My cousin, Miguel Coyula, has a request through crowdfunding to support his new movie about the cloning of the New Man. Click here to view the trailer and support this Cuban artist.
12 June 2013
My cousin, Miguel Coyula, has a request through crowdfunding to support his new movie about the cloning of the New Man. Click here to view the trailer and support this Cuban artist.
12 June 2013
Exchanging Marriage for a House. Read this please!!!
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2013, 3:43 PM
Sir: For people like you who make fraudulent marriages or use Canadian citizens to come to this country and then let them ship out, the image of Cubans in this country is falling so low. More and more Cubans are seen here as social climbers, ruthless, without values or scruples and it is for acts like this. You know that if the Ministry of Immigration finds out what you are doing not will the person will not get a visa and be blacklisted but you can lose your status here? (Which obviously would not be a loss for this country).
On the other hand your announcement is very good especially when talking about the benefits of this country, yet in it you do not talk about the new Canadian law which, from October 26, , requires that spouses MUST live in a legitimate relationship for a minimum period of two years after obtaining residency, or they can lose their status and you can lose yours too. Here is the link to Immigration Canada where this law is.
Since you speak so clearly in your ad you should touch on the point that does not seem fair to the person who accepts this not tell them all the pros and cons.
I am not writing this to upset you, but to get you to do a little reflection, as you have shown yourself a bit aggressive in your writing and this isn’t a good way to think things through.
I must say that I totally agree with you that the marketers in Cuba don’t have their feet firmly on the ground and are not aware of the reality in which they live, asking these amounts beyond all logic. But what you propose is a fraud from every point of view (for the Canadian government who opened the doors of their country and to the Cuban citizen to whom you didn’t speak clearly about things here).
From your message I can deduce that you’re doing very well here so I think that instead of this you can gather a certain amount and negotiate a fair price, in the end according to you one achieves here everything he wants.
(I didn’t find the classified ad that gives rise to this answer, but I can imagine it. NOTE from Regina)
27 May 2013
Almost two years late, the famous fiber optic cable will be available to the population within a few days. One hundred and eighteen Internet sites will be opened throughout the country, although the number set up by the State phone company, ETECSA, for information isn’t working (cleverly or by chance the phone number is 118).
I don’t know the details, I don’t know if the rooms will have three computers or twenty, but the news is positive. Many Cubans will be able, for the first time, to look into the abyss of the web, the initial dizziness will pass.
My son, on hearing the news, first said that having Facebook and Revolico (the Cuban “Craigslist”), people would be content. Then I got a little petty: “Don’t think they’ll be that content.” The prices are a step forward compared to connecting in a hotel, but “our working people” whose wages, let’s say, are around 400 Cuban pesos a month (about $16.00 US), will have to work more than a day to afford a single hour of surfing the Internet.
If they also want international email, this hour will cost them three and a half days’ wages, and if they get greedy and want to go out on the information highway, one hour will relieve them of a fourth of their monthly salary.
In a population of 11 million, I don’t doubt that at least while it’s a novelty they will form lines to get into these rooms. It’s speculation on my part, but it would be best if they offer the service 24 x 7.
I suspect we will navigate “a la Chinese,” and in addition to set sites, commitments in writing, the room directors walking behind users to verify their good behavior, and big character posters explaining what we can and cannot do, we would leave behind our browsing history and “the comrades who serve the sector” could access this information, thus depreciating the value of privacy.
But I am content. At last we Cubans can surf the Internet!
29 May 2013
Dear readers, feisbuseros (Facebook) friends, my Twitter people: Thanks for the massive birthday greetings, if it were possible, I would be as attentive as you are; it’s not from disinterest that I don’t respond to comments nor follow Twitter accounts, nor more often recommend in #foloufraidei, nor update Facebook. Someday, someday …
24 May 2013
Cuban television is not characterized by the quality of its domestic programming so I review the movie schedule to see if anything interests me. The only ones I follow are the pirated ones: Grey’s Anatomy, Suits, and Dirty Sexy Money; this latter despite its late night schedule.
