Author Archives: Eugenio Leal

Survey on Government Economic Measures

The group Veritas of Psychosocial Investigations received a request from the Center of Socio-Economic and Democratic Studies (CESED) to carry out a public opinion poll about the economic measures implemented by the government. They developed the following questionnaire:

Veritas Group of Psychosocial Investigations

Volunteers carried out the survey, face to face, between January and March. There were 736 forms processed from the following provinces: Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Ciudad de La Habana, Mayabeque, Matanzas and Santiago de Cuba.

The total of general responses was considered for statistical analysis. Categories were: 15 to 34 years old, 35 to 49 years old, and more than 50 years old. Numbers were quantified by sex for the general total and by age-group categories.

Out of 736 people, 368 were female and 368 were male.

Citizen opinion about the changes in Cuba.

Age and gender

Total General

%

15 -34

%

35-50

%

+50

%

F

368

50

138

43

138

55

92

57

M

368

50

184

57

115

45

69

43

Total

736

100

322

100

253

100

161

100

Question 1: Do you think the government is carrying out all the changes that the country needs?

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34

(322)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%

(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

66

9

20

6

21

8

25

16

No

382

52

138

43

139

55

105

65

Undecided

76

10

25

8

33

13

18

11

Don’t know

212

29

139

43

60

24

13

8

Question 2: Do you think it’s necessary to have self-employment?

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34

(322)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%

(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

66

9

20

6

21

8

25

16

No

382

52

138

43

139

55

105

65

Undecided

76

10

25

8

33

13

18

11

Don’t know

212

29

139

43

60

24

13

8

 Question 2A: Should small and medium-sized industrial and agricultural businesses be permitted?

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34

(322)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%
(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

441

60

225

70

164

65

52

32

No

111

15

32

10

33

13

46

29

Undecided

77

10

25

8

32

13

20

12

Don’t know

107

15

40

12

24

9

43

27

Question 2B: Should taxes be lowered?

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34 (322)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%

(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

574

78

252

78

212

84

109

68

No

65

9

16

5

23

9

27

17

Undecided

44

6

19

6

10

4

15

9

Don’t know

53

7

35

11

8

3

10

6

Question 2C: Should wholesale markets be created?

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34

(322)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%

(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

464

63

194

60

152

60

118

73

No

42

6

19

6

15

6

9

6

Undecided

50

7

17

5

21

8

11

7

Don’t know

180

24

92

29

65

26

23

14

Question 2D: Should professionals be given licenses to work as self-employeds?

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34

(322)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%

(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

600

82

282

87

213

84

105

65

No

39

5

6

2

12

5

21

13

Undecided

52

7

12

4

18

7

22

14

Don’t know

45

6

22

7

10

4

13

8

Question 3: Do you think the government should ratify the Declaration of Human Rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural – that the United Nations signed in 2009?

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34

(322)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%

(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

428

58

209

65

139

55

80

50

No

61

8

21

6

26

10

14

9

Undecided

85

12

45

14

23

9

17

10

Don’t know

162

22

47

15

65

26

50

31

Question No. 4.- Do you think it’s your right to exercise freedom of ….

                               A) Information

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34

(322)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%

(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

484

66

203

63

162

64

119

74

No

63

9

47

15

12

5

4

2

Undecided

91

12

43

13

32

13

16

10

Don’t know

98

13

29

9

47

18

22

14

                                B) Expression

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34

(322)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%

(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

642

87

263

82

228

90

151

94

No

16

2

9

3

5

2

2

1

Undecided

47

6

29

9

11

4

5

3

Don’t know

33

5

21

6

9

4

3

2

                                  C) Association

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34

(322)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%

(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

545

74

239

74

193

76

113

70

No

30

4

16

5

9

4

5

3

Undecided

60

8

21

7

20

8

19

12

Don’t know

101

14

46

14

31

12

24

15

  Question No. 5.- Do you think democracy requires a multi-party system?

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34

(322)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%

(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

571

78

236

73

204

81

131

81

No

64

9

47

15

12

5

5

3

Undecided

74

9

29

9

28

11

17

11

No sé

27

4

10

3

9

3

8

5

Question No. 6.- Do you think that a citizen who puts all his resources, means and effort into starting his own business has the right to associate with and receive funds from foreign investors?

Total General

(736)

%

(100)

15-34

(332)

%

(100)

35-50

(253)

%

(100)

+50

(161)

%

(100)

Yes

598

81

275

85

207

82

116

72

No

30

4

14

4

7

3

9

5

Undecided

53

7

21

7

21

8

11

7

Don’t know

55

8

12

4

18

7

25

16

Translated by Regina Anavy

June 5 2012

The Real "Outraged"

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved. Matthew 9:16-17

For some years now I have exchanged views with some of the principal apologists in Cuba, of the so-called “Socialism of the 21st Century,” and I know the members of the Group called “Critical Observatory Network,” which brings together those who proclaim the reformulation of the Socialist system.

