You’re So Lucky to Live in Cuba

Rosa Martinez

HAVANA TIMES — When he reads this post, my good friend Paul is going to say — once again — that all we Cubans do is complain. He’s from the US.

Likewise, my Italian friend Julian is going to repeat for the umpteenth time: “But you’re soooo lucky to live in Cuba. If you spent any time in any other country, you’d have a better opinion of your island.

Both of these friends agree that problems exist in Cuba, and in all corners of the world, but they also believe this to be one of the best places on the planet.

Personally, I can’t say if that last assessment is true or not, I haven’t even been to Cuba’s capital, much less some other country – hell, maybe I never will.

What I do agree with though is that we Cubans do in fact complain too much. But I’m not saying this exactly for the same reasons that Granma editor Lazaro Barredo Medina did when he accused ordinary islanders of being like wide-mouth pichoncitos (dependent nestlings) sitting around waiting for food from the government.

It’s actually the lack of opportunities that has turned us into a nation of carpers, believing that if we describe our problems enough then someone will land from Jupiter or Mars to solve what we ourselves haven’t been able to.

That’s why I find it increasingly more difficult to write a post related to the thousand and one shortages I have – as a worker, as a woman and as a Cuban.

I feel that when I complain I am acting like some of my neighbors sitting on the corner all day wanting to be the owners of the world — not working, not studying — just spending all day talking about designer shoes or the latest reggaeton tune.

But today I’m going to forget about Paul and Julian. Today I’m going to let them call me a moaner-groaner, or let you readers think that all I do is wring my hands.

Today I’m writing about the 20th of each month, since for me the 20ths are the most terrible days of the year.

You know why? It’s because that’s the day I get paid for the month, receiving the same amount that never adds up when I do the math of my expenses.

Once again I’ll go into the clerk’s office and look at her with disgust, as if she were to blame for low wages in our country. There I’ll sit, wanting to strangle her with my bare hands, as if she were responsible for the high prices of pork, tomatoes, shoes and hair bands for my daughter Tania.

I’ll look at the employee and once again reach inside the envelope that holds that amazing figure of 600 pesos ($25 USD), and once again I wonder how we’re going to get by until the next 20th?


45 thoughts on “You’re So Lucky to Live in Cuba

  • November 16, 2015 at 4:36 pm
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    Cuba is the more safe country in this planet. There are troubles, problems. But there in Cuba 85% of population have peace of mind and happiness. 95% of those to “escaped”” from Cuba returned soon because they learn why they left behind.
    Cuba whatever anti castrist in Miami said is a place of harmony.

  • May 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm
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    “i am not convinced by freud´s statistics.”

    Neither do I. Due to many factors, such as higher access to basic sanitary/hygienic facilities, infant mortality rate has decreased worldwide, and Cuba was no exception.

  • May 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm
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    I’ll have to repeat Freud’s calling:

    “Bring a link to support your statement and be happy!!!!!”

  • May 20, 2012 at 7:53 am
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    Dear John,
    These are not “my” statistics but castro regime’s statistics……. if you read carefully you find those statistics were found in JUCEPLAN (“Central Planning Board” or “Junta Central de Planificacion” in Spanish, an old “institution” of Stalinist era in charge of economy “planning” and statistics), those statistics were also found in Fidel Castro’s speeches and books writen by Jose Luis Rodriguez former planning and Economy minister……….. and Cuba’s Statistical Yearbook of UN.
    I don’t know why you understand I am comparing something when it is very clear I am exposing statistics aimed to Luis and his problem to believe Cuba before castro-batista regime had better Infantile Mortality Rate than today…….. I only want to demonstrate to Luis that Cuba’s Infantile Mortality Rate in pre castro era placed Cuba in place #13 among worlds nations while castro regime managed to put Cuba back in place #28…… and I demonstrate it using regime’s own statistics; so castro apologizers can’t come and discredit the sources I use if those sources are from US universities or other countries universities or from independent of regime Cuban writers. So, I want you to be aware about you are playing with fire when you try to dismantle castro and his men statements.

