Wet and Late

charco_habana
It’s raining in Havana, a persistent drizzle that since morning has prevented us from seeing the sun. It if weren’t for the mud in the streets and the danger of buildings collapsing, I would say this city never looks more beautiful than when it is wet. Everything moves slowly, pauses, every piece of grass or dirt leaves an odor that otherwise seems extinct in this great city. On the building facades, first veins emerge and then they become completely soaked with this natural paint… one hundred percent water, which costs nothing. The puddles double the joke with their reflections of the balconies, the doors and rounded arches of certain entryways. Even the rough concrete buildings in the area where I live gain charm when wet, perhaps because the rain returns them to the cold gray climates where they were designed by Eastern European architects.

It’s June, summer, on an Island with a hot tropical climate where hurricanes and precipitation are an inherent part of our lives. And yet the clumsiness with which we navigate rainy days is notable. As if we were not accustomed to these downpours. Four drops of rain fall from the heavens and school attendance plummets, bureaucratic procedures collapse because the functionary in charge stayed home due to the cloudburst. Transport behaves even worse than usual, and even the shops work at half speed at a simple shower. The characteristic lack of punctuality in the country worsens and opening and closing times take on a randomness, under the simple argument that “it’s raining.” It all gives the impression that we are fragile lumps of sugar about to dissolve at the slightest drop.

On the other hand, clothing and artifacts to protect ourselves from the rain are scarce and prices are high. To buy an umbrella in this city right now is a difficult and expensive undertaking, consuming from a third to a half of the average monthly salary. In the months with the greatest precipitation there is no increase in the imports or production of capes and raincoats, nor in other waterproof clothing. But most alarming are not the problems of purchasing umbrellas or ending up wet. The worst is that from the time we are small we grow up believing that a rainfall is reason enough to be late, absent, or to simply cancel the whole day. We grow up to be adults who deal with the rain like something alien, incomprehensible, for which we are not prepared.

37 thoughts on “Wet and Late

  1. To not applicable Damir:

    Contrary to your deluded and inflated opinion of yourself, when I see your name above a post, I get ready for a really good laugh.

    And take your lithium.

  2. By the way, I had to modify my name for this post because the other genius, the “friendly” impostor, sorry … translator, blocked my name here…

    Can’t post under my own name, so I added a few letters, but it IS me.

    DAMIR.

    The guy that makes you worry sick when you just see my name above the article.

    It’s okay to feel worried sick and want to faint. The

    T R U T H

    does that to hypocrites, liars, traitors and other slaves of nazist gulag usa.

  3. And here’s a C U B A N, living in the usa:

    cubajournal.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/what-world-bank-says-about-cuba.html

    He supposedly ran away from “communism”, only to become a COMMUNIST once he realised what is the T R U E face of “paradise”!!!!!!

    One of a few and far in between Cuban emigrants who actualy has the brain and understands the shift and nazist gulag when he sees one.

    Unlike the spanish emigrant who pretends to be

    C U B A N

    just because he lived a couple of years in Cuba!!!

    Hello, copy and paste genius…

  4. IF CUBA WAS SOUTH AFRICA DURING APARTHEID THIS WOULD NOT BE SO CONSTESTED BUT NO MATTER, WE IN THE U.S.A. HAVE A DUE PROCESS SO LET IT BET WHAT THE LAW ALLOWS!

    WALL STREET JOURNAL: Florida Law on Cuba Heads to Court as Firms Object – By ARIAN CAMPO-FLORES

    The law, scheduled to take effect July 1, bars the state and local governments from hiring such firms for contracts worth at least $1 million. The measure, which would apply only to future contracts, is worded so that even if a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign company has no direct business with Cuba, it would still fall under the law’s scope if another subsidiary of the parent company does work on the island.
    Whether the measure is implemented as scheduled is now the subject of litigation. Earlier this month, Odebrecht USA—a Coral Gables, Fla., subsidiary of the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA—filed a lawsuit against the state in U.S. District Court in Miami, arguing the law is unconstitutional because it infringes on the federal government’s authority to make foreign policy. On Monday, a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments on the contractor’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

    Odebrecht, which has handled numerous high-profile construction jobs in Miami, including a performing arts center, was selected for a project to create a new hotel and shopping complex at the Miami airport. Yet another subsidiary of the parent company is upgrading the Port of Mariel in Cuba. As a result, the new law could force Odebrecht off the airport project.

