Graham Sowa’s Diary


Climbing Western Cuba’s Tallest Peak

April 19, 2014 | 2 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)




FIART Crafts Fair Opens in Havana

December 8, 2013 | No Comments »

Cuba’s largest artisans fair, FIART, opens Monday to the public in its new location at the fortress overlooking the Havana harbor entrance. It will run through December 22. [The fair was scheduled to open Sunday but was put off a day for the national mourning declared for the death of Nelson Mandela.] (21 photos)




US Citizens Losing Out on Emerging Cuban Market

November 2, 2013 | 13 comments

This month a 2.5 billion dollar a year tourist market opened within a hundred kilometers of the United States, but US citizens shouldn’t expect to reap any economic rewards. The Cuban Government continued its slow march toward economic decentralization by allowing private contractors to bid for jobs in the tourist sector.




Cuba Goes Old-School on the Millennium Goals, What’s Next?

October 10, 2013 | 2 comments

I swear everything is slower in the Caribbean. However, my Cubana Airlines wall calendar affirms that time continues its steady countdown to the 2015 due-date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Cuba will be one of the few countries not asking for extensions on the majority of the UN’s homework assignments to the world.




Medicare Fraud, Medicines and Cubans

September 26, 2013 | 5 comments

Miami-Dade County is the per-capita and monetary leader of Medicare fraud in the United States. Not surprisingly, given the geography, there are more than a few Cuban-Americans getting in on the action. I am also sort of responsible. Unlike the perpetrators that make the news, I have not…