‘Casting’ for Employment

Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 25 June 2014 – Eugenia lost her job of thirty years in an office of the Ministry of Transport. She was left “available,” according to the declaration of her bosses, before they offered her a job as a bricklayer. Reluctant to lay bricks and mix mortar, she launched herself on the private market to see what she could find. Her possibilities were few. She doesn’t speak any other languages, she’s never touched a computer, and she doesn’t have the “good looks” of youth.

A friend signed her up on a digital site to look for work. “We don’t accept people with dentures,” said the first interviewer when she went for a job cleaning a house rented to foreigners. The owner of the place wanted “a clean woman who doesn’t talk very much, doesn’t smoke and looks strong.” She hired someone else and Eugenia decided to invest in her physique.

She dyed her hair, bought new shoes, and made the rounds of several cafes and restaurants in Central Havana. Over fifty, almost all the places responded the same, “we already have people in the kitchen and you won’t do for a waitress.” Eugenia noticed that behind the bars or waiting tables in the new privately run places there are almost always young thin women with prominent busts.

“You are from Havana, right?” she was asked at a place where they contracted with people to wash and iron. Eugenia was born in Holguin and spent nearly her entire life in the Cuban capital, but the owner of the laundry said she wouldn’t do. “We want Havana people, so there will be no problems with relatives who come and want to stay in the house.”

A neighbor told her about another possibility, caring for an old man. He was retired military and could barely get around in a wheel chair. “You can’t say anything bad about the Revolution in front of him,” warned the children of the old man, who had to feed him, change his clothes and read him the Granma newspaper. In the end, Eugenia also failed to get that job.

For a few days she managed to care for a child, but it was only a week because, “if you can’t sing and don’t know any children’s games my son gets bored,” the mother of the little boy told her. Eugenia only knows how to fill out forms, attach stamps, and nod her head affirmatively during the long meetings that were held at her company. She can’t compete in today’s job market.

Yesterday she heard about a job scrubbing in a private restaurant. “You can’t leave the kitchen during work hours,” the cook told her. “It’s better if the customers don’t see you,” he repeated, before confirming that she was “on a trial basis.”

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34 thoughts on “‘Casting’ for Employment

  1. ***
    HI HUMBERTO–The USA may have Venezuela style rolling blackouts and power grid crashes in the coming years. Caused by Comrade Obama’s (PBUH!) delusional war on coal. About 50 generation facilities have been shut down by the EPA, and 250 more will shut down in the next year or two. Without any replacement plants being built first! Socialists / communists make bad decisions for the people. Without thinking before jumping into the fire. Buy your candles now!
    ***
    HOLA HUMBERTO–Los Estados Unidos puede tenir apagones y choques del red de electricidad en los anos que vienan–como los de Venezuela. Causado por la guerra delusional contra carbon que puso Comrada Obama (Hosannas A El!). Mas or menos que 50 facilidades de generacion han cerrado por orden del EPA, y 250 mas van a cerrar en el proximo ano o dos. Sin construir primero facilidades para replacerlos! Socilistas / communistas hagan mal decisiones por la gente. Sin pensar antes de brincar al fuego. Compra sus velas ahora!
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  2. ***
    HI NEUTRAL OBSERVER–I know of one Cuban youth who was returned to Cuba to live in the Castro Brother’s island prison. Not voluntarily–Elian Gonzolez was taken from his Miami family at U.S. Government gunpoint and forced to return to Cuba. When Clinton was president.
    ***
    HOLA NEUTRAL OBSERVER–Conozco de un joven Cubano quien fue retournado a Cuba a vivir en la isla carcelero de los hermanos Castros. No voluntario–Elian Gonzalez fue tomado de su familia en Miami al pundo de armas del gobierno de los Estados Unidos y forzado retournar a Cuba. Cuando Clinton fue presidente.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  3. I am feeling very sorry for Eugenia,it is really outrageous that she was treated so badly just because she does not come from Havana & does not conform to a certain standard of beauty! A man would never get turned away from a job just because he is not deemed handsome enough by the employer.That said, I hope that Eugenia can find some sort of employment where she is getting valued for her work and attitude,with a strong will and dedication she will find a way!

  4. HOW SHAMEFUL OF THE GLBT COMMUNITY IN TORONTO TO CHOOSE ONE OF THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY WHICH HAS RULED CUBA FOR OVER 55 YEARS! NO GAY RIGHTS CAN BE ACHIEVED UNTIL THERE IS HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL THE CUBAN CITIZENS! THE FIRST SENTENCE IS THE MOST DISGUSTING OF ALL!

