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Daily Archives: February 8, 2015

The accused 9/11 plotters led by Khalid Sheik Mohammed return to the war court Monday for the first time in six months with with an agenda packed with some of the most fundamental issues to bedevil the Continue reading
PM (Bloomberg Business) -- He's met with a transgender man, told Catholics not to breed like rabbits and washed the feet of a Muslim woman. While all this may sound like he's ready to overturn dogma, Continue reading

Impulsadas de Frederich Cepeda en el primer inning y del antesalista Luis la O en el segundo, han puesto a Cuba al frente en el partido final de la Serie del Caribe, contra México.

La última vez que una selección cubana ganó la Serie fue en 1960.

En la semifinal, Cuba derrotó a Venezuela 8-4, invicta hasta ese partido. Así, fue la primera vez en la historia de las series que un equipo con solo una derrota queda descartado.

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Recent actions by the U.S. Congress and several executive branch agencies have resulted in changes to sanctions related to various countries and regions, including Cuba, North Korea, Crimea, and Venezuela. Continue reading
… (Serie del Caribe final), as Cuba’s Pinar del Rio takes … the Pequeña Serie Mundial Latinoamericana. Cuba comes into this championship game … . However, with an eight-run outburst, Cuba’s Pinar del Rio stunned … a battle of wills between Cuba vs. Mexico? Spanish-speaking baseball fans … Continue reading
[1]Ivan Garcia, Havana, 31 January 2015 — After secret negotiations with his lifelong enemy lasting a year and a half, General Raul Castro seems to have come out ahead early in the game. But Barack Obama has been shrewd. He is playing for the long-term and has a different perspective and strategy. The United States thinks and acts in accordance with its geopolitical interests, always with its national security in mind. Cuba is not as attractive a market as portrayed by some analysts. On the contrary. Its potential consumers have no money in their pockets and the government’s coffers are empty, not a promising scenario for big business. Extending credit to a regime that is broke is always a risky proposition. There is nothing more cowardly than money, especially if there is a risk you won’t get it back. Even worse, obstacles remain. There is the U.S. economic embargo as well as Castro’s embargo on his citizens. Ludicrous regulations are imposed on businessmen who, in addition to having to deal with absurd exchange rates and laws dictated by the regime, cannot contract to hire their employees directly. The door remains open for telecommunications and private employment but communications is not among the monopolized sectors up for sale in Cuba. It is yet to be seen if Castro II will allow a private farmer from Camajuani to directly seek credit from an Illinois bank in order to buy fertilizer, seeds or a tractor. The embargo could be lifted in a matter of months if the general initiated political changes and promised to respect human rights, but there have been no signs suggesting political reform. On the contrary. The government went into a panic on December 30 over nothing more than an event by a performance artist and used the weapon it knows best: repression. They could have been creative; they could have simply unplugged the microphone Tania Bruguera was using to communicate with her supporters. The dictatorship is not about to take a turn towards democracy. No way, no how, if for no other reason than its survival. Too often, American politicians are guilty of naiveté. The history of Cuba since 1959 shows that the Castro brothers have three sworn enemies. One is external — the United States — and serves as fuel to preserve domestic unity and the politics of the barricade. Another is internal — the community of dissidents — which, no matter the particular type (political, journalistic, intellectual or artistic), is always treated as a threat, targeted by the special services, whose main mission is to divide, discredit and destroy them. The third enemy is the private sector, whose small businessmen are seen as criminals. Just check Cuba’s statutes and read the second paragraph of the legal guidelines promulgated by Raul Castro. It is stated quite clearly: Cubans living on the island will not be allowed to accumulate capital. The statutes covering self-employment are designed as a firewall to prevent citizens from acquiring wealth. The government knows jobs and professions are uncertain. People may earn money to feed and clothe themselves, have a beer and maybe spend a weekend in a hotel, but nothing else. The label “small businessman,” which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce so generously bestows on someone like Pablo— a guy who sells bread with mayonnaise and churros filled with guava in the south Havana neighborhood of Mantilla — is not inappropriate according to the organization’s bylaws. There are many examples in the United States of tiny personal businesses which go on to become major corporations. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook almost as a game while goofing off with his fellow university students. One morning Bill Gates started a computer company in the garage of his house. LeBron James, a boy who grew up without a father and with n mother living in poverty, is now a formidable basketball player earning millions of dollars a year. Such is the mindset of businessmen and politicians in the United States, where people are born into a society that nurtures creativity, enterprise and individuality. But on the Island of the Castros, society is set up to thwart individual talent, competency and small businesses. These are the laws of communism. China and Vietnam were more original, but they are not in the western orbit and their maritime borders do not hug the coast of the most powerful and affluent nation on earth. Deng Xiaoping’s maxim that making money is not a sin is not part of Raul Castro’s strategy. The Cuban regime only allows those enterprises run by its most trusted associates, mostly men from the military, to prosper. The key to the regime’s system is power. Did Obama therefore make a mistake by changing the rules of the game? No, it was a good move based on his own nation’s interests and its ideas about how a society should operate. But on this side of the Florida Straits, the mindset and the maneuvering are very different. One might think that, without an enemy on which to blame the disastrous economy, Raul Castro would open the gates. Until December 17, 2014, the regime operated best in confrontational situations, but with the ball now in their court, they are feeling uncomfortable. They will accept new reforms and changes in the economic rules as long as these do not threaten their hold on power. Politics will continue to be completely off-limits and for the foreseeable future they will continue to levy tariffs on the self-employed through a barrage of excessive regulations and high taxes. They will do this for one simple reason: This is who they are. Photo: General Raul Castro, from Lawrence Journal-World. 31 January 2015 [1] https://desdelahabanaivan.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/raul-castro-uniforme-de-general-620x330.jpg Continue reading
… the Cuban players. With this result, the final will be between Cuba … being absence since 1960, a Cuban team has a chance to … the tournament, finally weakened. "Cuba surprises and reaches the final … that the last time a Cuban team won the title of … Continue reading
… 7 (Prensa Latina) The second Havana World Music Festival will begin … today with performances by several Cuban and international stars of the … performing at Fabrica del Arte Cubano (FAC), as a highlight of … music in Havana, including skaters, DJs and other urban tribes. Cuba will … Continue reading
COLOMBIA: Rebels from Colombia's FARC militia have invited the country's newly crowned Miss Universe to assist their peace negotiations with the government. In a statement published on their website, Continue reading

