Time for Definitions

Cuban artists, fear and social networking in Trump’s times. Defend Cuba or pay tribute to “the worst” of Miami?

There was a time when things were so simple that leaving or staying in Cuba could be taken as a political decision. Going to Miami or staying there, instead of another city elsewhere in the world, was also something in people’s mind that seemed to mark some level in the issue.

Of course, it was practically impossible for a Cuban artist to be able to continue his/her career in Miami, without paying the political tribute to the anti-Fidelista tendency –extremely anti-Cuban– that intends to remain dominant in that city.

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Gente de Zona: From revered to persecuted.

Then, there came the time of the Cultural Exchange followed by the diplomatic relations with the Obama administration, which enabled a more hospitable Miami for the Cuban artists who live on the island. Competition between shows and channels, more concerned with the rating that the presentation of those artists could provide them, made many keep their composure for a while, and received in their sets every musician, humorist or actor living in Cuba who visited Miami. The “anti-Castro” television industry, whose access to that pie was limited to harass the artists coming from the island upon their arrivals to ask them recalcitrant questions, saw how its commercial product: hatred towards all that Cuba meant, failed to be quoted as before. The relief that came after the traumatizing effect of George W. Bush’s aggressive policy against Cuban families –similar to that adopted by Trump today– with his travel and remittance restrictions, influenced a background atmosphere in which thousands of Cubans living in Florida informally invested in the new possibilities that opened for self-employment in Cuba. In that period, the anti-Cuban rightwing in Miami’s media kept its troubles to itself.

The advance of the second decade of the 2000s, the rise of social networks made the television formats that had benefited from the use of YouTube begin to lose ground due to the growing volume of content directly produced for that platform. The circulation of fragments of panel television shows begin to be surpassed by the production of shows broadcasted via streaming and watched by an increasing number of subscribers to video channels.

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Haila María Mompié: Another victim of intolerance in Miami.

A few years later, in 2020, there is a Miami-based political industry with new faces much more installed on the Internet that has moved from the traditional press media and TV –although without leaving them– to YouTube, along with another aggressive circuit of webpages. Unlike television, these shows made for streaming and online viewing assume a greater aggressiveness by complementing themselves with the possibility to comment and share that social networks provide their audience with.

With the artists living in Cuba, this anti-Cuban media positioning that tries to poison the bonds between the Cuban community in the United States and its country also seeks to put an end to the possibilities of presentations in the city of Miami –and their economic benefit–, which opened the period of Cultural Exchange.

Although in Cuba the political ambiguity of some artists perhaps generate indifference, that Miami-based rightwing full of revived hatred isn’t willing to assimilate so: Either you join the anti-Cuban discourse or you don’t enter Miami. But new media and social networking go further, and seek to reach in their persecution those who, from Cuba, defend their right to have their own political criteria. They try, with the terror of the lynching on the social networks, to inflict silence and fear in all the artists who might speak out against the blockade, Trump’s sanctions, vandalism against the busts of Martí or whatever else those media defend.

Just a month ago, singer-songwriter Amaury Pérez talked about this in an interview made by journalist Oliver Zamora Oria: “There are people who should be defending some things they defended, who are scared to death. Because you must be very patient to endure the trash talk some people say about you out there.” [on social networks].

Because of a ten-line stanza posted on his Facebook, in which he strongly condemned the outrage against Martí, the also singer-songwriter Ray Fernández faced with a pack that filled him with all kind of insults, which the cult troubadour replied: “Nobody should doubt these are times for definitions.”

This inevitably remains us what the most defined of all Cubans told the audience gathered in the third year of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, in a defining period before the idea of Cuba’s Independence: “Whoever rises up with Cuba today, rises up forever.”

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

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The Political Trial against Gente de Zona in Miami

Harassed by the press in the middle of the street, Randy Malcom, one of the members of Gente de Zona has just made a mea culpa in front of the cameras of one Miami’s television stations.


At the show Suelta la Sopa, of Telemundo 51 channel, the singer apologized "to all" Cubans, "without any exception", and added: "it’s a sensitive issue that we will talk about in its due time."


This episode is part of the political trial to which the music group has been submitted for singing to their people and greeting from the stage the Cuban President, who was among the attending public.

