June 2019
« May  

We run various sites in defense of human rights and need support in paying for servers. Thank you.

Cubaverdad on Twitter

Rebeca Monzo

Rebeca Monzo, Havana, 13 March 2018 — She is a beautiful woman, petite, pleasant, with a great sense of humor and very well-educated, intelligent, a Master’s degree in science with a lot of achievements and scientific honors accumulated over her long career. She lives in the heart of Havana’s Vedado neighborhood, in a building from … Continue reading "The Several Faces of Eva (Based on a True Story) / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 7 January 2018 — First of all, to be properly treated in any hospital, you have to have a friend who is a doctor or a friend who is very close to the doctor you are going to see, in addition to bringing a gift — something already established — to be able … Continue reading "Public Health in Cuba / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 21 October 2017 — The mass media in our country boast a lot about Cuban culture. And it’s that which is our biggest weakness right now. Starting on January 1st, 1959, when they started to prioritise politics and pass new decrees and laws, which steadily grew more distant from our famous 1940 Constitution, … Continue reading "Where is Cuban Culture? / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 25 August 2017 — Once again the Cuban government wants to “tighten the screws” on initiative and private business. It has suspended issuing “until further notice” all self-employment licenses, which run the gamut from the smallest, most humble pushcarts to family-run restaurants and homeowners who rent out rooms to tourists. Word has it … Continue reading "Centralism Again? / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 4 July 2017 — Happy Anniversary to the North American Government and People. Translated By: Alicia Barraqué Ellison Continue reading
A neighborhood dressed in blue. At the time of the “accident” in 1959, Nuevo Vedado was the latest Havana neighborhood to be developed. Its residents included professionals and famous artists from radio and television. It was an elegant neighborhood, with any number of homes — primarily one or two-story single-family residences — noted for their … Continue reading "A Neighborhood Dressed in Blue / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, Havana, 16 June 2017 — Cuba is a distant planet. It has nothing to do with the rest of the world, because nothing functions there as in the majority of civilized countries. This “planet” is ruled by the whims of its ancient rulers who have spent almost 59 years doing whatever they please. … Continue reading "Planet Nothing" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 21 February 2017 — New bureaucratic regulations governing the routes of shared fixed-route taxis have led to the first tangible labor strike by drivers. Of course, strikes have gone on for many years in our country due to the poverty-level wages paid to workers in the bureaucratic and service sectors. As the old saying … Continue reading "The First Tangible Labor Strike / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 20 January 2017 — Our media are filled with praise for the Cuban public health system. This is a subject that foreigners who visit our country pay a lot of attention to, due to the government propaganda and official statistics provided to international organizations, which tourists also show a lot of interest in. … Continue reading "The Unhealthy Public / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 6 January 2017 — The leadership and the dissidence seem more and more the same to me. Is it coincidence or lack of experience? At this very moment, if suddenly there were free elections on my planet Cuba, supervised by the United Nations or other countries, I would not know who to vote … Continue reading "Leadership and Dissidence / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 2 January 2017 — I wish the best for you in this year of 2017. For several days I have been without internet, thanks to the “induced mourning” and the holidays. I look forward to the small government changes, which happen very slowly, as this year accelerates and shows the truth of the … Continue reading "To All My Readers / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 16 December 2016 — After the nine days of national mourning, we thought we were going to be able to breathe a little peacefully with our Christmas celebrations among family and friends, because at the state level these are practically ignored. Once again we were wrong, committing the mistake of getting the idea … Continue reading "After the Mourning, Forced Grief / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 27 November 2016 — On Saturday 26 November of this year, my telephone rang at almost 2 in the morning. I picked it up with trepidation because normally at that hour one expects to hear bad news. The reality, however, was different: a friend was calling to inform me of Fidel’s death. I was … Continue reading "Period of National Mourning, or Curfew? / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 6 November 2016 — Anxiety on “my planet” over elections in the United States is out of control. Many people approach me — they know I use “the good internet” two times a week, something extraordinary here — to ask very anxiously about the presidential poll numbers on Clinton and Trump. They do this … Continue reading "Don’t Worry About Trump / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 31 October 2016 — Here on my planet, the government used the term “hornet’s nest” to name student groups at all levels, whose classes were suspended because they were forced to participate in organized protests against the so-called blockade, enlivened with musical and theater