Nostalgia for pizza

pizzas_santiago.jpg

It arrived in force in the seventies to break the grayness of the rationed market.  Amid the daily rice with beans, pizza invaded us with its novelty and its colors.  Each province built a pizzeria and created its own recipe, a source of dismay for any Mediterranean chef, but how captivating to the islanders.  Thick, with a lot of tomato and crispy edges, thus it was recorded in the minds of several generations of Cubans.

Then came the crisis of the nineties and the local Italian food places sold only an infusion of orange peel and cigars.  We were filled with nostalgia for the lasagna and spaghetti tasted in the “golden” decades of the Soviet subsidy.  The topic of food was inevitable when friends got together and, on that theme, pizza aroused the greatest longing.  When the pressure of hunger and discontent exploded in what was called the Rafter Crisis in August 1994, the government authorized self-employment.  From the hands of those enterprising purveyors the lost products returned, made with flour.

Many Cuban workers today depend on “street” pizza, sold by private hands.  They substitute pizza for the deplorable lunch served in their workplace.  However, for several months, supplies have been scarce in the family enterprises.  The prolonged raids against the informal market, a result of the crisis in the wake of the hurricanes, has strangled the food sellers.  Without the diversion of state resources, few could make it in self-employment where they can’t count on a wholesale market.  There are fears that “street” food will end up being sold only in convertible pesos and thus become inaccessible.  And so we have the joke going around: some people claim that, tired of so much adulteration, the pizza finally packed up and went home to Italy.

80 thoughts on “Nostalgia for pizza”

  1. Why is the government against family enterprises? And how does the state control all this? How many people are controling other people? Are there really no possibilities to be self-employed? Are all people working for the government? (To my surprise, I am the first. )

  2. Hola Meral!

    It does make you wonder, doesn’t it. It seems about 90% of the country must be engaged in watching and reporting … I’d say the other 10% but since they all report on each other… so I guess it’s everyone.

    My friend (not Cuban) who lived there for a while, told me that she knew a couple cops and when they took off their uniforms at the end of the day, they just relaxed and became like anyone else and bought everything on the black market (of course… because otherwise they would have starved to death).

  3. Hola Andy,

    Yes, I understandt that the cops have to eat like anyone else. But what I don’t understand is the fact that, altough they are starving for more and better food. They don’t change their behavior. Do cops earn more money? How
    are people rewarded for being a good controler? And do they also control their own family?

  4. @Meral: hi 😀
    And to answer your questions: If I remember correctly, Police and certain position in local CDRs will get coupons that will give them up to 75% at clothing store or any other government establishment as a form of bonus for doing a good job, they can be redeemed at certain times during the year. I knew someone who worked in a sugarcane processing factory over there and if her “shift” did above their quota of work that’s how they would be rewarded. Same goes for everyone there. Also I’m guessing that you get small favors and gratuities for turning people in over there.

    I’m afraid Yoani’s fear about the Pizza being sold in CUCs may be justified! I bought street pizza in spring of ’08 in Cuba and when I went back to the same vendor in the fall the price had almost doubled.

  5. Guys I guess is hard to understand if you are not Cuban.

    The government does not like anything that smells like capitalism and economic independence of its citizens from the state since that means that they may not be able to pressure or control this people or the people that work for them. Plus them having a business is an small proof of how this small time capitalist are able to solve problems quickly while their all powerful government sponsor socialistic pizzerias do not work as the should and their workers are lazy.

    It is very contrasting to see one finding solutions under rocks if at all and the other blaming the US embargo for it!

    Is one of the best examples of why the communist have fail and will always fail on economy.

  6. Once Mohama lift the embargo, sorry I meant to say Obama, there will be plenty pizza. Instead of the “golden” decades of the Soviet subsidy” mentioned above; it will be the “golden” decades of the USA subsidy”

    Meral, we can recount thousands of stories and you will never be able to understand the control unless you live there. They own you buddy.

  7. #6 I have been to Cuba… I have read ten gazillion books about Cuba… and I have read Yoani’s and the other desdecuba blogs for over a year now… and you’re right… the scariest thing is… I STILL just can’t imagine. It’s slowly slowly slowly sinking in but I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get there.

    Which in a way, is a good thing, because to any normal person… living like that SHOULD be unimaginable!

    But I can remember being a teenager myself and how fed up I was with the adult world and all the ways they tried to control me and how stupid they were and how they didn’t understand ANYTHING… and I think about how I felt then in a world where truly, everything was laid out at my feet for my enjoyment and all futures were possible for me… I think about that and I simply can’t imagine the feelings of young people in cuba, growing up in a straight jacket inside a prison. A real prison. A prison that’s never going to open the gates and a straightjacket that’s never going to be untied.

    In fact, it’s a testament to the basic will to survive that the young people of Cuba don’t simply launch themselves into the sea en masse and start swimming and sharks be damned.

  8. Meral dice: 10 Febrero 2009 a las 10:26
    000000000000000000000

    Here you have a synthesis about how works the efective control system in modern leftist dictatorships.

    First you polarize the society by creating 2 antagonistic poles. It’s easy create polarization. you have to say you will institute a dictatorship and automatically you will get a lot of enemies. Then you confiscate all private property and all kind business, small or big. Immediately you will have a violent reaction of the people. Then you reply instituting the terror. You will execute thousands of people, you will incarcerate hundred of thousands people, you will make emigrate millions of people, you will try to crash the opposite pole. You will continue the confiscation process until all the country enterprises (small or big) becomes the state property so the state becomes the only employer. It is very important the state becomes the only employer because in such way you will have control over all the population. At same time you will create poverty, it is very easy once the state owns all production sources, you only have to place all your supporters in charge of the confiscates enterprises. The most inefficient and incapable the supporter is the better for create poverty. Once you created a poor country and all your citizens are full of terror and in need of every single material things you will institute a Rewards-Punishment system. You going to reward your supporters letting them to survive in peace and sometimes giving them materials stimulus and you going to punish those who not love you by making them survive under harassment, in jail or exile…. if it is not enough you allways have the option of killing them, that’s it.
    You will keep this situation year after year, rewarding and punishing and you going to try involve your supporters in something called “revolutionary intransigence” what simply is to get involved in criminal acts. You will try your supporters get involved in criminal actions against your enemies. It is not too hard of getting. In the climax of all revolutions people get mad and does horrible things. But your success depend on your ability of making the people continue committing crimes after climax, don’t be worried you always will find people willing to do it. You will reward those already involved in crimes by letting them be member of the lowest power circle and in such way you will rise them from the absolute poverty to an intermediate stage of poverty, we can say a light poverty. They will be happy……. for a while.
    Once you have enough people involved in crimes that have been rose to the lower circle of power you will kick them out by the process known as “revolutionary purges”. A revolutionary purge is the expelling of the lower circle of power out all relationship with the upper circle of power. You will kick them out, what do you want them for??? They have to remain loyal to you, they are criminals, they are involved in all your crimes, they can’t do another thing than remain loyal to you. What you need now is to pick up another group of uninvolved supporters get them involved and incorporate to the lower circle of power. As long as you keep the country in a extreme poverty situation you will find people willing to get involved in crimes in exchange of better live conditions. You will repeat this process as frequently as needed in order to obtain a docile society where everyone is afraid of the next door neighbor.

