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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cuba and the United States Return to the Trenches

Cuba and the United States Return to the Trenches / Iván García

Iván García, 19 June 2017 — For both countries it amounts to a remake of
the Cold War, this time in version 2.0. It will take time to determine
the scope of the contest or if the new diplomatic battle will involve
only bluffs, idle threats and blank bullets.

With an unpredictable buffoon like Donald Trump and a conspiratorial
autocrat like Raul Castro, anything could happen.

The dispute between Cuba and the United States is like an old love
story, one peppered with resentments, disagreements and open admiration
for the latter's opportunities and consumerist lifestyle.

Beginning in January 1959, the dispute between Havana and Washington
took on an ideological tone when a bearded Fidel Castro opted for
communism right under Uncle Sam's nose. The country allied itself with
the former Soviet Union and had the political audacity to confiscate the
properties of U.S. companies and to aim nuclear weapons at Miami and New
York.

Successive American administrations, from Eisenhower to George Bush Jr.,
responded with an embargo, international isolation and subversion in an
attempt to overthrow the Castro dictatorship.

Times changed but objectives remained the same. Castro's Cuba, ruled by
a totalitarian regime which does not respect human rights and represses
those who think differently, is not the kind of partner with which the
White House likes to do business.

But the art of politics allows for double standards. For various
reasons, Persian Gulf monarchies and Asian countries such as China and
Vietnam — countries which have leap-frogged over democracy like Olympic
athletes and are also heavy-handed in their use of power — are allies of
the United States or have been granted most favored nation status by the
U.S. Congress.

To the United States, Cuba — a capricious and arrogant dictatorship
inflicting harm on universally held values — is different. Washington is
correct in theory but not in its solution.

Fifty-five years of diplomatic, economic and financial warfare combined
with a more or less subtle form of subversion, support for dissidents,
the free flow of information, private businesses and an internet free of
censorship have not produced results.

The communist regime is still in place. What to do? Remain politically
blind and declare war on an impoverished neighbor or to try to coexist
peacefully?

Washington's biggest problem is that there is no effective mechanism for
overturning dictatorial or hostile governments by remote control. The
White House repeatedly shoots itself in the foot.

The embargo is more effective as a publicity tool for the Castro regime
than it is for the United States. This is because the military junta,
which controls 90% of the island's economy, can still trade with the
rest of the world.

The very global nature of modern economies limits the effectiveness of a
total embargo. In the case of Cuba, the embargo has more holes in it
than a block of Swiss cheese. Hard currency stores on the island sell
"Made in the USA" household appliances, American cigarettes and the
ubiquitous Coca Cola.

There are those who have advocated taking a hard line when it comes to
the Cuban regime. In practice, their theories have not proved effective,
though they would argue that Obama's approach has not worked either.

They have a point. The nature of a dictatorship is such that it is not
going to collapse when faced with a Trojan Horse. But as its leaders
start to panic, doubts begin to set in among party officials as support
grows among a large segment of the population. And what is most
important for American interests is to win further approval from the
international community for its geopolitical management.

Obama's speech in Havana, in which he spoke of democratic values while
directly addressing a group of wrinkled Caribbean strongmen, was more
effective than a neutron bomb.

There are many Cubans who recognize that the root of their problems —
from a disastrous economy to socialized poverty, daily shortages and a
future without hope — lies in the Palace of the Revolution.

Hitting the dictatorship in its pocketbook has not worked. In Cuba, as
Trump knows all too well, every business and corporation which deals in
hard currency belongs to the government.

And all the money that comes into the country in the form of remittances
ends up, in one form or another, in the state treasury. Sanctions only
affect the people. I am convinced that, if Cuba's autocrats lack for
anything, it is more digits in their secret bank accounts.

Like other politicians and some members of Congress, Donald Trump is
only looking at the Cuban landscape superficially.

The United States can spend millions to support Cuban dissidents (though
96% of the money goes to anti-Castro organizations based in Florida),
launch international campaigns and impose million-dollar fines on
various foreign banks to punish them for doing business with the
Caribbean dictatorship, but they overlook one thing: the regime's
opponents — local figures who would presumably be leaders of any
prolonged, peaceful battle for democracy on the island — are failing.

The reasons vary. They range from intense repression to the opposition's
proverbial inability to turn out even five-hundred people for a rally in
a public square.

I understand the frustration of my compatriots in the diaspora. I too
have suffered. I have
not seen my mother, my sister or my niece in the fourteen years since
the Black Spring in 2003 forced them to leave for Switzerland.

Various strategies have been tried yet the island's autocrats still have
not given up. They are not going to change of their own free will. They
will retreat to the trenches, their natural habitat, where they can
maneuver more easily. And they will have the perfect pretext for
portraying themselves as victims.

As is already well known, the real blockade is the one the government
imposes on its citizens through laws and regulations that hinder them
from accumulating capital, accessing foreign sources of credit and
importing goods legally.

The regime has created anachronistic obstacles to the free importation
of goods from abroad by imposing absurd tariffs and restrictions.

But Cubans want a real democracy, not a caricature. We have to
understand that we must find the solutions to our problems ourselves.

Cuba is a matter for Cubans, wherever they happen to reside. All that's
lacking is for we ourselves to believe it.

Source: Cuba and the United States Return to the Trenches / Iván García
– Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuba-and-the-united-states-return-to-the-trenches-ivn-garca/

Descienden graduados en Cuba por quinto año consecutivo

Descienden graduados en Cuba por quinto año consecutivo
Posted on 24 Junio, 2017
Por Daniel Benítez

La época de graduaciones multitudinarias en todos los niveles
educacionales parece definitivamente un escenario del pasado en Cuba.

Según cifras oficiales, se registró un descenso entre los egresados de
todos los niveles, para totalizar poco más de 400,507 durante el curso
escolar 2015/2016.

Es el quinto año consecutivo que la cantidad de graduados desciende.

Estas estadísticas están muy distantes de los computados para el ciclo
2010/2011, cuando salieron con diferentes diplomas un total de 554,830;
el curso siguiente la cifra fue de 539,139, mientras en el
correspondiente al 2012/2013 el número de egresados apenas se acercó
al medio millón, con un total de 497,142.

Menos egresados universitarios

El reporte publicado por la Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas e
Información (ONEI) refleja que en el pasado período lectivo los
graduados de la educación superior tuvieron una disminución de 12,290
con relación a 2014/2015, cuando se registraron 36,261 licenciados. La
cifra queda muy lejos de los 89,560 graduados que salieron titulados por
una institución universitaria en 2011/2012.

Las Facultades Obreras Campesinas también decrecieron en cantidad de
egresados con una cifra de 11,945, distante de los 59,069 que emergieron
de sus aulas en 2010/2011.

En el informe se señala además que la matrícula inicial para el curso
2016/2017, que aún no tiene cifras finales, reflejó un incremento de
36,575 alumnos para un total de 2,030,432.

Sobresale el Ministerio de Salud Pública (MINSAP) con un crecimiento en
educandos de 6,595, fijando en 76,329 los que estudian carreras
relacionadas con la Medicina en todo el país.

En el presente ano lectivo el personal docente para cubrir las distintas
asignaturas fue de 194,811, de los cuales 147,293 fueron mujeres. El
personal no docente por su parte sumó unas 114,654 personas.

Source: Descienden graduados en Cuba por quinto año consecutivo - Cafe
Fuerte -
http://cafefuerte.com/cuba/30980-descienden-graduados-cuba-quinto-ano-consecutivo/

Podrían cancelarse los conciertos en Cuba de artistas estadounidenses, según expertos

Podrían cancelarse los conciertos en Cuba de artistas estadounidenses,
según expertos
Alberto Fiallo

Varios expertos consideran que el flujo de artistas estadounidenses a la
Isla no se detendrá, pese a la nueva política hacia Cuba anunciada
recientemente por el presidente Donald Trump.

No obstante, los artistas estadounidenses que quieran continuar
visitando Cuba tendrán que olvidarse de pedir reserva en hoteles de lujo
como el Saratoga o el flamante Kempinski y deberán irse con las maletas
a algún arrendatario particular para no violar las nuevas normas
establecidas.

Las regulaciones prohíben a los ciudadanos estadounidenses gastar dinero
en hoteles gestionados por el grupo empresarial (GAESA), que agrupa a
empresas de las Fuerzas Armadas y tiene a su cargo el grupo turístico
Gaviota que gestiona más de 53 hoteles y una empresa de alquiler de
autos, entre otros negocios.

En cualquier caso, las grandes estrellas del espectáculo, habituadas a
viajar con el máximo de confort y todos los caprichos cubiertos, no
podrán disfrutar de la creciente industria del turismo de lujo en Cuba
ni de los grandes hoteles en Varadero y el resto de los "paraísos" del país.

Si bien no es imposible, el camino para organizar conciertos en Cuba se
complejizará aún más cuando comiencen a entrar en vigor las nuevas
medidas de Trump.

"Será un poco más difícil organizar un evento", dijo el abogado Pedro
Freyre a la revista de música Billboard.

Freyre, director de práctica internacional en el bufete de abogados
Akerman en Miami y experto en relaciones comerciales entre Estados
Unidos y Cuba dijo que "tendrán que navegar por un campo minado de a
quién puedes tratar: ¿Puedo sentarme en la mesa con esta entidad o no?
¿Puedo pagar a esta entidad o no? Es un efecto escalofriante cuando el
tío Sam está mirando por encima de tu hombro".

En los últimos dos años La Habana se estaba convirtiendo en la ciudad de
moda de las estrellas del mundo del espectáculo en Estados Unidos. En
muy poco tiempo viajaron a la isla figuras como Madonna, Beyonce, Bon
Jon Jovi, Katty Perry, Kanye West y Kim Kardashian y, además de de Diplo
y Major Lazer que ofrecieron un multitudinario concierto en la Tribuna
Antiimperialista.

