Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Prison Diary XL A Broth for the Dictator

Prison Diary XL A Broth for the Dictator / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on July 30, 2013

My family sends me the underground solidarity of friends and neighbors
toward my reality. If we add up the population that doesn't support the
regime, we would think the fall of the dictatorship was imminent; but I
know first hand that those who reject the existing process, are the same
people who then go to the Plaza of the Revolution because they fear
having it worse.

I once told the story of Stalin, who standing in the snow, wanted to
teach his functionaries how to subjugate a people, and before the eyes
of his companions, deprived a bird of its plumage and threw it into the
snow. Immediately, the bird ran for cover between the boots of the
assassin. Several times he pushed him away, and with no other choice to
survive, the animal returned to his feet.

I assume his lackeys understood the example well. I would like to ass to
that story that after they returned to the shelter of the palace,
convinced of the bird's plea, of its utter helplessness and unlimited
surrender, the dictator asked his cook to prepare him a nice broth to
satisfy his unlimited whims.

Of course Cubans have never been masochists or stupid, although in these
more than fifty years we might well have won; but I understand that the
logic of the Cuban is thinking that it could be worse.

The prisoners complain all the time, and every time they bring me a
complaint I ask them if they accept that the complaint will be filed
with their name, then they get scared, and tell me they'll be deprived
of their benefits.

"And therein lies the price," I tell them, "change is at the cost of

Sometimes they complain about the food, and I think rightly, the stink
of it makes me think an animal wouldn't eat it.

I tell them that the following day, June 9, will be four months since my
arrival in prison and I have never entered he dining room, I have no
idea what's inside, I assure them that the day we agree to unite in not
going to get the food, things will change, they will take steps to
improve it.

"Political," one says to me, "if it were that easy we'd do it with
pleasure. The food, which is a stew, they will feed to their pigs, and
they will send us to the other end of the island and our families will
be hit the hardest, and with the lost of our credits, they will deprive
us of every possible chance to get out before serving our whole sentence
and everything will remain the same."

Those who have emigrated know that is true, any rebellion is shut down,
in the place where it is, with the worse experience, with the hardest of
punishments, and most, therefore, turn their backs on our reality.

It seems that our internal problems will be resolved by international
demands like the UN, and like the racist regime of South Africa, they
will force respect for the Human Rights of Cubans.

As a start, the first big step of the climb to freedom, and in turn, the
beginning of the fall of the dictatorship, will be with the ratification
of the UN Covenants; which they are about to demand a the FIDH Congress
in Istanbul in the month of May. Congratulations!

Angel Santiesteban-Prats. Prison 1580, July 2013

29 July 2013

Source: "Prison Diary XL: A Broth for the Dictator / Angel Santiesteban
| Translating Cuba" -

Cuba reports little progress 5 years into agricultural reform

Cuba reports little progress 5 years into agricultural reform
TUESDAY, 30 JULY 2013 21:42

HAVANA--Agriculture in Cuba remains in crisis and the country is still
dependent on imports five years into Raul Castro's presidency and
efforts to reform the sector, according to a government report released
this week.
The communist-run nation is investing in some crops to reduce imports
and others to boost exports, even as it gradually loosens the state's
grip on all food production and distribution in favor of individual
initiative and the law of the market.
Cash-strapped Cuba imports some 60 percent of the food it consumes at a
cost of around $2 billion annually, mainly bulk cereals and grains such
as rice, corn, soy and beans, as well as other items such as powdered
milk and chicken. Last year, $500 million of the imports came from the
United States under an exception to the trade embargo that allows
agricultural sales for cash.
Unprocessed rice production was up almost 50 percent at 642,000 tonnes
in 2012, compared with 436,000 tonnes in 2008 when Castro stepped in for
his ailing brother Fidel, and production of beans rose during the same
period by 28 percent to 127,000 tonnes, the only significant progress
Cuba and Brazil have been working for a number of years to grow soy for
the first time on the Caribbean island, alternating the crop with corn.
But there was no mention of soy in the report by the National Statistics
Office (, and corn production increased by
just 30,000 tonnes to 360,000 tonnes during the five-year period.
Castro has decentralized decision making, leased vacant land to 180,000
would-be farmers, allowed all agricultural producers to sell more of
their goods on the open market (47 percent in 2012) and raised the
prices the state pays for produce. Yet tonnage for root and garden
vegetables and bananas and plantains has stagnated at around 5 million
The state owns 80 percent of the land and leases 70 percent of that to
farmers and cooperatives. The other 20 percent of land is owned by
private family farmers and their cooperatives and produces a far higher
percentage of the nation's food.
Export crops, from coffee and citrus to tobacco and sugar cane declined
over the last five years, according to the report. Livestock fared no
better with most categories either stagnating or declining, except milk,
which increased by 8 percent to 604,000 tonnes.
During the period three major hurricanes hit Cuba, where less than 10
percent of the farm land has adequate irrigation and drainage.

Source: "The Daily Herald -Cuba reports little progress 5 years into
agricultural reform" -

Panama uncovers fighter jet engines from seized North Korea ship

Panama uncovers fighter jet engines from seized North Korea ship
Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:46pm EDT

COLON, Panama (Reuters) - Panamanian investigators unloading the cargo
of a seized North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba under sacks of
brown sugar on Tuesday found 12 engines for MiG-21 fighter jets and five
military vehicles that officials said resembled missile control centers.

Investigators earlier this month had found two MiG-21 fighter jets and
two missile radar systems on board the Chong Chon Gang, which was bound
for North Korea when it was stopped by officials.

Panamanian Security Minister Jose Mulino said the cargo appeared to fall
within what Cuba had said was a range of "obsolete" arms being sent to
North Korea for repair.

Panama asked the United Nations to delay the arrival of investigators by
a week until August 12, because the process of unloading cargo found
under 100,000 tons of sugar has taken longer than expected.

About 25 percent of the sugar has been removed so far, Mulino said.

Investigators have gone through most of two storage houses in the
155-meter (510 foot) vessel, Mulino said, but three more warehouses remain.

The process has involved about 500 police since June 15 when Panamanian
law enforcement discovered the military equipment.

They initially pulled over the Chong Chon Gang after receiving a tip it
was carrying drugs, Panamanian law enforcement have said. Cuban
officials told Panama the cargo was a donation of sugar for the people
of North Korea.

Officials have found most of the weapons Havana said were on board,
including the two fighter jets, originally produced by the Soviet Union
in the late 1950s, and two missile radar systems.

No missiles have been found, and though officials originally feared one
container held explosive material, none was discovered.

(Reporting by Lomi Kriel; Editing by Ken Wills)

Source: "Panama uncovers fighter jet engines from seized North Korea
ship | Top News | Reuters" -

Cuba June Tourist Arrivals Fell 2.5% From Year Ago

Cuba June Tourist Arrivals Fell 2.5% From Year Ago
By Ainhoa Goyeneche - Jul 30, 2013 2:26 PM GMT+0200

Following is a summary of Cuba's June tourist arrivals from the National
Statistics Office in Havana:
June May April March Feb. Jan.
2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013
Monthly Visitors 183,812 191,122 273,950 354,578 300,654 292,771
Annual Change% -2.5% -3.0% -4.9% 1.3% -2.9% -0.2%
YtD Visitors 1,596,883 1,413,071 1,221,949 947,999 593,425 292,771
Annual Change% -1.8% -1.7% -1.5% -0.5% -1.6% -0.2%
SOURCE: Oficina Nacional de Estadisticas

Source: "Cuba June Tourist Arrivals Fell 2.5% From Year Ago - Bloomberg"

Cuba and the Problem of Information

Cuba and the Problem of Information
July 30, 2013
Haroldo Dilla Alfonso*

HAVANA TIMES — In a previous article, I referred to the insurmountable
obstacles Cuba's leadership faces as it attempts to "modernize" a
totalitarian and inefficient system of government, a system that will
now give way to a Third-World capitalist economy that is to benefit the
handful of people at the top – government officials and their
descendants included.

To do this, they must move a series of pieces that have acted as pillars
of the island's leadership, or, at least, that have proven the
inevitable result of their form of government.

These include generalized corruption in a world where salaries aren't
enough to make ends meet, the political cynicism that was required to
assume forced affiliations and the double standards and oaths of loyalty
(including participation in massive parades) taken while awaiting a visa
that allows one to begin a new life – or, at least, enjoy part of it –
in the stomping grounds of Cuba's "historical enemy."

In short: a whole series of functional practices that betray widespread,
fragmented, short-term and tenacious forms of popular resistance.

The recently-concluded congress of the Cuban Journalists Association
(UPEC) is an example of this. All analysts – even those prone to
excessive praise – concur that, in essence, it is more of the same,
pretty much exactly the same, to paraphrase the proverbial drunkard in a
popular Cuban joke, what we saw at the last congress held in 2008.

Rousing speeches calling for a more spirited and critical press, which
must, at the same time, continue to act as a loyal bastion of a
revolution that expired fifty years ago and of a socialist system that
never came into existence.

The exaltation of the press as a loyal instrument of the Communist Party
– an auxiliary mechanism employed by the post-revolutionary elite to
perpetuate its unquestionable power – and at the service of the
"people", a floating signifier which is filled with different meanings
at different times, in dependence of the interests at stake.

And, as has become customary in the course of these last five decades,
the journalistic critique of a series of issues that include buses that
do not make the required stops, unfulfilled train schedules, badly-fried
croquettes, the theft of flour at State bakeries, drunkards who urinate
in the street and the various weak points of that immense sophism known
as the "port-transportation-domestic economy chain."

