El presidente de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, aseguró hoy que se mantienen los "contactos de diálogo" con la alianza de partidos opositores Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) y que además las mesas de trabajo acordadas en octubre pasado con los mediadores internacionales siguen en comunicación, reportó EFEContinue reading
Un 42,4 % de jóvenes universitarios cubanos tiene poco interés por la literatura, mientras que un 4,5 % afirma que no le atrae en absoluto la lectura, según un sondeo del Observatorio del Libro y la Lectura de la Isla, que publicó este domingo el diario oficial Juventud Rebelde.Continue reading
Ivan Garcia, 27 January 2017 — As soon as the sun warms this frigid
tropical autumn, Cordoba Park, located at San Miguel, Revolucion,
Lagueruela and Gelanert, in the Havana neighborhood of La Vibora,
resembles a picnic and leisure area.
Young people sit on the lawn and some families spread large towels as if
they were at a pool or on the shore. Others bring folding chairs or
armchairs so that the elderly, through the IMO application, can converse
comfortably with their relatives across the Straits of Florida.
Also the hustlers arrive, the ones that survive from what falls off the
back of the trucks, with a special nose to detect when, in certain
environments, theycan make money. This is the case of Ricardo, who on
the side of the park's main gazebo, blows up a red and blue inflatable
and charges five Cuban pesos (about 20 cents US) per child.
"It's only for children under ten or whose weight is less than sixty
pounds," he tells a heavy girl who wants to jump on the inflatable with
two friends. But they insist and Ricardo tells them that the inflatable
"is not made for young people or adults. And I have to take care of it,
because it supports me, it's how I feed my children. You will have to
entertain yourselves with something else."
In Córdoba Park, more than 1,300 feet across, there is one of the two
Wi-Fi zones in the municipality of 10 de Octubre, which are a part of
the 34 open zones in Havana and the 200 operating throughout the Island.
Since the Wi-Fi zone opened, on March 30, 2016, the place has become an
open air locutorium, where we learn about the lives and miracles of people.
But those who come daily, to connect to the Internet, do not know that
the park was located in front of the house of Emilia de Cordoba y Rubio,
born on 28 November 1853 in San Nicolás de Bari, the first woman
mambisa (independence fighter), who had an extraordinary desire to serve
When Emilia de Cordoba died, on 20 January 1920, neighbors and friends,
including journalist and the patriot Juan Gualberto Gómez (1854-1933),
asked that her memory be perpetuated. In addition to putting her surname
to the park, on 20 May 1928, a marble statue by the Italian sculptor
Ettore Salvatori was unveiled, considered the first monument in the
capital of the Republic dedicated to a Cuban woman.
A young woman talking in Portuguese with a Brazilian friend knows
nothing of this history as she shamelessly asks for "a hundred or two
hundred dollars, or whatever you can, because we are at the gates of the
end of the year and I'm broke, without a single cent."
Nor does the family that is trying to crowd around the screen of a
Smartphone, to see their relatives in Hialeah and ask them about hourly
wages or rents in Miami, know who Emilia de Cordoba was, though they
know what kind of car their family bought and whether or not they
already bought the iPhone 7 they asked them for.
"Mi'jo, this place is a mess. After the death of you-know-who things
look ugly. Look, see if when you get yourself settled you can send us
more money and start working on getting us out of this shit," asks the
It is common to see women and men kissing their lovers or wives by
sticking their mouths on the screen of the tablet or cell phone. A
slender mixed-race woman, who wears shorts that show more than they
hide, runs the phone up and down her body with no timidity and, smiling,
tells her presumed partner, "So you can see a sample."
In a corner of the park, the one that borders Gelabert Street, a group
of boys, at full volume, have mounted their particular recital of
reggaeton, with two portable speakers that work through the Bluetooth of
Music is a good pretext for attracting customers. "Hey old man,
Connectify a caña (one convertible peso or twenty five Cuban
pesos)". They promote the application that makes the internet connection
cheap, but slows the speed in an unbearable way.
