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October 2017
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Translator: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Mario Lleonart, 29 September 2017 — The regime is already starting to unleash its blind fury over the U.S. government’s decision in response to the dictatorship’s inescapable and treacherous complicity in the attack on its diplomats. Iván Hernández Carrillo was visited this morning by a bailiff of the Municipal Tribunal of Colón, who delivered an official summons … Continue reading "The Cuban Regime Begins Slapping Its Tail On Dissidents In Response To U.S. Decision / Mario Lleonart" Continue reading
Primavera Digital, Eduardo Martínez Rodríguez, Havana, 31 July 2017 — In the 1960s and even the 70s, the legitimacy of the system–despite its continuous economic fiascos and failure to achieve an adequate and genuinely Cuban social system–was acceptable for the hopeful lower classes, while the middle and upper classes were fleeing to Miami. Fifty-eight years … Continue reading "How Does the Cuban Survive? / Eduardo Martínez" Continue reading
Cubanet, Luis Cino Alvarez, 24 August 2017 — In his hardline speech to Cuban Communist Party (PCC) cadres, Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel killed any illusions some may have harbored that a future government headed by him, following Raúl Castro’s retirement,* would tend towards reforms and be less authoritarian and repressive. Assuming the stance of a … Continue reading "Díaz-Canel: Killer of Illusions / Cubanet, Luis Cino Alvarez" Continue reading
Cuba Primera Digital, Eduardo Martinez, Rodriguez, El Cerro, Havana, 25 July 2017 –The Cuban people wish for, desire and silently demand changes that can lift us out of this sticky inertia wherein poverty resembles some plasticine or treacly substance that endlessly congeals in our hands. The demand is silent because we lack access to communication … Continue reading "Real Power / Eduardo Martínez Rodríguez" 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
Rebeca Monzo, 4 July 2017 — Happy Anniversary to the North American Government and People. Translated By: Alicia Barraqué Ellison Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, Havana, 16 June 2017 — Cuba is a distant planet. It has nothing to do with the rest of the world, because nothing functions there as in the majority of civilized countries. This “planet” is ruled by the whims of its ancient rulers who have spent almost 59 years doing whatever they please. … Continue reading "Planet Nothing" Continue reading
Ivan Garcia, 19 June 2017 — “Impotence.” This is the word that a performer in the Guiñol Theater (located in the basement of the FOCSA building in Havana’s Vedado district) uses when asked her opinion of the new Trump Doctrine regarding Cuba. On a day of African heat, a group of eight waits to navigate the Internet … Continue reading "Cubans Feel Like Hostages to Both Castro and Trump / Iván García" 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
Ivan Garcia, 3 June 2017 — In coming days when the administration of the unpredictable Donald Trump, following four months of review, announces its Cuba policy, it could be that Obama’s guidelines are retained save for touch-ups of a few items such as doing business with military enterprises that directly benefit the dictatorship. Good news … Continue reading "Cuba: From Worse to Impossible (and We Haven’t Hit Bottom Yet) / Iván García" Continue reading
Iván García, 1 June 2017– The majority of the openly anti-Castro opponents I know do not live in lavish mansions nor do they possess items fashioned with the latest technology. Neither do they boast bank accounts in financial paradises and they do not own yachts or beach houses.  I don’t believe any of them know how … Continue reading "Autonomy of Cuban Dissidents Will Always Be Beneficial / Iván García" Continue reading
Cubanet, Luis Cino Alvarez, Havana, 18 May 2017—A neighbor of mine in Arroyo Naranjo recently had to ask an old friend of his who lives Miami to help him obtain some amitriptyline. A psychiatrist had recommended this medication for my neighbor’s wife to treat a nervous condition that would worsen without it. This drug, among … Continue reading "Miami Has It All, Even Russian Meat / Cubanet, Luis Cino Alvarez" Continue reading
Somos+, Ezequiel Álvarez, 27 March 2017 — I believe that, in the resistance against the totalitarian, military dictatorship of the Castros, the existence of diverse organizations is essential and necessary. If we fight against a monolithic system, it is indispensable to start from a pluralist base wherein there is room for different ideas. If communism’s major flaw is to intend … Continue reading "The Right of Assembly / Somos+" Continue reading
Iván García, 17 March 2017 — On a wooden shelf are displayed two bottles of liquid detergent, a dozen packs of Populares cigarettes, a packet of coffee, and, on a hastily-drawn poster, a quotation from the deceased Fidel Castro. Past 10:30 am, the hot bodega [in this case a store where rationed items are sold] … Continue reading "Cuba: To Live As Third Class Citizens / Iván García" Continue reading
Regina Coyula, 7 February 2017 — Today is the worldwide observance of Safer Internet Day. Best practices should guide navigation for the benefit of the user; thus, she would never have the sour sensation that her Facebook page has been taken down for having undesirable content or that he has lost access to his email account containing … Continue reading "#SaferInternetDay / Regina Coyula" Continue reading
Juan Juan Almeida, 4 March 2017 — Another crazy initiative…a bit picturesque, perhaps interesting, but totally absurd. Representatives of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) arrive at the José Martí Airport in Havana with the express intention of combatting animal abuse and creating vegetarian habits on the Island. The idea of watching young activists dressed … Continue reading "Eight Truths About Cuba That the Bikini-Clad Girls Don’t Know / Juan Juan Almeida" Continue reading
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
Juan Juan Almeida, 27 January 2017 — With notable determination, the Cuban government seeks to lure, or rather rope-in, physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers who have defected while serving on medical missions outside Cuba. To this end, it has sent out a flyer in which it assures that the right of return is guaranteed–just as … Continue reading "Cuba Seeks to Have Defecting Physicians Return to Work in the Island / Juan Juan Almeida" Continue reading
Juan Juan Almeida, 16 December 2016 — Twenty-seven years after Cause Number 1, the judicial proceedings that resulted in the deaths by firing squad and arrests of several high officials of the Cuban army and secret services, Ileana de la Guardia–daughter of the then-colonel of State Security of the Havana regime–believes that the decision to execute … Continue reading "Ileana de la Guardia: "Castro Executed My Father Because of Rivalry" / Juan Juan Almeida" 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
Rebeca Monzo, 27 November 2016 — On Saturday 26 November of this year, my telephone rang at almost 2 in the morning. I picked it up with trepidation because normally at that hour one expects to hear bad news. The reality, however, was different: a friend was calling to inform me of Fidel’s death. I was … Continue reading "Period of National Mourning, or Curfew? / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Hablemos Press, 26 November 2016 — The dictator Fidel Castro has died in Havana this 25 November. He was among the military men who ruled the Island with an iron fist for 49 years, amassing a great fortune–despite being a critic of capitalism. Hablemos Press, 26 November 2016 — The dictator Fidel Castro has died … Continue reading "The Dictator’s Fortune Exceeds 900 Million Dollars / Hablemos Press" Continue reading
Ángel Santiesteban, 2 September 2016 — After writing what will now be considered the first part of this post, and publishing it under this same title, I was arrested by State Security; however it was not the writing, and much less the visibility that it would attain in my blog, that was the real cause for the … Continue reading "Assassins, Accomplices, and Victims (II) / Ángel Santiesteban" Continue reading
Vicente Botín, Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE), The Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel, 29 July 2016. Once upon a time… A female cat fell in love with a handsome young man and prayed to the goddess Aphrodite to turn her into a woman. The goddess, pitying the cat’s yearning, … Continue reading "Cuba: Tallies and Tales of the Reforms / Vicente Botín" Continue reading
Mario Lleonart, 24 September 2016 — During this past July 28-30, I had the opportunity to participate in the 2016 meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy, held in Miami, as part of the panel discussion,”Transitional Justice and the Longed-For Cuban National Reconciliation.” My paper was on “The Longed-For National Reconciliation: Challenges, Realities … Continue reading "Vicente Botin, the Spanish Journalist Who Can’t Get Cuba Out of His Mind / Mario Lleonart" Continue reading
Hablemos Press, Eduardo Herrera, Havana, 30 August 2015 — During a recent broadcast of Televisión Cubana’s national news program, the government denounced the first ever Cuba Internet Freedom Conference, scheduled for 12-13 September in the city of Miami, which members of Cuban civil society will attend to participate in the debate. The argument utilized for … Continue reading "Cuban State Media Monopoly Denounces Internet Freedom Conference / Hablemos Press, Eduardo Herrera" Continue reading
Hablemos Press, Armando Soler Hernández, 1 August, 2016 — Timothy Garton Ash is a well-known journalist, editorial writer and British researcher. His books on history are notable, above all for their distinctive focus on recent contemporary history. During the 1970s, Ash became interested in researching the period of anti-Hitler resistance in Nazi Germany. While seeking … Continue reading "The Stasi’s Sad Footprint / Hablemos Press, Armando Soler Hernández" Continue reading
Angel Santiesteban, 30 March 2016 — The denunciation of the violation of Ángel Santiesteban’s human rights has been accepted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The organization has given the Castro dictatorship a three-month deadline to respond. – The Editor [A translation of the letter from the IACHR, addressed to Ángel Santiesteban’s editor, Elisa Tabakman, follows … Continue reading "ICHR Accepts Denunciation of #CUBA for Violation of Ãngel Santiesteban’s Human Rights / Ángel Santiesteban" 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
Hablemos Press, Cuban Journalists and others* (see below), 13 May 2016 — Officials of the Cuban Communist Party hired a Swiss attorney to establish offshore companies for their global business activities, the Panama Papers reveal. The unprecedented leak of 11.5-million documents from the legal firm Mossack Fonseca in Panama exposed the offshore actions and suspicious … Continue reading "Cuban Officials in the Panama Papers / Hablemos Press" Continue reading
Hablemos Press, Leonel Rodriguez Lima, Havana, 16 April 2016 — It has been much-emphasized by Cuban officialdom that we are in the process of constructing an indigenous or distinctly Cuban socialism, prosperous and sustainable. But the phrase could turn out to be a hollow one, being that its realization continues to be delayed as time … Continue reading "Cuba: A Prosperous and Sustainable Socialism? / Hablemos Press, Leonel Rodriguez Lima" Continue reading
Hablamos Press, Eduardo Herrera, Havana, 16 May 2015 — In recent weeks, meetings between Raúl Castro and various heads of state have attracted the attention of national and international public opinion. During his visit to Algeria, Castro met with Abdelaziz … Continue reading Continue reading
Mayabeque, Cuba. – Cubans immersed in the day to day of survival with a salary of $20 per month make thousands do thousands of work-arounds to earn a living. These images captured by my lens reflect the daily life of … Continue reading Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 12 May 2015 — When it comes to talking about human rights, our authorities ignore the 30 items in the Universal Declaration about them, and they go on to extol the medical, educational and other types of assistance they … Continue reading Continue reading
Jeovany Jimenez Vega, 9 May 2015 — What would I say to Pope Francis if I could speak with him minutes before his meeting with Raúl Castro?*  If Jesus came into the world to save the impure, to sit also at the … Continue reading Continue reading
Our “mercenaries” do not plant bombs, nor do they plan attempts on people’s lives, nor sabotages, as did those who today are in power. Cubabet, Rafael Alcides, Havana, 30 April 2015 – A young Communist, lamenting how the Cuban government … Continue reading Continue reading
To guarantee the prevalence of solidarity and respect, a bill is urgently needed that would penalize acts of repudiation, and hold their perpetrators and accomplices criminally responsible. Help me to promote this bill. Act of Repudiation A Bill to Penalize … Continue reading Continue reading
“The Editor”, 4 April 2015 — But you are not one of those worthy men who serve a prison sentence in Cuba for raising his voice against the abuses of the dictator. You are a prisoner of conscience, because your … Continue reading Continue reading
A snow roller is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which large snowballs are formed as they are blown along the ground by wind. Unlike snowballs made by people, snow rollers are typically cylindrical in shape, and require special conditions to … Continue reading Continue reading
Dora Leonor Mesa, 24 April 2015 — The photos of Cuban President Raúl Castro conversing with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama during the Seventh Summit of the Americas are still appearing on the principal pages of the world’s most important … Continue reading Continue reading
Diario de Cuba, Jorge Olivera Castillo, Havana, 23 April 2015 — According to a close friend, no fewer than half of the graduates of Cuban universities during the last 50 years, have been graduated in vain.” Such an assertion might … Continue reading Continue reading
[1] Civil society activists from other countries confronted the Cuban government’s “civil society” representatives with these signs, reading “Democracy is Respect” / Source, InternetRebeca Monzo, 19 April 2015 — A magnificent professor of philosophy, deceased now for some years, of whom I had the honor to be a student, would invariably begin his classes with a saying. He would assert that all of life’s wisdom could be found in a compendium of Spanish popular sayings.In an article published in the daily Granma, on 15 april of this year — a fragment of which I reproduce below — the First Vice President of the Councils of State and of Ministers, during his visit to the city of Matanzas, urged solutions to grave problems in education. He stated, “There is a deficit of 1,086 teachers, primarily in the municipality of Cárdenas and surrounding areas, and so far in this school year, 244 requested leave of absence…”The Minister of Education remarked that, “One of the causes of the exodus of teachers, and of the current lack of activity, is the teaching overload that the teachers remaining in the schools take on.” The First Vice President also inquired about the construction status of the schools, 43.4% of which have a rating of average or poor.How is it possible that only six months ago — when announcements were made with great fanfare in the press, radio and television about the start of the 2014-15 school year — it was said that everything (teachers, classrooms, uniforms and books) was ready? It is obvious that there were lies then, as there have been in all spheres throughout all these years.As a recent highlight of this string of falsehoods, the decisive blow was administered by the official delegation, organized and prepared by the regime, to represent us at the recent Civil Society Forum during the Summit of the Americas in Panama. The prefabricated members of this delegation themselves were those charged with nakedly showing themselves with their wrongdoing and the marginalized way they acted before the press and international public opinion, exposing yet another of the great lies of the regime. Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison[1] https://porelojodelaaguja.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/capture.jpg Continue reading
[1]Juan Juan Almeida, 26 March 2015 — The online Brazilian portal Jornal Da Band denounced the social welfare program Más Médicos (More Doctors), which is aimed at the most needy sectors of the Brazilian population, and deploys Cuban doctors to places where the Brazilian physicians do not want to work, as having been conceived as a way to transfer resources to the Island’s regime, and as an economic boost.Thought-provoking, but it seems to me simplistic to view in this type of humanitarian invasion just a simple economic undercurrent. It is necessary to know that Cuban involvement in healthcare started in the Algeria of 1963, when a health crisis and trachoma epidemic were ferociously taking over the Algerian territory. The Cuban ambassador at the time, Commander Jorge “Papito” Serguera, proposed to the Algerian health minister, a certain Mr. Bumasa, to confront the situation with aid of Cuban doctors.The Algerians accepted this proposal, and Seguera took his idea to Havana and spoke with Manuel “Barbarroja” Piñeiro, who in turn presented it to Fidel Castro. The latter, with canine astuteness, smelled the opportunity to penetrate through other fronts into African territory.Algerian public health was strengthened, the pandemic was eliminated, and the work of Cuban medical personnel spread rapidly through Africa to the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Central America, South America and the Caribbean–acting as a force to promote multi-million-dollar contracts and take control of strategic countries such as Qatar, China, South Africa, Venezuela and Brazil.At this time, Cuban medical personnel are present in 66 countries of the world — 40 of which receive the service at no cost, and another 26 which pay for it and generate revenues above and beyond a staightforward social program. The most conservative figures reported by the official media show that the exportation of these volunteer workers — who include physicians, ophthalmologists, healthcare technicians and service personnel — brings in more than $5.5 billion annually, which makes it the principal line item in the Cuban economy.Even so, besides the clear economic and humanitarian factors, the Cuban health program has other objectives.If it is true that Cuban doctors, as overseas volunteer workers, tend to a population of scarce resources, it is also true that they offer very diligent services to certain members of families that are not so disadvantaged.Jornal Da Band will be surprised to know the extensive list of important political figures, influential personalities and world celebrities who have been patients in the Island. But, why mention them? I feel that, to quote Che’s sadly famous missive, “There is no point in scribbling pages.” And the crushing truth is that the Cuban volunteers, besides being professionals, also know how to be persons, how to develop friendships, and to break the almost inhuman distance that certain medical protocols create between doctor and patient.It is not necessary to explain that healthcare requires commitment. I myself do not belong to that group that is willing to dedicate their lives to the noble cause of the homeland, but I would gladly give it for who would save my child, a friend, or an ill relative. Therefore, politically speaking, even more than ideology and making money, the Cuban medical missions have as their primary objective creating an army of the grateful spread throughout the world, who occupy an important place in the social sphere, who remain motivated and invisible, but ever at the ready to take action and speak favorably about Cuban medicine, the Cuban Revolution, and its hysterical leaders. Oops, the spell-checker played a trick on me! I meant to say, “historical.”The Cuban medical programs have basic objectives: political, economic, humanitarian and caregiving.Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison[1] https://lavozdelmorroen.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/1427416388_medicos.jpg Continue reading
Fernando Damaso, 15 April 2015 — The culture minister’s presentation of Cuban flags to twenty Cuban artists and intellectuals, members of the “governmental Jurassic park,” in recognition of their shameful behavior during the Summit of the Americas civil society forum — actions criticized and condemned the world over — is deplorable.It is true that our national standard, debased through improper and cheap use, has been losing over time, among many ordinary Cubans, the respect it always deserved, especially during the most complex moments of our history.Since wearing the flag as apparel (not unusual in some countries) is prohibited in Cuba, how ironic to be using it now as a mop cloth.The unacceptable and swaggering behavior of these artists and intellectuals deserves not recognition, but a reprimand, for how poorly they have represented all Cubans.True representatives of intolerance, dogmatism and the most caveman-like authoritarianism, they have amply demonstrated that, if this is our only civil society, we are better off without it.As no one has before, they have demonstrated that “within the Revolution, everything….” is possible.*Translator’s Notes: *A reference to Fidel’s so-called Speech to the Intellectuals in 1961, in which he proclaimed, “Within the Revolution, everything. Outside the Revolution, nothing.”Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison Continue reading