Ah… You’re Not in the “Package”

Collective taxi

Climbing into a collective taxi at midday, with its whole body heated by the sun and creaking at every pothole, is a shocking experience. You duck your head and make yourself small to sit on the improvised seats. A loose thread hanging from your pants leg or skirt catches on a badly set screw, its metal tip never rounded off. Then comes the hardest test: accepting the driver’s musical taste, which is playing full blast. But it’s also a unique sociological experience, a journalistic look that calls you to reflect on this peculiar reality we inhabit.

Some days ago I boarded one of these old “submersibles” that roll through Havana. Pure scrap metal but with the powerful speakers of a disco. The reggaeton was deafening. Most of the lyrics were sexist, repetitive… predictable, until there was one that got me thinking. The singer was making fun of someone and spit at them, “Ah… you’re not in the package.” It only lasted a few seconds, “Ah… you’re not in the package,” but it was enough. He was referring, perhaps, to another musician or artist who didn’t appear in the compilations of the so-called “combos,” selections of audiovisuals distributed in alternative ways, which the government abhors.

It’s noteworthy that in the popular repertoire, to be left out of the “package” means to be at the lowest rung of popularity. If a certain video clip, documentary, or movie isn’t included in these alternative compilations, it’s a sign of lack of fame. Most striking is when people have the ability to put together their own “television programming”; in those gigabytes of soap operas, documentaries or musicals… they never include the official programs. That is, the Roundtable show could be the target of the acid chorus, “Ah… you’re not in the package,” and it’s true, of the primetime news, the political events and whatever speech or government declaration is broadcast on the national channels.

The voice of the Cuban Communist Party has been left out of the “package”… because it’s boring, bland, repetitive… and lacks credibility.

50 thoughts on “Ah… You’re Not in the “Package”

  1. James Foley,

    you are clearly a deep thinker qualified to head the Central Committee.

  2. Pingback: Yoani Blog claims "You're not in the package" - Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba

  3. 14YMedio HACKED ….AND SO IT BEGINS….INTERNET “DIGITAL MEDIA WARS”…..

    HAVANA — Cuba’s first major independent general-interest news outlet in five decades was hacked on Wednesday shortly after being launched by the country’s best-known dissident blogger.

    A little more than an hour after its launch, the site http://www.14ymedio.com was directing readers inside Cuba to a page dedicated to scathing criticism of blogger Yoani Sanchez by well-known pro-government writers. Access outside Cuba appeared to be unimpeded.

    Sanchez accused the Cuban government of using its control of the country’s internet to divert readers to the critical site.

    “Bad strategy by the Cuban government to redirect our site from Cuba,” she wrote on Twitter. “There’s nothing more attractive than the forbidden.”

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/21/4128196/cuban-bloggers-paper-set-to-launch.html#storylink=cpy

  4. Simba Sez:
    “The voice of the Cuban Communist Party has been left out of the “package”… because it’s boring, bland, repetitive… and lacks credibility.”
    Yes, Yoani, I understand exactly what you’re stating, Omar and Nick prove it every day. They’re not only left out of the package, they don’t know what the package has to offer.

  5. Nick,

    The point is simple. You are a hypocrite.

    If you were against embargoes in principle, then you could make a case against the Cuban embargo.

    But you support smutty embargoes against states other than Cuba. So you cannot explain why the Cuban embargo is smutty.

    Since you can’t support your statements, you keep changing the subject.

  6. THE GUARDIAN UK: Fidel Castro lived like a king in Cuba, book claims – Former bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sánchez writes that leader ran country like a cross between medieval overlord and Louis XV – by Kim Willsher

    Fidel Castro lived like a king with his own private yacht, a luxury Caribbean island getaway complete with dolphins and a turtle farm, and travelled with two personal blood donors, a new book claims.

    In La Vie Cachée de Fidel Castro (Fidel Castro’s Hidden Life), former bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sánchez, a member of Castro’s elite inner circle, says the Cuban leader ran the country as his personal fiefdom like a cross between a medieval overlord and Louis XV.

    Sánchez, who was part of Castro’s praetorian guard for 17 years, describes a charismatic and intelligent but manipulative, cold-blooded, egocentric Castro prone to foot-stamping temper tantrums. He claims the vast majority of Cubans were unaware their leader enjoyed a lifestyle beyond the dreams of many Cubans and at odds with the sacrifices he demanded of them.

    “Contrary to what he has always said, Fidel has never renounced capitalist comforts or chosen to live in austerity. Au contraire, his mode de vie is that of a capitalist without any kind of limit,” he writes. “He has never considered that he is obliged by his speech to follow the austere lifestyle of a good revolutionary.”

    Sánchez claims he suffered Castro’s ruthlessness first hand when he fell out of favour, was branded a traitor, “thrown in jail like a dog”, tortured and left in a cockroach infested cell, after asking to retire. Released from prison, Sánchez followed the well-worn route of Cuban exiles to America in 2008. “Until the turn in the 1990s I’d never asked too many questions about the workings of the system … that’s the problem with military people … as a good soldier, I did my job and my best and that was enough to make me happy,” he writes.

    The book, published on Wednesday, has been written with French journalist Axel Gyldén, a senior reporter at L’Express magazine. Gyldén admits Sánchez has a large axe to grind with Castro, but insists he has checked the Cuban’s story.

    “This is the first time someone from Castro’s intimate circle, someone who was part of the system and a first-hand witness to these events, has spoken. It changes the image we have of Fidel Castro and not just how his lifestyle contradicts his words, but of Castro’s psychology and motivations,” Gyldén told the Guardian.

    This is not the first time it has been claimed that Castro enjoys great wealth. In 2006 Forbes magazine listed the Cuban leader in its top 10 richest “Kings, Queens and Dictators”, citing unnamed officials who claimed Castro had amassed a fortune by skimming profits from a network of state-owned companies. The Cuban leader vehemently denied the report.

    Castro’s long reign ended in 2006 when he was stricken with what was believed to be diverticulitis, an intestinal ailment, and handed power to his younger brother Raúl, who had served as defence minister. He officially ceded power to Raúl in 2008.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/21/fidel-castro-lived-like-king-cuba

  7. SOME DAY SOON THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA WILL COME TO LIGHT! AND ALL OF THOSE LEFTISTS BOOT LICKERS WILL FEEL PRETTY FOOLISH! OF COURSE MANY OF THEM WILL BE IN THE NILE! I MEAN DENIAL!
    THE GUARDIAN UK: Fidel Castro lived like a king in Cuba, book claims – Former bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sánchez writes that leader ran country like a cross between medieval overlord and Louis XV – by Kim Willsher

    Fidel Castro lived like a king with his own private yacht, a luxury Caribbean island getaway complete with dolphins and a turtle farm, and travelled with two personal blood donors, a new book claims.

    In La Vie Cachée de Fidel Castro (Fidel Castro’s Hidden Life), former bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sánchez, a member of Castro’s elite inner circle, says the Cuban leader ran the country as his personal fiefdom like a cross between a medieval overlord and Louis XV.

    Sánchez, who was part of Castro’s praetorian guard for 17 years, describes a charismatic and intelligent but manipulative, cold-blooded, egocentric Castro prone to foot-stamping temper tantrums. He claims the vast majority of Cubans were unaware their leader enjoyed a lifestyle beyond the dreams of many Cubans and at odds with the sacrifices he demanded of them.

    “Contrary to what he has always said, Fidel has never renounced capitalist comforts or chosen to live in austerity. Au contraire, his mode de vie is that of a capitalist without any kind of limit,” he writes. “He has never considered that he is obliged by his speech to follow the austere lifestyle of a good revolutionary.”

    Sánchez claims he suffered Castro’s ruthlessness first hand when he fell out of favour, was branded a traitor, “thrown in jail like a dog”, tortured and left in a cockroach infested cell, after asking to retire. Released from prison, Sánchez followed the well-worn route of Cuban exiles to America in 2008. “Until the turn in the 1990s I’d never asked too many questions about the workings of the system … that’s the problem with military people … as a good soldier, I did my job and my best and that was enough to make me happy,” he writes.

