Jorge Milanes’s Diary


Back to the Roots, in the Shadows

August 26, 2015 | No Comments »

“She’s an exceptionally beautiful woman, but she doesn’t do it for me anymore. I think it best to turn my life around completely,” Oliver, one of the workmates I sometimes converse with, says to me rather worried…




The Businesses of Cuba’s Self-Employed

August 11, 2015 | 4 comments

“Buddy, you’ve seen how much effort I’ve put into running a tasteful and proper business,” says Hector, a neighbor of mine who recently became self-employed, opening a cafeteria at the intersection of I and 27 street in Cojimar.




The Market Logic of Cuban Santeria

June 3, 2015 | 3 comments

This Afro-Cuban religion, conceived to improve the health of the ill, has become one of the most lucrative enterprises one can pursue in Cuba. It has become almost the contrary of what its spiritual essence dictates.




Cuba: The Anthropology of Popular Opinion

May 29, 2015 | 5 comments

No one in Cuba today is surprised to hear the various opinions that have traditionally surrounded the claim that “black people have bigger penises than white people,” so I assume no one will be too shocked by my comments on the subject below.




Sex or Robbery?

May 20, 2015 | No Comments »

Yesterday, I saw him at the emergency ward with bandages on his back. When I asked what had happened to him, he told me two men had assaulted him with a knife and stabbed him twice. “I couldn’t see the people who attacked me,” he told me.




Scuba-Diving in Cuba: A Therapeutic Experience

May 11, 2015 | No Comments »

Scuba-diving “was” a forbidden sport for nearly all Cubans. The impressions associated with it are therefore unknown by a great majority. Nonetheless, I had the opportunity to enjoy a number of these activities, along with other workmates.




Everyone’s a Builder in Cuba

April 22, 2015 | 7 comments

Just about anyone will tell you here that they’re an experienced builder. You only need to have some construction materials lying around the house for someone to show up and offer you their services. “If you need a builder, just call me,” a new neighbor tells me.




Working Cuba’s Highways

April 13, 2015 | No Comments »

“I give hand jobs, blow jobs and the full package, whatever I need to do, though I don’t like it. I have to feed my three kids and I would rather stand by the side of the road, and make more, than work for the State for a salary that’s doesn’t even cover my bus fare.”




The “Pleasure” of Smoking

April 10, 2015 | 2 comments

There are people who feel ecstatic when they smoke, forgetting they deal others a record-breaking blow when they exhale the tobacco smoke in their faces. It’s like a slap in the face that causes no apparent pain.




Neighborhood “CDR” Meetings in Cuba

March 31, 2015 | 5 comments

“We’ll be holding a meeting to nominate our candidates next Wednesday, at the market corner,” the chair of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) tells me as she opens the gate of her house. “Can I count on you to go?” she asks