    “Mariela Castro Espin, the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, has been taking part in Toronto’s WorldPride festival as both an attendee and a speaker at its human rights conference.”
    HOW SHAMEFUL OF THE GLBT COMMUNITY TO CHOOSE ONE OF THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY WHICH HAS RULED CUBA FOR OVER 55 YEARS! NO GAY RIGHTS CAN BE ACHIEVED UNTIL THERE IS HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL THE CUBAN CITIZENS!
    THE GLOBE AND MAIL NEWS: Raul Castro’s daughter takes pride in Cuba – by SEAN TEPPER
    Mariela Castro Espin, the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, has been taking part in Toronto’s WorldPride festival as both an attendee and a speaker at its human rights conference. In addition to being a member of Cuba’s parliament and an accomplished LGBT rights activist, Ms. Castro Espin is the director of the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education, which campaigns for the acceptance of Cuba’s LGBT population and their rights. In 2013, amendments were made to the Workplace Code of Cuba, which included provisions to prevent discrimination because of sexual orientation.

    CLICK LINK FOR INTERVIEW! AND GIVE THEM SOME “INPUT” ON THE LACK OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CUBA!

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/raoul-castros-daughter-takes-pride-in-cuba/article19383461/

  5. NO MADURO! IT WAS THE JACKSON 5 AS I STATED EARLIER DEAR!

    REUTERS: UPDATE 2-Venezuela blackout leaves commuters scrambling, silences president

    President Nicolas Maduro in December blamed a similar power outage on opposition saboteurs who attacked a transmission line with a firearm.

    Critics call the power problems a symptom of 15 years of socialist policies that have left the country without a steady supply of energy despite having the world’s largest oil reserves.

    Late socialist leader Hugo Chavez in 2007 nationalized the country’s power sector as part of a broad wave of state takeovers.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/06/27/venezuela-blackout-idUKL2N0P81H720140627

  6. HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN WITH ONE OF THE LARGEST OIL RESERVES IN THE WORLD!! I KNOW! IS THE C.I.A.! U.B.S.! A.B.C.! ONE TWO THREE! WAIT! THAT’S A “JACKSON 5” SONG! WOW! THE JACKSON FAMILY IS RESPONSIBLE FOLKS! GET THE JOKE?? ABC!!

    ABC NEWS: Electricity Goes out Across Much of Venezuela – By JORGE RUEDA and HANNAH DREIER

    A power plant failure knocked out electricity across a big swath of Venezuela on Friday, darkening the lights at a nationally televised presidential ceremony and forcing a suspension of subway and train services around the country The outage affected at least 14 of the South American country’s 23 states and caused several hours of traffic snarls and darkened homes and offices in the capital, Caracas.

    A power plant that supplies electricity to Venezuela’s central and western regions failed in early afternoon, Electricity Minister Jesse Chacon said. Electricity was mostly restored in Caracas by nightfall, but remained out in other parts of the country, where power failures are more common.

    The outage disrupted a televised celebration of journalists that President Nicolas Maduro was holding in the governmental palace in Caracas. The city’s sidewalks filled up with pedestrians, forcing some people to walk in the streets.

    While some middle class neighborhoods were without power for the afternoon and evening, Caracas’ center experienced only intermittent outages.

    As always, officials prioritized Caracas as they restored power. The last time Caracas lost power, in March, electricity was not fully restored for 12 hours.

    The socialist country suffered major blackouts in 2012 and 2013. The administration blamed those power outages on sabotage, while opponents said they were the result of government incompetence.

    https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/power-outage-affects-venezuela-24343282

  7. FOR THOSE WHO HELP THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA!!! THIS AINT NO “BULL”!! PUN INTENDED!
    Red Bull settles with U.S. on Cuba violations claims – By Patrick M. Sheridan
    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) – Energy drink maker Red Bull North America has settled claims that it broke rules involving sanctions against Cuba. The Treasury Department said Friday that the company has agreed to pay $89,775 over allegations it failed to get authorization from the Treasury to travel to Cuba in 2009. The more than half-century old U.S. boycott of Cuba strictly prohibits businesses from visiting the island without first obtaining a license. The Treasury says that between June 8 and June 18, 2009, seven representatives of Red Bull North America traveled to Cuba in order to film a documentary, without first obtaining approval.

    In a statement, Treasury said Red Bull had prior knowledge of U.S. sanctions on Cuba and took steps to conceal the visits. It also said that Red Bull’s management had approved of the film and the travel involved.

    The penalties could have been worse. The government says the maximum penalty could have been $455,000.

    Red Bull North America did not respond to a request for comment.

    http://www.ktuu.com/news/business/Red-Bull-settles-with-U-S-on-Cuba-violations-claims/26697310

  8. THE BAD OLD USA! AND THAT BAD OLD CAPITALISM AGAIN!!

    NPR: Move Over Books: Libraries Let Patrons Check Out The Internet – by JUANA SUMMERS
    Chicago, like New York, plans to target low-income communities and is focusing on six neighborhood libraries. Patrons there will be able to rent a hot spot for three weeks at a time. If families lack a computer, Chicago also plans to launch a program to loan those in combination with the hot spots. Giving patrons — particularly those who are low income — the ability to “check out” the Internet seems a simple solution to improving Internet access across the country, particularly if the program expands beyond these two metro areas. (New York is working with the state libraries in Kansas and Maine to see how a similar program could work in a less populous area.) But, as Annie Murphy Paul points out, increasing Internet access doesn’t automatically bridge the digital divide. In some cases, it can make it even wider.
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/06/26/325882544/move-over-books-libraries-let-patrons-check-out-the-internet?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20140626

  9. EXCELLENT NPR AUDIO PIECE WITH INTERVIEW WITH Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez/ Hablemos Press !! WORTH TO HEAR THE STORY FOR THOSE WHO CARE ABOUT FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND PRESS IN CUBA!

