Isbel Diaz

Troubled Tree Planting in Havana

April 15, 2014 | 5 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.

New Face of Cuba’s Official Online Newspaper

March 31, 2014 | 22 comments

Cuba’s Granma newspaper website recently changed their look and several features including the new possibility of posting comments. We should pay attention to these shy steps and what they could mean for the future: a move towards an acceptable model of free press, or a mere disguise used to conceal the censorship mechanism we know so well.

Cuban State Security: No Change of Mentality

March 22, 2014 | 6 comments

The lack of transparency of this military institution, the discretionary nature of its employment methods, the mystery that surrounds the budgets it handles and the prerogatives given to it by the Council of Ministers, totally contradict Raul Castro’s call to “change our mentality.”

The First Ladies Tour of Havana

February 7, 2014 | 3 comments

The Cuban government seems to be making more and more concessions with respect to the lifestyles of the world’s governing elite and no longer conceals how much the hypocritical protocol that characterize international relations appeal to it.

Who Cares about Cuba Besides Cubans?

February 1, 2014 | 25 comments

The paths of Cuba and the fate of the Cuban revolution are issues of serious concern outside the island. No one had to tell me, nor did I have to read it, I saw it with my own eyes during my recent visit to Brazil in the month of January.

Cuba and the Veil: An Anecdote

December 30, 2013 | 9 comments

It happened inside a bus in Havana some days ago, for all passengers to see. A teenager attacked my friend and colleague Yasmin S. Portales Machado, yanking the veil she normally wears so hard he almost made her fall backwards.

Hard Currency Admission at Havana’s Colon Cemetary

December 10, 2013 | 7 comments

The Cuban State appears to know no limits when it comes to strategies for milking the last penny out of those who visit the island. Even Havana’s sprawling Necropolis de Colon cemetery is used as a tourist trap. I became aware of this while trying to show it to a Latin American friend, a lover of Cuba and its revolution.

Another Gay Film Made in Cuba

December 4, 2013 | 3 comments

A new local film titled “Fatima, or Fraternity Park” is about to be released in Cuban theaters, a new addition to the shy list of Cuban films dealing with gay issues. Renowned actor and director Jorge Perugorria (who played a homosexual intellectual in “Strawberry and Chocolate”) is the director.

Echoes of Cuba’s Homophobic 2012 Census

November 26, 2013 | 7 comments

Last year, I published a post condemning how the Population and Household Census then conducted in Cuba had crudely manipulated information in order to conceal the existence of homosexual couples living together in the country.

An Unauthorized Tribute to Cuban Singer Teresita Fernandez

November 19, 2013 | No Comments »

This past Sunday, a group of young people met in the beautiful San Francisco de Asis square in Havana’s old town to pay a personal tribute to Cuban children’s song writer and singer Teresita Fernandez – without having been officially invited to do so, without signed permits and without TV microphones.