few 1% has made it very easy for us not to miss the good ol’ American days… What I liked and still love about America I am sure is long gone like the Roman republic before Caesar!!

    Practically you have failed to live up to your set HR standards and now you are changing the standards as it suits you…It is called free fall if not having double standards … I came too late to the capitalist table to enjoy more than the leftovers, as most migrants do everywhere and it took years to even get a minor seat i.e. to get a decent enough living, but apparently you guys had it in excess… and excess breeds greed.. and you are greedy darling that’s all… No wonder you still miss the good ol days when your kite flew high, your media didn’t get contradicted and it did believe in the freedom of speech, and you could upheld the rights of many since it didn’t cost much, rights which these days you would deny to anyone that crosses your street. Why can’t you do the right thing?? well why???

    So then we should accept any template you impose?… well we do that a lot with Israel with Iraq with etc etc.. 20 years of war and not ONE big nation seem to want to stop wars they just want more of them and plan ahead for wars… future generation imprinted with hate division and a mind frame that nothing counts in this world but who owns the land the power can do any thing they want!… well if you really care about HR you should start where it hurts most and war is a state of mind… Palestine – Afghanistan – Iraq …

    Cuba whether you like it or not is much much further down the line – and my argument was you are forcing a template on the Cubans again… Try something new than what got us all in this mess so that few can have it XXXXXXX large!

  3. _man comes around_ says:

    “and yes I am an apologist we should reject any social templates ‘bigger nations’ impose”

    I know, that’s exactly what you guys said about “poor little Hitler” and “poor little Stalin” and “poor little Mao” and “poor little Pol Pot” and “poor little Castro”

    The “big bad USA” should never talk about human rights and just let “poor little Hitler” folk kill all they want

    All you apologists keep quoting “international law” whatever that is, must be a law written by “poor little Hitlers” to stop “big bad USA”

  4. I am a proud Cuban-American whose heroes are two of the best generals the twenty century produced:

    Francisco Franco y Bahamonde and Augusto Pinochet

    Pedro Luis Boitel

  5. @92… Humberto don’t know what world you and Team Y 5 live in, but we’ve been hearing for 50 years how bad life is in Cuba how bad Castro is because he and his gang did a revolution… and not the opposite… That the revolution extracted a heavy toll – that some things are more likely better than in your USA – that the Cuban Act is a typical abomination to enslave Cuba (not democratic or in line with international law) – that don’t count… but then again you think of yourself as the template for the rest of the world.. a template never ever actually to be bettered nor reachable… and yes I am an apologist we should reject any social templates ‘bigger nations’ impose the more so templates that enrich the few by mean of exploiting many many others… which in your book is called so clinically correct, profit and waged work.

    So yeah …DEAL… do your thing .. I do my thang.. and as much as I wouldn’t visit Cuba under Castro or not until it becomes less a paranoid and geriatric state – it is very likely I won’t visit it under your foot too cos it would be the same hole it was under Batista where Cuban were asked to suckup to the gringo.

    So much for wanting to know the people and what goes there… all I got is a bunch of ‘self-righteous as always’ American policemen to tell me what I should say and think about Cuba… when it is obvious to the naked eye – it is not what you say it is after 50 years and Castro proved clearly you have no clue!…

  6. Humberto, it wasn’t even close to the most severe storm to hit Cuba.

    But we all know:

    Every storm that hits Cuba every year is the most severe storm in half a century

    Every drought that hits Cuba every year is the most severe drought in half a century

    Every time Castro sneezes it’s the fault of the CIA

    Castro sounds like one of those Imams who blames Israel every time it gets hot in Saudi Arabia or rains in Indonesia.

    Here’s a more likely cause of Cuba’s problems: Fidel and Raul Castro

    Here’s what Cuban officials are now doing to rebuild:

    1) Stealing construction material donations, for their own houses and the black market
    2) Stealing food for their own kitchens and the black market
    3) Stealing medical supplies

    So the hurricane recovery is complete and victorious, everything is back to normal.

    Viva la revolucion.

  7. KANSAS CITY STAR: Sandy leaves disease, destruction in Cuba – By ROBERTO DE JESUS GUERRA PEREZ

    SANTIAGO, Cuba — While sections of the East Coast of the United States are still totaling up the damage from Superstorm Sandy, much of Cuba is overwhelmed by destruction and disease cause by what one U.N. official called the most severe storm to hit the island nation in half a century.

    Already, outbreaks of cholera and dengue fever have been reported in eastern parts of the country, with residents in three provinces – Santiago de Cuba, Las Tunas and Guantanamo – saying some municipalities have been placed under quarantine.

    Public health authorities have not yet officially acknowledged the outbreaks.

