Who Is Filling Cuba’s University Classrooms?

New students at the University of Havana (14ymedio) Born during the Special Period, they have grown up trapped in the dual currency system, and when they get their degrees Raul Castro will no longer be in power. They are the more than 100,000 young people just starting college throughout the country. Their brief biographies include educational experiments, battles of ideas, and the emergence of new technologies They know more about X-Men than about Elpidio Valdés, and only remember Fidel Castro from old photos and archived documentaries. They are the Wi-Fi kids with their pirate networks, raised with the « packets » of copied shows and illegal satellite dishes

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A Caricature of a Cuban Woman

Woman drinking (14ymedio) 14yMEDIO, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 22 August 2014 — A woman on national television said that her husband « helps » her with some household chores. To many, the phrase may sound like the highest aspiration of every woman. Another lady asserts that her husband behaves like a « Federated man, » an allusion to the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), which today is celebrating its 54th anniversary. As for me, on this side of the screen, I feel sorry for them in the face of such meekness

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Google Chrome Becomes ‘Legal’ in Cuba

Yesterday, the giant Google authorized the download of their well-known browser Chrome by Cuban internauts. The announcement came just two months after several of the American company’s executives visited Havana and saw for themselves the problems we suffer accessing the vast World Wide Web. Among the topics of conversation between several members of 14ymedio and Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, were precisely these restrictions. Hence, our satisfaction on knowing that the opinions of citizens interested in the free flow of information and technology influenced the elimination of this prohibition.

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My Mother and the Onions

Onion seller (14ymedio) 14YMEDIO, Yoani Sanchez, 6 August 2014 – Who do I think about when I write? How does the reader imagine my texts come to me? Who do I want to shake up, move, reach… with my words? Such questions are common among those of us who devote ourselves to publishing our opinions and ideas.

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The Maleconazo and the Rafter Crisis in a Can of Condensed Milk

Photo: Karl Poort, 5 August 1994 We had run around together in our Cayo Hueso neighborhood. His family put up several cardboard boxes in vacant lot near Zanja Street, similar to those they’d had in Palmarito del Cauto. His last name was Maceo and something in his face recalled that Titan of so many battles, except that his principal and only skirmish would entail not a horse, but a flimsy raft. When the Maleconazo broke out he joined in the shouting and escaped when the arrests started.

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Once a Rafter, Always a Rafter: Iliana Hernandez Runs for Her Life

Iliana Hernandez 14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, 1 August 2014 – A Cuban balsera, a rafter, has set herself a new challenge. This time it’s not about escaping Cuban on a fragile craft, but rather crossing the Sahara desert. Iliana Hernandez will cross 144 miles of sand dunes, luging food, water and a sleeping bag, over seven long days. The Marathon des Sables will hold its next event from April 3-12, 2015. This intrepid Guantanameran will be the only Cuban put to the test, although before her another compatriot tried it in 2008

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Cuba’s Football Hangover

The World Cup 2014 on Cuban TV (14ymedio) Gone is the last game, the German goal, Götze’s hands raising the 2014 Brazil World Cup. Gone are the get togethers with friends, wrapped in the flag of Italy or Costa Rica, to go see the games in some public place. Some of the excitement remains, it’s true, but the roar that ran through Havana when the ball entered the goal in Rio De Janeiro or Sal Paulo is now just a memory. The painted faces, the arms raised in imitation of the spectators from their seats, and the euphoria shared with millions all over the globe.

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Putin In Havana, Seeking an Ally or a Satellite?

Putin and Raul Castro together on Cuban television. (14ymedio) « These are the last sweets! » The cry could be the simple proclamation of a candy seller, but I heard it 23 years ago at my high school in the countryside and it was the first evidence I had of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The person shouting was Olga, a student who resold what the wives of the Russian technicians in Alamar gave her. She was the bridge between our Cuban money, worth less every day, and a series of products such as candy and canned goods « Made in USSR. » I remember this teenager, who warned us of the coming of shortages, like a blind Tiresias, alerting us to the adiós of the « bowling pins » (as we called the Russians). The old relationship with the Kremlin comes to mind now, with Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cuba.

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