Why Jose Daniel? By Yoani Sanchez

See this article posted by Yoani Sanchez on Generation Y, and then posted by Babalublog.


One Way to Create Buzz for a Movie - Una Noche Actors Defect

You may have heard of the movie, Una Noche, a short film idea created by Lucy Mulloy when she visited Cuba and listened to the natives. Lucy Mulloy, a Brit who studied at NYU, has earned numerous awards for her film-making.

Una Noche is making its U.S. feature film debut at The Tribeca Film Festival this week. She used non-actors in the film.

Una Noche is an impartial look at Cuba “through the eyes of people whose nostalgia for the Revolution fades every year along with their dreams”. [Quote from Sidney’s Buzz in Indie Wire):


The article also says, “Lucy captures the pulse of Cuba and with her portrayal of youth and its beautiful juxtaposition to the decaying architecture of Havana.”

Cuba allows some to leave Cuba, especially for the arts. As we have reported previously, it often forbids people like Yoani Sanchez to leave. Leonardo Padura is able to travel regularly. But in this case, it allowed actors from the movie (who were not really professional actors) to travel to the United States in order to promote the film. Three of the actors arrived in Miami, but only one made it to the New York premiere of the film. The other two are “missing.”

Huffington Post reports in


that “The Tribeca Film Festival premiere of "Una Noche," a film about three Cuban teens trying to escape the Communist island nation for a better life in the U.S., was marred by the disappearance of two of the film's lead stars -- who went missing as soon as their plane from Cuba touched down in Miami. Anailin de la Rua de la Torre and Javier Nunez Florian, the 20-year-old Cuban-born actors, were flown from Cuba to the United States on Wednesday and were supposed to make their way to New York on Friday in order to promote the film. But instead, the pair stayed in Miami, according to 20-year-old Dariel Arrechada, the third star of the film who traveled with them.”

Arrechada seemed a bit chagrined to report that he had arrived alone. Arrechada stated that he will definitely return to Cuba after the festival ends. The article quoted him as saying, in Spanish of course: "I have my family there, my friends, my girlfriend. Here, I don't know anyone. Here, I don't know the way of life. I also don't know English very well".

Lucy Mulloy, tweeted in late March that the actors would be coming. She tweeted: "First time out of Cuba to the US!" The Huffington Post says that Mulloy told reporters that she's disappointed and surprised by the apparent defection, but she understands.

Now, I really want to see the movie. The buzz creation worked.

Propaganda is everywhere in Cuba.

State television will show Fidel in black and white, strolling through sugar cane fields. I’ve met two families who have stolen satellite connections to the U.S. What a hit that is. When I took Oswardo to his first hotel two years ago, he got lost in VH1.

There are signs, billboards, graffiti. Socialism is ingrained in the schoolkids. Parents can get into trouble if they criticize or question the government in front of their kids. Nobody can question anything without worry of being arrested, or worse.
Overlooking the Plaza de la Revolucion, there are two government buildings with familiar faces:

I came across graffiti that says, “Down with Batista – Assassin.” I presume it’s real, and 50 years old, but it could have been added recently for all I know.

Here’s one I found, I think on La Rampa. I saw it two years ago, and again this time. It says, “Before the worldwide capitalist crisis, we had no choice but to unite ourselves and confront it. – Raul Castro.

It’s funny to think the government still talks of revolution, 50 years after stagnation began.

It says "Viva Fidel"

90% of the books sold in a book market will be pro-government

Secret Service Agents Can't Have Any Fun at Summit

Secret Service agents sent home from Americas Summit amid allegations of personal misconduct (i.e having a little entertainment with Cartagena prostitutes.)


They Kidnapped Me Again / El Sexto – Danilo Maldonado Machado

I came across this writing tonight, ten days late. But it is so well written and so interesting, that I am posting it now. I found it on Ira Harris' site named after his upcoming book, The Death of the White Rose. He compared this to his representation of clients and the U.S. legal system. Then I clicked in to the actual post.

Both are here:



What the Pope Saw in Cuba

[Franklin Marquez – Age –50’s; Birthplace – Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; Residence – Miami, Florida, U.S.; Lives with Wife and Children; Occupation – Attorney, Writer, Moderator of the Blog]

A great article was posted in the Miami Herald on 4/2/12, giving credit to Carlos Alberto Montener, and listing his blog, WWW.ELBLOGDEMONTANER.COM

“Hundreds of millions of people watched the pope in Cuba, heard his utterings and observed what happened. Naturally, each one of those witnesses perceived the visit differently. What’s interesting now is to find out what the perception was among the pope and his Vatican entourage.”

