The Ex-President Does Not Have a Double/ Juan Juan Almeida

On the evening of June 24 at 5:15 PM, the cyber-comandante Fidel was back, once again offering up his reflections. This time he went to great lengths to explain himself but, unfortunately, no one understood him, not even his own brother.

He started off with his obsessive and repetitive fixation on universal disaster, went on to reprimand the international media for not covering issues of greater importance, and closed by extending his congratulations to Maradona, to Messi, to Telesur and to American soccer players.

Commentaries such as these prove the former president does not have a body double. If he did, he would not write so much drivel.

27 June 2014

Santa Ana In Sight / Juan Juan Almeida

How much Santa Ana day has cost us, and as always, as the date, July 26, approaches I have zero tolerance. Already this year they are announcing the celebration will be in the new Artemisa province.

Then, all the national press overflows with unending lies, and I read things like this: “In this province by the minute the work atmosphere, enthusiasm, commitments and pride are on the rise, it barely rests, daily we check the previewed works and other actions linked with the population’s quality of life, with the improvement, beautification, and sanitation of towns, cities and centers, declared Raul Rodriguez Cartaya, chief of the Provincial Administration Counsel.”

And it offends me that they keep believing that we citizens are revived by accepting as true this disrespectful stream of lies knowing that the country is falling to pieces.

Translated by mlk.

25 June 2014

Now They Will Leave, But Illegally / Juan Juan Almeida

Gelkis Jimenez, Adriel Labrada, Carolos Manuel Portuondo, Alejandro Jaime Ortiz, Yasmani Hernandez Romero and Diosdani Castillo were ballplayers excluded from a pre-selection of 43 players that was prepared to face a United States university team next July.

According to the president of the Cuban Baseball Federation himself, Higinio Velez, the reason for the elimination is that the mentioned players were caught when they tried to leave the country. More foolish than foolishness, I ask myself if instead of suspending them, if it is not better to let them go. It does not even deserve comment.

Translated by mlk.

26 June 2014

Most Important, Control / Juan Juan Almeida

According to authorities from the Ministry of Communications, Cuba loses more than ten million convertible pesos a year in income due to fraud in services. And they have warned, there will be penalties.

After a little research, I learned that the real concern of these Cuban officials is not the increase in cloned ETECSA (phone company) cards to call abroad; the real issue is that the use of new technologies – such as calling and receiving calls via the internet, from Cuba to overseas and vice versa – is difficult to control and prevents tracking. This reminds me of the opportune sign, which I saw so many times: A painted eye. The stalker.

26 June 2014

Cuban Mission in Venezuela in Danger / Juan Juan Almeida

They add up to thousands, the Cubans, health professionals, who have been sent to Venezuela since the first Cuban Medical Mission landed in Caracas December 16, 1999.

Our technicians, doctors, nurses; they continue and will continue fulfilling the Hippocratic Oath in the South American country and the sacred duty of offering medical attention to all who need it.

The enthusiasm of the first collaborations has eroded, today all the personnel of the Cuban medical cooperation seem to be transitioning to a bad moment, full of insecurity and uncertainty, because among many other situations, they confront the discontent of a wide sector of the population.

So shows a classified report dated last Friday, June 13, signed by Dr. Victor Gauter, chief of all the missions, and sent with urgency to the Cuban Public Health Ministry. Continue reading

Wait, There’s Nothing Else To Do / Juan Juan Almeida

Some days ago they announced the closure to all traffic of the route over the “iron bridge”, the swing bridge in the city of Havana, which links the Municipal Square with the beach. Because yesterday they started, or at least that´s what they said, some capital maintenance works; the first ones in 55 years. The intention is to put back in order both the physical operation of the bridge, and also its appearance.

What I recall is that, some time ago, quite some time ago, because of the extensive damage to the bridge´s elements, it was necessary to limit it to only pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles, because of its bad state.

Now, all we can do is wait, and see if they will really will do what they promise, or if it´s just another superficial paint-job.

