Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cuba: Changes Come, Although the General May Not Want Them To

Cuba: Changes Come, Although the General May Not Want Them To / Juan
Juan Almeida
Posted on April 19, 2014

For more than half a century, the Cuban Revolution developed exclusively
inspired by the powerful and omnipresent archetype Fidel Castro. An
image that no longer exists or is hidden is the dressing rooms of the
current political-economic-social theater. That is why when someone asks
me if there exist in Cuba objective and subjective conditions for
forging change, I always begin by saying: It depends on what we
understand and want to assume by "Change."

It is clear that the so extended process called the Cuban Revolution did
not lead to a more just or prosperous or inclusive society, but to a
strange and irrational collapse that still endures. The seizure of all
powers, judicial and executive, did away with the legal protection of
the citizen, and imposed apathy and fear; like that singular combination
that exists between a cup of coffee with milk and a piece of bread with

The old Asian theory that speaks of two elements is the basis of the
idea that all phenomena of the universe are the result of the movement
and mutation of various categories. The good and the bad, the beautiful
and the ugly, the yin and the yang.

The presence of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the chief of the
political department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party,
and the misguided intervention of the President of the Republic of Cuba
in the closing event of the recently held Eighth Congress of UNEAC was a
terrible implementation of this old theory, and a disastrous strategy
for showing the authority of the Government and the State, and at the
same time it tried to reconquer the intelligentsia that as we all now
know appears because of obstinacy, compromise, inertia or boredom, but
that for some time, due to these same reasons, distanced itself from the

The island's government, upon the prompt and unstoppable disappearance
if its leader-guide-priest and example, manages to entertain by talking
of transformation while it intimidates us, leaving very clear the place
of each in its chain of command.Many times we have seen dissident voices
that issue from within the island repressed using mental patients with
disorders like bi-polar and schizophrenia that without adequate
medication exhibit extremely violent behaviors. Outrageous.

I ask myself what the representatives of international organizations do,
or what those sensitive and passionate people who decided to defend
vehemently and peevishly the Hippocratic oath say, on learning that the
mentally ill are used as deadly weapons.

On April 14, 1912, the Titanic, at that time the safest boat in the
world, crashed into an iceberg, and while it was sinking, the orchestra
played. In all ways, whether the general wants it or not, change is
coming, although I have to admit that since 2008, the man has exerted
himself in confusing us with an imaginary and mythological climate of
national improvements and radical reforms; on one hand he shows several
political prisoners, and on the other he hides political prisoners from
us (here the order of the factors does alter the product).

According to the Marxist bible, the Communist Manifesto, a
transformation of the structure of the classes demands a change in the
social order and a political revolution.

La Habana decided to wind up its old and rusted clock because it had
turned into quite the brake.

Translated by mlk.

14 April 2014

Source: Cuba: Changes Come, Although the General May Not Want Them To /
Juan Juan Almeida | Translating Cuba -

Overthrowing the Castros with Twitter

Overthrowing the Castros with Twitter / Ivan Garcia
Posted on April 19, 2014

Barack Obama and the State Department aren't stupid. But on the issue of
Cuba they act as if they were. Their cluelessness is monumental. They
should check their sources of information.

The NSA team in charge of monitoring phone calls to and from Cuba, as
well as emails and the preferences of the still small number of Internet
users on the island seems to be on vacation.

A word to the US think tanks that come up with political strategies for
Cuba: obsession disrupts insight.

Let's analyze the points against having a couple of autocratic dinosaurs
as neighbors. It's true that Fidel Castro expropriated US business
without paying a cent. He also seized the businesses of hundreds of
Cubans who are now citizens of that country.

Castro has all the earmarks of a caudillo. Ninety miles from the United
States, he blatantly allied with the Soviet empire and even placed
nuclear arms in Cuba. He destablized governments in Latin America. He
places himself on the chessboard of the Cold War, participating in
various African wars.

As he was an annoying guy, they tried to kill him with a shot to the
forehead or with a potent poison that was activated by using his pen.
Out of bad luck of the lack of guts of his executioners, the plans failed.

For five decades, the bearded one continued to lash out against US
imperialism. Then Hugo Chavez appeared on the scene along with the
troupe of Evo Morales and Rafael Correa. On Central America the
presidential chair was returned to the unpresentable Daniel Ortega.
Kicking the anti-American can.

I can understand what it means to have an annoying neighbor. I live in a
building where a woman starts screaming insults at 8:00 in the morning
and other one usually plays reggaeton at full volume. But common sense
says, move or learn to live with different people.

Cuba and the United States will always be there. Closer than they
wanted. What to do?

An American politician can raise the alarm because there is no
democracy, nor political freedoms, nor freedom of expression on the
island. He knows that Cubans on the other side of the pond have three
state newspapers that say the same thing and that dissidence is
prohibited. They consider it a horror. And he candidly thinks, "Let's
help them. Teach them how to install a democracy."

This is where the gringo philosophy of reversing the status quo comes
into play. They are right in their dissections, but the solution fails them.

Cuba's problems, which range from political exclusion,the absence of an
autonomous civil society, the legal illiteracy of most citizens, lack of
freedom of the press and political parties and the fact that opposition
is illegal, are a matter that concerns only Cubans.

From inability, egos, and ridiculous strategies, the dissidence hasn't
been able to connect with ordinary Cubans. Eight out of every ten Cubans
are against the government and its proven inefficiency. For now, their
decision is to escape.

It's not for lack of information that people aren't taking to the
streets. Cuba is now North Korea. Shortwave radios are sold here and
thousands of people connect illegal cable antennas. It's just they are
more interested in seeing a Miami Heats game or Yaser Puig playing for
the Dodgers than following CNN news in Spanish.

At present, Cuba has two million cellphone users. They can send text
messages. But not to denounce human rights abuses. They used to ask for
money from their families in Miami, the latest iPhone, or that their
relatives expedite immigration procedures so they can permanently leave
the country.

The Internet on the island is the most expensive in the world. One hour
costs 4.50 CUC (5 dollars), the same as two pounds of meat in the black
market. I usually go to internet rooms twice a week and talk with many

The majority don't want to read El País, El Mundo or El Nuevo Herald.
Nor Granma nor Juventud Rebelde. They want to send emails and tweet, to
their wave. Upload photos on Facebook, look for a partner or work abroad.

Are they fed up with politics? I suppose. Are they afraid of going to
jail if they openly confront the regime? Of course. Are they masochists
who do not want to live in a democratic society? Evidently so. But they
have no vocation to be martyrs.

This political apathy among a great segment of the population, weary of
the olive-green loony bin, is fertile ground for the proselytizing
efforts of the opposition, which has not done its job,

People are there in the streets. Only dissidents prefer to gatherings
among themselves, chatting with diplomats and, since 2013, traveling the
world to lecture on the status quo in Cuba and get their photo taken
with heavyweights like Obama, Biden or Pope Francisco.

For the gringos I have good news and bad news. The bad is that it is
great foolishness to expect to topple the Castros with Twitter, call it
Zunzuneo or whatever it's called. The good news is that this type of
totalitarian regimes has not worked anywhere in the world and they
crumble by themselves. You have to have patience.

There is a popular refrain in Cuba that states the obvious: desires
don't make babies.

Iván García

7 April 2014

Source: Overthrowing the Castros with Twitter / Ivan Garcia |
Translating Cuba -

Cuba reducirá el número de funcionarios apostando por el sector privado

Cuba reducirá el número de funcionarios apostando por el sector privado
Las nuevas medidas adoptadas por el Gobierno hará que los ciudadanos
puedan abrir sus propios negocios por primera vez desde 1990
EFE La Habana 02/08/2010 11:51 Actualizado: 02/08/2010 13:06

Cuba reducirá el número de funcionarios permitiendo a sus ciudadanos
abrir pequeños negocios y contratar empleados. La medida fue anunciada
ayer por el presidente Raúl Castro y suponen los mayores cambios
estructurales desde que asumió el poder hace cuatro años.

Castro buscan absorber parte del millón de trabajadores públicos
excedentes y resucitar la economía cubana sin descarrilarla del
socialismo. "El Consejo de Ministros acordó ampliar el ejercicio del
trabajo por cuenta propia (...) eliminando varias prohibiciones vigentes
para el otorgamiento de nuevas licencias y la comercialización de
algunas producciones, flexibilizando la contratación de fuerza de
trabajo", dijo el general de 79 años.

Castro dijo que las nuevas medidas "constituyen en sí mismas un cambio
estructural y de concepto en interés de preservar y desarrollar nuestro
sistema social y hacerlo sostenible en el futuro".

Los empleados por cuenta propia deberán pagar impuestos a la renta,
contribuir a la seguridad social, tributar por las ventas y también para
contratar empleados.

Cuba había autorizado el empleo por cuenta propia en la década de 1990
como respuesta a la severa crisis pos soviética, pero luego dio marcha
atrás y recentralizó su economía.

Actualización del sistema socialista

Muchos cubanos aplaudieron el anuncio de Castro, que fue emitido varias
veces por la televisión estatal. "La gente se va a poner contenta,
porque es una oportunidad quizás única de tener un pequeño negocio",
dijo Víctor Fonseca, un profesor de física que paseaba por La Habana.

