Aug 28, 2009

The 4th (now extinct) power

The 4th power. I grew up thinking the press was the fourth power; the perfect tool for citizens to keep their governments on a short leash.

No wonder castro dismantled the free media within months of taking power. No wonder Chávez has been following his steps, one by one, in Venezuela.

The free media in the US was my last hope; until a few years ago I started realizing the 4th power, here in the US, is also gone.

I should have had taken my master in... crustaceans?

Aug 26, 2009

Ja! Trading clunkers and paying taxes!

Your $4,500 juice rebate from the Cash 4 Clunker program is... (drums roll, please)... taxable!

Taxable regular income, no payroll deductions involved.
Tiny, itty, bitty detail someone just forgot to disclose.

C'mon, bend over and produce your wallet.
Trust me; it won't hurt.

The bigger (and scarier) picture

As I've said countless times in the past two years, the United States, as we know it and as it was founded two hundred and something years ago, is in the brink of extinction.

This nation is sunk with the economic recession, the wasteful spending, the entitlements and corruption in the government's elite, the unpopular "I'll-shove-it-down-your-throat" health care reform legislation, the crazy cap and trade and many more, all that while we wake up every day with a new Czar that trashes down the separation of powers that guarantees our liberty.

I would not be surprised if one day we wake-up with the government-controlled news that all copies of the US Constitution have been sent to Cuba, as humanitarian aid, to fill the gap of the toilet paper shortage...

But that is not the "real" thing.
The devil is backstage, in the long term consequences that, those who put our current representatives in office with their votes, might not even live to see.

I am talking about the "redistributive change" that this administration is trying to implement, kind of behind the scenes.

Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent essay on it at National Review Online. And, honestly, scares the heck out of me.

"[Obama] is an Statist." "For one of the rare times in American history, Statism could take hold, and the country could be pushed far to the left.That goal is the touchstone that explains the seemingly inexplicable — and explains also why, when Obama is losing independents, conservative Democrats, and moderate Republicans, his anxious base nevertheless keeps pushing him to become even more partisan, more left-wing, angrier, and more in a hurry to rush things through. They understand the unpopularity of the agenda and the brief shelf life of the president’s charm. One term may be enough to establish lasting institutional change."

We were warned about it, though. Rahm Emmanuel said clearly when he talked about not letting any crisis to go wasted. They all gave us plenty of signals and red flags.

But American voters chose to look to the other side, or to simply buy into the fallacy of the great savior riding a white horse that would come down from the sky to solve all our problems.

Back at the beginning of the presidential campaign, when I first started sharing my concerns about Obama's candidacy, backgrounds and associations, many people who know me well took my points with disbelief and blamed my suspicions on the PTSD any Cuban that has escaped the communist prison-island usually suffers.

But there was someone who timely corrected me and told he was not socialist, nor liberal, but an statist.

This person, who had traveled the world since a young age and saw the rising and falling of socialism and communism - one the epitomes of statism and government control- opened my eyes as to which the statist's ultimate goal is; and that worried me even more.

Last spring, I went to visit him and he personally reiterated his point. "Obama is an statist," he said. And those are the worst."

He has been so right on the target since day one, that I really don't know how he knew... lifetime experience and the ability to read the truth between the lines of censorship?

I can only tell you that fathers, also, always know best.

Sen. Edward Kennedy dies

Fox is reporting, right now on breaking news, that Edward Kennedy has died in his home. And, in about an hour, there has been like three runs of his packaged hagiography.

Never a big fan of himf or his views, and his death will not change that. But there is a family mourning a loved one right now, that calls for all my respects.

At the end, I can only wish that his soul rest in peace.


Jama y Libertad.

I still have a few minutes to join my little corner of the web to the plea in favor of this simple man. And I will certainly do.

A self-declared alcoholic, Black Cuban who dared to be in the right place, at the right time, and asked for the simplest thing a human being can ask: food (jama, the slang term used by younger generations)

Meet Pánfilo (Juan Carlos González Marcos), the unlikeliest of Cuban political prisoners.

Penúltimos Días has info on a campaign that is being put together to try to get some aid to his elder mother. I, too, wonder: Where is the Congressional Black Caucus when you need it?

