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Daily Archives: May 7, 2016

La vicepresidenta y canciller Isabel de Saint Malo advirtió en la OEA que Panamá tendrá que adoptar medidas similares a otras naciones para "desincentivas el flujo de migrantes" por ese país. Continue reading

After seven passengers reported feeling ill Friday, the ship’s crew put heightened hygiene procedures into effect

14 more passengers reported illnesses Saturday as the cruise ship made its way back to its home port in Miami

Ship’s captain told passengers there had been an increase in gastro-intestinal illnesses, “possibly suggestive of Norovirus”

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Corea del Norte vivió el sábado la segunda jornada del VII Congreso del Partido de los Trabajadores, una cita histórica que se celebra a puerta cerrada y que de momento está sirviendo para fortalecer el liderazgo del joven Kim Jong-un, reportó EFE.

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This post will remain at the top of the page through May 14 , 2016. During President Barack Obama's visit to Cuba in March 2016, dictator Raul Castro said he would be willing to release all political prisoners; all he... Continue reading

El cardenal Jaime Ortega, figura clave de la reconciliación diplomática de Cuba y Estados Unidos, agradeció el sábado al general Raúl Castro el acercamiento "sin retrocesos", y no siempre "comprendido", que propició con la Iglesia Católica, en su última misa como arzobispo de La Habana, reportó la AFP.

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María Castro, hija de Raúl, dijo que todo el mundo quería conocer ‘la manzana prohibida’, Cuba

La novedad que despierta Cuba es la misma que despertó China cuando se abrió al capitalismo

El último preso político de Tiannamen, Miao Deshun, será liberado este otoño

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“Desafortunadamente, durante este período, especialmente esta mañana, hemos visto un aumento en los casos de problemas gastrointestinales, que posiblemente sean un norovirus”, dijo el capital David Box. Continue reading

‘Papa Hemingway in Cuba’, la primera película norteamericana filmada en la isla desde 1959, revive la figura del escritor

El escritor fue a Cuba por primera vez en 1928 y a partir de ahí desarrollaría una intensa relación vivencial y literaria con el país

En 1954 recibe el Nobel y regala la medalla a la Patrona de Cuba, la Virgen de la Caridad

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14ymedio, Manuel Cuesta Morua, Havana, 7 May 2016 — I am offering, for critical discussion, a viewpoint discussed in more than one place about what I consider the progressive and punctilious deconstruction of our national project. Cuba is no longer one nation, but rather an unfinished project. I will offer this in two parts, not … Continue reading "57 Years Later: Towards A New Contract For Cuba (Pt. 1) / 14ymedio, Manuel Cuesta Morua" Continue reading
"Agradezco a las autoridades de mi país todas las posibilidades de superar periodos críticos y momentos difíciles, y haber sido capaces de avanzar sin retrocesos por un camino de diálogo, no comprendido por muchos dentro y fuera del país; dentro y fuera de la Iglesia, dentro y fuera de las estructuras gubernamentales", señaló Ortega Continue reading
Ivan Garcia, 2 April 2016 — The dilapidated old house where the Varona family lives, in the Lawton district of Havana, could serve very well as a set for a television series about marginalisation and violence. The front wall cries out for a coat of paint. Cracked roof tiles threaten to fall off. And inside, … Continue reading "Broken Families in Cuba / Iván García" Continue reading

La Procuradoría General de Brasil (fiscalía) denunció ante el Tribunal Supremo a dos importantes exministros del gabinete de la presidenta brasileña, Dilma Rousseff, por su supuesta implicación en el caso de corrupción de Petrobras, informaron este sábado fuentes oficiales, reportó EFE.

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La franquicia hollywoodense Fast and Furious (Rápido y Furioso) concluyó el viernes las sesiones de rodaje en la Isla para su octava entrega, que incluirá además escenas en Islandia y Nueva York, informó la estatal Prensa Latina.

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Arnie Pérez gestionó los permisos para Carnival y presionó a las autoridades cubanas para que permitieran a los cubanos viajar a Cuba por vía marítima. Continue reading

Los mojitos, los habanos y la visión de mostrarse al mundo en un descapotable en la ciudad de moda, no fueron suficientes para las Kardashian. Se alegran de haberse marchado ya de la Isla, a donde llegaron para grabar nuevos episodios de su reality show.

La "inmersión cultural e histórica" del clan K chocó con las nuevas tecnologías. La familia pasó del brillo de Hollywood y la fama a una tierra donde apenas son conocidas ni ellas ni su programa.

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Carlos Alberto Montaner

Robert W. Merry, editor The National Interest  y notable escritor de temas históricos, afirma que el enfrentamiento entre Donald Trump y Hillary Clinton es, en realidad, una batalla entre el nacionalismo y el “globalismo”. Me parece un buen resumen, pero vale la pena ahondar en el tema.

En Estados Unidos siempre han coexistido la tentación de aislarse de los conflictos internacionales, prescrito por el famoso discurso de despedida de George Washington, y la propuesta alterna de Thomas Jefferson de concebir el “Empire of Liberty” como  destino natural de un país que debía dedicar sus mejores esfuerzos a la expansión de la democracia y la protección de los desvalidos más allá de sus fronteras.

No debe olvidarse que durante las dos guerras mundiales, de acuerdo con las encuestas de la época, el porcentaje de los norteamericanos decididos a participar en los conflictos era menor que el de los “pacifistas”, hasta que las acciones bélicas de Alemania en la primera, y Japón, en la segunda, precipitaron la ruptura de las hostilidades. 

Unas veces los republicanos adoptaron la idea del imperialismo benévolo  -Lincoln en el discurso de Gettysburg, Teddy Roosevelt, Ike Eisenhower (con gran prevención), Ronald Reagan (remember  Granada),  los dos Bush-, pero en otras oportunidades fueron los demócratas: Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson e incluso Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton y Barack Obama.

Obviamente, en esa postura se trenzaban la defensa de los valores y los intereses materiales de Estados Unidos. Carter, pese a su rechazo a la violencia, proclamó en 1980 la voluntad del país de defender a cualquier costo a las naciones del Golfo Pérsico, entonces amenazadas por Irán, zona en la que, claramente, no había libertades ni democracia.

Clinton, en cambio, proclamó en 1999 la doctrina que lleva su nombre, en la que fundamenta lo que comenzó a llamarse “la obligación de proteger”, de donde se desprendía el derecho a las intervenciones humanitarias. Incluía, muy especialmente, la oposición al genocidio aunque tuviera que recurrirse a la fuerza.[[QUOTE:A Obama, le tocó decidir la actuación de Washington durante la llamada primavera árabe y optó por intentar un “cambio de régimen”]]

Esto explica la intervención de la OTAN en la guerra de Yugoslavia para proteger a los kosovares o a los bosnios. No había intereses económicos en juego. Se intentaba, sencillamente, detener la matanza. De alguna manera, Clinton rectificaba con su política la parálisis de Estados Unidos ante la carnicería de Ruanda de 1994. Dos millones de africanos fueron masacrados en aquel horror ante la indiferencia del mundo desarrollado.  

A Obama, le tocó decidir la actuación de Washington durante la llamada primavera árabe y optó por intentar un “cambio de régimen”. La fuerza aérea norteamericana llevó a cabo casi siete mil misiones en Libia hasta destrozar totalmente al ejército de Gadafi con consecuencias, por cierto, perjudiciales para todas las partes implicadas. La primavera se transformó en un largo y sangriento invierno.

El moderno rol de Estados Unidos, en lo que algunos llaman la pax americana, comenzó a forjarse en julio de 1944 en Bretton Woods (New Hampshire), cuando F.D. Roosevelt convocó a los representantes de 44 naciones para delinear los fundamentos económicos de la posguerra.

Ya era evidente la derrota de los países del Eje. Washington estaba decidido a que la nación asumiera la dirección del mundo libre para evitar que sucediera lo mismo que ocurrió tras el fin de la Primera Guerra mundial en 1918, aunque no ignoraba el costo enorme de cargar con ese pesado cetro.

El segundo paso en la misma dirección lo dio Harry Truman en 1946. En un memorable discurso proclamó su doctrina de “contención” al espasmo imperial del estalinismo que entonces acosaba a Grecia, Turquía y –Truman creía-, a Irán. La Doctrina Truman impulsó el Plan Marshall, la creación de la OTAN, la refundación de la OEA y la creación de la CIA, entre otras iniciativas todavía vigentes.

Simultáneamente, el Departamento de Estado fue desarrollando medidas diplomáticas basadas en “palos y zanahorias” para propiciar el buen comportamiento democrático, estrategia siempre subordinada a la lucha contra el comunismo. Eran preferibles las democracias, pero las dictaduras anticomunistas se aceptaban como un mal menor.

Una contradicción que, por la otra punta, hoy abraza la izquierda cuando aplaude a Obama por tener buenas relaciones con la dictadura cubana, mientras ayer censuraba a Washington por tener vínculos estrechos con Somoza y Trujillo.