    The book, published on Wednesday, has been written with French journalist Axel Gyldén, a senior reporter at L’Express magazine. Gyldén admits Sánchez has a large axe to grind with Castro, but insists he has checked the Cuban’s story.

    “This is the first time someone from Castro’s intimate circle, someone who was part of the system and a first-hand witness to these events, has spoken. It changes the image we have of Fidel Castro and not just how his lifestyle contradicts his words, but of Castro’s psychology and motivations,” Gyldén told the Guardian.

    This is not the first time it has been claimed that Castro enjoys great wealth. In 2006 Forbes magazine listed the Cuban leader in its top 10 richest “Kings, Queens and Dictators”, citing unnamed officials who claimed Castro had amassed a fortune by skimming profits from a network of state-owned companies. The Cuban leader vehemently denied the report.

    Castro’s long reign ended in 2006 when he was stricken with what was believed to be diverticulitis, an intestinal ailment, and handed power to his younger brother Raúl, who had served as defence minister. He officially ceded power to Raúl in 2008.

  8. Mr Observer,
    You suggest that I am a Castro sycophant.
    I must stress that I am not. Nor will I ever be.
    However I will say that I am aware that there are ‘Castro Sycophants’ on this earth.
    They do exist and that’s a fact.
    However in all my experience of life I have heard of very few U.S. sycophants from Canada.
    It would seem that you are one of this rare breed.
    It is rare indeed to witness a Canadian grovel to this extent towards the big southern neighbour.
    Perhaps you are fond of being in the 5% club.
    One of the 5% of Canadians who are so blindly sycophantic towards the various policies of the USA and one of the 5% who support this twisted and pernicious little U.S. embargo.

    The majority of people in the USA are against this embargo.
    The majority of Cubans living in the USA now seem to be against this embargo.

    Yet the U.S. sycophant from up in Canada assumes these majorities to be hypocrites ??

  9. Nick,

    Out of sheer politeness, I need to inform you that your math is wrong.

    Dictators are not representatives of the people.

    Chinese and Iranian dictators visit Cuba and hug Castro, but Chinese and Iranian people flock to the USA.

    Here’s an idea. Take a notebook and calculator, and count how many rafts leave Cuba for the USA.

    Then count how many rafts leave the USA for Cuba.

    Compare the two numbers, and maybe you will figure it out.

  10. Nick,

    You are a hypocrite because you say embargoes are bad and then support a fascist and racist embargo against a democracy.

    What you mean to say is that embargoes against your favorite dictatorship bad, but embargoes against democracies you hate are good.

    The reason you can’t respond is because you have no rational defense of your incredible hypocrisy.

    Yes, I can be a hypocrite, but I will never reach the heights of the Castro sycophant.

  11. Mr Observer,

    I do apologise that I don’t have the time to address all the points you made in your latest comment directed at me.
    However as your latest rant contains nothing other than points you have already made countless times before, I feel confident that I have responded to them all at some time in the past.

    Out of sheer politeness I will address this one point:
    You state:
    ‘Being against the embargo of Cuba is the height of hypocrisy’
    Representatives of well over 95% of the human race are against this ridiculous embargo.
    Therefore, congratulations on being on the side of less than 5% of the human race and on the side of the U.S. and Israeli regimes.
    And even more congratulations on the fact that you feel yourself to be entirely un-hypocritical.

  12. Hi Simba,
    Always a pleasure to read your infrequent comments.
    Keep your comments infrequent….
    and it will always be a pleasure to read them.
    There are many things in life that I find quaint,,,
    You may find some of the these things quaint also.
    One of the things in life I find to be most quaint is when I see people bleating like sheep about freedom of expression and when they find themselves a little bit of a platform….
    they start bleating to others about what should or should not be expressed……

  13. 14YMEDIO STARTS TOMORROW WED., MAY 21, 2014

    The paper will be called “14ymedio,” a play on the year of the paper’s founding and the Spanish word for media. Sanchez described it on her blog she hopes the publication “will help and accompany the necessary change that will take place in our country … a space to tell Cuba’s story from inside Cuba.”

    While columnists will be free to express dissident opinions, and Sanchez’s blog will be incorporated into the new publication, much of the paper will be made up of the stuff of ordinary news sites, including a cooking section and entertainment listings and reviews, Escobar said.

    News stories will avoid charged terms like “regime” or “dictatorship,” referring to the government as simply “the government,” and President Raul Castro as “head of state” or “President Gen. Raul Castro,” he said.

    Escobar said “14ymedio” will probably anger government opponents by publishing listings of events in state-run venues. The paper will apply for accreditation to cover government news conferences and other events, but doesn’t expect to get it, he said.

    “We want to produce a newspaper that doesn’t aim to be anti-Castro, a newspaper that’s committed to the truth, to Cubans’ everyday reality,” he said.

    Some of the paper’s planned features will be politically pointed, however. Escobar said the paper plans to create an unofficial consumer price index by regularly checking and publishing the cost of basic foods and other daily necessities.

    “If the reality we reflect seems uncomfortable, that’s not us, that’s reality,” he said.

    Dissidents already produce a handful of news sites from inside Cuba, and the Roman Catholic Church prints two major magazines. But none are seen as true competition for Cuba’s three widely distributed state-run newspapers or its official television or radio stations.

  14. (VOVworld) – A group of 44 US former high-level officials, business executives, and scholars have asked US President Barack Obama to loosen the five-decade embargo on Cuba.

    Cuba’s current economic model created lots of business opportunities. (Photo: DW)

    In a letter to the US President on Monday, the signatories said that Cuba’s current economic model created business opportunities. They urged the US to send its experts to Cuba to help train Cuban entrepreneurs in financial services, real estate, law, and the private economic sector. The signatories urged the White House to undertake serious discussions with its potential Cuban partners on national security, migration, and the environment.
    The President of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), Thomas Donohue, said that he would lead the first official visit for 15 years to Cuba, where he would discuss business opportunities with Cuban investors and government officials and deliver a speech to students at Havana University.

  15. THE CHAVISTASFASCISTAS STEAL THE VENEZULAN PEOPLE BLIND! NOW THERE IS NO MONEY TO PAY FOR BASIC THINGS LIKE MAIL!

    THE GUARDIAN UK: Venezuela suspends international mail deliveries in currency row – Employees of state-run postal service blame ongoing dispute with international airlines over currency controls – by Virginia López

    Venezuela’s postal service has indefinitely suspended international mail deliveries, citing a collapse in the distribution system due to “excessive demand”.

    Employees at the state-run company Ipostel told local media that the service had fallen victim to an ongoing dispute with international airlines over currency controls.

    According to El Universal, postal workers said tonnes of undelivered international mail had accumulated at Ipostel sorting offices after deliveries to at least 29 countries were suspended. On Tuesday, employees refused to open post offices in Caracas in protest at the decision, which many suspect might lead to mass firings.

    “The company is practically bankrupt, not only with its international deliveries but also its basic services because we have no materials or equipment,” said Jose Gallardo, of a labour union in the eastern state of Anzoategui.

    Ipostel employees say international deliveries are impossible because of a dispute between Venezuela and international airlines. At least three major carriers have stopped or reduced flights to Venezuela.

    Last week Lufthansa said it would no longer sell tickets in Caracas, four days after announcing that Frankfurt to Caracas was its most profitable route, and Alitalia said it was suspending flights to Caracas. Air Canada suspended its service in February because of political instability that has claimed more than 40 lives in three months.

    A spokesperson for Alitalia told CNN that the airline had withdrawn its Caracas route “due to the ongoing critical currency situation in Venezuela”, which was “no longer economically sustainable”. Lufthansa said it would resume the route after Venezuela cancelled its debt.

