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February 2018
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Irina Pino’s Diary

Two Emigres Visit Cuba

The uncertainty of what you might find when you return to your country of birth worries Cuban emigres, returning after years of being away. Carlos, a friend, almost a brother to me, came to Havana to see his mother after 7 years of being apart. Continue reading

My Book Presentation at the Havana Book Fair

I just presented my third collection of poems: “De las escaleras para abajo”, recently published by the Hermanos Loynaz publishing house from Pinar del Rio, on Sunday February 4th, at the Morro-Cabana fairground. Continue reading

Spanish Department Store Chain Reaches Havana

For some reason I don’t understand, people’s hopes begin with a new year. They hope to have health, achieve professional success, go on trips, always good things. But, our reality isn’t the things we want, but what can be seen in everyday events. Continue reading

Medieval Music in Cuba with Ensemble Lauda

Between enthusiastic applause and gratitude, the Havana Medieval Festival came to end on January 21st at the Church of Santo Ángel Custodio, in Old Havana. Convened by the Ensemble Lauda, the event involved six days of concerts and lectures. Continue reading

A New Cuban Movie for Parents

A new Cuban movie, “La Hoja de la Caleta”, premiered in the capital’s movie theaters over the past few days. Directed by the pair Jorge Campaneria and Mirta Gonzalez; they bring us the story of a boy who lives in a fishing village in Santa Cruz del Sur. His mother has left him and his father is one step away from becoming an alcoholic again. Continue reading

Remembering my father

All throughout my life, I have heard stories about separated families, children who don’t speak to their parents or parents who don’t want to know anything about their children, neglect and other stories which are too terrible to repeat... However, my experience with my father wasn’t like this. Continue reading

Christmas Celebrations in Cuba?

Here in Cuba, these celebrations were banned for a long time but they gained new life in the ‘90s, I remember going to the midnight Mass with a friend and I loved it. That time, cups of hot chocolate, sandwiches and sweets were handed out after the religious ceremony. Continue reading

The Struggle in Cuba to Learn English

Looking back over all of the years I’ve spent studying English, I’ve realized that the teaching methods used in schools haven’t been effective. The classes have too much theory and zero conversational practice. The thing is that we don’t learn it like we should: with daily feedback. Continue reading

To George Harrison, You Still Live Among Us

On November 29th, dawn broke with rain and trees invoking autumn. The sun replaced the rain at some point. Pain doesn’t last forever. All pain has a bright side. Continue reading

To George Harrison, You Still Live Among Us

On November 29th, dawn broke with rain and trees invoking autumn. The sun replaced the rain at some point. Pain doesn’t last forever. All pain has a bright side. Continue reading

Distorted Images: Being a Parent and Remember Back When…

As parents, it’s in our interest to forget how rebellious we were, our hate for school, our getaways, our drifting around. However, everything is born out of something, nothing just happens. Continue reading

Looking After Your Behind

I was walking past the CIMEX stores, in the Sierra Maestra building in Miramar, and I saw a huge line. I was surprised as the home hygiene department is normally not very busy and empty most of the time... Continue reading

A Woman’s Place

Sexual object, sex slave, Barbie. For decades, women didn’t have the right to vote. Very few women have been the president of a country. She was reduced to giving birth without being able to stop it, constrained to the home almost by decree. Continue reading

Reaching Old Age

Reaching old age alone is the worst kind of loneliness. There are also elderly people who, even though they are surrounded by their family, feel excluded; young people distance themselves or ignore them; at home, their opinions don’t count or they are the last ones to be asked their opinion. They are left in their own universe bursting with memories, where they live the life that has now passed. Continue reading

Memories of a hurricane

This post might seem out-dated, but seven days without electricity and sludge everywhere is a trauma for anyone. I never imagined that Hurricane Irma would be one of the triggers of my home arrest. Continue reading

Getting a Date Here in Havana

It was easy for my generation to fall in love and have sex. Everything used to flow so naturally, we weren’t after money. That doesn’t mean to say that prostitution and self-interested people didn’t exist..., however, it wasn’t an odyssey to find pleasant company, far from that. Continue reading

New Beauty Standards

When you are young, you don’t think too much about your appearance, you just have to be a bit charming, as firm skin makes up for a not so beautiful face. And it’s true, once your body begins to age, you begin to worry... Continue reading

Dealing with Sexual Dysfunction in Men

Men don’t like talking about “this” even with their friends. They feel handicapped. They think that they have lost their masculinity and have stopped being men. Then, complexes and feelings of blame appear. Even so, they resist admitting it. Continue reading

Cuban Teenagers and their Foolishness

What we are witnessing in our youth here in Cuba today isn’t a lack of ambition, it’s a kind of eternal boredom, a not knowing what to do. Nothing fully satisfies them, they get bored of everything they are doing. Continue reading

Repatriation to Cuba and its Advantages

Cuba is a tourist destination. A slogan says so. But nevertheless, it is also a long term business. Therefore, many Cubans in exile are seeking out the way to be “repatriated”. And what does that mean? Well, that there are certain facilities involved, which will then translate into benefits. Continue reading

Rising to the Stars with the Cuban Rock Band Anima Mund

On the night of Saturday June 17th, it was one of those Saturdays that I haven’t been scammed by bad movies on TV or sterile experiences. This time I won: I was at a concert of Cuban rock band, Anima Mundi, who were playing at the El ciervo encantado theater. Continue reading

A Unique Vision on Life in a Country Full of Symbols

Fernando Perez makes auteur cinema, his unique vision on life in his country is full of symbols and characters who translate his desires, sadness and joy, and they make up a language (another one) to trace our present reality. Continue reading

50th Anniversary Concert for Sgt. Pepper in Havana

A well-attended concert for the 50th anniversary of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was held at John Lennon park. Over two hours of joy, enjoyment and happiness, prove that we need rock concerts which maybe represent the rebellious symbol that Lennon was in his time. (8 fotos) Continue reading

The Elderly Who Leave Cuba

Emigres who are over 50 or 60 years old are exposed to huge changes in their lives. Their lives get turned around by 90 degrees, or maybe more even. That’s why their uprooting is usually like an incurable pain, although the situations vary. Continue reading

Faggots and Homophobes

They are called faggots, pussies, chickens, crazies... but these are all derogatory names. Calling a man a “faggot” is the worst insult you can give him. And that’s because homophobia is as deeply-rooted and entrenched as machismo itself. Continue reading

The New Generation or Degeneration

Young people having folders full of pornography, which they don’t even hide with subtle names, explicitly calling them: XXX, is nothing new. And of course, we know what’s inside them. Continue reading