I believe, however, that something has changed and that it is worthy of
our attention. A more urgent problem hides behind this whole issue of
the press: that of the circulation of information in a system that must
invariably be more open.

For, even though Cuban leaders – old and not so old, military or
civilian – have not considered democracy as an option, they can
certainly understand (at least those who still retain some capacity to
understand what goes on around them) that a more open and inevitably
more permissive economic system entails the emergence of other,
autonomous agents, and that these agents require information in order to

In an authoritarian system with increasing doses of market freedoms, a
system which, at the same time, begins to put aside its commitments to
ensure the widespread wellbeing of the population, information cannot be
handled as it was administered under the former system of centralized
planning. If the new social agents require information to make
decisions, this information must somehow be made available to them.

Within this new context, as a speaker at the congress pointed out when
referring to what he euphemistically called "the press' external
regulations", the journalistic message becomes more formal and less
credible, "(…) something which complicates the work of the press and
also undermines the credibility of the State, the government, the
authorities and the revolution itself."

This is what Vice-President Diaz-Canel was talking about when he
referred to the matter on several occasions, invoking another factor of
crucial important: the inevitable arrival of the Internet, through which
independent blogs cease to be the exclusive domain of foreign analysts,
the fact that a new, transnational society has other sources of
information beyond the seas.

Be it because he is younger, or more educated, or both, Cuba's
second-in-command has managed to understand that he aspires to govern a
world beyond the extremely short term envisaged, from their infertile
old age, by the contemporaries of the Party strongman, Jose Ramon
Machado Ventura.

At any rate, with the exception of a passing reference to an obscure
commission that will work to re-formulate journalistic policies, nothing
in Vice-President Diaz-Canel's concluding remarks at the congress
suggests a new direction. His address, like the more critical statements
made during the congress, doesn't even remotely touch on the delicate
and controversial issue of freedom of the press.

This was the case because Cuba's gerontocracy knows that any independent
handling of information is ultimately subversive in a system which
continues to insist – ever more ludicrously and inefficiently – on
administering society in a totalitarian fashion.

The system and its administrators are caught between the need to
establish a freer flow of information (so that the market economy will
function) and restricting this process to certain limits, so that the
current system of socio-political domination will continue to function.

In the threshold between these two imperatives, a sector is now
demanding a minimum of credibility, precisely what the system's
exhausted organic intellectuals continue to demand.

Some readers will likely remind me that the Chinese and Vietnamese have
managed to solve this problem without moving the pillars of
authoritarian political control considerably. This is true, at least for
the time being. But the Chinese and the Vietnamese have had two things
in their favor which Cuba does not have.

The first thing is an economic dynamic which facilitates their insertion
into the market at a pace quicker than that in which social discontent
can grow in their countries and this creates more hope than it does
frustration. The second factor is that both countries are driven by an
ancestral culture in which obedience to authority is a next to
inalienable principle.

Neither of these two factors is present in Cuba. What we do have on the
island is very little time to re-assemble everything that has been torn
asunder over the last fifty years, to address the problem of restricted
information, which makes the world described by the press, as one
speaker at the congress said, less and less believable.

(*) A Havana Times translation of the original published in Spanish by

Source: "Cuba and the problem the government faces on information
policy" -

Cuba - Where Human Rights Are Seen as Wrong

Cuba, Where Human Rights Are Seen as Wrong
July 30, 2013
Isbel Diaz Torres

HAVANA TIMES — My life partner, the optometrist Jimmy Roque Martinez,
has just been approached in his place of work and accused of being a
"human rights advocate", and that he has been incited to become one by
none other than yours truly. The Party is now suggesting that he ought
to be laid off.

The accusation is being made by the Secretary of the Cuban Communist
Party (PCC) at his workplace, Berardo Duque Prieto. The whole thing
strikes me as yet another sad, ridiculous farce involving an official
who, for personal rather than professional reasons, decides to get rid
of a worker.

As Jimmy's job is at stake, I think going over the case now is worth our

In addition to being the Party Secretary at this workplace, Mr. Duque
Prieto is also the Chair of the Base Labor Justice Department, the head
of Human Resources and lay judge. Not surprisingly, the guy feels very

On more than one occasion, he has publicly announced that he is powerful
enough to remove the director of Marianao's 27 de Noviembre Polyclinic
from her post, if ever he felt inclined to do so.

What angered this Party man so was an incident that took place days ago,
when he brought a friend of his, the head of the Municipal Labor Office,
to Jimmy's office. This "high" official was treated by Jimmy with all of
the professionalism that characterizes his work.

On being introduced, the official commented that Jimmy's face seemed
familiar to him. My partner replied that, in effect, they had met years
ago, when he had been removed from his government office.

Though the head of the Labor Office was not offended by this, for some
reason Jimmy's remark was enough to hurt the tender feelings of Mr.
Duque Prieto, who (according to his account) called the Military
Counter-Intelligence headquarters to report what had happened. The
counter-intelligence informed him that Jimmy was "a human rights advocate."

I know the whole thing sounds funny, and it would be, were it not for
the tragic underside to the story: Jimmy is the only breadwinner in his
family, which consists of his ill mother, a sister who has been confined
to a wheelchair since birth and a mentally challenged nephew.

Though the management at the polyclinic hasn't penalized Jimmy in any
way yet, Mr. Duque Prieto, who, as I've noticed, is prone to kicking up
fusses at the entrance to the polyclinic, has spread rumors among
employees, looking for support in his efforts to get him fired, and has
called on the "communists" at the workplace.

In addition, he has abused his position as a high Party official and
threatened a number of medical doctors, saying he will not authorize
their trips abroad if they do not cease to mingle with Jimmy, hoping
that he will tender his resignation of his "own will".

Though Jimmy does hold human rights to be valid and would not be afraid
to say so in public, it would be hard to seriously maintain he is a
human rights activist, first and foremost because he is a very shy
person who doesn't like speaking in public. His valuable contribution to
the work of Cuba's Observatorio Critico is the closest thing to any form
of activism he has ever been involved in and the only thing that could
have earned him this amusing label of "human rights activist" – and he
has no intention of denying the work he does there.

Nevertheless, as every Cuban knows, being stigmatized with such a label
can have nefarious consequences. For a considerable part of our
population, ill-informed by our official media, being a "human rights
advocate" is something along the lines of being a terrorist, a
mercenary, a murderer or a fascist.

An uneducated man, the head of human resources is unable to hold any
kind of debate about these issues. On several occasions, Jimmy has tried
to discuss other political issues with this man, to no avail. He
immediately gets worked up, yells out a couple of "revolutionary"
slogans, and storms off.

On one occasion, Jimmy commented on how the anarcho-syndicalist movement
had contributed to the struggle of the Cuban working class at different
points in history, and now Mr. Duque Prieto is showing polyclinic
employees a definition of anarchism (probably taken right out of a
Stalinist manual) so as to discredit the young revolutionary.

Is he, and the counter-intelligence agents, aware of the fact that the
Cuban government is one of the signatories to the Human Rights Charter?
Does that mean anything to them?

In addition, Cuba's out-of-date and highly limited Constitution
enshrines the main human rights, including freedom of thought and
expression and the right to work.

I am almost positive these fellows know nothing of union leader Alfredo
Lopez, of Boris Luis Santa Coloma, who was once the boyfriend of Haydee
Santamaria, a friend of Fidel Castro's and one of the assailants of the
Moncada Garrison, Camilo Cienfuegos' father and union leader Margarito
Iglesias, all of whom were anarchists. They are probably also unaware of
the fact that members of the 26th of July Movement would meet at the
headquarters of Cuba's Libertarian Association.

A couple of years ago, Jimmy went through a similar ordeal, when he was
fired from a hospital because of his environmentalist and political
activism with Observatorio Crítico. On that occasion, the management
trumped up an excuse to get rid of him, concealing the political reasons
behind the decision.

In this case, the Party leader's skills aren't too impressive, and he
has begun a rather ridiculous ideological war. If you want to have a
"battle of ideas", you first need ideas. We hope the management at the
polyclinic will see the absurdity of the situation and penalize this
official for his abuse of power.

Support from those who, in or outside of Cuba, feel this arbitrary
measure as an affront on their ideals, is needed. Any recommendation or
pronouncement on your behalf will be useful in our efforts to put an end
to the petty maneuvers being essayed against my partner.

As for me, I will keep readers, the international community and the
pertinent entities in Cuba informed of how this politically-motivated
affront on a person's rights unfolds.

Source: "In Cuba, human rights are considered evil by the Communist
Party" -

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Estado de SATS Celebrates Three Years

Estado de SATS Celebrates Three Years / David Canela
Posted on July 30, 2013

HAVANA, Cuba, July 29, 2013, David Canela / civic
project Estado de SATS this Saturday celebrated its three years of
existence with a children's party. About 10:30 in the morning Rodiles'
house was full. At the party two clowns performed, exciting the children
with games, dances, songs and puppets. Children's music videos were also

Estado de SATS was born as an event of dialog between the actors of
civil society, who attended in many voices and independent groups
(artistic, religious, legal, community) to talk about the the future of
Cuba. It was held in Gaia House in Old Havana, between 23rd and 25th on
25 July 2010. As the meeting led to open debate, outside an established
script, the project was censored, and no other State institution was
permitted (or risked) to host it again.