Lázaro García, un empleado público, dijo que llevaba tiempo esperando un
anuncio como este. "Las nuevas licencias serán, digamos, un paso hacia
una pequeña privatización esperada por muchos cubanos", dijo.

El ministro de Economía, Marino Murillo, advirtió que Cuba no realizará
reformas de mercado sino una actualización de su sistema socialista. Y
Raúl Castro lo confirmó.

El presidente pintó un panorama ligeramente más optimista para la
economía cubana. Existe un mayor equilibrio monetario y se están
recuperando las fuentes de moneda dura como el turismo, dijo.

Castro dijo que Cuba está superando su crisis de liquidez, que
desbloqueó dos tercios de los fondos congelados en cuentas de empresas
extranjeras y está logrando atraer más depósitos.

Las medidas anunciadas el domingo, explicó, buscan terminar con el
paternalismo y aumentar la eficiencia de la economía, la única forma, en
su opinión, de elevar los salarios y financiar los enormes gastos
sociales del sistema socialista. "Hay que borrar para siempre la noción
de que Cuba es el único país del mundo en el que se puede vivir sin
trabajar", dijo el general

Source: Cuba reducirá el número de funcionarios apostando por el sector
privado - Público.es -

Gobierno regula precios de carne de cerdo a vendedores particulares

Gobierno regula precios de carne de cerdo a vendedores particulares
En Puerto Padre, Las Tunas, el precio oficial ha bajado a 20 pesos la
libra, pero lo complicado es encontrar el alimento
viernes, abril 18, 2014 | Alberto Méndez Castelló

PUERTO PADRE, Cuba.- La libra de carne de cerdo que hasta la pasada
semana los carniceros por cuenta propia vendían aquí a 25 pesos, por
decisión de las autoridades ahora deben venderla a veinte 20.

Las carnicerías estatales o cooperativas que de cuando en cuando vendían
carne de cerdo a 17 pesos la libra, en lo adelante deberán venderla a 16.

Pero con todas y las supuestas buenas intenciones, la regulación del
precio de la carne de cerdo no ha hecho sino que añadir otra carencia al
desabastecimiento en Puerto Padre.

Aunque procedente de algún cerdo criado con desperdicios familiares,
barrios adentro sí es posible encontrar alguna que otra carne a 20 pesos
la libra. En el centro de la ciudad, donde radica el verdadero mercado
de la carne de cerdo, hoy es difícil encontrarla.

Los carniceros por cuenta propia, o han cerrado sus puestos de venta
"hasta ver qué va a pasar", o con mucho sigilo mantienen alguna carne,
la que sólo venden a personas de confianza a 25 pesos la libra, "porque
a 20 no da ganancia". En caso de presentarse algún inspector, los
clientes conocidos dirán que la han adquirido al precio oficial.

Source: Gobierno regula precios de carne de cerdo a vendedores
particulares | Cubanet -

TV, film lag behind other Cuba reforms

'TV, film lag behind other Cuba reforms'

Havana (AFP) - Cuban television and cinema are lagging behind other
industries that have seen recent reform on the communist island, a
writers' and artists' group wrote in a report published on Friday.

The study released by Cuba's Commission on Culture and Media urged the
Havana government to create television and film programming not under
government control, among other proposed reforms.

"Cuba's television system is urged to make structural and productive
changes, in keeping with the current reality in the rest of the
country," said the report, published after a recent gathering of the
Union of Cuban Writers and Artists, known by its Spanish acronym UNEAC.

The film and television industries currently are plagued by problems
that have gotten worse over time, including "a shortage of funding, poor
leadership, disorganization and a lack of discipline."

There currently are five national television channels available in Cuba,
many fewer than most other countries.

The paucity of choice is "a far cry from the cultural, information and
entertainment offerings needed for our people," the report said.

Recent Cuban economic reforms have opened up many businesses to private
enterprise on the island, although the Havana government still controls
90 percent of the economy.

Source: 'TV, film lag behind other Cuba reforms' - Yahoo News -

Cuba’s foreign investment law - ‘New’ indeed, but barely

Cuba's foreign investment law: 'New' indeed, but barely
By José Manuel Pallí, esq.

Now we can comment on Cuba's new foreign investment law — Ley 118/ 2014
— since its "official version" is now published at the Gaceta Oficial de
Cuba, together with a Reglamento or regulatory law and other companion
governmental resolutions that should further help in interpreting its
significance and clarify its intent.

If you put a copy of Ley 77/95, the old foreign investment law which
this new one supersedes, alongside Law 118/ 2014, you'll probably think
they are twins. The language is almost the same in a huge percentage of
the provisions contained in both laws, which are essentially, well, the
same. And there is a very good reason for these similarities: The 'old'
law was not a bad law at all, in terms of the protection it afforded
(affords, since the new one will not be in force until late June) to
foreign investors.

Of course, that protection can only be effective to the extent the
attitude of those enforcing the law leads them to do so enthusiastically
and fairly, without arbitrariness of any kind. Whether that will be the
case with the implementation of this new foreign investment law in Cuba,
only time will tell. But I do sense that there is a generalized
conviction among decision makers in Cuba that they do need the tool
foreign investment could be, in terms of helping the Cuban economy grow
and develop, and they need it now, and I believe that conviction should
prod their enthusiasm.

There is one area where the new law may well open an entirely new world
of opportunity to foreign investment in Cuba, while at the same time
improving dramatically the quality of life of Cubans in the island (and
Cubans, el cubano de a pie, are the main constituents any Cuban law
should serve and please, even if a foreign investment law should also
please foreign investors): Foreign capital may now be used to build (and
repair) housing units — viviendas — to be used as such by José Q Cuban
citizen, which is to say the majority of natural persons who reside
permanently in Cuba.

Chapter VI in the old law dealt with investments in real property
(Inversiones en bienes inmuebles), and, in article 16, it allowed such
investments, provided the real property in question is used to house
"natural persons who were not permanent residents in Cuba" (Article
16.2(a)), thus keeping the Cuban people right to housing out of reach to
foreign capital, and away from the benefits foreign investment could
bring to the quality of their houses (and safety: no more crumbling

Chapter VI of the new law has one section, Article 17, that reads
exactly the same as article 16 of the old law, but it omits the
provision (restriction) whereby foreign investment was ruled out if the
real property in play was used to house everyday Cubans. Article 17.2(a)
now says foreign investment is possible in housing and buildings
(viviendas y edificaciones) that are private domiciles (dedicadas a
domicilio particular) or for touristic ends, period.

It does not say flatly that someone can, as a builder who wants to be a
foreign investor in Cuba, build (or improve by way of urgent structural
repairs) housing for the consumption of the Cuban people in general. But
I read in the deletion of the condition (only if the real estate is used
to house those who are not permanent residents in Cuba) found in the
equivalent article of the old law as a strong indication that that is
the case, assuming the approval of the governmental entity who will have
to authorize the investment in question is obtained.

In future columns I will go into some murky aspects regarding how that
real estate asset (the land) where the housing is to be emplaced finds
its way into the entity or vehicle of choice of the foreign investor,
the enterprise that actually makes the investment, when that entity is
capitalized. I will also delve into what's new (mostly the changes in
tax treatment and the use of incentives) in this foreign investment law,
and what smacks of "old" (the persistence in controlling Cuban employees
of foreign investors by meddling into their relationship with those who
want to hire them).

José Manuel Pallí is president of Miami-based World Wide Title. He can
be reached at jpalli@wwti.net; you can find his blog at

Source: Analysis: Cuba's foreign investment law: 'New' indeed, but
barely « Cuba Standard, your best source for Cuban business news -

Bay of Pigs at 53

Posted on Friday, 04.18.14

Bay of Pigs at 53

One of their American trainers, multidecorated WWII and Korea veteran
Grayston Lynch, called the Bay of Pigs freedom fighters, "brave boys who
mostly had never before fired a shot in anger."

Indeed, they were college students, farmers, doctors, common laborers,
whites, blacks and of mixed race. They were known as La Brigada 2506, an
almost precise cross-section of Cuban society of the time. The Brigada
included men from every social strata and race in Cuba — from sugarcane
planters and cutters, to aristocrats and their chauffeurs. But mostly,
La Brigada comprised the folks in between.

Short on battle experience, yes, but they were bursting with what
Napoleon Bonaparte and Gen. George Patton valued most in soldiers:
Morale. No navel-gazing about "why they hate us" or pondering the merits
of regime change for them. They'd seen Castroism point-blank.

When those Cuban freedom fighters hit the beach at the Bay of Pigs 53
years ago this weekend, one of every 18 Cubans suffered in Castro's gulag.

Mass graves dotted the Cuban countryside, filled with hundreds of
victims of Castro and Che Guevara's firing squads. Modern history
records few soldiers with the burning morale of the Bay of Pigs freedom

Too bad their fate rested with "the best and brightest."

Humberto Fontova, Miami

Source: Bay of Pigs at 53 - Letters to the Editor - MiamiHerald.com -

La Habana y Moscú revisan cuentas de un acuerdo de financiación para la Isla


La Habana y Moscú revisan cuentas de un acuerdo de financiación para la Isla
AGENCIAS | La Habana | 19 Abr 2014 - 12:05 pm.

