Alamar and Hip-Hop


Let’s go to Alamar! My mother would say and we would head out to visit some relatives who lived in that so-called “Siberia.” We arrived in an area of ugly, coarse buildings haphazardly tossed on the grass. We would play with other kids among these concrete boxes in the high grass that grew all around. It smelled of the sea, and also of boredom. It should have been the city of the New Man, but it was just a failed architectural experiment.

Alamar, despite its urbanist failings, has been the hotbed of a vibrant and rebellious musical genre: hip-hop. Its amphitheater has hosted some of the most memorable alternative concerts in Island memory. Hard songs, composed with the words of daily life and the poetry of the street. Duels between opponents who, instead of throwing weapons or blows, launch words and rhymes. How did the stage for this “citizen laboratory” end up sheltering these lyrics of the rebellion? What happened with the victorious anthems that led to such corrosive verses of survival?

What happened was that reality set in. Alamar was one of the areas of Havana hardest hit by the economic hardships of the Special Period. It saw thousands of its inhabitants leave during the 1994 Rafter Crisis, and suffered extremely long power cuts accompanied by robberies and other acts of violence. The Russian technicians left, the squatters made the empty homes their own, and the Chilean exiles who lived there, for the most part, returned to their own country.

Then the immigrants from the eastern provinces arrived, illegal constructions extended on all sides, and the police declared that bedroom city a “danger zone.” A “people warehouse,” conceived for disciplined and mediocre people, demonstrated that when you play with the social or constructive alchemy, you rarely achieve the desired results.

Amid the gray cement, the tiny rooms and the boredom, hip-hop has become the daily soundtrack. Alamar has its own rhythm. A cadence that hits the head like the waves that crash against its dogtooth coastline. Like the picks hitting the ground to lay the foundation of a quadrilateral and submissive future that never came.

34 thoughts on “Alamar and Hip-Hop

  1. A more rational explanation:
    Brothers to the Rescue was shot down because they were rescuing boat people.

    Castro had recently signed a deal with Clinton to return all runaway slaves to Cuba.

    Castro was angry because some US citizens were flying over the ocean trying to spot and rescue runaway slaves.

    Castro shot them down. Castro knew he’d get away with it and he did.

  2. Let me get this straight Nick.

    You believe that a Cessna in international waters posed a terrorist threat to Cuba?

    How would this terrorist attack take place, Nick? Would the pilot throw rocks at Cuba 20 miles away?

    Was Pan Am flight 103 planning a terrorist attack against Libya? Hmmm, maybe that explains it all.

  3. Hank,
    re: Your lame comment about ‘Justifying the murder of innocent human beings over the Florida Straits’.
    One of the problems with you and those of similar narrow opinion is that you would no doubt claim to be anti-terrorism. Yet you then bleat on and on about this shoot-down.
    This was a mission led by a known terrorist who has a track record of terrorist acts against Cuba.
    Your inability to address this reason for the shoot-down suggests that you give tacit support to terrorists who attack Cuba.
    The reason that known terrorists are given a safe haven in Florida is precisely because of the hypocritical attitudes and support (tacit or otherwise) of those such as yourself.

  4. Omar,

    Not only do most of your posts have nothing to do with Cuba, but they are rambling, incoherent and nonsensical.

    For your information, Mexico has very strict gun control laws. As do other Latin American countries that are far more dangerous than the USA.

    Once criminals are punished, violence stops. It’s that simple, Omar.

    It is people like you who bash the government each time they try to crack down on crime. It is people like you who spoil murderers. The deaths in Chicago are partly your fault.

    As are, of course, the deaths in Cuba.

  5. Humberto: Javier Corrales writes like someone who does not have much experience with the subject he wrote about in the Foreign Policy Magazine. The Chavistas have the support of the Poor because the Chavistas lifted more then 25% of them off severe poverty and are loyal to the Chavistas for this reason and not because they are afraid of official violence from the Chavistas. The business owner class in Venezuela is the one that supports Lopez and the students demonstrators were protesting the economic conditions in the country and they were not looking for regime change. Javier Corrales article is nothing more then dribble and noise…

  6. Humberto: Venezuelans don’t like Lopez as much as you think they do…..I think they have a higher opinion of Capriles then they do of Lopez…He really is too far Right even for the liberal crowd in Venezuela….they know that Lopez platform polarizes Venezuela instead of bringing together the People and the People want a “come to Jesus” moment to take place which is not what Lopez, Machado, the three Generals that got arrested stand for….I don’t think he would be missed as much as you think he would….

