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Translator: BW

For many years, a ferry in our country served as a practical and economic means of communication between Havana and Key West (Cayo Hueso).  It was heavily utilized by those people who travel with their automobiles, to facilitate movement to … Continue reading Continue reading
[1] Image of the pro-government supporters taken from the Internet Rebeca Monzo, 15 April 2105 — The 7th (of April) arrived.  The Summit of the Americas in Panama and, with it, the invited and participating delegations started to arrive in the Central American country.  The official Cuban delegation, one of the largest, had a good time organizing and preparing, under the optics of the totalitarian regime, making up a series of NGO officials, with the objective of making themselves look like the only Cuban civil society. The inconceivable and unacceptable thing was to send characters well-known as loyal to the regime, pretending to make them pass as members of this civil society. Among them, just to mention the most known, was Dr. Eusebio Leal, the historian of Havana, Miguel Barnet, President of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and Abel Prieto, Adviser to President Raul Castro who, along with many others chosen, lended themselves to serve as bullies in the famous meetings of repudiation against the Cuban opponents, real members of nascent civil society, insulting them and even sometimes, hitting them and preventing them from leaving through the front door of where they were staying, having to remove them safely from the hotel by the kitchen and the backyard of the property. These acts, absolutely unacceptable, have set a terrible precedent in front of governments of other countries, the international press, who have remained amazed before similar acts of marginality, vulgarity, and lack of respect to the host country.  As my friend Mary would say: “They showed their trashy ways,” confirming with their deplorable attitude what the opposition from within the island has been condemning for years. As  if these abuses of power were not sufficient, they have tried to monopolize Jose Marti, as if he doesn’t belong equally to all of those born on this battered island. Translated by: BW [1] Continue reading
[1] By: Jeovany Jimenez Vega — Those who advocate the elimination of the mechanisms of political pressure to which the Cuban government remains subject — I mean basically the United States Embargo and the Common European Position — often wield as a fundamental argument the alleged climate of reform undertaken by Raul Castro during the last few years. One can suppose that this oversized expectation had its roots in the profound and systematic stagnation that characterized the big government of Fidel Castro, because the incorrigible bearded man became the extreme social framework in an immutable and absurd style that would have been impossible for anybody after him to modify in any way without it being perceived as a relief. But if we accept the obvious premise that since 1959 one government has existed in Cuba — since it has already shown that in essence the mandate of Raul, with all its sweetening, has not been more than the prolonging of the mandate of Fidel — we can assume also, with a solid level of certainty, that the psychology of the regime continues to be exactly the same. That drives us to a logical question: Would one expect that, in the case of these sanctions being lifted, that this olive-green oligarchy, at last, would grant the long awaited rights provided by United Nations Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, as well as Economic and Cultural Rights, whose ratification and implementation Havana has kept has a pending topic since February 2008? The optimists would return to the idea of the Raul Castro reforms, but anyone who can make a more thorough approach to these alleged “transformations” will find that very few have actually represented a practical change, one which would have a beneficial and immediate impact in the life of Cubans on the island. But we work from very good faith — which our counterpart has not deserved — and we accept that among these measures, some represent a more drastic and positive change than do others; among these the freeing up of the right to travel outside the country and the authorization of the purchase and sale of homes between native-born people. We cannot forget, nevertheless, that the emigration reform has been in force since January 2013, stipulating that some professions are not permitted to travel freely, “…in virtue of the rules intended to preserve the skilled labor force...“; nor can we scorn that it also establishes as “…inadmissible…” for anyone accused by the Cuban government of “Organizing, encouraging, carrying out, or participating in hostile actions against the fundamental economic and social policies of the Cuban state…” to enter the country, “…When reasons of Defense and National Security are so advised…” and that the government considers that they should “… Be prohibited from entering the country, for being declared undesirable or thrown out.” It is made more evident by the wide margin of maneuverability that this delicious tool for coercion leaves the repressor. As for the authorization for the sale and purchase of homes, let us remember that the act has just recently foisted a series of annoying regulations of prices, that results in a return to the government’s hand, interfering where it isn’t called for — to remind us that here good things never last too long. Now, a look at the rest of the package certainly will show definite signs that reveal suspicious edges in these so-called “reforms.”  Because it is really very difficult to accept the sincerity of these measures such as the “authorization” to buy used cars at astronomical prices; or the corrupt focus on the management of cooperatives like the transport ones, for example, that leaves it members (never owners of their means of working) with a useless margin of autonomy; or the imposition on the rest of the small business owners of unfair fees on prices or excessive taxes and the non-existence of a retail market that would supply them with the most basic primary materials; or all the limitations that make ever more evident the failure of the policies undertaken in the agricultural sector, as well as the refusal to liberate the management of the livestock farming sector while slaughtering and/or selling a cow continues being a capital sin that in Cuba one still pays for by up to 20 years in prison. These are, among others, current evidence and premonitions that cast a shadow over our overall state in the short and long term and seriously put into question the will of the Cuban government. But still more serious than the immutability of these “trivialities” of an economical nature, is the persistence of the repressive policy that continues fomenting that lethal duet: Communist Party-State Security. It is from the offices of what continues to be the only legally recognized party that the strategy, then executed by the henchmen in the street, is drawn up. Today in Cuba arbitrary detentions persist and the most abject precariousness of due process guarantees — bastard daughters of the lack of division of powers — continue to perpetrate with impunity the beatings and repudiation rallies against opponents, without any authority protecting them so that they can avoid it. Hitmen are ordered to stab the opposition leaders and suppress women who don’t bring arms but carry white gladioli in plain view. They persist in a strong and absolute censorship of dissident thought by means of an absolute monopoly over the means of broadcasting and all types of press, and in addition, they veto any access to the Internet for the people and it is already the 21st century. Therefore, we can conclude that in Cuba the “changes” that they have produced are insubstantial and skin-deep, purely cosmetic, nothing that heralds a real opening up to anything that sounds remotely like democracy. If, in the end, this new mediocre generation isn’t capable of offering anything different, it would be more than logical to doubt its future good intentions or its capacity to conceive a scheme for real prosperity, and very much less so if the formula, whatever it is, includes moving away from the known path. It is completely questionable that these “reforms” reflect a sincere attempt at opening the doors for the Cuban people to the potential that a globalized economy offers today. It is more coherent to think that we are observing delaying maneuvers that only serve to perpetuate the same people always in power. Should the international community, the Cuban people and the internal opposition decide to offer a vote of confidence and give way: at what point would they offer guarantees that they would later ratify and implement the Human Rights covenants, and would that produce an immediate opening for democracy? Here all logical reasoning leads to the conclusion that this would never happen. To revoke the sanctions now, would be translated into nothing more than an immediate oxygenation for the regime, without excluding, of course, its repressive mechanisms. It would not become a more efficient Cuban government from the economic point of view but would simply have more resources within its reach to squander and rob, to fatten still more the millionaire accounts of it oligarchs hidden abroad, and even to ennoble its delusions of grandeur. The beast has already tasted blood and will stop at nothing. An autocratic government like that of the Castros, once it has released its instruments of political pressure and with the tacit approval internationally that this would imply, would never ratify the human right covenants but, on the contrary would probably repress more viciously than ever dissident thinking but from a much more comfortable position than previously. This octogenarian generation that subjects the destiny of my country to its whims is definitely out of step with the needs of my people. No original protest has yet affected its dusty epaulets. These neo-burgesses will never consider a dignified exit from the poverty and inequality into which they have plunged us, because they know that this would mean an end to their privileges. If history teaches us anything it is that unwise concessions, or those made at the wrong time, over the long term do more harm than good to the people who mistakenly assume them, and it also teaches us that there are definitely people who never change, and the pleiade that now leads this country according to their testicular fickleness is an excellent example. The three decade marriage with the former Soviet Union made clear that the Cuban people will never be the final destiny for these riches; and if history proved that at that time why would we assume it would be different now when the indolence and corruption of the government are higher than ever. To extend this blank check to the totalitarian government in Havana, and at this precise instant when its better half is tottering in Caracas, without the slightest sign of friendship to the internal opposition nor the recognition of our civil rights–as most recent events have pointed in the complete opposite direction–and without even having ratified and implemented the already signed United Nations covenants on civil and political rights as well as those on social and cultural rights, would be a catastrophe in strategic terms for the Cuban people and possibly delay, for many more decades, the coming of democracy for the long-suffering Cuban nation. [2] Translated by: BW 9 December 2014   [1] [2] Continue reading
By Jeovany Jimenez Vega For the mere act of having been born a man, to be thinking, already implies in inalienable right to express myself freely without waiting for the permission of another man. Because my right of freedom of … Continue reading Continue reading
In these eight years that have passed since Raul Castro was designated by his brother as his successor, to take up the government of the country, this 17th of December, a date of only religious significance for the Cuban people … Continue reading Continue reading
Among the films presented at the Festival of New Latin American Cinema, which began here on the December 4, is one entitled With You, Bread and Onions. In a recent interview on the television program Afternoon at Home, the director Juan Carlos … Continue reading Continue reading
The urban centers have been submitted to systematic closure since 1973, although the worse period has been under the Government of Raul Castro. In 2012, in the Las Tunas town of Majibacoa, the People’s Power delegate Sirley Avila Leon put … Continue reading Continue reading
To the astonishment and concern of patients, one day there appeared in the ceiling of a surgical recovery room in the old Charitable Clinic (now renamed the Miguel Enríquez Hospital by the government in honor of a Chilean doctor killed … Continue reading Continue reading
Colorful Butterflies kindergarten “Today day care centers celebrate their fifty-second anniversary. These institutions continue fulfilling and improving their mission so that work in education might be more profound and efficient…” So begins an article published in Juventud Rebelde on April … Continue reading Continue reading
New emigration measures take effect on the 14th of January of this year.  Passports can be requested at Identity Card and Population Registration Offices, of Immigration and Immigration Matters; also from the Ministry of the Interior of the provinces of Artemisa, Mayabeque, and the municipality of the Isle of Youth.  There are 195 office in [...] Continue reading
Upon arriving in this corner of France and reuniting with my family, whom I had not seen for seven years, I had the great pleasure of receiving a visit from the son of a very dear friend, whom I had first seen when he was born. Later on, as you might i... Continue reading
There is not much that is new in the new immigration law. Nonetheless, it has raised expectations among a wide swath of the population: retirees, homemakers, students who have not gotten past the ninth grade, the unemployed and the elderly, to cite a f... Continue reading
The Antillean archipelago’s authorities say that “In Cuba, we all count”, and that’s why from the 15th to the 24th of September all of the homes of the country will be visited to gather census information. I understand that the census is a stat... Continue reading
By Lic. Yarmis Flores Liu, reader of this blog, asked the Office if Cuban churches one can have access to the internet. Since 1996, the Cuban government, has been clear about its policy with respect to full access to internet services, in Decree 209 of... Continue reading
For many, black is a color, in spite of the definition that contends that it is the absence of visible light energy, that absorbs the light and that’s precisely why it isn’t it. Whether from the light emitting groups or the pigments, black has been linked historically and obscurely with the negative, perhaps because of [...] Continue reading
Political Participation of women and Psychology (Extract) J. Fransciso Morales* – Isabel Cuadrado** The distance that measures the expanding legislation to favor the political participation of women and the data that, again and again, speak about a permanent male domination of this field serves as a reminder of the struggles of women to achieve equality.  [...] Continue reading
Since the socialist camp fell, our politicians miss the Cold War and now should be celebrating the possible war between the dictators and the western democracies.  They have worked for years with this objective.  But they still talk on the radio about their ideological press releases, hypnotizing multitudes, that “the world cries out for peace.” [...] Continue reading
Cuba, the little island difficult to locate in the Caribbean Sea and the big booty in the new world order. Often I hear that it is under siege by the voracious appetite of the empire, its eternal enemy. Other big powers in the great Europe also lurk for prey. A nice opening for a fiction [...] Continue reading
My friend lives in a beautiful apartment building from the 1950s, on Línea street. This morning, as always, she prepared to leave for work, when suddenly, the washbasin that had heroically resisted the pounding of 50+ years of survival, had given way to the implacable advance of the years, and a crack had finally caused [...] Continue reading
Line up; Line up It’s the end of the year. An avalanche of informative year-end summaries brings me news of some economic successes that I have not really known how to interpret. The Great State Machinery, in all of its propaganda, is said to be ready and willing to meet the challenges of the new [...] Continue reading
I am still laughing about the first glance at my digital library, in which I have been able to succeed in capturing known authors from many years ago.  To have some of the books saved moves me, including one of the poems, by Carlos Alberto Montaner, a pair of passages from speeches from conferences, by [...] Continue reading
A new and beautiful restaurant in Nuevo Vedado, located on 35th street between La Torre and 24th Street.  One Day, its owner, a native of India, like the Genoan Admiral, discovered this little island and stayed, enchanted by her, came from over there to meet and fall in love with a beautiful creole woman. Once married, [...] Continue reading
Much has been spoken about on our media about racism and it continues. Really, on my beloved planet, I have never experienced extreme cases of this social phenomenon.A Since my childhood, I was accustomed to my house being visited by black, white, and Chinese people, all gathering with our family.A I had very beloved little [...] Continue reading
For all of the obstacles that they have imposed on us in all these years, Cubans have done the impossible to preserve the most beloved family traditions: Christmas Eve. Every 24th of December, the Cuban family or what remains of it, meets around a table, to carry out the traditional dinner, it doesn’t matter what their [...] Continue reading
Yesterday afternoon we were going in our old Lada (Russian car) by road to a house of a friend who had invited us for dinner.  Since she lives in a beautiful building on 9th Street, very close to the Malecón  on a very high floor and they had announced the fireworks that they were going [...] Continue reading
It isn’t a title of a movie or a novel.  It is a bar/restaurant/cafeteria, recently opened in the Nuevo Vedado neighborhood. They opened hardly 15 days ago and all day it is completely full.  The hook?  Their prices and the quality of their offerings.  With this new example of private initiative, it is demonstrated that, [...] Continue reading
This past November 2nd, the Cuban government published the Legal Decree Number 288 that modified the “General Law of the Home”, and permitted the buying and selling of real estate between private parties, until then it was prohibited by national legislation. The new law took effect the 10th of November and generally permits owners: Cubans [...] Continue reading
Because of the 492nd Anniversary of the Villa of Saint Christopher of Havana, between the many television programs dedicated to this celebration, Hurón Azul, of the UNEAC (Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba), presented some interviews with renowned architects and artists, where they poured out their opinions about the the deteriorating image of the [...] Continue reading
Some months ago, innumerable messages were arriving in my email, and I imagine in yours too, about the mystic cabala of 11-11-11. Finally the day arrived and on my planet, where extraordinary things never happen, and where material deficiencies and repression happen on a daily basis, yesterday, November 11th, in the afternoon hours, a large [...] Continue reading
These days, I have been working hard to earn a little money to be able to go shopping, not to buy food, like always, but to buy some garlands for Christmas, because each year I have to update them, because most break very easily.  I imagine that they are made that way on purpose: for [...] Continue reading
Yesterday was payday for retired people and active workers who collect their pay by debit card. The wandering to and fro by people of various ages, in search of a Cadeca (a place where money can be exchanged), a bank that doesn’t have long queues (lines) or for an ATM that works, arouses disgust and [...] Continue reading
On my planet much has been spoken about bad things or criminal acts, where one can see children involved, happening elsewhere in the world, excluding in fact, with this phrase, any allusion to our own children. However, these reports do not appear to have taken into account that which has been so much insisted upon [...] Continue reading
On my planet more than fifteen days ago the media was bombarding you at all hours and at every moment with The Five Heros, The Criminal Blockade, and the battle-hardened and invincible people who are our athletes. From all this this, of course, the most refreshing thing is to spend time watching the Pan American [...] Continue reading
He who lives by the sword, perishes by the sword, this very old refrain, I’ve been hearing it said since I had use of reason. My grandmother used to apply it constantly to people who have taken on a life of delinquency and crimes, and who finally fall into the hands of justice. The images [...] Continue reading
Brave, honest, sincere woman. She was obliged to confront the pain of the offended, insulted, trampled on by their own compatriots, most of them women, which were convened by the degrading tyranny, only some days ago surrounded her home, where and a group of the Ladies in White met, to go out in a silent [...] Continue reading
In order to not continue losing our recipes, for lack of supplies or for how difficult it is for to get them in here, I am posting this recipe for your consideration, with the hope that those who are keen on the culinary arts will make it. Catalonian Coca* (Family Recipe) Before getting started, preheat [...] Continue reading
From some few years back, it has been unleashed on the city, I’m not sure if it has in the country, I don’t have the data, but I submit that it is expanding here like a epidemic, it may have arrived in other provinces: the taste for columns. To someone to whom it occurred to [...] Continue reading
The Cuban Film, Affinidades (Affinities), by Jorge Perogurría and Vladimir Cruz, awakened my interest, which is why I decided to to rent it for this weekend, because I still was able to remember the two of them in Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate). For me, I am not a critic of movies nor much [...] Continue reading
In the past few days, I wrote about architectural horrors, today I am going to dedicate this post to the aggressions committed against our monuments. Walking through the neighborhood of El Vedado, as always with my little camera in hand, I stopped to look at the little park that splits the road in two. There [...] Continue reading
It was a very fashionable refrain when we were kids. Right now, it again seems to occupy the foreground in the media of our planet: rescue the railroad right of ways, rescue agriculture, rescue the sugar industry, rescue the fishing fleet, rescue urban transport, rescue the dry cleaners, rescue the hair salons, rescue the bovine [...] Continue reading
With its rustic figures of wood with a vertical tube going through it that no longer makes it go up and down, the little horses of Mónaco, en La Víbora, are the rusty gallop of boredom, the wheel of poverty in turns of hopelessness. With faces unexpressive of emotion, we purchased the rides for our [...] Continue reading
(This story is fiction, based on reality) My friend was finishing transferring to his flash memory, the last poems that, like all, had left his heart exhausted. Each time that he put the last period on one, he said that it was like having given birth. It is clear that this hadn’t happened out of [...] Continue reading
Today we celebrate the 235 year anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, a country of immigrants and grand opportunities, so defamed by some and so dreamed about by many. I, particularly, have some critics, who say that I am pro-American, they don’t offend me. It is true that I [...] Continue reading
To sweeten tense afternoons a little. Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of flour. 3 eggs. 3 tablespoons of margarine, butter, or vegetable oil. 1 teaspoon of baking powder. 1 teaspoon of salt. 1 tablespoon of sugar. 3 tablespoons of dry wine. Pieces of guava already cut-up. Directions: In a mixing bowl, put the flour together with [...] Continue reading
For my granddaughter Isabel. In the neighborhood of Vedado, there was a prestigious store where they prepared food for delivery to homes (gourmet service). After some years of abandonment, in the year 1966, in the same place, a beautiful English-style red cake restaurant was opened, called The Little Rabbit (El Conejito), where they sold all [...] Continue reading