Cuatro empresas cubanas, encargadas de la importación de la técnica y
equipos rusos, fueron sometidas a auditorías.

La Contraloría General de Cuba y la Cámara de Cuentas de Rusia revisaron
este viernes en La Habana el cumplimiento de un convenio de financiación
a la Isla para el suministro de equipamiento para la construcción, la
agricultura, los ferrocarriles y otras áreas, informaron medios locales,
reporta EFE.

El primer vicepresidente cubano, Miguel Díaz-Canel, consideró que esa
actividad de auditoría y control es "una experiencia interesante y dice
mucho del camino que van tomando las relaciones entre Cuba y Rusia".

Durante el proceso de fiscalización fueron auditadas cuatro empresas
cubanas, encargadas de la importación de la técnica y equipos rusos,
mientras que la parte rusa hizo lo propio con las empresas proveedoras.

La contralora general de la Isla, Gladys Bejarano, y la vicepresidenta
de la Cámara de Cuentas de Rusia, Vera Chistova, suscribieron un informe
con los resultados de la actividad de control paralelo sobre un crédito
estatal ruso otorgado a Cuba en 2009, del que no precisaron el monto.

Bejerano dijo que se constató el cumplimiento de la legalidad y la
materialización del acuerdo en todos sus volúmenes, aunque también se
hicieron recomendaciones para alcanzar mayor eficiencia.

Las partes renovaron el compromiso de reforzar el control estatal en su
relación, tal y como lo establece un convenio bilateral suscrito en
Moscú el pasado año.

"Ello elevará el nivel de responsabilidad de personas y entidades
involucradas", opinó Bejerano.

Por su parte, Chistova anunció que los órganos de fiscalización de ambos
países acordaron realizar un ejercicio de contraloría al acuerdo a
través del cual Cuba está comprando a Rusia aviones comerciales.

Source: La Habana y Moscú revisan cuentas de un acuerdo de financiación
para la Isla | Diario de Cuba -

Venezuela - La Contraloría General halla irregularidades en la compra de medicamentos a La Habana

La Contraloría General halla irregularidades en la compra de
medicamentos a La Habana
DDC | Caracas | 19 Abr 2014 - 2:08 pm.

Un informe señala importaciones innecesarias, subida injustificada de
precios y retrasos en la entrega, entre otros problemas.

La Contraloría General de Venezuela halló irregularidades en la
importación de medicamentos e insumos médicos que negocia Caracas con La
Habana, informa el diario El Universal y destaca que una situación
similar se produjo en 2010.

En su Informe de Gestión 2013, la Contraloría detalla que detectó
importaciones "sin una planificación", con "poca celeridad" en la
distribución nacional, "pagos adicionales" por esos retrasos,
sobreprecios, una "disminución de la calidad o vida útil" de las
medicinas y hasta un lote de productos contaminado por insectos, tras
analizar contratos suscritos por los dos gobiernos entre 2012 y 2013.

Se trata de 9 contratos por 2.798 millones de bolívares, cifra que
oscila entre 444 y 650 millones de dólares si se calcula con las tasas
de cambio vigentes al momento de la firma.

"Se observó que estos contratos no responden a un adecuado proceso de
planificación y programación de tales adquisiciones, visto que no fue
suministrado un estudio o informe técnico basado en los requerimientos y
necesidades planteadas por los distintos centros de salud", destacó la

En esos negocios intervinieron tres entidades. A la Fundación Misión
Barrio Adentro le correspondió ser el órgano "ejecutor de los recursos
financieros". La Oficina de Gestión Administrativa del Ministerio de
Salud fue la responsable de la "selección y adquisición de medicamentos"
y del "almacenamiento y distribución" de los mismos se encargó el
Servicio Autónomo de Elaboraciones Farmacéuticas (Sefar), adscrito al
Ministerio de Salud.

El documento reveló que el Ministerio de Salud compró medicamentos en
2013 que no eran necesarios, ya que en los depósitos del Sefar había
2.672.478 unidades de esos productos. La Contraloría constató que en ese
caso se pagaron precios muy superiores a los de 2012.

Caracas "adquirió los mismos tipos de medicamentos en cantidades
mayores, con porcentajes de incrementos que oscilan entre 21,21% y
9.670,11%, sin justificación", indicó el documento.

En otro de los contratos pactados en 2013 la Contraloría comprobó el
incumplimiento de La Habana. Según "la revisión efectuada a las facturas
emitidas por los laboratorios cubanos, el Sefar solo había recibido al
27 de septiembre de 2013, el 0,84% de los medicamentos, en vez del 74%"
que estaba previsto, señaló el informe.

La Contraloría encontró también retrasos en el proceso de distribución
nacional de la mercancía y un excesivo tiempo de almacenaje en los
puertos, en momentos en los que el sector de la salud adolece de una
severa falta de insumos.

La demora supuso costos adicionales por almacenamiento en contenedores
refrigerados y acortó a unos pocos meses la "vida útil" de los medicamentos.

La Contraloría indicó que lotes que provenían de los almacenes de las
Fuerzas Armadas tuvieron que ser "desinfectados, por cuanto las paletas
donde se transportaban estaban contaminadas por insectos".

Asimismo, señaló que en una revisión realizada al almacén del Sefar en
septiembre de 2013 encontró 9.418 estuches de diagnóstico de glucosa con
"fecha de vencimiento febrero de 2012 y junio de 2013", correspondientes
a contratos de 2010 y 2011.

Source: La Contraloría General halla irregularidades en la compra de
medicamentos a La Habana | Diario de Cuba -

Neither Blacks Nor Whites, Just Cubans

Neither Blacks Nor Whites, Just Cubans / Fernando Damaso
Posted on April 18, 2014

Neither black nor white, Cuba is mixed, some of the country's
investigators and intellectuals have asserted for some time now. The
declaration seems to respond to an eminently political intention:
incorporation into the current Latin American mixed ethnicity, so
fashionable among our populists.

This tendency, promoted by the authorities and some associated
personalities, instead of looking objectively at the African influence
in the formation of the Cuban nationality and identity, overestimating
it to the detriment of the Spanish, also an original race. To do this,
for many years, they have officially and supported and promoted its
demonstration, both in arts and religion, with the objective of
presenting it as the genuine Cuban.

Bandying about issues of race has many facets and, hence, varied
interpretations. Marti said they didn't exist, and wrote about the
different people who populate the distinct regions of the planer, noting
their unique characteristics, both positive and negative and which, in
practice, differentiate them. His romantic humanism went one way and
reality another. In more recent times, they sent us to Africa to fight
against colonialism, to settle a historical debt with the people of that
continent brought to Cuba as slaves, according to what they tell us.

That is, we accept that they can't free themselves and we, in some way
considering ourselves superior, come to their aid, independent of the
true political hegemonic interests, which were the real reason for our
presence in favor of one side in the conflict, during the so-called Cold

Without falling into the absurd extremes, talking about superior and
inferior races, in reality there are differences of every kind between
the historical inhabitants of different regions. To hide or distort it
doesn't help anyone. Some ethnic groups have developed more than others
and have contributed more to humanity, and still do.

No wonder we speak of a developed North and the underdeveloped South,
and it has not only influenced the exploitation of some by others, as
both the carnivorous and vegetarian Left and their followers like to
argue. There are those who, with their talent and work, are able to
produce wealth, and those who find it more difficult and only create misery.

In Cuba, the original population lived in north of South America and
expanded to the Antilles. Afterwards came the Spanish, and later the
blacks, Chinese, Arabs, French, Japanese and the representatives of
other nations of the world, bringing their customs, characteristics,
traditions, virtues, defects and cultures, which in the great mix (never
in a pot) formed the Cuban nation. For many years whites were the
majority, followed by mixed, blacks and Asians (in 1953, whites were
72.8%, mixed 14.5%, black 12.4% and Asians 0.3% of the population).

From the year 1959, with the mass exodus of whites and Asians, who
settled mainly in the United States, and the increase in births in the
black and mestizo population, plus the various racial mixtures, their
percentages increased within the country, but not among Cubans living
abroad, who are mostly white.

To ignore the statistics constitutes both a demographic and political
mistake, they are as Cuban as those based in the country, often with
more rooted customs, traditions and culture. Cuba is white, mestizo,
black and Asian and much more, but above all, it is Cuba. Who benefits
politically from this extemporaneous definition of a mixed Cuba? What
are they trying to accomplish? to divide Cubans still further?

It is absurd that, after years indoctrinating people about the
non-existence of races (say man and you will have said it all), and not
taken into account published statistics, now appears this strange
assertion,which no one is interested in or cares about, whites, blacks,
mixed, Asians, trying to survive within a system that has been unable,
for over 56 years, of solving its citizens' problems.

It's a secret to no one, that it is precisely and black and mixed
population that is most affected by the economic and social crisis, the
most discriminated against by the authorities, despite their discourse,
propaganda, and the 30% quotas within political and governmental

With the exception athletes and artists, blacks and mixed-race are the
poorest, hold the worst jobs, are least likely to graduate from college,
live int he worst conditions, often bordering on slums, and are the most
likely to be in jail or prison.