Los comunistas de “Podemos” en España, aunque reclaman la compasión como una de las señas de identidad del “progresismo” (etiqueta absurda en quienes defienden el comportamiento de las naciones que menos progresan), se niegan a condenar las violaciones de los derechos humanos en Venezuela y en el perímetro del llamado “Socialismo del Siglo XXI”.

En todo caso, Trump, más allá de sus bravuconadas xenófobas, de su narcisismo, de su misoginia y de sus burlas a los discapacitados, de alguna manera representa la posición de los norteamericanos “realistas” que creen que Estados Unidos es una nación como cualquiera otra, cuyo gobierno debe consagrarse enteramente a defender los intereses de sus ciudadanos, posición que lo convierte en el candidato preferido de Vladimir Putin.

Hillary, más allá de sus mentiras e inexactitudes, del carácter despótico que le atribuyen sus adversarios, y prescindiendo del rechazo que provoca en una buena parte de la sociedad norteamericana, presumiblemente continuará la política de Roosevelt-Truman y de su propio esposo, desempeñando el papel de “halcón-liberal” en el sentido que les dan a estas palabras en Estados Unidos.

Francamente, pese a los muchos problemas y contradicciones, el mundo ha sido un lugar notablemente más seguro y habitable protegido por Estados Unidos de lo que hubiera sido sin Bretton Woods, sin la Doctrina Truman y todo lo que vino después.

Como provengo de una nación comunista, sé perfectamente lo que hubiera sido un planeta gobernado u orientado por Moscú y organizado en torno al disparate marxista-leninista. Una terrible pesadilla.  

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El próximo martes 10 de mayo se celebrará el centenario de la proclamación de la Virgen de la Caridad como Patrona de Cuba con ceremonias simultáneas en Cuba y en Miami, la capital del exilio cubano. Ese día los obispos de Cuba se reunirán en el Santuario Nacional del Cobre en Santiago de Cuba y en Miami se recibirá la imagen de la Virgen que entregaron al Papa Francisco el 22 de septiembre de 2015 en Santiago de Cuba. En aquella ocasión al... Continue reading
  RELACIONES BILATERALES

El intercambio comercial entre Alemania y Cuba actualmente es bajo. Alemania exportó a la isla por unos 240 millones de dólares en 2014, y recibió importaciones cubanas por 35 millones de dólares



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Lilian Tintori, la esposa del dirigente opositor venezolano Leopoldo López, inició el viernes desde Doral, ciudad aledaña de Miami, una campaña internacional de recolección de insumos médicos para Venezuela, reportó EFE.

"Estamos en la peor crisis de salud de nuestra historia, no hay medicinas, no hay insumos médicos en Venezuela, las cifras oficiales son alarmantes", señaló Tintori en una rueda de prensa ofrecida en el centro de acopio en Doral.

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El arzobispo de Caracas, el cardenal Jorge Urosa, emplazó a la Comisión Nacional Electoral a cumplir con la Constitución y facilitar así la celebración de un referéndum revocatorio contra el presidente Nicolás Maduro.

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Manuel Cuesta Morúa

Ofrezco, para compartir críticamente, una visión discutida en más de un lugar sobre lo que considero la deconstrucción progresiva y puntillosa de nuestro proyecto nacional. Cuba no es todavía una nación, sino un proyecto inconcluso. Lo hago en dos partes, no solo por las necesidades editoriales de un periódico, sino también para no cansar demasiado a los lectores con una escritura que puede llevar al tedio. Insisto, sin embargo, porque como muchos cubanos, siento la pulsión vital por mi país, tal como fue descrita por Manolín, el médico de la salsa, en su texto directo y de primer plano.

Siempre es necesario pensar un país, pero después del fiasco de un Congreso escolástico, en el que los contenidos sustanciales de las palabras fueron las palabras mismas, pensar la nación, pluralmente, constituye un imperativo de supervivencia.

¿A dónde va la nación cubana? Casi todo el mundo coincide, para decirlo popularmente, en que estamos seriamente embarcados. Y como del embarque hay que salir de un modo razonable y civilizado, creo es necesario pensar y discutir, leer y releer, y sobre todo imaginar.

[[QUOTE:La nación cubana no la define un grupo autoelegido, sino el ciudadano: el único legitimado para tales empresas]]Como hemos sido atrapados por procesos políticos muy duros, la gente se acostumbró y dejó impresionar e intimidar por la idea de que Cuba pertenece a un grupo "muy especial" de personas que se dan en llamar revolucionarios. Cubanos y extranjeros, todos, hemos aceptado esta clasificación, que puede tener mucha densidad y categoría, pero que no coincide con la cultura y la nacionalidad cubanas, que son las dos primeras condiciones de pertenencia a Cuba y a cualquier nación, y por encima de las cuales todo lo demás puede ser daño o beneficio colateral, según el ángulo de posición.

Todavía hoy, después del desgaste casi grotesco de todos los significados más respetables del concepto de revolución –lo de la Venezuela de Nicolás Maduro es de espanto–, mucha gente se pone a la defensiva por desear cambios para Cuba, diciendo que ellos o no son contrarrevolucionarios o no quieren trabajar a favor del "imperialismo" sin percibir que el término contrarrevolución en Cuba puede adquirir ya la misma connotación que mambí, peyorativamente empleado por los españoles en el siglo XIX para referirse a los insurrectos cubanos, es decir a los independentistas. Esto vendría a significar que todavía están atrapados por la clasificación de los otros, sin discernir que el poder de la semántica coincide aquí, no tan extrañamente, con el poder de las armas. Y así no se vale. Al menos en el campo de las palabras y de las ideas. Al debate de las ideas en América Latina le ha faltado fuerza mental. Del lado de los demócratas.

En todo caso, más allá de esta discusión, la pregunta fundamental que debe hacerse para no dejarse impresionar por la violencia psicológica del poder es quién define qué. Y la nación cubana no la define un grupo autoelegido, sino el ciudadano: el único legitimado para tales empresas. La Revolución como fuente de derecho es una concepción reaccionaria. Lo que se pasa por alto, quizá de manera oportunista, es que llega el momento en el que las revoluciones se hacen del poder, y ahí desafortunadamente no han diferido ni de las formas ni de las justificaciones de los modelos políticos más tradicionales. En muchos casos –el de Cuba es especial en este sentido–, han revivido modos y fundamentaciones que se suponían sepultadas por la modernidad. Una ironía simpática es que, una vez en el poder, las revoluciones utilizan sin tapujos y profusamente los conceptos de subversión y estabilidad para defenderse de sus adversarios. Los conceptos políticamente menos revolucionarios que podrían existir y que harían aplaudir a Metternich, aquel canciller austriaco que logró la confabulación más estruendosa y fina contra la Revolución francesa.

La segunda cosa esencial es la constatación de que el ciudadano es el legitimador por excelencia, si queremos evitar el regreso a los Estados de origen más o menos divino.

[[QUOTE:El ciudadano es el legitimador por excelencia, si queremos evitar el regreso a los Estados de origen más o menos divino]]Necesitamos en Cuba definir un nuevo país por la historia, por los sujetos políticos y culturales, y por la mentalidad de sujetos y actores en y para un proyecto nacional inclusivo. Esta definición, desde luego, debe incluir una consideración sobre el contexto internacional para explicarnos nuestras opciones y posibilidades como nación, algo que en Cuba es fundamental, porque la nuestra se ha definido históricamente en términos negativos. A quién no debemos pertenecer, más que a quién pertenece la nación, es un antiguo dilema no resuelto.

Cuba dejó pasar, a fines de los años 90 y principios de los años 2000, el comienzo de la nueva era, que en mi perspectiva se inició con el final del apartheid en Sudáfrica.

El fin del apartheid en Sudáfrica fue la cruda expresión política de ese movimiento cultural, que mostró la inviabilidad ética de las hegemonías culturales en territorios poblados de diversidad. La solución reconciliatoria de Nelson Mandela captaba el mensaje de que el nuevo contrato sudafricano no podía basarse en una nueva hegemonía que arrinconara a las diversas tradiciones dentro de una misma nacionalidad.

En el hemisferio occidental ese nuevo contrato empieza por Bolivia, con el ascenso de Evo Morales al poder como representante de la América ancestral olvidada y expoliada. Y aun cuando este ha venido repitiendo el mismo esquema de hegemonías contra el que luchó, su importancia está ahí: el hemisferio occidental se abre a ese movimiento cultural que define la nueva legitimidad de los contratos sociales y políticos del futuro: la diversidad cultural vehiculada a través del ciudadano político.

La última y más vigorosa expresión de ese movimiento fue el ascenso de Barack Obama al poder en Estados Unidos. Su llegada introdujo un matiz que confirma la irreversibilidad de ese movimiento cultural: el ascenso de las minorías culturales, dada su capacidad para construir mayorías, al campo legítimo de las decisiones políticas.

[[QUOTE:En julio de 2006 parecía que las autoridades cubanas se acercaban a la sociedad para entrar en esa nueva era. Diez años después, desaprovechan irresponsablemente la oportunidad]]La nueva era comienza pues con dos poderes conectados: el poder de la diversidad para la reconstrucción civil de los Estados y el poder de la imaginación que esta diversidad provee para la solución de los problemas que el mundo ha heredado del exceso de hegemonías fundadas en criterios de superioridad. Es el triunfo claro de la nueva antropología y de su estética asociada, lo cual tiene pocos precedentes globales.

