Irina Echarry’s Diary

Cuba News Flash

January 16, 2017 | 1 Comment »

When I left Alamar, nobody, including myself, knew anything and I found out about the news when I got to Vedado: the “wet-foot/dry-foot” policy had been revoked. I know that things aren’t always black and white, there are grey areas.

Leaving Cuba… Where To?

December 15, 2016 | 8 comments

In 1994, when trucks carrying homemade rafts were used to go past my building and head towards the coast, I couldn’t imagine that the story of balseros (rafters) in Alamar would be repeated over so many years. Here are some recent situations I witnessed.

Over Fried Foods in Cuba: Slow Death or No Big Deal?

October 15, 2016 | 1 Comment »

Dawn breaks. The odor of refried oil seeps into my apartment, Mayra is refrying the croquettes that were left over from yesterday. Children line up around her cart with fried goodies, bread with croquettes and fried “crabs” filled with guava, to satisfy their morning cravings, before they go to school.

A Hunger Strike in Cuba That Should Matter to All of Us

September 5, 2016 | No Comments »

Not just because he’s a human being, but because he’s putting his life on the line in order to demand a universal human right that all of us Cubans should be fighting for: the right to publicly oppose the government without being repressed.

Cuba’s Strange Machismo

August 26, 2016 | 7 comments

Maura almost crosses herself whenever she hears her neighbor shout at her boyfriend in the middle of the street. If I do that to Jose- she exclaims -, nobody will be able to save me from the beating he’ll give me; we have to respect our men.

Don’t Go Looking for What’s Meant for You…

August 2, 2016 | 2 comments

It doesn’t matter if you are more or less attractive, shy or flirtatious, if you dress one way or another; the fact you’re a woman forces you to put up with…

If Reggaeton’s what you want, go ahead!

July 12, 2016 | 6 comments

Over the last couple of days, in sessions held by the National Assembly, our congressmen and congresswomen have “debated”, among other issues, the current state of our society and its immediate future.

In Cuba, to Smoke or Not to Smoke…

June 24, 2016 | 13 comments

The Cuban government continues to support smoking in many ways; tobacco companies try to increase their sales and people keep choosing to smoke as a lifestyle choice, and they’re taking up the habit when they’re younger and younger.

Women in the Cuban Countryside

May 31, 2016 | 9 comments

For an urban woman fed up of the city, its noise and pollution, living in the country can seem like a beautiful alternative. However, it took just a few days of visiting and living with some rural families to realize that rural life isn’t all a bunch of roses; much least for women.

Is Feeding Stray Animals Wrong?

April 29, 2016 | 19 comments

In Cuba, animals are at a disadvantage. No law protects them and there aren’t many humans involved in the struggle to get one passed. There are many of us who think one is needed, but not enough.