Request list

My friend Yuslemi’s pocket hasn’t recovered from the last meeting at her son’s primary school.  A portion of the meeting between the parents and the teacher was dedicated to the needs of the classroom, and in particular a discussion of the share each family needed to come up with to buy a much needed fan.  The issue of cleaning occupied about twenty minutes and each parent made a note of various products such as detergent, a floor mop, and a broom, they needed to bring in the coming days.  With five pesos a month for each student, they could pay a lady to clean the room once a week.

The school lacks cleaning staff because the low wages don’t attract anyone.  The person they illegally contract with will probably be a retiree who will have no labor protection when performing the work, no vacations, nor any sick pay.  This is similar to what in Europe is called “the black economy,” which in Cuba we know as a job “on the left.”

When it seemed that the meeting was over, it was time for another kind of request list.  They asked if there was a father who could repair the chairs which had been broken and a gentleman raised his hand to take on that task.  Another offered to supply a padlock for the door, and a mom committed to print the math tests which would be given in late January.  The school lacks a copier or printer, so the reproduction of the tests falls on some parent who works in a State enterprise where these resources are available.  Everything was agreed to in an atmosphere of business-as-usual and the teacher, after finishing her reading of the list of requests, declared that the meeting had been a success.


  1. Parents and teachers should submit their list of classroom needs to their maximum leader, see what happens.

  2. 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.

  3. Meral dice: 12 Febrero 2009 a las 13:41

    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!

    There is proof of their properties in Chile, Argentina and Spain. It where found containers with around $3000 million dollars in Iraq laundered by a Swiss bank for order of castro, this bank had to pay a fine of $100 millions, it was a very specific prove. This investigation continues today. Forbes has publicized articles with lists of the most reach peoples in world and castro where in place #10.
    Of course, everybody knows mobsters are rich but few can prove it with 100% certainty.

  4. The dictators and their inner group can do as they please, uninterruptedly, with the entire country of Cuba. The people are voiceless. So as far as I’m concerned, whatever they stash away around the world is pocket change since they already own 44,000 square miles of land and wealth contained therein.

    People who have unbound power and wealth can be greedy and always want more. So it does not surprise me they won’t share any of it with the school teacher.

  5. Carbó, I don’t live in Miami but I am aware that there are two excellent TV shows in Miami that consistently invite people that until not to long ago were aides to Fidel and Raúl.

    These people had spill the beans regarding their involvements in numerous type of “secret” operation they performed for their bosses in different countries. You will be able to watch a wide range of illicit activities ranging from “money laundering” to “drug trafficking” like in the famous case of General Ochoa, who after so many years in Angola and other parts of Africa, ended up in a fring squad.

    Maria Elvira with her TV show “Maria Elvira Life” and Oscar Haza with his show “A Mano Limpia”. If you visit Google and Youtube, you will be able to watch tons of videos related to the above.

  6. Parents picking up the tab for things such as school toilet tissue, anything except school books has been going on for years in US.
    Where parents or guardians can not afford this then teachers use their own income to buy this for their class room.
    The US has a lot of hucksters at the top that uses the majority of the money and those on the bottom of the pole end up providing the means.

    There is a video on CubaTriangle Blog that has the last three US Section/Cuba directors which most will find interesting. I only had time to get throught the first speaker and did not get her name.

    IMHO, it appears things are happening, to many things being put into print in USA on what Obama is gonna do about the embargo thats actually not an embargo but a policy to limit certain Citizens from going into Cuba on their on. Years of sealed documents have been slipped out to the public which will take me weeks because of my time restrants to get to read those. The links are on The CubaTriangle Blog for those who have time for research.

    More posters, more discussions, more knowledge because knowledge is power, power is knowledge and one of the greatest tools in freedom. Best Wishes, And to a Free Cuba.

  7. Statute of Liberty dice: 12 Febrero 2009 a las 21:04

    Please copy and paste the following web page so you will learn about the so call Embargo. Very interesting!…..ate.84.pdf

    Wonderful statistic it shows that this commenter is a lair:

    SAM dice:Embargo/blocqueo muy efectivo con la ley Helms Burton.

  8. Cold in Chicago dice: 12 Febrero 2009 a las 14:54

    Carlos Servia:…………………….. Carlos?????????????


    Dear Coldie,
    I surrender……. you are authorized to call me as you please.
    My nick, Carbo Servia is the name of a special department of Mazorra’s Psychiatric Hospital outside Havana City where political prisoners, dissidents, formers supporters of the Castro’s family that changed theirs mind and all communist party members cheater wife were interned and goes trough psychiatric medication without need it and got electroshock in a regular basis without need it.
    But don’t mind…. you can call me Carlo Servo.