    Meanwhile, storm damage to property was exacerbated by the poor condition of many buildings.

    Even before Sandy struck, officials knew the storm posed a serious threat.

    Lazaro Exposito Canto, head of the Provincial Defense Council in Santiago de Cuba, made a last-minute announcement on television and radio, warning “it’s not looking good. Citizens whose homes are in poor condition should take precautions and all necessary steps to avoid loss of life.” Few heard his message, however, since most people in the province had lost power by the time it was broadcast.

    Preliminary damage reports, published in the country’s youth newspaper, Juventud Rebelde, indicated that more than 4,200 homes had collapsed, 27,000 had lost their roofs entirely and 17,000 had damaged roofs in the province alone.

    Today, more than a month after the storm, the main concern for many is the spread of disease.

    Residents of Las Tunas, Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo and Granma provinces say doctors and other health workers are actively inspecting houses and heavily populated areas to curb the diseases.

    Meanwhile, tight security is being imposed to prevent word from spreading about the extent of the disease. One eyewitness said police and security-service officers are guarding infectious disease wards at clinics and hospitals to prevent news of the scale of infection leaking out.


  8. The Man said: “EVERY of your messages is that you crave the people in Cuba to have it so bad that they would only think about rebelling…”



  10. @88 as always you are deluded and stuck living in your ‘how great we are’ bubble…

    I think I started posting links about your beloved USA a long time down the line after I got flooded and sick of Humberto’s parrot freedom talk… just to show you that when it comes to the media it is not just what one side says it is also what the other side says too!…. dig? nnah you don’t! you still think your media is not lying – I will refrain from calling you names but a few pop in my mind and are the funny ones!

    Secondly.. the movie doesn’t portray the gypsies as bad in any way… it is also done by one of the few gypsy directors that exist so he should know!!… so there you have it again lack of attention span and lack of interest in any other point of vewi –> the type of ‘habonics’ you are… worse than the Russians and that was the big twist after communism when the veil fell… We found out the other side is marginally better!… and mentality wise just as bankrupt and politically handicapped as the commies were! working class v middle class mentality… wow what a fight it was for the good – NOT and how much time we were asked to waste on both sides!

    So yeah darling I am here to take head on mamones like you who sell one idea one dogma that is capitalism by your ‘anonimous’ assertion…and sell it to Cubans who in their isolation might even thing your country is free and they are not!… the only difference is Castro is trying the same in Cuba… with less success than your bosses have achieved in the USA… One thing that strikes every migrant setting foot in the West (even coming from an impoverished dictatorship) is how regimented you are and behave… a clear example we have here!… Individuality?? what individuality… you interpret that personal freedom is a new fascia for your iPhone! … well darling it aint that it is much more and you should learn from the oppressed not from the rich!

    And here is the ‘other’ free Cuba…. called the USA
    ‘Everyone in US under virtual surveillance’ – NSA whistleblower

    Oh and look the Orwellian truth applied .. all states are equal but some states are more equal than others

  11. Mouse, you are truly an ignorant individual. You post a link to a movie of “gypsies behaving badly” in order to justify their mistreatment by your people? That’s the same as saying that “she deserved to be raped because she had on provocative clothing.”

    You are fond of pointing out the mistreatment of black people in the United States, yet you justify the relegation of gypsies to second class status because they “behave a certain way.” H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E.

  12. So, Mouse, you “profoundly distrust the media,” yet post every derogatory, anti-US MEDIA STORY that you can find on the internet, as if they were an accurate representation of life in the US? You are a hypocrite.

  13. Is anyone else sick to death of harking back to the old days of communism in the eastern block, gypsies, roma, Romania – booooooring. Let’s hear about solutions for Cuba and how to get rid of Castro.

  14. Anonimo, regarding gypsies maybe you should watch a movie like Gadjo Dilo that is in my op a description of something I know and refer to and how mixed some situations are, and it is pretty good fun to watch up to the end… Then again you can try to watch the much loved by the Brits, Time of the Gypsies (which uses a lot of the mistique, cruelty or ignorance and sentimentality I have heard a lot of and most of us were taught to avoid them for)… Try picture yourself somewhere in the ‘milieu’ not just that you are watching it in a movie… then get back to me with what you think !…

  15. @77 Humberto you are the one who does not want to talk about the real Cuba with good and bad with beauty and ugliness…. Maybe if you did that you would teach guys lime me something and who the Cubans are… But you talk about the Voice of America and Fox News, Cuba as if it is what Cuba is was and will be, just because some middle-class jurnos say so… Even you should know that there is a difference between an image created elsewhere that suits a purpose and what the reality is on the ground!… but then again maybe a parrot doesn’t know what he says he just repeats what he’s been trained! Maybe you should have grown up like some of us did in communism….profoundly distrusting the media… and thinking on our feet. Even now I cannot trust and do not trust any media for the simple fact it is always in the pocket of someone… politician or business megalomaniac who controls it like a despot.. They don’t even seem to care we know that now!