    According to the International Air Transport Association, Venezuela owes around $4bn to international carriers, which are obliged to sell tickets in local currency. High inflation rates and frequent devaluations mean that earnings in local currency quickly lose value, and tight currency controls in place for more than a decade prevent airlines from repatriating the revenue.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/20/venezuela-international-mail-postal-service

  16. DEAR Simba! REMEMBER IS “VENECUBA” OR “CUBAZUELA” DEAR! GEMELITAS! REMEMBER FREEDOM OF SPEECH DEAR!

    TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY OF THE UNVEILING OF CUBA’S FIRST INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER BY Yoani Sanchez! EVEN THOUGH IS NOT PRINTED IT WILL CIRCULATE THE ISLAND GIVEN THE THIRST FOR NEWS OTHER THAN THE STATE CONTROLLED COMMUNIST NEWSPAPERS, TV, RADIO AND ONLINE SITES AND BLOGS!

    US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Pledging objectivity, Cuban blogger launches what she calls island’s 1st independent newspaper – by Michael Weissenstein

    HAVANA (AP) — Cuba’s best-known blogger says she will start publishing a general-interest newspaper online Wednesday in a move that will test both the government’s openness to free expression and the dissident’s ability to build a following inside her country. Yoani Sanchez and her husband Reinaldo Escobar say they have been working for months with a staff of nine and contributors from around the island to produce a regularly updated website and a weekly PDF of a newspaper dedicated to providing Cubans with essential information — rather than attacking the government. The PDF version can easily be distributed by memory stick, one of the main ways Cubans share documents and information.

    Escobar, who will be the editor-in-chief, told The Associated Press the paper will not have a print version and while it does not have an official license to operate, the staff will seek to avoid legal trouble by avoiding any aspect of distribution beyond publishing online. Cuban law contains a number of prohibitions against the distribution of mass media to undermine values including “social order, international solidarity or the socialist state.” In addition, newspaper publishing is not on a list of approved private businesses, so there is no way for Sanchez and Escobar to get a license to operate and hire staff.

    The government has made no official comment on Sanchez’s plans, though it considers all dissidents to be mercenaries paid by Washington to stir up trouble.

    While columnists will be free to express dissident opinions, and Sanchez’s blog will be incorporated into the new publication, much of the paper will be made up of the stuff of ordinary news sites, including a cooking section and entertainment listings and reviews, Escobar said.

    News stories will avoid charged terms like “regime” or “dictatorship,” referring to the government as simply “the government,” and President Raul Castro as “head of state” or “President Gen. Raul Castro,” he said.

    Escobar said “14ymedio” will probably anger government opponents by publishing listings of events in state-run venues. The paper will apply for accreditation to cover government news conferences and other events, but doesn’t expect to get it, he said.

    “We want to produce a newspaper that doesn’t aim to be anti-Castro, a newspaper that’s committed to the truth, to Cubans’ everyday reality,” he said.

    Some of the paper’s planned features will be politically pointed, however. Escobar said the paper plans to create an unofficial consumer price index by regularly checking and publishing the cost of basic foods and other daily necessities.

    “If the reality we reflect seems uncomfortable, that’s not us, that’s reality,” he said.

    Dissidents already produce a handful of news sites from inside Cuba, and the Roman Catholic Church prints two major magazines. But none are seen as true competition for Cuba’s three widely distributed state-run newspapers or its official television or radio stations.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2014/05/20/cuban-blogger-launching-independent-newspaper

  17. I do half agree with you, Simba, about being led astray. Their graffiti tactics work.

    I guess my feeling is that someone should respond to their Castro bootlicking nonsense. Like washing graffiti off of buildings.

    Yes, Yoani is alone out there, being slandered, libeled and threatened by Castro’s bootlickers and paid agents.

  18. Simba Sez: Although they may well be fighting a lost cause Omar, Nick, and others yet do a fair job of leading all articles by Yoani astray which is what they set out to do on a daily basis. While the rest of you contributors argue about stupid stuff that the Castro bootlickers lead you into, Yoani is out there alone in her attempt to tell it like it is. Of course the great Humberto, who has for years told everyone this is a Cuba blog, spends most of his time telling us about Venezuela. Have a great day.

  19. BEEN LUCKY TO HAVE KNOWN AND KNOW MANY PEDRO PAN CHILDREN. MY FIRST CONTACT WITH THEM IS WHEN I PROMOTED A PLAY ON THAT THEME IN Laguna Playhouse TITLED “Sonia Flew” BY THE GREAT CUBAN-AMERICAN WRITER Melinda Lopez! I HAS BEEN AN HONOR TO HAVE KNOWN ALL OF THEM!

    WASHINGTON POST BLOG: Cuban “Pedro Pans” hold a reunion in Washington – by David Montgomery

    The reunion coincided with planning for an exhibit on the Pedro Pan experience at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian’s ongoing Our American Journey project on immigration. Smithsonian researchers attended the reunion to invite Pedro Pans to loan objects, photos and letters for the exhibit, tentatively scheduled for 2016. Pedro Pans also can record their stories for the project.

    Haza had written the letter from a group home in Miami to her parents back Cuba. Her parents, like the parents of the others gathered at the restaurant, had made the desperate decision to send her and her twin sister, Eva, away from home in Cuba — forever, as it turned out. What became known as “Operation Pedro Pan” was one of the largest organized exoduses of minors in the Western Hemisphere, with more than 14,000 making the trip from 1960 to 1962. Parents of mostly middle-class families gambled that their children would be better off in the U.S. as Fidel Castro consolidated his revolutionary government.

    The youngsters traveled unaccompanied, landing in Miami, then being scattered across the U.S. to live in group homes, with foster families, or with relatives, until their parents could join them. The sudden rupture of their childhoods, and the commencement of a completely different way of life, was deeply searing.

    This group of Pedro Pans held an all-day reunion in Washington Sunday — inspired by reading the story of Juan José Valdés in the Washington Post Sunday Magazine in February. The article described how Valdés, who grew up to become the Geographer at the National Geographic Society, was haunted by scraps of memories of his life in Cuba. He resolved to return to Havana, which he had left at the age of 7, in search of his past.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/05/19/cuban-pedro-pans-hold-a-reunion-in-washington/

  20. Nick,

    You constantly contradict yourself in your rants. First, there is no democracy in the States, and now you are saying the embargo is the result of voter pressure in Florida.

    I guess you think voters have a lot of power in the USA, at least for purposes of your latest anti-USA rant.

    In actual fact, you are quite wrong in this case. Anti-Castro Florida voters are insignificant compared to the weight of other voting blocks.

    Just like the USA normalized relations with China and Vietnam, when there’s enough money to be made, US business will rush to get Cuban business.

    As US business have tried to do with Cuba for the past two decades with agricultural, medical, communications and other trade, most of which was stopped by Fidel and Raul Castro.

    Perhaps you haven’t heard, over 50 banks in the USA are ready to service the Cuban consul in the USA, but Castro preferred to shut down consular services as a propaganda stunt.

    Business and responsible government come second to his propaganda war against the USA.

    The Cuban embargo was as smutty as the embargo of Apartheid South Africa. I believe you also support the racist embargo of Israel, don’t you? There is nothing more smutty than that.

    Being against the embargo of Cuba is the height of hypocrisy.

  21. According to this BBC article from Miami, there are still plenty of the older generation in Florida who hate this or that Castro and wish to continue with this smutty little embargo which is so hugely unpopular globally.
    However the positive news would be that the younger generation of Cubans who reside in Florida do not seem in favour of continuing with this absurdity.
    In fact it would seem that the majority are now in favour of normalising relations.
    Once the politicos see that trying to snuff out Cuba’s right to self determination is not going to reap the now traditional rewards in terms of Florida electoral college votes, then this abusive embargo will inevitably reach its end.
    Those who still favour it will become the dinosaurs of yesteryear, rather than part of the solutions of the future….
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-27403256

  22. Pingback: Reports from Cuba: Ah… You’re Not in the ‘Package’ | Babalú Blog

  23. EXCELLENT SPEECH! HAD THE PLEASURE OF MEETING OLP WHILE HE WAS GIVING A GREAT PRESENTATION AT UC IRVINE IN CALIFORNIA! HIS ENGLISH IS IMPECCABLE!

