Google Adsense

Archive for January 1, 2008

Convalescing Castro sends Cubans New Year message

Convalescing Castro sends Cubans New Year message
By Reuters
Tuesday January 1, 09:40 AM

HAVANA (Reuters) – Convalescing Cuban leader on Monday sent
a New Year's message telling Cubans to celebrate the anniversary of his
1959 revolution nearly 17 months after illness forced him to hand power
to his brother.

Castro, one of the few surviving Cold War enemies of the United States,
has only appeared in taped videos and photographs since undergoing
emergency stomach surgery in July 2006 and with his full condition a
state secret it is unclear whether the 81-year-old will resume office.

"In the morning, 49 years of the revolution will be behind us and the
50th year will symbolize half a century of heroic resistance," Castro
said in a statement read on television. "We proclaim our pride in this
record to the world."

Cuba's National Assembly may decide on Castro's post as head of state
when it approves members of the executive Council of State in March. But
his brother Raul's call for more open debate over problems has fueled
speculation about the political and economic future of the island.

His brother says Castro is lucid, consulted on major policy decisions
and has recovered sufficient strength that party delegates support his
nomination to run for a National Assembly seat, a requirement for the

But Fidel Castro has hinted twice in recent statements he will not cling
on to power or his formal posts, suggesting he will instead contribute
with ideas drawn from his experience.

Castro has been nominated for the assembly but if he is too ill, the
assembly may formally appoint a successor. Fidel Castro holds posts of
of the Council of State and Council of Ministers and first
secretary of the ruling Communist Party.

Cuba watchers say a smooth transition of power already has taken place
under , who some believe is a more practical manager who has
begun talking about an open approach to handling the economic problems,
including more foreign in the agriculture sector.

Catching a cold in Cuba

Catching a cold in Cuba
Trip to beautiful island offers harsh lessons about shortages of
medicine, and transportation

Sunday News

Published: Dec 30, 2007 12:08 AM EST

HAVANA, CUBA – It wasn't much of a cold; just the kind that would get
better by itself in a week. In the meantime it was a nuisance with a
cough and stuffy nose. A little over-the-counter remedy would help.

It was November 2007. We were in Havana, the capital of Cuba, with a
humanitarian group organized by the North Museum of Natural History &
Science. Our role was to bring medical and supplies in our
suitcases. Americans are allowed in Cuba; they aren't permitted to spend
any money there. We prepaid for our trip including every meal and tip.

There were no over-the-counter remedies to be had. I asked the guide
what Cubans did if they had a cold. The guide said that a Cuban would go
to the doctor — a visit free of charge — who would write a prescription
for aspirin. However, there would be no way to fill the prescription.

We visited a pharmacy later in the trip. Behind the counter five
well-dressed Cuban women waited to serve, but the shelves were empty.
The only items in sight were the monthly ration of sanitary napkins, 10
permitted per Cuban woman per month.

I then understood the value of the over-the-counter medical supplies we
had brought to a Catholic charity.

It was like being in a dream where two different things can happen at
the same time. We were in a two-tier system: one for the privileged
(tourists, for example) and the other for those who lived and worked in
socialist Cuba.

Our luxurious state-owned was closed to Cubans, except for those
who worked there. A Cuban could not even come in for a meal.

There were two levels of money. One, the CUC, was used by foreign
tourists and convertible to other currencies. The other, the peso, was
for Cubans, and worth 5 percent of the "better" currency.

There were two levels of stores, one that took pesos and another that
took CUC money. The peso stores had very little to sell. The stores for
CUC money were marginally better. Even a modest chain store in the
United States could outshine the "better" store.

There certainly were no traffic jams. With few privately owned cars and
limited , many people rely on hitchhiking. In one
five-mile stretch of a major highway I counted 20 people hoping for
rides. In the same five-mile stretch the traffic consisted of one taxi,
one , one pedestrian, two horse-drawn carts, three motorcycles, seven
cars, 11 bicycles and 13 pickup trucks. This included both sides of the
four-lane highway. About 15 percent are 1950s-era American cars still
using leaded gas.

Coupons are given out each month for food such as coffee and . The
coupons run out after two weeks, so it is necessary to buy food with the
monthly salary. Food at the farmers' market is expensive. So if a person
does not use the coffee ration, that coffee is traded for something else

On balance, we saw no people sleeping in doorways. We learned that there
was 95 percent literacy. There was no rent to pay, no medical insurance
needed — but no aspirin.

Cuba is a beautiful country with limestone soil as rich as Lancaster
County and a mild climate year-round. The people are friendly,
well-dressed and polite. Havana is a stunning Spanish colonial city with
tree-lined plazas and colonnaded homes. If only the windows were not
patched, the pillars rotted and the faded walls stained with mildew. The
government has restored a number of homes, but the overall effect is one
of decay.

