February 20, 2017
HAVANA TIMES – Today the journalist Fernando Ravsberg warns of the
public threats he has received from people linked to the most extremist
side of Cuban officialdom.
Ravsberg, who currently works for the Spanish newspaper Publico.es and
writes his blog "Cartas desde Cuba" has been the victim of defamation
campaigns, like many other independent journalists, by bloggers and
journalists under the protection of the Cuban government. They continue
to urge the government to expel Ravsberg from the country, where he has
lived and worked for a quarter of a century.
The following is the alert published today by the Uruguayan journalist.
They Threaten to Break My Teeth if I Continue Writing
by Fernando Ravsberg
In several "revolutionary" blogs like La Mala Palabra, Cuba por Siempre
and Isla Mía, this last one of the journalist Norelys Morales, has just
appeared an article on the problems of transportation in Cuba, written
by a certain Felix Edmundo Diaz, that ends with a strong threat against
me. I transcribe it:
"I want to convey an idea to a colleague: Fernan, read Fernando
Ravsberg, do you really think that you can live in Cuba ranting against
my people? Don't you think it's time for you to start to write in
"Letters from the USA" or "Letters from Spain"? Why don't you pay a
visit to Uribe or Peña Nieto and write "Letters from Colombia" or
Letters from Mexico". Go, just to see if any 'paramilitary'
(self-defense?) or some 'Zeta' gives you a kick in the groin and your
balls come out of your ears…
"From here, in Cuba, it is easy because you know that nobody will kidnap
you, disappear, torture or kill you, but we are not obliged to allow you
to live and rant on our soil. That's why my offer for you is simple: Get
the hell out of here or refine your writing. Remember that at your age
your teeth won't come out again and dental implants are expensive… "
They just took another step on the level of insults, they resume the
request for expulsion and, above all, it is the first time that I am
directly threatened with a beating. It is not accidental, recently I
commented that the extremists might win and evidently this text shows
that they are emboldened.
I am convinced that if the Cuban government does not put a stop to them
the next step will be to move from threats to actions, it is the path of
both right and leftwing extremists: you silence yourself out of fear or
you are silenced by force.
Source: Serious Threat against Journalist in Cuba - Havana Times.org -
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=123787 Continue reading
Juan Orlando Pérez, 1 February 2017, (re-published in Ivan Garcia's blog
on 7 February 2017) — Antonio Rodiles, one of the Cuban government's
most tireless enemies, or at least one of its most eloquent, has said
that the arrival of Donald Trump at the White House is "good news for Cuba."
It is difficult to criticize Rodiles, who every day faces the danger of
State Security agents, or his own neighbors, breaking his nose — they
have already done this once with exquisite precision — or of being
accused of some monstrosity such as contempt of court, assault,
incitement to violence or failure to attend Fidel Castro's funeral,
resulting in him being cast into a windowless dungeon without light or
Every Sunday, Rodiles leaves his house Havana to protest against a
government that he considers illegitimate. While not comparable to the
battles of Peralejo or Las Guásimas, much less the crossing of the
Trocha de Mariel to Majana, this action is one that does require more
political and personal courage than all the deputies of the National
Assembly together could muster to change a single comma in a decree from
Raul Castro's government, should they even notice a comma misplaced.
Unlike other leaders of the Cuban opposition and most deputies of the
National Assembly, Rodiles knows how to speak correctly, in proper
Spanish. Perhaps that is why foreign journalists prefer to talk to him
rather than to others whom they can barely understand. But what he told
the Spanish newspaper El País is dangerous nonsense.
In no way can Trump be "good news" for Cuba when he is so bad for all
the other countries of the world, including those whose leaders —
Vladimir Putin, Theresa May, Benjamin Netanyahu — selfishly hope to
benefit from the ascent of a thug to the presidency of the United
States. At least Rodiles does not contend Trump is not a thug.
Rodiles declined to say if Trump's victory was also good news for the
United States. "I don't want to get into that," he said flatly. "It's
not my problem."
Perhaps Rodiles thinks that if personnel at the American Embassy in
Havana or at the State Department in Washington hear him criticizing
Trump's character, skills or intentions, even if the criticism is so
mild it might almost be considered a kind remark, he will no longer be
invited to the embassy or to conferences, congresses and seminars — one
takes place every month in Miami, Madrid or Washington — where the
participants ardently debate the future of Cuba, condemn Castro's
wickedness and lament Barack Obama's faintheartedness.