Others lurk around the park, and in a low voice they proclaim, "Wow,
your card, three bars." It is one of the most common businesses in
public places with wifi. "The business is simple. You buy the internet
cards in an ETECSA center at two chavitos (CUC) and then resell them for
three. For each card I sell I earn 1 CUC. In one day I can earn 20 or 30
fulas (another slang term for CUCs)," confesses a kinky-haired white guy
wearing a shirt with Luis Suarez, a forward for Barcelona.
On Monday, December 12, the good news was the announcement of an
agreement between the multinational Google and ETECSA, the inefficient
state telecommunications company, to improve the Internet connectivity
of Cubans. According to Deborah, the company's engineer, "this does not
mean that the transmission speed will improve dramatically, but those
using Google will have a noticeable improvement, like from the sky to
Since 4 June 2013, when ETECSA opened the first 118 internet rooms
throughout the country, and despite the high cost (one hour costs the
equivalent of two days of salary of a professional), today about 250,000
people access the information highway in different provinces, either
from an internet room or a Wi-Fi zone, every day.
Although most are not exactly searching for information. "Some 80
percent of those who connect use the Internet as a communications tool
or to access social networks," says an ETECSA engineer who works in a
network traffic office.
For three and a half years now, the Internet has been an event in
Cuba. You can use it to ask for money, find lovers or make friends. And
those who want to inform themselves can do so on uncensored national or
international sites. But as for websites considered
"counterrevolutionary" by the regime, they cannot be accessed from the
Greater Antilles. This is the case with Diario de Cuba, Cubanet,
Cubaencuentro and Martí Noticias, among others.
Connecting to the internet on the Island has become all the rage. It is
synonymous with modernity. Or a weekend getaway with the wife and
children to a park with wireless connection, to talk with family and
friends in Miami or Madrid.
It is the closest thing to what happened three decades ago, when people
in their free time stood in long lines at Coppelia to have an ice cream,
or walked along La Rampa or sat down to converse or to take in the fresh
air along the wall of the Malecon.
Source: Cordoba Park: Internet, History and Business / Iván García –
Translating Cuba -
https://translatingcuba.com/cordoba-park-internet-history-and-business-ivn-garca/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Miami, 2 February 2017 – A previous article
addressed the economic policy of the current Cuban government to hinder
the private economy – forbidding investment from Cubans on the island
and abroad – and favoring foreign investment, mainly from the United
States, which could lead Cuba to a situation of virtual annexation to
the United States. Meanwhile it appears that allowing free investment,
and allowing employers to hire workers directly, versus requiring them
to contract only through the state, is something that the
state-socialist system is not willing to accept.
But, does it have to be like this to develop the country? Does Cuba have
to depend on US and foreign investment in general?
My clear answer is no. Cuba does need investment and the international
market for its development, but it does not have to rely on US
investments or foreign capital to develop its economy.
An analysis of four basic elements suggests that Cuba could solve its
investment needs without having to turn to US or foreign capital in
general, as the government, official Cuban economists and others
suggest, who do not imagine the island anything but subject to the US.
1. Due to the lack of transparency in the government's economic data
it is unknown what is or could be invested, how much is squandered in
the bureaucratic treasury at all levels, how much is wasted in the bad
paternalistic-populist democracy, or where that money goes. There is
such a lack of transparency about the investments and payments of the
nation, no one explains what so much money from taxes of all kinds,
remittances, the sale of medical and professional services abroad, or
tourism, is spent on, and the national investment is so low.
A change from the current hyper-centralization to democratic control of
revenues and budgets should shed light on the existence of the enormous
amount of capital currently wasted that could increase the amount to be
invested from the nation's own resources. We are thinking about the
necessary reduction in the Armed Forces, the apparatus of State
Security, the enormous services abroad, the big bureaucracy lazing
around in all the ministries and their provincial and municipal
branches, the outreach and propaganda apparatus, and the costs of the
system of organizations of the "dictatorship of the proletariat." How
much money could be freed up for investments through these reductions?
