Feb 27, 2008

Cubaneo al 100%

Acabo de dar con el blog La Finca de Sosa y llevo más de cinco minutos que no he podido parar de reírme. Es, in a nutshell, la más ferviente muestra del cubaneo criollo.

Para que se me vayan acostumbrando, aquí les va un resumen de las ventajas que trae el gobierno de raúl castro. :) Un dato importante: hay que hacer la tarea leyendo los comentarios.

Otro must? Sus recomendaciones para los interesados en hacer turismo revolucionario.

Resumé de un seboruco ( aka guatacón)

Today's been a busy day for this journal of mine. And, obviously, one when I've had a lot of time to post.

Therefore, here is another contribution to open up countless set of eyes: the bio of Cuba's new segundón, masterly written by Carlos Alberto Montaner.

In my humble opinion, I see a déja vú coming; a lot of old guys dying one after the other in the top seat, like happened in the former Soviet Union, a few decades ago. Out of curiosity: is our tropical Gorbachov too far from Cuba? Where are you? --it's your train running late?

UPDATE: More details on Machadito's resumé here.

Tale of modern slavery in Timor, NO MORE!

Alexis Oriol Rodriguez Caceres, a Cuban doctor that broke the slavery chain from the Cuban medical mission in Timor, is free man, now blogging from Hialeah --la ciudad que progresa.

Welcome to the United States!

(His blog, however, will continue in my page under the Cuba: Orwellian stories category)

Looking for some answers

Call me ignorant or whatever, but there are algunas cosas que no acabo de entender. (Thanks to George, from The Real Cuba, for summarized them for me).

However, despite the long way I still have ahead to define my faith, I totally agree with this", as posted in CubaWatch:

"During his visit to the Pearl of the Antilles, our brothers and sisters saw no condemnation of the Stalinist regime that has brutally murdered thousands. They heard no calls for an end to the dictatorship in hopes of a democratic transition. Our families saw only polite handshakes and a condemnation of the U.S. trade embargo meant to – yet again – present the dictatorship as a tiny David pitted against its gigantic Goliath to the north, La Yuma.

The facts, caballeros, hablan por sí mismos.

Una "A" para los caricaturistas

Awsome cartoons we've seen everywhere in the past few days, showing from all angles the reality behind castro's "retirement" and raúl inhering the slaved island.

Cubanology has put together a collection of the daily best.
A collection para hacer historia.

Feb 26, 2008

Empatando cabos

A few days ago I posted about the little hidden treasure I found at my local public library; including all the books about Cuba (those that I didn't even knew they exist before I came to the US) and the amazing service they offer of requesting for you anything you want, from anywhere in the country.

Quick Tip: using World Cat you can search whatever you would like to order in a inter library loan, looking for the availability in nearby libraries, using you zip code, and in different languages.

So, I started my own Cuba reeducation program with the book "Fidel Castro & Company, Inc", by Manuel Urrutia Lleó, the first "president" in Castro's Cuba.

And I have to tell you that the mission was accomplished, because now I can tie the dots to the story of what really happened in very first days of barbatruco in the power. This was something impossible to do knowing only the official version in the History classes you receive in Cuba.

Although I didn't like the book completely (the English translation sounded weird, even for me who speak inglés con barreras and a pretty heavy accent; and the last chapters were a complicate diatriba of the communism that got me lost more than once).

Nonetheless, I found what I was looking for, y me doy por satisfecha.

Now, I know how was born the rule that contrarrevolucionarios should be expelled from their jobs --thanks to the lovely che--, how the unions were literally blackmailed, el estira y encoje and all the manipulations castro & Cia did with Urrutia, and even that Cristino Naranjo was a whole lot more than the fancy club where students from la Lenin used to gather during the weekends.

A relevant note?

According to the history of Cuba that I was taught, the store El Encanto was set on fire by the evil imperialismo yanqui looking to overthrown castro in those first months.

According to this book, the store was set on fire by its own unionized employees when they realized how che, castro & cia were trying to blackmail the union and force it into the communist rule.

And this second version was confirmed to me a couple of days ago, by a Cuban friend whose mother owned the company that provided credit services to stores like El Encanto, Fin de Siglo, La Filosofía, etc. and he said that, indeed, were the employees the ones who chose to destroy their workplace instead of surrendering to the communism.

Ironías de la historia, right?

