Get Out of ‘My’ Dump

Isbel Diaz Torres

 Maritza de la Paz, administrator of the center: “You are invading MY dump”.
Maritza de la Paz, administrator of the center: “You are invading MY dump”.

Together as a group of environmentalist friends, we tried to determine the environmental impact of the 100th street dump located to the west of the Cuban capital.  The attempt was not completely successful since we were kicked out of the place by its “owner.”

The handling of solid waste in all cities around the world is a true headache.  It’s not an easy task, especially when the lifestyle imposed on us by the West is one of voracious consumerism and total indifference in the face of the havoc we have caused.

Gigantic trash dumps are physical evidence of this state of things.  In Havana we have three major ones, but the largest is the one on 100th Street.  According to information we exchanged before venturing to enter the dump, residents of the capital surpass the average amount of garbage produced by each resident on the island.  People in Havana produce 1.5 pounds of waste daily, and it’s still not known how this problem is going to be addressed.

These dumps occupy large stretches of open areas.  There are several strategies for processing garbage in these, though almost all imply the release of toxic substances into the atmosphere.  Polluting gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons contribute to the greenhouse effect, while ammonia and heavy metals present dangers by their leaching into the soil and water.

This leaching or draining can cause pollution and the reduction of oxygen levels in groundwater.  This is why it is necessary to waterproof the base when setting up a dump.  I don’t know the design of the 100th Street dump, but studies confirm that substances have leached from there and have now polluted the nearby reservoir as well as the Almendares River and the Vento Aqueduct – of which each is a supplier of water to large parts of the capital.

Likewise, studies have revealed that heavy metals have now entered the food chain.  Vegetables from farms near the trash dump possess levels of these substances above those considered acceptable for human health and biodiversity.  The fumes and dust from the dump are also deposited on cultivated land; therefore vegetables receive pollution through both the soil and the air.

The city proper is not three miles away — as newspapers claim — but very close by.  In addition to this, animals that graze peacefully in this area are the potential bearers of toxic illnesses and substances.  This was quite probably the case with the herd of cattle that we ran into upon our arrival.  The herder admitted to us that there were also 54 goats and 73 rams there.

Perhaps this was what was so worrisome to comrade Maritza de la Paz, the administrator of the dump facility.  Once she was informed of our visit, she came running to immediately expel us from her dump.  “You’re invading my dump,” she told us.  It’s worth pointing out that to get there we didn’t have to climb any perimeter fence or gate; there wasn’t even a simple sign there to discourage our access.

 The animals that pasture there are potential spreaders of illnesses and toxic substances.
The animals that pasture there are potential spreaders of illnesses and toxic substances.

Although fairly excited, the comrade was kind.  The only detail that I requested of her was to explain how this was “her” dump; I thought that it was “ours,” consistent with the idea of socialist property and a sense of collective ownership…  Nonetheless, I got my explanation: “There’s a thing called a ‘sense of ownership,’ and the person with the “resolution” saying she’s in charge is me.  The ‘sense of ownership’ is mine,” she spit back defiantly.

In a disciplined manner, we all left immediately.  In our retreat, a group of “illegal” workers who were heading toward the dump with sacks asked us, “Is there an inspection going on there?”  When we told him that there wasn’t and that the only one there was the administrator, they responded, “Ah, good, there’s no problem with her” and they continued walking toward that area.

The administrator had been clear in telling us that “you people can’t invade land that’s already government property,” but apparently the many people who work there every day — illegally — are not invading, at least not according to the concept of that administrator.

The reality is that these men and women survive thanks to that work, which has great value.  They recycle.  They rummage through the waste to collect raw materials and then sell these to the government.  They put their health at risk to do what the dump facility should probably be doing.  Maybe the dump should employ them to guarantee them protection and optimum hygienic conditions, to unionize them and give them incentives.  The public service message about conservation that comes on TV so often should be replaced by one for recycling.

What’s more, the biogas plant that was set up at the dump in 2008 is not producing electricity or fertilizers.  It barely transforms any methane from green garbage that is brought there from across the entire city.  This gas (highly flammable and polluting) is transformed into less polluting carbon dioxide.  German technology, Chinese donations, Swiss and UN financing, and Cuban technologists traveling to China to train for this.

