Mattresses

A woman shouts from the balcony and they stop, along with the cart they are pushing. On the sidewalk itself they set up a workshop. On some boards and in sight of everyone. The broken springs are replaced, enormous needles sew up the edges and the old lining, stained here and there, is replaced with another made from the cloth of a flour sack. Their hands move quickly. In less than an hour they’re done and continuing down the street looking for new customers. A mixture of dust, lint and the accumulated odor of years of intimacy floats on the air.

Mattress repairers always have work, a lot of work. In a country where many still sleep on the same bed their grandparents slept on, this work is vital. These days experts in padding and bedframes are everywhere. With their spools of thread, they loudly shout out their promises of thirty-day guarantees after the renovation. They repair that which passed its expiration date decades ago, returning a comfortable sleep to those who find some out of place spring poking into their backs every night.

Also abundant are the scammers. Creators of an illusion that barely lasts and leaves the buyers with pains all over their bodies and in their wallets. They stuff in successive layers of dry banana leaves, plastic fibers or sawdust. Then they cover them with brightly printed fabric, taking special care to tightly stitch the edges. They situate themselves near commercial centers and assure people that their merchandise is “just like in the store.” In a country where a professional needs a year’s salary to purchase a marital mattress, the offerings — outside the state stores — are cheaper, and always very tempting. However, much of the time the advantage turns to frustration in a very short time.

The scenario repeats itself when the repairers come to a neighborhood. A mother is annoyed by the urine stains that her youngest child has left on the bed. Others are embarrassed because the neighbors will see the successive patches that have been made to their mattress over the years. Phrases such as, “It’s not mine, it belongs to a relative, but I’m doing them the favor of fixing it,” are common. Some appear with an amorphous structure, lacking defined corners and sunken in the middle, that needs more than magic to restore it. “Let me make it like new,” says the repairer, and he starts to move his hands, sink the blade in a few points, and finally name a price.

More than a restorer of mattresses, he is a restorer of dreams.

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41 thoughts on “Mattresses

  1. Pingback: Communist markets in everything: Mattress repair in Cuba | AEIdeas

  2. What cuban girls like?

    Now I can send money, $260 000, to a sweetheart in Cuba so that she can buy herself a decent car.

    For the same money, however, I can buy her 13 000 000 (thirteen million) bus rides in Havana.

    I wonder what she would prefer?

  3. HERE YOU GO Marabu DEAR!

    HAVANA TIMES: Rise in Havana Bus Fares in the Wind – by Rogelio Manuel Díaz Moreno
    The formal price of a ticket on the urban buses is 40 cents (of a peso), in the so-called national currency. Given the equivalent in US money – about 2 cents – this price may seem infinitesimally small, until you also look at the dollar value of what a Cuban worker receives as a salary: about 20 dollars monthly.

    But if those 40 centavos is the official price, paying it takes a great deal of work. You have to deposit the correct change into the cashbox on the bus. The driver, in addition to his stressful work, has to pressure the passengers to pay – and his remuneration depends on what he collects.

    But small coins in this country can only be found in the banks and you have to stand in long and tedious lines to get them. And the banks are open, generally, the same hours as all other places of work.
    The formal price of a ticket on the urban buses is 40 cents (of a peso), in the so-called national currency. Given the equivalent in US money – about 2 cents – this price may seem infinitesimally small, until you also look at the dollar value of what a Cuban worker receives as a salary: about 20 dollars monthly.

    But if those 40 centavos is the official price, paying it takes a great deal of work. You have to deposit the correct change into the cashbox on the bus. The driver, in addition to his stressful work, has to pressure the passengers to pay – and his remuneration depends on what he collects.

    But small coins in this country can only be found in the banks and you have to stand in long and tedious lines to get them. And the banks are open, generally, the same hours as all other places of work.

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=98948

  4. BEST LINE IN THIS ARTICLE: “But prices remain out of reach for many.”!! MORE LIKE 99% OF CUBANS! OF COURSE THAT EXCLUDES THE CASTRO FAMILY OLIGARCHY AND ITS HENCHMEN!

    BBC NEWS: Cubans can now buy new and used cars freely

    Previously, Cubans had to get a government permit to buy new vehicles. That requirement has now been abolished but only a minority will benefit.

