“I’m Going to Set Fire to It and See What Happens” / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Man throwing trash into the dumping ground. (Photo: Anddy Sierra)

Anddy Sierra, Havana, Cuba, 30 April 2016 — The battle by Lumumba residents against the dumping of solid waste in the neighborhood is all but lost. The garbage dump, established three years ago, is bigger today and includes debris from roadwork done in the area.

According to residents, there were initially only twenty meters of trash, but today it covers more than a hundred. Local residents point to Comunales, the company in charge of collecting the solid waste, as the main cause for what is happening. Continue reading ““I’m Going to Set Fire to It and See What Happens” / Anddy Sierra Alvarez”

“They blame us for creating this dump but it’s not our fault. In this borough (Arroyo Naranjo) it’s Comunales; they are the ones responsible for all the waste here,” said Amelia Corrales, a resident of Lumumba.

“The problem is that we are black and that makes us scapegoats,” notes Yaima Lombillo, a resident of a neighborhood that is predominately dark-skinned. We either have to put up with it or set the trash ablaze to get the firemen to come, as happened three months ago.”

Enrique Peña, a worker at the local headquarters of the company, says that every three months they pick up all the refuse. “We come with a six-person brigade, two trucks and a bulldozer to collect the debris left there by residents. It takes us three hours and in the end everything is clean,” he said. Pity.

He continues, “We don’t throw our trash there but neither do we make sure that some of our workers aren’t dumping garbage there instead of going someplace further away.”

But the problem is that residents do see company workers dumping their trash.

“I passed there three times yesterday and there was a worker throwing garbage there instead of picking it up. When I returned, there was another one doing the same thing. We will continue living in filth and breeding more Aedes aegypti mosquitoes [carriers of dengue fever and the zika virus],” said Miguel Borroto, an area resident.

Local authorities have not responded to the problem. Attempts were made to speak to the local representative but he refused to discuss it. “I am very busy and am not going to my waste time talking to you,” said Alejandro, the area’s representative, when I asked him about the Lumumba dump.

Residents will have to make due with Comunales’ three-month schedule for cleaning an area which apparently its own employees are trashing. “I am not expecting much,” says Yaima Lombillo, “so I am going to set fire to it all and see what happens.”

Diplomatic Relations between the United States and Cuba / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Raul and Obama (From the internet)

Anddy Sierra Alvarez, 24 August 2015 –The Obama administration apparently betrayed the deep grief of many Cubans who have suffered the “welcoming” hospitality of the Cuban government. Everything points to economic interests, but as of now US government officials may enter Cuba. What will happen?

Cuba opened the doors of its prison and in the future it will bring consequences. With the imminent Internet, there is no one that can stop it. Social networks have the power to inform about what is hidden. Continue reading “Diplomatic Relations between the United States and Cuba / Anddy Sierra Alvarez”

It is also true that the Cuban government benefits from this reestablishment, its removal from the US List of Sponsors of Terrorism attests to this. But there is still a long way to go and Cuba asks for a lot in exchange for nothing.

The Obama administration has its strategy. The embargo, what has it achieved? Nothing. Its effect was on the people and not on the communist leadership. This embargo (blockade, according to the Cuban government) only enriched the communist propaganda: “Everything the people of Cuba are suffering is thanks to the existence of the blockade.” This discourse of the Castros, aren’t they obligated to change it? Difficult, no, because in order for the US embargo to see modifications, Americans need to see significant changes in the controversial issue in respect to human rights in Cuba. An endless topic.

American companies want to invest in Cuba

This is another benefit, but it will have its clashes. How will these companies handle the recruitment of Cuban personnel? By CUBALSE? (Cuba At the Service of the Foreigner). And the salaries; Will the American dollar devalue in the Port of Mariel in order to avoid the worsening of social classes on the island?

Every day the information circulates in Cuba with an immediate power, something that has not happened in the past. They do not believe that this can increase the discontent of the Cubans and begin to analyze all the events that occur which they see with their eyes closed.

