Reporting is the Least of It

Big Brother stands as judge of journalistic "objectivity." [The text says that CPI can temporarily or permanently cancel press credentials for “lack of journalistic ethics… or objectivity.’”]

Big Brother stands as judge of journalistic “objectivity.” [The text says that CPI can temporarily or permanently cancel press credentials for “lack of journalistic ethics… or objectivity.’” Minrex is the Foreign Ministry]

A few years ago I met a foreign correspondent based in Cuba who related an absurd and revealing anecdote. The International Press Center (CPI) had called him in to warn him about the content of an article. Receiving the summons didn’t surprise him, because warning calls like that were a common practice of this agency in charge of registering and controlling foreign journalists living on the Island. Nor could he refuse to appear, because he depended on the CPI for his credentials to report on a nature reserve and even to interview a government minister. So there it was.

The reporter arrived at the centrally located building on 23rd Street, where the CPI is headquartered, and was led to an office with two annoyed looking men. After bringing him coffee and talking about other things, they got to the point. They reproached the journalist for a report where he had referred to Cuba as “the communist Island.” This was a huge surprise to the correspondent because previous warnings he’d received were for “reporting only on the bad things about the Cuban reality,” or “not treating the leaders of the Revolution with respect.” But he never imagined that this time he would be scolded for the complete opposite.

But yes, the censors who minutely examine the cables written by foreign agencies had not been at all pleased with the use of the adjective “communist” to characterize our country. “But the Communist Party governs here, right?” asked the incredulous reporter. “Yes, but you know the word looks bad, it doesn’t help us,” responded the higher-ranking official. The man stood there in shock for a few seconds while trying to comprehend what they were saying to him and think of a response other than laughing.

The correspondent knew that annoying the CPI could bring more than just a slap on the wrist. Also in the hands of this institution is permission for foreign journalists to import a car, rent a house and—at that time—even to buy an air conditioner for their bedroom. The dilemma for the reporter was to give in and not write “the communist Island” any more, or to engage in conflict with the institution, where he had everything to lose.

The mechanisms of control over the foreign press go far beyond warning calls from the CPI. Should a correspondent get married on the Island, start a family in this land, his objectivity comes into doubt. The intelligence organs know how to pull the strings of fear to cause damage or pressure to a loved one. Thus, they manage to temper the level of criticism by these correspondents “settled” in Cuba. The perks are also an attractive carrot to keep them from touching on certain thorny issues in their articles.

I know one foreign journalist who, every time she writes a press release about the Cuban dissidence, adds a paragraph where she declares, “the Government considers this opposition to be created and paid from Washington”… But her texts lack the phrase she could add to give the readers another point view, briefly communicating, “the Cuban dissidence considers the Island’s government a totalitarian dictatorship that has not been subjected to scrutiny at the ballot box.” This way, those who consult the press release could draw their own conclusions. Sadly, the objective of correspondents like her is not to inform, but to impose an opinion framework that is as stereotyped as it is false.

Press agencies need to strengthen and carefully review their codes of ethics when dealing with Cuba. They should control the time their representatives spend on the Island, because as the long years pass here emotional bonds are created that the regime can use for blackmail and pressure. An objective examination—every now and again—wouldn’t be a bad thing, given the possible coercion and Stockholm Syndrome their employees might suffer. The credibly of an information giant sometimes depends on whether a new imported car, or a beautiful young Cuban partner, is valued more than a commitment to journalism.

Take care foreign press agencies! Your representatives in these parts are always in danger of becoming hostages, first, and then collaborators, of the ruling regime.

50 thoughts on “Reporting is the Least of It


    Gogle today announced the release of Chrome in Cuba. Citizens of the country can now grab the browser directly from

    The block was originally enforced in accordance with US export controls and economic sanction regulations. The company didn’t explain why Cubans can suddenly download Chrome starting today, but it did say, “As these trade restrictions evolve we’ve been working to figure out how to make more tools available in sanctioned countries.”

    Google first blocked the use of Chrome within sanctioned countries like Syria and Iran back in October 2008 (the browser launched in September 2008). In January 2011, the company unblocked Chrome use in Iran (along with Google Earth and Picasa) and in May 2012 did the same in Syria. Now Cuba can join in the fun too.

  2. Mario,

    Why don’t you fly to Cuba to surf? Why do you prefer the Dominican Republic?

    Thanks for confirming once again that all Socialists prefer Capitalism, even on vacation.

  3. Hi Omar,
    Petting the live lion and rafting out of Cuba has one thing in common: naive belief that something looking so nice on a picture can’t really hurt you.

    Lions are so nice. The American Dream is so nice…

    You mentioned sufring next to the sharks and I can tell you something about it. I fly to surf to Cabarete in the Dominican Republic. There is a Cuban there, his name is Mario (that’s where my nick comes from). He was trying to sell water to tourists, but the surfing school owners have opened a bar and chased him away.

    The guy has no job and no medical insurance. In Cuba he had a house and a motocycle. Now he thinks about going illegally to Puerto Rico. The United States will give him a green card, but he must pay for it with a dramatic anti-Castro show, putting his life at risk on the Mona Pasage.

    There might be next video with Mario on a raft. Hopefully he will not stick his hand out to pet the sharks.

  4. Mario
    I like your style of trying to look for humor in a very tragic event. I was watching a documentary about African lions. This character driving a jeep for some tourists parked his Land Rover next to a pride of lions. A lion got up from under the tree and came over the driver side and laid next to the door. The driver somehow forgot that lions are wild animals and reached out with his hand to touch the lion’s head to pet it…:) :)…I don’t have to tell you what happen next….He is a one arm tourist guide today….I could not believe what I was seeing…Surfers in California like to do their thing about half a mile away from the feeding grounds of 18 feet long Great White Sharks. I love to watch surfing competitions to see if a shark join the surfer riding the wave. People do unbelievable things for different reasons. Acts of desperation and fortune seeking lead Cubans to take to the sea. But, some are finding their way to Central America and crossing into the United States by joining other Latin Americans to cross illegally into the United States. The sad reality is that even after they reach the United States, the U.S. authorities turn them back to Cuba for them to try again some day. In essence it is like a reality game. There is dark humor to it all.

  5. That video of Humberto shows that Cubans are switching their sport preferences from baseball to survival.

    I like survival. It is challenging and you can’t become a millionaire quick in this discipline. Does anyone knows if there are any official competitions in rafting Cuba – Florida?
    Perhaps I will go to Cuba one day and build a similiar raft and try my luck?

    Here is another one on survival. While Cubans have to fight the heat and the sun, this guy’s challenges are cold and hunger:


    YOUTUBE: S.O.S. CUBA VIDEO and PHOTOS courtesy of Yusnaby Perez through the tourist Herminia Felipe: On the evening of Saturday August 16, 2014, five Cuban migrants aboard a rustic raft lost at sea were rescued by a Royal Caribbean ship

  7. I miss so much from your beautiful Cuban country in just 1 short week.

    Spent a month in the province of Holguin in July/August with 2 children aged 5 and 12. A wonderful eye opening experience for me and my children. And I have been travelling to Cuba for  16 years. I will not miss the boredom or hunger or sickness. But I will miss your beautiful province and it’s kind people and the hope and patience and love and laughter and dancing. I will not miss the lack of communication and the need to unite but the difficulty to do so.

