Archive for September, 2013

The Nobel War Prize

September 30, 2013

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Evo-MoralesPresident Evo Morales of Bolivia has deplored the fact that the Nobel Committee made an error when awarding the US President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, insisting that the award should have been different, namely the Nobel War Prize, according to the Latin American media reports on Friday.

Morales said this in a statement in Caracas, where he’d arrived to meet another vociferous critic of the US policy, President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

Morales arrived in Caracas straight from New York in the wake of his attendance of the UN General Assembly session.

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Assange expresses solidarity with the cause of the Cuban Five

September 27, 2013


Havana, Sep 26 (Prensa Latina) The founder of the Wikileaks website, Julian Assange, denounced the economic, financial and commercial U.S. blockade on Cuba today during a Havana-London videoconference conducted at the Press Information Center in the Cuban capital.
During the meeting, with the participation of journalists, journalism students, and bloggers from different Cuban cities, Assange expressed his interest in the situation faced by Cuba as a result of the U.S. blockade.

According to the online magazine Cubahora, Assange said that an exchange of opinions like the videoconference made it possible to break, at least for a moment, the immoral blockade suffered by Cuba for over 50 years.

He also said that his organization has learned from Cuba about confronting U.S. aggression, fundamentally in terms of principles, determination, humanity, ethical clarity and intelligence.

Assange also expressed solidarity with the cause of the Cuban Five. Four of these patriots are still in U.S. prisons for monitoring the actions of violent, anti-Cuban groups based in the United States.

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González were arrested in 1998 in Miami and given long sentences during a trial that a UN panel described as biased.

René González is now in Cuba after completing his sentence and a period of supervised freedom, and renouncing his US citizenship.

As a gesture of support for the Cuban Five, Assange appeared onscreen wearing a yellow ribbon pinned to his chest, a symbol used as part of the campaign for their freedom.

The dialogue closed a workshop of cyberjournalism given by Pedro Miguel Arce, editorial writer for the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, sponsored by Havana’s Jose Marti International Institute of Journalism.

Speech by Cuban Foreign Minister at UN General Assembly on Behalf of CELAC

September 27, 2013



Mr. President:
I am honored to take the floor on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) which Cuba is honored to preside. I would like to reiterate to you our satisfaction over your election as President of the Sixty Eighth Session of the General Assembly and our willingness to cooperate in order to contribute to the successful performance of your mandate. It is an honor for CELAC to see that a representative from one of its member States, particularly a Caribbean nation, is presiding over this top organ of the United Nations.

Mr. President:
CELAC, the first genuinely Latin American and Caribbean organization made up by all countries in the region, was founded with the purpose of advancing in the political, economic, social and cultural unity and integration of Our America, thus vindicating the dream of our liberators of having a Nation of Republics that, with its almost 600 million inhabitants, its resources and its enormous human, natural and economic potential could autonomously decide upon its own destiny.

This has been the consequence of the conviction that prevails among the countries of our region, as was expressed at the CELAC Founding Summit held in Caracas on December 2 and 3, 2011, which stated that the unity and political, economic, social and cultural integration of Latin America and the Caribbean constitute both a fundamental aspiration of the peoples represented here, and a requirement for the Region to successfully confront the challenges before us.

However, all that has been done and the path taken by CELAC stresses the necessity of having our own regional space that consolidates and projects the Latin American and Caribbean identity based on shared principles and values; and on the ideals of unity and democracy of our peoples and reiterated our commitment to the building of a more just, equitable and harmonious international order based on respect for International Law and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and to the defense of sovereignty and the right of any State to establish its own political system, free from threats, aggressions and unilateral coercive measures in an environment of peace, stability, justice, democracy and respect for human rights.

Our Community is founded on the unrestricted respect for International Law, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the prohibition of use and threatened use of force, respect for self determination, for sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of each country, protection and promotion of all human rights, the Rule of Law at national and international levels and democracy, as well as on our purpose to work together in the interest of everyone’s prosperity so as to eradicate discrimination, inequalities and marginalization, violations of human rights, and transgressions of the Rule of Law.

We reaffirm the region’s commitment with international peace and security and we commit ourselves to reinforce the climate of peace that prevails in Latin America and the Caribbean and consolidate a Zone of Peace in all of our region, where differences between nations are resolved peacefully and through dialogue and negotiation or other forms of solution, in full conformity with International Law.

At the recently held High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament CELAC reiterated our deep concern about the threat posed to humanity by the continued existence of nuclear weapons and their possible use or threat of use, and the urgent need to advance towards the attainment of the priority objective of nuclear disarmament and the achievement of a total and absolute elimination of nuclear weapons.

CELAC member countries have also presented, for the first time, a joint initiative at the Human Rights Council on the Right to Peace, which should turn into a Declaration on said issue that we hope could be approved by this General Assembly.

We have reiterated CELAC’s strongest support to the legitimate rights of Argentina in the dispute over the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands and the permanent interest of the region in a resumption of negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom in order to find, at the earliest possible date, a peaceful and final solution to this dispute.

Our community reiterates its support to the dialogue process that is being held between the Colombian Government and the FARC, intended to put an end to the internal conflict that has affected the political, social and economic development of that sister nation for more than 50 years, and pleads for the success of the initiative leading to an agreement in the interest of the Colombian people.

We also highlight the Latin American and Caribbean character of Puerto Rico and, by noting the resolutions on Puerto Rico adopted by the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, considers it is an issue of interest to CELAC.
We reiterate our absolute condemnation of terrorism and reaffirm our commitment to combat it in all its forms and manifestations, in accordance with the United Nations Global Strategy in this field, while we strongly reject the unilateral and illegitimate assessments, lists and certifications made by some developed countries which affect countries of the region, in particular, those referring to terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking and other related measures.

Therefore, in recent days, after the situation in Syria worsened, CELAC reiterated its vocation for peace and observance of the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and International Law, including the International Humanitarian Law, and demanded that the necessary conditions are created to move on towards a negotiated political solution to the Syrian conflict, which has taken a toll on the lives of thousands of innocent people.

Likewise, we are moving towards the structuring of autonomous cooperation concepts and mechanisms in the context of CELAC and we have renewed our cooperation with the sister Republic of Haiti and urged the international community to continue paying a contribution to the reconstruction efforts and the sustainable development of that country, in accordance with the fundamental priorities and needs defined by the Haitian Government, with full respect for its authority and sovereignty and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of countries.

