Tuesday, February 24, 2009

BTTR Shootdown

13 years ago today.

They live on in our hearts and minds.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Movin' on up

Ramiro Valdes, Ulises Rosales del Toro, and Jorge Luis Sierra Cruz have all been promoted to Vice Presidents of the Council of Ministers.

Ramiro Valdes has obviously excelled in his role as technological gatekeeper...he has been able to keep Pandora's Box closed for now.

We might also be able to view this as Raul addressing the 2nd man problem (formerly the 3rd man problem when Fidel was alive, politically that is). Machado Ventura is obviously not the man to fill Raul shoes, most notably because his shoes will likely be 6 feet deep before Raul's. Valdes, on the other hand, is rumored to be in excellent health and has the respect of the military.

Rosales del Toro has done a decent job as agricultural minister (all things considered)...as sugar minister, sugar production increased and as agricultural minister, Cuba is finding a way past the hurricane damage (allbeit with plenty of international aid and loans that will never be repaid).

Sierra Cruz is somewhat unknown to me...he does seem to be an up-and-comer and totally Raul's guy. He was promoted by Raul to be the Transport Minister in 2006 and now we have this promotion. He is a fairly young, especially compared to the gerontocracy that rules Cuba, at 47 years old. Perhaps Raul is taking steps to train someone for a future leadership role...If I were Lage, I'd be worried.

All-in-all, I see these three promotions as Raul's way of solidifying his place in power...more so than he already had. These three are very obviously his guys, despite the differences he and Valdes might have had in the past. They have apparently moved on.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I scream, you scream, we all scream for closed down ice cream parlors

Well, I've finally realized what will get your everyday Cuban to protest: take away their (or their child's) ice cream and you will apparently get some mobilization.

All jokes aside, I take this as a positive sign that Cubans are not simply willing to conform to everything...who knows, maybe a real erruption can occur from something so seemingly insignificant (in the grand scheme of things).

Cierran heladería
RANCHUELO, Cuba, 13 de febrero (Félix Reyes Gutiérrez, Cubanacán Press / www.cubanet.org) - Una de las cuatro heladerías particulares del municipio Ranchuelo, fue clausurada el pasado 7 de febrero, debido a que la policía decomisó la materia prima con la que se elaboraban los helados.

Alrededor de las 6 de la tarde, agentes uniformados se presentaron en la heladería y dulcería de la calle Ignacio Agramonte No. 64, y después de registrar de arriba abajo la vivienda, cargaron con todo lo que consideraron de procedencia ilícita, como azúcar, leche y harina.

Javier Rodríguez, propietario de la vivienda donde estaba el comercio, fue conducido a la estación de policía y allí permaneció arrestado 48 horas. Fue acusado de adquirir productos en el mercado negro.

Jorge Reyes, vecino del lugar, dijo que el decomiso y cierre de la heladería, situada frente a la escuela primaria José Martí, provocó la protesta de decenas de padres, los cuales compraban allí helados y dulces para la merienda de los hijos.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Getting in Touch with his Roots

From Russia, Raul has taken a little trip to Angola...think oil...

Raul was hevily pressured to make Venezuela the destination of his first international trip as Cuba's President, pressure to which he was forced to comply since Cuba is so heavily dependant on Venezuela.

This extensive trip Raul is taking is proof to me that he is increasingly worried about the stability of Venezuelan aid. The only thing that I find surprising is that he has not (yet) visited China.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Just Kidding!"

So, remember when the newly formed dictatorship decided it would be a great idea to take everyone's land because it is rightfully everyone's and thus, the state should own it so that everyone could own it (confusing!)?

Well, they were just kidding because now they're giving it back. I guess it just took them 50 years to figure out that their system wasn't quite working.

We all heard Raul talk about the new land redistribution but little action had been taken.

The government has now approved 45,518 land grants. Most of these leases are being given to first-time and small family farmers.

While this is a positive step (as any freedom from the government, even economic freedom, is important), it is important to note that the agricultural sector has been specifically targeted for economic reform and the decentralization that it is experiencing (liberalizing the sale of farm equipment and other such changes) is unique.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Gorki and Herbert Released

Their release has been confirmed.

Let's hope that the regime will soon learn that all this is pointless and that they will not be able to silence PPR!!

Los cabrones arrestan a Gorki, Herbert, y Renay

Gorki, Herbert, and Renay of Porno Para Ricardo were arrested last night at 10:00. Renay has already been released. Gorki and Herbert remain jailed in the Estacion 21 y C.

It's time to organize once again for our brave friends in Cuba who have never let the regime silence them.

Here is a note from Charlie Bravo:

A todos,
Nuestros amigos, Gorki, Hebert, y Renay de Porno Para Ricardo fueron arbitrariamente arrestados anoche en la Habana
Ellos necesitan de toda nuestra solidaridad, ellos necesitan toda nuestra ayuda para denunciar el acoso por parte del gobierno comunista de Cuba contra estos músicos sin miedo.
Contacte su periódico local y hágales saber que Gorki, su bajista Hebert, y su baterista Renay fueron arrestados sin orden de captura en la Habana, Cuba. Eso no es mas que un secuestro promovido por el estado de terror del régimen cubano.
Por favor, únase a nosotros denunciando la violación de los derechos humanos de estos músicos.
Charlie Bravo
CubaUnderground, miembro virtual de Porno Para Ricardo.