    ORLANDO LUIS PARDO LAZO: Speech of OLPL in Kenney Auditorium, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC, 16 Mayo 2014.
    The Cuban people might have suffered this process twice:
    1. Not only after the military takeover of January 1st 1959, but before the victory of the so-called Revolution, the confidence of a whole nation was betrayed by secret agendas that involved the hegemonic powors of the Cold War world back then, plus the never-ending hunger for power of Fidel Castro and his closest followers. Believe it or not, many of those men —those who were not devoured by the rage of a Revolution so similar to Saturn, who eats his own children— those men are still alive and in absolute control in Cuba now, although they are not mentioned in the manipulative billboards of the CubaNow campaign that this month is being displayed in the stations of Washington DC metro. This gerontocracy is an elite so cynical as to call themselves “the historical generation”. Or maybe they are just being transparent, since it’s really impossible that history will forget or forgive this generation created in the image and likeliness of the Maximum Leader. Thus, despite the previous dictatorship, in 1959 Cuba lost a democratic republic with a then recent Constitution that even today would be considered a paradigm in the recognition of differences within unity.

    2. In the 21st century itself, in this 2014 that looked like science-fiction for the teenagers that we were in the late 80’s, a Transition is now taking place in my country, but not from Law to Law —as in the Spanish democratization model— but from Dictator to Dictator, in the Caribbean style, including a dynastic tradition of blood: from the original Castro to his brother Raul; then, when he steps down most likely after 2018, to his daughter Mariela (now Deputy in the National Assembly of People’s Power) or to his son Alejandro (a high-ranked intelligence officer, the much feared tropical version of Vladimir Putin and other autocrats of the kind), or to both. Indeed, since its independence from Europe centuries ago, Latin America is a region devastated by criminal caudillos that call themselves Liberators, Saviors, and ultimately Fathers of our homeland. So, 55 years after the enthusiasm of a Revolution, just when the light at the end of the tunnel is a growing illusion in the soul of my nation —inside and outside the Island—, once again a secret operation is on its way to abort our hopes to be free.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE SPEECH!
    http://orlandoluispardolazo.blogspot.com/

  24. Omar, the difference is we have a choice.

    In Cuba, they have none.

    When British left-wing rag The Mirror published fake photos of British soldiers torturing prisoners in 2004, they were criticized by other journalists and by the public, and the editor had to resign.

    In Cuba, everything Granma publishes is fake. If you criticize them for lying, you will find yourself without a job. If you practice independent journalism, you will find yourself in jail.

    Even foreign reporters who report the truth from Cuba are arrested and thrown in prison.

    The difference in journalistic freedom and integrity between the USA and Cuba is the difference between heaven and hell.

  25. EXCELLENT PIECE!

    ESPN VIDEO STORY: Cuban Felix Sabates’ story American made – By Ryan McGee

    The images are of his original hometown, Camaguey, Cuba, a video walk-around of the city blocks on which he used to work alongside his entrepreneurial parents and play alongside countless cousins. He has not seen as much as a photograph of these streets in 5½ decades, until today.

    “I know that movie theatre … I kissed my first girl in that theatre …

    “I know that building, too … God … another empty building.”

    The last time his eyes looked onto Camaguey, he was 15 years old. It was 1960. Those eyes — like these streets — were young and vibrant, naively wrapped in the warm, secure embrace of family and friends, laughter and hope. Both with an eyes-wide-open, yet totally blind, vision of their futures.

    Now, his eyes are framed by the wrinkles of a 68-year-old man finally daring to look into the rearview mirror. But this mirror is like a fast-forward button, leaving behind the Camaguey he remembers and replacing it with the town that exists there now: block after block of abandoned storefronts and construction left perpetually unfinished, frozen by revolution. Sabates’ notoriously — and deservedly — proud eyes well up, and his stiff upper lip begins to quiver as the realities of adulthood sweep in to erase the romanticism of youthful memories.

    “If you hadn’t told me where this was and shown me this, I would have thought it was somewhere out in the Congo …

    “That wall right there. That’s where I watched those guys get killed.”

    The video is being projected onto a wall of the sprawling trophy-lined headquarters of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, located just north of Charlotte, North Carolina, the place he calls his hometown. Charlotte is the city in which he has become a red, white and blue American success story. A rental-lot car washer-turned-luxury automobile and yacht sales guru. He is an NBA team owner, helping bring the original Hornets franchise to Charlotte and the only member of that group to also have a stake in Michael Jordan’s new Hornets.

    He has dabbled in pro football and minor league hockey and spent the past 25 years as a NASCAR team owner. On Saturday night, his team won the NASCAR All-Star Race with driver Jamie McMurray. The left hand he uses to dab away the beginning of tears is adorned with a Daytona 500 championship ring.

    CLICK LINK FOR ARTICLE & VIDEO
    http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/cup/story/_/id/10948041/nascar-felix-sabates-turned-cuban-dreams-american-success

  26. “the U.S. government as a matter of procedures ask self-censorship to stories of a sensitive nature or national security issues on a regular basis…does anyone remembers the Viet Nam War censorship and lies about failures in the battlefield…”

    YOU HAVE ANY MORE RECENT EXAMPLES Omar Fundora DEAR? AND WHY DOES THE CUBAN “GOVERNMENT” STILL LIMITS INTERNET ACCESS DEAR? THE BAD OLD USA DOES NOT!! APPLES TO ORANGES DEAR!

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: RESTRICTIONS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN CUBA- Amnesty International Publications 2010
    STATE MONOPOLY OF THE MEDIA: The media is a key arena in which the right to freedom of expression is exercised. It plays a critical role in any society, for example raising awareness of human rights and exposing human rights violations. The media has the potential to help shape public opinion and to monitor and assess the performance of those holding public office at all levels; it is an important tool for scrutinizing government practices in all societies no matter their political ideology. The absence of an independent media is a serious obstacle to the enjoyment of freedom of expression and the adequate review of corrupt and abusive official practices. Restrictions on the Cuban media are stringent and pervasive and clearly stop those in the country from enjoying their right to freedom of opinion and expression, including freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.8 The state maintains a total monopoly on television, radio, the press, internet service providers, and other electronic means of communication.9 According to official figures, there are currently 723 publications (406 print and 317 digital), 88 radio stations, four national TV channels (two devoted to educational programming), 16 regional TV stations and an international TV channel. All are financed and controlled by the government.10 Three newspapers provide national coverage: Granma, which is the organ of the Cuban Communist Party, Juventud Rebelde and Trabajadores.

    CONTROL OF INTERNET ACCESS
    In Cuba, access to the internet remains under state control. It is regulated by the Law of Security of Information, which prohibits access to internet services from private homes. Therefore, the internet in Cuba has a social vocation and remains accessible at education centres, work-places and other public institutions. Internet can also be accessed in hotels but at a high cost. In October 2009, the government adopted a new law allowing the Cuban Postal Services to establish cyber-cafés in its premises and offer internet access to the public. However, home connections are not yet allowed for the vast majority of Cubans and only those favoured by the government are able to access the internet from their own homes.
    However, many blogs are not accessible from within Cuba because the Cuban authorities have put in place filters restricting access. The blogs affected are mainly those that openly criticize the Cuban government and its restrictions on freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and movement. For example, Generation Y is one of the dozens of blogs that are filtered or intermittently blocked by the government and are not accessible inside Cuba.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/005/2010/en/62b9caf8-8407-4a08-90bb-b5e8339634fe/amr250052010en.pdf

  27. Here is a famous journalist criticism of a private newspaper in the Free World…Granma is not alone in censorship or bias reporting

    For journalists, credibility is everything
    The phone hacking scandal is the UK is a reminder that journalism is a delicate craft and rests upon the integrity of those who practice it
    Jorge Ramos

    Pilots fly planes – that is their craft, just as footballers score goals and locksmiths unlock doors. Journalists, too, have a craft: credibility. If a journalist cannot be believed, his work is truly worthless.

    In an effort to inform readers, viewers and listeners about what is happening in the world, we journalists report on what we see and what we find out in the field. It’s no small thing – credibility is not only our craft, it is our most valuable asset. And if what we write or broadcast does not reflect reality, people will, obviously, cease to trust us.

