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HAVANA —  More than half of Cuba's arable land remains … , according to a government report. Cuba has yet to publish an … available were under cultivation. The Cuban government often blames bad weather … and controlling most distribution. Cash-strapped Cuba imports more than 60 percent … Continue reading


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WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Quito, June 26 (RHC-teleSUR)-- Ecuadorean authorities have confirmed the country will continue to protect WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who remains under asylum in its embassy in the U.K. without any criminal processes … Continue reading
New York, June 26 (RHC)-- The New York Times has printed a full-page report detailing every lie President Trump has told since taking office.  The dozens of statements chronicled in the report include Trump lying about his position in the 2003 invasion of … Continue reading
Santo Domingo, June 26 (RHC-teleSUR)-- Hundreds of women took to the streets of the capital of the Dominican Republic Sunday, demanding the country's lawmakers approve a bill that would decriminalize abortion when the pregnancy is threatening the … Continue reading
Damascus, June 26 (RHC)-- The Israeli military has carried out a string of aerial assaults against the positions of the Syrian government forces in Golan Heights for the second consecutive day after several projectiles allegedly fired from Syria landed in … Continue reading
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva Brasilia, June 26 (RHC)-- The lack of evidence from the prosecution to convict former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva on corruption charges and the large amount of … Continue reading
Havana, June 26 (RHC-Xinhua) -- Cuba expects to welcome 4.2 … in 2016, a Cuban tourism official said Sunday. Cuba has seen a … and Havana. Last year, 4 million foreign visitors arrived in Cuba, a 14.5 percent rise over 2015, according to the CubanContinue reading
… , reiterated their solidarity with the Cuban people and demanded an end … occupation of the portion of Cuban territory in Guantánamo by a … --the Cuban people. With the slogan “Stop the blockade policies against Cuba – Return the Guantánamo territory to the Cuban people,” the … Continue reading
Havana, June 26 (RHC)-- Some … ;Trump Turns Clock Backward on Cuba', in which it outlines … as cruise ships depart for Cuba. The article notes that some … from Tampa offer stops in Havana. The article says: 'The … Continue reading
Havana, June 26 (RHC)-- The … Movement has denounced the aggressive Cuba policy of the new U … that Washington stop meddling in Cuba's internal affairs. The … Continue reading
… Park Cancer Institute and a Cuban research institution could be endangered … end decades of estrangement from Cuba. As local matters, successful trials … between Cuba and the United States, and will prohibit commerce with Cuban … Center for Molecular Immunology in Cuba. Collins needs to inject himself … Continue reading
Fruto del histórico deshielo entre EEUU y Cuba y varias reformas económicas internas, una nueva clase media con “alto poder adquisitivo” se ha gestado en la isla, dando origen a … Click to Continue » Continue reading

El exjugador de fútbol argentino Diego Armando Maradona anunció este viernes que viajaba a la Isla para "trabajar", según publicó en su cuenta oficial de Facebook.

Asimismo, señaló que regresaba "a la tierra de alguien que me trató como un hijo y que ya no está", en referencia al recientemente fallecido dictador Fidel Castro.

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(EFE).- Fruto del histórico deshielo entre EE UU y Cuba y varias reformas económicas internas, una nueva clase media con "alto poder adquisitivo" se ha gestado en la isla, dando origen a un "verdadero boom en el sector privado cubano", resalta en un informe The Havana Consulting Group (THCG).

Se trata de una clase media que ha crecido rápidamente y dado una clara muestra de "autonomía económica, gran emprendimiento, poder innovador y una tremenda fuerza para generar riqueza", indica el artículo elaborado por Emilio Morales, presidente del THCG.

Aunque todavía de forma limitada, esta nueva clase media ha logrado en el período 2010-2016 concretar modelos de negocio "muy exitosos y lucrativos", que van desde las paladares y hoteles para el alquiler de habitaciones hasta salones de belleza, talleres para reparación de teléfonos celulares o venta de calzado.

