Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tower Theater Showcases Documentary on Cuban Painter Humberto Calzada

A documentary directed by Eduardo Montes-Bradley
Presented by The Heritage Film Project, WPBT- Channel 2 and Miami Dade College

2009, 27 min. Digital projection. Not Rated.

This documentary, based on the life and works of Cuban-American artist Humberto Calzada, captures the extraordinary means by which human tragedy becomes the canvas of unique Caribbean experience.

Thursday, January 7, 6:00 p.m.
Reception with director Montes-Bradley and artist Humberto Calzada.
Traditional Cuban music will be performed by Gerardo Aguillón
and José Angel Navarro.

The screening will immediately follow reception.

R.S.V.P. at or call 305-666-6402

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Yorker Magazine Celebrates Aniversary of El Super

Ian Frazier, Dept. of Orientation, “El Super,” The New Yorker, December 21, 2009, p. 50
Read more:

(Click on article to see expanded image)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

McCaffrey: Cuban minister "slammed window shut" on dialogue

From PR Newswire:

Four Star Gen. Barry McCaffrey (Ret) Cancels Trip to Cuba Because of 'Shallow, Vitriolic' Comments and Actions by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Four-Star General Barry McCaffrey (Ret), former White House Drug Czar and SouthCom (Latin America) Commander, is canceling a scheduled January 3-6 trip to Cuba to discuss U.S.-Cuban future cooperation because of recent "shallow, vitriolic" comments and actions by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez. In a prior trip to the island, McCaffrey met with top Cuban government, political, military, and academic leaders - including a seven hour meeting with Fidel Castro in Feb 2002.

McCaffrey's letter to Dr. Wayne Smith of the Center for International Policy, which was sponsoring McCaffrey's trip, follows:

22 December 2009

Dr Wayne Smith

Center for International Policy

1717 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington, DC. 20036


Just got in last night to read the Reuters reports that Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez denounced President Obama at the Copenhagen Conference as an "imperial and arrogant liar" in the most vile and personal terms imaginable.

The Foreign Minister could not have borrowed talking points from Cuba's worst enemies to more effectively harm the country's future economic and political interests.

This type of shallow and vitriolic 1960's public diplomacy also makes Cuban leadership appear to be non-serious, polemical amateurs. President Obama is the most thoughtful and non-ideological US Chief Executive that the Cubans have seen in 50 years. This Foreign Minister Rodriguez speech probably slammed the window shut on US Congressional and Administration leaders being willing to support bringing Cuba back into the community of nations.

This situation makes me very sad for the Cuban people. I see little reason to visit Cuba and deal with leadership of this appalling lack of good judgment.

Please withdraw my name for the proposed visit to Cuba in January.

Barry McCaffrey

General USA (Ret)

Bruno Rodríguez

Gen. Barry McCaffrey (Ret.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Carta abierta de Claudia Cadelo de Nevi al viceministro de cultura

(Open letter from Cuban blogger Claudia Cadelo de Nevi to Cuba's vice minister of culture. Scroll down for translation.)

Fernando Rojas:

Me dirijo a usted con la intención de aconsejar. Digamos que con mis 26 años he decidido hoy servirle por unos instantes de madre o de conciencia, como se quiera interpretar. Así es que le escribo a Fernando Rojas el hombre y no el Viceministro de Cultura, aquel al que quizás más de una vez -durante la infancia- su madre le dijo: “Fernandito, a las niñas no se les da.”

Dicen –y usted sabe lo que pesa en la Habana esa tercera persona del plural- que durante la tristemente célebre reunión que tuvo usted con los artistas del grupo performático OmniZonaFranca, una de las justificaciones sostenidas para desterrar el Festival Poesía Sin Fin de las instituciones cubanas era que los muchachos se reunían con la blogger Yoani Sánchez. Las resoluciones y leyes que su ministerio se ha adjudicado para limitar la entrada de ciudadanos a sus establecimientos y actividades me son desconocidas, pero no es de leyes de lo que quiero hablar, porque en las aguas de la ley, Rojas, hace mucho tiempo que su ministerio no se baña.