The decay and lack of merchandise are blamed on the American , in
place since 1960. One wall poster in a cigar factory called the American
embargo "genocide." Our country's story in Cuba is not an admirable one.
Still, I wondered if a socialist government in 50 years could not come
up with something better for its people.

It was depressing to see attractive and intelligent people restricted
and denied opportunity in such an appealing land only 90 miles away from
our country.

The of birth has put me in a free country and I have never been
so grateful.

Pack for the locals

Pack for the locals
Workers in Cuba welcome donations from tourists

Mary Ellen Kot
CanWest News Service

When my family was getting ready for a recent trip to Cuba, my sisters,
who had been there before, advised me not to pack much — just
sunscreen, a bathing suit and a sarong. But then they added a final
category: "Don't forget to bring donations."

This last item is not officially mentioned anywhere — but everyone who
travels frequently to Cuba seems to know about it.

I checked out reviews on and was
happy to read that most people were pleased with our resort, The
Daquiri in Cayo Guillermo. (So were we.)

Many of those reviewers also referred to the practice of bringing items
to share with the staff.

And so we packed, and packed some more.

On our flight, passengers were allowed to check two pieces of baggage
(weight allowances vary depending on destination and .) We told
our three children, all in their 20s, to go through their closets and
find some summer clothes with which they were willing to part. My
sisters dropped off clothes, I went through the linen closet and three
extra suitcases were overflowing in no time.

Once at the resort, we faced the question of how to give away these
items in a discreet and sensitive manner. Most people leave gifts for
their cleaning staff every day. You simply leave a gift bag or package
on your bed, with a note: Gracias.

You'd think that means only housekeepers get gifts, but in fact
employees pool their tips at most resorts and distribute them to all the
staff. As the week went by, I started carrying around pesos and various
items in my knapsack. That way, when one of the gardeners would offer us
a lovely bird or grasshopper woven of palm branches, I would have
something with me to give in return.

Our resort employs so many people, there always seemed to be someone
offering us something. At no point did they ever look for anything in
return. But I felt better when I could return their kindness.

Near the end of our week, I asked our morning waitress if it was OK to
give her some clothes for her young cousin. I was afraid of insulting
her, but she replied enthusiastically.

"Yes, it's OK. We have many friends from who bring us clothes and

A young man also reassured me that I was not insulting anyone. He
explained many of the housekeepers at our resort were doctors and nurses
who felt very lucky to work in because of the possibility of
gifts and tips. I had wondered why shampoo was often mentioned as a good
gift until he told us that a bottle of shampoo costs about one-third of
a month's salary.

The practice of taking gifts to Cuba has been in the news recently, with
a Quebec agency offering clients a $300 discount for taking a
suitcase of items supplied by Cuban expatriates wanting to send goods
back home. But the Association of Canadian Travel agencies cautioned
against the idea, saying travellers should not carry luggage they
haven't packed themselves.

But there are plenty of guidelines for safely taking items you can
supply and pack yourself.

Since returning from Cuba, I have scanned the and felt humbled
by the sites I've found. If you search for "Cuba donations needed," you
will learn about dozens of projects and ongoing work by such groups as
the Canada-Cuba Farmer-to-Farmer project, or a Toronto organization
called Recycle Your Bicycle.

Under the title "Donate and Help Cubans Survive the U.S. Blockade,"
you'll find information on non-governmental organizations such as
MOVPAZ, the Cuban Movement for Peace and People's Sovereignty. While
visiting towns and cities, many travellers link up with organizations
such as MOVPAZ that deliver aid where it is most needed.

Other tourists take their donations directly to schools or medical clinics.

Some of the most commonly requested items are bike tire repair kits,
Aspirin and other pain relievers, bandages, vitamins, medical gloves and
masks, thermometers, toothpaste, toothbrushes, supplies,
Spanish-English dictionaries, art supplies, musical instruments, guitar
strings, baseball bats, balls and gloves, footballs and sport helmets.

Many sites are devoted to collecting medical supplies.

For many Canadians, visiting Cuba is like going to a friend's home for
dinner — you really shouldn't arrive empty-handed.
© The Edmonton Journal 2007

Cubans Fear Families Are Lost at Sea

Cubans Fear Families Are Lost at Sea

By LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ – 2 hours ago

HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) — This was supposed to be the year Luis Bazan
celebrated New Year's with his wife and young sons in the U.S.

Bazan left Cuba for Florida nearly two years ago on a hand-wrought
wooden boat. On Nov. 24, his family and about 40 others, including a
dozen young children, set out on the same journey aboard a speedy
fishing boat.

The last he heard from his wife was when she talked to him using a
borrowed shortly after they began the dangerous trip across
the Florida Straits.

"My only drop of hope is that the boat landed somewhere in the Bahamas
and that they haven't been able to call," Bazan said recently as he sat
in his one-room Hialeah apartment, tracing his fingers over photos of
his boys, 8-year-old Yasel and 2-year-old Yarlon.