    Odebrecht isn’t the only company potentially affected by the new law. Barcelona-based Banco de Sabadell SA SAB.MC +8.52% owns a Miami-based bank approved by Florida to receive public deposits and is also listed on a Cuban government website as having an office in the country.

    Lloyd’s of London provides reinsurance in the state, including for local governments, and it lists an office in Havana as well. So, too, does Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corp., 8053.TO +0.09% whose U.S. subsidiary helps operate and maintain the Miami airport’s skytrain.

    Representatives of Banco de Sabadell and Lloyd’s of London declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Sumitomo Corp. of America said the company “takes compliance very seriously and for this reason we do not have any business relations with Cuba. I do not know what the relations are with Sumitomo Corp. and Cuba.” An email to the parent company requesting comment wasn’t returned.

    CLICK LINK FOR ARTICLE!

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304458604577486441743659190.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

  5. BBC NEWS: Cuba bids farewell to tax-free food imports- The arrivals areas at Havana Airport’s Terminal 2 have recently been crammed full to overflowing.

    Cuba has just re-imposed customs duty on all food imports, and families and businesses have been scrambling to get supplies onto the island before the cut-off date.

    On the final tax-free day the number of charter flights from the US was doubled to 22.

    Airlines had to lay on 10 additional planes just for the excess luggage and most of that, according to a senior airport official, was food.

    In 2008, passengers were permitted to bring food into Cuba duty free, for non-commercial purposes.

    It was a temporary measure intended to allow families to receive food aid from relatives abroad following a series of devastating hurricanes, but in a country of shortages it was soon being used to turn a profit.

    While commercial imports are not allowed, the government recently authorised a limited expansion of the private sector.

    The new businesses that have sprung up, such as the hundreds of house-restaurants, or paladares, have come to rely on the mules to supply them.

    “I pay $130 towards my ticket and the agency arranges it all,” says Eduardo.

    The short flight to Cuba would normally cost over $500.

    “I carry 20 kg of luggage for them and I have other clients of my own who request things I can bring in my hand luggage,” he says.
    Miguel Angel Morales Miguel Angel Morales restocked his paladar in Old Havana just before the rule change

    But Eduardo is sure things will change now that food imports are again subject to duty, by value and weight.

    “We won’t bring food any more. It weighs too much, it won’t be profitable,” he says, describing cash and clothes as more viable.

    “Some people have been using the import system for commerce, breaking the rules, and the state is losing out on sales so yes, I think the mules should be taxed,” the chef says.

    But he describes those mules as embargo-busters, taking hard-to-find food to people across the island, door-to-door.

    It’s not legal, and while Mr Erasmo doesn’t buy it, many others do, drawn by lower prices and infinitely better choice than in state-run stores.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-18525923

  6. NICE STORY!

    LoHud/USA TODAY: Cuban travel: ‘A completely different world’ – Americans want to visit it while they can – by Laura Bly

    Off-limits to most American vacationers since Fidel Castro took power in 1959, this Caribbean “isla non grata” about 90 miles south of Key West has long drawn sun-starved Canadians and Europeans. Now, tourism both on and off the beach is a key driver of the country’s officially socialist but increasingly capitalistic economy.

    But “the biggest issue is that Cuba just has too little capacity for the demand right now,” notes Cuba expert Christopher Baker, a guidebook author and tour leader.

    Within minutes of our arrival, we’re surrounded by hucksters dubbed jineteros, a nickname based on the Spanish word for jockeys (meaning they ride on tourists’ backs). But alongside the touts offering photo ops in a gleaming convertible, a very pregnant woman sidles up to Munder and tugs on her arm with a soft-spoken request — for her empty plastic water bottle.

