Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Sugar Harvest Grows But Fails to Meet the Plan

The Sugar Harvest Grows But Fails to Meet the Plan / 14ymedio, Orlando Palma
Posted on May 31, 2015

14ymedio, Orlando Palma, Havana, 29 May 2015 – As has already become a
tradition, Cubans will not know how many tons of sugar are ultimately
produced at the end of the 2014-2015 harvest. A summary of the report
prepared by the Azcuba Sugar Group, published by the newspaper Gramna,
limits itself to saying that, although the "plan is 45% below
expectations," production "experienced an 18% growth relative to the
prior year's milling."

According to the report, sugar production grew for the fifth consecutive
year but has not reached its target for a series of reasons. Among them,
the delay in making repairs, attributed to the late arrival of certain
resources, due in turn to the lack of deliveries on the part of the
importing countries. This detail alone had as a consequence that 11
sugar mills didn't start on time, "or started without testing the
machinery in advance, which increased the breakdowns during the milling."

A report by Azcuba president Orlando Celso Garcia to the Workers Center
of Cuba Plenary at the end of 2014, said that the mistakes of the past
would not be made again and announced that 15 million dollars were
invested in importing equipment for irrigation. He added that the
reception capacity in the collection centers will be increased and more
than 3,400 trailers will be added with a capacity of 20 tons each, along
with 80 re-engined Kamaz trucks and another 287 trucks without trailers.

Despite these forecasts, the main problem was the low capacity
utilization of the mills in the industry, which did not exceed 65%,
caused by downtime, plus missing the quantities in the cutting and
throwing of cane. On the other hand, performance improved as 100 tons of
cane crushed yielded an average of 10.27 tons of sugar, 0.77 more than
in the previous harvest. It is to this that the increase in total
production is due.

The report mentions the most outstanding provinces and sugar mills and
announced that, according to estimates, sugarcane mass will increase
between 15% and 20% annually in the coming years. Maybe by the end of
2015, when speaking of the next harvest, we will get to know how many
tons were produced in the harvest now ending.

Source: The Sugar Harvest Grows But Fails to Meet the Plan / 14ymedio,
Orlando Palma | Translating Cuba -

Cane Cutters Complain about Their Working Conditions

Cane Cutters Complain about Their Working Conditions / 14ymedio,
Fernando Donate Ochoa
Posted on May 31, 2015

14ymedio, Fernando Donate Ochoa, Holguin, 31 May 2015 – The recently
concluded sugar harvest failed to fulfill production forecasts. Analysts
have struggled to explain the reasons for the repeated failure and have
spoken of incomplete or ineffective repairs and poor organization, but
none have mentioned the social factor.

Workers involved in cutting cane in Holguin complained of the
abandonment to which they were subjected and multiple violations of
their labor rights during the harvest that just ended.

Members of the Basic Economic Unit from the Loynaz Hechavarria center
from the Cueto municipality say they worked more than 16 hours a day
beginning at five in the morning during the four months of the harvest.

Heriberto Cuenca Tamayo, operator of a cane combine, told 14ymedio that
his brigade had been victim of labor law violations and they were the
group that suffered most: in spite of intense heat during these months,
they had no cold water for lack of ice. Nor did they receive the
promised work clothes, and they ate what they could manage on their own
since they were not even provided coffee.

He mentioned that the enterprise is still in default on the incentive
pay in convertible currency that is due the members of the team under
the labor contract. He also lamented the lack of technical assistance
that would have helped with the combine breakdowns during the cane
cutting. They are only paid as operators, but they also had to act as
mechanics, work for which they are not qualified.

"We were on our own when the machines broke, and in order to continue
working we had to personally manage the parts and the repair," Cuenca
Tamayo told this daily.

Together with his companions, he said he felt unprotected. The bosses
only speak of obligations, order, discipline and demands. "When they say
to do more with less, it seems that they are thinking of more effort and
worse conditions, more duties and fewer rights."

"Neither the Constitution nor any other Cuban law legally establishes
the right to strike, but nor did the union solve our problems in spite
of raising them on several occasions," said this cane worker.

For his part, Mario Gonzalez, harvest boss for the Azucarera Company,
said that Holguin failed to meet the sugar production plan by not
reaching the projected figure of 207,801 tons, lacking almost 4,000 tons
to achieve the goal. In this harvest the province milled with only five
of the ten sugar refineries it has had since 2002.

The official explained that among the causes that led to the failure are
the breakdowns of the combines, the refinery stoppages for lack of cane
caused by the late arrival of squads to the cutting fronts, and others
of an organizational nature. "There was enough cane in the fields, but
it was not known how to get it to the centers," asserted Mario Gonzalez
on a local radio program.

Translated by MLK

Source: Cane Cutters Complain about Their Working Conditions / 14ymedio,
Fernando Donate Ochoa | Translating Cuba -

How will financial ties with Cuba change now that it’s off the terrorism list?

How will financial ties with Cuba change now that it's off the terrorism
May 30, 2015 at 6:18 PM EDT

The State Department on Friday officially lifted its designation of Cuba
as a state sponsor of terrorism, in one of the many recent steps by the
Obama administration to reestablish diplomatic ties between Cuba and the
U.S. Carla Robbins of the Council on Foreign Relations joins Hari
Sreenivasan to discuss the implications.

Department officially lifted its designation of Cuba as a state sponsor
of terrorism.

It's one of the many recent steps by the Obama administration to
re-establish diplomatic ties between the island nation and the United

Here to talk about the implications of that move is Carla Robbins, an
adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

So, first of all, this was on the list since the early 80s. What put
them on this list of state-sponsored terror in the first place?

relations with the FARC in Colombia, cozy relations with the Basque
terrorists ETA and we didn't like them.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Right. And then, now, if they're off this list, what
does it mean?

CARLA ROBBINS: It means more than anything else, that U.S. banks can
have relations with Cuban banks, which will make it much easier to
follow through on the easing of financial relations that Obama is
promoting, and the Cubans said it was the biggest precondition for
reestablishing direct diplomatic relations and opening the embassies.

HARI SREENIVASAN: In a practical matter, this means that if a tourist is
visiting Cuba, their ATM cards or credit cards will work.

CARLA ROBBINS: That's the idea. Right now, MasterCard is there. I
believe I think American Express is there. But you can't — there's no
American bank that can do it because of fear that the Treasury
Department will punish you.

You know, these terrorism lists, particularly since 9/11 — I mean, U.S.
banks have been paying very, very high penalties for it. So, now, you'll
be able to do that.

More than anything else, while the embargo is still in place and will
remain in place for a very long time, I suspect, you can do business
with private businesses in Cuba, a variety of other trade. We can sell

We can sell agriculture. We have been able to do that for quite a while.

But the Cubans had to pay before. They had to send the money here. They
couldn't do it through an American bank. It was a very complicated process.

Now, they're going to be able to clear checks in Cuba and that's a big
deal, not an enormous boon. There's not going to be a huge, you know,
gold rush here, but it's going to make it easier to do financial

HARI SREENIVASAN: So, you pointed out that distinction that this still
does not mean that the embargo is lifted. That is a much bigger scenario
and that takes congressional approval.

CARLA ROBBINS: The embargo was an executive order since Kennedy, all the
way through to Clinton. It was written into law during the Clinton

Not at the behest of the White House, the Republicans pushed it. And so,
now, Congress has to agree to do it.

And what's really interesting — you know, I was up on the Hill and I was
surprised to see nobody on the Hill was going to make a big fight about
this lifting of the terrorism list. They're not going to fight Obama on
all these other things.

On the other hand, nobody is going to push very hard to lift the
embargo. This is a very long process.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Right. And there are still significant disagreements
that the two countries have. I mean, the secretary of state said that
yesterday. There are also members of Congress that said that.

CARLA ROBBINS: Having diplomatic relations doesn't mean that we love
them. And, ultimately, the U.S. and Cuba have very different goals for
this rapprochement.

Obama has been clear — his goal here, have closer contact, is to promote
democratic change in Cuba. The Cubans' goal for this is to get enough,
you know, economic bailout so that they can maintain their repressive
society for a little big longer.

I think, ultimately — you know, the Castro brothers are very old —
ultimately, Cuba is going to move toward some sort of reforms and I
think as — also as President Obama said, 50 years of this policy and it
didn't work.

HARI SREENIVASAN: So, when these two countries start to establish
embassies officially in each other's countries, what are the kinds of
steps that we will see towards this diplomatic normalization?

CARLA ROBBINS: Right. I think the biggest issue right now — and we don't
know how soon the opening could come, the official opening — I find it
to be probably sooner rather than later — the biggest question I think
is what they've been going back and forth is the Cubans keep saying, we
don't want you to be using the embassy to continue to do what you've
been doing — which is giving — training journalists and meeting with

And the Americans keep saying, "What are you talking about? We want to
do this."

I hope the Obama administration doesn't give up too much on that.

Although they have been signaling that in other authoritarian societies,
there are restrictions and they will place restrictions on the Cubans
themselves. This not going to be a warm and cuddly relationship for a
very long time, I suspect.

HARI SREENIVASAN: All right. Carla Robbins, thanks so much.

CARLA ROBBINS: Thanks so much.

Source: How will financial ties with Cuba change now that it's off the
terrorism list? -

Cuba produces best sugar harvest in 11 years

Cuba produces best sugar harvest in 11 years
Posted May. 30th, 2015 by Reuters

Havana | Reuters – Cuba's sugar harvest grew 18 per cent this year to
1.9 million tonnes, the most for the beleaguered industry in 11 years
and the best performance since the state sugar company Azcuba was
founded in 2011, official media said on Friday.