    NPR: Cuba’s Black Market Loosens Government Control Of Information – David Greene met with two journalists on his trip to Cuba. One hosts a show at a state-run radio station. The other runs an independent news agency and distributes material by hand and USB drive. Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez is a Cuban independent journalist and founder of the Hablemos Press news agency. He currently directs the agency, the same group for which journalist and former prisoner of conscience Calixto Martinez reported before his arrest in 2012. In 2005, Guerra was arrested while on hunger strike to protest the Cuban government’s harassment of independent journalists. Guerra was sentenced to a year and ten months in prison for “public disorderliness.” He was released in 2007, and has continued with his work as a journalist, despite ongoing beatings, harassment, and detentions.
    http://www.npr.org/2014/06/27/326062264/cuba-s-black-market-helps-to-lift-government-s-control-of-information

  10. HEY Mario! YOU EVER HEARD OF THE SAYING “Live to Fight Another Day”?? WELL THIS IS THE “Another Day” FOR THE CUBAN PEOPLE! SPECIALLY THOSE OF US IN THE DIASPORA WHO WERE DUPED BY THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA! HARD TO FIGHT ON AN PIECE OF LAND WITH AN OCEAN AROUND YOU, WITHOUT ANY GUNS DEAR! BUT NOW WE HAVE THE
    “GUNS” IN THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA DEAR! THAT IS WHY YOU ARE HERE OF COURSE! AND SO AM I! LETS PUT OUR CARDS ON THE TABLE!

    BOOK & SURVEY : Political Disaffection in Cuba’s Revolution and Exodus – Silvia Pedraza – Cambridge University Press

    Cuba’s Refugees: Manifold Migrations
    The triumph of the Cuban revolution was one of the most popular political events of the 20th century. A social movement that the majority of the Cuban population initially applauded, and for which many risked their lives, the Cuban revolution had the capacity to capture the imagination of most of its citizens. Romantic in its execution, expressing a call for social justice, it had vast international support. Yet by the end of the century, 40 years later, a very sizable proportion of the Cuban population had left for other lands.Working both with U.S. and Cuban statistics, Antonio Aja- D´ıaz (2006) of the Center for Migration Studies at the University of Havana estimates that between 1959 and 2004 roughly 1,359,650 Cubans left Cuba for various countries and by different means. Because the Cuban population has grown from 5.8 million at the time of the 1953 census to 9.7 million at the 1981 census and 11.2 million in 2000 (Mart´ınez-Fern´andez 2003a), that number probably represents from 12 to 15 percent of the Cuban population. Certainly, it is larger than the population of Cuba’s second largest city – Santiago de Cuba – at present. This study captures the process of political disaffection – the disappointment and sense of betrayal – that led so many Cubans, many of them ardent supporters of the revolution initially, to leave their homeland for other lands.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=DjisAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA55&lpg=PA55&dq=members+of+batista+army+in+exile+cuban&source=bl&ots=K7D0Ptnw40&sig=UqTlrMYPIOA8are9qhtEcqPkDCg&hl=en&ei=A4CsTonZEZKBsgKgzKDrDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CEoQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

  11. Mario,

    Very noble thought.

    But if private enterprise is worse than socialism, you’d think at least 1 exploited worker would have moved to Cuba in the last 55 years and joined the Cuban working class.

    On the other hand, millions of Cubans have escaped or are trying to escape socialism for the private enterprise world.

    I even know Cubans who have escaped to Haiti and prefer life there. All the Haitian boat people avoid Cuba, which is just next door.

    I think you’d have to be “not smart” to not understand the pattern.

    In your original post, you seem to think there are Cuban “trade unions” protecting Castro’s workers from exploitation.

    Unfortunately, Cuban workers don’t live in your fantasy world.

  12. Observer,

    You may have misplaced your glasses.
    This article is not about me. Nor about any “socialists” It is about cuban “new rich” and exploitation.

    Why should anyone change his domicile to affirm his political convictions? You like your country? Support it where you were born. You don’t like your country? Change or fight it where you were born.

  13. Mario,

    You didn’t read what I wrote.

    You prefer the fairy tales of capitalism to the fairy tales of socialism. You vote for capitalism with your feet.

    As you admitted in your last post.

    You are, according to you, the “not smart”

    Since 1959, ZERO socialists have moved to Cuba to live the life of an average Cuban worker.