  • May 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm
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    there´s lies, there´s damn lies and there´s statistics. when contraception becomes freely available the population ages and the death rate goes up. mothers are older with contraception and the infant mortality rate goes up. i am not convinced by freud´s statistics. just as there are limits to economic growth, there are limits to how many lives can be saved with medical procedures. when a country´s infant mortality rate is high there´s a lot of room for improvement like poorer countries often have the highest economic growth rates. if cuba´s infant mortality rate was low before 1959 as freud alleges there was not a lot of room for improvement. death rates depend on many factors. as smoking and fatty diets became less popular death rates went down. medical procedures improve. diet can depend on the climate in a country. north europeans get fresh fruit and vegetables in the winter by airfreight. what part have embargoes played on the death rate? who will take the blame for that? food subsidies in america promote obesity followed by a higher death rate. who passes the food subsidy legislation? in my opinion, freud is comparing apples and oranges.

  • May 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm
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    This is for Luis……. about infantile mortality rate before castro and the efforts of castro regime for misinforming Cubans and the world abouth the issue:

    The Cuban government in its effort to highlight the “social conquests” of its revolution and to present them as a model for the rest of the underdeveloped countries has never hesitated to draw a very bleak picture of the Cuban past, taking advantage of its monopoly of the mass media. This same method has been used with every foreign visitor that has come to Cuba or met the Great Leader himself. But, is this the truth?

    Official propaganda still tries to make believe that the image of the “Revolutionary Cuba” is that of a healthy, happy and enthusiastic population. It tries to convince the isolated Cuban people that they live in the best of all possible worlds. And tries to persuade foreigners that it is so. To achieve that goal, it shows data from the past that contradicts its own official statistics. Statistics are always indiscreet when they are not tinkered with, like totalitarians regimens tend to do. Cuba is not the exception but the rule.

    Regardless of the censorship, statistical data can be obtained that belie those distorted reports. Even the Cuban within the island can verify them in any public library because they have been taken from the Cuban Statistical Yearbooks and United Nations publications, as well as from the Cuban magazines that have been pored over by the censor.

    The belief that everything started January 1 is as false as the democratic character of the Cuban revolution. Let us examine the official statistics and the real situation before and after the revolution. This data is explained in the subsequent chapters.

    Public Health

    The 1958´ infant and general mortality rates in Cuba were the lowest in Latin America (83.4 and 6.3 respectively), as can be verified in Table No.1. Nevertheless, in the period between 1959 and 1971, infant mortality surpassed Cuba’s rate before the revolution. Its maximum rates were 41,6 in 1962 and 46,1 in 1969, while the general mortality went under 6 between 1972 and 1983, rising again since 1984 and increasing to 6,4 in 1989, more than the 1953 (6,2) and 1958 (6,3) rates. The Cuban government has tried to hide this fact tinkering with its own statistics.

    Table #1

    YEAR… Infant mortality rate x 1000 births
    1953…..62
    1958…..63
    1959…..67
    1960…..61
    1961…..64
    1962…..71
    1963…..67
    1964…..63
    1965…..64
    1966…..64
    1967…..63
    1968…..65
    1969…..66
    1970…..63
    1971…..62
    1972…..55
    1973…..57
    1974…..57
    1975…..55
    1976…..56
    1977…..59
    1978…..57
    1979…..56
    1980…..57
    1981…..59
    1982…..58
    1983…..59
    1984…..60
    1985…..64
    1986…..62
    1987…..63
    1988…..65
    1989…..64

    Sources:

    Cuba’s Statistical Yearbook 1974 (JUCEPLAN), p.28.

    Cuba’s Statistical Yearbook 1976 CEE, p. 38.

    Cuba’s Statistical Yearbook 1981 (CEE), p. 53.

    Cuba’s Statistical Yearbook 1987 (CEE) p. 73.

    Cuba’s Statistical Yearbook 1988 (CEE).

    Cuba’s Statistical Yearbook 1989 (CEE), p. 62

    Despite the fact that the official infant mortality rate of 33,4, was an official figure given by the 1974 Cuban Statistics Yearbook, p. 28, in his rapport to the I Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, December 1975, Fidel Castro stated that “infant mortality, that in the pre revolutionary period was greater than 50, has diminished to 28,9 in 1974.” In fact, this figure belongs to 1973.

    In 1976, the rates became again the lowest in Latin America. And is since this moment that the Cuban government introduced in its propaganda system the issue of infant mortality, altering the data from these two indicators.

