Soldiers of Information / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

On March 14, the Cuban press spent another day with more grief than glory. Like previous years, some media guerrillas pledged to do more critical journalism. I wonder with whom. With society and grassroots leaders? So not fair! To criticize anyone but those responsible for the devastation of Cuba seems to be the motto of the soldiers of the media, because nobody wants to jeopardize their job and perks, which translated back to 1959 Cuban means, “let death take another.” The key is given by the fifty-five years of the of the Castro dictatorship in general and by the forty-seven of the original  dictator, who left the national caudillista scar of “as I say,” in a trail of verbal violence, disrespect and discrimination towards those who think differently. Then, what or who to criticize? Capitalism, of course, the United States, and all who are not aligned or sympathetic to the so-called Revolution.

The group is power always had ears receptive to their own interests and deaf to the real demands of society. The monopoly of information in Cuba is in the hands of the state, which officially prohibits the circulation of independent publications, freedom of association and a multiparty system.

The most chilling test starred the journalist Arleen Rodriguez around 2005, in the days when the price of a kilowatt had risen. On a visit by Fidel Castro to The Roundtable show in which she participated, she complained about the high price of electricity in front of him, and he, clearly annoyed, and with the veiled threat of “your husband is my friend,” appeared the following day at the beginning of the program, with a written text to make no mistake nor to say a single letter more than needed, and clarify that “what she wanted to express was…” It goes without saying, the writer and poet Heberto Padilla, founder of the Origins group, who in the 1960s was made to publicly denounce his peers and commit harakiri with a blade rusted by extortion.

Personally, I reaffirm what I have said before, that while our communication professionals do not have and feel the freedom to express what they really want and that concerns some or all of the people, there will be no true information transparency that facilitates and stimulates the freedom of expression of the workers in the industry and of the society in general. From themselves, without changing the violence that ended the democratic structures, which remain in order to perpetuate themselves in power and a dependent and manipulated press, couldn’t obtain what the leaders of the government want: instead of “dropping political flirtations” to the model in the Cuban media, creating the props for a media theater to send the world the false messages that there is freedom in Cuba.

25 March 2014

Farewell, Adolfo Suarez / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

Adolfo Suárez, lawyer and Catholic Spanish politician, finally extended his hand to us in a physical goodbye. From now on, we will resort to memory, to photos and videos, to salute with a kind gesture his unwavering gallantry in the fight for democracy in his country. History records him as the architect of the Spanish transition.

For me he himself is the foundation and pillar of the magnificent democracy and of the whole process of political development taking place there after the death of Francisco Franco. As a public man and decent statesman, he worked for reconciliation between the Spanish, to eradicate the dictatorial vestiges in Spain and to help lift his country, not to put it on its knees, and dictators and their supporters in uniform usually do.

His warm smile as a gentle man, a leader with no rancor, who didn’t hide behind the knife of vengeance, but the embrace of reconciliation, earned him the respect of the whole world. He led the formation of a democratic monarchy and gave lessons in respect for the institutions and the laws with the alternation of power that has been maintainedfrom1976 to today.

We Cubans, who have suffered a dictatorship for fifty-five years that defeated another dictatorship of seven years to remain in power longer and ruin Cuba, value the moral stature of politicians who serve their countries and their societies, not those who use the pedestal, as Jose Marti say, to rise about the others.

I remember during my childhood how the Cuban dictator criticized the caudillo of El Ferrol [Francisco Franco] for his years in power and with the passing of time broke the record for being installed in the highest position in Cuba.

Democratic societies are in mourning these days for the eternal rest of this citizen and politician who showed the world that intentions “are demonstrated” in deeds, they are not “shown” with words. May he rest in peace this illustrious son of Spain and exemplary disciple of democracy.

27 March 2014

Abuses at the Border / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

Image from Kubafotos

On March 7th I returned to Cuba from Miami and they seized seventy pounds of food from me. I doesn’t matter that I bought the ticket at the travel agency, sent the money and packages to my Country through “Go Cuba,” which is rumored to belong to the Cuban government and that currently offers 100 pounds free of charge. It was a traumatic flight on a Gulfstream Air Charter, for which we checked in to the terminal in Miami at 9:00 AM and left for Havana twelve and a half hours later.