(I'll continue posting about the books I'm planning to read while in this self-induced learning program)

Feb 25, 2008

A day to remember

In Cuba, 113 years ago (February 24th, 1895) with El grito de Baire and leaded by José Martí, the Independence War started, aiming to free the island from the Spanish colony.

In the Florida Strait, 12 years ago, four civilians flying in a humanitarian mission with Brothers to the Rescue were shot down by the Castro's airforce. In international waters.

Back in Havana, merely 24 hours ago, raúl castro inherited his older brother best kept asset: a whole country subdued under a communist dictatorship for the past 50 years; slaves included.
(Please, refer to the dictionary of your choice to see the difference between "sucession" and "transition").

Northern Colorado highways, around 7 hours ago, NPR's Morning Edition shoved me off a headline along the lines of: "A new era on Cuba's leadership".
BTW, a whole different from the one they have posted online.

Mark your calendars. They day that we see real independence and democracy --the one Martí dreamed of... well, that one is still to come.

On a separate note: last night, while having dinner with Cuban & Puertorrican friends and chatting, of course, about the news of the "no-news", the local newspaper call me to get to some reaction to complement (should I say "balance") the AP wire for this morning's paper.

Although some points were edited out (like the mention to free political prisoners in order to have a real transition, or the fact that with almost seven different political police forces to enforce repression most Cubans afraid of being 'the first dead corpse', or the reality that it is extremely hard for the dissidence to organize and take out the streets with all the surveillance from the CDR and the Stasi's style state security forces), these are the nuts and bolts of my reaction.

And if you search from the real experts's comments, you'll see we are all more or less in the same page.

Feb 21, 2008

Aquellos ojos verdes...

Today, I have a sad story to tell.
A sad and long story that my family has been dreading for years; a story that I've come to know in details a few days ago.
(Go and grab some Kleenex, I have mine next to the keyboard)

It all began in the past week, while doing my daily blogs round. I found an article in the blog Medicina Cubana titled "Le deben alguna hipófisis", posted by Patrio in the forum Secretos de Cuba.

I even went to the forum and checked the additional comments and stories posted there, all about the practices of some pathologists in Cuba, including details that sound like a horror movie.

And having in the family more than one professional of the medicine, I knew from the very begining that the stories no eran del todo falsas. There is, evidently, a lot of truth on it.

I felt so appalled by what I've read, that I even linked it to the "Cuba: Orwellian stories" segment of my blog. Since it is written in Spanish, I sent it to my Mom, so she could read it, and when I got home, we started talking about it.

And right there, we started a trip back to past of my Mom's family that I was not aware of.

Mami and her family are from Guane, Pinar del Río. They were four siblings: tía Mercy, Gangui (Yolanda), Mami and tío Roberto. (Only Mami and Gangui are alive). Abuela Paula and Abuelo Oscar were their parents.

Abuelo Oscar used to work as cook in the town's police headquarters (before castro). Abuela Paula stayed at home doing laundry (mostly for the American pilots stationed in la Base de San Julián) and used to work seasonally in las escogidas. Later on, at some point in time that I've lost --but, obviously, also before castro-- they open a small bodega with a fondita in the front of the house.

This was the family where tía Mercy --Mercedes Inocencia-- was born in. The oldest. Una mulata color café con leche, de ojos verdes... go figure!. And yes, she was Inocencia because she was born el Día de los Inocentes.

I still remember her from my five years old memories; she passed away when I was around five or six. She was still living in Guane with Abuela Paula; we were leaving in Camaguey.

In my mind, I have her image so clear!, seated in the dining table, in those black and white taburetes, straightening her hair, doing her manicure or writing. Mami and Gangui both say she was the smartest of the four. She always carried or had a Bible next to her; always on her sight.

Tía Mercy was born with epilepsy. A real bad one in those years where the disease was nowhere near to be controlled. Her life, when she was with the crisis, was miserable.

Abuela and mami said there were days that she would have more than 30 seizures, she would woke up completeley disoriented, no remembering what have happened.

There were days that they would lied to her, telling her he passed out unexpectedly, without letting her know her body had been shaking for almost half an hour. They had to lied to her; their hearts were broken when she would woke up crying, asking if she had another crisis.

Tía Mercy never got married, never had children. In her late 30's, her epilepsy almost dissapeared, but then, she started suffering from asthma. The bad one; the one that gives you respiratory arrests frequently.

With all this in mind we started talking about the article --Mami, MDH and I.

