Self-employed Christmases

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Tiny plastic trees peek out here and there, with garlands saved from other years and a wire star at the top. Superb conifers with every little detail, placed in the lobby of some grand hotel or in the living rooms of residences in Miramar. Lights, colors, melodies that play over and over without end. On a street in Nuevo Vedado neighbors compete to see who can most-strikingly decorate their balcony railings or garden hedges. But there is also house after house, thousands of them, without a single detail relating to this December holiday. Perhaps because of atheism, or for lack of resources, or simply apathy towards the celebration.”Celebrate what?” many would say if asked.

This Christmas self-employed workers have made the year-end festivities their own. In the food stalls, the tiny rooms where trinkets are sold, and the private restaurants in Havana, there is a determination to decorate the spaces with images of Santa Claus, glass balls and twinkling lights. An explosion of colors and carols in the private service sector marks a big difference from the State-run counterpart. As if the excess of details and ornamentation were another way to distance themselves from the depersonalization of the many sites run by ministries and institutions. These visual excesses of today are very likely the popular response to all those Christmas eves celebrated in whispers, or totally ignored, in which a tree with a nativity scene constituted evidence of “ideological deviation.”

They also bring to mind a circular, today attributed to Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, banning Christmas trees in public places. A failed attempt to continue to regulate the way in which we say goodbye to the old year, one which, fortunately, could not be sustained for long. Those excesses of proscriptions and false austerity have led to the current exuberance. Many want the image of the Virgin and child in their living rooms, even if they don’t know whether to put hay or snow at the foot of the manger. On all sides there are bright red flowers, blinking lights, and plump faces topped by pointy hats. So many Decembers between the swings of “no we can’t” or “yes we can” have nurtured this Christmas frenzy. Now few want to leave the garlands safe in their boxes, or the five pointed stars in the back of some drawer.

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71 thoughts on “Self-employed Christmases

  1. So yeah you should watch for Mariela Castro – this is exactly the scenario that played across Eastern Europe … still these guys got the power the tv station the state assets when their dads should’ve been held to account.. and them should have started from zero like most of us – should have been stripped of the money they defrauded from us the system!

    But you saw that Ms Castro already is the typical and predictable spoiled commie brat that thinks she has the brains cos she got her BSdegree and so is endowed to rule … when all she has in fact was her dad’s connections.. But then again most latin societies have ‘dynastic rule’ embedded in mentality so this cuts deeper than communism.

    So yeah the best the change that Cuba would seem to be in a position to do, is to put people like MsY in the same bed read Parliament with Mariela, and America won’t mind that at all…

    Naives like myself thought that America really would support change in Eastern Europe since they exposed communism for what it was for so long so they would support not just the fall of it but the process to dismantle it…

    The only change America want and wants from former enemies is this: the next president of Cuba to promise and act so the the USA can re-start their corporations and biz in Cuba and do that like 50 years ago and be safe!… the rest don’t matter 2penny… someone should tell MsY that, cos she’s in for a surpise when daddy Castro falls. Mariela would have to become her best friend and Mariela knows that already!

  2. So yeah you should watch for Mariela Castro – this is exactly the scenario that played across Eastern Europe … still these guys got the power the tv station the state assets when their dads should’ve been in prison and held to account.. and them should have started from zero like most of us i.e. should have been stripped of the money they defrauded from the system!

    But you saw how cocky Ms Castro already is typical spoiled commie brat that thinks she has the brains and is endowed to rule … when all she has in fact was her dad’s .. But then again most latin societies have ‘dynastic rule’ embedded in mentality so this cuts deeper than communism.

    So yeah the best the change that Cuba would seem to be in a position to do, is to put people like MsY in the same bed (read Parliament) with Mariela! and America won’t mind that at all…

    Naives like myself thought that America really would support change in Eastern Europe since they exposed communism for what it was for so long so they would support not just the fall of it but the process to dismantle it and push hard to see it buried …

    The only change America wanted and wants from ‘former enemies’ is this: the next president of Cuba to promise and act so the the USA can re-start their corporations and biz in Cuba and do that with impunity and be safe!… the rest don’t matter 2penny… someone should tell MsY that, cos she’s in for a shock when daddy Castro falls! Mariela would have to become her best friend and Mariela knows that already!

  3. If the embargo is JUST ON PAPER why don’t you the Americans that passed this embargo, tear the paper to bits and bin it??? Ah yeah cos it is an instrument you can use in this power game and it reflects your failed policies and your attitude towards the Cuban revolution….. You don’t like revolutions on your doorstep… you just want your rich to say even richer and your poor to keep quiet and put up with it!

    So the embargo is a TAP to control Cuba… you let drops fall or you can turn it off or on as you like or it could be a tap that drips more than you want cos people ignore it.. and because you want Cuba’s money… which we know you do..

    Moreover, the Cuban Act enslaves Cubans to pay you reparations for generation to come… and that for being in their own country and nationalising your multin-nat corporations that suck this world dry and sucked Cuba dry in the first place which led to Castro’s revolution!!!

    Like the Russian have their hand on the natural gases tap that heats Europe so you like to have a ‘bogus’ tap when it comes Cuba… ultimately the tap is about money you want to such back… in reverse, resources when the time comes!

    I am sure the Cubans will end up paying for every needle in the hospital that you sent them, and everyone in their right mind would know that that nothing is free with you guys – as you guys said it too here though apparently referring to something else!

