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Monday, October 20, 2014

Getting out of Cuba gave us a future

Getting out of Cuba gave us a future
BY LEIMYS RAMIREZSPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
10/20/2014 10:53 AM 10/20/2014 10:53 AM

Hands shaking…holding back tears…acting as if it weren't breaking me
apart… I said good-bye with tears falling down my cheeks and walked
through the doors, not looking back.

They were the doors that would forever separate me from my family. The
doors that made it impossible for my grandparents to see me grow up and
graduate with honors from high school. The doors that took me away from
my three closest cousins, Javier, Joan and Yoandi.

While I was waiting for my flight with my parents and sister Leirys, my
mind drifted and I began to wonder why my mother Mirian and father Erick
had decided to leave everything behind to start all over in a new
country. I could not comprehend why they did not stay with the rest of
our family.

The more I thought about it, the less it all made any sense and the more
aggravated I became with Mirian and Erick. My parents had never told me
the reasons behind moving. What 9-year-old child could ever understand
that there was no hope for anyone in their country? How could my parents
explain to me that they were leaving because it was the best decision
for everyone?

"Mami, why must we leave?"

"Sara, please, try to understand. We are only doing this so that you and
your sister can have a better future."

"But why? I was fine here with everyone."

"Trust your parents, Sara. One day you will understand."

"No, I will never understand."

I left Cuba in November 2003 after my family won the visa lottery — the
random selection of legal U.S. entry visas granted to Cubans on the
island each year.

In Miami, one of our father's cousins, Nico, waited for us at the
airport. Nico welcomed my family into his humble home. He gave us
shelter, food, and transportation for three months. My father was very
independent and did not like taking advantage of anyone so he decided
that it was time to move out after three months.

During this time, I struggled because I couldn't adjust to all the new
changes. I had lived all my life in a place where everyone was family,
in the sense that they all helped each other.

My mom enrolled me in elementary school as soon as she could to help me
make new friends. Unfortunately, this did the very opposite. I began
with a teacher who knew not even a single word in Spanish. The teacher
would ask the other students to translate for me but they were cruel and
would tell the teacher horrible things about me. They would also make
fun of her for not knowing the language. I isolated myself little by
little in school.

"Mami?"

"Si, mi niña…"

"I don't want to go back to school. No one likes me and they are always
making fun of me."

"That can't be true, sweetheart, they like you. It's just that they have
a different way of showing it."

The years passed by, and I was now in eighth grade. I was able to
understand why my parents made the decision they did and why they
sacrificed their lives for my sister and me. I saw that we both had
futures in the land of opportunities, while our cousins and friends were
unable to better themselves.

Back in our country, the situation had worsened. The majority of the
teenagers were dropping out of school to find a job and help at home. I
couldn't help but think that would have been our case if our family had
stayed. I couldn't believe that my cousins would never have the
opportunity to attend college.

Although I was very proud of my heritage, I was ashamed to talk about
how Fidel Castro left families to die of hunger; how he took their
belongings, ripped their freedom from their hands, and separated
families forever. I was torn between the culture I once left behind and
the new one she was part of. I was growing up with two cultures.

It was difficult for me to adopt the ways and beliefs of the United
States because I felt I was betraying my family in Cuba. Visiting my
country after nine years confused me more. It was as if I were being
pulled by opposite sides.

When I was a baby, I was always with someone related to me, and now I
couldn't accept the fact that people in the United States did not see
each other as often. I never considered myself American because I was
not born in the United States. Whenever I was asked where I was from my
answer was always the same, Cuba.

But this changed after my first visit back. I've come to realize I'm
part of the American culture and the Cuban culture because I've been
raised by both. Ever after, when I'm asked where I was from, I say Cuba
and the United States.

After living with the separation from my family, I wanted everyone to
move to the United States. I embarked on a long journey that consisted
of raising funds in order to claim my close family members — my
grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins.

I wanted to give them the opportunity to have the "American Dream," as
my parents had given me when I was a child. I believed my cousins had
the right to receive an education and aspire to be someone in the
future, something they couldn't even think about back in Cuba.

Source: Getting out of Cuba gave us a future | The Miami Herald -
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/special-reports/history-miami/article3082550.html

Crisis Among Cuban Dissidents?

Crisis Among Cuban Dissidents? / Ivan Garcia
Posted on October 19, 2014

The egos and grandstanding are projecting an uncertain outlook within
the peaceful opposition in Cuba. It's like a symphony orchestra without
a conductor, where musicians play their own tunes.

It's not for lack of political programs that Cuban activists cede space.
They are overflowing with ideas, projects and platforms aimed at
democratic change. Some are more consistent than others.

And although all platforms and political parties are entitled to have
their doctrines and programs, the reality in Cuba has demonstrated the
ineffectiveness of dissident theses.

Born deformed as a matter of genesis. They have no popular support.
There are ever fewer reports about them in the Florida media, the
Spanish press and the BBC.

Indeed, to be an opponent on the island is an act of unquestionable
value. Hanging in the air of the Republic is a dark law that sanctions
with up to twenty years behind bars those who oppose the regime or write
without permission.

But the repression, fierce or subtle, the lack of public space, has
transformed the dissidents into a group of coffee klatchers, without
support in their neighborhoods.

The evidence of their incompetence is that they're out of sync with the
average Cuban. Never before in the 55 years of the Castro brothers'
government, has the percentage the citizenry who disapprove been higher.

Any survey or conversation with people on the street serves to confirm
it. But political proselytizing has failed to organize that anger.

Their interests are different although they sound analogous. Carlos, a
carpenter, also wants democracy. He feels that the military autocracy
has hijacked the future of his family with unfulfilled promises. Be he
has no confidence in the discourse and narrative of the Cuban opposition.

In the old taxis in Havana, in the lines for bureaucratic paperwork, or
at a baseball stadium, people talk to you without hesitation about a
radical change to improve the economy and the precarious quality of life.

Some have read or heard about an opposition paper. But it does not
excite them. They see it as distant as a government minister. Although
the dissidents are neighbors on their same block, they have done little
for his district or municipality.

They are disconnected, like a cosmonaut from the Earth. The particular
world of dissent is to generate news, report meetings, make suggestions
or report police abuse, but they lack a basic foundation to become
legitimate actors for the future that is upon us.

The fate of the Island will be decided in the next five years. Perhaps
earlier. The great majority of those in European Union, the United
States and Latin America also want a democratic Cuba.

But the opposition's raw material to manage the future is tenuous. So
the strategy of the international community is to agree to a bizarre
transition from totalitarianism to authoritarianism with Castro
supporters. According to their perception, it is the least bad way.

On issues ranging from the repression to the shamelessness, the
opposition has degenerated into a "swallow" dissent who at the first
change ask for political asylum, preferably in the United States.

Those who remain are tough, but have adapted to the rules dictated by
the regime.

There is an unwritten law of what can be done within the magical realism
of autocracy.

The elderly rulers have gone from an anachronistic and authoritarian
totalitarian system to another with a veneer of modernity and more
flexible laws.

In 2014 you won't be sent to prison for writing articles critical of the
government. The most that will happen is a short detention in a police
dungeon, an act of repudiation, or screams on the public street from an
enraged assassin.

Depending on the circumstances, the dissidence is allowed to hold
discussions, forums and debates in private homes. For two years, just
for dissenting, Sonia Garro and her husband Ramón Alejandro Munoz, both
black, have been held in jail. Another dozen activists are also
prisoners or awaiting sentencing.

But the playing field is much wider today than before 2003. Since
February 2013, most opponents and independent journalists are allowed to
travel abroad.

A golden opportunity for more effective political lobbying. And they are
not taking advantage of it. Everything stays in sterile encounters.
Probably the most consistent program is led by Antonio G. Rodiles with
his Citizen Demand For Another Cuba.

(http://www.porotracuba.org/demanda-citizen-by-another-Cuba-2/).

It is reasonable, because it has a grip on reality and not in the
political science fiction of other groups with their outlandish appeals.
Rodiles uses a primary logic.

If we want Cuba to change, the government must ratify the United
Nations' international covenants signed in 2008. This is the gateway to
legalizing a future civil society where, in addition to freedoms and
human rights, there is political pluralism.

All opponents should support Rodiles and the Campaign for Another Cuba.
But egos and grandstanding prevails. Each dissident leader is surrounded
by a cloud of minions who defend their project as if it were an island
under siege.

In turn, they attack and discredit contrary proposals. The worst of
these brawls is that they don't generate any credible proposals. Just
bluster and platitudes. And behind them are the special services with
their strategy of division.

Unfortunately, the Lades in White, an organization whose street marches
in 2010 forced the government to release the 75 dissidents imprisoned in
the 2003 Black Spring, has been split by intrigues and intemperate
personalities.

This scrapping also extends to other dissident groups. More than an
internal crisis or one of leadership, the Cuban opposition suffers from
paralysis and the inability to join with the citizens.

When I read that some opposition groups claim to have the support of
thousands of followers, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. An event
that triggers a massive protest needs capable leaders Any event that
triggers a massive protest only need capable leaders. And that is what
we're lacking.

Iván García

Photo: Antonio G. Rodiles, Coyula Regina and Ivan Garcia in a panel of
independent journalism in Cuba organized by Estado de SATS in Havana on
September 4, 2014.

