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Posted April 24, 2010 by publisher in Cuban Sports

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By Christopher Rhoads | Wall Street Journal

Juan Ignacio Hernández Nodar flew to Havana, Cuba, in August 1996 with hopes of making the biggest score yet in the shadowy trade of helping elite Cuban baseball players defect to the U.S. major leagues.

The former truck driver, then 38 years old and an American citizen, already had helped four Cuban pitchers escape and net big-league contracts worth almost $11 million combined. One of them, Liván Hernández, would win the World Series Most Valuable Player award the following year.

But Mr. Hernández Nodar, whose family fled Cuba when he was two, was after even bigger game: Cuba’s winningest pitcher, Liván’s older half-brother, Orlando “El Duque” Hernández.

Cuba’s world-class players are barred from the U.S. by Cuba’s supreme leader Fidel Castro, who treasures them as symbols of Communist superiority. That Aug. 12, Mr. Hernández Nodar was arrested while attending a game in central Cuba. A Havana court sentenced him to 15 years in prison, calling him a “parasite benefitting from the huge efforts of our working people.”

He was held for 13 years, two months and 27 days, nearly all of it in Cuba’s notorious Combinado del Este prison. Last November, he was finally allowed to leave Cuba.

“I was the forgotten man,” said Mr. Hernández Nodar, now 51, as he drove through the dusty streets of Boca Chica, the Dominican seaside town where he now lives. He shared for the first time the full story of his arrest and years behind bars. His odyssey is rooted in the two nations’ mutual passion for baseball, an integral part of both their shared history and their hostile relations of recent decades.

His years in prison included solitary confinement, attempts on his life, a nervous breakdown, suicide attempts—and a remarkable friendship with another prisoner that helped him survive.

The ordeal, he says, cost him dearly. He missed watching the Hernández brothers become major-league stars. His cousin and former partner in the business, Miami-based agent Joe Cubas, earned millions of dollars on contracts of Cuban players. The two men no longer speak.

He missed his children—two by his current wife and four from previous marriages and relationships—grow up. “My family doesn’t know me anymore,” he says.

Nevertheless, he’s picking up where he left off 14 years ago. “For each year I spent behind bars, I vow to get one Cuban player into the U.S.,” he says. “The will to do this is more important than the money—and I’ve got plenty of will.”

In Cuba, baseball has always been political. When the sport was introduced in the 1860s by a Cuban returning from studies in the U.S., Cubans saw it as a way to distance themselves from their Spanish colonial rulers, who favored bullfighting. U.S. teams traveled to Havana for spring-training games, and Cuban players thrived in the U.S.

Mr. Castro, himself a pitcher as a teenager, severed those ties when he came to power in 1959. The only glimpse the outside world had of Cuban players came at international amateur competitions, which Cuba dominated.

The first crack in the system came in 1991, when pitcher René Arocha defected to the U.S., landing a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Suddenly aware of their value, more players followed.

“Nearly every Cuban ballplayer wanted to defect,” says Tom Cronin, a Cape Cod real-estate broker and partner of Mr. Hernández Nodar who traveled frequently to Cuba in the 1990s. “They just didn’t know how.”

Mr. Hernández Nodar already had his feet in both worlds. His father, Ignacio, had owned a bus company in prerevolutionary Cuba. When Mr. Castro nationalized the industry, the family moved to Miami. Mr. Hernández Nodar was two years old.

In 1994, he hooked up with his cousin in Miami, Mr. Cubas, who had recognized the market potential for Cuban ballplayers and had been trying to find potential defectors during the national team’s trips abroad.

Mr. Hernández Nodar saw an opportunity to exact revenge on Mr. Castro for his family’s uprooting from Cuba. “Every player defection hurt him personally,” he says.

The two agreed orally to share commissions from any major-league contracts signed, according to Mr. Hernández Nodar.

In May 1995, the pair traveled to Tokyo, where the Cuban national team was playing. None of the players bit, but Mr. Hernández Nodar was hooked anyway.

“I loved the thrill of the chase, the risk,” he recalls.

Their first catch came a few months later, when the Cuban team was in Tennessee playing U.S. amateurs.

