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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Famed Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez spent Easter Sunday in South Florida explaining her motivation for speaking out against the Castro government. She didn?t do it on the radio or on television, fittingly Continue reading
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, author of a new book on immigration, tells Newsmax that America's "incredibly complex" immigration laws should be reformed "from stem to stern" with an eye toward attracting Continue reading
Los cubanos que a diario corren el riesgo de ser encarcelados por intentar transmitir una imagen certera de la vida en Cuba—a través de blogs, Facebook, Twitter—han tenido una cara ante el mundo, indudablemente, en Yoani Sánchez. Gracias a... Continue reading
Los cubanos que a diario corren el riesgo de ser encarcelados por intentar transmitir una imagen certera de la vida en Cuba—a través de blogs, Facebook, Twitter—han tenido una cara ante el mundo, indudablemente, en Yoani Sánchez. Gracias a... Continue reading
Los cubanos que a diario corren el riesgo de ser encarcelados por intentar transmitir una imagen certera de la vida en Cuba—a través de blogs, Facebook, Twitter—han tenido una cara ante el mundo, indudablemente, en Yoani Sánchez. Gracias a... Continue reading
InterAksyon.comThe online news portal of TV5 BARINAS, Venezuela - Nicolas Maduro was speechless when Hugo Chavez first told him he may have to carry on the Venezuelan leftist leader's legacy, but he now Continue reading


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By María Matienzo Puerto (English text taken from Havana Times) HAVANA TIMES — The last time I spoke with Angel, I told him to have faith, because the truth always ends up coming out. At the same time I wondered … Continue reading Continue reading
Jackson Diehls March 18 op-ed column, Who will speak for Pay?, ignored the political considerations of public comments by government officials. Mr. Diehl seemed to expect Spanish Foreign Minister Jos Continue reading
WHAT WAS it about a simple petition drive more than a decade ago that so frightened Fidel Castro? Cubas constitution provides that a law may be proposed by citizens if 10,000 people or more sign a petition. Continue reading
Shortly after Cuban blogger and pro-democracy advocate Yoani Sánchez visited the White House last week, she was asked by a TV Martí reporter whether she supported an unconditional lifting of the Cuban Continue reading
Radio Nederland Internacional publica en su página web un compendio de las respuestas dadas por la bloguera cubana a preguntas enviadas por gente de todo el mundo a través de las redes sociales. Continue reading
What experts say: Ponce de León, a former governor of Puerto Rico who was given the authority to search for new lands, may not have been the first European in Florida. Maps from as early as 1511 - two Continue reading
A hunger strike is not a criminal offence ("Starving to live, not die," March 30). It is a strong form of expressing one's opinion. A welfare government cannot remain idle when one of its citizens is Continue reading
On our small island many have felt the need to emigrate. Most do it out of disillusionment, others out of desperation, some looking for comfort, and a few rare specimens simply to be different, out of morbid fascination. When the … Continue reading Continue reading
WASHINGTON, Mar. 31,CMC - The United States has joined heightened calls for an independent investigation into the deaths of Cuba's most respected dissident, Oswaldo Payá, and a fellow dissident in a car Continue reading
The four Cuban refugees with their mouths sewn closed as part of an ongoing hunger strike PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands -- Four Cuban refugees who are being detained by the Immigration Department Continue reading
GRAND TURK, Turk and Caicos Islands, Mar. 31, CMC - Turks and Caicos Islands authorities say they have freed four illegal Cuban migrants who sewed their lips together to protest their six-month detention Continue reading
Cuba under Raúl Castro has entered a new period of economic, social, and political transformation. Reforms instituted within the past few years have brought the expansion of private sector entrepreneurial Continue reading
(L-R) Governor Ric Todd and Premier Rufus Ewing PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands -- The potential for misinformation in conflicting post-Cabinet updates was recently highlighted in the Turks and Continue reading
Cuban opposition blogger Yoani Sanchez talks during the inauguration of the Clic festival, on June 21, 2012 in Havana. (Photo credit: ADALBERTO ... Continue reading
En estos diez años de existencia las Damas de Blanco se han convertido en el símbolo más visible y emblemático de la resistencia al régimen comunista de la isla. Continue reading
Venezuela's acting president Nicolas Maduro told AFP on Sunday that his mentor Hugo Chavez had fought for his life "until the last second" and called for a probe into the leader's death. Venezuelan acting Continue reading
90% of the private cars in Cuba don't offer any protection to drivers
and passengers / Anddy Sierra Alvarez
Posted on March 31, 2013

Most of the private cars in Cuba are old, built around 1939, 1941, 1955
etc. None of them have seat belts or airbags, which increases the number
of fatalities in an accident.