Cuba, necesitada de firmar este nuevo contrato para estructurar un nuevo país, se aleja peligrosamente de esta corriente global, 57 años después del fracaso de su propio esquema de hegemonías.

En julio de 2006 parecía que las autoridades cubanas se acercaban a la sociedad para entrar en esa nueva era, y para dar los pasos iniciales en dirección a este nuevo contrato. Diez años después, desaprovechan irresponsablemente la oportunidad, solo para contemplar cómo Estados Unidos le tomó la iniciativa dentro de este movimiento cultural, incluso dentro de Cuba.

Más allá del contraste o la comparación entre las dos sociedades, el asunto es capital desde el punto de vista estratégico, debido al diferendo político y cultural que enfrenta al Gobierno cubano con la clase política estadounidense, y a la importancia de las decisiones políticas de Washington para el tipo de respuestas defensivas del Gobierno de Cuba.

[[QUOTE:El hecho de que cada vez más ciudadanos estén dispuestos a dejar atrás la ciudadanía revolucionaria a favor de la doble ciudadanía es una muestra de desconfianza en las posibilidades de Cuba como nación]]La parálisis en el proyecto –que no proceso– de "cambios estructurales y conceptuales" que exige el país viene a reflejar, en todo caso, tanto la falta de imaginación de la actual hegemonía política de Cuba como su incapacidad para absorber la fuerza, los elementos y las consecuencias civiles de nuestra propia diversidad cultural, lo que estaría poniendo en peligro la continuidad de Cuba como nación viable en el mediano y largo plazos.

El peligro es también inmediato, aunque sus consecuencias sean estratégicas. La pérdida acelerada de confianza en el Gobierno acelera la pérdida del tiempo-confianza en la sociedad y, lo más importante, la confianza-país. El hecho de que cada vez más ciudadanos estén dispuestos a dejar atrás la ciudadanía revolucionaria a favor de la doble ciudadanía es una muestra de desconfianza en las posibilidades de Cuba como nación. Un mensaje de que en Cuba se puede vivir como español, francés, norteamericano o italiano, es decir, como ciudadano global, pero no como cubano.

Hay aquí una primera ruptura fundacional que en estos momentos se enfrenta a otros dos peligros: el primero, la ausencia de liderazgo y visión del Gobierno para afrontar los desafíos del país en una época global; y, el segundo, su perseverancia metafísica en la idea de una Revolución que aceleradamente va perdiendo sus registros sociales para fortalecer sus registros punitivos. Esa Revolución se apoya en la policía más que en la filosofía. Da primero un pan para ofrecer más tarde el castigo.

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Rodaje en Cuba significó un trastorno para el transporte, un sueño para los jóvenes, millones para el Estado y un "acelerón" para un puñado de auxiliares locales contratados. Palco, despedida por incumplimiento. Continue reading
‘Desaparición’ de productos, primera consecuencia del tope de precios establecido por el Gobierno VICENTE MORÍN AGUADO | La Habana | 7 Mayo 2016 – 9:13 am. Pocos días después de la entrada en vigor de las nuevas disposiciones sobre precios máximos para viandas, hortalizas, frutas y granos que se venden mercados agropecuarios bajo control estatal, […] Continue reading
“Ningún cubano quiere quedarse aquí” hace 53 minutos Martinoticias.com Decenas de cubanos protestaron el viernes en las oficinas de la Western Union en Chiriquí, Panamá, donde esperaban cobrar una transferencia de sus familiares imprescindible para comprar los boletos a México. Decenas de cubanos protestaron el viernes en las oficinas de la Western Union en Chiriquí, […] Continue reading
Interview with Mary Jo Porter

If paradise ends where choice begins, as Arthur Miller observed, then
our digital age fantasy of paradise as a tropical island with no
Internet collapses with our choice to travel to one. The permanent
inhabitants of such an island, who live without Internet access or the
luxury of travel, would likely have a lot to tell the world about life
in paradise, if only they could get online. As of 2016, these
inhabitants represent 95% of the Cuban population.

In January of 2008, Seattle resident and transportation engineer Mary Jo
Porter set off on a trip to Cuba lugging a raised toilet seat and other
supplies for the friend of a friend on the island. She knew she wouldn't
be landing in paradise. Anything else she knew about daily life in Cuba
she had gleaned from a friend's daughter who worked there and a lone
blog she had found online called Generation Y.

When Porter visited Cuba, the author of Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, was
on the verge of international renown as a leading human rights advocate
and intellectual. Sanchez started her site in 2007, becoming one of the
first Cubans to blog about daily life on the island—an endeavor that was
complicated by the fact that she, along with most Cubans, was prohibited
from going online.

While Sanchez is now considered the pioneer of the Cuban dissident
blogger movement, Porter is the reason that Sanchez and bloggers like
her have enjoyed such an extensive readership among non-Spanish
speakers. For what Porter could not have known when she went to Cuba was
that, within months of her return to the US, she would be Sanchez's
unlikely translator. Soon after that, she would become an essential link
in an underground network of activists who support Cuban bloggers, and
the co-founder and organizer of a website called Hemos Oido [We've Heard
(You)], the first open and automated platform of its kind where
volunteers can go to translate the blogs of Cuban dissidents.

The exchange that follows took place by phone and email during the
winter of 2016.

Hillary Gulley (HG): You first came across Yoani's blog, Generation Y,
while preparing to take a trip to Cuba with a friend. What was it about
your experience on the island that compelled you to keep reading her
blog after your vacation was over?

Mary Jo Porter (MJP): Cuba grabbed me. I don't know how else to say it.
I've traveled to quite a few places and lived abroad, but only in
Ireland did I have a feeling similar to when I arrived in Cuba: that of
being home. The Cuban landscape was immediately familiar, similar to
California where I grew up and, like in Ireland, the people were deeply
familiar despite the language barrier. Cubans are like Californians:
outgoing, casual, willing to tell you their life story on a street
corner, and everyone has an opinion about everything. Cuba hadn't
settled in my consciousness since the Cuban Missile Crisis, but once I
went, I was hooked.

HG: When you visited Cuba you knew very little Spanish. How did you
overcome the language barrier?

MJP: Face-to-face you can probably communicate with anyone if you try.
In Cuba, I was often with my friend's daughter, Jenny, who was working
for an NGO there; she interpreted for me on many occasions. Other times,
I'd talk to Cubans who had some or a lot of English.

HG: Did Cubans seek you out for conversation, or did you approach them?

MJP: Both. I had a great conversation with a bookseller at a market in
Plaza de Armas. He asked if I was Canadian, and I said no, American. And
he said, in perfect English, "I have some excellent books about Che."
When I told him I had no desire to read about a psychopathic,
totalitarian murderer, I thought he was going to fall over. Really, he
almost stopped breathing. Then he couldn't stop laughing. When he got
serious again, he told me I was "different from other Americans" who
came to Cuba, and then spent a good part of the afternoon filling me in
on Cuban history, like the time Castro ordered Camilo Cienfuegos (his
former head of armed forces) to fly to Havana from Camaguey, and his
plane "crashed into the sea." Except they never found the plane—and the
route from Camaguey to Havana is over land. I learned a lot that afternoon.

One day I talked to a butcher at a ration store who didn't have any meat
or chicken or fish. He was reading the paper with nothing to sell, so he
had plenty of time to talk. Another time I walked into a tiny barbershop
and talked to the barbers and customers. And well after dark one night,
my friends and I talked to people playing dominos at a card table right
in the street. They had put the table under a streetlight and pointed
out that it was the only light working in the area.

Then we went to Viñales and stayed in a casa particular—a Cuban B&B. We
had a lot of time to sit around and work through the language barriers.
The owners had some English and a lot to say about trying to run a
private business and coming up against the Committees for the Defense of
the Revolution. I went out to fly kites I had made for the local kids,
and one of their dads came out and started fixing them to make them
better. So that was another way to connect, by playing.

Another conversation was with a cop guarding the American Interests
Section. My friends and I were walking along the Malecón late one night
and saw a huge billboard equating Bush and this unknown (to us) "evil
person" to Hitler. I wanted to know who the guy was, so I crossed the
street to ask the cop. He frantically motioned that I wasn't allowed on
his sidewalk, and he couldn't cross over to mine, so we met at the
center line. It seemed odd to stand in the middle of an arterial in the
dark, but it worked fine, because there were no cars—because they're
just weren't any. He didn't understand English, and I could hardly make
myself understood in my bad Spanish; but I did understand when he called
someone on his walkie-talkie to ask permission to tell me the "evil
guy's" name. He had to call three or four people, moving up the line,
before he got someone "high up enough" to give him permission to tell
me. Then I couldn't understand what he was saying, so he wrote it for me
on a scrap of paper.

HG: Who was the third evil person?

MJP: Luis Posada Carriles, someone who ultimately has been classified as
a terrorist by both the US and Cuba.