2. There are enormous fortunes within Cuba that do not display their
possibilities due to the current limitations and their fears of being
audited. If the inviolability of private capital and property were
guaranteed by law and clear relations of free trade were established,
this internal capital could be developed, private banks could be
generated to facilitate loans to private entrepreneurs and associates,
to import the means and resources necessary for internal development and
economic movements and associations could strengthen their
opportunities. There are imprecise calculations of the thousands of
millions of dollars, Cuban convertible pesos, Cuban pesos, stored in
banks and mattresses awaiting changes in Cuba.
3. According to different sources, Cuba is receiving between three and
five billion dollars a year from remittances, sent back to the island by
Cubans abroad. Much of that revenue is being invested in private
businesses and another part in using the services they generate. So
there is a positive predisposition in the diaspora to support
micro-enterprises with micro-investments. If conditions were established
in Cuba for the development of free enterprise, this small capital could
grow enormously, multiply and expand in a few years.
4. There is a great deal of capital in the hands of Cuban Americans in
the United States, a part of which they would be willing to invest in
Cuba if a new system of laws, in a State of law, guaranteed private
property and free markets, independent of a future analysis of
nationalization and compensation*. Because of their Cuban origin, and
for some because of their historic ties with specific production sectors
on the island, they would be in better conditions than any foreign
capital to engage in the Cuban economy and push its development. They
bring capital, techniques, knowledge, markets and transportation systems.
Thus, by simply facilitating the internally accumulated Cuban capital,
reorganizing that of the government, and favoring that of emigrants –
large, medium and small – with full guarantees, Cuba could receive a
large injection of capital of national origin, capable of changing the
economic landscape in a few years.
It would not be necessary to have investment from the United States or
from other foreign countries. There would be no dependence on American
capital. It would not be necessary to be virtually annexed to the United
States. Cuba would trade with the United States like the rest of the
Caribbean, the American continent and the world.
The interaction of these four factors would enable a self-sufficient
economy, capable of generating, itself, the means and resources to
resolve the needs of the population with domestic products, exchanged or
acquired in the international market. This should not be confused with
the absurdity of an autarchic economy that tries to survive without an
How to do this will be the subject of another article.
*Translator's note: "Nationalization and compensation" refers to the
nationalization of private businesses and property in the early days of
the Revolution, and the demands on the part of some for compensation for
what was taken from them.
Source: Cuba Does Not Need US Investment To Develop Its Economy /
14ymedio, Pedro Campos – Translating Cuba -
https://translatingcuba.com/cuba-does-not-need-us-investment-to-develop-its-economy-14ymedio-pedro-campos/ Continue reading
Every night when Bisaida Azahares Correa goes to bed and looks at the
ceiling, she is afraid that when the sun comes up she will have leave
the house where she lives with her two children. This dwelling in the
Siboney neighborhood is her only chance of not ending up sleeping on the
street, but its walls are also the source of her major headaches.
The phrase "forced extraction" makes this well-spoken and
straight-talking woman shudder. The first time she read those two words
together was six months after her husband, Dr. Nelson Cabrera Quesada,
left on a medical mission to Saudi Arabia. Since then her life has been
turned upside down.
Life in the converted garage revolves around the impending eviction. A
situation that contrasts with the large mansions and opulent chalets –
where life seems almost bucolic – that surround the modest home of the
A few yards away, the presence of bodyguards betrays the place where
Mariela Castro lives, the daughter of the Cuban president. Nearby is
also the spacious home of Armando Hart, former Minister of Culture. All
are Bisaida's neighbors, but they are not aware of the drama that
defines the life of this almost 50-year-old woman.
The Cuban authorities have recognized that the housing problem is the
primary social need in Cuba. Analysts estimate that the country has a
deficit of 600,000 homes, but in the last decade housing construction
has fallen by 20%.
In the midst of this situation, the so-called "forced removals" of those
who have occupied an abandoned state "shed," a property closed for years
due to the emigration of its owner, or who have erected a house on
vacant land, are frequent. But Bisaida's case is different.