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PINAR DEL RIO, Cuba (ACN) -- After several months of travel, the 36 crew members of the German three-mast topsail schooner Thor Heyerdahl arrived in Pinar del Río, Cuba, where they will remain until Wednesday. Continue reading
From Russia to Iran to Cuba, the US or its allies have engaged morally suspect regimes that are prone to abuse diplomatic negotiations. Any talks with adversaries must have a good prospect of success Continue reading
© 2015 Microsoft Privacy Legal About our Ads Feedback Help MSN Worldwide Newsletter Continue reading
The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly hesitant about signing Cuban free-agent SS Yoan Moncada because of the extreme cost, according to a baseball source. He could end up signing a deal between $60 million Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_38519" align="aligncenter" width="623"] [1] Flags flying at the United Nations[/caption] [2]14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 6 February 2015 – The Government that emerged from the popular and democratic Revolution of 1959 has been characterized since its inception by its internationalist policies of solidarity, aid and cooperation with revolutionary and national liberation movements in Latin America and almost all other corners of the world. The practice of internationalism has been a norm in the foreign activities of the government, always as a part of the “Marxist-Leninist” principles that uphold it. It has its roots in our national history, in the participation of many foreigners in our independence battles and even in our last feat against Batista’s tyranny, and also in the participation of Cubans in the struggles for liberation of the Thirteen Colonies of the North from English colonialism. Additionally, in American ventures against Spanish colonialism, in the Spanish Civil War, and in World War II against fascism, to point out some well-known historical occurrences. The solidarity of the Cuban government never remained in simple declarations. Well-known are many actions of direct support in the form of arms, training, funds and men to many of those movements throughout the history of the last half of the XX century. It would suffice to recall the actions of Che in Africa and Bolivia and the involvement of Cuban troops in the Arab-Israeli, Algerian-Moroccan, and Ethiopian-Somali conflicts as well as in the southern tip of Africa. On the other hand, important international events that encouraged the use of violence in their political efforts also took place in Cuba. The Cuban government encouraged armed struggles in Latin America for many years as a means of liberation from imperialist oppression. The Cuban government encouraged armed struggles in Latin America for many years as a means of liberation from imperialist oppression. The Island’s press services, especially Radio Habana Cuba, which broadcasts in all continents and in several languages, has constantly denounced human rights abuses at the hands of governments and reactionary forces throughout the world and has breathed life into communist parties, movements of the left, of workers, antifascists, and practically any popular cause that has developed in the world. Cuban officials feel a sense of pride from those internationalist activities. Many of us Cubans took part in some way, directly or otherwise, in that great movement of solidarity, because internationalism has been part of our education from the State. These policies began to revert at the fall of the Soviet Union and the “Eastern Bloc,” principal economic, political, and military supporters of the Cuban government. In adapting to that new global order, a new foreign policy has been developed and applied throughout the last 15 years: upholding political solidarity for “anti-imperialist and revolutionary” movements without direct aid or involvement in other countries’ conflicts, instead seeking greater diplomatic recognition and the creation of favorable conditions that would diversify the Cuban State’s sources of income. Cuban leaders reduced internationalist support to verbal solidarity and limited aid to natural disasters and health crises (the sale of medical and professional services is a business of the State, a separate subject matter) and they’ve also been effective in mediating to solve Colombia’s armed conflict. At the same time, international activities aimed at combatting the embargo-blockade* were increased and, more recently, negotiations to reestablish and normalize diplomatic relations between the government and the United States have also taken place. The Cuban government hopes for its new conduct of respect for international law to be equally met by the international community and, especially, by the United States in this new era of “normal” relations. The ample and varied activities of aggression and subversion by all administrations of the United States to oust their Cuban counterpart are well-known. From its sponsoring of the Bay of Pigs Invasion and support for opposition fighters in the Escambray Mountains, going through direct efforts against the national economy and assassination plots against Cuban leaders, to the U.S. Secret Services’ provision of logistical, economic, and political support to all kinds of armed and political movements against the Cuban government. One should assume that in a new era of normalized relations, all those policies should cease on both sides. This government could not accuse others of meddling in its internal affairs through the political and public efforts of other governments in favor of the Cuban people’s rights and liberties. But, it will be necessary to keep in mind that it is not the same thing to show solidarity for the victims of unjust government policies as it is to conspire with nationals of other countries to topple governments. The right to self-determination does not restrict solidarity with the oppressed or with those whose rights are violated, only the practical and effective action that may be directed at undermining a people’s sovereign right to decide its own future, democratically and by itself. The right to self-determination was born in the United Nations in 1960, precisely as a consequence of international solidarity with the people of Africa, who suffered beneath the boot of colonialism. Nobody could expect Cuba’s government not to voice solidarity with internationalist movements of the left, or to back them up politically as they sought to reclaim political, economic, and social independence, finally denouncing the violation of other people’s rights. On that same note, this government could not accuse others of meddling in its internal affairs through the political and public efforts of other governments in favor of the Cuban people’s rights and liberties. The best way to prevent such involvements would be by thoroughly respecting the political, civil, economic, and social rights of Cubans, especially the freedoms of expression, association, and election, as well as their ability to freely carry out productive and commercial activities. Applying, in short, without prejudice or discrimination, the principles set forth by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its respective agreements, which have been signed by this government. Human rights are not of right or left, capitalists or socialists, northerners or southerners… they are human. Whoever travels down these roads should know that they, too, have laws and they cut both ways; they are put in place to be respected and to prevent “accidents.” The new international scenario that Cuba faces doesn’t only require from it a new focus on its international politics, but also on its internal affairs. A connection between the two should exist; there should be some correspondence. *Translator’s note: The Cuban government calls the American embargo on Cuba a “blockade.” Translated by Fernando Fornaris [1] http://translatingcuba.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Banderas-sede-Naciones-Unidas_CYMIMA20150206_0004_13.jpg [2] http://www.14ymedio.com/ Continue reading
