Welcome Hollande, Goodbye Hollande

François Hollande and Raul Castro, at their meeting at the Palace of the Revolution. (EFE)

François Hollande and Raul Castro, at their meeting at the Palace of the Revolution. (EFE)

Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 12 May 2015 — The official reception at the airport, the photo shaking hands with the host, the wreath laid at the statue of José Martí and the expected lecture at the University of Havana. How many foreign politicians have followed this script in recent months? So many that we have lost count.

A true shower of presidents, foreign ministers and deputies has intensified over Cuba without daily life feeling any kind of relief from such illustrious presences. To this parade of world leaders has been added, this week, the French president François Hollande, who assured us that his country wants to “strengthen ties with Cuba” so that both nations, “assume greater international leadership.

During his stay, the politician met with Raul Castro, visited Fidel Castro in his home, and awarded the Legion of Honor to Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino. The agenda did not include, however, any meeting with dissidents and activists. His vision of the Cuban stage could not be completed with a critical eye on the Government’s relationship with its own people. As the presidential plane lifted off, the official version of events barely registered on the retinas and ears of the French.

In a lecture at the University of Havana’s Great Hall, Hollande said that “to come to Cuba is to come to a country that represents for Latin America a form of expression, of vindication of dignity and independence.” Although he didn’t say it, the French president knows that he is in a nation with prisoners of conscience, without political parties, where opponents are threatened and repressed. A land without union rights, with an illegal independent press, and a military power that is handed down in the family.

On this visit we needed reaffirmation that the France of the Rights of Man still believes in the unshakeable values that recognize the rights of individuals to disagree, to express their differences without fear and to organize around them. We demanded some words of support, words that would confirm for us that the government of the European country is willing to support, in Cuba, the desires for freedom that have so marked and modeled its own national history.

In the minds of many, the first French president on Cuban soil will be remembered for his complacent posture toward the authorities

A man who has declared that French and Cubans have “shared the same movement of ideas, the same aspirations, the same philosophical inspiration, cannot believe that he has visited a country where citizens have chosen by their own free will to subordinate themselves to a totalitarian power. Does Hollande think that we have tacitly chosen the cage? Does he suppose, perhaps, that we are comfortable in our chains?

On the positive side of this visit, we will be left with the opening of the new Alliance Francaise headquarters, and a wider collaboration in tourism, education and health. However, in the minds of many, the first French president on Cuban soil will be remembered for his complacent posture toward the authorities. Hard to remember, after all these years, a trip with a script so very played-out.

Hollande was accompanied by a business delegation made up of companies such as Pernod Ricard, the hotel chain Accor, Air France, the distribution group Carrefour, the telecommunications company Orange, and several banks. Closing deals in the energy and tourist sectors was ultimately the most substantial share of their presence in Cuba, although the meeting with Fidel Castro has dominated the headlines.

Time will pass and our country will progress to a new political situation. We will hear some historians say that the influence exercised by the French president was decisive on this path to change. But that will be later, when the historians rewrite the past and adorn it at their convenience. For now, it is difficult to know how this insipid visit could influence our future.

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28 thoughts on “Welcome Hollande, Goodbye Hollande

  1. YOUTUBE: Pussy Riot SITE press conference when they talk to Cuban artist Tania Bruguera

  2. BROADWAY WORLD: Pussy Riot, The Voice Project and SITE Santa Fe Call Detained Artist Tania Bruguera

    Maria (Masha) Alekhina and Nadezhda (Nadya) Tolokonnikova, founding members of Pussy Riot, along with Hunter Heaney, Director of the Voice Project, made a surprise call to Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera who was arrested late 2014 in Havana. The phone meeting was held during the press conference following an event on May 7, 2015, hosted by SITE Santa Fe and Santa Fe University of Art & Design in New Mexico. Produced by SITE Santa Fe, a video of portions of this call can be watched HERE.