Rodiles' discretion — his refusal to express an opinion about the
domestic issues of another country — is admirable, especially because it
stands in contrast to foreign politicians who talk about issues in his
own. In late December, Rodiles participated in a panel organized by the
right-wing Heritage Foundation in Washington along with two former
George W. Bush administration officials: the former under-secretaries of
state Roger Noriega and Otto Reich. As reported by Diario de Cuba, he
took the opportunity to explain that "the new Administration has the
opportunity to reorient US policy towards the human rights and freedom
for the Cuban people."
Noriega and Reich are co-authors of the infamous Helms-Burton Act of
1996. More than a law, it is the list of relentless conditions that the
United States would impose on the Cuban government if it were to
capitulate, which one can easily imagine these two former officials
recommending to the Trump Administration provided someone in the White
House still remembers who they are and asks them what to do about Cuba.
Noriega and Reich may express any opinion about Cuba, or about Jupiter,
if they so choose. That is their right. No one in Washington is going to
end up with a nose out of joint if they do so.
But it is not clear why Rodiles should not in turn be able to say with
more or less the same degree of tact what so many other political
leaders around the world have said: that Donald Trump's brand of
vicious, racist and ignorant populism is a very serious threat to
international security, to the rights of other nations, to Americans'
civil liberties and, of course, to Cuba.
Perhaps Rodiles thinks Trump is as innocuous as Tian Tian, the giant
panda at Washington's National Zoo. If so, he might as well say so. For
the moment, Rodiles has refrained from criticizing Trump, though not
from criticizing Obama. He believes, as he told El País, that Obama's
legacy in Cuba can be described in two words: indifference and fantasy.
In a video released by the Forum for Human Rights and Freedoms, Rodiles
appears next to others celebrating Trump's victory on November 8 and
criticizing Obama's Cuban strategy.
"It was very frustrating," explains Rodiles in the video, "to see how
the Obama administration was allowing the regime to gain advantage, to
gain political advantage, to gain economic advantage, while leaving the
Cuban people and their demands on the sidelines."
He added, "Unfortunately, the legacy of President Obama on Cuba is not
positive… His policy has been counterproductive. His policy has led the
regime to feel much more secure and to behave more violently."
It is not clear, however, what exactly Rodiles and his colleagues at the
Forum hope Trump will do. "It seems to me that the new administration
under President Donald Trump will give much more attention to the Cuban
opposition. It will give much more attention to the subject of
fundamental rights and freedoms, and the Cuban people will be able to
express themselves more openly, though the regime will, of course, do
everything possible to prevent that."
It is likely that on May 20 — if the world lasts until then — a
committee of Cuban opposition figures, including perhaps Rodiles
himself, will visit the White House, as always happened before Obama,
after which the president of the United States might write a Twitter
message in jovial Spanglish condemning Raúl Castro and his minions.
But it is unclear how tweets by the lunatic that Americans have chosen
as their commander-in-chief are going to get Cubans out onto the
streets. Nor is it easy to imagine the Cuban government agreeing to sit
down with Rodiles or any other opposition figure just because the
president of the United States demands it, even if he makes it a
condition of maintaining diplomatic relations; or of continuing to allow
Cuban-Americans to send money to their families on the island; or of
allowing them visit their relatives whenever they want.
If the members of the Forum for Human Rights and Freedoms believe that
these are conditions that the Trump Administration should impose, they
should say so clearly and run the risk that Trump or one of his
underlings might hear and pay attention to them. An even greater risk is
that Cubans might hear them.
It is perfectly legitimate for some members of the Cuban opposition to
disapprove of Obama's policy of normalizing relations between the United
States and Cuba, at least to the degree that it is possible to normalize
something that will never be normal. No one should be surprised that
those who would like to see the immediate overthrow of Raúl Castro have
no confidence in a plan that acknowledges the unlikelihood that the
Cuban government will be overthrown in a domestic revolt.
Raúl has been accepted — with indifference or resignation — as the
legitimate president of Cuba by almost all the nations of the world. The
plan addresses the political and intellectual weakness of opposition
groups, counting instead on the slow but inexorable growth of a new
post-Castro civil society that will one day reclaim political and
economic rights that Raúl or his successors will never be willing to grant.
It is true this plan pays no particular importance to the Forum for
Human Rights and Freedoms, or to other groups with equally florid names,
whose members feel they have been abruptly and unceremoniously abandoned
by their old patron. But not all opposition groups have judged Obama's
decisions regarding Cuba as negatively as Rodiles and his cohorts.
With bitter pragmatism, others have warned that it is foolish to oppose
head-on a policy that is viewed favorably on both sides of the Florida
Straits. While it has, of course, benefited the Cuban government, it has
also benefitted millions of plain and simple ordinary men and women. If
nothing else, it means that, after two short years, Raúl can no longer
blame his problems on an enemy ever ready to wipe Cuba off the map in a
single, brutal blow.