Along the Malécon as it passes the American Interest Section. These
kinds of anti-US government billboards are not common, although images
of the five men imprisoned in the US as Cuban spies are everywhere. The
man who, with Bush, equals Hitler, is Luis Pasado Carriles. Born in
Cuba, he is an anti-Castro terrorist charged in Panama with trying to
kill Castro, and in the US and elsewhere with other crimes. Bush
approved his release from prison in April 2007, against the advice of
the Justice Department. The New York Times headline read: "A Terrorist
Goes Free."

HG: You also took portraits of some of the people you spoke to.

MJP: You can usually buy postcards of the sights wherever you go, so I
tend to focus on "urban-y" and transportation things—bike racks and
intersection configurations—and people. But in Cuba there were only
postcards of Che, and no mail service to the US, so there was no point
anyway. I like portraits, and if you want to get one, the person
generally has to cooperate, so, voilà, a great way to get talking to people.

HG: Do you think Yoani's blog captivated you because it brought you back
to the daily lives of the people you met while you were in Cuba?

MJP: Of course Yoani's voice, and especially then, so intimately placed
in the minutiae of her life and the lives of other Cubans on the island,
was captivating. But it might be overstating it a little to say that was
the major reason I became so engaged in it, because you have to
remember, there were almost no blogs coming out of Cuba, from the island
itself, at that time. Yoani was pretty much it. Of course if her blog
had been a lot of disengaged ranting, I probably wouldn't have continued
to read it. So yes, it was that intimate focus that really drew me in,
but I was looking hard, online, for something, anything, to read that
was written on the island.

HG: You say her writing focused on everyday life "especially then"—what
changed?

MJP: A few years ago, a journalist asked me if I thought Yoani's blog
had moved away from that immersion in daily life. This was after she
started traveling. I said she still chronicled her daily life, but that
it had changed so drastically: if she just wrote about how bad the
coffee is, and how her coffee pot exploded along with everyone else's
when the government put too many crushed peas in the coffee, it wouldn't
feel authentic anymore. Great, her coffee pot exploded (or didn't), but
the New York Times said she met with Jimmy Carter in Havana
yesterday—why isn't she telling us about that?

HG: Did you notice any connection between Yoani's blog and the narrative
that emerged from your photographs back in 2008?

MJP: Clearly everything about me and my worldview and my way of seeing,
thinking, feeling, writing, are my own and not Yoani's. But I felt a
connection to the point that I wanted to try to share her voice with
other English speakers.

But you've made me realize there is kind of an odd dissonance here,
because while my voice is not Yoani's voice and vice versa, Yoani's
voice in English is my interpretation of her voice, which cannot help
but get overlaid with my own voice and the words I choose and the way I
phrase things. So inevitably there is a distortion of her in what I do.
That is translation. It's unavoidable.

HG: Can you talk a little about this "distortion" in translating Yoani
and other Cubans?

MJP: I will say I have tried hard not to intrude, which leads to a whole
other conversation about translation and the choices of words and
phrasing that I made early on when I didn't know the language, choices I
almost certainly wouldn't have made had I understood, in a native kind
of way, what she was saying.

But I think these same choices accidentally set a pattern that was
powerful for many reasons. Cubans for whom Spanish is not their
"everyday" language—even if it is their first language—have been the
most enthusiastic about my translations, while naturally it seems they
would be the least happy, because they bring the best language skills to
it. But then I realized it isn't because the translations are so "good"
in the traditional sense—because they're not—but because, for fear of
getting it wrong, I left so much of the "castellano cubano" in the
English text. And that was a conscious decision: not to please Cubans in
exile, but to try to bring "more" of Yoani and more of Cuba and Cuban
Spanish to the English-language reader.

HG: Do you think your approach to translating Yoani's blog may have
attracted a larger readership in English? One that began with Cubans in
exile who recognized, in your translations, strains of a Spanish they
were familiar with but did not use every day?

MJP: No, not at all. Yoani's blog would have attracted a huge readership
in English with any reasonable translations. I think Cubans in exile,
and more to the point, the children and grandchildren of exiles, enjoy
seeing the words of their parents and grandparents reflected in the word
choices in the translations, but not to the extent that it generates
more readers.

I have seen other translations of Yoani's writings here and there, and
with one exception, they have all been excellent.

HG: How did the exception go wrong?

MJP: There was a photo book being prepared on the architecture of the
"Cuban New School"—i.e. Socialist Brutalism. They asked Yoani to write a
short piece to accompany some photos of a boarding school in the
countryside that had been part of the "schools in the countryside"
project that her generation had attended. Yoani's response was a dark
essay titled "Concrete Forms to Forge a 'New Man.'" It opened with the
story of a fellow student who committed suicide by jumping off the roof
of the school.

The translator made Yoani sound like a Valley Girl. It was hilarious,
but horribly so. The editor asked for my help, and I retranslated it. I
did wonder what kind of impact Valley Girl-Yoani might have had if she'd
been translated that way from the start.

HG: You started translating Yoani's work shortly after you got back from
Cuba in 2008: Yoani's previous volunteer English translator stopped,
leading her to post a help-wanted ad on her blog. You answered after a
few weeks went by and no one else did. Is that right?

MJP: It was a few weeks at most, and it wasn't really a "help-wanted
ad," it was a little "by the way" at the bottom of a post. A sentence or
two. Other people did answer, but I guess she got my "translations" first.

HG: Can you describe the process of confronting Yoani's writing as a
novice translator who didn't know much of the language you were
translating from? What was your approach?

MJP: To say I was a "novice translator" at that point is a huge
overstatement. My approach was to ask for help translating by using my
computer skills and—most importantly—those of my partner-in-crime, Karen
Heffner Chun. Karen and I met when we were eight, and we've been friends
longer than we imagined we'd even be alive. She's been with me since
that first day when Yoani sent me the password to the English site and
said "it's yours now."

Along with the password, Yoani sent me "instructions" about how to use
Wordpress, which wasn't as common then as it is now. The background of
the site was all in German, because it had been set up by her friend in
Germany, and at the time there was no "change language" function. Her
accompanying instructions were in Spanish. Fortunately, little things
like foreign languages don't stop Karen, and we got it working.

That first night, we posted a "help" request in the domain's sidebar; by
morning a posse of volunteer helpers had arrived. There was also another
woman who had offered to help, Susanna Groves; Yoani gave me her email,
so she and I started off together. She quit later that year to help get
Obama elected, but by then there were already a lot of people who had
stepped up to help translate.

HG: As the demand for translators grew along with the Cuban blogosphere,
you and Karen founded an automated site called Hemos Oido, where
volunteers can access and translate Cuban blogs into English, French,
German, and Dutch; then you founded another site for English readers
called Translating Cuba. Can you talk about the process of founding the
sites and how they work?

MJP: By the time Karen and I created Hemos Oido, we were already
translating more than twenty blogs. But it was all case-by-case, with
people responding to the request for help on the sidebar; then I'd
manually send them links to blog posts. So as Cubans on the island were
writing more, and more people were offering to translate, it was getting
unworkable.

Karen suggested we try to put the translating online. We started using
Google Docs, which was labor-intensive in terms of manually loading
posts so multiple people could work on them; we did it for a few days
and were overwhelmed by the response.

So then Karen designed and coded Hemos Oido, a platform that
automatically picks up new posts from any blog we link to. Volunteers
can then access the posts on the site and translate them there. The site
notifies us when the posts have been translated and automatically
publishes the translations. Then, to make those translations more
accessible to readers, we created Translating Cuba, a site that
automatically pulls in all of the blogs that have been translated into
English so they can be read in one place.

HG: And Hemos Oido is an active site where volunteer translators can go
to help dissident bloggers.

MJP: It is—and it's growing. It worked great for several years, but now
it's breaking down again. The problem we're having is the result of
great things happening on the island—and I'm not referring to the "thaw"
or the regime's extremely limited reforms.

It's that the number of voices is exploding, along with the variety of
places people express themselves. So we can't just go look for good
blogs and link them in anymore. Also, many of "our" bloggers are posting
the same content on multiple sites. That's a great thing, but Hemos Oido
as a program can't search out this content, make judgments about what
should be translated, and pick it all up; that requires humans. We also
need to make sure that the same text doesn't load to our site more than
once from different sources, and that volunteers don't waste their time
translating something that's already done before we catch the overlap.

HG: Do you have any solutions on the horizon to keep up with the expansion?

MJP: We haven't figured out exactly what to do. We do have "off-line"
helpers, people I've gone back to assigning posts to. Alas, a couple of
our best translators are anonymous, and I have no idea who they are or
how to ask them if they want to help in this way.

Karen and I are still stuck with working for a living—and to support the
project—so we don't have infinite free time to do everything we would
like to do. It's already a full-time job for me, but it needs to be more
than that.

The same problem applies to people from other countries who want to do
something similar to what we're doing with Cuba. We're eager to help
them set it up, but again, no one has been able to pull it off yet. The
reality is, everyone has to work for a living, and when they realize how
much time this involves, they just can't commit.

HG: Do you think any of the skills you use in your day job as a
transportation engineer transferred to your work as a translator and
founder of Hemos Oido and Translating Cuba?

MJP: I joke about this, but yes, in a very odd way. A lot of the work
I've done in transportation is translating. I was deputy director on
Seattle's light rail project, and a lot of what I did was "translating"
all the engineering speak for elected officials and the general public,
and in some cases translating in the other direction as well.

I would say, however, that translating engineering speak to plain
English is really straightforward. On Hemos Oido, I started out
translating a language I didn't know, which is not only not
straightforward, it's impossible. So the volunteers have played an
essential role in teaching me the language and the cultural and
historical context; without them there would be no project. I value and
thank them more than I can possibly say.

HG: How did the initial support system of volunteers continue to grow
around you after you posted the help request in the sidebar? To what
extent do you know and have contact with each other?

MJP: The first Cubans who contacted me in 2008 in response to the
sidebar request eventually drifted away; I've never met any of them.

After that it just grew. In early 2009 I got in contact with Ernesto
Hernandez Busto, a Cuban living in Spain who was running Penultimos
Dias, one of the most important news sites about Cuba. The site now has
a more limited focus on the arts, but it remains active. He is also a
translator and he started helping me—and by "helping," I mean he and I
have exchanged over 900 messages. We ultimately met in New York and
remain in contact.

Norma Whiting emailed me in 2009 or earlier (2000+ messages to date) and
started helping on everything. Eventually she became Miriam Celaya's
translator, and we became great friends. She is a cousin, by the way, of
Adolfo Sainz, one of the prisoners of the Black Spring.

Also in 2009, I got an email from Raul Garcia Jr., a young Cuban
American living in Miami. He wrote (in Spanish) "for some time I've
wanted to help the blogger movement in Cuba. The problem is I don't know
how." From that first email he basically devoted his life to helping
people on the island. His own motivation was a desire to support and
honor his father, who had been imprisoned in Cuba at age 17 for joining
the movement against the Revolution. In addition to another million
things, Raul became a key member of the support network abroad for the
political prisoners from Cuba's Black Spring, who were driving the
regime crazy blogging "Behind the Bars." He also helped them when they
were finally released; most of them were forced into exile.

Isbel Alba, a Cuban exile who I eventually met in Quebec, contacted me
maybe in 2010 or possibly earlier. She also had a very influential
website about human rights in Cuba, and she introduced me to Alexis
Romay, a Cuban novelist, poet, musician, and teacher living in New
Jersey, and Ernesto Ariel Suarez, a Cuban writer and translator living
in Kansas City. Those two can tell me the entire cultural background of
all things Cuba starting with Columbus's landing and continuing up to
last week—not to mention explain how Cuban Spanish works in ways that I
finally "get it."

And most critically, a couple in Canada—a Cuban and a Chilean—who posted
Yoani's blog posts for her for years when she couldn't even see her own
blog from the island. They have been my most important help of every
kind: learning the language, managing the blog, expanding to lots of
blogs. They pretty much fly under the radar, so I won't mention their
names, but we basically just connected through chat programs and stayed
in touch all day, every day for a few years.

A non-Cuban I can't fail to mention is Ted Henken, a professor at Baruch
College. There is a series of something like ten or fourteen
three-minute videos he made of an interview with Yoani, back when you
could only record and post videos of that length on YouTube. He has
supported Translating Cuba and me personally in every possible way.

The "posse" eventually grew to include Cubans on the island who spoke
English and managed to finagle reasonable Internet access. The most
important of these is Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo. I first needed his help
translating his own work, because he makes up words and mixes languages
and puns. So we were close before I met him in NYC on the same day I met
Yoani. He invited me to participate in a photo contest for Cubans on the
island, and to submit an article to a digital magazine he was
publishing, Voces (Voices). And now, though he's living in exile in
Iceland, I still translate for him and he for me.

HG: Internet access was largely off-limits to Cubans until last summer.
Now, the public Internet lounges that have popped up around Havana
charge $4.50/hour, or about one-fifth of a Cuban's monthly wages. Those
lucky enough to own a device can buy Wi-Fi access for $2/hour at the new
public hotspots. How has the enhancement of telecommunications in Cuba
affected the bloggers and your work with them?

MJP: It hasn't had that great of an effect yet. It's a little easier for
me to communicate with people in Cuba, because they are more likely to
see my emails in less than a week and more able to respond. Previously,
that might have taken a few weeks. But still, service is so bad and so
expensive that it's nothing like having broadband at home.

There continue to be a lot of ways Cubans get access to the Internet.
Several embassies offer Internet access to Cubans; I know a few bloggers
who have a weekly time slot at an embassy to get online for an hour.
Also, because home internet there is dial-up (though they're supposedly
starting an experiment in home broadband in Central Havana), people who
do have it—almost entirely people on the government's good side—can
"sell" their dial-up phone number with their log-in and password by the
hour. So you might buy 3 a.m. to 4 a.m., and you agree to log on at 3:01
a.m. and log off at 3:59 a.m., and not one second later, because someone
else has bought 4 a.m. to 5 a.m.; and you agree not to go to "bad"
websites, like politics or porn, that would get the account holder in
trouble. Others might have access only at work, but they can send and
receive emails for themselves and for friends, or for people who pay them.

It's important for people to understand that the bloggers—at least in
the earlier years—didn't just sit in their homes or embassies or hotels
and blog. They relied on a network of volunteers from all over the
world—very informal, set up by Cuban-to-Cuban contacts—who would create
and manage the actual blogs, hosted abroad, and they would post by email
through these intermediaries. The bloggers didn't see their own blogs.
And I know this way of working continues for many today. It's more
reliable, and cheaper. And there are a couple of million Cubans outside
of Cuba (and more every day), so it's not that hard to find someone
willing to help you.

HG: Were you ever afraid to trust any of the help you received,
translation-related or otherwise, given the political stakes inherent to
the writing of these bloggers?

MJP: It never occurred to me to distrust advice on political grounds, my
own naïveté showing I guess. Speaking of Yoani's writing in particular,
it would have been hard to distort it politically. For example, she'd
write articles like, "I live on a tropical island. I have a cold. Why
are there no lemons here?" When she wrote about days of "incredible
swaps" to get suture thread so that her friend's mother could have
surgery, and having to bring sheets, food, and cleaning supplies to the
hospital, it tells us more than all the rants and statistics ever could
about the current state of Cuba's highly vaunted healthcare system. It
was that approach, and her lack of political rants, that made her such a
powerful voice from the beginning.

I was led astray more than once, however, by translations in good
English that I assumed were perfect that were far from it, but not for
nefarious reasons—simply because I assumed the volunteers spoke Spanish
and it turned out some of them, not so much.

But the worst mistakes have been my own, and there were some doozies.
One of my "favorites" was a post where the first word was "Leo." I
couldn't figure out the grammar of how this Leo guy fit into the
sentence, but I made it work; he appeared two or three more times in the
text. It was maybe the Dutch translator who asked, "Who the hell is
Leo?" It turns out "Leo" means "I read"; it wasn't a man's name. Another
time the Dutch translator saved me from translating "umbrella" as "wool
socks"; I do remember thinking, Who in Cuba owns wool socks?

HG: It's possible to imagine what demographics might be reading the
blogs in Spanish, if it isn't Cubans on the island, but who is reading
the translations?

MJP: I wish I knew precisely. We have a stats program that gives us the
usual information: how many readers, where they come from
geographically, what they search on, what posts they read the most. But
it doesn't really tell us who they are.

Encouraging, however, is how many quotes and links we're getting to our
articles from the mainstream press. I'll read articles in the New York
Times, the Washington Post, and Foreign Policy and see "our" words—which
means the voices of Cubans on the island—in these sources of influence.

HG: How has normalization affected the Cuban blogosphere? Has it
increased the number or reach of bloggers within Cuba?

MJP: "Normalization" is very young, and certainly in Cuba the physical
attacks on and arrests of human rights activists seem to have
intensified. I don't think we've seen changes in freedom of expression
and the press. Opposition blogs, websites, and Yoani's digital paper are
still censored on the island. Miriam Celaya wrote a great article on the
subject.

Probably the most significant "transition point" from there being just a
couple bloggers to lots of bloggers was the Blogger Academy project,
which is when Yoani and her colleagues started offering workshops to
aspiring bloggers on how to use social media tools and WordPress.

And of course when the government dropped the exit permit requirement,
and Yoani and other human rights activists on the island started
traveling the world, everything changed enormously.

HG: As early as 2008, Yoani had been named one of Time magazine's "100
Most Influential People in the World" and listed among Foreign Policy
magazine's "Ten Most Influential Latin American Intellectuals." But
because the Cuban government didn't drop their exit permit requirement
until 2012, Yoani wasn't able to leave the island until 2013. You
accompanied her on her first trip to the US that year. What was your
experience? Was it the first time you met her?

MJP: It was March 2013, and yes, it was the first time we met after five
years of working together. Before that I'd had one or two brief calls
with her, but with a price of US$ 1.00 per minute to call Cuba, I
couldn't afford it; and with my lack of Spanish and her lack of English,
there wasn't much point in our trying to talk on the phone. Also, the
few times I did call, we kept getting cut off. State security? Bad phone
service? I have no idea.

So what can I say? Meeting her in person, getting to hug her, was
fantastic. Who she is didn't surprise me, but it made me very happy,
because she is the person I thought she was, only happier, more
cheerful, and funnier. At the end of grueling days of being on, with
events and interviews nonstop, she never flagged or lost her sense of
humor. We shared a hotel room, so we were together 24/7; and when she
finally had quiet time, she was still smiling and laughing.

There were many high points, but one that really sticks out for me was
her press conference at the United Nations. Basically, the Cuban
government went nuts about the idea of Yoani being allowed to step foot
in the building or use any of the official facilities for a press
conference. They wrote a formal complaint, saying it would be an
"anti-Cuban action" and "grave attack" on the spirit of the United
Nations. So she wasn't allowed to use the "official" press conference
room. But she'd been invited by the UN Correspondents Association, which
has its own little space in some far corner of the building; they said
no one could tell them what to do in their own space. But the only place
they had that was "big enough" to set up in was a wide spot in the
hallway next to the copy machine; some of the reporters had chairs, many
were standing, and some were sitting on the floor. And Yoani was just so
articulate, so elegant, in making the case for the basic human rights of
the Cuban people.

HG: A protest erupted during one of Yoani's US appearances and you were
there. People shouted and unveiled signs in support of Castro and
against Yoani, which caused another group within the auditorium to start
chanting Yoani's name in support of her. Why do you think Yoani's
writing poses such a threat?

MJP: In New York City, there was an incident with some old white people
(like me) who (unlike me) never got over how "fun" it was to protest for
civil rights and against the Vietnam War, and who want to reprise that
"success." They totally ignore that despite some significant gains on
all fronts, we now have Black Lives Matter, making it clear we haven't
come nearly far enough on civil rights, active troops still in
Afghanistan, our longest involvement in any war ever, and a minimum wage
that isn't enough to live on. In the United States, these are perhaps
the most important causes of our time, along with global warming.

These old white people, apparently unwilling to take responsibility for
how much we have all failed to achieve in our own country, like to
believe there's some fairy tale paradise ninety miles offshore, and that
the rest of us are all too deluded—by CIA propaganda? I don't know, I
really don't know what these people believe—to admit it.

So for the people who didn't manage to create their own paradise, Yoani
is killing a lifetime of dreams that there really is a better world
someplace, right here on earth, rooted in freedom and equality,
brotherly and sisterly love, kindness and human understanding. As for
the threat to the Cuban so-called communists, aka the power elite, I
won't pretend to speak for them. But it's not hard to imagine their
thoughts.

HG: Protesters also accused Yoani of being translated by the CIA.

MJP: The one time I was in the room when people accused Yoani of being
translated by the CIA, she looked at me rather amused and asked me to
take the microphone. The old white people screaming away did shut up
when they saw this other old white person saying, "It's me, I'm 'the
CIA,' and is my check lost in the mail or what?!"

HG: Do you think Yoani is used to the protests yet?

MJP: One large event I attended was nearly shut down by the pro-paradise
versus it's-not-paradise-it's-a-totalitarian-hell crowds shouting at
each other. Yoani couldn't have gotten a word in if she'd wanted to.
Basically she watches this stuff in a sort of delighted amazement at
what happens in a free society where people are allowed to express
themselves.

HG: Have you gone back to Cuba since your initial trip there in 2008?

MJP: Alas, no, and I really want to. I was planning to go a few years
ago, but was advised by some foreign journalists stationed there not to
do it for my own safety. But I think now, with the thaw, I probably
could, and I'm hoping to find a way to do that.

HG: Has your work with Yoani changed the way you reflect on that first trip?

MJP: Only slightly. The introduction I got to the country through Jenny
and the Cubans I talked to was totally consistent with what I read in
Yoani's blog then and later. Clearly a future trip would be very
different, and I really want to go back to meet all the people there who
are now my friends. I desperately want to hug them and share a laugh . .
. about anything . . . my horrible Spanish . . . anything.

But certainly my work with all the Cubans we translate has changed the
way I reflect on the whole world, past, present, and future. I see
things through a different lens—a clearer lens, I hope—and I'm more
tolerant of people I strongly disagree with, much less judgmental. I can
now understand how a totalitarian state can sustain itself over so many
decades and I find it completely inexplicable at the same time. So I've
learned to hold completely contradictory viewpoints in my mind. Maybe
I'm becoming a little Cuban!

HG: Has your relationship with language changed over the years since you
started your work with the Cuban bloggers?

MJP: Oh, of course. I still have problems with the small things—did the
man bite the dog or did the dog bite the man—but I now have a whole new
language, a culture, a history, a present, hopefully a future. It makes
me wish I spoke every language in the world, living and dead. I wish I
could talk to anyone anywhere, and I wish I not only had the words, but
the whole cultural understanding to really communicate.

I was telling a friend I hadn't seen for decades about translating
Cubans, and she nailed it: "You always were obsessed with words," she
said. The words are great fun, but context is even more so. It's all
been a gift to me in a way I can't even describe. I guess it's obvious,
because I'm now embarking on my ninth year of this. I'm not motivated by
a bleeding heart, but more by a happy, engaged heart, always excited by
new voices and new perspectives—though that's not to say I don't
sometimes get depressed to the point of tears by it all.

HG: You are reluctant to say you were a novice translator when you
embarked on this adventure. Would you call yourself a seasoned
translator by now?

MJP: Alas, absolutely not! Again, it's the simple stuff that still trips
me up, and it really, really bothers me that I have such a hard time
fluently understanding spoken Spanish and speaking it. My increasingly
deaf ears (too many rock concerts in the sixties, literally) are always
playing catch-up in English, and so much more so in Spanish.

But there are moments, more moments than not now, when I'm translating
and I just feel like I'm flying. There's a certain writing style we like
to call "Cuban baroque," which is basically making the structure of
every thought and sentence as complicated and arcane as possible. That
can be trying. But there are others who write with a fluidity and
clarity and whose thinking is so interesting, and who can frame an idea
and phrase it in way that it carries you along; you can feel your brain
cells lighting up. And I will say, when I feel I'm getting that
right—well, it is a very deep pleasure.

Source: Interview with Mary Jo Porter - Words Without Borders -
http://www.wordswithoutborders.org/article/may-2016-feature-nonfiction-about-cuba-interview-with-mary-jo-porter Continue reading
Cuban Small Farmers Association Defends State Monopoly On The Export Of
Coffee / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata

14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 5 May 2016 — The National Bureau of the
National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) in Cuba rejects the recent
measures from the U.S. Department of State which include coffee among
the products produced by the non-State sector in Cuba that can be
imported into the United States.

In a statement published Wednesday, the Association lambastes the
flexibility, which came into force on 22 April, allowing the import into
the United States of coffee and textile products from "independent
businesspeople" in Cuba.

John Kavulich, President of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council,
acknowledged at the time that Washington aims to support the small
private sector of the island with this measure, although he highlighted
its "very limited impact."

However, ANAP does not appear to assess new business opportunities in
the same way. The organization, created in May 1961 defines itself by
its "social character" and claims to represent "the interests of Cuban
farmers." In response to the US State Department actions, it explains
that "the objective pursued by this type of measure is to influence the
Cuban peasantry and separate it from the State."

The entity, with around 200,000 members, details that something like
that "cannot be permitted, because it would destroy a Revolutionary
process that has provided participatory democracy, freedom, sovereignty
and independence." The National Bureau statement does not say, however,
if farmers devoted to the cultivation of coffee were consulted before
the statement was published.

Among the arguments put forth in the statement released in the official
press is the fact that "no one can imagine that a small agricultural
producer can export directly to the United States… To make this possible
Cuban foreign trade companies would have to participate and would have
to produce financial transactions in dollars, which so far they have not
been able to achieve," added.

ANAP presents itself in different forums as part of Cuban civil society,
but this statement says that the Cuban peasants are "members of the
socialist society" and they exist "as part of the State and not as
opposed to it."

The text which repeats an idea that has been raised by several figures
of the ruling party in recent months, says: "We face the objective of
the imperialist policy of promoting the division and disintegration of
Cuban society."

In 2014, Cuba managed to produce 6,105 tons of coffee, an amount that
does not cover annual domestic demand, which stands at 24,000 tons. This
figure is very far from that achieved in the decade of the 1960s, when
more than 62,000 tons of this grain were produced.

Translated by Alberto

Source: Cuban Small Farmers Association Defends State Monopoly On The
Export Of Coffee / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuban-small-farmers-association-defends-state-monopoly-on-the-export-of-coffee-14ymedio-zunilda-mata/ Continue reading
Sale of Airline Tickets to Mexico Begins for Cuban Migrants Stranded In
Panama / 14ymedio, Mario Penton

14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 5 May 2016 — Panama began selling airline
tickets, on Thursday, to Mexico for Cuban migrants who find themselves
stranded in the country. Tickets cost $805 and the first to benefit from
the measure will be those staying at the Millennium Hotel, in the
province of Chiriqui, according to a high ranking official who spoke to
this newspaper and asked not to be identified.

Starting this coming Monday, two daily flights will connect to Nuevo
Laredo in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, operated by Copa and
Aereomexico airlines. Along with the cost of the airfare, to qualify for
a Mexican visa the mirgrants will also have to pay 34 dollars for the
journey by bus to the Panamanian airport and the trip to the border
between Mexico and United States. The airline will offer a differential
rate for children between age 2 to 11, of $322, while children one year
and under will fly for $160.

So far, nobody knows if the Cubans who have recently arrived in Panama
and who are not on the official lists of migrants will be part of the
agreement with Mexico.

A Cuban who came to the immigration offices in the city of David, about
30 miles from the border with Costa Rica, told 14ymedio that some days
ago migrants began to receive money through Western Union and MoneyGram
to buy their tickets.

"Regardless of the high cost per ticket, we have been asked for a
medical checkup, three ID format photos and a photocopy of our
passports," said the migrant, who asked not to divulge his name.

Many of the stranded are worried about not having enough money to pay
the cost of the airline tickets.

Panamanian official institutions claim not to have a report on the costs
entailed for the nearly 3,500 Cubans who find themselves stranded in
their territory. However, the local press reported on Thursday that
about $19,000, just from the Presidency's discretionary funds, have been
destined to the immigration crisis in the first three months of this year.

Translated by Alberto

Source: Sale of Airline Tickets to Mexico Begins for Cuban Migrants
Stranded In Panama / 14ymedio, Mario Penton – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/sale-of-airline-tickets-to-mexico-begins-for-cuban-migrants-stranded-in-panama-14ymedio-mario-penton/ Continue reading
Last stop for Cuban cruisers: Santiago

Cruise ship makes last stop before returning to Miami
Carnival's Adonia is the first U.S. cruise ship to visit Cuba
Carnival has bigger plans for Cuba
BY MIMI WHITEFIELD

As the Fathom Adonia headed into the final leg of its history-making
cruise to Cuba Friday, Carnival Corp. Chief Executive Arnold Donald was
already thinking about the next steps in opening the Cuban cruise market.

Carnival, the world's largest cruise company, wants to bring at least
seven of its cruise lines to the island and has asked for thousands of
port calls, he said.

Carnival's Fathom line, which returns to Miami Sunday after its
inaugural voyage to Cuba, is the only Carnival brand to get a green
light from Cuban authorities so far. But "there is tremendous positive
energy from the Cubans," Donald said.

The Cuban people also warmly greeted the cruise ship, from a crowd that
gathered at the port in Havana to high-five and welcome passengers to
those on shore near the Adonia's ports of call who waved and cheered as
the blue-and-white ship passed.

Donald worked when he was in Havana, meeting with Cuban tourism and port
officials and Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the chief of mission at the U.S.
Embassy in Havana. He left the cruise in Cienfuegos Thursday, expressing
dismay he would have to miss the ship's final call in Santiago.

Donald said the first Cuban cruise exceeded expectations. The Adonia
will travel to Cuba every other week, leaving from PortMiami on Sundays.

In the future, he said, Carnival hopes to offer more variety on Cuban
itineraries. There are 11 ports in Cuba, but most need improvements to
support a thriving cruise industry.

"All the ports we could pretty much get into, but infrastructure is
lacking at some," said Donald. Some would require tender operations for
passengers to get ashore, he said.

In Cienfuegos, there is no cruise terminal. Cruisers disembark down a
short gangway and then walk across a parking lot to a small building
that houses little more than metal detection and baggage-screening devices.

Executives from the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri were aboard the
Adonia at the invitation of Carnival to discuss the potential for new
cruise ships for Cuba.

"The pier in Havana looks a bit rough. There is a lot of potential for
improvement," said Marco Bognolo, who works for Fincantieri.

Currently, a tunnel that runs under Havana harbor limits the draft of
vessels that can enter the waterway. The Adonia's capacity is only 704
passengers, but Bognolo said there's the potential to bring a ship with
a capacity of up to 2,000 passengers "if they create a channel.

"This is only the first cruise [from a U.S. port], but certainly this
industry can develop in Cuba in the coming years," he said.

Most Carnival ships could get into Havana from "a depth standpoint,"
said Donald. But some are too long for the current piers.

Cuban officials have not requested any investment by Carnival to upgrade
cruise facilities, said Donald "We'll do what they want us to do," he
added. But at this point, all they have requested is input from Carnival
"on what we think they should do," said Donald.

Cuba is currently shifting its cargo facilities from Havana to the Port
of Mariel, a deep-water port west of the city, and officials have said
they want to develop Havana as the center of cruise operations.

Donald acknowledged that the Cubans could put larger cruise ships into
Mariel. "They have not indicated Mariel is exclusively for cargo," he said.

Source: Last stop for Cuban cruisers: Santiago | In Cuba Today -
http://www.incubatoday.com/news/article76018207.html Continue reading
Cuba Running Low on Beer Amid American Tourism Boom
by REUTERS

The ubiquitous fridges that dispense beer in Cuba's bars, cafes and gas
stations are running out of the island's favorite Cristal and Bucanero
brands in recent weeks, as a surge in American tourists and new private
watering holes strain the main brewery.

Brewer Bucanero needs a new plant to keep pace with demand from tourists
and a burgeoning private restaurant sector that competes with state-run
outlets for supplies, Mayle Gonzalez, a sales executive at the company
told state media on Friday.

As well as its namesake, Cerveceria Bucanero makes the Communist-led
country's most widely consumed brew, Cristal. The company is a
government joint venture with the world's largest brewer, Belgium's
Anheuser Busch InBev.

After President Barack Obama eased travel restrictions to Cuba in his
bid to end more than 50 years of enmity with the Caribbean nation,
American tourists are arriving in significant numbers on the streets of
Old Havana.

Hundreds will step off a cruise ship from Miami into the city next
month, the first such voyage since the U.S. embargo that followed Fidel
Castro's 1959 revolution.

While the embargo remains in place, ordinary Cubans have warmed to their
"Yanqui" neighbors, especially after Obama's visit to Cuba last month,
the first by a sitting U.S. president in 88 years.

Cuba received a record 3.5 million visitors last year, up 17 percent
from 2014. American visitors rose 77 percent to 161,000, in addition to
hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans, testing the country's supply
of hotel room, rental cars and beer.

The most recent tourism figures, for January, showed a similar pace of
growth.

Small restaurants that cater to both tourists and Cubans have blossomed
on the Caribbean island since President Raul Castro five years ago
formalized changes designed to remove the Communist state from many
small-scale economic activities.

"Private bars can go out and find supplies where they can, I can only
sell what the government gives me," said the manager of a state-run bar
that ran out of beer, while a private locale upstairs had a fridge full
of cold bottles.

At its seventh Communist Party congress next week, Cuba's leadership is
expected to push ahead with economic reforms outlined in 2011, although
the tight-lipped party has given little sign of what will be discussed.

Source: Cuba Running Low on Beer Amid American Tourism Boom - NBC News -
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/cuba-running-low-beer-amid-american-tourism-boom-n554031 Continue reading
"Han tenido un problema cada dos segundos por no tener internet". Continue reading

Manuel Pereira

El guiño es la recuperación de un fragmento arqueológico digno de recordación, el agasajo de un cineasta a otro, casi una doxografía, como en las antiguas filosofías griegas.

Lo doxográfico en cine consiste en rescatar alguna vieja escena olvidada del todo o a medias. Esta erudición retiniana se multiplica exponencialmente tachonando la mente del espectador con una creciente constelación de mensajes implícitos.

Por ejemplo, en Algunos prefieren quemarse (Some Like It Hot, 1959), Billy Wilder rinde tributo a los hermanos Marx cuando Marilyn Monroe se mete en la litera de Jack Lemmon seguida por las muchachas de la orquesta: alusión al abarrotado camarote de Una noche en la ópera (1935). Cuando Lemmon jala el freno de emergencia y todas salen disparadas cayendo al pasillo del tren es lo mismo que pasa en el camarote cuando se abre la puerta de sopetón y todos salen despedidos al pasillo del barco.

El guiño no es plagio, ni remake, sino admiración por un clásico. Cuando descubrimos alguna de estas muestras de veneración, experimentamos una íntima alegría, como si entráramos en la cueva del tesoro de Alí Babá y los cuarenta ladrones. Visionar así una película, desde un nuevo ángulo, equivale a recibir un masaje en la retina, es la reinvención del cine dentro del cine.

En La palabra (Dreyer,1955) tenemos a una bella mujer muerta que resucita. Lo mismo veremos en Bergman (Fresas Salvajes, 1957) cuando otra mujer, que finge estar muerta, abre los ojos soltando una carcajada macabra. El cineasta sueco repetirá este recurso en La hora del lobo (1968).