    In the booklet, “Cuba, social and economical development during 1958-1980”, published by the State Commission for Statistics, Havana, December 1981, we find again the statement that infant mortality before 1959 was greater than 60. The same happened with the general mortality. In the 1974 Cuban Statistics Yearbook, p. 28, the 1958 rate of 6,3 is shown as the official figure. Nevertheless, in this booklet the rate is raised by a percentage point, instead of 6,3 it appears as 7,3. We must remember that the president of this State Commission since its creation in 1976 until its dissolution in the early 90s, Fidel Bancos, was a high-ranking army officer.

    On the other hand, the present Minister of Economy and Planning, José Luis Rodriguez, in his book “The Eradication of Poverty in Cuba,” Havana 1990 (second edition), in p. 137, shows in the third line the following figures:

    Chart 53

    Public Health Indicators

    Indicators ……………………………………….1958…….1980 ……1983
    Infant mortality rate (1000 births) ………..400……..17,4……..15,0

    In the same book, but in the “Statistical Yearbook” he presents the following figures:

    Public Health ……………………………………………………….1959………………………….1983
    Infant mortality rate (1000 births, under one year)……… 32,5 (1958)…………………15,0 (1984)

    As anybody can see, the figure under year 1959 32,5 (1958) is very similar to the 1958 one (See Table No. 1). In the presentation of the book “Eradication of Poverty in Cuba,” the author points out that “This work was made by CEPAL in September 1983”, thus the rapprochement.

    Yet, in his other book, “The Strategy of Economic Development in Cuba,” Havana, 1990, in Table 22, p. 296, he changes the figure of the same indicator.

    Public Health ………………………………………………………..1958/1959 ……….1965 …………..1975
    Infant mortality rate (1000 births, under one year)………..40/60 (b)………..37.7……………. 27.5
    (b) There are various estimates

    Conclusion: The government has tried to modify the figures from these two indicators: rate of infant mortality and rate of general mortality (for 1958) for its propaganda campaigns. Nevertheless, even with these modified figures, Cuba was ahead of nations that are considered today as highly developed.

  • May 19, 2012 at 8:29 am
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    You are describing very well the life of Cubans belonging to regime’s elite!!!!!!!
    It seems this is the environment you lived in when visiting Cuba……. of course, if you had to live in a non elite environment in Cuba but in a common Cuban miserable environment, sharing 99.5% of common Cubans lives, the lives of those that prefers to get a sail to Honduras in a rustic raft with their children and grandparents, you will never be here describing their paradisiacal live but trying to help “my friends” to get rid of the castro brothers.

  • May 18, 2012 at 7:01 am
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    freud writes about cuba as a bloody tyranny but would freud like to let me know what subjects are taught at the school of the americas in georgia? burger flipping? allons enfants de la patrie, le jour de la gloire est arrive, contre nous de la tyrannie, l´etendard sanglant est leve………where is that guy living who allegedly put a bomb onto an air cubana plane and dropped it? did he ever go to trial?

  • May 18, 2012 at 4:54 am
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    Well, here is the promised comparison of Cuba and The Netherlands !

    What’s so good about The Netherlands ?
    – Beautiful lakes and architecture,
    – freedom of speech (although of no use at all !),
    – Strong economy and labour market,
    – Democratic political system,
    (however with forced capitalism, which is not very democratic !),
    – Import products from all countries,
    – Economic stability,
    – Good salary,
    – Smoke a joint without getting imprisonned or criminalised.

    The Minors with plusses of living in The Netherlands?
    – The climate is horrible, you can only enjoy the lakes three months a year,
    but you enjoy double…,
    – The culture is very closed, everybody has his own live and people do not tend to say hello
    on the street,
    – The strong economy has a backside; every move you make you pay for;
    20km train 10 dollar, parking in capital 4.00 euro an hour, parking at the supermarket
    5.00 euro, hardly any place in the country where you can go to without paying parking
    money (who asked for this?), cheap meal 14.00 euro, cinema 15 euro, go to the toilet
    on a beach 0.5 euro every time. A cheap house outside the town (60-70m2) will cost a
    minimum of 150-250.000,00 euros.
    – 2000 advertisments a day on television which brainwashes 95% of population,
    to buy more, loan more and work more and talk only about materialistic stuff,
    – Women that behave like men and therefore lose their femininity
    (only men who had a bossy mother and now a complex, will feel attracted to that)
    – Women who are rich but still behave as Jineteras as they only want more and more,
    which again leads to the brainwash of advertisements,
    – Sickning porn on internet and television even if you don’t ask for it,
    – Live programs with completely asocial behaving youngsters as entertainment to educate
    the youth even better than already done. And no censoring at all (a it sells, so what the F….?),
    – More and more excessive economical differences between lower and higher social class,
    creating a hard nonsocial environment/culture,
    – Not two politicians who speak, but 200 democratic idiots together of which you hear every day
    ten different stories ! Imagine Cuba when all politicians start having speeches…y hablan como
    hablan como hablan jejejeje !

