State Security Imposes Itself / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Blockade, Aggressions, Manipulation

Blockade, Aggressions, Manipulation

With the arrival of the anniversary of the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the Cuban martyr and human rights defender on the Cuban island, hundreds of arrests were carried out in order not to allow any festive and peaceful festive activity on the part of the opposition to the Castro regime.

A party such as the Hard Frontline, with an office in Los Pinos neighborhood, was besieged and some were locked up for no reason.

We are going through a transition, if they comply with the guidelines agreed at the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party. These five years will be the last that will under the thumb of Raul Castro and there will be a weakening of totalitarian power and a coming of the path of true democracy.

But if so will these be unforgettable years for the Cuban opposition?

State Security and its support brigades (keeping the regime’s boots clean) are becoming more violent. Each anniversary of a death of Cuban dissidents leads to several arrests, repudiation rallies, persecutions, “accidents,” or unwanted trips.

On anniversaries like these the Human Rights Commission in Cuba will report simultaneous arrests and the rate of arrests of dissidents in Cuba will increase.

The fight for some is on time, for others, this would be an opportunity for the Cuban Dream: democracy and freedom from all political taboos.

25 February 2013

Why Vote / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

1360619150_indexThese have been rigorous days on the island of Cuba, the first elections after the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba. Full of bureaucracy, an evil that affects us deeply.

For whom will you vote? Few ask because they don’t have political information. Candidates with full resumes but nothing to identify what they are thinking. What the candidate himself brings; a degree or PhD, an internationalist or a simple worker and, the most praised, the “fighters”. They are only recommendations to choose who will represent you at higher levels.

The functions of a delegate for your area is is nothing more than to raise or take to the legislative body the needs of the citizens which they carry on their shoulders (they are the ones who represent you in government). But the word they do benefits themselves. If the delegate himself has “problems” there is no chance for others in need until their problems are solved. Although the delegate will always have problems and if you want to solve a problem, it is only with a bribe that most of your problems will be resolved.

“Then why vote?” says Érica González, 43.

Why have elections? It is a way for the government to show the world that “democracy” exists in Cuba.

With the manipulation of 53 years they become increasingly more skilled, the experience makes them stronger in managing to deceive the world with their intelligence maneuvers.

11 February 2013

Cuba Takes Advantage of Hugo Chavez’s Illness / Anddy Sierra Alvarez #Cuba

imagesThe Cuban government takes advantage of the situation of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to assume the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

As everyone knows, the health outlook of the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is not entirely favorable. He is beset by complications such as heart failure or respiratory infection, not yet controlled. There are speculations that Chavez will not win this battle, because overcoming cancer is very difficult. Continue reading

Cholera Came to Stay / Anddy Sierra Alvarez #Cuba

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Avoid cholera. Wash your hands well.

With the outbreak of Cholera in the eastern provinces, to cite an example: Granma province.  Result of contaminated or stagnant water for several days.  Citizens obliged to store water because of declining supplies on the part of state entities.

When the outbreak’s development reached its peak, the government took small, practically secret measures.  Many of the Cuban citizens resident in other provinces, principally the Havanans, found out about the problems in the east of the country by rumors finally proven by an advisory notice from the Minister of Public Health, in which he said that there was a total of three deaths, all of them older (elderly) and several infections.  “But the outbreak was controlled,” said the source.

When the government decided to take measures on the trips from any province to the affected corners.  Already many Havanans with relatives came and went from the affected places.  Because of having taken the measure of suspending trips to the affected provinces, it was not the correct solution.  With a short note of important character, alerting Cuban citizens that no matter the means or how important the problems were, not to travel to the country’s east.  Because of having a Cholera outbreak in said areas.

The government knows that Cubans do not use the state transportation routes to the provinces. More trips occur on their own than as passage from the bus terminal, on trains, or the airport.

Today in the Cuban capital we are facing the same problems as in the east.  We have an outbreak of Cholera that the authorities have not wanted to recognize.  With meetings in the education centers alerting their workers that there is an outbreak of “acute diarrhea.”  A township like that of “Cerro,” already four known deaths from the virus.

How did said outbreak occur?

Preparation for years that the island had in losing little by little the public sanitation, the international doctors or the foreign students.  Many of them coming from poor places and away from civilization.  Where illnesses like Cholera, AIDS, etc., have developed strongly.

Drinking water contaminated by sewage water, result of the exploitation that the hydraulic networks suffer that on letting the water flow gives way to the entry of rubbish.  By having breakdowns in the main networks mentioned.

