Juan Juan Almeida, 7 July 2016 — Yanetsi Azhares is a young Cuban woman who leaves nothing to chance. Only twenty-eight-years old, she knows what she wants. Her mother was a pastry chef who lived close to the Alondra ice cream parlor and whole life was spent saving up enough money to buy a little sweets shop. After a lot of work, she now has the privilege of owning the best and busiest ice cream parlor in Havana.
Juan Juan Almeida, 14 June 2016 — Capitalizing on the ill health of Dr. Eusebio Leal* to further strengthen its commercial and business supremacy over every corner of the island, the state-owned tourism company Habaguanex will in one day, October 30, assume ownership of the historic heart of Old Havana. The area will be completely controlled by that hotbed of Cuban predators, the Business Administrative Group (GAE), run by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (FAR).
Juan Juan Almeida, 9 June 2016 — Why is the minister of the interior not participating in the event commemorating the creation of the ministry he heads?
On Monday June 6 the Cuban military’s top celebrity hosted the main event marking the anniversary of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) at the Universal Hall of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR).
Army General Raúl Castro, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and president of both the Council of Ministers and the Council of State, presided over a celebration of almost epic proportions, which led many of us in the television viewing audience to wonder why the minister of the interior was not participating in an event commemorating the creation of the ministry he heads. Continue reading “So Where Is General Gondin? / Juan Juan Almeida”
Juan Juan Almeida, 4 June 2016 — A study conducted by the firm Boston Consulting Group reveals some very curious findings, which I find questionable, about Cuban consumers. It claims that Adidas is the best known brand on the island due, according to this report, “in large part because of Fidel Castro’s preference for the company’s tracksuits.”
The former commander-in-chief was unquestionably the ultimate promoter of Cuban Revolution abroad. It can be logical to assume that, in a country — and I am talking here about demographics — that is one of the oldest in the Americas, its citizens still look up to the irreverent, bearded young man who angrily challenged US interests from his podium in “the plaza.” But actually it is something much simpler. The leader has grown old and is now looked upon with a certain nostalgia by people over the age of fifty-five. Continue reading “What Does Adidas’ Fame Have to Do with Fidel Castro? / Juan Juan Almeida”
Juan Juan Almeida, 16 Ma 2016 — Quite unexpectedly, Cuban authorities say they are prepared to suspend or cancel medical missions to Brazil and Venezuela.
Ever since Cuban informants, who are spread across the continent, warned that Brazilian legislators were planning to remove President Dilma Rousseff from power and long before President Maduro began facing pressure from the opposition-controlled National Assembly, the Cuban government — calculating as ever and with a proven penchant for creating adversity — secretly devised a plan B, which has now begun to take effect. Continue reading “Cuba to Close Medical Missions in Brazil and Venezuela / Juan Juan Almeida”
Juan Juan Almeida, 9 May 2016 — In connection with a top secret theft targeting the Interior Ministry of the Republic of Cuba (MININT), a high number of officials have been arrested, a colonel in charge of computer operations has committed suicide in his own office on the eighth floor of Building A at MININT headquarters, and a foreign businessman is being subjected to enormous pressure from the Cuban government.
Juan Juan Almeida, 12 May 2016 — The most expensive labels in Cuba are on the verge of the abyss. Mango, Gas, Zara, Paul & Shark, Adidas, Lacoste, Desigual and a few others present their calling cards to the Cuban government while naïve foreign businessmen in the high-end textile industry look on, allowing themselves to be seduced. The stores pretend to be profitable but it is all an illusion. They are nothing more than a houses of cards, fragile and in danger of collapse.
Juan Juan Almeida, 11 April 2016 — This will not just be the seventh congress of a communist party condemned to being swallowed up by history. It will be the last.
Cuba is a small island filled with dangerously blinding lights. All this brightness dazzles the opposition. So much so that it cannot even manage to capitalize on the discontent of eleven million Cubans.
Juan Juan Almeida, 28 March 2016 — I do not generally like rehashing old topics. It tends to squash conversation. But I am making an exception in this case because a critical reader, who in a confrontational tone accused me of being one of Castro’s spies, asked my opinion of President Barack Obama’s speech at Havana’s Gran Teatro Theater.
Time is a better and much wiser judge, and in politics everything is a production, like a Rolling Stone’s concert.
Juan Juan Almeida, 31 March 2016 — Not so long ago there was a rumor that high officials of MINIT had been arrested by the Ministry. In agreement with those implicated in the event and making a clear allusion comparable to Case No. 1 of 1989 [a highly respected Cuban general was executed for drug trafficking], there was speculation about a new report. But the rumor faded away under a suspicious silence and a potent, air-tight cloak of secrecy.
Theories have flaws, and even the Roman Empire lasted four centuries longer than predicted.
Juan Juan Almeida, 24 March 2016 — It is a few days before the start of the Cuban Communist Party Congress and Raul Castro is counting down the months until his retirement. He has everything more or less figured out. Almost. If you consider everything the president of both the Council of State and the Council of Ministers has said and done in the last two years, it quickly becomes apparent that it is all part of a plan in which he has weighed the possible consequences of an exponential loss of power. He knows that even if he wields power from the sidelines, as I anticipate will happen, there will be a handful of decisions about which he will not be consulted and, as happened to Fidel, he will find himself out of power.
Juan Juan Almeida, 22 March 2016 — President Barack Obama’s visit to Havana is replete with coded messages and defensive tactics. Why is it that at the start of the official ceremony we do not see Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel but rather Prince Alejandro Castro?
Cubans advised to stay home and watch Obama’s visit on TV
Juan Juan Almeida, 17 March 2016 — Obama arrives in Havana on March 20. However, arbitrary arrests continue and we see only the most minimal progress on the issue of human rights and respect for basic freedoms.
The truth is Raul Castro is not pleased by all the enthusiasm surrounding his visitor, who on Havana’s streets is more popular than George Clooney.
Juan Juan Almeida,18 February 2016 — The latest property to be auctioned off is part of a plan to lure big American investors called Project Ramon. It involves destroying a small local beach and converting it into an exclusive tourist resort catering to a very few.
Raul Castro with his grandson (l.) and French president Hollande (r)
Juan Juan Almeida, 8 February 2016 — Some say that Raúl Guillermo Rodríguez Castro — also known as “the Crab,” “the Grandson-in-Chief,” “Raulito” and even “Arnol-mal” (or Evil Arnold, an ironic nickname referring to the former body builder, actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, and also a slight twist of pronunciation on the Spanish word anormal, or abnormal) — is considered to be among the contenders for the Cuban crown.
I can see that, but a crown without scepter is simply a Pamela.