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Yosmany Mayeta Labrada

Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 18 April 2017 — Mariagne Durán, a mother of two children who lives in the Serrá Building in Central Havana where the stairs collapsed on Tuesday, refuses to leave the property because she has nowhere else to go. An employee of the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA), Duran and her mother are … Continue reading "Several Residents Refuse To Leave A Building In Ruins In Central Havana" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 18 April 2017 — About 120 people are trapped in a Central Havana building after the interior stairs to the apartments collapsed this morning. The property, located on Amistad and San Miguel Streets has been in danger of collapse for years due to lack of maintenance. A loud noise alerted neighbors … Continue reading "Over 100 People Trapped in Collapsed Building in Havana" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Santiago de Cuba, 3 April 2017 — Juan Antonio Vargas Lefebre inspires exclamations of surprise among Santiago de Cuba’s inhabitants and visitors. At 72 and living in the Chicharrones neighborhood, the well-known fakir sets up in the first hours of the day in Enramadas Street and exhibits his circus talents so that … Continue reading "A Fakir “Without Money But Without Rival”" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 28 March 2017 — The stench fills the air and permeates the clothes of El Fanguito residents near the Almendares River. Those who live there carry that stink everywhere, it gets into your nose and into your pores. The main river flowing through Havana barely shows any signs of recovery despite … Continue reading "“All You Can Catch in the Almendares River is a Good Infection”" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada and Mario Penton, Havana/Miami, 8 March 2017 — Carlos began to travel to Ecuador when Cubans did not need a visa. He brought back clothes and appliances to sell in the informal market, until he discovered a more lucrative business: the import of electric scooters, the flagship product of those who do … Continue reading "Scooters Ease The Problem Of Public Transport / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada and Mario Penton" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 27 February 2017 – Regla has spent years working in a prohibited business. She used to do it in doorways on Monte Street in Old Havana, but when the government changed the law to block the trade in clothes and shoes, in December 2013, she had to find an even … Continue reading "Imported Clothing, An Illegal and Profitable Business / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 13 February 2017 – A Sunday fire heavily damaged the Panamerican Rayo Fair shop, in Havana’s Chinatown. The premises, located a few yards from the central corner of Zanja and Dragones, caught fire about one in the afternoon and it took the fire brigade more than three hours to smother … Continue reading "Fire Heavily Damages Shop In Havana’s Chinatown / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labradea, Havana, 2 February 2017 — After three years of being closed to the public, the viewpoint of the José Martí Memorial in the Plaza of the Revolution reopened its doors on Wednesday. The highest point in Havana has been out or service for domestic and foreign visitors since the elevator broke after … Continue reading "The José Martí Memorial Viewpoint Reopens To The Public With A New Elevator / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta, Havana, 31 January 2017 — A fire reduced to ashes, on Monday, a warehouse and the offices of the Cultural Assets Fund, which managed raw materials for artistic productions on Subirana Street, between Benjumeda and Santo Tomás, in Central Havana. The fire spread quickly and it required several fire brigades to put itout, due … Continue reading "Fire Destroys Cultural Assets Warehouse in Central Havana /" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta, Havana, 17 January 2017 — The neighbors of Martin Luther King Jr. Park have long cherished the dream of seeing a renewal for this piece of calm located in the middle of the hustle and bustle of 23rd Street in Havana’s Vedado district. After years of deterioration, the small square began to … Continue reading "A Park, A Dream / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmani Mayeta Labrada, Santiago de Cuba, 10 January 2017 — The hooves ring on the pavement in the middle of the night. The sun begins to illuminate Santiago de Cuba, where horse-drawn carts, trucks and motorcycles offer urban transport in an underserved market. But the measures introduced by the authorities in the middle of last year … Continue reading "New Rules on Horse-Drawn Carts Force the People of Santiago to Change Their Travel Patterns / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 3 November 2016 — A raging fire reduced to ashes this Wednesday all of the belongings of a family at 263 Mercaderes Street, in Old Havana. The incident caused