Today the country has a very poor public health service, the loss of customs on the part of Cuban society, bureaucracy that delays taking action to eradicate something.  They make of the locality an area where illnesses are favored.

Translated by mlk

January 21 2013

Massive Migration / Anddy Sierra Alvarez #Cuba

imagesThe Migration Law will show its true face. As announced, today the new amendments go into effect today.

As expected, today is a day when many Cubans who want to know new frontiers can be secure in knowing that they will not be denied in the acquisition of Cuban passport, their noses pressed against the gates of travel and migration.

People whose ideas differ from those of the Castro regime, will be the most demanding of, and the most rejected, in possessing such a document. In some cases they will obtain a passport to travel but they will have to sign an agreement not to return to their native country until there is a change of government. It is argued that they are of great danger for the government.

The Cuban passport has a very clear objective to prevent people with scientific, political, and other important interests from leaving. The government will make them suffer for their desire to learn, and they will regret having chosen their careers.

The wait for the fortunate will fall like a bucket of cold water. The letter of invitation to travel has been eliminated, but there are other requirements tied to being Cuban citizens.

History has always shown that the ingenuity is need to achieve one’s goals, optimism always helps to brings positive energy, but with this system nothing is clear, a yes is a no and a no is a no.

The territorial migration offices are never crowded and you enter them with great demand for bribes to immigration authorities.

Anyway, the truth comes to light, those mistaken will acknowledge their wrong version, but opponents of the government, they will recognized their great prediction.

January 14 2013

13th Annual Shepherd’s Staff March, Without the Support of Traffic Authorities / Anddy Sierra Alvarez #Cuba

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The shepherd’s staff march is held every year, on December 17 — St. Lazarus Day.  This time the traffic authorities didn’t help like in past years. Observed by State Security (DSE) this year with more participation.

It started at 1:00 pm from the fountain at Sports City, beginning with the participation of 40 people and little by little more arrived until there were 80 people participating.

Traffic was a challenge, they had to cross at the green lights without having a traffic cop to stop the cars.

In the street people gave us food and wished us good health for ourselves and our families, there were those who joined us and even carried the staffs.

The bundle of staffs was heavier than in previous years but we made it to Rincon at night, exactly at 8:00 pm.

We brought the staffs into the church making three Ohm, leaving the church and continuing with our ritual. At the end we were surrounded by State Security, many with bitter faces whose expressions said, “I’ve had enough with this waste of time.”

But in the end we managed to conquer, once more, the walk that brought the union of many people with different positions.

December 18 2012

The Cuban Government is Increasingly Concerned / Anddy Sierra Alvarez #Cuba

imagesVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias announced that he will again have surgery for malignant cancerous cells found in in medical check up performed in Cuba.

Cuban television interrupted regular programming on 8 December 2012 to let Cuban citizens know the current state of health of president Hugo Chavez.

Chavez commented that he is having problems that are preventing him from fulfilling his presidential duties, counseling the Venezuelan people that there may be new elections to choose a new president. “Vote for Maduro,” Chavez said.

Tomas Gonzalez, 65, says, “Now we see the desperation of the government, when I saw them interrupt the broadcast I thought something serious had happened in Cuba but it was Chavez crying for a miracle. He also emphasized that, “Sadly, this is a hard fight, to keep the cancer from winning, it is another surgery and possibly the last. It reminds me of the song by the group “Queen” when they declare they have AIDS and could die at any moment,” Gonzalez said.

Pedro Lopez, 49, commented that president Hugo Chavez has confidence in Cuban doctors and that they might be able to save his life. “But there are better specialists in the world but he would be afraid to receive medical care from an “enemy”, a completely crazy aberration.”

Lopez comments that the situation could become even more difficult. “Venezuela is the principle source of Cuba’s oil and if Chavez dies we Cubans could experience blackouts all over again.” Of even more concern is a new “Special Period.”

December 10 2012

Loss of Values in Cuban Civil Society Officially Recognized / Anddy Sierra Alvarez #Cuba

imagesThe prime time news on Cuban television provides an account of the loss of values of Cuban civil society.

In it they highlight a complaint by a doctor who is bothered by the loud music at night recreation center near his house. The victim in this case, the doctor, complained for several days without getting any response.

Several people are victims of lack of education! Where do they put the churches and underground gay shows?

These two in recent years have expanded throughout the whole island. The activity with microphones or loud music or building a very musical church! They do not consider the place that is always surrounded by neighbors.

