The Drug Trafficking Country / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Chapultepec Castle

Mexico City is one of the safest places for the families of the kingpins of the Mexican mafia. In spite of having a corrupt government, the politicians know the importance of protecting the capital. Even though drug trafficking is out at the doorstep.

Alejandro has awakened — silence does not exist — the sirens of patrol cars, ambulances or fire trucks are part of the vitality of the city. He can check his cellphone for today’s smog index in the area.

Walking towards an OXXO store his eyes water because of the pollution. Today most residents will not go out into the streets unless necessary. Some vehicles also are prohibited from circulating in order to reduce pollution.

The decision to go out into the street intimidates him a little because of the stories he has heard, the violence and disputes of the mafia in that country. In spite of the rumors,

Alejandro begins to adapt to the Mexican climate and society (very polite). The mafia stories begin to form a part of a myth (it exists), but he is confident. Another day begins, and Alejandro walking to the bread store observes a display of federal police, awaiting some supposed protest march.

The image of the police does not affect him but the tranquility of expecting to close the streets with railing close to four meters tall. They do not permit passage but nor do they refuse the right to protest or demand something. That is something called DEMOCRACY.

Translated by mlk.

14 April 2014

How Do We Make A Good Newspaper? / Yoani Sanchez

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 12.32.16 PMIn these times, when the great media of the press barely seem to survive the crisis, many are wondering, how can we make a good newspaper? The question includes not only choosing content, but also how to make it profitable and the dilemma between digital or paper formats. There are no clear formulas. Small websites become–in a short time–information reference points, while some of the news giants fall into the red and lose readers. No one knows for sure where the press of the future is headed.

We are used to technological advances and leapfrogging; Cubans will very like jump from an official press under the monopoly of a single party, to a multitude of media pushing to gain prominence. The day when non-government media is legalized, numerous publications–now underground–will be able to be read openly and even sold at the corner newsstand. Although that time is still to come, it’s worth it to begin preparing.

If I could highlight at least one indispensable feature of the press, I would choose interaction with readers. The close relationship between the writer of the information and its recipient is vital for a newspaper to meet the demands of modernity and objectivity. Right now in Havana, we are putting the final touches on a new digital media that will greatly help us to listen to your opinions. Without you, it would be only a medium talking to itself, ephemeral and inconsequential.

So back to the main question: How do we make a good newspaper? What are the topics that we should address in its pages? What sections are worth incorporating on the site? How can we involve you in developing the content? Which are the indispensable bylines we should include? What model or example should we follow? And the big question: Can we exercise quality journalism amid the current conditions in Cuba?

You can leave answers in the comments on this blog, on the Dontknow debate page, or on the CONTACT page. Thanks in advance for helping to give shape to the baby before its birth.

23 April 2014

At Repression’s Ground Zero / Lilianne Ruiz

The first time I set foot in that scary place called Villa Marista, similar to Lubyanka Prison in the now fortunately disappeared Soviet Union, it was by my own will. I accompanied Manuel Cuesta Morúa to see Investigator Yurisan Almenares, in charge of Case No. 5, 2014, against Cuesta Morúa, after he was arbitrarily arrested on 26 January of this year to keep him from participating as an organizer of the 2nd Alternative Forum to the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Forum, held in Havana.

His detention ended 4 days later with the notification of a precautionary measure that was never delivered, but that obliged him to go to a Police Station every Tuesday and sign the document, for the supposed crime of Diffusion of False News Against International Peace.

But the precautionary measure was only shown to the eyes of the person it concerned once: on 30 January when he was released. In practice, Cuesta Morua was signing an unofficial paper. Imprecision characterized the situation from the beginning. The reasons for the arrest and the case they sought to bring against him had no direct relationship, which shows that the old school mafia of the Castro regime still rules in Cuba: studying the penal code in order to destroy their adversaries, manipulating the law until the punishment proves your guilt.

In Villa Marista I wanted to see the face of someone working there inflicting pain on other human beings. Punishing them, not for violating universal law, which could not exceed the measure of punishment, but for not expressing loyalty to the Castro regime.

