Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to Visit Cuba Without Pissing Off Your Cuban Parents (Parts I, II, & III): Crashing for the Night, Where to Eat, & Getting Around

Here's a three-part series from the Miami New Times by Joshua Abril on "How to visit Cuba (while making sure your money goes to the man on the street, and the Bros. Castro) without pissing off your Cuban exile parents or grandparents." 

It reads a bit like my dissertation, only translated for your reading pleasure by Ali G


Enjoy dog!

Part I: Crashing for the Night (i.e., casas particulares)

Part II: Where to Eat (i.e., paladares)

Part III: Getting Around (maquinas y boteros)

Nos vemos a las cuatro en El 8avo Piso

More Queloides - Mesa Redonda - 8th Floor today

Queloides: Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art
ON VIEW APRIL 12th-JULY 14th AT THE 8TH FLOOR

TODAY: Roundtable Discussion

Please join us today, Tuesday, May 31st, 4 pm
For a roundtable discussion featuring the following artists in the Queloides exhibit:


ARMANDO MARIÑO, MEIRA MARRERO, & JOSÉ TOIRAC

with ALEJANDRO DE LA FUENTE
co-curator of Queloides and
UCIS Research Professor of History
and Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh
RSVP Required


THE 8TH FLOOR
17 West 17th St.
New York, NY 10011
Tuesday, Wednesday, and
Thursday from 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
and by appointment.
646.839.5908
info@the8thfloor.org

Friday, May 27, 2011

BREAKING: Tax moratorium for cuentapropistas & Paladares allowed to grow from 20 to 50 chairs

BREAKING: Cuba to grant private enterprises payroll tax moratorium, allow larger restaurants
Paul Haven, AP, May 27, 2011

(See Granma article in Spanish here).

HAVANA - Cuba announced new measures Friday to spur the island's push into private enterprise, instituting a moratorium on payroll taxes for small business owners and loosening limits on the size of private restaurants.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Leonardo Padura on possible changes in Cuba's migration laws

I have taken the liberty to select and translate two brief sections of Padura's commentary at IPS below.

Follow this link for the full, original article in Spanish, "El mundo es ancho y... bastante ajeno," at IPS. (H/T to Yudivian Almeida on Twitter at @yudivian for the link.)

"The World is Wide and... Very Far Removed"

"The fact that the modification of the migratory regulations is being discussed and analyzed is, without a doubt and above all, an act of legal justice demanded by Cuban society.
[...]
What is essential in any case is to normalize in the most profound way possible the individual option of traveling, migrating, or returning to the country.
As in other areas of Cuban society and the economy, it is necessary that the country put itself in consonance with the world and that individual spaces grow and become democratic.
Without a doubt, the benefits for those who are capable to generate them can also become benefits for society as a whole."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cuban Paladar "La Casa" uses social media to fill it's dining room

Here is a screenshot of La Casa's website.
La Casa also has a blog and a Facebook page.

New entrepreneurs on the rise in socialist Cuba
Jeff Franks, Reuters - May 24, 2011

QEPD: Ramón Puig, El Rey de las Guayaberas

See here for Cafe Fuerte's obit of Ramón Puig, "El Rey de las Guayaberas."

I am personally indebted to Señor Puig. I bought a white, long sleeved Irish linen guayabera from him in the summer of 2005 for my wedding that August 13.

I have since realized that despite his own longevity in power, it was a bad omen to get hitched on El Comandante's birthday.

Unfortunately, the guayabera has lasted longer than the marriage.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ubieta responds: "I am absolutely free [...], I do not depend on foreign states."

I was not able to interview Cuban journalist and blogger Enrique Ubieta (La Isla Desconocida) during my recent trip to Cuba. However, he has taken the liberty to react (if not quite respond) to the key questions posed in my interview in some detail here.

My argument in the interview I did with Luis Manuel Garcia of Encuentro was that in Cuba one's level of independence in the blogosphere can be measured, in part, by how one answers the following questions: How do you access the Internet and who can take away that access?

