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”.
Health problems begin to spread across Cuba as the government begins to lose the firm hand of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) to impose its epidemic-control methods and procedures on the population. To fill the void left by the CDRs at the neighborhood level, the government turns to Public Health institutions.
“What are they selling today?” asks the old woman as she hurriedly gets in line at the butcher’s. “The soy mincemeat and hot dogs,” someone replies. The butcher, who’s overheard the conversation, says in a loud tone of voice: “You don’t get any hot dogs, only the mincemeat.”
A Cuban friend of mine was recently in France. While there, he dropped in to check out a festival that the French Communist Party holds every year featuring exhibits from the Communist Parties of the world and their affiliates. My friend told me that he enjoyed some of the concerts that were part of the event, but that in other ways he was disappointed.
When I interviewed a Babalawo [a priest of the Yoruba, or Santería, religion] a few years ago for Havana Times, I was alarmed at the murky vapors emanating from the religious offerings that are common sights in Havana.
It’s clear not all Cubans have the same economic situation, but what’s certain is that the vast majority have salaries that last them a mere 8 to 10 days, and that, the remaining 20 days of the month, they have to what I do: work miracles to acquire essential products.
Every July, when the summer break starts, the city’s dump-sites fill up with notebooks thrown out by student’s who’ve finished the school year. They believe, and not without reason, that the notes they have jotted down in class are as good as garbage.
Every step you take in Alamar in East Havana invites you to reflect upon your surroundings. It seems that the city is becoming one big garbage dump. Fumigation services turn up randomly, but what difference does it make?
A friend and I went to a Christian party. We weren’t exactly invited. The pastor wanted the gathering filmed, and another friend of ours asked us to help in the recording as a favor. I had no objections, because I respect all of the world’s religions.
I want to let my regular readers know I was very eager to start writing again. After three months of more or less mandatory holidays, I was beginning to miss the frequent debates between commentators, both supporters and detractors.