For this reason, Antonio González-Rodiles, one of the principal
coordinators, decided to resume it in his own house, in the municipality
of Playa. The original idea of the project, of being a marketplace of
social diversity, and a public space for alternative ideas–beyond the
narrow limits of official discourse ideological–crystallized again on
March 5, 2011, when Raudel Collazo and Adrián Monzón were invited to
speak about their artistic projects. Since then (and with the exception
of Festival Click), the sessions are no longer structured as a
"mini-conference" but as a meeting for a specific topic.

Since then, in March 2011, it adopted the slogan Where art and thought
converge. In its three years of work, they have held panels, interviews,
screened documentaries and films–which had not been shown before in
Cuba–poetry recitals and one of short stories (with the writer Ángel
Santiesteban), parties, presentations and music concerts, independent
project fairs, exhibitions of photographs, art, cartoons and publicity

Over time they have created some spaces or specialized programs, such as
Analysis Forum (FORA), for political, social and legal debate, Cinema at
All Costs, for the display of audiovisuals, and recently CafeSatso,
devoted to literature.

Other independent projects have collaborated with Estado de SATS:
Omni-Zona Franca, the Endless Poetry Festival, Voces Cubanas, the Cuban
Law Association, Cubalex, EBE (of Spain), Talento Cubano, among others.
Many people in the diaspora and Cubans in exile, through speeches and
videotaped interviews, media outreach, or the donation of works (for
example, the exposition of CoCodriloSmile graphic humor). In addition,
Radio and TV Marti and Cubanet have helped to broadcast some of their

From March 2011 to June of the current year, there have been around 66
meetings (one of them when Antonio Rodiles was imprisoned in November of
last year). Of these programs, 30 were held with the public and 35 with
no audience. One had to be suspended due to police repression; those who
could were able to get there recorded his testimony.

Estado de SATS is also the civil society project that promotes the
Citizen Demand For Another Cuba, which calls on the Cuban government to
ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Monday, 29 July 2013, from CubaNet

29 July 2013

Source: "Estado de SATS Celebrates Three Years / David Canela |
Translating Cuba" -

Notes for the Transition

Notes for the Transition / Antonio Rodiles, Alexis Jardines
Posted on July 29, 2013

HAVANA, Cuba, July 29, 2013: The political landscape of the island has
been energized recently. In the international arena the event with the
greatest impact is undoubtedly the death of Hugo Chavez and his
succession embodied in Nicolas Maduro, a man with few political tools
who, despite many odds, has managed, for now, to maintain a certain
equilibrium. However, given the difficult economic situation being
experienced by Cuba and the uncertain scenario facing the Chavistas in
Venezuela, Cuban totalitarianism is forced to avoid placing all its bets
on Venezuela.

For the elite in power, time, as a part of the political equation,
becomes the most important variable. The relaunch of their position in
the international arena has become one part of their priorities, and it
shows that a new moment in relations with Europe and the United States
is vital in the search for new economic and political partners who will
provide them stability and legitimacy.

In the interior of the island, the transformations in the economic
sector are not generating a new impression given the years of
accumulated statism, decapitalization and the precarious situation in
multiple sectors. A genuine process of reforms would involve much deeper
actions that would stir up a reality already admitted to be a social
disaster, as acknowledged even by Raul Castro in his latest speech. But
the fear of losing control has become an obsession and the principal

The ability of some regime opponents to travel represents, in this
sense, the boldest step taken by the elite in power, a clear commitment
to improve its image abroad and to rid itself of the stigma of lack of
freedom of movement. It is highly likely that this move was taken under
the assumption that some bitter pills would be no more than that, that
reality would remain stuck in its usual straitjacket, because we
opponents would not penetrate the media and, on our return to Cuba,
State Security's absolute control and lack of social expression would
keep everything in its place.

Given this scenario, we have to ask ourselves certain questions: Is
Cuban society in a position to push for greater freedom and
independence? Can the opposition capitalize politically on these trips?
And by capitalize we mean our capacity to articulate and project
ourselves inside and outside the island as pro-democratic forces with
civic or political weight in both venues; a projection that also allows
us to end the nefarious cat and mouse game with which State Security, as
the arm of the system, has kept us inefficiently occupied. It then
becomes imperative to mature as an opposition and as civil society, to
be able to widen the cracks in an exhausted system that holds onto
control and exercises State violence as elements of social containment.

The experience of multiple transitions shows the importance of
understanding the moment of change as a step in the process of national
reconstruction and to see it not as a discontinuous turning point. In an
extreme scenario like the one facing us, a successful transition will
necessarily involve the active participation of skilled human capital
with a strong social commitment and a clear vision of the nation that it
wants to build.

Without a social fabric that represents least a micro-cosmos, of the
mid- and macro-cosmos we visualize, it will be very difficult to build a
functioning democracy. Unsuccessful examples are plentiful and it is
irresponsible to omit them. The famous Arab Spring-become-Winter is the
most recent case, and shows that the establishment of a political system
requires a process of maturation and articulation of civil society. To
imagine the change and reconstruction of a broken, fragmented country,
not only in the physical sense but also in its social and individual
dynamics, is an essential exercise if we aspire to construct a democracy
that contains the ingredients of every modern nation

As the opposition we must break with paradigms that imply regression and
a copying of what has been experienced, in which glorious symbols, epics
and personalities play a significant role. An imagined future that
places too many hopes on an expansive "spark," and that often postpones
effective work with visions of the medium and long term.

It would also be healthy to readjust the idea that has dominated our
minds for more than half of a post-republican century: the desired unity
of the opposition as the only path to effective pressure to promote
change. We believe that the main role of the transition should fall on
civil society, while the opposition, as a political actor, must push
with discourse and coherent action so that civil society has the
necessary reach and penetration.

Hegel was right in saying that "everything that was once revolutionary
becomes conservative." The words lose their original sense and are
redefined to change the context that nurtured and sustained them, so
much so that the logic itself of revolutions backfires.

The truly revolutionary act is an abrupt gesture, a moment of rupture
that disrupts the established order. All revolutions, including
scientific, are designed to transform, to subvert, the bases of the
model or previous paradigm and, in this way, to bring it down.

Thus, what is new in our time is to understand the possible abruptness
as a moment in a process, which must be permeated with the ingredients
that shape modern societies: knowledge, information, thought, art,
technology. The revolution is a time of evolution, but not the inverse.

In the second decade of the present century we can not think of any
social processes without taking into account the transnational nature of
them. In our case it would be impossible to analyze a transition to
democracy and a process of reconstruction without involving the diaspora
and exile with its political actors. While they are not anchored in the
everyday life of the island they are living elements of the nation and
as such gravitate to her. About this, the ordinary Cuban is not wrong.
In the Cuban imagination part of the solution to our problems is in
Miami (as the diaspora is generically defined). The modern vision of
contemporary societies must come from and consist largely through
constant reinforcement between the island and its diaspora. The
opposition and exile should be precisely the hinge that makes such
articulation possible.

And this, in our view, is the other element that would end up framing
the Cuban scenario: how, looking forward, the opposition overlaps with a
transnational civil society so that the binary logic of the internal and
external, of the figures of the "Cuban insider" and "Cuban outsider,"
come to an end. For this to happen it is not enough to recognize, on the
level of discourse (as the regime does as well), that there are no
differences between us, that we are equal, etc. It is something more: we
are one and indivisible and this single Cuban has to have the right to
exercise the vote and to influence the political present and future of
his country, regardless of where on the planet he finds himself or
lives; this is, for the opposition and the exile itself, not only a
political problem, but a conceptual one.

As political actors we must show that we are an option for governance,
presenting the human capital at our disposal, the capacity we possess to
generate a political and legal framework capable of filling the possible
void that would be left by the one-party nomenklatura. To prove that we
could ensure security not only for the country but for the whole region,
and last, but no less important, the ability to overtake at the polls
the campaigns of the Castro supporters in any eventual free elections.

This would be, perhaps, the most desirable scenario in terms of
expansion of the transnational civil society and the corresponding
constraint of the totalitarian State. Let us, then, be careful not to
confuse succession with transition; let us learn to see ourselves as
ordinary Cubans and to demand our full civil, political, economic,
social and cultural rights as reflected in the two United Nations
Covenants. Let us admit that for the transition the human capital
dispersed through the State institutions is needed as badly as the
skills, knowledge and financial capital of those who have had to grow up
far from — but not out of — their country.

The problem of the Cuban nation today is the problem of the democratic
transition and reconstruction, a process that will be possible only if
it involves the largest number of Cubans, wherever they may live. We do
not say that the country belongs to everyone, which is a de jure
declaration; we say that all of us, together, make up the Cuban nation,
which is already a de facto declaration.

Antonio G. Rodiles and Alexis Jardines
Monday, 29 July 2013

Published in Cubanet and in Diario de Cuba

29 July 2013

Source: "Notes for the Transition / Antonio Rodiles, Alexis Jardines |
Translating Cuba" -

Talk About “Improper Conduct”…

Talk About "Improper Conduct"… / Miriam Celaya
Posted on July 29, 2013

The government is campaigning for the 'loss of ethical and moral values'
in society, but what about the disrespect of entering into armament
arrangements with the North Korean dictatorship?

