Commemoration or Celebration? / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

Rosa Maria Rodriguez, 27 June 2016 — For days now, due to the upcoming commemoration of the 63rd anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Barracks, Cuban television continues to repeat a spot with the fragment of a song from a musical group called Moncada, the chorus of which says over and over, “The 26th is the happiest day in history.”

The attack on the military fort in Santiago de Cuba, by the guerilla’s led by Fidel Castro, occurred on 26 July 1953 in coordination with the assault on the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Barracks in Bayamo, during the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Both actions failed. Lives were lost, young men were arrested and tortured — others were murdered later, according to the authorities — who should be remembered by this long-standing government with respect, not with anodyne songs that only send a signal of lack of respect for “their fallen,” hut which are an insult to their memory.

It is true I don’t remember — I never paid attention — all the words of this old song. Which such a chorus, anyone who isn’t Cuban can assume that it’s about a carnivalesque date.

The irony of the case, is that the director of the Moncada group is a deputy to the Cuban National Assembly and a nephew of one of the revolutionaries who were injured, imprisoned, tortured and later killed as a result of the assault on the Moncada Barracks.

It seems that anything goes in dictatorships and even forgive “the irreverence or the forgetting” of the dead when it is time to adulate the living. Also , it confirms that there is no exception to the rule that the authorities apply to their unconditional followers: the promotion of their works — regardless of the quality or the controversial conceptions — and convert them into a “hit parade” that plays on radio and television ad nauseam.

When this publicity material first appeared on television, I shared these opinions with Rafa, my husband, and now I share them also with my readers, because I do want someone to brand me as working to “correct errors” for friends, accomplices and/or protect those who hold us hostage and silence us.

There are no arguments to justify this TV spot and its advertising of the upcoming anniversary of those events seems farcical and sad to me. Will the approach to other cultures make them change western traditions of respect and homage to the dead? It seems that while the globe is homogenized with globalization, they insist on “deglobalizing” the world with the political-totalitarian counterculture on this continent.

Same Hatred, Different Collar / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

Graphic Source: http://www.e-lecciones.net

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Lord Acton

Hate crimes are violent acts induced by prejudices against a person or group considered “different,” owing to their social class, race, ethnicity, nationality, political affiliation, ideology, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. Modernity has driven the legislative powers of many countries to establish judicial standards to combat those types of crimes and to prosecute the perpetrators. This has entailed a reduction of such abuses, which are provoked also by the social context of the persons or groups, and by the stereotypes created by societies.

In Cuba, the official and propaganda media of the regime inform us about hate crimes that are committed “in capitalist countries,” of course. Thus, the Cuban population knows of those violent behaviors that occur in places where there are no military conflicts and which are miles away from their security and wellbeing — rather than those that could be occurring at that moment in their own environment, just inches from their own backside, or at just a hair of separation from their own head. Continue reading “Same Hatred, Different Collar / Rosa Maria Rodriguez”

The reports don’t reach Cubans directly or unadulterated, but rather strained through the proselytizing sieve of the state analysts. It is the same hatred, its collar placed by the official discursive demagoguery and the rulers of some countries, who because of rampant special interests — often personal, partisan or group-based — are aligned with the Cuban dictatorship.

Ever since the Castros rose to power in 1959, they have relied greatly on incentivizing, for their own benefit, this type of conduct classified as a crime in the penal codes, and even in the constitutions, of some countries. The Castros utilize this criminal behavior as propaganda, and as political confrontation and victory.

Years of repeating the same modus operandi with total impunity confirm this. While they deny one part of the society the exercise of its freedom of expression, they reward pro-government gangs when these behave in a criminal fashion that favors the authorities.

In my country, where strikes are prohibited de facto, where almost everything is directed by the authorities and nobody dares to perform that type of discriminatory violence without the consent of the government, the historic Cuban leader — retired since 2006 — has on more than one occasion called upon the citizenry to “take control of the streets,” which they allege repeatedly and coercively, belong to the revolutionaries.

Numerical advantage notwithstanding, they represent the lion and the victims represent the bound monkey. However, there is even more vileness in hiding under the civic skirt while throwing people into the bullring of that cowardly and vulgar misdeed.

