support babalú

Your donations help fund
our continued operation

do you babalú?

what they’re saying






recommended reading

babalú features

recent comments

  • Alberto de la Cruz: Obviously to enjoy the luxuries and “good life” the apartheid regime prohibits regular Cubans who live...

  • TWFKAP: Why would anyone with the handle “marielito” go back to a country that, in effect, kicked him out and called him...

  • Rayarena: Good Lord, we have completely lost Cuba. The country is being divided amongst all of the major world players, the US, China and...

  • Gigi: There go my purchases of Gucci parfum.

  • marielito: I was there 3 years ago as a tourist and that is the reality for those that go visit the island as tourists. And it could very...

search babalu

babalú archives

frequent topics

elsewhere on the net


Cuba’s apartheid regime denies Tania Bruguera entry into National Museum of Fine Arts

Via Diario de Cuba (translation by Translating Cuba):

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Denies Entry to Tania Bruguera

Diario de Cuba, Havana, 24 May 2015 – This Saturday the Museo National de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) denied entry to the artist Tania Bruguera, who had been invited to the opening of an exposition by the painter Tomas Sanchez.

Deborah Bruguera, the artist’s sister, reported on her Facebook site that the justificiation “was that the Museum reserves the right of admission.”

Diario de Cuba received a recording of the conversation between Bruguera and a museum official charged with communicating to her the prohibition of entering.

The artist demanded “logical reasons” and no just that the communication “is an order.”

“I am a Cuban citizen who has the right to know why I am not permitted to enter a place,” Bruguera stated.

“Fine, we have arguments that you have caused certain difficulties at other expositions of the Biennial,” the official responded.

Bruguera rejected this accusation. “In what expositions, because I haven’t been to any. I have been in my house, this is the first and only time since the Havana Biennial started that I have left my house,” where she was “staging her performance,” she replied.

With regards to the invitation from Tomas Sanchez, the official affirmed that it was “not applicable” and that those who decided who could or could not enter a cultural institution are responsible.

Last Wednesday Bruguera began a performance in her house consisting of 100 hours of reading the book “The Origins of Totalitarianism” by Hannah Arendt.

Since Friday, the regime hijacked the reading with loud noises caused by supposed Electric Company repair work, sending workers to break up the street in front of her house.

Memorial Day 2015: I remember my late friend Nathan Aguirre


Hope and Change in Obama’s Cuba: Another Sunday of violence as Obama-backed apartheid regime arrests nearly 200 dissidents

Another Sunday of violence in Cuba as the Obama-backed apartheid dictatorship of the Castro family unleashed yet another wave of violent repression on the island. Empowered by the new White House policy of appeasement that ensures the U.S. will look the other way at their crimes against humanity, the Cuban regime violently arrested nearly 200 dissidents yesterday.

Capitol Hill Cubans has the report:

Nearly 200 Cuban Dissidents Arrested, Nobody Cares #ThanksObama

Nearly 200 Cuban dissidents have been arrested throughout the island today.

In Havana, four dozen members of The Ladies in White were arrested as they attended Sunday Mass. Also arrested were male supporters, including democracy leaders Antonio Rodiles, Angel Moya and independent journalist Juan Gonzalez Febles.

In Santiago, over 80 activists of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) were beaten and arrested.

Dozens of others were arrested in the interior provinces, including Raul Borges, father of political prisoner Ernesto Borges, and youth activists from the Cuban Reflection Movement.

And renowned artist Tania Bruguera, who had her passport confiscated in December and is unable to leave the island, was arrested as she approached the Museum of Fine Arts to attend an exhibit for the Havana Art Biennial.

But sadly, no one seems to care.

Obama is too focused on what other concessions he can give to Raul Castro in exchange for an Embassy.

D.C. lobbyists are too busy lobbying for Castro's "military-tourist" complex (as The Financial Times' John Paul Rathbone succinctly called the Cuban military's monopolistic control over the island's tourism industry).

And the media continues obsessing over the "old world charm" of Cuba's totalitarian dictatorship.

Meanwhile, in Castro-controlled Venezuela, internationally renowned political prisoner and former Mayor, Daniel Ceballos, has been transferred from a military prison to one of the most violent civilian prisons in the world.

And Leopoldo Lopez, the famed opposition leader, began a hunger strike to demand the release of his colleagues, whose lives are in danger.

This, despite the fact that there's no embargo and that the U.S. is Venezuela's main trading partner.

Yet, the silence from the international community is deafening -- debunking all of Obama's theories about how his new Cuba policy would purportedly bring support for rights and democracy.

As for legislative elections in Venezuela this Fall -- wishful thinking. "Elections, for what?" says Maduro. After all, Obama just embraced Cuba's military dictatorship.

And where are the Congressional junkets to Caracas?

Impunity clearly reigns supreme in the region.

Uncommon Sense has more coverage HERE.

Memorial Day – Remember and honor the heroes who gave their lives for our freedom

Meanwhile, back in Caracastan: Top Venezuelan Dissident on Hunger Strike


Leopoldo Lopez in prison

It seldom achieves its intended end, but some valiant souls do it, anyway.

Leopoldo Lopez, Venezuela's most prominent political prisoner, has begun a hunger strike.

Countless Cubans have tried the same tactic and many of them have starved to death.

Tyrants love to devour hunger strikers.

Even worse, when all is said and done, the world's news outlets will avoid this story like the plague and hardly anyone will notice.

Oh.... but if Lopez were Nelson Mandela, or someone of his ilk... Yeah, the world would notice.

Leopoldo Lopez's main problem -- and that of every other victim of communist totalitarianism -- is that the only hunger strikers who count are those who favor communism or are being supported by communists.

C'est la vie, unfortunately...  #@!^&*%$#@!

Leopoldo Lopez's arrest

Leopoldo Lopez's arrest

From Stiff-Upper-Lip Granma (BBC):

Venezuela opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez on hunger strike

Prominent jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has announced he has gone on hunger strike demanding "freedom for political prisoners".

In a video leaked from prison, Mr Lopez called for an end to censorship, and for the government to set a date for parliamentary elections.

He also urged Venezuelans to join peaceful marches next Saturday "for peace and democracy".

Mr Lopez is accused of inciting violence during protests last year.

More than 40 people, from both sides of the political divide, were killed in months of protests against the government of Nicolas Maduro.

The authorities say Mr Lopez incited violence and encouraged demonstrators to vandalise government buildings at the end of a protest in February 2014.

He was charged and arrested a few days later.

Mr Lopez said fellow jailed opposition politician Daniel Ceballos was also on hunger strike.

Continue reading HERE

El platanito Maduro comiendose a si mismo

Nicolas Maduro devouring his ripe banana (comiendose su platanito maudro)

Francisco de Goya: Saturn devouring his son


Reports from Cuba: A deafening noise at Tania Brugeura’s door

By El Fogonero in Translating Cuba:

A Deafening Noise at Tania Bruguera’s Door


El Fogonero, 22 May 2015 – The Cuban dictatorship has been left without arguments, and so they do not dare to listen to Cubans, nor let them be listened to. The latest proof of this is what is happening right now to a doorway in Havana where a woman is reading outloud.

The artist Tania Bruguera (who weeks previously was the victim of an act of censorship preventing her from presenting a performance in public) decided to sit in the doorway of her house and read, for 100 hours, the book “The Origins of Totalitarianism” by Hannah Arendt.

In response, the dictatorship sent a construction brigade to break up the pavement even more (in Havana the majority of the streets are torn up) in front of Tania’s door. It is not difficult to calculate that they will keep jackhammering for 100 hours.

According to sources close to the artist, Bruguera will wait for the “repair” work to be completed before resuming her reading. By then, we can be sure, Raul’s henchmen will have come up with a new ruse.

Meanwhile, beyond the outrage provoked by such cowardice, at least here is good news: right in front of artist Tania Bruguera’s house, a few steps from the glass case where the yacht Granma is preserved, a small stretch of Tejadillo Street will finally be repaired.

The ‘real’ Cuba according to Gucci

According to Gucci, the real Cuba is not an island prison ruled by an ironfisted apartheid dictatorship that has been mercilessly enslaving millions and brutally imprisoning and assassinating its opponents for more than a half century. As far as Gucci is concerned, the real Cuba is a glamorous place where stunning models stand around a luxurious pool wearing sunglasses at night.

Introducing, Gucci's "Havana Collection": A taste of the real Cuba.

A letter to Pope Francis on his role in supporting Cuba’s evil apartheid dictatorship

By Obie Usategui in the Canada Free Press:

Letter to Pope Francis

Your Holiness
Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
Vatican City 00120

Your Holiness:

I am one of approximately one million Cubans, who, on a day like today, fled our homeland for good – a Caribbean island, who, discoverer Christopher Columbus, described as: “The most beautiful land that human eyes have ever beheld”.  That was Cuba.  That same island which on January 1st, 1959, would warmly welcome a cadre of bearded soldiers of fortune, dressed in olive green liveries, impregnated, still, with scents of killing fields; their chests radiantly covered with hanging crosses embodying the same church, which your Holiness now presides – crosses consigned to deceive the fanatical masses of indulging supporters, who gallantly praised the combatants as titans of liberty.

Yes, your Holiness, this was the same Cuba, whose promenades would rampantly turn to walls posting the deaths of martyrs killed by the liberators’ firing squads; the same island, your Holiness, whose prisons would shortly after the takeover would be turned into dungeons of torture; the same island whose plains and prairies would soon be filled with tears of mothers who had lost their sons and daughters;  one whose glimmers of faith, hope and courage, would soon turn into brutal cries of anguish and suffering; the same island, your Holiness, whose seas would soon become a graveyard wherein are laid to rest thousands of Cubans, whose only reason for dying was a bold desire to sever their ties from the sustaining tragedies that prevailed under an oppressive communist regime, led by two Cuban assassins, who, for half a century have cherished the agony inflicted on its people; the same assassins that your Holiness has sought to redeem while openly shaking their hands covered with the blood spilled by all whom they had cruelly massacred.

Yes, your Holiness, these are, so to speak, the same murderers who, today, your Holiness, has cuddled and embraced; the same who did not quiver to preach their gospels of hate for the your church, which today, gives these scoundrels, their redemption and undue clemency for all their transgressions, albeit, rewarding their misconducts as such, in spite of a lifetime of willful attempts to challenge and defy all canons of righteousness as those professed by the word of the Lord.  Yes, your Holiness, this oppressive tyrant, christened with the name of Raul Castro Ruz, is one of two murderous brothers whose legacy has claimed the lives of thousands of Cubans, hideously massacred and whose only crime, your Holiness, was that of professing their faith in God and their relentless hope to return to a homeland restituted of their despoiled liberties by those, who, your Holiness, treacherously and disingenuously embraces today.

I would strongly urge your Holiness, that on HIS next visit to our beloved island, HE would question his newly befriended dictator, regarding the “Remolcador 13 de Marzo” [13th of March Tug-Boat], wherein 33 Cubans were slain to death, inclusive of helpless women and children, killed by mercenaries of the same enforcer that your Holiness has now chosen to reach-out to, and, while doing so, has given the perpetrators HIS vote of sustenance and support for the villainous crimes committed.  I would also urge your Holiness, to question his newly found colleague regarding the merciless downing of the four Brothers-to-the-Rescue planes, piloted by fledgling young pilots, whose mission was that of rescuing their Cuban brothers and sisters venturing into the Florida Straits in home-made crafts defiantly made to challenge death in the seas while searching for freedoms denied them by the rats who, your Holiness, has seen fit to invite to the Holy City at the Vatican, in spite of the later unending crave to disparage and persecute members of the hosting church for the past 55 years.

Shame on your Holiness for betraying the pain and suffering of so many for so long, for the reprehensible role played by your Holiness while on HIS recent mission to abridge and uplift the Cuban embargo imposed by the United States in lieu of the cowardly threats continuously professed by the Cuban establishment, whose foremost objective throughout the last five decades was that of destroying those imposing the embargo if only because the enforcers, in fact, symbolized and represented the very same liberties as those embezzled by the Anti-Christ now tortuously subscribed by your Holiness.

Continue reading A letter to Pope Francis on his role in supporting Cuba’s evil apartheid dictatorship

China is building a new super-size port in Santiago de Cuba


It looks as if China is aiming to play a major role in the future exploitation of cheap Cuban labor and of the island's strategic location.

Forget about the new port of Mariel, which is supposed to help Castrogonia attract more business.  A new super-port is also being built in eastern Cuba, in Santiago.

And guess who is funding the project?

As any idiot knows, a port is a port: it doesn't discriminate between cargo ships and military vessels.

So, get ready for the new Chinese equivalent of  Guantanamo Naval Base.

Good luck finding this news item in the American or European press.


From Global Post, via  Granma East (Xinhua News Agency: the official press agency of the People's Republic of China. Xinhua describes itself as the "information organ of the central government."  )

Cuban port terminal in transformation with Chinese assistance

Santiago de Cuba's Guillermon Maoncada port is undergoing a dramatic transformation into a modern multipurpose terminal with involvement of a Chinese company.

China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) is in charge of the port's rehabilitation and modernization project which is slated to be completed in three years.

Santiago de Cuba's port, 890 km southeast of Havana, is the second most important on the Caribbean island after Mariel port, Cuban official daily Granma reported.


Valued at 120 million U.S. dollars, the future multipurpose terminal will facilitate the arrival of ships weighing up to 40,000 tons and will have high-tech port equipment which will possess better control ability.The transformation will enable the port to handle around 565,000 tons of goods per year, local authority said. Currently the port attracts ships with a general load of 20,000 tons....

...The geographical location of this port, in southeast central Cuba, will make it into a privileged enclave due to its close proximity to important maritime routes.

Read the whole story HERE.


US-Cuba talks: It looks like a one way street to me


Dissident punk-rocker Gorki Aguila arrested in Cuba for demanding release of imprisoned artist El Sexto

As they say, Hope and Change in Obama's Cuba.

Via Capitol Hill Cubans:

Cuban Rocker Arrested for Demanding Release of Political Prisoner

Cuban rocker Gorki Aguila, of the band Porno Para Ricardo, was arrested this afternoon after calling for the release of fellow artist and political prisoner, Danilo Maldonado "El Sexto."

Aguila placed a poster on the wall of the Museum of Fine Arts with an image of El Sexto and the word "Libertad" ("Freedom"). He was immediately approached and arrested by agents of Castro's secret police.

El Sexto was arrested on December 25th, 2014 (just a few days after the Obama-Castro deal was announced), for painting the words "Raul" and "Fidel" on two pigs. He remains imprisoned to this day.

This month is the Havana Art Biennial. The current delegation of Congressional Democrats, led by U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), plans on visiting these "festivities."

Also part of the delegation is U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN), who also happens to be an artist.

Will Franken speak out on behalf of these imprisoned Cuban artists?

Or would it ruin the delegation's "vacation"?

“La tragedia en Caracas”: Our friends in Venezuela are dumping “el bolivar”




Reports from Cuba: When the victim’s time comes

By Angel Santiesteban in Translating Cuba:

When the victim’s time comes

Harold Cepero and Oswaldo Payá

Laura Pollan

Since I became aware of the physical assaults and the corresponding arrests, an idea has remained fixed in my mind: “We have to expect this to happen in order for the international political community to understand that you cannot negotiate with totalitarian governments, that it is a dead end. That they only appear to adapt to the new times out of their economic desperation, as ‘parasite countries’ that suck what they can out of whatever economy they get near.”