More likely, Bazan's wife and sons met the same fate as thousands of
other Cubans migrants who have perished at sea trying to reach the U.S.
since Cuban took power in 1959.

In the last two months alone, according to the Coast Guard, relatives
have reported nearly 70 migrants aboard three boats have died or gone
missing in the Florida Straits, including those on the boat with Bazan's
family. As recently as Saturday, the Coast Guard suspended a 48-hour
search for a boat with at least three migrants aboard.

"In recent months and recent days, we've seen a very alarming loss of
life," said U.S. Coast Guard Spokesman Chris O'Neil.

In 2007, the U.S. stopped about 3,200 Cubans at sea, up from about 2,300
the year before. It was the largest number of interdictions since the
1994 crisis in which 37,000 Cubans tried to reach Florida after
Castro briefly opened the island's ports. The numbers had fallen to as
low as 391 in 1996, with 394 the following year.

O'Neil attributes the recent increase to a variety of factors, including
months of mild weather, high-tech smuggling operations and concern among
Cubans over the future of their country without the ailing Castro, who
ceded power to his brother last year.

Under U.S. policy, Cubans who reach U.S. land are generally allowed to
stay, while those stopped at sea are generally sent back, under the
so-called "wet-foot, dry-foot policy." Without Castro, Cubans could lose
their preferential treatment if relations between the two countries improve.

Bazan wasn't thinking about politics when he left his small village in
Mantanzas in 2006.

"I came for everything, for and to drag my family out of
miserable poverty," he said.

He found an apartment in this Miami suburb, got a job unloading packages
at a cargo company, and sent packages home.

"I would make video tapes every month, playing and telling them stories
so that they could see me. I left my little one when he was about six
months, and he could pick me out of a photo album," Bazan said.

Eventually he secured a spot for his family on a boat chartered by a
recent fellow Cuban immigrant. Bazan and other relatives of people on
that boat said they never paid for the trip, which would be a federal
crime. The trip wasn't expected to take more than a day in clear weather.

Bazan said he didn't call the Coast Guard for nearly two weeks because
he was sure his wife and sons had completed the crossing and were being
processed by immigration authorities.

After he finally called, the Coast Guard searched the route the boat was
supposed to take but found nothing. A week later, Bazan chartered a
small plane for a fruitless aerial search.

O'Neil said it's unlikely anyone on the boat is alive.

Coast Guard officials say they can't prevent more drownings without more
help from the Cuban-American community.

"We need the community to say 'This is not acceptable anymore. It's not
acceptable to continue to pay people to subject our relatives, our loved
ones and our friends to these dangerous conditions. It's no longer
acceptable to see this loss in life,'" O'Neil said.

Bazan, who was briefly taken to a psychiatric ward after authorities
feared he was suicidal, says he is ready to face whatever comes but he
couldn't celebrate the New Year as he had hoped.

"How can I go and eat at a buffet until I know if my family exists or
not?" he said. "How can I celebrate anything until I know what happened
to them?"

Cuban divorce is easy, housing is harder

Cuban divorce is easy, is harder
Posted on Sun, Dec. 30, 2007
Associated Press Writer

After 21 years of marriage, Pedro Llera and his wife Maura decided to
call it quits.

Their divorce took 20 minutes, but Llera compares what came next to
"more than a year of open war in the house."

Sleeping in the same bed and sharing a single room with their
14-year-old daughter, they battled in Cuba's courts over who should stay
in their second-floor, two-bedroom apartment in Havana's spiffy Vedado

Estranged Cuban couples sometimes remain under the same roof for years
or even lifetimes, learning that while divorce on the island is easy,
housing is not. The phenomenon is a testament not only to the
communist-run island's severe housing shortage, but also to Cubans'
ability to stay friendly – or at least civil – under the most awkward of

"In a developed country, you get divorced and someone goes to a
and then to a new house," said Llera, a 60-year-old mechanic. "Here we
had to keep living like a couple."

By law, Cubans cannot sell their homes and because the state controls
almost all property, moves must be approved. Housing is so scarce,
however, that often there is nowhere to go.

The government has long estimated an island-wide shortage of half a
million homes. In 2006, officials reported construction of 110,000
houses, one of the largest single-year totals since 's 1959
revolution. But similar home-building initiatives this year were slowed
by the rising costs of materials and Tropical Storm Noel's severe
flooding of eastern Cuba.

Another Havana resident, 45-year-old Mirta, decided to divorce her
husband of 18 years in 1997. The couple hired a lawyer and signed papers

But neither one could move out. A decade later, they still share the
same two-bedroom apartment off the famed Malecon seaside promenade with
their sons, now 18 and 20.