    That says it all.

  14. Mario! KEEP EXCUSING AND BELIEVING IN THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY DEAR! THEY ARE THE BAD FAIRIES DEAR!

    BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: The New Cuban Economy: What Roles for Foreign Investment? – By: Richard Feinberg

    THE WORLD’S HEAVIEST TAX ON LABOR
    The most unusual characteristic of the Cuban FDI regime is the labor contract system . FDI firms are not generally allowed to directly hire labor . Rather, a state employment agency—typically a dependency of the relevant sectoral ministry (e .g ., tourism, light industry)—hires, fires, settles labor disputes, establishes wage scales, and pays the wages directly to the workers . The FDI pays the wage bill to the state employment agency which in turn pays the workers . But there is a very special twist to the Cuban system: the FDI pays wages to the employment agency in hard currency and the employment agency turns around and compensates the workers in local currency, an effective devaluation or tax of 24-to-1 . Thus, if the firm pays the employment agency $500 a month and the employment agency pays the workers 500 pesos, over 90 percent of the wage payment disappears in the currency conversion; the effective compensation is instantly deflated to $21 per month . This could be the world’s heaviest labor tax . It provoked one Cuban worker to remark to the author: “In Cuba, it’s a great myth that we live off the state . In fact, it’s the state that lives off of us .”

    This labor system, which also authorizes only one national union (the Confederation of Cuban Workers, which is closely allied with the Communist Party), violates many principles of the International Labor Organization, of which Cuba is a charter member . It also freezes Cuba into a low-wage, low-productivity trap .

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT!

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2012/12/cuba-economy-feinberg

  15. Observer,

    I reckon is is not easy to be “Neutral” on the blog of a wealthy cuban politician. Still, I am impressed by your aspiration.

    This article is about exploited person. For me, it is also about the failure of cuban trade union to keep those “new rich” at bay. I don’t know, whether the example given by the author demonstrates the rule, or an exception from the rule. Politicians on all sides tend to choose examples which fit their agenda. So I am cautious. Perhaps the general situation is not as bad as demonstrated here.

    But even if the situation in the labor relations is acceptable I would not follow your suggestion to join cuban working class. For the same reason I would not join nicaraguan or jamaican working classs.

    I only read this blog for amusemment. It is amusing to see how adult, educated people believe in the fairy tales of capitalism.

  16. Mario,

    Judging from your post, you fall into your “not smart” category. The one that prefers private enterprise.

    If your were “smart” like you say, you would move to Cuba and join its working class.

    How come all socialists prefer private enterprise over Cuba? Are all socialists “not smart” like you say they are?

  17. Judging by this article, the private sector in Cuba slips away from the control of the trade unions.
    The private owners, as described above, apper far too arrogant. But this is capitalism,
    such laundry owner can be found anywhere in Latin America.

    The only good thing about the private sector is that it can work as a warning signal.
    If Cubans are smart they will say: the “free economy” stops here. Enough. No more private enterprise.

    If they are not smart, they will believe in competition, employers good will,
    unlimited income ceilings and the sweet stories about garage programmers becoming millionnaires.

  18. ALL I KNOW DEAR socialistworker IS THAT THE SEWER LINES FROM ALL THE URINALS AND TOILETS OF THE MUSEUM WILL BE DUMPED ONTO Fidel Castro’s MAUSOLEUM DEAR!

    LIKE THE GOD SATURN, THE CHAVISTASFASCISTAS ARE EATING THEIR OWN CHILDREN! LETS HOPE THEY EAT EACH OTHER INTO OBLIVION!

    ABC NEWS: In Socialist Venezuela, a Threat From the Left – By HANNAH DREIER
    Already grappling with street protests led by the right, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is facing a new threat from an unlikely place: old-school leftists who accuse him of betraying the socialist legacy that carried him to power. Charges that Maduro is mishandling Chavez’s legacy have the potential to do real damage. The former bus driver and union leader squeaked out a narrow electoral victory by riding the tide of admiration and mourning that followed Chavez’s death from cancer last year. If Maduro loses support of the ideological left, he will be hard-pressed to continue reforms aimed at extracting the country from a widening spiral of economic chaos, said Max Cameron, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia.

    “This is one of his biggest problems,” Cameron said.

    That’s saying a lot.

    Even pro-government militias are joining the chorus of complaints. Earlier this month, a coalition of so-called “colectivos” issued a press release calling on Venezuela’s socialist party to choose its leaders more democratically.

    Mexico-based economist Heinz Dieterich, a one-time close Chavez advisor, posted an open letter Tuesday saying Giordani’s positions may have been outdated, but that doesn’t mean the administration will be better off without him.

    “The workers are starting to despair and become radicalized because of the ineptitude and inaction of the government,” he wrote.

    There are signs that Maduro supporters are moving to quell the critics.