An official notification recently ordered the family to leave the
property because it is owned by the University of Medical Sciences. The
woman vehemently questions that statement. She says that in 2005 she
settled in the house with her husband and their children to care for the
After the death of the lady, the couple did everything possible to
regularize the situation of the house that had been given to Cabrera
Quesada's grandfather in 1979 when he worked as an administrator in the
department of International Relations at the university. After living
there three years, the teacher won the right to have the property
separated from the institution and turned over to her
The law recognizes that "at the end of a housing claim" after a tenant
lives there for 15 years, "the municipal Housing Directorates issue a
Resolution-Title of Property in favor of the persons with the right and
who agree to pay the total in 180 monthly payments." In this case, the
family says they have settled the debt with the bank.
However, the twists and turns of the bureaucracy made the legal transfer
into the hands of the family impossible. The grandfather ended up
retiring and emigrating to the United States, although his wife remained
as the principal resident of the house until her death. Since then the
family has repeatedly tried to obtain the housing papers, but they have
only received threats.
Among the worst moments Bisaida remembers is the day they showed her
husband a document that declares they are illegal occupants. They were
given fifteen days to leave the house. Although the doctor wrote letters
of complaint "to all levels," the answer to his claim can be summed up
in two intimidating words: "no place."
The woman, who is recovering from breast and uterine cancer, says her
husband "has not had the support of any of the ministries involved in
his case nor of the University."
"All I want is justice, my husband's grandparents lived here for decades
and we've been here twelve years," complains Bisaida. She is not
demanding a gift or violating the law for her own pleasure. She only
wants the house to be passed on as personal property, as stipulated in
Resolution No. V-002/2014 of the Minister of Construction, Regulation of
Linked Homes and Basic Means.
Their situation forces them to live virtually locked up.
"We are afraid to leave," the woman laments. They fear that once outside
the house the authorities will take advantage to block access or place
an official seal on the door.
"I did not enter this house through the window," says Bisaida. She shows
the address that appears on her identity card and that matches letter by
letter with the location of the small garage.
Source: "I Did Not Enter This House Through The Window" / 14ymedio, Luz
Escobar – Translating Cuba -
https://translatingcuba.com/i-did-not-enter-this-house-through-the-window-14ymedio-luz-escobar/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, 4 February 2017 – The wifi signal
barely crosses the glass. The wireless network at José Martí
International Airport only covers the boarding area. But a woman presses
her whole body against the opaque window that separates the travelers'
area to communicate with human traffickers who are holding her daughter
For half any hour the lady reveals her despair. "I don't have that much
money, if I had it I would send it right now," she prays through IMO.
The videochat is cut several times by the poor quality of the connection
On the other side, the voice of a man repeats, without backing off,
"Three hundred dollars so she can return on Tuesday."
The woman wipes her tears and unsuccessfully asks for a reduction.
Nearby, a maid who cleans the bathroom passes by, idly dragging a cart
with cleaning supplies. A customs official walks by, absorbed, and
pretends he is not listening to the disturbing request projected from
the screen of the phone, "Don't kill her, don't kill her."
The scene happens in a place crowded with people, most of whom are
passengers about to board a transatlantic flight, or a new commercial
route to the United States, and there are also the family members and
friends who have come to see them off. No one shows any sign of hearing
the drama developing a few feet away.
A tourist tosses back a beer just as the woman is asking the man for
half an hour to "collect the money." She starts the race against the
clock. She calls several contacts from her IMO address book, but the
first four, at least, don't answer. On the fifth try, a shrill voice on
the other end says, "Hello."
"I need a huge favor, you can't say no," the lady stammers. But the head
that can be seen on the screen shakes from side to side. "Are you crazy?
And if after you pay this money they don't let her go?" asks the voice.
The tension makes the hand holding the phone start to tremble and her
granddaughter, who has accompanied her, helps her hold on to it.