    In plain terms the subtext of EVERY of your messages is that you crave the people in Cuba to have it so bad that they would only think about rebelling… they may not have it nice as you do but on the on the other hand there is good happening in Cuba too and you never touch on that cos it is not part of your plan!

  16. An interesting turno of events by those classmates of the team “yoani”, the egyptian president Morsi and his “activists” gang. First they received the money from cia and nsa to destroy their own country (boy, does that sound familiar to the team “yoani”), then they grab absolute power against which they were supposedly fighting, then they declare the president


    the law.

    Reuters (still a nazist propaganda machine, but a little less one-sided than fox, cnn abc and alike cia and nsa propaganda machines) reports:

    Similar development as that of the other “darling” of the “freedom” and “democracy” world that also finances the criminals and terrorists, and let us not forget the traitors too, the team “yoani, is going on right now in Tunisia, where another muslim fundamentalist government grabbed the absolute power and the only economic victory achieved is promulgation of koran in its tens of thousands!!!

    The classmates of the team “yoani”.

    So, what would happen to Cuba if the people like these criminals managed to climb up the throne and replace their idols Castros?

    Well, you can imagine by the current events unfolding in freshly “liberated” and hard-muslimanised countries on the top of Africa.

    And is it not interesting that after over three years of repeating it, not ONE single little pioneer from the support brigade


    denied my claim that Castros are their idols!!!!

    Not a single word!!!


    “Our source reasoned that the government allowed a black market to exist out of fear of civil unrest if the people’s basic needs are not met. The government will step in, though, if it believes a person has become reckless or too conspicuous with one’s wealth, he said.”


    MINYANVILLE: Cuban Economy Is Still Stagnant Despite Reforms: Cuban National – By Christopher Witrak

    Minyanville spoke with a Cuban national who has been in the US about one month to find out more. The individual (identified as “he” for the sake of this article) did not want the specifics of his arrival (which is legal if he leaves shortly) revealed. However, it is well know that Cubans have come to the US through Canada, Mexico, Ecuador (where approximately 100,000 Cubans have settled), and Spain (where thousands of Cubans of Spanish descent have been allowed to move.)

    The main reason Cubans are on the move, said our source, is that the local economy is stagnant. “One thing is what [the government] tells you, and another is the truth. The economy really isn’t doing better. There are a lot of government programs to help improve the economy, but there are no perceptible results. There is a lot of poverty.”

    On a side note, Cuban-Americans who had migrated in the 1960s after Castro came to power were present during the interview, and added their own commentary mostly to complain that the source was sugar-coating answers although it’s hard to believe “a lot of poverty” is painting a rosy picture.

    Our source verified what Jorge Duany of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University said in an interview with ABC/Univision News:

    [The increased number of Cubans leaving is] due to the continuing economic downturn in Cuba, which is leading a large number of people outside of Cuba. Short-term reasons for this rise could be that there are a number of people who are unemployed and looking for a job in the small private sector in Cuba who were laid off by the government and have doubts about future prospects.

    Our source explained how one would start a business:

    In order to start a business, you need to acquire a permit from the government, but first you need to give a “contribution” to the government. The government does not question from where you receive the money. It could even be from relatives in the US. You could start a brick-and-mortar business with 10,000 to 15,000 Cuban convertible pesos, which equals $10,000 to $15,000 in Cuba, but many Cubans need money from family members living abroad in order to launch the business. Afterwards, the government does not care if you continue to receive money from outside sources [though it must be in limited amounts] and you conduct your commerce. Business owners also have to pay taxes.

    Tourism’s pay is so strong that it has attracted individuals from unexpected sectors of the economy. Our source told us about two surgeons who left their positions to become taxi drivers because the tips earned from tourists exceeded their salaries as surgeons. A musician earned significantly more from his tips working at a hotel than a dentist earned from his salary. Many medical professionals only earn 625 national pesos, or $25, per month.

    According to our source, a Cuban national would have to pay the equivalent of a month’s salary or more to eat a single meal at one of these establishments. A meal can cost 4 convertible pesos, and many Cubans only eat at restaurants when relatives from abroad visit and pay for their meals. (The situation was similar with other goods, not just food. Our source talked of living in a town with only one store carrying clothing virtually inaccessible to the average Cuban as purchasers needed convertible pesos to afford them.)