All of the sudden, in a real out of the blue burst, Mami said: "Eso no es nada nuevo para mí. A Mercedita le sacaron los ojos cuando le hicieron la autopsia en Mazorra". (That's not news for me; Mercedita's eyes were taken away when they did the autopsy on her, in Mazorra).

I felt the pain in my Mom's words. I was speechless; I didn't even knew what would be appropiate to tell her; I was frozen. I wanted to cry, I wanted to hug her, I was infuriated, I don't know how may things I felt in a matter of seconds.

It was the first time that Mami have talked about it.
And it was the first time that I asked for all the details.

Around 1979 or 1980, tía Mercy was hospitalized in Mazorra. Not because she was crazy; mami said they reluctantly agreed to do it because there was this doctor that have succesfully treated her before, and the man was working there.

She was having a really bad asthma crisis and she needed medication to control it. (And you how things are in Cuba, in hospital issues, you've to go where you have a friend that can watch over you).

I was surprised when mami told me that relatives were not allowed to stay we her in the hospital. Abuela was in Guane, with tío Roberto. Gangui, Tiototo and my cousins were in Isla de Pinos. We were in Camaguey. And Mami still carries the guilt of not being by her side there when tía Mercy passed away.

They were told she died during a respiratory arrest, they couldn't bring her out of it. And now more than ever I have so many doubts about what really happened to her.

Despite having all the phone numbers of the family in Camaguey and Isla de Pinos (a real luxury in Cuba), they didn't received the news until 24 hours after the death. When they finally arrived to the hospital, the autpsy was already done. No family consent, no nothing. Así de crudo.

Arrangements to take the body to Guane were done. El velorio was held in abuela Paula's house, with all the ceremonies of the Evangelical church they belong to. And only when they were preparing the body for it, they knew about the horror.

A family friend who was a nurse volunteered to bathe the body and dress her. But since she saw her for the first time, she suspected that something was wrong and asked to be left alone.

When she finished, she call Mami and Gangui apart and told them that tía Mercy's eyes have been removed during the autopsy and that her eye sockets were stuffed with cotton.
For Christ's sake, with cotton!

She suspected that more things were wrong, but she had not means to check the entire body; only the eyes were the most evident. She asked them not to tell abuela; she could die if she knew. The funeral was over, and she was buried in the local cemetery.

And, apparently, the family life went back to "normal". Now, I know it wasn't.

Mami says that after abuelo Oscar passed away (way before Tía Mercy) abuela Paula was left devastated. Later she endured the expropiation of the bodega and la fonda. She faced tío Roberto's divorce and ended up raising his children.

I remember her hands, deformed by arthitis, always in movement, always doing something in the house. But we all know that after tía Mercy death, she was never the same.

I remember abuela saying she always loved Tía Mercy with a profound pain, because of her disease. After everything she endured in life, I've always considered that abuela Paula was a real Mariana; she was thin and tiny, but she was tought. But knowing what happened to tía Mercy would have killed her. Literally.

God listened to her prayers, though.

She asked for enough life to see tía Mercy's death and not the ohter way; she felt deeply responsible and didn't want to leave first, leaving tía Mercy dealing with her disease.

She asked to meet and enjoy all her grandchildren, and she did. (I am the youngest and she passed away when I was 14).

She asked God to die a quick death in her house, she prayed for not being left disabled; she didn't want it to be a burden on anybody's live.
And God also gave her that grace.

We are so lucky to have her genes!; everybody says that we, the women on my Mom's side family, are "paulitas". And, indeed, we are a lot of women.

Letters to Ordaz were written by my Mom, my aunt and some friends, asking why they weren't called on time when she died and questioning the autopsy. They never received an answer.

I can't help to wonder what happened to those lovely green eyes. I can't help the knot in my throat when I think about it. Dios mío, those green eyes were taken away from us, violently, ruthless, painfully. Now that pain have moved from my Mom's shoulders to mine, and I still don't know how to handle it.

Feb 20, 2008

I have discovered a little treasure

It's hidden in a modern building next to my house, packed with books containing amazing revelations for me; a child of Castro's revolution.
It's the public library.

I wonder how, despite having covered the issue several times for La Tribuna (Disclaimer while visiting the site: the paper went out of business a few weeks ago and when I was there, there was not website, so this link now belongs to a second publication, named the same, being published in the mountains), I never imagine they could have or order for you so many books and materials about Cuba, sometimes both in English and Spanish.

