Sunday, September 2, 2012



Cuba love story comes to Hialeah
In true telenovela fashion, the riveting tale of Cuba’s most recent defector has come home to Hialeah.
Love, not politics, has brought Glenda Murillo Díaz, 24, to visit her boyfriend in the capital of the Cuban exile, her aunt in Tampa, Idania Díaz, has told El Nuevo Herald.
True story or smoke screen? No one really knows.
But the daughter of Cuba’s vice president, Marino Murillo — the man in charge of executing Raúl Castro’s economic policies — left a psychologists’ conference in Mexico earlier this month, crossed the border into Texas and was paroled into the U.S.
New life, new Facebook page, starting with a picture of Murillo posing next to an image of Elvis in St. Petersburg.
Will we now see her in Hialeah with the man she loves? Or is her real man back home, as some claim?
Regardless, her story is a window into the lives of young Cubans of her generation — the children and grandchildren of people who hold or have held high posts in the repressive Cuban regime.
I’ve met several of them and they have one thing in common: They grew up saturated with rhetoric and dogma, detest politics, and cite a myriad personal reasons for leaving, but not political conviction.
They like the trappings of the free world, but shun the politics that keep it free.
So far, the most interesting element about Murillo’s defection is the public trail she has left online.
Through that most American of entitlements, the Facebook page — she had one in Cuba and has a new one now — a portrait of the new, privileged generation emerges: Virtually all white, they grew up with material goods the rest of the population lacks, but are now scattered all over the globe and connected via a technology that exposes them like never before.
A search through the profiles of Murillo’s friends and family, and friends of their friends, shows an unrecognizable, elite Cuba: middle-class, trendy, fashionable.
Raisa, a blond bombshell of a chess player, also studied psychology at the University of Havana. Computer scientist Frank, class of 2007, now lives in Sydney, Australia. He has Cuban friends all over the world — including Cosette from Kendall, who likes Paul Ryan (Cosette is the only one with a political post, particularly interesting since in 2002 Ryan favored lifting the Cuban embargo, calling it “a failed policy”).
Profile after profile, you see young people who claim as their alma maters the exclusive Havana school named after Lenin, and then the University of Havana. But their location on the map — Madrid, Miami, etc. — tells you “ la Lenin” has graduated more “ gusanos” — worms, as Fidel Castro labeled those who left in the 1960s — than faithful Communists.
One profile brings you to a photograph of a backyard in Hialeah — or is it Havana? It’s hard to tell where Havana ends and Hialeah begins. Same abuelas in rocking chairs, a dog napping at their feet, and a homemade roof terrace.
The voyeuristic trip takes you to another friend, a wedding-cake maker in Hialeah, and from there it’s easy to picture Murillo’s happy — apolitical? — telenovela ending.
El fin

LJC, the Orwellian "memory hole," & Google cache

In my previous post, I reported on the unfortunate closure of the pro-revolution blog La Joven Cuba.

In the two days since they posted their surprising "taking a rest" message on Friday morning, the Cuban blogosphere has lit up with speculation about what went down in Matanzas.

As is her habit, Cuban blogger Yasmin Portales Machado has a witty and incisive post up at Havana Times giving her "take" on the "take down."  (Spanish version here).  Her comments of solidarity with LJC are especially important given that both she and her husband Rogelio have had at least one public spat with the boys at LJC in the past.

It was my own speculation that LJC's "rest" is the fallout from their increasingly critical tone in some of their posts.  Likely the last straw for ever-vigilant big brother was a particularly harsh post on May 28, 2012, by Roberto G. Peralo.  In it he zeroed in on the government's delay in granting open access to broadband on the island.

However, if you go to the LJC blog now, you WILL NOT find the offending post.  Instead you will get this message.  Entering the Orwellian world of the "memory hole," the message reads:

"Lo sentimos, pero no podemos encontrar lo que estás buscando. 
Quizás la búsqueda te ayudará
(We're sorry, but we cannot find what you're looking for.  
Perhaps the search will help you).
This graphic has been borrowed from the blog Acerca de Cuba by Josep Calvet.
Even the self-described "progressive" US-based news site Progreso Weekly / Progreso Semanal - which had just begun to syndicate and translate Peralo's posts from LJC - seems to have removed the original article from its site.  Wow!  It seems that the PCC has some real PULL!  
Luckily for us, the blog "La Chiringa de Cuba" has kept its reproduction of Peralo's original post up at its site.
At the same time, it seems that neither Orwell, nor the PCC, nor Progreso Semanal ever thought of Google cache - where old or "disappeared" webpages don't die or even fade away, but are stored forever for easy recovery!  Going there we can still read the offending post (which generated an amazing 261 comments by June 3).  It is entitled: 
(What has not been complied with from the agreements 
of the Conference of the Cuban Communist Party).

This is the graphic, appropriately and quite prophetically entitled, 
"Prensa Muda" (mute press) that accompanied Peralo's original post.

What follows are a series of screen shots of the cached file.  But first, let me translate a few key passages from Roberto's prescient post:
"The concerns of a young Cuban about agreements from the PCC Conference that have not been complied with...

It's been four months since that meeting and the facts demonstrate to me that all that effort and example of participation and democracy have been pure formalism...

"It's been more than a year since we got the news that the fiber optic cable had been installed, at a cost to the Cuban people of $70M, promising to increase our transmission capacity 3,000 percent.  But today we only have more restrictions [on Internet access], more limitations to connect, and no information about what happened [to the cable]." 

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