If Cuba Strikes Oil, What Then? / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Taken from the Internet.

The Cuban government is betting on the Port of Mariel to strengthen its economy, but what would happen if crude oil were found in Cuban territory?

Many Cubans are not very confident of “progress.” The government boasts of this being the definitive path to the Island’s development. Is it possible that the government has a development structure in place?

It is true that the Cuban economy lacks a solid base, following commercial experiments in the interior that continue to constrain Cubans and prevent their development. All because of political fears — one being to limit personal enrichment to prevent an individual from directing his spending power towards a possible career or political confrontation.

With Cubans thus constrained since 1959, chaos has reigned in the gross national product of Cuba. The most recent crisis was the “opening” of the private sector. The government had no choice in the matter — it was not intended as a social development. Inflation had reached the limit and something had to be done. This was not an audacious decision to maintain the internal equilibrium of the country. Continue reading

"Untrustworthy": The Appraisals Battle / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Alejandro feels frustrated. The country’s sports leadership has declared him an “untrustworthy person.” Walking home, he rearranges his life into what it will be from now on: do anything except play ball, abandon his university studies, or somehow exit the country illegally.

Every year, Cuban athletes are judged on their performance. If they have any claims on them in a foreign country and their relationship with the directors of the National Institute of Sport, Physical Education, and Recreation (INDER) is not very cozy, they are labeled “untrustworthy.” But the question is: what are the secondary effects of such appraisals? Continue reading

In the End, How Much is My Money Worth? / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Taken from the Internet

The Cuban population has no idea of the real worth of a Cuban peso. So many private taxi drivers, like the pioneers of money devaluation–the state snack bars–never stop annoying people with measures outside any legal range.

If the government pays you 24 Cuban pesos (CUPs) for one Cuban convertible peso (CUC), and sells you each CUC for 25 CUPs, why do the State centers devalue the CUC to 23 Cuban pesos.

They do everything for their own benefit or to play along with the government. Every time you exchange one currency for another, they make money.

Monetary union will come at the time when the Cuban pesos has no value relative to the artificial CUC. For those who travel it seems to be a game of “Monopoly of Capital.” Will there be a Cuban currency exchange? Where a Cuban would have to worry about making arrangements for several currencies before leaving the country. Continue reading

Temperamental Old Coots / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

The issue is not just about winning the argument with the United States. It’s also about a legacy created 55 years ago. Of what use to us are their perspectives, when ambitions fade with the passage of time”

The leaders of Cuba are well past working age. Small changes occur at the hands of his brother, Raúl Castro, another long-lived individual who has lived his life and realized the goals he set for himself. What are his ambitions today?

The Cuban desires progress and is at the mercy of old men. Are they perhaps different from others of their age group? As far as I know, an old man does not have the same drive as a young person who is just beginning to face the challenges of the future. Continue reading

And Where’s My Flag? / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Taken from the Internet

Since mid-June the world has experienced a joy at the rhythm of a round ball and the colorful Football World Cup in Brazil.

In Cuba it’s been a great party, although with great regret that we can’t enjoy our own team in this event. One of the dreams of a good Cuban is to be able to see a team from the Island get to that event and make a good show. Although still far from our chances, we see African teams ascending and early goodbyes from the Cup for favored European teams. “Our day will come,” say some of the fanatics at the “Baseball Rock” in Central Park, today converted to game with a single ball and goals.

A Cuban “knows everything,” and when it comes to sports, “No one will put a foot forward.” We don’t like to lose and although no one playing the gigantic South American stadium today is Cuban, we raise our hands for our foreign team, calculate our own standings and hoist the flag, on our rooftops, balconies, doorways, or even on our cars, phones and even clothes. Continue reading

A Creative Proposal / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

2011-01-30-DSC08153Sitting at a bus stop waiting for the bus are the Gonzalez brothers. Among children’s stories and entertaining laughter one hears the surprising proclamation of a 65-year-old man.

“I will give you 80 centavos for one Cuban pesos,” says the man. The Gonzalez brothers stop talking and, in whispers, question the gentleman’s offer. They listen over and over but only pretend to hear.

It’s been thirty minutes and the tiredness starts to set in, with no place to sit down, the brothers watch the entrepreneur of 2014. “So far no one has approached him to make the exchange,” says one brother to the other.

Hours and hours pass for the man to earn 20 centavos for every Cuban peso.

But for every Cuban peso people use to pay the bus fare — 40 centavos — they lose the remaining 60 centavos because they don’t have change.

19 May 2014

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

ETECSA’s New Offers May be Affecting the Cuban Network / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Alfredo has tried several times to get in touch with his brother. He doesn’t bother with sending an SMS because he has sent various messages on other occasions which haven’t arrived on time.