    Whoooops ! Think I’ll emigrate to Cuba again soon !!!
    For…….
    I WAS SO LUCKY TO LIVE IN CUBA EVEN BETTER AND LUCKIER THAN A CUBAN !!!

  • May 18, 2012 at 3:07 am
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    pichoncitos need a business magazine so lazaro barrido medino can stop complaining about pichoncitos. cuba is one of the best countries in the world in spite of economic problems. not many cars, not much air pollution. americans spend 25% of income on cars because public transport is bad. a parisian with 320 metro stations doesn´t need a car therefore/donc 25% of extra income isn´t necessary. wealth is relative. bhutan has it´s happiness index, not GDP or PPP. live in rich america and enjoy the street crime. learn to love junk food and obesity. i read a book about cuba called “land of miracles.” one story was about a dog food shortage. president marcos got japanese worm farms to feed industrial workers cheaply. many filipinos didn´t like marcos or japanese for that. the burger machine fast food chain serves worm burgers but they deny it. worm burgers taste O.K. but could use some herbs and spices. cambodians need wormburger school lunches because they can´t afford thai tuna and rice any more. buddhists eat anything and fried insects are very popular in thailand and cambodia. worms can be used for dog food, and as cheap fish feed, chicken feed, pig feed etc. beef cattle in cuba are fed californian red worms with no danger of mad cow disease. ruminants are not really vegetarians. the rumen/false stomach turns grass or grain into protozoa, the first animals. the poor in australia eat canned dog food. thais and nigerians use snails as fish feed. french snails must be a pest in cuba. they are a pest everywhere and would also be cheap fish feed. with garlic and tarragon french snails would be cheap feed for tourists!

    Moses writes about personal freedom. americans have freedom. the freedom to sleep under bridges and gulf war veterans do sleep on dirty old mattresses under freeway bridges. i have heard cubans criticize the government. one government employee i spoke to was extremely critical of the government and he wasn´t whispering and his colleagues were of like mind. how many people live like trogladytes in the storm water drains under las vegas? how many homeless in america? 1 number is 4 million are homeless a part of every year. moses has one eye. i have 2 eyes. i have been critical of things in cuba with comments. but i´d rather see a cuban business magazine than political basura, papel higenico. political whining doesn´t do anyone any good.

    Freud says that cuba is a bloody tyranny. it is not a secret that several thousand people have been in prison for political dissent since 1959. immediately after the revolution a few hundred of bautista´s worst murderers and torturers were executed. but as far as i know, no one has disappeared/been murdered for political dissent. if i am wrong would someone like to give me the names and addresses of those murdered for political dissent. i don´t want allegations of bloody tyranny. i want the names and addresses of those who have disappeared. a lot of people in america are committing suicide after the banks, sometimes illegally, have evicted them from their mortgaged homes. this could be described as a bloody tyranny. would anyone like to dispute MY facts?

  • May 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm
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    The first 3 freedoms you listed depend on $$$. The last one is easier to handle – just ignore the old fart.

  • May 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm
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    “Bring a link to support your statement and be happy!!!!!”

    I did, you just missed (or pretended not to see) it:

    “About pre-Revolution Cuba… if you wish to believe propagandists like Humberto Fontova it is your right. The fact is that today’s poor and blockaded Cuba figures the lowest infant mortality rates in the Americas (check http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indicators/SP.DYN.IMRT.IN/compare?country=ca#country=ca:cu:us) and the highest literacy rate also (check http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indicators/SE.ADT.LITR.ZS)”

  • May 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm
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    Hi Mozes,

    Yes..you got a point here. But….do not overestimate personal freedom. Actually I call my president a
    “sonuvabi*ch” and as I know Cubans do exactly the same. Only difference is I can shout it from roofs
    – although I will probably be arrested for being drunk or grazy – and a Cuban can’t do that.

