Category Archives: censorship

Student Protest in Cuba.

Students from ISA (Superior Institute of Art) are protesting in this video for the censorship and lack of freedom and for the bad food.

The video got subtitles in Spanish and will soon have subtitles in English. To select subtitles go to right bottom corner and turn on

subtitles.

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Yoani Sanchez and other bloggers taken by Cuban secret police.

The well known Cuban bloggers Yoani Sanchez , Claudia Cadelo and Orlando L Pardo were taken by force by the state security police of the Castro regime,

Yoani on telephone interview mentioned

“Fui secuestrada al peor estilo siciliano, con violencia verbal, física, llaves de inmovilidad, rodillazos”.

(I was sequester in the worst Sicilian mafia style, with verbal and physical violence, they immobilize  and beat us.)

They were trying to participate in a march-performance against no violence that was performed in Vedado at 23th street in front of the Yara movie theater.

After been beaten they were release. It seems the intention was so that they will not be able to participate in the peaceful march against No violence.

This is a video of  the non violent performance executed as planned

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Freedom beautiful freedom!

Here is a performance in Cuba. Yoani Sanchez and many others use a minute to express freely

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVV1Q6qT8Kk

What follows is a translation of what Yoani Sanchez said.

Cuba is an island surrounded by sea and is also an island surrounded by censorship. Some of the information control and especially the Internet have opened up some cracks with blogs. In the wake of alternative blogosphere and is known to a good part of the Cuban population. We are a … accentuate the awakening of public opinion.

The authorities consider the technology as a wild horse to be tame. The independent bloggers want to run freely. Difficulties in disseminating our sites are many. Passed from hand to hand and thanks to flash memory, CDs, the obsolete diskettes the content of the blogs  goes through the island.

Internet is becoming a public forum of discussion where the Cubans are writing opinions. The real island is starting to be a virtual island that is more democratic and more pluralistic. Unfortunately these winds of free expression in the Internet have only just started to show up in our watchful reality.
Let us not wait for the authorization to enter the internet. To have a blog or to write an opinion.

It is time to jump the wall of control.

See this blog post by Yoani

http://desdecuba.com/generationy/?p=472

and this other blog post by Claudia

http://octavocercoen.blogspot.com/2009/03/one-minute-of-freedom-per-person.html

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Monte Rouge.

This is a Cuban short comedy poking fun at Cuban state security.

I wonder how funny they think it was?

Unfortunately there is no English subtitle so Spanish is required.

The discussion is because the state security have rationed  microphones  so he is being assigned only two microphones! :D

 

Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiV-2BW7OUA

 

 

Part 2  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dVEsi7Gy-4

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L’État c’est Moi (I am the State).

” Le Roi Soleil or the Sun King, Louis believed in the Divine Right of Kings” that is a fragment of Wikipedia’s entry for Louis XIV of France.

He was considered the archetypal absolute monarch of early modern Europe. World history has a way of recycling old cliches and old phrases acquired a new dressing and are rediscover or reinvented and rephrase.

 

larevolucionsoyyo

I am the revolution

 

 

Just as in France, King Luis came to signified the epitome of absolutism so is in Cuba Fidel Castro in modern days a symbol of absolute and ruthless power. He also as manifested in one of his last reflexion unequivocally that the “honey of power” belongs to him. It is his divine right because he had sacrificed to get it!

“La miel del poder por el cual no conocieron sacrificio alguno, despertó en ellos ambiciones que los condujeron a un papel indigno. El enemigo externo se llenó de ilusiones con ellos.”

“The honey of power for which they had made no sacrifice awoke in them ambitions that led them to an unworthy role. The external enemy was filled with illusions about them.”

This evoke images of conquest of stealing of usurpation, of power, of corruption! and link that to the above image of the poster in red and blue “I am the revolution” gets my thoughts to remember French absolutism.

Must we all humans learn the same lessons over and over again?

It will be nice if people could assimilate lessons from other people’s history but unfortunately it does not happen that way. We are bound to repeat someone else’s error to follow some else’s steps and to draw new lessons.

Let Cuba be a warning to all those who love freedom. A poster case to show the dangers of modern absolute power. None should have the right to rule everyone else with absolute power.

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Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

 

castrohoneyA few days after the earthquake in Cuba’s executive mansion, we are still feeling the aftershocks.

Carlos Lage Davila (Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba) and Felipe Perez Roque (the foreign minister of the Republic of Cuba) both wrote letters recognizing errors and renouncing to positions in the central committee of the Cuban communist party and national assembly (legislature).

