My Words at Forum 2000

Good evening:

More than a decade ago Vaclav Havel’s book “The Power of the Powerless” fell into my hands for the first time. It came wrapped in a page of my country’s official newspaper, the Cuban Communist Party’s daily. Covering books was one of the many ways of hiding inconvenient texts forbidden by the government from the eyes of informants and the political police. In this way we had been reading, clandestinely, stories of what happened with the fall of the Berlin wall, the end of the Soviet Union, the Czech transformation, and all the other events in Eastern Europe. We knew about all these transitions, some more traumatic, others more successful and many of us dreamed that the transformation would soon come to our Island in the Caribbean, subjected to more than five decades of totalitarianism. But the transition most yearned for remains to be built. The processes of change don’t come alone, citizens have to spark them.

Today I am here, in the very city where Vaclav Havel was born, this man who summed up as few others have the spirit of the transition. I am also facing many people who have encouraged, pushed and personified the desire for change in their respective societies. Because the search for horizons of greater freedom is an essential part of human nature. Thus, it is twisted and unnatural for regimes to try to perpetuate themselves over the people, to immobilize them, to take from them the desire to dream that the future will be better.

In Vaclav Havel’s era, for Lech Walesa, and for so many other dissidents of the communist regimes, methods of peaceful struggle were effective: labor unions, even artistic creation was put to use for change. Now technology has also come to our aid. Every time I use a cellphone to denounce an arrest or write in my blog about the difficult situation of so many Cuban families, I think about how these gadgets with keyboards and screens would have helped the activists of previous decades. How far they could have cast their voices and projects had they had the social networks and all of cyberspace that opens today before our eyes. The Web 2.0 has been, without a doubt, a boost for the spirit of transition that dwells within us all.

Today, for the first time in Forum 2000, there is a small representation of Cuban activists. After decades of island confinement in which our country’s regime blocked many dissidents, independent journalists and alternative bloggers from traveling abroad, we have achieved the small victory of their opening to us the national frontiers. It is a limited victory, incomplete, because many others are still missing. Freedom of expression, respect for free opinion, the ability to choose for ourselves who represents us, the end of those acts of hate called “repudiation rallies” that still persist on the streets of Cuba against those who think differently from the ideology in power. However, many of us feel that Cuba is in transition. A transition that is happening in a more irreversible and instructive manner: from within the individual, in the conscience of a people.

In this transition we see the influence of many of you. Many of you who have arrived first to freedom and who have found that it is not the end of the road, rather freedom brings new problems, new responsibilities, new challenges. You who, in your respective countries, kept alive the breath of change, even risking your names and your lives.

Like the spirit of transition contained in that book by Vaclav Havel, wrapped — to disguise it — with the pages of the most stagnant and reactionary official newspaper you can possibly imagine. Like that book, the transition can be prohibited, censored, decreed to be almost a dirty word, postponed and demonized… but it will always arrive.

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83 thoughts on “My Words at Forum 2000

  1. Nick,

    I simply responded to your ecstasy over the gassing of Syrian children and the failure of the USA to stop it.

    You initiated the topic on this forum (about Cuba by the way) and kept gloating over it.

    I will now remind you of it because as a lunatic you will try to deny that you supported the gassing of children on this forum and will project your lunacy onto me.

    It is also important to remind people that both Castro and his supporters support the gassing of children, both militarily and morally.

    I am sure you will outlast me here as you have other rational posters, because you are a lunatic and it is difficult to calmly and rationally discuss anything with a lunatic.

    As proof of your lunacy and the emptiness of your verbiage, you have been unable to offer any support for your assertion that you are a leftist or that Cuba is a leftist state.

    As I showed with several examples, Cuba is Latin America’s most right-wing reactionary state and Castro’s supporters are right-wing lunatics who call themselves leftists.

    But a lunatic is a lunatic by any other name.

  2. Free communication through new technologies like twitter, which allow sending and receiving instant short messages, represent a thread to repressive governments. Twitter can be used to bring democracy to those countries such as the Castroit regime, and in due time will help to do so. The regime cannot stop this twitter technology to broadcast news. It doesn’t have a fix structure, its change and adapt to new events, cannot be control by the tyrannical regime.