There was nothing fanciful about Obama's strategy, though there is in
the illusion that the Cuban government would have agreed to sit down
with Rodiles and other opposition leaders if Obama had insisted on it.
And he will do so if Trump makes that demand with his characteristic
coarseness. After so many years and so many body blows, Rodiles still
has not met Raúl Castro.
Before falling in line with Trump and conspiring with the most
reactionary elements of the new administration — its more conservative
faction, in particular, wants to break off the truce between the United
States and Cuba — the Cuban opposition should take a few weeks to
consider whether it would be wiser to avoid allying itself with those
who have come to power with a program that not only causes a great deal
of alarm within the international community but which should also
disgust any person of integrity, whether one's integrity be of the
right-wing or left-wing kind.
The Cuban opposition would do well to maintain a relative independence
from the United States, a benevolent gift from Obama, and if they are so
inclined, to keep their distance from an administration which, in two
short weeks, has led its country to the brink of a pernicious political
and perhaps constitutional crisis.
That is unless one sees nothing particularly reprehensible in what Trump
says and does, or believe that his vandalism is justified because he got
ten thousand votes more in Michigan and fifteen thousand more votes in
Wisconsin than Hillary Clinton. It would be very bad news if opportunism
led a segment of the Cuban population, even a very small one, to become
pro-Trump out of foolhardiness, ignorance, a misguided sense of
self-preservation or, even worse, by a genuine ideological affinity with
a government that resembles a social democratic Nixon, Reagan or Bush
But even more troubling is the Cuban opposition's hope that the United
States, Barack Obama or Donald Trump and not the island's plain and
simple ordinary men and women might grant them the right to discuss
Cuba's future with Raúl Castro or whatever petty tyrant happens to come
after. Trump will just disappoint them. And should he fall, which is
likely to happen, he will drag with him all those who have not taken
great care or had the decency to maintain a safe distance.
Juan Orlando Pérez
Published in El Estornudo on February 1, 2017 under the title "Bad News."
Source: Trump, Rodiles and the Cuban Opposition / Juan Orlando Perez –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/trump-rodiles-and-the-cuban-opposition-juan-orlando-perez/ Continue reading
February 9, 2017
By Fernando Ravsberg
HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban economy would be on the increase if half of the
Revolution's guardian angels – those who dedicate themselves to
monitoring what is written on every blog – spent their time chasing
corrupt and incompetent officials who steal and destroy the wealth that
other Cuban people generate.
This isn't my idea but that of one of Cartas desde Cuba's readers and it
stems from the fact that the Comptroller General of Cuba reported that
there were "losses" worth around 90 million pesos and 50 million USD, in
some companies that had been inspected in Havana.
During the debate that then kicked off on the blog, many people asked
why names of corrupt and incompetent officials weren't made public or
why we weren't informed of the dismissal of company leaders or those
sectors affected, just like the blog La Joven Cuba was "reported" in the
press, for example.
Cuba can't get rid of the blockade because that depends on the US
Congress. However, a lot could be done to counteract State company
"losses" in the millions, without which we will never reach the
productivity needed in order to raise wages.
The country's national economic situation is no joking matter. In 2016,
over 5 billion USD were paid on the country's foreign debt and, I
imagine, that this year this expenditure will be similar. If the
payments aren't made there are few credits available and those which
come, are loaded with huge interest rates.
As if that wasn't enough, Venezuela has cut oil exports to Cuba, which
the government pays for with medical services. Last year, only 55,000
barrels were delivered per day, around half of the amount that Cuba used
to receive when things were going well, when they were able to use,
refine and resell oil.
The situation needs to be changed urgently. In 2016, Cuba couldn't pay
some medium and short-term debts because they didn't have liquid funds.
The national economy needs to grow and in order for that to happen,
foreign investment is vital; about 2.5 billion USD per year, according
to Cuban economists.
However, these investments don't come or, rather, they do appear but
they get stuck in the marshy labyrinth of Cuban bureaucracy. And this is
how foreign businessmen spend their days in Cuba, losing hope while
they're told perhaps, perhaps perhaps…
Last year was very hard and this year looks like it will be too.
However, it could be a lot less difficult if things were handled more
decisively against incompetent and corrupt officials that squander
Cuba's scant resources and possibilities for development, as Vietnamese
economic advisers suggested to government officials.
Or maybe these officials are being dealt with and what Cuban citizens
are missing is transparency to explain why provincial leaders are being
arrested for having kept money from grants meant for home building or
those who sell official passports.