  7. DO I DETECT A THREAT TOWARDS Leopoldo Lopez IN YOU TEXT Omar Fundora??? HMM, IF YOUR MASTERS ARE SMART THEY WOULD OMIT THAT AS AN OPTION TO THE UNREST IN VENEZUELA! YOU KNOW HOW LATINOS ARE, VERY STUBBORN AND IF THEY MURDER HIM BY MAKING IT LOOK LIKE AN “ACCIDENT” NO ONE WOULD BUY IT! THIS WOULD CEMENT HIM AS MARTYR LIKE JOSE MARTI AND WILL BE THE END TO THE CHAVISTASFASCISTAS FOR SURE DEAR!

    FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE: Critics charge that Venezuela’s anti-government protesters almost exclusively represent the middle class. The reality is more complicated — and revealing. – by Javier Corrales

    One of the most commonly heard criticisms of the cycle of student protests that erupted in Venezuela in February 2014 is that they draw too lopsidedly from the “middle class.” In the words of the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, protesters have received “no support in poor and working-class neighborhoods.”

    And in displaying middle-class-led protests, Venezuela is actually not alone. Middle classes have expanded in most middle-income countries of the developing world since 2003. That is one reason that the major protests of the last five years — in Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Iran, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine — have been led by middle classes. When governments falter on questions of governance and political representation, as the Venezuelan government has, the middle classes are prone to take note and take to the streets.

    Furthermore, there are important factors in Venezuela depressing the incidence of protests in poor sectors. Under the ruling party’s populist model, the state has a comparative advantage in establishing links of economic dependence with individuals in vulnerable income categories. The state provides most economic goods in those neighborhoods, while simultaneously undermining the private sector’s ability to provide jobs (through anti-business regulations) and affordable retail products (by creating inflation). More, perhaps, than in other countries, Venezuela’s vulnerable segments cannot afford dissent.

    And Venezuela isn’t just a populist state — it’s also a “Big Brother” state. Organized groups with direct links to the ruling party — either in the form of communal councils or paramilitary colectivos — permeate low-income neighborhoods. One of the jobs of these quasi-statist groups is to watch and punish politically incorrect behavior. During recent elections, for example, these government-sponsored groups knew which citizens had not voted and drove around to bring them to voting stations. Overall, the effects of state-dependence and state-led authoritarianism (defined in terms of the degree to which citizens depend on, and are watched by, the ruling party) are more palpable in low-income neighborhoods. This is yet another reason that low-income groups, even disaffected ones, should not be expected to be out protesting in large numbers.

    For now, the student protesters have achieved a very high approval rating of 71.4 percent, according to a recent poll. Yet, one could still criticize the Venezuelan protesters for failing to establish strong ties with low-income groups. That’s a fair point. But politically, this isn’t as serious a problem as it was for protesters in 2002. Back then, the poor comprised a larger proportion of the population, and the failure of protesters to connect with the poor left them far more isolated than they are today. That is one of the reasons why those protests failed.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/04/22/venezuelas_middle_ground

  8. WE TALKED ABOUT VIOLENCE ELSWHERE IN THIS BLOG…THIS JUST HAPPENED IN CHICAGO OVER THE EASTER HOLIDAY…33,000 AMERICANS LOOSE THEIR LIFE ON AVERAGE ANNUALLY TO GUN VIOLENCE….DOWN SIDE TO ONE OF OUR RIGHTS…THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS….

    Chicago police face overwhelming gun crime as 45 people shot over weekend

    Police officials point to need for stricter gun laws after city suffers bloody Easter weekend in which nine people were killed
    theguardian.com, Monday 21 April 2014 15.53 EDT

    Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy compared the department’s task on gun violence to ‘drinking from a fire hose’.

    A senior Chicago police officer said that parts of the city are being overwhelmed by gun violence, after a weekend in which nine people were shot dead and at least 36 – including six children – were wounded.