    The flow of free information inside Cuba keep increasing at an accelerated pace, speeding up the pace of change of the collaboration around a share goal of helping to put an end to the Castroit monarchical regime and bring freedom to the island.
    3. Due to the new technologies is easy to record and transmit the Castroit regime goons violence against dissidents, including women and young people, with total disregard for their basic human rights. The military regimen lies and abuses are been video and witnesses accounts recorder, exposing them in a manner and to a level that was impossible before the advent of these new technology.

  3. @Neutral (Biased) Observer,

    Judging by your angry little contributions to this forum, your defining characteristics seem to be:

    A complete lack of even the slightest semblance of neutrality.
    A tendency to gloat over the gassing of children (you mention this fetish of yours in pretty much every comment you post).
    A simplistic lack of knowledge regarding basic political terminology.
    A failure to comprehend even the most obvious of ironies.
    And an apparent inability to recognise which of the various regimes in the recent history of The Americas have been the most murderous and bloodthirsty.

    Other than the above,
    I am sure that you may very well be a fine and worthy man/woman.

  4. Simba Sez: Today it’s Marabu and Nick. Yesterday it was Damir and Cuba Libre. Tomorrow it will be Tweedle Dee Dee and Tweedle Dee Dumb. They are but stooges of the failed Cuban Dictatorship. Their one purpose is to detract from any message that Yoani adds to this, her blog. They are not particularly good at it, but those who believe in Yoani’s message aid them in every possible way by engaging in repartee with them. Humberto, with his unfailing ego, unwittingly helps them with the addition of his cut and paste information which brings forth lots of new items for the stooges to use to lead Yoani’s followers astray. Carry on.

  5. Another spy hunter.

    These guys already see their names in the headlines of Miami Herald: RED AVISPA STILL ALIVE. SIXTH MEMBER COUGHT BY TREVOR.

    By the way: do psychatrists give group discounts?

  6. So, Marabu, why don’t you answer a direct question. Do you live in America, or not? Simple question.

  7. @Neutral Observer

    You don’t have to check the links I have posted especially for you below in this thread, but at least take the pills your doctor has prescribed to you. It’s for your own good.

    If you type, say or think “Castro agent” more then 3 times a day it is a sure sign you have forgotten the pills this day.

  8. Still waiting for the pro-Castro entity known as Marabu to explain how he can be

    1) An American citizen living in Florida

    2) A non-American who never wants to live in America

    all at the same time.

    Is the entity a member of Castro’s paid army of trollers? Or does the entity lie for pleasure?

  9. Nick,

    You haven’t explained how you’re a leftist yet, we’re still waiting.

    You support the oppression of Latin America’s most exploited workers.

    You’re against them having unions. You’re against them having the vote.

    You support the gassing of children.

    And as a previous commentator noted, you shout “Viva Fidel” just like right-wing lunatics shout “Heil Hitler”

    What you don’t understand, since you are a lunatic, is that left-wing and right-wing lunatics are exactly alike.

    If there was the slightest difference, you would have mentioned it by now in one of your hundreds of posts.

    I know being a leftist is the in thing now and that’s why you call yourself a leftist. I recommend wearing a Che shirt on campus, he’s very popular.

    If it makes you happy I will call you a leftist who exploits Cuban workers and supports the gassing of children instead of a rightist who exploits Cuban workers and supports the gassing of children.

  10. Humby The Scraper likes to scrape out his loser non-barrel for the benefit of us all.

    His same dull scrapings are dished up again and again.
    His Duck/Quack/Fascism scrape is one of his faves

    However his core misunderstanding of basic political theory is sadly lame and an embarrassment to him.

    As the long tradition of democracy in the USA is trampled on by the jack-boot of corporatism perhaps Humby The Scraper should look a little closer to home if he wants to find fascism in The Americas…

    At least, that is the opinion of a recent presidential candidate:

    Describing the United States as an “advanced Third World country,” longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader calls for a new mass movement to challenge the power corporations have in Washington. “It is not too extreme to call our system of government now ‘American fascism.’ It’s the control of government by big business, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt defined in 1938 as fascism,”

    I think that when it comes to fascism, I would hold FDR to be better placed to give a definition of it rather than Humby.
    This is because FDR mobilised huge resources and man power to fight against fascism, whereas Humby just sits around scraping his loser non-barrel and patching up the cracks in his nail varnish…..

