The Dawning of the Americas, 12/3/08
Victimizers Disguised in Victim's
Big Problems Demand Big Solutions, 9/16/08
Grandes problemas demandan grandes
If they were only here?
6/1/08 Reflections on a Jamaican Cuban ancestry.
Setting the Record Straight,
5/7/08 - letter to the Jamaica Observer
The Alberto Jones Column XI - 2008
Dr. Alberto Jones is a member of the West Indian
Welfare Society in the city of Guantanamo, Cuba who now resides in northern Florida.
He is an activist with strong communal ties to his homeland and is the director of
the Caribbean American Children's Foundation as well as a director
of the Cuban American Alliance Education Fund, Inc. He writes regularly on issues
concerning Cuba, and we present his letters and columns here. Past columns are in Alberto Jones Column,
Column I covering the period
1998 - 1999, Column II, 2000,
Column III, 2001 (Part I), Column IV,
2001 (Part II), Column V, 2002, Column
VI, 2003, Column VII, 2004, Column
VIII, 2005, Column IX 2006, Column
X 2007, Column XI 2008, Column
XII 2009, Column XIII 2010, and Column
History Continues To Repeat Itself, 2/14/08
Another Sad Birthday, 2/4/08
|[This article references http://ctp.iccas.miami.edu/FACTS_Web/Cuba%20Facts%20Issue%2043%20December.htm]
Had this subject matter not been such a monstrousity, most people would ignore it as a fairy tale from which, many uncaring, unrepetant individuals have made their fortunes, by selling their pen and intellect to the highest bidder.
Still, attempting to refute these revolting lies, require a lot of courage on my part, not to show anger, bitterness or profanity in face of this shameless manipulation of bogus facts.
No one reading these notes should take my views at face value. Any statement or point I will make refuting this garbage, should be traced back to Bohemia, Carteles, Prensa Libre, Diario La Marina, El Crisol and the rest of the numerous printed material they included in their documentation, notwithstanding, all of them represented the interest of the upper class and not, that of millions of voiceless and classless Cubans.
In order not to make this response too extensive, I will exclude the most glaring examples from their beloved Free, Democratic, Private Enterprise, Multi-Party Electoral System, Happy city of skyscrappers, Convertible Caddillacs, Yatchs, White Sands Beaches and living in Kholy, Biltmore, Miramar neighborhoods, which they assumed represented Cuba!
Reminding these statisticians about life in Banes, Naranjo Dulce, Marti, El Cobre, Realengo 18, Rio Grande, Cruces, Las Martinas, Sugar Cane Bateyes or el Canito, could be taken as cruel and un-usual punishment.
Allow me then to refer them to Guantanamo, a well known city in Cuba, especially now, with the so called Talibans across the fence of the 105 year old illegal occupation of 45 square miles of Cuban soil, which apparently, is of no consequence to the writers, since it was not part of this important historical compilation.
In early 1950, the point of comparison they love to use, Guantanamo was estimated to have 100,000 inhabitants and the largest Red Light District in the country. This community was served by 7 primary schools, none of which had a capacity of more than 200 students, One Intermedia or 6th grade school and One Superior or 7-8 grade school, with a total capacity of approximately 160-180 students and a one session High Hchool with an estimated 150 students capacity. There was No Library, No Technical, No Teachers or Evening Schools, No Zoo or other educational tools, except, the largest Red Light District in the nation.
My seventh grade classroom was in fact, in the morning session a fourth grade classroom, which needless to say, none of us could fit in these near baby's size seats. Compounding this malady, was that there were 28 seats for 60 students, forcing us to fight for a seat or stand from 1:00 PM to 5:15 with your back to the blackboard, your notebook against the wall and by twisting your neck, be able to take notes from the blackboard. Torticolis or Twist Neck became endemic among us.
It was a known fact in those years, that 80% or more of the students went to public schools on an empty stomach. To correct that, in 1936 the government created the Primary School Breakfast Program, which consisted of a hot cup of chocolate, a couple of crackers with butter and on Fridays, they added a slice of White Cheese until 1952, when Gen. Fulgencio Batista and his Minister of Education, pocketed these funds and the breakfast dissappeared as a Biblical miracle.
It is clear, the raw material included in this study came from schools such as La Salle, Teresiano, Sarah Ashurth, Escolapios, and similar, wherethe writers attended.
For the city of Guantanamo, the only public healthcare service available was a "Casa de Socorro" with a one room emergency service, which frequently did not have disenfectants, bandage, stitches or any other basic means. A two Dental Chair service, a small X-Ray department and a make believe clinical lab., completed their offering. This primary care was complented by an 80 bed, dilapidated General Hopital, Pedro A. Perez, where patients had to bring their bedding, food and purchase whatever medicine the doctors would prescribe. Most of the professional personnel expected kick backs from their patients, since their salaries was very low and no one was ever sure when it would be coming.
Still, prior to accessing this so called hospital, patients family members had to find a political hack, a powerful civic leader or a rich member of our community, who may provide that indispensable letter of commendation, wihtout which, there would be no registration . Hospital beds were usually shared by two unknown patients, with many more laying on "colchonetas" or dog-type bedding in the hallways.
Up until 1968, everyone who died in Guantanamo went to their grave based upon assumptions, since there was no pathologist to determine the cause of death. Guantanamo did not have either any pysicians specialized in Neurology, Gastroenterolgy, Urology, Psychiatry, Cardiology or ENT.
Whenver any of these ailment made their debut, patients were forced to travel to Santiago de Cuba, the capital of the province, 90 Kms away, repeat the process described above and if successful, find somewhere to live and eat.
And yet, appalling as the healthcare system in Cuba was, these statisticians did not dare to include yet another horrific fact, which was the murderous campaign in 1962 that depleted Cuba of 50% of its physicians, teachers and other professionals; which they continue to do to this day, through the infamous Cuban Adjustment act, enticing thousands of Cuban physicians working in third world countries for free, to abandon their helpless patients, who may have seen a physican for the first time in their lives, betray their Hypocrates oath and migrate to the glitter and glow of Miami. How Despicable!
As disgraceful as what was described above may be, it was far worst for thousands of landless peasants, allowed to work on land barons underutilized lands in semi-slave conditions, for which they were kept perennially in debt, having to purchase their groceries from their landowner/master at inflated prices, while selling their produce at meager prices. Whenever this arrangement was no longer of interest to the landowner, the standard procedure was to call in the Rural Guard, who forcefully dislodged the "illegal" occupants, drove them off the land and burned down their huts.
Why have these knowlegeable individuals not included in their "objective" analysis other vital statistics such as: employment, retirement, day care service, longevity, infant and maternal morbidity/mortality, hunger and prevalence of preventible diseases?
These falacies have served them well for the past 50 years, but it is now over. Why is it, they do not apply their numbers around the world or in Mississippi, New Orleans, The Rocky Mountains, Overtown and so many underserved communities or to the 45 million uninsured citizens in our backyard, rather than reflecting % of cars, refrigerators or TV sets in Cuba in 1960?
In closing, they still have an honest and wonderful opportunity to prove to the world, the validity of their views, the greatness of their system for pay, by simply leaving their air-cooled mansions in Miami, travel south to any country of their choosing and implement their miracle recipe to millions of people in dire need of help. We do not need to argue among ourselves, which method is better or more successful, while children are dying from hunger, disease or ignorance. Just go, do it, and earn the praise you are trying to deny to those who have done it for decades.
|[This article references http://ctp.iccas.miami.edu/FACTS_Web/Cuba%20Facts%20Issue%2043%20December.htm]
As I read , Cuba Facts #43 “Socio Economic Conditions in Pre-Castro Cuba“, published by the Cuba Transition Project, Coral Gables, Miami, December 2008, my first instinct was to delete and dump this monumental fairy tale, which is nothing more than a concerted effort to distort, lie and blatantly attempt to rewrite the horrendous and most tragic period of Cuba’s history, aided by an endless source of funding from the United States Government and bogus foundations.
Having lived through such sad experience, it require courage and self discipline, not to explode in anger against these cynical manipulations of charts, table and stats, pretending to substantiate the crude lies leaching from their hired pens and minds.
Rather than asking any of our readers to accept their views or my complete rejection of everything included in their pseudo research, I encourage those interested in facts, history and the truth, to refer to Bohemia, Carteles, Prensa Libre, Avance, El Mundo, Diario de la Marina and others of “Theirs” publications at the time, by simply browsing through those horror pages, that captures better than I could, what Cuba really was.
Secluded in their Biltmore, Miramar, Kholy, vista Alegre, Uvero or FOCSA environs, these rotten rich, politically powerful and socially segregated individuals construed in their minds a country that was limited to themselves, never thinking or pretending the millions of abused, illiterate, hungry, sick or poor, were not part of Cuba.
In order to debunk the falsehood incorporated in their report, I could focus on those infamous sugar plantation Bateyes, where hunger sickness and deaths were rampant and pervasive. Naranjo Dulce, Marti, Bartlet, Banes, El Cobre, Realengo 18, Rio Grande, Cruces, Las Martinas are just a few of the many well documented human inferno under the watchful eyes of Cuban sugar barons, US transnational and a succession of corrupt, imposed lackey governments, but that would be tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment.
Guantanamo in the early 50’s which seems to be the golden era in back of their minds, was a city of approximately 100,000 inhabitants. This world renowned city since someone decided to lock-up indefinitely and reportedly torture so-called enemy combatant across the fence of this 45 square miles of illegally occupied Cuban territory by the United States government since 1898, seems to be of no consequence to these researchers, since it was not included in the body of this or previous articles.
For its 100,000 inhabitants, Guantanamo had 5 primary schools with an average 80 student per school, one, two session Intermedia or 6th grade school with approximately 150 students per session, one, 7th & 8th grade Escuela Primaria Superior and one High School or Instituto de Segunda Ensenanza, with approximately 250 students. There was No Library, No Technical, Teachers or Evening Schools. No Zoological gardens or children playground, but yes, the largest and best known Red Light District in Cuba.
Our 7th grade classroom was actually a 4th grade classroom during the morning session, making it impossible for most of us to fit on these tiny seats. Compounding this issue was that there were 28 seats for 60 students, leading to strife and fights for seats and forcing those without a seat to stand from 1:00 PM to 5:15 PM with their backs towards the blackboard, their notebook against the wall and by rotating their necks, students were able to take notes from the blackboard. Torticolis or Twist Neck became endemic among us.
It was a known fact in those years, that 60% or more of the primary school students went to school on an empty stomach. To correct this, in 1936 the School Breakfast Program was created, which consisted of a cup of hot chocolate with a couple of crackers, butter and a slice of cheese on Fridays.
In 1952 all schoolchildren soon learned the meaning of coup d’etat, as their breakfast disappeared shortly after Gen Batista forceful take over of the government. I understand and empathize with the writers of these “Democratic Cuba“ soap opera, because they knew nothing about these realities, because they were protected in La Salle, Colegio Teresiano, Escolapios, Belen and others high class, selective educational centers, oblivious of their surroundings.
The Casa de Socorro or Emergency of Guantanamo city was the health care first responder for the entire community, for which it had a one room first aid department which most of the time had no disinfectant, bandage, sutures or other basic medical resources, two dental chairs, one X-Ray department and a make believe clinical lab.
This center was complemented by a dilapidated, 80-bed General Pedro A. Perez public hospital, where patients had to bring their bedding, food and purchase their medicine with a prescription that would be handed out by the visiting physician. All employees of the hospital asked for and expected some sort of kick back, since salaries were low and uncertain.
Getting accepted into this hospital required knowing some political hack, rich member of the community or any other well connected individual, w ho was capable of providing the patient family with a letter of commendation. Most beds were for two, totally unrelated patients, with many more sleeping on “colchonetas” or dog-type bedding in walkways, hallways or doorways.
Until 1968, everyone who died in Guantanamo, went to their grave based upon assumptions or guess work, since there was no pathologist to determine the cause of death. Neither was there any physicians specialized in Cardiology, Neurology, Urology or Ear, Nose & throat.
Patients requiring any of these specialties, were forced to travel to Santiago de Cuba 90 Kms away, follow a similar people-to-people procedure to access the hospital setting and once they did, find somewhere to eat, live and survive.
And yet, as appalling as the healthcare stats in Cuba were, these researchers did not find it necessary to be included in this thorough analysis, nor did they mention the murderous campaign that the US unleashed in 1962, encouraging 50% of all healthcare professionals to migrate, creating the country’s worst healthcare crisis ever.
Forty six years later, this macabre and murderous, anti-human project continues through the Cuban Adjustment Act, enticing thousands of Cuban physicians who are performing their humanitaria n service in over 60 third world countries across the globe free of charge, to abandon their patients who may have seen a physician for the first time in their lives, betray their Hippocratic oath and migrate to the glitter and glow of Miami.
For those crunching the numbers of these biased reports, others charged with portraying Cuba as dreamland or poised to forgive and propose ex-Batista crooks, torturers and murderer into sainthood, they and their loved ones was never concerned with their health issues, which was readily supported by the Miramar Clinic, Marfan, Sagrado Corazon, Colonia Espanola, Los Angeles, Centro Gallego etc., equipped with state of the art instruments and physicians with the best professional training and expertise.
As disgraceful as the previous description may be, the plight of tens of thousands of landless peasants was far worst. Allowed to work on unprepared, uncultivated lands of transnational or Cuban land barons in semi-slave condition, they were kept perennially in debt, for having to acquire all of their goods and services at the landowners inflated stores prices and forced to sell their produce back to their landowner at meager prices, exorbitant land lease and cooked-up bookkeeping.
Whenever these unfair arrangements were no longer beneficial to the owners, their lands had been cleared and tilled, it was not unusual for them to call in the Rural Guard, label the peasants as illegal occupants, force them off their lots, burn down the huts where they lived and placed on the side of the road.
Why have these knowledgeable individuals not included in their “objective” analysis other vital statistics such as employment/unemployment index, social services, day care service, longevity, infant and maternal morbidity/mortality, hunger and prevalence of preventable diseases?
These fallacies have served them well for the past fifty years, but it is over now. Why are they unwilling to apply these vital statistics to the developing world or areas in Mississippi, New Orleans, Rocky Mountains, Overtown, Cabrina Greens, to our 45 million uninsured and so many underserved communities, instead of evaluating banalities such of cars, TV sets or refrigerators in Cuba in 1960?
In closing, they may still have a wonderful and honest opportunity to preach what they demand from Cuba and demonstrate to the world, that they are seriously concerned about the wellbeing of mankind, by simply leaving their air-cooled mansions in Miami, travel south to any country of their choosing and implement their humanitarian health, education and social development programs with all the resources available to them and begin eradicating h unger, sickness and diseases that plague and destroy tens of thousands of innocent lives.
Please join this worldwide trend to help those less fortunate; earn for yourselves the recognition, respect and love, that you have tireless tried to deny to those who have done this in silence for decades.
|As our region reflects on the courageous decision of the governments of Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba, against the advise and significant pressure from the US State Department in 1972 demonstrate, the positive results of that action is clear and vivid.
Since, over three thousands sons and daughters of many Caribbean islands have been trained in higher education, especially in medicine and a similar number of students are currently enrolled in a variety of scientific fields. Thousands of healthcare collaborators have performed hundreds of thousands of consultations, surgeries, births and saved thousands of lives, all free of charge.
Today, a greater challenge lies ahead of us. The enormous financial crisis that is threatening the world stability and most of our livelihood, will adversely impact our highly dependent weak monoculture agriculture, tourist-related economy and family remittances from the developing world, where increased unemployment is becoming the most prevalent daily news, suggesting a very bleak outlook for most of us.
The CAR ICOM-CUBA Summit which begins today in Santiago de Cuba, should have an in-depth analysis of our reality, develop and implement bold measures as those taken in 1972, geared to maximize our integration, cooperation and complementing our economies, is the only option available to us.
This was precisely what tens of thousands of Caribbean migrants did for others at the turn of the XIX and XX Century, when the flocked to the construction of the Panama Canal and to the development of the sugar industry in Cuba, in a desperate effort to improve their living standards. Many abuses, suffering and unnecessary deaths occurred, which need not to be repeated.
We can do this time the same for ourselves in a humane, socially acceptable condition, whereas, our people can exchange their goods and services easier, can apply for jobs in whichever island it is available, live legally temporarily or long term without been seen as a foreigner or intruder and encourage the purchase and consumption of our goods, rather than the mythological views imprinted in our minds by marketing pros, of “foreign” is better.
We can no longer continue to export our meager produce as small, isolated and weak nations to giant importers in the US, Canada and the EU, who ultimately will determine the purchase price.
We can no longer allow our weak tourist-dependent economies to be manipulated and pitted against each other in detriment of our national interest, by international tourist moguls making billions from our natural beauty in exchange for semi-slave wages.
We can no longer allow, defend and perpetuate artificial colonial borders, which have served only to divide, keep us weak, subservient, instill a false sense of nationhood and prejudice, as long as it serves the greater purpose of others, intent on fomenting coalitions, unions or associations for themselves.
The time have come for us to coalesce around our governments, put to rest simplistic partisans, ethnic or religious divisive tactics and demand from our leaders to UNITE, work towards creating a union of nations capable of exchanging positive ideas and principles, combat social ills that are perpetuating ignorance, inferiority complex and violence and by creating a master blue print geared to transform and develop our region in order to cope with the rigors of the XXI Century.
It is the right of our peoples to struggle to bring to an end, five hundreds years of abuse, subjugation and theft!
We owe it to our children to move away from distraction s and make a concerted effort to achieve the highest level of education, health and culture, if we are expected to survive.
|As I approach the end of my earthly journey, I am extremely happy to be among millions of people around the world, who are fortunate to experience one of the world greatest historical accomplishment, as Barack Obama emerged from hundreds of years of slavery, segregation, KKK lynching, attack dogs, fire hoses, bombings, violent deaths of most Afro-American leaders, pervasive drug addition, ignorance and massive incarceration, to enter triumphantly into the White House, forty nine days from today.
Every living individual, independently of their ethnic, political, social or religious affiliation, should be proud of the insurmountable adversities that humans are capable of overcoming. For us, sons and daughters of Africa, this day will undoubtedly be remembered as the greatest in our lives.
At the same time, another important event that clearly express our maturity, independence and sovereignty, will take place on December 8, 2008, when the Third Caricom/Cuba Summit will come to order in Santiago de Cuba, sending a clear and resounding message to the world, that the fiercely imposed isolation, ostracism and prejudice with=2 0which our Caribbean people were divided through wicked scare tactics, is dead and over.
It is therefore incumbent on each of us, to coalesce, support, defend and demand from the heads of State gathered in Santiago de Cuba, to be visionary, courageous and take whatever steps may be required in this, the most challenging time in our history, when our region have been ravished by a series of killer hurricanes, the world economy is on life support and our weak monoculture agriculture and tourist-dependent economy faces an uphill battle.
