Gente De Zona Launches the Single ‘Eres Tú’ To Get the Audience Dancing This Summer

The Cuban duo Gente de Zona, Randy Malcom (l) and Alexander Delgado (r), pose in an archive photo / EFE/Marlon Pacheco

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Miami, 6 June 2024 — The Cuban duo Gente de Zona releases their new single, Eres Tú, an “exciting musical anthem” that seeks to get the public dancing this summer with a mixture of reggaeton, tropical rhythms and afro-beats, their communication agency said on Thursday. The song is produced by Alejandro Arce and Angel Arce (Los Pututis), also responsible for the production of the album Demasiado [Too Much] from Gente De Zona, from which this last single has been extracted.

Gente de Zona released, last April, their new studio album Demasiado, a set of ten songs that reflect an amalgam of rhythms and genres, as well as the “danceable” style of this Cuban duo.

The album includes compositions by Alexander Delgado Hernández and Randy Malcom Martínez, the members of the duo. continue reading

“Gente de Zona continues to enjoy the success of its album Demasiado and prepares to bring all of Cuba’s flavor to Europe,” says the statement in reference to the 22-concert tour that the duo begins on June 21 in Casablanca (Morocco).

 “Gente de Zona continues to enjoy the success of its album ’Demasiado’ and prepares to bring all of Cuba’s flavor to Europe

The popular salsa and reggaeton duo will visit Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Sweden, France, Italy, Spain (where they will perform nine concerts), Belgium and Germany. The last concert will be held in Rimini (Italy) on August 4.

The single of the six Latin Grammy winners is accompanied by a video clip that is the last of Demasiado, the Series, a collection of six music clips made by Cuban director Pedro Vázquez that reflect “all the energy and joy of the Cuban duo.”

Winner also of 12 Latin Billboards, Gente de Zona made the international leap with the help of the 2014 single Bailando, along with Enrique Iglesias and Descemer Bueno.

Throughout its career, Gente de Zona has collaborated with artists such as Jennifer López, Kylie Minogue, Thalía, Pitbull, Carlos Vives, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Gerardo Ortiz, Carlos Rivera and Deorro, among others.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Solar Parks in Cuba Are Promised Despite the Collapse of Renewable Energies in 2023

Renewables fell on the Island by 6.4% compared to the previous year and barely accounted for 3.6%

Russia “is actively working” on Cuban soil to construct facilities that use renewable resources for energy production / IPS

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 6 June 2024 — The Government insists on presenting renewable energies as the great hope to solve Cuba’s energy crisis, despite the fact that, just three days ago, the report published by the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI) could not paint a worse picture.

Renewables fell on the Island by 6.4% compared to the previous year and barely accounted for 3.6% of energy generation, far from the official target of 24% for 2030. But this Thursday, the official press returns to the charge: the plans for the development of renewable energy do not stop. In Holguín, for example, two solar parks will be built with a generation capacity of 20 megawatts (MW). The “land movement” for the works of the first of them has already begun in the People’s Council of Cajimaya, municipality of Mayarí.

According to Ahora, quoting Fernando Hechavarría Pupo, an official of the Holguín Electric Company, the second park will be established in the Miraflores neighborhood, in the municipality of Moa, where “soil studies and excavations are being carried out.” A third is planned for the town of Potrerillo, but here, Hechavarría Pupo explained, “the panels cannot be mounted on the ground, so a casting process that will take longer is necessary.” continue reading

 The authorities have promised to install a total of 42,000 solar panels by December 2024 or January 2025

The authorities have promised to install a total of 42,000 solar panels by December  2024 or January 2025, when, they say, “their installation will be completed by providing energy” to the National Electro-Energy System (SEN).

This Thursday, the Russian Deputy Minister of Energy, Evgeni Grabchak, also pointed out to the Sputnik news agency that his country “is actively working” in the construction on Cuban soil of facilities that use renewable resources for energy production.

“As far as the construction of power plants and networks is concerned, it is above all with Cuba that we maintain an intense collaboration,” Grabchak said during the St. Petersburg Forum, which takes place until Saturday, June 8. Cuban Deputy Prime Minister Ricardo Cabrisas is participating in the Forum, seeking financing for the 2030 Cuban Development Plan.

According to ONEI, in 2023 Cuba imported 73.5% more fuel than the previous year to produce electricity in rented generators and floating power plants. The energy generated by imported oil reached the equivalent of 31% of that produced in thermoelectric plants with the national fuel.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Why Do Remittances to Cubans Only Provide Subsistence?

People waiting in line to get their remittances / Ernesto Mastrascusa / EFE

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yaxis Cires, Madrid, 20 May 2024 — Last summer 27% of Cuban households received some sort of remittance from relatives living abroad according to a 2023 report* by the Madrid-based Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH). This is a significant reduction compared to the previous two years (34% and 37%, respectively) and is presumably due to efforts by many families to help their relatives get out of Cuba by any means possible. Another factor for the decline could be a certain level of donor fatigue after decades of not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Faced with daily challenges such as power outages, shortages of food, medicine and transportation as well as the lack of basic freedoms, many Cubans rely on aid from abroad just to get by. This is especially true for retirees, whose monthly pensions are worth less than a carton of 30 eggs or a kilogram of powdered milk. But nothing is easy on the island, which many on the international left portray as the model of social rights.

According to the aforementioned study, 41% of those who receive remittances said they do not have enough to survive. Another 34% said that, while they do have enough, they cannot afford any extras. It is difficult to escape the reality of poverty that today affects 88% of households and that causes at least 78% of Cubas to sacrifice one or two meals a day.

In quite a few countries, remittances have helped energize national economies. For example, many Colombians and Mexicans living abroad invest a portion of their income in their native countries, whether that be in small businesses, real estate or their children’s educations. Why is it that, in Cuba, remittances only provide subsistence?