Tattooed onto the history of the first two decades of this system is the humiliation, repeated and sustained for years, of ordering those who were filing their exit papers to labor in the fields.

Similarly, there was the harassment in the 1980s, with the so-called “acts of repudiation,” inflicted on those who wanted to leave for the United States via the Mariel Boatlift.

The authorities have stuffed their legacy full of actions of this type directed at leaders of the peaceful opposition, independent journalism, and civil and human rights organizations. It is a government crime that persists today. This is not because I say so, it is because they do it.

Such is the brazenness, and such has been the impunity throughout the 56 years of dictatorship, that Cuba now is not enough for them, and they dispatch their committed civil army — individuals who want to maintain their standard of living, or who are afraid to refuse in these despicable activities so as to keep their jobs or perks — to other countries, as we saw at the Summit of the Americas this past April in Panama.

It is not just that some of us extend the open hand of reconciliation and dialogue, and in return receive the fist of official ridicule and violence. But, what can we expect from an extortionist political model that took over the country, amputated and demonized democratic praxis upon imposing a single-party system — thus eliminating political competition — and that governs testicularly, according to their whims, despite the fact that its long tenure has ruined Cuba?

In these times that seem like closing stages, or like historical summations, within our territory and regarding it, in which many observers beyond the rulers are thinking positively and constructively about the Cuban people, it is necessary that we reframe the concept of the peace that we want for our society.

It should not be one with a clockwise-rotating swastika — as that intimidating one of Nazi Germany’s — but rather a “pax” anchored in respect, inclusion, social justice, sustained harmony, and equity among all the children of the same one nation.

Hate crimes in Cuba? Definitely — almost all instigated, run and monitored by the government.

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

13 August 2015

Dreaming in Color / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

Havana’s Malecon — quiet — today (Image from Wikipedia offline)

Rosa Maria Rodriguez, 5 August 2015 — On August 5, 1994, the Havana shoreline filled with a human tidal wave that took the capital by surprise and overflowed into international news. The national press, as always, had to wait for the approval of the censor before reporting on the event. Nothing like this had happened in thirty-five years of the Castro dictatorship: a tsunami of people overcame fear, and hundreds of them went to the seaside promenade, driven by rumors that boats from the United States were coming ashore to transport those who wanted to emigrate.

Many thought it was another exodus approved by the authorities, like the Mariel boatlift. When they got there, the unraveling rumors gave way to frustration, and anti-government demonstrations broke out along the length of the Malecon and adjacent areas. Thus was born the event known as El Maleconazo. Continue reading “Dreaming in Color / Rosa Maria Rodriguez”

The agitated human mass started breaking windows, trashing shops, and confronting the police. The riots lasted for several hours. Then the government sent in its specialized police force to do what it does best: suppress.

Society inevitably returned to its sheep-like obedience and today, twenty-one years later, the bleeding continues by “cutting the femoral” of the nation, which the authorities have always used—and even provoked—to their benefit, for permanently remaining in power.

After that event everything returned to the routine that characterizes life in Cuba: those who are able to emigrate do so, and many of those who do not continue to play the role of supporters of the regime, as the only way of sociopolitical survival.

After fifty-six years of the Castros’ totalitarianism and twenty-one years after that event, the Cuban people remain trapped, prevented from exercising their fundamental rights by the discriminatory designs of a dictatorial regime.

Many fellow citizens hold the goal of emigrating as the only way of achieving personal fulfillment (which is part of the pursuit of happiness) for themselves or their family members.

It is true that there have been some economic and social reforms in Cuba, but as long as the leaders in the forefront of these changes are those who committed so many injustices in the past, who imposed and repealed laws for their own convenience, many will distrust and will doubt whether they will stay.

Others will hesitate to come and invest their capital in a market run by a political class that is in power to serve the wealthy minority, not the excluded majority.

I hope this latest anniversary of El Maleconazo will cause everyone to reflect on how urgent it is for us to allow ourselves to dream of freedoms and rights, and social, political, and economic progress in our own country.

Translated by Tomás A.