  9. Regarding Yoanni’s article today, it illustrates and scores one more point as to why there should be free travel and commerce. I would hope that current and future visitors to Cuba would make it a point to patronize, and support generously, local private entrepreneurs. This will empower more people and help make them realize the beauty and possibilities of a free economy.

    Since Cubans have always had an underground system of trade, even during the most ferrous Stalinist periods, it would behoove all visitors regardless of government rules and controls, to take a chance and support such enterprises, particularly since the quality and price tends to be more attractive than the government and/or foreign owned establishments.

  10. Attention!!

    To all commenter that wants know what thinks a cuban mother inside the Island about lifting the embargo!!!!
    Go to “Nostalgia for pizza” spanish translation, page 5, comment #427

  11. #10 — that is a very powerful comment… I am going to take the liberty of sticking it in google translator and posting it here — google translator is not perfect but it’s good enough.

    COMMENT FROM SPANISH LANGUAGE (ORIGINAL) GEN Y BLOG — on today’s post it it comment #427… originally in Spanish

    Do not cry so much and read the letter

    This is for those who speak of blockade

    A letter from Cuba

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    I’m Cuban living in Cuba and I take the time to send you this note because I think that you can understand my concern and amplify.

    I worry about what was told here on the new U.S. administration.

    Eye, when I say, “what is said here” I do not mean Gramma or to the panel discussions or other means of propaganda of the Party.

    I talk about what the Cubans as I commented, those who from time to time, seizing the opportunity, we read what he writes Yoanis, or what they say in Spain or Miami.

    I speak of the Cubans who are calm, because you have to keep eating, raising kids, and we must take care to work.

    It says here that people are going to remove the blockade, that Obama is going to allow remittances and many Latin American countries will come to our aid.

    Say, in short, is going to be the cure worse than the disease

    What help and speak to lock out there?

    Here we have long understood that there is no blockade and we know very well what is the help from outside.

    I am a mother of three boys who, like myself, born after 1960 and we have all taken and Coca Pesicola, Nike and all we used from time to time we have eaten a chicken or a piece of onion from the “bowels of the monster” (For true! monster very tasty!)

    Gentlemen, we need Cuba to Cubans living in Cuba, who battles daily with the suffering we ourselves construct, is that we restore our civil rights. Simply!

    What we need is that we back our right to choose, to choose, we can come back or leave, freedom to read or publish, freedom to exist without having to be thinking about what the neighbor will think or what the CDR will consider.

    No need to lift the blockade, we need to have Internet, we need to let us have a passport and we do not be considered vulgar or asocial criminals when we do not have the same view as the commentator on the television or the teacher.

    No need to remove the blockade, we need to remove the book supply entangled and all other obstacles that prevent us from deciding what to do with our Moskovich, that we get as “outstanding worker” is, as a model citizen and unconditionally .

    We do not need or investing, or advice, or direction, or foreign aid, we need to let us do. We back our right to our country, our resources, our market, our supply and our demand. That is what
    need!

    In the world today there are enough examples of what they can do the work of intelligence and the sons of this island and its culture: the Cubans.

    So, ladies and gentlemen, we need a hand so we can recover little by little our bull horn without going through the social chaos, the Mafia or bloodshed.

    No need to lift the blockade, or send us help. And as people say here, if two things happen before they can get civil rights, trade with the United States will go to swell the pages of the rationing book.

    In the same way that the aid will be incorporated in the bidding or shopping gratitude that the government provides in exchange for loyalty.

    Please, Your Excellency Mr. President, Barack Obama, to reflect before making a decision. And avoid putting new resources into the hands of despots think that Cubans are not stupid, we do not believe the story of the blockade, but unfortunately, we do not have the resources.

    As people say here, most of us drink a Coca-Cola is in wishes, but only a minority knows what a bank account or a property title.

    Receive my respectful greetings,
    Mayra del Montón (not my name of course)
    La Habana, Cuba
    (The Island Prision largest in the world)

  12. There you have it, #10 & 11

    How eloquent, I could not have say it better. I have tried but it felt on deaf ears.

  13. #12 Statue — we may not always agree… but I think people on this site are pretty good at listening. (OK, not always, but we try)

    But what I like most about the letter in #11 is that she comes right back to the central focus of Yoani’s blog… HUMAN RIGHTS.

    We end up talking about the economy a lot, because there’s a lot to talk about.

    But #11 says, very powerfully — give us our freedom and we’ll take care of the rest… just let us get on with it!

  14. I didn’t really get it. Hard to understand the translation of that letter, sorry. I understand that people want a gradual transition to change so as not to have chaos. People just want peace. I got that. But is this person really advocating that the embargo not be lifted? When the time comes, it will be lifted. I don’t really see a partial lifting. When it happens, it will happen.

  15. This is a copy of my commnet#86 Under Father Conrado’s letter to Raúl.

    Statute of Liberty dice:
    10 Febrero 2009 a las 04:56
    Everybody is writing letters to their senators and congressmen, here is mine.

    1.- We (USA) own Guantanamo, therefore please do not give it away. Putin is around the
    corner waiting for us to pull out so they can move in with their sophisticated Subs.

    2.- Embargo. Embargo? Yes, the Embargo. I have seeing people write in this blog that it
    never worked, that if abolished, Cuba will become a paradise overnight. Well, it
    never worked, eh?
    If it never worked, why it is that Castro is beating the drums on a daily basis for us to
    end it.
    You know my dear Senator; I think right now our government is giving the banks a
    huge stimulus package; hardly any money left to loan Castro any money to subsidize
    his dead economy.

    Oh, I forgot, please leave the Embargo alone, it is working.

    3.- I am oppose to the takeover of The Miami Herald by the official news agency of
    Cuba “Granma”.

    4.- What about wet foot/dry foot.
    I propose that if any of the Castro’s brothers arrive in US soil they should not qualify
    for asylum or citizenship?

    I am not kidding, it may happen.

    Respectfully yours,

    Day-dreamer.

  16. To Patricio.

    When I have time I will look for the article and try to translate it. Thanks for your concern.

  17. Hmmm.

    Since we in America are tossing so much money into ridiculous things it is a pity we can’t find out how much Raoul Castro would want in exchange for Cuba. E.g. America pays Raoul Castro $5 billion, he hands over control of Cuba to the USA and the USA converts Cuba to a semi-independent territory for 50 years with an option, subject to voting by Cubans, at the end of either permanent independence or joining the USA as the 51st state.

    Leaving Raoul Castro alive is a bad deal. Giving the man money in addition to life is an even worse deal. But giving the people of Cuba a chance at a better life might be worth it.

  18. #17 Let me be the first to say, respectfully, I don’t think that the Cuban people and their Island are for sale.

  19. ***
    I think that Raul Castro and the Communist princes get all the good pizza they want! They say to hell with the Cuban serfs.
    ***
    Creo que Raul Castro y los principes Communistas reciban toda la pizza buena que quierren! Digan al infierno con los peones Cubanos.
    ***

  20. Carbo

    I have to say that what you describe in #8 is what we live in Cuba.

    Andy If you like and have time I can arrange for you to stay with family or friends in Cuba for a year if the Cuban government lets you. You should try to look for a job and do everything like a Cuban. No dollars for you just like the majority of Cubans and after a year you will know what we are talking about.

