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Daily Archives: April 12, 2014


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Every country has its own narrative, a product of its history and mythology. Narratives are important because they are, essentially, the stories we tell ourselves. And stories are the foundation of humanity. Continue reading
El grupo de 16 miembros, que incluyó a dentistas prominentes neoyorquinos, donó equipos dentales muy necesitados en la isla Continue reading
ATLANTA -- The Washington Nationals have placed outfielder Denard Span on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion. Span was hurt in a collision with Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla in the Continue reading
Los ministros de Exteriores de Cuba y Francia, Bruno Rodríguez y Laurent Fabius, respectivamente, han expresado este sábado la voluntad de sus gobiernos de "avanzar en la profundización de los vínculos económico-comerciales". Continue reading
Sen. Ted Cruz says he's optimistic about the country's future. The healthcare law - well, that's another story. The Texas Republican - a possible 2016 presidential candidate - spoke before a group Continue reading
Junto a la papa, frijoles, papel sanitario y el desodorante, los preservativos también escasean en los mercados cubanos. Continue reading
A French foreign minister is visiting Cuba for the first time in 30 years at a time when the communist-led Caribbean nation is seeking to draw more foreign investment and improve ties with the European Union. Continue reading
'Outkast', el dúo formado por los raperos Andre 3000 y Big Boy, ha vuelto a reencontrarse, después de ocho años, en el Festival de Coachella, que se celebra este fin de semana en Indo, California, para recuperar el hip hop de los años 90. Continue reading
By Peter Leonard Men in the uniforms of Ukraine's now-defunct riot police on Saturday (local time) occupied police headquarters in Donetsk, the eastern city that is one of the flashpoints of a wave Continue reading
France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (R) talks with tourists in Havana French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has arrived in Havana for a brief visit aimed at strengthening ties, as Cuba begins Continue reading
CBS News Saturday 12th April, 2014 another hit to their wallets as the government announces an increase in the cost of powdered milk, a staple of every home with children and basic to the diet of nearly Continue reading
Holguin is the largest populated Cuba province, which according to the Population and Housing Census last 2012, a million 35 072 people live in this north-eastern jurisditcion, only exceeded by Havana Continue reading
MANCHESTER, N.H. Ted Cruz says he's optimistic about the country's future. The health care law - well, that's another story. The Texas senator - a possible 2016 presidential candidate - spoke before Continue reading
Cuba ha protestado por la decisión de PriceSamrt, una importante cadena mayorista de Estados Unidos, de suspender la membresía a un grupo de compradores en su filial jamaicana al sospechar que adquirían los productos en nombre del Gobierno de Raúl Castro. Continue reading
Se solidarizan con opositores detenidos Álvaro Yero Felipe 11 de abril de 2014 La Habana, Cuba – www.PayoLibre.com – Unos 8 opositores entregaron sus documentos de identidad a las autoridades y pidieron quedar detenidos en la estación de la Policía Nacional Revolucionaria (PNR) del Capri en solidaridad con 2 opositores (Yuniel López O’Farril y Roberto […] Continue reading
HAVANA - A French foreign minister is visiting Cuba for the first time in 30 years at a time when the communist-led Caribbean nation is seeking to draw more foreign investment and improve ties with the Continue reading
Robos y drogadicción en Hospital Militar de La Habana En las últimas semanas han expulsado al director, a varias enfermeras, a un recluta y a dos oficiales de la Contrainteligencia Militar viernes, abril 11, 2014 | Michel Iroy Rodríguez LA HABANA, Cuba.- En el Hospital Militar “Carlos J. Finlay”, en el municipio capitalino Marianao, en […] Continue reading
Havana (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived Saturday in Havana for a brief visit aimed at strengthening ties, as Cuba begins talks with the European Union on normalizing relations. Continue reading
El melodrama de las papas en La Habana abril 11, 2014 Francisco Castro HAVANA TIMES — Lo que me hace escribir ahora no es precisamente, el hecho de que en algunos agro-mercados de La Habana, se pueda adquirir esta vianda otra vez, sino que ha llegado de forma tan subrepticia, después de tanto tiempo (¿meses, […] Continue reading
The Melodrama of Buying Potatoes in Havana
April 11, 2014
Francisco Castro

HAVANA TIMES — The reason I write this now is not precisely because some
farmers markets around Havana are selling potatoes again, but the fact
this product has been made available again in such a surreptitious
manner. It's taken so long – has it been months, years? – that people
have been caught off guard.