Lo que me preocupa es su amenaza “Si Yoani Sánchez viene, yo mismo le doy con un palo”. Graves palabras, Fernando, para un hombre. Pero aun más graves para un Viceministro que –según comentarios de pasillos - aspira a quitar el prefijo vice de su cargo. Sin embargo esto no es un regaño, es más bien un llamado a la cordura, a la civilidad, a la inteligencia. Le recuerdo que para esos menesteres el gobierno cuenta con los paramilitares, las brigadas de respuesta rápida y en última instancia la CIM (Contrainteligencia Militar); no me parece aconsejable que un funcionario se tome esas tareas por su cuenta, y menos que las anuncie con antelación, pueden llegar a oídos inadecuados y filtrarse por Internet.

Diría que un ambiente de terror sobre su persona no conviene, a fin de cuentas todos saben que Yoani Sánchez es una escritora y usted el Viceministro de Cultura, la imagen del palazo resulta lamentable y desacertada.

Por otra parte puedo estarme yo equivocando y su vice no sea más que una coartada, entonces pertenecería usted a una de las organizaciones antes mencionadas que se ocupan de golpear civiles. En ese caso probablemente su pecado sea la indiscreción, porque después de amenazar públicamente con atentar contra la integridad física de una ciudadana, costará creer, Fernando, que usted no es más que un funcionario del Ministerio de Cultura.

Claudia Cadelo De Nevi

This is an open letter by Cuban blogger Claudia Cadelo de Nevi to Cuba's vice minister of culture. Here's a translation:

Fernando Rojas:

I am writing to you with the intent to offer advice. Let us say that from my 26 years, I have decided today to serve for a few moments as your mother, or your conscience, however you would like to interpret it. So I write this to Fernando Rojas, the man, and not the Vice Minister of Culture, to whom, perhaps, more than once in your childhood, your mother said, "Fernandito, to the girls, it is not done."

They say--and you know what weight is given to the third person plural in Havana--that during the infamous meeting that you had with the artists of the performance group, OmniZonaFranca, one of the justifications offered for banishing the Festival of Poetry Without End from Cuban institutions, was that the boys were meeting with the blogger Yoani Sanchez. The resolutions and laws that your ministry has promulgated to limit the entry of citizens to establishments and activities are not known to me, but it is not about the laws that I wish to speak, because in the waters of the law, Rojas, your ministry has not bathed for a very long time.

What worries me is your threat, "If Yoani Sanchez comes, I myself will meet her with a stick." Serious words, Fernando, for a man. But even more serious for a Vice Minister who--according to comments from the "cultured" corridors--aspires to lose the prefix "vice". However, this is not a reprimand, rather it is a call to sanity, civility, intelligence. I remember that, for these duties, the government has the paramilitaries, the rapid response brigades, and as a last resort, the CIM (Military Counterintelligence); it does not seem advisable to me that a staff member take these tasks on himself, much less announce it in advance as, leaked through the Internet, it might reach inappropriate ears. Considering that everyone knows Yoani Sanchez is a writer and you are the Vice Minister of Culture, I would say that an atmosphere of terror doesn't agree with you, and that the image of your delivering a beating is regrettable and unfortunate.

On the other hand, I could be mistaken and your vice may be nothing more than an alibi, in which case you would belong to one of the above mentioned organizations whose job it is to beat civilians. In that case your sin would probably be the indiscretion, because after publicly threatening to attack the physical integrity of a citizen, it is hard to believe, Fernando, that you are only an official in the Ministry of Culture.

Claudia Cadelo De Nevi

Monday, December 21, 2009

Valdés, Bejerano promoted to VPs of Council of State

From the Associated Press:
Cuba makes Valdes, Bejerano Council of State VPs

HAVANA — Cuba has promoted revolutionary commander Ramiro Valdes and comptroller Gladys Bejerano to vice presidents of its supreme governing body, the Council of State.

Valdes is a former leader of the rebels who brought Fidel Castro to power and an ex-interior minister. He is also communications minister and a Cabinet vice president.

This summer, Bejerano became head of a new office overseeing state spending.

Parliament approved the appointments Sunday. They replace revolutionary hero Juan Almeida, who died in September, and Carlos Lage, the de-facto economics czar who resigned in March during a leadership shake-up.

The Council of State features President Raul Castro, his first vice president, five other VPs, a secretary, and 23 others.

Intervención en la ONU

Sin comentario...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Artist Luis Cruz Azaceta at the New Orleans Museum of Art

Azeceta is a Cuban artists working in New Orleans who explores the dichotomy of Cuban life both on the island and in exile. He sees the "90 miles of shark-infested ocean between the United States and his native Cuba as a watery Berlin Wall." In the video below the artist himself describes the inspiration for his art and the meaning behind some of he's pieces.

Click here for more information on the exhibit.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Playboy will apparently be talking Cuba travel

Here's what is supposed to be the cover of an upcoming issue of Playboy. Wonder what their "forbidden travel" agenda will look like...

Friday, December 11, 2009

U.S., Cuban artists stage a collaboration

The Miami Herald reported early this month about a ground breaking multimedia event being made in collaboration with American and Cuban Artists. According to the Article:

La Entrañable Lejania (The Closest Farthest Away) is part of the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, commonly called the Havana Film Festival, one of the island's biggest cultural events. It will have its U.S. debut at Miami Beach's Byron-Carlyle Theater in March.

The complex story of an American man in love with a Cuban woman, The Closest Farthest Away breaks ground artistically, politically and technologically. American actors perform onstage while Cuban cast members are seen on large video screens, embodying the political separation between the two countries.

The clip that accompanies the article shows a rather impressive technological and artistic endeavor. It will be interesting to see how the content of the piece pairs with the presentation. In any case it is interesting, as the article notes, to note the increasing notoriety that cultural initiatives are getting in the Cuba conversation.

Click here for the rest of the full story

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Damas de Blanco harassed... again

From The Washington Post:

Pro-government crowd pursues Cuban rights marchers

The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 9, 2009; 10:39 PM

HAVANA -- Hundreds of government supporters shouted insults and pro-Castro slogans at about 50 wives, mothers and other female relatives of Cuban political prisoners as they marched Wednesday through a crowded Havana neighborhood in the name of human rights.


A crowd followed behind yelling "Fidel! Fidel!" and "Down with worms!" - the latter a common slang for Cubans who head into exile in the United States.

After the women returned to Pollan's home, which is filmed day and night by a government camera mounted nearby and also often watched by state agents in plainclothes stationed on nearby street corners, the government supporters continued to shout insults while the women cowered inside.


Click here for the rest of the story.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

CALL TO ACTION: Help Raices raise $25,000 with the click of a button!

Help Raices raise $25,000 (that's right, $25,000!) simply by spending a few "extra" minutes on Facebook!

JPMorgan Chase is giving out $25,000 to the 100 organizations who collect the most votes on their Facebook Fan Page and we need everyone's help! So, vote for us, and get your friends to vote too!

Follow these easy steps:

2. Once you're a Fan, go to the "Chase Giving" Tab and type in "Raices de Esperanza." Don't worry, it'll pop up before you finish typing.

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4. Get 10+ other people to vote for Raices, too! Invite people to the Facebook event, suggest they become a fan on Facebook (with a message to vote Raices), or send them a message with the details.

The only catch is that you have to do it by FRIDAY, December 11th!

Juventud Rebelde accuses Google of keeping Cuba in the dark

From the Latin American Herald Tribune:
Havana Says Google Disabling Apps for Cuban Users

HAVANA – Cuba’s official Juventud Rebelde newspaper on Thursday criticized Google for blocking access to certain applications, including the Zeitgeist search trends tool, for users on the island.
Juventud Rebelde accused Washington of “blocking and increasing the cost of purchases of technological equipment” needed to develop the Internet in Cuba, and of “orchestrating campaigns to damage the prestige” of the island and “creating cyber mercenaries,” a reference to dissident bloggers like Yoani Sanchez.

State media regularly criticize U.S. Internet firms, without ever mentioning that Cubans cannot have Internet access at home and service providers must block access to hundreds of Web sites that the authorities do not like.
Click here for the rest of the story.

Officials in Washington, Havana point fingers at each other over delay in dialog

From the Associated Press:
Cuba-US migration talks pushed back until February

HAVANA — Highly anticipated immigration talks between Cuba and the United States have been pushed back because of scheduling concerns that each side blames on the other, another hint that reconciliation may be more difficult than it once appeared.


They agreed that the postponement had nothing to do with politics, but it was another sign of fraying in what months ago seemed like a golden opportunity to end a half-century of discord.


Click here for the rest of the story.