The answer can be found in the disastrous Cuban economy, the lack of freedom, the absence of legal protections, and the state’s dominant role in the economy. A combination of problems endemic to a system that does not work, is poorly managed and is led by a regime with an almost overwhelming distrust of the Cuban exile community, whose money it likes but whose success it fears.

Meanwhile, as the Cuban regime wavers between “not wanting to” and “not knowing how to,” people pay an enormous human cost. An overwhelming hijacking of millions who are subjected to constant pointless demands via state media for sacrifice and reminders that they live in “paradise.”

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*Editor’s note: The article’s author is director of political strategy for the OCDH.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuba Enters the UNICEF Report on Severe Child Poverty

Thirty-three percent of children under five years of age in Cuba suffer from moderate poverty / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/EFE, Madrid, 6 June 2024 — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has included Cuba for the first time in its report on severe child poverty. The text, published on Wednesday, indicates that 9% of the island’s child population suffers from severe poverty; that is, they have a maximum of two of the eight foods considered necessary for a healthy life. In addition, it points out that 33% of minors (considered up to five years old) suffer from moderate poverty, which means that they have at their disposal between three and four of those foods.

Cuba did not appear in the institution’s 2022 report on the same issue. In 2021, as stated in one of the graphs, it was below 5%, the limit set by Unicef to consider the existence of serious child poverty.

These data join others from different organizations, demonstrating the resounding fall of the country in all tables of prosperity. Last February, it was announced that Cuba fell 30 places in the UN Human Development Index (HDI) in just 15 years, surpassing the figures of the Special Period and destroying the traditional propaganda of the regime. continue reading

In its report this Wednesday, UNICEF records that one in four children under the age of five in the world – about 181 million – suffers from severe food poverty. This increases their chances of “emaciation” by up to 50%, a form of malnutrition that endangers their lives.

One in four children under the age of five in the world – about 181 million – suffers from severe food poverty

Of the total, 65% reside in only 20 countries; about 64 million children are in South Asia and 59 million in sub-Saharan Africa. In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, where Cuba is counted, 9% of minors suffer from severe poverty (a total of 5 million) and 28% from moderate poverty (18 million).

In the East Asia-Pacific region – China, Indonesia, Burma and the Philippines – there are 59 million children suffering from food poverty.

The text analyzes the impacts and causes of food deprivation among the youngest in the world in almost 100 countries and in all income groups. It warns that millions of children under the age of five cannot access or consume a nutritious and diverse diet to maintain optimal growth and development in early childhood and in later stages.

Four out of five children in this situation are fed only with breast milk/milk and/or a staple food with starch, such as rice, corn or wheat. Fewer than 10% of these minors eat fruits and vegetables, and fewer than 5% eat nutrient-rich foods such as eggs, fish, poultry or meat.

“Children who live in a situation of severe food poverty are children who live on the edge of the abyss. At the moment, that is the reality for millions of children, and this can have an irreversible negative impact on their survival, growth and brain development,” said the Executive Director of Unicef, Catherine Russell, in statements collected by EFE.

The report also warns that, although countries are still recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of growing inequalities, conflicts and the climate crisis have raised food prices and the cost of living to record levels.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuban Oscar Ruiz Moreira, Former Director of the ‘Noticiero Nacional Deportivo’, Arrives in the United States

His wife and daughter remain on the island waiting to be reunited soon

Oscar Ruiz Moreira with his family, before he left for the United States / Facebook/DPorto Sports LLC

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 6 June 2024 — Tele Rebelde loses another key player due to the exodus the Island is experiencing. Oscar Ruiz Moreira, who for a long time was the star director of the National Sports News, left the country and has been in the United States since May.”Tele Rebelde loses one of the good guys both as a professional and as a person,” journalist Yasel Porto said on Facebook.

Speaking of Ruiz Moreira, who was also in charge of the Glorias Deportivas program, Porto said, “you could say that he was the best on a personal level among all the television directors of the channel, despite the always very complex and questionable atmosphere that has been experienced in this place.”

Ruiz Moreira’s wife and daughter remain on the island waiting to be reunited with him in a short time in the United States.”I hope he can soon be reunited with all his beloved people so that longing and distance do not prevent the possibility of a better future.”

Oscarito, as he was known, spent 35 years in the television medium, “his life,” as he acknowledged in an interview published on Thursday by Cuban continue reading

Television.”In it, I have grown, studied, worked on something that caught my attention since I was a child and where I have been fulfilled as a person,” Porto said.

“They have been unfair to me, but it has never affected my professionalism or the quality of my work, and it has always taught me to get to the end of things”

However, Ruiz Moreira also pointed out that at the television workplace “they have been unfair to me, but it has never affected my professionalism or the quality of my work, and it has always taught me to get to the end of things.”

In the same interview, the filmmaker, who began his career as a production assistant, lamented that today many young people believe that, because they graduate from the Higher Institute of Art, or make a video clip, they are already television directors and, “that is something else, it has to do with trying to feel the same as those who see the product from home.”

In his long career, Oscarito directed the Noticiero del mediodía, the Noticiero ANSOC of the Canal Habana, the Ponte al día newscast and the Noticiero Nacional Deportivo. He was also in charge of remote sports programs and participated in the Olympic Games.

Ruiz Moreira’s departure adds to that of narrator and sports commentator Ángel Luis Fernández, who arrived in Miami a few days ago through the humanitarian parole parole program, which as of May had favored 95,000 Cubans since its coming into effect in January 2023.

On May 4, the arrival in the United States of Angel Andrés Hernández Vargas, also known as Andy Vargas as announced. The “iconic” figure of the Coco radio station and especially of the Industriales team “was sponsored by one of his two sons, a resident of Miami.”