Twenty-eight-year-old pitcher Osvaldo Fernández walked out of his hotel room into a waiting van driven by Mr. Hernández Nodar. He subsequently signed with the San Francisco Giants for $3.3 million.

That September came the coveted Mr. Hernández, during a tournament in Mexico. Mr. Hernández Nodar says he had his wife, Teresa, approach Liván on his way to a workout there, as if she were an autograph seeker. Inside her book was a piece of paper with her husband’s contact information. That evening, Liván packed his belongings and walked past Cuban team officials and out of his hotel. He signed with the Marlins for $4.5 million, with Mr. Cubas as his agent.

In October 1995, Mr. Hernández Nodar snared two more players, during a team visit to Venezuela. To retrieve their passports, held in the hotel room of a team official, Mr. Hernández Nodar dressed in the uniform of one of the players and posed as a Cuban coach to con the maid to open the room.

“He was a little crazy, but he gave me a better life,” says Larry Rodríguez, one of the players who defected that day. He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for $1.3 million.

The U.S. trade embargo, in place since 1962, bars American teams from spending money to sign Cuban players. To get around that, players obtain citizenship in another country, such as the Dominican Republic, then enter the major leagues as free agents.

Mr. Hernandez Nodar says he made about $375,000 from the signings, including a cut of the agent fee.

On Aug. 10, 1996, Mr. Hernández Nodar flew to Havana with his sights set on Liván’s half-brother, El Duque, as well as the national team’s star shortstop. Two days later, he was arrested at a game by a uniformed officer. His fanny pack was a gold mine for the prosecution. It contained $14,000 in cash from Liván to give El Duque and their family, a copy of Liván’s $2.5 million signing bonus, and copies of documents to facilitate the planned defection.

Mr. Hernández Nodar was put on trial that October for inciting defection. The prosecution asked five players with whom he had been in recent contact whether he was a friend or enemy of the revolution. El Duque testified that the defendant was “my friend” for having brought medicine for his sick child.

The court sentenced Mr. Hernández Nodar to three years for each of five players he had targeted. El Duque was banned from Cuban baseball for life.

Mr. Cronin asked Bill Richardson for help. The New Mexico governor, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that whenever U.S. officials brought up Mr. Hernández Nodar’s name, Cuban officials immediately ended the conversation.

One day in lunch line that first spring, another prisoner approached him and asked if he spoke English. Mr. Hernández Nodar brushed him off. The next day, the prisoner, who had heard there was an American in the cellblock and hoped for help with his English, tried again. The ensuing banter led to a friendship.

The prisoner was Rolando Alberro Arroyo, then 31, who was serving a 66-year sentence for murder. In exchange for English lessons, Mr. Alberro taught Mr. Hernández Nodar how to survive. Imprisoned since age 15, Mr. Alberro already had 16 years of experience behind bars. His original crime was stealing mangos from a farm, he says. That minor offense turned into a long sentence, he says, when he strangled another prisoner who had tried to rape him.

“I was with terrible people in prison,” says Mr. Alberro, who has multiple knife scars along his neck and arms. “To live, I became one of them.”

Mr. Alberro taught his new friend everything from where to sit safely to how to make a knife from a plastic spoon. “If you’re going to cry, cry in front of me, not them,” he says he told Mr. Hernández Nodar.

One day in October 1997, Mr. Alberro recalls, another prisoner told him his friend was to be killed that night, “under orders,” and to keep clear.

Instead, Mr. Alberro says, he secured a knife and spread word among his prison allies. At the afternoon head count, he says, he told the guard what was happening, loudly declaring, “If Juan is to be killed tonight, my people will die for him.”

That night, Mr. Alberro paced in front of the bunk of a petrified Mr. Hernández Nodar. “If you want to kill him, then you must kill me, too!” Mr. Alberro shouted into the darkness. Nothing happened that night.

For the first time in his bleak life, Mr. Alberro says, he had found purpose.

Mr. Hernández Nodar, in turn, had begun teaching Mr. Alberro about everything from American history and MacDonald’s cheeseburgers to what it felt like to be a father and how to eat properly with silverware.