  11. The Castroit regime is starting to break down, more and more Cubans are losing their fear. New technologies like cell phones, flash drive, Bluetooth, etc, are helping accelerate the process.
    The low power consumption of Bluetooth communications protocol, with a short range up to 100 meters, makes it possible for devices like cell phones to communicate with each other when they are in range, allowing information to spread like wild fire.
    The use of cell phone to send and read brief messages, up to 140 characters in size, refer as “tweets” by the users, do a better job of sending instant information out during emergencies than the traditional news media and government emergency services.
    During the Egyptian revolution in 2011, protesters used Twitter as a method of communication with the outside world to circumvent the government block out of the communication systems to suppress the news about the political protest. The Cuban people learned from the Egyptians protesters and are using it for the same purpose of communicating with the outside world bypassing the regime control of the information.

  12. So Mr/Ms Neutral (Biased?) Observer doesn’t know left from right and Hank has difficulty understanding irony….

    But at least Dear Old Humby seems to have managed to piece together a whole paragraph all on his own for a change, so at least there is some minor degree of improvement in the camp of the apologists for U.S. imperialism and capitalist fundamentalism….

  13. Nick,

    You have a serious credibility problem.

    Nick on August 28, 2013 at 6:01 am said:

    “Viva Fidel !”
    “Viva Raul !”

    Quite surprisingly, Nick, you followed this up with the following statement today, less than a month later:

    Nick on September 21, 2013 at 10:02 am said:

    “For your information: I am not a supporter of Fidel Castro.”

    So—which is it, Nick?

    Is it the August 28th “Viva fidel!” the mass-murderer, position you espouse, or is it today’s “I am not a supporter of fidel castro,” because I don’t like mass murderers position that you like?

    Take your pick, Nick. Which is it.

  14. Why Cubans risk their lives…?

    Why Mexicans, Dominicans and Haitian do the same?

    There are basicly two groups risking illegal immigration:

    1. The criminals.
    If you have robbed a store and the cops are after you, Florida appears a really sweet option.

    2. The naive ones.
    Those who have a capitalist dream. This second group can be divided into the dumb ones and the smart ones. The smart ones are able to admit that capitalism is a failure and return to Cuba. Yoani Sanchez is a prominent example of the smart ones.

  15. VICTIMS OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION- Cases up to January 25, 2012
    This work documents loss of life and disappearances of a political or military nature attributed to the Cuban Revolution. Each documented case is available for review at The Cuba Archive and substantiated by bibliographic/historic data and reports from direct sources. Due to the ongoing nature of the work and the difficulty of obtaining and verifying data from Cuba, the following totals change as research progresses and are considered far from exhaustive. Cuba Archive is currently examining additional cases -most are expected to be added to this table.

    Non-Combat Victims of the Castro Regime: Work-in-progress-Documented Cases
    Total = 10,500
    “Balseros” (estimate to 2003) = 77,833 victims drowned at sea
    http://cubaarchive.org/home/images/stories/1.25.2012_update.pdf

  16. That’s just a band aid and does nothing to address the fundamental problem of why Cubans feel the need to risk their lives to leave their homes in the first place. If this were really addressed, many more lives would be saved.

  17. Cuba, USA Coordinate Search and Rescue Operations

    Good news. US Coast Guard and Cuban Ministry of Transport sat at the table and prepared a draft of an agreement on aeronautical and maritime search and rescue between Cuba and the United States.

    The bottom line: it won’t be considered an act of agression if the Coast Guard enters cuban waters to pick up the rafters in danger or Cuban Navy will enter the US waters for the same purpose.

    Let’s hope it will save some lifes.

    http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1882201&Itemid=1

  18. UN Watch hosts UN event on Human Rights in Cuba
    On 17 September 2013, UN Watch, together with Liberal International and Directorio Democratico Cubano, hosted an event entitled “Cuba’s UPR: A Shadow Report.”
    The panelists were:

    OFELIA PAYA ACEVEDO: Widow of the Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, who died in a suspicious car crash a year ago, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement.
    YRIS TAMARA PEREZ AGUILERA: Human rights defender in Cuba, founder and leader of the Rosa Parks Feminine Civic Rights Movement, a women rights organization in Cuba.
    OSVALDO ALFONSO VALDES: Former prisoner of conscience, Director of Misceláneas de Cuba, published in Sweden in collaboration with independent journalists in Cuba, Vice-President of Union Liberal Cubana and representative of Liberal International.

