30 December 2007
My family gatherings are smaller now, and a lot quieter.
But, back when all my aunts and uncles were still alive, and before my cousins and their kids had scattered to the four corners, they were deafeningly loud. Inevitably the din reached a collective “sigh” at one point causing a strange uncomfortable quietness. Usually an elderly aunt or uncle, who was sitting innocuously smiling tucked away in a corner chair, would give out a deep heartfelt sigh.
Sometimes the sigh was accompanied by a “bueno…….” that trailed off. Then everybody would just sit there and stare at the floor in silence as if watching where the “o” in the bueno had trailed off too.
I always noticed this “bummer” of a sigh when I was younger. It was unnerving, unsettling.
People would nervously scatter from the epicenter of the sigh bomb and eventually, led by the kids, everything would be back to normal with everybody trying to scream over each other.
This year right after dinner, between the meal and the flan and the turrones, I let out the sigh. I can’t really describe it, though I’ve experienced it many times before. It’s like a something deep inside of me aligned with another part of me very, very far and for a split second became whole again. And then the sigh.
Cuban melodrama, rum induced nostalgia, mojo generated heartburn? I don’t know.
And I know I’m really disappointed in her right now…but this happened to start playing right after the sigh bomb ….
De mi tierra bella, de mi tierra santa,
oigo ese grito de los tambores y los timbales al
Y ese pregón que canta un hermano,
que de su tierra vive lejano
y que el recuerdo le hace llorar,
una canción que vive entonando
de su dolor, de su propio llanto,
y se le escucha penar.
La tierra te duele, la tierra te da
en medio del alma cuando tú no estás.
La tierra te empuja de raíz y cal.
La tierra suspira si no te ve más.
La tierra donde naciste
no la puedes olvidar
porque tiene tus raíces
y lo que dejas atrás.
La tierra te duele, la tierra te da
en medio del alma cuando tú no estás.
Siguen los pregones, la melancolía.
Y cada noche junto a la luna sigue el guajiro entonando
Y cada calle que va a mi pueblo,
tiene un quejido, tiene un lamento,
tiene nostalgia como su voz.
Y esa canción que sigue entonando
corre en la sangre y sigue llegando con más fuerza al
La tierra te duele, la tierra te da
en medio del alma cuando tú no estás.
La tierra te empuja de raíz y cal.
La tierra suspira si no te ve más.
La tierra te duele, la tierra te da en medio del alma cuando tú no estás. La tierra te empuja de raíz y cal. La tierra suspira si no te ve más.
And the words turned the sigh into a tear and when I heard the silence being broken by “Daddy are you OK?” , I coughed and pretended I was chocking on the sidra.
And I said "That's bitter"..."Que amargura"..to be exact.
29 December 2007
It’s been over a week since I have posted anything on the blog.
My apologies. I took a few days off for family celebrations and libations and comelatas.
Then, I got slammed with a Trojan horse via e-mail. Luckily, I was able to prevent any major damage. But be careful of e-mails form corporate accounts with New Year Messages! The subject on the virulent e-mail said something like "Happy 2008 Without Fidel."
I’m toying with the idea of moving to the blog to a server for 2008. We’ll see.
Although I haven’t posted anything in the last week, I have been keeping up with all the “news” coming out of the island and as usual, it’s the news services basically parroting the party line. Is no good news? Maybe not for our enslaved brethren for whom no news means more of the same.
Raul & Co. have decided to divert attention from the question on hand-CAMBIO-by making a soap opera out of whether Fidel is going to remain as president of Cuba or not. Interestingly, at least to me, is Raul’s tendency for candid sarcasm. They guy knocked the American two party system as being just as undemocratic as Cuba’s one party system and compared the choice between voting between the Tweedledee Republican and the Tweedledum Democrat to voting between Him and Fidel. I’m sure the junior despot meant to deride the American system, but gave a rather interesting insight that the struggle for power in Cuba is really between him and his older incapacitated half brother’s minions, (talibanes), and himself. In Vino Veritas.
… and speaking of vino…………
21 December 2007
20 December 2007
All through the 60’s, in Cuba, it seems all you ever heard was about something called “la Reforma Agraria”. Fidel devoted hours upon hours upon hours to lecture us Cubans on how Cuba with its land reforms and socialist model was going to become an agrarian powerhouse that was going to feed its population and have enough left over to export…just like before he took over.
And here we are 46 years later and Cuba has to IMPORT ½ its food, $2 Billion worth, with 50% of its fertile arable land going to waste. To waste. Not being farmed. Run over by Marabu. While the population is hungry.
In a normal country, a farmer who owns the land, would farm it and sell the harvest. The harder he works, the more he makes. You know the drill.
But in Marxist-Castroist-Feudalist Cuba, the State owns the land and all the farming “industry” and the farmers are “employed” by the state and get paid a salary. The harder they work, well, the more they sweat. That’s it.
Faced with the system’s inability to produce enough food to feed its people, the regime realizes that what it needs is a different system and it has been forced to give up on the Castro agricultural model- Surrender. Wave the White Flag. Admit defeat. But rather than give the land to the farmers and let them farm efficiently, assuming there are any farmers left who know how to farm correctly since it has been 49 years since it has been done, the regime would rather bring in foreign investors to farm the Cuban land.
They would rather have foreigners make money off the sweat of Cuban farmers than allow Cuban farmers to make money. This allows them to steal the difference between what the foreign Ag companies pay the regime for the Cuban indentured servant farmers and what the regime pays the Cuban farm workers. It also ensures that the Cuban farm workers stay at the same misery and poverty level as the rest of the population so that they can be controlled with State induced famine through food rationing.What a slap in the face.
And I keep hearing that Raul is a reformer who’s going to bring “structural changes.” Structural changes as to how the regime goes about exploiting the Cuban people, maybe.
19 December 2007
Now that Raul has shown Hugo who’s the “top” in their relationship by exposing his “campaign contributions” to other countries and by leaking the embarrassing truth about how and why he had to concede defeat in the constitutional reform referendum earlier this month and maybe even ensuring the referendums defeat by undermining the voting fraud and count manipulation, Hugo has to go to Havana and give an accounting of his actions to Fidel. Over lunch.
Hugo was hoping to dress Fidel up in fatigues again to join him at the opening of the Cienfuegos refinery on Friday; something which would put the Cubazuela idea back on track, but it doesn’t look like Raul is going to let his brother change out of the Adidas tracksuit just yet.
Fidel still exercises control over Granma and Mesa Redonda, where he’s more than happy to contradict Raul and back Hugo, but that’s as far as it goes.
I’m still hearing rumblings that Fidel wants to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the revolution’s triumph in green fatigues and combat boots.
18 December 2007
He usually takes his morning walk just about the time I go to work. Today he happened to walk by just as I was getting in my car. He says “¿pa la pega?” to which I replied “que remedio no me queda”-one good qliche deserves another. And that’s usually the extent of our conversations.
But today, he asked me if I heard anything about Cuba…so I told him about Castro’s cryptic little message on mesa redonda last night.
He says “you know, yesterday was San Lazaro”. “Christ raised Lazarus from the dead” “Fidel is a santero, you know” “You see?” No, not really but the guy’s in his eighties so I nod politely – “he’s raising himself from dead on San Lazaro. I tell you”
Just then, another neighbor, on his way to work, drives by and waves. We wave back.
