A Total of 95,500 Cubans Have Received the U.S. ‘Humanitarian Parole’

This April, 17,870 migrants from the Island entered U.S. territory; in the first four months of the year, 81,191 entered

A Cuban mother and daughter received ’humanitarian parole’ in April / Facebook/Mario J. Pentón

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, May 17, 2024 — Up to 95,500 Cubans have benefited from the Humanitarian Parole Program promoted by the Biden administration since its entry into force in January 2023. Of these, up to April, there were already 91,100 Cubans in the United States.

Data offered in a statement by the Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirm that migrants from the Island are the third nationality to benefit from this program, surpassed by Haiti, with 184,600, and Venezuela, with 109,200.

After ending Title 42 – a rule created by the Donald Trump Administration for the return of migrants during the pandemic – Washington decided in January 2023 to offer applicants from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua a special permit or “humanitarian parole,” which it had previously initiated with Ukraine and Venezuela. continue reading

Data from the Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirm that the Island’s migrants are the third nationality to benefit from humanitarian ’parole’

The update to April’s migratory data was announced a few days after humanitarian parole was denied to Liván Fuentes Álvarez, former president of the Municipal Assembly of the People’s Power. His flight permit was revoked just as he was about to board a charter airline that would take him to the United States, Martí Noticias journalist Mario J. Pentón reported.

Despite the fact that a source confirmed to the same media that they do “everything possible so that those who are members of the repressive apparatus of the Cuban regime cannot benefit from measures that are designed to help the Cuban people,” some members of the Communist Party have entered the United States through the parole program.

14ymedio denounced the case of Misael Enamorado Dager, who served as the first secretary of the Communist Party in Santiago de Cuba between 2001 and 2009, and now resides in Houston, Texas, after entering the country under humanitarian parole, as reported by the influencer Niover Licea on social networks.

Yurquis Companioni, a counterintelligence agent in Sancti Spíritus, also entered the United States through the southern border – after traveling the route from Nicaragua to Mexico – thanks to his sister, who already lived in the U.S. and was his sponsor for a six-year parole.

The Office of Customs and Border Protection also announced that in the month of April, 17,870 Cubans arrived in the United States. Although the figure is lower than the 19,566 who entered in March, the total number of migrants from the Island in the first four months of 2024 is 81,191, which represents more than double the 34,253 registered in the same period in 2023, and 12,782 fewer than in 2022.

In April, the United States allowed the entry of 41,400 migrants at the border crossings with Mexico through the online application CBP One. The total number has reached more than 591,000 since the system was introduced in January 2023.

In April, the United States allowed the entry of 41,400 migrants at the border crossings with Mexico through the online application CBP One

“As a result of greater surveillance, migration on the southwest border has not been increasing, reversing previous trends. We will continue to monitor migration patterns, which are constantly changing,” said Troy Miller, acting commissioner of the CBP.

The acting commissioner of the CBP, Troy Miller, said that the deployment of a greater number of Border Patrol agents has contributed to the “decrease” in the number of arrests on the border between the United States and Mexico. “We will continue to monitor migration patterns, which are constantly changing,” the statement added.

The Biden Administration also stressed that as part of the new restrictions, asylum will be prohibited to people who pose a risk to national security,” to those convicted of a serious crime, to those related to terrorism and to those who are “considered a danger to the security of the United States.”

Previously, the determination of eligibility for asylum was given at a later stage in the process, upon determining the merits of asylum applications, detentions and expulsions.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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 Receives 23 Rafters Returned by the United States and 545 From Several Countries in 2024

Three of those returned were on parole at the time of leaving the Island

The Governments of Havana and Washington have a bilateral agreement so that all migrants arriving by sea to U.S. territory will be deported to the Island  / EFE

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Madrid, 14 May 2024 — Cuba received 23 rafters returned by the United States Coast Guard Service (USCG) onTuesday, for a total of 545 Cuban irregular migrants deported from several countries in the region so far in 2024, official media reported. These migrants – 20 men and three women – were intercepted by the U.S. authorities after participating in two illegal exits from the island through the western port towns of Cárdenas and Mariel, according to a report released by the Ministry of the Interior.

Three of those returned were on parole “for compliance with criminal sanctions at the time of leaving the Island and will be placed at the disposal of the corresponding courts for the revocation of said benefit,” it emphasizes.

It also reports that two others are under investigation as “alleged committers of criminal acts” who were investigated before their illegal exit. continue reading

Another two are under investigation for “alleged commission of criminal acts”

With this return operation, there are now 39 return operation carried out from different countries in the region with a total of 545 people in 2024, the report specifies. Last year, from Mexico alone, 774 Cubans were expelled, according to a source from Mexican Migration officials, under the category of “assisted returns.”

The governments of Havana and Washington have a bilateral agreement so that all migrants arriving by sea to US territory are deported to the Island.

Also, deportation flights resumed in April 2023, mainly for people considered “inadmissible” after being held on the border with Mexico.

Some 22,946 Cubans arrived in the United States last January, according to a report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP).

The CBP added that in the first four months of fiscal year 2024 – which began on 1 October 2023 – 86,139 Cubans have arrived in the United States.

Since the beginning of this year, Cubans have also been returned on commercial flights from the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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.

The Nightlife of Matanzas, Unsuited to Cubans, Migrates to Varadero

The discotheque La Salsa, located in Peñas Altas, is one of the hangouts that young people prefer / La Salsa

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Matanzas, May 8, 2024 — With the sunset, the streets of Matanzas lose vitality. Years ago, the live shows that illuminated the night emigrated to Varadero, and the “recreational” offers of the State have headed, one by one, into extinction. For those looking for entertainment in Matanzas, there are the bars inaugurated by private individuals and some nightclubs that survive State management, which can be entered only with money – and a lot – in hand.

Deceived by the lights, the views and the confluence of bars and cafes, Cubans who plan to spend a pleasant night approach Narváez Street, on the bank of the San Juan River. Prices soon destroy any aspiration to see the boats pass by with a beer or a coffee in hand. “An espresso costs 120 pesos, a beer, 400, a Neapolitan pizza, 800. Who can afford that?” complains Yandro, 19, who is no longer surprised by the situation.

“To pass the time, my girlfriend and I come and sit on this little boardwalk, next to the river, which is the only place where they don’t demand an arm and a leg,” he says, resigned.

The Athens cultural center in Cuba is one of the few places that welcomes teenagers / 14ymedio

Asked about other places in the city, Yandro says that when they have money, they prefer to go to La Salsa, a discotheque located in the Peñas Altas district, east of the city. “I like it because it’s a larger space. From time to time there are singers and live music. You can drink beer and prepared drinks at a very acceptable price. And the karaoke on Sunday is good, right?” he asks his girlfriend.

