Permission is Granted to Add a Discussion in the Neighborhoods About the Petition to Modify the Actual Elections System / Silvio Benítez Márquez

As of a few weeks ago members of the citizens’ protect Voices of the Neighborhood are announcing to national and international public opinion their supposed participation in the people’s debate on the economic and social policies with the intention of proposing to the communist government the modification of the current electoral system.

The novelty of the Spokespeople provoked a feeling of malaise and disdain in the General’s palace. The scope of the debate didn’t offer any guarantees for the proposal to be included in its political agenda, condemning it beforehand to the ostracism. To silence the effect of this initiative the orthodox communists and hard-line repression agents were instructed to act as soon as anything could affect the unanimous approval of the government guidelines.

The challenge of the proposal was in place. It only remained to convene the assembly to know the results. The intransigent rulers were busy tying up the loose ends and placing barriers before the citizens. The strategy was not to tell the voters in time so that the news wouldn’t reach the ears of the Spokespeople so they couldn’t participate in the debate.

A counterproductive measure which didn’t work at all for the organizers. On the contrary, they needed a sufficient quorum to keep in check The Neighborhood Spokespeople who were in the front row were anxiously awaiting the start of the assembly to make their proposals.

The expected debate was happening chapter by chapter with the inexorable note that no chapter was approved unanimously . A total of eleven voters were at all times defiant despite the inquisitive watch of the communists which were handling the debate’s manual.

Silvio Benitez, voter in his area, was present with a group of “Voices of the Neighborhood” in debate of Friday, February 4, asking at several opportunities for a turn to speak in order to include or modify the following proposals.( Propositions that were recorded in the official document.)

– The excessive taxation of the recently allowed small business licensees.

– The right to travel to any world destination.

– The humongous price of construction materials.

– The right to sell properties and goods without the interference of the government.

– The necessary inclusion of the Cuban diaspora exiles in the policies, based on the Jose Marti doctrine, ” For all and for the benefit of all.”

– The creation of a procedure to elect the delegates from the base to the National Assembly.

At the end of his motion Silvio was questioned by a disheveled woman who, in a harsh way, pointed out that these reforms were only for the Cubans who defend the regime, not for those who in the past abandoned their homeland. Her tirade didn’t have enough backing, the communists, sad and disappointed, left without the unanimous approval of the policies they seek, not even in one of its chapters.

Silvio Benitez Marquez

Promoter of the Neighborhood Spokespeople project

Translated by: Adrian Rodriguez

February 16 2011

Criticizing is for Cowards / Silvio Benítez Márquez

I’ve been meaning to write a post about someone I respect and think highly of in my neighborhood. I’m referring to José Quintana y Pérez, that illustrious figure who became submerged in an alcohol addiction from a very early age. As for his reasons, I only know what his drinking buddies have told me, which is that it all started because he was seeking pleasure. Up to now, this mulatto — who already has white hairs and walks bent over — is one of the few who has been able to still uphold the most intrinsic values as a human being despite his bad habit of drinking excessively.

A few days ago, his sincere and plain words once again moved me. He had fallen into conflict with an agent of the secret police due to his fervent activism in the “Voices from the Neighborhood” project.

As I listened to him, various ideas faded away in my clear memory. José has not even remotely been able to imagine how many times I’ve had to defend him from so many hypocritical people who judge him for being such a marginalized member of society. Clearly, all these fools use this subterfuge to hide his cowardice before the civic push which José is so capable of giving in order to confront the future.

Punta Brava, Havana, March 22 2011

Translated by Raul G.

Carlos Serpa: From Chump To Know-It-All / Silvio Benítez Márquez

Punta Brava, La Habana

In the calendas griegas* they tell us that empires based part of their hegemony on the recruitment and purchase of courage. The strategy soon bore fruit and lead to a powerful army of slaves charged with the most dirty and hair-raising tasks that human beings can imagine, unrelenting practices which they still carry out today in closed societies like ours.

I bring up this ancient text due to the similarity between what was previously expressed and the official documentary Pawns of the Empire which aired Saturday night on Cuban television.