H/T Penúltimos Días

Aug 25, 2009

Case closed

Black-shirted-idiot vs Common Sense

Remember the pop Colombian singer, the apolitical one, the one that will give a concert for peace in Havana's Plaza de la Revolucion?

Well, Alberto de la Cruz, over there at Babalú blog, recently posted what this "apolitical" singer said in an interview with the Mexican newspaper El Universal:

“No soy de izquierda ni de derecha y pienso que la diplomacia es el mejor camino para conseguir objetivos. Pero me parece que lo de Hugo Chávez es un chiste. Es decir, alguien que se compara con Simón Bolívar… basta leer los textos de Bolívar para darse cuenta de la diferencia. Una cosa es el populismo y otra la inteligencia. Los discursos del Che Guevara en la ONU sí son una belleza, o la lucidez con que Fidel Castro puede hablar cinco horas”.

"I am not from the left or the right and I think that diplomacy is the best path to obtain objectives. But it seems to me that Hugo Chavez is a joke. I mean, for someone who compares himself with Simon Bolivar... it is enough to read the writings of Bolivar to be able to tell the difference. One thing is populism, and another thing is intelligence. The speeches given by Che Guevara at the UN were indeed a thing of beauty, or the lucidity in which Fidel Castro can talk for five hours."

Well, maybe he could change the concert location for a more appropiate one, like right in front of La Cabaña walls, where so much Cuban blood was spilled by the firing squads commanded by his adored speaker?

Add more common sense - and a good set of pants - with this instant message from ex political prisoner Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez" (Vía Misceláneas de Cuba & Babalú):

"For Cubans with dignity the Juanes concert will be a grotesque spectacle. To play in a plaza that has been a scene of so many harangues promoting hatred and intolerance is simply outrageous! "And to appear alongside a human specimen like Silvio Rodríguez, the tyranny's little pet singer, who surely supports the regime's repression, like the revolting purges against intellectuals... If the the (Juanes) event's theme is to refrain from politicizing music and art. Then fine, I hereby implore the Castro regime to invite famous Cuban musicians in exile like Willi Chirino and Donato Poveda. These will certainly sing about the things we so desperately need: peace, justice and liberty."

No, he is not from the right nor from the left. He is just another useful idiot, choking himself with his own crap. 'Nuff said.

Wait! Maybe we can add a concise closing argument... like he sings La Camisa Roja to open his concert in Havana?

Aug 20, 2009

Rediscovering Whole Foods - UPDATED

All of the sudden, I've decided I need to try them one more time.
Why, anyone could ask?

I have always criticize them for being so expensive on their entire organic and natural galore, that some studies are even starting to double-check the whole organic thing due to contradicting data on how healthy organic foods are.

Besides, I hate fact that around this area, they are the only place selling malangas (taro root), but they are so ridiculed small and expensive that you would loose your pure o frituritas de malanga cravings in a nanosecond.

Well, despite de fact that I still hold the aforementioned views, I was impressed by Whole Food's CEO John Mackey editorial in the WSJ.

For expressing his views - different from Obama and his crew- while still supporting health care reform, this man is being demonized by the crowds of organic-tree hugging-trust fund hippies that made most of his business's clientele. (Ironies of this life, right?)

If we could only see more business offering the health care plans that Whole Foods offers to its employees!

I'll be there and I will deal with the stares at my V-6 minivan from the mostly green Prius. I'll even give them a pass at their ridiculous small and pricey malangas. And I will do it because respectful dissent has always been and will always be one of the founding pillars of America.

Michelle Malkin has testimonies from a reader who met Mackey at a hiking trail, and from some of its employees.

Quite different from the venom this guy organizing the boycott was distilling last night with Greta Van Susteren. Weird. I also thought the only ones calling for boycotts were us; crazy, radical, right-winger Cuban Americans.

FYI, I'm stopping at Whole Foods on my way home. I'll get those malangas or anything else they have on sale in the produce department.