    The state has a monopoly on new car sales and is marking up prices by 400% or more.

    Freeing up car sales is the latest in a series of reforms in Communist-run Cuba.

    Until new regulations in 2011, people could only sell cars built before the 1959 revolution.

    For new cars, people needed a much-sought government permit – a privilege mainly bestowed on senior officials, top athletes and artists.

    Permits were often traded on the black market for large sums of cash.

    Now, Cubans will no longer need the government’s approval to buy new cars from state-owned sellers.

    But prices remain out of reach for many.

    The BBC’s Sarah Rainsford, in Havana, says a new Peugeot 508 estate at a showroom in the Cuban capital is on sale for an extraordinary $262,000 (£160,000).

    That is eight times more than what it would cost in Britain, for example.

    And used cars are not much cheaper. Our correspondent says a five-year-old Peugeot 206 is priced at $85,000 (£52,000).

    The vast majority of people in Cuba earn a state wage of around $20 (£12) per month.

    The government says some of the profits from sales will go towards developing Cuba’s decrepit public transport system.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-25595674

  5. Yoani writes on Twitter: “Today started the sale of new and second hand cars at state facilities but the prices are scary… it is a robbery”

    Can anyone tell me the current price of a donkey in Cuba?
    How did the price develop in the recent years?
    I would like to buy one and to donate it to Yoani.

    There will be one “robbery” less in Cuba if she will ride a donkey.

  6. THE CASTROFASCISTS MAKE THE “USED CAR SALESMEN” LOOK LIKE ALTAR BOYS! CAN YOU SPELL “MAFIA OLIGARCHY”!! DUH!

    HAVANA TIMES — New car sales begin today in Cuba after a half century of restrictions on the internal market. The CIMEX corporation automotive division posted some initial prices,

    The amounts sharply contrast with the average monthly salaries on the island of around US $20. Nonetheless, Cubans with wealthy family members abroad or other alternative income sources are candidates for purchases.

    Café Fuerte reports that the lists of some of the autos for cash sale at the state dealerships “has created alarm among potential buyers and the general population.”

    Upon announcing the opening of new car sales on the island, the government said the profits derived from the purchases would go to improving the highly deficient public transportation.

    The following is an initial list of prices:

    Auto Transport Division of the CIMEX Corporation

    PEUGEOT Agency

    PRICES OF AVAILABLE NEW CARS FOR SALE IN CUC
    (1.00 US Dollar = 0.87 CUC)

    PEUGEOT EXPERT TEPEE 2013 …212,940.00
    PEUGEOT 4008 2013 ………………….239,250.00
    PANEL PEUGEOT PARTNER TEPEE 2013…. 145,612.50
    PEUGEOT 206+ 2013 …………….. 91,113.00
    PEUGEOT 301 2013 ……………… 108,084.00
    PEUGEOT 301 2013 ……………… 109,684.00
    PEUGEOT 301 2013 ……………… 109,699.00
    PEUGEOT 5008 2013 …………….. 232,193.50
    PEUGEOT 508 2013 ……………… 263,185.50

    PEUGEOT Agency

    CLICK ARTICLE FOR A MORE COMPLETE LIST!

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=100992

  7. WALL STREET JOURNAL: Raúl Castro’s Warning – by Mary Anastasia O’Grady

    This is the time of year when the world looks forward, no matter what the disappointments of the past. It’s called hope. But Raúl Castro is warning Cubans who are hoping to build wealth in the newly “reformed” economy not to waste their time. The state, he said in a Christmas-week speech to the national assembly, is not about let that happen.

    It was only two years ago that Castro boasted a loosening of the rules in the state-owned economy. He did it under duress: The bankrupt government couldn’t continue to pretend to pay people who pretend to work. The dictatorship forecast that it had to unload more than a half-million Cubans from state payrolls. To ease the pain and potential social unrest, Castro pronounced 178 trades “legal.”

