Look, lots of people in the late '90s had bands called The Miami Relatives, but I am proud to say that I am the only one I know who named his band Marisleysis. Anyway, now I am old and feeble and can barely mount the effort to rise up from bed each morning, but I like to think that if I were still someone inspired to start band today I would call mine Cuban Twitter.
As anybody who has read a John le Carré novel knows, the spooks, many of whom work with or as diplomats, are in the habit of putting false information about in order to achieve this or that noble or nefarious end. Which raises a number of subtle questions regarding the recent WikiLeaks cable disclosures: how much of this stuff is exaggerated or untrue? Is it even possible to untangle the web of deceit and counter-deceit (and incompetence and foolishness) woven by our diplomats and their masters? Exactly what methods are El Pais, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, the New York Times and the Guardian—the newspapers called on to vet [...]
You guys are reading Jeffrey Goldberg's reports from his recent visit with Fidel Castro, right? I mean: "Goldberg," Fidel said, "ask him questions about dolphins."
"What kind of questions?" I asked.
"You're a journalist, ask good questions," he said, and then interrupted himself. "He doesn't know much about dolphins anyway," he said, pointing to Garcia. He's actually a nuclear physicist."
"You are?" I asked.
"Yes," Garcia said, somewhat apologetically.
"Why are you running the aquarium?" I asked.
"We put him here to keep him from building nuclear bombs!" Fidel said, and then cracked-up laughing.
Bolivian president Evo Morales has caused a stir in his country by adopting a slogan popularized by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in the 1950s. When Morales' had his army chant "Patria o muerte, veneceremo"-"Fatherland or death, we shall overcome!"-during a military exhibition yesterday, Bolivian conservatives bristled. I don't blame them. It's like Ghost said on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, Keep it real. Get your own shit, man. And be original!
Frightening news for Miami's aging right-wing Cuban population: the county is considering going FULL-FIDEL. One lone City Commissioner/communist is putting forward an ordinance that will force all employers to let their employees accrue sick time. This is worse than Obamacare! Nearly half of all workers in the county currently do not get sick time, according to "some random dude from a union," whose pockets are lined with money stolen from little children.
Local Miami commenters respond to the Herald's shocking report:
• "why should they even have to work!!! ill just send them money."
• "What I don't understand is that if the liberals want this, why don't [...]
According to this convoluted Miami Herald article that macerates its own opening, the recently arrested Francisco Chávez Abarca, who is accused of terrorist attacks in Cuba in the 90s, is actually a double-agent mystery man in a thriller of international suspense and intrigue. He admits to planting bombs in hotels and colluding with others on the bombing of Cubana Flight 455, but maybe he's just a patsy in a game of cloak and dagger and disinformation to tarnish the good name of admitted terrorist Posada Carriles?
Actually, no, none of that makes any sense. Some back-story might be helpful.
"Nobody seemed to understand the concept of depression-possibly a good thing-or what a burrito was. Were they allowed to leave the country? Some visited Miami every other month. Others said they couldn't leave their province. They certainly had access to the world of entertainment outside of Cuba. Bootleg recordings of American movies, mostly dubbed from cable-equipped televisions in the fancier resorts, are passed around the black market. Cuban televised news had a Caribbean Pravda slant, but its focus on international affairs, lack of filler, and attention to detail put CNN to shame." -Another trip to Cuba.
The Plaza de la Revolución fills much the same role in Havana as the National Mall does in Washington. It lies in the shadow of the city's tallest monument, constructed to honor the memory of the country's great revolutionary hero. Huge crowds, sometimes topping a million people, have crammed onto the concrete square to partake in patriotic ceremonies, concerts, or speeches by Fidel Castro or the Pope.
When I visited Cuba earlier this year, the Plaza was eerily empty. Dozens of vultures circled patiently overhead, as if waiting for the 83-year-old Castro and his 51-year-old revolution to succumb to the steady march of time.
"Morgan handed Cherne a 1946 five-centavo coin. Its edge had a small notch. If Cherne wanted to send someone to see him in the future, he should give that person the coin for presentation to Morgan—a sign of trustworthiness." —If you have been wondering whether or not to invest the time it takes to read all 21,563 words of David Grann's article in this week's New Yorker about William Alexander Morgan, the Toledo, Ohio-born Cuban revolutionary known as "El Americano," I encourage you to do so. (Subscription NOT required to read it through that link.) I finished it this morning and it is fascinating and thrilling and heartbreaking. The [...]
Cuba has 11.2 million people, half of them are workers and 85% of those are state-employed in some way. Now 500,000 people will be forced/allowed over the next year to enter one of the authorized 124 private occupations.
I was in line at the jerk chicken joint with a few reporters and the gaggle of human rights attorneys that had come down for the hearings. The night was hot but soft. There weren't that many bugs considering the humidity. We were having a casual conversation, about what exactly I don't remember, when one of the attorney's eyes widened.
I turned to see her embrace a slender Asian woman, early 30-something, who was accompanied by a pair of lanky, benign-looking fellows. The interaction seemed harmless enough but, secretly, it was terribly awkward. I should have expected as much. What kind of person do you happen to run [...]
"Dramatically speaking, Avatar is predictable and lacks imagination in plot development, as is expected of many others of its ilk conceived in Hollywood." -That's the film critic for Diario Granma, the Ã³rgano oficial of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba. (The paper also claims there will be two sequels, if I'm reading it correctly? Also: Danza con lobos, I'm totally dying.)