The Malecon Uprising / Rosa Maria Rodriguez

12 -- The Maleconazo. (Wikimedia)
The Maleconazo uprising of August 1994. (Wikimedia)

This August 5 will be the 19th anniversary of the Maleconazo. The rumor that boats from the United States were reaching the Havana Malecon to transport Cubans to that country, turned into the powder that moved hundreds of people — aware of the Mariel Boat Lift in 1980 — to the north coast of Cuban with the intention of migrating to the democratic and supportive land of Lincoln. Many expressed their desires to live in freedom and also, with public expressions, their discontent toward the caudillo Cuban government which by then was 35 years old.

Like many disturbances that arise spontaneously and in which there are no specific demands nor is there a clear pre-established and agreed on objective, the vandals of the Cuban political police mingled with the crowd, smashed shop windows and caused various damage.

We thought then, as we do now, that they had been duly instructed and oriented through “their channels” to take the initiative and to internationally discredit and minimize the impact of the civic protest. A police device that seems to have been anticipated all possible scenarios and their rapid responses pre-established for every social action.

Later, when the authorities’ reinforcements arrived in vehicles with soldiers dressed in plain clothes, and paramilitaries armed with rebar to “fight” for the government, the “barbarians” joined the side and shouted the same “Revolutionary” slogans of the last 50 years. So it turned into the largest anti-government protest recorded in the history since 1959.

Almost twenty years later, the Castro dynasty continues in government, with Raul at the front (or the side?), and with a political intolerance that is closer to the rigidity of a systemic rigor mortis.

Connoisseurs of the current speed and diversity at the global scale, have had plenty of time to prepare for change before the eyes of the world: a gradual and controlled Maleconazo that wins them and their families 19 more years. Hopefully, so much political stubbornness and irresponsibility will not cost our noble people an irreparable national fracture!

7 August 2013

Internet, The Imperialist Enemy

From: enscomunicacionsocial.blogspot.com

The Cuban government and its supporters abuse the ballad — they already made traditional — of the Cyberwar against Cuba. They don’t speak about their own, that floods our media with propaganda, offends those who disagree with their political model, violates many of our rights — among others the right to have Internet access from our homes — and speculates with excessive prices for Internet connectivity offered in the hotels.

If there is something they should recognize in the authorities is their capacity to improvise arguments and pretexts according to their convenience. It doesn’t matter if they’re very convincing or not. Before the fiber optic cable came from Venezuela, in February 2011, the argument was that the United States, with its blockade, prevented the Cuban State — relying on satellite connections — from having the capacity necessary to allow its own citizens to access the mega-web. However, foreigners have had the right for years.

Now, thanks the Venezuelan cable expanding the Cuban bandwidth by 3,000 times, it is still the United States with its blockade that is guilty, “because they are the owners of the Internet and have focused a media war against our country.” You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t! In other words, a raft of excuses for why Cubans can’t surf.

We Cubans on the island already have a wide experience over half a century of audacity against our fundamental freedoms, and for those of us who have computers in Cuba, they kill our chances of being able to independently surf in this sea of knowledge, culture, economic, communication, and globalized information that is cyberspace. We assumed that with the arrival of the fiber optic cable we should be enjoying this right, but the “government sharks” ate this cable — all by themselves.

March 28 2012

Misunderstandings

Graphic taken from recursosparaelcamino.blogspot.com

Present relations between Church and State and the Papal visit have turned unbelievably controversial. Nonetheless, for Catholics and devotees of the Virgin of la Caridad del Cobre, the arrival of the Pontiff Benedict XVI in Cuba will culminate the Jubilee Year for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of our Beloved Mother and Patroness. For 365 days, our beloved “Cachita” has made a pilgrimage throughout our country, surrounded by the faithful who came to pay tribute to a replica of her image, to ask for her grace and to reaffirm themselves in faith.

Across the years, many Cubans from different places called for the reconciliation of the Cuban State with the Catholic Church, for religious freedom, for the return of the Church’s property, the rights of parishioners to processions, the respect of pastoral and evangelic spaces, etc. And now that a climate of compromise has been established between the Cuban clergy and the authorities, a political and propagandistic bitterness has reawakened in some sectors with contradictory edgings. Which is it? Do you want reconciliation or confrontation? I really don’t understand. Now it turns out that the Marxist government, which fought, marginalized and harassed the ecclesiastic institution and its faithful — and wielded the presupposition that religion is the opiate of the masses — is now the good, that which defends her, as well as her flock. Doubtlessly, there is an interested and intelligent manipulation behind this change of roles.

