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Daily Archives: July 19, 2013

By PANAMA CITY/MIAMI (Reuters) - When a North Korean ship carrying Cuban arms was seized last week in Panama on suspicion of smuggling drugs, Cuba first said it was loaded with sugar for the people of Continue reading
“We’re so bad, we’re so bad,” mocked my neighbor in the street, the day after the broadcast of Raul Castro’s July 7th speech to the National Assembly of People’s Power. Most people agree that the official description of the Cuban … Continue reading Continue reading
HAVANA -- Cuba's International School of Cinema is suspending new admissions for a year in response to budgetary woes resulting from international economic difficulties, the school's interim director said Friday. The institution, whi... Continue reading
Havana, Jul 19 (Prensa Latina) The UN Memory of the World Register is honored when saving documents whose creator is one of the most outstanding figures mankind has ever known, Ernesto Che Guevara, said investigator Berarda Salabrarria here Friday. Acc... Continue reading
Cuba's International School of Cinema is suspending new admissions for a year in response to budgetary woes resulting from international economic difficulties, the school's interim director said Friday. Continue reading
North Korean ship in Panama. (Getty) Cuba recently got busted for trying to send military equipment to North Korea, an illegal act under UN conventions. [See the above video for more info on how that Continue reading
A U.S.-based tour company on Thursday announced the launch of new people-to-people trips to Cuba that would transport U.S. citizens there by ship. Road Scholar, a Boston-based company, is offering the Continue reading
Aeromexico, Mexico's flagship carrier, started flying this week between the Distrito Federal in the Aztec capital and the city of Santa Clara in central Cuba, the gateway to the keys off Villa Clara's Continue reading
Members of two Cuban exile organizations demonstrated Friday in the Port of Miami, in front of cruise ships that sail to the Bahamas, against the abuse undocumented migrants undergo when they arrive at Continue reading
Cuba recently got busted for trying to send military equipment to North Korea, an illegal act under UN conventions. [See the above video for more info on how that happened.] But besides trying to trade Continue reading
En la bahía de Miami organizaciones del exilio expresaron su solidaridad con los cubanos que están detenidos en Bahamas. Continue reading
La UNESCO incluyó los manuscritos de Ernesto "Che" Guevara en el Registro Memoria del Mundo. Continue reading
Una famosa escuela internacional de cine de Cuba que formó a cientos de latinoamericanos suspendió por un año el ingreso de estudiantes para superar una crisis de financiamiento que coincidió con una auditoría que envió a prisión a tres empleados de la institución. Continue reading
La decisión se debe a la crisis de financiamiento y problemas de auditoría ligados con casos de corrupción. Continue reading
Dos organizaciones de cubanos en el exilio se manifestaron el viernes en aguas del puerto de Miami frente a los cruceros con destino a Bahamas, en protesta por el maltrato que, aseguran, reciben los inmigrantes indocumentados que llegan a esa isla caribeña. Continue reading
New Europe is a truly unique platform, which on the one hand provides critical and timely information to opinion formers and decision makers, and on the other hand facilitates these power groups with a forum for discussion and debate. New Europe, with... Continue reading
La operación de descargue de los sacos de azúcar en el barco norcoreano podría durar hasta más de ocho días. Continue reading
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) " El canciller refutó el viernes al ex presidente Alvaro Uribe quien en una declaración transmitida por Twitter vinculó a Ecuador con las armas procedentes de Cuba e interceptadas ... Continue reading
LA HABANA, Cuba, 19 de julio de 2013, Julio César Álvarez/ www.cubanet.org.- Infestado de ratones está hace más de una semana el almacén de víveres de la Cruz Roja Provincial de La Habana, ubicado en calle Alfredo Zayas # 18, en el barrio capitalino de Santos Suárez, en el municipio 10 de Octubre. Trabajadores del [...] Continue reading
LATEST NEWS: Study of Tricky Fault in Holguin Province LATEST NEWS: Tributes by Pastors for Peace in Havana LATEST NEWS: US B-ball Team Bested Cuba in Des Moines LATEST NEWS: Sao Paulo Opens Havanatur Continue reading
LATEST NEWS: US B-ball Team Bested Cuba in Des Moines LATEST NEWS: Sao Paulo Opens Havanatur Branch Office LATEST NEWS: Cuba: New Investments in Transportation Online: 47 guests News Cuba Pastors Continue reading
News Cuba Cuba - Investment - Transportation As part of the ongoing update of the Cuban economic model, a series of investment projects and policies are being implemented to achieve the consolidation Continue reading
Brazil - Cuba Roberto Monteiro, Brazilian Attorney General, meant in Havana he deeply admires the Cuban people for their firmness and commitment in facing current challenges. Monteiro, who arrived Continue reading
En declaraciones a Ecuadoradio desde La Habana, dijo que le preocupa el caso ecuatoriano, cómo se va administrando la información al ciudadano, cómo se lo va encerrando hasta controlar solo con la información official. Continue reading
Panama's capture this week of a North Korean ship with suspected surface-to-air weapons equipment stored among 10,000 tons of Cuban sugar is the stuff of spy movies. It certainly had drama. The 35-man Continue reading
The documents include original manuscripts from "Che's" youthful "Motorcycle Diaries" days, to his diary from the mountains of Bolivia where he was executed by that nation's military in ... Continue reading
Cuba should be sanctioned for the recent discovery of weapons on a freighter bound for North Korea - not rewarded with resumed migration talks with the Obama administration, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tells Continue reading
With the "Mad Men" season over, Sunday nights feel a lot less liquor-soaked. Continue reading
NEW YORK - A U.S.-based tour company is starting new people-to-people trips to Cuba that will transport U.S. citizens there by cruise ship. Road Scholar, a Boston-based company, is offering the trips from Jamaica and Miami, with stops in Havana and ot... Continue reading
19th Anniversary of the Massacre of the Tugboat 13 de Marzo / Julio
Cesar Alvarez
Posted on July 18, 2013
Havana, Cuba, July, www.cubanet.org

