On Saturday, October 18, I waved down a collective taxi to head home from the upscale Vedado neighborhood. I got in next to the driver, since three other people already occupied the back seat. In the neighborhood known as Sports City, a woman got in next to me.
Diario de Cuba was born at a Starbucks in Madrid in 2009. Its creators, Pablo Diaz (editor in chief) and a group of Cuban journalists, artists and intellectuals, wanted to develop a forum that would contribute to public and democratic debates among Cubans, beyond the issue of human rights.
I conducted the first half of this interview in 2012, a few months after meeting my interviewee for the first time. His partner, my friend Michel, had described him as being homophobic, complaining that, even though they had a relationship, they never went out together. Being seen with Michel, who claims he didn’t come out of the closet because he was never in it in the first place and is proud of his sexual orientation, embarrassed him.
Christina Sandsengen is a 27-year-old Norwegian guitarist, with an impressive resume in classical guitar, an instrument she was introduced to at the age of 15. Her Barbie-looking photo on the cover of her CD had made me see her as a sophisticated, almost cold, woman quite different from the sensitive, thoughtful person I had the chance to interview.
Eliecer Guerrero is not known to most, but those who visit the El Cobre sanctuary in Santiago de Cuba cannot overlook the many kiosks selling copper pieces, candles, flowers & small, wooden Caridad del Cobre virgins sold along the city’s main street. He was one of the first to sell these items. (48 photos)
Last Sunday, I washed some rotten lentils down the drain and ended up clogging the pipe. I had no choice but to look for a plumber and pay to have it fixed. I called a plumber who had fixed a number of other things around the house, with whom I’d never exchanged more than a few words of greeting and the inevitable “how much do I owe you?”
In ad for a restaurant given me by a young man handing out flyers on Obispo street, Old Havana, offering patrons the opportunity to “enjoy the World Cup finals on a 57-inch, flat-screen TV”, drew me to the Restaurante-Bar 513, located on 8th street, between 5th and 31st, in Miramar.
Months ago, I discovered Lo dulce de Italia en Cuba (“Italian Sweetness in Cuba”), an ice-cream parlor located on 23 street, wedged between 6th and 8thstreets, in Havana’s neighborhood of Vedado. The look of the different ice-cream flavors caught my eye, but the prices pushed me right out of the store.
I often hear people born before 1959 reminisce about things that were simple pleasures back then, things that were within their reach even though they were poor folk, and are today unaffordable luxuries. These people look in frustration on the present and the future.
I love reading things when I find ideas that I can identify with, or reflections that could have come from me. I enjoy even more reading pieces whose contents force me to pause and consider arguments that I hadn’t thought about before, that “prod” me and leave me thinking. I include in this latter group the writing of Martin Guevara, who prefers to “show rather than judge” when he writes.