Snapshots of a Festival / Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

Instantáneas de una Festival (5)Havana–During three days, the first Festival Clic Independiente acerca de Tecnologia (Independent Click Festival about Technology) was held in Havana, Cuba. The festival was convened by the Blogger Academy of Cuba, Estado de SATS and Evento Blogger de España (EBE: Blogger Event of Spain).

From June 21 to 23 the island would become a pioneer of an independent event of this magnitude financed from within the island by the efforts of its organizers. Forums of discussion, reports, subject panels, video debates and even a festival of child technology, were some of the conferences that caught the attention of academics, bloggers, Human Rights activists and members in general of the whole of civilian society. Those who defied, in order to attend each of the days, a rain which intermittently baptized the event which according to its organizers and participants will not be the first nor the last.

The foreign press accredited on the island attended each of the work sessions as did our brave independent journalists; there was no absence of those official paparazzi or bloggers who in an unscrupulous manner took photographs from rooftops, windows of adjacent apartments and from surroundings near the house of whoever participated in the event to which all were invited without distinction. These photographs were posted immediately on the Cuba Debate digital page, and others of official character in order to try to belittle what was taking place at such an important event of Technology.

As was already foreseen the event did not end with a final declaration and much less so did it attack those who refused the proposal of participating in this program, but what each of those present did agree to was the need of extending this event to other provinces, and the need for Cuba to connect with the World and that the World be connected to Cuba.

We await a new Click technology event which will give us new conferences in which we can learn about the use of new technologies and the social networks.

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Translated by: Maria Montoto
June 25 2012

No to the Life Sentence of Citizen Rights / Cuban Law Association

Photo OLPL

By Atty. Rodrigo Chavez Rodriguez

Prison is not the only captivity of an existence.

An unhappy multitude marches dragging the misery of its moral life, chained to its ignorance and defenselessness.

Prisoners without hope and without solace: slaves without redemption and without relief, traveling on this boat of society lacking faith, orphans of will, with null understanding, blind to reason and alien to the rights they should know and defend.

Upon initiation of the shipwreck, they are the first victims because it falls upon them, due to their ignorance and their lack of educational preparation, to serve as a bridge for the salvation of others, to be a step for others to ascend.

That is the major captive, the eternal prisoner, the slave without horizons:

The one who groans under the shackles of their intimate sentence; because lacking will and character, without the light of intelligence, without knowledge of their own soul and being denied their human and constitutional rights, they lack liberty of conscience and become one forced to the opprobrious bench of the strange galley, where screaming and with a level of public announcement increasingly encompassing demands: we want justice, THE TRUE JUSTICE AND LIBERTY OF THE CITIZENS.

We Cubans have had imposed upon us faking or simulating something with which we are not truly in agreement. The fear and lack of knowledge which exempt no one from responsibility in life, do not permit establishing a system of inquiry or dialogue, because we would not know if the responses are in keeping with the truth or with the double standards, so rooted in personal interests.

Not only are they hypocrites those who tell lies feigning good faith, but also those who know they are lies and pretend they are truths. Worse yet, they become merged with the falsehood.

It is an ill planted in Cuban society by an ideology and principles that do not accept difference of opinions, a situation which clearly manifests the disrespect and the violation that rides roughshod over the most basic civil rights of our population. What will become of Article 54 of our Law of Laws:

The rights of assembly, protest and association are exercised by the workers – laborers and intellectuals, farmers, women, students and other sectors of the working public – for which they have use of the means necessary for such ends. The mass and social organizations can make use of all the facilities for the development of these activities and so that their members may enjoy the greatest degree of FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND OPINION, based on the unlimited RIGHT to initiative and criticism.

Lying, along with hypocrisy and a double standard, continues to be another irreparable evil. Institutions themselves make use of it daily. It is a means of survival used to put to rest or to hide many truths which constitute CRIMES and that have led many Cubans to death, exile or prison. It is a means that has led to to the separation of families and the rupture of their emotional bonds. I cite the following:

Article 35. The State shall protect the family, motherhood and matrimony.

The State recognizes the family as the fundamental unit of society and attributes to it essential functions in education and the formation of new generations.

Our opinions are deemed as trash and lies paid for by the U.S. government, however the high level of acceptance of these by the people cannot be hidden, because they thirst for information and legal instruction, for knowledge of legal procedures, for justice and in general, for all of their citizen rights.

Every person has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right is inclusive of not being disturbed as a result of their opinions, that of investigating and receiving information and opinions, and that of diffusing them without limitation of borders, by whatever means of expression, Article 19 UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.

Almost the entire nation has been turned into pretenders, although they have been demonstrating criticisms of nonconformity that were once highly dangerous, such as: “I didn’t know!”, “If only someone had told me!”, “Where I go, no one clarifies or explains things to me.”, “How much longer, what is going on?”, “Who will resolve my problem?”, “I’ve had it, that’s enough!”

The methods of mis-information of the Government that repeats daily about the economic, political and social problems of all of the capitalist countries and that justifies its actions against the people by using what happens in other parts of the terrestrial globe. It’s the same old same old. The truth is that what we are most interested in are the millions of problems which we Cubans face daily and, if you please, the question is forced but the reply is unseen: How Much Longer?

The struggle to maintain the political system, and not that of benefiting the country and its people, is the first goal on behalf of the Leaders, but without any doubt to also keep them handicapped of hearing and sight to what occurs in the country. This brings with itself among other things, the lack of knowledge of the laws and their procedures, of the knowledge of Legality and the ways and methods of imparting Justice; as well as their Constitutional and Human Rights.

Additionally, but in the same way and style, we put up with listening and reading of the priority to JUDICIAL SERVICES, in the informational spaces of Cuban Television such as Mesa Redonda (Roundtable), in the words of judicial star Maria Esther Reus Gonzalez, … We HAPPEN UPON a wide range of functions and services to persons natural and legal in the country… It is fundamental in our current daily work to detect an action that goes against ethical principles, to carry out an even greater effort to develop strategies in order to perfect the Services and continue decentralizing and extending them… We have identified our vulnerabilities and with the valuable human capital we have, we will struggle to perfect our daily activities and achieve the satisfaction that our people deserve. It is furthermore explained that the quality of legal services is not yet optimal, that more jurists are needed and that which in Cuba should be at the level of the culture, the conscience acquired by our people (?) and will satisfy the needs in this matter.

Recently I have seen on banners and signs and have heard from the newscasters in the Primero de Mayo parade – the day of workers, by the workers and for the workers – that: WORK IS THE ONLY FOUNTAIN OF WEALTH. Could it be that the Cuban Legal Association may at some time be wealthy? Well I affirmatively believe that we already are, as long as they allow us to reach our objectives with an affirmative response of its legalization for the well-being of those who truly will be rich. Rich and knowledgeable of their legitimate rights, of the proceedings and in most instances their disrespected terms, of the manipulations and intricacies by Judges and Tribunals at any level, of the abusive actions on occasion by Agents of Interior Order and the officials who should take care of our Security of State, without fear I say in that manner we will be very rich and will have enough to share mutually and internationally.

We have not saved all justice, but we must save that justice which we have already conquered.