The Catholic Church always has its doors open to all. We will attend the Mass that the Successor of Peter will celebrate in the Plaza of all Cubans, that although it has been militarized, it is public. It was constructed during the previous government, it is civic and in it officiated Pope John Paul II. We will go — as one must — to listen to the Liturgy of the Word and to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

The Mass which will be officiated by the Vicar of Christ and Maximum Authority of the Vatican on Wednesday the 28th, will welcome Cubans who attend to join in fellowship and pay tribute to the Word of God with faith and gratitude. It doesn’t seem fair that people should have to use the establishment of a religion as an excuse to voice a claim to their rights.

Translated by: JT

March 27 2012

Modeling a Farce

From: "commons.wikimedia.org"

Recently Rafe, my husband went to renew his identity card. He had to do because it was expired and he needed to renew it for some other paperwork he was immersed in. He went to the office in charge of this function, patiently waited his turn in the fifty-year-old system of lines, handed over the photos, the five peso regulatory seal, and spent several exhausting hours, his feet hurting from the long wait, and was given the information that he should return the following day to pick it up.

When he appeared once again, they told him they could not give it to him because he was in the country illegally, because in their computers it appears that he stayed in Canada during a mission in 2000; he would have to go to the National Directorate of Immigration and Nationality, located at 3rd and 22nd in Miramar, to resolve his situation.

Of course he protested, because he knows it’s a manufactured error giving the authorities a pretext to destabilize him, which resurfaces every time he’s invited to participate in some event abroad and seeks the ignominious “exit permit.” But this is the first time they have refused him the indispensable document of identity.

Naturally, he refused to put himself in the bureaucratic orbit where they want to spin him. “The mistake is yours, you who are representing the authority and therefore you  are called to resolve it. If I emigrated in the year 2000,” he argued to the official, “how is it that this same office handed me the card in the 2002?”

Given this obvious slip, the manager promised he would look into it and would call to report the results of these efforts. And he did a few days later. Today my spouse is already documented, but only to stay within the country. What to do? Who to appeal to? This is another of the abuses, against which they are helpless, that the historical elite of Cuba are subjected to by their leaders. It is inconceivable that there are other people who have the same names and surnames, who were born the same day, and whose parents had the same names. No, it is a way to treat an opponent in the old-fashioned and antiquated totalitarian Cuban model.

This is the real face of the authorities who violate the rights of their fellow citizens and behave viciously toward political dissidents in a dictatorship that allows them, with impunity, to sculpt a no one, or to maliciously and “officially” crush and discredit those who oppose the system.

It is not in Rafa’s hands — nor should it be — to amend “the mistake” that appears in the network of the National Directorate of Migration and Alien Affairs of Cuba,that would trap him in the vain, humiliating and exhausting game they subject him to — perhaps interminably — of the “bureaucratic mischief” of the political police. For now we have only the option of denouncing it, in writing, one more time.

March 22 2012

Two Are an Army

From: “skyscrapercity.com”

They arrived early to “visit me” as a couple — as they generally do, whenever they are ordered to harass an opponent — young people of both sexes who identify themselves as agents from the Ministry of the Interior. The pretext was a survey conducted for the National Housing Directorate, and they wanted to know my opinions about the purchase and sale of houses and used cars.

The first inconsistency that jumped out at me was that they came to me directly, they knew my name and surnames and they didn’t have the forms usual in such cases. However, they said, politely, that my participation was voluntary, but my husband had already invited them in — also politely — and they sat on my living room sofa quite disposed to chat. So despite such a phony pretense, I answered their questions honestly to see what the real motive was of their visit.

I answered questions and thought about the subliminal message I wanted to send to the gendarmes of the political police. But for someone who started in the human rights movement in Guanabo, in 1988, and has long since learned to interpret some behavioral codes of the officers of the Cuban State Security, why not speak out?

I thought — when it was my turn to listen — about the first part of the film The Godfather and the fish received by the ’family’ of Vito Corleone wrapped in the bulletproof vest of his hitman Luca Brasi, to communicate that he had been murdered and lay at the bottom of the bay.