9 October 2014

Source: Crisis Among Cuban Dissidents? / Ivan Garcia | Translating Cuba
- http://translatingcuba.com/crisis-among-cuban-dissidents-ivan-garcia/

Misguided Opinions

Misguided Opinions / Fernando Damaso
Posted on October 20, 2014

It comes to my attention that in recent months the World Bank has
reported that, according to their evaluation, Cuba has one of the best
public education systems in the world, with acceptable teacher pay, and
the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has said something
similar about the public health system.

What's more, CNN has placed Cuba among the ten countries with the
highest level of public hygiene. With the majority of my years having
been lived in Cuba, and having suffered and continuing to suffer from
one system or another, it seems to me like a bad joke.

It seems that those who make these assessments use official data from
the Cuban authorities to prepare their analysis and come to their
conclusions, without taking the trouble to investigate and conform their
veracity.

If they took a tour — without official authorization nor government
handlers — of our schools, polyclinics and hospitals (and not of the
facilities prepared for visitors), they would see that the reality is
very different from the statistical data.

They would find deteriorated schools, without adequate conditions to
support the teaching process, hot, dark, unhygienic and with many
"improvised" teachers, and the polyclinics and hospitals are in a
deplorable state, lacking in hygiene, the technical means and equipment
to care for patients, lacking in medicines, and in the case of those
admitted, with terrible food, as well as medical attention offered
primarily by students or recent graduates, as the better prepared are
pressed into service in other counties, for which the State receives
important economic and political earnings.

Propaganda toward the outside is one thing and the internal reality is
another.

Since I know that these assessments do not reflect the truth, I also
question that released about other countries, both for and against,
because I think they use the same bureaucratic method.

The terrible thing is that this serves, wittingly or otherwise, to
provide a misleading picture of two systems that Cubans have to endure
daily. It's like the story of the torturer asking the tortured not to
scream because he was enjoying one of the greatest torture in the world.

13 October 2014

Source: Misguided Opinions / Fernando Damaso | Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/misguided-opinions-fernando-damaso/

Cuba gets fishery management advice in Provincetown

Cuba gets fishery management advice in Provincetown
By Doug Fraser
dfraser@capecodonline.com
October 20, 2014

PROVINCETOWN — It might seem odd: Cuban fisheries managers and
scientists seated around a table in this fabled but faded Cape Cod
fishing port, sharing their stories of managing crocodiles, manatees and
reef fish while trying to absorb the successes and failures of the New
England fisheries.

But, as Elisa Garcia, Cuba's director of fishing regulations and science
put it, there is universality to the problems nations encounter in
managing fish stocks.

"We all gain from the exchange and the experience of my colleagues from
the United States," Garcia said through a translator during a break in a
conference last week featuring fisheries experts from Cuba, the United
States and Mexico, at the Center for Coastal Studies. "We are talking
about different places and species but the problems are similar," she added.

The Environmental Defense Fund, a national and international
environmental advocacy organization, sponsored the Provincetown
conference as one of five meetings with international fishery experts
they hold each year that are intended to address issues in Cuban
fisheries management, where the EDF has been working for almost 15
years. The United States, Mexico and Cuba have been working together,
both through official and unofficial channels, on Gulf of Mexico
fisheries issues and sustainable fishing practices.

EDF staffers believe the New England experience, both positive and
negative, could be valuable for the Cubans. As lifting the 54-year-old
U.S. embargo of Cuba is hotly debated, and some say imminent,
Provincetown is an example of how the pressure from tourism and
development can affect fishing's shoreside facilities such as piers,
supply shops and processing plants.

"We learn from each country, even if the fishery is different," said
Stuart Fulton, an oceanographer from Great Britain, working on marine
conservation with a Mexican environmental organization.

Most of the rest of the Caribbean islands' ecosystems have been
devastated by development, but the U.S. embargo has helped to insulate
Cuba, the region's largest island, said Les Kaufman, a Boston University
biology professor and specialist in marine biodiversity.

"Cuba is the jewel of the Caribbean," he said.

Still, the participants at the Provincetown conference were well aware
that they only have a finite period to protect what they have before it
is sorely tested when the embargo is eventually lifted, Kaufman said.
"As soon as the embargo is lifted, this wonderful opportunity to get it
right will be rolled over like a steamroller."

While Kaufman described some Cuban fishery management as
forward-thinking, such as linking land conservation with marine
protected areas, other experts said sustainability is still an issue.

"They are playing catch-up in terms of fishery management," said Daniel
Whittle, EDF's director of their Cuban program.

The Cuban lobster fishery is the major revenue producer, similar to New
England where lobster vies with scallops here for the No. 1 spot. But,
unlike in New England, home to the longest continuously running survey
of fish species in the world, Cuba knows very little about its other
fish populations, Whittle said.

Garcia said her contingent was primarily interested in learning how to
manage their extensive network of marine protected areas. While on paper
they protect 25 percent of their marine waters — 17 percent are
completely protected from fishing and other activities — Cuba has
problems enforcing those bans, Whittle said.

And, Cuban officials don't know if they are protecting the right areas,
although EDF is trying to help them to use information from fishermen on
catches and do some catch sampling to help identify how vulnerable each
species is and where it is being caught.

Meanwhile, New England's closed areas are, in part, protected by
requiring nearly all fishing vessels to have satellite tracking devices
on board. With 8,000 private fishing craft and 749 in fleets affiliated
with the government, the Cubans are interested in protections that come
from fishermen themselves. They heard how New England developed its
fishing cooperative system in 2010, when fishermen formed groups that
then developed a plan to sustainably manage the amount of quota
allocated to each membership.

Catherine O'Keefe, a researcher with the University of Massachusetts
School of Marine Science and Technology, demonstrated how fishermen and
other stakeholders could contribute to managing a fishery by using
available real-time data such as water temperature, or catch reports, to
avoid hot spots with negative consequences to the environment or a
particularly depleted species.

"It can be no-tech," O'Keefe told the conference. "The idea is
communicating information. Boat-to-boat. Captain-to-captain."

Follow Doug Fraser on Twitter: @dougfrasercct.

Source: Cuba gets fishery management advice in Provincetown |
CapeCodOnline.com -
http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20141020/NEWS/410190324

Saturday, October 18, 2014

US-Cuba Relations and the Internal Blockade

US-Cuba Relations and the Internal Blockade
October 18, 2014
The fundamental question that those of us interested in the wellbeing of
the Cuban people should ask ourselves is: how will such measures affect
Cuba's internal blockade.
Pedro Campos

HAVANA TIMES — A New York Times editorial published on October 12 urges
President Obama to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba –
something that is beyond the scope of the embargo provisions and which
falls within his presidential prerogatives – with a view to improving
international relations with Latin America and setting in motion new
forms of interaction with the island and its internal situation.

The US embargo (which some call a blockade) has thus become the center
of all debates about Cuba's problems once again, when many of us know
that the main blockade, the one we need to lift once and for all so that
the Cuban people and economy will be able to improve their lot, is the
internal blockade, the one imposed by the Party-State on its citizens
and which thwarts the development of their economic, political and
social initiatives.

The fundamental question that those of us interested in the wellbeing of
the Cuban people should ask ourselves is: how will such measures affect
this internal blockade which is ultimately what keeps Cuba in chains
(not the other, the external one, something which those who insist in
maintaining the trade embargo agree on)?

Raul Castro's reform process does not suffice to eliminate the internal
blockade we Cubans are subjected to. Its extension and progress, without
current obstacles, could however gradually lead to its dismantling and
ultimate elimination. Its stagnation and ultimate neutralization by
conservative forces within the Castro government would indeed be the
worst thing that could happen to Cuban society today.

US policy does not determine but does have an impact on the correlation
between the forces at play within the governing elite and, generally
speaking, within the Party-government and Cuban society as a whole, as
well as among those who support the deepening and broadening (to varying
degrees) of the so-called "updating of Cuba's economic and social model"
and those who merely aspire to maintain only the semblance of this
process to keep the old, hyper-centralized system in place.

Between the Two Castros

It is no secret that there exists a kind of "friendly" arm-wrestle – a
permanent conflict arising from disagreements between Cuba's historical
leader, Fidel, and his brother, the army general Raul – as to the form
and content Cuba's domestic and foreign policy and the structure of the
country's economy.

It is easy to demonstrate that the first speeches pronounced by Raul
Castro after he took office and the spirit of renewal of the "reform
process" have not been adequately embodied by the application and the
results of the policies implemented.

The most visible cause of this is Fidel Castro's gradual recovery and
his attempts at taking back the limelight.

The evidence for this are his "reflections", his continuous public and
media appearances, where he is seen receiving foreign personalities, and
in the systematic praise for his thoughts and figure in the
Party-controlled press – so frequent that they outnumber Raul's public
appearances and speeches, even after Fidel "retired and asked not to be
called 'Commander in Chief' any longer."

Are we expected to forget Raul Castro's "glass of milk" speech and the
suppression of his remarks by Granma, as well as everything that entailed?

Raul may have replaced the members of Fidel's administration, but the
traditional Fidelistas still remain within the Party leadership,
particularly in the Party Secretariat, headed by Machado Ventura, the
man in charge of all the Party's concrete activities, the appointment
and dismissal of cadres, propaganda and others.

This is the main Party structure responsible for keeping the positions
of the "historical leader" alive. The second-in-command within the
government, Diaz Canel, is not the second-in-command within the Party,
Machado is.