Remarkably, although the terrible sin was committed in July 2018, the inquisitorial authorities of Miami anti-Cuban mafia realized the terrible crime no less than on New Year’s Eve 2020.


For this reason, Gente de Zona was excluded from participating in an end-of-the-year concert with venue in the city of Miami, to which they had been invited by the Cuban-born reggaeton singer Pitbull.


To further enrage the intolerant inquisitors, during the concert on December 31st at Bayfront Park, Pitbull came up with the idea to say regarding the absence on stage of the famous Cuban duo: “They are not here tonight for other things, but I want to send greetings to Gente de Zona. Music is music, politics is politics. ”

Words that unleashed the anger of the brigades of retarded action among which were musicians like the antiprophet Willy Chirino and the repentant communist Arturo Sandoval.


To save face and not be exiled forever from the city of hatred, Pitbull was forced to appear last Sunday in the dock at Univision television network, which, according to some, was in turn the one who invited Pitbull to the concert.


After saying that his intention by greeting Gente de Zona during the concert had "been none other than to unite," the Cuban-American singer acknowledged before the acting judge, journalist Jorge Ramos, "that he had screwed up."


Among other reasons, he said, due to his ignorance of what was going on in both Cuba and Miami, something that he demonstrated when the journalist asked him what would happen to Gente de Zona if they didn’t sing in Cuba and the reggaeton singer replied that if they didn’t, probably "they would be killed or their family would be killed."



The interview finished with a mea culpa of Pitbull, who almost apologized to his accusing colleagues, as well as to the entire city of Miami for which "he has done so much."


After his humiliating confession, the reggaeton singer was acquitted no less than by the journalist acting as jury Ninoska Pérez Calderón, who openly celebrated the musician's take back.


However, the trial, despite Randy Malcom’s apology is not over yet, if you take into account a headline published in the official Miami Mafia newspaper, The New Herald, that reads: "Randy Malcom, of Gente de Zona, has already apologized, but Alexander Delgado is still silent ", so it remains to see if the other singer of the group is also called to the stand.

Although, as we highlighted in a previous comment, the fascist-like intolerance in Miami seems to have reached paroxysm after the current president signed a memorandum with the intention of blocking the cultural exchange between Cuba and the United States, this sort of political trial is nothing new in that city in South Florida.


Before visiting the Island to participate in 2018 concert for which Gente de Zona is today excommunicated, the Italian singer Laura Pausini told reporters: "I have been asking to go for 25 years, but singing in Cuba means having problems with radios from Miami. Now People from Genete de Zona invited me, how could I say no? "


In reality, such media lynching leaves naked the so-called freedom of expression that should exist in the ill-named land of freedom. Or is it that this only happens in a Miami trampled by the boot of the dictatorship of the anti-Cuban mafia?

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Gente de Zona, the Blockade and the Hysterical Babbling of Miami

The Cuban reggaeton duo Gente de Zona has become the last victim of neo-fascist intolerance which, for decades, has set the pace of cultural terrorism policy in Miami.


A week ago, the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, asked that Cuban musicians be excluded from the list of participants of the traditional New Year's Eve concert organized by the reggaeton singer Pitbull in Miami.

According to Suarez, he assured to El Nuevo Herald, that he had asked organizers to "analyze the participation of these artists and the history of Gente de Zona with the Cuban regime (...)".


In reality, the reasons given by the mayor on duty to ban the artists are nothing more than false excuses to follow the policy of blockade against Cuba exacerbated by the current Trump administration.

In a memo signed by the president and sent to the State Department early in November, it was announced that “the United States will not provide non-humanitarian or trade-related assistance, nor will it allow officials or employees of the governments of Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Syria and Russia participate in educational and cultural exchange programs for fiscal year 2020”.


It’s striking how during the so-called thaw of relations between Cuba and the United States in the Obama era, cultural terrorists in Miami haven’t realized the "history of Gente de Zona with the Cuban regime." In those years, even the now censored duo was given the keys to the city of Miami.


Trump's new policy regarding the so-called "cultural exchange", however, can no longer agree with the intolerant spirit of the anti-Cuban mafia regarding Cuban artists. Miami, the city of hatred, has stood out "culturally" "for the burning of paintings, bomb threat to concerts, crushing of CDs and acts of rejection against anyone who doesn’t give up their roots and homeland.