    Our source elaborated on the business structure of a private restaurant:

    Restaurateurs can either grown their own food or purchase food from farmers. All farmland is state owned, and the government only leases pieces of government registered land to individuals such as farmers or restaurants owners. The government calls this “Uso Frutus Gratis,” or free use of the fruit of you labor. The land is never yours, though. Plus, a contribution (a sort of tax) from the harvest must be paid to the state for the funding of institutions such as hospitals and schools. [The government may begin experimenting with new land cooperatives.]

    Despite the possibility of renting land, most restaurants owners have to purchase produce from farmers in the marketplace. Those who sell food in the marketplace can charge whatever price they want, making their oferta de mando, or offer of demand. Problems occur because the lack of a fixed price allows sellers to charge whatever price they wish and constantly change prices. When you go to a market, farmers will begin competing on price, constantly undercutting each other.”

    Our source’s description of the interactions in a local market indicated that market mechanisms may still seem alien to some Cubans.

    Our source reasoned that the government allowed a black market to exist out of fear of civil unrest if the people’s basic needs are not met. The government will step in, though, if it believes a person has become reckless or too conspicuous with one’s wealth, he said.

    Overall — and despite accusations that he was going easy on Cuba — our source expressed disappointment with the results of the changes Cuban President Raúl Castro has introduced and tremendous disillusionment. While there have been various reforms, many of which were implemented since 2010, it’s made little difference day-to-day. Asked if the government was likely to make other major political reforms, the individual simply responded, “No.”



  19. Anyone who travels to Cuba is a traitor and frankly deserves the fate or outcome that awaits him. There is no legitimate justification to visit the island until Castro and all his myrmidons are utterly defeated and executed.

    La memoria de mi tio Pedro Luis Boitel sigue vigente.

    Pedro Luis Boitel


    THE HERITAGE: Three Years as Cuba’s Hostage: Freedom for Alan Gross Still Far Away – Kathleen Donnelly

    Gross sits in jail today because the Castro regime persistently denies its people basic political freedoms, including the freedom to access uncensored, unfiltered news and opinions. The U.N. acknowledged this right over 60 years ago.

    The Obama Administration protested Gross’s imprisonment from the start and claims that better relations with Cuba hinge on the American’s release. Yet Havana insists on a prisoner swap, using Gross as a bargaining chip to win the release of the Cuban Five—a group of Cubans convicted in Miami for acts of espionage.

    On the surface, Cuba looks to be offering a reasonable deal: You give us our spies and we’ll give you your spy. But a little digging proves that Cuba’s offer is completely unacceptable.

    First of all, Gross is not a spy. Cuba even admits that it does “not consider Alan Gross a spy.” However, Cuba does admit that the Cuban Five were spies. Moreover, Gross is imprisoned for, at the worst, providing a small group of Cubans with uncensored Internet access. In comparison, the Cuban Five were convicted for using false identification to infiltrate U.S. airports and naval air stations. Once inside, they sent reports back to Havana detailing aircraft and military personnel movements and describing the facilities’ layout and structures.

    The two activities are hardly comparable.

    The Heritage Foundation has written on the case of Gross before. On this third anniversary of his imprisonment, Americans shouldn’t forget the true injustice of Gross’s situation.

    Oddly, the longer Gross is in prison, the more talk is made in favor of the U.S. being flexible with Cuba. After all, some say, Gross did violate Cuban laws, and Cuba has offered to negotiate for his release. To buy into this argument, though, is to forget who is at fault in the case.

    Despite pressure to cut a deal with Cuba, the Obama Administration is right to hold its ground against Cuba. Three years into his unjust imprisonment, Gross, along with millions of Cubans, remains a victim of a repressive, totalitarian Castro regime that has held the island in its iron grip for more than half a century.


  21. Humberto, I took a look at those pictures of the teenager stabbed by a police Captain’s daughter.

    Her only crime was being a dissident’s niece.

    The police have taken no action to arrest the perpetrator. Maybe she received a Hero of Socialism medal.

    Here’s the pictures again, for anyone interested in the Real Cuba:


  23. @67 you are right … Hate is a waste of time… That is why nations under dictatorship are so wasted and tired.. I used to spend my time hating a dictator wished he was no more … And like my many others… So I learnt the hard way that to hate is a waste of time spirit and energy…while other ‘nice people’ in the West think just about making money and how to rob the world.. So it is much better to fight for something believe in something and make sure you don’t do that using hate….cos time spent hating doesn’t come back… And this is what I detest about guys like Castro and lose any sight of their merits.