The Castros Lose Strength

The Cuban Revolution loses strength, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) don’t work. And in the high places of government of the grand caiman differences exist. What do they tell me about the hot year 2018? What will Raul Castro do? Quite a dilemma, who will lead us? Perhaps, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, it is not known? Maybe Lazo?

In any event, Cuba’s future is very uncertain. Not even the Cuban government knows what to expect.

Translated by: Daniela Castaneda

Children’s Baseball in Cuba / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

First base

The categories of children’s baseball in Cuba are rescued by parents of the “little ballplayers” because, it seems, the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER) has no resources to provide the necessary sports equipment.

The categories of 7-8 years and 9-10 years are supported by the parents of the child athletes, as long as INDeR doesn’t provide the minimum materials, such as: gloves, special balls, bats, among others. It doesn’t allow the development of Cuban baseball.

Rolando Suarez, a 45-year-old coach, spoke of the ingenuity required to get a result in competitions. “Thanks to the parents we can train the children, because INDER gives each school coach only one or two gloves, one bat and two Kenko balls, which last only four months. During the remaining 6 or 7 months, I have to ask the parents for help to continue to coach.” Continue reading “Children’s Baseball in Cuba / Anddy Sierra Alvarez”

According to some instructors, these categories have special rules, one of which regulates to the play to a solid rubber ball (known as Kenko), a different material from the balls for the older ages, which use synthetic materials. The Kenko balls cost about 300 pesos each.

Suarez also explained, “I have an enrollment of 20 students in the 7-8 category, and in 9-10 I have 19 students. What INDER gives me isn’t enough!”

Another children’s coach who asked to remain anonymous, explained that the lack of resources also hits the parents’ budgets, “Several students have left the sport because it’s very expensive.”

Michel Garcia, a 37-year-old father, commented, “My son has his sports uniform, glove and a bad thanks to me but not everyone can spend more than 2,500 pesos for these expenses.”

According to a methodologist in the capital municipality of 10 de Octubre, who is in charge of educating coaches and supervising the training with the purpose of ensuring good preparation, and who asked to remain anonymous, commented that everything the Municipal Sports Authorities delivered to the coaches, is usurped by them.

“They sell gloves, balls and bats to the parents of the students. It is a sport where the majority of the parents have money, and demand creates the market,” he said.

This methodologist continued, explaining that many parents have complained to the Municipal Sports Authority in 10 de Octubre, about the conditions for the children playing baseball, a sport supposedly prioritized in Cuba.

So far, the conditions don’t seem to change. Coaches like Racel Perez, 28, consider another option, “I have to coach a different sport,” he laments.

From Anddy’s blog, previously published in Cubanet

23 March 2015

Having a Boat in Cuba / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Although boat owners mostly fish, getting a boat is not as hard as people imagine.

cubanet square logoCubanet, Anddy Sierra Alvarez, Havana, 2 February 2015 — Any Cuban can have a boat in Cuba. You just have to be authorized by the appropriate authorities. Here is the detail Those who are interested in buying a boat are investigated. If they are authorized, all that’s missing is pure bureaucracy to become owners.

Miguel E. Gil, 52, fisherman and owner of a boat, said he never faced obstacles to buying it. “I just had to wait for the Cuban Vessel Register to authorize me, the rest is like buying a car,” he said.

But there are always some who are rejected, and this was the case for Mendoza, 30, who comments, “My request was denied, I was surprised because I’ve seen people with bad criminal records and I just I had Continue reading “Having a Boat in Cuba / Anddy Sierra Alvarez”

a traffic accident. Like my friends say, I have bad luck.”

The price of a 12 horsepower boat (the most common) varies between five and nine thousand dollars, according to its characteristics.

“A Chernera model, fiberglass with Japanese Yanmal 12 horsepower engine costs $8,000, equivalent to 32 years of work by a Cuban with average wage,” said Ernesto Aguirre, 55, a fisherman.

Having a boat carries costs

An owner of a boat answers to the Ministry of Fisheries, Cuban Registry of Ships, Captain of the Port, Coast Guard, Fish Inspection and Ministry of Transportation.