Private cars don't have seat belts or airbags at the steering wheel.
Also government vehicles are like this too, and their passengers a
vulnerable in any accident.

A government driver in the Instituto Nacional de Educación Física y
Recreación (INDER), who preferred to remain anonymous says "I have been
driving a (Russian made) Lada 2107 for two years and it hasn't had seat
belts since the day they gave it to me."

A mounted policeman explained that most of the traffic is made up of old
cars. "Many of the old cars have brakes which rely on water with
detergent in place of proper brake fluid" explained the traffic cop.

Ricardo López, 35-years-old, says he has a friend who places his trust
in water and detergent rather than spend money on brake fluid. "The
reality is that drivers trying to save money don't buy brake fluid,"
added López

The modifications to the old cars: exchanged motors, transmissions,
gearboxes, and even loss of the structure of the vehicle in order to get
more people in. These things are everywhere in the streets offering
private transport services, "But nobody bothers about safety," says
Carlos Ramírez, aged 42, a passenger.

Adrian González, 32, comments that the car he is driving is a '52
Chevrolet, "the car has had its chassis modified to carry more people,"
says González

An accident in Independence Avenue (Boyeros) is usually catastrophic.

Independence Avenue is one of the roads where you get many old adapted
cars, which are made into racing cars and which are driven at excessive
speed.

Private cars are mostly ancient machines with a very rigid chassis which
in turn adds to the danger because they it do not absorb the force of
the impact, while modern cars are designed to absorb the force of
impact, as well as having the benefit of seat belts and air bags on the
steering wheel.

But not everyone has the opportunity to buy a one- to three-year-old
car. The economy doesn't permit it, the old crates are more affordable
in terms of paying back the loan.

Translated by GH

25 March 2013

http://translatingcuba.com/90-of-the-private-cars-in-cuba-dont-offer-any-protection-to-drivers-and-passengers-anddy-sierra-alvarez/ Continue reading
Prison Diary VII. My Life in a Story / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on March 31, 2013

Recently I've been reading the book "Mandatory Happiness" by the
Romanian writer Norman Manea, deported as a child with his family to a
Ukrainian concentration camp, and the way the author masterfully
describes an everyday story under a totalitarian government has caught
my attention in a powerful way: the Romanian political police arrest an
artist who collaborates with the opposition and subject her to
continuous torture sessions, a constant ritual day and night, in an
attempt to drive her mad. These old-school KGB techniques are applied
under the advice of the entire socialist camp, including Cuba, of course.

In the first story of the book, captivating from the very beginning,
"The Interrogator," an obscure character of the political polices —
superbly characterized — after brutally torturing his victim, says:

"Maybe we'll let you go. Although we could also condemn you. Not
necessarily for political crimes. We're looking for something else. We
still haven't decided. I've been frank with you. Don't kid yourself, I'm
not always honest (…) The freedom to work, the freedom to love, the
freedom of creation. Nice, no? It's normal that artists, for all you are
and especially for all you are not, become rebels.

"In short, the artist is a precursor or a straggler.

Whatever you are, you're a being outside the ordinary. You haven't found
your place, your tranquility, your harmony. You're not understood in
your profession, your family, the laws; you've chosen a completely
different form of vanity. Art, clearly, has as its starting point a
dislocation, an inadequacy, an uprooting. But fed…

(…) You have established, you have confirmed. That you'll always be in
the opposition, I mean. Freedom (…) It is normal that you're with all
the dispossessed (…) In the end, the books are filled up there."

Norman Minea, like a prophet, wrote a part of my immediate reality, or
simply bore witness to the many times they suffered the persecutions,
the torture and the punishment in his country. The only thing I know of
socialism. And what always lines up, even though we are separated by
continents and time: the same way to silence dissonant voices.

I simply ask for an ode to Norman Menea.