The authority of these Party structures, at the top of the ladder, next
to Fidel, but beneath Raul, was evident in the debates during the 6th
Party Congress, which were manipulated by Party bureaucrats against
calls for a free and democratic debate at the base level.

The general, Fidel's brother, who knows Fidel better than anyone and was
appointed by him, has had to govern in his shadow, with that particular
handicap, caught between advancing his "reforms" and avoiding a
confrontation with the leader – hence his increasing moderation and
fewer and fewer public appearances.

Raul has been clear in his intentions of a rapprochement with the United
States, while his brother, now recovering, does not miss an opportunity
to try and distance himself from them as much as possible.

This, which could also be interpreted as the "good cop, bad cop"
routine, could have served to achieve such a rapprochement if only it
had been adequately encouraged, if Washington had been more consistent
in its first appraisal of what Raul Castro's ascent to power meant.

It is therefore worthwhile to recall that, at the time, the United
States demonstrated much interest and willingness to work with him and
his military officers, and rumors were even leaked to the effect that
Washington was convinced the tough hand of the military and their
"reforms" would prevent future migratory avalanches, the main concern
weighing on US-Cuba relations.

However, the United States did not take any significant steps to help
the Raul Castro government in its reform plans, steps that could have
strengthened the General's position in the Cuban government's internal
correlation of forces.

More effective support and the lifting of other important sanctions
stemming from the blockade-embargo could have tilted the internal
balance of power in favor of Raul's reformers and allowed them to
develop their "updating process" better – and, eventually, other
democratic "reforms" that could have entailed deeper changes in the
mid-term.

It's possible the United States considered that the transfer of power
was merely nominal and that "only the television had been handed over,
without the remote control."

Today, we bear witness to how Cuba's critical economic situation, caused
by the limitations of the "reform process" and its inability to overcome
the stagnation produced by the near-absolutist model that was in place
for nearly fifty years, is prompting a mass exodus of Cubans towards the
United States through all imaginable routes.

The proposals now advanced by the New York Times may be coming a little
too late, but, as they say, "better late than never."

Should they yield results, they would have the immediate effect of
easing tensions between the two governments and, without a doubt, many
of those desperate to leave for the United States might consider that it
is more advisable to stay a little longer, to see the concrete results
of this rapprochement.

At the same time, it would suggest that the Obama administration is not
chiefly responsible for maintaining the blockade-embargo, but that
Congress is. It could clear the way towards the elimination of the
embargo, inasmuch as it would entail previously removing Cuba from the
list of countries that sponsor terrorism and make other positive
relations between the two countries possible.

Such developments could serve to appease those who blame all of our
misfortunes on imperialist aggression, which is one of the fundamental
pretexts with which the economic disasters of the State-command economy,
the repression of the opposition, the absence of democracy and the lack
of civil and political liberties and rights are justified.

Most importantly, it would imply a measure of US support for Raul
Castro's updating process. The "reformist" current could be thus
revitalized and the complicated balance of forces within the Cuban
government could be tilted in its favor. Raul, in turn, would be unable
to ignore such US gestures and would be forced to act accordingly. One
development would prompt others.

The issue can be approached from many other perspectives. As far as
Cuba's internal situation is concerned, these are the ones I consider
most important.
—–
pedrocampos313@yahoo.es

Source: US-Cuba Relations and the Internal Blockade - Havana Times.org -
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=106782

What Happens If Ebola Comes To Cuba?

What Happens If Ebola Comes To Cuba? / Jeovany Jimenez Vega
Posted on October 17, 2014
By Jeovany Jimenez Vega

The Ebola outbreak on the world epidemiological scene will obviously
involve a huge challenge for every country that is reached by the
current epidemic, already registered as the greatest in history and that
in recent days has reached about 9000 confirmed cases — although experts
say that figure is an undercount. The World Health Organization (WHO)
recently reported that the epidemic is not being confronted will all the
political rigor that the moment demands on the part of the international
community and also warned that if the situation is not brought under
control in time, by 2015 it predicts an incidence of about a million and
a half cases.

It is easy to conclude that arriving at this state of things the danger
would only grow exponentially. We are confronting an extremely
contagious illness of non-vectoral transmission, that can be spread
person to person through the most subtle contact with any bodily fluid
of an infected person — and that may be transmitted sexually to boot,
given that the virus is isolated in semen until 90 days after recovery.

Although a first clinical trial for a vaccination has just been
implemented, the reality is that for now the medical treatment protocols
are in their infancy in the face of a disease that in previous outbreaks
has reached a lethality of between 90% and 100% of cases and in the face
of which one can only commit to treatments of its severe complications
and to practice the usual measures for life support.

Today is raised before man a threat by one of the bad boys of virology,
which demands the implementation of the most extreme biological
containment measures, as well as the use of the most specialized and
scrupulously trained personnel for its handling.

Such a scene places before us the most elemental question: what if Ebola
breaks out in Cuba? This is not negligible, and it stopped being a
remote possibility after the departure of a detachment of hundreds of
Cuban professionals destined for the African countries flogged by the
epidemic. Let's remember the possibility that it was that route used by
cholera to reappear in our country, imported from Haiti after an absence
of 120 years, and not to mention the everlasting dengue fever.

The eruption of this most dangerous illness in Cuba could simply take on
shades of tragedy. Beyond how dissipated may become the customs of the
inhabitants of the alligator, I am inclined to fear by the experience of
one who has seen too often the systematic use of recyclable material,
the usual practice in Cuba, even when long ago the world definitively
committed to the exclusive use of disposable material: the idea of
treatment centers for these patients winding up recycling suits, gloves
or other materials because it occurs to some pig-headed guy from the
"higher level" that this would "guarantee" safety under such
circumstances is terrifying.

In a country where too many times a doctor does not have in his office
something as basic as running water and soap in order to wash his hands,
it will be understood what the demand for costly minimal material
demanded for handling patients with Ebola would involve, and if besides
we take into account that the almost generality of our hospital
infrastructure is not designed or prepared objectively for the
containment of this kind of scourge, now we will be able to raise a
prayer to the Virgin to save us from the trance.

On the other hand, let's not forget how reticent the Cuban authorities
have shown themselves to be about publicly reporting on the incidence of
epidemics when one considers that this might risk the affluence of
tourists or the successful conclusion of some relevant international
event — the Cuban dengue fever mega-epidemic of 2006 is still an
excellent example in that regard.

With all these antecedents at hand, chills are felt before the
possibility here considered and the questions that remain unanswered.
Will the Cuban Public Health System be prepared to control the Ebola
outbreak with the required speed? Will we Cuban professionals have the
training, methodology and even the discipline necessary for adequately
confronting a contingency of this caliber — and that quite few seem to
have faced before? When the moment arrives, will our government be
ready to report the truth bluntly to the people and to the world? Will
this "infallible" government that has exported dozens of medical
missions around the world have the humility to recognize its inability
to control it and to seek help?

Since the strategy followed until now by WHO at an international level
may be debatable — which has accepted being faced with the most serious
epidemiological problem since the appearance of AIDS — in regard to the
transfer of the foreign sick in order to receive treatment in their
respective countries. Obviously this increases considerably the
possibility of transcontinental spread of the virus.

Instead, it would be much more recommended and safe to create adequate
conditions in the country where each case is confirmed through a
centralized and functional network of field installations correctly
equipped and with the full extent of security that is presupposed, where
each patient is diagnosed, isolated and treated on site. For example,
it would be worthwhile to consider, in order to implement this kind of
possibility, the immediate conversion of uninhabited coastal African
islands under the supervision of the experts of WHO and similar
organizations such as Doctors Without Borders.

Means analogous to these, and apart from any legal or political
assessment, would be more convenient and effective for the containment
of this epidemic. Even the UN — which came to air the topic at the
Security Council — could deliver strong resolutions that support and
regulate these variants, and it would all be justified by the gravity of
a moment that is not made for warm cloths. It requires taking the
strongest measures everywhere the illness is found, if with these
measure rapid control of the situation is achieved — including the
extreme recourse of military quarantine where it comes to be evidently
applicable and necessary.

Admittedly, this proposal may be offered to varied readers, but in
operative, practical terms it may constitute the only option that
guarantees concrete solutions that stop the advance of this fearful
scourge. It may be now or never: we live at a critical time that
demands critical measures. What is not rushed today for lack of
political will, governmental indolence or timidity by world
institutions, undoubtedly will tomorrow charge a much more dramatic and
global human and economic cost.

Source: What Happens If Ebola Comes To Cuba? / Jeovany Jimenez Vega |
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/what-happens-if-ebola-comes-to-cuba-jeovany-jimenez-vega/

The Cuban Journalist Miriam Leiva Writes About Relations With the U.S.

From Havana, a Prominent Voice for Change
The Cuban Journalist Miriam Leiva Writes About Relations With the U.S.
OCT. 17, 2014

To the Editor:

Re "The Moment to Restore Ties to Cuba" (editorial, Oct. 12) and "Still
Pondering U.S.-Cuba Relations, Fidel Castro Responds" (Editorial
Observer, by Ernesto Londoño, Oct. 15):

Latin America and the Caribbean require a closer involvement of the
United States, and Cuba has been an obstacle in recent years, when the
leaders of the region promote its inclusion in their organizations and
meetings, such as the Summit of the Americas to be held in Panama in 2015.

President Obama must be there to express the ideals of democracy and
human rights, contribute to solving the most urgent problems and
strengthen ties with neighbors. Russia, China and others are advancing
in Latin America, seeking to displace the United States.