Translated by: Maria Montoto

May 23 2012

Resorting to Lies / Cuban Law Association

By Wilfredo Vallin Almeida

I always thought that when the situation came to be the present one, the authorities (especially the political police) would behave with a greater degree of seriousness and, above all, of professionalism. The reality ruins my expectations.

Just moments before sitting down to write this post for the Asociación Jurídica Cubana (AJC: Cuban Legal Association), the facts are as follows.

As is known, since we do not hide it at all, the AJC, in collaboration with Estado de SATS, is recording a series of informative programs for the legal education of the population. To those ends we have published: “Detention” and “Searching Inhabited Homes”.* Coming soon another program will be published, this one with the title “Habeas Corpus”.

Once edited, these programs are published by Estado de SATS on the INTERNET so that they can be accessed by all those who want to do so outside of Cuba. For the interior of Cuba, discs are burned or they are recorded in (portable) memory; will we ever have Internet?

The programs to which I am referring have a didactic and informative objective with a very precise subject: that which is established by national law in relation to certain penal, procedural or constitutional topics.

I don’t believe that any government truly democratic nor certain of its people would object to having its legislation spread among its citizens. But, it seems, here we cannot count on either of those two characteristics.

That’s how things are, and so that he would participate in this latest program I have mentioned, I invited a young lawyer from Las Tunas, who takes care of the activities of the AJC in that city in the Eastern part of the country and he, kindly, accepted.

Since we do not feel that deception (in any of its forms) is a decorous way of doing things, it was explained to the attorney Yunieski San Martín Garcés, who furthermore knows well what we do and how we do it, what his stay here would consist of and what would happen once the material in question was recorded. In good faith, Yunieski boarded a bus to Havana.

But… (and in the current state in which we live there will always be a BUT), leaving the municipality, the bus on which Yunieski was traveling was detained by various patrol cars. He was forced to get off, the bus driver was told that he was transporting a well-known counterrevolutionary, he was taken to a police station by State Security and there he was informed that his arrest was due to the fact…he was coming to film with us material to be turned over to USIS (the United States Interest Section in Cuba).

Once again we find State Security, the USIS, the show in the middle of the road, the plot in the shadows against the government, the international intrigue, the treason by nationals against our worried and self-sacrificing patricians (who, incidentally, in 50 years did not fulfill the agreements of their own congresses), etc., etc., etc.

I already stated that we publish what we do on the INTERNET, something the political police does not do with its arbitrary acts and especially, with its illegalities of all types.

The people of Cuba have the right to know their laws and to employ them to defend themselves against those who, incapable of showing themselves with the truth, and hiding their identity, recur to this which is nothing more than resorting to lies.

*Translator’s note: Article 218 of Cuban criminal law authorizes the search of inhabited dwellings even if the inhabitant refuses to allow it.

Translated by: Maria Montoto

May 28 2012

No Way Out / Miguel Iturría Savón

To: Office of Immigration and Alien Affairs, Ministry of the Interior

Re: Reply request

Miguel Iturria Savón, Cuban citizen, legal adult, married, university graduate, unemployed, permanent identity number 53092900308, residing at 222 Street, #9529, between 101 and 1st, Cruz Verde, Cotorro, Havana, Cuba,of my own volition hereby state to this office the following:

That I am submitting via this letter in accordance with the stipulations of article 63 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, in relation to article 78 of Decree-Law No. 67 of 1983, exactly as it was modified by Decree-Law No. 147 of April 21, 1994, to solicit that in strict observance of the constitutional mandate stated, the reason or motive be made known to me whereby I am not permitted to travel to Spain to reunite with my wife, with regards to which I state the following:


Firstly, that on March 11, 2012 I submitted to the immigration authorities in Mañana, Guanabacoa, Havana the application Permission for Overseas Travel in order to be reunited with my wife, Ángela A. F., a Spanish citizen, to whom I was married on July 22, 2011 in a civil ceremony in Miramar by the Cuban Ministry of Justice.

Secondly, that as the above-mentioned permission was delayed two or three days, I have visited the above-mentioned office four times between March 13 and June 12, 2012, and have not received the White Card nor an explanation of the basis for its denial.

Thirdly, that since I have incurred no prior criminal charges, have no unpaid debts to the state, and am not involved in any ongoing legal proceedings, I consider this injustice to be a violation of my right to freedom of movement as defined in articles 13.1 and 13.2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as stated below:

“13.1 Each person has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.”

“13.2 Each person has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”


In light of this denial or delay, and given the stipulations outlined in article 63 of the Republic of Cuba that “every citizen has the right to submit complaints and petitions to the authorities, and to receive attention and appropriate replies within a reasonable time as defined by law,” I, the undersigned, demand to be granted an Exit Permit or, in its absence, that this application, the submission of which is protected by constitutional right,be accepted and processed.

I am not including with this letter the previously mentioned Application for Exit Permit, the Certificate of Matrimony, or the passport and visa issued by the Spanish Consulate in Havana as these documents have already been submitted to the National Office of Immigration and Alien Affairs in Guanabacoa, Cuba.

Havana, June 12, 2012

Miguel Iturria Savón


cc:Office of Legal Affairs,Office of Immigration and Alien Affairs

Cuban Commission of Human Rights

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland


Translated by Maria Montoto and Anonymous

June 19 2012

Union and Ostracism / Mario Barroso

This past February 23rd the official press media of the country informed of the meeting held between members of the Central Committee and the Government with the principal leaders of religious denominations and fraternal organizations, this occurrence was well disseminated and, furthermore, concluded with the phrase of Esteban Lazo where he made clear the existing unity between the governmental hierarchy with the ecclesiastic.

It is good to know that they are so unified, as it is also good to know that they mutually take care of each other’s interests. In an excellent post written by priest Mario F. Lleonart, the author expresses the evident hypocrisy that prevails at these meetings. As well as the double morals, defect of our society which has regrettably also permeated our churches. A unity which only safeguards the dilapidated image of the Cuban regime with regard to the different religions and guarantees its dominion over them and at the same time ensures the development without hindrance of certain goals outlined by the religious institutions, such as, permission to travel abroad, construction or repair of temples, legalization of churches, granting of religious visas to foreigners, acquiring automobiles and some others.

As I reread the note that appeared in Granma about this occurrence and some articles published on the internet, among those the already cited one of pastor Mario F., I compare the different positions and reflect on my experience which is of someone who will never be included in this tight Church-State relationship so subtly achieved by the Cuban regime.

The other face of the coin seems dark and appears desolate and it is that, for those of us who do not offer the government a complicit smile, what awaits us is completely opposite to what the religious chiefs achieve with their flirtatiousness. I confess that I did not know the meaning of the term ostracism until now that I am suffering first-hand the results of this strategy that the agents of the Cuban Security of State apply so efficaciously, it is hard to survive the test of isolation, the loneliness, it is entirely a challenge to stand firm on an ideal in the midst of the rejection of many of those who surround us.

The policy of ostracism is the current measure that the Security of State imposes against my husband, my family and the community of faithful that we shepherd. The achievements are evident, we perceive it in a neighboring church of another denomination that not so long ago worked shoulder to shoulder with us in favor of the gospel and that has currently broken off all relations, as if we were plague-ridden, something worse than lepers; I can not forget that Jesus kissed the leprous, the marginalized of His time, those of lesser condition, He refused no one, more so those who upon accepting Him gained the state of being called children of God.