Las paladares se convirtieron en 2016 en la modalidad más lucrativa de negocio, con 1.716 licencias otorgadas y una facturación máxima anual estimada de algo más de 693 millones de CUC.

En segundo lugar se situaron los salones de belleza, con 17.837 licencias y una facturación máxima estimada de unos 120 millones de CUC, seguidos del mercado mayorista a distancia y el hospedaje (alquiler de viviendas y habitaciones).[[QUOTE:Las paladares se convirtieron en 2016 en la modalidad más lucrativa de negocio, con 1.716 licencias otorgadas y una facturación máxima anual estimada de algo más de 693 millones de CUC]]Según el THCG Business Report de junio, los emprendedores cubanos que trabajan en las modalidades citadas y otras autorizadas por cuenta propia "han formado un tejido empresarial muy exitoso".

Sin duda, destaca en el informe Morales, la ayuda económica de los cubanos en el exterior supone un "factor clave" en el desarrollo del naciente sector privado en la isla caribeña, un mercado de bienes y servicios que se estima entre 2.500 y 3.800 millones de CUC anuales.

Especial relevancia alcanza el capítulo de las remesas enviadas por la diáspora cubana, en la actualidad la principal fuente para el sostenimiento del "comercio minorista dolarizado de la isla y su valor total".

Así, entre los años 2009 y 2016, durante el mandato del entonces presidente Barack Obama, los cubanos recibieron 21.235 millones de dólares en remesas en efectivo, lo que supone un crecimiento del 108,4%. Solo en 2016, las remesas ascendieron a 3.444 millones de dólares, comparado con los 1.653 millones de dólares en 2009.[[QUOTE:Entre los años 2009 y 2016, durante el mandato del entonces presidente Barack Obama, los cubanos recibieron 21.235 millones de dólares en remesas en efectivo]]También ayudó la apertura económica puesta en marcha por el presidente cubano, Raúl Castro, que "permitió la expansión del sector privado a 201 modalidades en un ambiente de leyes más flexibles".

El informe del THCG apunta que, al cierre de 2016, se reportaban unos "535.000 cubanos trabajando directamente en el sector privado de forma legal por medio de licencias", frente a los 157.371 que lo hacían en el año 2010.

Morales recuerda que, no obstante, los emprendedores sufren numerosas limitaciones por parte de la Administración cubana, como los altos impuestos o la falta de un mercado mayorista para adquirir bienes.

Y es que, como subraya el artículo, el sector estatal cubano ha alcanzado un peso en la economía como nunca había tenido en los 60 años de Gobierno comunista.

De hecho, precisa, las Fuerzas Armadas cubanas "controlan sectores estratégicos": el 85% del mercado minorista, el 40% del sector hotelero, la Zona Especial de Desarrollo del Mariel y el 27% de ETECSA, entro otros.

Resalta también el informe el "crecimiento meteórico" del turismo nacional en los últimos nueve años, con 991.122 cubanos hospedados en 2016.

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… Dominica’s new ambassador to Cuba Dominica’s new Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba is seeking to strengthen the … gratitude to the Government of Cuba towards the development of Dominica … develop its human resource and Cuba started that from inception…All … Continue reading
New Zealand hopes to take another step this week towards being the first country to sign up to a trade deal with a group of Latin American and South American countries.Trade Minister Todd McClay heads to Cali, Colombia today for... Continue reading


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Una escalada represiva en contra de comunicadores independientes en la isla ha sido denunciada este lunes por el Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos (OCDH), con sede en Madrid. La voz … Click to Continue » Continue reading

Mario J. Penton

Los comunicadores independientes en la Isla son víctimas de una escalada represiva, según una denuncia presentada este lunes por el Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos (OCDH), con sede en Madrid. La voz de alarma dada por el organismo coincide con un aumento de las denuncias de periodistas de la Isla debido a las persecuciones y trabas que sufren por parte del Gobierno a la hora de ejercer su profesión.