groups, putting on the whole circus to show the cameras … Continue reading "Poking the Hornet’s Nest / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 24 October 2016 — The Peoples’ Powers and the Ministry of Internal Trade are mobilizing again against successful paladares — privately owned restaurants — using the excuse of corruption and drug sales. To clarify, it is true that some of these establishments, sadly, are bars and discos and these crimes have occurred. Above … Continue reading "Lashing Out Again Against Private Restaurants / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 26 September 2016 —  It is a sign of lack of civility and decorum on the part of the Cuban regime to blame to the so-called US blockade for the shortages and difficulties, whose real cause is the inability and mismanagement of the economy, wealth and and riches of our country, by the … Continue reading "They Married Us to a Lie… / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 29 August 2016 — In this city, incorrectly named Maravilla (Wonder), because in reality it is a nightmare, any ordinary person’s life is like that of María la O. You get dressed, eat, sell your car, tidy the house, wait an hour for a bus, or walk … and so on and so on. … Continue reading "The Country of Mari­a la O / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 4 August 2016 — Private transport has been making a comeback in our country. With an enormous stable of almendrones (old American cars), it has been steadily growing over the last thirty years due in essence to the deteriorating and ever diminishing state-run public transport system. During all these years of totalitarian dictatorship, the … Continue reading "Treating the Symptoms, Not the Cause / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 26 July 2016 — As random comments from ordinary citizens on the streets suggest, we are going through a new Special Period, though the government repeatedly denies it in media statements, calling it “a difficult situation from which we will recover.” For confirmation, one need only observe the bus stops crowded with people anxiously … Continue reading "No Air Conditioning and Intrusive Music / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 15 July 2016 — This summer is one of the hottest since 1880, according to commentators on the radio. In addition to the punishing sun and the invasion of dust from the Sahara, in a country with almost no air conditioning, even the few hard currency stores and government offices don’t have AC … Continue reading "Summer 2016, Reasons Not to Leave the House / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Happy Independence Day! Congratulations to all the American people! Rebeca Monzo, 4 July 2016 Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 24 June 2016 — This is not about the lottery or a charade. On the contrary, it’s about an absurd and unfortunate violent and viral “cult of personality” attack. I remember in the early sixties when some government kiss-up had the idea of coming out with a postage stamp with the face of Fidel … Continue reading "Everything Focused on Fidel’s Ninetieth! / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 30 May 2016 — On my planet, Cuba, dengue fever has been brought on by unsanitary conditions, which in turn were brought on by the revolution. Neglect and abandonment have caused the Aedes aegypti mosquito to proliferate from buildings abandoned due to collapse, from leaks in water mains, from uncollected piles of trash, and … Continue reading "Campaign Against the Mosquito / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 16 May 2016 — During the recent meeting of the National Council of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), archaic terms and concepts were were complacently dusted off in response to the reappearance in public of the Revolution’s aged leader. In an evocation of old ghosts, the meeting took place … Continue reading "A Hundred to One / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 2 May 2016 — The owner of the media owns the country as well: This phrase is corroborated daily here in our “captive island.” We must make an extraordinary effort to follow radio and television newscasts, and to try to interpret the other side of the news. It is really an insult to … Continue reading "The Next Day / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 28 April 2016 — The First of May is supposed to be a day for the workers to demand better working conditions, and in our country, after the first of January 1959 it was converted into a “spontaneous” gathering of the masses to support the regime and not to make labor demands, all … Continue reading "May First North Korean Style / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Rebeca Monzo, 24 April 2016 — I have a friend who, as soon as she heard about the announced price cuts, ran out the day before to the hard currency stores to buy things, thinking she might store some of the items about to go on sale before the stores run out of them. A … Continue reading "Price Reductions? / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
For many years, a ferry in our country served as a practical and economic means of communication between Havana and Key West (Cayo Hueso).  It was heavily utilized by those people who travel with their automobiles, to facilitate movement to … Continue reading Continue reading
