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Daily Archives: December 24, 2016

14ymedio

Pocos detalles revelan que los cubanos viven días navideños. La austeridad se ha impuesto este de fin de año, promovida desde el Gobierno por la reciente muerte del expresidente Fidel Castro, pero también debido a la situación económica que preocupa a los ciudadanos. Ante los elevados precios de los alimentos muchos optan por celebraciones más discretas.

No obstante, en las calles se escucha por doquier la palabra “felicidades”. Como si de un “santo y seña” se tratara, los cubanos reparten buenos augurios y lanzan una sonrisa cómplice cuando pronuncian el vocablo. ¿Una manera de burlar la sobriedad oficial? ¿Un deseo de no dejarse escamotear totalmente los festejos por Navidad?

Sean en voz baja, gritadas de balcón a balcón o entonadas a ritmo de música mexicana, como lo hace el “mariachi” de la foto, las frases de felicitación suplen la falta de guirnaldas, las pocas casas con luces que se ven en las calles cubanas y los bailables públicos, típicos de esta fechas.

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Ivan Garcia, 23 December 2016 — Every time Christmas approaches the private restaurant managed by Leonel, south of Havana, overflows with decorations and lights on the facade and over the door. The staff don red caps threaded with white and the music resonates in the doorway. The smell of turkey and roasted pig awaken the … Continue reading "Prohibition on Christmas Celebrations Disgusts Havanans / Iván García" Continue reading
La Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana (FNCA) agradeció este sábado en Miami la labor de los cubanos que están trabajando por “la conquista de nuestra libertad y derechos” en la isla … Click to Continue » Continue reading

14ymedio

La editora de la revista Convivencia Karina Gálvez Chiú fue cuestionada este sábado por sus viajes fuera de Cuba, durante una cita en el Departamento de Inmigración y Extranjería de Pinar del Río. Dos oficiales del Ministerio del Interior exigieron a la economista información acerca de su participación en un foro sobre gobernanza de internet en Guadalajara, México.

Galvéz relató a 14ymedio que los oficiales que la interrogaron se identificaron como el teniente coronel Beune y el mayor Joaquín. “Trataron de mostrarse amables” relata la editora, pero le advirtieron que las citaciones policiales podrían repetirse cada vez que saliera del país.

“Todo el tiempo quisieron dejar claro que querían dialogar”, puntualiza Gálvez, quien respondió que no podían considerarse un diálogo cuando había tenido que asistir obligada.

“Si eliminaron la tarjeta blanca y el permiso de salida por qué tengo que pasar por esto cada vez que salgo del país”, cuestiona la activista en alusión a la reforma migratoria que entró en vigor en enero de 2013 y que flexibilizó los viajes al extranjero.[[QUOTE:“Si eliminaron la tarjeta blanca y el permiso de salida por qué tengo que pasar por esto cada vez que salgo del país”]]Recientemente Gálvez también visitó la ciudad de Washington en Estados Unidos, un viaje sobre el que los interrogadores quisieron tener detalles.

Para este sábado también había sido citada por la policía la editora de la revista Convivencia, Rosalia Viñas Lazo, quien protestó por la fecha elegida. El 24 de diciembre muchas familias cubanas se reúnen alrededor de las festividades de Nochebuena, en especial la comunidad católica de la Isla.

Los oficiales aceptaron pasar la cita de Viñas Lazo para el próximo lunes.

En los últimos meses los miembros de la revista Convivencia han sido objeto de interrogatorios, presiones y advertencias. Dagoberto Valdés, director de la publicación independiente, vivió un intenso interrogatorio en octubre de este año en la sede policial de la carretera a San Juan en Pinar del Río. "A partir de hoy" su vida será “muy difícil" le advirtieron los uniformados.

El 25 de noviembre la Seguridad del Estado prohibió el encuentro del Centro de Estudios Convivencia (CEC), vinculado a la revista, en el que se abordaría el tema de la Cultura y educación en el futuro de Cuba: visión y propuesta.

 El Centro organiza cursos de formación para la ciudadanía y la sociedad civil en Cuba. La entidad funciona de manera independiente al Estado, la Iglesia y cualquier agrupación política. La revista homónima surgió en el año 2008 tiene frecuencia bimestral y acaba de publicar su número 54.


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La muerte de Fidel Castro, marcó el final de un año verdaderamente histórico para Cuba. Tras años de falsos rumores, el ex gobernante cubano falleció el viernes 25 de noviembre, … Click to Continue » Continue reading
“Por encima de mi cadáver”, resonó en una sala de Florida, Camagüey, el día que Jorge Ángel descubrió que su familia consumía el paquete. Ahora la esposa ve a escondidas … Click to Continue » Continue reading
14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 23 December 2016 – “Over my dead body!” echoes across a living room in Florida, Camaguey, Cuba, the day Jorge Angel discovered his family absorbed in the weekly packet. Now the wife sneaks to watch the reality shows that come in the weekly audiovisual compendium so as not to annoy the … Continue reading "Cuba’s ‘Weekly Packet’ is Caught in the Crossfire / 14ymedio, Luz Escobar" Continue reading
¿Indisciplina social o ineficiencia gubernamental? El gobierno y los ciudadanos se culpan, unos a otros, por los basureros en que se han convertido varias calles habaneras Martes, diciembre 27, 2016 | Orlando Freire Santana LA HABANA, Cuba.- Por supuesto que La Habana Vieja no está conformada únicamente por esos edificios y otros sitios antiguos que […] Continue reading
One night in an Airbnb in Cuba costs twice what many Cubans make per month
By Nidhi Prakash

Four months after Airbnb opened for business in Cuba, it's becoming
clear what kind of impact the uptick in American tourism may have on the
local economy. The Associated Press reports that between January and May
alone, there were 36 percent more American tourists visiting the country
compared to the same time the last year.