"El pasado 20 de junio Henry Constantín y Sol García, periodistas de La Hora de Cuba y colaboradores de 14ymedio, no pudieron participar en un evento en Miami porque sobre ellos pesa una acusación por el presunto delito de 'usurpación de la capacidad legal', que según las leyes cubanas les impide viajar fuera del país", denunció el OCDH.

Según la organización no gubernamental, el Gobierno cubano había mantenido una especie de "moratoria" en la represión contra los periodistas independientes, pero la estrategia parece haber cambiado en las últimas semanas con acciones como las ejecutadas contra Henry Constantin, Sol García Basulto y Manuel Alejandro León Velázquez.

Tanto a Constantín como a García Basulto las autoridades les prohibieron expresamente el ejercicio del periodismo en la Isla y les abrieron un proceso judicial criticado desde diversos foros internacionales, entre ellos la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa (SIP).[[QUOTE:La abogada y activista por los Derechos Humanos, Laritza Diversent, explicó a '14ymedio' que existen más de 300 figuras dentro del Código Penal para reprimir a la disidencia y el periodismo en la Isla]]El OCDH también denunció la detención del periodista Manuel Alejandro León Velázquez, colaborador de Radio Martí y Diario de Cuba. León regresaba de un viaje a España y ha sido acusado de "usurpación de la capacidad legal, asociación para delinquir y difusión de noticias falsas", según la organización.

Las acusaciones contra los tres comunicadores se apoyan en el artículo 149 del Código Penal cubano, que castiga a quien realice "actos propios de una profesión para cuyo ejercicio no está debidamente habilitado". De ser juzgados por ese delito podrían hacer frente a una condena de hasta un año de privación de libertad.

En Cuba todos los medios de comunicación pertenecen al Estado, según la Constitución de 1976. Sin embargo, la ausencia de una Ley de Medios ha permitido el florecimiento de la prensa independiente con portales como El Estornudo, El Toque, Cubanet, CiberCuba, Diario de Cuba, Periodismo de Barrio, On Cuba, entre otros.[[QUOTE:En Cuba todos los medios de comunicación pertenecen al Estado, según la Constitución de 1976. Sin embargo, la ausencia de una Ley de Medios ha permitido el florecimiento de la prensa independiente]]La abogada y activista por los Derechos Humanos Laritza Diversent, recientemente refugiada en Estados Unidos, explicó vía telefónica a 14ymedio que existen más de 300 figuras dentro del Código Penal para reprimir a la disidencia y el periodismo en la Isla.

"La Seguridad del Estado está buscando diferentes estrategias para encausar penalmente todo tipo de disidencia o crítica en Cuba", explicó Diversent, presidenta del grupo legal Cubalex, que salió al exilio tras un operativo de la policía y de la Seguridad del Estado en su contra.

"Tanto la actividad económica ilícita como la usurpación de la capacidad legal no son más que recursos para castigar cualquier tipo de activismo dentro de la Isla. La inseguridad jurídica es muy alta porque tanto la ley penal como la ley de procedimiento penal se han diseñado como herramientas de represión", dijo Diversent.

El periodista independiente Maykel González Vivero, quien fue detenido el pasado octubre en Guantánamo y sufrió la confiscación de sus medios de trabajo cuando cubría la recuperación en Baracoa tras el paso del huracán Matthew, confirmó las dificultades para ejercer la profesión en la Isla.[[QUOTE:El año pasado la SIP destacó la tímida rebelión de algunos periodistas oficiales contra la política informativa dirigida desde el Partido Comunista]]"No tenemos una ley que nos respalde y proteja el ejercicio del periodismo, estamos a merced de la arbitrariedad de las autoridades", denunció. En aquella ocasión un equipo de corresponsales de Periodismo de Barrio corrió la misma suerte que González Vivero.

Otras publicaciones independientes, como la revista Convivencia, han sido hostigadas durante el último año con la detención de miembros de su equipo editorial y amenazas por parte de las autoridades a sus colaboradores. El corresponsal extranjero Fernando Ravsberg ha sido amenazado con la expulsión del país e incluso con "romperle los dientes" por las entradas críticas que publica en su blog personal Cartas desde Cuba.