Según medios de la Isla este año se esperaba al salsero nacido en
Estados Unidos, Marc Anthony, pero según especialistas cubanos es casi
imposible que suceda.

"Todo estaba casi listo para este concierto en el que Marc Anthony
cantaría junto a Gente de Zona y quizás Jennifer López, pero con la
vuelta de Trump a la Guerra Fría es casi imposible que se pueda realizar
ese espectáculo", dijo un crítico musical cubano que prefirió el
anonimato. "Son demasiadas trabas burocráticas por parte del gobierno
norteamericano para que conciertos como ese puedan realizarse sin
tensiones", agregó.

Source: Podrían cancelarse los conciertos en Cuba de artistas
estadounidenses, según expertos - CiberCuba -
https://www.cibercuba.com/noticias/2017-06-23-u174664-e20037-podrian-cancelarse-conciertos-cuba-artistas-estadounidenses

Saber la verdad del régimen no basta

Saber la verdad del régimen no basta
A 30 años de la Glásnost, una mayor circulación de información en la
Isla no ha debilitado al castrismo
Viernes, junio 23, 2017 | Ernesto Santana Zaldívar

LA HABANA, Cuba.- En Cuba, durante bastante tiempo, pareció lógico creer
que, dado el profundo temor que siempre mostraba el gobierno por la
libre información, bastaba cierta circulación de datos y noticias no
controlados para que el castrismo comenzara a desintegrarse.

Durante gran parte de la revolución, el partido comunista logró evitar
con notable éxito que a los ciudadanos cubanos les llegara información
sobre la que él no tenía control, tanto la que provenía del exterior
como la que se generaba precisamente dentro del país. La verdad era un
arma del enemigo y con ella no se podía construir un sistema político
tan ajeno a la naturaleza humana como el comunismo.

El dominio sobre todos los medios masivos de comunicación era tan férreo
que, para conocer algunas noticias sobre lo que ocurría de veras en
otros países o para escuchar la música que más sonaba en el mundo, tenía
uno que sintonizar emisoras extranjeras de manera preferiblemente
clandestina.

En la segunda parte de los ochenta, todo empezó a complicarse para el
gobierno. Surgió Radio Martí, con su temible eslogan "la información es
poder" y con una señal tan fuerte que podía captarse claramente en casi
todo el país. Comenzó también en la Unión Soviética una renovación
encabezada por Mijaíl Gorbachov donde la transparencia informativa cobró
gran importancia. En Cuba, además, echó a andar definitivamente el
periodismo independiente.

Comenzaron entonces, por supuesto, a darse algunos acontecimientos e
incluso algunos cambios importantes en la vida social, cultural y
política del país, que fueron en gran parte consecuencia de una
inusitada circulación de la información. Los testigos de aquello que
comenzó hace treinta años con la perestroika y la Glásnost nunca
olvidaremos las esperanzas que trajo.

La gente acudía como nunca a los estanquillos solo para comprar la
prensa que venía del "campo socialista". El gobierno ordenó desaparecer
publicaciones soviéticas como Sputnik, Novedades de Moscú o Literatura
Soviética, además de innumerables revistas de otros países de Europa del
Este, pero eso no impidió que siguieran creciendo las expectativas de
cambios.

Tan insoportable como la posterior decisión del líder soviético de
retirar sus tropas de Europa del Este, debió resultar para Fidel Castro
que Gorbachov declarara a la revista Time que "detestaba mentir". A la
Glásnost, de hecho, el Comandante la llamaba burlonamente "la mujer de
otro". Por eso, en el cacareado "proceso de rectificación de errores" en
la Cuba de entonces no hubo nada parecido a un adulterio.

Ya desde antes de las reformas en la Unión Soviética y en otros países
de su bloque existió el fenómeno de las publicaciones clandestinas, que
en Cuba no se dieron con notable impacto. Cuando terminaron los 70 años
de falsas noticias en la URSS, aquella búsqueda clandestina de la verdad
afectó el modo en que ocurrió el colapso, pues los disidentes habían
creado la expectativa de que un nuevo lenguaje era posible, expresando
la realidad sin filtrarla por el poder.

Finalmente cayó el muro de Berlín y desaparecieron el "socialismo real"
y la propia Unión Soviética. Aquí, nos pareció que veíamos un destello
al final del túnel. "Ya viene llegando", cantaba Willy Chirino. Muchos
creyeron que el derrumbe del castrismo era cuestión de días, o al menos
solo de meses. No era una ilusión gratuita. Tan asombrosa como la caída
del comunismo fue la supervivencia de este gobierno totalitario.

La Cuba de finales de los ochenta, recordemos, estaba muy viva. En los
ámbitos de la política y de la cultura, en la sociedad y en la mente de
las personas, ocurrieron cambios como no se habían dado nunca en treinta
años de revolución. Pero llegaron los años noventa y llegó el abismo;
llegó la miseria total, la muerte y la fuga.

Desde entonces, en el alma de muchos cubanos, este país es solo una
catástrofe de la que hay que escapar, incluso cuando no puedan salir de
aquí. Y, 30 años después, en Cuba, el ciudadano real casi ha
desaparecido; no hay nada parecido a una intelectualidad, la sociedad
civil al margen del régimen está bajo enormes presiones, como el
activismo político, que no ha podido alcanzar la fuerza necesaria.

Actualmente, pese a la censura y el control gubernamental, en nuestro
país hay mayor circulación de información libre que nunca antes en casi
60 años, sobre todo a través de medios digitales. En realidad, es muy
difícil a estas alturas no encontrar de alguna manera lo que uno quiere
saber.

Pero esa mayor libertad informativa —aunque tenga efectos muy
desagradables para el régimen que este siempre tratará de evitar o
minimizar— no ha conseguido el impacto esperado y no ha debilitado
mortalmente a la dictadura, sobre todo porque no ha habido una
estrategia efectiva para encauzar la necesidad de cambios profundos.

El poder de la información fue muy sobrevalorado por muchos. Es evidente
que gran cantidad de personas puede juzgar ahora con innumerables
elementos a su alcance y obtener mayor certeza sobre cualquier tema,
pero eso no implica un cambio cualitativo ni una progresión esencial.
Poder saber la verdad no basta si esa verdad no importa lo suficiente.
Saber dónde se está no es lo único necesario para saber a dónde ir.

Source: Saber la verdad del régimen no basta CubanetCubanet -
https://www.cubanet.org/destacados/saber-la-verdad-del-regimen-no-basta/

Cuba policy change: Poultry exports could be impacted

Cuba policy change: Poultry exports could be impacted
By Mary Sell Montgomery Bureau Jun 25, 2017

MONTGOMERY – Agriculture officials and industry leaders in Alabama for
years have lobbied for expanded exports to socialist Cuba, a country
where they see a promising market for the state's poultry products.

Now they're waiting to see what President Donald Trump's recent, more
restrictive policy change with Cuba will mean for the millions of tons
of poultry that leave Mobile for the island nation every month.

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan last week said exports to
Cuba could be impacted by that country's response to the president's
directive.

"Particularly, with Raul Castro stepping down in early '18," McMillan
said. "We're going to be anxious to see what the Cuban government's
policy is going to be.

"If something undesirable happens there, that would be on the Cuba
side," he said. "We hope that doesn't happen."

Earlier this month, Trump said the U.S. would impose new limits on U.S.
travelers to the island, and ban any payments to the military-linked
conglomerate that controls much of the island's tourism industry, the
Associated Press reported.

Trump also declared "the harboring of criminals and fugitives will end.
You have no choice. It will end."

He said the U.S. would consider lifting those and other restrictions
only after Cuba returned fugitives and made a series of other internal
changes, including freeing political prisoners, allowing freedom of
assembly, and holding free elections.

Cuba's foreign minister later rejected the policy change, saying, "We
will never negotiate under pressure or under threat." He also said Cuba
refuses to return U.S. fugitives who have received asylum in Cuba.

About 7 million tons of poultry are shipped from the Port of Mobile each
month to Cuba. But Cuba has other options for importing agriculture
products, McMillan said, including Mexico, South America and Canada.

"They have choices. Some of those choices may be more expensive, that
may be our advantage," said McMillan, who has taken multiple trips to
Cuba and advocated for expanded agriculture exports.

There are human rights violations in China, but no one is cutting off
trade there, McMillan said.

"The bottom line, I think, is that the best way to format change down
there is to continue trade with them," he said.

Armando de Quesada of Hartselle disagrees. He was 10 when he fled Cuba
in 1962. On this issue, he agrees with Trump.

"Any dollars that go to Cuba automatically go to the Castro regime,"
Quesada said. "It's not like here. Over there, the government owns
everything. There's no benefit to the Cuban people."

Growth of private industry is limited, and Quesada doesn't think opening
relations between the two countries will effect change.

"I don't think enriching them helps the cause of freedom," he said. "It
doesn't help the people."

Ag shipments to Cuba weren't part of former President Barack Obama's
policy with the socialist country. In 2000, Congress began allowing a
limited amount of agriculture exports to Cuba.

"We've been trading with them for some time," said Johnny Adams,
executive director of the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association. While
Obama made it easier, it's still cumbersome, he said.

"We're not allowed to give them credit. They have to pay us up front
through a third party," Adams said. "Normalizing trade would make it a
lot easier."

Like McMillan, Adams has been to Cuba multiple times.

"We have the highest quality, most reasonably priced poultry in the
world and we're 90 miles away," Adams said.

"Hopefully, everyone can sit down and work things out between the two
countries," Adams said. "We've enjoyed our relationship with the Cuban
people, and would like to see it get better."