Prisoners and guards still harassed Mr. Hernández Nodar. He says he was told repeatedly he was a “personal prisoner of Fidel.”

The Cuban Interests Section in Washington didn’t respond to requests for comment.

On Christmas morning, in 1997, after receiving a heartbreaking letter from one of his daughters, Mr. Hernández Nodar made a rope out of bedsheets and hanged himself from the bars in his cell. Mr. Alberro happened upon him and yanked him down.

“What are you doing, man!” Mr. Alberro says he shouted. “You must live!”

“I can’t take it anymore,” replied Mr. Hernández Nodar, sobbing in Mr. Alberro’s arms.

That same week, El Duque escaped to the U.S. by boat, via the Bahamas. A few months later, he signed with the New York Yankees for $6.6 million, and later that year helped them win the World Series.

In August 2000, during the Sydney Olympics, the U.S. baseball team played the Cubans for the gold medal. Mr. Hernández Nodar watched on television with the other prisoners. When the U.S. won, he cheered wildly, waving a small paper American flag he’d made.

A guard asked him what he was doing. “That’s my team—I’m American!” he recalls replying.

The next day he was thrown into solitary confinement, he says. He remained there—in a windowless cell about 5 feet by 8 feet—for 15 months. He drank water and washed himself from a faucet over the same hole in the floor where he relieved himself.

Mr. Alberro, who had a job delivering meals to prisoners with medical problems, convinced prison authorities Mr. Hernández Nodar was sick, so three times a day he brought meals, and human contact.

Mr. Hernández Nodar was released from solitary in December 2001 and allowed to work on the prison farm. He was soon put in charge of the whole operation, a rare break from the gloom.

In Cuba, it isn’t unusual for prisoners to be paroled after serving half their sentences. In October 2003, he says, he was told by prison officials he would be released. He gathered his things and said goodbye to other prisoners.

At the last minute, he says, he was returned to another cell. Days passed without explanation. His family, which had come to Havana, returned home. He wasn’t returned to the prison farm. Another year passed.

“Kill me! I don’t care anymore, just kill me!” he says he began screaming one night.

A guard took him to the prison hospital for evaluation, a stay that turned into a job working in the prison pharmacy.

He struck up a romantic relationship with a prison nurse. Later, she gave birth to their son.

In 2006, Mr. Alberro was released on parole. He had spent 25 of his 40 years in prison. He now works as a parking attendant.

In February 2008, Mr. Hernández Nodar also was paroled. He was assigned work in a rural sugar mill. Last November, he was allowed to leave Cuba.

He flew first to Miami for a tearful airport reunion with his mother and other relatives. Liván Hernández and Larry Rodríguez, two players he had gotten out years earlier, made an emotional appearance with him on a Spanish-language talk show. A few days later, Mr. Hernández gave him a red 3-series BMW.

In early December, he and Mr. Cronin, his partner before his arrest, opened a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, where Mr. Hernández Nodar’s father owns hundreds of acres of land. They’re using an apartment above the garage at his father’s home as a dorm for some of the 22 recruits. The plan is to build a larger structure, with playing fields, on part of his father’s sugar-cane plantation.

At the end of February, a dozen major-league scouts showed up to check out the recruits. Mr. Hernández Nodar paced the sidelines cheering on the young players and shouting into his cellphone.

He sleeps just a few hours a night. “I don’t need more time to rest,” he says. “I’ve been resting the last 13 years.”

Dozens of Cuban players have defected during the past year, an unusually large wave, with many traveling first to camps like his. Mr. Hernández Nodar hopes to turn a profit by getting prospects signed.

The primary interest of the scouts at the camp that day: two recent defectors now under Mr. Hernández Nodar’s wing. He says he has three more on the way.

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  1. Follow up post #1 added on April 24, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I wonder if all the Fidel lovers here think this was a fair sentence for “inciting defection”.

    Fifteen years for this “crime”?

    How about 15 months “in a windowless cell about 5 feet by 8 feet” for being American?

    Nice justice system.



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  2. Follow up post #2 added on April 24, 2010 by cacf2@aol.com with 21 total posts

    Is this another hommage to a crook? 