    A gullible foreign press swooned over Castro’s words as if he was getting ready to admit the defeat of the 55-year-old communist revolution and let the market take over. Yet it was easy to see, by the list of the approved “professions,” that Castro’s exercise in reform was nothing but a bad joke. Cuban writer José Azel subtly pointed out the absurdity of it all by naming a few of the newly legalized businesses in a January 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed: “Trade No. 23 will be the purchase and sale of used books. Trade 29 is an attendant of public bathrooms (presumably for tips); 34 is a palm-tree pruner (apparently other trees will still be pruned by the state). Trade 49 is covering buttons with fabric; 61 is shining shoes; 62 is cleaning spark plugs; 69 is a typist; 110 is the repair of box springs (not to be confused with 116, the repair of mattresses). Trade 124 is umbrella repairs; 125 is refilling of disposable cigarette lighters; 150 is fortune-telling with tarot cards; 156 is being a dandy (technical definition unknown, maybe a male escort?); 158 is peeling natural fruit (separate from 142, selling fruit in kiosks).”

    The regime undoubtedly expected that the narrowness of the list of approved activities would contain ambitious upstarts. No such luck. The whiff of oxygen was enough to stir the animal spirits on the island and the central planners were, as they always are, caught off guard by the spontaneity of the market. In December the Associated Press reported that “the government has banned the resale of imported hardware and clothes and cracked down on unlicensed private videogame and movie salons.” It has also sharply hiked in license fees for motor-bike taxi drivers.

    Castro’s remarks before the assembly shed light on his reasoning. The regime, he said, is not about let “private business people” go around “creating an environment of impunity and stimulating the accelerated growth of activities that were never authorized for certain occupations.” Illegal activities like “competing excessively with state enterprises,” will not be tolerated, he warned. In other words, Cuban poverty is here to stay.

    In a world full of dynamism and uncertainty, isn’t it comforting to know that some things never change?

    http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702303370904579296532056665534-lMyQjAxMTA0MDAwMjEwNDIyWj

  8. THE CASTROFASCISTS TRYING TO CRUSH THE DISSIDENT MOVEMENT IN ORIENTE! PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION!

    UNPACU LEADER’S HOUSES ASSAULTED. LEADERS DETAINED.
    José Daniel Ferrer García arrested and missing, as well as Ovidio Martín Castellanos
    Santiago de Cuba, 3/1/2014. Just after a few hours of Raúl Castro’s speech in Santiago de Cuba, today 3rd of January at 7am (Cuban time) the homes of several eminent peaceful opponents have been raided in the East region of the island. José Daniel Ferrer and Ovidio Martín Castellanos, after suffering two separate assaults on their homes and the theft of belongings which included children Christmas gifts, have been arrested and transferred to unknown whereabouts. Listen to report by Yusmila Reyna Ferrera:
    CLICK LINK FOR AUDIO ON YOUTUBE
    Also reports from Palmarito de Cauto, Cuba, Andris Verdecia Osorio, activist of the UNPACU in Palmarito de Cauto, where are placed the headquarters of the UNPACU and house of José Daniel Ferrer. You can supplement the information with Andris Verdecia calling (+ 53) 53 84 2929. The phones of many opponents are being cut at this time. We ask for patience and insistence to connect with any of the opponents who can inform you.
    http://www.unpacu.org/unpacu-leaders-houses-assaulted-leaders-detained/

  9. THE BIG LIE (just one of Castro’s many big lies) = There is an embargo of Cuba.

    The US embargo has never prevented other countries or foreign companies from trading with Cuba AND the USA at the same time.

    Among the many Korean, Japanese and German automakers who try sell cars in Cuba, the ONLY thing that ever stopped them in the past was the CUBAN government.

    They all do business in the USA.

    The same goes for banks, for hotel chains, for Nestle, for Adidas, etc, etc, etc.

    These firms also bribe Cuban officials to keep out competitors, which is always blamed on the US embargo.

    The truth is the exact opposite of an embargo.

    Castro’s foreign backers used the anti-US embargo rhetoric to giver Castro HUNDREDS of BILLION of US DOLLARS.

    These were NOT loans or trade, but gifts and everybody knew it.

    The Soviets paid for artificially high sugar prices and the Venezuelans pay for inflated medical services. Everybody involved knew it was a scam.