    That firsthand view of Cuban economics will be echoed elsewhere this weekend, as will our guide’s fears that we’re getting a bad impression.

    No matter where we go, we’re in a bubble.

    We generally dine at government-owned places with less-than-memorable cuisine. Even at two notable exceptions — Cafe del Orient, with tuxedoed waiters in Old Havana, and a roast chicken restaurant called El Aljibe — we’re surrounded by other tourists.

    But Susan Dare of Franklinville, N.J., who booked the trip as a 50th birthday gift for her husband, Doug, is glad she came.

    The couple had a memorable encounter with a hotel chef as they waited for the tour bus: “He asked us, ‘So, how’s America? Pretty great?’ ” recalls Dare, and “he felt like a friend we hadn’t seen in years.”

    And so, it turns out, do our gray-haired hosts at the Esquina del Jazz. Within minutes of our arrival , we’re comrades in arms — picking up the finer points of swing, boogieing to vinyl recordings of Sonny Rollins and Dizzy Gillespie, and discovering the true meaning of people to people.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.lohud.com/article/20120624/LIFESTYLE01/306240037/Cuban-travel-completely-different-world-

  7. Cuba Libre, your #29 post is a text book illustration of the straw man fallacy.

  8. Nah nah nah, you people got it all wrong. It`s Fidel Castro`s fault if it rains too much in Havana in the rainy season. It`s Castros` fault if people are too lazy to go to work under the excuse that it is raining outside. And we all know it`s Castros` fault if Cubans deal with rain as if it is something alien.
    The last time I was in Milan Italy, it snowed maybe 1 cm. one day. The snow accumulated just on the cars, but the streets were wet but the snow melted on the pavement. Man was I surprised to see all the government offices closed and most of the stores also. All this due the “huge” snowstorm, a big 1 cm. For someone who lives in a winter stricken country 4 or 5 months a year like me, that was a big surprise. But we all know it was Berlusconi`s fault that it snowed that day in Milan.
    Italians have their way of life, just as Cuban`s have their way of life. Each is very typical to their own. Just as any other country in the world. But come on Mr. Fidel Castro, give these Cuban`s a break. We all know its your fault if it has been raining in Havana, even though you have retired from active duty since 3 or 4 years.

  9. Simba Sez: I suppose that the fact Cuba is in roughly the same latitude as Bangladesh, one of the most flood prone areas on earth, means nothing. I wonder how many hurricanes have struck the Sahara in the past decade anyway?

  10. That quote attributed to a Cuban “scientist” is truly bizarre. Makes as much sense as saying the US Pacific Northwest is on the same latitude as the Gobi Desert so it must be prone to droughts.

  11. “According to a Saturday report by the Cuban state TV, 1.16 million Cubans, with 808,000 of them in Havana, have to cope with insufficient water supply daily.”

    “Cuban scientists warned that drought will not cease affecting the country despite the rainy periods, as the island is in the same latitude as world’s largest desert of Sahara.”

    I couldn’t make a quote like that up. Link to whole article:

    http://www.china.org.cn/environment/2012-06/10/content_25611670.htm

    Water and food are the two basics of human survival. Can’t Castroism or Marxism or whatever you call it do one thing right by the Cuban people?

  12. TRINIDAD GUARDIAN: Cuba on FATF money laundering blacklist

    Cuba, which is at the centre of a money laundering case in which Republic Bank has been named, is on a list of 15 countries that have been identified as not being sufficiently compliant with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the inter-governmental agency that develops provides international policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

    The list is hosted on the Web site of T&T’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is required to publish the list of countries by virtue of Section 17(1)(a) of the Financial Intelligence Unit Act of T&T. The public notice is dated February 23, 2012—seven days after it was issued by the FATF—and is signed by the FIU’s director, Susan Francois.