    Founding members of the Moscow-based activist collective Pussy Riot, Masha Alekhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova, along with Hunter Heaney, Director of the Voice Project, reached out to Bruguera recently, and discussed her legal defense situation, the political climate in Havana, and the rights of artists-and the public-to freedom of expression. Showing solidarity with Bruguera’s cause, the group compared prison circumstances, human rights issues, and the legal systems in Cuba and Russia to find remarkable similarities. This occasion was the first time that Masha and Nadya have spoken to Bruguera and they plan to work together to bring greater awareness of the topics at hand.

    Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera was arrested outside her home on December 30th 2014, on her way to Havana’s Revolution Square, where she was to set up a microphone for Cubans to make their voices heard, one minute at a time. The purpose of the work, she said, was “to tell people in the street ‘come and share with us your doubts, your happiness – whatever you think right now about what is happening in Cuba, and what is the idea of Cuba that you want?'” This event occurred just after the December 17, 2014 announcements that the US and Cuba were planning to “normalize” diplomatic relations after fifty years of embargoes.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwmusic/article/Pussy-Riot-The-Voice-Project-and-SITE-Santa-Fe-Call-Detained-Artist-Tania-Bruguera-20150515

  3. THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY RUN A TYPICAL FASCIST STATE IN CUBA, ALWAYS TRYING TO CONTROL ITS POPULATION!

    THE DAILY BEAST: Cuba’s 12 Most Absurd Prohibitions That Tourists May Never Notice – It’s getting easier to go to Cuba, but not necessarily to live there. Sometimes it’s the little things that make you crazy. But, then, there are big things, too. – by Yusnaby Perez

    HAVANA — Here’s a list of the 12 most absurd prohibitions and limitations that we Cubans have to endure in our homeland. It is worth highlighting that the socialist Government of Cuba applies some of them exclusively to Cuban citizens, while foreign residents and tourists do not suffer from the bans. A curious double standard, no? And worth remembering if you are planning a visit and discover your new Cuban friends can’t joint you in the fun.

    1-Cubans can’t access the Internet from their homes or on their cell phones. ETECSA is the Cuban state-owned telecommunications monopoly. According to its policy, Internet access in private homes is not a service provided to Cuban citizens. It is exclusively provided to state-owned and foreign businesses, and to foreigners residing in the country, as its website makes clear.

    2-No sailing on tourist boats. There is not an actual law that forbids Cubans getting on boats and ships, but authorities have applied this restriction for many years. According to Cubatur (a state travel agent) “Cubans—no matter where they live—may not be sold a tourist package that includes a catamaran or a yacht. This enjoyment is exclusive to foreign tourists.”

    3-No cable TV. The socialist firm Telecable is the only one that provides cable TV. This service is exclusive to the tourist infrastructure (mainly hotels), diplomats, foreign companies and foreigners residing in Cuba. Telecable offers a selection of international channels such as CNN, Discovery, HBO, ESPN…

    The Cuban population, for no other reason than being Cuban, cannot access this service and can only consume national state-owned TV channels and Telesur (a socialist Latin American channel).

    4-Can’t live in Havana (without a permit). Can someone from L.A. live in Washington D.C.? The answer is obvious. But in Cuba, can someone from Bayamo live in Havana? The answer is NO, unless he or she has a permit. The Decree-Law 217-1997 on “Internal migrations regarding the city of Havana” dictates that people from other provinces may not live in the capital without a “transitory” document; that is, an authorization issued by the Ministry of the Interior. This violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.” Not here.

    5- No public demonstrations allowed. The Constitution of Cuba (1976) recognizes the right to demonstrate under certain regulations while the Penal Code, in its article 209, warns that “he who participates in meetings or demonstrations celebrated without respecting the dispositions that regulate this right, is committing a felony against public order.” But in the 39 years that have gone by since 1976, no law has been adopted to regulate the right to demonstrate in Cuba. It’s a Catch-22. Not to belabor the point, “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association,” according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/15/cuba-s-12-most-absurd-prohibitions-that-tourists-may-never-notice.html

  4. The reason Cuba is an economic basket case is because economic ignoramuses and crackpots took power in 1959.

    Crackpots who believe in the existence of “dollar supremacy” and “financial blockades”

    There is no “dollar supremacy”, only the supremacy of US capitalism over Cuba’s Marxist Feudalism.