We also learned of the fear instilled on behalf of a pastoral colleague to a possible donor for the repair of the roof of our temple, diverting their desire to cooperate with the restoration, insinuating that their help to pastor Lleonart would greatly hinder their entry into the island in the future, something not so far from the truth, because just as many say, pastor Mario is marked and any ties with him is damaging for carrying out any plans or projects which need clearance from the State.

The pressures of the Political Police have also affected the local Alcoholics Anonymous group, which for many years was held in our church with the support of pastor Mario F. whom they qualify as a triple A, although this group maintains in its rules to not participate in political controversies, has left our facilities thereby adopting a position in favor of a regime which paradoxically does not yet legally recognize their organization.

The campaigns against us are also seen reflected in the impossibility of participating in the spiritual Retreat Three Days with Christ No. 8, which we had attended on prior occasions in Havana, but to which this year was added as a condition of obtaining permission for its celebration, our non-attendance.

A sister of the church reports to us that at an encounter for women in which she had participated prior years, to be celebrated at the end of the present month in Canaan camp (Miller, Placetas), she has been told that this time she can not attend due to her being from our congregation. In that way, we are being driven to cold solitude and sadly many, even being evangelists have already excommunicated us and those who still remain with us, are threatened all the time, the test of isolation is hard, only the strength that God instills can help to bear it.

So, in an environment where one church is every day more unified with the regime, swimming against the current is difficult, but the encouraging biblical promises comfort me: “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” With this premise, there is no ostracism, nor sentiment of loneliness that can overwhelm us.

Translated by: Maria Montoto

March 20 2012

Letter from Priest Mario Félix Lleonart Barroso to the Villa Clara Provincial Prosecutor / Mario Félix Lleonart Barroso

April 23, 2012

Year of the Lord.

From: Priest: Mario Félix Lleonart Barroso.

To: Villa Clara Provincial Prosecutor’s Office and Management of the Protection of Citizen Rights of the Prosecutor General of the Republic.

In so far as: Within just a few days, on May 8th, it will be one year since the controversial death of Santa Claran citizen Juan Wilfredo Soto García.

In so far as: By petition of the undersigned, the General Prosecutor of the Republic delegated to the Santa Clara Provincial Prosecutor, the opening of an investigation thereon, as I was notified by a letter dated July 19, 2011, on behalf of the highest body, by Prosecutor Raul Lopez Pertierra, Chief of the Department of Penal Matters.

In so far as: In evidence that the Villa Clara Prosecutor’s Office attended the request of the Prosecutor General of the Republic, initiating an investigation, September 8, 2011, Prosecutor Osmel Fleites Cardenas took my declaration with regard to everything of which I am certain in relation to the passing of Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia, for which he opened a case countersigned by both of us, and informed me that there existed sufficient elements to initiate an investigative-penal process.

In so far as: In the interest of colaborating with the development of said process, on October 7, 2011, I personally hand delivered to Prosecutor Osmel Fleites Cardenas, in the main offices of the Villa Clara Provincial Prosecutor, a list with sufficient facts so as to immediately locate other indicated witnesses, all willing to also make declarations before said attorney.

In so far as: None of said witnesses has received up to the present time any summons to make declarations, placing in doubt that the process has continued or worse yet, that there does not exist a true willingness to clarify the facts, which deal with the loss of a human life, which in my point of view can only be taken by God.

In so far as: Moreover, one of the witnesses has since died without being called to testify (Santiago Martinez Medero, December 21, 2011), and as time goes by, due to various reasons, others may become unable to do so, which works against a rigorous investigation, as should correspond in relation to serious doubts about the true causes of the death of a Cuban Citizen.

In so far as: The serious declaration made to me by citizen Soto Garcia before dying, generated in me a responsibility in my condition as a human, Cuban, Christian, Baptist and pastor.

In so far as: Just as I declared in my testimony to Prosecutor Osmel Fleites Cardenas, on September 8, 2011, in the legal condition of Indicated Witness with which the Applicable Laws identify me, I am offended and alluded to by diverse publications which prior to any investigation took place in the official press, in the days following the death of Soto Garcia; most notably in the the “Informative Note of the Revolutionary Government” (first page of Granma, May 10, 2011), in the article “Cuba Rejects Lies” of journalist Freddy Perez Cabrera (third page of Granma, May 12, 2011), in the Editorial “Fabricating Pretexts” (first page of Granma, May 16, 2011) and in the disrespectful caricature on the first page of Granma dated May 17, 2011.

In so far as: I am sheltered by my status as plaintiff and the full duties and rights thereon attendant for the simple innate reason of being a Cuban Citizen.

As a Cuban Citizen under protection of the Law I demand various matters:

Demanding: That I be informed of the state of the investigation , which on July 8, 2011 I requested of the General Prosecutor of the Republic and which was thereby delegated to the Villa Clara Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.

Demanding: That in said investigation all details stated herein be taken under consideration.

Demanding: That the general Prosecutor of the Republic will carry out that which is legislated, as it should be.

Without further matter and grateful beforehand in anticipation for the attention I hope will be given (this matter), as corresponds to me by right.

Mario Félix Lleonart Barroso

Baptist Priest

Translated by: Maria Montoto

April 24 2012

The Real "Achievements" / Fernando Dámaso

Photo: Rebeca

More than half a century ago, when the model was implanted in our country, its later promotion was achieved on a base of present sacrifices (all former governments had been very bad) and a luminous future (the new government would be very good). Sooner rather than later, the horizon of promised happiness and well-being for which to aim, started getting further until, between speeches and new promises, like kites when their string is cut, it flew away in the wind.

Today, if there really are any, few are those who truly believe in it, the majority of citizens weary of surviving (by whatever means!) in the present, forgetful of the future. Since this is a dangerous situation, the authorities unable to offer material incentives, have opted to offer moral ones. Therefore, in speeches and the media, are repeated ad nauseam, as primary achievements of the model: maintaining independence, sovereignty and national identity, to create an internationalist sentiment among citizens, having elevated patriotism and strengthened the ability of resistance in the face of adversities. In support of this new promotion, paradigms are created, inflating pre-fabricated heroes, as if they were aerostatic balloons, and placing them in the national firmament, as examples to be followed by present and future generations.

If we weigh objectively the achievements of this model in this more than half a century, we should not leave out, among others: the destruction of agriculture and stockbreeding, the dismantling of urban, highway and railway transportation systems, the constant shortage of food and general use products, the power black-outs, the double currency, the double moral standards, the deficient citizen education, the increase in domestic and social violence, the deterioration of housing, the disorganization of commercial networks, the disappearance of industries, the censure, the repression of difference, the prohibition of free travel, etcetera.

These achievements are due, not to the existence of the embargo, but to the incapacity of the model of preserving that which was attained in fifty-six years of the Republic, to develop it and make the country move forward, resolving the problems still in existence, the main reason for the struggle and sacrifices of the majority of the Cuban people.