no fatalities. The family is temporarily housed in nearby Casa del Pedagogo, while insisting it will not accept living in a shelter. The … Continue reading "One Family Loses All Its Belongings In A Fire In Old Havana / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 31 October 2016 – For weeks, astonished and laughing faces have surrounded the display windows of a candy shop in the Plaza Carlos III shopping center in Havana. The excitement has come with the sale, for the first time at that center, of the Italian-made Ferrero Rocher chocolates. However, a … Continue reading "Chocolate Store or Museum? / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Larada, Havana, 4 September 2016 – After the heavy rains that have hit western Cuba in recent days, many residents of the capital fear an increase in the number of building collapses. Denise Rodriguez Cedeno, 54, a resident Luz Street, between Egido and Curacao, in Old Havana, placed her family’s belongings in the … Continue reading "A Family Puts Its Belongings In The Street Amid Fears Their House Will Collapse / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 11 August 2016 – For Misael Gonzales, Old Havana is the gallery that for years has refused to display his figures made from natural materials. All the passersby on Teniente Rey Street between Oficios and Mercaderes, will see there his grasshoppers made from coconut leaves and some Japanese-inspired constructions of … Continue reading "The Coconut Leaves Weaver / 14ymedio Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 30 June 2016 – The star of home appliances in Cuban homes is not the television, nor even the powerful refrigerator. In the summer, the leading role belongs to a less serious but very important object for heat relief: the fan. But what happens when buying one of these pieces … Continue reading "Lack of Fans, the Lifelong Annoyance / 14ymedio,Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 16 June 2016 — “It was about six in the evening and I had taken money from an ATM, when I saw the knife.” So says Carmen, 71, about the time when she was attacked by two young men who stole her entire pension for the month on 10 de Octubre … Continue reading "Crime Lurks Around ATMs / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 13 June 2016 – After months of waiting and amid growing expectations, a few weeks ago the distribution of cars and computers at subsidized prices to Public Health workers began. The distribution, which for now is limited to Havana, has raised passions due to the small number of vehicles allocated … Continue reading "Distribution Of Cars And Laptops To Doctors Begins / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 28 May 2016 — When Cuban children playing mention distant countries, they talk about Singapore, Burundi and Korea. But in the latter case, they do not think about the country controlled by Kim Jong-un, but the one on other end of the peninsula, where Samsung was born. With film production the … Continue reading "Korea, That Distant But Nearby Country / Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 2 May 2016 — The clock struck nine as the cruise ship Adonia entered the bay of Havana. Dozens of people enthusiastically welcomed the first pleasure boat to come to the island from Miami in the last 50 years. The government did not need to issue an official call for citizens to gather there, … Continue reading "Cubans Cheer the First Cruise Ship From Miami / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 30 April 2016 – Like an arbitrary lottery, Havanans dream of having a WiFi zone installed near their homes. These outdoor places to connect raise the price per square foot of real estate in the immediate vicinity and help local businesses flourish. Speculations about where the new wireless antennas will … Continue reading "Living Near A Wifi Area Is Like Winning The Lottery / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Santiago de Cuba, 9 May 2015 – The drought has become an undesirable comrade for the residents of Santiago de Cuba. For years, the city has suffered low rainfall, deficiencies in the water supply system, and … Continue reading Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeya Labrada, Santiago de Cuba, 28 April 2015 — The 24th edition of the Santiago of Cuba Book Fair did notmeet official forecasts, nor was it up to the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the … Continue reading Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_39438" align="aligncenter" width="623"] [1] Woman with a mattress (Yosmany Mayeta)[/caption] [2]14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Santiago de Cuba, 28 March 2015 -- The Gonzalez family baby slept her first weeks in a plastic tub lined with sheets and blankets. She could not use the crib because her parents did not manage to buy the mattress that is assigned by the Santiago de Cuba ration market to expectant mothers. Shortages of the product and delays in its arrival to those in need create discomfort and situations like that of this baby in homes all over the country but with greater severity in the eastern region. Outside of some stores intended for that purpose there are long lines of pregnant women and their families to buy the so-called “module basket” that is given at a subsidized price to each mother. The prices in the free market are unaffordable for a good many families. They need at least 50 convertible pesos (CUC) in order to get a mattress in the hard currency market, while the average monthly salary does not exceed 20 CUC. Many of these mothers will celebrate the first birthdays of their children without the children having been able to enjoy a crib with a mattress. Such is the case of one young woman who preferred to remain anonymous and who was waiting this Wednesday in the line of the El Atardecer industrial products store. Her daughter is about to turn a year old, but she still has to sleep in a crib with an old mat repaired many times and that was loaned to her by a relative. Yamile Fonseca, resident of the Nuevo Van Van area, had a little more luck and says that “almost when the ration book was expiring I could buy the mattress, but that was a pure pain and a line that no one could stand.” Others simply give up and resort to the illicit market or inherit part of the “basket” items from a sister or a cousin. Beatriz Mena, clerk at an Industrial store, says that “they have only brought the product twice” to the store where she works. In those cases “they have sold to those mothers whose basket ration book is expiring and whose babies are turning a year old,” the others have had to wait until they are resupplied, she said. When the product arrives at one of the commercial units devoted to that purpose, then the drama becomes the line. Jose Bonne, father of a 10-month old girl, staked out the front of the Industrial this Tuesday from four in the morning in order to be able to be one of the first. “When I arrived there were already more than ten people who, since earlier hours, were marking their place in line in order not to be left without the mattress.” The manager of the store in the Altamira suburb said that “it has come to the unit on several occasions but the ones who have not bought are still more than those who have left with the product.” The lady says that “the mattresses that they leave are very few, and we have a great number of pregnant and newly post-partum women and the demand outstrips the quantities supplied. Another person, who preferred not to give his name, says that “when the mattresses arrive at the industrial products stores, now the clerks in cahoots with the management get most of them, which are sold to those whose turn has not come up, but who pay extra money and so acquire them ahead of time.” For her part, Yelaine Suarez said that when the mattresses arrive in the commission stores there are people who dedicate themselves to the sale of places in line for the amount of ten convertible pesos. “It is unfair to see how they take advantage of the opportunity in order to do things like that. Cuban women point to economic problems and difficulties in materially supporting a baby as among the main causes for the low birth rate that the country is now experiencing; the Total Fertility Rate fell in 2012 to the worrying figure of 1.69 children per woman. David Fernandez, resident of Alturas de Versalles, says that in the Altamira store they got crib mattresses at 300 pesos national currency, sold off the ration book. The resident of the place asks how it is possible that there are stocks for that but not for those women who have the “basket” ration book. The complaints come and go and many babies keep waiting to sleep in a crib with a mattress. Meanwhile, their parents improvise a little bed and take turns standing in line in front of the store. Translated by MLK [1] [2] Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Santiago de Cuba, 21 March 2015 -- Since early this Saturday, a heavy police operation had as its objective self-employed workers, street vendors and private carriers in Santiago de Cuba. The forces of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) reported that the raid was aimed against high meat prices in the farmer’s markets and the sale of potatoes in illegal distribution networks. Most of the arrests and fines occurred in the Venceremos and Altamira suburbs of Santiago de Cuba. The uniformed agents arrived in the first hours of the morning and demanded the vendors show their licenses for engaging in commercial activity. Until midday, the toll of the operation was the seizure of dozens of kilograms of pork meat and thousands of pesos in fines. Romilio Jardines, vendor of meat and agricultural products, was fined 700 Cuban pesos, although he said that his merchandise was not removed. Nevertheless, he affirmed that “they came prepared in case one refused.” The operation included special forces known as “black berets” who surrounded the area’s markets and the main streets of both suburbs. Alexander Benitez was among merchants who suffered the seizure of his products. “The found me selling pork meat at 27 pesos a pound in the doorway of my house and