[Marxism] CubaNews list begins ists seventh year of service

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 26 16:14:08 MDT 2006

I'm getting myself ready to return to the United States after three
months here in Cuba. The following is a note sent to the CubaNews
list with a few reflections on the conjuncture. 

This is a very special day for the CubaNews list. We have completed
our sixth year and are now beginning our seventh year of service.

The stores here are packed with people today, which I'll tell you
about a bit further along here. I'm also going to ask readers of these
reports and messages to write in congratulate CubaNews for providing
this service to its readers. I'm going to return to the United States
next week, and will continue to comb the internet for information. We
will also continue to provide readers with translations from the Cuban
media to English, though it's never quite the same thing when we don't
have the corrective presence of Cuban reality to help us to be sure
of what is and what isn't happening. I've been very fortunate and
privileged to be able to work here for the last three months.

Today, August 26, 2006, marks the start of the seventh continuous year 
of activity by the CubaNews list, a public service begun by activists 
who had been active in the struggle to return Elian Gonzalez to his
father, home and family who live in Cuba. It took us over six months,
but the campaign was finally successful. Washington, which had placed
the child in the home of rightist exile militants, set the stage for
a gigantic battle. It finally took quick and decisive action by the
federal government to remove Elian from the clutches of those right-
wingers who'd used him as their poster child in their decades-long 
war against the Cuban Revolution. This list has grown from the few
dozen initial subscribers to over 860 today, and the list continues
to grow. Materials on Cuba are regularly posted to several other
lists as well. When something of unusual importance, CubaNews can
reach thousands through some of these additional networks.

I'm taking a moment here to review some of the big developments in
Cuba, which have also been reflected on the CubaNews list, and am
also going to ask those of you who appreciate the work which this
list provides to write in and express it so that can be shared 
with our readership.

For one example, after a giant earthquake devastated Pakiststan in
2005, Cuba sent members of its Henry Reeve Contingent, a team of
doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to help in the nation's
recovery efforts. Through that experience, which was extensively
reported in the island's media, we learned of five different lists
operated by activists in that country, to which we were able then
to post news of the Cuban doctors work there. Many have written in
to express their appreciation for the help the Cubans provided.
Pakistan is ruled by a conservative military government, but one
which was open to receiving help when it was most needed. Cuba 
and Pakistan have since established diplomatic relations and the
word is that Pakistan's president will be attending the upcoming
summit of the Non-Aligned Nations to be held in Cuba in September.

On July 26th of this year, Fidel Castro, who usually gives one big
speech on this anniversary of the start of Cuba's revolution, gave
two speeches. These weren't very long, for him, lasting something
like two-and-a-half-hours each. I attended the first one in the
small provincial city of Bayamo. Bayamo, of course, was the seat
of Cuba's first independence war which began in 1868, and after
which the island's national anthem, LA BAYAMESA, is named. Most
people don't know that Cubans wanted their independence so much
that they literally burned the city down, not once, but twice, to
prevent the Spanish colonialists from regaining control of it. 

That struggle didn't succeed in 1868, and continued in a variety
of forms until Cuba finally did achieve its full independence on
January 1, 1959, with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution led by
Fidel Castro and the July 26th movement.  Anway, evidently Fidel
overdid it and fell ill after those two speeches on the 26th.

I've no idea how long Fidel Castro's going to be on sick leave.
but it's certainly my reading of the situation here that nothing
has changed since he stepped aside. Today as I walked among the
people here in Cantral Havana, the streets were teeming with 
people. The stores were also teeming with people. There was food
in the markets, both in the shopping stores and in the markets
where prices are in regular Cuban pesos. Those of us who are from
places like the United States, where a giant assortment of fruits,
vegetables and every other thing - at least if you have the money
to pay for them - would find the quality and variety of what's
available in Cuba inferior. Cubans complain all the time about 
the prices of things, yet one never sees anyone hungry here in 
Cuba. You simply never see it. So no matter how much Cubans grip
and complain about the cost of living, they keep on living and
living relatively well, for a blockaded Third World country.

Not long ago the U.S. government announced the appointment of a
special "intelligence" boss for Cuba and Venezuela. Until now,
the only countries which have merited such public assignments
have been Iran and North Korea. We don't know exactly what this
new man will be up to, but one cannot assume anything positive
at a time like this. Venezuela's government has just earlier
today announced that it caught some U.S. diplomats bringing 
in bomb-making supplies through the diplomatic pouch. That's
not happened in Cuba yet, but there's no telling what these
people might try. They are very frustrated right now after the
shellacking they've been taking in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in
Lebanon. So we'll have to see what comes up next.

I'm supposed now to leave Cuba on Tuesday, but there is talk of
a possible hurricane now. I've been here during one hurricane,
but didn't have to be evacuated as some people are. My living
arrangements have changed and, if the hurricane does hit soon,
my departure may possibly be delayed. Here's a short note on the
weather from the Cuban news agency.

Tropical Storm Ernesto Threatens the Caribbean

Havana, Aug 26 (Prensa Latina) The season's fifth tropical storm
Ernesto has had little change in the East Caribbean Sea and at 6:00
am, it was located at 390 km south of Dominican Republic, and 760 km
east-southeast of Jamaica.

According to the Forecast Center of the Cuban Institute of
Meteorology (INSMET), Ernesto's sustained winds near 75 km per hour,
with higher gusts, and its central pressure is 999 hectopascal.

This morning, the TS Ernesto was located at 14.9 degrees latitude
north and 70.4 degrees longitude west, moving towards west-northwest
around 26 km per hour.

It is expected the phenomenon keeps a similar course and speed during
the next 12 to 24 hours, gaining more in organization and intensity.


THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION. If you subscribe to CubaNews, please send
in a note to CubaNews at yahoogroups.com with your comments. If you are
on one of the other lists where we place materials, please write to
me directly with your comments. And thanks for coming along with us
on this journal. 

Two years ago, I wrote this report on how the list had grown:

Two years ago, readers wrote in some messages of appreciation 

Here are the very first thirty messages which CubaNews posted:

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews

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