Zeal and CELAC


A friend called me yesterday. He was nervous. All around his house the police were engaged in an intense “cleansing.” The reason for such concern was that this retiree with no pension has an illegal satellite antenna with which he provides TV service to several families. So, when the forces of order get strict, my friend has to cut the cables, hide the dish and give up the service fees he earns for several days. A real economic disaster for him. Whenever he hears about an international summit, a meeting with invited foreigners, or some dignitary visiting from another country, he starts to fear for his business. He knows that each of these events corresponds to a police raid carried out with zeal and intransigence.

When Pope Benedict XVI visited the Island, hundreds of beggars, prostitutes and dissidents were “taken out of circulation.” The phone company, Cubacel, also did its part, cutting service to 500 users across the country. Now, the second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is coming our way, to be held in January in Havana. Already truckloads of flowerpots have appeared, with plants that will be watered only for the two weeks they are located along the main avenues. In some central streets scaffolding is rising, with housepainters who are coloring over the cracked and blackened walls. They are also retouching the traffic signals along the route where the guests will pass, and even the old chipped billboards are being replaced by others.

The clandestine and officially “unpresentable” Havana has been warned that it must be quiet, very quiet. The beggars are being held until the Summit is over, the pimps warned to maintain control over their girls and boys, while members of the political police visit the homes of the opposition. The illegal market is also being held in check. “Calm down, let’s have a little calm,” the police repeat in a threatening tone, without ever leaving written notification. So my friend started this morning. He is disconnecting his equipment and called me again to assure me that on the 28th and 29th he won’t even think of putting a foot in the street. “Not at all! I have no desire to sleep in a dungeon,” he told me, before hanging up the phone and locking away his antenna.

6 thoughts on “Zeal and CELAC

  1. Thank you Hank, great interview.

    Another look at the brilliant mind of “Supercow” Castro.

  2. Neutral Observer,

    Yup, that is Castro’s, and his lackeys like Nick, modus operandi.

    The prank phone call Enrique Santos pulled on Castro a few years ago is revealing.*

    At the end of the call, when Santos finally informs the clueless Fidel of the fact that he had been utterly fooled and had NOT been speaking with his buddy Chavez during the call, the first angry words out of Fidel’s mouth are “I didn’t fall for anything you FAGGOT! What did I fall for FAGGOT?”

    Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban revolution, a revolution of equality and justice for all, used various Cuban versions of that word…Maricon…Mariconson. With great passion. Castro is a bigoted homophobe. Castro’s worst insult when he knows he has been had is to call someone a faggot.

    And people like Nick follow this jerk.

    * You can easily find the audio version of the call on Google. Just search for “enrique santos castro prank call”

  3. If a Nazi wishes to deny the holocaust or blame the Jewish people for it, he should expect vigorous debate from victims of the holocaust, their families as well as non-Jews who know a bit of history and have some humanity.

    Especially if the Nazi starts dishing out abuse at victims of the holocaust on a Jewish website.

    If the same Nazi should cite Simon Wiesenthal to back up his holocaust denial, it is natural to point out the bizarre nature of his arguments.

    It is one thing for a poster who has never been to Cuba to lap up Castro’s Purina and deny Cuban reality. Or a poster who has only been to a resort or an organized Potemkin style tour.

    But Nick claims to have lived a good part of his life in Cuba.

    I can’t rehash all his lies about Cuba or lies about what I write or lies denying what he has written, that would take thousands of words.

    But suffice to say that he has publicly abused the Ladies in White and others on this blog.

    And publicly expressed support for some of the world’s most racist and violent regimes.

    And then, bizarrely, cites Martin Luther King.

    By the way, in case Nick doesn’t know, Martin Luther King fought for the right of all people to vote in free elections.

    Something Nick is against when it comes to Cubans.

    Nick is right about one thing. I am gutless.

    I certainly don’t have the courage of the armchair socialist who throws rocks at little old ladies caring gladiolas on their way to church.

  4. Hank,
    Hope you are well….

    re your last comment on Y’s last post:

    Regarding the contributor who seems to now be your hugga-mugga online buddy:
    It’s entirely your choice who you choose to cosy up to on here Hank.

    From my point of view if a contributor chooses to put forward exaggerations, inept misrepresentations and blatant lies, that’s their choice.
    But when this same gutless individual turns chooses to dish out a stream of vile insults in my direction then sure I’m gonna dish some out in return.
    I did actually point out to Simba that I am aware that I contribute to air of negativity here.
    Perhaps I should refrain from this, but being repeatedly insulted can be somewhat annoying.

    Regarding this individual’s views/comments on a particular type of Canadian ‘tourist’…
    I have made my point on this and have no wish to make it again now.

    I would prefer a greater degree of courtesy on here and with this in mind I normally scroll up the screen past this individual’s comments (I doubt that this deprives me of much in the way of facts or insight).
    It would be much better all round if people here could disagree without resorting to the level of insult that this individual introduced, but it ain’t my call is it?

    Regarding the matter of ‘tenuous credibility’
    C’mon Hank…
    I’ve lost count of the times that an injection of objectivity has caught you out…
    But if you look in the mirror and see someone with credible views looking back,
    then I am sincerely pleased for you Hank.

  5. Thank you Hank (last article).

    Castro’s war of ideas consists of shouting “worm” and “faggot” at any critic. Now that the latter insult is no longer fashionable, I guess it has been replaced with “pedophile”.

    Another great article by Yoani, and very true. The only way to freshen up a Cuban street is when the tourist or journalist is coming.

    They do the same in hospitals, repainting a few rooms for the invited journalist or armchair socialist, who never ask and are never allowed to look around independently.

    At Mazorra, gullible tourists and doctors were shown a freshly painted front section and had model patients play music for them. They went home and wrote articles about how great Mazorra was.

    Elsewhere in the hospital at the same time, real patients and political prisoners were being tortured and starved to death.

  6. Brilliantly described, Yoani. Brilliant. I used to be a musician, I heard the crescendo and the diminuendo in your voice. Well done.

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