Those of us interested in environmental protection want to find out from close up about such sources of pollution that have impacted our urban, semi-urban and rural landscapes for years.  We want to rekindle the desire to do things for the city, its people and the environment of which we are a part.

Perhaps there doesn’t exist a “resolution” that specifically names us for this, beyond our personal resolve to defend what is beautiful and oppose what is poorly done.

Isbel Diaz

Isbel Diaz Torres: Pinar del Rio and Havana are my cities. I was born in one on March 1, 1976, and I’ve always lived in the other. I am a biologist and poet, though at times I’ve also been a musician, translator, teacher, computer geek, designer, photographer and editor. I’m very non-conformist and a defender of differences – perhaps due to always having been an ever-repressed “model child.” Nothing enthralls me more than the unknown, nature and art; these serve as my sources of mystery and development. A surprising activism has been born in me over the recent period. Though I’m not very sure how to channel it, I feel that it’s a worthy and legitimate energy. Let’s hope I have the discernment to manage it.



23 thoughts on “Get Out of ‘My’ Dump

  • Isbel, please I like to know how this statement is true

    “lifestyle imposed on us by the West is one of voracious consumerism”

    why are you ascribing to the culture of victim?
    How about taking ownership for your own actions.

    Nobody impose consumerism on nobody. You and any other have a choice to make.
    Please tell me how is the west imposing this culture to you?

    What is your solution to these same problems?

    Reply
  • It’s very simple. Of course I have choices to make, but not the stupid act of picking between a blue hat and a yellow hat, since I should be able to choose not wearing a hat at all. However, most people go with the flow, and forget their real wishes, their real needs.

    People are manipulated all the time by the media. If you are not aware, you end up doing what the TV says.
    Consumerism is definitely imposed by companies focused in making profits, instead of giving basic services.
    The way we dress, the food we eat (and the way we eat it), is mediated by interests unknown by us. So, I don’t ascribe to the culture of the victim: we are victims, and we reject the culture of consumerism. We are victims on a sort of “strike”.

    Capitalism (and also the disastrous attempts of socialism) give “the idea” of freedom, but not Freedom. You can feel free to invest, free to consume, free to say anything… but when you try to transform the basis of corruption, the basis of pollution… then the entire society stops you. We are not trained to transform, but to consume.
    Commercials on the TV say “smoke, and you’ll be free”, “buy a car, and you’ll be free”, and people simply believe it.

    That is the west. And west is everywhere, not only in the “western cities”. China is west right now.
    (I could develop this topic, but it’s hard for me to do it in English. You can post a comment on the Spanish edition of HT, and I will present you other ideas).

    Reply
  • Isbel your english is quite good!

    I will read again and post an answer when I get back home. I can also post in Spanish.

    Reply
  • “It’s very simple. Of course I have choices to make, but not the stupid act of picking between a blue hat and a yellow hat, since I should be able to choose not wearing a hat at all. However, most people go with the flow, and forget their real wishes, their real needs.”
    Ok Isbel how about taking these notions to the extreme? How about not wearing any cloth on and trying to consume only natural stuff or organic. You soon realize we are way pass that point. Our earth cannot sustain even that level of natural consumption for the current inhabitants so should we kill the rest? Or we all fight each other for the scarce natural resources?
    So are you willing to go back to the age of the Indians civilization?
    I think at the moment we are very wastefull but it is about to change very soon with the advent of technologies that are not far into the horizon. Just to show you an example. Books have been around for ages and they were produce until not too long ago in papyrus and later using paper now we do not even need that since as you know you can have access to a full digital library on your computer or electronic reader. So it is not far when we can recycle the things we produce to the point were we could reuse all the material again and again. So instead of dumping things we will be able to reuse the raw material in maybe new designs. You may be able to by not the product itself but the design of the product! Imagine downloading the software of how to make a supercomputer and having a sort of universal printer that will build from the program the supercomputer! That is coming very soon we are at the early stages of these technologies. All of these will be possible because in principle everything is compose of atoms so if we start building things at a molecular level there is no reason why we can not un-build them and recover the row materials. So those dumps will become mines for row material in the future!
    See here for more on fabrication labs.
    http://fab.cba.mit

    Reply
  • See here for more on fabrication labs.
    http://fab.cba.mit.edu/content/tools/

    “People are manipulated all the time by the media.”