Translated by LAR

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuba Will Host 46 Artists From 22 Countries at the First Biennial of Political Humor in Havana / 14yMedio

The event is organized by the National Council of Plastic Arts and the Ministry of Culture / EFE

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, June 6, 2024 — The event will be held from June 14 to 28, its organizers reported this Thursday at a press conference. The theme of this event will be the Fight against Neo-Fascism and will have political cartoonists from countries such as Mexico, Venezuela and France. The event, organized by the National Council of Plastic Arts and the Ministry of Culture, will feature graphic exhibitions, conversations, workshops and film screenings in cinemas in the capital.

According to the organizers, the biennial seeks to “explore in a playful way the impact of globalization and the phenomena associated with it, from a perspective of political humor.”

Cuba has been repeatedly criticized by NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for limiting freedom of expression in general and, in particular, limiting its enjoyment on the internet (Decree 370) and on the part of its artists (Decree 349).

 “There are always limits to humor,” regardless of “each of the spaces where it is expressed”

In May 2022, the Cuban Parliament also approved a new Criminal Code that, among other matters, includes sanctions of up to three years for those who insult senior public officials. continue reading

Cuba published, this Wednesday, in the Official Gazette its first Social Communication Law, which prohibits, among other things, the dissemination of information that can “destabilize the socialist state” both in the media and in “cyberspace.”

EFE asked in the presentation of the biennial about the possibility of creating political satire of the Government or the leaders of the Communist Party of Cuba, as happens in other countries in the region.

In this regard, Arístides Hernández, winner of the National Humor Award 2020 and part of the committee that selected the works exhibited at the event, said at the press conference that “there are always limits in humor,” regardless of “each of the spaces where it is expressed.”

“In Islamic countries it is impossible to paint a caricature against the prophet Muhammad, and in the case of Cuba there are limits in humor in relation to the historical figures of the Revolution. That type of satire does not appear in the media here or, in the case of Spain, with the kings,” he argued.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

One Hundred of the 692 Existing Ration Stores in Las Tunas, Cuba, Were Looted in 2023

Sugar, rice, cooking oil and coffee from the basic family basket top the list of what was stolen, worth two million pesos

The authorities recognize that many of these establishments are in poor condition and without bars on the doors to protect them / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 6 June 2024 — One hundred bodegas (ration stores) in Las Tunas were looted by thieves in 2023. So far this year, there have been eighteen. The authorities of the province expressed alarm about the events to the official press this Wednesday but did not hesitate to focus on the material losses and damages to the State, although it is the population that clearly suffers the most.

According to Periódico 26, of all the robberies that occurred last year in state entities in the province, the “booty” of the bodegas represents 84.7%, with two million pesos of reported losses. “Of the products, 43,900 pounds of brown sugar and 2,900 pounds of refined; 30,000 pounds of rice; 244 gallons of cooking oil; 1,000 packages of coffee; and 1,180 pounds of beans, preserves and peas fell into the wrong hands,” the newspaper listed, complaining that the residents had to see it disappear from the basic family basket “in one stroke.”

The most affected municipality was Puerto Padre, with 30 robbed bodegas and more than a half-million pesos in losses, a quarter of the total in the province.

“How have the thieves been able to act with impunity, to the extent that there are some stores that have been robbed several times?” asks Periódico 26, and it immediately offers the answer. According to reports from the Ministry of the Interior in the province, thefts occur between two and six in the morning, usually in premises with precarious security (bars on the continue reading

windows, night guards) and with poor lighting, problems that it is up to the Directorate of Internal Trade to solve.

The provincial director of the ministry, Raymel Espinosa Saborit, told the newspaper that of the 692 bodegas in the province, about 100 are in poor condition and “lack security provisions,” and about half, 377, do not have guards hired by Commerce.

Espinosa explained that an analysis is currently being carried out in the province’s staff to offer custodian positions

Delving into this last point, Espinosa explained that an analysis is currently being carried out in the province’s workforce to offer guard positions to the bodegas that need it. However, offering the job is not a guarantee of anything. “We have a positive example: the municipality of Colombia is the only one that has its own guards in its 44 bodegas. Parallel to that reality is the problem that few people want to work as guards, so it is useless to offer employment,” he argues.

Likewise, in one of the cases of robbery counted by the authorities, the thieves took advantage of the fact that the guard left his post, to loot the El Sazón bodega last March. “They carried off two bags of rice, 3,000 boxes of cigars and some carbonated soft drinks. Of course, the guard was dismissed,” the new bodega administrator, Yoel Rey González, who has been in the position for barely a month, told the media.

A similar fate befell the administrator of the La Roca bodega, who was replaced by Malena Reynaldo on March 4, ten days after the place suffered a robbery. “They took everything: rice, sugar, oil, cigars, rum. Even the display bags that had sand for weight. The store was completely empty, and the neighbor’s camera recorded everything,” says the woman, who still returns occasionally at night with her husband to make sure that everything is okay.

Reynaldo is the mother of two girls, and her house, like that of her co-worker, is far from the establishment, so it is difficult for her, after a working day, to also take care of security due to the lack of a guard. Her effort goes even further: “The unit was very vulnerable, without any custodian or security. The two of us who work here paid to put bars on the doors and bought a new lock and key. All that cost 28,000 pesos that we paid with the contribution of some neighbors, and the window is still missing,” says the woman.

Periódico 26 criticizes the fact that the worker must pay out of her own pocket to keep the merchandise safe

For its part, Periódico 26 criticizes the fact that the worker must pay out of her own pocket to keep the merchandise safe and also has to go check the bodega from time to time. “In our inquiries we learned that they do it because, if there is a robbery, ’they are held responsible’. Of course, that is a misconception,” says the newspaper, but it’s obvious that the predecessors of Reynaldo and Rey were dismissed after the robberies.