    Returning in November for a birthday celebration.

    Would love to visit Havana and you someday in the future.

    Much love and hope and persistence sent to you and all Cubans. Your day will come!  The world has a way of working out if you just stay strong and keep pushing.

    Much love sent from Canada.

    Besos. Shar. xx

    The packaging industry is another sector for potential investments in Cuba. Recently, as part of the CubaIndustria Convention, the 2014 Havanapak international conference devoted its discussions to raw materials, quality, design, logistics, warehousing, domestic and international laws, health fitness and advanced technologies.

    This is one of the lines to where authorities recommend channeling new business in the Special Development Zone Mariel. According to what Juana Iris Herrera, director of Containers and Packaging Industries Ministry (Mindus), told the press, negotiations with the Brazilian company Odebrecht are underway in these moments to construct a plastic producing complex at the ZEDM.

    The objectives would be to replace imports and, where available capacities, export to nearby markets. The project of a glass factory in conjunction with partners from Brazil is also evaluated.

    Area A-8 of the ZEDM, with 239.8 hectares, is dedicated to the processing and handling of food products and among the facilities of the port there is a terminal for this purpose. Here packaging lines should be established in order to complete the production chain.

    In addition, Act 118 includes among its priorities the industry in general, and within it, the food, pharmaceutical and biotechnology branches, activities that consume higher volumes of packaging in the country. Developing the manufacturing of these products means moving towards two objectives of the law: effectively reduce imports and increase foreign sales.

    The food, pharmaceutical and biotechnology branches consume the highest volumes of packaging in Cuba.

    These goals respond to the poor current situation. BioCubaFarma, for example, acquires from foreign suppliers 60 percent of the packaging it needs. Meanwhile, at the country level, buying the goods involved an expenditure of approximately $ 330 million in 2013, mainly in plastic and glass, and for 2014 they expect to spend 226 million pesos, since the domestic industry can supply only half of the demand.

    These figures lead to exports of Cuban goods -cigars, rum, seafood, citrus and honey, in addition to vaccines and generic drugs, provide less profit because of its imported component. The production for the domestic market is also more expensive for that reason.

  9. Vietnam, Cuba sign deals in energy, mining

    Vietnam and Cuba signed cooperation agreements in oil and gas, power, mining and metallurgy in Havana , Cuba on August 27, during Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang’s two-day visit to the country.

    Havana (VNA) – During their talks, Minister Vu Huy Hoang and Cuba ’s Minister of Basic Industry Yadira Garcia said the cooperation between the two countries in oil and gas has yielded good results, especially after the Cuban minister’s visit to Vietnam last September.

    Minister Garcia said Cuba wants to share experience with Vietnam in power saving, fertiliser and herbicide production, and mining technology.

    Minister Vu Huy Hoang highly valued the Cuban government’s assistance in implementing a joint project between the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN) and Cuba’s National Petroleum Company (CUPET) to explore oil and gas in the Mexico gulf and on land.

    PVN and CUPET have completed geological study of a 4, area in the Mexico gulf and on land. The two parties are conducting oil drilling under the project.

    Vietnam is willing to cooperate with Cuba in mining and the production of computer’s equipment, Minister Hoang said and proposed trilateral oil and gas cooperation among Vietnam, Cuba and Venezuela.


    London.- British firm Esencia Hotels said on its Web site that an estimated $350 million hotel and tourism project in Cuba is the product of a partnership between the British firm and Cuban firm Palmares SA.Something that would be the first of its kind since Cuba enacted its new foreign investment law earlier this year.

    The five-star project is called the Carbonera Club, and it would be located near the island’s famous Varadero Beach. The property would be a combination hotel, spa, tennis club, golf course and residential development, among other features.

    The company said on its Web site that it had been working on plans with Palmares for three years.
    According to Esencia, the project was designed by architectural studios Rafael De La Hoz, Conran & Partners and One Works, along with golf course designer PGADC, among others.

    Cuba said it currently had 64 hotel management contracts with 20 international brands, with plans to expand that number to 70 by the end of 2014.

    Cuba’s Tourism Ministry said the island had received just under 1.3 million tourists in the first quarter, a 5 percent improvement over the same period in 2013.

  11. Cuba develops new sustainable agriculture programme

    Published on July 29, 2014

    HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) — A new sustainable agriculture program is underway in Cuba aimed at enhancing the production-marketing chain.

    Funded by European non-government organizations, such as the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency and the Dutch Humanistic Institute for Cooperation, the project was launched nine months ago in four entities in seven Cuban provinces, particularly in the areas of apiculture and the development of fruits and vegetables.

    Program director, Juan Perez Lamas said that actions included in the project in support of sustainable agriculture are underway in all agricultural methods on the island, including state farms.

    As immediate benefits yielded by the project, Perez referred to the setting up of small processing plants at citrus fruit farms, which are expected to start operations later this year, since all the necessary equipment is already on the island.

    The project also includes the certification of organic production, which do not use chemicals as fertilizers or pest control agents.

    This is very important because with this certification Cuba can charge higher price for its agricultural products than the mass produce alternatives in the international market place.


    MIAMI HERALD: Exhibit to feature Cuban ‘balseros’ experience – by Emma Court

    A new initiative by HistoryMiami and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is aiming to capture the experiences of both Cuban balseros, or rafters, as well as those of Cuban exiles in general: How they traveled here and what they found upon arrival.

    In an event timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the 1994 exodus, the two institutions are soliciting contributions to the project from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at HistoryMiami in the Miami-Dade Cultural Center.

    Part open house, part space for donations, the organizers are encouraging both physical donations — anything brought on the journey from Cuba to the United States, along with photographs and documents from life in America — as well as individual stories, which will be preserved as oral histories that will be saved at the Smithsonian and may be used in future exhibitions.

    The two institutions’ collaboration will produce an exhibit in honor of the 20th anniversary of the balsero crisis, titled, Exiles in South Florida: Collecting Cuban Migration History.

    “The journeys of many Cubans to Miami are extraordinary migration stories seldom told within a national context. They provide an avenue to discuss Hispanic and Cuban culture and the migrant experience in the United States,” Steve Velasquez, associate curator at the Smithsonian Institution, said in a statement. “This project allows for the museum to work with Florida partners in documenting how this migration experience has shaped the individual, the community, and the nation.”

    HistoryMiami will follow up the exhibit with a 3,000-square-foot exhibitiion in summer 2015 called Operation Pedro Pan. A collaboration with Operation Pedro Pan Group Inc., it will focus on the stories of unaccompanied Cuban minors sent to the United States in the early 1960s.