    Why do we worry when our children go wrong, when we gleefuly hype the worst of society, as long as they do things we like?

    Our hate for somethings or someones, are speeding the downward trend of moral values.  The days when Lucky Luciano, Al Capone and his likes were portrayed as what they were are over, the opposite is true.

    No wonder, more high school kids are enlisting in drug peddling than looking towards higher education.

    No wonder material goods are our youths guiding light as opposed to education, social commitment and public service.

    A short visit to Miami is a telling experience, when everything that must be despised is glamourized.  Days will come, when we will question our behavior, but it may tragically toooooooo late!


  3. Follow up post #3 added on April 24, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Like a good Communist, you admit nothing, deflect the argument and blame the US.

    Shameful.



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  4. Follow up post #4 added on April 24, 2010 by cacf2@aol.com with 21 total posts

    Since when and in whose books is it necessary to be a Democrat, Republican, Socialist or Facist, to side with or disagree and to establish wright from wrong, without being accused of running away, hiding from or being a mouthpiece of someone, especially with those we disagree?

    Irrespective of the publisher´s political, social or religious views, does he needs anything else to identify, separate and proclaim the behaviour of Timothy McVeigh, Jeffrey Dammer from those of Martin Luther King or Madame Curie?

    Are you suggesting that this crook should become the Marshal of the next parade in your hometown? 

    Please, let´s be real.


  5. Follow up post #5 added on April 24, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    So you agree that 15 months in solitary confinement in a windowless cell about 5 feet by 8 feet is proper punishment for cheering for an American baseball team while in jail in Cuba?

    You agree that 15 years in jail is just punishment for sitting at a baseball game in Cuba with the INTENT to commit a crime?

    Yes or No?

    Simple question.

    Can you give a simple answer?



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  6. Follow up post #6 added on April 24, 2010 by cacf2@aol.com with 21 total posts

    That´s how he describe his prison cell.  I was there for 4 1-2 years and know that under normal circumstances he or no one else would have access to a radio.  How then was he able to cheer his baseball team?

    Remember everyone coming to Miami from Cuba, shows up with their own little horror story, in order to create his-her Bio to survive in that sub-world. 

    As yourself, many others have been caught up with what we want to hear, only to see it blow-up in our face, time after.

    Furthermore, this is not a yes or no answer, it require an objective analysis of what this and others like him have done, by enticing away from their country, hundreds of years of hard work, thousands spent on their training, education and you expect the government to be happy with this conduct?

    Would you? 

    Why have we been unable, with our endless resources, to train all the athletes, Physicians and intellectuals we need, rather that constantly depleting those from Third World countries, by waging a bag of money before their eyes?

    Have you ever questioned the health situation in most of India, Pakistan or the Phillipines, while we have most of their health professionals at our disposal?

    Is it not true, that people have beaten others and sent to the hospital or funeral parlor,  for mistakenly driving on someone else´s lawn?

    Are our children not killing each other in school for a $100.00 pair of sneakers?

    In which world are you living?


  7. Follow up post #7 added on April 24, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    You really are an ass.

    You Communists NEVER answer direct questions and HATE the truth.

    Why don’t you live in your Communist utopia where you will be away for the evils of Capitalism?

    Fidel will take good care of you I’m sure.



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  8. Follow up post #8 added on April 24, 2010 by cacf2@aol.com with 21 total posts

    Thanks.  Let others judge your intellect, no me.

    Your inability to put yourself for a minute in another person shoes, is why there was, there is and there might always be strife in this world.

    It is me, me, me and ........ the others.


  9. Follow up post #9 added on April 24, 2010 by miguel with 41 total posts

    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address): Thank you for a dignified reply to the usual emotional exclamations of the publisher.


  10. Follow up post #10 added on April 25, 2010 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    What is wrong with scouting a baseball player?
    What is wrong with you people? I hope you never watch the major leagues baseball because most players had been signed from other teams, many from different countries. There is nothing wrong with that!! Baseball players should be free to choose which teams they want to play in and should be able to sign contracts in accordance to their skills like anybody else.