Since the Obama administration started the people-to-people policy in
2009, encouraging exchanges between Americans and Cubans, a lot has
changed. Remittances from relatives and friends help thousands of Cubans
to survive and even open small businesses.

More important, Cubans are feeling empowered by exchanges of views with
Cuban-Americans coming to visit and Americans on cultural, academic,
scientific, religious, sport and trade trips. Cubans who travel to the
United States discover the opportunities offered by democracy and work.

Further steps by President Obama would help the Cuban people, civil
society and dissidents. It is not just a matter of discussing whether to
have an embargo, although the embargo must be lifted, but of making the
appropriate decisions at the right time. The moment is ripe.

Fidel Castro, in citing the New York Times editorial, is delighted to be
back in the headlines and wants the credit in case of a turn in
Cuban-American relations.

MIRIAM LEIVA
Havana, Oct. 16, 2014


The writer, an independent journalist, was a co-founder of Ladies in
White, an opposition group.

Source: The Cuban Journalist Miriam Leiva Writes About Relations With
the U.S. - NYTimes.com -
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/18/opinion/the-cuban-journalist-miriam-leiva-writes-about-relations-with-the-us.html?_r=0

Head of Cuba's Ebola Effort Expects More Aid Soon

Head of Cuba's Ebola Effort Expects More Aid Soon
HAVANA — Oct 17, 2014, 9:19 PM ET
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN Associated Press

A leftist Latin American summit next week should generate more aid to
fight Ebola, including additional Cuban doctors and support staff from
other nations, the head of Cuba's effort to slow the disease said Friday.

Jorge Perez, the head of Cuba's top tropical medicine institute, said he
expects the meeting of the socialist ALBA bloc hosted by Cuba and
Venezuela in Havana on Monday to result in pledges of financial and
human resources that can be sent to African nations trying to contain
the Ebola outbreak.

Cuba has sent 165 doctors to Sierra Leone and plans to send 296 more to
Liberia and Guinea, the largest commitment of medical personnel so far.
Perez said Cuba is ready to send more doctors as long as there is enough
funding and infrastructure to support them.

"What do I expect as a scientist from the summit? That the countries in
attendance join the international effort against Ebola, for the
protection not just of their countries but also to see how they can help
those countries experiencing such difficult situations," he said.

"There are countries that have resources and can send money, but there
are also those who can send human resources. It's not just doctors. We
also need nurses, technicians."

He said he was certain that if there was money to fund the effort, Cuba
could send more doctors, but he also called on other countries to send
more of their own doctors and medical staff, and not just money and
equipment.

Perez said the Cuban doctors were receiving their ordinary salaries from
the communist government, while extra expenses such as the costs of
lodging and transportation in Africa were being borne by the World
Health Organization.

In Washington on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned
Cuba as one of the "nations large and small stepping up in impressive
ways to make a contribution on the front lines."

Perez said that despite the United States' chilly 55-year relationship
with Cuba's communist government, Kerry's words were "an important
gesture and I think that's important."

———————

Michael Weissenstein on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mweissenstein

Source: Head of Cuba's Ebola Effort Expects More Aid Soon - ABC News -
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/head-cubas-ebola-effort-expects-aid-26284142

An Update on the 'Reforms' in Cuba

October 18, 2014

An Update on the 'Reforms' in Cuba
By Silvio Canto, Jr.

We keep hearing about all of those reforms in Cuba. Even the NY Times
is now promoting an end to the embargo because of the reforms.

Here is the truth: reforms in Cuba are a farce!

Just ask Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart-Barroso. He is a pastor in Cuba
under siege from the Castro regime, as reported by Christian Solidarity
Worldwide:

Reverend Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, a prominent religious freedom
activist and church leader, was officially summoned to the State
Security Unit in Camajuani, Villa Clara on 8 October. He was threatened
with arrest if he did not appear. At the unit a Lieutenant Colonel read
out an Official Warning or "Acta de Advertencia", a document that can be
used as justification for future arrests and criminal charges. Two
witnesses, whom the pastor did not recognize, were present and offered
testimony of his "counter-revolutionary" links. This is the third time
that government agents have unsuccessfully attempted to pressure
Reverend Lleonart Barroso into signing an Acta de Advertencia.

According to Reverend Lleonart Barroso, who leads the Ebenezer Baptist
Church in the town of Taguayabon in Villa Clara Province, and who is a
member of the Western Baptist Convention, one of the largest registered
religious organisations on the island, the Lieutenant Colonel told him
verbally that the government was unhappy about the pastor's recent visit
to the eastern part of the country. The official added that if the
pastor did not change his behaviour soon, a criminal case would
"probably be filed."

The purpose of Reverend Lleonart Barroso's visit was to meet with church
leaders who had reported violations of religious freedom. Reverend
Lleonart Barroso met with Pastor Yiorvis Denis, the leader of a church
in Camaguey which has come under repeated threat of forced closure and
confiscation of property. He also met with Pastor Esmir Torreblanca, the
leader of a large church in Santiago that was razed by the government in
July.

Reverend Lleonart Barroso told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), "I
intend to continue on with my activities in the defence of religious
freedom in Cuba."

Let's say that Reverend Lleonart-Barroso did not get the memo about
greater tolerance or freedom in Cuba.

The New York Times' editorial board got the memo, but not Rev
Lleonart-Barroso.

For years, the church in Cuba has been targeted for two reasons:

1) the regime fears that pastors are talking about freedom and
commitment to a supreme being not named Castro.

2) More and more young people are going to churches.

As we've said before, there should be no talks or negotiations with the
Castro regime until:

1) Mr. Gross, a U.S. citizen, is released;

2) independent journalists and pastors are allowed to operate freely; and,

3) the opposition, and specially "Las damas en blanco," are not harassed
by government thugs. ("Las damas en blanco" are a group of ladies who
march every Sunday calling for the government to release their husbands,
sons, or brothers from prison.)

In the meantime, tell your pastor, priest, or rabbi about Rev.
Lleonart-Barroso. We should be praying for him and his wife, who is
being harassed constantly.

Source: Blog: An Update on the 'Reforms' in Cuba -
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/10/an_update_on_the_reforms_in_cuba.html

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ebola crisis - US says Cuban medical support 'welcome'

Ebola crisis: US says Cuban medical support 'welcome'
16 October 2014 Last updated at 10:44 GMT

The disease has killed about 4,500 people so far, mostly in Liberia,
Guinea and Sierra Leone

Cuba is a "welcome" addition to the fight against Ebola, a senior US
official has said.

A state department spokesman said the Cuban government was doing more
than many others to contain the disease. "We welcome their support," she
said.

The US has maintained an embargo on Cuba for more than five decades.

Last month, Havana announced it would send about 450 medical and support
staff to the region.

The BBC's Will Grant in Havana said that Cuba already had a tradition of
sending its doctors and nurses to Africa before the recent Ebola outbreak.

Cuban officials are hosting a regional summit on the virus next week
involving left-wing Latin American governments.

Health ministers from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador are
expected to attend to discuss how to bolster the region's response to
the Ebola crisis.

So far the outbreak has killed about 4,500 people, mostly in Liberia,
Guinea and Sierra Leone.

On Wednesday the head of a United Nations agency said a food crisis
could soon hit the affected West African states.

Kanayo Nwanze, president of the UN's International Fund for Agriculture,
said farmers in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia had abandoned their
crops because of fear of catching the disease.

The World Health Organization said on Thursday that a major Ebola
outbreak in the West was unlikely.

Source: BBC News - Ebola crisis: US says Cuban medical support 'welcome'
- http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29643303

Human Trafficking Between Cuba and the USA

Human Trafficking Between Cuba and the USA
October 16, 2014
Fernando Ravsberg*

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban émigré Mercedes Morera Roche pleaded guilty in the
United States of conducting illegal human trafficking operations between
2004 and 2011. During that time, she had taken in a part of the US $ 6.6
billion that these criminals move around the world (1).

Mercedes arranged safe passage through Central America and Mexico for
migrants, most of whom were Cubans arriving from Ecuador, the only
country in the region that does not require Cubans to have a visa. She
would provide them with instructions, fake identity documents, safe
houses and transportation.

Despite her guarantees, the Ecuador-US route is teeming with danger. In
El Salvador, the Mara Salvatrucha routinely kidnaps illegal immigrants
of any nationality. It is said they have carried out more than 22,000
kidnappings (2).

Cuban migrants have also met with very difficult situations in Mexico.
In 2008, armed groups hijacked a bus from the Chiapas Detention Center
and took with them the 33 illegal Cuban migrants on board.

In 2010, Mexican authorities rescued 6 illegal Cuban immigrants who had
been taken hostage by these groups, in Cancun. The previous year, 14
others had been mistreated and beaten in an abandoned house in this city.

The number of Cubans travelling by land grew quickly after the United
States approved its "dry foot – wet foot" policy, which establishes that
all Cubans captured on rafts in the high seas are to be repatriated by
the US Coast Guard.

The number of rafts intercepted by the Coast Guard is massive, such that
the only viable option left are speedboats from Miami. Over the past ten
years, nearly 90% of Cuban migrants have traveled by land. Last year,
some 22,000 entered the United States through the Mexican and Canadian
borders.