    Plus the TENS of BILLIONS of DOLLARS in loans that were never expected to be paid back and have since been forgiven.

    Plus BILLIONS a year from US citizens and NGOs.

    Where did it all go? Wasn’t it enough to open a mattress factory?

    Oh, I forgot, Castro sleeps on an imported mattress. Never mind.

  10. ***
    HI MARABU–I think you know a lot more about girlfriends than markets! Paying almost a quarter of a million for a poor Peugeot is crazy–a 400 percent markup! How can most Cubans buy a car? They can’t even buy a mattress or enough food or clothing! Almost all Cubans living in the U.S.A. are prosperous and have a house, car, food, girlfriend, etc. The Castro Brothers have stolen Cuban’s futures for over 50 years!
    ***
    HOLA MARABU–Creo que conoces mucho mas de novias que mercados! Pagando casi un quarto de un million por un pobre Peugeot es loco–400 porciento mas que vale! Como puedan comprar un carro la mayorea de los Cubans? Ni puedan comprar un colchon o bastante comida o ropa! La mayoria de los Cubanos viviendo en los Estados Unidos son prosperos y tienen una casa, carro, novia, etcetera. Los Hermanos Castros han robadado los futuros de los Cubanos por mas que 50 anos!
    ***
    Rocketman
    ***

  11. Neutral Observer,

    Amazing. Not sure what else there is to say.

    Thank you for your translations.

  12. Hank,

    I will translate Nick’s latest non-response into English for you:

    “It’s all the fault of the USA”

    Why?

    “Because Castro told me so”

  13. Good news about the car prices, posted by Humberto.
    They are expensive – as they should be! Very, very good.

    Will Cuba get enough buyers? That I don’t know. Let’s wait 6 month for the first statistics.

    For the time being: anyone has a girlfriend in Cuba?
    Buy her a car and she will love you forever.
    Buy her en expensive one and she will love only you.
    Buy the most expensive one and she will love you even after your death!

    (Am I any good at marketing?)

  14. Hank,
    I think I am perhaps starting to contribute here less than before (and no doubt some will be pleased for it) because it seems to be mainly the same people just banging on their own drum.
    At least Humby’s contributions can sometimes be great fun, even though I would disagree with him most of the time.
    Marabu does not bang any one single drum; he is a full-on percussionist and always manages to come up with a rhythm that causes me to laugh out loud.
    I have put forward my opinions many times regarding how I think the future can be better for Cuba Hank, which has perhaps gone unnoticed by yourself.
    In the broadest terms this would include pretty much all your ‘Billboard Chart Top 8’.
    However I must point out that, removed from all relevant context, your ‘Top 8’ comes across as a touch theoretical. So please forgive me if I do not go through them one by one.
    I am familiar with The Cuban Government’s well worn argument that all such demands from outside (and also from within) the island have to be put in the context of the fact that the biggest push for change is coming from those who have a long history of attacking Cuba and attempting to have de facto imperialist control, a control that the USA will never re-assert.
    I understand this point of view but do not entirely buy into it.
    I think a good starting point would be for the USA to stop setting itself up as an enemy of Cuba.
    It looks pretty foolish and antiquated in the eyes of the rest of the world and the end of this absurdity would remove the context within which The Cuban Government defends its overly authoritarian position.
    When I say ‘wise up’ I am referring to the apparent fact that you fail to understand the nuances and grey areas of the situation and prefer to comment from within an over-simplified ‘good vs bad’ bubble.
    I have many people in Cuba who give their support (tacit or otherwise) to The Cuban Government.
    I have met many who don’t.
    Pretty much everyone I have met there (and obviously there are a whole myriad of points of view in Cuba, mostly, but not all, politically well to the left of the U.S.) wants a change for the better in the future.
    Changes have happened, are happening and will continue to happen.
    In my opinion the likelihood is that they will happen gradually.
    Pretty much nobody I’ve ever met in Cuba wants any kind of change that involves being told what to do by The USA.
    And nobody wants a sudden change that involves any kind of a bloodbath.
    Sometimes it seems that there are various old timers and their offspring (not just) in Miami who would be quite happy with some bloodshed as long as they got to be in control and in a position to make plenty of dollar in the aftermath.
    It doesn’t particularly concern me that you regard me as being on the mythical ‘other side’ or as a supporter of ‘tyranny’ or ‘communism’ and therefore I have no business praising our Fave Blogger when she writes something I find to be sublime.
    I just find it a bit narrow and a bit of a shame that you should pass such comments.

