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.
19 October 2007
Since this month is “Hispanic Heritage Month”, thanks to that Cuban hero, Ronald Reagan, we’re having a “Hispanic Luncheon”. Oh Joy!
I’m technically not Hispanic, but since I am Cuban that makes me Hispanic-go figure.
So, the nice lady from personnel asks me if I’m bringing in a dish for the Hispanic Luncheon and I don’t want to so I tell her I might bring in some guarapo-cane juice- and she grimaces. Then I suggest bringing in some Materva-bien fria sabe a sidra-and she gets annoyed.
Then, the not so nice lady anymore from personnel suggests that I bring in some items from Cuba and I regretfully inform her that I wasn’t able to bring any mementos on the boat since we only had room for water, shark repellent and my little sister and even though I would have gladly traded some trinkets for my little sister, my mother wouldn’t let me. For the record, I was just messing with the nice personnel lady-I’m an only child and I came on a plane. She sighs.
Undaunted and in retaliation, she suggests I put together a cultural exhibit. “That’s a great Idea!,” I say. “ I can show people what life in Cuba is like” “I can make little food rationing cards” “Limit them to half a spoon of whatever there is” “Make them wait in line for an hour-in the Sun-while they listen to a Fidel Castro speech” “And if they complain, they get thrown in the supply closet” Panic.
“Do you have any Cuban Music?” I was going to say “Yeah! I Got Porno Para Ricardo”, but told her I could probably get my hands on a Celia Cruz CD.
Hey, when you learn how to get around one of the most repressive systems on Earth, getting out of participating in the “Hispanic Luncheon” is “panetela”.
18 October 2007
Open an IKEA.
Thats all it takes for society to collapse.
We get IKEA to open a store in Guanabacoa. We make offers of free chairs , free t-shirts and set up a ferry from Miami for the grand opening.
On the day of the grand opening. An invasion. Millions of people with nothing better to do than flock to IKEA grand openings will descend on Havana.
The regime will have to provide security-especially to keep the Cubans out of the IKEA-Chaos.
Pandemonium. Collapse. Free T-shirts.
One of these stores opened up down the road from me a-ways- that's how they say down the street in Davie.
I can't get home. When I finally got home. I'm trapped. Chaos, pandemonium, societal collapse, cop cars, freaks, free T-shirts, free chairs! Exiled, AGAIN.
I could have walked over to the IKEA to see what the fuss is all about, but I have my pride.
I stayed home to watch Maria Elvira. She wasn't there. Bummer! Some guy whose name I can't pronounce was.
Then, Maria Elvira came on - via satellite- from LA. She was wearing an evening gown. I'm glad I didn't go to IKEA!
Anyways, to make a long story, longer. The guy whose name I can't pronounce had the "mother" of the little girl they want to send back to Cuba.
NOW she says she wants her daughter to stay in the US. NOW she has realized that this would be best for her daughter. NOW she says that she's willing to testify to that. NOW she says that the father's lawyers fabricated evidence and lied in court. NOW she says that the father's family is politically well connected in Cuba and she was afraid not to support his bid for custody. NOW she says that they told her Joe Cubas was an evil person who became a millionaire by participating in human trafficking. NOW she claims that she was hoping the girls father, once in Miami, would have stayed. NOW she says that the girl's father only wants the little girl as another political trophy for Fidel. NOW she admits to having committed perjury.
I should have gone to IKEA.
17 October 2007
Just about every quote from every Cuba expert begins with “when Castro dies”.
Cuba’s future is tied to that man’s death. His being alive represents Cuba being stuck in the 1950’s. Fifties cars, fifties buildings fifties ideas and an economy based on the fifteen-fifties.
Everyone instinctively, if not rationally realizes that Castro a roadblock to progress. During his reign, nothing has been accomplished – except misery and repression. Only “when Castro dies” there’s a glimmer of hope.
Everybody is just holding their breath waiting for his death to see what’s going to happen. I look like a Smurf myself.
Even his protégé, Hugo Chavez, eulogizes him.