    Now, I know of some journalists who cannot be believed. Some have, or have had, too-cozy relationships with government officials, often acting as nothing more than spokespeople to push an ideological agenda. Others received payoffs for reporting certain stories. All of these people completely lack credibility.

    Of course, there is another kind of journalist: the reporters who are fiercely independent and who say what they see, even if what they see hurts, or is unpopular. They are not afraid to ask the hard questions. They are not afraid to make those in power tremble. They investigate what others hide. These are the true journalists.

    These thoughts came to mind as I watched the recent unraveling of the scandal involving Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and controlling shareholder of News Corporation, and his British newspaper, The News of the World. Though it had a circulation of 2.7 million, the tabloid was shuttered because too many of its reporters seemingly cast credibility aside and turned to sensationalism. A culture in which true journalism and ethics took a back seat to hacking phones overtook that newspaper.

    Judging by the popularity of The News of the World, perhaps that’s good business, but it’s certainly not journalism. The phone hacking problems of News Corporation – which also owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and many other news organizations around the world – go back a few years. In 2007, one of The News of the World’s reporters, Clive Goodman, and a private investigator he hired, Glenn Mulcaire, pleaded guilty to hacking telephones. Both served jail time. Among the people whose phones had been hacked were members of the British royal family, politicians, actors and a 13-year-old girl, Milly Dowler, who disappeared and was killed in 2002.

    The hacking of Dowler’s phone, in which voice mails were deleted, led the girl’s parents to believe – falsely – that she might still be alive, when in fact she was already dead. When the details of the hacking were recently publicized by Dowler’s parents, an understandably outraged public started to ask: Where were the editors? Where was the leadership of this company?

    Rupert Murdoch, his son James, and Rebekah Brooks, who recently resigned from her position as chief executive of News International and was formerly editor of The News of the World, testified on July 19 before a committee of British lawmakers that they knew little to nothing about the details of the phone hacking or about other breaches of ethical conduct at the tabloid, which include allegations that police officers were bribed to provide information on certain stories. Regardless of whether that is true or not, the managers of this newspaper were guilty of negligence and, worse, they were guilty of using sensationalism to sell newspapers.

    Journalism is very fragile thing. For it to function as it should, it comes down to a simple matter of trust: You either believe in a news outlet or you don’t. And if you betray that confidence, credibility is gone for good – like a vase that breaks in a thousand pieces, it is impossible to put back together. I understand that,these days, with so much data immediately available online, it’s very hard to know whom to believe. But a journalist’s job is to sort information out. After all, the primary difference between someone who merely tweets or posts messages on Facebook and someone who reports is that the latter confirms information and makes an honest and professional effort to tell the truth.

    Journalists are chroniclers of life. We are not magicians or inventors. We are realists. During a speech several years ago, the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez said that “journalism is an unquenchable passion that can be digested and humanized only by its crude confrontation with reality.” This is very true.

    Let me end with an anecdote. In Miami, at least two or three times a year rumors run rampant that Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former leader, has died. Of course, he is quickly resurrected once people realize that the rumors are false. Not long ago, I noticed a man and woman arguing in a supermarket about Castro’s supposed death.

    “They say that Fidel is dead,” the woman said.

    “Well,” the man said, “until I hear it on the television news, I won’t believe it.”

    Those words of confidence are vastly important. I never forget them.

    (Jorge Ramos, an Emmy-award winning journalist, is the senior news anchor for Univision Network. Mexican-born Ramos is the author of nine best-selling books, most recently, “A Country for All: An Immigrant Manifesto.”)

    E-mail Jorge.Ramos@nytimes.com. Please include your name, city and country.
    Read more: http://www.poder360.com/article_detail.php?id_article=5840#ixzz327zGYK4E

  28. SHE QUIT FIRST FROM THE CUBAN NEWSPAPER AND LEFT THE COUNTRY BY CHOICE

    A top editor with Cuba’s Communist Party newspaper Granma has left the country to live in the United States, criticising the state’s hold on the press.

    Aida Calviac Mora, 29, told America TeVe she arrived in the US through Mexico and planned to join her husband, a former Radio Rebelde reporter, in Miami, Florida.

    The former international news page editor criticised the state media monopoly and said there was a “crisis of credibility” in the relationship between the public and the Cuban news media.

    She said whenever she approached the paper’s directors with new ideas and different perspectives for news coverage she was told “it’s not a good time” or “the enemy could use it against us”.

    Show host Juan Manuel Cao called her one of the most important Granma journalists to leave in recent years.

    Calviac Mora being interviewed on America TeVe (In Spanish)

    The problem with events like this one is that I don’t see any difference between Granma newspaper procedures and private media outlets in the U.S….if anyone reading this cannot see the parallel with American Media, you must be a recent immigrant to the U.S…..the U.S. government as a matter of procedures ask self-censorship to stories of a sensitive nature or national security issues on a regular basis…does anyone remembers the Viet Nam War censorship and lies about failures in the battlefield….

  29. THE CHAVISTASFASCISTAS USING THE “BAD OLD USA” BOOGIEMAN TACTIC! THE CASTROFASCISTS HAVE WORN THAT ARGUMENT TO DEATH! GUESS THEY ARE PASSING OLD WORN OUT ADVICE TO Nicolas Maduro! SE ESTAN CAGANDO!

    CHANNEL NEWS ASIA: Venezuela to bring complaint against US at UN

    CARACAS: Venezuela vowed on Sunday to accuse the United States of meddling in its political crisis at the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations. The government has blamed local elites and the United States for what it says is trying to oust Maduro, an elected leftist who succeeded the late long-time President Hugo Chavez. The two countries have had strained bilateral ties for more than a decade. “We will be making formal complaints at the United Nations, since (the United States) is violating the UN Charter,” Foreign Minister Elias Jaua charged on Televen television.
    Jaua said Caracas also will lodge complaints against the United States at regional groups, including the Organization of American States, Latin American and Caribbean grouping CELAC and South American bloc UNASUR.
    The government has a “comprehensive file” with statements of “interference” from US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and other top American officials, Jaua said.
    Those are “in addition to constantly threatening to impose sanctions… Enough already; it is not for the United States to take on authorities that belong to international organizations,” Venezuela’s top diplomat said.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/venezuela-to-bring/1111604.html

  30. previous post:

    meant to write “much richer than Yoani and actually have high-speed internet connections”

    Of course, this includes members of the royal family, like Mariela Castro.

  31. Omar,

    Nobody but the most simple-minded Castro fan could believe the Lupi nonsense you posted.

    Everybody in Cuba knows that the dissidents are heavily infiltrated by Castro’s secret police.

    The absurdity of the lies you printed suggest that it is Lupi who is on Castro’s payroll, not Yoani.

    Lupi would know that Yoani is poorer than Lupi, and that she doesn’t come close to the definition of a rich blogger, among whom are countless millionaires; and even a few billionaires have their own blogs I believe.

    In fact, there are many Cuban bloggers, including in the Castro family, who are much richer. Yoani and actually have high-speed internet connections.

    Lupi would also know that Yoani does not have the freedom to travel. She was just given permission recently for a few trips, permission which can be revoked at any time.

    Lupi would also know that Yoani was physically assaulted by Cuban secret police, that she is constantly followed by Cuban secret police, and that she has received death threats from Cuban secret police.

    Sure, Yoani may be a Castro agent.

    But it is the absurdity of Lupi’s lies, which follow the script written by the CCP and repeated constantly in Granma, that makes me doubt his account.

    Fernando Ravsberg and Salim Lamrani and others have published fake interviews with dissidents, including Yoani. This propaganda war is part of Castro’s “Battle of Ideas”

    There will be more of the same in the future.

