Archive for the Translator: Raul G. Category

Photo of Ariel Sigler in Matanzas

Posted in Pedro Luis, Translator: Raul G. on June 14, 2010 by Pedro Luis

The Cuban Government communicated to the Catholic Church that they granted an “extrapenal” license, i.e. parole, to the political prisoner Ariel Sigler whose state of health is very grave.  They also said that another 6 prisoners were “moved closer,” to penitentiaries closer to their provinces.

Translated by Raul G.


Ariel Sigley is in Matanzas

Posted in Pedro Luis, Translator: Raul G. on June 13, 2010 by Pedro Luis

(Pedro Betancourt- Cuba- EFE):  The Cuban, Ariel Sigler, political prisoner who is gravely ill and which has been released assured that he will continue fighting for the freedom and democracy of Cuba as well as for the liberation of all prisoners of conscience.

“I am not going to, at any point, stop fighting for the freedom and democracy of Cuba.  I am going to keep struggling for our brothers who remained in jail to be freed”, assured Sigler who is already in his family home in Pedro Betancourt (Matanzas province) where he was moved to from Havana in an ambulance after being granted an extrapenal license.

Translated by Raul G.

Interview with Yoani Sanchez in the Catalonian Paper Deia

Posted in Pedro Luis, Translator: Raul G. on June 13, 2010 by Pedro Luis

“The visibility that the internet has given me serves as a shield, without it I would be in jail accused of a common crime”.

The philologist Yoani Sanchez (Havana, 1975) has distinguished herself as one of the best known bloggers in the world.  Such a title is due, mostly, to her popular blog “Generation Y”- a space in which she crudely describes the day to day life of the inhabitant of Central Havana.

Cyberdissident.  At least that is how she is referred to in many web sites.  What is certain is that she is the most famous blogger in Cuba and she does not stop her from criticizing the Cuban government.

How do you define yourself?

– I am an independent citizen in the sense that I have never been affiliated with any political group.  I am a person who shows what occurs around me.  I am a blogger, a citizen journalist.

Knowing the political circumstances which you tread on in Cuba, are you afraid that your words could be used by elements of the more reactionary opposition?

-The only way that they won’t utilize you is if you remain quiet.  I feel that the one who manipulates us those most is the Cuban government which utilizes our silence as a tacit acceptance of what has happened in my country.

You claim to suffer pressures and you accuse the government of watching you.

–  Sometimes I ask myself how I am going to survive that destructive pressure which tries to socially murder me but there are people who continue inspiring me and that is how I recharge my batteries.  This assures me that I am not the one doing something unusual.  Instead it is the government that is trying to suppress the plurality of ideas.

Has the Cuban government taken repressive measures against you?

–  I was detained once and they watch me.  The visibility that the internet gives me serves as a shield.  Without it I would be in jail accused of a common crime.

What do you and your husband live off of?

-We have lived in a permanent state of instability for many years.  My husband and I have been offering spanish classes for tourists in an illegal manner and that has allowed us to have a certain economic independence.  My book (Cuba Libre) now also makes me some money as it is having a lot of success in Latin America.  That gives me autonomy so that no one conditions my words.

In 2002 you went to live in Switzerland and later returned.  Why?

– I abandoned my country but my roots are here.  I returned for family and personal reasons.  After two years of being divided between my life and what was happening in Cuba I decided to return.

The Cuban government accepted you back despite having been more than 11 months in a foreign country.

–  That law is unconstitutional but the paperwork has become a favorable industry for the government, that is why those restrictions are kept in place.  I destroyed my passport and the Cuban government could not send me to any other country.  Finally, since I had a son they decided to give me back my ID card.

How do you see the opposition groups in the island?

–  The unfortunate death of Orlando Zapata has served as a uniting factor among the opposition and other civic organizations.  Those who are unhappy have gained a space even though they cannot project their voices with the intensity that they would like because the media belongs to the state.

How about the citizens, how do they live through this?

–  The control of information is one of the pillars on which the Cuban government bases itself.  That has been changing and, thanks to technology, citizens are receiving more information.  But there are a lot of distortions in the in-betweens from the moment that the information is produced to the time when the Cuban actually receives it.  I think that now 10% of the population applauds the government while 10% is openly against it and an 80% moves in one direction or another depending on how the situation is.

In the future you advocate pseudo-capitalismWhy not pseudo-socialism?

–  Categorizing the Cuban dilemma as capitalist or socialist is a big mistake.  Cuba is not a socialist country, it is a country where there is a capitalism on behalf of the State.  I no longer belive in left or right.  I do believe, though, in a much more humane system, more participatory.  What is it called?  I don’t know, but we could name it.

What would you like to dedicate your life to in the future?

-I would love to participate in a free press project.

Translated by Raul G.

High Temperatures in Cuba

Posted in Pedro Luis, Translator: Raul G. on June 6, 2010 by Pedro Luis

We burn in Cuba, this past week the temperatures reached 35 degrees (95 F).  This isn’t easy, people.  We all burn in Cuba.  Thanks for visiting this blog.

Translated by Raul G.

Prayers in Catholic Cuban Churches

Posted in Pedro Luis, Translator: Raul G. on March 11, 2010 by Pedro Luis

On Sunday March 7th, the political police was present in Jesus del Monte church, in the neighborhood of the same name of the capital municipality known as October 10th, to keep vigilance over the mass.

Perhaps the cause of the police presence was that during the previous Sunday, February 28th, in that same church a statement on behalf of the clergy was made saying:  “We are remembering Orlando Zapata Tamayo who died on hunger strike because of his ideas, and we pray for all the prisoners of the world and for the suffering people of Cuba.”

