The Internet: A Space for Diversity and Freedom of Expression / Cubanet, Ernesto Perez Chang

Young people are indifferent to politics.  Cell phones, video games and television series are their priorities (photo by the author)

Young people are indifferent to politics. Cell phones, video games and television series are their priorities (photo by the author)

We have to wonder how much the Cuban government invests in restricting this essential information tool in our time, blocking it and even minimizing the “harmful effects” of its free and generalized use

cubanet square logoCubanet.org, Ernesto Perez Chang, Havana, 24 April 2015 – Faced with the problem of the limits on access to the internet in Cuba, one would have to wonder not how much the Cuban government invests in expanding the reach of this information tool, essential in our time, but how high the costs will rise in order to restrict it, block it and even to minimize the “harmful effects” of its free and generalized use.

It is known that every state enterprise, institute and agency has an information department charged with not only managing the internet but monitoring the navigation of every user, censoring it and reporting any “suspicious maneuver.”  The specialists do not work of their own will but must carry out to the letter the rigorous instructions provided by the national Information Security team strongly tied to the Ministry of the Interior. Continue reading

Corruption and its Three Enormous Harms / 14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner

Protest against corruption in Spain (Flickr/CC)

Protest against corruption in Spain: “They don’t govern, they steal!” (Flickr/CC)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, 25 April 2015 – Mexico and corruption are two words that always go hand in glove, or as the Columbians mischievously say, “grab each other’s peepees.”

Corruption in Venezuela is greater, and that of Argentina is not far behind, according to Transparency International, but to judge by what is happening in Chile, Brazil and Cuba, it seems to be a bad Latin American epidemic.  The continent, with few exceptions, is a pigsty.

In any case, the Mexican government wants to end corruption. It was about time. Is that possible? When did it start? They tell you, laughing, as soon as you set foot in the country.

The Spanish conquistadors tortured Cuauhtemoc, the Aztec chieftain, to make him reveal where he hid the gold: Continue reading

Deputies of the European Union Request Freedom for Angel Santiesteban

“What new trap will the dictatorship lay for April 28, the date when Angel Santiesteban-Prats should be released on parole?”

Justice continues to impose itself. In Cuba, behind the bars with which they have tried to imprison his body, without being able to capture his spirit and his ideas, Angel Santiesteban-Prats is today a little freer.

The world, Europe in particular, is making a new gesture, showing that dignity still is not lost in the world of high politics, in the world that prefers to make economic, commercial and political concessions to the Castro brothers’ dictatorship, ignoring the enormous violations of human rights that the Regime perpetrates on the Island. Continue reading

The Bullies That Castro Sent to Panama / Angel Santiesteban

Screen capture from Cuban State television. Caption: “Mercenaries [i.e. independent human rights activists] attack the Cuban delegation in Panama.”

For a few seconds you could see the video on Telesur of the blows given by the official Cuban delegates in Panama. I managed to see, and it’s the gesture I remember the most, a man who, above the rest, attacked with his fist, exercising brutal force, and I remembered that on November 8, 2012, when I was in front of the Acosta police station, members of Cuban State Security beat me for demanding freedom for Antonio Rodiles, who was detained in jail there.

Beating Cuban dissidents is a daily practice. They can’t avoid doing what they always do. It’s their instinct, their Castrista education. Continue reading

Cuba Increases Control over Its Doctors / Cubanet, Roberto Jesus Quinones

cuban doctorsThe government is trying, among other measures, to curb hiring of its professionals by foreign clinics

cubanet square logoCubanet, Roberto Jesus Quinones Haces, Guantanamo, 20 April 2015 — The exodus of Cuban health professional does not stop, and the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) apparently has decided to act to counter a phenomenon that is damaging domestic medical services but much more the country’s income.

A document attributed to the senior management of MINSAP, adopted in a meeting held in mid-March of this year, has been making the rounds in the e-mail of health professionals in which the sector’s new policy is expressed. This event was confirmed to CubaNet by an official from the Provincial Management of Public Health in Guantanamo, whose identity we do not reveal for obvious reasons. Continue reading

The Disparagement of Our Heroes Should End / Dora Leonor Mesa

Dora Leonor Mesa, 24 April 2015 — The photos of Cuban President Raúl Castro conversing with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama during the Seventh Summit of the Americas are still appearing on the principal pages of the world’s most important newspapers.

Images of Cuban volunteers who, risking their lives, went to fight the fatal Ebola virus in Africa, those who help disaster victims in Haiti and other places, i.e. Brazil, Pakistan, Chile, etc., have also been given prime placement in the broadcast media and the most prestigious news agencies.

In Panama, during the forums of the Seventh Summit of the Americas, Cuban men and women of the State-sponsored civil society also appeared on the front pages of every known communication medium in the world. Continue reading

The Revolution and its Functional Illiterates / Diario de Cuba, Jorge Olivera Castillo

diariodecubalogoDiario de Cuba, Jorge Olivera Castillo, Havana, 23 April 2015 — According to a close friend, no fewer than half of the graduates of Cuban universities during the last 50 years, have been graduated in vain.”