From the first time, at a conference I attended in the now defunct Institute of Biblical and Theological Studies (ISEBIT),in my rebuttal I referred to the Gospel of St. Matthew. Because how can one conceive that a system that has proven to be unworkable, because it goes against the essence of being human, can be redesigned and supported in the XXI century?

The proposals and related approaches of the alleged “Socialism of the XXI Century,” reminds me of an experiment conducted more than forty years ago by a married couple, both psychologists, at Harvard University. It earned them the Nobel Prize for demonstrating the mechanisms of perception.

For the experiment they took a litter of newborn kittens and divided then into two groups. One group was reared in a room where all visual stimuli were horizontal. The other in which the stimuli were vertical. When both groups grew, respectively, some perceived only the horizontal elements in the environment while the others perceived only the vertical.

In Cuba, from nursery school to university, we receive a political-ideological training designed to demonstrate the benefits of socialism. Thus, many people are indoctrinated to see only the socialist forms of organizing society. In contrast to the reality. That is, they perceive what they are conditioned to see.

On Saturday, May 12, the “Critical Observatory Network” called for a rally in support of the “Outraged” of the world. It was to be held at 2 pm at Karl Marx Park, located on the corner of Carlos III and Belascoain in Central Havana. Given that the day before the 11th Havana Biennial — an Art exhibition filled with performances and other events — had begun, I decided to go to see the performance they had prepared.

On arriving, I was aware of the presence of police and people in civilian clothes around the site, which I told me that the political police was guarding the place. Knowing that my friend Miriam Celaya was also planning to attend, I looked for her and saw that the police had arrested her. I went to her.

This caused the people dressed as civilians, who directed the operation of State Security, to order me to stop me, as well, and they asked me for my mobile phone. On my refusing to give it to them, as they were in plain clothes and did not have such powers, they handed me to another one dressed as a cop, although he did not have any identifying badge, and he pushed me up against a patrol car. There I stood, and with my hands up, feet wide, while they took my backpack, mobile phone, camera and video recorder and I put me in the patrol car.

In the back seat to my right sat Miriam and on the left sat a policeman. I told Miriam: don’t worry that we go as a couple, as in Noah’s ark. We were taken to the Playa on Calle 42 and Avenida 33. where they stopped the car and told us to get out. They gave us our property and tore out of there, gone. Miriam and I wondered, what do we do? And I told her, “On the other corner is the “El Alamo” cafeteria, let’s go have a beer and cool off.

I’ve described because it happened to show that the repressors are very worried about public discontent in the streets of the city. While walking with Miriam, the police who were taking her repeated: nothing can happen here, nothing can happen here, like a mantra.

Members of the “Critical Observatory Network” were just 12 apologists for the “Socialism of the 21st Century.” Which they summarized in two separate posters: “If you think like a bourgeois you will live like a slave” and “Down with the capitalists.” It turned out, that after we were taken they sang the anthem “The Internationale”. Everything took less than 15 minutes.

What do they fear? That 68% of citizens, according to a 2011 survey by the Veritas Group, believe that we must change the economic-political-social. That the truly “outraged,” in Cuba, take the initiative and, instead of a XXI century socialism, they demand loudly on the avenues, streets and parks of the city the structural changes that our society requires.

May 15 2012

Good Reason

l

On the morning of Saturday, October 16 , a meeting was held in the Supreme Council Degree 33 for the Republic of Cuba, located at No.164 Jovellar Street between San Francisco and Espada, in the Centro Habana municipality. It was convened to promote a process to judge and expel from Masonry Gustavo Pardo Valdes and another seven brother Masons.

It should be noted that in this activity only 11 of the 31 members that make up the Masonic body were present. It is pertinent to note that these attendees are recognized for their commitment to the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Jesús Armada Pena Supreme Council of Degree 33 in the Republic of Cuba.

The background to this event is because the Masons now on trial asked, in writing, for the Grand Master of the José Ramón González Díaz Grand Lodge of Cuba to address, as set out in Masonic Law, violations of the bylaws of the fraternity that Armada Pena had incurred, visiting irregular lodges in the United States.

Gustavo Valdés Pardo is a former political prisoner, now President of the Cuban Academy of Masonic Studies and former Chancellor of the Supreme Council of Degree 33. In addition, he works as a freelance journalist, is a Blogger Academy graduate and on the digital portal desdecuba.com he has the blog La Colmena (The Beehive).

Apparently, behind this maneuver are the political interests of the state, because Pardo Valdés is working in the emerging civil society. They want to avoid that a prominent opinion leader, with recognized expertise in the Masonic Institution, would be elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Cuba in 2012, and would lead the campaign promoted in various lodges in the country with the motto: Renewal and Fraternity.