(Newser) - Last month, Miss Colombia Paulina Vega was crowned Miss Universe . This month, the guerrilla rebels that have been locked Continue reading
For almost a year, the two Cuban diplomatic missions in the United States have had no banker. That has meant no checking accounts, using cash to pay bills, and Cuba travel providers sometimes hauling Continue reading
… the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States to … it will be limited, but Cuba's return to the … care, immigration and relations with Cuba, which, in his opinion, shows … peace talks being held in Havana, and called for further involvement … Continue reading
… (via EOB): Mavs owner Mark Cuban is ready to take Kevin … answers. Like, when exactly did Cuban beat Nowitzki, and under what … , he’s undoubtedly messed with Cuban on the practice court plenty of times. But for Cuban to beat him in any … Continue reading
[1] The medication crisis that was anticipated in Venezuela is a storm that scared people even before it began. Not only because the inventories of the Ministry of Peoples’ Power for the Health of Venezuela, a governmental organization of national jurisdiction, are practically exhausted, but also because some of the medications handled by the Cuban medical mission came into the country without the consistent rigor of matching them to a corresponding medical registry. It’s repugnant to read how a country’s problems are met with messianic discourse and disgusting to hear how some of the upper-echelon Venezuelan health officials justify the bad management, assuring people that the scarcity of medications is due to laboratory workers taking vacations, and the chains of distribution being altered because of an “economic war,” and that as a result of “enemy” propaganda there was alarm, which caused people to buy in 15 days what they usually buy over 2 months. The Cuban and Venezuelan governments some time ago crossed the line of respect for human dignity, and for that reason, although I’m not giving the written numbers, I’m copying part of the report issued by the Analysis Group for Medications of the Cuban Medical Mission in Venezuela, received via email in the Ministry of Public Health in Cuba. In this dossier there is evidence of unquestionable irresponsibility that crosses the criminal line, and a deficit of medications that the Biofarmacuba company hasn’t procured and won’t procure for delivery on the agreed-on dates in order to fulfill the recent yearly plan. According to the report, there’s a mountain of medications lacking for the 2015 plan that Biocubafarma won’t be able to provide. I list some of them here: 1. Ampicillin 125 mg/5 ml p/susp x 60 ml: Out of stock in the warehouses. 2. Local anesthesia (cartridge of 1.8 cc: Out of stock. Pending (Dentistry). 3. Atropine 0.5 mg amp x 1 ml: Not in solution, controlled, without medical registration in Venezuela. (CDI, Surgery). 4. Atenolol 0.5 mg amp: In facilities. Pending arrival in Cuba of discontinued imported product. 5. Carbamazepine 200 mg x 90 tab: Not in solution because it is a controlled product. Imported. Not on medical registry in Venezuela (Peoples’ Medical Consult). 6. Cefalexina 500 mg x 10 cap: Pending production. 7. Ciprofloxacin 200 mg/100 ml BBO: Pending export (General Use). 8. Clorhidrato de tramadol 100 mg amp: Pending import permit. 9. Chlorpromazine 25 mg amp x 1 ml: Not in solution. Controlled product. Imported without medical registration in Venezuela. 10. Diclofenac sodium: 1 mg/ml col x 5 ml (Voltaren): Not in solution. Inventory expired (Eye Clinics). 11. Digoxina 0.25 mg x 20 tab: Out of stock. Pending removal from port. 12. Elitrol 1 x 5 ml fco: Out of stock. Pending arrival in Cuba of imported discontinued product. 13. Ergometrine 0.2 mg x 1 mil: Not in solution. Controlled and imported without medical registration in Venezuela. 14. Glibenclamide 5 mg x 10 tab: Out of stock in warehouses. 15. Hydralazine 20 mg amp x 1 mil: Out of stock in warehouses. 16. Hydrocortisone 100 mg bbo: Out of stock in warehouses. 17. Actrapid Insulin 100 u bbo x 10 ml. Out of stock. 18. Human Insulin 100 NPH bbo x 10 ml: Out of stock. 19. Isoprenaline 0.2 mg amp: Out of stock. Pending removal from port (High Technology Centers-CAT). 20. Meropenem 1G BBO: Unavailable for 22 weeks (Therapy and hospitalization). 21. Salicure-Test 50 det x 100 ml. (Clinical reagent). 22. Ureterovesical probe No. 18 x 20: Out of stock. 23. Coombs serum: Out of stock. 24. P Tubes/Pentra Complete Hematology packet x 400: Distributed one part of what was received because of their expiration dates.  25. Thiamine 100 mg bbo: Not yet in solution due to technological problems (CDI). 26. Timolol Missing for 20 weeks. Reported by 12 states. Affected by material in the container. 27. Thiopental 500 mg bbo: Missing for 6 weeks. Affected by raw material. 28. Vitamin A and D2 drops x 15 mil: Not in solution, inventory expired (Peoples’ Medical Consult). 29. Vitamin C drops fco x 15 ml: Not in solution, inventory expired (Peoples’ Medical Consult). This is enough without boring you to show that – as my grandmother, who didn’t have good sight but knew how to see – would say: It’s much easier to catch a liar than a cripple. Translated by Regina Anavy 2 February 2015 [1] https://lavozdelmorro.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/medicinas-vene.png Continue reading
Miss Universe Paulina Vega has been invited to peace talks by FARC rebels Talks are taking place in Cuba between rebels and Columbian government The business student has previously said she would attend Continue reading
Miss Universe Paulina Vega has been invited to peace talks by FARC rebels Talks are taking place in Cuba between rebels and Columbian government The business student has previously said she would attend Continue reading
MENAFN Sunday 8th February, 2015 (MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Kuwaiti Ambassador to Cuba Bader Al-Awadhi discussed with Cuba's Deputy Prime Minister Ricardo Cabrisas the ways of promoting Continue reading
Colombia's newly-crowned Miss Universe Paulina Vega. Colombia's newly-crowned Miss Universe has been invited by rebels from the Marxist FARC militia to assist their peace negotiations with the government. Continue reading
… drove in five runs, leading Cuba over Venezuela 8-4 Saturday night … Series. Cuba will play Mexico for the title. The Cubans had won … year, tripled and doubled twice. Cuba scored three runs in the … Continue reading
… and trade, said Vidal on Cuban television. But the modifications which … he can authorize links between Cuban companies and corporations based on … due to political motivations, the Cuban diplomat pointed out. Vidal recalled … eastern Cuba, which Washington has maintained against the will of the CubanContinue reading

