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Fernando Ravsberg

Cuba in Search of Lost Hopes

Uncertainty is what makes many Cubans think that neither they nor their children will have any future in their country. It drives many to leave the country in search of a train with a clearly-defined destination, even if that involves cleaning houses f... Continue reading

El fin de los balseros en Cuba

Hace 20 años una salida masiva de balseros -fueron unos 35 mil- marcaba el principio del fin de esa modalidad de emigración. Washington y La Habana se pusieron de acuerdo para devolver a la isla a todos los cubanos capturados en el mar. Continue reading

The End of the Cuban Rafters

Twenty years ago, a massive exodus of Cuban rafters – some 35 thousand left the country – marked the beginning of the end for this type of illegal emigration. Washington and Havana reached an agreement whereby all Cubans captured at sea would be returned to the island. Continue reading

Cuba and the Skeletons of USAID

The US government had to skip over the Cuban-American community if it wanted its resources to actually reach the dissidents. That is how the idea of hiring other US citizens and Latin Americans to smuggle communications equipment and financial resource... Continue reading

Cuba y los esqueletos de la USAID

La agencia de prensa AP parece decidida a hacer públicos todos los planes del gobierno de EEUU en Cuba. Su primera gran revelación fue que Alan Gross –el estadounidense preso en La Habana- había contrabandeado sistemas de comunicación tan sofisticados que eran de uso del Pentágono y la CIA. Continue reading

Cuba Copies the Eritrean Model of Closed Airports

The Havana airport administrator says there are many other airport terminals in the world where entry is forbidden to persons accompanying a passenger, but did not name any of them. While that appears to be an exaggeration, there is at least one in Asm... Continue reading

The Russians Are Back in Cuba

Few times does one witness – within the course of 50 years – a historical cycle like the one Cuba and Russia have just closed. Relations between the two countries will of course not be guided by the same parameters, but the fact of the matter is that Havana and Moscow are once again aware that they need one another. Continue reading

Destrabando la agricultura cubana

Finalmente el gobierno cubano se decide a tirarle un salvavidas a la agricultura, eliminando parte de la burocracia que la ahoga. 6400 puestos administrativos desaparecen junto al organismo encargado de distribuir la producción agrícola. Se trata de un aparto burocrático, conocido como “acopio”, que se destacó siempre por su ineficiencia, siendo el responsable de la pérdida de más de una cosecha y del mal estado en que llegaban casi todos los productos al consumidor. Continue reading

Cuban Agriculture between Farmers and Pencil-Pushers

The Cuban gov. has finally decided to throw agriculture a life line, eliminating part of the bureaucratic apparatus that is stifling it. Some 6,400 administrative positions have disappeared with the State entity responsible for distributing the fruits ... Continue reading

Cuba, sus ancianos y las campanas

No hay que andar mucho en la capital para ver cómo aumentó dramáticamente el número de viejitos pidiendo limosnas, vendiendo periódicos por las calles, recogiendo latas de refresco o revolviendo en los cubos de basura en busca de algo de valor. Continue reading

The Plight of Cuba’s Elderly

When one has guests over, it is natural to try and give them the best possible impression, but sweeping poverty under the rug doesn’t seem like the best course of action, particularly because most of these individuals are elderly people looking to compensate for their meager pensions. Continue reading

“Erase una vez un lobito bueno al que maltrataban todos los corderos…”

La empresa estatal socialista de telefonía, ETECSA, se queja de la competencia de los particulares que “utilizando a Internet como vía alternativa”, suplantan “el rol que corresponde a la empresa” y “a las Centrales Telefónicas Internacionales”. Lo cual le provoca “cuantiosas pérdidas” económicas. Continue reading

Cuba: Journalists vs Bloggers

A few days ago, I met with two renowned bloggers and the journalist of an official newspaper. Sparks flew during our conversation, even though these individuals are from the same generation and concurred on the changes that Cuban journalism requires to... Continue reading

Cuban Co-ops: Legitimate Children or Bastards?

Ironically, State companies look a lot less “socialist” than cooperatives. The latter choose their leaders at worker assemblies, draw up their statutes collectively and distribute benefits more fairly. The process of approving co-ops, however, is very slow. Continue reading

Cooperativas en Cuba: ¿hijas legítimas o bastardas?

Durante la visita a una granja-prisión entrevisté a un señor muy formal que impartía clases a los demás reclusos. En la conversación me confesó que estaba preso por desviar recursos de la “empresa estatal socialista” que dirigía. Continue reading

The Excluded Cubans: Used by the CIA Unwanted by the USA

The arrest of four infiltrated anti-Castro militants from Miami, sent to attack military units, highlights the situation of some 20 Cuban-Americans, who upon leaving prison in Cuba are considered unwelcome by Washington. Continue reading

Los anticomunistas cubanos excluidos por violentos

La captura de cuatro anticastristas infiltrados desde Miami con la supuesta misión de atacar unidades militares pone de relieve la situación de una veintena de cubanoamericanos, que al salir de la cárcel en Cuba son considerados por Washington personas no gratas. Continue reading

Some Comments on Cuban Women

“All Cuban women are whores,” a regular at a bar in Barcelona blurted out with a very sour look on his face when he heard that I lived in Cuba. The generalization struck me as awful, but I have to admit that it is a rather widespread opinion. Continue reading

Tópicos sobre la mujer cubana

“Todas las cubanas son putas”, me espetó con muy mala cara un parroquiano en un bar de Barcelona apenas oyó que yo vivía en Cuba. Tal generalidad me pareció infame, aunque debo reconocer que se trata de un criterio muy extendido. Continue reading

Life and TV in My Cuban Neighborhood

“I’m 68 years old and it’s all the same to me. Our people need respect,” these were the opening words of one of my neighbor’s complaints, voiced during the official accountability meeting with our local representative. It was an apt preamble for what came next. Continue reading

La vida y la tele en mi barrio

“Tengo 68 años y a mí me da lo mismo un escándalo que un homenaje, este pueblo necesita que lo respeten”, así empezó una de mis vecinas sus reclamos durante la rendición de cuentas del representante municipal de mi barrio. Continue reading

Prices in Cuba’s Produce Markets

Last week I went to the “El Trigal” wholesale market and returned home laden with food and amazement. Prices of the farm products are incredibly cheaper than the retail produce markets where most Cubans do their shopping. Continue reading

Lo que pasa con los agromercados a la libre

La semana pasada fui al mercado mayorista “El Trigal” y volví a casa cargado de comida y de asombro. Los precios de los productos agrícolas son vergonzosamente más baratos que en los agro-mercados, donde compran la mayoría de los cubanos. Continue reading

Effects of the US Embargo on Cuba Are Felt in Switzerland

Beat Schmid, mediCuba-Suiza Program Coordinator, explained that Credit Suisse, the second largest bank in Switzerland joined the US Blockade against Cuba by refusing to perform banking transactions for that organization. Continue reading

Cuando los efectos del Embargo se sienten en Suiza

Beat Schmid, Coordinador de programas de MediCubaSuiza, explicó a “Cartas desde Cuba” que el Crédit Suisse, el segundo banco más importante de Suiza se sumó al Bloqueo de los EEUU contra Cuba al negarse a realizar transacciones bancarias a esa organización. Continue reading