The sinking of the tugboat 13 de Marzo, on the morning of July 13, 1994,
with over 70 people on board, ordered by the dictatorship that governs
us, does not appear in the nation's list of anniversaries.

It is a taboo subject. It has been deleted from the official story, so
they do not remember the infamy, but it is important to remember that it
has been 19 years since the horrific slaughter that still remains
unpunished and that those who ordered it to be perpetrated still remain
in power, and now they are trying to pass the scepter to their chosen
ones in order to "retire or die quietly".

This murder has been written about many times, and many others have been
read with horror. Survivors testified that they managed to cross the
Morro and evade the pursuit seven miles offshore. Their captors
surrounded the tug in which they were fleeing, and did them in them with
their prows and water jets.

One day, without the repression of the government as a barrier, the
Cuban people will go to the Malecon with flowers and remember those 41
children, women and men killed at sea in the horrendous summer of 1994.

The same way we used to remember a famous guerrilla* in elementary
school. Although we did not understand why, we walked after the teachers
to the nearest stretch of coast to throw flowers in the water in honor
of a rebel commander** who disappeared at an uncertain point along the

Teachers told us that they searched for this rebel commander by air,
land and sea for many days, although it wasn't know where his plane went

Even though the authorities knew from the start the exact place where,
in an single onslaught, fanaticism and intolerance had sunk the ship in
which 72 Cubans were fleeing the tyranny, the bones of those 41 men,
women and children killed remain abandoned at the bottom of the sea.

Relatives of the victims were not allowed to bury their dead. The weak
excuse that the government had no specialized divers to recover them.
Perhaps what the government feared was a spontaneous and massive burial,
in which the tears of a people would make injustice tremble.

Fidel Castro justified the murder in a speech: "The workers' behavior
was exemplary, you can not say it wasn't, because they tried to stop
them from stealing your boat. What can we say now, let them steal the
ships, your livelihood? What will we do with those workers who do not
want them to steal their boat, who undertook a truly patriotic effort,
we could say, to stop them from stealing the boat? What are we going to
tell them?"

Those words acquitted the murderers, and denied to the families of the
victims their right to justice. Any future investigation was prohibited.
Any accusation from the families fell on deaf ears in the complicit
courts nationwide.

But as Fidel Castro himself said in his time, "There is always time in
history to hold each person responsible for what they did."

Meanwhile, the souls of the victims emerge daily and roam the coast of
Havana, and pray that one day they can finally rest on land in an
ossuary with flowers and an epitaph.