Cuban Intelligence organs drive themselves to delirium repeating the sketch with the idea to create an atmosphere of unfair public opinion against internal dissidents at the moment when criticism and discontent is rising toward the political system.

In the crude documentary the journalist Carlos Serpa Maceira, (Agent Emilio) sits giving a detailed report to the viewer about how dissidents on the island are manufactured and trained. Also the informant paints the activists and leaders of the opposition movement as heretics, individuals without principles or values, motivated only by the common denominator, finance capital from their puppet masters (terrorist groups based in Florida).

To curry favor and give a mocking tone to the hackneyed operation, Serpa the informer confirms how easy it is to mount any campaign through information media opposed to the Cuban revolution (Radio Marti in this case).

Clearly we are looking at a rare species unacquainted with ethics and consideration. An individual without scruples who took advantage of the pain, the oppression, and the family separation of the steadfast (the Ladies in White) in order to sell them to the highest bidder and move up the ladder at the infallible Department of State Security (DG2).

The Department that, on the eve of the documentary, rubbed its hands together with the new achievement. Soon the tiny snoop Serpa Maceira would make public his despicable betrayal of the country and longstanding friends in the dissident movement. The biggest irony of fate is that the journalist was decorated with the Order of Hero of the Fatherland for his chibatiante** work inside the ranks of the Cuban counter-revolution.

His protectors, on the other hand, with faces of contentment and frowning a bit with worry at the uncertain future, set off for home after organizing the next hunting party. The General, with an unfriendly gesture, ordered his subordinates to call the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT) to have them repeat the documentary, they had to hit the minuscule opposition hard before they return roused up. The situation with the American government had worsened in recent weeks. There wasn’t good news.

Carlos Serpa Maceira, the screw-up independent journalist, has no idea of his unfortunate next stop. The way the situation is here on the island I doubt that he dares hang around his beloved Isla de la Juventud as he boasted in the documentary. The reaction of the population wasn’t the backing that the Communists hoped for. Well now the third-rate snitch should prepare his nerves for what’s coming his way and remember the old saying — Rome pays its traitors, but it despises them.

Silvio Benítez Márquez
Promotor for Proyecto Voces del Barrio

Translator’s notes:

*calendas griegas refer to greek calendars, i.e. something which never existed
**chibatiante- a sarcastic combination of chivato, i.e. stool pigeon, and combatiente, i.e. fighter.

Translated by Dodi 2.0

March 1 2011

Expensive Offers / Silvio Benítez Márquez

By Silvio Benitez

The racket wakes me up. On the corner a heated discussion spreads throughout the neighborhood. Nobody knows for certain what happened. I begin to get impatient and go to see what fuss has provoked such a tumult. A few meters away an indignant neighbor is exchanging swear words with a neighbor… coño… how much longer will we take this communist shit… compadre... not even over the dead grandmother’s tomb will they accept it. Now several items have been removed from the ration book, and at what prices, there’s no one that can put up with this… mi hermano

At last I arrive at the corner where the hot debate was generated. I start off like someone who is unconcerned to ask about the day’s agenda. I’m running behind on my itinerary and need to gather better information. Ariel — the little liar — comes over and in a frightened voice whispers in my ear the latest news, la china (Raul, whom we call “the Chinese girl”) took refined sugar off the ration book at a price of 8 cañitas (Cuban Pesos, CUP) and unrefined sugar at 6. My friend, how tough they’re making things, I don’t earn enough in one day to make myself a lemonade. I breath deeply and walk off toward the grocery to make certain.

Arriving I wait in front of the pizza stand and check if the rumors are true. I take a spin and head back to my home when a buddy calls me a bit suspiciously, I thought that it was to talk about the same theme. When I got close to him I saw that his face was transformed in sync with the news. My brother, how it pains me about the Industriales — our baseball team — and with your kid at every stretch of the competition the pay goes down. Today in Guantanamo they turned on the talented Armadito Ribero, one of the best pitchers of the team, you know how they’re going put things so they don’t even let you get to shore. I give him a wave and continue the march looking at the tenuous clouds thinking that it was the night before Valentine’s Day and I didn’t even have water to offer my sweatheart Alicia.