Therefore, he will pay a tax of 75 pesos per year to the Registry, and a tax of 150 pesos to the National Tax Office (ONAT), for having a 12 horsepower boat, the tax is increased if the boat has more horsepower.

“I pay 150 pesos to the ONAT because of the characteristics of my boat. For having a fishing license I pay 60 pesos, 20 pesos per place (the number of people who I can carry in the boat), the professional fishing license costs 100 pesos. It allows you longline fishing. All that is annually,” said Michael E. Gil.

Navigation has its limits

By day, the authorities allow the boat to be up to 7 miles from shore, at night 3 miles.

“Not only is it limited to seven miles in the day and 3 miles at night, but you can’t be less than 50 yards from the shore, for fear of hurting a swimmer or to be planning an illegal exit from the country,” he said Alain Soto, 39, fisherman.

Although not controlled by GPS, if you are found more than seven miles out they will impose a fine.

“Before they would sanction you to one to three months without sailing, but now they impose a fine exceeding one thousand dollars,” said Gilberto Segura, 58, owner of a boat.

Maintenance, the safety of the ship and the fuel are borne by the owner

“Yes, everything comes out of our pockets, many of us have a contract with the Acuabana company that buys the fish supplies us with fuel, according to an agreement, which should be systematic,” said Michael E. Gil.

Although boat owners fully engaged in fishing, getting a boat is not as difficult as people imagine. There is a filter that will or won’t authorize you to be an owner, but from that moment you have to maintain it yourself, even though you have a contract with Acuabana.

2 February 2015

The “Weekly Packet” Rules in Cuban Homes / Cubanet, Anddy Sierra Alvarez

paquete-semanalCubanet, Anddy Sierra Alvarez, Havana, 28 October 2014 — With the delivery of the “weekly packet” to Cuban homes, the people have taken an important leap toward access to information and entertainment. In a country where the only television is state-run and there is no mass consumption of the Internet, this phenomenon helps to build society. Cuban television has faded to the background.

The so-called “weekly packet,” which is normally distributed on external hard disks to individual residences, contains the latest foreign films of the week, shows, television series, documents, games, information, music and more. This packaged content is favored by the Island’s population over the programming provided by Cuban state-run television. In the past, entertainment would be delivered via clandestine satellite TV, but citizens caught in this illegal act would have to pay heavy fines.

Mariam González, 47, of Havana’s Arroyo Naranjo borough, relates that thanks to the “weekly packet,” many people have avoided the jail time or fines that used to be the consequences of using satellite antennas. “Several of my friends were fined over the years up to 10,000 Cuban pesos for  for receiving the satellite signal in their homes,” González said, adding that, “now, we only have to pay one dollar and we have access on a hard drive to the latest programs from the week just ended. We connect it to the TV set and enjoy the content whenever we want. It’s better than nothing.” Continue reading “The “Weekly Packet” Rules in Cuban Homes / Cubanet, Anddy Sierra Alvarez”

Ángel López, 31, is a fan of such TV series as Grimm, Revolution, and The Blacklist. He notes that “the packet is my font of information and without it in the house, life would be extremely boring.”

“Besides,” he adds, “my cousin watches nothing other than series like Cold Case, and that is not something broadcast on state television.”

Alejandro Batista, 38, affirms, “I prefer to spend a dollar over being a zombie. Cuban programming is no good, it’s stagnant…well, actually, we are stagnant!” he added with a wry smile. Packet prices vary according to the day of the week. On Sundays the “weekly packet” of 1 terabyte is priced at 10 dollars, on Mondays and Tuesdays, 2 dollars, and other days, 1 dollar.

Tomás González, 32, is a distributor of the weekly packet. “Every Monday I receive the packet for 2 dollars,” he said. He then downloads the content onto USB drives of 4, 8 or 16 gigabytes (Gb), which provides an alternative (to the hard disk) way of distributing programming to individual households.

