Alfredo Prieto

Alfredo Prieto

Investigador, editor y periodista. Ha trabajado como Jefe de Redacción de Cuadernos de Nuestra América, Caminos, Temas y Cultura y Desarrollo, y ejercido la investigación y la docencia en varias universidades. Autor de La prensa de los Estados Unidos y la agenda interamericana y El otro en el espejo.

Havana’s Chinatown and the Shanghai Theater

Havana’s Chinatown and the Shanghai Theater

Jamaican Walter Adolphe Roberts (1888-1962), the author of the book on Havana discussed in a previous article, unfoundedly has also been called a racist for his portrayal of Chinatown. His approach to the place, on the contrary, is invaluable to be able to capture the marginality that characterized it in the 1950s, at times with a harshness that is nothing but an expression of the purest realism, despite the euphemisms that the author uses or is forced to use. Roberts scares away from the place potential visitors, far from encouraging them to enter. And he does so from an ethical stance, and even personal security, very well defined and consistent with other testimonies of the time. He writes: Like most of the Chinese neighborhoods of the New World, Havana’s has its morbidly secret side, its dens where opium is smoked and other vices are practiced. The visitor would do well to stay away from them. Anyway, few guides would risk showing him the way, and he would never find it by himself. If you can’t satisfy yourself only if you've taken a glimpse of the degradation, you don’t have to go any farther than some of the bars open in...

Lives of King Jesus and House of Glory (II and final)

Lives of King Jesus and House of Glory (II and final)

Also read: Lives of King Jesus and House of Glory (I) In 2014 the Casa de Gloria (House of Glory) church was founded in Marianao in the home of the parents of its pastor, Adrián Pose Coizeau. The perfect type. Young, former Santeria practitioner son of Eleggua, raised in a family environment of a father who is a Palo Monte practitioner and a mother who is a spiritualist. And a tanned body from taekwondo. "I was the leader of the negative, of bullying," he once said in an interview. But at age 17 he had an encounter with Jesus Christ. And in September 2017, an experience with the Holy Spirit―and with angels. The (new) chosen. "He placed his hand on his head, bathed him in gold dust and told him that he would bring the supernatural power of God to this country. Based on that, Casa de Gloria, his temple, started expanding and its 'miracles' multiplied," said a report by Washington Blade. That’s when Pose knew he should preach the Gospel and work for the Kingdom not only with his actions, but also, they say, writing books. One of them with a slightly long title, but surely not very distant...

Lives of King Jesus and House of Glory (I)

Lives of King Jesus and House of Glory (I)

The name of Guillermo Maldonado probably doesn’t mean too much for many readers in Cuba, and perhaps also from abroad. Suffice it to say, in short and to the point, that he is one of the most famous so-called prosperity pastors among Hispanics in the United States, founder in 1996 of the non-confessional church King Jesus Ministry, according to some, the fastest growing within the Union. The story of King Jesus is in fact not very different from that of other churches of its kind. Its official narrative postulates that it began with twelve parishioners―and here the parallelism is obvious―in the living room of an apartment in SW Miami, and concluded with a huge temple in an area of ​​Kendall, at 14100 SW 144th. Ave., near the Tamiami Airport. And with twin ministries in Naples, Cape Coral, Hialeah, Little Havana, Tampa, and outside of Florida in Marietta (Georgia) and Astoria (New York), among others. In this journey, religion, mass media, market and strategic alliances are interspersed with individuals like Toufik Benedictus Hinn, better known as Benny Hinn, the Israeli televangelist inevitably associated with both crusades of miracles and several frauds. Today Maldonado’s ministry is located on about 100,000 square feet...

Oh, La Rampa

Oh, La Rampa

In 1946 a Santiago-born graduate of Business Administration at Yale University called Goar Mestre (1912-1994) laid the first stone of a building on the corner of 23 and L. Then he said something that worked like an oracle: that this would be "the heart of Havana." It was the birth of a cultural and business complex designed after New York’s famous Radio City, and in particular the Warner movie theater―Radio Centro and finally Yara would come later―with capacity for 1,700 people, in which the first film in Cinerama, a technology released in the United States in 1952, would be shown.  And it was also the birth of those five blocks from 23 and L downward, in search of the sea, which would be known as La Rampa. At a short distance from that heart, on 17 and N, the Focsa building (1956), by Ernesto Gómez Sampera, was the pioneer of coastline skyscrapers, one of the seven wonders of local architecture. Then came the Capri Hotel (1957) by José Canaves; and on La Rampa the Retiro Médico (1958) by Quintana, Beale, Rubio and Pérez Beato; and the Habana Hilton (1958), a run-on of Welton Becket Associates with the Cuban Arroyo y...

