Blog

Prostitution in Cuba, a legal perspective

Prostitution is the performance of sexual acts for profit. In legal terms, the word prostitute refers only to the person who participates in an economic transaction based on sex, usually in exchange for an agreed upon amount of remuneration. In Cuba, prostitution has always generated an internal debate that has resisted going beyond public policies. […] Read more

The situation in Holguín

In the Province of Holguin, there are several communities where its population has very poor means and there is no possibility of gaining access to sources of technical or financial assistance. The worst conditions are found in the north of the province, in the Alcides Pinos neighborhood, known as La Chomba, and the other in […] Read more

A true story

When she asked me for a lighter without so much as an excuse me, much less wishing me a good afternoon, I looked her over trying to decipher her age, without even daring to think that this girl might be seventeen years old, if even that. I attempted to connect with her while making a […] Read more

Graffiti flooding the capital

The incognito artists do not stop painting the most dissimilar sketchings on the Havana walls that are on the verge of collapse. The image seen on the corner of Subirana and Avenida Carlos III is without a doubt one of the most mysterious. Is it the way of showing the desire to escape everyday reality? […] Read more

Remittances to Cuba: Get Ready for a Long Wait

“It’s really something unheard of,” complains Ernesta, resident of the Lawton neighbourhood, who has come to the Fincimex agency in Miramar to ask about her money. Ernesta tells us that she has been to the agency several times this week, awaiting a confirmation of the arrival of money sent by her brother living in Switzerland. […] Read more

One drastic cut and various promises

On the 1st August 2017, the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba (Gaceta Oficial de la República de Cuba) published Resolution no. 22/2017 by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (the MTSS). The purpose of the new rules embodied in this resolution is to amend, to a certain extent, the inconsistencies that the authorities […] Read more

Another violation of human rights in Cuba

On July 18th, 2017, Mr. C. Énix Berrio Sardá was supposed to leave Cuba on a Copa Airlines flight bound for South America to participate in an academic workshop. Upon arrival at Terminal 3 of the José Martí International Airport in Havana, Cuba, Énix checked his luggage along with other citizens going to the same […] Read more

Editorial – Art and Censorship

For a long time, the thinking has been that, in Cuba, censorship was reserved for opponents of the regime: those who wanted to put an end to the Revolution, and those who’s influence the people had to be protected against. Although culture, especially the arts, were used as a means for propaganda, the government initially […] Read more

Venezuela and the end of the utopia

The tomb of 21st-century socialism is in Caracas. This is the end of the project (hegemonic in several Latin American countries, for a moment) that Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro conceived in the late 1900s. The idea that took form in the premises of the Forum of Sao Paulo, a space that the radical left […] Read more

Changes in Transport

Over the last few days, the inhabitants of Havana have seen a higher number of buses circulating through the city. This has helped to lift the mood of passengers and reduced the number of people waiting at bus stops. The situation, however, is just a consequence of recent events. In fact, the sudden expansion of […] Read more

Buñuel’s Banned Film

Back in the early 1960s, Cubans were given an opportunity (perhaps by mistake) to watch the latest films directed by Luis Buñuel (1900-1983), which were shown in the cinemas of Havana. Yet, as soon as the authorities of the Castro regime realized the “evil” nature of the scenes and the dialogues, the films were banned […] Read more

How Much Does It Cost to Be Ill in Cuba?

Interview with Malvino Maldonado Iglesias Would you like to tell us about your experience with hospitals over the last few years? My experience with hospitals and polyclinics is rather long and it’s been pretty rough in the last weeks. The streak of bad luck began when I fell from a scaffolding when I was painting […] Read more

New Political Stage, the Same Scenario

Although the Cuban political stage may have partially changed after the death of Fidel Castro, the political scenario remains intact. The opposition groups on the island, which have been struggling to restore democracy taken away from the Cuban people by the so-called “revolutionaries”, are soon going to face enormous challenges. In this article, we are […] Read more

Successes in the Fight Against Bureaucracy?

