Dmitri Prieto’s Diary

On the “Physical Disappearance” of Cuba’s Historical Figures

October 28, 2014 | 9 comments

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was taken prisoner and assassinated on October 9, 1967 under orders from the CIA. We know this thanks to testimonies offered by the person who executed him. Why falsify the historical record?

Elegant Curves and Smiling Murderers, in Cuba and Elsewhere

October 21, 2014 | 1 Comment »

The guillotine was dull. That is why we had to use scissors to cut the heads off. One is hard pressed to find anyone willing to have their head cut off with a pair of scissors just like that, so they taught us a technique.

Who Are Cuba’s “Frikis”?

October 13, 2014 | 1 Comment »

Reading a recent Cuban sci-fi fanzine, I was very much surprised to find out that people referred to as frikis are the ones who take an interest in (and, in some cases, become obsessed with) science fiction, fantasy, Manga comics, anime, videogames and comic books in general.

Are Private Secondary Schools Emerging in Cuba?

September 30, 2014 | No Comments »

A brochure handed out in Havana’s neighborhood of Vedado offers a “package” of refresher courses for high-school students. Parents are invited to pay between 5 CUC (Math only) and 15 CUC (Math, Spanish, Physics and Chemistry) a month to ensure their “son or daughter becomes a university student”.

The New Cuban Habit of “Offering Apologies”

September 8, 2014 | No Comments »

To “offer apologies” is becoming a common practice in Cuba. Apologies, however, aren’t offered – they are asked for. To ask for someone’s forgiveness is a gesture of humility that stems from our awareness that we have done something wrong.

Chemo at Cuba’s Oncology Hospital is Free

September 2, 2014 | 3 comments

It was Friday afternoon and the bus stop was full of people. Suddenly, a Transgaviota bus pulled up to the curb and its doors opened. Maneuvering among the throng of people scrambling to board the bus, I managed to climb the steps of the vehicle but…

Cuban Music: Neither Rap Nor Reggaeton

August 25, 2014 | No Comments »

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.

A New Generation of (Generous?) Sound Devices

August 18, 2014 | No Comments »

There was a time in which “pocket” transistor radios were a novelty. People walked around holding their small radios to their ears, listening to their music of choice or a baseball game. For those who had lived in the era of vacuum-tube radios as large as a piece of household furniture, it was surprising to see how a device the size of a soapbox could perform the same functions.

Darkness and Silence for Helen Keller, Also in Cuba

August 4, 2014 | 3 comments

In response to the remarks of her adversaries, who pathetically tried to portray her as a defenseless, deaf and blind woman ruthlessly taken advantage of by the “reds”, Helen Keller would ironically ask them if they had ever had the opportunity to experience what “exploitation” was all about.

Cuban Ravings against the Cold War and the Execution of the Rosenbergs

July 28, 2014 | 4 comments

What happened to the Rosenbergs pisses me off. I’ve known their story since the time I was in high school (they made us read a number of documents about their trial, carefully selected for the 10th grade history textbook).