Several more calls and the money is not forthcoming. Finally a serious
voice says yes, he can lend the money if the woman will pay it back "in
two installments" to his sister in Havana. The mother agrees, promises
she can "repay every cent," although it sounds like a formula to get out
of a bind. The man believes her.
Now they must arrange the details. The victim doesn't have a bank
account but the mother will send information about "how to send the
money." This is how the kidnappers get paid. Only then will they allow
her to fly from Cancun to Havana, or at least that is what they promise.
In the middle of last year the Mexican authorities shut down a network
trafficking in undocumented people from Cuba that operated in this
tourist area in the Mexican state of Qunitana Roo. The end of the "wet
foot/dry foot" policy this January has left many migrants in the hands
of the coyotes, who don't hesitate to turn to extortion to make up for
the reduction in the flow of Cubans and, as a result, their loss of
The wifi signal is lost altogether, but the mother is feeling relieved.
"She was in a large group, about 20 people," she tells her
granddaughter. A simple calculation allows us to know how much the
captors will earn on "freeing" all those they are holding.
Nothing ends with the delivery of the money. "She is going to want to go
again," concludes the mother, the instant she hangs up from the last
videochat. "I can't stand it here, I can't" she repeats, while walking
toward the escalator filled with smiling and tanned tourists.
Source: When Life Is In The Hands Of Human Traffickers / 14ymedio, Yoani
Sanchez – Translating Cuba -
https://translatingcuba.com/when-life-is-in-the-hands-of-human-traffickers-14ymedio-yoani-sanchez/ Continue reading
by MARIO T. DE LA PENA February 5, 2017 4:00 AM
Fidel Castro is dead, but Castroism still needs to be defeated
Fidel Castro died on November 25, but Castroism — the one-party,
neo-Stalinist system that has tyrannized Cuba for more than half a
century — still needs to be defeated.
Fidel's brother, Raúl, "president" of the island nation for most of the
last decade, has shown no signs of ending the political oppression and
human-rights violations that define the regime. To be sure, Raúl has
made a few minor reforms out of necessity, to open up the economy. But
those changes have not been accompanied by political reforms.
The Obama administration restored diplomatic relations with the Cuban
government and made it easier for Americans to travel and do business
there. On January 12 of this year, the administration announced that it
was ending the longstanding "wet foot, dry foot" policy that grants
permanent-resident status to any Cuban who makes it to the U.S. shore.
And back in October, the Obama administration announced the
implementation of Presidential Policy Directive 43, which directs the
Department of Defense to expand its relationship with Havana.
Other changes include permitting Americans to bring back as much Cuban
rum and cigars as they like from Cuba. "Already we are seeing what the
United States and Cuba can accomplish when we put aside the past and
work to build a brighter future," U.S. National Security Adviser Susan
Rice said at the time. "You can now celebrate with Cuban rum and Cuban
But Cubans aren't celebrating. Under Castroism, Cuba's main
accomplishments have been the highest per-capita rates of suicide,
abortion, and refugees in the Western Hemisphere. Cuba has the oldest
population in Latin America. Cuba ages and withers away, strangled by
The problem with Obama's overtures is that they have not been
reciprocated by the Cuban regime. There is still no respect for human
rights or political freedom. As Amnesty International put it recently:
Despite increasingly open diplomatic relations, severe restrictions on
freedoms of expression, association and movement continued. Thousands of
cases of harassment of government critics and arbitrary arrests and
detentions were reported.
But the situation is not hopeless. Cubans of different generations and
backgrounds are committed like never before to working for a free Cuba.
There are many things Cubans, Cuban Americans, and other people of
goodwill can do. They can support the resistance by encouraging those
who are involved in direct civic action on the island. For instance, the
Ladies in White, a group of wives, mothers, and sisters of jailed
dissidents, continue to suffer beatings, harassment, and jailing at the
hands of the government for their silent, non-violent marches. Such
protests are an indispensable means through which Cubans' rights will be
What must happen for Cuba to be free? The regime must give general
amnesty for all political prisoners. That means full rights to free
expression, access to information, assembly, association, peaceful
protest, profession, and worship.
