Other People’s Misfortune, Other People’s Shame

To express what the images transmit after the earthquake in Haiti is impossible. I followed the news broadcast on Cuban TV, the only one I have access to, and also on the night time broadcast on the Telesur station, even though Telesur is censored in Cuba, and although I have no other sources of information, my experience of reading between the lines told me that something was missing in news about the U.S. invasion of Haiti. I had trouble finding a logical explanation, what interest does such a poor benighted country hold for the mighty United States?

But technologies are tremendous and in a flash-memory stick I had access to a story that has been carefully kept from us: the agreements between Obama and Preval for the reconstruction of Haiti. When I read the document I understood the essence of the “invasion”: to ensure that the substantial relief gets to where it is most needed in a country where even the local government has collapsed.

How can you organize, how can you contain the anxious and starving people, how can you prevent the looting and rampant crime after the collapse of Port-au-Prince’s prison? I can think of no other way than an army, and an army also has the technology to operate in abnormal conditions.  Also, I found out that difficulty of landing aircraft carrying help  was due to  a congested airspace and not due to the whims of the “invaders.”

My patience reached a boiling point when I heard the international affairs commentator on the Cuban television news, “he says, and this is not a lie,” that some scientists have reported the possibility that the earthquake in Haiti has been one more of the meteorological events that the U.S. government can trigger when it faces adverse geopolitical conditions. It does not surprise me to find individuals subscribing to this conspiracy theory on the internet, but to broadcast this on national TV … It is shameful to take advantage of someone’s misery to speak evil of the enemy.

Translated by: LJM



In a previous post I have discussed my dissatisfaction with the Cuban press, both print and television, because they are aways accommodating and never report the root of problems. My disappointment, abstract until then, had its embodiment one morning six or seven years ago while listening to the television magazine “Buenos Dias“. A well-known commentator on international affairs, a man who looked like a decent person in the best sense, devoted his airtime to a story with hints of a scandal. A leaked report of a secret meeting between representatives of major global companies in the Swiss city of Lugano. The super-capitalism were dividing the wealth of the world as a pie. I put the house work aside and paid close attention to the comment, and when it finished I went straight to the phone and I spoke with the commentator. I gave him my full name and explained that I had called to clarify a mistake. The Lugano meeting was the fruit of the imagination of an economist concerned about the negative side of globalization. The economist prepared with reliable data, The Lugano Report, a passionate fiction about the economy and power. I had being given the first edition in Spanish, and provided him, the commentator, data about the author. (Parenthetically, like so many other books that when I like them, I lend them, I lent The Lugano Report, and like many others, I lost it.) The journalist was very receptive, he asked for the publisher’s name to request a copy from his daughter living in Spain and thanked me for the call. Can you believe that the next day he spoke on the Report as if it were a real thing? I wanted to think it was an “order”, direct consequence of complying with an official version, because despite my disappointment he seemed to be a decent person. My husband simplifies matters “If he were really decent he would have refused to repeat a lie.” I prefer to think that the directors of the television magazine, or of the channel, or of the television, or the ideological department of the Central Committee*, thought that an economist born from the monster and criticizing the system was a bad example. In the end this was a Very Bad Example.

Translator’s note: Comite Central Del Partido Comunista de Cuba: Central Committee of Cuba’s Communist Party

Translated by: LJM

Another Look at a Current Event

I haven’t written about this topic so as not to provoke the hilarity of my companions in the Blogger Academy, with my comments about the difficulties of acquiring explosives.

In Cuba, where it is difficult to find anything, finding a little gun powder for fireworks, is impossible. Any substance that could potentially become an explosive device is out of reach for any citizen and very guarded in its storage. When film and television need pyrotechnics, the controls are very strict; only military advisers and trusted personnel can handle them. Many are unaware of the operation deployed in a military unit when a weapon or ammunition is lost. Keeping this in mind, how can anyone think that a Cuban, not only can reach U.S. territory with such substances, but get the explosives out of Cuba successfully? They overestimate Cuban citizens and underestimate the Cuban Government; If the Cuban Government has, presently, the need to conduct acts of terrorism on American soil, the assailants would never get out of Cuba or into the U.S. with a Cuban passport, and the CIA and FBI know this. This is another episode in the squabble among both governments. A squabble that at this time the Cuban government is winning. Including with this round, that so much protest has been generated in the national press is a triumph for the island government. The politicians are pulling the strings. The people? The people, resigned to go through the humiliation of body searches to be able to embrace their family and friends on the other side, thanks for asking.

Translated by: LJM