    A US dollar is just a token of exchange, just like a seashell or a Cuban peso or Venezuelan bolivar.

    It’s popularity just reflects popular confidence in the US economy.

    When people have the same confidence in the Cuban and Venezuelan economies, instead of trying to escape them in the millions, the values of their currencies will go up.

    No mystical mix of currencies can save a Marxist Crackpot Economy.

    Neither Brazil, Russia, India or China believe in Socialism, and neither does Castro anymore.

    That’s why French investors are visiting and nothing more. Castro’s rapprochement with the USA signals international investors that the Marxist economic insanity is coming to an end.

  5. There was one tiny positive side of the US financial blockade of Cuba: it was a warning light to other nations what might happen if the world won’t brake the supremacy of the US dollar.

    Cuban experience was certainly considered when BRICS was created.
    Hollande’s visit might be a nice-to-have, but Brazil, Russia and China are by far more important then France.

  6. CUBA’S STATISTICS AND RANKING IN THE WORLD. CUBA’S HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX IS RANKED VERY HIGH IN THE WORLD. INEQUALITY IS RANKED AS MEDIUM AT GINI INDEX OF .38/.42 (US IS AROUND .46/.48 )
    Population
    – 2013 census 11,210,064[6]
    – Density 102/km2 (106th) 264.0/sq mi

    GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
    – Total $212 billion[7] (58th)
    – Per capita $18,796[8] (60th)

    GDP (nominal) 2013 estimate
    – Total $78.694 billion[9] (64th)
    – Per capita $6,985[10] (86th)

    Gini (2000) 38.0
    medium

    HDI (2013) Steady 0.815
    very high · 44th

  7. FRANCE’S FOREIGN POLICY: CUBA IS A FOOTNOTE. IMPORTANT CONFERENCE IN MIAMI, FLORIDA BY THE FRENCH…I WONDER IF CUBA IS GOING TO SEND REPRESENTATIVES TO THAT CONFERENCE???
    Economic diplomacy: a policy priority to support France’s economic recovery

    “The Quai d’Orsay should also be, through all its tasks, the home of businesses”. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs on 9 April 2013, during the closure of the “Rencontres Quai d’Orsay – Entreprises” scheme.

    Economic recovery is the Government’s priority. It requires a rebalancing of the current account, and thus results on markets abroad. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the second largest diplomatic network world wide. It can and must contribute. Economic diplomacy represents this contribution to the country’s collective effort and is thus an essential priority for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    French economic diplomacy, which is also ecological, aims to achieve three main complementary goals:
    support our companies on foreign markets;
    attract foreign investment to our country to create jobs;
    better adapt the European and international regulatory framework to our defensive and offensive economic interests.The promotion of France’s economic interests is traditionally one of the roles of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But economic diplomacy has not always managed to adapt its goals, resources and organization to make the economic issue a policy priority. It has thus had to adapt its organization to exacerbated international competition in a context of globalization where the level of international exposure has greatly increased. Amongst its diplomatic and consular staff, it has also developed the “economic reflex”.

    Given the importance and urgency of restoring our economy, and in particular our current account balance, an action plan dedicated to economic diplomacy is being implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in liaison with the other competent administrations.

    This action plan for economic diplomacy was presented during the Conference of Ambassadors on 27 August 2012, where it was the key theme. The Minister of Foreign Affairs made public the progress of this action plan during an open day dedicated to businesses, the “Rencontres Quai d’Orsay – Entreprises”, on 9 April 2013. This was the largest event ever organized by the Ministry for businesses (700 participants).

    The action plan for economic diplomacy has ten focuses and as many concrete examples, translating the three aforementioned goals:

    Focus 1: the Business and the Global Economy Directorate

    This new Directorate was established on 1 March 2013.

    Seven special representatives contribute to boosting the dynamism of economic relations with key countries: Algeria, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

    Regional ambassadors are appointed to promote contacts between regions and their businesses on the one hand and the diplomatic network on the other.