    About your question:
    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?

    if you let the US citizen travel without restriction to Cuba the commies then will not need the exile cuban money and 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.
    “If the tyranny get the subside of the american tourism they (Tyrants) no longer will need the exile’s money, they no longer will need the exile at all and the cuban people will find it self more isolated then ever”

  9. 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?

    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 know 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 is 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 strategically 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 strategically 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 affects 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)

  10. I was, in fact, quoting Forbes Magazine, which put Fidel in the top three heads of state. Our own dear Queen is a pauper by comparison, even before the recent drop in the value of the pound :-))
    I agree that Helms Burton would make the embargo more effective but it protests from the countries whose fat-cat multinationals want to exploit Castro’s slaves have, thus far, frightened off both Clinton and Bush. I can’t imagine Obama will show any more backbone.

  11. Iain:

    I think you’ll find that Castro told Forbes that if they could prove he had a dollar to his name then he’d resign his post. Forbes couldn’t prove anything since their figure was, by their own admission, based on hearsay and assumptions. A quick google returns this:

    “In explaining its calculations, Forbes said it assumed Castro has economic control over a web of state-owned companies including a convention center, a retail conglomerate and an enterprise selling vaccines and other pharmaceuticals produced in Cuba.”

    The whole thing is ridiculous in any case: what would Castro want with dollars in swiss accounts?

    With regard to yoani’s post, I think it is commendable to see teachers and parent working together like that. My cousin is a teacher here in the UK and often complains about the lack of equipment and budget, she often has to use her own money to fund the school. It doesn’t bare thinking how some of the parents would react if asked to contribute! I’m also amazed at how neatly turned out the Cuban school children are in the pictures that yoani posts, it puts some of the scruffs around here to shame.

    I get the impression the Cubans take their school system very seriously and with some pride.

  12. In response to eMu #14:

    It is not ridiculous, Castro has plenty money. If you are Spanish or know Spanish I invite you to view the following videos and then decide for yourself:

    I would like to read your comments after you have a chance to absorb contents of these videos.

    With regards to your comments about UK lack of resources in education, perhaps the English people should knock at the door of Buckingham Palace and ask the Queen to release some of her BILLIONS (Capital letters), money that she never worked for in her life but is been extracted from the labor of her subjects.

  13. eMu dice: 13 Febrero 2009 a las 10:45

    “In explaining its calculations, Forbes said …………….
    The whole thing is ridiculous in any case: what would Castro want with dollars in swiss accounts?

    You are right, Forbes only can make estimations about the castro’s fortune in the same way the IRS could make estimations about Alfonso Capone’s fortune.
    A complete different thing is the capture in Iraq of containers full of billions of dollars. It were an irrefutable proof that found guilty not only the castro’s mob but the elegant launderers in Verna, Swiss.
    Another different thing is the properties of castro’s family in Chile, Argentina and Spain.
    You are right again…..what would Castro want with dollars in swiss accounts? For him is much better have it in containers in such way he can skip the hard process of getting 100 millions dollar cash out of a bank account in case of hurry.

    With regard to yoani’s post, I think it is commendable………..

    You are right again my friend (what a righteous person!!!), but there only is a little difference between Cuba and the UK…….. the UK do not pretend posses a wonderful education system and have never pretend to institute a 50 years dictatorship in the country, left the whole education system in the parents hands and send advertising people everywhere declaring the advantage an education system can get of long lasting dictatorships.

  14. wow…………one bottle off rum less to drink….nothing is free in this world. y u should know that .in canada we work to pay taxes.when everything is paid there not much left…and here the governement does nt give away farm land no such luck here …but you don t mention that…all u do is complain…wow i fell sorry for you..maybe you should put your energy into something positive………..or keep complaining some tourist will bring u a nice gift……….

  15. michel…canadiense dice: 13 Febrero 2009 a las 14:42

    …………… the governement does nt give away farm land no such luck here …but you don t mention that…all u do is complain………….
    Well, well, well, do as I say and not as I do!!!!
    All you done is complain about canadian taxes and not enough money but……… you don’t want see Yoani complains!!!!
    If you want to see the canadian gov giving away land you must to see first the same gov confiscating the land without compensation and leaving it unproductive for 50 years, that easy !!!