    So what is the value of this freedom of speech ???
    Shout that Fidel is a …… on the street ???
    Will that help ???

    Believe me…it doesn’t work here, it doesn’t work in Cuba ! Unless you start and win the
    new revolution…..

    And why should you, when you have paradise to enjoy instead of prison ?

  • May 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm
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    Bring a link to support your statement and be happy!!!!!

  • May 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm
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    …don’t forget to mention the lack of personal freedom. I missed that on your list. Without the freedom to live where you want, go where you want, work in whatever job you are qualified to have, and finally think and speak your mind whenever and wherever you want, all that other crap on your list is just window dressing. I don’t know where you live “el holandes” but I bet you can call your President a “sonuvabi*ch” and you won’t go to jail for it.

  • May 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm
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    I did a quick search and found out the root of this… “Cuba’s infant mortality rate of 32 per 1,000 live births in 1957 was the lowest in Latin America and the 13th lowest in the world, according to UN data.” This is a lie, as the graphs shown in the links I provided shows that Cuba’s infant mortality rate was much higher than this.

  • May 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm
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    Well…..seems to become a strong discussion on the Castro’s regime here, but the subject:
    You’re so lucky to live in Cuba and the fact that Cubans complain (too much?) is hardly handled !

    I only hear lot’s of (youth) frustrations from a very old cuban man called Freud. He lived 45 years in Havana
    in the past century, I assume during the Batista period, which was – of course – a much better dictator than “Las Dos Hermanos”. Or was he still a little bit young at that time to be able to compare the regimes ?
    Anyway…back to the subject instead of talking history !

    I’ve practically travelled 30 (or32) times to Cuba for 1-3 months and had a relation of 12 years with a
    Cuban girl singer. And in many ways I think:
    “Yes in some perspective Cubans are lucky to live in Cuba!”

    The problem is that most Cubans don’t realise what they have and most foreigners are so brainwashed
    by Capitalism, that they are all to blind to see.

    So what’s so good about Cuba ?
    – A beautiful country in nature, architecture and history,
    – A very warm culture,
    – One of the best climates in the world,
    – One of the best fruits in the world,
    – Low criminal rate,
    – Free healthcare & education which guarantees no stress,
    – When you work slow you keep your job and are not fired,
    – if you are smart you can hustle (nearly legally) double your state salary,
    – Everybody with a good house in the family can rent rooms,
    – You can grow fruit in any garden,
    – You don’t get brainwashed by advertisements to buy….,
    (I rather hear Fidels Speech because you know it will end in a couple of hours,
    and advertisements will bug you every 10 minutes !)
    – All this contributes to a nearly completely no stress society !

    The Minors with plusses of living in Cuba?
    – Not free to leave your country. Bad shit…but….give every Cuban a ticket and they all move
    to the states to work in The McDonalds and Freuds friends will occupy Cuba in no time !
    Think it is good to allow Cubans the time and information (The Castros should improve!)
    to find out it’s not so bad in their country as in Bolivia, Mexico, Columbia, and others.
    They can leave the country but can’t pay the water, so the plain ticket should also wait…

    – Information access (internet and other). Although I work with it every day, it’s a sickning
    thing to call and go on the internet etc all day isn’t it ??? I rather fish all day, or hustle
    half a day and make love to my wife the other half, but ok…I agree: It should be fixed !

    – You live in a poor country and can probably not buy a house, good thing is you also don’t
    have a morgan/loan to worry about and the people who do have a beautiful house are blessed
    as renting rooms will enter CUC.
    (capitalists have a little bit of a fobia to obtain a house and morgan, but I see this as inprinsonment
    by the bank)
    – yaya….the state salaries should go up and they should introduce Aldi supermarket, which is
    specialised in cheap food and set up some fishmarkets for cubans !
    – Morons who play loud raggeaton music untill late in the night !
    – Jineteros y Jineteras que molestan a cualquier que tienes dinero, Yumas y Cubanos.

    In my next message I’ll try to make a same list for my country and see where we end up……

  • May 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm
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    About the infantile mortality rate…….. if you look in UN and WHO records on 1958 you will find that Cuba’s low infantile mortality rate located our country in place #13 among world’s lowest but today Cuba is located in place #28 according UN’s statistics….. that means that castro regime made Cuba to back 15 places among world’s countries infantile mortality rate…..
    By the way…… you and Luis are not defending Cuba but castro regime….. two very different things……. Cuba is not castro regime in spite this regime and its apologizer’s wishes.