    Here are several community events tied to the 20th anniversary of the 1994 balsero exodus:

    Exiles in South Florida: Collecting Cuban Migration History: HistoryMiami and the Smithsonian Institution invite anyone who fled Cuba to share their stories, photographs and other objects from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at HistoryMiami, 101 W. Flagler St.

    Revisiting the Balsero Crisis and Its Aftermath, Twenty Years After: Florida International University’s Cuban Research Institute will host a symposium featuring scholars, artists and others at 2 p.m. Sept. 4 at FIU’s South campus, Graham Center 150, 11200 SW Eighth St.

    Guantánamo: Kept At Bay exhibit opening, 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 10, the Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, 10975 SW 17th St. The exhibit will be on view through Oct. 19.

    Guantánamo Public Memory Project: traveling exhibit opening, Sept. 22 at the University of Miami’s College of Arts and Sciences Gallery, 1210 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables. On view through Oct. 31.



    Platts, McGraw Hill Financial: Venezuelan oil basket falls 27 cents/barrel to $91.95/b this week: ministry

    Caracas (Platts)- Augst 15, 2014

    The average price of Venezuela’s oil basket fell 27 cents/barrel in the week of August 11-15 to $91.95/b from $92.22/b in the previous week, the country’s Oil and Mining Ministry said Friday.

    Signs of lower global demand and increasing supplies put pressure on the prices of the country’s main crude grades, the ministry said.

    The monthly average so far in August is $92.12/b, compared with $105.56/b in the year-ago period, the ministry said. The year-to-date average fell to $96.57/b in the most recent week from $96.72/b a week earlier.

    The basket price is an average of 70% crude oil (light, medium and heavy) and 30% refined products. The crude oil includes the Bachaquero, Boscan, Laguna, Merey, Mesa 30, Santa Barbara and Leona 24 grades. The refined products include asphalt, gasoil, gasoline, jet fuel, naphtha and residual fuel.


    MIAMI HERALD: Cuban defector says he has information about Payá’s death – by Juan Tamayo

    An officer in Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior who claims to be related to former MININT chief Jose Abrantes and to have valuable information has defected and is being held in a migrant detention center in the Bahamas.

    “I know too much. They would love to have me in their hands,” Abrahantes Bacallao told El Nuevo Herald. His Miami lawyer, David Alvarez, said he “faces being executed if he returns to Cuba because he was involved in the military.”
    The defector said he heard details about the Payá case during a party with other DCI officers about one month after his death on July 22, 2012, in what Cuban officials portrayed as a one-car accident caused by his driver, Spanish politician Angel Carromero. The Spaniard has insistently alleged that he was rammed from behind by another vehicle.

    One senior officer at the party told him that counterintelligence agents from the province of Holguin, east of Ciego de Avila, who were driving a red Lada vehicle model 2107 had tried to stop Carromero’s vehicle to search it an instead caused it to crash, Abrahantes Bacallao told El Nuevo Herald. The crash occurred south of Holguin and near the city of Bayamo.

    Payá and fellow dissident Harold Cepero died at a hospital in Bayamo, according to the defector’s version. Cuban officials have said Payá died at the crash from massive head trauma and Cepero at a Bayamo hospital.

    Abrahantes Bacallao said he was told the agents in the crash were from the KJ department, which specializes in surveillance, of DCI’s Section XXI, in charge of monitoring and repressing dissidents.

    Friends at the party also told him that MININT rewarded the agents with medals and ordered the Lada chopped down to erase all evidence of a two-car crash, according to the defector. They knew about the accident in part because Cepero was a native of Ciego de Avila.

    Abrahantes Bacallao added he was also told the Cuban government had claimed that Payá — 2003 winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize and founder of the Christian Liberation Movement — died at the site of the crash in order to cover up its responsibility.


  15. The castro nonsensical dictatorship in Cuba maintains its illegitimate, disgusting, repugnant rule via the mechanisms of fear, repression and evil.

    That’s why the castros are best friends with the North Korean crazies who are equally insane.

    Below is a passage from Jang Jin-Sung’s new book titled “Dear Leader”

    People who push for the ever elusive “perfect” socialism should take pause and think about what that really means and what it costs.

    No thinking person who reads this should ever condone this insanity or allow it to exist or stand idly by.

    “In North Korea, a public execution is not regarded as a punishment. It is categorized as a method of moral education, and also as a tool of public propaganda used in power struggles. But an execution in the market? As I looked confusedly at Young-nam, he reassured me that these executions took place almost on a weekly basis. They always happened in the market square so that a large audience could watch the proceedings.

    Sure enough, soldiers rushed in from all directions to surround the square, herding us into the center with the butts of their rifles. There was chaos everywhere. It made me flinch that the prisoner, led in by two soldiers, was dressed not in prison uniform but in everyday clothes. It felt like a deliberate message to the townsfolk that any of them could be in his position; that it didn’t take a special criminal mind to suffer this fate. The man’s eyes were full of terror as he scanned the scene around him from beneath his sagging eyelids and bony sockets. There was blood around his lips. For him, this was truly hell on earth, and his fellow men must have seemed as frightening as demons.

    The People’s Trial was over in less than five minutes. It was not really a trial. A military officer merely read out his judgment. The prisoner’s crime was declared to be the theft of one sack of rice. As the country was ruled according to the Songun policy of military-first politics, all the rice in the nation belonged to the military, and even petty crimes were dealt with according to martial law.

    “Death by firing squad!”

    As soon as the judge pronounced the sentence, one of the two soldiers who was restraining the prisoner shoved something into his mouth in a swift, practiced motion. It was a V-shaped spring that expanded once it was put inside the mouth, preventing the prisoner from speaking intelligibly. The prisoner made sounds but there was no human noise, only whimpering. This device had been officially sanctioned for use at public executions so that a prisoner could not utter rebellious sentiments in the final moments of his life before it was taken from him.

    Bang! Bang! Bang!

    […] The man riddled with bullets for stealing rice had been a starving farmer. Even someone who worked the land could not find enough to eat.”

  16. Omar Fundora says:

    Omar, do you want them to die the hunger death?

    Otherwise an excellent article on post-capitalism.

    Priced in dollars on the official exchange rate, a litre of petrol at the pump costs one cent, and filling a 60 litre tank costs 60 US cents, compared with US $67,20 in neighbouring Colombia.

    Venezuela Oil Pump (archive).The gasoline price in Venezuela has been fixed for the past 17 years, costing the state an annual subsidy of $12.6 billion, according to Rafael Ramirez, the president of state oil company PDVSA.

    “When a bottle of water costs three times more than filling a 50 litre tank for a vehicle, there’s a lag in the price of gasoline,” said President Maduro, who made the proposal at the close of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV)’s congress last Thursday.

    Maduro argued that a price increase would increase revenue for social and infrastructural spending, at the same time denied that it responded to a shortage in foreign currency reserves.

    The proposal comes as the Maduro administration considers unifying the country’s diverse official exchange rates and other measures to resolve economic troubles.