With an attitude unusual for the official press, the newspaper even proposes solutions for the most urgent problems. “The poor lighting is a difficulty that could be eradicated, perhaps, from a joint effort with the Electric Company. Given the lack of lighting, why not move some of those lamps to the front of the bodegas, the most important economic objective of a community?” it proposes, but this time it’s the constant blackouts that are not taken into account.

As for security, “filling the guard positions is the mission of the Directorate of Commerce, and if there are no people willing to assume them, they must go to the specialized protection services,” the newspaper adds.

However, the final “scolding” is aimed at the residents of the province: “These bodegas belong to the Cuban State, but their goods belong to the population, so we are facing everyone’s problem. Hence, living with the lack of vigilance is inadmissible,” it argues.

“Robbing an establishment of this caliber doesn’t just happen by arriving and taking something in five minutes. It takes time and transport; therefore, it seems science fiction that no one hears or sees anything, especially when most of the robberies are committed in the urban area, with housing in the vicinity,” it adds.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuban Reporter Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca Arrives in Miami After a Forced Exit

The Cuban opponent, Yuri Valle Roca, is arrested by the Cuban police / EFE

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 5 June 2025 — Cuban journalist and opponent Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca arrived this morning in Miami with his wife, Eralidis Frómeta, after being forced out by the Cuban regime, ending the three years that the reporter had been in prison. “I received with deep emotion the news of the arrival in Miami of my friend and Cuban political prisoner Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca. After almost three years of unjust imprisonment, Yuri is finally free, although under the painful context of exile. I am filled with hope and relief,” wrote Normando Hernández, general director of the Cuban Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Press (ICLEP).

Valle Roca obtained humanitarian parole through his wife at the United States embassy in Havana, a condition imposed by the Government to release him in exchange for exile.

Valle Roca obtained humanitarian parole through his wife at the United States embassy in Havana, a condition imposed by the Government to release him in exchange for exile

“The arrival of Valle Roca in Miami marks the end of a painful chapter and the hope of a new beginning. His release is a reminder of the importance of surveillance and international pressure in the fight for human rights and freedom of expression. We celebrate his freedom, and the fight for justice, human rights, freedom and democracy in Cuba continues,” ICLEP stated on its website. continue reading

Valle Roca was scheduled to land in Miami at 10:35 on Wednesday on an American Airlines flight that was delayed.

The journalist, arrested in June 2021, was sentenced 13 months and later to five years in prison for the crimes of “enemy propaganda of a continuous nature and resistance.”

Valle Roca, 62, is the nephew of opposition leader Vladimiro Roca, who died last year, and the grandson of communist leader Blas Roca Calderío. In the time he has been imprisoned, the reporter has suffered the 15 types of torture described by the Madrid-based organization Prisoners Defenders (PD), which presented a document to the UN denouncing patterns of ill-treatment in Cuban prisons.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

In Cuba the Lowly Cucumber Is Becoming More Expensive Every Day

One of the cheapest vegetables in produce markets has gone from 50 to 300 pesos in the span of a year.

This week, cucumbers at the produce market at 19th and B streets in Havana’s Vedado district rose to 300 pesos a pound. / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Natalia López Moya, Havana, May 26, 2024 — Appreciated by some and disdained by others, the cucumber can cause a pitched battle at the dinner table if there are any of its staunch detractors are there. But, until recently, it mostly went unnoticed. And then its price spiked.

This week, cucumbers in the produce market at 19th and B streets in Havana’s Vedado district rose to 300 pesos a pound. Available in medium and large sizes, the shiny specimens on display at one of the best stocked markets in the Cuban capital garner attention for reasons other than their attractive presentation. “I don’t know if I’m here or in Dubai, because, at this price, it doesn’t seem like we’re in Cuba,” a customer complained on Friday.

“I don’t know if I’m here or in Dubai, because, at this price, it doesn’t seem like we’re in Cuba,” a customer complained on Friday

Just a year ago, the price of cucumbers at this same market was 50 pesos a pound. Why is it that it now costs six times more than it did just twelve months ago? The answer points to the country’s pervasive inflation, which has raised the cost of living, especially food. “With the price of vegetables these days, you can’t afford to eat healthy,” says the woman. continue reading

“In the past I’ve bought tomatoes when they were in season. And at my house we really like avocados in the summer. But lately I’ve been switching over to cucumbers because for me, they’re a better deal.” According to this consumer, they offer some practical advantages that make cooking easier. “They last a long time if you store them properly in the refrigerator. You can cut off one piece to make a salad and save the rest for another meal.”

Still, the cucumber has ardent opponents in virtually every home. “My son doesn’t like it because he says it gives him digestion problems,” the woman admits. “My grandmother showed me how to avoid this by first cutting off the ends and rubbing them against the cucumber. You also have make some grooves in it with a fork,” she explains.

Along with sweet potato and pumpkin — the most complete and cheapest food items provided by many private businesses — the cucumber is the item most often left uneaten on dining hall trays and in cardboard boxes. While diners are quick to devour “congris,” the very thin pork cutlet that looks like it was cut with a laser rather than a knife, they disdain the slices of the squash with the very white seeds.

Graphic showing the cost of cucumbers in the produce market at the corner of 19th and B streets in Havana’s Vedado district / 14ymedio

Though they may avoid it when it shows up on their plates, many people use it on their faces, prepare concoctions with it to hydrate their skin, or put it in pitchers of water to drink when dieting. Self-care has elevated it to the category of a miracle drug that both removes bags under the eyes and makes dull hair shiny.