  • May 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm
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    Actually brother Moses…

    Where I’m living now I’m still paying off an operation I had back in November (in Cuba I had one free). Though you’re right, it IS easier to buy a pair of pants here.

    As for letting them “vent” — yeah, I agree with that too. Though I’d feel better if that same directionless (“There is no alternative”) venting didn’t end up on some right-wing websites (PD) the next day justifying the further tightening of the blockade.

    So yeah man, I guess we do agree…on some things.

    Paul

  • May 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm
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    I think you are a very narrow minded person. And very “cuadrado”. If anyone defends something about Cuba or quotes a fact (for example on the low mortality amongst Cuban children) you go bananas: you accuse people of being members of “a gang”, that we “repeat their lies” etc. Don´t you see how ridiculous you seem to be when reacting like that?

  • May 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm
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    I have at 2 occasions invited Cuban friends to visit me in Sweden. They were denied visas -by the Swedish Embassy. And without any explnations.

  • May 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm
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    Hej Marianne!
    Kul att mötas här!
    Jag tar kontakt med dig via din e-mail!

  • May 15, 2012 at 9:53 am
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    You are a castro regime supporter, you justtify their crimes, you repeat their lies, you belong their gang….. you’re out of their aim…… I have been victim of their hate, I know how their work and the personal information they got about me were supplied by someone that worked in a site where I commented……

  • May 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm
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    “Freud”,

    I also choose to hide my last name for privacy reasons. Our e-mail’s aren’t shown to the public so what’s the point of your excuse? Do you really think somebody’s got a package sniffer on HT? I’m sure the site administrators keep a keen eye on security, like everybody else.

  • May 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm
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    Hej Anna! Så glad jag blev över att se dina kommentarer! Jobbar som univ adjunkt och har startat ett samarbete med Kuba. Tänker som du men är hela tiden rädd för att bli besviken! Hör av dig om du vill på [email protected]. Varma hälsningar!

  • May 12, 2012 at 7:47 am
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    Dear editor.
    Thank you very much for taking your time to send me an email that I am sure had very good intentions. I never answered your email because I never received it and the reason I did not receive it is because the email address I write in the mail box is not a real one. I have been writing in the web for many years and like many others writers that uses to write thing that does not make the Castro government happy I (my computer) have been victim of cyber attacks in the past, that’s why I never put any personal information to the public. Another reason to hide my personal information is that I still have my mom and sisters in Cuba and surely you know that the government’s favorite vendetta on those that are not docile while in exile is to deny the visa each Cuban has to obtain in order to visit our land. I can’t afford not to have the possibility to visit my 92 years old mom…….. I am very sorry but also grateful because your concern.
    I will try to get the authorization of a friend of mine who manage a public web site so you can send your emails to that address.
    Thanks again.

  • May 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm
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    Freud, I wrote you an e-mail about your comments but never got a reply. The editor.

  • May 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm
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    You can be sure my answer to your comment is not visible not because it is my will……

  • May 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm
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    You seem to confuse “authoritarianism” with an “argument from authority”. What you say is a fallacy summed in “I am Cuban, so therefore I am right.”. There are many Cubans who think otherwise.

    About pre-Revolution Cuba… if you wish to believe propagandists like Humberto Fontova it is your right. The fact is that today’s poor and blockaded Cuba figures the lowest infant mortality rates in the Americas (check http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indicators/SP.DYN.IMRT.IN/compare?country=ca#country=ca:cu:us) and the highest literacy rate also (check http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indicators/SE.ADT.LITR.ZS)

  • May 10, 2012 at 9:31 am
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    I have never met a more stubborn person in my life than you. I did bike for 2 years in Havanna. I am 100% Swedish: born and raised in this country!