    Ronald Holt, the commander of the Chicago police department’s special activities division, said that the city was witnessing “fratricide” among young men who had come to believe “that the only way to resolve a conflict is to get a gun and go shoot to kill”.

    “To tackle gun violence where it is overwhelming communities with the extraordinary loss of lives at an alarming pace, we must deal with it as a social disease and health issue,” Holt, whose 17-year-old son Blair was shot dead on a bus in 2007, told the Guardian in an email.

    His remarks came as Chicago suffered its bloodiest weekend of the year. Dozens of residents were shot in a series of separate incidents. On the city’s south side, five children aged between 11 and 15 were shot while walking home from a park on Sunday evening.

    The four girls and one boy were asked if they were affiliated with a gang, and then shots were fired from a light-coloured sedan, a police spokesman said. An 11-year-old girl was in a critical condition in hospital after being shot in the neck. A 14-year-old girl was in a serious condition after suffering a shot to her abdomen. A 14-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl were stable after being shot in the left leg and right arm respectively. Another 14-year-old girl suffered a grazed buttock.

    The shootings occurred less than a mile from the south-side porch where Gakirah Barnes, a 17-year-old girl, died after being shot nine times the previous weekend. “We are looking at whether this could have been a retaliation for previous shootings,” Andrew Holmes, a community organiser, said on Monday morning.

    About two hours after the five children were shot on Sunday evening, a 15-year-old girl was shot in the back while sitting in a car at a traffic light in the north-west of the city. Police said that a group of three men had flashed gang signs before one opened fire.

    At least nine people were killed around the city over the Easter weekend, including 16-year-old Jordan Means, who, along with 18-year-old Anthony Bankhead, was found shot dead in an apartment on the south side on Saturday morning. Means’s mother, Camille Cochran, told local media that the pair were shot over a dispute that had been raging on Facebook.

    The weekend’s death toll brought the total number of suspected homicides so far this year to 90, compared to 92 at this point in 2013, according to figures compiled by RedEye Chicago. Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Monday compared the task his department faces as it tries to tackle gun violence to “drinking from a firehose”.

    “We can do things to improve what’s happening, but until such time as we get some help with the gun laws in the state of Illinois, we’re up against it,” McCarthy told CBS News. But Illinois law has recently moved towards looser gun controls. The first permits allowing residents to carry concealed firearms, under a law passed by the state legislature last year, were sent out last month.

    The Guardian reported on Saturday that a feud between rival rappers had been linked to a series of shooting deaths in the city, including that of Barnes and, two days later, Mario “Big Glo” Hess. Hess, an up-and-coming rapper formerly known as “Blood Money”, had recently received a $50,000 record deal advance.

    Holt, whose special activities division works to tackle gang violence, said that some rappers from Chicago “can’t seem to loose themselves from their own gritty and dangerous surroundings” even as they receive lucrative contracts and progress in the music industry.

    “It would do the rap and hip-hop industry some good if gang violence was denounced and acknowledged as being a part of the problem,” said Holt. “Never before in the history of any American music genre have we associated murder and pistol-play with such consistency as we have witnessed in the rap and hip-hop world of music.”

  9. Humberto: The Chavistas will never agree to the release of prisoners and return of exiles until all protests stop…these individuals are extremely dangerous to their governance…if I was Lopez, I would have someone taste the food they bring and if the jail door is left unlocked, he should close the door himself….if you know what I mean :) :) …people on the left would like a bipartisan solution to the protests…they say that 90% of all Venezuelans would like the same…they all want an inclusive government where Socialism and liberalism can coexist….this is one of the reasons that I am interested in following this story….it will be a great event in Latin American history if Venezuela can succeed in overcoming this chaos satisfying the needs of the two main political camps….

  10. Humberto: The Root of Hope group…from what I read…exceeded their charter and scope of what they are all about….I know that they have good intentions….but, Cuban American groups like this one, have to be as careful as dissidents are inside Cuba with their good will because of the U.S. law of regime change…in this case, Root of Hope became an agent of the United States government and if employees of this organization traveled to Cuba, they can be detained and charged with treason (if they are Cuban expatriate who want to have a say in Cuba’s political future and are viewed under Cuban Law as Cuban citizens…the same reason airplanes were shutdown or Alan Gross was detained…)…People that are part of this type of organizations must have a clear mandate to follow if they don’t want to be identified as agents of the United States trying to foment counter revolutionary activities in Cuba….as the saying goes…if it quack like a duck and it looks like a duck it must be a duck….