We have defended the sovereignty of the region, including the permanent sovereignty over our national resources, and we have expressed our solidarity with the CELAC member countries in the face of acts that are harmful and violate International Law, such as the events occurred on July 2 last against the dignity and the rights of the President of the Multi-national State of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, upon his return to La Paz after travelling through several European countries.

The Community has emphasized our intention that, taking into consideration the diverse processes that formed the Latin American and Caribbean identity, CELAC must become a space that protects the right of all cultures, races and ethnic groups of the countries of the region to existence, preservation and coexistence, as well as the multicultural character of our peoples, and the plurinational character of some of our countries, especially of the native communities recreating and promoting their historical memory, their ancestral knowledge and experience.

At this General Debate, almost seven months after his physical disappearance, CELAC pays a well deserved tribute to one of its main founders and promoters, President Hugo Chávez Frías, who presided over, with his vision and mastery, the Founding Summit of our Community.

Likewise, CELAC expressed its satisfaction over the election of Pope Francis as the first High Pontiff of the Catholic Church from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The global espionage against CELAC member countries, which vulnerates the human rights, the right to privacy and the right to information of citizens is a violation of the principle of sovereignty of States and International Law, has become a source of concern and we have taken due note of the statements made in different fora by Heads of States and Government and other leaders of Latin American and Caribbean countries who have condemned and rejected the use of such practices.

We, the CELAC member States, feel proud of being able to work together to consolidate our regional sovereignty, so that Latin America and the Caribbean could occupy the place they legitimately deserve in the world, so that our region will no longer be the most unequal in the planet.

In pursuing these objectives, we have decided to offer our cooperation and solidarity to those vulnerable and less developed countries of the region and call the attention on the specific vulnerabilities of CARICOM countries, in their condition as Small Developing Island States, which limit their efforts towards sustainable development, taking into account the significant impact of natural disasters and the negative effects of climate change.

With regard to the indispensable reform of the international system, we have renewed our countries’ commitment to multilateralism and a comprehensive reform of the United Nations system, and to the democratization of international decision making instances, in particular, the Security Council.

And so we will do with other issues that are equally important, among them, the process of formulation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda, an item to be discussed at this General Debate, to which all CELAC members countries attach a crucial importance.

We, the members of CELAC are aware of the fact that there can be no lasting peace without development and without combating poverty, hunger and inequality and of the challenges that the current international economic and financial crisis poses to the future of our region and our legitimate aspirations for social inclusion, equitable growth, and Sustainable Development and integration.

Thus, we highlight the importance that the Post-2015 Development Agenda consists of voluntary, universal, clear and quantifiable goals adaptable to distinct national realities, with the purpose of eradicating poverty and promote sustainable development. This new framework should be inclusive, transparent, and promote compliance with the commitments entered into by developed countries in the Official Development Assistance and encourage South-South and Triangular Cooperation on cross-cutting issues through the participation of all socials sectors.

With regard to climate change, we welcome the formal adoption of the second period of commitments of Kyoto Protocol, despite the absence of political will on the part of several developed nations that prevented the achievement of agreements on fresh financial additional and predictable resources and mechanisms for the effective transfer of technologies to developing countries. We will continue working together to cope with that scourge that is today affecting humanity as a whole.

Mr. President:
The difficulties are huge, but the important thing is that the Latin American and Caribbean countries have come to the conclusion that the time has come for the region, as was said by José Martí, to walk in close ranks, like silver in the roots of the Andes, and it is for this reason that we have created CELAC.
Thank you, very much.


September 24, 2013


by Stephen Kimber on September 21, 2013

“With surgeon-like skill, Kimber dissects, bottom up, an injustice perpetrated at the highest levels on Cuban patriots acting for their government with few financial resources in a hostile foreign country… An important and riveting book.”
Chris Benjamin
Atlantic Books Today

“What Lies Across the Water connects the dots between the Cuban American National Foundation — an influential lobby group of Cuban exiles living in the U.S., the Brothers to the Rescue organization and paramilitary operations meant to violently overthrow the Cuban government and assassinate Fidel Castro… Those looking for truthful testimony about the Cuban Five will find that What Lies Across the Water makes a compelling and damning case.”
Yutaka Dirks

“With this important new book Kimber does a masterful job of showcasing his abundant talents as an investigative journalist and popular writer… What is remarkable is how he picked up this story, and began to collect all available information about it and to study it prodigiously. What is surprising is that he ended up putting so much meticulous work into uncovering the details of this exceptional story. What Lies Across the Water is easy to read, written almost like a novel. It is packed with information and entertains as well as informs.”
Charles Spurr
Media Co-op

“Far from being a boring account of deeds and misdeeds, Kimber employs eloquent prose and an enjoyable style to draw the reader into the tangled layers of terrorism and murder, espionage and deception, propaganda and myths, life sentences and impunity, meanness and hatred, love and sacrifice, romance and solitude, patriotism and delusion, good intentions and bad, and lies, lies, and more lies.”
Dawn Gable
Havana Times

“[The book] is fruit of a research carried out by someone who at the start was not a defender or sympathizer with the cause of The Five. Kimber, as many of the thousand Canadians who visit Cuba, probably bumped more than once into a propaganda poster written with naiveté or linguistic clumsiness; or heard someone speak with admiration of The Five Heroes. But he knew almost nothing when he started his research… It is not a lengthy work, difficult to read; quite the opposite. Its light and clear language allows readers to move along the episodes of the conflict, and finish in a few hours a story that captured them from the first page. It is the work of a master journalist, a great writer, and above all an honest intellectual committed only to what he could verify on his own.
Ricardo Alarcón

“Kimber’s account of the Cuban Five comes with a bit of bias. However, it’s ultimately a compelling read, but only after you doggedly surmount its difficult structure.”
Douglas J. Johnston
Winnipeg Free Press

Publication of What Lies Across the Water, Stephen Kimber’s book about Cuban anti-terrorists serving wildly extravagant terms in U.S. jails, is a remarkable event… The author’s clear, flowing, and often seat-gripping, even entertaining, narrative is an added plus. The book is highly recommended.
W.T. Whitney

The book is available from the publisher, Fernwood Publishing, selected bookstores,, and other retailers.