  16. Carbo Servia:

    I did not think I called you Servo a second time, instead I actually corrected myself earlier. But we’ve struck gold with this word, since according to Webster’s Collegiate, two of the definitions are as follows:

    3. certain mechanisms, that are set in operation by other mechanisms but which themselves augment the force of that action by the way in which they operate.
    5. to connect a mechanism to another as a servomechanism.

    With such a great word, I would urge us all to become servos and recruit additional servos, so they may augment the argument for the country to set itself free. Of course, none of us servos compare with “la flaquita” when it comes to amplification and propagation of the written word.

    Regarding non-cuban tourists visiting the island, You have a point in that the regime could ignore the exiles and become cocky, once they can get their hands on more money – just like the character in Venezuela. Trust me, these personalities excel at not knowing their place and getting their people and country into trouble and misery. However, that’s why travel legislation should be carefully crafted so as to prevent this situation from developing. For instance, I would keep the ban on U.S. or any oil company from doing business with the dinos, and drilling in the ocean, since oil could be environmentally damaging to the Cuban and Florida coast line, fisheries, etc. We’ve already seen what happens when you put too much money in the hands of dim witted oil monkeys.

    You gotta play the game in order to win! If you loose the first round, you can always come back for more. If you don’t play, you stay on the sidelines and become a wannabe athlete, stewing with undesirable feelings and supressing bad demons.


  18. @19

    First: learn to spell
    Second, no one is bashing Marti.
    Third: you really think the Granma is great? If so please explain why… because state propaganda, no matter where you live, is always crap.
    Fourth: The Cuban working class? Last time I checked it was the Cuban starving class. Starved for food, for information, for freedom, starved for change.
    Fifth: by posting this garbage you do yourself and your people a great dishonor.
    Sixth: I doubt that you are posting this from Cuba, so if you are in fact a Cuban in exile but love socialism so much… why the hell did you ever leave?
    Seventh: I don’t normally respond to comments like your but someone needs to shut you up and make you turn the caps lock off….

  19. What Anónimo probably doesn’t know (because his/her brain has not registered yet) is that when you enter this blog your e-mail address is embedded and easy to track who you are.

  20. @ Sickboy:

    Sixth: I doubt that you are posting this from Cuba, so if you are in fact a Cuban in exile but love socialism so much… why the hell did you ever leave?


    That is the same question we are asking Yoani. I watch a video last night on how the people fought the CCCP and revolted. The people were fighting police and jumping on tanks. Why do these so called ‘anti-castro’ people fight back? I am from the west indies and I know for a fact tha mi gente fight for what they want.

    Everybody keeps on trying to help these poor people but they are not doing anything to defend themselves.

  21. ***
    The good Cuban parents will see that their children have education and a better future. It is too bad that the Communist Cuban government does not care about the people.
    Los buenos padres Cubanos van a ver que sus hijos recibiran educacion y una futura mejor. Que lastima que el gobierno communista de Cuba no tiene lastima por la gente.

  22. #24 —

    But that’s the problem John — the parents fight to get their children well educated and they are… but…

    I’m sure there are miserable children in Cuba as there are everywhere… in certain families… but overall I did have the sense of a country and of parents that really really value their children and would sacrifice anything for them… so… what do you get? Well educated children… who then grow up to become adults who have NO FUTURE. The parents cannot give them anything at that point. There is nothing to give. All is controlled by the state.

    It’s the same as bragging you’ve taught everyone to read… but then censoring all the books. So great… everyone can read Granma…

  23. @Socialist:

    “That is the same question we are asking Yoani.”
    -I’m not sure which question you mean…

    “Everybody keeps on trying to help these poor people but they are not doing anything to defend themselves.”
    -As history has taught us, movements have to start somewhere. People like Yoani are jumping on metaphorical tanks and facing an entire government with their blogs, their art and their music. More and more people are joining their ranks everyday. Just because we don’t hear about it, it doesn’t mean that they are not doing anything to defend themselves.

  24. Regarding Emu’s comments:

    I try not to acknowledge the dictator’s thugs such as no. 19, that probably creep up every now and then on this blog. Some of them are seething, they read all that’s going on, and they know that the blog discussions are mostly true. But yet, they have old loyalties, and it still comes to mind when they used to pee on themselves, listening to the dictator’s resonant old speeches, threatening, intimidating and warning of whatever evil windmill came to his mind, that had to be defeated and crushed to save the revolution. These thugs try to be clever and at times probably pass themselves as non-cubans. In other cases they are uninformed citizens of other countries who still cling to outdated ideology, or smoke something unknown, not realizing or not caring that there are a lots of people suffering from this dictator’s deeds.

