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Almost 27 years ago the magazine Somos Jóvenes (We Are Young) was born. That edition was historic because of the publication of two investigations, one, The Sandra Case, about prostitution, and the other titled Academic Fraud? In that era we were able to publish a note in the state-owned newspaper Juventude Rebelde (Rebel Youth) announcing the launch of the controversial magazine.

Under the title Academic Fraud? we unmasked one of the negative phenomena of our society, which went far beyond that committed by the students facing their university exams, and manifested itself in other sectors that had nothing to do with the teaching process, at least formally.

Supported by a wide investigation, where there was a survey of students at different schools, Academic Fraud? renounced the expositive style to immerse itself in analysis, provoking among its readers a wealth of questions and solutions.

27 years later thousands of young Havanans were forced to retake a Mathematics exam to get into the university, because the contents of the exam had been leaked and a still unknown number of students had acquired it, in many cases for pay.

I would like to invite the author of that investigation, Luis Manuel Garcia, to update us on his opinion.

And by the way, I recommend reading what he published in this regard in August of 2009 in his Habaneceres* blog .

*Translator’s note: The lead off to this post (in Spanish) is that 280 students were surveyed and asked if they had ever committed academic fraud (i.e. cheated), and 280 admitted to having done it at least once.

26 May 2014


Official institutions should do what they promise they will. If this institution is the most official of all and the promises touch on essential matters, then the inescapable obligation is almost solemn.

With the members of its organization and with the people whom it governs by law, the Cuban Communist Party has at least two outstanding obligations, both of them contracted during the First National Conference, held on 28 January 2012.

One of these is already drafted, “the conceptualization of the fundamental theories of the Cuban economic model,” and the other is the renewal of the Party Central Committee by at least 20%.

This theoretical conceptualization would have to establish the nexus between the Marxist-Leninist doctrine, which charts the course of the socialist system, and the guidelines issued by the Sixth Congress.

It would have to explain that they are not using the rusty arms of capitalism to build socialism, but rather, although what they’re doing now looks like the rules of the market, in reality it is actually central planning and the profits foreign investors will earn, fruits of the labor of Cuban workers, will come not from goodwill, but something that will have to be named in some way.

With regards to the second outstanding debt, “refreshing” the Central Committee, many expect that this 20% renewal includes at least the retiring of the octogenarians and the acceptance of a different code for the new meritocracy, where the participants in the struggle against the prior dictatorship or those present in the heroic tasks for the first years would no longer appear.

Thus there would be Central Committee men and women who never fired at another human being, nor confiscated anyone’s property, nor even risked their own lives for the cause.

I wonder how many PCC militants have raised, among the Party’s core, their concern about this slowness in meeting such elevated commitments. I wonder how many Cubans remember those promises and how many see some kind of hope in their fulfillment.

Some might say I have a good memory. Actually my memory is bad. Very bad.

23 May 2014

14ymedio_logoAs Yoani Sanchez has already announced, midweek this coming week a new digital medium, baptized 14ymedio, will see the light. We have the intention to update it daily and, if possible, more than once a day.

When the Internet becomes, for Cubans, something simple and accessible as it is for every other 21st Century Latin American, perhaps them we’ll be on the list of favorites of housewives who want to make a dessert, of entrepreneurs who want to know where to invest their money, or why not to, of politicians who need to know the trends in public opinion.

Visiting us will be those who are looking to make plans to amuse themselves on the weekend, and those who want to be up-to-date on the latest theater offerings, the best concerts, the newest releases in the bookstores.

We hope to be a reference for every Cubanologist who needs to check a precise date or submerge themselves in the conceptual complexity of the new social thinking, and a reference as well for the absent-minded tourists hearing the name of the country for the first time in their lives. A window into what is happening, our fingers on every pulse, the re-visitor of history, a messenger from the future, all this is what we want to be.

Just because most people will have Internet we won’t begin to be a people without problems, and so 14ymedio proposes to be the voice of the protestors, those persecuted by whatever power, and, most particularly, the longed for space of all those who have a divergent or convergent opinion but who lack a public platform where they can expound on it and submit it for discussion.

Obviously these are long term intentions, but we are starting now because we don’t want the new and inevitable realities that will come to wait for us. In fact, we are not the first to have such ambitious dreams, nor to work to conquer them. Hopefully we won’t be the last!

16 May 2014

With no desire to be paranoid, I want to warn that the peaceful opposition and civil society in Cuba could be on the eve of a very dangerous moment. I remember the 2003 Black Spring shocked public opinion in the midst of the American military intervention in Iraq.

Today the Cuban government seems disposed to “loosen” the repression a little to put itself in sync with the European negotiators, but all this could come to a crashing halt if the conflict in Ukraine provokes a confrontation between the NATO member countries and Russia.

When Cuba’s loyalty to Russia becomes an unacceptable insult to Europe, we will remember the era of the European Common Position on Cuba as a honeymoon. Then there will be no one who promises or pretends that human rights are respected on the Island.

The legacy that the “historic generation” wants to leave to its successors will be a very difficult burden to carry, but an even harder one to drop. May the Lord have mercy upon us.

3 May 2014

Link to Original Blog in Spanish

Please help translate

Reinaldo Escobar (1947), an independent journalist since 1989, writes from Cuba where he was born and continues to live. He received his degree in Journalism from the University of Havana in 1971 and subsequently worked for different Cuban publications. His articles can be found in various European publications, and in the digital magazines "Cuba Encuentro" and "Contodos."

Desde Aquí/From Here is a personal undertaking born from the need to write about those topics that fill my head every day but that cannot find a space in the official Cuban media.

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