I concluded that they had been sent so I would not forget that “they” are there, paying attention to how much say and do — as exercising my freedom and rights is important to me — and they wanted to try, once again, to coerce me. They then raised the question that I found then — and still do — to be the key to that visit. Who is the owner of this home? I said it was me and they insisted, “And the title of the property is in your name?”

Summoning my husband in 1996 or 1997, the police threatened to take the apartment he had acquired with his father in 1959 and they stripped him of it in 2000; since then I have taken steps; the documentation that names me as the owner is not going to appear in any of the offices where one duly registers deeds.

We Cubans who live in this dictatorship and exercise freedom of conscience, are accustomed to the visible (and invisible) presence of the cops, who as devils of the guard, sent “to guard us and keep us” when they like; they attack us with diatribes and without right of reply, covertly harass us or not, sniff in our private lives and enter it without permission and with impunity. And not just threats, but when it’s convenient, they carry them out.

Days later, friends in the area alerted me to the operation that was surrounding my house, which lasted seventy-two hours. It seems that the personnel graduated from the academies of the Ministry of the Interior must be hardened in the exercise against the peaceful dissident through maneuvers that these days, in practice, are more costly than effective.

Anyway, although they threatened me they did not intimidate me. They only reaffirmed the precedent of using its enormous power, among others, to join the gang against those who disagree with their policies and express it freely and publicly, although his ideas are driven by a commitment to the homeland.

It doesn’t matter how many agents repress us; they are members of the military that responds only to the interests of one party and have the strength and ammunition to try to quell — in vain — the libertarian aspirations of this peaceful and defenseless woman, who like others, only grasps the “weapon” of her words.

March 20 2012

I’m back

Just to let you know that I had some personal problems which, added to the pothole of accessing the internet, let me to interrupt my work on this blog for a month. Thank you for your patients and I hope that this restart the generous practice of your sending me your collaboration and comments will continue. Thanks for visiting the blog and letting me know your opinions.

March 20 2012

The Color of Humanity

For many, black is a color, in spite of the definition that contends that it is the absence of visible light energy, that absorbs the light and that’s precisely why it isn’t it.  Whether from the light emitting groups or the pigments, black has been linked historically and obscurely with the negative, perhaps because of it likeness to the night, that is a dangerous space, that has been the time chosen by many writers to tell tenebrous stories about outlaws and animals that hide in the darkness.  Others also relate it with what is filthy and dirty.

The astronomers call the extremely dense celestial body that absorbs whatever matter and energy located in its gravitational field a black hole.  For the geographers and people of some countries — in addition to the phenotypic difference — black is a name of rivers, streams, and similar places, of a hill, a volcano or a road; it’s also a sea in Eurasia and in the plural, a Philippine island.  But in this writing, I want to highlight superficially the voices that have survived the times, and about the topic on which they record human words and phrases.

Black theater is a cinematic genre developed in the United States, in 1940 and whose plot developed in a violent and criminal environment.  Likewise, black friday  was a day of financial panic in the United States and also Black Monday in 1987, also related to the prices of stocks.  Black Thursday is a day that the fall of the stock market in New York began and signaled the beginning of the great depression in 1929.

The so-called black plague (or bubonic plague), was a devastating pandemic that devastated Europe in the 14th century and that considerably decimated the European and world population;  the yellow fever was a devastating epidemic in the 14th century, that was also known as black vomit; lista negra is a translation of English word blacklist to give a name to people or institutions that should be discriminated against.  When used in a positive sense, they are given the name “whitelist.”

To distinguish underground or illegal business one adopts the phrase black market; the black cat is related to superstition or bad luck, and equally a black vulture is a bird of prey or feeds on dead animals — a bird that doesn’t bode well — to which a bad omen is attributed to; in the same way that black magic is a superstitious witch practice, in that they invoke the presence of a demon and the malignant power to cause damage, the “white” kind is the complete opposite.  The expression, “had a black day” is an allegory on unhappiness or bad luck.  A black author is a person who, like an intellectual slave, writes to order and anonymously,

The European colonial powers kidnapped and tore from their communities, families, culture and land from millions of Africans and carried them to America to work as slaves. Furthermore, in order to perpetuate the system of slavery, they imposed a distorted image of black people. Historical and shamefully, the classification of people into one race or another has been used and is used to support keeping groups of humans in a state of subjection, in living conditions of oppression, ignorance and dependence.

