The Recently Elected General Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas Hides Behind the Press and His Oldest Son / Juan Juan Almeida

•April 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Oh Jesus, our only consolation in times of sorrow, our only consolation sustain us in the immense vacuum that…!

Today I woke up praying, asking for the rest of the fast-paced, almost dead, but still alive Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas. Parasite with a beautiful face and expensive clothes, recently promoted to general. He knows full well that this olive branch is the final blow.

With more fear than money, Luis Alberto walks prudently, as I said a few days ago, gripping the armrests of his battered old couch. Having beaten Deborah Castro to the point of putting her in the hospital, he is more vulnerable than a manatee at the North Pole. No father accepts this; and much less so if he is the “Godfather” of a formidable clan, because as they say in Sicily, the Camorra doesn’t forgive.

This significant promotion has at least a couple of purposes and one reading; to distract our attention, and bring Lopez-Callejas to paroxysm of despair making real the torment of being between pride and terror.

We can think, speak, and insinuate and put our heads together; but faced with such cases we must never forget that the January 1, 1984, Maj. Gen. Arnaldo Ochoa Sanchez publicly received the distinction of Hero of the Republic of Cuba, the highest honor awarded by the Council of State. And only 5 years later, on July 13, 1989, he was shot by a makeshift firing squad by the sea, by the decision of Raul and a military tribunal.

Chance or coincidence, a few years after the execution of Ochoa, Alejandro, his only son, died in suspicious accident; but I don’t even want to talk about this out of respect for people I love. But I have to admit that a few weeks ago just when I finished writing an article under the title “The powerful former son of Raul Castro, into exile” a great friend (family of the General) whom I prefer to keep more hidden than groin of a nun, had the wisdom to warn “As you publish this, you’re only protecting Luis Alberto and dragging out what for him is inevitable.”

Indeed, only the press can shield Luis Alberto today, and he clings to his best and only wild card, Raul Guillermo Rodriguez Castro (his eldest son), who although he is the favorite grandson of the Cuban leader generates frequent discord within of the royal family, because this arrogant boy, with the well sculpted athletic body, fed certain addictions that build gradually.

The road to Cuban power is paved with hypocrisy and victims. The recently sanctioned General Rodríguez López-Callejas is at the center of a hurricane at the mercy of Raul Castro’s clock, and his son Alejandro, who without any hurry, calculating, calm and meticulous waits for the exact moment to activate the guillotine which, during the unexpected storm of some morning, will fall on his neck and like the curtain in a theater and put a final end to the terrible work of his short eternity.

19 March 2014

Cuba: Genetics, Elites, and Emigrant Children / Juan Juan Almeida

•April 3, 2014 • 1 Comment

Some months ago, someone who does not wish to be named because she is closely related to a high level Cuban leader, called me and told me that she had finished living her first and very unhappy American experience.  Her voice sounded ragged, with the irregular breaths that usually accompany crying.

Bilingual, university graduate, pretty, well prepared and much better raised, she applied for a job and found as an answer: Your last name is vetoed here, we don’t want any trouble. I told her, “Don’t worry, when someone destroys our dream, life always fixes it to help us build another one much better.”

I believe that so I managed to calm her; but today I need catharsis after seeing the hubbub generated in the local press by the arrival in Miami of the young Havanan named Josué Colomé Vazquez, the son of the Cuban vice-president and minister of the interior, General Abelardo Colomé Ibarra.

It is true that since there is no gossip press on the island, the lives of certain people who make up that clouded high society generates a curiosity that approaches morbidity and gives life to hunters who with mandibular exercise seek to call our attention shooting relentlessly at the so-called elite who because of non-programmed genetics were born with certain privileges.

Needless to say, with exceptions, this so attractive demographic group that includes many relatives of leaders of the Cuban revolution, does not decide to emigrate because of feeling persecuted or for political reasons; they do it because of fashion, eccentricity, or to study and one day return home with the honorific baggage of an American residence and some ultra-flamboyant title.  Also to improve their personal economy and/or look for more stable places than Havana in which to reverse the syndrome of generalized apathy that is produced by not knowing where we are going… In short, the reasons vary by those who come, ninety miles further north, this galaxy that many call “Daddy’s kids.”

Are they simply opportunists?  God save me from judging, although I agree that they are taking advantage of Public Law 89-732, “The Cuban Adjustment Act” which offers refuge and opportunity to Cubans in this country, the United States. The same law and opportunity of which so many Cuban emigrants (the term exile sounds a bit more cruel to me) make use of.

It is not good to outlaw so much. He who is free of sin come and ask me for a few. Is it necessary to clarify that, although to many it seems an act of high patriotism, stealing an airplane, a boat or raiding a warehouse in order to steal loaves of bread, without being hungry or needy, are not political issues but common crimes?

Look, on March 31, 1589, the fortification works of Havana began to come into being, directed by the engineer, military architect and Italian builder Bautista Antonelli, and by field marshall Juan de Tejeda who was governor of Cuba from 1589 to 1593.  An excellent anniversary to think of building a better country, where judging is an act of law, the guilty pay for their crimes and not for being sons or nephews. Reconsidering it bodes well.

1 April 2014

The Cuban Parliament Interrupts Its Eternal Vacation / Juan Juan Almeida

•March 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

In a small editorial, the newspaper Granma reported that, in accordance with Article 90, section (a) of the current Constitution, the State Council of the Republic of Cuba agreed to convene a special session of the National Assembly of Popular Power to consider the draft Law on Foreign Investment.

Wow, even in that there is apartheid! Wouldn’t it be better to reconvene to establish the rights of Cuban entrepreneurs? I don’t know why I bother if Cubans already know that in this strange debate the MPs only attend to shout in unison “Aye.”