Even before the new travel and immigration law went into force in January last year, for an ordinary Cuba to face the predators at customs, is not a setback when it comes time leave for abroad. The problems arise when you come home with the “junk” and other material needs to relieve some personal and family shortages with some of the “enemy’s money” in your purse.

The foreigners and Cubans living abroad run into the same luck when they travel to Cuba. It’s the government of my country that has converted the capital’s Jose Marti Airport into a stress chamber, psychological torture and extortion border for many travelers coming to this country.

I imagine the same happens with the other air terminals around the country. You have to face the arbitrariness, helplessness and caprice of a raw crude tyranny, where the law is an exhibitionist who walks naked through the streets and the airfields, nothing more. A return with the excitement of a reunion and here they seize our things with enthusiasm.

I returned melancholy about the family I was leaving behind, but compensation by the reunion with the family I founded almost 32 years ago: my two sons and my husband anxiously awaiting my return, who had announced they would be picking me up. I was among the first to get off the plane and also to collect my bags when they were spit out from the belly of the plane.

As I was going through the last control they announced the seizure. The food that my mother and sister, people with low resources living in Miami, had collected for months, was stolen by the Cuban border officials with their complex cheating Chinese-style thievery. Is it true that the authorities make laws so convoluted in order to facilitate the corruption of their officials, or were they “sent to kill” by the political police? And if so, why?

What did I do or say that upset them so much that they took reprisals on my arrival in Cuba? I told them everything humanly possible based on what I’d been told by General Customs of the Republic in New Vedado, whom I consulted repeatedly prior to leaving and whose telephone number is 881-9723.

I replied, but I couldn’t insist too much to avoid their taking reprisals and making it worse. It seems that the customs laws are one thing and those at the airport are something else. Even so, they tried to coerce me into saying I’d brought a router, which is simply prohibited to Cuban citizens to import.

Before my argument–which showed evidence of computer skills– that it was a wireless car, they chose to remain silent without consulting a specialist to confirm my explanation. Or is it, that thought I was meek and were pressuring me to upset me and get even more advantages? The other lady they also took things from that night broke into tears at the announcement of the confiscation. As she was an elderly lady, the attended to her quickly and gave her special treatment to avoid a medical emergency. She is living in Miami, and like me, was not allowed to pay for excess baggage.

However, behind us the people on the same plane went through the door laughing with their carts piled higher than ours, leaving behind officials who had attended them with smiling faces.

The sent me off to a corner of the terminal and punished me by making me stand there for three hours. They ignored that I’d been traveling since 9:00 AM in the Miami airport. When the airport emptied of passengers, the chief came with a gentleman with a green sack into which they threw all my mother’s and sister’s food. Looking at the color of the bag I could only think that it was a messages. I left there about one o’clock in the morning.

It wouldn’t surprise me if in a short time they make widespread the pillaging of the suitcases which weigh a certain amount when the tourists leave home and weigh “a few kilos more” per capita when they land at Cuban airports.

In addition to the confiscation, they fined me 1,450 pesos and to told me that I had a month to claim it. I decided that despite my indignation, I’m not going to challenge the customs authorities, because in Cuba there is not a State of Law. Nor will I put myself in the orbit of the bureaucracy and complicity with the entities in the industry, because all that happens when you engage with such machinery is that you wear yourself out. Also because the situation can occur that “winning” the case sends the wrong message about my commitments and loyalities.

This new setback only reaffirms for me that I’m on the right track when it comes time to fight and denounce the arbitrariness of a dictatorship that’s teetering. My appetites are freedom, democracy and social justice for Cuba, which contrasts with the petty and unjust greed of those who, like the customs workers, symbolize the “boogeyman,” stealing the pants off the trapped travelers through questionable and abusive legal figures. Bon appetit!

20 March 2014

Barriers Because of Indolence / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

Several years ago we often heard talk in the Cuban media about architectural barriers. Eliminating them is a goal injected some years ago in our national actions and lexicon by the teams of town criers from the government, who have tuned their radar pay attention to campaigns undertaken by international agencies like the UN, FAO, UNESCO, WHO, PHO, etc., in order to blow their own horn without muting their propaganda and showing those entities and the world the achievements of the 50-year revolution.

