Google Comes to Havana!

Have you ever tried to explain Google to someone who doesn’t know what it is? This happened to me a few days ago with a neighbor girl, barely 10, who asked me, « What’s a search engine? » I didn’t want to get deep into technology so I didn’t tell her anything about the algorithm these services use to organize information, nor did I talk about the « spiders » that travel the entire web to search sites and much less of the race for positions on their lists, which obsesses so many. Instead, I explained it to her with a reference she could understand: « Google is like the magic mirror in fairy tales. You can ask it what you want and it will give you thousands of possible answers. » Last night, Google knocked on our door. This isn’t a metaphor, the searcher came to find us.

Marijuana: Cubans Need to Talk About It

Livio went on a trip and left his friends in charge of the most precious thing in his life. It wasn’t a child, or a pet or even one of those home appliances so idolized in Cuba. The « apple of his eye » was a marijuana bush, grown, watered and ready to be made into the first cigarettes. Oblivious to the care such a plant requires, the astonished « babysitters » chose to put it behind the glass of a window, away from the eyes of neighbors and potential informers.

Super Dad

Havana, 15 June 2014 — Ricardo has raised his two daughters alone. One August morning he woke up and his wife had left. Later he learned she’d been intercepted on the high seas and spent months at the Guantanamo Naval Base before arriving in the United States. At the time, the youngest of the girls still slept in a cradle and the oldest was learning her first letters.

Firing of Catholic Journalists Leaves One Less Thread in Cuba’s Social Tapestry

In a country where there are so few spaces for debate, the loss of any one of them is a tragedy. The departure of Roberto Veiga and Lenier Gonzalez from the magazine Lay Space leaves us with even fewer opportunities for debate. Their work was characterized by its willingness to address controversial and difficult topics in the pages of a publication that, in recent years, became an obligatory reference. With a respectful spirit, a true concern for the nation, and the ability to present arguments, these editors opened a reflective space that we, their readers, fear will be missed from now on

Cold Kisses Under a Tropical Sun

The fear of not being able to leave, of remaining locked on the island, is shared by many of my compatriots. Those who have never traveled fear they will grow old without ever knowing what’s on the other side of the sea. Cubans living abroad are not exempt from this fear. Many of them, when they visit the Island, have a recurring nightmare that they will not be allowed to board the plane when they leave. It is precisely this feeling overwhelms the main character of the novel Eskimo Kiss, by the novelist and journalist Manuel Pereira.

Miguel’s Drone, Cuba From the Air

Nobody knows how he got it into the country, with so many customs restrictions and government paranoia, but Miguel has a drone. Tiny, like a kid’s toy, and with a camera. In his spare time, this forty-something Havanan dedicates himself to using his new amusement to explore the nearby patios and rooftops of his neighbors. It’s so tiny that it’s barely noticeable when flying over the neighborhood, while it transmits images and videos to a screen in the home of its proud owner


A la suite de la création du nouveau site de la blogueuse Yoani Sanchez à Cuba, il se trouve aujourd’hui bloqué (AFP).‎ Hier je discutais avec un ami sur l’importance du journalisme dans l’actuelle situation cubaine. Lui voulait me convaincre de rejoindre son parti d’opposition et moi je lui rappelais qu’une personne qui informe ne doit montrer un militantisme d’aucune sorte. C’était une conversation affectueuse, parsemée de plaisanteries, mais qui exposait clairement les différentes positions que doivent assumer un informateur et un politicien. Maintenant je suis ici, me rappelant la conversation que j’ai eu il y a quelques heures et publiant sur mon blog personnel le visage et le nom d’un rêve partagé. Un média qui, nous l’espérons, aide et accompagne la nécessaire transition qui arrivera dans notre pays.

A Cuban Insult: ‘Ah… You’re Not in the Package’

Climbing into a collective taxi at midday, with its whole body heated by the sun and creaking at every pothole, is a shocking experience. You duck your head and make yourself small to sit on the improvised seats. A loose thread hanging from your pants leg or skirt catches on a badly set screw, its metal tip never rounded off. Then comes the hardest test: accepting the driver’s musical taste, which is playing full blast.