“I buy it for my mother but nobody else in my house will eat it,” admits a young man who has just paid 370 pesos for three cucumbers at the market known as La Boutique. “You can’t buy tomatoes because they’re very bad at this time of year, lettuce and chard season is already over and avocados are just starting to come to market so the price is sky-high. All that’s left is the cucumber.”

“My mom sometimes makes pickles. Recently she has been obsessed with the idea that we have to prepare food that doesn’t require refrigeration because, with these power outages, everything spoils,” the young man says. “I don’t like it, because when I was I was at school they gave it to me in the morning and in the afternoon. But I will eat it in a pinch.” He adds, of course, he prefers it with some oil, vinegar. “And if you can put a few slices of onion on top, even better.”

Without even trying, the young man has assembled a list of ingredients that would now cost any Cuban home in the three figures to prepare. A dish worthy of someone on a Dubai budget.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Thieves and Bureaucrats Make Life Impossible for Cuban Ranchers

Faced with permanent harassment on his farm in Cárdenas, Ernesto is almost thinking of selling his animals and abandoning the country

If you start to do the math, Ernesto has dedicated almost 20 years to a fa that is not actually his / Radio 26

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Julio César Contreras, Matanzas, 5 June 2024 — Ernesto has had Spanish nationality since 2008 and in recent years he has traveled to Spain a few times, but he always returns. In Cuba, specifically in Cárdenas, Matanzas, he manages a livestock farm in which he also cultivates some land with vegetables which would be very difficult for him to part with. Until now, as a producer, he had been able to get by – although he acknowledges that “it has not been easy” – but the situation that the peasants are experiencing has led him to consider selling his animals and permanently leaving the country.

“A few years ago, I managed, with a lot of effort, to obtain three caballerias  of land [roughly 100 acres total]. I even had to go see the delegate of Agriculture in Matanzas so that they would give me this property in usufruct [a form of leasing]. After many efforts I achieved it. However, my goal developing livestock has cost me dearly,” the 58-year-old farmer confesses to this newspaper. 

Between cows, bulls and calves, Ernesto has a total of 67 heads of cattle on his farm, distributed in two barns or dairy houses. “I initially thought of dedicating part of the land to livestock production and the other part to the cultivation of some vegetables, but the difficulties in having the necessary resources have prevented me from moving forward,” he explains. 

According to the rancher, about half of his pasture, with useful land, remains unused. “Where can I buy machetes, rakes or gloves to deal with the weeds? Where are the supplies that guarantee that we guajiros can take care of the land and the animals? These years I have seen everything: campesino stores, projects with foreign financing, sales of some products in MLC (freely convertible currency). But these are just insufficient attempts to help producers and they have all come to nothing.

continue reading

Between cows, bulls and calves, Ernesto has a total of 67 cattle on his farm / 14ymedio

Other problems keep Ernesto in suspense, and one is that, despite having water for the animals, edible pastures do not grow well in the area and the consequences can be disastrous for the cattle and for the rancher’s pocket. “If one of my animals gets sick, I have to buy the medicines on the informal market, at whatever price they want to charge, because either there are none or they are very difficult to obtain from the State,” laments the man.

“We cooperative members are required to comply with all production plans but, in the years that I have been here, no one has come to ask me what I need to build the dairy farms, to feed my cattle or to keep the lands healthy and in good condition. I have never wanted them to give me anything, but it is not fair that they abandon the farmers like that,” he says, annoyed. 

Faced with the dilemma between complying with the rules or surviving and saving their business, many ranchers end up making deals outsidthe normal legal ways. “These years I have been able to escape by selling some animals, but the matter becamcomplicated with the livestock census that began at the beginning of this year. The ‘orientation’ is that you cannot sell any animals until they finish counting everything, although people always manage to sell one or two cows,” he says. 

Even so, the guajiro reflects, the management of his farm has begun to give him “more headaches than satisfaction,” since it has become an unprofitable task and the State “does not give the campesinos much room for action. I supposedly own the cattle, but I can only slaughter two a year, with prior authorization from the cooperative and the Agriculture Delegation. If I make a minor slaughter contract, I have to look for a vehicle to transport the animals to the slaughterhouse. After everything I spend on time and procedures, they pay me per pound of meat at one-tenth of what is quoted in the informal market,” he laments.

“Some guajiros end up looking for a veterinarian to certify the death of an animal due to illness, removing it from the livestock registry and selling it,” he points out. 

Faced with the dilemma between complying with the rules or surviving and saving their business, many ranchers end up making deals outside what is legal / 14ymedio

Ernesto interrupts the conversation for a moment to answer a phone call. He is contacted by a seller who has obtained fencing wire for 1,200 pesos per meter. “Who supports those prices doing everything through the state channel?” But they are expenses that he must incur, since his animals could end up in the hands of an illegal slaughterer.

“This is getting as dark as a pitch. In all these years I have been robbed twice and the worst thing is that, when it happens, the authorities blame the farmers for not having the land fenced and letting the cattle roam. But if you are going to cut wood to build a fence, the Agroforestry Company delays your permit or denies it. If you file a report for theft, the Police are likely never find the criminals,” claims the guajiro

If you start to do the math, Ernesto has dedicated almost 20 years to a farm that is not actually his, since the land belongs to the Stateand the State can take it from him at any time. “I am exposed to shortages and problems of all kinds, including thieves who constantly try to do their own thing. I have grown tired of meetings that solve nothing and bureaucrats who live off the sacrifice of others,” he says. “Sometimes they make me feel like getting rid of all this and going to another country. That would be my biggest sacrifice.”