CAFE supports U.S.-Cuba maritime accords

September 24, 2013


CAFE (Cuban Americans for Engagement) wholeheartedly supports the recent meetings held in La Habana Cuba between U.S. and Cuban officials that produced a preliminary accord entitled Operational Procedure for Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue between Cuba and the United States.

This necessary agreement stresses the need of saving the lives of people in danger, while pledging to guarantee the efficiency and effectiveness of the operations carried out by the entities responsible for this activity. It places the value of human life above ideological stances and allows both nations to fully cooperate in a manner that is mutually beneficial.

All reports indicate that these meetings were conducted in a climate of respect and cooperation. CAFE sincerely wishes that this meeting may serve as a useful blueprint for future official meetings between both governments.

CAFE Executive Committee

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Raúl Castro signs decree for Mariel Development Zone

September 24, 2013



Radio Progreso Alternativa (RPA)/Progreso Semanal: President Raúl Castro of Cuba today signed the decree-law that created the island’s first Special Zone of Development, in Mariel (ZEDM).

The news was announced during the 8 p.m. broadcast of the Cuban TV Newscast. It said that, during the meeting of the Council of State, Raúl Castro emphasized that, for this regional development project, national and international experiences were taken into account.

Mariel, a municipality 49 kilometers west of the capital, is one of the island’s best ports. The depth of its bay has been increased enough to accommodate large ships with deep load draft.

West of the bay, on what until 1960 was Cuba’s naval air force base, the landing strip has been extended considerably and widened by means of serious work.

The ZEDM, built at a cost of approximately $900 million (of which Brazil contributes $640 million), will begin partial operations by…

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“Wait for me forever” (Gerardo tells how he met Adriana)

September 23, 2013


Valentine’s Day, or Dia de los Enamorados as it’s called in Cuba,
is a very big day on the Cuban calender, rather more so than it
is here in the United States, where it’s primarily a marketing
mechanism for chocolates, meals and other transitory things.
Last year Juventud Rebelde posted a six-page copy, by Gerardo
Hernandez, in own handwriting, of a letter written by Gerardo
to a friend explaining how he met his wife, Adriana. He writes
in block letters, and fills the entire page with one humongous
paragraph in order to save paper.
Since it was published in Cuba’s second largest-circulation daily
newspaper, I thought people everywhere would enjoy reading his
account, so it has been transcribed and translated, and have had
both checked over by Gerardo before posting it here. Readers can
see the original at the URL provided at the bottom.
JUVENTUD REBELDE February 14, 2012
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.

Wait for me forever

The story of how Adriana and I met is a bit long, because it needs an introduction. At the time I was a 4th year student at the Instituto Superior de Relaciones Internacionales (ISRI) [Higher Institute for International Relations] and she was studying chemistry at the “Victoria de Girón” Institute. ISRI was in Playa then and, since I lived in the suburb of Arroyo Naranjo, my dad –who worked in Vedado– took a longer ride in his car and dropped me off in on Fifth Avenue from where I walked a few blocks to the institute.
But one Sunday my dad asked me to wash the car and when I told him I was busy he said, “You’re never too busy to hitch a ride…” That made me feel bad and so I decided to take the bus the next day. Public transportation then was perhaps even worse than now, which is saying a lot! So I got up at 4 AM. First, I had to take Bus 31 to La Palma or La Víbora and from there I took the 68 to Vedado and then either the 32 or the 132 to Miramar. It was on the first stop of the 32, just in front of Cubana de Aviación on La Rampa, where we first met. The girls of Girón, wearing their mustard-colored and white uniforms, were always first in line; the first one who got to the stop saved a place for the others, so the line kept growing at the front.
I remember that Col. Barroso of ISRI’s Military Department, who also took the bus at that same stop, used to get angry and told me, “What is this? When I got here there were only ten people in front of me and now there are thirty!” Later on, when I was already “easy” with the girls and they used to call me to join them at the front of the line, the Colonel said to me, “So you are at it too, eh!” But well, that was later on.
On October 20, 1986, I got to the bus stop at early dawn and a group of girls from Girón were already there. I immediately noticed Adriana. For some reason she looked different from the rest, very quiet, very formal… Her beauty struck me, especially her eyes. Ernesto, a friend of mine at ISRI, was with me at the stop. The girls stepped into the bus and sat down. When it was our turn, I spotted where Adriana was sitting and we stood just beside her. Loud enough to be heard by all, I said to Ernesto: “There’s no decency any more, nobody gives a hand with your books and…, boy is this portfolio heavy!” It worked; the girl who sat beside Adriana offered to take Ernesto’s briefcase while Adriana offered to take mine.
I tried to be funny for the rest of the trip, but I was practically ignored. At some point, I mentioned something about the classes and Adriana’s friend Noelvys -to this day her best friend and a bit fresh to this day- looked at me from head to toe and asked me if I was a student. I was 21 but already going bald. Adriana, who didn’t say a word, was 16.
Ernesto and I got off first, so we got our books back and thanked them. When I got to ISRI, I was “traumatized”. The first class was International Law with Miguel D’Stefano (Yes, we were fortunate enough to receive classes from that eminent scholar). I simply sat at the back of the room and spent the whole class writing my “Poem to the Girl at the Bus Stop”, because I didn’t even know her name.
I told a few friends what had happened to me, Raulito, Aldama, Pascual… I showed them the poem and from then on every day I told them about my “progress” with such zeal that some of them felt compelled to go to the bus stop and see for themselves. When they saw her, since Adriana was –well, is– so petite and dressed in her yellow uniform, they started giving me the razz , that I was a cradle robber, that I was going to get arrested and so forth. But I’m jumping ahead again, all that came later.
On that day, October 20, Cuban National Culture Day, I got home and typed the poem. It basically said that we would meet the next day and that “perhaps tomorrow, when she graciously offers to carry my books, she will learn that an unknown admirer of her beauty paid no attention in class to write her this poem”. The next day there were a million things that needed to fall into place for that to happen, including the bus timetables, because if I missed just one I‘d be doomed.
But all saints came to my assistance and everything happened exactly as the poem said it would. I got up at 4 am again (My dad began to worry…). I took the two buses and when I got to the bus stop, there she was, with her friends again at the head of the line. She got on and took a seat. I got on and stood beside her. She offered to carry my books, like the poem said. I was very nervous but just when I had decided to hand her the poem. Martica, a friend from ISRI, stood beside me and started to make conversation.
It wasn’t until the end of my trip and I asked Adriana for my books, that I was able to give her my poem. She took it but did not unfold the page; she looked at me and said thank you. According to what she told me some time later, she had been about to decline it, but she didn’t, and says that the first thing she noticed about me were my hands… (Lucky me!).
So I got off and the next day it was the same story again. I already had bags under my eyes on account of getting up so early in the morning and one day my dad called me and said, “Come on, what I said wasn’t that serious; you don’t have to take it to heart” But I let him “suffer” a little longer before letting him know what was going on.
I can’t remember if the following day things went well again or if she wasn’t at the bus stop (she knows); but the next time I got to the stop and she was there, I saw the giggling among her friends. When I got on the bus, I stood beside her and again she offered to carry my books. From that moment on our conversations began. After a few days, as soon as I got on the bus whichever girl was sitting beside her was “coincidentally” called by another friend, and I would sit next to her.
Later on, when I got to the queue the girls called me to move up front with them and we got on the bus together. (That’s when the Colonel told me, “So you too, eh!”). Those days I would show up with a poem, a flower, or both. The poems I always chose were by Benedetti, Wichy Nogueras, Retamar… The flowers were roses or “black princes” depending on which of the two rosebushes of my neighbors, Olga and Bienvenida (both sadly gone now), bloomed first.
I would leave home very early in the morning carrying a little razor blade, and as I passed in front of Olga’s or Bienve’s house… zatch! Technically it was theft, but it implied no violence. A few years ago, Bienvenida was interviewed and she commented: “He thinks that I don’t know it was he who was stealing my roses…!”
It wasn’t a nice thing to do but at that hour there was no one around that I could ask for the flowers, and since at the time I was part of the Aspirin Group of cartoonists I used to get home quite late at night, so… Besides, Olga and Bienvenida saw me as “part of their family”.
Some days after that we went out for the first time with a couple of friends, Raul and Nancy, but nothing happened. My persuasive efforts bore fruit on November 7. That day she did not have to attend the first school hour but still –no matter if she denies it– she came early just to meet me at the bus stop. I told her that I was also free (not true, but I decided to play hooky) and convinced her to get off at my stop so I could show her my Institute (the outside, of course).
I invited her to sit at the “Little Beach” in 16th street and there, sitting on a bench watching a deserted beach, I made my move. There was a pretty little boat on the horizon on her left and I said, “Look what a pretty boat over there to your left,” and she turned to look at it.
Then I said, “Look at that other one to your right,” and when she turned to the right, I kissed her. This helped her to make up her mind. That day, an anniversary of the October Revolution, we became sweethearts (and that is why, when we got married two years later, we took flowers to the monument in Lenin Park).
From then on we did even more wonders with the bus connections; she tried to be at her stop in Santos Suarez so she could get on the same 68 where I rode. It’s easy to tell it like that, but many times I got to that stop holding on to the doors. Often times the driver simply skipped the stop she was at…Some story!
Those were very happy days, until I met my mother-in-law… Nah, I’m joking. As a matter of fact, the first time we went out, before we got engaged, I had to meet her parents first, who today have become my own parents. That’s our story, more or less. She remembers many more details.