  11. Humberto: I disagree that Cuban Americans should have a say in Cuba….why????……recent immigrants maybe…but …second, third, etc…generations….they don’t have a clue of why things are the way they are….all they know is that Castro is bad and America is good……they vote with a hamburger in one hand and the love of technology on the other….and they also chant Freedom!!…Freedom!!!…even though the reality is that they live in economic prisons working 40 or more hours per day, spending a great deal of time driving from work to home, sleeping and not much money for the things they really want to do….and they tell themselves every day, like if it was a religion, “but is better here then Cuba….I live in the greatest country in the World….Cubans should live more like Americans do……GDP, resources, size and history differences don’t enter in their evaluation for a vote….basically it boils down to America is successful with their model of governance, we will be successful too with the same model….All Latin American countries have come to the same conclusion over the last 200 years, yet they all have failed miserably in raising the quality of life for all the People…poverty, illiteracy, lack of healthcare, oppression, assassinations, corruption, drugs continues today…this is why a great number of them have decided after so many years of failure to raise the quality of life of all the People, that it was about time to try something else….hence Nicaragua, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil and others have become more Leftist then they were before….Cuba having had the experience with a Communist ideology for governance for the last 50+ years can experiment with a society that is more inclusive and the People of Cuba can coexist in a society that embraces both socialism and liberalism like France has been able to do. I would not want to see a situation like exists today in Ukraine in Cuba. Ukraine is a country where 47% of the population is Russian and the other has a blend of other people in that part of the World. Ideologically, the Russians are Leftists and the other crowd are Nationalists (with Nazis for enforcement). The coup that just occurred with our “cheering” has polarized the population to the point they are killing each other because neither want to have bipartisanship. One side wants to dominate the other….In the case of Cuba, the Cuban Americans want a Right Wing government. I get the feeling from what I’ve read and people inside Cuba that the majority of Cubans do not want a stooge government in Cuba like Batista was for the United States, the people in Cuba are a lot smarter today than when we signed the Platt Amendment….Capitalism is unsustainable, we have to change here, why would Cubans want a system that is not sustainable and will require change, again, if integrated into the society. The Cuban People have an opportunity to change to the future without repeating the past…the Miami Cuban Community leadership crowd are behind the eight ball and heavily bias toward the Right Wing Model of governance which is wrong for the United States and certainly wrong for Cuba…just look at Latin American History, including Cuba’s since the Monroe Doctrine and the Platt Amendment… and now the Law of demanding regime change in Cuba before the U.S. will respect the sovereignty of the island…there are three types of people in the World: Patriots, opportunists and the don’t care which way the win blows crowd….the Miami Cuban Community leadership is loaded with opportunistic individuals who are behind the eight ball…and should not vote in any Cuban referendum for a multi-party political system in Cuba….

  12. SEE Omar Fundora HOW I ALWAYS PROVIDE A LINK!! IF YOU DID THAT PEOPLE WOULD TAKE YOU MORE SERIOUSLY DEAR! WHY THE LINKOPHOBIA??

    PANAM POST: Venezuela’s Going-Nowhere Dialogue Compels Sanctions – Brazil Coalition Beckons, and Without Pressure, Chavista Regime Will Concede Little – by Luis Fleischman – April 22, 2014

    The violence that began between the Venezuelan government and large segments of the opposition last February has now resulted in a dialogue between the opposing sides.

    The Chavista regime, for its part, rejected an amnesty law proposed by the opposition that would have benefited political prisoners and political exiles. This is despite the fact that these imprisonments took place without due process — most notably the imprisonment of the leader of the Popular Will Party, Leopoldo López, whom the government arrested following the protests that erupted in February. Three elected mayors from the opposition suffered a similar fate.

    This is the main reason why this important faction is not part of the dialogue. According to David Smolansky, mayor of the city of El Hatillo, there is no way Popular Will can participate if their people remain in jail.

    Granting an amnesty to political prisoners and exiles would have been a great gesture that would have shown the government’s good intentions. On the other hand, the Truth Commission process’s outcome is not in the near future and could be subject to manipulation. Making the opposition also responsible for bringing a solution to the security problem is a joke, particularly when much of the violence is the result of the fact that the regime empowered thugs to defend it and provided an entire “born to kill” generation all the freedom and protection criminals in civilized countries only wish they had.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://blog.panampost.com/luis-fleischman/2014/04/22/venezuelas-going-nowhere-dialogue-compels-sanctions/

  13. OMG Omar Fundora!! WAS READING ON THE ARTICLE YOU POSTED ABOUT Roots Of Hope THAT SOME OF THEIR MEMBERS WERE WORKING FOR THE BAD OLD U.S. GOVERNMENT! THAT IS SHOCKING!! BUT DONT MOST CUBANS WORK FOR THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT? ESPECIALLY THOSE WITH INTERNET ACCESS COMMENTING ON THIS SITE AND OTHERS AS PART OF THEIR PROPAGANDA WORK (heavy Cuban sarcasm)???

  14. SOO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT Omar Fundora!! THERE SHOULD NOT BE A CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT FROM THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA IN CUBA BECAUSE YOU PROFESS TO KNOW THAT THERE WILL BE A WORSE ONE AFTER THAT?? MAYBE THE CUBAN PEOPLE SHOULD DECIDE THAT FOR THEMSELVES! AND I MEAN, ALL THE CUBANS BORN IN THE ISLAND WETHER THEY LIVE THERE OR IN THE DIASPORA!

  15. Neutral Observer: I am just having a little fun…I am a big fan of our Mulatto President…I am really color blind….I am only extremely prejudice of Right Wing dogma and philosophy of governance..

  16. REGIME CHANGE IN CUBA LAW IN ACTION…WHY EXPERIMENTATION WITH MULTI-PARTY DEMOCRACY IS AN IMPOSSIBILITY IN CUBA TODAY

    Leaders of prominent Cuban-American non-profit provided support for US-backed ‘Cuban Twitter”

    Since the AP’s investigation, a Senate panel has asked USAID to turn over all records about ZunZuneo as part of a broader review of the agency’s civil-society efforts worldwide. In congressional hearings earlier this month, lawmakers debated whether USAID – best known for its humanitarian mission – should be running such a cloak-and-dagger operation instead of spy agencies like the CIA.

    U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, a South Florida Democrat who has supported Roots’ work, said he does not believe the connection will damage the group in the long term.

    “You are asking for purity for people who are just trying to help Cuban civil society in a place where freedom of speech and other freedoms do not exist,” he said. “Using a Twitter feed or a messaging system that allows Cubans to communicate with each other is a good thing, no matter who pays for it.”….YES…BUT, YOU GUYS GOT CAUGHT RED HANDED FOMENTING REGIME CHANGE IN CUBA….COME CLEAN AND ADMIT IT….YOU FOLKS SHOULD SAY: ” I WAS DUPED INTO BELIEVING THAT I WAS ONLY BRINGING INTERNET ACCESS TO CUBA, BUT INSTEAD I WAS A PROXY FOR THE US GOVERNMENT TO ENFORCE REGIME CHANGE IN CUBA.

  17. Omar,

    Sounds like you’re the racist, in almost every post. Are the Chinese white? Are the Indians white? Are the Africans white? Are they American stooges?

    If Mexico is a stooge of the US, why don’t they join the embargo or at least condemn the Castro dictatorship?

    The only stooge here is you, a big Castro stooge who justifies slavery and imperialism.

    No US troops in Venezuela, lots of Cuban ones though.

  18. Humberto: One of the problems that I have with regime change in Cuba with the help of the U.S. is that the Cuban People will end up with a stooge government like the one in Mexico which makes the Mexican Government nothing more than House N***r in the U.S. Plantation forcing the Mexican People to live in economic apartheid in their country and as slaves when the immigrate to the U.S. The Cuban People will be in the same boat as the Mexicans….the White dominated economic and political landscape in the U.S. is arrogant, greedy and racist….we got a mulatto president because like the opposite of Tarzan, he was raised by Whites and was brain washed in Harvard with the utopia of unsustainable capitalism and the importance of White Control of the country…. :) :)

  19. DEAR Omar Fundora! AFTER 54+ YEARS OF A SINGLE FAMILY WITH TWO BROTHERS CONTROLLING ALL ASPECTS OF THE CUBAN PEOPLE! OF COURSE WE NEED REGIME CHANGE!!! DUH!!
    CUBA IS AN ISLAND AND THE FLOW OF INFORMATION HAS BEEN DIFFICULT TILL THE AGE OF INTERNET HIT IT ABOUT 5 YEAR AGO! IF AND EMBARGO WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR REGIME CHANGE IN BURMAN, IS SHOULD BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR CUBA DONT YOU THINK DEAR?