  • May 10, 2012 at 6:46 am
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    You the only that see “insults” in my comments…..I can could accuse you too of such “insults” (….Don’t get smart here. You wrote about Sweden in contrast with the context of Cuba….) when you try to force my intentions to write about Sweden and tell me liar in such way…… you tell lies also one after another when you repeat old propaganda and you try to put the authority of the best knowledge about Cuba out of Cubans and place it in a “gringa that lives in Cuba ……. as if any foreigner in Cuba could explain better than Cubans the life Cuban lives; even in this intent you acts like regime that always put foreigners first and Cubans last……… you can try to lure people to believe lies, it is your right….. I will always try to dismantle a lie each time I see it, this is my right…….. you don’t want to believe Cuba had free education and health before castro?, this is your problem….. the fact is contained in numbers and records, in history and memories.
    You proven to have no interest in the truth trying to finish a debate accusing the others of inexistent things….. castro does the same when put in jail all who dares to dismantle its lies, when beat all who try to say something different or when raise huge discredit propaganda campaigns against opponents……. It is an old tactic, to kill the messenger when you can’t kill the message…….. I am sure I am not the only that note that your attempt is caused by lack of arguments instead of “insults, lies or authoritarianism”…..

  • May 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm
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    I see. There’s no reason to argue with somebody who insults his interlocutor (“you simply repeating (sic) the indoctrination lies you heard for decades of false propaganda…”), tell utter lies (“we had free education and health before castro, so we don’t needed (sic) a bloody and criminal tyranny for 53 years that only caused the destruction of our economy and made Cuba more dependable of foreign powers including USA…”) and comes with arguments from authority (“I lived 45 years in Havana”).

  • May 9, 2012 at 7:33 pm
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    Hey MOSES…

    I’m Paul, and I DID live in Cuba — for almost 10 years — and I did live off of my less than 600 pesos a month for a good stretch of that time.

    The point though is that complaining without proposing ALTERNATIVES (though possibly cathartic? / though possibly a protest?) is little more than political masturbation — it might make you feel good for a moment, but produces little more in the end.

    The point is that you have to go beyond the CONSTANT whining of many of the writers here (several who are not so different from the Miami crowd) and start coming up with solutions (like Pedro Campos is doing, like the Observatorio Critico is doing).

    It does little to “curse the darkness, you need to also light the candle” — ESPECIALLY when your own protests will be used by others to cut you legs out from underneath you.

    PAUL (East Cleveland’s own)

  • May 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm
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    Come on “Anna”, I lived 15 years in germany and my 2 daughters are married and live in Sweden, I have swidish grandaughters and I know the country very well and I admire it a lot…….
    Jag inte tror du är svensk och inte heller tror du vet ingenting om Sverige. Jag tror du håler på at spela svenks roll ju eftersom di vil at lura folk at tror dina ljug….. Du inte svarar mig inom fem minuter jag vill bli säcker på at du är en riktig ljuger. Hälsningar.

  • May 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm
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    Dear Luis, I asked the question because I knew you would come with same litany about free health and education…… you simply repeating the indoctrination lies you heard for decades of false propaganda….. you better get illustrated about Cuba’s past and learn that we had free education and health before castro, so we don’t needed a bloody and criminal tyranny for 53 years that only caused the destruction of our economy and made Cuba more dependable of foreign powers including USA….. about peaceful street , please, only in your dreams, I lived 45 year in Havana and traveled the whole country for a decade because my work and I know people in Cuba lives behind grinded windows and doors not for hobby….. I don’t need to consult any gringa to know my country, please, if you are not a Cuban with several decades of experience in living Cuba better don’t come here to try to sell castro propaganda….. we Cubans know better our land, our people and the bloody tyranny that enslave our country.

  • May 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm
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    From your answer I understand that you know very little about Sweden today. Your vision seems a fairytale to me and the Swedish workers. What on earth makes you think that my government would send me a yaer salary for one year???? This is what Cuba do to Cubans who go abroad. Not sweden.If you don´t believe that I moved around on a Chines bike during 2 years I could send you references to all my neighbourgs and fiends. Why should I be lying???? You have got many things wrong about the world.

  • May 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm
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    Don’t get smart here. You wrote about Sweden in contrast with the context of Cuba.

    About the good things about Cuba, heck even Moses acknowledge free education, healthcare, peaceful streets, a great cultural environment and, above all – Cubans themselves. But I’m not the most qualified person to talk about it. You should visit a “gringa’s” blog who lives on the island – http://hereishavana.wordpress.com/ to see another view of the “thug-dominated country”.

  • May 9, 2012 at 11:54 am
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    Neither basic human freedoms pay the price for social exploitation, inequality and the omission of the State for the most needed. So it’s a two-sided coin we’re dealing with.