[1] Civil society activists from other countries confronted the Cuban government’s “civil society” representatives with these signs, reading “Democracy is Respect” / Source, Internet Rebeca Monzo, 19 April 2015 — A magnificent professor of philosophy, deceased now for some years, of whom I had the honor to be a student, would invariably begin his classes with a saying. He would assert that all of life’s wisdom could be found in a compendium of Spanish popular sayings. In an article published in the daily Granma, on 15 april of this year — a fragment of which I reproduce below — the First Vice President of the Councils of State and of Ministers, during his visit to the city of Matanzas, urged solutions to grave problems in education. He stated, “There is a deficit of 1,086 teachers, primarily in the municipality of Cárdenas and surrounding areas, and so far in this school year, 244 requested leave of absence…” The Minister of Education remarked that, “One of the causes of the exodus of teachers, and of the current lack of activity, is the teaching overload that the teachers remaining in the schools take on.” The First Vice President also inquired about the construction status of the schools, 43.4% of which have a rating of average or poor. How is it possible that only six months ago — when announcements were made with great fanfare in the press, radio and television about the start of the 2014-15 school year — it was said that everything (teachers, classrooms, uniforms and books) was ready? It is obvious that there were lies then, as there have been in all spheres throughout all these years. As a recent highlight of this string of falsehoods, the decisive blow was administered by the official delegation, organized and prepared by the regime, to represent us at the recent Civil Society Forum during the Summit of the Americas in Panama. The prefabricated members of this delegation themselves were those charged with nakedly showing themselves with their wrongdoing and the marginalized way they acted before the press and international public opinion, exposing yet another of the great lies of the regime.  Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison [1] Continue reading
[1] Image of the pro-government supporters taken from the Internet Rebeca Monzo, 15 April 2105 — The 7th (of April) arrived.  The Summit of the Americas in Panama and, with it, the invited and participating delegations started to arrive in the Central American country.  The official Cuban delegation, one of the largest, had a good time organizing and preparing, under the optics of the totalitarian regime, making up a series of NGO officials, with the objective of making themselves look like the only Cuban civil society. The inconceivable and unacceptable thing was to send characters well-known as loyal to the regime, pretending to make them pass as members of this civil society. Among them, just to mention the most known, was Dr. Eusebio Leal, the historian of Havana, Miguel Barnet, President of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and Abel Prieto, Adviser to President Raul Castro who, along with many others chosen, lended themselves to serve as bullies in the famous meetings of repudiation against the Cuban opponents, real members of nascent civil society, insulting them and even sometimes, hitting them and preventing them from leaving through the front door of where they were staying, having to remove them safely from the hotel by the kitchen and the backyard of the property. These acts, absolutely unacceptable, have set a terrible precedent in front of governments of other countries, the international press, who have remained amazed before similar acts of marginality, vulgarity, and lack of respect to the host country.  As my friend Mary would say: “They showed their trashy ways,” confirming with their deplorable attitude what the opposition from within the island has been condemning for years. As  if these abuses of power were not sufficient, they have tried to monopolize Jose Marti, as if he doesn’t belong equally to all of those born on this battered island. Translated by: BW [1] Continue reading
[1] Rebeca Monzo, 27 March 2015 — For the last few years I have been tuning-in to a program broadcast on Sundays, from 6 to 9am, on the Cuban Radio station Radio Rebelde, ironically titled, “Memories.” Because I love good Cuban music of all eras, I am a faithful listener of this program, and I also take the opportunity to dance a little, as a means of morning exercise. I must, I confess, bite the bullet to ignore the tedious sermons (“….had to travel thousands of kilometers to buy the molds….when the island was blockaded….”) and which year after year they play on the air lest, as they say, we forget. What this program keeps quiet about is that it has been the Revolutionary government itself which has subjected its people to a criminal cultural blockade, depriving more than three generations of our best musicians and singers, for the sole fact of their having emigrated after 1959 — or who being on tour outside the country, never returned, as in the case of our great musician and composer Ernesto Lecuona, whose name was forbidden from being mentioned on the radio until 1989 or 1990. Also silenced (and still so today) were a good number of musicians and singers, such as Celia Cruz — and Olga Guillot, who, for the first time, the program hosts dared to mention last month and to play one of her renditions. They also seem to forget that The Beatles not only were prohibited, but that their records were hunted down, and those of us who owned any had to carry them inside other sleeves to keep them from being confiscated — and that now not only is there a sculpture of John Lennon in a centrally-located Havana park, but the old Atelier nightclub has been re-christened El Submarino Amarillo [“The Yellow Submarine”]. My generation cannot forget that if we wanted to listen to their music, we had to do so at low volume and under lock and key inside the house. I believe that the moment has come, if we are to be current with these times (and with the timid attempts by the government to reestablish negotiations with the country that has always depicted us as Public Enemy Number One) to change that old aggressive and pejorative language, and address those great Cuban artists who opted for full individual liberty and left the country in search of broad cultural horizons. I suggest to the program director, the whole team, and especially to the scriptwriter, that they break once and for all with those atavisms and finally broadcast those voices, silenced throughout so many years, as well as provide information about their interpreters, so as to stop damaging our musical culture. Note: This article was published in the digital daily [2] Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison   [1] [2] Continue reading