But sometimes, by chance, by pure chance, I stumble on programs produced by Cuban TV, which produces little, bad and late, and luckily fills in with the canned. In a fatal chance I’ve seen some scenes of a horrible thing called Santa Maria of I Don’t-Know-What that shows on the soap opera hour; but the other day I endured with a stoicism worthy of a better cause a humor (?!) program made by women. They were competing, there was a really condescending jury, raising their cards with their ratings.
Bad taste, vulgarity, lack of grace, lack of originality; and an example of all of the above, the host of the program. In the Federation of Cuban Women and the Cuban Writers and Artists Union (UNEAC), institutions that concern themselves interchangeably with female integrity and raising cultural values, should not have seen More Women (with the “more” [plus] sign that I don’t find on the keyboard), this monstrosity of “more” for which I can not find enough adjectives on the keyboard.
20 May 2013
I put up this post this past Friday, but the WordPress goblins made it disappear. With my scarce connection time and my barely adequate technical knowledge, I wasted a copious amount of time looking for responses in a forum, and along the way, restoring this post. Management having failed, I’ll do this the old way: by repeating it.
The Revoliquera* Experience
If I ask a youth with occasional internet access which page referring to Cuba he visits, almost certainly he’ll respond with Facebook. It doesn’t matter that it’s not Cuban. The social network par excellence keeps him up to date with his artists and favorite athletes and let’s him meet up with his school friends, who today can be the same in Miami as in Madrid or Moscow.
But if I consult a young fan of technology or video games, or who is just growing out of his first childhood, the more sure is that he’ll answer that his favorite page is Revolico, the site of national sales & buying, born from the lack of a physical space inside Cuba to accommodate a classified ad.
It’s impossible to walk down the street and not see bills posted on phone poles announcing electronic musical concerts or house parties. On bus walls appear printed announcements of exchanges, nor does a car attract any attention with a cardboard box behind the windshield with hurried letters that read: “FOR SALE”. The yellow pages of the telephone book increasingly recognize the emerging private services sector, but even there the space is insufficient to insert a perishable or offensive ad. Here is where the online note triumphs.
No matter the real estate market, where the false image of an enormous (and overpriced) residential listing is for sale, poking around on revolico.com reveals that Cubans aren’t too interested in whether or not the government is going to build socialism; but meanwhile, each provides their own management style, and for some it doesn’t seem to be going badly. The productive forces of this country are in the starting blocks waiting for the starter’s gun to go off, and Revolico is becoming pre-competition training.
And if you don’t have access to the internet, that is no longer a problem. Inside a weekly or monthly 500 GB pack you can find an offline version of the popular site that now permits even the opening of links to photos; “It’s exactly the same as seeing it on the Internet,” a neighbor told me who copied her own version from me last week. As it is often forbidden to access Revolico from work and school, or the page won’t open and is redirected to the searcher, disturbed souls have posted alternative addresses and proxies that lead to the revoliquera (messy) experience.
Office services, translations, language classes, wedding dress rental, jobs, loans with interest, clowns, quotes … that amalgam makes up the pages of Revolico, a much better known site within Cuba than Generation Y, and more visited than CubaDebate.
Translator’s note: “Revoliquera” is an adjective roughly meaning “messy” created from the word “revolico” which in Cuban slang means “a mess”; it is the name of the Cuban site that is the equivalent of “Craigslist.”
Translated by: JT
13 May 2013
Freedom of information is an issue that has recently been addressed in the press about Cuba with regards to a statement by Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel at a seminar on education. And I mention the press about Cuba and not the press of Cuba, because the words of the Cuban Vice President were reported by the official press avoiding the pitfall that refers to the quality of … the official press.
