Centers of Love Become Victims of Apathy / Rebeca Monzo

Colorful Butterflies kindergarten

“Today day care centers celebrate their fifty-second anniversary. These institutions continue fulfilling and improving their mission so that work in education might be more profound and efficient…”

So begins an article published in Juventud Rebelde on April 10 of this year. It goes on to provide a brief history of how the first such institutions began in our country in the early 1960s. It reminded me of how I first got involved in this work through the direct request from a friend.

For a year I did “volunteer work” by myself in a big space in which they provided me with abundant and varied material, making fabric dolls as well as various articles for the home. These would later be auctioned in a raffle which took place on property owned by the Ministry of Foreign Commerce. The goal was to raise funds for a day care center on the ninth floor of a building on 23rd Street where a lot of women worked.

Finally, a year later they were able to bring the project to fruition as a result of many important donations from companies who had entered into negotiations with the ministry as well as my own modest contribution. I also remember actively participating in the decoration of center’s facility.

What I noticed was how this article ignored some of the real reasons for the deterioration and subsequent closure of many of these centers, whose construction had been such a noble goal.

A couple of years ago I was having a conversation with the director of Colorful Butterflies, a kindergarten next door to my house which my two sons attended. I asked her about the visible neglect of the center, and she told me it was due to low enrollment. After reading the article in Juventud Rebelde, it occurred to me that this was perhaps one of many causes, the main one being the lack of resources provided to the these institutions in addition to neglect and lack of maintenance.

“At the moment there are 45,000 applications pending and 46 institutions in the country have been closed — 40 in the capital alone — all for construction problems.”

This is how it was stated in one of the paragraphs from the article in question. We should, therefore, hold the government responsible for the current state of these buildings, which were built in great haste and in excess by people who had no experience in this kind of work to fulfill the usual quotas, not to mention the failure to provide stable funding for their subsequent maintenance.

Additionally, the ever more apparent lack of personnel qualified to work with children has led parents to take their children to private homes which, until a very short time ago, functioned in a kind of clandestine limbo. There is an ever increasing number of self-employed workers who take up this work now that they have a license to do it.

In the face of the importance and magnitude of the problem, since families don’t have sufficient resources to leave their children in private day care, due to poor salaries and not possessing another type of stable source of income, the government has implemented a new type of plan: “Educate your child”, that is being developed in some communities, offering guidance to the family to stimulate and adequately look after the little one, with the objective of achieving integral development and preparation for the start of the child’s school life.  We hope that this plan, like many other before it, will not languish on the road. Ladies and Gentlemen, love must be attended to!

Translated by: Unknown, BW

22 April 2013

New Emigration Measures / Aimee Cabrera #Cuba

DSC00104

By Aimée Cabrera

New emigration measures take effect on the 14th of January of this year.  Passports can be requested at Identity Card and Population Registration Offices, of Immigration and Immigration Matters; also from the Ministry of the Interior of the provinces of Artemisa, Mayabeque, and the municipality of the Isle of Youth.  There are 195 office in the entire country.

Now when you have to go to change or get the identity card, you have to get into a line of a thousand hells, they complicate everything, never doing anything so that “the lower ones feel attended” — as someone from the capital municipality of Plaza noted.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security carries out, together with the institutions of the State central administration, the process of defining which citizens are subject to the regulations  established in the Decree 306/12, in which one can upgrade passports without the holder being present.

Minors under 18 years of age and disabled will be able to upgrade passports without a fee, in accordance with Resolution 43 of the Ministry of the Interior.  The parents and legal representatives also have to show the identity card of the minor, and an authorization formalized before a notary public.

If one or both parents, or the legal representatives are outside of the country the formalized authorization is presented before a corresponding consular officer; if one of the parents has passed away, the death certificate must be shown, as must the judicial resolution when one of them does not have parental authority or it has been suspended.

The increase in requests for passports for the desire to flee the country, where no one can adequately prosper, is remarkable. While this measure constitutes an opening, it is not for all.  Cubans that belong to illegal groups or from the opposition continue waiting to be able to emigrate and admitting the obstacles imposed by the offices that provide these services.

“I don’t want to stay, I want to travel where I desire and return to my homeland, for people that want the same as me, I don’t see anything in writing, nothing more than negative”, expressed a worker in the tourist sector.