Our only hope of survival will be for us to unite as other powerful blocks of nations have done elsewhere. Cuba is not our enemy. Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, have the moral responsibility to lead and pull along our smaller and weaker sister islands. There can be not ifs or but.
As the grandson of one of the tens of thousands of emigrants from the English speaking Caribbean islands and Haiti, lured to Cuba at the turn of the XX century and having lived the most important years of my life in Guantanamo, surrounded by emigrants and descendents from each and every Caribbean islands, it was a heartbreaking period fifty years ago, when outside forces turned us into nobody, coerced our families abroad not to communicate with us, for f ear of being contaminated with a foreign ideology.
Among the many Caribbean expressions we learned from our ancestors, “Blood is thicker than Water” was used frequently in their conversations and today, the upcoming CARICOM meeting is a vivid confirmation of this truism.
Therefore, in this moment of absolute pride and joy, may we all give thanks to so many of our leaders, be it Nanny, Bolivar, Touissant, Marti, Carmichael, Maceo Sucre, Eric Williams, Malcolm X, Martin and thousands of others, who preached unity, solidarity, were willing to defend their principles and pay the ultimate price if necessary, making it possible for us resist the unspeakable until this glorious day .
Let us not allow in our midst , any pseudo prophet, pharisaical neo-cons or divisive preaching, as it was effectively used against our brothers and sisters in Africa, by raising false sense of nationhood, reviving colonial borders, encouraging ethnic divisions, fanning regional tensions or creating fictitious rights which are non-existent in their communities and bogus idyllic altruism, geared only to keep us divided, weak, subservient and at the disposal of our oppressors.
|Just fifty days separates president elect Barack Obama from becoming President of the United States of America, only to face a myriad of urgent, intractable issues, all of them, demanding his immediate attention. Very important yet easy to solve, is the infamous torture center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which could be demolished shortly after by decree, sending a clear message to the world, that the United States of America is back, upholding the rule of law, enforcing decency standards and subjecting itself to internationally accepted standards.
And yet, addressing only the prison camp cosmetic malady and not the core, burning issue, of 105 years illegal occupation of Guantanamo Naval Base, could be equated with a patholigist reading a biopsy of an aggressive, invasive, malignant tumor and not ordering the complete resection of the affected organ, before it metastasize and spread across the globe.
Doing this courageous, history transforming and moral decision of returning Guantanamo Bay to its rightful owners, may, as it was when the Panama Canal was returned to its legitimate owners, become a beacon of hate, irascible wrath, name calling and death threats from extreme radicals, unversed in basic history and world values.
By returning this facility intact, retiring its lease debt and engaging in a massive environmental remedial clean-up of its vast bombing site, contaminated with all sorts of toxic chemicals, would lay the groundwork for a goodwill, amicable discussion, retiring all other outstanding differences and transforming this sprawling facility into the largest University in the world, capable of graduating 100,000 Third World students every year from across the world and putting these nations on the path of development.
Create the world largest Tropical Medicine and Research Center, designed to treat, produce medicine and biologicals, capable of eradicating preventible diseases, which causes tens of thousands of unnecessary casualties every year.
Funding for this mammoth project would be paid for collectively by all nations, business, social or religious entities, who beneffitted in any way from slave trade, slavery and segregation, bringing reparations demands and a lifetime guilt to an end.
|An unprecedented event that most in the world never dreamt to see in their lifetime, took place on November 4th, 2008, when Barack Obama was overwhelmingly elected President of the United States of America, ending the opprobrious inferiority complex that slavery, segregation and racism have tirelessly tried to imprint in our psychic.
As important as this transcendental decision may be, it comes at the height of the United States most complex financial, health, housing, unemployment, educational and other social crisis, just as society dominant classes are throwing in the gauntlet, incapable of conceiving any corrective measures that may stop and reverse the downward financial spiral that threatens to end the US leading position in the world.
For this simple reason, president elect Barack Obama is reaching out and hoping to enlist every capable, willing and able individual in the United States and around the world, who is willing to assist him in this monumental task. As sons and daughters of a proud African ancestry, irrespective of our social, political or religious differing views, we are morally obliged to sup port and help him succeed in every way we can.
No one in his/her right mind, could have anticipated the enormous social evolution the world have experienced in the past and present century. Similarly, within the Caribbean islands, the crucial unification efforts described in a newspaper article “OECS economic and political union with Trinidad and Tobago to be discussed in St. Kitts on Thursday“, SKNVibes, 10/23/08, opens a unique window of opportunity, as we learn from our past mistakes and failed efforts in that direction.
Today, our leaders are more mature, better prepared and have a clearer vision of the future, after removing most of the outside tactics intended to keep us divided and weak.
The massive trail of destruction that this year’s hurricane season have wreaked upon our islands, the world financial crisis affecting every nation, our weak monoculture agriculture industry and tourist dependent economies, constitutes a wake-up call for all of us, to engage in urgent talks among nations of our region, designed to implement corrective measures that may ensure a positive job creation growth, the wellbeing of our people and the implementation of human protective measures for the next hurricane season and beyond.
Cuba’s development prior20to the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, was presented to the world as a model of capitalism and free market, which was based upon 350 years of slavery, which was supplanted in the 1900’s with a massive influx of immigrants from the English Speaking Caribbean Islands, Haiti, the Canary Islands and China.
At that time, the bulk of the Cuban economy was dependent on the sugar industry, coffee and cocoa plantation in the hands of Caribbean migrants in eastern Cuba, while Tobacco and citrus plantation in western Cuba and cattle grazing in the center of the island, was primarily in the hands of emigrants from the Canary Islands.
This historical fact which have been kept intentionally out of our history books, would reflect the heat-stifling, back-breaking, segregated, lack of health, education and perennially indebted miserable life imposed upon the Caribbean migrant community, forced to live in shacks without electricity, running water or sewer, as they generated billions of dollars for native sugar barons and US transnational.
Even though Cuba have contributed more humanitarian assistance to Haiti than any other country in the world, have provided substantial health, education and development assistance to many English speaking Caribbean islands, to tens of third world countries in every continent and its epic military involvement in Africa determined that Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa are independent nations that wiped out the brutal Apartheid policies from the face of the earth, Cuba is still capable and willing to do more for those less fortunate.
Cuba’s close political and commercial ties with China, Argentina, Ukraine, Brazil, India, Russia, Canada and others, could provide our region with a powerful opening to millions of people in these countries, desirous of our high quality, tasty tropical produce and tourist attractions.
Santiago de Cuba is the Cuban city with the strongest Caribbean cultural heritage , which will be hosting the next CARICOM Summit in the month of December. This venue could provide the ideal environment to begin a profound discussion, approval and the creation of a large Inter-Caribbean Development Enterprise, charged with the expansion of individual island agricultural production, transport goods to Santiago de Cuba for reception, consolidation, processing, marketing and export to virgin markets across the globe. Tourist promotion and multi-destiny tours to these island countries, could further add to their financial stability.
The creation of this Caribbean consortium could expand the region technical and economical collaboration, create a unified marketing strategy and establish migratory agreements by which, tens of thousands of migrant workers from the region, could relocate to and=2 0create large agricultural enterprises on hundreds of thousands of untilled acreage in Cuba or work on others with limited work force, creating wealth and earning their personal income to support their families in their country of origin.
The time have come, for our governments to work diligently, with courage and overcome lingering artificial colonial borders, that have served only to divide, conquer and foster prejudice among our peoples.
|The widespread and massive destruction that Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma have caused in Cuba, has had its silver lining across the globe, as we see everyday, the best of literally every nation on earth, coming out in droves to offer whatever help they can to alleviate the severe suffering left behind by these natural disasters.
Nearly forty years of offering its solidarity to tens of nations in every continent, have earned Cuba an unparallel respect, love and admiration, that comfort and brings joy to all of its citizens, knowing they matter to others.
Everyday the cable and news reports brings more encouraging information regarding high level governments officials from countries of the most diverse social, political or ideological orientation, visiting or about to be visit Cuba. This flurry of officials, businesspeople or international organizations functionaries gathering data about the extent of the damage, offering help, exploring business opportunity, requesting additional technical support or simply to stop by and say we care, is heart warming.
No longe r can cheap demonizing, name calling, paid agents or bogey-man diversionist tactics tarnish Cuba’s well established values and image. Countless international institutions have rejected on a regular basis, threats, intimidations or unilateral imperial designs, as they confer upon our country, numerous important recognitions for its humanistic work in and outside of Cuba.
At the same time, increasing number of reports coming out of Cuba describe, a severe drop in consumer goods availability, rising anxiety among the population with presumable more hardship ahead. It is a well documented fact, that important sectors of the agriculture have been ravished and many industrial output have not been restored after the hurricane, leading to a severe drop in foodstuff and industrial output.
Most of us had the sad experience of seeing the enormous material and psychological cost the Special Period inflicted upon the Cuban population especially in its earliest days. Unimaginable human challenges had to be conquered at prices beyond beliefs. Thousands of highly educated Cubans, who had achieved a wealth of knowledge over decades, saw their efforts unrecognized financially, their personal needs without solution, choose to opt for other menial yet more financially rewarding opportunities, while others decided to emigrate, leaving either way, an important vacuum in their area of expertise.
Pretending to ignore these personal, intellectual, social and professional losses due primarily to economical reasons and dismissing the constant, time consuming replacements with new blood, starting over and over again, as if such technical loss were insignificant developments, is naïve and hiding one’s head in the sand.
It is past due, for every Cuban with administrative, social or political responsibility, to take a hard look at this vicious, self-destructive cycle, be willing to question its root cause and subject it to a critical, corrective analysis, in order to develop formulas to end once and for all, this revolving door tragedy, which have compounded an already high level family separation.
For the majority of the Cuban professional migrating community, this decision becomes a traumatic, frustrating never-healing wound, in which the material accomplishment that may be readily achieved, will never be ever to supplant the joy, pride, reason for being and self esteem professional life earned in Cuba.
Why should these traumatic decisions be limited to only two options? This heartbreaking fact of life, need not to be. A middle ground must be sought in lieu of the irreversible social divorce, demeaning labels and excoriating hyphenation attached to whoever’s name decide to take this perilous ride.
A critical need for more trained professionals in every walks of life, millions of people in the industrialized world without healthcare, education and other basic social rights, are a living proof, that each and everyone of these Cubans forced to migrate solely for financial gains, can and must have a place in their country of birth, where they can be again socially useful, contribute their expertise to a better world and they and their counterpart who loyally remained in Cuba, should be remunerated accordingly with their knowledge, expertise and time served.
Cuba is today a model, pride and guide for citizens in every developing country in the world in the field of education, culture, sports, social security, biotechnology and much more, notwithstanding the huge efforts by powerful countries interested in derailing these achievements. Still, it is not infrequent to have these same admirers of Cuba’s achievements, question the state of its housing, transportation, recreation, personal satisfaction index, lack of consumer goods and others, which ironically may be better -albeit out of reach- in some of those countries Cuba is offering its technical assistance.
One of the critical failures of the Soviet Union that should not be forgotten, was its ability to launch the first Sputnik, build the IL-76 the largest airplane in its time , hold every space record except=2 0for the moon landing, while pitifully failing to produce at the same time, a leak proof ballpoint pen, an ergonomic car seat that would not ruin your back or a well tailored shirt and other easily produced life necessities.
Similar contradiction can be seen in Cuba’s ability to boast 20 medical schools, a world class computer engineering university, a top-notch biotechnology enterprise or operating complex nickel or petrochemical plants, while it has been incapable of producing sufficient milk, poultry or produce to meet its national needs.
An unrealistic, self-sufficient reliance on the country’s ability to satisfy most of its food production, based upon centralized statistics rather than real production volumes, have yielded yearly shortcomings, that have been regularly explained away by blaming unfavorable weather conditions, lack of pesticides, fertilizers, spare parts, fuel and many other arguable reasons year after year, while rejecting and in-depth analysis of the country production system.
Although solidarity and brotherhood are the guiding light of the Cuban government policies, which is clearly demonstrated in Haiti, where it has done more than all other countries combined, to guarantee Haiti’s healthcare service with over 500 physicians per year for the past fifteen, are training an average 100 physicians per year for the next 10 years and provided a wealth of professionals in education, agriculture, engineering etc., free of charge, they have failed badly, to provide direct economical support, to a financially strapped society on the verge of famine.
Cuba’s dual economy exchange rate, is still higher than most Caribbean islands, which could make it easy for improved exchange of goods and services with the region. Encouraging coastline trade between Haitian ports with northern and southeastern ports, could on one hand, increase the availability of produce, light manufacturing and other consumer goods needed in Cuba while stimulating the Haitian economy, especially agriculture, by creating a new outlet for their stagnant economy.
This single administrative decision could send the most powerful signal of hope to Haiti’s impoverished eight million inhabitants and to the entire Caribbean basin, that Cuba is serious, determined and totally committed to its solidarity declarations in every international forums.
Similarly, the upcoming visit to Cuba of Hu Jintao, President of China who have done an extraordinary effort to strengthen all levels of relations between our two countries, could be an appropriate occasion to encourage the emigration of thousands of Chinese families to restore and expand Chinatown and other small Chinese communities in Guantanamo, Santa Clara and others, revitalizing their unique contribution to the Cu ban culture.
Ten years ago Pope John Paul II asked Cuba to open up to the world and the world to open up to Cuba. The time is now, the conditions are ripe and the needs are urgent.
|In less than three months, Cuba have been hit by two cat 3 and one cat 4 hurricane, partially or totally destroying 500,000 homes, ravishing agriculture, healthcare, education, industry and important sections of its infrastructure, while causing only 8 deaths, given their formidable civil defense system.
In 1989, the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union and eastern European socialist countries meant for Cuba, loosing overnight 1/3 of its financial, trade and technical exchange. Widespread hunger, catastrophic human, plant and animal disease broke out across the country, absolute lack of medicine, near total shut-down of industrial production due to a lack of fuel, spare parts, supplies or markets, lead to a substantial increase in suicides, but the country survived, and became stronger than before.
In 1896, on the verge of the Cuban Army of Independence defeating the Spanish occupying forces led by Capt. General Valeriano Weyler, in a desperate dash to reverse the course of the war, he forced thousands of peasants off their lands into the city of Havana, hoping to cut off the insurgents supplies, leading to the death of thousands through hunger, disease, overcrowding, lack of sanitation and transmissible diseases.
For the past forty six years , the United States have imposed a unilateral embargo on Cuba, which was brutally tightened and internationalized in 1992 with the enactment of the Torricelli Bill and the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, which forbids among other regulations, the entry into the US of any product containing 10% or more of any Cuban component, as is the case with Japan, a large consumer of Cuban nickel for its steel industry, forced to rigorously enforce no steel containing Cuban nickel be included in their cars, trucks or other structures exported to the US. No freighter touching port in Cuba, is allowed to enter the United for the next 180 days.
Conversely, the US Treasury department proudly boasts a long list of companies that have been fined and/or forbidden their subsidiaries across the globe from selling pacemakers, vaccines, water purification chemicals, cancer medicines, spare parts etc., to Cuba, all geared to inflict human pain, suffering and increase economic hardship.
Not even the widespread devastation caused by hurricane Ike and Gustav, which was widely reported on all networks, was sufficient to soften the hearts of the ultra-right-wing Cuban-American mafia in south Florida, perpetrators of most of Cuba’s ills, or of US Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez, the Cuban-American State and Congressional delegations or the final hours of President George W. Bush disastrous transit through the White House, for them to make a temporary exception and allow the Cuban government to purchase emergency building supplies in the US, 90 miles off the Cuban shores, instead of China, thousands of miles away.
For seventeen consecutive years, the United Nations (the same International Institution we demanded approval to illegally invade Iraq), have steadfastly denounced this cruel imposition on a small nation, which is expressed in yearly voting’s of 184 member-nation against an isolated United States, Israel, and geographically unknown Palau supporting this overwhelming repudiation.
Joining in this unanimous world acclaim to stop this injustice was candidate Barack Obama. This senseless, fifty year old misdiagnosed process and catastrophic therapy, is especially relevant on Veterans Day, as the nation honors millions of its uniformed men and women who served with distinction or paid the ultimate price in defense of country; can elsewhere be taken into question, tarnished or turned into an abominable Guantanamo Bay Cuba banner, for perceived abuses and torture at that facility.
A powerful windstorm for change is crisscrossing the world since the election of President Barack Obama. Millions are yearning for the return of a new, different, peaceful United States, willing to engage the world, assist the less fortunate and lead in restoring hopes of creating a better world. Closing Guantanamo Bay immediately, restoring Cuban-American rights to travel to their homeland, allow expanded family remittances and begin talks at the highest level to remove the embargo and restore diplomatic relations is an imperative.
As a twenty year Cuban-American resident of Volusia and Flagler counties, I have experienced first had the goodness of the American people. Tens of thousands of dollars in medical, educational supplies, journals, elders, women and children goods, wheelchairs and crutches have been donated to the Caribbean American Children Foundation for those in Cuba, when it was politically incorrect to do so, for which the Cuban people are eternally grateful.
Courageous members of the Saint Augustine-Baracoa Friendship Association in conjunction with hundreds of generous residents in that area and beyond, have donated invaluable amount of material goods to the community of Baracoa, have published children, adult and historical books of the this, the first village founded in the western hemisphere, organized professional and cultural exchanges, middle school pen-pals and much more, which have turned St. Augustine into one of the most respected, beloved and admired United States city in Cuba.
With extensive areas of Cuba in ruins resulting from these natural disasters, the time has come for every citizen in our region to demand help from our authorities and extend a friendly hand to restore the lives of those victims, begin the healing process of this chronic divide, as we prepare for the inevitable restoration of relations, friendship and good neighbor, as it should have always been.
It is in our own vital economical future, to begin building a friendship bridge with Cuba, not only because of the huge oil reserves found recently off its coastline, but because of the massive investment, joint ventures and multi-billion loans coming in from countries as diverse as China, Netherlands, India, Spain, Russia, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Brazil, Malaysia, Iran, Canada, Arab Emirates and tens of others standing in line, as we remain fossilized and do nothing towards integrating our fragile-hospitality dependent economy into Cuba’s expanding multi-destiny tourist system and many other complementing agricultural, science, industrial or environmental business opportunity.
What good is it to anyone, as we have hundreds of used car, appliances, home care, food supplies or any other enterprise, overflowing with goods in a very slow economy downward spiral, while Cuba is at swimming distance from our shores and it is forced to purchase similar goods in Viet Nam, China, Europe, Canada or India?
Among the many burning issues that will confront Barack Obama Presidency immediately are, the Iraq/Afghanistan war, the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation, the world financial crisis, housing collapse, dysfunctional healthcare and educational system, unemployment and a myriad of other unavoidable critical issues.
All Cuba related pending matters, are not only easier to resolve, they would send a powerful worldwide message about the views, character and determination of the new administration willingness to confront and resolve festering problems.