"We use the same kitchen, same bathroom. We have separate bedrooms, but
the electricity, the telephone, the refrigerator – there's only one,"
Mirta said. "If you're going to get dressed, you have to hide in the
bathroom or in the bedroom. There's no privacy."

She said she and her ex-husband clash over utility bills and race home
from work for first use of the stove at dinner time.

"He's had other women but he always comes home to the same house," said
Mirta, who asked that her full name and profession not be published
because she did not want to be identified publicly as complaining about
Cuba's housing crunch. "You want to be independent and open the door to
your room, but with other women there, it is very uncomfortable."

The shortage is exacerbated by failed marriages. In 2006, the latest
figures available, Cuba reported 56,377 marriages and 35,837 divorces.
That's a yearly divorce rate of nearly 64 percent, though it does not
account for those married and divorced multiple times.

Breakups are so common that Cubans joke that anyone whose parents stay
together needs a lifetime of therapy.

"On some days there aren't weddings without at least one person who has
been divorced," said civil registrar Patria Olano, who officiates up to
15 weddings a day at a "Marriage Palace," or government-run wedding
hall, in Old Havana. "It's happy anyway because it's always a new

Couples pay $1.05 for the 5-minute legal transaction, sealed with a
kiss. Olano reads a dense paragraph of regulations, then asks: "Are you
sure you still want to get married?" Couples sometimes simply nod. A
sign nearby reads "To get married, dress correctly. No shorts, tank tops
or flip flops, please."

On a recent Friday, Pedro Angel Leon wore a sport coat to tie the knot
with his girlfriend of nearly two years, Barbara Mendez. It was his
third marriage, her second.

"The first marriage is for photos and parties," said Leon, a 52-year-old
volleyball referee. "This time everything is more calm."

Leon moved in with his new bride and her parents before the wedding.
"Finding a house is the hardest thing," he said.

Divorces are handled by notary publics and cost about the same as
getting married. By law, there is no alimony unless either husband or
wife is unemployed, and the communist system usually lends itself to
austere lifestyles devoid of expensive possessions to fight over.

Cuba was for decades officially atheist and divorce does not carry the
stigma it does in other countries. Many divorcees head back to their
parents' homes, but problems arise if their former rooms have since been
occupied by siblings' spouses and offspring.

Some divorced couples keep living together but throw up extra walls of
plywood: One side is his, the other hers and only the children move back
and forth freely.

Given ownership restrictions, a thriving black market exists for
home-swapping. Every day, men and women gather along a Havana boulevard,
offering trades. Some bring cardboard signs reading 1 x 2, meaning they
want to swap one large apartment for two smaller ones – often because of

"Marriages end like everything else," said a man named Luis, who was
hoping to trade his small apartment for a larger one. "But the house
where you live, that stays with you."

Llera, the mechanic, claimed his home belonged to his 83-year-old
father, who occupied the second bedroom. But his former wife said she
had lived there long enough to stay put.

A court ruled in Llera's favor but the decision was overturned on
appeal. As the legal battle dragged on, Llera demanded that his ex-wife
sleep on the living room couch, and even called the to make her

A higher court eventually sided with him and his ex-wife moved in with
relatives, leaving most of her clothes behind in protest. The failed
marriage was Llera's second, and though he now lives with another woman,
he doesn't plan to propose matrimony.

"It was such an ugly split," he said. "I don't want it to happen again."

Cuban, Haitian migrants returned to islands

Cuban, Haitian migrants returned to islands
Posted on Sun, Dec. 30, 2007

Thirty Cuban migrants were repatriated, while 34 Haitian migrants were
returned to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Saturday, according to Coast Guard

The Cuban migrants were apprehended in two separate operations. The
first occurred Dec. 21 when a Coast Guard aircraft spotted a rustic
vessel carrying 20 Cuban migrants about 40 miles north of Havana. Two of
the 20 migrants were later transferred to Immigration and
Enforcement officials in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The second group of Cuban migrants was apprehended after search and
rescue crews located a makeshift vessel near Big Pine Key, where 12 were
taken into custody.

The 32 Haitian migrants were spotted last Sunday in the Florida Straits
about 40 miles east of Fort Pierce in a disabled 21-foot boat. The
migrants told authorities they had not had or water for five days.
Two suspected migrant smugglers, whose names were not disclosed, were
taken to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Miami.

Fidel Castro salutes Cuban people for ’50 years of resistance’

salutes Cuban people for '50 years of resistance'

HAVANA – Ailing leader Fidel Castro saluted the Cuban people for their
“50 years of resistance'' against the United States in a written
message read on state television shortly before the first minutes of the
new year.

“During the course of the morning, the 49th year of the Revolution will
have been left behind and we will have fully entered the 50th year,
which will symbolize a half century of heroic resistance,'' said the
message read by a television presenter shortly before midnight. The
broadcast showed old photographs of the Cuban leader.

