Alex Fleites

Alex Fleites

Poeta, curador de arte y editor afincado en La Habana.

LAB.26 facade

Successive spaces

“Simple functional schemes, refined forms, study of natural light and ventilation, main incorporation of vegetation, work with noble materials, contemporary reinterpretation of traditional architectural values​....”


Capablanca: chess, yes, but the ladies too

This more than fateful 2021 brings, instead, some reasons for rejoicing for lovers of the so-called science game: chess. In effect, we are commemorating 100 years of two events of enormous importance: the coronation of José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera (1888-1942) as the third World Chess Champion, preceded by Wilhem Steinitz (Austria) and Edmanuel Lasker (Germany), and the publication by Capablanca of the book Chess Fundamentals, still considered today one of the capital texts of the theory and practice of this sport. In 1921 “el Capa” reached what is an unbeatable record to this day: being the only Iberian-American chess player to storm the summit, a condition that he achieved undefeated in Havana, against Lasker. The Cuban held the scepter until 1927, when he was defeated in Argentina by Alexader Alekhine. The Buenos Aires championship was arduous, the longest in history until 1985 (Karpov-Kasparov), where the best preparation of the Russian nationalized French player was evidenced, who first reached the six agreed victories. As for Chess Fundamentals, it is a mandatory bibliography. Its essential points have not even been contested by the development that game theory has undergone in recent decades. So much so that the Russian Mikhail Bovinnik,...

Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez

As a unitary and democratic Republic

That’s it. 2021 has arrived. We want to believe that it will be a year less sinister than the previous one for mankind. It finds our little country immersed in a sea of ​​difficulties. The “task of reorganization” took off, and steps are being taken to rearrange the economy: old structures creak, decentralizations are tried, and we are exhorted to mostly consume what our land can produce. In that perennial struggle between the new and the old, the blades of ideology also cross. There are entrenchments at both ends of the political rainbow, and those who advocate deep, unbiased and consistent dialogue are called centrists, if not worse. There is no mistaking it. The pandemic will have dire consequences in the long term, the labyrinths of a largely inefficient economy do not unravel from one day to the next, the acceptance of the opposite, even when in essence it starts from a common position on the fundamental issues that concern the country, will not take place by magic. It will be necessary to keep pushing to move forward the train in which we travel as a nation; and, above all things, empathy, civility and adherence to the laws that we...

Photo: Lucía López Coll

Leonardo Padura: “No society should limit the right to disagreement”

Leonardo Padura, the most published, most read, most translated and most controversial Cuban writer today, is ending this fateful 2020 at full speed. International honors, great reviews from critics and the public, intense virtual days at book fairs, conferences and seminars have kept him busy. At this point in “the championship” he exhibits a joyous fatigue, that of one who happily fulfills a destiny: writing fiction, novels, creating specular realities that delve into our intricate national being and that, whether they want to or not, reveals it. We went to his house in Mantilla for the Christmas hug. I share our talk with the readers of OnCuba. How have you coped with 2020? I think this has been a rare, complicated and revealing year for almost all of us. Many things have been uncovered in the face of a phenomenon such as an epidemic that kills, and that caused us very visceral fears, because it showed us how weak we are. A single ugly, fatty molecule put humanity in check, and in the process has brought out some of the best and worst attitudes in human beings, as is often the case in critical times. In my case, it canceled...

Photo: Alain L. Gutiérrez Almeida/Archive.

The greater the guarantees, the less arbitrariness

Arturo Mario Fernández Díaz (Sagua la Grande, 1958) graduated in Law from the University of Havana in 1981. He has taught Civil Procedural Law, Obligations and Contracts and Commercial Law at the Marta Abreu University of Las Villas, and at its alma mater. He is a full member of the Cuban chapter of the Andrés Bello Association of Franco-Latin American Jurists and external consultant for the Cuba area of ​​the HISPAJURIS, A.I.E. Association of Spanish Lawyers  As if all that were not enough, he is a plain and smiling guy, very attentive to national events, a confessed admirer of so many good vernacular writers in Cuba, mainly Enrique Núñez Rodríguez, a virtual countryman—he was from Quemado de Güines—and a close friend. Let’s charge. How do you evaluate the Cuban population’s level of legal training/information? I remember a former Cuban minister of justice who said, more or less: “Here everyone is a judge, arbitrator and umpire at the same time.” He was right. But it is one thing to have an opinion on something, even from ignorance, and another to have a legal culture, understood as the ability to interpret and describe legal norms. In the latter there is an appreciable...