Closing Guantanamo Bay immediately and initiating a profound discussion with the Cuban government to settle a financial agreement for the occupation and use of that facility for 105 years, begin a gigantic toxic clean-up of land, surface and underground waters because of years of massive bombing raids and turn over this facility intact to the Cuban government for it to manage and transform it into a world class research, training and biotechnological development center for tens of thousands students from every developing country and minorities from the first world, whose graduates will be charged with tackling underdevelopment, nutrition and healthcare in the third world.
Create living conditions, medical care and psychological therapy facilities at this secluded facility for thousands of traumatized military personnel, victims of wars, violence and worldwide abuse for their adequate treatment, recovery and a trade or professional training, prior to their return to the larger society.
Build the world largest Judicial rehabilitation center, through which thousands of convicts could rotate, be re-educated and enter society turned into useful, productive social individuals, ending the costly recidivist cycle.
Create the largest affordable healthcare Insurance system and treatment facilities for millions of people without health insurance in our hemisphere, which could be manned by thousands of highly qualified, cost effective, Cuban healthcare personnel, just as they have done and continue to do in over 60 countries around the world.
Much more could be done at this sprawling 45 square mile facility, that would benefit humankind enormously, earning the respect, gratitude and admiration of the world, instead of the wrath expressed by many.
Why Banes Does Not Miss the Diaz-Balarts Nor the United Fruit Co., 10/22/08
|I was born in Banes, a typical sugarcane plantation
community located in northern Oriente, which the United Fruit Company
described as its jewel among all of its feudal properties in Cuba. Mr.
Walker, its general manager, would proudly acknowledge that the extension
of his property varied, as it was much larger during low tide.
This community was clearly divided in three sections. The American neighborhood could be described as any small upscale town in the United States with its Social Clubs, Polo and Golf courts. Electricity, running water, sewer, schools, healthcare service and a host of gardeners, maids and security personnel completed this community within a community.
Downtown was the business center, mid managers homes, political hacks and the Cuban government institutions. Here is where US Congressman Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart's ancestors ruled as slave drivers with an iron fist. Most of life's amenities was available to them, except the Polo and Golf courts, which they shared with their masters when they were occasionally invited over.
Then came the infamous railroad tracks, near which thousands of poor Cubans and immigrants from the English Speaking Caribbean Islands and Haiti, vegetated in thatched roof huts without running water, sewer, electricity, schools, healthcare service or regular jobs.
Rampant hunger, preventable diseases, massive infant and maternal deaths, a gully winding through our community with its putrid effluent and permanent malodor draining the other neighborhoods, these were an integral part of our lives.
The semi-slave lives of these individuals revolved around the cyclical tasks consisting of planting sugarcane, waiting for it to sprout and when it was time to remove weeds, wait some more to remove new weeds and fertilize, sit home for months and wait for the sugarcane to grow, mature and bingo, it was harvest time, which meant back-breaking, machete-cutting of sugarcane in a suffocating 90-100 degree average temperature, loading ox driven carts for probably the equivalent of $1.00 per day. Not a penny was earned during waiting periods.
Then came the good hurricane in 1960-61, when winds swirling 1000 miles per hour blew away forever those who had coerced, occupied (think Iraq) and had, through puppet governments, unprincipled politicians, a corrupt judiciary, and terrorizing military forces, signed one-sided treaties and sales or lease agreements and driven peasants off their meager pieces of lands, thereby creating these sugar emporium over which today, fifty years later, they continue to shed crocodile tears, presenting themselves as victims deprived of their rightful property and swearing to recover by all means available to them.
A second hurricane barreled through Banes seven weeks ago with winds of 350 km/hr leveling hundreds of homes of those poor, but no longer abused sugarcane plantation workers. They had built them over the years, but tragically they turned out not to be hurricane proof.
When I was finally able to speak with some hurricane survivors, their pain, anxiety and suffering was evident. Many had lost all of their earthly belongings, others their roof or walls, farm animals or agriculture plots. Beginning from scratch was hard, but what came across clear and strong was an unqualified commitment to rebuild, to start all over again.
This conviction, faith, and trust in their community, their country and themselves, should have inspired pride, admiration and respect in US Congressman Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lethinen, US Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez and the salaried mouthpieces and parasites of bogus organizations charged with providing support to their hand-made "freedom fighters" in Cuba. Instead, they produced newspaper articles, blogs, and radio and TV talk shows, all intended to confuse, weaken or incite these victims, instead they angered and compounded their hate. That explains their behavior of lobbying President George W. Bush, Condoleezzaa Rice, the US Congress, the Senate, the Czeck Republic, Hungary, Poland and a few others remaining friends around the world, to close ranks and increase pressure, now that Cuba is down and needs only another little push.
In these extreme moments the Cuban people are undergoing, history will record the positions, actions and despicable behavior of Carlos Alberto Montaner, Babalu Blog, Versalles Beat, General Erneido Oliva from CAMCO, Humberto Fontova, Ms Mary O'Grady, Armando Perez-Roura, Ninoska Perez Castellon and so many others who have not been capable of putting aside their hatred, vengeance or destructive genes on behalf of hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of the wrath of mother nature.
What is taking place in the electoral process in Miami is not an accident. Thousands of Cuban-American who had pledged their allegiance to the Republican Party for decades have slowly come to recognize its putrid entrails. Cuban Americans in South Florida and elsewhere are learning that their real enemy is not in Cuba as has been instilled in their souls for years, rather, it is in the political power that these individuals can wield, the endless amount of cash in their bank accounts, capable of buying, corrupting or demonizing every public figure in order to keep their anti-Cuba policy in place.
One thing we can all be sure of is that the electoral results on November 4, will be closely monitored in Banes as in Miami , where thousands are praying, hoping or pleading to whatever God they trust , to remove, One, Two or all Three of these apocalyptic individuals, who have brutally re-structured their families, inflicted unspeakable pain and suffering while killing their children in the name of Democracy.
|In response to a pathetic letter sent by Ms. Nancy Carballeira “Has bitter memories of Cuba present and past”, Saint Augustine Record 9/23/08, I wish to reject these crude distortions and provide your readers with some irrefutable facts that are available to every honest and impartial individual interested in the truth.
Everything that follows, should not be associated with my position as Vice President of the Saint Augustine-Baracoa Friendship Association, but solely as a resident of north Florida and a native of Cuba.
Ten years ago, only intellectuals in the provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin and Havana, had any notion of the history and existence of St. Augustine. Today, the love, respect and admiration for this community in Baracoa is hard to find in our State or in St. Augustine proper.
A tireless work of members of our small group and the outpouring of love and care of hundreds in our community and beyond, have allowed us to send over the years, hundreds of thousands of dollars in badly needed wheel chairs, walkers, medical supplies, school supplies, day care, pregnant women at risk, promote bi-lateral cultural exchanges, educate and support environmental projects protecting endangered species that do not exists anywhere else in the world and a so lid waste recycling project in Guantanamo, that was awarded a First Prize on CNN HEROES on 12/6/07, as defenders of the earth.
Much more could be said about our organization short, productive lifespan, but it seems to me, clearing up the smoke screen, fear tactics and hatemongering that have been used successfully to artificially divide our peoples, is more important than outlining social successes.
Ms Carballeira intentionally withheld, that her coming to the United States in the early 60’s with another 14,000 Cuban children under the age of 16, was the result of a monstrous conspiracy orchestrated by the CIA, carried out by James Baker, head of the Ruston Academy in Havana and Monsignor Bryan O'Walsh, director of Catholic Services in Miami, who through sermons, pastoral letters, white papers read in churches every Sunday in Cuba and through daily harangue on radio Swan, the Voice of America and many others, instilled mass hysteria in parents in Cuba, by spreading rumors that the government would take away their children, send them to Russia, indoctrinate them, from where some were already returning in form of canned meat, leading desperate parents to send their children into the unknown, where many suffered physical, mental and sexual abuse.
Yet, rather than calling these individuals and hundreds of their supporters in this mass kidnapping plot as what they are, they were glorified, given awards and honored, exactly as Germany did in the mid thirties, fo r sending many to Buchenwald.
Likewise, Ms. Carballeira and those with similar views, have recently anointed and turned Yoani Sanchez into an icon, after receiving the equivalent of a Spanish Pulitzer prize, not because of the content of her sordid writings, but because it is done in Cuba and her tribulations to access the internet has been portrayed as a heroic feat.
Have Ms. Carballeira et al., ever concerned themselves with tens of thousands of youngsters just like Yoani living in West King Street, North Jacksonville, Overtown in Miami, Barberville , Imokalee farm workers and hundreds of similar inner city locations in the United States and thousands of others around the world, who have never seen a computer, much less, worry about access to the internet?
These are some of the reasons, why ultra-right-wing Cuban-Americans have no clue of the real world, as they make these idyllic assumptions through the color-tinted glasses in their refrigerated mansions, be it in Miramar, Biltmore or Kholy in Havana, Ponte Vedra, Palm Beach or South Beach in Miami, without ever daring to venture into any of these neighborhoods and simply asking these inhabitants, why!
Probably, the best way to understand the insanity and hatred that older Cubans migrating from Cuba have instilled in their siblings and in their communities, suffice the following example.
The past acrimonious fifty years confrontation between the United States and Cuba, have not taken the lives of ten Americans and those that have, it has always been the result of aggressive military incursion in Cuba.
In contrast, 1.5 million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans died in that vicious war and today, Betty Nguyen anchor of CNN and Vietnamese communities in Orlando, San Francisco and elsewhere, proudly describe their yearly pilgrimage to their homeland, visiting and helping those less fortunate.
What sort of genetically acquired teratologic mutations can possible make some Cuban-Americans so wicked, as to ignore the massive destruction of 500,000 homes, schools, healthcare facilities, industries, ravished crops, with hunger and disease looming over the horizon of their country of birth, as they steadfastly refuse to allow others from sending a bottle of water or a glass of milk to a hungry child?
History will not be benevolent with this heartless and inhuman crowd.
|Historians will record the hurricane season of the year 2008, as one of the most violent in recent history. So far it has ravished Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Turc and Caicos islands, the Bahamas, Texas and partially obliterated Cuba and Haiti.
Generous, compassionate and humanitarian individuals and governments from around the world, are expressing their condolences and sending a variety of donations, albeit insufficient, in an honest effort to mitigate the pain and suffering of millions of its victims across the Caribbean.
Sadly, it is not those distant countries with different culture as Timor Leste, Viet Nam, Russia or our culturally close neighbors in Brazil, Honduras or Trinidad and Tobago who are unresponsive to our pain and against helping the Cuban people. Ironically, it is the most powerful government on earth, our closest neighbor and the refuge and largest incubator of Cuba haters in the world.
During Cuba’s fifty year struggle for its independence, many Cubans sided with the oppressive occupying Spanish forces, by using their intellect to write d ivisive books, newspaper articles or by giving speeches geared to weaken or destroy the Cuban Revolutionary Party and the Army of Independence. Indeed, some known as “guerrilleros” actually fought alongside the Spanish Army.
Likewise, after the pseudo republic was created in 1902 with hundreds of strings attached and the country’s sovereignty safely locked-up in a safe of the US Department of State, hundreds of Cubans lackey known as “Apapipios, Vendepatria, Sicarios” etc., became the enforcers of the orders coming from the new master.
After the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, this same teratologic breed re-emerged as Cuban-Americans disguised as victims of a monstrous oppression, rapidly mutating into Freedom Fighters who have committed the most horrendous acts of terrorism in this hemisphere, while others became legislators, members of the US Congress, Senate, Commerce Department, political appointees, educators, businessperson or clergy, united by a common goal of destroying their country of origin.
Most reasonable people would assume, that in face of the massive destruction in the region, these individuals would be in the forefront of the battle, using their wealth, position of authority or political connection, to obtain a commensurate response from their government. Tragically, they have chosen to enga ge in endless diatribe, press releases, do nothing and in the case of Cuba, a disgraceful attempt to blackmail its people, bring them to their knees, have them cry uncle and ask for forgiveness.
In these challenging times with millions of people in the region who have seen their homes blown away, are exposed to an oppressive environment with limited amount of food, water, medicine, clothing, schools, healthcare or crops, should we not raise our voices in unison and demand the immediate return of thousands of pieces of priceless arts stolen from Cuba, proudly displayed in the Museum of Arts and Science in Daytona Beach, tens of galleries in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Houston, corporate buildings and private homes of the rich and famous and many, many other places in this country and around the world.
Should our moralizing personalities, political leaders and law enforcement not demand, collect and auction-off in the public square all of these ill-gotten patrimony of our region and use these fund to restore the broken lives of so many?
How much longer will society allow that these international crooks under the guise of being rich, educated, cultured or being politically connected, continue to loot and deprive the weak and poor of their art, culture and heritage, only to satisfy their=2 0ego or vanity.
Holding unto, hiding, selling or destroying these valuable pieces of arts in the hand of vulgar traffickers in stolen goods, should constitute a major crime, severely punished by law and society.
|An article circulating on the net describes US Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez releasing a statement regarding the United States fourth offer to send humanitarian aid to Cuba.
As I approached the end of this pathetic, enraging and shameless attempt to blame the hurricane victims in Cuba and their government for refusing to accept a poverty-ridden hand-out from those who have inflicted unspeakable harm on the Cuban people, this individual cynically pretend to ignore the goals laid out by President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Miami gang, architects of their latest anti-Cuba, subversive plot.
As I think of the tens of thousands of hurricane victims who may have lost all of their earthly belonging and may be enduring every possible deprivation while Secretary of Commerce Gutierrez, who was born in Cuba by accident, spend his time putting out press releases, meeting with ultra-right-wing Cuban-Americans or is plotting new methods to inflict greater suffering on his prey, instead of purchasing in CVS Pharmacy some artificial human compassion and dignity, that may lead him to offer a crying baby a cup of milk, a bottle of water or something to cleanse their wounds.
Disgusted, I called the number at the end of this article, which is in fact, their Press Center. I requested and was forwarded to some office close to the secretary and after expressing my anger over this matter, I was promised someone would call back and they did.
At 6:40 PM, I received a call (202)482-4703 from Shawn, whose surname I have since forgotten. Our exchange lasted nearly 15 minutes, to which he agreed at the end, for us to disagree.
How sad, for some highly educated individual occupying a high ranking position that enables him to meet everyday with the US Secretary of Commerce, who cannot come up with a persuasive, convincing argument that is capable of explaining the deranged basis of their fossilized policy?
What more would it take for any six grader in the world to understand, No Thanks, we do not accept your hand-out, stop insisting and do what capitalist do best…..Sell them some food from your groceries or repair material from Home Depot!!!
Instead, in their obsession to destroy the Cuban system, they continue to act as gladiators, further tarnishing=2 0whatever is left of the image of this country, after Abu Ghraib, Kandahar, Black Holes, Guantanamo, Katrina and now this.
I expressed my deepest gratitude to Mr. Shawn for taking his precious time to call me. Because he meets everyday with the Secretary, I pleaded with him to convey my request for a 10 minute face to face meeting with my fellow Cuban, Carlos Gutierrez.
I wish to apologize publicly for using strong words with Mr. Shawn, who in fact may not be fully responsible for this diabolic decision of his government, as he fulfill his difficult job of having to deny basic human, moral and God given rights, to people who have done him and his people no harm.
|Historians will record the hurricane season of the year 2008, as one of the most violent in recent history. So far, it has ravished Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Turc and Caicos, the Bahamas, Texas and partially obliterated Cuba and Haiti.
Generous, compassionate and humanitarian individuals and governments from around the world, are expressing their condolences and sending a variety, albeit insufficient amount of material help, attempting to mitigate the pain and suffering of millions of its victims.
In these challenging times, when millions of people in Haiti and Cuba have seen their homes blown away, are exposed to the environment, have limited amount of food, medicine, clothing, schools, healthcare or crops, should we not raise our voices in unison and demand the immediate return of thousands of pieces stolen arts from Cuba worth millions, that are kept in museums, galleries or private homes across the US, Europe and elsewhere, to be auctioned off, for the restoration of these broken lives.
No longer should these international crooks under the guise of being rich, educated, cultured or politically connected, be allowed to continue to enjoy these works of world’s patrimony, at the expense of the tears, blood and lives of the weak and poor.
Holding on, hiding, selling or destroying these valuable pieces of arts, illegally in the hands of arts traffickers, should be equated with a major crime and dealt accordingly.
The never before seen devastation that was caused by hurricanes Fay, Hanna, Gustav and Ike in Cuba, have meant the partial or total destruction of 300,000 homes, wiped out agriculture, industry, commerce, healthcare and educational services and a severe impact on the national infrastructure.
Not since the re-concentration and scorched land policy ordered by the Spanish occupying forces at the end of the XIX century, had Cuba experienced such a level of destruction.
Faced with such a dire situation that squarely puts the country’s survival at risk, there is no room for harangue or bombastic speech, instead, a call for a total cohesion and unity of all Cubans of good will in Cuba and those living abroad, who are respectful of the country’s independence and sovereignty, with absolute disregard for their social, ethnic, religious or ideological distinctions and concerned only for the wellbeing of the motherland.
Extreme measures taken by the Cuban government against those wh o left the country for a variety of reasons, should be re-evaluated and corrected on behalf of the necessary unity, except for those who openly advocated or advocate for the destruction of the country or betrayed its people; should be abolished, ignoring petty personal differences or non-antagonist contradictions in the name of common good.
The first reports of hurricanes landing in Cuba goes back to 1498, when the majority preyed upon vessels in transit. The hurricanes of 1844 and 1846 caused more than 100 deaths each.
A memorable hurricane in 1870 caused over 800 deaths in Havana. In 1926 another hurricane caused 600 deaths on the Isle of Pines, today Isles of Youth. The monstrous tidal wave of 1932, obliterated Santa Cruz del Sur, causing over 3500 deaths, and in 1963, hurricane Flora caused over 2000 deaths and irreversible environmental agricultural changes in the province of Granma.
The same can be said of most countries in the Caribbean basin with a similar history of death and destruction, in which, these tragedies should no longer be seen as an isolated national disaster, rather than, an integral regional problem, because of the impossibility of relocating these countries outside of this highly predisposed zone of violent hurricanes.
Therefore, by developing, strengthening and integrating these weak Caribbean economies, could enable that feeble, wooden, zinc, thatch and mud shacks, be replaced with cinder blocks, reinforced concrete, elevated homes, making them immune to these meteorological ravages, as those 500 plus years colonial fortifications.
This concept should become an immediate and most important regional task, before a social breakdown results from a prolonged human exposure to the environment, hunger, sickness, violence and death may take place.
Cuba cannot succumb because its people demands its survival! Cuba cannot disappear, because millions of men, women and children in tens of third world countries, would loose their most formidable, committed and faithful ally , who have offered without any strings attached, education, culture, dignity, development, health and independence.
This enormous responsibility forbids Cuba from ignoring, -in the absence of any powerful adverse argument-, suggestions, proposals or measures leading to strengthening its stability and integrity, as long as they do not contravene her ethical, moral or ideological principles.