20 March 2014

Homage to an Absentee / Juan Juan Almeida

•March 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The truth is that Cuba continues to be more surrealist than André Breton himself. You would think that only in the theater could an absent honoree be honored; but no, a recent tribute organized by the Archdiocese of Havana for the eminent professor Carmelo Mesa Lago on the occasion of his 80th birthday had to take place without the presence of the honoree, after the Cuban authorities denied him entry to the island.

Anyway, (to paraphrase the saying from Don Giuseppe Lampedusa’s novel The Leopard) in Cuba they changed everything so that nothing changes.

Translated by Tomás A.

20 March 2014

Half Measures / Juan Juan Almeida

•March 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The newspaper Granma intended to have an impact with pompous editorial “Towards the 500 years of Santiago de Cuba” where it explains how that province has developed a project consisting of measures that will allow it to arrive at July 2015, the date commemorating 500 years since its founding, with the rehabilitation and total embellishment of its historic city center and significant sites.

Certainly, as it suits them, the Cuban authorities will disburse funds to restore important public works exposed to the eyes of foreign visitors. But I am slightly curious: what are they going to do with the beggars and mentally ill who wander around the city and leave much to be desired relative to social adornment, will they include them in the beautification? Hopefully they’ll hide them because then, as the song says… Who cares, I don’t give a damn.

25 March 2014

Gossip from Cyberspace / Juan Juan Almeida

•March 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Josué Colomé Vázquez

According to the blog “Cuba al Descubierto” (Cuba Uncovered), edited by Mr. Luis Dominguez and specializing in Cuban curiosities, recently arrived in Miami after crossing the Mexican border and asking the US authorities for refuge, is a young Havanan named Josué Colomé Vázquez, and the question many are asking is what’s so special about a Cuban crossing the border and asking for asylum in the United States.

Well, the first is that although entering the United States by this route is a common practice, it’s considered illegal. The second, and more interesting one, is that the so pompous Josué is the son of the Cuban vice-president and Minister of the Interior General Abelardo Colome Ibarra. So it’s all perfectly normal, exiled and emigrated will return to Havana; and the children of the elite will continue to increase in la Yuma (the US of A).

27 March 2014

Cuba Seeks Investors with an Old Publicity Strategy / Juan Juan Almeida

•March 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

In 1989, Cuba concentrated 85 per cent of its trade relations on the USSR and the rest of the socialist camp.  Thus it assured the supply of components, raw materials, technology and satisfactory loans in terms of due date and interest. With the collapse of European socialism and the disintegration of the USSR, Cuba in short order found itself with substantially diminished purchasing capacity and economic-financial reality.

Havana was going close-hauled in a scene as uncertain as that of a refugee on the high seas.  It was then that Fidel, expert in navigating crises and very irresponsible about costs, laid out his directives for confronting the debacle as if it were a slip up. Internally he kept the nation entertained with the sadly famous “Special Period and War of All the People;” not abroad where he launched messages that assured of control and security, effective hooks for finding new trading partners and markets.

So there appeared on the island a nephew of Saddam Hussein who built the first plant for the canned soft drink “Tropicola;” and a known arms trafficker (sought on a worldwide level) interested in financing the national production of cane sugar and citrus fruits.

After such illustrious personages disguised as entrepreneurs, there arrived other such relatives of famed dictators, market opportunists, refined bandits, vulgar robbers, men of decorum, and Cuban exiles with suitcases full of hope.

As was expected, many entrepreneurs, those who the government rejected for various reasons, were on a long road of unbearable defaults; but others received, besides their temporary residence, the right to possess a “foreign firm” that today they trade on the island at low cost and high value.

This quasi-dishonesty where the foreign and national converge, unleashed a kind of euphoria; on one hand, many Cuban citizens trying to escape from economic suffocation managed to work for foreign businesses; on the other, relatives of and individuals close to high Cuban leaders, because of feeling they were not employed, left Cuba and founded companies with which they then bought another and another until hiding the original identity in order to then enroll in the commercial registry of the Chamber of Commerce for the Republic of Cuba and make it function.

Of course, not all the children of the elite wanted to become prosperous businessmen; the exalted Alejandro Castro Espin decided to reach high and under the pseudonym of Ariel was named chief of the section of the 4th department of State Security in charge of investigating, approving, recruiting and bribing all the businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs, foreign company workers, and Cuban stockholders in foreign businesses. Come on, it’s the same as printing money.

In such circumstances, in 1995 he approved the first legislation (No. 77) that regulates foreign investment and continues in force today.  At the end of 2000 there were 392 economic partnerships with foreign capital located for the most part in mining, prospecting–extraction of petroleum, tourism, light industry, metallurgy and construction; several of them, property of a few Cubans (relatives and people close to the high Cuban leadership) resident on the island.

The newspaper Granma reports that as provided, the State Council for the Republic of Cuba calls a special session of the National Assembly of Popular Power for Saturday, March 29 this year for the purpose of analyzing the proposed Law of Foreign Investment.

I see the answer clearly, there are political realities that cannot wait.  Alliances like ALBA and CARICOM smell redirection; Venezuela, for now, I do not believe loses Maduro as President but his regional leadership.  Cuba returns to old ways, approaches Brazil and the European Economic Community reaching for its old but effective publicity strategy to attract investors.

I would like to know if this new legal proposal will open new liberties for those Cuban exiles that currently can only carry out — from across the border — buying and selling activities; and if finally they will decide to legislate in favor of or against those Cuban entrepreneurs resident on the island who for a long time have invested in Cuba in and need to enjoy a protective legal framework.

I believe that if I ask any Cuban official, he will invoke a 5th Amendment that does not exist in our constitution.  For all the rest, we’ll have to wait.

Translated by mlk.

24 March 2014

 
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