Aug 19, 2009

Quick SMS or Tweet for Juanes UPDATED

José Martí, Cuban National Poet and Hero, once said¨:

"Visitar la casa del opresor, es sancionar la opresion. Mientras un pueblo no tenga conquistado sus derechos, el hijo suyo que pisa en...son de fiesta la casa de los que se la conculcan, es enemigo de su pueblo".

The Colombian, black-shirt wearer and peace-lover singer should also get some enlightenment from pieces like this one, or this one ; advice from artists that can not go back to Cuba, because the island's miss-government does not allow them,

And he shoudl always remember that he didn't have the pants - nor blacks or whatsoever - to invite artists from the lines of Gorki Avila to the concert.

So much for his "apolitical" Woodstock in Havana; sure, and elephants wear red Manolos and fly.

Everyone is discovering his new phase as just another useful idiot that it is just looking for publicity. Every body (including some Cubans in the island) sees that but him.

Disclaimer: that does not mean that I approve the burning and destruction of Juanes-related material. It is totally useless, counterproductive to the Cuban cause and a lousy case of doing what we're criticizing.

And PolO is right, in order to destroy it, they have had to buy it, therefore, the put money in the pockets of the guy, duh?!

UPDATE: I haven't seen the elephants wearing Manolos, yet. But The Real Cuba has some really nice waterfront lots in the Everglades for sale:

Guess who was the promoter of Juanes' 2008 concerts in Spain
August 19 - No other than Havana Club, the rum that Castro stole from its legitimate owners. Havana Club was owned by the Arechabala family.When Castro came to
power, the company plant and the trademark were stolen by the government.

The Castro brothers have continued to produce rum under the Havana Club label since 1960 and have sold it around the world.In 1994 Bacardi bought the recipe and the Havana Club name from the Arechabala family and began producing it in Puerto Rico.When Bacardi began selling its Havana Club label in the U.S., a legal battle over who owned the name erupted and the rum was pulled form the shelves.In 2006, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled against Cubaexport, the company owned by the Castro brothers, saying Bacardi has the right to the name. Since then, the real Havana Club has been sold in the U.S.

Click here to see the page promoting the concerts (upper left side announcement box. If you still think that this Juanes is "apolitical," I have a wonderful waterfront lot to sell you in the Florida Everglades.

OMG! you fishy, fishy, fishy!

Something "fishy" is happening in ... Boulder!

Too bad the WH disabled the email address where we could snitch out our dissenters neighbors, family and friends...

OK. You've got me on that one: this paranoid, castro's PTSD - courtesy of a lifetime fearing the vigilance of the CDR's and the State Security - sufferer does not buy the idea that they are retreating or that they are not keeping the contact info they've already received, and who knows for what purposes.

The Axelrod spam would be the less dangerous of all, which, BTW, is getting dangerously close to me!

H/T to Babalu Blog

Aug 18, 2009

Random (clunked) thoughts

I have had a hard time digesting the whole thing about the cash for clunkers program. Let's say that I have a huge problem with the fact that perfectly working cars are being destroyed, for the sake of having more people stuck in new car loans and to give the false promise of the economy getting better for... a couple of weeks?

I can't help to think that nine years ago, when I first arrived to this country, a $1,200 Ford Tempo was the car that we could afford to buy.

Was it a clunker? Maybe, but for me, it felt like a Mercedes and it took me from point A to point B, which is the ultimate purpose of any means of transportation, no?

There are many poor and low income working families in the community where I live and work (both immigrants and Americans) that use old clunkers because that it what they can afford. And I've known several local charities that rely of old car donations to help people in need.

However, it seems none of that matters anymore. And when you dare to question it with someone else, you run the risk to be taken as a harsh critic of Obama, like if he was really the center of the world. Not that I am a fan at all... yep, that hopeless, right winger, fear monger that I am.

So, in order to vent out my frustration, I compiled a list of reasons (articles) that explain why I think this has been another huge mistake shoved down our throats by our current administration, and yes, we are the ones paying for it.

C4C is wrong because:

1- Maybe, because... it is just another dumb stimulus idea?