    Former Chavez energy minister Hector Navarro, who publicly called for an investigation into claims Giordani made of corruption, said late Tuesday that he’d been stripped of his leadership role in the socialist party and referred to a disciplinary board.

    On Wednesday, he addressed his detractors directly, calling them “stale and tired leftists.”

    “I am just a son of Chavez trying to complete the task he left me in an honest, humble way, working every day to stay loyal,” he said.

    Still, the undercurrents of discontent are likely to rankle him in ways the opposition marches have not.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/socialist-venezuela-threat-left-24315917

  19. Are they going to put a copy of the Platt amendment in the museum? How about that picture of US sailors urinating on the statue of Jose Marti? Or the US warships off the coast of Giron picking up the defeated counterrevolutionaries. How about the phony B-26s from the Alabama National guard painted with Cuban Air force Insignia. I would like to see US UN ambassador Stevenson denying US backing for Giron. Wouldn’t that make a good video for the children.

    Nutty observer has discovered what Humberto has. When the real definition’s of words become embarrassing change the definition or use a definition that has been emasculated from political definitions by the dictionary writers.

  20. CHECK OUT THE RENDERING FOR THE NEW “Cuban Exile History Museum & Library” IN MIAMI, FLORIDA by RE Chisholm Architects, Inc.
    The Cuban Exile History Museum and Library will be situated along Biscayne Bay, adjacent to the American Airlines Arena and the future Museum of Science and Museum of Modern Art in Miami’s Museum Park. The Cuban Exile History Museum will capture the story of the Cuban-American exile community; including its historical, political, and cultural roots. The sophisticated design includes three different levels, a centralized courtyard and a high-performance translucent roof system which allows breezes from Biscayne Bay to flow freely throughout the museum. Highlights include a memorial wall, exposition space, restaurant, inner courtyard, 300-seat theater, rooftop terraces and a 1,000-vehicle parking garage.
    http://www.chisholmarchitects.com/projectspage.php?menu=institutional&mainmenu=projects&project=1907#

  21. S.O.S. CUBA! MORE RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION BY THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA!

    CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE: Cuba: Reverend Lleonart Barroso temporarily detained, computer confiscated – 24/06/2014

    Religious freedom activists Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso and his wife Yoaxis Marcheco Suarez were temporarily detained by Cuban police in the municipality of Camajuaní on 22 June and released two hours later without charge, but their laptop computers and a memory flash drive were confiscated.

    The police told the couple that the computers and memory stick were needed for further investigation into possible criminal activities.

    Mrs Marcheco told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) that the majority of the music used in their church services is saved on one of the laptops. There are concerns that state security officials could plant information on the couple’s computers in order to justify criminal charges.

    Reverend Lleonart has been arrested and interrogated in the past but has never been charged with any crime. Earlier this year, despite pressure by state security agents to force him to do so, he refused to sign an ‘Advertencia Oficial’ or Official Warning, which is often used in Cuba as evidence in future arrests. However, in that incident, the state security agents took DNA and scent samplesfrom him.

    Reverend Lleonart leads the Ebenezer Baptist Church in the village of Taguayabon in the Camajuani municipality, located in the central province of Villa Clara. He also helped to establish the Patmos Institute, an independent inter-denominational forum to promote Christian intellectual thought, based in Villa Clara.

    Prior to the 21 June detention, Reverend Lleonart and another Patmos Institute leader, Father Felix Ben Castilla of the Vetero-Catholic Church, were detained on 6 June, along with Cuban singer David Omni, as they traveled between locations during an interdenominational series of concerts celebrating Pentecost. When Reverend Lleonart queried the reason for the arrest, a state security agent told him it was “for being a bad father.” They were released without charge, although Father Ben Castilla was temporarily detained again on 11 June.

    Reverend Lleonart maintains the blog Cubano Confesante, where he regularly denounces violations of religious freedom in Cuba. He and his wife travelled to Washington DC last year to brief US policy makers and raise awareness of ongoing and widespread violations of religious freedom in Cuba.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=1723&search

  22. NO MORE CASTRO FAMILY OLIGARCHY IMPERIALISM IN VENEZUELA AND LATIN AMERICA!

    HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: UNASUR, End Silence on Venezuela Abuses – South American Countries Should Speak Out on Excessive Use of Force – June 26, 2014

    (New York) – Member states of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) should press the Venezuelan government to immediately address the serious human rights problems the country is facing, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to several Latin American foreign affairs ministers.

    Unasur – represented by the governments of Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador – has attempted to promote dialogue between the Venezuelan government and opposition since massive public protests broke out on February 12, 2014. Venezuela has responded to the protests with excessive use of force, and justice officials have been complicit in security force abuses. The dialogue was stalled, and Unasur’s involvement has failed to deliver concrete results to improve the human rights situation in the country.

    “International bodies including United Nations human rights monitors and the European Parliament have expressed concern over the human rights violations in Venezuela, but Unasur has yet to speak out on the very serious abuses committed by Venezuelan state agents,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “The lack of an independent judiciary to curb the government’s abuses in Venezuela makes it all the more important that Unasur press the Maduro administration to protect the rights of protesters.”