Ubieta's response is this:

"My independence, of course, is measured in a different way since I do not earn a salary for what I write, and my standard of living is similar to that of any regular citizen: I am absolutely free, because I do not write even a comma that I do not believe in, and I do not depend on foreign states."

In other words, for Ubieta, it's all about the money.  However...,

Friday, May 20, 2011

OLPL: Desde La Plaza de Armas hasta Nueva York

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

As announced previously on my blog, tonight I attended a fascinating panel discussion on the Internet, new media, and their impact on Cuban literature at the Americans Society moderated by literary critic Rachel Price of Princeton and Cuban writer Jose Manuel Prieto of Seton Hall.

We were treated to an all-star cast with three leading Cuban writers and bloggers present in the flesh (Ernesto Hernandez Busto, Abilio Estevez, and Jose Manuel Prieto), and three others virtually present via texts, videos, and/or kilobytes (Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Amir Valle, and Yoani Sanchez).

The evening began with the second of the two short videos below that Orlando and I recorded in La Plaza de Armas last month while I was in Havana (you can watch them below or here and here on YouTube).

We thought (correctly it turned out) that it would be good to have them ready as a "Plan B" in case Orlando did not get his exit permit from the Cuban government to attend the event.  He already had his US visa in hand when I met him, but no tarjeta blanca was forthcoming for this blogographer, twitero, and writer.  The same was true, of course, for blogger Yoani Sanchez.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cuba relaxes hiring policy

Cuba relaxes hiring policy, May 18, 2011

HAVANA, May 18 (UPI) -- The Council of Ministers in Cuba said self-employed workers could now hire non-family members, as the government seeks to expand private sector jobs.
     The government under Raul Castro intends to lay off 1.3 million public sector workers, although the first wave of layoffs, set for April 1, was delayed as the government said the private sector was not creating jobs fast enough, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.
     There are 178 categories of self-employment in Cuba, including vendors who sell food or clothes on sidewalks in shopping areas. Until Saturday, only 83 of these were permitted to hire non-family members, the newspaper said.
     With only had 295,000 Cubans licensed as self-employed, however, it is likely the sector will only absorb a fraction of the 1.3 million the government plans to lay off.
     A report in Granma, the official newspaper in Cuba said, "The Council of Ministers agreed to extend to all of the non-state sector activities the approval to hire employees and continue the process of easing the restrictions on self-employment.''
     The newspaper added that more details would be forthcoming.

Cuban Council of Ministers Easing Regulations on Self-Employment

Cuban Council of Ministers Easing Regulations on Self-Employment
Cuba's Council of Ministers met and among other things pushed open the door just a crack more in the area of self-employment, now allowing all self employed workers to hire employees beyond the 80 or so number of occupations previously authorized to do so. The following is an excerpt from a press release I found at the MinRex website.

CUBA, May 17, 2011. - Participants [at the meeting] were informed about the results of a study regarding the implementation of self-employment in the country.
Likewise, the Council of Ministers agreed to continue a process to make self-employment regulations more flexible, including the authorization to hire staff. They also approved a recommendation to extend the timetable to implement a process to reduce redundant jobs in the public sector.
In this regard, Raul Castro said that this is a process that takes time because it involves many people and it is necessary to create the conditions for its implementation. He insisted that no one would be abandoned.
(Cubaminrex-Cuban News Agency)

Tania Bruguera is at it again - This time in Queens?!

An Artist’s Performance: A Year as a Poor Immigrant
By SAM DOLNICK, NYT - May 18, 2011

Tania Bruguera (left), a performance artist with members of Immigrant Movement International, an advocacy group. The group is part of the artist's yearlong performance art work, during which she is living with illegal immigrants in Queens.
Photo: James Estrin/The New York Times

Tania Bruguera has eaten dirt, hung a dead lamb from her neck and served trays of cocaine to a gallery audience, all in the name of art. She has shown her work at the Venice Biennale, been feted at the Pompidou Center in Paris and landed a Guggenheim fellowship.

But now she is sharing a tiny apartment in Corona, Queens, with five illegal immigrants and their six children, including a newborn, while scraping by on the minimum wage, without health insurance.

