Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blogger, Angel Santiesteban, beaten...

From Cuba

Amenazado y golpeado el escritor Ángel Santiesteban

El autor del blog 'Los hijos que nadie quiso', alojado en, tiene un brazo fracturado producto del incidente.

El escritor Ángel Santiesteban fue amenazado y golpeado este domingo por la tarde en el Vedado, Ciudad de La Habana, cuando se dirigía a casa de una amiga.

Santiesteban, autor del blog Los hijos que nadie quiso, alojado en, tiene un brazo fracturado producto de la agresión, informaron fuentes cercanas al escritor...

...El escritor corrió a buscar un palo para defenderse. De un auto Lada salió otro hombre con un tubo y se produjo un intercambio de golpes del que Santiesteban salió con un brazo fracturado, un corte superficial de navaja en el otro, y varios golpes en el resto del cuerpo...

Click here for the full story.

Click here to visit Angel's blog.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cimex puts off payments; Bencomo says remittance levels stagnant

From Reuters:

Cuban corporation says cash crunch slows payments

Thu May 21, 2009 5:11pm EDT

By Jeff Franks

HAVANA, May 21 (Reuters) - A cash crunch is causing one of Cuba's largest business corporations, Cimex, to put off payments for some products, but the bills eventually will be settled, the head of the state-owned company said on Thursday.

Cimex President Eduardo Bencomo also said Cuba had not yet seen an increase in remittances sent by Cuban Americans to their families on the communist-ruled island, after U.S. President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on them last month.

Click here for the whole story.

Something to think about:
[The regime] blames a U.S. trade embargo imposed since 1962 for many of its problems. But Cuban President Raul Castro has said Cuba needs greater productivity and called for a pay system that rewards the best workers.
Is the correlation between the embargo and Cuba's opening to tourism, allowing renting to tourists in casas particulares, food service in home-run paladares, etc. just coincidence?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Herald on Peter Pan... and what it will take to bring post-dictatorship normalcy to Cuba

From The Miami Herald:

Operation Pedro Pan, Cuban parents' agonizing decisions saved thousands

Forty years after Operation Pedro Pan ended, I was at Havana's Jose Martí International Airport after spending almost a month reporting from the communist island in 2002.

As I waited for my plane back to Miami, I browsed the dinky airport's gift shop. There, behind the glass, was another example of the Cuban regime's Orwellian doublespeak in a glossy book that attempts to twist a life-saving, humanitarian program for thousands of Cuban children into a ''terrorist'' U.S. plot.

Click here for the whole story.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cubiche perfoms "Balsero" at Casa de Tula

On the second night of the UM Cuba conference in March, conferees made their way to Casa de Tula in Little Havana, where Cubiche gave an amazing show.

Just happened to come across one of the songs they played. This is video from that same night, so you're seeing mostly RDE party people.

Click here for Cubiche's MySpace page.

Director of Habana Press jailed for "disrespect"

From the Committee to Protect Journalists:

Cuban journalist sentenced to three years in prison

New York, May 14, 2009--A Cuban independent journalist was sentenced during a summary trial on Tuesday to three years in prison on charges of "disrespect," journalists in Havana told the Committee to Protect Journalists today.

According to the foreign-based Cuban news Web site Cubamatinal, Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández, director of the Havana-based independent news agency Habana Press was also charged with distributing enemy propaganda, although CPJ could not confirm the charge or whether he was convicted of it. Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz, president of the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation in Havana, told CPJ that the journalist was not allowed a defense lawyer but has already appealed his sentence. The appeal is pending.

Click here for the whole story.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Los Aldeanos' Aldo Rodríguez talks to CubaEncuentro

Ayer colgué un video del grupo de rap Los Aldeanos.

Si no conocen al grupo, les recomiendo que lean esta entrevista que le hizo CubaEncuentro a Aldo Rodríguez, integrante de Los Aldeanos.

¿Consideras a Los Aldeanos un grupo contestatario?

Sí, totalmente. Todo lo que hacemos es arte contestatario, porque nosotros hablamos de todo lo que tiene que ver con la sociedad, con la injusticia, con la pobreza, con la maldad, con la falta de amor y de energía positiva; de cosas que pasan a nivel mundial. Pero nosotros no vamos a hablar de lo mundial, porque apenas tenemos información de lo que pasa allá afuera. Nosotros hablamos de lo social dentro nuestro país, básicamente.

Haz click aquí para la entrevista entera.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Los Aldeanos — La Naranja Se Picó

Amazing, amazing song. Sorry if you don't speak Spanish.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Special guest blog: Defining "Cuban"

by Sissi Rodríguez

A few days ago I had a conversation with someone about what it means to be Cuban. His views seemed ridiculous (his argument was that only island natives who could prove their “Cuban lineage” should be allowed to live in a free Cuba) and led me to think about what it actually means to be Cuban.

Is it the place where you are born? Is it the fact that your family might have been born there, or is it a true passion and love of the island and its people? After much arguing with this person, I came to realize this is not something I can answer. I can give my personal opinion, but does that make it true?

Am I even “Cuban enough” to begin with? Having been born in Cuba, I once thought I was qualified to define these things. After all, I had lived under the dictatorship, “el periodo especial” and innumerable apagones.

More importantly, the one thing I brought with me on that 50 minute flight to the U.S. was that pride. That “I lived it and I survived it” pride. For a long time I thought that made me more Cuban than those who had been born here: the ones who didn’t truly know “my” country and who thought that, because they drank Bacardi and ate lechón, they could call themselves Cuban.

Time went by and I let go of my own ridiculous views on the subject. The question has now changed. I'm no longer concerned with what makes you a true Cuban, because in my book there’s a difference between “being Cuban” and having “cubanía.”

Cubanía: un orgullo de pertenecer a Cuba, de sentirse cubano sin importar lo que otros digan. Es saber la realidad (aunque la hayamos vivido o no) y enfrentarla. Es saber diferenciar entre Cuba y su gobierno. Es un sentimiento patrio, que se extiende desde las ideas de José Martí hasta el más común de los cubanos.

La verdad es que cuando se trata de identidad cubana, no existen definiciones ni conceptos, y de lo único que estoy segura (para dejarlos con una cita de nuestro apóstol José Martí) es que “si no fuera cuban[a], me gustaría serlo.”

Here’s an interesting article on Cubanía.

Sissi Rodríguez is a 2009 graduate of the University of Florida. She will be attending the Michigan State University College of Law in the fall.