    During the event Susana Rivero Baughman of the Catalan Liberal Party, as well as John Suarez of Directorio Democratico Cubano took the floor.

    The panelists described their experiences in fighting for democracy and freedom in Cuba, which often led to their arrest, beating and harassment by the police. The panelists also supported the petition for an International Inquiry into the death of Oswaldo Paya.

    During the event, diplomats from Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia and Ecuador, as well as two NGOs from Cuba took the floor, and tried to intimidate the speakers calling them liars and disputing their testimony. However, the panel answered all the questions convincingly, even when some of the people who asked the questions had left the room before their queries were answered.

    The lively debate and the strong emotions during the parallel event only shows the importance of holding such events on human rights in Cuba, with the aim to improve the situation in the island nation.

    http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/2013/09/18/un-watch-hosts-un-event-on-human-rights-in-cuba/

  19. Marabu said: “My common sense tells me one thing: THERE IS NO DICTATORSHIP IN CUBA.”

    I BEG TO DIFFER Marabu DEAR! DID YOU SEE THE PICTURE OF FIDEL AND RAUL IN THE DICTIONARY UNDER FASCISTS AND DICTATORSHIP?? REMIND YOU OF ANYONE WE KNOW??? JUST A HINT, HE IS FAMOUS FOR WEARING FATIGUES, HAS A BEAR AND LIKES TO SMOKE CIGARS!
    FASCISM: a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
    DICTATORSHIP: 1. a country, government, or the form of government in which absolute power is exercised by a dictator. 2. absolute, imperious, or overbearing power or control. 3. the office or position held by a dictator.

    “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck”

    If it walks like a FASCIST, quacks like a FASCIST, looks like a FASCIST, it must be a FASCIST! AND IF IT COMES FROM CUBA AND NAMED CASTRO, IS A CASTROFASCIST!! JE JE JE!

  20. Agent Marabu,

    When will you answer my simple question?

    You say you are an American citizen living in Florida.

    Then you say you are not an American and never want to live there?

    Which is the story you want to stick with?

    Trust me, get Castro to buy you some computers, then you can keep track of the sites you are trolling and keep all your lies straight.

  21. Nick

    No I don’t get it and neither do you.

    How is the USA more right-wing then Cuba?

    Let’s see, just to repeat what other posters have mentioned many times and you are unable to grasp.

    USA – environmental regulations and strong environmental movement.

    Cuba – no environmental regulations. Castro gives state and foreign multinational corporations a free hand to pollute all they want.
    Any Cuban environmentalist who protests is arrested, beaten, thrown in jail or killed.

    USA – unions are legal and workers are well-paid.

    Cuba – unions are illegal and workers are paid 10 to 20 dollars a month. Castro gives state and foreign multinational corporations a free hand to exploit Cuban workers all they want. He even offered prison labor to IKEA so they wouldn’t have to pay Cuban workers the generous some of 15 dollars a month.
    Any Cuban worker who protests is arrested, beaten, thrown in jail or killed.

    USA – welfare, unemployment insurance, pensions, old-age security, medicaid, medicare, etc, etc, etc

    Cuba – nothing, nothing, 10 dollars a month pension, nothing, nothing, nothing. Unemployed Cubans are paid 0 dollars a month. You have to bribe a doctor or be connected to get medical care. The poor are treated like disposable garbage by every level of government.

    USA – an occasional imperialist in the past, an occasional human-rights activist. Tried to stop the gassing of civilians in Syria.

    Cuba – a constant imperialist, allied with the world’s most aggressive empires, like Russia, China, Iran, etc, etc. Intervened militarily from South America to Africa to Asia. Even sent troops to invade Israel together with Syria.
    Castro has supported the world’s biggest fascists and human rights abusers for 54 years and going on strong. Supports the gassing of civilians in Syria with all its military and political muscle.

    USA – a free press that exposes corporate and government corruption

    Cuba – a press that prints propaganda created by the Castro regime and little else. Any journalist who attempts to expose corporate or government corruption in Cuba is arrested, beaten, thrown in jail or killed.

    According to my dictionary both you and Castro are far to the right of not just the US government, but other more moderate ex-dictators like Pinochet.