They are trying to get him permanently removed from the institution. This was already shown in that previously, on August 2, 2007, Caridad Diego, Chief of the Office of Religious Matters of the Cuban Communist Party Central Committee, opposed Pardo Valdés’ election as director of the Supreme Council, in which he occupied the post of secretary.

What happened then, was that approval was given for the re-election of Armada Pena, who is now 85 and has been in office for more than two decades. This is the typical process the government uses to maintain, at the head of the Fraternal Association on the Island, its own followers or those who will at least stay silent in the face of the widespread disaster in our society.

There is no lack of those who claim that it is an unfounded assumption to think that there are State interests in these matters. In reality, one must always leave a margin for possible paranoia among those who are repressed and harassed for long periods. But, in the case of totalitarian systems, when we suspect evil, we have good reason.

Polish Culture in Cuba

The 58th edition of “Poland Today”, a periodical written and edited by the Polish Embassy in Havana, is already in libraries and national institutions. It is structured in specific sections such as current events, culture, politics, the Man and society, economics, science and Polish cooking. It is published three times a year, the 58th edition is the second of 2010.

In the January-March issue we learned about the celebration for the 200 year anniversary of Polish composer and pianist Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) who is considered one of the greatest creators of music for the piano of all time.

As part of the festivities honoring the musician, the Wielki-Opera Ponznan theater put on a show titled “Waiting for Chopin” at the San Felipe de Neri church. The show is inspired by the desire to visit and present little known works of the composer; his poor state of health prevented him from traveling to many countries.

The performance also welcomed the exhibit titled “Chopin in Cuba” which includes nine portraits of the artist by nine contemporary Cuban painters. The exhibit had already been shown for the first time at the Amadeo Roldan Theater during Frank Fernandez’s concert, which inaugurated the Chopin Year in Cuba.

The Numismatic Museum was able to present the “Numismatic Exhibit” due to a loan from the Polish Mint. The exhibit included the institution’s most interesting coins. One could see coins from Poland, Russia, Armenia and Andorra. The exhibit also included one of the smallest coins in the world, which weights a mere gram and holds a portrait of Frederick Chopin. Other novelties included pieces with encrusted amber and other precious metals and some that depict reproductions of famous paintings from Van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci.

From the April-June edition of the bulletin we also learned about projects for public buildings in Poland, whose advanced technological design will make them paradigms of reference in the cities where they are erected.

In this latest edition, much to the dismay of Caribbean male chauvinism, we found out about an activist for male rights. This person has a unique way of making his claims. With a long beard and a machista attitude, without being a homosexual or a transvestite, he dresses in a petticoat and high heels, even inside his home. And so he makes fun of the stereotypes associated with the male gender in society.

The relationship between Poland and Cuba can be traced back to the 19th century. Let’s remember that Carlos Roloff from Poland participated in our independence struggles and reached the rank of general. Later, when the Republic was formed he was conferred Cuban citizenship.

In keeping with this historical precedent, every year Poland organizes a week of cinema in Cuba which includes exhibits, conferences, theater workshops and other events. Their socio-cultural projects are a valuable contribution to the development and consolidation of civil society in our country.

Translated by: Lita Q.

To My Compatriots in the Diaspora and Friends of Promoters of Democracy and to the Emergent Civil Society in our Country.

Jehova is among those who help me.  – Psalm 118:7

On Saturday, July 24, I received a letter from the Postal and Shipping Customs Center, belonging to the General Customs of the Cuban Republic.  With that letter, I was notified that a process was underway to confiscate a package from the US that had been shipped to me.

The documents that I received were not the original ones, they are copies on carbon paper.  Apparently, the objects which were confiscated are divided into three groups:  1) Digital equipment and media, 2) Office materials, and 3) Hygiene and Medicinal products.

In the section titled “Report”, they specified the causes for the confiscations on behalf of the Customs Department:  “Upon carrying out the physical inspection, we found certain articles that go against the general interests of the nation, which is taken care of through confiscation according to the established and current law”. The Resolution of the confiscation is number 1130.  The number is written with dark ink so that it can be legible.  The Cuban system guides itself by resolutions that leave individuals defenseless.

The Resolution number 1187 also arrived written for Maida Martinez Perez, a resident of April 9th Street and Calzada de Luyano and Agramonte, of the 10th of October Municipality in the city of Havana.  This lady is the mother of Joisy Garcia Martinez, a member of the Liberal Party of Cuba, who usually receives her mail in that address.  The confiscation of the package under the name of the mother suggests that it seems as if they are doing so because of the data from the issuer in the US.

