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Features

Coffee with Cuban Truth Serum

Old Panfilo has become the greatest reporter of modern Cuba, it isn’t by chance that the entire country comes to a standstill and sits in front of the TV every Monday evening to watch his comedy show. Even his censored programs pass around from hand to hand or on USBs and hard-drives. Continue reading

The Load (documentary)

A striking, beautifully filmed observation of life aboard an old freight train: a microcosm where a group of men forced to spend a lot of time together amid a variety of unplanned circumstances. Continue reading

The Cuban Series “Street Stories” Circulates Underground

The pirated version of “Historias Callejeras” (Street stories), episodes 6 and 7 are now readily available for Cubans eager to see any material which offers an alternative to the boring official TV broadcasts. The show portrays a grim and violent reality on the Havana streets, the flip side of the Moon called Cuba. Continue reading

Undocumented Nicaraguans in the USA: Fear and Paranoia

Jazel is an undocumented Nicaraguan who has no home, or work, or money. For almost four months she’s been surviving however she can, wandering the streets of New York, in search of some way to subsist. She escaped a toxic relationship with a man who attacked her physically and psychologically. Continue reading

Venezuela: Music and Daring against Maduro

In the two weeks of protests in Venezuela against President Nicolas Maduro's government, which continued on Saturday, there has been more than smoke, arms and shields: there has also been room for the language of nonviolence to the point of nudity and ... Continue reading

The Russian Car Parts Connection in Cuba

“Minus eleven degrees!” is Ania’s first remark about Moscow. She doesn’t dwell on it too long, but talks about her stay in Russia and that of many more like her who the technical health of a significant fleet of private cars in Cuba rely upon. Continue reading

Second Generation Cuban-Americans

“We wanted to come see our parents' and grandfather’s country,” the two brothers told me whose father I met a long time ago when we were children and then teenagers. They speak Spanish with the accent of those who were born in the United States, but learned it at home, eating rice and beans with “pork” meat. Continue reading

Social Interests and Cuba’s Shared Taxis

Over the last few weeks, we have witnessed another controversial episode along the long road to searching for real solutions to our many burdens. The government in the capital of Havana introduced price regulations to how small scale private transport ... Continue reading

Real Madrid, a Soccer Fan Club in Havana

The world’s biggest soccer teams have fan clubs in every corner of the Earth, but because of Cuba’s peculiarities, there are very few official fan clubs based in this corner of the Caribbean. “Official” fan clubs are those which have received the soccer team’s approval, as many unofficial ones have popped up all over the archipelago. Continue reading

Cuba Searches for its “Lost” Money

In my neighborhood, the story about Juan the butcher, who took a detour with a truck full of minced meat, sold it and then left the country, is famous. “It’s a good thing he left,” a neighbor warns, “because if he was still here, people would have got their hands on him... Continue reading

Nicaragua’s Patricia Belli: from Tragedy to Rejoicing

Patricia Belli is possibly the most influential contemporary Nicaraguan artist of our times. The opening of “Balance and Collapse”, an exhibition of her collected works at the Ortiz Gurdián Foundation’s Managua Art Center, is the perfect excuse to talk with Patricia about her three decades in the world of Nicaraguan art. Continue reading

Cuba Makes Needed Water Filters, but Production Is Low

It was August, 2014, and the women in this rural community made coffee very early that morning and kept their eyes fixed on the dirt track as if they were waiting for the Messiah. “The truck’s coming,” one of them alerted and some men quickly joined them. They were all waiting what had been promised. Continue reading

What “Fighting” for Our Daily Bread Means in Cuba

Much has been said recently about “fighting” here in Cuba. I’m talking about the kind of fighting which isn’t linked to sports, or political or military matters. It isn’t just a few people who theorize and give their opinions. They analyze, in a peculiar fashion, the various fronts of one of the most talked about phenomena in the country’s social framework. Continue reading

Depression, the “Silent Epidemic” Also Attacks in Cuba

A recent medical event in Havana and particular indicators I picked up on in TV programs and social projects, stirred my curiosity about the impact of depression in Cuba. In Latin America, Brazil is the country with the highest level of depression, fo... Continue reading

The Cuban Market and its Inconsistencies

Not using the market properly has been - and still is - one of the country’s economic failures; not to mention the fact that it has also functioned without recognizing its mechanisms. Professor Fernandez Estrada notes, "we have to create conditions so that its the producers or suppliers who are competing against each other to sell their products, instead of what we have today in almost every sector of the economy, where its consumers competing against one another to buy what they need.” Continue reading

In Cuba, Almost Nothing Is Considered Garbage

Not too long ago, I was watching a friend do a deep clean of his house and was witness to the conflict that arose between him and his father when it came to deciding what to throw away. That experience led me to write this post. Continue reading

Cuba and Its Rotting Tomatoes

In a country often with considerable food shortages, dozens of tons of tomatoes are rotting in Guantanamo because nobody is collecting them. In the face of situations like this one, which affects the national and local economy, you can’t divide the blame up between everyone. Continue reading

Venezuela, Tales of the Absurd

Venezuela is experiencing a crisis which has forced its inhabitants to rethink the way they spend money in their own country in recent years. Amid new conditions, having access to basic goods which used to form part of their daily lives before, such as... Continue reading

A Photo Feature from Prehistoric Cuba

Cuban natives captured their vision of the world in caves, even the stamp of the Spanish conquest, passing on hundreds of paintings called “cave paintings” to us. These are drawings which were made over a thousand years ago. Interesting analogies transport us from the past to the present. Continue reading

Train Wreck in Central Cuba

Dioney Martin shouldn’t have been on the train that covered the route between Siguaney and Sancti Spiritus at midday on February 27, 2017. If she had got on at Zaza del Medio it was only to do somebody a favor, a routine errand like taking a bag of food to the provincial hospital. Continue reading

Small Businesses in Cuba, Challenges and Obstacles

Anything to do with funding, supplies and taxes has to be a headache today for Cuba’s self-employed. [In the case of taxes, they were once demonized here as an evil of only capitalist systems.] The other obstacles on the road to success are huge. Continue reading

Having a Child in Cuba, Pros and Cons

Cuban authorities have launched a new set of measures to benefit Cuban mothers so as to increase the country’s birth rate and to stop society from aging at the rapid rate it is today. These are steps in the right direction, but are they enough? Continue reading

The Rural Artists of Solentiname, Nicaragua

Jeysell Madrigal Arellano forms part of that new generation. At 32, she’s already been painting for 14 years. She works from her home, a few meters distant from the house of artists Rodolfo and Elba, and is able to support her children through her painting. Continue reading

Tomatoes are Rotting in Guantanamo

Tomatoes are rotting in the Caujeri Valley, a man tells me, which has had a good harvest this year, with a yield that doubles what was expected and has a modern factory to process them but, right now, its productive capacity isn’t enough to deal with all of the tomatoes that are coming in from the fields. Continue reading

Cuba: Small Slithers of Change Towards Progress

Within the internal and external setbacks which the Cuban people have experienced in the last 60 years, physical and mental changes are being seen in language and daily tasks which make the most optimistic of us see a glimmer of light at the end of the... Continue reading

Why Teen Girls Rose Up at a Guatemalan Children’s Home

"It wasn’t because they didn’t like how the food tasted." A story of abuse by Guatemalan authorities that led to an uprising of teenage girls on International Women's Day that ended with at least 37 burnt to death at a government Home for Children. Continue reading