Saturday, February 11, 2012

Only in America - 1

I took few days of vacation this week. The first one in more than 3 years if I don't count the days setting at home viewing movies but pending of my phone or email and fixing things remotely. I drove to Tallahassee to be in the Graduation from the State Trooper Academy of my soon to be son in law. Nice trip! I liked Tallahassee! Hills everywhere. South Florida is too flat.

Do you know that the government supplies every state trooper with a Glock and a shotgun? If they want to carry an AR-15, the trooper has to buy it! The same with the bulletproof vest, if the trooper wants the optional steel plate that offers a better protection, he has to pay for it! Unbelievable! The richest country in the world can not pay for the proper protection of those keeping our highways safe. The bad guys are armed with AK47s and our government can only afford and old and obsolete shotgun. The cheapest ones that you can buy in Walmart. Things you see in America!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cuban propaganda and people's humor

There are two things that foreigners find unusual in Cuba, well there are many others that I won't mention in this brief note, one of them is the amount of all cars in the streets of Havana. And when I said old cars I mean cars made before 1959. The second thing is the communist propaganda painted everywhere. They do not have paint for the houses of thousands of havanans but for propaganda they always find a pint of paint and an empty wall. But, sometimes those against revolution use the same propaganda to send messages.

Here is one of these cases.

There is an Uncle Sam in the left trying to scare a Cuban Soldier in the right. The Cuban Soldier is yelling "Misters Imperialists, We are not scare of you!". That was the government message. But, somebody with a little bit of imagination and humor added to the message "We are terrified of the Castros!"

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

I'm a lucky guy

I was navigating the web yesterday searching for info about the town where I was born and I ended reading about 3 Cuban writers that I knew personally.

The first was Miguel Barnet. I never talked to him a word. At least that's what I remember. I was a child living few doors next to his house and that fact was enough to positively influence my life in the love for books and reading. His book The runaway slave is in my opinion a Cuban classic. From the 3 writers, he is the one better known around the world and the reason for this is his participation in the Cuban government.

The second writer was Dora Alonso. It was a night in the library of Santa Clara. She was signing books for a young group of "wanna be" writers. I was there and I left that night that library full of dreams, wise advices and her book Aventuras de Guille dedicated to me by her. A treasure that I later lost together with all the material things that I owned in Cuba. But I kept this memory, biggest and most important thing if you ask me. I never became a famous writer like I wanted but I never have forgotten her and all her good advices telling me to be honest and write from the deepest of my heart.

The last writer was Hilda Oráa Carratalá. I could not even find her name in the Wikipedia or the web. A search for my name results in more hits. Unfortunately in Cuba those who are more actively participating in the so called "revolution" are the ones most published around the world, unless you decide to try your fortune in another country. But Hilda was Hilda full of love and she could not have lived away from Caibarien, La Villa Blanca, the little and almost unknown town where she worked as a elementary school teacher. Her poems are from another time. Nothing compare. And her books, mostly for children are fool of sweetness.

So, this is why I feel lucky. I did not become a famous writer, that's true. But I learned from these tree cubans writers to love the beauty inside of any good book. I learned from 2 of them to write from my heart when I do that in whatever page online I'm writing for and about whatever topic I'm commenting. Without anybody censuring my words even when I was paid to write. I learned from one of them to teach giving love. So, yes, I'm definitely a lucky guy. I'm who I'm by my own decision.

I found online the blogs of few people that I knew during my young years in high school. Few of those blogs are originals. The rest full of the same words copied from the Cuban government newspapers. It's sad when you have to do that to maintain a plate of black beans in your dinner table. To those I say... Do not forget Yiya. Break the rules and censure writing about love. You will never get published by your government but at least everybody will remember you with the same love that I remember Hilda.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Castros secure the power for 20 more years

Yes. I'm sure that you will jump to correct me saying that what Raul Castro said in the just closed Communist Congress in Havana was to limit the terms of those in political positions to a maximum of 10 years. Well, let me explain how I got the 20 years.