The problem, he emphasizes, is that “it’s not easy to get transportation there, and less so at night, when you have to do everything on foot. Taking a máquina* from La Vígia, my neighborhood, to Peñas Altas is very expensive. When you arrive in Athens, El Bahía or La Salsa, you are now broke, which forces us to save twice as much to go out for a single night,” he explains.

El Bahía, with a view on the sea, looks like the ruin of an old beach mansion. The multi-story gastronomic complex, which in the past was the center of leisure in Matanzas, today exhibits its stained and grayish-blue walls, which combine with its deserted tables. The offers, some drinks and fast food, are not enough to persuade passersby, who don’t even peek through the windows.

El Bahía offers drinks and fast food / 14ymedio

Also in Peñas Altas is the cultural center Atenas de Cuba, one of the few places that has a program aimed at teenagers on Saturday afternoons. “I come with friends from school to have fun,” exclaims Lisbeth, extracting from her wallet the 20 pesos that it costs to enter. “Inside we dance, and you can buy dispensed or canned soda. But if you want to eat other things you have to buy them from the sellers outside,” explains the 14-year-old girl, about to enter the “small disco.” “If the lights go off, I’m outta here,” she adds.

When the youth section ends, the adult round begins. The entrance: 150 pesos that does not include any consumption, and the same space to dance with some lights and music played by speakers.

For those who cannot afford any of these options, all that’s left is the “concert” that is sporadically offered by the audio speakers from the Casa de la Cultura in the Parque de la Libertad. “I’m tired of telling the bosses that this is not entertainment or anything like it, but well, they are the ones in charge,” the team manager tells 14ymedio, annoyed at the idea of spending two more hours in the park, “putting music on the statue of Martí.”

In La Salsa there are drinks at acceptable prices and a karaoke night / 14ymedio

His opinion coincides with that of Ignacio, 69, who dances Danzón** and says that “they do those things to fulfill a plan.” “Before, you went to René Fraga Park or Tennis Beach, and they played free music for the youngsters to have fun, but those times are over,” he regrets. “Even the activities of the Danzón Club have lost a lot of quality.” That the State, in a declared crisis, has not dedicated resources to nighttime recreation for a long time, is also made clear by an official of the Union of Young Communists who talks with this newspaper and prefers not to reveal his name. “The main problem is that there are no venues that have affordable prices and quality products,” he explains.

“We constantly tell people that you can entertain yourself by reading a book or going to museums and theaters, but we don’t manage to attract an audience in those places either. In addition, sometimes people want to go out and do something different, whether it’s dancing or having a beer, which has become almost impossible,” he reflects. “It’s no secret that the best ends up in Varadero and is for tourists.”

Translator’s notes:

*A máchina, also called an almendrón, is a 1950s American car that is used as a collective taxi with a fixed route.
**Danzón is a historic genre of music and partner dance, often performed in public spaces in Cuba and Mexico.

Translated by Regina Anavy
____________

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 Entrepreneurs From Holguin Come Together To Try To Artificially Lower the Dollar

Businessmen, private and State, made the resolution after participating in a forum from April 30 to May 2

Without physical availability of dollars in the Cadeca (currency exchange) the owners of small private businesses must acquire the currency in the informal networks

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Holguín, 10 May 2024 — At least 14 entrepreneurs, owners of SMEs (small private businesses) in the province of Holguín, have agreed to close ranks with the aim of lowering the price of the dollar artificially, assuming, like the regime, that it is possible. The agreement, reached at the beginning of this month, has an uncertain future amid the rise in the value of currencies against the Cuban peso. “In the Foremp (Business Forum) the issue that was most talked about was precisely the cost of the dollar that is practically becoming priceless,” the owner of a private business — who participated between April 30 and May 2 in the second edition of this event, which took place at the Brisas Guardalavaca Hotel in Holguín — tells 14ymedio.

The meeting was attended not only by owners of private businesses but also by representatives of State and academic companies, such as economist Juan Triana Cordoví. Among the more than 180 participants, the greatest concern was the depreciation of the Cuban peso, which, they complain, forces them to need more and more national currency to acquire dollars, indispensable for the import of products and raw materials.

“If things continue as they are now, we will have to close our businesses”

“There we met several entrepreneurs from Manzanillo, Granma, who came together to stop the price of the dollar and not buy it at the prices that El Toque publishes, and they have managed to lower it two or three pesos. It seems little, but it’s something,” the businessman tells this newspaper. “Several of us who were there in Holguín decided to do the same, because if things continue as they are now, we will have to close our businesses.” continue reading

Without the physical availability of dollars in the Cadeca (State exchange houses), the owners of small businesses must acquire the currency in the informal networks, where the exchange rate responds to the law of supply and demand and is very far from the official one (24 pesos per dollar). The U.S. currency is essential for them to buy products and raw materials abroad. “In my case, I have a store that sells food, cleaning products and household supplies. I import almost everything from Panama,” explains the source, who prefers anonymity.

“In Panama I have to use the dollar for everything I buy, and right now I can’t find it on the street unless I buy at 395 pesos,” he says, giving the exact figure that, this Friday, appears in El Toque. “Since we met at the beginning of this month in Guardalavaca until now, the dollar has not stopped rising. It goes up all the time, and no one can keep up with it. Our profits fall every day with those exchange rates,” he acknowledges.

“Although if they are fictitious ads, the idea is for people to think that’s the price on the street”

During the Foremp meetings, 14 Holguin entrepreneurs agreed to publish on their social media accounts and other anonymous profiles alleged sales or purchases of foreign exchange at a price lower than the El Toque rate. “Although they are fictitious ads, the idea is for people to believe that this is the price on the street,” says the entrepreneur. The strategy, however, does not seem to be bearing fruit.

After concluding the event, businessman Gilberto Licea Parra made a summary of the commitment and published that the participants had jointly decided “not to pay for the dollar at more than 350 pesos,” and even gradually lower it. “It’s the best for everyone; I assure you that together we can do it,” he wrote on his networks, where he has joined the campaign against El Toque.

Entrepreneurs have also created a WhatsApp group in which messages are exchanged with the alleged purchase and sale of dollars at a price that does not exceed 390 pesos. However, this newspaper could not find any way to acquire the currency at those values. In all cases, the response of the alleged merchants was that they had already sold “all the dollars” they had, or they simply did not respond to the requirements of an alleged customer interested in their exchange rate.