From the embrace to the ax: travel from U.S. to Cuba (III and end)

From the embrace to the ax: travel from U.S. to Cuba (III and end)

A preliminary look reveals that the suspension of U.S. cruises will have a specific impact on the Cuban economy, but it is far from being the end of the world, although it is taking place at a very complicated time. According to estimates by John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, in 2018 cruise ships contributed between 63 and 107 million dollars to the Cuban government, quite modest figures considering the 2.5 billion in revenue the Ministry of Tourism reported that year. The classic slip-up: "What Cuba earns for cruises is insignificant. The bulk of the money is earned by the cruise company," said Emilio Morales, president and CEO of Havana Consulting Group. But undeniably the services provided to American cruise passengers strengthened and created new links in a whole network, especially in Old Havana and its surroundings, even though, in fact, this type of tourism always leaves less money than the hotel stays, especially since visitors spend the night in their large floating hotel, where practically all the services are available to them. However, several testimonies have been underlining the impact of the measure among Cuban entrepreneurs: "This is another hard blow," Miguel Ángel Morales, owner...

From the embrace to the ax: travel from U.S. to Cuba (II)

From the embrace to the ax: travel from U.S. to Cuba (II)

Read From the embrace to the ax: travel from U.S. to Cuba (I) Starting from the line set in the Presidential Memorandum on National Security, signed in Miami by President Trump on June 16, 2017―which among other issues deals with that of the Cuban military―, on June 5, 2019 the ax fell on people-to-people travel, cruise ships, yachts, sailboats and private aircraft. According to the press release of Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin: Cuba continues to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up U.S. adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes. This Administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime. These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services. By placing the military and security services as if they were loose electrons, the fact that they contribute to the State the income obtained in the tourist facilities they manage remains in parenthesis. Exactly the same as is done by the hotel chains beyond their control....

From the embrace to the ax: travel from U.S. to Cuba (I)

From the embrace to the ax: travel from U.S. to Cuba (I)

In its process of interaction and engagement with Cuba, the Obama administration gradually modified the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) based on its own objectives: "get involved with and empower the Cuban people" and "increase contacts to support Cuban civil society" were two of its key expressions. This was done several times since 2009. The last one was on March 15, 2016, shortly before President Obama's visit to the Island. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced several "significant amendments" to the CACR, one of which would allow "non-tourist personal travel," a move designed to clear the way for commercial flights, which had already been announced in January. Going to the Island would be simpler starting then: it would no longer be necessary to do it in groups or packages, but through the individual basis―the self-directed―, a variant that some called the face-to-face. You just had to fill out a form declaring the educational purpose to travel to Cuba. In fact, with regular direct flights, a ticket to Cuba could be booked online, just like traveling to Buenos Aires, Paris, Moscow or Burundi. In February 2016, both governments...

Death of the compliment

Death of the compliment

The Cuban “piropo” or compliment was inherited from Spanish nobility and gallantry. Expression of some sexist codes in which in normal practice men were always supposed to take the initiative, in its origins this cultural practice sought to denote the beauty of a woman to continue insisting in case the gesture was reciprocated. There are multiple types of compliments according to tradition: poetic, culinary, humorous...some have lost their motivation; others survive, although without their past effectiveness. The humorous ones classified among the most effective due to their articulation with the national idiosyncrasy and the ease with which they unleashed a smile that acted as a bridge and allowed taking the intersexual relationship to a higher level, beyond the casual. That's what my grandfather did on a Casablanca boat to the woman who would later be his wife for more than 40 years, and which I won’t tell now for lack of space. Their main guarantee was located in the domains of an elliptical sexuality, as developed by the popular vernacular songs of the first decades of the 20th century with refrains such as "Put your hand here, Macorina" or "If you ask me for the fish, I’ll give it to...

Pork as an existential problem

Pork as an existential problem

In Cuba, food production has fallen short of forecasts. Importing food has represented a headache for the State, much more in a context like the current one, characterized by serious problems of liquidity and asymmetries in the balance of payments. Agriculture has gone downhill. And the great white hope, the process of distributing idle lands, has not yielded the desired results for a set of reasons that range from bureaucratic obstacles to lack of resources and the lack of incentives for producers. At different moments of the process came the cattle, poultry and pig plans, usually small with respect to consumption needs. For a long time, the first has resulted in a beef supply in shock, which has resulted in beef steaks, shredded meat and roast meat being three sources and three integral parts of the esotericism at the table of Cubans Its natural daughter, milk production, has persistently remained below floating levels. Two years ago, for example, we had to import more than 173 million dollars in powdered milk, more than 10 million in butter and more than 25 million in cheese and curd. In short, more than 215 million in dairy products. Poultry has become synonymous to intermittence....

