August 2017
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Zunilda Mata

14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 11 August 2017 — Military boots and olive green trousers drawn on a poster have provoked great anger among communist militants who seem to have managed, through their complaints, to get the organizers of a sanitation campaign to remove the poster from the streets and sewers near Havana’s Malecon. The initiative, … Continue reading "Communist Militants Force Withdrawal of a Poster For Being “Disrespectful” of Fidel Castro" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 17 July 2017 — Samuel is nine years old and has broken several of the windows in his building playing ball. His nearest neighbors see that he is very calm these days since his mother gave him a Fidget Spinner, a fad toy that some schools in the US, UK or Argentina have … Continue reading "‘Fidget Spinner’, The Toy That Has Taken The World By Storm, Arrives In Cuba" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 9 July 2017 — With a sharp knife and the skill of a surgeon, Luis Garmendia, 68, slices the bread from the rationed market into six small slices. Like so many Cubans, this retiree cannot afford to buy from the liberated (unsubsidized) bakeries and considers that, every day, the quality of the basic product is … Continue reading "Bread In The Rationed Market Is An Unsolved Problem" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Viñales, 27 June 2018 — At the entrance to Calle Obispo a guide explains to her customers the restoration works in the historical center of Havana. A few yards away, the line to exchange currency is full of foreigners and in the corner bar one hears English, French and German. Tourism is shaping the … Continue reading "The Dark Side Of Tourism in Cuba" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 20 June 2017 — The passenger complains of the heat while frantically moving the fan. “In a few days I will install an air conditioning,” justifies the taxi driver and adds that he will charge “higher fares.” In summer everyone dreams of air-conditioning their rooms or vehicles, but whether or not one … Continue reading "Sweating Is Not For Cuba’s New Rich" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 25 May 2017 — Finding a little bottle filled with coins that her father hid in the patio was something that happened to Eneida when she was young; now she’s a retired and says that financially she’s “escachada, without a single peso in the bank.” Her family inherited an old mansion … Continue reading "In The Bank or Under the Mattress? Where Do Cubans Keep Their Money?" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 3 May 2017 — The guard looks at him and dismisses him as an undercover cop. “Are you coming to change dollars? I’ll pay you at 90 cents,” he tells the customer while turning his back on the security camera at the Currency Exchange (Cadeca). At the window, that same dollar is exchanged … Continue reading "Neither CUPs nor CUCs, It’s Bucks That Reign in Cuba" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 25 April 2017 — The colorful vehicle takes off when the traffic light turns green, leaving the smell of freshly baked pizza in its wake. It is one of the visible signs that private businesses are succeeding in a country where ordering food from home was a chimera until recently. In the … Continue reading "Home Delivery Services, A Business That Captivates Cubans" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 14 April 2017 — The vehicle belonging to El Biky cooperative is adorned with the images of its products and the smiling faces of some of its employees. The food center, located at the corner of Infanta and San Lázaro, is looking to conquer new new customers for its cafe, restaurant and bakery. … Continue reading "Advertising On Wheels Arrives In Havana" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, 4 April 2017 — There was a time when its red card was a source of pride and most teenagers dreamed of entering its ranks. But those days have been left behind for the Young Communists Union (UJC), an organization that turns 55 this Tuesday, with an aging image and a noticeable decrease in … Continue reading "At 55, Cuba’s Young Communist Union Loses Relevance But Does Not Want To Retire" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 1 April 2017 — Rumors of a general rise in prices have sharpened shortages at gas stations this Saturday, with long lines of vehicles waiting their turn at service stations across the country. The fuel sold at preferential prices for thousands of state employees has gone up 0.10 CUC in recent … Continue reading "Anxiety Grows Over Cuba’s Gas Shortages" Continue reading
14ymdio, Zunilda Mata, 29 March 2017 — Cuba is experiencing one of the worst droughts of the last half century and its reservoirs are at 39% capacity, a situation that affects the water supply for people, industry and agriculture. Santiago de Cuba is going through the most serious situation, according to José Antonio Hernández, director of the Department of Rational … Continue reading "Santiago de Cuba Hit Hard by Drought" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havna, 28 March 2017 — A pirouette and life is turned upside down. Another and the wheels crash against the pavement leaving a mark in their path.  Cuban women skaters defy gravity and machismo, two forces trying to make them fall. Their dreams are told in the documentary Sisters on Wheels by director Amberly Alene Ellis, … Continue reading "Young Cuban Women Skaterboarders Defy Gravity And Machismo" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 17 March 2017 — A year ago the headlines left no doubt: Cuba was Americans’ new destination and that country’s airlines fought for their piece of pie of flights to the island. After the initial enthusiasm, several of these companies have cut back on the frequency of their trips and others … Continue reading "Bubble Bursts for Flights Between Cuba and the United States" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 24 March 2017 – Cuba has reacted very oddly to the scandal of adulterated meat from Brazil, the island’s main provider of beef products: silence on the part of the authorities, lower prices on some on-line shopping sites, and very little public concern about possible health risks. At the corner of … Continue reading "Lower On-Line Prices for Brazilian Meat While Cuban Government is Silent" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 21 March 2017 — Cubans know a lot about adulterations. For