    In the letter that was sent to foreign affairs ministers Héctor Timerman of Argentina, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado of Brazil, Heraldo Muñoz of Chile, María Ángela Holguín of Colombia, Ricardo Patiño of Ecuador, Gonzalo Gutiérrez Reinel of Perú, and Luis Almagro of Uruguay, Human Rights Watch described the findings of its report on abuses during the Venezuela protests, “Punished for Protesting: Rights Violations in Venezuela’s Streets, Detention Centers, and Justice System.”

    Human Rights Watch research shows that, since February 12, members of the Bolivarian National Guard, the Bolivarian National Police, and state police forces have routinely used unlawful force against unarmed protesters and even bystanders. The abuses have included severe beatings; firing live ammunition, rubber bullets, and teargas indiscriminately into crowds; and firing pellets deliberately, at point blank range, at unarmed people already in custody. These violations constituted a systematic practice by Venezuelan security forces against the protesters, Human Rights Watch found.

    Security forces deliberately targeted journalists and others photographing and filming the repression, and tolerated and sometimes collaborated directly with armed pro-government gangs that attacked protesters with impunity.

    Detainees were often held incommunicado on military bases for 48 hours or more before being taken before a judge. The violations they suffered during detention included severe beatings, electric shocks or burns, and being forced to squat or kneel, without moving, for hours at a time. In some cases, the ill-treatment clearly constituted torture.

    Justice officials failed to fulfill their role as a safeguard against abuse of power and instead were party to serious due process violations, Human Rights Watch found.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE DOCUMENT!

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/06/26/unasur-end-silence-venezuela-abuses

  23. socialistworker,

    Ignoramus, you’re a capitalist too. Everybody who lives in a capitalist country is a capitalist.

    But you’re an imperialist, which I’m not. Only an imperialist could support the Castro dictatorship.

    If you’re too stupid to believe Castro about Cuban workers, then go to Cuba and ask for welfare.

    I’ll make it easy, go to Cuba and live on 20 dollars a month. Leave all the rest of your dirty capitalist money behind.

    Write us a postcard from Cuba.

  24. Yoani,

    Thank-you for this blog. I check it daily, always anxious to see the new post you have written. It is my favorite thing to read. You supply so much knowledge about your country which otherwise I wouldn’t know, even though I frequently travel to Cuba.

    Your strength, courage, and bravery is inspiring.

    Again, thank-you.

  25. Yes you and nutty observer can write all the lies that Yoani can’t. Nutty observer has already identified himself as a capitalist so why should I or any other working person believe anything that he says. His motivation is to make himself rich with the love of the dollar and/or euro.

    Above all I am an anti-imperialist. The fact is that the American Anti-Imperialist league was founded as a response to the Spanish-American war long before the first Communist Party (Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (Bolsheviks)) in 1904 was organized. “The anti-imperialists opposed expansion, believing that imperialism violated the fundamental principle that just republican government must derive from “consent of the governed.” and that imperialism was a danger to republican government within the United States itself. (Wikipedia) How thoughtful and farsighted that was. Its members included a former President, a Massachusetts governor and American writer Mark Twain. Never the less it did not oppose world war one and disbanded shortly after. This left only the radical socialists, the newly formed Communist Party of America and Communist Labor Party of America to continue the tradition of anti-Imperialism in America.

    Today US Imperialism bristling nuclear arms, a blue water navy and an army with the most advanced technology in killing power seeks to dictate to the rest of the world how they should govern themselves. No where is the consent of the governed recognized in the Cuban Democracy Act. Instead Congress has written a document like the Platt amendment. The only difference being that this time they didn’t write a constitution for Cuba they just wrote down threats and their naked demands.

    The right of the people to know what their government is doing has been replaced by the right to keep secret what the government is doing. The secret national security letter has replaced the warrant issued by the judiciary after establishing probably cause. Who received the first known letters? A New Haven, CT librarian for one. If that is not a danger to republican government I wonder what is?

  26. WHAT THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION NEEDS TO DO TO GET ALAN GROSS BACK IS CUT OFF ALL FLIGHTS INTO CUBA (except for humanitarian needs) INCLUDING ALL THESE PEOPLE TO PEOPLE AND ARTIST VISAS! ALSO REGULATE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY SENT INTO THE COUNTRY AND DONT SELL THE CASTROS ANYTHING! LETS SEE HOW QUICK THEY RELEASE ALAN GROSS! THEY ARE TERRIFIED OF AN UPRISING IN THE ISLAND SO THIS IS THE TIME TO PUT THE HEAT ON! WE HAVE TRIED THE NICE WAY AND THEY HAVE REFUSED TO DO ANYTHING EXCEPT ASK FOR THE CUBAN 5 SPIES BACK AND TO INCREASE THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

    N.Y. POST: American jailed in Cuba ‘planning his suicide’ – by Chris Perez

    The wife and lawyer of Alan Gross, a U.S. government subcontractor serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba, have become frightened for his life now that his mother died from cancer last week.