[1] After seeing “The English Patient,” a magnificent film directed by Anthony Minghella and played brilliantly by actor Ralph Fiennes in the principal role, I felt as though I had been to its locations on those days when I have had to visit and remain for hours around América Arias hospital — so-called in honor of she who was once First Lady and a great patroness of the arts, the wife of President José Miguel Gómez [2]of the Republican era. Anyone with a relative or friend who is a patient at this hospital, better known as “Maternidad de Línea” (“Línea Street Maternity”), if he has seen the same film, will do as I did: mentally recreating the movie’s locations as he moves among the trash and underpinnings of the facility. This maternity hospital, built in 1930, is another great example of the Art Deco style, as was the once-magnificent, now-extinct (as a result of governmental apathy and neglect) Pedro Borrás hospital [3] — today gone to ruin by “the work and dis-grace*” of the Revolution. Both of these structures had been designed by the famed Cuban architectural firm of Govantes and Cabarrocas. The interior and exterior appearance (of the América Arias facility) gives the impression of an abandoned hospital — and really, it is — except for an operating chamber and two emergency waiting rooms that are kept up. In the midst of this great deterioration, a valiant medical team does the impossible, with practically no resources, to save lives. Anxious relatives pace from one end to the other while they await news from the operating room, with no place to sit. A friend remarked to me that, upon spotting at one of the patios only two construction workers shoveling a bit of cement mix, she drew closer and asked them why, in such a big hospital needing repairs, there were so few workers. They both responded that this was because of a lack of allocated construction materials. How is it possible that in our country there are hotels constantly being planned, remodeled and built, while the population can hardly count on halfway-decent and clean hospitals to go for treatment? The common citizen — the one who suffers from these shortages and the absence of hygienic conditions — takes as a bad joke and a sign of disrespect the healthcare propaganda that is so replicated throughout the Cuban media. [4] [5] [6] *Translator’s note: A pun on the phrase, “By the work and grace of the Holy Spirit” Translated by Alicia Barraqué Ellison 2 March 2015 [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Continue reading
[1] Patchwork by Rebeca The year 1931 was the first time that the International Day of the Woman was celebrated. By 1942, all women teachers in our country were certified, not counting the growing number of women professionals, increasing every year, occupying positions in universities and diverse organizations. By then, also, many women were prominent in the arts, sciences and letters. But it is not until 1959 that we see Cuban women maximizing their creativity. Forthwith, some of the great achievements of the Cuban woman in these past five decades: Manage to convert that old dress into a cute blouse; cover her grey hair with the powder from old radio batteries; cover her one pair of shoes multiple times to match her outfits; obtain, after three days of waiting in line and sleeping on a porch, a Soviet-made record player; wearing down her index finger dialing the phone to obtain a reservation at a restaurant; suffer along with her child on Three Kings Day at the toy store where she is assigned, and try to console him, because the toy he wanted was already sold out; figure out how to look “put together,” using shoe polish for mascara; manage, after an hour of waiting at the bus stop, to climb on and get down from the bus in one piece; find a way for your child to grow and flourish without ever having tasted fruit, jam or cereal; create some kind of meal every day for the family table; manage to have survived through all the difficulties, and still give to others with a smile. I take this opportunity to congratulate those women who emigrated, risking all and dodging innumerable difficulties, and who attained success in a foreign land, where they did not even speak the language. Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison 8 March 2015 [1] Continue reading
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] In recent years there have been a number of small properties which have been converted into TRD (hard currency) shops, as well as into small Caracol, Panamericana and CIMEX “container” stores and kiosks, all under the same ownership: the State. Given that there are buildings that remain underutilized, one might ask, What’s behind all this? In those old 1950s supermarkets — now badly deteriorated due to lack of maintenance and repair — there are only four or five products currently available through the antiquated and sadly all-too-famous ration book. Each of these stores has on its payroll a minimum staff of directors, economists, managers, cashiers and janitors even though the selection of merchandise, which is almost identical all these stores, is very limited. When supplies such as toilet paper, cooking oil or detergent — to name just a few — run out in one of them, there is an equally short supply in the others mainly because imported items such as these are sold in the container stores. Only the supplies of electrical appliances for sale at these stores are relatively stable due to their high prices. Many citizens complain and wonder aloud why the old supermarkets are not being modernized to consolidate all the timbiriches (small container stores) that have been proliferating in their neighborhoods, especially given their lack of basic requirements. This leaves only one small establishment in any given neighborhood to carry the few products still available through the ration book. Converting architecturally magnificent houses into tiny shops is also an unfortunate practice. The dramatic reuse and inadequate care to which these buildings are subjected leads to deterioration and subsequent damage. One such example is a building located on 47th Street between Conill and Santa Ana in Nuevo Vedado. Designed by the architect Carlos Ferrer Nadal and built in 1956, it is one of the jewels of modern Cuban architecture. In my very personal opinion, this is a way of disguising unemployment in a country that produces almost nothing. By underemploying the staff of these small stores, where three employees would essentially be enough to provide a decent level of service, the size of the workforce can be increased. 6 March 2015 [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Continue reading
[1]Rebeca Monzo,11 February 2015 — After nearly three months of going to a clinic to set a date for a surgical intervention (outpatient and minimal), good news! Finally I got a date for a month later. I felt happy, because in all the hospitals here it’s normal to have little availability of operating rooms, for many reasons, such as contamination, leaks, damage to ceilings, walls, etc. And now with everything planned and in order for the moment, yesterday I went to an appointment with the anesthesiologist which was scheduled for 8:00 in the morning. I went to the information desk to find out where the appointment would be. They sent me to the fourth floor, Room G. Once there, I realized that the room was empty. I checked out the entire fourth floor, from one end to the other, asking every person in a white coat who crossed my path; no one knew where to send me. Some suggested I go down to the third floor and ask. It was all useless, I went up and down the stairs a couple of times, because there was a line at the only elevator of six that was working. Back on the fourth floor, I decided to wait for the surgeon who would operate in the morning, to explain what happened. When I saw him coming, I stepped forward to intercept him, as there were several patients waiting for him. It was then that he explained to me, not to keep looking for the  anesthesiologist, because he wouldn’t be operating due to an accident in the operating room, and to return to the clinic in 15 days to see what could be done. I left the hospital surprised and disappointed, because I had already been preparing physically and mentally for the moment. I even had to postpone an exposition abroad and delay the longed-for visit of my granddaughter to Cuba, two things very important to me. In addition, why when I filled out the form for the operation did they ask me for a telephone number where they could find me? On arriving at the hospital parking lot, where fortunately a car was waiting for me I learned from the parking attendant himself, who had worked there for a few years, that the operating room in question had caught fire a few days before and that’s why it was closed, and also there was only one anesthesiologist for the whole hospital because, normally, the person who come for pre-operative consultations sometimes don’t get done until 3:00 in the afternoon because he is the only one for the room and the consultations. I left the hospital thinking that, sadly, I myself had experienced a joke that I often used on my friends: if you get sick here, then get a ticket and go to Haiti or Venezuela because there you’ll find a good Cuban specialist to see you with all the necessary equipment, because public health in Cuba is “A candle in the street, darkness in the house.”* *Translator’s note: A common saying that means you “show off your good works” away from home, bt don’t help your own family. Rebeca is referring to Cuba’s healthcare “missions” abroad; the export of doctors is a major source of hard currency for the country. [1] Continue reading
[1] Rebeca Monzo, 8 February 2015 — After reading an article from the January 31, 2015 issue of the newspaper Granma  about Cuba and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) entitled “Cooperation Leads the Way,” a ton of questions came to mind about the subject at hand. It has been forty years since a UNDP office was established in our country with the objective to collaborate with the island’s government on the promotion of social development and public well-being. From my meager understanding, the only party to have benefited from this has been the government itself, especially in terms of the favorable publicity it has received. They make up a negligible part of the population but the Cubans who work for this and other UN organizations are paid in CUC (Cuban convertible peso), which surpass by leaps and bounds the highest salaries of the most qualified professionals in our society, who are paid in CUP (Cuban pesos). According to the aforementioned article, Granma “chatted” with Mrs. Jessica Faieta, Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, who discussed the improvement of the quality of life of our citizens. She recognized the efforts of the Cuban government in regards to food security and the strengthening of the agricultural and non-agricultural cooperatives, pointing out, in addition, that the Cuban