Under the umbrella

Many of us have come to believe that if we aren’t under the umbrella of a state entity, we don’t exist.  At the door of a ministry, or face-to-face with the secretary of some official, we are always asked the same question, “And you, where are you from?”  It’s not curiosity about our regional origin, but rather a sharp inquiry regarding what institution validates us.  When you don’t have a badge with the logo of a state enterprise, little can be done for you in these official departments. Those of us who are “independent citizens” or “self employed individuals,” are accustomed to long waits and negative answers.

In this peculiar condition of free electron, remote from the nucleus of any privilege, power or important position, I’m an expert in setbacks, a specialist in procedures that are never resolved.  I’ve been asked, a thousand and one times, the same question about the state umbrella that protects me, and I prefer to burn under the sun of my autonomy, to shelter under my own prerogative.  Of course this philosophy of “not belonging” can’t be explained to the guardian so that I may enter to resolve some forbidden matter.

It turns out that I don’t exist, because no state entity has me inventoried, because I don’t pay a fee to a union or appear on the list of some workplace cafeteria.  Although I walk, sleep, love and even complain, I lack a certificate-of-existence that would give me affiliation to a small—and boring—number of neogovernmental organizations.  In practice, I’m a civic ghost, a non-being, someone unable to show the sharp eye of the doorkeeper even the slightest proof of being in the official mechanisms.


  1. I posted in the Spanish site

    In Cuba when Slavery the slave that scape to gain their freedom were call Cimarron or Cimarrones

    Yoani next time someone ask you what organization do you belong

    I am Cimarron.

  2. Tamara Nicola dice: 25 Marzo 2009 a las 02:22

    I read your blog everyday. If there is a way I can help – feel free to ask. I feel for you and pray for you often.

    Dear Tamara, Of course you can help. Your only presence in this blog and your comment is a great help, it makes the castro dictatorship back, it make the world know there is people who cares about the cuban people suffering. Your presence here makes Yoani more safer, tyrant will no dare to harm Yoani knowing she has so great international support.
    Welcome and thousand thanks.

  3. Not that this falls within the realm of possibilities at the moment, but it would be nice if Yoani could point out to the self righteous bureaucrats, who probably spend the time chit chatting and waiting for the government to give them their pay, instead of working, the fact that she is a productive citizen, who specializes in that which is of benefit to the citizenry – i.e. writing creatively and informatively, with little or no compensation, so that people are aware, and make informed decisions for themselves and their children, in what could be the greatest payoff of their life: the ability to work, act and think independently so they can realize the benefits of their own labor and freedom.

    Now that is real work, as opposed to the army of unproductive bureaucrats who mostly sit around, waiting to be told what to do, or when the next speech by the latest tyrant will be held, so they can robotically clap and jump in unison to the dictates of the old fossils. What a self-limiting life, they don’t even know what they’re missing!!

    Of course, I should point out that these government workers were formed and drilled overtime so that they know well how to listen and follow orders. It is not necessarily their fault. It is our duty and the duty of all free thinking people to bring awareness, and vision beyond their cage, into their lives.

  4. Why is it so uncomfortable to have people like Yoani (Free thinkers) to dictators like Fidel Castro?
    I have some answers you guys probably can guess I would like to listen others points of view.

  5. We are watching and praying for Yoani here in Canada. She has many fans. More than she realizes Im sure. 🙂

  6. Yoani, I know that you feel invisable in Cuba, but the world sees you. The world is watching you. Your are changing minds about what it means to be and live in Cuba. Your tiny voice on the 14th floor of a crumbling apartment building in Havana is heard and respected around the world. The people with badges may be giving you negative answers, but the rest of us, when we hear your voice, are saying, “Yes, yes. . . ”

  7. You must pay attentions more to your inner voice your captions in picture speak volumes. I believe you are not trapped by a system as you are trapped by your unconscious. Your recent pictures have pointed this out you must turn inward and uncover your inter self to set yourself free. For those who cry foul of the state are and always will be crippled and search for someone to save them.

  8. La Cubanasa

    Are you for real, or are you trying to provoke some debate? In the first instance, I’d say you must read up on the meaning of the word “Libre”, since obviously living locked up in an island, and I don’t mean only geographically, listening to some bearded, actually quite incompetent leaders, would not allow you to grasp the meaning of the word.

