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Fernando Ravsberg

Normality and Progress in Cuba

On Sunday, I was invited to be part of the panel for the Cuban television program Circulo de la Confianza (“Circle of Trust”), organized at Havana’s Fabrica de Arte cultural center. The topic discussed was progress: what the concept meant, whether Cuba was making any progress with its current reforms and what we ought to do to have progress in the future. Continue reading

Normalidad y progreso en Cuba

El domingo me invitaron a formar parte de un panel del Circulo de la Confianza en la Fábrica de Arte de Cuba. El tema se centraba en el progreso, que significa el concepto, si Cuba progresa con las reformas y que se debería hacer para tener un futuro de progreso. Continue reading

The Cuban State: Jack of All Trades, Master of None

Cuba’s economic difficulties have a variety of ingredients: the island’s status as an underdeveloped nation, the chosen socialist model, the mistakes made by the government, the US blockade and internal corruption (whose expression is the black market). Continue reading

El que mucho abarca…

Al igual que en la ex-URSS, la economía subterránea ha sido poco estudiada en Cuba, a pesar de que sus efectos son notables. Y no se halla solución a los problemas que no se reconocen como tales, los que por lo general terminan explotando en la cara. Continue reading

Human Trafficking Between Cuba and the USA

Cuban immigrants have always been made a political issue, presented as persecuted individuals who are fleeing communism and given the status of refugees by the USA. Continue reading

El tráfico humano entre Cuba y EEUU

Siempre se ha politizado a los emigrantes cubanos, presentándolos como perseguidos que huyen del comunismo y otorgándoles estatus de refugiados en los EEUU. Continue reading

Cuba: Being Accountable to the Public

In the course of recent weeks, Cuba has experienced a number of situations in which government officials made mistakes and later rectified them but tried to avoid asking for apologies. Continue reading

Rendir cuentas a la opinión pública

Un viejo proverbio dice que errar es humano y de sabios rectificar. Otros reiteran que dar la cara, asumir responsabilidades y ofrecer disculpas son distintivos de las personas honradas. Una honradez que debería ser un requisito para todos aquellos que ostentan cargos públicos. Continue reading

Havana Airport Reopens: The Outcry Was Felt

The Cuban government heard the voice of the public and reopened terminal 3 at the Jose Marti Airport to people sending off or receiving travelers. Cyberspace had filled with protests after the closing of the facility. Continue reading

Cuba’s Workforce and More Sacrifices

Some days ago, the official newspaper of Cuba’s Communist Party, Granma, referred to the need to improve the country’s productivity and thus increase salaries, calling on workers to make greater sacrifices with a view to creating more wealth (the only conceivable way of improving wages). The truth of the matter, however, is that achieving greater productivity and efficiency is often not in the hands of Cuban workers, but rather depends on their company’s managers and the bureaucratic structures created by the government to control and centralize these. Continue reading

El huevo, la gallina o la administración del gallinero

El Partido Comunista insiste en la necesidad de mejorar la productividad para poder aumentar los salarios, pidiendo un mayor sacrificio de los obreros. Continue reading

When Cuba Sends Patients Abroad

When I wrote about Rafael’s illness, I became curious about the medical services that Cuban Public Health arranges for patients abroad. Continue reading

La Salud Pública de Cuba en el extranjero

Tras una ardua búsqueda encontramos a una adolescente cubana que acaba de ser tratada en una clínica europea. He aquí su historia. Continue reading

They Want to Silence “Letters from Cuba”

The "Letters from Cuba" website of Fernando Ravsberg, who also publishes articles in Havana Times, came under attack last week and was temporarily knocked out of cyberspace. Now reestablished, the site is currently back to normal. Continue reading

The “Virtuous Circle” of Cuba’s Reforms

The slow implementation of economic reforms in Cuba is justified with the argument that the government does not want to make any mistakes. Every step taken is allegedly preceded by a pilot test used to evaluate the consequences of the change. This is d... Continue reading

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