    Yes, some people could be manipulated by the media but not all of the people will be manipulated. That is why information needs to flow freely so people can learn and nobody should control information, free information is vital for the normal functioning of any society. Some will do and it will be to their own benefit. We need to stimulate people to learn. Not force them but stimulate them.

    “If you are not aware, you end up doing what the TV says.”
    I really watch very little TV. I read quite a lot and see what I want to see on the Internet of DVDs. But you are right that there is a lot of influence the TV or the media in general exercises over people.

    “Consumerism is definitely imposed by companies focused in making profits, instead of giving basic services.”
    Companies care about selling their products but they are starting to care also about the environment. They do so because people care and companies listen. For example a company like apple builds their products in a way that can be recycle now. So do many, many other companies. And that is part of the sell strategy and competitive advantage.
    http://www.apple.com/recycling/

    So you see. Things are not really black and white there is a lot of color in between!
    Power production is been stimulated by the government here so that a great percent goes green. Production using solar and Eolic power and other renewable forms of energy including bio energy. Those are the solutions everyone is searching for now.

    “The way we dress, the food we eat (and the way we eat it), is mediated by interests unknown by us. So, I don’t ascribe to the culture of the victim: we are victims, and we reject the culture of consumerism. We are victims on a sort of “strike”.”

    I still do not agree. You are not a victim unless you choose to be one and do nothing about it. The moment you…

    Reply
  • I still do not agree. You are not a victim unless you choose to be one and do nothing about it. The moment you start thinking what can I do to change the status quo you stop been a victim.

    “Capitalism (and also the disastrous attempts of socialism) give “the idea” of freedom, but not Freedom. You can feel free to invest, free to consume, free to say anything… but when you try to transform the basis of corruption, the basis of pollution… then the entire society stops you. We are not trained to transform, but to consume.”

    What you call socialism is an extreme version of capitalism. It is called state monopoly capitalism. It is not the best type of capitalism you could experience. There are many different types of capitalism. Imagine for example butterflies. You do not talk of a butterfly because there is many different types with many difference between them. The same applies to capitalism. I do not feel any limitations about trying to do what you say in the US. As you probably know there are groups of people that care a lot about the environment and they can organize themselves and do all sorts of things here to help people understand about the risks we take if we do not pay attention to the environment.

    “Commercials on the TV say “smoke, and you’ll be free”, “buy a car, and you’ll be free”, and people simply believe it.”
    Isbel, I do not think people are that naïve. The government here has place restrictions on what some companies can advertise on TV especially for Tabaco product.

    “That is the west. And west is everywhere, not only in the “western cities”. China is west right now.
    (I could develop this topic, but it’s hard for me to do it in English. You can post a comment on the Spanish edition of HT, and I will present you other ideas).”

    As I was saying your English is quite good. This will be good practice for you.
    I can still post in Spanish if you want me to.

    Reply
  • sorry, I had to break the answer in parts because of the limit of 2000 characters.
    start reading from the bottom up.

    Reply
  • “some people could be manipulated by the media but not all of the people will be manipulated”.
    Excuse me, I didn’t say SOME people, I said MOST people… and that means millions of persons. If you don’t feel manipulated, it just means that they are doing a fine job.

    “Our earth cannot sustain even that level of natural consumption”
    I disagree. The Earth can sustain levels of natural consumption. We can easily reduce the amount and speed of production of goods, and we can still live happily. What can’t be sustained is the logic of predation, the development paradigm imposed on humankind.

    “That is coming very soon we are at the early stages of these technologies”
    Technologies are part of the solution, but I am not as enthusiastic as you are. The potential of technologies can be wasted because of human stupidity. We have seen it for centuries.

    “Companies care about selling their products but they are starting to care also about the environment.”
    I’m sorry, but I have to laugh… That is just a game. They pretend they care. They pay huge amounts of money in taxes in order to “legally” feed on forests and oceans.

