Two agendas

The duality, in which we are caught between the official version and the on-the-street reality, also characterizes the demands emerging from this Island.  The list of what we hope for is divided into two different agendas, as dissimilar as they are conflicting.  The first, the government’s list, includes strong declarations calling for the release of the five Cuban spies imprisoned in the United States and has, among its major points, the extradition of Posada Carriles, who is accused of having blown up a plane in 1976.  The official line is that it’s not enough for Obama to close the prison at the Guantánamo base, but he must also return the territory to Cuba and, obviously, there is a section, highlighted in red, about ending the U.S. blockade.

You can read something else if you look at the list of the people’s wishes.  On the first lines there’s the question of what have been called “structural reforms” about which they talked so much two years ago.  One repeated request, to remove the straitjacket on economic initiatives of the people, also would be among the most visible.  With the chipped pencil of waiting we have written, on several pages of this virtual agenda, the need to eliminate the restrictions on entering and leaving the country, the desire for free association, the choice of what creed we raise our children in, and the need to earn salaries in the same money in which most products are sold.  All this and more would be on the frayed list of citizens’ aspirations, if someone would like to browse through it.

The same applies to the official document on human rights which is being presented today at the Human Rights Council.  A fictional summary of what we have—read through rose-tinted glasses and the triumphalist glossary—that is so far, light years away, from what we live.  The work of skilled writers, and so it must be read, like the fictional text of certain authors who avoid writing the log—the real one—of the shipwreck.

Translator’s note: The sign in the empty window reads, “Promotions”

129 thoughts on “Two agendas”

  1. I thank you translator. This is a very quick translation. I just wanted to go to sleep, one more look and. . I saw this! Congratulations. I have been following the publications on the human right issue. Hopefully both agendas get enough attention. It is quite absurd to read that th Cuban goverment is proud about the way they handle the Human Rights.
    They must have very thick pink glasses indeed!

  2. My greatest pleasure…. I’m at your service!

    On another note, you mentioned in a comment on the last post that there’s another new spanish language blog you find interesting. Can you tell us which one? I’m always looking for good blogs to read.

    Sleep well….

  3. Oh yes, another comment I meant to make with regards to your email to Yoani. I have gotten emails from her that have taken a week to get from her computer to mine. Once in a while they take a few minutes (maybe that’s when all the censors are busy in a staff meeting where they are plotting new ways to try to make her life miserable!). So yes, communication with the island is a big problem.

  4. “The desire for free association” What i’m reading is the population is put into class’s, the ruling class or the turist class?
    Those that travel there needs to explain this, since I can’t get my head around it.

  5. Oh sorry translator. I will tell you later. Now I reffered to the latest post of Yoani Dos agendas. I wrongly named it a blog. What time it is with you now? Here it is 1.01

  6. a href=”http://cubanet.org/CNews/y08/junio08/13cronica1.html”>Entrevista a Yoani Sánchez Cordero

    LA HABANA, Cuba, junio (www.cubanet.org) – LA TECNOLOGIA EROSIONA AL SISTEMA-Cuando los electores de la Revista Time, seleccionaron a Yoani Sánchez Cordero entre las cien personas más influyentes del mundo en el año 2008, en la clasificación de héroes y pioneros, no sabían que esta cubana flaca y brillante leyó a los clásicos de joven y esperó dos años estudiando pedagogía, para poder estudiar filología. Parió mientras estudiaba en la universidad. A los 26 años decidió emigrar y emigró. A los 27 pudo llevar a su hijo con ella y a los 28, se radicó nuevamente en su país, en contra de las leyes migratorias. Para no ser expatriada, destruyó su pasaporte. Participó en un proyecto político intelectual, la Revista Consenso. Y al final, sólo al final, hizo un blog que arrasó, con los índices de comentarios y le valió el Premio Ortega y Gasset.

  7. I have traveled to Cuba and there is a system there which everyone — Cubans and tourists alike — call “Tourist Apartheid”.

    What is means is that the government does everything it can, with the force of law, to separate the tourists and the citizens. Some of these laws were changed last year. Before that, for example, Cubans could not even ENTER the main hotels in Havana–only foreigners were allowed in. I was so shocked when I first got there and the doormen (Cubans of course) stopped everyone who ‘looked Cuban’ and said, “No, you can’t come in here.” There were separate buses for Cubans and foreigners. Tourists could not ride in certain taxis (the cheap ones) and so on. Because I knew Cubans, I managed to ‘sneak’ into some “Cuban-only” places, but even then we were skulking around at night or I would stand in the middle of a group of Cubans so I wouldn’t be noticed. How would they know I wasn’t Cuban? EVERYTHING starting with my (ordinary) shoes.

    There used to be beaches that were blocked off… no Cubans could walk on that sand… and so on. Some of those formal restrictions have ended … but it doesn’t mean much of course since Cubans don’t have enough money to pay the tourist prices. But clearly, from Yoani’s post, there is still a system of Apartheid where Cubans are not allowed to go into certain internet places.

    Also, Cubans who are with a foreigner, even if it is a large group of Cubans and only one foreigner (so clearly not an example of prostitution… well I guess that could be a really rich foreigner with weird tastes… but not likely)… the police who are on every street corner will stop the group and demand all their identity cards (while they ignore the foreigner as if you’re not even there) and just harass them for a long time… taking half an hour or more to check everyone’s ID… it’s another way to make it undesirable for tourists and Cubans to mix.

  8. On the US. embargo/blockade I have to say that is hard for me to understand the reasoning that conducted us to it.
    Maybe if there was not U.S. embargo/blockade Cuba would be very different today.

    Let me be clear what I mean is that I believe the embargo has not archive its goal.
    If the goal was to make the Castro regime surrender.
    All we see is Cuba almost destroyed and the Cuban people living in very poor conditions.

    Maybe it is time to re think that old fashion policy towards Cuba.
    Maybe engaging Cuba the government will free all political prisoners and allow dissent.
    But maybe I am dreaming!
    Since allowing that will mean the Castro regime time will be coming to and end.

    It is interesting to notice even with a very friendly administration as Obama’s Administration is. The Castro regime puts preconditions for normalization of relations. Is like they do not want that embargo to end. Thinking of it and of all the Castro speeches I had to endure for 26 years. The embargo was always the reason for anything wrong with the revolution. The ultimate excuse for Castro.

    50 years of failures blame on the embargo.

    I guess for the revolution will not be easy to let that go.

    I strongly believe that if the embargo disappear then with it will also disappear the revolution.

  9. As for the Cuban government satisfying the will of the people.

    I have to smile with sadness at that one.

    They promise many many things until they got by force into power in 1959 once that got what they wanted they did not satisfy the promises they made. Even more the lie to everyone. They have been lying for long. Now they realize that the system they try to build with everyone equal is impossible. That is why Raul Castro on some speeches mentioned about some people now making more money than others etc.

    If you guys remember Eliezer (The Cuban university student who asked Alarcon (President of the Assembly) about having the freedom to travel anywhere without having to ask for permission from the government. The excuse he gave him was embarrassingly lame. Alarcon mentioned they cannot travel because the air space will be full of airplanes! )

    He also asked about the dual currency one worthless the government uses to pay them and one they can use to buy things but that they can get only if they have family outside of Cuba or they do illegal activities.

    Why do they need to have this dual currency? Is it to promote family abroad to send in money and or to promote prostitution and other similar activities in the island?

    Is sad to see how the Cuban government uses its own people.

  10. @American. Yes. There are two classes. Even some ardent Communists and CDR members I met had to admit that the government was creating two distinct classes in Cuba because of the dual currency system. The vast majority of Cubans are paid in National Pesos (CUP), if you work a government job you make between 300-500 national pesos a month (about $10-30 USD). The tourist economy runs on Convertible Pesos (CUC). The tourist currency is worth significantly more, 1CUC=about $1.08USD, so many Cubans want to work in the tourist industry or simply hang around tourists because it gives them access to Convertible Pesos. More and more services and goods are being sold in Convertible Pesos because, once again, they are worth more. So, the result is that many Cubans can no longer afford to buy certain items, go out to eat, go to a bar etc… Even items sold with National Pesos are going up in major cities because of the influx of Convertibles.

    This has created two classes of Cubans: Those who have access to Convertible Pesos by working in the tourist industry. The other class is the new underclass, those who do not work in the tourist sector, only get paid in National Pesos and maybe hustle on the side to get a few scraps off the table.

  11. @ Silent Voice

    The last time the US got close to ending the embargo Fidel shot down a plane or two (I think they were “Brothers to the Rescue” planes… someone else will have to track down the details) and killed the pilots and whoever else was on board… to make sure the US would be “mad” at him again and all talk of ending the embargo would stop.

    The US needs to end the embargo with no talks, no conditions, no nothing. The regime does not REALLY want it to end, they only say they do. Call their bluff and just end it.

    Now I’ll go out on a limb but other people can write and attack me (go for it guys and gals… I don’t mind… it’s all in the service of educating ourselves….) I’ll go out on a limb and say that the reason we have never normalized relations with Cuba (as we did with China and Vietnam) is because Cuban-Americans, primarily in Florida, do not want it to happen. They think (I won’t ascribe evil motives to them), they think, despite 50 years of evidence to the contrary, that if the US would just “starve the commies out”, Castro would fall to his knees, beg for mercy, declare free elections, shoot himself in the head… I dunno what they think… all I know is that whatever it is it hasn’t happened.

    What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome?

    Anyway — back to Florida… it’s an important state in US presidential elections and Cuban-Americans are an important voting block… hence…

    Also, of course, after the plane(s) shootdown… the hardliners in congress (including two of Fidel’s nephews) managed to get the embargo enshrined in LAW… so now the president cannot end it by presidential order. What a mess.

    I would love to see all the travel restrictions ended… the family restrictions can be ended by Obama with a stroke of the pen… let’s hope he gets moving on that. The general travel restrictions for others are in the stupid law… but Obama can order the govt not to waste any resources enforcing them… so then people could just go. (Maybe through a 3rd country still… but without fear of reprisals.)

    What would that accomplish? Well at least while we’re all waiting for the old men to kick their respective buckets Americans could flood in there with some more dollars which would help ease life for the people… tho it wouldn’t change anything with regards to human rights and so on.

  12. @silent voice again

    Yep… all those planes flying around… what a mess that would be… just imagine… they’d all be crashing into each other in the air… we couldn’t have that now, could we!

    Because I’m sure that if the travel restrictions were ended 11 million Cubans would book a flight out TOMORROW and of course enough planes would magically appear to carry them all… and somehow manage to all take off at once and just crash all over the place. uh huh?

    (Although actually I thought I heard Alarcon say that “we are not a rich country… we can’t afford for everyone to travel”… an equally stupid excuse… )

  13. @Andy: It was Brothers to the Rescue (Hermanos al Rescate) in 1996.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermanos_al_Rescate

    I think partial blame for the embargo can be laid at the feet of the Cuban-American bloc in FL. Also on hardliner anti-communists/cold war vets in Washington. Both groups can’t see the forest for the trees on this one.