2-The stimulus effect is just another case of smoke and mirrors to try to make us see the rabbit coming out of the magician hat, when the reality is the cute bunny has been living in your back pocket for a long time. “The rebate program is … emblematic of the administration’s unwise approaches to economic policy making. It borrows money to generate economic activity, which in effect borrows growth from the future, since eventually that loan will have to be paid back through higher taxes.”

3-Because it was, yet another, futile exercise where our government interfered in market dynamics that do not understand? Some sort of pan para hoy y hambre para mañana pseudo-solution?

4-Because it is hurting the charity programs who help those who need it the most. So much for the change and helping the poor… right. With friends like these, you hardly need enemies…

5-Because there was a legislative effort (Sen. Tom Coburn) to prevent the destruction of the still working clunkers to allow its donation to charities instead, and that amendment was killed by 56 of our so-savvy senators? I'm just saying... with those friends...

6-Because there are plenty of real life examples of not-so-good- outcomes.

7-Because there is catch behind the goal of protecting the environment by using more fuel efficient cars: "The money for the program is coming out of the Department of Energy’s share of the stimulus, leaving less cash left for them to apply towards green technology, and the process of manufacturing new cars while junking clunkers is apt to consume more energy than is saved by consumers trading up for more fuel-efficient cars."

And, again, I find it hard to believe that in order to save the planet, we have to destroy working cars that can solve the transportation problems of a lot of people that can not afford to sink themselves in a car loan.

8-A lot of people opposed to it, even though you probably never saw that news in your local TV channel. Many people opposed the program (54%, to be more exact), even if they would happily accept the money – it’s hard not to fall for the fallacy of free money in the current times… you know.

9-It was badly handled and managed, like everything else handled and managed by the government? And the so well-though program ran out of money after one… week?

10-There has to be something really wrong about it when even a liberal democrat calls the program a “screwed-up bureaucracy”

11-Despite being you, the taxpayer, the one that is and will foot the bill for many years to come (see clunked thought #1 and #2), the White House seems to believe that there is not need to such a thing called “transparency”, and that are really not smart enough to need to know how the program was handled.

12-Apparently, our current government tried to - using a “fishy” waiver in the C4C program website - grab private information about Americans through the dealer’s records? And when the whole thing popped out in a TV show, in less than 72 hours they changed the terms went into what we call “recoger cordel, rapidito, rapidito

13-Because it was very easy to use the program to buy… another muscle gas-guzzler car? Unintended consequences of not-very-well-though boondoggle programs at taxpayers’ expense, brought to you courtesy of your savvy and omnipotent federal program.

14-Because the net gain, according to the government’s own department of highway safety data, went toward foreign brands? FYI, the top ten clunkers are Detroit brands. The question is, of course, are they getting the message?

15-Because our federal government has now given people an incentive to stay in a cycle of car debt.

I'm just saying... just some thoughts from this cluttered mind.

Aug 14, 2009

Flag yourself!

Hello, fishy people out there!

Still worried about our current administration recent request to snitch out every body we hear talking against their health care reform proposal?

Should we start with the .pdf link from the health care reform legislation they want to shove, as it is, down to our throats? Don't know about your, but it seems pretty fishy to me...

But, no more worries! Go there and flag yourself!

If you need more stress release, join the FB group "Report my Dad to President Obama"; no matter whether your Dad is a rabid Cuban American mafioso from Miami or not.

Now, any coincidence with the half-century tactics of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution back there in the island-gulag it is just a random coincidence.

And any similitude with the request I received from the Young Communist's Union representative all through my school years there it is merely the result of your fishy, sick, twisted imagination!

Yep! Facts, are, indeed, very stubborn entities.

H/T to Pajamas Media and Michelle Malkin

Aug 13, 2009

Finally!, there might be some hope

Coloradoans are starting to open their eyes with the messiah that was delivered to them, between expensive Greek columns, during the DNC in Denver. Buyer's remorse, may be?

A recent Gallup poll places Obama's Colorado approval among the lowest in the nation.

Won't hold my breath, though.
Pero del lobo, un pelo... you know.

H/T Rocky Mountain Right

Aug 12, 2009

Would you, please... answer... the... friggin' ... question?!

Didn't think so.

One reason, please, I need someone to give one simple and single reason why should I believe these people, the President of the US included.