Arrodillada en la Basílica Santuario Nacional de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, a poco más de media hora de la oriental ciudad de Santiago de Cuba, Odalys, una veterana dentista que reside en La Habana, le agradece a la “patrona de la isla” por protegerla durante el año y medio que cumplió en una misión médica en Venezuela.

“Vine sola para agradecerle a la Virgen por permitirme que esté de vuelta reunida con mi familia”, dice Odalys. “Uno atiende [en las misiones internacionalistas] a gente que realmente lo necesita, en zonas difíciles, pero felizmente me fue bien, regresé, y ahora puedo compartir con mi familia”.

Como Odalys, centenares de peregrinos llegan con ramos de girasoles, rosas u otras ofrendas hasta este santuario construido en la cima de una colina del poblado de El Cobre para rendirle tributo a la Virgen o encomendarse a ella.

Texto originalmente publicado en El Nuevo Herald. Sigan leyendo aquí 

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Tampa Bay Online Sunday 8th February, 2015 Tampa was winter headquarters for the variety show Harlem in Havana. From the 1930s to the 1960s, the show traveled 25,000 miles a year by rail to perform Continue reading

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In his State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama reiterated his determination to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Some in Congress are resolved to stop him. Continue reading

Dejar una marca sobre el cuerpo, una señal en el arte gráfico y un sello de buen gusto parece el destino del nuevo taller de arte corporal La Marca, que ha abierto sus puertas en la calle Obrapía, en La Habana Vieja.

Entre pomos de tinta y un gran catálogo de posibles diseños, el estudio galería lleva pocos días de inaugurado. Su exposición inicial, bajo el título “Dulce dolor”, recogió una muestra de carteles que inspiraron imágenes que varios clientes se llevaron sobre su piel. En medio de ese ambiente de creación y figuras que brotan de una antebrazo, una pantorrilla o la espalda, 14ymedio ha conversado con Roberto Ramos Mori, Mauro Coca y Leo Canosa, los tres gestores principales de un sitio donde confluyen arte y tatuaje.

Pregunta. ¿De dónde nació la idea de fundar La Marca?

Ramos Mori. Leo y yo veníamos hablando desde hace años de tener un taller, un estudio en el que se trabajara el diseño gráfico aplicado a la piel. Ese sueño se combinó con lo que hice por años al diseñar estampados de camisetas y con un interés de ayudar a desarrollar el diseño gráfico en Cuba. En los últimos años también he estado en contacto directo con la obra de cartelistas a partir de varias exposiciones en las que he participado en la sede del Teatro El Público, en el Trianón.

Leo Canosa. El tatuaje lo necesitaba; mi esposa buscó y buscó hasta que encontró este lugar que nos pareció ideal. El proyecto estaba ya listo esperando por un sitio y creo que me tocaba llevar esto adelante, porque ya son 20 años desde que comencé a tatuar y ahora tengo aquí mi estudio taller. Todavía está de manera muy experimental. Estamos haciendo las cosas poco a poco.

P. ¿Cómo será la programación de exposiciones de este sitio?

Roberto Ramos Mori. La idea es tener una exposición mensual. La gente me ha dicho que es una locura, pero creo que hay bastante potencial. Muchos proyectos interesantes, que tienen que ver con el diseño, sólo están esperando por un espacio donde poder realizarse y justo eso es lo que brindará nuestra galería. Soy el responsable del espacio, pero no quiere decir que tenga obligatoriamente que estar como curador de cada exposición. Mi labor es conectar al artista con personas que puedan ser afines a la temática que se va a trabajar. Por ejemplo, nos gustó la idea de empezar estableciendo una relación entre el cartel y el tatuaje, para hacer ver que el cartel es a la ciudad lo que el tatuaje al cuerpo humano.