Translator's notes:
*Che Guevara
**Camilo Cienfuegos

Friday, July 12, 2013 | By Julio Cesar Álvarez

Source: "19th Anniversary of the Massacre of the Tugboat 13 de Marzo /
Julio Cesar Alvarez | Translating Cuba" -
http://translatingcuba.com/19th-anniversary-of-the-massacre-of-the-tugboat-13-de-marzo-julio-cesar-alvarez/ Continue reading
Vecinos afirman muerte por cólera en Jatibonico Osmany Borroto Rodríguez 19 de julio de 2013 Sancti Spíritus, Cuba – www.PayoLibre.com – Desde el pasado 14 de julio, en el municipio espirituano de Jatibonico se encuentra vigente la prohibición de vender alimentos, tanto a los particulares como al Estado, y la emisora radial de la villa [...] Continue reading

Cada vez que el castrismo hace de las suyas, los políticos cubanoamericanos aprovechan para despachar lo que parece ser la única munición de su carcaj: la suspensión de los viajes y las remesas. Es decir, retomar las medidas que afectan a las familias a ambos lados del Estrecho, pero escasamente al régimen de La Habana.

Llama la atención que a los conservadores, defensores históricos de los valores familiares, no se les ocurra otra cosa que joder un poco más a los jodidos.

leer más

Continue reading
Response to Ricardo Alarcon / Eliecer Avila
Posted on July 18, 2013

This morning I was awakened by a call from a friend to tell me that
finally señor Ricardo Alarcón had uttered words referring to our
encounter*. I immediately started to make arrangements to see where I
could download this post, but nothing worked. It was already around
11:00 and curiosity made me make a sad decision: to spend the equivalent
of several yards of plaster for my house on an Internet card at the
Hotel Nacional.

Señor Alarcón:

I want to thank you, first, for directing yourself to me respectfully.
It is time for someone to reciprocate this conduct.

I am compelled, however, to clarify some questions.

First: At the end of that encounter, I left by another door, almost in
the arms of many of my compañeros, who invited me to eat pizza to
celebrate, and to thank me for having represented them. You did not
converse with me, I never saw you again.

Later, they tried to destroy me in many ways and if it weren't for the
vote and opinions of my compañeros, I never would have graduated. Among
the reprisals they also denied me the possibility of living and working
in Havana. Angry and upset about that, I went to talk to you at the
National Assembly of People's Power. Your staff did not allow me to see you.

Prof: I am amazed and surprised to hear you say that you were censored
and that I had the advantage in the argument. I spent more than two
years without any chance to talk, the Cuban media has never allowed me
to express myself, with the exception of the material on Cubadebate when
I thought it would be alright, and they needed me to deny what later
clearly would be true.

You were the president of the Parliament. Anyone in the world holding a
job like that could call the national or international press and make
whatever declarations they wanted. In a second, your words would have
traveled the globe. Who would not allow it? I'm glad to know that it
wasn't me.

On the other hand, I must say that I owe my travels to myself and, in
any case, to the decent working Cubans who invited me, one after
another, to visit with their families in different latitudes.

One of them, who offered me the main invitation, and with whose wife and
children I spent the majority of my time, was expelled like a dog from
here, his own country, and even his little one-year-old girl, just for
visiting me in my little native village and spending time with my
family. Nobody told you about that?

On another note, everyone who wants to, inside and outside of Cuba, has
already seen the complete video of the event. Not only your words and
mine, but also those of the other kids who participated. By the way, one
of them, another guajiro from Baracoa, has experienced almost the same
as me, including jail cells, and now he has created an organization to
also oppose the management of this Government.

Returning to the video, according to what thousands of people have told
me from those days, seeing a fragment or seeing the whole thing leaves
the same impression…

I take advantage of these lines to give you a message from several
Cubans with black skin who live in New York. They took me for a walk
along Fifth Avenue to show me**; not only were they not expelled, but
many of the owners of those stores are black or immigrants of the most
dissimilar ethnicities and colors… The message of these Cubans was,
"Please tell this gentleman not to offend us and to stop confusing Cuban
youth." (I have it in writing.)

The issue of my traveling to Sweden and not to Bolivia*** is really
annoying and demonstrates the low level of whomever raises it. It's
obvious that I can't go to an airport and travel wherever I want. I
wish! When someone in Bolivia invites me and pays my fare, I'll go with

Look, I am going to be honest, I don't like it very much when every step
I take someone on the street says: "Kid, are you the boy with Alarcón?"

Outside of Cuba, every time a journalist would let me I said, "Could you
do me the favor and not ask me the same questions about Alarcón?" I
always feel more comfortable talking about what I think we need to do to
have the country we desire. I have been the Cuban who has least offered
an opinion about you, because believe it or not, I don't like to take
advantage of the mistakes of others, but to advance on my own merits.