  32. YOUTUBE AUDIO: Yoani recorded her arrest by the political police dressed as civilian! Audio recording of illegal arrest February 24, 2010, in Havana, Cuba, the blogger Yoani Sanchez and her sister the day after the death Orlando Zapata Tamayo who died from a hunger strike. Grabación audio del arresto ilegal el 24 de febrero 2010, en La Habana, Cuba, de la bloguera Yoani Sánchez y su hermana el día siguiente de la muerte del huelguista de hambre Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

  33. YOUTUBE: VIDEO CUANDO FUE DETENIDA YOANI SANCHEZ! Detenida Yoani Sánchez y golpeado Ángel Santiesteban. VIDEO OF WHEN YOANI SANCHEZ WAS ARRESTED, SHE IS THE ONE WITH THE LONG BLACK HAIR!

  34. WOW! THAT IS A “SMOKING GUN” AGAINST YOANI IF I EVER SEEN ONE (heavy Cuban sarcasm)!! SHE LIKES TO MAKE MONEY! OH MON DIEU! SOUNDS LIKE THIS ITALIAN DID NOT GET WHAT HE WANTED LIKE MOST FOREIGNERS GET IN CUBA AND HE IS THROWING UNA PERRETA (tantrum)!! INTERESTING TIMING ON ALL OF THIS! WONDER IF THE CASTROFASCIST HANDS ARE PART OF IT! DUH!

    Gordiano Lupi, on Friday (May 9) published an article blasting the Cuban blogger for being arrogant, mercenary, and greedy. Its title: “Yoani Sánchez: Her new journal is my freedom.”

    “Now that I no longer have any connection [with her] and that the interests of the world’s richest and most rewarded blogger are in the hands of her agent, Erica Berla, I can remove the pebbles from my shoes. They were hurting me.”

    DIVIDE AND CONQUER! IF Gordiano Lupi HAS NO PROOF ABOUT THE “Castro Agent” CLAIMS I HOPE YOANI SUES THE HELL OUT OF HIM!

    “I began to wonder if Yoani was not so much an agent of the C.I.A. — as her detractors say — as [an agent] of the Castro family, paid to blow smoke in people’s eyes.”

    THERE ARE VIDEOS, AUDIOS AND TESTIMONY THAT YOANI HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND BEATEN! THIS Gordiano Lupi DID NOT DO HIS BACKGROUND CHECK BEFORE MAKING THESE STATEMENTS! SUE HIM YOANI! SUE HIM! MANY OF THE TOURISTS THAT GO TO CUBA TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CUBAN CITIZENS BECAUSE THEY ARE DESPERATE!

    “But even if none of this were true, it would be enough for me to realize that I was dealing with a person whose foremost interests are not at all idealistic. A blogger who leads a tranquil life, who nobody in Cuba knows and nobody harasses, who is not threatened, imprisoned or silenced, who has no problem entering or leaving her homeland.”

    http://progresoweekly.us/yoani-denounced-italian-translator/#comment-1390882199

  35. FROM THE CUBAN CONGRESS OF WRITTERS AND ARTIST CONGRESS

    Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez addressed “the new modalities of subversion being attempted by our enemies, whose principal strategy is the implementation of a program based on neoliberal thinking, and the restoration of neocolonial capitalism, targeting the very essence of the Revolution, with an attempt to create an ideological rupture between generations – all of which represents an attack on the values, identity and culture of our nation.” WELL…THE LEFTIST IN CUBA KNOW THE PROBLEM

    The recent revelation, he said, of a plan by the United States government to promote subversion in Cuba is a clear expression of these sinister intentions.

    “Identifying the forces we can count on to confront these challenges, the President mentioned, first of all, our intellectuals and artists, whose commitment to the nation is unquestionable, as is that of the great mass of our people.” LEFTIST KNOW THEY HAVE STRONG SUPPORT IN CUBA

    culture must be part of efforts being made today to mobilize the productive forces, as well as the moral resources of the country, to achieve a prosperous and sustainable socialism, in which what distinguishes human beings is not their material possessions, but rather the wealth of their knowledge, culture and sensitivity,” THIS IS VERY, VERY TRUE…I WISH THE US COULD ADOPT THIS POINT OF VIEW AND REPLACE THE “ME” SOCIETY AND RIGHT WING IDEA OF “PULLING YOURSELF BY YOUR OWN BOOT STRAPS EVEN THOUGH 50 MILLION AMERICANS NEED SOCIAL PROGRAMS TO SURVIVE WHILE 28% OF THE COUNTRY LIVE IN PRIVILEGE”

    the principle instruments of domination available to imperialism are cultural and mediatic. IN THE CASE OF CUBA TODAY IS VERY, VERY TRUE….PEOPLE ARE MESMIRIZED BY THE INTERACTIVE IDIOT BOXES OF THE DAY…

    Cuba is subjected to this influence, which is directed toward intellectuals and artists, among others, with the goal of drawing them away from any social concerns or intentions. Imperialism thus hopes to implant banality and a frivolous point of view among artists, drawing them away from political and social commitment, to create chaos and confusion. MONEY IS A HUGE INCENTIVE TO TURN CITIZENS INTO “HOUSE N##ERS IN THE BUSINESS CLASS PLANTATION THE US IS

    new technologies allow people to decide what to consume in terms of culture, we must differentiate public venues from private ones. PRIVATE COPYRIGHTS VS. PUBLIC…MAYBE THIS IS WHAT HE HAD IN MIND WHEN HE SAID THIS….

    popular tastes must be influenced “not with prohibitions, but by designing coherent policies.” THE LEFTIST IN CUBA UNDERSTAND THAT OPPRESSION IS NOT THE WAY….

  36. High-level Cuba-U.S. meeting held; reason unknown
    By Progreso Weekly • Published on May 16, 2014

    Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson met Thursday in Washington with the director of the North American department of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Josefina Vidal, according to the news agency Agence France-Presse. The U.S. State Department confirmed the meeting.

    Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson

    The two governments have already expressed their interest in normalizing relations through a gradual process, although no concrete steps have been seen so far.

    A spokesman for the U.S. State Department told the AFP that the meeting took place in the morning but that neither party revealed details.

    The United States and Cuba maintain regular contacts at a technical level to discuss specific issues, such as immigration guidelines and postal activities, but those are not comparable to Vidal’s visit to Washington, which constitutes a high-level diplomatic dialogue.

    Josefina Vidal, director of the North American department of the Cuban Foreign Ministry
    Josefina Vidal, director of the North American department of the Cuban Foreign Ministry

    Since last November, the Cuban Interests Office in Washington has lacked banking services because the U.S. and foreign banks operating in the U.S. will not handle its financial accounts, citing the existing legislation.

    On several occasions, the State Department said that it was helping the Cuban delegation to find a bank that would handle its finances, but the problem remains unresolved.

    It is unknown if Vidal’s meeting with Jacobson dealt with this topic or with the situation of Alan Gross, an American detained in Cuba since 2009 for distributing telecommunications equipment that Havana considers not commercial. Washington has publicly asked Cuba to free Gross “for humanitarian reasons.”

    The Cuban government has reiterated its position to conduct “high-level contacts” to deal with the situation of Gross and that of three Cuban agents imprisoned in the United States for monitoring radical members of the Cuban-American community.

  37. Yoani is denounced by her Italian translator
    By Progreso Weekly • Published on May 10, 2014

    Yoani Sánchez’s Italian-language translator for the past six years, Gordiano Lupi, on Friday (May 9) published an article blasting the Cuban blogger for being arrogant, mercenary, and greedy. Its title: “Yoani Sánchez: Her new journal is my freedom.”

    Lupi, 54, is a respected translator, having translated into Italian works by José MartÌ, Heberto Padilla, Virgilio Piñera, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Alejandro Torreguitart Ruiz, and many others.

    The article, which appeared in the independent website Il Gazetin, is so revealing — coming from a man who knew Sánchez for a long time — that Progreso Weekly has translated it from the Italian and is publishing it here. Our translator’s clarifications appear [in brackets.]

    ******

    Yoani Sánchez has terminated her contract with [the Italian daily] La Stampa and has made me a free man who, until yesterday, could not say what I thought, in view of the fact that I translated her. Now that I no longer have any connection [with her] and that the interests of the world’s richest and most rewarded blogger are in the hands of her agent, Erica Berla, I can remove the pebbles from my shoes. They were hurting me.