    That has nothing to do with being a communist but more with being a looser and hate when somebody has a better life than you.

    People have to be really wrong to believe that somebody should be put in jail for 15 years for helping a baseball player to sign with another team.


  11. Follow up post #11 added on April 25, 2010 by cacf2@aol.com with 21 total posts

    If this premise is true and acceptable by all, we should assume that any graduate from higher education in the United States, that would be offered a better paying job in Europe, Japan or in outer space, the IRS should sit back and say OK, fine with me,  forget about the $250,000 student loan, because the research institute or medical center that ¨Scouted¨him out, was willing to pay much more than in the US?

    Have Yeyo and his friends ever asked, what happens to those individuals who the US Armed Forces recruited through their ROTC and after graduation, decided not to serve the FULL 8-10 years he signed up for?

    Today is Sunday.  You can still visit these individuals in their respective jails.

    If the world was only like some would like it to be!!!


  12. Follow up post #12 added on April 25, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    cacf,

    First warning. Stop being an ass. You are insulting and disrespectful.

    I’ll post #5 again…

    So you agree that 15 months in solitary confinement in a windowless cell about 5 feet by 8 feet is proper punishment for cheering for an American baseball team while in jail in Cuba?

    You agree that 15 years in jail is just punishment for sitting at a baseball game in Cuba with the INTENT to commit a crime?

    Yes or No?

    Simple question.

    Can you give a simple answer?



    Cuba consulting services

  13. Follow up post #13 added on April 25, 2010 by cacf2@aol.com with 21 total posts

    Publisher, what are you afraid of, that you need to be giving out WARNINGS?

    This is your site, shouldn´t you be the last person with a foul mouth?

    If I had been a judge or jury in my life, I probably could determine if the punishment fit or not the crime, I am not.

    But also, you know that crime and punishment is a very relative issue.  Would you like for me to remind you of Crime vs Punishment?

    What have happened to the perpetrators of Abu Ghraib?

    Was any of those lynching thousands of Blacks in this country every convicted of murder?

    Have any of those six cops that murdered 84 year old Illonor Bumpers in her apartment in the Bronx, ever convicted of a crime?

    Was the Mayor, Chief of Police, Chief of the Fire Department in Pittsburg convicted for fire bombing the home of members of the MOVE and allowing 11 people including 5 children to be torched alive?

    What happened to that Police pervert in Brooklyn that rammed a plunger through Abdel Louima´s rectum?

    Are these and thousands of other facts why you refuse to have a respectful discussion with me and others?

    Now, it is my threat.  If you fear an honest, truthful, factual discussion, this may well be my last post and I refuse to cuss, not to equate myself with others.


  14. Follow up post #14 added on April 25, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    You are being intentionally disruptive and not contributing anything to this site.

    Second warning.



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  15. Follow up post #15 added on April 26, 2010 by cacf2@aol.com with 21 total posts

    Thanks very much for allowing me in the past,  to share my views with you and your readers.

    Thanks for allowing me to access many important articles and intelligent views by many of your members.

    Because there are other sources of similar information, I no longer see the value of being a member of this site, under threats, warnings, cursing and fear, for not sharing your views.

    Your reaction is the best reflection of what you denounce in those called totalitarian.

    Best of luck.


  16. Follow up post #16 added on April 26, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    You never posted opinions. You posted propaganda, deflected the argument all the time and never accept the truth.

    So, your “opinions” won’t be missed.

    Even though you attempted to change the conversion about the prison sentence with your useless remarks above, the article remains as does your typical Communist propaganda and truth deflection methods for all to see.

    I hope newly brainwashed Communists reading your comments realize how insane your thinking is and how far from reality you and your kind operate.

    Have a good time leaving comments at Granma.cu and HavanaTimes.org.