  14. I didn’t mean to imply (and I’m not saying you, MacheteAmor thought I did… but for the benefit of other readers)… I did not mean to imply that the embargo was initially imposed entirely because of pressure from Cuban Americans…not at all. I was only talking about the insistence on continuing it when it became clear it was a failed strategy. And you’re probably right about the anti-commie vets etc.

  15. SilentVoice dice: 6 Febrero 2009 a las 01:55
    All we see is Cuba almost destroyed and the Cuban people living in very poor conditions.
    0000000000000000000000

    Do you really believe Cuba’s destruction and cuban people terrible life conditions have to do with the embargo???

    Among Cuba’s commercial partners USA lies in place #5.
    In 2007 USA sold to Cuba goods for $582 000 000
    In 2006 sold goods for $484 000 000
    In 2008 sold goods for $680 000 000
    USA supplies Cuba almost all food the island needs, including……………..sugar!!!!!!!!!
    In the years of the soviet subside to Cuba, the dictatorship received from Russia $360 000 000 000 cash and all needed, oil, weapons, wood, machinery, trucks. iron, paper and spear parts.
    Only the received cash were equivalent to 100 Plan Marshall ………….. remember people……… with only one Plan Marchall Europe rose from devastation to welfare after WWII………… so
    EMBARGO DOESN’T EXIST AND NEVER HAS EXISTED

    At the other end you have Canada, the whole Europe and latinamerica, Asia and Africa doing business and giving credits to Castro…… have the free commerce of the rest of the world with Cuba make Castro change?????….. have the benevolence and in some cases the open help of the rest of the world make things different in Cuba???
    No!!!!!!!
    Then, why do you believe that only the change of USA’s attitude can make changes happen in Cuba.

    The problem in Cuba have nothing to do with USA…. is the Castros who have a problem with the cuban people. The war is not between USA and Cuba but between the dictatorship and cuban people.
    Lifting today’s nominal embargo is a good idea that almost all cuban agree with, any way the embargo doesn’t exist.
    The only effective embargo that today affects the cuban people is the internal embargo that the dictatorship maintain on the cubans. This embargoes that hind the cuban people to use its ability, intelligence and laboriousness to create richness……….. in the same way cubans in others countries create richness.
    The cuban doesn’t need any external help it has been proven through the scattered opportunities the dictatorship relaxed the hard regulation over the private initiative. Each time it happen the people self solved all their problems without the government involving. The farmers produced all the people needed; the markets were full with vegetables, meat, eggs, milk, etc. Small industries proliferated everywhere and the vendors found theirs stands full of shoes, cloths, deodorants and all kind articles long time ago vanished from the market.
    But in the same way dictatorship is afraid of information is also afraid of richness, even if this richness is account in thousands and not in millions. Because richness means independence and insubordination and leftist dictatorships needs for surviving the peoples dependence and subordination.

  16. MacheteAmor dice: 6 Febrero 2009 a las 02:28
    000000000000000000000

    Hi MacheteLove, how are you doing brother. I gave you an answer to your questions about socialism. You can find it among the comments of the post Endophobia
    Regards

  17. In today’s post, Yoani mentions the official document submitted by the Cuban government to the Human Rights Council for today’s Universal Periodic Review at the UN. The document is pretty pathetic vacillating between denying there are any human rights violations in Cuba to adopting a fall-back position that even if there are, they’re somebody else’s fault.

    Just as pathetic are the submissions made by Cuba’s so-called civil society groups which contain not a single criticism of Cuba’s human rights record. Since my country Canada also underwent a UPR during the same session, the often scathing criticism of Canada’s NGOs about Canada’s human rights failings offered a sharp contrast to the lapdog approach taken by Cuban “NGOs.”

    Thank goodness some international NGOs (Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, etc.) cared enough to make their own submissions on the Castro regime’s sorry record.

    Anybody (outside of Cuba that is) who wants to see these documents can link to them here:
    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR%5CPAGES%5CCUSession4.aspx

    The report of the Working Report should be posted in a few days.

  18. I have posted the same information about the reality of the embargo during the last couple of weeks and apparently no one has paid much attention. Here I go again for those who wish the embargo be lifted tomorrow morning.

    “THERE IS NO EMBARGO, the US is been trading consistently with Cuba for many years, these figures are available at: Foreign Trade Statistics (US Trade Balance with Cuba)

    Year 2008 $660.3 Millions, 2007 $447.1 Millions, 2006 $340.5 Millions, 2005 $369 Millions, 2004 $404.1 Millions, 2003 $259.1 Millions, 2002 $145.9 Millions, prior years figures are also available. All the above purchases are done in cash by the Castro’s regime, but Cuba wish that the suckers in Washington lift the “so call embargo” so that future trade with Cuba is done on credit, YES, CREDIT. Why? I tell why, because Cuba wants to continue having other countries to subsidize their inefficiencies. Cuba has never, never repaid their billions of dollars in debts to countries such as: Germany, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Russia, China, etc… (Just to name a few)

    I hope the above clarifies some of the inconsistencies and lack of knowledge on the comments made by some about the lifting of the embargo and blaming the United States for the miseries the poor Cuban people is suffering.

    You can go a little bit further and believe that if the embargo is lifted tomorrow, every thing will be Honky-Dory. That’s not going to happen, the same restrictions that are now in place will continue to exist because the government controlled agencies will continue to distribute these goods to “special stores” that caters to Tourists and Foreign Dignitaries who can afford to paid in Convertible Pesos; the rest of the population have no access to this currency and is unable to afford it with the meager salaries they make in Cuban Pesos, that are not worth anything.

    One more comment on another subject. The Castro’s regime for years and years they have used different labels when referring to Cubans living in Miami or abroad. They had done a good job, because some of those labels used by Castro’s agents are now been used by some people in this blog when referring to us; we are the hardliners, the right wingers and so on…

    Lucky are those who live in Cuba that have a compassionate relative in the United States or elsewhere who send them some money every once in a while so we can ease their pain. We Cubans, those who live in Miami or elsewhere, we are not the problem the problem has been, is, and will be the terrorists in Cuba who have oppressed a noble people for a long 50 years. People who call us names, please STOP the nonsense repeated by the vultures in Cuba and respect those of us who had live WITHOUT a country for 50 long years.

  19. Hey Carlos,

    I haven’t answered anything to all your posts about the facts of the so-called ’embargo/blockade’… because I have nothing to add. But I want you to know I’ve copied out all your statistics and already used them several times with people, so all the work you put into posting them here certainly has not been wasted!!!!

    Thanks for doing that!

    As for my comments about Cuban-Americans wanting to keep the blockade… well I don’t mean EVERYONE… I’m just saying that’s where the pressure has come from. And I didn’t mean to call anyone names and I’m really sorry if I did or if anyone read it that way.

    But I have read a lot of stuff on other blogs (Cuban-American blogs) that is just cruel towards Cubans in Cuba and it hurts me to read that stuff.

  20. It is certainly the case that the demagogues – not just Castro but his self-appointed grandson Chavez and the latter’s “alter boy” Morales – see conflict with the US as a means of explaining their domestic failure and will not seek closer relations with Obama. Indeed, even before the inauguration, Chavez described the presidency as a “fiasco” and Bolivia, followed by Venezuela, has become the first country in 30 years to declare a US ambassador persona non grata. The embargo (never a “blockade”) is far too useful to the Cuban regime for them to ever allow it to be lifted.
    There is no question, for example, of the Cuban thugs sent to spy-on and intimidate expats (who are also US citizens) being released from their lawful confinement and Raul “the Terrible” Castro’s admission that his political prisoners are no more than hostages, to be released in return for his spies, will cut no ice in civilised parts of the world. Even if they are actually freed, he will simply round up some more innocent Cubans in an attempt to extort further concessions.
    There is no prospect of regime-change in Cuba, whatever the outside world does (and suggestions that an embargo which allows in food is an attempt to “starve” the country into submission is clearly ridiculous) because the communist aristocracy has a very comfortable life. Their gilded children suffer no travel restrictions, for example, and many are settled, semi-permanently, in Spain.
    Also headed for Spain, however, may be anything up to a four percent of the non-Stalinist population: http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/nietos/exiliados/hacen/fila/elpepuint/20081230elpepuint_4/Tes . The Spanish have permitted many descendants of exiles from the Franco regime to claim citizenship and around 200,000 Cubans are expected to do so. The first passports will be arriving on the island next week and, as one recipient is reported to have said, “People don’t care about Obama. What matters now in Cuba is becoming Spanish.”

  21. Carbo
    Do you really believe Cuba’s destruction and cuban people terrible life conditions have to do with the embargo???

    My answer is no I do not believe the embargo is responsible for that. The economical policies of the Cuban government are.
    What if the US did not exist? What then?
    Will they blame their economic problems in a non existent country?
    All I am saying is that the embargo for them is the ultimate excuse to justify their failures.

  22. Who actually is in power in Cuba? Who are those that are controlling the people? What are their names and how did they get these positions? Cuba’s population is 11 million, is 5 million people in control of 6 million people. Any regime has to have layer upon layer upon layer upon layer of citizens to keep a regime going for fifty years. Cubans are educated, smart and appearing to be bonded to the regime by family connections in order to survive hardships of life. Reading other blogs of young Cubans it appears to me the mind set of being on an island of which is your home but are not allowed to leave has taken over the mind as prisoners of war have expericened. Where is the United Nations, shame on them, shame on the US Goverment to have an Island of prisoners 90 miles off their shore.

  23. Hey Andy,

    You are right to say that most of the pressure not to lift the embargo is coming from Cubans living in Miami (Miami has the largest Cuban population outside Cuba) or in the area, but no necessarily and rightly so. Just because there are Cubans who oppose such move, they don’t need to carry such labels as “Miami Mafia”, “Right Wingers” etc…The reason why so many Cubans are opposed is because they know that it will be business as usual and the American people will be the one footing the bill.

    I never expressed myself in any ill form toward Cubans living in Cuba, I think they have suffered enough from the hell in which they live, but I have always despise those who oppress others in the Island and those who support such an inhuman regime.

    By the way I don’t live in Miami.

  24. Andy
    I totally agree with this statement and the other statements you have made.

    “The US needs to end the embargo with no talks, no conditions, no nothing. The regime does not REALLY want it to end, they only say they do. Call their bluff and just end it.”

    I believe a US congress person went to Cuba and jokingly said to Castro that if he did not behave they(US) will end the embargo.

    As you can see then even in the high political circles here, they know the embargo is the wrong approach to the Cuban problem. As you said is maddening applying the same wrong “solution” for 50 years.

    If there was no embargo maybe many people in Cuba will be able to work outside the government and making them economically independent from the government should be our priority.
    The way the Castro Regime control freedom of speech is by controlling their livelihood. People need before they can speak freely to have full bellies. You do not see many hungry people talking about freedom of speech but they will be complaining about being hungry. The Castro regime knows that and that is what is being using to control people for 50 years!
    I do believe is time to re think those policies that did not have an effect on the Regime.