The Communist Party daily Granma said the harvest, which began in
November, had ended. Last year's harvest produced 1.6 million tonnes.

Company spokesman Liobel Perez attributed the higher tonnage to improved
efficiency at the mills and increased production of cane, Granma reported.

The company had hoped to produce more than two million tonnes but was
impeded by late startups at mills, breakdowns, transportation and other
problems, Perez said.

The Cuban sugar ministry was closed down in 2011 and Azcuba formed after
output declined to 1.1 million tonnes, the lowest in more than a century
and far below the eight million tonnes produced in 1990 before the
collapse of former benefactor the Soviet Union.

"Though the results are still less than hoped for, one has to recognize
that for five years (Azcuba) has increased production," Granma noted.

When Azcuba was formed it said output would be 2.4 million tonnes by 2015.

The latest harvest is the best since 2004, when it totaled 2.5 million

Only eight of 56 mills in the country were built after the 1959
revolution, the last in the 1980s.

Cuba consumes between 600,000 tonnes and 700,000 tonnes of sugar a year
and has an agreement to sell 400,000 tonnes annually to China.

Sugar was long Cuba's most important industry and export but today ranks
eighth in foreign currency earnings behind services, remittances,
tourism, petroleum products, nickel, pharmaceuticals and tobacco products.

— Reporting for Reuters by Marc Frank in Havana.

Source: Cuba produces best sugar harvest in 11 years - AGCanada -
AGCanada -

Jeb Bush lays into Obama for removing Cuba from state sponsor of terror list

Jeb Bush lays into Obama for removing Cuba from state sponsor of terror list
Published May 30, 2015Fox News Latino

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush railed against the Obama administration's
removal of Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism –
continuing his hardline stance against the continuing normalization of
relations between Washington and Havana.

"Neither continued repression at home nor Cuba's destabilizing
activities abroad appear sufficient to stop President Obama from making
further concessions to the Communist regime in Havana," Bush, who is
considering a run for president, said in a statement, according to the
New York Times.

Bush added the decision was a mistake and called it "further evidence
that President Obama seems more interested in capitulating to our
adversaries than in confronting them."

Other top U.S. Republicans criticized the move, with House Speaker John
Boehner of Ohio saying the Obama administration had "handed the Castro
regime a significant political win in return for nothing."

"The communist dictatorship has offered no assurances it will address
its long record of repression and human rights at home," Boehner said in
a statement.

The Obama administration's Democratic allies, however, praised the move
with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, calling
it is a "critical step forward in creating new opportunities for
American businesses and entrepreneurs, and in strengthening family ties."

Secretary of State John Kerry signed off on rescinding Cuba's "state
sponsor of terrorism" designation exactly 45 days after the Obama
administration informed Congress of its intent to do so on April 14.
Lawmakers had that amount of time to weigh in and try to block the move,
but did not do so.

"The 45-day congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the
secretary of state has made the final decision to rescind Cuba's
designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, effective today, May 29,
2015," the State Department said in a statement.

"While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with
a wide range of Cuba's policies and actions, these fall outside the
criteria relevant to the rescission of a state sponsor of terrorism
designation," the statement said.

The step comes as officials from the two countries continue to hash out
details for restoring full diplomatic relations, including opening
embassies in Washington and Havana and returning ambassadors to the two
countries for the first time since the U.S. severed diplomatic relations
with the island in January 1961. The removal of Cuba from the terrorism
list had been a key Cuban demand.

The Cold War-era designation was levied mainly for Cuba's support of
leftist guerrillas around the world and isolated the communist island
from much of the world financial system because banks fear repercussions
from doing business with designated countries. Even Cuba's Interests
Section in Washington lost its bank in the United States, forcing it to
deal in cash until it found a new banker this month.

Banks continue to take a cautious tone about doing business with Cuba
since U.S. laws still make the island off limits for U.S. businesses.
Leaders of the Republicans-controlled House have shown zero interest in
repealing the laws from the 1990s that codified the U.S. embargo on
trade with Cuba.

"Taking Cuba off the terrorism list is one step toward normalization,
but for doing business down there, we have a long way to go," said Rob
Rowe, vice president and associate chief council at the American Bankers

In a blog post, the White House called the decision on the terrorism
list another step toward improving relations with Cuba.

"For 55 years, we tried using isolation to bring about change in Cuba,"
it said. "But by isolating Cuba from the United States, we isolated the
United States from the Cuban people and, increasingly, the rest of the

The terrorism list was a particularly charged issue for Cuba because of
the U.S. history of supporting exile groups responsible for attacks on
the island, including the 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger flight from
Barbados that killed 73 people aboard. The attack was linked to Cuban
exiles with ties to U.S.-backed anti-Castro groups and both men accused
of masterminding the crime took shelter in Florida, where one, Luis
Posada Carriles, currently lives.

"I think this could be a positive act that adds to hope and
understanding and can help the negotiations between Cuba and the United
States," said director Juan Carlos Cremata, who lost his father in the
1976 bombing.

"It's a list we never should have been on," said Ileana Alfonso, who
also lost her father in the attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Jeb Bush lays into Obama for removing Cuba from state sponsor of
terror list | Fox News Latino -

Cuba - Very big fuss over very small economy

Cuba: Very big fuss over very small economy

President Barack Obama's historic normalization talks with Cuba have
brought about a lot of excitement in business circles, and hardly a day
goes by without new reports of U.S. investors, lawyers and entrepreneurs
flocking to the island. But I'm afraid most of them will lose their
shirts there.

A dispassionate look at Cuba's reality shows that, despite all the
hoopla about last week's U.S. removal of Cuba from its list of terrorist
nations, which opened the way for re-establishment of full diplomatic
relations between the two countries and international loans, Cuba
remains one of the most backward countries in Latin America. And it will
take many years to get its economy back to life.

Yes, Obama's opening to Cuba is by an large a good idea. And, granted,
there will be opportunities in the tourism industry to build new hotels.
But the scope of these business opportunities will be much more limited
than the Obama administration — eager for a foreign policy
legacy-setting victory in the aftermath of its Middle East failures — is
leading us to believe.

Consider the facts:

First, Cuba's gross national income per capita, although nearly
impossible to measure because the island does not measure its economy by
international standards, is estimated by the World Bank at $5,800 a
year. That's almost three times less than Chile's per capita income of
more than $15,000 a year, and way below Latin America's average of
$9,500 a year, according to World Bank figures.

Cuba's average wage is of about $20 a month (yes, you read right, a
month.) That will make it very hard for average Cubans to buy more
imported goods, wherever they come from.

Second, Cuba's 11 million population has an average age of about 40, one
of the oldest in Latin America, because of few births and massive
migration. That will make it hard for Cuba to become a magnet for
investments in factories or outsourcing services.

While other Latin American countries will benefit from young populations
in coming years, Cuba's demographic scene is likely to worsen.

In a recent report entitled "Big fuss, small market," John Price,
managing director of the Americas Market Intelligence consulting firm in
Miami, argued that "if East Germany is any guide to what may happen next
in Cuba, an additional two million Cubans would leave the island within
five years of an end to travel restrictions."

He added, "Most of those anxious to leave will be the best educated
working-age adults who can pursue higher wages and better opportunities
abroad. Cuba will become a nation of elderly, with limited growth

Third, despite Obama's executive orders to open up tourism and some
investments to Cuba, only the U.S. Congress can lift the full U.S.
commercial embargo on the island, and that's not likely to happen
anytime soon.

Even if some Republican legislators from mid-Western farm states support
lifting the U.S. embargo, the prevailing mood within Republicans in
Congress will be to deny Obama a vote that would allow him to set a
foreign policy legacy as the U.S. president who "opened up" Cuba, much
like Nixon "opened up" China.

"I don't see the U.S. embargo lifted while Obama is in office," Price
told me."I doubt that anything will happen within the next two or three

Fourth, despite a big influx of dollars from U.S. tourism and family
remittances, Cuba is threatened with a worsening economic crisis if
Venezuela can't keep up with its oil subsidies to the island. That may
delay Cuba's economic resurgence further.

Fifth, Cuba lacks and independent judiciary to protect investors'
rights, as so many Spanish and Canadian business people have learned the
hard way. And that's not likely to change anytime soon.

In a recent interview, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker told me
that even though Cuba is a small economy, the Cuban people are
entrepreneurial , and have a great economic potential. "It's a
beginning, you have to start. And by starting, things will evolve," she

My opinion: Maybe so. But for the time being, as Florida International
University business professor Jerry Haar has rightly — and only
half-jokingly — commented, the most profitable businesses dealing with
Cuba will be those that put together conferences and seminars on doing
business in Cuba.

Obama did the right thing in starting normalization talks with Cuba's
military dictatorship, although he should be much more forthright in
demanding basic freedoms on the island. But the administration should
tone down its claims that the U.S.-Cuba honeymoon will lead to political
and economic changes on the island, and to great business opportunities
for foreign companies. It won't, at least in the near future.