they came and demanded the license,” recounts this Santiago native. “When they saw that I had no license they confiscated the meat, the scales and also fined me 1,500 pesos.” Benitez says that he approached the police to get the scales back “because they were borrowed” but “they handcuffed me and put me in the police car.” One of the covert sellers, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed that it was true that “many self-employed workers have very expensive meat and a pound of potatoes for seven pesos, but the government in the state markets has none at any price.” The residents of the province complain that the tuber has still not been distributed to the people through the network of state markets, although in other cities its sale has already begun. Not only sellers of meat and agricultural products were the objective of the police operation, but also drivers of cars and motorcycles were investigated. Among them the driver of a private transportation truck who was fined 2,500 pesos and had his license plate taken away. One motorcyclist for a state enterprise also was sanctioned 30 pesos for not having changed the license plate to the new system that has been implemented in the country. By the beginning of the afternoon, many merchants and carriers in the Venceremos and Altamira suburbs were fined, but once the police began to withdraw their forces, the areas around the farmer’s markets started slowly to fill again with vendors and drivers.  Translated by MLK Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_38499" align="aligncenter" width="623"] [1] Campaign for the prevention of HIV / AIDS in Cuba[/caption] 14ymedio, YOSMANY MAYETA LABRADA, Santiago de Cuba, 3 February 2015 -- Concern has spread in recent weeks among patients with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the province of Santiago de Cuba. According to a new “guidance” from the Ministry of Public Health, care of HIV-positive people will no longer occur in a specialized clinic, but rather will be handled at the regular family clinics in their neighborhoods. The measure has been greeted with alarm by those who say it will result in a decreased quality of medical care, and who fear the loss of privacy over their status. In an environment where prejudices and fears still prevail against people living with HIV, medical attention in the area where they live could cause neighbors and family members to reject them. Several physicians who work in the family medical clinics, moreover, acknowledged in the meetings held to implement the new policy that they are not prepared to treat people with HIV. Until now, the monitoring and care of these patients has been in centralized clinics, handled by a medical doctor and a nurse specializing in the treatment of this virus. However, the constant loss of medical personnel who leave to go on international missions, along with the apparent decrease in resources available for healthcare, have made it impossible to maintain the specialized clinics. A setback to which is added the recent cuts in the supplemental food received by seropositive people. The constant loss of medical personnel who leave to go on international missions has made it impossible to maintain the specialized clinics Prior to this guidance, many patients were already complaining about violations of the code of ethics on the part of the physicians and public health personnel, who revealed their disease to other people. Now, fears about possible indiscretions are growing. Given the more local and neighborhood character of the clinics, the problem could worsen in the coming months. Otto Reyes is one of the many HIV patients who claims to have been a victim of an indiscretion on the part of a nurse who treated him, who revealed his HIV status to a near neighbor. An experience similar to that of Damaris Rivaflecha and Dulca Maria Benitez, who were extremely disgusted by how information about their illness was publicly aired; as a result of such carelessness they decided not to return to the clinic. The situation is more dramatic among very young patients. A young man, 18, who prefers anonymity, said that he fears that people in his area will learn about his illness when he has to start being treated at the nearest family clinic. For him, “It will be like starting from zero,” and he says he will feel like “they gave me the diagnosis all over again, people will look down on me and what I’m most afraid of is rejection.” Lester Acosta, who also lives with the disease, told this newspaper he had suffered discrimination for being HIV positive, including within his own family. He, who has experienced it firsthand, wonders what will happen now with the end of the specialized clinics. “What will become of those who don’t want their condition to be publicly known?” he laments. [1] Continue reading
14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Santiago de Cuba, 16 January 2015 — “Happiness in the home of the poor is brief,” said a young man a few days ago who had been excited about connecting to the Internet through the WiFi … Continue reading Continue reading