 Translated by: BW

January 9 2013

Cubans Throughout the World / Rebeca Monzo #Cuba

Upon arriving in this corner of France and reuniting with my family, whom I had not seen for seven years, I had the great pleasure of receiving a visit from the son of a very dear friend, whom I had first seen when he was born. Later on, as you might imagine, the subject of the far-off homeland came up, as well as the problems and frustrations that come with abandoning, almost against your will, the place where you were born. This is his case.

This Cuban is not resigned to remaining in forced exile. Life has played him some dirty tricks, so he is undocumented here. They cannot repatriate him, as he would like, because Cuban authorities repeatedly refuse him entry. The last time he was in Cuba, he remained in prison for four months for refusing to leave the country.

This man, who is still young, has two names and a head, so he never stops thinking about the misery to which his homeland is subjected. He has dedicated his free time — which unfortunately is all that he can do since he does not have papers and can work only sporadically — to investigating Cuban issues in-depth.

I was truly impressed when he showed me photos, articles and a wealth of details, to which we Cubans on the island do not have access, regarding the strange accident in which Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero were killed.

For this reason I am uploading the video that my friend provided for your consideration.

Site manager’s note: This video is not subtitled but here is a summary of the contents: The person speaking, a friend of Rebeca’s, is Israel Alejandro Cabezas González. He has put together the evidence he shows in the video, with regards to the death of Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero in a car crash. He believes that the photo of the car — driven by the Spaniard Carromero — was “fixed,” that is altered, and as a point of comparison he offers a photo that appeared in the Spanish press. He says that the official report of the crash was prepared to match the “fixed” photos.

Using Google maps he shows where the crash occurred, and the little collection of houses located 2 km before the crash. He believes that the “operation” was planned there and that the “supposed ambulances” were already waiting there.

The farmer speaking in he video says he was biking from the nearby town to the rice fields where he works, the entrance to which is directly across from the crash site. While he was biking a car passed him and he saw the dust cloud, based on which Alejandro estimates he’s about 1 km (half a mile) from the crash. By the time of the crash he was just meters away and arrived there in 2 to 3 minutes. He said people were already there taking each of the 4 men out of the car.

The person speaking in English is Jan Modig, the Swede who was in the car. He says, “The second memory I have is that I found myself in some sort of ambulance,” which means it wasn’t an ambulance… it was ‘sort of an ambulance’. Alejandro also says the foreigners were saying “why did you do this to us?” and he believes it was a huge premeditated operation to kill them.

He says they took “the Swede” and Carromero (the Spaniard who was driving) away separately and they didn’t know what happened to Oswaldo Paya. Paya was sitting where he received the direct impact from the crash, but that he served as a sort of ‘airbag’ for Harold Cepero who ultimately also died. Alejandro says that since they were being hit from behind everyone was wearing their seatbelts [the official version is that they were not] and that Harold was alive after the crash; he had a very small fracture of the femur.

When they arrived at the hospital — Alejandro goes on  to say — State Security kicked the regular doctors out of the hospital and brought in “G2″ military doctors, and that he hopes Cepero’s body was not cremated because he did not die of natural causes.

Alejandro’s personal version of what happened was that somebody who was G2 (State Security) infiltrated Carromero and Modig’s visit and told G2 where they were going. G2 followed them from Havana and also there were more G2 agents waiting for them in the collection of houses, where everything was prepared, including the ambulances and doctors.

Translated and video summary by Unstated and BW and Chabeli

January 4 2013

The Blue Card / Rebeca Monzo

There is not much that is new in the new immigration law. Nonetheless, it has raised expectations among a wide swath of the population: retirees, homemakers, students who have not gotten past the ninth grade, the unemployed and the elderly, to cite a few.

In one paragraph, the much-publicized law mentions that medical technicians are also subject to the burden of having to wait three years from the date of a passport request or the extension of an existing passport without regard for the time they have been out of the workforce. This measure not only discourages the prospects for travel, but—and to me this is the greater danger—it also discourages the desire of people to continue with their studies. Once they have completed the ninth grade, many abandon the classroom for good.

This has been going on for many years with respect to university careers. Many quit before graduating, or simply never begin their studies in the hope of being able to travel someday. The same thing is happening is less specialized fields of study. This is leading and will continue to lead to an even greater lowering of the country’s educational and technical standards, which have already been significantly eroded.

Logically speaking, it remains to be seen whether or not those fortunate enough to be granted a long-awaited passport will be approved for a visa by the countries they hope to visit. In this way the Cuban government, like Pontius Pilate, can wash its hands of the matter, placing the blame on others as usual.

Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake. This new emigration law seems more like a new, more-sophisticated Mariel, but one that is organized and controlled by the state.

Translated by BW and Unstated

October 25 2012

1, 2, 3, 4… The Census! / Rosa Maria Rodriguez Torrado

Logo downloaded from “radiorebelde.cu”

The Antillean archipelago’s authorities say that “In Cuba, we all count”, and that’s why from the 15th to the 24th of September all of the homes of the country will be visited to gather census information. I understand that the census is a statistical operation that should be carried out every 10 years and that it is important for determining, among other things, the number of people who make up a group or state. Also,it is a primary source for obtaining other basic social, economic, and demographic data about a society. But I ask myself, who accounts for the Cuban emigrants dispersed throughout the world that are part of our nation?

In recent days, an “information supplement” on the Population and Housing Census, published by the National Office for Statistics and Information, appeared under my door. It explains to citizens what the “mission” of the census is and shows the questionnaires that the data collectors, called enumerators, will fill out. Among the notable items is question 16, which asks how many land lines and mobile phones there are in a residence. As the only telephone company that provides service to all Cubans living on the archipelago, doesn’t ETECSA, which also happens to be state-owned,have these figures?

In this census task, like in the two previous ones carried out by the government,there will be inquiries regarding the condition of the houses and their construction and general characteristics.I hope this will result in some benefits for society! Because there is no use knowing, for example, the serious problems existing in the houses and in their maintenance(that is already well-known and we have been putting up with them for years, because the necessary resources have not been assigned to them), if a sustained constructive assistance is not designated and assigned to the renovation and rehabilitation of the impoverished housing inventory in Cuba.

I remember the first time the government carried out that statistical task.It was in the 70s, when they had more than a decade in power.It’s been ten years since the last census and the results were not made known to the population, let alone did they produce any benefits or improvements in the average Cuban’s life. Development and efficiency are not achieved with state inquiries, but with the political will of governments, with real motivations for the citizens and incentives in all spheres of society. That should be a natural and systematic practice, attentive to the law and always directed to the benefit of everyone, not just a group. Modernity is not reached just with information or by decree.

It is good to keep control of our inputs and outputs, whether they be material or intangible, individual or collective. Every demographic investigation relating to the totality of people by province, municipality, city or different urban and rural areas — by sex and age, average educational level, marital status, active working population, etc. — is important for the development of government policies. On this occasion, they mix the population census with “the short-term and medium-term economic and social plans especially for the appropriate guidelines for the Party’s and the Revolution’s economic and social policies“. This opportunistic mixture conjures up in my mind, like an animated cartoon, a leader who without planning lies down on the bottom of his political boat to try to patch or plug the holes in the bottom with his body. Because he is being left without extremities…

For a militarized society, deformed by this government in the degrading tradition of having to have even one’s underwear counted when one is going to emigrate, to have “regulations” about what one should eat or wear, to have someone decide what one should read, to “be transported” generally according to the needs and interests of the state, to be watched by those in charge of one’s block or by the police, to have someone predetermine what radio stations one should listen to and what TV channel one should watch, whom one should disregard and whom one should believe, in the end produces a population sunk in a sustainable defenselessness and indolence, unaware of its rights, and as a result, easier to subdue and direct.

So let’s count: 1, 2, 3 at the dictatorship’s “conga-line pace”*, for whose manipulations and campaigns to stay in power indefinitely, but not for the exercise of our fundamental freedoms, “in Cuba, we all count”.

*Translator’s note: The original Spanish is a quote from an old Cuban song.

Translated by: BW, Espirituana

11 September 2012

Accessing the Internet in Cuban Churches / Cuban Legal Advisor, Yaremis Flores

By Lic. Yarmis Flores

Liu, reader of this blog, asked the Office if Cuban churches one can have access to the internet. Since 1996, the Cuban government, has been clear about its policy with respect to full access to internet services, in Decree 209 of the Council of Ministers, “Access from the Republic of Cuba to Information Networks of Global Reach.”

The island’s government established its proposal to guarantee full access to the Internet, but in a regulated form and acting in the national interests, giving priority to the connection of people in the judiciary and the institutions of the most relevance to the life and development of the country.

All the users with access to the internet on the island, be they Cubans or foreign residents in Cuba, need authorization from the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC).