healthcare system has been strengthened. With all due respect, it strikes me that this official had only a limited view of the situation, as is the case with everyone who visits us. Guests are taken only to those organizations that have been prepared in advance by the government and which serve as “display windows” for foreigners. Perhaps if she had to depend on the ration book for a while or to seek medical help at one of our clinics — those  used by the average citizen — it is quite possible she might think differently. I do not understand how UNDP, based in our country for four decades, has not been given the task of investigating on their own — in closer contact with the population — to verify the “wonderful statistics” provided by the government, which does not at all reflect our reality. One need only take a stroll through Central Havana, Old Havana (provided one ventures beyond the historic center), Cerro, Tenth of October Arroyo Naranjo, San Miguel del Padron and even Vedadao and other neighborhhoods to see the poor sanitation conditions and overcrowding in which the Cuban people must live. and the lack of specialists in our health centers, for being these missions abroad, being replaced mostly by students, many of them foreigners. There is also the issue of a shortage of specialists in our health system due to the large number of them serving abroad in medical missions. They are being replaced mainly by medical students, many of them foreigners. In terms of our society’s standard of living, it should be pointed out that the disappearance of the middle class — the very mark of a country’s wealth — has led to the emergence of an impoverished class (with equality for all) with salaries that do not cover even the most basic necessities. The contrast is made even more striking by the emergence of a leadership class with an affluent lifestyle which only accentuates the differences. However, Mrs. Faieta and I are in full agreement when it comes to the positive steps taken towards normalization of diplomatic relations between the governments of the United States of America and Cuba. Once there is a successful outcome — one hopes sooner rather than later — it will be to the benefit of all Cubans. I believe that it is time to end once and for all the blindness that until now has led the way. [1] Continue reading
[1] [2] [3] Rebeca Monzo, 23 February 2015 — In the Plaza de San Francisco in the historic center of Old Havana there is a traveling art installation, United Buddy Bear, made up of huge bears that surround the square. Each of them represents a country in the western hemisphere and they are decorated by an artist from each nation. Representing Cuba is the work of painter Nancy Torres. The exhibition is like a cry, like a hymn to tolerance, which has captured the attention of both the Cuban public and tourists alike. Sometimes people even line up to be photographed in front of their favorite bears, especially those of Cuba and the United States, perhaps due to the historic moment in which we now find ourselves. Besides these beautiful multi-colored artworks, a lovely bronze sculpture recently appeared in the square at the entrance to the Lonja del Comercio building. The sculptor, Vittorio Perotta, has given it a very evocative title: The Conversation. Something that also caught my attention is the restoration work being done in this area and along the waterfront. It is being carried out by the Office of the City Historian and includes large potted plants, outdoor lighting and date palms, all of which give the place a touch of freshness and elegance. Upon seeing this, there was one thought I could not get out of my head: “When this whole of fifty-six-year nightmare of destruction is over, the only government official whose name will not be on the blacklist will be Eusebio Leal [4](Havana City Historian).” 23 January 2015 [1] [2] [3] [4] Continue reading
After spending several days trying to remedy errors committed by various officials in the course of officially registering my apartment, as required by the new housing law, I then had to wander between countless locations and offices, not only because … Continue reading Continue reading
December has for decades always been a month of circuses, but, in the economically failed regimens, the circus is always present: “If there’s no bread, give them circuses*,” says an old refrain. The principal actors at this year-end have been … Continue reading Continue reading
The big news for all Cubans, without a doubt, has been the reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the United States, which has been a dream for three generations on our captive island, although there are opponents among some fellow … Continue reading Continue reading
In these eight years that have passed since Raul Castro was designated by his brother as his successor, to take up the government of the country, this 17th of December, a date of only religious significance for the Cuban people … Continue reading Continue reading
Among the films presented at the Festival of New Latin American Cinema, which began here on the December 4, is one entitled With You, Bread and Onions. In a recent interview on the television program Afternoon at Home, the director Juan Carlos … Continue reading Continue reading
To the astonishment and concern of patients, one day there appeared in the ceiling of a surgical recovery room in the old Charitable Clinic (now renamed the Miguel Enríquez Hospital by the government in honor of a Chilean doctor killed … Continue reading Continue reading
In Nuevo Vedado — according to popular opinion one of Havana’s best neighborhoods — something has been happening for several years that would have been unthinkable in the past: assaults with firearms, knives and even bare hands. It does not matter … Continue reading Continue reading