The old guy asks me what we were talking about. I say Fidel’s note.
He ponders my response and says “you can’t pay attention to those guys they’re a bunch of liars!”
Calling all Cryptologysts………
What to make of Crypt keeper Castro’s cryptic message read on mesa redonda last night?.
Well, like my neighbor says, you shouldn’t even listen to liars.
But, what do you make of this?:
The White House said Tuesday that democracy would "soon" come to Cuba, one day after ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro said in a letter read on television there that he would not cling to office.
"It's an interesting letter. It's hard to make out what he is saying or what he means, as is not unusual, and so we're just continuing to work for democracy on the island and we believe that that day will come soon," said spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Since they pretty much said the same thing as my old neighbor said, I’m heading to his house right after work to see if he can decipher this “soon” statement from the Whitehouse.
17 December 2007
Odd that the ailing dictator again chooses Mesa Redonda to make this "announcement" Is this a message to Raul not to change anything and keep the hard line?
Or is it Raul finally "retiring" his older half brother so that he can rule without an Adidas wearing monday morning dictator second guessing his totalitarian tricks?
Apparently successions involve a successor taking over from the “successee” in order for the succession to succeed. Fidel, the “successee”, is not only refusing to get out of the way but actually working, it seems, against what the successor, Raul, is working towards.
For example on Monday, Cuba announced that it would sign two UN treaties related to Human Rights-soon. By Friday, Fidel had sent a note to “Mesa Redonda” explaining why he had not signed those two treaties. Castro had given a speech on his objections to the treaties in 2001 after ex-Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien had urged Castro to so. Hmm. Are the Fidelistas in the Cuban ruling copula running back and forth to the comandante tattle tailing on his brother and getting him to rebutt?
The regime says one thing, Granma prints a reflection contradicting it. Juventud Rebelde criticizes the process. Nothing changes. 18 months in a state of suspended animation waiting for the casket to finally close on Fidel’s reign of terror. There are even unconfirmed but credible rumors that Raul is going to start a new weekly newspaper to make his ideas known. One would think that in a totalitarian country, where the state controls all the press outlets, like in Cuba, this would not be necessary, but….maybe Raul is not 100% in control…so say the “malas lenguas” out there.
Meanwhile, the natives are getting restless and pissed off that the promised and much hyped changes, like Fidel, are nowhere in sight. Coupled with an invitation to debate by Raul himself, ( any debate would point to change and thus against the Fidelista Taliban), people are becoming very vocal and less afraid of the authorities, who because of the international spotlight shining on Cuba in anticipation of Fidel’s death and anticipated ensuing opening of the country, have had to tune down their usual brutality. Even the new kindler and gentler repression, like the apology after the desecration of Santa Teresita RC Church in Santiago, the deportation of Spanish Human rights activists who went to Cuba to support the ladies in White and the government instigated over the top, brutal melee on Darsi Ferrer’s peaceful march on Dec. 10, have exposed the regime’s authoritarian and brutal side.
Yesterday, El Mundo, in Spain published an incredible account of what really happened in Venezuela on December 2, behind the scenes, that made Hugo finally concede his defeat. The article basically says that the Chavez regime is being run from Havana through its intelligence agents in Caracas. Now, to me, this story is a hit-piece on Chavez coming from Havana. It shows Chavez to be a hysterical and capricious child that doesn’t make any decisions without checking with his handlers in Havana. I read it as a warning to Hugo from Havana reminding him that Raul controls his image, and his safety, therefore his life. Fidel himself had warned Chavez against assassination.
Though Raul loves the 100,000 bbls per day he gets from Hugo, the word is, he doesn’t like the motor mouthed “Bolivarian”. He probably didn’t take to it too kindly when Chavez pitched the Cubazuela idea favored by Chavez and Fidel which would make Chavez Cuba’s president once Castro is gone on Cuban soil.
Chavez is betting on Fidel and the dyed in the wool–red, of course- Fidelista Taliban to win more influence over Raul. They may not have the Army, like Raul, but they have Hugo’s cash. Chavez and his Cuban allies are still touting the idea that Fidel is getting ready to put his fatigues back on. Chavez has publicly begged Fidel to so. The rumors to this effect are that Fidel will show up at the Cienfuegos refinery’s grand re-opening sans his Adidas tracksuit or at a small controlled event in Havana to celebrate the revolutions triumph on Jan 2- A warning to Raul, reminding him that he, as Granma likes to point out, is only the interim leader and that the succession can be undone with a quick change of clothes.
15 December 2007
Que se les escaparon a Los Galanes
y los quieren devolver
Fue su fuga fasinante y la china los quiere prender...
Estaran en la Yuma
Estaran en la saguesera
o en la Ciudad que Progresa
Estan en la Yuma y cantaran en los Cayos
Mama ya estan en la Yuma
Mama cantaran en los Cayos
Mama ya estan en la Yuma
Mama cantaran en los Cayos
And so.... just like he sent out his troops to recover the two boxers who tried to escape their master at the Pan American games and return them to their rightful owner, Fidel, Brazilian President and Fidel admirer, Lula da Silva, has now ordered them to search for the three Cuban musicians, singer Miguel Angel Costafreda and guitarists Juan Alcides Diaz and Arodis Verdecia Pompa, who also want to escape Castro's slavery.
They're already setting up the deportation, like they did with the boxers, based on expired visas.
Aside from the fact that it's ridiculous that in this day and age Cubans can't freely travel anywhere in violation of the UN Charter, there are many foreign governments that are all too willing to accept Castro's position that all Cubans are property of the Cuban State.
By accepting the conditions by which visiting Cubans are handled, watched and repressed on their sovereign soil, these governments are complicit to Castro's tyranny and oppression. The day that all free governments refuse to accept Castro's rules and stop legitimizing his totalitarian regime, we will be one step closer towards a free Cuba.
14 December 2007
13 December 2007
12 December 2007
Not your warm fuzzy nostalgic Christmas memories, mind you.
I think back to our old Christmas tree and the old decorations that my dad and I used to put up. I knew every single decoration on that tree. They were like family members. Irreplaceable. Literally. It wasn’t like you could go out and buy new ones. If one would happen to fall and break, it was like you lost a family member and there would be a hole on that tree forever.
You see, Christmas was a capitalist, imperialist, bourgeois and useless tradition to children of the revolution like me. Like anything fun also seemed to be. And the Revolutionary Grincho, gringo hating Fidel had been sent by providence to take all the joy out of life and cancel Christmas.
Christmas was like any other day. Not really. It was more miserable than any other day because it was the day that had been robbed. Stolen. Cancelled. Taken Away.
And so you went to school and you talked about this Imperialist Yankee named Santiclo with your friends. He was no Rey Mago, but he had his own jolly style. Besides, he had all the capitalist, imperialist, bourgeois toys- you know, the good ones. I was stuck with a “juguete basico”. Don’t ask.
Anyway, to make a long story longer, I think we would not get any days off from school other than New Year’s. Years later, I read that the aging Grincho, in all his magnanimousness, had decided to let Cubans celebrate Christmas once again. That was in 1998, when JPII visited Cuba. Bless Him.
And today, I get the news that for the first time since the year of the big mistake,1959, Cuban children will get a Christmas Vacation.
A Christmas Vacation. In Cuba. Shock of shocks. Vacaciones Navideñas.