Cubans have been listing places to stay on the holiday rental site since
April, offering the new wave of American visitors everything from $1,180
penthouses to $10 shared rooms in hostels. The Economist points out that
there are listings that charge almost ten times the average Cubans'
monthly income of around $25. Even the average listing price, $45 per
night, is well above the average monthly income. So either above-average
earners are mostly capitalizing on Airbnb, or average Cubans on the site
are making a killing compared to their regular salaries.

Here's that penthouse, in the heart of Havana, with four bedrooms and a
roof top pool, for $1,180 per night:

RHPLZOF15 4BR Luxury Penthouse ST in Havana

Apartment in Havana, Cuba. Luxury Penthouse South Atlantic Standing over
the Malecon this is without doubt one of the finest penthouse
accommodations in Havana. The furniture, the colors, the ambiance, the
24 hours customized service; everything has been thoroughly analyze…
View all listings in Havana

And you'd get something like this for the Cuba-wide average price of $45
per night:

HAV-2.1 Deluxe Florez double room in La Habana

Bed & Breakfast in La Habana, Cuba. Very comfortable room with private
bathroom and air conditioning, TV, minibar, safe. They have a beautiful
garden and patio and all the conditions for a prefect stay. Even a pool!
House with a beautifully decorated colonial architecture, beautifu… View
all listings in La Habana

Or you could try a shared room in a hostel, for $10 per night:

Hostal Cubabackpackers in La Habana

Apartment in La Habana, Cuba. Cubabackpackers tiene una situación
inmejorable, muy cerca del Vedado, El Malecón, la Plaza de la Revolución
y el famoso Estadio Latinoamericano. Está situado en una edificio con
excelentes vista de la esta maravillosa ciudad. View all listings in La
Habana

There are around 2,000 listings on offer at the moment. As travel news
site Skift reported, even early on when there were just about 1,000 on
the site, about half of the listings were actually controlled by five or
six individuals.

This is partly because only a very small percentage–around five
percent–of Cubans have access to the internet. Obviously, renting out an
Airbnb relies heavily on the internet.

Aside from the access issue though, Skift reports that Cubans in Miami
or other places could also be renting out accommodation from a distance.
As CityLab tells us, Cuban casas particulares–local Bed and Breakfast
arrangements–have been around for years and fit especially well with the
Airbnb model.

"Because we're building on the rich Cuban tradition of home sharing,
we're uniquely positioned to help Cubans reap the rewards of economic
growth while preserving their unique culture," a post on Airbnb's
official blog says.

Locals with casas particulares might be getting around the internet
restrictions by going through overseas-based agencies that handle the
bookings through the website for them. One "host," Point 2 Cuba, appears
to be based in Canada. "AirBNB's host was Point to Cuba, but they then
represented Frank the local owner," one guest wrote in their site review
for the "host."

Travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba are set to ease up after
the U.S. government decided late last year to reestablish diplomatic
relations with the country for the first time since 1961. Though there
are still some restrictions on travel–Americans are required to be
traveling for purposes other than tourism–it seems unlikely that Cuban
officials and locals will want to discourage tourism dollars by checking
up on visitors, as NPR points out.

With airlines offering increasing options for direct flights between
U.S. cities and Havana, the number of American tourists in Cuba will
almost certainly rise. And there have been moves by the Cuban government
to expand internet access somewhat on the island, which could mean less
wealthy people having a better chance to take advantage of the tourist
flood gates opening.

Source: One night in an Airbnb in Cuba costs twice what many Cubans make
per month | Fusion -
http://fusion.net/story/177562/cuba-airbnb-costs-twice-local-monthly-income/ Continue reading
Cuba a 'Longer-Term Play' for Carnival
Due to strict regulations, Carnival has been delayed in opening trips to
Cuba, CEO Arnold Donald said on the company's recent earnings call.
Lindsay Rittenhouse Follow Dec 23, 2016 12:56 PM EST

Other than scheduling six brief stops to Cuba, Carnival (CCL) does not
expect to open any major cruise lines from the U.S. to Havana as quickly
as its competitors have.

On Thursday, Carnival's Fathom line gained approval to make nine-hour
stops to Santiago de Cuba on six voyages making their way to the
Dominican Republic, the company said in a statement.

Carnival said in Thursday's statement that Cuba is "one of the world's
most in-demand destinations" but the company may not be offering direct
cruise lines to the country as soon as competitors Norwegian Cruise Line
(NCLH) and Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) have. Norwegian opened bookings
for its Cuba trips on Tuesday and Royal Caribbean opened certain
bookings on Dec. 9.

"Along with everyone else, we submitted our requests for additional
sailings through the beginning of the June period and thereafter,"
Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said on the company's recent earnings call.
"It's just a planning cycle in Cuba and we're in the process of
receiving the authorizations from Cuba."

Donald said he hopes Carnival can get approval for more than just one
brand - Fathom - to sail to Cuba but the country's authorities "have
constraints in number of berths, and the size of the berths and what
size ships you can get in and so on."

"So, Cuba's a longer term play but you have to build it today and that's
what we're doing," Donald said.

Source: Cuba a 'Longer-Term Play' for Carnival - TheStreet -
https://www.thestreet.com/story/13936530/1/cuba-a-longer-term-play-for-carnival.html?puc=yahoo&cm_ven=YAHOO&yptr=yahoo Continue reading
¿Cuánto cuesta ser pelotero? Estos pequeños sueñan ser como Yulieski Gourriel algún día Miércoles, diciembre 28, 2016 | Osniel Carmona Breijo LA HABANA, Cuba.- Los ídolos de estos niños cubanos no vuelan, lanzan rayos o se cuelgan vistosas capas. Eso no hace falta para convertirse en un gran pelotero, y los pequeños que juegan en […] Continue reading

El presidente de Estados Unidos firmó el viernes una ley de defensa que autoriza proporcionar 611.000 millones de dólares al Ejército en 2017. Barack Obama celebró las cláusulas diseñadas para mantener la inercia en la lucha contra el grupo extremista Estado Islámico y criticó con dureza la insistencia del Congreso de mantener abierta la prisión militar en la bahía de Guantánamo, Cuba, reportó la AP.

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“Aquí ya no hay peces” La contaminación de la bahía de Cienfuegos ha borrado del menú local la famosa minuta de pescado Jueves, diciembre 29, 2016 | Roberto Jesús Quiñones Haces CIENFUEGOS, Cuba.- Hasta hace unos años en Cienfuegos se podía comprar un pan con pescado frito —la famosa minuta— al precio de cinco pesos […] Continue reading
La “psicóloga de Panamá”, nueva miembro del Consejo de Estado Susely Morfa es también la 1ra secretaria de la UJC nacional Miércoles, diciembre 28, 2016 | CubaNet MIAMI, Estados Unidos.- La Asamblea Nacional cubana eligió ayer a Susely Morfa González como nueva miembro del Consejo de Estado. Morfa se hizo célebre durante la pasada Cumbre […] Continue reading
Iglesia de La Habana dará cena gratis a más de mil personas en Nochevieja Planea repetir la acción caritativa de Navidad Miércoles, diciembre 28, 2016 | Vladimir Turró Páez LA HABANA, Cuba.- La Iglesia Metodista Universitaria de La Habana anunció este martes que ofrecerá una cena gratis para más de mil personas este 31 de […] Continue reading
Fábula breve del socialismo en Cuba Tiene algo de dinero, una casa, un auto, una mujer bonita y todo eso lo ha logrado con lo que le envía su familia en Miami Martes, diciembre 27, 2016 | Ernesto Pérez Chang LA HABANA, Cuba.- Ha ido dos veces a Moscú, de vacaciones con su esposa, y […] Continue reading
Gilberto 'Papito' Valladares, Barber (b. 1969) / 14ymedio

At 16, Gilberto Valladares, known as Papito, began to work in
hairdressing, self-taught. At the beginning of the nineties he worked as
a hairdresser in the Habana Libre Hotel, but with the relaxations
allowing Cubans to work for themselves, he decided to set up his own
business in Old Havana's Barrio Santo Angel.

Papito leads the ArteCorte project, popularly known as the Callejón de
los Peluqueros, Hairdressers' Alley, which involves several neighborhood
entrepreneurs and promotes small-scale development. The owners of the
private businesses devote a part of their earnings to improving the
neighborhood and solving problems such as unemployment, the lack of
recreational opportunities for children, and alcoholism.

In March of this year, Papito spoke with US President Barack Obama
during the latter's visit to Havana. In the Cuba-United States Business
Forum, attended by business owners from both countries, the entrepreneur
related his experience and said that the private sector is growing among
Cubans, despite all the impediments and obstacles.

Source: Gilberto 'Papito' Valladares, Barber (b. 1969) / 14ymedio –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/gilberto-papito-valladares-barber-b-1969-14ymedio/ Continue reading
The Faces Of 2016 / 14ymedio

14ymedio, 24 December 2014 — Putting a face to a year like 2016, in
which several historical events indelibly marked the Cuban reality – for
better or worse – is a task as difficult as it is risky. This newspaper
has selected 14 people who stood out in the last twelve months, in
science, activism, sports, politics or entrepreneurship, among many
other sectors.

From today and throughout the week, we present to our readers these 14
faces, which contributed to make this year a singular compendium of
achievements and failures, projects completed and others indefinitely
postponed. They are those who chiseled the peculiar physiognomy of a
year that is about to expire.

Papito Valladares, barber
Carlos Lechuga, filmmaker
Eusebio Leal, historian
Yomil and the Danny, reggaetoneros
Ariel Urquiola, scientist
Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investments
Elaine Díaz, Director of Neighborhood Journalism
José Ramírez Pantoja, journalist
Víctor Mesa, baseball manager
Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez, Archbishop of Havana
Viengsay Valdés, dancer
Marlies Mejías, cyclist
Fidel Castro, former president
Joanna Columbié, activist

Source: The Faces Of 2016 / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-faces-of-2016-14ymedio/ Continue reading
Rice Might Be In Short Supply This Festive Season / Juan Juan Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 22 December 2016 — Sad, paradoxical and
irresponsible — but real. Rice, the common denominator, and basic
ingredient, of Cuban cuisine, could be almost absent from the island's
tables at the end of the year.

The official press has already started its plan of offering free
publicity for the dinner parties which will be celebrated the coming
24th and 31st of December and January 1st in cinemas, cultural centres,
social circles and theatres on the island.

The idea, as they explain it, is to guarantee family enjoyment and
dining during the Christmas period and, fundamentally, for the coming of
the 58th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

For that reason, they have doubled the work schedules for catering units
and restaurants belonging to the government commercial chain. They will
arrange exceptional supplies to livestock markets and local market
places, and they are planning the sale of foodstuffs, from a variety of
crops to different types of meat. But … is there the productive support
to achieve this aim? As far as rice is concerned, no.

One of the directors of the agro-industrial company "Fernando Echenique
Urquiza" made the point, in the national press, that, although in 2016
the production of rice was much higher than in previous years, he could
not get hold of a good supply.

The government official blamed the problem on the early maturing of the
crop, but another worker in the sector proposed other explanations:

"During the rainy season, we had a lot of rain, which helped the crops",
was the rice expert's explicit and clear explanation.

"It's true that it was ready early, but there are other factors which
also have a negative effect, and not only in this harvest" he said.

"The country has developed an important investment programme to increase
rice production nationally. Agreements have been signed authorising
credits from the Import Export Bank of China (EXIM) for the purchase of
medium and high-powered YTO tractors, and financial arrangements for the
promotion of the national rice-growing agro-industry. We are setting up
new irrigation systems, repairing dryers and mills. Modern
seed-processing factories have been built and advanced equipment and
technology has been purchased.

"But we still cannot depend on a sufficient fleet of vehicles to
transport the product from the farm to the dryers, and to the
stores, let alone to the markets. Nor do we have enough combine
harvesters. And the dryers both here in Mayabeque province, and
nationally, do not have the capacity to deal with a good harvest. And
all of that is without taking into account the ridiculous price paid to
the farmers for the demanding task of producing the grain which is
irreplaceable in Cuban cooking", said the expert.