  24. Loved the interpretation … That army in the city didnt surrender yet Mao killed the civilians (Mao wasnt even there) civilans which were turned back to the city so to use food and force that nationalist general to surrender… Wow so the general had no part in your Fox News opinion .. Maybe he knew Papa Murdoch..they were school buddies or something…that would explain it in my book

  25. Definetely being liberated by communists is on the same par as being liberated by Americans …. As seen in Iraq and Afghanistan… Probably the flag is nicer.. never quite likes the red Chinese flag still prefer the stars and stripes ..however murderous it turned out to be too…

  26. Humberto, if Gross’s family is not being compensated, that is sickening and the politicians responsible should be jailed.

    Unfortunately, the US government is full of Castro sympathizers. And the US takes so much heat from its “allies” over Cuba, it doesn’t want to strain relations with Cuba any more.

  27. Griffin, those 300,000 Chinese starved by Mao at Changchun must have been mercenaries in the pay of the CIA. And really nothing to complain about because Mao was a “liberator”

    Castro was also a liberator, but Cubans only starved after being liberated.

    Being liberated by Communists must be a real liberating experience.

  28. Oh wow the team Y Five in full swing… If we are not careful and don’t cut you guys down to size…soon this blog will sound like the Voice of America or even worse Fox News… I mean what’s there to stop you to claim you liberated China and not Mao…! Or that it wasn’t your nation who ‘invented’ the word ‘nigger’ in English… But this was an old word brought from Afrikkka by the ‘happy slaves’ who came willing to work on your plantations. See that is why Castro exists… And Chardonnay socialists drinkto his health… Cos he stood up to your kind..and rubbed your face in the dirt where your self-serving ideas belong… And he still does that with more gusto than most of your sexually frustrated ‘white even when black’ presidents… Bet a guy in Cuba still has more sex and more parties that you 5 had in the USA in a whole year being flogged by your boss to be on time to make them rich!! thank ‘capitalist democracy’ COS like socialism still ‘theft’ by other means it is!

  29. The Man wrote, ” Mao cleansed China from colonial rule for his people …”

    No, he didn’t. The last colonists in China were the Japanese. Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist army stood and fought the Japanese, while Mao avoided taking on the invading Japanese whenever he could. Mao was content to let those two bleed each other dry. Only after the US had vanquished the Japanese Imperial Army and the Emperor had surrendered did Mao move to assert control over China. He did so in his typically brutal fashion, burning crops, starving whole Chinese cities into submission and through mass murder. See the Siege of Changchun for an example of his brutality:

    Minor detail: there were two colonies which remained: Hong Kong, which the British peacefully returned to China long after Mao had died, and Macao, which the Portuguese handed over in 1999.

  30. Mouse, your verbal diarrhoea is unreadable. And there is no such word as “cos”. Speak English and say “because”.


    BLOOMBERG: Reggaeton Banned in Cuba as Castro Cracks Down on Music – By Randall Woods
    Cuba’s government is banning reggaeton music from radio and T.V. as Raul Castro’s administration cracks down on “vulgar” songs in the island nation, government newspaper Granma reported on its website,

    The Cultural Ministry’s music institute will levy severe sanctions or ban musicians including reggaeton artists whose lyrics are deemed sexually explicit or demeaning to women, Granma said, citing the institute’s president, Orlando Vistel Columbie.

    “Neither vulgarity nor mediocrity will be able to tarnish the richness of Cuban music,” Vistel said in an interview posted online today by the Communist Party paper. “Obviously, people can listen to what they want privately. But, that freedom doesn’t include the right to reproduce and disseminate that music.”

    A blend of styles including Jamaican dance-hall, hip hop and electronic music, reggaeton has been mainstream for almost a decade and is popular in dance clubs from Chile to New York. Cuban authorities last year denounced as obscene the reggaeton song El Chupi Chupi by local artist Osmani Garcia.


    HUFFINGTON POST: Jailed Aid Worker Alan Gross Seeks High-level US Envoy, $60 Million – Ben Barber

    Neither agency has paid his salary to his wife and family while he has been for three years sharing a small cell with two other prisoners in a Cuban military jail for handing out Internet hardware and software to the small Cuban Jewish community — a USAID project aimed at moving the communist-ruled island nation toward democracy.

    I asked Gross’ wife Judy on Friday in Washington if USAID or DAI was continuing to pay his salary, and she told me: “no.”

    “He feels that the government sent him on a project, it didn’t work, and that’s the end of their responsibility. So he feels like a soldier left in the field to die.”

    His wife is seeking $60 million from USAID and DIA. She is also suing the insurance company that covers DAI but has refused to cover the loss of income for the Gross family these past three years. The family has sold its house in the Maryland suburbs of Washington and Judy has moved into a small apartment. She is working as a therapist to support herself and cover the cost of flying to Cuba to see her husband. He lost more than 100 pounds and has a lump growing on his back.