“I sell the 4-Gb USB drives for 10 Cuban pesos, the 8-Gb for 20 pesos, and the 16-Gb for 30 or 40 pesos,” González explained. The younger generations don’t waste time on state television. Miguel Ponce, 21, had this to say about state-run television: “Cuban TV holds no interest for me and, as far as I know, none of my friends wastes their time on that. Now, HD movies are a whole other thing…”

With its lack of variety and offerings that do not meet what the public wants, Cuban TV loses ground.

Alejandro Batista notes that “the government for so long refused to broadcast foreign programs and now we have them on USB drives. But,” he asks, “what makes me wonder is, how long can Cuban television continue, if each day the public leans more towards the foreign programs that we can get on the packet?”

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

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

Private-sector employees, who as of September 2014 numbered 99,395 self-employed workers, cannot develop an entrepreneurial project no matter how small it is. They are limited to dealing in raw material acquired on the Island, or rather, to engaging in retail transactions that have created major stress in the community.

Let us imagine that we now have petroleum, that we found a full well, sufficient to satisfy all commercial needs and propel the country towards development and future ranking among the 10 major economic players in the world.

All seems to be going excellently: the Cuban will become a person, he will earn his own livelihood, and he will recapture all that was lost throughout the years. Social values, human rights, democracy, social conscience and a political experience will flourish that today are lacking among the inhabitants of the “Great Green Alligator.”

But, how many years will it take to see these changes? Will the regime give the green light to social progress? This seems doubtful. No! The central nervous systems of these socialist — sorry, communist — leaders cannot fathom anything other than absolute power. Their godfathers (Fidel and Raúl Castro) have inserted values from another galaxy into a alternate future.

Let us suppose that I now want to own a business. I manage my resources and funds to build a GNC store to sell nutritional supplements – monohydrate creatine, L-carnitine, whey proteins, Centrum, etc. (just so you understand what I’m talking about).

With the policies in place currently and in the future, I cannot do this. I am limited to doing business with foreign business interests. There exist only state eentrepreneurs directly linked to the government, who are authorized for this type of activity. Clearly, the government’s interests are assured with these individuals.

How will the island develop? Only if we, Cuban citizens, are an important link in the chain of our country’s development. It is very clear that we are not part of the system, that we do not count, except for where there are direct benefits to the State. Only for the Census does everyone count.

It is a simple proposition: I have my store, I make progress in my personal economy, I contribute taxes to the country, and my family also benefits.

Just like me, many others embark on this path — unlike in the current “private sector” model, which is a lie. Thievery, diversion of resources, and inflated prices comprise this so-called “private sector.”

What is wrong with this picture? That there are different social classes in Cuba? This has been the case for many years.

The leaders belong to the high class, and the inhabitants, for the most part, belong to the low class, and a few are in the middle class (aided financially by their relatives abroad). So, there are social differences! Or, I’m mistaken.

Truly, there is no hope unless there is a change in the form of government. The leaders of the Revolution are in their “third age” or beyond.  The new generation of leaders will assume hereditary places, not earned promotions, having been bred on very totalitarian politics.

The key to development is not just about striking oil. It is about fundamentally changing the commercial and social structures of the country. It is about thinking differently, something which today will land you in the ditch. If you don’t believe me, just ask the Cuban opposition.

It is curious that Fidel defines his concept of Revolution as “everything that needs to be changed.” Well, the way everything functions today is apparently still good as far as he is concerned — if he is still even capable of rational thought, that is.

Translated By: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

13 October 2014

"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 “"Untrustworthy": The Appraisals Battle / Anddy Sierra Alvarez”

Alejandro García, a catcher with great statistics in provincial competitions, had been selected to put together the Cuba juvenile team. However, it won’t work out this time: he has been declared “untrustworthy” because he could potentially defect. The reasons given in these cases are always the same: having family in the US makes one a possible émigré.

“That is not my intention,” García asserts. “I want to take Team Cuba to the first level and complete my studies at the University of Physical Culture and Sports Sciences (UCCFD).” He adds, sadly, that “if next year the same thing happens to me, I will leave the sport.”

