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14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 5 May 2015 — Cuban filmmaker Pavel Giroud announced Tuesday through his Facebook profile the completion of the long process of his film El acompañante (The Companion), after finishing the assembly stage and sound mixing in … Continue reading Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_39900" align="aligncenter" width="623"] [1] Among the many businesses that have flourished since the recent relaxations for self-employment, there are not many bakeries. (14ymedio)[/caption][2]14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 17 April 2015 -- Eliot's Bakery dawned this Friday with the kneading blade broken and a line of people waiting to buy a baguette or a bagel. Eliot’s brother hurried over to fix the broken blade, because, “You can’t have a day with no sales, the loss is tremendous,” says the concerned baker.This self-employed worker has opened a unique business in Havana's Timba neighborhood, offering a great variety of baked goods. Every day that he manages to overcome the high prices of raw material and the infrastructure problems, he counts as an accomplishment.Among the many businesses that have flourished since the recent relaxations in self-employment, there are not many bakeries. Given that there are growing complaints about the poor quality of this product in the rationed market, it is surprising that daring Cuban entrepreneurs haven’t set out to knead and bake for every taste.Very close to Colon Street, in one of the buildings known as “pastorita” on Bellavista Street, a few weeks ago a poster appeared announcing wonderful breads in a huge freshly printed graphic. In a ground floor apartment a simple wooden shelf has been installed to display the products. The bakery's strong point is bread, but there are also panetelas, cakes and other fine desserts.A bag of 15 large rolls costs 20 Cuban pesos and they even have sesame seeds. The word has passed among the neighbors and now they ask for special order breads that live only in the memories of some of the oldest people. From the early hours of the morning there is an unmistakable aroma of loaves slowly baking in the oven. Every day that he manages to overcome the high prices of raw material and the infrastructure problems, he counts as an accomplishment. The place also offers products of a more standard size that cost a peso each, as well as hotdog buns and others shaped like croissants. Eliot doesn’t need to go out hawking his wares. Sitting on the balcony of his house, he serves all those who come looking for a taste or texture other than the insipid bread from the State bakeries.A few years ago he tried to open a barbershop in the apartment courtyard, but it didn’t go well. The thing ended up at the police station and they confiscated what little he had acquired to start his business. A pair of old barber chairs were loaded onto a truck and, in the end, he even spent a long time at the station, having lost his cool with the big guys dressed in blue.Luckily, life smiles on him now. The mothers of the area can count on getting snacks for their kids, and the owners of nearby cafes wake up at dawn to get a good supply that they later sell as snacks and sandwiches. Briseida, a retired woman who collected her pension this morning, waits for the broken blade to be returned. “Today I’m going to give myself the taste of some good bread,” she says.[1] http://translatingcuba.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Panaderia_CYMIMA20150417_0003_13.jpg [2] http://www.14ymedio.com/ Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_39453" align="aligncenter" width="623"] [1] Danilo’s (El Sexto’s) works displayed on the walls of La Paja Recold studio (Luz Escobar)[/caption][2]14ymedio, Luz Escobar, 29 March 2015 – As part of the campaign to demand freedom for the artist Danilo Maldonado, known as “El Sexto,” several artistic activities took place this Saturday at la Paja Recold, the studio of the band Porno para Ricardo.On the walls of the place were works by the graffiti artist who has been incarcerated since last December 25. El Sexto was arrested shortly before carrying out a performance that consisted of releasing in a public square two pigs with the names of “Fidel and Raul.” The crime that has been charged against him is contempt.Several friends from all over the world and human rights organizations have demanded his immediate release. Yesterday’s activities joined those demands for his freedom. Among the most important moments of the afternoon was the performance by Tania Bruguera of The Whisper of Tatlin which opened the studio’s microphones to the fifty attendees of the encounter to ask for – in a minute each – Danilo Maldonado’s liberty.The host band Porno para Ricardo, played the lead musical part with several songs from their repertoire. Subsequently rappers including El Opuesto, Maikel Extremo, Rapper Isaac and Lazaro Farise Noise appeared on stage. All demanded the release of the artist and demonstrated solidarity with his cause. Also a book was opened in order to gather signatures of support for the #FreeElSexto campaign. An option paralleling that already implemented on the digital platform Change.org and that is intended for those who do not have access to the Internet.The artist Tania Bruguera told 14ymedio she had attended the event, “Because I think this is a case of the violation of the artist’s rights.” “It is not right that an artist who did not even carry out the work should be made a prisoner,” she stressed. Bruguera is precluded from leaving Cuba and is in the midst of legal proceedings because of events arising from her attempt to organize a performance last December 30 in the Plaza of the Revolution.In spite of her delicate legal situation, the artist attended the event in order to offer her support to El Sexto’s cause. Because she says that “An artist that is in jail just for imagining a work and trying to make it, it is an injustice.” About the performance that the graffiti artist would have carried out, Bruguera points out that, “Public figures, whether politicians or celebrities, are likely to be criticized (…) they have to assume that people who do not have that power, they are able to make them aware of their discontent through humor and satire.”Bruguera quipped that, “If they made prisoners of everyone who makes jokes about Fidel and Raul Castro, half the people would be incarcerated.” And she concluded, “The artist’s freedom lies in having the right to say symbolically whatever he wants.”Gorki Aguila, meanwhile, explained that, “It is important that artists join together among themselves (…) art has an incredible power to summon.” El Sexto’s grandmother, attending the event, said that, “The right of a man to live as he wants to live must be respected, Danilo does not harm anyone, he respects everyone, but he also asks for respect for himself, that they let him do what he wants.”With respect to the prison conditions in which this artist has lived, the grandmother says that, “He was sleeping on the floor for two months because for him, as for many other prisoners, there was no bed. They don’t let even an aspirin in. Danilo is chronically asthmatic, he had pneumonia, and they denied him antibiotics.”The lady also told of the continuing threats by State Security to many of the invitees so that they would not go this Saturday to the tribute to El Sexto. The pressure included the visit of two officers to the home of Gorki Aguila in order to deliver to him a police citation that required him to appear at the police station that same afternoon. The musician refused to go on grounds that a citizen must be given at least 24 hours notice of such an action.Lia Villares said that during the next Havana Biennial, which will get underway at the end of May, “We are going to do something.” The blogger anticipates that it will be, “A work by El Sexto that was not displayed here today.”Translated by MLK [1] http://translatingcuba.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sexto-Paja-Recold-Luz-Escobar_CYMIMA20150329_0011_13.jpg [2] http://www.14ymedio.com/ Continue reading
[1] [2]14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 19 March 2015 – On Wednesday, with great fanfare, the digital site “Reflections [3]” was launched as part of the Cuban Youth Computer and Electronics Club’s Cuba Va (Cuba Goes) project. On its homepage you can read that this is the first Cuban blogging platform, although DesdeCuba.com, a blog portal, was launched eight years ago and, despite being blocked on the Cuban server, offers content generated in Cuba, where the majority of its authors live.According to Kirenia Fagundo Garcia, who serves as senior specialist on Reflections, "there are no restrictions on the topics discussed on the blogs and users interested in the service," on this platform. Each blog has only 250 megabytes allocated to post texts, photos, videos and sound, although Fagundo has made clear that it is planned to increase the initial capacity.Despite the commitment to freedom announced by the portal, “the only condition is that the bloggers divulge the truth about Cuba, without offenses, disrespect or denigration.” Thus, several questions immediately arise: Who gave the Youth Computer Club the power to determine what is “the truth about Cuba”? Who is behind this project? Who is funding it? What institution, undoubtedly State or Party, will approve the content to be published?To test the limits of the new platform, this daily has created a new blog on the service, under the title 14ymedio, with the purpose of bringing the contents of our digital portal to Cuban readers on servers on the Island. The process was easy, although to create a new site we had to provide the number of the user’s State-issued ID card, undoubtedly a surprise.Moreover, the portal has several technical deficiencies, frequent error messages and agonizing slowness. Obviously it has been opened without having done sufficient technical tests to check its operation. The site 14ymedio.cubava.cu [4] has been activated and the content manager that works with the entire platform is WordPress [5]. However, it has been impossible, so far, to publish our first text. Technical Problems?In the coming days we will test whether the new blogging platform is as plural as announced, or nothing more than one more simple mirror of the official discourse. [1] http://translatingcuba.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Portal-blogs-Reflejos_CYMIMA20150319_0007_13.jpg [2] http://www.14ymedio.com/ [3] http://cubava.cu/ [4] http://14ymedio.cubava.cu/ [5] http://wordpress.org/ Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_38665" align="aligncenter" width="623"] [1] US Congressional Delegation holding a press conference in Havana (Luz Escobar)[/caption][2]14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 19 February 2015 -- On Thursday afternoon, the Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi led a press conference in which she provided a summary of her visit to Cuba, in addition to answering questions from foreign journalists and independent press. The meeting was held on the outside of the residence of Lynn Roche, Head of the Public Affairs Section of the US Interests Section in Havana (ISIS).During the conference, Pelosi was accompanied by Congressmen Eliot Engel (NY), Jim McGovern (Massachusetts), Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut), Collin Peterson (Minnesota), Nydia Velázquez (New York), Anna Eshoo (California), Steve Israel (New York) and David Cicilline (Rhode Island). Prior to the meeting with journalists, the delegation had met with Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino the highest authority of the Catholic Church in Cuba, as well as holding "a meeting with members of civil society," although no names or groups were detailed.During the press conference, Congressman Eliot Engel emphasized that "now the ball is in the Cuban government’s corner… We want to see a flourishing civil society," he said. Engel also highlighted his hope of "seeing part of free civil society at the Summit of the Americas," although he acknowledged being "very concerned about the issue of human rights" on the island.Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, said she was "excited" and "proud" of the work that his delegation undertook in Cuba. The Democrat had arrived with the rest of Congressional Democrats Tuesday and on Thursday also met with the Vice President of the National Assembly, Ana Maria Mari Machado, along with twenty members of the controversial Cuban parliament. Pelosi also expressed her pride in President Barack Obama for "the audacity to make such a shift in policy towards Cuba."According to what the members of congress explained to the press, both sides in the negotiations for the reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the United States recognize that “this is a time to look more toward the future than the past.” For his part, Steve Israel said that “for this process to succeed both countries have to focus more on the future and less on the past. December 17th was an historic moment for the two countries, but the real story is making the changes.”Jim McGovern said that "if the embassies open" it could improve the negotiation process because both governments are speaking directly. "We have a more mature relationship. We can not agree on everything, but I think possibly we can achieve much more if we base our relationship on mutual respect… We will continue talking about human rights," he said, but stressed that it must first a policy "that has proved to be a failure" should be changed. Finally, he supported "establishing formal diplomatic relations, rather than trading accusations and pointing fingers at each other.”Later Israel himself speculated on how this ongoing process will be looked back on, and "how those who embraced the future of those who embraced the past will differ."At the end of the press conference, the delegation of Democratic members of congress met with First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel. To a question from 14ymedio regarding whether they had noticed any desire on the part of the Cuban government to cooperate on the issue of computerizing Cuban society and access to new technologies, Anna Eshoo stressed that “younger people in Cuba, in particular, are hungry for this, and recognize the empowerment that access to broadband would bring.”Congresswoman Eshoo said that she “had the pleasure of sitting at lunch” with the blogger Harold Cardenas from La Joven Cuba blog, and had “a wonderful discussion.” As for the “preservation of values” that has so concerned the Cuban ruling class lately, the congresswoman said she let them know she understood their position.Nydia Velázquez conveyed to the those present that they "would like to share [their] experience in promoting economic development," especially in the field of small private businesses, which in the case of the US are "the backbone of the economy." This would help the economic growth of many Cuban families, said the congresswoman.[1] http://translatingcuba.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Conferencia-EE-UU-Habana-Escobar_CYMIMA20150219_0012_16.jpg [2] http://www.14ymedio.com/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 10 January 2015 – Outside the Galiano gallery in Central Havana yesterday, dozens of people gathered to enter the Añejo 27 [Aged 27] exposition. Some passersby were puzzled by the reasons for the tumult, perhaps thinking … Continue reading Continue reading
The director of this newspaper, Yoani Sánchez, is under house arrest 14ymedio, Havana, 30 December 2014 – Contacted by phone at her home, the director of 14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, explained the circumstances of the arrest of her husband, Reinaldo Escobar, … Continue reading Continue reading
Gerardo and Agustin were stuck for two days with water up to their knees, among the trunks and roots on the coast. They had chosen a point west of Havana that they nicknamed the terminal for its frequent illegal exits, … Continue reading Continue reading
Our team had a conversation with the New York Times journalist who has authored the editorials about Cuba. 14ymedio, 1 December 2014 — Ernesto Londoño, who authored six editorials on Cuba published recently by the New York Times engaged in … Continue reading Continue reading
14ymedio, Luzbely Escobar, Havana, 5 December 2014 – Although its organizers deny it, La Tendedera (The Clothesline) is trying to emulate Facebook inside Cuba. The competition is tough because among the youngest on the Island Mark Zuckerberg’s social network has … Continue reading Continue reading
My daughter says, “Mom! A Fountain!” But it’s the sewage water in front of a polyclinic. Continue reading
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Havana has chosen to title itself as one of the Wonder Cities of the Modern World, a contest organized by the by the Swiss New 7 Wonders Cities Foundation.25 September 2014 Continue reading
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14ymedio, Havana, Luz Escobar, 26 August 2014 — Impotence and indignation has spread among residents of La Timba, in the Plaza de la Revolution municipality, one of the Havana neighborhoods affected by the Government’s war on architectural illegalities. For years, thousands … Continue reading Continue reading
14YMEDIO, Havana, Luzbely Escobar, 21 August 2014 – It is a little more than a week before the start of school and the youngest at home are already taking stock of what they’ve done on their vacation. They go to sleep … Continue reading Continue reading
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Route 67 is what we in Cuba call a ghost bus. But for the inhabitants of the popular La Timba neighborhood in Havana, it’s the only public transport that leads to the city center and the historic old town. La … Continue reading Continue reading
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… Lost in a lettuce patch.Continue reading
Long Live May Day. Efficient and Productive.Continue reading
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For a sensible and thoughtful Socialism from our practicesContinue reading
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… for ice cream!Continue reading
1 May 2014Continue reading
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