The only ones in denial about the Comandante’s mortality is the regime. His illness-the physical one-has been deemed a state secret-commenting on it can mean treason- a death sentence. (Commenting on his mental illness has been outlawed, with the same penalty as well, for the last 48 yrs). Commenting on his mortality is not allowed.
16 October 2007
Truly, this has to be a nightmare.
And speaking of nightmares... Am I now a Venecuban exile or a Cubazuelan refugee?!?!?
A man so crass and so unpolished that he even makes communists, who have no shame, blush. Amazing!
In one tape, Chavez laments that he won’t be able to travel abroad with Fidel like they did when they went to Che Guevara’s birthplace in Argentina. Because “life is life” –aluding to Castro’s anticipated demise-making a nearby embarrassed and panicked Ramiro Valdez break into a cold sweat and mumble the official party line “tenemos a Fidel para rato”-“we have Fidel for a while” while he wiped the nervous sweat off his brow.
Later at the Che Memorial in Santa Clara, he looked for the infamous step where Fidel tripped, breaking a knee, saying that Fidel had warned to watch the step. Maybe he misunderstood the tyrant, who might have told him to watch his step. But anyway, Hugo’s bringing up the unspeakable episode where Fidel tripped and fell- falling is for mortals, not Fidel- prompted Carlos Lage to remind him that it wasn’t the spot where Fidel fell but rather the spot where Fidel got up. Ah, the Communist Dialectic. Damned Hegel.
Then, he dropped the bomb. He went on to reveal his post-Castro plans for Cuba. He laid out his atomic plans for Venecuba, with Castro’s blessing, one presumes:
Venezuela and Cuba "can form a confederation of republics, two republics in one, two countries in one", Mr Chávez said.
So there you have it, the Napoleonic or is it Bolivarian President of Venezuela has a plan to buy, I mean annex, Cuba and absorb it into a “federation”. Nice!
Meanwhile, the Cuban nomenklatura lead by Raul, just sat there and smiled. These are the same folks that have been wailing and warning about an imminent US invasion and annexation of the forsaken island for 50 years-and they didn’t say a word-other than to say how much Fidel and 11 million Cubans love Chavez’s money-I mean Chavez.
15 October 2007
WOW! Fidel live. Talking to the Cuban people. Wasn’t he supposed to be moribund?
But don’t get too excited. For the press covering Cuba, a live appearance isn’t exactly what a live appearance would be in the rest of the world.
Castro’s “appearance” was by phone. Frankly, I’m not too impressed. Al Gore, Louis Farrakhan, Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson and even Fidel himself have called the Babalu Radio Hour. Live.
So, after not addressing the Cuban people for over 15 months, the dictator calls Hugo. Instead of talking about Cuba, he talks about spreading revolution, (read oppression, poverty and despair), all over Latin America:
''The world is full of Vietnams,'' Castro said, ``in the face of a tyrannical power that is exercised over the planet.''
Referring to the famous Che Guevara quote. Castro added that now, 40 years after the t-shirt icon was executed, his ideas are finally blossoming.
Castro, ever the optimist, also warned of the apocalypse:
he warned that the world was, ''very close -- very, very, very close'' to a nuclear war.
He didn’t elaborate if this is because of the Iranian efforts to develop a nuclear weapon and bring about their version of “the final solution”.
Castro didn’t comment on the economic “debate” that is sweeping the island nor did he come up with any ideas to save the revolution, again. But, I admit it might have been a tad uncomfortable to bring up the failing and dysfunctional Cuban economy to the recovered comandante since his brilliant ideas were the ones that caused all of Cuba’s problems in the first place.
Chavez’s show also aired a video of Chavez’s visit with his idol. In the video, The Bolivarian Renaissance Man, sings, presents Fidel a painting that he painted himself and even prays to his mentor Fidel:
He treated the Cuban leader with a mixture of gentle humor and semi-religious reverence, intoning at one point a revolutionary version of the beginning of The Lord's Prayer: ``Father Fidel, our father who is, and always will be, in the earth, the sky and the waters.''
