Castro Agents Beat Up Cuban Blogger

SanchezYoaniCubanBlogger2009-12-19.jpg“Blogger Yoani Sánchez speaks at home in Havana on Monday, days after she says she was beaten by Cuban agents.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited below.

(p. A14) Yoani Sánchez, Cuba’s most prominent dissident blogger, was walking along a Havana street last Friday along with two other bloggers and a friend when two men she says were Cuban agents in civilian clothes forced her inside an unmarked black car and beat her, telling her to stop criticizing the government.

The assault, believed to be the first against the growing blogger movement on the island, has cast a spotlight on the country’s record of repression, highlighting how little change there has been in political freedoms during the nearly three years since Raúl Castro took over as president from retired dictator Fidel Castro.
A decline in tourism revenues from the global recession and damage from several hurricanes last year have prompted the island’s government to clamp down even harder on dissent and freedom of speech, according to a recent report by the Inter American Press Association, a watchdog group.
The group said Cuba currently has 26 journalists in jail, and it cited 102 incidents against Cuban journalists in the past year, including beatings, arbitrary arrests and death threats.

For the full story, see:
DAVID LUHNOW. “Beating Rattles Cuban Bloggers.” The Wall Street Journal (Weds., NOVEMBER 11, 2009): A14.
(Note: the online version of the article is dated NOVEMBER 12, 2009.)

Entrepreneurial Innovation Comes from Diverse Outsiders Rather than Establishments

(p. 113) Firms that win by the curve of mind often abandon it when they establish themselves in the world of matter. They fight to preserve the value of their material investments in plant and equipment that embody the ideas and experience of their early years of success. They begin to exalt expertise and old knowledge, rights and reputation, over the constant learning and experience of innovative capitalism. They get fat.

A fat cat drifting off the curve, however, is a sitting duck for new nations and companies getting on it. The curve of mind thus tends to favor outsiders over establishments of all kinds. At the capitalist ball, the blood is seldom blue or the money rarely seasoned. Microcosmic technologies are no exception. Capitalism’s most lavish display, the microcosm, is no respecter of persons.
The United States did not enter the microcosm through the portals of the Ivy League, with Brooks Brothers suits, gentleman Cs, and warbling society wives. Few people who think they are in already can summon the energies to break in. From immigrants and outcasts, street toughs and science wonks, nerds and boffins, the bearded and the beer-bellied, the tacky and uptight, and sometimes weird, the born again and born yesterday, with Adam’s apples bobbing, psyches (p. 114) throbbing, and acne galore, the fraternity of the pizza breakfast, the Ferrari dream, the silicon truth, the midnight modem, and the seventy-hour week, from dirt farms and redneck shanties, trailer parks and Levittowns, in a rainbow parade of all colors and wavelengths, of the hyperneat and the sty high, the crewcut and khaki, the pony-tailed and punk, accented from Britain and Madras, from Israel and Malaya, from Paris and Parris Island, from Iowa and Havana, from Brooklyn and Boise and Belgrade and Vienna and Vietnam, from the coarse fanaticism and desperation, ambition and hunger, genius and sweat of the outsider, the downtrodden, the banished, and the bullied come most of the progress in the world and in Silicon Valley.

Source:

Gilder, George. Microcosm: The Quantum Revolution in Economics and Technology. Paperback ed. New York: Touchstone, 1990.

Castro’s “Absolute Personal Dictatorship” Denounced By Former Member of Cuban Inner Circle

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Source of book image:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2575/4095461227_09463c5680.jpg

(p. C1) The plethora of dictators, despots and revolutionaries-turned-authoritarians south of the border has spawned a genre of literature that might be called the Latin American Strongman Novel — a genre that includes harrowing novels based on real historical figures, like Mario Vargas Llosa’s dazzling “Feast of the Goat” (which depicted Rafael Trujillo’s devastating rule over the Dominican Republic) and more mythic creations, like Gabriel García Márquez’s “Autumn of the Patriarch,” that have employed the sorcery of magical realism to conjure larger-than-life fictional tyrants in a panoply of ruthlessness, audacity and corruption.

The latest in this tradition of books is Norberto Fuentes’s fascinating new novel, “The Autobiography of Fidel Castro,” which purports to tell the longtime Cuban leader’s story in his own words. The “self-portrait” that emerges from these pages is that of a Machiavellian survivor: an egomaniac who identifies himself with the revolution but who is loyal not to a cause, not to an ideology, not to his compatriots, but only to his own ambition.
This Fidel is narcissistically longwinded, like his real-life counterpart. He is also a self-mythologizing change agent who succeeds in making himself “the neurological center of an entire nation” — a wily Nietzschean operator who believes in the force of his own will, while sensing that “the chameleon is going to last longer under his rock than the lion, despite its roaring and lean muscles.” He is a cynical master of manipulation and strategic maneuvering, a skilled practitioner of the black arts of propaganda and gamesmanship who always wants “to keep people guessing.”
A journalist and Hemingway (p. C7) scholar, Mr. Fuentes was once a cheerleader of the revolution and part of Mr. Castro’s inner circle himself. He grew disillusioned with the Cuban leader, however, after two army officers were executed in 1989 on what many believe were trumped-up charges. Mr. Fuentes fell out of favor, came under government surveillance and was detained after a failed attempt to flee Cuba by boat. After a hunger strike and the intervention of Mr. García Márquez, he was allowed to leave the country in 1994, and has since denounced Mr. Castro for his “absolute personal dictatorship” and willingness “to do anything necessary to stay in power.”

For the full story, see:
MICHIKO KAKUTANI. “Books of The Times; Fiction Trying for Truth in Novel’s View of Dictator.” The New York Times (Tues., December 15, 2009): C1 & C7.
(Note: the online version of the article is dated Mon., December 14, 2009.)

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“Norberto Fuentes” Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited above.