Cuban Doctors are Sent to Brazil Without a Stopover in Cuba / Juan Juan Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 25 May 2015 — To ease the growing popular discontent, soften Petrobras’ recent and resounding scandal and regain credibility, President Dilma Rousseff, taking into account that “improving health” was the principal demand during the June 2013 demonstrations, wants to repeat history. She has asked the Cuban authorities to increase the number of physicians in order to help strengthen the “More Doctors” program and calm the majority who, as always, are the most needy.

According to official figures, up to April 2015, the health project “More Doctors” counted 18,247 professionals in more than 4,000 municipalities. And I celebrate this: healthcare should be the right of everyone without exclusion; it’s a pity that commercialization puts at risk the lives of those who can’t pay for lack of resources. It’s difficult not to consider the Brazilian request, which, although clearly without half-measures, conveys a clear Party intent, requiring the Cuban Government to send only experienced doctors. But the Cuban rulers, using and abusing an effective disloyalty, without consulting the Bolivians, respond without delay to the chords of this samba, even affecting the long-term commitments they have with the Venezuelan health programs. Continue reading

Cuba’s Automotive Heritage Has Been Virtually Plundered / Juan Juan Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 11 May 2015 — With the relaxation of relations between the United States and Cuba, speculation has been unleashed and is causing mischief. Some experts guarantee that several U.S. companies are ready to buy the famous “almendrones”* on the island. It could be the arrangement is real; there is always some nostalgic person whose passion, need or disinformation makes him confuse reality with desire or imagination.

Absolutely out of focus, Cuba’s automotive heritage has been virtually plundered. Most of what remains – Cadillacs, Chevys, Studebakers, Pontiacs, Thunderbirds and Buicks – which still circulate on the island, had their engines replaced to be used as collective taxis (“boteros”), and upon losing originality, they also lost their exceptionalism. Continue reading

Exploring the Role of Alejandro Castro in Cuba’s Future / Juan Juan Almeida

Alejandro Castro Espin, son of Raul Castro, in Panama

Juan Juan Almeida, 22 June 2015 — The prestigious agency Reuters is exploring the role that Alejandro Castro Espin could have as his father’s successor, drawing on three sources: a former CIA official who supports his views with experience studying a still-unknown family—their fears, habits, tastes, preferences, mores, and even the personality of each of its members; a former Cuban ambassador now living in Brussels in fear because one day he decided to provide refuge in the diplomatic residence to two of his grandchildren and a daughter married to a former Russian citizen who fled the armed conflict in Chechnya; and a Canadian historian who wrote a book about Raul Castro the strategist.

It is absurd to assume that Alejandro, just because he is Raul’s son and is a colonel, has the support of the military high command. It is like believing that Nicolae Ceausescu could have ruled indefinitely in Romania and then have been civilly succeeded by his beloved son Nicu. Continue reading

Art Is A Bridge That Unites Miami And Havana / Juan Juan Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 1 June 2015 —  In 1984, at the suggestion of Armando Hart and Marcia Leiseca, Lilian Llanes, then the director of the Wilfredo Lam Center, the Biennial of Havana was created, and since then, the dialogue of the Revolution with Cuban culture has seen itself obligated to change, passing from an intense tone to a prudent one, and it’s truly regretful that our opposition hasn’t ever managed to capture the attention of this brotherhood.

The Government knows that no respectable social movement exists without artists in the vanguard, and it also knows that the Biennial is the place where artists get together to promote art.

What’s interesting is that this cultural rendezvous, the Twelfth Biennial, in addition to converting Havana into a world center for contemporary visual arts, and invading Havana with an artillery of paintings, regiments of video art, battalions of sculptures, squadrons of installations and platoons of performance art, is creating a new manner of communication and collaboration among artists residing on the Island and in Miami. Continue reading

National Strategy For The Development Of The Infrastructure For Broadband Connectivity In Cuba / Republic of Cuba, Ministry of Communications

internet-en-cubaThe document below was obtained and circulated by Juan Juan Almeida.

Following are the first few paragraphs of the document, followed by a downloadable PDF of the entire document.

NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR BROADBAND CONNECTIVITY IN CUBA

(Source: Republic of Cuba, Ministry of Communications)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

JUNE 2015

INTRODUCTION

The project of National Strategy for the Development of the Infrastructure for Broadband Connectivity in Cuba “constitutes the policy line to follow for the development of the infrastructure that will serve as support for the implementation of an integral policy for perfecting computer access in Cuban society.”

The fundamental objective of the National Strategy is to organize, regulate and trace the lines for the integral development of Broadband in Cuba. Consequently, it will serve as a guide for national entities and the population, in the development, exploration and utilization of communication services. The range of the objectives, features and goals of this strategy will be put into place in the period of 2015 to 2020, in the framework of a projection up to the year 2030.

The vision of this work is to augment the impact of telecommunications/information and communications technology (ICT) on the transformation and modernization of the Cuban economy and society, through the efficacious and intensive use of new technologies for the population, the business sector and the institutions of the State and the Government, within the scope of reasonable security.

The entire document can be downloaded here.

Many thanks to Regina Anavy for her translation of it.

Site manager’s note: Through some confusion (normal in dealing with communications from a country with a terrible communications infrastructure), it is not clear whether the document distributed by Carlos Alberto Perez (which was mentioned in an earlier version of this post) is the same as that provided by Juan Juan Almeida. The one Regina translated is the one provided by Juan Juan. Hence this post has been corrected to reflect that.

 

Access to International Banks: Cuba’s True Objective in These Negotiations / Juan Juan Almeida

Josefina Vidal, Cuban negotiator

Josefina Vidal, Cuban negotiator

Juan Juan Almeida, 25 May 2015– For many, it was a surprise that the United States and Cuba should conclude its new round of negotiations without achieving the expected agreement, the reopening of new embassies–more so when both delegations described the recently concluded meeting as “respectful, professional, and highly productive.”

Thus does the Island’s government operate; it maneuvers with painstaking craftiness any process that entails sociopolitical transcendence for the country.

I hope (although at times I doubt it) that the US State Department and US authorities involved in these proceedings clearly understand that not Josefina Vidal–member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and director for the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations director for relations with the United States–nor José Ramón Cabañas, chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, nor any other member of the Cuban delegation, have decision-making authority. They are simply employees who have been given precise instructions: explore the actions and reactions of their counterparts, buy time, maximize media coverage (which they easily do because all media around the world are covering the big story), and show toughness. Continue reading

The Congress on Soil, where soil is not cultivated / Juan Juan Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 3 June 2015 — The 2015 Congress on Soil begins today, June 3, in the Convention Palace in the capital. Experts from more than 20 countries will discuss the sustainable management of this vital resource for food security. But if more than 40 percent of the arable surface in Cuba remains idle, what can Cuba contribute to this meeting?

Translated by Regina Anavy

Who do you do business with in Cuba, the military or civilians? / Juan Juan Almeida

Raul Castro at the National Asssembly in Havana

Juan Juan Almeida,8 June 2015 — In an admirable surge of ratification in the most pure tradition of sovereignty, out of an infinite commitment of respect for human rights and in support of the Cuban people, this past June 3, on the birthday of Raúl Castro, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the prohibition of exports to the Cuban military.

I assume, without the least reluctance, that the General took it as an excellent gift. That measure won’t affect the ruling class at all; it will only shatter, even more, the agonizing economy of Cubans who don’t have sufficient resources to reach the end of the month. As my grandmother said, “What’s just is not only what suits the ones who dictate the sentence.”

Relying on memories etched by force and in the authority granted to me by the experience of having lived in the monster and knowing it, I can guarantee that in terms of effectiveness, this recently approved statute will not even begin to make a dent in the pentagram of Cuban authority.

To stop exporting American products to institutions directed by the Cuban military implies not selling anything to Cuba. And if the idea is to stop exporting in order to augment the discontent and provoke a hoped-for social conflict, we are more out of place than a piraña on the high seas.

The CIA, congressmen, think-tanks, analysts, scholars and advisors should come back to earth and understand for once that the civil-military parallelism with its commercial and banking tentacles in several places in the world, which for years sided with Fidel and Raúl, has ceased to exist.