I also see that you like souvenirs. If I'd had your home address, or
your phone number, or your email or something… I surely would have sent
as a gift one of the excellent books they gave me during my journey. Oh
wait, sorry, I remember now: they took them from me at the airport… I
don't know who ordered them to take them from me. Would it have been the
same if he'd talked to you? If you like, we can go together to claim
them, who knows if they'll listen to us…

But hey, here's my telephone number so you can call me whenever you like
and without any press interest we could have coffee and converse at
length in an atmosphere of decency, culture and respect…

Eliécer Ávila Cicilia



Translator's notes:
*The video of Eliecer Avila's encounter with Ricardo Alarcon, which came
to light in 2008, is available with English subtitles here.
**In the videotaped exchange with Eliecer Avila, Ricardo Alarcon says
[starts at minute 30] that when he and his family lived in NYC, where he
was serving as Cuba's representative to the United Nations: "How many
times [on 5th Avenue] did they throw us out of a store? Because we had a
Latin accent or by our hair color they knew we weren't Anglos, they
didn't want us in that store. Watching, 'get out', how many times?"
*** In the exchange with Alarcon, Eliecer asks why Cubans can't travel
freely and says he would like to go to Bolivia to see where Che Guevara
died. In his current post about the exchange, Alarcon points out that
when Eliecer got the chance to travel he went to Sweden, not to Bolivia.

17 July 2013

Source: "Response to Ricardo Alarcon / Eliecer Avila | Translating Cuba"
- http://translatingcuba.com/response-to-ricardo-alarcon-eliecer-avila/ Continue reading
Alarma por el cólera JUEVES, 18 DE JULIO DE 2013 12:15 ESCRITO POR OSCAR SÁNCHEZ MADAN Cuba actualidad, Cidra, Matanzas, (PD) El cólera, convertido ya en epidemia, avanza por toda Cuba. Se ha conocido de personas afectadas en las provincias orientales, Camagüey, Matanzas y la capital. Sin embargo, el gobierno mantiene un preocupante silencio al [...] Continue reading
Life or Death of a Political Prisoner: Instructions in a Sealed Envelope
/ Lilianne Ruiz
Posted on July 18, 2013

HAVANA, Cuba, July 2013, www.cubanet.org.

In Combinado del Este Prison, in the presence of a lieutenant from the
Ministry of the Interior, a common prisoner threatened political
prisoner Ernesto Borges with death.

This past June, the common prisoner, who was appointed by the prison
authorities as "Head of the Council of Prisoners" despite being a
convicted murderer and drug addict with a reputation for violence, told
Borges Pérez:

"I'm going to stab you here (pointing to Ernesto's liver), and leave you
to die. They'll have to bury you in the United States." The political
prisoner described the threat to this reporter during a private visit.

The visiting area is a dining hall. No Cuban independent journalist or
foreign news agencies not serving the propaganda interests of the Cuban
socialist state, nor the rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council of the
UN, have had access to the inside of the Cuban prison system.

After receiving the threat, Pérez Borges warned the inmate that he would
make a formal complaint, and would use as his witness Lt. Javier (known
as the "re-educator," because he was in charge of the political
indoctrination of common-prisoners), who had been present for the
altercation. But the officer replied:

"I won't be your witness. I wasn't here."

Pérez Borges believes that such a response is a green light to a violent
convict to assault a political prisoner.

"In general," he says, "the prison population respects political
prisoners unless State Security intervenes." He adds: "Every month
officers meet in an office with the common prisoner they designate as
Head (whom everyone else calls "The Enforcer") and give him precise
instructions on how to deal with political ones."

Death Sentence Commuted

Borges Pérez was sentenced to 30 years in prison by the Military Court
of the Cuban Western Army, on January 14, 1999, for the crime of
espionage, in case No. 2 of that year. The sentence of death by firing
squad was commuted.

He was tried for the crime of having collected the records of 26 "bait
agents" of the Cuban secret services, for later disclosure. He was
arrested for this action on July 17, 1998.

The prosecutor told the family, at the conclusion of the trial that he
would have to serve only one-third of the sentence, ten years, and would
then be paroled, because he had been a career soldier with no previous

But Borges Pérez has not backed down ideologically. He has continued to
work in exposing human rights violations against the prison population,
and has provided written testimony against the 1996 case against Robert
Vesco, in which he served as senior analyst of Department 1 of the
General Directorate of Counterintelligence, during the interrogations.