El año pasado la SIP destacó, sin embargo, la tímida rebelión de algunos periodistas oficiales contra la política informativa dirigida desde el Partido Comunista. Entre los ejemplos citados por la SIP estaba una carta firmada por jóvenes periodistas publicada por el diario Vanguardia de Villa Clara, en la que reclamaban su derecho a colaborar con otros medios.

La SIP también recordó el caso del periodista de Radio Holguín expulsado del medio durante cinco años por hacer público el contenido de una conferencia en la que Karina Marrón, subdirectora del diario Granma, comparaba la situación del país a la de los años 90, cuando ocurrieron protestas masivas en La Habana conocidas como el maleconazo.

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… further opening up of Cuba," Connor insists. CUBA DEAL ROLLBACK: TRUMP … the benefits of decades of Cuban protection and generosity. Related Image … the fugitives. "To the Cuban government, I say, put an … announced the new U.S. Cuban policy in 2014, and restored … Continue reading
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… further opening up of Cuba,” Connor insists. CUBA DEAL ROLLBACK: TRUMP SAYS … the benefits of decades of Cuban protection and generosity. Related Image … some of his predecessor’s Cuban policies on June 16th, he … return the fugitives. “To the Cuban government, I say, put an … Continue reading

El coordinador nacional del Movimiento Cristiano Liberación (MCL), Eduardo Cardet, permanece recluido en la prisión provisional de Holguín, "sin ser trasladado a un centro abierto", según denunció su esposa Yaimaris Vecino a este diario.

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"Me tienen castigada en una silla desde las 10:00 de la mañana, desde hace casi seis horas. Quiero ver a mi hijo y no me dejan. Temo por su vida. No sé cuál es el motivo, pero no me dejan pasar a verlo", lamentó Alba Verdecia García, de 78 años, madre del activista Jorge Cervantes.

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Kirenia Yalit Núñez fue interceptada por la Seguridad el Estado Continue reading
… :10:08PM Trump’s Cuba policy only hurts Cubans Text Size: President Trump rationalized his recent mini-crackdown on CubaContinue reading
… Frank HAVANA, June 26 (Reuters) - More than half of Cuba… , according to a government report. Cuba has yet to publish an … available were under cultivation. The Cuban government often blames bad weather … and controlling most distribution. Cash-strapped Cuba imports more than 60 percent … Continue reading
… further opening up of Cuba," Connor insists. CUBA DEAL ROLLBACK: TRUMP … the benefits of decades of Cuban protection and generosity. Related Image … the fugitives. "To the Cuban government, I say, put an … announced the new U.S. Cuban policy in 2014, and restored … Continue reading
… Manchester to Cuba (Picture: Eamonn and James Clarke) A Cuba bound flight … to touch down in Hoguin, Cuba, at 2.35pm (7.35pm … Continue reading

La boy band cubana Ángeles lanzó este viernes su primer sencillo en EEUU, "Me mata tu amor".

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"We Exist Between Illusions And Fears"

14ymedio, Mario Penton, David (Panama), 23 June 2017 — The green seems
to fill everything in Chiriquí, in the western Panamanian province where
the government hosts 126 undocumented Cubans in a camp in the region of
Gualaca. The stillness of the morning in the middle of the huge pines
that grow in the foothills of the mountains is only interrupted by the
bites of insects, a true torture at dawn and dusk.

"This place is beautiful, but everything gets tiring, being in limbo is
exhausting," says Yosvani López, a 30-year-old Cuban who arrived in
Gualaca in April after spending three months in the hostel set up by
Caritas for Cuban migrants in Panama City.

"Sometimes we sit down and talk about what we would do if we could get
out of here and get to another country. Some relatives tell us that they
are preparing a camp in Canada to welcome us, others tell us that they
have everything prepared to deport us. Illusions and fears," he laments.

The camp that houses the Cubans was built by the Swiss brigades which,
in the 1970's, built the La Fortuna dam. It is 104 acres, occupied
mostly by forests and a stream. One hour from the nearest city, the
humidity is such that mushrooms and plants establish themselves even in
the fibrocement roof tiles.