    I certainly do not expect to alter your point of view Hank.
    Recalcitrance seems to be at the root of too many of the worlds problems.

  15. SO ANYONE WANT TO BUY A NEW 2013 PUGEOT IN CUBA FROM THE CASTROFASCITS? COLD CASH, NO FINANCING AVAILABLE! SEE LINK FOR PHOTO WITH PRICES! I SEE THERE IS A REAL BARGAIN ON THE 508 MODEL $262,185 (CUC)!! NOW YOU CAN GO MOST ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE THEY ARE SOLD AND THE MOST EXPENSIVE IS AROUND €44,000 ($60,662.4)

  16. I want to see Humberto, at 87, how he will “APPEAR LIVE IN FRONT OF THE CUBAN PEOPLE”

    One of the greatest leaders of the Americas is very old indeed. But he, too, is a 20th century guy. For example, he never allowed to legalize recreational marihuana, overseeing that this may boost tourism 15% to 25%. Fidel is great, but not a god nor pope and he made mistakes too, as you can see.

    The future belongs to the young communists of Cuba. Here is their web site:
    http://english.juventudrebelde.cu/

  17. THE CASTROFASCISTS ARE SHAKING IN THEIR FATIGUES! YOU CANNOT HIDE OR IMPEDE INFORMATION IN AND OUT OF THE ISLAND PRISON OF CUBA ANYMORE! INTERESTING THAT FIDEL CASTRO HAS TIME FOR JOURNALISTS AND DIGNITARIES BUT HAS NO TIME TO APPEAR LIVE IN FRONT OF THE CUBAN PEOPLE AND WORLD! YOU KNOW HE’S DEAD OR COMATOSE!

    BBC: Cuba leader Raul Castro warns of ‘subversive campaign’
    Cuban President Raul Castro has warned that Cuba is confronting “ideological and political subversion aimed at toppling its socialist system”.

    In a speech commemorating the 55th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, Mr Castro said “global power centres” were “subtly introducing neo-liberal and neo-colonial thinking” into Cuba.

    But the president said he was confident the country “would emerge victorious”.

    He was speaking in Santiago, where his brother Fidel declared victory in 1959.

    But in Wednesday’s speech Mr Castro acknowledged mistakes had been made: “The revolution’s programme will be updated every five years so that it can always answer to the true interests of the people and promptly correct any errors.”
    But on Wednesday, Mr Castro defended the revolution, saying it “continues the same, without compromise with anybody, absolute with the people”.

    Fidel Castro, 87, did not attend the ceremony, but a Spanish newspaper journalist who spoke to him in December said he was “healthy and alert” during the 2.5-hour interview.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-25575113

  18. ***
    A very good report on how most Cuban People have to struggle to live in the Castro Brother’s Island Prison. The final nightmare of socialist / communist countries. Where a new mattress costs a year’s income! Unbelievable–but true in this communist “paradise”. I think The Regime sleeps on pretty new mattresses!
    ***
    Un reporte muy bueno tratando de como la mayoria la Gente Cubano tienan que luchar a vivir en la Isla Carcelera de los Hermanos Castros. La ultima pesadilla de paises socialistas / communistas. Donde un colchon coste el ingreso del ano! Increable–pero verdad en este “paraiso”. Creo que el Regimen duerme sobre de bonitos colchones nuevos!
    ***
    Rocketman
    ***

  19. However, I vote Marabu the best liar on Yoani’s blog for 2013.

    Marabu lives in Florida, then Marabu would never live in the USA, then he’s back to living in the USA.

    But the lying prize goes to his embargo fantasies.

    A short while back, Marabu stated right here on Yoani’s blog that no foreign automaker can open a plant in Cuba because of the US embargo.

    A day or two later he started posting how great it was that a Chinese automaker was opening a plant in Cuba.

    I don’t expect an answer, but Marabu, do you believe anything you write?

