Monthly Archives: March 2010

Survey on U.S. Tourism to Cuba

A survey conducted between March 25 and April 6, 2009, by World Public Opinion Org to know the feelings of U.S. citizens regarding Cuba, found that 70% were in favor of travel to the island. As proposed in the House of Representatives, the issue of removing restrictions that impede tourist travel did not garner enough votes to be debated.

This was the motivation of the Veritas Group to know the public opinion in relation to tourist visits from the United States. With this objective we developed the following questionnaire:

Tourism from the U.S. to Cuba.

1. Do you believe that if the U.S. government allowed tourist travel by its citizens to Cuba this would benefit our country?

Yes ___ No ___ It would be harmful ___ I don’t know ___

2. Would it be dangerous to U.S. citizens to come to Cuba?

Yes ___ No ___ It’s possible ___ I don’t know ___

3. Are you in favor of this tourism?

Yes ___ No ___ Maybe ___ I don’t know ___

4. Do you think these people should be able to freely stay and move about?

Yes ___ No ___ I don’t care ___ I don’t know ___

5. Do you think that they should only come on package tours, with guided visits, without contact with the population?

Yes ___ No ___ I don’t care ___ I don’t know ___

6. Do you want to interact with visitors: establish friendship, show them the sights, and demonsrate our hospitality?

Yes ___ No ___ I don’t care ___ I don’t know ___

7. How much should customs taxes be?

Similar to other countries ___ Higher ___ Lower ___ I don’ know ___

The research was conducted between January 25 and March 16, face-to-face by volunteers in the provinces: in 13 municipalities of the City of Havana, 4 municipalities in Havana, and the city of Santiago de Cuba. Also in the city of Matanzas and 5 municipalities in that province, over the telephone.

454 ballots were processed statistically. Of these 233 were females and 221 males. This represents 51% and 49% respectively.

For the analysis the grand total of respondents was considered. And by the categories: 15 to 34 years, 35 to 49 years and 50 years and older. We quantified the number of voters by gender in the general total and in the age groups.

In the category of 15 to 34 years we have 252 — 137 females (54%) and 115 males (46%). There were 140 between 35 and 49 — 64 female (46%) and 76 male (54%). Finally 50 years and older, 62 — 32 are female (52%) and 30 male (48%).

Likewise, the municipalities where more established residents replied that they would be dangerous to U.S. citizens coming to Cuba.

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK TO THE SPANISH LANGUAGE POST TO SEE THE RESULTS WHICH, FOR TECHNICAL REASONS, WE ARE NOT ABLE TO PRESENT HERE.

Spanish post

The Two-Headed Cuban Hydra

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It has become an axiom about communism as expressed by the architect of glasnost and perestroika, Alexander N. Yakolevlev: “Communism doesn’t work because it runs contrary to human nature.”

The principles or sentences need no explanation. But, although it disappeared 20 years ago, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the so-called socialist camp, it would seem that what happens with communism was described by Greek mythology in the Twelve Labors of Hercules. Recall that in one of them (the second) the hero confronted, and with the help of Iolaus, killed the Hydra of Lerna, a huge monster with nine heads. Only by decapitating one of them, which was immortal, would the beast die. If any of the other eight were cut off, two more would grow back in its place.

For over half a century the Cuban Hydra has been the cause of misery, destruction, and the plundering of the national heritage. It has oppressed its people. More than two million have fled and are scattered across the globe. Some have been eaten by sharks as they tried to escape. The island is one big prison.

For years, complaints were raised by only a few voices crying in the wilderness, falling on the deaf ears of international public opinion. Today, by ruthlessly leaving a prisoner of conscience to die, the regime received worldwide rejection. So on Thursday, March 11, the European Parliament issued a strong condemnation regarding the cruel and preventable death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo, as well as the detention of activists and the attempt to prevent the family from holding his funeral and paying their last respects.

The regime, heir to the experience of repression of all ages, uses scientific and technical advances in its action. They hope that, as sometimes has happened, the world’s attention will be diverted by new urgent events in the world, that the shame will be forgotten and they can continue with their excesses. We hope this does not happen.

In recent days we see, in a disdainful disregard of international sentiment, government mobs beating the Ladies in White, the wives and relatives of the prisoners of the Black Spring of 2003. Even Reina Tamayo, the mother of the deceased Zapata Tamayo, was not only attacked but they screamed that she would be killed like her son.

The system has used considerable resources to reproduce itself in the region and to project an image of social justice. It provides qualified personnel, in conditions of slavery, so it can consolidate its allies. These, in return, give support or repay it with their silence.

To escape this dark night, our nation needs the unity of all Cubans. It is time for those inside to act in concert with the diaspora. Just as Hercules did, with the help of the international community, we will put an end to the two-headed Hydra of Cuba.

Translated by: Tomás A.

Like A Bronze Boomerang

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The wheel of power believes that the death rattles of its victim are from ingratitude.

Rabindranath Tagore: “Rhymes and Aphorisms”

This coming Thursday, March 18th, will be the 7th anniversary of the arbitrary arrest of 75 peaceful advocates of democracy in our country.  As usual, they have been demonized by the omnipotent power. Demonization has been the method used by the totalitarian form of government on this Island for the last 50 years. We remember that in the 1960s in the last century, those who dissented were called “worms.” With this epithet were stripped of their human dignity and so that the power could encourage mindless attacks on them.

