2010/04 – XII Festival del Habano – Mixed Feelings

5 Apr


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La Habana – Feb. 2010
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La Habana – Feb. 2010

Mixed Feelings/Reflections

Noticing myself and learning from Cubans that everyday life, incredible as it seems, is even worse off than a year or two ago, repression, oppression and bankrupt economy included. Mindboggling.

Witnessing a Sunday march by the dissident “Damas de Blanco” on Quinta to the Church of Sta Rita de Acacia on 5-ta y 26.

They were wearing black armbands to mourn the death of political dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo after a hunger strike a few days earlier.
You would think that basic human rights in Cuba would be demanded by the west, like the current Spanish EU chairmanship, a country that itself endured a long dictatorship – but only hot air is blown. Disgusting.

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La Habana – Feb. 2010

Devastating meeting teachers in their early 20’s that, incredible as it sounds, have never eaten beef in their life.
That refuse to work for the “system” and be abused by it for not even US 10 salary a month.
Who ask themselves where their generation, their youth will be in a few years time.
Who are discouraged and disheartened by the ever more visible oppression and a dead-end future without any Hope for the better.

Meeting people who were “party stalwarts” and had their “ideological blindfolds” taken away from them after working with foreigners. They see that the “system” has been screwing them for ages and that the only solution is to get ahead best they can – and only “hard currency people” deliver. Who would like to have the letter R taken away from the word Revolution and start evolving.

Hearing reports that desperate jineteros/as are flocking into Havana from Pinar del Rio & Oriente provinces to try and survive by getting “a piece of the action” in the capital – and that they will prostitute themselves for 30 bucks, cosmetics or basic necessities.

Really frustrating to visit the “best” of the currency shopping centers, like the one across from the Melia Cohiba. Absolute cheap crap on offer, the shittiest service one can imagine and you need to stand in line and be abused. Welcome to reality. Hope they all will get a good kick in the arse once the system implodes – absolute useless arrogant pricks delighting in a power drive to make decent customers suffer. More market – less corrupted ideals needed.

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La Habana – Feb. 2010

Seeing all the “connected” people – that is connected to the tourist industry, cigar industry or institutions where hard currency runs freely – live like royalty in the fat. Sometimes being compassionate enough to know where they come from and help others out, sometimes just showing envy and greedily defending their turf against the have-nots.
And seeing how the other 90% live.

The quality of cigars – never smoked so many useless & tasteless crap in my visits.
Customs rolled cigars, even by “renowned” rollers, were a joke. Some even returned cigars back to them.
Let it be humidity, let it be overall quality, it sometimes seemed more like a rip off.
Cigars were humid, the rain and humidity there didn’t help either, and no cigar managed to stay lit or taste – except for a few very well constructed cigars, like the new BHK line.

The weather – global warming does not seem to have reached Cuba – cold as hell, torrential rains, no sun.

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La Habana – Feb. 2010

Asking about crops – both last and this year and hearing nothing positive about them.

Last year’s rotted due to using the wrong (high nitrate content ) fertilizer from a “brother country”, this year’s ruined by the rain.

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Veguero mourning storm damage at Pancho Cuba’s farm – Feb. 2010

PATT’s as very well explained by Rob Ayala over at his FOH board. I had a few encounters with them and had to restrain myself. Awful. Regardless of event, you were sure to find them pushing, shoving, grabbing bags, cigars, behaving like Pigs At The Table in general and giving all other visitors a hard time.


Copyright Nino


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