decades they have grappled with the “diversion of resources” [i.e. stealing] from state stores and the practice of state employees acquiring products elsewhere at low prices, bringing them into the stores and selling them at high prices and keeping the profit … Continue reading "Doubtful Meat From Brazil Continues To Be Sold In Cuba / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 4 March 2017 — Miami and Havana are the same city. Those censored here, in Havana, are going to end up over there; while the residents there spend their vacations here. The movies that are not allowed in the Cuban theaters find their place in Calle Ocho in Miami. Santa y Andrés, a … Continue reading "Santa y Andres: It’s Never Too Late If The Censorship Is Old / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 2 March 2017 — Otto Rivero directed the most powerful entity in Cuba at the beginning of this century, the Battle of Ideas, but was ousted by Raúl Castro a few months after the latter assumed the presidency. Now, the former youth leader has emerged from his “pajama plan” – as such … Continue reading "Otto Rivero’s March 2nd / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana 27 February 2017 – This Tuesday, a campaign launches in Cuba for the liberation of Ana Belén Montes, a former intelligence analyst for the United States Defense Intelligence Agency, condemned for espionage and considered a “prisoner of conscience” by the government of Havana. The initiative includes concerts, conversations, and publications on … Continue reading "Havana Mobilizes For The Liberation Of The Spy Ana Belén Montes" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 23 February 2017 – The unrationed distribution of potatoes, a symbol of Raul Castro’s government, has suffered a big setback. During the quarter of February, March and April, the distribution of potatoes was returned to the ration market throughout the country, with a limit of 14 pounds per person and requiring … Continue reading "Potatoes Return to the Rationed Market / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata and Daniel Delisau, Havana/Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 20 February 2017 — The players arrange their dominoes on the table. Outside, the sun still floods the wide entryway on Monserrate Street in Old Havana and time seems to have stopped. The scene occurs at the Canary Island Association of Cuba, a community that languishes between … Continue reading "Canary Islanders in Cuba, Islanders Two Ways / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mara and Daniel Delisau" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Alquizar (Artemisa), 30 January 2017 –In Alquízar the red earth covers everything with a reddish layer. To Gladys Montero that crimson powder gets into the wrinkles of the face. “I come from the deep field,” she warns. In Cuba, 21% of women live in rural areas, wake up when the rooster crows and make their … Continue reading "Rural Women: Between Furrow And Domestic Labors / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 23 January 2017 — The news has appeared quietly in the official media: since the beginning of this year the share of the so-called “chicken for fish*” has been eliminated from the rationed market. The measure is part of the process of the “rearrangement of the basic market basket,” as confirmed by … Continue reading "Rationing Says Goodbye To “Chicken For Fish” / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, Zunilda Mata, 16 January 2017 – The sign is still hanging from the balcony. “For Sale,” it says in big letters that can be seen from the street. But Jorge no longer wants to auction off the apartment on Emilia Street in Santo Suarez. With Barack Obama’s decision to end the “Wet Foot/Dry Foot” … Continue reading "Cuba’s Real Estate Market Shaken With End of Privileged Emigration to the US / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 5 January 2017 – Chocolates, toys and technology star in the letters that Cuban children are writing to the Three Kings right now. The tradition of giving gifts to children on Epiphany, the 6th of January – the day the Three Kings are believed to have reached the manger to honor Jesus’ … Continue reading "What Do Cuban Children Want For Christmas? / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 3 January 2017 – This week Luisa Bermejo’s biggest headache  will be getting the rebar she’s lacking. For months she’s been piling up stacks of cement, bricks and other materials to build an improvised room in the Cerro district of Havana. If she’s lucky she’ll soon finish her house built with … Continue reading "Housing Construction In Cuba Remains Very Slow / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 23 December 2016 — Against all odds, two years after the beginning of the diplomatic thaw between the governments of Cuba and the United States, trade between the two countries has diminished. The Island bought 21% less food from its northern neighbor in the first four months of this year, compared to … Continue reading "American Chicken for Cuban Christmas / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 29 December 2016 — The long-awaited installation of an internet connection area on Havana’s Malecon has taken its first step. The opening of the Hola Ola Technology Park last weekend was welcomed with great enthusiasm by the state media that described the infrastructure as “the architecture of high technology.” The center, managed … Continue reading "Hola Ola Technology Park Rush to Open Leaves Some Users Disappointed / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 19 December 2016 – The New Latin American Film Festival ended as it began: marked by censorship. The exclusion of the film Santa y Andres stained the opening of Havana’s main cinematographic event with gray, and spectators were also unable to see the film Hands of Stone as punishment for the … Continue reading "Film “Hands of Stone” Excluded from Havana Film Festival / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 13 December 2016 – The news made the headlines and generated a wave of enthusiasm. The agreement signed this Monday between the US information giant Google and the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) will improve the experience of Cuban websurfers, but will not, in the short term, affect the number of … Continue reading "Google Will Accelerate But Not Expand Internet Access In Cuba 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 10 December 2016 — For several years on International Human Rights Day, the Cuban