    The political relationship between the United States and Burma worsened after the 1988 military coup and violent suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations. Subsequent repression, including the crackdown on peaceful protestors in September 2007, further strained the relationship. Massachusetts attempted to sanction Burma directly in 1996 but those efforts proved unconstitutional. Later, the United States federal government imposed broad sanctions against Burma under several different legislative and policy vehicles. The Burma Freedom and Democracy Act (BFDA), passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2003, included a ban on all imports from Burma, a ban on the export of financial services to Burma, a freeze on the assets of certain Burmese financial institutions, and extended visa restrictions on Burmese officials. Congress has renewed the BFDA annually, most recently in July 2010.[4]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma%E2%80%93United_States_relations

  20. Nick,

    Justifying the murder of innocent human beings over the Florida Straits by the Cuban military as you persist in doing does not warrant a response.

    You can “regret the loss of life” all you want. As far as I am concerned, you have no credibility.

  21. humberto: The use of American soft power to bring about regime change around the World is causing countries to re-think access to the World Wide Web…We do not need a law like the Helms B. Law to justify causing regime change around the World. We have lost our way and are nothing more then another Imperial Power. We are not bringing democracy to anybody, we are creating client states with promises that we can’t possibly keep….it started with Clinton creating a surplus in our budget to fund Bush Jr. conventional war in Iraq and continues with Obama using our covert army combined with soft power to bring about regime change to countries around the World. Freedom in our country is nothing more than a state of mind because real Freedom does not exist here anymore….it has been destroyed by greed and power….

  22. DEAR Omar Fundora! I THINK PEOPLE HAVE FIGURED YOU OUT DEAR! BUT NO MATTER, THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A SCROLL ARROW AND PEOPLE USE IT TO MAKE CHOICES! JUST DONT HOLD YOUR BREATH THAT THE “INFORMATION” YOU POST GETS LOTS OF THUMBS UP! ANOTHER THING! WHY DONT YOU POST A LINK TO YOUR “INFORMATION” DEAR? YOU NEED TO GET RID OF THAT LINKOPHOBIA!

  23. Humberto….where you looking for a Secret Service Connection to the USAID technology for Cuba….

    The New America Foundation houses programs and initiatives that focus on specific domestic, economic and global issues. New America also houses a fellowship program.

    Foreign policy

    New America’s National Security Studies Program researches and analyzes a wide range of global issues, from the inner-workings of al-Qaeda to overall national foreign policy strategy. With the presence of journalists such as Steve Coll and Peter Bergen, New America has carved out a policy niche in the issues of Afghanistan and counter-terrorism. Bergen, who leads the program, is a CNN national security analyst and author of several best-selling books, including, “The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda.” Coll, president of New America, has also written several books on al-Qaeda and Afghanistan, including the 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner for general non-fiction, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden. James Risen in the New York Times complimented Coll on “revealing how Saudi Arabia and its intelligence operations aided the rise of Osama bin Laden and Islamic extremism in Afghanistan.

    New America also has a policy focus on the Middle East with its Middle East Task Force, directed by Leila Hilal, which covers analysis and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa.

    who donates to the New American Foundation
    $250,000-$999,999
    Annie E. Casey Foundation
    Arizona State University
    Carnegie Corporation
    Citi Foundation
    The Nathan Cummings Foundation
    Ford Foundation
    Foundation for Child Development
    Foundation to Promote Open Society
    Google, Inc.
    Joyce Foundation
    Carolyn and Jeffrey Leonard
    MacArthur Foundation
    Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
    Pritzer Children’s Initiative
    Radio Free Asia
    United States Agency for International Development
    11th Hour Project