De nuevo Bergman, en La fuente de la virgen (1959), nos muestra a la criada envidiosa que contempla de lejos la violación de la doncella sin hacer nada. La sirvienta deja caer una piedra que rueda hasta caer en el río. En Mouchette (Robert Bresson,1967) esa piedra se transfigura poéticamente en otra muchacha violada que juega enrollándose en su vestido mientras rueda cuesta abajo hasta caer, fuera de campo, en el río. Por supuesto, todo esto remite a Ofelia -la enamorada de Hamlet- flotando muerta en el río, una escena a la cual recurrirá también Murnau con la esposa ahogada al final de Amanecer (1927), solo que aquí con happy end.[[QUOTE:Aprender a ver cine en profundidad es otra manera de desentrañar el enigma del mundo]]

Esta fertilización cruzada de paráfrasis entre diversos directores crea una fulgurante telaraña, un juego de “imitaciones” que, con sus variaciones enriquecedoras, genera una capacidad de asociación visual superior: la facultad de detectar las más sutiles señales, todo un entrenamiento para la memoria ocular. Aprender a ver cine en profundidad es otra manera de desentrañar el enigma del mundo.

La película que más reverencias ha recibido es el Acorazado Potemkin (Eisenstein, 1925), especialmente la escena del cochecito con el bebé cayendo escalera abajo en Odesa. La evocación más obvia está en Los intocables (Brian de Palma, 1987) cuando en medio de un tiroteo reaparece el cochecito en la escalera de la Union Station de Chicago. Hasta Bergman le hace un homenaje al director ruso en Fanny y Alexander (1982) con el cochecito y la muñeca volcados en los peldaños bajo la lluvia.

El gabinete del doctor Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920) ha sido un géiser de fuertes contrastes de luces y sombras. Este expresionismo, también llamado “caligarismo” , impregnó gran parte del Séptimo Arte, desde Casablanca (Curtiz, 1943) hasta El Proceso (1962), de Orson Welles.

La crisálida que extraen de la boca de un cadáver en El silencio de los inocentes (Demme, 1991) es una referencia a la misma mariposa que ya aparecía en Un perro andaluz (Buñuel, 1929). Este insecto que lleva en la espalda una imagen semejante a una calavera humana, reaparecerá en Onegin (Martha Fiennes, 1999).

Las muestras de admiración se multiplican en Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982). Cuando Harrison Ford entrevista a la replicante que actúa con serpientes pone cara de bobo y habla fañoso parodiando la escena de El sueño eterno (Howard Hawks, 1946) donde Humphrey Bogart hace algo parecido para interrogar a una vendedora de libros raros.

Blade Runner es un semillero de citas, por ejemplo, las visionarias vistas aéreas de los Ángeles de 2019 recuerdan las impresionantes maquetas de ciudades futuristas de Metrópolis (Fritz Lang, 1927).

En La soga (1948), Hitchcock rinde culto a la pintura cubana. Hacia los postres, durante una larga secuencia, vemos un cuadro del inconfundible Fidelio Ponce de León colgando al fondo. Se titula Cinco mujeres (1941), pero en verdad son cinco fantasmas que acuden a recibir el alma del estrangulado oculto en el arcón. No puedo menos que sentir sano orgullo ante esta metafísica tan cubana y universal.

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Decenas de cubanos protestaron el viernes en las oficinas de la Western Union en Chiriquí, Panamá, donde esperaban cobrar una transferencia de sus familiares imprescindible para comprar los boletos a México. Continue reading

Jordi Cabarrocas, representante de 197 familias españolas expropiadas por Fidel Castro, cree que el Gobierno "acabará devolviendo fábricas, tierras y hasta viviendas confiscadas", porque demostrarían al mundo que aquellos que desean invertir en la Isla podrían tener "la seguridad jurídica de que sus propiedades serán respetadas".

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El Lord Mayor de la City de Londres, Jeffrey Mountevans, embajador para la industria de servicios financieros del Reino Unido, se encuentra de visita en la Isla para fortalecer los vínculos con el Gobierno, informó el viernes la Embajada británica en La Habana, reportó EFE.

En su primera visita a Cuba, Mountevans tiene previsto mantener encuentros con ministros, reguladores y autoridades del sector empresarial, según el comunicado de la legación diplomática del Reino Unido en la Isla.

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En una actuación que todos esperaban, los Domadores de Cuba oficializaron su avance a la final de la VI Serie Mundial de Boxeo en combates escenificados el viernes en el Coliseo de la Ciudad Deportiva, informó la publicación deportiva oficial Jit.

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La sede diplomática emitió un mensaje para los cubanoamericanos que quieran volver a la isla , que podrían arriesgarse allí a ser enviados al servicio militar o sufrir la confiscación de sus pasaportes Continue reading

Zunilda Mata

El periodista Sergio Alejandro Gómez, jefe de la página internacional del diario Granma, ha hecho público un texto en el que critica el secretismo alrededor de los beneficios económicos reportados por el desfile de Chanel y el rodaje de la película Rápido y Furioso en La Habana.

El artículo, titulado “Chanel no tiene problemas políticos”, apareció originalmente en el blog personal de Gómez y fue reproducido en el sitio Segunda Cita, del cantautor Silvio Rodríguez. Pocas horas después de ver la luz, el texto ya había comenzado a hacerse viral en las redes sociales, donde los internautas criticaban o aplaudían los comentarios del periodista oficial.

Gómez aclara desde el primer párrafo que si bien “el desfile de modas de Chanel y la filmación de la octava parte de Rápido y Furioso en La Habana (...) no constituyen problemas políticos en sí mismos; son, eso sí, preocupantes síntomas de una crisis en la comunicación política”.[[QUOTE:El analista considera que la forma en que se interpretan ambos sucesos puede “trastocar el consenso social que ha sostenido el país por más de medio siglo”]]

El analista considera que la forma en que se interpretan ambos sucesos puede “trastocar el consenso social que ha sostenido el país por más de medio siglo” y recoge las interrogantes que circulan en la calle sobre la selección previa de los invitados que disfrutaron de la pasarela. Se pregunta entonces “cuál era la profesión, la billetera o el apellido correcto para clasificar en el evento del año de la farándula nacional”.

Sus cuestionamientos más fuertes van dirigidos a la ausencia de información sobre el pago hecho por los productores de esos eventos al Estado cubano. En ese sentido apunta que sería “un alivio” saber si el dinero se utilizará en “un parque, un edificio multifamiliar o pavimentar una calle”.

El extenso operativo alrededor del Paseo del Prado, también es blanco de los comentarios de Gómez. “Poco después, un espacio público de La Habana Vieja, la Plaza de la Catedral, fue privatizado por algunas horas para la fiesta con los invitados de Chanel”, mientras “la Policía Nacional y otros órganos de seguridad se hicieron cargo de blindar el área contra los curiosos”, detalla.

En su texto, el analista aborda el silencio de los medios oficiales sobre los beneficios económicos que dejan ambos eventos  “en lugar de explicar y debatir, los políticos hacen silencio y exigen a su prensa (la de todos) que haga lo propio”. A la par que recuerda que “la política siempre ha sido el arte de convencer a los hombres”.

Sergio Alejandro Gómez es también un asiduo participante del programa televisivo la Mesa Redonda, donde aborda temas internacionales.

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A federal law enforcement officer sought in the fatal shootings of his estranged wife at a school, a man at a mall parking lot and a woman outside a grocery store has been arrested, police in Maryland said Friday afternoon. Eulalio Tordil, 62, was tak... … Continue reading
El Lord Mayor de la City, Jeffrey Mountevans se declaró convencido de que su visita será "productiva y señaló que la "City of London", prominente centro financiero internacional, "tiene mucho interés en apoyar a Cuba en una fase de cambios para su desarrollo y crecimiento". Continue reading
… an exhibition game in Havana against the Cuban national team. The game … said he hopes one day Cuban baseball players will be able … 're very interested in Cuba and resolving the player immigration … . to "human trafficking." Cuban baseball players often flee the … Continue reading
"Una de las primeras cosas que tiene que hacer el sistema es abrirse a los cubanos y también haber diferentes partidos de la oposición en el país...de lo contrario todo es un maquillaje", dijo el pintor Carlos Boix a Efe en una entrevista en Ginebra. Continue reading
… from hundreds of Cuban at the dock in Havana, some Adonia passengers … Band, a Cuban group that joined the cruise today in Havana, struck … for a Cuban pilot boat to guide the Adonia into Havana harbor … from the United States to Havana, Cuba,” he said.  “How awesome is … Continue reading
… Haqq posed for pictures around Havana, Cuba while documenting the trip for … name of Cuba's controversial leader Fidel Castro. Havana 🇨🇺 A photo … to Cuba, but the Cuban people don't experience the glamorous Havana … shoots and fruity drinks, everyday Cubans experience a different, sad reality … Continue reading
… the West-Kardashians are currently in Cuba on vacation, which seems to … Twitter was a great idea.  Havana 🇨🇺 A photo posted by Khloé … ;s leadership had on the Cuban people.   @khloekardashian the name you … sure to visit some of Cuba's world-renowned prisons for … Continue reading
The long-closed dance system may flourish even more with new relationships. Continue reading