“For the many ads we have placed, we have not managed to get dollars at the prices that we publish,” laments the entrepreneur from Holguín. In a similar vein, the Facebook page El Dato, allegedly associated with the Cuban Government, published this Friday that the value of the dollar is just 320 pesos, well below the 395 of El Toque.

Digital classified sites don’t seem to pay attention to El Dato

In the comments at the bottom of the publications of El Dato there is no shortage of criticism and jokes. Several Internet users propose to buy the currency at the rate announced by the official website and subsequently sell them at the value disseminated by El Toque. Digital classified sites do not seem to pay attention to El Dato and, despite the occasional announcement of buying dollars at prices between 350 and 375 pesos, most foreign exchange sellers offer them above 390.

An avalanche of questions has also fallen on the official website Cubadebate, which in its edition this Thursday lashes out against the exchange rates disseminated by El Toque because, according to the newspaper, “they have generated a negative impact on the monetary scale of the country, which has had an impact on the increase in prices and, consequently, has affected the Gross Domestic Product” of the Island.

In the comments, however, few seem to accept officialdom’s version that El Toque is a tool of the United States’ economic war against Cuba. Several Internet users place the responsibilities for the depreciation of the peso in another direction: “We do not produce anything, we do not export, we do not generate wealth, the economy is partially dollarized, the demand for dollars is enormous and the country does not sell them,” warns a commentator who signs as Albe.

In the same vein is Luis Hernández, for whom El Toque “has only taken the door that has been left open by the small businesses.” He recommends that the authorities of the Island “examine themselves and not look for external enemies,” because with that strategy “we look more and more like the caricature of a witch doctor all over the world.”

Despite the efforts against the reality of the entrepreneurs of Holguin, this week on the streets of the city, sales of goods in Cuban pesos were governed by the El Toque rate, and the foreign exchange market also followed in the footsteps of the news site. Since the businessmen met in Foremp, the dollar has increased its value by more than 20 pesos and seems unstoppable.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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.

The Kremlin Keeps Cuban President Diaz-Canel Comfortable on the Eve of His Meeting with Putin and Sends Greetings to Raul Castro

A tanker from Russia loaded with fuel is expected to arrive in Cuba on May 23

Dmitri Medvedev, former president of United Russia and deputy chairman of the Security Council, displayed his friendship with the Cuban president. /  Presidency of Cuba

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 8 May 2024 — President Miguel Díaz-Canel wants Cuba to have “greater participation in the mechanisms” of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). “I sincerely believe that we all need better cooperation to promote joint projects in areas of joint interest,” he expressed this Wednesday at the EAEU Summit in Moscow, in which the Island participates as an observer country.

The Cuban Government, the president reiterated according to the official press, “attaches great importance to economic, commercial, financial and cooperation relations” with the Union and its member states.

Meanwhile, the ship Caesar, loaded with fuel, heads to the port of Matanzas. According to Jorge Piñón, a specialist from the University of Texas, speaking to this newspaper, “she loaded up in Russia, with ‘technical’ stops in Greece and Malta.” According to the information provided by ship monitoring pages, the ship will reach Cuba on May 23.

Miguel Díaz-Canel met this Wednesday with the former Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev, currently Deputy Head of the Security Council of Russia, who described Cuba as a “reliable partner” with whom his country maintains “an intense political dialogue.”

The Russian leader praised the Cuban regime, underlining the recent closeness that unites the authorities of both countries. “Even if it’s brutally cold outside, that doesn’t hinder our warm relationship. The Russian Federation warmly welcomes you,” he told the Cuban leader, who arrived in Moscow on Tuesday on an official trip. continue reading

Medvedev, who was president of Russia – with Putin as prime minister – between 2008 and 2012, asked Díaz-Canel “to send greetings and best wishes to Army General, Raúl Castro. We spent a lot of time together in different places. The force with which he defends Cuba’s positions has always been for us a very serious symbol of how to fight for the independence of our country,” he added.

“The strength with which he defends Cuba’s positions has always been for us a very serious symbol of how to fight for the independence of our country

The Cuban president, for his part, posted on his X account the conclusions of the meeting. “We confirm the progress and results of the relations between our parties and the potential for work that we still have,” he wrote. The head of United Russia was, according to the Kremlin, willing to address not only issues related to economic relations but also the links between his party and the Communist Party of Cuba.

Díaz-Canel will have to wait until tomorrow, however, for the highest-ranking meeting, with the recently proclaimed president – ​​for the fifth time – Vladimir Putin. The meeting will be held on the same day as the Victory Day Parade, this May 9 on Red Square, to which he is invited.

On Wednesday, Díaz-Canel laid a wreath at the statue of Fidel Castro, inaugurated by himself and Putin in 2022.

“It is a symbol of the historic friendship between the peoples of Cuba and Russia,” he wrote.

On Tuesday, shortly after landing, the Cuban president congratulated Putin on his victory by an “overwhelming majority,” which is a “lesson for the world” about his leadership in Russia and his authority in the international arena, he said.

Putin was re-elected in March with 87.28% of the votes and a record attendance after having disqualified or detained the majority of candidates who could contest his position.

After reforming the Constitution in 2020, the Russian president removed the legal obstacles to perpetuate himself in the Kremlin almost without limits. At 71 years old, he will be able to continue governing until 2030 and then run for re-election for another six-year term.

Translated by Regina Anavy

______________

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.

The Government Exports 90 Percent of the Island’s Honey, Which Cubans Must Buy ‘On The Left’

The official press recognizes the collapse of honey production throughout the country

Inside the country, honey can be bought by negotiating directly with the producers / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 8 May 2024 — “That the honey from the Cuban hives continues to conquer the European market,” is the closing aspiration of an article in the official press this Tuesday. The desire corresponds to reality: the Island exports every year between 80% and 90% of the honey it produces, accessible in markets in Europe and Latin America, while in the country it can only be obtained “on the left” (in the informal market) and by negotiating directly with the producers.

Production, however, is plummeting. Taking care not to offer concrete data, the official press has given indications of the collapse throughout the country and underlines the State’s discontent with beekeepers. The workers of the Occidente Honey Benefit Plant, located in Caimito (Artemisa), which processes the honey of Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Mayabeque and Matanzas, are well aware of it.