    Focus 2: increased mobilization of the network abroad

    Embassy action plans must now include an increased economic aspect, specifying their goals in this field. Thirty target countries have been identified to begin with.

    Economic councils are established in embassies, which bring together government departments and businesses.

    International volunteers in administration will increase the effort made by chambers of commerce in ten key countries.

    A new strategy is being drawn up for European and international organization tendering.

    Focus 3: ministerial visits with an economic dimension

    The Minister visited Colombia, Panama and Peru in February 2013 for example, as well as Central Asia in March the same year.

    Focus 4: promotion of French innovation

    The ties between competitiveness clusters and the network are strengthened to support their outreach on foreign markets. Ten international technical experts will be appointed within foreign “clusters” to relay the efforts made by their French counterparts.

    Beyond scientific watch, the network will step up its efforts to make innovative projects by French companies better known worldwide.

    Focus 5: attracting foreign investment to France

    Embassies participate in efforts for prospection and promotion of foreign investment in France.

    Focus 6: mobilizing soft power tools

    Grants for foreign students trained in France are targeted towards high-potential countries, taking into account the disciplines which correspond to French economic interests.

    The cultural network contributes to developing the “French brand”.

    Focus 7: visas

    Visa policy is also perceived as a lever for attractiveness.

    Instructions are given to promote and simplify procedures to obtain short-stay visas for certain stakeholders of bilateral relations, including businesspeople and potential investors, foreign students and tourists.

    Partnerships with businesses, chambers of commerce and universities are forged in order to simplify the procedures concerning them.

    Focus 8: support for expatriation

    The creation of a “Grand Voyageur” passport aims to simplify administrative procedures for businesspeople.

    It comes with the negotiation of additional international conventions to facilitate expatriation.

    In Parallel, the Maison des français à l’étranger (Centre for French Nationals Abroad) provides French nationals with a public service to support expatriation and reintegration in France.

    Focus 9: better communication with businesses

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs received businesses during an open day, the “Rencontres Quai d’Orsay – Entreprises” on 9 April 2013, the largest event ever organized by the Quai d’Orsay for businesses (700 participants).

    Focus 10: Ministry staff

    Training modules on economic and trade issues are being stepped up.

    Candidates with economic profiles are sought after, particularly from backgrounds of academic economics and business schools.

    The presence of diplomats in businesses will be encouraged and developed.

  8. “France has consistently opposed the U.S. embargo,” said Fabius, adding that “during my visit, we both wished to reinforce the relations between our two countries.”

    Moreover, Mogherini said the two sides are negotiating a political dialogue and cooperation agreement with the first meeting scheduled for June.

    Hollande’s visit can also be considered as France’s attempt to lead the normalization of the relations between the EU and Cuba, which sends an important and positive signal to the negotiators of the EU.

  9. If the Castro aren’t so much liked in France, why, then, did Hollande pay a visit to Raul and Fidel Castro in Havana?

    Embarrassed by unfavorable opinion polls at home, Hollande may have chosen foreign and trade policies as the cornerstone of his political comeback in view of the 2017 presidential elections. After the sale of dozens of advanced jet fighters Rafale “Made in France” that just a few people still hoped it could be exported someday, Hollande has included Cuba as one among many destinations abroad for the French products and services within the framework of his foreign minister Laurent Fabius’ “reflex” for economic diplomacy. Summing up, there’s no doubt there are opportunities for French companies in Cuba, however if one takes into account the future and fierce foreign competition especially from the USA and the somehow “beginner” status of the bilateral ties between France and Cuba, aside from tourism, the business figures shouldn’t impress before long. Lately Hollande’s economic diplomacy accelerated significantly and despite the uncertainty of the political benefits at home, it did find real success abroad so far.

  10. According to his ex-lover, M. Hollande despises the poor. How fitting then that he should feel at home in a country that barely functions and where the rulers keep their people in deep poverty!