    Humberto next time you pull stats please pull too those stats from the 50’s which showed how much a small country like Cuba was feeding the American economy through corporations!… maybe that is the dream you have… to feed big daddy back again cos he very hungry after 50 years! But then again you cannot ask a parrot to play a better tune…

  4. ALARCON GOT THE BOOT TO MAKE ROOM FOR “YOUNGER BLOOD”! ALSO MARIELA CASTRO WAS NAMED TO THE LEGISLATURE, SO IT LOOKS LIKE SHE IS BEIGN GROOMED AS THE NEXT SUCCESSOR TO THE CASTROFASCIST FAMILY THRONE! IT IS NO COINCIDENCE THAT SHE HAS TRAVELED TO THE USA AND ABROAD RECENTLY IN ORDER TO INCREASE HER PROFILE IN THE WORLD COMMUNITY!

    BELLINGHAM HERALD: Cuba’s Ricardo Alarcon leaving key legislative post – By JUAN O. TAMAYO

    MIAMI — Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada, 75, one of Cuba’s longest-serving officials and a specialist on U.S. relations, will leave the post of president of the National Assembly of People’s Power in February after 20 years on the job.

    The Cuban government made no comment on the departure, but Alarcon’s name was not on the list of the 612 candidates in the upcoming elections for the legislative body published in the official newspaper Granma on Thursday.

    Although Alarcon remains a member of the Cuban Communist Party’s powerful Political Bureau, speculation that he was in disfavor has mounted since police arrested top aide Miguel Alvarez last summer on suspicion of corruption and spying.

    He has sometimes been described as the third-ranking official in Cuba after Raul and Fidel Castro. He is known as a skillful foreign policy operator with a specialty in the long-hostile relations between Cuba and the United States.

    Alarcon served as ambassador to the United Nations for two terms totaling about 20 years, as foreign minister from 1992 to 1993 and since then as president of the legislature, which meets for only a few days per year. Most laws are approved by decree.

    In 1994, he headed the five-member Cuban delegation that negotiated a migration agreement with the Clinton administration following the “Rafter Crisis” that saw more than 35,000 Cubans leave the island in makeshift vessels.

    Miami radio commentator Max Lesnik reported Wednesday he had unconfirmed reports that Alarcon would leave the post of assembly president to “focus” on the campaign for the release of five Cuban spies convicted in a Miami trial.

    Asked whether Alarcon’s departure was the result of the arrests of Alvarez and his wife, Mercedes Arce, both identified as former intelligence agents, Lesnik said, “I really don’t see a relationship between one thing and another.”

    Alvarez and Arce have been detained in Havana since March 3 for investigation, initially on charges of corruption but later for espionage, according to a close colleague who believes they were targeted in order to get at Alarcon.

    Arce, an academic and part-time resident of Mexico, is suspected of obtaining sensitive Cuban information through her husband and using it in “business reports” sold to foreigners, according to one source. Former FIU professor Carlos Alvarez, convicted of spying for Cuba, identified Arce as one of his handlers in the 1980s and 1990s.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARITICLE!

    http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2012/12/20/2811726/cubas-ricardo-alarcon-leaving.html

  5. Lift the Cuba Embargo ? WHAT EMBARGO! By Humberto (Bert) Corzo*

    In this article I analyze the arguments of lifting the Cuba embargo, which are more rhetorical than real, answering each one of the specific considerations of those that support the end of it.

    EFFECT OF THE EMBARGO

    The United States Government has always exempted from the embargo medicine and humanitarian supplies to the Cuban people, as long as such aid is distributed by independent non-governmental organizations (NGO) such as the Catholic Church and international organizations such as Pastors for Peace.

    Since 1992, the U.S. has approved 36 of 38 license requests for commercial sales of medicines and medical equipment to Cuba. During the period from 1993 to 1996, the U.S. has licensed over $150 million in humanitarian assistance, more than the total worldwide foreign aid received by Cuba in those years. This total does not include the millions of dollars in medicine and food sent to Cuba in the form of “care packages” from relatives living in the U.S. [1]

    In the year 2000 the Department of Commerce approved the export to Cuba of approximately $550 million in medicines, medical equipment, cash remittances, gift parcels and food (cash remittances and gift parcels account for about 75% of the total amount). The United States government’s embargo has had little effect on the Cuban economy, since it only represents 5 % of Cuba’s commerce with the rest of the world. The embargo only affects the American companies and their subsidiaries. The rest of the countries, 180 since the last count in 2007, are free to conduct business with Cuba and are doing so, as confirmed by imports surpassing $13.78 billions during 2007 [2]. In reality there is not such embargo since in the year 2000 the United States Congress lifted the prohibition of the sale of agricultural products and medicines to Cuba, thereby allowing Castro’s regime to buy everything it needs by paying in cash.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ACADEMIC PAPER WITH FOOTNOTES & EVERYTHING!

    http://www.cubanet.org/CNews/y09/abril09/09_O_3.html

  6. EMBARGO? WHAT EMBARGO! IT HAS SUCH HUGE HOLES THAT EVEN FIDEL CASTRO’S EGO COULD EASILY PASS THRU IT! DATA FROM CUBA’S OWN WEB SITE!