Such an assertion might be considered distorted and extremist, but the reality outweighs the data that continue to have no place in the official press nor in the other spaces controlled by the State-Party.

From the start, what counted was massiveness. The only insurmountable barrier to higher education is ideological divergences. The slogan about the university being “only for revolutionaries” is kept as current as on the first day it was proclaimed from the platforms and acclaimed by the multitudes. Continue reading

Important Global Event Supports Freedom for Angel Santiesteban

With the organization “Creative Time,” on Friday, April 13, there was a performance of Tania Bruguera’s “Tatlin’s Whisper #6,” in solidarity with her, Angel Santiesteban-Prats, Danilo Maldonado “El Sexto,” and all other artists in the world who face criminal charges and violence for exercising their basic human right to free expression.

The solidarity event invoked Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights that states: “Every person has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medium and regardless of frontiers.” Continue reading

They Voted for Everything to Continue the Same / Ana Mercedes Torricella

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My neighbor Nelly, when she learned that I did not go vote and I again clarified that I did not want to leave Cuba, told me: “You independent journalists and dissidents are going to be alone with the hard-liners and the snitches! Come on, you have to leave, there is nothing else!”

cubanet square logoCubanet.org, Ana Mercedes Torricella, Havana, 22 April 2015 – On Sunday, April 19, those who voted in the municipal delegates election of the Popular Power did it under compulsion, as is customary. They voted, like it or not, for business as usual and for “the same people.” In other words, “these people,” as many Cubans say in reference to the regime.

For the majority, the voting does not matter. Their most expensive and cherished interests are food and the money to acquire it.

I have some neighbors who live a misery of fear. The youngest, who was very beautiful, managed to marry an Italian, and she move to Genoa. Some years ago, when she came to visit Cuba, she bought gifts and brought them Euros. But that family did not use that money to buy furniture or to fix the dilapidated dwelling: they used it to buy stereo equipment. Currently, they alleviate their hunger with blaring music, which they listen to while they drink rum or some other cheap liquor. Continue reading

Elections in Cuba: The Never-Ending Farce / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Municipal delegate elections. Vote 2015 Cuba.

Jeovany J. Vega, 19 APril 2015 — When on this day, Sunday, 19 April 2015, the last poll closes, nothing transcendent will occur. Despite the statistics manipulated by the newspaper Granma and its libels about an electorate that presumably will have gone to the polls freely and massively to give its “absolute support” to the Revolution, at this stage that never-ending story will deceive very few people.

Irregularities at the polls; ballots that can only be marked “with pencil!” so that they can later be adulterated and thus avoid generating inconvenient statistics; candidacy commissions controlled by the only legal party in Cuba (the Communist one) who handpick the president of every assembly from the municipal level on up to the Council of State: assemblies all of which from San Antonio on the west to Maisí on the east will decide nothing outside the line approved by the one dictatorial party, and they will question nothing, but rather during their time in office they will do nothing more than unanimously approve every “guidance” emanating from Olympus. Continue reading

Elections…for What?* / Rebeca Monzo

Rebeca Monzo, 22 April 2015 — I have a friend from the old days who has a big heart, but a mouth even bigger than that vital organ. We meet a bunch of years ago when I moved to this neighborhood, and we bonded over our noble sentiments towards our fellow humans, animals and nature — despite our great differences insofar as ideas about homeland and liberty.

A few days ago she sent me, via a mutual neighborhood acquaintance, an unexpected message: “Tell Rebeca that if this time she will not vote, I myself will go get her and drag her by the hair, kicking her in the….”

Gross error, I told the messenger. Above all, I do not accept, under any circumstances, threats from anyone — but even worse, that type of message is one that only she can give to me directly, if she respects herself — and even less do I accept vulgarities. Taking advantage of the fact that the intermediary is a member of my block’s Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, I made the following remarks to her: Continue reading

138 Votes for Chaviano / 14ymedio, Victor Ariel Gonzalez

Vote count in polling station number 2 of Hildebrand Chaviano’s district (14ymedio)

Vote count in polling station number 2 of Hildebrand Chaviano’s district (14ymedio)

In the polling place on the ground floor of the FOCSA building, the vote count placed the opposition candidate only 18 votes behind the candidate who won the nomination

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Victor Ariel Gonzalez, Havana, 20 April 2015 – At polling station number 2, located on the ground floor of FOCSA, the vote count ended near seven in the evening, and Hildebrando Chaviano, the opposition candidate, came in last place. So far, no news. But things change if the data are analyzed. Of the 448 valid ballots, Hidlebrando Chaviano received 105, only 18 fewer than the candidate finally nominated. A complete triumph for someone described by the official biography as “counterrevolutionary.” Also, 14 blank ballots and 25 cancelled ones were counted at this polling station.

“The population is not prepared, there is much ignorance and confusion created against us but even so, much has been achieved because never before has it come to a candidacy,” the lawyer explained to the EFE agency; he is a resident of the Havana neighborhood El Vedado where he ran and was elected by the residents of his zone. Continue reading