The path chosen (making tabula rasa of all that came before and building over its ruins the new society) failed spectacularly. It constituted a mistake and a costly historical error, of which, until now, no one has taken responsibility, trying with silence to make believe they never existed.

It is a shame that in the various biographical books, anecdotes, memoirs and interviews published, only the so-called heroic events are described, there exists not a single line dedicated to these achievements, nor the reasons that motivated them, which could be interesting to present and future generations, with the objective of never again repeating them.

Translated by: Maria Montoto

June 15 2012

LORD ENZO GARCIA VEGA / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

What might the United States be?

A little Chinese box, camera oscura of liberty, a crazy car.

A wholesale parking lot, something Publix, democratic boarding home where we can take refuge from the horror: that is to say, of the politics Made in Cuba.

Lorenzo Garcia Vega (LGV) has died.

This occurrence doesn’t warrant a single line more.

He will cease writing his zen paragraphs. Only that. It will remain a bit truncated, the Cuban folly of the Transition.

For everything else, it had already been centuries that he was a man of another time, of other barbarisms, of other anguishes that would disfigure his face in that Havana where Lezama would get cars. And ass (or would pay to give it, as if to publish prepubescent poets.)

Cuban poetry will show no awareness of the case of LGV, like it shows no awareness of anything else, just like it has not seen that the end of the Revolution is written.

In some official venues they will publish a respectful announcement, funerary spit without sense of draft, of the dirty trick, without the least bit of style of our dilapidation.

Homages. Dossiers. Idiocies of suit and tie, with almost a derby hat.

How outdated we are, how timid, how frail, what Originists.*

In waiting he left an unbuilt Disneyland in the Sierra Maestra, our albino Alps. Little Trojan horses and catacombs of props, pop-up “Castricos”, little friction rifles, tiny wind-up tanks, tinplate books in exchange for a good tip under the outrageous sun.

It had already been centuries, since the prick-severing decade of the seventies, LGV was already the last of his generation. No one survives him. At least not a witness.

A young writer friend, privileged reader and the only one to take notice in Cuba his death, desired to deliver a common ground, almost a headline of a Republican court, pronouncing through our telephones which are grossly spied on by the government: “each day we are more alone…”

From that constitutional isolationism, that balkanization at this point in the debacle, from that sub-socialist silence, from that insufferable un-solidarity, we populate the helplessness of our barren lot. From those bedbugs is the habitat of our mat composed.

Each day we are more alone because each day we are closer to those salaried by the Castro Klan, because there are no intermediaries left, nor survivors, because those uniformed in olive green will leave us no option but to emigrate and let us be exploited by a First World capitalist, pushing the groceries of another in a mall, turning into octogenarians in an illegible state of unediting, like babies who don’t yet know how to read (and much less how to write).

Each day we are more sordid. Lorenzo García Vega won’t learn of our gallows, will think nothing of our literature to come, untranslatable texts with which we ingratiate ourselves with no one.

We are condemned at the canon of the triumphant, of the erudite scholars, of the contributors with their integral work in the big editorial houses of Spain.

We were no more cunning than the political police. We did not know how to timely part with our biography . We panicked. We were cowards. We have left only swallowing pills and publishing.

Translator’s note:
*”Orígenes” was one of the most important Cuban literary journals of the 1940’s.

Translated by: Maria Montoto

June 5 2012

These Are Things Which the Church Should Discuss / Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

The Cuban Catholic Church’s press media have tried in recent days various efforts to clean up a bit the image of one who has already come to be known as The Cardinal of Ignominy or The Cardinal of Indignity.

It isn’t that I want to take up against the purple and much less against the Cuban clergy and the body of the Church founded by Peter. But the fact that the Church and its media want to excuse Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega Alamino in front of the world is something embarrassing and we should denounce it in front of as many media as are at the service of what we call a press without a gag and without ties.

For those of us who in one way or another have been tied to the Cuban Church and who feel ourselves to be faithful believers in her doctrine, it is difficult to imagine in the midst of the 21st century the image of a church complicit with those who stripped her of her belongings and made her feel sterile until the beginning of the 1980’s when they allowed her to make the journey of the Pilgrim Cross.

The words of no press media of the Church can, nor will ever be able, to erase the message of the Cardinal when he visited in the United States: a speech paraphrased from some leader of a fruitless revolution. A presentation in which the words that were on his lips were charged with hate and lies against thirteen Cubans who, days before the visit of His Holiness (Pope Benedict XVI) to Cuba, occupied the Church of La Caridad (Virgin of Charity) in Central Havana. I repeat again, and would not tire of testifying, that the speech given was taken from the desk of the ideological head of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.

The press media at the service of the Church, instead of being occupied with so much collaboration and servitude to a man who hides even his own background as does Jaime Lucas Ortega Alamino, should give explanations as to why, in the last few years, the entry of foreign priests and nuns has been limited on behalf of the Cuban authorities, should give an accounting of how many temples in Cuba are in bad physical shape, and what is the exact number of new religious buildings constructed after the year 1959.

These are things of which we can talk, and not about an ill-achieved civil society set up by religious leaders full of rumors, and who fill their stomachs at tables as if they were those of presidents, forgetting the reality and the famine of thousands of Cuban homes.

If the Cuban Church wishes to defend itself from possible conspiracies, that could only exist in the minds of persons incapable of assuming the responsibility of their actions and words, it is best that it buy itself a dog that barks, bites, and scares away others.

Cardinal, I am one of those people who doesn’t hide my expression of what I feel, I love my Virgin of Charity, I love the Faith, but it would be impossible for me to love you as a person and much less to follow your teachings. On various occasions I have written about the Cuban Church and, in many of these texts, I have not doubted in saying what to me are truths that many do not know.

The moment in which we are living is a moment of radical changes; now let us not speak of dialogue, let us speak of changing all of that which must be changed. Perhaps now the Church would like to speak of dialogue, after sitting at the table of dictators and having received some crumbs. We as a people and a nation do not want any dialogue with the Church, and much less with the authorities in power. We want that each and every one carry on their shoulders what, during five decades, they have caused to each Cuban; we want that each one be seated in the bench of the accused, whomever they may be and   whatever rank they may have.

Civil Society in Cuba is all of us and not just a few. Civil Society is that which walks and rises today in the resurgence of a new nation that approaches to contemplate a new dawn already near.

The Cuban Church would be different if it gave way to new voices charged with juvenile energy, or people who are willing to revolutionize a church subject to the bribes of a corrupt and stagnant government. Let us recall that the abuse of children on behalf of clergy and the religious jumps to the forefront in any commentary and shakes the foundation of the Church the whole world over and Cuba is not the rule of the exception.

Has anyone asked themselves: Why haven’t similar cases been published in Cuba? Perchance the Cuban clergy doesn’t have the same weaknesses as those of other priests and religious persons? There is much to continue talking about and many topics that tarnish the role of the Church and its leaders and implicate it in a dark plot with a government that is a detractor of Christian faith. One should go on to ask: Might this not be one of the reasons for which the Cuban Church is subject to comply with what the Cuban government wants? There are many more questions to ask and, in reference to this last, I urge others to write and uncover these hidden truths.