Ángel Santiesteban-Prats. La Lima Prison. March 2013

29 March 2013

http://translatingcuba.com/prison-diary-vii-my-life-in-a-story-angel-santiesteban/ Continue reading
Cuba Environmental Protection A Mixed Picture
Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 5:47 by Tom Palmer

I'd been wondering about environmental management in Cuba for several
years.

Recently I had an opportunity to learn more about it first-hand during a
10-day trip organized by Audubon.

Like things here in Florida, it's a mixed picture.

Cuba has set aside quite a bit of land for conservation to protect its
unique wildlife species, though trapping of wild birds for the pet trade
continues with little regulation.

Pollution and waste management regulations appear to have some ways to go.

Why Cuba?

It's the largest island in the West Indies and many species that breed
in the United States migrate to or through Cuba, making its conservation
management important to the survival of some North American species.

I learned that about 20 percent of Cuba's land has some kind of
conservation protection in a network of preserves that include mountain
and lowland habitats as well as marine ecosystems.

We were interested in birds primarily. There are more than 20 species of
birds found only on Cuba. They range from the bee hummingbird to
Gundlach's Hawk. Many are hard to find outside of some very local
populations.

There are hundreds of other endemic species ranging from snakes and
turtles to butterflies and bats,

One positive thing is that the Cuban government understands the value of
promoting ecotourism.

A Cuban biologist accompanied us on our tour and our tour group used
local guides to find species in certain parts of the island.

That provides local people with incentives to study and to preserve
their unique wildlife.

Cuba's national bird is a species called the Cuban trogon, which is a
striking bird species related to species found in the Southwest United
States and the quetzals in Central America.

It was fairly widespread in rural forests.

By the way, our group saw or heard 162 species, including all of the
Cuban endemics except the Zapata rail, which may be extinct.

One troubling aspect of bird protection in Cuba is the long-standing
cultural habit of capturing wild birds and putting them in cages at
homes or in restaurants.

We were in one restaurant that had a mockingbird, a Cuban bullfinch and
a Cuban parakeet in cages.

Students at one school we visited in Havana are collecting data on this
issue, By the way, this is a problem in Miami, too. Wintering painted
buntings are a popular target there, according to Tropical Audubon
Society, the local chapter.

We were told in one of the lectures that was arranged as part of out
tour by tour guides employed by the Cuban government, that the U.S.
trade embargo has helped environmental protection by limiting outside
development pressure on natural areas in Cuba.

However, that's not the whole picture.

When were on the Zapata Peninsula, the only known habitat for some
species, I learned that the only reason we were able to take a bus trip
into parts of it was because of a road built in anticipation of a peat
mining venture that never occurred. That resulted in the protection of
this extensive expanse of sawgrass that looks somewhat likes parts of
Everglades National Park.

There is extensive modern tourist-related development on Cayo Costa, a
barrier island off Cuba's northern coast. We spent the last three days
of the trip at one of several beachfront resorts there that were full of
Canadian and other non-U.S. tourists.

I did learn that before the resort development began, the Cuban
government set up a coastal research center to gather data on the area's
natural resources to guide development projects to mitigate the impact
as much as possible. That's probably the opposite of what would have
occurred here.

Scientists at the center said they continue to do extensive wildlife
surveys and regularly update the area's management plans.

The area reminded me of the Florida Keys in two ways.

There was beautiful clear water and large stands of native habitat,
though I did learn that some of it was second growth forests originally
cleared for charcoal production, a main source of fuel for cooking in
rural areas of Third World countries.

However, despite the work to protect or restore conservation lands
outlined in the planned lectures, I found some problems when I was out
on the land.

I saw extensive dumping of construction debris and other materials on
some side roads near the resorts. I also learned that recycling
programs, which could have diverted this waste, are pretty minimal. I
saw a lot of recyclable trash ranging from cans to scrap iron along the
roadsides, though some it was no worse than what I find in some rural
areas of Polk County.

I did see a couple of guys at one beachfront area collecting aluminum
cans out of trash barrels to turn in for money, but less than they wood
in a private market economy.

Sewer treatment and water pollution regulations appeared to be laxer in
Cuba.

We visited a sewer impoundment to look for birds. While we were there, a
septic tank truck drove up the crew opened the valves and dumped
everything raw into the pond, which had no aerator as is typically
required here.