I prefer to think of the human race and that stage will come, when we eradicate prejudice and discrimination against people based on racial, ethnic, sexual, religious, ideological, social class or of any kind. I’m sure that one day there will be no need to legislate or circumscribe a moral code of respectful behavior that should be taken as natural behavior of living together and not leave room for racist acts or reprehensible.

Translated by: BW

January 17 2012

Adam and Adam

Downloaded from: "nivorg.blogspot.com"

In recent years we Cubans have witnessed through the media — mainly from TV — the work in favor of respect for sexual diversity. A psychologist of guerrilla ancestry, called Mariela, surname Castro, directs the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) and is its most visible face — perhaps in consideration of her creating it, being its principal “in-chief” and fundamental instigator — of this noble campaign. It is a path based on respect and involves freedoms and legal recognition being established to remove old prejudices and discriminatory structures.

Cuban television. from its massive reach, is playing a leading role in this human task. Almost daily we see education-oriented spots to that purpose. But the just performance of this project is clouded by the remnants of a society still sexist, which you can not change its way of thinking if it doesn’t see the example in the sponsors.

The faint silhouette of two men kissing, men walking with hands intertwined, two razors in the bathroom and two briefs hanging from a clothesline – as if every Cuban had only one pair — are some of the spots. It is likely that the “daddy’s girl” is also vindicating the actions of her uncle and father, who were particularly harsh with male homosexuals.

But is Mariela missing something? What about Eve? Perhaps she would prefer that some of the the space now being given to homosexuals as a way to combat sexism, but omitting lesbians, be put at the service of supporting the rights of women. As director of CENESEX and advocate for the GLBT community, she should expand her audiovisual campaign without contradictions and ambiguities, as both sexes are due the same respect and equal rights.

Maybe the anti-democratic guerrilla is a totally bad example, with the false paternalism that has controlled Cubans in almost every aspect of life, and which for many years showed signs of homophobia and even discrimination against and violations of the rights of their fellow citizens.

February 17 2012

Another Irreplaceable Loss

Photo downloaded from "cubaupdate.blogspot.com"

Once again Cuban society darkens from the avoidable death of another of its members. The peaceful protestor Wilman Villar Mendoza was detained in a police offensive carried out in Contramaestre, a province of Santiago of Cuba, unjustly and quickly condemned to 4 years in jail for working with a free conscience, in a trial behind closed doors, and they argue that this attracted his naked protest, his hunger strike and the resultant pneumonia — that was attended to too late — costing him his life. The outrage and official teaching toward those who think politically different are the moral rubric and the behavior of the Cuban dictatorship that have become tradition. The impunity with which the state works, the judge, who is part of and owner of all power, forsakes those citizens of the alternative political society who face the oppression of the state. For action and omission, the authorities are responsible for the death of this young man of 30 years.

Wilman was the victim of the abuse of power and the police who appeared to be directed by the high leadership of the country. Accustomed to vex and judge roughly the peaceful political dissidents and independent journalists in order to plant the seeds of terror in the citizenship, to avoid with intolerance what the independent civil society grows, and to maintain unharmed their cabinet and perks. To blackmail Maritza Pelegrino –now widow of Villar Mendoza — threatening to take away her daughters if she didn’t abandon the ranks of the Ladies in White, is an act lacking in ethics. Facts like these do not serve to “defend their Revolution” but to sully it. When they use violence, when they publicly denigrate and have paramilitary men hit women and defenseless people, they are serving a shameful, unspeakable and arbitrary order. They don’t change the mentality with slogans or through a decree, but with an appropriate government code of ethics and and in the just exercise of power.

This tragedy happened within just in a few days of the awaited visit of the president of Brazil, an ex-political prisoner who was tortured, and the visit of Pope Benedict XVI scheduled in March. In this hostile environment that has propitiated the intolerance, the Cuban government hides behind “convenient” criminal offenses in order to sanction political activism while awaiting these dignitaries. You can’t reform a country destroyed by the same people who pretend to fix it with ideological propaganda, but must do so with humane ideas and logical ethics and by including people who contribute to the respect of justice in all orders of national life. The new Cuba which inevitably will be reborn from this rubble of ignominy, should erect itself humanely with the respect and the harmony of all of its children inside and outside our borders, where there exists plurality of parties and ideas and where there is not mistreatment or oppression toward its children who defend their differing opinions from the official ones.

