Cuba/Yoani Sanchez: The Miamerry-go-round

altBy Aurelio Pedroso (Progreso Weekly)

HAVANA TIMES – Some deserve respect, others a hearing, others reproach; others are to laugh at, others to be pitied. The riders on the anti-Castro merry-go-round in Miami deserve a place in the Guinness Book of Records as people who, forever in motion, can never reach a final destination.

Going around in circles for decades, the whirligig hasn’t stopped its engine, not even for routine maintenance.

Colorful horses, white swans, barbecue-colored piggies and comfortable benches designed like seashells for elderly people swirl daily before our eyes, to the sound of a melodious children’s tune. All this is done for the delight of the mentally infantile and the profit of the political industry created by Miami’s ultrarightists.

The star lately has been, unquestionably, the philologist, blogger, vice president of the International Press Association, etc., etc., Yoani Sánchez. I have lost track of the number of epithets and labels pinned on her (both good and bad). Many have appointed her as the Number One Dissident on the island, the most promising, enthusiastic and active fighter for a better nation.

I have not disapproved of some of Yoani’s well-written articles, but to imagine for one moment that we’re looking at a nascent leader who is capable of mobilizing crowds for change from Maisí Point to the Cape of San Antonio* is like thinking that the lady could be our first woman cosmonaut. Not because of the air miles she has accumulated lately but because of her cosmic adventure in another galaxy.

There is an incredible paradox in the mobilizing power that she and her invisible band have abroad and what they might muster on the streets of Havana. For whatever reason, nobody on the island knows Yoani Sánchez. The most we could expect is for her to bring together some of her relatives and a couple of acquaintances in a demonstration of national vindication.

The fact is that changes in Cuba come from the inside and are intended for domestic benefit, though they also may have beneficial consequences abroad. Yoani and others are already benefiting from some of those changes.

The Miami anti-Castro machine and its operators manufacture “leaders,” use them and even translate their words into almost 20 languages – a lot more than the most powerful media in the world. Then, as happens to everything artificial, the leaders are discarded. They suffer the fate of the famous Kleenex tissues, which are also sold in various languages.

And allow me a digression: her ambivalent answers, which have earned her the animosity of some sectors in the right, are a result of the fact that now she faces a moveable national reality that has been praised by the great majority of governments. (This reminds me of an article by my colleague Manuel Alberto Ramy, in which he stressed the difference between shooting at a static target and a moving target.)

And that is, in my opinion, why she would fail if she tried to embark on a political career, either the proper way, by her own inspiration, or the wrong way, fueled by the ill-intentioned praise lavished on her by those outside Cuba who idolize her and bankroll her.

This carrousel, on which she occupies a prominent seat, has carried others on more or fewer turns. Some requirements are needed for the 360-degree tour.

The celebrated and inebriated Pánfilo was put aboard, bottle in hand, and for a while some notable artists sent him enough monetary contributions so he could keep the show going. Today, nobody remembers him, hires him or needs him.

Another one who climbed aboard and got off after a couple of turns was that poor woman whose son opted for death, clinging to ideas that were not on a blog. Why was she discarded by those who today venerate Yoani? One might suspect that it was because of her limited vocabulary, or because she didn’t go from ninth grade to philologist.

Reyna Luisa Tamayo, mother of the late Orlando Zapata, was not on the carrousel for long. Maybe the color of her skin limited the outpouring of the flattery, celebrations and receptions. Who remembers her? Who knows where and how she lives? Does anybody remember her complaints over the promises her sponsors failed to fulfill? She doesn’t qualify to go around the world in 180 days. She and her family, whom her promoters invited to leave the island, were worth just 90 miles and a couple of stories in the media. Then, oblivion.

The Miami anti-Castro machine and its operators manufacture “leaders,” use them and even translate their words into almost 20 languages – a lot more than the most powerful media in the world. Then, as happens to everything artificial, the leaders are discarded. They suffer the fate of the famous Kleenex tissues, which are also sold in various languages.
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(*) Translator’s Note: The two farthest points in Cuba: Maisí in Guantánamo province and San Antonio in Pinar del Río.