My kids, who live in the land of religious freedom, home of the brave and pay for everything with green bills with “God We Trust” printed on them, get a “Winter Break”. Vacaciones Navideñas have been outlawed here by the politically correct revolutionaries. Son of a bitch! ¡Me cago en su madre!
11 December 2007
It used to be that these crimes happened in obscurity and silence.
But the world has changed.
The wall that big brother Fidel had built around his "animal farm" to keep onlookers form witnessing his crimes is, like everything else on the island, beginning to crumble.
Brave independent journalists and activists in Cuba grew tired of not having their story told by a complicit international press that censored itself from reporting the plight of the Cuban people either out of fear of Fidel, ideological kinship or both. Castro’s victims, using today’s technology and with the help of foreign exiles and sympathizers have found a way to get their stories out to the rest of the word through small holes in big brother’s wall.
The international press, who was content at basically being press agents for the regime, has begun to realize that they are being beat to the story by a motivated alternative press with an urgent agenda to get the truth out. This has caused them to react. They are starting to report on the criminal acts of Castro inc. They have no choice, thanks to the courage of Cuban dissidents and competition in the news marketplace that has shined a gigantic spotlight on the island waiting to see what happens next now that Fidel is no longer running the farm.
The regime itself has been forced to change its tactics and do some major damage control because the crimes are being reported. Long incarcerations after sham trials are a thing of the past. Just last week, the regime the regime apologized for the desecration of a Santiago de Cuba Curch, Santa Teresita. Crocodile tears, I know, but tears nonetheless. And yesterday, it announced it plans to sign two UN Human right accords.
They know they are being watched.
10 December 2007
Another is the brutality and intolerance of the Castro regime.
Darcy Ferrer knows that. And he set out to expose the brutality for the whole world to see today, on International Human Rights Day. And he did.
From the SunSentinel:
As the picture shows, you can always count on the Castro regime to behave in a barbaric and violent way.
Ironically the incident occurred on a day when Cuba announced that it will sign part of the declaration of Human Rights
So this is how the regime celebrates the signing of the UN pacts, by sending out its goons to rough up peaceful demonstrators.HAVANA - Government supporters roughed up a dozen peaceful demonstrators marking International Human Rights Day with a silent march Monday.The melee broke out shortly after Cuba announced its intention to sign two U.N. pacts on political and civil rights, part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Just like death and taxes….
07 December 2007
But, I may have to revisit those suspicions in the coming year because word is getting out that the changes which will take effect early next year will be announced soon.
The first change has been leaked to EFE, and it involves the relationship between foreign companies and Cuban workers.
The new rule, according to this report, is much closer to the American model than the traditional Soviet model. Believe it or not.
You see, the regime has looked at the inequities that exist between those Cubans that have access to CUC’s and those that don’t. They have concluded that this inequity is unjust and that a leveling of the playing field is required.
So, in the spirit of brotherhood and egalitarian fairness that are two of the pillars of the Cuban revolution, the regime has decided it will tax the extra revenue that those Cubans who work for foreign companies get under the table, as a stipend, from their employers.
What, you thought they were going to increase wages to the Cubans who don’t work for foreign companies and therefore to get a gift here and there?
Why, that would go against the other pillar of the revolution: socialized misery.
06 December 2007
Can something similar happen in Cuba?
In Cuba, the young people that are currently in their late teens and early twenties represent the generation that grew up during what Fidel Castro’s regime euphemistically called the “special period”. They are a generation which has known more sacrifice, want and waiting than perhaps any other generation since Castro came to power nearly 50 years ago-and that’s saying a lot.
Their coming of age has also coincided with the advent of the digital age and of affordable personal communication and entertainment devices such as the PC, the internet, cell phones, video games, etc. that make being a young person in today’s world incredibly exciting.
Of course, knowing that all these marvels exist out there but are denied to you because your government is hell-bent on saving you from the evils of wanton consumerism, must be pure torture. It must also be torture to live in the only country in your entire hemisphere where you are not legally allowed to freely express yourself in an age where technology has made it the norm for youths to do so.
It must seem as if there’s a world-wide conspiracy to keep you stuck in a 50’s time capsule. Like a tropical zoo or museum. Like a live archeological exhibit or a social experiment. The living, breathing primitive inhabitants of the land that Walmart and McDonald’s forgot; the last iceberg of the cold war-still floating around in the Caribbean.
The regime knows that it cannot survive if it cannot convince Cuba’s youth to continue sacrificing – not for what they want, but for what their parents-the first generation of the revolution-sacrificed for. (in vain).
Cuba’s youth is beginning to show signs of rebellion. A nascent student movement is beginning to spread, possibly spurned by the lack of promised changes that the new Cuban leader has been promising for the last 16 months. Youth isn't patient.
Both the “wristband revolution” , (“cambio” bracelet march) and the recent university autonomy movement lead by Universitarios sin Frontreras are examples that Cuban youth is ready for change and willing to sacrifice for their future not to keep Castro, Inc. in perpetual power.
Youths are fearless and formidable adversaries as Hugo Chavez found out on Dec. 2. The regime knows this too nd other than more reprassion and sacrifice, it really has no answers for the angst of the young people in Cuba.
If and when the young people in Cuba realize the power in their numbers, all bets are off.
05 December 2007
I was reading Carlos Alberto Montaner’s latest reflection-better his than you know who’s-on Chavez’s defeat and I wound up laughing out loud on one of his observations.
In the piece entitled, in Spanish, “They Finally Shut Him Up” Montaner praises the Spanish King for coming up with the campaign slogan that became a rallying cry for Chavez’s opposition: ¿Por que no te callas?
He likens the King’s exchange with Chavez as a reverse fairytale, because it was the King pointing out that it was the peasant who was wearing no clothes. He,he,he.
Meanwhile, world leaders, dignitaries and leftists continue to want to dress the naked Chavez up in the clothes of a Democrat.
They are giving him thanks, praise, kudos and accolades for admitting his defeat at the polls and accepting the will of the people.
Pluheez…as an elected official, that’s what is expected of him. He’s just doing his job. And not very well, apparently, since by some accounts he had to be pushed into accepting his loss.
And the whole point of the blessed referendum was to establish a constitutional dictatorship so he wouldn’t work for the people and the people would work for him.
Ok, so I go from laughing to being infuriated in the time it took me to write this.
04 December 2007
03 December 2007
By 10:00 pm EST, it was pretty much obvious by the actions of the Chavistas that the “NO” had probably won.
The Venezuelan opposition and ex-Cuban intelligence agents that have defected claim that Chavez has padded the voter rolls and that his electronic voting machines are programmed to use the extra votes to pad the margin of victory.
If this is true, then how on Earth could the “NO” have won? It would mean that the people that have supported Chavez in the past either abstained or voted against his reforms in such numbers that even the padding wasn’t enough to overcome the opposition.
A lot of conspiracy theories this AM:
According to the exit polls quoted in Miami’s Mega TV, the “NO” margin of victory should have been more like 5.4%. A face saving deal for Hugo brokered by Baduel?
Some cynical ex communists I know believe that Raul’s programmers in Venecuba assured Hugo’s defeat just to show him who’s in control.
Which brings me to my point.
In Havana, the grieving regime touted Chavez’s defeat as proof of a “demonstration of the Revolution’s ethics”-because he has promised to abide by the results … "for now." As if that crowd knew anything about ethics or carrying out the will of the people or giving the people an opportunity to express their will, for that matter.
