Saturday, December 19, 2009


Photo taken from Generation Y

Every time they say on the news, “Response of the people fighting the activities of a small counterrevolutionary group,” she calls me, terrified.  I explain that not all the abuses and humiliations carried out in the streets by the paramilitaries are directed against my person—I would not have the physical capacity to write this—but she doesn’t understand: a mother’s love is like that.

In the ‘80s she wasn’t in Cuba, when she came they told her but she didn’t believe it.  She eventually ended up recalling the stories of the repudiation rallies as we remember the ancient fables, real but not lived, subject to materialist skepticism: seeing is believing.

But materialism was abandoned; in the midst of the Special Period* she discovered that Faith can avoid the madness and vitamin deficiency.  The Party meetings were transformed into spiritualist meetings, Yoga classes, and classes in healing by the laying on of hands.  One day she realized, at times the inanimate world is more transparent and clear than that conscience language that leads nowhere.  She gained one faith but lost another: she no longer believes in humans, in anything.

On Friday, December 11, she saw for the first time, on the evening news, what I have baptized as The Horde and its survivors: The Women in White in the midst of a mob of women deformed by hate.  A choppy sea, and in the middle, a small white boat barely afloat: the return to animality, to the law of the jungle, violence as a first recourse, the supreme exaltation of infinite human stupidity.

She was in shock for about three hours.  I made a few black jokes—I know she likes them—but she didn’t react.  I thought everything had died in her but I was wrong, I’ll never know how much humanism is still left in her, at that moment I was sure she had lost it.  She looks out the window and understands nothing, wonders “who” and the only answer that comes to mind is, “everyone.”  From now on, I know, her loneliness will be immeasurable, the price of having been disappointed too, too many times.

*Translator's note:  The so-called "Special Period" was the very difficult time after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of its subsidies for Cuba.


John Two said...

Claudia, wonderfully written blog entry. Keep the faith.

Humberto Capiro said...

For Cuba's blacks, the humiliation is double. They are not allowed to stay in hotels reserved for foreigners, and the new slave masters seldom hire them to work in their exclusive installations.

While most of these African-American leaders were praising the Cuban Revolution, Olegario Charlot, upon years of suffering in Castro's prisons, died during a hunger strike claiming his only possession, a Bible. After his tragic death, his fellow prisoners witnessed how his decomposed body was removed with shovels before they were introduced in the same stench-filled dungeon. Where was the outrage?

NEW AMERICA MADIA ARTICLE: Obama Effect’ Highlights Racism in Cuba
New America Media, News Analysis, Louis E.V. Nevaer, Posted: Dec 15, 2008

The European Union recently dispatched anthropologists to study racism in Cuba. Their findings were shocking: Not only was racism alive and well in the workers’ paradise, but it was systemic and institutional. Blacks were systematically excluded from positions that involved coming in contact with foreign tourists (where they could earn tips in hard currencies), they were relegated to poor housing, complained of the longest waits for healthcare, were excluded from managerial positions, received the lowest remittances from relatives abroad, and were five times more likely to be imprisoned.

The report, “Race and Inequality in Cuba Today,” by Rodrigo Espina and Pablo Rodriguez Ruiz, published in the anthropological journal TEMAS in 2006, infuriated Cuban officials.

But the findings were irrefutable, and they reflected an acceleration of racism in the 1990s. The collapse of the Soviet Union only exacerbated the problem, particularly as Cuba now competed with Cancun and San Juan for European vacationers. As Democracy Now! reported in 2000, Cuban officials continued to exclude blacks from tourist-related industries.

Humberto Capiro said...


Moore: Because I wanted the world to know that that was the experience of Blacks in Cuba like myself, who grew up in that experience. I wanted them to know that term because when people see the term pichon, they say, "Well, what is this?" And then I explain.

Moore: Because I still had faith in him. Remember, Castro was larger than life to us. We had faith in this leader, and we felt that the fact that he had confronted imperialism, confronted the United States, and had had the courage to do what he did, because Castro's a very courageous man. He's a nationalist, he's an anti-imperialist, and he's a man who is committed to social reform. There is no question about this.
Castro's not a segregationist. So we felt that Castro had - could understand that the policies that he was enacting, if he - we could explain to him that this policies wouldn't work, that they were wrong - for instance, he banned all Black organizations in Cuba. He called them racist organizations.