    “You are not a victim unless you choose to be one and do nothing about it.”
    Hey, that’s why I said my English is not good enough. Who said I do nothing about it? I spent a lot of my time doing things about it. I ask you now to forget the psychological part of “feeling as a victim”. I have studied Paulo Freire and his “Pedagogía del Oprimido”, and I understand that. The part I care is when we detect the enemy, name him, and point at him. That’s just what capitalism doesn’t want you to do. Capitalism says… come on… you can… it only depends on you… I can even give you a loan if you want… jajajaja… that’s hilarious…

    “Power production is been stimulated by the government here so that a great percent goes green”
    Yes… that’s why they haven’t signed Kioto yet.

    “I do not think people are that naïve.”
    Of course you don’t think so……

    Reply
  • “I do not think people are that naïve.”
    Of course you don’t think so… THEY THINK SO. That’s way they are millionaires and you are not. I know it’s unfair, but that’s the way they pay us when we think that companies care.

    Reply
  • Isbel, I guess we do have some different opinions and that is fine. Future history will tell who is right.
    I still do not think that a majority of people can be manipulated, maybe those with a low level of education or little access to information.

    When I talked about natural consumption I mean to say that if we were to produce food naturally for all inhabitants on earth now it will probably be an impossible task. There is so much that can be produced by natural means. If you noticed the tendency is towards artificial and unnatural products and it will be more of that in the future. I actually do not like that tendency I think we should be as close to nature as possible when it comes about food.

    It is true that technology is a two edge sword but too late to make it disappear so we can hope and exercise our desire to use in our favor.

    “I’m sorry, but I have to laugh… That is just a game. They pretend they care”
    No, is not a game. A game is when one wins and the other looses. In this one we may all be winning. I know I have talk about things that are not here yet but you can see the general direction to where we are going and this may not be happening now but not too far from now in less than 50 years so you maybe able to see this happening in your life time. When not even necessarily companies or huge conglomerates but just a simple individual or small group of individuals could create and come up with beautiful ideas that will benefit everyone. Nobody has a monopoly on ideas. When that happen the playing field will be equaled and one individual could potentially compete against a huge corporation. The same way a person with a web site now can compete with a news organization or even a government news organization. The phenomenon that is happening is the democratization of everything from news to education, information etc. There is no way to stop this trend.

    I do not think Capitalism is the enemy. The enemies are authoritarian and totalitarian…

    Reply
  • My comment got cut again by the limit of 2000 characters !
    Circles any chance of increasing the limit to 3000?

    Any way I was saying that Capitalism is not a problem when is combined with a democratic society. In that particular combination it can be tame.
    There is no sense at all in combining Capitalism with an authoritarian (Chinese and Vietnamese model and now Cuba) government because then you will see exploitation of the poor working masses raise to a new level. That is really the worst combination and is what you guys are headed for with the current reforms by Raul and the future reforms that will be arriving later.

    You guys need to push for democracy and freedom.
    Hope you agree with freedom.
    I think is awesome been able to have opinions and been able to express them without any fear.
    I never have any fear that someone will show up at my door the following day asking why did I write this or that on a Web page. Hope one day this is true for all Cubans.
    I am really hopeful that Raul will dismantle the repressive apparatus of the regime. Returning freedom back to Cubans will be the greatest thing he could do for Cuba. If he were to do something like that he will really make history.

    Reply
  • “I still do not think that a majority of people can be manipulated, maybe those with a low level of education or little access to information.”
    But… those are the majority of people. Do you need statistics about education levels or access to information? People are the mass of persons surviving in Africa, Asia and Latin America (in capitalists countries).

    “I know I have talk about things that are not here yet but you can see the general direction to where we are going”
    Where did I hear that phrase?… Come on! Julio, are you joking me? First, I can’t trust in those promises of development because I just don’t like “the American way of life”. I don’t want to be a “winner”, because the simple idea of a winner needs a loser somewhere (even when you don’t see him).
    About the “general direction” you pointed, I only see the growing of poverty and hunger all over the world. Do you want a “general direction”? See the headlines in the news today, and you’ll see that China just became de second economy of the world, and will be the number one in a few years. That is Success! And I don’t want it.

    “The same way a person with a web site now can compete with a news organization or even a government news organization”
    Do you have an example of that?

    “I do not think Capitalism is the enemy. The enemies are authoritarian and totalitarian…”
    Capitalism is authoritarian and totalitarian…

    “Capitalism is not a problem when is combined with a democratic society”
    Well… perhaps… but it won’t be capitalism any more, since democracy is “power of the people”, and Capitalism is “power of capital”. The capital has more power when is concentrated and people are empowered when the power is equally distributed… So, I think those concepts (capitalism/democracy) are incompatible.

    “I never have any fear that someone will show up at my door the following day asking why did I write this or that on a Web page.”
    Of course you haven’t, since you defend that system. Julian Assange…

    Reply
  • I am answering this in English and also Spanish.

    But… those are the majority of people. Do you need statistics about education levels or access to information? People are the mass of persons surviving in Africa, Asia and Latin America (in capitalists countries).

    Actually I have seen statistical information about the countries in Africa and many under develop nations and the trends are going towards more information and more education. This is based on information from the United Nations.
    Come on! Julio, are you joking me? First, I can’t trust in those promises of development because I just don’t like “the American way of life”. I don’t want to be a “winner”, because the simple idea of a winner needs a loser somewhere (even when you don’t see him).
    You are talking about what is called a zero sum game where someone has to lose so that another will win. Economy does not have to work that way. It could be a cooperative game where everyone wins. I can give you a lot more information on this if you’d like or point you to information on this.

    About the “general direction” you pointed, I only see the growing of poverty and hunger all over the world.

    I do not think this is true as I mentioned before there is statistical information to the contrary. I have posted here at havanaTimes links with videos showing this information. I will look for it and post it again.

    Do you want a “general direction”? See the headlines in the news today, and you’ll see that China just became de second economy of the world, and will be the number one in a few years. That is Success! And I don’t want it.
    I agree that China’s sytem is abusive but because it is a bad combination of capitalism without democracy. Where workers and individuals have not voice to complain and change things. Does this sounds familiar?

    “The same way a person with a web site now can compete with a news organization or even a government news organization”
    Do you have an…

    Reply
  • “The same way a person with a web site now can compete with a news organization or even a government news organization”
    Do you have an example of that?

    Yes,:-)
    Yoany Sanchez blog gets more hit that most Cuban if not all Cuban web sites! We are talking about one individual being more interesting than any Cuban government web site! I can give you more if you like.

    “I do not think Capitalism is the enemy. The enemies are authoritarian and totalitarian…”
    Capitalism is authoritarian and totalitarian…

    Capitalism itself is not authoritarian or totalitarian. Capitalism is just one form of organizing economy in a country. The fact is that you actually know about some form of capitalism since the system you called “socialism” is nothing else than an extreme form of capitalism you guys had what is called “monopolistic capitalism”.

    Well… perhaps… but it won’t be capitalism any more, since democracy is “power of the people”, and Capitalism is “power of capital”. The capital has more power when is concentrated and people are empowered when the power is equally distributed… So, I think those concepts (capitalism/democracy) are incompatible.

    Actually there is no incompatibility between capitalism and democracy. I have the good fortune to live in a country like that. The most important thing at least for me is democracy even more than economy. Having the freedom to think and the opportunity to do many things that in other systems like for example Cuba will be impossible. I hope you do you realizes that the current reforms that Raul is implementing or wants to implement are a return to capitalism. The good kind of capitalism as economical entity and separating Cuba out of the wrong kind of capitalism the monopolistic one.
    See for example this

    http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/02/16/apples-2011-sweatshop-report/#more-51989

    this is China who is a socialist society but with capitalistic economy. As you can see the workers are abuse in such…

    Reply
  • this is China who is a socialist society but with capitalistic economy. As you can see the workers are abuse in such society because they have no freedom to organize themselves. Because the communist bosses do not want them to be organized. Since if they are able to do so then what do you need the communist for? So you see? The communist who supposedly should be defending the poor and the working class in these combination of capitalism with socialism becomes a real bad combination for the working masses?