I don’t know what they actually printed in today’s toilet paper ration since I only see Granma international’s online edition, but isn’t that just rubbing the Cuban people’s nose in it?
Letting Cubans know that in Venezuela ordinary citizens, with rights, can express their will at the polls while they in Cuba can just imagine what that would be like-if they even comprehend the concept. And lamenting that people of Venezuela didn’t vote away what’s left of their democracy ,and be like Cubans, for an extra day off and more government subsidized social programs is humiliating to the Cuban people who have been without a true voice since 1952.
01 December 2007
Each new diatribe gets wackier. In his latest, Chavez threatens to “cut oil sales to the United States if the American government interferes in Sunday's referendum.”
“Interference?”. Who’s the referee responsible for flagging the infraction? Why Chavez, of course.
Chavez already has a ready made connection between the US government and “interference” with the constitutional reform vote. According to the Venezuelan government, there’s a CIA plan afoot aimed at “destabilizing campaigns, distribution of false polls, while the CIA plot supposedly indicates a vote for yes, and a call of fraud when it passes.”
The plan, “Operation Pliers”, (Tenazas), came to light when a memo describing the operation from CIA officer Michael Middleton Steere to the director of the US agency, Gen. Michael Hayden was discovered by the Chavez authorities. The Venezuelan government has threatened to expel an unnamed diplomat if the memo turns out to be authentic.
The Venezuelan opposition claims that Chavez’s elections are farcical because the voter rolls, which they claim the government won’t share with the opposition, are inflated by about 20% and the electronic voting machines that the Chavez government manufactured and programmed are coded to use these phantom voters to win.
With just about every poll showing that Chavez’s “SI” is behind and loosing more support everyday, Chavez is being forced to hedge.
If “Si” wins the referendum by the allegedly pre-programmed 20%, when all the polls, even the ones from pollsters that accurately predicted Chavez’s previous electoral victories, show the “No” to be winning, the opposition, the international press-read CNN whom he has also accused of working for the CIA in yet another plot of pschological warfare to instigate his assassination-, and the international community will cry foul and demand investigations. Citizens will pour into the streets in protest and it might get real ugly.
Chavez, the referee, can then throw his interference flag, call the CIA’s number, stop oil sales to the US, which by the way, is the currently only country with refineries that can handle Venezuela’s heavy crude and is responsible for the roughly 60% of that country’s oil revenues, take over the country's media, kick out the foreign press, and plunge Venezuela into political and economic chaos with a ready-made scapegoat-the USA and its CIA- and further strengthen his grip on Venezuela. The ones that will suffer the most will be the Venezuelan people , but that won't matter after Sunday since Venezuela will by then be an officially socialist state where the individual exists to serve the state, not the other way around.
Sound Familiar? It should. It's a replay. The plays are being called and reviewed by the replay official in the Havana booth.
30 November 2007
The last time the dog catcher came to take one our little Chihuahua friends away, we all barked and growled and marked our territory.
That smack in the josico with a folded up Miami Herald apparently taught us our lesson.
Cuban Americans welcomed this week's Solomonic resolution to what has been a protracted and acrimonious custody fight over a 5-year-old girl, a marked departure from the high passions that dominated the Elián González saga seven years ago. A sign that hard lessons were learned from the painful Elián affair: The buzz on Miami's Cuban radio on Thursday centered on Venezuela's upcoming election and fears that the Hugo Chávez regime will turn into a dictatorship in Fidel Castro's image.
''People were calm because they knew this kid had her day in court,'' she said. ``It's totally different than Elián.''
You know, I have a Chihuahua, Brutus. He’s a refugee from the streets of Hialeah and his tiny 4 ½ pound body has telltale signs that he was abused and had a hard life before we got him. He was so thankful to be given a home. So proud. But the one thing about him is that he doesn’t do tricks. He’s not eager to please. He’s loyal and will defend anyone in the family fiercely, and at his own peril, but never for a reward. If you say “good boy” and pat his head he growls. I like that about him.
29 November 2007
Back to the tube working the remote like an X-Box 360 controller I scan the 800 plus Comcastic channels with nothing on with no luck.
So, finally at 10:00 PM I find out the girl's father is staying in the US. A settlement.
I know the conspiracy theory gene runs deep and rampant in my veins, but what is this all about?
This whole soap opera was being produced and scripted in Havana. Did the Cuban script writers walk out of their jobs in solidarity with their fellow communist script-writing brethren in Hollywood?
Or did Raul blink?
Did the father defect?
Maybe Raul has decided to live up to Brian Latell’s label of him as “pragmatic” and decided to cancel the soap opera .
Maybe it’s just communist pragmatism-a small strategic retreat in hopes of wining the battle later.
Oh and ther'es a big butt in all of this: the judge's. The "C" word judge. Jeri Cohen. She has to agree on the settlement. She was the star of this soap opera-with those kooky deer caught in the headlight eyes. How dare Raul cancel her show!
28 November 2007
Noticias Marti is reporting that his beloved city of Güines awoke to handmade anti-government signs on the main street – Calzada de Güines – on Saturday morning.
The sings which were glued to business facades had slogan like:
“Abajo Fidel Castro” ---“ Down with Fidel Castro”
“No mas comunismo”---“No more communism”
“Lo que necitamos es que te mueras”---“What we need is for you to die”
“Abajo el abuso”---“Down with abuse”
“Un mundo mejor es posible sin Fidel”---“A better World is posible without Fidel”
According to independent journalist, Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez, the regime deployed many police to eliminate the signs while a crowd of curious Cubans watched.
We can imagine El Güinero getting satisfaction out of seeing the regime’s flunkies scrubbing down walls to get rid of “the evidence”. We can also imagine El Güinero planning and carrying out the covert mission "pa’ joder todavia."
27 November 2007
Mark the day on your calendars.
That’s the day we find out if Raul is putting his older half brother out to pasture. The hand picked candidates that will be on the ballot to be part of the Cuban Parliament have already been “selected” by the party according to Granma. If you’re not on that list, you can’t be unanimously “selected” President.
Last week we were playing around with the notion that the Cubazuela idea was most likely Fidel’s. By all indications, though Raul doesn’t mind fleecing Chavez’s petro dollars, he doesn’t share the “love and admiration” that Fidel has for Hugo. The Cubazuela proposal has really only been articulated by Perez Roque and Lague who are considered Fidel loyalists and Chavez who idolizes the tyrant.
If Fidel’s name isn’t on the list on Dec. 2, then it’s probably a no go for Cubazuela on the Cuban side. Ironically that’s the same day that Venezuelans will be voting on whether they want Venezuela to have a constitutional dictatorship and on whether Venezuela can enter into “Federations” as part of its new charter. Regardless of what the polls say, I expect the constitutional changes to win approval- a go-go on the Venezuelan side.
That might set up a showdown of sorts between Chavez, who considers himself Fidel’s heir and Raul who probably has no intentions of playing second banana to a foreigner.
You add to this the way Chavez keeps making friends and influencing people and you can see why Raul seems to be setting the stage, behind it of course, to make nice with the Empire.
“Curiouser and Curiouser”
26 November 2007
22 November 2007
And my friend tells me-an aside here- (the best thing about blogging is that I can start sentences with ands, ifs and buts!)-that Hugo Chavez stopped in Havana to meet with Fidel. Things aren’t going well for Chavez. He’s got students and the military against him on his constitutional reforms. If he wants to legitimize his annexation of Cuba, he needs to get this constitutional reforms passed since one of the articles gives him the power to enter into federations.