    Observers predict that the price of gasoline could be raised to meet the cost price, at 2.7 bolivars (0.42 cents) per litre. According to Maduro, the money saved by the increase would be split five ways in order to fund mass housing construction, university scholarships, old age pensions, anti-crime programs, and road maintenance and services.

    The subject of fuel prices in Venezuela is politically sensitive, and former President Hugo Chavez chose not to address the issue during his tenure. Many still remember the Caracazo uprising of February 1989, when an increase in fuel prices became the trigger for an explosion of discontent in the context of mass poverty and the implementation of neoliberal reforms by then President Carlos Andres Perez.

    The Venezuelan opposition have criticised the possibility of increasing the domestic gasoline price, arguing that the government must first end the sale of subsidised fuel to regional allies through the ALBA and Petrocaribe organisations. Such deals include the “oil for doctors” exchange with Cuba, with which the opposition strongly disagrees.

    “They [the government] want us Venezuelans to pay for the government’s gifts abroad…the government needs to be accountable,” tweeted opposition leader Henrique Capriles on Friday.

    Venezuelan economic analysts generally agree that an increase in the domestic gasoline price is either desirable or necessary. But they warn that coupled with a possible currency devaluation, the move could further drive inflation, which is currently running at over 60% annually.

    Toward a post-capitalist modernity (DISSIDENTS DIVORCE YOURSELVES FROM THE EMPIRE)

    If capitalism is a parenthesis in the history of mankind and already at the end of its cycle, it is because it has become more destructive than constructive, to use the categories of Schumpeter. If it is really ‘senile’, in the words of Samir Amin, or if it has already died, as suggested by Immanuel Wallerstein, we must envisage an alternative and build the instruments for a transition. This is not only the task of intellectuals, even ‘organic’ ones, but also of social and political movements and of all the social experiments going on all over the world to promote peasant and organic agriculture, the social economy, participatory democracy, interculturalism.

    This does not mean a simple return to the past, to the world that preceded the opening of the capitalist parenthesis. Even if holistic in their world visions, pre-capitalist societies were historically situated, with weak development of their productive forces, a symbolic way of thinking that identified reality and symbols, and with some forms of class structures in the more materially advanced ones, and communitarian social organization in others. To revisit their cultural heritage does not mean to adopt their cosmovision. Neither can we accept attempts to reconstruct an illusionary past as a basis of identity, as with the fundamentalist politico-religious movements, in particular political Islam.

    A post-capitalist modernity cannot mean either taking refuge in utopian projects for an economy without a market, for a society without institutions, for a human history limited to individual initiatives, for education without schools. These do not lead to real transformations. At most, they may recall the necessity for permanent critical thinking. The contribution of science and technology cannot be ignored, but their development should be submitted to use value as defined by the common good of humanity and nature, and not to exchange value. Cultural production in all societies of the world has been relatively autonomous, even in the most abject and oppressive social and political regimes, and it has been able to contribute to the collective patrimony of humankind. It may also contribute to the construction of a post-capitalist paradigm.

    This, of course, is not just a dream. It has to be applied in very concrete steps in all aspects of the collective life of humanity on earth. Every society has to respond to four main questions to promote and maintain its existence: how to relate with nature? how to produce the material basis of its existence? how to organize collectively? how to read reality and elaborate ethical norms of conduct? It is with these four central pillars that a new paradigm can be constructed as a utopia in the positive sense of the term, i.e. an aim to be achieved in a permanent practical effort.

    The first consists of re-establishing the equilibrium of the metabolism between nature and human beings (who of course are themselves the conscious part of nature). This means abandoning a concept of nature as a provider of natural resources to be exploited as commodities (the capitalist vision), and adopting instead an attitude of respect, because nature is the source of all life – physical, cultural, spiritual. The concrete applications of such a principle are numerous, from the public character of natural wealth to the non-commodification of the natural elements essential for life, like water and seed. This would impede the irrational trade in goods only for comparative advantages, creating heavy dependency on raw materials and energy and polluting the seas and the atmosphere.

    The second one is the way of producing the material basis of life and responding to the system of necessities. Restoring the priority of use value would be the main instrument of change, with all its consequences on the property of the means of production, the end of the predominance of financial capital, the abolishment of fiscal paradises, etc.

    The third pillar is the generalization of democratic processes in all sectors of collective life. A first step is to promote a participatory and decentralized State, instead of the Jacobin central conception needed to serve capitalist concentration or promote de facto the monopoly of decision by a bureaucratic elite, leaving little space for popular intervention and initiative. However, such a generalization has also to be applied also in many other sectors, like the economic one and in the fields of culture, sport, social communication and religion.

    Finally interculturalism, as the possibility for all cultures, philosophies and spiritualities to contribute to the change of paradigm, is the way of promoting the interchange of knowledge, multiplicity of expressions of values and better communications. Modernity cannot be equated with Western culture, especially in its capitalist version. The practical applications of pluri- and inter-culturalism are multiple, in the domain of patterns for example, but also of education and the means of social communication. The common elaboration of a collective ethics that corresponds to the new aims is also an essential part of the cultural dimension.

    Those four pillars constitute the practical content of a post-capitalist paradigm that we could call The Common Good of Humanity, because it assumes a holistic approach to reality, a sense of solidarity between all human beings, responsible behaviour toward nature: in a word, a world of harmony where the reproduction and the betterment of life is the main purpose, as opposed to a system of death, built on the destruction of nature and a sacrificial conception of human development. However such a paradigm may have many names, according to the various cultural references of peoples in the universe.

    The proof that this is not an illusion is the thousands of initiatives that are being taken in the four different pillars for the construction of a post-capitalist paradigm. They are still dispersed, limited in dimension and often strongly repressed by the system, but they do exist and indicate the way forward to solutions. However, there is limited time to achieve several of these goals. We also know that the capitalist system is not yet dead, even if the signs of its weakness are ever more numerous and apparent. The dominant classes will fiercely resist and, in their cynicism, they will be prepared to sacrifice half of humanity to prolong their own existence. This is why the passage to a new post-capitalist paradigm will not take place without social struggles. The role of social movements and of political organizations remains central.

    However, even if the transformation cannot be called anything other than a revolutionary step, we have to be conscious of the necessity of transitions. The old debate between revolution and reforms is often revived on this point but Rosa Luxemburg was right in seeing this dichotomy as a false problem. The whole question is the axiology of transitions. They can mean an adaptation of the capitalist system to new pressures or they can be steps to build the new paradigm. Sometimes the same concrete measures can serve the two purposes. In the former case they will simply be regulations of the economic system in order to avoid natural or social catastrophes which would affect the process of accumulation. In the latter, they would be provisional decisions, in anticipation of other steps, because of the physical or the political impossibility of acting otherwise in the present circumstances.