This improvised mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Looks more like the result of a request by the head of the government, a request like “I am going to make you an offer you can’t refuse”. (Right, from the movie”the Godfather”).

Many people believe that the reason for the elimination had to do more with them getting too dangerously close to Fidel Castros’s jar of honey ( The honey of power).

 

 

 

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Fidgeting on Mount Olympus.

yoani3Yoani’s site generationy seems to be down fortunatelly I have a copy of her post

so people can  read here while the site is down.

 

“Yesterday, with my lunch half eaten, a friend called to ask if I had seen the 1:00 pm news. No, I never chew while watching this type of program, it’s fatal to the digestion. Mixing red beans with the announcement of the changes in the Council of State and Ministers, would have resulted in a mortar of incalculable consequences. Even so, it bothered me to have missed the news and to find out—in bits and pieces—the changes that happened up there. The “official notice,” published in the newspaper Granma, is long and full of language that puts me to sleep. In short, various ministers and members of the Council of State have been replaced; this fall from grace has been rumored, even in the streets, for some months. It didn’t even surprise me that one of the replacements, Carlos Valenciaga, was not mentioned, or that the military uniforms ended up with a greater presence at the highest level of the administration. People are trying to find, in these changes, the depth and wisdom of a game of chess, but to me it seems like a game of “blind man’s bluff.” I don’t believe the wished-for and necessary reforms that people were waiting for, were to have new ministers installed. If the intention was to stimulate progressive measures, no functionary in charge of a ministry could have slowed them down. The intention, however, has been to delay the changes, to dull them, to buy time in the game of politics, while we lose months and months of time in our lives. Who will convince Marcos, who already has GPS for crossing the Straits of Florida, that the new ministers will pave the way to enable him to fulfill his dreams in his own country?vehicle1  The announcement yesterday did not shorten the long lines to get a new nationality in front of the Spanish Embassy, nor the number of young girls who offer their bodies in exchange for a way out of here. Calling the new chancellor Bruno instead of Felipe has little influence on the degree of hopelessness. Changing the instruments doesn’t mean much, if the symphony being performed, and the director of the orchestra, are the same as before.”

 

The picture’s caption reads

“The unstoppable vehicle of change”

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Is the revolution reinventing itself? Do we have a new revolution with Raul Castro?

raul2Raul Castro’s name may have being practically unknown to many for about 50 years but now he is the man in charge of the Cuban government. After some timid changes looking more like window dressing and that deal more with the very minor absurd prohibitions suffer by Cubans, like not being able to stay in a Hotel or not being able to legally have a cell phone.  This past Monday we have witness a major tectonic shift(by Cuban standards), the removal of many cabinet member and substitution with new one and the unification of some ministries. Granma the official voice of the Cuban government inform us that this was done in order to have a leaner government.

We could have foretold that something was looming when a few days ago Ramiro Valdés was named vice presidents of government and also by Hugo Chavez quick visit to Cuba. This past Monday they have announced major changes for all the positions in the government. Replacing long time aides of his brother Fidel Castro by other people presumably more attuned with Raul’s ideas. Many of the new people are from the military, probably the people that Raul knows best from his prior post as Army Chief.

I believe some other changes are imminent after this. Raul seems to be very pragmatic and he has inherited from his brother a bankrupt economy and a system that lives from begging money to other countries and where a majority of Cubans are choosing exile instead of austerity.

What are those ideas and new actions that could potentially be taken by the new president of Cuba?

To find out about the future we need to quickly revisit the immediate past.

Raul’s government did about a year ago meetings where people could complain about the government and ask questions about many of the existing government prohibitions. We saw a bit of the tone of the questions ask with the video that circulated of Eliecer Avila and others asking questions to Alarcon.

Some of the questions there were about the existence of a dual currency the Cuban Peso and the popularly called chavito of 25 higher value and to get explanations about why the Cuban companies were selling all their product in chavitos and not in Cuban pesos the currency use to pay workers in Cuba. Eliecer mentioned there that a worker would have to work about 2 to 3 days just to pay for a tooth brush!

He continued criticizing the other government absurd prohibitions like not being allow in hotels or to travel freely outside the country etc.

 

So far we have seen the Raul Castro government responded by allowing Cubans to have personal computers, Cell phones and being allow to go into hotels in Cuba. Obviously these new found freedoms do not represent any tangible benefit for the great majority of Cubans since they do not have access to the hard currency needed to pay for these new found luxuries since their salaries are equivalent to 15 to 20 dollars per month.

