The Absurd Ten Percent / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 9 October 2016 — in any restaurant and some cafes in Havana, be they state-run or private, “10% is added for services,” according to a little notice in Spanish and English in fine print on the menu. That is, the prices of the menu items are false, because the final cost is 10% more than what they say. This monster, widespread, is a real epidemic.

Why does that exist here, when it isn’t present in any other country and is a source of wonder and concern for us and for those who visit us.

During the Republic it never existed. If you were satisfied with the offerings and satisfied with the service, you voluntarily left a tip, as a bonus to the person who served you and sometimes, even for the cook This is the current practice throughout the world. Continue reading “The Absurd Ten Percent / Fernando Dámaso”

The monstrosity arose after 1959, when the “intelligent” and preoccupied Minister of Internal Trade by the name of Luzardo, understood that the tip was on offense to the food worker who received it, because under socialism it was his duty to provide good service to his “brother workers,” without any type of compensation above his salary, and decided to abolish it.

In the face of the protests of food service workers, because at that time they received more in tips than in fixed salary, like Solomon they established a 10% obligatory charge on top of th food, which was shared equally by everyone in the establishment. The result could not have been worse: poor quality food, and worse service, turning customers into ill-treated users.

The state monster, with the reappearance of private establishments, mechanically transferred the patter to them and today it is widespread, with the aggravating circumstances that, the server, who brings the bill, already loaded with its 10% tip, smilingly waits for his or her own tip.

So far, very few state administrators and private business owners have had the courage to eliminate it, preferring to maintain this absurd and unjust source of extra earnings and an expense to their customer’s wallets.

I, at least, when I go to a restaurant or cafe where it is applied, do not leave an additional tip, because I think they are already charging me, independent of the food and service, although they look at me strangely and consider me stingy. To one, the other!

A Not Very Smart Rejection / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 24 September 2016 — At the end of World War II, and after the capitualtion of imperial Japan, thousands of young Japanese of both sexes went to the United States to study, supported by scholarships granted by the US. This allowed them, once they graduated, to support the accelerated development of their nation, and to leave behind the secular backwardness in which they had lived.

The young Japanese of the time, who had suffered the horrors of the war, were able to forget about the indoctrination against the United States, “the enemy,” that they’d been subjected to for years. And they demonstrated that they could be modern without renouncing their roots or their national identity. Continue reading “A Not Very Smart Rejection / Fernando Dámaso”

Today Cuban young people, indoctrinated in the “socialist idiotology,” through their “governmental student organizations — Young Communist League, Federation of University Students, Federation of Secondary Students, and others — and “counseled” by “retired agents” and “official spokespeople” well known for their histories of submission and political opportunism, reject “massively” — in public demonstrations — the scholarships offered to them by the United States, alleging that the only objective of this program is to convert them into “counterrevolutionary leaders.”

In reality, the ruling system in Cuba is, itself, the best school available for teaching students to be against it.

The young people of today who thoughtlessly reject the scholarships will regret this missed opportunity once this absurd era of failed “Messiahs” and even worse “disciples” passes, and they will lament the lost opportunity to support the development of their country in a healthy and normal situation, when civic responsibility takes precedence over politicking slogans.

The current backwardness of Cuba is not the fault of the embargo, but of the lack of ability among its leaders and of the “socialist idiotology” inculcated in its citizens.

The "Savage Entrepreneurs" / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 21 September 2016 — The few state restaurants that offer varied and quality menus, along with good service, have high prices that are totally inaccessible for the average citizen. Entrees costing 10, 12 or more Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC: worth roughly $1 each, in a country with an average monthly wage of around $20-$24). Sandwiches are 5 CUC, side dishes 2 CUC and desserts 3-5 CUC. Domestic beers are 1.50 and 2.50 CUC and soft drinks, also domestic, are 1 and 1.20 CUC.

The phenomenon is the same in private establishments. Many of them started off as more or less affordable, with prices more or less accessible, good quality menus and also good service. Gradually they have raised prices 50% and even 100%. So plates that used to cost 3 CUC now cost 5, and those that used to cost 5 now cost 7 or 8 or even more. Continue reading “The "Savage Entrepreneurs" / Fernando Dámaso”

With the drinks it’s even worse. A domestic beer that used to cost no more than 1 CUC is now 1.50, 2 and 2.50. Domestic soft drinks that were 0.55 CUC are now 1 and 1.20.