Contrary to pessimistic prognostications, fatalistic assumptions or macabre sentiments of those who rejoice in the suffering of the Cuban people, Cuba have enormous untapped potential reserves, that once they have been carefully explored and a determi nation has been made for them to be implemented, could be more than sufficient to restore the totality of the destruction caused by these storms, leaving a financial residue that is capable of continuing the national development process.
Sub-divide 200,000 lots of 100 x 100’ and 200 x 200’ parcels on cities periphery, reservoir banks, canals, sub-divisions, countryside, beaches etc., and classify in 10 categories according to their location, beauty etc., and lease for 20 years to foreigners with a solidarity track record with Cuba, Cubans and others respectful of the country’s sovereignty, for the construction of their homes, following norms and designs acceptable to the country and whose price could oscillate between $20,000 and $400,000 per lot, generating between 25 and 30 billion dollars.
All lots, homes and improvements made on these properties, will revert to the
Cuban patrimony at the end of the leasing period or before, if death of its
Create urgently 20 seaports across the country staffed with employees from Alimport, Mincin, Customs etc., and promote these “Free Zone” in the region to encourage, receive and market food, industrial equipment, construction materials, personal goods and others, arriving from Caribbean islands, Central America and Mexico in form a cabotage or coasting trade, which will be sold to Cubans owning trucks and other means of transportation with a minimum profit, for its distribution and sale within their region, increasing the access and availability of material goods, avoiding lack of supplies, inflation and price gauging.
Recover all discarded trucks, tractors and other vehicles in salvage yards, repair, reconstruct and sell to people interested in expanding the trucking business, farming, construction or general services.
Once the post hurricane recuperation campaign have concluded, begin an orderly immigration process of 100,000 poor families from the English speaking Caribbean Islands and Haiti, assigning them agricultural plots in usufruct for 20 years in large sugar cane plantations in northern Oriente, Camaguey and Ciego de Avila and for the development of coffee, cocoa, coconut, plantain and produce in southern Oriente, tripling present produce output in the next five years, just as they did at the turn of the past century, turning towns and cities into vibrant economic centers and generating billions for Cuban land barons and US transnational. The personal income obtained by these migran t workers, would enable them to financially support their families and build adequate housing in their countries.
Encourage the immigration of 10,000 poor farming families from Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua for the expansion of beans production in Velazco, Valle de Caujeri and Banao.
Promote the immigration of 5,000 poor potato farming families from Peru, to expand this staple in the province of Havana.
Promote the immigration of 10,000 Palestinian families from Gaza and the West Bank and relocate them to semi- arid southern Oriente , for the development of non existent agriculture staples in Cuba, such as dates, olives, nuts and massive rearing of goats, sheep and donkeys.
Create the huge Caribbean Medical Center in the province of Oriente and offer its paying services to 50 millions patients without healthcare insurance. Special emphasis should be placed on Neurological and Psychiatric disorders, employing thousands of higher education personnel and generating billions in hard currency.
Many more sources of income and development are available to the Cuban people, if a more rational, increased productivity employment policy for tens of thousands of technicians, professionals and ordinary workers i n every fields were to be implemented.
Present and future generation of Cubans demands from its government, a profound, exhaustive and critical analysis of the country’s realities, capabilities, goals and direction, in order to apply the most effective corrective measures, that are capable of leading the country to occupy the outstanding position it deserve in most walks of human development, among our community of nations in this hemisphere.
La devastacion sin precendente que han causado los ciclones Fay, Hanna, Gustavo y Ike en Cuba, ha significado la destruccion total o parcial de 300,000 viviendas, asolado la agricultura, industria, comercio, centros asistenciales, educacionales y un severo impacto en la infraestructura nacional.
Cuba no habia vivido un cuadro tan desolador desde los anos de tierra arrasada y la reconcentracion ordenada por las fuerzas de ocupacion Espanola a finales de la decada siglo XIX.
Ante una situacion tan grave que pone en peligro la supervivencia misma de la nacion, no hay espacio para arengas o discursos altisonantes sino, un llamado a la total cohesion de todos los Cubanos de buena fe de intra-muros y los que residen en el exterior, respetuosos de la independencia y soberania de la patria, sin distingos sociales, etnicos, religiosos o ideologicos en favor de la madre patria.
Medidas extremas tomadas por el gobierno Revolucionario en contra de aquellos que por divers os motivos abandonaron el pais, deberan ser re-evaluadas y corregidas en favor de la unidad necesaria. A excepcion de aquellos que abiertamente abogaron o abogan por la destruccion del pais o traicionaron a su pueblo, se debera suprimir de inmediato nimiedades personales o contradicciones no antagonicos en nombre del bien comun.
Los primeros reportes acerca de ciclones que han azotado a cuba datan de los anos 1498 hasta hoy, en los que la mayoria se ensanaron en navios en transito. Los ciclones del ano 1844 y 1846 causaron mas de 100 muertes cada uno de ellos.
Son memorables el ciclon de 1870 que causo mas de 800 muertes en la Habana, el de Isla de Pinos hoy Isla de la Juventud que en 1926 ocasiono unas 600 muertes, el monstruoso ras de mar del ano 1932 que arraso a Santa Cruz del Sur causando unas 3500 muertes y el ciclon Flora en 1963, que ocasiono unos 2000 muertos e introdujo cambios medio ambientales irreversibles en la agricultura de la provincia Granma.
Lo mismo puede decirse de la mayoria de los paises de la cuenca del Caribe con un historial similar de muerte y desolacion, por lo que estas tragedias no deben seguir tratandose como problemas nacionales aislados sino, como una problematica regional integral, ante la imposibilidad de reubicar nuestros paises fuera de esta zona altamonte pred ispuesta a la formacion de violentas tormentas huracanadas.
Por tanto, desarrollar, fortalecer e integrar las debiles economias del Caribe, le permitiria sustituir cada una de las endebles viviendas de madera, zinc, guano o adobe, por otras de bloques, hormigon armado y montado en pilotos en las zonas bajas, haciendolas immune a estos embates metereologicos, tal como ocurre con las fortificaciones coloniales eregidas hace mas de 500 anos. Esto debera convertirse en la tarea inmediata mas importante de la region, antes de producirse el deterioro social a consecuencia de la prolongada exposicion de la poblacion al medio ambiente, hambre, enfermedades, violencia y muertes.
Cuba no podra sucumbir porque asi se lo exije su pueblo. Cuba no podra desaparecer porque millones de hombres, mujeres y ninos en decenas de paises del tercer mundo, perderian a su aliado mas formidable, comprometido y fiel, quien les ha proporcionado desinteresadamente educacion, cultura, dignidad, salud e independencia.
Esta enorme responsabilidad impide a Cuba ignorar en ausencia de un poderoso argumento en su contra, cuantas sugerencias, propuestas o medidas tendientes a fortalecer su estabilidad e integridad, siempre que estos no contravengan sus principios eticos, morales o ideologicos.
Al contrario de los pronosticos pesimistas, fatalistas o de los que se regocijan del dolor de nuestro pueblo, Cuba tiene aun enormes reservas potenciales sin explotar, que una vez tomada la determinacion de aplicarlas, bastarian para restanar la totalidad de los danos causados por estas tempestades, quedando aun un remanente para continuar el proceso de desarrollo nacional.
Parcelar 200,000 lotes de 100 x 100’ y 200 x 200’ en la periferia de ciudades, margenes de presas, canales, repartos, campina, playas etc., y clasificarlas en 10 niveles acorde con su belleza urbanistica y arrendarlas durante 20 anos a extranjeros solidarios con Cuba y Cubanos respetuosos de su soberania, para la construccion de viviendas de uso personal siguiendo normas y disenos nacionales y cuyo valor podria oscilar entre los $20,000 y $400,000 por lote, los que generarian entre 25 y 30 mil millones de dolares.
Los terrenos, viviendas y demas mejoras creadas en dichas propiedades, revertiran
al patrimonio nacional al final del periodo del usufructo o antes, por la muerte de
Habilitar urgentemente 20 puertos a lo largo del pais con personal de Alimport, Mincin y otros, y promover esta “Zona Franca” en la region para estimular la llegada, recepcion y commercializacion de productos alimenticios, industriales, construccion, personales y otros, provenientes de los paises del Caribe, Centro America y Mejico, llegados mediante naves de cabotaje, commercializandolo de inmediato entre Cubanos con medios de transporte para ser distribuido y vendido rapidamente en sus respectivas regiones, incrementando dramaticamente el acceso y disponibilidad de bienes materiales, evitando el desabastecimiento, la inflacion y especulacion.
Recuperar camiones desechados en rastros, reconstruirlos y venderlos a choferes interesados en la ampliacion del servicio de porteadores de carga, la agricultura, construccion o servicios generales, mejorando y agilizando sustancialmente este servicio.
Concluida la recuperacion post ciclonica, iniciar una inmigracion ordenada de 100,000 familias del Caribe Anglofono y Haiti hacia asentamientos en el macizo canero del norte de Oriente, Camaguey y Ciego de Avila y otros, para el desarrollo del café, cacao, cocoteros, platano vianda/fruta y frutos menores en Oriente sur, triplicando los actuales volumenes de produccion de esos rubros al cabo de cinco anos, tal cual habian hecho a finales del siglo pasado, cuando convirtieron a villas y ciudades e n vibrates centros economicos que generaron billones para terratenientes nacionales y las transnacionales Americanas. Los ingresos obtenidos por los trabajadores inmigrantes, les permitiria sostener economicamente a sus familiares y construir viviendas adecuadas en sus respectivos paises.
Propiciar la inmigracion de unas 10,000 familias de agricultores de Mejico, Honduras y Nicaragua para desarrollar la produccion de granos en Velazco, Valle de Caujeri y Banao.
Estimular la inmigracion de 5000 familias campesinas del Peru, especializados en el cultivo de la papa, para expandir la produccion en provincia Habana
Promover la inmigracion de 10,000 familias Palestinas de Gaza y la ribera Occidental y relocalizarlos en la zona semi-arida de Oriente sur, para el desarrollo de especies agricolas no existentes en el pais como, higos, nueces, olivos, datiles y un masivo desarrollo ovino-caprino y burros.
Crear el Gran Centro Medico del Caribe en la antigua provincia de Oriente y ofrecer sus servicios no-gratuitos a mas de 50 millones de pacientes carentes de seguro medico. Decenas de miles de pacientes hispanicos afectados de patologias neurologicos y trastornos psiquiatricos, carecen de centros especializados para su atencion, pudiendo generar empleo para decenas de miles de profesionales y tec nicos, generado billones en moneda convertible para la economia nacional.
Otras fuentes de ingreso y de desarrollo al alcance del pueblo Cubano permanencen ignoradas, requiriendo solo una forma de empleo mas racional e incremento de la productividad de decenas de miles de profesionales, tecnicos y obreros.
La actual y futura generacion de Cubanos exijen de sus gobernantes, un analisis profundo, critico y exhaustivo de las realidades del pais, sus capacidades, objectivos y direccion, que le permitira aplicar medidas correctivas efectivas, que sean capaces de llevar a la nacion a ocupar el sitial que le corresponde dentro de la comunidad de naciones de nuestro hemisferio.
|Approximately 15 years ago, when Daytona Beach International Airport had recently opened its beautiful new building with only nominal international flights, I met with leaders of this enterprise and shared with them a novel idea which, had it been implemented, could have added an airline or two, created a number of jobs and substantially increased the number of passengers using this facility.
Travel between the United States and Cuba was at its peak with President Bill Clinton’s People to People initiative. Tens of thousands of Cuban-Americans, academics, religious groups, students, sports exchange and many undercover tourists, traveled through third countries (Bahamas, Cancun, Jamaica, Canada etc.) or were forced through the obnoxious, grinding hours, tension-filled processing at Miami International Airport.
At the time, there was a weekly scheduled Dusseldorf-Daytona Beach LTU flight, which probably, could have added a leg to it’s route and continue on to Havana, increasing its profitability. A few years later, LTU discontinued this flight and expanded their Havana connection.
By doing what was non-controversial and politically correct, we may have missed a unique opportunity for consolidating the airport stature in the region, by offering an exclusive product and begin building a bridge of friendship, in preparation for whatever the future may offer.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama, who by all acceptable measurements is leading in this contest, have denounced this absurd, useless, fifty year old embargo, which have achieved none of its stated objectives, except to inflict unspeakable pain on the innocent; have promised if elected, to immediately remove all travel and remittance restrictions imposed upon Cuban-Americans and others.
In wake of these public statements and only a few months away from these prognostications potentially becoming a reality, it is mind bungling to see our local government, business community and community activists, lethargic, immersed in a long summer dream, oblivious of the nightmare that lies ahead.
Many Caribbean islands and the Bahamas, are already taking steps to offset the negative impact that an expanded tourist industry in Cuba will inflict upon them. In the United States, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Daytona Beach will be directly impacted.
Conversely, 20 billion dollars in goods and services that Cuba spends in Europe and Asia, could be a welcome development for our sagging and uncertain economy. Geography, culture, logic and mutual benefits, points to a thorough re-evaluation of our past actions. The train have not left the station, but the clock is ticking.
|Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, an anchorperson from a well known US TV newscast sarcastically asked the spokesperson of that non-existing country, what was his views of the future, to which he responded, “We will deprive you of an enemy”.
This simple conclusion, have become the worst nightmare of the ultra-right-wing Cuban-American community in south Florida and elsewhere. Since General Raul Castro assumed the reins of the Cuban government, these individuals have seen all of their imaginary, fetishes and half-a-century bag of lies evaporate before their eyes.
Their hand-made Human Rights Commission is no more. Radio and TV Marti is in complete disarray with large sums of US-AID funds missing, channeled to friends and family. Petty thief Felix Sixto is awaiting indictment in his posh Miami residence for pocketing $500,000 from the Center For A Free Cuba, where his close friend and master crook Frank Calzon is executive director and recommended Sixto to the White House, where he became head of the Cuba Desk.
Those who bragged in the past about their ability to bring out tens of thousands of Cuban-Americans to the streets of Miami by using their microphone, are now lucky to gather 10-15 aching octogenarian from Vigilia Mambisa. Prominent sons and daughters of elite Cuban-American families in south Florida are either fugitives, indicted, pending trial, in jail or out on parole for stealing millions from Medic-Aid, Medic-Care, Senior Meals programs, bogus Real Estate deals, money laundering and illegal drug distribution.
Since 1980 when Ronald Regan ultra-right-wing politics swept the United States, US Congressperson Ileana Ros-Lethinen, Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart “seats-for-life” in Congress is being challenged in the upcoming election and there is a real likelihood, that one or more of them may be unseated.
Thus, their desperation, panic and willingness to grab on to anything capable of scoring political points for their comatose organizations. Recent critique of the educational system by the Cuban government, has been front page news in the US, propelling Ileana Ros- Lethinen, whose Congressional Bio depict her as holding a Masters Degree in educational leadership and a Doctorate in higher education, leading her to conclude that Cuban Schools Stinks!!
Is this educator aware or not, that every Cuban school children arriving in the US, is placed two grades ahead of the grades they attended in Cuba and still, they are more knowledgeable than their new peers?
Is this Congresswoman aware, that public schools in her district, county and state, have “Human Resources” or mini Police Stations on their premises, in an attempt to reduce intra-walls school violence?
Is Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lethinen not aware of middle and high schools in Miami been taken over every school day by numerous police car squads, before entering and leaving school?
Is Congresswoman Ros-Lethinen aware of 18 slain victims in 1966 at the University of Texas at Austin, 7 victims at California State University in 1976, 6 victims at Cleveland Elementary in 1989, 6 victims at the University of Iowa in 1991, 5 victims at Westside Middle School at Jonesboro, AK, 15 victims at Columbine in 1999, 10 victims at Red Lake High in Minnesota or the infamous slaughter of 33 students at Virginia Tech in 2007?
Should these and hundreds of less strident daily killings of children in our education system, not capture and absorb the attention of this lady, move her to study the problem and come up with any solution, rather than attempting to demoralize the country she hates, where none of these tragedies have ever taken place in half a century?
What have this apocalyptic trio done on behalf of the Afro-American community in their city, county or state, where large numbers of male are semi-illiterate, are involved in violent crimes, drug addition, are being sought by the police, are in detention, in jail or on parole, without any rehabilitation project or a place to go, in order to avoid recidivism?
What have these members of the US Congress done for their community, except suggest abstinence and prayers to halt a plague of early teenage pregnancy, school drop-out, single parent, drug abuse, prostitution and crime, that is corroding the core of our society?
When will these individuals have the decency and courage to admit, that since the early 60’s, more than 50,000 students from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, have received in Cuba free of charge, high level education training in all walks of life, which have been publicly recognized by many international institutions?
What will it take for them to have the dignity and self respect to recognize, that Cuba have provided tens of thousands of physicians, engineers, nurses, teachers, sports, cultural trainers and others, to over 80 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin-America and the Caribbean, to improve their health, social and cultural level, while many of ours are left on their own?
When will they have the décor to denounce the thousands of Cuban professionals, outstanding sportsman, entertainers, educators, scientists etc., that are hounded around the world with bags of silver coins, ready to buy their conscience and lure them away from their moral duty, while we do nothing to educate, train and offer our help to those less fortunate around the world?
Before ending these sad notes, hundreds of predominantly minority youths around the United States, will have entered the judicial system, sentenced to many years in jail, put to work for the Prison Industrial Complex for pennies per hour, building everything imaginable that are sold at regular price on the marketplace, while others less fortunate, are brutally beaten-up by a vicious police force, are shot dead or paralyzed, without ever receiving a word of sympathy from any of these pharisaical politicians.
| Since May 19, June 13, 21 and 23rd, 2008, numerous newspapers in Florida, websites, bloggers and newswires, have reprinted an in-depth, comprehensive and award deserving journalistic research “A bit of Cuba in Daytona Beach” 6/13/08, in which Laura Stewart painstakingly gathered and documented irrefutable evidence, demonstrating how hundreds of pieces of invaluable Cuban arts have been willfully and illegally withheld for the past fifty years by the Cuban Foundation Museum, who have trafficked with and presented it to the public as their own.
Not satisfied with stealing more than 700 million dollars from Cuba’s public funds, priceless pieces of arts, jewelry and other valuables as he fled the country under the cover of night on January 1, 1959, dictator Fulgencio Batista donated part of his loot to this Foundation, which is now presided over by his grandaughter out of Miami.
As despicable as it is to see the children of Cuba wickedly deprived of their arts, culture and patrimony, so is the deafening silence of many moralists, ethicists, intellectuals, clergy, educators and others, who have chosen to tu rn a complicit blind eye, pretend it never happened, while they applaud many law enforcement agencies, chasing across the globe and apprehending others involved in the heists of pieces of arts, belonging to the rich and famous.