When I left Cuba to fulfill my mission, I gave her two things: the lyrics of “Amada” (The Sweet Abyss), a song by Silvio Rodriguez, and the poem “Filin”, by Roberto Fernandez Retamar, that says:
If I am told that you’ve gone
And are not coming back,
I shall not believe it.
I will wait and wait for you.
If you are told that I’ve gone
And not coming back,
Do not believe it,
Wait for me
I hope I haven’t been too tiresome but – for obvious reasons- I am passionate about this story.
A hug from
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo
Victorville Prison
January 13, 2012

Transcribed, translated and edited by CubaNews.
Both checked for accuracy by Gerardo, August 2013
In a letter to Walter Lippmann, August 12, 2013, Gerardo wrote: “Thank you so very much for translating my words on how I met Adriana! I’m glad you had that idea because once in awhile a friend asks. I was moved by reading it in English, even though it’s exactly what I wrote myself!”
Gerardo writes in giant paragraphs which fill the entire page. He explained that he does this to save paper, “But I know, my grammar teacher would kill me…”


Transcription of Spanish original

Espérame siempre
La historia de cómo Adriana y yo nos conocimos es un poquito larga, porque hay que hacer una introducción. Por aquella época yo estudiaba en 4to. Año en el ISRI y ella en el tecnológico de Química “Victoria de Girón”. Entonces el ISRI estaba en Playa y como yo vivía en Arroyo Naranjo, mi papá -que trabajaba en El Vedado- hacía un recorrido un poco más largo y me llevaba en el carro hasta Quinta Avenida, desde donde yo caminaba unas cuadras hasta el Instituto. Pero un domingo mi papá me pidió que fregara el carro, y cuando le respondí que estaba ocupado me dijo: “Para montarte nunca estás ocupado…” Aquello me molestó y decidí que al día siguiente me iría en guagua. Por aquella época el transporte estaba tal vez peor que ahora (que ya es mucho decir!) Así que me levante a las cuatro de la mañana. Tenía que coger primero la 31 hasta La Palma o La Víbora, donde cogía la 68 hasta El Vedado, y allá la 32 o la 132 hasta Miramar. Fue en la primera parada de la 32, frente a Cubana de Aviación, en La Rampa, donde nos conocimos. Las muchachitas de Girón, vestidas de mostaza y blanco, siempre estaba de primeras, porque llegaban unas y marcaban para las demás, y la cola iba creciendo por delante. (Recuerdo que el Coronel Barroso de la Cátedra Militar del ISRI, quien también cogía la guagua allí, se insultaba y me decía: “Mira eso! Yo tenía diez personas delante cuando llegué y ahora tengo treinta!” Y después cuando ya yo estaba en “la guara” y las muchachitas me llamaban para adelante el coronel me decía: “Ah, pero tú también!” (Pero bueno, eso vino después.)
Ese día, 20 de octubre de 1986, llegué a la parada cuando apenas amanecía, y un grupo de muchachitas de Girón eran las primeras. Enseguida me fijé en Adriana. Por alguna razón se veía diferente, calladita, muy formal… Me llamó la atención su belleza y sobre todo sus ojos. Conmigo llegó a la parada Ernesto, un compañero del ISRI. Ellas subieron y se sentaron, y cuando subimos nosotros busqué donde estaba Adriana, y nos paramos al lado. Le empecé a decir a Ernesto, de manera que ellas escucharan: “Ya aquí se ha perdido la educación, no le llevan los libros a uno ni nada ¡y como pesa este portafolio!… Aquello funcionó y la amiguita que iba con Adriana le pidió el maletín a Ernesto, mientras que Adriana me lo pidió a mí. En el resto del viaje traté de hacerme el gracioso, pero prácticamente me ignoraron. Hubo un momento en que mencioné algo de las clases, y la amiga (Noelvys, hasta hoy su mejor amiga, y hasta hoy un poco fresca) me miró de arriba a abajo y me dijo: “¿Y tú eres estudiante?” Yo tenía 21 años, pero ya me estaba quedando calvo. Adriana, que no dijo una palabra tenía 16. Nosotros nos bajábamos primero, así que pedimos los libros y dimos las gracias. Llegué al ISRI “traumatizado”. El primer turno era de Derecho Internacional con Miguel D´Stefano (Si, tuvimos la suerte de ser alumnos de esa eminencia). Me senté al fondo, y me pasé la clase escribiendo el “Poema a la muchacha de la parada”, porque ni siquiera sabía su nombre.
Le hice la historia a varios amigos del aula: a Raulito, a Aldama, a Pascual…Les enseñé el poema y en lo adelante todas las mañanas llegaba contándoles sobre mis progresos, con tanto entusiasmo, que algunos no pudieron resistir y se iban para la parada también… Cuando la vieron, como Adriana era chiquitica (bueno, “es”…) y con su uniforme amarillo, empezaron a darme “tremendo cuero”. Me decían “robacunas”, que iba a caer preso…etc. Pero bueno, me adelanté otra vez, todo eso vino después.
