A Summoning to General Elections / Somos+

Somos+, Havana, 27 October 2017 — By the present lines, I, Dr. Carlos Raúl Macías López, Institutional Secretary of the Political Movement Somos+, by virtue of Article I of the Electoral Regulations, and by the expressed mandate of the National Council, headed by the current President Engineer Eliécer Avila: summon all members of our organization to participate in the first general elections for the honorable duty of President.

Election Timeline for 2017:

  • 10th of November: Presentation of the Electoral Commission.
  • 13th of November: The preparations and means to register and enroll Candidates will be announced.
  • 20th of November: Deadline for Candidates to register and enroll.
  • 21st of November until the 5th of December: Publication and debate of the messages of the candidates.
  • 8th of December: The Electoral Commission communicates to its participating members (eligible to vote) the methods, protocols and technical details to achieve suffrage directly and secretly.
  • 10th of December: National and International Suffrage, in accordance with the methodology that the Commission will define.
  • 10th of December: Announcement of Results and Celebration!

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It is important to remind all of our members the immense responsibility and privilege that it means for us to be a part of this process, that it strengthens and honors us for its exceptional and neccessary course, for our Homeland “Patria” and our Time.

At the same time, we must not forget the obstacles of all sizes that we will be facing to achieve with success what we are hoping and longing for.

The stability that we have had in a general sense during these past four years, is today more necessary than ever in order to guarantee the subsistence of our project and to be part of the light and good example that our nation needs to reconstruct itself.

We recommend that everyone read the Electoral Regulations carefully, and be in constant contact with the Commission, once it be presented, in order to clear up any doubts or report any anomalies in the process.

We will continue offering information as necessary.

Dr. Carlos Raúl Macías

Institutional Secretary

Political Movement Somos+

Translated by: Ylena Zamora-Vargas

Few Easily Renounce the Title of King to Turn Themselves into a Begger / Angel Santiesteban

My cherished boy, my beloved Chinito:

I can barely write to you for lack of energy. Now I find some strength that I will put to paper with words that as you know are moist and full of love. I am well, working as always in the same place, the one you know, with the same good people. I am evermore proud of you since few renounce so easily the title of King to turn themselves into a Beggar. My motherly egoism prefers the former for you, but I have to accept your decision which could be no other as your integrity, honesty and values won’t allow it because you were educated under the principles of José Martí.

I support you in everything as long as you live, and if I don’t reach the end with you, I entrust you to the care of Ana. But I am going to remain optimistic. I think that soon your innocence will be proven and corroborated as your accusers attempt to hide the truth, to try to seal your mouth, which they have been unable to do because your friends won’t allow it, nor your family, nor the intellectuals with a conscience, nor any advocate of justice.

Your echo transcends all limits. I don’t understand how they can be so foolish, as they try to drown your voice it reaches yet even further! It’s not so easy to hide a truth as big as that which you so valiantly scream out to the universe. They fail to realize that your words are everywhere, that the more they lock you up, the more they hide you, the more your words and truth resonate. That even while we hear and receive nothing from you, your screams are stronger, your voice is heard more clearly and the world becomes more interested.

At this time you have more followers than when you where in the La Lima prison camp. Since many knew you were all right, although innocent, they wouldn’t worry then as much for you. But now they are lions roaring for your life, for your freedom. As such, my beloved child, your accusers are more damaged than you.

Don’t worry, to suffer is inevitable and necessary to be a better person. Suffering helps you understand your fellow brothers and sisters so that then, as you have been doing until now in your books, you can transmit the feelings of our oppressed countrymen.

I love you dearly, as always or more. I am almost with you there, in that cell or chamber; you must hear when I breathe and my heart stirs. And I am your angel, because those books you didn’t know where they came from, were mine; I always loved reading. Now I prefer to read yours.

I send you a strong hug, like the one from that night at the shore of the sea, when we said goodbye without knowing if one day we’d see each other again. I still feel it, its bond unweakened, keeping us together, as together as that dark night when you let me go, with pain, towards liberty.

I love you very much.

A thousand kisses,

Your Mary

Note from the editors: this letter was written by María to her brother Angel Santiesteban-Prats. It has been published in the blog at the request of Angel.

Translated by: Ylena Zamora-Vargas

11 June 2013

Cuban Populace with HIV/AIDS Lacks Food / Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

By: Ignacio Estrada, Independent Journalist

Havana, Cuba -For more than three consecutive months, the Cuban populace that lives with HIV/AIDS has noticed an absence of the nutritive products graciously granted by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS of the United Nations.

The nutritive products have not been coming to any of the established distribution points in the country since the latter part of last year. Leaders of the commercial entities respond before the questions posed by the affected that they do not know the why behind the absence of supplies and even less why there is such a delay in the distribution of the products.

In Cuba, more than 18,000 Cubans live with this malady and the majority receive important help which alleviates the lack of fats and meat available to the population. This isn’t the first time that help has disappeared without an explanation or cause, but the important thing to remember is what the benefit of it means for each HIV+ Cuban.