  • May 9, 2012 at 7:43 am
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    I am writing about Cuba????…… Dear Luis, I am writing about Sweden, please…….. by the way, I encourage you to tell us some good things about living in Cuba (apart the nature) supposing you are not part of the castro elite or their thugs.

  • May 9, 2012 at 7:03 am
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    Luis, I had an overweight friend who thankfully surivived a bout with cancer a few years ago. However, for two years he endured chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He lost all his hair and about 80 pounds from his once 250 pound pre-cancer weight. Afterwards, people would say to him, “At least you lost all that weight, you look good now”. Privately, he has confided in me that if losing weight for him could only have come at the price of nearly costing him his life with his struggle with cancer, he would have rather stayed fat. If “free” education and medical and relatively safe streets comes only at the price paid by Cubans, that is too say lack of basic human freedoms, I will stay where I am.

  • May 9, 2012 at 5:00 am
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    So, if anybody tells a good experience about living in Cuba they must be lying, right? Please…

  • May 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm
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    Anna…. you chose wrong country to compare with Cuba….. first you start saying you lived in a microbrigade house….. well, just a extreme reduced % of Cubans lives in houses or apartment of microbrigade and those living in such housing worked almost a decade building several microbrigade building to get the housing they worked for finally ….. I am sure you had not to work in construction for a decade to get your microbrigade house…… second, we all knowSwedish government sent to you your monthly salary of your 1 year vacation you have right to in your work life in Sweden……. you chose a wrong country as your homeland to tell us this fairy tale….. we all know in Sweden everyone have right to free health of prime quality in spite health system is private or not…. it is so in all Scandinavian countries, all Europeans countries….. knowing as I know north-Europeans I doubt a lot you being Swedish could last a year cycling in hot Cuba….. culture and climate is too different, you could get insane after 3 month….. you chose wrong country to try to lure us, we all know when you retires you will get not only your state pension in spite you worked enough or not along your work life but you also will get the pension you saved working for the company you worked, you will get also many other help if your pensions are not enough to cover your needs, you will get free housing if needed, you will get clothes if needed, you will get free medical attention and medicines, personal help if needed, if your children leave you abandoned the state will send people to you to help you to clean the house, to cock, to wash you, to assist you in the toilet, to eat, to change TV channel, if you want you can relocate in Morocco where the life is cheaper (or Cuba) and they will send all moneys and helps to you wherever you are , they will send you even your personal aid……. please “Anna”, chose another country (a non European one) there is many people that reads this site that knows how works social help and laws in Europe.
    Finally we all know that the only way to change thing for better in Cuba is to finish this 53 years tyranny.

  • May 8, 2012 at 10:57 am
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    Why do you ,almost all Cubans, think that we who are foreigners and estimate Cuba and who get tired of your complaints don´t know what we are talking about? I lived in Cuba in 89-90 which was a time when you had quite a lot of money and many people didn´t even use their libreta but bought lots of food from the parallel market. You complained. I lived in Cuba, in San Agustin, La Lisa, in 92-94, the hardiest years of the special period. I lived lika you, the Cubans, in a Microbrigada house, I rode a Chinese bycycle almost 30 kilometers a day, I had a libreta, I had only 150 pesos moneda nacional, no hard currency. It was hard, but I loved it. When I had to leave, I did it because if I didn´t return to my country I would have lost my job and my flat. I would have loved to stay, but it wasn´t possible. To come back to Sweden was a cultural chock: no human concern abiout eachother, the government privatizacing health care, education etc. When I retired the pension the gave my is not enough for living decently in spite of my 40 years as a high school teacher. Many families with children cannot afford to se a doctor. Well, I could tell you much more. I just came back from a trip of a month to Cuba. I know all the problems you have, that food is expensive and so on, but you don´t have to worry if you get sick, you have families and neigbours who cares for you and a government who really tries to resolve your problems.Fidel once said that a revolutionary always complains because things can always be better! So go on complaining and take your part in improving the society!

  • May 8, 2012 at 9:44 am
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    Well, I guess that happiness can’t be measured in dollars or any other currency, maybe that’s why your friend Julian thinks that way.

  • May 8, 2012 at 7:49 am
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    Paul and Julian have never lived in Cuba. I would guess that neither of them has ever spent even a month in Cuba. And even if they did, they lived on a lot more than 600 pesos. If you have a foreign passport, at least $500 US and a home with the comforts of a casa particular, you ARE lucky to live in Cuba.

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