    “I never have any fear that someone will show up at my door the following day asking why did I write this or that on a Web page.”
    Of course you haven’t, since you defend that system. Julian Assange…

    I have said many things that show I am not in agreement with what the government here says but yes I am do not propose a total change of the current system but small changes but I can put as an example Grady, who comments here a lot and who thinks the economical system here in the US should be change into the cooperative economics here and many other people who have different ideas and have no fear of expressing them or even try to implement them.
    In this society I live nothing is considered set in stone that can not be change as it should. Because things change all the time. It is called dialetics! 🙂
    As for Julian Assange. Let me ask what would you think happen to someone in Cuba who would do the same if the Cuban regime gets their hand on this person? I actually do not think is bad at all what he did. There is a lot of secrecy between governments and maybe is time to not have so many secrets. If we all really knew what we think about each other maybe this will be a better world.

    Reply
  • “la tendencia es hacia mas informacion y mas educacion”
    Sí, la tendencia siempre será esa, el problema es la velocidad en que esos cambios se producen. Para tener correo o internet hace falta electricidad. Sólo imagínate la cantidad de personas en el mundo que no tienen acceso a la electricidad. Son cerca de 1.500 millones. Quizás antes no eran tantos… de modo que se puede decir que la tendencia es a que la tengan… en el año 9000… Los 19,5 millones de habitantes del estado de Nueva York consumen tanta energía eléctrica como los 791 millones de habitantes de África subsahariana, excluida Sudáfrica. Esa es la lógica del capitalismo que defiendes.
    Según estudios optimistas, América Latina tendrá electricidad para todos en 2030 y China hacia 2015. No obstante, 1.200 millones de personas vivirán aún sin electricidad en 2030, la mayoría en zonas rurales de África subsahariana, India y otras regiones en desarrollo de Asia.
    Según estadísticas de la ONU, 1.900 millones de personas, principalmente mujeres y niños, mueren anualmente por problemas de salud a consecuencia de los humos tóxicos que exhalan los hornillos domésticos rudimentarios.

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  • De modo que proponerse la defensa del capitalismo, como lo haces tú, es una empresa bien difícil. Eso sin contar lo que desde el punto de vista moral significa aceptar tal estado de cosas.
    Para ti la cuestión se resume a tener voz para quejarse (eso es lo que propones para el caso de China), cuando la realidad es que eso no es suficiente.
    El capitalismo ha defendido siempre los derechos humanos, pero considerando unos “más humanos” que otros. Por ejemplo, según esos principios es más importante tener derecho a formar un partido o fundar una empresa (derechos civiles y políticos), que tener derecho al agua, a la alimentación, a la vivienda, a la educación, a la salud (derechos económicos, sociales y culturales).
    Que 800 millones de personas sufran malnutrición crónica o que más de 100 millones de menores no tengan acceso a la educación primaria no son desgraciadas realidades, sino un escándalo para los derechos humanos. No obstante, los derechos civiles y políticos son “de primera generación”, mientras que los económicos, sociales y culturales son “de segunda generación”.
    Los derechos civiles cuentan con un “Protocolo” que faculta a la ONU para recibir y considerar comunicaciones de individuos que aleguen ser víctimas de violaciones de cualquiera de los derechos enunciados en ese Pacto. Sin embargo, el referido a los derechos sociales no tiene este instrumento. De modo que si escribes a la ONU diciendo que no tienes qué comer, nada lograrás.

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  • En fin, es tal la manipulación de estos temas, que solo almas demasiado cándidas (o con claros intereses económicos) podrían tragarse la píldora que intentan vender desde Occidente.

    Jajaja, estaba esperando la carita amarilla con la sonrisa… para la pregunta cuya respuesta era (lo imagine cuando la escribí) Yoani. Bueno, es bueno saber tu posición al respecto.

    Otra cosa, ¿a qué sistema dices tú que yo llamé socialista?… quizás debas revisar mis entradas de nuevo.

    “En realidad no existe incompatibilidad entre capitalismo y democracia. Tengo la Buena suerte de vivir en un pais asi”
    ¿y qué país es ese, si se puede saber?

