Irina Pino’s Diary

Violence, a ubiquitous ill

April 15, 2014 | 1 Comment »

I asked a friend who works in Cuban television to copy me some music videos and movies. I am always on the lookout for new things. When I had a look at the folder in my computer, I saw a film titled Ex-Drummer. I started to watch it, out of curiosity, and every scene was more disgusting than the last.

My Normal Day in Cuba

April 9, 2014 | 7 comments

The alarm goes off at a quarter past six. I get up and fix breakfast. Then starts the battle of getting my son out of bed and sending him off to school. When I finally manage to wake him up, I help him get ready for his classes. After he’s left, I sit down in front of the computer and write for an hour or two.

Rock Cinderella in Havana

April 2, 2014 | 6 comments

Some Saturdays or Sundays, when I have a little bit of money and want to dance to some rock music, I get ready to go out. First, I choose a simple outfit (jeans, a blouse and a pair of comfortable sneakers). I pick up my purse and daub some perfume on my chest.

In the Name of God

March 25, 2014 | 3 comments

A close relative of mine who studied at a religious school in Cuba (Los Hermanos Maristas) was telling me there was a priest at the school who would pat him on the head and sometimes even kiss him on the cheek. This made me think about the issue of religion.

On John Lennon’s Death

March 18, 2014 | 15 comments

Dying at the age of forty, when the sap of experience leads to a new blossoming in our lives, is too unfair. The death of John Lennon isn’t a trivial or even logical incident. It was a devastating event that has always stayed with me. I recall hearing the news over the radio, late into the night.

Cuba’s “Special Period” Remembered

March 12, 2014 | 41 comments

It caught us by complete surprise in the 90s, and no one expected it to last the many years it did. Even today we continue to be haunted by those infernal years, as though we were unable to find a way out of the crisis. One need only mention it to conjure up those dark memories.

My Friend’s Three Partners

March 4, 2014 | 2 comments

Woody Allen once said that “the heart is a very flexible organ”, and I agree with him in every sense. A colleague at Havana Times gave me a compilation of essays on free love by 19th and 20th century thinkers, put together by Osvaldo Baigorria.

My Afternoons in Cuba with Paco de Lucia

February 27, 2014 | 1 Comment »

When I was fourteen, I got the crazy idea I wanted to learn to play the guitar. My parents didn’t have the money to buy me the instrument, so I decided to talk with Barbara, a friend of mine who lived in the building across the street and owned a Pablo Quintana guitar.

Countryside Boarding Schools in Cuba: My First Experience

February 26, 2014 | 2 comments

I took part in Cuba’s “countryside boarding school” program while in junior high school back in the 1970s. At the time, young people were obliged to go work in the countryside and contribute to the country’s agricultural output for 45 days each school year.

The Soviet Films of My Cuban Adolescence

February 19, 2014 | 2 comments

I recall that the portrayal of the Battle of Borodino in Soviet director Sergeui Bondarchuck’s War and Peace, an adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel, made the film a true work of art, as did that ballroom dance scene, with its costumes, lights and dancers performing a delicious and interminable waltz.