“We proclaim to the world with pride this record which makes us believe
in the most just of our demands: that there be respect for the life and
the wholesome joy of our nation.''

Cuba will mark the 50th anniversary of the Jan. 1, 1959, triumph of the
revolution that brought Castro to power a year from now, but is already
characterizing all of 2008 leading up to that date as the “50th year of
the revolution.''

The 81-year-old Castro has not been seen in public in the 17 months
since he announced he had undergone emergency intestinal surgery and was
provisionally ceding his powers to a caretaker government led by his
younger brother Raul, the 76-year-old defense minister.

Fidel's exact ailment and condition are carefully guarded state secrets,
but recently told voters in the eastern city of Santiago
that his brother is doing well enough that Communist Party leaders
support his candidacy to be re-elected as a deputy to Cuba's National
Assembly, or parliament, on Jan. 20.

When the new parliament meets on a still unspecified day in early March
for the first time after the national elections, deputies will elect a
new ruling Council of State _ Cuba's governing body.

At that time, they will also have to decide whether to retain the elder
Castro as the council's longtime . Fidel has not said directly
whether he would seek to retain the post, but recently indicated he
could be thinking about retirement.,0,2903105.story

Boxeador cubano retiene su título mundial profesional

Publicado el martes 01 de enero del 2008

Boxeador cubano retiene su título mundial profesional
Servicios de El Nuevo Herald

El boxeador cubano Yoan Pablo Hernández defendió con éxito su título
crucero Fedelatin de la Asociación Mundial de Boxeo (AMB) y se adueño de
la vacante corona latina del Consejo Mundial de Boxeo (CMB), al noquear
en el primer asalto al argelino Mohamed Azzaoui.

El combate entre Hernández y Azzaoui resultó uno de los pleitos
principales de la cartelera organizada en el Seidensticker Halle, en
Bielefeld, .

En la pelea, el cubano impuso su gran calidad y con un fulminante
directo de zurda mandó a la lona a su rival que se reincoporó a la
cuenta de nueve, pero incapaz de continuar parado sobre el cuadrilátero.

El flamante campeón nunca tuvo alguna resistencia por parte del
pugilista Azzaoui. Con esta victoria en apenas 2:08 minutos del primer
asalto, el boxeador antillano mejora su récord a 14-0, con 8 nocauts,
mientras que Azzaoui cayó a 22-2, con 8 fuera de combates.

Hernández nació en Pinar del Río y fue campeón mundial juvenil en el
2002 en Santiago de Cuba. Luego sumó una medalla de plata en los Juegos
Panamericanos de Santo Domingo 2003 tras caer derrotado en la final por
el mexicano Ramiro Rudecindo.

Este subcampeonato en Quisqueya le valió la clasificación a los Juegos
Olímpicos de Atenas 2004 donde perdió en la primera ronda del evento
contra el ruso Evgueni Makarenko..

En el 2005 salió en una gira por Europa con el equipo nacional de boxeo
cubano. Tras perder la final de la Copa Química de Halle ante el local
Alexander Povernov, siguió los pasos de Juan Carlos Gómez y solicitó
asilo político en Alemania.

Debutó en el deporte rentado el 3 de septiembre del 2005 con un nocaut
sobre el checo David Vicena en Berlín.

Mensaje de fin de año a los comunistas de la isla

Publicado el martes 01 de enero del 2008

Mensaje de fin de año a los comunistas de la isla

Ustedes, que desde Cuba responden mis artículos por e-mail, algunas
veces detallándome los cargos que ocupan en el gobierno, otras dándome
el número de sus teléfonos para convencerme de que son seres humanos de
carne y hueso, desearía esta vez me dijeran qué piensan, con la mano en
el corazón, sobre este mensaje.

Se conmemoran 49 años del advenimiento de la revolución cubana al poder
absoluto en Cuba. Demasiados para cualquier sistema de gobierno que
pretenda resolver con un partido único, un parlamento único y una verdad
única, sin oposición ni crítica, los problemas económicos y sociales de
un pueblo. Como somos hombres de buena voluntad, debemos encontrar una
vía para rectificar este error, ¿o no? Existen sólo tres caminos, y hay
que elegir uno.

El primero es que ustedes prosigan empecinados en un marxismo-leninismo
que fracasó a lo largo y ancho del planeta, y nosotros los imitemos en
vuestro inmovilismo y nos crucemos de brazos sin tomar iniciativas,
aguardando que el gobierno actual termine de cocinarse en la salsa de
sus propias contradicciones, lo cual es probable ocurra en los próximos
49 años. Esta solución podría ser válida, siempre y cuando, los
dirigentes de primera línea en la isla les hagan una cura de borraja a
sus estómagos, y este exilio se llene de una paciencia más infinita que
la lágrima de Hilarión Cabrisas.