The government has found itself forced to release the last 53 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience of the Black Spring of 2003.  It was made possible thanks to the internal and external demands made.  Such experience should serve to unite us in a coordinated fashion, both those of us in the island and in the diaspora, together with international support, to shift our efforts to repealing the laws that make our nation an island prison.  In that same manner, we must demand that they sign and abide by the Covenants of the United Nations.

With much gratitude for those who support us, these suggestions are for you:

On our part, we request that Dr. Wilfredo Vallin, president of the Independent Judiciary Association of Cuba, effect this demand with his organization.

Translated by Raul G.

Cuba, Born Again!

On the night of June 22, in the Cotorro municipality in Havana, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of the coming of the Evangelical church to this country.

At Villa Rosa Baptist Church the different denominations of the town were brought together: Church of God in Christ, God of Prophecy, Assembly of God, The Open Bible, First Pentecostal, Full Gospel Church, Brethren in Christ, Free Baptist and Western Cuba Baptist. Also represented were churches from the cities of Atlanta, Georgia and Houston, Texas, in the United States of America.

It was the Western Cuba Baptist church that started the missionary activity in El Calvario in 1930. And so the pastor of this church gave the sermon. He called for the unite of Christians. For living in harmony with the faith, and firmly defending the unity of the family. And to boldly keep all the good that God has given us.

I remember that in the decade of the seventies the evangelical seminaries were closed and the students were put in forced labor camps. The law of Obligatory Military Service was also established and those who for reasons of their faith refused to take up arms were put in prison.

Therefore it was gratifying to confirm that it works to eliminate the traces of hatred and resentment. The young guides will convey to their congregations a message of peace, love and family unity. They will seek to rescue the values that years of materialistic atheism destroyed.

We know that the struggle for civil rights led by the Rev. Martin Luther King was conceived and developed in the evangelical churches of black communities. These people were brought together by their faith and shared way of life, which enabled them to act as one to fight for full integration into society.

In our country, for decades, they have promoted hatred, violence, and confrontation between people. And so it is commendable to see preachers reclaiming, peacefully and with strength and determination the inherent rights of human beings. To instruct people in education programs and to train people in programs for non-violence forms the future leaders of our community and government.

Rice for the Eighth Army


And also it is a gift from God that every man may eat and drink, and enjoy the benefit of all his labor. Ecclesiastes 3:13.

The first theater work I saw in my birthplace, was on an improvised stage in a park. It was a Chinese play interpreted by Cuban actors. The plot unfolds around the harvest, collection and delivery of food to the battle front. I was captivated by the charm and magic of it.

Abandoning their nomadic life, humans added agricultural work to their labors. In order to develop successfully, the crops needed water. Thus, people settled where there was an abundant supply of the precious liquid. That’s why ancient civilizations originated around rivers. Next to the Nile in Egypt, the Ganges in India, and the Yangtze in China flourished the three great human cultures.

Our ancestors discovered the nutritive value of rains and planted them. Through a long process of selection they improved the yield and resistance to pests of oats, wheat, corn, barley, rice and rye, which are known as cereals (Ceres, the Latin goddess of agriculture). According to region of the planet that developed one crop or another. In Asia, widespread planting of rice and in America, corn. Therefore, in anthropological studies, food offers valuable information.

In our country, some foods and ways of preparing them come from Spanish tradition. Much of those who came from the Iberian Peninsula are from regions where Islamic culture predominated for centuries. Later, with the addition of Africans, their nutritional habits were added. The geographic position of the Island, between Europe and South America, made it a place of replenishment, so we have recipes from France, English, North America, Yucatan and the Caribbean enriching our cuisine.

In selecting and carefully preparing what we consume we ensure a double happiness: the enjoyment of eating it and of good health through a balanced diet. The balance is given by an equilateral triangle whose sides are the food: energy, construction-repair, and regulation. Good nutrition is very important, the substances are transformed and converted into a constituent part of our body, hence, we are what we eat.

In our geographic environment cuisine based on corn predominates. However, for centuries rice is the basic food of our society. For many people this cereal is symbolic. Without rice on the table, the rest of the food doesn’t seem nourishing and we are psychologically dissatisfied. Even though we eat enough.

In April comments and expression of growing unease among the population began. They had suspended the free sale of rice. Now, since the beginning of the year, different companies no longer offer their workers lunch, instead they receive 15 pesos a day. Now they have to buy, make and bring what they are going to eat in the middle of the day. As this stipend doesn’t correspond to the prices, it’s very hard to satisfy ones basic dietary needs.

Imagine my surprise when I went to the State Agricultural Market at 27th and A in El Vedado in Havana on Saturday, the 29th, and found they were selling ten pounds of rice per person. Going home, after two hours in line under the hot sun, my wife asked me, “What did you get?” I remembered the title of a play I saw during puberty and answered, “Rice for the Eighth Army.”