What People in Cuba Ought to Know About Miami (Part 2)

    Though I was prepared for the enormity of the stores and was not hugely impressed by the range of products that would be unthinkable in Cuba, a simple fact made a deep impression on me: I was able to access Havana Times on-line using a tablet that was on sale at an electronics store.

featuredimage Santiago de Cuba Sculptor & Yoga Student Eliecer Guerrero

Eliecer Guerrero is not known to most, but those who visit the El Cobre sanctuary in Santiago de Cuba cannot overlook the many kiosks selling copper pieces, candles, flowers & small, wooden Caridad del Cobre virgins sold along the city’s main street. He was one of the first to sell these items. (48 photos)

featuredimage Be Wary of Decontextualization: A Warning to All Cubans

I want to begin by reminding readers of what the prestigious Cuban essayist Guillermo Rodriguez Rivera said of Joseph Stalin, referring to the notorious communist leader as a “master of decontextualization.” Let me say, from the outset, that I am speaking of a well-known anti-Batista activist who holds a PhD in philology from the University of Havana.

featuredimage Recalling the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia

For some August 20 is just another day. For me it’s a date that’s been marked forever as the end of the period known as the Prague spring. It was on this fatal day that 200,000 soldiers from the Warsaw pact, principally from the “Glorious Red Army of the Soviet Union”, equipped with 2,300 tanks invaded Czechoslovakia.

featuredimage Graffiti Art in Havana

More and more graffiti catches our eye as we stroll down the streets of Havana today. Some consider it a form of urban art, while others regard it as a kind of vandalism. What’s certain is that this visual language, consisting of signs and images, stems from the artist’s need to freely express themselves. (29 photos)

rightcolimage Cuba’s “Wanderers”

Today, my memories take me back to a certain figure that was a common sight in Cuba’s countryside before the revolution. I am referring to “wanderers.” These were people who, tired of looking for a job and going hungry – having lost their homes because they were unable to pay the rent – had no other choice but to become beggars.

rightcolimage Cuba: The Limits of Truth

I wonder what kind of debate we would have if everyone exposed what they are protecting from the word go, where everyone was aware of their unavowed commitments, and whether that could be a point of departure for change, beyond cyberspace, in the tangible Cuba.

rightcolimage Cuba: One Ration Booklet, Different Bread Rolls

Until some time ago, I thought everyone got the same daily bread roll in Havana. Then I discovered that I was wrong: the quality of the bread one gets depends on where one lives. This is not officially established, of course, but it happens this way in practice.

rightcolimage Cuba: A Way of Dying

She has high blood pressure and has a blood pressure monitor on a small table next to the door to her house, in case she has to leave for the hospital in a rush. She checks her blood pressure obsessively several times a day.

rightcolimage Experienced Cuban Teacher Publishes Piano Playing Manual

We hadn’t seen one another in several years. I ran into him on Obispo street in Old Havana as I was coming out of work. We started talking after the initial surprise wore off. We talked for two hours. Among other things, he told me he’d been giving piano lessons to young people in Boyeros for ten years.

rightcolimage Cuban Music: Neither Rap Nor Reggaeton

A sign calling amateur artists to participate in a “Cuban music” competition (inclusive of “traditional songs, son, ballads, boleros and guarachas”) explicitly excludes rap and reggaeton as eligible genres. The organizers of the contest are evidently clear on what qualifies as “Cuban” music and what does not.

rightcolimage Unexpected Happiness in Venezuela

I haven’t felt the inclination to write about my experiences among Venezuelans for some time now. When one’s happy, you see, one tends to forget everything else. And I couldn’t be happier, because, in addition to the joy I always feel, I now I have the joy of feeling right at home, feeling as though I were in Cuba, that is.

rightcolimage Homosexuals in Cuba: Some Do the Harm, Others Bear the Blame

It was the fifth time I’d gone to the dentist’s that month. I’d gone that afternoon because I had an appointment, but the person who’d made this appointment for me hadn’t gone to work that day, so I had to go back another day.