As far as a possible conspiracy to destroy the Cardinal, I am convinced that it doesn’t exist, what I can assure you is that very soon we will erase that smile from the face of the Porcelain Doll: the name by which the Cuban Cardinal is known in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community who also form part of the body of the Cuban Church.

It is impossible for the press media of the Church to speak about these things so openly, but whosoever of us has the power of the word, let us do so from our podiums each time that it is possible.

Translated by: Maria Montoto

May 31 2012

Messages from Miss Universe and Dolls of No Color / Dora Leonor Mesa

“There exists the phenomenon of whitening, and if you being black do not proclaim yourself to be so, you are in a demagogic position, of little ethic. In Cuban culture it is fundamental to achieve that people assume and be what they are. The defiance lies in forming a conscience, in which there will be no racial prejudice, stereotype and racism.”

Dr Esteban Morales, Cuban political scientist and essayist

“Cuban Color”, Trabajadores (Workers) periodical, December 14, 2009, p. 7. Printed Edition.

The question came up by coincidence, while we were showing the nursery children the book “Barbie Anfitriona” –Barbie Hostess– (Mattel Inc., Megaediciones, 2003). Naturally, each girl wanted to be a Barbie. On the page offering recipes for a surprise lunch for the birthday of the best friend, there is a pretty photo with the three Barbies. Then a discussion began between two little ones whereby the one with very dark skin argues with her friend over the right to be the light-skinned Barbie with red hair. An incident without importance were it not for the glaring fact that the girl insisted and even cried because she was not black, but “mulata” (mestiza).

The results of the survey are not conclusive but have much in common with the experiences of North American lawyer Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993), who together with the Legal Defense Fund of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), put together a panel of experts covering the fields of history, the economy, the political sciences and psychology. Of particular significance was a study in which psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark tried to determine how segregation affected the self-esteem and mental well-being of Afro North Americans. Among other impressive determinations, it was found that children between three and seven years of age preferred white dolls over black ones, all other things being equal.

Out of curiosity we made a superficial visit to the best-stocked toy stores in the Cuban capital and the observations made demonstrated that there are for sale no black dolls, or mestizas, although the offerings improve in stores specializing in handicrafts, in terms of those dolls dedicated to religious rituals, generally crafted of cloth and dressed in traditional garb. However it is relatively easy to buy at various prices, white dolls, be they Barbie or not, with straight hair in different colors, dressed with modern and elegant clothes.

It is absurd to evaluate racial and identity problems as something foreign to Cuban childhood. It is like attempting to cover the sun with one finger. Dr. Morales has demonstrated publicly the cultural insufficiencies in Cuban grade-school books in reference to African themes. It is known that “studies of gender and the feminist vision gave way in investigations and social analyses to other dimensions of inequality, such as racial, territorial, economic and of class” ( January 27, 2012).

The sociological studies carried out by governmental organizations like the Centro de Investigaciones Psicológicas y Sociales (CIPS: Center for Psychological and Social Research) among others, demonstrate that since the decade of the 90’s of the 20th century, when the Cuban government introduced the economic reforms that accompanied the circulation of a double currency, “the losers” are women, the black and mestizo population, the migrant and elderly, sectors that have been able to take less advantage of the opportunities opened up by the reform.

It is not easy to find current Cuban studies about racism and its dismal influence over childhood. Due to the rapid growth of boys and girls, we do not have the power to change from one day to the next the low self-esteem of Afro-descendant children, but it is within the reach of ACDEI (ASOCIACIÓN CUBANA PARA EL DESARROLLO DE LA EDUCACIÓN INFANTIL– Cuban Association for the Development of Childhood Education) to stimulate the self-esteem and confidence in themselves of those we educate. We gave away photos of 2010’s Miss Universe to white girls with a simple dedication:

Mom, dad and family:

Your daughter __________ is very pretty and if she studies a lot, learns to defend herself and practices sports, come tomorrow she can be as beautiful as Miss Universe 2010.

We did the same with the Afro-descendant little girls. The only difference was in the photos of different moments of Angolan Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011, which were distributed among the little girls with the note written over the main photo, where the recently crowned queen smiles beside Miss Universe 2010.

We do not know if, as the children of the daycare grow, they will accept their ethnic background, but at least we assume as a duty to invite their families to reflect with optimism on the subject.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”. These are words of Eleanor Roosevelt, president of the commission that drew up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the United Nations. ACDEI works to successfully deliver a message to children, their families and educators. Cuba is a multiracial nation, therefore the absent dolls with other features and colors of skin are necessary toys in toy stores. Besides, the dolls that are already on sale are going to be very happy with their company. Dolls are not racist!

Translated by: Maria Montoto

June 1 2012

Letters from Rastafarian Ñaño (Hector Riscart) from a Cuban Prison / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Holy Emmanuel I Selassie I JAH RASTAFARI, Light of This World and Creator of the Universe, May the Peace be in InI and his holy spirit illuminate us and protect everyone.  Let it be so!

Blessings, my adored family. After the passing of the tense moment, I ask you, my love:  how did you see everything?  To me it seemed like craziness, above all because the policeman who was in the cabaret, a so-called Ernesto (Martinez Ramirez), simply didn’t appear at the trial.

You saw, Ne, this was bad from the start. Look, before leaving the prison I had several run-ins with the Babilon, because they made me take off my white shirt. They didn’t want me to take the patchouli, incense, nor the turban I had on so that the judges wouldn’t see them.  Then I told them a few things without loosing my temper, all in good judgement, Ne, any which way I got tense.

When I go down, they handcuff me and put me in the car. They take me to the chief officials outside, close to where you guys come through when you come in here.  There they took me down and, Ne, waiting there was a man named Pacheco and a higher-up from the DNA (Dirección Nacional Anti-Droga, that is, the National Anti-Drug Administration).  He said he was the Chief here in prison.  He spoke with me, telling me to be careful  what I said at the trial, that he had learned about me, and everything was positive, but this has taken on a new path and I was going to calmly cooperate with his help in prison.  That my family had written, and that what will come to pass will be determined in the Vista Oral.

Then they put me in the car, and they followed us in their white Lada to the courthouse.  When we arrived, I was placed in a cell. Well, Ne, I don’t know what you think, nor how everything will turn out, not even what it is we are expecting.  Supposedly that justice be served, but there were subjects that were not even touched upon in the trial, and many details needing clarification.  For a moment I thought they would end the session in order to continue the next day, since two important policemen were missing: the one who assaulted me during the arrest (plate 45717), and none other than the accuser (Ernesto Martinez Ramirez).

But when the judges decided that the absent witnesses were not necessary, Ne, my heart sank. I believe they have decided on sentencing without clearing up the facts.  But I quickly turn around, my queen, and I think positive, because we cannot, no matter how unjust they are, be anticipating, nor putting negative thoughts which, like I told you, my Ne, that only brings bad things: to the body, mind, and soul.  And you know I wish for the family to remain in perfect harmony and good health.

