Cubans on the Borders / Fernando Dámaso

Cubans are once again crowded along the border between Costa Rica and Panama. the Cuban government, as usual, blames it in the “Cuban Adjustment Act” and ignores, as always, the real causes: Cubans don’t believe in the promised “prosperous, sustainable and irrevocable socialism” and, even less, in their old political leaders.

The political, economic and social situation, instead of improving, has continued to deteriorate, without the appearance of any intelligent measures that could turn it around. Everything goes back to words, slogans, recycled speeches and empty promises, by the same “historicals” responsible for the current crisis and their national and international spokespeople. Continue reading “Cubans on the Borders / Fernando Dámaso”

Between Transfusions / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 13 April 2016 — It is no surprise that the Cuban communist party is sick. The run-up to its 7th Congress unleashed a campaign of “transfusions” in a effort to revive it. These included excerpts of old speeches from the front pages of Granma that addressed the subject, opinion pieces and even short editorials on the same topic and lastly an item with the suggestive title “Without the Party the Revolution Could Not Exist.”

A revolution is a process that lasts for a certain period of time. It is certainly not eternal nor does it drag on for fifty-seven years. The Cuban Revolution lasted, more or less, until 1975 or 1976, when it became institutionalized. After that, it was just a government, the government of the Republic of Cuba. To continue referring to it as “revolutionary” is nothing more than an ideological addiction. Continue reading “Between Transfusions / Fernando Damaso”

Turning the Page / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 4 April 2016 — Given President Barack Obama’s intelligent proposal to leave the past behind, turn the page, and together build a better present, some Cuban fossils have cried to the heavens, or to hell, go figure.

After the Revolutionary War, Cubans and Spaniards, who had fought a bloody war, with real fighting and not mere skirmishes, shook hands, agreed on mutual forgiveness and dedicated themselves to building a Republic “with all and for the good of all.” This was possible because José Martí’s ideas prevailed, a man who always proclaimed love over hatred and rancor. Continue reading “Turning the Page / Fernando Dámaso”

The Changes Are Yet to Come / Fernando Dámaso

Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez
Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez

Fernando Damaso, 23 March 2016 — At an event with Cuban and foreign journalists on March 17, the Cuban foreign minister — one of the dullest and most lackluster persons to hold this position — once again stated that “all the changes in Cuba took place on January 1, 1959.”

The minister seems to take it for granted that the so-called “generation of the century” has the right not only to exercise power but to do so forever. He forgets that five generations of Cubans have been born since this one, many of whom feel no attachment to these “historic figures” or their actions, and that these younger generations have the right to change what they they feel should be changed for the good of the country and its citizens. There is no “historic debt” which must be paid. Continue reading “The Changes Are Yet to Come / Fernando Dámaso”

A Before and After / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 29 March 2016 — The official journalists and the functionaries of the Cuban government, all in chorus, just to prove that the Guantanamo Naval Base is illegal have taken up against the presidents and Cuban governments from the years 1903 and 1934, years when the status of the installation was, respectively, signed and ratified. There is talk of appeasement, surrender and other accusations against facts, institutions and people who belong to history and who no longer physically exist.

However, no one said a single word against the installation — behind the backs of the Cuban people and without their approval — of Soviet nuclear missiles in the national territory in 1962. Nor about the installation of the “Lourdes” Radar Espionage base, nor about the deployment of a Soviet motorized combat unit, also without the approval of the Cuban people. Continue reading “A Before and After / Fernando Dámaso”

A "Privileged" Artist / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 15 January 2016 — Personally, I have nothing against the plastic artist known as “Kcho,” be it against his values or his work–a task I leave for specialists–aside from the fact that his recurring little boats and oars leave me cold.

The reason for these lines is that “Kcho” seems to have become the “preferred artist of the kingdom”: his paintings, installations and other works are regularly presented as gifts from the authorities to foreign and national personalities, as if there were no other national plastic artists whose works would merit this special treatment. Continue reading “A "Privileged" Artist / Fernando Dámaso”

No Red Carpet for Obama in Cuba / Fernando Dámaso

President Obama being greeted at the airport in Havana (AP Photo)
President Obama is greeted at the airport in Havana (AP Photo)

Cuban authorities receive every “political whippersnapper” with pomp and circumstance. But not Obama.

Fernando Damaso, 20 March 2016 — In my family they always told me that when someone visited the house, the principal figure should personally receive the visitor, as a show of culture and respect.

It is striking that none of the principal Cuban authorities, who have always received with pomp and circumstance every “political whippersnapper” who has visited the country, have not been present at the airport for the visit of President Obama: no salutes at the foot of the steps, no red carpet, no honor guard, no marching band, no presidential 21 gun salute. It was a manifestation of rudeness and disrespect. Do they think, perhaps, that this is a way to show their “populist friends” in crisis their independence and sovereignty. Crass mistake.

I imagine the media, echoing around the whole world this huge politcal “gaffe.” Is this how they intend to improve relations between the two countries?

It seems that the Cuban crisis is not only political, economic and social, but also one of intelligence. Poor country. Each day change becomes more necessary, if we are really going to save ourselves.

A Strange Visit / Fernando Dámaso

Nicolas Maduro meets with Fidel Castro on the eve of Obama's visit to Cuba. (abc.es)
Nicolas Maduro meets with Fidel Castro on the eve of Obama’s visit to Cuba. (abc.es)

Fernando Damaso, 19 March 2016 — The big question this weekend has been, “What made Nicolas Maduro and his entourage come to Cuba, two days before the arrival of President Barack Obama?

Besides being an unannounced visit, unlike normal procedires, the objectives put forward are laughable: “To sign cooperation accords for the present year (we are already in mid-March), and for 2030 (by someone whose days as president are numbered).

Also notable is the great display by the Cuban authorities, with an official reception ceremony (this character visits Cuba every month), more handing out Continue reading “A Strange Visit / Fernando Dámaso”

Relationship is Not Simply Acceptance / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 8 March 2016 — At the 31st Ordinary Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which met in Geneva, the delegation of the Cuban government, headed by Mr. Pedro Nunez Mosquera, Director General for Multilateral Affairs and International Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), was upset because a few days before President Obama’s visit to Cuba, Mr. Antony Blinder, Undersecretary of State of the United States, pointed out some outstanding issues for the Cuban authorities with regards to Human Rights, such as the importance of the Cuban people being free to elect their leaders, express their ideas, and enjoy a flourishing civil society. Continue reading “Relationship is Not Simply Acceptance / Fernando Dámaso”

A Highly Questionable Constitution / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Dámaso, 29 February 2016 — The current constitution — ratified on February 24, 1976 and with significant amendments added in both 1992 and 2002 — was based on document developed by the executive committees of the Council of Ministers and the Politburo, and submitted to the chairman of a drafting committee created for this purpose.

Unlike the 1940 constitution, it was not drafted under the direction of an elected constituent assembly, one in which the full range of political opinion — from extreme left to extreme right — was represented. Nor was it debated article by article before being adopted. Continue reading “A Highly Questionable Constitution / Fernando Dámaso”

Straight Talk About Cuban Baseball / Fernando Dámaso

baseball logo downloadFernando Damaso, 19 February 2016 — After the foolishness of Cuba baseball at the recent Caribbean Series, plus the poor state of the eight teams participating at this stage in the National Series, “official government” sportswriters don’t agree on how to resolve the catastrophic situation, and even talk and write nostalgically about the good old days when “we were respected and invincible,” forgetting that then our professional players (they were paid their salaries for playing baseball) competed against university students and real amateurs, in a kind of “lion against the tied up monkey.” Continue reading “Straight Talk About Cuban Baseball / Fernando Dámaso”

The Urban Marabou* / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 5 March 2106 — Poor taste and anti-aesthetics have spread across the whole country. Havana is an excellent example of this. None of its suburbs or districts have been able to avoid it. In Nuevo Vedado, in Tulipán Street, between Marino and Estancia Streets, an African-Cuban religious-cultural centre has been put up, made out of waste materials which, instead of embellishing the location, has made it ugly. Apart from making everybody who passes it miserable, with its profusion of flags, full-size unartistic figures, worthless paintings and aggressive and dangerous metal sheets, it also afflicts its  neighbours with music from early morning until late at night.

If it had belonged to any individual, the Planning Authority would have ordered its demolition by now, and would have ordered them to open up those sections of Marino and Estancia Streets, between Tulipán and Lombillo Streets to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, both of which have been closed and appropriated for its private use by the Ministries of Transport and Construction.

There is a repeat of the problem in the ramshackle facilities for the farmers’ market in Tulipán Street on the corner of Protestante, where poor taste and anti-aesthetics are also on display, made even worse by the dirty environment at that location.

It seems that urban regulations don’t apply equally to all situations, and that there are some strange “exceptions.”

*Translator’s note: Marabou is an invasive weed that has spread across much of Cuba’s agricultural land.

Translated by GH

Under the Umbrella of Jose Marti / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 5 February 2016 — A few days ago the 2nd International With All and For the Good of All Conference was held in Havana, a government activity that, according to its organizers, brought together more than 500 delegates from around 50 nations.

It is convenient to seriously talk about and study Marti, although in this case the title of the Conference is ironic, because it takes place in a country where the commitment to Jose Marti’s “with all and for the good of all” has not been met.

The participants, as expected, with some exceptions, are part of the international fauna who unconditionally support the Cuban regime and make up its associations of solidarity. Analyzing and deepening Jose Marti’s thought is a mask of their true objectives: trying to confront the current process of changes where leftist and populist ideas are suffering a setback. Continue reading “Under the Umbrella of Jose Marti / Fernando Damaso”

Ignorance and Fanatacism / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 20 January 2016 — After fifteen years of combined misrule by him and his predecessor, it now appears the Venezuelan president — having recently lost a legislative majority in the National Assembly — has come up with a plan to solve all of Venezuelans economic problems in 2016. The plan is to be presented by his party’s deputies, now in the minority, who refer to themselves as “the patriots.”

It is worth asking why this wonderful plan was not presented and executed when Hugo Chavez and his party enjoyed almost absolute power, a time when there was only minor opposition in the National Assembly. Are they now trying to do what they could not do fifteen years ago? Some fools actually believe this! Continue reading “Ignorance and Fanatacism / Fernando Damaso”

Unnecessary Portraits / Fernando Damaso

A banner of Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez is seen at the Venezuelan embassy in Havana March 10, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Fernando Damaso, 9 January 2016 — In Venezuela it appears that the “Chavista circus” is coming to the end of its work in some public spaces, in this case in the Legislative Palace where the National Assembly meets, from where some portraits of the “eternal president” — as designated by himself before his death — have been removed, leaving only those of the Liberator Simon Bolivar, uncontaminated and unadulterated by fanatical Chavez propaganda.

This practice of placing yourself under the protective shadow of some independence leader to better sell yourself to the masses, seems to be a tactic conceptualized by the majority of “populist” Latin Americans: their principal victims being Bolivar, Sucre, San Martin, Marti and others. Continue reading “Unnecessary Portraits / Fernando Damaso”