Many in the world are unaware of the nutritive inequities that exist on the island with regard to this malady. The foodstuffs that are received dwindle in quantity and weight depending on the region where they live and in accordance with the pre-established diet designed by the health system that was previously fulfilled by the “canasta básica” or “basic basket” granted by the régime.

We are mentioning this because we have received differing declarations from information sources throughout the island. The HIV/AIDS population in Havana is the most benefitted in terms of nutrition while the other infected populace in the provinces only receive half of what is distributed in the capital.

The subject has been discussed in different instances but never has there been a response or a solution that benefits every Cuban that struggles with this disease.

One could ask how many people are invested in this cause? Who would be to blame in this occasion? Or is it that even International Organizations headquartered in Havana cannot ensure and protect the interests they represent? The questions are many and I fear that they will continue unanswered.

As I write this note, I think only of that population, that while government officials enjoy meals in abundance similar to those representatives of international organizations headquartered in Havana, many in that population don’t even have something to swallow their medicines with, while others replace milk with water only to cite an example.

The situation might vary in different regions, yet if we discussed nutrition in the six penitentiary establishments that confine more than 500 recluses of both sexes with this disease, the discussion would never end.

Let this article serve as a voice for each person who lives with HIV/AIDS and allow it to resonate and reach the ear of someone who is really interested in these conditions. The scarcity and lack of food access to the population affected by this disease cannot be shunned or set aside.

Translated by: Ylena Zamora-Vargas

25 February 2013

Majestic / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Today, New York unravelled a little before my uneasiness.

My heart shrinks at the hour of twilight. The city makes itself ephemeral, Cuba emerges with the darkness. I extend my hands and breathe out loud, but still it’s as if never again I would be able to love my love.

I buy cards to call the world (really, they buy them for me). I enter and leave a marvelous function on Broadway (really, I am invited and madly waste the opportunity). The people outside take pictures by a sea of disguises and vivid colors (I keep going without hooking on the thousand and one looks that propose a wink of who knows what). I try to take a taxi but all go by full. I cough, cough and expel a bit of water through the nose. The skyscrapers are toys. They forgive me but, precisely because they are in front of me, I cannot believe them (too much Hollywood weakens a sense of what’s real). Behind are death and repression: banal, vile, misleading. Like Cuba in this hour of the world in which I escaped (only to be caught later as a rabbit).

On the Columbia University campus, some North Americans show their Castro slogans against Yoani Sánchez. In my opinion, everything is a show. They shouldn’t have read her (I don’t either read her anymore: from now on, only action will change the criminal state of our society, which is dismantling its most decent families with blows of horror). But even repudiation in New York is beautiful, and it’s difficult to compare such pop protests with the savage deeds in the streets of Cuba that the Ministry of the Interior sponsors without pay: of what I know, they hire prisoners and workers (excuse the redundancy) in exchange for a snack and organic juice (in Brazil it was our excellent ambassador who recruited the leftists in exchange for free scholarships in the Island of Liberty).

I speak with the exiled. They have followed me in the last years through the internet, which I find to be completely disconcerting. I start to meet the graphic face of the free Cuban blogosphere, the magnanimous Rolando Pulido, an exceptional soul. We chew things (I’ve spent days and days in which I barely eat, barely sleep: I think only like this I will resurrect), my body needs to be touched by the gaze of love. The exiled know that very soon they will not longer be exiled, that we have to found a new country without hatreds or a past, where only the Communist Party out of respect will have to be at least 50 years with electoral limits (without vengeance, which wouldn’t bring even a pinch of liberation, but bringing to the forefront all the truth about how much and how much in Cuba was eradicated with the intention to perpetuate one or two people in power).

For while the post-exiled amuse themselves with my nonsense in 140 characters and, even though their spirits seem much more sensitive than those of anyone else on the island, they don’t have the slightest clue that my funniest tweets are the product of an asphyxiating desperation. I say it for the first time at the sight of the arrogant Hudson river: only in Havana could I love my love, only in Havana would I then be the death of my love.

The cold pierces my hands, that finish the day red and with pain. I would like to die of tuberculosis in the XIX century, anagram of the XXIst. I would like to read in The New York Times that the Cuban Revolution was a type of collective illusion, that all Cubans always have lived full of light and with freedom outside (every frontier is a fascism), that within the rotten heap only remain the Castros and a cadaver Twitter account as a dictatorial cenotaph (who inherits the followers of an account once the tweeter dies lying in campaign with the phantom of his recovery). I would like to move only in the metro or that please you teach me this week, you. I would, also, like to be a homeless person, of the type of I have seen at midnight. One day I will get out of the car followed by a caravan of security and I will give them a US dollar bill exchanged for my CUC in Havana. One day, and it’s not a rubbish metaphor, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo will be another homeless in this city and you will not notice. Just give me a little time to complete my cosmic cycle of destruction.

I am finished as a writer.

I’m sorry. I’m very happy.

Translated by: Ylena Zamora-Vargas

15 March 2013