Since 2009, when the GAE (Business Administration Group, S.A.) appropriated CIMEX (Cuba Import-Export, S.A.), they made Colonel Héctor Oroza Busutil president and arranged that the Center of Purchasing and National Imports would remain under the orders of Tecnoimport (which is not a fake business – its central offices are in the Marina Building, Ave. del Puerto, No. 102, between Justiz and Obrapía, Old Havana).

It seized, among other things, the last civilian redoubt divesting itself of the Panamerican Shops, the Servi-Cupet (service centers), the El Rápido cafeterias, the Video centers and the photo shops, Photoservice, the Commercal Centers, the shipping company, Zelcom (which includes the free zone, the industrial parks and the storage services in bond), the International Group of Tour Operators and the tour company Havanatur, the services of Rent a Car and taxis, Black Coral (jewelry), Contex (design and production of uniforms and fashion collections), Coinage of Money, the Customs agency, Images (publicity and production of videos), Ecuse (repair and maintenance of automotive equipment and construction of property), the Estate Agent, the Center of Credit Cards and financial services, the BFI (International Finance Bank), Cubapacks (messaging, parcels and catalog sales), Abdala (recording studios, record labels and music editing) and the division that manages all the trademarks and patents.

The same thing happened in Habaguanex, in the system of self-employment and in all the ministries and institutions, be they governmental or not. In all of them there are colonels and generals dressed like CEOs with clothing from Anderson & Sheppard.

You only have to look to see that the social, economic, financial, business and institutional structure today is under the control of the military and/or the families of the legendary leaders of the Cuban Revolution, who paradoxically fake their ideological positions but in reality are more committed to their generation and their own desires than to their loyalty to Raúl.

Without a doubt, with this measure they will entrench themselves, and it will help them reorganize the rank and file that is already divided and with serious internal conflicts. I am sure that other ways exist, including better ways of making this ruling class implode, from the inside, without having to affect the Cuban people.

Translated by Regina Anavy 

President of Cienfuegos Government Falls in Police Raid / Juan Juan Almeida

He confused having a political position with autonomy and freedom, used the Internet service to call his daughter who resides in Canada, was summoned for it, and had to pay the price for believing in the future.

Eduardo Walfrido Coll Rodríguez, known as Eddy Coll, President of the Municipal Assembly of People’s Power in Cienfuegos, is one of those rare men who, occupying a certain medium rank, and possessing leadership skills to spare, accepts the word “change,” listens to the voice of an exhausted nation and, from a government position, defends and identifies with the people’s priorities. Continue reading

Cuba: A Bill to Penalize Acts of Repudiation / Juan Juan Almeida

Act of repudiation against and arrests of Ladies in White/

Act of repudiation against and arrests of Ladies in White.

To guarantee the prevalence of solidarity and respect, a bill is urgently needed that would penalize acts of repudiation, and hold their perpetrators and accomplices criminally responsible.

Help me to promote this bill.

Act of Repudiation Act of Repudiation

A Bill to Penalize Acts of Repudiation in Cuba

By Juan Juan Almeida

To guarantee the prevalence of solidarity and respect, a bill is urgently needed that would penalize acts of repudiation, and demand their perpetrators and accomplices be held criminally responsible.

We Cubans are living through an unequivocal social collapse and loss of values that we should, for the benefit of all, reverse. The Government bears much blame for this phenomenon that underlies civic conduct. Perhaps it thought that it was doing enough by providing us the opportunity for suitable professional advancement, and upon decreeing that good manners were a petit bourgeois vestige, created the “anti-value.” Continue reading

Cuba: The Pitfalls of Extradition / Juan Juan Almeida

Joanne Chesimard

Juan Juan Almeida, 23 April 2015 — Havana promised the Bush administration that it would no longer accept fugitives from American justice such as Joanne Chesimard, shown here in footage shot on a Havana street.

Politics is the only one of the performing arts in which there are no surprises. Despite the visible efforts made by Cuba and the United States to normalize relations and the Cuban government’s recent agreement to cooperate in resolving cases of U.S. fugitives living on the island, I question whether Joanne Chessimard (who was granted political asylum in 1984) or William Guillermo Morales (who also has asylum) will ever be extradited.

Their extradition would set a precedent that would put pressure on authorities to hand over others, such Juan Lisímaco Gutiérrez Fischmann (former husband of Mariela Castro), who have sought refuge in Havana by claiming political persecution. Continue reading