Sin la menor intención de vender un miedo que ustedes no van a comprar,
pero ateniéndonos a hechos inmensamente remotos, pero posibles, la
segunda vía podría ser una invasión norteamericana a Cuba. Comenzaría
con un bombardeo limitado y sorpresivo sobre La Habana y Santiago justo
al atardecer de cualquier día de Dios. Con cuatro B-52 provistos de una
generosa carga de bombas mark 82 de 227 kilogramos se podría comenzar la
ofensiva. Tres días después, para no desaprovechar el factor sorpresa,
se iniciaría el bombardeo intensivo. Esta segunda fase de la operación
duraría una semana: tres mil salidas aéreas de la base de Homestead en
La Florida, y de los portaviones USS John F. Kennedy y USS Saipan, a un
costo de un millón de dólares por despegue, vomitando cada vuelo 600
misiles de crucero Tomahawk como promedio, y disparando con comodidad y
a mansalva sobre Cuba, porque las armas antiaéreas de la isla no
alcanzarían a bombarderos norteamericanos de alto techo como aviones
invisibles B-2 Spirit y el F117A. Estas misiones tendrían un final
cuando quedase hecho polvo el último objetivo militar del enemigo. De
inmediato, tres batallones en buques de asalto, auxiliares y de escolta
desembarcarían por oriente, occidente y centro para enfrentar a los tres
ejércitos cubanos. Los 30,000 soldados norteamericanos, pertenecientes
al Comando Sur, irían equipados con armas ligeras Barret M95 y Colt
M1911 calibre 45 APC.

Después de catorce días de desesperada pero inútil resistencia, y
decenas de miles de muertos entre militares y población civil, el
gobierno cubano se rendiría incondicionalmente, y una administración
militar respaldada por bayonetas norteamericanas tomaría el poder en La
Habana. En el acto se iniciaría una guerra de liberación de Maisí a San
Antonio, que se prolongaría por años. Esto no lo quiero para mi patria,
moriría de vergüenza y asco si ocurriese.

La tercera posibilidad es iniciar un dialogo real y transparente. Dentro
de la disidencia cubana hay todas las facciones del espectro político:
democratacristianos, socialdemócratas y liberales. Los hay en este
exilio dentro de Consenso Cubano y la Coordinadora Democrática. Y existe
otro lugar, esta verdad en este exilio se oculta porque es molesta para
ciertos intereses, pero ustedes la conocen perfectamente, donde hay
infinidad de tendencias, ideas, proposiciones y sueños, hablo del
Partido Comunista de Cuba. Allí hay decenas de miles de ustedes que
desean un cambio y que consideran un error, que incluso pisotea la
soberanía cubana, que Raúl Castro haya tendido en dos ocasiones un ramo
de olivo al gobierno norteamericano en vez de tendérselo a la disidencia
y el exilio.

Una pregunta me hago hoy. Con 49 años de ejercicio de poder ¿no es hora
de que los dirigentes máximos de la revolución dejen de inventar
historias y alimentar mitos? En la Calle Ocho de Miami, créanme, hay
deseos de paz con honra, reconciliación nacional, una Cuba ''con todos y
para el bien de todos''. Y existe además un respeto irrestricto a
nuestra soberanía, tan grande o mayor, como el que hay en cualquier
calle de La Habana.

Raúl Castro ha hablado últimamente de la necesidad de cambios y de su
deseo que en el país ''los demás se expresen con absoluta ''.
¿Por qué no inician ustedes un diálogo dentro de las filas del Partido
Comunista? ¿Por qué no inventan una fórmula sin condiciones onerosas,
sin descalificaciones, para comenzar a pensar ustedes y nosotros sobre
cómo sacar a Cuba de su actual callejón sin salida?

Sé que esté artículo va a provocar críticas, siempre ocurre cuando se
habla de perdón y comprensión en Miami o La Habana. Pero me río de los
peces de colores porque mis sueños siempre los he establecido desde una
línea recta y honesta, y porque lo que he dicho, que este exilio tiene
que escoger entre 49 años más hablando sandeces en la Calle Ocho, una
invasión norteamericana o conversar con el enemigo, es mucho más que una
verdad: es la propia Biblia.

[email protected]

Comunismo de Estado

Publicado el martes 01 de enero del 2008

Comunismo de Estado

William Lara, nuestro nunca bien ponderado ministro de Información,
escribió el 24 de diciembre un artículo titulado Anticomunismo de Estado
donde nos informa que ''la ideología dominante del Estado venezolano
durante el siglo XX fue el anticomunismo''. Así, en su análisis nos
explica que a través de la radio, el cine, la televisión, diarios,
revistas, y otros medios como el sistema educativo, las
iglesias y las organizaciones sociales ''los constructores del
predominio anticomunista sentaron sus dominios''. Según Lara, este
anticomunismo se enraizó de tal manera que en el pasado referéndum
''funcionó el sustrato cultural anticomunista construido en el
inconsciente colectivo nacional desde el Estado y a lo largo del siglo
XX''. Por ello, los resultados no habrían favorecido la reforma de la

Es decir, William Lara está manifestando que los venezolanos fuimos
adoctrinados en el anticomunismo y que por esta razón muchos no votaron
por los cambios. Entonces nos preguntamos: ¿será que el pueblo no
entendió el mensaje de que el socialismo del siglo XXI no es igual al
comunismo del siglo XX?. ¿O se dio cuenta de que el socialismo del siglo
XXI sí es igual al comunismo del siglo XX y su formación anticomunista
le impidió votar por esta opción?