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  17. Follow up post #17 added on April 26, 2010 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    Graduates of higher education in the US are scouted and are presently working around the world not only in Europe and Japan but in hundreds of other countries. If they have signed a commitment for any reason they should comply with it first, however that is not the case in Cuba.
    As you obviously do not know the interiorities of Cuba I would explain you that in Cuba all graduates of higher education have to work for a period of 2 to 5 years where ever the government sent you in the more remote places in Cuba or “missions” many against their will in Angola, Ethiopia, Venezuela, you name it and there are Cuban professionals there. There is no such thing like free University education; you pay with your 2 to 5 years social service in a remote place that may look like the end of the world.
    However once you PAY your 2 to 5 years of social service what is wrong with being scouted or move to somewhere else for a better salary?
    Your comment about people that signed for the US Armed Forces that decided not to serve and are put in jail is kind of misleading for the simple reason that this article is not about people that was on the Armed Forces however now that you opened this comment I would like to tell you that anybody that signs for the Army with a commitment of let’s say 5, 8 or 10 years cannot leave because that is called desertion. Likewise in Cuba the only difference is that graduates of University in Cuba that decide to sign as officers for the Army or Navy have to sign for 25 years and if for any reason later on they want to leave they are also put on jail. So I guess that was not your best example.
    This article was about baseball players. Players of all sorts of sports are scouted around the world even in China (the Communist China!!) not just without any consequence because everybody feels that is fine but also with great joy for their nationals because they are proud that this young players from their own country are among the best in the world.
    However not in Cuba in Cuba if a baseball player decided that his miserable USD 30 per months salary, 20 years old Russian car and microbrigada apartment are not ok with him and wants to try fortune in another Country is called traitor, defector, scumbag, mercenary, etc etc. And the worst is that people like you feel that is ok.


  18. Follow up post #18 added on April 26, 2010 by miguel with 41 total posts

    Yeyo, don’t you agree that the article from Wall Street Journal would leave a much stronger impression without the publisher’s comment?

    Notice the publisher’s yes-or-no question (in itself a dubious way of debating) in comment # 5: “15 years in jail ... for sitting at a baseball game in Cuba with the INTENT to commit a crime.” If alluring top-athletes to defect is a crime – and so it is apparently considered in Cuba – then Mr. Hernández Nodar according to his own report had ACCOMPLISHED crimes, and so the question is irrelevant.

    Maybe the publisher should have been grateful that people like cacf2 still took him seriously enough to argue with him.

    Of course you cannot judge a case only on basis of a press interview. Prison conditions as described in the article I condemn unconditionally wherever they are found.


  19. Follow up post #19 added on April 26, 2010 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    I have my opinions independently of what is considered or not a crime in Cuba. Freedom of speech is a crime in Cuba and I exercise it daily.
    For having a pacific exchange of opinions as we are having now you can be trown in jail in Cuba but still we are here giving our different opinions of what we feel is right or wrong.
    Finally there are no laws in Cuba that indicates clearly that you can be thrown in jail for scouting an sport player but that is part of the unwritten Cuban laws.
    I have seen people involved in drugs walk free because at that time the government thought that it was not a good time for drug related news and at the same time I have seen pacific people sent to jail for dissenting with the government. That is Cuba today, simply Castro’s backyard and he rules it as such.


  20. Follow up post #20 added on April 28, 2010 by robolucion with 33 total posts

    Typical communist/socialist argument template:

    Argue with a deliberate and false pacifist tone while peddling communism, wait until someone disagrees, and call them intolerant or something along the lines of not having an open mind.

    Don’t forget it, it’s a typical communist argument tool. They troll while acting like pacifists, avoid direct questions and reply with fake humanist musings.

    Oh yeah, and they cry when you give them warnings of getting banned, while they praise and worship Cuba’s system of authoritarian oppression. Oh the irony.


  21. Follow up post #21 added on April 28, 2010 by HavanAndrew with 87 total posts

    I must correct an ongoing generalized argument that no longer is suitable for debate at Havana Journal. There never has been, nor currently is there any true government form of communism. The forms of government we commonly refer to as communism really is Stalinism.

    Human nature consists of a greed factor so therefore it is extremely difficult to get a true form of communism. Cuba is referred to as a communist country incorrectly, it really is socialism controlled by a dictatorship. Laws are implemented to perpetuate control by the dictatorship at the expense of socialist ideals.