Wines and spirits, it’s better not to talk about them, the prices have skyrocketed. The same is true for desserts, which are never less than 1.50 CUC and even as much as 3 and 5 CUC, for just a wedge of cake.

These new businesspeople forgot the classic Cuban inn, where you could eat well at affordable prices, and they only want to get rich overnight, at the cost of emptying their customers’ pockets.

It is true that Cuba today is a difficult market, depreciated and debased, where many new entrepreneurs, “knife in hand,” are ready to flay anyone in front of them, but this, necessarily, will change and some honest and responsible restauranteurs will prevail, earning reasonable profits and offering quality food and good service, and gaining the esteem and fidelity of their customers. This, no doubt, will earn their establishments a name and prestige, as well as profits.

El Floridita, Monseñor, El Castillo de Farnés, La Zaragozana, La Bodeguita del Medio, El Emperador, Europa, El Centro Vasco, Rancho Luna, El Polinesio, Mandarín, Hong Kong, Wakamba, La Cibeles, América and many other restaurants and cafes were not famous for their high prices, but for the quality of their offerings and their magnificent service, where there were respectful relationships between owners and customers. This must also be present among the new “savage entrepreneurs.”

A Harsh Reality / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 28 August 2016 — In the few existing spaces for public opinion in the Cuban official media (Letters to the Editor in the newspaper Granma, A similar space called “Acknowledgement” in the newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth), a page in the newspaper Trabajadores (Workers),  “Papelitos Speak” on the Havana Channel, and “Cuba Says” on Cubavisión and others), people’s complaints, are set against incompetent, bureaucratic, irresponsible and indolent officials who fail to meet their obligations and allow problems to accumulate and increase.

Equally those responsible for these spaces ensure the complaints remain at this primary level and, rarely, go up the ladder to government agencies and institutions. It seems that all the deplorable events happen only because of the functionaries, because above them everything is perfect and no one takes responsibility for them. Continue reading “A Harsh Reality / Fernando Dámaso”

However, it can not be that so many officials from different agencies and institutions (the electric company, the phone company, public health, education, housing, physical planning, water and sewer, communal services, transportation, work and social security, justice, the national bank, the People’s Power, etc.) are so unprofessional and inept.

We have to wonder if these “qualities” are not also present in the agencies and institutions and, logically, even in the “system.” It seems that, really, what doesn’t work is the latter, for the simple reason that it is useless. More than fifty-five years and the same problems increase, and new ones are added, and without any real solutions. All this is proof of it.

They can continue to make calls to patriotism, discipline, efficiency and everything they want, but until the ever growing needs of citizens are not satisfied and people are allowed to freely develop their initiatives and talents, it is a waste of time.

Unfortunately, and not only in Cuba, socialism has proved a failure as a “political, economic and social system.”

A Cult Taken to Extremes / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 12 August 2016 — Despite some early warning signs, I never imagined that the cult of personality in Cuba would surpass that of Stalin, Mao Zedong and Kim Il Sung, to mention just three examples from the “socialist bullpen.” I forgot the wise words of the great Dominican-born Cuban general Maximo Gomez, when he observed that “Cubans either excel or fall short.” On the good things we usually fall short while on the bad ones we excel.

In 2016 “the elderly main character” has been called a great visionary, a political genius, the most steadfast disciple of José Martí, an invincible military strategist, a senior pioneer, an eternally young rebel, a daring fighter, the eternal guerrilla, a fiery prophet of the dawn, the reformer of Marxism-Leninism, a towering architect, a prominent educator, an unbeatable thinker, an original writer, a distinguished journalist, an innovative farmer, a senior public health professional, a solid economist, a major athlete, a stellar scientist and — to finally top it off — the creator of everything produced in the country (due to his “inexhaustible initiative”) for the last fifty years. It appears that “the Esteemed,” a term of praise reserved for the 20th century Cuban president Gerardo Machado, has conveniently been declared off limits lest it be applied to a certain absent-minded historical leader. Continue reading “A Cult Taken to Extremes / Fernando Dámaso”

Every day mediocrities compete with each other to come up with new “qualities” in a attempt to outdo their predecessors from past eras in obsequiousness.