Translated by Dodi 2.0

February 17 2011

Letter From Valle Grande Prison / Silvio Benítez Márquez

Valle Grande Prison

Havana Feb 3, 2011

To: Silvio Benítez Márquez.

President of the Liberal Party of the Cuban Republic (PLRC)

Dear Silvio, today when I have completed exactly 1 year and 3 months of being unjustly imprisoned, I am writing to you in order that the world should know, whether the European Community, Alaska or the 5 continents, that huge human rights violations are committed in our country also. A platform that the communist regime uses as a measuring stick against other countries and yet no one mentions the atrocities that are committed here.

My name is Lidanel Pérez Mullings and that of my partner in the cause is Ramon David Tornes Hernández, both of us soldiers and members of the Communist Party (PCC) of the Provincial Patrol Unit of Artemisas, with years of experience in the area.

Our unfortunate story begins on November 3, 2009, on being detained by the internal counterintelligence of Ministry of the Interior at the prison known as 100 y Aldabo, which is where it is located, placed under a process of investigation and accused of involvement in a crime. The two of us were held for interrogation and methods of torture for a period of 2 ½ months, during which no crime could be proven against us.

That same month, December 2009, in an interrogation room in said investigative unit Major Roberto Albolay, Instructor of counterintelligence of the Ministry of the Interior, and First Lieutenant Duran, head of the police cadres of Artemisa, presented themselves before me, communicating that they were going to arrange a temporary release until the conclusion of the investigative process on account of my having minor children, alleging that the Ministry of the Interior would not leave my family destitute and that they would continue to pay my salary which amounted to 450 pesos.

This was nothing more than a manipulative hoax by said officers, since from January of 2010 my family did not receive even a penny of my salary to feed the three minor children or maintain a house, where on several occasions the electric company has cut off the power to the house and have on three occasions removed the electric meter making cooking impossible.

This situation has led my wife Yanaidis Martínez Olazabal to the point of despair, saying she would take her life along with the three children rather than continue to suffer need and starvation. And on top of that, no body or competent authority has made amends by giving us signs of understanding.

I do not understand why the Ministry does not trust our words of being innocent. I do not know why this organization is so enraged against us and our relatives, knowing that we are innocent. Why throw my three children into abandonment, separating them from their father and without a morsel of food to put in their mouths before going to bed. Where is the proclaimed justice that does not put the leaders who lie and abuse their office in their place, allowing all these wrongs without being questioned and investigated. It is as clear as day that they are protected by the leaders of the country under the mask of the new man. A mask that will one day crash into the wall of truth.

Dear Silvio, I only mean by this letter to inform the national and international public opinion that in Cuba also the most elementary human rights are violated. Depriving my children of the right to grow up with their father. Depriving them of having money for food, clothing and footwear. All on the cursed whim of a gang of amoral people who have us unjustly behind bars. This is a true shame for people who once defended and believed in the nobility of the judicial process.

So many lies! So much abuse for two soldiers and members of the PCC for 15 and 29 years of service. Who were purged, condemned to a civil jail sentence with the bad blood of knowing we would have problems with the prisoners for having been police. A warped campaign of Roberto Albolay and Yusmaiki Pelegrin Pelegrin, Ministry of Interior instructors responsible for extinguishing our lives and that of our families.

To those who read our letter today, wherever they are, we only humbly ask for our freedom.

Lidanel Pérez Mulling.

Ramón David Tornes Hernández.

Translated by Rick Schwag

February 17 2011

How To Help / Silvio Benítez Márquez

Help to maintain my voice “Desdelapuntabrava” in the blogosphere and Twitter with Recarga Móvil from anyplace in the world.

The internet is limited in Cuba, only high officials and foreign residents in the national territory can connect to the network from their house. Cubans cannot open a local internet account. The hotels charge from $7-9 USD per hour of internet. This is very limiting for our budgets where, given the reality that we confront, this amount is a luxury.