    There is a double asterix next to Cuba’s name on the list which draws attention to the fact that the Communist country “has not engaged with the FATF in the process.” There is also a note below the list in which the FATF “calls on its members to consider the risks arising from the deficiencies associated” with each of the 15 countries deemed to be non compliant.

    Anti-money laundering guidelines issued by the Central Bank in October 2011 require local financial institutions to ensure that, at a minimum, the guidelines are also implemented in their branches and subsidiaries abroad. “Where the local applicable laws and regulations prohibit the implementation of this Guideline, the Central Bank must be notified,” according to the document.

    Further, the Central Bank guidelines require that local financial institutions “pay attention to and report if suspicious,” business transactions “undertaken with persons and transactions with financial institutions in or from other countries which do not or insufficiently comply with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force,” such as Cuba.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.guardian.co.tt/business/2012-06-23/cuba-fatf-money-laundering-blacklist

  13. Even compared to Florida where rain is more concentrated in the summer months, long-term weather records from the World Metereological Organization show that Havana is blessed with ample but not excessive rainfall fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. Total yearly rainfall amounts are about 47 inches. June and October are the wettest months with about 7 inches of rain each of those months.

    Yoani is not complaining about the rain. She is pointing out the ridiculous situation of umbrellas and other rain gear being in short supply, and when available costing the equivalent of up to half an average monthly salary.

  14. BOSTON HERALD: U.S. prosecutors probe whether Castro government was involved in Medicare scam – By Frances Robles

    Veteran Cuban analyst Maria Werlau said if the money indeed wound up in Cuba’s national banking system, “it is almost impossible to conceive that anyone not in the pay of Cuban intelligence would pour millions into Cuban banks.”

    “Who doesn’t know that all Cuban banks are Cuban government banks, i.e. under the total control of the state?” said Werlau, an anti-Castro activist who has studied the regime’s banking system extensively.

    Prosecutors said the money linked to Sanchez — $31 million — moved through an intricate web of foreign shell companies before ending up in Cuba via Canada and Trinidad.

    A motion filed Monday seeking to deny bond for Sanchez was unclear on whether the funds ultimately ended up in the Trinidad-based Republic Bank’s Havana branch, or in a bank that is run by the Cuban government.

    The document did say that the alleged fraudsters’ Republic Bank accounts were opened at Republic’s branch office in Havana, “and that at least two of those accounts had standing instructions to the bank to wire all money immediately from the accounts to the Cuban banking system.”

    Werlau said Cuba has long faced allegations of laundering money for both drug traffickers and leftist terrorist groups. Accounts compiled by a series of defectors and other sources were bolstered in 2004 by a $100 million fine levied against a Swiss bank, which was caught buying and selling more U.S. dollars from Cuba than the dictatorship could justify having.

    She added that no scam artist “in their right mind” would risk sending money to a country where the government has in the past frozen all foreign business accounts, suggesting that the suspected fraudsters were working for the Cuban regime. But Florida International University law professor Jose Gabilondo said he was unconvinced by the prosecutor’s allegations, in part because Cuba charges steep fees on dollar transactions. Launderers who possibly diverted $63 million to Cuba would have lost 10 percent off the top.

    “Why would they want to lose $6 million?” said Gabilondo, who has studied the Cuban banking system.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    news.bostonherald.com/news/national/south/view/20120620us_prosecutors_probe_whether_castro_government_was_involved_in_medicare_scam/srvc=home&position=recent

  15. Oh, and that beautiful paradise on earth, the “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” is now printing money to try and pull itself from the shift it created all on its OWN!!!!
    Look at that arab loser bernanke printing money A G A I N:

    topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/ben_s_bernanke/index.html

    “democracy” gone down the drain, no wonder the most prominent question asked on the steets of disturbed wanabe “paradise” is: Isn’t that making bernanke a soviet-style dictator!!!!???

    EXACTLY!!!!