According to Cuban News Webpages:

he [Raul Castro] suggested limiting the mandates of public office to a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms, a recommendation he considered possible and necessary under the current circumstances.

Here is my understanding of this part. Raul will be next June 3rd 80 years old. If the constitution is changed limiting the terms to two of 5 years each one then legally he can be president for the next 10 years. He will then 90 years old. Will he live that long? Well, this is the tricky and most important part. As long as he is alive during the last 3 years of his last 5 years mandate, he can be playing the same game that Fidel has being playing: a decorative figure. But this role is not less important because it guarantees the transition to the unimaginable.

Raul Castro, called on Saturday for guaranteeing the continuation of the Revolution and the systematic rejuvenation of the leadership of the party and the government...

... Castro stressed the need of having a reserve of well-prepared cadres as replacements to take on major duties.

The transition to what or to who? To the new generation of Castros. That generation that currently is not... "well-prepared" yet. They have been too busy living "la Vida Loca".

If everything goes has planned during the dinners conversations between the two brothers at Point Zero, we will be seeing Cuba under the Castro's Dictatorship for the next 20 years.

A very smart plan, do not you think? It guarantees the continuation in power but at the same time it sales the idea of "changes" in the Cuban political life. Those changes that many investors in Europe and USA want to hear coming from the Caribbean Island.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Save on Gas

I decided this weekend to check the new WinnDixie card. The claim is that for every 50 dollars that you spent in this store you will save 5 cents the next time that you fill your car in a Shell gas station. The fact is that I saved this weekend 25 cents per gallon! I was supposed to pay $3.56 per gallon and I paid $3.26 that 8% less! The process is easy, just follow the instructions from the LCD Display at the pump. First you slide your WinnDixie Card and after that you slide your debit or credit card. That's all.

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Saturday, November 06, 2010

Airplane crashes in Cuba

A few days ago 68 passengers died in an airplane crash in Cuba, including nine Argentines, seven Mexicans, three Dutch citizens, two Germans, two Austrians, a French citizen, an Italian, a Spaniard, a Venezuelan and a Japanese. 28 persons that came to Cuba attracted by the promises in Tourists Brochures that show them a Cuba that only exists in those pages and that only materializes for those that were not born in that Caribbean Island.

I'm not going to write here about all the technical data about the planes and the how the Cuban government keeps them flying in Cuba, or about how Cuban pilots rights are violated daily making them to work up to the exhaustion without a proper rest regime. You can find that everywhere and I'm not who should be talking about it. I'm here to tell you what happened to me and my daughter went we left Cuba in 1998.

There are not direct flights from Cuba to USA, direct flights are from Miami to Havana and are booked in Miami. Most of the time you have to fly to another country, usually Mexico, Bahamas or Cayman Islands in a Cuban Airline and then switch to any other country airline flying to USA. In our case we went via Cayman Islands and from there we took a British Airline to Miami.

It was a cloudy day since we left Cuba and very rained when we arrived to Caiman Island. The Cuban plane when we where approaching that island was trembling making all kind of noises. The noises that you hear when metal moves against metal. Everybody was sick around me, vomiting and praying when they were not vomiting. I was scared and prayed, prayed like I never have done it in my live. I'll never forget that feeling in my stomach every time that the plain moved down and up within the clouds, and the noises, those noises like somebody was tearing apart the plain.

In Caiman Island we rested for a few hours and then we took the British Airplane. My daughter was crying like I was punishing her forcing her to take that plane. An animal that she already hated it. The plane took off and little by little she started to calm down until she finally smiled, the most beautiful smile that I ever have seen in her face. Then she looked at me and said something that I'll never forget: Papi, this is a real plane.

If you are reading this because you already surrendered to a night of pleasure in Havana. Please, remember what my 10 year old daughter said to me. Fly in a real plane.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A quitar la foto de Fidel y poner la de Raúl o volará tu cabeza

Con el permiso del pero no puedo permitir que estas reflexiones del reconocido escritor cubano Carlos Alberto Montaner pasen a la historia inadvertidamente.