    SECTOR EXTERNO / EXTERNAL SECTOR – 8.4 – Intercambio comercial de mercancías por países seleccionados y áreas geográficas (Conclusión) Trade in goods in selected countries and geographical areas (Conclusion)
    Estados Unidos de América (USA)
    2004 = $443,900,000
    2005 = $476,311,000
    2006 = $483,591,000
    2007 = $581,657,000
    2008 = $962,767,000
    2009 = $675,420,000
    http://www.one.cu/aec2009/esp/08_tabla_cuadro.htm

    REUTERS: Cuba says U.S. climbs to 5th leading trade partner-HAVANA | Thu Aug 14, 2008
    (Reuters) – The United States ranked among communist Cuba’s top five trading partners for the first time in 2007 despite the decades-old U.S. trade embargo, as U.S. agriculture sales increased by $100 million. Trade data for 2007 posted on the Web site of Cuba’s National Statistics Office placed the United States fifth at $582 million, compared with $484 million in 2006, including shipping costs.
    The United States, which began selling food to Cuba in 2002 under an amendment to the embargo, placed seventh in 2006 and 2005.

  7. 291 RCR @ #39!! THE CUBAN “EMBARGO” IS ONLY ON PAPER DEAR! BUT THANKS FOR GIVING ME A REASON TO PUT MY ARGUMENTS AGAIN SHOWING THAT THERE IS NO “EMBARGO” IN REAL LIFE! PLEASE FEEL FREE TO RESPOND TO MY FOLLOWING POSTS!

    U.S.-CUBA TRADE AND ECONOMIC COUNCIL, INC.
    ECONOMIC EYE ON CUBA- February 2012 – Report For Calendar Year 2011
    2011-2001 U.S. EXPORT STATISTICS FOR CUBA

    The following is the data for exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba relating to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSRA) of 2000, which re-authorized the direct commercial (on a cash basis) export of food products (including branded food products) and agricultural products (commodities) from the United States to the Republic of Cuba, irrespective of purpose. The TSRA does not include healthcare products, which remain authorized by the Cuban Democracy Act (CDA) of 1992.

    The data represents the U.S. Dollar value of product exported from the United States to the Republic of Cuba under the auspice of TSRA. The data does not include transportation charges, bank charges, or other costs associated with exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba. The government of the Republic of Cuba reports data that, according to the government of the Republic of Cuba, includes transportation charges, bank charges, and other costs. However, the government of the Republic of Cuba has not provided verifiable data. The use of trade data reported by the government of the Republic of Cuba is suspect. The government of the Republic of Cuba has been asked to provide verifiable data, but has not.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT!

    http://www.cubatrade.org/CubaExportStats.pdf

  8. Simba Sez: #38 Is it possible that it has been explained innumerable times, but there is always some idiot that cannot comprehend the explanation? Have a nice Christmas!!

  9. # 37 Re ABC News……..paragraph starting “In a statement” ending “50-year-old U.S. embargo against Cuba.

    Please can someone explain this because it seem that every other blog some idot writes Uncle Sam does not have any embargo on Cuba

  10. THE CASTROFASCIST MAFIA ARE THROWING A TANTRUM! BUT OF COURSE THEY CAN PAY THE ORDINARY CUBAN PEOPLE IN PESOS WHILE THEY ARE PAYED IN DOLLARS OR CUBAN DOLLARS (CUC’S)! THE RATIO IS AROUND 24 PESOS TO ONE DOLLAR OR CUC’s PLUS THEY TAKE 10% ON THE EXCHANGE!

    ABC NEWS: Cuba Protests US Fines on Bank Transactions

    Havana on Thursday protested recent U.S. government fines levied against two banks found to have enabled countries subject to U.S. sanctions, including Cuba, to make prohibited transactions through American financial institutions.

    In a statement, the island’s Foreign Ministry called the penalties “unjust and illegal” and noted that they came on the heels of a U.N. vote in which world nations once again voted overwhelmingly to condemn the 50-year-old U.S. embargo against Cuba.

    The bank fines “demonstrate that the U.S. policy of ferocious prosecution of financial and commercial transactions targeting Cuba and those who maintain a legitimate relationship with our country under the protection of international law not only has not changed, but has hardened,” the statement read.

    On Dec. 11 it was announced that London-based HSBC had agreed to pay $1.9 billion in penalties to end a U.S. probe. The London-based bank was found to have processed transactions that let Mexican drug cartels launder money and allowed others under U.S. suspicion or sanction, including nations such as Cuba, Iran, Libya, Myanmar and Sudan, move money around the world between the mid-1990s and 2006.

    It was the largest penalty ever imposed on a bank, and a U.S. Justice Department official called it a “stunning, stunning failure” by HSBC to monitor itself.

    The following day Japan’s Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ reached an $8.6 million settlement with the U.S. Treasury Department in a similar case.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/cuba-protests-us-fines-bank-transactions-18025531#.UNNP93drRRc

  11. YOUTUBE: Letters to Castro: Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa Rejects Socialism – Nobel Laureate and Atlas Templeton Leadership Fellow, Mario Vargas Llosa, tells the story of his conversion from Marxism to free market capitalism after visiting Cuba and the Soviet Union.

    Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, 1st Marquis of Vargas Llosa (Spanish: [ˈmaɾjo ˈbaɾɣas ˈʎosa]; born March 28, 1936) is a Peruvian-Spanish writer, politician, journalist, essayist, and recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature.[2] Born in Peru, Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America’s most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading authors of his generation. Some critics consider him to have had a larger international impact and worldwide audience than any other writer of the Latin American Boom.[3] Upon announcing the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy said it had been given to Vargas Llosa “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat”.[4]

    Vargas Llosa rose to fame in the 1960s with novels such as The Time of the Hero (La ciudad y los perros, literally The City and the Dogs, 1963/1966[5]), The Green House (La casa verde, 1965/1968), and the monumental Conversation in the Cathedral (Conversación en la catedral, 1969/1975). He writes prolifically across an array of literary genres, including literary criticism and journalism. His novels include comedies, murder mysteries, historical novels, and political thrillers. Several, such as Captain Pantoja and the Special Service (1973/1978) and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977/1982), have been adapted as feature films.

    He is the person who, in 1990, “coined the phrase that circled the globe”,[6] declaring on Mexican television, “Mexico is the perfect dictatorship”, a statement which became an adage during the following decade.

    Many of Vargas Llosa’s works are influenced by the writer’s perception of Peruvian society and his own experiences as a native Peruvian. Increasingly, however, he has expanded his range, and tackled themes that arise from other parts of the world. In his essays, Vargas Llosa has made many criticisms of nationalism in different parts of the world, among others in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.[7] Another change over the course of his career has been a shift from a style and approach associated with literary modernism, to a sometimes playful postmodernism.

    Like many Latin American authors, Vargas Llosa has been politically active throughout his career; over the course of his life, he has gradually moved from the political left towards liberalism or neoliberalism, a definitively more conservative political position. While he initially supported the Cuban revolutionary government of Fidel Castro, Vargas Llosa later became disenchanted with the Cuban dictator and his authoritarian regime. He ran for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 with the center-right Frente Democrático (FREDEMO) coalition, advocating neoliberal reforms, but lost the election to Alberto Fujimori.

  12. should I burst John’s bubble @31…?? naaah, who said that ignorance is not bliss! I let the man be happy in that ‘knowledge’!

  13. ***
    Christians suffered persecution by most communist governments. The state is the only God communists believe in. When the evil communist governments fell in the U.S.S.R, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Albania, Romania, Poland, and other countries the Christians no longer had to hide their faith in God.
    ***
    Atheists seem to be more bitter and less happy than sincere Christians.
    ***
    Los Christianos han sufrido persecucion por la majoria de los gobiernos communistas. El estado es el unico Dios en que communistas tienen creencia. Cuando los malos gobiernos communistas caerion en el U.S.S.R, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Albania, Romania, Polonia, y otros paises los Christianos no mas tenian que esconder su fe in Dios.
    ***
    Los ateos parecen ser mas amargos y menos felizes que Christianos sinceros.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  14. Posted by Griffin: “Actually, Damir, you might consider joining Westboro, as their sermons sound an awful lot like your tirades.”

    Very funny post.

  15. A DOGMATIC POLITICAL FAILED IDEOLOGY WITH A DOGMATIC CONSERVATIVE RELIGIOUS ONE! A FASCIST MATCH MADE IN HELL!

    HAVANA TIMES — Cuban President Raul Castro is expected to visit Iran early next year, reported the Iranian media citing Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

    Rodriguez shared information about these plans during a meeting held in Havana last Thursday with Iranian deputy foreign minister of European and American Affairs, Ali Asgar Jayi, according Hispan TV network and the FARS agency.

    Rodriguez told the Iranian representative that Cuba fully supports Iran at all levels, especially in matters concerning regional and international investment, and he reiterated the island’s support for Iran’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — who questions the existence of the Jewish Holocaust and persecutes homosexuals in his country — has visited the island twice (in 2006 and 2012), where he was honored by the University of Havana with an honorary doctorate degree.

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=83758

  16. THE CASTROFASCISTS ANNOUNCED CHANGES TO THEIR IMMIGRATION LAWS THAT WOULD ALLOW CUBANS TO “TRAVEL FREELY” WITH ONLY AN EXPENSIVE PASSPORT IN LIEU OF THE “CARTA BLANCA”!! BUT WE KNOW HOW MUCH THEIR WORDS ARE WORTH!

    HAVANA TIMES —Chilean parliamentarians on Monday asked the Cuban government to allow Rosa Maria Paya (daughter of the late opposition leader Oswaldo Paya) to travel to their country, reports the La Tercera newspaper. Senator Ignacio Walker and Deputy Jorge Burgos — both members of the center-right Renovacion Nacional party — deposited their letter of request in the mailbox of the Cuban embassy in Chile because Cuban officials refused to receive them, according to a local newspaper. “We hope that the words expressed last year by Cuban President Raul Castro — when he spoke of efforts being made to promote the departure and entry of Cubans — weren’t only rhetoric void of content, but a reality,” said Walker. According to the Cubaencuentro website, last week the Cuban government refused the dissident’s daughter permission to leave the country to attend “a course at a Chilean university” where she was invited from January 8-15, 2013.

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=83764

  17. The Man said: “@Humberto … man could you please elevate me and answer/point where are any Castro boot lickers are in the USA???”

    JUST TO NAME A FEW DEAR! RATHER THAN TRYING TO HELP REAL AMERICANS UNJUSTLY INCARCERATED THESE MORONS CHOOSE TO BELIEVE THE CASTROFASCISTS’ LIES AND SPEND THEIR TIME LICKING CASTRO’S BOOTS!