I hope that Cuba resists the temptation of airing Chavez’s show over the Cuban airwaves every week.
What a “Fresh New Hell” (as Marta puts it) that would be!
14 October 2007
12 October 2007
It’s a tale of two houses.
I, personally, being from Misuri, Cuba, don't like making inconvenient assumptions and don't automatically believe everything I'm told, but this e-mail seems to have been verified as authentic by Urban Legend busting Snopes.com.
HOUSE # 1:Wow.
A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern "snow belt," either. It's in the South.
HOUSE # 2:
Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets
goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.
HOUSE # 1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.
HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as "the Texas White House," it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.
The obvious conclusion is that Gore should have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Hypocrisy. Wait! Never mind, they euphemistically call that prize the Nobel Peace Prize now.
Secondly, Dubya is a little too extreme. What’s up with purifying waste water in underground purifying tanks? Too bad he isn’t as committed to wiping out terrorism as he is to saving the planet. By the time the Islamofacists and their allies get through with it, it may not be worth saving.
11 October 2007
Then I saw the pictures. Pictures of “fritas”. –with what Marta calls angel hair fries! The aroma seemed to seep out of the screen and go straight to my brain.
I don’t know if Marta is a hypnotist or what, but in her post she swore that the fritas were a time machine. And I can’t tell you if it was the imaginary smell of the pictures on my screen or the subliminal words, but there I was in a bus in Havana with my parents and my aunt.
Back then, there were still real buses in Havana and they smelled of the worst unfiltered diesel fumes. They must have put extra sulfur in that diesel to give it that special burned rotten egg –diesel from a Havana bus smell. My stomach is turning right now from both remembering the diesel fumes and from nostalgia. I swear. “But that’s not important right now.”
So anyway, we were in this bus and I’m nauseous from the fumes. I don’t remember where we were or where we were coming from but I know we were going home. My aunt was a very street wise and astute woman and she ordered us off the bus. So off we went.
You see, there this huge “molote” (group of people) on a street corner. And a huge line. The people were in line buying something-food. Food! Even better – take-out food- the type you didn’t have to use the ration card for, This was a miracle. It meant that we could eat whatever they were selling and save one day of food. This kind of thing didn’t happen everyday.
It was hot and it was getting dark and I could still smell the sulfur in my nostrils only now it was mixed with a sweet greasy smell I had never smelled before. Fritas! Whatever they were, they must be excellent because people were desperate to sink their teeth into one, Or maybe they were just hungry. In those days there was a lot of that going around.
So we get within two or three people from the window. Now, the whole time you were in one of these interminable lines for food, you always ran the risk that they would run out of whatever they were selling and you would have stood in line, for hours, for nothing, so I was nervous. I was a worrywart of a child. I worried a lot, but then again I was a Cuban gusano- I had reason to worry. This time, we would be successful. They would not run out of the greasy (more like rancid) patties they were calling fritas. But as always, there was a problem.
They would only let you buy a frita if there was a person physically there to eat it. And OF COURSE, there was a one-per person limit. The problem was that there were four of us and five mouths to feed because my grandmother was at home and we wanted to bring her a dammed rancid frita, but we couldn’t.
My aunt, the streetwise one, (my parents are saps), pulled a kid out of the crowd to stand in as the fifth person so we could buy five freaking fritas and take one home to my poor grandmother.
The omnipotent frita man behind the barred window decided to exert his revolutionary authority and deny the fifth frita due to headcount fraud. He knew the stand-in from the neighborhood.
Under normal circumstances my father would have forced fed Mr. Omnipotent frita man the four freaking fritas in reverse-that is to say, the next day he would regurgitate them. But we had to sheepishly accept the frita man’s headcount decision and go home. After all, four fritas were better than none. And it wasn’t worth risking an impending get out of hell free card over four greasy patties that probably didn’t even taste good when they were made the month before.