Translated by Norma Whiting

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Blackouts Are Suspended in Sancti Spíritus After a Protest on the Camino de La Habana

50 people were arrested on Wednesday, by Thursday night the power outages returned

The city of Sancti Spíritus during a summer power outage in which the only lighting was on public roads. / Facebook

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mercedes García, Sancti Spíritus, 31 May 2024 — Blackouts returned to the city of Sancti Spíritus this Thursday night. During the day, residents could not believe what they were experiencing: a day without power outages. But their joy did not last long.

“We went out into the street to bang on pots and pans because we had been without electricity for hours and hours,” a resident of the Camino de La Habana neighborhood, located in the southern part of the city of Sancti Spíritus and with a population of around 2,000, tells 14ymedio. “That was tremendous because people went out into the streets, they didn’t stay inside their houses. Even the old people came out with their pot and spoon.”

“The police arrived a while later and took some of the arrested people away. They grabbed the younger men and put them in the truck,” explains the source, who prefers anonymity. “There are still about 50 arrested, and the families are going crazy asking if they are going to be released or if they are going to be put on trial. The entire neighborhood is very upset with this, because the only thing we did was protest with the pots and pans.” continue reading

The resident assures that, for fear of greater reprisals, the participants in the protest concentrated on the pot-banging and shouting “Electricity!” and “Food!”, the words that have become a constant in protests of this type that have occurred in Cuba in recent years and that reflect popular dissatisfaction with blackouts, shortages and inflation.

“It was very exciting, because they were taking away the arrested people but those of us who were left continued banging on our pots. We were not afraid because they couldn’t arrest us all”

“It was very exciting, because they were taking the arrested people but those of us who were left continued continued banging on our pots. We were not afraid because they couldn’t arrest us all. My neighbors realized that they couldn’t fit the entire neighborhood into that Police truck,” recalls the man from Sancti Spiritus. “They took them to the Vivac [detention center for awaiting processing] in Sancti Spíritus,” he says.

The protest resulted in the city of Sancti Spíritus waking up the next morning with a strong police operation. “I left my house on my way to work and I started seeing police on the corners, patrols everywhere, and it was a neighbor who told me that there had been a protest and that the city was occupied,” a woman from Sancti Spiritus tells this newspaper. She works in a state company linked to the Ministry of Agriculture.

“When I arrived at work, my boss, who lives on Camino de La Habana, gave me more details. He says that it was impressive, that the police patrolled the neighborhood and people did not get out of the middle of the street, they were proving their strength with their pots,” explains the woman. “He says that he did not leave his house for fear of losing his job, but that he banged his pot in the yard.”

“In the office we had a blackout all morning but, surprise, this Thursday throughout the day they did not turn off our power in that area or in any of the city of Sancti Spíritus,” she explains. “People couldn’t believe it, I didn’t even get to enjoy the lack of blackouts, because I had the feeling in my stomach that at any moment they would knock out the power. I was stunned, I couldn’t figure out anything, I couldn’t function with electricity all the time, because I’m used to the fact that there almost always isn’t any.

“I was stunned, I couldn’t figure out anything, I couldn’t work with electricity all the time, because I’m used to the fact that there is almost always no electricity.

Several residents in the city also detail that they saw new police patrols in circulation that they had not previously seen on the city streets. Internet access was also reduced to a minimum to prevent the details of the protests on Camino de La Habana from becoming known through social networks. So far, no video of the demonstration has been released.

“The next day after the protest, a car from the Electric Company arrived to change a transformer, photos were taken and everything,” adds the neighborhood resident. “A clown, because everyone knows that the problem of blackouts has nothing to do with an electric pole or a transformer, but rather that they are taking away our electricity because there is no generation.”

On the Facebook page of the Sancti Spíritus Electrical Company, two images of a worker standing on a ladder and an old Soviet-made truck in the foreground, are enough for the state energy monopoly to use the hashtag #SanctiSpíritusEnMarcha, an irony If we are talking about a district where the most recent march was a popular protest, silenced and repressed.

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Edmundo García, Another Enthusiastic Fidel Loyalist Who Becomes an Opponent

Interview with Jose Daniel Ferrer and Edmundo García on the MEGA TV network, in Miami / Screen Capture

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pete García, Miami, 5 June 2025 — “I’ll see you at Unpacu,” Jose Daniel Ferrer told Edmundo García in the middle of a television debate held in the studios of the MEGA TV network, in Miami, in a space led by then journalist and now congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar. In that context, the phrase was an invitation from the first to the second to visit the headquarters of the opposition group, to prove its existence, something García emphatically denied in the program.

Ten years have passed since the event and that phrase, seen in retrospect, could be interpreted not as an offering but a prophecy.

And today the former host of the Cuban Television program De la Gran Escena, a former defender of the regime and an enthusiastic Fidel loyalist, has passed, in his own words, into the opposition camp, and from his YouTube platform he attacks Havana and its rulers day after day.

It is not a strange case, quite the opposite. The individual mentioned above thus goes on to be part of an endless list of those disenchanted continue reading

with Castroism, a heterogeneous group that includes conscientious objectors and others who, as I suspect is his case, deserted when they stepped on their toes or were discarded after being used.

Some leave through the front door, others through the back. At this point, it doesn’t matter.

If Castroism has been efficient in all these years of folly, it is in producing defenestrated and disappointed people.

“Look at yourselves in my mirror,” Edmundo warned the still servants of the island’s hierarchs, in a recent interview on Guennady Rodríguez’s YouTube channel 23yFlagler.