Ministro Lara, si su tesis es cierta y se adoctrinó
''anticomunísticamente'' no importaría, si fuera verdad que el
socialismo del siglo XXI se diferenciara del comunismo del pasado. La
gente lo que rechazaría es el comunismo y no el socialismo del siglo
XXI. Por esto nos da la sensación de que usted reconoce que la reforma
nos llevaba al comunismo. Sin , escuchamos al Chávez
decir en su último mitin todo lo contrario, incluso que no era verdad
que se aboliría la propiedad privada, sino que se respetaría.

Lo que pasa, en nuestra humilde opinión, es que los ciudadanos ven
demasiada intimidad entre el gobierno venezolano y el oprobioso régimen
comunista de Cuba y sacaron una conclusión: huele a comunismo. Al fin y
al cabo, como dijera Mao, son cosas de la infinita sabiduría popular.

Ministro, el principal adoctrinamiento anticomunista se da en el siglo
XX, pero en el propio comunismo. Fíjese, ¡durante 70 años!, los
camaradas soviéticos controlaron la radio, la prensa, la televisión,
todos los medios de comunicación, todas las asambleas de ciudadanos,
todas las iglesias, la educación, todo el adoctrinamiento, la
información, todo el espionaje, todos los empleos, todas las tiendas,
toda la producción de bienes y servicios, ministro, controlaron
¡todo!… y el pueblo, aun adoctrinado como comunistas, dijo ¡basta!…

Hasta los camaradas militantes dijeron adiós al comunismo. Igual ocurrió
en Polonia, Yugoslavia, Checoslovaquia, , en fin, en todos los
países comunistas. Otros como y han retomado el camino del
socialismo de mercado, que los aleja del comunismo. Quedan países como
Cuba que lo siguen practicando y que después de medio siglo de
comunismo, lo que quieren, dos generaciones completamente formadas para
hacer al hombre nuevo, es irse a vivir en , a Miami, a España o
a . Para ellos, todo es mejor que el comunismo, amigo Lara.

De manera, ministro, que no se ocupe del ''anticomunismo de Estado'' que
hubo en el pasado, preocúpese porque no haya comunismo ni ahora ni en el
futuro. Ese debe ser su reto. Todos le agradeceremos.

[email protected]
Analistay psicólogo venezolano.

Los cubanos quieren definir su futuro en el 2008

Publicado el lunes 31 de diciembre del 2007

Los cubanos quieren definir su futuro en el 2008


Los cubanos se aprestan a iniciar un año marcado por la definición del
futuro de y las respuestas que daría el gobierno a demandas
de cambios, tras un 2007 de continuidad bajo un mando bicéfalo y

Ferias, bailes y actos culturales en toda la isla marcan el 1 de enero
los 49 años del triunfo de la revolución, cuyo máximo líder cumple los
17 meses formalmente fuera de funciones por enfermedad.

La provisionalidad del mando que Fidel cedió a su hermano Raúl el 31 de
julio del 2006 aún no ha sido levantada, pero el país vive un proceso
electoral que aclarará si el mandatario retomará sus tareas, ajustará su
papel o seguirá todo igual.

En un mensaje que envió el viernes pasado al Parlamento, el mandatario
de 81 años afirmó que ahora no se aferra al poder, como en su juventud,
y expresó apoyo y confianza en Raúl para encarar los serios problemas
del país. ''¿Qué me hizo cambiar? La propia vida'', dijo Castro, quien
el pasado 17 de diciembre, por primera vez en medio siglo en el poder,
dejó una puerta abierta al retiro y al paso de nuevas generaciones,
aunque señaló como un deber aportar su experiencia. ''Hay que ser
consecuentes hasta el final'', manifestó.

Aunque muchos pensaron que la no se lo permitiría, fue postulado
para los comicios parlamentarios del próximo 20 de enero y quedó así
listo para ser reelecto en marzo del Consejo de Estado,
máximo órgano del Ejecutivo.

Aunque con ''algunas limitaciones físicas'', está ''en pleno uso de las
facultades mentales'', dijo hace una semana Raúl Castro, tras destacar
que Fidel está al tanto de todo y que cuenta con el respaldo de su hermano.