Lisandro Otero said that capitalism is so uncertain that the population
never knows what will happen, while in socialism, they never find out
what happened. Maybe if we were told a little more about some of these
cases, people would think twice before putting their hands in the State
There are some people who oppose the idea that there should be greater
transparency because that way it would be public which leader "messed
up" and why. With such information we could save ourselves at least from
letting some known corrupt official, from a new government post, give us
lessons on revolutionary honor.
"When they steal from the State they are stealing from you."
To nobody's surprise, there are a group of "super-revolutionaries" who
dedicate their lives to blocking this information from ever reaching the
general population. They fight against blogs, websites and within the
national media against all of those who try to practice better journalism.
Their enemies aren't those who – from a ministry – take part in people
trafficking scams, or those who put a halt to foreign investment.
Likewise, they don't report those who rob social security funds or State
company managers who lose millions of dollars.
According to them, the greatest danger that the country faces today are…
bloggers. That's why they dedicate article after article to attack any
non-governmental statement in the blogosphere. They seek to convince the
Cuban people that wiping the bloggers out of cyberspace is a matter of
life and death for the Revolution.
With the very real problems that the economy is suffering, with the most
powerful country in the world's blockade still present, with hundreds of
thieves diverting resources and with incompetent bureaucracy hindering
the reforms process, looking for imaginary enemies might seem stupid and
it really is.
Source: Cuba: It Might Seem Stupid but… - Havana Times.org -
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=123572 Continue reading
Harriet Baskas, Special to CNBC
Last week, the newly inaugurated Trump administration warned it was in
the middle of a "full review" of U.S. policy toward Cuba—prompting new
questions about how committed President Donald Trump will be to the
political and cultural thaw began under his predecessor.
However, uncertainty over Trump's Cuba policy did not prevent American
Airlines from opening a ticket office in Havana this week, a mere two
months after the carrier flew the first scheduled commercial flight from
the U.S. to Havana since 1961.
American's new outpost in Cuba underscores how both U.S. fliers and air
carriers are rushing to make the most of the first real opening between
the two countries in decades—despite lingering questions about whether
that thaw will continue in the Trump era.
"We cannot speculate about what [Trump's] next step will be, but I can
assure you that we are moving our machine forward," said Galo Beltran,
Cuba manager for American Airlines told the Associated Press, "You are a
witness to the investment and how important Cuba is to American as a
U.S. entity doing business."
American began flying to Havana from Miami and Charlotte in late
November, and from Miami to five other Cuban cities in September. After
a mid-February 'schedule adjustment' that drops one of two daily flights
between Miami and three cities (Holguin, Santa Clara and Varadero),
American will be operating 10 daily flights to six Cuban cities.
Other U.S. airlines competed for the go-ahead to offer service to Havana
and other Cuban cities. These include Delta (which in November was the
first U.S. airline to open a ticket office in Havana), Spirit, United,
Alaska, JetBlue and Southwest, all of which are sticking with their
original flight schedules.
"Myriad external forces govern the climate in which we operate – prices
of energy, labor," said Brad Hawkins, spokesman for Southwest Airlines,
which currently operates a dozen daily roundtrips between Cuba and the
U.S.. As of right now, "Our Cuba flights are performing in-line with our
JetBlue reported the same.
"Cuba routes are performing as expected," said JetBlue spokesman Philip
Stewart, "As has been the case since we completed all of our route
launches last fall, we continue to operate nearly 50 roundtrips between
the U.S. and Cuba every week on six unique routes."
As one would expect from tourists prohibited from visiting a cultural
Mecca for decades, many U.S. visitors who now fly to Havana join walking
tours through the city's old quarters, take rides in restored vintage
cars and visit the Presidential Palace (home of the Revolutionary
Museum), Hemingway's House and the studios of local artists.
Members of a 50-person delegation of political, business and cultural
leaders who joined Seattle-based Alaska Airlines in January, as part of
the first regularly scheduled flight between Los Angeles and Havana,
indulged in the same.
At the same time, they engaged with their Cuban counterparts, exchanging
ideas and business links.
Stephanie Bowman and other commissioners from the Port of Seattle, which
operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and an assortment of
cruise and marine terminals, met with the Cuban Minister of Trade and
Foreign Investment and the Cuban Port Authority.
"We learned that with the lessening of trade restrictions and the
increase in tourism they have huge challenges in infrastructure
development, everything from roads and hotels to being able to provide
enough food for everyone," said Bowman. She suggested the Port of
Seattle host some Cuban executives in Seattle "so they can observe our
cruise and airport business and take some best practices back."
'I want to have a horse to ride'
Kevin Mather, president & COO of the Seattle Mariners, didn't meet with
Cuban baseball officials or players while in Havana. However, he did
bring a suitcase full of t-shirts, whiffle balls and other Mariners
promotional items to hand out to baseball fans in a downtown Havana plaza.
Mather recognized that scouting for potential players in Cuba is a
touchy subject right now, but he's confident that eventually Cuban
baseball leagues and the American Major League Baseball will have an
"And when the gate opens and the race starts, I want to have a horse to
ride," said Mather. He instructed his office to retain scouts and people
well-versed in the Cuban economy "so that when the day comes we can react."
That "hurry up and wait" lesson is being learned by members of cultural,
business, tourism and trade missions heading to Cuba from a variety of
U.S cities, said Janet Moore, president of Distant Horizons, which
organizes the on-the-ground details for many delegations.
Once in Cuba, "They quickly realize that it's not quite so
straight-forward and that until the Trade Embargo is lifted, doing
business with Cuba comes with an enormous set of regulations," said Moore.
"So feelers are being put out there and relationships forged, but at
this point concrete steps are more difficult," she added.
—Harriet Baskas is the author of seven books, including "Hidden
Treasures: What Museums Can't or Won't Show You," and the Stuck at the
Airport blog. Follow her on Twitter at @hbaskas . Follow Road Warrior at
Source: Trump's warnings grow, but so are travelers and flights to Cuban
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/03/trumps-warnings-grow-but-so-are-travelers-and-flights-to-cuban-soil.html Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 1 February 2017 — The Union of Young Communists (UJC)
has joined the national blogosphere, the newspaper Juventud Rebelde
(Rebel Youth) reported on Wednesday. The Young Cuban arrives ten years
behind the world of blogs, that the opposition, independent journalism
and civic activism have successfully developed over the last decade.
The managers of the new digital site seek to turn it into "another
alternative" so that young Cuban internauts can participate in a
"scenario of debates and displays of opinions," according to the
official media. It is hosted on the free WordPress platform and is
defined as "a blog of the vanguard Cuban youth."
Asael Alonso Tirado, an official of the UJC National Committee,
clarified that the space is committed to "a fresh language that is
consistent with the codes of youth," and "stipped of all formalism."
However, he said that in the debates there should be first "respect for
and defense of the best values of the Revolution."
The official is optimistic and says that the space has 31,500 followers
and in "less than five days has achieved almost 1,000 visit, mainly from
Cuba, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile,
Namibia and Angola."
Nevertheless, the UJC's blog lands in a tangled jungle of digital spaces
that gain presence on the Island in spite of the low rate of
connectivity to the internet. Most young people consume content that
they acquire through informal distribution networks.
The Cuban Youth blog joins the most important official services and
social networks. Prominent among them is Ecured, which attempts to rival
the volunteer led Wikipedia; Reflections, similar to blog hosting
services like Blogger; The Washing Line, which tries to compete with
Facebook; and Backpack, a substitute for the informal but ubiquitous
None of these copies has achieved the popularity of the originals, so we
will have to wait to see if the new UJC blog is able to overcome the
indifference of users to official initiatives and mass organizations.
Source: Cuba's Young Communist Union Comes Late To The National
Blogosphere / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cubas-young-communist-union-comes-late-to-the-national-blogosphere-14ymedio/ Continue reading
The U.S. East and Gulf coasts can expect to be significantly served by a
pair of transshipment hubs – ideally in Cuba and Canada's province of
Nova Scotia – a leading port industry economist said today [Feb. 2].
Robert W. West, Waltham, Massachusetts-based chief senior consultant for
the Colombia-based DUAGA consulting firm and former Worley Parsons Group
principal ports and marine strategist, offered the theory in the opening
presentation of the 10th annual Planning for Shifting Trade Conference
in Tampa, Florida.
West said Cuba's Port of Mariel is "in many ways the most ideal
location" for a major Caribbean transshipment center, while he expects
one or more of a trio of Nova Scotia port developments serving as a
northern hub. In response to a question from the American Journal of
Transportation, West expressed uncertainty regarding the potential
impact upon future Cuba transshipment prospects of Trump administration
policies and the recent threats by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to pull
funding from Sunshine State ports engaging in commerce with Cuba.
"The point here is not a political point," West said. "The point is an
"As we know, politics can mess things up, but I'm not saying it's going
to happen here," he continued. "To me, Cuba looks like a great
opportunity for transshipment."
West said Nova Scotia transshipment opportunities include at the
Macquarie Group's Halifax undertaking, facilities being developed by DP
World at Saint John and/or the future Novaport project in Sydney in
which Ports America has recently expressed interest.
He said new leadership in Washington does combine with factors such as
consolidation of global containership capacity to create a future
outlook he termed "certainly uncertain."