Along with the wooden buildings, deteriorated by the passage of time,
there are still satellite antennas, electric heaters and, according to
the migrants, from time to time they find foreign currencies buried in
the vacant land.

López was born in Caibarién, a city on the north coast of Cuba. Although
he had the opportunity to emigrate using a speed boat to cross the
Florida Straits, he preferred the jungle route to avoid the seven years
moratorium on being able to return to Cuba that the government imposes
on those who leave Cuba illegally.

"I wanted to go back before 7 years was up. I have my mother and my
sisters in Cuba," he explains.

He worked as a chef specializing in seafood at the Meliá hotel in the
cays north of Villa Clara, earning the equivalent of $25 US a
month. With the money from the sale of his mother's house he traveled
via Guyana and in Panama he was taken by surprise by the end of the wet
foot/dry foot policy that allowed Cubans who reached American soil to stay.

"Here we pass the hours between chats with our relatives in Cuba and the
United States, and searching the news for clues that will tell us what
is going to happen to us," he says.

The migrants in Gualaca not only do not have permission to work, but
they can only leave the camp one day a week to go to Western Union, with
prior notice and accompanied by presidential police officers, who are
guarding the site.

Some, however, have improvised coffee sales and even a barbershop. The
locals also set up a small shop to supply the undocumented immigrants
with the personal care products and treats, which they pay for with
remittances sent by relatives from the United States.

The authorities gave themselves 90 days to decide what they would do
with the 126 Cubans who accepted the proposal to go to Gualaca. Two
months later, the patience of the migrants is beginning to wear thin. At
least six escapes have been reported since they were moved there. The
last one, on Monday, was led by four Cubans, two of whom have already
returned to the camp while two crossed the border into Costa Rica.

Since dawn, Alejandro Larrinaga, 13, and his parents have been waiting
for some news about their fate. Surrounded by adults, Alejandro has only
one other child to play in the hostel, Christian Estrada, 11. Neither
has attended school for a year and a half, when they left Havana.

Alejandro spent more than 50 days in the jungle and, as a result of
severe dehydration, he suffered epilepsy and convulsed several
times. "It was difficult to go through it. It's not easy to explain: it
is one thing to tell it and another to live it," he says with an
intonation that makes him seem much more adult.

"We had to see dead people, lots of skulls. I was afraid of losing my
mom and dad," he recalls. But, although tears appear in the eyes of his
mother while he recalls those moments, now he says he feels safe in
Gualaca and spends his days playing chess.

"I want to be a chess master, which is more than a champion. Someday I
will achieve it," he says.

His mother, Addis Torres, does not want to return to the Island where
she has nothing left because she sold their few belongings to be able to
reunite with Alejandro's grandfather, who lives in the United
States. Although they have a process of family reunification pending at
the US Embassy in Havana, the family does not want to hear about
returning to Cuba.

They eat three times a day and even have a health program financed by
the Panamanian government, but for Torres "that's not life."

"Detained, without a future, afraid to return to Cuba. We need someone
to feel sorry for us and, in the worst case, to let us stay here," she says.

Liuber Pérez Expósito is a guajiro from Velasco, a town in Holguín where
he grew garlic and corn. After the legalization of self-employment by
the Cuban government, Pérez began to engage in trade and intended to
improve things by going to the US.

In Gualaca he feels "desperate" to return to his homeland, but he has
faith that, at least, he will get the help promised by the Panamanian
Deputy Minister of Security, and leave a door open to engage in trade.

"I am here against what my family's thinking. There (in Cuba) I have my
wife, my nine-year-old son and my parents, they want me to come back and
pressure me but I am waiting for the opportunity to at least recover
some of the 5,000 dollars I spent," he says.

His mother-in-law, an ophthalmologist who worked in Venezuela, lent him
part of the money for the trip. Indebted, without money and without
hope, he only thinks of the moment he can return.