  25. SilentVoice dice: 6 Febrero 2009 a las 13:51

    All I am saying is that the embargo for them is the ultimate excuse to justify their failures.
    000000000000000000000

    You are right, that is the pure true.

  26. Hey Silent Voice,

    In Cuba you don’t choose your place of employment. The system has absolute control over your entire life. So when you say: “If there was no embargo maybe many people in Cuba will be able to work outside the government and making them economically independent from the government should be our priority…..”

    Wake up and smell the coffee, you don’t choose, they choose for you; whether you like it or not.

    Here is part of the Encyclopedia definition for TOTALITARIANISM:

    “Totalitarianism, in political science, system of government and ideology in which all social, political, economic, intellectual, cultural, and spiritual activities are subordinated to the purposes of the rulers of a state. Several important features distinguish totalitarianism, a form of autocracy peculiar to the 20th century, from such older forms as despotism, absolutism, and tyranny. In the older forms of autocracy people could live and work in comparative independence, provided they refrained from politics. In modern totalitarianism, however, people are made utterly dependent on the wishes and whims of a political party and its leaders.”

    I hope the above explains what people in Cuba are subjected to on a daily basis for 50 long years of oppression.

    Please don’t blame the United States for the embargo, it is Castro and his cronies to be blame, they will never accept any changes whether these changes comes from Clinton, Bush or Obama.

  27. ***
    I lived in the U.S. Army for 2 years. The Army controlled everything in my life then. But later I could control my own life and live much better. The poor Cuban People are “in the Army” for life.
    ***
    Vive en el ejercito (U. S. Army) por 2 anos. El ejercito controlo todo en mi vida en esta tiempo. Pero mas despues puede controlar mi vida y vivi mucho mejor. La Gente Cubano estan “en el ejercito” para la vida.
    ***
    John Bibb

  28. Carlos I agree but Cubans have always done what they please.

    The Black market in Cuba who do you think runs it?

    In Cuba you can pretty much get anything given the right connections.

    If we inject a lot of money there and make a lot of people economically independent from the government them maybe corruption may take care of the rest since big burocracies are intrinsically corrupt and as I have known thru friends. Anything is for sale in Cuba’s bureaucracy. Any permit is possible given the right amount of money.

  29. So does anyone have any inside knowledge or special insights or even more information than I do?

    Why did Rahm Emanuel say “The less said about Cuba the better”?

    That’s a very odd turn of phrase. It makes you think they are THINKING about Cuba a great deal… but not wanting to talk about it.

  30. I’ve been reading this blog for a few months, but something Carlos said in post 30 prompted me to share this story.

    My parents fled Hungary after the failed 1956 uprising and were fortunate enough to make new lives in the West.

    My Dad took the view that the only way to defeat communism was through an extremely hard line. For many years he thought only foreign military intervention could possibly liberate Eastern Europe, that’s how strong the grip of totalitarianism was on countries like Hungary. He opposed any policies of engagement. When Gorbachev arrived on the scene with his policy of glasnost he was convinced it was a trick to pull the wool over the eyes of those in the West.

    It took my Dad a while to re-orient his worldview when this totalitarian system literally melted away in every country in Eastern Europe within a few short months at the end of 1989.

    Like its Eastern European counter-parts, Cuban Communism is built on a pack of lies and is swimming against the tide of human history in which people yearn to be free. Once the strongman dies, the entire infrastructure of fear and oppression could collapse like a deck of cards.

  31. Can not locate this A P wire, do not speak or read Spanish but if anyone finds it on the web in english please let me know.

    The less said in America about A Great Debate until it can be worked is the best way to go. Those against Cuba being opened up will come out of the woodwork and work it PR Wise to their advantage. There is not three people in US that see eye to eye about anything, best to stay blind about what Obama is gonna do until we know what it is. The best of luck to those on the island of prisoners.

  32. Hey Silent Voice,

    If you think that Castro would let the US inject money in their economy, you are dreaming in daylight time. Anything and everything have to be approved, run and controlled by the Government, not by any institution in the USA.

  33. @Nagy (is your first name Imre (just joking!))

    The story you tell of Hungary is, of course, the story I think almost everyone hopes for for Cuba…. Fidel dies (hopefully we don’t have to wait for Raul to kick it too)… and it just slips away… of course it will be a big challenge about what comes next.

    It is interesting that the grandchildren of the refugees from the Spanish civil war are now able to return to Spain… will the children and grandchildren of the refugees from Castro’s Cuba want to go back? Some of course have left very recently — but many other ‘exiles’ were born abroad and may never even have been to Cuba.

  34. Carlos, so what do you propose as a solution?

    Continue with the embargo that we know does not work and will only oppress more the Cuban people?

    As for Castro. They are things that are under his control and some things he can not control and will never be able to control or maybe I am mistaken on the above assumption.

    As example I will put the two I have mentioned

    Black Market and Prostitution.

    Never mind what the government has try they have never being capable of eliminating any of them. In fact they are the proof that “socialistic society’s new man” is the same man that is every where. It’s a fiction of the communist mentality!

    You will always get people trying to get ahead of the rest by any means necessary!

    On the other hand I will confess that I have thought before that the Cuban government actually runs both that is the Black Market and the Prostitution ring.
    The Prostitution with the objective to attract tourism to the island and the Black Market with the objective to supply needed things that they can not afford to bring in as they are imported from the US illegally!

    Since they have so much control over there. I remember we use to joke about it saying that not even a fly can move without Castro knowing. So whatever happens over there is because they are purposely turning a blind eye to it.

  35. @Nagy — everyone here uses a pseudonym… no problems… yours just made me laugh… we don’t have too many famous people here but I think Obama, Stalin, among many others post on the spanish site!

  36. Nagy
    It is my believe that communism will fail by itself there is nothing we need to do. The system intrinsically have the seed of its own demise. As example I guess I will have to cite all the countries of eastern Europe.

    As for Cuba I believe if they think of us as friends and not a foe we can help more the Cuban people. At least that’s my hope. The rest will come to and end by itself. Maybe once the great leader is no longer with us.

    Why is it intrinsic of the communism to fail?
    Easy

    Economically can never compete with Capitalism.
    Why that is is also easy Capitalism is self healing while communism with all its planning is not. Human beings can never predict the future. Therefore no amount of planning could ever tell the Cuban government of 3 hurricane coming to Cuba this past year! or the many that will come later.

    For a small country like Cuba this situation I will say is almost catastrophic!

    In capitalism there is not so much reliance on the future because nobody knows what will happen and they do not pretend to know. The way the system works is by the invisible hand mentioned by Adam Smith in “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”.

    Think of this Capitalism is base to work on one of the most potent human defects. Greed
    While Socialism denies that defect to humans. But as we say after all we are human therefore we will be greedy!

    In capitalism that greedy sentiment turns into collective good since the capitalist produces jobs that will benefit the majority and will also pay taxes to the state.
    In socialism that greedy sentiment is punished and frown upon. Eliminating with it also the spirit of independence!

    Anyway that is the general idea I have from living and working on both systems as to why one works and the other does not.

  37. “Not even a fly can move….”

    So tell me, is there anyone here who thinks General Ochoa was acting outside the knowledge of the Flyswatter-en-Jefe?

    No, of course not.

    So someone tell me what that was all about. I’ve always assumed that it was a simple display of sheer power and the convenience of getting rid of a possible rival in the meantime. But there were probably some side shows I didn’t hear about. Maybe Ochoa’s Swiss bank account was fatter than Fidel’s and so the Flyswatter had to show who was the Swatter and who was the fly.

    For readers who may not be familiar with it: General Ochoa was one of the original members of the 26th of July movement, fought in the Sierras …. Angola… etc… a big “hero” guy — whom Fidel decided to charge with treason and drug trafficking and he had him executed in 1989 after show trials for him and his associates, which were broadcast on TV. Go to Wiki or anywhere on line and you can read all about it.

  38. To be fair their system is not pure socialism anymore neither our system is pure capitalism.

    Since we do have many things the government do and they do have also some things private people are allow to do.
    Naturally they do not allow many of this private people doing because they know that once they do it they will be economically independent from the state and once that happens there is not way to obligate them to do what they want them to do.

    Their trick is to keep the balance so that they do not loose control. Our trick should be to make them loose that balance! and not having an embargo will make things easier.

  39. Andy

    I left Cuba as the Ochoa trial was coming to an end. We the people of Cuba thought exactly what you describe.
    That he was targeted to be blame together with the other brothers because the US had proof that there was something going on. So the government (Castro) needed someone to blame for it and to show that it was not him doing it!
    Maybe one day we will learn the truth.

    Like I have said . Not even a fly move without him knowing!

    That explain the 50 years in power!

  40. I was delighted to see “the invisible hand …” appear (or not :-)) on this site. Of course, capitalism is not invulnerable, as I pointed out in Thursday’s EL PAIS, and the hand needs cherishing. Precisely for the unknown future, discussed above. Incidentally, the opening below uses a deliberately mixed metaphor for comic effect, which the Editor, I’m pleased to say, reflected in the headline:
    Incubating Untemehmergeist .
    As the headless chickens who strutted so impotently at Davos fly home to roost, it may be time to take the economic downturn seriously. A century ago, Moravian-born economist Joseph Schumpeter concluded, with Karl Marx, that capitalism could collapse, but for the opposite reason. Prosperous masses might vote increasingly for stability through regulation and welfare, and this would stifle Untemehmergeist – the “entrepreneur-spirit” so vital to progress. But there is no security in stasis and, if the “invisible hand of the market” is arthritic and shackled, it will soon loose its capacity to provide for our needs under changing circumstances. Recessions offer something of a cure, provided new, vigorous enterprises are encouraged and resources are not squandered on, for example, failed banks and moribund car plants. This recession will be far deeper, longer, and more damaging if we fail to embrace change, and to recognise that “what’s good for General Motors” may not, in perpetuity, be “good for America.”

  41. @Silent Voice

    Well there! Already you told me something I didn’t know. I have only read a little about this case but I watched the trials on YouTube… what a horrifying spectacle!

    But I didn’t know the little twist about the US having proof that Fidel was supporting his ‘revolution’ through drug profits (no surprise in that)… so that adds a whole new twist. He couldn’t let the US say he was a drug trafficker… so he had to kill somebody….

    sorry Ochoa… your name came up in that little lottery.

  42. Woops…the last one was to #45… this one is to number 46!!!!

    “But there is no security in stasis….”

    good point.

    meanwhile I see we are looking to what Japan did during its recent ‘lost decade’… seems they did just what the US is about to do… with not very impressive results.

    what I don’t understand is why more of that money is thrown at people who are NOW working but are going to be laid off…. teachers, bus drivers and the like. Who provide services we all need…. what’s wrong with saving THOSE jobs.

    woops… did I move off topic here? sorry. but the global depression affects everyone.