Shut down since March 2023, it was not until last December that the factory went into operation, thanks to an unspecified investment that rebuilt part of its structure. “The floor of the technology area had to be dismantled, and the corresponding import was delayed. The roof was also waterproofed, to avoid leaks and moisture, incompatible with the honey process. For that reason, production was stopped, the average salary fell, and we lost valuable specialists and technicians,” Rigoberto Velázquez, director of the industry, told the newspaper El Artemiseño. continue reading

Compared to the current situation, in which the average monthly salary for the workers of the plant is 8,333 pesos, the figure of 2023 was poor: barely 2,700 pesos. The increase, the managers say, is not only due to the resumption of work, but also to other internal reforms that they have been able to make thanks to the freedom of management that the authorities have given them. “The Cuban Beekeeping Company granted us autonomy to make our own financial statements, which led to better income,” explains Dania Díaz, a computer specialist.

“Production was stopped, the average salary fell, and we lost valuable specialists and technicians

They have also begun to vary their production, and now they manually bottle the honey, “thanks to an innovation of the workers,” in small jars. They supply the Caimito store and work with private producers who provide them with, for example, tea to sell along with honey as a complementary product.

However, production, for which the managers can’t give concrete numbers, still has not recovered. The damage to the flora left by Hurricane Ian in 2022 still prevents the collection of honey by the beekeepers. Also, the seasonal migration of the bees to the coast, which is undertaken three times a year to take advantage of the flowering of the mangroves, requires 211 gallons of fuel that the company does not have.

The provinces that supply the plant have already begun to send the first batches, says Yordanys Conde, an operator of the company, although receiving the honey is just the start. Given its final destination in European supermarkets, the honey must be of the best quality.

Once the humidity is measured and the product strained and mixed, “samples are taken to send to the laboratories in Germany and Havana, where they certify the quality of the honey. Only then is it marketed, for export,” Conde explains.

Despite the Government’s efforts to revive, or at least maintain, production, honey faces one of its worst years on the Island. An article published last April in the official press reported on the painful situation of beekeeping in Camagüey in 2023, where beekeepers lost 500 hives due to the fuel crisis. As a result, the production of that year (530 tons) was just over half of that of 2019, when 913 tons were exported – the best since 1983.

In January, another article in the local newspaper of Las Tunas described a similar panorama: the 275.7 tons produced accounted for less than half of what was obtained in 2020, and barely 53% of what was planned for the period.

The poor state of the Island’s food industry, which fell by 67% in the last five years according to a recent report by the National Office of Statistics and Information, hardly leaves room to be surprised by the collapse of honey, which is not even a food found frequently on Cuban tables. However, the fall in the production of other products favored by the regime leaves no room for a positive forecast: lobster and shrimp, for which the State allocates more resources than for honey, decreased their production by 49% and 82% respectively.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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.

Blackouts of More Than 12 Hours in Cuba, Hopeless Heat, Lack of Fuel and Out-of-Service Power Plants

Residents of Holguín report half-day blackouts and intermittent connections / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, May 8, 2024 — There was no need for the Electric Union of Cuba (UNE) to say this Wednesday, in its usual forecast, that yesterday “the service was affected due to a deficit of generation capacity for 24 hours.” The inhabitants of a third of the Island were able to feel it in their skin. For the second consecutive day, there were simultaneous blackouts in 30% of the country, the worst figure in a month and a half.

“They’re bleeding us dry. We’re being eaten up by the blackouts, and last night I couldn’t even take a bath,” laments Idelia, a resident of San Antonio de los Baños, Artemisa. There, the blackout scheduled from 3:00 in the afternoon to 8:00 at night ended up lasting until 3:30 in the morning. “More than 12 hours without electricity, and in this heat who can stand that? My heart is full of sorrow.”

The power outages have even reached José Martí International Airport in Havana. In terminal 3, this Tuesday, tourists could be seen trying to relieve their hot flashes with fans or by waving brochures in front of their sweaty faces. continue reading

“They’re bleeding us dry. We’re being eaten up by the blackouts, and last night I couldn’t even take a bath”

Over a loudspeaker, a female voice warned that the air conditioning was turned off “for maintenance,” but an airport employee told 14ymedio that the real reason is a “directive” coming “from above” to save electricity: “We turn it off about three days a week.” Half of the escalators were also stopped, as was one of the internal elevators.

In the capital, many neighborhoods also suffered power outages, even the areas that suffer them the least often, such as El Vedado and Centro Habana.

Residents of Holguín report to this newspaper half-day blackouts and intermittent connections. In Sancti Spíritus, this Tuesday, they also cut off the power, despite not having a scheduled blackout. “Here, the week that we don’t have a blackout we call a ’Marianao’ week,” a resident of the city explains to 14ymedio, referring to a report broadcast by official television that went viral in which a neighbor said sarcastically that “in Marianao we have everything.”

“It is no longer the breakdowns of thermoelectric plants or the fuel deficit that cause our suffering. Now the daily emphasis is on the maintenance that is undertaken on a few thermoelectric plants and Energás (the oil and gas company) to guarantee a ‘better electrical service’ in the summer. Imagine the poor family that wants to celebrate their daughter’s fifteenth birthday in style and goes hungry for a few months to be able to gorge themselves at the party, and then it lasts as long as a meringue at the door of a school,” Pedro de Jesús, resident of Fomento, Sancti Spíritus, wrote on his networks this Wednesday in a long post denouncing the generalized situation on the Island.

The increase in demand because of the heat is added to the number of out-of-service thermoelectric plants

“Zero blackouts and more food,” could be read on the wall of a funeral home in San Antonio de Cabezas, in Unión de Reyes, Matanzas, according to journalist Mario José Pentón. On the walls of the building, as observed in several images, they had also written, in capital letters: “the elderly are the ones who should take to the streets” and “homeland and life.”

This Wednesday the scene was repeated. With an availability of 2310 megawatts (MW), a maximum demand of 3050 MW was expected, which translates into a deficit of 740 MW and an impact of 810 MW during peak hours.

The increase in demand because of the heat is added to the number of thermoelectric power plants (CTEs) out of service. As the UNE said, Unit 2 of Felton is damaged, and Unit 1 is also under maintenance. Units 1 and 3 of the CTE Santa Cruz, the 6 of Nuevitas and the 8 of the CTE Mariel are also in maintenance. This is in addition to the 34 distributed generation plants shut down due to lack of fuel.

Tomorrow the UNE will go back to publishing its daily report, but it is not necessary. Cubans already know what the day has in store for them: blackouts and more blackouts.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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.

Mexico Invested 133 Million Dollars To Contain Migration in Several Countries, Including Cuba

The money has been transferred, says Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena, through the programs Sembrando Vida and Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro

Image of the start of the program Sembrando Vida en Cuba in 2023 / / X/@mesaredondacuba

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico City, 8 May 2024 — Mexico has invested 133 million dollars to address the causes of emigration in Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras and Salvador, Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena said on Tuesday in the Ministerial Meeting of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, which is taking place in Guatemala.

Bárcena boasted of the use of resources to “address structural causes” such as “poverty, inequality, climate change, violence,” in addition to “eliminating unilateral coercive measures that are affecting the livelihoods of our peoples at the expense, by the way, of their development.”

The money that Bárcena mentioned has already been channeled by Mexico to Cuba, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras through the social programs Sembrando Vida (Sowing Life) and Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro (Youth Building the Future). continue reading

Bárcena proclaimed the use of resources to “attend to structural causes” such as “poverty, inequality, climate change, violence”

The Sembrando Vida program has been questioned for its lack of transparency and the opacity of its money management, and is seen by the opposition parties as a form of political clientelism. The Connectas information platform revealed that this program, to which 63.5 million dollars were at first allocated, “has received criticism for the expulsion of beneficiaries in a discretionary manner, the opacity in the management of the farmers’ savings and the delay in investigations that denounce their mismanagement.”

The Government of Mexico allocated 6,000,000 dollars to the Sembrando Vida program that started on the Island in July 2023, by delivering hoes, metal files, pruning shears and boots to a group of farmers. The beneficiaries were 5,000 producers with 25 cultivable acres that are grouped into cooperatives.

The Government of Mexico allocated $6,000,000 to the Sembrando Vida program that started on the Island in July 2023

Last December, the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (Amexcid), in charge of the program, inaugurated two nurseries of fruit trees and trees for timber in the municipalities of Artemisa and Mayabeque, in addition to donating half a dozen tractors. However, it is still unclear how much of the 150 dollars that Cuba receives for each beneficiary is given to the farmers.

Mexico, Bárcena said, also made a commitment to provide employment in its territory to asylum seekers. “We committed to employing 20,000 migrants in three years, and, in less than two years since the signing of the Los Angeles Declaration, we have employed more than 17,000 refugees, just from the local integration program that the UNHCR implements in Mexico, together with the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance.”

The official did not detail the nationality of the employees or the companies with which they are working.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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.

The Garbage Crisis in Las Tunas Forces the Authorities To Deliver More Fuel to Communal Services

So far, the company has received only 528 gallons of fuel per month, 50% of what it needs

According to official reports, Communal Services has only two tractors to load garbage in the municipality / Periódico 26

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 7 May 2024 — The government of Las Tunas developed a “strategy” to mitigate the crisis of garbage dumps that have been out of control for months in the city. The plan is to deliver to Servicio Comunales (Communal Services) about 793 gallons of diesel, 75% of what they should have monthly, with which the state managed to collect about 14,126 cubic feet of garbage this Saturday.

The rest of the solution consisted of getting “mechanical shovels and trucks from different companies with workers from the popular councils themselves and other entities,” said Periódico 26, which celebrated the garbage collection as a great milestone, despite the fact that the company did not receive all the necessary resources. Until now, the media said, Comunales obtained only 50% of the fuel it requires; its infrastructure is scarce, and its vehicles are, for the most part, in poor condition.

Las Tunas has been crying out for months for the government to take care of the city’s hygiene. The first alternative, conceived months ago, was to hire the horse-cart drivers to collect the garbage, but the disagreements with the drivers over the payments and the hard work left the municipality without collectors. In the province, 252 cart drivers work with Comunales, when, in the provincial capital alone, 659 are needed “to achieve a systematic collection.” continue reading

Las Tunas has been crying out for months for the government to take care of the city’s hygiene

Periódico 26, which explained that “this mission will take place until the city is completely clean,” is aware that “such an effort requires the systematic collection of solid waste.” However, it was not clarified where that fuel comes from – a resource that the State cannot deliver easily due to the shortage – and whether the deliveries to Comunales will be made regularly.

Part of the responsibility was also attributed to the inhabitants of the municipality, who were asked for “discipline” to “comply with what is established and ensure the cleanliness of the environment… The new strategy already shows that it may be possible to keep the city clean with institutional support and the population’s behavior,” the newspaper said, despite the fact that the obvious solution is to give Comunales what they need and not exhaust the resources of other companies.

The latest media report on the garbage situation, at the end of April, complained that few cart drivers “have stepped forward to do the work.” Each one is paid 40 pesos per cubic meter of garbage, which means that an average days earning — on the black market, where ordinary people exchange their money — is the equivalent of about $5 US a day. “But they don’t even want to do that work,” the provincial deputy director of Comunales, Eiser Prieto, told Periódico 26.

According to the official newspaper, the population of Las Tunas generates about 33,200 cubic feet of waste per month, most of which should be picked up by Servicio Comunales with two collection trucks and eight tractors, but there are only 2 tractors available. That saturation of garbage, along with the lack of equipment and the risks to both the drivers and the animals of contracting diseases, have overwhelmed the cart drivers.

At the beginning of April, Periódico 26 described Las Tunas as a capital city “full of trash dumps,” with municipalities in full “deterioration” and with leaders who “lack sensitivity” and act only “when they’re told to by the higher authorities.”

It also mentioned “social indisciplines,” such as throwing garbage in any corner, but recognized that “many neighbors have no choice but to throw garbage in the bins even when they are overflowing. What else can they do if there is no fuel and no horse carts?” The newspaper then asked for a salary increase for the cart drivers – “there is no other way” – a measure that should have been taken “many months ago,” it said.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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.

The Cuban Rafters Rescued by Fishermen Want To Stay in Mexico

The United States has deported 13 Cubans and 520 migrants from other countries in 2024

One of the Cuban rafters with Migration agents at the General Hospital of San Fernando / INM

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico City, 7 May 2024 — The Cuban rafters Mario Sergio Márquez Ventura, 30 years old, Rogelio Loaces Fuentes (50), Yuriesky Romero Hernández (33) and Diosan (26) asked the Migration authorities in Mexico to start procedures for their immigration regularization so they can stay in the country. The migrants, who were rescued last Saturday by fishermen from Laguna Madre, in Tamaulipas (Mexico), made the request on the same day the Cuban Embassy in Mexico offered them consular support. The consul general of Cuba told the local media, El Mañana, that it will be their decision if they want to return to the Island, stay in Mexico or continue on their way.

Migration lawyer José Luis Pérez says that article 69 of the Migration Law clearly states that they must be informed about the requirements to “regularize their stay.” In addition, these people “have the right to be legally assisted during the administrative procedure.”