Raúl, ministro de Defensa de 76 años, afianzó su gobierno colectivo en
el 2007, pero ahora encara el reto de responder a las esperanzas que
abrió al anunciar ''cambios estructurales'' en su discurso del 26 de
julio, e impulsar en todo el país la discusión de los problemas más

Ante el Parlamento criticó el viernes el ''exceso de prohibiciones y
medidas legales'' en Cuba, criticadas en los debates, y, moderando
expectativas, señaló que la solución a las dificultades será paulatina,
y siempre en el socialismo. ''Todos quisiéramos marchar más rápido, pero
no siempre es posible …. Nadie aquí es mago ni puede sacar recursos de
un sombrero'', dijo el general, al apuntar a la baja producción, la
falta de alimentos, y , el alto costo de la vida y
los bajos salarios (de unos $15 mensuales).

Aunque la economía –sostenida fuertemente por Hugo Chávez con 92,000
barriles diarios de petróleo y millonarios proyectos– creció en los
últimos años (7.5% en el 2007) urge que se refleje en la economía
doméstica, donde están las carencias cotidianas'', aseveró.

Para los cubanos hasta ahora casi nada cambió en 17 meses. ''Fidel y
Raúl. No es lo mismo pero es igual, uno está al frente y el otro sigue
ahí'', ilustró una universitaria de 26 años. La disidencia habla de
''inmovilismo'' y mira pesimista el 2008; mientras , que
rechazó la oferta de diálogo que por tercera vez formuló Raúl el pasado
26 de julio, aumentó su apoyo económico a la oposición, y pidió a los
cubanos no aceptar el cambio de “un por otro''.

Analistas señalan que Raúl ha flexibilizado la estricta centralización
económica que implantó Fidel en el 2005, pero muy tímidamente, y creen
que mientras viva el máximo líder nada cambiará realmente en Cuba, pues
éste ejercerá “poder de veto''.

Lo haría públicamente, según algunos, con los artículos de prensa que
comenzó a publicar el 29 de marzo pasado. Otros no descartan que el
impredecible ''Comandante en Jefe'', a quien Washington pronosticó la
muerte en el 2007, vuelva a la silla presidencial, con todo y uniforme
verde olivo.

Cubanos esperan noticias de familiares perdidos en el mar

Cubanos esperan noticias de familiares perdidos en el mar

31 de Diciembre de 2007, 06:48pm ET

HIALEAH, Florida, EE.UU. (AP) – Luis Bazán esperaba que este año
celebraría el Año Nuevo con su esposa y sus hijos pequeños en Estados

Bazán salió de Cuba hacia hace casi dos años en una
fabricada a mano. El 24 de noviembre, su familia y otras 40 personas,
entre ellos una docena de niños pequeños, abordaron una veloz
embarcación pesquera para efectuar el mismo trayecto.

Bazán habló con su esposa por un teléfono prestado poco después
de que iniciaron el peligroso viaje a través del Estrecho de la Florida.
Fue la última vez que supo de ella.

"Mi última gota de esperanza es que la embarcación haya terminado en
algún lugar en las Bahamas y que no han podido llamar", dijo Bazán
recientemente en su apartamento en la ciudad industrial de Hialeah, de
una sola recámara, mientras acariciaba fotografías de sus hijos Yasel,
de ocho años, y Yarlon, de dos.

Lo más probable es que la esposa de Bazán y sus hijos corrieron la misma
suerte que otros miles de migrantes cubanos que han fallecido en el mar
intentando llegar a Estados Unidos desde que el cubano Fidel
Castro tomó el poder en 1959.

Los familiares han denunciado que aproximadamente 70 migrantes que
viajaban en tres embarcaciones han muerto o se han perdido en el
Estrecho de la Florida sólo en los dos últimos meses, de acuerdo con la
Guardia Costera de Estados Unidos.

"En los últimos meses y días, hemos presenciado una alarmante pérdida de
vidas", indicó el vocero de la Guardia Costera, Chris O'Neil.

Días antes de la Navidad, otra embarcación de alta velocidad que
transportaba a 25 personas zozobró unos cuantos kilómetros frente a la
costa norte de Cuba. El gobierno cubano informó que murieron dos
personas, pero los familiares en Estados Unidos dijeron a los medios de
prensa que la cifra de muertos fue mayor y culpaban a las autoridades

O'Neil señaló que las investigaciones han avanzado poco porque los
familiares estadounidenses no han querido hablar con ellos.

El sábado, la Guardia Costera suspendió una búsqueda de 48 horas por
otra embarcación que llevaría al menos tres migrantes a bordo.

Las autoridades estadounidenses han relacionado el incremento en el
número de víctimas con el aumento de operaciones de contrabando con
cubanos que buscan abandonar la isla.

Google Adsense
January 2008
« Dec   Feb »
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  
Google Adsense