Fifteen years after the events that resulted in his imprisonment, Borges
Pérez recalls his reasons for moving from officialdom to the opposition:

"There were a number of factors," he says: "Perestroika, the corruption
I saw within Security of State, the influence peddling, the realization
that the only priority of the system is to perpetuate the Castro clan in
power, the insensitivity of the State and Party to the misery of the
population during the years of the Special Period, in order to maintain
political and economic control of the country."

"Cuban State Security," he adds, "is a bloated and corrupt apparatus,
because it has an excess of resources that have no relation to the
non-violent resistance that exists on the island, and a culture of
violence shielded by the ideology of the Castro regime. After the end of
the Civil War, which ran from 1961 to 1966, and with the arrival of the
1970s, the opposition in Cuba has focused on defending human rights and
peacefully struggling against the institutionalized violations by the
system. But State Security maintains its structure of repression
identical to that used during the Civil War. Being oversized in
personnel and resources, its counterintelligence operatives create
networks of informants in all segments of society, and thus the Police
State is born."

Hunger Strike

In 2012, Borges Perez went on two hunger strikes. The first lasted 9
days, during which he demanded the right to make phone calls regularly,
especially to talk with his daughter who lives abroad, as well as the
return of his drugs, prescribed for chronic ailments, including
bronchial asthma, and access to specialized medical services. He ended
the strike when Lieutenant Colonel Vargas, at that time Chief of Prisons
Havana, promised that they would meet his demands.

But the authorities did not comply. Less than a month after he suspended
the first hunger strike, he began a second, demanding to be released on

On February 28, 2012, after 18 days of starvation, Cardinal Jaime Ortega
came to his cell and promised to discuss his freedom with the
General-President of Cuba. "For seven days I valued this promise of the
Cardinal and abandoned the strike for 25 days," he says.

A ministerial committee visited him after a month: "They reviewed my
prison record for the first time, and said they had recommended my
probation to the court my probation, but it's been 14 months since that

"When a political prisoner starts a hunger strike," said Borges Pérez,
"they establish a Command Post, which has to report daily to the top
chief of the Interior Ministry. Creating a command post means more
gasoline for cars, coffee, cigarettes, special food allotments, vacation
homes on the beach, certificates of appreciation, promotion. It is a
repressive bureaucratic inertia. They live off that. "

After this latest death threat that he denounced by phone, prison
authorities made the decision to change the whole makeup of the floor,
keeping only Borges and his cellmate and bringing in a new group of
prisoners. Also, Javier the re-educator was transferred.

Sealed Envelopes

But on June 29 he was led, handcuffed, to an office in Combinado del
Este where a colonel, who introduced himself as a Vice Director General
of Jails and Prisons. The threat was repeated: in the event that
democratic changes in Cuba begin, said the colonel, "we are prepared,
and you also have to prepare. We have precise instructions in sealed
envelopes, on how to deal with you." (He understood this to mean
political prisoners.)

This colonel also said that once again his right to make phone calls
would be suspended.

On July 5, an officer with the rank of Major officially told him that
his telephone calls would occur, from now on, in an office, and he would
only be entitled to a 10 minute call per week, at no pre-set specific
time, and monitored by Javier the re-educator.

"By doing this, the prison authorities are violating not only
internationally established law on the treatment of prisoners, but are
also in breach of the agreement reached after the cessation of my hunger
strike in 2012," says Borges Pérez.