  43. Well let us pray that we all have the good common sense of not letting the “entrepreneur-spirit” die. If that ever happen then all we will see around the world is a world like Cuba. To have an exact idea them read Animal Farm and 1984 from Orwells.

    I will be moving to the north pole then 🙂

  44. The entrepreneur spirt AND the ‘silent hand’.

    The silent hand isn’t just that there’s something magic about letting people make market-based decisions for themselves… it’s that NO ONE IS SMART ENOUGH to RUN AN ECONOMY…. there’s not such thing as a ‘planned economy’… there are only ‘planned disasters’ as in Cuba and the other communist countries before they failed or turned to capitalism.

    The economy can be regulated, certain critical functions (such as public utilities, or schools) can be centralized, certain functions that are critical and don’t lend themselves to management entirely by market forces can be socialised (health care, public transit)… that’s all to the good.

    but planning a school system is entirely different from planning the entire economic activity of a whole country… even a small country… no one can do it.

    Most of the advanced developed nations (the US is something of an exception) — have struck some sort of reasonable balance between shared/socialised activities, market based activities (with appropriate regulation for consumer safety, fraud prevention etc), and protection for the losers… the losers who lose through no fault of their own. The US doesn’t want to let the auto industry go belly up because it doens’t have adequate programs in place to take care of the laid off workers. In Sweden, say, when the buggy whip factory closes… well it’s bad news for the buggy whip laborers… but they’re not likely to quickly find themselves homeless and depending on food banks. without these safeguards, capitalism will always seem unnecessarily cruel.

    meanwhile… the whole financial ‘services’ sector… which invents endless ways to skim off each transaction to make themselves rich… (which means you need more and more transactions, right, so there’s more opportunitites to skim)… well letting that go on is just criminal.

  45. by the way I got a bit off my point there…

    the entrepreneurial spirit is obviously alive and well in cuba even after 50 years… every tiny crack… people find a way to take advantage of it and support themselves.

  46. Iain In principle any government intervention should make things worst I think.
    Because we are preventing the system to use his own self healing mechanism and we are letting the clumsy government do what it does best dictated! Instead of let the one that can be heal heal and the one that is moribund die.

    I understand the reason they are doing it so to shorten the recession but I think we may need the recession!

  47. I think all of us are having too much fun posting on Yoani’s blog today than doing our jobs (at least those of us based in the Western Hemisphere). Good thing we use pseudonyms.

    Did want to comment on SilentVoice #42. While the Communist system has within it the seeds of its own destruction, I think there are things that we in the West can do to help. We just need to do the things that work, and helping more Cubans to become economically independent of the government is one of those things. Yoani herself is an example of this.

    I also think your argument is a bit too economically deterministic, though it’s true Cuba is not Hungary. Another story. Despite the disapproval of my parents, I first traveled to Hungary in 1985 before the fall of Communism. I had actually expected Hungary to be worse off economically than it in fact was. In my opinion, at least in Hungary, it was as much – if not more – a yearning for political freedom as it was for economic freedom. Many Hungarians got to experience that political freedom between the wars and a further taste of it in those glorious months in the fall of 1956.

  48. I couldn’t agree with you more (yes.. this is a lot of fun.. we won’t tell!).

    Yoani does talk about the economy of course because so much of people’s time and energy must be spent just trying to feed their families.

    But the real point of her blog is human rights. Not an economic system. Human rights and a true government of, by and for the people. Democracy. Free elections. Protections for the individual. To think what they want. Say what they want. Associated with whom they want. Practice whatever religion they want, or no religion. An end to the citizens spying on each other and reporting to the state. And end to the two goons who now follow her everywhere. The ability to choose your own destiny. To leave the country or to stay. To come back if you have left. In short, the freedoms contained in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

    Then… Cubans can work out for themselves how they want the economy to run — whether they want an American style structure to their government (where you can have divided government), or a parliamentary style… where the party that wins, or forms a governing coalition, has the votes to make the changes they want (but can always be thrown out on a no-confidence vote any time).

    All those things will come… and then the lemons will come when you have a sore throat… the food will come when there are market incentives… slowly, over time, the country will find its own balance, its own way. And it will be Cubans who decide… not a single psychopath who has created his own fantasy island…. of slaves.

  49. Nagy
    I will said Cubans yearn for both economical freedom and political freedom. I am not sure what desire is bigger. But as we know political freedom will also conduce Cuba to economical freedom.
    I strongly believe that dropping the embargo will be primordial to make things change in Cuba. I still do not understand the reasoning of whoever is thinking on keeping the embargo.

    As you mentioned Yoani is the perfect example of what we are talking about.

    Furthermore I like to point out that because of the embargo Cuba was prohibited from hooking up to the internet cable that passes close to the Cuban coast.

    Couldn’t we think that internet is equivalent to freedom of speech?

    The internet could have only being invented in a country like ours.
    What if we can get them hook on the internet and even provide them free computers that they can use to organize and criticize the government?
    Giving them back one of the most basics Human rights.

    The freedom of speech even if it is only anonymous!

  50. SilentVoice dice: 6 Febrero 2009 a las 23:18
    000000000000000000000000000000

    Brother, I would like to see the embargo off as soon as possible but I don’t want American government (people) to protect the loans the dictatorship will get. If after the embargo some companies or banks want to give credits to castro II, they can do it on theirs own risk but no administration will back them. I don’t want see my sons and grandsons paying the money of those loans because those monies will end in castro’s family bank accounts!!!!!

  51. Same here Carbo.

    Think this.

    The Cuban government charges everything on cash in the stores on Cuba
    ergo they must have cash at hand.

    Therefore the question that begs is what will they need the money from a loan for?

    I can guess a few things
    like buying weapons or buying elections for friends in countries like has probably happened in Venezuela, Ecuador etc..
    as we know their interest is not to improve the economic well being of the Cuban people.

  52. TO ALL COMMENTER:

    For some minutes this site were blocked…… it is very usual that dictatorship’s hackers make this site out of order, it happen very often with the spanish page because is the most visited.
    Our english page is taking speed thanks to all of you, the commenter. I guess the comrades working 90 miles south are very upsets because this speeding and will try to hind it as often as they can. Next time you can not reach this site you can go to

    http://loscubanos.blogia.com/

    once there click on “Encuentros”, then click on “comments”……. in “comments” you can post a comment or go to the chat on the right upper side……… most commenter there do it in spanish but most of them understand english and will be happy of having us there for a while.
    Good evening, I leave now

  53. Thanks for that Carbo. What a great discussion. I’ll admit to having harboured a bit of a stereotypical view of the South Florida Cubans in the past. One of the great things about Yoani’s blog is it helps us to see beyond the stereotypes, and instead see ourselves as real people with real concerns and reasons for our points of view.

    That said, there’s a bit more to the US embargo than a ban on credit. The most objectionable aspect of the embargo to me are the travel restrictions, both on family members and ordinary Americans alike. In my eyes, this counter-productive policy comes very close to violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is a huge propaganda coup for the Castro regime, i.e. if the US can restrict travel to Cuba by US citizens, why can’t Cuba also restrict travel by Cubans?

  54. Re my earlier post about the Human Rights Council review of Cuban.

    The highlights posted on the review did include the usual positive comments about social and economic rights in Cuba, but they also included this:
    “Other recommendations included: To consider acceding to the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court; to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; to ratify the International Convention on economic, social and cultural rights; and to abolish the death penalty; to extend a standing invitation to the United Nations Special Procedures; to give importance to human rights training for government officials at all levels; to give access to its prisons by independent organizations like the ICRC; to establish a recurrent system of review of its prisons by the United Nations or other relevant international observers; to ensure the right to equality before the courts and tribunals, and to a fair trial; and to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.

    Additionally, recommendations included: To enhance human rights education through public awareness campaigns; to lift restrictions on rights on the freedom of expression and show greater tolerance for Cubans to express opposing views peacefully; to release all remaining political prisoners and to reintegrate them into the community; to guarantee that independent journalists, human rights defenders and political dissidents had the possibility to exercise their basic freedoms without the risk of harassment, intimidation or persecution; and to refrain to using such laws such as dangerousness, enemy propaganda and contempt for authority to restrict the rights of freedom of expression and association.”
    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Highlights5February2009pm.aspx

    But how was this written up in Cuban state media:
    “Reus concluded her presentation by noting Cuba’s adherence to the principles of objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity that should characterize international cooperation on human rights, always open to dialogue.

    Various delegates spoke after Reus. More than 100 countries registered to speak, but because of time limitations, only 60 did, 51 of which spoke constructively and the majority with remarks of admiration. The other nine, as always, repeated the same discourse dictated by the empire, serving as its allies.”
    http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2009/febrero/vier6/logra.html

    I’m proud to say my country (Canada) was one of the nine.

  55. (Note: I’m reposting b/c my earlier post seems to being awaiting moderation probably b/c it had more than one link).

    Re my earlier post about the Human Rights Council review of Cuba.

    The highlights posted on the review did include the usual positive comments about social and economic rights in Cuba, but they also included this:
    “Other recommendations included: To consider acceding to the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court; to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; to ratify the International Convention on economic, social and cultural rights; and to abolish the death penalty; to extend a standing invitation to the United Nations Special Procedures; to give importance to human rights training for government officials at all levels; to give access to its prisons by independent organizations like the ICRC; to establish a recurrent system of review of its prisons by the United Nations or other relevant international observers; to ensure the right to equality before the courts and tribunals, and to a fair trial; and to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.

    Additionally, recommendations included: To enhance human rights education through public awareness campaigns; to lift restrictions on rights on the freedom of expression and show greater tolerance for Cubans to express opposing views peacefully; to release all remaining political prisoners and to reintegrate them into the community; to guarantee that independent journalists, human rights defenders and political dissidents had the possibility to exercise their basic freedoms without the risk of harassment, intimidation or persecution; and to refrain to using such laws such as dangerousness, enemy propaganda and contempt for authority to restrict the rights of freedom of expression and association.”
    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodi…..009pm.aspx

    But this is what the Cuban people were told by state media:
    “Reus concluded her presentation by noting Cuba’s adherence to the principles of objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity that should characterize international cooperation on human rights, always open to dialogue.

    Various delegates spoke after Reus. More than 100 countries registered to speak, but because of time limitations, only 60 did, 51 of which spoke constructively and the majority with remarks of admiration. The other nine, as always, repeated the same discourse dictated by the empire, serving as its allies.” (won’t link to the source but it was from Granma

    I’m proud to say my country (Canada) was one of the nine.

  56. John Two

    I am actually very surprise that American Citizens do not challenge our government on the basis of Human rights in the courts.

    We should be able to travel anywhere. I have heard of one case in Connecticut I believe but nothing else.

    That people to people contact together with the economic independence may give the Cubans the incentive they need to gain their own freedom.

    I think it will be mutually beneficial since it will allow many leftist to see for real the problems that a full government control system produces.

