featuredimage Cuba Sentences Canadian Businessman to 15-years in Prison

Canadian businessman Vahe Cy Tokmakjian, 74, president of the Tokmakjian Group, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Cuban court on charges of corruption, trafficking hard currencies and tax evasion conducted on the island.

featuredimage Marketing of Che & Chavez Perfumes Nixed for Now

The sale of Labiofam perfumes with names alluding to Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez caused the stir that was to be expected. The Cuban company launched these new products at the fair it recently organized. The night following the news, Cubans, for the most part unaware of the marketing strategy, saw a 180-degree turn to the situation.

featuredimage Cuba’s Divisive CDR Defense Committees

It is normal for Cuba’s official press to devote more articles to the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) during the month of September, as the anniversary of their creation is on the 28th of the month. This commentary takes a look at their roots and relevancy today.

featuredimage Infielder Hector Olivera Leaves Cuba

Second baseman Hector Olivera Amaro, one of the stars of Cuban baseball today, has left the island illegally, following in the footsteps of fellow players who have become established in the Major and Minor Leagues abroad. The 29-year-old Olivera belongs to a generation of baseball players who have shone both in the domestic league and international championships over the past decade.

rightcolimage Are Private Secondary Schools Emerging in Cuba?

A brochure handed out in Havana’s neighborhood of Vedado offers a “package” of refresher courses for high-school students. Parents are invited to pay between 5 CUC (Math only) and 15 CUC (Math, Spanish, Physics and Chemistry) a month to ensure their “son or daughter becomes a university student”.

rightcolimage How the Cuban Government Uses Health Workers

Health problems begin to spread across Cuba as the government begins to lose the firm hand of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) to impose its epidemic-control methods and procedures on the population. To fill the void left by the CDRs at the neighborhood level, the government turns to Public Health institutions.

rightcolimage Entitlement: On Cuban Mass Psychology

“What are they selling today?” asks the old woman as she hurriedly gets in line at the butcher’s. “The soy mincemeat and hot dogs,” someone replies. The butcher, who’s overheard the conversation, says in a loud tone of voice: “You don’t get any hot dogs, only the mincemeat.”

rightcolimage False Image of Cuba in France

A Cuban friend of mine was recently in France. While there, he dropped in to check out a festival that the French Communist Party holds every year featuring exhibits from the Communist Parties of the world and their affiliates. My friend told me that he enjoyed some of the concerts that were part of the event, but that in other ways he was disappointed.

rightcolimage Where’s our common sense?

When I interviewed a Babalawo [a priest of the Yoruba, or Santería, religion] a few years ago for Havana Times, I was alarmed at the murky vapors emanating from the religious offerings that are common sights in Havana.

rightcolimage Cuba’s Financial Headaches

It’s clear not all Cubans have the same economic situation, but what’s certain is that the vast majority have salaries that last them a mere 8 to 10 days, and that, the remaining 20 days of the month, they have to what I do: work miracles to acquire essential products.

rightcolimage The History Notebook of a Conscientious Cuban Student

Every July, when the summer break starts, the city’s dump-sites fill up with notebooks thrown out by student’s who’ve finished the school year. They believe, and not without reason, that the notes they have jotted down in class are as good as garbage.

rightcolimage As the Garbage Piles Up in Alamar

Every step you take in Alamar in East Havana invites you to reflect upon your surroundings. It seems that the city is becoming one big garbage dump. Fumigation services turn up randomly, but what difference does it make?