    It will be an experience you will never forget. To make it even better I will get you someone from Pinar del Rio so you can live their live. I am not sure if it can be arrange about the rationing books but you can give my friend your dollars and they will give you their rationing book and then you try survive with that! I think is important to be out of Havana just because in Havana you will have more opportunities of making a better living that in the provinces. So you will get to learn first hand why people from provinces are trying to move to Havana. In Havana they are called Palestinians!

    I am not sure how young you are but you could almost possibly experienced it if you go to Cuba to study.

  21. Carbo —

    I’m not very young. Do your friends like old people?

    When I was in Cuba I was visiting a young Canadian woman who was trying to do exactly what you describe.. live like a Cuban. She did not have a ration book of course and had to buy all her own food but she would only buy things in moneda nacional… she was losing a lot of weight in Cuba and she was already skinny when she went there!

    We went to Vinales and stayed in casa particulares there but of course when she was traveling with us we had to spend CUCs and in Vinales there were a million tourists so the people seemed more comfortable. It seemed like almost every house was a casa particular. But even there we heard horror stories about how the govt punished people — one woman with a casa p. had a guest that left without signing her book. She was fined $1500 (CUC!) and shut down permanently. A year later they let her reopen but only under her husband’s name…she can never have a business again because she “cheated” even though she had entered the guest in her book and paid all the taxes.

    But still, we were able to do some things like Cubans like take almedrons — but only in the dark when the police couldn’t see us inside…

    And I went off by myself several times just talking to everyone I saw. It was an education.

    But it doesn’t matter…. even if I stayed a year… I would get an idea but I know I would never really be able to feel it in my bones, what it is like to live your whole life owned by someone else. To not be free. I don’t think I can truly imagine it, though I saw the hurt and anger and despair (and humor!!!!)… I just can’t imagine it as my own life… no matter what… I would always have my passport out. Not to mention that I am already “old”… my opportunities to have an education and a career… I have already claimed those things, to travel, to speak out, to be active politically, to challenge my government, I have already claimed all those things.

    But hey… next time I go (maybe for a few months?)… I am going to stay with your friends!!!!!

  22. #20 again… an interesting thing a couple in Vinales told us when we asked if they would want to live in Havana. They said, oh no, never, “because no one in Havana works… no one there can have a job — they don’t have time… it takes all your time in Havana just to survive, just to find food… no one has time to have a normal life.”

    In other words, they weren’t saying people in Havana were lazy — but that there were not enough hours in the day to work at a regular job and get your $18 a month… and then on top of that do all you have to do to find food and ‘arrange’ and ‘resolve’ things.

    But as I said, Vinales is not like rural Cuba because of the tourists. I think there were more tourists on the streets than Cubans and we were there at a very slow time of year!

  23. @15
    The US doesn’t own Guantanamo, they have it under perpetual lease since they assumed control in 1903.
    Therefore they can’t give away what they do not own. Just a little correction before you send you letter 😀

    @Silent Voice
    I think that is an amazing idea… it would really help people understand the way lives are lived on the island. I;m not sure you can pull it off for a year though. I think the longest tourist visa I’ve seen in Cuba was for 2 months or something like that. In most cases however, 2 months is more than enough to get the gist of things. Especially in the provinces.

  24. 20 ====the castro brother they not communistic they are capitalist

    the cuban people they live in a communistic country

    los hermano castro no son comunistas ello son capitalista
    los cubano de cuba son que vive en un pais comunista

    andy===went you are going arrange move to cuba andy ==better talk to castros the cuba need freedon and justice for all the cuban people ===========hope best for you andres ===patria o muerte ==jajaja
    andres ===cuando te muevas para cuba dile a los castro que tu quiere libertad justicia para todos los cubanos

    te deceo mucha suelte andres

  25. If you are serious about the offer I could give you my email address and I will still have to talk to some people over there and confirm that they can get you a place to stay and that they will not get in trouble.

    Do you speak a little bit of Spanish?

  26. I know that live in every place in Cuba is different. Just like live in the US is not the same everywhere. For example we do not see the same kind of poverty that there is in other states here in Maryland. Naturally there are some places better than others and the same goes for Cuba.

    Havana is a magnet because there is more opportunities to live from tourism there and other things like black market etc.
    In the provinces is easier to get food on the black market because is closer to you.
    One of the biggest issues Cubans have to struggle every day is transportation.
    They do not have cars and the public transportation system is almost not existent so they have to walk and or bike!

    Is a healthy live style and also they eat very little protein since meat is impossible to get because of government restrictions. Notice that any of this is not of their own choice. They are obligated to live that way by their government policies!

  27. @ Silent Voice

    I am completely serious…. but don’t contact anyone yet… I have no money and sick family members right now so I cannot go anywhere. When my family recovers… then I will try to find the money… like everyone else… this economic crash has crashed me too!

    I would love to stay with your friends.

    My spanish? The first day I can say ‘hello, how are you?’ The second day I can have a little bit of a conversation. The third day I can talk to people about simple things. The end of the first week… I am nearly fluent in spanish! What I am saying is that I can read spanish very fluently, but when I am not with spanish speakers, my ear forgets the sounds… but after a few days in a spanish-speaking country, I always find it comes back to me. and people tell my that my accent, though not perfect of course, is very understandable.

  28. memomachine dice: 10 Febrero 2009 a las 19:47
    0000000000000000000

    Are you serious????……… No, you must be joking…… I don’t believe there are still people with such mentality!!!!!

  29. If you go to my web site the blog Just post a comment with your email I will be able to see it without anyone else seen it. So that way I can get your email.

    I am sorry about your sick family hopefully they recover soon.

    I think it will be an extraordinary experience!

  30. andy ====and sorry hope you family recover soon ===but i will pay for your trip to cuba for travel expence up to $1000
    plus
    $15 dollar a month for food one yaer=======regular cuban only make a month 10 dollar and give 15 dollar is like ingeneer salary a month

    travel $1000
    for 12 mouth 180 food

    andy===que pasa le deceo a tu familiar qu se mejores ====pero si quiere ir a cuba avivir por un ano yo te pago el pasaje ==te doy 15 dolares al mes para tu comida tu sabe que los cubano solo ganan con 10dolares al mes
    yo te doy 15 por mes es como si fuera un ingeniero

  31. WOW! I can’t believe you guys! A free trip to Cuba. THIS IS THE BEST SET OF COMMENTERS IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!

  32. Andy, S.Voice

    I was reading a comment in the spanish page about the proposal of senator Delahunt, I mean, the lifting of traveling restrictions for US citizens. This commenter said if you let the US citizen travel without restriction to Cuba the commies then will rise up the same restriction for cubans they have when the URSS subsided the tyranny….. no cuban exile could travel in Cuba, no money could be sent to relatives in Cuba, no medicines, no cloths, nothing, nada.
    I remember this time, you could not walk near hotels, restaurants or beaches where tourist spent time and money, it were totally forbidden any kind relationship with foreign people and you could get 3 years in jail for violating those regulations.
    The commenter said: “If the tyranny get the subside of the american people they (Tyrants) no longer will need the exile’s money, they no longer will need the exile at all and the cuban people will befind it self more isolated then ever”

    I agree 1000% with this because I have seen it, I have lived it!!!!

    Some one have a comment??????

