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April 2014
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Cubans, Destination Ecuador and Beyond

“The objective is getting there to go beyond,” confess Mario and Ismaray, a couple of young Cubans who plan to travel to Ecuador on the first leg of a journey to the United States. After demanding for more than a year a letter of invitation as a prerequisite to allow the arrival of Cubans, the Ecuadorean government on April 1, 2014, again allowed 90-day tourism stays without the need for visas. Continue reading

Cuba and its New Investment Law: From Sustainable Development to Neo-Liberalism

Sustainable development” has been Cuba’s guiding tenet since the publication of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and Revolution in 2011.The concept, assumed as an axiom, does not require any kind of verification – it is an absolute truth. Continue reading

Cuba’s Top Star Cepeda Shuns MLB for Japanese League Sojourn

In easily the most significant revelation yet spawned by the recently revised policy regarding Cuban ballplayer exchanges, the Cuban Baseball Federation revealed this past weekend that long-time national team star Frederich Cepeda will be performing th... Continue reading

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, his Friends Fidel and Clinton, and the Cuban Five

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the famed Colombian novelist who died April 17, 2014, played a fascinating cameo role in the story of the Cuban Five. In the spring of 1998, he carried a secret message about a terrorist plot against Cuba from Fidel Castro to Bi... Continue reading

Salon Tropical ‘Paladar’ in Santiago de Cuba Is Still Afloat

One of the restaurants in Santiago de Cuba that has survived the many ups and downs of private business on the island is the Salón Tropical. Its owner, Nilda Gil, has managed the place from the start, as best as the rules of the game allowed her. Continue reading

Cuba’s Energy Initiatives

Despite Cuba’s interest in reducing its dependence on oil, the island does not currently import electric cars or authorize the use of natural gas as fuel. Currently only 5 % of the energy Cuba consumes is derived from renewable sources. A work group for the promotion of such sources of energy was recently assembled. Continue reading

Cuba’s Tarara Summer Camp

That summer, we’d been told that one way of spending a fabulous, paid vacation – and earning a bit of money on top of that – was to get a job as guide at the primary school summer camp in Tarara, the same place where, years before, shortly after arriving from Argentina, my brother and I had spent some time recovering from our asthma. Continue reading

The Significance of April 9 for Cuban History

The history of Cuba is loaded with heroic deeds, episodes in which Cubans have risked their lives to defend the freedom and dignity of their people. The path stretching from the Spanish conquest to our day has been paved with the blood of martyrs. (23 ... Continue reading

Cuba and the Killer of Dreams

Actually the Cuban Twitter called "Zunzuneo", created by USAID, is nothing new; this is the digital version of TV Marti and it's having similar results: millions of US taxpayer dollars spent to exert negligible influence within Cuba, reaching only 40,0... Continue reading

Will Cuba and Obama Let Alan Gross Die?

The attorney of US agent Alan Gross, the USAID subcontractor serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba for national security violations, said Tuesday that his 64-year-old client would continue his hunger strike "as long as necessary." Continue reading

Windows XP Refuses to Go in Cuba

Though Microsoft has been announcing for months that it will cease to offer technical support for its Windows XP Operating System (OS) on April 8, Cuban computers continue to regard the announcements of the multi-million software company incredulously. Continue reading

The True (Forgotten) Story of Havana’s John Lennon Park

In December 1990, I took part in one of the most beautiful music events I can recall. I am referring to the first, great concert held as tribute to John Lennon in Havana, at the park located on the intersection of 17 and 6th streets. Continue reading

Public Transportation in Cuba: Moving Backwards

As far as its public transportation system is concerned, Cuba has two choices: to continue doing the same thing for another 50 years or to study the experiences of other countries and apply those that best suit the situation at home, without the need o... Continue reading

The Empowerement of Cuban Women

There are many factors behind the empowerment of Cuban women, but one of the most important is their massive incorporation into the workforce and higher education – 66 percent of Cuba’s professionals and experts are female, as are 50 % of the country’s healthcare workers. Continue reading

Spring in Miami and a Conference on Cuba

I must confess I did not expect so many people to turn up with a positive attitude: over a hundred! One man dropped off some flyers denouncing us for supporting the "Castro dictatorship" and left. The organizers respectfully left the flyers for anyone ... Continue reading

Cuba in minority as UN Council Votes to Investigate Sri Lanka for Human Rights Abuse

Five years after the ethnic civil war in Sri Lanka was won by the Sinhalese government, with thousands of Tamil civilians killed in the final weeks, the UN Human Rights Council authorized its High Commissioner to investigate if human rights abuse occur... Continue reading

The Carlos J. Finlay Café in Havana

The intersection of Balascoain and Estrella streets in Havana pays eternal homage to the renowned Cuban physician Carlos Juan Finlay. A statue of the illustrious epidemiologist decorates a nearby park, surrounded by several learning institutions, from ... Continue reading

The Place Where You Were Once Happy

A year ago, I ate at La Buena Vida (“The Good Life”), a restaurant located in Havana’s neighborhood of Playa. I had been invited by a foreign friend, as in practically every occasion, since the 1990s, that I’ve eaten at a classy restaurant. Continue reading

The Bridge at 100th and Boyeros in Havana

Those who travel often on Rancho Boyeros Ave. will know this crossroads which is a bridge that leads to the municipalities of Arroyo Naranjo and Playa. Below it are food stands, hairdressers and manicures, CD and DVD sellers as well as others with sho... Continue reading

A Gay Soccer Drama Set in Havana

At night, Havana’s picturesque ocean drive becomes a showcase where young men offer the charms of their youth to tourists in search of sexual adventures. See this review of the film "La partida" (The Departure). Continue reading

Cuba’s New Foreign Investment Bill under Discussion at Regional Assemblies

A preview of the upcoming Bill on Foreign Investment was given this week by the chairman of the Cuban National Assembly’s Commission on Constitutional and Judicial Affairs, José Luis Toledo Santander. He states that the document "aims to reinforce the guarantees to investors and establishes the priority of foreign investment in almost all sectors of the economy, especially in those related to production.” Continue reading

The Story of the Ration Book in Cuba

No, it’s not a fairy tale and the “happily ever after” ending remains to be seen. Rather, this is the chronicle of a little book that’s been part of the lives of Cubans for many years: the Ration Booklet. Continue reading

March in Venezuela against “Cuban Interference”

The escalating political crisis and violence in Venezuela is increasingly pointing towards the Cuban collaboration in the country. At stake is the fate of the Cubans there after more than a decade of missions ranging from humanitarian contributions to involvement in the country’s intelligence strategies and social control. Continue reading

Gourriel Ties Cepeda on Cuban League Career Home Run List

In only the second campaign of a novel split-season structure, the reduced eight-team Cuban League is currently witnessing one of its most nail-biting and competitive pennant chases in recent memory. Continue reading

Attractive Cuba-USA Boxing Match Up

Cuba and the United States, two of the most bitter political enemies the world has known in the last 50 years, will have a chance to “fight it out” in a few days’ time, when boxing teams from the two countries meet in the ring for the World Series Boxing (WSB) quarterfinals. Continue reading