Ne, tell mom to present a letter at the Prosecutors’ explaining well everything that was missing, and the importance of those two witnesses who irresponsibly didn’t attend trial.  The importance of the closed circuit cameras which are the ones who can say what really happened, those which we know have been used in some cases to incriminate persons who have committed crimes. The manipulation of my file from the station on Picota street: because, Ne, the agent from DNA who declared at the trial isn’t Yoandrys Solón Hidalgo: the one who went there I don’t even know, Ne, I’ve never even met him, and he wasn’t the one listed on the list of witnesses cited by the Prosecution in the Provisional Conclusions.

You saw what little seriousness there was in his declaration, he didn’t even know the address to my house. Ne, this is too much, I hope the judges have taken note of everything, or if not the fire of the Highest is going to burn all of them, because Jahovia surely does not allow tricks.

I, Ne, am a bit anxious, I barely sleep.  I awaken at four in the morning thinking, my queen, when will all this anguish end.  I think of the children who are so beautiful, Ne. You saw how Amani talked to me on the telephone? And Jahseh, how big he’s grown! There I write him a little letter, for I don’t want this situation to estrange us bit by bit and that communication be lost.

Ne, we can’t cease praying, demanding divine justice, my love, and without fearing what Man can do to us, always increasing our faith that everything is going to go well, with the help of the ABSOLUTE ALL-POWERFUL OMNIPRESENT CREATOR.

Ne, don’t go through difficulties.  If it’s necessary, we’ll sell the instruments little by little, but for(the three of you.  Don’t worry about me for now.  They are giving a bit of potato, and the brethren here always give me their’s, because they know how our (vegetarian) diet is and so I am surviving.

I would desire some fruits to heal my stomach, which burns a lot. Try going to 15 and K, to see if they will authorize you to bring them to prison.  And also garlic or scented clove for the molar, which gives me such pains, and the care of a dentist is bad or, better said: there isn’t any.  They fix things with pills and you know InI doesn’t take those.  Garlic is a natural antibiotic.

Ne, I also need, if you can, a sheet lighter in color: there are many mosquitoes and I think the green one attracts them.  Aloe vera, paper clips to organize my papers and pamphlets, a toothbrush.  If you can get pencil or pens, because this one is running out.  If you can, some natural oils:  pachouli, jasmine, whichever, Ne, because there is a lot of stench and humidity.

Also bring your beautiful smile and the boys.  Ne, don’t feel stifled, flow: if you can’t bring anything, that doesn’t matter. Ne, have faith and patience, nothing of sadness that soon we will be together again, my adored queen.  Take very good care of the boys, I know this is needless to say.  And take a lot of care of yourself. I don’t want you to destroy yourself thinking nor suffering.

Tell mom to come and see me.  Greetings to all the brothers who are close to you, who accompany you, give you support, and help you.  Give them my blessings.  Remember the Sabbath, Ne, to rest.  Don’t allow the good customs at home to be lost.  It is good for the health and you know it, nothing should change because the law of Jahovia is immutable.

I love you very much, my sweet maiden.




I dedicate these lines to Prince JAHSEH MAKONNEN from his dad TINGO FARI.

Jahseh, my son, I hope that in spite of this distance you find yourself in good health mentally and very fundamentally spiritually.  Nene, I am going through some difficult moments, but at the same time I am very calm, because I know that all of you back home, desire me to be there, and that is the energy that soon will take me there.

I don’t know how long it will be, son.  I can’t make any promises to you in that regard, since it doesn’t depend on me, but you have to be prepared because the time is JAH.  I only ask you, my son, as major head of all the males present in the household, that you take good care of mom for me, behaving well and taking on all of the responsibilities as if you were me.  You are already big and you can understand things better.  You should help mom a lot, so that she doesn’t get worn out, mainly harmonizing a lot with little Amani, teach him sweetly, guide him as the youth that he is in everything, and have a lot of tolerance for his immaturity, remembering that he is innocent, and love him, giving him a lot of affection, that he not be absent in any work when you refer to him.

You should always be head of the family and keep watch that peace cover the home.  This you accomplish behaving exemplary in school.  You should be attentive to your studies and also your circus school.  Concentrate your mind on what you must do so that come tomorrow you give happiness and prosperity.  Have your hand always at the ready to cooperate at home and that the last thing be playing.  You will have time to play, but first you must help your mom in all daily chores. I know this will be difficult for you, but think of the responsibility your father has given you, and sacrifice yourself so that good may govern at home and there won’t be sadness.

You can’t be a transmitter, yourself, of any energy that leads your mom to feel bad.  Be jealous with the house and careful with everything, learning always, my prince. You should become accustomed to praying with mom and with your little brother Amani. Even at bedtime, sing psalms and invoke JAH, so your wishes will be fulfilled.  Do not doubt it, dedicate your space to father Jahovia and he will give you reward.

I desire very soon to see you all, but first finish your classes.  I need that gift from you:  that you pass everything with good grades, that way we will be like always a happy family.

Blessings, my prince.

Sacred Emmanuel I Selassie I JAH RASTAFARI.

Translated by: Maria Montoto

April 23 2012

Samsara / Lilianne Ruíz

I am writing in order to release my anger, because this morning Agustin has been attacked by a mob of people from that neighborhood “El Globo” –The Globe– in Calabazar, from where I was able to take him out by force with love and hot meals.

He doesn’t live there any more, now he lives with me. But he loves that paradise lost between trees of mango, cherimoya (custard apples), weeds of all sorts where the hummingbirds go to sip nectar. There we hope to spend our retirement days, listening to the circulation of the sap strengthen the beating of our blood, with the respiration cleaner, in every sense, than in the city, because there is there a bit of the eternity of the growing of leaves that mocks the unfailing, shattered ambitions of all dictators of Cuba.

Some days ago he had an unfortunate family problem with one of his nephews and a denaturalized son and he had to return, to face the situation. These two young men were being spurred on by the neighbor of the the next fence over, the son of the neighborhood’s latest president of that aberration in Cuba that is the CDRs — Committees for the Defense of the Revolution — who envies Agustin even the ground he steps on, and who covets that little piece of land that the State doesn’t even allow you to truly own. This morning the exemplary “cederista” (“CDR-ist”), who to accentuate his characterization, even though it may seem a cliché, earns a living making little stamps with images of Che, which he later sells to tourists (one day we’ll have to dig deep and work seriously to inform the very misinformed Cubans, and the world, how many, and for what reasons, were those executed by that dark Jacobin Guevara when officiating as delegate of death in La Cabaña)… has led a neighborhood throng to stand in the way of Agustin as he was leaving.

The mother of the “cederista”, who suffers from lupus, which adds extra considerations when dealing with her, whipped by the envy that she couldn’t eradicate from her prole, yelled “gusano” (worm!) and threw two rocks at the windshield of the car Agustin was driving and broke it. To which Agustin, logically, has been unable to respond, and as he pulled further away he could hear the lady’s son yelling, saying no one could expect his sick mother to be held accountable.

It has been a trap. A few seconds before the stones were thrown, Agustin had told the promoter that problems between men are resolved without so much boisterousness and that if he wanted to fight he was willing to do so at a distance from that crowd. To which the maker of stamps, cowardly and vile, refused.

The authorities won’t do the right thing, we’re already accustomed to that. In fact there was a police captain who made a racket about whether if, on Agustin’s little plot of land, there lived “a man of human rights” who had to be done away with. We laugh at such stupidity and we are not afraid.

