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.

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”

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”

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”

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”

A Dead End / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 24 May 2016 — Historically, Venezuela has been a country of dictators, as have others in Latin America: Simon Bolivar was one, regardless of his merits as the Liberator of America from the Spanish yoke;  and then the Monagas brothers were (1846-1858); followed by Guzmán Blanco (1870-1888), Cipriano Castro (1899-1908), Juan Vicente Gómez (1908-1931), Delgado Chalbaud, Marcos Perez Jimenez (1950-1958), Hugo Chavez and now, in the process of learning, Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro’s pedantry, his attempt to be Chavez’s “designated” successor, his accelerated loss of popular support, the unassailable triumph of the opposition in achieving a majority in the National Assembly, the systematic setbacks of his operation and, now, the overwhelming number of signatures collected to proceed with a midterm recall referendum, plus his economic failures, have made him hysterical, inventing conspiracies, economic wars, interventions and other absurdities, products of his fevered mind and those who guide him from inside and outside the country. As Uruguay’s former president Mujica said, “He is madder than a goat.”

To this is added the environment around him which is not favorable: Argentina without Cristina Kirchner and with Macri, Brazil without Dilma Rousseff and with Temer, Evo Morales unable to be reelected, Correa responsibly dedicated to the his country’s recovery from the earthquake, and Cuba getting worse all the time.

As if that were not enough, the institutions and organisms created by the Latin American Left (UNASUR, ALBA, CELAC and others) in the years of splendor, for their mutual support and to maintain themselves in power, ignoring those existing previously, are in the doldrums, having lost their main sources of economic support, and very little has been done, other than some passing some generic declarations, more formal than real, to make it clear that they are still breathing, although they are in intensive care.

Maduro blames the opposition, the “empire” the OAS, Uribe, and the many who criticize the problems in Venezuela, but forgets that it is, above all, he and Chavism that is to blame. With Maduro and those who sustain him in power, Venezuela will not emerge from the political, economic and social crisis in which it finds itself.

Servile Talents / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 10 May 2016 — “There is really no spectacle more hateful than that of servile talents.” (José Martí, Complete Works, Volume 13, Page 158, Cuban National Press.) I wanted to start these lines with this thought of the Apóstol [Cubans refer to Martí in this way], as many of our intellectuals, some of them with famous names, have joined the flock of government sheep, without having any need to do so, taking an active part in its campaigns of disinformation and manipulation of the people, going so far as to commit acts of violence against those who think differently to them, and demonstrating an aggressiveness which is foreign to them and does not fit well with their personalities. Continue reading “Servile Talents / Fernando Dámaso”

Two Absurd Terms / Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 4 May 2016 — When I hear the elderly political leaders talking about the irrevocability and the permanence of Cuban socialism, I feel sorry for them, thinking about how everyone in the world with at least half a brain must be laughing at them. It’s clear that nothing made by man is irrevocable or permanent.

Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin, just to give four examples from history, thought that their ideas and regimes would indeed last, and, nevertheless, harsh reality demonstrated how wrong they were. It seems that there is a lot of historical illiteracy about.

To think that Cuba could be the exception, is absurd. Albert Einstein stated “Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity.” It seems like the latter is flourishing.

Having hurriedly included these terms in the Constitution means nothing, since Magna Cartas can be written and unwritten. Without looking any further afield, how many have been revoked or changed in the last few years in Latin America? It will happen in Cuba too.

It seems that political leaders who consider themselves to be intelligent people, when their final hour draws close, try to cling on, to make sure everything continues in accordance with their wishes. Once again, harsh reality demonstrates that this rarely happens, although sometimes change is slowed and delayed more than it should be.

This Cuban-style socialism, imposed with so much enjoyment, constructed with so little seriousness, will disappear like a failed monster, and it will do so because it has plunged Cubans into misery and destroyed the country.

Translated by GH

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”