Source: Cuba: Very big fuss over very small economy | Miami Herald Miami
Herald -

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Foreign film directors flock to Cuba as isolated island opens up to outside world

Foreign film directors flock to Cuba as isolated island opens up to
outside world
GEOFFREY MACNAB Friday 29 May 2015

As film locations go, Cuba has got pretty much everything: a rich and
turbulent history, the faded glamour of its capital Havana and a
world-renowned music scene. But all that, until recently, was out of
bounds to foreign film-makers.

Now, as the Communist country opens up following the "normalisation" of
diplomatic relations between the Caribbean island and its old enemies in
the US, foreign film-makers are rushing to take advantage.

But Hollywood will have to wait. Because of the embargo – imposed by the
Americans – US actors and technicians are still unable to work in Cuba.
However, it will now be easier for documentary film-makers to get around
this and a slew of new films are in the making.

Previous films had also been made about Cubans, whereas more are now
being made about foreigners who are associated with Cuba such as Graham
Greene. Earlier this month, the LA production company Broad Green
Pictures said it was preparing a sequel to the music documentary Buena
Vista Social Club, to be made by British director Lucy Walker. In
Cannes, the London-based film-maker Rosa Bosch has confirmed her plans
for four new films to be made in Cuba through her company Cuba Star.

The first, Havana Autos and Architecture, is being produced in
collaboration with the architect Norman Foster, based on the book he
wrote of the same name with Mauricio Vicent. The film is billed as "a
depiction of a country that is emerging from a time capsule after over
50 years of stubborn survival".

Lord Foster is obsessed with Cuba. "Havana today is like no other
place," he commented. "It's a theatre in which the stage is the street,
the scenery is the facades of the buildings, and the players, who bring
the whole drama to life, are the colourful cars and people."

Cuba is still full of 1950s American cars: Chevrolets, Buicks, Packards,
Studebakers, Lincolns, Oldsmobiles, Cadillac convertibles and the like.
Their owners have fought to preserve them, in spite of a lack of spare,
and to ensure they look as shiny as the day they left the showroom.

"He [Lord Foster] is making a link between the architecture and the
cars," Bosch explains of the feature-doc, which will tell six stories of
owners who keep their cars going "forever and ever". Through the six
stories, the aim is to tell the story of Cuba during its "50 years of
isolation". Shooting is expected in the autumn, with an American
director expected to be confirmed shortly.

Meanwhile, Bosch is also preparing a new feature doc called Churchill
and Cuba, looking at the British political titan's long engagement with
Cuba – and with its cigars. He first visited the country around the time
of the Spanish-American independence war of the late 1890s and, much
later, wrote his Iron Curtain speech on the island, "while running
around in Havana smoking cigars". Bosch describes the film as being
about the "political forming of Churchill", seen from "a slightly
hedonistic, tropical" point of view.

A third Bosch project, yet to be entitled, will explore British novelist
Graham Greene's relationship with Cuba. It will pay particular attention
to Greene's 1958 novel Our Man in Havana and the 1959 film made by Carol
Reed and starring Alec Guinness. Fidel Castro himself visited the film
set during shooting, only a few weeks after overthrowing the Batista regime.

"The stories of Graham Greene in Cuba will surprise a lot of people. The
way he was involved and in a way manipulated by the revolution for
certain purposes is fascinating," Bosch commented.

The fourth of Bosch's Cuban films is about the hell-raising Hollywood
star Errol Flynn's experiences in Cuba in the twilight of his life, when
he was friendly with Castro. He even made his final film there, Cuban
Rebel Girls (1959), which he also scripted. Flynn didn't just come to
Cuba to live it up but became, albeit briefly, a fervent supporter of
Castro. He is also said to have met Che Guevara – a fascinating and
highly unlikely encounter between two very different kinds of icons.

Others are making docs about Hemingway and Cuba. For example, the
Starsky & Hutch star David Soul has been involved in Cuban Soul, a film
in which he helps the Cubans rebuild Ernest Hemingway's long-lost 1955
Chrysler New Yorker, which was found recently in a near ruined condition.

"In terms of doing fiction films, we are still legally some way away,"
Bosch said, explaining the reason for the current focus on documentary
films. "To do a fiction film with US actors is complicated because the
money they are paid would be earned [there] and would break the embargo."

Source: Foreign film directors flock to Cuba as isolated island opens up
to outside world - Americas - World - The Independent -

Rihanna in Cuba's capital to record music video

Rihanna in Cuba's capital to record music video
The Associated Press

Pop star Rihanna drew a crowd Friday while cruising down Havana's
Malecon shore boulevard in a classic American convertible from the 1950s.

Children and young people swarmed around the car, using their cellphones
to snap pictures of the singer while security guards kept them from
getting too close.

Pop artist Rihanna waves at fans as she leaves a building on the
Malecon, after a photo shoot with photographer Annie Leibovitz, in
Havana, Cuba, Friday, May 29, 2015. | DESMOND BOYLAN AP PHOTO
Cuban state media say Rihanna arrived in Cuba on Wednesday and made an
unannounced appearance at the La Fontana restaurant.

The media reports say she also has recorded video footage in the
capital's central district of El Vedado and at the La Guarida
restaurant, where the Cuban movie "Strawberry and Chocolate" was filmed.

Source: Rihanna in Cuba's capital to record music video | Miami Herald
Miami Herald -

Ladies in White on My Street Corner

Ladies in White on My Street Corner
May 27, 2015
Vicente Morin Aguado

HAVANA TIMES — I took the photo from a prudent distance, as the incident
took me by complete surprise. A reporter armed with equipment more
powerful than my modest cell phone was also covering all developments.

Absorbed by her work, much like the director of a chorus standing before
her disciplined pupils, paying no attention to her audience, a small,
robust, dark-skinned woman was directing the women's actions. "Laura
Pollan lives!" the persistent and daring women yelled in unison, raising
their fists and bringing together rose-colored gladioli.

People started to gather around the women. Thankfully, the surprise
demonstration wasn't met with aggression. Those gathered began to
comment under their breath, as though the people speaking were
expressing the fear in themselves, a fear these government opponents had
long rid their minds of.

A woman said: "There they are again, drawing attention to themselves.
The black woman in charge is Bertha Soler, the one who takes those trips
to the United States, the one who handles the dough."

A gentleman said: "They probably just came out of the Caridad church.
Looks like they've had a change of headquarters. Before, they used to go
to the Santa Rita de Acacia church in Vedado."

A street vendor remarked: "I have no problems with the law, I've got a
license. I don't know what all the fuss is about. It'd be better to let
them be, to ignore them. After all, a bunch of women with flowers in
their hands aren't a threat to anyone."

There are details lost on most Cubans, whose one source of information
are the State-controlled media. The group in question were the
Ciudadanas por la Democracia ("Women Citizens for Democracy"), a
splinter group that broke off from the organization originally founded
by Laura Pollan, when her daughter rebelled against the leadership of
the abovementioned Bertha Soler.

People start gossiping, the spectacle becomes more intense, some pulled
out their phones. I take my pictures, keeping to myself. I didn't dare
join the debate around me. I could lose my Samsung phone if I say a few
words too many. You never know who's who in Cuba.

A man claims to know some of the women from his neighborhood. He adds
that "nothing's happening in the home of the late Laura Pollan." I ask
myself: "How many of the passersby who are stopped dead in their tracks
by these courageous women have access to the Internet? What do people in
Cuba actually know about these unwavering ladies, dressed in the sum
total of all colors?"

It's clear spectators have very little information at their disposal to
judge this unusual event. This is coupled with the typical way in which
things get tangled up when gossips get together.

I think to myself: "It's hard to judge them. I'm not in their shoes. I
regret their internal differences; I reject a number of declarations
made by the defiant Bertha Soler. But, in the end, they seem to have
taken the floor."

It's painful to hear people offer opinions about things they know
nothing about. These people may be upset over their daily problems, but
they are unable to identify the origin of their day-to-day ordeals.

The woman talks about the "dough" they make and ends up accusing them of
being "mercenaries", sell-outs, untalented drama-queens who take to the
street-stage in exchange for a handful of US dollars. How many dollars
do they get, I wonder, for being stabbed, for getting a good beating,
for enduring people's contempt and askew glances, often worse than a
punch to the face?

I looked in several dictionaries and found several meanings of the
oft-repeated word: mercenary. (From the Latin mercenar?us). adj. Of a
troop that, in exchange for money, serves a foreign power at war. || 2.
Of a person who receives payment for their work or services.

Women armed with flowers do not constitute the battalion mentioned by
the dictionary. In addition, we are not at war with other States. And,
according to the second meaning offered by the Spanish Language Royal
Academy, nearly all of us in this world, workers without properties, are

The Ladies in White are opponents of the political system in Cuba. They
defy the government. Few applaud their actions in public, many approve
of them in silence, others go as far as attacking them physically and
there is no shortage of those who are against them – that summarizes the
complex panorama of Cuban public opinion on this issue.

Why the acts of life-threatening aggression? Their opponents can and
ought to demonstrate, within the legal framework of the socialist state
they respect.

The dilemma pointed out by the street vendor remains: to let them walk
around the streets of Havana, ignoring them. The problem is fear, the
suspicion that one day, people may start paying attention.

I saluted them from a prudent distance, raising my thumb in approval,
not expecting an answer.

In Cuba, many people sprinkle salt on some fresh fruits to make their
flavor more pronounced.

