14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 18 August 2016 — The tabloid with the updates of the Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party Guidelines, is distributed lately without fanfare. The few copies on sale in the newsstands and the majority of people’s lack of interest in official documents, suggest that very soon they will be forgotten. However, to not analyze or question them would be another form of meekly accepting their principles.
From the opposition sector voices are heard describing these new party directives as “tricks and traps from a caste that maintains itself in power.” The foreign press, for its part, has been quick to draw conclusions after a sidelong glance at them, but few have plunged into othe274 points plagued with grandiloquent propositions, commitments that seem to be dreams, and a syntax that is difficult to understand. Continue reading “Oblivion Awaits The New Party Guidelines / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar”
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, San Juan, 15 August 2016 — The emergence of a new opposition partnership called the Conference of the Cuban National Congress is the most notable result of the event that has gathered in Puerto Rico 65 organizations from the island and in exile.
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 12 August 2016 — The Cuban 2nd National Conference is meeting this Friday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, under the slogan “United we will be free,” with the presence of nearly a hundred activists from the island and from exile.
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 11 August 2016 – Cuba’s immigration authorities prevented activists Ivan Hernandez and Felix Navarro from traveling outside Cuba this Thursday. The former prisoners of the 2003 Black Spring were invited to participate in the 2ndCuban National Conference that be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from 12 to 14 August, but were unable to board their flight at Havana’s José Martí International Airport, where they ran into Reinaldo Escobar, 14ymedio’s editor
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 8 August 2016 – Everyone in the Versalles neighborhood in the city of Camagüey knows Bernardo de Quesada Salomon. Loquacious, restless and the founder of the Apostolic Movement, he has experienced intense months this year, especially January 8th, when the police entered his home and demolished the structure in the backyard that served as a center of worship.
Quesada opened his doors to this newspaper to talk about how he became an adored pastor to his neighbors and malefactor to State Security. On the slab behind his house, where until recently the temple stood, he now meets every Sunday with his congregation under the intense August sun. None of them have stopped coming in the last months, despite the campaign against the leader of the church which continues to rage every day. Continue reading ““The Cuban Nation Is Wounded, But It Will Laugh Again” / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar”
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, 4 August 2016 — On August 13, the 90th birthday of Fidel Castro, there will not be only official festivities. If the young activist Carlos Oliva Amel holds to his decision not to eat, that day will mark one month of his hunger strike. The government opponent is fighting an uphill battle: his body deteriorates and the government appears deaf to his demands. This member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) is fading slowly without his demands being answered.
Amel Carlos Oliva told 14ymedio during on phone call on Wednesday, the 22nd day of his fast, that he felt a lot of pain “in the knee, and acidity.” Two days ago he received a rehydration drink at the September 28 Polyclinic in Santiago de Cuba that eased the “heartburn” but now he is again suffering from “nausea and dizziness.” The dissident complained that in recent days he has been totally surrounded by a “strong repressive operation.” Continue reading “Amel Carlos Oliva: A Handful Of Guts Against A System / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar”
14ymedio, Havana, Reinaldo Escobar, 30 July 2016 — Ten years after the Proclamation in which Fidel Castro announced his departure from power, that document continues to reveal distinctive features of a personality marked by the desire to control everything. More than an ideological legacy, the text is a simple list of instructions and it is unlikely that the official media—so addicted to the upcoming major anniversary of Fidel Castro’s 90th birthday—will offer an assessment of whether these instructions have been followed.
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 26 July 2016 – Sporting a hat to protect himself from the rays of the sun, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura explained in his speech for the 26th of July that the changes introduced in the Cuban model “are aimed at consolidating our socialism, to make more prospero (prosperous) and sustainable.” The keynote speaker at an event this morning in Sancti Spiritus realized immediately that he had omitted the enclitic pronoun “it” next to the verb “to make” and corrected it but introduced a new error: “To make it more proximo (next) and sustainable.”
To the cheerful confusion of those who didn’t notice the initial grammatical slip, the vice president conveyed the impression that he hadn’t meant to say prosperous, but proximo (next). The correction thus became a political problem, because if there is something Cubans know it is that the promised socialism “without haste, but without pause” could be anything or have innumerable oddities, but in no way is it “next.” Continue reading “The Erratic Corrections of Machado Ventura / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar”
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 15 July 2016 — The ouster of Marino Murillo as head of the Ministry of Economy and Planning (MEP) raises the question of whether it was a fall into disgrace or an act of protection. An official statement said that Murillo would dedicate himself to the implementation of the Communist Party Guidelines and recognized his work as minister. The praise contrasts with the terrible results of the Cuban economy in the first half of this year and raises the question of whether Murillo’s removal, in reality, hides a promotion.