    When capitalism fails, and that happens REGULARLY every 7 years on average, “capitalists” do the only thing to pull themselves OUT OF deep shift: they reach out to SOCIALIST ECONOMY PRINCIPLES, twist them to hide their true origin, and try to patch up their delusional obsession with capitalism and greed.

    ON a happier note, look what else Conner Gory says about living (TEN years now !!! Boy, must be REALLY NOT all THAT bad. After all, even the traitor “yoani” had to run away from disintegrating “democracy” and “freedom” and retire in this hateful place of Cuba…)

    …due to the US EMBARGO OF Cuba, certain Internet sites are blocked from the US end including PayPal, iTunes, and Java.

    See, EVERY
    ONE AGREES the nazist gulag usa has an embargo ON CUBA. Even these dictators call it “embargo” and “economic blockade”.

    Only these one and a half cr**ns posting here their delusions, as a part of their hopeles mental treatment, believe there is none.

    Cre**s…

  16. The “some kind of pragmaitc capitalism” nazists are still hoping someone would believe their lies and nonsense.

    Here’s an article written by popular blogger from usa, who LIVES IN CUBA:

    http://www.expatfocus.com/expatriate-cuba-experiences-havana-conner-gorry

    In short, what Conner Gory says is:

    As far as content goes, I’VE HAD A REALLY HARD TIME GETTING MY WRITING ABOUT CUBA (outside of health) published. Since I’ve made my living as a writer since 1998, I doubt it’s because I’m not good at what I do. Rather, I THINK IT HAS TO DO WITH MY POINT OF VIEW WHICH DOESN’T VILIFY THE GOVERNMENT THE WAY ALL THE RICH AND “famous” CUBAN DISSIDENT BLOGERS DO!!!!

    cOPY AND PASTE YOUR NAZIST PRESS AND LIES THAT NAZIST PROPAGANDA MACHINE PRINTS LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW, AND THERE ISN’T ONE FOR YOU UGLY NAZIST “DEMOCRATS”, BUT THE TRUTH IS STANDING TALL AND FIRM.

    YU SUCK AT IT AND YOUR “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” has died in 2007. It is now dying a slow and agonising death. Crying about CUBA isn’t going to change your one way journey into oblivion.

  17. Joke of the week, on why there is still water shortages in Havana after months of record rain and flooding, in a country which in a “drought” year gets more rain than almost anywhere in the USA:

    “Cuban scientists warned that drought will not cease affecting the country despite the rainy periods, as the island is in the same latitude as world’s largest desert of Sahara.”

    Could Orwell have come up with anything better?

  18. …and Cube Libra, you can tell Yoani how your vision of life in Cuba is only a mirage, which is why you choose to live in Canada

    I’m still waiting for one brave Marxist to go live in Cuba on a Cuban salary, no special perks allowed.

    53 years and waiting. I guess Marxist solidarity and equality only goes as far as hot air.

  19. I think on my next visit to Havana, I am going to try and locate Miss Sanchez. I would very much like to exchange thoughts and ideas with her about life in Cuba. I would very much like to tell her what life is really like in a capitalist country and maybe she will realize that her vision of life outside of Cuba is only a mirage. But she probably already knows this, she lived in Switzerland a couple of years but decided to go back to Cuba. Yes indeed I would like to meet Miss Sanchez face to face, even if only to shake the hand of a writer a deeply admire, even if our thoughts and views differ.

  20. YOU KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CAN TRUST THE CASTROFASCIST’s STATISTICS AND WORD! ESPECIALLY AFTER THEY GOT CAUGHT IN MONEY LAUNDERING! DID I HEAR THE WORD MAFIA?? PARA QUE SEPAN TODOS LOS AGENTES DE LOS CASTROS! VOY A TRAER TODOS LOS TRAPOS SUCIOS QUE ENCUENTRE A ESTOS COMENTARIOS! BIG GUSANO HUGS AND KISSED TO ALL!

    REUTERS: Cuba lauds subcontracting to private sector – By Marc Frank

    HAVANA, June 21 (Reuters) – Cuba praised state contracting of landscaping, construction and other services to the private sector on Thursday, in another sign a recent opening to small business is gaining momentum.

    A long article in the communist party daily, Granma, focused on the recently created western province of Artemisa, a pilot project for reform of local government and state business administration under President Raul Castro.

    “One of the most important benefits of this mechanism (subcontracting) is the rapidity and quality with which jobs are done,” “Miguel Angel Quijano, economic director of Artemisa, told Granma.

    The newspaper said subcontractors were being used in public landscaping, housing construction and state office renovation with “”impressive” results.

    “Small businesses have been part and parcel of the birth of Artemisa, spurring the strengthening of food and other services in which the self-employed have been key, Granma said.

    Havana province was divided into the rural provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque in 2010 and both were declared experiments for downsizing government, moving local businesses out of local government and other reforms.

    There has been little official coverage until now of the reforms underway in Artemisa, with a population of 500,000. The province has some minor industry located on its eastern border with Havana, and to the west bordering Pinar del Rio, accounts for up to 50 percent of the wrapper leaf for the country’s famous cigars.

    Castro is encouraging private sector growth to create jobs for the one million employees he hopes to slash from bloated government payrolls over the next few years. His goal is to strengthen Cuban communism to assure its future.

    More than 370,000 Cubans are now self-employed, more than double the number of two years ago, although most are small operations based in homes and 30 percent of the figure represents private sector employees.

    But the ability of small businesses to grow has been hindered partly by a lack of capital and access to government business, which is significant because the state controls most of the economy.

    That changed in December when new credit and banking regulations took effect, allowing small businesses for the first time to obtain loans and, along with private farmers, to open commercial accounts, a prerequisite for doing business with the state.

    The measures also lifted a 100 peso (roughly $4) cap on business between state enterprises and private individuals.

    The Granma report was just the latest to appear in the official media in recent months praising subcontracting.

    ““This kind of positive coverage was unimaginable and these transactions would have been illegal just a few years ago,” Phil Peters, a Cuba expert at the Virginia-based Lexington Institute said.

    ““This is one more sign that the government wants the private sector to grow to boost productivity and to give laid-off government workers a place to go,” he said. (Editing by Tom Brown and David Adams)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/21/cuba-reform-idUSS1E85K00A20120621

  21. Funny about the rain. I live in southern USA and we do the same if it snows. We arent used to traveling in snow, wrecks everywhere from slippery roads. So when we have an occasional blizzard, everything comes to a stop. But then the arm air comes back and the next day its business as usual. Fun while it lasts.

  22. Boo hoo hoo, still alot of whining and crying going on in here. The same person who as complaining a few months ago about the lack of water, is now complaining that it has been raining on Havana for a while. Of course we all know its Castro`s fault if it is raining.

  23. SORRY!COMMENTS #13 & #14 ARE NOT MINE! BUT I LOVE ALL THE ATTENTION! I MUST BE HITTING THE CASTROFASCIST “MORINGA SPOT” (you know like the G-Spot! look it up)!! JE JE JE!

  24. AFP: Cuban dissidents face official criticism at blog meet

    HAVANA — Under the wary eye of Cuba’s Communist authorities, opposition bloggers on Thursday kicked off a three-day event promoting Internet use to discuss the island’s problems.

    The “CLICK Festival” is aimed at educating Cubans on new information technologies and the use of online social networks on an island where Internet connectivity is sharply limited, organizers say.

    It featured award-winning dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez and Jose Luis Antunez of Evento Blog Espana, a Spanish group that supports online social debates and technology education.

    “We want to sit down to talk about technology… because someone has to begin projecting a Cuba 2.0,” Sanchez said.

    Antunez said he was surprised at Cubans’ lack of online access.

    “I understood the difficulty of life here, but I was not aware of the technological limitations. This is a country without household Internet access,” Antunez told AFP.

    Government sites and pro-government bloggers lashed out at the dissident event.