Williams, a warehouse keeper in a brewery, is holding his labour record in his hand. He boasts it triumphantly as it took him five agonizing months before he finally got what he wanted – five months of paying regular visits to the Human Resources department of the company, leaving empty-handed. “Getting the labour record was […] Read more

Editorial: The Three Types of Cuban Journalism

Despite the fact that journalism in Cuba has changed considerably in recent years, opening up space for the independent press and new alternative initiatives, there are still three distinct blocs. There is the state press, characterized by being more propaganda than journalism and supporting strong censorship; the independent media, which is exposed to constant smears […] Read more

University Of Havana Was Once Democratic

Founded in 1728 by Dominican friars, the University of Havana was democratic for 231 years. When the university reopened on 11 May 1959, it continued to be democratic, despite the revolution that had taken place; it is something that the history still needs to explain and, quite oddly, the press has never covered the topic. […] Read more

Genetically Modified Organisms flood Cuba

Tourists and investors are currently flooding Cuba. Since the new wave of trade and economic liberalization hit the island, foreign companies are keen on coming here to explore new business opportunities. What happens when the local organic farming collides with U.S. agribusinesses? Will Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) flood the island next? The Paradox of Cuban Agriculture […] Read more

The Place Where My Father Wished to Be…

Dictatorships, in particular totalitarian, are very much alike. That of Cuba is not an exception. The State is perceived as an absolute entity that covers and understands everything and makes use not only of children, but even of the dead. There are many examples to support this and the best is perhaps the event that […] Read more

The Crisis of State Journalism

A SYSTEM THAT IS SINKING I n recent months, the role of the official press as a regulatory agency for the Cuban political system has been displaced by the so-called “alternative press” and its young journalists, trained at the university, who have migrated from the state media and are creating new, independent spaces outside of […] Read more

My Respect and Support for the New Alternative Media

Today one of the most interesting phenomena in Cuban society is the proliferation of alternative, independent media, including those that neither take orders from the government nor from the opposition. This wealth of articulated voices, which can be seen, rather than heard, especially in electronic formats, is a significant improvement of the efforts and experiments […] Read more

Trump and Cuba Today

Hopes that the new Republican administration might exert any major effort to overthrow the Cuban dictatorship are scarce. The only reasonable thing to expect is even more confrontational rhetoric and actions of little or no help to Cuba in promoting the pro-democratic agenda in the country. And that’s exactly what the old guard of the […] Read more

The Cuba of today is not the Czech Republic of 1989

And “Velvet Revolution” may not be coming to Cuba any time soon. 17 November reminds Czechs that freedom is worth fighting for, but what about Cuba? When is the Velvet Revolution coming to Cuba? These days, Czechs are celebrating 27 years since they overthrew communism. The velvet revolution brought democracy and freedom to this country after […] Read more

A Lack of Will

On 11 July 1997, the National Assembly of People’s Power approved the Environmental Act which stipulates the necessity of “providing for the right to a healthy environment, as the basic right of the society and its citizens, and for the right to enjoy a healthy and productive life in the harmony with nature.” At the […] Read more

How is the climate change perceived in Cuba?

I am almost sixty years old and I come from a rural area in Cuba. My parents were labourers, my father’s father was a landless peasant, my mother’s parents were peasants and landowners. I remember there was an intermittent stream flowing through their land forming small pools that provided water for cattle throughout the entire […] Read more

Who is going to pay for the potato loss?

Halfway through a Congress of the Communist Party which calls for efficiency and organization in the state matters, particularly those related to the national food supplies, nearly one hundred potato sacks had to be thrown away at the nearby farmers’ market Jaimanitas. The head of El Porvenir, a shop that belongs to the Jesús Menéndez […] Read more

10 Things Cubans Cannot Do

Many international media have been full of articles about how Cuba is changing. While this is true and there have been some changes that bring Cuba closer to its Latin American neighbors, Cubans still miss on many things that are quite normal in the rest of the region. Ten things that most Cuban’s still cannot […] Read more

Editorial – S.O.S. CUBAN WOMEN

Despite how much we hear about political and social situation in Cuba and changes which have been taking place in recent years, little or almost no attention is paid to the situation of women living in the country. Women´s rights are often overshadowed by a struggle for democracy which seems to be intended only for […] Read more

Granma and One-Party System

The leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba have once again declared against other political organizations that have nothing to do with Marxism-Leninism or similar doctrines. Apparently, the institutions and organizations that have been in control of the countryʼs destiny since early 1960s want to maintain unanimity in its postulates. The main proves of the […] Read more

