An Angry Author Criticizes Successful Musicians Who Travel to U.S.

BabaluBlog has posted an interesting account, which it translated into English, entitled Castro Regime’s Elitist Artists Are Regulars at U.S. Interests Section in Havana.  The article translates and directly quotes an article by Dr. Darsi Ferrer, titled, Carlos Varela and Pedrito Calvo at U.S. Interests Section

The gist of the article is that the author strongly criticizes Cubans “Artists” who are in good graces with the Cuban government for seeking to travel to and from the U.S. in order to spread their music or other art, whereas they do not push for the rights of Cuban-Americans to bring their music and other art into Cuba. 

The author points out that Varela has been an active pro-peace, “Anti-Imperialist” revolutionary.  Anti-Imperialist, of course, is intended to mean anti-American government. The author states that when the author entered the U.S. Interests Section recently, Varela’s face was the first he saw, and that Varela was there to arrange travel to the “brutal and tumultuous North.” The author bitterly claims that Varela “…resolved his visa in just minutes and from there back to his luxurious Toyota and to the mansion where he lives.”

The author asks, “Why is it that these "revolutionaries" are never brave enough to travel to North Korea, Vietnam, or Iran?”

Then he slams on Pedrito Calvo of Los Van Van musical group fame, who he also finds with others in the waiting room of the U.S. Interests Section. He says they are all “members of that courageous army that risks life and limb to travel to the beast so that within its belly they can perform acts of revolutionary reaffirmation and confront that savage ‘Empire.’"

He says, “What is most interesting about this is that none of these individuals campaigns for the right of their Cuban American colleagues and compatriots to travel to Cuba and offer their art to their fellow Cubans. They only kick and scream when their personal trips are in jeopardy. The attitude of these artists, athletes, academics, and intellectuals, as well of those who dress up in sheep's clothing, seems a bit cynical. I don't know, but as far as I'm concerned, I can see their fangs.”

I suppose I can understand his point, to a point.  And I understand that one would be bitter about wealthy, Cubans in a country full of poor people. But the author seems a bit overly angry. I’m not really sure that these artists have the capacity to arrange for Cuban Americans to be able to enter Cuba.  Are they supposed to threaten the U.S. Interest Section that they won’t travel unless Cuban Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba? I’m not sure I get it.

What has Cuban Financial Reform Actually Reformed?

We keep hearing from people in Cuba that they thought some things would improve with the new financial reforms, but for Cuban people products are no more available, and no easier to find than before.  Those with young children, especially those with special dietary or medical needs, continue to struggle to find the needed products.
Yoani Sanchez posted a story about the issue, called “Wholesale vs. Retail” In her article, she says, “I have the impression of being trapped in a permanent deja vu, in a reality where phrases, complaints and situations are almost exactly repeated. Today at noon I heard on the street words identical to those of last week; the neighborhood brooding over problems very similar to those of two decades ago, and at the butcher’s a long line seemed modeled on another of 1994 or 2002. It’s hard to shake the feeling that we have already lived this, of having fallen into a loop that brings us back, over and over again, to the same point we’ve already passed before. One of the recurring scenes is the pursuit of food and other basic products chronically in short supply in our markets. Going after a little oil, a package of sausage, or a piece of soap to wash clothes.”
The following photo was posted by a Havana resident to try find needed dietary products for his child.

Yoani explains as well that the new business people don’t have a way to purchase their products wholesale, o they are competing with consumers in buying products at retail.
Yoani continues, “The long-awaited reform that allowed the rebirth of self-employment has generated some problems that are barely talked about. Lacking a wholesale market where they can buy supplies and raw materials for their small businesses, private workers have turned to the already weak retail network. They line up at dawn outside the bakeries and certain shops to acquire large quantities of merchandise that end up in restaurant and snack bar kitchens. Without any special discounts for buying in quantity, maintaining a supply of vegetables, grains and meats becomes a harrowing task, difficult and extremely expensive. In addition, they significantly decrease the availability of products for the non-industrial consumer, the individual shopper whose needs are only for home use. The retail majority.
The feeble State commerce is not prepared for the demand of recent months. Thus, it seems almost impossible to sustain over the longer term a coexistence between the private sector and the inefficient supplies from official companies. If this contradiction isn’t resolved, the time will come when pork, peppers and potatoes can only be found on the plates of paladares — private restaurants. And the neighbor who complains today, for the umpteenth time, about the absence of toilet paper, will have to visit the bathrooms of the new restaurants to remember what those rolls were like, so white, so soft.”