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
by Walter Lippmann
January 28, 2019
The report below will give you a summary of where the damages were and what’s being done in its immediate aftermath. Friends living out in Guanabacoa tell me they STILL don’t have electricity nearly 24 hours after yesterday’s tornado. It’s strange to see that, while I’ve been posting many images of the damages there on my FACEBOOK page, to which I refer you for some of the graphic details, here in Vedado where I live there has been no damage at all. I live on Calle 15, between A and B, one block from the Cardiological Hospital.
The rains began here last night and, Probably as a preventative measure, the local electricity was turned off about 9 PM (sorry, not sure of the precise time) since there was nothing at all that I could do, so I just put myself to bed. Didn’t have any candles nor any flashlights, so I surrendered to the inevitable and put myself to bed.
Remarkably, since I now have Internet access through my cell phone, I was able to check mail and see reports for awhile as there was NO interruption in that service. Lights went back up around 3 AM, so I got up, checked mail and got busy collecting and sharing reports, mostly through Facebook. Stayed busy with that until about 10 AM when I decided to go to bed and just rest.
The rains were so heavy that chairs inside the house had to be moved because some windows only have bars, and the rain gets in. The rain can damage the wooden and leather furniture in the hallway between the stairs, the living room and kitchen, and two of the main bedrooms.
Finally got out of the house about an hour ago and began to walk around the neighborhood. The big agro market at 19th and B was closed by the time I got there. It closes up early on Mondays. Other local small businesses were also closed or closing down, but not due to the weather. There seemed to be fewer cars out on the street, but otherwise live appeared quite normal here, except for the cold weather.
It’s VERY cold here, so I’m wearing three layers including a heavy jacket. Forgot my umbrella, and so will probably leave here (the ETECSA at 17th and A) in hopes of being able to avoid the rain. I did have one local man whose picture I’ve taken several times. I’ll post that later through Facebook. Gee, I’m even wearing GLOVES. Walter Lippmann, live in un-tornadoed Havana. 5:58 PM
Originally posted to facebook January 28, 2019
Many more images may be viewed here:
The march was so big it was impossible to tell at any one point how many there were. If I’d had a helicopter, perhaps… Tens of thousands were reported. Here’s the LA TIMES report:
Tens of thousands gather in downtown Los Angeles for March for Our Lives rally
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke. Here’s a video of his speech:
Follow Their Lead
Young people across America are showing extraordinary leadership in the movement to end gun violence — and it was a privilege to join tens of thousands downtown on Saturday for the March for Our Lives.
We may be hearing lot of talk about the power of the Second Amendment, but our young people are showing how powerful the First Amendment makes us — because they are unstoppable when they speak up and speak out. This day will be written about in the history books, and their children will read about a generation that stood up to the gun lobby and said, ‘Enough is Enough’ and ‘Never Again.’
We are witnessing a new layer of young people, quite massive, being drawn into activity, many for the first time in their lives. And they’re coming out for a very practical and simple reason. These mass shootings and the media’s promotion of these killings have got students afraid for their very lives, and with very good reason! So these young people are acting from the most universal material interest: the right to be alive.
DEMOCRACY NOW covered the entire march. Here’s their four-hour report:
A culture shift is opening up in the country with popular revulsion against violence taking various interesting and surprising new forms. Though posed, for now, as a response to the school massacres, it represents a broader turn against violence, it seems to me. Look at these pleasantly surprising headlines as examples of the shift:
Citigroup Sets Restrictions on Gun Sales by Business Partners
YouTube to Ban Videos Promoting Gun Sales
It’s of course much easier to organize a protest when the authorities are all in favor of what you are doing, as in this case. The cops were on good behavior. I’m sure no one was arrested. A handful of right-wing Trumpsters had a counter-rally, but the protest was well-monitored by its own people. The cops were there, too, but the counter-event was small and basically uneventful. This reflects the evident split among the wealth and powerful who control the United States today.
The dominant mass media (NY Times, LA Times, NPR, etc) are all enthusiastic about these mobilizations. They hope to steer them into support for electing Democrats in the fall. Given the absence of any broad left electoral alternative to the two dominant parties, that strategy probably will prove effective, certainly in the short term.
This kind of comment by some government officials and the enthusiastic reporting we see in the dominant media means that the parameters for discussion of these issues is now broader, much broader than it’s ever been. And that follows the stream of shootings at schools in the US which seem to be on hold, for the moment.
