Sancti Spiritus: A Cuban City Turns 500

April 15, 2014 | 1 Comment »

One would think the city has been bombed out. Sancti Spiritus, Cuba’s City of the Holy Spirit, will turn five hundred in June of this year, and the heart of its old town has all but vanished. (18 photos)

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.

Troubled Tree Planting in Havana

April 15, 2014 | No Comments »

None of the silk cotton (ceiba) trees I’ve planted as part of the Guardabosques (“Forest Ranger”) initiative I created in 2007 with a group of people concerned about the city’s trees have survived to date. I admit I no longer know what to do about this, as I’ve tried every strategy I’ve deemed appropriate.

Getting By: The Daily Life of the Elderly in Cuba (Part I)

April 15, 2014 | 2 comments

Many a time, when I get up in the morning, I don’t need to look at the clock, for, at exactly 7 am every day, a man who sells bread and invariably walks past my house blows a whistle and yells out: “Bread, come get your bread!”

Will Cuba Get On Line?

April 14, 2014 | 3 comments

The news zigzag their way through Cuba’s online media and down the grapevine. Some say it’s coming, some say it isn’t. It might be this year, there may be plans underway – maybe, we’ll see. In the midst of all this chatter and contradictory news, the arrival of an Internet connection accessible to us simple Cuban mortals seems within sight.

My First Book Gets Published in Cuba

April 14, 2014 | 5 comments

I am 34 and about to have my first book published. I’ve been in this writing business for 17 years, struggling to get ahead, trying to get my foot in the door here and there, and the truth is that it hasn’t been easy.

Cuba’s Cartoon Legend Elpidio Valdes and Me

April 11, 2014 | No Comments »

I step out onto the balcony and see a group of children playing on the street. One of them runs around, astride a stick, yelling “Up and at ‘em, Palmiche.” It was pleasant to see this, because, nowadays, children tend to spend hours in front of the PlayStation or the computer, and their idols are galactic superheroes, mutants and who knows what else.

The Melodrama of Buying Potatoes in Havana

April 11, 2014 | 2 comments

The reason I write this now is not precisely because some farmers markets around Havana are selling potatoes again, but the fact this product has been made available again in such a surreptitious manner. It’s taken so long – has it been months, years? – that people have been caught off guard.

Democracy in the Times of the Energy Crisis

April 10, 2014 | 16 comments

Democracy could well be within hand’s reach in a future marked by the energy crisis, the only “inconvenience” is that we will have to fight for it old-school: wielding a machete, in exile or prison with a quill and some ink, through guerrilla warfare up in the mountains or clandestine cells in the city.

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.