From Cubanet

July 12, 2013

Source: "Life or Death of a Political Prisoner: Instructions in a Sealed
Envelope / Lilianne Ruiz | Translating Cuba" -
http://translatingcuba.com/life-or-death-of-a-political-prisoner-instructions-in-a-sealed-envelope-lilianne-ruiz/ Continue reading
De las risas y los huesos Luis Cino Álvarez 19 de julio de 2013 La Habana, Cuba – www.PayoLibre.com – Comprendo la reluctancia de muchos compatriotas con “Se vende”, la película dirigida y protagonizada por Jorge Perugorría que ganó un premio Coral en el pasado Festival del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano y que fue recientemente exhibida [...] Continue reading
¡Ni aquí ni en China! JUEVES, 18 DE JULIO DE 2013 11:31 ESCRITO POR JUAN GONZALEZ FEBLES Cuba actualidad, Lawton, La Habana, (PD) Se ha puesto de moda hablar sobre nuevos retos y esto de por sí es una buena noticia. Aunque solo sea a nivel de retos, la polémica es buena. Quizás y afirmándonos [...] Continue reading
¿Generar ingresos? JUEVES, 18 DE JULIO DE 2013 12:01 ESCRITO POR ROGELIO FABIO HURTADO Cuba actualidad, Marianao, La Habana, (PD) En la Cuba de hoy, sólo es posible generar ingresos vendiéndole a la población productos alimenticios, transportación, medios de entretenimiento o servicios, renglones que satisfacen necesidades muy puntuales de la población y que, además, están [...] Continue reading
Desafíos al periodismo digital JUEVES, 18 DE JULIO DE 2013 11:58 ESCRITO POR HILDEBRANDO CHAVIANO MONTES Cuba actualidad, El Vedado, La Habana, (PD) Con el desarrollo de los medios de comunicación, los retos para el periodismo no han cambiado, por el contrario, puede decirse que se han vuelto más complejos. Los periodistas han ganado en [...] Continue reading
Tiñosas por cuenta propia JUEVES, 18 DE JULIO DE 2013 12:14 ESCRITO POR ROBERTO VALDIVIA Cuba actualidad, Ciego de Ávila, (PD) Desde hace algunos años en el vertedero del municipio Ciego de Ávila, cabecera provincial, es habitual ver a decenas de hombres, mujeres y niños hurgar en la basura para recolectar materias primas que luego [...] Continue reading
De nada vale el seguro JUEVES, 18 DE JULIO DE 2013 12:12 ESCRITO POR AIMÉE CABRERA Cuba actualidad, Centro Habana, La Habana, (PD) En muchos países, las personas sienten estabilidad ante cualquier contratiempo si están asegurados sus bienes. No sucede así en Cuba, donde todo parece estar signado por el absurdo. El matancero Esvel González [...] Continue reading
Starts General Discussion on Coordination, Programme and Other Questions and Hears Introduction of Reports on HIV/AIDS and Tobacco Control 19 July 2013 The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this Continue reading
Che Guevara: Hero or Villain / Ivan Garcia
Posted on July 18, 2013

The life of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna is most like a legend. The truth
is simmered over a slow flame along with countless inaccuracies. Since
the date of his birth until the date of his death in the Bolivian
village of La Higuera, mix-ups abound.

According to the official Cuban historiography, Ernesto Guevara, alias
Che, was born on 14 June of 1928 in Rosario, Argentina, and was
assassinated on 8 December of 1967 in Bolivia.

The American biographer and journalist John Lee Anderson offers another
version, by pointing out that the date listed on Che's birth certificate
is false. He alleges that the reason must have been to cover up the
pregnancy of Celia de la Serna, Che's mother. At the time of her
marriage to Ernesto Guevara Lynch on 10 December of 1927, she was three
months pregnant.

Anderson's version is supported by the Argentine biographer Julia
Constenla, to whom Celia personally confirmed Che Guevara's true birth
date and the circumstances of her pre-marital pregnancy.

As far as the official Cuban media are concerned, Che was born a month
later. As such, the 85th Anniversary of his birth was celebrated last
Friday, 14 June. Surrounding his death, another curious bit arises.

In Cuba's elementary and high schools it is taught that Che was
assassinated on 8 October of 1967 in the Bolivian hamlet of La Higuera.
Scholarly texts highlight that he could have been captured in Quebrada
del Yuro, after being injured in the leg due to an automatic rifle

The Castros regime loves epic odes. They speak little of how José Martí
died in an absurd skirmish dressed like a wedding guest and trotting
along on a white horse. A perfect target for the colonial Spanish army.

When a security guard at the Peruvian embassy, Pedro Ortiz Cabrera, died
on 1 March of 1980, the official Cuban press blamed the driver of the
bus that crashed violently against the embassy gates with the intention
of requesting asylum.

It was never mentioned that the true cause was the 'friendly fire' of
his own comrades. During the United States occupation of Grenada in
1983, the Cuban media got ridiculous.

In a fervent paean of praise, in the best North Korean style, an
official announcement told us that the valiant Cuban collaborators who
defended the airport they were building in Granada died embracing the
Cuban flag in battle against the U.S. 82nd Division.