Our communist conspiracy theory evolved from the previous days beers. That was a school night.
So, what if this federation idea is the love-brainchild of Fidel’s infirmed, senile mind and Hugo’s ummm…instincts? This would be the real “transition” from Fidel to Hugo. Leaving number two Raul, still playing second fiddle. Its important to note that only Fidel’s ideological followers and boot lickers, Perez Roque and Lague, the Talibans, are the ones talking up the Federation-and of course, Chavez.
Now, to the best of my recollection, the Cuban Parliamentary “selections” were not to take place until March. Raul moved them up to Jan. 20. The Venezuelan referendum is on Dec. 2. So if Raul chooses to retire his older half brother by not putting him on the ballot, he can have a new “government” in place by the time Hugo can start to Federate-is federate a verb?-use you imagination.
Another Becks inspired thought was the media blitz declaring that the upcoming Cuban parliamentary “elections” could for the first time, not include, Fidel’s name. You know this kind of critical thinking or analysis did not come from the parrot press “covering” the regime in Havana and is more than likely a planted or leaked idea to test the waters and get people used to the idea of a Fideless Cuba with Fidel still alive.
Raul can, by cutting the brother out once and for all, string Chavez out on the federation idea and keep pimping Venezuela’s petro dollars and buy time to make some economic changes and stay in power. So are we forced to root for Raul in the short run here?
Tonight we will give thanks and praise. Three generations of Cubans. Screaming and arguing about Cuba.
Tomorrow: new conspiracy theories!
21 November 2007
Only this time, there’s actually a little suspense. Fidel may not be on the ballot. Raul, may decide to retire his older half-brother to legitimize his own dictatorship.
Who knows, maybe Raul won’t even put himself on the ballot, choosing instead to head the Cuban Communist Party and the Armed Forces, leaving the ceremonial State political offices to a loyal party aparatik like Lage, Alarcon or even Perez-Roque. He could still control the country and be in a position to normalize relations with the next American administration -a Democratic one- they hope.
This arrangement gives Raul Castro flexibility to survive his brother's death. Having all but expelled the terrorist ETA from Cuba-they are relocation to either Venezuela or Bolivia- and trying to broker a deal between the Columbian Government of Uribe and the FARC and FLN narco-trafficking “rebel”-terrororists, he can get Cuba off the State sponsor of terror list-a stumbling block to American dollars. The next stumbling block to begin some kind of normalization of relations with the US, is the Helms-Burton law which forbids any US normalization of relations while either Fidel or Raul Castro is in charge.
Raul can then play the US off against Chavez to see who gives him more money or he has a back-up plan to get American tourists into Cuba if Chavez’s 21st Century Socialism crashes and burns in the near future. And, he can devote some time to his hobby: drinking, which is obviously what my friend and I were doing last night when we came up with this “analysis”. We figured you have to get drunk if you’re going to figure out what a drunk might do.
20 November 2007
But what are we supposed to do when we know that injustices are being committed, in the name of a false ideological cult, on our countrymen, family and friends? Get in our SUV’s and drive? Order another beer? Keep crying out in the wilderness like a crazed coyote howling at the moon that nobody hears?
We keep screaming about the Cuban Apartheid and we get smirks and rolling eyes. When we talk about the conditions of Cuban blacks, the subject gets changed to football or the weather.
Everybody in Cuba has it bad, but the majority has it worse. The majority of the population in Cuba is now black.. Trust me, there are no African-Cubans in Cuba. There are dark skinned Cubans with a capital C. Cubans first black a distant second. In fact, many of the dissident leaders are black. Yet, the Cuban ruling class has a few blacks, tokens, in positions with little or no authority. And they were supposed to bring dignity and equality to Cuban blacks.
This is how they do it:
But, don't feel too bad. After all he has free education and healthcare.
19 November 2007
On Thursday, he decreed that aircraft could be privately owned.
Way to go Raul!
And just think, I thought he was full of crap when he said that everyone in Cuba should be able to drink a glass of milk whenever they wished.
The hell with milk, now Pepito can buy an airline. He can put together all the “quilitos” left over from his $12 a month salary and buy some airplanes.
So I guess this means that Raul is selling the National Airline to some foreign investors.
Or maybe they’re starting to divide the looted Cuban National treasure amongst themselves and move towards a Russian style “transition” where the old nomenklatura thugs become the new entrepreneurial ruling “mob” by controlling the key national industries and ruling by intimidation.
I’m sure we’ll see what this is all about soon enough.
16 November 2007
So I re-read it actually says Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart.-in Prensa Latina.
Talk about name recognition.
This guy was a non person in Cuba. "Insiled" by his omnipotent father to anonymous lab work and sentenced to driving a beat up Lada and live in a bad apartment. Not allowed to leave the country with his family (I wonder why?). Now he’s a hyphenated, high falutin’, high profile ambassador for uncle Raul.
This guy has family in high places EVERYWHERE!
I’d add a few more hyphens in there just for kicks.
Like Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart-Franco or Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart-Stalin or Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart-Hussein or Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart-Hirohito or even Fidel Castro Lincoln Diaz-Balart. Wait! oops, not that one. Or like Ms. B’s favorite Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart-Kennedy.
Gusano Diaz-Balart de Mierda
15 November 2007
The eastern part of the island suffered terrible floods that destroyed homes and crops.
The armed forces were mobilized to evacuate and help the victims.
Incredibly, the regime is going to go ahead with an announced military exercise named Moncada 2007 to prepare for the unannounced enemy, (American), invasion from Nov. 19 to Nov. 23.
Cuba, because of the paranoia of its maximum leader, now cheerleader, Fidel, has 3 Armies:The Eastern, Central and Western with separate commands. They report to Raul, separately. (I’m not sure if they even interact with each other- Charlie Bravo?) The Eastern army will not participate in Moncada 2007 because it has its hands full with the Noel aftermath.
Imagine how much this “military” exercise is going to cost? Wouldn’t those millions be better served helping with the reconstruction of the flood affected areas in the east?
And how ready can any army be against any American onslaught? Seriously. IF, the big bad bogeyman to the north decided to invade using its military might, it would take what? A few hours to take Havana?
An incredible waste of time, effort and money?
Not really. These military maneuvers serve two very important purposes. One, they are for domestic consumption, designed to show the Cuban people that any rebellion or mass protest will be dealt with swiftly and harshly with deadly modern weapons of destruction. Two, they taet the common conscripted miliciano by also warning them what is in store for them if don’t follow order. The MNIT is also exercising making sure that soldiers know they have a gun to their backs.
That’s well spent money for the regime whose only real purpose is to oppress and suppress the Cuban citizen into submission in order to perpetuate its power.
14 November 2007
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez demanded on Tuesday Spain's king apologize for telling him to shut up, warning that Spanish investments could suffer in its former colony because of the spat.
Euro$ trump National Pride for $pain’s $ociali$t government.
So what is the former world power and up and coming European economic powerhouse do when an uncouth bully with pockets full of petro dollars threatens not to do business with them anymore? Well, they do what they’ve always done, look the other way. Appease. Pretend.