  11. INTERESTING DATA SITE!! DONT YOU THINK Loulou F de V ?? NAH! SHE IS AVOIDING ME!

    NUMBEO COST OF LIVING IN CUBA: Numbeo is the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide. Numbeo provides current and timely information on world living conditions including cost of living, housing indicators, health care, traffic, crime and pollution. – 1,744,983 prices in 5,229 cities entered by 221,114 users (information updated 2015-05-14)
    DATA FOR THE FOLLOWING:
    RestaurantsMarketsTransportationUtilities (Monthly)
    Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment $5.95Sports And LeisureSalaries And FinancingAverage
    Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax) $24.11
    These data are based on 412 entries in the past 18 months from 44 different contributors. CLICK LINK FOR MORE INFORMATIONhttp://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Cuba

  12. I think all Socialists like Hollande who think Cuba represents “dignity” go to Cuba for a few months and live on 15 dollars a month.

    Refuse all the perks Castro will try to force down your throat as a foreigner. Pretend you are a Cuban and see if you can get medical care without bribing a doctor. See if you can get some rations to eat. See if you can find someplace to live for less than 20 dollars a month (more than your monthly salary).

    After losing your first 100 pounds, try jumping in the ocean and swimming to Miami.

    If you make it, write about your dignified experience in Cuba.

  13. fernandoleanme,

    I think the French have always lived in their own surreal universe, run by kings, emperors, pseudo-emperors, and traitorous leaders who can’t wait to sell their citizens to whatever empire seems strong at the moment, from Nazism to Islamofascism.

    They all make good speeches about brotherhood and equality, but rarely practice this in their international politics.

  14. Loulou F de V,

    I was just responding to what you wrote, don’t be so sensitive, it’s not personal. You’re writing is obsessed with bankers and capitalism corrupting Cuba so I made a few observations from long experience.

    Since you are obsessed with banks but don’t know what a bank or banker is, I will enlighten you. Banks lend money. Anyone who collects interest, like you, is a money-lender, also known as a banker.

    A banker is a guy who deposits his money in a bank (which is the same as buying part of the bank) so he can collect interest and make more money. We’re all bankers, nothing personal.

    A greedy deluded banker is a banker who goes out to demonstrate against “the banks” or writes stupid conspiracy theories about banks, all because he didn’t make enough money from his bank.

    Such greedy deluded bankers call themselves Communists, Socialists, Nazis, or whatever, and write nonsense that suggests Cuba has not been “corrupted” by banks.

    Have you been to Cuba? I assure you that Cuba has banks, and that they are all in the iron grip of Castro. Except for the foreign banks in Cuba, which are partially in his grip and have to follow his inane directives.

    In fact Castro is a multi-billionaire capitalist who has a monopoly over Cuba that no American capitalist can even imagine. That’s why morally bankrupt greedy capitalists admire him, he did away with all competition.

    As a moral person who has seen Cubans starved, beaten and killed by Castro’s Corrupt Neanderthal Man, I detest everything that this deluded dictator stands for.

  15. HMMM! SO WHERE IS PRINCES Mariela Castro ON THIS CRIME? OH YEAH! SHE IS DOING A CONGA LINE FOR GAY WEDDINGS WHICH IS THE ONLY CONGA GLBT ONE LEGAL IN CUBA!
    LATIN TIMES: Cuba LGBT Rights: Trans Woman Yosvani Muñoz Robaina Reportedly Stoned To Death As Country Prepares For Global Day Against Homophobia – By Cedar Attanasio
    Yosvani Muñoz Robaina, 24, a transsexual man, was reportedly stoned on April 26th by bigoted teens. That’s according to an article published on May 9th by 14 Y Medio, a blog run by Cuban dissident Yoani Sánchez. The article stirred a debate among readers, many of whom are Cuban expats or Latin Americans from other countries, as the region responds to an emerging LGBT rights movement. Then men who allegedly killed Robaina were “a group of young boys who had nothing better to do that hurt people that never messed with anyone,” according to Robaina’s mother, Muñoz Robaina. According to her, two minors and one adult have been detained by police in connection with the stoning, which she says killed Robaina from internal hemorrhaging.
    The only thing I ask is justice, because today it’s my child, but tomorrow it could be any member of your community, Ms. Robaina reportedly told 14 Y Medio. “We were really close, [the most] out of my three children.”