    It is hard to understand why the U.S. government, having sent Gross on the assignment to Cuba, would not continue to pay his salary now that he has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for carrying out the USAID assignment.


  33. That’s right, Help, he wants to talk a good socialist game, but reap the benefits of a capitalist democracy, while flailing his arms and legs against the USA. He steadfastly refuses to believe that we don’t necessarily back the bad choices that our government has made. He’s downright obsessed with consumer goods.

    Life is what you make of it, Mousy boy, don’t waste yours on hating. Life is sweet here in the US.


  35. FOX NEWS LATINO: Cuba Teen is Brutally Attacked for Defending Human Rights Group


    Cienfuegos, Cuba – A teenage girl in Cuba who was defending the human rights group Ladies in White allegedly was stabbed by another teenager who reportedly is the daughter of a police captain, according to The Miami Herald.

    The alleged victim, Berenice Hector Gonzalez, is the niece of Ladies in White member Belkis Felicia Jorrin Morfa, the paper said. Gonzalez is said to have ended up with such serious injuries that she underwent a four-hour operation and got nearly 70 stitches.

    Dissidents, who told El Nuevo Herald about the incident, said that the alleged perpetrator, Dailiana Planchez Torres, used a switchblade and repeatedly stabbed Gonzalez all over her body, almost severing her vocal chords. They complained that Torres had not been arrested.

    The Miami Herald, the sister publication of El Nuevo Herald, reports that the Nov. 4 attack occurred after Gonzalez told Torres “to stop insulting her family and the Ladies in White.”

    “We are dismayed by this attack and, above all, by the lack of response from the authorities,” Berta Soler, a leader of the female group, told El Nuevo Herald in a phone interview from Havana. “We are demanding justice here.”

    “This started when I heard her refer to the Ladies in White as shameless prostitutes,” Gonzalez told El Nuevo Herald. “I told her that I didn’t like what she was saying because four of my relatives, four women, are in that group.”

    The Ladies in White were formed in 2003 by wives and relatives seeking the release of 75 dissidents rounded up that year and given long prison sentences.

    The last people in the group who were still behind bars seven years later were freed under a 2010 deal brokered by the Roman Catholic Church. Most went into exile in Spain along with their families, a condition set forth by the Cuban government for their release.

    In recent years, the Ladies in White adopted a more general political agenda and continued protesting with a mostly new membership.

    In 2005, the European Union awarded the Ladies in White its annual Sakharov human rights prize.

    Dissidents told El Nuevo Herald that the hospital where Gonzalez was treated refused to cooperate with the family’s request for records of her stay, injuries and treatment.

    El Nuevo Herald said that calls to the police station in the central province of Cienfuegos were not answered.

  36. that’s right _man comes around_ repeat after me “big bad USA”

    Too bad your ilk never have the guts to shout “big bad Castro”.

    But I understand it isn’t fashionable with the Chardonnay Left who think “good ole Castro” is the best thing since sliced bread.

    Of course, most Cubans can’t afford bread and nobody knows what goes into the one type of bread they sell there…

    so the Left prefers to live in “big bad USA” or “bad ole England” where they can buy capitalist bread and toasters.

  37. Freedom is never free, dumb-dumb. When you address the points, so will I, but you evade them to suit your purposes. Now you speak for “most of us?” Your arrogance knows no bounds.

  38. haha .. damage limitation overdrive… every time we touch a nerve we get the GenY 5 like the Jackson Five on their toes… doing the damage limitation shuffle…

    Address the points baby!… your freedom comes with a price tag that most of us find prohibited and more costly than the merits… in blues man’s words YOUR FREEDOM AIN’T FREE no mo’! maybe it has never been.

  39. Mousy boy, aren’t you the one who said that the Roma, in your own county, deserve the racism because they are badly behaved? Hmmmm…..what a double standard you have.

  40. Mouse sure doesn’t get much about the United States, he is too blinded by his hatred. And yet, he chooses to live in a democracy.

  41. Yeah boy, China, the place where factory workers sleep in dorms at the factory, and are virtually prisoners, to earn a pittance.

    Shame on you, Mouse.

  42. Simba, he was just showing off his Orwellian doublespeak. It’s the official language of Communist Cuba.

    Just what Yoani was talking about.

  43. Simba Sez: #56 Did I miss the part where you said something that had something to do with why you thought the Cuban government’s enslaving 11,000,000 people was a good thing? Other than that possibility I see nothing in that complete diatribe that had anything to do with Cuba.

  44. @55 you said … ‘If you’re old enough to remember, it used to be “poor little Hitler” and “poor little Stalin” and “poor little Mao” and “poor little Pol Pot”, always “big bad USA”.’