WH deputy press secretary can not answer a simple "yes" or "no" question because he knows the "fishy" emails with the "fishy" misinterpretation are not being deleted. Otherwise, why wouldn't he come up front and, straight forward, dismantle the public fears?

No lobbyist in this administration. Check. Lied.
No pork in my legislation. Check. Lied.
Transparency, new laws posted online. Check. Lied.

One reason.
I just need one reason strong enough for me to believe a single word coming out the mouths of these people in which hands we have place ourselves in.

H/T to Babalú Blog.

Aug 11, 2009

The real elephant in District 6's living room

Bad first time.
Very bad first time – to paraphrase the The Greeley Tribune reporter’s lead.

The school board of School District 6 Greeley-Evans voted last night to add a question in November ballot to increase property taxes to funnel their empty coffers. Really? But I mean, really? (Whatever these people are on, must be really good!)

Coloradoans are facing, one way or another, an economy in shambles, the rising unemployment and our lovely federal government racing to grab as much as they can from our lives.

But, apparently, this people from the District’s "leadership", their endless blue ribbon commissions and the school board are living in a parallel reality.

It seems they land in the area only on payday to collect their tax-funded fat checks… if not, what could be the explanation for this?

As one commenter posted in The Tribune site, raising property owner taxes to give that money to the school district is like “dumping a truck load of cocaine in the front yard of a livelong addict.”

And, don’t get me wrong. I am all for education because it is the only guarantee to a better future – what type of education our public school system provides is somewhat questionable, but that it is not important right now ;-)

But there are many things that need to happen before this Cubanita over here approves with her vote another tax increase to fund the most inept school district that I have encounter since I came the US.

First, to that historical “leadership” that is making the money of their lifetimes with out hard-earned tax dollars and delivering really shameful results: get out of our district, stat. You need to wire deeply in your brains that you work for us, that we do not work for you.

Same message goes for the school board and their money-wasting blue ribbon panels: let me see your resignation letter and then, we can sit and talk about property tax increases. Show me you how will put the money where the real value is; the teachers, and only then I would consider giving you another penny.

Actually, go and get a retreat – or at least a morning coffee – with Greeley police officers and firefighters and their union representatives. Learn from them.

Side with your struggling constituents because, at the end of the day, they are the ones you work for. Or, do you really believe you’re untouchable and above us, simple mortal taxpayers?

And please, do not try to sugar coat me with a bullet list of things you want to do with that money, for the children. That won’t cut it. Post your detailed expenses online and give me a bullet list of the things that you will cut from your budget before asking for me for more money. Didn’t we enter on transparency-mode in January or you didn’t get the WH memo?

Also, I want to see the money allocated to charter schools and school-voucher. I know the truth is hard to embrace, District 6, but you have to face it: private schools, charter schools and even home-schooling programs do WAY better than you do, with less money.

It would be good for you to look around the community you serve. The city has been on a downwards race for quite a few years now, with high paying jobs leaving the area, more empty houses, more small business closing… you know, there is only so much you can pay working in Swift or the local farms.

Do your math.
Wait a minute, maybe I am the one that needs to do the math! Nationwide, the new fashion is to engage in a spending spree like there is not tomorrow, with any accountability whatsoever. I got it! Our local “leadership” is just following the cues of the current administration! I mean, from such masters, such students…

Even if that’s the case, sorry guys, but won’t happen.

I have come to terms with the fact that my adopted homeland, in they way it was conceived many years ago, is in the brink of extinction.

But I have also realized that many Americans are waking up. And we can always take our country back, even if that means one school district at a time.

Aug 7, 2009

Surrounded by "blasphemy"

A few days ago, Alberto, over there at Babalu Blog, posted the picture of the Obama-joker that was popping out in Los Angeles and Hollywood. Yes, right there in liberal goo-goo-landia.

I am not fan of Batman - but it was my impression that the dissent side of this 1st amendment right it wouldn't settle very well in a lot of stomachs out there...

Anyway, on my way home from work today, after taking back roads to avoid traffic congestion on the main highway, I saw one poster in one four-stops intersection, in the outskirts of town.

I briefly talked about with the friend that was riding with me, complained about not having time to take a picture and noticed the "" line on the poster, but went back to our business with the conversation we were having - quite more important if you would ask.

Later on, a brief trip to the gas station with my Mom and my kiddo followed and right there, waiting on the red light, I saw this other poster, with the same line.

This time my lovely BB saved me the photo... and immediately Mr. Google told me who Alex Jones's InfoWars was, the Obama-Joker poster explanation and, the contest.

Honestly, I don't think I quite fully understand the whole message, yet. Well... maybe I do: Obama is a very bad joke? His pseudo-socialist, progressive agenda is a terrible joke for the foundation of America? Or both?

But any form of peaceful dissent in the groovy times we are living - with the WH asking Americans to snitch each other in the best 'a la Cuban CDR style' , oh, my! is this a deja vu or what?! - should be OK, to demonstrate those in higher ends of the power grab that we are not a silent majority anymore.

Besides, there is that "fishy" thing called First Amendment, you know.

As to the joker, I guess we'll need just to wait and see... but I can't help to wonder where else are these popping out?

NW corner of the intersection of US 34 and 59th Street, in West Greeley, Friday 8/7/09.

Aug 5, 2009

"Obama has dissappointed us, many Cubans that thought with his government, the opposition was going to receive support"

No, those are not my words. They are from Jose Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez", castro's ex political prisoners and one of the most lucid and outspoken dissidents back in the island-gulag.

Ejem... sorry, the race card won't work here either. As you can see, Antunez's Black ancestry is wayyyyyy closer than our POTUS's. And, to go above and beyond and be color-blind, he is a man with capital letters, something BHO is far, far, far away from.

Antunez charged back against Obama in an interview published (in Spanish) in the online magazine Cubaencuentro, which is not exactly a den for "rabid anti-castro Miami Cubans".
BTW, this is not the first time, nor is he the first Cuban dissident to talk about it, but it is certainly the first time that is pretty direct, clear and simple.
He also addressed the current situation of the opposition movement inside the island and analyzed the internal fights among different dissidence's organizations.
Due to the relevance of this brave man's words, I am posting the interview in its entirety, in my own humble English translation.
(Any resemblance with POTUS' stand on Iran and Honduras it is the result of your imagination or a pure and simple coincidence)
Antúnez asks Obama to pay attention to Cuba's human rights
CE Newsroom 05/08/2009

Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez), ex political prisoner, asked the United States' President Barack Obama to pay attention to the situation of the human rights in the island.

"Obama has disappointed us, many Cubans that thought with his government, the opposition was going to receive support (...) he has demonstrates a position of reconciliation and rapprochement with the Castro's tyranny. He has destroyed, with the stroke of a pen, the long history of solidarity and support that previous US governments have maintained towards the Cuban opposition movement," said Antunez during an interview with independent journalist Carlos Serpa Maceira.

Antúnez criticized the US president's decision to lift the family travel and remittances restrictions with the island. "Since the beginning, I was among those who have said that more remittances or more Cuban Americans flying to the island are not going to make any difference for the freedom of the Cuban people. Those trips, in their biggest majority, represent tourism and pleasure," added the dissident.

"The quest of freedom for Cuba is above remittances and traveling, the cause for the freedom of our homeland needs a compromise and a massive support not only from the US government, but also from the European Union, that is so detached, insensible and demagogic towards the suffering of the Cuban people," he added.

For the dissident, this confirms that "the solution to the case of Cuba is a matter that have to be solve between Cuban."

"We hope that the US government (...) will think about this aspect and pay more attention to the situation of the human rights in Cuba," he said.

Talking about the current situation of the internal opposition, the ex
political prisoner considered that there has been an increase in the "demonstrations of civic resistance and civil disobedience." He considers that "the vast majority of Cubans, inside and outside the opposition", believes that the streets are "the real scene to fight and resist."

"Unfortunately, we're seeing a completely negative phenomenon (...) I can see quite a few dissidents and independent journalists that are opposing the opposition," criticized the dissident.

"It hurts a lot when you see that every day there is a new letter out there, denounces to attack other dissidents and projects to question and minimize their work. I think that behind all that are the horrendous strings and the hand of the political repression forces. This, obviously, does not undermine the fact that, unfortunately, there are attitudes of caudillism, protagonism and elitism around us that reinforce this trend," stated Antunez, according to Serpa Maceira.

Regarding the relations between the opposition and the exiles, he stated that there are dissidents that "seems to want to exclude the exile from this battle."

"The Cuban nation consists of the Cuban people that is right here, of its peaceful dissidence and the exile. Any movement, trend or initiative that aim to exclude the exile (...) from our fight, that is a contentious position that will only benefit, ultimately, the Castro's regime."
This is a man in front of whom, as I've written before, I take my hat off thousand times. I hate that he has come to this realization and, as my mother always says, one should not beat the dead horse... but it feels like "I've told you so!"
Which, sadly, makes me wonder how many hopes did Cuban dissidents placed in BHO and much time will they need to open their eyes... will they need another 50 years like most of our parents needed to realize who Castro really was?
The question "How's that hopeandchange working for ya'?", inevitably, takes to me the endless quest of why we, as human beings, do not learn our lessons.
Why we insist in choosing saviours and messiahs over freedom and common sense? What else do we need to loose? How many more need to die or be repressed in order for us to learn the lesson? Why, America, do we take our freedom for granted?

15 years ago...

Photo credit: Karel Poort, Deutch photographer that was in Havana during the summer of 1994.

The "Maleconazo", the spontaneous uprising of Cubans in the streets of Havana took place during the hot summer afternoon of August 5th, 1994.

I was still living there. I've gone to one class at the university that morning and returned back to my secluded and almost incommunicado -in the peak of the "special period"- neighborhood, east of Havana.

I learned about what happened later on the day, when a neighbor that was coming back home from Centro Habana saw what was happening in the streets.

Only those who happened to be in that high-transited area of the capital learned first hand what was going on. The national newscast, surprise!, on its evening edition, put up some pieces conveniently whitewashed by the State Security, with the videos concentrating mostly in the images of Castro I, taking the glory of walking in el Malecón during the disturbs.

No mention there was no protester left by the time he arrived.
No mention the construction workers from the Blas Roca brigade that were hauled in trucks, mixed with police and military officers in plain clothes, to bit up the protesters with iron bars.

Here is a series of unpublished photos from Karel Poort, a Dutch photographer that was in Havana in those days, posted at Desarraigos Provocados (Spanish). Check them in detail and you'll be able to see the plain clothes regime's thugs waving guns at the protesters.
The heat had been piling on since the tugboat massacre.
We were having 8 hours with electricity and 8 hours without it, on a rotating basis, every single day. And we, living in the capital, were lucky. My relatives in Pinar del Río and Ciego Ávila were surviving with stretches of blackouts of 12-14 hours in a row. It was summer time in the Caribbean, remember?

No food with the rationing card, almost nothing to get in the black market. Red kidney beans from last century -they were hard as rocks- was barely the only thing you would get from the government.

We had to wash clothes with aspirins and rinse them in water mixed with a little bit of alcohol in order to get rid of some of the dirt and stinking smell of human sweat in summer time...

The black market exchange for US dollars was between 120-150 pesos while the median salary was around 180 Cuban pesos a month. You do the math...

The regimen pushed the Cuban spirit to its outer limits; and they succeed. The Maleconazo, as spontaneous as it was, ended up in a matter of hours.

A few days later, a meager ration of chicken, half pound of cooking oil per person and some domestic dish washing liquid -throught the rationing card- did the trick.
And business was back as usual.

Recently someone told me, back there in el terruño, that the regimen used "the special period" to test Cubans limits, to test them as to how long would the sheep take it.

"They succeed," this person told me. "Now they know nothing will happen if they push us to those limits again, and they will do in the next chance they have."

"Indeed,"I said. "It is just the poster example of how the dictatorship has been breaking Cubans souls for 50 years. We've been broken down, and I am not sure whether is too late..."

Only a handful are resisting and, sadly, they go almost unknown by the average Cuban. They are the unsung heroes of an island that is stuck in time and lost in the future.