There were 526 organizations in Cuba; he banned them. He started banning all of Black organizations, which had come out of slavery, and he started attacking the Black religions, African religions. He said they were primitive. So we said, "There's something wrong here, so we must talk to him, we must explain to him what race is, because he's not understanding."

Humberto Capiro said...

AFP ARTICLE: US sent American to help Cuba's opposition: Castro

"The enemy is as active as ever," Castro charged in his annual address to the National Assembly.
"In recent weeks, we have witnessed an increasing number of efforts by the new (US) administration with that objective," the 77-year-old president added.

"The fostering of open and covert subversion against Cuba is on the rise."

An American man arrested in Cuba on December 5 "was involved in illegally supplying sophisticated means of communications to 'civil society' groups hoping to coalesce against our people," Castro said, claiming Washington earmarked 55 million dollars to support Cuban dissidents.

"The fact is that the instruments of aggressive policy against Cuba remain intact; the US government has not given up on destroying the revolution, and on producing a change in our social and economic regime," he added.

Castro also insisted President Barack Obama's administration has been waging a months-long diplomatic campaign to convince the international community that repression is on the rise in Cuba, even organizing and instigating opposition street protests."

Humberto Capiro said...

PODER 360 MAGAZINE ARTICLE: What's happened to 'Our Man in Havana'?
A Washington-area man has been behind bars in Cuba since Dec. 5, when he was apparently arrested for distributing electronic communications items to dissidents.
Analysts say the arrest might be a warning shot from the Cuba government the Obama administration about continued U.S. funding for programs that support civil society and human rights in Cuba.

"“I would say this poor fellow walked into an accident waiting to happen,” Cuban analyst, Philip Peters, wrote on The Cuban Triangle blog. Peters argues that the USAID program in Cuba is seen by Cuban officials as the latest illegal U.S. effort to overthrow the Castro government. “Their security/intelligence apparatus is on the case,” he wrote.

“It’s one thing to run civil society programs in countries where the local government is unopposed, it’s quite another to do so in a communist country that perceives the program as a national security threat,” he added.

Cuba may also try and use this case as leverage in its efforts to win the release of 'The Cuban Five' - convicted spies serving long jail sentences in the U.S.. DAI has been working for the U.S. government since 2008 to promote democracy in Cuba through a U.S. Agency for International Development program."

"Peters, who is vice-president of the Arlington, Virginia-based Lexington Institute, and one of the leading Cuba experts in the U.S., also warned that the man could face a stiff sentence under Cuban law, as could any Cuban found to be collaborating with the program.
“The Cuban Government utilizes the harshest measures to repress the flow of accurate information on democracy, human rights and free enterprise to, from, and within Cuba,” he wrote."

""Cuban officials are also upset by U.S. support for Yoani Sánchez, an outspoken and prominent government blogger who keeps in touch with thousands of followers through a highly publicized "Generación Y" blog and a Twitter account.

Last month Obama wrote to Sánchez to express his personal support. "I applaud these collective efforts to empower your compatriots to express themselves through technology. The U.S. government and the people are with you in anticipation of the day when all Cubans will be able to express themselves freely and publicly without fear.""

Humberto Capiro said...

ASSOCIATED PRESS ARTICLE: Cuba lets cardinal give X-mas message on state TV

"During the Wednesday broadcast, Cardinal Jaime Ortega will give thanks that more island families can welcome relatives living in the United States this holiday after the administration of President Barack Obama loosened restrictions on Cuban-Americans who want to travel or send money to the island.
The full message airing on government-controlled television was confirmed by Orlando Marquez, spokesman for Havana's Conference of Bishops, who said authorities also will show a Christmas concert held last week at the National Cathedral."

"The government never outlawed religion, but expelled priests and closed religious schools after Fidel Castro took power in 1959. Tensions eased in the early 1990s when the government removed references to atheism from its constitution and let believers of all faiths join the Communist Party. They improved more when Pope John Paul II visited in 1998."