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 13 July 2016 — Before leaving Cuba, Armando Avila was an auto mechanic specializing in brake systems in Ciego de Avila. In December 2015, he took a flight to Ecuador with the intention of reaching the border between Mexico and the United States to invoke the Cuban Adjustment Act. On July 9 he was returned to Havana by force, in a group of 29 Cubans deported by Rafael Correa’s government.
Avila, 45, spoke with 14ymedio by telephone on Monday and said he did not feel like a deportee or a returnee, “but someone kidnapped.” The migrant, who wanted to keep his current whereabouts unknown, recalled that “the laws of Ecuador consider that no one is illegal and they can only deport those who have committed a crime.” Continue reading ““They are afraid of us” / 14ymedio Reinaldo Escobar”
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 9 July 2016 – A week after its opening the store Zona+ still hasn’t received permission to offer its products at wholesale prices, Located on Calle 7th A, between 66th and 68th in Havana’s Playa district, it has a strong competitor about 300 yards away in the market on 70th Street, one of the most well-stocked in the capital.
The commercial slogan of the new store says that clients can find what they need there “and more.” Although it has not been officially announced in any national media, it’s already known that its most promising attraction is that it will operate under the concept of a wholesale market, one of the most common demands of private entrepreneurs, especially those who have restaurants, cafes, or rent rooms with meals included. Continue reading “Zona+ Hopes to be Cuba’s First Wholesale Store / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar”
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Miami, 2 July 2016 — In October of 1988, students of the School of Journalism at the University of Havana, formulated 28 awkward questions posed to Fidel Castro at a meeting held in the theater of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Havana. One question touched on the thorny issue of a personality cult in the media. The then all-powerful Carlos Aldana, head of the Department of Revolutionary Orientation, assured his boss that an incident of this nature would never be repeated.
Nearly three decades later the militants of the Young Communist League (UJC) of the Vanguardia newspaper in Santa Clara province, bursting with bravery (or innocence) sent a letter to the Union of Cuban Journalists in which they denounced the limitations on freedom of expression experienced by information professionals, limitations that come, according to them, from “the extra-journalistic forces that investigate us in our workplaces and in the CDRs (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution); that follow our every step and call us to account for the publication of comments or controversial works.” Continue reading “The Hour of Truth / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar”
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Miami, 30 June 2016 — In a recent discussion among colleagues of the national press, the issue of ownership of the mass media came up. With the firmness that characterizes those convinced that something is wrong, comments were made that in Cuba the media is social property and the idea was expressed that it could never be private property.
Perhaps the essence of the concept of property is explained by the capacity of the owner to make decisions about the object they possess. There is no value in titles and legal registrations that certify that a house, a business or a bicycle belongs to an individual if they can’t sell it, modify it or use it as they see fit, respecting the law of course. Continue reading “The Private Press In Cuba / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar”
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 19 June 2016 – Those of us who have had the joy of being parents spend our lives asking ourselves whether we have done well, if in the strict judgment our children will make about our work will we earn a good score, a mediocre grade or, instead, a resounding disapproval.
The Venezuelan singer Franco de Vita says it is “not enough” to feed our offspring, surround them with comforts and conveniences, or guarantee that they receive an education, we must also respond to their questions. But our answers, which we have to improvise in a second, will be the most momentous memories our children have of us. Continue reading “No Diploma Certifies Us As Parents / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar”
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Candelaria, Cuba, 17 June 2016 — At two in the morning last Sunday the villagers of Candelaria in the province of Artemisa slept peacefully. At the same time, in the city of Orlando in Florida a fierce firefight broke out in the gay nightclub Pulse, amid an evening of Latin music.
Alejandro Barrios Martínez, born in Candelaria 21 years ago, had settled in the city of Orlando where his father Saul Barrios had called for him. There, in 2014, he found a job, a partner, and also came to believe that there he would spend the rest of his life. That night he was at Pulse to celebrate a new job, but stumbled onto death.