As a last resort, the government has had to make up for negligence and
inefficient production with last-minute imports, taking a hit with the
purchase price, which, in turn, has a clear impact, especially at this
time of year, on your average Cuban table.

Nevertheless, in spite of all these difficulties, for all Cubans, this
is a Christmas to celebrate.

Translated by GH

Source: Rice Might Be In Short Supply This Festive Season / Juan Juan
Almeida – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/rice-might-be-in-short-supply-this-festive-season-juan-juan-almeida/ Continue reading

Las revelaciones sobre la red de sobornos pagados por Odebrecht parecen no tener fin. La compañía brasileña habría financiado una cuenta del expresidente Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva para que el popular líder del Partido de los Trabajadores (PT) se mantuviese influyente en la política tanto en el ámbito local como latinoamericano después de que dejó el poder en 2011, reveló el viernes el diario Folha de S.

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Cuba's Ration Book Survives For Another Year / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez

14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 22 December 2016 — At the end of
this month the ration market quotas for January 2017 will go on sale.
Cubans who depend on products distributed at subsidized prices will
gather outside the bodegas, in long lines, for the 55th anniversary of
the ration book, whose elimination continues to be one of Raul Castro's
unmet projects.

In 2014, the average monthly salary on the island increased by 24%, to
584 Cuban pesos (some 24 dollars). Despite this increase, many families
still depend on the subsidized prices maintained by the ration card.
Their income does not allow them to pay the prices in the
supply-and-demand markets or in the retail network of stores in Cuban
Convertible pesos.

Different analysts and official functionaries have warned that the
elimination of the ration book could cause a fall in the standard of
living in the most vulnerable sectors of the population, among whom are
the retired and families who don't receive any additional income beyond
their state salaries.

Among the Guidelines approved by the Seventh Communist Party Congress,
last April, it was agreed "to continue the orderly and gradual
elimination of the ration book products." However, so far, the proposal
has not gone into effect, in part because of the poor economic
development experienced by the country in recent years.

Cuba's gross domestic product will grow only 0.4% this year, its lowest
level in the last two decades, as recently confirmed by the Economic
Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Faced with this
reality, the government has not been able to improve people's purchasing
power or dismantle the rationed market.

The Government is faced with the dilemma of maintaining the enormous
infrastructure and the hefty costs of prolonging the life of the ration
book or suppressing it, with the consequent deepening of poverty for
various social groups. Such a measure would have an undeniable political
impact on a process that has been defined as a revolution "by the humble
and for the humble."

Officialdom has repeated on several occasions that it is preferable to
"subsidize people rather than products," but the rationed quota is still
given to every citizen equally, even those who have reached an above
average level of income. The practice has focused on removing products
from the subsidized basic market basket.

Rice, grains, oil, sugar, salt, eggs, chicken and bread are some of the
foods that are still subsidized, while other goods have been removed
from the ration book altogether, including liquid detergent, bath and
washing soap, toothpaste, beef and cigarettes.

During the 1970s and '80s it was virtually impossible to live without
ration book products. This phenomenon resulted in, among many other
ills, low internal migration and a greater control of the State over the
citizens.

Currently, the mobility of the population to provincial capitals and
especially to Havana has increased as a result of the easing of the
policy on rental housing. The ability to purchase food and hygiene
products outside the rationing system has also contributed to the
phenomenon.

The emergence of a parallel market that includes state establishments
and private bakeries has also been hugely important to the process of
citizen independence. Ration book bread, a recurring theme in the
"accountability meetings" of the People's Power, a topic of critical
analysis in the official press and a target of mockery for the majority
of Cuban comedians, has lost its importance.

Families with better incomes have given up standing in the traditional
lines to get bread for 10 centavos in national currency (less than one
cent on the US dollar). They prefer to go to the private bakeries that
offer a wide variety of products at unregulated prices.

The bodegas with empty shelves and a blackboard listing the products of
the month have become, along with the old American cars that still
circulate on the streets of the island and the billboards with political
messages, among the photographic trophies taken by tourists as part of
the social landscape of Cuba.

The disappearance of the ration book will have to wait until the
completion of the gradual reforms announced by the authorities. There
will probably be more who mourn its end than those who will celebrate
it, but the day will come when some incredulous grandchild will listen
to his grandfather repeat stories of "that era when everyone ate the
same thing on the same day in the whole country."

Source: Cuba's Ration Book Survives For Another Year / 14ymedio, Marcelo
Hernandez – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/ration-book-survives-another-year-14ymedio/ Continue reading
No Right to Breakfast / Cubanet, Tania Diaz Castro

Cubanet, Tania Diaz Castro, Havana, December 12, 2016 – When in 2006
Raul Castro took power, one of the first things he said was that he
would give a glass of milk a day to every Cuban. He knew very well the
importance that the people gave to the strong tradition of having
breakfast with coffee with milk and a piece of bread with butter. Even
during the years of the Republic years it was within reach of the
poorest in any cantina, inn, kiosk, or cafeteria.

Starting in 1991, with the collapse of Soviet communism, Cubans'
breakfast disappeared. In this way, Fidel's permanent teaching failed,
when he had said: "Yes we can."

It was simply not possible for dairy industry to supply enough milk,
although in a speech in December 1966 Fidel predicted that he would fill
Havana Bay with milk because "in 1970 the island will have 5,000 experts
in the livestock industry and around 8 million cows and calves, good
milk producers."

A little history

The Cuban dairy industry began its great development in 1927, under the
government of Gerardo Machado. A few years later, when our population
was 6 million, the island had one head of cattle per person and the
price of meat was one of the lowest in Latin America. Cuba's annual milk
production was 1,014 million quarts, equivalent to 157 quarts per person
per year.

According to economic data of those years, and as we Cubans of the third
age remember it, in Cuba an excellent butter was produced, as well as
good cheese, condensed, evaporated or powdered milk, and a quart of
fresh milk could be acquired daily And at modest prices, thanks to
private companies and modern factories, which disappeared practically at
the beginning of the Castro dictatorship, when in 1960 Che Guevara was
appointed Minister of Industry.