The free flow of information has been mentioned cyclically with nuances and more or less presence over the fifty-some years of single party government. But not even in its stagnation can the government deny the impact of the technological revolution that has put global news a click away from a mobile phone.
I won’t try to analyze the technological gap that supposedly backed this revolution for the sake of ideological purity. That same ideological purity has made our “information” media a vehicle of propaganda, and has converted economic setbacks into political victories, to distort national and foreign history.
I won’t mention the responsibility of the U.S. government in denying Cuba access to ocean cables, because any careful reader will make the documented observation in this web 2.0 of bidirectional flow.
Much has been said about Telesur in recent times. And although the multinational has its own news bias, we Cubans have been able to glance at another form of news. After comparison, the Cuban television news, in addition to being stingy with the news, appears outdated, ancient, tacky. “Dossier”, one of the flagship programs of the chain, prior to Telesur being broadcast on Cuban television (although it was on 24 hour delay), also has an antiquated air if we compare it to the touch screens and the correspondents and hosts who interact from the four corners of the world.
I do not know what will be the fate of Telesur, the millionaire project funded mostly by the Venezuelan government, but if it ended tomorrow, we Cubans could watch the news. At least we could watch more news.
Returning to the words of Díaz-Canel, the challenge would be to put the government information system at the level to meet the demands of modern society, considering that internet access will become more and faster, and still prioritizing the socially beneficial internet that excludes the society as a whole, through this same information path it will be everywhere in a matter of hours.
Could the official media journalists actively move their practice to this other practice, that would be novel for Cubans but is the norm in world news today? If I open the newspaper Granma, if I tune in the TV news, I think that for many of them it’s too late, because they don’t know how to do it differently.
But the cardinal issue is that, if the political will gathered in the last Party Congress (three years ago!) existed, they would have replaced the leadership of an exclusive news station like Radio Reloj, they would have removed the current directors of the newspaper and television news.
But they are there, no one has bothered them and they in their turn have not bothered to introduce changes in their field of work because where information policy is decided, where is it known that “with the development of information technologies, the social networks, computers and the Internet, to prohibit something is almost an impossible chimera,” (the words of Diaz-Canel, the emphasis mine), clinging while they can to that almost so that even with the change, everything remains the same.
From Diario de Cuba.
14 May 2013
This Mother’s Day has been distorted over the years. In among the shortages you see everyone going crazy looking for treats for their teacher, their aunt, for the neighbor who is so good, for my friend Fulanita* who gives me something every year, and also buying an impressive number of picture postcards to give to every mother they know.
I do not know if it is a practice of the so-called consumer society that has infiltrated around here, but for me it doesn’t matter. I enjoy my mom every day, I spoil her whenever I can, and if I can’t I already did, we don’t get all in a twist on the issue dates.
But this is me and my circumstances. For all my readers, have a wonderful day and love those close to you very much. If you can, give them something, but don’t give them something as a substitute. (Horrors!!! Now I feel in a position to give advice…)
*Translator’s note: “Fulano/a” is equivalent to “so-and-so”… the unnamed somebody.
12 May 2013
My friend Ana experienced Chavez’s death like that of a family member — tearfully and without music. Whe nshe speaks of him, her voice breaks. She does not know how to explain the reason for such devotion, but she relied on the Venezuelan broadcaster Telesur for all the details. Since the subject was very emotional for her, it was not until two days ago that I asked what she thought about the recent Venezuelan elections. Her response came as a surprise.
“I would not have voted for either of them. Capriles is from the extreme right, but I don’t know what Chavez saw in Maduro. Someone must have suggested that he read his speeches because he knows how to talk. What he does not know how to do is shut up.”
I heard something similar, though less concise and forthright, from my neighbor Tomás, who said to a visitor with sadness, “Maduro works hard, but he does not have Chavez’s charisma.”
An observation by my mother, who at ninety-six is as lucid as ever, reiterates one often heard during the Venezuelan presidential campaign. “The worst thing he could do is to try to imitate [Chavez],” she noted.