I doubt that the conclusions reached by these investigators and
intellectuals have some practical value or help in any way to change
this terrible situation, nor to the authorities of Public Order cease to
besiege them, continually stopping them and demanding their ID cars on
the streets of our towns and cities.

11 April 2014

Source: Neither Blacks Nor Whites, Just Cubans / Fernando Damaso |
Translating Cuba -

Angel Santiesteban’s Work Again Recognized in France

Angel Santiesteban's Work Again Recognized in France
Posted on April 18, 2014

The dictator Raul Castro continues stubbornly to make the world believe
that he's bringing to Cuba an opening that in reality doesn't exist. He
continues being the same dictator as always, violating the rights of all
Cubans, submitting them to misery, censoring the press, harassing,
beating and imprisoning peaceful opponents.

Angel Santiesteban, unjustly imprisoned, has completed one year after a
rigged trial for some crimes that his ex-wife and mother of his son
invented together with the political police. They sought to silence his
critical voice against the dictatorship, but they have not succeeded. No
punishment, beatings or prison itself has made a dent in him.

And by keeping him locked up, the dictator hasn't prevented his
literature from continuing to be recognized in the world, which condemns
the injustice against him.

Again in France, this time in Marseille, his book of stories, "Laura in
Havana", published in 2012 by L'Atinoir, will be presented before the

Raul Castro continues violating his own law, taking away Angel's passes
that he is supposed to get every sixty days. It doesn't matter to Angel,
because when his companions go to visit their families, he takes even
more advantage of the time and the calm to continue writing.

The Editor

A meeting

We invite you to a convivial meeting with Jacques Aubergy and Rasky
Beldjoudi, Saturday, April 12, at 5:00 p.m. at the Maison Pour Tous de
la Belle de Mai (House For All of the Belle of May).

Jacques Aubergy is a translator, bookseller and publisher. His
publishing house, L'Atinoir, publishes authors of noir fiction and Latin
American writers.

He will speak to us of his trade, how he chooses his books, and will
make us know intimately and with passion some marvels of Latin American
literature chosen by him.

He will also present the book, "Laura in Havana," a collection of ten
short stories by Angel Santiesteban-Prats, published by Atinoir.

Angel Santiesteban Prats is one of the greatest Cuban authors, presently
in prison after having openly criticized his country's system. His
imprisonment has generated strong support from Reporters Without Borders
and the world-wide community of bloggers.

An enthralling book

"The Eleventh Commandment" is a book by Rasky Beldjoudi, a resident of
the Belle de Mai.

The name Rasky Beldjoudi will surely mean nothing in particlar to you.
You have never noticed him, although it's very probable that you have
already seen him on Caffo Square or perhaps, one day, sitting next to
you on bus 32.

However, Rasky is impressive, muscular, and his Belgian accent with a
Kabyle (Berber) accent leaves no one indifferent. Since his infancy,
Rasky has accumulated difficulties. From scholastic failures to
precarious employment, he knew years of struggle and the hell of drugs.

In spite of an uneven road and a life story that is sometimes not very
glorious, he succeeded in rising above the circumstances of his life and
has just published "The Eleventh Commandment": an enthralling
autobiography, written in a remarkable style, full of humanity, and
unbelievably touching.


Saturday, April 12 at 5:00 p.m., Maison Pour Tous de la Belle de Mai, 6
Blvd. Boyer, 13003 Marseille

Free admission

Event organized by Brouettes & Compagnie, the association CIN-CO and the
Maison Pour Tous de la Belle de Mai.

To sign the petition for Amnesty International to declare Cuban
dissident Angel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience follow the link.

Translated by Regina Anavy

Source: Angel Santiesteban's Work Again Recognized in France |
Translating Cuba -

UNEAC Complicit In Its Silence

UNEAC Complicit In Its Silence / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on April 18, 2014

Previously I have said that in the circus exercise called court, which I
attended with the sentence already dictated by State Security, as I was
made to know long before by one of their henchmen, a fact that I made
known publicly — and which the judges in the First Chamber of Crimes
Against State Security executed, in their special headquarters for
notorious crimes on Carmen and Juan Delgado, when it was supposed that
my crime was common — officials of the Cuban Artists and Writers Union
(UNEAC) attended, sent by their president Miguel Barnet to watch the
show, like poet Alex Pausides, accompanied by the legal official, who
said that to his understanding what the prosecution could present
against me was smoke, like the report of that handwriting expert who
said that the height and slant of my handwriting made me guilty.

At the exit, the poet and Communist Party member Alex Pausides as well
as the legal official, said that I would be absolved given that what was
presented, and according to what was exposed in the oral ceremony, I
could not be judged, especially when I presented five witnesses who
demolished those accusations.

Dear members of UNEAC (take note). Angel Santiesteban, Revolutionarily, Me

Then, when they found me guilty, my lawyer went to UNEAC and left all
the documents that corroborated my innocence and that they requested for
presentation to Miguel Barnet, but we never received an answer, they
kept silent.

Of course, I am not naive, I never expected a reaction from UNEAC, I
always knew what they would do, but above all, what they would not do,
and they have fulfilled my predictions. I understood that they would
take that posture because I believe in history like a religion, and I
knew that history would yield that despicable stance. Their silence is
their shamelessness. And that shamelessness is now written in our history.

Angel Santiesteban-Prats

Lawton prison settlement. April 2014.

To sign the petition for Amnesty International to declare Cuban
dissident Angel Santiesteban a prisoner of conscience follow the link.

Translated by mlk.

Source: UNEAC Complicit In Its Silence / Angel Santiesteban |
Translating Cuba -

Another Sweeping Law

Another Sweeping Law / Rosa Maria Rodriguez
Posted on April 18, 2014

The National Assembly or Cuban parliament approved with no problems —
not a rare thing for this organ where although it's not divine it "comes
from above" — the new foreign investment law. You don't need a crystal
ball to know that new legislation, like the new broom of the refrain,
sweeps fundamentally well for them and their orbit.

The suffocating financiers of the nineteenth-century Cuban political
model shows that for the nomenklatura the urgency of their bank balances
or updating — aerating — their state capitalism is more important than
truly reviving the battered "socialist economy."

Like every law "that is disrespected" in Cuba after 1959, it was
approved unanimously, meaning that everyone agreed, or at least raised
their hands, in a caricature of a senate composed almost entirely of
members of the only party legalized in Cuba which has been in government
for 55 years and although it calls itself communist, it is not.

One might then suggest to the Cuban authorities, to be consistent with
their own laws, to carry out an aggiornamento also of the philosophical
basis of their ideology and the name of the historical party of government.

The Cuban state has had its eyes on foreign investment for a long time.
Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, said
earlier this year in Brazil, which in Cuba there would continue to be
only one party. Emphasizing, of course, the interest in Brazilian
entrepreneurs and the message of confidence and stability he wants to
convey to them from the Cuban ruling class, to encourage them to do
business in Cuba.

This norm becomes another discriminatory law "with the bait" of fiscal
and tax benefits for foreigners, in contrast to the thunderous taxes
payable by nationals who venture into the private sector. They did away
with all the Cuban and foreign businesses when this model came to power
and now stimulate and encourage only foreign capitalists to invest in
our country.

They say they aren't giving it away, but any citizen from other climes
is placed above nationals, who once again are excluded from the
opportunity to invest in medium and large companies in their own country.

Just like our Spanish ancestors committed shameless abuses and
marginalized native Cubans and restricted them in their economic role in
their own national home.

The state still owns "the master key" of labor contracting–the employing
company– to calm their followers and to urge them to continue giving
their unconditional support to the established and visible promise that
they will be rewarded and privileged, if only with a tiny,
revolutionary, symbolic and coveted "mini-slice" of the state pie.

On the other hand, the impunity in the management of public officials,
on part with the lack of respect for society implicit in secrecy,
exposes the heart of corruption. One of the many examples that get under
the skin of Cubans of various geographic coordinates is, what is the
state of the country's accounts. What are the periodic incomes and
expenses in different parts of the economy. Why isn't Cuban society
informed about the annual amount of the income from remittances from
Cubans who have emigrated, and how these resources are used?

A lot could be said and written about the new law and the old
discrimination and practices contained in previous legislation, which
for me is a horse of a changeable–not another–color.

But it would give a lot of relevance to the segregationist, sloppy and
desperate search for money by power elite in Cuba, which requires
increasingly huge sums of "evil capital" to sustain its inefficient
bureaucracy and unsustainable model.

In short, the new law, like the proverbial broom, will always sweep well
for them and that seems to be all that, according to their dynastic
mentalities, fiftieth anniversaries and blue-blooded lifestyles, they
care about.

15 April 2014

Source: Another Sweeping Law / Rosa Maria Rodriguez | Translating Cuba -

Liberado opositor luego de pasar seis días detenido

Liberado opositor luego de pasar seis días detenido
Álvaro Yero Felipe
19 de abril de 2014

La Habana, Cuba – www.PayoLibre.com – El opositor Roberto Ferrer Gener
fue liberado el pasado 16 de abril luego de pasar seis días detenido por
las autoridades cubanas en un centro de retención de la policía por
defender a unos cuentapropistas el pasado día 10.

