There's an old joke, probably from Hollywood, that when someone says, "It's not about the money...", it's really about the money.
The Castro's bankrupted Cuba fifty years ago by implementing misguided nationalist, socialist and communal economic policies. It took the failure of the Soviet Union and its ending of its sponsorship of the Castros to make this obvious and to destine Cubans to live in abject poverty.
Everything that the Castros have done since that bleak day in 1994 has been geared toward keeping the doors open; maintaining the federal police as well as the urban grays - the PNR - and the secret police.
I've written before about Cuba's 6th Congress of a year and a half ago and what a distortion of the truth it was. How it was really a money grab disguised as a new economic development strategy. Going to a two currency system allowed them to grab an extra 10% of the US cash that ex-pat Cubans and tourists bring intot he country.
Now there's chatter about them allowing residents to use debit cards in the dollar stores.
No Cubans (outside of government bribe-takers) have so much legal income that they can afford to make a big show of shopping in the Benitton stores or paying full retail for cigars. And they're sure as hell smart enough to not use their debit card accounts for the cash that they earn on the side. Like everything else the Castros do, it's about them and money, not Cubans and well-being.
The Toronto Star has a number of journalists who tend toward supporting socialism, with which I have no problem, except when the socialists are also dictators that are human rights abusers.
The story makes it look like the Castros are being generous and humanitarian in offering medical training to poor students to work in poor places.
But you have to read a lot of the story before the economics are revealed.
Like everything in Cuba, the truth is a little different.
In truth, it is another example of Castro(s) trading in flesh.
They buy doctors for one price and sell them for another.
Just like fish mongers. Or other mongers.
But The Star doesn't make this the focus of the story. Which it could have.
The teachers of these "doctors" (who might be best referred to as "doctor practitioners") are paid in Cuban pesos - equivalent to about USD$30-50 / month. Each teacher has, say, about 200 students - so the "investment" is about $0.20 / month per student.
They (the Castros) "sell" the services of each of these "doctors" to other countries for about $2,000 per month and they - the Castros - keep about $800 - which is a rate of return of 4000%.
They sell people like they sell cigars and rum.
When a person writes anything, they have to have a point of view, or their work will be boring. It is said that a POV is a factor of a person's perspective. So what is mine?
Cuba is very, very confusing - almost nothing is as it seems.
While the people are about the poorest in the Americas, they do manage to survive, in a fashion. They have apparently excellent health and apparently can be well educated.
But again, it is not as it seems.
First off, the Castros lie. I write about this in Mojito!. So anything you read from there is untrue; appatchiks will always write that whatever the Great Chief or his brother say or do is terrific and any civilian that is interviewed knows that they can only tell things that reflect positively on the revolution.
The health care success is at least partly due to the paucity of money to buy drugs or even rum or for that matter food that makes us obese. Local residents have a little access to health care, but even aspirin is unavailable without a special source of cash. But it is for sale to foreigners.
Young kids only get 1/2 day of school a day and a lot of this is devoted to Young Pioneers propaganda training. A person's family or personal history decides whether they can get a post-secondary education. Children of dissidents have no chance of seeing their kids becoming more highly paid anythings. Lucky people in the right families might get the opportunity to see other parts of the world by having their services sold in USD, while they are paid in pesos plus benefits like a better place to live or a coupon to allow them to buy a car, if they can somehow come up with the money.
So, compared to many of the so called intelligentsia here in Toronto, I would be seen as an anti-Castroite, or is that anti-Castroista. I suppose I wear that badge with a degree of honour, but from a lot of knowledge.
In Mojito we introduce the idea of the RC Church intervening in Cuba. Our speculation might not be too far off...
From Andrea Spinelli
The Cuban government led by Raul Castro has officially accepted and the release of 52 political dissidents imprisoned in the spring of 2003, the "Black Spring": The announcement came during a meeting yesterday between President Castro in Havana The Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, Ambassador Miguel Angel Moratinos and Cardinal Jaime Ortega.
The Iberian ambassador, shortly before returning home, was received by Castro and the Cuban Minister, after days of negotiations were ongoing strategic Cuba-Spain-Vatican to persuade the Castro regime to operate to meet the pressing demands the international community.
According to a statement from the local Catholic Church, issued on the sidelines of the meeting, five of the dissidents will be released already in the day today, Thursday, July 8 and for the other 47 times will be about three to four months. Local authorities have stressed that the prisoners "could leave the island" to Spain. Despite the silence of the Cuban authorities, some time there had been negotiations between Madrid and Havana, Cuba mediated by the Catholic Church, for the release of political dissidents, yesterday's announcement represents another step forward after the meeting May 20 between Ortega and Castro, which led to the liberation of Ariel Sigler and transfer of prisoners to prisons closer to places of residence. It should be noted that the international community is sensitized by the hunger strike in prison, still in place, the dissident Guillermo Farinas: more than four months Farinas has chosen fasting to demand the release of 25 anti-Castro dissidents. Hospitalized in Santa Clara, almost desperate conditions, Farinas said that the strike will not stop until they will be contacted by the Cuban authorities. The reaction of domestic opponents to the regime, before the news of the release of 52 political prisoners, has been rather tepid: according to the spokesman of the Damas de Blanco, Laura Pollan, "If we are forced deportations certainly can not speak of progress on the human rights front, "he said, referring to the" possibility "for free, announced by the regime to flee to Spain. It was also underlined by the blogger Yoani Sanchez, the "liberation" is actually a "deportation" means the forced emigration, deportation, exile is standard practice to dispose of non-conformity with the procedure. "If you do not like, go away" is repeated to the Cubans, since childhood. It also complained that still do not know the names of the five detainees to be released today. The fear is that the Castro regime are being made to create a real airline ad hoc, with weekly flights, to "invite" expatriation who disagrees with the administration of Raul Castro. Spain, France and Chile planned destinations. After this amnesty will remain about a hundred dissidents in Cuban jails. But the term "dissident" is not pleasing to the scheme: "criminal" or "mercenary Yankees are certainly more popular in the definition of those who feel their conscience dictates not align with the existing Castro in the Caribbean island. And this is why, legally speaking, that prevents their complete liberation
The crackdown on independent journalists is intensifying, with three cases of journalists being jailed, arrested or summoned in the past few days. The journalist who has been jailed is Dania Virgen García of Primavera Digital and CubaNet, who was given a 20-month sentence on 23 April. Her case brings the number of journalists imprisoned in Cuba to 25.
Arrested at her home in the Havana suburb of San Miguel del Padrón on 22 April, García was tried and convicted in less than 48 hours and was taken to the women’s prison known as the “Manto Negro” (Black Veil) because of its bad reputation. The regime’s haste to “pass justice” appears to have been due to the municipal elections held on 25 April
The charges on which García, 41, was convicted have yet to be confirmed, but she supported and participated in the marches staged by the Ladies in White, a group formed by the mothers, wives and sisters of political prisoners whose activities have been suppressed by the authorities in recent days.
Independent journalist Yosvani Anzardo Hernández was arrested at his home in San Germán, in the eastern province of Holguín, on the morning of 24 April. His family does not know why. The editor of the newspaper Candonga, Anzardo was detained for two weeks in September 2009, when police confiscated the electronic equipment he needed to produce the newspaper.
Magaly Norvis Otero Suárez, an independent journalist who reports for the Hablemos Press news centre and Miami-based Radio Martí, has been given a summons to report to the National Revolutionary Police in Havana for “a conversation” on 29 April. A staunch supporter of the Ladies in White, Norvis also keeps a blog in which she writes about arbitrary arrests and human rights violations.
Finally, police used force to arrest Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, another Hablemos Press reporter, on 23 April as he was covering an event in the Havana suburb of Marianao to commemorate imprisoned dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s death. Martínez has been charged with “insulting behaviour.”
“The international community cannot continue to remain silent in the face of the suffering of Cuba’s dissidents and the lack of freedoms imposed by a regime whose hints of a possible opening stopped short at the threshold of human rights,” Reporters Without Borders said.
Independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas Hernández is meanwhile continuing a hunger strike to press for the release of the prisoners of conscience who are in poorest health. Reporters Without Borders has urged him to call off the protest but Fariñas says he is ready to die.
With a total of 25 journalists currently detained, including Reporters Without Borders correspondent Ricardo González Alfonso, Cuba ranks behind only Iran and China as one of the world’s biggest prisons for the media.
Photo : http://www.humanrightscuba.com/2010...
From Humberto Fortova: http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/6/4/141010.shtml
Somehow we plumb forgot that January 1st, 2009 was different this year - it will be marking the 50th anniversary of the replacement of a capitalist despot in Cuba with one of the Marxist ilk.
Brian Lloyd French
I am a great admirer of the strength and talents of Cuban people and will share some of my experiences here.