One way to help our effort so that our voice is heard across the blogs and social networks, like Twitter, is to help recharge our cellphones which we use to send tweets via text messages. Each text message sent this way costs 1 CUC ($1.00 USD), remaining a luxury that limits our voice and prevents us from expressing what is happening in Cuba.

The social networks have allowed many of our opinions to be known inside and outside of our country. With your help our voice will be spread by internet and, above all, it will also help to protect us since, if more people read us and know we exist and are expressing an opinion, then they become a shield for Cubans who want to tell the world what happens in this dictatorship.

You can help in the following way:

  • Recharge our cellphones from anywhere in the world at or so that we can send tweets by way of text messages. That way we can report immediately on emergencies and what is happening on our island.

My cellphone number is: +5352541300

  • Link and disseminate this blog on various pages, websites, portals, or on other blogs, and in that way spreads our existence and our publications.
  • I ask you to do the same for the other bloggers who day by day report what is happening in Cuba in spite of the tyranny. You can see on my Blog links to other Bloggers. Those from the provinces need a lot of help.
  • Remember not to use intermediaries to avoid having someone take advantage of your help and our cause. Through this page you can do it directly. If you can, send me a text message indicating that you have helped with a recharge. Thank you very much.

Silvio Benítez

Blogger of “Desdelapuntabrava”

Project Promoter for Voces del Barrio
Havana – CUBA

Translated by: Dodi 2.0

February 16 2011

Stoning the House of a Delegate / Silvio Benítez Márquez

One lapidary phrase — “I came to this point as a delegate in Guatao” — ended Nelson’s short mandate after his house was stones by a mass of furious proles who, by way of punishment, attacked the local officer for his poor management of the water problem.

The critical situation led voters to take justice in their hands, making an adjustment to the accounts of the neighborhood’s delegate. Which consisted of a bet against the officer’s household with stones and things in a sign of disappointment and apathy.

The delegate Nelson was found caged and apprehensive. He could only grab a white flag and resign his post. Finally, he would wash his hands like Pontius Pilate of the criticism and torments that follow him now for his bad work in the community.

With a published notice of the Nelson’s resignation, there are several outstanding questions before to the political board regarding the vacancy for the post of delegate: Will rules that establish the Election Law to choose a new candidate be respected? Will they allow an independent candidate to take the responsibility of Guatao? Or will another Nelson emerge from behind the curtains?

Translated by: Ivana Recmanova

February 7 2011

Popular Street Protest in Punta Brava Due to the Absence of Water / Silvio Benítez Márquez

Punta Brava, Havana- 01/17/11

A civic event without any precedents throughout the history of the Castro reign inspired Punta Brava natives on the morning of Thursday, January 14th. To the grand surprise of the locals, a group of women took to the streets in a peaceful manner, holding up signs which demanded to the authorities, “We Want Water”. The unique demonstration began at around 50th Street and went on until 51st Avenue, where the Popular Council Headquarters of the Havana Community is currently located.

It was the first time that such a complex act was set in motion and promoted by local citizens all by themselves, without the presence of any members of the Democratic Cuban Opposition. “Such a daring attitude was expected sooner or later. If it wouldn’t have been these ladies, it would have been a group of other people who would have done it,” emphasized Angela, one of the upset women.

For a few days now, the mood in the town is more and more tense and worrying. Entire families stay up all night watching and waiting for any signs of water. Others, with extensive bags under their eyes, wait for miracles from the Almighty to be able to get some water in order to clean the most intimate parts of a sick elderly relative. Meanwhile, others become fed up with all the lies and jump from the position of obedient militants to nonconformists, as was the case with the son of a fervent communist on the block who, prior to the demonstration, placed a sign outside his home which read, “I don’t even have enough water to wash my a…”

But not everything was simple for the protestors. Along the way, the women were approached and intimidated by the town’s Sector Chief who quickly snatched the sign from the women’s hands. Later on, he wielded his truncheon in case the women had any intentions to start screaming anti-government slogans when they came to confront the delegates.