Acá se las dejo.


Raúl y su no tan nueva Cuba


Actualizado Martes, 03-03-09 a las 13:07

Raúl Castro ha completado el proceso de sucesión dinástica. La totalidad del gabinete ya le responde disciplinadamente, con la excepción de Ramiro Valdés, un comandante histórico experto en coger gente presa y maltratarla sin compasión, con el que estuvo enemistado por muchos años. Fidel, pues, es ya irrelevante, y su muerte, cuando ocurra, será un suceso político que no tendrá otra importancia que la curiosidad de saber si lo creman y esparcen sus cenizas en la Sierra Maestra, lo momifican y lo acuestan, como a Lenin, rosadito y dócil, en la Plaza de la Revolución, o lo entierran en Birán, donde parece que están convirtiendo su casa natal en un mausoleo rural con olor a bosta de vacas y cantío de gallos. Mientras tanto, el viejo Comandante, enfundado en un chándal, cuando las tripas y las neuronas lo autorizan, se entretiene escribiendo unos parrafillos tontilocos a los que pomposamente califica de “reflexiones”, en lo que el forense le notifica que se acabó el baile.

Los grandes perdedores en estos cambios son Carlos Lage y Felipe Pérez Roque, dos delfines que esperaban desde hace años su turno generacional para ocupar el poder, pero ambos cometieron el inmenso error de declarar en diciembre de 2005 que Cuba tenía dos presidentes, Fidel y Hugo Chávez, y que la revolución estaba dispuesta a sacrificar su soberanía y su bandera en la asociación con Venezuela. Raúl, naturalmente, les hizo la cruz. De gente así, tan lejana a él y tan cercana a Hugo Chávez, ese hombre que le da de comer, pero que le parece un cruce imposible entre Cantinflas y el Che Guevara, Raúl jamás podía esperar la lealtad que suele demandar de sus subordinados.

Las estrellas ascendentes, en cambio, son Bruno Rodríguez, abogado y nuevo canciller, hijo de Carlos Rafael Rodríguez, un viejo economista marxista y tercera figura del régimen hasta su muerte, ocurrida en 1997, y Marino Murillo, quien reemplaza a José Luis Rodríguez como Ministro de Economía, un reformista in pectore que murió virgen, porque en su larga vida burocrática nunca pudo contarle a nadie que el comunismo le parecía un disparate. Con ellos, y con los ocho generales sembrados en la cúpula dirigente, Raúl piensa revitalizar la exangűe sociedad cubana, mejorar rápidamente su miserable nivel de vida, y llegar al Sexto Congreso del Partido Comunista, convocado para septiembre u octubre, con el objeto de plantear las líneas maestras de su nuevo rumbo y sentar las bases para una transmisión ordenada de la autoridad cuando él también haya pasado a mejor vida (lo dudo).

¿Qué tiene Raúl en la cabeza? Algunos cambios económicos, inversiones extranjeras a raudales, preferiblemente en asociación con el gobierno, y mucha disciplina para aumentar la producción. De cambios políticos: cero. Raúl va a tratar de manejar a la sociedad cubana de la misma manera que manejó al ejército durante medio siglo: ordeno y mando.

Mucha vigilancia. Mucho palo y tentetieso. Raúl cree que el problema está en el desorden y el robo de los cubanos, como el pobre Gorbachov, que tampoco era muy listo, creía que el problema de la URSS radicaba en el alcoholismo de los rusos.

¿Nada va a cambiar? Sí: Raúl no está interesado en polemizar con Washington ni en hacer la revolución planetaria. El “Socialismo del siglo XXI” de su protector Chávez le parece una manera boba de perder el tiempo. Él ya pasó por eso. Él sólo quiere ser un dictador doméstico, eficaz y tranquilo, y dedicar los últimos cinco años de su vida a arreglar los desaguisados de los cincuenta que gobernó su hermano. Nada más.