This year will go down in history as the year when many Cubans succumbed to opportunism, ethical shortcomings and cowardice, traits which will bring shame to their dependents.

This raises a simple question: How is it possible that someone with all these attributes has been such a disastrous ruler, leading the country into ruin and backwardness, and Cubans into poverty? Many, including myself, consider him to be the worst president in all of Cuban history.

It would have been much better for everyone if normal leaders — people with both virtues and flaws and without so many “qualities” — had been elected every four years. People without messianic beliefs or historicist pretensions. Rest assured we would not be in the predicament we are now, throwing stones into the socialist void. We would have preserved the accomplishments of previous generations and would be much more advanced.

In academic terms, this circus is referred to as a “cult of personality,” one taken to the extreme. In the Cuban vernacular it is known simply as guataquería* of the worst kind.

*Translator’s note: Systematic flattery or excessive adulation by praising or granting favors to someone in order to obtain personal benenfit or protection. (Source:

"Heavyweight" Words / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 1 August 2016 — “Never, forever, eternal, unchanging, unchangeable, untouchable, irrevocable,” and others of the same style are common words in the totalitarian lexicon. If we look at the speeches and public and private interventions of their principal historic and current representatives, we find these words everywhere.

Incapable of understanding society in a state of constant change and development they aspire to freeze it in the narrow framework of their schematic thinking, assuming that everything they do is good and should be maintained eternally, independent of the rise of new generations and, therefore, new ideas. Continue reading “"Heavyweight" Words / Fernando Dámaso”

These conceptions of their supposed “eternal” character, on installing themselves in power, have caused and continue to cause great misfortune for humanity.

Without reaching too far into the past, we remember Lenin’s Bolshevism in Russia, the fascism of Mussolini in Italy, Hitler’s Nazism in Germany, the “communism” of Stalin in the Soviet Union, the aberrations of Mao Tse Tung in China and Pol Pot in Cambodia, the Franco regime in Spain, Peronism in Argentina, Trujillismo in the Dominican Republic, Castroism in Cuba, Chavez in Venezuela, the Islamic States’ Islam and many other similar monstrosities.

To repeat them today, in the 21st century, only means that there are still those who do not learn the lessons of history, and assume that their deeds will remain even after the termination of their physical days, not realizing that, like they themselves, their deeds will become dust.

The 26th, Again / Fernando Dámaso

The Moncada Barracks attacked on 26 July 1953

Fernando Damaso, 25 July 2016 — Tomorrow, a new anniversary of the 26th of July–that failed insurrectional action of 1953–will be commemorated. This date, one of the principal ones of the Castro regime’s calendar, served as the title and standard for the political movement that emerged from the event. The province of Sancti Spíritus has been selected as the headquarters for the celebration–not for being the best choice, but rather for being the least bad one.

There will be “popular” gatherings, official festivities, cultural merrymaking, and even speeches with pretensions of historical authenticity. The script is repeated every year, varying only with regard to the secondary actors, being that the principals have remained in their roles for 58 years, despite the boredom they provoke among the spectators.

Throughout the course of a few days the inhabitants of Sancti Spíritus will enjoy abundant beer, one or another foodstuff, and much dance music, in addition to the traditional carnaval. Afterwards, all will return to the usual boring dailyness, with its meager wages, shortages, street violence, abuses, bureaucracy, and many other misfortunes–and the commemoration, as it does every year, will remain forgotten until the next one, if indeed it takes place, in a new chosen province.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Repression Instead of Solutions / Fernando Dámaso

Old American cars of the kind generally used as shared fixed-route taxis in Havana.

Fernando Damaso, 19 July 2016 — The topic of discussion among Havanans today is not only the intense heat and “the evil of it,” but also the beginning of the persecution and repression against self-employed taxi drivers who have raised their prices.

Given the lack of public transport, which has been going on for a long time, the so-called “boatmen” — as the private drivers are called — have been a boon to citizen transport, helping to alleviate the problem. Taking into account the cost of their vehicles, from the high prices of fuel, the nonexistent parts for repairs, and the increased taxes they have to pay, they have raised their prices. Continue reading “Repression Instead of Solutions / Fernando Dámaso”

The response from the Council of Public Administration of the city’s People Power, a regressive and inefficient replacement for the former Mayor, has responded with controls, sanctions and withdrawal of licenses from those who violate the previous prices, all of this being applied as of this last Monday.