The friendly and respectful relation that have existed between Daytona Beach and Cuba since the early 40’s was reinforced during the 90’s with the collapse of the Cuban economy, when hundreds of ordinary citizens and especially our healthcare community generously donated tens of thousands of dollars in medicine, medical supplies, childcare, educational material and others, cannot and should not be tarnished by the actions of a few selfish and heartless individuals.
|In the coming days, the intellectual, cultured, rich and powerful members of Daytona Beach elite and others from out of town, will participate in a cultural extravaganza celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Havana-Daytona Beach Cultural exchange, which was sponsored by Daytona Beach longtime adoptive son, Cuba’s strongman General Fulgencio Batista in the summer of 1958.
An event of this magnitude, refinement and altruistic intent, should be a pure reflection of man’s cultural achievements, the natural bonds that should unite mankind and an enduring symbol of friendship among people.
Instead, The Cuban Foundation Museum which was created in 1957 and is home of the largest and most important collection of Cuban fine and folk art outside Cuba, chronicling 300 years of Cuban history in more than 200 objects such as paintings, rare maps, lithographs, furniture, sculptures and ceramics. This collection was further expanded with the addition of those included in the Havana-Daytona Beach Cultural exchange, which lead to the creation of the Museum of Arts and Sciences.
It is depressing to see this beautiful cultural center, proudly displaying priceless pieces of Cuban art, knowing they were stolen and brought out of the country by well known crooks, who have illegally withheld and selfishly deprived their rightful owners of their culture and heritage, all in the name of satisfying the intellect, vanity and arrogance of self-anointed guardians of human culture.
Tragically in so doing, the Museum of Arts and Sciences, by its own admission, is proclaiming to the world, that in order to retain its glitter, glamour and cultural standing in the nation, it is willing to create a venue in which stolen arts objects can be safely stored, displayed and used to strengthen the moral values of our community.
Painful as it is to view, what make this abject behavior more revolting, is to review the bibliography on this matter, in which, researchers, curators, politicians and heads of cultural institutions agree, that by Fidel Castro “taking over Cuba”, have enabled them to keep their loot, in the absence of diplomatic relation between the United States and Cuba.
It is therefore no surprise to find under the same roof and side by side with the Museum of Arts and Sciences permanent Cuba Collection, a ninety piece exhibit of Great Masters of Cuban Art 1800-1959, on loan from the four hundred piece Ramos Master collection in Miami.
Art Havana News & Views blog describe this as “an exhibition of powerful pre-revolution Cuban paintings by Romanach, Valderrama, Sanchez Araujo, Garcia-Mata and Garcia-Riviera, some of Cuba’s most revered artists, which typifies its artistic value.
In celebration of the National Hispanic Heritage Month (September-October 2007), Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning announced the opening of this exhibition in the Governor’s gallery and later in the Governor’s Mansion, in Tallahassee, Florida.
In his opening remarks, Secretary of State Browning said “The Ramos Masters Collection contains significant Cuban paintings by some of Cuba’s most revered artists“. “We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to exhibit these works in our Capitol and at the Governor’s Mansion - The people’s House.”
The Secretary further said: “The Ramos brothers focused on recovering the works of a generation of artists whose well-documented accomplishments are indicative of a thriving pre-1958 cultural environment”. “The Ramos brothers overcame the challenges posed by distance, time and governmental impediments to rescue both the artworks and the archival art history of the Cuban Republic (1902-1958).”
But who are the Ramos brothers, owners of the Ramos Master Collection in Miami?.
In an article in the Art Newspaper, “The art which fell foul of Fidel Castro, by David D’Arcy, 3/19/08 reads: Roberto Ramos 42, before leaving Cuba illegally in 1992, assembled a collection of 14 Cuban paintings by artists who had fallen out of favor with the Cuban regime. He hoped to sell these in Florida to support his new life.
Intercepted by the US Coast Guard and taken into custody, their paintings disappeared. Released from the internment center, Mr. Ramos tracked them down to the Marpad Art Gallery in Coral Gables, Miami, which had already sold them on. Tracing the buyers, he persuaded them to return the art.
In a write-up by Mr. David C. Swoyer from the Museum of Arts and Sciences, he portrays Roberto Ramos and his group -Carlos, Yeney, Cesar and Zeida- as near geniuses , for amassing in less than 15 years, an amazing collection of over 400 oil paintings, whose value they decline to discuss and which have rarely graced the walls of museums or exhibitions.
And then, as it was reported by Kelly Crow in the Wall Street Journal, that John Crago, an agricultural exporter from Colorado, took a business trip to Cuba last spring. He came back with 60 paintings from island landscapes to abstract works, rolled up in his carry-on luggage.
In the month of May, Sotheby’s broke the auction record for a Cuban work when it sold Mario Carreno’s modernist painting “Danza Afro-Cubana for $2.6 million, triple its high estimate.
With such honor, accolades, recognizing their contribution to world culture, should we not be equally amazed and recognize the outstanding achievements of Sir Francis Drake, Sir Henry Morgan, Blackbeard and other pirates, buccaneers and corsairs, who terrorized the region and looted tens of millions in precious metals for the governments they represented?
Are there any moral values left in us, to demand these objects be returned to their rightful owners, the children of Cuba, as we cleanse our community of such an infamous behavior?
Should we continue to glamorize and treat differently crooks trading in stolen arts, as opposed to those holding up a bank or burglarizing a home?
Had these art pieces belonged to someone living in New York, Chicago, London or Paris, would we act with such flagrant impunity, as we have done with Cuba and other countries deemed underdeveloped and weak?
Only individuals completely devoid of any sense of dignity, patriotism and nationhood, could shamefully engage as any vulgar merchant in an Iraqi bazaar, to purchase, sell, swap or exchange the image of Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, the father of the Cuban nation who in 1869, when the Spanish occupying forces tried to bribe and demoralize him by offering him to relinquish the struggle for the independence of Cuba or his captive son would be executed, to what he responded, do as you wish with my son, I am the father of all Cubans.
What would General Antonio Maceo, the greatest and most outstanding military leader in our two wars of independence, who suffered over thirty wounds and gave his life on the battle field, think about these individuals, willing to sell their soul to the highest bidder?
Such actions, negate every ideal, principle and historical behavior of Hatuey, Guarina, Bonifacio Byrne, Mariana Grajales, Placido, Maximo Gomez and millions of other Cubans, respectful of their history and heritage.
Jose Marti, the greatest son of the Cuban nation, struggled all of his life for the independence of Cuba and willingly went to his death at 42, leaving us with a clear path of what it means to be Cuban. Nothing that some may do, will disprove his teachings, tarnish his legacy or desecrate his memory.
|On July 4, 1961, my grandfather George Jones suffered an apparent heart attack that took the life of this modest, exemplary man, who lived a life filled with human values and principles, which have since hung over my life, carving and determining most of my life decisions.
I am very grateful to life itself, for having this man decide in 1928 to leave his beloved Jamaica with my grandmother Rose Ann, my uncles Clifford, Joslyn and Ruby Mae, who later became my mother and relocated to Cuba.
Responding to a massive promotion throughout the English speaking Caribbean islands and Haiti by the United Fruit Co., Guantanamo Sugar Co, Manati Sugar Co., and other US transnational, who portrayed Cuba as the Promised Land, propelled tens of thousands of emigrants from these islands to join this army of cheap laborers in the back-breaking, heat stifling, semi-slave conditions in the development of the Cuban sugar industry, which became the backbone of that country’s economy and the transformation of its physiognomy.
Because of an historical black history pattern, in which records are not kept, ignored or destroyed, I am not sure if my grandparents landed in Santiago de Cuba, Cayo Juan Claro or somewhere in the Bahia de Nipe. Either way, they were herded to and settled in Banes, a sugar cane plantation community on the northern tip of what was then the province of Oriente.
Restarting his life all over with a wife and three children in a foreign and somewhat hostile land, was a challenging proposition in itself. While most of these emigrants were employed in the cultivation and harvesting of sugar cane, my grandfather became part of the fortunate few, when he was given a year-round job as an orderly in the United Fruit Co. hospital, earning $0.50 per day.
Ten years after this life changing experience, I was born on a hot and humid August morning, aggravating an intractable family feud between my grandfather and my uncles against my father, whom they had declared an unfit family member, since the birth of my brother, two years earlier.
Our living conditions was limited to a tiny thatched roof shack that made me wonder, how did we all fit inside of it, without electricity, running water, sewer, schools or healthcare services. What we did have was widespread malnutrition seen predominantly in children with their disproportionate heads and distended abdomens filled with intestinal parasites, rampant infant and maternal morbid/mortality and an infamous gully with its putrid effluent winding through our neighborhood.
There were always people from our community sitting in our backyard, waiting for my grandfather to return from his workplace. Some suffered diarrhea, cuts, burns or whatever, which my grandfather would cleanse and apply medications he stored in a coffin-life cabinet he kept in his bedroom.
Although we did not live very far away from the hospital and no matter what the weather was like, my grandfather always carried a raincoat over his right arm. Years later, as I pieced these events together, it became clear to me, that the raincoat was actually a vehicle with which, this very religious, respectable man who was constantly preaching moral values, honesty and dignity to all, was in fact, stealing medicines and medical supplies from his workplace, as the only way to help others in his community, deprived of all basic means of survival.
Banes was a highly segregated community in which the American neighborhood displayed its large chalet-type homes with circular verandah, running water, sewer, paved road, school, medical services, golf, polo courts and a private security force, ready to escort unwanted visitors out of the area.
Downtown Banes can be described as the commercial and business district, where most Cubans of Hispanic ancestry lived, many occupied positions in the government administration, political system or mid-management in the United Fruit Company. They enjoyed similar social development as the American neighborhood, except for the courts and other playgrounds.
Banes' best known infamous citizens are General Fulgencio Batista and the Diaz-Balart dynasty from which their sons, US Congressman Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart in close association with US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lethinen from the central province of Las Villas, are the culprit of most of Cuba’s past twenty years of pain, suffering and deaths.
As a replica of the southern United States, there were black, white and American social clubs, public squares were partially segregated, churches were ethnically grouped, blacks were not employed in department stores, banks, office setting or any other relevant jobs. Our future was pre-determined at birth, deemed unworthy of social advancement and called a number of derogatory names such, as Jamaiquino, ladron de gallina o Negro de Mierda.
The outbreak of WWII was seen as a blessing by most in our community, because of a substantial increase in sugar demand worldwide, which lead to larger and longer sugar crops, increasing the average family income. At the same time, rumors kept flowing into our community, that a large expansion was taking place on the United States Naval Base in Guantanamo, where hundreds of unskilled workers, preferably those speaking English were in demand.
Once again our family was on the move, as one by one, we began relocating from Banes to Guantanamo. Life in this city was substantially better. We now lived in a cinder block house with running water, sewer and electricity. Salary on the United States Naval Base was also higher, further fostering in some of my family members, friends and others, a bellicose, war monger mentality.
Both in education and health, theoretically there were improvements in this city. Although 50% of the population in Guantanamo was black, racism and segregation was evident and offensive.
Against this historical background, in the month of May 2008, Prime Ministers Bruce Golding of Jamaica, Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, separately visited Cuba, where they were received by its highest authority with the full honors conferred upon heads of state.
During their stay, they visited scientific institutions, healthcare facilities, tourist resort, educational system, industrial complex, cultural centers etc., at the end of which, multiple joint cooperation agreement were signed, technical exchanges were inked and a wider and deeper brotherly relations was etched in stone.
What a difference fifty years can make!
If I were ever to meet my grandparents again, how could I possibly explain to them, that the events described above, could ever happen in the same land where they lived in infra-human conditions, where their hard and poorly rewarded work had contributed enormous financial resources to the economical development of a country, that paid them with derogatory terminologies, segregation, instilling complex of inferiority and denied them every social advancement possibility.
If we were to add to that, the presence of thousands of students from these islands being trained as physicians and in every other fields of knowledge free of charge, or the hundreds of physicians, professionals and technicians working side by side with their counterpart of their respective island, assisting them in their struggle to overcome underdevelopment, sanitation and culture, it would be impossible to for grandparents to rationalize and absorb.
As important as all of the above maybe, a new spirit of cooperation is permeating the region in which, rather than compete in similar sphere of economical development between islands, sharing and complementing their weak economies, is becoming the guiding principle.
I will never know, how my grandparents would rate their decision to migrate to Cuba from Jamaica. I will never know, if their dreams and expectations were met. I will never know if they ever had doubts, regrets or would have returned if the could.
What I do know, after seeing first hand my grandparents deep concerns for the wellbeing of others, his willingness to risk what could be construed as a good job for serving others; had he lived to see what is happening in his adopted country, I am sure, he would be a very happy, proud and dignified black man, who would have been eternally grateful and forever committed to the survival, preservation and defense of the nation, that have done more for the sons and daughters of Africa, than all other countries together. Long Live Cuba!
|By ALBERTO N. JONES
On Feb. 11, numerous press reports indicated that the Swiss police was scrambling, searching for three daring masked men involved in a heist of Van Gogh, Cezanne, Degas and other oil paintings worth more than $163 million.
On March 18, 2008, five masked, armed men stole 30 masterpieces of paintings by Monet, Rodin and others from a Paris art dealer, which various sources described as "priceless."
As part of a group of foreign students touring Berlin in 1965, I visited the Pergamon Museum with its majestic, opulent 370 feet long by 40 feet high marble altar of wide steps with many beautiful sculptures depicting the Battle of the Giants. Later, our guide told us how the main excavation took place in the 19th century, how it was shipped out of the Ottoman Empire by a German archaeological team who carefully reconstructed the altar and placed it in the specially built Pergamon Museum in Berlin in 1910.
Some of us expressed our disgust over such an appalling act. Either for political expediency, wealth or sheer military power, Germany had deprived the legitimate owners of this magnificent piece of art and from admiring their rich culture.
Soon after relocating to Flagler County in 1989, I learned about the Cuban Art Museum in Daytona Beach. Months later, with family and friends we visited this museum, only to feel a similar sense of disgust, just as I had years before in Berlin.
When I asked an employee about the source of the pieces of art, I received an evasive, simplistic response (not unlike that in Berlin) affirming that Gen. Fulgencio Batista, a disgraced Cuban political strongman and vulgar thief, who depleted his country's public funds, had become a philanthropist and benefactor of his adoptive city, Daytona Beach.
How can any respectable institution in the world not know about the tens of millions of dollars in cash, arts, jewelry and other valuables that this and many other high-ranking Latin American government officials "amassed" prior to their flight into exile, luxury and knighthood, as it was reported worldwide? How can honorable members of our communities, charged with fostering and developing our culture, do so knowingly with objects of questionable origin?
What motives, other than complicity, can any reasonable person extrapolate from regular news reports in which well-known international police departments around the world are searching for art traffickers in stolen goods, while at the same time, they fail to detect, confiscate, recover and return to their legitimate owners, clearly identifiable, stolen art collections publicly displayed in galleries everywhere ?
The local Museum of Arts and Sciences fact sheet written by Bill Lazarus is an indictment in itself as it reads, "During his long presidency prior to the revolution, General Batista and his second wife, Marta, amassed paintings, prints and folk arts that reflected Cuban history and culture." Another apologist of ill-gotten goods in the same fact sheet, Professor Juan A. Martinez from Florida International University in Miami, asserts, "The only permanent public exhibition of colonial and republican Cuban art in this country," which may have encouraged smugglers to remove thousands of art pieces from Cuba that have found their way and are prominently displayed in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London etc. Is this not another revolting example of how small and poor countries are shamefully looted of their patrimony, in order to satisfy the ego and vanity of the rich, famous and powerful?
Can anyone in good faith or under any real or imaginary moral basis argue in favor of retaining these objects from their rightful heirs -- the children of Cuba -- for another 50 years?
We ought to be better than that. Recent changes at the helm of the Cuban government and those expected in the United States in the coming months, could lay the basis for a more rational, respectful and good neighbor policy which, among others, could initiate the healing process, remove past mistakes and erase shameful acts that demean us all.
|May 7, 2008
Please allow me to express my deepest gratitude for your editorial “Golding buries Seaga-era Cuban policy , The Jamaica Observer, 5/7/08, which may have contributed to a better understanding of this intentionally distorted historical fact.
As the grandson of Jamaicans, who were part of tens of thousands of emigrants from the English speaking Caribbean islands and Haiti, lured to Cuba in the early 1900’s as cheap labor for the development of a burgeoning sugar industry, where they contributed billions of hours in many suffocating sugar cane plantations and were forced to live in infra-human conditions in thatched-roof huts without running water, electricity, schools or healthcare, causing many to shed tears, blood or paying the ultimate price.
Incalculable riches was poured into the bulging coffers of native sugar barons and the United Fruit Co., Guantanamo Sugar Co and many other US transnational, who brutally segregated and withheld all opportunities of advancement from these emigrants.
No blacks was given employment in banks, office setting, garment stores, large companies except for menial employment picking-up trash or even allowed to drive a Greyhound type, inter-provincial bus. What we did have was rampant malnutrition, pervasive infant and maternal mortality and the infamous gully winding through our communities with the putrid effluent from those living on the other side of the railroad tracks.
When South Africa gained its independence, thousands of people from around the world flocked to that country to see what Apartheid was all about. We did not have to, since most of us were born, lived and died in our own Soweto in Cuba.
It was not until 1959 with the triumph of the Revolution, that a serious attempt was made to level the playing field, by removing all legal forms of racism or segregation. This single act, created an unprecedented opportunity for millions of blacks, who accessed every field of middle and higher education, which resulted in one of the largest pool of educated blacks in the world.
Tens of thousands of Afro-Cubans have provided free healthcare, education, sports and cultural training in over eighty countries around the world. Afro-Cubans have also played an important role as educators for over 50,000 middle and higher education graduates from Africa and the rest of the world. Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa would present an immensely different political arrangement, but for the thousands of Cubans in general and Afro-Cubans in particular, willing to shed their blood, limbs and lives.
The collapse of the Soviet Union inflicted an enormous financial setback on Cuba, impacting severely the Afro-Cuban community, who up until then, had only a negligible migratory tendency and therefore, none or very little possibilities of receiving remittance from abroad.
Spain developed a life-line support for its emigrants and descendents living in Cuba. The miniscule Chinese, Arabic and Jewish communities received all sorts of moral and material support from their maternal countries or emigrant communities. Afro-Cubans were, and still are on their own, with help from no one or no country in the world, placing this community of 2-3 million people, on the brink of a catastrophic social collapse.
And yet, it is precisely during this incredible financial disaster, when there is little food, no electricity, scarcity of medicines and all other basic means of survival, that Cuba exhibit its greatest humanitarian principles, by founding the Latin American School of Medical Sciences in Havana with over 8000 students primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean School of Medical Sciences in Santiago de Cuba, where over 2000 students from 11 African countries and 10 Caribbean islands are all trained free of charge.
Against this backdrop, is the constant barrage of accusations of Human Rights violations in Cuba coming out of Washington and their mouthpieces, against so called independent journalists, independent unionists, independent librarians and others, created, directed and paid by USAID and tens of front foundations.