14 thoughts on “Cuba/Yoani Sanchez: The Miamerry-go-round

  • April 17, 2013 at 7:59 am
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    The dissidents that are known to Cubans living in Cuba are some of its writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. If Cubans living in Cuba were enchanted with Yoani, she would be well known within Cuba.

    “What is really happening in Cuba” is a longer than 50 year economic strangling of Cuba by right-wing powerful people living in the US. Those same people provide money to those living in Cuba, pretending to be their saviors, and fill their heads with lies and those who feel desperate swallow the deceptive rhetoric hook, line and sinker.

    My statement does not negate the fact that government officials and others holding positions of power in Cuba (mostly white) are often tyrannical and just plain ignorant and competitive – the opposite of what socialism/communism is.

    One day, the victimized of the earth will learn to love themselves and others, refusing to repeat the mistakes of their predators.

  • April 17, 2013 at 6:09 am
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    Aurelio Pedroso knows more about freedom than you will ever know. He also knows who he is. Something you don’t know. It’s a shame you were unable to read this commentary and understand it. Perhaps it was your poor education in the US that is responsible for your inabilities.

  • April 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm
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    I feel sorry for Yoani as i think she is being used by the Canadaians and the Miami Cubans

  • April 10, 2013 at 9:12 am
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    I tried to communicate with Yoani a few years ago, warning her not to get involved with American right-wingers. Guess she just didn’t care, so long as she get hugs from them.

  • April 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm
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    I agree with your analysis and I love how you call it the Miamerry-go-round.

  • April 8, 2013 at 6:23 am
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    Now that Yoani has been exposed to the opportunity/burden of speaking out over and over again in many different forums, she starts to sound repetitious and her ambivalence is hihglighted.Though some of it is justified by this very context, some of it, I believe, is related to the fact that she has always had a limited script that she has not managed or wished to enrich with deeper thought and study, and to the fact that she has never allowed herself some healthy level of doubt and contradiction. Also her Miami tour was, as expected, more of a media show than an actual attempt to have in depth discussions about Cuba’s reality and fate, where she has been very careful to be well-liked rather than allow herself to commit with critical and dialectical thinking at the cost of not winning the popularity contest. And she is meeting with everyone in the merry-go-round, regardless of their links to the CIA, their radical positions and history of violent armed action; e.g brigade 2506 and Félix Rodríguez: Not very Gandhi-like of her, who claims to be a pacifist. And one wonders where are her ethical barriers?

    On the other hand, I believe that Aurelio Pedroso, at best, has completely missed the point when he compares Yoani’s relevance and actual work with the fleeting media booms of Pánfilo or the mother of Zapata Tamayo. Yoanis has been on the spotlight for enough time already to prove she is not a fleeting thing, has campaigned systematically and consistently, is tremendously more qualified to do so than these two people Pedroso mentions (actually he answers himself when he wonders about their short-lived media relevance. they were not up to it) and comparing her case to theirs is to force an analogy in act of sheer deception or plain stupidity.

    Lastlly, the phrase “for whatever reason nobody on the island knows Yoanis” is completely disqualifying of Pedroso. Come on! The only reason why a large majority of the plain Cuban folk does not know Yoani (or any dissident for that matter), is the very same reason why she is waging her fight: the State monopoly on information and political opinion! And this is known by Cuban high-school students, so Pedroso is not allowed to write such a phrase and still wish to be taken seriously. He makes it look as if the little impact of Yoanis on the majority of the Cuban population is her own fault, implying she is not fit to be a leader, just another Kleenex.

    I am so not a fan of the lady’s positions and discourse, but we will only know if she is capable of winning the attention of the Cuban people when she is allowed to speak to them and they are allowed to listen to her. I will be listening, yet critically, as I have so far, my worry is that the critical political thinking of the reggaeton-ridden, food-craved and Caso Cerrado-watching crowds is nearly nonexistent and they may welcome her like the Messiah. And that is why it is so urgent that the silently dissident Cuban left overcomes its traditional cowardice and begins to produce their own alternative leaders.