Like everything else on this island of ours, for better or for worse, no
one knows for certain whether potatoes will stay around for long now
that they've suddenly reappeared, and, since the present is all that
truly matters to people, everyone is going out to buy potatoes en masse.

I have too. It's not that I am so different from everyone else that I
wouldn't dream of setting out to buy the delicious tuber. The thing is
that I'm allergic to waiting in line, to our daily queues – places where
the essence, the unexpected, the concealed and proven aspects of our
temperament always come to the fore.

I had to go to my neighborhood market to buy the potatoes. I wanted to
treat myself to some mashed potatoes, to some delicious baked dish, to
some incomparable steamed or boiled potatoes, or a potato and chicken
salad, or whatever else you can throw together. What I hadn't counted on
– naïve me – is that I would have to deal with a line of people ahead of me.

The line was made longer by people who saved several spots to buy as
much as they could (they were only selling 20 pounds per person) and
later re-sell the potatoes at higher prices. The line was endless and
thick, always ready to scatter and reform, as though by divine
intervention, and to double or triple in length, in the worst of scenarios.

In the worst of scenarios, I would have to argue about who had arrived
at the line first, and make an older lady anxious to reach the counter
understand she had gotten there a mere half hour before and that I had
been waiting for much more than an hour – insist it was impossible for
the man in the red T-shirt to have told her he was the last in line,
because he had said the same thing to me.

But, in the end, it was worth the effort.

What took me by surprise was an even sorrier scene, which I came upon in
another neighborhood. The huge throng of people recalled those
demonstrations we used to hold in front of the Anti-Imperialist
Grandstand – not only because of the large numbers of people, but also
because of the police officers present.

They had even cordoned off the market with a line of metal tables used
to sell products to the public – a barricade meant to hold back the
crowd and ward off any opportunist seeking to cut in line.

I couldn't help but bring to mind images of the Holocaust…

I imagine this story will have a happy ending, provided potato supplies
become as stable as they were years ago. Then, we will be able to eat
potatoes that don't taste of queues and shoving, and we will eat them
every week.

Source: The Melodrama of Buying Potatoes in Havana - Havana Times.org -
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=102947 Continue reading
El “Vengador Informático” azota el oriente cubano [11-04-2014 10:30:43] Frank E. Carranza López Agencia Decoro (www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- (Primera parte) Durante más de cinco meses las autoridades del municipio de Majibacoa en la oriental provincia de Victoria de las Tunas han agotado todo tipo de recursos en la ubicación y captura de un ladrón de equipos informáticos […] Continue reading
7:42pm BST * First such visit in 30 years * Part of warming trend with EU (Recasts with arrival, adds quotes as talks begin) By Marc Frank HAVANA, April 12 (Reuters) - France's foreign minister arrived Continue reading
Taller sindico laboral [11-04-2014 15:33:29] Aimée Cabrera Corresponsal (www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- El X taller Internacional Primero de Mayo tendrá lugar entre el 28 y el 29 de abril próximos y en el mismo se persigue analizar en detalles, la historia del movimiento obrero y sindical. El evento que se celebra cada dos años, convocado por el Instituto […] Continue reading
Retornan al miércoles los uniformes [11-04-2014 14:56:06] Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello Red Cubana de Comunicadores Comunitarios (www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- Después de haber usado diferentes tácticas –durante 5 meses- para evitar la reunión de los miércoles de la Red Cubana de Comunicadores Comunitarios, retornaron al inicio con la utilización de la policía uniformada, en particular mujeres. El miércoles […] Continue reading
Havana: The Poverty Behind the Glamour / Ivan Garcia Posted on April 11, 2014 Just across from Cordoba park, in the Havana neighborhood of La Vibora, is nestled a luxury cafe called Villa Hernandez. It is a stunning mansion built in the early 20th century and renovated in detail by its owner. At the entrance, […] Continue reading
Havana: The Poverty Behind the Glamour / Ivan Garcia
Posted on April 11, 2014

Just across from Cordoba park, in the Havana neighborhood of La Vibora,
is nestled a luxury cafe called Villa Hernandez. It is a stunning
mansion built in the early 20th century and renovated in detail by its
owner.