The Cuban Revolution with its more than 50 years of existence has brought many irreparable customs that in their promoters’ eyes are good.

What did the Revolution teach us?

In a bus today today, a person with a small child, be it a man or a woman, should be given a seat, but men and women both, many of them turn away to show they’re not looking, but sometimes you see someone chivalrous, but you don’t see it every day.

Formal presentations by the TV is a waste of time, the practice has always been the best way but since even that has fruit, a society destroyed by a revolution of equality where some work and others who work live. “This is what we will continue to develop.”

The Revolution taught us to organize a line of people has already failed, no one lines up to catch a bus (the word “last person” does not exist*).

Formal educational presentations on the TV are a waste of time, the practice has always been the best way but it no longer bears fruit, a society destroyed by a revolution of equality where some work and others live on their work. “This is what we will continue to develop.”

*Translator’s note: In Cuba, it’s customary for new people arriving at a line or a waiting room or area to ask “who is the last person?” and to organize themselves in that way, versus standing for long hours in line.

December 3 2012

Interview with a State Security Official / Anddy Sierra Alvarez #Cuba

At 2:00 PM on November 22, 2012, I was interviewed at the People’s Revolutionary Police (PNR) Capri Station, located in the Arroyo Naranjo municipality of Havana, with the Lieutenant called “Junior” from Department 21 (the State Security department that deals with dissidents).

The interview began after 20 minutes since he could not find a place to hold it:

Official: (He introduced himself as a Department of State Security (DSE) official but did not show identification, and began)

What has motivated you to do these types of things? I believe it’s probably due to something that happened in your past, such as losing in sports, or due to the time you were assaulted and not fairly treated.

Interviewee: That was in the past, it no longer interests me.

Official: How did you find out about the course in journalism from the United States Interests Section (SINA)?

Interviewee: Well, I don’t remember well, but I think that since 2009 I was in CAPF (Commission of Attention to Prisoners and Relatives), and visiting the embassy I found out about the course.

Official: I did not know that you were from CAPF, why do you write blogs? referring to everything published that is true and not invented.

The official continues to ask me why I’m writing blogs because it is not in line with my character. You have nothing in common with those people, you are a professional, he says.

Interviewee: I’m not the only professional, Miriam Celaya, Yoani Sánchez, Reinaldo Escobar, and many others.

Official: Yes, but there are only a few.

Interviewee: That’s what you say.

Official: Tell me what you intend to change with what you are doing?

Interviewee: Everything that’s wrong. Explain to me why is Estaban Lazo in charge after he had the problem with the pig farm in Oriente.”Nothing happened because the people  were not made aware of the situation and instead of being ousted, he was promoted”. You profess that children in Cuba do not go hungry and if you go to Lumumba there are children there who go to bed with bread in their stomachs but don’t have shoes to wear to school. If this is a free country why is there no freedom of expression?

Official: Well, freedom of expression is relative all around the world. If you watch the news you see protesters suppressed with tear gas and beatings. Here we don’t do that.

Interviewee: So why was Rodiles kicked on the floor?

Official: In reality it did not happen that way. Rodiles resisted arrest.

Interviewee: But that did not warrant being brutally beaten.

Official: What happens is that sometimes, due to insufficient police training, some errors are made. That’s why we are always there to make sure nothing happens. However, department 21 does not look after people like Rodiles, it is department 3.

Interviewee: Then you don’t need to look after me.

Official: Yes, you are from CAPF

Interviewee: I was.

Well, now you know what I think. Tell me, what motivates you to be an official?

Official: Well, “that none of the hungry children in the world are Cuban, that none of the illiterate people in the world are Cuban, that education is free, that violence in Cuba is minute compared to the world index,” he said.

Interviewee: So you are the one that takes care of me.

Official: Yes, since you graduated from the course on journalism.

Interviewee: Then if something happens, I’ll come to look for you.

Official: Yes, you tell them to find the Official Junior from 21 and that’s it. Keep in mind that how the situation evolves depends on you. We are here to maintain a dialogue, not to confront. That depends on you. I don’t wish to call you some day to say, look, what you published here is a lie because I saw that person, “this, this, and this are lies”.

Interviewee: Look, the first time that I was taken prisoner to the Unidad jail in Lisa (Havana municipality), I was interviewed by a young lieutenant like you whose name was Marcos, and he said I was making fun of him, and that he was going to hit me. What would have happened if he had hit me?

Official: You would have been in a fight.