    In the second instance, thanks for trying, but it’s late in the day and I don’t feel like writting much.


    Es usted legitima, o esta tratando de provocar un debate? In el primer caso, yo diria que debe leer el significado de la palabra “Libre” ya que es obvio que viviendo en una isla encerrada, y no me refiero geograficamente, escuchando a unos individuos barbudos, realmente incompetentes en el arte de governar sabiamente, no le permite asimilar el significado de la palabra.

    En el segundo caso, gracias por tratar, pero es tarde y tengo que retirarme.


  10. I am acting for the moment as translator for Maria Varadero for other english only speakers

    Cubanasa, I feel pity because you have been raised in and island prison and you do not know what is to be free, You are like a parrot that my sister has, Every time she escapes she will return and grabs the cage so that my sister will let her enter, At least her parrot has food, in your case I doubt it.

    And if thanks to the comander in chief, The ones that got to live outside the big jail that is Cuba, We are free,

    Scream on a corner of any place in Cuba “Down with Fidel!” and you will see what happen, Here you can said what you wish about the current president and nothing happens (Ni malanga) (is a slang in Cuban Spanish that means the same as “nothing happens” but malanga also means a type of Cuban food)

    Yummy! Do you know what Malanga is?


  11. cubanasa and comrade landis are the exception that confirm the rule. A very insignificant exception indeed.
    By the way, comrade landis disappeared since his last unfortunate comment, it seems Yoani’s lasts posters are irrefutable and castrolls prefers to remain in silence.

  12. Carbo,

    These two they seem to be robots, they only know how to repeat what they have learn from others.
    There is no independent thinking in them therefore they can not carry a dialog explaining reasons to support their point of view.

  13. Claro que conozco la malanga fue la que les mato el hambre a los cubanos dejada por los otros goviernos corructos

  14. Cubanasa y que respondes de lo otro que te escribio Maria Varadero

    Puedes libremente pararte en cualquier lugar en Cuba y gritar
    Abajo Fidel?

    Cubanasa what would you say to the other thing written by Maria Varadero
    Can you freely stand in some place in Cuba and scream
    Down with Fidel?

  15. This is a translation of Cubanasas prior answer to Maria Varadero

    of course I know what malanga is.

    Malanga was what kill the hunger of Cubans by other corrupt governments.

  16. Dear SVoice, I agree 100% with your comment #18.
    I want to alert you about cubanasa……. I doubt this personage can scream Down with fidel because:

    1- She/he is not in Cuba, otherwise this castroll could not connect it self to the Internet. As you surely know, internet is forbidden for cubans.

    2- This castroll probably is not a cuban, neither a hispanic. No spanish speaking person writes “cubanasa” with a “S” but “cubanaza” with a “Z”, either writes “goviernos” with “V” but “gobiernos” with “B”, and finally it would not writes “corructos” with a “C” before the “T” but “corruptos” with a “P”. If this castroll is a cuban…….. Oh my lord the education in my country is worst then I believed!!!!!

    3- But even if this castroll is a cuban from inside the island, it would be impossible for him/her to say nothing agaist the tyranny. The only free persons in Cuba that can do such thing are the dissidents and people as Yoani, people with courage and moral as high that the regime can not dare to take action on them. But “cubanasa” is a poor devil, no buddy knows this castroll without history, courage and moral…………. if this castroll scream Down with fidel will surely be interned 20 years in a special department of Havana’s Psychiatric Hospital called Carbo Servia.

  17. Silent V.

    I like that word, cimarron. I guess all those outside Cuba who left the island are cimarrones. In addition, anyone with a sense of adventure, who wants to learn more, and find out what’s around the bend on the road, or beyond the horizon, we are all cimarrones.

    All who enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, we are all cimarrones at heart. Of course the master cimarrones are the ones still in the island, struggling to survive as they are closely followed by the bloodhounds. Being a cimarron in spirit under horrific psychological and other pressures, now that’s the ultimate, highest level at being a cimarron!!

    Therefore, cimarrones of the world unite, lets support the struggle of those aspiring cimarrones who are still caged and/or enslaved by the dictatorship of the incompetent and self-serving communist masters.

  18. Cold in Chicago
    That is the value of Yoani
    Her courage to do what she does from where she does it!
    Even them (The Castro’s) must be full of admiration for her courage!

    The actual truth is the the Castro’s are not communist.