She has not fallen on hard times. Ms. Bruguera is performing a yearlong art piece meant to improve the image of immigrants and highlight their plight. And she is bringing her high-concept brand of provocation to a low-wattage precinct of taco stands and auto-body shops, where the neighbors have responded with varying degrees of curiosity, amusement and befuddlement.

“She’s an artist? I didn’t know that,” said J. P. Jimenez, a salesman at Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware on Roosevelt Avenue, opposite the storefront Ms. Bruguera opened last month. “I don’t see nobody going in with paintings.”

Click here to finish reading the NYT article.

Keep reading below for a description of Bruguera's long-term immigrant rights project, Immigrant Movement International, from her website.

Today and Tomorrow in Nueva York!: Cuba - Inside and Out

Cuba Inside and Out: Panel Discussion on New Media in Cuban Literature Today
Thursday, May 19, 2011
7:00 p.m., Americas Society, 680 Park Avenue, New York, NY
Map of location 

Amir Valle. Courtesy of the author.
A group of Cuba’s most contemporary writers, including several who reside on the island and others who reside in Europe—collectively, Abilio Estévez, Ernesto Hernández Busto, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, and Amir Valle—, and Rachel Price (moderator)(Princeton University), a contemporary scholar of new media in literature, will discuss the use of the Internet, email, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media as a means of creative expression as well as of distributing contemporary writing on and off the island. All of the participants are featured in Review 82 (Cuba Inside and Out, Spring 2011). In collaboration with the Cuban Cultural Center of New York and InterAmericas®.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Estoy en el Yuma!!!!

La version popular de los lineamientos.

Cut to the end of the two minute video for the "Yuma" punch line.

Eduardo del Llano: "No hay que ejercer la censura, pero sí el respeto."

Eduardo del Llano follows up his previous provocative post criticizing the Cuban press, "Los caballeros de la mesa," with this new one, "Tengan la mas completa seguirdad," responding to some of his more disrespectful and simpleminded commentators.

Here is my quick translation of part of the post:

"This is a very strange and contradictory country.  But what is certain is that if you look at it choked up with too much hatred, you will be blind to the beautiful things that are here too."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Quien es Ivan Garcia?

Those who read Spanish will want to check out this fascinating interview of independent journalist and blogger Ivan Garcia. 

It was done by Liu Santiesteban @ Todo el Mundo Habla. 


14 DE MAYO DE 2011


"Among a wide sector of Cuba's dissident community, democracy means criticizing only the Castro brothers, not them" -Iván García, independent journalist in Havana.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cuentos fantásticos contra la homofobia

Lectura de cuentos fantásticos contra la homofobia

Lugar: Centro Onelio (5ta y 20, Playa)
Fecha: martes 17 de mayo de 2011, a las 2 pm
Organizan: Norge Espinosa y Yasmín S. Portales

Lecturas de cuentos de Michel Encinosa Fu, Daina Chaviano, Arnaldo Correa, Yoss y alguna otra persona que se decida.

"El problema que aquí se discute es la cuestión del otro, el ser que es distinto de uno mismo. Ese ser puede diferir de uno mismo en el sexo, en sus ingresos anuales, en su modo de hablar, de vestirse y actuar, en el color de su piel o en el número de piernas y cabezas que posea. En otras palabras, existe el extraño sexual, así como el extraño social, el extraño cultural y, finalmente, el extraño racial." Úrsula K. Le Guin, 1975

Cuban paladares hopeful with new sheriff, but still wary of old one

One of Havana's new, elegant home-based restaurants, or Paladares, 
the L'Atelier (El Taller, or the "Workshop"), located just steps from 
Hotel Melia Cohiba, is named for the personal attention given 
to each dish and each guest.  Photo - El Yuma.