[[QUOTE:"Nos gustó la idea de empezar estableciendo una relación entre el cartel y el tatuaje, para hacer ver que el cartel es a la ciudad lo que el tatuaje al cuerpo humano"]]

P. ¿Pretenden dar los primeros pasos hacia una nueva “escuela del tatuaje cubano”?

Roberto Ramos Mori. Hemos querido crear un trabajo en conjunto a partir de la necesidad de los tatuadores en Cuba de imponer su sello personal. Digo personal, por no decir cubano, que suena un poco chovinista. Por eso durante el día inaugural le propusimos a los diseñadores de los carteles de nuestra primera exposición que prepararan lo que se conoce como flash, que no es más que crear bocetos –a partir de sus propias obras– para que fueran tatuables. Tres personas del público pudieron elegir uno de aquellos bocetos para llevárselo –de manera gratuita– sobre su propia piel. Entre los diseños elegidos había uno de Raupa, otro de Nelson Ponce y el tercero de Claudio Sotolongo. En el público que vino ese día se mezcló el circuito de tatuadores con los interesados en las artes visuales, así que de cierta forma confluyeron dos universos.

P. Están ubicados en la aurícula izquierda del corazón del casco histórico habanero ¿Cómo el trabajo de La Marca se inserta en esta comunidad?

Roberto Ramos Mori. Queremos vincularnos al trabajo de la Dirección de Gestión Cultural dentro de la oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad e insertarnos en sus eventos. Para este sábado tenemos un taller para niños sobre grafiti y pintura mural junto a especialistas del gabinete de arqueología. Así los niños podrán ver la evolución del grafiti y también canalizarán sus deseos de pintar las paredes, porque le vamos a dar libertad de hacer una cenefa en nuestra propia galería. Otro evento que tenemos pensado es con los adolescentes, para la semana del 21 de febrero, donde les hablaremos de la importancia de estar seguro a la hora de escoger una imagen para tatuarse. Les explicamos el por qué no hacemos tatuajes a menores de edad ni a personas que no estén seguras de su elección.

Leo Canosa. Sí, eso es importante recalcarlo, que aquí no hacemos tatuajes a menores de 18 años. Hace poco vino un adolescente y nos dijo que podía traer a su mamá para que lo autorizara y yo le respondía que no era posible… aunque viniera con Fidel Castro. Si su madre le permite algo así la irresponsable es ella, porque a esa edad la personalidad se está formando y ninguno sabe a ciencia cierta qué quiere y para nosotros lo más importante es que el cliente este bien seguro de su elección. Incluso en personas adultas que los hemos visto aquí con dudas lo hemos mandado para su casa a pensárselo mejor. No estamos apurados porque un tatuaje es para toda la vida.

[[QUOTE:"Aquí no hacemos tatuajes a menores de 18 años… aunque viniera con Fidel Castro (...) porque un tatuaje es para toda la vida"]]

P. ¿Cómo le ha ido a La Marca en su primera semana?

Leo Canosa. El libro de citas para lograr un turno ya está lleno, pero aquí damos un servicio especializado y yo atiendo como promedio dos personas al día. Trabajo no nos ha faltado.

P. ¿Cuántos años llevan tatuando?

Respuesta de Mauro Coca. Tengo 23 años y en mi caso hace ya diez que hago tatuajes. Empecé desde los 12 años, cuando conocí a un tatuador que trabajaba en pésimas condiciones  pero con él aprendí la técnica y me familiaricé con el tema. Por ese entonces me fabriqué mi primera máquina con un motor rotatorio de un juguete con un portaminas y más cosas rusticas, y así fue como empecé a tatuar. Primero con la gente de mi aula que me conocía y muchos estaban locos por hacerse un tatuaje. Mis padres son médicos, así que se encargaron de que yo tuviera bien claro todo el tema de la higiene y la importancia que eso tiene a la hora de hacer este trabajo. Ellos me ayudaron mucho.

P. ¿El tatuaje es trabajo o pasión?

Mauro Coca. En un inicio para mi fue como un juego. Luego fui evolucionando y la pasión se apoderó de mi. Una cosa llevo a la otra y empecé a dibujar mis propios diseños. Por el camino conocí a un tatuador de La Lisa, ya más profesional, que me instruyó. Yo lo ayudaba a limpiar y a dibujar y a cambio me enseñaba. Mi mamá se dio cuenta que la cosa iba en serio y me compró mi primera máquina, criolla aún, pero un poco más profesional. Así que el tatuaje se volvió algo cotidiano en mi vida.

P. ¿Cómo consiguen los materiales para brindar el servicio?

Leo Canosa. Pasamos mucho trabajo para conseguir hasta las servilletas. Casi todo lo tenemos que traer cuando viajamos porque aquí no existe. Luego de estas modificaciones aduanales intenté mandar a pedir un paquete con tintas desde Estados Unidos y me dijeron que solo podía mandar diez colores. ¿Qué artista trabaja con diez colores? Yo con eso no hago nada… me están limitando mi pantone para trabajar. Eso no se le ocurre a nadie. Al final tuve que mandar a pedir cuatro paquetes y me salió el material cuatro veces más caro que lo normal.

P. ¿Qué tipo de apoyo ha recibido el tatuaje a nivel institucional?

Leo Canosa. Nosotros creamos en 1998, cuando Fernando Rojas estaba en la presidencia de la Asociación Hermanos Saíz, el gremio de tatuadores que se llamaba “lienzos vivientes” y todavía el proyecto está vigente. En esa época organizábamos de dos a tres exposiciones cada año pero hacíamos todo con nuestros medios porque la AHS no tenía de donde sacar presupuesto.

P. ¿Cuáles son las imágenes y figuras que más piden los clientes?

Leo Canosa. Los tribales son los que más éxito tienen, después los dragones, las carpas y las panteras. Por eso también inauguramos La Marca, para diversificar las temáticas y las formas.

P. ¿Tres requisitos indispensables a la hora de hacerse un tatuaje?

Leo Canosa. La esterilidad, la profesionalidad del artista y la elección reflexiva de una marca personal antes de colocársela en la piel.

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El fin de la burla al Estado de Derecho que padecemos hoy en Cuba, no tiene, ni siquiera debe ser objeto de condición por parte de ningún gobierno extranjero, a la hora en que decida establecer relaciones con la dictadura Continue reading

La nave de una antigua fábrica de zapatos, tan feos como efímeros, será la próxima sede de la Oficina Nacional de Diseño (ONDi). La entidad que regula el trabajo de estos profesionales inaugurará sus oficinas en un local que estuvo en desuso por años en el barrio de Nuevo Vedado. La nueva locación cumple con un reclamo que se había convertido en urgencia, dado el mal estado de la casona de Miramar donde radicaba con anterioridad la ONDi.

El traslado se une a una nueva tendencia de aprovechar lugares abandonados para el arte y la creación, especialmente naves industriales. Hace apenas un año el músico X Alfonso rehabilitó un viejo local de la industria de aceite El Cocinero para convertirlo en la popular Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC). Tras la saga de ese éxito, han aparecido otros creadores en busca de su Rote Fabrik, y la ONDi se suma a ellos, justo en un momento en que muchos de sus miembros se cuestionan la propia existencia de este organismo estatal.

“La pregunta no es dónde radica, sino a qué se dedica”, refiere un graduado de la especialidad de diseño industrial que prefirió el anonimato y quien asegura que la Oficina, “en lugar de agilizar y ayudar a los profesionales del diseño, se ocupa de controlarlos”. La adquisición de cientos de metros cuadrados adicionales en el nuevo local no podrá resolver la crisis que enfrenta la máxima instancia de los diseñadores cubanos.

Fundada en 1980, la ONDi fue pensada inicialmente como una oficina de representación y salvaguarda de los profesionales del gremio. Sin embargo, actualmente la percepción que tienen la mayoría de los diseñadores es que funciona más como un aparato de supervisión y vigilancia por parte del Estado hacia este grupo de creadores. Una buena parte de sus miembros, la señala como una camisa de fuerza y no como un espacio para potenciar la creatividad y el talento.

[[QUOTE:"La ONDi funciona como un aparato de supervisión y vigilancia por parte del Estado hacia este grupo de creadores"]]

En sus objetivos fundacionales, la Oficina exhibe el de “concentrar a los diseñadores y potenciar sus creaciones”. No obstante, en recientes palabras de la máster en diseño y vice jefa de la ONDi, Carmen Gómez Pozo, a un medio oficial afloraron otras intenciones. “Se busca que exista un diseño que esté totalmente pensado en responder a la situación económica que tenemos”, explicó la profesional. Ese estrecho marco para concebir el diseño ha entrado también en confrontación con los intereses de los graduados en la especialidad.

“La ONDi ha llegado tarde a todos nuestros reclamos”, asegura Luis, un diseñador de interiores que vive entre La Habana y Quito. Según refiere, los reclamos iban encaminados a que la Oficina los ayudara en un punto medular de su trabajo, “cobrar los cheques que nos pagan las empresas por los diseños que hacemos”. Sin embargo, la ONDi se mostró lenta en la realización de esa tarea y puso trabas a quienes no se habían especializado en diseño informacional.

Los entuertos burocráticos de la Oficina han lastrado por años el desarrollo de unos profesionales, altamente demandados en sectores como el turismo, la moda y la decoración de espacios funcionales. Afortunadamente, los diseñadores no se conformaron con la lentitud de la ONDi y encontraron un mecanismo a través de la Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC) para acelerar el proceso de cobro de sus labores.

Imposibilitados de cobrar en efectivo por sus trabajos para entidades estatales u hoteles de gestión mixta, los diseñadores dependen de cheques que deben cobrar a través de la Asociación de Publicistas o la propia UNEAC. Durante décadas la ONDi se negó a facilitarles esa tarea. “El resultado fue que cada uno se buscó su propio camino y muchos nos lanzamos a trabajar por la izquierda”, asegura Luis, quien durante los años noventa montó un gabinete de diseño en la sala de su propia casa.

El gremio también ha sufrido la constante emigración de sus profesionales, que encuentran plazas de trabajo mejor remuneradas en otras latitudes. “Vivo desde hace más de una década en Ecuador y ahí he podido realizarme mejor desde el punto de vista profesional y salarial”, afirma Luis. Su fuerte es el diseño informacional, pero también ha trabajado la decoración de interiores. “Ahora vengo de vez en cuando a Cuba y hago alguna pinchita para un restaurante privado o los nuevos clubes que están apareciendo”, asegura. En la actualidad no mantiene contacto con la ONDi.

[[QUOTE:“Ahora, cuando estamos ganando buen dinero, la ONDi ha creado el Registro Nacional de Diseño para volver a beneficiarse de lo que hacemos”]]

“Ahora, cuando estamos ganando buen dinero, entonces la ONDi se da cuenta que debe rentabilizar nuestro trabajo y ha creado el Registro Nacional de Diseño para volver a beneficiarse de lo que hacemos”, se queja un diseñador de vestuario. A través de la resolución 202 del 15 de julio de 2013, publicada en la Gaceta Oficial, se creó este registro para aglutinar a los profesionales del ramo y evitar que “los advenedizos” realicen labores de diseño en entidades estatales. Un fenómeno que se ha extendido ante la demanda de los nuevos locales privados para la gastronomía y la necesidad de muchos lugares por cuenta propia de tener su propia identidad gráfica.