    “The same people on the island who benefit from the millions of dollars provided by US government agencies… for ‘regime change’ in Cuba are now trying to present themselves as supporting extended Internet use,” read an opinion article in the state-run online site Cubadebate.

    Antunez scoffed at the criticism. “They say I am an agent of the CIA, of Microsoft and of (Spanish bank) BBVA… but I suppose that is an example of the deeply-rooted paranoia that one has to live with here,” he told AFP.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iozvN0v-T86SW4UgOC-_9NRyd0_A?docId=CNG.45333191a208a469c0b87197c888b277.601

  25. THIS IS THE ISSUE #15 OF “VOCES” MAGAZINE! LOOKS PRETTY COOL! SPANISH ONLY! THE LINK TO THE PDF IS AT THE BOTTOM!

    Independent blogger launches Voces, first digital magazine in Cuba- Friday, August 20, 2010 2:05 PM

    MIAMI _ An independent Cuban blogger has launched the island’s first digital magazine, with a variety of contributions from well-known authors in and out of the country but free of “any type of -isms.”
    “It’s a vehicle for the rainbow of opinions in this critical moment that Cuba is going through,” said Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, editor of Voces, or Voices.

    “We want a more rational Cuba, without any type of -isms,” the 38-year-old Pardo said by phone from his home in Havana.

    The magazine’s debut Monday marked yet another expansion of the island’s blogosphere, where Cubans are increasingly writing about everything from their frustrations with daily life to dissident activities and praise for the government.

    About 200 Cubans, usually journalists working for official media, write blogs that have government approval and about 100 others identify themselves as “independent” bloggers, expressing a range of criticisms of the country’s communist system.

    Voces’ first issue carried 22 articles by authors such as popular Havana bloggers Yoani Sanchez and Claudia Cadelo, Miami essayist Emilio Ichikawa, Havana writers Ena Lucia Portela and Wendy Guerra and Ivan de la Nuez, Antonio Jose Ponte and Juan Abreu, who all live in Spain.

    “The group of writers they have are among the best young Cuban voices anywhere,” said Ted Henken, a Baruch College professor who follows the island’s bloggers and writes his own, El Yuma.

    vocescuba.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/voces15.pdf

  26. HUFFINGTON POST: Cuban blog gathering prompts official criticism stumbleupon- by ANDREA RODRIGUEZ

    HAVANA — Cuban bloggers and tweeters talked tech in Havana on Thursday at a Spanish-organized forum promoting social media in one of the world’s most unplugged nations, prompting accusations from state-run media of an attempt to foment subversive activities.
    With about 50 people present on the first day of the three-day Click Festival, organizers and attendees insisted their purposes are not political.

    “Click Festival is a technological event that aspires to spread the world about the use of new technologies here in Cuba,” said Spaniard Jose Luis Antunez, one of the organizers. “It’s an apolitical event, although it may have some links, and above all we want people of all ideological stripes to attend.”

    Antunez is a member of Spain Blog Event, or EBE for its initials in Spanish, which holds a similar conference each year in its home country and gets sponsorship from tech companies such as Microsoft and IBM.

    Thursday evening, Cuban state-run website Cubadebate posted a strongly worded editorial seizing upon such corporate sponsorship, among other things, to allege nefarious intent by the organizers.

    “In Havana they are cooking up a subversive monster, supposedly not politicized, `promoting’ the use of information and communications technologies,” the editorial read.

    “The intention of the Click Festival is clear,” Cubadebate added. “To advance the strategy of constructing networks ahead of an aggression, as was done in Libya, Syria and before in Yugoslavia, and strengthen the idea of the counterrevolution linked to the United States as a promoter of freedom on the Internet.”

    Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, who is routinely excoriated in the official media, kept up a fast-paced barrage of tweets on subjects such as Cuba’s woeful Internet access and the “rights of the Internaut.”

    “We Cubans are ready to become human beings of the 21st century,” she told journalists. “We want to have access, and enjoy and learn from the new technologies.”

    Cuba is one of the least-connected countries in the world and relies on costly, plodding satellite hookup.