Cuban leaders should explain to the citizens why they destroyed the systems of public transportation that functioned efficiently at low prices prior to January 1959, and in 58 years have not been capable of creating one that works.

Repressing those who help transport citizens, in the face of the state’s inability to do so, is not a good decision, and if they don’t stop doing it the situation will become chaotic and could even become violent. The need to move from one place to another has existed since the dawn of mankind, and is not resolved with decrees or impositions, but with efficient and sufficient public transport.

The Magic Number / Fernando Dámaso

Fidel Castro will turn 90 in August.

Fernando Dámaso, 1 July 2016 — In 2016, the number “90” has taken on a major importance for Cuba’s government authorities. The unleashed hysteria of the cult of personality means that, since December of 2015 government agencies and institutions have been ordered to “dedicate absolutely all their actions” to this magic number, which represents the age that the “ancient Maximum Leader” will reach in August.

Never before in History as the celebration of such an anniversary been extended for such a length of time, an original of “socialism a la Cuba” which, certainly, should be entered into the Guinness Book of Records. Continue reading “The Magic Number / Fernando Dámaso”

In honor of “90” forest workers have planted ninety ceders, the National Archive has organized an exhibition of “Ninety Images from a Life,” the “Art on La Rampa” Fair is dedicated to those 90 years and shows “Soldier of Ideas,” the Young Communist Union has “90 reasons to dream,” commemorating them is the main task of the unions, singers dedicated 90 songs to them, musicians ninety guitars, librarians ninety books, kids ninety smiles, old people 90 claps, and so on to total boredom.

Imbued with such a “national celebration” I suggest that, for the rest of the year, the Ministry of Public Health proposes to reach 90 cases of Zika, the National Commission on Viability and Traffic 90 car crashes, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Harvest Collection stop collecting 90 tons a month of harvested tubers, the National Hydraulic Institute ensure 90 leaks in every aqueduct, the Municipal People’s Power Administration maintain 90 active potholes, the Electric Company produce 90 blackouts in the City of Havana, and we have no less than 90 monthly building collapses.

There could be many more initiatives, the “importance” of the date merits them. Those who ordered this demented commemoration forgot that, in advertising, when the “message” saturates the receptor, it has the opposite effect. This is what is happening.

Total Addiction to Power / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 22 June 2016 — Some years ago the Latin American left abandoned the guerrilla struggle as the main way to gain power, choosing to use, instead, the existing democratic institutions and mechanisms in their respective countries.

The problem presents itself when, through these same institutions and mechanisms, they must leave power. Then we see the machinations begin, the changing of constitutions, the setting aside of democratic institutions, abuses of power and other aberrations of a totalitarian character. The examples are endless. Continue reading “Total Addiction to Power / Fernando Dámaso”

In Argentina, since the opposition with Macri at the helm won the elections, former president Cristina Fernandez and her adepts have tried every possible way to make it difficult for them to exercise power.

In Venezuela, when the Chavistas lost their majority in the National Assembly, they started and still continue a process of disavowing the work of the Assembly, even going to the extreme of creating an unconstitutional monstrosity they call “the Congress of the Country,” which includes ignoring the call for a mid-term referendum.

The Chavistas are violating all democratic laws, documents and regulations, and continue to protest and even receive support from their external minions when they make a call to order.

In Bolivia, the self-styled “first indigenous president” tries to hold another referendum, ignoring the results of the previous one, so that he can be re-elected in perpetuity.

In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega is again nominated for president for the November elections.

In Brazil, the offensive against the government that replaced Dilma Rousseff has not ceased and now, as it that weren’t enough, former president Lula de Silva reappears, wanting to present himself as a candidate for president in 2018.

The left, when it gets a taste of “the honey of power,” becomes totally addicted. They must be urged to find an effective treatment to avoid this.

A Ridiculous Declaration / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 17 June 2016 — It is completely ridiculous that the Cuban Writers and Artists Union (UNEAC), a totally government organization that tries to present itself as “non-governmental,” issues a statement about the desecration of the bust of a popular Venezuelan singer, Ali Primera, that occurred in that country, when they’ve never been concerned to protest against similar events that happen in Cuba.