These are some of the crude realities that make Cubans in general and Afro-Cubans in particular, have a different take on the selective use and punitive imposition of the so called Human Rights violations upon those that are disliked or intended to destroy. No one in that nation can better identify and describe the real meaning of Human Rights Violations than blacks, which has been an integral part of most of our existence.
It is my hope, that this partial historical summary, may serve to illustrate the roots of some of our burning problems that are clamoring for our support, without ever excusing past or present mistakes, abuses or worst.
We should all express our eternal gratitude to Prime Minister Bruce Golding for his courageous trip to Cuba against the retrograde advise of some; which we hope, may pave the way for those sister islands, who have so far refrained from becoming part of our community of nations.
No political, social, ethnic, religious or financial differences, should be allowed to supersede our common history, sufferings and aspirations. Only by working together, respecting each others view, intensifying our exchanges and collaboration, identify our areas of strength and weakness, remove all vestiges of chauvinistic nationalism, respect our borders without allowing them to become divisive walls, will we be worthy of the dreams of Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Simon Bolivar and Jose Marti calling for the creation of “Our America”.
|26 de Abril del 2008
Durante todo el dia 25 de Abril del ano 2008, la emisora Radio Mambi 710 AM de Miami, decana de la red de emisoras anticubanas del sur de la Florida, transmitio en sus noticieros y programas de microfono abierto, un espeluznante reportaje sobre la enfermedad y muerte de una estudiante Boliviana en Cuba.
Con una falta absoluta de etica y de elemental respeto por la victima y sus familiares, Armando Perez-Roura, Ninoska Perez Castellon, Enrique Encinosa, los que llamaron por telefono y los moderadores de programas similares , se regodearon en la profanacion del cadaver, mediante la detallada descripcion de los hallazgos de autopsia, resaltando y haciendo hincapie en cada uno de los organos que no acompanaron la repatriacion del cadaver, infiriendo abiertamente que dichos organos pudieron haber sido comercializados en el mercado internacional de transplante organos.
Un acto tan deleznable no habia impactado la conciencia de los residentes de la convulsionada Miami, desde el fallido intento de secuestro del nino Elian Gonzalez en el ano 2000, con lo cual exacerbaron y hoy pretenden nuevamente exacerbar el odio y la division entre los Cubanos de intra y extra muros.
A pesar de que los conductores de estos programas y su audiencia estan convencidos de su total falta de formacion profesional en este y otros campos del saber humano, la manifiesta intencion de la direccion de estos medios por caldear los animos, puede apreciarse en su negativa por no incluir en el debate, a patologos de los hospitales Jackson Memorial, Panamerican y Mount Sinai de Miami o los Medical Centers de Broward y West Palm Beach , todos a poca distancia de sus madrigueras, con lo que podrian haber determinado que el procedimiento seguido corresponde estrictamente con las las normas universalmente aceptadas para la realizacion de autopsias, el tratamiento de las eviseraciones y la reconstruccion del cadaver.
Convencidos de que su aneja industria del odio ha perdido toda credulidad, que cada dia son mas quienes los ignoran, que sus lideres mas connotados en el Congreso de los Estados Unidos estan tan desprestigiados como el ladronzuelo Felix Sixto intimo aliado de Frank Calzon, asi como los que estan siendo buscados por la policia, estan encarcelados, en libertad condicional o cumplieron sus sanciones, constituyen ese aborto politico que hoy tratan de insuflarle un bocado de oxigeno, con hechos como este.
No resulta facil concebir tanta vileza humana ante semejante tragedia, a no ser que todo esto se deba a un esfuerzo mas de una ultra-derecha fosilizada, cruel, sometida a los dictamines imperiales para dividir nuestros pueblos, debilitando y sometiendolos a designios neo-coloniales de aquellos que nos desprecian.
Ironicamente, en los mismos momentos que estos seudo defensores de los derechos humanos en Cuba difundian su infamia alrededor del mundo, supieron guardar silencio complice ante la brutal decision de un juez de Nueva York quien absolvio vergonzosamente a tres sicarios de la policia de esa ciudad, quienes dos anos antes habian fusilado a Sean Bell con 50 andanadas en la via publica frente a un bar, donde este joven Afro-Americano de 23 anos celebraba su despedida de soltero, confirmando una vez mas, la persistencia de linchamientos con absoluta impunidad en este medio, unas veces a tiros y otras, siendo arrastrado y despedazado detras de un camion en Texas o dejando caer bombas incendiarias sobre casas habitadas en Filadelfia, calcinando a once de sus ocupantes, incluyendo a ninos.
De igual manera, estos especimenes han apoyado las falsas imputaciones en contra de siete infelices Afro-americanos de Overtown, Miami, acusados de conspirar para dinamitar la torre de Sears in Chicago, o la farsa judicial con la cual han encarcelado de por vida ademas de cientos de anos de prision, a cinco abnegados luchadores anti-terroristas Cubanos, cuya unica funcion era observar y reportar las violentas acciones de terroristas confesos radicados en esa region, que se han jactado abiertamente de su estela de sangre, destruccion y muerte alrededor del mundo.
De algo podremos estar seguro y es que el cumulo de crimenes cometidos por este engendro humano, jamas podran saldar la deuda contraida con la humanidad por tamana perversidad.
|On February 24, 2008, as General Raul Castro assumed the Presidency of Cuba, he pronounced a non-electrifying speech that was devoid of hyperbole, false political promises or immediate solution for every problem affecting the population. Instead, he called upon all Cubans to unite behind the party, to work hard, correct mistakes, eliminate excessive prohibitions and improve the quality of life of all, without altering the basic principles on which the country was forged for the past half a century.
A mere six weeks after this historic moment, have seen a torrent of changes, laws, regulations, discussions and proposals, geared to correct past shortcomings and improve the government working methods, which have invigorated the Cuban people, left the outside world in awe, the so called dissident confused, the US government, think tanks and former eastern European lackeys lost, not knowing what to do or expect.
Exercising its absolute sovereignty, Cuba have implemented decisions, introduced measures and revoked others, without having to submit questions or wait for answers from anyone in this world, sorely hurting the feelings of many annexationists, eager to become another star on someone else’s flag.
Any attempt to enumerate the changes that have taken place in these few weeks, may become irrelevant by new ones coming out of literally every ministry, social group or intellectual organizations, seriously attempting to perfect their model of governance.
Even from a distance, it is easy to grasp the intense governmental activities taking place in Cuba, by either receiving or sending its highest level functionaries to literally every country to sign collaborative agreements, scientific exchanges, purchasing goods and services or offering Cuba’s renowned humanitarian help to those in need.
Such a level of effervescence, expectation and high hopes, was off the radar of the Cuban scene since the collapse of the Soviet Union and other eastern block countries, when thousands of wise men, prognosticators and palm readers from around the world, upheld Ronald Reagan’s simplistic right-wing “Domino” political philosophy, which presupposed Cuba as a satellite of the Soviet Union, should have fallen out of space, as part of the law of gravity.
Little did they know or were willing to learn about the Cuban peoples character, the fiber of their political leaders and the determination of a unified country, willing to die rather than lower their dignified flag, get on their knees and beg for forgiveness for deeds so many shed their blood or gave their lives.
This very traumatic and excruciating fifteen years experience known as the Special Period, became the fun and joy of those genetically unfit and weak at heart in south Florida, who documented, published and paraded on TV every new arrival in rickety make-shift rafts, caricaturing and mocking the calamity that had enveloped a nation from where in their views, everyone, including its leadership were eager to flee.
Perplexed by the stubborn, inexplicable resistance of the Cuban people, millions around the world awaited every day for the TV breaking news, announcing the collapse of the government. Instead, without fanfare or any public announcement, most people now realize, that the forty plus years of this vicious war of attrition against Cuba have developed irreparable cracks, that the modus-vivendi that had enriched many in the hate industry is evaporating, they are demoralized and the end is within reach.
But this extraordinary event is not a victory for Cuba; it is in fact a victorious day for all of the poor, forgotten, despised and segregated people of the world, who can now confirm, that those willing to resist through a unified, coherent ideology and willing to pay the heavy price that will be imposed upon them, as Spartacus or Jesus, they cannot be defeated.
Then, as I read today’s papers, four separate, apparently unrelated news items made headlines. “Rain dampen Cuba sugar production”, Cuba mulls more foreign investment in farming sector”, “I am the future” and, “Haitian President calls for calm amidst crisis and looting”.
I am the future is a clear example of what can be achieved with minor, positive administrative changes, that have already boosted the dairy output and which will stimulate similar increases in other agricultural, service or production areas.
Cuba mulls more foreign investment, can be seen in an urgent need of upgrading an aging agriculture machinery, obtaining high quality seeds, land preparation equipment, drainage and irrigation system, fertilizers, pesticides, road building, houses and other basic means of developments for the peasantry, will require a substantial influx of hard currency, which can be obtained through a carefully devised foreign investment joint venture, operating primarily under a cooperative farming system, rather than an individualistic system, promoter of social disparity and farm barons.
Recent world developments deriving from skyrocketing food prices, riots, fear of hunger and famine, is but the warning signs of a greater disaster, resulting from a complex worldwide food mismanagement, globalization, greed, farmers subsidy, production controls and international food speculators, who have manipulated or dumped markets, contributing to a generalized risk of widespread hunger.
Social unrest in Asia, Africa and recently in Haiti with the firing of its Prime Minister and promises by the President of subsidizing some food staples, are temporary palliatives and not a real solution for an enormous, steadily growing, catastrophic social calamity of unforeseen, worldwide consequences.
Another article attempting to rationalize “Rain dampen Cuban sugar production,” have been used over the years, or in conjunction with other poorly supported arguments such as, late arrival of spare parts, increased industrial breakdown, delayed cold weather, lack of transportation equipment etc., all of which, are nothing more than garbled explanations and unwillingness to delve into the root cause of this very serious production hindering mismanagement.
It is an open secret, that Cubans dislike, -for good reasons- the hard, back-breaking, heat-stifling and poorly remunerated work of harvesting sugar cane. These factors and a near criminal abuse imposed upon defenseless migrant workers from the English speaking Caribbean islands and Haiti by native sugar barons and US transnational like the United Fruit Company, the Guantanamo, sugar Company and others, determined that most, especially Haitians, were forced to live in communal barracks – barracones - with dirt floor, leaky roof, no electricity or running water, totally unfit for housing domestic animals.
Everyone in Cuba, especially those living in Oriente and Camaguey, knows about the Haitian people hard working virtues, their respect for their neighbors, their humility and their endless gratitude. Thousands of descendents from Haitian emigrants living in Cuba today, have excelled in every walk of life and are living testimony to their values.
Cuba cannot solve the problems of the world, but Cuba can certainly play a pivotal role in complementing food security requirements in the Caribbean and Central America. Minor changes introduced in the agriculture sector in Cuba in recent weeks, the simple perception of more changes in the works, a revitalized interest in recuperating thousands of acreage devoured by weed or underused and a transformation of no-man-land into a family matter, will yield results far beyond our most optimistic projection.
But if Cuba is hoping to resolve its food shortage as soon as possible, boost other agricultural production as it should, create new exportable and develop a food security basis within these uncertainties, it will not be able to achieve it without a substantial guest workers influx, especially from Haiti.
No country in world has done more to assist the development of Haiti than Cuba and most recently Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez has recognized publicly the debt of gratitude of his country with Haiti. He have spoken proudly of Haiti unqualified, generous social, military and moral support to Simon Bolivar during the war of independence of South America.
Under different circumstances, Cuba is also deeply indebted to the Haitian people, who contributed billions of hours of labor in the most brutal condition seen since the end of slavery, to develop and turn the sugar industry in Cuba into the pride of our nation, without which, the physiognomy of our country would have been quite different today.
Thanks to Fidel Castro personal experience growing up on a sugar plantation, where he saw first hand the misery and exploitation of these unfortunate people and his demonstrated deep feelings for those less fortunate, as President of Cuba, he have done more to express the eternal gratitude of our nation to Haiti, than all of Cuba’s previous governments.
The entire world should be proud and applaud Cuba’s most exemplary humanitarian endeavor, not when the country was enjoying financial latitude, but rather, during the special period, when food was in short supply, electricity non-existent, medicine scarce or transportation no where to be found; was precisely when Cuba founded the Caribbean School of Medical Sciences in Santiago de Cuba, where close to 1000 sons and daughters of Haiti are being trained, as are others in multiple fields of higher education across the country, all free of charge.
Enormous as Cuba’s support for the Haitian people have been, it cannot be taken out of the wicked historical context of that nation, that is still paying the monstrous bill that was imposed on its people, for defeating France most prestigious military forces and becoming the first Republic in the western hemisphere.
Contrary to the way rich countries pretend to express their charitable sentiments by sending food, medicine or cash in case of natural disasters, social upheaval or military conflicts, reminds us of the worn out concept of Give Fish, instead of Teaching to Fish. Cuba must act differently.
After the recent food riots in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Egypt and somewhere else in the near future, we should not sit back and wait to count the number of dead, wounded or destruction that we can anticipate will occur in this worsening environment. There is no one, except us, the poor, victimized and ignored, that are expected to extend a helping hand to our piers.
Cuba can and should implement immediately a massive food production project of fast growing carbohydrates containing tubercles and others with a substantial conservation/preservation capabilities to satisfy its national needs and that of neighboring countries.
If this concept is accepted, given a thorough analysis, remove all unacceptable aspects and implement the final version, Cuba could see all of its nutritional needs satisfied in less than five years. Also, by creating job opportunities in Cuba for thousands of Haitian and other Caribbean immigrants, many thousands more of their family members in their respective countries, will be able to survive, by receiving the moral and material support from those creating a better future for all.
On the evening of April 19th, 1961, over 1200
Cuban-Americans who had been recruited, financed, trained and led into
battle by the CIA, surrendered and turned over their weapons to the
Cuban Armed Forces at the Bay of Pigs, in what was described until
recently in military annals, as the United States greatest
A barrage of disinformation and pure lies that was
spread throughout the United States in the early 60’s by deposed
members of the Batista’s regime, political crooks who had depleted the
country’s public funds, torturers and mafia bosses; found a fertile
soil in the United States government, especially after American
enterprises had been confiscated in Cuba, which contributed to the
creation of a hostile environment that ultimately lead to this and other
Sabotage, infiltrations, terrorism, economic
warfare, enactment of the devastating Torricelli Bill, Helms-Burton act
and an organized efforts to lure every professional out of Cuba, are
just some of the hallmark that characterize the US-Cuba relations for
the past 45 years.
Most reasonable people would assume, that after
these catastrophic failures to overthrow the Cuban government, it would
have been time to begin discussing their differences, search for common
ground and begin a respectful relation among neighbors.
Instead, during the past four years, the Cuban
family have been cruelly divided excluding aunts, uncle and cousins,
reducing our family visits from once a year to once every three years
for only two weeks with a $50.00 daily allowance and limiting our cash
remittances to only $100.00 per household per month.
Not satisfied with such bestiality, State
Representative Eddy Gonzalez is now trying to enact HB-685, which would
effectively prohibit US medical students studying in Cuba, from
practicing medicine in underserved communities in the State of Florida.
Likewise, State Representative David Riviera is
trying to levy a $2500.00 yearly fee on travel agencies serving US-Cuba
travelers, further increasing the very expensive $200.00/55 minutes
Miami-Havana flight, the $1.50 per minute phone call or the $16.00 per
pound gift parcels to Cuba.
Rather than addressing the myriad of tax,
housing, unemployment, crime, education or critical health issues
affecting our state and nation, these Cuban-American public servants
devote their time and intellect to devise vindictive measures against
their country of birth and its citizens.
The only good news to include in this repugnant narrative is that Mr. Raoul Cantero III, ultra-conservative member of the Supreme Court of Florida and grandson of General Fulgencio Batista, will vacate his post next September. Good Riddance!
|As I read "More curbs on Cuba travel not needed", Miami Herald, 4/10/08, I am inclined to
believe that there is unused space in this paper that needs to be filled....by all means. To dedicate one's time and intellect to deciphering the morbid, decaying, vindictive feelings of Mr. David Rivera, Eddy
Gonzalez, Ileana Ros, the Diaz-Balart's, Ninoska Castellon, Perez-Roura and hundreds of others of their ilk, without recognizing who they are and what they stands for, is an exercise in futility.
Their forty plus year vicious war on Cuba is over and they have failed miserably. They sided with, and sold their souls to the wrong cause, the wrong master and they should be willing to accept the outcome. Still, like most moribund living objects ready to exhale their last breath, they are seen flexing their autonomous neuro-muscular system for the last time in the form of nauseating bills against what should have been their country and countrymen.
Like others before, during and after them, there are terminologies that aptly describe these conduct. Their names and actions, however, will be engraved in history's wall of shame and infamy.
|Great, profound, deep sadness can barely express my feelings as I read in the Daytona News-Journal about the passing of Dr. Raymond
D'Adesky . Desperate, as we tried to find a pediatrician for our sick daughter after learning that her own was out of town, Dr.
D'Adesky graciously offered to see her during his lunch hour.
After bombarding us with tens of questions about our family medical history and upon completing a thorough examination of our daughter, he learned I was from Guantanamo, Cuba, where there is one of the largest Haitian community in that country.
Extremely knowledgeable of Cuba’s most important people in the field of science and culture, many of whom he knew personally, he was acutely aware and moved by the financial tragedy that had befallen that country in the 1990’s after the collapse of the Soviet Union and other eastern European countries with which Cuba had commercial agreements, as he wondered loudly about the plight of the children with little food and no medicine.
As of that moment, Dr. D’Adesky never ceased to ask how the children were doing, if there was something else he could do in addition to his regular donations of medicine, medical supplies, journals, anything, that he thought could mitigate the pain and suffering of the poor, which he knew so well from his native Haiti.
What a beautiful life example of this humble, caring, giving human being, concerned with the wellbeing of others, irrespective of race, gender, wealth or creed, when many others have chosen to indulge in life banality or by hurting those they deem unworthy.
I will remember your teachings and try to emulate your examples. You will be missed. Rest in Peace Dear Friend!
|On February 18, 2008, Fidel Castro announced to the world, that he would not seek nor accept the nomination to be re-elected as President of the Council of State, President of the Council of Ministers and Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Armed Forces at the upcoming elections on February 24, the same day Cuba’s war of independence began in 1895.
Thousands of predictions from Cubanologists , Academics, Centers for Cuban Studies, renowned Think Tanks, Tarot Readers, Homeland Security and the US Southern Command sophisticated contingency plans for dealing with the widespread uprising in Cuba, civil strife, hundreds of executions, mass sea exodus and a huge tent city to share lodging space with the Taliban in Guantanamo Bay Cuba, never materialized. Why?
By ignoring Cuba’s complex and violent history since the tragic arrival of Christopher Columbus to these shores, causing the mass extermination of it’s native community in less than twenty years, which was replaced by millions of Africans slaves who were viciously repressed, their family and religious beliefs abolished and their females mercilessly raped by their masters, with an irrefutable, monstrous complicity of the Catholic Church, making this action difficult to rationalize up to this day.
