Graham Sowa’s Diary


A Big Surprise from Obama

December 19, 2014 | 17 comments

This week President Obama surprised us with the inevitable: he put in motion what is sure to be a long and arduous 180 degree turn of U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba. Here in Havana I came to the quick conclusion that Cuban media outlets were caught completely off guard.




Cycling the Bay of Pigs from Playa Larga to Playa Girón

November 3, 2014 | 2 comments

US citizens call it the Bay of Pigs, Cubans call it Playa Girón. Whatever you prefer, this crystal clear Caribbean bay surrounded by mosquito ridden wetland offers up the best of rural Cuban seaside life.




Cuba Earning from Education

October 23, 2014 | 7 comments

When the history of how Cuba entered the globalized marketplace is written healthcare will be the principal protagonist. Entering the international medical education marketplace and the dynamic use of human resources in healthcare has become the most globalized feature of the Cuban economy.




What the Chikungunya Virus Means for Cuba

May 11, 2014 | 15 comments

After months of hopping from one Caribbean island to the next the Chikungunya virus has arrived within 50km of Cuban shores. With confirmed cases in neighboring Haiti this disease has implications for the Cuban public health system, vector control campaign, and tourist industry.




Climbing Western Cuba’s Tallest Peak

April 19, 2014 | 3 comments

During a recent excursion to The Pan de Guajaibón, western Cuba’s highest peak (701 meters), I learned how to get to one of Cuba’s most spectacular views, how pig thieves destroy rural livelihood, and which type of tree rat you keep as a pet and which you eat. (8 photos)




Adapting Early to Technology in Cuba

March 12, 2014 | No Comments »

My adventure as an early adapter to what turns out to be old technology began last Monday when I received a much awaited text message from ETECSA, the Cuban phone company, advising that cell phones can now be linked to a Cuban email account.




Bocoy Rum Factory in Havana Closed Indefinitely

March 7, 2014 | 10 comments

Last week the Bocoy Rum Factory, the maker of Legendario brand rum, closed permanently with little notice to workers or the public. I didn’t read about this in newspapers or hear it from street gossip; rather I heard it from the workers themselves.




Historic Havana Market Closes

February 18, 2014 | 4 comments

During the final week of January the locally famous Cuatro Caminos market in Havana, Cuba closed its doors to the public after more than 100 years of business under both capitalist and communist economic models. (7 photos)




A New Restaurant in Havana’s Cerro

January 30, 2014 | 5 comments

Havana’s offerings of Comida Criolla mostly consist of overly greasy, yet surprisingly dry fare; usually served at room temperature. My definition of the national food of Cuba got a second look after I went to the newish restaurant Aqui in the Cerro neighborhood of the capitol.




Off the Tourist Beat in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio

January 6, 2014 | 6 comments

During a trip to Pinar del Rio I remembered what it means to be treated as a nobody and met a community organizer who has a machete. I approached with caution. I am wary of tourist traps and the annoying, pushy men that spring them. (16 photos)