    In Latin America, the progressive governments are post-neoliberal but not post-capitalist ones, with only a few more radical initiatives, like ALBA (the Bolivarian Integration of America) or the communal organizations in Venezuela. In general they can hardly be considered as real transitions. In socialist countries like China and Vietnam, the reintroduction of mechanisms of the market to boost the development of productive forces, is also reintroducing social relations of production quite contrary to the construction of socialism, even if the State is supposed to control them and if they are considered as provisional. Furthermore, the continuity of the concept of modernity as a linear progress on an inexhaustible planet does not help to change practice. Fortunately critical thinking is also developing and the official discourse begins to adopt new perspectives for the long term, although this has little effect on the short term.

  19. John Bibb,
    The US government’s 116-year-old obsession with controlling Cuba has suddenly manifested itself again. Yesterday, the Associated Press, based on secret records that it obtained, reported that USAID, the federal agency that distributes billions of dollars in US-taxpayer funded foreign aid and which has long served as a front organization for the CIA, has been engaged in a super-secret, covert operation to effect regime change in Cuba.

    The USAID scheme involved illegally securing the cell phone numbers of tens of thousands of Cubans, most of whom were presumed to be young people. Then, using a series of several private front companies, which is a classic CIA modus, they established a twitter-type service that enabled U.S. officials to feed messages to the recipients. The plan called for feeding messages that would incite young people to rise up with mass spontaneous protests against the Cuban communist regime.

    Now, one might ask: What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with the U.S. government’s helping the Cuban people achieve their freedom?

    Well, for one, the freedom of the Cuban people is the furthest thing from the minds of US officials. Their objective has always been — and continues to be — control over Cuba. They couldn’t give a whit over whether the Cuban people are free or not, any more than they gave a whit over whether the Chilean, Guatemalan, and Iranian people were free after the CIA instigated regime change in those countries.

    What the US national-security state wants in Cuba is the same thing it wants in every country it targets for regime change. Its aim is to replace the independent ruler — that is, the ruler who refuses to be subservient to the US Empire — with a pro-US dictator, preferably military, who will do what he’s told and, equally significantly, be empowered to do whatever he wants to his own citizens in the attempt to retain control over the country. A good example was the brutal pro-US Cuban dictator who came before Castro–Fulgencio Batista, who was dutifully subservient to the U.S. Empire. U.S. officials loved him.

  20. So Venezuela is planning to devalue the currency once more to pay for the debt….domestic gasoline prices will go up. CITGO will be sold (eventually) and the Socialistic Democratic Republic continues to be built…


    INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES: Watching TeleSUR English, Venezuela’s State-Backed News Site For English Speaking Audiences – By Brianna Lee

    Like its Spanish-language counterpart, TeleSUR English receives the bulk of its funding from the Venezuelan government, with additional backing from the governments of Cuba, Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. With that sort of patronage, it’s not exactly a model of independence and objectivity, and its biases are often glaringly obvious.

    Reports on the Gaza conflict are staunchly pro-Palestinian, referring to the fighting between Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas as “Israel’s war on Gaza” and highlighting Venezuelan aid and support for Palestinians. Stories about Russia focus on Moscow’s struggle with U.S. sanctions, and the network notes that Western leaders accuse Putin’s government of meddling in Ukraine “despite blatant support for Ukraine’s new leadership — including far-right political groups — by the same Western leaders.” A robust interactive commemorating Fidel Castro’s 88th birthday features a section on Castro’s rocky relationship with the U.S., with a not-so-subtle title of “Fidel and the Empire.”

    TeleSUR English’s Venezuela coverage is also what one might expect from a state-financed venture. The site’s domestic coverage highlights internal fractures in the political opposition and its “strategy of violence” in the clash between protesters and police this spring that left more than 40 people dead. The site also refers to opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who turned himself in at the height of the protests, as “Venezuelan Coup Plotter Lopez.”


  22. ***
    HI OMAR FUNDIDO–President John Kennedy’s big crime was allowing the Bay Of Pigs Invasion (aka Cuban liberation) to go forward–and getting cold feet and cancelling the U.S. Air Force / Navy backup for the brave Cubans. As they died trying to dislodge the Castro Communist Regime that was killing their country.
    The Cuban Missile Crisis was a Russian plot to install their inaccurate IRBM’s on Castro’s Island Prison. Where they would have sufficient accuracy to destroy large East Coast cities–and also Washington, D.C. in a first strike. Fidel desired this war! It had nothing to do with the Bay of Pigs.
    The Russians got what they wanted–the removal of the U.S. IRBM missiles in Turkey. Castro got what he wanted–protection from another invasion–forever! And a Russian master who would pay his dead economy–for decades.
    The Cuban People got the shaft! 55 years of living as second class peons in Castro’s Valhalla! Kennedy should have finished off the nascent Castro dictatorship long ago. Cuba would be an independent prosperous nation with a free people today.
    HOLA OMAR FUNDIDO–El crimen grande de Presidente John Kennedy fue en permitir la invasion Bay Of Pigs (aka la liberacion Cubano) a proseguir–y logrando “pies frias” y cancellando el supporte de las fuerzas aereos y navales de los Estados Unidos por los Cubanos valientes. Cuando estaban muriendo haciendo la lucha deslojar el Regime Communista de Castro que estaba matando su pais.
    El Crisis de Missiles Cubanos fue un complot Russo a installar sus IRBM’s imprecisos en la Isla Carcelero de Castro. Donde tendrian suficiente precision a destruir ciduades grandes del Este–y tambien Washington, D.C. en un ataque de sorprisa. Fidel deseo esta guerra! No tuvo ninguno relacion al Bay Of Pigs.
    Los Russos recibieron lo que quierraban–la eliminacion de los IRBM de los Estados Unidos de Turcia. Castro recibio lo que quiso–proteccion de otro invasion–para siempre! Y un patron Russo quien pagara su economia moribundo–por decadas.
    Chingo a la Gente Cubanos! 55 anos de vivir como peones de la classe segunda en la Vahalla de Castro! Kennedy debia de acabado con el Dictadura nascente de Castro hace muchos anos. Cuba estuviera un nacion independiete y prospero con la Gente libre hoy.
    John Bibb

  23. ***
    HI NEUTRAL OBSERVER–Thank you! I always enjoy reading your comments.
    HOLA NEUTRAL OBSERVER–Gracias! Siempre me da gusto leer sus commentarios.
    John Bibb


    MIAMI HERLAD: Cuban defector says he has valuable information – by Juan Tamayo

    An official in Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior who claims to be a nephew of the late MININT chief Jose Abrantes defected four months ago, was intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard and is now being held in a migrant detention in the Bahamas.

    Ortelio Abrahantes Bacallao has an ID card identifying him as a member in MININT’s Technical Investigations Directorate, which investigates crimes, and diplomas from law and investigations schools run by MININT.

    He held the rank of major and was in charge of all of MININT’s land and sea transportation in the province of Ciego de Avila in central Cuba, Abrahantes told El Nuevo Herald. MININT is in charge of the island’s domestic security.

    Abrahantes said he set off March 24 from a key off the northern coast of the province aboard a MININT-owned sailboat, but was picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard and taken to the Bahamas. He is being held at the Carmichael Road migrant detention center.