The title refers to a memorable documentary that many of us Cubans
everywhere must have seen, based on the testimony of those who suffered
stark arbitrariness and terror introduced by the Castro regime in the
purge unleashed some forty years ago. Improper conduct was an illegal
crime figure established in the 60′s and 70′s of the last century by the
Castro regime to suppress what was officially considered sexual
deviations (homosexuality, "sentimentality"), ideological deviation or
anything that could be interpreted by the authorities as politically
incorrect. Many intellectuals, artists and ordinary people were
arrested, ousted, sent to labor camps or simply made to feel as
strangers in their own country.

Most of the anonymous victims of the witch hunt, which was established
as State policy were men, for committing the serious offense of wearing
their hair long, their pants too tight, not joining the "people's
harvests" or who preferred a certain type of music, among others. No one
escaped the close scrutiny of the Inquisition and its olive green
zealous executives. Anyone could fall out of favor against the rigid
revolutionary parameters.

The repression continued for a time, but the methods changed. Some of
what was once condemned became tolerated, and, currently, schematic
guerrillas have been forced to take on new poses and to even accept
certain differences. Without apologizing for the damage, without
admitting that the unprecedented persecution or the attack against basic
rights of free people, that same government now pretends to be in charge
of the defense of those rights, and, to prove it, it promotes campaigns,
holds events and even organizes parades and festivals.

However, following the speech by the General President at the recent
session of the National Assembly, in which he announced a crusade
against rudeness and social indiscipline, he said that the wind of
censure against "the loss of moral and ethical values" is once again
blowing through our streets. Some people claim that fines are being
applied to persons who "swear" or profess rudeness in public, who board
the bus through the back door or who don't pay their fares, those who
are loud and disturb their neighbors, who throw garbage and debris on
the road, etc. In principle, it would not be such a bad thing if it
weren't just one more campaign, or if there were just one Cuban free
from all these sins in order to fine the sinners or, if applying these
measures didn't interfere with the rights of other citizens.

For instance, a few days ago, a teenager whom I will call Daniel,
residing in the municipality of El Cerro in Havana, was returning home
after his high school graduation. With the ease and ideas of spontaneity
typical of his age, feeling himself without the responsibilities of
schooling and under the harsh summer sun, he had rolled up the legs of
his ugly and faded yellow school uniform, and his shirt was partially
unbuttoned and hanging outside the waistline of his pants. Carefree, he
walked while concentrating on the music blaring in his ears, so he was
taken by surprise when a man, very authoritatively, abruptly stopped him
in the middle of the street, after demanding the boy take off his
headphones and unroll his pant legs immediately.

Instantly, Daniel doubted whether the man was in his right mind, so he
demanded to know who he was and why he should obey him. Then the
individual identified himself, not by his name but as an "inspector of
minors", he accused him of incorrectly wearing his uniform, "a symbol of
the mother country that the Revolution had given him" and because of
that, his parents could be fined and he could be detained in a "care
center for improperly behaved youths."

Not allowing himself to be too impressed, Daniel explained that he was
not in uniform because, in fact, he was returning from his high school
graduation, so he wouldn't have any more use for it, that he was going
home after having stood in the hot sun in the schoolyard for a very long
time, listening to the required speeches before getting his diploma, and
that, as he understood it, the symbols of the motherland were the Cuban
flag, the national coat of arms and the Bayamo* National Anthem and not
an old pair of pants that -to be exact- the revolution had not given to
him, but that his mother had bought at an excessive price in the black
market after, a year ago, he had outgrown the one rationed to him. The
man persisted with his threats, demanded the boy's identity card and
even tried to hold Daniel by the arm. Then, the teenager shook him off
and, seriously scared, ran all the way home.

The event, unconditionally true, is based on the direct testimony of the
boy and his family. But, in fact, the important thing here is not simply
to determine if Daniel acted correctly or not. For many years it has
been customary among our teenagers graduating from different levels to
perform this kind of rite of passage which desecrates the old uniform,
considered by them -and by previous generations, no longer so young- a
symbol of the control that educational institutions exercised over their
lives. It's merely an innocent act of rebellion, typical of this stage
in their lives, that results in disparate forms of expression: from
having their shirts autographed by their classmates to intentionally
tearing their uniforms into strips while they are wearing them, without
any major consequences.

What this is about, essentially, is that no officer or agent of the
government has the authority to coerce a child, whether in private or in
public, thus transgressing the rights of that teenager, as well as those
of his parents and of other adult family members. The significance of
the matter is that, in different hues and in another scenario, official
impunity and people's defenselessness are repeated, counter to the
supposed "changes" that the Government advocates, which should
immediately set off fire alarms in the population.

And because this is about fines and punishments, the government is not
able to take up the slack. These days, Cubans are the ones who should
analyze what actions to take about the unspeakable rudeness on the part
of their government of entering into arrangements with our other
planet's dictatorship, the North Koreans, cheating the Cuban people and
offending the civilized world and the international organizations of
which we are members. Castro II should explain this and many other
violations that betray the government's lack of ethical and moral values
before attempting to apply enforcement action over his "governed".

We should also have to include in the analysis the direct responsibility
of half a century of totalitarian abuse in the loss of ethics and moral
values of our society, not to mention the systematic violation of
citizens' rights throughout all that time. Too bad this same government
has also deprived us, with the suppression of civic institutions, of the
tools to demand explanations and ensure compliance. Without a doubt, the
hour is getting close for the beginning of real reforms in Cuba,
starting with policies.

*Cuban National Anthem's original and traditional title

Miriam Celaya | Havana | July 26th, 2013

From Diario de Cuba

Translated by Norma Whiting

Source: "Talk About "Improper Conduct"… / Miriam Celaya | Translating
Cuba" -

President of the CDR lives in misery

President of the CDR lives in misery / CID
Posted on July 29, 2013

A Cuban family from Holguín, desperate because of the precarious state
of their home and the lack of any response from the authorities, went to
see human rights activists to ask them to help and to provide a report
on her case.

In the video of Liberal Creole Productions and the Peoples' Defender of
Independent Democratic Cuba (CID), a woman named Luisa tells a group of
human rights activists that she is living with her three children, her
mother, her father, and two brothers in a house which is in ruins, with
holes in the walls and roofs, and canvas doors.

Luisa, who lives in the house where the President's Office of the
Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) for her block is
located, explains that although her parents had dedicated their lives to
the revolutionary project inspired by Fidel Castro, hadn't received any
assistance from the government to help them improve the miserable
conditions in which they live.

Luisa asked for help from the opposition following suggestions from her
own neighbours.

"I want them to help me, so they don't come and threaten me, nor put me
in prison, because I m always going to say the same thing. I haven't
told any lies, they are the ones who have lied." says he woman and shows
some documents in which, according to her, she applies for a better
place to live.

Luisa explains that in that house lives her mother, who belonged to the
Association of Young Rebels (predecessor to the Union of Young
Communists, (UJC) and the national vanguard of the tourism sector; her
brother was a veteran of the Angola war and her father a "fighter in the
war against the bandits in Escambray and a socialist militant."

"They now have absolutely nothing, only a cheque for 240 pesos", which
gets you nowhere.

For their part, the activists who came to interview her and document her
living conditions told her that although they couldn't offer her a home,
nor materials to repair it, they promised to accompany her when she
decides to make a claim "to the party, the government … wherever" and
they promised her they would make the case public.

Source: Radio Marti

24 July 2013

Translated by GH

Source: "President of the CDR lives in misery / CID | Translating Cuba"

2018 - Elections and Transfer of Powers

2018: Elections and Transfer of Powers / Reinaldo Escobar
Posted on July 29, 2013

Sixty years after having initiated the actions to seize power,
General-President Raul Castro finds it opportune to emphasize that "the
process of transferring the main responsibilities of leadership of the
nation to new generations is ongoing, gradual and orderly."

At a time when those who, as children, founded the Pioneers Organization
are beginning to retire, the news makes it clear that "the principals
responsible for leading the nation" are not as concerned with the
nominations made by Nominations Committee as they are with establishing
Articles 73 and 143 of the Cuban Electoral Act; and it is also evident
that — given that it is all about a gradual and orderly transfer and not
about democratic elections — there is no point to the vote of the
parliamentarians who have to approve (or disapprove) such nominations.

Everything is already decided! All that's lacking is some 1,700 days to
produce "the baton." In some drawer, particularly obscure, lies the list.

29 July 2013

Source: "2018: Elections and Transfer of Powers / Reinaldo Escobar |
Translating Cuba" -

Cuba criticizes U.S. sanctions against Italian bank

Cuba criticizes U.S. sanctions against Italian bank
08:21, July 30, 2013

HAVANA, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Cuba on Monday denounced the United States
for imposing a fine on an Italian bank for operating with the island,
saying it demonstrated Washington's "insolence" in the treatment of its
European partners.

"The extraterritorial application of this measure demonstrates the
insolence with which the United States treats its European partners and
sets a negative precedent for other institutions to trade with Cuba,"
said the Cuban Foreign Ministry in a statement.

The U.S. Office for Foreign Assets Control imposed the Italian bank
Intensa Sanpaolo a fine of nearly 3 million dollars for making 53
transfers to the island during the period of 2004-2008. It is the second
fine in less than a month and the fifth so far this year as part of the
commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba
since 1962, according to the ministry.

The United States "reinforces the extraterritorial application of the
blockade, by imposing fines on foreign and domestic companies operating
in third countries," the ministry said.

Source: "Cuba criticizes U.S. sanctions against Italian bank - People's
Daily Online" -

Cuban LGBT rights advocates arrive in D.C.