At the entrance, a friendly doorman shows clients the menu on a black
leather-covered card. A pina colada costs almost five dollars. And a
meal for three people not less than 70 cuc, the equivalent of four
months' salary for Zaida, employed by a dining room situated two blocks
from the glamour of Villa Hernandez which attracts retired people, the
elderly, and the poor from the area.

"It is not a dining room, it is a state restaurant for people of limited
means. They call it 'Route 15,' and the usual menu is white rice, an
infamous pea porridge, and croquettes," says Zaida.

Like the majority of the area's residents, she has never sat on a stool
in the Villa Hernandez bar to drink a mojito or to "nibble" tapas of
Serrano ham.

A block from the dining room, on the corner of Acosta and Gelabert, in a
house with high ceilings in danger of collapse, live 17 families crowded
together. The people have scrounged in order to transform the old rooms
into dwellings.

The method for gaining space is to create lofts with wooden or concrete
platforms between the walls. Each, on his own or according to his
economic possibilities, has built bathrooms and kitchens without the
assistance of an engineer or architect.

Even the old basement, where there once existed an animal stable, has
been converted into a place that only with much imagination might be
called a home.

The neighbors of the place see the Villa Hernandez restaurant as a
foreign territory. "They have told me that they eat very well. I am
ashamed to enter and ask about the menu. What for, if I have no money?
At the end of the year they put up pretty decorations and a giant Santa
Claus. I have told my children that this kind of restaurant is not
within the reach of our pockets," says Remigio.

Like small islets, in Havana there have emerged houses for rent,
gymnasiums, tapas bars, cafes and private restaurants much like those
that a poor Cuban only sees in foreign films.

There exists a nocturnal Havana with many lights, elegant designs and
excess air conditioning which is usually the letter of introduction for
the apparent success of the controversial economic reforms promoted by
Raul Castro.

It is good that little private businesses emerge. The majority of the
population approves cutting out by the roots dependence on the State,
the main agent of the socialized misery that is lived in Cuba.

But old people, the retired, professionals, and state workers ask
themselves when fair salary reforms will happen that will permit a
worker to acquire a household appliance or drink a beer in a private bar.

"That's what it's about. Almost all we Cubans approve of people opening
businesses. After all, in economic matters, the government has shown a
lethal inefficiency. But there are two discussions: one is sold to
potential foreign investors and another internal that keeps crushing the
commitment to Marxism and to governing in order to favor the poorest,"
says Amado, an engineer.

In the business field, the government has opened the door, but not
completely. In the promulgated economic guidelines, it is recognized
that the small businesses are designed such that people do not
accumulate great capital.

A large segment of party officials and the official press believes it
sees in each private entrepreneur a future criminal.

At the moment, self-employment is surrounded with high taxes, the
expansion of the opening of a wholesale market, and a legion of state
inspectors who demand a multitude of parameters, as if it were anchored
in Manhattan or Zurich and not in a nation that has short supplies of
things from toothpaste and deodorant to even salt and eggs.

The regime takes advantage of the poor to sell the Cuban brand.
"Marketing has been created that shows an island interspersed with
images of tenements, mulattas dancing to reggaeton, happy young people
drinking rum, US cars from the '50's, the National Hotel and luxury
restaurants," says Carlos, a sociologist.

Successful managers, like Enrique Nunez, owner of La Guarida, situated
in the mostly black neighborhood of San Leopoldo in downtown Havana,
also benefit from the environment in order to grow their businesses.