  33. #36 Actually my comment is: what you say makes me want to cry. I don’t understand how people can be so cruel. Why? So it keeps them in “power”… power for WHAT?!?!?!?! Why don’t they retire to the beaches of spain with their billions? Why can’t they leave people alone? Surely there can’t be more than about 7 REAL communists left in all of Cuba. (Communists who believe in some glorious communist future for mankind…) What is all this for? It’s very hard for me to understand it.

  34. #38 — Rene… as I said above, I can’t do anything right now. My child (who is an adult) is sick and so I can’t leave the country until that is solved. And I don’t know when that will be… it has already been quite a while and we still don’t know the reason for the illness. My mother is also sick… but she will probably live a long time yet although she is already very old… one day she will be very very old… but in the meantime I have to take care of things and get her into a more safe living arrangement.

    If I could… I would go tomorrow!!!!!

  35. Andy, I wish you the best with your family.

    If you don’t have money, that is precisely the time to go. 99.9% of the people in Cuba don’t have any money, either, so you are set. If you can’t get a job in Cuba, just save up $18/mo for however many months you will be there. You will be good to go.

    Carbo, that is an interesting take about the tourists, but furthers the belief that los hermanos Castro no le interesa, I mean, aren’t interested in good relations with the US. They will throw up barriers and roadblacks to the point sufficient of keeping themselves and their system in power. Too many people forget the history and the evolution of all this. Before the special period, exiles and their families left behind in Cuba were simply Gusanos. In many respects, they still are, but the hard currency is welcome. If los hermanos don’t need that anymore, then we could end up back at a point in time similar to before the special period.

  36. Returning to food… :-)) It seems to me likely that, among the few contemporary writers not denied to the Cubans, will be notorious Castro “groupie” Gabo – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (or “Nuestra Nobel” as we occasional Colombians call him). A collection of essays, which I’m not sure has been translated, “Quando era Feliz e Indocumentardo” includes and interview with Castro’s sister called “Mi hermano Fidel”. She tells us that Castro had a reputation as a great cook and was entrusted with preparing the spaghetti while in prison. Yoani may have fond memories of the pasta ration during the Soviet era but imagine THAT essay circulating on the island! In the golden days before the revolution, even the prisoners had spaghetti and the fuel to cook it!

  37. Carbo on #36

    You seem to be forgetting we always have the right to change our mind. If the Castro regime does something like what you have describe we will put everything back in place as it is now. I am sure they are not stupid.
    Just because we could allow travel now does not mean that we will let that be so always. That is why I said before that they will have to walk a very fine line and not try upsetting people here.

  38. SilentVoice dice: 11 Febrero 2009 a las 14:04

    Carbo on #36
    You seem to be forgetting we always have the right to change our mind.
    00000000000000000000000

    Once you have stabilized a flood of people and a infrastructure like ferries, airplanes fly, producers employing people for producing goods, food, etc., no US administration will have the courage of finishing it and left thousand of business, employers and millions of dollars in the air. No administration will wants to see it self flooded by the grounded protest of unions, bond, big companies and business associations.
    That’s why you have to think about the thing carefully before doing it, before to send a letter to no one.
    Most people believe the opposition of cuban exile to lifting the embargo and travel regulations have to do with “old people things” ….. NO my friend It have been carefully analyzed and found that it is better to maintain it in place until we find a better thing to do!!!

  39. To # 36 Carbo,

    We really don’t know for sure what would happen if the embargo is lifted – I hope no one takes me old hat, wild goose chase explanation about the meaning of the word “embargo”.

    We do know that based on documented history, nothing has happened in fifty years by way of advancing the well being and rights of the cuban people, both state side and in Cuba. You may be right, the whole thing could fail and work to the advantage of the dictators. And this is what has happened during the past decades: there has been no situation where the dictators have been significantly threatened with being overthrown.

    Should the ending of the travel and embargo fail, and somehow benefit the old dinosaurs, the matter could be addressed in whatever legislature is passed by Congress, by setting deadlines or making it subject to review or revision a few years down the road.

  40. Cold in Chicago dice: 11 Febrero 2009 a las 15:18

    To # 36 Carbo,

    “We really don’t know for sure what would happen if the embargo is lifted – I hope no one takes me old hat, wild goose chase explanation about the meaning of the word “embargo”.
    ++++++++++++++++++
    We are talking about 3 different things here: Embargo (I believe it has to be negotiated and lifted in exchange of something), Travel restriction for cuban exiles (I believe it has to be lifted because only we, the cubans in exile, have the capacity of help our countryman and influence over them)
    Travel restriction for american
    To know the future you only have to read the past….. if you flood castro with american tourist dollars will happen exactly the same that has happen with flooding castro with the rest of the world tourists money…….nothing good for cuban people….. despite the rest of the world has no restriction to travel to Cuba it has no contribute nothing to the cuban people bettering
    000000000000000000000000
    We do know that based on documented history, nothing has happened in fifty years……………
    +++++++++++++++++
    Totally wrong, yes it has happened, exile cubans has increase it influence over cuban people and contribute to give them some bettering in live conditions, the dictatorship see our influence (money, travels) as something dangerous for them and it is why they want to stop it by getting the americans money instead of exile cuban money.

    A bunch of american in Cuba drinking, having sex and getting burned will have the same effect that the bunch of canadian and europeans that today era there having sex, drinking and burning their skins.
    Don’t tell me now that american tourist has a better influence….. blablabla……. we know what american tourist does, we had them in Cuba from 1900 to 1959 (59 years)

  41. Patricio, I have tried to come up with a translation that may not be perfect but I hope you and others will be able to understand.

    Don’t cry so much and read the letter; a letter coming from Cuba, addressed to those who talk about the Blockade.

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am a Cuban living in Cuba and I take the time to send you this letter because I think you will be able to understand and amplify my concerns.

    I am concerned about what is been discussed in Cuba with regards to the new Administration in the United States.
    Please pay attention when I say “What is been discussed in Cuba”, I am not referring to the newspaper “Granma” (the official news government agency), neither to the (TV town meeting) “Round Table” or any other form of propaganda of the Communist Party.

    I am talking about what Cubans like me discuss, those of us who every once in a while take advantage to read what Yoani writes, what the people in Spain or Miami have to say about us.

    I am talking about the Cubans that remain “quiet” because we need to feed and raise a family and therefore we need to preserve and take care of our jobs.

    People here are speculating that the Blockade is going to end; that Obama is going to allow (family) Money Transfer and that many Latin American countries will come to our aid.

    People are also speculating that “this help” will be worse than the actual problem.

    What kind of help and what kind of a Blockade are they talking about outside Cuba?

    Here, we understood long time ago that such a Blockade does not exist and we understand clearly what will become of any Foreign Aid.

    I am the mother of three kids, just like me, they were born after 1960 and all of us had drink Coca-Cola and Pepsi cola, we all had wear Nike shoes and every once in a while have eaten a piece of chicken or an onion that has come from “The belly of the Beast” (an expression used to describe the United States) (By the way, A delicious Beast!)

    Gentlemen, what we Cubans that live in Cuba need, those of us who fight daily with the hell that we have created to ourselves; is the return of our Civil Rights. Simply, that’s all!

    What we need is the return of our right to choose, to decide. The return of our rights to come or go as we please, the freedom to read or publish, the freedom to exist without having to guess what my neighbors thinks of me or what the CDR (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution) may consider.