Según Roberto, la policía lo acusó de receptación, luego de resistencia
y ahora lo liberó bajo palabra y con el compromiso de firmar tres veces
por semana en una estación de la policía hasta que la fiscalía determine
la condición de su caso.

Roberto dice sentirse preocupado, pues está libre pero bajo supervisión
de las autoridades y desconoce lo que pueda suceder en el futuro. En
caso de violar la medida impuesta, pudiera ser privado nuevamente de su

Source: PayoLibre.com - Cuba - -

Rusia supervisa cumplimiento de acuerdos con Cuba

Rusia supervisa cumplimiento de acuerdos con Cuba
Según el convenio entre Moscú y La Habana se le permitiría a Cuba
comprar aviones comerciales a Rusia.
abril 18, 2014

La Contraloría General de Cuba y la Cámara de Cuentas de Rusia revisaron
este viernes en La Habana el cumplimiento de un convenio de financiación
a la isla caribeña para el suministro de equipamiento para la
construcción, la agricultura, los ferrocarriles y otras áreas,
informaron medios locales.

Durante el proceso de fiscalización fueron auditadas cuatro empresas
cubanas, encargadas de la importación de la técnica y equipos rusos,
mientras que la parte rusa hizo lo propio con las empresas proveedoras.

La contralora general de la isla, Gladys Bejarano, y la vicepresidenta
de la Cámara de Cuentas de Rusia, Vera Chistova, suscribieron un informe
con los resultados de la actividad de control paralelo sobre un crédito
estatal ruso otorgado a Cuba en 2009, del que no precisaron el monto.

Por su parte, Chistova anunció que los órganos de fiscalización de ambos
países acordaron realizar un ejercicio de contraloría al acuerdo a
través del cual Cuba está comprando a Rusia aviones comerciales.

Source: Rusia supervisa cumplimiento de acuerdos con Cuba -

Cuba - bienvenida la inversión extranjera pero inversionistas no van

Cuba: bienvenida la inversión extranjera pero inversionistas no van
La nueva ley promete una moratoria fiscal de ocho años a los nuevos
inversores y reduce teóricamente un impuesto del 30 por ciento sobre las
ganancias - una característica que la ley de 1995 atribuyó a la retirada
de muchos inversores extranjeros".
abril 18, 2014

Según comenta este viernes Global Post, la nueva ley de inversiones en
Cuba, publicada el miércoles "después de ser aprobada por el Parlamento
el pasado 29 de marzo, promete una moratoria fiscal de ocho años a los
nuevos inversores y reduce teóricamente un impuesto del 30 por ciento
sobre las ganancias - una característica que la ley de 1995 atribuyó a
la retirada de muchos inversores extranjeros".

La publicación recuerda que "la Inversión desde EE.UU. sigue estando
prohibida por el embargo comercial", y agrega que la misma suscita cada
vez más críticas, incluso entre algunos cubano-estadounidenses, "quienes
la consideran contraproducente".

Pero aún sin la participación de EE.UU., la economía de Cuba ha
despertado algún interés por el capital extranjero desde las primeras
aperturas en 1995. De hecho , recuerda Global Post, a pesar de los pocos
valores para la inversión en el Caribe , "el potencial de Cuba es grande".

Raúl Castro, quien reemplazó a su hermano cuando enfermó en 2006, ha
dicho que "le gustaría atraer a por lo menos 2.5 mil millones de dólares
anuales en inversión extranjera".

Desde el año 2008 , cuando las leyes de los Estados Unidos a los viajes
a Cuba se aflojaron y a los cubano-americanos se les permitió moverse
con relativa libertad de ida y vuelta, las remesas - es decir, el dinero
ganado por los familiares en los EE.UU. y luego enviado a Cuba –
crecieron de 1,5 mil millones a 2,5 mil millones de dólares.

Según resume la publicación, una mayor flexibilización hubiera redundado
en mejores beneficios para el inversionista extranjero. Un impuesto del
30 por ciento sobre las ganancias y la obligación de formar una empresa
conjunta con el Estado cubano, así como tener que contratar a todo el
personal a través del Ministerio del Trabajo Cubano, hizo difícil que la
inversión fuera rentable.

Peor aún, concluye Global Post, "el Estado cubano ha encarcelado a los
ejecutivos extranjeros, se apoderó de muchas empresas que no resultaron
ser viables, y en general, resultó ser un mal socio. Un poder judicial
independiente podría ayudar a mitigar ese riesgo. Pero nada en la nueva
ley parece cambiar esa realidad".

Source: Cuba: bienvenida la inversión extranjera pero inversionistas no
van -

Artistas piden formas "no estatales" de producción en radio y TV

Artistas piden formas "no estatales" de producción en radio y TV
La UNEAC señala que la televisión cubana proyecta "una imagen muy lejana
a las necesidades culturales, informativas y de distracción de nuestro
abril 18, 2014

Artistas y escritores reclamaron cambios urgentes de estructuras y
formas productivas en la televisión y cine cubanos, ambos públicos, que
incluyan formas "no estatales" y mejoren la calidad de su programación,
en un documento publicado este viernes.

"Como el resto de los medios, el sistema de la televisión cubana está
urgido de cambios estructurales y de formas productivas acordes con la
realidad actual del país, donde se premie y priorice la calidad, el
talento y la utilidad social", según el informe de la Comisión de
Cultura y Medios, del reciente Congreso de la Unión de Escritores y
artistas de Cuba (UNEAC).

Ese sistema arrastra "problemas largamente acumulados, que transitan en
primer lugar por las consabidas carencias económicas, pero también por
errores de dirección, desorganización e indisciplina". La televisión,
con cinco cadenas nacionales, proyecta "una imagen muy lejana a las
necesidades culturales, informativas y de distracción de nuestro
pueblo", señala.

Alerta que "defender el buen show televisivo -sin concesiones al
facilismo o lo trivial-, aun en los programas de corte informativo o
educativo, es primordial para 'atrapar' a la teleaudiencia".

En cuanto a la producción cinematográfica, que desde 1959 está a cargo
del estatal Instituto de Cine (ICAIC), los artistas señalan que "los
modos de producción cinematográfica y de audiovisuales que se realizan
por medios institucionales resultan ya rebasados por la realidad del país".

"Es necesario aprobar y poner en práctica las nuevas formas de
producción, sobre bases económicas, legales y organizativas, que
permitan a las instituciones y a los realizadores de la esfera no
estatal aprovechar mutuamente la experiencia y el potencial técnico y
humano de cada uno", señalan.

Source: Artistas piden formas "no estatales" de producción en radio y TV

Capturan a cubanos fugitivos de Centro de Detención para Inmigrantes

Capturan a cubanos fugitivos de Centro de Detención para Inmigrantes
Funcionarios de Inmigración de Islas Caimán declararon que los detenidos
estaban aparentemente molestos por el tiempo que estaba tomando su
repatriación a Cuba.
abril 18, 2014

De 13 cubanos que escaparon inicialmente del Centro de Detención de
Inmigrantes en George Town de Islas Caimán, tres fugitivos restantes
fueron recapturados y devueltos al centro en la tarde del miércoles.

Los detenidos estaban aparentemente molestos por el tiempo que estaba
tomando su repatriación a Cuba, apuntaron funcionarios de Inmigración.

El Jefe de Inmigración Adjunto, Gary Wong detalló que un total de 13
inmigrantes huyó inicialmente del centro, calificado como de baja
seguridad y ubicado en el área de Fairbanks, en el distrito de George Town.

Diez de los 13 fueron recapturados inmediatamente y la policía continuó
buscando a los otros tres durante la tarde del miércoles.

Las autoridades ha reportado varios escapes del centro de detención en
los últimos seis meses, y algunos de los fugitivos se las han ingeniado
para evitar la captura.

Source: Capturan a cubanos fugitivos de Centro de Detención para
Inmigrantes -

Juliet Michelena - mapa de una mujer encarcelada

Juliet Michelena: mapa de una mujer encarcelada
Estuvo 72 horas en paradero desconocido, luego la llevaron a la prisión
de Manto Negro y la delvovieron por errores en la documentación.
"Ustedes no me dijeron que eran disidentes", dijo el abogado al esposo
de Michelena.
abril 18, 2014

Varios arrestos arbitrarios, maltratos físicos, su ingreso en el Vivac,
traslado a la prisión de Manto Negro y los recorridos de su esposo por
canales jurídicos cada vez más burocráticos conforman el abuso policial
que sufre hoy la periodista independiente Juliet Michelena Díaz, como
relata Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello en el portal Cubanet.

Michelena está detenida desde el día 10 de abril y la acusan de
Atentado, lo que le valdría una pena de entre 1 y 3 años de privación de

Roque Cabello, líder de la Red Cubana de Comunicadores Comunitarios
describió las dificultades que ha tenido el esposo de Juliet Michelena,
José Antonio Sieres Ramallo cuando fue primeramente al conocido "Vivac"
y la pudo ver después de 72 horas en paradero desconocido.