In addition, the IP address has to be registered (the only addressing protocol of the Internet, assigned to each machine or device found on the network) and they are controlled by the Agency of Control and Supervision of the MIC. Penalties are imposed on those who don’t comply with this requirement, like the removal of the license to be an Internet user.

It is not recommended to access the Internetsecretly, because if the authorities suspect some irregularity in a church or religious group, an order is not required to carry out a search, because Article 217 of the Law of Legal Procedure establishes that “To enter and search a temple or other place intended for a religious group, handing a messageto the attention of theperson in charge is all that is required.”

Translated by: BW

August 28 2012

The Color of Humanity / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

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. Othersalso relateit with what is filthy and dirty.

The astronomers call the extremely dense celestial body that absorbs whatever matter and energy located in its gravitational fielda 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 catis related to superstition or bad luck, and equally a black vultureis 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 authoris 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

Women Leaders in Conditions of Failure / Dora Leonor Mesa

Political Participation of women and Psychology (Extract)

J. Fransciso Morales* – Isabel Cuadrado**

The distance that measures the expanding legislation to favor the political participation of women and the data that, again and again, speak about a permanent male domination of this field serves as a reminder of the struggles of women to achieve equality.  These have been developing without interruption since the days of the first suffragists until now and, as is widely-known, with an active opposition and tenacity of extensive and important parts of society, opposition that, not having been the object of systematic analysis, is unknown in its structure and dynamics.

The question is what can psychology contribute in this area, meaning, if and how can it help reveal the enigma of the disequilibrium of genders in political participation.  At first glance, it appears that it can reveal only a little.  Definitely, and as Garzon indicates (2001, p. 347), traditional Political Psychology has its objects of study perfectly delimited (in words of the author, it has “a circumscribed collection of topics”), and between those one cannot find the central issue that is revealed in this work.

At the current time, Political Psychology is open to new ways of thinking.  Concretely, the new approach of political psychology as a resource is moving away from the traditional concept of discipline and is becoming “a strategy, a tool to relate different realities.”  Upon attempting to demonstrate that the male domination in the confines of politics is a reflection of consolidated social practices and that its disappearance would require a deep social change, it is connected with the newly supported approach by the cited author.

The glass cliff in the political world

In an attempt to understand the low female representation in the political leadership, Ryan, Haslam and Kulich (2010) have investigated the types of political opportunities that women are offered, the positions they achieve when they take on political positions and the barriers to them that they face up to to carry out such positions.  For that reason, they examine those aspects from the perfect of the “glass cliff” (crystal precipice).  This focus supports his view that women have a better chance than men of occupying positions of leadership that involve a higher risk of failure (Ryan and Haslam, 2005, 2007).

This line of investigation has centered until now on organizational leadership.  In this world, the authors start reviewing the data from 100 British businesses and confirming that women tend to be in positions of leadership in those companies that are going through moments of crisis.  Over the various studies carried out in different contexts and with diverse participants, Haslam and Ryan (2008) confirmed that it was considered more appropriate for a women candidate to occupy a position of leadership than a man when the performance of a company is worsening (as opposed to when it is improving).

A study carried out recently in Spain (Cuadrado, Molero, and Garcia, 2009) has confirmed this fact, showing that, in conditions of failure, the women are better evaluated than the men, meaning, they are considered more competent to occupy those positions.  On the contrary, men are better evaluated than the women in conditions of success.

Due to that in said study it is unknown if this phenomenon is due to the experience or lower qualifications of women in this scope or if it is due more directly to gender, per se, Ryan et. al. (2010), carried out a study in that they control this and other variables.  In the said study, they examined the preference for men or women candidates in the selection phase of a fictitious by election (local elections held to fill a position when the holder resigns or dies).  It was found that women emerge as the preferred candidate for a difficult seat to win, while if the possibility to win it are raised, a man is preferred.

Extracted from the article, “PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ABOUT THE IMPLICATION OF WOMEN IN POLITICS”

UNED*- University of Almería**   Political Psychology, N 42, 2011, 29-44 ]

Translated by: BW

February 2 2012

Hot War / Lilianne Ruíz

Since the socialist camp fell, our politicians miss the Cold War and now should be celebrating the possible war between the dictators and the western democracies.  They have worked for years with this objective.  But they still talk on the radio about their ideological press releases, hypnotizing multitudes, that “the world cries out for peace.”

If the world were governed by religious dictators or by a proletariat dictator, there would not be much hope for human beings.  If, although they didn’t come to dominate, two blocks of power were established as in the fateful Soviet times, the fate of civilians would be like in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, where they jailed and abused citizens with the impunity that conceded the Cold War, in that the priority of the whole world was to not descend into a nuclear war.

It is not that the dictators have learned to respect religious differences, nor differences in sexual orientation, nor have they come to the time in which they have to respect political differences, there were concessions they made at some point, with their call of the “sense of the historical moment” to preserve their power.  If this sense changes they will return to show how they are:  “if the enemy tires out you have to annihilate them”, land of macho men, atheists, and revolutionaries.

People say that in the 80s, the markets were packed with food, condensed milk at 20 centavos, all we children went to school and we believed that the Americans were very evil and that some mercenaries had come to invade us and that bearded figurehead who would not stop speaking and gesturing had brought at last the first defeat of Imperialism in Latin America, and that was good.

Nobody told us in school that the President of the United States withdrew support of that invasion where imperialism wasn’t defeated but other Cubans coming from the country that historically has been the refuge of Cubans to overthrow tyrants.

In that historic lie taught in school, one can discern traits of the beneficiary of the lie.  If I had been an adult in that time and I wouldn’t have agreed that there was an abundance of food in the markets and never would have believed that that figurehead was better than me or my friends, because in all of the versions from my life, in all the endless pastures of space, in parallel universes, I detest the underdevelopment and servility of Castrocommunism.

What surprises me the most is the similarity with Stalinism, it isn’t possible they haven’t even learned the most minimal details.  It comes to them from inside, it is human nature.  Like an opportunistic sickness, they appear when capitalism has left the masses of people discontented, they offer them a better society, but they don’t tell them the conditions of this contract that never appears anywhere means that the payment will be the person himself, a debt that will not be paid with money because the leaders are in charge of that and nobody can own anything because they can’t be unequal, a lot of poverty for everyone and no freedom of conscience, nor of expression, no type of initiative.

All the dictators are similar, the same aesthetic, a grey curtain, a photo of the leaders, some flowers, very bad energy.  Now that the news in Cuba suspiciously announced the manifestations of support for Putin and the legality of the elections in Russia it makes me wonder if a secret fraternity exists with the KGB. I who in those days looked on with so much happiness, with more than 20 years of difference, the documentary about M. Gorbachev, on the History Channel on pirated video.

 Translated by: BW

December 19 2011

Resonance / Laritza Diversent

Cuba, the little island difficult to locate in the Caribbean Sea and the big booty in the new world order. Often I hear that it is under siege by the voracious appetite of the empire, its eternal enemy. Other big powers in the great Europe also lurk for prey.

A nice opening for a fiction novel.However, we Cubans feel we are at the center of the world, thanks to the eagerness of the socialist government for persecution. “The little besieged nation survives the attempts to dominate it.” Lyrical and melodramatic. In reality, we are the oldest of the Antilles, but not as important nor the most well-known among the citizens of the world.

It is there where the problem lies of those who decide to say, from within and faces uncovered, what they feel and think. How can we make ourselves heard in this world, inside a great act that is called the Socialist Revolution, when the media does not allow us to use new information technology. How can we show up the other side of the system and with angered eyes of repression?

It’s not a question of patriotism. It’s necessity. The human being is nothing without self-expression. Nevertheless, the problem remains.How can we make the world listen when we are surrounded by such obvious successes, free health care and education. Resonance is the only way we can make our voice heard.

Moving away from the methods, the positions, including the work of lobbying the diplomats and politicians, it is fair to recognize that in Europe and United States there are many people who help and multiply our voice, overcoming the differences in customs and languages. Also, its true that many times we don’t attach enough importance to or know how to appreciate the extent of this support.

On a personal level, I am thankful that they are where it is impossible for us to be, they help us get around the exit permit and conquer the borders of the Ministry of the Interior. Also I know that many of us hope for more. Some an aggressive Europe and other a less intransigent United States. Nevertheless, we ask for a little and nothing from ourselves.

That support achieves much more. It counteracts the loneliness when friends are afraid to share with you so that the State Security doesn’t place a mark on them. Only God knows how many times I asked myself, if what I do really is worthwhile. The attention of the outside world feels like a pat on the back, that keeps us from surrendering.

The interest and help from the outside world, in my opinion is an important factor in our struggle for freedom. It shows, as if we, ourselves, were the other side of the coin: the beatings that the Ladies in White received, the arbitrary detentions, the conditions of political prisoners, the persecution of news reporters, the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo and most recently of Laura Pollán.