Photo: Julio César Guanche.

Cuba, a new historical moment?

Alina López Hernández (Matanzas, 1965) is a Doctor of Philosophical Sciences and a corresponding Member of the Academy of Cuban History. She has dedicated long years to teaching but her greater visibility as an intellectual is due to her keen participation in the La Joven Cuba (LJC) blog. Alina is the author of the books Segundas lecturas: intelectualidad, política y cultura en la república burguesa (Matanzas publishing house, 2013 and 2015) and El (des)conocido Juan Marinello. Estudio de su pensamiento político (Matanzas publishing house, 2014). She recently presented in her home province her third title: En tiempos de blogosfera,, with the same publishing house, which is a compilation of small essays and opinion articles previously published in LJC. En tiempos de blogosfera sold out as soon as it went for sale. Its 500 copies “disappeared” in two days. I’m among the lucky ones that got one, which I literally devoured. There I found an infinite number of subjects that are related to me, original and disturbing points of view, a diaphanous prose and an open desire to participate, from academia and theory, in the scrutiny of our contemporaneity. Hence my intention to share with OnCuba readers this fleeting conversation with...

Photo: Alex Fleites

Intelligence and will

There is a scene in Thelma and Louise in which the character of Susan Sarandon says to the police that was following them: “Well, this is not the end of the world, but you can see it from here.” This phrase from Ridley Scott’s splendid film comes to mind again and again in these days of pandemic. Perhaps we are not witnessing the end of the world, but we are, surely, the end of a way of perceiving it. I’ve already said it on another occasion. That paragraph from Martí about the “vain villager” who thinks that the whole world is his village has not resisted the passage of the corrector of reality. Indeed, the region, any region is the world. Or in other words, the butterfly effect, the synergy, the concatenation of apparently isolated events, are one of the few certainties that we can use in this desolate stage. Due to globalization, what once seemed vanity is instantly an imperative for survival. The world is a single, indivisible territory. These crumbling times will leave several revealing evidences. One of them is that epidemics don’t believe in the degree of economic development of the countries. They wreak havoc not only...

Víctor Gómez, “Almost the End,” Oil Monotype, 33.5 X 22.5 inches, 2019. (Fragment).

Víctor Gómez: “Miami has become a metropolis of art”

Víctor Gómez (Havana, 1941) is an important name in the catalog of Cuban contemporary art. Few know it. Even he doesn't believe it himself. Affiliated to the Engraving Workshop of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC), founder and coordinator of the group “Nueve versiones del paisaje” (1976), member of the UNEAC, and of the Council of Advisers of the Ministry of Culture, when he left Havana to settle in Florida, in 1980, he had already participated in more than 80 collective exhibits, both inside and outside the country. The ominous gray quinquennium had started being surpassed. “My arrival in Miami was chaotic. Settling in a city you don't know always causes uncertainty. I was afraid that this displacement, which is not only geographical if it involves Cubans, could alter the course of my life as an artist. I came from the Havana of the 1970s, where I had a constant artistic activity; I left behind my professional relationships, my friends, my vital and artistic references. That world collapsed when it collided with a different reality, with a different culture and with a different socio-political environment. At the time I was 39, a not very advisable age to...

Photo: Kaloian

Leonardo Padura: “It never rains but when it does it pours”

Leonardo Padura regrets not being Paul Auster. Not so much for the work of the American writer, whom he openly admires, but because, unlike him, journalists rarely ask him about literature during the long and intense promotional tours of his novels: they are generally more interested in knowing how he lives in Cuba (and why he remains on the island) than about his literary creation and aesthetic affiliations. His statements, often used out of context, if not full of mistakes, are always controversial on both sides of the ideological and geographical sea that separates Cubans. On other occasions they appear as they are, and also put people’s backs up. In two words, and paraphrasing a famous montuno, "no matter what, you have to give your opinion." I "reached" him in Bahia, Brazil. He has just arrived from the International Book Fair in Lima, where he was as a special guest. There he presented the volume of essays Agua por todas partes. A long journey in this country awaits him; he will give lectures as part of the "Fronteiras do Pensamento" cycle and promote the Portuguese edition of La transparencia del tiempo, his most recent published novel, which already circulates, in...