Gratitude and request


I don’t want to let the days go by and continue the ingratitude of not speaking of the “selfless companions” who monitor the entrance to my building.  They, with their disproportionate sacrifice in the last weeks, have managed to limit the acts of vandalism which are so common on these fourteen floors.  No one has stolen the clothes from the clothesline; we haven’t found any human excrement adorning the stairs; no exhibitionist has shown his member to some startled teenager; the dominoes table that generates so many shouts has been suspended until further notice and even the vagabond dogs have avoided doing their thing down there.  All this is thanks to the rotating shifts that two disciplined members of the Ministry of the Interior maintain—to keep an eye on me—in the lobby of my concrete block.

I just wanted, along with my infinite gratitude, to ask them, please, for a little blind eye for the illegal vendors.  We live through the same number of days without anyone—not even a distributor of cockroach poison—shouting their wares in our hallways.  I feel I’m to blame for the commercial strangulation in which the other 143 apartments are plunged, and I have to do something to relieve them.  So, I ask them, these soldiers of MININT lying in wait for their prey—look the other way when it comes to food.  This doesn’t have to become the siege of Lisbon!


  1. Traffic on the English Generation Y site

    Some readers have asked about how many hits this English translation site gets. We are now consistently topping 2,000 hits a day. I will keep you apprised as the numbers change and, presumably, rise.

    Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting.

  2. First…The disparity of the picture’s that come out of Cuba by the goverment and those by others, leads one to think Cuba is indeed TWO Countries. When one puts tidbits togeather then it becomes a sentence, a paragraph and then a page. Best to Yoani, posters and to a free Cuba.

  3. This is the sad truth that so many of us Cubans have to endure on a daily basis.

    Then you have to ask yourself where are the voices of our “suppose” Latin American brothers when it comes to denounce the suppression of our human rights?

    More cynical are the hordes of heads of States from all over the world, countries like Spain, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, etc. These brainless people instead they come to praise a brutal system and ignore the call for help of hundreds of dissidents.

    One day Cuba will be free and we will have to stop and reflect when it comes to choose our friends.

  4. maybe your being paranoid…..has for where are the voices there gone …every one is affraid in cuba..afraid off having there freedom….stand up dont swimm to miami….life is worse there….u will have to get up and go to work …cuban are not use to that…cubans that leave there country have no balls.stay on ur island and stand up ….for your rights ……if there was no rum in cuba there will be a riot in no time…………its your country do something iff u want a change but don t be affraid.

  5. Friendly English Translator dice: 15 Febrero 2009 a las 10:07

    Traffic on the English Generation Y site

    Some readers have asked about how many hits this English translation site gets. We are now consistently topping 2,000 hits a day. I will keep you apprised as the numbers change and, presumably, rise.

    Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting.

    WOW!!!! 2000 hits a day!!!!!
    I can hear the dictatorship’s knees shaking!!!!!!

  6. I’m reading Henning Mankell’s crime novel The Dogs of Riga right now. A portion of it is set in Latvia in the early nineties, just after the Berlin wall came down. The atmosphere is strangely similar to that conveyed in this post, enough so that to borrow Mankell’s phrase, I would call those two selfless guards “The Dogs of Havana”. Good luck to your neighbors and their food vending. We must hope that their enterprise is not ‘significant’ enough to get them into trouble.

  7. My thoughts will be with Yoani tomorrow as they try to bring out the book. These men that stand outside this woman’s apartment day after day, what is it that they think they are accomplishing? Do they feel as foolish as these pictures make them appear? They are not men – they are cowards attempting to intimidate a woman who speaks her mind, heart, and soul!

  8. #6 – Carbo Servia — I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic or serious. 2000 hits a day is a lot of course, most bloggers would die for that… but… it’s only about 60,000 a month… the spanish language site is getting upwards of 4 MILLION a month… it gets almost as many COMMENTS a day as this English site gets hits.

    But of course the english language news doesn’t cover Cuba like the spanish language news. And I do think it’s pretty impressive that 2,000 english speakers a day check up on Yoani. OK, I know some of us visit more than once… so maybe 1,800 or 1,900 different people a day.

  9. #4, eh couillon, yeah, it’s just a figment of her imagination, man. You tell her. You tell the ***** off. Good job!

  10. Andy dice: 16 Febrero 2009 a las 01:13

    #6 – Carbo Servia — I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic or serious. 2000 hits

    It could be a lot more if we all continue to come here and write our opinions. All those 2000 visitors wants learn more about the problems of Cuba, Latinamerica, etc ….. I guess!!