The trip costs US $10,000 per person, and the bulk of this traffic is
financed by Cuban Americans (3). They pay for their relatives to be able
to reach the border and avail themselves of the Cuban Adjustment Act,
which has guaranteed residency to any Cuban who sets foot on US soil
since 1966.

Double Standards

Cuba's migratory figures are the most publicized, but Cubans are not the
only ones who undertake these illegal journeys to the United States.
Mexicans cross the border in far larger numbers, and Dominicans set sail
to the US in their "yolas", and no one much cares how many of these
makeshift boats sink in the ocean every year.

In 2011, the number of Cuban-born US residents reached the figure of
1,090,563, while that for Mexican-born residents was 11,691,632 and
immigrants from El Salvador – a nation with half the island's population
– were reported at 1,245,458 (4).

Miami's anti-Castro media speak of 2 million Cuban émigrés, but they are
inflating the actual figure by adding all residents of "Cuban origin",
including the sons and grandchildren of immigrants, all of them born in
the United States.

Cuban immigrants have always been made a political issue, presented as
persecuted individuals who are fleeing communism and given the status of
refugees by the United States – despite the fact that 500,000 of these
alleged "exiles" visit Cuba every year without anything happening to them.

Washington deals with the issue of immigration with a double standard.
It applies contention policies on other countries, and even worked with
the Dominican government to launch a media campaign that included taped
interviews of people who had lost relatives at sea.

Mexico did the same thing, publishing a CD for local radio broadcasters
across the country titled Migracorridos. The songs in the CD describe
the dangers and risks faced by illegal Mexican immigrants in their
journey to the United States.

In Cuba's case, by contrast, it maintains an Adjustment Act that tempts
Cubans to take the risk. Most of the benefits this legislation affords
apply to those who do not have a visa to travel to the United States,
that is to say, those who reach US borders illegally.

Cuba's laxer migratory laws now allow citizens to travel freely,
multiplying their chances to emigrate, but the only countries that open
their doors to them are Ecuador and the United States. The former has
become a kind of trampoline for reaching the latter.

With this state of affairs, it isn't strange that the number of people
risking their lives is growing and that more and more people are paying
traffickers like Mercedes Morera, in the hopes of one day enjoying the
benefits of living in a developed country.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Human Rights Committee, "Special Report on the Kidnapping of Migrants in
Mexico."
"High-Speed Escape: Greater Optimism at Home Has Not Stopped the Exodus
to the United States", The Economist.
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inmigraci%C3%B3n_en_los_Estados_Unidos

Source: Human Trafficking Between Cuba and the USA - Havana Times.org -
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=106758

‘Cuba Possible’ Hopes to Open Dialogue Between State, Dissidents

'Cuba Possible' Hopes to Open Dialogue Between State, Dissidents
By Associated Press | October 16, 2014 Last Updated: October 16, 2014
12:51 pm

HAVANA—The former editors of one of Cuba's few non-government controlled
media outlets have quietly restarted efforts to spur debate about the
nation's future, launching a series of public forums and plans for a new
journal addressing the island's most urgent problems.

The project, known as "Cuba Posible," joins a handful of others in the
small space between the uncritical state-run media and fiercely partisan
dissident websites that have little reach inside Cuba.

Lawyer Roberto Veiga and journalist Lenier Gonzalez gained renown among
Cuban intellectuals by transforming the Catholic church magazine Espacio
Laical into a rare and influential forum for sociopolitical debate
before the two men left last year amid an apparent church backlash over
the publication's aggressive coverage of current affairs.

The two men and their small circle of close collaborators say they are
confident the project can provide a space for dialogue between
government supporters and critics without running afoul of the island's
communist leaders.

"We hope that we'll be heard and paid attention to in the world of
politics," said sociologist and project backer Aurelio Alonso. "We hope
that what's said won't remain in a void, but will affect institutions
and political players."

Funded by Norway's University of Oslo, Cuba Posible is based out of the
Christian Center for Reflexion and Dialogue, an ecumenical church group
focused on community projects that occasionally publishes newsletters
and magazines from Cardenas, a sleepy mid-sized city about 95 miles (155
kilometers) east of Havana. Basing the new group there means it can use
the center's existing government permits rather than seek permission for
a new independent publication.

"There have always been people inside the government who don't like what
we do and people who care about what we do," Veiga told The Associated
Press this week. "There are a variety of opinions but there's no policy
aimed at disrupting or battling us."

The first public forum attracted dozens of academics and intellectuals
and gave a hint of the group's approach. Its central theme, "Cuba:
Sovereignty and the Future," was uncontroversial enough to avoid the
risk of official ire. Participants avoided direct criticism of President
Raul Castro or the island's single-party system in place since the 1959
revolution. But some speakers, particularly those who rose from the
audience to question speakers on panels, were unsparing in their
evaluations of Cuba's poor performance in a variety of sectors ranging
from expanding the economy to updating educational curricula.

Gonzalez said the project's founders were fierce defenders of Cuban
sovereignty and wanted to improve the current system rather than see it
overturned in a return to its pre-revolutionary past.

"We don't think that's a possibility for Cuba and we don't want that,"
he said. "We're working to pose important questions, to maintain the
ideal that a better country is possible, and it's possible to achieve
that among Cubans who think differently but have common values."

Prominent Cuban exile businessman Carlos Saladriegas, who participated
in forums organized by Espacio Laical, said he believed that Cuba
Posible could gain more influence than the two men's former publication.

"For the moment their task is putting on the table ideas that require
critical debate. Cuba has a lot of things to rethink," Saladriegas said.
"If they succeed in this process I think they're going to greatly
contribute to this dialogue between Cubans."

Gonzalez, 33, and Veiga, 49, say they plan to publish their first
journal by year's end.

Speaking after the forum, Veiga cited the country's slow progress toward
the abolition of a special currency for tourists as an example of the
type of problem that Cuba Posible is designed to address. The double
currency allows Cuba to theoretically split the country between a realm
of highly subsidized prices in Cuban pesos and a tourist economy where
prices more closely resemble those of U.S. or European cities. But the
system has contributed to the riseof a new class of privileged Cubans
with access to convertible pesos. And it has led to economic distortions
like a special exchange rate for state enterprises that effectively
subsidizes them with cheap convertible pesos.

Cuba can't get rid of the convertible peso and related subsidies without
increasing productivity, can't increase productivity without foreign
investment and can't attract sufficient foreign investment without
reforming its monetary system, Veiga observed.

"We're trapped in a vicious cycle that we have to get out of," he said.

Of his and Gonzalez's efforts to spur dialogue in a nation not
accustomed to it, he added: "We've strived from the beginning to have
something that appeared impossible, and today is more possible, which is
that people who think differently can share the same space and even work
together."

Source: 'Cuba Possible' Hopes to Open Dialogue Between State, Dissidents
-
http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1023136-cuba-possible-hopes-to-open-dialogue-between-state-dissidents/

Candidate to lead OAS says Cuba shouldn't be excluded from regional summit

Candidate to lead OAS says Cuba shouldn't be excluded from regional summit
Published October 16, 2014 EFE

Guatemala's Eduardo Stein, one of the candidates seeking to become head
of the Organization of American States, said here Thursday that it would
be regrettable if the presence of Cuba at the 2015 Americas Summit
prompted other countries to boycott the event.

Whether to invite Cuba "is no longer a question," as the Panamanian
government has already taken steps toward issuing an invitation, the
former Guatemalan vice president said during the latest in a series of
forums at Washington's Woodrow Wilson Center featuring candidates for
the OAS post.

"It would be very regrettable if, in this edition of the summit, if the
Cuban government decides to accept the invitation and participate, other
governments decide not to be there," Stein said in response to a question.

"That would shatter the principle of inclusion that all of us are
seeking as well as the possibility of understanding each other," he said.

Panama has publicly signaled that it wants to see Cuba attend the April
gathering, but the formal invitations will not go out until late December.

While the United States government has yet to say whether it would
boycott the summit if Cuba were there, Washington maintains that the
Cuban government should be excluded because Havana is not committed to
democratic principles.

Stein pointed to the Guatemalan government's decision in the 1980s to
enter talks with guerrillas as an example of the value of adversaries
sitting down "at the same table."

Those negotiations led in 1996 to an accord that put an end to 36 years
of civil war in the Central American nation.

By cautiously reaching out to Cuba, Stein said, the Panamanian
government has shown that it takes "very seriously" the idea of striving
for full inclusion as the path toward achieving goals including
protections for human rights, Stein said.

The Cuba question loomed large during the 2012 Americas Summit in
Cartagena, Colombia, where Havana's allies in the ALBA group -
Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua - vowed to boycott any future
summits that excluded the Communist-ruled island.

Colombia made an effort to have Cuba included in the 2012 gathering, but
the attempt fell short.

Cuba was suspended from the OAS in 1962 and while the group revoked that
measure in 2009, Havana has made no moves to rejoin and says it has no
plans to do so.

EFE

Source: Candidate to lead OAS says Cuba shouldn't be excluded from
regional summit | Fox News Latino -
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2014/10/16/candidate-to-lead-oas-says-cuba-shouldnt-be-excluded-from-regional-summit/

Rare Independent Group Aims to Open Debate in Cuba

Rare Independent Group Aims to Open Debate in Cuba
CARDENAS, Cuba — Oct 16, 2014, 2:31 PM ET
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN Associated Press

The former editors of one of Cuba's few non-government controlled media
outlets have quietly restarted efforts to spur debate about the nation's
future, launching a series of public forums and plans for a new journal
addressing the island's most urgent problems.