government has strengthed its ideological battle on the internet with police operations around the country. The volume of epithets posted on social networks and the official slogans published in on-line forums offer a strong contrast to the poor access to … Continue reading "Cuban Government Launches Ideological Offensive On Human Rights Day / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 9 December 2016 – The Nauta network has failed again. This time users have been unable, for several days, to recharge their accounts on the internet, or to check or make balance transfers. The Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) suffers constant interruptions, a situation that highlights the deficiencies in its infrastructure, despite … Continue reading "Cuba’s Phone Company, The Monopoly of Inefficiency / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 30 November 2016 – Cuba’s official press and, oddly, a good part of the international media, never stop repeating that Fidel Castro brought Cubans free education and healthcare for all. Cuba was already, however, one of the most developed countries on the continent before the Revolution, much more so even than … Continue reading "Fidel Castro’s 13 Most Notorious Failures / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio/EFE, Havana, 28 November 2016 — The always busy corner of Infanta and Carlos III was a desolate wasteland Sunday. Since the death of Fidel Castro was announced, Havanans have gathered at home. The official media say that it is from pain, but fear is the protagonist of days in which the sale of alcoholic beverages has … Continue reading "Fear, Dry Law and Funerals / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 24 November 2016 — The seller doesn’t even need to advertise his wares. He just stands at a corner with several strings of onions and buyers crowd around him. Six months after the imposition of price caps for more than twenty farm products, shortages and the high cost of food continue to … Continue reading "Food Prices Rise Despite Price Caps / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, 17 November 2016 — Discriminated against for decades, Cuba’s Jehovah’s Witnesses just opened an employment agency that focuses on the “honesty and decency” of its people. The database “is an opportunity to advertise the skills that the brothers have in different professions and trades,” says Tamara Sanchez, one of the managers. As a “private … Continue reading "“Serious And Decent Worker Seeking Employment” / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 7 November 2016 – “There is no headache that can resist this Bayer aspirin,” says Vicky, a seller of imported medicines who offers vitamins, sedatives, flu remedies and ointments. The shortages in state pharmacies fuel illegal trade in medicines in Cuba, many of them brought from abroad. Vicky has been “in … Continue reading "The Informal Market Compensates for the Lack of Medicines / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 2 November 2016 — In a speech in front of foreign businessmen at the International Fair of Havana (FIHAV), the Foreign Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca, emphasized the country’s urgency to receive “high rates of investment.” However, outside the Expocuba fairgrounds, the speech’s echoes are barely heard and the informal market continues to set … Continue reading "We Don’t Buy Anything Here / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 25 September 2016 — The ideological battle of officialdom has a new enemy: the scholarships offered by the American organization World Learning to young Cubans between 16 and 18 years of age. In Cuban secondary schools and universities in recent days, the morning assemblies have “condemned and protested strongly” against what the state … Continue reading "Cuban Government Lashes Out At Scholarships For Young Cubans In The United States / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 21 September 2016 — On the shelves of the markets that sell goods in Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) prices have skyrocketed and shortages have become chronic. The problem in the state owned stores – which Cubans call “shopping,” using the English word – is aggravated by the lack of liquidity. In this … Continue reading "Cuba’s ‘Informal Market’ is Transformed with La Chopi / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 15 September 2016 — At night the corner is illuminated and the new awnings surprise passersby. The Casa Potín restaurant, for decades, embodied the decline of state services, but now it is experiencing a rebirth in the hands of the cooperative. So far, as a cooperative, it has managed to increase the … Continue reading "A Restaurant Cooperative’s Uphill Battle / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 31 August 2016 – The daughter of necessity and ingenuity, the application Conoce Cuba (Meet Cuba) has been gaining ground on Android phones throughout the island. With an intuitive design, well made and functional, it stands out among other tools that also seek to provide information about private services and places … Continue reading "“Conoce Cuba,” An App Focused On The Private Sector / 14ymedio, Zunilda Marta" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 29 August 2016 — The biggest dream of those ousted is to live to tell the tale. Each passing day since he was removed from his post as Fidel Castro’s personal secretary, Carlos Valenciaga feels he is closer to outliving him. His fantasy in the midst of the old books, the dusty … Continue reading "Pajama Plan at the National Library / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Vinales, 23 August 2016 – The tables are ready, the glasses shine on the tablecloths and the bar displays a wide variety of beverages. Nevertheless, the restaurant is closed. Some months ago, the ample dining room of Casa Nenita, in Viñales, was full of tourists, but the construction of a pool resulted … Continue reading "Viñales Pool Owners Rebel Against the Bureaucracy / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
14ymedio,Zunilda Mata, Havana, 12 August 2016 — With the same discretion that eight years ago led the government to censor a popular Cuban version of Craigslist, it has now lifted its electronic blocking, without any announcement or public statements. The news of the unlocking the Revolico, a site filled with classified ads, has revolutionized the … Continue reading "Cuban Government Lifts Censorship Against Revolico / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading