The Next Day / Rebeca Monzo

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 the intelligence, the repetitive crass way of manipulating information they exercise.

Of course, a large part of the population stay away from it “not to complicate their life” but the saddest thing is that, when faced with cameras and microphones of reporters on the streets, fear paralyzes them and unscrupulously, they lie to “caress the official ears” and stay out of trouble. Unfortunately this is a comfortable attitude, lacking of civility and within their inner circles, usually express themselves critically against the regime. Continue reading “The Next Day / Rebeca Monzo”

“Venezuela Is Worse Than Cuba” / 14ymedio, Henry Constantin

Delsa Solórzano opposition lawmaker (c), with Mr. Angel Medina (r) and Richard Blanco (l) in the "Perspectives of the Opposition" forum in the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington DC, United States. (EFE)
Delsa Solórzano opposition lawmaker (c), with Mr. Angel Medina (r) and Richard Blanco (l) in the “Perspectives of the Opposition” forum in the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington DC, United States. (EFE)

14ymedio, Henry Constantin, Washington, 2 May 2016 — “There is nothing: No power, no water, no supplies in hospitals, there is no aspirin, no food, no security,” said Venezuelan Deputy Angel Medina in a debate on Venezuela organized last week by the Inter-American Dialogue Center of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

“Venezuela is worse than Cuba,” added Delsa Solorzano, another of the six deputies from different parties grouped within the Democratic Unity Roundtable, which won an absolute majority in the last general elections but which does not control the executive power in Caracas. These parliamentarians are participating in a tour to seek solidarity for the release of political prisoners and for the desperate situation Venezuela is experiencing.
Continue reading ““Venezuela Is Worse Than Cuba” / 14ymedio, Henry Constantin”

Living Near A Wifi Area Is Like Winning The Lottery / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada

Santa Amalia Park in Arroyo Naranjo, Havana, one of the wifi areas enabled in the Cuban capital. (14ymedio)
Santa Amalia Park in Arroyo Naranjo, Havana, one of the wifi areas enabled in the Cuban capital. (14ymedio)

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 be placed absorb everyone’s interest.

The local division of the Cuban Telecommunications Company SA (ETECSA) told local media on Thursday that they are currently working in different districts in the capital to open ten new public WiFi areas, in a first step to meet the commitments for this year. Continue reading “Living Near A Wifi Area Is Like Winning The Lottery / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada”

May Day In Cuba: Many Commitments, No Demands / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata

From the early hours of the morning thousands of people gathered around the Plaza de la Revolution in Havana for the parade on Labor Day.(14ymedio)
From the early hours of the morning thousands of people gathered around the Plaza de la Revolution in Havana for the parade on Labor Day.(14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 1 May 2016 — With the slogan “For Cuba: Unity and Commitment,” massive Labor Day parades were held across Cuba. The march in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution started at 7:30 in the morning, with the presence of some 600,000 people and was marked by references to the recently concluded 7th Communist Party Congress and ex-president Fidel Castro’s 90th birthday, coming up in August.

Among the thousands of posters on display, none addressed workers’ demands or wage increases. A peculiarity of the May Day parades that have taken place on the island for the last half century has been that their principle motivation was to show the commitment of professionals and workers to the political system. Continue reading “May Day In Cuba: Many Commitments, No Demands / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata”

The Bridge / 14ymedio, Pedro Junco Lopez

Barack Obama greets the Cuban people after his speech at Havana’s Gran Teatro.
Barack Obama greets the Cuban people after his speech at Havana’s Gran Teatro.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Junco Lopez, Camaguey, 27 April 2016 – Some have suggested I write about US President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Cuba. A great challenge after so much criticism about it. However, despite the blockade I’ve suffered in international research, I lean to two very attractive topics—and as far as my information sources permit me to know—two that have been hardly discussed: first, the oratory style of the American president who, according to what they are saying here, “has the Cuban people in his pocket”; and second, “the bridge” between the two systems and societies, which both presidents brought up. Continue reading “The Bridge / 14ymedio, Pedro Junco Lopez”

Cuba Will Lose One Million People In Next Decade / 14ymedio, Abel Fernandez, Mario Penton

Cuba will continue to have the oldest population in Latin America. (14ymedio / Luz Escobar)
Cuba will continue to have the oldest population in Latin America. (14ymedio / Luz Escobar)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Abel Fernandez and Mario Penton, Miami, 29 April 2016 — By 2025, the Cuban population will be reduced to 10 million. The dramatic demographic change on the island—from 11 million to 10 million inhabitants—is propelled by the low rates of fertility and birth, and an elevated emigration, a group of experts recently explained at Florida International University.

