Che’s Daughter’ Doctor and Tour Operator / Juan Juan Almeida

•August 6, 2014 • Comments Off

Aleida Guevara. Photo taken from Cubadebate

Perhaps motivated by the news confirming that the documentary series “The Life and Work of Ernesto Che Guevara (1928-1967)” will become part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, the eccentric and daring Dr. Aleida Guevara, daughter of the Argentine guerrilla, published a verbal debauchery in the Bayamo newspaper La Demajagua, where she invites all Cubans to visit the Library of Alexandria.

Forgive my ignorance, but I can’t understand what Che Guevara has to do with Ptolemy; and, ignoring this trifle, her writing seems more like a travelogue written under the influence of mate de coca.

And if the doctor’s invitation is paid for by the government, as she is, then we’ll meet in Alexandria. I would like that.

31 July 2014

The Wasted Bolivian Summit and the Words of Raul Castro / Juan Juan Almeida

•July 20, 2014 • Comments Off
Bolivian President Evo Morales and Raul Castro

Bolivian President Evo Morales and Raul Castro (Source EFE)

With much of the world caught up in the unharmonious rivalry of football’s World Cup, which ended last Sunday in Brazil, few people were paying attention to the conclusion of the funereal G77+China summit.

It was attended by a couple of serious figures, a group of spermatzoon zombies and a broad spectrum of political antiques who, given their actions, did not seem to be living in an era in which theoretical debates, respect for inequality and discord dominate.

This event — a theatrical fantasy based on an esoteric work of fiction — ended on June 15 in the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. It was yet another portrayal of lunacy, one in which uncreative delegates gave insipid speeches full of florid mumbo-jumbo.

They amounted to monologues that sounded good but convinced no one. Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General himself, spoke of human rights before a cynical troupe of representatives from countries – Zimbabwe, Syria, Equatorial Guinea, Cuba and Venezuela – accused of violating them. And the there was China, which arrived at the summit without bothering to conceal its true intentions: commercial expansion and strategic positioning in the Americas.

I suggest that analysts start paying attention to this particular issue and stop ignoring Asia’s current imperial-minded superpower, which has invested more than one-hundred million dollars in the region over the last eight years.

There were pleasant but disturbing words from the gruff, obstinate and colorful Evo Morales, president of the summit and of Bolivia — the poorest and most backward country in the South America — whose speeches were sprinkled with his customary and dangerously foolhardy statements. Instead of requesting more support for his nation, he proposed the elimination of the UN Security Council as a means of creating a “new world order.”

A dictatorial government must appear above reproach and project an exemplary image, at least according to books that try to explain how power and social harmony in totalitarian systems are achieved principally through fear. But it can intimidate the lackluster, incoherent, arrogant and rigid.

General Raul Castro, with marked but unconvincing overacting and macho bravado, eschewed the customary meddling policies of Cuba’s revolutionary government. Projecting instead a posture of economic prowess and crocodile charisma, he publicly and shamelessly denounced what he called “illegal, covert and subversive actions, used to destabilize countries.” The Cuban president added, “At the present time state sovereignty is being transgressed and principles of international law are being blatantly violated.”

Has the General/President been drinking again or does he think  that saying one thing while doing another is not lying but rather just a way to maintain a tradition that has been passed down?

In short, the sea.* I don’t know if it was luck or misfortune but, because attention was focused on goals, news of a summit attended by presidents, heads-of-state and over 100 representatives from various countries was not reported until the end of some newscasts. It is evidence that we live at a crucial time marked by a complete leadership vacuum. Worrisome.

*Translator’s note: “en fin, el mar.” Final line of a stanza from the well-known poem “Tengo”  (“I Have”) by 20th century Cuban poet Nicolas Guillen.

16 June 2014

Raul Castro’s Plans for Venezuela and Russia / Juan Juan Almeida

•July 18, 2014 • Comments Off

The grass, the cows, and the man; in the food chain every species expects a greater predator. International politics works in the same way. The government of Venezuela, for example, manipulates world, regional and even local opinion, publicizing the work it does in the Barrio Adentro, Milagro, Sonrisa, Negra Hipólita, José Gregorio Hernández, Moncada missions, etc, etc, etc.