  • April 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm
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    Yoani Sanchez-Dollari ( thats the way I baptized her) is not a threat. The threat is the machinery behind her, using this angel-eyed intelligent liar or fairy-tail narrator as innocent Jeanne d ´Arc of Cuba, using her being woman as selfdefensless hero a gainst a monster machine. And in creating this image, there I see the danger, because its really hard to believe, watching her, that she is very consciously manipulating peoplr in the most perfect way as predetermined by her donators and mentors, the ult right winger around the world. Objectively she is doing lots of harm to Cuba, above all among those who have no clue what`s really going on on the island.

  • April 5, 2013 at 8:24 pm
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    don’t quite understand the notion that this woman ‘has had a tremendous impact on Cuba and the world’. According to whom? according to what measurements? compared with what?
    Sorry, she just doesn’t make waves, not even wrinkles. Perhaps in a very limited geographic region, but certainly not ‘the world’.

  • April 5, 2013 at 8:55 am
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    Thanks for the great extended metaphor, Aurelio! Although the merry-go-round analogy has been used before, you’ve managed to use it in a fresh and amusing way. Don’t worry about the sour grape comments of most of the other folks here in the peanut gallery; they’ve already made up their minds, and can’t appreciate good writing.

  • April 5, 2013 at 7:21 am
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    Translation for those of us who have little Spanish:

    Porrrrrr favorrrrr, Aurelio … Perhaps no one on the island knows because there is no freedom and the press is controlled! You can criticize and envy all you want but the reality is that Yoani has had a tremendous impact on Cuba and the world. It saddens me that journalists like you have no concept of freedom and to speak without fear. That’s not journalism. Only is criticizing people without presenting a real analysis of all the problems that exist in Cuba (for example, the division between the people who are with the system and not poverty so bad in the field of youth prostitution, and much more).

    A lot of pain in the community in exile by the experiences they’ve had, including my grandparents who lost everything I worked so hard. You know very well that the revolution was a total failure and poverty that exists in Cuba while Castro and his government continue rich is horrible. I pity you the truth and I’m so sad you do not know another concept of society and freedom and fight for himself and at the same time by the community. I can say much more but I leave it frustrates me so much these types of articles. Sincerely, Cuba Libre

  • April 4, 2013 at 10:11 pm
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    Believe it or not, and it appears that you will choose not, Yoani is doing something different Her ‘fame’ is not dependent on any single group. She has achieved worldwide recognition, not just south Florida. She has made it clear over and over again that she is not interested in politics so relax. You seem stressed about that. She has also said that she does intend to keep doing what she is doing, speaking out against the regime. It appears that that worries you. Finally, you failed to mention the most important rider on that ‘merry-go-round’. Father Time is onboard and he never loses.

  • April 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm
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    Well somebody certainly does feel threatened by Yoani Sanchez!

    If she were so irrelevant as Aurelio pretends, he would not have penned his silly screed. Why can his kind only mock or threaten opponents?

  • April 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm
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    Porrrrrr favorrrrr, Aurelio… A lo mejor nadie en la isla la conoce porque no hay libertad y toda la prensa esta controlada! Puedes criticarla y envidiarla todo que quieras pero la realidad es que Yoani ha tenido un impacto tremendo en Cuba y en el mundo. Me da tristeza que periodistas como usted no tienen concepto de la libertad y de poder hablar sin miedo. Eso no es periodismo. Solamente es criticar a las personas sin presentar un analisis verdadero de todos los problemas que existen en Cuba (por ejemplo, la division entre las personas que estan con el sistema y no, la pobreza tan mala en el campo, la prostitucion de jovenes, y mucho mas).

    Hay mucho dolor en la comunidad en el exilio por las experiencias que han tenido, incluyendo mis abuelos que perdieron TODO por lo que trabajaron tan duro. Usted sabe muy bien que la revolucion fue un fracaso total y la pobreza que existe en Cuba mientras que Castro y su gobierno siguen ricos es horrible. Me da pena contigo la verdad y me da mucha tristeza que no conoces otro concepto de sociedad y de libertad y luchar por si mismo y a la misma vez por la comunidad. Puedo decir mucho mas pero lo dejo asi porque me frustra tanto estos tipos de articulos. Cordialmente, Cuba Libre

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