United States voracious interest in owning Cuba goes back to 1848, when President James Polk offered Spain 100 million dollars in a failed effort to purchase that island, which was followed by numerous attempts by US southern slave owners to annex Cuba by arming mercenaries and repeatedly invading that country.
Tired of being colonized, the Cuban people waged a thirty year war of independence against Spain, whose outcome was thwarted by the mysterious explosion of the USS Maine, the unjustifiable Spanish-American war, the Treaty of Paris, the Platt Amendment, forced land leases for US Naval Bases, creation of puppet governments, absolute control of lands, industry, financial and political institutions, massive corruption, murders and loss of national sovereignty, are an integral part of Cuba’s history.
On February 17, 1959, exerting it’s national sovereignty, Cuba enacted the Land Reform Law, which confiscated hundreds of thousands of ill-gotten acres of agricultural lands in the hands of corrupt politicians, land barons, foreign enterprises and all sorts of crooks, while hundreds of thousands of landless peasants wandered from farm to farm in search of a meager subsistence job, when they were suddenly granted ownership of the plot they farmed.
Subsequent decrees such as the Urban Reform Law which confiscated thousands of apartment buildings and homes, transferring ownership to their renters, a 50% reduction in the cost of pharmaceutical, electrical and telephone bills in the hands of United States transnational, followed by the refusal of Esso, Texaco and Shell refineries to process discount crude oil that Cuba had purchased in the Soviet Union, led to their confiscation and a twenty years, national bonds repayment offer, that was rejected by instructions from the US State Department.
An escalating tit-for-tat continued with the US cutting-off all purchases of Cuban sugar quota and freezing its assets in US banks, was followed by Cuba confiscating all national and foreign enterprises on its soil. Then came the breaking-off of relations, the Bay of Pigs, the Missile Crisis, terrorists attacks, embargo, bioterrorism and a bitter forty nine years of political confrontation.
History cannot be denied or re-written. Contrary to what many have been made to believe, these factors have played a pivotal role in framing the Cuban society nationalism, which have enabled them to withstand a stifling forty seven year old embargo, a never-ending state of siege, a bizarre and deranged behavior by an occasional US President, coupled with years of the Cuban government mismanagement, chronic poverty, lack of basic supplies, crumbling infrastructure, poor living conditions and crude suppression of many civil and human rights.
It is therefore imperative, that all peace loving people around the world, reject imperial statements like those coming from President George W. Bush in Africa or Presidential candidate John Mc Cain immature and silly wish of Castro’s death and work hard towards building bridges of trust, understanding and friendship.
That’s why, there is such an enormous sense of optimism, expectation and hope on both sides of the Florida straits, that the new harmonious political wind that is flowing in our direction, may lead to a rational, logic, non-interfering and respectful relations among our countries, for the benefit of all of our peoples.
|It seems humans never cease to do the same things expecting different results. One year after the triumph of the Revolution, Cuba signed a large crude oil contract at substantial discount with the Soviet Union, which would be refined at the country’s three oil refineries.
The US State Department instructed the management of ESSO and TEXACO refineries, not to process Soviet crude. A stand-off ensued between both companies and the Cuban government, who gave them an ultimatum to reflect on their decision, which would expire with the arrival of the first tanker.
Esso, Texaco and Shell stood by their position. Cuba confiscated all three companies and offered to compensate them at their declared face value with National Bonds and interest at the end of twenty years. Again, Esso and Texaco were instructed to refuse compensation. Shell agreed, and like all other foreign investors (except the US) confiscated in Cuba, were paid in full many years after.
This escalating tit-for-tat continued with the US cutting-off purchases of Cuba’s sugar quota to the US in 1961, which was at the time its main source of income and Cuba retaliated by confiscating all national and foreign enterprises. Then came the US breaking-off of relations with Cuba, the Bay of Pigs, the Missile Crisis, terrorists attacks, embargo, political confrontation and forty seven years of senseless animosities, painful confrontation and a mutually damaging lack of contacts.
Are we witnessing in recent actions taken by EXXON against the government of Venezuela, a carbon copy of the disastrous decision taken by the US State Department, Esso, Texaco and Shell, half a century ago?
|Forty five years ago on February 27, 1962, my daughter Isabel Maria was born in the same house she still lives in the city of Guantanamo, Cuba. For most parents, this joyous moment should have marked the beginning of a series of happy events that would nurture a normal childhood into a successful adult life.
Unfortunately for Isabel Maria and millions of children in Cuba who were born on this day, weeks before and many years after, the only recollections of their tragic life experience is one filled with fear of terrorists attacks blowing-up of buildings, bridges or movie theaters, burning of crops or industries, invasions, assassinations, mass funerals and a real threat of nuclear annihilation during the Cuban missile crisis.
In response to these widespread threats, the Cuban Government instituted a host of defensive measures such as the creation of the Militias, CDR, a large and highly trained military, police force, as many areas of development became support base for these defensive activities. Suddenly the country found itself under a permanent state of siege from enemies coming from the north, which lead to a generalized state of military readiness, that was reminiscent of Stalingrad during WW II.
This inescapable situation was reflected immediately among the population by the scarcity or complete absence of important life staples, a decrease in the level of many services except for health, education, sports and a few others, as many social, recreational and cultural activities came to a stand still. This permanent threat with its high level of tensions, altered the open, extroverted character of the Cuban people.
Of all of these shortcomings, none scarred the population as much as the lack of medicines and medical supplies. Seeing our loved ones suffer unnecessary pain or die for the lack of these resources, have remained etched in the souls of many, have forged a mindset of frustration, pain and hopelessness, that can be seen in an introverted personality with a sad smile and a timid approach to life.
Additionally, enormous amount of the Cuban economy was devoted to defenses purposes, which have successfully staved-off every attempt to attack, sabotage or invade the country. The downside of the massive military investment that was imposed upon the country is visible everywhere, be it through the extremely low wages, dilapidated living conditions, ruinous transportation system, crumbling infrastructure or lack of personal goods.
But how could this complex life experience express itself differently in most individuals? As humans, we have the propensity of looking at life events in isolation, although it is a well documented fact, that the body digest, integrate and store each of these socio-psychological developments in their system, which at times, they may become overwhelming or catastrophic.
Although hundreds of books have been written, depicting the unspeakable suffering that wars have inflicted on innocent people in Leningrad, Coventry, Kursk, Dresden, Mi Lai, Guernica, Iraq, Hiroshima, Iran, Sudan and hundreds of other places around the world, not a single world have been said or written on behalf of millions of people that are trapped in this senseless, cold war relic of the United States with Cuba.
Just as the million or so Palestinians that are trapped in Gaza, cut-off from the world, starved to death or condemned to waste away with the deafening complicity of all the moralists, clergy and politicians of our days, so are the people in Cuba, forced to endure such adversity or risk becoming part of our Caribbean shark diet.
Like my daughter, tens of thousands of these youths that were traumatized by such ignominious state of siege which molded their lives, may have deprived many of them of achieving their maximum potential. Some, maybe the most resilient have overcome insurmountable hurdles, have excelled in a number of fields of knowledge and today, they can be found sharing their expertise with people in their country and around the world.
Looking back at this half-a-century mean-spirited, unilateral decision that have been forcefully imposed on millions of people in Cuba by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, demonstrate beyond any doubt, that there is no logic, rationale, legal authority or divine mandate, that is capable of justifying the collective, devastating punishment inflicted upon innocent people who have done us no harm.
And today, as I watched Mrs. Michelle Obama, spontaneously, without notes, deliver the most comprehensive, uplifting, electrifying and hopeful political speech ever delivered by a politician in the United States during my lifetime, I felt so proud, so honored, so reassured, that no matter the adversity, there is hope.
Sadly, irresponsible decisions made by some in high office or a lack of backbone by others to rectify a known wrong, other little girls like Michelle, with similar intellectual capabilities, but having the misfortune to have been born in Cuba, have seen their aspirations to contribute to a better world crushed and their hopes dashed.
The advent of the XXI Century brought hopes to millions of people around the world that finally, man would cease to be his worst enemy. Sadly, very little have changed.
I dream, that the upcoming US Presidential election be won by someone who was raised by a single mother, saw the ugly face of hunger, may have experienced segregation, who understands the responsibilities of governments and share his life with an extraordinary woman of very humble beginnings.
These facts give me hope that if Senator Barack Obama is elected President of the United States, he may say Enough is Enough, remove the cruel Embargo/stranglehold on Cuba, sign a non-aggression agreement and in so doing, eliminate Cuba’s garrison mentality and internal embargo, restoring our historical friendship and leaving Cubans to decide their own destiny, be it for better or for worse.
|The advent of the Revolution on January 1, 1959, signaled to the world, the birth of a process in Cuba that would be different than everything we had seen before; a process that would restore the country’s dignity, its independence and sovereignty by eradicating all vestiges of political corruption, bribes, prostitution, drugs, looting of public funds, gambling, ignorance, segregation, and by depriving all foreign governments of their self assign right to decide and impose upon the country their national interests.
Expropriating all large foreign and national corporations in the country, sent a clear message to all, especially to those who played a pivotal role in corrupting the country’s political system since the early 1900.
In May 1959, the first Land Reform was enacted, decapitating all land barons owning hundreds of thousands of acres of agricultural land and similar amounts in reserve while hundreds of thousands of hungry, landless peasants only way of survival was wandering from one farm to another, working as farm hands and living in constant fear of eviction by the military at the behest of the rich; turned out to be the most applauded and widely supported measures introduced so far by the Revolutionary government.
In 1963 and without any advance notice, the government enacted the second land reform, expropriating all farms larger than 165 acres. This decision sent a chilling effect across the farming community, since many wondered if there would be a third or even a fourth land reform in the making. Simultaneously with the massive literacy campaign and an intense follow-up course, thousands of sons and daughters of these farmers acquired the equivalent of a 6th grade education, which opened the door to many technical courses usually in neighboring towns with their lights, glitter and amenities, enticing many of them not to return to their homes in the mountains, beginning a steady exodus from the countryside to this day.
This drastic reorganization of the agricultural system led to the formation of Peoples Cooperatives, where adjoining farmers pooled their land resources, worked collectively and shared in the profit/loss. A serious attempt was made to replace the prevailing hut-type thatched houses with decent cinder block homes.
Some time later, many of these cooperatives that had achieved substantial increase in their production output, were incorporated into large land holdings of the government and turned into Peoples Farm, which had a huge amount of farm machinery, transportation equipment, an agricultural air fleet, dams, irrigation systems, hundreds of employees and a large bureaucracy that was charged with transforming the Cuban agriculture into the most technically advanced in Latin America.
With the arrival of thousands of technicians, engineers, nutritionists, veterinarians, biologists and all sorts of researchers on the field, Cuba underwent its greatest agriculture technological transformation in its entire history. New breed of cattle were created, greater yield of beef and milk were achieved, new feed and more nutritious grass were introduced, a huge army of animal health personnel was in place wiping out traditional animal plague, food inspection was at its peak and a novel veterinarian/agronomist border defense team was consolidated.
A number of world-class agriculture and animal research centers were created, thousands of dairy farms were fully mechanized, artificial insemination achieved the highest level in our region exporting high quality semen worldwide and the poultry industry which was conceived to produce 60 million eggs per year, reached the unparallel amount of 1600 million eggs.
Hundreds of dams and irrigation systems were built, millions of hardwood, ornamental and fruit trees were planted and the first signs of environmental protection began to emerge.
In 1968, in what many still considers as a fatal mistake, all corner stores, mom and pop small business were accused of dealing in black market, illegal enrichment and confiscated. The lack of such vital, wide reaching services has had a devastating impact on the lives of people in every community in the country to this day.
Ironically, it was during this same period (1965-70) that the country began graduating large number of professionals in all fields of knowledge, that this misguided, confiscation policy dictated, that all managerial positions in these huge enterprises should be in the hands of bureaucrats and political operatives, most of whom had no technical/professional background, leading inexorably to serious, multi-billion dollar mistakes, disenchantment and professional demoralization. Orders were not reasoned, they were imposed!
These tragic decisions led to a steady decrease in all production levels in the country, which in turn, severely impacted the import/export index, creating a marked reduction in the availability of all raw materials and products. This vicious cycle increased exponentially the artificial value of most items, setting in motion a corrupting effect in every institution that have since plagued and threatened to devour the entire nation.
Attempting to correct these problems, instead of controlling the distribution of goods through a standard purchase/sale procedure, goods began to trickle down from Ministries to Provincial, Regional, Local and administrative units, which was rife with loopholes, non-tracking mechanisms and poor administrative controls, enabling things to get lost, traded illegally or stolen by an explosion of administrative crooks. Confronting this newly formed brotherhood in crime carried a heavy price for many.
A naturally engrained disdain for money at the highest echelon of government, where money was seen as the culprit of all human weakness, selfishness and with a powerful ability to corrupt, may have been the basis for not questioning or reversing this failed mechanism, which was further expanded by the great give-away season, in which home mortgage, sport entry, public phones, funerals and other services suddenly became free of charge.
Millions of unspent money in the pocket of the population and the diminished availability of products and services quickly led to a work discipline breakdown and a marked increase in vagrancy.
This national anti-economic growth policy, combined with and endless generosity and pride in helping others, propelled Cuba to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in countries less fortunate, while much of Cuba’s infrastructure was in shamble, and social needs, human requirements, and economic and industrial base development went unmet.
Although the land mass of all of the islands visited are less than ½ of Cuba, their natural resources, except for energy rich Trinidad and Tobago, are far less than 1/5 of Cuba’s, their average human technical and professional development compared with Cuba has to be measured in microns, yet, their GNP, their satisfaction index, the quality of their public and private services, are incredibly more efficient than Cuba.
A stark contradiction can be seen in taxis used in those islands that are 40 years newer than those high-risk, hazardous, air polluting “Almendrones” on Cuba’s streets and highways, requiring each hundreds of hours in wasted, repetitious maintenance, just to keep them dragging on.
It is inconceivable, that the homes of those students that are being trained for free in Cuba and others in their community, as a rule of thumb, have far better living condition and are better equipped, than those of their educators in Cuba.
It is impossible to explain that professionals from all of these islands who studied and graduated in Cuba have an incomparable higher standard of living than their Cuban counterparts.
How can we explain that neither the graduates of these countries nor their governments, knowing the tremendous economic challenges that Cuba is facing, have offered to send surplus products in their countries, badly needed educational supplies or personal goods for thousands of national and foreign students and their educators in Cuba?
Or can it be, that Cuba is too proud to accept help from any of the sources mentioned above or others, which could unquestionably improve the quality of their education, quality of life and improve their environment.
For the past forty five years, the stoic Cuban people have endured every possible form of dangers, hardship and sufferings. Recent rumblings, complaints and questioning of some policies, is a positive outcry for help, to rightfully improve their lot and that of their children, that cannot be ignored.
Only by substantially increasing all wages, restoring management authority, demystifying the artificial value attached to scarce products and services, by supplanting the occasional availability of goods by a constant flow/surplus and by replacing the unmanageable centralized administration of small, corner stores, mom and pop business, either by creating co-op or family ownership, which can generate billions for the local government coming from occupational licenses, rent, utilities, insurance, tax and payment of their own health and educational insurance, with which, all of the housing, infrastructure and social development which remains on hold supposedly for lack of resources, can be put in motion immediately, restoring and reviving all communities in the nation.
For those unfamiliar with the Cuban people natural attributes and their endless capabilities to accomplish what others may deem impossible, by looking at the enormous challenge they are facing, may seem to be a daunting proposition. These are the type of challenges that characterized two previous generations.
For those familiar with the Cuban people's natural attributes and their endless capabilities to accomplish what others may deem impossible looking at the enormous challenge they are now facing, these are no different than the crucial, life threatening challenges two previous generations confronted and succeeded.
Debating who made which mistake, pointing fingers or highlighting who did not care or did not listen, will be a subject of profound debate at the right time and place.
The present generation and Cubans of all generations wherever they may be have to answer this call for doing the impossible by unleashing all of their ingenuity, resources, pride and love of country, to help Cuba regain years of misguided policies and to help Cuba occupy its rightful place among nations.
To be continued with final considerations.
|On November 17th 2005, President Fidel Castro pronounced a dramatic speech at the University of Havana, in which he pointed out that the Revolution could not be defeated from abroad, but the people in Cuba could, if measures were not implemented to correct failures, shortcomings and corruption that had encroached into the process and
become part of the government apparatus. He further said Revolution is precisely that, the ability to “Change
everything that must be changed”.
Shortly after, he suffered a severe intestinal ailment that led him to relinquish his post and transfer authority to his brother Army General Raul Castro. During the 26 of July commemoration in Bayamo this year, Raul reiterated his frustration with widespread apathy and administrative mismanagement. He hinted at the need for opening a profound dialogue among the population, to search for and find structural solutions for these entrenched problems.
Propelled by a plethora of news, rumors and speculations following these important developments, I embarked on a visit through the Caribbean that lead me to Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia and Antigua. Previously, I had visited Jamaica, Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago. It was my hope, that the empirical observation and analysis of the different experiences and approach used by these countries to solve many of their social problems that are common to our nations with a shared cultural, historical and geographical background, could help me decipher the origins, root cause and corrective measures, for many of the intractable, irritating and woeful lack of material goods, that have plagued the Cuban society for decades.
With a partial exception of those territories under the jurisdiction of the United States, the first and most striking example of what Cuba stands for hits you like a tidal wave when you ask the average person on the street, in a market, restaurant or driving a taxi, what he/she thinks about Cuba and if they know of any Cuban working in their country.
Then suddenly, it becomes difficult to change the subject, as you are bombarded with expressions of gratitude for having tens of Cuban doctors working in remote regions of their country, where for the first time in their lives, peasants are having access to a physician, or for those physicians staffing public hospitals in towns and villages, who brought with them specialized diagnostic or treatments procedures that were previously unknown in their country, which may have prolonged or saved the lives of their loved ones.
Similar sentiments are expressed for those assisting in the development of agricultural projects, water purification systems, road building, construction, restoring industrial capabilities, sports trainers or by learning to save energy under the guidance of young social workers.
Still, teaching the locals to read and write, restoring the eye sight of thousands and training their children as physicians, nurses, educators or computer science and a myriad of other educational skills free of charge in Cuba, seems to have created the greatest sense of respect and gratitude in the general population.
But knowing at the same time, that this incredible human endeavor is not afforded only to people and countries with which Cuba has a respectful and friendly relation, confers upon it, an even greater significance. When an earthquake devastated Peru in the 70‘s, Cuba had no diplomatic relations with that country yet, hundreds of healthcare professionals offered their expertise, while hundreds of construction workers built roads, hospitals and schools.
When hurricane Mitch nearly wiped Honduras off the map, Cuba had no diplomatic relations with that country, still hundreds of Cuban healthcare personnel were sent to help and are still there, many years after.