Other essential rights include the right to collective bargaining, the
rule of law, checks and balances, and the balance of power, including an
A free Cuba will be realized only when multi-party elections are held
and the right to vote and the privacy of the ballot are respected. For
that to happen, a constitutional process must take place that includes a
constitutional convention and a referendum on a new constitution.
Many Cuban Americans hope that President Trump will be a stronger
advocate for human rights than Barack Obama was. During the campaign,
Trump promised to "stand with the Cuban people in their fight against
Communist oppression" and criticized the "concessions" that Barack Obama
made to the Castros. He promised to secure a "better deal" between the
two countries than the one Obama negotiated.
Trump should make it clear that he will sever diplomatic relations with
the Cuban government unless it makes progress to end political
repression, opens its markets, protects freedom of religion, and
releases all political prisoners.
The public may believe that, now that Fidel and Obama are gone, Cuba is
well on its way to being free. But Castroism didn't die with Fidel. The
repression and violence against the Cuban people continues. Economic
changes alone will not bring about democracy. They are important, but
only respect for human rights and political liberty will truly make Cuba
— Mario T. de la Peña is an advocate for a free and democratic Cuba who
has lived in the United States since 1962.
Source: Cuba Post-Castro: Repression Continues | National Review -
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444622/cuba-post-castro-repression-continues Continue reading
Un tribunal de apelaciones estadounidense rechazó en la noche del sábado una petición del Departamento de Justicia para restablecer de inmediato el decreto migratorio del presidente Donald Trump que prohíbe la entrada al país de ciudadanos de siete países de mayoría musulmana y de refugiados, reportó Reuters.Continue reading
(EFE).- La joven bailarina cubana Daniela Gómez debutará en el prestigioso teatro Marinsky de San Petersburgo con la aplaudida "Cygne", una versión del clásico "La muerte del cisne", seleccionada como una de las mejores puestas en escena de 2016 en la isla, informaron hoy fuentes del Ballet Nacional de Cuba (BNC).
"Cygne", del coreógrafo argentino Daniel Proietto, será interpretada por Gómez el próximo 14 de febrero en el histórico coliseo ruso.
La obra fue elegida entre los estrenos más aplaudidos del pasado 25 Festival Internacional de Ballet de La Habana Alicia Alonso, para ser incluido en el Libro de Honor de los acontecimientos artísticos más importantes que tuvieron lugar en el Gran Teatro de La Habana durante 2016.
En esta nueva versión de "La muerte del cisne" de Michel Fokine, se resaltan los elementos modernos existentes en la obra del coreógrafo y bailarín ruso, señala la nota del BNC.[[QUOTE:La obra fue elegida entre los estrenos más aplaudidos del pasado 25 Festival Internacional de Ballet de La Habana Alicia Alonso]]Inspirada en la coreografía original, "Cygne" reflexiona sobre la vida y la certeza de que todo llega a su fin en algún momento, a través del primer encuentro de un niño con la muerte.
Su autor, Daniel Proietto, bailarín invitado y coreógrafo del Ballet Nacional de Noruega; creó una puesta en escena casi cinematográfica que combina la música de la compositora polaca Olga Wojciechowska con elementos audiovisuales.
La joven bailarina cubana compartirá escenario con integrantes de la compañía anfitriona y bailarines invitados del Ballet del Teatro Bolshoi, de Moscú, y del Teatro de Ópera y Ballet de la ciudad de Perm, entre quienes destacan Igor Kolb, Victoria Tereshkina, Olga Smirnova, Pauline Mitryashina y Artem Ovcharenko.
Los venezolanos Águilas del Zulia superaron 8-3 a los Alazanes de Granma y bajaron de la nube a los cubanos, que hasta el sábado marchaban invictos en la Serie del Caribe de béisbol.
Según reseña la oficial Prensa Latina, antes del partido, los cubanos recibían halagos por doquier e incluso se ganaron el cartel de favoritos al título, algo impensado antes de comenzar la competencia de Culiacán-2017.Continue reading