In addition, Cuba will continue to have the oldest population in Latin America. Currently, 19% of its inhabitants are over 60, and forecasts indicated that this figure will reach 30% in less than a decade. Continue reading “Cuba Will Lose One Million People In Next Decade / 14ymedio, Abel Fernandez, Mario Penton”

Panama Prepares The Final Transfer Of Cubans To Mexico / 14ymedio, Mario Penton

Cuban children remain with their parents in Panama to wait to continue the route to the US. (Silvio Enrique Campos, a Cuban immigrant in Panama)
Cuban children remain with their parents in Panama to wait to continue the route to the US. (Silvio Enrique Campos, a Cuban immigrant in Panama)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 29 April 2016 — The Panamanian Foreign Ministry has begun to take a census of more than 670 Cuban migrants in the hostel of Los Planes in the province of Chiriqui, in anticipation of their transfer to Mexico in the coming days. Another three thousand Cubans, most stranded on the border with Costa Rica, will also benefit from this operation, the last of its type, according to the Panamanian president, Juan Carlos Varela on Thursday.

“Starting from the completion of transfer operation of the Cubans counted in the census, those who enter later will have to make a decision about what country they want to return to; we can’t become a permanent logistical support for the trafficking of migrants,” warned the Panamanian president. Continue reading “Panama Prepares The Final Transfer Of Cubans To Mexico / 14ymedio, Mario Penton”

Central Bank Denies Rumor About Devaluation Of Cuban Convertible Peso / 14ymedio

A line outside a currency exchange (Cadeca) Friday, amid rumors of a reduction in the value of Cuban convertible pesos CUC. (14ymedio)
A line outside a currency exchange (Cadeca) Friday, amid rumors of a reduction in the value of Cuban convertible pesos CUC. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 29 April 2016 — The Central Bank of Cuba on Friday denied a possible reduction in the value of the Cuban convertible pesos. State financial institution reported that “the exchange rate remains at 24 Cuban pesos per one Cuban convertible peso for sales of CUC by the population at banks and Cadeca (currency exchanges).”

For several days the lines in front of currency exchanges had been lengthening due to the growing rumors of a fall in the value of the CUC. However, the Central Bank says the rumor as “false information about the reduction in the exchange rage that is currently applied.”

The explanatory note published in the official press notes that “the report to the 7th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party confirmed, once more, the decision to guarantee bank deposits in foreign currency, Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) and Cuban pesos (CUP, as well as cash held by the population.”

Why Is the Official Press Crying Over the Fall in Oil Prices? / 14ymedio, Eliecer Avila

Nicolas Maduro enters the SAAC (South America and Arab countries) Summit on Wednesday in Riyadh. (Presidential press)
Nicolas Maduro enters the SAAC (South America and Arab countries) Summit on Wednesday in Riyadh. (Presidential press)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, Havana, 26 April 2016 — All of my life I’ve heard from mouth of the main leaders of the country that the high prices for many of the products sold in Cuba are caused, among other variables, by the “high cost of fuel on the world market.” This, according to them, raises the price of production processes inside and outside the country, creating an upward spiral that affects the price of goods and services.

“What small and underdeveloped economy can grow with prices of 126 dollars barrel of oil? Only rich countries can pay that, those who want the world to continue to be the same so that the South can’t develop. The imperialists are like this, they want to dominate the world according to their own desires.” Phrases like these were heard everyday on TV programs like The Roundtable.

Today, oil prices have fallen by nearly 75 percent, and the newspaper Granma acknowledges that this affected the recently announced “price adjustments” of certain products the government sells in Cuban convertible pesos (CUC).

Then, I wonder: What are Oliver Zamora Oria and all official Cuban journalists who speak on the subject doing accusing U.S. and Saudi Arabia of “not cooperating” with the intention of some OPEC members to increase prices ? Isn’t Cuba, a net importer of fuels, greatly benefited, like most of the planet, by the current prices?

In my opinion, we should be jumping for joy, because I assume that if we can afford cheaper crude oil, then the agricultural sectors , transport, energy, industry etc. will be stimulated… What is the point of the strange anger of the Cuban Government press about the failure of the last meeting held in Doha, Qatar?

Many can be the interests that move the editorial decisions of the media monopoly in Cuba. But, definitely, the general interests of the nation and a greater benefit for the public are not part of them.