After all, Chavez wasn’t talking to the King. The King is a nobody-a fixture, a relic of the glorious Spain of old what he says, however appropriate or succinct, doesn't matter. It was all a huge misunderstanding. Besides, Chavez didn’t say anything about Aznar that the Spanish opposition hasn’t already said. Just like he didn’t say anything about Bush that the Democrats hadn’t already said when he visited the New york and insulted the President. For Zapatero to stand up in defense of Aznar is as disingenuous as when Charlie Rangel stood up in defense of President Bush.
Like he does in Cuba, Zapatero will not only appease but work towards keeping Hugo Chavez in power. There’s money to be made. That’s what the colonies are for, after all.
13 November 2007
Yes. Why don’t you shut up? The King was trying to teach the upstart Emperor some regal indifference.
The question is not why Hugo doesn’t shut up, but why doesn’t Spain speak up. Why isn’t the Spanish foreign minister on the offensive calling Chavez out for his fascist ways rather than on the defensive, defending Spain who under Arnaz’s leadership actually condemned tyranny and defended freedom-XXI Century Fascism in the eyes of Hugo Chavez?
The Zapatero-lead socialist government of Spain has decided not to speak up. It has decided instead to engage old school tyrants and new wave constitutional dictators that enslave their people wrapped up in the myth of egalitarianism and XXXI Century socialism under its policy of “critical dialogue”. Hypocrisy
Hugo’s crime, as far as the Spaniards are concerned is not that he is on a course to enslave Latin America under the yoke of XXI century socialism-a leaner meaner socialism than the failed XX Century version that has crashed and burned everywhere, unfortunately taking 100,000,000 people with it. They don’t have a problem with that as long as the Spanish companies can make a little profit off the backs of the newly enslaved Latin Americans. Their problem with him is that he doesn’t have enough class to inflict his tyranny on the masses without calling undo attention to those are turning a blind eye in hopes of profiting from it.
Yes Hugo, Why don’t you shut up? We are supposed to speak in diplomatic feel good platitudes at these summits. We’re supposed to smile and have critical dialogue and make lots of money. We’re supposed to maintain some regal, above the fray indifference. Don’t expose our hypocrisy. Don’t ruin a good thing.
11 November 2007
He was handed the phone by Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage while speaking about overthrown Chilean President Salvador Allende in a stadium in Santiago
Castro wasn't heard by the public because no one could get the speakerphone to work
Castro and Chavez conversed, with Chavez repeating Castro's words for the audience, according to the statement.
The were no reports as to whether the technologically, among other things, challenged Hugo, ¿porque no te callas?, Chavez got a similar call from Elvis or Walt Disney.
There is also no confirmation on what Enrique Santos and Joe Ferrero were up to when Hugo, ¿porque no te callas?, Chavez, got the phone call from Fidel.
09 November 2007
The former may actually be a hedge.
With the situation in Venezuela deteriorating amidst a student rebellion and Hugo Chavez’s former Defense Minister stating that Chavez’s constitutional reforms are tantamount to a “coup”, things aren’t as rosy in Miraflores as they seemed a few months ago when Hugo was riding a wave of popularity after his “re-election.” Mutiny in the Military, the “C” word AND students in the streets-not a good combination in Latin America.
Taking back the streets by squelching the Venezuelan student protests will probably require military force since the police and sending out armed violent thugs hasn’t worked. That may be the straw that breaks the Venezuelan Military Camel’s back.
If Cuba’s goose that laid the golden oil barrel cannot withstand a military challenge, Raul knows that he will have to deal or fold. By sending Jorge Bolaños to D.C. and overseeing a seemingly kindler gentler dictatorship, Raul may be positioning Cuba to deal rather than fold. Communists always deal. They’ll mark the cards and keep up an ace up their sleeve, but they’ll deal.
The problem is the The Empire’s only interest in not allowing Cuba’s communist regime to fold is stability-defined by the US as no mass exodus. The Bush administration, however has not-so-quietly started to build refugee camps to deal with any mass migratory situations and the President raised the stakes in his Cuba speech a few weeks by reaffirming the Havelian axiom of freedom before stability.
08 November 2007
But, it seems the joke may be on me.
By all indications this “federation” is all systems go.
Felipe Perez Roque made his pronouncement in New York that Cuba would be willing to give up its sovereignty and flag in order to enter into such a federation. Although there was no comment in the Cuban state-run media, Ricardo Alarcon supported Roque’s comments though he dismissed them as something that would not happen in the near future. Last night on Maria Elvira Live, Host Maria Elvira Salazar, reported that one of the changes to the Venezuelan constitution being put up for a referendum on Dec 2 is an article that constitutionally ties Venezuela and Cuba.
Even so, it appears that Raul is maneuvering the regime towards a possible future thaw in relations with the United States.
Some of the small moves he has made will put the regime in a better position to negotiate with the next administration if it has to.
For example, last year the Cuban regime started to disassociate itself with the terror groups that Fidel had supported in the past. For example, last year it was reported by CNN that the ETA, an terrorist organization of Basque Separatists, was looking to leave its safe haven in Havana for new digs in Bolivia, perhaps at the request of the regime. Cuba has also hosted talks with Colombian terrorist guerrilla groups FARC and ELN and the Columbian government. These moves may be designed to get Cuba off the “state sponsor of terrorism” list.
The regime has also noticeably changed it “dissident control” tactics replacing long incarcerations with short “holdings” and less brutal intimidation. Raul has also been trying to live up to his Stateside –academic created label of Mr. Pragmatic by calling for a national “debate” on the revolutions problems-that should take another 10 years or so- and by promising to make some changes.
Now we learn that Raul is sending Jorge Bolaños to head its Interest Section in Washington DC. This move signals to many Cuba watchers possible upcoming delicate negotiations with the Empire.
07 November 2007
06 November 2007
Y nosotros que somos como las cucarachas porque estamos en todas partes nos hace falta tener una representación en el Mundial.
¿Habrá que hacer una colecta para enviar a Enrique para Formosa con una cartulina y un sharpie o tenemos a un cubano en la China libre que saque la cara por el pueblo?
05 November 2007
Ok, so some kids wore some “cambio” bracelets and got arrested. Quietly. Big deal! Have you seen the protests in Venezuela? The hell with bracelets. We need protests like those. Thousands screaming with signs, tear gas, rubber bullets, brutality, beatings, blood.
Understanding the predicament of Cuban dissidents requires the aid of Cuban philosophy. In order to be a Cuban philosopher…well, all Cubans are philosophers, but to be a good Cuban philosopher, you have to be able to succinctly analyze the phenomenology of the specific reality being discussed and make a simple one-phrase pronouncement that breaks down the human condition to its essential existential component. (ok, so Cubans are good B.S.’ers too). So, I’m not a master of Cuban philosophy, but I’m going to take a stab at it anyway:
“El que esta fuera del agua, nada bien”
More than 200 people had mobilized for the late September protest demanding
freedom for political prisoners. But state security agents intercepted many of
the dissidents outside the capital and detained them for hours.
"People were picked up on roads; others were prevented from leaving their homes," said Martha Beatriz Roque, 62, one of the organizers. An economist by profession, Roque has pushed against the Castro government for 17 years and served two prison terms for her efforts.
In the end, only eleven people attended the peaceful demonstration outside Cuba's Justice Ministry. It quietly fizzled when police loaded the demonstrators on a bus and drove them home.
Is all the opposition in the island totally hapless and clueless? Hardly. In Cuba, every fifth person in any group is probably an informant, an undercover member of the MINIT, (interior ministry). It is impossible to organize large protests because of this. In order for a mass protest, like the ones occurring in Venezuela, to occur, thousands would have to spontaneously take the streets without planning because any planning would surely alert the regime through its network of informants. Still, dissidents keep on trying. 70 young people protesting elections with or without bracelets is something. It's incredible. Sisyphus had a better chance of getting the rock to stay on top of the hill.- “No hay peor diligencia que la que no se haga”
Just how does the regime keep track of and control the opposition in order to thwart their regime change plans?
Well, for years we exiles have been saying that Cuba’s repressive machine is brutally effective and omnipotent, one of the worse in the “Soviet Block”. In this Miami Herald article, we learn that the Cuban Ministry of the Interior learned its repressive ways from the “best”, the West German Stasi, according to Jorge Luís Vázquez:
Headquartered amid the grim Soviet-styled apartment blocks of the former East Berlin, the Stasi -- short for Staatssicherheit, or State Security -- succeeded through surveillance, intimidation and torture in becoming one of the most feared intelligence agencies in the world. By the time the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, the Stasi had 91,000 employees and 350,000 collaborators in a country of 17 million.
When the Stasi archives were opened to the public in the early 1990s, East Germans learned that there had been 986 documented deaths at the prison and discovered 112 miles worth of files on their fellow citizens.
Wow. “El que nace para tamal, del cielo le caen las hojas”
Accusations of the extreme repression in Cuba are usually shrugged off or dismissed as anti-Castro right wing, Batistiano hysteria. Not only that, the victims of the regime’s repression are often attacked by Castro supporters and apologists. The following excerpt hints at why those who have visited Cuba, may go on to become fervent Castro defenders and appologist as well as Cuban exile attackers-it’s all in the “tapes”.
Vázquez says he found the MININT is ''almost a copy'' of the repressive Stasi security system, exported by East Germany to Cuba in the 1970s and '80s, and that the ties between the two organizations run far deeper than previously known.
From how to bug tourist hotel rooms to an intriguing mention of the hallucinogenic LSD, the degree to which the Stasi trained and provided material and technical support to the security arm of Fidel Castro's regime had a sweeping and harsh impact on Cuba.
Germans taught the Cubans how to mount effective camera and wiretap systems for eavesdropping -- for example, at what height on the wall to install microphones, which color wallpaper provides the best concealment, and which shade of lighting for the best video recordings.
02 November 2007
That’s the forsaken totalitarian ultimatum that I’ve heard since I was born from Fidel Castro Ruz.
A lot of Cuban blood has been spilled for that island.
Most Cubans are nationalistic, unapologetically so. The flag, the anthem, all the symbols of our land are like divine entities. The palm trees are our pride. The soil, red like the blood of our many patriots, is red and sacred. If you don’t get that, you never will and this paragraph will sound like the corniest, stupidest thing you ever read. Sorry, sorry you don’t get it.
And now, to finish the total and utter destruction of what we Cubans hold sacred, this band of thugs that rules Cuba, has decided they have the right to surrender our flag to the highest bidder.
Signs of this travesty have been visible for sometime now. Carlos Lage once stated that Cuba and Venezuela had two presidents, Castro and Chavez, and when Hugo Chavez visited Cuba last moth to celebrate Che’s “feast day” he talked about his dream of creating a “federation”. But these statements were so ridiculous that they were taken as jokes prompting yours truly to muse whether I was now a Cubazuelan refugee or a Venecuban exile. Lies from communists, jokes from clowns-nothing too unusual.
But now, it looks like its for real. We have Felipe Pérez Roque in New York declaring that Cuba would be willing to surrender “its sovereignty and its flag” to join some as yet unformed Latin American block. Has Roque gone rogue? Is this a Talibanic move behind Raul’s back in the presumed behind the scenes power struggle between the Fidelistas and the Raulistas? I doubt it.
So I guess it’s “Muerte”, “Death”, because it’s no longer “Patria”, “Fatherland”.
The revolution has died by its own hand-by suicide only it has decided to take the country with it.
So what does this mean for the long suffering Cubans stuck in the island? The only thing the revolution ever gave them was their birthright-being Cuban. Castro’s whole totalitarian farce revolved around Cuba’s sovereignty. All the scarcity, hunger and hardships were justified as sacrifices for Cuba’s sovereignty, for the “Patria” who always had the big, bad, Yankee wolf at the door huffing and puffing, eager to tear the house down and sacrifice the “Patria” at the altar of Capitalism. B.S., I know, but nationalistic B.S. nonetheless, designed to appeal to the Cuban psyche.
So what now? What are these people formerly known as Cubans supposed to sacrifice for now? Hugo Chavez? a Bolivarian Empire? The United Socialist States of Soviet Amerika? Is the “new man” that the revolution created so apathetic and materialistic that he no longer holds the “Patria” sacred? I doubt it.
If this travesty of integrating Cuba into Chavez’s Pan-American Federation goes through, it may very well act as a catalyst to unite the people formerly known as Cubans inside the island with the Exiles formerly known as Cubans living outside the island to put aside differences and fight for the common cause of Cuban sovereignty. For a flag, for a palm tree, for some red earth. That, we all have in common.
Again if you don’t get it, you never will and I’m sorry you don’t.
01 November 2007
Well, apparently for taking Raul Castro at his word. (something you should never do with a communist, btw). On October 28th, in La Habana, a group of young people decided to comment on the state of affairs in Cuba. Now, being young, hip, fashion conscious and brought up to be Che–like revolutionaries, the young rebels did what young rebels do these days. No, they didn’t burn cars like they do in Paris. No, they didn’t throw rocks like they do in Palestine. No, they didn’t whine about it on their myspace page like they do in the States. And, no, they didn’t take to the hills as guerrillas like Fidel, Raul and Che urge the youths in other countries to do. They donned wristbands and took to the streets! Innocuous and pitiful as far as protests go, wouldn’t you think?
But, not in Cuba. In Raul’s New Land of Pragmatism and Open Debate wristbands are deemed too dangerous to be tolerated. You see, the wristbands worn by the youngsters had a message on them. A one word message: “CAMBIO”, (change). The youths were wearing the harmless bracelets to comment on the just completed municipal elections. Now, isn’t that what elections area all about- Change? And aren’t they in fact agreeing with interim President Raul Castro, who himself, has promised structural “changes”-Cambio?
No one would be happier than me if Raul Castro decided to change the course of the Cuban nightmare-volution and transition the country into some semblance of a democracy, (I'm not even all that picky). But arresting young people for wearing wristbands and for complaining about much needed societal change, something that Raul himself has said is needed, is not a very promising start. Maybe if they had worn wristbands with “Inertia” or “Stagnation”, they wouldn’t have invited the regime’s wrath. I doubt it. The regime isn’t against any statement per say, it is against the individual and his right to express himself.
But, what I find promising is that the regime that boasts about standing up to the Empire and repeatedly volunteers its citizenry for all out war against the invading, wristband wearing, annexationist Americans is frightened of innocuous wristbands with the word “cambio”-(change). It doesn’t say much or for its seriousness in making the changes that Raul has promised the Cuban people to improve their everyday lives and thus for the confidence that the regime has in its ability to survive the “succession”.