Identification presented by Rogelio Loaces Fuentes to the Migration authorities / Facebook/Julio César

However, the lawyer did not rule out that under pressure they may be deported to Cuba. Mexico continues to deport Cubans, despite the fact that last October it announced that the process of “assisted calls” – as the expulsions are called – was paused until further notice. Last January, nine people from the Island were returned on a commercial flight. Last year, the departure of 774 migrants was completed. Staff at the General Hospital of San Fernando confirmed to 14ymedio that the rafters responded to treatment, and two were discharged to Migration on Monday. The other two remain under observation and could be discharged Tuesday, a day earlier than expected. continue reading

The Cubans remain in security at Migration headquarters in Matamoros, the Undersecretary of the Government of Tamaulipas, Tomás Gloria Requena, told the media on Monday.

The official said the story about the deaths of four other Cuban migrants is just a “rumor.” We don’t really know if they came together or in another boat; the National Institute of Migration will find out and let us know.”

These irregular migrants – 10 men and three women – had left Cuba illegally on April 23 from Cienfuegos province for Mexico

Also, a group of 13 Cuban rafters was returned to the Island on Tuesday by the United States Coast Guard Service (USCG), making a total of 520 irregular migrants from several countries in the region deported so far in 2024, official media reported.

These irregular migrants – 10 men and three women – had left Cuba illegally on April 23 from Cienfuegos province and were rescued on the high seas by a ship from Mexico that delivered them to the US Coast Guard, according to a note from Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior.

One of the returnees was on parole for compliance with criminal sanctions at the time of leaving the Island and “will be placed at the disposal of the corresponding courts for the revocation of that benefit,” he added.

This is the 14th operation to deport rafters carried out this year by the USCG through the port of Orozco, in the province of Artemisa.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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.

Colombian Airline Avianca Resumes Its Flights to Cuba After Four Years of Absence

The company will offer six weekly flights between Bogotá and Havana and 2,100 weekly tickets

Avianca will operate six direct flights on Airbus A320 aircraft with capacity for 180 passengers between Bogotá and Havana / EFE

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 3 May 2024 — The Colombian airline Avianca, whose aircraft had not flown to Cuba for four years, announced that beginning July 2, it will operate six direct weekly flights on Airbus A320 aircraft with capacity for 180 passengers, between El Dorado International Airport, in Bogotá, and José Martí, in Havana. According to a statement, it will sell 2,100 tickets a week. “We are happy to return to Cuba to provide our customers with an additional destination in the Caribbean and also to connect Cubans with 25 countries and 75 destinations that are part of our network,” said David Alemán, Avianca’s Sales Director for Colombia and Latin America.

Alemán highlighted that the airline has more than 70 flights and 10 routes that connect a network of destinations that include Aruba, Curaçao, Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, San Juan and now Havana. In addition, he specified that flights to the Island will be made on Tuesdays and Sundays.

With the increase in Avianca’s connections, another escape door is opened for Cubans who want to reach Managua to make the crossing to the United States

With the increase in Avianca connections, another escape door is opened for Cubans who want to reach Managua with the aim of making the crossing to the United States. The airline was widely used when there were fewer flights to Nicaragua during the COVID-19 pandemic. continue reading

Nationals of the Island would leave for Bogotá on a flight from Wingo, where they made a connection with Avianca to El Salvador with a final destination in Managua. The route, however, was impractical, since Colombia requires a transit visa for Cubans, and the procedure at that country’s consulate in Havana is slow.

The Colombian airline suspended its flights to Cuba on January 15, 2020. Avianca Holdings made the determination after, in October of the previous year, it had established a limited liability company in the United States to obtain a credit, making it subject to the regulations of that country.

The company suspended the sale of tickets to Cuba after the United States Government warned that it could sanction the airline for its operations on the Island, since initially the company did not request the corresponding permits.

The company suspended the sale of tickets to Cuba in 2020 after the U.S. Government warned that it could sanction the airline for its operations on the Island

Avianca admitted that its flights to and from Cuban territory could have “involuntarily” violated the regulations of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department.

The return of Avianca comes a few days after the Venezuelan airline Conviasa announced the increase in flights, from May 5, with departures from Caracas (Venezuela) to Managua (Nicaragua), with a stopover in Havana. The transfers will take place on Tuesday and Sunday, and “the checked baggage allowance is 23 kilos [51 pounds].”

The connections, whose costs were not disclosed, are in addition to those that the Venezuelan airline already had marked on its calendar. There were transfers from Havana to Managua on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The Avianca and Conviasa flights take place at a time when the state airline Cubana de Aviación confirmed the suspension of its regular flights to Argentina under the argument of the “refusal” of the oil company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF) to supply fuel to its aircraft because of the U.S. embargo on Cuba.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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.

The Communist Party of Chile Is Annoyed With Boric for Requesting the Democratization of Cuba

Last week, the organization signed an agreement on the Island with the Cuban Communist Party (PCC)

Boric has been critical of the authoritarian governments of Latin America, which brought him insults from Ortega and Maduro // Gabrielboric

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 6 May 2024 — “I don’t know what the president is referring to; I don’t know what he sees that needs to be democratized in Cuba.” The phrase is from Boris Barrera, a deputy of the Communist Party (PC) of Chile, referring to President Gabriel Boric. Within the Government there are no tensions with the PC, says Minister Camila Vallejo, a member of that same party, but the leaders of the organization have not taken well to the president’s statements and have not hesitated to let him know.

The controversy broke out on May 3, World Press Freedom Day, when the Chilean president, meeting with the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, spoke about the Island. “The situation is serious in Cuba, where today there is hunger and where it is necessary once and for all to lift the unilateral blockade*, in addition to moving towards democratization within the same country.” Boric’s words would be considered lukewarm by a large part of the international community, but they have been enough to anger one of the parties of his government’s coalition.

“Each country has the political system that it wants and that it imposes on itself (…). Cubans have given themselves in a democratic and sovereign way the political system they have,” Barrero told the president. His opinion was joined by Luis Cuello, head of the caucus of the communist deputies, who added: “The people of Cuba have the right to determine their own political system.” continue reading

“Cubans have given themselves in a democratic and sovereign way the political system they have,” Barrero told the president

On the same Friday, in the Círculo de Periodistas de Santiago de Chile, Lautaro Carmona and Bárbara Figueroa, president and secretary general of the PC, respectively, told the party’s militants about their recent trip to Cuba during an event in which funds were collected “to support Cuba.” Carmona said that during his time on the Island he learned “first hand, the effects of the criminal blockade* imposed by the United States.”

But his trip had another purpose, the signing of an agreement of “exchange and cooperation” between the communist parties of both countries, signed on the Island by Roberto Morales, current secretary of the organization and policy of cadres of the central committee of the PCC. Carmona provided some details of its content, among which stands out the “bilateral cooperation in the field of digital political communication, especially the work on social networks with the purpose of disseminating objective and truthful information opposed to the adverse media campaigns developed by the media of imperialism and its allies.”

The exchange on “issues of common interest” is also planned to reinforce “friendship, cooperation, dialogue, mutual learning and political trust between both parties,” which includes youth, feminist and trade union groups as priorities.

In addition, the objective is to “tighten the consultation and coordination mechanism for mutual support for international events, where it is necessary to establish a position of common principles, especially the São Paulo forum**” and also “promoting bilateral cooperation in terms of political formation and cadres,” including the creation of “economic cooperation platforms.”

Thus, the parties pledged to respect “the specific realities of Chile and Cuba” and “non-interference in internal affairs”

Thus, the parties pledged to respect “the specific realities of Chile and Cuba” and “non-interference in internal affairs,” he added, given the opportunity to complain about Boric’s words. “We want our government to have a closer look. We were with the ambassador of Chile there. Of course, it’s not the same thing we would have said, without speaking ill of him, from a professional point of view. But let’s make this urgent, let’s persevere, let’s not falter. This is a political, revolutionary mission,” added the leader of the PC.

“If we do it, we will feel the healthy satisfaction not only of having fulfilled, but also of being involved in a greater cause. We have a lot of closeness (with Cuba), but we have to make this a mass movement,” he said.

Despite the fact that Boric, who has been harder in the past with both the president of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega and the Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro – who has called him a “cowardly leftist” for his opinions – was reserved in his observations, his statements generated reactions from the entire parliamentary spectrum.

Among the opposition, the intervention of Guillermo Ramírez, of the right-wing Independent Democratic Union party, stands out, who said: “I am glad that the president talks about dictatorship when he talks about Cuba. In general, the left may have harsh words against Nicaragua and also against Venezuela, but it is very difficult for them to talk about Cuba; there is something romantic there that the left has not given up.”

“In general, the left can have harsh words against Nicaragua and also against Venezuela, but it is very difficult for them to talk about Cuba; there is something romantic there that the left has not given up”

Agustín Romero, of the opposition Republican Party, considered for his part that Boric “instead of looking outward, should worry about what is happening in Chile. Today, Chileans are being killed.”

The president’s position was generally supported by the government coalition, as the deputy of Social Convergence, Gonzalo Winter, made clear: “The situation of the embargo* is unacceptable, and the Cuban political model also moves completely away from what I understand by democracy.”

Maite Orsini, of the ruling Democratic Revolution, remarked that Cubans “are damaged both by their own government that prevents them from their civil and political rights and also by the blockade* that the United States has sustained for too many years.”

Vallejo herself, representative of the PC in the Government, said that the situation could go further and confirmed that the Executive supports Boric. “It is not something new, it is not something unknown to any ruling party, and it has been that conviction and that commitment to democracies, to human rights and to the integration of countries to be able to maintain that line and accept the consequence. Therefore, if it wasn’t a problem before, it wouldn’t have to be,” she said.

*Translator’s note: There is, in fact, no US ‘blockade’ on Cuba, but this continues to be the term the Cuban government prefers to apply to the ongoing US embargo. During the Cuban Missile Crisis the US ordered a Naval blockade (which it called a ‘quarantine’) on Cuba in 1962, between 22 October and 20 November of that year. The blockade was lifted when Russia agreed to remove its nuclear missiles from the Island. The embargo had been imposed earlier in the same year in February, and although modified from time to time, it is still in force.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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.

Opposition Candidate Xochitl Galvez Promises Not to Hire Cuban Doctors if She Wins the Presidency of Mexico

The opposition candidate accused the Cuban regime of keeping the profits of the health workers sent to Mexico

Gálvez leads a coalition of parties against the Government of López Obrador / 14ymedio/Courtesy

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Adyr Corral, Mexico, 6 May 2024 — The main candidate of the opposition for the presidency of Mexico, Xóchitl Gálvez, said that if she wins, she will not hire more Cuban doctors, as the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been doing.

“We are not going to continue to bring Cuban doctors! In Mexico, we have enough capacity and talent!” she said on Monday during the presentation of her Health Plan 2024-2030, ahead of the elections on June 2

The standard-bearer of the Fuerza y Corazón [Strength and Heart] coalition for Mexico, which brings together the PAN, PRI and PRD parties, said that in recent years the hiring of doctors from the Island has been a screen to camouflage López Obrador’s support of the Cuban dictatorship.

On April 29, the Mexican Government confirmed the arrival of another 123 Cuban doctors, totaling just over 800 specialists, of the total of 1,200 that López Obrador promises to have before the end of his six-year term.

Gálvez complained that the Cuban doctors who have been imported are not well paid for their work in Mexico and that the Cuban regime itself receives most of the economic profit. continue reading

“Hiring the Cuban doctors has only served to finance an authoritarian regime, because they don’t pay them well; it’s the Cuban government that keeps the money,” she emphasized at an event held in Guanajuato, in the center of the country.

Instead of bringing more doctors of Cuban origin, the opposition candidate proposed the construction of a comprehensive health system in which public, social and private services are united.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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.

The ‘Youngest Soldier in Cuba’ Recollects Her Family Trauma in the Documentary ‘Seguridad’

Tamara Segura presented in Canada the film in which she reveals how the regime ended up destroying the life of her father and his relatives

Tamara Segura, designated by the regime as the youngest militiawoman in Cuba, experienced the ’honor’ as a heavy burden / EFE

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Toronto, 6 May 2024 — When she was born on December 2, the anniversary of the arrival in Cuba of the yacht “Granma” on which Fidel Castro, Ernesto Che Guevara and others traveled to initiate the Revolution, Tamara Segura was named by the Cuban authorities as a soldier of the Revolution, which made her the youngest soldier in the country. Segura, who defined herself in an interview with EFE as a girl who was always very shy and “who didn’t want that kind of attention,” experienced the “honor” as a heavy burden.

The filmmaker discovered a violent encounter with a police officer, which earned her father a two-year prison sentence and plunged him into the alcoholism that would end up destroying him

Now, turned into a filmmaker based in Canada, Segura presented in Hot Docs – the most important documentary festival in North America and among the most prominent in the world – “Seguridad” (“Security”), a film in which she tells the story of her family and reveals how the regime destroyed it.

Her father’s alcoholism and violence caused her parents to divorce, and Segura distanced herself from him. When she moved to Canada in 2010, the rupture was total.

Four years later, the filmmaker tried to reconnect with her father and went to Cuba However, her father passed away a few days after her arrival in 2014, exactly 10 years ago, without them being able to speak.

Among his belongings was a box with old family photographs that showed him as a young, cheerful man, with no trace of the alcoholism and violence that would mark his life.

In the film, Segura reveals a secret that she had not known until that moment. Through conversations with her mother and her paternal grandmother, as well as documents, she discovered a violent encounter with a police officer, which earned her father a two-year prison sentence and plunged him into the alcoholism that would end up destroying him. continue reading

“My first instinct to make the movie was right after my father’s death, when I discovered that heritage of photos. And in those photos there is clearly a family story that was a blow to the gut,” Segura explained.

“The process took a long time, and I finally realized that it was something I wanted to do because it was a story that was going to haunt me for life if I didn’t tell it,” she added.

Segura describes the moment when she discovered the police brutality that condemned her father, and the impunity of the regime that sent a man who until then had been a model citizen to jail, as “a punch in the face.”

“You look back and it explains absolutely everything. That was something I couldn’t ignore,” she said. It was at that moment that she decided she had to make a documentary.

“I had no intention of talking about the economy, politics, ideological or sociocultural reality. I really wanted to talk about internal life and what that violence does to you psychologically

“I had no intention of talking about the economy, politics, ideological or sociocultural reality. I really wanted to talk about internal life and what that violence does to you psychologically,” she explained.

The filmmaker adds that knowing the role that the regime played in the destruction of her father was “like a reaffirmation of something that is already intuitively abstract. But of course it is very different to see it in its own flesh.”

“I had a lot of emotions, a lot of anger, a lot of pain, a lot of regret of having ended the relationship with him, without an apology, without really understanding who he was and without being able to say the things I wanted to say. Making the film has been a way to correct those mistakes,” she concluded.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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 Matanzas, Cuba, the ATMs Are Like People: Without Money

In addition to the limited availability of cash, customers complain about the long hours of waiting, not understanding the working hours, fatigue and hunger

The ATM of the Banco Popular de Ahorro on Medio Street does not always have cash / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Julio César Contreras, Matanzas, May 5, 2024 — Getting up early in the morning, making a coffee and leaving for the Banco Popular de Ahorro on Calle Medio, in Matanzas, has become a routine that Magda repeats between three and four times a month. Before 5:00 am, the 47-year-old is already at the branch standing in line to withdraw money from the ATM. The entity, however, does not open its doors until three and a half hours later.

“When I have to come to withdraw money I always arrive very early, but it doesn’t matter when I get up, there are always people there: coleros* [people being paid to stand in line for someone else] or people who are willing to wait from earlier,” Magda tells 14ymedio. “I immediately sit on the stairs and wait.”

Magda lives near the bank, but customers from several miles away walk to that branch from, for example, Peñas Altas. As she explains, arriving early does not guarantee that she can withdraw what she wants. “When the bank opens, the coleros have already left and those who hired them arrive – sometimes more than one – and replace them. By the time you arrive, the number of people in front of you has doubled,” she says. “The other thing is that this bank doesn’t always have money and coming here is a game of chance.” continue reading

ATM located on Contreras Street, belonging to the Banco Popular de Ahorro. Sometimes, several days pass without it delivering cash / 14ymedio

At 8:30 am a branch worker opens the doors to the anxious crowd and repeats his speech of every morning: “Soon money will be put in the ATM; each customer will be able to extract only 10,000 pesos and insert a maximum of two cards. Keep the line organized,” he warns.

With the wait for the money, the discomfort begins. “None of those people were here at 7:00 am, when I arrived,” a woman complains. “Oh, daughter, don’t you realize that that man made a line for them? Everything here is fixed,” another replies.

In addition to the low availability of cash, customers complain about the long hours of waiting, the working hours, fatigue and hunger. “I already warned them at work that I was going to be late. The boss will scold me again, but there is no remedy. If they want us to be early, then don’t pay us by card,” grumbles a young office worker.

With the difficulty of the task, Cubans have devised several “tricks” to extract the money or do it faster. “That man there came early with his wife, and she went to another ATM in case the cash runs out here,” says Magda. Others, she says, have contacts in several banks and call to find out if they will have cash. “I myself have a friend at the ATM of El Naranjal, who told me that today there would be no cash there, nor in the ATMs of the funeral home and Contreras Street,” she says.

ATM located on Medio Street, belonging to the Banco de Crédito y Comercio / 14ymedio

“The problem is that, with inflation, anything you buy costs 1,000 pesos, and therefore you need to take large amounts out of the bank. That’s what they charge, for example, the coleros, but I can’t give them that pleasure. Anyway, at 10,000 pesos per head, there are times when the first five people clean out the cash,” she says.

The hours pass slowly and the line doesn’t seem to move forward. “Who is the last of the disabled?” asks a woman without any visible disability. Immediately, suspicion in the line skyrockets. “Right now two people from a private business passed by and took out a lot of large bills. Now you appear with a physical disability. When we get to the front of the line, the money is gone, and those of us who have been here since early morning are left without anything,” a man growls at the indifferent gaze of a woman, who inserts her card into the ATM.

The same employee who hours before gave instructions to the customers now leaves, looks at the line and enters the branch again without saying a word. “Is the money going to run out?” The question makes everyone’s hair stand on end. “It not even ten,” says an old man.

ATM belonging to the Banco de Crédito y Comercio, located on Milanés Street. In general, it only has money available from Monday to Saturday in the early hours of the morning, although sometimes it also has cash for one or two hours in the afternoon / 14ymedio

“There’s a lot of banking and everything, but nowhere do they accept payment by transfer. The other day I needed to urgently buy some medication and I had to go to Varadero to get money,” complains a young man.

“Who is the last one?”** asks a man who arrives by bicycle, but there is no answer. The young office employee, whose turn had now arrived and who was extracting cash, gives the bad news: “There’s no more money. I could only get 2,500.” Many of the clients get annoyed and begin to protest, but most, for whom that situation is routine, pick up their things and leave. It’s 10:30 in the morning.

The employees of the branch don’t say a word. Only the custodian of the bank clarifies the doubt – otherwise well known – to an old woman: “They won’t put in one more peso until tomorrow.”

Translator’s notes:

*A line or queue in Cuba is called a ‘cola’ (literally ‘tail’) and ‘coleros’ are people who others pay to hold their place in lines that can be hours, or even days, long.

**Each person who joins the line asks “who is last” and then they themselves become the new “last person” until the next arrival. In this way Cubans don’t have to stand strictly one-behind-the-other, and can still maintain their positions in the line.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

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.