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PostPosted: 18 May 2018, 09:12 
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Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17
Posts: 517
Thoughts are of you, my Cuba.
How your history bruises the world.

The sugar white sands of Baracoa
my sister and I bathed in the sea,
moon on her sleek, brown body

as we watched the Soldatas
drop bombs on the Sierra Marstre
that quickened the fires of Fidel.

Do not unkiss me, my Cuba
though I left you like a lover
with too many hands up her skirt.

I remember old women washing clothes at Malecon, using soap
made from pan grease and lye.

They beat the rocks with their laundry as if extracting confessions,
stretch them on the seawall to dry.

Los Barudos- the bearded ones,
took the streets of Habana.

I sang with you O Cuba.
Our hearts soared high,
skin sewed to each other.

The firing squads of Guevera,
on the outskirts of the city.
They blindfolded you my dark
beauty, gave a last cigarette

I wept into my hands like a woman.
Your blood soaked breast repulses.
My wound is too old to bandage


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PostPosted: 18 May 2018, 10:11 
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Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03
Posts: 654
Wow, what a powerful poem, the best of the month and more than deserving of a nom. So many wonderful lines:

How your history bruises the world.

They beat the rocks with their laundry as if extracting confessions

And oh the closing! Gorgeous, my friend

Kudos


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PostPosted: 19 May 2018, 05:00 
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Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17
Posts: 517
Thank you Bob


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PostPosted: 19 May 2018, 10:21 
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Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Posts: 1060
Location: Between the mountains and the sea
I too have a soft spot for Cuba
what a tormented history
and all they ever wanted was to free of
outside influences. First the Spanish
then the American/Sicilian-Mafia/gangster mob
their own corrupt president and then they got into
bed with Russia. Maybe one day they will
settle into democracy and make friends with the USA.

My knowledge of the country is limited,
too limited to comment further.


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PostPosted: 19 May 2018, 11:10 
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Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17
Posts: 517
Thank you Frank. Cuba is one of the few nations to have never been free

Castro was to be the liberator. Even today, the govt controls almost everything. If reported you can be jailed for buying food over your allowance. No free press. Hard to imagine this 90 miles from the US


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PostPosted: 19 May 2018, 20:51 
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Joined: 30 Jul 2015, 11:14
Posts: 709
K---


these lines are terrific:

I remember old women washing clothes at Malecon, using soap
made from pan grease and lye.

They beat the rocks with their laundry as if extracting confessions,
stretch them on the seawall to dry.




not crazy about this:

Do not unkiss me, my Cuba
though I left you like a lover[
with too many hands up her skirt.




what was Cuba like before Fidel? whatever, the great mass of folks cheered wildly for him, fought in his army against the US sponsored invasion.

think US revolution---and then widespread slavery.

Cuba is slowly emerging from the Fidel era.


at any rate, a wonderful poem full of energy and spirit.


bernie


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PostPosted: 20 May 2018, 04:03 
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Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17
Posts: 517
what was Cuba like before Fidel? whatever, the great mass of folks cheered wildly for him, fought in his army against the US sponsored invasion.

Bernie: Despite the malignancy of Batista, Cuba had the highest per capita income in Latin America, and a
thriving middle class comparable to the US. United Fruit, Anaconda Copper, sugar and oil concerns were
all Unionized. Highest literacy rare in Latin America. The people resented Batista who owned all the parking meters in Havana, had the military empty them. This resentment and the corruption of the Casinos is what gave Fidel his hook.

When I was very young, my parents befriended a much younger couple who were Cuban exiles. I remember their stories, and my fascinate with Cubs began there.

As to the poem, I wrote it from the voice of an exile. Too, I tried to write it as if translated from Spanish. Both
endeavors are new to me.

Thank you very much, Bernie


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PostPosted: 20 May 2018, 19:50 
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Joined: 30 Jul 2015, 11:14
Posts: 709
refreshing my memory....


The 1952 Coup

Batista had a great deal of support. Many of his former cronies in the military had been weeded out or passed over for promotion in the years since Batista had left: it is suspected that many of these officers may have gone ahead with the takeover even if they had not convinced Batista to go along with it. In the early hours of March 10, 1952, about three months before the election was scheduled, the plotters silently took control of the Camp Columbia military compound and the fort of La Cabaña. Strategic spots such as railways, radio stations, and utilities were all occupied. President Carlos Prío, learning too late of the coup, tried to organize a resistance but could not: he ended up seeking asylum in the Mexican embassy.
Back in Power

Batista quickly reasserted himself, placing his old cronies back in positions of power. He publicly justified the takeover by saying that President Prío had intended to stage his own coup in order to remain in power. Young firebrand lawyer Fidel Castro tried to bring Batista to court to answer for the illegal takeover, but was thwarted: he decided that legal means of removing Batista would not work.

Many Latin American countries quickly recognized the Batista government and on May 27 the United States also extended formal recognition.
Revolution

Castro, who would likely have been elected to Congress had the elections taken place, had learned that there was no way of legally removing Batista and began organizing a revolution. On July 26, 1953, Castro and a handful of rebels ​attacked the army barracks at Moncada, igniting the Cuban Revolution. The attack failed and Fidel and Raúl Castro were jailed, but it brought them a great deal of attention. Many captured rebels were executed on the spot, resulting in a lot of negative press for the government. In prison, Fidel Castro began organizing the 26th of July movement, named after the date of the Moncada assault.
Batista and Castro

Batista had been aware of Castro’s rising political star for some time and had once even given Castro a $1,000 wedding present in an attempt to keep him friendly.

After Moncada, Castro went to jail, but not before publicly making his own trial about the illegal power grab. In 1955 Batista ordered the release of many political prisoners, including those who had attacked Moncada. The Castro brothers went to Mexico to organize the revolution.
Batista’s Cuba

The Batista era was a golden age of tourism in Cuba. North Americans flocked to the island for relaxation and to stay at the famous hotels and casinos. The American mafia had a strong presence in Havana, and Lucky Luciano lived there for a time. Legendary mobster Meyer Lansky worked with Batista to complete projects, including the Havana Riviera hotel. Batista took a huge cut of all casino takings and amassed millions. Famous celebrities liked to visit and Cuba became synonymous with a good time for vacationers. Acts headlined by celebrities such as Ginger Rogers and Frank Sinatra performed at the hotels. Even American Vice-President Richard Nixon visited.

Outside of Havana, however, things were grim. Poor Cubans saw little benefit from the tourism boom and more and more of them tuned into rebel radio broadcasts. As the rebels in the mountains gained strength and influence, Batista’s police and security forces turned increasingly to torture and murder in an effort to root out the rebellion. The universities, traditional centers of unrest, were closed.

Exit from Power

In Mexico, the Castro brothers found many disillusioned Cubans willing to fight the revolution. They also picked up Argentine doctor Ernesto “Ché” Guevara.

In November of 1956, they returned to Cuba on board the yacht Granma. For years they waged a guerrilla war against Batista. The 26th of July movement was joined by others inside Cuba who did their part to destabilize the nation: the Revolutionary Directorate (the student group that Batista had alienated years before) almost assassinated him in March of 1957. Castro and his men controlled huge sections of the country and had their own hospital, schools and radio stations. By late 1958 it was clear that the Cuban Revolution would win, and when Ché Guevara’s column captured the city of Santa Clara, Batista decided it was time to go. On January 1, 1959, he authorized some of his officers to deal with the rebels and fled, allegedly taking millions of dollars with him.
After the Revolution

The wealthy exiled president never returned to politics, even though he was still only in his fifties when he fled Cuba. He eventually settled in Portugal and worked for an insurance company. He also wrote several books and passed away in 1973. He left several children, and one of his grandchildren, Raoul Cantero, became a judge on the Florida Supreme Court.
Legacy

Batista was corrupt, violent and out of touch with his people (or perhaps he simply didn’t care about them). Still, in comparison with fellow dictators such as the Somozas in Nicaragua, the Duvaliers in Haiti or even Alberto Fujimori of Peru, he was relatively benign. Much of his money was made by taking bribes and payoffs from foreigners, such as his percentage of the haul from the casinos.

Therefore, he looted state funds less than other dictators did. He did frequently order the murder of prominent political rivals, but ordinary Cubans had little to fear from him until the revolution began, when his tactics turned increasingly brutal and repressive.

The Cuban Revolution was less the result of Batista’s cruelty, corruption or indifference than it was of Fidel Castro’s ambition. Castro’s charisma, conviction, and ambition are singular: he would have clawed his way to the top or died trying. Batista was in Castro’s way, so he removed him.

That’s not to say that Batista did not help Castro greatly. At the time of the revolution, most Cubans despised him, the exceptions being the very wealthy who were sharing in the loot. Had he shared Cuba’s new wealth with his people, organized a return to democracy and improved conditions for the poorest Cubans, Castro’s revolution might never have taken hold. Even Cubans who have fled Castro’s Cuba and constantly rail against him rarely defend Batista: perhaps the only thing they agree on with Castro is that Batista had to go.

Sources:

Castañeda, Jorge C. Compañero: the Life and Death of Che Guevara . New York: Vintage Books, 1997.


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PostPosted: 20 May 2018, 21:15 
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Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17
Posts: 517
Excellent. Thank you. Even America was enamored of Castro initially. I remember US students going there to help cut sugar cane as volunteers.

Then he turned Red lol.


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