For some reason I connected with the mother of Pedro Luis Boitel, who I saw in a documentary titled “No One Listens.” She said that her son, having been persecuted in the Batista era, always found a door to knock on, an opportunity to save himself from death. But in the times of Fidel Castro is wasn’t like that, and Boitel died after a hunger strike, imprisoned in the cruelest and most degrading conditions, in La Cabaña Prison.

Those were the times when the International Left granted the Cuban government impunity so that it could improvise a vast record of human rights violations. And Cuban society, terrorized, also looked the other way: escaping to the United States, while “going crazy” to step foot on the land of liberty. It’s not very different today.

Villa Marista is a closed facility. It can’t be visited by an inspector from the Human Rights Council, nor from representatives of civil society organizations–dissident and persecuted–to ensure that they are not practicing any kind of torture against the prisoners and are respecting all their rights. The government has signed some protocols and declares itself against torture, but we don’t believe in the government and those who have passed through Villa Marista’s cells bear witness that they do torture them there to the point of madness in order to destroy the internal dissidence.

And if someone accuses me of not having evidence, I tell them that’s the point, that it is precisely for this that the Cuban government opens its jails to the press, not controlled by them, and to the international inspectors and Independent Civil Society, because what the Castros present is fabricated by the regime itself.

Not only the dissidents are tortured. Nor do we know if it’s only with “soft torture” which is still torture. Also there are workers who make a mistake and are accused of sabotage, without being able to demand their inalienable rights or defend themselves against such accusations.

It made me want to open doors, to be very strong and kick them all down. To find a legal resource for the Cuban people to investigate–and the right to presumption of innocence–all those who work there. Even the cooks, responsible for having served cabbage with pieces of cockroach to a friend’s relative, a simple worker, who was kept there for long unforgettable days, who was interrogated like in the inquisition to extract a false confession from him. They didn’t even let him sleep.

But I have gone only into the reception area: polished floors, plastic flowers, kitsch expression to hide the sordidness of the jailers instructed by the Interior Ministry; the misery reaching into the bones of the prisoners down those shiny floors. Villa Marista is one thing outside and another inside, as the common refrain says.

Investigator Yurisan Almenares didn’t show his face. Perhaps he wasn’t ready for the persecuted to find him. He had no answers because those guys can’t improvise. They have to consult their superiors, not the law or their own conscience.

A smiling captain took us into a little room and explained, almost embarrassed, that the Investigator wasn’t there and she would make a note of what Manuel was demanding. So I watched as she carefully traced the words he was pronouncing.

We wanted to get notification of the dismissal of the case. There was no precautionary measure; ergo there should be no case pending. This not to say that the presumed case was unsustainable without the precautionary measure. Living in Cuba it’s impossible to escape the reality of power, however absurd and Kafkaesque it may be, like kicking the locked cell doors of Villa Marista.

Remember, the crime has a name as bizarre as Diffusion of False News Against International Peace. And the supposed false news deals with the issue of racism in Cuba, where the government teaches discrimination for political reasons in the schools, and talks about the issue of racial rights, not inborn rights, but as a concession emanating from the State dictatorship; and administered so that it can later be used for revolutionary propaganda.

But racism is still here, rooted in society like a database error that manifests itself in daily phenomena that shock the whole world. Growing, along with other forms of discrimination and masked under the cynical grin of power.

Manuel Cuesta Morua knows this because he has dedicated his life to record this phenomenon in Cuba, historically and in the present. Thus, he has written about it on countless occasions and takes responsibility for every one of his words.

We went there without getting answers. My mind filled with the memory of these people I don’t know who are imprisoned there, half forgotten by the whole world, their own attorneys in a panic.

One thing we can promise Villa Marista’s gendarmes and its top leaders, wherever they hide themselves: some day we will open all those doors, and after judging, with guarantees of due process, those who oppress us, the place will become a part of the popular proverbs turning Cuba into a nation jealous of the freedom of its citizens.