Here, in the face of the complicit silence of UNEAC, statues and monuments of colonial and Republican eras have been systematically destroyed, ones that although they have not been welcomed by the current authorities, form a part of the history and identity of the nation, independent of their political ideologies. The busts of many important figures in cities and towns have disappeared, opening spaces, for example, to convert the Avenue of the Presidents in Vedado — once dedicated to remembering the country’s presidents — to place foreign figures which should have been placed in Fraternity Park, which was constructed with this objective. Also accepted has been the changing of the names of public buildings, streets and avenues, as an act of political opportunism, along with the implementation of many other outrages.

All this has been a negation of the supposed national identity that they say they defend “with the sword and shield.”

If UNEAC, as a governmental organization, had to issue a statement in support of the discredited Venezuelan government, and its even more discredited president, it should not hide between this reprehensible act: it should do it openly.

Paying the Political Price / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 5 June 2016 — For several days “the five heroes by decree” have been dusted off again and put to work, apparently leaving behind the only thing they have done since they were released: traveling at the expense of the Cuban people, living the story and talking nonsense.

After visiting Moscow, invited by the minority and inconsequential Communist Party of Russia, where, as important people in world anti-terrorism believe (trying to forget their work as spies), they were presented as the greatest pacifists of the “dove of peace,” three have been given positions: once as the vice-rector of the Higher Institute of International Relations (ISRI), another as vice president of the Jose Marti Cultural Society and the third as Vice President of the National Association of Economists and Accountants (ANEC). Continue reading “Paying the Political Price / Fernando Dámaso”

In this latter case, he was appointed Vice President (17 May 2016) before being admitted as a member of the Association (28 May 2016), which, like the others, coincidentally, is also presented as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).

Previously, one had already been appointed as Vice President of the Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), coincidentally also an NGO. Subtract one to be officially located, although he has long styled himself as a poet and artist, so his fate will be in the culture sector.

These characters, to be in sync with the moment and not lose their privileges, lash out regularly against “the empire,” energetically repeating with the neighborhood tough guys, some of the absurd demands of the Cuban authorities to the United States government, and instead of approaching them they distance themselves from the possible solutions.

As if that weren’t enough, they put these demands into the mouths of the Cuban people, presenting themselves as their spokespeople as if anyone here had ever asked the citizens, democratically and responsibly, what they think about this and other issues. To speak in the name of all the Cuban people is an illegal appropriation by the authorities that, like a genetic defect, is repeated by all the functionaries. To expect anything different from them would be naive: they only do what they are ordered to do.

It is convenient to remember that these “characters of the great national comic theater,” while serving their sentences, “enjoyed” first world living conditions — hygienic, ventilated, well-lit and modern cells, as well as good food, medical attention, playing sports, access to the internet, on-line conferences, and even visits from movie stars, as well as regular visits from their families — all very different from the difficult conditions in which prisoners serve their sentences in Cuba.

Since their return, they have simply dedicated themselves to paying the political price.

Some Interesting Information / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 10 June 2016 — Reading the few independent media which, against all odds, are published in Cuba, I learn about things that happen and that aren’t published in the official media, as well as what high taxes we Cubans pay compared to our Latin American neighbors, despite the fact that the nominal wages of our workers are, possibly, the lowest in the world, being even less than half of those in nearby Haiti ($20 a month in Cuba, $53 in Haiti). Continue reading “Some Interesting Information / Fernando Dámaso”

All this is added to exploitation of slave labor as practiced with professionals loaned out to provide services in other countries, to which will be added those who will work in the so-called Mariel Special Development Zone here in Cuba, where the state will appropriate 20% of what foreign investors will pay in hard currency, in addition to converting the 80% remaining into Cuban pesos (CUP) at a rate of one US dollar per 10 CUPs, instead of the nationally established rate of 1 Cuban Convertible Peso (1 USD) per 24 CUPs, which will result, in reality, in the state appropriating the majority of the wages paid by foreign investors.

Even worse will be what happens with workers associated with foreign investments where the exchange rage will be 1 USD per 2 CUPs.  Currently the sale of food between farmers and hotels is carried at at 1 CUC per 11 CUPs. Pure exploitation of slave labor!