A few days later it became known that there was no such fight. Nor did
anyone die gripping the national flag: the supposed officer in command
of the troops ran away and requested asylum in the embassy of the
erstwhile USSR.

Thus, historians should read the official versions of the "legendary
guerrilla expedition in Congo or Bolivia" led by Che with a magnifying

Ernesto Guevara has as many followers as he has detractors. To the
extent that in May of 1968 in Paris, disgruntled students utilized his
image as the guardian of their protests. His photo (taken by Alberto
Korda in March of 1960 in the port of Havana, at the site of the
explosion of a Belgian freighter that was transporting light arms) has
been seen around the world.

Che has become a marketing icon. The "disgraceful capitalists" that he
so hated sell countless products with his image. And his relatives in
Havana collect copyright royalties.

Guevara, also nicknamed el Chancho ("the pig") for his scruffiness and
lack of personal hygiene, which gave him the air of a Buenos Aires
hippy, was the archetype exalted dogmatist. His motorcycle tour
throughout various countries of the Southern Cone and Guatemala, defined
his harsh, gloomy, and ascetic character. His trip etched into his mind
a one-way theory: the only way to be sovereign in Latin America was
through armed struggle.

And by November of 1956, when he joined 81 Cuban expeditionaries on
their voyage on the Granma yacht, he was a convinced communist.

He became a commander in Fidel Castro's rebel army thanks to his
temerity in battle and his discipline under the threat of atomic bombs.
There are various documented witness accounts of his exaggerated
disposition toward violence during that era.

He was a soulless tyrant during many executions. He pulled the trigger
without regret against those he considered enemies and traitors of the
cause. Once the revolution triumphed, Che Guevara took control of La
Cabaña, a military fortress adjacent to Havana Bay.

One of the first measures undertaken by the new government was to
establish a judicial committee, charged with investigating citizens who
were associated with the Batista dictatorship, supposed war criminals,
and nascent political opponents.

Between January and April of 1959, approximately one thousand persons –
other sources cite several thousands – were sentenced to death or
lengthy prison terms in summary trials without due legal process.

The figures of those executed by firing squad vary. Between 550 and
3,000. In his post as military chief of La Cabaña, Che was responsible
for the trials and executions. He expressed his opinion on the
executions publicly before the United Nations on 11 December of 1964:

"We have to say here that which is a known truth, that we have expressed
always before the world: executions, yes, we have executed; we execute
and will continue to execute as long as it is necessary. Our struggle is
a struggle to the death. We know what the result of a defeat would be,
and the gusanos* also must know what the result of the defeat in Cuba is

Guevara was assigned various ministerial portfolios. His performance was
dismal. He was convinced that, in order to eradicate the "bourgeoisie
vices inherited from the old society", a "New Man" must be forged.

That is, the prototype of a robot made of flesh and bone, obedient to
orders from above, focused on his work like a slave, and barely given to
rumba and alcohol. Of course, with a license to kill "Yankees in any
corner of the world".

From his posts among sectors of the Cuban economy, Che launched the
confiscation of national and foreign businesses, central planning, and
"volunteer" labor. He internationalized the armed struggle. From the
Congo in Africa to an uprising in Salta, Argentina, and the failed
rebellion in Bolivia.

Personalities from diverse ideological and professional backgrounds have
expressed their admiration for Che, like Domingo Perón and Jean Paul
Sartre; the soccer players Diego Armando Maradona, Leo Messi, and
Thierry Henry; the boxer Mike Tyson; the musician Carlos Santana, the
actor Pierre Richard; the writer Gabriel García Márquez; the Chechen
leader Shamil Basayev; the rock group Rage Against the Machine; the
Sandinista leader Edén Pastora and presidents Evo Morales and Rafael Correa.

His motto, "Ever onward to victory" was used as a crutch by the deceased
Venezuelan head of state Hugo Chávez.

Among progressives and subversives of half the world, with a discourse
that favors the poor against gringo hegemony, there is never a lack of
someone with a tee-shirt or a protest sign with his image.

Perhaps Che Guevara's greatest achievement was that he risked his own
hide to demonstrate his truths. The shadows of his personality are
better forgotten.

Iván García

Translated by: Yoyi el Monaguillo

30 June 2013

Source: "Che Guevara: Hero or Villain / Ivan Garcia | Translating Cuba"
- http://translatingcuba.com/che-guevara-hero-or-villain-ivan-garcia/ Continue reading
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