The project, known as "Cuba Posible," joins a handful of others in the
small space between the uncritical state-run media and fiercely partisan
dissident websites that have little reach inside Cuba.

Lawyer Roberto Veiga and journalist Lenier Gonzalez gained renown among
Cuban intellectuals by transforming the Catholic church magazine Espacio
Laical into a rare and influential forum for sociopolitical debate
before the two men left last year amid an apparent church backlash over
the publication's aggressive coverage of current affairs.

The two men and their small circle of close collaborators say they are
confident the project can provide a space for dialogue between
government supporters and critics without running afoul of the island's
communist leaders.

"We hope that we'll be heard and paid attention to in the world of
politics," said sociologist and project backer Aurelio Alonso. "We hope
that what's said won't remain in a void, but will affect institutions
and political players."

Funded by Norway's University of Oslo, Cuba Posible is based out of the
Christian Center for Reflexion and Dialogue, an ecumenical church group
focused on community projects that occasionally publishes newsletters
and magazines from Cardenas, a sleepy mid-sized city about 95 miles (155
kilometers) east of Havana. Basing the new group there means it can use
the center's existing government permits rather than seek permission for
a new independent publication.

"There have always been people inside the government who don't like what
we do and people who care about what we do," Veiga told The Associated
Press this week. "There are a variety of opinions but there's no policy
aimed at disrupting or battling us."

The first public forum attracted dozens of academics and intellectuals
and gave a hint of the group's approach. Its central theme, "Cuba:
Sovereignty and the Future," was uncontroversial enough to avoid the
risk of official ire. Participants avoided direct criticism of President
Raul Castro or the island's single-party system in place since the 1959
revolution. But some speakers, particularly those who rose from the
audience to question speakers on panels, were unsparing in their
evaluations of Cuba's poor performance in a variety of sectors ranging
from expanding the economy to updating educational curricula.

Gonzalez said the project's founders were fierce defenders of Cuban
sovereignty and wanted to improve the current system rather than see it
overturned in a return to its pre-revolutionary past.

"We don't think that's a possibility for Cuba and we don't want that,"
he said. "We're working to pose important questions, to maintain the
ideal that a better country is possible, and it's possible to achieve
that among Cubans who think differently but have common values."

Prominent Cuban exile businessman Carlos Saladrigas, who participated in
forums organized by Espacio Laical, said he believed that Cuba Posible
could gain more influence than the two men's former publication.

"For the moment their task is putting on the table ideas that require
critical debate. Cuba has a lot of things to rethink," Saladrigas said.
"If they succeed in this process I think they're going to greatly
contribute to this dialogue between Cubans."

Gonzalez, 33, and Veiga, 49, say they plan to publish their first
journal by year's end.

Speaking after the forum, Veiga cited the country's slow progress toward
the abolition of a special currency for tourists as an example of the
type of problem that Cuba Posible is designed to address. The double
currency allows Cuba to theoretically split the country between a realm
of highly subsidized prices in Cuban pesos and a tourist economy where
prices more closely resemble those of U.S. or European cities. But the
system has contributed to the rise of a new class of privileged Cubans
with access to convertible pesos. And it has led to economic distortions
like a special exchange rate for state enterprises that effectively
subsidizes them with cheap convertible pesos.

Cuba can't get rid of the convertible peso and related subsidies without
increasing productivity, can't increase productivity without foreign
investment and can't attract sufficient foreign investment without
reforming its monetary system, Veiga observed.

"We're trapped in a vicious cycle that we have to get out of," he said.

Of his and Gonzalez's efforts to spur dialogue in a nation not
accustomed to it, he added: "We've strived from the beginning to have
something that appeared impossible, and today is more possible, which is
that people who think differently can share the same space and even work
together."

———

Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez contributed to this report.

———

Michael Weissenstein on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mweissenstein

Source: Rare Independent Group Aims to Open Debate in Cuba - ABC News -
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/rare-independent-group-aims-open-debate-cuba-26241881?singlePage=true

How Business Can Change Cuba

How Business Can Change Cuba
By Tim Padgett October 16, 2014

Yamina Vicente has lived in communist Cuba her whole life. But it didn't
take her long to learn one of capitalism's handier skills: creating
market demand.

Baby showers were practically unheard of in Cuba until last year, when
Vicente started an event planning company called Decorazón. She learned
about the gift-giving parties from American women visiting Cuba, then
persuaded some of her clients in Havana to throw their own.

Now, arranging baby showers—albeit on the shoestring budgets of a
country where the average monthly salary is $20—is one of Vicente's most
popular services. Another is planning Halloween bashes.

Recently, at the invitation of think tanks including Washington-based
Cuba Study Group, Vicente and other Cuban entrepreneurs made unusual
visits to Miami for tutoring from U.S. small business owners. During a
break at a downtown restaurant, Vicente shifted her high-velocity Cuban
Spanish into power-lunch gear. "I've got to do more than birthdays and
weddings," said Vicente, 31, a former Marxist economics teacher who
wears the smart attire and determined attitude of a rookie real estate
agent. "I've got to diversify."

Such ambitions are a far cry from "socialism or death," which Cuba's
former dictator, 88-year-old Fidel Castro, once plastered on billboards.
Cuban socialism is a miserable failure, so instead of choosing economic
death, Castro's younger brother and successor, Raúl Castro, has decided
he's got to do more than statism and collectivism can accomplish.

He's got to diversify.

If the U.S. really wants to help bring down the island's repressive
communist regime, it should chip away at it in Cuba, not just scream at
it from Miami. That is, Washington should help Raúl by helping novice
entrepreneurs like Vicente. "Their success will ultimately be our
success," says Tomas Bilbao, executive director of the Cuba Study Group,
which insists that engaging Cuba instead of isolating it is the best
means of eventually democratizing it.

Although Raúl is no democrat, he's opened the door—just a crack, but
wide enough to exploit. Four years ago he broadened the list of
permissible private enterprises, which once consisted of little more
than living-room restaurants known as paladares, to include licensing
more substantive businessess such as furniture making and bookkeeping.
Last year he said Cubans could travel freely abroad—on flights instead
of rafts. Earlier this year he approved tax breaks to attract more
foreign investment. And he's letting the Roman Catholic Church run
business classes and even offer MBA degrees.

But perhaps the most important move could happen this fall: scrapping
Cuba's dual currency system, the combo of a near-worthless peso for
ordinary Cubans and the "convertible" peso, pegged to the U.S. dollar
and used mainly for the tourism transactions that keep the economy
afloat. The scheme was created in the 1990s, when Cuba lost the Soviet
Union's largesse. But it's produced fiscal chaos.

Once the government develops counterfeit-proof bills and a new exchange
system, a unified currency could give regular Cubans more buying power.
Small business owners would have more cash for the capital goods they
need, from spark plugs for mechanic shops to sodium hydroxide for
soapmakers.

Still, it won't be enough, especially for entrepreneurs who don't have
family in the U.S. Those relatives sent almost $3 billion back to Cuba
last year, and much of it helped capitalize the almost 500,000
microbusinesses now licensed there. More is needed, be it venture
capital, hardware like iPhones, or just consulting.

Which is why a powerhouse group of four dozen U.S. political, business,
and military leaders advised President Obama in May to relax
Washington's 52-year-old trade embargo against Cuba. Even career
conservatives such as John Negroponte, President George W. Bush's
intelligence chief, signed the letter urging Obama to use executive
powers and "help Cubans increase their self-reliance." Among its
recommendations: Lift the ban on U.S. travel to Cuba, allow U.S.
investors and NGOs to fund Cuban micro-enterprises, and let private U.S.
and Cuban businesses import and export goods to each other.

Hard-line Cuban exile leaders are furious at this approach—or the
suggestion that anything short of an exile-led reconquista will change
Cuba. Cuban American Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami called
it a "pathetic" trend that would "give the communist thugs more money
with which to repress." Florida Senator Marco Rubio, another Cuban
American hard-liner, accused U.S. Chamber of Commerce boss Tom Donohue
of handing the Castros a "propaganda coup" by making a "misguided" visit
to Cuba as the letter was sent to Obama.

Exile die-hards still hold considerable clout on Capitol Hill, a reason
Obama isn't likely to follow the letter's advice. But they're
increasingly in the minority. A Florida International University poll
this summer has most Miami Cubans in favor of ditching the embargo.
"We'll never effect positive change in Cuba if we stay on the sidelines,
head in the sand," says attorney Ric Herrero, who this year founded the
pro-engagement group #CubaNow.

#CubaNow represents a younger, more moderate generation of Cuban
Americans who realize the half-century-old embargo policy has failed to
dislodge the Castros—and in fact aided them politically. Such
organizations are betting that Cuban entrepreneurs will play a sort of
soft dissident role as their growing independence loosens the
government's grip, especially after the Castros finally die.

Granted, the Castros are still alive and ceding control as grudgingly as
octogenarian communists do. On Sept. 1, as if spooked by how seriously
Cubans are taking his call to free enterprise, Raúl slashed the amount
of goods travelers can bring to the island, curtailing the business
supply chain. "Finding steady suppliers is the common, fundamental
frustration in Cuba," says Vicente. Small business taxes are onerous, as
are arbitrary regulations, such as inspectors canceling licenses if they
decide an entrepreneur is getting too rich. Says Marcell Felipe, a
director of the hard-line Cuban Liberty Council in Miami: "Relying on
small business as a way to confront the regime is a big miscalculation."