Cuban LGBT rights advocates arrive in D.C.
July 29, 2013
By Michael K. Lavers on July 29, 2013

Two Cuban LGBT rights advocates who are visiting the United States for
three months on Monday arrived in D.C.

Ignacio Estrada Cepero and Wendy Iriepa Díaz on Monday met with staffers
of Us Helping Us, an HIV/AIDS service organization, and Casa Ruby, a
multicultural LGBT community center. Estrada and Iriepa are also
scheduled to meet with Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on
Capitol hill on Wednesday before they return to Miami.

Estrada, who founded the Cuban League Against AIDS in 2005, told the
Blade while at Casa Ruby that he and Iriepa, a transgender woman who
used to work for Cuba's National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX) —
which is directed by Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban President
Raúl Castro — want to "show how we live, how we work" in Cuba while they
are in the U.S.

The couple, who married in a high-profile wedding in Havana, the Cuban
capital, in 2011, said Mariela Castro presents what they described as a
distorted reality of the island's LGBT community to the world.

"Mariela totally manipulates the LGBT community," Iriepa said.

Estrada and Iriepa arrived in D.C. less than three months after Mariela
Castro traveled to the U.S. to accept an award from Equality Forum, a
Philadelphia-based LGBT advocacy group.

Mariela Castro's supporters note she successfully lobbied the Cuban
government to begin offering free sex-reassignment surgery under the
country's national health care system in 2010. Iriepa herself had SRS in
2007 while she worked at CENESEX.

Observers have credited Cuba's condom distribution campaign and sexual
education curriculum with producing one of the world's lowest HIV
infection rates. Cubans with the virus also have access to free
anti-retroviral drugs.

CENESEX in May scheduled a series of events across Cuba to commemorate
the annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Mariela
Castro has also spoken out in support of marriage rights for same-sex
couples in the country.

"I am very proud of how we have advanced [LGBT rights in Cuba,]" she
said during an Equality Forum panel in Philadelphia.

Estrada and Iriepa and other Cuban LGBT rights advocates remain critical
of Mariela Castro and her father's government.

Leannes Imbert Acosta of the Cuban LGBT Platform claimed authorities
last September detained her as she left her Havana home to bring
materials to CENESEX on a planned exhibit on forced labor camps to which
the government sent more than 25,000 gay men and others deemed unfit for
military services during the 1960s. Estrada said that las fall during a
New York City panel organized by Cuba Archive – a group that documents
human rights abuses on the island – more than 500 people with HIV/AIDS
remain in prison for what he described as the crime of "pre-criminal
social dangerousness."

When the Blade attempted to address criticisms from Estrada and other
LGBT rights with Mariela Castro during a press conference before she
accepted the Equality Forum award, the group's Executive Director
Malcolm Lazin interrupted, preventing the questions from being asked.

"You work for the community but you aren't really from this community
without rights," Estrada told the Blade. "And without rights nothing can
be achieved."

Source: "Cuban LGBT rights advocates arrive in D.C. : Washington Blade –
America's Leading Gay News Source" -

Catholic Church Wielding Growing Influence in Cuba, Says Country's Catholic Representative

Catholic Church Wielding Growing Influence in Cuba, Says Country's
Catholic Representative
By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter
July 29, 2013|5:59 pm

WASHINGTON – A representative of the Cuban Catholic Church explained at
an event Monday that presently the Catholic Church is exerting a growing
influence in the country.
Orlando Márquez Hidalgo, editor and director of the Havana Archdiocese
publication Palabra Nueva (or New Word), explained to The Christian Post
after a panel discussion event held by the Brookings Institute that
there is "open dialogue" between the Church and President Raúl Castro.

"There is an open dialogue, there is not a road map, there is an open
dialogue where everything can be included," said Márquez. "They talked
about the situation in Cuba and the relationship with the regime, how to
improve the relations between the Church and the government."

Márquez was commenting about the Catholic Church's talks with the Cuban
government, headed by Raúl Castro, younger brother of long-serving
President Fidel Castro.

Results of these talks have included potential reforms as well as social
justice matters. The Catholic Church helped broker the release of about
50 political prisoners several years ago.

Márquez was one of three individuals who gave remarks at an event by
Brookings known as "The Role of the Catholic Church in Cuba Today."

In addition to Márquez, other panelists were Eusebio Mujal-Leon,
associate professor at Georgetown University, and Tom Quigley, former
foreign policy advisor on Latin America and the Caribbean for the United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Over the last two decades, the Catholic Church has come to occupy a
unique space within Cuban society and has developed a growing dialogue
with the Cuban state," reads a description of the event on Brookings'
website. "Actively interested in the ongoing economic reform process,
the Archdiocese of Havana promotes debate regarding the role of the
state and citizens in the economy and facilitates graduate training in
business studies."

Ted Piccone, senior fellow and deputy director of public policy for
Brookings, moderated the event.

"For all of you here, if you haven't been following, you will learn
quickly how interesting and exciting things are in Cuba these days and
the Catholic Church has something to do with that," said Piccone.

"For the last several years, the Catholic Church has played a dynamic
role at the leadership level as well as at the local level in breaking
new ground, in having conversations, in promoting discussions and
dialogue about the future of Cuba."

In an interview with CP, Quigley of the USCCB explained that the
Catholic Church's freedom to operate has improved over time.

"It's been much freer than it used to be at the beginning," said
Quigley, who has visited Cuba for church business several times in the past.

"The first visit of U.S. Bishops to Cuba was 1985, that's a long time
after 1959 [The year of the Revolution]. But after that time it became
easier for those visits to take place."

Márquez said that as someone born and raised Catholic in Cuba right
after Castro took power, he can testify that the pressure against the
Church was fiercer early on than today. "For many years during the
sixties and the seventies there was a lot of pressure on the believers.
Pressure that in many cases for that pressure they abandoned the faith,"
said Márquez.

"The Revolution demanded that faith from the individual. It is not the
case right now. They are not interfering. Even in the tough moments of
the '60s, our situation was not like the other Soviet, socialist
countries in Europe."

The Brookings panel comes several days after the Council of Churches in
Cuba (CIC) stated its approval for Raúl Castro's official remarks
stating that religious institutions have a place in Cuban society.

"We are pleased that in your call to work for the recuperating of
values, you have taken the Cuban religious institutions into
consideration," reads the CIC statement in part.

According to Open Doors USA, about 57 percent of Cuba is Christian. A
common complaint among Christians in the Caribbean nation is that of
constant government surveillance and infiltration.

Source: "Catholic Church Wielding Growing Influence in Cuba, Says
Country's Catholic Representative" -

Cuba looks to medical tourism as income source

30 JULY 2013 - 09H39

Cuba looks to medical tourism as income source

AFP - Football legend Diego Maradona blazed a path for Cuba to become a
medical tourism destination when he traveled to the island for drug
addiction treatment in 2000.

Since then, thousands of other famous and not-so-famous faces have
traveled here for help, and the government wants to build on that success.

Drug rehab, post-accident motor skills rehabilitation, treatment for eye
diseases and plastic surgery -- foreign patients can get all of these
services and more in Cuba, and at competitive prices.

"I've improved tremendously. Now I can move my arms and my legs, and I
can almost sit down by myself," said Venezuelan Cruz Ramos, who arrived
in Cuba two months ago, so injured after a car accident that he could
only move his eyes.

In downtown Havana, at a clinic that specializes in eye procedures,
fellow Venezuelan Carlos Armando Montana gushes about the services.

"Medical attention here is excellent, as much for the quality of the
doctors as for the atmosphere and the facilities," said Montana, 24, who
underwent a retina transplant after losing the use of his left eye in a
fireworks accident.

Cuba has long been known for producing quality doctors and providing
excellent medical services, and as the communist government of President
Raul Castro seeks to revive the island's moribund economy, it is turning
to medical tourism as a revenue generator.

Cuba's main source of foreign income is the sale of medical services to
other countries -- legions of doctors and nurses, who are public
employees, travel abroad to work following an agreement with the host

While this generates billions of dollars a year, the related field of
medical tourism is still in its infancy.

Servimed, a government-owned for-profit medical services company that
caters to foreigners, has website pages in Spanish, French and English,
the last two aimed mostly at Canadians.

"Cuba is a poor country which has placed its priorities in the right
places, which is to say, in education and health services," reads the site.

"We offer the opportunity to be seen and treated by qualified doctors
without the delays that one would encounter while trying to visit a
doctor in Canada."

Cuba welcomed 2.8 million tourists in 2012, according to official
figures. There are no figures however on how many of those foreigners
came specifically for medical treatment.

"Cuba has the best doctors in the world," said Maradona after being
treated for drug addiction.

The Argentine football legend, who befriended Fidel Castro, was so
enamored with the island that he has a tattoo of Che Guevara on his
right shoulder and an image of Fidel tattooed on his left ankle.

African and Latin American leaders have also sought medical attention in
Cuba, including Ecuador's Rafael Correa and -- most notably -- the late
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

At Havana's Cira Garcia Clinic, reserved for foreigners, breast
augmentation surgery costs $1,248 (940 euros), compared to around $6,000
in the United States, $4,350 in Britain and $2,500 in Mexico, according
to figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD).

"In this clinic we handle all types of medical specialties," said deputy
director Maria Antonieta Gonzalez. And if an in-house expert is
unavailable, one can be borrowed from another hospital, she said.

There are plenty to choose from: Cuba has the highest number of doctors
per residents in the world -- one per 148 inhabitants, according to the
World Health Organization.

In other countries, "what makes procedures expensive are the doctors,
but in Cuba, they are paid like everyone else," Gonzalez said.

What adds to the cost however is the difficulty in obtaining medical
supplies, which cannot be bought in the nearby United States due to a
trade embargo in place for a half-century, Gonzalez said.

On any given day there are 2,000 patients at the Cira Garcia from around
the world. Most come from Latin America, but there are also patients
from places like Angola, Canada, Spain, and even Cuban-Americans from
the US.

Other Havana hospitals, like the Hermanos Ameijeiras and the Gonzalez
Coro, have opened "international rooms" to cash in on the influx of

Hotels are getting into the business too, with places like El Viejo y el
Mar (The Old Man and the Sea), Triton and Neptuno catering to medical

Aside from foreigners who pay in much-needed hard currency, thousands of
Venezuelans travel to Cuba each year for free medical treatment,
benefitting from an agreement that Chavez signed with Fidel Castro, then
president, in 2000.

There are 43 health centers in Cuba that cater to Venezuelans, with the
government in Caracas picking up the tab.

Source: "Cuba looks to medical tourism as income source - FRANCE 24" -

Taken Out of the Closet, But No One Asks Forgiveness

Taken Out of the Closet, But No One Asks Forgiveness / Reinaldo Cosano
Posted on July 28, 2013
By Reinaldo Cosano. Havana, Cuba

Posted in the blog of Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

The veil covering violent homophobic repression is slowly being drawn
back, but the gulity aren't asking for public pardon.

It is hard to specify just how the virus of homophobic repression was
incubated, sharp-eyed with the machismo of the days of guerrilla groups
in the Sierra Maestra, whose magnitude never had precedent in Cuba,
converted into official policy aggravated by principal governing
figures, that spiritually mutilated or ended many lives.

Raúl Martínez González (Ciego de Ávila, 1927 – Havana, 1995),
internationally renowned famous Cuban painter, designer, sign painter
and photographer, homosexual, puts forth in his Memoirs:

"It was 1965. The attacks and reprisals against homosexuals began. The
UMAP was created, supposedly a rehabilitation center. Its creation was
justified according to already old ideologies, but totally believing in
the "New Man." This was before the Congress of Culture in 1971 that
ratified the official [repressive] policy given the fact of the
existence of homosexuals in the country [...] I believed naively that
this new rehabilitation camp wouldn't affect me, because of my personal
characteristics, the values that I had as a painter and professor at ENA
[National School of Art] and the Department of Architecture of the
University of Havana.

"I quickly discovered that the methods employed to recruit candidates
and take them as far as Camagüey, where the camps were located, were
totally reprehensible, an abuse into which the Committees for the
Defense of the Revolution fell, charged with providing names and
pointing out all those who they thought had – in their way – an improper
sexual conduct, or who simply lived a life apart from the rest of the

"Many must have cooperated out of belief that the Revolution acted with
good intentions. Others, with bad intentions, took the opportunity to
"toss out [denounce] everyone who was bothersome and caused problems." (1)

Massive repression against real or imagined dissidents of the
Revolution, whose punishments grew worse from 1965 when the raids
intensified against intellectual artists, the religious, the
disaffected, homosexuals, the underclass and "big babies" — an
expression of hate towards generally Catholic youths, children of people
of confiscated wealth — interned in work camps cutting sugarcane by hand
in Camagüey province, which recalls the Nazi pogroms against Jews,
prisoners of war, the politically disaffected, Jehovah's Witnesses and
homosexuals, condemned to concentration camps with the maxim at the
entrance "Work sets you free," concealing veneer of genocide.

Coincidentally the Military Production Aid Units (UMAP) emerge in Cuba
appealing to work as a means of sexual and political reeducation.
Official strategy of obligatory imprisonment, forced work, isolation of
dozens of thousands of Cubans in subhuman conditions. An epoch of terror
for men between 16 and 50 years of age, the age of military
conscription. Bodily self-harm and suicide among the recruits were
frequent escape routes from the UMAP.

Alicia Alonso, Prima Ballerina Assoluta, director of the National Ballet
of Cuba, protegée of leader Fidel Castro, asked her protector on more
than a few occasions to rescue homosexual members of the Ballet from the
fate of the UMAP when they were caught in police raids.

The witch hunt showed no mercy to the Intelligentsia — not just
homosexuals — for dissenting from the Castro orthodoxy: intellectuals,
writers, artists, journalists. Of course, also plain citizens.
Repression that calls to mind the concentration camps and murders of the
Maoist Khmer Rouge.

The then-seminarian Catholics Jaime Ortega Alamino, current Cardinal of
Cuba, and Troadio Hernández, later priest, for example, were forced
guests of the UMAP — the same as other parishioners, Jehovah's
Witnesses, Evangelical Band of Gideon and other Christian denominations
— on the inhospitable solitary plains of Camagüey, isolated from the
rest of the planet. One means of punishing and dismembering religion on
the premises of the declared Marxist atheism of the Revolution.

The poet José Mario Rodríguez, accused of being "dissolute and
liberaloid" (sic), and other writers of the pro-government El Puente
Publisher went to stay at the UMAP. While many writers and artists were
besieged, imprisoned, although not precisely in the UMAP camps. Among
them, the poet Herberto Padilla, Lorenzo Fuentes, Reinaldo Arenas,
Manuel Ballagas, Roberto Luque Escalona, Fernando Velázquez, Víctor
Sierpa, Nancy Estrada, Lina de Feria, María Elena Cruz Varela, Manuel
Díaz Martínez, Raúl Rivero, Bernardo Marqués, Manuel Granados and
Reinaldo Bragado.

Nevertheless, the repressive waterwheel against the intelligentsia
doesn't stop. It has never stopped in half a century of "revolution".

In recent days, the multiple award-winning writer Ángel Santiesteban (2)
was sentenced to five years in prison for the supposed crime of
housebreaking and offense causing injury, a common crime whipped up as a
screen to punish a writer or journalist whose criticisms, even within
the revolutionary framework, annoy the regime.

Meme Solís, composer, singer and director of his musical ensemble, was
condemned by homophobic rulers to ostracism on the island for being
homosexual in his moment of greatest artistic glory, his personal and
recorded appearances completely cut from radio, TV, and cabarets because
his sexual deviation displeased the ruling class. He had to wait out
eighteen years of censure and human suffering beyond his control until
they would grant him the kindness of a permit to leave the country.

Now the Havana regime, intending to take him out of the closet, to make
amends, to pardon his defect, invited him lately to visit his country to
take part in a luxury gala titled after of one of his greatest hit
musicals, Another Dawn, years after his exile and and another fifteen
years of imprisonment in the closet, his music banned, making him nearly
unknown to the latest generations of Cubans. An invitation expressing no
public nor private apology for condemnation to ostracism, being shut in
the closet, frustrated.

But that most outstanding musician did not fall into the trap of the
insulting ransom and declared, in the Nuevo Herald of Miami, that "it is
one thing for my music to be played there and another for me to go. I do
not wish to offend anyone but I don't think that this is the time to go.
The reasons are obvious. I have been through too much there to want to

The painter Raúl Martínez goes on to say: "Many friends — homosexuals or
not — were sent to the camps. As were well-known figures of the Nueva
Trova, budding writers, dramatists. A wave of fear was loosed among us
to learn that the police, especially in the [busy ice cream shop]
Coppelia, were making raids or taking prisoner anyone who stood out for
their clothing or [feminine] gestures. I was afraid to be mistaken. I
remember the fear with which I drank coffee at the bus stop, looking
from side to side, ready to flee if anything happened. When I had to
stand right there, after leaving the Radiocentro [theater] or the Habana
Libre [hotel], I prayed that the bus would come as soon as possible." (1)

Once Mariela Castro Espín, director of the National Center of Sexual
Orientation (CENESEX), daughter of the current ruler, was questioned
about the responsibility of her uncle Fidel Castro for the existence of
the UMAP. She astutely stated (or at least so they have her believe)
that Fidel Castro — always well informed — had no responsibility at all
because at that time he was too occupied with other matters of government.

Raúl Martínez, just like so many other distinguished homosexual people
of letters and the arts: the poet and storyteller Lezama Lima (Havana,
1910-1976); Virgilio Piñera (Cárdenas, 1912 – Havana, 1979),
storyteller, poet and dramatist; Antón Arrufat (Santiago de Cuba, 1935),
writer, dramatist, they were as oysters shut in their shells,
persecuted, rounded up, marginalized only for not singing praises to the
regime, for not bowing their heads, for staying in Cuba, for not
accepting emigration, condemned to live poorly, hidden in the closet
from which now, dead or alive, one by one, in turns, the dictatorship
goes craftily taking them out, promptly rehabilitated with rounded dates
of birth or death.

A suspect fence-mending for political convenience in an attempt to
change the repressive image of the regime, to tidy it up with a few
strokes of the pen. Paradoxically "resuscitated" by the same regime
which punished them, but without offering a public or private apology to
them, their families and friends for so many crimes against honorable
people. Hereditary crimes against the Nation.


(1) Martínez González, Raúl. Confesiones (de) Raúl Martínez, Yo Publio.
P.394. Instituto Cubano del Libro, Editorial Letras Cubanas, Artecubano
Ediciones, Palacio del Segundo Cabo, O' Reilly, 4, esquina a Empedrado,
La Habana Vieja, Cuba.