Source: Cuba policy change: Poultry exports could be impacted | State
Capital | timesdaily.com -
http://www.timesdaily.com/news/state-capital/cuba-policy-change-poultry-exports-could-be-impacted/article_b5b4e281-978f-5f8c-bf8d-79e2643e2440.html

The real reason Trump wanted Cuba restrictions

Commentary: The real reason Trump wanted Cuba restrictions
OPINION By Jonathan C. Brown - Special to the American-Statesman
LYNNE SLADKY
Posted: 4:00 p.m. Saturday, June 24, 2017

President Donald Trump's reversal of his predecessor's Cuban policies
proves once again that all politics are local. The White House says that
the regime of Raúl Castro should reform its own political structure,
become more democratic and release political prisoners. However, the
U.S. does not impose these broad internal reforms on other nations such
as Russia and Saudi Arabia. Why treat Cuba differently?
Only one American serviceman has died confronting Havana. He was an Air
Force pilot shot down in Cuban airspace during the 1962 missile crisis.
On the other hand, Washington has renewed political and trade relations
with the autocratic regimes in China and Vietnam despite their armed
forces having killed thousands of American soldiers in the Korean and
Vietnamese wars.

Washington continues to punish Cuba because of U.S. domestic politics.
Nearly a million refugees fled from Cuba since 1959, and most settled in
South Florida. Those who came for political reasons formed a powerful
lobby that has been instrumental in the making of every Republican
president from Richard Nixon to, yes, Trump. Republican Party debts
remain more important in the U.S. relationship with Cuba than the
island's actual behavior on the international scene.

Here is where domestic politics enters the equation. Punishing Cuba
satisfies only one dwindling constituency in this nation — Cuban
refugees mainly from the first two decades of the revolution. U.S. Rep.
Mario Díaz-Balart — who stood prominently at Trump's side as he signed
the renewed restrictions — serves as a case in point.

In the 1950s, the congressman's father, Rafael Díaz-Balart, served as
Fulgencio Batista's deputy minister of the interior, the ministry
responsible for internal security and running the prisons. Rafael
Díaz-Balart and other officers of Batista's dictatorship fled from Cuba
during the first weeks of the Cuban Revolution in January 1959.

What is more, the elder Díaz-Balart's sons have family ties to the
Castros. Mario and his brother Lincoln, the ex-U.S. congressman from
South Florida, are cousins of Fidel Castro's first-born son, Fidelito,
who remains loyal to the revolution. They owe this family link to their
aunt, Mirta Díaz-Balart, who married Fidel before he began his rebellion
against the Batista regime. The couple divorced in 1954 while Fidel was
spending time in brother-in-law Rafael's prisons.

This first wave of pro-Batista refugees established several anti-Castro
movements in the Miami and New York areas as early as 1959. Soon
thereafter, they were joined in exile by a massive wave of politicos who
had opposed Batista along with Fidel but found themselves pushed aside
as Castro's guerrilla revolutionaries seized control of most
governmental institutions. Among the refugees were Catholic activists
and middle-class youths from the universities whose departure from Cuba
by the thousands was financed by the CIA and other U.S. agencies. For
more than a half century they have been taking their revenge on those
countrymen who remained with Fidel.

By 1981, the most politicized of these two groups — the Batistianos and
the exiled moderate revolutionists — joined together in the Cuban
American National Foundation (CANF).

Modeled on pro-Israeli Jewish groups, the CANF dedicated itself to
lobbying the U.S. government to tighten restrictions on American travel
and trade with Cuba. The foundation raised money for political
candidates mainly but not exclusively from the Republican Party who
promised no quarter for Castro's communist dictatorship. Their effective
anti-communist campaign lasted well beyond the fall of Fidel's chief
benefactor, the Soviet Union.

Yet, Fidel did not fall. Fidel was able to rule for 47 years, retire
peacefully and leave power to his brother.

Trump's directive will achieve two out of three of its intentions. 1) It
will reduce U.S. investments and tourism in Cuba. 2) It will satisfy the
resentments of the first generation Cuban-Americans for the loss of
their homeland to the revolutionaries; in gratitude, they will support
the president's re-election in 2020.

But the new Cuba policy will not promote democracy on the island but
reinforce autocracy at the expense of the average Cuban's well-being.
This has been the legacy of the U.S. economic blockade of the past 60 years.

Brown is a professor of history at the University of Texas.

Source: Commentary: The real reason Trump wanted Cuba restrictions -
http://www.mystatesman.com/news/opinion/commentary-the-real-reason-trump-wanted-cuba-restrictions/hAIPJBqNcqdk9fw7G7o28K/

Madrid admite que la represión 'no está en consonancia con los objetivos' del acuerdo La Habana-UE

Madrid admite que la represión 'no está en consonancia con los
objetivos' del acuerdo La Habana-UE
DDC | Madrid | 25 de Junio de 2017 - 13:56 CEST.

El Gobierno español reconoce que las "acciones" contra los disidentes en
Cuba "no están en consonancia con los objetivos" del Acuerdo de Diálogo
Político y Cooperación firmado el pasado diciembre entre la Unión
Europea y el Gobierno de Raúl Castro. No obstante, dice que se interesa
por esos casos desde "el respeto mutuo y con la mayor discreción",
reporta la agencia Europa Press.

Esa fue la respuesta que recibió Fernando Maura, diputado del partido
Ciudadanos, quien se interesó por la detención, el pasado 9 de marzo,
del líder de la Unión Patriótica Cubana (UNPACU), José Daniel Ferrer, en
Santiago de Cuba. Ferrer fue liberado 24 horas después.

Maura preguntó al Gobierno si era consciente de la situación y si tenía
previsto interesarse por el caso ante las autoridades cubanas. Además,
denunció que "el Gobierno cubano no ha cesado en su hostigamiento contra
sus disidentes".

En su respuesta, el Gobierno español dice tener "constancia de la
denuncia que organizaciones de la sociedad civil han hecho pública en
torno al aumento de acciones dirigidas contra activistas y
representantes de la sociedad civil críticos con las autoridades
cubanas, unas acciones que no están en consonancia con los objetivos
planteados" en el acuerdo con la UE.

Y añade que "el grado de confianza e interlocución alcanzado con el
Gobierno cubano ha permitido, desde el respeto mutuo y con la mayor
discreción, un interés por estos asuntos en los contactos bilaterales
con las autoridades cubanas".

La respuesta del Gobierno llegó al Congreso el pasado 31 de mayo, apenas
dos días antes de que el Ejecutivo diese luz verde al acuerdo UE-Cuba y
lo enviase a las Cortes para su ratificación, y mes y medio después de
la visita a Madrid del ministro de Asuntos Exteriores cubano, Bruno
Rodríguez, quien fue recibido por el rey Felipe VI, el presidente del
Gobierno, Mariano Rajoy, la presidenta del Congreso, Ana Pastor, el
ministro de Asuntos Exteriores, Alfonso Dastis, y partidos políticos

Rodríguez transmitió a Rajoy y al rey una invitación de Raúl Castro para
realizar una visita de Estado a Cuba "lo antes posible". La respuesta
del Gobierno español fue positiva, pero fuentes diplomáticas y cercanas
al Ejecutivo dijeron esta semana a DIARIO DE CUBA que se estaría
considerando "aparcar" al menos el viaje del monarca.

Según las fuentes, se habría recomendado a Felipe VI esperar a que Raúl
Castro deje el poder en febrero próximo y un nuevo gobernante asuma,
para tener entonces un gesto hacia La Habana.

Madrid baldeó en los últimos años su discurso público sobre Cuba para
limpiarlo de críticas al régimen, sin ocultar su deseo de ampliar las
ventajas de las empresas españolas en la Isla, sobre todo en el turismo.

España lideró el acercamiento de la UE a La Habana para firmar un
Acuerdo de Diálogo Político y Cooperación y poner fin a Posición Común,
que desde 2003 exigía al régimen respeto a los derechos humanos y
transformaciones democráticas.

Source: Madrid admite que la represión 'no está en consonancia con los
objetivos' del acuerdo La Habana-UE | Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1498391808_32113.html

UNPACU: Jorge Cervantes está al borde de un paro renal

UNPACU: Jorge Cervantes está al borde de un paro renal
DDC | Las Tunas | 25 de Junio de 2017 - 02:15 CEST.

La vida del prisionero político Jorge Cervantes "corre serio peligro"
tras 32 días en huelga de hambre, alertó José Daniel Ferrer, líder de la
Unión Patriótica de Cuba (UNPACU).

"Sus riñones están presentando serios problemas. El médico que le
atiende teme un paro renal", añadió Ferrer en un vídeo difundido por su
organización.

Cervantes, coordinador de la UNPACU en Las Tunas, permanece desde el
pasado lunes en la sala de penados del hospital Ernesto Guevara de esa
provincia.

"Este valiente activista ha puesto en peligro su vida en múltiples
ocasiones en la lucha por la libertad, por la democracia, por el respeto
a los derechos humanos", dijo Ferrer.

Cervantes fue detenido el pasado 23 de mayo. La policía política ha
dicho a su esposa, Gretchen Alfonso Torres, que se le acusa de "desacato
y atentado" contra autoridades del Ministerio del Interior en Las Tunas.

La UNPACU defiende que los delitos son falsos y que las represalias
contra el opositor se deben a sus denuncias sobre la corrupción de
dirigentes del Partido Comunista y la policía política en la provincia.

Cervantes es uno de los miembros más activos de la UNPACU. Según su
esposa, desde septiembre de 2016 ha sufrido 14 detenciones y su vivienda
ha sido "asaltada" por operativos de la Seguridad del Estado en ocho
ocasiones.

La Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana (FNCA) publicó un comunicado en
el que dijo estar "profundamente preocupada" por la situación actual de
Cervantes.

La organización del exilio realiza una campaña de recogida de firmas en
internet para exigir la liberación del activista.

Source: UNPACU: Jorge Cervantes está al borde de un paro renal | Diario
de Cuba - http://www.diariodecuba.com/derechos-humanos/1498349751_32105.html

Plus Ultra conectará desde julio La Habana y Barcelona con vuelos directos

Plus Ultra conectará desde julio La Habana y Barcelona con vuelos directos
AGENCIAS | Barcelona | 25 de Junio de 2017 - 11:15 CEST.