It was a quiet bus ride home. Even my aunt didn’t talk, Two miracles in one afternoon! On the bright side, the potent greasy smell of the fritas drowned out the smell of the sulfured up Havana bus diesel.
When we got home, we proceeded to tell my grandmother the joyous news: We got food! Four fritas and five people. They were getting ready to split the greasy, smelly loot when my dad chimed in “I’m not even hungry anymore” and walked away if a Cuban father huff.
The man looked miserable. Glassy eyed and pissed because he had to swallow his pride and be emasculated by the revolution AGAIN, the old man walked into the darkened living room with his shoulders slouching and his hands twitching perhaps telling the frita man off in his head. But, who cares? Let’s eat!
I took one bite. One bite! I could not eat. Don’t be silly, not because of my father. The Frita was horrible. I started crying. I was threatened, but unlike my father, I had my pride, I would not be forced fed fritas!
Eventually they made me a mayonnaise sandwich. (my favorite to this day) For some reason there was always mayonnaise around.
I don’t know what ever happened to that greasy, smelly, revolutionary frita with one bite, but I can assure you, my father didn’t touch it.
In 20 minutes of conversation, Gloria Estefan has mentioned Fidel Castro's name 17 times.
You know, Fidel took away some things from Cuba, but our music is something we treasure," she says.
In my neighborhood, Marianao, that mean$ :
"We have neglected it for a long time, and we even needed an American like the guy from Buena Vista Social Club [Ry Cooder], to tell us how amazing our music is."
10 October 2007
The truth is what it is, it is not an opinion, Mr. Colmes.
No Bruce Springsteen, no Dixie Chicks, no..well, I haven’t got all day. There would probably be only country music. I’m used to that in Davie, but most folks might not like that.
That’s obviously what it’s like in Cuba. Castro owns the recording studio, the factory that makes the CD, the plastic used to make the CD…everything…including the artist. There’s only one listener that counts and you play what he wants or you don’t eat. End of story.
But technology has caught up to despotism. Control and censorship are not as cut and dry as it used to be. Anyone with a computer and a few hundred bucks can record and put out an album. No help form Fidel.
And that is what is happening. Artists in Cuba are taking advantage of the technology to express their dissatisfaction with the regime. A musical revolution is blossoming. And with today’s computers and digital cameras everyone is getting the message.
Of course there’s Gorky-poet of the counter-totalitarian culture. Along with his band, Porno Para Ricardo, he fuels the dissatisfied youth of Cuba with hope for a future full of free expression-even if its slightly explicit!
There’s a new controversial video by Moneda Dura pointing out the challenges of communist Cuba. Produced, recorded and now banned by the regime (Hey, isn’t that what Raul wants? Ideas, debate with bravery? ….like that’s going stop anyone from seeing it nowadays.
Then, there’s what some are calling “El Grito de Varela”. Carlos Varela, a Dylanesque troubadour whose lyrics have always been subject to interpretation-if not blantantly anti-Castro, during a concert in the central Cuban city of Santa Clara on October 3rd, stunned a crowd of 50,000 by dedicating a song to exiled Cuban baseball players Duque Hernandez and Kendry Morales. Varela then stated “at the top of his lungs” “Human freedom can never be half-way. Freedom is unique, and you either have it or you don’t. Because if its only halfway, then you really don’t have it.” Not much left to interpretation there.
The new revolution-it’s on youtube, on pirate satellite dishes, on computers, on CD’s, on DVD’s, on blogs. It’s information. Join it. It’s easy. Just pass it along.
09 October 2007
In any event, I have been subjected to the Che myth way too long there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.
Yesterday, I realized that the regime was “celebrating” Che’s death on the 8th. I even read one of the “Blogger in Chief’s” reflections on his old “buddy”. In Fidel’s reflection he writes:
"I make a halt in my daily struggle to bow my head in respect and gratitude to the exceptional combatant who fell on October 8th, forty years ago"
Huh? That doesn’t sound right. I thought he was killed on the 9th and I start doing searches. Sure enough he was executed on the 9th, not the 8th. I’m thinking is Castro senile? Are this people nuts?