In Holguin, where Zapata was from, just like in the rest of the Catholic churches on the island, the priests keep the memory of the fallen Zapata present during their Sunday services and they clearly mention the civic ideals of the hunger strike that provoked his death on that 23rd of February.  (Source: Cubanet)

Translated by Raul G.

Musician Gorki Aguila Returns to Havana, Cuba.

Posted in Pedro Luis, Translator: Araby, Translator: Raul G. on March 3, 2010 by Pedro Luis

Gorki Aguila returns to Cuba.


MEXICO (AP) – After spending 11 months away from his native Cuba, the singer, Gorki Aguila, prepares to return today, but the uncertainty about his future in Cuba, where he has been charged with “social dangerousness,” casts a troublesome shadow.

The bandleader of Porno Para Ricardo, a band that distinguishes itself by producing songs that criticize the ex-president Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, said that he was anxious to return to see his 13-year-old daughter and his friends, who have become his extended family.

“I was always afraid that, when I left, they would not let me return and it’s not something just in my imagination.  They’ve done this to many people,” said Aguila on Tuesday in an interview with AP in the house of his agent in Mexico.

“That is my fear: that they have let me leave in order to not ever let me in again, using whatever pretext or even without a pretext at all,” he added, while he sipped on a small cup of Cuban coffee.

The 41-year-old singer will head to Cuba on a flight from Mexico City on Wednesday morning and should be arriving to the island around noon.

He is convinced that he will be under the scrutiny of the Cuban government, that is if he is not imprisoned immediately on his arrival.

On August 29th 2008, Aguila was sentenced to pay a fine of 600 Cuban pesos.

He was accused of “social dangerousness” but during the hearing a judge decided to reduce the charge to one of public disorder, based on the noise and annoyance the music his band was making supposedly caused the neighbours.

Previously, he served two years in prison and another two under “conditional liberty” for a charge related to drugs.

His arrival in Cuba this week coincides with the uproar caused by the recent death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, due to complications stemming from a hunger strike which he initiated in December to protest against his imprisonment, which he was subjected to since 2003.  Four other Cubans are now on hunger strike.

“The death of Zapata was an assassination and it is very important to continue the media coverage that has been circulating around it. Let people know that in Cuba there are political prisoners that die for what they believe in,” affirms the musician, whom sported a black shirt with white letters that read (in English): ‘Che Guevara – international assassin, oppressor of Cuban people’ alongside the famous image of the guerilla behind a prohibited sign.

Regarding the other four who also decided to go on hunger strike he said he feels much admiration for them.

“What I have for them is a feeling of solidarity. I lived through prison. And truthfully I really don’t think it is effective to carry out a strike of that sort but I do respect it. I think it is a radical and brave decision.  In prison, if you already feel the loneliness it is also very tough to add to this strong physical suffering as well,” he declared.

In his opinion, the goal is for each one of these protests, including his own through his music, to be known internationally.

Meanwhile, Aguila intends to complete the construction of a small studio in Havana where he would be able to record, with better quality, new songs with his punk rock group.

“It is going to be very important. It is at a stage now that is going to change our musical production because it is going to give us lots of autonomy… and it’s not only going to benefit us, but other musicians who do not wish to abide by the system in Cuba as well,” he assured.

He is also planning to record an album with new versions of some of his band’s songs from their five previous albums, which includes such titles as “Rock for the Masses,” “I don’t Like Politics but I Like its Company,” “I’m Porn I’m Popular,” and “Faded Red CD.”

His hope is that more people can listen to his music, which he believes could reach the masses despite the strident character of punk music.

“Punk, to me, is a concept, a style of assuming and creating more than just a music genre which was born, like DaDa-ism, to break from the styles that reigned until that moment and has served to influence many people,” he argues.

Even though the Cuban radio stations do not play any of his songs he doesn’t care.

“I have hope,” he expressed.  “If I wasn’t an optimist I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Translated by: Raul G., Araby


Posted in Pedro Luis, Translator: Gracie Christie, Translator: Raul G. on February 28, 2010 by Pedro Luis

We, the bloggers in Cuba, carry out the tasks of giants with the purpose of, through hard work, demonstrating the reality of these islanders to the world, taking into account that we live in THE ISLAND OF THE DISCONNECTED.  In order to send out our work, we have to pay 8.00 CUC an hour for connection to the Internet in a hotel, which is equivalent to 192.00 Cuban pesos, out of 250.00 which is the basic salary of a worker, and we also run the risk, once we’re connected, of having our blog spied on.

If you wish to help a Cuban blogger don’t think twice about it, DO IT!

Here’s How:

– If you come to visit Cuba, give a blogger an internet card.

– If, in your home, you have more than one computer, bring it and donate it.

– An external hard drive.

– A digital camera.

– A dvd/CD burner.

– Flash memory

– Rechargeable batteries and/or a charger, don’t hesitate.

– If you have a cell phone that you are not using…

– Recharge the cell from the website and that way we could maintain a Twitter account.

Even what may seem most insignificant could serve to facilitate the man or woman who writes a new history about the reality facing Cubans — when one lives without access to the net it could end up being the solution and the most effective way to realize the work and goals of these social communicators.

On my part, I exhort and greatly appreciate the simple act of even bothering to read these blogs, showing SOLIDARITY WITH A CUBAN BLOGGER.


Translated by Raul G. and Gracie Christie, Miami, Fl. (In Solidarity)