    We don’t need the Blockade to be lifted, what we need is to have Internet, we need to have a Passport, we don’t need a label of been anti-social or common criminals when we have a different point of view from those of a TV commentator or our school teacher.

    We don’t need the Blockade to be lifted, what we need is to do away we our “rationing card” or any other complicated obstacle that prevent us to decide what to do with our “Moskovich” (a trophy), the one that we obtained as an “outstanding worker”, therefore as a model citizen and in a certain way loyal and unconditional.

    We don’t need any foreign investment, advice or assistance; what we need is to act alone. We need the return of our rights to our own country, our natural resources, our own domestic market, our own supply and demand. That is what we need!
    There are plenty examples in today’s world of what our intelligence and work are capable of doing; the sons and daughters of this island and its culture: We the Cubans.
    Then, dear people; what we need is a helping hand to regain little by little the “horns of our own bull” without having to resort to a social chaos, the mafias or bloodshed.
    We don’t need the Blockade to be lifted. We don’t need much help either. Like we say around here, if both things happen before we regain control of our civil rights, then the trade with the United States will go directly to swell the ranks of our “rationing card” stores.
    By the same token, all aid received will go directly to government shops or used as a leverage by the system in exchange for an unconditional loyalty.

    Please Mr. President, your Excellency Mr. Barack Obama, do not act without thinking first and avoid these new resources to be placed in the hands of these tyrants: Think first that we Cubans are not dumb, we don’t believe the “tale about the Blockade” but unfortunately we don’t have the means and resources.
    As we say around here, many of us when thirsty drink a Coke, but only a minority knows what is to have a bank account or to own property.

    Respectfully yours,

    Mayra del Montón (not my real name)
    Havana, Cuba
    (The World Largest Prison)

  42. Issue: Allowing all Americans to travel to Cuba

    OK I will take on just one thing at a time here.

    No one says to Americans, “We are going to carefully evaluate the impact of your travel on each country in the world, and then we are going to pass laws to control your travel based on those impacts. Where we decide your travel is “good for” the country, we are going to allow you to go there, and where we decide your travel is “bad for” the country, we are going to restrict your travel and not let you go there.”

    That is completely ridiculous. If people commit crimes in other countries they need to be arrested, prosecuted and punished appropriately.

    And, I would assert, that as Yoani asserts over and over again, citizens of any country should have the right to leave and to return their country. Of course the countries they want to travel to can deny them entry.

    Americans like to call themselves free people — and one of the things that makes them free is their supposed ability to leave their country any time they like, and to return to their country any time they like.

    How other countries want to control their entry is of no concern to the American government. And the free travel of American citizens should be of no concern to the American government.

    And finally let me say (right now in the corner of my computer screen I’m watching the American bankers try to justify their practices to the US Congress and I’m in a VERY bad mood….)… so finally let me say that the idea that SOME American citizens… in this case citizens who previously lived in Cuba or whose relatives previously lived in Cuba — should be given a special ‘right’ that is denied other Americans is COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS AND OUTRAGEOUS.

    Would you support a law that says only former Germans and their family members should be allowed — by the US government — to travel to Germany?

    Would you support a law that says only former Japanese and their family members should be allowed — by the US government — to travel to Japan?

    Would you support a law that says only former Australians and their family members should be allowed — by US law — to travel to Australia?

    COME ON FOLKS. This is STUPID. (These bankers are making me REALLY mad!)

    It is a HUMAN RIGHT — it’s enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — for people to be able to leave and return to their countries.

    HOW DARE THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TELL AMERICAN CITIZENS THAT THEY CANNOT TRAVEL TO CUBA?!?!?!?

    If Cuba wants to deny them entrance… that’s THEIR right.

  43. Actually, Andy I will agree with almost everything you say except for the Cuban government having the right to denied entrance to some people. If we go by the same declaration of Universal rights we should all be allowed to enter any country and Cuba should be no exception.
    We do know for fact that if you become very vocal speaking out against the Cuban government injustices their reaction will be to punish you by not letting you go back or if you deserted Cuba then they will also punish you by not letting your family out or allowing you to visit them! All of this actions are clear violations of Human Rights!

    As you can see Yoani herself was not allow to go out of Cuba to Spain!

    That is why you see so many people posting anonymously here against the Cuban government because they are all afraid of what the government can do to them.

    There is something that many have not understood yet about Yoani’s message or that they have understand but are not willing to practice on their own.
    Right from the beginning her full name was posted on her blog. If we all are honest we should do like she does and not be afraid of what the consequences of our actions are.
    I will repeat as John Paul II said to the Cuban people

    “DO NOT BE AFRAID”

    This fear we all had for so many years is what has keep us in the dark where we do not know for certain who is with the Cuban government and who is not with the Cuban government. Maybe we will discover if everyone looses their own fear that the majority of us do not approve and do not support the Cuban government.

    All this has to do with the special mechanism of control the Cuban government uses. The system of rewards and punishments.

    You may not get the job you want or may not be able to study in Cuba if you do not walk the line they want you to walk in and if you are outside of Cuba they may not let you come back to visit family or friends etc.

    These are powerful mechanisms of control exercise by the government to will people into doing what they want them to do and the government is very careful to let everyone know of who is being punish so that everyone else is afraid of doing the similar thing.

  44. Silent Voice — you are partly right about our anonymity here of course. I want to be able to travel to Cuba. I don’t want the government to say “ah…. you commented on Yoani’s blog… you can’t come in.” But I don’t really care about that. you’re right. If they want to deny me entry because they don’t like my politics… that is the price I pay.

    But the stronger reason I don’t post my full name here is because the web is just a weird place full of weird people — and if I put my full name anyone can google it and find the “real” me in less than a second. Then they can call me up, get my email, my address… and then they can harass me. I’m not talking about cuba, or politics or anything… they can just harass me. Annoy me. Drive me crazy. And I’m not interested in that.

    I post comments on blogs where I would gladly stand on the rooftop and shout to the whole world, “this is my opinion” but I still don’t use my full name (usually I just use initials or something like that) because I don’t want to be bothered by all the weirdos on the web!

  45. About the Cuban government having the right to deny entry:

    Well we could argue that one for a long time, but I think it’s clear that there is a recognized right of all countries to control who comes into their countries, what they do there and how long they stay.

    We may not agree. We may think the whole world should be ‘open borders’ and maybe it should be. But… I know the world’s population would flow quickly to the more developed countries by the hundreds of millions… looking for a better life.

    Maybe it would work. Maybe the whole world would settle into an “equilibrium” and everyone would be better off. I don’t know.

    But I think that we can’t deny Cuba, and more than any other country, the right to control entry to NON-citizens, even if we think they are doing so for the wrong reasons.

    I know the US makes bad decisions about who can come in, who can stay, who can work, who can become a citizen… every country does. But I wouldn’t deny their right to set some kinds of limits. If you didn’t do that you would have to immediately go to a one-world government!

  46. Andy on 50

    I am not personal saying you in particular I am referring to the great majority of people posting in anonymity while many of their comments are valid I think they are less powerful since they do not put a name attached to it.

    The reasons why I think Yoani’s message is so strong and powerful is because she is daring to tell everything from Cuba and identifying herself totally and accepting whatever consequences that may come from her actions.