    “I am extremely worried that Alan is going to do something drastic now that his mother is gone,” she said in a statement. “My husband and I need President Obama to do everything in his power to end this nightmare and bring Alan home from Cuba now.”

    The Grosses’ U.S. lawyer, Scott Gilbert also expressed concern for Alan’s health and was worried that he would take his own life to take away his pain.

    “I am extremely worried that Alan is becoming more despondent every day,” Gilbert said. “Both governments need to know that Alan plans to end his life in an effort to end this agony.”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://nypost.com/2014/06/25/jailed-american-in-cuba-planning-his-suicide/

  27. socialistworker,

    Ignoramus, there is no unemployment insurance or welfare in Cuba.

    No workers’ unions either, obviously.

    No real shelters or food banks for the homeless and hungry.

    The reason Castro lays off people is to save money, as Castro has told his brainless followers (that would be you) a few hundred times over the last few years.

    When you are laid off in Cuba, your salary goes to exactly 0 dollars a month.

    I know Cubans who are kicked out of their homes several times a year.

    I don’t know any homeless Americans who have moved to Cuba. Gee, I wonder why?

  28. To Nutty Observer: Like I said, If she were being placed on the streets without food and shelter Yoani would have written that. After all why miss such a good way to condemn the revolution as no different from the capitalist world.

    You lose your job in the US and for some people they next thing that happens is the capitalists take their home. Am I wrong? Were you sleeping in your memory form bed when you and your fellow capitalist determined that you had hoodwinked each other in the debt market?

    Then just go to Detroit where thousands lost their homes do to the economic crisis and firemen have given their lives to save your precious private property of thousands empty homes. So where did they go to? Living in cars, one room motels, prisons, different cities and lower paying jobs. Oh but the liberal capitalists such as yourself are so sympatric to the plight of the unemployed as long as they stay away from unions and godless communism.

    Your always talking about boot straps and how its education and hard work that gets one ahead. When in reality its nepotism and corruption that means the most. She was also offered a job as a brick layer which she declined. Just like the jailed dissidents who refuse a job on principal. How many people could be released early from US prisons if there were jobs for them?

    I’m sure that the middle class and those under the influence of capital are horrified that a women would be offered a job as a bricklayer. If unrestrained capitalism is headed for Cuba being a bricklayer is a skilled job that requires an apprenticeship. Anyone can work in a restaurant with no special skills outside of bean counting. In the US restaurants are known for including tips when they calculate the minimum wage. To get work at the busiest times requires working at the slowest times.

  29. MORE ON THE CASTRO FAMILY OLIGARCHY CHANGES IN TRAVEL BY CUBAN CITIZENS!

    HAVANA TIMES: How Cuba’s State Security Welcomed Me on Returning to Havana – by Isbel Diaz

    I was detained at the airport for three hours and all of my personal belongings were meticulously inspected. The officials were chiefly interested in all of the documents I carried with me and all electronic devices that could store information.

    As such, in addition to my phone (which stored all of my personal contacts and private notes), two external hard disks and their cables, two cell phones I had brought my nephew and my boyfriend as gifts and an SD memory with family videos were confiscated, even though the authorities didn’t know what their contents were and didn’t even take the trouble of asking.

    All of these devices were classified as items for personal use by the customs authorities themselves – the number of items didn’t exceed the limit established by Resolution 320 / 2011, which establishes what imports are of a commercial nature, nor did their respective prices surpass the limits established in the Value List published under Resolution 312 / 2011.

    It is therefore quite evident that these confiscations are the result of the arbitrariness and excessive monitoring that all Cubans with free-thinking postures that are critical of the country’s socio-political reality are subjected to.

    The fact that Lt. Colonel Omar, a well-known State Security officer, came in and out of the premises, reveals that the reasons behind this incident are clearly political.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=104482

  30. socialistworker,

    Of course she lost her salary, you ignoramus.

    That’s what happens in a Stalinist paradise like Cuba, you get kicked out of your job without unemployment benefits and there is no welfare in Cuba.

    That woman now makes 0 dollars a month.

    If she rents an apartment, she can be kicked out without any notice. The landlord just has to shut her out.

    Some of my friends in Cuba make 0 dollars a month. They would starve if they didn’t get help from good capitalists like us.

    They have to pay rent and they have to pay for food and for medical care, on 0 dollars a month.

  31. What is interesting about this article is not what it says but what it doesn’t say. There is no mention of her losing her salary or home because she hasn’t and Ms. Sanchez knows that independent ‘Journalists’ would find themselves in hot water for publishing lies. She needs to be a capitalist publisher in order to publish lies like those documented in the film “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” What the post does report is what happens to workers looking for jobs in a free labor market. People being judged by their looks, sex or place of origin.