    In the United states there are opposite factors at play under the guise of capitalism. The so called democracy is in dire need of re-invention and certainly not in a position to persuade other countries that the American form of government should be replicated. Extreme capitalism has shown itself not be of the best interest of the majority. The safety net that all citizens require, are continually under attack simply for the need of corporations to produce obscene amounts of profit.

    So this is where we get to the old saying, “Don’t throw stones in glass houses.” In a fair world, the United States has far too many problems with its own country and has little credibility to impose values on another country. If the Cuban people decide to alter their form of government it will be a socialist democracy with a strong encouragement towards a market economy. This allows the citizenry to have ambition with the added insurance of a social net.

    The great thing for Cubans is that they actually have a much better chance to change their government form than the United States has a chance to change its form. If I were American, I would be jealous of Cuba’s enviable position to have the potential to change.


  22. Follow up post #22 added on April 28, 2010 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    Actually I dont think the Cubans have much chance of changing their government form at all. only their government has that capability (short of revolution, which i dont see happening).
    As long as the government sees no game plan for a gradual change but is just plugging holes in the dam, not much is going to change in the near future.
    Mind, you once both Castro brotehrs are gone, anything is liable to happen.
    Just my 2 centavos worth.


  23. Follow up post #23 added on April 28, 2010 by robolucion with 33 total posts

    @ Andrew

    When I criticize the Cuban government, I do so knowing that there are models of government that offer a generous safety net without any sort of authoritarianism.

    Another thing that isn’t acceptable is to assume that critics of Cuba are fans of predatory capitalism. Canada and Western Europe highly emphasize social rights, christian democrat parties do so as well, without being left wing in the least bit.


  24. Follow up post #24 added on April 29, 2010 by HavanAndrew with 87 total posts

    I am sorry to say that when Cuba gets its needed change, it will be an ugly Miami style democracy. Not my wish, not what is best for Cuba, but a mere forecast of how the cards will fall. This is why I have always advocated that the Canadians and Euros step up to the plate and help Cuba transition to something better. The approach of enhancing the social progress of the past with a new democracy will be much better in the long run instead of a sudden jolt of harsh corporate democracy with little to no safety net.


  25. Follow up post #25 added on April 29, 2010 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    Anything would be better that what Cuba have right now.
    The perfect attempt against the practical. And that should be kept in mind when analyzing the Cuban reality. The fact is that if we try to achieve only the perfect we may lose the focus on the way and end up worst.

    Again…anything is better than what Cuba have right now.


  26. Follow up post #26 added on April 29, 2010 by robolucion with 33 total posts

    What is an ugly “Miami style democracy”?

    Are you even Cuban? have you lived in Miami?

    Sorry bro but I lived there and I don’t know what kind of caricature you are trying to paint. It’s a mix of old rich Cubans, poor Marielitos, and everything in between.

    Regarding Canadians and Euros, they like it just the way it is. European companies in Cuba love the lack of competition, don’t care that Cuban workers get paid next to nothing, and are perfectly happy that Cuba stays just how it is.


  27. Follow up post #27 added on June 17, 2010 by MiamiCuban with 87 total posts

    To cacf2:  Most bloggers on this site aren’t interested in honest analysis and assessment of Cuba’s situation, only in perpetuating and embellishing what’s been said before.  They’re completely incapable of distinguishing truth from lies and exaggerations, seeing only what they want to see and hearing only what they want to hear.  To quote Jackie Chan from his recent movie, The Karate Kid, “....they see only with their eyes and that’s why they’re always fooled.”


  28. Follow up post #28 added on June 17, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    MiamiCuban,

    Coming from you that is hilarious. That’s like Fidel saying that there are no political prisoners in Cuba.

    You, as usual, are delusional.



    Cuba consulting services

  29. Follow up post #29 added on June 17, 2010 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    MiamiCuba, what have you done all the way, other than try to reinforce your own views?
    I have not seen any post where you agree with any other persons’ views slightly different than yours.
    Even when you have never lived in Cuba you continue pushing your point of view against the informed opinions of the people that have lived in Cuba for many many years until recently.
    I feel you would be much better watching Jackie Chan movies rather than giving political opinions about a country that you obviously do not know.


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