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Marcelo Hernandez

14ymedio Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 18 July 2017 — “Everything smells like rotten mango,” says Pascual Rojas, who lives on the outskirts of Manuel Tames, a Guantanamo municipality where part of the mango harvest has been lost, leaving a total of 2,600 metric tons of rotten fruit in recent weeks. “The rains of May and June … Continue reading "The Year Of The Lost Mangos" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 7 July 2017 — He dries his sweat and takes a drink of water from a bottle he carries in his backpack. “In my time the young people spent the holidays in front of the television,” says Ignacio, the father of two teenagers. As he moves along crowded Avenida 10 de Octubre, in … Continue reading "Drugs Play Increasing Role in the Battle for Cuban Teenagers’ Leisure Time" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 5 July 2017 — They arrived, enthusiastic and happy, to their party for the end of the school year. One mother brought a macaroni salad with mayonnaise, another brought from home some disposable plates and a third took on providing the croquettes. The celebration was ready in no time, while the horns played … Continue reading "School Diplomas" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 4 July 2017 – Cuba’s dual currency system has been in existence for such a long time that many young people never lived under a system with a single national peso. The rumors of possible unification of the two currencies are no longer listened to and people appear resigned to continuing … Continue reading "Cuban Convertible Peso Can’t Keep Up With The Dollar" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 21 June 2017 — Economic hardships turn many Cuban engineers to work as bartenders, doctors become taxi drivers and innumerable professionals become alternative guides for tourists. Among the latter, there are the experienced or the just-getting-started, but all of them earn more money than they would working in the state sector. “When … Continue reading "Cuba From The Inside With Alternative Tour Guides" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 23 May 2017 — The campaigns against the consumption of alcohol have met an enemy. This is not an outspoken advocate of Mojitos or Cuba Libres, but of the vending machines that dispense national and imported beers simply at the introduction of a few coins. Several of these devices are located in the central … Continue reading "Vending Machines for Alcoholic Beverages" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 16 May 2017 — Hanging from the rearview mirror, the compact disc shines with the sun and swings with every bump in the street. From being highly valued as a platform for digital content, CDs and DVDs are becoming mere decorative objects, symbols of a technological era that is ending. “Every day … Continue reading "The Era Of The Compact Disc Is Over In Cuba" Continue reading
14medio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 13 May 2017 – Three employees circulate among the tables, so similar that they seem cast from the same mold. “I want to give a good image to the place,” says the owner of a flourishing cafe on 26th Street in Havana. Like him, many private businesses are imposing a standard on female … Continue reading "Cuba’s Private Sector Demands “Young, White and Childless”" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 10 May 2017 — Meat has almost magical connotations in Cuban culture. When children get sick, the grandmothers make them a good chicken soup or a broth with a piece of beef. If someone feels weak they recommend eating a steak and there is no more recurring dream for these homes than to … Continue reading "Cubans Are Carnivores Despite the Scarcity" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 8 May 2017 — The worst thing that can happen to Agustín is to have his battery go dead in the street. It is even more terrible than the failure of a headlamp or the lack of parking for his made-in-China electric motorcycle. The broken headlamp and the lack of a safe place … Continue reading "A Sip Of Electricity To Keep Driving" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 4 May 2017 — Early Wednesday morning Karel wasn’t sleeping. He spent it turning somersaults in bed and solving math problems. Together with thousands of students across the country, the young man presented himself at the Mathematics entrance exam for higher education. “It was complicated, but I answered all the questions,” he said smiling to … Continue reading "University Entrance Exams Begin With “Extraordinary Measures” Against Fraud" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, 1 May 2017 — Portable toilets are a part of all the demonstrations that have proliferated in Cuba for the last half century. Away from the lights and headlines, these essential and improvised restrooms alleviate the plight of thousands of people attending the ‘Marches of the Fighting People’, the Anti-Imperialist Tribunes, and the … Continue reading "New Bathrooms, Old Fashioned Marches" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 26 April 2017 — The third generation (3G) of voice and data transmission via mobile phones reached all municipalities in Havana on Monday after it was launched earlier this month in several areas of Matanzas, Villa Clara, Ciego de Avila, Pinar del Río, Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey, according to the Telecommunications … Continue reading "3G Has Arrived In Havana" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 24 April 2017 — The place where the town of San Cristóbal was founded in Havana has a new ceiba tree, the second planted there in a little more than a year. The specimen comes from the road between Managua and Boyeros, south of the Cuban capital, and comes to fill the void … Continue reading "El Templete Has A New Ceiba, The Second In A Year" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 20 April 2017 — The transport ministry (MITRANS) has issued a new provision that obligates Havana’s pedicab drivers to have visible identification that specifies the municipality where they can operate. The sticker carries the driver’s license number and the name of the municipality. An official calling herself Tamara explained to 14ymedio that MITRANS inspectors … Continue reading "Pedicab Drivers Can Only Work Where They Live" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 7 April 2017 – A shout disturbed the morning’s tranquility. “Avocaaaaaaado!” shouted the roving salesman as he toured the streets of Central Havana. Considered the “green gold” of foods, this fruit could become an important source of income for the island, due to the high level of consumption around the world. … Continue reading "Green Gold From Cuba’s Fields" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 10 April 2017 – The large and little-used park around the Coppelia ice cream parlor has a new function as of a few days ago. The inauguration of a wifi zone for internet access is looking to revitalize the ice cream stand, as iconic as it is fallen into disgrace. Now, … Continue reading "Ice Cream and Kilobytes" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 30 March 2017 – After more than three months of being excluded from the Havana Film Festival, the movie Hands of Stone will be shown at La Rampa cinema in the Cuban capital. The film, based on the life of the Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán, was not shown at the festival as a punishment because … Continue reading "It’s Never Too Late If The Movie Is Good" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 29 March 2017 — It was only a matter of time before the spy Fernando González Llort took over the presidency of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP). Since his return to Cuba after serving a 15-year prison sentence in the United States, many predicted his rise to that … Continue reading "The Ascent Of The Spy" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 18 March 2017 — To the voices that call for more autonomy for athletes, the Cuban government has just responded with a clear message. “To enter into a contract abroad, the athlete” must have “adequate social behavior,” according to Ramiro Domínguez, legal director of the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and … Continue reading "“Adequate Social Behavior” Is The Requirement For A Sports Contract Abroad for a Cuban Athlete" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 23 March 2017 — The mobile telephone market is changing at a speed that leaves little time to get used to new models. In Cuba, this dynamism is mostly seen in the informal networks, where the Chinese brand dominates because of its low prices and the preference it receives from the … Continue reading "Chinese Company Huawei Dominates Cuban Cellphone Market" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, 17 March 2017 — As part of the restoration work of the National Capitol, seven palms were planted at the beginning of last year on the Paseo del Prado median facing the famous Havana building. The section that goes from Fraternity Park to near Neptune Street was then decked out with the national … Continue reading "Unlucky Palm Trees / 14ymedio Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 16 March 2017 – Manolito spends his afternoons chasing buses to grab onto as he rides down the street on his skateboard, or rehearsing new stunts. The young man left school a couple of years ago and every day he spends fewer hours in the house in La Timba where he … Continue reading "New Skate Park Opens in Havana, 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 3 March 2017 — The role of information technology as a “weapon for the defense of the Revolution” has grabbed the attention of the latest meeting of the Council of Ministers, held several weeks late this Tuesday in the Palace of the Revolution and headed by President Raul Castro. During the … Continue reading "Cuban Government Sees IT As “A Weapon For The Defense Of The Revolution” / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 1 March 2017 — The corner of Galiano and Zanja is a hive of people at noon. The area’s private cafes sell everything from bread with croquettes to a complex meat lasagna, but the nearest state places only sell cigarettes. A third of the food services in Cuba are managed privately or by … Continue reading "The Private Sector Consolidates Its Presence in Gastronomy and Services / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 23 February 2017 — When you look at the photos of the most difficult years of Cuba’s “Special Period,” there are several details that can be observed: how skinny Cubans were, the deterioration of their clothing, and the number of bicycles that filled the streets. Just like the dial phone evokes the … Continue reading "Are Bikes Coming Back to Cuba With the Economic Crisis? / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 20 February 2017 – People’s memories of Manzana de Gomez vary according to how old the person is. Cubans over 60 evoke a huge commercial center surrounded by Neptuno, San Rafael, Zulueta and Monserrate Streets. Those under 40 see it as a dirty place, with sewers running with sewage and destroyed windows. … Continue reading "Hotel Manzana, From Abandonment to the Controversy of Its Restoration / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 15 February 2017 — Concerned about low birthrates, this month the Government has launched a campaign focused on fertility and a package of measures to stimulate births of two or more children per woman. Since 1978 fertility rates have declined throughout the Island, dropping below population replacement levels. By 2050, the … Continue reading "Birthrate Is Not Just a Matter of Resources / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 12 February 2017 – “Take me, I’ll pay you double,” implores a woman to a taxi driver on the main route of Prado y Neptuno. The car is empty, but the driver does not stop to those hailing his taxi, even while showing money in their hands. Imposed fixed prices on private … Continue reading "Private Taxi Drivers Close Ranks Against Fixed Prices Charged By The State / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 10 February 2017 — Without posters, lists of demands or protest demonstrations, Havana’s private taxi drivers are responding to the recently imposed fare caps. The authorities made a bold move, adjusting their previous fare caps – which the drivers got around by breaking their journeys into pieces and charging separately for each … Continue reading "A Day Without Private Taxis / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 8 February 2017 – In Central Havana where people live in very close quarters, popular speech develops at a dizzying speed and the illegal sellers have their kingdom among the corridors and passageways. But this part of the city is also among the few areas with an underground electrical system, an … Continue reading "Dangerous Current / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 6 February 2017 — In a dark corner along the national highway, with no lights to identify it, the connoisseurs of the secret enter an unpaved road. A few minutes earlier they had called from their cell phone asking if there were any ripe papayas. They park in the middle of a banana grove … Continue reading "" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 31 January 2017 – With an indigenous name and sands full of memories, Guanabo is the beach east of Havana that in recent months has experienced a quiet transformation. Many repatriated Cubans, foreign residents on the island, and local entrepreneurs have bought homes just a few yards from the sea to revive … Continue reading "Guanabo, the new ‘Costa del Sol’ / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 28 January 2017 — What Cuban has not diverted resources from his work place? Theft from the State together with administrative negligence and corruption are among the main problems detected by the most recent National Internal Audit concluded at the end of the year. Between October 31 and December 9, 346 … Continue reading "The Controller Uncovers a Rosary of Mismanagement / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 22 January 2017 — A Canadian tourist thought he had seen everything in Cuba, but just a few minutes before boarding his flight he decided to use the bathroom in Terminal 3 of Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport. There, like a realist stage set to represent the indolence that runs the … Continue reading "Urinals ‘Out of Order’ in Cuba’s Largest Airport / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 15 January 2017 — A peculiar manifestation of freedom of expression can be seen in signs painted on the trucks used for passenger transport, the windshields of some automobiles or on the walls of private businesses. Some are cryptic, others explicit and not a few, rude. But everyone mixes some humor with some … Continue reading "The Melody of Money / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 9 January 2017 — Havana is a winter scene. The waves pour over the wall of the Malecon in the low areas, the winds shake even the thickest branches of the trees, and people huddle together all wrapped up as they pass through the streets. The cold front arrived last Saturday, changing … Continue reading "Winter Comes to Cuba After a Long Hot Spell / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 4 January 2017 – All one has to do is turn on a small wifi antenna and aim it toward the balcony for a computer screen to show the long list of wireless networks that link the entire neighborhood. Invisible threads that connect hundreds of users. The material support of this network … Continue reading "Cuba’s Wireless Networks, the Web that Envelops the Island / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 2 January 2017 — The military parade this Monday for the 60th anniversary of the creation of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces concluded without the traditional display of antiaircraft rockets, armored tanks and heavy artillery. The martial parade, presided over by Raúl Castro, prioritized the display of troops over any display of military … Continue reading "Lots of Troops and Little Weaponry / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 27 December 2016 – Hundreds of people are crowded right now in the “last hour” bus terminals, or are on the waiting lists. With the regularly scheduled seats sold out, travelers sleep in the floors of these places and eat frugally, while dreaming of a vehicle that will get them home … Continue reading "Bus Terminals Overwhelmed By Hundreds Of Travelers Without Tickets / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
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 … Continue reading "Cuba’s Ration Book Survives For Another Year / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 21 December 2016 – Walking around the block with a suitcase in hand has been added to the rituals to mark the end of the year, as a plea to be able to travel outside the country. Many Cubans fear, however, that the situation is becoming complicated with the pending arrival … Continue reading "On Your Marks, Get Set…Trump / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
Pánfilo’s program has not been broadcast for three weeks. In the video above Obama and Pánfilo appear in a ‘sketch’ recorded during the visit of the American president to the Island. 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 15 December 2016 — Celebrations postponed, revelry suspended and a call not to party in the street, is the reality … Continue reading "Party In A Whisper: The End Of The Year To Come / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 12 December 2016 — Havana has its carnivals, Bejucal has its brass bands, and Remedios has its parrandas,  Christmas season street festivals dating back to the 1800s. But this December, all end-of-year celebrations are suspended. Fidel Castro’s death has turned out the lights and shut off the loudspeakers of these festivities. … Continue reading "In Cuba, Remedios Suspends Popular December Celebrations / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 3 December 2016 — For decades this fountain remained dry. It was built in the late ‘80s as an ornament to the entrance to the day-care center located in the corner of the Xifre Street and Carlos III Avenue, in the heart of Central Havana. The children who opened this day-care center never … Continue reading "The Mind, The Spirit, The Source Revived / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez" Continue reading