    The blog itself becomes a silent witness of peoples fear towards the regime!

    All those anonymous post are a testament to their fear.

    If we all did what Yoani does then we will be free!

  47. on regards to #51 Unfortunately when you are born the same way you are not allow to choose your own parents you also can not choose your own country.

    The fact that Cuba is an economic disaster.
    The fact that the Cuban youth wants to abandon their homeland.
    The fact that people in Cuba do not want to have children.
    These are all consequences of the Cuban governments policies.
    The Cuban government should admit this is their own fault but is easier to blame someone else.

    For every decisions any government makes there is consequences (intended or unintended).
    Some decisions stimulate or activated certain behaviors and some will produce the contrary effect.
    We can see that the Cuban government masterfully knows how to achieve the docility of its people. Can we say that they did not know the consequences of their policies?

    For example If they allow Cubans to travel without restriction what are the consequences of that?
    Well, Some people may abandon the island but some others may return. I do not see anything wrong with either.
    In fact for the Cuban government it will be beneficial to get some Cubans to return receiving pensions from other countries or if they are still young they can be put to work.

    The Castro regime specifically punishes people that are doctors with 5 or 6 years of not letting them go out of the country just because they receive a “Free” education. Is it free then? Did we not all have to work for free for the government when we study ? Didn’t we and our parents and grandparent work for the government with salaries that will barely payed for the food we could eat?

    We could have achieve any of the so call revolutionary fruits like “free education” and “free health care” with less cost to the individual, without paying the high price of loosing all our individual freedoms.

  48. #52 You are right…. if everyone were brave like Yoani… Cuba would be free… or else everyone there would be dead… one or the other. It could not continue as now. I remember a friend I made there and when I emailed and asked him how I could directly help the hurricane victims, not through the government, he sent me a long email back saying oh the govt was doing such a good job and would take care of everything… I should work through the government.

    I knew he didn’t believe that. I knew how he lived in Cuba… everything on the black market, sneaking around here and there, always looking over his shoulder… but he was so afraid in email.

    Well… I cannot judge other people since I don’t know if I would be a Yoani, or too scared to breathe and I haven’t had to find out!

  49. But Andy with regards to

    “Well… I cannot judge other people since I don’t know if I would be a Yoani, or too scared to breathe and I haven’t had to find out!”

    you yourself a minute ago admitted on #50

    “I want to be able to travel to Cuba. I don’t want the government to say “ah…. you commented on Yoani’s blog… you can’t come in.”

    and then follow by

    “But I don’t really care about that. you’re right. If they want to deny me entry because they don’t like my politics… that is the price I pay.”

    and as you see you yourself have become a victim of the Cuban governments policies!

    The long hand of the Cuban government have affected in some small way your individual freedom to speak against what you truly believe as unjust!
    And you are not even a Cuban!

  50. I hope you have just come to the realization that even outside of Cuba and even not being Cuban you have being affected by the Cuban governments policies and restricting of individual freedoms. I believe this is something you mentioned in some other post that you wanted to experiment for yourself!

    This is the mechanism of reward and punishment used by the Cuban government we have being referring here!

    Quot erat demonstrandum or Q.E.D.!!!

  51. To Servo:

    The fact that exiles have some influence on their relatives is due to a loosening of the travel restrictions which makes my point about loosening up the embargo as a whole. Passing this off as an improvement of the last fifty years is ludicrous. My definition for improvement includes economic, political and free speech. How has this improved over the last fifty years?

    Regarding American tourists coming to Cuba, I think if life improves for the population as a result of more commerce and tourism, then so what if the tourists come and spend more money, get sunburned, etc. This would represent a change which could eventually lead to more freedom. You know the dinosaurs won’t be around much longer, mother nature is catching up with them, and they are, in a naturalist’s parlance, failing to adapt. Evolution is doing its work and will be helped by ending the status quo and creating more economic freedom.

    The situation with prostitution and/or sex is one that gives pause for thought. I think the cuban government, whether the dictatorship or a future, democratically elected president should control that by proper education, restricting visitor visas and otherwise warning visitors and discouraging the behavior. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, this has been done in Australia in dealing with visiting sailors, and also in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. where the local city government completely did away with the Spring Break activities twenty years ago by passing ordinances. Fort Lauderdale attracted what was locally considered “undesirable tourists” mostly students, not big spenders, that wrecked havoc on the citizens of the city and its teenage girls and boys. Talk about somebody peeing on Marti’s statue, these tourists were peeing and engaging in love making on people’s front lawns.

    This type of tourism from whatever source not just American, should be prohibited, as it can do damage to the fabric of the culture and society of any country. In some respects, I would hope Cuba does not go back to the fifties and earlier.

  52. the idea that SOME American citizens… in this case citizens who previously lived in Cuba or whose relatives previously lived in Cuba — should be given a special ‘right’ that is denied other Americans is COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS AND OUTRAGEOUS.
    00000000000000000000

    Why it seems so ridiculous and outrageous for you?????? if you compare it with the US policy about Cuba along the last 50 years you will find that USA helped castro take the power, helped him keep the power and still defend him by not allowing cuban exiles take the arms and fight . Then you have a US government that have contribute to create 2 kind of cuban citizens: the “free” ones in Florida and the slave ones in Cuba. Why then you find rare we try to keep a difference that will have a beneficial effect over our landsman inside the island. Don’t try to separate US gov and US citizens of this problems….. US citizens elect US gov. then they have to take responsibility for their acts.

  53. Andy and S.Voice you both seems to be cubans or cuban descenders that have never lived in Cuba or lived too little there as to comprehend how evil the mob that controls Cuba is.
    Please, listen my advice:

    So long you are not a very famous and influential person in the international arena, keep a low profile and don’t let the tyranny know who you are, otherwise, the tyranny can act on you, your family inside and outside Cuba, your rights as cuban citizen and your relative rights as cuban citizen. They can even act on your personal integrity and freedom. Remember, the castro mob kills, punishes, incarcerates, etc. They have a long arm. One thing is “to not be afraid” and other very different thing is to be dumb and make it easy for the castro mob.
    Only famous people like Yoani, Paya, Marta Beatriz, etc; are out of the mob vendetta because the world knows and protect them without knowing it!!!!…………… for the moment!!!

  54. #
    Cold in Chicago dice: 11 Febrero 2009 a las 22:44

    To Servo:
    00000000000000000000

    Dear and cool Chicago………. I am very grateful and happy about the new nick you decide to give me: Servo!!!!
    It sounds like some part of a motor or an electromechanical part……
    You said
    My definition for improvement includes economic, political and free speech. How has this improved over the last fifty years?
    Dear friend, the roll we exile cuban can play in this big complot against the cuban people is too little as to pretend to get more than we have got. We have got a lot despite of being a factor tied to the internal regulation of the more powerful nation in the world, suffering the abandon of a world driven by a leftist stream that turn a blind eye to all crimes in our country, fighting not only “our tyrant but also as powerful supporters as the Warsaw Pact, China, etc
    I believe you are asking to much of us. I guess you are thinking in the cuban people inside the island when you wrote what you wrote.