    Actor and activist, Danny Glover and Edward Asner, co-chairs of “Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5″ made a call to their colleagues in the United States inviting them to add their name to a letter to President Obama encouraging him to issue an Executive Clemency order on behalf of the Cuban 5. A significant number of well-known actors and artist who responded to the call include Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone, Martin Sheen, Pete Seeger, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, Chrissie Hynde, Haskell Wexler, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, and others

    http://www.thecuban5.org/wordpress/voices-of-support/actors-and-artists-united-for-the-freedom-of-the-cuban-5/

  18. Damir wrote: “The murderer who killed 28 persons in the usa nazist gulag the other day, was a devout Baptist “christian”. his church APPLAUDED his heinous crime and called it “god’s” revenge for the sins of usanina society”

    In fact, Adam Lanza was raised a Catholic, although his family was not particularly devout. That wasn’t his church who applauded the crimes, that was the sick cult known as the “Westboro Baptist Church” . WBC are not affiliated with any baptist church organization and their membership, about 40, consists almost entirely of the preacher’s extended family. The WBC have made a habit of protesting numerous events in the sickest possible manner.

    Actually, Damir, you might consider joining Westboro, as their sermons sound an awful lot like your tirades.

  19. During the 1960, 70’s and 80’s all churches in Cuba were subjected to extensive state repression. In July 1992, the constitution was amended and article 42 was added, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of religious belief. Small worship centres were legally permitted to exist again. Since then church attendance in Cuba has been rising, although the number of people who regularly attend is still a minority of the population.

    http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Cuba

  20. Damir wrote: “How come you have the access to their living room when they are your class enemy!!!??? The same people who “arrest” you once a week, according to your own bullshift tweeting!!!??”

    You obviously know nothing of latin culture…there are no secrets in between the caribbean people. We talk, and we talk alot. If you fart, your neighbors will be discussing what you ate last night. You can keep something like that hidden.

    And as for christianity killing all those 28 people…thats as intelligent as saying that people with hair killed those kids. The killer had a full set of hair, so its OBVIOUS people with full heads of hair are the murderers, and should all be sent to full head of hair concentration camps before they do another thing like that.

    You, sir, are a few notches below “intelligent”.

  21. ….and one Anonimous message shall ‘delete’ the previous Anonimous message… – as seen.

    So what is the world coming to if no 2 anonimous messages can stand back to back must be castro-fascists doing the devil’s work –> now who shall inherit the Earth?… well who wants it?

    @22 then tell that to the Women in White!

  22. Money rules everyone’s “revolutionary” principles, even marxists and socialists.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.

  23. @Humberto … man could you please elevate me and answer/point where are any Castro boot lickers are in the USA??? – cos the only ones I have seen are guys like you who lick Uncle Sam’s and scratch like cats dropped in water when they hear the word Marxism…

    Probably you refer to black revolutionaries.. but that is more like racism dressed as ‘democracy’ the practice you are so well know for in the whole world today!!! Anyhow all back revos are now either academics or bling rappers so no worry there for you… money rules their revolutionary principles!

  24. @15 Help… I would take your bet but not for the 1st free elections – every nations gets bored of someone who is so overblown as Castro is… I mean I am sick already of Obama’s grimaces and don’t know how can I put up with him for the next four years..

    But for the second and the third elections Castro if he was still alive and capable to rule he would get more than 10% that’s what I would say a would be fact. Pity Castro didn’t listen to Gorby if he did he would be now officially elected after your clique would have failed the Cuban people 1 or 2 terms… So 5 years or 10 years after your capitalist heaven is supposed to ‘elevate’ Cuban society back to its glorious past, when actually it is most likely sink it deeper into problems that BSers like you never talk about them…i.e. the problems and anachronisms of your society….Castro and his descendants would have a good chance to win again fair and square!….The only doubt and probably Castro had too is that the USA won’t allow free elections in Cuba… but election that are sponsored by them!!! This is how anachronistic both systems are and both do not deserve any future!…

    If Ceausescu was still alive he would have won the elections last week hands down!… and that is very sad and proof for me how little the ‘restoration of capitalism’ worked and that we wasted our time and life!!… I wouldn’t vote for Ceausescu but neither I would vote for what we have today… to clarify my position for some of the ‘nice’ suburbanites here.

    Secondly … I would also take a bet that says 10 years down the line from the big change less than 50% of Cubans would think that voting changes anything! or indeed would bother to vote!…

    So the only think you as USAanian should ask and answer is how much ‘involvement’ your gov would have in the ‘FREE’ elections in Cuba… so that they go your way!

  25. In the meantime, you christians keep

    MURDERING the innocent, and this time scores of children too!!!

    The murderer who killed 28 persons in the usa nazist gulag the other day, was a devout Baptist “christian”.

    And on top of that, his church APPLAUDED his heinous crime and called it

    “god’s” revenge for the sins of usanina society

    Celebrate christmas, but it won’t be for much longer. Your perverted and murderous religion will sink and disappear in oblivion with your “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”.

    There’s NO other way for the two most horrible systems but down.

    Into the fires of your imaginary hell.

  26. Explain this one to us, the team “yoani”:

    Superb conifers with every little detail, placed in the lobby of some grand hotel or in the living rooms of residences in Miramar.

    And how do you know that, since these residences are all filled with Communist Party “aparatchiks” and “faithful”, as you ALWAYS point out!!!???

    How come you have the access to their living room when they are your class enemy!!!??? The same people who “arrest” you once a week, according to your own bullshift tweeting!!!??

    Damir Saw through you from the start, when he called you adorers of Castros. Fidel IS your greates idol!!!!

    Hypocrites.

  27. BAD NEWS FOR THE CASTROFASCISTS AND THEIR BOOT LICKING APOLOGISTS IN THE U.S.A.!

    THE HILL: Sen. Menendez likely to take Foreign Relations panel in wake of Kerry exit – By Julian Pecquet

    Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) anticipated move to the State Department would leave the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the hands of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who has consistently bucked the White House on Cuba and Iran.

    Menendez is next in line to take over the panel if Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) opts to keep her chairmanship of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, as is widely expected. That would give Menendez a key role in approving diplomatic nominees and international treaties — crucial leverage to demand a tougher stance against America’s foes.

    “You can’t work around the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when he’s willing to dig in his heels on important issues,” said Roger Noriega, a former assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs under President George W. Bush who’s enthused by Menendez’s possible promotion. “At the same time, he’s going to be expected to be a team player — but that has its limits.

    “I think he’ll give folks in the administration something to think about before they cross him, frankly.”

    Menendez was able to extract a promise from the administration to narrowly interpret the Cuba language. He’s kept up his criticism since then, decrying an “obvious double standard” for Cuba when compared to U.S. condemnation of the Soviet gulag during a recent Senate hearing and accusing the State Department of giving a “totalitarian regime … a platform from which to espouse its twisted rhetoric” by providing a visa to Fidel Castro’s niece, Mariela.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/congressional-delegations/273363-sen-menendez-likely-to-take-foreign-relations-panel-in-wake-of-kerry-departure

  28. 291 RCR, ask Castro to hold elections so you can prove your point.

    I’ll give you 10,000 dollars if he can get 10 percent of the vote.

    If he gets less than 10 percent you’ll come on here and admit you know nothing.

    You’ve got nothing to lose but your ego.

  29. 291 RCR !! DONT MAKE ME CRY MAN! I’M SUCH A SOFTIE! JUST LIKE A LITTLE BABY PARROT YOU HOLD IN YOUR HANDS!

  30. Humberto there is to much HATE in the world…….I love you man!!!!!!!!!

    # 11
    strange just back from Cuba and I would say you have your numbers up side down.

  31. 291 RCR!! IF YOU USE REVERS PSYCHOLOGY WITH ME YOU “MIGHT” GET RESULTS! JE JE JE! NAH, YOU KNOW IM JUST PULLING YOUR CASTRO BOOTLICKING LEG DEAR! IM HERE TO STAY FOR YOU TO HATE! JE JE JE!

  32. 291 RCR says: “the Church is in a free fall and people are bailing out in large numbers”

    He probably thinks Marxism is really popular these days. A big hit in Russia and China.

    If he ventures into the real world he’ll see a thousand Cubans with pictures of Jesus for every picture of Che he finds.

  33. Humberto: unlike you I have to take a break now and then.

    One can expect reports like this from you, just change the name education, health care to christianity and your same old warrent out tune comes out.

    Cuba is not unlike the rest of the world the Church is in a free fall and people are bailing out in large numbers. But, as usual you call it persecution.

    Once again cut back on the wackie tobacco!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. YOUTUBE: CUBA: Caridad Diego on Government Persecution of Apostolic Movement – For years, churches affiliated with the Apostlic Movement, a charismatic, evangelical network of churches in Cuba have complained of persecution and have given evidence of repeated violations of their religious liberty. The churches and the network have been denied the right to register and receive official recognition. One of the main leaders, Pastor Omar Gude Perez is serving a 6 1/2 year prison sentence on trumped up charges. Authorities have repeatedly threatened to confiscate the family’s home and goods. Other leaders have reported cases of harassment, arbitrary detention, confiscation of their homes and personal or church property. Churches have been completely demolished without warning while others have been forcibly shut down.The Cuban government has not responded to requests for an explanation and continues to maintain that there is religious freedom in Cuba. However, in early 2010, Caridad Diego, the long-time head of the Office of Religous Affairs for the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party addressed a group of leaders from the Cuban Council of Churches and openly admitted to the government’s targeted persecution of churches affiliated with the Apostolic Movement. Some of those in attendance were so shocked by her admission that they clandestinely filmed her speech. The video was smuggled out of the country and leaders of the Apostolic Movement asked Christian Solidarity Worldwide to make it public

  35. YOUTUBE: CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE CUBA-Footage and testimony of destruction of church in Santiago de Cuba . On November 20th, 2007 the Church of the Apostles in the Abel Santamaria neighborhood of Santiago de Cuba was razed to the ground by Cuban authorities. Officials used heavy equipment including bulldozers and heavy duty metalcutters, as helicopters circled overhead. Music and audio equipment and other church property were confiscated by the government. Pastor Alain Toledano, who leads the 700 member church and other church leaders were not given advance notice of the demolition. Their telephone lines were cut during the operation preventing them from communicating with one another.

  36. THE CASTROFASCISTS, AS WE SAY IN CUBAN “SE ESTAN C*GANDO”!!

    REUTERS: Analysis: High stakes for Cuba in Chavez’s cancer battle – By Marc Frank

    As Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recovers in Havana from his fourth cancer operation, Cubans face renewed worries about their economic future if the country’s top ally dies or has to step down from office.

    Cuba has staked its economic well-being on the success – and generosity – of Chavez’s self-declared socialist revolution, much as it did with another former benefactor: the Soviet Union.

    Cubans vividly remember the great depression of the 1990s that followed the demise of the Soviet Union, and they worry about the communist-run island plunging into similar economic hardship if Chavez loses his struggle with cancer.