After the ‘March for Our Lives,’ Student Activists Focus on Midterm Elections
Organizers of the movement for stricter gun laws plan to travel across the U.S. and register young voters for November elections
It’s quite striking, to see the way the dominant media is more and more openly partisan in its support for the Democrats and in its red-baiting campaign against Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. So who do the Trumpsters watch? I guess FOX NEWS, RUSH LIMBAUGH and the like. I rarely look at such media. But there are millions of people who do get their news through such vehicles, and, as Trump’s election demonstrated, many of them do get out and vote.
Particularly impressive was the care and consciousness with which the organizers made sure to include Black Lives Matter and other Black activists to speak prominently from the platform, in Washington, and in other cities. And they understood the importance of preventing efforts to pit Black against white in the movement against gun violence.
When asked what the biggest mistake the media had made in covering the Parkland students’ work, student leader David Hogg told Axios, “Not giving black students a voice. My school is about 25% black, but the way we’re covered doesn’t reflect that.” (According to the Broward County School District’s website, around 40% of the students who attend schools in the district are black. Individual school statistics were not available for MSD on Broward County’s website.)
There’s a long history of black teenagers fighting for gun control as part of the Black Lives Matter movement’s efforts to draw attention to police brutality. Activists like Kenidra Woods, Nza-Ari Khepra, Clifton Kinnie, and Parkland student Nick Joseph have been working on the issue in Parkland, Chicago, and Ferguson, Missouri. And they have wisdom to share from their time as activists.
While I didn’t see any literature from the MARCH FOR OUR LIVES in Spanish, the event was very favorably reported in LA OPINION, our local Spanish-language daily here in Los Angeles, as well as in HOY, the free paper which the LA TIMES gives out to compete with LA OPINION. Here’s an example, one of many:
THOUSANDS MARCH FOR GUN CONTROL IN CALIFORNIA
Miles de personas marchan en California a favor del control de armas
Los participantes pidieron medidas efectivas para evitar que más gente siga muriendo en tiroteos
Six of the most powerful orators at the March for Our Lives
Another element which hasn’t been explored much, in the English-language media, is the ethnicity of the best-known of the young student leaders, Emma González, though it is beginning to be discussed in the Spanish-language media. Some of these profiles are sympathetic, others very hostile.
As well as in the Cuban media at home on the island.
Never again! The students’ cry against guns in the United States!
The pro-gun right-wing is starting to attack this anti-violence movement and its leadership.
No, Emma Gonzalez Isn’t Tearing Up the Constitution in That Viral Video
Fake photo of Parkland shooting survivor tearing up US constitution is spread online:
Whatever the reasons, a decline in gun culture in this country can only be a good thing for society. Some stores which have sold guns in the past are beginning to have second thoughts. Some have stopped selling guns. For them, perhaps, because changing attitudes make it bad for business. Examples:
Citigroup Sets Restrictions on Gun Sales by Business Partners
Whatever the reasons, a decline in gun culture in this country can only be a good thing for society.
The historic gun culture (cowboys, John Wayne, etc.) of this country, whose founders and subsequent rulers have kept control through violence since the country’s foundation. It can’t be ended in a day or a week or a year. Profound social change is necessary to make that possible. But every step we can take now is a move in the right direction.
Ask yourself, does any private citizen need an AR-I5 at home? Such a device has nothing to do with self-defense. It’s ONLY purpose is to kill people.
Below you will find some photos I took, mostly at the march on Saturday, a few Sunday morning of some posters I’d picked up at the end, and the front pages of the Sunday NY TIMES and LA TIMES. For years I’ve made it a practice at such demonstrations to collect discarded posters to donate to the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.
It’s a remarkable institution which collects and mounts theme-based exhibitions of political protest posters. I’ve turned over many more since my first donation of about a thousand posters some 20 years ago. You can, AND SHOULD, donate any old posters (young ones also accepted). US residents can even get a tax deduction. More importantly, if you have posters and they are sitting in the garage not being seen by anyone, they could get mildewed and eventually will only be good to be thrown out. Check them out here: http://www.politicalgraphics.org/
Los Angeles, California
March 26, 2018
The following pictures were almost entirely taken by me on a Samsung Galaxy S7 cell phone. A few with me were taken by people at the march who kindly took pictures of me with other people. I hope you will enjoy these images. There are twenty-eight.