The part that touches me, I not only am thankful, I also admire those in the outside world who morally and materially support the Cuban dissidents. Especially so to those, knowing the risk, who come to Cuba and contact us.

I am not interested in the background if there is one, for me it is pure altruism. If another were in my situation I don’t know if I would be interested in those who endure repression in this world and, regretfully, there is no shortage. For that reason, I am extremely thankful to those in the outside world who make the voice of the Cuban dissidence resonate.

Translated by: BW

January 31 2012

One Hand Washes the Other / Rebeca Monzo

My friend lives in a beautiful apartment building from the 1950s, on Línea street. This morning, as always, she prepared to leave for work, when suddenly, the washbasin that had heroically resisted the pounding of 50+ years of survival, had given way to the implacable advance of the years, and a crack had finally caused it to burst.

That same afternoon, when she arrived at the office, she started the arduous task of finding a plumber, who in addition to knowledge of his profession, would give his word and come to repair the breakdown.After two days of making multiple calls to different telephone numbers recommended by neighbors and friends, she finally found one who promised to go without fail that same afternoon, to see if he could take a look at it. Actually, the man lived up to his word and turned up for the appointment. The judgment was finally declared to be a malfunction of the washbasin. That is where the odyssey began.

The first thing he did was to look into different chains of stores with a hardware department to learn which one to go to and not lose time and gasoline, that is really $1.15 CUC per liter, although that’s not what I’m talking about now. After going around to the best stores fruitlessly in the city, finally he found it in Roseland, at half the price of the same thing that he had see in Palco days before, and couldn’t buy because it was excessively expensive.

Happy about the discovery, she arrived at the store with measurements recommended by the experienced plumber. The happiness ended there. The salesperson that was in the department in question, told her — after greeting her “good afternoon”, and finding out what the client would like — that she couldn’t help her because today she was lacking many workers.

Before many requests and pleas from the possible buyer, the employee, with a very bad character, decided to call another sales assistant so that he could work on the issue. The first thing that this person did, was to talk with my friend about the annotated measurements that she brought, telling her that they didn’t exist, but at her insistence, visibly contradicted, she agreed to go down to the warehouse, but at that moment, it created a tremendous discussion between the two employees, where the person who just recently arrived told the bad tempered worker from the department: I’m going to have to kick your A-S-S.

My friend, horrified but turning a deaf ear, told the boy, Go on, I’m going to give you $2 if you help me, to which this swift guy answered, if you want me to help you give me $5, now you know, madam, one hand washes the other, and two hands wash the face.

Note: the facts are true and if someone from the Roseland store, is, by chance, reading this post, he knows that what is related here is absolutely truthful.

Translated by: BW

January 30 2012

Line up; Line up / Liliane Ruiz

Line up; Line up

It’s the end of the year. An avalanche of informative year-end summaries brings me news of some economic successes that I have not really known how to interpret. The Great State Machinery, in all of its propaganda, is said to be ready and willing to meet the challenges of the new year that begins.There are testimonies of a contented populace or gentle criticisms related to the price of consumer items. There’s a celebration of bank credits for families to construct their own homes; how good it is that at last some will see the possibility of constructing their own home as having come closer to reality. It’s all very nice, very finely painted in these images. In the end, everything seems aligned, with a touch of “before things were worse but now, everything will be better” added.

But the only thing that makes me laugh at all this is that is the testimonial evidence that before, under the command of the Castro descendant, everybody knew it was bad, very ruined, and with respect to this other moment, unable to speak openly.  A spokesperson of the Ministry of Construction declared that: “After the ruins accumulated from previous years”…  How bad everything was during the first Castro, until the next one seemed preferable. Now we continue being unable to speak openly. That shit we can’t say if they don’t give us permission…  I feel outside of all that. The monopoly of the state good, the good intentions of the dictators, a painted people, organized, insisting that everything be lined up, and me facing all that is so small, perhaps “evil”, a “worm”, someone who doesn’t want to work for the State, that doesn’t surrender anything and doesn’t want to owe anything. Mercenary without a salary, individualist. I am a butterfly, a butterfly witch, nocturnal, with unbreakable wings. I sleep during the day and I am active at night. How will those who rebelled in times of Soviet prosperity feel?  What will they have lacked? Submission irritates me. The state confinement gives me claustrophobia, the fucking old ideology.

Translated by: BW

January 9 2012