What the future says

Just a few hours ago, on the occasion of the visit of a senior Russian
leader, General Raúl Castro offered great news: The government of Russia
would participate in the island's economy! ¡Madre mía! I hope it's not
so that they will again send us Russian canned meats swimming in water
instead the meat of good native cattle.

The future of the domestic industry, especially of food products, is
uncertain. It is an industry that is unable to participate actively in
resolving the country's shortcomings. One of its problems, Commander
Ramiro Valdés said recently, is the exodus and the lack of discipline of
the workers and, above all, the bad technological and risky conditions
in plants and factories.

Just to give one example, in 2014, a factory, the only one of its kind
for dairy products, began operating in Ciego de Avila at a cost of 800
thousand pesos in hard currency. Its commercial director, Pérez de
Corcho, informed the newspaper Granma in February 2015 that: "The
factory does not work at full capacity because for months there has been
low milk production in the territory, even though what is produced was
destined for the tourist-focused cities of Jardines del Rey, Venezuela
and Ciego de Avila."

The current reality

Today, even with all the juggling they do, Cubans cannot have
breakfast. In order for a family consisting of couple and two children,
for example, to be able to afford their daily breakfast, they would have
to have about 50 Cuban Convertible pesos per month, equivalent to more
than one thousand Cuban pesos, in a country where the average wage of a
worker does not exceed four hundred pesos in national currency. (That
is, two-and-a-half monthly salaries, just for breakfast.)

This is because the imported products — milk, coffee and butter — come
from very distant countries, although they can also be seen in Latin
America, with the exception of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and
Nicaragua, from where we get no foods, neither expensive nor cheap.

The privilege of having breakfast is enjoyed only by Cubans who receive
family remittances, principally from the United States, so they can buy
things in Cuban Convertible pesos. The ordinary Cuban, which is almost
everyone, has irretrievably lost this right.

Our food industry, we are faced with an irrefutable truth, thanks to
Cuban communism has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Translated by Jim

Source: No Right to Breakfast / Cubanet, Tania Diaz Castro – Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/no-right-to-breakfast-cubanet-tania-diaz-castro/ Continue reading
The One Who Left Ashes / Miriam Leiva

Cubanet, Miriam Leiva, Havana, November 29, 2016 – Fidel Castro died on
November 25 at 10:29 p.m. and, according to his own will, his remains
will be cremated, according to the brief statement read by Raúl Castro
on Cuban television. at midnight.

As a deceased person, the former president deserves respect. Surely he
expired on a soft bed, surrounded by his closest family members; perhaps
he left directions for his funeral. Jose Marti, the man Cubans call the
Apostle of Cuba, will welcome him in his monument in the Plaza of the
Revolution and in the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba.

The government decreed nine days of official mourning and a journey of
the funeral cortege from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, following in
reverse the route of the "Freedom Caravan" of the guerrilla chief in
January of 1959. The Comandante bequeathes his predilection for
symbolism in dates: his death coincided with the 60th anniversary of the
beginning of the Revolution with the departure of the yacht Granma from
Mexico in 1956, and the burial on December 4th will coincide with the
day of Saint Barbara, Shangó in the syncretic religion, a day venerated
with great offerings. The drumming and all the rituals that begin in the
early hours of the morning will be suspended on this solemn occasion, to
the disgust of thousands of believers.

Most Cubans within the archipelago reacted with silence, no comment,
without grief. The outcome had long been expected. The cheerful,
humorous, jovial and bustling Cuban protects himself in the shell when
he feels it dangerous to think differently from the official line, fears
the consequences in his life, and disenchanted with the unfulfilled
promises, is careful of his weak status or he looks the horizon to jump
abroad.

Respectful relief floats in the environment, because the Comandante will
allow everyone to rest, not fearing his interference in the essential
changes. Every photo and every writing was overwhelming. The impressive
olive green presence and thunderous voice became pitiful and the phrases
delirious. He asserted, "history will absolve me," at the conclusion of
his trial for the attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953. Much
accumulated for 63 years, and there will be a delay in the objective
writing of his until the secrets of all the parties involved are
known. However, it is impossible to exempt him from the precarious
present state of Cuba, because for 47 years he decided and prohibited
everything.

In 1959, Fidel Castro liquidated a bloody dictatorship, he was Cuba's
most popular politician of all time and came to power with the false
promises of democracy and a commitment to the religion. He will be
remembered for dismembering families and sending their children to
schools in the countryside, the exodus of more than two million Cubans,
the hardships of a people overshadowed and disposed to immense sacrifices.

From the initial dispossession of the great owners, he continued with
the small ones during the Revolutionary Offensive of 1968. Among his
immense unproductive works: the failed Ten Ton Sugar Harvest of 1970,
the destruction of the sugar industry that forged the Cuban nationality
and of all agriculture with the uprooting of the peasants. For the waste
of resources from the Soviet Union and the socialist camp. For not
having invested Hugo Chavez's petrodollars in the capitalization of the
destroyed or antiquated industry.

Fidel Castro curtailed rights, credited the state with granting
universal education and healthcare, when in fact this was paid for with
the contributions of all workers. He left a weak economy, misery-level
salaries and pensions, a dual monetary system, large debts accumulated
since 1986, and a social fabric devoid of high ethical and moral values,
a pride of the Cubans for centuries.

Fidel Castro will be remembered for the executions and long prison
sentences. For punishing those who thought differently from the official
opinions with agricultural work and expulsion from their jobs. For the
surveillance and stalking by State Security, the informants and the
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. By the impossibility of
attending a university because the universities were "only for the
revolutionaries."

Time will not forget that he was about to provoke a nuclear
conflagration in October 1962, his support of guerrillas in Latin
America and wars abroad, his persecution of homosexuals, his ban on
miniskirts and the Beatles until the end of the 1980s, and on the
practice of religion and tourism until 1992.