Lilianne Ruiz and Manuel Cuesta Morua

22 April 2014

Cuba: The Clueless Official Press / Ivan Garcia

granma-620x330
There is an abysmal gap between daily reality and the information offered by a clueless official press.  Never in Granma, Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) Trabajadores (Workers) or any of the 15 provincial press organs was there news of the Castro regime’s flagrant arms smuggling to North Korea in violation of the United Nations’ embargo of the Pyongyang dynasty.

The boring and disoriented national press, print, radio or television, to date, has not reported about the spaces open for dialogue by the Catholic Church. Or local news that has had resonance, like the protest by self-employed workers in Holguin or the unlikely walk by a nude woman in the city of Camaguey.

They also ignore less tense or contentious matters, like the visit to Cuba by Big League ball players Ken Griffey, Jr., and Barry Larkin or by famous people like Beyonce and her husband, rapper Jay Z.

Neither does it interest them for readers or viewers to find out that Cuban artists and musicians resident abroad visit the island and give performances, as in the cases of Isaac Delgado, Descemer Bueno and Tanya, among others.

They don’t even publish an article to analyze the insane prices for car sales or internet services.

On international topics, the old trick is to show only a part of the event.  For those who only read official media and do not have access to other sources of information, those who protest in Ukraine, Venezuela or Turkey are terrorists or fascists.

In Cuba it was never published that the dictator Kim Jong Un summarily executed his uncle.  Likewise, they kept silent about the atrocities that happen in the concentration camps of North Korea.  And about the degrading treatment of women in Iran.

Newsprint is usually occupied by cultural commentary and sports in an undertone, the television schedule, optimistic news about agricultural production or the good progress of economic reforms dictated by President Raul Castro and his advisors.

Apparently, they considered it inopportune to inform Cubans about the talks between the Cuban-American sugar millionaire Alfonso Fanjul and Chancellor Bruno Rodriguez.  Nor did they think it convenient for the common people to know that Antonio Castro, the son of Fidel, plays in golf tournaments.

Or that recently entrepreneurs with bulging wallets paid 234 thousand dollars for a handmade Montecristo tobacco humidor at the 16th Havana Festival where the most well known guest was the British singer Tom Jones.

Local reporting is directed by inflexible ideologies that presume that behind the vaunted freedom of the press is hidden a “military operation by the United States’ secret services.”

And they take it seriously. As if dealing with a matter of national security. That’s why the newspapers are soldiers of reporting.  Disciplined copyists.

For the Taliban of the Communist Party, the internet and social networks are a modern way of selling capitalism from a distance. The new times have caught them without many arguments. They assert they have the truth, but the fear the citizens testing it for themselves.

Reading of certain reports should be suggested by the magnanimous State.  They think, and they believe, that naive countrymen are not prepared or sufficiently inoculated for the propagandic venom of the world’s media.

Not even Raul Castro has managed to break the stubborn censorship and habitual torpor of the official press.  For years, Castro has spoken of turning the press into something believable, entertaining and attractive. But nothing has changed.

Destined for foreign consumption, official web pages and blogs have been opened. With their own voice they try to promote the illusion of an opening. The warriors of the word are for domestic consumption.

Ivan Garcia

Photo:  Taken from the Cuadernos de Cuba blog.

Translated by mlk.

26 March 2014

Studying Medicine and Desecrating Tombs in Cuba / Juan Juan Almeida

Since 1948, when the UN decided to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, many organizations and activists of the world have hoisted that dignified flag confronting the daily violations of liberty, justice and peace that many people suffer for the simple fact of their human condition.

Unfortunately, in several corners of this jungle that we call Earth, human rights entered a dark period due to the infinite apathy of many of its residents.  Barbarity is like our daily bread, and that makes it more or less normal.

In my country, for example, the topic is always a subject of controversy and debate; but today, I will not make reference to the rights of the living; I will speak of those who no longer exist, of our forebears, who are not the monkey, the Ardipithecus or the Australopithcus; but my mother and your grandfather.

Skulls, teeth, tibias, ribs, femurs, mandibles, vertebrae, pelvises; it is all found at the cemetery gate.  The desecration of graves has gone from being a horrible act of vandalism to an almost daily event.