Following ETECSA informing most of its users of the new service, they can access their emails via NAUTA.cu from their mobile phones. The SMS service won’t work as it did before.

These problems with ETECSA’s service have affected all the Cuban government’s opponents, even leaving them without access to the internet. But what’s happening now is no more than possible overloading being experienced by ETECSA in carrying out what they have promised.

Does ETECSA have the ability to offer a quality service?

Another one of the services affected is MMS. In spite of the fact that it isn’t popular among Cubacel’s users because they don’t know about it. Those people who have been able to use it have found it difficult to send an MMS.

“Yesterday I sent a photo of her granddaughter to my mother and she wasn’t able to see it because the service isn’t working”, said Michel.

Is ETECSA going to get worse? Just as everything that the government touches does. Or is it just a question of getting used to a poor to middling service quality which varies from month to month?

Translated by GH

17 March 2014

The .cu / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Web domain for newcomers or daredevils.

For many, the designation .cu is a way to identify the country on the internet. But for the most accomplished netizens it remains a place very little in demand.

The .cu indicates mistrust, ease of hacking, promotion of the reading of personal sites by third parties—little privacy. Anyway, there are no encrypted sites [https] to protect visitors.

Why does .cu even exist? For those who want to share with the DSE (Department of State Security). For that reason it has ceased to be a domain visited by Cuban dissidents. Except for rookies with only a few hours in front of a computer.

To summarize, I would use .cu, but only when accompanied by a good HTTPPSSSSSSSSSSSS

Translated by Tomás A.

14 March 2014

CELAC, A Meeting with Absolute Power / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

This time Cuba is the president of a young organization with ideas of uniting Latin America and the Caribbean. In its second summit, held in Havana, the government leaders faced a question: Will Latin America and the Caribbean be a unified movement, similar to the Soviet Union?

One of the visible purposed those countries have is to distance themselves from capitalism and latch on to the example of a government that will go down in history as the most manipulative and lying government in the history of humanity, “that’s saying a lot, but it’s the reality.”

To avoid at all costs exporting any benefits that don’t belong to the government, declaring that it is a resource invested in the people, but it’s true purpose is to enrich itself with greater eternal power.

There will be a lot of dialog and agreements undertaken at the meeting, everything always rose-colored by the state mass media, no disagreements will come to light that could concern the followers and trumpeters of the Castro “promise.” So far the only thing he’s accomplished is keeping his beard as symbol of having accomplished nothing in Cuba.

27 January 2014

The Cuban Government Mocks its Citizens / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

The Cuban government reaffirms to its citizens that transformations are directed towards psychological oppression, and at the same time it mocks Cubans as a way of demonstrating absolute power.

The law approved in January 2014 by the Cuban president — the sale of automobiles — reveals the great achievements that will be realized in 2014 by the present governing system.

With the development of approved prices for the acquisition of an automobile ranging up to a quarter of a million (250 thousand dollars) the news caused many capital residents laughter and disappointment for those who were planning to buy a car in better and more current condition.

One of those affected, Reinier Corrales, 45 years old, resident of Arroyo Naranja, considers that he sold his Toyota at 18 thousand convertible pesos (CUC) in order to improve by another more modern one.

“And now what do I do,” anguished Corrales asks, “I planned to trade up and not even my house is worth what the government wants for a 2013 car,” he says.

Reinier and many others have been affected by this decadent and brutal situation of supersonic price manipulation that the government has established through 55 years of totalitarian power. Continue reading

Cuba Will See Itself Forced to Open Amateur Sports to Professionalism / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

With the decline of sports facilities on the island, the Cuban government it taking drastic measures in order to keep sports alive, based on already failed communist ideals. A situation that corners the Castro government so that for once, it will open the doors to professionalism.

Havana province has the majority of high-performance sports facilities, which over time have lost the competitive fundamentals critical to the development of Cuban sports.

Some reference installations

East Havana, an area of the capital, benefited by being the site of the Pan American Games in 1991, with the construction of the “Villa Panamericana” (a sports complex that includes facilities such as the Velodrome (Cycling), athletics, tennis, pools etc). Currently it is here that we find the only stadium of athletics (Olympic) “still not over” that can be used for international competitions. The stadium provides high performance athletes — world champions or finalists, Panamericans, Central Americans — “comfortable rooms” located in the same building, where the bed can injure you or the ceiling can give you a shower in rainy weather.

“Bare Hill” as the capital residents know it, is the ESFAAR, Training School of High Performance Athletes. From the street people can see its damaged structure and contemplate the broken windows during practices for volleyball, basketball, fencing, boxing and other sports. Continue reading