    Does Castro pay his trolls double time for working over Christmas?

  20. Hank,

    Nick has repeatedly answered NO to each one of your questions. He just likes to be evasive and dishonest about his fascistic worldview. Fascists are not known for their honesty or intelligence.

    According to Nick, Cuba has its own different type of democracy. One just has to look at things a bit differently. You know, like see the democracy in Apartheid South Africa or Nazi Germany.

    Nick has defended Castro’s child sex trade, and then goes on to accuse his critics of being pedophiles.

    Or suggest that Castro’s police state, which successfully shuts down 11 million people, does not have the resources to shut down child sex tourism.

    This is a guy who has defended the Syrian government after it gassed children.

    This is a guy who has defended terrorism around the world, then calls little old ladies peacefully protesting against Castro mercenaries, CIA agents and terrorists.

    He can’t even criticize Castro for smuggling weapons to North Korea.

    He repeats every lunatic conspiracy theory Castro ever made up, because whatever Castro says just gotta be true.

    But the good part of his posts is there is always a punch line….

    We should all engage in independent thinking like the enlightened Nick.

  21. To what do you propose I “wise up,” Nick? What truth am I missing in my naiveté? Enlighten me.

    You’ve not answered or even attempted to respond to a single one of the eight numbered questions I posed to you some days ago. I’ll try again by re-phrasing the preamble:

    Do you think that Cuban citizens have a right to:

    (1) Democracy in Cuba;
    (2) Free elections in Cuba and a multiparty system;
    (3) Freedom for political prisoners in Cuba;
    (4) The right to freedom of assembly for the citizens of Cuba;
    (5) Free speech and a free press for Cuban citizens living on the island;
    (6) The right to organize independent labor unions for workers in Cuba;
    (7) The right to a free and independent judiciary and the rule of law in Cuba;
    (8) Respect for Human Rights in Cuba?

    Responding to these questions isn’t hard, Nick. Your answer could be as simple as “No, I disagree with propositions 1-8, Hank.” Or you could say “Yes, Hank, I agree with each one of propositions 1-8, but with the following caveats and reservations…”

    This is not rocket science, Nick.

  22. Marabu said: “But do not talk CASTRO because he will die tomorrow and you will stay in the middle of the road with your pants down. To your comfort: you will not stay there alone.”

    WELL! Marabu!! ARE YOU HITTING ON ME DEAR? I FIND IT FLATTERING BUT I AM NOT THE SLEAZE TYPE TO HAVE MY PANTS DOWN DEAR!

    FOX NEWS: 55 years after Castro’s reign of terror began, 3 brave dissidents give me hope – by George J. Fowler III

    This op-ed is about three brave Cubans: Berta Soler, Yoani Sanchez and Guillermo Fariñas. They lead Cuba’s growing but isolated dissident movement. I write about them because it is sadly clear that, after 55 years, our government (whether led by Republicans or Democrats) is going to continue to ignore the people of Cuba.

    Yoani Sanchezis the famous blogger who, in a country that prohibits the Internet, reaches millions throughout the world. She denounces Castroism. When I asked her, she told me she was very afraid of the violence against her and showed me a hole in her mouth where they had knocked out a tooth. She admitted that she was most afraid when Castro’s thugs threatened to hurt her only son. But Yoani blogs on.

    There is Berta Soler. This brave,black woman leads the ladies in white,the wives and mothers of Castro’s political prisoners. Every Sunday after mass Inst. Rita’s church,Berta parades the ladies in peaceful protest, wearing white and carrying flowers.rmo Fariñas is tall, dark and bald. Because of 24 anti-Castro hunger strikes she has the countenance of a concentration camp prisoner. But he has the heart of a lion.

    This November while in Miami, I noticed fresh scars on his bald head. I begged him not to go back. I reminded him that last year Cuba’s leading dissident, Oswaldo Paya had been publicly murdered by Castro’s men.

    Guillermo told me his group now numbers 7,000 and he was going back no matter the consequences.