(2) Ángel Santiesteban. Autor of the blog The Children Nobody Wanted.
Prizes: Sueño de un día de verano (Dream of a summer's day), UNEAC
Prize, 1995; Los hijos que nadie quiso (The children nobody wanted),
Alejo Carpentier Prize, 2001; Dichosos los que lloran (Happy are those
who mourn), Casa de las Américas Prize, 2006.

Translated by Russell Conner

8 July 2013

Source: "Taken Out of the Closet, But No One Asks Forgiveness / Reinaldo
Cosano | Translating Cuba" -

Sugar with Weapons and Hidden Truths

Sugar with Weapons and Hidden Truths
Posted on July 28, 2013

I wasn't there, but then they told me and later I read that on July 11
the Panamanian authorities stopped a North Korean freighter sailing
through the Caribbean to the Panama Canal. Bear with me, but I think
that with that name (Chong Chon Gang) would have stopped anyone; knowing
that today the infamous and raggedy boat had sailed from Cuba and its
final destination, written on its "Road Map" (or the log of the sailing,
according to the former inspectors of the whereabouts of the 32) was
nowhere democratic and, much less popular, the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea.

The cargo found set off a huge diplomatic dust-up; and this, in turn, a
genuine media orgy that flared up when a little more than 24 hours after
the Panamanian announcement, the Cuban Foreign Ministry (MINREX) issued
an official statement that tried to minimize the central fact using the
hackneyed ploy of playing with the details, while North Korea maintained
a kind of "silence" on the matter in which 35 of its citizens were
detained at sea.

That Havana would hide its arsenal under tons of sugar, and they were
sending them to Pyongyang to repair them there, is logically credible
but leaves questions.

It's normal that over some determined period of time, planes, radar
systems, anti-aircraft missiles or some other military or civic
equipment, requires repair or heavy-duty maintenance. But, in this
particular case, and seeing as this equipment was made in Russia, the
question would be, why didn't they send them to Russia if — according to
what I understand — Cuba and Moscow maintain and even nourish a fluid
communication at the highest levels.

To save money. That could be an answer that too many seems likely and
offers a certain credibility. It is known that Kim Jong-Un accepts
barter and that, as a common practice, North Korea repairs and
modernizes this type of equipment in exchange for Cuba's sugar or
Myanmar's rice. However, we can't forget that at the moment when the
unsayable Chong Chon Gang was stopped, the military park in questions
(the two missile complexes Volga and Pechora, the new missiles in parts
and pieces, the two MIG-21 Bis planes and the 15 engines for this type
of airplane — made in the middle of the last century — traveled hidden
under 10,000 tons of sugar.

Some people, looking to be argumentative, allege that all these military
goods were very well camouflaged because of the two United Nations
Security Council resolutions that prohibit its member states from
transferring to, supplying, and servicing arms for Pyongyang. I'm sorry
to rain on their parade and that absurd justification; but if the
Island's government (respectful like so much cackling about its
commitments to peace, disarmament and respect for international law)
would like to send its deadly toys to North Korean to be repaired there
and then to be returned, all they have do to is to apply for the
required permission from the commission that oversees that sanction in
the Security Council.

All of which leads me to think that among those sacks of sugar, more
than weapons, hidden truths were traveling, that were neither going to
North Korea nor even thinking about coming back.

26 July 2013

Source: "Sugar with Weapons and Hidden Truths | Translating Cuba" -

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cuba’s Civil Society Is Transnational Says Rodiles

Cuba's Civil Society Is Transnational Says Rodiles / David Canela
Posted on July 29, 2013

HAVANA, Cuba, July 22, 2013, David Canela/ — Last
Saturday the independent Estado de SATS project sponsored a panel
discussion among Cuban civil society activists. The participants
included attorney Yaremis Flores, journalist Jorge Olivera (one of
seventy-five dissidents imprisoned during the 2003 Black Spring
crackdown), Roberto de Jesús Guerra, director of the news agency
Hablemos Press, and Manuel Cuesta Morúa, a political analyst. The topic
of the event was the current situation on the island following the
latest political reforms and especially after recent trips overseas by
many independent activists.

In regards to the experience of trying to be part of a globalized world,
Flores emphasized that "the issue for Cubans is the lack of
information." Referring to his work representing those involved in legal
cases, whose rights have often been at risk, he said, "If you cannot
travel (to Geneva), they can send you information."

Guerra and Olivera emphasized the need to strengthen the intellectual
and organizational capabilities of the peaceful opposition. We must
"continue organizing and empowering opposition groups," said Guerra. For
his part Olivera pointed out that the government "tries to manipulate
international public opinion and buy time, which means we must adopt a
more articulate and professional approach."

According Cuesta Morúa, "the government has moved the battle of ideas
abroad, and in Cuba tries to present a friendly dissent or a loyal

The trend to a more balanced and dynamic migration flow would be a
catalyst in the modernization of the country, as there is now a
"transnational Cuban civil society," as Rodiles called it.

As for the present, not all agreed with the idea that we are in a
political transition, — as the journalist Julio Aleaga said — although
this has not been officially declared. He explained that the reforms in
China had begun in 1979, although its results were visible a decade
later, with the Tienanmen protests, and that the Soviet Union no one
imagined, in 1985, that Perestroika would be the dismantling of socialism.

Olivera believes that in the future "there will be a negotiation between
the government and the opposition, because the country is in ruins." In
this regard, the journalist José Fornaris enunciated that "we have to
prepare a program of government," and not be ashamed to admit that we
want to be part of the new government.

When the panel was asked what recommendations would that give to those
traveling abroad, the lawyer Yaremis Flores suggested bringing evidence
and documents on specific cases that demonstrate the problems of Cuban
society that are not exposed in international forums, and so give a new
face to the society, that humanizes it, and belies the manipulated
figures from official groups of the government.

Cuesta Morúa added to avoid saying "I speak on behalf of …", "I am the
voice of …" He said there are receptive people abroad, who don't want to
hear protests, but rather proposals. And with regards to his experience
at the last meeting of the Latin American Study Association (LASA), he
noted that for the first time they broke the monopoly and the image
(official) of Cuba at these academic meetings, due to the actions of
independent sectors of the Island

This coming Saturday will be the three-year anniversary of the Estado de
SATS project.

22 July 2013

From Cubanet

Source: "Cuba's Civil Society Is Transnational Says Rodiles / David
Canela | Translating Cuba" -

An Interview with Berta Soler, Leader of the Ladies in White

An Interview with Berta Soler, Leader of the Ladies in White / Ivan Garcia
Posted on July 28, 2013
(Exclusive, Iván García in Havana)

If you want confirmation that socialism does not work, do yourself a
favor and visit Alamar. This community, twenty minutes east of Havana,
is an example of real urban chaos. A place without rhyme or reason,
ugly, poorly constructed buildings rise four, five, even eighteen
stories high along poorly paved, winding roads.

I spent more than an hour trying to find building number 657 where Berta
Soler lives. She is the leader of the brave women known as the Ladies in
White, a group founded in April 2003 in response to the imprisonment of
seventy-five peaceful activists opposed to the Cuban regime.

For the last 28 years, Berta has lived in Alamar, a bedroom-community
created in 1970 to alleviate Havana's housing shortage. Her convoluted
neighborhood, with its run-down interior alleyways, is known as Siberia.

Soler shares a modest two-bedroom apartment with her two sons and
husband, Ángel Moya, one of the twelve Black Spring dissidents who opted
to continue his opposition work from inside the country. In her
ivory-colored living room there is a photo of Pope Francis greeting
Berta during a public audience at the Vatican.

When I arrive, she and her husband are washing a large batch of clothes.
"We have to take advantage of the break in the rain," Berta explains,
looking at the items and throwing them into the washer. Before sitting
down in a red vinyl sofa for an interview with Diario de las Américas,
she prepares coffee in her tiny kitchen.

"I was born in Jovellanos, Matanzas province. I came to Havana when I
was nineteen. I am a microbiological technician and worked in the
América Arias maternity hospital. Before becoming a Lady-in-White, I
belonged to a dissident group called the Leonor Pérez Mothers' Committee.

"It was the beginning of the 2003 wave of repression. In the foyer of
Villa Marista — the barracks of the political police — there was Blanca
Reyes, the wife of poet Raúl Rivero, Claudia Márquez, Gisela Delgado,
Miriam Leyva and Laura Pollán, among others. By order of Fidel Castro we
had been separated from our husbands, fathers and sons. We decided to
demand their release by carrying out a march every Sunday outside St.
Rita's Church in Miramar.

"From that moment Laura excelled at being the leader. She was my sister,
my comrade-in-arms. Those were years of marches, verbal attacks and
beatings by paramilitary mobs. On October 14, 2011, when she died under
circumstances that I find suspicious, I felt as though a part of me had
been ripped out. In one week the regime planned Laura's death. One day
what really happened will come to light.

"In the beginning there were forty-eight Ladies in White. Most of us had
never been dissidents. We were workers, technicians and housewives who
were forced by Castro's dictatorship to protest, demanding the release
of our loved ones.

"In 2010 the repression against us intensified. Most of us are monitored
by the regime's special services. In front of what had been Laura's
residence in Central Havana, they still maintain an intelligence command
post with cameras and listening devices. In an apartment across from
mine they have installed a permanent operative.

