Irina Echarry’s Diary

My Mom’s Housing Curse

January 19, 2015 | No Comments »

My parents got married in 1967. A short time later, they already had two kids and steady jobs. The only thing they didn’t have was a roof over their heads. Living in cheap hotels made for a hectic life. The worst part of it was the anxiety of it all…

Cuba: The Empty Rostrum

January 6, 2015 | 2 comments

I want to condemn the criminal proceedings that the Cuban government wishes to institute against the artist Tania Bruguera. No one has the right to curtail the full expression and development of art, much less appropriate a public space and transform it into a sacred temple, as has happened in Cuba.

Animal Abuse in Cuba, a Round Table Discussion

November 18, 2014 | 9 comments

Every so often, Cuba’s “Mesa Redonda” (Round Table) program tries to address a social issue in a segment entitled “Sobre la Mesa” (On the Table). Though the superficiality with which issues are tackled is always rather vexing, the segment is a barometer which tells us how the government conceives a specific topic.

Cuban Women: Testimonies and Tears

October 18, 2014 | No Comments »

The theater was packed, and many had to stand throughout the 33-minute-long documentary, Ingrid Leon’s Mujeres…la historia dorada (“Women: The Golden Story”). The theater employees scheduled another screening for those who were left out.

Cuba: Subsidy or Suicide?

October 1, 2014 | 1 Comment »

My building was constructed in the mid-70s, in the midst of severe material shortages. The families who moved into the building had been without a home for years and therefore didn’t care that it was far from the city center or that the apartments were poorly finished.

The Start of Classes in Cuba

September 23, 2014 | 2 comments

Amanda smiles whenever anyone asks her if she likes going to school or not: a sincere, happy smile that reminds me of my own many years ago. Until the last school year, we would hear Amanda crying out on the stairwell every morning – she didn’t want to go to her kindergarten.

Saving a Dog at Havana’s Calixto Garcia Hospital

September 16, 2014 | 19 comments

The Coronary Care Ward at Havana’s Calixto Garcia Hospital is not exactly a merry place, but it would be far more depressing if it wasn’t for La Niña. La Niña is a cute little dog that squats on the ground floor of the hospital.

Cuba’s “Sandwich Generation”: Looking after the Sick and Elderly

August 21, 2014 | 1 Comment »

For six years, I lived with two elderly women (my grandmother and her sister). It was the saddest time in my life that I can recall. The Special Period crisis had hit us hard and we didn’t have the conditions needed to care for them at home.

Henrietta and Me

August 1, 2014 | No Comments »

I would have liked to have contributed something significant to the world, something small but important. Thinking about this, I came upon the first of August, the day in which Henrietta Lacks was born. She had the worst three defects someone could have in 1950s Virginia.

My Mom’s Experiences at Havana’s “Roach Motel” Hospital

May 29, 2014 | 22 comments

My mother was sweating buckets. An intense burning sensation in her chest was making her dizzy. She started to go cold and pale, and her lips took on that frightening purple tonality. Then, she passed out. That’s the beginning of the story.