Jorge Milanes’s Diary


Havana Goes from “Camels” to Flammable P-Line Buses

March 28, 2014 | 2 comments

The large bus substitute people in Cuba call “camels” – a means of transportation created in the 1990′s to address a critical period of shortages in the country – are a dying species. Once, Havana was teeming with these two-humped lorries with noisy doors which were always packed with passengers.




From Lima to Havana and Back: My Friend Becomes a Mule

March 20, 2014 | No Comments »

“Out on the street with my kids, helpless, I started to yell outside the apartment Roberto and I had bought. The lady in the apartment took pity on us and offered me and the children a room to stay in while I looked for a place to settle,” my friend Lila tells me.




My Cuban Friend’s Trip to Lima

March 17, 2014 | 1 Comment »

“Jorge,” said the faint voice of a silhouette I see behind the window. It’s Lila, a friend from junior and senior high school who did a Bachelor’s in Economics (while I had studied Naval Engineering). I thought she had left for the United States.




On Cuban and Chinese Idioms

February 10, 2014 | 4 comments

Recently, I was finally able to meet with my Internet pen-pal Lo Lai Hing in person. He travelled to Cuba from Hong Kong with his mother, Yue Wing. They were very happy. It was their first time in Cuba.




Plaff: Eggs in Today’s Cuba

January 22, 2014 | 5 comments

Plaff, o demasiado miedo para vivir (“Plaff, or Too Afraid to Live”) is a Cuban film from the late 80s starring Daisy Granados, Luis Alberto Garcia and Thais Valdes, premiered at the close of Cuba’s decade of material abundance.




“It’s No One’s Fault”: A Bus Ride in Havana

December 11, 2013 | 1 Comment »

When I got on the bus, I saw that the driver had his hand over the fare-box. Everyone who got on was paying him a peso. “Driver, I don’t have any change,” said a woman who had just boarded the bus, wrestling past a crowd of people.




Cuba’s Primary Schools in the Mirror of Art Education

December 3, 2013 | No Comments »

Not long ago, a friend of mine went to pick her kid up at his primary school and I tagged along. In the hallway, I saw the collages that are always hung on the hallways or at the back of the classrooms in these schools. Only one of them was more or less acceptable, the rest displayed tasteless information and decorations.




Capturing a Pickpocket in Havana

November 27, 2013 | 3 comments

At ten in the morning, I was returning from Vedado on a P-5 bus (which goes all the way down to the ocean drive in Old Havana). I got off and crossed the street, heading towards the Plaza de Armas. Suddenly, I hear two young men call me.




Cuba: My Cousin’s Peculiar Santeria Ceremony

October 2, 2013 | No Comments »

From the moment they arrived to the time they left, the Yubonas controlled absolutely everything that took place at the ceremony. In Cuba, Yubonas are the women responsible for all aspects of the ritual whereby a practitioner of Santeria is initiated into the religion.




My Brother’s First Experience Outside Cuba

September 23, 2013 | No Comments »

Last weekend, my dear brother traveled to Ecuador on an invitation from his son (who decided to chase his dreams outside of Cuba). Early in the morning, the insistent ring of the telephone woke us up. . When I picked up the receiver, he greeted me and said…