Documentary: 9th Exhibition of Young Artists

Posted in Alain Saavedra on March 15, 2010 by Alain Saavedra

The Exhibition Shows its Claws

Posted in Alain Saavedra, Translator: Raul G. on March 12, 2010 by Alain Saavedra

Thursday, February 25th 2010, was a much anticipated day amongst the young Cuban public because the documentary about the controversial rap group, Los Aldeanos, entitled “Revolution” and directed by Maickell Pedrero, arrived.  From very early in the morning a large number of people were waiting outside and a good portion of these people who had tickets were not necessarily fans of Los Aldeanos nor of the seventh art, but instead they were there to occupy seats to comply with orders given to them by the Party.

Suddenly, the habitual pressures rise and those who work in the theatre were not able to close the crystal doors in time.  A large number of people with or without tickets start to enter like a massive wave- an act which Claudio Fuentes (a photographer who contributes to some Cuban bloggers), his girlfriend, and I take advantage of.  Once inside we begin carrying out some interviews and film recordings.  Claudio tells me of his intentions to return to the theatre lobby to take videos of the people who have not been able to enter and of any happenings that seemed interesting.  Upon arriving he is detected by three people who surround him and tell him that he must leave the place because he is not welcome.  Claudio resists with the argument that the theatre is a public cultural space and that it is his constitutional right to attend it and that, in addition, he has been attending for 17 years in which he has never had any argument.  Finally, he is pushed out under the sad triumph of force.

The next  day (February 26th), the author Lia Vilares, our friend, presented her audiovisual material and Claudia Cadelo, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, and Ciro Javier Diaz tried to attend the screening.  In this case their admittance was also denied by the same ringleader and oppressive agent named Hugo Pavon, together with other grey-haired men who at the top of their voices shouted: “Counter-revolutionaries!  Mercenaries!  You all are paid by the United States with 20 million dollars a year” and other stupid comments like that.

For the closing ceremony of the 9th Exhibiiton of young artists, which took place on the 28th of Februry during night hours, Claudio once again returned and tried entering with his girlfriend, this  time with official invitations.  Once again he was detained by Hugo Pavon who snatched the tickets from his hand and cornered both of them near the entrance doors and an argument arose where Claudio was publicly accused of being an agitator.  While this occured, Hugo Pavon also snatched the camera from Lia Villares who was intending to film or photograph the event.  Thanks to Claudio screaming at the top of his lungs that they return the camera, it was returned to its owner.

All of what occurred makes me impatiently wait, with more urgency each time, for substantial and significant changes in the laws of this country that protect and respect all kinds of citizens, despite their religious, political, or civil preferences.

Translated by Raul G.

The Cuban Economy is Up in Flames

Posted in Alain Saavedra, Translator: Raul G. on March 8, 2010 by Alain Saavedra

The conference by Oscar Espinosa Chepe, economist and independent journalist, showed us that Cuba is economically going from bad to worse.  One of the ways money comes into the country is the remittances by family members living in exile and those trips to the country by Cuban Americans.  But what also maintains the economy of this country is the mini-black market that provides society with illicit sales of merchandise that is property of the state.  Cuba finds itself in the same process it faced in the 90’s- the famous so called ‘special period’- but this time it is more concealed by the government.  The government has announced a statistic of 1.7% of unemployment in 2009, surely the lowest in the world.   During these times in which the world crisis lashes out with a great strength against the Cuban economy, the truth is that out of 100% of the people that live in Cuba, 60 or 70% work for the little salary that they pay in Cuban jobs.  The average salary of a worker is of 328 Cuban pesos and converted to ‘cuc’ is 14.25, while one kilogram of milk in powder form costs 6.55 ‘cuc’ in the state-owned stores that offer certain products.

Then, how is it that they want the youth to travel if one must work an entire month to cash a miserable salary that doesn’t even give enough to go to a presentable club, where the entrance fee is 10 cuc per person and the drinks cost 1.50 cuc?  But Cuban youth have learned how to confront this with the black market, selling clothes and objects brought by family members from other countries.  Then how do they expect the people to lift the economy of the country.

Conclusion:  Let people have their own cafeterias, try to establish only one currency, and raise the workers’ salaries.

Translated by Raul G.

The Academy Paints Itself White

Posted in Alain Saavedra, Translator: Raul G. on March 8, 2010 by Alain Saavedra

Friday, February 19th,  the blogger academy was not just a set of classes.  It also included a wedding between Jose Alberto Alvares and Lilian Castaner.  Reinaldo Escobar (Macho) read the letter of matrimony and Eugenio Leal married them.  It was a completely independent wedding where all the witnesses were the bloggers from the academy of Yoani Sanchez.  The neatest part was that the cake read “Change.”  There was lots of happiness and good times, and we all congratulated the newlyweds.

Translated by Raul G.

Candidates for Change

Posted in Alain Saavedra, Translator: Raul G. on March 8, 2010 by Alain Saavedra

The elections for candidates for delegates for the whole country are getting closer. To be a candidate one must meet some prerequisites mandated by the electoral law, such as: being older than 16, residing in the territory you propose to represent, and not have been before a court.

With those prerequisites, the people who are part of the civil and independent project of Candidates for Change, who aspire to be elected as delegates, would be guaranteed to be allowed to present themselves in the elections.  But everything is not as pretty as the law paints it.  A few days ago, an ad was shown on TV declaring that the voting is not mandatory — whoever wants to vote can vote.  Of course, before it used to be mandatory to vote, but this time it’s not convenient to have such a large turnout.

If nobody votes, it will appear as if the people who came out for Candidates for Change are not the people that the revolutionary public wants to make the changes Cuba needs.

The candidate who is elected will be the representative of the people to the government who demands that changes are made.  The attributes of a delegate are very limited.  Without a doubt, they have the ability to elevate the complaints of the population to a governmental level.  But overall, they have the responsibility of winning the confidence of the voters so they could represent, in a direct and transparent way, the issues that plague the population; in addition they have the opportunity to confront the government bodies as representatives of their voters.

With all of this, I realize that these elections are nothing more than just another farce on behalf of this government in order to calm the population that is tired of their lies.

Translated by Raul G.

Testimony of Claudio Fuentes Madan

Posted in Alain Saavedra on February 17, 2010 by Alain Saavedra

Click on photo to play video.

Time to Work Hard

Posted in Alain Saavedra, Translator: Raul G. on February 15, 2010 by Alain Saavedra

Thanks to a supposed performance at 23rd and G that the young members of the movement AMISTAD were going to present on Jan. 29, 2010, the government carried out an official political activity in its place, trying to impede the success of the before mentioned.  While the performance was being staged they intercepted a young man named WILLIAN, warning him to tell the others in his group not to do anything, and that way they wouldn’t accuse their activity of being sabotage.  The party started at around 4:00 pm and continued until approximately 10:00 pm, utilizing young people from the university of CUJAE, UCI, and the University of Physics Preparation (Fajardo).  In the place, like always, it was the same old political story, and later the groups of singers, reggaeton, and dancers.  All the aficionados of the university.

I tell myself:  We should expand more performances for the weekends and, in that manner, achieve recreational activities in this country for Cuban youth.  That then will be our difficult job!

Translated by Raul G.