Since childhood I have heard reference to the immodesty of people who praise themselves, using the phrase: “they doh’t have a grandma.”  Such lack of humility corresponds in many respects with the boastful conduct of the Cuban government.

The eradication of architectural obstacles is a consideration that many countries have incorporated into their urban aesthetic and laws, and they quietly implement them out of respect for the mothers who travel the streets with their baby strollers, the physically disabled who cross in wheelchairs and the rights and quality of life of others in general.

Here they made of that project a cloying campaign with which they saturated — among other always present historical-political themes — our communications media and showed it on television with such enthusiasm that it seemed a native initiative. The lack of information is a blindfold that limits the capacity of Cubans to freely think and discern.

The aspiration, in Cuba, of fixing in pitfalls of the streets and sidewalks in our neighborhoods is great, but it advances little and badly.  Of course there are exceptions, but generally the ramps that they put on the corners to climb to the sidewalks constitute an obstruction themselves because of how misshapen and badly made they are.

And don’t mention the number of broken sidewalks that we have seen in different parts of our city for decades!  They symbolize the architectural barriers because of indolence that belie and disprove the good will of the leaders of this subject.

It seems that the authorities quickly grabbed this international baton  to direct the orchestra of bungling and mediocrity, but they noticed later that the project required the investment of great quantities of cement, an important exportable item for the state for years.

In short, that campaign initiated years ago in our country, like so many other matters, became more tall story than movie.  It is regrettable that they have converted all of Cuba into a country of obstacles.  That’s why we don’t stop advocating for the project of eliminating physical, moral and legal obstacles that impede the travel of Cubans through our streets, but also of all those that cloud our senses, blind our comprehension of the world and prevent us from inserting ourselves, in full use of our sovereign faculties, in the concert of the world’s democratic countries.

Translated by mlk.

5 December 2013

The Rice Boobytrap / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

Image Courtesy of

Count on earthworm remains, bits of assorted garbage, tiny jaw-breaking pebbles, and the odd piece of moon rock mixed inside the minute ration of the people’s rice being offered by the State; this is the quota for December which was released for sale November 30 in the bodegas (ration stores) in Vibora and everywhere else.  Go figure why the government chose December — a time when many families celebrate various Christmas or New Years gatherings and meals — to get rid of a large portion of dirty and off-color rice more fit for bird than human consumption.  All that the store manager at my “designated” bodega could say was that the grain crop available was from Pinar del Río (West of Havana) and was the only rice supply being distributed to consumers in the Tenth of October (Diez de Octubre) municipality of Havana.

I went to another local bodega and got the same song and dance.  My gripe upset a neighbor to the degree that I got scolded for taking a stance.  I was soon reminded how some brownie point seeking official would be chomping at the bit for the opportunity to nag us for hours on end — and pep-rally style — about the great job the State does for the people by providing free rice.  Beyond that, we would also get some impromptu group shouting slogans thanking the Department of the Interior for poultry, pig or any other State farm for giving us such piss poor quality products.  Fine.  But nearly inedible State products are unnerving: Cuban family members trying to put decent food staples on the table are forced to endure unbelievably time-consuming and exhausting hardships just to make a meal edible.

Most exasperating of all: Why can’t rice ever be “deregulated” so restrictions can be lifted and we can buy whatever we would like or can afford to pay?  Instead, like helpless slaughterhouse pigs, we always get the same condescending mantra: “Eat the stuff or eat the stuff.”  For consumers, the outrage ultimately becomes subsumed in listless apathy — or oddly enough — a pact of collective silence when the State decides to run roughshod over our rights.  Almost imperceptibly, people do murmur. Many are alarmed the local rice crop might suffer the same fate as our potato production when a substantial Cuban government subsidy to Bolivia all but eliminated potatoes from our sight for most of 2013.

An elderly neighbor tried to console me by saying, “Listen: If you cook it, it’ll taste O.K.”  But honestly, after wasting three whole hours sifting and washing rice to clean the grain, I could care less about the flavor, the quality, or whatever the rice’s appellation of origin might be.

Translated by: JCD

3 December 2013

Towards a Just Cause

Heberprot-P 75  Human recombinant epidermal growth factor

Heber Biotec, S.A. Havana, Cuba

Last November, a group of Cubans and part of the exiled Cuban community living in the United States, co-published a document named A Humanitarian Appeal  which I already submitted here. Given the importance of the publication and level of interest shown by many who still wish to add their names to the petition, I am submitting the link directly:

Translated by: JCD

12 December 2013

Humanitarian Demand / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

In recent weeks we have heard some information in the United States media about the possibility of selling medicines produced in Cuba in that country, particularly Heberprot-P, a drug for the treatment of diabetic foot. On the other hand, the Cuban authorities continue to express themselves about the obstacles facing them in buying certain medications and medical instruments produced in the US, due to the restrictions occasioned by the politics of the US embargo on the island.

There are different opinions about this issue, both for and against, dismissing the urgencies of those priorities which should be considered: the diabetics in the United States who could be treated with Heberprot-P avoiding, in some cases, dangerous amputations of their extremities, and of patients in Cuba who can’t access treatments to cure them or to improve their quality of life because some medications and specialized instruments produced in the U.S. can not be purchased by Cuba.

Faced with any discussion on this issue, it is important to take into account Articles 12 and 15 of the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the “Declaration on the Use of Scientific and Technological Progress in the Interests of Peace and for the benefit of humanity,” among other things.

For all these reasons, the undersigned, Cubans and Cuban Americans, members of independent civil society and citizens in general, affirm our determination to support, from a vision of respect for human rights, the possible analysis that would permit the expansion of everything related to scientific exchanges in the areas of drug development and medical techniques. Also, the marketing of medicines and specialized instruments for these purposes, in order to meet the medical care needs of people who need to be treated in both countries.

Julio Aleaga Pesant — Indepedent Journalist

Hildebrando Chaviano Montes — Indepedent Journalist

Manuel Cuesta Morúa — Progressive Arc

Siro del Castillo Domínguez — Solidarity with Cuban Workers

Gisela Delgado Sablón — Independent Libraries

Eduardo Díaz Fleitas — Pinar del Rio Democratic Alliance

Reinaldo Escobar Casas — Indepedent Journalist

René Hernández Bequet — Cuban Christian Democratic Party

Rafael León Rodríguez — Cuba Democracy Project

Susana Más Iglesias — Indepedent Journalist

Eduardo Mesa — Emmanuel Mounier Center

Marcelino Miyares Sotolongo — Cuban Christian Democratic Party

Héctor Palacios Ruiz — Liberal Union of the Republic of Cuba

Oscar Peña — Cuban Pro Human Rights Movement

Pedro Pérez Castro — Solidarity with Cuban Workers

Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado — Cuba Democracy Project

Wilfredo Vallín Almeida — Cuban Law Association

21 November 2013

Shrinking of Farm Products / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

The farm products we consume today in Havana, whether those offered by the self-employed itinerants — carters — or those sold by the State at the farmers markets, have a characteristic in common: they are all shrinking. So I see at different points in the city where I go.

I wonder why, if even two years ago, residents in some areas of the capital had the alternative to buy in two kinds of farmers markets, now we are forced to only one option. For example, in Vibora we residents could buy fruit at the Monoco markets — more expensive — or the one on Sevillano, where there Youth Labor Army (EJT), conscripts serving their obligatory military service who work for the State for a salary, and whose products are cheaper and supposedly smaller and of lower quality.

A few years ago they closed Monoco plaza because they said there were collateral businesses and irregularities there. They delayed — as always happens in Cuba –  around four or five years before re-opening it,with a visible reduction in the sale area and a distinctive feature that now all goods are as famished as praise of the EJT was in the past.

That is, the “fix things” to break them? There is no doubt that the people always suffer, because for more than fifty years, they’ve suffered a permanent blockade put in place by their own government.

19 November 2013

Laurels, Laura / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

It has been two years since Laura Pollan abandoned her physical presence and became eternal.  Now she is in the Sta. Rita Parish, the Quinta Avenida walk, and in many Havana streets where they saw her walking invincible clutching her peaceful gladiola.  She is also in her family, who lived and saw grow her example of a small woman who demanded liberty for political prisoners and rights for Cubans in general and who confronted the paramilitary mobs however huge.

She is in the world, which followed her brave citizen journey and distinguishes and remembers her with the respect and dignity that she deserves, and she is also in all of us who pay tribute out loud through the media or in the anonymous silence of our thoughts.

From her clear eyes she gave us the clarity of a journey that is shortened more each day in order to truly institute respect for fundamental rights of all society and to democratize our country.

She contributed her integrity and efforts to shorten that distance and to make the government’s decadent hardliners release — even with the legal structure of their election — the Cuban political prisoners that had been sentenced to disproportionate penalties for peacefully dissenting from the Castro dictatorship.

This October 14 we faced again an act of repression, intransigence and abuse on the part of the Cuban government against the Ladies in White.  The violent eruption of pro-government gangs at #963 Neptune Street, the headquarters of the organization that was Laura’s home, when they were about to carry out a tribute for the second anniversary of her death, is a proof of how much some government leaders exert themselves to feed the infantile fairy tale of “citizen justice” that “spontaneously” defends the inefficient government that ruined Cuba and that “sacrifices itself” in command for more than 50 years.

That well-crafted, although unworthy strategy of turning society against itself is a tall tale designed to intimidate people and keep them paralyzed so that they can continue to easily exercise power and control.

Between the years 2010 and 2012 we lost several comrades in arms.  They were three consecutive years that made the world pay more attention our country and be concerned about those deaths so opportune for the Cuban regime.

Laura left us in 2011 and the future of Cuba is still being decided between ineluctable changes that will necessarily come, the minimum proposals to day from  Raul Castro, which do not solve Cuba’s big problems and the potential ones which the government undertakes in trying to carry out in order to keep or recycle the fiefdom that they inherited from their relatives and staunch supporters from the highest military ranks.

The year 2013 is almost over and he offers Cuba true and false signals that the authorities detail in order to confuse the international community, but mainly in order to prevent the country’s senior management from changing hands.

Laura, like many, knew this, so from the field of flowers where her daughter stands alert, combative and victorious, and her example is multiplied and many other gardens of gladioli continue to march to achieve a real democratic state of law in Cuba, and to prevent another group of dishonest men from kidnapping the country’s government.

24 October 2013

Western Pumpkins / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

I am not going to tackle an everyday plot related to the cinemagraphic or literary genre that became one of the cardinal points of the United States, but that historic company that offers financial and commercial services, Western Union.

Until sometime more than three months ago, if some friend or relative abroad advised by phone that he was planning to send “a little help” by that means to a Cuban inside, those here had the possibility of calling one of the offices of Western and giving his name or that of the sender in order to see if the deposit was already posted and to go and cash it. Since the beginning of July you have to have the transfer number to receive the money, and if not they “give you pumpkins” — that is, they dismiss you — by telephone or personally, although you have the documents and identification that prove that you are the beneficiary.

I’m bothered by the suspicion that that measure is the result of joint management of those that work at the Western Union offices in the Cuban capital — almost always a female — because all those I know are embedded in dollarized businesses and “it is established” that the employees of those offices work simultaneously in the store.  As is natural, it is more stimulating for them and economically convenient for those of Western Union to work with those who are going to spend at the store, than with those who come to their offices to get cash and who know through their relatives how much it cost them to send the shipment.

Some days ago I went to the Casino Deportive internet navigation room or “cyber-without-cafe” in order to send an email and there I found myself with an old woman who asked me for help.  Information technology has still not reached her understanding and her arthritic fingers and she did not know how to create an email account so that her daughter who lives abroad and financially subsidizes her can send her the transfer number.  I wrote her user name and password on a piece of paper for her and she left very grateful, but it left me with doubt whether the next time she will find someone else prepared to leave aside their communication management in order to help her computationally.

What will the old people, whose relatives are accustomed to sending them a regular remittance from abroad, do now?  (In socialist and contemporary Cuba saying “remittance from abroad” is almost a redundancy).  Without doubt, the benefactor will have to call, with the consequent telephone charge in order to give the number of the financial transaction so that the favored one might receive it.  And what about the old people that suffer advanced cataracts, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease or some other degenerative illness that impedes them from doing it?  And the visually impaired?  With so few computers with internet access in Cuba, that measure against a part of the population is such a great abuse that it verges on contempt.

It seems that when the money already makes up part of the government’s coffers, no one worries about the fate that befalls its intended recipients, if it is in the only hands that really interest the Cuban state: its own.