NOTES ON RETURNING FROM CUBA TO LOS ANGELES
January 14, 2018. (I’m 74. January 6 is my birthday.)
If you haven’t had the chance to look at two unusually positive articles, one in the NY last Sunday, the other in the Wall Street Journal. We get so few on-scene reports from people who’ve actually been there, and provide good reports on what they’ve seen. But all the more surprising, and pleasing, to be published in these usually unsympathetic publications. Don’t miss them!
A Cuban Island That Has Played Both Paradise and Prison
The Isle of Youth — which has been both a Communist Utopian getaway and home to a brutal prison that housed Castro for a time — is a world apart, even by Cuban standards.
A Trip Through Cuba—by Bike, Bus and Cadillac
Even with the latest round of changes to the U.S.-Cuba tourism policy, American vacationers can still legally visit. Our reporter sets out on a weeklong excursion through the countryside, from verdant valleys to white-sand beaches.
Anyway, in 2017 I did these three notable (to me) things:
First, after thirty years living in the same house, I had the kitchen remodeled. It looks really nice now. I’m very happy with it.
Second, I went to Cuba for a month (Nov. 14-Dec. 14). My goal, as usual, was to learn. And I learned a lot, even, as an inpatient in the famous Cira Garcia hospital for three days. On discharge, they advised me against long walks and heavy exercise.
Back here I’ve been seeing a lot of doctors, trying to figure out what’s is really going on, and what I can or should do, or not do. One gave me shots in my knees which took most of the pain away, but I’m being very careful about how I move around. These were the planned achievements (not the hospital stay).
Alas, my energy level is way below what I think it ought to be, so I find myself frequently napping during the day. It’s taken quite a lot of time to write this over several days. It’s the energy level that’s bothersome.
Third, a surprise that I didn’t realize until New Year’s Eve. Though I had no specific goal, I lost FIFTEEN POUNDS last year. No diet, no special exercise, no tracking, no program, just learning to eat less and be satisfied les. I’m really pleased and proud of this, and all the more so as it was unplanned.
And, no, I don’t think there’s any connection between losing the weight and lack of energy. I’m in no hurry (where would it get me?) and, it’s counterintuitive. I’m having good communications with my doctors.
I’m 5-7, and hovering just below 180. This year 180 can be my ceiling. l hope to go further but no timetable, etc. I’ve dealt with this issue all my adult life. I’m thrilled with this. It’s the second biggest behavioral change I’ve ever made. (I gave up cigarets on June 11, 1981.) For now, along this path, this is my main personal priority. I’m doing as much written work as I’m able.
Perhaps if I lose more weight my energy level will improve. I’m feeling OK about my doctors here at Kaiser. Yes, including a psychologist.
My personal point of view when thinking and writing about Cuba.
From time to time I think it’s useful explain how I look at Cuba. Perhaps we can call it “stopping for station identification”. I think of it as a “Cuba-centric” approach. When I read about something, I wonder: How does this affect Cuba? What do Cubans think about it? What’s the Cuban media saying? That’s one of the reasons I like to provide original translations from the Cuban media.
Yes, I have my own politics. They are leftist and socialist, but I don’t belong to any socialist group or party. My goal here is to try to understand, and then to share, what things mean and how they and Cuba affect each other.
And I strongly support the Cuban Revolution, otherwise I wouldn’t be spending my time doing this. When I was 20 and 30, I thought I had all the answers. Now I know I don’t even have all the questions.
And so I always keep in mind Fidel’s November 17, 2005 explanation that,
among all the errors we may have committed, the greatest of them all was that we believed that someone really knew something about socialism, or that someone actually knew how to build socialism. https://www.walterlippmann.com/fc-11-17-2005.html
After nearly twenty years of visiting Cuba, I Iike to say: I am BEGINNING to think that I’m BEGINNING to understand what I THINK I see. My writings and translations aim at helping people to understand Cuba’s complex, and sometimes boring, social and policial process.
People from the United States, the most uninformed people on earth, often think they know everything about everything, especially about Cuba. And few hesitate to express the sharpest criticism of Cuban life and politics. Many who’ve never been to Cuba, or just gone there to attend a meeting, seem to think they know everything about Cuba, especially what’s wrong with it.
My approach is that I try to look and listen when on the island, and read the Cuban media when not there, trying to understand the complex society which exists there.