New rules usher in a tasty comeback for Cuban food (Version en espanol)

HAVANA (AP) — Ramon Menendez went to his grave in the 1980s believing that his family grocery, shut down by Fidel Castro's revolution, would one day rise again. In January it finally happened.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Framing the issue: Freedom to be "tourists" or the right to leave and return to one's country of birth

A man unloads bags at Havana’s international airport. The Communist Party’s newly released economic guidelines say the government will study the possibility of letting Cubans travel abroad as tourists.
Photo: Franklin Reyes/AP

The recently amended lineameintos published in the wake Cuba's 6th Party Congress included the hint that the government is considering revising (but not, it seems, abolishing) the hated "white card" (or exit permit).

Take a look at this Christian Science Monitor article which focuses on the issue.

The language in the published Communist Party document is telling as it says tha the government will "study a policy that allows Cubans living in the country to travel abroad as tourists." Framing the issue this way is, to my mind, a cynical attempt to cloud the issue.

It is not a question of Cubans wanting to be tourists but one of any citizen's right to leave and return to their contry of birth without asking permission of their government.

Then, of course, there are two other BIG questions: Who can get a foreign visa and who has the money to pay for the plane ticket?

The CSM article points this out, saying, "President Raúl Castro's economic reforms in Cuba appear set to deliver long-sought freedom, even if few can afford to go anywhere."

Let's hope my skepticism is misplaced and that there is a real debate within the Party to restore a fundamental right to Cuban citizens. 

However, if the government abolishes the exit permit, it will also be voluntary giving up one of the key weapons in its arsenal of control. 

Many potential critics are silenced for fear of being denied this exit permit (to emigrate, attend a conference or prefessional event, or simply visit a friend or relative abroad).  And others who are already outspoken internal critics of the system are routinely punished by the govennment's withholding of this permit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Havana: The State Retreats - José Manuel Prieto, NYRB, 4/27/11 (Updated)

I have to admit that I posted Jose Manuel Prieto's essay in the NYRB, "The State Retreats," a few days ago without first having read it - knowing him to have a perceptive eye and a sharp pen.

It turns out that I was more right than I had thought as his powers of clear observation, witty description, and keen analysis are on full display here.

Now, after having read the essay in full I want to highlight for readers of El Yuma a few powerful passages from it and encourage you to read through it carefully from beginning to end.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Los lineamientos 2.0 (Updated)

Phil Peters reports on today's release of the new, post-Congress version of Cuba's economic guidelines.

More from Phil here and Juan Tamayo of the Miami Herald here. (H/T, Arch at The Cuban Economy).





A 48-page PDF outlining the changes in the original document and the reasons for those changes is here.

The final, definitive version of the Lineamientos is here (H/T, Ernesto at PD).

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Hay que ser franco ... hay una decision de cambiar el pais": Omar Everleny Perez Villanueva on The Cuban Economy at the Bildner Center

Now that his semester is over at Flagler College where he teaches journalism, freelance journalist Tracey Eaton is inundating us with a treasure trove of video interviews from Cuba's dissident and blogger community. Most of these interviews were filmed last summer - 2010 - in Havana.  There are also a host of videos of panels and some interviews of attendees at the Bildner Center's recent symposium, "Cuba Futures" (in NYC in March-April, 2011).

Here is my own transcription of Cuban economist Omar Everleny Perez Villanueva's words in the Q & A following the symposium's major economics panel:

"Como estamos entre amigos hay que ser franco. Muchas de las dudas de ustedes tambien son de nosotros...
"Que haya competencia, aunque no apraezca en los lineameintos, tiene que haber competencia por que si no se caye en la estaquilla donde se ha caido hasta este momento donde hay una empresa monopolica que controla los precios.
"Si unas de las cosas que aprendimos Pavel, yo y Nova que fuimos recientemiente a ver el modelo vietnamita, a tomar la experencia del modelo vietnamita, fue cuando yo le pregunte:
"'Por que el telefono celular es tan barato aqui que es casi cero?'
"Y me dicen: 'Muy sencillo. Tenemos dos empresas estatales y cuatro privadas y en la competencia gana el pueblo.'
"Fijense las palabras. Entonces es un pragmatismo...
"Lo esencial es que hay una decision de cambiar el pais y yo creo que eso es mas importante que responder a cada una de las preguntas."