La aerolínea española Plus Ultra se convertirá en julio en la primera en
unir de forma directa La Habana con Barcelona, informaron fuentes de la
compañía citadas por EFE.

Plus Ultra viajará a La Habana en código compartido con la
estatal Cubana de Aviación y tiene previsto el vuelo inaugural para el
próximo 1 de julio, cuando desde Barcelona partirá una aeronave que
realizará el trayecto inverso al día siguiente.

La ruta será presentada en un acto este domingo en La Habana, al que se
prevé la asistencia de autoridades del Gobierno cubano y representantes
diplomáticos de España, así como del vicepresidente de Plus Ultra, Julio
Martínez Sola, y funcionarios de los sectores del turismo y la
aeronáutica de la Isla.

La compañía española, que obtuvo su certificado de operador aéreo (AOC)
en julio de 2015, ha apostado desde su puesta en marcha por las
conexiones con Latinoamérica, y opera en la actualidad, entre otras,
rutas desde España a Lima y Santiago de Chile, a las que ahora se suma
La Habana.

Las conexiones latinoamericanas se realizan con una flota de aviones
Airbus A340-300.

Según datos difundidos en 2016, desde julio del 2015 la aerolínea,
fundada por el antiguo propietario y presidente de Air Madrid, Fernando
González, ha transportado 159.000 pasajeros en su operación regular y
chárter, con una plantilla actual de casi 300 personas.

La compañía será la cuarta aerolínea española en volar a Cuba, destino
que ya operan con rutas regulares Iberia, Air Europa y Evelop
(perteneciente a viajes Barceló).

Cuba registró en 2016 una cifra récord de cuatro millones de visitantes
foráneos. El Gobierno cree que en 2017 serán 4,2 millones los turistas.

En lo que va de año, según datos del Ministerio cubano de Turismo, la
llegada de españoles se incrementó en un 10%.

Source: Plus Ultra conectará desde julio La Habana y Barcelona con
vuelos directos | Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1498382131_32106.html

Las Damas de Blanco piden a la diplomacia de Surinam ayuda para sus tres miembros varadas en ese país

Las Damas de Blanco piden a la diplomacia de Surinam ayuda para sus tres
miembros varadas en ese país
DDC | Madrid | 24 de Junio de 2017 - 13:19 CEST.

Las Damas de Blanco pidieron este viernes a los representantes
diplomáticos de Surinam en Bruselas que intercedan por las integrantes
del grupo femenino varadas junto a sus familiares en el país sudamericano.

Las mujeres llevan unos 18 días junto a otros cubanos —entre ellos
varios activistas— ante la sede del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones
Unidas para los Refugiados (ACNUR). Piden "una solución a la difícil
situación" que atraviesan. Temen ser deportadas a Cuba.

"Su situación [en Surinam] es muy difícil ya que tienen hijos que no
pueden ir a la escuela porque carecen de status alguno", dicen las Damas
de Blanco en su carta para explicar la petición.

Mencionan también las constantes represalias que sufren las mujeres en
Cuba. "La represión en el país se ha recrudecido, especialmente contra
ellas y sus familias, y es por ello que optaron por abandonar el país
buscando mejores condiciones de vida".

Las tres miembros del grupo varadas en Surinam son Ivoini Maralobo Melo,
quien está en el país con su esposo, Ambrosio Villegas Marrero, y de sus
hijas de 11 y 12 años Yariana y Dariana Villegas Moralobo; Joisy Regla
Jaramillo Sánchez, quien se encuentra junto a su hija Xadany de la
Caridad Rosales Jaramillo, de 10 años de edad, y María Hortensia Milián
Pedroso.

Todas salieron de Cuba entre noviembre y diciembre de 2016, antes de que
el entonces presidente estadounidense Barack Obama anunciara, el 12 de
enero, el fin de la política "pies secos/pies mojados", pero no pudieron
llegar a tiempo a territorio estadounidense.

La ACNUR ya reconoció el estatus de refugiados a Moralobo Melo, su
esposo y sus dos hijas, además de al activista Pavel Herrera, pero no a
los demás cubanos en la misma situación, que suman unos 11.

Source: Las Damas de Blanco piden a la diplomacia de Surinam ayuda para
sus tres miembros varadas en ese país | Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/derechos-humanos/1498303199_32094.html

El régimen quiere acusar a Manuel Alejandro León de 'transmitir noticias falsas' contra la Revolución

El régimen quiere acusar a Manuel Alejandro León de 'transmitir noticias
falsas' contra la Revolución
DDC | Guantánamo | 24 de Junio de 2017 - 21:15 CEST.

El régimen amenaza con procesar al periodista de DIARIO DE CUBA Manuel
Alejandro León Velázquez por supuestamente "transmitir noticias falsas"
contra la Revolución, informaron este sábado su esposa, Margarita Aranda
Tejeda, y el líder de la Alianza Democrática Oriental (ADO), Isael Poveda.

León Velázquez está detenido desde el jueves en la unidad de Operaciones
de la Seguridad del Estado en Guantánamo, su ciudad de residencia.

Su esposa y su madre, Belkis Velázquez, fueron citadas por segunda vez
este sábado por los agentes, que no les permitieron ver al periodista.

"Estoy muy preocupada por su situación porque ni siquiera me dejaron
verlo. No sé cómo está", declaró a Aranda Tejeda a DIARIO DE CUBA.
"Dijeron que van a determinar si lo van a procesar", añadió.

Relató que la instructora del caso, identificada como Dionoris, le dijo
que León Velázquez está detenido "por ser periodista independiente,
haberse reunido en España con DDC y hablar cosas falsas sobre lo que
sucede en Cuba".

Según Aranda Tejeda, la instructora dijo a Belkis Velázquez "que aquí en
Cuba no pasa nada, que todo lo que dice él es mentira". DDC no pudo
hablar directamente con la madre del periodista.

Isael Poveda apuntó que la esposa y la madre de León Velázquez no
pudieron recoger las pertenencias del reportero.

"La madre miró el listado de lo que le ocuparon y vio que faltaban
muchísimas cosas en lo que le iban a entregar. Ella no quiso firmar y
dijo que le entregaran las cosas a él cuando salga", explicó.

León Velázquez regresaba de un viaje a España cuando fue detenido. Ni
siquiera pudo llegar a su casa, donde la Seguridad del Estado ejecutó un
fuerte operativo y ocupó una computadora, una cámara, un ejemplar de la
Constitución y otros materiales.

La esposa de León Velázquez y su suegra han sido advertidas de que
podrían ir a prisión por supuestamente intentar esconder la computadora
para que las autoridades no se la llevaran. Este sábado las autoridades
reiteraron esa amenaza, indicó Aranda Tejeda.

Tras una primera "entrevista" con la Seguridad del Estado, este viernes,
la madre de León Velázquez dijo que a su nuera los agentes "le hicieron
firmar un papel" comprometiéndose a colaborar con ellos contra el
periodista.

"Un agente de la Seguridad le dio dos números de teléfono (…) la
amenazaron con sus padres", declaró Belkis Velázquez. "Su mamá cuida a
su abuelita postrada y su papá es una persona mayor que ha tenido varios
infartos y que sigue trabajando. Amenazaron con mandar una carta al
trabajo para desmoralizarlo y sacarlo del puesto", detalló.

Lo que buscan es utilizarla a Aranda Tejeda para intentar "chantajearlo
a él y ponerlos uno contra el otro", consideró.

No es la primera vez que el periodista de DDC es arrestado por la
Seguridad del Estado. En octubre del pasado año fue detenido por su
labor informativa antes y durante el paso del huracán Matthew por
Guantánamo y en febrero fue interceptado por la Policía y retenido por
casi dos horas en el punto de control de Río Frío.

Manuel Alejandro León Velázquez ha informado para DIARIO DE CUBA sobre
la situación en su provincia y acerca de varios casos sociales que han
sufrido el abandono de las autoridades en la zona oriental del país.

Source: El régimen quiere acusar a Manuel Alejandro León de 'transmitir
noticias falsas' contra la Revolución | Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/derechos-humanos/1498331714_32103.html

Liberado el periodista de DIARIO DE CUBA Manuel Alejandro León

Liberado el periodista de DIARIO DE CUBA Manuel Alejandro León
DDC | Guantánamo | 24 de Junio de 2017 - 23:13 CEST.

El periodista de DIARIO DE CUBA Manuel Alejandro León Velázquez fue
liberado este sábado en Guantánamo tras dos días de arresto.

No obstante, las autoridades podrían acusarlo de "usurpación de
funciones", "difusión de noticias falsas" y "asociación para delinquir",
confirmó él mismo y dijo que la Seguridad del Estado lo citó para el
lunes a las 9:00am, hora local.

León Velázquez fue detenido el jueves por la mañana cuando regresaba a
su casa tras realizar un viaje a España.

"En el punto de control de Río Frío me estaba esperando el oficial Kevin
(de la Seguridad del Estado), que me ha amenazado en varias ocasiones",
relató. Añadió que fue trasladado a la unidad de Operaciones de la
policía política en Guantánamo, donde se mantuvo en huelga de hambre
hasta su liberación.

"Me quitaron 440 dólares americanos, 100 euros y alrededor de 400 pesos
en moneda nacional, dos teléfonos (un Alcatel y un Samsung), un
transformador de 110 a 220, bolígrafos, agendas de DIARIO DE CUBA,
aunque estaban en blanco, la acreditación como periodista de este medio
y el pasaporte. Me sacaron un carné de identidad que ellos me habían
robado hace varios meses y me dijeron que me podían multar por andar con
un carné nuevo teniendo otro", detalló León Velázquez. "Los regalos para
la familia no me los quitaron".