Forced to fall over the precipice.

When an athlete is categorized as a possible émigré, many doors are closed to him and decisions make about his fate are not always correct.

Michel López, 30 years old, left baseball at the age of 22. At that time he was in his second year of studies at the UCCFD and when he saw his “future in sports” had become a farce, he left school and the sport, and veered into alcoholism.

“I felt very sad,” Michel recalled. “I decided to erase any memory of that moment when Cristian Giménez (INDER director) put his hand on my shoulder and told me that this time I could not travel to Mexico because I fit the profile of a a possible émigré,” López concluded, dropping his gaze.

Regarding his alcohol problem, López managed to climb out of it with the help of his family, but there were after-effects. “I lost 40 pounds, and each day I fear a relapse,” he said.

Today Michel López works for the state waste-management agency Comunales sweeping the streets. In his spare time he plays baseball with his neighborhood friends.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

5 September 2014

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

Buying CUCs to then look for someone to exchange the CUCs for dollars for the least loss possible. For many it’s a headache.

Modern slaves before the eyes of the world

The government looks for ways to avoid so many loses from the taxes and penalties on Cuba for dealing in dollars, along with strategies to recover them at the mercy of its citizens.

Limitations internationally exploit Cubans, a modern slavery, invisibly but tangible for those who suffer it.

Since the State knew what it can do with its pawns, it allowed the limited circulation of the dollar among its population. Only at that time, only a small group of people were authorized to handle foreign exchange: merchant seamen and embassy workers.

With the passage of time the Cuban pesos came to be even with the dollar. Then it came to be 120 Cuban pesos for one American dollar, always internally. And later it was maintained in a range of 20 to 30 pesos for one American dollar, until now.

Now, private drivers, administrators and State workers exchange convertible pesos for Cuban pesos, at rates that favor themselves, not as set by the government.

The issue is visible and many year for the monetary unification to avoid inconveniences and the loss of money to opportunists. Still, most question what value the Cuban pesos will have in the near future.

22 August 2014

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 “Temperamental Old Coots / Anddy Sierra Alvarez”

We are held captive by the arbitrariness of a bunch of geezers…grandfathers once restless in their youth, who now penalize behavior such as they once exhibited…backed up by a poorly-told history that makes heroes out of many, mercenaries out of others, and of those who were not part of their elite group, not even in the shadows are they mentioned. These were members of their beloved and novel revolution.

Their rhetoric is one of equality, yet those who surround them enjoy a level of prestige difficult to achieve. They play at showing solidarity with other peoples, while they trample on their own citizens…self-elected, with no regard for the wishes of their constituents…identified with power, owners of the Island, governing with an ideology that only they believe in…but supported by fellow-travellers, else they would not still be there.

Obsessed with the actions of successive presidents of the United States, to discredit them – and monitor their popularity – is part of their sense of aliveness.

Ready to cease existing when Nature decides, so go the whims of one-time youths who today are in their terminal phase. In the meantime, their legacy has elapsed – in caprice, and much political pride.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

15 August 2014

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 “And Where’s My Flag? / Anddy Sierra Alvarez”

For almost a month, the streets have been overrun by the flags of countries which, in most cases, we Cubans have barely visited, but we like to be identified with the latest fashions or to simply be able to say to a neighbor, “I’m with you or against you.”

Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Italy and Germany are the teams with the most fans in our country, and therefore the ones most represented by their flags.

This is seen not only in the flags on display in our streets but also in the little flags offered by the non-state street vendors, which at a price of one convertible peso (CUC), give color to the imagination and happiness to Cubans.

Cuban State TV, our eyes on the World Cup, in addition to bringing us the event’s games, shows us the displays of nationalism by the fans of each team, wearing and waving the colors of their flag.

In Cuba, the tradition of hanging our most precious patriotic symbol from our balconies and windows, is vanishing. It will be “because times are changing,” or “because there’s no place to buy Cuban flags,” or “because the price is far beyond the reach of an ordinary Cuban.” My question is, “Where is my flag?”

4 July 2014

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