    As to the Boston Globe article, one of the mouthpieces of US liberalism and the Democratic Party, we see that the wishes of Cuban American’s and conventional wisdom take a back seat to the foreign policy of US Imperialism. Those liberals who are breaking ranks on the grounds that it will be easier to defeat the Cuban revolution with consumer goods are reminded that Cuba needs to be liberated first. In other words more of the same.

    For the Globe and the rest of the cold war liberals the Cuban people must accept a new Platt amendment, called the Cuban Democracy act of 1992 as named by the US Congress and adhere to International Monetary Fund’s demands for cuts in social services and belt tightening, like the rest of Latin America. It is also quite clear in the Cuban Democracy Act that one of the US Congress goals is to strong arm other nations into going along with its anti-Cuba trade agenda. As to the so called weakness in the blockade Cuba gets to buy agricultural items because US farmers protested their being denied sales to Cuba from overproduction. Cuba must pay cash and cannot sell anything in the US.

  32. MODERN DAY SLAVERY IN THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA PLANTATION OF CUBA! THESE ARE THE “CHANGES” THEY TALK ABOUT?

    USA TODAY: Cuba punishes 6 baseball players for exit attempts

    HAVANA (AP) — Six more baseball players have been ruled out of the current national squad for trying to defect, Cuban authorities said Wednesday.

    Government news website Cubadebate listed the players as Villa Clara pitchers Diosdani Castillo and Yasmani Hernandez Romero; infielders Gelkis Jimenez and Adriel Labrada; pitcher Carlos Manuel Portuondo of Santiago, and Isle of Youth outfielder Alejandro Jaime Ortiz.

    Cubadebate said they were implicated in “attempts to leave the country illegally.” It did not give details or say whether any were successful.

    Cubadebate also named Yasmani Tomas, a hard-hitting outfielder formerly with Havana ball club Industriales whose departure was acknowledged by officials on Friday.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/06/25/cuba-punishes-6-baseball-players-for-exit-attempts/11360367/

  33. NO UNILATERAL LIFTING OF THE CUBAN “EMBARGO”, WHICH IS FULL OF HOLES ANYWAY! DIPLOMACY WORKS WHEN BOTH SIDES GIVE A LITTLE! SO FAR THE CASTRO “GOVERNMENT” HAD DONE NOTHING EXCEPT TO PERSECUTE DISSIDENTS AND EXTORT MONEY FROM CUBANS IN THE DIASPORA WHEN THEY VISIT THEIR RELATIVES!

    BOSTON GLOBE OPINION: Lift the embargo – but liberate Cuba first – by Jeff Jacoby –

    Conventional wisdom holds that the US embargo has persisted only because Cuban-Americans in Florida, a key voting bloc, strongly defend it. Florida International University generated some media notice last week with a new poll showing that by a narrow majority, Cubans living in metropolitan Miami — the capital of the Cuban American community — actually oppose the embargo. Critics quickly flagged some glaring problems with the poll, such as the 90 percent of respondents who claimed to be registered voters, while only 62 percent said they were US citizens. And the reported results filtered out the “unsures,” which on the embargo question amounted to 12 percent of respondents. Including those numbers in the overall tally would show 45 percent against the embargo — a plurality, not a majority.

    Yet the focus on polling data is a distraction. The US economic embargo is not the cause of Cuba’s misery. The Castro tyranny is. Unilaterally repealing the embargo would not weaken that tyranny by flooding the island with American tourists, consumer goods, and democratic notions, as sanctions opponents romantically imagine. Nearly 3 million tourists already visit Cuba annually, hundreds of thousands of Americans among them. In recent years, more tourists have traveled to Cuba from the United States than from any other country except Canada.

    The trade embargo is far from hermetic. Since 2000, US exporters have sold close to $5 billion in food, agricultural, and medical goods to Cuba — for several years, in fact, the United States was Cuba’s fifth-largest trade partner. Meanwhile, Cuba has had the rest of the world to do business with, unfettered by embargoes or Florida politics.

    If tourism and trade were going to undermine Cuba’s communist regime, it would surely have toppled long ago. But engagement with totalitarians doesn’t turn them into free and democratic neighbors. Rather, it empowers them to crack down on their subjects with even greater impunity. According to Elizardo Sanchez, a well-known human rights activist in Havana, detentions of dissidents have spiked, reaching more than 3,800 in just the first four months of 2014, far above the previous high of 2,795 two years ago.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/06/24/lift-embargo-but-liberate-cuba-first/7Msp22F4gTVhBajSG8lSaK/story.html

  34. ***
    Eugenia needs a good husband–or a good novio! Better if he’s rich! Or a family member to help her until she can find a better job, or can improve her skills.
    ***
    Eugenia nececita un buen esposo–o un buen novio! Mejor si es rico! O un familiar quien puede ayudarle hasta que puede encontrar un trabajo mejor, or puede mejorar sus habilidades.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

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