  24. Commotion Wireless

    WE NEED THIS IN THE USA TO PROTECT AMERICANS FROM THE NSA AND OTHER AGENCIES IN THE COUNTRY. THIS WOULD BE A BIG HIT WITH THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT. LET’S SEE WHO, FROM THE STATES, IS GOING TO KEEP ALAN GROSS COMPANY IN JAIL ….THE SAGA OF US REGIME CHANGE IS CUBA CONTINUES…STAY TUNED…..BETTER THEN REALITY T.V…. :)

    As recent events in Egypt and Tunisia have illustrated (and Myanmar demonstrated several years prior), democratic activists around the globe need a secure and reliable platform to ensure their communications cannot be controlled or cut off by authoritarian regimes. To date, technologies meant to circumvent blocked communications have focused predominantly on developing services that run over preexisting communication infrastructures. Although these applications are important, they still require the use of a wireline or wireless network that is prone to monitoring or can be completely shut down by central authorities. Moreover, many of these technologies do not interface well with each other, limiting the ability of activists and the general public to adopt sophisticated circumvention technologies.

    The New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) proposes to build a new type of tool for democratic organizing: an open source “device-as-infrastructure” distributed communications platform that integrates users’ existing cell phones, WiFi-enabled computers, and other WiFi-capable personal devices to create a metro-scale peer-to-peer (mesh) communications network. Leveraging a distributed, mesh wireless infrastructure provides two key enhancements to existing circumvention technologies and supports human rights advocates and civil society organizations working around the globe. First, a distributed infrastructure eliminates the ability of governments to completely disrupt communications by shutting down the commercial or state-owned communications infrastructure. Second, device-as- infrastructure networks enhance communications security among activists by eliminating points for centralized monitoring, by enabling direct peer-to-peer communication, and by aggregating and securing individual communications streams.

    Objectives:
    •Prevent hostile governments from surveilling, disrupting, or shutting down communications.
    •Enhance security among democratic activists by enabling direct peer-to-peer communications.
    •Implement open source and open tech solutions that facilitate continued adaptation, enhancement, and implementation of these technologies by democratic activists and programmers around the globe.

    Features:
    •It allows existing Wi-Fi enabled devices (e.g., laptops, smartphones, home wireless routers) to network directly to form a distributed (wireless mesh) communications infrastructure.
    •Support encrypted and anonymous data and voice communications transit throughout the network.
    •Provide local communications even if Internet connectivity is disrupted or severed.
    •Allow existing, unmodified GSM cell phones to connect and exchange anonymous calls, text messages, and other information with other devices on the network.
    •Enable any Internet uplink (i.e., any device in the network that is connected to the Internet) to share Internet access to every other device on the network, irregardless of the connection type used (e.g., satellite, dial-up modem, mobile phone, fiber, DSL/Cable, etc.).

  25. Simba Sez: Omar, like dozens of others previous to him, has been placed here as a government shill to disrupt Yoani’s blog in any manner he sees fit. He uses several manners of subterfuge, but mainly he clogs the comments section with material that has little, or no bearing on the subject matter. He has many helpers in his endeavors.

  26. I WONDER HOW THE CASTROFASCISTS AND THEIR LEFTIST ADORING FANS WILL SPIN THIS INTO A BAD C.I.A. THING! IM SURE Omar Fundora AND Nick WILL HAVE AN ESPLANATION!

    A Wi-Fi network for Cuba? – by Juan Tamayo

    A program financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development to develop the technology for a novel Wi-Fi network in Cuba has not been deployed on the island and is under review, a USAID spokesman said Monday.

    USAID approved the grant to the Open Technology Institute (OTI) in Washington in 2012 as part of the agency’s efforts to promote Internet freedom, democracy and civil society in Cuba, said Matt Herrick, a spokesman for the agency.

    The network, known as Commotion, “is not operational in Cuba” and no one has traveled to the country for the program, Herrick said. Cuban authorities have jailed USAID subcontractor Alan P. Gross since 2009 for a somewhat similar program.

    OTI’s grant “is now under review. We are looking into it, to see if it’s consistent with the (OTI) proposal and achieves expected outcomes,” said the spokesman, declining to provide further details. The grant is due to expire Sept. 30, 2015.

    The USAID grant to OTI was made public in 2012, but came under a new spotlight after The New York Times reported Sunday on a similar Commotion system in Tunisia, financed by the State Department, and mentioned the Cuba program.