Noting that nearly half of all the world's containership capacity is in
the hands of the three biggest shipping lines – Maersk/Hamburg Süd,
Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM/APL – West said he anticipates
that three or four major alliances will ultimately control between 75
percent and 80 percent of global container volume.
West said he believes 2017 freight rates "will remain lower than we
would want them to be, with too much capacity chasing too little demand."
Of the 325 ships, representing 8 percent of world fleet capacity,
currently not in operation, West said, "It's too much. We really need to
squeeze that out."
West said that, with the Transpacific Partnership having been torpedoed,
he sees potential for expansion of the Pacific Alliance, which currently
includes Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile and is likely to soon add
Costa Rica and Panama, as well as Asian nations. But West said his
suspicion is that the United States will not join the Pacific Alliance.
The overall 2017 economic outlook for the Western Hemisphere is seen by
West as improving over 2016, including with 2.9 percent U.S. growth
compared with 1.6 percent last year.
"We're pretty optimistic; I can't say we're exuberant," he said. "2017
should be an up year for cargo, for consumers, for government
expenditures, all of which should stimulate the economy."
The Feb. 2-3 conference, hosted by Port Tampa Bay, is presented by the
American Association of Port Authorities and the Transportation Research
Board in partnership with the Florida Chapter of the American Planning
Association and in cooperation with the U.S.; Maritime Administration.
Comprehensive coverage of the conference is slated to appear in the Feb.
13 edition of the American Journal of Transportation.
Source: Economist sees East, Gulf coasts served by Cuba, Nova Scotia
transshipment hubs | AJOT.COM -
https://www.ajot.com/blogs/full/blog-economist-sees-east-gulf-coasts-served-by-cuba-nova-scotia-transshipme Continue reading
La Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas (UJC) se ha sumado a la blogósfera nacional, según informa este miércoles el diario Juventud Rebelde. El joven cubano llega con diez años de retraso al mundo de los blogs, que la oposición, el periodismo independiente y el activismo cívico han desarrollado con éxito en los últimos diez años.
Los gestores del nuevo sitio digital buscan convertirlo en "otra alternativa" para que los internautas participen en un "escenario de debates y exposiciones de criterios", asegura el medio oficial. Está alojado en la plataforma gratuita de Wordpress y se define como "un blog de la vanguardia juvenil cubana".
Asael Alonso Tirado, funcionario del Comité Nacional de la UJC, aclaró que el espacio apuesta por "un lenguaje fresco y acorde a los códigos juveniles" y "despojado de todo formalismo". No obstante, aclaró que en los debates debe primar "el respeto y la defensa de los mejores valores de la Revolución".
El funcionario se muestra optimista y asegura que el espacio cuenta con 31.500 seguidores y ha logrado "en menos de cinco días casi 1.000 visitas, principalmente desde Cuba, Estados Unidos, Brasil, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Namibia y Angola".
[[QUOTE:El Joven cubano se inserta en una tendencia oficial de competir con los más importantes servicios y redes sociales de internet]]Sin embargo, el blog de la UJC aterriza en una enmarañada jungla de espacios digitales que ganan presencia en la Isla a pesar de la baja conectividad a la red de redes. La mayoría de los jóvenes consume contenido que obtiene a través de la redes informales de distribución.
El Joven cubano se inserta en una tendencia oficial de competir con los más importantes servicios y redes sociales de internet. Entre ellos destaca Ecured, que busca rivalizar con la enciclopedia participativa Wikipedia; Reflejos, similar a servicios de alojamiento de bitácoras como Blogger; La Tendedera, que intenta competir con Facebook, y el sustituto del paquete ilegal de audiovisuales, apodado la mochila.
Ninguna de esas copias ha logrado la popularidad de sus originales, por lo que habrá que esperar para comprobar si el nuevo blog de la UJC supera la indiferencia de los usuarios ante las iniciativas oficiales y de las organizaciones de masas.Continue reading
14ymedio, Mario Penton
14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 30 January 2017 — The controversy between
the most radical wing of Cuban officialdom and the correspondent of
Uruguayan origin resident in Cuba, Fernando Ravsberg, is rising in tone.
The latest blasts from the most orthodox defenders of "revolutionary"
journalism call out nine alleged false pieces of news from the
communicator. The list is preceded by a phrase resuscitated from former
leader Fidel Castro, who in 2006 called the then BBC correspondent in
Havana "the greatest liar," for daring to question his energy revolution
in the midst of blackouts.
The animosity toward Ravsberg is not new; he was fired from the BBC and
is now a correspondent for the leftist Spanish publication Publico. Last
August the vice president of the Journalists and Writers Union (UPEC),
Aiza Hevia, launched the first darts against the journalist for his
defense of the ousted official journalist José Ramírez Pantoja, of Radio
Holguin. On that occasion she even floated the idea of expelling him
from the country.