Translated by Alberto

‘The World and my Cuba in El Diario’ by Uva de Aragon / 14ymedio, Jose Gabriel Barrenechea

Cover of "The World and My Cuba in 'El Diario' " by Uva de Aragon
Cover of “The World and My Cuba in ‘El Diario’ ” by Uva de Aragon

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, José Gabriel Barrenechea Jose, Santa Clara, Cuba, 28 April 2016 – The World and My Cuba in ‘El Diario’ is a very difficult book to read, not for its style, which could not be more direct and comprehensive, but for the heavy emotional weight concentrated in each of its brief articles. The reader can do nothing more than take long breaks after reading them, in hopes that at some point this fiber that resonates through us finally stops, so that we can finally assimilate the sledgehammer of feelings and ideas with which the author has confronted us. I confess, for example, that after reading My Father and the Moon and My Mother and the Candy I had to put down the book I had just started reading for another day. Continue reading “‘The World and my Cuba in El Diario’ by Uva de Aragon / 14ymedio, Jose Gabriel Barrenechea”

Former Political Prisoners Say US Failed on Promise To Bring Their Families From Cuba / 14ymedio, Abel Fernandez, Mario Penton

Former Cuban political prisoners Niorvis Rivera (left) Aracelio Riviaux and Jorge Ramirez (right) speak with staff for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. (Courtesy)
Former Cuban political prisoners Niorvis Rivera (left) Aracelio Riviaux and Jorge Ramirez (right) speak with staff for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Abel Fernandez and Mario Penton, Miami, 28 April 2016 – Former Cuban political prisoners Niorvis Rivera, Aracelio Riviaux and Jorge Ramirezmet Thursday in Miami with staff for Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for help in bringing their relatives from Cuba.

The three were part of the group of 53 dissidents released as part of negotiations between Cuba and the United States that allowed the return to the island of the Cuban spies still in American prisons. But shortly after their release, the opposition members had been returned to prison. Continue reading “Former Political Prisoners Say US Failed on Promise To Bring Their Families From Cuba / 14ymedio, Abel Fernandez, Mario Penton”

Two Russian Deputies Propose Reestablishing Signal Intercept Station in Cuba / 14ymedio

Raul Castro and Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin
Raul Castro and Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin

14ymedio biggerTwo Russian Deputies put forward a proposal to President Vladimir Putin to study the reestablishment of the Lourdes signals interception center in Cuba, as well as the deployment of Russian missile launchers on the island “to protect the interests of Moscow and its allies,” as local media reported this Wednesday.

The initiative comes as a response to the agreement between the United States and Turkey which will allow the deployment in May of high mobility tactical missiles (Himars) in the Southeast part of the Ottoman country, near the border with Syria, to deal with attacks by the jihadist group the Islamic State. Continue reading “Two Russian Deputies Propose Reestablishing Signal Intercept Station in Cuba / 14ymedio”

Price Reductions on Food Items in Cuba Are Not Enough / Ivan Garcia

Price reductions in Cuba are insufficient
Price reductions in Cuba are insufficient (El Nuevo Herald)

Ivan Garcia, 25 April 2016 — It is a Black Friday of a different sort. In the United States the morning after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas discount season, where people wait in long lines to buy electronics, computers and clothing. But in Cuba on Friday, April 22 — a date when the military government has reduced prices by 20% on a variety of grocery items — there are no lines

As usually happens at Brimart, a grocery store in the heavily populated Tenth of October district where products are sold for hard currency, employees open the doors fifteen minutes late. Continue reading “Price Reductions on Food Items in Cuba Are Not Enough / Ivan Garcia”

May First North Korean Style / Rebeca Monzo

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 very much in the style of the extinct socialist countries.

This year, triggered by the huge welcome the Cuban people gave the visit of United States President Barack Obama, the Castro regime propaganda has reached extremes never before seen. The reappearance, on the public stage, of the now nearly forgotten leader of the Cuban Revolution, has intensified the veneration in the media of a person who already seems on the path to extinction. Continue reading “May First North Korean Style / Rebeca Monzo”

“The opposition has not matured,” Laments Martha Beatriz Roque / 14ymedio, Lilianne Ruiz

Martha Beatriz Roque. (14ymedio)
Martha Beatriz Roque. (14ymedio)

14ymedio, Lilianne Ruiz, Havana, 28 April 2016 —  Martha Beatriz Roque has returned from Miami after receiving a permit from the Cuban government in late February, which authorized her to leave the country one time. The activist was one of the seven former prisoners of the Black Spring of 2003 who benefited from this permit. She returns with a certain pessimism and a critical impression of the state of the Cuban opposition.

Lilianne Ruiz. You returned from abroad after permission from the Cuban government, which allowed you to make only one trip. What impressions did you bring back from your stay outside the country?

Martha Beatriz Roque. I come back with a tremendous pain in my heart about what I have seen there. In Miami there is the historic exile, who love their country, their fatherland, who talk about democracy, who think about Cuba constantly and who have a great nostalgia for the island, but this historic exile, unfortunately, is getting old and some of its members have died. Continue reading ““The opposition has not matured,” Laments Martha Beatriz Roque / 14ymedio, Lilianne Ruiz”