Fideless / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

27 12 2014

Last Christmas with Fidel Castro

-Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

December is a sad month, precious, blue-lit and dreamily silent. I was born in this month. And in this month, in a year not so distant as it now appears, I shall return to Cuba with a Nobel Prize in Literature, the first of the Cuban Nobels, which I will rub in the face of the dictatorship that we will still have in Cuba by that date, and of which prize money I will use unto my ruination to hasten our liberty.

December is over before it barely starts. It is an atemporal month, achronological, almost uchronic [imaginary], outside the calendar, at the border of that mystery which is the changing year.

We are others, and we die piece by piece every December. In fact, almost never do all of us who started out the year reach the end of it. We who gather together this month do not know if we will get to the next month a year from now. Death reaps the best among us. Every December there are fewer and fewer Cubans left. We survivors are the worst, we are the one discarded, even by the gods.

This Christmas 2014 is also our first Death Celebration* without the dictator, who died on us without ever facing justice. With Fidel deceased ** (1926-2014), all now seems easy, expeditious, unnecessary. The Revolution was a nightmare had by a few million. The memory is renewed at a vertiginous velocity. In a little while, the new Cubans will not know or be able to spell the unnameable name of Fidel Castro – which in a few months will barely resonate in the curriculum for the Prehistory of the Nation, dissolved by the virtue of apathy and the amnesia of new generations.

The death of the hegemonic one has surprised us all. He didn’t even say goodbye, the jerk, just as he didn’t announce his arrival but rather imposed it by death blows, lies and evil. Fidel Castro has gone forever from our nation and he has left us incredulous and distrustful, to the point that we prefer to pay attention to this historic milestone. We still do not believe ourselves to be alone, without the delirious despot. We will not believe it, either, when his brother Raúl Castro announces it to us, surrounded by his octogenarian military elite — perhaps on January 28, 2015, to make Fidel’s death coincide with the birth of José Martí.

But today once again is Christmas. Part of the lost country will gather together the best of its spirit on this date. Hope will cease to be a congenital illness, and the blue light of the child-god will warm our home-mangers, making them less awful, making us less perverse in being human zeroes who aspire to be human beings,*** after a half-century or half- millennium of multitudinarially murdering each other over nothing.

It is Christmas once again, my soul brothers and sisters, and in 2015 will shine the words that for centuries should have been spoken among Cuban, but which have remained buried by the string of tyrants that have brought about our unnecessary independence. Perhaps it is the season to grow closer to being a civilization of free cosmopolitans and move ourselves away from Slaveamerican barbarity.

It is Christmas, and I love you all.

Translator’s Notes:

*The author is making a play on words in Spanish, using the common name for Christmas, “Navidades” (Nativity) to contrast with the quasi-rhyming word for morbidity, “Morbilidades.” 

**An alliterative play on words – deceased in Spanish is “fallecido.” 

*** A play on words in Spanish – the word for “zeroes” sounds very similar to the word for “beings”

25 December 2014

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MONEY MONEY MONEY / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo and Clive Rudd

27 12 2014

How to Raise Funds: A Manual for Cuban Democrats  

Clive Rudd, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

The successive “investigations” (or filtrations of intelligence) of the Associated Press (AP) and other media, that try to demonize the material support of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and governments in solidarity with the democratic cause in Cuba, is not a new phenomenon nor is it exclusive to the free world.

The Cuban government has known how to utilize the attacks on the funding for democracy. This has been at the expense of committing historic malapropisms that defy any comparison with the fundraising done by José Martí and his Cuban Revolutionary Party, or even by Fidel Castro in his insatiable quest for dollars in Mexico, Costa Rica and Venezuela (which was then not to fund anti-government propaganda but to buy weapons and train armies and, in short, impose violence for life on our society).

The new form of expression of this demonizing campaign (which essentially plagiarizes the methods employed by the Havana government) is led by the AP and The New York Times (NYT). There are many other “useful idiots” but their voices don’t resonate as much. Since the time of the Sierra Maestra* and the bad reporting by Herbert Matthews, Castroism has been a series of blows to maudlin effect on North American public (shameless**) opinion.

It is obvious that the message of these hegemonic media cannot be so clumsy as that of the Havana dictatorship, being that they convey between the lines a subliminal message to the Good Capitalist of the North: “The donation of funds by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other organizations to support democracy in Cuba, far from achieving the desired objectives, is counterproductive and useless.”

This message is more than well-known. It is the same argument employed with impunity to lobby for the lifting of the embargo: “The embargo doesn’t work and therefore should be lifted immediately and unconditionally.”

All right, then. In the name of the Cuban and North American peoples, thank you. However, the problem lies in that to defend this argument of inefficiency, there need to be firm proofs, not opinions. Also, the most solid proofs are achieved by comparing the initial objectives of a program with its final results. Here is where things get tough because, for a serious news medium to say that a program was “amateurish and profoundly unsuccessful,” there must be access to documents that have gone cold and are now obsolete (which the AP has been able to gain) but there also must be investigative reporting done that includes access to all or the major parties involved in the matter, including the Cuban people.

