Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

30 de Diciembre de 1999

SUMMARIZING THE NEWS OF CUBA IN 1999. By Armando Añel, Cuba Free Press.

Havana.- Cuba is a unique country. Everything goes through it and nothing lingers. What happens is that on this island whatever happens, whatever takes place is a far cry from anything that we could assume to be logical. Everything is upside down in Cuba. Nothing is as it seems. And there's always something going on. A brief summary of what has transpired in Cuba over this past year may give the reader some idea of the number of things that take place in Cuba.

a) At the start of the year our commander in chief announced that not only would the police force be strengthened in Havana but that the penalties for crimes would also be increased.

"The street," he said, "like the university, is for the revolutionaries." At that moment a good friend uttered in my ear (she's very well versed in the official lingo), "that is why the police are arresting so many people."

b) A campaign began to raise funds (sorry, people) for those willing to wear the uniform of the National Revolutionary Police. The official Central Worker's Union of Cuba, as expected, stepped to the forefront, sacrificing plenty of manpower on the "altar" of its union assemblies.

c) The National Peoples' Power Assembly approved by "unanimous" vote Law No. 88, called by the authorities the "Law for the Protection of Cuban Independence and Economy." Among other things, it stipulates that anyone with half a brain on the island must behave as having none.

d) The one-sided trial takes place against the four citizens who co-signed the document "The Motherland Belongs to All of Us." Hundreds of dissidents are put behind bars in keeping with the slogan, "The horse can fatten under the watchful eyes of its owner."

e) Foreign Affairs Minister, Roberto Robaina was mysteriously removed from his post. Felipe Perez Roque, a man in whom Fidel Castro confides, takes his place.

f) Cuban government organizations demand from the U.S. government $181 million for the pain and suffering of the Cuban people. The Cuban government is once again condemned by a United Nations commission for violating its citizens' human rights.

g) Cuban high jumper Javier Sotomayor tested positive for cocaine. The Cuban government denounced alleged irregularities at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

h) Government sponsored journalist Enrique Núñez Rodríguez declared that Cuban athletes do not use drugs or any other substance other than beans and patriotism.

i) The generous government broadened the number of places where they offer low-income citizens beans and rice and it substitutes canned fish for fresh fish on the ration card so that the people won't be injured by the bones.

j) Hurricane Irene left a trail of thousands of people who sustained damages on the Island amd who were promised immediate help by the government. Many are still waiting.

k) The governor of Illinois travels to Havana. The President of the People's Power Assembly reads in perfect English the welcoming speech.

l) Priests in eastern provinces issue a document in which they are critical of the Cuban government.

m) The commander in chief goes before television cameras to denounce, for the first time in 40 years, a group of "traitors" he says are at the service of the U.S. Interests' Section in Havana. He said they were "troops" led by Field Marshal Michael Cosack.

n) Students, workers, farmers, the general public and some paramilitary elements beat a group of two opposition members in a Havana park. In a press conference later, the valiant revolutionaries suffered the crossfire of a tiny group of journalists at the service of "Yankee imperialism."

o) Even as many of the visiting dignitaries attending the IX Ibero- American Summit taking place in Havana met with certain groups of counter-revolutionaries, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez stayed back to play ball with Castro. Those ahead can't go very far if those behind run well.

p) Cuban exiled pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez wins his first game in the Major Leagues.

q) Cuban president Fidel Castro suspends his planned trip to Seattle for fear of being arrested.

r) Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, surviving a harrowing trip to Florida, becomes the new "focus" of Cuba's anti-American policy. As protests take place across from the U.S. Interests' Section office in Havana and the days turn into weeks and the weeks into months, the boy's father argues that the child must be returned to him but can't decide whether to go get him.

s) The minister of Finance and Prices announces that the Cuban economy had increased by 6 percent in 1999,leading some to believe that poultry meat distribution will also become greater in the coming century.

t) Prices skyrocket in the farm markets.

u) The uniformed population once again lashes out against groups at the service of the CIA and the Cuban American National Foundation. In other words, Cuba's State Security agents beat and kick four opposition members who had chained themselves together and were marching towards El Rincon in Havana's Santiago de las Vegas neighborhood.

v) Several thousand people marched on Dec. 25 through Old Havana to celebrate the birth of the child Jesus.

w) Since Cubans are now allowed to celebrate the nativity in Cuba, many employees of the state-controlled commerce network have placed tip boxes at their job sites so that the people will give them some tokens.

x) At some stores in the Cuban capital the revolutionary state offers pork for sale at 10 to 15 pesos per pound. State-owned trucks delivered frying plantains, pumpkins, garlic and other vegetables and to some avenues in the capital for sale to the general public so the people could enjoy a happy sendoff to the year as they await the return of Elian Gonzalez.

y) All the projections for the different plans were met. All those that could not be met were not.

z) Since the Cuban authorities have wasted untold millions on the mass protests for the return of Elian Gonzalez, Cubans expect he will be returned next year or the island will sink in the ocean rather than stop being "revolutionary."

Armando Añel, Cuba Free Press.

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