    In the 1990s, they suffered through severe shortages of food, consumer goods and oil. Prolonged electricity blackouts made daily life miserable in what the government called the “special period”.

    “I remember those days. No lights, no transportation, no food. Nothing of nothing. It drove you crazy and it can’t happen again,” said Havana handyman Domingo Garcia.

    Recalled Marlen Perez, an operator at the state telephone monopoly: “I had to ride a bicycle to work and I’m too old for that now.”

    The gravity of Chavez’s condition became clear when, before returning to Cuba to be operated on last week, he named his vice president and foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, as his preferred successor if he cannot continue in office.

    Between bouts of cancer, Chavez won a new, six-year term in October, but if he has to step down in the first four years of his new mandate, a new election must be held within 30 days.

    In politically polarized Venezuela, where Chavez’s opponents do not hide their disdain for Cuba, their victory at the polls would have huge consequences for the heavily indebted island which relies on lucrative barter contracts with Venezuela, such as exchanging thousands of medical personnel for oil.

    One economist warned that if a loss of Venezuela’s support were to destabilize the Cuban economy and cause a new round of serious shortages, there could be bouts of social unrest.

    “Take away the preferential terms for our oil and the billions of dollars for our services and there is no doubt we would be in very serious trouble,” he said, requesting anonymity due to a ban on speaking with journalists. “I doubt many people would put up with another crisis, even if it was only half as bad as the last. There would be serious unrest.”

    Cuba and Venezuela have formed more than 30 joint ventures over the years, most of them based in Venezuela.

    They range from a fishing fleet, to port and rail repair, to hotels, agriculture, nickel and steel production and just about all of Cuba’s downstream oil industry.

    In 2011, Venezuela accounted for $8.3 billion of Cuba’s $20 billion in foreign trade. It pays Cuba an estimated $6 billion or more annually for the services of 40,000 doctors, nurses and other professionals, local economists say. That is around 60 percent of the foreign exchange Cuba earned from services.

    Venezuelan banks provide soft credits for dozens of development projects across the island.

    “Venezuela’s support for Cuba reduces the risk of investing in and trading with the country,” a foreign banker said, asking his name not be used. “They lose that and things might dry up.”

    Most Cuban economists point out that the economy has become more diversified over the last 20 years with the development of tourism, pharmaceuticals and increased oil and nickel production. But they say it remains far too dependent on Venezuela for comfort.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/18/us-cuba-venezuela-idUSBRE8BH0K120121218

  37. THE CASTROFASCISTS, AS WE SAY IN CUBAN “SE ESTAN C@GANDO”!!

    REUTERS: Analysis: High stakes for Cuba in Chavez’s cancer battle – By Marc Frank

    As Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recovers in Havana from his fourth cancer operation, Cubans face renewed worries about their economic future if the country’s top ally dies or has to step down from office.

    Cuba has staked its economic well-being on the success – and generosity – of Chavez’s self-declared socialist revolution, much as it did with another former benefactor: the Soviet Union.

    Cubans vividly remember the great depression of the 1990s that followed the demise of the Soviet Union, and they worry about the communist-run island plunging into similar economic hardship if Chavez loses his struggle with cancer.

    In the 1990s, they suffered through severe shortages of food, consumer goods and oil. Prolonged electricity blackouts made daily life miserable in what the government called the “special period”.

    “I remember those days. No lights, no transportation, no food. Nothing of nothing. It drove you crazy and it can’t happen again,” said Havana handyman Domingo Garcia.

    Recalled Marlen Perez, an operator at the state telephone monopoly: “I had to ride a bicycle to work and I’m too old for that now.”

    The gravity of Chavez’s condition became clear when, before returning to Cuba to be operated on last week, he named his vice president and foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, as his preferred successor if he cannot continue in office.

    Between bouts of cancer, Chavez won a new, six-year term in October, but if he has to step down in the first four years of his new mandate, a new election must be held within 30 days.

    In politically polarized Venezuela, where Chavez’s opponents do not hide their disdain for Cuba, their victory at the polls would have huge consequences for the heavily indebted island which relies on lucrative barter contracts with Venezuela, such as exchanging thousands of medical personnel for oil.

    One economist warned that if a loss of Venezuela’s support were to destabilize the Cuban economy and cause a new round of serious shortages, there could be bouts of social unrest.

    “Take away the preferential terms for our oil and the billions of dollars for our services and there is no doubt we would be in very serious trouble,” he said, requesting anonymity due to a ban on speaking with journalists. “I doubt many people would put up with another crisis, even if it was only half as bad as the last. There would be serious unrest.”

    Cuba and Venezuela have formed more than 30 joint ventures over the years, most of them based in Venezuela.

    They range from a fishing fleet, to port and rail repair, to hotels, agriculture, nickel and steel production and just about all of Cuba’s downstream oil industry.

    In 2011, Venezuela accounted for $8.3 billion of Cuba’s $20 billion in foreign trade. It pays Cuba an estimated $6 billion or more annually for the services of 40,000 doctors, nurses and other professionals, local economists say. That is around 60 percent of the foreign exchange Cuba earned from services.

    Venezuelan banks provide soft credits for dozens of development projects across the island.

    “Venezuela’s support for Cuba reduces the risk of investing in and trading with the country,” a foreign banker said, asking his name not be used. “They lose that and things might dry up.”