"El sábado 12 de abril, Sieres Ramallo podía verla a las 2 de la tarde
para llevarle comida, pero el oficial de la Seguridad del Estado que
quedó en estar allí no estuvo, y la posta le dijo que no la podía ver
más que (hasta) el juicio, que sería el día 14, lunes, y le dio el
número de expediente. Por ser sábado, era imposible contratar un
abogado, por lo que Sieres –Ramallo decidió, el lunes por la mañana,
dirigirse bien temprano a la fiscalía y al tribunal municipal".

El juicio había sido suspendido el 10 de abril, afirma la economista
independiente Roque Cabello, pero "la acusaban de Atentado sin saber
contra quién".

"El esposo de Juliet se dirigió al Bufete Colectivo "Salvador Allende" y
allí, después de 3 horas de espera, lo atendió una abogada llamada
Lourdes Azúa, la que no le quiso hacer el contrato so pretexto que le
faltaban datos y que debía ir con un papel a solicitar los datos a la

Sieres Ramallo retornó allí y le dijeron que eso era responsabilidad de
la abogada, que tenía que buscar todos esos datos. "Como si fuera un
juego de las candelitas, volvió a la abogada, la que le dijo que fuera a
la estación de policía a buscar el nombre del instructor, y que el
jueves 17 (ayer) retornara para hacerle el contrato", describe Martha

El miércoles 16, sin aviso previo a sus familiares, Juliet Michelena
había sido trasladada a la prisión de mujeres conocida como "Manto
Negro", y al esposo de ésta avisarle al abogado, el mismo lo insultó,
refiere Cabello, "porque José Antonio no le había dicho que ellos eran
disidentes, algo que no tenía que ver con una acusación por un delito
común", pero fue devuelta la misma tarde por errores en el expediente
investigativo, concluye Martha Beatriz.

La organización Reporteros Sin Fronteras (RSF) condenó la detención de
Michelena Díaz en un comunicado emitido el jueves 17 pasado en París.

Source: Juliet Michelena: mapa de una mujer encarcelada -

Sismo de magnitud 2.9 grados de Richter sacude Santiago de Cuba

Publicado el viernes, 04.18.14

Sismo de magnitud 2.9 grados de Richter sacude Santiago de Cuba

La Habana -- Un sismo de magnitud 2.9 en la escala de Richter sacudió
zonas de la provincia oriental de Santiago de Cuba, donde fue percibido,
pero no ocasionó daños humanos ni materiales, según informó la
televisión estatal.

La red del Servicio Sismológico Nacional registró el temblor de tierra,
que se localizó a 37 kilómetros al suroeste de Santiago de Cuba y a una
profundidad de 9 kilómetros.

Según el informe, este movimiento telúrico se sintió en las localidades
de Aserradero y El Paraíso en esa provincia, que está situada a unos 950
kilómetros al este de La Habana.

El pasado 13 de abril ocurrió otro sismo en Santiago de Cuba también de
magnitud 2.9 grados.

Desde el 1 de enero de este año se han registrado hasta ahora doce
sismos de baja intensidad, los dos últimos en la región oriental y otros
en zonas del centro y oeste del país.

Según datos oficiales, en 2013 ocurrieron en la isla caribeña 14 sismos
perceptibles, una cifra normal para el promedio de entre 20 y 50
temblores de mediana y moderada intensidad que suelen ocurrir al año en

Source: Sismo de magnitud 2.9 grados de Richter sacude Santiago de Cuba
- Cuba - ElNuevoHerald.com -

Cuba capitalista

Cuba capitalista
Por Carlos Gabetta | 19/04/2014 | 00:06

En diciembre de 1989, durante una reunión informal en La Habana, tuve
oportunidad de preguntar a Fidel Castro por qué nunca se refería a los
problemas inherentes al socialismo, tal como se lo concebía y practicaba
en la URSS y en Cuba. Abrió grandes los ojos y repreguntó: "¿Y qué
problemas tiene el socialismo, chico?". La productividad, por ejemplo,
comandante, contesté. Lo que siguió fue un enfurecido y apenas velado
discurso de Fidel contra la URSS (aludió despectivamente a "los
tecnócratas de la Lomonosov", la universidad estatal soviética), que
dejó entre perplejo y helado al pequeño grupo que lo escuchaba.

Luego se supo que Mijaíl Gorbachov, nombrado poco antes presidente de la
desfalleciente URSS, acababa de comunicar a Fidel que la ayuda soviética
se reduciría hasta límites insoportables para Cuba. El anuncio del
"período especial", eufemismo con que se nombró a la grave crisis
económica cubana que siguió a la debacle de la URSS en 1991, le había
sido formulado a Fidel poco antes de aquella reunión informal en La
Habana. De allí el furor del comandante.

En 1989, a treinta años de la Revolución, fuentes confiables estimaban
que Cuba había recibido 80 mil millones de dólares de ayuda de los
países socialistas, entre préstamos, precios subvencionados y otros, sin
incluir la ayuda militar. Aun reduciendo esa cifra a la mitad, una suma
extraordinaria para un país como Cuba. Sin embargo, seguía siendo
básicamente monoproductor y monoexportador y aún no podía alimentar a su
población. El número de camas y los ingresos por turismo eran casi
exactamente iguales a los de antes de la Revolución. El país no se había
desarrollado en el sentido cabal del término, a pesar de que la ayuda
soviética representaba un ingreso equivalente, en términos relativos, a
la renta colonial obtenida por los países industrializados.

Simplemente, en la Cuba de 1989 se agotaba el mismo régimen que
agonizaba en la URSS: Partido Unico, asimilación del Estado por el
Partido, censura y represión de la disidencia y economía ciento por
ciento planificada desde el Estado.

Paradojas de la historia. No es del caso aquí volver sobre los notables
progresos en materia educativa y sanitaria; en cierto desarrollo
tecnológico y científico, logrados por la Revolución Cubana. Son
incontestables, y lo mismo puede decirse, con las variantes del caso, de
la URSS, de China y de la mayoría de los países de "socialismo real".
Con lo bueno y con lo malo, esos países ya no son lo que eran. Han
salido al menos del feudalismo cultural, viviendo su ingreso a la
modernidad detrás de un modelo de "socialismo" que acabó por fracasar.

Signo pues de los tiempos, y detrás de la URSS, China y los demás, Cuba
emite ahora señales concretas de una apertura capitalista. Sean cuales
sean los pasos siguientes y su velocidad, la "apertura" no puede ser
otra que capitalista. Todo el mundo lo es ahora, y si el "socialismo
real" se hundió, la socialdemocracia navega al garete en la crisis
estructural del capitalismo
(http://www.perfil.com/ediciones/columnistas/-20124-670-0045.html), sin
atinar a propuestas válidas. El socialismo democrático sigue pues
esperando su hora, y no hay razones para la impaciencia: al capitalismo
le llevó tres siglos democratizarse, y esto sólo en unos pocos países.

¿Cuál será pues el rumbo político de Cuba? Paradojas de la historia, los
países ex "socialistas" han devenido un paraíso capitalista, en la
medida en que ofrecen servicios manuales e intelectuales de calidad y
bajísimo costo, sometidos además a estricto control político. China y
Vietnam dan actualmente el ejemplo. Pero la sociedad cubana no es
oriental y Cuba, como México, "está tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de los
Estados Unidos", donde millares de cubanos del exilio hociquean la
oportunidad de regresar y/o hacer negocios. Venezuela, la URSS del
momento para Cuba en materia de ayuda, está en graves dificultades,
igual que los demás populismos latinoamericanos…

No hay más remedio que esperar, y ver qué pasa.

*Periodista y escritor.

