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Fundado el 22 de noviembre de 2007 DIRECCIÓN: Juan González Febles DISEÑO, FOTOGRAFÍA Y CARICATURAS: Ana M. Torricella EDICIÓN: Luís Cino Álvarez COORDINADORA: Ainí Martín email: primaveradigital2011@gmail.com   http://www.primaveradigital.org   COLABORARON EN EL NÚMERO 573:  Alfredo M. Cepero: Miami, USA, Natural de Cuba, es poeta, articulista, Asesor Financiero y Gerente de Axa-Equitable y cofundador del Partido Nacionalista Democrático. Formó filas en la Brigada 2506 y el ejército de EE. UU. Ha sido corresponsal, escritor y Jefe de Redacción de Idioma Español en La Voz de los EE. UU. Y Director de noticias […] Continue reading
… camilocondis) January 4, 2019 Meanwhile, Cubans have been having fun on … that Siri already knows,” tweeted Cuban blogger Norges Rodriguez. If … public Wi-Fi hotspot in Havana in January 2017. Desmond … the average Cuban and the network is patchy. While Cuba now … Continue reading
… week, Cuban blogger Yoanni Sanchez updated the situation in Cuba, and specially … providing assistance to many Cuban women. Many Cubans rely on abortion as … week, Cuban blogger Yoanni Sanchez updated the situation in Cuba, and specially … providing assistance to many Cuban women. Many Cubans rely on abortion as … Continue reading
… in public discourse. However, in Cuba discussion on the subject is … of the independent press. The Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez The government … providing assistance to many Cuban women. Many Cubans rely on abortion as … scoured a dozen pharmacies in Havana. "There are no condoms … Continue reading
… . Lavers) A proposed amendment to Cuba’s new constitution would extend … Cuban blogger who writes under the pen name Paquito el de Cuba … . The Cuban government denied their request to hold a march in HavanaCuban constitution three months after President Miguel Díaz-Canel succeeded Raúl Castro. CubaContinue reading
… Castro, the daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro, directs — on … that will take place in Havana and in the city of … Francisco Rodríguez Cruz, a gay Cuban blogger and CENESEX-affiliated activist who … Havana press conference that 35 people have had the procedure in CubaContinue reading
14ymedio, 15 March 2018 — The actress Alicia Bustamante died on Thursday as confirmed by family and friends on social networks. The actress had an extensive career in theater, film and television, in addition to serving as a teacher and theater director. On learning of the death of the artist there have been the first reactions within … Continue reading "Alicia Bustamente, One of Cuba’s Best Actresses, Dies" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 16 March 2018 — (Text published in the bulletin of the 2018 Internet Freedom Festival) Cell phones have been used commercially in the world since 1995, but we Cubans couldn’t have our own cell phones until 2009. Internet access through prepaid cards in public places dates from 2015. In Cuba, the year 2017 … Continue reading "Internet from the Shore / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 16 March 2018 — After 24 hours in detention, independent journalist Boris González is still in a dungeon at the police station in the city of Pinar del Río, where he was taken under an alleged “tourist harassment” violation, according to his wife Juliette Fernández. The activist was arrested on Thursday morning when he … Continue reading "Police Accuse Journalist Boris Gonzalez of "Harassing Tourists"" Continue reading
EFE/14ymedio, Havana, 8 March 2017 — The Oswaldo Payá prize was presented this Thursday, in a symbolic way, to the IDEA initiative, after Cuba refused entrance on Wednesday to the presidents of Colombia, Andres Pastrana, and of Bolivia, Jorge Quiroga, who came to receive the award in an act seen by the Government of the Island … Continue reading "Paya Prize Awarded Without Honorees, In An Event Cuban Government Calls a "Provocation"" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 6 March 2018 — The activist and blogger Agustín López Canino has been charged with the crime of “receiving” after a police search of his home last Friday, where a personal computer, camera and other objects were seized. The opponent could face a sentence of up to one year in prison, according to the criminal … Continue reading "Activist and Blogger Agustin Lopez Charged with Crime of ‘Receiving’" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 4 February 2018 — A police search of Havana’s independent El Círculo Gallery, managed by the activist Lía Villares and the painter Luis Trápaga, ended with the seizure of computers, cameras and video cameras, several hard drives, USB drives and cell phones. The authorities informed Villares and Trápaga, the owner of the house … Continue reading "Cuban Police Detain El Círculo Gallery Artists Villares and Trapaga for 24 Hours" Continue reading
EFE (via 14ymedio), Miami, 3 January 2018 — Representatives of the Cuban exile community in Miami, on Wednesday, called Cuba’s new immigration rules “abusive and aberrant”; the rules would allow children born abroad to Cuban parents to qualify for Cuban citizenship, but would deny it to such children of parents opposed to the ideology of the … Continue reading "Denying Citizenship to Children of Cuban Opponents is An "Aberration"" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 20 December 2017 — At least five artists have been released in recent hours after being detained by the police on Wednesday while trying to attend a performance at the independent art gallery El Círculo, as a part of the Endless Poetry Festival promoted by the Group Omni Zona Franca, which is celebrating … Continue reading "Cuba Releases at Least Five of the Artists Arrested for Attending a Performance" Continue reading
See also: Police Arrest Actress Iris Ruiz and Blogger Lia Villares in Havana Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 20 December 2017 — Actress Iris Ruiz and blogger Lia Villares were arrested Wednesday around five in the afternoon at the independent gallery El Círculo. The arrest of both occurred during a police operation to prevent a performance scheduled as a part of the Endless Poetry Festival. A presentation of the monologue Psychosis was planned, … Continue reading "Police Arrest Actress Iris Ruiz and Blogger Lia Villares in Havana" Continue reading
14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 7 December 2017 — Ernesto Machado will never forget a cold morning in 1968 at José Martí airport in Havana. A migration officer removed her parents’ gold wedding rings while annulling her passport. “This is the property of the revolutionary government,” the woman dressed as a soldier told her, before she left Cuba to … Continue reading "Cuban Customs Can’t Keep Up With Cuban Ingenuity" Continue reading
Lawton, La Habana, Juan González, (PD) Luego de apreciar el material filtrado con toda intención por quienes deciden cosas de este estilo por acá, es decir la guardia pretoriana castrista o fuerzas armadas establecidas para la imposición de una dictadura a todos los cubanos y el resto de los pandilleros asalariados del denominado Ministerio del Interior, unidos todos en un partido único, denominado comunista. Valdría desbocar la imaginación sobre cómo sería el continuismo castrista que se nos viene encima. Algunos […] Continue reading
La Habana, Cuba, Redacción Hab, (PD) Circula ampliamente la filtrada por el gobierno y muy promovida Conferencia impartida por el primer vicepresidente, no electo por nadie, Miguel Díaz Canel Bermúdez, a cuadros de dirección del partido único. Este pronunciamiento, encontró una acertada respuesta por parte de Estado de Sats y su líder, Antonio González Rodiles. La misma, fue dada a conocer, desde un excelente audiovisual realizado por Ailer González y Claudio Fuentes y producido por Estado de Sats. Allí son […] Continue reading
… is being run by Cuba. As Cuban-American blogger Alberto de la Cruz … were determined weeks ago in Havana. — Alberto de la Cruz (@albertodelacruz … is being run by Cuba. As Cuban-American blogger Alberto de la Cruz … were determined weeks ago in Havana. — Alberto de la Cruz (@albertodelacruz … Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 27 June 2017 – Cuban authorities blocked at least seven activists from traveling to Cancun, Mexico this Monday, to participate in the 4th Forum on Roads to a Democratic Cuba, a meeting of the United Democratic Action Roundtable (MUAD) organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), according to blogger Regina Coyula speaking to … Continue reading "Cuban Authorities Block Seven Activists From Traveling to Mexico for Democracy Action Meeting" Continue reading
Difundir los rostros de la oposición cubana es un deber Continue reading
Prof. Narayana Rao defines industrial engineering as system efficiency engineering and human effort engineering. PITTSBURGH, PA, USA, May 27, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ -- The world famous and extremely popular international blogger Prof. Narayana … Continue reading
State Security Summons for Ivan Garcia / Ivan Garcia

