by Walter Lippmann
Good morning. The lights just went on. It’s just after 2:30 a.m. on Monday, January 28th. I am writing this from Havana Cuba. We had a heavy rain storm here last night, so heavy that the local authorities turn the electricity off until just now. So my phone is in the process of recharging but I thought I would share a few notes with you.
Thanks to everyone who sent me those birthday greetings. I’ve been looking forward to being 75 for quite some time now. Indeed, I planned my 75th birthday the day after I turned 74. Birthdays have never been of great significance to me.
The last time I had one that really mattered was when I turned 50. Amazingly I’m still in touch with some of those nice people that were at my 50th birthday party, although none of them came to the one here in Havana for my 75th. Maybe there will be an overlap, for the 80th birthday party, which I’ve been thinking about organizing now that I’m 75.
This is the first time that there’s been a blackout (apagon, in Spanish) in Havana since I got here on December 18th. Back in the 1990s, electricity blackouts were a common feature, because the government was trying to save electricity during the worst part of the so-called Special Period.
One step the Cuban government took after that time was to organize smaller and more decentralized power generation systems, so that one blackout would not necessarily hit the entire island. Though I can’t tell what’s going on in the rest of the island, it does seem that that strategy proved successful.
BIG TECHNOLOGICAL STEP FORWARD
The fact that I am writing this message to you, at 3 in the morning, represents a giant technological step forward for Cuba. A few months ago, the Cuban phone company, ETECSA and the Island’s cell phone provider, CUBACEL, began what I think we can reasonably call a Great Leap Forward in cell phone service for the Island’s population and everyone visiting here.
It’s home internet service for anyone with a cell phone, or, as I prefer to call them, a mobile phone. Snyone with a modern cell phone and a local phone number can access the internet with a single click.
Internet has been easily available, at least those who could afford it, through a network of internet-capable offices around the country. I have used these in different cities without difficulty for several years now. But these offices are typically only open from 8 30 in the morning to 7 p.m. in the evening.
Outside those hours, the only way you could get online would be through the network of Wi-Fi hot points, which typically are out of doors and don’t have offices with tables, desks, and places where and could anyone could do sustained serious written work. That is all changed now.
No longer is it necessary, for example, to go out in the rain and go to an internet cafe in order to get online. I’m doing this here lying on my back in bed at home. This service is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
As a matter of fact, during the blackout last night which began, I’m not sure, but maybe around 9 p.m. when the rain was at its heaviest, I was still fully able to access the internet check email make postings on Facebook and so forth.
In other words I was fully connected, but I sure wish I’d had a candle, or a small flashlight to provide myself with some illumination. But you do what you have to do.
By the way, they remark I made earlier about anyone who could afford internet access, might be a little bit misconstrued if you don’t keep in mind that it is also fully possible today for Cubans to receive the funding for their internet service, as well as for their long-distance phone service, from abroad.
Therefore, friends, family, and anybody who wants to help people here in Cuba to stay connected, can easily use such mobile telephone recharging services, which operate all over the world, to help people here to maintain their connections to friends, family, and people they wish to correspond with all over the world.
There are many such services in operation, and, by the way, they are completely legal under United States law. So anyone in the United States can fund the cell phone service and therefore internet access service through the Cuban phone company.
Ding.com is the company that I use, but there are many others. If you appreciate seeing the photographs that I send and reading the notes that I put out trying to give you some idea of what I’m seeing and doing here in Cuba, please feel free to put a little money on my cell phone. It would be greatly appreciated.
My phone here in Cuba is 535-388-5458 and so, all you would have to do is go to a company like fing.com and put some money on my account. I would appreciate it and I think if you appreciate the service that I’m trying to provide, I would be grateful to have you help me do it by providing me with this resource.
DEFENDING BOLIVARIAN VENEZUELA
In recent days, Washington’s efforts to overthrow the Boulevard and government in Venezuela have reached a fever pitch, with everything except direct military action already being put in play by Washington and all of its allies starting with Canada, the UK, France, Germany, and others that I can’t lift here, this morning.
Today’s Wall Street Journal includes two major articles one a news report and secondly an opinion column by the dreadful Mary Anastasia O’Grady which provide some of the details about some of the ways that Washington and its allies are trying to steal Venezuela’s resource.
Their goals include bringing the country back into the fold of those countries that are dominated economically and politically by the United States. they also want to break up the various steps toward Latin American integration such as ALBA, CELAC and so on.
In one sense, it’s all about oil, and in another sense it’s all about blocking the steps toward the creation of a broader Latin American Nation, the one that Jose Marti referred to as Nuestra America (Our America).
It’s ironic, it’s funny, it’s peculiar, it’s bizarre, that all of those forces in the United States that are so bitterly opposed to Trump, most of them are lining up fully behind Trump in Washington’s efforts to hijack the government of Venezuela, to steal its resources, and to roll back the various social games that have been made in Venezuela under the Bolivarian project.
So far, only a handful of good people in the United States Congress, such as Ilhan Omar, Tulsi Gabbard and Rashid Talib from Detroit have spoken out forcefully about these matters.
Bernie Sanders made a decent observation about how the United States has been on the wrong side of regime change operations in Latin America for a very long time, and shouldn’t get involved again. Alas, Sanders undercut his good criticism with all the same nonsensical criticisms of the Venezuelan government that we can read in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, these undercut a lot of the power of his observations.
Remember when only a tiny handful spoke up at the beginning of the Vietnam War, within the Congress, pointing to the futility of trying to roll back the tide of history, and the tide of third world countries striving for their own independence and self-determination.
We are at not dissimilar stage in history as we were in 1963 when Washington began its doomed to prevent Vietnam returning to the control of the Vietnamese people, which they finally achieved in 1975.
One big difference today is that there is an alternative media, thanks to the Internet, through it is possible to get a more complete and accurate version of the reality than the highly slanted version we are invariably given by the dominant corporate media in the United States and elsewhere. such Services as Telesur.
Please follow the news closely, try to read the articles in today’s Wall Street Journal, and follow as much of the Independent Media as you can. The dominant corporate media simply cannot be trusted today to tell us what’s really going on in Venezuela and then everything related to Venezuela.
From non-rainy Havana Cuba, Monday morning, January 28, 2019. Thanks for reading.
Originally posted on Facebook January 28, 2019