Source: Cuba capitalista -

Cuba, you owe us $7 billion - Top 50 claims

Cuba, you owe us $7 billion - Top 50 claims

The top 50
The largest American property claims against Cuba certified by the
Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, according to a 2007 report by
Creighton University scholars.
Rank Name of claimant Amount certified Assets include
1 Cuban Electric Co. $267.57m Corporate assets
2 Intl. Telephone & Telegraph Corp. $130.68m Corporate assets
3 North American Sugar Industries Inc. $108.98m Corporate assets
4 Moa Bay Mining Co. $88.35m Rural mining property
5 United Fruit Sugar Co. $85.10m Improved real property
6 West Indies Sugar Corp. $84.88m Rural farming land
7 American Sugar Co. $81.01m Urban beachfronts
8 Exxon Corp. $71.61m Oil refinery
9 Texaco Inc. $56.20m Corporate assets
10 The Francisco Sugar Co. $53.39m Corporate assets
11 Bangor Punta Corp. $53.38m Securities
12 Manati Sugar Co. $48.59m Corporate assets
13 Nicaro Nickel Co. $33.01m Corporate assets
14 The Coca-Cola Co. $27.53m Urban commercial buildings
15 Lone Star Cement Corp. $24.88m n.a.
16 The New Tuinucu Sugar Co. $23.34m Sugar mills
17 Colgate-Palmolive Co. $14.51m Corporate assets
18 Sinclair Oil Corp. $13.20m Corporate assets
19 Braga Brothers Inc $12.61m Securities
20 Boise Cascade Corp. $11.75m Urban commercial building
21 Claflin, Helen A. $11.69m Securities
22 American Brands Inc. $11.68m Debts and mortgages
23 Burrus Mills Inc. $9.85m Experimental farm
24 Pan-American Life Insurance Co. $9.74m Corporate assets
25 United States Rubber Co. $9.52m Corporate assets
26 Powe, William $9.51m Urban residential property
27 Estate of Sumner Pingree $9.37m Rural farming land
28 F.W. Woolworth Co. $9.19m Contents of 11 retail stores
office building
29 Havana Docks Corp. $9.18m Commercial building, land
30 Continental Can Co. $8.91m Rural commercial building
31 Loeb, John L. $8.57m Securities
32 International Harvester Co. $8.26m Corporate assets
33 Owens-lllinois Inc. $8.04m Securities
34 Arango, Mercedes $7.92m Rural farming land
35 Order of Hermits of St. Augustin $7.89m Urban commercial
36 The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A $7.71m Corporate assets
37 Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. $7.65m Corporate assets
38 Carl Marks & Co. $7.33m Securities
39 IBM World Trade Corp. $6.45m Corporate assets
40 Swift and Co. $5.95m Land, buildings, machinery
41 The First National Bank of Boston $5.90m Corporate assets
42 General Electric Co. $5.87m Corporate assets
43 Estate of Sumner Pingree $5.81m Securities
44 Libby, McNeil & Libby $5.71m Securities
45 The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. $5.12m Debts and mortgages
46 Procter & Gamble Co. $5.00m Debts and mortgages
47 First National City Bank $4.97m Urban commercial buildings
48 Lengyel, Olga $4.87m Apartments, art objects, cash
49 Davis, Arthur V. $4.27m Rural farming land
50 GMAC, South America $3.88m Corporate assets

Source: Cuba, you owe us $7 billion -

El megaproyecto de El Mariel se quita la careta

El megaproyecto de El Mariel se quita la careta
abril 18, 2014
Pedro Campos

HAVANA TIMES — Ana Teresa Igarza, directora general de la Oficina
reguladora de la ZEDM, -Zona Especial de Desarrollo del Mariel- informó
que se había establecido una nueva tasa de cambio para sus asalariados.

Estos recibirán, el 80 % de los ingresos que pacten las agencias
empleadoras con los inversionistas, y el pago se hará en pesos cubanos
(CUP) con una tasa de cambio de 1 X 10, "especial". Sí, como el Período

Es decir que si la empresa empleadora pacta con el inversionista el pago
de mil CUC como pago por el trabajo de un asalariado cubano, o su
equivalente en Dólares, la susodicha intermediaria se quedaría con los
mil CUC o su equivalente en dólares y pagará al trabajador cubano en
Pesos Cubanos (CUP) el equivalente al 80 % de lo pactado, pero a razón
de 10 Pesos Cubanos por CUC.

Si las matemáticas no han sido también alteradas por el "socialismo de
estado", de esta forma el trabajador recibirá 10 Pesos Cubanos por cada
CUC, es decir 10 x 800, serían 8 mil Pesos Cubanos.

Pero ese trabajador cuando sale de la Zona Especial, para comprar en CUC
en las tiendas de divisa del monopolio militar tendrá que acudir a las
CADECAS, Casas de Cambio del gobierno, en las que tiene que entregar 25
Pesos Cubanos para adquirir un CUC. Así sus 8 000 Pesos Cubanos, se les
convierten en 320 CUC.

De donde resulta que de los 1000 CUC originales, o su equivalente en
Dólares, que pagó el inversionista, el trabajador cubano solo recibirá
el 32%. Agréguese que el asalariado deberá pagar otro 5 % adicional para
la "seguridad social" estatal. Es decir que en verdad solo llegará a él
un 27 % de los mil CUC.

De manera que el 63 % será para el estado, libre de "polvo y paja", sin
disparar un "chícharo", solo por "mediar" entre el inversionista,
eufemismo de capitalista explotador extranjero y el asalariado cubano.

Una forma mañosa, que no puede ocultar la doble explotación a la que se
pretende someter a los trabajadores cubanos, entre los capitalistas
extranjeros y el estado extorsionador que además deja indefenso al
obrero, sin leyes que los puedan proteger de unos y otros.

Claro, acostumbrada, como tiene el estado a la clase obrera cubana a ser
hiper- explotada, ahora al menos espera que se conforme con el 32 % de
su salario. El 68 % queda, libre al "país".

Así ya van quedando más claros los beneficios del mega proyecto para la
clase obrera cubana.

El famoso megaproyecto de El Mariel se quita así la careta
"desarrollista" para mostrar su verdadero rostro extorsionador de los
asalariados cubanos.

Se trata pues de una verdadera muestra de la pretendida alianza entre el
capitalismo monopolista de estado cubano, que ha querido pasar por
socialismo, con el capital internacional para organizar la explotación
conjunta de la mano de obra cubana.

Source: El megaproyecto de El Mariel se quita la careta - Havana Times
en español - http://www.havanatimes.org/sp/?p=95257

Diferencia de clases?

¿Diferencia de clases?
abril 18, 2014
Kabir Vega Castellanos

HAVANA TIMES — Cuando recuerdo cómo me sentía en mi aula al principio
del curso de inglés, el cambio me parece increíble. Veía a tanta gente
con teléfonos táctiles que me daba pena usar mi MP3 ya que hasta el
reproductor de música era un indicio de jerarquía.

A veces me preocupaba qué pensarían de mí que estaba obligado a repetir
tanto la ropa, y ni qué decir los zapatos. No soportaba que mandaran un
ejercicio donde fuera preciso hablar de uno mismo. Me volvía loco
pensando qué decir, me parecía que mi casa, mi situación y en general mi
vida era tan aburrida mientras las vidas de los demás lucían tan

Cuando entre los ejercicios de clase preguntaban si tomabas la guagua
para ir al trabajo o la escuela, todos respondían, "No, I take a taxi".
Así que también llegué a creer que era el único que resistía casi tres
horas diarias en guaguas repletas, donde por momentos resulta difícil
compartir el oxígeno.

En el receso sentía envidia de los que podían comer una manzana frente a
los demás, una hamburguesa o jugos de hasta 3.30 CUC, estaba convencido
que sólo yo no me podía dar esos gustos.

Recuerdo que una alumna que no solía interesarse en participar en la
clase, una vez que el ejercicio consistía en describir la casa de uno se
mostró muy ansiosa por responder, y era sólo para decir que su casa
tenía quince habitaciones.

En otro ejercicio con vista a aprender a hablar en pasado, donde
debíamos decir qué habíamos hecho en nuestras últimas vacaciones, casi
todos contaron que habían ido a Varadero. Tan evidente se volvió la
farsa que el profesor dijo: "¿Y si todos fueron a Varadero, por qué
ninguno se vio?

En una ocasión fui a Coppelia con dos colegas y la conversación abordó
por un momento los problemas del país, se dijo entre otras cosas que los
precios estaban pensados para prácticamente el uno por ciento de la
población. Yo me animé pensando que al fin compartiríamos preocupaciones
sinceras, pero por el tono indiferente en que hablaban los dos parecían
dejar claro que pertenecían a ese uno por ciento.

Pero como se dice que lo semejante atrae lo semejante, el alumno que se
sienta junto a mí en la clase fue notando que mi actitud era distinta y
empezó a manipular su MP3 ante mí sin ningún complejo. Durante el
receso, si salimos a la calle, ya compraba varios cucuruchos de maní
para calmar el hambre.

Poco a poco el miedo a mostrar la realidad fue desapareciendo. Un día
una compañera de clase con la que converso bastante abrió su monedero
ante de mí sin ningún recelo: tenía solamente seis pesos cubanos.

Lentamente me di cuenta de que al empezar el curso todos (incluso yo),
incorporamos una especie de personaje como mecanismo de defensa. Pero
como todo lo que no es real, éste no se sostiene y con el tiempo se fue

Al final fuimos saliendo nosotros, lo que de verdad somos, con todos los
problemas que tiene un cubano de a pie.

Source: ¿Diferencia de clases? - Havana Times en español -

Cuba, you owe us $7 billion

Cuba, you owe us $7 billion
Behind the trade embargo lies a huge and nearly forgotten obstacle: the
still-active property claims by American companies. Inside the effort to
settle a 50-year-old debt
By Leon Neyfakh | GLOBE STAFF APRIL 18, 2014

IF SYMBOLS COULD GATHER RUST, the American trade embargo against Cuba
would be covered with it. Enacted in 1960, shortly after Fidel Castro
came to power, and expanded in 1962, at the height of the Cold War, the
embargo has frozen the United States and its tiny neighbor off the
Florida coast in a standoff that seems as dated as the classic American
cars on Havana streets.

Leaders from around the world have been calling on the United States to
dismantle the embargo for more than 20 years, and recent polls show that
a majority of Americans are in favor of lifting it. With the repressive
Castro regime seemingly nearing its end, a "normalization" of relations
between the countries seems increasingly within reach. That would appear
to spell an end sometime soon for the embargo, which in the popular
imagination stands as a sort of political weapon that was designed to
cripple Castro and stem the tide of communism.

