“Cuba Expert” Slurs Havana Times

December 17, 2008 | Print Print |

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA, Dec. 17.- Somehow our two-month-old Havana Times website from and about Cuba is causing lost sleep for a Massachusetts businessman who claims to be the world’s leading expert on Cuba.

Marketeer Rob Sequin wrote, “When the 100% Communist Cuban propaganda rag Granma endorses a new Cuban news and information website with a title like ‘New website in English presents reality of Cuba,’ I find it offensive. This is not the first time I have been offended by the new Havana Times website, which I am here today to expose as a pure propaganda tool of the Cuban government.”

Sequin appears fixated on convincing the world that HT is unworthy of reading, unlike his many business websites like Havana.biz, which bills itself as “Preparing for opportunities in a post-Castro, post-Embargo Cuba.”

He’s not alone; there are several other US “entrepreneurs” who have been selling futures on bits and pieces of the island.

Guys like Sequin have a win-win situation. Their attacks on the Cuban government often allow them to tap into US congressional funds allocated to try and bring it down. This has been going on for decades and is part of the Congressional Record.

One of Mr. Sequin’s many scams is to purchase every Internet domain he can think of and to try and turn a big profit if the Revolution cries uncle, enabling guys like him to move in for the kill.

“We own over 2,400 Cuba related domains that complement our network and are scheduled for development, used for marketing purposes or are for sale or lease,” says Sequin. He goes on to claim to “own the biggest private Cuba-related website in the world.”

With that information, you’d think Seguin would have plenty to do managing all of his many businesses. Nonetheless, he still finds time to slander HT as well. He tries to do the site harm, but I’d like to thank him for getting us new readers. We have received numerous referrals from his ranting, as people with that good old curiosity try to find out if we could be as bad as Rob says.

Sequin says he lives in Cape Cod and “is not Hispanic and has no family ties to Cuba,” as if that were either is something bad or discredits ones’ opinions about issues related to the island.

I have lived in Havana for the last seven years, have a normal translating job, and edit and write for HT in my free time. Maybe I’m a little naïve, but since I haven’t asked anybody else for permission to run the site, I don’t think I need Rob’s approval either?

Lastly, Sequin (who also administers www.havanajournal.com) uses as burning proof of my being “a senior Cuban government agent” the fact that several of my commentaries on Cuba and US-Cuba relations have been published in the Cuban online media, and that Havana Times was able to present itself in Cuba-where it is happy to be based. I hope to give him more hard evidence in the future as I try to get published locally as well as write for a foreign audience.

I feel honored that Sequin says he’s “offended” by the existence of Havana Times. I guess the monopoly he pretends to corner on Cuba has no room for little non-profit upstarts like us!


What's your opinion?

  • im

    Sequin is just another ideologue for the fading empire – let’s see how long he and the others (Reporters without Borders, etc) last when the money tap for all their ‘transition’ plans gets turned off

  • “People” like Sequin are easy to identify in the web. They always use the same cliches: Communist Cuba, Cuban government agent, official propaganda, etc, etc. All these cliches from A to Z make up the most important and effective “dictionary-weapon” for the ideologues of the cold war. It’s obvious that such a sofisticated tool, originally designed in English, has been carefully translated into different target languages. First into Russian, of course. Then into Spanish, Chinese, Korean, etc.
    Unfortunately, today part of the world is infected by this epidemic.
    Thank you, Circles. I, as a Cuban, feel proud of you.
    I wish you, your team and HT a great 2009.

  • I do not pay much attention to what Rob Sequin has to say in his website. It is very obvious that he is running a business enterprise. He has a very strong anti-Cuba bias.

  • Sequin is just jealous. HT is a great website and I as an American who loves Cuba am thrilled to have found it! Thanks Circles!

  • Milagros Villamil

    We own over 2,400 Cuba related domains that complement our network and are scheduled for development, used for marketing purposes or are for sale or lease,” says Sequin. He goes on to claim to “own the biggest private Cuba-related website in the world.”

    One thing that i have heard about Rob, is that he does not live on the Cape but rather in Western Mass near springfield/worcester.
    Also, he has arrogant tendencies and allows racism at its worst and may be one as well. however, i said what i wanted and when i decided that he was allowing too much disention for my taste, i bounced and told him why.

    One thing that i fear will happen to this ferarmonger is that with all of his posturing it will not matter because he will never get to Cuba. with a sane mind. What his dream is ,is to get to Cuba..the one place where he denies being part of and sucker anybody who will listen. Sadly, what he does not realize is that in 50+ yrs a lot has changed and we ain’t havin it.
    i look at him from afar and pity him a bit, i also think about Mike Tyson the boxer, whom i believe will end up punch drunk somewhere willing to do anything for anybody for any amount or shadow boxing in front of some beer joint hoping for a few dollars
    Rob, is as hustler, perhaps not a good one but nevertheless a hustler, and there is one thing that is common and which i have discovered while practicing law which is people like Mr Seguin, are opportunists which means that they will attempt to achieve thier goal no matter what. People like Seguin are wealth seekers, often lonely, abusers of others and have lots of issues. i will risk it and say that those issues will be the ones which will eventually stop rob, and or others from achieving thier goals

    When and if this happens skid row is often the next stop..Thank goodness there are none (yet )in Havana).

    Keep doing what you do Circles it is working..and i espcially thank you

    Milagros

  • History will forget people like Sequin, right after it vomits in their faces.

  • Robert

    My problem with online publications such as Havana Times that represent themselves as showcasing “open-minded writing from Cuba”, and there are several making the same claim, is that they are invariably neither open-minded nor from Cuba at all. Mr. Circles Robinson seems to have no fixed place of residence inside or out of Cuba that I am aware of, and several of my comments and posts at Havana Times have been either censored or arbitrarily deleted in the past year. Mr. Robinson does not seem amenable to responding to e-mails questioning his censorship policies. Truth in media might seem a rather unnecessary luxury for persons like Mr. Robinson and others, but it is the lifeline and saving grace reliable journaiism for countless millions of people around the world. Long live the Cuban Revolution and a truly democratic and free Cuba.

    • the editor

      Dear Robert, thanks for your comments. When you stop slurring segments of the population we will once again consider publishing your comments. On the other hand, there are many sites that would be happy to publish your attacks on the rights of minorities.

  • Enjoy reading Havana Times….usually check every day…..we have been to Cuba many times….love the country and love the people…could you tell me if you actually publish from Havana?….also how much freedom of expression and criticism do you have…..thanks

    • Circles Robinson

      The vast majority of the writers are in Cuba. The site started in Havana but is now edited from Nicaragua.

  • kim

    Rob Sequin owns the website sexincuba.com

    He’s a pig.

    • Nomad Producer

      He sounds like a tool!

  • Canuck Sailor

    Frankly, as a journalist, I myself am curious about this aspect of HT – my understanding of Cuba is that criticism of the government is not acceptable, and had consequences. Perhaps you’d be good enough to explain further to us what the parameters are on this issue?

  • Love it when smart people turn lemons into lemonade! You guys have done a terrific job by the looks of things. I only just now discovered you because you wrote an excellent piece on a friend of mine.
    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=116476