Ese día 20 de Octubre, Día de la Cultura Cubana (Nacional) llegué a mi casa y escribí el poema a máquina. Básicamente decía (dice) que al otro día nos encontraríamos, y que “tal vez mañana, al pedir cortésmente mis libros, se entere de que un desconocido admirador de su belleza, desatendió una clase para escribirle este poema”. Al otro día habían un millón de cosas que tenían que coincidir para que eso ocurriera (incluyendo las guaguas, porque si se me iba una perdía) pero todos los santos me ayudaron, y ocurrió exactamente como el poema decía. Me levanté otra vez a las 4 de la mañana (ya mi papá comenzó a preocuparse…) cogí las dos guaguas, y al llegar a la parada, ella estaba alante en la fila, con sus amigas otra vez. Subió, se sentó. Subí, me paré al lado, y me pidió los libros tal y como decía el poema. Yo tenía tremendo nerviosismo y cuando ya me había decidido a darle el poema, se me paró al lado Martica, una compañera del ISRI, y empezó a hablarme… No fue hasta el final de mi viaje, cuando le pedí los libros, que le di el poema. Ella lo tomó, pero no lo abrió, y me dijo “Gracias”. Según me dijo tiempo después, estuvo a punto de rechazarlo, pero no lo hizo… y dice que en lo primero que se fijó de mi fue en las manos…(¡ menos mal!). Pero bueno, me bajé, y al otro día, la misma historia… Llegó el momento en que ya tenía tremendas ojeras por la levantadera a las cuatro de la mañana, y un día mi papá me llamó y me dijo: “Compadre, lo que yo te dije no fue para tanto, no tenías que tomarlo tan a pecho…” Pero todavía lo dejé “sufrir” un poco más antes de decirle lo que estaba pasando. Bueno, al día siguiente del poema no recuerdo si las cosas me salieron bien otra vez, o si ella no estaba en la parada (ella sabe), pero la próxima vez que llegué a la cola y ella estaba, ya noté el cuchicheo entre las amigas. Al subir me paré a su lado otra vez, y me volvió a pedir los libros. A partir de ahí comenzaron nuestras conversaciones. Unos días después, ya cuando yo subía, a la muchacha que estaba sentada al lado de ella “casualmente” la llamaban para otro asiento, y yo me sentaba. Y unos días después, ya cuando yo llegaba a la cola, ellas me llamaban para adelante, y subíamos juntos. (Ahí era cuando el coronel me decía: “Ah, pero tú también!?”). Por esos días yo me aparecía casi siempre con un poema o una flor, o los dos. Los poemas eran casi siempre de Benedetti, de Wichy Nogueras, de Retamar… Las flores eran rosas o príncipes negros, en dependencia de cuál de las dos matas de mis vecinas, Olga y Bienvenida (tristemente fallecidas ya) floreciera por esos días. Cuando salía de madrugada de la casa, me llevaba una cuchillita de afeitar, pasaba por casa de Olga o de Bienve, y Zas!… (Técnicamente era hurto, pero sin violencia). Hace unos años Bienvenida dijo en una entrevista que le hicieron: “El se piensa que yo no sé que él era quien me llevaba las rosas…!” No es un buen ejemplo, pero a esa hora no había nadie despierto a quien pedírselas, y como en aquel tiempo estaba en el grupo Aspirina de caricaturistas, casi siempre llegaba a la casa tarde en la noche también… Además, tanto para Olga como para Bienvenida, yo era “de la familia”.
Unos días después hicimos nuestra primera salida juntos, con dos amigos (Raúl y Nancy) pero nada… Mi trabajo de convencimiento dio frutos el 7 de noviembre. Ese día ella tenía su primer turno libre, pero (aunque diga que no) se fue temprano para verme en la parada. Yo le dije que también tenía mi primer turno libre (aunque en realidad me lo salté) y la convencí para que se bajara en mi parada, para poder mostrarle el Instituto (por fuera…). La invité a sentarnos en la Playita de 16, y allí, sentados en un banco, con la playa para nosotros la enamoré. Había un barquito de lo más lindo en el horizonte, a su izquierda, y le dije: “Mira qué lindo aquel barco…” y ella volteó la cara para mirarlo. Después le dije: “Mira aquel otro”, y cuando volteó para el otro lado, yo había puesto mi cara, y le di un beso (que la ayudó a decidirse…). Ese día, Aniversario de la Revolución de Octubre, nos hicimos novios. Por eso, dos años después cuando nos casamos, llevamos las flores al monumento a Lenin en el Parque Lenin. A partir de hacernos novios, hacíamos todavía más “malabares” con las guaguas, porque entonces tratábamos de que ella estuviera en la parada de su casa en Santos Suárez, cuando yo llegara en la 68, para que ella se montara… Se dice fácil, pero muchas veces yo llegaba enganchado en la puerta…Otras veces el chofer se llevaba la parada…Tremendo. Fueron unos días muy felices, hasta que conocí a mi suegra… (Na, mentira. En realidad para salir la primera vez, antes de ser novios, tuve que ir a conocer a sus padres primero, que hoy son mis padres).
Esa es más o menos la historia. Ella se acuerda de muchos más detalles que yo.
Cuando salí de Cuba a cumplir mi misión, le dejé dos cosas: el texto de la canción “Amada” (“El dulce abismo”) de Silvio y el poema “Filin” de Roberto Fernández Retamar, que dice:
Si me dicen que te has marchado
y que no vendrás
No voy a creerlo
Voy a esperarte y esperarte.
Si te dicen que me he ido
y que no vuelvo
No lo creas
Espero no haberte cansado, pero -por razones obvias- esta historia me apasiona.
Un abrazo,
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo
Prisión de Victorville
Enero 13, 2012

