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26 April, 2011

Cuba's theater of the absurd

Cuba's theater of the absurd


Cuba's new-old Politburo, by Guamá

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Abel Prieto, Cuba's Minister of Culture, has been purged

April 20 - Cuba’s longtime culture minister, Abel Prieto, appeared to have been the biggest loser in the Communist Party Congress that wound up Tuesday, being dropped from the party’s two top ruling bodies.
Prieto, a novelist known for his relatively open views and long mullet haircut, was dropped from the party’s 15-member ruling Political Bureau, as well as its more decorative Central Committee, with more than 100 members.
Party officials made no specific announcement of Prieto’s ouster — his name was simply not on the lists of new members of the two bodies that were read Tuesday at the end of the VI Communist Party Congress.
The Miami Herald


Cuba's theater of the absurd


April 20 - The so-called reforms announced by Raúl Castro are illusory; a desperate, ridiculous attempt to camouflage repression.

Theatre of the absurd. Characters trapped in hopeless situations, frustrated by illogical speech, compelled by irrational forces to perform meaningless gestures. It was once the rage among the thinking classes of the free world. And decades later, unfortunately, it is enjoying a revival at the recent Communist party congress in Havana.
After 52 years in power – 47 of which he spent in his older brother's shadow– "president" Raúl Castro is seeking to reform his domain and change nothing at the same time. Two days ago, he told the party delegates that henceforth no one should serve more than two five-year terms in government. Ten years in office; that's it for everyone from now on, himself included. "We need to rejuvenate the revolution," said Raúl.
The assembled delegates responded with thunderous applause. Then they swiftly anointed 79-year-old Raúl as their supreme leader and José Ramon Machado Ventura, one of Raúl's cronies, as his immediate successor. The number three spot went to another revolutionary sidekick, Ramiro Valdés. Machado is 80 years old. Valdés is 79. Then came the pièce de résistance: 300 proposals to shake up Catrolandia's centrally planned economy, including one that would allow Cubans to buy and sell their homes. The congress will be very busy for a while "voting" on these proposals.
What the government-controlled Cuban press won't say, and what most foreign correspondents on Cuban soil don't dare say (lest they be expelled, as happened last week to Spanish journalist Carlos Hernando) is that these so-called reforms are illusory, and a desperate, ridiculous attempt to camouflage repression and maintain the current status quo.

Instead of opening up the Cuban economy, creating a private sector, or granting more freedom to Cubans, what these "reforms" seek is to control the black market that has been in existence for decades and to tax it. Take, for instance, the plan to remove half a million Cubans from the government payroll and transform them into instant entrepreneurs. This is not only an acknowledgment of the fact that many Cubans already engage in unregulated menial jobs under the table, such as fixing clocks, mending shoes, running errands, or catering to the whims of tourists, but also an attempt to establish a tighter control over these activities and claim a share of the money that exchanges hands in all such transactions. Even worse, the jobs which these half a million suddenly-unemployed Cubans are supposed to create for themselves are limited to a highly specific number of 178 menial professions, such as dog groomer, button sewer, and parasol tinker, each of which will require proper licensing, constant supervision, and crushing tax payments. Read more: Guardian


"A revolution of the poor, by the poor, for the poor" in a country where everyone is now "equal"

April 19 - That's what the Cuban media has been saying this week while the VI Congress of Cuba's Communist Party has been taking place.

According to Castro's propaganda, all Cubans are now equal and the dictator has said in several occasions that he lives a "life like any ordinary Cuban."

But yesterday, when Castro voted from his home to elect his brother as new dictator for life, one could see that Castro's house doesn't look anything like the homes of the slaves that are exploited by him and his brother.

The home of the slave master:


And the homes of his slaves:



Photos of Havana in 2011

Photos taken by a photographer from Argentina earlier this year.

The City, the People, the Economy, it is sad to see the decay of the once beautiful buildings and the sad faces of the people



Voice of the Resistance, an Interview with Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet

April 19 - "I need to get to work,” says Dr. Óscar Elías Biscet. Are you familiar with him? He is perhaps the foremost Cuban democracy activist, a symbol of the general resistance to the Castro dictatorship. Has he been neglecting his work? Not exactly. For the past twelve years, essentially, he has been in prison, suffering the things that the regime’s prisoners have always suffered. George W. Bush gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. The recipient could not accept it in person, of course. But he has now been released from prison. The day, so long hoped for, by so many of us, was March 11. I spoke to him three weeks after.
Biscet was born in 1961 and has a wife, Elsa Morejón Hernández, and two children, Winnie and Yan. The children have been in the United States for several years; Elsa, like her husband, is in Cuba. Biscet obtained his degree in internal medicine in 1985. A few years later, he embarked on human-rights activism. In 1994, he was charged with “dangerousness,” a very common charge. It means that the individual in question will not submit meekly to dictatorial rule. In 1997, Biscet established the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights (“Lawton” being the name of the Havana neighborhood in which he lived). The organization, of course, is banned. In 1998, he spoke out strongly against abortion, particularly late-term abortion: In his work as a doctor, he saw ghastly things. The authorities responded harshly to his protest.
After being detained repeatedly — 26 times — Biscet was arrested in 1999 and thrown in prison for three years. He was released on October 31, 2002, and had 36 days outside of prison. During this time, he worked on his “Democratic Principles for Cuba” and a civic project called “Club for Friends of Human Rights.” He was again arrested on December 6, 2002, and underwent his ordeal until last March 11.

I found it somewhat amazing to hear his voice, after reading about him and writing about him for many years. His voice was low, grave, and resolute. We spoke by phone, Biscet in Havana, his questioner in New York. Serving as translator between us was Aramis Perez, of the Directorio Democrático Cubano in Miami. Biscet has felt “a kind of ambivalence” in the last few weeks. Those are his words: “a kind of ambivalence.” “I’m happy to be able to return home to my wife, but I’m unhappy to see an entire people still without freedom.” In his view, Cuba as a whole is “the big prison” while El Combinado del Este, where he and so many other dissidents have been confined, is “the little prison.” “We who live under this dictatorship look to the sea and know that the sea is our prison bars.” Biscet also says, “This great, beautiful island of Cuba has been converted by the Castro brothers into their own personal estate.” Read more


After he destroyed everything, Fidel Castro now says that the new generation must fix it


(What's left of the Portugalete sugar mill)

April 18 - A new generation of leaders must act decisively and without hesitation to correct the errors of the past and lead the island once those who fought in the 1959 revolution are gone, Fidel Castro said in a column published Monday.
"The new generation is being called upon to rectify and change without hesitation all that should be rectified and changed," Castro wrote.
"There is no margin for error," he added.
Read more

Cuba's telephone directory from 9 years before the Castros came in and destroyed everything


Take a look at Cuba's telephone directory of December of 1949, exactly 9 years before the destruction of the island began.

The "Directorio Clasificado Comercial y Profesional" (Yellow Pages) of the city of Havana alone had 452 pages! All these businesses were stolen by the Castro brothers and almost all of them have been destroyed by their stupidity and mismanagement.

Click here to see the Yellow Pages. You could find all kind of businesses, offering all kind of products and services.

The great majority of these businesses were owned by Cubans.

Imagine how the Yellow Pages would have looked today if this gang of human termites had not destroyed everything.

Click here to see the directory of the city of Havana, including Marianao, Regla and Cojímar

Click here to see the directory of the interior of the country.

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