    USAID drew a lot of fire from critics of its Cuba programs after the Associated Press reported earlier this month that it secretly financed a Twitter-like system for Cubans. The agency said the system was not secret but had to be “discrete” because of Cuba’s “non-permissive environment.”

    In contrast to Cuba, which has branded the USAID programs as thinly veiled efforts at “regime change,” the Tunisia program was launched in December with the approval of authorities in the town of Sayada.

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/21/4072483/a-wi-fi-network-for-cuba-maybe.html#storylink=cpy

  27. Aussie Sheila,

    I don’t read Omar’s posts. Life is much too short for that.

    I suspect that he is/she is either a paid Cuban government agent or just one more in the long line of deluded nuts we’ve seen here over the years.

    I agree with your brilliant statement of reality: “Cuba is a basket case and needs a different government.”

    It is a simple as that.

  28. Aussie Sheila: Cuba is a “basket case” because of external forces ( U.S. Law of regime change and loss of their #1 trading partner). The jury still out about the need for regime change. If the U.S. law of regime change was not there and the Cuban government were to continue to use official violence to suppress Freedom of Speech and other Human Rights, then I would be more critical, but, I think they are doing a pretty good job of governance under the financial and national security issues they have to live with…

  29. Does anyone read Omar’s posts? Does anything Omar writes have anything to do with the fact that Cuba is a basket case and needs a different government?

  30. Social Alchemy

    THE ART OF SOCIAL EVOLUTION
    Social Alchemy more basic concepts:

    •What is the meaning of your life? Not to be confused with the more general question of what is the meaning of human life?
    •On what factors do you base your conclusion on the meaning of your life?
    •Who or what created or controls these factors that have influences how we define our life’s?.
    •Are there reasons why these factors exist and is their influences upon our lives intentional or just a issue of random events?

    These are the questions that underlines the concept of social alchemy. The notion underlining social alchemy is that social forces, human self identity, and self determination are interrelated. They move and evolve beyond the realm or a nationalism, religious ideology, or ethnic isolationism, these things are symptoms, but not the final deciding reason why we are here.

    There are social forces that can mold our perception life, when one exist within the range of such powers. Awareness of such power is one of the first steps in human self determination and trying to exist with some control over how such manipulation impacts one’s life. The social forces in Cuba are directed by the Grand Alchemists, the revolutionary elders and their disciples. The Reforms of 2011 were necessary to mend the country. The plan to have 400,000 self-employed is necessary to rebuild the ruins left behind by the Special Period and Hurricanes. The Hip Hop artists in Alamar, the paladares, taxi owner, small farmers are all possible because of the Grand Alchemists in Cuba…

  31. Social Alchemy and Intent:

    The manipulation of living things is done usually with some kind of intent. A gardener’s intent when he cares plants is to see them grow. Often he wants them to grow a certain way. The Gardner’s intent caring for plants is based on his perception of the ecosphere and his own perceived personal identity.

    Does the philosopher like the gardener see himself, as a part of the natural environment, thus accepts the notion of a interdependence of all living things? Then again, he may see plants as lower forms of life, just tools to be used for his own needs such as food or a commodity of trade.

    It is the social philosopher, who tries to make sense of how/why people interact on groups and how such interaction can possible be influenced. Such thoughts are part of the makeup of social rule and structure. Different cultures have addressed this concept of social philosophy in various ways, within the context of their time in history, geographic location, but perhaps more importantly with their scope or range of perception.

    The Special Period caused a transformation of Alamar. The environment people left behind provided refuge for souls that had nothing to loose. The Arts normally attract people that depend on their imagination and spiritual self to survive. Music has a way of filling emptiness and feed the soul when there is not enough food to satisfy your hunger. The self employed Hip Hop artists turned on otherwise bleak and bare environment into a creative place to work. Alamar can benefit from collectives that can spin off from the embryonic Hip Hop industry there like: CD sales, Discos, street vendors, street performers, lessons, etc…Free Market solutions directed by the “invisible hand” of the Gardener….

  32. Our endowment to change must first come from within. We must develop the ability of self-reflection, without becoming overwhelmed with self-doubt, only then can positive social change occur. Fear not the past for it helps makes up who we are today and how well we are ready for the future.

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