 

Besides the duo Gente de Zona, the campaign against Cuban artists unleashed on social networks by the followers Pérez Ruora and Ninoska Pérez, now disguised as clowns on YouTube, have made the target of their injudicious defamation other artists like Micha and Haila María Mompié. The first one was excluded last November from a Thanksgiving concert and the second, for the same mental retardation of the Miami mayor, was declared non-grata person.


The dirty machine activated against Cuban artists by the new Mafia spokesmen, rather than against the artists is aimed against the entire Cuban people. It’s the media justification of another of variant of the blockade.

It’s no secret to anyone that, like El Nuevo Herald said, when announced Trump's anti-cultural memo: "The cultural exchange between Cuba and the U.S. has been the target of harsh criticism by sectors of the Cuban exile that consider this to be a way of currency income to the island government. " Everything else is just hysterical babbling.

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Cubans in the US to celebrate Havana's 500th anniversary

Members of the Alianza Martiana, which brings together Cuban emigree organizations in Miami, United States, will travel to Havana to participate in celebrations to mark the city's 500th anniversary.

According to a press release from the organization, 35 of its members will leave tomorrow for the Cuban capital to join 'these festivities of national and popular pride.'

They will also show their support for the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, and demand the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against the island, and the end of travel restrictions on US citizens, the text added.

The blockade has been imposed for over 55 years and has been condemned by the vast majority of the international community, as demonstrated by the most recent vote in the United Nations General Assembly on a Cuban resolution demanding an end to this hostile policy.

The visitors' program in Havana includes a meeting with the President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Fernando Gonzalez, and the Director of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad of the Foreign Ministry, Ernesto Soberon.

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Trump and failure as a reward for his Cuba policy

"We’re going to get Cuba worked out properly, not the way Obama did, which was a disaster that I reversed. We’re going to get Cuba taken care of,” assured the President of the United States, Donald Trump, when asked during an interview for Hispanic TV channel Telemundo, if he was looking for the Latin vote.

"We’re going to get Cuba taken care of, Venezuela… Who’s gonna be tougher with Venezuela and with Maduro than I am? Something terrible is happening in Venezuela and you know who’s causing the problem?
Mostly, Cuba. They’ve got 25,000 troops,” the president added.

And as proof that nobody has been tougher with Cuba than him, he added: “We’re sanctioning Cuba. I just stopped cruise ships from going to Cuba.”

The statements of the US president were made —by chance?— on the same day that the US government decided to include Cuba in its human trafficking blacklist, among other reasons, “for forcing doctors to be part of international missions.” According to the report released by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Cuba cancelled its Mais Medicos (More Doctors) mission in late 2018, after then President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, known as the Brazilian Trump, described it as human trafficking.

In short, apparently, Trump intends to get Cuba straightened out through a despicable policy that allows them to justify the blockade on the island. To such lies as the alleged sonic attacks against their diplomats and that there’s no food nor water in Venezuela because of the “Cuban empire”, they add now the manipulation on the doctors of the island who have fulfilled missions in around 70 countries and have saved millions of lives with their selfless and supportive service.

But the leader of the current administration does not care about the welfare or the fate of Cuban doctors, a lot less, the life or health of any poor person in this world. With regard to Cuba, he only cares about, as he clearly said in the interview with Telemundo, the Latin vote.

"I love the Cuban people from Miami and elsewhere,” said Trump in Telemundo on Thursday.

What Miami people did the president refer to? To the tens of thousands of Cubans from that city who have been forced to the family separation, after the violation of the migratory treaties, for the pretext of the alleged acoustic attacks? To most of those who emigrated after the 1990s, many of them for the shortages caused by the blockade, and who wish to have a normal relationship with their country? To the Cubans in Miami who know that he’s shamelessly lying to please, in his race towards the re-election in 2020, an anti-Cuban mafia expert on electoral frauds?

And so there were no doubts as to what “Cubans in Miami” he was talking about, he added:

"The people in Miami gave me the Bay of Pigs award before the election because they loved how I am handling Cuba issue. The Cubans gave me the Bay of Pigs award, did you know that?”