Seeming to clean the castle but in reality they market popular health as if it were a pedestal, in order to save the King and to entertain the country. Using their own sick people to bring the country to its knees, to divide it into tribes that confront each other, to denigrate the spirit and to darken the pride of millions of Venezuelans.

It is a tragedy for many is fortunate for a few. There is nothing of altruism, much less of kindness; it is simply a crime that, given the necessity, becomes socially acceptable but continues to be exactly like any criminal.

There are, therefore, many who confuse a beach with a battlefield, trash with news, who on seeing themselves observers of the real world, limit their vision and mimic whatever parrots are to blame for this crisis called Nicholas Maduro.

Big mistake. The politicians know perfectly well the basics and the repetitiveness of the human race; most people allow themselves to be led, need to be led, and hope that their loyalty will be well compensated.

The former member of the Socialist League, the former bus driver of Caracas the former Foreign Minister, the former executive Vice president, autocrat par excellence and current president of Venezuela, is simply a chess piece who has great responsibility; here Havana is the predator with amazing acuity, and driven by its usual strategy, of domination and management, it invests resources in sending doctors and medicine to control the area and to feed groups of opinion. Julius Caesar, military leader, politician and former Roman dictator said, “A people should not be invaded without any reason.”

I still can not accept that so many analysts in their work of analysis overlook the detail that “El Chino” has nothing to do with China, and the invasion of stethoscopes and white coats is pure business; delivering to the highest bidder the great bear of the Russian steppe.

General Raul Castro, A man more occupied in accumulating power then in defending ideologies, avidly pro-Russian, zigzagging, calculating, and in favor of the Cold War, is trying to organize a possible ending serving the area to a Moscow that is awakening from a lethargy and misses no opportunity to throw itself threateningly into the backyard of the United States with the idea of recapturing its feudal Caribbean paradise and using it as a naval base in the expansion of ALBA, CARICOM, CELAC, OEA and MERCOSUR, all governed by the left and, coincidently, the geographic space that could favor the Kremlin and its ambitions to match the pulse of the New World Order. Something that contradicts the Monroe doctrine; hence much to my regret, “America is no longer for Americans.”

17 July 2014

Hammer Blow to Freedom of Expression / Juan Juan Almeida

•July 15, 2014 • Comments Off

Magazine cover

The editors of the Catholic magazine Laity Space, a sociological debate organ of the Archdiocese of Havana, were removed from their posts. Roberto Veiga and Lenier Gonzalez announced it in a brief note that is circulating via email: “We want to inform you that after a decade of intense work — in which we tried to help construct pathways of prosperity and stability for our country — we have been relieved of our duties as Editor and Deputy Editor of the magazine.”  It continues, “It has been a true pleasure to have been able to share this time with all of you clinging to the desire for the possibility of building a better Cuba.  Without you this beautiful adventure would not have taken place.”

To put it bluntly, the Cuban authorities are afraid, very afraid of the word.

Translated by mlk.

13 June 2014

Summer Entertainment / Juan Juan Almeida

•July 12, 2014 • Comments Off

Because of stubbornness, I always trip on the same rock and end up insulted.

The following are summer vacation possibilities in Cuba; I am not exagerrating and take no position one way or the other: Due to our intense heat, most people opt for the beach and camping, but this is also a good time to talk about the magic of libraries. The fine arts entice us with their forms and colors, so visiting museums is a good choice.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to break away from the crowd, meet up with some friends, stroll through the galleries and you will see how gratified both body and soul can be. Cinema, television and radio accompaniment offer diversions that should not be overlooked during the summer season, when a willingness to make the most of it will make all the difference. Certainly, these are options for Cubans without access to hard currency.

Please, more respect by and for our people, these are not alternatives for summer vacation.  These are typical weekend activities for any family in the world.  Enough.

Translated by mlk.