The industrial plants belch black smoke, though there don't appear to
be too many of them.

The numerous older American and Russian-made cars that are a common
sight certainly lack modern pollution control systems, but the good news
is that there aren't that many cars on the road in Cuba.

Even on some of the main highways there were stretches were I saw as
many horse-drawn carts and bicycles as cars and trucks. Mass transit and
ride-sharing seem to be commonplace out of necessity.

The water in many of the rivers I saw was algae green. I didn't see
much in the way of stormwater retention anywhere, though rooftop
cisterns to collect water for household use and larger structures in
farming areas were common.

Cuba's a beautiful island with many still intact ecosystems, but
protecting them will require more work.

http://environment.blogs.theledger.com/13066/cuba-environmental-protection-a-mixed-picture/ Continue reading
Cienfuegos, Cuba, Mar 31 (Prensa Latina) The remote San Jose vilage, located in the Guamuahaya Mountains group, in the central part of Cuba, receives today the benefits of the electricity thanks to a solar panel project funded by the Non-Govt France-Cu... Continue reading
Nicolas Maduro was speechless when Hugo Chavez first told him he may have to carry on the Venezuelan leftist leader's legacy, but he now insists the "revolution is united" behind him. Venezuelan acting Continue reading
Loading Slideshow The Pope Gets a San Lorenzo JerseyVATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 31: Pope Francis is given a San Lorenzo's shirt, the Buenos Aires football team as he greets the faithful prior to his Continue reading
La bloguera cubana seguirá el lunes en Miami (Florida), su gira de 80 días por América y Europa para denunciar al régimen castrista y recibirá un galardón por su defensa de los derechos humanos. Continue reading
Norman Manea Recently I’ve been reading the book “Mandatory Happiness” by the Romanian writer Norman Manea, deported as a child with his family to a Ukrainian concentration camp, and the way the author masterfully describes an everyday story under a … Continue reading Continue reading


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Turks and Caicos Islands authorities say they have freed four illegal Cuban migrants who sewed their lips together to protest their six-month detention in the British overseas territory. Clara Gardiner, Continue reading
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- The turquoise waters that have long brought treasure seekers to the Caribbean now are drawing a new kind of explorer as countries across the region increasingly open their seas to Continue reading


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KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE/CLIMATE - Bold Nebraska, The Other 98%, Hip Hop Caucus, CREDO, Rainforest Action Network, 350.org and Oil Change International have launched the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance. Continue reading
Bebo Valdes 1918 - 2013 Bebo Valdes was one of the most important figures from Cuba's golden age of music in the 1940s and 1950s. He was such a seminal figure his role was later compared to that of the Continue reading
612 pages (in PDF) of F.B.I. documents from 1960-1965 are now available to the public. See the link below. It includes shipping companies with no ships and all sorts of flim flams to hide CIA and other Continue reading
Most of the private cars in Cuba are old, built around 1939, 1941, 1955 etc. None of them have seat belts or airbags, which increases the number of fatalities in an accident. Private cars don’t have seat belts or airbags … Continue reading Continue reading
Supporters of Venezuelan acting president Nicolas Maduro cheer before the start of a campaign rally in the state of Barinas, Venezuela on Saturday, ahead of the presidential election on April 14. Photo: Continue reading
Venezuela's acting president Nicolas Maduro told AFP Sunday that his mentor Hugo Chavez had fought for his life "until the last second" and called for a probe into the leader's death. "Until the last Continue reading
Quito, Mar 31 (Prensa Latina) The over 50-year-old U.S. blockade of Cuba is the biggest violation of the Organization of American States? Chapter and the human rights in Our America, said Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. ¿We cannot allow ... Continue reading
"It's hard not to be inspired by this," Michael says, looking over his companion for the night. "And that," he adds, his eyes pointing to one of the other young women in the bar. "This is the promis... Continue reading
The four Cuban refugees with their mouths sewn closed as part of an ongoing hunger strike Four Cuban refugees who are being detained by the Immigration Department have sewn up their mouths and have had Continue reading
WASHINGTON, Mar. 31,CMC - The United States has joined heightened calls for an independent investigation into the deaths of Cuba's most respected dissident, Oswaldo Payá, and a fellow dissident in a car Continue reading