[Marxism] Quick impressions of Mexico City on the way to Cuba

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Dec 16 13:06:32 MST 2008


Yesterday when I left Los Angeles, it was chilly-chilly and pouring rain.
Here in Mexico City the weather was temperate, pleasant and not at all
cold. It's nice to be here, though I'm really just passing through now.
Tomorrow I catch the daily Cubana flight to Havana. (Mexicana also has
a daily flight, but the Cubana is the first available flight.)

Being offline most of yesterday and pretty much wiped out today, I'm
making an effort to post some of the backlogged materials but it's
not easy now and will become more challenging when I get to Cuba as
Internet service is so much slower there.

Just a few very fleeting impressions and notes from here. I'm wiped out
because I'd not slept Sunday night and so all of my normal routines in
life have been thrown out of whack. No biggie. I'll survive, as usual.

Mexico is a good place from which to make the transition from living
in the US to spending time in Cuba. Unlike the US, everyone here is a
fluent Spanish-speaker (Duhhh!). Internet service is terrific. I'm in
the home of a friend and using his wireless internet access system.
On the streets anywhere around here (Tlatelolco, a working class
community with lots of high-rise inexpensively-priced condominium.
A one-bedroom can be had for $30,000.00 U.S. A three bedroom can be
had for $50,000. 

Internet service for the public is available at 3 Mexican pesos for
fifteen minutes of 10 pesos for an hour. That means roughly it is
one dollar an hour for Internet service. Each machine in the place
I was using had also headphones, cameras, and so on. I don't use
such things much, but those who want to and don't have computers
can do so, if they have the money. This would be a great thing
for Cuba to have since Internet service there is slow and also
expensive. It'll be wonderful when that fiber optic link which is
now being built by the Venezuelans finally comes online which
they say should be in 2010. French, Venezuelan, and Chinese 
firms are all part of this process. They, of course, do not
blockade Cuba. Washington could provide this, but it refuses
to allow Cuba access via the fiber optic cables which are 
already in place.

On the street nearby here I purchased a stack of bootleg DVDs for
friends in Cuba, and may buy more, as they are only 20 Mexican
pesos, about $2.00 US per disc. The first one which caught my eye
was THE BUENA VISTA SISTERS CLUB. No, it's not a porno as you might
at first think, but a contemporary documentary about an all-female
Cuban jazz band which began in the 1930s, had an international
career, and its living members continue to reside on the island.
There is a documentary, music videos, contemporary footage and
more. And all this for $2.00 US. Such a bargain!

In addition, I bought THE DUTCHESS with Keira Knightly and
Ralph Fiennes, UNDER THE SAME MOON, the film about the life of
an undocumented Mexican immigrant mother living in Los Angeles
and the son she left behind with her mother in Mexico. Also
THE VIOLIN, a magnificent feature film set in the present and
which deals with armed revolutionary militancy here in Mexico.
I'd seen it on the big screen in Los Angeles, but for $2.00,
who could resist this? It'll make a nice gift for Cuban friends.

This morning I went out on the METRO, the wonderful main public
rail transport system. Each trip costs 2 Mexican pesos, or twenty
US cents equivalent. Sometimes they're very crowded, sometimes
not. Often itinerant vendors wander the cars with portable sound
systems selling bootleg CDs. Mostly, it's a lot of noise and you
are a captive audience with them. I didn't see much business in
fact going on.

TRULY WEIRD: On the metro and in the streets there are ads from
the Mexican Green Party which is CAMPAIGNING in favor of the
death penalty. Their slogan is, "Because we care for your life,
the death penalty for killers and kidnappers". (Mexico has no
death penalty.).

I searched for a Spanish-language edition of PERSEPOLIS, the 
printed version, and found it, but they wanted 694 Mexican pesos,
nearly $70 US, so I decided not to get it. Some day it will turn
up used in the US in Spanish. The movie itself can be found in
bootleg DVD form here $2.00. Maybe I'll buy the movie which, 
natch, will have Spanish subtitles.

Tonight I'll be taking my hostess and another friend out to a
nice dinner. In the morning I'm off to Cuba. At the moment we
are thinking of having Korean food. I've never seen a Korean
restaurant in Cuba. Cubans probably wouldn't like Korean food
as it's so spicy. On the other hand, it has a lot of beef, 
which Cubans really love.

That's all for now. If anyone has questions while I'm still 
online, or later today, I'll try to respond quickly.

Here's an interesting GUARDIAN report on how Steven Soderbergh's
Che movie is being received in Havana. I missed it in Los Angeles,
so should be able to see it now in Cuba, for one hell of a lot less
money. 

