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August 2017
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Translator: Norma Whiting

Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 2 August 2017 – In line with the last meeting of the Council of Ministers, held at the end of June, where – according to what the General-President said in his closing speech of the Ninth Ordinary Session of the National Assembly – many deficiencies and problems were analyzed in the self-employment … Continue reading "Señor General “Going-Backwards” / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 16 July 2017 — The walls full of photographs of old city landscapes and a whole host of famous artists from the Cuban Republic, record album covers from the same period, and old advertising posters from the 40’s and 50’s. In a central space, an old off-duty Victrola captures the prominence … Continue reading "Havana, Nostalgia Capital" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 29 June 2017 — Ten days have passed since Donald Trump announced his “new” political strategy toward Cuba, and while the official Cuban press monopoly has wasted gallons of ink on newspapers and on dozens of reports, interviews and TV programs to show the world the indignation and rejection of the … Continue reading "“American-Philia” Conquers Cuba / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 21 June 2017 — After much media frenzy, Trump’s “new policy” toward Cuba has not gone beyond the rhetoric expected by most political analysts. His act was more a symbolic gesture towards his faithful than any practical novelty. In short, those who expected an announcement of truly transcendental changes in the … Continue reading "Thanks for Nothing, Trump" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 1 June 2017. – A characteristic feature of ineffective and outdated political regimes is the constant appeal to the historical past as a mechanism for legitimizing the present, and as a resource for survival. In the case of Cuba, this principle has been the rector of official discourse and its means … Continue reading "Between the Official Utopia and Generational Realism / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 31 May 2017 — A brief note published by the official Cuban press reports the meeting held by “General of the Army Raúl Castro Ruz” with “the Chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army, Timoleón Jiménez” (FARC-EP), where the former “ratified the willingness of the Cuban government to continue … Continue reading "War Vocation in the “Peace Zone”" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 23 May 2017 — Her grey hair and blue eyes suggest a picture of a grandmother out of a children’s story, but Marta Cortizas is actually a native of Havana who, after emigrating to the United States, found a way to be useful to her countrymen. From her apartment in Kendall … Continue reading "Marta’s List" Continue reading
Cubanet, Norma Whiting, West Palm Beach, U.S., 29 April 2017 – The news, later refuted, of a supposed Cuban flag burning in recent days by Venezuelan demonstrators who oppose the government of Nicolás Maduro provoked diverse reactions on social networks and some Cuban websites. Many Cubans, mostly residing overseas, immediately expressed their indignation against Venezuelans … Continue reading "The Dangers of Hatred / Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 20 April 2017 — The Venezuela of “XXI Century Socialism” is wavering and threatening to collapse. It’s only a matter of time, soon, perhaps, as to when it will tumble. And since the economic and political crisis of the country has slipped from the government’s grasp, President Nicolás Maduro, in another … Continue reading "Tell Us, General, What’s Plan B?" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 18 April 2017 — According to an old adage, when you see you neighbor’s beard on fire, go soak your own*. The maxim should be applied to the elderly Cuban dictator, especially if we take into account that the erratic performance of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is largely attributed to the … Continue reading "When Your Ally’s Beards are on Fire*… / Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 11 April 2017 — HAVANA, Cuba. – “Thank goodness oil is something we don’t have in Cuba.” So said the lyrics of a popular song by Cuban musical group Habana Abierta. However, now Cuba’s official media insist the opposite is true: “The enterprise Cuba-Petroleum Union (CUPET), which promotes prospecting projects with … Continue reading "Oil in Cuba: Dream or Nightmare?" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 29 March 2017 – An opinion piece published in recent days by El Nuevo Herald gives me a disturbing feeling of déjà vu. It is not the subject – overflowing with a number of articles by different authors – but its focal point, which presents as adequate a number of superficial … Continue reading "The Thousand Faces of “Journalism” / Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 27 March 2017 – It is almost noon on Sunday and a young couple, with their two young children in their arms, stops frustrated in front of the closed gate of the Plaza Carlos III Shopping Center. For a moment they are confused, they consult the clock and immediately become inquisitive … Continue reading "The Enigmatic Closing Of Plaza Carlos III Causes Discomfort" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 20 March 2017 — Putting aside the passions of supporters and detractors of the policies drawn up by President Barack Obama for Cuba, there is no doubt that, for better or worse, it set indelible before and after benchmarks in the lives of the Cuban people. The first benchmark was the … Continue reading "Obama’s Unquestionable Imprint / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 9 March 2017 — On one of the side walls, inside a small newspaper stand on Avenida 26, in Nuevo Vedado (Havana), an unusual sign announces: “This stand became private property.” The event is unique. The elderly self-employed man behind the counter is normally cautious. Survival instinct has taught Cubans to … Continue reading "The Private Sale of the Official Press is Legalized / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 27 February 2017 — As the second month of 2017 comes to a close, the Cuban panorama continues to be bleak. Material difficulties and the absence of a realistic economic recovery program – the ineffectiveness of the chimerical Party Guidelines has been demonstrated in overcoming the general crisis of the “model” … Continue reading "Ten Years of Raulism: From “Reformism” to the Abyss / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 27 January 2017 — I recently had the opportunity to participate as guest in a forum held at Florida International University. Among other topics, the issue of labor rights in Cuba and the role of journalism in the defense of these rights were discussed. At first glance, the proposal does not … Continue reading "Why We Don’t Have A Lech Walesa In Cuba / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 10 January 2017 — – I have often heard or read about the supposed Cuban “culture and education,” a fabulous academic record based on official Cuban statistics and, of course, the Cuban Revolution and its (literally) ashen leader. A few weeks ago, during the prolonged funerals of the Deceased in Chief, … Continue reading "The Learned Illiterates of the Revolution / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 17 January 2017 — The announcement of the end of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which gave Cuban immigrants the special privilege of remaining in the US without being deported, just by touching American soil, ended Thursday, 12 January 2017, like a cold drizzle on the citizens of this island … Continue reading "Dry or Wet? Thinking with our Feet / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, Miriam Celaya, 11 January 2017 — It is not common, in the middle of all the gloom and the torrents of noteworthy dates that constitute the bulk of the official press, to find a journalistic work that brings to light — even partially — the obstacles that derive from one of the most … Continue reading "Naive Commentary about Two False Currencies / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 5 January 2017 – It is well known that for almost six decades we Cubans have not had a real government program, unless the old “five-year plans” are defined as such. These were programs Castro I copied from the USSR in order to plan and control Cuba’s socialist economic development, and … Continue reading "Castro II’s Island is Adrift / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 28 December 2016 — On December 27th, at the Havana Convention Center, the Eighth Session of the Eighth Legislature of the Cuban Parliament opened, with a balance sheet on the socio-economic results of the year ending and the proposed draft of the National Budget Law for 2017. This time, there is … Continue reading "Cuban Parliament Sessions Predict Somber Times / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, 12 December 2016 — In a curious coincidence with the fifth meeting, held last week in Havana, of the Bilateral Commission in charge of the dialogue process between the United States and Cuba, about one hundred Cuban “entrepreneurs” have just addressed a letter to Donald Trump, the newly elected President of that … Continue reading "Why didn’t they write to the General-President? / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 26 November 2016 — The official media have just announced the last and definitive death of Fidel Castro, and I think I have perceived more relief than bereavement in the mournful message. If I were a religious person, I would feel at least a tiny bit of grief, but that is … Continue reading "The Ancient Dictator Died Long Ago / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 16 November 2016 — Rarely does the official press offer journalistic work of any interest, so a report that was published a few days ago is greatly appreciated. The work was published following controls recently directed by the Government to a total of 32 private restaurants in Havana (“Private Restaurants in … Continue reading "The Power and Paladares*, an Ambiguous Relationship / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, 20 October 2016 — An article I wrote was published on this site in March 2015, on the subject of the announcement in the official Cuban press that a new electoral law was to be enacted in Cuba in March 2018. The article raised more than a few stings because – among … Continue reading "Another Point For The Cuban Human Rights Agenda / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, 27 October 2016 — “Ruperto ‘In Reverse’“ is the nickname the popular Cuban sense of humor has bestowed on General-President Raúl Castro, referring to a character in the popular sit-com “Living on Tall Tales” broadcast on Cuban television Monday, just after the National News’ prime time broadcast. We could not dream of … Continue reading "Ruperto “In Reverse” / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 15 October 2016 — The second round of talks on Human Rights took place this past Friday between the governments of Cuba and the United States, as part of the ongoing dialogue initiated when relations were restored. In line with the importance of the issue and in relation with the relevance … Continue reading "Tom Malinowski Speaks with the Independent Cuban Press / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Miriam Celaya, Havana, 4 October 2016 — CUBALEX, an independent organization dedicated to providing free legal aid to Cubans — an essential service in a society where the abuse of rights is a permanent part of daily life — in recent days suffered a sudden and brutal attack at its headquarters in Havana, by the … Continue reading "Reflections Against a “Black Winter” / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 30 September 2016 — This Friday, 30 September 2016, the fourth session of the Cuba-US Bilateral Commission is meeting in Washington, an occasion which the Cuban regime has selected to present their rejection