One would have to fear them for how cowardly and stupid they are, but when one has hope and faith in that it is not possible to permit the dictatorship of the State in Cuba to continue intimidating you, belittling you, humiliating you, abusing those you come to recognize as your brothers, you put up a fight with hope in the laws of the Universe, and in the most profound ones of the human soul, which always have imposed themselves against those of the tyrants.

But we are also ashamed that in our country, everyday Cubans like ourselves, even if they are policemen, suffer such a level of ignorance that they destroy their own rights before the dictates of a single “species” to whom it is not convenient to recognize those Rights. But it is fair to say that on this occasion the problem has come up simply as in the whole of Revolutionary history: someone covets another’s space and sets in motion the already rusted and crumbling mechanisms of a society that is segregationist, ignorant, vile, incompetent, that provokes pity for being more like beasts the men and women faithful to their model. And that at some moment, as in every country led by a Communist party, aggravated by the ambition of a specimen possessing an ego such that he has tried to usurp the place of God (even as an archetype given that they weren’t nonbelievers), was able to legalize acts of repudiation against citizens, the pogrom organized by the State, the segregation, the arbitrariness, the ideology that biases the perception of the world, of rights, of duties, and turned into a social practice all that a healthy society would condemn: Where is he, in what prison, the Revolutionary Communist son of a bitch who attacked with a machete an oppositionist of the regime, over there in Oriente, last year? Those neighbors, the Security of State decorates (with honors); but the truth, before the civil law of the civilized world, is that he gravely injured with extreme violence another human being and should have gone to jail for that.

A sentiment of enormous revenge is born: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay”. A need to once more embrace hope: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice.

And an overwhelming nostalgia for another Cuba, a Cuba where the law won’t be political, nor military, nor mafioso, nor tyrannical. Cuba turned into a civilized country, where there exists citizen security and the respect for Human Rights and a Civil Society, holding clear notions of what today forms the dark part of our vocabulary: civil rights. Liberty, liberty, liberty. Responsibility, decency, honesty, respect for the law, peace. There is none of that in Cuba, only the series of ideological artifices that have attempted to usurp the meaning of the most handsome words to be born after a painful birth in our mistreated humanity. Why must I continue crying over nostalgia for the truth?

Translated by: Maria Montoto

June 5 2012

From the 19th Floor / Rebeca Monzo

Last Monday I managed to get off unscathed and in one piece from a Route 27 bus, between stops, at 17th and D, thanks to the kindness of the driver, who decided to give me a chance, opening the doors of the bus there.

I took F Street and headed toward Linea. With horror I could observe how destroyed the area is and the number of improvised shacks there, in what in other times used to be the garages and front porches of the old family residences, displaying without the slightest embarrassment architectural cellulite and scoliosis, diseases which almost all new buildings or renovations suffer today. Unfortunately, that day I had not brought my camera, which I had left at home charging. The heat was exhausting and the sweat rolled down my eyelashes, causing me to glimpse as through a veil all those architectural horrors that I was walking toward.

When I finally reached Linea Street, which shimmered like the desert because of the intense sun, I thought I was hallucinating when I saw in the middle of the sidewalk a huge Santa Claus in plain month of June. At first I thought it was a performance, because we are still in Biennial, but there was no audience. As I approached, I saw that it was an advertising gimmick of an unsuccessful street vendor, to attract attention.

Finally I reached the large building where the friend I was going to visit lives. As usual, the main elevator was out of service, leaving only the freight elevator running. Both are ancient Otises from the fifties. I got into this thing alone, which I don’t like to do, and pushed the button for the 19th floor. All was going fine until it stopped on the 10th floor, to pick up a young woman with a little girl about two years old. She punched 13 and, having barely risen one floor, we became stuck between 11th and 12th.

Never before had I been trapped in an elevator, although many times I had thought that it could happen to me. I kept calm, following the example of serenity and peace that the little girl gave us. I knew that the presence of that little angel would bring us luck. I gave my cell phone (which happened to be charged) to the young woman, so she could call the manager, because she lives in that building, and knows its intricacies. Immediately we heard the voices of those coming to our rescue. We put on the emergency (break) and got to work, listening to the instructions that came from outside, to find the famous lever and the black button that had to be pushed, so that they could open from the outside. As soon as we accomplished that, they opened the door to that floor and we saw that indeed we had stopped between two floors. Thanks to the fact that the small window in the door was broken, a little air came in to us.

Naturally, they got the little girl out first. The young woman jumped and almost fractured her ankle in the fall. I, who suffer from vertigo, looked sideways at the dark hollow of two quarters or so wide that was lost in the void and told myself: “Don’t look down, you have to get out.” Any which way, since all residents of the building have been putting up iron gates to protect themselves, adding an uncalculated weight to the property, taking advantage of this architectural error, stretching first my arms and then my legs, I grabbed the bars of the door to the apartment closest to me, like a spider, to get out and let myself fall onto the landing of the service stairwell, to the applause of all who were watching the maneuver.

Fortunately, there was a happy ending. But once I had calmed down, from the 19th floor, observing the beautiful view, I started thinking that with all the gates that all of the neighbors have added around the exits from the elevators, the day there is a fire it will be very difficult to evacuate them.

Translated by: Maria Montoto and others

June 6 2012

Two Offspring of the Regime / León Padrón Azcuy


I don’t imagine Cubans putting up with another fifty years of “castrismo”.  I say this because lately one can observe an induced and growing role by two offshoots of the Castro-Ruz family that don’t suggest they will distance themselves much from the actors of the past.

Incidentally, these two little kids of Daddy 1 & 2, have been planted in sectors very sensitive to the public eye, which could be a strategy of the regime, with the end result of assigning them as possible heirs to the power acquired by Fidel and Raul, authors during this more than half century of the oldest Communist dictatorship in Latin America.

For some time now, Dr. Antonio Castro –youngest son of Fidel– has been promoted from the premises of Cuban baseball.  An institution which, as a physician for the Cuban team, placed him in the kingdom of the national sport of the island, to wit showing off today the powerful position of vice-president of the Cuban Amateur Baseball Federation (Federación Cubana de Beisbol Amateur).  An opening which permits Tony to handle an extensive sector, to which he shows an increasingly visible “benevolent” face.

The other case is that of sexologist Mariela Castro –daughter of current president Raúl Castro– and director of the National Center for Sexual Education of Cuba (Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual de Cuba), who right now counts on the unlimited backing  that has catapulted her into the public arena, using a social program in defense of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights.

A great part of this social segment, so needy of God and not Mariela, naïvely lends its shoulders so she can place her hands and elevate herself on behalf of a supposed fight for the breach of taboos present in Cuban society and the world in general.  An open opportunity for Castro Espín, with her a consistent and “dosed” publicity, so she may scale positions and fame, not only within the island, but face to face with worldwide public opinion, which she is starting to manipulate at her whim with surprising aplomb.