"During the day we have nothing to do. Sometimes we play a little
dominoes, we walk or we go to the stream, but we have 24 hours to think
about how difficult this situation is and the failure we are
experiencing," he says.

Liuber communicates with his family through Imo, a popular videochat
application for smartphones. "They recently installed Wi-Fi in Velasco
and they call me whenever they can," he adds.

"Hopefully, this nightmare we are living will end soon. Whatever
happens, just let it end," he says bitterly.

——

This article is a part of the series "A New Era in Cuban Migration"
produced by this newspaper, 14ymedio, el Nuevo Herald and Radio
Ambulante under the auspices of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Source: "We Exist Between Illusions And Fears" – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/we-exist-between-illusions-and-fears/ Continue reading
The Lethargy Of A Coastal Town In Camagüey

14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Florida, Cuba, 26 June 2017 — "The sea water
cleans everything," Agustin reflects as he calls out his
merchandise. This 74-year-old forensic assistant now works renting
inflatable boats for the fishermen of Playa Florida, in Camagüey, a
coastal strip where tourists rarely come and the economic crisis is
strongly felt.

"I came here to escape the odor of death, and I did," jokes the worker,
one of the few residents in the unpopulated streets on Friday. On every
side many of the few houses that do not seem vacant exhibit a "for sale"
sign. "All of Playa Florida is for sale but no one wants to buy it," a
resident jokes.

Lacking the natural beauty of the north coast, with no functioning
industries and no important crops, the area is experiencing times of
hardship that have worsened in recent years. On the entrance road, a
rusted out anchor gives visitors a preview of the lethargy they will
find here.

Only 24 miles separate the fishermen's village from the municipal
center, but it takes between four and six hours to cover the route due
to the poor state of the road and the lack of public transport. On both
sides of the road, the invasive marabou weed rises defiantly.

Lack communication characterizes the village. Nowhere among its crowded
streets has a public telephone been installed and cell phones only
manage to pick up a signal near the medical clinic, due to the poor
coverage of the area.

The lack of mobility also sinks the area's small businesses. The private
restaurant Comida Criollo barely survives after being opened five
years. Alfredo, the paladar's chef, says that "from time to time a
foreign tourist arrives." People who "explore every corner with a map in
hand," but they are fewer and fewer.

Of the 4 million visitors who arrived in Cuba last year, only a few
dozen came to this coast without white sands or crystal clear water,
where to take a dip the bather must wear shoes to avoid the mud, stones
and mangrove roots.

"Without tourists there is no money," Bururu, an informal realtor,
tells 14ymedio. The high number of homes for sale has caused a collapse
of prices in the area. "A two-room house with a covered porch, cistern
and garden can cost less than 1,000 CUC (roughly $1,000 US)," he says.

"They put a jacuzzi in the bathroom and all the furniture inside is from
the mall," says Bururú while pointing to a newly painted building. The
dealer takes his time to describe the characteristics of each house,
hoping to make at least one sale.

"People do not want to stay because there is nothing to do here," he
explains to the 14ymedio. The man blames the stampede on the fact that
"there are no recreational options and also nowhere to work". "[The
fishing] is not as good as in other places, so it gives you something to
eat but not enough to make a living," he emphasizes.

Near the coastline, a fisherman removes the scales from a sea bass he
caught that morning. "I promised it to a family that wants to celebrate
the birthday of their youngest son," he tells a woman who inquires about
the price of fish.

"The fishing is very affected since they built the embankment," says the
fisherman. "This area used to get a lot of oysters, but that has
decreased a lot," he adds.

The narrow and rugged access road divides the wetland in two and it has
lost a part of the mangroves in its southern area. "Experts came here to
research it and said that cutting the flow of water had increased the
salinity and that is killing the mangroves."

In 2009 the United Nations Small Grants Program provided more than
$40,000 in funding for ecosystem recovery, but eight years later the
damage has hardly been reversed. "The sea water has entered the river
Mala Fama inland," says the fisherman.