Dogmeat

We were travelling by a minibus that belonged to the new carrier cooperatives associated with the state. The seats were so close to one another that I could not avoid overhearing a conversation I haven’t been able to figure out till today. At one moment I even turned my head to see the person who […] Read more

The Two Faces of Havana

The state institutions responsible for the hygiene and the beautification of the city give individualized attention to the touristic zones, such as the areas where the ruling elite lives. This is definitely a fact. At the recent meeting of the Advice of Ministers, Raúl Castro said: “we have to develop […] we have the possibility […] Read more

How to Save the Environment in Cuba – New Report

Cuba is not only a beautiful island full of unique beauty and endemic species but also a country with multiple environmental challenges, such as omnipresent illegal dump sites, or aggressive agro-forestry and energy programs. PIN, in collaboration with Cuban ecologists, put together this Report on the Environmental Situation in Cuba which aptly analyses the current […] Read more

A New Collapse in Havana

Campanario Street, almost at its intersection with Estrella, remains obstructing vehicular traffic from a few days ago due to the accumulation of rubble product of the spontaneous collapse of a building that was over one hundred years old. It is known that when the sun rises after downpours, the heat ends up cracking the structures […] Read more

Hopefully the wounds will heal

If we make a serious reflection about the consequences that the communist experiment has brought to Cuba, we do not find it hard to understand that the Fidel Castro’s revolution was the worst that could occur in our country. Nevertheless, there is no way to justify the coup of Fulgencio Batista in 1952 months before […] Read more

Paranoia

Argimiro Caro was an activist for democracy in Cuba till migrated to other lands in 2005. A long time ago, he swore once he was convinced that in one visit to the dentist, the doctor inserted a chip in one piece to keep him located. “You do not see a dark shadow next to the […] Read more

A Sad Task of an Old Major

Major Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, vice-president of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, would definitely feel more comfortable as the head of the Ministry of the Interior (founded indeed by himself at the dawn of Cuban Revolution) than with the job he has been assigned recently, at the age of 84. Perhaps by a […] Read more

Alternative Blog vs. State Media Monopoly

That’s how life goes. Readers and other supporters of the blog known as Cartas desde Cuba (Letters from Cuba) continue in their efforts to support Fernando Ravsberg. The Uruguayan journalist, who settled in Cuba 28 years ago, has started a public collection to finance his project that, in his own words, aims to “bring information which reflects […] Read more

Cuba 2015: One Year after Historic Change

On December 17, 2014 the presidents of Cuba and the United States announced a historical change in the relationship between the two countries. Since then some new spaces for Cuban citizens have opened up and Cuban society has been experiencing a remarkable ideological shift not seen in decades. However much less has changed in Cuba […] Read more

The decline of the old books market

Rolando “the engineer” has spent over 20 years selling so-called used and rare books. “Every day sales are decreasing, it is getting more difficult to obtain books, people accuse us of buying low and selling high because customers are mainly tourists, but the truth is we have to take a risk at the Plaza de Armas.” The […] Read more

Cubans deported from the US

Reinaldo Cruz, native of Manzanillo with permanent address in the Havana neighbourhood of El Calvario, was deported to Cuba in 2011. Today, he spends all day drunk on the beach, surviving only thanks to the money people give him, occasional thefts or by narrating his misdeeds from the time he lived in Orlando. Another deportee, […] Read more

Editorial: Violence without bruises

  Repression in Cuba works in a way that sometimes is not easy to understand for those who are not in direct contact with it or with the people who suffer it. Cuba has managed to create an international image of a social country, concerned about the lives of people. It has continuously promoted its […] Read more

They used my son to threaten me

I began to experience repression the day my father shouted in my face: “If necessary we will kill, but they will not triumph, we cannot allow it.” My father is a professor of Social Sciences and Master in Cultural Development, and belongs to the Communist Party of Cuba, which he follows with a blind faith. […] Read more

They continue to reject our greeting

  It all started with several people who simply stopped responding to our greetings, later on they looked at us with hatred and in silence. Others roared with laughter and said that we were crazy, that our salary was low and that we were going to have to go abroad. Then (some people) started screaming […] Read more

They follow every step I take

  The truth is that I don’t know which story from my life I should tell about psychological repression. Ever since I began taking an interest in our rights and how to assert them, they started calling me a counterrevolutionary and making life impossible for me. They start to make it like a war for […] Read more