"La BlogOsfera Cubana" - Razones Ciudadanas (Part 5) - Coming Soon to a computer near you!

La blogosfera y otros demonios.cu - Reir por no llorar

While I was in Cuba two weeks ago, I learned that the producers of "Razones Ciudadanas" made a concerted effort to reach out beyond the bloggers associated with the "Voces Cubanas" portal to include other voices from the growing and diverse Cuban blogosphere in this episode.

However, the other bloggers declined the invitation.

Preview: Razones Ciudadanas #5 - "La Blogosfera Cubana"

Q: How do you say Yoani Sanchez in Chinese?

A: Liao Yiwu.

Pull quote: "Mr. Liao said that he had been denied permission 14 times to leave China from 1999 until last autumn, when he received permission to travel to Germany...
"'While I was in Germany, my friends suggested that I stay in Germany and not return to China with all the restrictions, but I told them I wanted to return to China since I write about China,' he said, expressing no regrets about this decision."

Photo: Eugene Hoshiko, File
FILE - In this June 6, 2008 file photo, Chinese poet and novelist Liao Yiwu revisits the earthquake damaged Gu Temple in Jiezi town of Sichuan Province, China. Sydney Writers' Festival officials said Monday, May 9, 2011, that the Chinese government had blocked author and government critic Liao from leaving China for security reasons.

China Bars Prominent Writer From Overseas Travel
By KEITH BRADSHER, NYT - May 9, 2011

HONG KONG – A prominent Chinese writer has been barred from leaving China to attend a literary festival next week in Australia, the writer and festival officials said on Monday, in the latest sign of China's ongoing crackdown on domestic critics.

Primera plana El País: La muerte de Soto Garcia

Death of Soto Garcia front page news in today's El País.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Costly, slow, & risky": Ivan, Laritza & Tania on the Internet in Cuba (Desde La Habana)

What follows are three related posts from "Desde La Habana" about the state of Internet in Cuba today.  The posts are by Ivan Garcia, Laritza Diversent, and Tania Quintero, respectively.

I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing the first two of them during my recent visit to Cuba.  (Stay tuned for the English translations).

"I hold Cuba's State Security responsible for whatever happens to me in the future" - Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia

Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia died early this morning after being beaten by the police in Santa Clara two days earlier.  Last year, he spoke to Marti Noticias about his being threatened by State Security for his support of dissident hunger striker Guillermo Farinas.  His last line (in bold below) is quite chilling given what just happened.

Here is my own English transcription/translation of the audio clip below (readers will let me know if I missed something):

"When I left the provincial hospital Arnaldo Milián Castro, a State Security official told me, 'What you did yesterday in support of Coco [Farinas] is going to have repurcussions for you.' And then he told me, 'Be aware of the consequences that can happen to you.'

Then when I arrived at my apartment building, someone who supports the state securitiy agents began to shout at me: 'Counterrevolutionary! Worm!'  In other words, they were already starting to threaten me with reprisals. And right now here where I am now in the building, two or three elements that they put here to watch and conduct surveillance against me... Also, I know that they are watching me.

Now we have arrived at the point of offering Guillermo Farinas our support as a brother in the cause. And I know that this has bothered State Security because on two or three occassionas they have tried to stop me from going to the Fernandez Castro hospital. But we did not let them stop us. We have arrived at the principle that we are going to be with Guillermo until the end, whatever the consequences. Whatever happens, happens.

I hold Cuba's State Security, the government, and the repressive police here in Santa Clara responsible for whatever happens to me in the future.

I, Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia, former political prisioner."



H/T Penultimos Dias - Original source Marti Noticias.

De puños y policias: La muerte estúpida de Juan Wilfredo Soto García

Los puños querrán convencerlo, ya que los escasos argumentos no lo lograrán.

"Fists will try to convince him, when meager arguments can't do the job."