Is an agreement with the United States and the European Union above the objective needs that civil society urges be resolved? By negotiating with the regime, these countries are establishing a dynasty that will last for generations. The shameful truth is that, Sunday after Sunday, the Ladies in White are abused. Now more so, as I learned during my recent call, because those criminal mobs inflicted bone fractures on these helpless women, who have not given up, nor will they give up on their desire for freedom. Even if the above statements fall on ears deafened and eyes clouded by the absurdities with which the Castro brothers enchant them, and make them dance to their tune.

I still hope that the governments involved in the openings understand that they are losing their valuable time, and retracing their steps, only to approach that truth which I have not doubted for a moment: the dictatorship will not submit to a truce in order to change this sad reality that has oppressed us for over half a century.

And I continue to declare that the more the dictatorship strengthens and sends out roots, the more suffering the Cuban people will continue to endure, as the powers reach a deal.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats
April 23, 2015, Border Prison Unit, Havana.

“Why did Elian’s mother leave Cuba? She was living the good life.” asks ABC’s Jim Avila


"Why did Elian’s mother leave Cuba?” the furrow-browed Jim Avila asked the (then) NBC cameras in April 2000. “What was she escaping? By all accounts this young woman was living the good life.”


"Would it occur to a presumably educated reporter to ask why someone tried escaping East Germany? Of course not. They’d be laughed off the screen. But as usual, the same thundering imbecility goes unnoticed with regards to escaping a Soviet-Bloc prison-nation in the Caribbean."

Apparently unsatisfied with his historic propaganda services for Castro’s Stalinist regime, ABC’s Jim Avila reported for duty again this week. Davila’s interview with 21 year old Elian Gonzalez is making major media waves.

The “interview,” by the way, was conducted from Cuba after Avila was (gleefully) granted a journalist visa by the Stalinist authorities—not that this could possibly influence the nature of Avila’s questions. And certainly not that most viewers of the alphabet media would notice anyway.

"I am his (Fidel Castro’s) friend but above all I consider him (Fidel Castro) my father, my grandfather. Fidel, he is an incredible person! I came to know Fidel. I began to see his kindness!” These were among the eye-opening scoops the hard-hitting Jim Avila was able to coax from Elian Gonzalez....

Some perspective on that “good life:” Between two and three hundred people (out of an average population over the decades of 18 million) died trying to breach the Berlin Wall or otherwise escape East Germany. Between sixty-five and eighty thousand people (out of an average population of 8 million over the decades) have died trying to escape Castro’s Cuba.

What makes these stats more horrific still is that prior to Castroism very few Cubans left Cuba. Indeed, prior to Castroism Cuba was swamped with more immigrants per-capita than the U.S., mostly from Europe. People from nearby Haiti jumped on rafts desperate to enter Cuba, which enjoyed a higher standard of living than much of Europe. Also, during the 1950’s when all Cubans were perfectly free to emigrate with all family, property, etc., and U.S. visas were issued to them for the asking, about the same number of Americans lived in Cuba as Cubans in the U.S. In 1953 more Cubans vacationed (then voluntarily went home) from the U.S. than Americans vacationed in Cuba.

Alas none of this features in The Godfather II. So it’s mostly unknown.

Our friends at Townhall help disseminate a few items not well understood outside the diminutive Cuban-American informational ghetto.


Photos of the Day – Never before seen aerial photographs of Cuba

Aerial photographs that are just close enough to capture the raw beauty of Cuba and just far enough to miss the squalor and misery of life under the jackboot of a murderous apartheid dictatorship.

By photographer Marius Jovaiša (via Yusnaby Post):

Viñales, Pinar del Rio

Morro Castle

Pico Turquino in the Sierra Maestra mountains

See more photographs HERE.