  55. Carbo

    Yes, I was born in Cuba and live there for 26 years so I know perfectly well how does the system work. I refuse to be afraid. I want my freedom and the only way I can do it is by expressing whatever I think with my own name. I believe we should all do the same.
    It should not be a secret for the Cuban government or their security apparatus that I did not like the system when I decided to go into exile as it is true also for you and the many others that have prefer exile to living in a country without freedom.

    As you can see you are not yet free since you are afraid of them.

    Loose your fear and you will gain your liberty!

    Please joint us.

    Julio de la Yncera

  56. SilentVoice dice: 11 Febrero 2009 a las 22:23

    I hope you have just come to the realization that even outside of Cuba and even not being Cuban you have being affected by the Cuban governments policies and restricting of individual freedoms. I believe this is something you mentioned in some other post that you wanted to experiment for yourself!

    This is the mechanism of reward and punishment used by the Cuban government we have being referring here!
    00000000000000000

    Congratulations!!!
    It were not to hard of understanding.
    Society polarization is only the beginning, commies greatest dream is to drive this polarization out of the borders of commies countries. They got it through the “Cold War” in the past era of bipolar world. Now they are trying of revival this international polarization through Chavez and the Gang in the international arena and through Delahunt and the Miami’s Dissidence in the local scenario.

  57. Carbo Servia:

    My apologies for the misnomer. Between breaks I get in the computer and rush to enter my two cents. I think we are close in our discussion. Since some in these blog make generous use of mathematical symbols, to make it simple, please consider the following:

    Free commerce = free speech = free movement = free thought or
    freedom = freedom = freedom

    When the cubans came to the U.S. looking for freedom, it wasn’t just freedom of thought. It was freedom to open your own business, freedom to prosper, freedom to speak up, freedom to move, etc. They are all related. You restrict one of the above, you affect all the other freedoms. Conversely, if you free up one of the above, the others will also show up or be affected sooner or later.

  58. SilentVoice dice: 12 Febrero 2009 a las 02:30

    As you can see you are not yet free since you are afraid of them.
    Loose your fear and you will gain your liberty!
    000000000000000000

    Cuban people have learn how to fight a tyranny supported by all superpowers in the world, We learned it in a very hard school:

    In the beginning we acted like kamikazes, we went without shield, without armory, almost without weapons directly to meet in frontal attack an enemy backed openly by the whole Warsaw Pact and also backed from the shadows by whom we believed were our allies, USA. The cost of such a immature act were tens of thousands of dead fighters, tens of thousands of jailed fighters, millions of emigrates and 50 years dictatorship.
    After such a horrendous defeat the cuban people got crouched and still is crouched waiting for his time to revenge. We learned that with such powerful enemies we can act like tough boys and we learned that each one of us have to find the better way to fight in accordance ones possibilities and limitations. Some of us can do like Yoani, some of us can do like Paya, another can do like Boitel, others can do like Mitad, or Gorki, or Sargent, or Antunez, or Roca, or Andy, or Servia (no Servo, please), etc.
    We all are fighting, we all are free and we all together are giving the dictatorship a jab in the nose, but this time the dictatorship can’t see where comes the hand from because we are fighting now in a different way. Dictatorship can see a Yoani, a Marta Beatriz but can’t see the thousands behind, that’s why they think the thing several times before putting in jail the ones that are in the front.
    It doesn’t mean that everybody has to go underground, but for some of us that do other things aside this blog and other of us that has maybe a handicap in theirs life that can put them in a disadvantageous situation if the dictatorship take notice of theirs identities is better to keep a low profile.

  59. Cold in Chicago dice: 12 Febrero 2009 a las 03:00

    Carbo Servia:
    0000000000000000000
    Chicago, your mathematical formula works only in one way……. What you and S.Voice are defending is the right of US citizens to be free for making the cuban people less free!!!!
    Is the same case of China or Vietnam, the US citizens are free to go there and support with their monies the criminals regimens in those lands.
    Yes is a very free thing for americans only!!!!

  60. WOW. Everyone…This is a wonderful post. Imagine..just a little sweet comment about missing Pizza…and look what you have produced! It’s amazing.

    I hope you will all be safe still after this: We all are fighting, we all are free and we all together are giving the dictatorship a jab in the nose, but this time the dictatorship can’t see where comes the hand from because we are fighting now in a different way. Dictatorship can see a Yoani, a Marta Beatriz but can’t see the thousands behind, that’s why they think the thing several times before putting in jail the ones that are in the front.

    I am a new reader, but as a physician fairly wise about human problems. I do not know Cuba…that is why I read this…and I have set it up as a requested Pledge on Change.org that people read Yoani and you every day to learn.

    I tell you what I am most afraid of if your economy changes too fast…especially by American tourist dollars…is the drug trade.
    Do you know if foreign tourists brings drugs in or try to get them there? That will ruin any country easily….Look at South and Central America and Mexico….and Afganistan were they produce 90% of the worlds heroin. That is my fear for you.

    But the desire to have freedom… is as we say an inalienable right. Good luck to you.

  61. LOrion dice: 12 Febrero 2009 a las 04:48
    Do you know if foreign tourists brings drugs in or try to get them there? That will ruin any country easily….Look at South and Central America and Mexico….and Afganistan were they produce 90% of the worlds heroin. That is my fear for you.
    0000000000000000000000

    Dear LOrion, until 1975 Cuba’s streets were drugs free. In those times being called “Mariguanero” (Marijuana smoker) placed you in the lowest moral status. Culturally it was very bad seen have to do with drugs. Cuban people were a drug’ free people. But the tyrant decided they needed more cash than the $5000 millions the soviets delivered yearly.
    They created a special department and they called it MC. This department had to do exclusively with illegal but very profitable things, for example, smuggling of weapons, gemstones, people, high technology and drugs among a lot of more things. MC was a very successful project under the direct supervision of the castro clan. Colombian drug lords were very happy with the efficient collaboration of the cuban partners but USA were very unhappy with this situation. USA gave the first blow to this happy corporation by catching general Noriega. USA gave a second blow by presenting proves that showing the cuban connection in the international drug smuggling. Castro understood immediately he was the next to be blew, he was then in urgent necessity of showing the USA he was innocent. Then he decides to sacrifice some of his generals and collaborators and started the circus known as Cause #1.
    Some not loved generals were executed as well the heads of MC department. The tyrant escapes the punishment by sending other people to be punished. The MC were dismantled, the colombians drug lords were captured.
    For Cuba all had changed, it was no more a drug free place, the auto-inoculated cancer started to do its work.
    MC were dismantled but the good fellows that made it work were still there, unemployed and with all contacts and knowledge needed for starting again as self-employees. Having no longer the possibility of sell the “items” to dealers in USA they turned theirs efforts in, the cubans was the new prospects.

  62. I don’t think anyone is fooled. Fidel is one of the world’s richest (ex) heads of state, with a personal fortune of well over a billion (his thuggish brother, perhaps half that), and he didn’t get it from honest toil. Much derives from slavery – fat-cat multinationals pay him in hard currency to exploit his serfs, who are paid in turn in his worthless scrip – but the rest comes from organised crime – mainly narcotics and money-laundering. A further good reason for an embargo which limits his international influence.
    Incidentally, the embargo hasn’t “failed,” as many people here suggest. It is a continuing reminder of the disgust at the regime felt by decent people.

  63. Ian, I have heared more of the richness of the leaders of Cuba. Is there any proof for that somewhere? How do you know that? I am curious!

  64. Ian you are with me on the embargo.

    Some of the people who write on this blog have paid no attention to the letter written by a mother in jail (see #11 & 47), they continue with their agenda, blaming the United States for not wanting to cooperate with “Free Credit” to a failed system.

  65. Those who continue to beat the “embargo drum” should read the news from today’s “The New Herald” in Miami.

    Historic record sales from the United States to Cuba in 2008 amounted to a number never seeing before; $710,000 Millions.

    Above sales are paid in CASH by the butcher of Cuba, see the capital letters in the word CASH? Yes, CASH. Why on earths should we grant them credit, why?

    I know exactly what some of your answer to this will be. I got fooled once, not any more. Let them paid in CASH.

  66. Carlos Servia:

    Viet Nam and China are on their way to becoming free sometime in the future, and it probably won’t take fifty years. Nevertheless, both of those countries are culturally far and away different from Cuba. They have never experienced, nor have they been exposed to anything close to free elections or freedom of thought. In fact, for thousands of years they’ve been ruled by either emperors, dictators and/or communist chairmen.
    I don’t know what you mean when you say cubans will have less freedom if there is free travel for all. What freedom are they enjoying now?

    To Ian Salisbury:

    I understand and respect your international perspective regarding how the regime could adversely affect world order if changes are made in how we deal with Cuba. However, for the purposes of this blog and my humble perspective, I pursue, and think the overriding goal should be freedom for the Cuban population. And I believe they are better served by a change in tactics.

    The disgust felt by many, including older Miami relatives, should be set aside. Whatever goods and possessions were lost long ago, whatever mugging they were subjected to by the dictators thugs at the airport upon departure, it’s all in the past and should not interfere with the overriding goal. Forget all that stuff, it’s no longer need it. Notwithstanding the current economic situation, exiles are mostly doing exceedingly well. Playing the regime and being a good tactician is the way of achieving the goal.

    Regarding the letter from the unfortunate political prisoner, I respect and totally sympathize with her situation. However, there is an equal if not greater number of Cubans on both sides of the straits, including Yoanni, Martha Beatriz and others, who if I’m not mistaken, think the status quo should be adjusted.

  67. Hmmmm.

    “#17 Let me be the first to say, respectfully, I don’t think that the Cuban people and their Island are for sale.”

    @ #18

    Sorry for that. I didn’t intend to suggest that Cuba was for sale. I was trying to suggest that the -Castros- were for sale.

    *shrug* Is it possible for Cuba to ever be free? Considering the vast bureaucracy that has developed for so many decades. Considering the near-permanent changes to Cuban society over that time span. Isn’t it even more likely that even if the Castro brothers were to die/retire that a new strongman would arise?

    Here in the USA we had a lot of hopes for Russia that have mostly disappeared with the rise of Putin. Russia seemed like it was going to develop into a democracy but that turned out to be an illusion because the society needed to support a democracy had either never developed or had been destroyed. In the end the only thing that has worked there was the rise of a strongman.

    It’s like our experiences in Iraq. Iraq was once a democracy that was demolished, by the British, and turned into a fake monarchy and then into a dictatorship by Saddam. During Saddam’s reign he so traumatized the Iraqi people that they simply could not -trust- either their government or their fellow citizens.

    When you feel alone and threatened, even if you really aren’t, then everyone appears to be an enemy.

    Can Cuba come back from this? Can it happen without massive support from a major nation like the USA? Because what has happened in Iraq is that the USA spent both money and lives to earn the trust of the Iraqi people, even those that don’t like us know that they can trust us, who then were able to trust each other. Once it can be proven that you aren’t alone and threatened then trust can appear.

    Can this mutual trust happen in Cuba after so many decades of political prisoners, people informing on each other and state controlled theft?

  68. memomachine dice: 12 Febrero 2009 a las 16:25

    When you feel alone and threatened, even if you really aren’t, then everyone appears to be an enemy.
    Can Cuba come back from this? Can it happen without massive support from a major nation like the USA? Because what has happened in Iraq is that the USA spent both money and lives to earn the trust of the Iraqi people, even those that don’t like us know that they can trust us, who then were able to trust each other. Once it can be proven that you aren’t alone and threatened then trust can appear.

    Can this mutual trust happen in Cuba after so many decades of political prisoners, people informing on each other and state controlled theft?
    0000000000000000000

    Wow Memomachine!!!!!…………. I am very wondered by your black and white way of understanding the world and your country foreign policies !!!!!
    USA is a country that acts exactly like others countries in the world, I mean, USA acts simply in accordance with their national interest. Don’t try to find other hidden reasons in USA’s action. The people of Iraq knows it and hopefully will act in accordance of their national interest………….. if they can !!!……… it has nothing to do with truth, Relationship between nations is grounded in each country national interest………. nations acts like mobsters: everything is business, nothing is personal. The stronger and powerful a nation the bigger the possibilities of achieving it national interests. The less cross crossed are the national interests of 2 countries the more amicable and harmonious will be theirs relationship.
    Relationship between Cuba and USA has been shadowed along the history by the huge disparities of each country national interest. Cuba’s situation in the middle of America and all other strategical characteristics of the nature of the island are well know and we don’t need to explain it here. All those characteristics made of Cuba a strong candidate of being a powerful and rich land, in fact, Cuba was one of the world richest nations even under Spain control. A strong, rich and independent Cuba would be a strategical problem to USA. That was one of the main factors that impulse USA to help Spain maintain control over Cuba while USA gained force to go in war with Spain and take control over Cuba.
    And the same factor still affect the relationship between the 2 countries. For USA is still better a poor Cuba then a rich one that’s why USA helped castro to take the power and help him to maintain it. You asked:

    Can Cuba come back from this?….. Only if the world power balance change in such way that for USA become better transform Cuba in a real allied and let it be…..or……… both countries decide become one, what is not an utopia thinking in the amount of cubans living in USA……… or……… USA get so week that the balance of power between both countries change radically.

    Can it happen without massive support from a major nation like the USA?…….No, it can not. But the kind of help Cuba needs will be never given by USA (see the reasons above) and the kind of “help” you are thinking about will not “help” (you will find the reasons above also)

  69. Hmmmm.

    @ Carbo

    “USA is a country that acts exactly like others countries in the world, I mean, USA acts simply in accordance with their national interest.”

    Then I have only one single simple question:

    What “national interest” is served by invading Iraq, spending $700+ BILLION dollars, 4,000+ dead Americans, 65,000+ injured/maimed Americans … and then leaving permanently?

    What -business- of America is served by this?

    And please don’t say “oil” because you and I both know that Saddam Hussein would have -loved- to trade oil to America in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Saddam made deals with everyone, particularly those countries on the UN Security Council, in exchange for covert support. And of course the UN itself.

    Before the invasion we paid market prices for Iraqi oil.

    During the occupation we pay/paid market prices for Iraqi oil.

    After the occupation we will be paying market prices for Iraqi oil.

    No free oil. No discounts.

    So what “national interest” did the liberation of Iraq serve for the United States?

    Other than bringing freedom to an oppressed people and a chance for them and their children at liberty and prosperity?

  70. Hmmm.

    @ Carbo

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

    *LAUGH* Do you really believe that?

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

    Hmmm.
    0000000000000000000000

    My answer to your comment in the new posts

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