    Most Cuban economists point out that the economy has become more diversified over the last 20 years with the development of tourism, pharmaceuticals and increased oil and nickel production. But they say it remains far too dependent on Venezuela for comfort.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/18/us-cuba-venezuela-idUSBRE8BH0K120121218

  38. 291 RCR !! SHOULD I GO ON DEAR? ITS YOUR CALL!

    YOUTUBE: CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE Cuba Appeal 2012

    Picture a Christian boy, aged nine, with a strong passion to serve God. Fast forward 28 years and he is a 37-year-old Cuban pastor who is harassed by the authorities at every turn. He has been arrested and imprisoned for his work many times and is under government surveillance. That young boy is Pastor Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso. He leads the Taguayabón Baptist Church and also offers spiritual support to Christian human rights and democracy activists. The doors of his church are open to all regardless of their political beliefs. This means he regularly crosses a line many pastors are fearful to overstep because of the dangers of government punishment. Support Christians like Pastor Mario Felix today. His sister told us about the daily dangers he faces…

  39. YOUTUBE: Cuban Dissident from the Black Spring Dr Garcia Paneque interview with Christian Solidarity Worldwide

  40. 291 RCR !! DO YOU REALLY WANT TO CHALLANGE THE OLD QUEEN FROM CALIFORNIA DEAR???

    CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE: Religious persecution in Cuba

    One pastor in Cuba told CSW that church leaders are facing the highest levels of intimidation in twenty years. In some ways conditions appear to have improved over the past year – for example CSW has received fewer reports of demolitions of churches. However, church leaders representing a cross section of denominations in the country regard these new developments skeptically and urge caution to the outside world.

    Cuba’s communist system means that Christians of all denominations are systematically marginalised, and shifting government tactics during 2010 have created a subtler but more effective persecution, putting pressure directly on church leaders to conform. Religious activity and institutions are regulated by the Religious Affairs Office, a wing of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party which has maintained an antagonistic relationship with religious leaders since the Revolution.

    What does Christian persecution look like in Cuba?
    Government agents infiltrate congregations and religious organisations for covert surveillance.
    Churches are run down and overcrowded due to difficulties in obtaining permission to make church building repairs – permission is rarely given to build new churches.
    House churches exist in a state of legal limbo – tolerated but not officially legal – and can be shut down at any time – there is no freedom of assembly or association in Cuba.
    Church leaders who speak out on issues of religious freedom are severely harassed and the worst cases have been arrested or forced to leave the country.
    Church leaders regularly receive visits from intelligence agents in an attempt to intimidate them and remind them that the government is watching all they are doing.
    Religious freedom in Cuba: Five top facts:
    1. In 2008 Cuba signed the International Covenant on Civil and
    Political Rights, which includes provisions on religious
    freedom, but has yet to ratify or implement it.
    2. With very few exceptions, the authorities have not granted
    permission to build new churches since the 1959 revolution.
    The government often ignores or responds negatively to
    requests to make structural repairs to the churches built
    before 1959, meaning some have been condemned as health
    hazard, preventing the congregations from meeting there.
    3. If a non-Cuban participates in a house church worship
    service a £650 fine can be imposed on the church leader
    and on the foreign participant; Cubans earn around £13 per
    month.
    4. Church leaders estimate that 10-15,000 house churches of
    varying size, mostly unregistered, meet across Cuba. One
    of the fastest growing church networks is the Apostolic
    Movement, which meets in about 100 unregistered churches
    across the country.
    5. Prisoners of conscience are regularly “punished” by having
    their Bibles and other religious reading materials confiscated
    and are not allowed to participate in worship services held
    inside the prisons.

    http://www.csw.org.uk/cuba

  41. Good document Humberto.

    Pre-1959 Cuba was one of the most diverse and religiously tolerant places to live.

    Sad what happened afterwards.

  42. Humberto: sometimes when you reply I get the feeling that you are smoking too too much of that funny grass. How can anything from Uncle Sam be Independent???????

  43. U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Annual Report 2012

    USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. USCIRF’s principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.

    CUBA: p. 301 – 303
    Serious religious freedom violations continue in Cuba despite some improvements. Violations by the Cuban government include: detention, sporadic arrests, and harassment of clergy and religious leaders, as well as interference in church affairs. The Cuban government also controls and monitors religious belief and practices through surveillance and legal restrictions. Based on these concerns, USCIRF again places Cuba on its Watch List in 2012. Cuba has been on USCIRF‘s Watch List since 2004.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT!

    http://www.uscirf.gov/images/Annual%20Report%20of%20USCIRF%202012%282%29.pdf

  44. A great Christmas story between two Cubans exiles a generation apart and the bond between them. Worthwhile reading the full article below:

    Cuban exiles share a bond and inspirational tale of overcoming adversity

    BY JESSICA DE LEON
    jdeleon@MiamiHerald.com

    Healthcare executive Mike Fernandez developed a bond with former Cuban political prisoner Jorge Alvart, helping save his business and maybe his life.

    He had an orchid shop and was facing financial difficulties in selling his Christmas trees, affected by construction on Red Road. Mike Fernandez, the millionaire HMO owner, bought the entire 600 Christmas tree inventory and gave them to Hispanic and African American families in need. Fernandez introduced Alvart during the graduation ceremony at St Thomas University on Saturday, December 15, 2012. Roberto Koltun / El Nuevo Herald

    Here is the link: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/12/15/3143847/cuban-exiles-share-a-bond-and.html

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