But, “why is the toti always saddled with the blame for everything*”; uninformed metaphorics and made up know-it-alls, instead of finding out at the time of judging, they launch the accusing roar towards the many practitioners of Afro-Cuban religions who make up our folklore and form part of our cultural heritage.

In Santeria and witchcraft there are very but very isolated rites that require a human skeleton; there also exist artisans who buy bones in order to construct objects with them that they sell for the price of gold; but the absolutely responsible party for this atrocity against our dear ones is, as always, the State.

Ad nauseum the thought is drilled into us that since 1959, the development of medicine has been the principal priority of the revolutionary government, and in fact, Cuba boasts the highest physician-inhabitant ratio in the world.  Thousands of doctors are graduated each year on the island, and I tell you, each of these students, without regard to race, color, sex, language or religion (come on, like human rights), receives a bag with a skull and parts of human skeletal remains that if insufficient to study anatomy, then they get a card that they present at Cuban cemeteries in order to exhume from among the graves without owners the remains of those who in life were relatives of the unnamed, emigrated and exiled dead.

In order to have a slight idea of the desecrated graves, we would have to compare the number of bags delivered with the gross rate of Cuban mortality which, according to the reference published by the UN and sent by Havana, was 7.6 in 2012.  The same year in which — according to the extensive editorial by the website Cubadebate — the largest of the Antilles Islands trained more than 11,000 new doctors, 5,315 Cubans and 5,694 from 59 countries.  Scary.  I do not favor statistics when I write, nevertheless the exception deserves it.

Just a day like today, April 7, but in 1985, one of the most renowned Cuban visual artists, Rene Portocarrero, died.  His remains . . . I do not want to even think where they might be.

*Translator’s note: In “good Cuban” the expression is: “porqué la culpa de todo, siempre la carga el totí.”  It means several things: that someone small always ends up being accused of what others did, or that the blame always falls on the same notorious people regardless or whether or not they were actually involved, and also, that black people always get blamed for things. The totí (a.k.a. Cuban Blackbird) is a small black bird from the Cuban countryside that is notorious for eating crops and other human foods.

Translated by mlk.

10 April 2014

It Costs / Regina Coyula

All the hospitals I’ve visited lately have put up  some eye-catching posters: “Your health service is free, but it costs.” I’ve seen these relating to ophthalmology, surgery, orthopedics, dentistry, and I recently saw a generic one for the Institutes. Then they enumerated a list of services, from the simplest and least inexpensive to complex procedures costing thousands of pesos.

For the citizen who made several unsuccessful visits before finally receiving a medical consultation after a long wait; for  the person whose hospital admission is like moving day, having to take a tub and heater for bathing, a fan, a lamp, insecticide, and the major part of the food in the house; for the man resigned to the unwritten law that in order to receive appropriate health care he has to provide something extra, snacks for each shift, cigarettes for the nurse, a little “gratuity” to facilitate the ultrasound or the analysis—this colorful wall poster is nothing but propaganda. Propaganda and a neutralizer. It doesn’t cost you, so don’t complain.

(And I’m not saying whether it costs, with the pseudo-salaries and inflated prices.)

I admire the skill and dedication of the doctors, but the excellent service that we were promised as “medical power”—not because of the number of physicians per capita (although you can find that in the Amazon or in northeastern Brazil), but because of the quality of health service as a whole—was lost along the way. And no one can convince any Cuban that the fault is due to the blockade and the imperialist threat.

During a wait of over an hour for a scheduled appointment (visible through a window in public view) with of an employee whose function is to deliver laboratory results, a young man who decided to lie down on a bench and sleep through the wait—with that grace Cubans have for taking the edge off any situation—in front of one of the afore-mentioned signs, caused all of us who were waiting to laugh: The public health costs us, but because it’s free …

21 April 2014

The Economic Opposition / Reinaldo Escobar

I just read an article titled “Shortages and Repression,” published by Alejndro Armengol in his blog Cuaderno de Cuba (Cuban Notebook), where he airs an idea that comes and goes in restless minds, but which has failed to scale the academic pantheon. I am referring to the Economic Opposition.

The first I heard of the expression was from a colleague Julie Aleaga, who mentioned the issue in a meeting organized by Lay Space. I remember Arturo Lopez-Levy, who was present, saying with a slight hint of disgust, that he didn’t recognize the existence of the economic opposition because he didn’t remember there being any academic reference to it.

I want to “contribute” to this new conception the elements that will have ot be considered stemming from the Foreign Investment Law, where there will be everything one can imagine, from money laundering to piñatas. That this is the desired opposition will be another controversy, but we have to reflect deeply on the matter, because the road to a new Cuba may be paved with the worst intentions.

22 April 2014

Presences, Absences / Juan Juan Almeida

Having no choice, the press has presented a ton of coverage of the VIII Congress of the Cuban Writers and Artists Union (UNEAC), which concluded with the presence of Army General Raul Castro, and  which affirmed during the different discussions that the culture is committed to the Revolutionary forces to implement in every sector of the country the “new Cuban model.”

And, as “a picture is worth a thousand words,” taking a look at the published photos, we see the main auditorium of the Palace of Conventions with an audience only comparable to an overbooked hotel during Holy Week; the faces of those present reflect boredom, absence and “I don’t care.”

The curious note of the Congress was that, like someone coming out of the closet. the General defined himself as “the absolute enemy of unanimity.” So he leaves us to wonder if he understood what he said, or said it without thinking?

16 April 2014

The Summer when God Slept: “Novels From the Drawer” Prize Winner reprinted for International Distribution

(Photo courtesy of Neo Club Press)

I have the pleasure to announce that my work, which won the 2013 International Franz Kafka Novels From the Drawer Prize 2013, “The Summer when God Slept,” will be reprinted in coming weeks by Neo Club Editions, an independent publisher located in Miami and directed by the Cuban writer Armando Añel.

Owing to the fact that the original edition, printed in the Czech Republic, according to the rules established for the award, is destined for the Cuban reader on the island, I agreed with Neo Club Editions to make this second edition, which will consist of a greater number of copies, with the idea of reaching what I consider, in addition to Cuba, natural markets for my work: Miami and Spain. The book, furthermore, will be available in ebook format and paperback through Amazon’s channels of international distribution.

Idabell Rosales – president of Neo Club Editions – together with Armando Añel, heads this project so that those of us who are censored and excluded for political reasons from cultural promotion in Cuba can publish our works in freedom and let them be known outside our country.

Thanks to this important and necessary idea, for example, a door has been opened wider to international promotion of the poetry of the writer Rafael Vilches Proenza, a friend enraged by the repression, which already on two occasions threw out works that he had in cultural institutions in Holguín and Santa Clara. The publication of the beautiful poem, “Café Amargo” (“Bitter Coffee”), besides rescuing the work of a writer censured for not bowing to official impositions, is an act of literary justice for one of the most outstanding poets of my generation.

When there’s another reunion on the island to celebrate another Congress of UNEAC in which, same as in the previous ones, no substantial change will happen that hasn’t already been predetermined, because now it’s known that the guild of creators responds only to the interests of the State and thus is converted into a useless and deceptive organization,

I will celebrate – thanks to the project and the generosity of Armando and Idabell – that my novel will be able to be read in the rest of the world, the same as the valuable Cuban literary production of Cuban writers in exile that Neo Club Editions includes in its catalogue.

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton Prison Settlement, April 2014

Have Amnesty International declare the dissident Cuban Angel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience.

Translated by Regina Anavy
11 April 2014

Poor Results / Fernando Damaso

Photo: Peter Deel

The Eighth Congress of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) recently ended, yielding very poor results, which was not unexpected to those of us who have been following it before the run-up and during the proceedings.

It began with a doctrinaire address by its president, who stated that “UNEAC is the Moncada Barracks of culture” and “from its beginnings UNEAC has done nothing but serve the Revolution.” This came as a surprise to no one, especially given the presence at the event of important figures from the Communist party and the government, which guaranteed there would be no deviations.