    He is back in Cuba.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/01/01/january-1-2014-55-years-after-castro-reign-terror-began-3-brave-dissidents-give/

  23. Nick, now they are accusing you of ” Cuban MININT” connections.

    I envy you, again, but I don’t believe it. A cuban intelligence officer wouldn’t spent time on bickering with individuals who belong to the 20th century.

    Their biggest mistake is that they think this is a history blog. They can lecture you for hours about the introduction of television to Cuba, but know nothing about the Mariel project.

  24. Hank..
    I’m not really interested in your good vs bad worldview.
    Another new year but nothing new going on with your naivety.
    I am certainly not going to lower myself to trading babyish insults with you.
    I just feel a little sorry for you.
    Big clumsy viewpoints, based on minimal knowledge of reality.
    Maybe you’ll wise up one day.

  25. Yet another post from Nick evading questions and defaming people who post here. Classic Cuban MININT repudiation techniques.

    Your lies don’t work here, Nick.

  26. Hank,
    Hiding behind your ‘lets deflect the blame from Canadian peedos onto Cuba’s ex-president’ friend yet again.
    Hey Hank…
    I wish that 2014 grants you the ability to develop your own opinions and bestows upon you the capacity to free yourself from the apron strings that tie you to your naïve little good vs. bad worldview…
    Happy New year Kid……….

  27. Hey Humberto, quite a creativity in your word plays!

    Talk FASCIST if you think about Cuba this way.
    Talk DEADBEATS if this is your opinion of cuban government.

    But do not talk CASTRO because he will die tomorrow and you will stay in the middle of the road with your pants down.

    To your comfort: you will not stay there alone.

    Also, I just had a dentist surgery so please do NOT make me laugh comparing cuban diaspora’s investment power with that of China.

  28. HEY Marabu! IF YOU THINK THAT THE CUBAN ECONOMY CAN BE PULLED OFF IT’S ABYSS WITHOUT THE HELP FROM THE CUBANS IN THE DIASPORA! THINK AGAIN! BUT OF COURSE, TIME WILL TELL! I WOULD NOT PUT A RED CENT INTO A BUSINESS WITH THE CASTROFASCISTS DEADBEATS! HEY! JUST MADE A NEW HYBRID WORD FOR THE CASTRO FAMILY OLIGARCHY!

    CASTROFASCISTSDEADBEATS! AND THEY ARE NOT MUSICIANS!! JE JE JE JE!

    REUTERS : Exclusive – Paris Club invites Cuba to resume debt talks- by Marc Frank – Nov 7, 2011
    Cuba’s wealthiest creditors have decided to test President Raul Castro’s pledge to improve the island’s financial credibility by inviting his government to talks with the Paris Club about settling billions of dollars of outstanding debt, according to Western diplomats.

    The Paris Club reported that Cuba owed its members $30.5 billion (19.0 billion pounds) at the close of 2010, but more than $20 billion of the debt was in old transferable Soviet rubles that Russia now claims but Cuba does not recognise.

    The Bank for International Settlements reported banks in 43 countries held $5.76 billion in Cuban deposits as of March of this year, compared with $4.285 billion at the close of 2009 and $2.849 billion at the close of 2008.

    Cuba last reported its foreign debt in 2007 at $17.8 billion, but most analysts agree it now exceeds $21 billion, or close to 50 percent of gross domestic product and 30 percent more than annual foreign exchange revenues.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/11/07/uk-cuba-debt-idUKTRE7A64AS20111107

  29. #3… #2…. #1: TOP THREE 2013 EVENTS FROM CUBA

    #1 The most important, in my opinion, was the kick-off for the Special Development Zone of Mariel, now opened to foreign investors (generating exports, creating jobs, and promoting the transfer of technology)

    #2 The new Code of Labor, with the focus on the new private enterprises.

    #3 121 new cyber cafes opened by the Telecommunications Company of Cuba where Cubans can browse the web.

    Some people also mention immigration reform, abolishing the exit visas. I don’t think it’s important in a Third World country. Just a “nice-to-have”.

  30. Thanks for the translation, Neutral Observer. His non-answer was no surprise.

    One more capitalist plot to take over the world EXPOSED, right here on the comments section of Yoani’s blog.

    Hope you have a great 2014 as well!