Recently, Pakistan was ravished by a monstrous earthquake that killed and wounded tens of thousands of its citizens. Hundreds of Cuban healthcare professionals who came to their assistance, were greeted by the most hostile geographical environment they had ever seen, with freezing temperature and a near insurmountable language barrier, only to excel and earn the respect and gratitude of that nation.
In the year 2004 and with the financial support of the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, Cuba started a massive eye surgery project throughout the Caribbean and Latin America known as Operation Miracle. So far, over 900,000 people have had their eyesight restored, with a goal of millions through 2016.
Among the thousands of Bolivian citizens who have benefited from this project is Andres Teran, a retired sub-officer with the Bolivian Army who was blind, living in abject poverty and hiding a horrendous personal history. While acting under the instruction of Felix Rodriguez, a Cuban-American CIA operative in charge of hunting down guerilla leader Ernesto Che Guevara, who was ambushed, wounded in battle, captured and held prisoner in a school in la Higuera, Bolivia. Teran was ordered to murder him in cold blood by riddling his body with bullets.
These examples, which are less than the tip of the iceberg of Cuba’s 45 plus years of giving, helping everyone in need, irrespective of their geographical location, race, religion, ethnicity, political or social orientation, would pre-suppose a wealthy country, in which all of its people's basic needs were addressed.
For decades, the Cuban people endured all sorts of unsatisfied material and social needs, while they found solace in their enormous sense of giving, volunteering for the most difficult tasks, the furthest assignment from home and even the riskiest of chores. In so doing, many suffered physical harm or paid the ultimate price. A diploma, a certificate, a medal or a public acknowledgement, was all that was expected. Money or any other personal material reward was out of the question.
Those were the beautiful, honest, idealistic and altruistic years of the 60's and 70s, full of Revolutionary fervor, when milk crates and bread bags were left before dawn in front of the grocery store and no one dared touch them.
Those were the years when the first 2100 university students from across the country receiving scholarships, moved into three, twenty story apartment buildings with no locks on the doors or closets…. and nothing ever got lost.
Those were the years when most professors at the University would hand out their exams, ask if there was any question that was not clear, would leave students by themselves, return three hours after at the end of the allotted time, pick up all exams, knowing that no one had dared to cheat.
Those were the years when passengers at all bus stops, asked for the last in line, would not enter through the back door, but if they felt compelled to do so, they would kindly ask those on board to pass on their coin and drop it into the collection bin.
Those were the days, when every administrator having to distribute an insufficient amount of a given item among his workers, had to be prepared for a heated discussion among workers, trying to determine those who needed it most.
That was then. Further on, I will speculate a bit and give my own assessment of how and why got to where we are today.
To be continued…..
|Hoping to write the third and final chapter of this article, I rose-up around 3:00 am on Tuesday February 19. At 3: 18 CNN interrupted its normal programming with a breaking news that Fidel Castro, the President of Cuba had written a letter in which he stated “I will neither aspire nor accept the positions of president of the Council of State or Commander in Chief”.
This stunning news, after leading the Cuban government for 49 years and 49 days albeit expected, left me speechless, frozen in my chair, as thousands of life changing, vivid experiences crossed my mind at the speed of light. I must digress a bit from my original line of thinking.
How could I ever envision that I would live through this unprecedented, historic transformation of Cuba and its people? It all began on Saturday July 25th 1953, when my uncle Clifford invited me to join his friends, who were going to a carnival dance that took place every year at the Hatuey beer gardens in Santiago de Cuba.
Exhausted, after having a wonderful time around 3:00 AM, my Uncle decided to call it quits and go home. Because it was a large group and there was few if any taxis at such late hours of the night, we sang all the way as we walked to our friend’s home, who hosted us for the week-end.
In one of those inexplicable twists of life, our friends lived in Sueno neighborhood, only 4-5 blocks away from the Moncada barracks, Cuba’s second largest military garrison with its threatening looks as we strolled outside of its fortified walls. As we approached one of its many gates, we said Hi to a small number of soldiers guarding one of its entrance. Shortly after reaching home and in the process of getting in bed, we heard loud, relentless explosions that we thought initially were fire crackers.
Later, wild rumors went that a gun battle had ensued between the military stationed at the Moncada and members of the reinforcement brigade that came in from Havana. Around 9:00 am, a couple of B-26’s flew low overhead threatening to bomb, which fortunately did not happen. What we did witness from our vantage point, was military jeeps constantly speeding into the garrison, sometimes with someone laying on the floor of the jeep with their feet hanging out, which was followed by sporadic shots, suggesting someone had been executed.
On Monday, as life partially returned to normal, people were allowed to leave their homes and as we walked near the garrison, more than forty caskets were spread-out on the sidewalk, exuding a nauseating odor and covered with swarms of flies, in a repugnant desecration of the dead.
How Fidel was captured days later and was miraculously saved by Lt Sarria who had instructions not to take prisoners, survived attempts to poison him in jail, the trial and wrote his self defense “Condemn me, it doesn‘t matter; History will Absolve me” became a treatise in jurisprudence.
This was followed by jail time in Cuba’s most feared prison, parole, his migration to Mexico, regrouping, military training, and the launching of a maritime invading force of 82 men most of whom were ambushed and murdered upon landing. With the twelve surviving men, they organized a nation-wide movement that ousted Batista and his 80,000 men-strong army less than three years later.
Out of this victorious revolution came a wide-range, political-ideological third world solidarity movement that spread across the world like a wildfire, supporting every liberation movement, providing its leaders with all necessary moral and material support, denouncing and weakening tens of neo-colonial institutions that had enslaved millions of people in Africa, Asia and Latin-America.
Today Cuba can proudly exhibit thousands of people who were educated in its classrooms, a host of countries whose liberation and independence is closely tied to Cuba’s efforts, and millions of people whose pain and suffering have been relieved and their lives preserved from certain death, because of Cuba’s unqualified, generous devotion to those in need.
These examples and many more may help us understand and counterbalance the difficult socio-economic conditions in Cuba today, that her enemies enjoy highlighting and portraying as a symbol of Cuba’s social failure. In fact, its low wages, crumbling housing, pathetic infrastructure, poor food and medicine supplies, insufficient personal and durable goods, etc., rather than an indictment of their system, it exemplifies their unparallel generosity, unselfishness and profound concerns for the wellbeing of those less fortunate, even at the expense of their own.
Like so many man-made projects, Cuba has had its own long list of mistakes, just as it had these incredible visions and perspectives that have changed history, impacted the lives of millions and restored hope of a better world for present and future generations. These incontrovertible facts are what have made Cuba under the leadership of Fidel Castro a unique, one in a century event that no government, historian or media can negate, tarnish or distort.
But after forty years of the Cuban people enduring all forms of deprivations, it is past due to have a thorough, profound re-evaluation of the country’s resources, its people’s need and ways of increasing its industrial and agricultural output, in order to begin satisfying the most pressing issues affecting that nation.
Contrary to what many Cuban-American scholars may assume, that in order to address the huge material need that have accrued over the years, Cuba will have to dismantle its political system, beg its enemies for forgiveness, plead with the World Bank for financial help, apologize to the United States government for misbehaving and invite back into the country the Cuban-American bourgeoisie with their corrupting mentality and truckload of vices; rest assured, that will never happen.
To some extent, the success and failures of the Revolution are reflected in me and many others. Rescuing from a clerical dead-end job on the United States Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay Cuba in 1962, the Cuban government spent thousands of dollars on my education to become a Veterinary Pathologist with additional training in counter epizoothiologic bio-terrorism education in Germany in 1966, when only a handful of professionals in this hemisphere knew about this specialty.
In 1970 I became Director and Pathologist of Oriente Provincial Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory , which encompassed at the time a territorial responsibility of 1/3 of Cuba’s agriculture expanse. In addition to this impossible task, I was later put in charge of overseeing the technical and personal needs of our foreign professional support team, I founded and became President of the Provincial Veterinary Scientific Council and in 1972, instructor of Pathology at the University of Oriente.
As difficult and overwhelming as these multi tasks and complex responsibilities were, my greatest and most challenging problems arouse from my constant battle against an incipient corruption - that has since swept the country - among some co-workers in administrative positions, who misused their authority to steal, divert or bribe others with all sorts of material resources assigned to or in possession of our laboratory. Stopping, challenging, denouncing and going as far as forbidding their entry onto our premises, spurred a formidable and rabid array of enemies, who were all too willing to join forces, plot and accuse me of the worst imaginable political crimes, landing me in jail for 8 years, of which I served 4 ½.
For many, this unspeakable and unjustifiable crime meant destroying the pride and joy they felt over the professional achievement of their country boy from Guantanamo. For me, after many years of shame, pain and frustration, thanks to the help of friends and loved ones, I was able to do an in-depth, rigorous analysis of this event and identify the human frailty that cohabitate in many of us, causing my demise and the abominable end of my professional life.
But far more important than my personal grief, was the incredible opportunity that life had reserved for me, by making me the second member of my family to ever sit in a classroom of higher education, three hundred years after our forceful removal from Africa. That’s why, knowing what I know now and given the opportunity to do it all over again, I have no doubt, I would do exactly the same.
Now, in order for Cuba to confront and begin addressing the enormous backlog of urgent, intractable social problems that have severely affected the wellbeing of the Cuban population for decades, I will put forth some unsolicited ideas that I truly believe, once they are subjected to a thorough, critical, objective analysis and have added all necessary modifications, corrections or rejections, we can anticipate a 360 degree socio-economic surge in Cuba by the year 2020 that will catapult this nation into her rightful place among nations in this hemisphere, without having to alter any of the structural foundations that constitutes the moral pillars of the Revolution.
Sources of Income
Cuba’s massive educational system has made all of its émigré potentially more successful than those from other countries. This reality suggests that every Cuban living abroad is indebted to our country and should therefore be willing to refund a portion of their education cost, which can be done, by signing a payment agreement at the closest consulate and remitting equal yearly payments for the next ten years, until his/her debt has been paid in full. Conservative estimates puts the gross income of this project on/or around $5,000,000,000.00
A rampant and uncontrollable violence is ravaging the United States, Central America and some Caribbean islands and has left no workplace, school, healthcare facility, church, courthouse, daycare centers, congress or home untouched. Millions of teenagers, especially minorities, are confronted every day with life threatening challenges, which is expressed in the high homicide ratio, massive incarceration, lack of basic education, drug addition and gang proliferation, placing them squarely among other endangered species.
Creating a network of boarding middle and high schools on the Isles of Youth in Cuba could become a refuge for thousands of US, Caribbean and Latin America youths, where they could safely acquire a solid education and a technical or professional formation, which could prepare them for a creative and productive life. Conservative estimates for tuition, boarding, insurance and family visits for each 300/alumni school, could generate approximately $4,500.000.00 per year.
Forty seven million US citizens and presumably a large number in Latin America and the Caribbean are without a Health Insurance Policy. Creating an affordable policy that may oscillate between $25.00 and $50.00 per month, could possibly enroll between 3 and 5 million individuals, operating on a preventive medicine basis, with yearly physicals.
In support of this project, a 1000 bed Multi-Specialty Caribbean Medical Center could be built in Santiago de Cuba with a similar 500 bed satellite, specializing in certain pathologies, which could be located in Holguin.
Additionally, a Regional, high-tech Caribbean Clinical Pathology Laboratory/Imaging Diagnostic Center with Pathologists strategically situated abroad to serve the area, would provide its top-notch diagnostic capabilities to a region with an anemic service in need of upgrading.
A 2000 bed Nursing Home/Assisted Living facilities distributed through Guantanamo, Santiago and Holguin would satisfy a poorly developed service in this region. Conservative estimates sets the income that can be generated by these entities in billions.
Mental Health and illegal Drug Additions are rapidly becoming the most widespread pathology of the XXI Century. Cuba's near-drug free environment, thousands of healthcare professionals in that field, its renowned track record with Spanish speaking patients and its highly competitive cost, can anticipate with adequate promotion registering tens of thousands of patients from our region who have no where else to go in search of help. Income from this service may easily surpass any of the country’s main source of foreign income.
Tens of millions of people who have been the backbone of Cuba’s solidarity movement around the world, disseminating its reality, marching, holding vigils or collecting donations for its people, could be encouraged to join a new form of solidarity at this critical juncture by participating in a Tri Party Joint Venture composed of solidarity members, Cuban retirees/unemployed organized in co-op’s and properties owned by the Cuban government, in the creation of tens of thousands of micro commercial, industrial, agriculture or hospitality ventures, expanding exponentially these activities, creating thousands of jobs and generating billions in profit, that will be disbursed equally among all three participating sectors.
Cuba’s excellent geographical location, its natural beauty, near perfect climate, educated population and having the safest social environment in the western hemisphere, seems to combine all the ingredients for the development of 200,000 home sites of 100x100 sq ft in the periphery of cities, lakes, beaches, mountain, valleys or secluded areas, upon which individuals with a longstanding friendly relation with Cuba, Cuban emigrants respectful of its sovereignty and others, retired or active, preferably those with higher education, willing to assume parcels in usufruct for 25 years for which, depending on the location of any specific lot, a users fee may range between $2,000.00, $5,000.00 or $10,000.00 per year.
Homes built on these home sites will reflect the taste and acceptable discretion of the home dwellers, who at the end of the 25 years usufruct or if death occurs, these properties in good maintenance conditions,will become part of the Cuban patrimony. In addition to the home value and yearly land payment, it is estimated that Cuba could earn millions in individuals' living expense.
A worldwide demands for shorter delivery time of goods and services, has given rise to an enormous air cargo service and a constant search for establishing distribution centers closer to their marketplace. The city of Guantanamo situated on the southern tip of Cuba, has the longest airstrip in the country, a perfect year round aviation weather, abundant availability of water, electricity, good land, rail and sea connections, hundreds of thousands of underdeveloped acreage and its most attractive feature is being 2, 4 or more flying hours, closer to most of Latin America markets.
A project of this nature will require, hundreds of thousands sq ft of open air, covered and refrigerated storage facilities, thousands of employees, generating billions in rental, customs, air transport, fuel and landing fee, transforming this region into one of the most prosperous in the nation.
If half of these funds were invested primarily in the former province of Oriente and in other specific projects around the country on a variety of social, agro-industrial development, job creation and scientific/technical development, the present unequal development gap existing between the east and the west of Cuba, could be narrowed dramatically by 2020 and wiped-out by 2050. Among the steps to be considered are:
Assign 50 million to refurbish every middle and high school on the Isles of Youth and construct as many as necessary to reach a 20,000 capacity for middle and high school students from the Caribbean, Africa, America and Latin America.
Assign 10 million to refurbish and expand the Frank Pais teacher’s school in Santiago de Cuba, to reach a capacity of 5000 students from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Assign $20 million to refurbish, upgrade and expand the School of Veterinary Sciences, the regional Diagnostic Laboratory and the Animal Research Center in Bayamo.
Assign 60 million for the construction of a Solar, Wind and Environmental Sciences University for 2000 students, a Solar Research Center and an Energy Saving bulb factory in Guantanamo.
Assign 15 million for the construction in Guantanamo of the National English, French and Creole Language Academy with a capacity of 5000 students, staffed with teachers from the English and French Speaking Caribbean islands.
Assign 20 million for the construction of the Planetarium, Aeronautical and Aerospace and Cosmonaut Museum in Guantanamo.
Assign 50 million to transform the Avenida Michelsen in Santiago de Cuba, into the Developing World Cultural, Expo and Business Center, where every African, Latin America and Caribbean country can exhibit their arts, culture and heritage to promote economic agreements among nations.
Assign 30 million for the construction of the Faculty of African, Caribbean and Latin American studies, with its museum and visual arts center in Santiago de Cuba.
Assign 100 million to refurbish thousands of colonial homes and others of unique architectural value throughout Oriente, create co-op of employee/operators in partnership with the Tourist Industry, turning them into moderate cost Bed and Breakfast lodging.
Assign 300 million for the environmental clean-up, dredging of the port and restoring Ciudamar, Cayo Granma and Punta Gorda in Santiago de Cuba to its original beauty.
Assign 500 million to construct waste water treatment facilities in Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Bayamo, Holguin and Las Tunas.
Allocate 800 million for the Plan Salcines hydrology complex in Baracoa, to satisfy the drinking water needs of Santiago, Guantanamo and Palma Soriano.
Establish a 25,000 family Guest Worker agreement with Haiti, Brazil and other Caribbean Islands and for every Cuban family interested in relocating from the inner city to the countryside and assign 50 acres of land in northern Oriente and Camaguey in usufruct for 25 years, in order to revitalize the sugar cane plantation and restore the production capacity of the sugar industry. A Sandino type home with windmill, septic tank, means of transportation and a $10,000 loan, will be part of this package.
Establish a 20,000 family Guest Workers agreement with Haiti, Brazil, other Caribbean islands and every Cuban family wishing to relocate from any inner city to the mountain range of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba , El Escambray and la Sierra de los Organos, and assign 50 acres of land and personal facilities as described above, for a massive revitalization of Coffee, Cocoa plantations, fruits and produce production.
Establish a 10,000 family Guest Workers agreement with Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, relocate to southern Oriente and assign 50 acres per family of semi-arid lands for herding sheep, goats and growing nuts, cactus, olives and other typical middle eastern produce. As in previous examples, similar start-up kit is included.
Establish a 10,000 family Guest Workers agreement with Viet Nam/China, allowing their relocation and assigning each family 50-75 acres of wet lands in the delta of the Cauto river, for the expansion of rice production. All other initial benefits are included.
Assign 50 acres of land in usufruct for 25 years and a $10,000.00 loan, to every new and old farmer in the country, interested in revitalizing fruit production in Santiago de Cuba, Contramaestre, Ciego de Avila and the Isle of Youth. All other offer applies.
Create a similar project with 50,000 inner city dwellers with agriculture background, interested in developing feed cattle production in Camaguey, Bayamo, and Sanctis Spiritus and the Havana/Matanzas corridor. All other offerings apply.
Provide a $5,000.00 loan to every home owner interested in refurbishing their home and a $15,000.00 loan for every new home construction.
Assign $20 million for the construction of a motorcycle (scooter) assembly plant in Santiago de Cuba, to provide basic means of transportation to every citizen and for export in the region.
These ideas, which may seem idyllic to some, are solely intended to improve the living standard and quality of life of the exceedingly generous and deserving Cuban people, who have done so much for those society deem unworthy and have left on their own to perish. Cuba must survive, strive and continue to extend its care around the world.
No philosophical, political, racial or social difference should ever be more important than the sanctity of life and its inalienable right of happiness.
If any or all of these suggestions were applied and they would achieve the anticipated economical development, the fossilized, cruel, inhuman embargo would implode as happened with China, Viet Nam, Russia and everywhere else, where the enforcer recognizes they have become an irrelevant spectator.
Email: albertoj_AT_afrocubaweb.com [replace _AT_ with @]
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