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October 2017
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Fernando Dámaso

Fernando Damaso, 6 October 2017 — It has become an everyday occurrence that, with every anniversary of some political, economic, social, medical, juridical, pedagogical, scientific, artistic, agricultural, industrial, ecological, military, etc. event, it is credited to the late Cuban historic leader. It gives the impression that everything done in Cuba in the last 58 years … Continue reading "Overdone Glorification / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 22 September 2017 — According to Cuban authorities, 32% of food services and of personal and technical services for domestic use are now operated by forms of non-state management. At the moment there are 4,173 of these businesses, of which 1,878 are dedicated to food services and 2,295 to personal and technical services. It is … Continue reading "An Unnecessary Cuban Ministry / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 5 September 2017 — The manipulation of José Martí — whom we Cubans call “the Apostle — not just his life but also his ideas, has been progressive. Accused, in 1953, of being the “intellectual author” of the attack on the Moncada Barracks, and the assailants self-styled the “centenary generation” (it being 100 … Continue reading "A Lot of Manipulation / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 24 August 2017 — The narrow streets of Havana, in the colonial and early years of the Republic, were covered with awnings from one side of the street to the other, to protect passers-by from the inclement tropical sun and heavy rains. They were mainly placed, along with their commercials, by the owners of … Continue reading "Awnings and Advertisements / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 19 August 2017 — After more than half a century of absolute power, many of the real and imagined problems that have historically served as the rationale for the Cuban revolution have not been resolved. Most have gotten worse; others have arisen that had previously not existed. The housing shortage — thousands of … Continue reading "A Lost Bet / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 24 April 2017 — The “official experts” continue talking and writing about the “correct” use of the national flag. Some of the arguments they trot out are laughable. The problem is not so much the rejection of the use of the national flag on clothing, as criticising the use of the American flag … Continue reading "Meaningless Nonsense About the Flag / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 31 March 2017 — Although hardly anyone is surprised at the clowning about by the person who calls himself ” the first indigenous president” (in fact, there was another one before him), now, with his going on about “a sea for Bolivia” he is becoming news again. Bolivia lost Antofagasta, the Atacama desert … Continue reading "The Bolivian Circus / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 29 July 2017 — The slogan adopted for the so-called 2017-2018 General Elections is “For Cuba.” According to propaganda claims, these elections are unique in the world in that, unlike in most countries, it is not political parties which nominate candidates but rather citizens at the grass roots level. In reality this is … Continue reading "For Cuba? / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fenando Damaso, 1 June 2017 — To the annoyance of the citizens, the annual campaign against the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries Dengue fever and the Zika virus has begun anew, through weekly fumigations of homes. Undertaken year after year, it seems that the insect has been the winner since is has not been eradicated. In 1900, … Continue reading "Daily Incongruities / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 12 May 2017 — At the recently concluded Fifith National Council of the National Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC), during skin-deep presentations, one timorous playwright expresed this thought: “A critical mindset is fundamental in society. UNEAC must become the thermometer wherein discussion is allowed.” It appears that in UNEAC, as in the … Continue reading "Nothing Has Changed* / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 6 July 2017 — It is no secret among Cubans that their government is inept and inefficient. Fifty-eight years of failure attest to this. With the emergence of self-employment, however, officials have found a way to fill the state’s coffers without having to devote resources or effort to it. It’s called taxes. They … Continue reading "Higher Taxes / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 28 June 2017 — Whether at the municipal or provincial level, the people’s administrative councils are supposed to be looking out primarily for the interests of their constituents and, in conjunction with them, carrying out the duties of local governance. But due to the inaccessible and very undemocratic Cuban electoral system, that is … Continue reading "Whom Do They Serve? / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 18 June 2017 — The policy toward Cuba, announced by United States President Donald Trump, in an event in Miami that was more buffoonish than serious, as well as the Declaration of the Revolutionary Government responding to it, constitute “a lot of heat and no fire.” First of all, Trump’s speech was full … Continue reading "A Lot of Heat and No Fire / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Dámaso, 13 June 2017 — Of the real and supposed problems that the Cuban Revolution proposed to solve, as the basis of its historical necessity, after more than half a century of exercising absolute power, many have not been solved, the majority have been aggravated, and others have emerged that did not exist before. … Continue reading "A Bad Bet / Fernando Damaso" Continue reading
Fernando Dámaso, 29 October 2016 — Creating a brand name respected around the world requires resources, effort and time. In the colonial and republican eras certain Havana names became famous established brands over time. Among retail department stores there were El Encanto, Fin de Siglo, La Epoca, La Opera, Filosofia, Sanchez Mola and Los Precios … Continue reading "Names and Brands / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 26 March 2017 — In a mis-timed article, a journalist from the newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth), a self-proclaimed Cuban youth, visits Hiroshima and unleashes her personal feeling about the events of 6 August 1945. She says she “is pained,” that “August in Hiroshima is forever” and shocked that a survivor, after the … Continue reading "An Unfortunate Article / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
! Fernando Damaso, 17 March 2017 — According to his brother [Raul Castro], later endorsed by the docile National Assembly of People’s Power, the “historic leader” [Fidel Castro] ordered that there would be no public establishment, street, avenue, park or building named after him, nor any monuments erected to him. At first glance it seems … Continue reading "It Appears He Is Right / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 9 March 2017 — The Electric Union (UNE), the Cuban State Electric Company, plans blackouts for repairs, maintenance and tree pruning that affect its aerial networks. Generally, the extend from 8:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon, directly affecting citizens in their homes, and the production of state and private services. … Continue reading "Very Little Unites Us / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 26 February 2017 — The lack of hygiene has taken over the city: poorly maintained and filthy streets and sidewalks, garbage everywhere, nauseating streams of sewage, grimy floors and walls in state establishments, widespread environmental contamination, and even dead animals rotting in squares and courtyards, in full sun under the laziness of passersby … Continue reading "A City Invaded / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 14 February 2017 — February, for Cubans of the so-called third age, presents two important dates: The Day of Lovers (the 14th), and the Grito de Baire (Cry of Baire — the 24th). On the first, re-baptized as the Day of Love years ago, gifts were exchanged only between lovers, with the prevailing … Continue reading "Two Dates in the Second Month / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 5 February 2017 — To say that the history of Cuba has been manipulated over the last 58 years is nothing original. Subjected to “ideological accommodation,” with the objective of using it for the narrow interests of the established power, important people and events have been ignored or misrepresented, and others that are insignificant … Continue reading "Manipulation and Manipulators / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 5 January 2017 — In the face of the new scenario created by the death of the “historic leader,” many representatives from the fragmented Cuban dissidence see a chance that the authorities, looking at a very complicated situation, will invite them to dialog, in search of a exit concept. I am not optimistic … Continue reading "With Feet on the Ground / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 26 January 2017 — While the Cuban authorities exhaust the citizens by talking about the past and the future, they are worried about the absurd present, which they want to leave as quickly as possible. Against it conspires the totalitarian regime in the country, and the old age of the majority of its main … Continue reading "January Notes / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 15 January 2017 — The year 2017 begins. A year that promises to be complicated and definitive for Cubans. The country, with a 0.9% drop in GDP, is stuck in a prolonged economic, political, social crisis, and the general-president, if he complies with his word to leave the presidency on 24 February 2018, … Continue reading "A Complicated Year / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 25 December 2016 — Some official journalists, who seem to be following orders from on high, have taken against the self-employed and their prices, which they consider too high for the ordinary citizen. Of course no one has written a single line or even a word about the prices in the state sector, … Continue reading "If It’s About Abuses… / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 14 December 2016 — It seems that, the nine days of national mourning having ended, it is now extended into interminable grief, imposed by the official media, trying to sanctify the image of the deceased with a virtual eternity. It gives the strange sensation that his spirit continues to govern the country, and … Continue reading "After the Mourning, the Grief / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 29 November 2016 — In October, Hurricane Matthew struck the eastern side of the Island, creating destruction and desolation in Maisí, Baracoa, and other communities of the territory, from which their inhabitants–given the precariousness under which they were already living–will take years to recover. This is especially so being that much of what is reconstructed … Continue reading "Little War Games / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 12 September 2016 — In light of the proliferation among Cubans of garments adorned with elements of the United States flag and, to a lesser degree, the flag of England, some “defenders” of the national identity and of patriotic symbols have proposed making the Cuban flag more visible, as “many Cuban flags.” Being that … Continue reading "The Flag "Bearers" / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 5 November 2016 — A feature of the Cuban authorities, since taking power in January 1959, has been wasting time planning for the distant future rather than focusing on solving the present and the near future. Perhaps it is because, from the outset, they decided to rule forever. These plans, at first, focused on specific … Continue reading "The Future, Bring it On! / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 9 October 2016 — in any restaurant and some cafes in Havana, be they state-run or private, “10% is added for services,” according to a little notice in Spanish and English in fine print on the menu. That is, the prices of the menu items are false, because the final cost is 10% … Continue reading "The Absurd Ten Percent / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 24 September 2016 — At the end of World War II, and after the capitualtion of imperial Japan, thousands of young Japanese of both sexes went to the United States to study, supported by scholarships granted by the US. This allowed them, once they graduated, to support the accelerated development of their nation, … Continue reading "A Not Very Smart Rejection / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 21 September 2016 — The few state restaurants that offer varied and quality menus, along with good service, have high prices that are totally inaccessible for the average citizen. Entrees costing 10, 12 or more Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC: worth roughly $1 each, in a country with an average monthly wage of around … Continue reading "The "Savage Entrepreneurs" / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 28 August 2016 — In the few existing spaces for public opinion in the Cuban official media (Letters to the Editor in the newspaper Granma, A similar space called “Acknowledgement” in the newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth), a page in the newspaper Trabajadores (Workers),  “Papelitos Speak” on the Havana Channel, and “Cuba Says” … Continue reading "A Harsh Reality / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 12 August 2016 — Despite some early warning signs, I never imagined that the cult of personality in Cuba would surpass that of Stalin, Mao Zedong and Kim Il Sung, to mention just three examples from the “socialist bullpen.” I forgot the wise words of the great Dominican-born Cuban general Maximo Gomez, when … Continue reading "A Cult Taken to Extremes / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 1 August 2016 — “Never, forever, eternal, unchanging, unchangeable, untouchable, irrevocable,” and others of the same style are common words in the totalitarian lexicon. If we look at the speeches and public and private interventions of their principal historic and current representatives, we find these words everywhere. Incapable of understanding society in a … Continue reading ""Heavyweight" Words / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 25 July 2016 — Tomorrow, a new anniversary of the 26th of July–that failed insurrectional action of 1953–will be commemorated. This date, one of the principal ones of the Castro regime’s calendar, served as the title and standard for the political movement that emerged from the event. The province of Sancti Spíritus has been selected as … Continue reading "The 26th, Again / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 19 July 2016 — The topic of discussion among Havanans today is not only the intense heat and “the evil of it,” but also the beginning of the persecution and repression against self-employed taxi drivers who have raised their prices. Given the lack of public transport, which has been going on for a … Continue reading "Repression Instead of Solutions / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Dámaso, 1 July 2016 — In 2016, the number “90” has taken on a major importance for Cuba’s government authorities. The unleashed hysteria of the cult of personality means that, since December of 2015 government agencies and institutions have been ordered to “dedicate absolutely all their actions” to this magic number, which represents the … Continue reading "The Magic Number / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 22 June 2016 — Some years ago the Latin American left abandoned the guerrilla struggle as the main way to gain power, choosing to use, instead, the existing democratic institutions and mechanisms in their respective countries. The problem presents itself when, through these same institutions and mechanisms, they must leave power. Then we see … Continue reading "Total Addiction to Power / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 17 June 2016 — It is completely ridiculous that the Cuban Writers and Artists Union (UNEAC), a totally government organization that tries to present itself as “non-governmental,” issues a statement about the desecration of the bust of a popular Venezuelan singer, Ali Primera, that occurred in that country, when they’ve never been concerned to … Continue reading "A Ridiculous Declaration / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 5 June 2016 — For several days “the five heroes by decree” have been dusted off again and put to work, apparently leaving behind the only thing they have done since they were released: traveling at the expense of the Cuban people, living the story and talking nonsense. After visiting Moscow, invited by the … Continue reading "Paying the Political Price / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 10 June 2016 — Reading the few independent media which, against all odds, are published in Cuba, I learn about things that happen and that aren’t published in the official media, as well as what high taxes we Cubans pay compared to our Latin American neighbors, despite the fact that the nominal wages of … Continue reading "Some Interesting Information / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 17 May 2016 — In the few available spaces for people to express their opinions in the official Cuban media (letters to the editor of “Granma,” “Rebellious Youth,” a page of “Workers”, “Ordinary People Talking” on Havana Channel, “Cuba Says” on Cubavision, and others), they complain about and attack useless, bureaucratic, irresponsible and lazy … Continue reading "Harsh Reality / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 30 May 2016 — A well-known film critic and staunch enemy of Hollywood — someone with an affinity for plastic surgery and black hair dye — is now taking on the role of political commissar. In response to Cubans’ enthusiasm for US symbols, mainly flags, he has proposed that every American flag that shows … Continue reading "Critic or Commissar? / Fernando Dámaso" Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 24 May 2016 — Historically, Venezuela has been a country of dictators, as have others in Latin America: Simon Bolivar was one, regardless of his merits as the Liberator of America from the Spanish yoke;  and then the Monagas brothers were (1846-1858); followed by Guzmán Blanco (1870-1888), Cipriano Castro (1899-1908), Juan Vicente Gómez (1908-1931), … Continue reading "A Dead End / Fernando Damaso" Continue reading