    The government historically has complained that the U.S. embargo prevented it from linking to undersea cables that run near the island.

    However a $70 million fiber-optic link strung from Venezuela has not changed Internet access in Cuba so far, and it’s not even clear whether it’s being used.

    Cuban authorities stopped talking about the cable last year after its arrival, amid rumors of corruption and project mismanagement.

    A Venezuelan official said recently that the cable was operational, but did not address rumors of problems with the infrastructure the cable was to link to.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20120621/cb-cuba-bloggers-gathering/

  27. Humberto, click on Pavi’s name, it’s a hyperlink. That’s why it’s grey.

  28. Hi Pavi,

    Do yourself a favour and get away from the resort and guided tours. Get around and see the real Cuba and meet everyday Cubans. Eat at a paladar and stay at a Casa particular. You will enjoy your trip more and you will be helping the Cuban people, not just the Castro brother’s regime.

  29. HOW COME Pavi K IS SHOWN IN LIGHT GRAY? WAS NOT THIS A SIGN?

  30. Hi Pavi,

    I’d like to know your impressions about Cuba after your visit, and how it compares to Sri Lanka. Maybe you could post again here after you return?

    Have a nice vacation.

  31. I’m visiting Cuba soon, and everything i read about its culture reflects back to my tropical island culture in Sri Lanka.

    A common joke in Sri Lankan circles when someone is running late, “they are working on Chandrika’s time”(Referring to our former president who attempted to change the time for more productivity) or “Sri lankan time” which always, nothing less than always means a half hour later than the said time.

    And the rain. I remember going to school on a rainy day, and having one out of 8 classes that day because the teacher’s didn’t come, and half the class didn’t come. Rain stops everything on our island too. But the rain makes everything beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing this, and all your views and experiences. Even for one not traveling to Cuba soon, it opens a window into a Cuba. A window in reality.

  32. THE CASTROFASCISTS SHOWING THEIR FEAR OF INFORMATION, INTERNET, TWITTER, FACEBOOK, INSTANT MESSAGING, BUT MOST OF ALL THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CUBANS IN THE ISLAND PRISON AND THE REST OF THE WORLD!

    HUFFINGTON POST: Cuban Government Claims Havana Technology Conference Is ‘Cooking Up a Monster’ – by YOANI SANCHEZ

    Today the Cuban government’s official website Cubadebate, whose tagline is “Against Media Terrorism,” posted an article titled “The Impossible Innocence of the CLICK Festival.” In the title the initials CIA are capitalized in the word “innocenCIA” to make it clear to readers who is supposedly behind this event that begins on June 21, an event organized from here in Havana, by us, local Cubans.

    “They are cooking up a subversive monster in Havana,” the article begins, going on to inform readers that “Yoani Sanchez, one of the organizers of the event, has openly confessed to promoting capitalism in Cuba” and then claiming that the CLICK Festival site “is a meeting place for counterrevolutionaries conspicuous for their mediocrity.”

    Far from monstrous (no comment on “mediocre”), the CLICK Festival is technological, not ideological or political, a constructive space to plan for tomorrow.

    We encourage all Cubans to attend, and also extend a broad welcome to foreign tourists visiting the Island who want to join us; the doors of the CLICK Festival will be open to you. Your presence will strengthen our visibility and transparency, contributing to the greatest protection we could count on.

    Please come any time from 9 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, June 21-23. The location is: #4606 1st Street (Calle 1ra) between 46 and 60, Playa, Havana (or you can show this to your cab driver: Calle 1ra. #4606. Esquina 46 y 60. Playa. Ciudad de La Habana. Cuba)
    You will never have a better chance to see the “real” Cuba and engage with Cubans in a welcoming atmosphere.

    Following is an interview I did with Jose Luis Antunez, a Spaniard who organized a similar conference in Spain that inspired us with its example of plurality and debate.

    CLICK LINK (no pun intended) FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yoani-sanchez/cuban-government-claims-h_b_1613703.html

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