Then it dawns on me. I guess that the “official truth” in Cuba is or must have been that Che wasn’t captured. That he was killed in battle, not taken alive, like any revolutionary worth his salt, like Fidel wanted him to. Like the Bolivians first claimed. So again the facts are changed to protect the guilty. It becomes dogma. I guess once you revise history, you can’t re-revise it, can you?
So yesterday they “celebrate” the feast day of Che, Martyr of the Revolution, Cult of the Absurd, perpetuating yet another lie in their anti-church – to put it in their terms- more opiate for the masses. Only by now, the masses are immune to the opiate. By now, the narcotic only seems to work on the international press and well to do rebels without a clue.
08 October 2007
The anti-church must have the same practice, since the martyrdom of one of Satan’s own, Che, is to be celebrated tomorrow.
The problem with celebrating the Feast Day for an anti-saint like Che is that there’s nothing positive that can be celebrated. Even the anti-church of Marxism can’t “celebrate” Che’s deeds while on Earth. They can’t celebrate his role as Castro’s “Supreme Prosecutor” (executor), or his economic plans, or his guerilla theories, or his blood thirsty writings. After all, it needs to attract more converts. A real dilemma.
So we get treated to the mythical Che. The revolutionary and idealist Che. The motorcycle riding – medical student-pre mass murderer Che. Not the deeds but the ideals.
So nothing makes me happier than news stories that tell us that Che’s influence in the country most affected by his thirst for violence, his erroneous economic theories and where children are brought up to be like him, is waning because Cubans are rejecting his ideals-the myth created by the anti-church about him.
Then, there’s this nice little present on the eve of Che’s martyrdom. An article in today’s Sun Sentinel foretelling the “free-marketization” of Cuba.
Though it’s “certainly pretty to think so”, I’m more inclined to agree with this Cuban on the street:
"Honestly, I don't expect major changes," said Juan, a 44-year-old set builder, who did not want to give his full name. At least, the meetings give the public an escape valve. We talk. They listen. Nothing changes."
05 October 2007
A friend struck up a conversation with me yesterday to ask me if I thought Raul was going to “change” things in Cuba.
I said “yes, the newspaper articles”
For all the talks about changes I’ll I have seen is words no real actions.
For those of us who are Cuban, when we hear the regime talk about making changes to improve the lives of everyday Cubans, we hear “el cuento de la buena pipa”. It’s the same never ending story they’ve been telling for fifty years.
Obviously, now that Fidel is almost out of the way, it’s the perfect time to tell the story again.
The “new” leader, Raul, is now going to tell his version of the fairy tale.
The new guy, the reformer, the pragmatic. Where has he been for the last 50 yrs? In an undisclosed location? On the moon? The Soyuz space station? In a coma?-well maybe a drunken stupor.
The same people that are marketing Raul as the “new” reformer point to his prowess as the “old” manager of his older half-brother’s empire as proof of his more pragmatic and less radical management style. So while he was managing everything behind the scenes while Fidel strategerized ways of making the Cuban people’s life a little more miserable each day-all in the name of revolutionary sacrifice and austerity-pfft, Raul made it all run inefficiently and unproductively.
Well, some will argue that Raul was really a proponent of change, but didn’t have any sway over his half-brother’s despotic leadership. And now, that he’s in charge, we’ll see the real Raul. Raul the leader not the Raul the cowering little half-brother who didn’t have the gumption to stick to his beliefs and stand up to Fidel in his 50 year orgy of economic and social destruction.
So Raul is either a really bad manager, a terrible leader who couldn’t even stand up to his older half-brother, or an integral part of the repressive regime and suffocating dysfunctional Cuban economic system.
I vote for all of the above.
04 October 2007
03 October 2007
People don’t want to hear the “C” word. When you use it, folks grimace. Change the subject. Anything but the “C” word.
Last night, on the news they had Judge Cohen, (whom I have unfortunately encountered in past dealings and who still sports the same bemused look), saying she wanted all parties in the “international custody dispute” that’s currently NOT gripping the Nation to avoid using the “C” word.