I sympathize with the pain of the families and I join the “outraged” members of Cuban society to condemn this death which could have been avoided. It is left to us to continue working to honor the example and the valiant souls of Pedro L. Boitel, Orlando Zapata, Laura Pollán and Wilmar Villar, rest in peace.

Translated by Jackie Isaksen

January 24 2012

The Death Certificate

The historical and honorary President of Cuba signed a death certificate on Twitter last week. Our country has been known for years for the practice of “illness and burial” of the Cuban historical leader, more or less regularly in the unofficial voice of the people, to serve as the pretext of his proud reappearance, in the media, in order to deny the rumours. I think it is an over-exploited resource for “oficialistas” to refloat the anointing of the phoenix of Cuban politics.

I always found it suspicious, that battered history. I think it has been closely linked among the 638 terrorist attacks that government spokesmen have claimed occurred against the former president. A figure also suspect, if we consider the published writings and audiovisual material made and disseminated on Cuban television, with the assistance of the Ministry of the Interior; stories of aggression told and retold that fall short of twenty. It is likely that the number and continuing rumours of his disappearance, have been aimed at denigrating his opponents, by consecutive refutations, in the diaspora.

I know not whether this was spontaneous, that year, and resulted from a rumour which took root in Cuba that became routine. It is possible that when some emigres gathered together to play dominoes, drinking to the death of the “Guinness Records Hoarder” of Cuba, authorities added it to the long list of attacks he claims. Perhaps they reacted now to the prevalence of the social networks and intend to use the chirping of the free bird that is Twitter to their advantage. I’d rather use those “cyber-comments”, often the fruit of social lethargy or the state mind-trap, and see how they add the most recent funeral to fabricate the number 639 in the long list of attacks on former President Castro.

Translated by: Hank Hardisty

January 26 2012

Betting on the Republicans

Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador; Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela; Raul Castro, president of Cuba. Image taken from: "elinformador.wordpress.com"

I want to share with my readers my concern about why the Cuban government is betting on a Republican administration in the United States. The Castro brothers have found it easy to justify their inaction to their party, civil and military cadres and the population in general, with the aggressive and recurring discourse that, since 1959, has blasted the north, and which they have maintained for more than five decades; but it has brought colder and more aggressive winds when “the hawks” have been in power.

That has permitted the Cuban leadership of the last fifty years to take refuge behind the strategic wall that guarantees its continued rule in Cuba. Why do I think they desire a Republican government in power in our neighboring country? Looking at and analyzing the current situation of an evening gives me an idea of what may be happening. As I do not have full information, here is an outline of my brief opinion, burnished over 53 years of totalitarianism and excessive politicization.

A few days ago the Cuban government published its interest to participate, if it is invited, in the Summit of the Americas to be held in Columbia this year. In the previous event, held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009, I wondered why the countries of the Bolivian Alternative for the People of America (ALBA) didn’t demand the presence of the Antillean government.

I deduced then that it was to avoid a meeting between Raul Castro and Barack Obama. Now, they support this even and want Cuba to participate. What changed? What right does the totalitarian government of Cuba have to attend to negotiate the items on the agenda of a meeting of democratic governments when it, itself, is not one? Why boycott the upcoming Summit?

In my post “Diversity vs. Demogoguery,” I discussed the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and of the fact that our country is the only one on the continent where there is not political plurality. Perhaps the historic Cuban establishment was only conspiring against the “imperial power” with the creation of CELAC, and wants to encourage to “friendly” governments of ALBA to adopt a confrontational attitude toward the United States that would facilitate their radicalization Cuban-style, with the same tactic of a “country besieged.”

To try to create a difficult situation for president Barack Obama in an election year, makes me thing they are betting — inspired by the experience of the Castro regime — on the election of a Republican in the upcoming U.S. elections, that would allow Cuba to continue with its messianic manifesto and convince its friends to follow in this venture that has been profitable for them, but that has nothing to do with democracy. What do you think?

February 14 2012