Raúl Castro inherited the ruins that he helped create. He mentioned the
need for structural changes and concepts in 2007, which he reduced to
the updating of the failing economic and social system. But he
acknowledged that "the fundamental obstacle we have faced, as we
predicted, is the burden of an outdated mentality, which forms an
attitude of inertia, or lack of confidence in the future," in his Report
to the Seventh Congress of the Cuban Communist Party in April 16, 2016.

Ten years after the inevitable abandonment of absolute power, outside
the Cuban archipelago, Fidel Castro is credited with the positive
collaboration of doctors, teachers and technicians abroad. With the high
rates of healthcare and education, achieved with the sacrifice and low
quality of life of Cubans for 57 years.

The worn-out old man is kindly visualized, thanks to the process of
cleaning up his nefarious image undertaken by Raúl Castro with the
opportunities offered by the international community, the popes and
eminences of various religions, the relationship with the United States,
collaboration with the European Union, and the cancellation of
debts. Economic interests have played an important role, but also the
general president has the space to open up citizen participation in
decision making.

Raul's actions after Fidel's death in compelling Cubans to sign an Oath
to the Commander's Words could strengthen the stagnation, or he could
use them to reverse it: "Revolution is a sense of the historical
moment. It is changing everything that must be changed. It is full
equality and freedom. Is to be treated and to treat others as human
beings," Fidel said in his speech of May 1, 2000.

The high attendance of the population to the extensive and pompous
funeral rites is a sign of the usual compulsion of students, workers,
peasants and members of the so-called organizations of the masses and
civil society, as well as the mobilization of the hundreds of thousands
of party members and Youth communists, military agencies, ex-combatants
and people who really did admire him.

However, the authorities should recognize the real feelings of the
majority of Cubans and undertake radical changes.

Source: The One Who Left Ashes / Miriam Leiva – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-one-who-left-ashes-miriam-leiva/ Continue reading
It Is Not Because Fidel Says It, It Is Because I Believe It / Somos+,
Arlenys Miranda Mesa

Somos+, Arlenys Miranda Mesa, 21 December 2016 — December 3rd was the
ceremony in Santiago de Cuba after the death of Fidel Castro and the
procession of his ashes across the entire Cuban archipelago. I sat down
to observe the ceremony, although I knew it would be repeated many
times, but I preferred to be an eyewitness rather than "hear about it"
in the hallway. At the end, Fidel Castro stood up. His speech is
important, of course, be is the president of the nation. And not because
the majority elected him, in fact, I don't know who elected him, no one
ever explained it, but he is.

His speech was more of the same, and the figure of his brother was
exalted one more time, to the height of a god. May God have mercy on
Cuba, for He sees the wickedness of the idolatry of the fathers to the
third and fourth generation of those who hate Him.

He spoke about how, in circumstances of extreme difficulty, Fidel always
said, "Yes we can." Yes, we can attack the Moncada Barracks, yes we can
make a revolution i Cuba, arrive on the coast in a yacht, resist the
enemy and even do away with him in less than 72 hours; resist hunger,
rain, cold. Yes we can organize an army in the Sierra Maestra and open a
new guerrilla front, withstand the blackouts, the limitations of public
transport, preserve health and education in the midst of crises and
blockades, in short, so many things. A visionary man.

Today he no longer exists. It is the end of one era, giving way to
another, where we see our hopes reborn. It is for this that I feel very
excited and inspired because like him I believe that "Yes we can." But I
go in the opposite directions from everything he believed and that he
could do and not do in Cuba. He imposed his opinions, his crazy ideas. I
am even-tempered, sensible, logical. I am a mother, woman and Cuban. I
think about my children, my family, my country.

I believe that Yes we can have internet in Cuba, cheap and uncensored.
Why in internet a human right in other countries but not for us, is it
perhaps that we are not human. What are they hiding from us that is on
the internet?

Yes we can have free elections, where every Cuba can, with dignity and
conscientiously choose their president. Yes we can dream of a younger
leadership in tune with our reality, that although it did not
participate in the in attack on the Moncada Barracks in the 1950s,
arrive later that decade on the yacht Granma, or fight in the mountains,
is not therefore less qualified to take on the challenge.

Yes we can aspire to have different political parties for one to belong
to and identify with. Yes it is possible for an army and a police
officer without surnames, that responds not to the interests of the
elite but rather of the people.

Yes we can aspire to a government that pays attention, and creates a
space for dialog with those who think differently. Yes we can aspire to
an objective and committed journalism, but not with an ideology, but
simply with the truth, so that the press doesn't silence those who shout
in the street.

Yes we can respect those who think differently and not call them worms
or scum, those who want to "change everything that needs to be changed,"
as Raul Castro himself is so fond of repeating.

If, for capturing these ideas in this article, they disappear me, then
what is said about Camilo Cienfuegos is true. If after doing so, I die
in a car accident, then what is said about Oswaldo Payá is true. If they
put me in a car and drive me far away and release me in some other
province without any money, or bruised in a gutter or threatened, then I
am fighting for the right side, because Fidel fought against these
things in the Batista dictatorship. The national president of the
Federation of University Students said in her speech that Fidel was a
friend who defended just causes.

I am defending a just cause, freedom and democracy, therefore I am not
on the opposite site, I am not a terrorist nor a counterrevolutionary. I
am a 41-year-old woman, married for 18 years, the mother of three
children, Christian since I was 19, pastor of a church for 9 years. A
licensed English Teacher and licensed in Sacred Theology.

I am a woman who years for changes and who has not lost faith or hope,
because I believe "That Yes We Can."

Source: It Is Not Because Fidel Says It, It Is Because I Believe It /
Somos+, Arlenys Miranda Mesa – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/it-is-not-because-fidel-says-it-it-is-because-i-believe-it-somos-arlenys-miranda-mesa/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Miami, 22 December 2016 – “My Backpack,” which was created by the Youth Club to counter the influence of the Weekly Packet, will launch this coming December 27, with a wide variety of materials about the recently deceased former president Fidel Castro. The idea of including materials about Castro started in the Youth Club network … Continue reading "Youth Club Launches A ‘Special Backpack’ Dedicated To Fidel Castro / 14ymedio" Continue reading
Opposition Leader José Daniel Ferrer Released / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 22 December 2016 — José Daniel Ferrer, general
coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), was arrested on
Thursday around one in the afternoon when he left the organization's
headquarters in the city of Santiago de Cuba, and released about 40
minutes later, as reported in a phone call to 14ymedio from Omar Fayut,
a member of the opposition organization. Ferrer was taken in a bus,
handcuffed, to the third police station in the city of Santiago de Cuba
and then released, without further explanation.