    Regarding the post from Emu, who took Ian for a spin about the alleged money Castro has in Swiss bank accounts. I tried to warn Ian. As if the dictator were idiotic enough to open accounts in a capitalist country, member of the World Trade Organization and stash his money there. Meanwhile, Emu, you overlook the fact that the character and his cohorts owns an entire nation.

    By the way the Hitler youth also “turned out very neatly” (for any mass event to salute the Fuhrer) they also wore, what any innocent bystander would qualify as very elegant, clean cut earth-tone uniforms. In fact their demeanor and stance was such that they could stand erect …………….. ready to pour a hundred rounds of ammo on anything moving that did not turn in their mother for being so much as non-nazi.

    Parents speaking to teachers, big deal! this is done all over the world. If the locals in Britain are not meeting with their teachers, it is because they have the freedom not to do it.

    The point the Flaca was trying to make is that these people have very little to give by way of money and/or time, since they have to scour the city looking for food and the money they make is almost worthless. Nevertheless, they do it because the island culture is such that parents will do anything for their children above and beyond any other consideration.

  25. Anónimo dice: 13 Febrero 2009 a las 15:34

    LONG LIVE SOCIALIST CUBA Cuba was socialist long time ago, under Prio and Grau gov long before the actual tyranny ……right now Cubis a dictatorship with a governmental capitalism as economical system…. so what are you talking about????…… get ilustrated before trying to publicize consigns.
    LONG LIVE THE CUBAN WORKING CLASS Which working class???…Jaj!!… it is a good joke!!!….In Cuba you will find only people that works for $0.50 the day… can’t call working class to people that works for $0.50 a day, they are slaves!!!!
    WE LOVE GRANMA …. Everybody loves Grandma !!!!!!
    LONG LIVE XOSE MARTI,MARXISM-LENINISM…. Do you want to know what Jose Marti wrote about communism….here you have:

    “All the power which would be gradually acquired by the caste of public officials, bound by their need to remain in a privileged and lucrative position , would be gradually lost by the people, who lack the same reasons for complicity in hopes and profits to confront the public officials fettered together by their common interests. As all public needs would eventually be fulfilled by the State, the officials would then acquire the enormous influence which by nature falls upon those who distribute any right or benefit.The man who now wants the State to take care of him so as not to have to take care of himself would have to work in the proportion, for the time and in the occupation that the State would see fit to assign to him, as the State, on whom all the duties would befall, would be endowed with all the necessary powers to implement the means to fulfill the work involved. From being its own servant , man would then become a slave of the State. From being a slave of capitalists, as they are now called, he would become a slave of the public officials. A slave is a man who works for another who holds control of him, and in that socialist system the community would dominate man, who would then render all his work to the community. And as public officials are human beings and, therefore, abusive, proud and ambitious, and would wield great power in that organization, abetted by all those who would take advantage or would hope to take advantage of the abuses, and by those vile forces that always prowl among the oppressed, the terror, prestige or cunning of those who rule, this system of official distribution of common labor would in a short time suffer from the grief, violence, thefts and distortions that the spirit of individuality , the austerity and the daring of genius and the wiliness of vice soon and fatally create in any human organization … Autocracy will abuse the common people, exhausted and hard working. Regrettably, generalized slavery will be the result.”

    Incredible!!!!…. Incredible that a man, who lived and die long before the first communist country ever existed, had a so clear understanding of what communism will become and how people will suffer under this modern slavery!!!!!!

    LONG LIVE OYR HONORED PEOPLE…… Sorry….. can you repeat this last sentence????

  26. Statute of Liberty dice: 13 Febrero 2009 a las 16:35

    Carbó, had you had the time to check on my #6?

    Yes, both programs are very good. You can learn a lot about the darkest side of the dictatorship.

  27. To all those unillustrated people that believe the cuban people has never fought for its freedom…..
    Get illustrated please, read some books abouth the first 30 years of dictatorship and learn about our history. There are plenty of books in libraries.

    To all those unillustrated people that believe the cuban people does not fight today for its freedom….
    Get illustrated please, get informed by reading newspapers, books and blogs about cubans and theirs actual fight. There is plenty of them.

    But of course, you will never get illustration about those issues by reading The New York Time, watching CNN or HBO

  28. #29 Farmer

    One last thing for this post:

    Great paragraph by Marti if correctly quoted, never read it before. If its true, it should be written on every bathroom stall in Havana. How’s the regime going to refute or explain that. Please show your source or link.

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