Translated by mlk

30 October 2013

Remnants to the Wind / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

I found the body of a dead dog like a decal on the floor of the intersection of the streets Amado and Goss, in Vibora, and twenty meters closer to Mayia Rodriguez, a bird also laminated in the asphalt.  That image filled my retina in the block of the Monaco market.

So daily deteriorates the hygiene in any Havana neighborhood for ordinary Cubans. There where the animal died — it does not matter if run over by a car or illness — his entrails were left in the sun for the decay to infect the environs and pollute the olfactory space of the passersby.

What’s worse is the level of contamination to which those who habitually pass through there — among them many children — are exposed and the possible breeding ground for transmission of sicknesses and the risk of contagion for other vagabond dogs and hungry scavenging animals that poke at or feed on the hound’s remains.

Cuba has become — also — a dump or open cemetery for unburied animals and it seems to matter to no one.  These kinds of situations should not happen, but now that they do, to whom to write or direct oneself?  It is possible that we get a faceless, nameless replica of an entity and although you have it, it does not fill the void of decades of helplessness, indolence and filth.

The most regrettable thing is that the answers almost always remain on paper, in the article and personal interest of a journalist, in a public complaint and nothing more.  When will we overcome the stage of explanations and confront problems with facts and concrete solutions?

The remedy would not be — as the authorities are accustomed to doing — to create more entities to attend to social matters and needs accumulated for decades, but they should de-bureaucratize the agencies or firms and give them the resources and powers to quickly and satisfactorily solve these kinds of issues that confront the people and that the State does not solve.

I would like to see the surroundings of the residences, markets and commercial centers that the head honchos, their relatives, their friends and high military chiefs frequent.  I wonder if there are stray dogs in those areas.  Possibly not, to avoid fecal waste, disagreeable odors and the running over of one of those animals.  But if something were to go astray, have an accident or perish in one of those places, surely it would be duly and diligently “transferred” in order to receive “rapid” burial or cremation.

Logic works expeditiously for sectors from “above” like a horizontal and vertical elevator which, although it seems to be, is not stuck but really designed not to go further down from a certain level.

Translated by mlk

29 October 2013

Antennas and the Ears of the Gods / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

It is not my invention, it was on Cuban TV where they announce the creation of national social network called “The Clothesline,” for domestic users. Do you think they’re finally respecting our rights to have Internet? Hopefully! But in any event it wouldn’t be a “half respect” nor even a half measure of respect, but the total lack of it, for them to limit or prohibit our access to sites like Twitter and Facebook to constrain our social, virtual and mental frontiers.

To force us to interact entirely within the country is a violation of a fundamental human right and also, ironically, almost like inviting us to a prison to take part in a conference about the freedom that will be offered to someone condemned to 55 years in jail.

A friend — the very best of friends — and reader called me on the phone to tell me about Cuban social mesh. She noted the coincidence with a writing of mine that she couldn’t remember the title of, but she did remember the metaphor.  I remembered it too, but I had no idea of the approximate date nor the context in which I used it.  Later I hunted for more information and was able to recall it.  I put the noun “clothesline” in the XML code I keep the blog in and it appeared in the post SOS: The Weapon of the Word, which I published on 16 August 2011.

In the third paragraph of the text I stated: “But here we are and will be as long as God allows it.  I will continue using the clothesline — in the original text it’s not in bold — of WordPress to hang my opinions without letting myself be intimidated by those who come along with their shears, cutting freedoms to feed despotism.”

Coincidence or inspiration?  Don’t know if an official “liked it” and borrowed the term, like Aida says.  If that is what happened, I think it’s a real shame that they don’t have the same ’ears’ when it comes to paying attention to the multiple political and economic proposals that we, the opposition, have been working on throughout the years; proposals whose implementation would help untie the knots of many of the problems which, as a country and as a nation, we suffer.

However, I invite them to continue visiting the websites of the political organizations — illegal according to the dictatorships — and the blogosphere of the emerging alternative civil society, and which there are many talented people who have spent decades offering antidotes and paths in an endless stream, preventive and therapeutic solutions and ideas.

Let’s drink from our own source in a respectful, participative and diverse dialog, including the range of cultural identities.  No matter what the discriminating historic leaders say, we still have more, “much more to give!

27 October 2013