    When was that cos I don’t remember and I was around then!? you must live in a parallel multiverse…cos in this universe whatever good Stalin did (WW2 Eastern front) and Mao (cleansed China from colonial rule for his people) did too, was always not good for you guys cos it came from communists and communism… which you are so paranoid about that it may set foot on your ‘big boss’ land to ‘destroy’ you. Man you only think of destruction and death when it comes to a different systems and others, as if you are the keepers of the life force itself!

    And by the way don’t you have the KKK in your lovely USA which skinned black people alive for years – worse than most of any secret police did since it was done with the participation of the ‘civil’ citizens and it was done in daylight not even in a cell. And segregation was present long after any nation even in the ‘terrible’ commie world saw it ‘necessary’- but you did and got all those guys who loved it saying it marching for it etc!… Can you tell me how can there be segregation in the USA after Jesse Owens since you brought Hitler from the dead… I wonder if they would start a campaign in the US, how many of ‘you good white folk’ would go for a return to segregation!??… but then yeah homosexuality and not speaking an iota of bad about the Jewish STATE are more important causes!… segregation and poverty are not!

    So stop selling the US as the land of the free and the commie land as the land where nothing grows but bad seeds… You are rich or more you were… good for you… we all know you get rich like any empire did (including the USSR) by robbing smaller countries (cheap labour force) and having the best and biggest gun.. It is not about intellect, principles, truth nor about humanity… it is about the biggest gun, most money and threats you can make good… From where I sit most of your masses are too scared of mortgage and their bosses to really say what they think and they have political correctness to keep them in check – another ‘free invention’ from your land on the same par with the ‘wooden commie speak’ some of us knew well and couldn’t get our head around it! … And by the way aren’t you also the ‘inventors’ of drive-by-shootings, disgruntled office-worker or student killing colleagues over losing face or something really stupid to many of us and also the relegators of white supremacy we-dont-pay-taxes terrorism?? wow what wonderful freeee things you shared with the rest of us, the world, and how much freer we feel now!

    Sorry to remind you, that you need enemies to get by – that’s the philosophy you relate to as nation and live by … that is the only way you manage to look at yourselves in the mirror and be able to say – we are the good they are the bad and you point your finger all the time since the day I was born!…. Yes you are the good – in rapport with Iran or NKorea but not many other places and the list is shrinking fast – and that’s a fact!

    From where I sit you have been involved for years in stopping the world from changing for good!…. Whenever change was there to happen you counted what is in it for you… and how to steer it to maximise your future profit so that it doesn’t threaten your way of life but pays for it in gold… I am sure Libya is being sucked dry right now – a thing you guys wanted to do for years … all the civil war suits you just fine! War is good for profit, we saw how well this was your smoke screen strategy in Iraq!

    Well the Chinese have got your number baby… they don’t threaten openly – are quiet, work harder than most of us – no one Caucasian can really understand them – but we know they want it all!… and will take it all! Since capitalism is so important to you… well then, what makes you also breaks you and clearly then Darwinian rules apply! Oh yeah I know suddenly socialism and ‘caring’ is not such a bad idea is it now – we saw it with the banks (hahah) you cared for them, how lovely! Or is the idea that you have the biggest gun in the context still, the more appealing?? I wonder which one matters more to you!??

    To conclude on a clear note – these days hating ‘your dictator’ is not enough, changing him is not a question open JUST to the people, you stand a better chance lobbying the US to support you to change any dictator, and offer the US what belongs to the Caesar as the saying goes. So you should think what’s in it for Obama for Castro to fall to really fall or for Alan to come home!… at the moment, not much or not enough! So Castro outsmart you again – I wonder how he does it since he’s being doing it all the time with you people – that’s what I like about him… MarkTwain said it that you can fool some of the people all of the time… Castro even bettered it!

  45. Humberto, I really admire what you are doing, and I’ll do my part, but I think Gross is a lost cause.

    By imprisoning a small nobody serving the Jewish community Castro immediately gets brownie points with the powerful anti-Semite vote as well as the pro-Castro vote, often the same people.

    The Fascist-Communists who support Castro cannot be convinced of anything, they live in a fantasy world where the US is the “bad guy” and poor little Castro is the “good guy.”

    The 5 Cuban spies who infiltrated US military facilities that have nothing to do with Cuba, who took part in BLOWING UP CIVILIAN AIRPLANES over international waters, are equivalent to a US AID worker who didn’t do any spying, can’t speak Spanish, and didn’t hide anything from Cuban customs.


    If you’re old enough to remember, it used to be “poor little Hitler” and “poor little Stalin” and “poor little Mao” and “poor little Pol Pot”, always “big bad USA”.

    People hate the USA because we’re a free country and Nazis and Commies are free to attack us.