La creación de esta base de datos con la lista de todos los diseñadores del país aún no ha dado los resultados esperados, en parte por la desconfianza que la ONDi despierta entre estos profesionales. Ni siquiera el último año, donde la entidad ha llevado a cabo una campaña nacional para fomentar “el buen diseño”, ha logrado eliminar las suspicacias.

El tema ha ganado protagonismo incluso en la televisión nacional, con la aparición del espacio “De diseño”, pero aún no satisface las urgencias sin solucionar que padece el sector. Entre las que se encuentra el extendido irrespeto a la estética y al buen gusto que muestran la mayoría de las instituciones oficiales. La ausencia de una educación estética desde la infancia es también un reclamo de estos profesionales.

A punto de inaugurar su nueva sede, la ONDi se encuentra ante retos más importantes que el de habilitar el espacioso local. Tiene ante sí la posibilidad de relanzarse como institución y representar las demandas de los profesionales del gremio, además de facilitarles su desarrollo laboral y económico. De no sumarse a esa tendencia, la Oficina sólo será una entidad estatal más, con un renovado local y un llamativo cartel a las afueras.

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Los vecinos de Arroyo Naranjo y Boyeros debe velar por donde caminan. Los cables de alta tensión no aguantan el paso del tiempo y la desidia, se quiebran y caen al suelo Continue reading

El poeta cubano exiliado en Miami Alejandro Fonseca falleció en Miami el sábado 7 de febrero, a la edad de 60 años, informa Diario de las Américas.

"Estoy consternado por el fallecimiento de alguien a quien apreciaba como poeta y amigo", manifestó el poeta Joaquín Gálvez, quien organiza las tertulias La Otra Esquina de las Palabras, donde la voz y los versos de Fonseca fueron escuchados muchas veces.

El poeta gozaba de buena salud pero hace apenas unos días los médicos le diagnosticaron leucemia. Le sobrevive su esposa Maricela, también residente en Miami.

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El autoritarismo cubano no puede sobrevivir a una apertura febrero 6, 2015 ¿Por qué Cuesta Morúa tiene razón? Haroldo Dilla Alfonso* HAVANA TIMES – Hace unos días un grupo de cinco activistas opositores cubanos concurrieron al subcomité de relaciones exteriores del Senado de los Estados Unidos para expresar sus puntos de vista sobre la normalización […] Continue reading
Cuba enfrenta un S.O.S. de pañales febrero 5, 2015 Fernando Ravsberg HAVANA TIMES — “Presenté una solicitud para irme a trabajar a Ecuador”, me dice una profesora universitaria cubana y me explica que “no me queda más remedio porque mi madre se agravó y necesito más dinero para poder comprarle los pañales, tú no te […] Continue reading
Cuban authoritarianism cannot survive the country's liberalization
February 6, 2015
Why is Cuesta Morua Right?
Haroldo Dilla Alfonso

HAVANA TIMES – A few days ago, a group of five Cuban opposition
activists appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Foreign
Relations to express their points of view regarding the normalization of
relations between Cuba and the United States.

Three of them criticized the reestablishment of diplomatic relations,
maintaining that it makes life easier for the Cuban government and that
the United States should have forced the government to make political
concessions and talked with the opposition before taking this step. Two
of them, on the other hand, considered it a positive step that creates a
better atmosphere for the only effective means of demanding changes from
the government: by mobilizing Cuban public opinion.

This difference of opinions is not surprising. In fact, one could have
easily anticipated it the moment the issue of bilateral relations began
to be addressed by the Obama administration and activists and
intellectuals began to assume a position regarding that. I fear,
however, that most activists from the opposition, both in Cuba and
abroad, coincide in their condemnation of the move – and I believe this
is so because of two, persistent mistakes.

The first is the idea that the opposition is a decisive factor in Cuban
reality, an idea that has been encouraged by the way in which the
significance of some opposition figures has been blown completely out of
proportion. This exaggerated sense of self-importance has led the
opposition to conclude that the US government should have consulted with
them and made them part of the process, and that such an omission
constitutes a weak-point of the negotiations which some have gone as far
as to call a betrayal.

This is a political illusion that deserves no more attention than that
which we devote the "tolerated critical companions" of the system
(Cuba's Temas, Cuba Posible and Progreso Semanal journals, some
Cuban-American activist groups, and others) when they portray themselves
as a "loyal opposition." No one can deny the moral courage that some may
show when confronting an authoritarian power with their words or deeds.
That, however, does not make them necessary as interlocutors, for
failing to consult them does not involve paying a prohibitive price, and
consulting them does not garner anyone any substantial benefits. And
real politics is all about prices and costs.

The second mistake is the idea (curiously shared by the opposition and
Cuban technocrats, academics and officials) that Cuba can set up a
capitalist model a la China, where authoritarianism and market freedoms
can go hand in hand without meeting considerable obstacles. This, to
mention one example, is the idea traced by Mario Vargas Llosa in an
article for El Pais, where he again made a show of his unparalleled
skills as a writer and his blinkered liberal dogmatism. It was also what
Manuel Cuesta Morua critically addressed in Washington when he affirmed
that "(…) Cuban authoritarianism cannot survive the country's
liberalization, as Chinese authoritarianism has demonstrated it can."

Cuesta Morua is not only a tireless activist and a highly respectable
intellectual figure; he is also a historian who knows that capitalism is
not a trans-historical abstraction but a series of socio-historical
constructions. He certainly knows (hence his sound warning) that there
are different types of capitalism (Rheinland, Manchester, Scandinavian,
etc.) that are sustained by specific social and cultural arrangements.

Photo: Juan Suarez
The so-called "Chinese model" isn't simply an economic configuration –
it is a political and cultural one as well. It doesn't mainly convey a
means of organizing productive forces (the aspect our technocrats are
always highlighting), but rather how to array relations of production
based on the extreme exploitation of an obedient workforce. Such a
cultural perception of authority does not exist in Cuba, a Western,
Latin American country whose anti-liberalism does not stem from
Confucian thought, but from populist barricades.

It is true that the normalization of relations with the United States
(and the erosion of the blockade/embargo in particular) will create
conditions that favor an improvement in Cuba's disastrous economic
situation. But it will not do away with the island's many pressing
problems, to the extent that these problems do not arise from the
blockade/embargo. Overcoming the country's current economic situation
invariably demands a degree of social restructuring that entails the
elimination of many of the populist and paternalist contention
mechanisms now in place, and making the true nature of the exploitation
that underpins the system more transparent.

In the political arena – where the Cuban leadership refuses to bring
about any changes – the normalization of relations will create a context
different from the one in which the suppression of differences could be
justified. The government will have to moderate the use of its last
rhetorical device – intransigent nationalism before a supposed
imperialist threat – and, as the restrictions of the blockade are
relaxed, it will also have to look elsewhere for the anti-imperialist
excuses for Cuba's economic catastrophes. Cuban society will invariably
have more access to information and contacts, and the spectrum of the
system's opposition and critics could gain in opportunities to express
opinions and act without being portrayed as enemy agents.

It is a serious mistake to perceive Cuba's generalized poverty as the
antechamber of longed-for change. The most significant political changes
we've seen have not stemmed from hunger. In a tasteful study, Crane
Brinton said that revolutions aren't born of despair but of hope.

When hope runs into the government's mistakes, that is when people begin
to see that something is missing and something is in excess. Tocqueville
explained it in this fashion: "The most dangerous moment for a bad
government is when it begins to reform (…). Evils which were suffered
patiently as being inevitable appear insupportable if the notion of
being rid of them is conceived."

Source: Cuban authoritarianism cannot survive the country's
liberalization - Havana Times.org - http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=109174 Continue reading
Cuba's Diaper Crisis
February 5, 2015
Fernando Ravsberg*

HAVANA TIMES — "I submitted an application to go work in Ecuador," a
Cuban university professor tells me, explaining that "I don't have any
other choice. My mother's illness has become worse and I need money to
buy her adult diapers. You can't imagine how big a mess she makes."

"I'd never thought about leaving Cuba. I occasionally give lectures at
universities in other countries and I managed to make ends meet that
way, but I have no other choice now. My mother goes through 3 diapers a
day, so I need almost a hundred dollars a month just for that."

I met a 33-year-old Cuban woman who is trying to set up her own
business, to be able to afford having a child. "I won't get pregnant
until I have an income that will at least give me enough money to buy
disposable diapers," she tells me.

"I am not going to spend months using cloth diapers that you have to
boil, wash and sun dry and then iron. For that reason, the most
appreciated gift a Cuban who recently gave birth can receive is
disposable diapers. I prefer not to have children if I don't have an
income that allows me to buy them."

These two conversations came to mind when I saw government officials
talking about "policies" and "strategies" to increase the country's
birth rate and take better care of the elderly in Cuba's Round Table
program – lofty generalizations and very few practical proposals.

The issue of disposable diapers, for instance, is very serious in a
country with a low birth rate and long life expectancy, where nearly 20%
of the population is elderly and many women work for a living. This is
something that Cuba's importers and retail networks do not seem to

Diapers appear and disappear at stores like many other products. The
difference is that this is an essential product. In addition, there
price (up to one dollar per diaper) is prohibitive for any person living
on an average salary.

The fact of the matter is that, today, one has to do a lot of legwork to
purchase diapers, visit different stores because they don't always carry
the size you need and, sometimes, they don't carry any diapers at all.
So people also need money to hoard up on diapers (the more the better)
when these turn up.

If the Cuban government hopes to bring up the country's birth rate and
continue to extend the life expectancy of the elderly, it should
understand that solving the diaper problem is far more strategically
important than television campaigns.

A government directive calls for "applying all fiscal and price policies
that will favor a higher birth rate and improved care for the elderly."
They could start by exonerating diapers from the 240% mark-up on
products at their hard currency stores.

The government could even make a certain number of diapers available to
families with elderly members or newborns at cost, a measure which would
profit from the hastening of negotiations with the Vietnamese company
that wants to set up a diaper factory in the town of Mariel.

We must bear in mind that life expectancy in Cuba today leads to
situations in which elderly people are forced to care for their even
more elderly parents. These people, who can be between the ages of 60
and 70, face physical limitations themselves and need society's help.

From a strictly economic point of view, it is also good business. Cuban
families are so united that, if they were given the resources to look
after their elders, less of them would end up in homes.

Young Cuban women want to have better living conditions before giving
birth, as Cuba's low birth rate demonstrates. The situation leads
society to a dead-end, as there are less and less people working and
more and more retired persons receiving pensions.

Encouraging Cuban women to have more children may become an issue of
vital importance for the economy in the near future. But that goal will
be reached, not by appealing to women's consciences, but by giving
mothers the resources they need today.

It's true there are many other problems behind the country's low birth
rate, such as the housing shortage and low incomes. The diaper problem,
however, does not call for more money but a decision to profit in a
little less at the government's retail stores.

Cuban sociologist Mayra Espina believes that the economic reforms should
not postpone "social considerations and must be implemented in a
coherent fashion. It is not a question of increasing social spending but
organizing social spending better."

This is something that can be achieved through policies that anticipate
the problems that scientists are identifying, concrete measures aimed at
the people's wellbeing – something which, in the long run, is not at
odds with a prosperous and sustainable economy, but exactly the opposite.

Source: Cuba's Diaper Crisis - Havana Times.org -
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=109133 Continue reading