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

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

Press Freedom in Cuba Is the Most Threatened in the Americas / 14ymedio

At the beginning of March, official journalist Leandro Perez was detained in Cuba while he was photographing an arrest (Indomar Gomez/14ymedio)

At the beginning of March, official journalist Leandro Perez was detained in Cuba while he was photographing an arrest (Indomar Gomez/14ymedio)

The Island is among the top ten countries of the world with the greatest censorship

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 21 April 2015 – The control that the Cuban government exercises over the media was one of the strictest in the world in 2014 and the most rigid in the Americas, according to the report published Tuesday by the Committee For the Protection of Journalists (CPJ). The nonprofit organization with headquarters in New York, which works to protect the world’s press freedom, puts Havana in 10th place on the list of States with the highest levels of censorship but notes “significant progress” in recent years.

The CPJ’s report stresses that “print and broadcast media are totally controlled by the single party and have to be ‘in line with the objectives of the socialist society.’ Although the Internet offers some space for critics, the service providers block the undesired content,” as is the case with 14ymedio. Continue reading

The “Opening” by “Granma” / Diario de Cuba, Hildebrando Chaviano Montes

In a passage about today’s elections, the Communist Party newspaper “Granma” says that “every citizen has the right to a single vote […] regardless of [his] political position.”

DiariodeCuba, Hildebrando Chaviano Montes*, Havana, 19 April 2015 — The daily Granma, in its Wednesday, April 15 edition, brings a timid message of opening hidden in an article about the Cuban electoral system.  The mention that “in the process of electing delegates to the Municipal Assemblies the vote is characterized as being:  free, equal, secret, direct, nominal and preferential (Prieto Valdes and Perez Hernandez)” may not call the attention of many readers.

However, the mentioned authors make a contribution to the Constitution of the Republic itself when they explain that “every citizen has the right to a single vote and of equal value, without regard to race, religious belief, skin color, political position.”

The passage, although incomplete in my opinion, obviously is supported and inspired by Article 42 of the Cuban Constitution which says:  “Discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, sex, national origin, religious belief, and any other offense against human dignity is proscribed and prohibited by law.” Continue reading

The Forbidden Fruit for Cubans / Cubanet, Isis Marquez

FRESAS-DE-LA-DISCORDIA

On the Calipso farm they cannot give interviews to uncertified journalists. Nor are photos permitted. (Photos Isis Marquez)

Any farmer caught selling to the general population the strawberries that he cultivates will be fined 1000 CUP* (national currency) and have his land confiscated

cubanet square logoCubanet.org, Isis Marquez, Havana, 17 April 2015 – The strawberry is the forbidden fruit for Cubans. Its limited national production is for tourists and for the olive green hierarchy. The State limits the production because it sells for 2.4 euros per kilogram on the international market. Some say that it was introduced onto the island in 1965. Fifty years have passed and still the Cuban people cannot consume this exquisite strawberry. Maybe the Cuban government pretends that its people do not eat these fruits, which are anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogen?
Caption:

Benefits of the strawberry

The strawberry is a short cycle fruit rich in vitamin C. Its compounds have a high anti-oxidant power, as well as increased anti-cancer activity, and it prevents aging of the brain.

In February Cubanet had the opportunity to speak with vendors Kolia Morejon and Jorge Aspen, who said: “We are here because our client left us loaded. We have to sell the product to passersby before they go bad. We sell the small tin for 1 CUC*, the big one for 3 CUC. Continue reading

Enough with the Charades, Cuba Deserves Free Elections / Cubanet, Roberto Jesus Quinones

people with L fingers cuba

In order to “elect” there must be different political parties to choose from, and only one is legal on the Island: The Communist Party

cubanet square logoCubanet.org, Roberto Jesus Quinones Haces, Guantanamo, 17 April 2015 – Coming up on April 19 there will be “elections.” Many countrymen ask about the changes that the Electoral Law will introduce.

The most democratic electoral law in the world?