    Abrahantes, who held the rank of general and had served on Fidel Castro’s personal bodyguard, was arrested in 1989 and charged to failing to stop the drug trafficking and other crimes that let to the execution of Gen. Arnaldo Ochoa and three others that same year. He died in prison in 1991, under what have been described as mysterious circumstances.

  25. Hank: “these worn out positions” ….has been the reality of the U.S. policy towards Cuba and Latin America since before 1959.

  26. Omar, you compare 2000 names who supposedly joined the “dissidents” with the population of Cuba. OK, numbers are one thing, but the quality of these people is another.

    The first thing a dissident wants from his Northern Sponsors is money. For the US Cuba is cheap game, because of the dollar exchange rates. American Agent in Cuba is much cheaper then in Venezuela or in Bolivia. So far so good.

    But as soon as they get have enjoyed the first 6 – 12 months of luxury life with servants and drivers they, well most of them, start thinking about tomorrow. The Americanos say “No problem, you can always come to US” but this is not quite what the dissident want. They have seen the poverty line of cuban immigrants and start demanding nice jobs in the US, medical insurance and scholarships for their children as a payment for the anti-Castro rhetoric.

    This is where the problem starts. They are useless in the US. The Americano comes and tells them “Look, you have a sweet life in Cuba and also a safe one because the Castro government won’t put you in jail for more then 48 hours and you know it”. But the dissident is not stupid and says “Who will guarantee me that Cuban government won’t change to a tough one some day?”. So they start demanding some sort of a written promise for a good US job in the future. Something the Americonos won’t give them. This is why some dissidents turn back to work for MININT and some other go to the US and don’t come back.

    The 2000 number you have quoted is not likely to grow in the future.

  27. Great posts, Hank and John Bibb.

    Incredible to think that there are people in democracies who prefer to lap up every lie these ministries of propaganda put out, rather than read a free press critically and engage in independent thinking.

    Goebbels said the bigger the lie the better. Einstein said human stupidity is infinite.

    Castro’s supporters prove they were right.

  28. Thanks, Neutral Observer.

    Your points are well taken.

    The posts we see here, over and over again, by pro-dictatorship propagandists are dense thickets of nonsense.

    First there is the Mario theory that socialist perfection is about 100 years away—give or take a couple of years, plus or minus. No one can really be sure. This isn’t an exact science, so we need to cut them some slack. If you’re a true believer, then tow the line and suffer now so your great, great, great, great, great grandchildren will benefit.

    Then there is the outright anti-US position we see from the likes of Omar. According to Omar…Well, I’m not sure how to sum it up except to say that the US is very, very bad.

    These are tiresome, worn-out positions.

    I bought a newly published book today by a man who escaped from North Korea. The title of the book is “Dear Leader” and the author is Jang Jin-Sung. It is an amazing read so far.

    Apparently, North Korea has a ministry of propaganda in the center of Pyongyang called the United Front Department. A select few North Korean writers who work there are given complete access to foreign publications and press for a very specific purpose.

    Their task is to immerse themselves in that style of writing and then produce the same sort of writing, but with a pro-North Korean slant so it can be published outside of North Korea. The goal seems to be publication of pro-North Korean propaganda written to sound like it is not coming from North Korea. Pretty simple idea.

    It reminds me a lot of the pro-castro dictatorship nonsense we see here constantly.

  29. So…there are about 2000 Cubans who have join the new coalition call the Cuban Patriotic Union. I wonder how long before there is a government reaction to this new group. Still though Cuba is a country of 12 Million people and only 2000 are willing to openly oppose the Cuban government. There are people that believe that you need at least 10,000 people to foment a population into disobedience to disrupt a civil government. In the past, the U.S. government has tried to foment rebellions abroad by promising financial or military support, or offering tactical advice to local malcontents. In 1956, an American colonel speaking on Radio Free Europe assured Hungarians that the U.S. military would support a rebellion, and a subsequent program offered tips on anti-tank tactics. The CIA-initiated Radio Swan, which broadcast from an island near Cuba beginning in 1960, mixed anti-Castro speeches, exhortations to defect from the military, and pop music. The station also broadcast coded messages to fighters in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.
    The USAID is just one of a long line of covert operations that failed to bring democracy to Cuba. Two months after the 12 Latin Americans were sent to the communist country, USAID secretly created ZunZuneo, the so-called “Cuban Twitter,” which was named after the Cuban expression for a hummingbird’s sound. Front companies were used to hide who was behind the social media network. While the site initially started with innocuous content, such as soccer news, music and weather, the plan was for the site to eventually become a hub to instigate uprisings against the Cuban government. It never got that far. It ended in 2012 due to low funds. USAID has also denied ZunZuneo was a covert operation.

    Secret U.S. involvement in Cuba goes back decades. Here are a few other failed attempts at inciting a Cuban revolution:

    Bay of Pigs Invasion

    The Bay of Pigs Invasion was a fiasco and a black eye on the presidency of John F. Kennedy. Launched from Guatemala by a CIA-sponsored Cuban paramilitary group known as Brigade 2506, the failed invasion took only three days for Cuban forces to repel. The invasion spurred the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the United States and Soviet Union, a staunch ally of Cuba, were on the brink of nuclear war.

    Operation Mongoose

    Also known as the Cuban Project, Operation Mongoose was the name of a series of covert CIA operations aimed at ousting Cuban President Fidel Castro eight months after the Bay of Pigs Invasion. It included a plot to poison the Cuban leader with a hypodermic needle. Operation Mongoose plotters wanted the operation to end with a revolution by 1962. It never came, and Operation Mongoose was canceled in 1963 after Kennedy was assassinated.

    Is it different now than before???….not much….the problem with fomenting a revolution in Cuba today is the same problem that have existed in the past….the Cuban people have not forgotten the corruption, the death squads, the exploitation that existed in Cuba prior to the Cuban revolution. Cubans do not like being house n&&gers in the U.S. Plantation. Capitalism is not a sustainable system and the World needs to abandon it. Why bring the past back again when it wasn’t very good to begin with. Compounding the problem is the regime change law in the U.S. who by de facto makes Cuban dissidents mercenaries of the Empire (whether it is so or not is irrelevant, the perception is what matters to the general population.) The charter of the new organization needs to leave room for the leftists in Cuba to obtain bipartisanship support for the group. If bipartisan support is obtained, the one party system will use its might to crush the group. If there is a military intervention from the outside, Cubans are back to being house n&&gers and guerrillas once again. The best scenario is for the one party system to polarize after the old revolutionaries are gone. Then the Patriotic Union forms a coalition with one of the factions and a multi-party system can be the result. The smaller the role played by the U.S. the greater the probabilities for a successful transition to a multiparty system in Cuba.