"Every time we go out into the streets of any province to march —
gladiolas in hand, demanding freedom for political prisoners still in
detention and asking that human rights be respected — the state
'generously' spends resources that it does not invest in the people on
tracking and repressing us. There are always police patrol cars, two
city buses (in spite of the shortages in the urban transport system),
hundreds of agents with communication equipment and even an ambulance. I
would like to know how much money is spent on repressing us.

"After Laura's death it was decided that I should be the group's
spokeswoman. We don't have many secrets except logistical details such
as the hour, day and location of a march. Since November 2011 we have
had a standing rule. Any woman may join the group.

"We keep growing. Currently we have 240 women working on seven fronts:
Havana, Granma, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo, Villa Clara and
Matanzas. Soon we will add Ciego de Ávila. But, like I always say, we
prefer quality to quantity," notes the leader of the Ladies in White.

Berta Soler was a key player in a negotiation in April 2010 between the
government of General Raúl Castro and Cuban cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino.

"We have to thank the cardinal and the Catholic church for their role as
mediator in the conflict which arose after the death of Orlando Zapata
from a hunger strike. Those were difficult months. The repression was
fierce. Jaime Ortega himself witnessed a savage attack and verbal
assaults against the Ladies in White from the doorway of St. Rita's Church.

"It was then that Ortega decided to write a letter to Raúl Castro to
negotiate a release. The cardinal acted as go-between. The regime wanted
us to expel the Ladies in Support.* We refused. We reminded General
Castro that, when they were imprisoned after the assault on the Moncada
Barracks, his mother sought support from people who were not relatives."

They then gave in. It was historic. For the first time the military
rulers allowed them to march along Fifth Avenue without being harassed
by paramilitaries. Mediation by Ortega and Spanish chancellor Miguel
Ángel Moratinos led to the release of all the prisoners arrested for
their support of the seventy-five and most of the other political detainees.

"But these days the Catholic church and the cardinal remain silent,
continues Berta." Other dissidents and I have even been the subject of
strong criticism in Espacio Laical, the clergy's own publication. Right
now, even as we speak, there is a Lady in White who has been held for
over a year without trial.

"She is the only member of the group in prison. Her name is Sonia Garro.
She and her husband, Ramón Alejandro Muñoz, were detained in March 2012
as though they were terrorists. The Ladies in White demanded their
immediate release," says Soler.

It started pouring down rain in Alamar. Berta went to the kitchen to
prepare dinner. As she peeled sweet potatoes, she continued.

"One member of the group, Berta Guerrero — a resident of Holguín — went
through an extensive interrogation in which she suffered physical
torture in her hands and was held in a room whose temperature had been
set very low. We learned that State Security asked her to collaborate
with them in exchange for a new house. When she refused, they issued a
blunt warning: 'We have been ordered to put an end to the Ladies in
White by July 26.'

"None of this intimidates us. We will continue to grow stronger. Even if
the regime frees those close to the fifty political prisoners who remain
in jail, we will keep marching in support of democracy and human rights.

"And to clear up the legal gibberish looming over the twelve dissidents
who decided to remain in their homeland, among them my husband.
Technically they are not free men. The regime can overturn their cases
and send them back to jail. None of them has been issued a passport so
they can travel," Berta points out.

The leader of the Ladies in White sees the value in dissidents' recent
overseas trips. "I believe they have been positive," she say. "They have
exposed the deplorable economic and social conditions and the lack of
political freedom in our country. We have learned how civil society
functions in democratic countries. When you return, you realize how much
there is left to be done in every area, especially in community work."

In response to the accusations by eighteen members of Ladies in White
Laura Pollan Movement in the eastern provinces, Berta states, "On June
30 the Ladies in White issued a declaration. It was a painful decision.
We can accept any opinion, whether it be from someone in exile or any
other dissident in Cuba. And we respect that. But we believe the
internal affairs of the group should be left to us to manage. In my
opinion the evidence is not strong enough to accuse Lady-in-White Denia
Fernández Rey of being an agent of Cuban special services. You cannot
condemn a person on the basis of reasonable doubt."

Berta Soler is a woman of character. Her group's vociferous demands for
freedom during their peaceful protest marches over the course of ten
years cannot be ignored.

"We have made great personal sacrifices. These include family members
dying from poor medical attention while we were marching. Children like
my daughter who have not been accepted to universities due to our
political positions. Years in jail from which our relatives never
recovered. Sisters like Laura Pollan who are no longer with us. And
other Ladies in White who had to go into exile. No, Iván, this struggle
has cost too much. No one is going to divide us, especially not the
divisions hardened by the Castro special services.

Text and photo by Iván García

*Translator's note: The Ladies in Support was organized to support the
cause of the Ladies in White. Its members generally do not have
relatives in prison but they often join in the group's peaceful marches.

Translation by Irish Sam and Cuban Nellie

16 July 2013

Source: "An Interview with Berta Soler, Leader of the Ladies in White /
Ivan Garcia | Translating Cuba" -

The Castro Brothers Get Caught in the Act

July 28, 2013, 6:28 p.m. ET

The Castro Brothers Get Caught in the Act
News of arms shipments to North Korea rudely interrupts the happy talk
about reforms in Cuba.

The news that Cuba was caught smuggling fuel and weaponry on a North
Korean freighter through the Panama Canal surprised many who have bought
the line that the Castro regime is reforming and eager to lose its
reputation for criminality.

They are like the fabled frog that agrees to carry the scorpion on his
back across the water. When the scorpion stings the frog midstream, the
amphibian is confounded because it is clear that both will drown. But
the scorpion explains that what he did was inevitable because "it's my

The same goes for the Castro brothers. They are simply incapable of
containing their beastliness.

A handout picture provided by Cubadebate on February 24, 2013 shows
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro (L), and his brother, Cuban
President Raul Castro (R), during a session of the Cuban National
Assembly, in Havana, Cuba.

To pretend otherwise is to deny that the Castros, who lobbied the
Soviets for nuclear war against the U.S. in 1962, are still dangerous.
Yet denial is in fashion in some newsrooms and in the cloakrooms on
Capitol Hill, which is why the weapons-smuggling story was so evanescent.

The scorpion nature of the Castros is hardly news to Cubans. They are
not permitted to use the Internet, to watch independent news broadcasts,
to earn dollars, to speak their minds, to send their children to private
school or to worship freely. Something as basic as milk for children is
hard to find.

Some Cubans who rebel languish for years in dungeons. Others are now
victims of a new method of repression that observers call "catch and
release." The Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs in Cuba reported last
week that "in the first six months of 2013 the Cuban government
political police made more than 1,000 arbitrary arrests for political
activity, the majority [of the arrests] violent and lasting on average
between 12 and 24 hours." The council counts more than 70 political
prisoners serving multiple-year sentences.

Increased repression has accompanied recent efforts to bring in more
foreign exchange by attracting American visitors through "educational"
and "cultural" excursions that are permitted by the U.S. under its
long-standing embargo. The movements of these visitors and their
interaction with Cubans must be tightly controlled by the dictatorship
to ensure that they don't see too much of the real Cuba. They are
supposed to go away singing the praises of the happy communist paradise,
and many do.

A dictatorship is apparently an exotic curiosity for well-to-do
Americans. They are being herded through selected parts of the country
in large numbers to view firsthand what deprivation can inspire.

This week the elite Phillips Exeter Academy announced that it would join
with Miss Porter's School "on a weeklong exploration of the fascinating
art and culture of Cuba." There was no mention of whether students in
these prep schools would be visiting the jails where
nonconformists—including artists, musicians and the black human-rights
advocate Sonia Garro—reside. Nor was it clear whether the children would
learn about the dual-currency regime in which the military government
pockets dollars from the visitors while it pays workers in almost
worthless bits of paper. Somehow I doubt it.

‪Now comes the news of the arms shipment aboard the Chong Chon Gang
headed for North Korea, a land of barbed-wire fences and starvation, a
regime so dangerous to world peace that even the dithering United
Nations Security Council, China included, agreed unanimously in March to
heightened sanctions against it.

The Cuban foreign ministry immediately claimed that the weaponry, found
hidden under 10 tons of sugar and undeclared, was obsolete and going
abroad for repair. But José Otero writes in the Panamanian daily La
Prensa that Panamanian officials found two MiG fighters and full tanks
of jet fuel, along with "a mid-air refueling plane, two vehicles for
towing radars, a rocket-launching platform, a radar antenna with
platform and many cables" in the ship's hold.

Experts say the story doesn't add up. Weapons repairs are normally made
by ordering parts and flying in technicians. What is more, since
everything was made in the Soviet Union, sending it to North Korea
doesn't make sense.

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe tweeted on July 18 that a
reliable source told him that part of the shipment was destined for
Ecuador. Colombian journalist Eduardo MacKenzie noted in an online
column last week that "seven other North Korean ships had made trips to
Cuba in the last four years with itineraries similar to the Chong Chon
Gang." A further mystery is what these ships may have brought to Cuba in
the first place.

All of this smells bad. Cuba wants to shake off its international pariah
status so that it can get World Bank and InterAmerican Development Bank
handouts and credit from U.S. banks, thereby avoiding economic and
political reform. Indoctrinating the girls at Miss Porter's School is
part of that effort. The arms-trafficking is, or should be, a wake-up call.

Write to O'

A version of this article appeared July 29, 2013, on page A11 in the
U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The Castro
Brothers Get Caught in the Act.

Source: "Mary O'Grady: The Castro Brothers Get Caught in the Act -" -