"Dicen que no me van a devolver nada y yo los voy a denunciar por robo",
aseguró. "Ni siquiera me devolvieron la moneda nacional. Cuando me
liberaron, tuve que salir todo mareado, caminar cuatro kilómetros a pie,
bajo el sol, con todo el equipaje".

El periodista independiente dijo que durante el tiempo que estuvo
detenido las autoridades lo trataron "con gran cuidado", aunque el
oficial Kevin "estuvo todo el tiempo haciéndome amenazas".

"Me dijeron que yo estaba cometiendo el delito de 'usurpación de
funciones' porque no he sido declarado periodista por ningún medio
oficial. Me querían acusar de 'difusión de noticias falsas' y
'asociación para delinquir' porque dicen que yo me reúno con grupúsculos
contrarrevolucionarios", precisó León Velázquez, quien además es miembro
de la organización opositora Alianza Democrática Oriental.

"Trataron de persuadirme para que colaborara con ellos o de lo contrario
me iban a encarcelar", señaló. "Me llamaron mercenario. Les respondí que
mercenarios son ellos, que están acabando con este pueblo. También les
dije que los iba a denunciar ante la opinión pública internacional. Me
respondieron que ellos no creen en nada de eso".

El mismo día en que León Velázquez fue arrestado, la Seguridad del
Estado realizó un gran operativo en la casa de la familia de su esposa,
donde reside.

El periodista de DDC, que estuvo en aislamiento todo el tiempo, se
enteró tras ser liberado. Las autoridades se llevaron de la vivienda
"una laptop, una cámara fotográfica Sony de lente grande, varios discos
con material audiovisual de la sociedad civil independiente y del ámbito
social cubano, discos de películas, de música, un impreso de la
Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos, otro de la Constitución
de la República y varios paquetes de denuncias de las prisiones", detalló.

Tampoco supo mientras estuvo preso que su esposa y su suegra
fueron amenazadas con la cárcel por supuestamente intentar esconder la
laptop para que las autoridades no se la llevaran.

La Seguridad del Estado hizo además firmar a la esposa de León Velázquez
un compromiso de delatar las actividades del periodista.

"Le dije a la policía política que no me iba a dejar amedrentar, que
cuento con el apoyo de mis hermanos y el internacional", señaló León
Velázquez.

El Comité para la Protección de los Periodistas (CPJ) reclamó el viernes
"la inmediata liberación" del reportero

"Los periodistas independientes en Cuba deben poder trabajar sin la
constante amenaza de la detención arbitraria", señaló la organización.

No es la primera vez que el periodista de DDC es arrestado por la
Seguridad del Estado. En octubre del pasado año fue detenido por su
labor informativa antes y durante el paso del huracán Matthew por
Guantánamo y en febrero fue interceptado por la Policía y retenido por
casi dos horas en el punto de control de Río Frío.

Manuel Alejandro León Velázquez ha informado para DIARIO DE CUBA sobre
la situación en su provincia y acerca de varios casos sociales que han
sufrido el abandono de las autoridades en la zona oriental del país.

Source: Liberado el periodista de DIARIO DE CUBA Manuel Alejandro León |
Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/derechos-humanos/1498338794_32104.html

La beca, el exilio y el hombre nuevo

La beca, el exilio y el hombre nuevo
FRANCISCO ALMAGRO DOMÍNGUEZ | Miami | 25 de Junio de 2017 - 11:44 CEST. | 1
Archivado enAleida Guevara Cuba Educación Exilio


Aleida Guevara. (PENSANDO AMÉRICA)

En recientes declaraciones a la radio extranjera y en relación a quienes
emigran de la Isla, la hija de uno de los líderes de la revolución
cubana ha dicho que "a pesar de haber elevado el nivel cultural del
pueblo cubano, todavía hay gente ingenua que se cree los cantos de
sirena". Continúa argumentando contra los emigrados que los de la Isla
piensan que al llegar a EEUU, Ley de Ajuste mediante, van a alcanzar el
sueño americano de manera expedita. Y concluye con esta joya de
inconsciente acusador: "Es una cosa impresionante cómo pueden
confundirse todavía algunas personas con esto".

Sucede que el pueblo cubano de nuestros días no es un pueblo culto.
Podría ser una población altamente instruida, pero no culta. La cultura
no se posee, se ejerce. Es un proceso de decantación de saberes, no una
sumatoria de estudios. El ejercicio de la cultura implica absoluta
libertad para buscar información, reproducirla, y propagarla sin más
limitación que la cordura y los medios para hacerlo. En pleno siglo XXI
Cuba está prácticamente desconectada de internet, la población solo
tiene acceso a periódicos oficialistas, canales de televisión y radios
nacionales, y sus bibliotecas públicas están desactualizadas, en ruinas.
Del mismo modo, tampoco tener todas esas condiciones hace per se, culto
a un pueblo: EEUU es un buen ejemplo de ello.

Es precisamente del Norte desde donde la hija del guerrillero refiere
los cantos de sirena. Omite el detalle de que tales coros vienen de los
cuatro puntos cardinales del planeta, y no engañan a nadie: Ítaca ya no
existe más. La mayoría de los retenidos en la isla-nave se destaparían
los oídos y saltarían gustosos al agua, así mismo, "incultos" y
"confundidos"; ellos quisieran, también, ser como esta Odisea viajera
que miente a medio mundo: "átenme al mástil revolucionario… pero por
favor déjenme oír esa música que tan bien suena".

La rebelde por herencia nos recuerda una época que ella misma vivió,
cuando miles de adolescentes llenaron las becas —ESBEC, IPUEC, Lenin, y
Camilitos— de la Isla. Para favorecer la entrada a estas escuelas, lejos
de la familia y del barrio, se diseñaron uniformes elegantes; las aulas,
los teatros, laboratorios y predios deportivos fueron proveídos con todo
lo necesario; a los maestros se les hicieron tentadoras ofertas de salarios.

Aun así, el rigor de estudio y trabajo, y la separación de los padres
por una semana, fueron mucho para aquellos semi-niños. Entonces tuvo que
ser la coerción: el que se iba de la beca para una escuela de la calle
era un traidor, un blandengue; en la escuela de la calle no se estudiaba
bien, el nivel de los maestros era inferior, y los planteles carecían de
libros e instrumentos. Para colmo, decían que las carreras
universitarias estaban reservadas para los becarios. La beca lo era
todo; la calle, garantía del desastre.

Pero quienes dejamos las becas porque nos expulsaron o nos arriesgamos a
"perderlo todo", sufrimos una suerte de choque: cuánta falacia y mala
intención hubo en aquella propaganda que limitaba escoger los propios
pasos. Sí, "la calle" podía ser más dura. Pero ningún guía te levantaba
para ir al campo o a las clases, nadie chequeaba las tareas, los
profesores faltaban, y a veces lo libros escaseaban. Ser responsable del
futuro propio tenía, para cualquier adolescente, una motivación
superior: el inconfundible y al mismo tiempo ambiguo aroma de la libertad.

Algo parecido sucede al dejar la beca-isla y llegar al exilio-calle.
Tras una propaganda mendaz, los "desertores" de la isla-beca pueden
sufrir un colapso inicial: hay matices, tonos, sombras y luces. Y a
veces la realidad es demasiado dura como para renunciar a conquistarla.

Del lado de acá no hay sindicato para defenderte, ni expediente laboral,
ni dirigente del Partido a quien rendir cuentas. No hay carros
"asignados" ni cuota de gasolina. No hay vanguardias, ni asambleas para
otorgar televisores, ventiladores, casas en la playa. En la Calle-Exilio
tienes trabajo hoy, y mañana puede que no. El nivel de salud y de
instrucción, así como la cultura y el deporte depende de cada individuo,
de cada familia. Pero mientras trabajes y obtengas el salario que
mereces y deseas, puedes tener acceso a todo lo que han prometido y
jamás han cumplido o cumplirán.

Curiosamente, una parte importante del llamado "hombre nuevo" cubano
vive hoy fuera de la Isla, en Miami, Madrid, Ciudad de México, Estocolmo
y Luanda. Las becas, paradójicamente, formaron hombres desobedientes,
con muchos recursos para sobrevivir en cualquier escenario gracias a
tener pocos valladares emocionales y éticos. Son sus fortalezas y al
mismo tiempo sus debilidades, aprendidas desde temprano en las madrasas
comunistas: no hay confusión posible cuando se sabe qué es la libertad y
cómo luchar por ella.

Source: La beca, el exilio y el hombre nuevo | Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1498129469_32045.html

El Gobierno español afirma que las "acciones" contra los disidentes en Cuba van contra el acuerdo con la UE

El Gobierno español afirma que las "acciones" contra los disidentes en
Cuba van contra el acuerdo con la UE
Publicado 25/06/2017 12:01:57CET
MADRID, 25 Jun. (EUROPA PRESS) -

El Gobierno español reconoce que las "acciones" contra los disidentes
que se han denunciado en Cuba "no están en consonancia con los
objetivos" del Acuerdo de Diálogo Político y Cooperación firmado el
pasado diciembre entre la Unión Europea y el Gobierno de Raúl Castro. No
obstante, asegura que el Ejecutivo se interesa por estos casos desde "el
respeto mutuo y con la mayor discreción".

Así afirma el Ejecutivo en una respuesta parlamentaria al diputado de
Ciudadanos Fernando Maura, que se interesó por la detención, el pasado 9
de marzo, del líder de la Unión Patriótica Cubana (UNPACU), José Daniel
Ferrer, en Santiago de Cuba. Ferrer fue liberado 24 horas después.

Maura preguntó al Gobierno si era consciente de la situación y si tenía
previsto interesarse por el caso ante las autoridades cubanas. Además,
denunciaba que "el Gobierno cubano no ha cesado en su hostigamiento
contra sus disidentes".