    The 14 Y Medio article does not list any other sources or confirm the arrests or names of the suspects. As with many 14 Y Medio articles, the story about Yosvani Muñoz Robaina’s alleged stoning has converted itself into miniature global virtual forum about Cuban politics.

    “Where is Mariela Castro who announces to world that the transexuals in Cuba are not discriminated against and that they can even have free operations?” said one reader, username CubanoNuevaYork.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.latintimes.com/cuba-lgbt-rights-trans-woman-yosvani-munoz-robaina-reportedly-stoned-death-country-316196

  16. I think the visit of Hollande to Cuba legitimizes Cuba’s reforms and Cuba’s Socialist Republic. I think it was important for Hollande to recognize Cuba’s long road to greater sovereignty and support for the lifting of the U.S. embargo. This represents important political capital for Cuba against the Right Wing Republicans in the U.S. who are still more interested in regime change and bringing back the past relationship of the U.S. with Cuba. French businesses in Cuba are important leverage against U.S. hegemony …

  17. WANT TO DO BUSINESS WITH THE CASTRO OLIGARCHY MAFIA? GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!!!

    FINANCIAL TIMES: Dangers in economy run by Cuba’s revolutionary in a business suit – by Paul Webster Hare

    So what awaits US companies flying to Cuba? The welcome will be lavish. They will visit revolutionary showpieces such as the Latin American School of Medicine. The mojitos and cigars will taste better. Even the home-run distance at the Havana baseball stadium is marked in feet not metres. Yet Cuba is still a foreign land for international business. Features of the revolution endure to this day; rudimentary use of the internet is only the most visible. Statistics are produced by the state and there is no independent verification. Foreign exchange reserves are never published. Military-controlled companies retain almost all the hard currency Cuba earns. State employees — estimated at more than 70 per cent of working-age Cubans — receive an average of less than $30 a month in currency worthless anywhere else. “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work” is a joke almost as old as Havana’s Cadillac Eldorados.
    Foreign investors and embassies, forbidden by law to select their own employees, pay well above state rates, producing absurd results: at the British embassy, I had a PhD in microbiology working as a nightwatchman. Education matters little when you cannot pay your bills. Apathy is prevalent: I remember the Havana fun fair manager who closed for lunch with a queue of 50 customers; and the biotech marketing managers who visited the UK but returned with no leads.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7ee531fc-f7d5-11e4-8bd5-00144feab7de.html#axzz3a3cW1kGq

  18. @Neutral Observer

    I don’t get where you think I’m pro-Castro. Or that I’m a greedy banker or anti-banker. The only person deluding themselves are those who think banking is a transparent process.

    Since you keep wanting to make this personal, I’ll let you jack off on your own.

  19. I thought I would reverse the plot and wrote a short article:

    “Cuban President Rubio visits the People´s Revolutionary French Republic”

    “The State Visit to the People´s Revolutionary French Republic by the President of the Cuban Republic, His Excellency President Marino Rubio del Rio, took place on the 11th and 12th of February. Upon arrival, the Cuban president was greeted by French Supreme Leader for Life Francois Hellbande, and hundreds of thousands of French Revolutionary Citizens, which had massed along the parade route to greet their presumed capitalist savior.

    The Cuban President was accompanied by a delegation of ministers, senior officials, and representatives from Cuban industry and commerce. During the visit 15 agreements in trade, financing, and diplomatic relations were signed – among these was a Statement of Intent between for long-term cooperation in research on the cure for the French Disease by Cuban medical experts, and a plan for Construction of Sustainable Hotels and Eyesore Elimination by Cuban multinationals on French Revolutionary provinces wishing to attract tourism. ”

    The post runs longer, but that gives you an idea. I sure hope we don’t see the French people fall in this surreal universe….