La crónica que no fue - Yoani Sánchez

Saturday, May 7, 2011

La Flaca on PRI's The World (with excerpt from her new book)


Cuba's blogosphere is relatively small and its most famous practitioner is Yoani Sacnhez. She says her blog "Generation Y" is not an act of dissent, but is more like a daily diary to describe what it is like to live in Cuba. The World's Carol Hills has more.

Download MP3
Full story and book excerpt below...

Criminalization of the Internet in Cuba - Yenisel Rodriguez Perez (HT)

Another blogger from Generation Y sounds of (this time from Havana Times).

Criminalization of the Internet in Cuba - May 7, 2011

Yenisel Rodriguez

The Cuban state and government have deployed a mass media campaign to politically criminalize the Internet. The argument is that it is part of one of the strategies for political intervention by the United States into Cuban affairs.

Once again the logical fallacy is being applied, according to which there exist only two political positions in the country: leftist anti-imperialism of the socialist brand (though actually statist nationalism) and the extreme right position that favors annexation by the US.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dear Anonymous: Academic exchange goes both ways


The following comment appeared in response to my "esta será tu ultima vez" post late this afternoon:

"Ted, you've been allowed to go to Cuba 15 times. Just how many times do you think a Cuban communist would be admitted to the US to meet up with American leftists? Zero. And Cuba has legitimate security fears, unlike the US."

My English readers should know that I am in the process of translating my previous post into English. But, while I don't know who this particular anonymous is, his/her question is quite representative of one strain of progressive American thought vis-a-vis Cuba and deserves a thorough response in English.

Dear Anonymous,

I share your anger at US government double standards and recognize that all countries - especially the USA under "W." - can be arbitrary and even vindictive about who it lets in and why - especially when it comes to Cubans who are not coming to defect or immigrate but to do academic or political work.

However, you are wrong on three key points:

No tiene nombre: Otro lector responde

Normalmente, no me gusta que aparezca tal lenguaje en mi blog, pero este mensaje de un viejo amigo cubano "no tiene nombre" - esta "de pin... mi hermano!"


"De pinga mi hermano!

Eso no tiene nombre. Fijate, lo que mas me duele ademas de que los hijos de puta no te dejaran entrar mas, es el lamentable hecho de que no pudistes hacerles la pregunta sobre Carter. Que hipocresia!

Yo creci viendo como demonizaban a Carter todos los dias por la television y la prensa, cuando tuve uso de razon el primer demonio que vi en mi vida, la definicion de enemigo, diablo, imperio, feo, abusador, asesino todas esas cosas malas fue en mi mente de niño, Jimmy Carter. Me lo decia y repetia Cuba  entera cuando apenas tenia 5, 6 o 7 anõs y ahora mira esto. Da asco...

Esta portada del Gramma aparecio hace unos dias y no tuve mas remedio que archivarla. La cara de la hipocresia. La bandera Norteamericana y todo, mira Raul's body language says everything.

Lo siento por ti, hablemos pronto."

Location, location, location...

Photo: Felipe Leon / NBC News
Rolando Hernandez stands in the middle
of his restaurant, Las Margaritas, last night.

Hard lessons in capitalism for Cuba's fledging restauranteurs
By Mary Murray, NBC News

HAVANA — When Cuba’s Communist government recently eased restrictions on “mom and pop” businesses, Rolando Hernandez decided to pursue his lifelong dream of starting a small restaurant.

Regrettably, he never learned the business axiom “location is everything.”

Mucho más poderoso que pensante: Otro amigo se suma

Este es otro mensaje solidario de un blogger que entrevisté en Cuba. Se llama Alfredo Fernández y escribe en Havana Times. 

Me encanta su frase, "mucho más poderoso que pensante," que parece describir a los "segurosos" cubanos.  

Esa misma frase fácilmente se podría aplicar a los gobiernos y poderes ocultos de muchos países, incluso el mío (aunque yo sigo siendo un Obamista esperanzado). 

"Hola Ted:

Solo hasta hoy no pude leer lo que escribió sobre su último momento en Cuba, realmente penoso. 