It was a Sunday afternoon, and I had gone out to buy a pineapple and a
package of salt.
Vicente Morín Aguado

Source: Ladies in White on My Street Corner - Havana -

Occupations (?) You Can Find in Cuba

Occupations (?) You Can Find in Cuba / Ivan Garcia
Posted on May 29, 2015

Ivan Garcia, Havana, 4 May 2015 — In a wide, dusty, half-paved alleyway
very near an old slaughterhouse with a faded sign that reads "Socialism
or Death," lives Reinerio, a gentleman who, in addition to repairing
zippers and umbrellas, also sells earthworms.

In the corner of a dark room, with a piano in need of tuning and a
molting parrot who reluctantly drinks water from a soda can cut in half,
sits a mountain of umbrellas, pants and handbags, all thrown into a
pile, waiting to be repaired. Wearing crudely made eyeglasses, Reinerio
expertly unlocks the zipper of a purse.

"Professions like mine are typical in poor countries where people have
to recycle things out of necessity and extend their use beyond what
would normally be possible. It seems foolish but many handbags,
umbrellas and pants cannot be used once the zipper is broken or the
parasol's spring clip splits," he explains.

He is a man who knows a little about everything. Reinerio makes a living
solving people's problems. "A few pesos here, a few there, but I take
pride in repairing things that would normally be tossed in the trash,"
he says while handing over half a kilogram of earthworms to some
neighborhood kids.

On the streets of Republican Cuba, a legion of vendors — among them
knife and scissor grinders, tamale makers, ice-cream sellers — hawked
their wares with inventive sounds and cries.

In 1968 Fidel Castro outlawed informal small businesses by decree. No
longer to be heard were the cries of street vendors and cobblers, who
were forced to go underground.

With the collapse of communism in Russia, however, the island saw the
return of old-fashioned professions which extended the lives of
cigarette lighters and disposable razors.

Havana has more in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez' fictional Macondo
than with a modern metropolis. Daniel, who repairs cigarette lighters in
the city's Tenth of October neighborhood, explains, "A friend who lives
in Costa Rica sends me compressed natural gas and flints. When a
disposable lighter is empty, I make a tiny, microscopic hole in the
bottom and refill it. Then it's as good as new."

Remberto restores plastic disposable razors. "With a special file I
sharpen the edges of the razor blades. People thank me, remember that a
package of these little razors costs up to 11 CUC."

Wherever you look in the national geography, you find people whose
"business" is the purchase of empty glass containers, plastic bottles,
used clothing or gold jewelry, be it a piece of a chain or a single
earring. Also, mattresses repairers, sellers of saints and plaster
figures, or of ice cream scoops.

Jose sells bags of ice for five pesos apiece. "Almost everyone has a
refrigerator and a lot of people like to buy ice to make milkshakes, fix
drinks or treat an inflammation," he notes.

Teresa, a half-blind hunched-backed old woman, supplements her meager
monthly pension of $8 selling fruit popsicles for two Cuban pesos. "The
children buy an incredible amount from me. In this frightful heat a
popsicle is always welcome."

Rosa, a former seamstress, collects old towels and sheets. After cutting
out the most worn parts, she takes the best pieces remaining and with
her old Singer machine constructs a towel or blanket. "I try to combine
fabrics and colors. I don't throw away what's left over, I sell it to a
mattress repairer who uses it as padding ".

For a while, Luisa cleaned rice at home. "She charged two Cuban pesos
for every pound of rice. Now I devote myself to washing and trimming
dogs, the price ranges between 50 and 100 Cuban pesos."

But none are as popular as Magalis. Though her face was not shown, she
became famous on January 9, 2009 when the online edition of
Cubaencuentro published a photo of a window in her home with a sign
that read, "Fleas and ticks removed. Magalis."

It is likely there are "lice removal experts" in all the captial's
neighborhoods if not in the rest of the country. Keep in mind that in
Cuba high temperatures, a shortage of water and shampoo, and poor scalp
hygiene have led to the proliferation of these insects.

Havana looks like a giant bazaar of bizarre trades. In the corners,
there are carts with avocados, sweet potatoes and bananas. And
everywhere, old men are selling roasted peanuts and single cigarettes.

An interest in the occult has led to an explosion in the number of
Cubans adopting Santeria. Dunier quit his first year of university
studies to sell animals that babaloas, or priests, use in their rituals.

In a multi-colored dress Eulalia has made a living through tarot cards.
She uses them to consult with passers-by on busy Obispo Street in the
old section of the city.

"People want to hear good news, that they will come into some money,
that they will travel overseas or hook up with a yuma (foreigner). A
glimpse into the future costs twenty pesos, or two CUC (fifty pesos) for
tourists." And with the agility of a professional poker player, she then
lays out a deck of cards.

It has also become common in the capital to see middlemen known as
buquenques, referred to as "travel managers" by government bureaucrats.
These are guys who organize lines of people waiting for privately owned
taxis. Reinaldo earns 200 pesos a day on Acosta Avenue, hawking and
soliciting customers for the Viper-Vedado route.

A water shortage in many Havana neighborhoods has led to the
proliferation of aguateros or water vendors. Niosber is one of them. He
came to Havana six years ago, fleeing from rural poverty and a bleak
future in a mountain hamlet in Santiago de Cuba.

"It's a job I inherited. My father worked as a waterboy on the sugar
plantations and now my oldest son and I are in the business of selling
water," he explains while seated outside a convenience store.

Niosber's tool is a primitive contraption with ball bearing wheels and
two blue plastic tanks that were originally cooking oil containers but
which have been recycled to carry water.

"At five in the morning I get to an old sports complex in La Vibora and
hook my machine up to a spigot on the side of the building. I walk three
or four kilometers every day from the building where I live. I can't
keep up with the demand," he says.

It would be a stretch to describe those who survive by working in
informal occupations, whether secretly or legally, as small business people.

It would be a stretch to describe those who survive by working in
informal occupations, whether secretly or legally, as small business people.

Throughout Havana there are swarms of street musicians serenading
tourists having dinner. Or guys like Reinerio who fix zippers and
umbrellas. Or those who treat lice like Magalis.

Ivan Garcia

Source: Occupations (?) You Can Find in Cuba / Ivan Garcia | Translating
Cuba -

Cuba's removal from terror list could ease trade and travel

Cuba's removal from terror list could ease trade and travel
By William E. Gibson
Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Florida banks, traders and travelers will benefit from
Cuba's removal on Friday from the U.S. list of "state sponsors of
terrorism," analysts said this week.

Businesses that sell food, building materials and other products to the
island may find it easier to finance their transactions. Visitors
eventually will be able to use credit cards through American banks to
buy cigars, rum, artworks and other goods.

And banks, which have been reluctant to establish ties to Cuba partly
because of its terror listing, will be encouraged to serve travelers and
customers who do business on the island.

"Having the ability to use a credit card down there that's issued by a
U.S. bank is going to be huge," said Milton Vescovacci, a Miami attorney
who helps U.S. companies navigate the rules of engagement with Cuba.

"Now that Cuba is no longer on the terrorist list, that's one less thing
to worry about," Vescovacci said. "It will encourage banks that are
interested in establishing corresponding relationships, which they can
do already under the rules."

President Barack Obama notified Congress in April that he would remove
Cuba from the list after the State Department determined that the Castro
regime was no longer fomenting revolution or fostering terrorism in
other nations. The de-listing officially took effect on Friday.

Sen. Marco Rubio and other Florida members of Congress lashed out at
Obama's decision but faced a daunting task to block it.

"Cuba is a state sponsor of terrorism," Rubio said. "They harbor
fugitives of American justice, including someone who killed a police
officer in New Jersey over 30 years ago. It's also the country that's
helping North Korea evade weapons sanctions by the United Nations."

Cuban officials have indicated they may be willing to return some
fugitives wanted for crimes committed in the United States.

A year-long investigation by the Sun Sentinel found that Cuban criminal
networks were taking advantage of generous immigration laws to travel
between Florida and Cuba while funneling ill-gotten gains from Medicare
fraud and other crimes to the island. Many of the fraudsters remain
holed up in Cuba, eluding U.S. authorities.

During a trip to Cuba on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said he
raised the fugitive issue with Cuban officials. "I assume with the
normalization of relations, we are going to have a lot more discussions
about things like that," Udall told reporters in Havana.

De-listing Cuba is considered crucial to establishing normal diplomatic
relations after a half-century of alienation and isolation. Once Obama
notified Congress of his decision, the House and Senate had 45 days to
consider passing a joint resolution to oppose it.

But House opponents led by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, said
they were advised that a joint resolution might not have legal standing
to block the move. She had rounded up 35 co-sponsors but may have lacked
enough votes to pass one anyway.

Opponents looked for other ways to undermine Obama's policy, mostly by
preserving the U.S. embargo, which still forbids American pleasure trips
to Cuba and restricts most forms of trade.

The list — now only Iran, Sudan, and Syria — is mostly a symbolic slap,
a way to discourage companies and other countries from trading with
stigmatized nations. Removing Cuba from the list does not unleash sudden
dramatic changes but paves the way for closer relations, which in turn
will lead to more travel and commerce.

Stonegate Bank of Pompano Beach announced last week that it had already
taken the plunge by agreeing to provide services to the Cuban Interests
Section, an unofficial Cuban embassy in Washington.

"We hope this is the initial step to normalize banking ties between the
two countries, which will benefit American companies wanting to do
business in Cuba, as well as the Cuban people," David Seleski,
Stonegate's chief executive, said last week., 202-824-8256

List of 'State Sponsors of Terrorism'

Country….Date added

Syria……...Dec. 29, 1979

Cuba………March 1, 1982….Removed May 29, 2015

Iran………..Jan. 19, 1984

Sudan…….Aug. 12, 1993

SOURCE: State Department

Source: Cuba's removal from terror list will ease trade and travel - Sun
Sentinel -

Poly Prep school official took students to Cuba for an alcohol-fueled trip complete with hookers, cigars - lawsuit

Poly Prep school official took students to Cuba for an alcohol-fueled
trip complete with hookers, cigars: lawsuit
Friday, May 29, 2015, 12:25 PM A A A

A top official at Brooklyn's scandal-scarred Poly Prep Country Day
School took students on a "rite of passage" trip to Cuba complete with
hookers, cigars and plenty of drinking, according to a lawsuit filed

Employee Lisa Della Pietra, a former student who now raises money for
the elite prep school, said development director Steven Andersen "put
students in harm's way" and then tried to "buy his way out of it" with
Poly's money.

In a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn state supreme court, Pietra claimed she
reported Andersen's shenanigans to the school's headmaster, David Harman.

But nothing was done beyond a "sham" investigation, Pietra said, and
Andersen, her boss, retaliated against her for making complaints.

According to court papers, Andersen "manufactured" an educational trip
to Cuba so he could check out a personal investment he told Pietra would
be his "nest egg."

Andersen allegedly paid a prostitute to entertain the students as a
"rite of passage," and drank and smoked Cuban cigars with the students,
Pietra's suit said.

When another alum of the school threatened to expose Andersen's behavior
upon return, the development director paid him a sum to buy his silence,
Pietra claimed.

She also accused the school of colluding to cover up the accusations
against Andersen, and said the development director threatened his staff
to ensure their silence.

Pietra further alleges that when she reported Andersen's bullying and
inappropriateness to Poly Prep leaders, her boss got wind of it — and
then began bullying her.
"Andersen ... began a campaign of retaliation and bullying ... including
verbal rants and threats, stripping plaintiff of her job
responsibilities ..." the suit said.

In December 2012, Poly Prep Country Day School settled a landmark
lawsuit claiming its longtime football coach sexually abused hundreds of
boys over a 25-year period and that officials covered up the assaults
for decades.

The explosive suit, filed in 2009, claimed officials at the Dyker
Heights prep school knew that coach Phil Foglietta was a sexual
predator, but ignored repeated complaints during his 25 years at the
school because they didn't want to jeopardize the institution's athletic
reputation and fund-raising efforts.

In her lawsuit filed Thursday, Pietra noted Andersen had coached
football alongside Foglietta for 20 years.

Calls to Poly Prep's headmaster's office for comment were not
immediately returned.

Source: Poly Prep school official took students to Cuba: lawsuit - NY
Daily News -

Cuba removed from US terror list

Cuba removed from US terror list
AP Diplomatic Writer

The Obama administration on Friday formally removed Cuba from a U.S.
terrorism blacklist as part of the process of normalizing relations
between the Cold War foes.

Secretary of State John Kerry signed off on rescinding Cuba's "state
sponsor of terrorism" designation exactly 45 days after the Obama
administration informed Congress of its intent to do so on April 14.
Lawmakers had that amount of time to weigh in and try to block the move,
but did not do so.

"The 45-day congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the
secretary of state has made the final decision to rescind Cuba's
designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, effective today, May 29,
2015," the State Department said in a statement.

"While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with
a wide range of Cuba's policies and actions, these fall outside the
criteria relevant to the rescission of a state sponsor of terrorism
designation," the statement said.

The step comes as officials from the two countries continue to hash out
details of restoring full diplomatic relations, including opening
embassies in Washington and Havana and returning ambassadors to the two
countries for the first time since the U.S. severed diplomatic relations
with the island in January 1961. The removal of Cuba from the terrorism
list had been a key Cuban demand.

U.S. and Cuban officials have said the two sides are close to resolving
the final issues but the most recent round of talks ended last Friday
with no announcement of an agreement.

Even as many of the biggest hurdles, including the terrorism
designation, have been cleared, Washington and Havana are still
wrangling over American demands that its diplomats be able to travel
throughout Cuba and meet with dissidents without restrictions. The
Cubans are wary of activity they see as destabilizing to their government.

Both the U.S. and Cuba say the embassies are a first step in a larger
process of normalizing relations. That effort would still have to tackle
bigger questions such as the embargo, which only Congress can fully
revoke, as well as the future of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo
Bay and Cuba's democracy record.

Source: Cuba removed from US terror list | Miami Herald Miami Herald -

Laritza Diversent, the Cuban Lawyer who met with Obama

Laritza Diversent, the Cuban Lawyer who met with Obama / Cubanet, Manuel
Guerra Perez
Posted on May 28, 2015

Cubanet, Manual Guerra Perez, Havana, 30 April 2015 — Laritza Diversent
is a lawyer and director of the Cubalx Center of Legal Information, an
independent office that has offered free legal advice since 2010. She
graduated from the University of Havana in Law (2008), she is married
and has a 16-year-old son.

What exactly is Cubalex and for what purpose did this project come about?

Cubalex is an office that specializes in human rights issues, focusing
on national law and the conventions of international laws, which Cuba
supposedly relies on. We try to document violations of Human Rights, but
our core business is to provide free legal advice to citizens.

The legal advice is for citizens who are ignorant of the law with
regards to disparate issues, topics as diverse as housing, criminal,
immigration procedures, in short, the varied issues we face daily.
Always in legal terms.

Do you collaborate with lawyers from the collective law firms to
represent your clients? Who makes up Cubalex?

Our organization is composed of several lawyers, human rights activists,
a medical assistant, paralegal and secretary, here in Havana. We also
have offices in Camagüey, Granma and Las Tunas. We received requests
from the Isle of Youth and to the East, from Baracoa for example.

We do not work with lawyers from the collective law firms, although we
do work with other independent lawyers. They don't allow us to represent
our clients in court proceedings, so we have no link with lawyers from
collective law firms.

Should Cuba modify the current judicial system?

The Cuban judicial system needs many reforms. Many articles of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights are not addressed in national
legislation. There are no laws to exercise the right to complain,
protest, freedom of speech, nor for the protection of women, or people
with disabilities.

Cuba has signed many international treaties that have no direct
application within the system. The National Assembly (Parliament) has
had no interest in legislating on human rights issues. This is a very
difficult issue for the government. To date it has not evidenced any
intention to provide protection or guarantees for citizens' rights.

Recently you lost a lot of information from computers in this center

There was a robbery in our office where they stole all the computers,
all the mass storage media with all the information of years of work.

It was an intentional theft, with a specific order to take only what
contained information. My husband and I were abroad and my son had gone
to school.

At that time part of the team was undertaking a training abroad. Inside
the house there was valuable equipment that wasn't stolen. This incident
resulted in our being unable to serve the public for a month.

Why are people flocking to Cubalex and not the collective law firms?

I think in collective law firms they don't give the required attention
to their clients. They do not provide the free legal advice they offer
and we do.

The lawyers of the collective law firms have a conflict of interest
because they act on behalf of an individual and the state at the same time.

The Ministry of Justice has established fees for legal service contract
but the lawyers of the collective firms charge extra to try to
complement the service they offer. The people who usually come to us are
poor and are unable to pay those extra fees a lawyer asks. If a customer
does not pay those fees, there is a complete lack of interest and
motivation that results in little or no results.

In many cases, lawyers for law firms act more like judges and
prosecutors than like defense lawyers. They are also ignorant with
regard to Human Rights, which is where we specialize. "

Cubalex collaborates with international organizations

We collaborate on Human Rights, information and complaints to agencies
of the United Nation. With the Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights or the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, through the
provision of injunctions, presenting petitions, hearings. We also have
contacts with other international organizations specializing in human
rights and other related organizations.

We had to go to these institutions because we are not educated on Human
Rights. Although we studied law we were not given adequate training on
the subject and so we had to go to these organizations to give us
tutorials, information to present strategic litigation at the
international level on this issue, as we do the State. If this does not
resolve it, then we present them to international organizations. This is
the kind of relationship that we have these bodies.

Do you feel satisfied with the work done Cubalex?

We have grown from the legal, personal and cognitive point of view. We
have been able to learn more about the concerns of the population, to
know what are the main violations toward society. In 2013 we went to the
United Nations and participated in report to the Cuban State on the
convention on discrimination against women. We have presented reports on
people with disabilities, the situation of human rights defenders such
as the Ladies in White and independent journalists at hearings of the
Inter-American Commission. We want to give a minimum of information to
the majority who do not know that Human Rights are violated in Cuba. We
live in a society almost closed in terms of information, with limited
access to the Internet.

Have Cubalex members been assaulted or harassed by the authorities?

Assaulted, not directly, but they have been visited by the Department of
State Security (DSE) members working here. Our lawyers in Eastern Cuba
have received a lot of pressure because the authorities say they will
not allow a site like we have here. Authorities also increased the smear
campaigns in digital media.

We have requested an injunction from the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights that was given to us to protect our work team. The State
must follow the recommendations of the Commission although we know that
they do not do so but have responsibilities toward the commission.
Therefore we ask for our lives and our personal integrity. Everyone
knows that the Law 88 remains in force, it has not been commuted, or
suspended, so we fear that they could take any legal action against us.

What are your thoughts on the resumption of relations between the
governments of the United States and Cuba?

On a personal level I am in favor of this reset because I think it's the
first step to end the conflict. This is a conflict between governments
and those who principally suffer are the Cuban people.

On the other hand, the new policy published by the White House on the
issue of the private sector, human rights, support for civil society and
communications, we still have reservations about, in the sense that
there is a legal system of citizen control that prevents this
development. Because I believe it is a necessary step does not mean I
agree with everything or believe that it will be effective.

It is the responsibility of civil society to find information on these
legal restrictions that exist and prevent the politics of goodwill of
the United States toward the private sector (which I still insist this
sector does not exist in Cuba), Human Rights and civil society, to warn
about the dangers could represent, because here there is a blockade of
the government against its citizens.

The contact between the two governments has awakened civil society,
which sees that change in Cuba is not dependent on any foreign
government but on Cubans themselves. We are preparing ourselves,
therefore to seek ways to put pressure on the government, if they do not
want to talk to us we have to out pressure on them to do so.

How would you describe VII Summit of the Americas in Panama, where you

In general terms the summit was a positive balance for independent Cuban
civil society, and I had the opportunity to participate on an equal
footing with others in Latin America. This was very helpful to make it
known that there are people in Cuba who think differently than the
government, who want democracy and respect for human rights.

Moreover, the Cuban State showed its own nature, violent and intolerant.

Describe your meeting with US President Barack Obama, in the forum of
civil society in Panama

"Firstly I should clarify that I didn't participate in the forum of
civil society, as I was not accepted by the Panama NGO that selected the

I was in a private meeting by invitation, where the dissident Manuel
Cuesta Morua and 13 other leaders of Latin American civil society were
also present. There President Barack Obama expressed his support to
foster the development of civil society in the region, and invited those
present to say in which way they (also there were the the presidents of
Uruguay and Costa Rica) could support us and encourage the Latin
American civil society. Venezuela and Cuba were the ones who began to
offer recommendations because both countries have the most repressive
contexts in the entire region. Most agree that civil society must have
sources of funding to develop and to carry out their projects.

In my particular case I called attention to the dangers that surround
the Cuban legal system with regard to the policy that the US government
intends to develop with Cuba on the issue of the private sector,
communications and everything else. It is impossible to obtain any
financial or material resources through donations or any other kind of
help that can be given by current banking regulations within Cuba.

Source: Laritza Diversent, the Cuban Lawyer who met with Obama /
Cubanet, Manuel Guerra Perez | Translating Cuba -

Art and Necessity

Art and Necessity / Yoani Sanchez
Posted on May 28, 2015

The man approaches and pulls a fork from the work Delicatessen that is
being exhibited on the Havana Malecon during the XII Havana Biennial.
Nearby, two neighbors speculate that, at the end of the event, the sand
used in Resaca (Hangover) will be given to the surrounding residents to
repair their homes. To art appreciation are added hardships and daring,
incorporating the spectators into a show they want to make their own, by
taking it home and reusing it.

The arrival of the Biennial to our city is a good time to enjoy the
aesthetic surprises that await us around every corner, but it also
confirms the collision of art and need. Near the artworks employing
major material resources the inquisitive eyes of a guard are always
watching. The protected works, with their "Don't touch" signs or
surrounded by closed perimeters, abound on sidewalks and in parks, more
than they should. A contrast between the interaction sought by the
artists who place their works in public spaces, and the excessive
protection to which they are subjected, precisely so that this public
doesn't end up taking them away in their pockets, piece by piece.

The guard who prevents vandalism or looting also adds an ideological
curator who ensures that no installation, performance or show deviates
from the official script. A group of watchdogs of the artistically
correct impeded Tania Bruguera from entering the Museum of Fine Arts at
the end of last week. These censors of free creation also forced Gorki
Aguila into a car, after preventing him from hanging the face of the
graffiti artist El Sexto on the same walls where he had left us his
indelible signature.

Need marks each work of art of the Havana Biennial. Material need, where
a screw used in some pedestal could end up in the door of a home, or in
a chair or even in the bed where four people sleep every night. And the
other need, that of freedom, makes us approach the art to take for
ourselves a piece of its rebellion, before the guard blows his whistle
and we leave, empty handed.

Source: Art and Necessity / Yoani Sanchez | Translating Cuba -

‘El Sexto’ dedicates his award to his jailers to show them that he is not alone

'El Sexto' dedicates his award to his jailers to show them that he is
not alone / 14ymedio
Posted on May 28, 2015

14ymedio, Havana, 27 May 2105 – The Cuban artist Danilo Maldonado, known
as El Sexto, could not collect the 2015 International Vaclav Havel Prize
for Creative Dissidence, in the ceremony organized by the Oslo Freedom
Forum. The prize, awarded by the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) of New
York, was received by the activist Lia Villares, since the graffiti
artist has been in prison since last December, charged with contempt,
for trying to stage a performance with two pigs decorated with the names
"Fidel" and "Raul."

After presenting a brief music video, with the refrain repeating "Three
years [in prison] for two pigs, no," and closing with the images of a
rally to demand freedom for the artist and the phrase, "Contempt should
never be avoided," Villares read a letter written by El Sexto from Villa
Marista penitentiary.

"I want to dedicate this prize also to those who have me in prison, to
remind them that I am not alone," the artist said. The graffiti artist
also thanked the Ladies in White, his daughter, the writer Angel
Santiesteban (who is also in prison) and the artist Tania Bruguera
(arrested this Sunday in front of her house and released shortly afterward).

The other award winners, members of the Sudanese non-violent resistance
movement and the Indonesian comic Girifna Sakdiyah Ma'ruf, personally
received a representation of the Goddess of Democracy, the iconic statue
erected by Chinese students during protests in Tiananmen Square in June

The Oslo Freedom Forum, which opened Monday in the Norwegian capital and
will close on Wednesday, gathers the proponents of freedom and human
rights from several countries. This year's gathering is the Freedom
Forum's seventh, and focuses "on those places where it is impossible to
stage protests, which are silenced or attacked, as in Cuba and Russia,"
according to its founder, Thor Halvorssen.

Source: 'El Sexto' dedicates his award to his jailers to show them that
he is not alone / 14ymedio | Translating Cuba -

Friday, May 29, 2015

About 60,000 Havanans Receive Water via Tanker Trucks

About 60,000 Havanans Receive Water via Tanker Trucks / Rosa Lopez, 14ymedio
Posted on May 29, 2015

14ymedio, Rosa Lopez, Havana, 25 May 2015 – A sound that is inseparable
from the streets of Habana Centro (Central Havana) is the screech of the
trucks filled with water, with their metal wheels on the asphalt. This
symphony of necessity has become more intense in recent months because
of the frequent cuts in supply that the city has undergone due to
repairs, breakages and a drought affecting the entire country. More than
58,760 people receive water through tanker trucks, as affirmed, this
Monday, in the Trabajadores (Workers) newspaper.

In Havana more than half of the water being pumped is lost in leaks, 20%
of which are located in the so-called household networks, inside homes
and buildings. For the engineer Antonio Castillo, Deputy Director of
Operations for the Havana Water company, the situation is unsustainable
in the medium and long term. "Supply basins are like bank accounts. If
you deposit, but take out more than you deposit, you have less and less,
and if you stop saving, one day you'll have no money. That happens with
the water," he declared to the official press.

In late February the situation began to worsen because of the disastrous
combination of leaks and electrical problems that caused large losses at
La Cuenca Sur reservoir. About 45,000 residents of Habana Vieja, Plaza
de la Revolución, Diez de Octubre, Centro Habana and Cerro
municipalities in Havana were severely affected.

In order to reduce leaks, sector specialists propose to continue with
network rehabilitation plans and impose a new fee on the charge for
service for the residential sector. Meanwhile, capital residents are
demanding shorter water delivery cycles and a higher quality of the
precious liquid. "The water is very hard and this damages the pipes and
bathroom iron fittings, that's why there are so many leaks," says Ruben,
a self-employed plumber in La Lisa municipality.

Others demand, as soon as possible, the enactment of a water law to
regulate the consumption of this important natural resource. "Although
in December the Council of Ministers approved a stricter policy, they
are still indiscriminately wasting something that should be treated as a
real treasure," expressed Yaquelin de la Osa, engineer and promoter of a
more focused policy on caring for the environment and natural resources.

Apart from the specialized opinions or those with in the environmental
field, the main demands come from a population sector that needs to
bring the water into their homes with wheelbarrows, buckets and bottles.
"I don't remember when was the last time that I could take a shower,
because for several months I have had to bathe with a pitcher," says
Xiomara, resident of a tenement room at Marqués González street in
Centro Habana.

Everyone agrees that repairs to the hydraulic networks are necessary,
but the slowness and lack of efficiency with which they are tackled
causes discomfort among many Havanans." This seems like a city after a
bombing," said an owner of rooms for rent for tourists located in
Amargura street in in Habana Vieja, who must deal with the holes and
trenches in the street every day to find customers. The municipality is
being subjected to a replacement of the water networks which will be
completed in 2017 and which has a budget of more than 64 million.

The water that should fall from heaven hasn't performed as expected in
this rainy period. Downpours that flooded parts of the city in late
April and early May failed to fill the cachement areas supplying the
city. Precipitation was not abundant in the southern provinces of
Artemisa and Mayabeque, which are the main sources of supply, nor in the
Almendares-Vento basin, which supplies 47% of the water which is
destined to Havanans.