    “De Julian Assange. Te preguntaria que crees que le pasaria a alguien de Cuba que estubiera en la misma situacion y que el regime cubano le hechara la mano?”
    No quisiera estar en el pellejo de él. Pero bueno, puedo inferir por tu respuesta que el régimen de acá “es tan malo” como el de allá.. ¿no? Jejeje
    Pero es muy curioso cómo, después de lo de WikiLeaks, sigas pensando que las personas en el capitalismo no son constantemente manipuladas (incluso, personas con alta cultura y poder).

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  • Eso hace el gobierno “democrático” de los Estados Unidos, manipula, gesta golpes de estado, invade, chantajea económicamente, etc. No lo digo yo… lo dicen ellos, en los cables que WikiLeaks ha hecho públicos. Ya que esa una sociedad “democrática”, ¿debo entender entonces que fue el pueblo norteamericano el que decidió agredir en algún momento de su historia a Afganistán, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Camboya, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, El Congo, El Salvador, Filipinas, Granada, Guatemala, Haití, Hiroshima, Honduras, Irak, Irán, Islas Vírgenes, Japón, Libia, Nagasaki, Nicaragua, Norcorea, Palestina, Panamá, Puerto Rico, República Dominicana, Sabra, Somalia, Sudán, Timor, Uruguay, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, etc.? en fin…
    Yo preferiría que nos evitáramos esos patrones en estos diálogos. Realmente hieren mi sensibilidad. Los que amamos Cuba, nos dolemos por nuestra realidad, y queremos transformarla hacia el diálogo, la participación, la verdadera democracia no burguesa; estamos llamados a usar la valentía pero sobre todo la creatividad. Basta de falsos “buenos burgueses”.
    “Tener más” significa “tener más que otro”, eso está claro, puesto que los bienes materiales son finitos. Lo único verdaderamente infinito es la solidaridad, la amistad, la alegría, la humildad…

    Reply
  • Isbel, I posted this somewhere else here at HavanaTimes. Hope you can see the videos
    and understand them.

    take a look at these videos. They are from Ted talks talking about
    statistics and predictions for the future and how the poorest countries of Africa are
    catching up to the most develop ones

    http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_reveals_new_insights_on_poverty.html

    see these other videos from ted talk
    on experiments to determine the best answer to problems (Using science)!

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/esther_duflo_social_experiments_to_fight_poverty.html

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jacqueline_novogratz_on_an_escape_from_poverty.html

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jacqueline_novogratz_invests_in_ending_poverty.html

    this goes to show that poverty can be reduced by many means and many people are helping.
    He mentioned that Africa in the last 50 years has gone from a medieval status to a much
    better economic status so the improvement for them has been phenomenal when one looks into
    the data with that perspective.

    It took Europeans more than 500 years to get where they are. The access to high technology
    and not having to repeat all the little detours that western civilization took shorten their
    path to where they are now.

    Reply
  • In response to Julio de la Yncera, let us be very clear that democracy does not exist in the US or in China, and if it did, that wouldn’t guarantee that the majority of people would vote for humanitarians who are concerned for the well being of the earth and its inhabitants. It is quite obvious that the majority of those living in the US have no regard for anyone’s lives outside of their own. And in many cases, their primary concern is for their own phenomenally grandiose needs and desires, no matter who is sacrificed to meet them. Americans are easily manipulated. They have grown up under authoritarian rule that may not be overt, but is ever present. They believe the hype. Ask a typical American what they think of Cuba and they will either not know what you are talking about or they will say it is an evil place or that it needs to acquiesce to the demands of the US government (they refer to this as “normalizing relations”). The ignorance here is astounding. I was born in New York to a civil rights activist in 1962 and I am well aware of the cruelty that is rampant in the US and I am well aware of the cruelty the US government and corporations have inflicted on those living in other countries. Predation and victimization is a reality. To deny that the profit motive has not been extremely destructive is to to lie to yourself. Let us no longer use the terms capitalism, communism, socialism. Let us simply drop our need to dominate and be competitive and learn to love one another. There is enough intelligence and there are enough resources to provide safely for all, without destroying nature, which we must remember we are.

    Reply

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Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day
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End of the Trip, Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba.  By Diurbys Ledsma Paulet (Mayabeque, Cuba).  Camera: Samsung J7

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