In Cuba there are no elections, just votes. There are no elections because in order to elect there must be different platforms, and here only one is legal. Absolutely all the delegates and deputies respond to this; that’s why it does not matter for whom you vote.

Every time one of the People’s Party (which is the “people’s” in name only) elections approaches, the official media overwhelm us citing the supposed blessings of our electoral law, according to them the most democratic in the world. Continue reading

“Many Voters Will Not Vote for Me” / Cubanet, Orlando Freire Santana

Hildebrando Chaviano (photo by the author)

Hildebrando Chaviano (photo by the author)

“Some do not know me well, some are prisoners of fear.” Interview with opposition member Hildebrando Chaviano, candidate for delegate to the People’s Power.

cubanet square logoCubanet.org, Orlando Freire Santana, Havana, 15 April 2015 – Independent journalist Hildebrando Chaviano is one of the opposition candidates nominated by districts in the capital with a view towards the midterm elections to be held this coming April 19. In order to learn of the most recent events surrounding his nomination, we visited him in his apartment on the 28th floor of the Focsa building in the El Vedado neighborhood.

Q: Have you noticed any change recently in your neighbors’ treatment of you?

A: “I can tell you yes, indeed. But a change for the better. Neighbors approach me and greet me cordially. Even those who have never had a close relationship with me, now I notice they are friendlier.

“However, the neighbors from the building are one thing, and another is the workers of the State establishments located here in Focsa. Many of them, due to the extent of their working hours — especially those in the food business – will vote at this polling station on the 19th.   And certainly, I am aware that they have distanced themselves from me. I am convinced that they have been told categorically that they may not vote for me.

“Even recently there occurred a telling event. Some reporters from the German television station Deutsche Welle visited me. When they were leaving we came to the building’s reception area where they wanted to take some pictures of me. The receptionist, very startled, left the place, because according to her own words, ‘Not for anything in the world could I appear in those photographs.’” Continue reading

“The Regime Wants the US to Buy Cuba with the Dictatorship Included” / Cubanet, José Luis León Pérez

Guillermo Fariñas, coordinator of the "Juan Soto García Guilfredo"  United Anti-totalitarian Forum (FANTU), winner of the 2010 European Parliament "Andrei Sakharov" Prize

Guillermo Fariñas, coordinator of the “Juan Soto García Guilfredo” United Anti-totalitarian Forum (FANTU), winner of the 2010 European Parliament “Andrei Sakharov” Prize

“If the Cuban government aspires to be included among the democracies it must accept and respect the opposition.” Interview with Guillermo Farinas.

cubanet square logoCubanet.org, Jose Luis Leon Perez, Santa Clara, 7 April 2015 — Before leaving for Panama for the Civil Society Forum, Guillermo Farinas, Coordinator of the United Anti-totalitarian Forum (FANTU), who holds a critical view of the negotiations between Cuba and the United States, agreed to an interview with Cubanet.

What is your opinion about the Seventh Summit of the Americas, about the presidents of Cuba and the United States sitting for the first time at the same table?

Dialog is better than war. Personally, I think that Barack Obama erred by not taking into account Cuban civil society, the internal, non-violent opposition, when he took that step. But we must not concentrate on criticizing Obama, but the Raul Castro regime, his character and that of the top leaders, our true adversaries. Continue reading

Castro Followers Attacked Peaceful Dissidents in Panama / Cubanet

Cumbre-cumbre

The opponents were putting flowers at a bust of Jose Marti. Cuban diplomats took part in the beating. The Castro-ites also interrupted the Civil Society Forum. See the video.

cubanet square logoCubanet.org, 9 April 2015 – A pro-Castro group today attacked Cuban dissidents in the heart of Panama City, where on Friday the Seventh Summit of the Americas will begin — in which Cuba will have a starring role due to the rapprochement with the United States; President Raul Castro as well as representatives of the opposition have been invited.

The dissidents claimed that on leaving a tribute at the bust of the Cuban national hero Jose Marti in Porras Park, located some yards from the Cuban embassy in Panama, they were surprised by the Castro followers.