At the start of this year, Mariela made a little jaunt to Europe, where she caught the attention of the secular press after her skillful visit to a neighborhood in the Dutch capital where prostitutes operate.  Her praise, for the conditions in which these women work, reminded us of the declarations of her Uncle Fidel, who some years ago raised backyard prostitutes to the skies, of course, in spite of having held since the beginning of his revolution that this legacy engendered by capitalism would be eradicated.

Recently the sexologist also traveled to the United States, a country that gave her a visa without much thought other than to the great game of the possible  flexibility of the “blockade”.  From Californian territory, Mariela stood out as a dangerous instrument of change that moves between two powerful forces:  the Cuban exile community and the Communist dictatorship.  The most reluctant of the first, reacted with a laundry-list of diatribes that –reasonable or not– stamped her with an excessive resonance that kept her in the headlines of the great North American press, to whom she expressed –among other things– her support for the reelection of Barack Obama.  A message probably originating from the aging Castro-Ruz dynasty which takes advantage of the situation to sell Castro Espín as a leader with a progressive eye capable of maintaining the Communist ideology of her family.

The daughter of the Cuban president.  A “gifted” sexologist of authoritarian and intolerant customs, presents herself in all plazas not only as a defender of homosexuals, but also as the ultimate protector of the politics of the regime headed by her father.  Her irony goes so far as to elude the touching realities at the levels of violence, sex and alcohol present in Cuban society, to which we must add the use of an emphatic language trying to “refute” the violations of human rights in Cuba, lamentably substituted by sexual rights.

Her duplicity is made clear once and again when she won’t move a finger in defense of homosexuals who belong to  Cuban civil society, who on repeated occasions the political police have arrested and beaten in order to stop their marches and actions, even if they are in support of the public activities of Castro Espín.  One thing is certain, if there is something that this family knows how to do to the detriment of others, it is the manipulation of techniques of disqualification to exclude  all those within the island who don’t agree with the system.  Thus with the same “mastery” of Fidel and Raul, in front of professionals at a San Francisco hospital during her recent trip to the United States, Mariela Castro took it out on philologist Yoani Sánchez whom she accused of being a mercenary paid by the empire, and branded the Cuban exile community as a mafia, holding them responsible for paralyzing a normalization between Cuba and the United States.

It is crystal clear, the Communist monarchy just like North Korea, is betting on a leader who will vindicate the Castro surname. Apparently one of its females (Mariela) possesses genes of the same stock. Her familiar “fidelity”, makes it a given that the regime expects to extend itself even more. Blog: leonlibredecuba

Translator: Maria Montoto

5 June 2012

TU NIÑA… / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo


Infinitely more lucid, more 20th century, less cowardly than he.

Infinitely more beautiful, more slutty, less reactionary than she.

Infinitely better than he and infinitely better than the woman with whom he would contract marriage out of fear.

She was a Virgo of 17 years. A Latin American virgin, (not by whim is she called Maria), a vision of the succulent jungles of Guatemala, popol-vahgina* martyr of love. Signing exclusively for a twenty-something Jose Marti as no one ever on earth was going to dare, as no one ever possessed him: Tu niña… she signed, your girl.

Tu niña,” almost the title of an unwritten novel, unwriteable. She was the daughter of a general. She was the daughter of a president. Quetzal that perhaps should have been the Eve of the then unknown Cuban nation (even of today’s unrecognizable Cuban nation). Pupil who from her desk would surrender herself open in soul and body, so that she be swallowed and later birthed by the impetuous little professor Marti. So he could split her life into a before and an after him. So he could split her dry, moist.

Maria Garcia Granados, crystallization of time and apocope of the truth. She had no need for his grandiloquent oratory. It sufficed knowing how to see him (mine him) without demagogy of adults, nor delight of the adulterated, nor the crime of adulterers (and this last Marti always was: for the extreme of calamities, between culpability and repression). Only she knew the genetic miracle to save him from himself, to stop time, with the independence of their two inconceivable hearts, that extended between the night of the thousand and one deaths that followed (still to come later).

I am certain they slept together. I am certain they did it standing up. In an incredibly lovely river scene, with an epiphanic (epiphalic) light, beneath the copious canopy like an ovary that covered the sky of the isms (enslavementism, abolitionism, autonomism, reformism, annexationism, colonialism, independentism, imperialism, republicanism, liberalism, conservationism, capitalism, syndicalism, socialism, communism).

I am certain in such a setting they fucked more alone than the first couple on earth, without violence and without anxiety, without maelstrom nor vileness (although later the archetypal Martian goodness had been no more than that: despotic dualisms where we all democratically fit, on a par that nobody fit but he, He).** It must have been a copulation in more than one asexual sense, without genders (she the girl-man who could be nailed in the center of her spiritual axis by the woman-boy who he always was): Marti and Maria “machihembrados“*** at the margin of the history of humanity as told by its so gloomy tribunes (and he ended up becoming one of the most pathetic).

I am certain it was in that same river that she would go the following spring and contract tuberculosis, when he impotently betrayed that freedom of procreating birds, in exchange for a bed of curdled milk in the intimate ill will of every matrimonial bedroom.

Marti killed her with impunity. Worse: he forced her from afar to kill herself, with his insolent diplomatic immunity. Two decadent decades later, he would repeat the same formula of Maria with the nation he invented for himself for lack of real people to love. Apostles are just that: they instigate for mere instinct to disappear afterwards. They found only to burn out and flee at the hour of truth. And instead of accomplice bodies to be contemporaries, they leave instead opportunist little poems with a rhyme of two by three, birthday prosody (memorizable by boys and girls not yet literate, if not barely the literary hope of the world), verses from the prudish to the perverse, written in the miserable middle of the night with the back turned toward their spouse out of conviction, who knows if out of convenience.

In the end, the young Jose Julian chose the word and not the person. Ideas before lives. The chronicle of his crime: his contemplation in silence, which is more cowardly than perpetrating it (the rhetoric and not the redemption). Perhaps he thought himself too grand to have something small to do (and Maria was small in spite of being so tall, little-ious, diminutivest: because “tu niña . . .” is also the promise to never grow up).

There it ended, with his epitaph he sank verse by verse like a human being light of the future.

There it ended, a no-man being opaque with his suit weightless and his baldness of calvary, in countless cadavers in cloisters of marble, than in the midst of the 21st century we continue hiding in the closet of that Revolution. Perhaps for that reason the young Marti y Perez did not merit leaving fertile decsent (he flew like Matias Perez****, in disposition and genes), paying his discursive gift of impotence with the stigma of sterility. Lovelessness with lovelessness is paid. Lovelessness with lovelessness is native land. Forgive him, Maria, for he knew all too well what he wasn’t doing.

Translator’s notes:
* Popol-Vah: an ancient Guatemalan text
**Considered to be the “Apostle of Cuban Independence” for his role in Cuba’s 19th century battle against Spanish dominion, Marti was a fervent proponent of an independent and democratic Cuba.
*** Machihembrado is the Spanish word for woodwork that is assembled using tounge-and-groove or dovetailing. The origin of the word comes from a synthesis of male and female (macho y hembra).
****Matias Perez disappeared after boarding a hot air balloon in Havana on June 28, 1856. Since then, when someone disappears, people say: “Volo como Matias Perez” (He flew away like Matias Perez).

Translated by: Maria Montoto

May 28 2012