The CubaNews Yahoo news group, and the translations I share from the Cuban media, are all designed to help readers try to understand a complex society. It is my hope and desire that readers find the materials informative and useful in their efforts to understand the island and it society. That’s my goal in this work.
Today is Sunday, and one of the main differences between Los Angeles and Cuba is that in Cuba, the Sunday Juventud Rebelde is 16 pages. Normally it’s just eight. And no advertising. And if I wanted to get it today, I’d have to go where someone is selling them, or know someone and pay them in advance to be sure to get it today. Every kiosk in Havana has a nice pre-printed sign which says “la prensa no llegado” (the papers aren’t here) so they don’t have to explain it to each person every time. Delivery is sometimes erratic.
Here in Los Angeles I receive the Los Angeles TIMES and the New York TIMES in print every day. On Sunday the papers are filled with advertising. Actually, before taking a look at the articles, I have to spend time shucking all the advertising sections which I don’t read. I give them to someone who collects coupons. Delivery is pretty prompt most days, Monday through Friday around 5 AM, 7 AM weekends. It’s a veritable mountain of paper, some very pretty, but most of it trying to sell me things I know I don’t need. Or even want.
We kind of take it for granted, or don’t think much about how the newspaper we receive is a private business whose main purpose is to make money by selling things through advertising.
The Cuban media, limited as it is by many factors (resources, attitudes, etc.) give the reader eight or sixteen pages of information, presented from the PCC viewpoint, on major issues. Its primary audience is Cubans on the island.
I’m a bit more interested in how Cubans and the Cuban media look at developments here in the US, like the Hollywood Sex Abuse scandals (deliberate capitalizing), etc. Through the years CubaNews Yahoo news group has been providing translations of from Spanish about life in the US and elsewhere..
Because of my various health issues and reduced energy, I’ve given up cutting, pasting and sharing long articles from sources like the NY TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL and so on. It’s simply much too much work. And, I think most of the Cubans who want to read such things now have internet access.
For now, I’m going to focus on editing translations and my own writing. Some translations I do myself, others are by native Spanish speakers whose work I edit for English fluency. I always indicate that the translations are “edited by Walter Lippmann.” That’s me taking credit, responsibility or blame, as appropriate.
One very special translation currently in process is the epilogue to a 472 page anthology of Trotsky’s writings by Fernando Rojas, Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Culture. Here’s the catalogue entry to the book. In the epilogue, Rojas gives his take on Trotsky’s writings and his relationship with the Soviet government. http://www.oceansur.com/catalogo/titulos/leon-trotski/
When traveling to Cuba, my main goal is to try to understand a complex society. Cuba has achieved much because of its revolution. However, Cuba has plenty of problems, and they’re not all caused by Washington. The Cuban media provides occasional reports of such things, but they’re not always translated. I like to bring readers translations of some precisely because they are from the Cuban media.
While willing to share my experiences and ideas with Cubans, my goal there is to mostly to learn. The main things I have to teach my Cuban friends are some of the finer points of English grammar, spelling, sentence structure and headline-shortening and the occasional false cognate.
Before traveling to Cuba, I strongly recommend that everyone read, or re-read, HOW TO VISIT A SOCIALIST COUNTRY by Richard Levins to context for what one. People who’ve never been to Cuba before are often surprised at seeing many run-down buildings, streets with potholes and so on. Levins, who was also a member of the Cuban Academy of Sciences as well as a Harvard, provides indispensable context to prepare for a visit to Cuba. I try to re-read it before I go, and after returning. I cannot recommend it more highly.
During this visit, I had a chance to catch up with people, some of whom I’ve known ever since my first adult visit, in 1999. And I keep meeting new people and making more friends. I’m going to write about and how I came to meet them, and what I learn from these people. And nearly everyone has something I can learn from. Will share some photos as well. In this way, to an extent, my eyes are yours and you can see Cuba somewhat through my eyes. Hopefully not through my blind spots…
When you have people you’ve known for long periods, you always bring hard-to-find items. Here in the US, nearly anything (except love) can be found online, in or big stores, if you have the money. In Cuba, one learns that if you see something and they have it, you buy it NOW because it’s likely to be gone tomorrow.
You might have the money, but the item is out of stock and who knows when more will come? So I bring things like books, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and, this time, adult diapers for a friend from that 1999 visit, who now needs them, and they don’t have them there. Occasionally I bring balsamic vinegar, often impossible to find in Cuba, but this time I found three bottles of the genuine stuff from Modena, Italy, with the certification seal. It’s unpredictable.
For many years, used book and memento vendors have surrounded the Plaza de Armas in Old Havana with rows and racks of books (mostly) and used cameras, old coins, and such. Those vendors have now been moved about a block away to a rather less-accessible place. I’m sure their foot traffic is way down, and they complain about it. Some are selling Cuban movie posters, a few political posters, and such.
I found posters from last year’s ROLLING STONES concert in Havana. I bought some and donated them to the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, a wonderful activist-archive which collects and mounts theme-based exhibits. In time, CSPG will be selling these.
If you have political posters which are sitting in the garage, perhaps getting mildewed, consider donating them to the CSPG. Read about them: http://www.politicalgraphics.org/
Today I want to publicly thank two young Cuban compañeros who contribute to making the Yahoo news group I direct most useful. Abel Gonzalez of the Cuban News Agency (ACN) and Dunia Torres of Granma post the English-language materials readers regularly receive. Through their efforts, readers get the information and analysis which Cuba makes available in English. I am deeply grateful to them for their quiet and consistent participation. CubaNews wouldn’t be the same without them.
ETECSA has just cut the price of domestic cell phone calls. It’s modest, but anything which saves Cubans money is always appreciated, especially by them.
Each month the Cuban phone company, ETECSA, has a special one-week promotion during which anyone living abroad can recharge the cell phones of Cubans on the island. During this period, for a small charge, fully legal under US law, anyone can recharge Cuban phones, and receive a more than double number of minutes.
This is the week that these special deals are offered. There are several companies which provide this. I personally use hablacuba.com because I save money on calls TO Cuba with it as well as doing the recharges. ding.com is another, and it provides the fastest service of all, often in just a few minutes. Help your friends and family in Cuba by recharging their phones now. https://hablacuba.com/buy/mobile_recharge
The one special treat I got for myself on this trip was the beautiful guayabera you see here. Every year just in time for Christmas shopping, there’s a big arts and crafts fair, FIART, held at Expo Cuba. Thousands of people come to look for clothing, furniture, shoes and so on. There are booths selling Cubang in national currency. Though I’m a very good photographer of other people, I’m a difficult subject when the camera is turned on me. This one’s pretty nice, I think.
From now on, I plan to write and edit more, as time and my energy level permits. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Fidel Castro, speaking in Bayamo, Cuba, July 26, 2006. I took this picture, surrounded by tens of thousands of Cubans. It is my favorite picture of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution.
by Walter Lippmann
THANKS TO MODERN TECHNOLOGY Thanks to modern technology I can use the cell phone’s ability to transcribe the spoken word into the written word. I was able to do this at the hospital and because we do have WiFi here at the airport I’m going to try to make at least a little report to you now. This morning I began to write a report and I got several parts of it done but then I had to pull away from the hotel’s computer near where I live and take care of yet another few final errands.
Try as I might it just became impossible today to share last Impressions before leaving I do have about an hour but I’m not sure I want to try dictating this kind of report to a cell phone. It’s surprisingly hot and muggy here in the airport which is different from the way it is outside where it’s actually brisk and cool today. Maybe they turned the air conditioner off because of that and they’re always try to save on unnecessary electricity usage anyway.
As I leave Cuba after a month I have to tell you I’m in very hopeful spirits. I’m leaving a country which is working very hard to try to resolve its many problems. It would not be fair to say that all of Cuba’s problems are caused by the US blockade. But there’s no question in my mind and there shouldn’t be any question in the mind of any reasonably objective person that every problem that this country faces is made worse by that blockade.
No I am not going to give you a speech.
The flight is almost 6 hours long. My house sitter will meet me at the airport and take me back home. I’m very much looking forward to getting into that convertible bed that I bought recently which has the wonderful capability of being able to raise the head and the feet at the same time. It’s sort of like and it works the same way except that it’s a double.
Most likely I’m going to have to try to do some more of my work in bed because of the ruptured muscle that I have in my right leg.
Other than drinking a bottle of lemon flavored Perrier and maybe eating an apple or something my plan is to try to avoid as many outside stimuli as I can and will endeavor to write a more detailed report,or, more to the point to complete the report that I started this morning and was unable to complete.