Translated by GH

17 June 2014

The New Man in Cuba in Search of Anabolic Steroids / Juan Juan Almeida

You don’t need to be an expert critic, clairvoyant sociologist or a wise politician to understand that when you grow up in a totalitarian and absolutist country like Cuba, flooded with numerous afflictions, it’s normal to feel small.

Thus, because of the great restrictions on individual freedom, the meager access to modernity and a determined idleness, every day more young Cubans, trapped in the wrong time of an epoch that doesn’t move on, however much it’s announced, and doesn’t arrive, evade reality by finding refuge in sex, drugs, alcohol, emigration, robbing, lying and in a new sickness that, although it’s not recognized as such by the international medical community, is now all the craze.

The consumption of anabolic steroids has grown into an epidemic, especially among adolescents and young people, who want to improve their physical and esthetic qualities. They also are sure they will lose body fat, which is in vogue. Continue reading

Public Health In Cuba, Between Missions, Rabies and Dengue Fever / Juan Juan Almeida

The Cuban Ministry of Public Health turned 105 years old.  Congratulations. Personally I think that health is the most precious non-material heritage a human being can count on.  It should be considered a right for all citizens of the world and a responsibility of each State.

It is sad to know that in spite of the wide arsenal and enormous development that medicine world wide counts on, almost 10 million infants and pregnant women die prematurely each year for causes that, in large measure, are preventable.  Such a powerful reason leads me to applaud the collaboration that, in medical matters, the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) and Cuban doctors offer in different countries.

Ignoring this would be a form of blindness; but clearly, because there is always a why, we should not forget that behind this so fiercely kind action, health has also a conquistador nature. Continue reading

What Is Known Is Not Questioned / Juan Juan Almeida

According to Martin Pupo, director of the Holguin Operations Base Business Unit, since March 2013 they put into operation Fleet Management and Control (on board computers known as GPS) in trucks that supply the business network far and wide in the Holguin municipalities.

The idea is to stop fuel loss; but a recent inquiry carried out by MINAL found that the business in question used monthly something more than 21 tons of fuel.  And it is logical that the costly measure will not achieve its objective because the neighbors say that in reality those who know “where the bodies are buried” are the ones who are implicated, those who steal and sell petrol are not the truck drivers but the managers signing false delivery orders.  I did not tell them.

Translated by mlk.

3 June 2014

Dialogue Without Future / Juan Juan Almeida

Young historian Elier Ramirez asserts that “Dialogue, Dialogue” is a space for debate and reflection that the Cuba Pavilion welcomes each month by initiative of the Saiz Brothers Association.

What’s extraordinary is that he calls for dialogue, and I am neither adding nor removing a comma, about the exchange of necessary ideas at this moment in order to stimulate in different social circles the debate about the topics related to current national affairs in pursuit of assuring the continuity of The Revolution.  If you understood, explain it to me.

Translated by mlk.

30 May 2014

Radio Marti’s Listeners on the Central Committee of the PCC / Juan Juan Almeida

Radio Marti’s Hertz waves arrived in the Cuban ether May 20, 1985. That Monday, the island radio scene was disconfigured. Today I want to tell the same history from another perspective.

Fidel Castro, the man of pride stuck to the military uniform, hated surprises, and that’s why, long before the day that Senator Paula Hawkins presented the draft bill, he had already ordered his most loyal ears, within and outside of the United States, to obtain facts and information about what later happened. And at the same time, he installed an invisible army that, like mold spores lurked, awaiting the opportunity to act. Continue reading

Turn Off The News / Juan Juan Almeida

When last week, the official gazette announced special admission permits for those foreigners who buy or rent dwellings in Cuba, several news media outlets, seemingly not very well informed, put together a whole hornet’s nest.

Wow, what a way to let yourself be manipulated.  It’s hard to believe that so many know-it-alls don’t know that since the end of the ’90’s, when the island’s real estate boom became fashionable, the Cuban government already gave the gringos who bought (or rented), temporary residence, renewable annually, and the right to import a car.  Before reporting, take a refresher.

Translated by mlk.
28 May 2014