Discussions among the more than three hundred delegates from all over the country were led by various commissions—culture and media, art, the market and cultural industries, urban affairs and architecture, national patrimony and sculpture, regulation and litigation—were restricted to rehashing proposals presented at previous congresses, most of which have never been put into practice.

We are inundated with rhetoric about issues related to creativity, the analysis of contemporary aesthetic trends, the need to rethink radio, television and film while taking into account the emerging needs and expectations of the population, to confront all forms of corruption, indiscipline, waste, disorder and vulgarity, the need for more effective mechanisms for commercializing art, the need to define and implement policies for the built environment, the need to chart a policy for the city and for architecture through national development programs and the proposed changes in the legal statutes. It’s really hard to separate the wheat from all the chaff.

Once again there were the “genetic censors,” seeking to solve problems by creating committees to review and approve, a ludicrous approach in the current context. It is evidence of generational stagnation and the influence of the exalted sayings of the National Orator—ever-present if not physically present—who is remembered as our “greatest intellectual.”

It was pure theater in which every one of the participants knew by heart the lines he or she was supposed to say.

14 April 2014

Alamar and Hip-Hop / Yoani Sanchez


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

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

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

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

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

21 April 2014

Dialog, Why? / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 11.00.52 AMIn my country, for more than half a century, the government hasn’t dialogued with anyone. The Cuban Revolution doesn’t recognize any other interlocutor than itself, incarnated in the figure of the Maximum Leader, the now decrepit Fidel.

Executions, thirty-year sentences, perpetual exile. Whoever wanted to dialogue in Cuba ended up in one of these three categories of tropical totalitarianism.

Even today, in the 21st century, with a dissidence that has occupied certain alternative spaces of expression at the cost of much sacrifice, the Cuban gerontocracy has to die in power without having crossed words with anyone, except its own clan, the so-called “historic” generation.

Dialogue with the Communists, thus validating elections and other hypocrisies, is always a deception or a trick. The Communist have nothing to say, its not their international mission. They only follow the orders of a political party that incarnates their own dogma. They are soldiers dressed as civilians.

The idea is to take power at any cost and to never let it go in any peaceful way. There is a stage in which the Communists simply annihilate their adversaries. And there is another in which it is pertinent to sweet-talk the opponent with masquerade of a dialogue.

That is why Communist parties were illegal in so many countries for so long, a reasonable law by simple instinct of self-preservation. But today the democracies feel ashamed for being democracies–they carry a complex about being better in the face of the worst–such that no one is willing to defend the democratic establishment, either in the first world and in the developing nations.

So the Communists in Latin America, for example, although they are not all called that, now mine our social systems in blessed peace, and the entire continent tends as a bloc to violate citizens’ basic rights. Every caudillo legitimately holds his presidential seat for life, always with a red star in the logo of their respective parties.

Personally, I don’t believe that a party of violent inspiration and intolerant rhetoric should participate in the democratic game in any era. In Cuba, after fifty years of the Communist Party hijacking political life, it’s clear that there will be no democratic transition without the disintegration of the Party. And without making it illegal for a time perhaps similar to the despotic half-century of the Cuban Communists, whose contempt for dialogue soon became a contempt for decency.

In Cuba, a few days ago, TeleSur broadcast live and direct the dialogue between the opposition and Venezuela’s dictators. An opposition which unfortunately now has no other option than to sit at the dictatorial roundtable, provided it is authorized, and at the moment in which it best serves the powers-that-be to buy time to cauterize the popular protests, criminalize their leaders, and at the end of the day perpetuate themselves.

Venezuela’s rulers know well what they are doing. They are “dialoguing” for perhaps the last time. Soon they will not have to bother with these desperate deployments, where the entire planet is disturbed, but lazily so, by their hegemonic manias.

Soon the H in Havana will prove to be much more than a silent deadly letter. If there is no awakening among the international community, if the Venezuelan democrats who have given the best of themselves (their lives) are abandoned to their fate, as in their moment the world dismissed several generations of Cuban democrats, the made-in-Castro Communism will feel the impunity of falling, like a silent wasteland upon our future, always so futile in so many nations.

19 April 2014