I have also heard cynical comments from people who peevishly detest Maduro, but who detest even more the power outages from which we Cubans have been spared, at least for the next three years.
3 May 2013
Although the natural desire of new entrepreneurs is to succeed, the mentality acquired during many years is like the invasive marabou weed.
To please my mom, who had a “craving” after seeing the menu in one of those new “self-employed” businesses I asked to take out an Elena Ruz. I received good service and after some delay which I made a joke about, to which they responded that each order was prepared on the spot, they sent me off with a box inside a bag that would be a surprise for Mom. It was a surprise, but for me.
I had no idea what an Elena Ruz was, but my mom had a good memory. What was in the box was toasted bread (and I suspect it wasn’t fresh) with a light smear of unidentifiable jam, and diced chicken. I was more frustrated than my mom so I returned to the private restaurant, the paladar, and asked to speak to the person in charge who turned out to be a young woman with a nice manner about her.
Advised by my mom, I knew what ingredients and preparation were supposed to be for this spectacular sandwich, and especially how to prepare it, I told the young girl that what they sold could be called a Lina Ruz (the girl didn’t understand anything), Elena the Russian or any other kind, but it was NOT an Elena Ruz.
Her reaction was defensive: The clients like them, no one has complained, everyone has a different opinion about each plate, the culinary standards… it was so much that the only thing I said was, “If you order a daiquiri, and someone brings you a drink that, instead of lemon juice has orange juice, it may be tasty, but it is NOT a Daiquiri.
I left there with a deja vu of a State restaurant, almost convinced that the client didn’t know anything and was never right.
Translator’s note: The recipe calls for a baguette sliced lengthwise, cream cheese, strawberry jam, and sliced turkey breast, and the assembled sandwich is then toasted.
24 April 2013
I’m not exaggerating if I tell you that for more than I month it’s been known with precision the exact number of participants by province, union and sector that will fill the country’s plazas with color in “spontaneous” marches for May Day.
What are these Cuban workers celebrating? In reality, they’re not celebrating anything. They consume a representation that started out being genuine but that has shed meaning along the way. In contrast to the working class in other countries, even though they have equal or greater reasons to do so, they do not fight to increase insufficient wages, they don’t demand an end to the dual monetary system, and they don’t unite against the possibility of being laid off, they don’t protest about the slowness and shallowness of the economic reforms, they don’t organize to restructure the union that represents them.
One of the slogans that will preside over the march this year is: “For a prosperous and sustainable socialism.” If there ever really was socialism, at its beginning it brought changes in education and health-care, which, since the disappearance of the Soviet subsidy, haven’t stopped deteriorating, but prosperity has been an elusive goal of the working class, which at one time perceived the real possibility of reaching it through their own efforts, for long years so demonized.
With regards to sustainability, they should have the grace not to be so dramatic; they’ve had every opportunity over more than half a century at the helm of the government and haven’t even managed food independence despite constantly repeating the official propaganda about the dangers of the Blockade and the Imperialist Threat.
It’s a paradox that the workers march to celebrate conquests that we’ve enjoyed for a half a century or more, but are incapable or organizing themselves around demands that affect their daily lives. Meanwhile, the Cuban working class continues marching being slogans that represent nothing, the legacy of the Chicago Martyrs still leave much to be done among us.
1 May 2013
My interest in Human Rights in the United States is merely informative. There, if any or all of these rights are violated, the organizations of civil society themselves will enforce their demands. But it seems cynical to me on the part of the Cuban government to condition their commitment to compliance with the inalienable rights recognized by the international community on their enemy’s breach of them.
This attitude of being victimized is very bad when it come so this subject where Cuba has gaps; if we are a model society to which humanity should aspire, that example should start by guaranteeing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in full to all its citizens. As long as respect for human rights is selective, everything else will be nothing but demagoguery.
29 April 2013