The man from Ybor City

The man from Ybor City

He had arrived in the emerging city, founded shortly before by Cuban, Spanish and Italian immigrants around tobacco factories. By then it had become a hotbed, and therefore the Spanish colonial authorities had marked it as a place to watch and punish, as much or more than the Key. One day two Cubans ―one mulatto, the other white― who had volunteered as personal assistants, gave him a cup of Coca wine from Mariani. The man who always dressed in black accepted it, but at the first sip he noticed something strange and set it aside. The individuals disappeared from the scene, additional evidence of the attempt to assassinate he who, without a doubt, had become the soul of the revolution. His friend, Dr. Miguel Barbarrosa, was immediately called. He had him vomit and pumped out his stomach. Commemorative plaque. Photo: Roberto A. He was staying in the home of Paulina Hernández and Ruperto Pedroso ―both blacks and laborers, two of those poor people of the earth whom he mentioned in a famous book of verses published In New York― in Ybor City, where today there is a park with a statue of him and palm trees...

Al-Shabaab troops during one of their operations. Photo: channel4.com

Cuban doctors kidnapped in Kenya: a new hypothesis

Last January, a joint operation by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and U.S. aviation bombed several Al-Shabaab bases near the border with Somalia, leaving more than 50 dead and an indeterminate number of injured. According to intelligence sources quoted by the Kenyan newspaper Daily Post, "the group is in dire need of doctors and medical equipment," and that would be the reason that would explain the kidnapping of Cuban doctors Landy Rodríguez Hernández and Assel Herrera Correa in Mandera, a town on the border with Somalia where they were serving under an agreement between the governments of Nairobi and Havana. In that case it would be the first action carried out for that purpose by this affiliate of Al-Qaeda, the protagonist of a history of kidnappings for money, extortion of international NGOs, drug trafficking, donations from abroad and the imposition of taxes in the territories controlled by them as forms of financing, among other actions in that sense. In the area where they penetrated on April 12, local doctors had taken flight due, precisely, to security concerns. There were not many other options then for Al-Shabaab to be able to solve the problem of caring for their wounded...

Photo: Casa de Gloria / Facebook.

Eyes tightly shut

... because the wind, the graceful wind, extends like a cat to let itself be defined. José Lezama Lima Marianao is not a suitable place to wear long sleeves, especially in the summer. According to the website Weather Spark, in Havana, to which it belongs, at this time of the year the average temperature is about 32 degrees Celsius. And it lacks that gentle breeze that comes from the sea, characteristic of other municipalities such as Playa, Plaza, Centro Habana or Old Havana. Today in Cuba there are pastors of churches that dress with long sleeves and, sometimes, even with suspenders. One of them is new here: his name is Adrián Pose and he has practically just founded in Marianao a church ―Casa de Gloria―, which alludes to what comes after salvation and miracles. An interesting phenomenon within the national religious panorama, characterized by diversity and certain specificities. Perhaps the main one is the expansion of charismatic and Pentecostal forms, which confirms that poverty has been extending like a cat throughout the social fabric, a fact that sociologists support through the Gini coefficient. And also that the insular condition is permeated by globalization and its correlates, once studied by Néstor...

One of the bases of the Al-Shabaab terrorists in southern Somalia. Photo: allafrica.com

Al-Shabaab or the messengers of death

In Arabic, Al-Shabaab means "The Young People." But we are not talking here of a youth organization in the North African world, but of a terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda, which as is known was founded in 1985 by Osama bin Laden and several associates during that nefarious Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Its mission is the same as the reader can guess beforehand: "war to death against the enemies of Islam," a task they undertook by affiliating themselves to one of the most puritanical aspects of fundamentalism: Wahhabism, which flourished in Saudi Arabia after the discovery of oil in the 1930s. This allowed the Saudis to undertake a substantial capital investment to expand it around the Arab world, taking advantage of the fact that the Mecca and the Medina, two of the holy places of Islam, are located in their territory. The emergence of Al-Shabaab is a consequence of the power vacuum that followed in Somalia after the end of Siad Barre's government (1969-1991), which caused a high social fragmentation and the resurgence of traditional and religious authorities that, among other things, focused on regulating in their own way the "traditional" social relations. Also from the reaction caused by Ethiopia’s...

Photo: realismoespiritual.blogspot.com

The Letter of the Year

During the 1990s, two of the three popular religions of African origin in Cuba underwent institutionalization processes with the emergence of the Cuban Yoruba Cultural Association (ACYC) and the Abakuá Bureau, grouping, in the first case Santeria followers, and in the second, Ñáñigo practitioners, frequently associated to criminal activities and marginality and therefore stigmatized from the social point of view and marked by classist and racist damaging remarks strongly inherited from the colonial era. These institutions constituted a break with the traditional forms of worship, which especially in the case of Santeros work at a horizontal level and without the need for structures for the practical-spiritual life of believers. It is not a matter of cathedrals or administrative structures of faith, such as those of the Catholic Church, but undoubtedly its very existence introduced a change, not only to deviate from custom, but also to consider itself an expression of the ruling government. Both arose in the context of the 4th Congress of the Party (1991) and the reform of the Constitution (1992), which defined the Cuban State as secular, resuming an active tradition from the 19th century Cuban Constitutions, but in effect discontinued with the practice of the so-called...