Not so, says Emilio Morales, a former executive at Cimex, a
state-controlled corporation involved in banking, retailing, and
shipping, among other businesses. He emigrated to Miami in 2006 and
started the Havana Consulting Group. "Raúl has to take his reforms much
further," Morales says, but he thinks the Cuban president "is playing a
game that gets harder to control the longer you play it."

On laptops at his home office on Miami's west side, Morales's firm is
building a detailed commercial map of Cuba. It's an economic GPS device
pinpointing thousands of licensed microbusinesses and the financial
profiles of neighborhoods. The potential is robust, and the
miscalculation, Morales says, is Raúl's. Because his reforms let foreign
investors link up with private and not just state enterprises, "we could
reach a moment soon when venture capitalism takes off in Cuba."

Those entrepreneurs who don't have relatives abroad sending money,
Morales notes, could finally get decent seed money. A big reason Florida
is seeing a spike in rafters leaving Cuba this year is that the lack of
resources, made more apparent by Raúl's reforms, has led many to despair.

With the embargo still in place, analysts such as Juan Antonio Blanco,
head of Miami Dade College's Center for Latin American and Caribbean
Initiatives, say it's time to get creative. "We need some sort of
funding system, perhaps through churches," he says, "that allows people
here to 'adopt' a microbusiness in Cuba."

Such ideas got another boost in August, when the Tampa Bay Times
reported top aides to Ros-Lehtinen and Rubio traveled to China on
Beijing's tab to discuss foreign policy and trade. That double
standard—it's OK to engage China's abusive communist regime but not
Cuba's—eroded hard-liner credibility. And it gave more currency to the
argument that U.S. policy on Cuba is also in need of diversification.

Source: How Business Can Change Cuba - Businessweek -
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-10-16/how-business-can-change-cuba

CUBAN GOVERNMENT BANS DOCTORS FIGHTING EBOLA IN AFRICA FROM RETURNING IF THEY GET SICK

CUBAN GOVERNMENT BANS DOCTORS FIGHTING EBOLA IN AFRICA FROM RETURNING IF
THEY GET SICK
by FRANCES MARTEL 16 Oct 2014 10 POST A COMMENT

While the Ebola outbreak in west Africa has been nothing short of
devastating for affected nations, at least one country has been able to
exploit the crisis to garner goodwill: Cuba, whose communist government
has vowed to send hundreds of doctors to the region. What those covering
the deployment from the tiny island have not reported is the vow doctors
must take never to return to Cuba should they contract Ebola on the job.
Al Jazeera reports that Cuba has promised to send 300 doctors to west
Africa; as of now, 165 have been deployed in Sierra Leone. The doctors
will be working alongside African personnel to diagnose, quarantine, and
treat Ebola patients.
Leftist publications have marveled at what they argue is the nation's
trademark charity on display. The Guardian praised Cuba's "leadership"
on this front, quoting romanticized mass murderer Ernesto "Che" Guevara
for evidence of the communist nation's conscience. The Nation, whose
propaganda efforts to promote the state sponsor of terrorism is rivaled
only by El Granma itself, somehow managed to twist the news that Cuban
doctors were working abroad into an indictment on the United States (of
course). CNN has dutifully repeated the statistic that 15,000 Cuban
health workers have volunteered to die on the front lines fighting
Ebola, a statistic provided by the Cuban government with nothing but the
Cuban government's word to rely on for evidence.
What reports have not covered are the conditions in which Cuban medical
personnel are being forced to go. For one, in what is internationally an
unprecedented move for a state, Argentine news outlet Infobae is
reporting that Cuban doctors are being forced to sign a release wherein
they promise never to return to Cuba should they contract Ebola. The
state will not airlift them back to the island for care, as most other
nations providing humanitarian support-- most prominently Spain and the
United States-- have done with their workers. The news comes from a
doctor who was pre-selected to travel to west Africa but eventually
decided against it, who reported that doctors must "sign a document in
which they renounce their right to return if they contract the disease
in Africa." Should the doctors die, they must agree to being incinerated
in Africa.
Cuban doctor Jeovany Jiménez confirmed to Infobae that "such an exit has
not been given by any nation implicated," much less nations involved in
providing aid. The doctor added that whether Cuban doctors were
sufficiently well-trained to actually provide valuable help in Africa
would require a "wait and see" approach.
The opposition publication El Diario de Cuba reports that doctors have
been told there is a "90%" chance they will never return to Cuba, and
that part of the screening process required doctors to be "without
family" and between the ages of 45 and 55. The doctors were promised an
$8,000 a month salary, and potentially cars and homes, though it is
unclear where the money for such a project will come from. For
comparison, Cuba made headlines last May when it announced it would
increase medical salaries to a whopping $67 a month.
Nonetheless, west Africa's medical infrastructure, already barely
functional before the outbreak, is so devastated that Sierra Leone
welcomed the Cuban doctors with open arms. "It is when we have fearless
people on the frontline to confront Ebola that is so dangerous that you
will be able to win the war," President Ernest Koroma said, thanking the
doctors who volunteered upon their arrival in Freetown.

Source: Cuban Government Bans Doctors Fighting Ebola in Africa from
Returning if They Get Sick -
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/10/16/Cuban-Government-Bans-Doctors-Fighting-Ebola-in-Africa-from-Returning-if-They-Get-Sick

Faced with US embargo, Cuba`s black market thrives

Faced with US embargo, Cuba`s black market thrives
Last Updated: Friday, October 17, 2014 - 09:00

Havana: From foreign DVDs to perfume, rum and coffee, Cuba`s shelves are
packed with pirated and counterfeit goods, which are sold as authorities
turn a blind eye -- using the longstanding US embargo as justification.

The more than 50-year US trade freeze with communist-ruled Havana has
bred a healthy appetite for smuggled goods, including TV series, films,
music and software -- all available at a low cost.

"Here, everything costs one CUC," the Cuban convertible peso equivalent
to one dollar, explains 28-year-old vendor Jorge, standing before three
bookcases packed with CDs and DVDs.

In southern Havana`s October 10 neighbourhood, where Jorge peddles his
wares, pirated DVDs featuring current American blockbuster films,
children`s movies and Latin music are all on sale to delighted crowds.

For Jorge, the cost of doing business is affordable. For 60 Cuban pesos
(USD 2.50) a month, he can buy a vendor`s licence to sell his goods.

He is one of half a million Cubans who work in the 200 or so independent
jobs authorised under President Raul Castro`s economic reforms.

Though buying and selling pirated goods is technically illegal in Cuba,
the trade is widely known and mostly tolerated, even by the Committee
for the Defense of the Revolution officers who rarely punish vendors.

"I pay for my license on time and no one interferes with my work," said
Jorge, who declined to give his full name.

Like many other merchants, Jorge`s stock extends far beyond
entertainment DVDs. He also sells "packages," which feature hundreds of
megabytes of data obtained weekly from overseas sources.

The bundles include television series, sports programmes, films,
anti-virus software and up-to-date listings from the banned classified
sites "Revolico" and "Porlalivre". The online classified listings, which
are both officially banned in Cuba, offer interested buyers anything
from air conditioners to black market tires, and even empty perfume
bottles to be secretly refilled in off-the-grid factories.

With the help of complicit employees, some of the black market
fragrances and other items even find their way to the shelves of
government-owned stores.

Every so often, the heavily-censored state-run media report on police
busting illegal rings producing fake perfume, rum, beer, coffee or
toiletries -- items rarely found in supermarket aisles -- but
authorities mostly ignore the contraband sales.

Authorities struggle to contain this Cuban "tradition," which emerged
during the dark days of severe shortages in the early 1990s following
the collapse of the Soviet Union, one of Cuba`s staunchest Cold War-era
allies.

"The new situation in the 1990s was so sudden, so violent, so
unexpected... that people started, with the only means they had, to find
ways to fulfil their needs," said sociologist Mayra Espina in the online
newspaper Cuba Contemporanea.

"Certain activities, previously deemed unacceptable or socially
negative, started to become legitimate."

This time of shortages bred a social phenomenon called "la lucha," or
"the struggle," which has seen Cubans do whatever is necessary to tackle
the island nation`s social and economic malaise, Espina said. Pirated
programs have also crept into the state`s sphere, with public media and
government-owned cinemas running illegally-obtained shows and films.

Some television networks lacking their own means to produce original
programming have "resorted for years to carrying shows from American
channels without paying for the rights," Cuban TV director Juan Pin
Vilar told a news agency.

Indeed, this is one of the fringe benefits of the US embargo -- the
Cuban TV channels and cinemas could act with virtual impunity, as legal
repercussions were unlikely.

"There is a kind of tactical willingness (in the US) not to bother Cuba
because culture... is a very effective means of communication," said
Jorge de Armas, a member of a group of Cuban exiles calling for a
rapprochement with Washington.

But the flip side, according to Vilar, is that certain stations in Miami
-- home to most of the Cuban Diaspora -- air Cuban programs to satisfy
their viewers, nostalgic for home.

On Miami`s "Calle Ocho," or 8th Street, in the heart of Little Havana,
the Maraka shop sells pirated music, films and television programs
brought in from Cuba.

On the other side of the Florida Straits, the international Cuban
television network Cubavision offers its signal to satellite suppliers
around the world.