The community had been taken over by watch-dogs, paramilitary soldiers, and secret police. One high-ranking official gave the order to, “not accept any verbal aggression or political questioning on behalf of the citizens towards the delegates”. Immediately, two policemen showed up guarding the entrance and exit of the Popular Council, attempting to control the discipline of the locality with the help of a patrol-guard. The next morning, a rumor was traveling through town like gunpowder. The plastic garbage tank which stood outside the Basic Secondary Fructuoso Rodriguez School had been found burnt to ashes.

The mood could not have gotten more chaotic. The regime party members automatically speculated that the incinerated tank had been an act carried out by a counter-revolutionary. The situation was rather complex and convulsive, allowing for more political police agents to enter the scene, especially in the general barracks of 249th Avenue, where the well known informer Candelario Cruz, better known (through word of mouth) as “Little Mockingbird of the Park”. Cruz is a despicable character who voluntarily lends his own house in order to squash any activities carried out by the Spokespeople of the Neighborhood, 365 days a year. During this specific occasion he was in charge of watching over the movements of yours truly, in order to prevent any civil demonstrations.

But like the old saying goes, “When you don’t want broth, they give you two bowls of it”. Before the very eyes of that snitch, and of that amalgam of policemen which lingered around 249th Avenue, a huge argument broke out. The discussion was between the frustrated neighbors and the inefficient Delegation, seeing as the latter kept the local citizens from serving themselves water from a truck’s pipe, because it was “not their designated distribution day”. This argument led to the further rage and inevitable disrespect of the electors and the local functionaries.

“This has been an incomparable experience which will never be erased from the minds of all our neighbors,” expressed Alicia, who from afar seemed impatient and worried about the hostile scene which erupted when a tank arrived to the neighborhood. Later, and referring to the soldiers, she exclaimed, “Silvio is not the only one who protests and criticizes. Now, all citizens of this town are one big protest sign”.

Silvio Benitez Marquez
Promoter of the Project Voices of the Neighborhood
Ave 249 4614 %46 y 48 Punta Brava, la Lisa.

Translated by Raul G.

January 22 2011

Petitions from a Cuban to the Virgin of Charity / Silvio Benítez Márquez

By Silvio Benitez Marquez

Punta Brava, Havana- 12 Jan 2011

– Virgin of Charity, you who are compassion and love.

– Help us so that in Cuba things do not get worse than they already are.

– Come close to your children, relieve us of so much suffering.

– And if you are not able to come remove this oracle from our lives forever.

– My Virgin, the only thing I ask is for a miracle to see if I get the hell out of this captive island.

– I promise, my Virgin, that I will continue to love and venerate your image.

– I will hang on to your divine faith like an amulet and I will take it to the dark ocean, and I will not stop until I reach the other shore of Florida.

– Forgive me, my Virgin, if I perish in such a desperate attempt, but if I stay to see the conclusion of this carousel of time, then that will be my death.

The Virgin, with a hollow and worried voice, gives her answer to the desperate Cuban.

– Hold on, you bastard, hold on a bit longer and continue resisting the power outages, the scarcities, and the lack of water.

– Stand up and walk in the darkness without a light, brush your teeth in the mornings with Perla brand toothpaste and taste the inedible soy “ground beef” during the afternoons while you watch TV.

– Don’t grow desperate, you bastard, for this story is nearly over. I only have one suggestion left for you — don’t stop swallowing live the apologetic speeches of the tyrant who oppresses you.

– And if you can’t find a way to release the excrement of half a century, then get on a bike and start screaming, “Down with Raul and Fidel!”…

Silvito, the Noncomformist

Translated by Raul G.

Spanish post
January 13 2011

Press Conference With the Community Spokespeople / Silvio Benítez Márquez

This Wednesday at 10:30 AM a press conference has been organized at 249 Ave. #4614 (between 46 and 48 streets) at Punta Brava, La Lisa, to announce the new citizen initiative which consists of asking the communist government to transform the Cuban electoral system.

See the proposal here: Propuesta de modificación de la Ley Electoral

See appendices here: Anexo

For more information, please call 052541300


PROMOTER, VOCES DEL BARRIO PROJECT (Voices of the Community Project)

January 26 2011