"The pack is coming, hungry for revenge," said Ravsberg through his
blog, Letters from Cuba.
"They shout that I am part of conspiracy of the international
information monopolies against the Cuban Revolution but they omit that I
work on a leftist publication because it doesn't help their defamation
campaigns," he said
The latest controversy arose when Ravsberg published a critical note
about the Cuban economy on his blog, accompanied by a caricature of a
tortoise leaving a trail with the colors of the Cuban flag. This led to
several official journalists feeling especially offended.
Carlos Luque Zayas launched the first stone from a blog. Under the title
"Ravsberg: From Insult to Manipulation," the journalist wrote an article
to "protest" the use of national symbols. Next, from Granma, the
official organ of the Communist Party, Pedro de la Hoz wrote, "You can
agree or disagree with the contents of the controversial note, but the
grotesque manipulation of one of our patriotic symbols cannot be
Ravsberg counterattacks saying that in the Cuban media the image of the
flag is used indiscriminately. He offers as an example the case of the
"thousands of flags" which everyone walks over in every parade organized
by the authorities in the Plaza of the Revolution.
For the Uruguayan journalist, who spent more than 20 years working on
the island as a correspondent for foreign media, "there is a lot more
than offended patriots" behind the attacks on his work.
"There is a campaign organized by the extremists," he says, with the
Cuban government's intention "for years" to expel him from the country.
"They do not support a different voice, nor different optics. For
extremists the only truth is 'their truth' and all other criteria must
disappear or at least remain in a fearful silence while they become the
only voice, "he adds.
In the revolutionary blogosphere, there are those who even questioned
his seriousness as a journalist. Iroel Sánchez, one of the most
sectarian (and official) bloggers on the island and also a staunch
critic of Ravsberg, accuses him of being "promoter of apocryphal
interviews with anonymous subjects."
Ravsberg, who was criticized in the past for his closeness to the
regime, defends himself by saying that "no matter how much the
obscurantist forces do," Cuba advances.
According to the journalist, with regards to the alternative digital
media that has emerged during recent years on the Island, "a way of
doing a journalism has emerged that is already far removed from the
infantile topics of the extremes."
"They call on the government to use force because they know they are
incapable of participating in a battle of ideas, where they would have
to fight with arguments and proposals."
Source: Voices Of Official Journalism Strike Against A Foreign
Correspondent / 14ymedio, Mario Penton – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/voices-of-official-journalism-strike-against-a-foreign-correspondent-14ymedio-mario-penton/ Continue reading
Mario J. Pentón
La polémica entre el ala más radical del periodismo oficialista cubano y el corresponsal de origen uruguayo residente en Cuba, Fernando Ravsberg, sube de tono.
Las últimas ráfagas de los más ortodoxos defensores del periodismo revolucionario exponen nueve supuestas noticias falsas del comunicador. El listado viene precedido de una resucitada frase del exgobernante Fidel Castro, que en 2006 llamó al entonces corresponsal de BBC en La Habana “el más mentiroso”, por atreverse a cuestionar su revolución energética en medio de apagones.
No es nueva la animadversión hacia Ravsberg, que fue despedido de la BBC y ahora es corresponsal del diario español de izquierda Público. El pasado agosto la vicepresidenta de la Unión de Periodistas y Escritores (UPEC), Aixa Hevia lanzó los primeros dardos contra el comunicador por su defensa del defenestrado periodista oficial José Ramírez Pantoja, de Radio Holguín. En aquella ocasión llegó incluso a deslizar la idea de expulsarlo del país.
“La jauría viene con hambre atrasada”, respondió Ravsberg a través de su blog Cartas desde Cuba.[[QUOTE:El pasado agosto la vicepresidenta de la Unión de Periodistas y Escritores, Aixa Hevia lanzó los primeros dardos contra el comunicador por su defensa del defenestrado periodista oficial José Ramírez Pantoja, de Radio Holguín]]“Gritan que formo parte de una conjura de los monopolios internacionales de la información contra la Revolución Cubana pero silencian que trabajo en un medio de izquierda. Lo callan porque no les es útil en sus sucias campañas de difamación”, argumenta.
La nueva polémica surgió cuando Ravsberg publicó en su blog una nota crítica sobre la economía cubana que iba acompañada por una caricatura de una tortuga que a su paso dejaba un rastro con los colores de la bandera cubana. Esto llevó a que varios periodistas oficiales se sintiesen especialmente ofendidos.