The activist denounced that since the death of former President Fidel
Castro "many members of the movement have been harassed" by the
political police who maintain a cordon around Unpacu's headquarters.

Last Sunday, some hundred members of the UNPACU were arrested when
they tried to march to the shrine of El Cobre to demand the release of
political prisoners. Most of the detainees were released after a few
hours, but nine remain imprisoned.

Minutes before his arrest, Ferrer had denounced on Twitter that
activists Ovidio Martín, Samuel Leblan, Juan Salgado, Yasmani Magaña,
Belkis Cantillo and Moraima Díaz, among others, continued to be detained.


Carlos Amel Oliva, a member of Unpacu, maintains that "the threat is
constant" and that since Monday the headquarters remains besieged with
police officers "stationed on the corners." The young man explains that
the soldiers "put up fences to prohibit the access of any type of vehicles."

The arrests and police cordons are in addition to the searches of at
least 13 houses of Unpacu activists.

The last report of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National
Reconciliation (CCDHRN) said that during last November there were at
least 359 arbitrary arrests of peaceful dissidents on the island. That
is roughly one hundred fewer than in October but the independent
organization warns of possible repression after the death of former
President Fidel Castro on November 25.

Source: Opposition Leader José Daniel Ferrer Released / 14ymedio –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/opposition-leader-jose-daniel-ferrer-released-14ymedio/ Continue reading
Raulito's Plan to Inherit Power from His Grandfather / Juan Juan Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 19 December 2016 — With 2018 approaching, alarm
bells are already sounding over fissures in what was once the monolithic
unity of the Communist Party and weaknesses in the supposed cohesiveness
of Cuba's royal family.

The long-awaited announcement of Raul Castro's retirement has unleashed
an "every man for himself" and "looking out for number one" attitude
among those who, driven by the influence that supposedly comes from
proximity to power, are already lobbying to build a future from the
dictator's throne.

The fact that Raúl Guillermo Rodríguez Castro, more widely known as "The
Crab," is one of the leading contenders seems like a joke. To gain
attention, he began promoting an incoherent platform which, to be
honest, makes him look more like someone with a propensity for blunders
who is planning an unsuccessful coup.

"Raulito is a moron. He lacks self-control so he acts first and thinks
later. But he is not completely clueless. He is trying to get out from
under the shadows by displaying his power, just like other aspirants for
the top job. He knows that by mid-2017, which begins in a few days, the
initial debate will begin on a successor to the post that everyone
covets: Secretary General of the Communist Party of Cuba," says an
elderly member of the National Assembly of People's Power.

An economist by training, of limited intellect and functionally impaired
from the use and abuse of steroids, he is equal parts embarrassment and
failure. Recently named head of the Department of Personal Security
(DSP), he tried to cement his support within the future government by
announcing that by the middle of next year he would raise the salaries
of the more than one thousand men who make up his personal army by fifty
pesos a month.

It is worth noting, as I wrote some time ago, that the DSP includes 1) a
traffic police unit, 2) a film unit, 3) a section devoted to
documentation and emigration procedures, 4) a foreign relations
department, 5) an anti-terrorist brigade, 6) sharpshooters, 7) divers,
8) explosive experts and 9) a medical department with clinics staffed
with doctors, nurses, radiologists, lab technicians, physical and
occupational therapists and specialists in other areas. Additionally, it
runs 10) a technology and telecommunications division, 11) manufacturing
workshops, 12) gymnasia, 13) a very efficient counterintelligence
service and even 14) an employment agency that hires personnel who go on
to work in the homes of the elite.

But rather than encouraging unanimity, the move is being viewed
unfavorably by members of the DSP, who are responsible for protecting,
guarding, spying on and taking care of Cuban leaders. Even with the
raise they have been promised, they will still earn less than members of
the special police unit working in popular tourist sites such as Plaza
de San Francisco, Plaza de Armas and Plaza de la Catedral as well as in
other areas in Old Havana.

The move has backfired. The discontent is such that soldiers and
officers of what was once the most powerful bureau in both the Ministry
of the Interior and in Cuba have handed in their resignations. This is
not a trivial issue.

This is the last game… there is no direct elimination, no quarterfinals.

Source: Raulito's Plan to Inherit Power from His Grandfather / Juan Juan
Almeida – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/raulitos-plan-to-inherit-power-from-his-grandfather-juan-juan-almeida/ Continue reading
Policía política agrede a líder opositor y a Dama de Blanco Fueron atacados en Matanzas y posteriormente detenidos por la policía Jueves, diciembre 29, 2016 | CubaNet MIAMI, Estados Unidos.- El opositor Iván Hernández Carrillo, miembro del Grupo de los 75, fue golpeado por dos miembros de la Seguridad del Estado este miércoles cuando se […] Continue reading

Fuerzas de la Seguridad del Estado y la Policía Nacional realizaron el viernes dos registros y confiscaron juguetes y otros recursos en viviendas de Damas de Blanco en La Habana, denunció la líder del movimiento femenino, Berta Soler.

"En horas bien tempranas de la mañana de ayer (el viernes), entre las cinco y seis, hubo un allanamiento contra la vivienda de Julia Herrera Roque", precisó Soler a DIARIO DE CUBA.

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Servilio Pérez Gómez, de 91 años de edad, fue preso político del régimen de los Castro Continue reading
"El Sexto" continúa preso y el asedio a la UNPACU no se detiene Continue reading
Con tecnología china y capacidad de producción de 500 equipos diarios Continue reading
At 16, Gilberto Valladares, known as Papito, began to work in hairdressing, self-taught. At the beginning of the nineties he worked as a hairdresser in the Habana Libre Hotel, but with the relaxations allowing Cubans to work for themselves, he decided to set up his own business in Old Havana’s Barrio Santo Angel. Papito leads the … Continue reading "Gilberto ‘Papito’ Valladares, Barber (b. 1969) / 14ymedio" Continue reading
Cada lugar iluminado produce el mismo efecto que una fogata en una Isla desierta: algo inusual y sorprendente
… neighborhood as the governments of Cuba, Sierra Leone and Indonesia. Patsy … Continue reading
14ymedio, 24 December 2014 — Putting a face to a year like 2016, in which several historical events indelibly marked the Cuban reality – for better or worse – is a task as difficult as it is risky. This newspaper has selected 14 people who stood out in the last twelve months, in science, activism, sports, … Continue reading "The Faces Of 2016 / 14ymedio" Continue reading

(EFE).- Cuba inauguró este viernes en La Habana su primera fábrica de computadoras portátiles y tabletas, con tecnología y materia prima china y una capacidad de producción de unos 500 equipos diarios, informó la televisión estatal de la isla.

La estatal Empresa Industrial para la Informática, las Comunicaciones y la Electrónica (GEDEME), perteneciente al Ministerio de Industrias, y la Universidad de las Ciencias Informáticas (UCI) han sido las principales encargadas de la puesta en marcha de la nueva fábrica.

El tipo de computadoras portátiles que producirá son de sexta generación, mientras que las tabletas contarán con dos modelos, de 8 y 10 pulgadas, esta última con accesorios y un teclado que permite su conversión a una mini-ordenador y manejar capacidades de hasta un terabyte de información, precisó el informe.

La multinacional china Haier provee toda la tecnología y el equipamiento instalado en la fábrica y además suministra las materias primas del proceso productivo de estos equipos, y la Universidad de las Ciencias Informáticas de La Habana aporta los sistemas operativos.[[QUOTE:La multinacional china Haier provee toda la tecnología y el equipamiento instalado en la fábrica y además suministra las materias primas del proceso productivo de estos equipos, y la Universidad de las Ciencias Informáticas de La Habana aporta los sistemas operativos]]Directivos y especialistas de la empresa Gedema indicaron que disponen de modernos equipos para el diagnóstico y la comprobación de las características de las computadoras y las tabletas, que permiten medir la sensibilidad de la pantalla táctil, la humedad y la resistencia ante agresiones.

En principio, estas nuevas producciones estarán destinadas al mercado mayorista, centros estatales y organismos de la administración central del Estado, indicó el informe.

La nueva fábrica tiene una capacidad para producir unos 500 equipos diarios, que al cierre de cada año sumarían cerca de 120.000 unidades.

En 2015, la cifra de computadoras registrados en Cuba se elevó a 1.071,600, de ellos 546.100 con conexión a la red, de acuerdo a un informe de la Oficina Nacional de Estadística e Información (ONEI) del país caribeño.

Cuba es uno de los países con las tasas de penetración de internet más bajas del mundo.

Como parte de una estrategia para aumentar la conectividad en la isla -una de las asignaturas pendientes de Cuba-, el monopolio estatal de las telecomunicaciones Etecsa inició en julio de 2015 la instalación de zonas wifi en puntos públicos de navegación, que ya suman más de 1.006 y tienen 250.000 usuarios diariamente, según datos de la compañía del pasado septiembre.

Esta semana, Etecsa rebajó la tarifa de su servicio de navegación por internet a 1,50 pesos convertibles (CUC, equivalentes a dólares, 1,43 euros) y anunció que realizará una prueba de acceso a la red de redes desde el domicilio de 2.000 usuarios en zonas del municipio Habana Vieja.

Hasta ahora la conexión en los domicilios ha estado permitida solo a profesionales como médicos, periodistas, intelectuales o académicos.

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El Gobierno cubano formará parte del equipo internacional que se encargará de verificar el paso de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) a la vida civil, participando así por primera vez en una misión de Naciones Unidas, reportó Europa Press.

Fuentes de la misión internacional consultadas por la agencia europea indicaron que La Habana enviará tres oficiales que se sumarán a los 450 observadores internacionales, cifra que la ONU confía en alcanzar hacia febrero.

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Juan Juan Almeida, 22 December 2016  — Sad, paradoxical and irresponsible — but real. Rice, the common denominator, and basic ingredient, of Cuban cuisine, could be almost absent from the island’s tables at the end of the year. The official press has already started its plan of offering free publicity for the dinner parties which … Continue reading "Rice Might Be In Short Supply This Festive Season / Juan Juan Almeida" Continue reading

Al parecer las autoridades, ignorando la fe cristiana que forma parte de nuestra identidad, han decidido obviar las celebraciones navideñas y concentrar sus esfuerzos en el nuevo aniversario de la Revolución y el desfile militar del 2 de enero, así como en rendir nuevos honores al "líder" desaparecido.

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Autoridades cubanas inauguraron el viernes en La Habana la primera fábrica de computadoras portátiles y tabletas en la Isla, dotada con tecnología y materia prima procedente de China y una capacidad de producción de unos 120.000 equipos en anuales, informaron medios estatales.

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El lanzador cubano Norge Ruiz llegó a un acuerdo de Ligas Menores con los Atléticos de Oakland que incluye un bono por la firma de dos millones de dólares, según informó el viernes equipo, reportó la AP.

El derecho de 22 años de edad pasó tres temporadas lanzando en la Serie Nacional cubana, en donde obtuvo marca de 24-17 con 2.55 de efectividad en 55 aperturas y cinco apariciones de relevo.

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La plaza de Remedios se anima en la tarde. Algunos remedianos, sentados al banquete de la WiFi, conversan sobre la suspensión de la parranda. Hablan bajo, entre la conexión y su caída, mientras la ciudad se reconoce en el próximo tedio de la noche.

"¿Por fin, hay o no hay?", pregunta el camarero a uno de los conexos.

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El presidente de la Rep Continue reading