The coast has also been affected by rising sea levels, to the extent
that rumors of relocating the village have increased in recent
years. Wooden palisades are trying to slow down the push of the waves
during hurricanes, but they seem like ridiculous chopsticks in the face
of the immensity of the Caribbean.

The picture of deterioration is completed by the Argentina Campsite.
where for months there has been neither electricity nor water. Julia,
the guard who watches the entrance of the abandoned place, is
categorical. "Here in Florida Beach, the only thing that is abundant is
gnats and mosquitoes."

Source: The Lethargy Of A Coastal Town In Camagüey – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-lethargy-of-a-coastal-town-in-camaguey/ Continue reading
From Joystick to Canon / Regina Coyula

From Regina Coyula's blog, 9 June 2017 (Ed. note: These interview
fragments are being translated out of order by TranslatingCuba.com
volunteers. When they are all done we will assemble them in order into
one post.)

The country was falling to pieces, there were people drowning in the sea
and on land, there was something called the Diaspora, but we bourgeois
teenagers of Havana's Vedado neighborhood knew nothing. Our lives
revolved around a company and Japanese console. In my SuperNintendo
years, Miguel was already a legend. Coyula was a gamer before gaming.
His name passed like a password between initials. You don't know how to
kill a boss on one of the levels of the game? Ask Coyula. You don't know
how to activate this or that power? Go see Coyula.

We were playing Street Fighter II Turbo and Coyula already had Super
Street Fighter II. We went to see him so he could show us the four new
fighters and the recent versions of others. I remember that he revealed
on the screen the improved attacks of Vega, the Spanish ninja that was
my favorite fighther. Afterwards he started to clarify for us some
technical doubts about The Lion King. And I remember that, while he was
leading Simba over some cliffs, I looked at his hyperconcentrated face
and had a revelation, "This guy is alienated, bordering on autism, he's
going to melt, he probably does nothing else in his life," I said to
myself. "I have to give up video games, because if I don't, I'll end up
like Coyula."

Unfortunately, I quit videogames. Then time passed and I saw [Coyula's]
movie Memories of Overdevelopment. I saw it, by the way, before I saw
Memories of Underdevelopment, which now seems to me like a regular
prequel and a little drawn out. Sergio, the protagonist of Memories of
Overdevelopment, ends up in a desert landscape that looks like another
planet. He's carrying a Barbie doll and his brother's ashes, which are
the ashes of the Mariel boatlift and, after that, of the Revolution. To
summarize. In 2010, Miguel Coyula scattered the ashes of Cuba in the
desert in Utah; he dispersed these ashes in a psychotronic dust, between
mutant and Martian. Seven years later, there are many people who still
haven't noticed.

I like that there is a guy like him in Cuban cinema.

Source: From Joystick to Canon / Regina Coyula – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/from-joystick-to-canon-regina-coyula/ Continue reading
The Hijacking Of Social Networks

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 25 June 2017 – More than five years ago
social networks were roiled by the Arab Spring, while the screens of
their mobile phones lit up the faces of the young protesters. In those
years Twitter was seen as a road to freedom, but shortly afterwards the
repressors also learned how to publish in 140 characters.

With a certain initial suspicion, and later with much opportunism, the
populists have found in the internet a space to spread their promises
and capture adherents. They use the incredible loudspeaker of the
virtual world to set the snares of their demagoguery, with which they
trap thousands of internet users.

The tools that once gave voice to the citizens have been transformed
into a channel for the authoritarians to enthrone their discourses. They
assimilated that, in these post-truth times, a tweet repeated ad nauseam
is more effective than billboards along the side of the road or paying
for advertising space.

Totalitarian regimes have gone on the offensive on the web. It took them
some time to realize that they could use the same networks as their
opponents, but now they launch the information police against their
critics. And they do it with the same methodical precision with which
for years they have surveilled dissidents and controlled the civil
society of their nations.