    Their whole system is a monopolistic capitalism.
    You can not measure them for what they talk but for what they do to Cubans
    and they are the worst kind of capitalist.
    Their society exploits Cubans inside and outside in ways that can surprise even the most capitalist here!

    And I do agree with you we should all be united
    we have out brothers enslaved by their system and we should do something for them so that they get to be cimarrones too.

  19. Silent V.

    Whether the Castro’s are communist or not, that to me is a distraction that is not relevant and not deserving of deep discussion. The old Marxist adage “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” is obviously not followed by the old fossils, as they demonstrably, have plenty of luxuries they enjoy which the population does not.

    However, they proclaim to be communists, they were allied with the communist bloc in their good old days which are now past, they nationalized or took ownership of every standing business back in the sixties. So although they are liars at heart, I just call them by their self anointed description.

    But either way, communism, whether followed by those who proclaim to be, or taken at its literal value, does not work and does tremendous damage to societies and people’s mental state, as it pushes against human nature, individual freedoms, initiative and economic production.

    What the Castro’s are philosophically, we shouldn’t care. What they’ve done and continue to do, that is of concern.

  20. “Whether the Castro’s are communist or not, that to me is a distraction that is not relevant and not deserving of deep discussion”

    Well I agree is a bit of a distraction but we should try to even get the communist in Cuba to support us that is why I said what I said above! and we and them probably know that we are correct.
    If we get also their support the Castro’s are done.

    The fact is that people are not communist they may support or have some leftist tendencies but at the end they have to be pragmatics. Communist economy does not work they need capitalist for that to work.

    Is having capitalist in a society to heavy a burden?
    My answer is no.
    They actually thru their greed perform useful things for society as long as you have sufficient competition and no monopoly.

    We should be inclusive the priority is to restore Freedom and everything else should follow.
    If there is a communist that believe in Freedom I am happy with it. What I do not care for is anybody that does not believe in Freedom. Be communist or not.

    I also agree with you that communism does not work but still I believe people should have the right to think what they want.

    As I have mentioned before I very strongly believe in what Voltaire wrote

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

  21. We need to come up with ideas to help them

    I know this book was an inspiration to Mohandas Gandhi

    Civil Disobedience by Thoreau

    “Desovediencia civil” de Thoreau here is a link to the book in spanish


    I have to think more on how.

    They have already use some good ideas like the things they are all doing we need to engage people in Cuba and get them out of the snake charmer sleep they are in.

    Any body have any idea?

  22. I see your point. Yes, to the extent that there are leftists in Cuba who believe or could be persuaded to believe in a democratically elected government, we should support that. After all it is normal that a society have a right, left and a center to be properly balanced.

    I’m repeatedly disappointed with socialists and communists in free societies however. Look at Zapatero of Spain. No sooner did he get in power than he traveled all over Western Europe trying to convince every other country that Castro and his regime are not such bad guys. He just couldn’t wait, no matter what Havel and other decent leaders who tried to dissuade him. He was on a mission. In exchange for giving them what they wanted, the Castro’s have not given anything in return.

    In fact, even though I have Spanish blood in me, I’m ashamed that the current Spanish government is returning to the self serving attitude that Spain used to be infamous for during colonial times – i.e. an insatiable need to exploit and rape the indians, get all the gold they could, and not take any type of moral stand that would protect the conquered.

    In the case of Cuba, they are buying up all the prime real estate on the beaches, and selling tourist services to Europeans in concert with the regime, to make as much money as possible. I don’t see or hear them in any way, trying to act on behalf of, or promoting greater democracy and freedom in Cuba. They totally disregard and disrespect ( I could say Piss on) the Cuban community in the United States, looking only to befriend the Castros and take all they can while perpetuating the regime.

    You can understand my suspicion about certain western socialists and communists.

  23. What you have describe with regards to Spain is a neocolonialism.

    Note the Castros’s are very eager to take any foreign capital investments and expertise as long as they keep the top hand. They disguise everything up but the reality is that Cuba could be think of as being very close to be a Spanish colony.

    While denying Cubans the same rights to own and invest capital. So you have the weird scenario where a Spaniard or other foreign citizen’s can own property and enterprises in Cuba and a Cuban can not!

    Just think.

    Fidel and Raul are both sons of an Spaniard.

  24. For a moment I thought you were going to say:

    Fidel and Raúl are bothe sons of a B—-.

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