Our history is complex, where oppressed and perpetrators often mingle

Our history is complex, where oppressed and perpetrators often mingle.”There are pure victims,” said Carlos Alberto Montaner wisely, “but they are very few.” Those who repressed in 1960 were then repressed in 1961, he added, and so on throughout this period of totalitarianism, which has not yet culminated. Therefore, summarizing the conclusions of this Cuban writer who died last year, in our process of reconciliation towards a civic future in a plural Cuba, in democracy, there should be not only justice applied according to the degree of responsibility of each one, but forgiveness ceremonies, where the Cuban people apologize to themselves for the damage that has been done. The part for what they are accountable, of course.

Edmundo García was, it is fair to say, at least as far as I know, only an accomplice of opinion. And I say this because in Miami there are former direct members of the repressive arm of the Cuban dictatorship. Some of them even converted – I want to think from the heart – into fervent fighters for freedom and democracy in Cuba.

And if there is something that is “continuity” it is the fact that revolutions, like Saturn, devour their children, as it happened in the France of Robespierre, who was also beheaded. No one in Cuba, outside the close circle of the royal family and its closest supporters, is safe from the guillotine.

So, if some of those who today fervently applaud the speeches of power from the chairs of the Central Committee or any other department of control and repression of the Government, read these lines, take note: look yourselves in Edmund’s mirror. Go out the front door or the back door, it doesn’t matter. Mañana será demasiado tarde. Tomorow will be too late. We look forward to seeing you at Unpacu.

Translated by LAR

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Cuba’s Ladies in White Report 12 Arrests in Havana and Matanzas on the Weekend

It is Sunday number 89 of the repression of the group since they resumed their activities in 2022, after the pandemic

María García Álvarez and Yudaxis Pérez Meneses were arrested in Colón this Sunday. / Yudaxis Pérez

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, June 4, 2024 — On Monday, the Ladies in White denounced the temporary detention of 12 people in Havana and in Matanzas a day earlier, making it the 89th Sunday with acts of repression recorded since 2022, when they returned to their activities after the pandemic. The leader of the Ladies in White, Berta Soler, and her husband, former political prisoner Ángel Moya, reported the arrests on social networks.

They also reported the arrest of 10 members of the Ladies in White in the towns of Cárdenas, Colón, Perico and Unión de Reyes, all in Matanzas.

Soler and Moya reported that, as on previous Sundays, they were arrested when leaving the headquarters of the Ladies in White, located in the Havana neighborhood of Lawton, and later taken separately to the police units of the municipalities of Cotorro and Guanabacoa. continue reading

Both were released on Monday morning, after the authorities imposed fines on them, according to Moya.

The Ladies in White movement was created by a group of women, relatives of 75 dissidents and independent journalists who were arrested and sentenced in March 2003 to long prison sentences after a wave of repression by the Cuban Government known as the Black Spring.

The wives, mothers and other relatives of those prisoners began a series of Sunday marches to ask for their release and became a symbol of dissent.

In 2005, the Ladies in White received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience from the European Parliament. The EU and NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International criticized the wave of arrests, classifying them as political, but the Cuban authorities alleged that the women were “counter-revolutionaries” who tried to attack national sovereignty under orders of the United States.

Translated by Regina Anavy
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Gibberish

The history of a family, or even a country, can be told through a few photographs

A blurry photo of the then eight-year-old author holding a Zenit camera / Photo courtesy of the author

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Xavier Carbonell, Salamanca, 2 June 2024 — I open the package with the photos and papers that I brought from my country and start organizing them on the coffee table. From the bottom I take out the map of Cuba that Alexander von Humboldt created in 1827 though the brittle sheet of paper on which it is printed dates from 1930.

On top, a photo of a vigilant me when I was eight or nine years old, snapping a photo with a Zenit camera, whose click I can hear across time without effort. I am in my grandmother’s house. I am wearing a jacket that I really liked and a sweater. Except for the bamboo wallhanging behind me, everything is out of focus. I begin to lay out the other cards, like a game of solitaire.

A photo of my grandfather M., sometime in his thirties. Dressed in a jacket and tie. I have his eyebrows and his jaw. His face is a little asymmetrical, like mine. The photo paper has been nibbled by a termite. In the subsequent image he is next to two women, smiling. One is my grandmother C., whose smile is more of a grimace. Judging by the planks and the floor, they are in my old house, which to them, as newlyweds, is very new.

There are other people in the background: a laughing child who is too tall. There is a hand on his head that doesn’t seem to belong to anyone. Some fingers, also without an owner, hold a cigar. Here my grandfather is dressed in a jacket that I tried on once and that is now stored in a remote wardrobe, trying not to become trash. I think everyone is happy, or pretending very continue reading

convincingly to be happy. On the back, a cross and the number three.

My great-grandfather J. is holding my father in his arms. Black and white. They are in the same hallway as the previous photo, almost at the entrance to the parlor, as though that void in the building were the ideal place to take photographs. The old man has strong features that I will inherit. A belt and a white shirt. He is smiling, however. He has glasses. On the back side, the number 68.

A time when Cuba was laughing. The fat cows before they were plunged into “indigence,” a word that hits me like a blow to the head

The entryway of the house. In the background my grandfather M. is holding, I believe, his American bicycle. My grandmother C., with the bitter face of her later years that I can barely remember. Her tied-up face, as they often described it, leans on a railing. An iron screen, blue plastic blinds, the door that was separated from the threshold by a hook. On the back, the number four and a date: August 28, 1987. A time when Cuba was laughing. The fat cows before they were plunged into “indigence.” The word hits me like a blow to the head right before the thieves take everything.

The maternal line begins. My great-great-grandfather, whose name I do not know. Wrinkled, patriarchal, in a white shirt. He looks towards the margins of the photo like he is exhausted. Or maybe I am misinterpreting his posture and he is just playing dominoes. The image is printed on thin paper. On the front side someone has written in pencil, “For M,” his daughter, my great-grandmother. I have no other photos of the old man, no other evidence of his time on earth, and the handwritten inscription moves me.

A note written on 3 June 1944 reads, “Marry and you will know what flowers are!” It is a wedding greeting to my great-grandmother written by her brother, JF. Three days later, thousands of Allied soldiers crossed the English Channel and landed in Normandy. I wonder if Rommel or Montgomery or Churchill were ever topics of conversation at the family dinner table. Or if any of my relatives considered – as many Cubans did – going to Europe to fight against Hitler, as they now do for Putin.

Three days later, thousands of Allied soldiers crossed the English Channel and landed in Normandy

My grandfather P. laughs uncontrollably. He has lifted his foot onto a table and is wearing glasses. He assumes a rock-and-roll pose. The room where he is sitting is not just humble. It is dilapidated. Though the household is poor, he wears a shirt, a sweater, a watch and light socks.

In the next photo there is a drastic change. He was forced into military service, I estimate, around 1965. I know that they took him to Pinar del Río where he befriended Silvio Rodríguez. He is standing in front of the Capitolio in Havana. He looks at the camera, a picture of seriousness, with his hand on his waist and his back rigid.

Now he is shaving a man. My grandfather P. shares his name and profession with his father. Stools and sinks. A curious observer watches, or rather inspects, his work. Maybe the man is his next customer. I do not know why but there is a certain tenderness to this photo. It is taken from a corner, as though the photographer did not want to be seen. Was my great-grandfather the man holding the camera?

My grandfather P. and my grandmother I., recently married. Her dress is clearly homemade. His pants are shabby. The photo is taken in my town. The number 830 is on the back. They appear again in another photo, this one taken in Havana. The same shirt, the same dress, their eyes squinting in the sun. It is the late 1960s and the city already looks rundown. Balconies and rags, a battered car. I dare not call my grandmother to ask her the date.

A big Christmas tree and, beside it, my grandfather. This would be 1951 or 1952. Though there is an atmosphere of festivity and abundance, the house is modest. A haphazardly hung light bulb gives it away. The child’s gaze has a wonderful glow. His face, very similar to my cousin’s.

Forty years later, the expression is still the same but not the face. The hair coming out of the ears, the poorly cut suit, are those of a drunk. There was neither shame nor pride in it back then, when people first realized the magnitude of what was lost. On the back of the photo there is an amber stain that matches the silhouette of my grandfather. It is his double, his ghost.

There was neither shame nor pride in it back then, when people first realized the magnitude of what was lost

I have many other photos that have nothing to do with my family, at least not directly, but I carry them with me. It is what I like to call the Alavarez’ saga/escape. I have no idea what connection the Alvarezes had to my family. The father, in a military uniform, with a pencil-tip mustache, boots and a riding crop, was the chief of police in my town.

A baseball team sponsored by José L. Piedra cigars, one of which I smoked on the terrace of Ernest Hemingway’s house in Havana. The park as it looked in 1925, in the direction of my old house, with just a few bushes that are now trees several decades old. The Royal Bank of Canada, awnings, a rural guardsman. The parish, a boulevard.

A very elegant photo of Joaquín Álvarez, the last in the saga, in a suit. I see him boarding a plane, doing acrobatics while riding a horse and saying goodbye from a train – hands behind his back and well-groomed. On the back, a dedication: “To my unforgettable Mariita, a token of love and affection from her J. August 1924.” I have often imagined that unknown girl. A hundred years have passed. I do not know why she never received this photo, which now belongs to me.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuban Sports Announcer Ángel Luis Fernández Arrives in the United States Thanks to Humanitarian Parole

Cuban announcers Ángel Luis Fernández and Yasel Porto / Facebook/DPorto Sports LLC

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 4 June 2024 — The Cuban sports narrator and commentator Ángel Luis Fernández has been in Miami for days. “He was able to meet his parents and his eldest son again after a long period of not being able to be with them,” confirmed journalist Yasel Porto.

Fernández arrived through humanitarian parole, which as of May has favored 95,000 Cubans since its entry into force in January 2023. Fernández, a star of Cuban Television, will join the team of commentators that will attend the Olympic Games in Paris 2024, as he did in London 2012 and Tokyo 2020. With 25 years of experience and a consolidated place on the Tele Rebelde channel commenting on soccer, baseball, volleyball, basketball, wrestling and boxing games, this habanero “made the decision to start a new life in the United States,” Porto said.

Through the Dporto Sport LLC Facebook account, Porto recalled that his colleague Fernández “also developed a career as a presenter in cultural spaces within Cuba, in the “Gato Tuerto and Rosalía de Castro,” in addition to recently covering the funeral of the singer Juana Bacallao. continue reading

Cuban narrator Ángel Andrés Hernández Vargas arrived in the United States in May of this year / Facebook/DPorto Sports LLC

“With him (Fernández) I had the opportunity to work from the very beginning of both on the sports station Coco and then on the Havana Channel, being my first systematic appearance on television thanks, precisely, to his support for me to start my path beyond radio,” Porto said.

Fernández joins the long list of recognized announcers who have left the Island. On May 4, Porto himself reported the arrival in the United States of Ángel Andrés (“Andy”)Hernández Vargas. The “iconic” figure of the Coco radio station and especially of the Industriales team, “was claimed by one of his two sons living in Miami.”

Vargas had already retired, but fans remember him for his narrations of the Lions’ games and especially for the matches that led the capital team to win the title in the National Series in 1996, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2010.

Yasel Porto is another of the sports commentators who left the Island. In 2020 he was expelled from Televisión Cubana and its branch RTV Comercial for his criticism of national baseball, which was in crisis. “My poor compliance with the editorial policy of these media was the cause put forward by the managers of these channels,” he said in a letter he published on his social networks and in Swing Completo.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.