Read the story here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2008/dec/11/obama-us-foreign-policy-cuba

This just in:
Kathy Castor to Obama: Please lift family restrictions on travel to Cuba
December 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm by Wayne Garcia

http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/politicalwhore/2008/12/16/kathy-castor-to-obama-please-lift-family-restrictions-on-travel-to-cuba/
    

Walter Lippmann
Mexico City, Mexico
======================================================================
Brazilian president welcomes Castro to Latin American summit

16 December 2008

Agence France Presse

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Tuesday welcomed his
Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, to his first Latin American-Caribbean
summit, which was being held in this Brazilian coastal resort.

"The presence of President Raul Castro at this meeting is very
important for us, and I hope it is the first of a series of meetings
that he will have with us," Lula told delegates.

He was speaking as he opened the plenary session of Mercosur, the
South American trade bloc comprising Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and
Uruguay. Castro, and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, were special
guests at the gathering.

Castro, 77, was on his official foreign tour since taking replacing
his brother Fidel, 82, more than two years ago as Cuba's leader. He
was formally made president in February this year.

Thirty-three Latin American and Caribbean countries were to hold a
summit starting later Tuesday on regional integration and development.
The deepening effects of the worldwide economic crisis on the region
were likely to dominate discussions.

Following the summit, Castro was to attend a brief meeting of the Rio
Group, a Latin American policy coordinating forum which is welcoming
Cuba as its newest and 23rd member. Cuba is the Americas' only
one-party communist regime. mis/rmb/sg
======================================================================

Cuba and Venezuela Working on Optic Fiber Communication Cable

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 12 (ACN) Venezuela and Cuba highlighted their
common efforts aimed at developing Information Technologies (IT)
under the umbrella of the Bolivarian Alternative for Our Americas
(ALBA), which include the setting up of an optic fiber cable
connecting both countries.

Cuba’s Deputy Minister for Information Technologies and
Communications, Alberto Rodriguez, pointed out that the two nations
are jointly working in the setting up the underwater cable and at
ALBATEL, the telecommunications company with the ALBA Integration
project, which was created in 2004 by Caracas and Havana, Granma
newspaper reports on its website.

Rodriguez explained that, over the next few days, they expect to
conclude technical works between the joint Cuban-Venezuelan company
Telecomunicaciones Gran Caribe and the Chinese-French Alcatel
Shanghai Bell for the construction of the optic fiber cable.

The Cuban deputy minister, who participated in the official
announcement in Caracas of the 13th Conference on Information
Technologies, to be held in Havana in February 2009, said that the
project will be implemented next January and will be ready for 2010.

At present, said the Cuban official, the technical, logistic, and
financial aspects of the project are being analyzed. The optic fiber
cable will connect a point of Venezuela’s Caribbean area to the Cuban
eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.

He explained that the underwater cable will provide larger connection
capacity and higher quality service; the project is also important
for the sovereignty of both nations in international communications.
===================================================================

Latin America and the Caribbean Decide their Future by Themselves

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 16 (acn) Heads of governments and states from Latin
America and the Caribbean, a region with over 570 million
inhabitants, are participating in different summits, underway in
Brazil this week, to consider today’s pressing problems and to join
efforts towards the future, amidst a complex economic and social
international scenario.

The gatherings taking place in the South American nation have sparked
expectations in the world media. Reuters news agency says that Latin
American and Caribbean countries began on Tuesday a series of summits
to raise a wall in the face of the world financial crisis, which they
considered has been created by developed nations and he world
economic order.

Discussions at the meeting held in the Costa de Sauipe locality, in
Salvador de Bahia, began once Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da
Silva inaugurated the Summit of the South Common Market (MERCOSUR).

A series of summits are taking place in the Brazilian region,
including the South American Union of Nations (UNASUR), the Latin
American and Caribbean Summit and the Group of Rio Forum, which will
take Cuba as a new member in what is considered an act of
independence from the influence of the United States in the region.

The DPA German news agency published statements by Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez, who affirmed that the multi-summit of
representatives of 33 Latin American and Caribbean nations is an
opportunity for regional countries to speak without the interference
of any foreign powers.

In statements to reporters, Chavez said that it was good to be in
Brazil, in Bahia, instead of New York or Miami, “where they used to
call us along with the Organization of American States.” “It is good
to have Cuba with us, which comes back to where it should have always
been; we are now complete as we make up a good team,” said Chavez in
reference to the Latin American and Caribbean Summit called by
Brazil’s President Lula da Silva, without the presence of the United
States or Europe.

The Venezuelan President recalled that Fidel once said that the
Organization of American States was like the ministry of the US
colonies, that it did what it pleased in Latin America. He said that
time has already passed, he said.

A wire by PL news reads that the presence of Cuban President Raul
Castro in the event has made headlines in the Brazilian press, which
describe the Summit as a political attraction.

Raul Castro will be the major political attraction in Sauipe, reads a
headline by the La Tarde daily, which also underscores Raul´s stay in
Brazil as part of his international tour that began in Venezuela.



=========================================
     WALTER LIPPMANN
     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
=========================================




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