Reunion

Last Thursday I was in Havana without leaving Madrid. Thanks to the guitar of Boris Larramendi I took a little hop to the Island. A brief but intense return, on the wings of chords and a good musician. At a place in the Spanish capital we found a group of friends, some graduates from the Faculty of Arts and letters, but also former players in whatever musical groups existed in Cuba in the ‘90s. I felt at home, because right in the living room of our apartment we had one of these gatherings that we recalled the night before last. We remembered the lemon grass tea with a little sugar with which we restored our energy after carrying our bikes up 14 flights of stairs. But mostly, we recollected the good songs we had heard there, the space for freedom that we managed to create for at least a few hours.

Beyond the choruses and the rice with beans, I particularly enjoyed the reunion with my compatriots. Many of them are still trying to find their way in a Spain hit by the economic crisis and political questions. Some are unemployed, others illegal, several with children born here who don’t know the country of their parents; all aware of what is happening in Cuba. Boris sang himself hoarse, and we clapped along until our palms were red and, already past midnight, humor took over and we reveled in jokes.

On one wall a TV showed images recorded on the streets of Havana. The Malecón and the corner of 23rd and L were a visual background accompanying our improvised “Guaracha” around two tables. At one point I realized that the recording that was passing across the screen was from a police security camera. But here this filtered surveillance material was just an amusing video in a space for entertainment. The official eye become banal; control converted into a frivolous daily report. But not even that could distract us from the most important thing happening in that room: the confluence. We were finding a point in common after a long journey and prolonged separation. We were more free than at any gathering in Havana and yet, we were still the fruit of all those Havana gatherings. A blessed past that we have waited for this morning.

15 thoughts on “Reunion

  1. Nick on #13!! DUDE! I GOT A BIG CUBAN FAMILY! DONT HOLD THAT AGAINST ME DEAR!! JE JE JE!

  2. Reasons that makes castrofascism a terrorist regime:

    Certainly Cuba continues to classify as a country that supports terrorism and has actively supported it in the past – increasingly against its own people.

    Current and former members of Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) continue to reside in Cuba … Press reporting indicated that the Cuban government provided medical care and political assistance to the FARC. There was no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training for either ETA or the FARC.”

    ETA and the FARC are foreign terrorist organizations and Cuba continues to provide support for both groups. The favorite new argument of those seeking Cuba’s removal from the list is to note that peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC are taking place in Havana. But the United States would need to rescind its designation of ETA and the FARC as foreign terrorist organizations before it could remove Cuba from the terrorism sponsor list. More importantly, there is no peace agreement or peace in Colombia and ETA continues to threaten Spain.

    Testifying on Colombia before the House Armed Services Committee, General John F. Kelly, head of the U.S. Southern Command, provided some perspective:

    “Terrorist groups represent a persistent challenge that has plagued the region for decades. The FARC is the region’s oldest, largest, most capable, and best equipped insurgency. The government of Colombia is currently in peace negotiations with the FARC, but the fight is far from over and a successful peace accord is not guaranteed. Although weakened, the FARC continues to confront the Colombian state by employing improvised explosive devices and attacking energy infrastructure and oil pipelines.”

    Second, the State Department country report says that “the Cuban government continued to permit fugitives wanted in the United States to reside in Cuba and also provided support such as housing, food ration books, and medical care for these individuals.”

    That has not changed either. The FBI estimates that Cuba has provided safe harbor to more than 70 fugitives from U.S. justice who live on the island under the protection of the Castro regime. Some of these fugitives are charged with or have been convicted of murder, kidnapping, and hijacking, and they include notorious killers of police officers in New Jersey and New Mexico.

    Warranting special mention are the outstanding U.S. indictments against Cuban Air Force pilots Lorenzo Alberto Pérez-Pérez and Francisco Pérez-Pérez and General Rubén Martínez Puente, the head of the Cuban Air Force, who in 1996 ordered the pilots to shoot down two civilian American aircraft over international waters in the Florida Straits. That act of terrorism killed four men, three of them American citizens.