En su respuesta, el Gobierno español dice tener "constancia de la
denuncia que organizaciones de la sociedad civil han hecho pública en
torno al aumento de acciones dirigidas contra activistas y
representantes de la sociedad civil críticos con las autoridades
cubanas, unas acciones que no están en consonancia con los objetivos
planteados" en el acuerdo con la UE.

Y añade que "el grado de confianza e interlocución alcanzado con el
Gobierno cubano ha permitido, desde el respeto mutuo y con la mayor
discreción, un interés por estos asuntos en los contactos bilaterales
con las autoridades cubanas".

La respuesta del Gobierno llegó al Congreso el pasado 31 de mayo, apenas
dos días antes de que el Ejecutivo diese luz verde al acuerdo UE-Cuba y
lo enviase a las Cortes para su ratificación, y mes y medio después de
la visita a Madrid del ministro de Asuntos Exteriores cubano, Bruno
Rodríguez, que fue recibido por el Rey, el presidente del Gobierno,
Mariano Rajoy, la presidenta del Congreso, Ana Pastor, el ministro de
Asuntos Exteriores, Alfonso Dastis, y partidos políticos

Source: El Gobierno español afirma que las "acciones" contra los
disidentes en Cuba van contra el acuerdo con la UE -
http://www.notimerica.com/politica/noticia-gobierno-espanol-afirma-acciones-contra-disidentes-cuba-van-contra-acuerdo-ue-20170625120157.html

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Trump, The Military And The Division Of Powers In Cuba

Trump, The Military And The Division Of Powers In Cuba

14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 20 June 2017 — The recent decision
by the president of the United States to limit commercial relations with
Cuban companies controlled by the military highlights a rarely explored
corner of the national reality.

Anyone who knows the Island minimally knows that there is nothing like
what can be called a "division of powers" here. It was demonstrated
recently when the deputies to the National Assembly of People's Power
unanimously raised their hands to "back" some program documents from the
Communist Party, documents that the deputies had no legal capacity to
approve but politically could not disapprove.

In other countries, it is to be expected that Congress will oppose what
the Executive has proposed or that the Judiciary will rule
unconstitutional what a Parliament has approved. In most nations, when
some measure, new policy, or any law is applied, analysts wonder how the
unions will react or what the students are going to do. In Cuba it is
not like that. Those who rule give the orders and the rest obey or go to
jail.

The ostensible presence of individuals from the military sector in power
structures, especially in economic management, may lead one to think
that the army enriches itself this way and that having so many resources
in its hands makes it easier for it to repress the people. This
reasoning thus forms part of the belief that there is some kind of
division of powers and that introduces a huge error in the analysis.

The presence of colonels and generals (retired or active) in charge of
tourism companies such as Gaviota, or powerful consortiums such as
Gaesa, Cimex and TRD among others, may not mean the militarization of
the economy as much as it means the conversion, the metamorphosis, of
soldiers into managers.

Devoid of or "healed" of an authentic "working-class spirit," they
handle with the iron fists of ruthless foremen – loyal to the boss – any
dispute with the workers. Their habits of discipline lead them to do
what they are ordered to do without asking if it is viable or
absurd. They do not demand anything for themselves and anything that
improves their standard of living or working conditions (modern cars,
comfortable homes, trips abroad, food and beverage baskets…) will be
considered as a favor from the boss, a privilege which can be paid for
only with loyalty.

Although difficult to believe, they are not backed by their cannons or
their tanks, their influence is not determined by the numbers of their
troops or the firepower of the armaments they control, but by the
confidence that Raúl Castro has in them. It is as simple as that.

When we review the extensive documentation issued by the different
spheres of the outlawed political opposition, or by the officially
unrecognized civil society, we can barely observe any protest against
the dominance that the military has gained over the economy in the last
decade.

Civil society's priorities are different. The liberation of political
prisoners, the cessation of repression, freedom of expression and
association, the right to choose leaders in plural elections… In the
area of ​​economics, what is being questioned are the difficulties faced
by private entrepreneurs in starting a business, limitations on access
to the international market, excessive taxes, and the plunder to which
the self-employed are subjected to by the inspectors.

The most perceptible concern in this sense is that placing these
soldiers in key points of the economy is engineering the future economic
empowerment of the ruling clans in a virtual piñata, which implies
self-annihilation of the system by the heirs of power.

If it were not so dramatic it would be laughable to imagine the infinite
solutions that the Cuban rulers have to circumvent "the new measures"
announced by the president of the United States. All they have to do is
change the name of the current monopolies and place civilian leaders in
charge of supposed "second level cooperatives," already foreseen in
Guideline 15 from the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba.

This magic trick or, to use a Cubanism, "shuffling of the dominoes"
would force the mammoth American bureaucracy to make a new inventory of
entities with which trading is forbidden. "As the stick comes and goes,"
they reorganize their forces while remaining at the helm of the country
and watching Donald Trump's term expire.

To perform this trick it will not be necessary to gather the Party
together in a congress, nor to consult the constitutionalist lawyers,
they would not even have to inform the Parliament. To make matters
worse, in the streets there will be no protest against the chameleon
gesture of the military exchanging their uniforms and their weapons for
guayaberas or business cocktails.

Source: Trump, The Military And The Division Of Powers In Cuba –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/trump-the-military-and-the-division-of-powers-in-cuba/

Sweating Is Not For Cuba’s New Rich

Sweating Is Not For Cuba's New Rich

14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 20 June 2017 — The passenger complains
of the heat while frantically moving the fan. "In a few days I will
install an air conditioning," justifies the taxi driver and adds that he
will charge "higher fares." In summer everyone dreams of
air-conditioning their rooms or vehicles, but whether or not one suffers
the heat depends on the pocketbook.

In 2013, after eight years of prohibition, the government authorized
travelers to import air conditioners, electric stoves, refrigerators and
microwave ovens. It was the starting shot for an avalanche that invades
the airports, the port terminals and the shipping agencies to Cuba.

"Six 'splits' (air conditioners) came on that flight," said an employee
of Terminal 3 at José Martí International Airport in Havana. The plane
from Cancun, a route greatly appreciated by the mules, also brought a
dozen flat-screen TVs, eight minibars and two desktop computers.

Among the boxes that are piled around the luggage belt are the units
that will be placed inside rooms and others that will be placed on a
roof or an outer wall, a cruel irony, because in the main airport of the
country travelers complain about the heat and drip fat beads of sweat
while waiting for their suitcases.

"It is difficult to know the number of AC units entering each day," says
the employee. "It is rare that a flight arrives from Panama, Mexico or
any other nearby country that comes without at least two devices." In
the lines to pay for overweight luggage and the import of domestic
appliances one sees the new arrivals loaded with bundles.

Permanent residents in Cuba, national or foreign, can import two air
conditioners of up to one-ton capacity on each trip. On the first
occasion only – over the space of a year — they pay tariffs in Cuban
pesos at a price ranging from 150 to 200 CUP (roughly $6 to $8 US). For
additional imports they pay that amount in convertible pesos (CUC –
roughly $150 to $200 US).

The business is booming. Even paying in CUC the traveler can resell a
one-ton air conditioner on the black market for about 650 CUC, for a
device that originally cost less than 350 dollars. The brands that enter
most frequently are Midea, LG, Carrier, Royal, Daewoo and
Prestiger. Prices have fallen by up to 30% since the imports were
authorized and given the volume of supply that trend will continue.

State stores try to compete with the "under the counter" sales but have
higher prices, fewer models and shortages that make the supply unstable.

The air conditioners have slowly been incorporated into the landscape of
cities and towns. If before the economic relaxations they were installed
discreetly, now with a more open economy the tendency is to exhibit them.

"The people living there have cash," says Igor, a pedicab driver who
waits for his clients in the vicinity of the Plaza de Carlos III. While
pedaling and showing some parts of the city, the cyclist glances at
these signs of families with money. "Wherever there is an air
conditioner they are affluent," he muses. Not only does acquiring one of
these devices mark membership in a social group, the most difficult
thing is to pay for its operation.

Much of the electricity supply remains subsidized. "The average monthly
consumption in the residential sector in 2013 was approximately 180 KWh
per customer," said Marino Murillo. For that amount a consumer pays
36.60 CUP, "while the cost to the state is 220 CUP," said Cuba's vice
president.

Keeping a one-ton air conditioner on all night can trigger electricity
consumption above 400 CUP monthly, the entire salary of a
professional. However, many families decide to do so, overwhelmed by the
heat or because they want to rent rooms to foreigners.

"Air conditioning and hot water cannot be lacking in this business,"
says Rocío, who operates a colonial hostel in Trinidad with his
mother. With three rooms for rent, each with AC, minibar and television,
the entrepreneurs pay a four-digit electricity bill. They consider that,
even so, it "brings in business" in an area with a high occupation rate
throughout the year.

In November 2010, a new progressive electricity rate began to be
imposed, which imposes a penalty of up to 300% on households that
consume more than 300 KWh per month, a situation that has triggered
electricity fraud.

An engineer from the Electricity Company in Havana told 14ymedio about
the new ways in which citizens seek to steal electricity. Before there
were "visible" cables that were easy to detect or they tampered with the
meters in a way that technicians noticed right away, but now they
conspire with the workers who repair the streets and get the cables
installed underground.


In 2013 the Cuban government authorized travelers to import air
conditioners, electric stoves, refrigerators and microwaves. (J. Cáceres)
The specialist says that there are "people whose homes abut state
entities and they steal electricity from a company, a warehouse, a
carpentry workshop or even a polyclinic." He says that almost always "it
is a cases of people who have some highly customer-based business, like
an electric oven to make pizzas, a body shop, a private restaurant or a
lot of air conditioners."

The engineer recalls a family in which "even the youngest children had
AC in their room and left it on all day." A neighbor reported the
situation when he learned that they paid a very low electricity
rate. The complaint brought the inspectors and they discovered that the
meter was tampered with. In addition to the fine "they had to pay
retroactively all that they owed."