I already set up two waiting lists online and they'll call me when the stuff is ready for pick up. You can have the books for one month and are allowed to renew it online up to four more weeks, and you can have the movies for one week. Everything is free and if you're are late in the returning they charge you a fee: 10 cents.

To jump start my own "revolution reeducation program", yesterday I started with "Fidel Castro & Company, Inc: communist tyranny in Cuba, by Manuel Urrutia Lleó, to learn first hand el rollo de la presidencia provisional de Urrutia.

I remember in the history classes I'd always tried to understand the order of the events and there was always a missing link. The story never added up to me and I think that, finally, I've found that link, in the voice of the main character.
(I'll post again when I finish the book)

Next in line is one that I've some doubts with; but I'll check anyway to see if my presumptions are correct or not: Ninety Miles: Cuban Journeys in the Age of Castro, by Ian Michael James.

And along those lines I've reserved "Waiting for snow in Havana", "Child of the Revolution", "Fidel Castro: Hollywood's favorite tyrant", "Cannibal Island", "Exposing the real Che Guevara and the useful idiots who idolized him", "Katyn", and about ten more.

To put some cherry on the cake, I've also found "La Cucarachita Martina" and other children stories that take me back to my childhood and I'm planning to introduce to Nicolás --when he no longer try to tear the pages-- along with a dozen of DVD's with Cuban movies that I've already seen (but are really worth to see again), Pedro Almodóvar's classics and other jewels like "The live of others".

There are even busier times ahead: I'll need to use my lunchtime, bathtime and who know how many other "odd" times to read and keep up with the movies, but this is kind of a "new year late resolution" and I really hope I can fullfill it.

But it's good that I'll have the chance to fill in those blanks and the best of it; I can do it for free --well, not that much, because I am paying for it with my taxes, but it's good anyway.

(Which takes me back to the script I grew up with:
esos imperialistas yanquis son más malos (?)

Feb 19, 2008


What's the news?
Nothing new, more of the same... Barbatruco resigned and the entire world is going into this media frenzy, well, you know, for nothing.

But this morning, it was funny in my house, after all.
When I was getting ready to go to work (sunny and warmy morning here in colorful Colorado, by the way) I just had this impulso to turn on the TV and check CNN news.

And saw the headlines with castro's resignation and the "experts" in a perfectly designed line-up to talk about the "history of the Cuban revolution" and bla, bla, bla --no that I was expecting something different from CNN.

(Then, la Sweetie, that was outside doing her business, started "knocking" in the door to get inside, and I opened the door while still looking at the TV, and got scared like hell when she dropped at my feet the gift of a dead, frozen poor little bunny that she found I don't know where, but that's another story)

BTW, Mami said que hay que jugar el perro, el conejo y, el caballo, of course!

Anyway, I promptly called my gang in Cuba and there was no news: "esto es lo mismo con lo mismo (this is same crap)", I was told, "we're not surprised, we saw this coming, don't you worry at all".
Cuba out.

And it is not that we, Cubans, don't hold hopes of a democratic change in our country. It's that we, contrary to the MSM, know what it takes to achieve that change. And by no means is the resignation of the old man that have been destroying the lives of so many Cubans for so many years.

Entonces... having that reporter's ink still embeded in my veins, I couldn't help to post a comment at my local newspaper, you know, just to make an statement. There are not Calle 8 or Versailles here and we're not that many either, but it is always healthy to aclarar algunas mentes, just in case, and here I share it with you all:

So what?
Big news and huge fuzz from the MSM; castro –not capital “C” on purpose- resigned (or was resigned, should I say?) and media outlets everywhere are dusting off the pre-written obituaries, time-lines and so on. What a pitiful report from AP and others… it’s just more of the same.

The only good thing is that – as I’ve said almost two years ago when he temporarily handed-out the power to raúl,this could be the beginning of the end. But please, note that, it's just the beginning…

Until we have real democratic and free elections, freedom for the dissidents and political prisoners that are rottening to death in castro’s gulag, freedom of the press, respect for human rights and civil liberties nothing will change in Cuba, a country that have been ruined by castro & Co. for half a century.

The news here is that this is more of the same: the political machine of repression is still in place and as long as the same old communists get recycled, the transition to a democratic society will be a chimera. This is something that most Cubans, inside and outside the island were basically waiting; this is not surprise for them.

Too bad the AP reporter only got a reaction from a castro lover; no comments from the Ladies in White, from the independent journalists and librarians or from the political prisoners. How convenient! Gosh… why I am not surprised!