    Third, the State Department report says that the Financial Action Task Force has identified Cuba as having deficiencies in combatting money laundering and terrorism financing. In February, the Castro regime made “a high-level political commitment” to work with the FATF to address money laundering and the flow of money through Cuba to terrorists. There has been no discernible effort since to criminalize money laundering or to establish procedures to identify and freeze the assets of terrorists.

    In addition, thousands of Cuban soldiers and intelligence officials are stationed in Venezuela. Cuba’s presence and control over the highest levels of Venezuela’s military, police, and intelligence services not only threatens to subvert democracy in that nation, but it allows those Venezuelan authorities to be Cuba’s proxies in trafficking drugs and weapons, and in providing support to such extremist organizations as Hezbollah and Iran’s al-Quds.

    Cuba’s close political ties with other state sponsors of terrorism – particularly Iran and Syria – and its history of sharing intelligence with rogue regimes are of serious concern and, according to former U.S. intelligence officials, pose a risk to U.S. counter-terrorism efforts in the Middle East and elsewhere.

    As President Obama himself recognized last month when he renewed the “national emergency” designation regulating the movement and anchorage of vessels in the Florida Straits (a yearly evaluation process undertaken by U.S. presidents since the 1996 downing of U.S. civilian aircraft by the Castro regime), “the Cuban government has not demonstrated that it will refrain from the use of excessive force against U.S. vessels or aircraft that may engage in memorial activities or peaceful protest north of Cuba.”

  3. Re #10
    How many times has Humby posted this?
    I think he’s posted it at least once for each member of his fave family.

    Let me try and find something new to post rather than something that’s been posted so many, many times already.

    How about this:
    In the wake of the vile terrorist attack in Boston, here is an article from The Boston Globe regarding reasons why it is quite obviously ridiculous to for the U S Government to include Cuba on a list of countries that it thinks are involved in sponsoring terrorism:

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2013/04/28/making-terror-lists-matter-cuba-not-state-sponsor-terrorism/X2NW0rfYm5A2eJT5VZEuHI/story.html

  4. WE WOULD SURE MISS THAT “GET SMART” WANNA BE, BUT WITHOUT THE HUMOR! MAYBE WE SHOULD GET ALAN GROSS BACK FOR THIS PETITION BY CUBAN SPY RENE GONZALEZ!

    WSVN CHANNEL 7 NEWS: Ex-Cuban spy offers to renounce US citizenship

    MIAMI (AP) — A convicted Cuban spy offered Monday to renounce his U.S. citizenship if a judge will allow him to finish serving a probation sentence in Cuba.

    Rene Gonzalez was recently permitted to visit Cuba for two weeks following his father’s death and is due back May 6. His lawyer said in court papers that Gonzalez, 56, is willing to renounce his citizenship while in Havana at the U.S. Interests Section, but only if he can serve his remaining months of probation there.

    Gonzalez, who has dual Cuban and U.S. citizenship, “does not wish to run afoul of any of this court’s orders and rulings,” attorney Philip Horowitz wrote. “He will not seek to renounce his citizenship without this court’s permission.”

    U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard issued no immediate ruling. The Miami U.S. attorney’s office has previously opposed allowing Gonzalez to complete his three-year probation term in Cuba because he would be beyond the reach of a U.S. court’s ability to enforce it.

    Gonzalez is one of the so-called Cuban Five convicted of spying on exiles in Florida and attempting to infiltrate military installations and political campaigns. They are hailed as heroes in Cuba, which claims they are victims of political persecution.

    One Cuban was convicted of murder conspiracy for the 1996 downing of a “Brothers to the Rescue” plane by Cuban fighter jets. The group dropped pro-democracy leaflets in Cuba and helped Cuban migrants trying to reach the U.S.

    Gonzalez was released from prison in 2011 after serving about 13 years. He has been living at an undisclosed location in the United States. His wife and daughters live in Cuba.

    http://www.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/21010495223710/ex-cuban-spy-offers-to-renounce-us-citizenship/

  5. SOMETHING IS FISHY IN THE “ISLAND PARADISE” RUN BY THE CASTRO FAMILY OLIGARCHY! MAYBE THEY ARE PACKING THEIR BAGS?? BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO!

    CAFE FUERTE: Cuba cancels powerful Canadian corporation’s license

    The Cuban government officially canceled powerful operations Tokmakjian Group, one of the largest foreign firms that operated for the past 25 years on the island.

    A resolution of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, published in the Official Gazette, said he decided to revoke the license of a Canadian conglomerate renewal be presented extemporaneously, on March 8, and for violations incurred in their business activities in the territory Cuban.

    “In the process of analysis of the request by the counterparty has been completed reject it, having proven the performance on the national territory of the branch and its officers, activities that do not correspond to those authorized by the licenses originally he was given, which are contrary to the principles and ethics that should characterize the business and contravene the Cuban legal system, “the ministerial decree, published on 18 April.

    The document is the first official statement from the Cuban government on the corruption scandal that led to the closure of the company’s offices in Havana and the arrest of its top executive, Canadian businessman Cy Tokmakjian, in late 2011 .

    cafefuerte.com/cuba/noticias-de-cuba/economia-y-negocios/2801-cuba-cancela-licencia-a-poderosa-corporacion-canadiense

    VIA CAPITOL HILL CUBANS: In the last few months, the CEOs of three companies with extensive business dealings with the Cuban government were arrested and are now sitting in jail — without charges.

    They are Cy Tokmakjian of the Tokmakjian Group and Sarkis Yacoubian of Tri-Star Caribbean, both from Canada, and Britain’s Amado Fahkre of Coral Capital.

    Let me stress that these were not casual investors. They these were three of Cuba’s biggest business partners, having invested hundreds of millions, with direct access to the highest officials.

    And in the last few weeks, Iberia, the national airline of Spain, which accounts for over 10% of all foreign commerce with Cuba, announced the elimination of its Havana routes — for they are no longer profitable.

    Welcome to the Tokmakjian Group

    Leading Canada’s transportation industry for over 40 years, Tokmakjian Group provides a broad range of transportation services and solutions across Canada and abroad. Tokmakjian Group is a parent company comprised of three transportation subsidiaries, which offer a range of services that include unparalleled engine and transmission repair, to chartered bus routes in and between various municipalities.

    SN Diesel offers comprehensive diesel engine and transmission repair and remanufacturing for a broad range of engine and transmission types. Can-Ar’s charter bus services facilitate transportation throughout southern and central Ontario, across Canada and into the United States; and CABSS – the newest addition to the Tokmakjian Group – provides exclusive shuttle services for condos and property managers across the Greater Toronto Area.

    Tokmakjian Group’s esteemed history is built on respect and honesty, earning a trusted reputation for reliable, cost-effective service that exceeds expectations of customers and passengers alike. Our focus is to offer the very best in service and transportation excellence, a mission that has paved the way to successful domestic operations and international expansion. Don’t settle for second best – let Tokmakjian Group keep your business moving.

  6. AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!TO BE A A BOURGEOIS CASTRO FAMILY MEMBER IN THE ISLAND PARADISE OF CUBA! OF COURSE, ITS PARADISE FOR THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA! NOT THE EVERYDAY CUBAN CITIZEN! DUH!!

    FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE: The Castro family playground- Blake Hounshell
    Friday, May 2, 2008

    During the past few years family members of both Fidel and Raúl Castro have come to occupy important positions in Cuba’s government. This Castro clan represents in addition to the military, the security apparatus and the Communist Party, a significant force in Cuba’s political and economic structures.

    Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart- Relationship: Fidel Castro’s son
    Position: Advisor, Ministry of Basic Industry

    Col. Alejandro Raúl Castro Espin – Releationship: Raúl Castro’s son
    Position: Chief, Intelligence Information Services, Ministry of the Interior; Coordinator, Intelligence Exchange with China

    Ramón Castro Ruz- Relationship: Fidel and Raúl’s oldest brother
    Position: Advisor, Ministry of Sugar

    Dr. Antonio Castro Soto – Relationship: Fidel Castro’s son
    Position: Investment Chief, Frank Pais Hospital. Doctor for Cuba’s baseball team

    Major Raúl Alejandro Rodríguez Castro – Relationship: Raúl Castro’s
    grandson
    Position: Raúl Castro’s military guard in charge of his personal security

    Deborah Castro Espin – Relationship: Raúl Castro’s daughter
    Position: Advisor, Ministry of Education

    Mariela Castro Espin – Relationship: Raúl Castro’s daughter
    Position: Head, Center for Sexual Education

    Marcos Portal León – Relationship: Married to Raúl Castro’s niece
    Position: In charge of nickel industry, member of the Central Committee
    of Cuba’s Communist Party

    Col. Luís Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja – Relationship: Raúl Castro’s son-in-law
    Chief Executive Officer of Grupo GAESA (Grupo de Administración de Empresas, S.A.) which supervises military enterprises Alfonsito Fraga, Related to Raúl CastroMinistry of
    Foreign Relations

    blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2008/05/02/the_castro_family_playground

  7. VIVA THE BOURGEOIS CASTRO “REVOLUTION”! HYPOCRITES! MY TRANSLATION BELOW!

    DIARIO DE CUBA: Antonio Castro wins Varadero International Golf Event

    Antonio Castro Soto del Valle won the International Golf Montecristo Championship, held over the weekend in the resort of Varadero, informs the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

    Fidel Castro’s son was one of the three leaders of the competition. He won first place in its category.

    The annual tournament is organized by the group of companies of Palmares SA, with the support of Habanos SA, the British company Esencia y Cubanacán.

    This year it was attended by about 100 players from 15 countries including UK, Canada, Spain, Mexico, France, USA, Sweden and Japan. (NOW WHERE IS THE “EMBARGO”??)

    The championship was held at the Varadero Golf Club (18 holes, length 3.5 km). The entry fee was 150 CUC. And the cost of a single room in the Hotel Melia Las Americas, for three nights, was 810 CUC, according to organizers.

    Castro Soto del Valle is an orthopedic surgeon by profession and also serves as vice president of the Cuban Federation of Baseball.

    Two weeks ago he was re-elected as vice president of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF).

    http://www.diariodecuba.com/deportes/1367256238_3015.html

  8. YOUTUBE: LA FLACA EN FRANCAIS!! Yoani Sanchez Télématin with Marie Mamgioglou – Presentation and exclusive interview with Yoani Sanchez, journalist, blogger and leader of the Cuban opposition. She fights for freedom of expression from Havana. Comment and share this video!
    Yoani Sanchez dans Télématin avec Marie Mamgioglou – Présentation et interview exclusive de Yoani Sanchez, journaliste, blogueuse et chef de file de l’opposition cubaine. Elle se bat pour la liberté d’expression depuis La Havane. Commentez et partagez cette vidéo!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoypOkXsirM

  9. I am very sorry for the bunch of idiots in Perugia. Italy is a very strange country, we have every possible group for anarchists to trotzkists from maoists to fascists with all the possible shades and variations in between. We have them all ! And yes also castrist apparently. I am not surprised, in Italy any excuse to argue and protest is taken, there is still this romantic idea of socialism and some people believe that castro is one of the last true socialist leaders that is keeping Cuba “safe” from the invasion of the barbarians from USA. Yoani,don’t take it personally, the protest is most of the time against USA, that is perceived as the symbol of evil. These people would have a very good political career in Iran or North Corea. They are a very tiny minority progressively disappearing, but still verbal and noisy.

  10. THE PROBLEM WITH THIS ARTICLE IS THAT IT DID NOT DO ITS RESEARCH! CUBA WAS NOT “UNDERDEVELOPED” IN 1959! IT WAS IN PAR WITH CHILE AND ARGENTINA AT THE TIME! EVEN VERY CLOSE TO THE U.S.A. IN REGARDS TO LIVING STANDARDS! THEN THE CASTRO HURRICANES HIT IT! IT HAS BEEN THROWN BACK 5 DECADES SINCE THEN!

    REUTERS: Cuba’s young see bleak future, many want to leave

    On weekend nights in Havana, young hipsters fill the sidewalks at a busy intersection near the seafront and spill into the park below, passing rum bottles between them, smoking cigarettes and playing guitars.

    Black t-shirts, low-slung jeans, oddball haircuts and tattoos are in vogue at this spot, a favorite hangout for Cuban youth with a counter-cultural, slightly rebellious feel to it.

    On one corner, police question a few overzealous partiers, but generally leave people alone compared to years past, when, according to one regular, Ernesto Ramis, they made everyone move along.

    Ramis, 25, says you can get drugs here – uppers, downers, maybe some ecstasy – but there is no overt evidence of illegality this night, only a sense that being young in Cuba today is different, that conformity to the old ways has faded.

    “The main difference,” says Ramis, pointing toward the Straits of Florida, barely visible in the darkness, “is that everyone wants to leave.”

    His use of the word “everyone,” is an overstatement, but he has touched on one of the Cuban government’s biggest problems – youthful discontent with a system many view as lacking opportunity for a better life.

    CLICK LINK OR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/28/us-cuba-youth-idUSBRE93R01820130428

  11. HERE IS THE DEMONSTRATION BY THE CASTROFASCIST MOB AGAINST YOANI! IM SURE THAT MOST ITALIANS WILL KNOW FASCIST BEHAVIOR WHEN THEY SEE IT! WHAT TERROR THIS SKINNY CUBAN WOMAN BRINGS TO THE HEARTS OF THE MACHO CASTRO BROTHERS FOR THEM TO BE SCRAPPING THE BOTTOM OF THE FASCIST TACTIC BARREL! SHE HAS THEM TOTALLY DISCONCERTED!

    YOUTUBE: Yoani Sanchez contestata – Immagini di Valentina Innocente – IAl festival internazionale di giornalismo di Perugia – Images of Innocenet Valor – IAI International Journalism Festival in Perugia . Imagenes de Valentina Inocente- IAI Festival Internacional de Periodismo en Perugia
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVpYyUpVaxI&feature=youtu.be

  12. THE CASTROFASCISTS DONT KNOW WHAT TACTIC TO PULL TO DROWN THE VOICE OF THIS SOOO INTELLIGENT AND BRAVE CUBANA! GO FLACA!!!!!!!!!

    INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIME: Cuba Dissident Blogger Yoani Sanchez Confronted by Italian Pro-Castro Fanatics – by Gianluca Mezzofiore

    Cuba dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez has been confronted by pro-Castro fanatics at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia

    A group of around twenty demonstrators accused Sanchez of being pro-American, shouting “Yes to Cuba, no to Yankee” and throwing fake dollars with the face of Sanchez in it. They demanded the release of the Cuban Five, also known as the Miami Five (Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González) who were convicted in Miami of conspiracy to committ espionage, murder and acting as an agent of a foreign government in the US.

    The group left the room singing Bella Ciao, an old Communist song used by Italian anti-Fascist partisans during the Second World War.

    “My voice sounds louder in face of their insults,” said Sanchez. “I dream one day that every public figure in Cuba will be scrutinised and subject to critique.”

    “Here, when they can insult me I can reply,” she said. “The pain I feel is that in Cuba, if they insult me, I can’t reply. I feel like Ulysses now, I’ve been travelling around the world to feel people like me. But I want to go home. That’s the route of pain.”

    ” We want change,” she continued. “My generation was never asked how we wanted to see the country to become like. My generation had never been able to choose the president who govern the country.”

    “Journalism was the only way to tell the reality I was living in”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/462165/20130428/cuba-dissident-blogger-yoani-sanchez-confronted-italian.htm

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