To counter fraud, analog meters were replaced by digital ones and in
some areas of the country they are being changed again for new ones with
infrared technology. But the tricks are inexhaustible.

"The upstairs neighbor lives alone and is retired, and he passes the
cable with electricity to me and in return I also pay for his
consumption," says a prosperous entrepreneur who runs a coffee shop on
Zanja Street. "So I share the consumption and it's not as expensive"
because it prevents all the kilowatts going on a single account with the
consequent progressive surcharge.

The customer has three air conditioners installed throughout the
house. "Without this you can not live here, because this house hardly
has windows to the outside and the kitchen of the business generates a
lot of heat," he explains. He bought the devices in the informal market
and is waiting for them "to lower prices a little" to buy a room.

"It is not the same to be Cuban with a fan as it is to be a Cuban with
AC," he reflects. "The first one is irritated but the second is less
stressed because he has air conditioning."

Source: Sweating Is Not For Cuba's New Rich – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/sweating-is-not-for-cubas-new-rich/

Cuba From The Inside With Alternative Tour Guides

Cuba From The Inside With Alternative Tour Guides

14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 21 June 2017 — Economic hardships
turn many Cuban engineers to work as bartenders, doctors become taxi
drivers and innumerable professionals become alternative guides for
tourists. Among the latter, there are the experienced or the
just-getting-started, but all of them earn more money than they would
working in the state sector.

"When they change a picture I know instantly," says Natacha, a Havana
city guide who says she has visited "the Museum of Fine Arts more than
300 times" with her clients. She graduated from the Teaching Institute
but she left the classrooms after five years of teaching in junior high.

"I had to think about what to do with my life and I realized that I
spoke Spanish very clearly, I knew the history of Cuba and I was good at
dealing with people." A friend advised her to start offering tours to
foreigners who came to the country.

At first, Natacha stood in a corner of Old Havana and whispered her
services to travelers. Now, after the relaxations regarding
self-employment, she has been able to legalize part of her activities
and form a team. "We have a network that includes rental houses, dance
teachers, masseuses and chauffeurs," she says.

With the increase in tourism, which last year exceeded 4 million
visitors, the guide has "a surplus of work," but now fears that after
the announcements of US President Donald Trump that "the business will
decline."

Natacha accompanies her clients "to places where a state guide will
never take them…The program is flexible according to their tastes: from
exclusive areas to poor neighborhoods, trips in collective taxis, a
train ride and a santería party."

She speaks English and French fluently and recently began studying
Italian and Japanese. "Japanese tourism is still small but they pay very
well and are very respectful people," says Natacha. Most of her clients
end up recommending her services to a friend who wants to travel to
Cuba. "This is a chain of trust that has allowed me to have up to 200
customers a year."

The prices of a walk with the former teacher vary. "They can go from 20
to 100 CUC (roughly $20 to $100 US) depending on the place, the time and
the complexity of the subject." For years she included visits outside of
Havana but now she has left these to her younger colleagues because her
mother is very old and she doesn't want to leave the city.

"This work is hard because it takes a lot of personal involvement,
learning something new every day and answering many questions," she
explains. "I spend hours walking, most of the time under the sun, but I
would not give up my independence by going back to teaching." She says
that being a tourist guide has allowed her to "put a plate of food on
the table every day… a good plate of food."

A growing alternative is digital sites that advertise independent guides
and offer a wide variety of services or entertainment packages. Recently
a team of 30-something Cuban residents in Miami launched Tour Republic,
a website to sell recreational activities on the Island.

The site connects the traveler with urban guides with a marketplace –
similar to Airbnb – but instead of offering lodging it markets tours of
varied intensity and duration, from a ride in a classic car through
Havana, to an escape through the unique natural landscape of the valley
of Viñales.

Máximo, a 30-year-old Italian newcomer to Havana, was hesitant Tuesday
about whether to buy a three-day package worth $58 including visits to
the Ernest Hemingway Museum, the University of Havana, the old colonial
fortresses of the capital, and even an encounter with the sculpture of
John Lennon located in a Vedado park.

With Tour Republic the customer pays the online service and must be at
the site where the itinerary begins at the agreed-upon time. In the case
of the tour that interests Maximo, the guide is at the bottom of the
steps of the Capitol and departs every morning at ten.

The tourist says he prefers an independent guide because "the program is
more flexible and can be adjusted more" to what he wants. In a small
notebook he has noted some interesting places that escape the typical
tourist route: the town of San Antonio, the Superior Art Institute and
the Alamar neighborhood.

"In this arena there are people very prepared and with excellent
training," says Carlos, an alternative guide who leaves the statue of
José Martí in Central Park every morning for a tour he has
baptized Habana Real. "I take them through the streets where tourists do
not normally pass, I have them try a drink of rum in a bar where the
Cubans really go," he says.

The young man, with a degree in geography, has been "wearing out shoe
leather in the city for seven years." At first "I did not know much
about history, architecture or famous people, but little by little I
have become an itinerant encyclopedia of Cuba," he says.

The GuruWalk platform has also risen to the crest of the wave of tourist
interest in Cuba. The Spanish company runs an international website
for free walking tours and has chosen Havana as their preferred site to
begin operations.

Communications director, Pablo Perez-Manglano, told 14ymedio that "the
platform is completely democratic, anyone can join and create a
tour." Site administrators check the offers one by one, but the reviews
are left to users after each visit.

"We are an open and free platform, we do not charge the guide or the
visitor anything, and therefore, we hope that each person understands
and takes responsibility to comply, or not, with the legality in their
respective cities of the world," he clarifies.

The site already has seven free tours in Havana, one in Santiago and
another in Santa Clara. "In addition, we had about 200 registered users
in the last month, which is a lot for such a new platform," says
Pérez-Manglano.

Unlike Tour Republic there is nothing to pay online and the money is
delivered directly to the guide.

The perspectives that the web offers for entrepreneurs like Natacha
sound promising. GuruWalk does not deny "entry to someone for not having
an official guide qualification." Rather, it seeks "people who are
passionate about culture and history, who also enjoy teaching and
transmitting that knowledge."

One of the strategies of the company is to make itself known among "the
owners of private houses" because it is to them that more often the
foreigners ask: "What should we see in the city?"

Pérez-Manglano underlines that the cornerstone of GuruWalk is the
"collaborative economy." Instead of "certificates, rules, rules, or
permits," they are interested in trust, which "is built little by little."

Source: Cuba From The Inside With Alternative Tour Guides – Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuba-from-the-inside-with-alternative-tour-guides/

Thanks for Nothing, Trump

Thanks for Nothing, Trump

Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 21 June 2017 — After much media frenzy,
Trump's "new policy" toward Cuba has not gone beyond the rhetoric
expected by most political analysts. His act was more a symbolic gesture
towards his faithful than any practical novelty. In short, those who
expected an announcement of truly transcendental changes in the policy
toward Cuba by the US president during his speech in Miami on Friday
June 16, were left wanting. As we say in Cuba, the show turned out to be
more rigmarole than movie reel.

The long-awaited changes, far from being novel, are actually quite
limited. In fact, the highlight of his announced "punishment" for the
Castro dictatorship is enveloped in an inconsistent magic trick where
the essential cards seem to be a ban on US businessmen to negotiate with
Cuban military companies, the suppression of non-group tours visits by
US citizens to Cuba and the auditing of group visits. The rest is garbage.

The whole of the Palace of the Revolution must be shaking in terror. The
dictatorship can already be considered as having failed: judging by the
enthusiasm of its fans gathered in the Manuel Artime Theatre in Little
Havana, with Trump in power, the Castro regime's hours are numbered.
Those who know about such things say that the Castros and Miami's
"Dialogue Mafia" "have run out of bread," that "the political actors (?)
are now where they should be" And that Trump's speech was "friendly
towards the Cuban people." If the matter were not so serious, it would
probably be laughable.

The sad thing is that there are those who believed the sham, or at least
they pretend to believe what he said. At the end of the day, everyone
should stick to the role of the character he represents in the script of
this eternal Cuban tragicomedy.

It would be another thing if all this elaborate anti-Castro theory (!)
could be successfully implemented, which is at least as dubious as the
construction of socialism that the extremists continue to proclaim from
opposite points on the globe.

And it is doubtful, not only for the intricacy of the long process that
each proposal of the US Executive branch must follow before being put
into practice — as detailed in a White House fact sheet — but because
its sole conception demonstrates absolute ignorance of the Cuban reality
in trying to "channel economic activities outside the Cuban military
monopoly, GAESA."

It would seem that there is a division of powers and an autonomy of
institutions in Cuba that clearly distinguishes "military" from "civil,"
defines its functions and establishes to what extent the economic
structure of companies, cooperatives and other sectors are or are not
related to the military entrepreneurship, or with the
State-Party-Government monopoly itself, which is one and the same, with
which, nevertheless, relations will be maintained. Just that would be a
challenge for Cubans here, let alone for those who emigrated 50 years
ago or for the very Anglo-Saxon Trump administration.

On the other hand, Mr. Trump's proposals carry another capricious
paradox, since limiting individual visits would directly damage the
fragile private sector — especially lodging and catering, not to mention
independent transportation providers, and artisans who make their living
from selling souvenirs and other trinkets, a market that is sustained
precisely by individual tourism.

Tour group visits, which remain in effect, are those that favor the
State-owned and run hotels, where these groups of visitors usually stay
because they have a larger number of rooms and more amenities than
privately-owned facilities.

This would be the practical aspect of the matter. Another point is the
one relating to the merely political. It's shocking to see the rejoicing
of some sectors of the Cuban-American exile and the so-called "hardline
opposition" inside Cuba, after the (supposedly) "successful" speech by
the US president, and his pronouncements about benefits that the new-old
politics of confrontation will bring "to the Cuban people" in the field
of human rights.