Interviewee: No, if I defend myself by hitting him in the head with the chair, what would have happened given that I did not start the fight? “They would have accused me of disobeying the authorities and other things.” Who would have lost? Me.

Official: Stop, I hope that when I send you a citation, you’ll come.

Interviewee: No, I hope this is the last encounter, why come back to you now that you know what I think.

Official: We need to continue to meet because we must talk about other things, and also one day I’ll tell you not to go to Estado de Sats — to make an example of you, if you go I’ll put you in prison. “I hope that when we talk man to man you’ll have the decency to do what I say.”

Interviewee: Well, if you know that Yoani works for the CIA why don’t you jail her?  What’s published in the newspapers and broadcast on television must be lies since you don’t arrest her, only a way to defame her so that people stay away from her.

Official: I don’t like to talk about people when they are not present, but Yoani is a mercenery. If you don’t know what that means, it means “people who are paid to serve the interest of a foreign country.”

Interviewee: Well in regard to the citations, send them personally to me, don’t go through my mother. If you do, I will not come. That’s personal.

Official: The reason is that you need to be at home but yet you stay elsewhere.

Interviewee: I have rights, don’t I?

Official: Tell me the number of your house.

Interviewee: I don’t remember the number. There are three houses with the same address.

Official: Which is it? The first, second, or third?

Interviewee: The second one

Official: The one with hibiscus on the fence.

Interviewee: All the fences there have hibiscus.

Official: Then what’s the color of the house.

Interviewee: Yellow.

Official: Is it the only one of the three that’s yellow?

Interviewee: Yes

Official: The name of your girlfriend I think is a name of an older person: Caridad, María, Carmen. I have it written with the first surname, I don’t have her last surname, so that I can look for her address and give you the citation personally.

Interviewee: OK

Official: What’s her last surname?

Interviewee: What’s her first surname?

Official: I don’t remember. I have everything written down, but I can’t remember everything.

Interviewee: Caridad is her name. Last surname is Torres.

After two hours of conversation he told me I could go.

Translated by: Marina Villa

November 26 2012

Currently, Havana Is Suffering the Same as the People of Santiago /Anddy Sierra Alvarez

In spite of the internationally offered help, Havana suffers because of damage in the province of Santiago de Cuba caused by Hurricane Sandy.  Food is in itself the major preoccupation of the Havanan.

The government has forgotten that it is in charge of keeping economic balance in the streets.  Chickpeas no longer circulate, nor beans in general, nor are there any state markets.

Nevertheless private individuals are those who have beans; black, red, kidney or white, garbanzos and lentils. But the unaffordable prices have risen, for example: The black bean, the one most eaten, costs 18 pesos a pound from 12 pesos that it used to cost and the price from the state is 8 pesos a pound.

We Havanans are at the disposal of the Santiago people, let there be not the slightest doubt, but our government’s lack of economic knowledge makes every corner of the country feel the crisis as if it were in the same location as the tragedy.

So, who controls the situation, the self-employed or the government?

Translated by mlk

November 12 2012

A Second Round in the Municipal Elections in Arroyo Naranjo / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

November 4, 2012. The second round of voting was held, where both aspirants tied to become delegates from that constituency. Part of the population didn’t vote because they consider it an unnecessary activity.

The neighbors of the constituency gave a “no” in not participating to choose in a delegate. María González who is 46 years old, said, “why vote for someone who does not represent me at all,” saying also that the delegates simply solve their own housing problems and are the first to steal from the State.

Raquel Garcia, 50, comments that the street in the area is a disaster and the person in charge of this is the delegate. “We’ve had the same delegate for years and nothing is resolved,” says Garcia. “But if you go to his house he has everything. Where does all that come from?” she adds, indignant.

November 5 2012

Santiago de Cuba — “Hero City” — Victim of Government Inflation / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

Santiago de Cuba is characterized by being one of the provinces than most supports the Castro government. Its citizens, its major, are loyalists. The native city of the Castros has been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

Was Sandy the principal cause of the destruction and the deaths? And what did the government do?

Normally, when a Hurricane comes no matter how small, the measures taken in Havana are always unlimited. Trees are felled to avoid accidents as happened in the east of the country, where because of falling trees several perished and the electricity was cut off leaving the population without power.

The living conditions of the very poor consists of nothing more than wattle and daub houses, and the best have a tile roof — a material susceptible to wind. Then, did Civil Defense do its work 100%?

Thus is was that Cuban citizens perished in their houses because they collapsed and because trees that weren’t cut down fell on them.

October 29 2012