It is Hard to Eat Black Beans With Chopsticks / Iván García

The Cuban generals converted into businessmen felt a morbid fascination with the Chinese model. It was always the “narrative” they shared with their followers on the island. But in 1968, Fidel Castro decided to play the Russian card. After diplomatic disagreements and an aggressive discourse, Havana broke with Peking and bet big on the line … Continue reading “It is Hard to Eat Black Beans With Chopsticks / Iván García”

INDEX OF VOICES 3 (October 2010) [And Download] / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD VOCES 3: IN SPANISH Dagoberto Valdés (1) Art and craft of making independent magazines Mirta Suquet (3) Power and the grotesque Ena Lucia Portela (9) The chills and laughter Miriam Celaya (11) Possible exit scenarios Reinaldo Escobar (15) The more uncertain assumptions Francis Sanchez (16) Dream journal (I) Orlando Luis Pardo … Continue reading “INDEX OF VOICES 3 (October 2010) [And Download] / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo”

Cuba, A Little More Corrupt / Iván García

Sixty-ninth place. That is what Cuba is on the 2010 Index of Perception of Corruption, recently released by Transparency International. It shares the same score, 3.7, with Brazil, Montenegro and Romania. The island fell eight steps: from its standing in 2009, when it ranked 61st with 4.4 points. When I tell this to Daniel, 39 … Continue reading “Cuba, A Little More Corrupt / Iván García”

ETECSA-CUBACEL-G2 / Luis Felipe Rojas

Photo: Luis Felipe Rojas My telephone battery runs down twice a day. Every three minutes I receive local calls, which, of course, I don’t respond to. On occasion, when I have responded I have received insults, threats, and attempts to destabilize me. As for the usual restrictions which the repressive forces exercise against me, we … Continue reading “ETECSA-CUBACEL-G2 / Luis Felipe Rojas”

En Route to Alamar / Rebeca Monzo

It was an afternoon like any other. The bus was full of passengers, with their tired faces and lost stares, going back home, after a day of hard work, or just working hard trying to finish the day. Everything was normal: occasionally slamming on the breaks, loud conversations, deafening music coming from the last rows, … Continue reading “En Route to Alamar / Rebeca Monzo”

The Distant Hill / Claudia Cadelo

My friend Evelyn is a happy woman. She has lived through a thousand hardships in her youth but now that she’s nearing forty she looks back and the balance is more than positive. For me, younger than she, she inspires my admiration: her daughter is lovely, she’s cruising right along in her career, and she … Continue reading “The Distant Hill / Claudia Cadelo”

#SanGeely / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

#SanGeely This photo was taken November 6, 2009: they knock and they know what they are doing…! Translator’s note: The day this photo was taken Orlando and Yoani Sanchez were kidnapped “Gangland Style” by plain-clothes Security Agents, beaten in the car, and then thrown back out on the street. The photo in this post is … Continue reading “#SanGeely / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo”

Catastrophe / Claudia Cadelo

We were waiting for a ride on 23rd when Ernesto Morales’ cell phone rang. It was Yoani Sánchez, worried about him because he could have taken AeroCaribbean Flight No. 883. We were stunned for a few seconds and then Ernesto told me: “I was going to travel on that plane.” I felt helpless to express … Continue reading “Catastrophe / Claudia Cadelo”

Personal Catastrophes / Yoani Sánchez

How many human dramas around each victim in the crash of Aerocaribbean Flight 833. The similarity of names in the passenger list suggest that parents and children, brothers and sisters, couples with their offspring, have been lost. I remember that among the names mentioned on the news this morning was that of a Japanese tourist, … Continue reading “Personal Catastrophes / Yoani Sánchez”

Julio Cesar Alfonso, Executive Director and President of Solidarity Without Frontiers / Juan Juan Almeida

We believe every human being in the world has the right to health, with no consideration of costs. Juan Juan: Solidarity Without Frontiers is a relatively young organization with very defined purposes. Somewhere I read, “Our membership is composed of doctors who have fled the Cuban communist government, and today live in the United States … Continue reading “Julio Cesar Alfonso, Executive Director and President of Solidarity Without Frontiers / Juan Juan Almeida”

Letter to Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic / Oscar Elías Biscet

Havana, October 15, 1999 Your Excellency: Respectfully I salute you and express my admiration to you and your people, and join this celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in which your country became free from the communist yoke through a peaceful revolution. The example of Czechoslovakia has left a deep impression in … Continue reading “Letter to Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic / Oscar Elías Biscet”

This Weekend the Prisoners Who Don’t Want To Leave Cuba Are Expected To Be Released / Iván García

From Canaleta prison in Ciego de Ávila, Pedro Argüelles Morán political prisoner, 62, called me on Friday the 22nd and said a State Security had told him he could be released this Sunday, October 24. Other relatives of the dozen of prisoners from the group of 75 who, like Argüelles Morán, do not wish to … Continue reading “This Weekend the Prisoners Who Don’t Want To Leave Cuba Are Expected To Be Released / Iván García”

Expected Prize / Iván García

It had already been leaked to Cuban dissidents that the journalist and psychologist Guillermo Fariñas enjoyed a big lead in the voting for the 2010 Sakharov Prize. Among the local opposition the distinction has received more applause than criticism. Still, ‘Coco’ — as we call him — was surprised and the phone in his house … Continue reading “Expected Prize / Iván García”

Blockade vs. Embargo: Reason Hijacked / Ernesto Morales Licea

In my judgment, few issues of the Cuban reality are more complex to objectively analyze than the controversial economic, financial and trade blockade-embargo which, since 1962, the United States has maintained against the Island’s government. While there are topics that we can dissect almost surgically, separating their components with pinpoint precision, on this topic there … Continue reading “Blockade vs. Embargo: Reason Hijacked / Ernesto Morales Licea”

The Virgin of Charity of Cobre / Dimas Castellanos

After a mass at her shrine by the Bishop of Santiago de Cuba, the Virgin of Charity of Cobre began on 8 August a pilgrimage across the country, with a message of dialogue and reconciliation, which will run until 10 December 2011. The precession, commemorating the 400th anniversary of her appearance in Cuban water, coincides … Continue reading “The Virgin of Charity of Cobre / Dimas Castellanos”