    I made the mistake of believing in Yoani Sánchez’s cause, believing it to be a David-against-Goliath struggle, a struggle that came from the grassroots to strike at the power, an idealistic struggle for the freedom of Cuba. I realized — through bitter disappointments — that Yoani’s opposition was a dead letter, not to say [an opposition] of convenience, as if to make the world believe that in Cuba there is freedom of speech.

    I began to wonder if Yoani was not so much an agent of the C.I.A. — as her detractors say — as [an agent] of the Castro family, paid to blow smoke in people’s eyes.

    But even if none of this were true, it would be enough for me to realize that I was dealing with a person whose foremost interests are not at all idealistic. A blogger who leads a tranquil life, who nobody in Cuba knows and nobody harasses, who is not threatened, imprisoned or silenced, who has no problem entering or leaving her homeland.

    Because of her pretty face, I was the target of insults and threats from Italian supporters of Castro and communists for taking part in a nonexistent struggle, a dream of freedom hoped for by many, but certainly not by her, who thought only about the money that came from awards and contracts.

    At this point, I do not know if Yoani Sánchez is an agent of the C.I.A. or the Cuban Revolution. I do not know, and do not care to know. I only know that she is not the person I thought she was. That’s enough for me.

    One episode, above all, should have opened my eyes to reality. Over a year ago, I sent my mother-in-law to Yoani’s house to ask for some clarifications about [Yoani’s] trip to Italy. Well, they made her wait on the staircase. They didn’t even invite her into the entrance hallway. Very strange behavior for a Cuban of the people.

    I should have believed my mother-in-law when she told me, “Those people are not fighting for the freedom of Cuba. They’re only interested in filling their pockets.” I didn’t believe her, and I was wrong.

    I believed in an ideal fight that didn’t exist. In reality, Yoani Sánchez’s intention has always been to become rich and famous. Now she has achieved that. Now that she has distanced herself from me, I have lost the right to re-enter Cuba, while the princess-blogger buzzes like a blowfly between Havana and Miami. The word “butterfly” does not describe her. “Blowfly” is a more fitting term.

    Now Yoani S·nchez will open a “farlocco” [phony] newspaper, as we call them here in Italy. Somebody else can translate it from Cuban, I cannot. A phony newspaper like [publisher Walter] Lavitola’s “Avanti,” with all due respect to Lavitola. She and her little friends will start a daily that nobody in Cuba will read, because it will be available only online.

    But what does Yoani care? To her, it’s enough that someone finances it, that it is read in Miami and Spain, that the Cuban community continues to be deceived by a nonexistent paladin.

    So far, we’ve traveled together, dear Yoani. Now we stop. I continue my journey alone, far from your ambitions. It still involves Cuba, true, which is part of my life, although many Cubans have disappointed me.

    I shall try not to think about it, out of respect for my wife, who is a Cuban of the people and has nothing to do with your bourgeois arrogance. And then, as Fidel Castro said, history will decide. Let’s see who it will absolve.

  38. ANYBODY KNOWS MORE ABOUT THIS…WOW….

    Translator: Yoani ‘believes only in the Money God’
    By Progreso Weekly • Published on May 10, 2014

    On Thursday (May 8), Yoani Sánchez’s Italian translator, Gordiano Lupi, wrote a brief article about the Cuban blogger in the website TellusFolio. Headlined “About My Fate and My Disenchantment Over Yoani Sánchez,” it preceded a longer article, written the following day, that can be found elsewhere in this issue of Progreso Weekly. In this translation by Progreso Weekly, our translator’s clarifications appear [in brackets].

    My fate is to be attacked, no matter what I say. I don’t say anything more than what I think. Always.waiting-for-spring yoani-book

    I don’t say that Yoani is paid by the C.I.A. I say that, since time immemorial — everybody knows this — the United States of America has kept a fund to bankroll democracy in the countries that, according to [the U.S.], don’t have it.

    This is a basic flaw that prevents us from distinguishing the true dissidence from the self-interested dissidence. Today, judging from many of my life experiences, I no longer believe in the dissidence that Yoani leads.

    Dumbfounded? I am. I devoted SIX years of my life to this woman. That’s not all. Me and my wife can no longer travel to Cuba for having believed in her. And she, in turn, goes in and out of Cuba, shuttles between Miami and Spain, and has an agent in Italy who evaluates whatever is (economically) convenient for her to do.

    Now, I believe in an idea, not in money. As for her, she believes only in the Money God. For this reason, I am disassociating myself totally from Yoani Sánchez. Forever. And I’m sending to the pulper every book I’ve written about her. I was a fool.

    cuba libre italian edition3By this I do not mean that I’m a Castro sympathizer and that I approve of [the newspaper] Granma and Raúl Castro’s statements. Not at all. I remain a critic. But mine is a constructive criticism, [the criticism] of Gordiano Lupi, not of a member of the most vulgar right, speaking from Miami.

    My criticism of the Cuban system remains what it always was, but not by the side of someone who thinks that the only value in life is a bank account!

    [Progreso Translator’s Note: Lupi translated into Italian Sánchez’s “Cuba Libre” and “Waiting for Spring.” Also, all her blog entries since 2009. He wrote “To Know Yoani Sánchez” and several articles about her.]

  39. Looks like Mr Observer is avoiding the issue yet again.
    Neither he nor his hugga-mugga buddy Hank will ever address the issue that is raised.
    They just keep on ranting themselves down the same old blind alleys…..
    !! Que Sorpresa !!!!!

  40. DEAR Omar Fundora! YOU NEED TO START PUTTING THE LINK AS I ALWAYS DO TO MY INFORMATION DEAR! WHY ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF LINKS DEAR! IF YOU GIVE ME YOU LOCATION I MIGHT FIND YOU A NICE SHIRK!

    CATO INSTITUTE: Freedom and Exchange in Communist Cuba by Yoani Sánchez – Jun 16, 2010

    Fidel Castro’s socialist revolution promised to satisfy the basic needs of the Cuban people, but the price demanded was the surrender of freedoms. The unthinking enthusiasm that greeted the beginning of the revolution helped pave the way for the disappearance of civil, political, and economic rights within a short period of time. Instead of a brighter future, misery in Cuba is widespread and the individual is vilified. With the help of Soviet subsidies, state paternalism stripped citizens of their individual and community Bresponsibilities, and established a sort of barter system between freedom and privileges. The state gave out job promotions, electrical appliances, housing, vacations, and other material goods and perks as rewards for obedience and in recognition of support of the government’s priorities— including participation in political rallies, membership in the Communist Party, adherence to atheism, and so on. Cuban socialism has produced frustrated idealists and opportunists who support the system only out of a search for personal gain. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the government has been buying time with the introduction in the 1990s of limited and short-lived reforms, whose reversals accelerated with the help of the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chávez. Raúl Castro, who replaced his brother Fidel as president, has only introduced cosmetic reform. An increasing number of Cubans are disillusioned with socialism and are demanding change. One of the tools that Cubans are now using to recover their freedom of expression and association is the Internet, which has quickly given rise to a community of cyber-dissidents, despite the Cuban government’s efforts to make Internet use difficult. Now that the state is out of money and there are no more rights to exchange for benefits, the demand for freedom is on the rise. the cato institute 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20001-5403

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/dbp/dbp5.pdf

  41. In 2010 Yoani wrote an article published by the CATO institute. In this article she wrote:
    Although freedom is usually discussed in philosophical terms, it is from the political perspective that it reverberates most strongly. A slight tilt toward one or another tendency can change the destiny of a country and affect several generations. The right of free expression and free association, firmly based on a solid legal foundation, bolsters the probability that remaining rights will be respected.