Carlos Luque Zayas lanzó la primera piedra desde un blog. Bajo el título Ravsberg: del insulto a la manipulación, el periodista escribió un artículo para "protestar" por el uso de los símbolos nacionales. Le siguió desde Granma, órgano oficial del Partido Comunista, Pedro de la Hoz: “Se puede estar o no de acuerdo con el contenido de la polémica nota, pero la grotesca manipulación de uno de nuestros símbolos patrios no debe ser pasada por alto”.
Ravsberg contraataca diciendo que en los medios cubanos la imagen de la bandera se usa indiscriminadamente. Pone como ejemplo el caso de las “miles de banderas” sobre las cuales se camina en cada desfile organizado por las autoridades en la Plaza de la Revolución.
Para el periodista uruguayo, quien lleva más de 20 años trabajando como corresponsal para medios extranjeros en la Isla, “hay mucho más que patriotas ofendidos” detrás de los ataques contra su labor.[[QUOTE:Para el periodista uruguayo, quien lleva más de 20 años trabajando como corresponsal para medios extranjeros en la Isla, “hay mucho más que patriotas ofendidos” detrás de los ataques contra su labor]]“Hay una campaña organizada por los extremistas”, dice, con el propósito "desde hace años" de el Gobierno cubano lo expulse del país.
“No soportan una voz diferente, ni una óptica distinta. Para los extremistas la única verdad es ‘su verdad’ y todos los demás criterios deben desaparecer o por lo menos mantenerse en un temeroso silencio mientras ellos se convierten en la única voz”, agrega.
En la blogósfera revolucionaria hay incluso quien cuestiona su seriedad periodística. Iroel Sánchez, uno de los blogueros más sectarios de la Isla y además crítico acérrimo de Ravsberg, lo acusa de ser “promotor de entrevistas apócrifas suscritas por anónimos autores”.
Ravsberg, que fue criticado en el pasado por su cercanía con el régimen, se defiende diciendo que “por mucho que hagan las fuerzas oscurantistas”, Cuba avanza.
Según el comunicador, de los medios digitales alternativos, surgidos durante los últimos años en la Isla, “nació ya una forma de hacer un periodismo alejado de los tópicos infantiles de los extremos”.
“Reclaman al Gobierno que utilice la fuerza porque ellos se saben incapaces de participar en una batalla de ideas, donde se combate con argumentos y propuestas”.Continue reading
By Silvio Canto, Jr.
According to the Obama administration, there is a lot of trading going
on with Cuba. After further review, there is not a lot of trading at
all. In fact, the difference may be somewhere between the $6 billion
that the Obama administration is projecting and about $380 million in
real commerce going on.
This is from The Miami Herald:
The Obama Administration has said that trade with Cuba could reach up to
$6 billion under its new policies, but U.S. companies in fact exported
barely $380 million worth of goods to the island since the beginning of
the thaw in bilateral relations two years ago.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said early last year that her
department had issued 490 licenses to companies trying to do business
with Cuba valued at $4.3 billion. More recently, White House spokesman
Josh Earnest said that since late 2014 "more than $6 billion in trade
has been initiated between Cuba and the United States since then, which
obviously has an important economic benefit here in the United States."
Experts said the administration is exaggerating, and that those numbers
must be put in better context.
Well, put me down as one who never bought this nonsense that Cuba and
the U.S. were doing $6 billion in trade.
First, let's understand that these are the people who told us you could
keep your health care policy if we wanted to. How did that one work
out? Not hard to be skeptical after that or the nonsense about ISIS
being the J.V. team!
Second, as the article confirms, Cuba's economy is not growing. Cuba's
GDP grew by 0.9% in 2016. Cuba's GDP is $81 billion. How can the U.S.
and Cuba be doing $6 billion in trade?
Third, Cuba does not have the liquidity to pay for all of these U.S.
goods or services. This is because no one is lending Cuba any money,
and the US embargo cuts off access to credit lines in the U.S.
Fourth, the article points out that U.S. exports to Cuba, food items
such as chicken, soya, and corn, actually fell since the Obama
administration eased sanctions on Cuba.
So be cautious with all those expectations about how opening up Cuba
would lead to all of those opportunities on the island.
In other words, there are no opportunities, unless you want to build a
hotel to fly in U.S. tourists. Of course, such investments require you
to have the Cuban government as your partner – the family business, that is!
How can you expect a country with very little purchasing power to buy
We say it again: the Obama policy toward Cuba has not really
benefited U.S. companies or the Cuban people. It has been pretty good
for the Castros and the thugs who protect them.
In time, a free Cuba could return to the economic relationship it had
with the U.S. before 1961. It won't happen anytime soon as long as
the aforementioned family is running the island for its own gain.
Source: Blog: US-Cuba trade numbers hard to follow -
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/01/uscuba_trade_numbers_hard_to_follow.html Continue reading