  11. Today a I read a comment in the spanish page that suggested to Yoani be kindly and give some cold drinks to those poor guys outside her home…… jajajajaja….. It’s a very good idea!!!!!

  12. #13 Or maybe bring the domino table back outside and challenge them to a game… but… they probably don’t play with skinny little girls (or big fat girls… or females of any kind)…

  13. memomachine dice: 15 Febrero 2009 a las 19:01


    @ Carbo

    “A strong, rich and independent Cuba would be a strategical problem to USA.”

    *LAUGH* Do you really believe that?

    I’ve already wrote why I am sure of that……………… can you give any reason why you don’t think so?????

  14. Carbo, that comment suggests to me only that these people haven’t experienced the police state or are supporters of the police state. Those two aren’t like the Maytag man delivering a fridge on a hot and humid day. :idoh:

  15. I, too, thought it amusing when Chilean President Michelle Blanchet attended the book festival at which all interesting of significant tomes were prohibited. Quite why such democratically elected leaders feel it necessary to make obeisance to the superannuated tyrant in Havana eludes me and, of course, she maundered-on about the supposed “blockade.” One wonders how she would react if Obama started trying to dictate trade relations between her country and, say, Bolivia.
    And, characteristically, Marquez was also on hand to celebrate Castro’s attempts to intellectually cripple the Cuban people at another festival, this time of puerile propaganda films.
    Good luck with the book, Yoani!
    (Incidentally, translator, I think you must mean “excrement” rather than “excrescence” :-))

  16. #17 — re “excrescence” vs “excrement.” I’m sure Yoani meant “excrescence”… little human growths that jump off people’s bodies as they climb (and climb and climb and climb — we haven’t yet heard that the elevator is working again) the stairs. The people have to stand it, but their growths don’t. So they abandon their hosts and lodge in the corners of the stairwells.

    OK JUST JOKING… you’re right and thanks as always!

  17. TeeHee! My own fingers often work faster than what’s left of my brain (I’m going for an “express” stair-lift/elevator so I can get to the top before I forget why I want to be there :-)) and I meant “interesting OR significant.”
    Congratulation on keeping a sense of humour!

  18. I agree that Yoanni should approach these misguided individuals and offer them whatever she can share from her fridge. Teach them some civility and the strength of peaceful dialogue. Not that they’d necessarily accept any overtures, since they’ve been taught like trained seals, to wait for the next command from their trainer. But at least, unlike the seals, they hopefully have a frontal lobe, which they might put to some good use.

  19. #19 – I’m here to tell you… there’s not much left of my brain at all. The hardest part of translating for me now is thinking of the English words when I know we have perfectly nice ones for simple concepts that are expressed differently in Spanish, but they just won’t come to me. For example in this one it might be something like “vista gorda”… I know exactly what she means but I have to look all over the house for where I left “blind eye.” Oh well. Most days I still know my own name, so that’s something. Most days.

  20. To English Translator:

    Having worked with legal contracts, I know what it’s like looking for the right word or phrase and not finding it in one’s memory bank. One then has to research, which is fine but not if you have to do it every time you start a new paragraph. It used to help me to go for a long walk and return to the office.

    You have my admiration and that of others, and Yoanni and the rest of us are fortunate to have you.

  21. #22 — You are RIGHT about the walks. Fortunately in my “real” life I work for myself and can do exactly that. Usually I let the ‘problems’ stack up until about mid afternoon and then I go for a long walk with a little fistful of note cards. While I walk, without even thinking about it, the solutions to all my ‘problems’ come to me… I go back to the office, pull out the note cards, and finish my work for the day. Of course with the translating I’m trying to feed youse guys’s hungry eyes in real time — still, there are the COMPLETELY brain dead days when I just have to let the translation rest for an hour or so, go do something else, and when I’m not thinking about it the words and phrases come to me. But seriously… I have this problem in English (my native language) not just in translating… the nouns in particular seem to have gone on vacation! (Or maybe retired… they don’t even come back!)

    The good thing is I have all of you. Some day, in place of the small and much-welcomed corrections, the loud chorus will rise: STOP! STOP! STOP! and I’ll know it’s time to pass the translating on to someone else!

  22. Sickboy said “I laughed so hard at those pictures… These “undercover” minit guys are really subtle aren’t they?”

    Yes! They are so use to inmunity, to do as they want, that they dont even feel they are doing something “ilegal” agains human rigths. They are dinosaurs…
    Its really decadent


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