    There is no value in having laws that guarantee the freedom to work, to education, to
    health care, and to equality, if it is not possible to protest the failure to uphold these laws
    and if people are not allowed to organize in a civilized way to demand that they be respected.
    The ability to complain, to point a finger at what we do not like, is inseparable from an
    environment in which the individual does not have to barter his freedom in exchange
    for benefits and privileges.
    Yoani articulates a very profound truth that every human being in the planet should have the right to do. The reality is that even in countries like the United States, people are oppressed into conformity or are treated as outcast in the society. The sad truth is that complaining by the citizenry is tolerated only when is about lack of performance of the system, but, organizations complaining for regime change is not tolerated by any country in the World. The complaining is only tolerated as long as there is no popular support for the change. If there is support, people are incarcerated, beaten, suffer unexplained accidents and worst.

    The Communists in Cuba have lost credibility because they have not being able to deliver a quality of life for Cubans that matched their propaganda over the last 50 plus years. The disconnect between deliverables and promises is too great to ignore. But, they are trying to improve life for the People. The United States regime change law and Global Strategy denies Cuba foreign investments the island sorely needs. Cuba is under constant pressure and attacks to bring down the Cuban government by force. Normalization of relations with the U.S. will resolve one of the two main obstacle to Cuban having a good quality of life. The other is money. A one Party system can engage in the Democratic Process as good as a multi-party system. Laws that guarantee the right to work, the freedom to work, to education, to healthcare, and to equality can be deliver more effectively with a One Party System then with a Multi-Party System. Greater efficiencies and cost control is possible. Greater equality is also one of the outcomes. Elimination of foreign aggression against Cuba by terrorist, internet, blockade, proxy governments, mercenaries and traitors would create the security in the country that will make possible greater tolerance of constructive dissent. Dissent and complaining for regime change will never be tolerated in any country in the World if it is organized and has support.

  42. Nick,

    Brothers to the Rescue were blown out of the sky without warning in international airspace.

    They were engaged in non-violent activities when they were blown out of the sky in international airspace without warning.

    We have recordings of the MIG pilots celebrating cold-blooded murder. There are no recordings or any other evidence of warnings.

    That is the finding of international aviation authorities and US government authorities.

    It is your prerogative to fantasize otherwise, but your fantasies have no basis in fact.

    Put on your thinking cap, Nick. If they flew over Cuban airspace, don`t you think Castro would have shot them down over Cuban airspace?

    As for your swine flu fantasies, you clearly do not understand how the CIA or the USA works in general.

    The fact that nobody has blown the whistle on this swine flu conspiracy in over 4 decades is overwhelming evidence that it never happened.

    Try to think, Nick. The CIA was heavily infiltrated by spies, including Soviet and Cuban spies. And then there are defectors like Philip Agee, who went to live in Cuba. Then there are thousands of US government employees who would never stand for any form of biological warfare.

    None of them ever came forward with a shred of evidence for your CIA swine flu conspiracy.

    Again, it is your prerogative to engage in superhero Castro fighting off evil CIA swine flu fantasies.

    But an open-minded person would question such fantasies.

  43. Mr Observer,
    Your comments are getting progressively stranger.
    These people were warned about their repeated incursions over Cuban airspace by the Cubans.
    They were warned not to repeatedly enter Cuban airspace by the U.S. authorities.
    These people boasted about having repeatedly flown over Cuba.
    These people were lead by a known terrorist.
    The USA, Cuba and the head honcho of this outfit all agree that these planes repeatedly entered Cuban airspace.
    So why would I disagree with these three parties ??

    And you’re making me laugh out loud again Mr Observer, by blatantly avoiding the key issue once more:
    How many times would a known terrorist, with a track record of terrorist action against the USA, be able to lead an incursion into U.S. airspace before the USA shot them down ??

    It actually hilarious that you, and your hugga-mugga buddy Hank, so clumsily skirt around this point which is quite obviously the crux of the matter.

  44. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. What Cuban pig farmers say is not extraordinary evidence. The burden is on you, Nick, to back up your extraordinary, outlandish claims.

  45. Nick,

    Seriously?

    Now you want to shift the subject of this blog to a discussion of “[Why I don’t] think that the USA would wage war on Cuban pigs.” Are you out of your gourd?

    You are the one who started this nonsense. And what on Earth does the war in Vietnam have to do with any of this?

    Carl Sagan used to say that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” The burden is on you to prove your extraordinary claim. If you really believe that someone is at war with Cuban pigs, then prove it. If you can’t, then admit you are wrong.

    To date, all you can tell us is that you know a Cuban pig farmer who told you something that makes you think this is true. Not exactly the extraordinary evidence you need, is it Nick. Is your Cuban pig farmer friend a virologist on the side? If so, where was he trained? Evidence, Nick. Where is it?

    Next, you continue to justify the murder of innocent civilians in unarmed Cessnas. Is that really the world you want to live in?

  46. Nick,

    Seriously?

    Now you want to shift the subject of this blog to a discussion of “[Why I don’t] think that the USA would wage war on Cuban pigs.” Really? Are you out of your gourd?

    You are the one who started this nonsense. And what on Earth does the war in Vietnam have to do with any of this? I’ve heard of non-linear thinkers, but that’s simply twisted.

    Carl Sagan used to say that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” The burden is on you to prove your extraordinary, nutty claim. If you really believe that someone is at war with Cuban pigs, then prove it. If you can’t, then admit you are wrong.

    To date, all you can tell us is that you know a Cuban pig farmer who told you something that makes you think this is true. Not exactly the extraordinary evidence you need, is it Nick. Is your Cuban pig farmer friend a virologist on the side? If so, where was he trained? Evidence, Nick. Where is it?

    Next, you continue to justify the murder of innocent civilians flying in unarmed Cessnas. Is that the world you want to live in?

  47. The basic issue, Nick, is that Brothers to the Rescue were flying over international waters and were shot down over international waters.

    You praise the shooting down of unarmed civilians flying their Cessnas in international airspace.

    You have no evidence they were flying over Cuba.

    The evidence shows they were shot down without warning over international waters.

    You have no evidence for a CIA swine flu conspiracy, except for Castro’s propaganda.

    And you lap it all up.

    Believing everything a dictator says without a shred of evidence is not being open-minded, Nick.

    It doesn’t matter what the USA is capable of doing or did in the past. What matters is what the evidence says they are doing now.

    Evidence, Nick. It’s all about evidence, not theories that you like.

    The evidence shows Castro shoots down Cessnas over international waters without any warning whatsoever.

    The evidence shows Castro making up bizarre CIA conspiracy theories without a shred of evidence to back them up.

  48. So the previous comments page ended with Mr Observer and Hank going head to head to see which of them is most successful at praising the other whilst blatantly avoiding the serious issues that are raised.
    Mr Observer and Hank are definitely ‘in the package’.
    Its a package labelled ‘Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber’.

    Neither will address straightforward and basic points or are even capable of producing a reason why they do not think that the USA would wage war on Cuban pigs.
    Do they really think that this would have been beyond the pale ?
    Do they think that the USA would not stoop this low ?
    Do they think that perhaps this strategy was considered at the highest levels, but not put into action due to it being considered too unpleasant ?
    It was the era of indiscriminate massacre of Vietnamese women, children and babies whilst their incarcerated menfolk were brutally tortured.
    All this for the purpose of trying (and failing miserably) to push their imperialist advance into a country that they didn’t seem to realise was capable of repelling them.

    The USA would massacre countless Vietnamese women and children but would not stoop so low as to waste a bunch of Cuban pigs ???
    A strange logic indeed.

    And neither of this pair is capable of addressing the following, perhaps even more straightforward question:
    If a known terrorist repeatedly leads missions flying over a country’s airspace, a country that he has previously committed acts of terrorism against, is it not entirely probable that the patience of the country will eventually snap ?
    Exactly how many warnings would the USA or UK give to known terrorists not to fly over their airspace before taking decisive action ??

    I thoroughly understand that this pair have their strong viewpoints and dogmatic opinions,
    but they keep slipping up by not addressing the basic issues.
    They seem reliant on mouthing the same tired old anti Castro rhetoric and keep falling back on their hugga-mugga mutual praise.

    All of which causes me to chuckle immensely and it is always good to start off the weekend with some laughter. It leads the way towards a good couple of days.

    I wish you both a most enjoyable weekend too.

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