What's often forgotten, though, is that the embargo was actually
triggered by something concrete: an enormous pile of American assets
that Castro seized in the process of nationalizing the Cuban economy.
Some of these assets were the vacation homes and bank accounts of
wealthy individuals. But the lion's share of the confiscated
property—originally valued at $1.8 billion, which at 6 percent simple
interest translates to nearly $7 billion today—was sugar factories,
mines, oil refineries, and other business operations belonging to
American corporations, among them the Coca-Cola Co., Exxon, and the
First National Bank of Boston. A 2009 article in the Inter-American Law
Review described Castro's nationalization of US assets as the "largest
uncompensated taking of American property by a foreign government in

Today, the nearly 6,000 property claims filed in the wake of the Cuban
revolution almost never come up as a significant sticking point in
discussions of a prospective Cuban-American thaw. But they remain
active—and more to the point, the federal law that lays out the
conditions of a possible reconciliation with Cuba, the 1996 Helms-Burton
Act, says they have to be resolved. According to that statute, said
Michael Kelly, a professor of international law at Creighton University
in Nebraska, settling the certified property claims "is one of the first
dominos that has to fall in a whole series of dominos for the embargo to
be lifted."

While the other dominos are clearly much more daunting—the overall point
of the Helms-Burton Act is that Cuba has to have a democratic,
America-friendly government in place before there can be any talk of
lifting the embargo—experts say the property claims will be an intensely
difficult problem to settle when it comes time to do so. For one thing,
Cuba is unlikely to ever have enough cash on hand to fully compensate
the claimants, especially while the embargo is still in place; to make
matters even more complicated, many of the individual claimants have
died, and some of the companies no longer exist.

With Cuba inching toward reform on a number of fronts over the past
several years, giving hope to those who believe our two countries might
reconcile in the near future, a number of Cuba experts have begun to
study the question of how to resolve the property claims in a way that
is both realistic and fair. The proposals that have come out of their
efforts provide a unique window onto the potential future of the
American relationship with Cuba—and point to the level of imagination
that can be required in the present to turn the page on what happened in
the past.


THE CUBA THAT CASTRO took over in 1959 was a nation overrun with
American business. Tourists could stay in American-owned Hiltons, shop
at Woolworth's, and withdraw money at American-owned banks.
American-owned petroleum refineries sat amid American cattle ranches,
sugar factories, and nickel mines, and an American-owned
telecommunications firm controlled the country's phone lines. According
to a 2008 report from the US Department of Agriculture, Americans
controlled three-quarters of Cuba's arable land.

Cuba's revolutionary leader swiftly signed several laws nationalizing
what was previously private property. Though the laws required the
government to compensate the owners, the payment was to be made in Cuban
bonds—an idea that was not taken seriously by the United States. In
1960, the administration of President Eisenhower punished Castro's
expropriation of American assets by sharply cutting the amount of sugar
the United States was buying from Cuba. "We kind of went ballistic at
the thought that anyone would take our property," said John Hansen, a
faculty associate at Harvard University's Center for Latin American
Studies. Tempers ran hot in both directions: in a speech, Castro vowed
to separate Americans in Cuba from all of their possessions, "down to
the nails in their shoes." The standoff culminated in a near-total
embargo on American exports to Cuba and a reduction of sugar imports to

Other countries that had holdings in Cuba—including Switzerland, Canada,
Spain, and France—were more amenable to Castro's terms, apparently
convinced that there was no chance they'd ever get a better deal. But
the Americans who had lost property wanted cash, and submitted official
descriptions of what had been taken from them to the Foreign Claims
Settlement Commission at the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, US
relations with Cuba deteriorated. Diplomatic ties were cut. An attempt
by President Kennedy to overthrow Castro failed, and a standoff over
Soviet missiles in 1962 brought the world as close to nuclear war as it
has ever come. The invisible economic wall—which by then had been
expanded to ban virtually all imports from Cuba—had become part of
something much larger.

Half a century later, the cash claims that started it all still sit on
the books. And while a full list of claimants is maintained by the US
Department of Justice, they have largely receded from view—in part
because most of the claimants have become quiet about their hopes for
compensation. According to Mauricio Tamargo, a lawyer who served as
chairman of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission for almost a decade
before going into private practice and taking on a number of claimants
as clients, complaining about monetary losses associated with the Cuban
revolution has become increasingly risky from a public relations
standpoint. The embargo has taken on more and more political meaning,
and Cuba has become more destitute. "The corporations that have these
claims are very sensitive to bad press," Tamargo said, "so they decide
to keep a low profile and work quietly behind the scenes where
possible." (Of several corporate claimholders contacted for this story,
the only one that provided a statement by deadline was Chevron Corp.,
which now owns the claims originally filed by Texaco, and considers "the
claim to be valid and enforceable if and when there is a change in the
Cuban government.")

But regardless of how morally or politically sensitive it might be for
America's corporations and the wealthy executives who run them to claim
money from Cuba, their claims will still need to be untangled in order
for the embargo to be lifted, experts say. "The US government is
obligated by law to defend the claims of US citizens and enterprises
whose properties were expropriated by the Cuban government," wrote
Harvard professor Jorge Dominguez, a top Cuba scholar, in an e-mail. As
for how that might be done, he added, "one can imagine a range of

One possibility has been put forth by Tamargo, who advocates for an
approach that would compensate claimants—his clients among them—by
imposing a 10 percent user fee on all remittances sent to Cubans by
their American relatives, as well as all other transactions that are
allowed to take place under the current embargo rules. (While this
proposal can be seen as a tax on US residents, it is designed to come
only out of money that is entering the Cuban economy.) Another proposal
was presented several years ago by Timothy Ashby, a Miami lawyer, who
started a company designed to buy claims at a discount from their
original owners and then use them to broker a private settlement with
the Cuban government. Ashby's plan was thwarted when the Bush
administration declared it illegal, but the prospect of a negotiated
group settlement remains on the table—as long as it's carried out by the
US government, in accordance with existing law.

Perhaps the most ambitious and pragmatic solution that's been laid out
so far appeared in a lengthy report published by scholars at Creighton
University, who were given a grant in 2006 by the US Agency for
International Development to investigate the claims issue. "There was a
hope that, if through God's grace things improved and we were able to
enter into a mutually beneficial relationship with Cuba, we would be
able to pull something off the shelf and say, 'Here's how we're going to
start dealing with it,'" said Patrick Borchers, the law professor who
led the Creighton team.

Borchers and his colleagues found that untangling all the claims would
be extremely complicated: "A lot of the original corporate claimants,
through the process of 50 years worth of mergers and acquisitions, don't
even exist anymore," said Creighton's Michael Kelly, who also worked on
the report. "But the claims don't go away—they go with the mergers." One
of the largest claimants today, for example, is Starwood Resorts, a
company that didn't even exist in 1959, but received a claim on the ITT
Telegraph Tower when it acquired another company. "Starwood Resorts
doesn't want an old radio tower," Kelly said. "What they [might] want is
beachfront property."

This insight led to the proposal that the Creighton team ultimately
submitted to the government. Under the team's plan, some of those who
had lost property during Castro's nationalization campaign could be
compensated in ways that didn't involve the transfer of cash or bonds:
Instead, they could be given tax-free zones, development rights, and
other incentives to invest in the new Cuba. This, according to Borchers,
would be a win for both sides, compensating the claimants while
stimulating the Cuban economy.


NO ONE IS ARGUING that settling the property claims of Americans is
anything like the first or most important step to normalizing the US
relationship with Cuba: There are other, more formidable obstacles in
the way, as well as significant wiggle room for increasing economic
activity between the two countries without formally lifting the embargo.

"There's a scenario that I see, which is bit by bit the fundamentals of
the embargo are chiseled away by executive order, by the economic and
family ties linking Cuba and the United States, and by non-enforcement,"
said Julia Sweig, a Cuba expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. In
that scenario, the claims might someday be resolved, but wouldn't hold
the process of reintegrating the United States and Cuba hostage.

There's another big complication, too: the thousands of Cuban families
who fled to America after the revolution and had everything they owned
confiscated by the Communist regime. These Cuban exiles and their
descendants form the backbone of the most intransigent anti-Castro lobby
in the United States. If and when Cuba does open up, they're going to
want their property back as well, which will likely result in extensive
litigation in Cuba. (To address their interests, the Creighton report
proposed setting up a special tribunal in Cuba that could try to
compensate Cuban-Americans for their losses once the country had found
its feet economically.)

What will end up happening—both for the American claimants and the
Cubans who moved here after the revolution—will undoubtedly provoke
debate about what is fair when it comes to setting right the wrongs of
the past. How much debt is worth forgiving to help a country back on its
feet? And how much should private citizens expect to give up to help a
diplomatic resolution? But the provisional plans and proposals that have
been made in the meantime—whether preferential development deals or a
tax on cash flow between our two countries—reflect something else:
visions of a new Cuba, in which American economic interests and Cuban
ones are once again closely intertwined.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. E-mail leon.neyfakh@globe.com.

Source: Cuba, you owe us $7 billion - Ideas - The Boston Globe -