So far ('till my latest reading of the news) the reaction from Bush has been the only one consistent with the suffering of the Cuban people, you know, the average Joe’s; those who are not in the military of the government’s elites, those who have no dollars, those who live in the other side of the apartheid… those who Michael Moore slightly forgot to include in his documentary.

But not everything is bad news.

After years of hopeless lives, we, Cubans, have learned to search for a tiny light deep in our misery. At least, in a far, far away land, a Danish newspaper reported something along the lines of “what a good riddance!”, and EFE shed some light on the idea that this might be the moment to reopen a trial against castro for crimes of “lesa humanidad” because, at least in theory, he will no longer have the immunity of being the head of the state.

That would really be the news!

The funniest part of this?
That yesterday I was in contact with The Grand Junction Sentinel's reporter that did the profile on Charlie Tamayo to ask him to tell Tamayo that I've sent two letters to the US Senators from Colorado to call their attention into his case, and we ended up talking about how many Cubans were in Northern Colorado and that he needed to have a pool of sources to interview in the happy event of castro's death. (I don't blame him for that; that's any reporter eternal quest, and I offered him my help because the point here is to spread the word, by all means possible)

And by yesterday I mean a few hours before the first news about it was posted in the site of Granma International (Here in Spanish & here in English)

Caballero! Do I have a sixth sense for the perfect timing or what!

Feb 15, 2008

Happy Valentine's for everybody out there!

It was a very busy day, but a good day after all.

It included the usual run-to-the-store-to-buy-a-last-minute-present, but what else can you do when you have a working Mom crazy schedule? (it was good that I've planned in advance what I was going to get to MDH, though)

We closed the day no in the commom romantic dinner, but sharing a very funny "secret Valentine's" where Nicolás ended being the center of the party, guess how?
Dancing salsa and merengue!--in a one-year-old-toddler style, but it was dancing anyway.

Maybe next year we'll switch to a romantic treat (like the weekend trip to St. Augustine we gave to ourselves a couple of years ago), but for this one, hugging my papichulo and MDH was more than romantic, even in the middle of a crowd.

Feliz Día de San Valentín!

Feb 14, 2008

No es que sea una repetición

UPDATE 02/15/08
Here is a very detailed recap of the facts around Obama and what some bloggers are calling the Guevaragate, courtesy of Henry & Babalú Blog.


But here comes Humberto Fontova with a magistral KO in Newsmax.com (thanks to Babalú) on the Obama campaing supporters sporting the image of Che Guevara.

Here are some nuts & bolts, for those needing higher doses of "repeat after me" para salir de la ignorancia en la que viven:

  • "The U.S. is the great enemy of mankind!" raved Ernesto "Che" Guevara in 1961. "Against those hyenas there is no option but extermination. We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies' very home, to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we'll destroy him! We must keep our hatred against them [the U.S.] alive and fan it to paroxysms!"
  • A little perspective: for the March 2004 Madrid subway blasts, all 10 of them that killed and maimed almost 2,000 people, al-Qaida used a grand total of 100 kilos of TNT. Castro and Che's agents planned to set off five times that explosive power in the some of the biggest department stores on earth, all packed to suffocation and pulsing with holiday cheer on the year's biggest shopping day.
  • "The solutions to the world's problems lie behind the Iron Curtain," stressed Ernesto Che Guevara who often signed his correspondence with the moniker "Stalin II." "If the nuclear missiles had remained we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S. including New York City," he boasted. "The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims."

Thanks, Humberto, for you diligent work to erase the masses' ignorance (or complejo de avestruz, should I say?)

PD/ What's the no-news in here?

The MSM kept mum, but the conservative blogoshere spread the story. Intrepid blogger Henry Gomez (Babalu Blog), uncovered 15 different pages of Che Guevara well-wishers on the official Obama campaign site.

Hummm, why am I not surprised?

Feb 13, 2008

And here comes the MasterCard Ad...

The book "Exposing the real Che Guevara and the useful idiots who idolized him", by Humberto Fontova?
$16.26 in amazon.com

A T-shirt ready to help you make an statement (a true one) at trenblindado.com?
Around $21.00

The latest message from The Butcher to Obama and his supporters in Texas, courtesy of BabalúBlog & Fontova?

"The Negro is indolent and spends his money on frivolity and drink, whereas the european is intelligent and forward looking."

"Mexicans are a rabble of illiterate indians. South American peasants are nothing but animalitos (little animals)"


Let me tell you, baby, those are PRICELESS.