“We went to the Jose Marti bust to leave a wreath. There were several people there who began to scream obscenities at us and tell us to leave. A moment later several people from the Cuban embassy came out and physically attacked us,” said Leticia Ramos, a member of the Ladies in White. Continue reading

“They Have Taken Everything from Me, Even My Family” / 14ymedio

Arian Gonzalez Perez (personal photo)

Arian Gonzalez Perez (personal photo)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 8 April 2015 — “How is it possible that I cannot enter my country?” Arian Gonzalez Perez asks himself time and again. This 26-year old Cuban, originally from Santa Clara, has lived in Barcelona for five years, and for that reason he was recently denied permission to travel to the Island and visit his sick grandmother.

“I feel like an outcast, very depressed,” he explains in a telephone conversation from the Catalan city. In his native country, he devoted himself to chess, but, like all players who remain living outside of Cuba, he was expelled from the ELO list (a chess player’s ranking) two years ago. In order to obtain the title of master of this discipline he will have to search for another national federation to cover him. “They have taken everything from me, even my family. It is very frustrating not to have rights,” he says. Continue reading

The Lying Cuban Press / Cubanet, Victor Manuel Dominguez

Archive photo Cubanet.org. An elderly man selling Granma. Headline: “Raul will speak tomorrow”

Archive photo Cubanet.org. An elderly man selling Granma. Headline: “Raul will speak tomorrow”

Montonous, grey, controlled, censored, demagogic, jingoistic, for more than half a century as spokesperson for phantom successes

cubanet square logoCubanet.org, Victor Manuel Dominguez, Havana, 31 March 2015 (Cuba Sindical) – The “Revolutionary” Cuban press, characterized as demagogic, monotonous, manipulative, with a grey design, poor quality paper, without stylistic and conceptual diversity, born of the mortal remains of a free press that was censored and later banned from the inception of the Revolution.

Always under state control, the role of spokesperson of governmental policy and ideology, the lack of objectivity is required, and the omission or disguising of what really is happening in the country. Faced with its pathetic role, several Cubans talked about censorship, rumors and secrecy in the national press.

The Tagline

“Still, we are lucky that we are not sentenced to jail for wiping our backsides with the image of Marx, Mao, Stalin, or the victorious face of a leader of the country on a first page, like the followers of Kim Il Sung used to be in Pyongyang,” Ernesto Penalver said ironically. Continue reading

The Mariel Exodus: State Terrorism / Cubanet, Roberto Jesus Quinones

Posters from acts of repudiation during the Mariel Boatlift (1980)

Posters from acts of repudiation during the Mariel Boatlift (1980)

Against the “scum,” acts of repudiation, beatings and humiliations. Against Florida, an invasion of the unemployed

Cubanet.org, Roberto Jesus Quinones Haces, Guantanamo, 1 April 2015 – On the first of April 1980 a bus was driven through the entrance to the Peruvian embassy in Havana; its occupants entered and sought political asylum. Unfortunately, the non-commissioned officer of the PNR (National Revolutionary Police), Pedro Ortiz Cabrera, lost his life in the event. The event was followed by others extremely traumatic for many Cubans due to their violence. All would be indelibly recorded in the nation’s collective memory and would reveal the terrorist nature of the Cuban regime.

Fidel Castro demanded that the Peruvian government immediately hand over the people who had forcibly entered the diplomatic headquarters. To have pleased him, long jail sentences and execution by firing squad undoubtedly would have been the sanctions applied. But the government of Peru did not agree, and the Cuban regime adopted a measure that, like the others taken in those days, made it seem to their proxies that the ball had been placed in the opponent’s court.

The Measures Taken by Fidel

Fidel Castro ordered the withdrawal of protection and monitoring from around the diplomatic headquarters, inciting all Cubans who wanted to emigrate to enter it. Very soon, thousands of people from all the cities and towns of the country crammed into the place turning it into a tangible reservoir of the discontent that now was sapping society. Continue reading