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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.

Cuban Government Ignores People’s Struggle

January 24, 2017 |

Isbel Díaz Torres

Protests in the Dominican Republic.

HAVANA TIMES – While in the Dominican Republic on Sunday thousands of workers, students, anti-capitalist fighters, anarchists and women took to the streets to denounce the corruption of their government and the Brazilian company Odebrecht; an official Cuban delegation drank coffee and took photos.

The Cuban officials are attending another summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), from January 21 to 25, along with a handful of young people from what they call civil society on the island. I know that’s a bit of a laugh, but they said it on the TV news.

This peculiar “civil society” will participate in the so-called “Meeting of social forces for the unity, peace and integration of Latin America and the Caribbean”, in the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo.

I can already imagine the Cuban leaders of the University Student Federation, or the Union of Young Communists, excited to attend such a serious and important event. Meanwhile on the streets of the Dominican Republic, true anti-capitalist youth shout their truths to power, that Brazilian government bribed Dominican officials between 2001 and 2014 to obtain public works contracts.

But Cuba will not fall into such social indiscipline. Instead, it was planned that troubadour Raul Torres was to sing his timely song “Riding with Fidel” on Monday at the “Artists for Unity” concert, at the close of the Encounter of Social Movements and Progressive Political Forces of the Patria Grande, in support to the Summit, and in homage to Fidel and Chavez.

The CELAC sessions, which Raul Castro will apparently be attending, will be well protected from the crowd’s shouting, of course, since they will be held in the tourist resort of Bavaro, in the municipal district of Veron Punta Cana.

This reality has nothing contradictory; rather it is consistent with the pragmatism with which the Raul Castro government has assumed its international relations.

Similarly, while on January 20, racist and homophobic tycoon Donald Trump officially assumed his post as US president, those same young Cuban pro-government anti-capitalists had nothing to say at home on the island.

Hundreds of spontaneous manifestations took place in various parts of the world, but none of them were Cuban. Perhaps the boys and girls of the UJC were trying on the ties and heels they would wear at the Dominican summit.

The same has happened with our national TV, which has covered the CELAC summit on the sister island of the Caribbean, but ignored the thousands of indignant people in its streets, demanding an end to impunity and corruption, and the expulsion of the Brazilian company from Dominican territory.

What’s been seen in Cuba is our typical official journalism, so faithful to the libretto that they put in front of them.

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  • Ronin

    Isbel,
    Trump is neither a racist nor a homophobe. Don’t believe what the corrupt liberal media in the U.S. puts out on the airwaves to discredit Trump. They are just pissed off because they have been out of touch with the public opinion and misjudged the election results.

    No doubt that trump shoots off his mouth sometimes without thinking about how it sounds and all the negative connotation that could be contributed to his statements, but it appears that he states what is on his mind without worrying about being politically correct. Not being politically correct is part of what has made him popular amongst his supporters.

    You must chill and wait for good things to start happening. Hopefully things will improve in both our countries in the near future. Since Trump is a successful businessman, just maybe he will try to do business with Cuba, which undoubtedly benefit both sides.

    • Isbel Diaz

      Oh, I see. That explains why the US State Department’s entire senior management team just quited.
      It is obviuos that we have completely different views. You are looking at businessmen, and I’m looking at the poor people, the Latin-American immigrant community, the LGBT community.
      US is the wealthiest country in the world, but that is not enough for you and Trump. You need more money. Ok. But please, don’t ask me to share your perspective.

      • Ronin

        OOOHHH PAALEAAASEEE……Far be it from me to ask, or even expect you to share my perspective, which you can only get from living in the U.S. ,,,,, but I feel obligated to respond when you have a completely wrong assessment of what is going on inside the U.S. …….

        and the Latin-American LEGAL immigrants have absolutely nothing to worry about and are quite welcomed. I would even venture to say that the in country ILLEGAL immigrants don’t have much to worry about either (only the ones involved in criminal activity should be worrying) ,,,,,,as you can see the strict entry into the U.S. so far is only for Middle Eastern immigrants and not the Latin-Americans,,,so you see you are barking up the wrong tree on that one……..

        You are concerned for the poor!!!!!!!! Obviously you are not following the news or should I say you are “selectively” following the news,,,did you miss the part where Trump met with heads of Labor Unions in the country, and they were very pleased with the meeting they had with the President. So, so much for Trump not being in support of the working class. .,,,,,

        and exactly what has Trump done so far that is a threat to the LGBT community,,,,,,,,,,,,,, !!!!!!!!!!!!! He has not signed any executive order to ban gay marriage or any other anti LGBT laws!!!!

        AND… you may think that the U.S. is “the wealthiest country in the world” but that wealth is not distributed evenly in our country,,,, it is still a struggle for the majority to survive and contrary to the popular belief MONEY DOES NOT GROW ON TREES here in the U.S. ,,,, middle class or the working class which by the way, are the backbone of America, actually struggle to stay afloat and it is exactly this segment of society here that supported Trump for presidency,,,,,, do you wanna know why? I don’t think you really do, but I will tell you anyways,,,, it is because most people here are tired and extremely fed up with business as usual and the government B.S. that has been going on for the past not just 8 years, but the last 20 years……..

        And as far as the “U.S. State Department’s senior management team quitting” ,,,, I am sorry, is this the same team who was in place while U.S. personnel were murdered in Bengazi while they stood by and watched it unfold………….you see there is lot more going on here than you think….. and as far as I”m concerned, they quit to avoid being FIRED….. and for that matter the entire “governmental management teams” who have been there for the past 8 years can “quit” for all I care…… we need young blood to run things now ….

        AND, I am not a die hard believer in politicians in general, however maybe the Trump administration will change how politicians act and do their jobs,,,,, this is something that is desperately needed in the U.S.

        the two main factions in the U.S.–the liberal left and the conservative right, have finally come into a skirmish line,,, this dispute is ours to decipher,,,,

        sooooooo when you make off the hip comments about the U.S., and about U.S. issues you have no real understanding of, then you are going to get schooled in how things are over here…. but you obviously have a preconceived Trump phobia!!!!!!!!

        AND I really don’t like to continue this conversation, because I visit this website to read and comment about articles related to CUBA, not the issues in the USA!!!!!!!!!!

        So let agree to disagree and MOVE ON.

  • Isbel Diaz

    Dear Ronin:
    I don’t need to believe “the corrupt liberal media i the U.S.”, I just need to listen to that clown during his shows, or read his tweets.
    Not worrying about being politically correct is not good enough. If the U.S. people wanted someone politically incorrect, they could elect a punk band.
    And, by the way, a good businessman is the most dangerous thing for the popular movements, since the only care for making profits, and forget about the rights of the workers and the environment. This is a very simplistic way of putting the idea, but “wait for good things to start happening” looks more simplistic, in my opinion.

    • Ronin

      Obviously he has quite a following, hence winning the election. And a tough businessman is exactly what our government needs, to stop all the superfluous spending and get down to the business of making government more efficient. Most previous Presidents have just added to our national debt. So far it seems that Trump has saved thousands of jobs leaving the country.

      I suppose you could interpret his tweets anyway you want, what matters is to wait and see what transpires in the next four years. :)