I’m really quite tired now and I also just had a shot here at the airport by a nurse to try to prevent me from having a thrombosis on the flight. If I have any other thoughts before getting on the plane well maybe I’ll make them.
by Walter Lippmann
December 15, 2017
Just getting back to home in Los Angeles. Trip was quiet, flight half-full, mostly tired and sleepy people. The flight attendants were older women who were a delight to be around, enthusiastic about helping people. Just great. No exit tax anymore. First time in ages I didn’t get called to customs because my bags are always filled with books. A doctor and nurse attended me in a private room and she gave me the shot. Painlessly.
I’ve been thinking now I just have to take some time to give some thought to what I’ve seen and heard in Cuba during this past month. I don’t want to start to create lots more cutting and pasting. I want to share it with those who’d be interested. I left there and came back feeling very enthused about what I think they’re trying to do and plan to write about it in some detail. Just kind of shapshots or vignettes from a month in Cuba. There’s plenty of work to be done. Let me tell you. Well, I WILL tell you as I get a handle on it.
I’ll share my thinking as it develops. Stay tuned, please.
And thanks for listening.
Originally posted to Facebook Friday, December 15, 2017
by Walter Lippmann
November 25, 2017
Got out of Cira Garcia hospital yesterday afternoon. Feeling better and following doctor´s recommendations, which seemed reasonable and appropriate when I got them. Hoping to write a longer report ony stay in the hosptal which specilizes in providing care for foreigners and Cubans who reside abroad. But not today. Got out and walked to this hotel (Paseo Habana) one block to check a bit of mail.
Tomorrow´s a big day in this country, the municipal elections all across the island. So many people abroad have the impressionm they´ve been given in the hostile media that there are no elections here, but that´s just not true.
Lucky me, Cuba is probably the easiest place on the planet to vote. Indeed, it´s hard NOT to vote here, so big is their GOTV activies, but voting isn´t mandatory. The polling place near where I live is, literally, in the very building where I live, downstairs on the front facing the street (Calle 15, e/A and B), so I may go down stairs and watch for a bit.
Must go now. Need to send a couple of other items to CubaNews and FB.
Thanks to everyone who has called and written to wish me well. I´m definitely better.
by Walter Lippmann
November 22, 2017
Please bear with me on the formatting of this note. It’s a report I wasn’t planning to make but I’m glad that I can make it now. Last night I was admitted to the hospital here in Havana the doctors set tell me that I have a thrombosis in my right leg.
I’m not sure where it comes from but here it is. The doctors tell me that I cannot get out of bed at all at, and that if I start walking I could die! Sounds a little bit dramatic but I think I better follow the doctor’s instructions. I’m sure they know better about these things than I do.
Well, I’m really trying to follow them and haven’t gotten out of bed except once for the entire day and I’m trying to avoid getting out of bed. They tell me I’m going to be here at least 2 or 3 days and I know that that’s the case because today, one of the nurses came around and asked me what I wanted to eat tomorrow and Friday.
So that tells me they are planning to keep me here. And, of course, I am planning to stay. I’m not used to using this marvelous capability of speaking into the cell phone in order to write a letter but here I am that is.. That is why I asked you to bear with me on the formatting okay?
There isn’t much to say except that this hospital is clean and the staff is pleasant, professional, and personable. A few of them speak reasonable English and I am using my passable basic Spanish to communicate with them.
Oh, I have to keep my legs elevated and that’s why they don’t want me to get out of bed. In fact, for the very first time in my life, or at least that I can remember, I have a shower today with assistance from somebody else while sitting in a chair.
Anyway, now you know why you have not received anything from the Cuba news list since yesterday. This Hospital does have a WiFi capability and I’m able to use it.
I rarely give any thought to subjects like mortality, but I do occasionally keep in mind the fact that we human beings are all connected with one another in some way or other and sometimes we really need those human connections much more than we otherwise would.
Here in this hospital I am using their WiFi capability and also using the capability of this cell phone to transcribe my spoken words into written words. I don’t think I’ve engaged in dictation since my days as a child protective services social worker when I had to dictate Court reports in Los Angeles California.
Anyway I know that many of you will be concerned about my health and I’m very grateful for that. I’m not going to be able to answer any of your messages if you write to me privately or on the list I will not be able to approve everything from herr.
Maybe that’s all I need to say for the moment I just wan you to know that I’m feeling as okay as one can be when being confined to a hospital bed. I feel great confidence in the care that I’m receiving and I am very appreciative of the terrific staff in this Hospital well. Well, that’s about it thank you very much.