The idea, said one Cubavision executive, is "to spread our image."

AFP

Source: Faced with US embargo, Cuba`s black market thrives | Zee News -
http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/faced-with-us-embargo-cubas-black-market-thrives_1485936.html

Cuba to introduce modern, more secure ID cards

Cuba to introduce modern, more secure ID cards
Published October 16, 2014 EFE

Cuba will gradually introduce a more modern, durable and secure ID card
starting Oct. 29, the island's media reported, citing government officials.

The new ID cards, which are to be made of polycarbonate, a plastic-like
material, will be similar to a magnetic stripe card and their dimensions
will be in keeping with international standards, Interior Ministry
authorities said.

The new cards will be more durable and reduce the possibility of
identity theft, while also allowing "administrative processes to be
conducted with greater integration and speed as the country progresses
toward an information society," Communist Party daily Granma said.

The new cards will leverage the latest technologies and feature, among
other elements, biometric data, a hologram overlay, a digital signature
and photograph, security patterns and a machine readable zone.

The Interior Ministry said that in the coming years the ID card may
contain voice prints, iris scans and DNA data, "all of which will result
in an ID document that is more reliable and difficult to falsify," the
official daily Juventud Rebelde reported.

The cost of the new cards will be 25 Cuban ordinary pesos (approximately
$1).

Current Cuban ID documents, which will not have to be renewed
immediately if they are in good condition, are handwritten and in the
form of a booklet or laminated card. EFE

Source: Cuba to introduce modern, more secure ID cards | Fox News Latino
-
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/10/16/cuba-to-introduce-modern-more-secure-id-cards/

Media Bootlegging Businesses Booming in Cuba as the Nation Slowly Opens

Media Bootlegging Businesses Booming in Cuba as the Nation Slowly Opens
12:11 17/10/2014

MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) - In the four years since the easing of
trade regulations in Cuba, the island nation has seen a huge boom in the
amount of illegal goods and media flowing into the country and while the
government could take steps to crack down on the illegal products, so
far they have left this burgeoning grey market alone, thus allowing a
flood of western media to spread among its people.
Most Cubans regularly purchase what is called the weekly "package",
which includes a variety of current TV series, films and Internet
publications, as well as magazine articles in PDF format, the Gulf Times
report. The "package" is distributed via a chain network, and the
selective content can be home-delivered. "The hard-drive disk is taken
to the distributor, and the distributor then does his or her business,"
says Isbel Diaz, a computer expert in Cuba, who is involved in the
underground trade. It is as it were an "offline Internet" service, Diaz
adds, as quoted by the Gulf Times.
The Cuban black market also includes the illicit distribution of fake
perfume, rum, beer, coffee and hygiene products. The vendors of these
products have trouble with the law more often, however, this segment of
trade is becoming increasingly acceptable. "Certain activities,
previously deemed unacceptable or socially negative, started to become
legitimate", says sociologist Maria Espina as quoted by AsiaOne. This
is, in her opinion, a natural way for the people to satisfy their needs
in the absence of genuine consumer market mechanisms.
Most Cubans can't access the Internet, as private households are not
allowed to; also people can only listen to radio and watch TV approved
by the government. This informative isolation has rendered the
bootlegging of the US, Mexican and European TV programmes a profitable
business. A flash drive can be bought for less than a $1 in Cuba and the
device can be filled with TV shows, movies and recorded broadcasts of
the recent major sporting events for $2 in one of the many private homes
in Havana.
The authorities tolerate the underground trade of foreign video and
audio content is that they see it as a relief for the population,
starved for smuggled goods like TV series, movies, music and software,
AsiaOne reports. The government is much more sensitive about news media
content, foreign news is controlled and regulated heavily.
In Cuba, only state-affiliated institutions or foreign enterprises have
broadband internet access or satellite TV, therefore "it is very
suspicious that such a large amount of information contained in those
'packages' can be updated on a weekly basis", says Isbel Diaz. Given the
circumstances, it is fair to suggest that distribution of the Internet
content may be sanctioned by the government.
International producers of media content, sold in Cuba, naturally are
not protected under copyright law. Pirated content sometimes is even
shown on official TV, which is "carrying shows from American channels
without paying for the rights", says Cuban TV director Juan Pin Vilar,
as quoted by AFP. Nobody objects on the American side, because "there is
a kind of tactical willingness (in the US) not to bother Cuba because
culture... is a very effective means of communication," says Jorge de
Armas, an influential Cuban exile in Washington as quoted by AFP.

Source: Media Bootlegging Businesses Booming in Cuba as the Nation
Slowly Opens | Analysis & Opinion | RIA Novosti -
http://en.ria.ru/analysis/20141017/194196282/Media-Bootlegging-Businesses-Booming-in-Cuba-as-the-Nation.html

The NY Times is wrong about the Cuba embargo again

The NY Times is wrong about the Cuba embargo again
By Silvio Canto, Jr.
October 16, 2014

Our friends at The New York Times decided to reprint the same long list
of reasons for ending the U.S. embargo on the Castro regime in Cuba.

We heard the same tired arguments that lifting the embargo will
encourage change in Cuba and will allow American tourists to tell Cubans
about freedom, and that doing business with the U.S. will magically
bring prosperity to the island. Last but not least, the Times blamed
Cuban Americans for forcing U.S. politicians to stick with the embargo.

The Times did say that Cuba is still a repressive state:

The authoritarian government still harasses and detains dissidents. It
has yet to explain the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of
the political activist Oswaldo Payá.

Here is the problem: lifting the U.S. embargo will not do a darned thing
to change Cuba or make life better for the people. Instead, it will
provide the Cuban state companies who do joint ventures with
international companies with an opportunity to draw on U.S. export or
import credits.

Furthermore, Cuba needs these "credits" because most countries are sick
and tired of doing business with the Castro regime and not getting paid
on time. Just ask Mexico and others, who have had to write off or
reschedule their debts!

Incredibly, the Times does not call for the release of Mr. Allan Gross
in Cuba prior to any conversations about lifting the embargo. The
editorial does not call on the Castro regime to "lift the embargo" on
Cuban dissidents or independent journalists.

As a Cuban-American who has grown up in the U.S., I will listen to
anyone who can show me that lifting the embargo will help the Cuban
people. So far, no one has persuaded me. I still think that lifting
the embargo will have one beneficiary: Fidel Castro, Inc.!

P.S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

Source: Blog: The NY Times is wrong about the Cuba embargo again -
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/10/the_emny_timesem_is_wrong_about_the_cuba_embargo_again.html

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cuban Government - Two Strategies

Cuban Government: Two Strategies / Juan Juan Almeida
Posted on October 16, 2014

The man looks like himself. That's why, I don't hit it off with hate.
It's true, I was born and raised surrounded by men who love to
speechify and believe themselves owners of the absolute truth, so much
that they imposed it by force with total impunity.

Maybe that's why some days ago was I surprised myself thinking that
separating myself from that government group to which I am genetically
tied, more than anything, was due to a strange defect or capacity that I
have for accepting criticism and enjoying those insults that for some
are attacks and for me, charming primitivism.

I learned. As also I learned to look at Cuba without passion and to see
that the Cuban government makes itself stronger every day relying on
division and that's why it uses two principal strategies: one — which
is a matter solely for Cuba and Cubans — and another for outdoors,
directed to planetary opinion and solidarity transforming our small
country in sustained headlines of magazines and news headlines.

Internally it divides society, twists co-existence and feeds the
ineffective culture of confrontation between generational groups,
between revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries, desirous of
prominence, but fundamentally between rich and poor because — as we
already know — socialism loves the poor so much that it multiplies them
to make them overrate charity.

Before the world it is something else, evident these days. The
government took advantage of the insufficient response of the
international community in the face of the crisis unleashed by the
spread of the Ebola virus, and executing a maneuver that besides
humanitarian is attractive and magisterial, turned itself into one of
the main assistance providers to western Africa sending 165 Cuban health
workers and preparing, always publicly because without applause there is
no victory, the departure of another group with 296 doctors and nurses.

Ebola went out of control in such a dizzying way that it made the health
systems of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone collapse; then Cuba, the
greater of the Antilles, the "blockaded" country, delivers with false
altruism economic and human resources to the noble work of saving lives.

Impossible not to praise; before such colossal facts what does it matter
to Ban Ki-Moon or any other important member of international
organizations, that in Palmarito de Cauto they kick another
"delinquent." Understand the irony, the correct thing is to say dissident.

I am not a red, I am a realist, which although it begins with R is not
the same nor is it written the same. I clarify because I also see that
the Cuban opposition continues gaining popularity, above all in virtual
spaces, but still it does not capitalize on the discontent of millions
of people, of a real population that is disappointed by the system, that
does not want to be represented by anyone who victimizes it. They
forget that Cuban society has been saturated with stories of sacrifice
and raising pedestals.

Reality seems to walk in the opposite direction desired by many. Cubans
want to smile and get to the end of the month without predicaments.
That's why they look with respect and even with a tad of healthy envy at
the new entrepreneurs (I don't like calling them self-employed) and at
the artists that prevail at opening doors. For them, these are the real
symbols of individuality, the true vanguard and the most effective
creators of popular inspiration because today even sovereignty is a
personal concept.

Translated by mlk.

14 October 2014

Source: Cuban Government: Two Strategies / Juan Juan Almeida |
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuban-government-two-strategies-juan-juan-almeida/