  57. Would love to see the hits on this blog, I have only been here since December and have never seen it as active as it has been in the last week….Keepa, keepa keepa going, cause something is going on just to much interest so fast. I read every word and pass it on.

  58. The best thing we can all do is to comment what we think, it will help Yoani and it will also help the Cuban people.

    A word can make a difference

    Please make it so.

    Freedom should be the most cherish human right.

    Let us together help so that those that can not help them self can also gain access to it.

  59. #60 – Carbo Servio… there was a mistake in your link… an extra period… I edited it so now it works. I assume you don’t mind! And thanks for putting that here — I’ll add it to my “favorites” so I can find it the next time the blog goes down.

    Today’s short “Blackout” — I haven’t heard anything about it… that is the cause of it… I witnessed it myself… it didn’t last very long and could have just been one of those ordinary ‘hiccups’ that the web often suffers for no reason.

    #66 Hits on the blog. They are now about 2,000 a week… I will go look and report back with more detail. Sorry I didn’t think to do it when I was repairing carbo servio’s link.

    Most surprising to me… the rate of spam is very low. I don’t know why. About 1% to 3%.

  60. Carbo,

    I’m a women….first of all 🙂 I’m glad you like the name. And I will respond to your last posting. I do think that there are more egalitarian economic systems that could effectively replace Capitalism. Reigning in Capitalism is essential in the short term. But in the long run the system is inherently contradictory and exploitative and needs to be abolished. Obviously with the supremacy of international capitalism it is impossible to form a truly independent socialist state. This is why Socialism in Cuba failed and they had to shift to a Capitalist based system. Because they cannot operate socialism within Capitalism. To achieve Socialism you must abolish Capitalism and that is just not possible at this point. Although, Free Market Capitalism is floundering under its own weight, so who knows. In term of the Social democracies of Europe. Yes, they have “reigned in Capitalism” and I believe that most people in Cuba would desire a system similar to the one that exists there.

    I can respond more. I consider myself an anarchist (an anarchist-syndicalist)….and would love to debate that ideology on this board.

  61. About American travel non-family to Cuba–

    First of all… I think it’s legal for Americans to go to Cuba… they just can’t spend any money there. And the potential fine is enormous, if they do. And of course the main thing is they can’t hop on a flight in some American city and get off in Havana, unless they have a travel permit from the gov’t. (See the MOON travel guide.)

    But — here’s what I’ve heard from others. IF you declare you’ve been to Cuba when you come back through Mexico or the Bahamas or wherever… MOSTLY, nothing ever happens. IF something happens… they send you a questionnaire about your trip and how much you spent there. Then they MIGHT send you a “suggested fine”… that’s right… it’s ‘suggested’. IF you’re so rich your accountant gets all your mail and pays the fine… well too bad for you. If you check the box that says “I want a hearing” and send the form back… THEY HAVE NEVER HELD ONE SINGLE HEARING. EVER. The ACLU and various other organizations are DYING to litigate a case of penalties against an American citizen for exercising their rights as a free person to travel wherever they dang well please. But they’ve never gotten the chance because the govt does NOT want to go there….

    So… all you Yanks out there. GO! Go now! Go to Mexico and fly over. Go to the Caribbean and fly from there. If you live in the north, go to Canada and fly from there. JUST DO IT.

    Go and see for yourself. And when they give you the little white card when you’re flying home… on the back where it says ‘have you been in any other countries blah blah blah”… write CUBA. With pride.

    I mean really. What percentage of Yoani’s courage do you think it would take to do something like that? One one millionth of one percent?

    DO IT!!!!! GO!!!!!!!!!

  62. More on travel to Cuba — and when you do go… don’t get caught up in the “yucky” stuff. Here’s what I did. When people tried to chat me up… offer to take me to some special music place… beg for money for milk for their starving babies… whatever… I did one of two things. First thing… oh gee… I know… we’ve been talking away in spanish here but whatever you’re saying now… those words are too hard for me… Sorry… I don’t understand. I’m sure I didn’t hear what I thought I heard. Bye!

    Second thing — whatever the sob story is (for me it was always starving babies… I must look like the starving-baby-rescue-person)… I always said well I was SURE that wasn’t true because I KNEW there were no starving children in Cuba… the loving state takes care of them. I swear to god, one guy about 75 tried to get money from me for his starving 2-year-old… I just yelled at him and said he didn’t have any 2-year-old and if he did that was disgusting… what was he doing getting it on with some young girl young enough to be his granddaughter and making babies… in fact I challenged him to go get the two-year-old… bring her out… bring her out and I’ll buy her milk. Suddenly she was “away with her mother.”

    Then…. after you’ve ignored all the yucky stuff… when you see these really fragile pitiful old people with their hands out… hey… just slip ’em a CUC… what’s a CUC to you (but don’t let the cops see!). And when you stay in casas particulares at $20 a night or something… slip ’em another $5 or $10 they won’t have to report… it’s HUGE to them and really not that much to you. All those astrophysicists driving the cabs, and school teachers driving the cabs, and doctors driving the cabs.. be generous with your tips… sure, they’re already the most favored but so what… you’re getting a little more money circulating in the economy.

    And when you leave… go out with the clothes on your back and maybe one change in case your plane gets diverted… leave everything you brought with you behind…. even if you just leave it in your hotel room…. you’re getting stuff in the economy…

    And while you’re at it… bring GIANT bottles of aspirin and stuff like that — open them up before you go just in case… take a few out… what? You’re only going to be there a week and you brought 200 aspirin… hey… you get a lot of headaches. Bring ‘back ups’ for all your prescriptions…. you know… you need one for backpack, one for suitcase… whatever it is you’re taking someone will want it. bring LOTS of underwear — enough for 3 or 4 changes a DAY (PREFERABLY NEW) — it’s a hot country… you always change your clothes 4 times a day in hot countries, right? Don’t worry… you’ll find people to give all this stuff to. And they will appreciate it. If you have friends who are doctors… ask them to get you things like sterile packs of sutures — they’re tiny… you can take them in. (You were told to bring your own… in case you got sick…) Bring flash drives (to back up your photos… right…) lots of flash drives.

    AND LEAVE IT ALL BEHIND.

    Of course if you really want to make someone’s day… bring a carburetor for a 1950s Chevy….. and a few spark plugs. (One guy on my flight brought like 10 boxes of spark plugs… he gave them to the gardener at the resort.)

    If you’re traveling through Varadero… it’s a lot easier to get tons of stuff in… they really don’t check the tourists coming in through there… people have golf clubs, scuba gear, all kinds of stuff. You can bring a LOT of luggage and not get stopped. So do it.

  63. gracias adios que todo pensamo diferente ir a visitar a cuba es un riego por un terce pais y en cuba solo uno ve pobreza y pidigueno y jineteraen todo el mundo hay pobresa pero la pobreza de cuba a sido creado por el gobierno
    no hay un cubano de cuba que tenga un negocio hoy en dia ======antes de la ROBO—-ILUCION ===
    los cubano tenia negocio lo bueno de el comunismo es la reparticion de la pobreza ========para que el dictador de castro yu su verdugo vivan como reyes=======castro es dueno de una isla llena de esclavo xxi=====y la unica forma de salir de la isla carcel de castro es tirate a el mar ====ya cuba lleva 50 anos y los unico dueno de la isla son los castro =====

  64. OK as long as I’m at the computer… what’s an anarchist-syndicalist? I’m not sure I want to know but hey, go for it.

    Second — if you have the clever way to abolish capitalism and yet have human rights instead of fidel/stalin/pol pot/mao etc… I’d love to hear that too. Keeping in mind where these ‘dreams’ of ‘perfection’ have gotten us in the past. I’m with Yoani on that one… the perfect is the enemy of the good (and the possible).

    But type away. I’ll read it!

  65. este hotel es para LOS TURISTA ============los esclavo de castro no puede ir ni a la playa le paga con moneda fuerte a castro y castro le paga con peso cubano a los esclavo========ES TRITE PERO ES LA REALIDAD

    paradice for the turist

  66. este hotel es para LOS TURISTA ============los esclavo de castro no puede ir ni a la playa le paga con moneda fuerte a castro y castro le paga con peso cubano a los esclavo========ES TRITE PERO ES LA REALIDAD

    paradice for the turist

    comunismo capitalista =====Y LOS CUBANO SON LOS ESCLAVO DE CASTRO REY

  67. Sorry Fellows,

    The more I read this English blog, the more disillusioned I become. I can see how the real color of some of you are coming off (by your own statements) and I have no desire to continue arguing with professed Leftists, communists, Socialists or Anarchists. To me you are all the same to some degree and you can argue it in an ideological way that will never convince me.
    I will continue to read this blog as it is my right but will no longer waste my time arguing or debating with twisted minds that harbor ideas of destroying Capitalism. You are not going to convince me and I will never convince you either, so therefore you may continue posting your garbage and debate your ideological myths.

    Here is one comment posted by:
    Carbo Servia dice:
    5 Febrero 2009 a las 04:14
    MacheteAmor dice: 5 Febrero 2009 a las 03:23

    There are many people exiled from Cuba who consider themselves to be leftists, communists, socialists and anarchists who are opposed to the dictatorship…………
    00000000000000000000000000000

    Write me down in this list!!!!!
    I am a socialist; I want a real socialism for my country, that’s why I am against the Cuban dictatorship that instituted a capitalism of state in Cuba.”

    Here is one from:
    MacheteAmor dice:
    7 Febrero 2009 a las 03:52
    Carbo,

    I’m a women….first of all I’m glad you like the name. And I will respond to your last posting. I do think that there are more egalitarian economic systems that could effectively replace Capitalism. Reigning in Capitalism is essential in the short term. But in the long run the system is inherently contradictory and exploitative and needs to be abolished. Obviously with the supremacy of international capitalism it is impossible to form a truly independent socialist state. This is why Socialism in Cuba failed and they had to shift to a Capitalist based system. Because they cannot operate socialism within Capitalism. To achieve Socialism you must abolish Capitalism and that is just not possible at this point. Although, Free Market Capitalism is floundering under its own weight, so who knows. In term of the Social democracies of Europe. Yes, they have “reigned in Capitalism” and I believe that most people in Cuba would desire a system similar to the one that exists there.

    I can respond more. I consider myself an anarchist (an anarchist-syndicalist)….and would love to debate that ideology on this board.”

    Here is another one from Machete Amor:
    MacheteAmor dice:
    6 Febrero 2009 a las 02:53
    @Andy: It was Brothers to the Rescue (Hermanos al Rescate) in 1996.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermanos_al_Rescate

    I think partial blame for the embargo can be laid at the feet of the Cuban-American bloc in FL. Also on hardliner anti-communists/cold war vets in Washington. Both groups can’t see the forest for the trees on this one.”