of “endorsing programs that Washington is promoting without the consent or consultation by the official channels established for … Continue reading "Youth Leadership, a Dangerous Sequel to the US-Cuba Rapprochement / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 7 September 2016 — In recent days, the Cuban official media announced the implementation of a tax on personal income for workers in the State’s business sector, as well as an extension of payments called Social Security Special Contribution (CESS) – that workers at the so-called “perfecting entities” were already paying … Continue reading "The End of Freebies by the Revolution / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, 26 August 2016, Havana — It’s been said that radically opposite ends end up looking alike. That truism has become irrefutable for those of us who are dedicated to independent journalism in Cuba, especially those who practice the basic right of free expression through opinion columns and end up subjected to relentless … Continue reading "For an Uncomfortable Journalism / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 16 August 2016 — Recently, during my brief stay in Miami to participate in an academic meeting on legal issues, I was surprised to hear from a Cuban emigrant – fairly old in age – about his wish that, in a future democratic Cuba, a law of compulsory military service would … Continue reading "The Best Way to “Become a Man”? / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
It is a crime to manipulate a child’s conscience for the adulation of a dictator. Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, 15 August 2016, Havana – This Saturday, August 13, 2016, was the culmination of true torture after months of putting up with the fanfare in the official media on the occasion of the ninetieth birthday of the … Continue reading "A Deplorable Spectacle / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 15 July 2016 — Some claim that “nothing ever happens in Cuba.” However, the signals we have been receiving of late indicate otherwise. The price increases at the produce markets since the last quarter of 2015, accompanied by periodic (and frequent) cycles of shortages of food and other basic items in … Continue reading "Cuba in Crisis: the Pressure is Building / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 5 July 2015 — “Everyone knows which teachers accept money,” a group of young people tells me. In fact, some not only accept, but clearly require it from students who know they would not be able to pass the exam on their own. The final days of the 2015-2016 school year … Continue reading "The Blackboard Mafia / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 29 June 2016 — About 400 Cubans who remained ensconced in front of the embassy of Mexico, in the city of Quito, Ecuador, demanding an airlift to allow them entry to the United States, were violently evicted from the place by police in the early hours of Sunday, 26th June. It … Continue reading "Cuban Migration Crisis: Neither Economic nor Humanitarian / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 2 June 2016 — The phrase uttered by Castro I a few years ago, when he confessed that no one knew how to build socialism, remains in the minds of many Cubans. Most of us, stunned and unbelieving, wondered back then what they had been doing for all previous decades, when … Continue reading "Legal Framework for the Enemy / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 26 May 2016 — The Cuban Party-State-Government has just published a tabloid containing two of the root documents analyzed and approved during the VII Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) last April, 2016. These are the Project for the Conceptualization for the Economic and Social Model of Socialist Development Project … Continue reading "The New Gospel, According to the General / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 23 May 2016 — Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, recently made his second visit to Cuba. Unlike his first, in November 2014–when the general-president did not deign to meet with him—this time his “highest excellency” Spanish Foreign Minister was emphatically welcomed by the upper echelons of … Continue reading "The Step-Motherland’s Droit de Seigneur / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 18 May 2016 — A small protest convoy and a demand by a group of bicycle taxi (pedicab) operators at the Plaza of the Revolution; indignation and astonishment among producers and traders about the arbitrary and unannounced closing of the wholesale market for agricultural products in the capital; irritation of several citizens who … Continue reading "Rules to Prevent Debate / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, West Palm Beach, Florida, 13 April 2016 — The video has gone viral in the internet in just over 24 hours — between Monday afternoon, April 11th 2016, and the early hours of Tuesday night — it had been shared 42,000 times, it had been viewed almost 4 million times, and the … Continue reading "Danse Macabre / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Miami, 20 April 2016 – I ask for a minute’s standing ovation, gentlemen: the Communist Party of Cuba has died. The internment, which will be known to future generations of Cubans as the 7th Congress of the PCC, held its memorial service Tuesday, 19 April 2016, exactly 55 years after the dazzling … Continue reading "Epitaph for a Party / 14ymedio, Miriam Celaya" Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 4 May 2015 — The reunion of five friends on a roof terrace in Central Havana is the thread on which Return to Ithaca’s plot rests. Leonardo Padura wrote the screenplay and Laurent Cantet directed this … Continue reading Continue reading
14ymedio, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 2 May 2015 — Few sectors have been so viciously beaten in Cuba as the one grouped under the generic name of “entrepreneurs”, or, according to the informal term, “cuentapropistas” (“self-employed”). The backgrounds of the self-employed … Continue reading Continue reading