Irina Pino’s Diary

rey de la habana
Cuba: A Personal Experience in the World of Pedro Juan Gutierrez

April 28, 2016 | No Comments »

I confess I was left with unpleasant thoughts. Memories assailed me of the Special Period, when I came across people from the underworld. I don’t know whether I mixed with the wrong crowds.

My father in his youth.
My Father’s Good Life

April 12, 2016 | 4 comments

When my father died just before the age of 86, a friend said to me: “At least he had a good life. He had children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who loved him.” What she said left me thinking and made me look back at certain episodes in his life.

Of Love and its Surprises

April 7, 2016 | 2 comments

It’s often been said that relationships between people of different ages lead to generational clashes. While this is true and this is what ensues most of the time, it is also true young women are often attracted by men over 40 and vice-versa.

Watching the Rolling Stones Live in Havana

March 26, 2016 | 7 comments

The longest performing rock and roll band, the Rolling Stones, played their long-awaited first concert in Cuba on the evening of Good Friday, March 25. It was a free event and held on a sprawling outdoor grass area of what is known as Havana’s Sports City. The happening was amazing after decades of cultural repression.

obamas arrive
Our Dear President Obama

March 21, 2016 | 5 comments

What many had hoped for didn’t happen: there were no people at either side of the street, cordoned off and holding the flags of both countries, cheering and screaming with joy.

No Appetite for Culture

March 18, 2016 | No Comments »

It is both humorous and sad to see that many young Cuban university students have trouble taking in or developing an interest in culture. Their minds are elsewhere, they seem fed up with the world and they do not seem to care about history, literature, cinema or music.

Cafeteria in front of the Colon Cemetery entrance.
Public Spaces

March 14, 2016 | No Comments »

It’s nice to be invited to dine out, not to have to cook something at home and skirt all of the stress that this cursed task involves. That’s why I was happy to receive an invitation to eat out at a restaurant from some friends who had recently arrived from abroad.

Mi padre con sus biznietos
My Father’s Death in Cuba

February 26, 2016 | 9 comments

After spending eleven days at the hospital, my father’s body is now locked up in a box, inside a horrible coffin. It’s strange and hard to accept, but real. Perhaps death is but another moment in existence. I believe in this possibility, I cling to it.

Policías pidiendo carné de indentidad en el Bulevar de San Rafael
Cuba’s Inept Police

February 10, 2016 | 2 comments

Years ago, someone broke into my home in Vedado. I’ll give you a short version of the story. It was the early morning and the entire family was sleeping. I recall it was a very hot summer and that we used to sleep with the windows open – the mistake we would later regret.

From "La cosa humana" (The Human Thing)
The Human Thing

February 4, 2016 | No Comments »

La cosa humana (“The Human Thing”), a film by Gerardo Chijona, has just been released in Havana’s theaters. This comedy seeks to pay tribute to such mafia films as Coppola’s The Godfather and the US television series The Sopranos, where violence is the best means people find to solve conflicts.