    Carlos response (Call us what you want Machete, maybe you are the one who are unable to see because of your sick ideas)

    Carlos last comment:

    I do believe that the Embargo is been effective. I do not believe we should give credit to those bastards.
    I do not believe that the US Government is to be blamed for 50 long years of oppression in Cuba. Blame Castro and his cronies.
    I do not believe in Communism, Socialism or Anarchism.
    I do believe that Brother to the Rescue, did an excellent job in helping those who venture into the sea in search of freedom; many rafters and boaters were saved due to their “BALLS AND INTERVENTION”

    You all have a good day! Adios.

  68. HEY CARLOS. Don’t desert us!

    I’M not a communist… I’m a capitalist. Yeah.. I want some things ‘socialised’… like universal health care (although I’m not stuck on a single payer government plan… I just really want universal health INSURANCE)……

    So you got two people out of all the people who post on this blog you don’t agree with….

    OK.. I think the embargo’s been a failure but I think 100% (1000%) of the blame for the failure of cuba is on castro… not on the embargo.

    Don’t go.

    we need your comments.

  69. LOS REQUISITO PARA SER UN COMUNISTA
    1======envidioso y asesino
    2 ======arastro
    3=======chivaton
    4 besa cu==lo
    5 hijo de pt
    6 bago y aragan
    7 bandido
    8 creen que todo es degratis
    9====tremenda mi=========erda ect

  70. OK… maybe I’ll rethink my position. You mean all I have to do to be the most evil person in the universe is convert to communism? well hey… it’s almost a challenge!!!!! [no! no! solo un chiste! no me tire!]

  71. Gosh! What a lot of interest! Going back to my earlier comment and some responses: yes, Schumpeter would maintain that recessions are when capitalism renews itself but only if the “grim reaper” is allowed to cut out the dead wood to allow new enterprises to grow to replace the old. The US Senate has just ignored this and agreed an enormous package designed to prop up the decaying timbers and pretend they are flourishing. Here in Britain, the Prime Minister has plundered obscene quantities of capital from generations yet unborn (i.e. piled up debts that our grandchildren will still be paying) as a palliative until the next election.
    The question of whether people give a higher priority to political or economic freedom has been answered to a great extent in Vietnam and China. There, authoritarian rule is accepted provided the free(ish) market is allowed to function. Cuba is somewhat different. In neither Asian country is there any history of individual liberty but I still guess that Cubans would be very happy to see the “invisible hand” bring their farms back to life and fill their shelves.

  72. As an American not being able to travel to Cuba had never crossed my mind, now I know my rights have been violated and will look into this. One must realize in US fifty years ago The Kennedy’s controlled the political system, but are nolonger in power. Those that have time needs to research the beganning of this law, it’s now all on the web.

    It is now a new day in time in the world. President Obama is a person of the world, and knows we must be completely free.

    Cold weather is gone in Southern US, beautiful sunshine today, must get out and soak up the rays, helps to warm the bones and calculate the brain.

    Posters post and best wishes to all for a free Cuba.

  73. THIS IS NEW TO ME OBAMA IS A PERSON FO WORLD para mi obama sera el payaso del mundo hojala yo este equibocado ========

    sera el nuevo masalla

  74. andy gracias ======= native cubans ===========quedan muy poco =====los espanole los mataro a casi todo

    la cruz y la espada los espanoles otro asesino

  75. President Obama is son of a Kenyian black father and US white mother. Born in the State of Hawaii and lived all over the world….Population of blacks in US 13%. Becoming President of The US at such a young age and being half white and half black is a history making feat. Thus a person of the world. Best Wishes and work for a free Cuba.

  76. el payaso de obama el a vivido porto el mundo hawaii es los estado unido tiene un hermano kenya que gana un dolar al dia y este nunca se a ocupado de el esa es su familia jajaja

    el mundo esta leno de idiota al guno espera que le page
    ====la casa ====i ahora libera a cuba =====que lleva 50 anos de dictadura== el pueblo cubano de cuba son lo que tiene que liberal a cuba=======y llego el salvador del mundo el masalla obama =========

    jabao paquetero =====

  77. Carlos on 78

    “The more I read this English blog, the more disillusioned I become. I can see how the real color of some of you are coming off (by your own statements)”

    I have to comment on this.

    As you have probably seen from my comments I am not a communist. I think that the perfect system will be a balance of some things private and some things government own. What is the right balance is for all to discuss.
    Democracy is not working if people do not talk an express their point of view for whatever reason.

    In Cuba it does not work because the government does not want you to tell them their decisions are wrong! If you give up then you are not thinking then in democracy.

    We need to listen to anybody and to everybody.

    Listen to those that have the same or similar ideas we have and even more listen to those that have different ideas. Because each one of us is a world of experiences and have our own reasons to act and say the things we say.
    The collective wisdom is what is important.

  78. Andy in 73

    “Second — if you have the clever way to abolish capitalism and yet have human rights instead of fidel/stalin/pol pot/mao etc… I’d love to hear that too. Keeping in mind where these ‘dreams’ of ‘perfection’ have gotten us in the past.”

    Andy from my experience and joined to the experience of the other millions that used to live and still live under “socialism”

    I will have to say that any social system that does not take into account human imperfections is doom to fail

    None of the Utopian societies consider human imperfections therefore they will fail and become dystopia societies.

    After all we are human and to err is to be human.

    As I mentioned before greed is use by capitalism while frown upon on the socialism. Since there is no known way to eliminate human greed then socialism is wrong. Because then they will always have to fight against some people that are greedy. Creating problems in their society. Meanwhile in ours we put them to good use. They benefit us!

    On the other hand any centrally control economy like socialist economy will conduce to failure also since is not sufficiently dynamic to be able to react with quickness to market conditions.

    As example of this I will have to say that big corporations here in the US do appear to behave like the socialism system (At smaller scale) what I mean is that if you are working at a big corporation they are not democracies that means that your boss is constantly making decisions for you and his boss for him and so on. That is the reason why I believe we should not let corporation grow into gigantic conglomerates since they are impossible to manage.

    I believe that technological advances in the future will allow us to make the government decisions directly instead of having a few Bureaucrat doing them for us. After all if we think carefully our form of democracy is not a true democracy either since most of the power is concentrated in a select few.

    What happens in Cuba is that all the power is concentrated in one or two individuals and the rest do not have any input in the decision making process.

  79. Carlos dice: 7 Febrero 2009 a las 05:55

    Sorry Fellows,

    The more I read this English blog, the more disillusioned I become………………
    00000000000000000000000000000000000000

    Dear Carlos, it it evident you didn’t read my comment #27 on “Endophobia” post.
    I going to reproduce this comment here so you can understand me and eventually find that ……There is nothing to be disillusioned for!!!!!!

    # 27 (Endophobia) Carbo Servia to Patricio and Carlos dice: 5 Febrero 2009 a las 16:00

    Don’t get me wrong people!!!!!!
    When I said I am a socialist I am not talking about those “socialism” many assassins like Stalin, Mao, Kim Il Sung or Castro instituted in what we know as communist countries. It is not socialism, it is simple dictatorship grounded in hate, lies and repression that anyway have internally and externally to use the capitalist economy for surviving.
    When I said socialism I am thinking in France, Sweden, Norway, Germany, the European Social Democracy, the Laborist Party in England…… that is the real socialism.
    The cuban constitution of 1940 was a socialist one, the cuban people before Castro was a socialist one. Many of us are socialist even without knowing it.
    What happened was that it have became a fashion among the modern dictator to steal the word socialism in order to use it for covering their crimes. That’s why we reject the word as something evil.
    Socialism I meant, the real one, is a political doctrine that respect the human been rights, look for the welfare of people and do not try to abort the natural development of the only economical system that exist: capitalism.

  80. MacheteAmor dice: 7 Febrero 2009 a las 03:52

    Carbo,

    I’m a women….first of all 🙂 I’m glad you like the name.
    00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    Wow……… you got me!!!!………………. I didn’t associated your nick with your gender.

    Dear…….sister. I believe you don’t understand the fact that socialism, communism or anarchism are not economical systems but a political-ideological ones. It seem you not understand either that capitalism is a economical system and in fact the only that exist. What you can maybe do is use political systems as socialism or liberalism to “adapt” the capitalism (read economical system) in accordance to the philosophic-ideological doctrine of the chosen political system.
    Capitalism has become what is today trough the natural development of the productive forces along the time. It is a living organism supported by the humans needs. It can’t be destroyed without killing the political force that is trying to destroy it. You can try to destroy it but at the end you will die in the intent and then the capitalism will reborn and continue its development. As long there are human been with needs will exist demand and offer and will exist capitalism. It has be proven through the history. All intent of killing capitalism has ended in assassins dictatorship that in order of achieving its goals have killed millions of peoples.
    About anarchism I do know very little.

  81. Is it not strange that US business interests selling grain to Cuba are free to travel at will and yet I who has nothing to sell is denied the right to visit.

    If allowed to visit I am not allowed to spend money.

  82. carlo servia=== muy bien dicho====el humano son capitalista de natural======================
    human are capitalism by nature

  83. @ Silent Voice
    Well it won’t surprise anybody that I have a few ideas about what you are saying.

    I think it’s a mistake to compare huge multinational corporations to governments and to talk about democracy in the same way for both of them. Because I think it takes you, ultimately, down the same scary path.

    Maybe I will split this into two comments.

    First — What is democracy and what do we think it should be?

    I suppose in its purest form, democracy is the rule of the people by majority vote. But… that is exactly the reason we have things like constitutions. Because the majority is not always “right” and by “right” I mean TRUE TO THEIR OWN BELIEFS. Not even to some beliefs imposed upon them, but true to their own beliefs. What I’m saying is, without establishing a basic framework of human rights we all agree upon, majority rule can easily become mob rule and can be just as oppressive as a dictatorship. Majority rule must protect minority rights among which are the rights of free speech — the oft cited: “I detest what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    Direct democracy versus representative democracy

    Direct democracy is when EVERYONE gets together at the same time and votes on things, or talks themselves into a consensus or in some way makes group decisions. Frankly folks, those of you who have been involved in politics will know, that the kind of people who get together in political parties can spend all day trying to decide whether to serve hotdogs or hamburgers at the annual picnic. A decision that matters, in the grand scheme of things, not at all. Imagine using direct democracy to govern a country… even a really small tiny country… say Palau with its 20,000 people. Not going to happen.

    We have REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY first, for the practical considerations. The “let someone else do it and if we don’t like what they do we’ll kick ’em out” consideration. And also the consideration that if you select a smaller group, than say 11 million (Cuba) or 30 million (Canada) or 300 million (EEUU), those people have time to get educated about what they’re deciding and hopefully make more intelligent and better decisions (I know, I know… but that’s the idea.)

  84. English Translator re: Various dice: 7 Febrero 2009 a las 03:03

    #60 – Carbo Servio… there was a mistake in your link… an extra period… I edited it so now it works. I assume you don’t mind!
    0000000000000000000000000

    Of course I don’t mind!!!!!!!!
    Thanks a lot for helping!!!!

  85. OK next, let me take on your comments about capitalism.

    I agree… capitalism is the “natural” human condition. There are societies that are enormously cooperative by nature, compared to the rest of us and there are subcultures that are more cooperative than others and so on.