Ivan Garcia, 5 April 2017 — He says his name is Alejandro. A thin, timid
mulatto, dressed in light-blue jeans, a pullover sweater with
Prussian-blue collar, and low-cut black sneakers. In one hand is a dark
briefcase.

He speaks quietly and deliberately. He looks like a recent graduate of
the Cuban counterintelligence school. According to the summons, he is a
first lieutenant.

The interview location is the Aguilera police station in the Lawton
neighborhood, off Porvenir Avenue. By now the procedure is habitual.
State Security routinely summons dissidents and unmuzzled journalists to
police precincts.

Although he didn't tell me the reason for the summons, it probably has
to do with my latest news reports about the upcoming implementation of
the 3G network, and a report on the state of opinion of workers and
residents in Old Havana about the administration of the military company
GAESA in businesses run by Eusebio Leal, the City Historian.

Of course, the citations serve to try to gather information and to
threaten the interviewee. It's nothing new for me. In March 1991 I spent
two weeks in a cell at Villa Marista, headquarters of the Department of
Security (DSE). They accused me of "enemy propaganda," but I wasn't
prosecuted.

Later, during several hours or days, in cells of the 10th Unit, at
Avenida de Acosta and October 10th Street. Then various summonses from
the political police in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In October 2008,
a 12-hour detention at the Zanja and Lealtad Unit, Central Havana. And
in August 2010, a summons from Counterintelligence in a special unit of
the armed forces, in Rancho Boyeros.

The novelty in this case is that before citing me directly, as they have
now done, they cited several friends in the neighborhood to gather
information about me, intimidating them with the accusation that they
provided me information or that they violated certain laws, and
ultimately asked them to collaborate with the special services.

This technique was used by the Soviet KGB and the East German
STASI. According to the procedure, the ideal is that there are two or
more informants in each neighborhood and a counterintelligence officer
for every 50,000 inhabitants.

The main lines of operational work of the Counterintelligence at the
moment are directed by Alejandro Castro Espín, the only son of Raúl, the
president appointed by his brother Fidel.

Since forever, the Castro brothers have designed the strategies to
follow and authorized every step taken by State Security. They don't act
alone.

In the current context, with the crisis in Venezuela that has cut oil
supplies to the island by 40%, the economic recession worsened by the
oil deficit, the arrival in the White House of a guy as unpredictable as
Donald Trump, who has threatened to repeal the agreements made with
Barack Obama since 17 December 2014, and the hypothetical change in
government in February of 2018, has set off alarms among the olive green
executive and the secret services.

The arrests have increased. The physical violence towards the Ladies in
White has not stopped. And the harassment, threats and confiscation of
the equipment of free journalists is multiplied.

In the case of the alternative press, they don't care that they have
different ideological positions. They repress equally an anti-Castro
journalist like Henry Constantin, a neo-communist blogger like Harold
Cardenas, or a foreign journalist with family in Cuba like Fernando
Ravsberg.

For political opponents, the repression has also increased. The most
controversial are beaten and injured. To those who bet on inserting
themselves legally into legal mechanisms, like Candidates for Change and
Otro18 (Another 2018), they are also repressed.

There is no ideological distinction. Liberal thinking wihout
authorization from the military junta is punished. Tomorrow it's my turn
to be 'interviewed' by the counterintelligence officials.

I promise to keep you informed.

Source: State Security Summons for Ivan Garcia / Ivan Garcia –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/state-security-summons-for-ivan-garcia-ivan-garcia/ Continue reading
Ivan Garcia, 5 April 2017 — He says his name is Alejandro. A thin, timid mulatto, dressed in light-blue jeans, a pullover sweater with Prussian-blue collar, and low-cut black sneakers. In one hand is a dark briefcase. He speaks quietly and deliberately. He looks like a recent graduate of the Cuban counterintelligence school. According to the … Continue reading "State Security Summons for Ivan Garcia / Ivan Garcia" Continue reading
Cuban Counterintelligence Plays Hardball with Journalists / Iván García

Ivan Garcia, 17 April 2017 — Money is no object. When it comes to
thwarting, harassing and repressing intellectuals or journalists, there
are always enough funds in military's coffers to write a blank check.

Solid numbers are hard to come by but, according to conservative
estimates, Cuba's special services and armed forces account for roughly
35% of the nation's paltry GDP.

There is never a shortage of fuel, guesthouses, vacation homes, medical
clinics or surveillance equipment for monitoring alleged
counterrevolutionaries.

It is mistakenly believed that the top priority of the Special Services
is the fragmented domestic opposition, which can never turn out more
than a few followers for any public gathering. Meanwhile, the brave
fighters at the barricades are kept in line by punches, karate chops and
detention in damp, filthy jail cells.

The real danger for the government, and for counterintelligence as well,
are high-level officials. "They are like laboratory guinea pigs, always
under observation. Their phone calls, internet traffic, contacts with
foreigners, sexual preferences and personal tastes are monitored. They
cannot escape electronic surveillance even in the bathroom," says a
former intelligence officer with experience listening in.

As in the German film The Lives of Others, people with meaningful
positions in government, the armed forces, international trade and the
foreign ministry are under tight scrutiny. The next most heavily
monitored group of individuals — more closely monitored even than
dissidents — are those in the world of arts and letters and the sciences.

"The method for dealing with outspoken opposition figures is to
intimidate them, pressuring them with physical and psychological abuse,
or simply incarcerating them. We know how they think. But individuals
such as writers, musicians, scientists, researchers and
government-employed journalists are like a knife with two edges. Many
are silent dissidents. They often lead double lives. In assemblies,
government offices and newsrooms they appear to be loyal to the system.
At home they are budding counterrevolutionaries," observes the former
intelligence officer.

According to this source, agents are well-trained. "They focus on
managers, officials and employees of important state institutions.
Recent graduates of the Higher Institute of the Ministry of the Interior
are assigned to dissidents and independent journalists. They are more
adept at using physical and verbal violence than intellectual arguments."

In my twenty-years working as an independent journalist, State Security
has summoned me for questioning five or six times. On other occasions
the interviews were more casual. A guy would park his motorcycle outside
my building or near my house, as though he were a friend, and calmly
chat with me or my mother, Tania Quintero, who now lives in Switzerland
as a political refugee and who was also an independent journalist.

He said his name was Jesús Águila. A blond, Caucasian young man, he had
the air of an Eton graduate. When he became annoying, as when he would
call or visit us to discuss our case or would harass my sister at work,
Tania would threaten him with a ceramic mug and he would flee the scene.

One afternoon in the late 1990s I was questioned at a police station by
a high-ranking, rather refined official. Then, on an unbearably hot
morning in 2010, I was questioned at a branch of Special Troops near the
Reloj Club on Boyeros Avenue by officials from Military Counterintelligence.

The site where I was interviewed was an interrogation cubicle located in
a holding area for inmates. I had written a couple of articles for the
Americas edition of the Spanish newspaper El Mundo on meddling by senior
military officers in businesses and corporations. According to my
interrogators, the Cuban armed forces did not like the image these
articles created of military institutions. In a hollow threat, they told
me that I could charged with violating a law — I do not remember which
one — against disrespecting the "glorious and undefeated revolutionary
armed forces."

But ultimately it only amounted to intimidation. For six years they did
not bother me. They denied me access whenever I tried to cover something
at which operatives from State Security were present but they never
detained me. Then, three weeks ago, they questioned a few of my friends
whom they suspected of being sources for my articles.

I wrote one piece in which I said that, if they wanted to know anything
about me, they could call me in for questioning. Apparently, they read
it because on April 4 they summoned me to appear the next day at a
police station in Havana's Lawton district.

There I encountered two pleasant, mixed-race and educated young men. I
cannot say much else about them. I told them that what is needed — once
and for all and by everyone — is open dialogue, to acknowledge the
opposition and to try to find a solution to the national disaster that
is Cuba today by following the path of democracy. While the officers did
not promise tolerance, they did remain silent.

Three days later, one saw the flip side of the coin. As had happened for
ninety-seven Sundays, a mob dressed in civilian clothes was incited by
State Security to stage a verbal lynching of the Ladies in White House
near the police station in Lawton where I had been questioned.

From January to March of 2017 the political police made 1,392 arrests
and in some cases confiscated work materials and money from independent
journalists and human rights activists.

They harass people with little rhyme or reason. A group of reporters
from Periodismo del Barrio (Neighborhood Journalism), an online journal
which focuses on environmental issues and vulnerable communities, or a
neo-Communist blogger like Harold Cardenas are as likely to be targeted
as an overtly anti-Castro figure like Henry Constantin, regional
vice-president of the Inter-American Press Society.

With ten months to go before Raul Castro hangs up his gloves, the
Special Services' game plan is poised to undergo a 180-degree
turnaround. Using its contacts, it could establish a channel of
communication between dissidents and the government, which could serve
as a first step towards the ultimate legal resolution of Cuba's
political problems.

But I fear that democracy is not one of the Cuban regime's top priorities.

Source: Cuban Counterintelligence Plays Hardball with Journalists / Iván
García – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuban-counterintelligence-plays-hardball-with-journalists-ivn-garca/ Continue reading
Un intento por atraer al público joven, cada vez más alejado del dogma oficialista Continue reading
Ivan Garcia, 17 April 2017 — Money is no object. When it comes to thwarting, harassing and repressing intellectuals or journalists, there are always enough funds in military’s coffers to write a blank check. Solid numbers are hard to come by but, according to conservative estimates, Cuba’s special services and armed forces account for roughly 35% … Continue reading "Cuban Counterintelligence Plays Hardball with Journalists / Iván García" Continue reading
Cuba's slick TV channel that supports 'more revolution'
By Will Grant
Cuba correspondent, BBC News
23 April 2017

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Slick new graphics, drum and bass theme music and young presenters: at
least in its presentation, Cuba's latest state television channel is a
break with the past.
Called Canal Caribe, it is an attempt to stand out from the stiffly
presented, heavily scripted newscasts that have aired on state TV for
decades.
The channel is trying out different formats. They include live link-ups
with international correspondents via Skype and the use of social media
sites like Twitter - simple devices that are common on most other news
channels but new for Cuban TV.
The channel's news director, Ovidio Cabrera, showed me around the station.
As one of the founders of another left-wing Latin American news service,
the Venezuelan-funded Telesur, he says this new venture will be unique
in Cuba because it will run outside the fixed midday and early-evening
slots.
"The key difference is that this will be a news and information channel
that's on air for 18 hours a day," says Mr Cabrera.
"And the vast majority of our coverage, around two-thirds, will be live."

'More revolution'
A live, round-the-clock television news channel might not sound
particularly innovative, but in Cuba such changes happen slowly.
The state-run newspaper and mouthpiece of the Cuban Communist Party,
Granma, has barely changed its typeface in 50 years of revolution.
The question is whether editorially Canal Caribe will be any different
from other channels on the Communist-run island and if criticism will be
broadcast.
"This is a channel for more revolution," says Mr Cabrera, immediately
squashing any suggestion that Canal Caribe will be anything less than
100% pro-government.
"We won't shy away from criticising what isn't working, from making
suggestions, from analysing and discussing social problems, but always
through the prism of supporting the revolutionary process, not against
it," he explains.
The young journalists at Canal Caribe insist that, despite the
restrictions on them, they will report issues that matter to ordinary
people.
"As an intern [working in state media] here, I was told a lot of rules I
found to be nonsense," says news anchor Luis Miguel Cabrera in fluent
English.
"And I'm really proud that I've experienced how those rules have been -
I can't say 'changed' exactly - but certainly made more flexible."
Not yet in his thirties, Mr Cabrera presents The World Now programme and
believes that Canal Caribe is evidence of changing media attitudes in Cuba.
"I have personally experienced that I could report the sort of issues
that one couldn't do in the past. So I think that we have that
responsibility to push hard in order to change things that we don't find
representative of what is going on, not only in Cuba but in the world as
well."
That said, he is a realist and knows the editorial environment in which
he works.
"You have to keep in mind that this is a state-owned channel. But I
believe that we can responsibly show on TV what is going in Cuba and
what is representative of the Cuban people," he says.
Change under way
The way Cubans are consuming their news is undoubtedly changing.
"I haven't watched state TV in years", a young music video producer
tells me.
"I get all my information from the Weekly Package" he adds, referring to
an offline form of file-sharing in Cuba using hard-drives which is both
cheap and hugely popular.
There are also now about 100 public wi-fi spots dotted across the island
and most young people would rather pay for an hour of Internet access
than tune into the nightly news.
Canal Caribe may be the Cuban Government's attempt to tackle that, but
they will find it hard to engage the island's youth.
A pilot scheme has just ended to allow Internet connections in private
homes and theoretically should soon become more widely available.

Essential message
One Cuban blogger, Ariel Montenegro, thinks the days of the Internet
being perceived as dangerous by the authorities may now be numbered.
"I don't believe that the Cuban Government believes right now that the
Internet is bad and is going to be bad for the country and for the
revolution and for socialism and so on," he says, sitting in a public
wi-fi spot.
Although getting online is still slow and expensive, he says, he is
broadly optimistic about the future of the island's connectivity.
Part of the Canal Caribe newsroom is a building site as they construct a
completely new set while inside the on-air studio, the young team of
journalists is preparing to broadcast live again.

In a rapidly changing media environment, the Cuban government is acutely
aware that the slogans of the past no longer appeal to many young people.
With a round-the-clock news channel, they are hoping to become more
relevant to their audience again while still delivering the same
essential message.

Source: Cuba's slick TV channel that supports 'more revolution' - BBC
News - http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-39631864 Continue reading
… site Diario de Cuba, published in Spain by Cuban exiles. The cartoon … female tourists accompanied by black Cuban male prostitutes with exaggerated features … racist caricature were in Cuba, disconnected. Sandra Álvarez, Cuban blogger “I felt … ” from the control of the Cuban authorities. However, several speakers agreed … Continue reading
Reinaldo Escobar, 18 June 2008 — The former president Fidel Castro has just published a foreword to the book Fidel, Bolivia and Something More in which he discredits the internet blog, Generation Y, written by my wife, the blogger Yoani Sanchez.  From the first day, she has put her full name (which he omits) and … Continue reading "Reflections* From a Glass House" Continue reading
Cuban Hosts Complain About Airbnb's Payment System

14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 6 April 2017 — Airbnb hosts in Cuba, who
were so enthusiastic at the beginning, have been complaining recently
about the delays in receiving the payments made by the tourists who have
stayed in their homes. The discontent is clear from the complaints
published on the platform of the American company and the interviews
conducted by 14ymedio.

On the Airbnb site a couple claims to have experienced repeated delays
in payments. "Between January and part of February 2016 we had a serious
delay in receiving the payments through the agency VaCuba," complained
Ileana and Rolando, who have had problems again in early 2017. "We are
already behind in the dates scheduled by Airbnb; we haven't received the
payments and right now we're waiting on three more payments," they explain.

The Miami-based courier company VaCuba, with headquarters in Miami, is
in charge of bringing the payments to the hosts who rent out their
homes, rooms and spaces through Airbnb. In any other country, these
payments are made in the ordinary way through internet transfers, but
the banking system in Cuba has hired this agency to send the cash to get
the money to the Airbnb hosts.

The growth of Airbnb in Cuba during the last year has been remarkable,
making it the country where the platform has grown the most thanks to
the extension of licenses of that allows Cuban hosts to attract clients
from all over the world, not only from the United States, like at the
beginning.

Jorge Ignacio, an economics student who rents out a house in the town of
Soroa, in Artemisa, told 14ymedio that in February of this year,
"there's nothing from Airbnb." Now he says he's "looking for
alternatives" to collect for the stays of his guests because VaCuba, the
only money distribution mechanism offered by Airbnb has collapsed,
"because there are so many customers" and it can't continue "counting
the 'kilos'," he comments. "I get the full amount of the payment but
always with a big delay," said Jorge Ignacio, explaining that it's not
an isolated case "because the whole world is in the same situation."

Rebeca Monzó, a Cuban artisan and blogger who has a room to rent in
Nuevo Vedado, has a different complaint but adds to the discomfort
generated in recent months. "The payment delay is almost a month, I
never receive the full amount, they bring me 19 CUC when they actually
owe me 500." Monzó says that a messenger from VaCuba explained that "the
Cuban bank is behind with the transfers" and that "it cannot get the
full amount at once" and that is why they prefer to "make partial payments."

As a retiree, Monzó says the situation is not easy because she doesn't
see the result of her efforts and she only receives a fraction of what
she spends on daily supplies that allow her to "maintain a functioning
business." The payments are not the only thing she needs to stay
afloat. Monzó does her best to earn the good comments that clients place
on her profile. Each morning she prepares the breakfast for her clients
with great care and when they arrive at her house, she receives them
with a welcome card she makes herself.

"I wrote an email to Airbnb to comment on the delay of the payments and
not only did they not answer me but they returned the message. I have
also asked other hosts who have been in this for a longer time and they
have told me that it is not possible to receive the money by any means
other than VaCuba."

She says that Airbnb always makes the payment "in less than two days"
and that the company notifies her by email. Monzó confesses that she
does not want to leave the platform because "it is very safe" and sends
"the type of clients that you ask for."

"I refuse to take in the tourists just off the street because I do not
want to take risks, I want it to always be through a company that
guarantees me the seriousness of the customer," says Monzó.

Other users of the platform say they have found a solution to the
problem by using AIS cards to send and receive transfers, which can be
found in any branch of the state-owned company Financiera Cimex.

"You can ask VaCuba to start sending the money to the AIS card,"
explains an Airbnb host.

By the end of 2016, at least 34,000 self-employed people were engaged in
renting homes to serve a growing number of tourists (4 million last
year). To do so legally, they have to get a license and pay taxes, which
are levied even when their rooms are not rented.

Source: Cuban Hosts Complain About Airbnb's Payment System – Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuban-hosts-complain-about-airbnbs-payment-system/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 7 March 2017 – The poet and essayist Francis Sanchez has returned to the blogosphere this week after six years of not updating his personal blog. The writer from Ciego de Avila announced he would continue to publish his ideas “without censorship” on his site Man in the Clouds, now with a new … Continue reading "Poet Francis Sanchez Reopens His Blog After Six Years Of Digital Silence / 14ymedio" Continue reading
Francis Sanchez, 1 March 2017 – I am re-opening this blog where I will publish my ideas without censorship. It’s been years since October 2010 when I started “Man in the Clouds” and after five months I was forced to stop updating it. All of the bloggers in Cuba were being accused at that time … Continue reading "Why Am I (Again) “in the clouds”? / Francis Sanchez" Continue reading
… until they actually arrive in Havana. On arrival, they find their … . Conversely, plenty of travellers to Cuba relish the chance to disconnect … , those needs could change, says Cuban youth blogger Ariel Montenegro. … in the Vedado neighbourhood of Havana. Image copyright Getty Images Image … Continue reading
… until they actually arrive in Havana. On arrival, they find their … . Conversely, plenty of travellers to Cuba relish the chance to disconnect … , those needs could change, says Cuban youth blogger Ariel Montenegro. … in the Vedado neighbourhood of Havana. Image copyright Getty Images Image … Continue reading
The Countdown Begins For Raul Castro's Departure From Power / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 24 February 2017 — On February 24 of next year Raul
Castro must leave the presidency of Cuba if he is to fulfill the
promise he has made several times. His announced departure from power is
looked on with suspicion by some and seen as an inescapable fact by
others, but hardly anyone argues that his departure will put an end to
six decades of the so-called historical generation.

For the first time, the political process begun in January 1959 will
have a leader who did not participate in the struggle against the
dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Nevertheless, Raul Castro can
maintain the control of the Communist Party until 2021, a position with
powers higher than the executive's and enshrined in the Constitution of
the Republic.

In the 365 days that remain in his position as president of the Councils
of State and of Ministers, the 85-year-old ruler is expected to push
several measures forward. Among them is the Electoral Law, which he
announced two years ago and that will determine the political landscape
he leaves behind after his retirement.

In the coming months the relations between Havana and Washington will be
defined in the context of the new presidency of Donald Trump and, in
internal terms, by the economy. Low wages, the dual currency system,
housing shortages and shortages of products are some of the most
pressing problems for which Cubans expects solutions.

Raul Castro formally assumed the presidency in February of 2008,
although in mid-2006 he took over Fidel Castro's responsibilities on a
provisional basis due to a health crisis affecting his older brother
that forced him from public life. And now, given the proximity of the
date he set for himself to leave the presidency, the leader is obliged
to accelerate the progress of his decisions and define the succession.

In 2013 Castro was confirmed as president for a second term. At that
time he limited the political positions to a maximum of ten years and
emphasized the need to give space to younger figures. One of those faces
was Miguel Díaz-Canel, a 56-year-old politician who climbed through the
party structure and now holds the vice presidency.

In the second tier of power in the Party is Jose Ramon Machado Ventura,
an octogenarian with a reputation as an orthodox who in recent months
has featured prominently in the national media. A division of power
between Díaz-Canel and Machado Ventura (one as president of the Councils
of State and of Ministers and the other as secretary general of the
Party) would be an unprecedented situation for millions of Cubans who
only know the authority being concentrated in a single man.

However, many suspect that behind the faces that hold public office, the
family clan will continue to manipulate through pulling the strings
of Alejandro Castro Espín. But the president's son, promoted to national
security adviser, is not yet a member of the Party Central Committee,
the Council of State or even a Member of Parliament.

For Dagoberto Valdés, director of the Center for Coexistence Studies,
Raúl Castro leaves without doing his work. "There were many promises,
many pauses and little haste," he summarizes. He said that many hoped
that the "much-announced reforms would move from the superficial to the
depth of the model, the only way to update the Cuban economy, politics
and society."

Raul Castro should "at least, push until the National Assembly passes an
Electoral Law" that allows "plural participation of citizens," says
Valdés. He also believes that he should give "legal status to private
companies" and "also give legal status to other organizations of civil
society."

The American academic Ted Henken does not believe that the current
president will leave his position at the head of the Party. For Henken,a
professor of sociology and Latin American studies at Baruch College in
New York, Castro's management has been successful in "maintaining the
power of historic [generation] of the Revolution under the authoritarian
and vertical model installed more than half a century ago" and "having
established a potentially more beneficial new relationship with the US
and embarking on some significant economic reforms. "

However, Henken sees as "a great irony that the government has been more
willing to sit down and talk with the supposed enemy than with its own
people" and points out "the lack of fundamental political rights and
basic civil liberties" as "a black stain on the legacy of the Castro
brothers."

Blogger Regina Coyula, who worked from 1972 to 1989 for the
Counterintelligence Directorate of the Interior Ministry, predicts that
Raul Castro will be remembered as someone "who could and did not
dare." At first she saw him as "a man more sensible than the brother and
much more pragmatic" but over time "by not doing what he had to do,
nothing turned out as it should have turned out."

Perhaps "he came with certain ideas and when it came to reality he
realized that introducing certain changes would inevitably bring a
transformation of the country's political system," says Coyula. That is
something he "is not willing to assume. He does not want to be the one
who goes down in history with that note in his biography."

Independent journalist Miriam Celaya recalls that "the glass of milk he
promised is still pending" and also "all the impetus he wanted to give
to the self-employment sector." She says that in the last year there has
been "a step back, a retreat, an excess of control" for the private sector.

With the death of Fidel Castro, his brother "has his hands untied to be
to total reformist that some believed he was going to be," Celaya
reflects. "In this last year he should release a little what the
Marxists call the productive forces," although she is "convinced… he
won't do it."

As for a successor, Celaya believes that the Cuban system is "very
cryptic and everything arrives in a sign language, we must be focusing
on every important public act to see who is who and who is not."

"The worst thing in the whole panorama is the uncertainty, the worst
legacy that Raul Castro leaves us is the magnification of the
uncertainty," she points out. "There is no direction, there is no
horizon, there is nothing." He will be remembered as "the man who lost
the opportunity to amend the course of the Revolution."

"He will not be seen as the man who knew, in the midst of turbulence,
how to redirect the nation," laments Manuel Cuesta Morua. Cuesta Morua,
a regime opponent, who belongs to the Democratic Action Roundtable
(MUAD) and to the citizen platform #Otro18 (Another 2018), reproaches
Raúl Castro for not having made the "political reforms that the country
needs to advance economically: he neither opens or closes [the country]
to capital and is unable to articulate another response to the autonomy
of society other than flight or repression."

Iliana Hernández, director of the independent Cuban Lens,
acknowledges that in recent years Raúl Castro has returned to Cubans
"some rights" such as "buying and selling houses, cars, increasing
private business and the right to travel." The activist believes that
this year the president should "call a free election, legalize
[multiple] parties and stop repressing the population."

As for the opposition, Hernandez believes that he is "doing things that
were not done before and were unthinkable to do."

Dissident Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello is very critical of Raul Castro's
management and says she did not even fulfill his promise of ending the
dual currency system. "He spoke of a new Constitution, a new economic
system, which aren't even mentioned in the Party Guidelines," he says.

"To try to make up for the bad they've done, in the first place he
should release all those who are imprisoned simply for thinking
differently under different types of sanctions," reflects Roque
Cabello. She also suggests that he sit down and talk to the opposition
so that it can tell him "how to run the country's economy, which is
distorted."

Although she sees differences between Fidel's and Raul Castro's styles
of government, "he is as dictator like his brother," she said. The
dissident, convicted during the Black Spring of 2003, does not consider
Diaz-Canel as the successor. "He is a person who has been used, I do not
think he's the relief," and points to Alejandro Castro Espín or Raul
Castro's former son-in-law, Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas, as
possible substitutes.

This newspaper tried to contact people close to the ruling party to
obtain their opinion about Raúl Castro's legacy, his succession and the
challenges he faces for the future, but all refused to respond. Rafael
Hernández, director of the magazine Temas, told the Diario de las
Américas in an interview: "There must be a renewal that includes all
those who have spent time like that [10 years]." However, not all
members of the Council of State have been there 10 years, not even all
the ministers have been there 10 years."

This is the most that the supporters of the Government dare to say.

Source: The Countdown Begins For Raul Castro's Departure From Power /
14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-countdown-begins-for-raul-castros-departure-from-power-14ymedio/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 24 February 2017 — On February 24 of next year Raul Castro must leave the presidency of Cuba if he is to fulfill the promise he has made several times. His announced departure from power is looked on with suspicion by some and seen as an inescapable fact by others, but hardly anyone argues that … Continue reading "The Countdown Begins For Raul Castro’s Departure From Power / 14ymedio" Continue reading
Too Young for the Party and Too Old for the Communist Youth / Cubanet,
Luis Cino Alvarez

Cubanet, Luis Cino Alvarez, Havana, 9 February 2017 — Try as I might—to
avoid being a bore and accused of holding a grudge against the boy—I
cannot leave Harold Cárdenas, the ineffable blogger at La Joven Cuba, in
peace, I just can't. And the fault is his own, because the narrative he
makes out of his adventures defending his beloved Castro regime, and his
loyal candor, strikes one as a kind of masochism worse than that of
Anastasia Steele, the yielding girl in Fifty Shades of Grey.

In a post on 19 January, Harold Cardenas complained of the terrible
limbo, for a communist, in which he finds himself (not to mention that
it would be the envy of many militants who accepted the red card because
they had no other option): Harold, being past the requisite age, was
removed from the Union of Young Communists (UJC), but he is not accepted
into the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) because, they explain, he is
still too young.

His situation reminds me of a 1976 song by the British rock band Jethro
Tull (which Harold probably doesn't know, because of his age, and
because I can't imagine him listening to any music other than that of
Silvio, Buena Fe and Calle 13). The song tells the story of the
disconsolate and hairy motorcyclist and failed suicide, Ray, who was
"too old to rock and roll, too young to die."

Harold Cárdenas rightly intuits, given the entrenchment recently being
displayed by the regime, that he has been given the boot—or the bat, as
his contemporaries say—from both organizations because of his
publications "in other media." And so he knocks himself out with
explanations, challenges his punishers to find one counterrevolutionary
line in his writings, "but without taking a line or a post out of its
context—conducting a serious search through the totality of the content."

As if these guys needed to go to so much trouble to suspect someone and
consider him an enemy!

The blogger, with his foolish sincerity and wild innocence (Ay, Julio
Iglesias!) has annoyed the stony big shots and their subordinate
"hard-core" little shots—always so unsympathetic towards those who, even
while remaining within the Revolution, dare to think with their own
heads and give too many opinions. This is why they consider him
undisciplined, hypercritical, and irresponsible, why they don't want him
in the UJC nor the PCC.

Overall, he came out all right, because in other times, not too long
ago, who knows what the punishment might have been…

Harold Cárdenas, with his faith intact through it all, assures us that
he does not have a single complaint about the Party, although, as he
says, it hurts him "how some dogmatists detract from the collective
intelligence of the organization."

As far as Harold is concerned, his punishers do not answer to an
official policy, but rather are dogmatic extremists who think themselves
more leftist than Stalin. He warns: "We must take care not to confuse
sectarian procedures with State or Party politics, even if they try to
disguise themselves as such. The individuals who apply them, although
they might try to justify their actions as being taken in the name of
the Revolution or some institution, are doing it for themselves. They
are trying to preserve the status quo of the known, motivated by fear,
ignorance or other interests."

Harold Cárdenas, who seems to believe himself the reincarnation of Julio
Antonio Mella (who, by the way, seems to have been assassinated by order
of his comrades and not the dictator Machado, due to his Trotskyite
connections) believes that what is happening is a "tactical struggle
among revolutionary sectors" of which he has been a victim. But he does
not despair. With the patience of a red Job, having been warned that "it
is very difficult to fight for a better society outside of the movement
that must lead the construction," Cárdenas says that he will join the
Party when he will not have to "subordinate the political struggle to a
vertical discipline… when they give me a way, there will be a will."

And one, faced with such resigned masochism, does not know whether to
pity Harold in his wait for the blessed little red card, or give him up
as incorrigible, and let him continue to self-flagellate. May Lenin Be
With Him!

Author's email: luicino2012@gmail.com

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Source: Too Young for the Party and Too Old for the Communist Youth /
Cubanet, Luis Cino Alvarez – Translating Cuba -
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Cubanet, Luis Cino Alvarez, Havana, 9 February 2017 — Try as I might—to avoid being a bore and accused of holding a grudge against the boy—I cannot leave Harold Cárdenas, the ineffable blogger at La Joven Cuba, in peace, I just can’t. And the fault is his own, because the narrative he makes out of … Continue reading "Too Young for the Party and Too Old for the Communist Youth / Cubanet, Luis Cino Alvarez" Continue reading
Airbnb, The Cuban Experience / 14ymedio, Luz Escobar

14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 7 February 2017 — Rustic, elegant or
family friendly. These are the preferred accommodations offered
by Airbnb in Cuba. The hosts, for their part, prefer serious customers
who pay well, but above all value the ability to directly manage their
rental, two years after the huge international private rental platform
opened its services in Cuba.

"There is nothing like Airbnb," said Jorge Ignacio Guillén, a student of
economics who rents out a house in the town of Soroa, Artemisa.
Surrounded by lush vegetation, orchids and birds native to the area, the
accommodation is described as "rustic" and in direct contact with nature.

The young man helps his family manage the home's profile on the
California website specializing in vacation rentals. Guillén signed up a
year ago and his family's house is now is one of the more than 4,000
rental options that Airbnb claims exist on the island.

Airbnb listings in Cuba range from exclusive mansions with pool that can
cost up to $1,000 a night depending on the number of rooms, to single
rooms with a bed or bunk for about 10 dollars

The San Francisco-based company, created nine years ago, expanded its
services to Cuba in April 2015, just months after the announcement of
the diplomatic thaw between Washington and Havana.

The offerings on the island range from the most luxurious to the
simplest. From exclusive mansions with pools that can cost up to $1,000
a night depending on the number of rooms, to single rooms with a bed or
bunk for about 10 dollars*. Hot running water, coffee upon awakening or
a minibar are some of the options to choose from.

Of the more than 535,000 self-employed workers in the country at the end
of 2016, at least 34,000 dedicate themselves to renting homes, rooms and
spaces. An unknown number offer a house or a room "under the table,"
without a state license and without paying taxes.

On the island, entrepreneurs need to obtain a rental license, in
accordance with the regulations on self-employment implemented in the
mid-1990s. Owners of registered rentals must pay license fees and taxes
deducted from personal income. These vary depending on the location of
the property, the square footage allocated to the rental, and the
occupancy numbers.

Airbnb registration is simple. The first step is to fill out a detailed
form about the accommodation you are offering and the guests you wish to
host. Within a few minutes you will receive an email welcoming you to
the platform. The last step is to attract customers, who will rate the
accommodation through the company's website.

The Guillén family has wanted to do everything legally to be able to
take advantage of the growth in tourism. Last year, the number of
foreign visitors reached 4 million, 6% more than the 3.7 million
visitors initially forecast, according to the Ministry of Tourism (Mintur).

Most of the rooms offered on Airbnb are located in Havana, but other
destinations such as Trinidad, Viñales, Santiago de Cuba and Matanzas
are gaining prominence. The Cuban market stands out as the fastest
growing in the history of the company.

Guillén learned about the service through a friend outside the island
and as soon as he had the opportunity to connect to the internet he
posted his advertisement. "From then to now business improved a great
deal and we are finding a lot more customers," he tells 14ymedio. Also,
the new customers "are much better, more serious and more respectful,"
and "they pay more," he summarizes.

The family is offering "a simple country house," and puts its guests in
touch with a guide service and horseback riding. After the reservation,
all the information is shared via email, the most fragile part of the
operation due to the low connectivity to the internet still experienced
in Cuba.

Rebeca Monzó, a craftswoman and blogger who has a room for rent on
Airbnb, complains of the difficulties involved in managing the service
without internet access. Although an email account on the government
Nauta service has alleviated the problem, responding immediately when
she receives a reservation message is complicated.

Monzó, who has made clear her preference for "stable, professional and
retired couples," will receive her first customer in February, "a
Mexican filmmaker who is coming with his wife." For this coming March
she already has another confirmed reservation.

The increase in the number of days of occupation per year is one of the
advantages for local entrepreneurs who have joined Airbnb. Guillen
confesses that although he still has "much to learn about the management
of the platform," he does manage, through it, to "maintain a good number
of reservations."

After the difficulties of eight years of construction to get their
property ready in Soroa, a beautiful natural area, the young man's
family is reaping the fruits of their labors. However, they recognize
that the most difficult thing continues to be "always having on hand the
necessary supplies to meet basic needs," because "there still is no
wholesale market in the country."

In Monzó's Havana neighborhood of Nuevo Vedado, "almost everyone who
rents to tourists has signed up for the service. The customer pays from
their own country directly to Airbnb," and then "they send an Airbnb
representative to the house who brings the money in cash," she says. It
is the same formula frequently used by Cubans abroad to send remittances
to family on the island.

But for Monzó, the business is far from a source of great profits. "When
I signed up, I wasn't thinking about being able to buy a yacht. I was
just thinking I'd like to have a well-stocked refrigerator."

*Translator's note: Looking at the listings on Airbnb's site as of
today, single room rental rates (two guests) appear to be concentrated
in the range of about $25-$35 (with many that are more and less than
that). A professional employed by the state in Cuba earns roughly $40 a
month; physicians earn roughly $60 a month.

Source: Airbnb, The Cuban Experience / 14ymedio, Luz Escobar –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/airbnb-the-cuban-experience-14ymedio-luz-escobar/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 7 February 2017 — Rustic, elegant or family friendly. These are the preferred accommodations offered by Airbnb in Cuba. The hosts, for their part, prefer serious customers who pay well, but above all value the ability to directly manage their rental, two years after the huge international private rental platform opened its services in Cuba. … Continue reading "Airbnb, The Cuban Experience / 14ymedio, Luz Escobar" Continue reading
Cuba's Young Communist Union Comes Late To The National Blogosphere /
14ymedio

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
weekly packet.

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 -
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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 … Continue reading "Cuba’s Young Communist Union Comes Late To The National Blogosphere / 14ymedio" Continue reading

14ymedio

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.

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