As the situation worsens, Havanans wake up trying to detect clouds on
the horizon and fall asleep with the sound of the trucks on the pavement.

Translated by Alberto

Source: About 60,000 Havanans Receive Water via Tanker Trucks / Rosa
Lopez, 14ymedio | Translating Cuba -

Growing consensus in US Congress against embargo on Cuba

Growing consensus in US Congress against embargo on Cuba
Updated: 2015-05-28 16:30

HAVANA - US Democratic Senator Tom Udall said in Havana Wednesday that
there is a growing bipartisan consensus in Congress in favor of lifting
the longtime economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.
"We are trying at the Senate to remove the embargo with specific
legislations such as the lifting of the bans on traveling and
agricultural trade, among other things," the senator for the US State of
New Mexico said at a press conference, adding one could be "optimistic"
in that sense.
The majority of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, support
lifting the travel restrictions to Cuba, Udall said, noting that it does
not mean this will happen tomorrow.
Udall led a congressional delegation to visit Cuba starting Saturday.
The group also includes Senator Alan Stuart, and the members of the
House of Representatives Raul Grijalva and John B. Larson, all of them
of the Democratic Party.
"The big question is how quickly we can do it," Udall said, pointing out
that a presidential campaign will be held next year in the United States.
Udall described the process of resuming US-Cuba diplomatic relations as
a "key moment in history", emphasizing that many Americans support the
move, though there is still a lot to be done.
During their stay in Cuba, the US congressmen met with officials of the
ministries of agriculture, foreign affairs, foreign trade and foreign
investment, as well as with representatives of state-owned companies and
private entrepreneurs.
Describing these contacts as "very productive", Udall said that the
delegation found that there has been considerable progress in improving
Cuba-US ties since last Dec 17, when Cuban President Raul Castro and US
President Barack Obama announced the decision to restore diplomatic
relations. The two sides broke off relations in 1961.
The senator said that in just two days on Friday, the deadline will
expire for Congress to try to stop Obama's decision to withdraw Cuba
from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Obama announced on April
14 that he had decided to remove Cuba from the list.
Udall stressed that this decision has not been questioned to date and
should become effective in the coming days.
Removing Cuba from the list would eliminate the first obstacle demanded
by the island to resume formal ties, and the next step will be opening
embassies, he said.
The process of the two governments for restoring diplomatic relations
"is almost finished" and embassies will open "within weeks," the
congressman said.
Since December, delegations of the two countries have held three rounds
of negotiations on restoring diplomatic relations and the opening of
embassies in Havana and Washington.

Source: Growing consensus in US Congress against embargo on Cuba|Latin
America| -

What we know about Cuba’s economy

What we know about Cuba's economy

Two-thirds of Americans favor an end to the decades-long U.S. trade
embargo on Cuba, a January Pew Research Center study found, and the two
nations reportedly are making progress on re-establishing diplomatic
relations. As the communist government continues to slowly reform Cuba's
economy, American businesses – from airlines to law firms – are
exploring commercial opportunities on the island nation. But even if the
embargo were to be lifted, it's not clear just what sort of Cuban
economy those businesses would find.

Getting a handle on even basic information about Cuba's economy is
difficult, for a number of reasons. The government still dominates
economic activity on the island, both directly and through heavily
subsidized state-owned enterprises. National statistics are not always
complete or reliable. And Cuba's system of two parallel currencies – one
peso for everyday transactions among ordinary Cubans, and a "convertible
peso" for the tourism industry, foreign trade and the private sector –
combined with multiple exchange rates complicates any international
comparisons or discussions about the relative size of different parts of
the economy.

According to a survey conducted in March and published in The Washington
Post, 79% of Cubans said they were dissatisfied with the country's
economic system; 70% said they wanted to start their own business.
Nearly two-thirds of Cubans (64%) said normalizing relations with the
U.S. would change the economic system, though only 37% thought the
political system would change.

With so much change in the air, we decided to work our way as best we
could through the data difficulties to put together a primer on what we
know, and don't know, about the Cuban economy.

1 Despite the embargo, the U.S. does do business with Cuba. Last year,
according to the Census Bureau, the U.S. exported nearly $300 million
worth of products to Cuba; nearly all (96.2%) of that was in the form of
meat and poultry, soybeans, corn, animal feed and other foodstuffs. The
exports are permitted under a 2000 law that modified, but did not
repeal, the U.S. embargo; under it, Cuba can buy certain agricultural
products, medicines and medical devices from the U.S., but must pay in cash.

2 Growth has slowed sharply in recent years. According to Cuba's
national statistical agency, the country's gross domestic product in
2013 was 77.2 billion pesos – which, depending on which exchange rate
one uses, could equate to anything from $77.2 billion (at the official
rate of 1 convertible peso to $1) to $3.2 billion (at the internal rate
of 24 regular pesos to 1 convertible peso). But either way, growth has
slowed dramatically from the mid-2000s: The CIA estimates that Cuba's
GDP grew just 1.3% last year in real (inflation-adjusted) terms – 177th
out of 222 countries ranked. One big reason: With global oil prices
still well below their pre-recession highs, the heavily discounted oil
that Venezuela sends Cuba – some of which Cuba re-exports – is less

3 Despite economic reforms, the state still dominates. In a paper
published last year by the Association for the Study of the Cuban
Economy, former International Monetary Fund economist Ernesto
Hernandez-Cata estimated that Cuba's private and cooperative sector
generated 25.3% of GDP in 2012, compared with just 5% in 1989. But the
government, both directly and through state-owned enterprises, was still
the source of more than three-quarters of Cuba's economic activity.
Government investment represented just 9.1% of GDP in 2012, versus 14.2%
in 1989, which Hernandez-Cata said "reveals one of the most disturbing
aspects of Cuba's recent economic history: the weakness of capital
formation." (Official government figures put economy-wide fixed capital
investment, from all sources, at 8.3% of GDP in 2013, considered low by
international standards.)

4 More Cubans are working for themselves. In 2013, according to state
figures, more than 424,000 Cubans (8.6% of all workers) were classified
as self-employed; as recently as 2009, fewer than 144,000 Cubans (2.8%)

The "microenterprise" sector may be even bigger due to the hiring of
unregistered full- and part-time workers. Ted Henken and Archibald
Ritter, researchers at Baruch College and Carleton University,
respectively, estimate that as many as half of small enterprises employ
at least one unregistered worker.

5 Cuba mostly imports goods and exports services. Getting a clear read
on Cuban trade is especially tricky, not least because exports and
imports are effectively valued using different exchange rates. As The
Economist recently explained, state-owned firms and foreign joint
ventures value each ordinary peso at one convertible peso – that is, at
$1: "The massively overvalued rate … creates huge distortions in the
economy, allowing importers to buy a dollar's-worth of goods for one
peso." While most of Cuba's exports are in the form of services (such as
doctors and teacher working overseas), nearly all of its imports are
goods (petroleum, foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, and chemicals).

Source: What we know about Cuba's economy | Pew Research Center -

Rihanna, on visit to Cuba, dances and eats local restaurant food

Rihanna, on visit to Cuba, dances and eats local restaurant food
Published May 28, 2015 EFE

Singer Rihanna is on a visit to Cuba, where no sooner did she arrive
earlier this week than she decided to enjoy native dishes and dance at a
well-known Havana restaurant, the owner of which confirmed the details
to Efe.

The pop diva from Barbados arrived on Wednesday on the island from the
United States on a private flight and after landing went out into the
capital incognito, turning up unannounced at the La Fontana "paladar,"
as privately-owned restaurants are called in Cuba, the establishment's
owner, Ernesto Blanco, said.

"She came directly from the airport because she wanted to eat Cuban
food," said Blanco, who managed to have his photo taken next to Rihanna,
a snapshot that hit the social networks on Thursday.

So far, this is the only image made public of the singer's Cuba trip,
but several local media outlets have already reported on her visit and
the photo.

According to Blanco, Rihanna spent about two hours at La Fontana along
with three companions in what seems to be a trip by relatives and/or
friends, and she was accompanied by a "strong security team."

"She asked for two plates of food, a daiquiri. She was very interested
in Cuban cooking," said the proprietor, adding that the singer had
ordered black beans, sausage and pork ribs.

The singer of "Diamonds" and "Stay" was recognized by the restaurants'
customers, among whom were several Americans, but according to Blanco
the staff at La Fontana took great care to ensure that she was not
"bothered" by anyone.

He also said that Rihanna enjoyed classics of Cuban music while at the
restaurant, including "La Guantanamera," and she danced to the "son"
rhythms played by the eatery's band.

La Fontana was also visited in 2013 by U.S. singer Beyonce and her
husband, rapper and music producer Jay-Z.

After Rihanna's surprise appearance at the restaurant, Blanco did not
rule out that Beyonce could have recommended his establishment to her. EFE

Source: Rihanna, on visit to Cuba, dances and eats local restaurant food
| Fox News Latino -

Skateboarders in Cuba find a niche despite outlaw image

Skateboarders in Cuba find a niche despite outlaw image
McClatchy Foreign Staff

Not a single skateboard shop exists in Cuba.

Yet visit these days, and you are likely to see skateboarders on the
promenade that abuts Old Havana, and in some parks. Inline skating, once
popular, has fallen off in favor of skateboards.

The skateboards have all come as donations from abroad. And obtaining
one, even if it is dinged up, splintered or patched together, is a feat.

"If I tell you how I got this, you will laugh," said Andrea Hernández, a
27-year-old former tour guide carrying her colorfully painted skateboard
along the Paseo del Prado promenade. "I built this. People gave me the

Skateboarding is another example of how Cubans have learned to make do
as they try to emulate trends elsewhere that have not received official
sanction in the island nation.

Much as the lack of Internet connections has given rise to
semi-clandestine services that download Western movies and television
shows to portable hard drives that allow viewers to stay current on the
latest entertainment on their home computers, skateboarders have found
work-arounds to pursue a passion that is not yet officially recognized
as a sport or recreational activity.

Only in the past month or two have authorities offered signs of
acceptance. Skateboarding and its practitioners still walk a fine line,
and in some neighborhoods skateboarders are harassed.

"Police don't like it. They kick us out. They take kids to the police
station. … They say, 'My boss doesn't let you skate here,'" Hernandez said.

But skateboarders have poked and probed and found a niche. Far from
central Havana, in a park behind a hospital, they gather in the concrete
basin of an abandoned and drained man-made pond. Ramps rise from the
surface. Boarders do ollies, railslides and kickflips, riding up and
down the ramps. In the late afternoon, the sounds are percussive: whap,
thump, slap.

Overseeing the crew is Yojany Pérez Rivera, whose dreadlocks fly in the
wind as he barrels up and down ramps, among the most veteran of Cuban

"We've been trying to teach people that it's not a kids' thing, that
it's an art form, like photography. It's a way to express yourself,"
said Pérez, whose friends call him by his nickname, "Mamerto," the rough
equivalent of "dummy." He doesn't seem insulted.

A daredevil by nature, Pérez makes his living as a window-washer of
high-rise buildings, scaling the tallest hotels in Havana. He surfs and
now skateboards. He is aware of what many older Cubans think.

"They think we are a bunch of bums with too much time on our hands," he

In Cuba, recreational options are limited. A handful of skateboards
entered the country in the 1980s and 1990s. A short English-language
documentary that came out in 2007, "Cuban Skateboard Crisis," raised
awareness in the global skateboard community of the difficulties of
obtaining boards in Cuba.

"I saw that and thought, 'That's pretty harsh,'" said Scott McDonald,
41, a lifelong Canadian skateboarder from Hamilton, Ontario. A
restaurant and nightclub owner, McDonald rallied friends to donate new
and used boards to take to Cuba.

He said he's taken a total of around 400 skateboards to Cuba since then
and comes under a group called Amigo Skate Cuba. Other nonprofit groups,
notably, say they are also taking skateboards. Each trip
rejuvenates the activity in the streets.

"It's like rainfall in the desert. Everything pops back up again. It's
an awesome feeling," McDonald said. "It's the only (skateboard) scene in
the world that's 100 percent completely dependent on the generosity of

Skateboarding still retains an outcast image here, adding to its appeal.

"When I saw it, I was really attracted. I'd never heard of it. It was
completely new," said Raciel Pereda Bernet, who has been skateboarding
now for about a decade.

"We rely on donations. It's kind of sad because this is a healthy
sport," said Pereda, who earns his living as a tattoo artist. In
scripted letters across his chest reads an English-language tattoo: "We
are the generation of different concepts."

Rene Lecour, the son of Cuban immigrants to South Florida, is a founder
of Amigo Skate Cuba and a former skateboard shop owner. For years, he
and his friends, too, have been taking skateboards to the island.

"We thought we were kind of under the radar. We were smuggling the stuff
in," Lecour said in a telephone interview. But something odd happened.
"It's grown to where the Cuban government contacted us to see if we
would partner with them in a new skate park."

So Lecour, McDonald and a series of skateboard park designers from
places like Denmark, Sweden, Puerto Rico, the United States and Canada
are collaborating on site plans for the park.

"We're looking at building concrete bowls, banks and ledges," McDonald said.

Lecour said he could still hardly believe the turn of events.

"A couple of hooligans partnering with the Cuban government on a skate
park? It sounds like a movie," he said.

The National Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Recreation,
Cuba's state sports branch, has taken an interest. Lecour said the
institute would issue ID cards later this year to those skateboarders
wanting to come under its purview. Not everyone will embrace the
government's intervention.

"Some guys won't go to a skate park. They just want to skate on the
streets," Lecour said.

Even if the skateboard park gets built, the Cuban government is still
unlikely to permit a private skateboard shop. That means not all young
Cubans who want a skateboard will get one. Nor do they normally wear
kneepads, helmets or elbow protectors. Such padding is not readily

Swollen and twisted ankles are common, as are skinned knees.

"I've fallen a few times," said Jose Alejandro Hermida, pointing to a
scab on his knee.

The rustic ramps at the drained pond are not always smooth, ripping up

"See how my shoes are worn out?" said Ezequiel Betanquourt, a
20-year-old skateboarder. He lifts a sole with a hole in it. Other
boarders said they have to use silicone to repair shoes.

Even as they make do with poor equipment, camaraderie is tight. Arriving
skateboarders greet everyone individually at the pond, a quick hand slap
and a fist bump, a few words of salutation.

"It is so delicious, so cool. I like it, brother," Betanquourt said. "I
have to be on the board every day."

Email:; Twitter: @timjohnson4

Source: Skateboarders in Cuba find a niche despite outlaw image | Miami
Herald Miami Herald -

Emilio Ochoa - An architect of Cuba’s 1940 Constitution

Emilio Ochoa: An architect of Cuba's 1940 Constitution

When looking at Havana's skyline today, the Capitol building is one of
its most eye-catching sights.

Its symbolic dome has been covered by scaffolding since 2012, when the
Cuban government began its restoration. Since March it has once again
housed Cuba's legislative branch, which, since 1976, has functioned as
the Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular.

Today, many see the new U.S.-Cuba relationship as a positive step toward
a better Cuba. They seem to forget and purposefully ignore that there
was a Cuba before 1959 that, although imperfect, was on the road to
progress. Most people forget that, prior to 1959, Cuba's government was
divided into three branches.

The Capitol housed the Cuban Congress, a bicameral body with a Senate
and a House of Representatives. Within its chambers, Cuban senators and
congressmen debated legislation as the Cuban people's democratically and
freely elected representatives. These men and women echoed the diversity
of the Cuban people. Among its ranks were lawyers, doctors, labor
leaders, and even a shoemaker.

It was in the Capitol where Cuba's progressive 1940 Constitution was
debated, drafted and enacted. In 1939, voters elected delegates to form
a Constitutional Assembly. For months, delegates from different
political parties debated key issues, and the new Constitution was
proclaimed on the Capitol steps.

Of the many men and women who walked the halls of the Cuban Congress,
one in particular was renowned for his honesty, dignity and patriotism.
Dr. Emilio "Millo" Ochoa was a dentist by trade, a "guajirito," or
hillbilly, as he referred to himself, from Holguín in Cuba's Oriente

Ochoa participated in the student-led opposition movement that toppled
President Gerardo Machado's government in 1933. A founder of the
Auténtico Party, Ochoa soon became one of its most respected and trusted
leaders. In 1939, he was elected a delegate to the Constitutional
Assembly, serving alongside former presidents and Independence War veterans.

Ochoa was elected to the Senate twice, in 1940 and 1944. But the
Auténtico Party's image was soon tarnished by corruption scandals, and
Ochoa led a group of dissident Auténtico leaders that eventually left
the party and founded the Ortodoxo Party in 1946.

Ochoa was elected to the Cuban House of Representatives in 1950, and in
1952 he was the Ortodoxo Party's candidate for vice president for the
elections scheduled for June 1 of that year. Those elections were never
held, and he and the other members of Congress abruptly lost their
positions on March 10 when Gen. Fulgencio Batista Zaldívar led a coup
d'etat and dissolved Congress.

Soon Ochoa found himself heavily involved in the anti-Batista struggle,
first through violent, and later through peaceful and electoral means.
He was arrested and released several times for openly expressing his
views, but never ceased in his attacks on the Batista government.

On Jan. 1, 1959, Ochoa and his family were exiled in Miami Beach when
they found out about Batista's departure. The anti-Batista "revolution"
had triumphed, but while much of the Cuban population rejoiced, Ochoa
was also opposed to Fidel Castro's methods and tactics. When
revolutionary leaders called him personally to ask him to join the new
leadership, Ochoa refused, stating: "I will return to Cuba when I cannot
be tied with that revolution because I know Fidel Castro and I know that
if he needs to order his mother killed to justify his purpose, he would
do so; and that is not the type of leader that I want for my homeland."
Ochoa did return to Cuba, where he worked against the new dictatorship.

Eventually he left Cuba, living in Venezuela for a few years and later
settling for good in Miami-Dade, where he earned his living as a humble
taxi driver and did some work as a dentist.

Ochoa passed away in 2007, one week shy of his 100th birthday. Known by
many as "el último Constituyente," the last surviving delegate of the
1940 Constitution, he never returned to his beloved Cuba.

Within the Capitol's chambers, Ochoa attempted a better vision for Cuba.
Today, Cuba is again at a crossroads, but are the lessons of the past at
risk of being swept aside in the interest of profit and personal gain?

Daniel I. Pedreira has a master's degree in peace operations from George
Mason University and a bachelor's degree in international studies from
the University of Miami. He is the author of El Último Constituyente: El
desarrollo político de Emilio "Millo" Ochoa.

Source: Emilio Ochoa: An architect of Cuba's 1940 Constitution | Miami
Herald Miami Herald -