"C" Word Judge, Jeri B. Cohen
Judge Cohen doesn’t like the “C” word. Never has.
Hysterically, one of the parties in the law suit just happens to be named after the “C” word that Judge Cohen objects to: Cubas.
This is more like a Beavis and Butthead episode than a custody dispute. Complete with Butthead Look-Alike Magda Montiel Davis.
You can just picture Beavis and Butthead in the back of the courtroom every time that they address Joe Cubas saying “they said the “C” word, uh, heh..heh..heh”
02 October 2007
They looked around and saw unhappy, inefficient employees that just went through the motions.
Something was wrong with these people. “We give them a great place to work, health benefits, and the gift of our insight and guidance and still they are not successful” They surmised.
A consultant was hired.
He had meetings and presentations. He consulted.
His plan was for management to ask for the employee’s take on what the problems were and suggestions on they could be fixed.
The employees smirked and whined and complained some even went the extra mile and offered up some solutions. But they knew that the only solution was for management to manage and make the right decisions.
The consultant said, in a now infamous meeting, that management’s role was to ask the employees to help so that they would feel they were participating in the process and guide them into giving the right answers-what management wanted them to do. This way, the employees would have some illusion of ownership in the process for after all, they were not in the decision making class.
At the meeting I attended, I was presented with this grand scheme of dishonest manipulation. Since I had been assured by the consultant that all conversations were confidential, I told him just that- the new strategic plan is manipulative and dishonest.
Right after my meeting, the consultant went to the COO and complained that Gusano wasn’t a team player. When the COO told me about his conversation with the consultant, I explained to him that the strategic plan that the consultant was peddling was called communism and that I knew firsthand it didn’t work. That got a good laugh. I also told him that my family didn’t risk their lives to get me out of Castro’s Cuba first through AK-47 carrying thugs, then through shark infested waters (actually we came on a plane-but the shark infested waters thing has a more dramatic effect) so I could tow the party line. That got a bewildered and puzzled look.
Eventually, the consultant caused so much chaos and discord that the company severed its relationship with him and he went on, I’m sure to ruin other companies.
After reading all these articles on how Raul Castro is now urging Cubans to vent with “bravery and sincerity” about Cuba’s problems, I wonder if they hired Bob, the consultant. What am I thinking ! Bob was following their playbook.
Which reminds me of another “consultant.” This one was a nun. She asked us kids in CCD what was wrong with the world and who could fix it. All the kids raised their hands and after about an hour of taking suggestions and discussions, she handed us a little plastic mirror.
Raul Castro should hire Sister Marsha. She'll show him what's wrong.
01 October 2007
"we need to 'retronourish' ourselves with everyone's opinions”
How about opinions from the religious?
Religion, after all, plays an important role in “nourishing” the human spirit. Man cannot like by Marx alone.
A glimpse into the refusal of the Castro regime to allow religious freedom can be gleamed from this article by Ray Sanchez, from this Sun Sentinel.
I have, in the past, railed on Cuba’s Catholic Church because of its less than proactive advocacy for freedom in general and some specific acts of apparent collaboration with the regime.
I’ll refrain from judging my church this time around. As commenter Fidel-Pro Democracy once pointed out, the church has managed to survive a fifty year onslaught of evil to minister to the faithful in a place where all but faith is lost, surviving as the only vestige of pre-Castro civil society.
Some excerpts from Sanchez’s article quoting Pedro Meurice a 75 year old retired archbishop from Santiago de Cuba:
No new churches have been built in Cuba since before the revolution. "The church
has serious difficulties with the repair and maintenance of its temples," Meurice said.
"In the end, we have not accomplished what we're entitled to; the Catholic Church has not been granted the right to evangelize and spread without fear of losing its religious freedom," Meurice said in a recent interview.
Meurice said: "Below the surface, very little has changed. While the state is no longer officially atheist, there is still only one party, the Communist Party."
Read the article HERE