Totalitarian regimes assimilated that, in these post-truth times, a
tweet repeated ad nauseam is more effective than billboards along the
side of the road

From the hacking of digital sites to the creation of false user
profiles, the anti-democratic governments are trying everything to help
them impose frameworks of opinion favorable to their management. They
count on the irresponsible naivety with which content is often shared in
cyberspace as a factor that works in their favor.

One of these radical about faces has been made by Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During the 2013 protests, when he was prime
minister, he wanted to enact several laws to restrict the use of
Facebook and Twitter. He described the network of the little blue bird
as "a permanent source of problems" and "a threat to society."

However, during last year's coup attempt in Turkey, Erdogan relied on
these tools to summon people to the squares and to report on his
personal situation. Since then he has dedicated himself to expanding his
power through tweets, reaffirming in the virtual world the dictatorial
drift of his regime.

Last March, Twitter administrators had to admit that several of their
accounts, some linked to institutions, organizations and personalities
around the world, had been hacked with messages of support for
Erdogan. The sultan urged his cyberhosts to make it clear that, even on
the internet, he is not playing games.

In Latin America several cases reinforce the process of appropriation
that authoritarianism has been making with the new technologies. Nicolás
Maduro has opened on Twitter one of the many fronts of a battle through
which he intends to stay in power and to quell the popular riots that
erupted since the beginning of April.

Venezuelans not only must deal with economic instability and the
violence of the police forces, but for many the internet has become a
hostile territory where the chavistas shout and threaten with total
impunity. They distort events, turn victimizers into victims and impose
their own labels as they launch the blows.

The Miraflores Palace responds to images of protesters killed by the
Bolivarian National Guard with hoaxes about an alleged international
conspiracy to destroy chavismo. The social networks have taken up
against the general prosecutor, Luisa Ortega Díaz, where Maduro's
supporters have branded her, at the very least, as a crazy person.

With so many attempts to manipulate trends and adulterate states of
opinion on the web, Venezuelan officialdom has ended up getting caught
with its fingers in the door. Recently, more than 180 Twitter accounts,
which repeated government slogans like ventriloquists, were
cancelled. The penalty could be extended to the accounts of other
minions linked to government institutions and media.

Venezuelan Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas defined this
suspension of accounts as an "ethnic cleansing" operation and Maduro
threatened microblogging network administrators with a phrase fraught
with outdated triumphalism: "If they close 1,000 accounts, we are going
open 1,000 more."

With his well-known verbal incontinence, Hugo Chavez's successor was
revealing the internet strategy that his regime has followed in recent
years. That of planting users who confuse, lie and, above
all, misrepresent what is happening in the country. A strategy taught to
them by a close ally.

In Cuba, the soldiers of cyberspace have long experience in shooting
down the reputations of digital opponents, blocking critical sites and
unleashing the trolls to flood the comment areas of any posting that is
especially annoying to them. But the main weapon is to limit internet
access to their most reliable followers, and to maintain prohibitive
prices for the majority.

"We have to tame the wild colt of new technologies," said Ramiro Valdés,
one of the Revolution's historical commanders, when the first
independent blogs and Twitter accounts managed by opponents began to
surface.

Since then there has been a lot of water under the bridge and the Castro
regime has launched an effort to conquer those spaces with the same
intensity that it brings to its rants in international
organizations. Its objective is to recover the space that it lost when
it was suspicious of adopting new technologies. Its goal: to silence
dissident voices with its hullabaloo.

Even in the most long-standing democracies, technologies are being
hijacked to inflict deadly blows on institutions.

In the White House, a man puts his country and the world at the edge of
the abyss with every tweet he writes. Every night that Donald Trump goes
to bed without publishing on that social network, millions of human
beings breathe a sigh of relief. He has found in 140 characters a
parallel way of governing, one with no limitations.

These are not the times of that liberating network that linked
dissidents and served as the infrastructure for citizen rebellion. We
are living in times when populism and authoritarianism have understood
that new technologies can be converted into an instrument of control.
_______________

Editorial Note: This text has been previously published by the Spanish
newspaper El País in its edition of Saturday, 24 June 2017.

Source: The Hijacking Of Social Networks – Translating Cuba -
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