9 July 2014

New Teachers Graduation / Juan Juan Almeida

•July 12, 2014 • Comments Off

The provincial director of education in Holguin estimates that the graduation of hundreds of new Education professionals from the province’s two teacher training centers will favorably impact the availability of teachers in the coming school year. The recent graduates will offer classes in the different provinces of the country’s east.

Margarita McPherson Sayu, Vice Minister of Education, said that the entrance of the new teachers into the educational system will mean not only that the faculties will again nurture youth, but also that well-trained professionals will together with the rest help make the leap to the path of quality.

Works for me, as my grandmother used to say. I do not question the quality of the new professionals, I refer to this leap; because the deterioration of instruction in Cuba is so, but so great, that really they need a magician.

Translated by mlk.

10 July 2014

Secrets and Illnesses Among Cuban Doctors in Venezuela / Juan Juan Almeida

•July 9, 2014 • Comments Off

The Cuban government, as a tactic, is entrenched in silence, compartmentalization and secrets. This is the reason why, even today, in the age of the internet and despite several defections, it is not common to find real news that described the medical mission in Venezuela from inside.

The subject is “top secret.” The island’s government prefers to hide problems, instead of preventing them with information. Any data that concerns the medical collaboration is considered “classified” and, consequently, remains guarded by the Cuban and Venezuelan special services.

So, weeks ago on the publication of an article titled, “Cuban mission in Venezuela in danger,” the bloodhounds got all upset and lost their cool, and with the momentum of hunters set off in chaotic pursuit. But, on not finding those guilty of “leaking information,” they decided to grab the most likely bidder as a scapegoat so as not to face the resounding echo of their own incompetence.

Arrested and sent to Havana, an innocent aid worker traveled handcuffed and guarded, carrying as baggage as a sheet of paper where he is accused of being a spy; without trial but with judgment. Such slander is the work of an inquisitorial tribunal chaired by Roberto Gonzalez, national chief of the Cuban Medical Mission in that country.

Somewhere I read that to see an injustice and to remain silent is like committing it. So it is my duty to clarify that the information published did not come from any foot soldier, but an upper crust official who, with his high sense of greed, tried to live in a world beyond the sky.

I do not think any cooperator would risk breaking the barrier of imposed compartmentalization without some guaranteed escape. Something that I believe justifies the innocence of the arrested. Those below don’t possess the information, nor have the desire; it’s enough to have to the responsibility to save lives and to be sheltered in a country where few people want us; because despite our good, bad or ulterior motives, much of the Venezuelan population, sees us as mere invaders.

But back to the subject at hand, and with more information than I had last week; on Monday,June 30, in Anzoategui, Aragua, Bolivar, Carabobo, Lara, Miranda, Sucre and Zulia 330 Cuban collaborators were reported with acute respiratory infections; 37 of them in the last week. In Nueva Esparta, Trujillo, Monagas, Yaracuy, Sucre, Miranda, Lara and Barinas, there is an increase of collaborators with dengue fever (nine, to be exact).

I am not given to putting figures in writing, but sometimes, like this is necessary. I must also add that in the Amazon, Trujillo, Nueva Esparta, Apure, Guarico, Anzoategui, Lara, Falcón, Barinas, Delta Amacuro and Zulia, 98 Cubans were diagnosed with ADD (acute diarrheal diseases).

Also, in the Amazonas, Apure, Monagas, Guarico, Nueva Esparta, Bolivar, Vargas, Cojedes, Sucre, Merida, Barinas and Zulia, 248 Cuban professionals (79 doctors, 80 nurses, 55 dentists and 34 laboratory technicians) are under observation after suffering some kind of occupational accidents involving exposure to blood and body fluids.

The Cuban medical mission in Venezuela has serious problems; besides manifest rejection and disease, the exodus of physicians is increasing.

I was told that the opening of offices in areas of extreme poverty is stagnant due to the lack of cooperation of community leaders, and Venezuelan students are reluctant to participate as extras in this circus. And to make it more surreal, there is a lack of medications, even basic ones. They say there is a delay in delivery. I will also speak about this.

8 July 2014


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