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.
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.
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.
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.
With a view to securing a greater number of votes in favor of the new legislation, those responsible for organizing the debate surrounding Cuba’s Draft Labor Bill came up with a means of confusing the workers during the document’s review and discussion.
As I predicted, my partner Jimmy Roque, member of the Observatorio Critico Network, ultimately lost his job because of his political ideas. The management of the 27 de Noviembre Polyclinic, where he worked, came up with a strategy to get rid of him.
This Saturday I was summoned to the Police Station 23 and C , in Vedado, where an agent of the Ministry of Interior (MININT) threatened to retaliate against me and my fellow Critical Observatory Network members, if we hold public debates on the Cuban Labor Code bill.
Since acting as the representative of her community in an effort to recover a grove of casuarina trees in Santa Fe that had been felled by authorities, my restless friend Patricia Alonso has continued to insist that autonomous community work is possible and to try and involve her neighbors in the exploration and transformation of their environment.
In the course of these past few years, the Cuban journal Espacio Laical (“Secular Space”) has demonstrated that the much-needed space for a gathering of Cubans and a debate among them can be created in every imaginable sphere, provided the guiding tenet is transparency.
This is not a warning, no. It is exactly the opposite, actually: if you want to feel safe and enjoy a ride in one of Havana’s many traditional American cars, try and catch a ride in this woman’s cab. I had the good fortune of meeting her a few days ago, when I decided to catch a cab to work.