    Hating dictatorships is too scary for these cowards.

  46. THE GUARDIAN UK: State Department asks Cuba to release US contractor on anniversary of arrest
    – Alan Gross has reportedly lost 100lbs in three years since being sentenced to prison for his work with island’s Jewish community
    In comments last week, Judy Gross said the campaign to free her husband had suffered from not having generated the same level of interest as other US citizens jailed abroad, such as three hikers held in Iran and two journalists held in North Korea. Like Gross, all were arrested in 2009.

    But despite the intervention of former president Jimmy Carter, who visited Gross in 2011, and lobbying of the Vatican ahead of a high-profile papal visit to Cuba earlier this year, there has apparently been little progress.

    His wife has put part of the blame on a strategy in which for two years, lawyers tried to work through official diplomatic channels. Earlier this year, she changed her attorney and embarked on a new strategy of publicly agitating for his release.

    The attorney who visited Gross in jail, Armanda Nuria Piñero Sierra, was hired as Gross’ lawyer and handled his trial and appeals. She also represents the families of five Cubans held in U.S. prisons, after being convicted in 2001 on charges of conspiracy to commit espionage against U.S. military installations, leading to the immediate speculation after Gross’ arrest, that Cuba wanted to swap him for the five Cubans.


  47. COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Alan Gross Begins His Fourth Year In A Cuban Prison – by Elliott Abrams

    Alan Gross begins his fourth year in a Cuban prison tomorrow, having been jailed on December 3rd, 2009. The State Department issued a good statement:
    Tomorrow Alan Gross will begin his fourth year of unjustified imprisonment in Cuba. He was arrested on December 3, 2009 and later given a 15-year prison sentence by Cuban authorities for simply facilitating communications between Cuba’s Jewish community and the rest of the world.
    Mr. Gross is a 63-year-old husband, father, and dedicated professional with a long history of providing assistance and support to underserved communities in more than 50 countries.
    Since his arrest, Mr. Gross has lost more than 100 pounds and suffers from severe degenerative arthritis that affects his mobility, and other health problems. His family is anxious to evaluate whether he is receiving appropriate medical treatment, something that can best be determined by having a doctor of his own choosing examine him.
    We continue to ask the Cuban Government to grant Alan Gross’s request to travel to the United States to visit his 90-year-old mother, Evelyn Gross, who is gravely ill. This is a humanitarian issue.

    The Cuban government should release Alan Gross and return him to his family, where he belongs. Thus far all the efforts by the United States government to free Mr. Gross have been unsuccessful. Those efforts are undermined every time an American tourist visits Cuba, there to play at the beach and deliver hard currency to the Castro regime. I regret that the Obama administration has not tightened up again on travel to Cuba in response to Mr. Gross’s continued imprisonement, and that Americans who know nothing about the treatment of their fellow citizen–or worse are indifferent to it–continue to visit Cuba. Until the regime begins to see more than words from the State Department’s spokesman, until they suffer some real harm from the treatment of Mr. Gross, it may be impossible to free him. Let us hope that conclusion is too pessimistic.

  48. US STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS RELEASE: Alan Gross Begins Fourth Year of Unjust Imprisonment
    Press Statement: Mark C. Toner -Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
    Washington, DC – December 3, 2012

    Tomorrow Alan Gross will begin his fourth year of unjustified imprisonment in Cuba. He was arrested on December 3, 2009 and later given a 15-year prison sentence by Cuban authorities for simply facilitating communications between Cuba’s Jewish community and the rest of the world. Mr. Gross is a 63-year-old husband, father, and dedicated professional with a long history of providing assistance and support to underserved communities in more than 50 countries. Since his arrest, Mr. Gross has lost more than 100 pounds and suffers from severe degenerative arthritis that affects his mobility, and other health problems. His family is anxious to evaluate whether he is receiving appropriate medical treatment, something that can best be determined by having a doctor of his own choosing examine him. We continue to ask the Cuban Government to grant Alan Gross’s request to travel to the United States to visit his 90-year-old mother, Evelyn Gross, who is gravely ill. This is a humanitarian issue.

    The Cuban government should release Alan Gross and return him to his family, where he belongs.


    The Senate switchboard number is 202-224-3121.
    Today is the third anniversary of the jailing of Alan Gross in Cuba. NBC News reported that the Senate today may present a resolution calling for his release.
    The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five asks supporters to contact their senators and press for a prisoner swap (see contact information here).
    The committee said:
    The Senate and U.S. House of Representatives should not be allowed to ignore this pressing case of injustice against Five men whose due process rights were severely violated in Miami, and whose only role in the U.S. was to save lives. Let’s turn the heat on at this crucial moment!

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