I have always resisted the temptation of wearing one of those trendy silicone wristbands that support one cause or another or make some sort of profound statement because I’m much too cool to wear my heart out on my wrist, but given the irritation that the one-word wristbands caused the insecure Cuban regime, I’m looking into making my own version of the “CAMBIO” wristband and making an exception. We should all be wearing “CAMBIO” wristbands in solidarity to the Cuban youth who risked so much with such a simple and harmless act.
Republican Sen. Mel Martinez and his Cuban-American counterpart, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat, put aside partisan differences today to blast a common foe: Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
From the Senate floor, the two displayed small white plastic bracelets with the word, "Cambio" (change) etched on them.
Here's a picture with the "CAMBIO" wristbands worn by Sen.Martinez and fellow Peacock Sen. Menendez on the Senate floor.
We need to get these in mass quantities and sport them like the counter revolutionary fashionistas that we are!
30 October 2007
29 October 2007
Castro’s death could be destabilizing to the island since he has been the decision maker for nearly fifty years. Experts on Cuba warned of as many as 500,000 Cubans taking to the seas to escape a destabilized Cuba.
The administration seemed to place fears of a mass exodus, “another Mariel”, before the potential freedom of the Cuban people. The fear, to me, seemed unfounded and unbecoming of a great Nation like the United States. The fear of a wave of refugees hitting US shores struck me as an irrational reaction- like paranoia or a phobia – so much so, that I started calling the phenomenon “Cubanophobia”. After all, could the United States be afraid of the liberty and the pursuit of happiness, its core value? Hardly. Therefore, it must be Cubans they fear or loathe.
With operation Vigilant Sentry, the administration set out to prepare for a potential mass exodus from Cuba once Fidel died. Clearly, any mass exodus from Cuba would have to be “allowed” by the Cuban communist regime. Nothing happens in a concentration camp unless the warden allows it. Vigilant Sentry was, in my opinion, also a warning to the regime (and us exiles) that the United States would consider another Mariel as an attack on its sovereignty and would respond accordingly-with Marines. The shortest route from point C (communism) to point D (democracy).
The United States also made it clear that it would not mind dealing with a Castro-less provisional military junta not comprised of the current leadership that would promise elections somewhere in the future.
Not surprisingly, I found the following quote in the President’s speech quite interesting. Since it is the second time that he uses Havel’s “freedom before stability” axiom, I take it that the Bush administration is willing to have some instability in the Cuban freedom process and may be even willing to be the instigator of such instability when Castro finally dies. This is somewhat of a departure to the day after Castro transferred power to his brother Raul when he urged Cubans on both sides of the puddle to stay at home.
Life will not improve for Cubans under their current system of government. It will not improve by exchanging one dictator for another. It will not improve if we seek accommodation with a new tyranny in the interests of "stability." America will have no part in giving oxygen to a criminal regime victimizing its own people. We will not support the old way with new faces, the old system held together by new chains. The operative word in our future dealings with Cuba is not "stability." The operative word is "freedom."
The administration has not abandoned its hope for a peaceful transition presided by the current military altogether. By appealing to the military and security forces not to use force against the Cuban citizens, Bush opens the door for the military to facilitate a transition to the inevitable regime change. I believe that this is the first time President Bush has used the Chirino axiom “Nuestro dia ya viene llegando”:
Some of you are members of the Cuban military, or the police, or officials in the government. You may have once believed in the revolution. Now you can see its failure. When Cubans rise up to demand their liberty, they -- they -- the liberty they deserve, you've got to make a choice. Will you defend a disgraced and dying order by using force against your own people? Or will you embrace your people's desire for change? There is a place for you in the free Cuba. You can share the hope found in the song that has become a rallying cry for freedom-loving Cubans on and off the island: "Nuestro Dia Ya Viene Llegando." Our day is coming soon.
25 October 2007
I haven’t had a chance to watch the speech or fully study the transcript.
Yesterday Dubya became a Cuban Blogger and like much my diatribes and rants, his words are already being received with a big yawn.
That’s a shame.
The President laid out the Cuban reality in terms that even academics and journalists could understand.
He invited the world community to join in our struggle for freedom. He reminded Cubans that the Cuba belongs to them and warned the regime’s operatives to get on the right side of history:
Will you defend a disgraced and dying order by using force against your own people? Or will you embrace your people's desire for change? There is a place for you in the free Cuba. You can share the hope found in the song that has become a rallying cry for freedom-loving Cubans on and off the island: "Nuestro Dia Ya Viene Llegando." Our day is coming soon.
But the campaign to dismiss his call has already begun:
President George W. Bush's plea that the world community contribute to a fund to promote democratic reform in Cuba likely will fall on deaf ears, and may actually strengthen the hand of its ailing leader Fidel Castro, experts said.
Welcome to our nightmare, Mr. Bush.
23 October 2007
It’s probably due to Cubans according to Lt. John Humphreys of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Most of the boats are being stolen in South Florida. South Florida = Cubans, therefore it obviously has to be the Cubans’ fault. With this kind of crystal clear logic, Mr. Humphreys could become a Cuba Expert.
Never mind that there are more boats in South Florida, Never mind that there is more affluence. No it’s the Cubans:
One reason for the increase in those thefts is that "go fast" boats are being stolen for use in smuggling drugs or would-be immigrants. Ten to 20 percent of the boats seized in smuggling busts are stolen, Humphreys said. And such activity is shifting toward Broward and Palm Beach counties, where it could alter the nature of boat theft.
"Instances of migrant smuggling and Cuban trafficking," Humphreys said, "are working their way north along the coast."
I like that: “Cuban trafficking.”. It makes me feel so illicit, so exotic, so adictive.
Lemme traffic myself back to work now before my high wears off.
22 October 2007
"The President intends to emphasize the importance of democracy for the Cuban people and the role the international community can play in Cuba's transition, by insisting on free speech, free assembly, free and competitive elections, and the release of all political prisoners," Fratto said.
Great! The international community! Now I feel better. That would be the same international community that sat there with arms crossed while hundreds of thousands were being slaughtered in Rwanda and are repeating their good deeds as we speak in Darfur.
The administration has been “insisting” on democracy for Cuba since the Cuban-American vote delivered Florida’s electoral votes to President Bush in the contested 2000 election and has stepped up its rhetoric since Fidel Castro guts exploded way back in July of 2006. At that time the US “insisted” that it would not accept a transition from one dictator (Fidel) to another (Raul), yet there’s Raul promising everyone a glass of milk and presiding over “elections”… pfft.
Other than talking a good game, the Bush administration’s one real tangible move was to tighten travel and remittance restrictions from the US to Cuba driving a wedge into an exile community once seemingly monolithic in its opposition to Cuba’s communist regime. A move that may have a heavy political price come this election cycle for the GOP.
The other action from the Bush administration that also stands out vis a vis Cuba, is its insistence on zealously enforcing the wet foot/dry foot policy-to the point of shooting at escapees. It has also used the “mass exodus” bogeyman to show its border control muscle- showing the anti immigrant (Hispanic) crowd that it can protect them from hoards of invading Cuban refugees- err I mean migrants- with operations like Vigilant Sentry and the building of tent cities in Guantanamo Bay.
So lets see what words of wisdom Dubya has for us on Wednesday. I’m not too optimistic.
The new initiatives are reported to be:
1) As already mentioned encouraging the international community to seek a transition to democracy-perhaps with some incentive$, and
2) More aid to dissidents inside Cuba - authorized by Helms-Burton.