Spanish original:

(with Adriana, dog and his late mother)

WLRN apologizes and re-invites Cuba book author

September 23, 2013


WLRN radio station has apologized for canceling an interview with the author of a book that criticizes the Miami trial of five Cuban, and has re-invited him to appear on a news show to answer “our own hard questions about his claims.”

“We want to apologize to our South Florida listeners for the decision made this week by Joseph Cooper, the host of WLRN’s Topical Currents show, to cancel an interview” with author Stephen Kimber, said a statement issued by General Manager John Labonia.

An initial email sent by a WLRN staffer to Kimber’s publicist said Cooper had decided that the book, What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five, was “incendiary” and canceled an interview scheduled for Tuesday.

That was “a judgment that I and the rest of WLRN’s management strongly disagree with,” Labonia said. “Mr. Cooper’s decision, in fact, was made without our knowledge…

View original post 31 more words

Quisiera recibir a mi hijo en la puerta de la cárcel(I would Like to Meet my Son at the Prison Door)

September 19, 2013


…english follows…
Enrique Ojito Linares y Arelys García Acosta.- A propósito de los 15 años del encarcelamiento de los Cinco antiterroristas cubanos en Estados Unidos, el periódico Escambray y Radio Sancti Spíritus, de Cuba, dialogaron con Magali Llort Ruiz, madre de Fernando González, quien cumplirá su condena el 27 de febrero de 2014.

—Fernan, ¿qué haces cuando nos vamos de la visita?, le preguntó Magali Llort Ruiz a su hijo, mientras detenía sus ojos en el uniforme verduzco, estigma de celda y de espera.

—Me acuesto, cierro los ojos y me parece que estoy flotando, le respondió Fernando González, quien, ante la inesperada interrogante, se estiró, con los dedos, el grueso bigote para contener la emoción.

Esas palabras, Magali las ha recordado más de una vez, como más de una vez se han encajado en su mente las paredes de ladrillos rojizos de la entrada de la prisión de Safford, Arizona, Estados Unidos, que encierran los 50 años de vida de Fernando, uno de los Cinco, cumplidos el 18 de agosto pasado.

“Cuando me informaron que mi hijo estaba preso en Estados Unidos, ese fue el momento más amargo de mi vida”, sostiene esta mujer de 74 años, cuya existencia no ha estado marcada por la buenaventura.

Magali no pregona su historia; pero, en el recuerdo permanecen los viajes al sanatorio donde permanecía internado su padre, debido a una afección pulmonar. Al no permitírsele entrar, la niña aguardaba en la puerta por su madre, quien, también, pasaba las de Caín para recuperar la plaza cuando la dejaban cesante como empleada pública en el entonces Ministerio de Justicia.

Luego del Primero de Enero de 1959, su mamá y parte de la familia emigraron hacia Estados Unidos; ella no lo consintió. De una oficina de seguros pasó a laborar en el Banco Nacional de Cuba. A los 30 años de casada llegó el divorcio.

En 1998, mientras realizaba los trámites para permutar su casa por dos apartamentos y así ayudar a Fernando, le sorprendió la noticia de su detención y de la misión en la Florida, desde donde él alertaba a Cuba de las acciones de grupos, organizaciones hostiles contra nuestro país y, en específico, del terrorista Orlando Bosch.

“Saber que había entregado su juventud por esa causa, me dio fuerzas para resistir los primeros 17 meses que estuvo incomunicado; pensé que no podía soportarlo”, comentó, vía telefónica, a estos reporteros.

— I —

Después de permanecer recluido en el Centro Federal de Detenciones de Miami, González Llort fue transferido, primero, a una institución carcelaria en Oxford, Wisconsin, y posteriormente a Terre Haute, Indiana, en el 2007. A mediados del pasado año, lo trasladaron a Safford, Arizona, donde expirará su condena de 17 años y nueve meses el 27 de febrero del 2014.

“Quisiera recibir a mi hijo en la puerta de la cárcel, verlo salir de allí; pero eso depende de que me den la visa para esa fecha”, subraya la madre con la impaciencia rozándole las palabras.

Pero, los sobresaltos quizás no terminen para usted ese día.

Precisamente, en estos momentos Fernando está en contacto con un abogado norteamericano especialista en el tema migratorio; por ser ciudadano cubano, una vez terminada su condena, se supone que tenga que pasar a una prisión migratoria. ¿Cuál es la intención con el abogado? La intención es que encamine todo ese trámite, de manera que ese tránsito de Fernando sea lo más corto posible, inclusive que sea declarado deportado desde que salga de prisión. En la parte legal se está trabajando actualmente para poder viabilizar su regreso. Ese proceso puede demorar más, puede demorar menos.

¿Cuánto desvela a Magali que Gerardo Hernández esté destinado, legalmente, a morir prisionero?

No se lo pueden imaginar. Ese tema lo conversamos con Fernando cada vez que lo visitamos. Independientemente que desde el punto de vista personal mi hijo pueda sentirse aliviado porque le queda poco tiempo, él tiene en su conciencia que tiene que seguir luchando por el resto de sus hermanos. Todos ellos nos preocupan, pero, obviamente, el caso de Gerardo todavía más.

Él no tiene final de sentencia, por su sanción de dos cadenas perpetuas más 15 años. No acabamos de comprender eso; si una persona tiene una sola vida, no entendemos que en el aspecto legal le impongan dos cadenas perpetuas. Nadie vive, resucita y vuelve a vivir para volver a morirse. Gerardo nos duele mucho; su sanción es totalmente injusta; él no tiene nada que ver con lo que le imputaron. No podemos dejar que Gerardo se nos muera en la cárcel. Conocemos los prejuicios que hay en Estados Unidos contra cualquier cuestión que venga de nuestra Cuba; todo el odio lo descargaron contra Gerardo.

— II —

Abril de 2013. En la sala de visita de la prisión de Safford, el fotógrafo testimonió la dicha, pese a la ojeriza de los guardias. Por primera vez en más de 14 años, Magali disfrutó el reencuentro de Fernando, Marta y Lourdes, sus tres hijos; frente a ella, conversaron, sonrieron, despidieron las angustias. Solo en ese instante, la madre pareció olvidar la ausencia de él los domingos, cuando sus hijas van a la casa a almorzar. “Una madre no se acostumbra a la ausencia del hijo”, nos ha confesado.

¿Fernando continúa pintando?

No; en el lugar donde está no tiene las mínimas condiciones para poder seguir pintando. No hay espacio para poder trabajar en eso. Convive con nueve presos más en la misma celda. Es horrible esa cantidad de personas; la población penal en Estados Unidos es muy alta, y la de él es una prisión de baja seguridad, donde hay muchos que ya han cumplido gran cantidad de años y están próximos a salir.

Tenemos entendido que Oscar López, el independentista puertorriqueño, lo encaminó en los primeros trazos.

A Fernando sí le gustaba escribir; pero nunca tuvo muy buenas dotes para las manualidades, nada de eso, y de buenas a primeras, con el consejo de Alberto (Carlos Alberto Torres), otro independentista puertorriqueño, incursionó en la pintura mientras estaba en Wisconsin; después, en Terre Haute, Oscar lo orientó con sus ideas. Lo primero que mandó fue un retrato que me hizo —no me quitó ni una arruga para ponerme un poco más joven, reveló ella antes—. A medida que avanzó un poquito, pintó a sus hermanas, a Rosa Aurora. Cuando lo trasladaron para Arizona, todo eso se perdió porque no tiene condiciones para seguir en eso.

En el desierto —dijo el poeta— se puede asistir al nacimiento de una flor. Esta señal de vida en medio de la aridez, ¿cuánto tiene de paralelo con la amistad entre Fernando y los independentistas puertorriqueños, compañeros de prisión?

En medio de tanta desgracia, Fernando, por los menos, lleva el orgullo de haber compartido la prisión con esos dos independentistas presos políticos. Nosotros pudimos ver en la sala de visita a Alberto, aunque no podíamos saludarlo. También allí vimos a su papá, un señor mayor, ya anciano, que falleció cuando mi hijo aún estaba en esa cárcel. Fernando compartió esos momentos, tan difíciles, con Alberto, a quien no lo autorizaron a despedirse de su padre en el féretro. Oscar López es otro gran hombre, preso hace más de 30 años y que todavía está luchando por su liberación. Fernando ha sabido cultivar la amistad.

— III —

En lo inhóspito de la cárcel, Alberto comprobó lo que Magali nos comentaría: “Mi hijo es muy responsable para sus cosas, metódico; pero no refunfuñón”. Cinco años compartiendo las caminatas por el patio de la institución correccional de Oxford, le permitieron al expreso boricua conocer a un ser que a pesar de su sufrimiento, “no mostraba amargura por su condición”; aquellas andanzas —como ha relatado el independentista— derivaban “en remembranzas personales, o debates calurosos y quema latas que a veces terminaban en chistes o recuerdos de nuestras novias de juventud”.

No pocas zozobras venció Magali para poder llegar a esa penitenciaría en taxi, entre bosques nevados, y ver a quien era considerado el prisionero político más famoso en el estado de Wisconsin, según el distinguido letrado estadounidense Arthur Heitzer. No pocas manos solidarias se le tendieron a ella, igualmente, camino a Terre Haute o cuando acude a ver a su hijo en Safford, “un lugar desértico, con un calor terrible. En el pueblecito donde está la prisión, viven muy pocas personas; hay una farmacia, una iglesia; queda muy apartado de la ciudad”, aclara.

Quizás, en febrero próximo, Magali pueda estar de paso por allí para luego regalarle a Fernan —como lo llama— el abrazo de libertad en la puerta de la prisión. Ojalá no la priven del momento; lo otro sería cruel. Mientras tanto, en la noche y en casa, ella sigue intentando dibujar esos minutos en el pensamiento: se acuesta, cierra los ojos y parece que está flotando.


Este 12 de septiembre se cumplieron 15 años del encarcelamiento de Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, René González, Antonio Guerrero y Fernando González, condenado, inicialmente, a 19 años.Como resultado del proceso de resentencia dispuesto por el Onceno Circuito de la Corte de Apelaciones de Atlanta y extendido desde el 13 de octubre de 2009 al 8 de diciembre de ese propio año, su sanción fue modificada a 17 años y nueve meses de encierro. Los tres cargos presentados en su contra fueron:

-Conspiración (acuerdo para cometer delito contra los EE. UU. o engañar a ese país).

-Falsificación de documentos o hacer declaraciones falsas ante autoridades gubernamentales para obtener documentos.

-Agente extranjero (actuar como agente de un gobierno extranjero sin ser diplomático ni comunicarlo al Fiscal General de EE.UU. De la forma en que está tipificado en el Código Penal norteamericano, el delito no está en ser agente extranjero; sino en serlo sin estar identificado).