A long list of pejorative terms entered the lexicon to describe the opponents: traitors, sell-outs, scum, mercenaries, and annexationists, among others. They further malign them by adding the shameful stigma of crime. Given their total control of society and its institutions they can create phony records of criminal offenses. With this they purport to discredit their opponents’ political activity in the arena of national and international public opinion.

The debacle of the government system is so great that the Cuban Communist Party has not been able to hold a new Congress, even after setting two tentative dates. The reality is that it has no programmatic platform, no credible plan to discuss with its own members and present to society. So unrest and demands for structural change are gaining strength.

In this context they want to appear firm. They demonstrated this by allowing Orlando Zapata Tamayo to die of hunger in his strike for improved prison conditions. In the face of the world’s condemnation of that atrocity, they started the process of smearing him after death. They want to create the impression that he was a common criminal, they call him a mercenary who was being manipulated. This does not hold up in the face of his indomitable will even to death, and the repression deployed against him because he would not show submission.

Demonstrating their characteristic arrogance, they think letting him die would stop this kind of protest. They behaved with the same malice that led them to summarily shoot the three citizens who hijacked a boat, hoping to ensure that the incident would not lead to a mass exodus. What they didn’t imagine was that a free citizen would make a decision to step into the shoes of Zapata Tamayo. Guillermo Fariñas Hernández, a licensed psychologist, is now taking neither food nor water; he leaves the regime unmasked, with all its miserable moral squalor open to the world’s view. The more certain its end becomes, the more absurd and irrational government’s conduct becomes. The rigidity, in the face of the just demands of a man who fasts in his own home, reveals to us how fragile and insecure the power really is.

The government projects a face of altruism and justice to the world. But it is only an illusion. We see that in the Havana park that honors the French writer Victor Hugo. Here we find a monument to the memory of the Irish men who died in a hunger strike. The words of Fidel Castro, inscribed on the plaque, now return like a bronze boomerang to hit the regime:

THE STUBBORNNESS, INTRANSIGENCE, CRUELTY, INSENSITIVITY BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT FACED WITH THE PROBLEM OF IRISH PATRIOTS ON HUNGER STRIKES UNTIL DEATH, REMIND US OF TORQUEMADA AND THE BARBARITY OF THE INQUISITION IN THE MIDDLE AGES. THE TYRANT TREMBLE BEFORE MEN WHO ARE CAPABLE OF DYING FOR THEIR IDEAS, AFTER 60 DAYS OF HUNGER STRIKE! NEXT TO THIS EXAMPLE, WHAT WERE THE THREE DAYS OF CHRIST ON CALVARY, FOR CENTURIES A SYMBOL OF HUMAN SACRIFICE? IT IS TIME TO PUT AN END, THROUGH DENUNCIATION AND PRESSURE FROM THE WORLD COMMUNITY, TO THIS REPUGNANT ATROCITY.

FIDEL CASTRO  AUGUST 18, 1981

68TH CONFERENCE OF THE INTERPARLIAMENTARY UNION

TO ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO FOUGHT FOR IRISH INDEPENDENCE

The Beaver’s Option

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Years ago I read a Canadian Indian legend about the beaver. They say that this small, peaceful, and industrious animal, if trapped by a predator with no means of escape, will tear off its testicles and throw them at the beast.

In Cuba, we see that the regime has arbitrarily confined hundreds of peaceful dissidents in prison. They are pushed to the limit in medieval conditions by an inhumane prison system that aims to break their spirit.

Under these circumstances a person has only his body and the will to resist. This was the case of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who declared a hunger strike, demanding better conditions in prisons, and he was left to die in prison. Now, with worldwide rejection of this atrocity, they strive to slander him.

In this country that does not respect human rights and treats its people like modern-day slaves, any manifestation of opposition is brutally suppressed. Prisons are devouring human beings. Therefore, to carry on the demands of Zapata Tamayo, half a dozen political prisoners and prisoners of conscience are fasting in various prisons.

In the city of Santa Clara, in Villa Clara province, Guillermo Fariñas Hernández, the founder and promoter of the Veritas Group for the central provinces — Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus and Cienfuegos — went on strike in his home, eating no food and drinking no water. This action is in solidarity with the protests of the political prisoners, who have been left with only the beaver’s option.

Letter of Licenciado Guillermo Farinas Hernandez to General of the Army Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and of the Ministry of the Republic of Cuba.

With copies to:

Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, First Secretary of Communist Party of Cuba

General of the Army Corps Abelardo Colome Ibarra, Ministry of the Interior of Cuba

This was not accepted in the Office of Assistance to the People of the Central Committee of Communist Party of Cuba. They received it in the Supreme Court of the Republic of Cuba. The document was delivered by Juan Eugenio Leal Garcia on March 1, 2010, and given the number 178 in the entry book. This legal body has 6 months to respond. By then this Cuban — Guillermo Fariñas Hernández — will already be dead.

Solidarity with Guillermo and his just demands. We cannot allow the government of Raúl Castro to continue letting the fighters die, and not improve the conditions of those who are unjustly imprisoned in its dungeons.

Translated by: Tomás A.