In this context, I recalled Article 6 of Regulation of Slaves by the Government and Police of the Island of Cuba, instituted by Don Geronimo Valdes, President, Governor and Captain General in 1842, reproduced by the eminent Cuban historian Manuel Moreno Fraginals in his work “El Ingenio,” which I transcribe verbatim:

“The masters will give their field slaves two or three meals a day as they see fit, provided it is sufficient to maintain them and replenish them from their labors; it being understood that as a daily and absolute need for food for each individual, six or eight bananas or its equivalent in sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, or other root crops, eight ounces of meat or cod, and four ounces of rice or other vegetable stew or flour.” These products, at current prices, would not cost less than 80 Cuban pesos.

At least, those slavers were busy keeping their workforce well-fed, something very different from the current practice of our political alchemists and medieval economists.

Harsh Reality / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 17 May 2016 — In the few available spaces for people to express their opinions in the official Cuban media (letters to the editor of “Granma,” “Rebellious Youth,” a page of “Workers”, “Ordinary People Talking” on Havana Channel, “Cuba Says” on Cubavision, and others), they complain about and attack useless, bureaucratic, irresponsible and lazy officials, who don’t do what they’re supposed to do and let problems mount up and increase. The editors of these spaces are no better. The criticisms are not forwarded, but remain stuck at square one. They are rarely sent on to the relevant government ministries or organisations. It seems that these deplorable events only occur because of officials’ mistakes, since, higher up, everything is perfect and there is no responsibility for any of it. Continue reading “Harsh Reality / Fernando Dámaso”

Nevertheless, it cannot be that so many officials of different organisations and departments (The Electric Company, Postal Service, ETECSA (the phone company)), Public Health, Education, Housing, Planning, Water and Drainage, Communes, Transport, Employment and Social Security, Justice, the National Bank, National Assembly of Peoples’ Power, etc.) could be so unprofessional and inept.

We have to ask whether these “qualities” are not also to be found in these organisations and institutions and, logically, in the “system.” In reality, it seems that it is the latter which doesn’t work, for the simple reason that it achieves nothing. More than fifty five years with the same worsening problems, many new ones too, and nothing solved, clearly demonstrates that.

They can continue appealing to patriotism, discipline, efficiency and whatever else they want,  but as long as they fail to satisfy the ever-increasing needs of the people and allow them to freely develop their initiatives and talents, it’s a waste of time.

Unfortunately, and not just in Cuba, socialism has shown itself to be a “political, economic and social system” which has totally failed.

Translated by GH

Critic or Commissar? / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 30 May 2016 — A well-known film critic and staunch enemy of Hollywood — someone with an affinity for plastic surgery and black hair dye — is now taking on the role of political commissar. In response to Cubans’ enthusiasm for US symbols, mainly flags, he has proposed that every American flag that shows up in public should be surrounded by a hundred Cuban flags. Continue reading “Critic or Commissar? / Fernando Dámaso”

Does he perhaps not realize that Cuban flags are made in China, sold for hard currency at inflated prices and, therefore, unaffordable for most Cubans? Given a choice of how to spend a few convertible pesos, most people would opt for a package of ground beef or some other essential food item over a flag.

As though that were not enough, he is now taking on the eighth installment of Fast & Furious, which was recently being filmed in Havana. He acknowledges that, while he has no interest in this kind of movie, it will at least pay economic dividends to the Cuban government.

His preference for “landmark” films — principally those from Europe, Asia or Africa — is well known. His analyses focus more on the political and ideological content of a film rather than on cinematographic qualities such as script, direction, performances, photography, soundtrack, set design, editing and special effects. He has gone so far as to say that Indian musicals (aren’t the majority of Indian movies musicals?) are as good as any from Hollywood.

To him, Hollywood’s most important directors were Charley Chaplin, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and other “imports,” ignoring the fact that the United States itself is a country of immigrants (including Irish, Italians, Russians, French, Arabs, Latins and Africans), which is quite possibly the reason for its advancement and development. Though they may exist, I do not know of any Sioux, Cheyenne, Seminole, Blackfoot or Apache directors. But nor are there any Taino or Ciboney directors in Cuba either.

Lately, it seems the critic has also taken on the role of political commissar as a way of increasing his income. In difficult times, multi-tasking is one way to survive.