La Guarida was one of the locations in the film Strawberry and Chocolate
by the deceased director Tomas Gutierrez Alea. There, among many others,
have dined Queen Sofia of Spain, Diego Armando Maradona and US congressmen.

The dilapidated multifamily building where it is located, with sheets
put out to dry on interior balconies and unemployed mulattos and blacks
playing dominoes at the foot of the stairway, has become the particular
stamp of La Guarida.

"Yes, it's embarrassing. But to carry on culinary or hospitality
businesses in ruinous neighborhoods replete with hustlers and
prostitutes, is an added value that works. Maybe that happens because
Havana is still not a violent or dangerous city like Caracas. And the
naive Europeans like that touch of modernity surrounded by African
misery," points out the owner of a bar in the old part of the capital.

While the governmental propaganda exaggerates the economic opening,
Zaida asks if someday her salary in the State dining room will permit
her to have a daiquiri in Villa Hernandez. For her, for now, it would be
easier for it to snow in Cuba.

Ivan Garcia

Photo: El Fanguito, old neighborhood of indigents in El Vedado, Havana,
arose in 1935, at the mouth of the river Almendares, in the
now-disappeared fishing village of Bongo and Gavilan. With Fidel
Castro's arrival in power, this and other Havana slums not only did not
disappear but were growing. At any time, El Fanguito, La Timba, Los
Pocitos, La Jata, Romerillo, El Canal, La Cuevita, Indalla, and La
Corea, among others, are included in sightseeing tours through the
capital, in order to be in tune with the fashion of mixing glamour with
poverty, as occurs in Rio de Janeiro with the slums. The photo was taken
from Cubanet (TQ).

Translated by mlk.

10 April 2014

Source: Havana: The Poverty Behind the Glamour / Ivan Garcia |
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/havana-the-poverty-behind-the-glamour-ivan-garcia/ Continue reading
5 iOS Apps Essential for Cuba / Yoani Sanchez Posted on April 11, 2014 Where will the first Apple store in Havana be? I wonder sometimes when I am fabulating about the future. I imagine it on the corner of Galiano and Reina, above those arches that could well support an enormous apple. Although much […] Continue reading
Memorias inquietas: Escaramuzas del ex jefe de la Inteligencia cubana Posted on 10 abril, 2014 Por Juan Reynaldo Sánchez* Una información reciente sobre la residencia en el sur de la Florida de un hijo del ex viceministro del Ministerio del Interior, General de Brigada Germán Luis Barreiro Caramés, me remontó hasta los “días gloriosos” del […] Continue reading
Cifra oficial: Casi medio millón de cubanos son dirigentes Posted on 11 abril, 2014 Por Daniel Benítez Las reformas económicas que lentamente introduce el gobierno de Raúl Castro están enfrentando un obstáculo mucho mayor que el embargo: la burocracia, afincada en la existencia de 418,176 dirigentes y gerentes a todos los niveles de jefatura. En […] Continue reading
WASHINGTON -- The world's top finance officials say the global economy is recovering, and they're hopeful that well-run economic programs will avoid the risks that threaten that rebound. The 188-nation Continue reading
Un muerto y siete heridos en accidente de tránsito en Guantánamo Posted on 12 abril, 2014 Por Redacción CaféFuerte Un accidente de tránsito ocurrido en una zona rural de la provincia de Guantánamo, en el extremo oriental de Cuba, dejó un saldo de un fallecido y siete personas heridas. El hecho ocurrió en la tarde […] Continue reading
Un éxito de la narrativa democrática cubana La organización del II Foro Alternativo fue exitoso a pesar del hostigamiento de la policía política a sus organizadores MANUEL CUESTA MORÚA 12 ABR 2014 – 04:45 CET1 En medio de los preparativos y la coordinación del II Foro Alternativo a la Cumbre de la CELAC, bajo el […] Continue reading
Designan nuevo presidente de la Cámara de Comercio de Cuba 12/04/2014 – 1:01 La Habana, 11 abr (EFE).- El Gobierno cubano designó a Orlando Hernández Guillén como nuevo presidente de la Cámara de Comercio de la isla, informaron hoy medios oficiales. En el momento de su designación, Hernández Guillén era asesor del ministro de Comercio […] Continue reading
Publicado el sábado, 04.12.14 Wendy Guerra habla sobre el ‘in-xilio’ MIGUEL A. SIRGADO ESPECIAL/EL NUEVO HERALD A finales del 2013 la editorial Anagrama publicó Negra, la cuarta novela de la escritora y actriz cubana Wendy Guerra (La Habana, Cuba, 1970). La obra narrativa de Guerra ha sido considerada por algunos críticos entre las mejores de […] Continue reading
Cuba protests PriceSmart’s suspension of memberships in Jamaica By Aileen Torres-Bennett KINGSTON, April 11 (Reuters) – Cuba is protesting the decision by PriceSmart Inc, a major U.S.-based bulk-shopping warehouse, to suspend memberships of shoppers from the communist country at its Jamaica subsidiary, Cuban officials said on Friday. PriceSmart took the action this week, citing the […] Continue reading
Este largometraje narra la historia de Chala, un niño de 11 años que afronta una dura situación familiar y se apoya en su profesora de sexto grado para salir adelante. Continue reading