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

US Disregards Negative Impact of New Measures on Cuban People

The U.S. administration has tried this Tuesday to justify the new travel restrictions to Cuba with the argument that they are measures against the government, despite the warnings of their negative effects on the people.

Republican President Donald Trump, who has considerably increased hostility against Cuba, announced Tuesday that he will prohibit citizens of this country from going to Cuba under prior authorization known as people-to-people educational group trips.

In addition, according to a statement from the State Department, 'will no longer allow visits to Cuba through passenger and recreational boats, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft.

With these controversial steps, the federal agency said it seeks to prevent U.S. travelers from 'enriching Cuba's military, security and intelligence services.

In its statement, the State Department once again linked the measures against Cuba with the solidarity it maintains towards Venezuela and the constitutional government of Nicolas Maduro, which Washington insists on disregarding despite having been re-elected in May 2018 with 68 percent of the vote.

Trump's administration will continue a failed 60-year policy that harms the Cuban people and denies Americans their freedom,' Engage Cuba coalition President James Williams wrote on Twitter after the new limitations spread.

When National Security Advisor John Bolton announced on April 17 that new restrictions would apply to non-family travel, different groups and legislators also referred to the impact on Cubans.

The announcement of the administration of new hard-line restrictions causes pain to families and affects the growing Cuban private sector, said then Florida Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

  • Published in Cuba

Eminent Threat of the Vermin against Venezuela

On the wide spectrum of criteria on the matter it’s worth turning the eye to one in particular that was published last Sunday in Miami by the New Herald.

The name of the article:”How likely is a military intervention of the United States in Venezuela?

The author, Andrés Oppenheimer, an Argentinean born journalist more pro-Yankee than Donald Trump himself.

He begins, “although speculations on a military intervention of the United States in Venezuela are escalating, I think believe it’s very unlikely.”

However, he clarifies, after hearing from diplomatic sources that North American officials consider to summon the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance of 1947 (The Rio Treaty).

He said that he is less convinced than before that there won't be a military foreign action.

On the following line he explains his arguments.

Firstly, Donald Trump and his men go further in their discourse after the attempt of April 30 “to reestablish democracy.”

They were beyond their usual statements, all options are on the table, and the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said “a military action is possible.”

Secondly, in the White House there are some who fear that Trump is not longer taken seriously if he doesn't impose the force to overthrow Maduro.

His promises that he will overthrow Maduro “could begin to sound as his empty threats that “Mexico will build the wall.”

Oppenheimer, a famous “gossiper” of the White House, thinks that Trump’s greatest interest in Venezuela resides in that he wants to win Cuban-American and Venezuelan votes in Florida for the 20220 elections.

But it’s not discarded, and observers alert, also that the leader could be talked into using the military option in that country by some of his collaborators.

Thirdly, Latin American diplomats tell him that there are private discussions within the OAS to summon the Rio Treaty.

Who are the members of the Rio Treaty? The governments from the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru, that is, the rotten extreme right.

In his article, when he asked Trump’s special correspondent for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, (a Medieval figure) if there were secret discussions about summoning the Rio Treaty, he didn't confirm it neither denied it.

In spite of him, even Oppenheimer was forced to acknowledge that practically all countries of Latin America have already opposed a foreign intervention in Venezuela.

Cornered, the journalist tried to save his image when saying, but it’s unclear what would happen if more Venezuelans moved to neighboring countries.

He therefore gave credit to the hope that cynically keep depositing in the effects of the vicious attack of Washington against the South American nation.

The truth is that, as it has been defined for good, the vermin from Washington can’t be trusted a bit.

Why Havana Club is Unique and Why in Miami Mojitos are not Sold

A BBC report of the last year affirms that there are two versions of the Cuban rum Havana Club: “one which is for sale in the United States and another that is sold in the rest of the world.”

However, Yahima del Pilar Rodríguez Alvarez, communication specialist for San José rum distillery, where Havana Club made in Cuba is produced, the one which is commercialized in “the rest of the world”, assures that there’s only one and she explains some features of the process that makes it unique:

To obtain the base liquor “the raw material, the first ones which are water and the molasses, have to be authentic. The molasses is a by-product of the Cuban sugar industry, must be diluted in water and we add something that from the know-how point of view, or technology is only property of Havana Club, any other producer, even if it’s Cuban can use it which is the yeast.”