In fact, such joy is hard to explain, because it is obvious that Trump's
speech fell far short of the expectations these groups had previously
manifested. One of the most supported claims of this segment has been
the break in relations between both countries, and, more recently, the
reinstatement of the policy of "wet foot/dry foot," repealed in the
final days of the previous administration. Far from that, the
unpredictable Trump not only reaffirmed the continuation of diplomatic
relations, but omitted the subject of the Cuban migratory crisis and
even the suppression of aid funds for democracy, which he had proposed a
few weeks before.

Curiously, no member of the media present at the press conference held
after the very conspicuous speech asked uncomfortable questions about
any of these three points, which do constitute true pivots of change in
US policy towards Cuba which affect both the fate of the Cubans stranded
in different parts of Latin America on their interrupted trip to the US,
and the financing (and consequently, the survival) of various opposition
projects both inside and outside Cuba.

The truth is that, so far, the great winner of Trump's proposals is none
other than the Castro regime, since the rhetoric of confrontation is the
natural field of its ideological discourse inside and outside Cuba.
Thus, has rushed to evidence the official declaration blaringly
published in all its press monopoly media last Saturday, June 17th, with
plenty of slogans and so-called nationalists for the defense of
sovereignty and against "the rude American interference", which that
gray scribe, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuban chancellor by the grace of
the divine green finger, repeated two days later in his apathetic press
conference from Vienna.

Meanwhile, the "Cuban people" – with no voice or vote in this whole saga
— remains the losing party, barely a hostage of very alien policies and
interests, whose representation is disputed by both the dictatorship and
the US government, plus a good part of the opposition.

We must thank Mr. Trump for nothing. Once again, the true cause of the
Cuban crisis — that is, the dictatorial and repressive nature of its
government — is hidden behind a mask, and the "solution" of Cuba's ills
is again placed in the decisions of the US government. At this rate, we
can expect at least 50 additional years of burlesque theater, for the
benefit of the same actors who, apparently and against the odds, have the

Translated by Norma Whiting

Source: Thanks for Nothing, Trump – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/thanks-for-nothing-trump/

Cubans Feel Like Hostages to Both Castro and Trump

Cubans Feel Like Hostages to Both Castro and Trump / Iván García

Ivan Garcia, 19 June 2017 — "Impotence." This is the word that a
performer in the Guiñol Theater (located in the basement of the FOCSA
building in Havana's Vedado district) uses when asked her opinion of the
new Trump Doctrine regarding Cuba.

On a day of African heat, a group of eight waits to navigate the
Internet in a hall administered by the state-run telecommunications
monopoly ETECSA. The performer exchanges opinions with the others
regarding the event of the week: the repeal by Donald Trump's
administration of Obama's policy of détente.

On the street, for those Cubans who earn only token salaries, breakfast
on coffee alone and complain constantly about the inefficiency of public
services and the government's inability to improve the quality of life,
political machination is just an annoyance.

Human Rights, democracy and political liberties all sound good, but they
are not understood in their full context. At least, this is what can be
deduced from the opinions expressed by the people waiting in line. Some
make clear that they are speaking from their personal perspective, that
they watched Trump on Telesur but have yet to read the measures for
themselves.

For lack of time, and the propaganda fatigue brought on by the barrage
from the official press–which has caused many compatriots to decide to
not keep up with news reports but instead take shelter in social-media
gossip–the group waiting to go online is shooting to kill in all directions.

"Everybody talks about 'the people,' about the 'dissidents,' about the
Cuban American congressmen over there, about the government over here,
but nobody has hit on the formula for us to derive benefits from a
particular policy. Obama tried, but the gerontocracy that rules us did
not allow private business owners to get ahead. I feel like a hostage,
to Castro and to Trump. A puppet," the performer confesses.

One lady, a loquacious and chain-smoking housewife, asks, in a tone of
disgust, "What have the people gained from Obama's policy? Nothing." And
she explains to herself, "Those people (the government) don't want to
change. They will not give up," she says ironically, "the honey of
power. Trump is a crazy man, a clown. The guy is a pill. His speech was
pure theater. It's all cheap politicking. And in the middle of it all,
we Cubans are–and will remain–screwed. Nobody can change this [regime],
and nobody can take it down, either."

A self-employed worker affirms that he does not see a solution to
Cubans' problems because "we haven't had the balls to confront the
arbitrariness of the government. To hold on and and get screwed, that's
our fate. With all his yammering, the only thing Trump will achieve is
that the 'revolutionary reaffirmation' marches will start up again,
condemning 'yankee interference.' You can already see that coming."

At a park in Old Havana there are no optimists to be found, either. On
the contrary. "Damn, brother, I thought that The One was going to put
back the Wet-Foot/Dry-Foot law. The only way this shit's going to be
resolved is letting people leave Cuba. You think that over here the
folks are going to sign up with the Ladies in White to get beaten up?
No, man, people will mind their own business, getting by under the table
and trying to scrape together a few pesos. There is no way that Cubans
will take to the streets. Unless it's to get in line at foreign
consulates, or if Gente de Zona put on a free concert," declares a young
man in the Parque del Curita, waiting for the P-12 line to Santiago de
las Vegas.

Almost 60 years since the protracted and sterile political arm-wrestling
between the various US administrations and the Castro brothers, a broad
segment of the citizenry sees itself caught in a no-man's land–in a
futile battle for which nobody, not the Cuban rulers nor the US, has
asked their permission. They think also that political naiveté has
always reigned supreme in the White House, given the oft-repeated
intentions to export democratic values to a fraternity of autocrats with
the mentality of gangsters and neighborhood troublemakers.

"It is a narrative replete with personal ambitions, pseudo-patriotic
elation and cheap nationalism, which has served only to consolidate a
history of sovereign and intransigent rulers who never allowed North
American interference. It's fine for a tale, but this politics of
confrontation on both sides has left only one winner: the regime of
Fidel and Raúl Castro. The rest of us have been the losers. Those who
were not in agreement with the Revolution or who wanted to emigrate were
called 'gusanos' [worms]. Families were split up and kept from having
contact with relatives in the US. The result of all this is what we see
today: a great number of Cubans who cannot tolerate those who think
differently from them, many who want to emigrate, women who don't want
to have children in their homeland and, in general, a great indifference
on the part of citizens towards the problems of their country," explains
a Havana sociologist.

The official reaction has been restrained. For now. A functionary with
the Communist Party assures me that "the government is not going to wage
a frontal campaign to discredit Trump. Yes, of course, the various
institutions of the State will mobilize to demonstrate that the
government has it all under control. But Trump's speech was more noise
than substance. Except for the matter of US citizens' travel to Cuba,
which undoubtedly will affect the national economy, the rest [of the
Obama-era policies] remains in place, because the military-run
businesses are only two hotels.

The owner of a paladar [private restaurant] in Havana believes that "if
the yumas [Cuban slang for Americans] stop coming there will be effects
on the private sector, because almost all of them stay in private homes,
travel around the city in convertible almendrones [classic cars], and
eat lunch and dinner in private paladares."

The news was not good for Cubans who had plans to emigrate to the US.
"Many dreamers thought that Trump was a cool guy and would reinstate the
Wet-Foot/Dry-Foot policy. I was not expecting as much, but I thought at
least that the Cuban-American congressmen would influence Trump's
allowing the exceptional granting of visas to Cubans stuck in Central
America, Mexico and the Caribbean, and reactivating the asylum for Cuban
medical workers who have deserted their missions," said a engineer who
dreams of resettling in Miami.

The perception right now among Cubans on the street is that they are
back to a familiar scenario. One of trenches. Replete with
anti-imperialist rhetoric and zero tolerance for liberal thought of any
stripe. The scenario most favorable for the hierarchs who dress in olive
green.

Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Source: Cubans Feel Like Hostages to Both Castro and Trump / Iván García
– Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cubans-feel-like-hostages-to-both-castro-and-trump-ivn-garca/

A Bad Bet

A Bad Bet / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Dámaso, 13 June 2017 — Of the real and supposed problems that
the Cuban Revolution proposed to solve, as the basis of its historical
necessity, after more than half a century of exercising absolute power,
many have not been solved, the majority have been aggravated, and others
have emerged that did not exist before.

The housing shortage, the thousands of families living in precarious and
overcrowded conditions, and more thousands housed in inadequate
locations, constitute a clear demonstration of the Revolution's failure.
Insufficient and inefficient public transit, for years incapable of
meeting the minimum needs of the population, and the appalling and
unstable public services of all types, show another face of the failure.
If we add to this the loss of important agricultural outputs, the
obsolescence of the industrial infrastructure (lacking upgrades and
needed investments), plus a generalized lack of productivity, the
situation becomes chaotic.

Nor have the political and the social spheres achieved what was
promised, what with the continued absence of freedoms and basic rights
for citizens, as well as low wages and pensions, covert racial and
gender discrimination, street and domestic violence, incivility,
antisocial behaviors, corruption, and disregard for flora and fauna.

The blame for this string of calamities has always been cast upon the
embargo–but even back when it went unmentioned while the country was
benefitting from enormous Soviet subsidies* these problems went
unresolved. At that time, the abundant resources were squandered on
foreign wars, backed insurgencies, absurd and grandiose failed plans,
and other frivolities.

The socialist state and its leaders, albeit abusing the revolutionary
rhetoric, have reliably demonstrated in Cuba that the system does not
work and is unfeasible–just as happened in the other socialist countries
which erroneously bet on it.

To propose a "prosperous, efficient and sustainable socialism" is to
propose a negation, and it constitutes no more than another utopia to
deceive the citizenry and detain the march of time a little
longer–knowing that, at the end, it will fail as it has up to now.
Socialism, perhaps attractive in theory, is in practice a failure. A bet
on it, in any of its forms, is to ensure a loss.

Translator's Notes:

*Before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the start of Cuba's
"Special Period."

Source: A Bad Bet / Fernando Damaso – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/a-bad-bet-fernando-damaso/