Text in engilsh

– Fernan, what do you do when our visit is over?, Magali Llort Ruiz asked his son, while her eyes wandered on the greenish uniform, stigma of cell and waiting.

– I lie down, close my eyes and it looks like I’m floating, replied Fernando Gonzalez, who, at the unexpected question, played with his thick mustache to contain his emotions.

Magali has recalled those words more than once, as well as the images of the red brick walls of the Safford’s prison entrance, in Arizona, United States, which encloses the 50 year of Fernando, one of the Five.

” When I was informed that my son was imprisoned in the United States, that was the worst moment of my life,” says this 74 year old woman, whose existence has not been marked by good fortune.

Magali does not tout about her history, but her memory sticks to the sanatorium where her father remained because of a lung condition. Not being allowed the entrance, she waited for her mother at the door, who also went through a lot to reclaim her position when she was left out as public servant in the Ministry of Justice at that time.

After the first of January, 1959, her mother and part of the family emigrated to the United States; she would not consent. From an insurance office, she came to work with the National Bank of Cuba. After 30 years of marriage, the divorce came.

In 1998, while doing the paperwork to exchange her home for two apartments and help Fernando, she was surprised by the news of his arrest and mission in Florida, where he alerted Cuba of the actions of hostile groups and organizations against our country and, specifically, of the terrorist Orlando Bosch.

“Knowing that he had given his youth for that reason, I gathered strength to endure the first 17 months he was incommunicated; I thought I could not stand it,” she says by telephone, to these reporters .

– I –

After being held at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, González Llort was transferred, first, to a correctional institution in Oxford, Wisconsin, and then to Terre Haute, Indiana, in 2007. In the middle of last year, he was moved to Safford, Arizona, where his 17 years and nine months sentence will expire on February 27, 2014.

“I would like to meet my son at the prison door, watch him walk out of that place; but that depends on whether I’m given the visa for that date,” says the mother with the impatience brushing words.

But surprises are not likely to end for you that day.

Indeed. Right now Fernando is in contact with an American lawyer specialized in immigration issues; for being a Cuban citizenship, once his sentence is over, he is supposed to go for an immigration prison . What is the intention with the lawyer? The intention is to route all these procedures, so that Fernando’s transit is as short as possible, even if he’s declared deported since leaving prison. So, the legal work is focusing on the viability of his return. The process can be long or not.

How much does it affect Magali to know that Gerardo Hernández is intended, legally , to die as prisoner?

You can not possibly imagine. Every time I visited Fernando we talked about it. Even if my son can feel relieved because he has little time there, he has in his consciousness that he needs to continue fighting for the rest of his brothers. They all concern us, but obviously, the case of Gerardo more.

His sentence has no end due to his sanction of two life sentences plus 15 years. We just do not understand why; if a person has only one life, we do not understand that in the legal aspect two life sentences are imposed. Nobody lives, resurrects and lives again to return to die.Gerardo hurts us a lot; his punishment is totally unfair and he has nothing to do with his charges.We can not let Gerardo die in prison. We know there is prejudice in the United States against any matter that comes from our Cuba, all that hatred worked against him.

– II –

April, 2013. In Safford prison’s visiting room, the photographer got evidence of the happy moment, despite the animosity of the guards. For the first time in over 14 years, Magali enjoyed the reencounter of Fernando, Marta, and Lourdes. Her three children talked, laughed, and cleared anxieties together. At that very moment, the mother seemed to forget the absence of his son on Sunday, when her two daughters come over for lunch. “A mother never gets used to the absence of a son”, she confessed to us.

Does Fernando still paint?

No. In the place where he stays now, he doesn’t have the minimum conditions to do so anymore. There isn’t enough place to do his paintings. He lives with other nine inmates. It’s a horrible thing. US prison population is very high, and this one is a low security jail, where many of the prisoners have served long sentences, and are about to be released.

As far as we know, it was Oscar Lopez, the pro-independence Puerto Rican who taught Fernando the first lessons.

Fernando did like to write, but he was no skilful in crafts. All of the sudden, and advised by Alberto (Carlos Alberto Torres), another pro-independence Puerto Rican, he started to paint while in Wisconsin prison. Later on, when in Terre Haute, he had the help of Oscar. The first thing he sent was a portrait he made me. He then painted his sisters, and Rosa Aurora, his wife. When he was transferred to Arizona, he couldn’t paint any more.

A poet once said that a flower can grow in the desert. Has this sign of life in the middle of such dryness any parallelism with the friendship between Fernando and his Puerto Rican pro-independence fellow prisoners?

In the middle of such disgrace, Fernando at least feels proud of his friendship with those two pro-independence political prisoners. We had the chance to see Alberto in the visiting room, but we were not allowed to greet him. We also saw his father there. He was an old man who passed away when my son was still in that prison. Fernando shared those difficult moments with Alberto. He was denied permission to say the last good-bye to his father. Oscar Lopez is another great man. He’s been in jail for over 30 years, and he’s still fighting for his release. Fernando knows how to cultivate friendship.

— III —

In the harshness of the prison, Alberto learned what Magali would tell us about Fernando: “My son is a very responsible person. He’s methodical, but not grumpy”. The five-year walks in the yard of the Oxford’s correctional institution, allowed the Puerto Rican ex-prisoner get to know a person who, despite his suffering, “didn’t show any bitterness for his condition”. Those walks led to personal memories, discussions, or to jokes and talks about former youth girlfriends”.

Magali had a hard time to reach the prison by taxi, through snowy forests, to visit who was considered Wisconsin’s most popular political prisoner, according to US distinguished legal professional Arthur Heitzer. She also found several solidarity hands when she came to visit his son at Terre Haute, or Safford. “It was a desert-like, terribly hot place. Very few persons live in the town; there is pharmacy and a church there. The town is very far from the city”, she added.

It may be that next February, Magali will step by to give Fernan -as she calls him-, the freedom hug at the prison door. Let’s hope she won’t be deprived from that moment. If so, it will be a cruel thing. Meanwhile, at night at her home, she continues to imagine that moment. She then goes to bed, closes her eyes, and seems to be floating.

Laura Labañino a propósito del concierto en la Tribuna

September 19, 2013

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