    But basically, people do pretty well when given economic freedom to create their own businesses and work to make them prosper.

    That said, I’m not as worried as other people often are about ‘big corporations’ and I’m certainly not worried about the lack of ‘democracy’ in business institutions. Imagine your business is a paladar. And imagine Fidel is dead so you’re able to expand your paladar to 50 tables. And of course now you need some help. You hire some cooks and some waiters and some cleaners. Imagine there are 4 people in your family and 6 hired help. So, you democratically get together and the hired help decide that you’re going to be the dishwasher and one of them is going to be the manager and all the profits are going to be sent to a Revolutionary Collective in Outer Dangdoodlestan. Nope. Doesn’t work. It’s your paladar, it’s not a cooperative or a democracy and you’re the boss and if the help doesn’t like it they can go work for the paladar down the street.

    BUT… that doesn’t mean that the government shouldn’t be able to set working standards… minimum wages, benefits, working hours, worker safety standards, protections against child labor and all those things.

    OK… you used to be a neighborhood paladar but you’re a pretty energetic person and WOW! Suddenly you’re McDonalds. Do the same rules apply? More or less. Though now, to my way of thinking, your 465,000 employees should be able to form or join a labour union and bargain with you collectively over working conditions and wages.

    Huge multi-nationals… see next comment.

  86. Capitalism and major corporations

    So… here’s my personal take on major corporations. Yes, when you have major corporations they have a huge amount of power. But… maybe not nearly so much as we think.

    I’m not that concerned about these companies and their international reach and their billions in income and profits. Again, as long as we have reasonable controls on their business practices.

    What I am concerned about are three things:

    1 — Who owns a country’s natural resources

    2 — The international arms trade

    3 — The international drug trade

    1 — To me… major non-renewable natural resources belong to the whole nation. Yes, companies should be allowed to extract them and sell them… but a whole huge giant share of the profits should be returned to the nation. Let the companies make enough money to make it worth their while, but put invest most of the profits back in the nation as a whole.

    2 — The only use of these arms is to kill people. And no, you’ll never get rid of the arms trade but do everything you can to try and to squash it. It’s been said there are enough guns already to last a thousand years… but there’s only a 2 year supply of bullets. Well there you go… that’s a start.

    3 — The international drug trade. Depends on huge profits basically, at the bottom of the supply chain, taking money from the poorest of the poor (who only get poorer because they’re drug addicted)… and puts it in the hands of the Castros and the binLadens. How do we take the profits out of this trade? Legalize drugs? Hand out free drugs to everyone? And yet protect our children. And protect ourselves from the things people do when they’re ON drugs (although the havoc wreaked by drunk people far outweighs that wreaked by stoned people).

    I don’t have the answers to all these things… I’m just thinking outloud.

  87. Well I didn’t know for sure… maybe you’re a “fifth columnist” — purposely trying to undermine Yoani’s blog with evil extra periods!!!!!
    (ja ja ja) Maybe you’re just pretending to be happy I fixed it! (Oh dear… this could go on and on and on!)
    no no… just joking!

  88. English Translator to #95 dice: 7 Febrero 2009 a las 19:43
    Well I didn’t know for sure… maybe you’re a “fifth columnist”
    000000000000000000000000000000000

    I know, I know the feeling. I guess you are a cuban that lived several years under castro’s system and even today after many years in freedom can’t left behind the “little” paranoia that castrism inoculated to us all…………… You are not alone buddy!!!!!!
    Don’t be worried, Yoani is well “glued” ……. it often happen in the spanish page that comes people trying to “introduce” them self or other peoples blogs but………. you see….. even this english page is getting 100 or more hits today!!!!!!!!!

  89. OK — I will be the 100th comment!!!!!!!! How exciting!

    I only want to say that if you think I am a Cuban who lived several years under castro’s system that is the greatest compliment anyone has ever given my translations! I am not a Cuban and Spanish is not my first (or even second… it is my third) language and I do my best but I still make mistakes! (But I have been to Cuba and seen for myself…)

    Podemos tener una fiesta ahora? Can we have a party now? To celebrate ONE HUNDRED COMMENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  90. Woops… in fact Spanish is my 4th language… I forgot one… (which is fine since I’ve mostly forgotten it anyway… Latin is my third language… but now it just kind of rolls into the other languages…) (In case anyone’s wondering, French is my second language.)

  91. HR 874 has already been introduced in The US Senate to recind the restrictions of US citizens to Cuba. Four Democrats and four Republicans have signed on, Ron Paul being the most noteable, having run for US President with a strong following.
    This was not reported any where in US by MSM and Havana Times is the only place this was reported.
    MSM in US sucks. Best Wishes poster and here’s to a free Cuba.

  92. Carlos is free to no longer post on the English language blog (comment #78), but I want him to know that it was his comment #22 that finally convinced me to post here after lurking for a few months. With the deepest of respect Carlos reminds me of my dear Dad who passed away a few years ago.

    Of all of the evils of totalitarianism perhaps the greatest is how it divides families, and I don’t mean only in the physical sense. I’m reluctant to divulge too many personal details because they’re still painful. Suffice it to say, only when I visited in the mid 80s did I understand why my parents refused to return to Hungary until their parents had passed on (which was well after 1989). The Communist regime (probably as a safety valve) made it actually quite easy for rank and file participants in the 1956 uprising to leave the country in the months immediately after it was crushed. My parents left but my grandparents refused. It was a disturbing recognition to discover how my grandparents had internalized the lies and propaganda of the regime about the “evils” of the West, even when they had evidence to the contrary (me) standing right in front of them.

  93. Nagy — interesting you should comment about your grandparents ignoring the evidence of their own eyes… you standing in front of them… in the face of decades of indoctrination.

    I’ve read, but don’t know from my own experience, that when Cuban exiles were finally allowed to go back to Cuba and visit their relatives is when things started to fall apart for the regime in terms of people’s belief in it. The government had been telling them that all the letters their relatives sent were full of lives… that the photos of them standing in front of “their houses” with “their cars” etc were all lies… staged by the imperialist enemy to fool them… that really their relatives were starving in America. But… then the relatives showed up… fat, happy and loaded down with gifts….

    And you’re right — how sad that families allow themselves to end up an either side of any divide, unable to bridge it.

  94. English Translator to #99 dice: 7 Febrero 2009 a las 20:23

    OK — I will be the 100th comment!!!!!!!! How exciting!
    00000000000000000000000000000000

    Congratulations #100…….. who better than you!!!!!!

    If I could I would give you a Dodge 09 Charger SRT8……….but…….. we are in crisis!!!!

    Again, who better than you…… thank you because your work make possible this blog.

  95. Andy on #104

    Correct in all points.

    The Cuban government use to tell those things to all of us. I remember when we went to the American Interest Section (American Embassy in Cuba) for the visa there was this older mulatto (50 to 60 age) who thought I was Cuban-American asking me if there was any racism here! If suppose if you check the Cuban population that have arrive to this country is probably majority white.
    I imagine now how difficult will be for the Castros to explain that in such a “racist country” as they have describe the US to them there is a black president!

    As for the comments on Capitalism you have made
    I do agree with the majority but I do think that big corporations are too similar to big government and to socialism for my taste. I will go further. The reason we are in the economical mess we are is because of big corporations.
    If GM was not as big as it is we could just let it fail. If the banks that got in trouble were not as big as they are we could just let them fail.
    But since they are so big let it them fail means a lot to the whole economy and therefore we should not let them fail!
    So this big corporations make capitalism not work its own magic self healing. Ergo the government needs to step in.

    How big should a company be?
    I think it depends on how much competition it has. If a company does not have a lot of competition in its main field then is too big. Allowing monopoly or close to monopoly as we all know is the worst kind of capitalism. That is exactly what they have in Cuba “State monopoly capitalism”.

  96. Nagy on #103

    I remember reading with surprise that during the American revolution Benjamin Franklin’s son did not take the side of his father but actually return to England.
    Therefore unfortunately it is normal I think that families get divided by very strong political positions.
    When we left Cuba we did not tell my father. Since at that moment he was very much with the government.
    I am sure they are many other families with the same situation. Even Castro’s family. His daughter is in the US and his sister Juanita.

    It is very sad when family that is your own blood will not share the same ideas as you do.

  97. THE OPEN LETTER TO RAUL CASTRO BY THE PRIEST
    THAT I READ TODAY IN EL HERALD IS
    (LIKE ALL OF YOANI’S POSTS)
    THE TRUE OPINION OF THE CUBAN PEOPLE
    ABOUT THE COMMUNIST REGIME
    THAT HAVE RUINED OUR COUNTRY!

  98. @ Andy on #94

    “We have REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY first, for the practical considerations. The “let someone else do it and if we don’t like what they do we’ll kick ‘em out” consideration.”

    Andy I will have to say from my experience in the US a few things

    I notice that this politicians get elected and re elected every time and it is very hard to get an incumbent out of office. I have extreme dislike for career politician because that is what the Castros are. Plus I believe is always good to have fresh blood with new ideas and less of a chance to get corrupted.

    Let us look at people like Ted Stevens(Senator from Alaska) here and the others cough on corruption charges and I will say the main reason is because they are in hight power for way too long and they get to feel like the law does not apply to them. That is why I believe there should exist term limits for all government elected positions no matter how good you are.

    I do still think that we should have some power back. For example I believe we should be able to tell the government how much money they should have to expend and on what since it is our money.
    Maybe there should be a ballot were we enter what percent we want allocated for defense, police, education , infrastructure, research etc and let each one of us make that kind of decision.

    That way we maybe able to eliminate some of the interest groups around Washington lobbying government for their own sake. There is too much of an opportunity for corruption to show up there in a system like that.

  99. fidel castro y raul no son comunista ellos son CAPITALISTA y facista son dueno de un isla decen de cuenta
    los comunista son los cubanos esclavo que trabaja para los amo de la isla que son los castro en el siglo xxi tiene esclavo
    y los a tenido por 50 anos =======nosotro somo los esclavo que no liberamo de ellos por eso nos llama gusano la mafia de miami contra revolucionario por que no fuimo su esclavo

    CASTRO BROTHER THEY A NOT COMUNIST================THEY ARE CAPITALISM

  100. Rene, tu hablas espanol solamente?
    Si solo hablas espanol entonces pon tu post en el lado espanol pues muchos a casi la mayoria que aqui vienen solo hablan ingles

    Rene, do you only speak spanish?
    If you only speak spanish then you should continue posting on the spanish side of this blog since the majority that come here only speak english.

  101. SILENT==VOICE =====THIS NOT CUBA I HOPE ====you want to silent my voice remenber born a free man i do not live in cuba==

  102. I am curious about some of the people posting here I do not have any problem revealing my full info I will understant if some of you do not feel comfortable sharing your personal info.

    My name is Julio de la Yncera came to the US from Cuba in 1989 and live in Maryland
    Original from Consolacion del Sur in Pinar del Rio.
    Used to be a Math teacher in Cuba, here in the US have being for a long time a Computer Programmer.

    I realize a long time ago with Yoani that we need to loose our fears.
    If she is has the valor of doing this from Cuba why should I stop myself from doing it from here?

    Of course her valor is infinitely greater than mine.

    It is indescribable to think that people like Yoani really exist!
    I am reminded of the words of the pope John Paul II talking to the Cuban people.

    “Do not be afraid”

    Remember that what keeps them in power is our own fear.

    If we loose the fear then it will be them who have too fear!

    Care to join Yoani?

  103. Hey Rene gracias por el video me gusto!

    La cancion me recuerda las palabras de mi madre que me dicia que deberiamos agradecer a Fidel estar en este grandioso pais!

    Rene, thanks for the video I like it!
    It reminds me of my mother who used to tell me that we should thank Fidel Castro for being in this wonderful country!

  104. Did anyone else look at the link provided by the anonymous poster #110 who linked to the El Mercurio article written by Yoani?

    El Mercurio is considered the leading conservative newspaper in Chile. What’s interesting is that in the article Yoani is openly (though mildly) critical of President Michele Bachelet’s decision to not meet or have her officials meet with Cuban opposition groups during her recent visit to Cuba. Not that Bachelet doesn’t deserve to be criticized for this failure, but I’m a bit surprised that Yoani would insert herself into something that is bound to cause a political stir during an election year in Chile.

    Another curious thing is the timing. In my admittedly quick review of the UN webcast, Chile seemed to be the only South American country that was openly critical of Cuba’s human rights record during the February 5 review before the UN Human Rights Council (not that Yoani would know this given internet restrictions in Cuba). Finally, I’m reminded of Yoani’s admonition to not trust anything that is either not published or linked to on the blog with red drawer. But perhaps the article just hasn’t been posted to her blog yet.

    Perhaps our friendly English translator or someone else could shed some light on this.

  105. Raul Castro is making his rounds around the world begging for help, (money and credit) so far so good, many of the countries he visited are taking his bite.

    The following is part of an article published by Jordi Zamora/El Nuevo Herald.

    La visita a Moscú fue la tercera salida al extranjero de Castro desde que asumió el poder en julio del 2006. Antes viajó a Venezuela y en diciembre pasado, a Brasil.

    Se trató también de la segunda visita a Moscú en más de veinte años, durante la cual Raúl Castro y su anfitrión Dmitri Medvedev volvieron a interpretar viejos roles, como la habitual partida de caza de la época soviética.

    Pero en realidad ”Cuba necesita desesperadamente toda la ayuda extranjera y los créditos que pueda obtener”, cree Jaime Suchlicki, profesor del Instituto para Estudios Cubanos de la Universidad de Miami, en un reciente estudio.

  106. I won’t comment on the article, its contents, etc etc… but I will say that just because I feel like it, I have translated it and will post it shortly in the sidebar under “articles and other stuff” or whatever I called that little section.

    I do know that (or at least I heard from a source I respect though not from Yoani herself) that the articles in El Mercurio ARE written by Yoani… it’s not someone pretending to be her. I just took it off the Mercurio site to translate, though — no one sent it to me and said please translate this.

    So… I’m letting the translation sit for an hour or two and then I’ll recheck it and post it. it’s long and sometimes I find stupid mistakes so I prefer to let it ‘rest’ a bit before posting, to be able to look at it with a fresh eye. (After which there may still be stupid mistakes… but that’s what all you readers are for!)

  107. 111th CONGRESS
    1st Session
    H. R. 874

    To allow travel between the United States and Cuba.

    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

    February 4, 2009

    Mr. Delahunt (for himself, Mr. Flake, Ms. DeLauro, Mrs. Emerson, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Moran of Kansas, Ms. Edwards of Maryland, Mr. Paul, and Mr. Farr) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

    A BILL

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

    SECTION 1. Short title.

    This Act may be cited as the “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act”.

    SEC. 2. Travel to Cuba.

    On and after the date of the enactment of this Act, and subject to section 3—

    (1) the President may not regulate or prohibit, directly or indirectly, travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or legal residents, or any of the transactions incident to such travel; and

    (2) any regulation in effect on such date of enactment that regulates or prohibits travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or legal residents or transactions incident to such travel shall cease to have any force or effect.

    SEC. 3. Exceptions.

    Section 2 shall not apply in a case in which the United States is at war with Cuba, armed hostilities between the two countries are in progress, or there is imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of United States travelers.

    SEC. 4. Applicability.

    This Act applies to actions taken by the President before the date of the enactment of this Act that are in effect on such date of enactment, and to actions taken on or after such date.

    SEC. 5. Inapplicability of other provisions.

    The provisions of this Act apply notwithstanding section 102(h) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (22 U.S.C. 6032(h)) and section 910(b) of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7210(b)).

  108. EXCERPTS

    111TH CONGRESS
    1ST SESSION H. R. 188
    To lift the trade embargo on Cuba, and for other purposes.
    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
    JANUARY 6, 2009

    A BILL
    To lift the trade embargo on Cuba, and for other purposes.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa2
    tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Cuba Reconciliation Act’’.

    •HR 188 IH
    SEC. 2. REMOVAL OF PROVISIONS RESTRICTING TRADE AND OTHER RELATIONS WITH CUBA.

    (a) AUTHORITY FOR EMBARGO.—Section 620(a) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2370(a)) is repealed.

    (b) TRADING WITH THE ENEMY ACT.—The authori ties conferred upon the President by section 5(b) of the Trading with the Enemy Act, which were being exercised with respect to Cuba on July 1, 1977, as a result of a national emergency declared by the President before that date, and are being exercised on the day before the effective date of this Act, may not be exercised on or after such effective date with respect to Cuba. Any regulations in effect on the day before such effective date pursuant to the exercise of such authorities, shall cease to be effective on such date.

    SEC. 3. TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES.
    Any common carrier within the meaning of section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153) is authorized to install, maintain, and repair telecommunications equipment and facilities in Cuba, and otherwise provide telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba. The authority of this Section includes the authority to upgrade facilities and equipment.

    SEC. 4. TRAVEL.
    (a) IN GENERAL.—Travel to and from Cuba by individuals who are citizens or residents of the United States, and any transactions ordinarily incident to such travel, may not be regulated or prohibited if such travel would be lawful in the United States.

    SEC. 5. DIRECT MAIL DELIVERY TO CUBA.
    The United States Postal Service shall take such actions as are necessary to provide direct mail service to and from Cuba, including, in the absence of common carrier service between the 2 countries, the use of charter providers.

  109. Let me see if I understand correctly both bills

    One bill is proposing the elimination of all travel restrictions
    and the other is eliminating the embargo.

    Is my assessment correct?

    If this is gets to be reality I think Cuba will be free soon!

    Maybe soon we will be able to say

    “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

  110. I graduated from the University of Havana, just like Yoani apparently did with a major in Math and Computer Science, and I now live in the US (the monster). I am doing very well, and have never struggled. However, I now know what Marti said “vivi en el monstruo y le conozco las entranas”.

    Vivan las conquistas del socialismo!

  111. Economic crisis and total control of information are taking a toll in the lives of the Cuban people. It is evident that there exists a conflict between the interests of those that govern and the governed. It will be argued that in order to reach a final solution, compromise must exist between the interests of the Cuban government and its people. This compromise could be created through the granting of a valid political voice and vote to the people. However, this is not currently the case in Cuba.
    An interesting event that confirms this statement, was the 2002 amendment made to the Cuban Constitution. Following article 88 of the 1976 Cuban constitution, more than 10,000 Cuban citizens properly identified as legal voters proposed the Varela Project. This project focused on democratic reforms such as freedom of speech, press and association, etc. Legal procedures were correctly followed forcing the Cuban National Assembly to take the proposal into account. In response, the Constitution and Legal Affairs Committee of the Cuban National Assembly decided to make a radical amendment to the Constitution stating the irrevocable socialist nature of the nation. This change hindered any other democratic proposal for the years to come.
    It is important to stress the process of this amendment’s adoption. A large majority of the Cuban population signed this amendment proposal without knowledge of its purpose. The Varela Project was never mentioned in the Cuban media. Cuban citizens were told that their signature was needed in order to support the Cuban Revolution. To the people, these bureaucratic procedures were not any different to any other procedures used to validate political directions. Those not signing were against what everyone was doing; they can be considered to be against the revolution, so they signed. As a result the whole project was dismissed. This new Constitution release was a fatal strike against Cubans already constrained democratic freedoms. The real fatal consequence of this change was making disappear any possible communication channel between a government and its people. These two agendas would never become one as a result of this lack of communication. It was made clear with that action, that laws approved by the Cuban National Assembly would be those proposed by its own members, dismissing any other proposal made by its people. That is how “democracy” is performed in Cuba nowadays.

  112. The United States government’s embargo has had little effect on the Cuban economy, since it only represents 6% of Cuba’s commerce with the rest of the world. The embargo only affects the American companies and their subsidiaries. The rest of the countries, a 180 since the last count in 2007, and companies are free to conduct business with Cuba and are doing so, as confirmed by imports surpassing $10.00 billions during 2007. In reality there is not such embargo since in the year 2000 the United States Congress lifted the prohibition of the sale of agricultural products and medicines to Cuba, thereby allowing Castro’s regime to buy everything it needs.

    From December 2001 up to December 2007, the Castro’s regime had signed contracts for more than $2.00 billions with American companies for the purchases of their products. The U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, based on analysis of official figures of the Castro’s regime, has estimated the import of U.S. agricultural products in $437 millions during 2007. Cuba’s National Statistics Office (www.one.cu) placed the United States as Cuba’s fifth business partner at $582 million in 2007.

    What the Castro’s regime really wants are loans and lines of credit guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury Department, since it doesn’t have hard currency to pay the interests on the lines of credit for the importation of merchandise. These credits will not be paid and the American taxpayers will be the losers, the ones to pick up the debt, as it happens at the present time with the taxpayers of Spain, Argentina, Canada, Venezuela and other countries. Cuba currently owes $22 billion to the old Soviet Union and another $36 billion to other countries for a staggering debt of $58 billions

    Cuban economy’s bankruptcy is the sole responsibility of Castro’s regime. Under this system the economy will continuous to slowly deteriorate without any hope of improvement. The economy is closely linked to the social development and standard of living of the Cuban people, which make very difficult the improvement of those under the existing regime.

    Cuba’s problems are not the result of the embargo; they are due to the corruption and ineffectiveness of a system that is against private property and free enterprise. These and no others are the real reasons of the problems. Lifting the embargo and travel ban, without meaningful changes in Cuba, will:

    Guarantee the continuation of the current totalitarian structures.

    Strengthen state enterprises, since money will flow into businesses owned by the Cuban government.

    Lead to greater repression and control since Castro and the leadership will fear that U.S. influence will subvert the revolution.

    Delay instead of accelerate a transition to democracy on the island.

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