  20. Susannanell!! FORGOT TO COMPLIMENT YOU ON YOUR “BAD OLD USA/BAD OLD EVERYTHING ELSE BUT CUBA” SONG! NICE TO HEAR ANOTHER VOICE IN THAT TIRESOME CHORUS! AND PLEASE WHEN YOU GO TO LIVE IN CUBA DO IT LIKE A CUBAN WITH $20/MONTH, AND WITH ALL THAT “FREE” HEALTHCARE AND EDUCATION YOU WILL BE SET DEAR! ENJOY THE FILMS!

    YOUTUBE: DOCUMENTARY/DOCUMENTAL: “Cuba and the Elephants/Cuba y los Elefantes” – Full version w / English Sub-titles: A Look at Cuba, in reality beyond its tourist attractions. A documentary that takes us to reflect on the achievements of the socialist system and how truly the common Cuban people live. A production of the Political Institute of Peru for Liberty.

    YOUTUBE ENTIRE DOCUMENTARY: “Grandchildren of the Cuban Revolution” – The Grandchildren of the Revolution gives the youth a voice to share their feelings of hope and despair. Some speak with humor, many do it in defiance. The film tries to capture the vibe of Cubas youth today. Featuring artists like: Los Aldeanos, Porno para Ricardo, Silvito El Libre and bloggers Claudia Cadelo, Yoani Sanchez and Laritza Diversent, the film was directed by Carlos Montaner with the help of young camera men and women who visited the island throughout a span of several months. SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUB-TITLES

  21. Susannanell!! IT LOOKS LIKE François Hollande IS LOOKING FOR A PIECE OF CUBA HISTORY JUST LIKE Barak Obama AS WELL AS LOOKING GOOD WITH THE FRENCH LEFT, WHICH IS LIKE REALLY, REALLY LEFT! AND LETS NOT FORGET THAT OTHER PIECE OF PIE CALLED CUBA WHICH IS BEING SLICED OFF TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER FROM ABROAD BY THE CASTRO OLIGARCH MAFIA, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF MOST OF THE CUBANS IN THE DIASPORA AND OF COURSE THE EVERYDAY CUBAN PEOPLE WHO CANNOT BUY INTO ANY BIG BUSINESS DEAL EVEN IF THEY HAD THE MONEY SOMEHOW!

    BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: Cuba’s Foreign Investment Invitation: Insights into Internal Struggles – Richard Feinberg | November 21, 2014 Careful reading of the publication, prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment, will leave potential foreign investors with few illusions: Cuba will remain a state-driven economy dominated by large government holding companies and the authorities will dictate the direction and pace of change. Most foreign ventures will come with majority Cuban ownership.

    Yet the government is setting aside some of the juiciest tourism opportunities for itself. In the high return-low risk locations of urban Havana and Varadero beaches, investor participation “will be the exception.” The safe yields are reserved for state-owned firms, especially Gaviota (linked to the armed forces), which the document proudly remarks “is the fastest growing hotel holding company.” Gaviota will restrict its foreign partners to management contracts and will demand that the partner provide not only construction financing but also international marketing, to assure profitable occupancy rates.
    http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2014/11/21-cuba-foreign-investment-feinberg

  22. Oh dear Yoani. How sad this makes me feel. Not so much for Cuba (who hopefully, can quickly see through the superficial, insulting arrogance they seem to have displayed in their visit), but for poor, beleaguered France. They seem to have come as far down from “Egalite, Liberte, Fraternite,” as the US has come from, “Bring us your Tired, your poor, your hungry…those yearning to be free…” It’s pretty much a Global, moral corruption; possibly just the social breakdown of too dang many of us. Or maybe the chemical teratogens and mutagens we have pumped into our children for the last 40 years. Start with Fluoride. Our collective doom is cooked, world-wide, but I would sure rather spend my last 10-20 years of life and education in Cuba than the US. I’m just saying.

  23. Great post Yoani,

    Hollande represents power and money without morality, just like the Castros.

    They will get along fine, especially if their are promises for French corporations and Castro doesn’t rob and jail them, like he did to some Canadians and Englishmen.

  24. Loulou F de V

    The trouble with your “anti-bank” ideology is that you are a greedy banker, just like all “anti-bankers”

    You charge the highest interest rate possible.