In recent speeches Raul spoke of the past policies of milk only for children due to scarcity and of the many problems he is confronting like the aging of the Cuban population as a result of past government policies and the lack of teachers. His goverment also made a very modest increase on the retired people salaries.  

Are all these heralding a new Raul’s era with more liberty and freedom for the average Cuban and more economic freedom?  Is Cuba going on the Chinese style of communism?

I guess we have to wait and see but it seems clear that his government is getting ready for some major change of direction.

PD.

Fidel Castro has explained in his latest reflexion that the changes were consulted with him and that many of them were replace because of government corruption.

“La miel del poder por el cual no conocieron sacrificio alguno, despertó en ellos ambiciones que los condujeron a un papel indigno. El enemigo externo se llenó de ilusiones con ellos.”

That will be translated into

“The honey of power they had obtained without any sacrifices, wake up ambitions that lead them to an indignant role. The external enemy was full of hope with them”

We hope to see what charges they will be accuse of in Granma soon.

 

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Aquila non captat muscas.(Eagles catch no flies.)

eagle1The Cuban government has always explained as a reason for not allowing opposition or having a one party system that their close appointed enemy the USA is looking for any opportunities to bring down the communist government.

We see that in the apogee of the cold war that was about the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis the world came very close to a nuclear confrontation between the two superpowers (USSR and USA). As we know the USSR does not exist anymore and Cuba has being on his own now for quite some time flying and buzzing very close to the eagle’s ear and we have not seen the USA flex any muscle towards Cuba.

Still we see the Cuban government insisting in the old policies of the cold war. My suspicion is that it has nothing to do with being afraid of the nearby eagle. The Cuban government is more concern with his own people that are very unhappy with the state of affairs in their own country.

How do we know the Cuban people are unhappy?

Let us revisit a bit of history.

Do you remember “Los balseros in the 90s“? and if we go a bit back in time to the 80s. Do you remember the Mariel boatlift?

As can be seen the Cuban government from time to time behave like a pressure cooker and has to let some people go. That usually happen during American democratic administrations. If I am correct we are due one pressure valve release soon.

That is the way the Cuban government controls opposition. By offering the known choice of “Either you go on exiled or you like what we have here”.  This is a known logical fallacy named False dilemma, since our choice is not only those two choices but we can have other choices like for example this third choice “to start changing what is wrong with the system”.

Why will they not have that choice?

Because they do not want to change what has kept them in power for 50 years. As Mel Brooks said in the movie History of the World part I.

“It’s good to be the king!”. To be an absolute ruler to be a dictator!

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Does Fidel Castro suffers from Quixotism?

castro3Fidel Castro the idealistic leader of the Cuban revolution is behind the times. We can still see him grasping with his nails to very old ideas and still at his advanced age mounted on rocinante (the revolution) and tilting at windmills.

Communism as manifested in all the countries in Eastern Europe has disappear. Cuba’s communism is the same style of communism and therefore eventually will also disappear.  The reason for this to happen is simple. It can not sustained itself economically. An as we know any system that is not economically fit will kick the bucket.  The centralized economy is too slow and too inefficient to be able to compete with private companies in the capitalist countries. The system have many other  intrinsic problems on his own.

Another reason that renders communism obsolete is the fact that capitalism has continue to evolve into a less exploitative society and now you have the paradox that the so claimed proletarian paradise is more exploitative as a society than any other capitalist country. This is reflected by the small salaries paid by the Cuban government and the very poor standard of living in Cuba.

After 50 years of revolution we can safely say that the Cuban experiment with communism has also failed. 

The top down approach where the top hierarchy of the communist party becomes the elite of the country and is totally detached from the reality of the normal Cuban has accelerated the process of the leaders being out of touch with reality.

While many Cuban struggle to get by day by day the Cuban elite has no worries about their daily life. This is very much manifested  in Castro’s reflexions. We see him commenting about any international situation and not paying close attention to the real problems faced by Cubans.

As an example of the problems confronted by Cubans is the problem of housing. This is a multidimensional problem and very difficult to solve for the government. From the problem of decaying and poorly maintained houses to the number of people inhabiting one dwelling including family members of multiple generations. In addition they just had 3 powerful hurricanes passing thru the island and destroying many home roofs.

This problem alone creates other problems as consequence. Since newlywed would have to live with other family members under the same roof it is more likely to increase the rate of divorce.  This has the consequence of families producing less children. Something that Raul Castro has already recognized as a problem in one of his speeches.

Many wonder what the future would bring. I think I know and hope to see it happen soon.

The future will be a free Cuba. A real democracy at last. When Fidel Castro is gone then the Quixotism in Cuba will also die.

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