  22. JOKE OF THE DAY
    was published here by Hank, quoting some “human rights” paper.

    The best laugh I had was on “Reduce government influence and control over the internet”.
    I wonder if NSA has captured that one yet?

  23. Neutral (Biased?) Observer seems to have trouble with his/her left and his right.
    He/She just cant seem to get a grip on these basic political concepts.

    N(B?)O, now read the following very carefully:

    USA…..right wing
    Venezuela…..left wing

    geddit now??

  24. @ Neutral (Biased?) Observer,

    For your information:
    I am not a supporter of Fidel Castro.
    And I am most definitely not a supporter of USA’s imperialist polies towards The Americas region.
    For decades the USA held control over Latin America in a ruthless and bloodthirsty way.
    Just as ruthless as the way in which Russia held control over the Eastern Bloc countries.
    Thankfully these eras have come pretty much to an end.
    If you do not recognise these facts and if you do not recognise the fact that Cuba stood up against this imperialism and encouraged other nations of The Americas to take a (mostly successful) stand against this imperialism then you are either deluded or just simply biased.
    If you fail to recognise these as basic world history facts then you most certainly misunderstand the meaning of the word ‘neutral’.
    As regards your sick and gloating references towards gassing children then that’s just plain twisted…

  25. Hank,

    Those recommendations are very mild.

    Nothing about free elections or free enterprise, just freedom from terror when expressing their opinions.

    They are asking Cuba to let Cubans express their opinions without getting arrested, beaten up or killed.

    And of course Castro said FU and will keep saying FU as he laughs his way to the bank.

  26. Russia and Venezuela are repulsive countries because they are run by corrupt right-wing oligarchs.

    All neutral observers agree on that point.

    I don’t understand how “leftists” who support Castro are always first in line to support the world’s most right-wing dictatorships.

    What’s the difference between the “leftists” who support Syria’s gassing of children and “fascists” who supported the gassing of children in Nazi Germany?

    Other posters have made the point that Castro’s and Hitler’s supporters are exactly alike, and I have to say that they have a point.

  27. From the folks over at Capitol Hill Cubans.

    Cuba Recognizes it Violates (and Will Keep Violating) Human Rights

    at 9:54 PM Friday, September 20, 2013

    The U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) concluded its Universal Periodic Review of Cuba today.

    Of the recommendations made by the UNHRC, Cuba formally rejected 20 of them.

    Among the recommendations formally rejected by the Castro regime were:

    — Guarantee a safe, free and independent environment for journalists and ensure that all cases of attacks against them are investigated by independent and impartial bodies.

    — Put an end to repression, investigate acts of repudiation and protect all persons who are the targets of intimidation or violence.

    — Liberate immediately and unconditionally all the prisoners held in temporary detention or sentenced in connection with exercising their freedom of opinion and expression as well as freedom of assembly and association.

    — Take steps to protect and promote the freedom of expression and association of all peaceful defenders of human rights in the country.

    — Ensure that all living in Cuba can fully enjoy their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

    — Release Alan Gross and imprisoned journalists such as Jose Antonio Torres immediately.

    — Discontinue the limitations on civil society activities, including the short-term detention of political activists.

    — Refrain from the harassment, intimidation and arbitrary detention of human rights activities.

    — Halt short-term detentions, harassments and other repressive measures against human rights defenders and journalists and implement legal safeguards to ensure their protection against abuse of provisions for criminal
    prosecution.

    — Take necessary measures to guarantee the rights to peaceful assembly and association in conformity with the law and the international standards.

    — Reduce government influence and control over the internet as part of a broader commitment to freedom of expression.

    — Put an end to online censorship.

    — Take steps to ensure the establishment of an unrestricted access to the internet for all, including by making use of the existing underwater high speed broadband cable.

  28. I asked a question of the poster that calls itself Marabu.

    Having read all the articles over the past few weeks, I notice in several posts that Marabu said he is an American citizen living in Florida who is sick and tired of paying taxes to the US government to support Cuban refugees, etc, etc, etc.

    Then in other posts, he says he is not an American and would never want to live there.

    Can the entity called Marabu clear up this confusion?

    Can I recommend that Castro’s paid trolls and bloggers automate their trolling process with the aid of computers. This will help keep their stories straight.

    Spying 101: Create a consistent back story.

    Castro’s trolling business needs to modernize or outsource to China or Iran.

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