An Example of Bureaucracy in Cuba

October 10, 2015 | No Comments »

This Friday I visited an office of ETECSA [the telecommunications monopoly] to get a refund of a US $100 deposit I had given a few years ago. The process took half an hour and I had to sign 11 receipts!

A Cuban Golf Federation?

October 9, 2015 | 5 comments

US and Spanish golfers have pledged to support the creation of a Cuban national golf federation. The question is should the National Sports Institute dedicate part of its meager budget to finance the practice of an expensive sport that almost no one plays in Cuba?

Old Windows in Havana

October 8, 2015 | No Comments »

Her name was Felicia, and she was a prostitute back when it was good business to be one in Havana. She continued to be a hooker after 1959, when all gambling establishments were shut down and prostitution was declared illegal and actively persecuted.

Who Can Straighten Out Cuba’s Inverted Pyramid System?

October 8, 2015 | 3 comments

Some years ago, a former vice-minister for the economy told me, keeping a straight face, that an unpublished study had revealed that the State employees who missed the least days of work were hotel bell boys and pump operators at gas stations.

Taking Advantage of the Cuban Adjustment Act

October 8, 2015 | 4 comments

The lifting of restrictions on visiting Cuba prompted the first doubts regarding the political nature of Cuban immigration. About half a million of those who allegedly fled communist persecution vacation on the island every year.

What the Pope Didn’t Get to See in Havana

October 1, 2015 | No Comments »

The Pope saluted the gathered crowds, kissed a number of children who had been preselected for the occasion, blessed a similarly pre-approved woman on a wheelchair, embraced his Jesuit brothers and boarded his new Pope Mobile. No one drew his attention to a bulletin board where hundreds of petitions from Cuban citizens had been posted.

Cuba and the Catholic Church’s “Selfless” Help

October 1, 2015 | 5 comments

The Cuban press appears to be re-editing that old maxim of “the selfless aid of the Soviet Union,” replacing the USSR with the Vatican. It remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to “sell” citizens the illusion of such help once again.

How to Resolve Three Key Obstacles to Cuba’s Development

September 30, 2015 | 5 comments

I will focus on three important regulations stemming from the hard-headed, bureaucratic reluctance to raise worker salaries, “until the country’s productivity is increased,” as well as the excessive centralization of foreign and domestic trade and the insistence on egalitarianism in subsidies afforded by the ration booklet.

What Raul Castro Told the Sustainable Development Summit

September 27, 2015 | 32 comments

In his first intervention at the United Nations, Cuban president Raul Castro had the following words to say on Saturday at the UN Sustainable Development Summit. Castro will address over a hundred heads of state and government at the plenary session of the UN General Assembly on Monday, Sept. 28.

As Cuba Changes Will the Weakest Be Left Behind?

September 24, 2015 | 21 comments

A reader left a comment saying that “Cubans went into the Special Period economic crisis together, and they are coming out of it one-by-one.” The question now is whether we’ll all be able to come out of the crisis or whether the “weakest” will be left behind.