    “Anti-bankers” get upset with banks when they don’t collect enough interest and demonstrate in the street against the “greedy banks” that they own.

    Nothing is stopping you from pulling your money from your banks or telling your banks you don’t want to collect interest or setting up your own interest-free non-profit loan service. Banking is the most democratic and transparent business in the world.

    Yet you’ll never stop being a banker, because “anti-bankers” are the greediest of bankers, just very deluded ones.

    That’s why capitalists who have no morality always admire dictators like Castro, he has a complete monopoly on the entire country of Cuba.

    Dictators like Castro represent unlimited greed, steal the entire capital of nations and call themselves Socialists.

  25. Not to make light of it all but better Hollande than Sarkozy. When Hollande talks about his brand of Socialism and compares France to Cuba, he’s going for a little added edge to his otherwise “Champagne Socialism” as it’s called. It’s unfortunate an ideology that started so well has ended up getting fat and paralysed. The problem is that the 21st century needs new ideas. Capitalism won’t really let that happen, because money whether you make it on the black market or not, will land you in bed with bankers. It’s inevitable. And the thing they hate most is change and unpredictability. It becomes a contest on who will clamp down on human nature to harness it. Once countries and individuals end up transacting with banks as middlemen, there goes your sovereignty. Look at the middle class in the US when the mortgage crisis hit a few years ago. People lost everything while the banks carry on today as before. It’s the “demos” in democracy that got wiped out. We need new ideologies, free thinking and a consensus among people.

  26. PANAM POST: Another Sunday, Another 89 Political Arrests in Cuba – by Sabrina Martín – May 4, 2015

    The Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported on Monday that Cuban security forces made 338 politically motivated arrests during April alone. While the figure is lower than that registered in March, April saw other forms of political repression increase, especially against dissident group Ladies in White.

    “Across April we’ve identified 101 innocent victims of other forms of political repression in Cuba, such as physical aggression, threats, acts of vandalism, and ‘shows of rejection‘ to intimidate peaceful dissidents and terrorize the population still further,” write the commission’s authors in their “Acts of Political Repression” report for April 2015.

    An show of rejection (acto de repudio) typically consists of members of government security forces masquerading as citizens and demonstrating against an opposition protest.

    Most recently, State Security forces detained 51 Ladies in White and 38 activists from other human-rights groups for over six hours in Havana on Sunday, May 3.

    Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White movement, shared with the PanAm Post that the group has spent five consecutive Sundays since April 5 holding a protest “mass.” They share images of political prisoners and spread messages in defense of human rights and against the Cuban authorities.

    Yet at every one of these peaceful demonstrations, Soler reports that the National Revolutionary Police collaborated with the Interior Ministry and groups dressed as civilians to arrest, threaten, and attack those protesting.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://panampost.com/sabrina-martin/2015/05/04/another-sunday-another-89-political-arrests-in-cuba/

  27. CHRISTIANITY TODAY: Religious freedom worsening in Cuba: ‘There is a crackdown happening’ – by Lucinda Borkett-Jones – January 26, 2015
    Violations of religious freedom are increasing in Cuba, according to a new report released by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) today.
    The number of recorded violations has risen year on year. There were 220 recorded incidences in 2014, up from 180 the previous year, 120 in 2012, and 40 in 2011.
    The incidences have also become more violent, with cases of Protestant pastors being arbitrarily detained or beaten and churches being demolished.
    But the increase in the figures is partly owed to more information being reported, despite government restrictions on information.
    “There is a crackdown happening… but that’s come simultaneously with more people speaking out and being ready to put their work and their situation on the line to make sure information gets out,” CSW’s Cuba advocate told Christian Today. “I think that then provokes a more intense crackdown, so it’s a circular cycle.
    “Everything’s monitored, so the Cuban government has complete control over telephone lines and internet connection. Any pastor or church official who tries to send information out is doing that knowing that what they are doing, the government’s going to know about and that comes with repercussions.”
    Those who have reported violations have been harassed and some have been threatened with arrest.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/religious.freedom.worsening.in.cuba.there.is.a.crackdown.happening/46769.htm

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