  31. Hank,

    I’ll translate Nick’s evasive response into English (you might have noted he has never answered an question directly or honestly in any of his hundreds of posts).

    (1) Nick is against Democracy in Cuba;
    (2) Nick is against Free elections in Cuba;
    (3) Nick is against Freedom for political prisoners in Cuba;
    (4) Nick is against The right to freedom of assembly for the citizens of Cuba;
    (5) Nick is against Free speech and a free press for Cuban citizens living on the island;
    (6) Nick is against The right to organize independent labor unions for workers in Cuba;
    (7) Nick is against The right to a free and independent judiciary and the rule of law in Cuba;
    (8) Nick is against Respect for Human Rights in Cuba?

    In the middle of one of his lies, he did write something true:

    “When I am there I sleep on a normal bed. On a mattress that because of my vast wealth and riches, I paid to have refurbed by a fella such as described in Yoani’s post.”

    So yes, it’s true he has vast wealth and riches. But no, he has never slept on a normal bed in Cuba.

    He’s part of the Marxist 1% that tells Cubans that freedom and democracy and unions and comfortable beds will deprive them of sleep.

    Comfortable beds are all a capitalist conspiracy to take over the world.

  32. Hank, this is not the first time you mention elections, free speach an other BS labeled by the western media as Human Rights.

    You may be well to do today, but life has its ups and downs so if you are hungry one day you may sell me those Human Rights. I will pay you $10 for it.

    Not that I need them but it is nice to help a hungry person from time to time.

  33. So whats your problem Hank??
    Your ridiculous little point of view is implying that I cannot express an appreciation of excellent writing when I see it?
    I think you are a one trick pony Hank.
    You can only accept people appreciating the writings of your beloved Yoani if they also fit into your naïve point of view on a country you’ve never been to.
    Only if they fit into your warped version of reality…
    Only if they fit in with your twisted little opinions that have been passed on to you like a poisonous family heirloom…
    I have at various times put forward my ideas for a better future for Cuba.
    A better future does not include being held to ransom or pushed around by the country that you live in Hank.
    And a better future is not one that will be imposed by the self appointed elites from Miami, the kind of terrorist funding loser scum that you have professed support for Hank.

    FYI Hank. When I lived in Cuba I lived with friends and family. Some of my Cuban friends and family have similar opinions to me, some have differing opinions to me.
    All, like me, hope for improvements in the future.
    When I am there I sleep on a normal bed. On a mattress that because of my vast wealth and riches, I paid to have refurbed by a fella such as described in Yoani’s post.
    I am glad to say that I did not pay a ‘scammer’ such as those she describes…

    I would guess that you have only ever lived in the rich part of the world Hank.

    One of the reasons I like Yoani’s work is because sometimes what she writes is a perfect little snapshot of life in a City I know very well.
    I appreciate this even though my opinions may differ (although not hugely differ) from hers.

    Hank, I fear that you will never be capable of understanding this.
    I fear you will only ever see things as a simplistic little good guys vs bad guys story devoid of all rational context.
    I don’t find this to be condescending or nauseating Hank.
    Just a little bit sad.

  34. Nick,

    Your latest condescending post is nauseating.

    During the many nights you spent “dreaming” of all sorts of things in Cuba, did your dreams ever include the following:

    (1) Democracy in Cuba;
    (2) Free elections in Cuba;
    (3) Freedom for political prisoners in Cuba;
    (4) The right to freedom of assembly for the citizens of Cuba;
    (5) Free speech and a free press for Cuban citizens living on the island;
    (6) The right to organize independent labor unions for workers in Cuba;
    (7) The right to a free and independent judiciary and the rule of law in Cuba;
    (8) Respect for Human Rights in Cuba?

    None of these things have existed in Cuba for the last 55 years.

    When you go to Cuba, Nick, where do you stay? Do you meet with anyone who does not agree with your point of view? Do you go and live amongst the people you profess to love, or do you do something different because you have more money and can afford better accommodations?

    Share Nick, please let us know. You come off as an opportunist.

  35. I like to read Yoani’s posts because she can write well.
    This post is a very good example of this ability.
    I’ve spent many nights on such a mattress in Havana
    (dreaming of all sorts of things including a better future for Cuba).

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