I say, those who produce Havana Club and sell it in 8th Street, for example, do they import the molasses from Cuba? Well, no. This would be a Puerto Rican Havana Club, fruit of those brother sugar plantations, but foreign anyway.

On top of that the recipe of the Cuban rum is very demanding, Yahima herself told us other details that differentiate it from the rest of domestic and foreign light rums:

“The yeast in the interaction process contributes certain compounds like ethers needed to obtain a liquor of unique quality and then the structure of the distillation column complete the unique taste of the sugarcane liquor that serves as base for our Havana Club rum.”

There are other important data: “The aging is natural, there is no control of temperature, neither control of humidity, it’s the exchange between that liquor, the oxygen that penetrates through fibers of the barrel and the barrel itself.”

“The natural aging distinguishes the light Cuban rum, in the case of Havana Club, it’s identified completely by a natural aging, in barrels of white oak that have already aged whisky before, that is part of the tradition that has become a law, that is, it’s part of the regulations established by Cuba Ron which is the Cuban party to which we belong. The aging must natural, full, and continuous, those are the characteristics we try to preserve in order to give the client that rum of quality.

So patiently, and with a lot of care “it’s obtained a dynamic system of rum bases and with different formulas, in different proportions, the rum master is able to tell apart one product from another, creating a taste profile for all dark rums of Havana Club trademark, beginning with the Especial, the Especial Plus, the Ritual, the Reserva, after that come the age markers, as in the case of the 3-year and the 7-year aged rums…”

Of course also the exquisiteness of the rum master and the taste judges put some spice in the process: “The rum bases have a minimum age which is that of the rum being produced, but more difficult than having the correct bases is to attain the same taste profile in each edition of the product, rum masters also contribute to that, because it’s them who make the adjustments to the formula to find the exact taste profile.”


It’s not like we don’t want to make a toast with a Mojito…

The recipe of the drink includes peppermint, sugar, and lemon in short that any bartender anywhere could fix the drink, but it clarifies: Cuban rum. Then I understand why in the United States, regrettably, mojitos cannot be sold.

It’s even clearer in times of a fundamentalist administration in the White House and systematic return to badly conceived plans like the Helms Burton Law, created to separate two towns, even families, like seas haven’t been able to do it. The blockade forbids raising a toast, each one in their side, with the same drink:

“We are present in more than 120 countries around the world, we work approximately with 60% of the total demand of rum worldwide, because the 40% appears in the United States and we don't have access to the North American market”, says Yahíma. Her colleague Venus Carrillo, Communication and Public Relations Specialist of Havana Club International S.A. adds:

“On the data collected through visitors from the North American market we know the rum Havana Club has good acceptance therefore sales would be guaranteed. The masters themselves have publicly said that Havana Club rum has today the capacity to cover the North American market, for both the pleasure and the production, but we cannot sell due to the limitations of the blockade.”

The hindrances of the blockade to our Havana Club began earlier: “Aging barrels are made from white American oak, they are imported, the U.S. manufacture them, we don’t have direct access to the North American market, then we buy them from Ireland or Scotland, after they are used to age Jameson, Chibas, we buy them from these producers already used, to give a bit, but not so much, because if they were new it would be whisky what we obtain. Undoubtedly just the transportation would reduce the costs, although they are trademarks commercialized by Pernod Ricard, and the negotiation among partners lowers the price, the distance increases”, Yahíma explains.

Venus shares eloquent figures, those that opened eyes wide: “Despite that, we are in 120 countries, we are today the number one in Premium and Super Premium rums, is the world trademark, although Pernod Ricard, to which we belong, is second as for commercialization, we have a very good position regarding rums.”

According to the BBC report, the litigation has been long and expensive, those “condemned” assure that they have “the recipe”, the owners have demonstrated they have the origin, the raw material and also, the recipe (you have tasted it). I tell you we have the molasses as thick as our will and of course, when the blockade is lifted, not the embargo as the BBC timidly names it, we will have a toast with mojito.

By the way, we’ll do it in our homes, using the Havana Club rum born in sugar cane factories, our factories… if we defend the mojito with such strength, imagine how it will be with our homes and land, with the freedom and the principles…

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