Cuando la diversidad se reduce a una sola opinión, a una sola postura, a una única manera de concebirlo todo, pasan estas cosas y hasta puede ocurrir que algunos de lo que estamos de este lado del problema, terminemos entendiéndolo todo como el único proceder de un grupo mucho más poderoso que pensante. Aunque también, por supuesto, mucho más agónico que creativo.

Tenga usted Ted de mí (a titulo personal) todo el apoyo para su trabajo, que sin lugar a dudas está pensado desde la libertad y para la libertad.

Saludos,

Alfredo Fernández

PD: Por favor, coloque esto en su blog, lo intenté desde aquí, más no pude, realmente no soy un experto en cosas de accesos a Intenrnet, ¿Por qué sera? jajaja, Saludos."

Don't let them turn the Yuma into a Yankee...


My thanx to OLPL for these provocative words of solidarity and encouragement. 

"Finally, State Security played its cards. It was time. "El Yuma," as ordinary people colloquially called him, and as Ted Henken was delighted to call himself, from now on will be "The Yankee." An ideological regression if we stand by and do nothing. And we already know where these shots will lead: Yankee, Go Home...!"


For the full post, see "Yorld Yide Yeb."

Keep reading below for the full English translation.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Un granito de arena: Un mensaje desde Cuba

Acabo de recibir este bello mensaje de uno de los blogueros que entrevisté la semana pasada en Cuba:

Un millón de gracias por publicar tu texto "Esta será tu última vez". Tu denuncia es un gran apoyo para todos los bloggers cubanos y hasta un granito de arena en la "unificación" de los diferentes "bandos". 

Lo ocurrido está siendo denunciado por casi todas las personas que entrevistaste, y esa posición común podría suponer un paso de avance para todos nosotros y tu continuidad con la investigación. 

Veremos cómo se va desarrollando todo.

Un abrazo grande desde Cuba. 

"Esta será tu última vez" - Memorias de la última conversación que tuve en Cuba


Me llamo Ted Henken, y soy profesor de la Universidad de la Ciudad de Nueva York, donde dirijo el Departamento de Estudios Afro y Latinoamericanos. Mi especialidad es el tema de Cuba, al que he dedicado la mayor parte de mis investigaciones durante los últimos quince años, tal como se puede comprobar por lo que he escrito sobre el tema. He hecho innumerables viajes a la isla donde tengo muchísimos amigos.

Como parte de mi investigación, acabo de hacer un viaje a Cuba. Allí pasé doce días (15-27 de abril) y realicé mas de cuarenta entrevistas a un grupo muy diverso de blogueros y microempresarios.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Una revolución de nombres (i-) griegos

You really don't need to understand Spanish to get the point of this wonderful article that came out today at Cafe Fuerte.

Just skim through for all the Cuban baseball players with names starting with the infamous and offending "i griega" (Y).

It seems like Yoani was really onto something when she christened her blog "Generación Y" four years ago.

De izquierda a derecha: 
Yosvani Peraza, Yohandry Portal y Yoelvis Fiss, tres peloteros Generación Y.

Lisandro Pérez on Gates on Cuba: Hitting the Right Points but Missing the Ajiaco

By Lisandro Pérez (April 30, 2011)

Race in Cuba is such a complex subject that I braced myself for a disappointment as I sat down on April 26 to watch the second episode of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s PBS series Black in Latin America.

The episode was devoted entirely to Cuba, but even so, how could Gates, inexperienced in the study of the island, possibly do justice to the complexity of the topic in about 55 minutes, especially with the egocentric style of presentation he has shown in his other documentaries?

My expectation seemed to be confirmed as soon as the episode started, when Cuba was situated "90 miles from Miami," which would place Key West somewhere south of Havana. But it was uphill from there. To be sure, there were regrettable omissions (I'll get to those), but the episode, overall, was as solid a treatment of the topic of race in Cuba as one can expect in a 55-minute film produced by a Cuba novice. Perhaps the ultimate compliment I can pay the episode, "Cuba: The Next Revolution," is that I would have the students in my Cuba class view it. In fact, I will have them view it.

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