    The U.S. government has long touted the necessity to spread democracy around the world. However, it has proven time after time that it does not seek to spread democracy around the world but rather its hegemony. We know this is true because our government has supported despotic rulers who supported U.S. interest while being complicit in the ousting of democratically elected presidents who chose to put the interest of their citizenry before that of the U.S. And in Venezuela the hypocrisy is once again evident because the U.S. seeks to oust a democratically elected president to reinstate the opposition that was guilty of the very same things it accuses the Maduro government of perpetuating:
    It is ironic that many of those opposing the Venezuelan government in the name of democracy, equality, and security were once supporters of autocratic and openly corrupt governments before the Chavez era. Memory loss or outright hypocrisy is at play. When the same oligarch’s that form and finance the Venezuelan opposition that is supporting and instigating the current anti-government protests were in charge of Venezuela, corruption was widespread, poverty rates were much higher, inequality was greater, and there was much higher inflation. Nor was Venezuela even a functioning democracy

    Saturday, August 16 – 9:00pm in EDT
    Cuban Soul / La Madriguera – 7416 SW 42nd St, Miami, Florida 33155
    AL2 y Silvito El Libre en Concierto Agosto 16 – 9pm.
    Saturday, August 16th – Cuban Hip Hop Concert – AL2 “El Aldeano” and Silvito El Libre ( Silvio Liam Rodriguez Varona) plus our very special invited guests from Cuba. The concert and conference are free of charge.
    Cuban Hip Hop DJ and Mc Workshop and Conference 7pm:
    Hosted by special invited guests from Cuba, Lyda Cao.
    This is a Cuban SoulFoundation event, hosted at La-Madriguera De-Miami located on 7416 SW 42nd St. Miami. Fl 33155.
    Info? 786-402-1064 or email
    This event is held during the Bird Road Art Walk hosted by the Bird Road Art District

  32. CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE: Cuba: religious freedom violations continue to rise, Baptist leader goes into exile – 07/08/2014

    Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has today released a new report on religious freedom in Cuba, which shows that the number of documented violations of religious freedom almost doubled in the first half of 2014 compared to 2013.

    From the beginning of 2014 to mid-July, CSW recorded 170 separate religious freedom violations, many of which involved dozens of victims. This followed the record of 180 documented cases in 2013, compared with 120 in 2012 and 40 in 2011. According to the report, which covers January 2013 through July 2014, religious groups across the spectrum of denominations all reported varying degrees of hostility from the government, while only a few reported any notable improvement.

    CSW’s investigation showed that government agents continued to employ more brutal and public tactics than witnessed in previous years. Week after week, scores of women affiliated to the Ladies in White were physically and violently dragged away from Sunday morning church services by state security agents. Most were arbitrarily detained until after the conclusion of religious services. There were also increased reports of threats of forced closure, confiscation and demolition of church buildings, including historic, registered churches. Some of these threats were carried out. One of the most serious cases involved the destruction of a large church and pastoral home in Santiago de Cuba on 2 July 2014. Some religious leaders reported being temporarily detained and imprisoned multiple times over the course of the past year.

    The report details the regular, severe and sustained harassment of Protestant pastors and lay workers in different parts of the country, as well as sporadic reports of violent beatings. This situation prompted Reverend Homero Carbonell, who for more than 50 years has been a leader in the Western Baptist Convention, a denomination recognised by the government, to accept asylum in the US on 31 July. In 2010, Reverend Carbonell published an open letter denouncing a sustained campaign of harassment against the Trinidad First Baptist Church in the city of Santa Clara. In the letter he announced his resignation as pastor and expressed hopes that his retirement would result a cessation of government persecution of the church. Despite his retirement, however, the Cuban government maintained pressure on the church, freezing its bank accounts, and continue to target Reverend Carbonell and his family.


  33. Pingback: Reports from Cuba: Reporting is the least of it | Babalú Blog

  34. ***
    HI MARIO–“Cubans vote to elect the Communist Party to run the country”!!! Or else! How many other candidates or political parties are on the ballot? Who counts the votes? Where is the bloody wall? Get out of here, Clown! Cubans vote with their feet!
    A few more George Orwell 1984 style “Newspeak” words–for your communist dictionary:
    Censorship=”Free Speech!”
    Gulags=”Reeducation Schools!”
    Murders=”Unfortunate Accidents!”
    Dictatorship=”Cuban Democracy!”
    Abuse=”Citizen’s Rights!”
    HOLA MARIO, “Los Cubanos votan elegir el partido communista a manejar el pais”!!! Si no! Cuantos otros candidatos o partidos politicos estan en el votacion? Quien cuenta los votos? Donde esta la pared sangrienta? Vayase, Payoso! Los Cubanos votan con sus pies!
    Unas pocas palabras mas en el estilo del “Newspeak” de 1984 de George Orwell–por su diccionario communista:
    Censura=”Habla Libre!”
    Gulags=”Escuelas De Reeducacion!”
    Matanzas=”Accidentes Desventurados”
    Dictadura=Democracia Cubana!”
    Abuse=”Derechos Ciudanos!”
    John Bibb

  35. A journalist was censored because in the report to be published abroad he called cuban government “communist”.

    And rightly so! Good job, compañeros.

    This is how imperialist propaganda works: they declare all communism bad. Anywhere, not just Cuba. And then they call Cuba communist. Did they say directly the cuban govermment is bad? No. Did they say this indirectly? Yes.

    True, Cubans elect the Communist Party to run the country. But the average western reader does not know, nor western journalists bother to explain, that communism in Cuba (as anywhere else) is a goal for the next generations to reach. In 100 years perhaps. Or more.There has never yet been a communist government on our planet.

  36. Thanks Hank,

    I agree, reporting on the dissidents is disgusting.

    I read the CNN fluff piece. Nice to think that a Cuban family managed to put away a few dollars even during the “special period”

    Most Cubans I know didn’t put away any dollars during the “Special Period”. They saw their families starve during a famine created by the mad Fidel Castro.

    Saying “Famine” would offend Castro. So would mentioning the fact that Castro prevented farmers from bringing their food into Havana. So would mentioning the fact that Castro refused food aid from the USA.

    Special Period sounds a lot better. Just a bit of financial difficulty for the 10 dollar a month Cubans who still managed to put away a few dollars for their kid’s college fund.

  37. For me, one of the most revolting examples of press malfeasance in Cuba is the reporting we endured while Orlando Zapata Tamayo was dying in prison at the hands of the castro dictatorship.

    Orlando died on February 23, 2010. He was a political prisoner unjustly imprisoned by the regime. He protested his imprisonment and the arbitrary tacking-on of years to his sentence by going on a hunger strike. In the end, after 80 days and finally being denied water, his kidneys failed, and he died. He was 43 years old when they killed him.

    At the time, people who knew about his mistreatment by the castro regime wanted world attention to be focused on his plight. The only way that could have happened was via press coverage by the so-called reporters stationed in Cuba. That did not happen.

    Instead, what the world saw, at least via CNN, was a fluff piece by Shasta Darlington on February 9, 2010 which is linked below. Shasta reported on sweet 15 parties for girls in Cuba.

    This is just one example of how the press has failed miserably in covering the atrocities occurring, right now, in Cuba.

  38. So anyone taking bets on whether the Russian’s invade Ukraine. They have 40,000 troops near the border. The 2nd and 4th tank division is part of them. Ukrainians have setup offices in Russia to recruit volunteers from Russia to join the fight in Ukraine. Is a poker game now. The Ukrainian army has surrounded the two cities held by the rebels. Here is one possible scenario:

    1. Ukraine begins the assault on the two cities, the rebels send on S.O.S. to the Russians in it they claim that the Ukrainian are engaging in a war without quarters and are engaged in genocide. Russia claims is a violation of the Geneva Convention and have the right to protect Russian Citizens. The Russians tanks move in and in two weeks Ukraine proposes a halt to hostilities. Russia by now has liberated the two cities and the people overwhelmingly support annexation to Russia.
    The West makes condemnations, sanctions, but, the truth is that Ukraine is not worth a nuclear exchange with Russia.

  39. BLOOMBERG OPINION: The Case for Sanctioning Venezuela – By The Editors

    Venezuela’s leaders seem determined to exemplify Adam Smith’s dictum that there is “a great deal of ruin in a nation.” Blessed with unrivaled reserves of oil, they have inflicted on their country one of the world’s highest inflation rates, absurd shortages of basic goods, a homicide rate that would make gangland Chicago blush, dwindling industry and an accelerating brain drain.

    Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador have worked with the Vatican to get the Venezuelan government and its opponents talking. Unfortunately, that process has foundered. Instead of freeing political prisoners or disarming vigilantes, Maduro has concocted ever-more-outlandish reasons to detain his “enemies.” Venezuela’s judiciary, as Human Rights Watch notes, “has largely ceased to function as an independent branch of government.” Its media outlets labor under restrictions not just on news, but also on newsprint and other supplies.

    Many of Venezuela’s new elite, for instance, have significant U.S. assets and rely on the U.S. financial system. The U.S. Congress is considering sanctions bills that would target Venezuelans responsible for human-rights abuses. In an attempt to forestall legislated penalties, President Barack Obama’s administration has imposed travel and visa restrictions on some two dozen Venezuelan officials responsible for human rights abuses. The U.S. needs to go further by targeting assets — and disseminating objective data about Venezuela’s parlous economy and those who benefit from it. Against Syria, the U.S. has built the case for sanctioning individuals who have participated in kleptocracy and corruption. Why not take the same approach toward Venezuela?

    The Obama administration has resisted going down the sanctions road for fear of giving Bolivarians a rallying cry and stirring memories of Yanqui oppression. News flash: It will take many generations for those memories to pass. Venezuela’s embattled democrats don’t have that much time to wait.


  40. I recently watch a documentary of the Nixon tapes. In it Nixon ordered his staff to go after the reporters of the Washington Post and New York Times for carrying the Pentagon papers. He order his staff to hit them with taxes accusations. Cuba is not doing nothing different then any other country of the World does. Every government in the World has staffers that monitor the news for damaging information to the Administration. Fox News is notoriously pro-Right Wingers (Republicans). Batista’s government was worse then Castro. He bribed Newspapers and cause reporters to loose their job. There were reporters that lost their life in Cuba prior to the Revolution for carrying stories that fomented people to learn the truth about government. Dealing with implied or by law censorship is natural to the news media for centuries.

    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.

    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.

    Click to access amr250052010en.pdf

  42. Yoani,

    These news agencies are businesses. They give “ethics” some lip service, but their business depends on totalitarian dictatorships as well as democracies. Most reporting about the Israel-Palestine conflict in Canada is basically written by Hamas, Hezbollah, and the PLO.

    Every reporter knows who the executioner is. Few reporters have the guts to just report what they know to be true. Those that do have to get it by their editors.

    Worse than the opportunists are the various fanatics and paid agents who infiltrate these agencies by the hundreds. As pointed out already, the AP “reporter” who recently “exposed” all these USAID “conspiracies” was a close associate of a convicted Cuban spy (hint, hint).

    But what you wrote in this article needs to be repeated again and again.

    Someone in Cuba needs to stand up to Castro’s propaganda corps, including those who work for the BBC, Reuters and AP.

    I think this was one of your most courageous posts.

  43. This is one of Yoani’s best posts.

    It needed to be said.

    Every news agency out of Cuba, from BBC to AP, packs its stories with pro-Castro and anti-American propaganda.

    The “reporters” do get instructions on what to write, right down to the very words they use, just like Yoani describes. They get called in by the thought police and scolded and they rewrite to please Castro.

    The great irony is that Castro’s worshipers always accuse these reporters of having an anti-Castro bias because they never lie enough to their satisfaction. They want every AP post to read like it’s out of Granma.

    The foreign reader who knows nothing about politics and dictatorships reads about “free universal education” and “free quality health care” and “low infant mortality” and “US embargo” so often, they think it has to be true.

    “Vme Entrevista: Yoani Sanchez” Airs One-on-One Interview with Cuban Blogger

    MIAMI, Aug. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Vme TV, the first and only Spanish-language public television network in the United States, introduces audiences to the controversial Cuban blogger, Yoani Sanchez, with an exclusive interview discussing issues, hardships and the future of digital communications in her native island. “Vme Entrevista: Yoani Sanchez,” airs on Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. E/P.

    During her visit to the Hispanicize 2014 conference in Miami, Florida, Alonso Castillo had the opportunity to interview Yoani Sanchez, who talked about her role as the digital and social voice of Cuba – a country that, for over 50 years, has suffered from oppression through censorship of media and lack of freedom of the press. She comments on the country’s long-standing dictatorship along with her experiences and her point of view regarding whether social media will ever evolve in the struggling country and what its role may be in the future.

    Sanchez has achieved international fame and received multiple awards for her critical portrayal of day-to-day life in a communist country like Cuba. Her writings have been published by renowned media sources such as the Huffington Post, which have applauded her for her dedication to opening communication channels, despite the technological obstacles and governmental threats that prevent the freedom of speech of the Cuban people.

    “Vme Entrevista: Yoani Sanchez” forms part of a yearlong series of interviews with influential leaders who are doing their part to make the world a better place. Other notable personalities featured previously in the series include award-winning actress, Rita Moreno and former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Lech Walesa.

    Available in 43 markets and reaching more than 70 million households in the United States, Vme TV is available through Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network and AT&T U-verse among other local cable companies. To find your local channel or to learn more about Vme TV, visit or follow us on social media


    Vme TV (pronounced veh-meh), is the first national Spanish-language television network in association with public television stations. Reaching more than 70 million households in the United States, Vme TV is broadcast in 43 markets by PBS stations and is available on DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, as well as major cable companies including Comcast. The 24-hour digital broadcast service is dedicated to entertain, educate and inspire families in Spanish with a contemporary mix of original productions, exclusive premieres, acquisitions, and popular public television programs specially adapted for Hispanics. To find your local channel or to learn more about Vme TV, visit

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