Luis, un militar retirado y partidario del régimen, tiene pocos argumentos para rebatir a varios vecinos que juegan dominó en el portal de una bodega en la barriada habanera de Lawton.

El tema del día es el diálogo entre la oposición y el gobierno de Nicolás Maduro, emitido la noche del jueves por el canal Telesur.  Entre los jugadores hay profesionales, desempleados, ex reclusos y jubilados.

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Potential presidential contender Rand Paul says conservatives need a bold message to "hit those who haven't been listening" and to keep their political movement growing. The Republican senator from Continue reading
El régimen castrista detrás del zunzún [11-04-2014 13:53:29] José Antonio Sánchez Santoyo Periodista Independiente (www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- La Habana. El régimen castrista ha armado un escándalo en torno al twiters cubano Zunzuneo, el cual pretende demostrar con ese escándalo que los cubanos tienen acceso al mismo, cosa incierta ya que muy pocos cubanos tienen este tipo de […] Continue reading
A los Hijos de la oposición, víctimas de la ira del tirano [11-04-2014 13:18:39] Enrique Díaz Rodríguez (www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- ¿Por qué tanto rencor? Acaso piensan que lastimando a nuestros críos tejerán alguna victoria. Solo denotan la debilidad que los caracteriza. Nunca antes sus crímenes han sido más horrendos que como ahora. Servirse de nuestros hijos, lastimándolos […] Continue reading
La tragedia de Surella [11-04-2014 13:13:12] Dania Virgen García Cuba por Dentro. Corresponsal de Misceláneas de Cuba (www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- Hace un tiempo atrás, esta reportera dio a conocer ante la prensa independiente dos casos de riñas tumultuaria y un caso de asesinato en las afueras del Ranchón de Surella, una paladar situada en Jesús Menéndez número […] Continue reading
Bajo maltrato y censura [11-04-2014 13:04:47] Enrique Díaz Rodríguez (www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- Periodista independiente es arrestado brutalmente y amenazado con ir a prisión. El centro comercial de 5ta y 42 ubicado en el municipio Playa, es un lugar céntrico y concurrido. Por tal motivo es usado por disímiles vendedores, los cuales ofertan un sinnúmero de artículos. El […] Continue reading
MANCHESTER, N.H. - Newt Gingrich isn't holding back in his criticism of the Cabinet secretary and others behind the troubled rollout of the health care law. The former House speaker and Republican Continue reading
Niegan licencia extrapenal a preso enfermo [11-04-2014 12:29:00] Dania Virgen García Cuba por Dentro. Corresponsal de Misceláneas de Cuba (www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- Informa María del Carmen Cala Aguilera que a su hijo Luis Miguel Arias Cala, de 24 años, recluido en la prisión El Yayal, en la provincia de Holguín, quien se encuentra ingresado en la sala […] Continue reading