As has been known from responses of certain parties included in the AP’s last crusade, all indications are that there have been lies or results have been fabricated to rate these USAID programs as “profoundly unsuccessful.”

According to his interview in the El Nuevo Herald newspaper, Aldo Rodríguez, leader of the musical group Los Aldeanos, did not receive one cent from USAID, he did not compose his songs at the request of this agency, nor did he receive a laptop from subversive foreign elements — three assertions made in an “objective” piece by AP.

These campaigns of the AP, in symbiosis with the Cuban government, to demonize fundraising in support of pro-human rights projects on the Island, have media reach precisely because the national public is a captive audience under the monopoly of the State, and also because it is not common for us Cubans to do public fundraisers, as occurs in any democratic country of the world.

In countries where there are free elections and institutions, fundraising rules and regulations have been created and there are even specialists trained in the technique of quickly and effectively raising monies for political campaigns and the propagation of ideas. This is a subject yet to be included in the curriculum for Cuban democrats and any other social actor who will not want to submit himself to a despotic governmental dictum.

It would be most useful for our civil society, inside and outside Cuba, if we would create a sort of manual for raising funds legally and efficiently to support the alternative projects on the Island. Thus, we Cubans would be the ones to judge which citizen initiatives have been successful and which ones not so much, as we learn from their results to improve those methods of collecting, distributing and utilizing funds for democracy in Cuba. The ends justify the means.

Cuba’s solvency was always handicapped by Castroism. Only a poverty-stricken people is vulnerable to enslavement. At the beginning, it was accomplished through ideological class hatred. Currently, in Castroism’s latter days, it is done through paranoia about a foreign conspiracy (even though Havana has received funding from the United Nations as well as from Qaddafi’s criminal regime).

Therefore, People, perhaps it is time for us to behave less as secret victims and more as modern members of a global economy, transparent in its accounts and convinced of the legitimacy of its anti-totalitarian mission, beyond the laws of Castroism and the media campaigns that prop it up.

Enmeshed in the Raul regime make-believe reforms, we Cubans should not lose our focus to a Fidel who is as much fossil as fatal. Despite the pathetic AP and the NYT, our radical redemption still goes by this watchword: “Within the dictatorship, nothing; against the dictatorship, everything.”***

***This last line is a riff on Fidel’s famous/infamous statement, “Within the Revolution, everything; outside the Revolution, nothing,” from his so-called “Speech to the Intellectuals” delivered in June 1961.

 Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

26 December 2014





Plebiscite not only for Cuba, but by the Cuban people / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

24 12 2014

The American President, Barack Obama, decided on behalf of Cubans. His holiness the Pope decided on behalf of Cubans. The Army General Raul Castro decided on behalf of the Cubans. Everyone, except the Cubans , decided on behalf of Cubans.

After more than six decades without any consulting of the popular will in free and competitive elections, it’s finally time for Cuba to decide for Cuba with everyone participating and for the good of all. It’s finally time for Cubans to decide for Cubans.

Any international solidarity will be useless if Cubans don’t have a say. Any dissent and national opposition would lack a legal framework as long as there is no referendum by Cubans. There is no legitimate government without the effective participation of the governed. No consensus will be credible as long as Cuba does not decide for Cuba.

One learns in the open exercise of freedom, how to live in freedom. The American President and His Holiness, and the General of the Army and all authorities of good faith in the world are invited not to decide but instead to accompany Cubans in this decision, in a historic meeting where the transit from totalitarianism towards an open society or another controlling regimen is defined.

The demand for a national referendum is already in motion. May no one speak for the Cuban people but rather support  the Cuban people so that they may recover their voice.

Translator’s note: The graphic is a “suggested design” by El Sexto for a new Cuban flag.

Translated by William Fitzhugh 

23 December 2014





The Port of Mariel Has Gone to Shit / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

23 12 2014

The underwater rocks of the Cuban island platform are also gusanos (worms), as if in tribute to the 135,000 free Cubans who were saved from the Castros via the stampede through Mariel Harbor: Friends of the Castro regime, with all due respect and utmost distinction, it happens now that the super-freighters do not fit through the mouth of the Bay of Mariel, they simply cannot enter the autistic, isolated bay, so all the millions of dollars of corrupt investments from Venezuela, Brazil, China and Russia were in vain. The super-port of Mariel will only be a super-ghost. As fossil Fidel himself is. Thank you parasite rocks: on these stones we shall build a Cuba without Castro. Amen!

Translated by Yoly from Oly

7 December 2014





Manhattan’s Metro Makes Me Happier Than Does The Sea

21 12 2014

10 December 2014





OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA from Rosa Maria Paya Acevedo

21 12 2014

See below for translation

 

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
from Rosa Maria Paya Acevedo
Rosa María Payá Acevedo is a member of the Cuban Christian Liberation Movement.