Mr. Montaner said, “… Benedict XVI was struck by the huge contrast between the Mexican welcome — joyous, free, multitudinous and spontaneous — in a city that was alive and economically vibrant, and the tense Cuban ceremonies, evidently controlled by the political police, held in a country impoverished to the point of misery, and preceded by hundreds of detentions.”

The horrific spectacle of a young man savagely beaten by a policeman disguised as a Red Cross stretcher-bearer touched the pope’s heart and caused him to take a personal interest in the man’s fate. After all, the poor man had only shouted “Down with communism,” the common man’s echo of what the pontiff himself had said when he left Italy, when he declared that Marxism was a failed ideology that needed to be buried.”

The writer went on to say, “The pope and his retinue found it lamentable that Raúl Castro chose to deliver in Santiago de Cuba a classic Stalinist Cold-War speech intended to justify the dictatorship. They had expected a message of change and hope, not a reiteration of the regime’s main arguments.”

The writer also stated that in spite of Pope John Paul II’s visit 114 years ago, “Except for a few hundred opposition democrats who are permanently harassed and beaten, sometimes jailed, Cuba’s is a society rotted by fear.”

“But the manifestation of fear that intrigued them the most was not that of the oppositionists but that of the apparent supporters. They heard their double-talk up close and were terrified.”

For the full article, see either of the following:



The Pope’s Visit – From the Cuban Worker Perspective

[Ernesto – Age – Early 20’s; Birthplace – Havana, Cuba; Residence – Havana, Cuba; Lives with Mother and Extended Family; Occupation – Educated in Business and Finance, Works in Hotel Operations for Government Owned Hotel; Fiancé of Marisa]

[This was transmitted orally as I sat on El Prado]

Franklin, you ask how it was having the Pope here in Cuba. Well, as I told you in the weeks before his arrival, it’s been worse than usual.

First, the Internet was blocked. So I was unable to communicate with anybody, particularly with friends and family outside of Cuba.

Then, last Tuesday, in my work (a government job as you know, like almost all jobs in Cuba), the superiors sent around a list and told us to sign it, in order to give our commitment that we would go to see the Pope. It was presented as though we must attend.

I protested, saying, “It is a spiritual issue, and I will decide on my own whether to go. It’s a private decision.”

My supervisor said, “It’s not a spiritual decision. It is not a private decision. You must attend.”

I came to understand that the government was afraid the audience would be too small, so they were forcing us to attend. The government was afraid the Cuban-Americans would convince their families in Cuba not to attend, in order to protest the conditions. Then the Cuban-Americans would point to the sparse crowd and criticize the government. The government wanted it to appear that the Cuban people had religious freedom and could freely and happily attend a public mass.

In order to force people to attend, government employers stated that the day the Pope was to speak was going to be a paid holiday. But it was only paid for workers who committed to attend. Otherwise it was unpaid.

As you know, we make about thirty dollars a month, so not being paid for a day is significant. Sixty cents might not sound like much to you, but it’s a lot to us. So many workers attended, because they felt forced. Soldiers also were forced to attend, but were instructed not to wear uniforms. Students also were coerced in different ways to attend.

So I was in the crowd, unhappily, not wanting to participate, trying not to look angry.

I was standing near the man who yelled out, “Down with Communism.” A man grabbed his shirt and pulled him away. Others joined. Because police and soldiers were not in uniform, it was impossible to know who was dragging the man away. And it was likely that he did not even know he was under arrest. Of course, that’s not uncommon in Cuba. I saw people in the crowd punching and swinging at him, and at his captors, and it was clear that like a typical mob scene, nobody knew what had happened and who was in the “wrong”, and who was in the “right”, if anybody was either.

The man in the hat is the one who spoke out. The two men in white shirts start removing him.

The man has lost his hat. He's ducking from people in the crowd, who are striking at him.

The man has been struck by a stranger in the crowd. One of his captors tries to protect him.

I suffered through the episode, and got my sixty cents, wondering what the Pope and his entourage thought of our country and our people.

These photos were taken from a video we posted a link to in the previous post: