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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone that rated Yoani's book with a 2 or 1 star should live in Cuba for 2 years with a regular salary and the ration board
I can't believe there are people that never set a foot in Cuba, have never experienced in their own skin the oppression of a communist totalitarian regime, have never live on a salary of 20 USD a month (which is a above the average) and yet dare to criticize the stories Yoani bravely describes in her blog and call them fake.
I have friends that were expelled from...
Published on September 18, 2012 by Lizet P

versus
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a fan.
Being a Cuban-American I was exited to read this book however, I attempted but I just couldn't get through it. It's simply a book of blogs and many of the blogs are repetitive. I was very disappointed.
Published on November 17, 2011 by Jibaro4


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone that rated Yoani's book with a 2 or 1 star should live in Cuba for 2 years with a regular salary and the ration board, September 18, 2012
By 
Lizet P "PG" (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth about Cuba Today (Paperback)
I can't believe there are people that never set a foot in Cuba, have never experienced in their own skin the oppression of a communist totalitarian regime, have never live on a salary of 20 USD a month (which is a above the average) and yet dare to criticize the stories Yoani bravely describes in her blog and call them fake.
I have friends that were expelled from university in Cuba because they were not atheists. I always lived with the fear my father would go to prison because his cartoons criticized the government. The church magazine where he published the cartoons was retired from circulation several times. Several times we had to hide all the "forbidden" books (1984, Animal Farm) because we thought they would raid our house.
In the 60s the government ran concentration camps for homosexuals, people that wanted to leave Cuba or were not in accordance with the government. At present any physician that requests permission to leave the island is punished for 5 years before the government grants the permission, some people never get a permission to leave. Some people leave and are never allowed to go back, even if they leave their family behind.
In the 90s there was an epidemic disease whose main cause was malnutrition, it affected thousands of Cubans. The Minister of Health Care was demoted when he called international physicians to investigate the cause and it turned out to be under-nourishment.
There are about 1 million of Cubans in the exile, maybe more, disperse all over the world, political prisoners, missing people that drawn in the Florida strait, trying to scape political prosecution and misery, that should tell you something...
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening and fascinating, April 28, 2011
This review is from: Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth about Cuba Today (Paperback)
Fair warning, I am the "longtime friend" of the translator (42 years) but I'm not letting that bias my review. Up til now, most of what I read was programming code for the translation site hemosoido.com so this is the first time I'm really reading Yoani's story and I am engrossed.

It's a comprehensive view of life in Cuba - from the international to the most intimate of daily activities. For those who are anti-socialist, and are lauding this book as a blow to the Castro regime, I think they are projecting their own feeling because that is not what Yoani wrote.

What it leaves the objective reader thinking, is that there is much corruption and lack of accountability with the Cuban governmental entities and this, in turn, makes day to day life for the average Cuban a real challenge. As does the economic blockade.

Yoani doesn't talk about international policy so much as about the EFFECTS of that policy - chronic shortages of essential items...as trivial as tampons (not that this is trivial when you flat out can't get them) to food and a roof over one's head (the actual roof, that is - not the building).

The story is fascinating, the writing flows and it is hard to put down. The unspoken part of this story is what a courageous woman Yoani is.

The book leaves you inspired.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Closer Look at Cuba's Reality, May 30, 2011
This review is from: Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth about Cuba Today (Paperback)
To any tourists who will be traveling to Cuba: I recommend a book such as this one over any tourist guide. Yoani's writing flows in a way that clearly captures the absurdity of living under a totalitarian state, simply by describing her day to day. It is also a window to an alternative information system in Cuba- the independent blogosphere, which grows more and more each day. In one way or another, Cuba's independent journalists and bloggers like Yoani have become the real reporters of the island, and the voice of the suppressed Cuban people. Their texts, their blog entries, and their "Tweets" have become real news in a country where the media only reports what the government deems necessary. Daily, bloggers such as Yoani, independent journalists, and other dissidents are constantly reporting about arrests, beatings, expulsions, and even assassinations (Zapata, Juan Wilfredo Soto, etc.)

The fact that this book has been translated to English is extremely important. I would definitely recommend it to those non-Cubans who do not know much about Cuba, or who are interested in finding out more, or who simply care about the reality of the island. Yoani Sanchez's "Havana Real" is a must read. Props to the translator for doing such a great job!

Long live a free and democratic Cuba!
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, August 19, 2011
I'm reading Havana Real. My thoughts turn to my youth in the seventies. I remember watching news coverage showing what seemed to me valiant people daring shark infested seas in search of freedom. Their 'boats' little more than flimsy rafts pieced together from the most unlikely parts: old tires, planks of plywood, the shell of an old rusting car. I remember seeing the US Coast Guard waiting beyond an invisible barrier silently cheering the refugees on, waiting to bring them to freedom. These were days just after the Cuban Missile crisis and my country was still fearful of our neighbors, fearful of the might of a little island with a strong and passionate leader. Every Cuban that crossed that imaginary boundary in the middle of the Atlantic was a victory for freedom and even I, as a child, was touched by their bravery.
It's been many years since I was first exposed to the desperate plight that plagues this small island yet the struggle of the Cubans still wages on. I recently met a man that told me his story. He first tried to come to The US as a young man, still in his teens. His crossing was not successful and he and his raft mates were caught somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic between America and Cuba. He was held in prison for nine years emerging finally, a man in his late twenties. He told me how he felt that his most important years had slipped away from him. First love, a chance for education, any kind of decent employment were lost to him. He emerged into an island more degraded than the one he had sought to flee and his sadness overwhelmed him. After three years of working, doing anything to earn enough money to buy his right to risk his life on yet another raft he finally made it to the US.
He is free now, he misses his family, he is grateful for his freedom. He spoke of the wonderful people he left behind in Cuba, of his family, of the slow pace of life, the warmth of community and I wondered at the price of freedom. I wondered at the lengths humans will go to so they can be free to speak and think, to worship and simply live. I wonder how those of us fortunate enough to have all of this seem not to notice how millions around the world are living under conditions so severe that they can not even voice an opinion for fear that they may end up in prison. I wonder how many millions of stories there are left to be told. Stories of oppression and desperation. Tales of constant fear, hunger and terrible hardship. We see the news, we hear stories of war and we are saddened at the loss of life. But what do we know of the human tale? What do we know of mothers trying to feed their children when there is little food to be had, of father's leaving in the morning to find work when there is none? What do we know of hunger or seeing your child go barefoot in the cold because shoes can not be found much less bought? What do we know of the little struggles that people go through every day just to survive? Reading a book like Havana Real makes the situations, not just of the Cubans but millions around the world, so personal. We are familiar with the horrific stories but the little daily struggles we can not understand because we have no frame of reference. We have no gauge by which to measure it. At what point would it be too much of a burden to bear? At what point does a young man break under the pressure and leave everything behind to build a life in foreign country where he knows no one? Would I be strong enough do that? The answer I can tell you is no.
Havana Real is a book that needed to be written but more than that it is a book that needs to be read.

I received an advanced reader copy and was in no way obligated to post a review. These opinions are my own.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a fan., November 17, 2011
Being a Cuban-American I was exited to read this book however, I attempted but I just couldn't get through it. It's simply a book of blogs and many of the blogs are repetitive. I was very disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real LIfe In Cuba, March 2, 2013
This review is from: Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth about Cuba Today (Paperback)
I visit family in Cuba regularly, and help them financially as much as I can. I know for a fact that Yoani's posts on her blog are very true. I read her blog every day. This book contains older blogs. It is excellently written and a true reflection of life in Havana.

I have family who were born during the current regime, and they know nothing else. I have family who remain in Cuba because they did not leave and were not sent away. LIfe is hard in Cuba.

The recent changes (which the Cuban government calls improving socialism, but we would call capitalism) has resulted in some changes, and even some improvement for some people. But the people who receive government salary and have no way to earn other money, continue to live exactly as Yonai describes in her blog now and as she described in this book.

If you have any interest in knowing the truth, read Havana Real.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Havana Real, January 30, 2013
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I took this book to Cuba with me - the posts of actual life style issues made my trip very much more interesting. I recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting review of daily life in Cuba, March 18, 2013
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I read this book as a compilation of blogs about daily life and struggles in Castro's Cuba. Nothing more and nothing less. I suspect it is a pretty accurate reflection of what routinely goes on in this pathetically backward and mismanaged country, run by the paranoid Castro brothers. How accurate is it? What I know suggests it is pretty accurate depiction of life, particularly after the fall of the USSR and the curtailment of their aid. Fortunately for the Castro brothers, Chavez stepped in to take over the job of propping up their failed experiment. Is it any wonder that Castro gushes with love at the mere mention of Chavez, his comrade in arms against the "evil" USA. Both of their paranoia over the USA reinforce their reason for continued existence and comradeship. Of course the importation of 40,000 doctors and advisors to Venezuela with their instant citizenship status and voting rights has not been without difficulties for the Venezuelans, but that is another story. Fort the Cubans, it is another chance to escape to potentially a better life. The brain drain just continues for Cuba.

I would welcome the views and comments of the Cuban exiles who have read this book and/or her blogs (if they can do so without jeopardizing their family interests in Cuba. How accurate are the examples of daily life?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A kick to the head and heart, February 22, 2013
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These days, much of what we read on Cuba comes from the remembrances of exiles who left in the 60s and 70s or foreign journalists who are constrained by the country's considerable security apparatus from telling the whole story. The result is that we know very little of the daily lives and struggles of the average modern Cuban beyond the Special Period. Yoani Sanchez changes all that with her three year collection of blogs, which has provided the world an unparalleled window into one of the world's last remaining Cold War bastions. Part diary, part confessional, full indictment, it leaps of the page like a long held in scream, such as only a lifetime of hiding one's true thoughts and feelings can build. It strips away all pretense of the mystique and romanticism built up around revolutionary Cuba by opuses like The Motorcycle Diaries and Che and leaves us with grim scenes right out of Orwell of a failing state headed by a neglectful, kleptomanic bureaucracy, where rumor stands for news and the most heinous crimes are those of thought. It is also a breath of fresh air to those who still live with the legacy of the Castro regime, and testament to the courage of one woman who could just as easily run away like so many others, yet against great hardship has chosen to stay and bear witness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chaotic Cuba Captured, December 12, 2012
By 
Professor Cassandra Pybus (Lower Snug, Tasmania Australia) - See all my reviews
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This is essential reading for anyone interested in Cuba, especially if, like me, you want to cling to romantic illusion about the Cuban revolution which is now irrevocably broken.
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Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth about Cuba Today
Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth about Cuba Today by Yoani Sánchez (Paperback - April 26, 2011)
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