Sr. Barack Obama
President of the United States of America

I am writing to you because I assume that goodwill inspired your decision to change U.S. policy toward my country.

I appeal to this goodwill, notwithstanding your decision to review Cuba’s place on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism despite the Cuban government’s attempt, just a year ago, to smuggle tons of weapons in a North Korean ship through the Panama Canal. And despite Cuban state security provoking the 2012 car crash that took the life of my father,Oswaldo Payá, one of Cuba’s best-known dissidents who represented the alternative to the regime, and his young associate Harold Cepero. And even though the Cuban government refuses to allow an investigation and has not given even a copy of the autopsy report to my family.

The Cuban regime has decided it needs to change its image, so it will relax its grip in some areas while it remains in power. It has discovered that it can allow more Cubans to enter and leave the country and that some people can create a timbiriche (a very small business), but the Cuban government still decides who can travel and who can open a small business. Mr. President, your laws are not what is preventing the free market and access to information in Cuba; it is the Cuban government’s legislation and its constant censorship.

We agree, Mr. President, that you cannot “keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect different results.”

But there is nothing new in treating as “normal” the illegitimate government in Havana, which has never been elected by its citizens and has been practicing state murder with impunity. That strategy already has been done by all the other governments without positive consequences for democracy in my country.

What would be new would be a real commitment to the Cuban people, with concrete actions supporting citizens’ demands. We don’t need interventionist tactics but rather backing for solutions that we Cubans have created ourselves.

For 55 years, the only free, legal and popular demand from Cubans has been a call for a referendum on self-government, the Varela Project. We want changes in the law that will guarantee freedom of expression and association, the release of political prisoners, the right to own private enterprises, and free and plural elections.

You asked in your historic speech : How can we uphold that commitment, the commitment to freedom?

I take you at your word, Mr. President. The answer to you and to all the world’s democratic governments is: Support the implementation of a plebiscite for free and pluralistic elections in Cuba; and support citizen participation in the democratic process, the only thing that will guarantee the end of totalitarianism in Cuba.

My father used to say, “Dialogues between the elites are not the space of the people.” The totalitarianism of the 21st century — which interferes in the internal affairs of many countries in the region and promotes undemocratic practices in countries such as Venezuela — will sit at the table next to the hemisphere’s democracies. I hope censorship doesn’t come to that table as well and that we Cubans, whom you so far have excluded from this process, can have a place in future negotiations.

We expect your administration, the Vatican and Canada to support our demands with the same intensity and goodwill with which you supported this process of rapprochement with the Cuban government. Human rights are the foundation of democracy, and we expect you to support the right of Cubans to decide their future.

We ask you to support an independent investigation into the attack that caused the deaths of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.

We do not want symbolic solidarity. We do not want to participate only in the parallel forum to the next Summit of the Americas. The chair that will be occupied by the Cuban government is not the chair of the people, because the Cuban government does not represent Cuba’s citizens. That’s why we need to be present at the main summit, so that the demands of Cuban citizens are heard and empowered by the regional democracies.

Mr. President, dare now, after quoting our José Martí, to put into practice the honesty that a free Cuba deserves, “with all and for the good of all.”

God bless our countries.

Merry Christmas to you and your family,

Rosa María Payá Acevedo

================

Posted in the blog of Orlando Luis Pardo Laz0
19 December 2014

Translation of posters:

First poster: The hand is making an “L” for Libertad: Freedom

Second poster:

For life, for truth, for the future.

Rosa MaríaPayá and her family are at risk for demanding of the Cuban State an independent investigation to clarify the circumstances of the violent deaths of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepera. We will not abandon this Cuban family now, in the face of the lies of a fifty-year government accustomed to working in secrecy and with total impunity.

A government with a future detests that its citizens have a future.





December 10 in the Cuban Key of Castro / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

21 12 2014

Click here for link to Diario de Cuba

Requiem for the 10th of December

When democracy comes to Cuba tomorrow in 56 years — it will come in spite of the international left — when the men and women of my country regain the life in truth that the dictatorship reduced to the filthy game of socialism, when the Castro regime is finally an era in the past and its perpetrators have been condemned to never again enthrone Communism on the Island (which will include not only the division of powers under the rule of law, but the prohibition of anti-democratic parties), then December 10 will be a date of sad remembering for my contemporaries.

This day, for generations and generations, will also be the day of the supreme impunity of the Council of State: an exercise in the color of silence that applauds or assassinates without consequences, that fights Ebola in Africa while incubating the virus of violence at home, that creates scenarios in favor or against according to the convenience of its dismal theater.

On this day the Castro regime’s hatred of Cubans will not be forgotten, nor will our historic humiliation under the love of our masters: a day that opens the heart to the necessary reconciliation still will not be easy.

Tenths of December hurt, far beyond the double funeral that is coming, with no one and for the good of no one. Tenths of December know nothing of the notion of forgetting: there is no victim that is not waiting for his victimizer if, at some time, we are to live in truth. The Cuban fight against the Castro regime is the fight of memory against memory.

10 December 2014