Former President Barack Obama goes to give a speech in Paris, on December 2, 2017. He was one of the users most highlighted on Twitter in 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

Obama, the comeback

Barack Obama came back after almost two years of absence to energize the Democrats’ bases and try to mobilize his vote for the midterm elections, to be held next November. It is true: as a rule, the outgoing presidents have not interfered or criticized the policies of their counterparts, at least while they are in office. But this is no longer the case. He has put on his armored suit again and not resorting to euphemisms or ellipses but rather naming the things from his perspective, which is like saying from the other side of a divided country. A strategist has said it: “This election is going to be all about Donald Trump. If you’re going to enter the ring, you have to name your enemy.” And that’s exactly what he has done. Calling him a trafficker in fear, a demagogue who promises “simple solutions to complex problems.” But, at the same time, making it clear that Trump is “the symptom, not the cause” of one of the problems that Americans are witnessing today: authoritarianism. https://www.facebook.com/HuffPostPolitics/videos/291338415027318/?t=0 His Party’s high command has commissioned him to lay on his charisma and with this contribute to rolling back the defeat in a presidential...

The Sans Souci and the artists

The Sans Souci and the artists

In the mid-1950s Tropicana Cabaret was big, but the Sans Souci was at the height of its takeoff, competing with the cabaret in Marianao in splendor and cosmopolitanism. It was going through a process of changes and remodeling that had begun in 1955 and was concluded a while later at an approximate cost of a million dollars. The management of Norman “Roughneck” Rothman, a mafioso married to Cuban star Olga Chaviano – the star of the cabaret between 1953 and 1955 – had given way to that of William G. Buschoff, better known as Lefty Clark, from Miami Beach, and one of the men of Santo Trafficante, who a report by the Department of the Treasury written in Havana considered a suspect in drug trafficking, like his boss. Santo Trafficante in San Souci's bar Santo Trafficante in Sans Souci’s bar. There was a reason for the remodeling and investments: one of the principal problems of the casino in the Sans Souci (Carretera Arroyo Arenas) was related to the unfair gambling practices, leading to complaints and denunciations in the U.S. embassy as well as the press of that country and the Cuban Tourism Commission, presided over by...

North-american students in Havana. Photo: Courtesy of students and teachers

Beyond borders. Welcome to an unexpected Exchange: U.S students in Cuba

In 1999, another Cuban colleague and I were talking with a U.S. professor in Amherst, Massachusetts. I had been invited to Johns Hopkins University; my colleague was a poet and literary critic who at that time was enjoying a research sojourn in Hampshire College. This dialogue led to the idea of creating a cultural exchange program between Hampshire and the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC). It would be impossible to not refer to its main raison d’être: the students. Before their departure they study a semester about Cuba which provides them with the essential minimum of information to not fall into one of the holes of all those who arrive for the first time to the island (or any other place): entering an unexplored territory with certain preconceptions or knowing nothing (or almost nothing) about the country. That course thus places them in a comparatively advantageous position. It offers alternative visions – not exempt of critical elements – about a historical-cultural process that cannot be understood based on Eurocentric perspectives, stereotypes and common places. And once on terra firma, they interact and meet in different socialization spaces with persons of all social strata and conditions: young people,...

Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez easily won the 14th Congressional District of New York. Photo: jewishjournal.com

Alexandria

On June 26 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primaries for the 14th District of New York. She did it with a radical program, considering the political-cultural circumstances in in the United States, where the word “socialist” is usually likened to totalitarianism, the Soviet system and other evils. That was the logic that made it possible to label Barack Obama in that band of pepper and lonely hearts. As well as the Canadians, among other things because of their health system and social medicine. And lastly, a great deal of the “old Europe.” The government must be small and the economy as deregulated as possible. Period. Alexandria’s agenda contains five central items/problems: Medicine for all, minimum wage of 15 dollars per hour, zero assault weapons, free university enrolment and dissolution of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or immigration police. Furthermore, she expresses herself as a determined spokesperson for the LGTBI community, and in foreign policy against Israel’s role in the Middle East. The daughter of a Puerto Rican woman and a New Yorker from the Bronx – chambermaid and bus driver -, her electoral base led her to supplant Democrat Joseph Crowley, who had 10 successive terms in office....

The film’s story is centered on José Miguel Battle (Havana, 1929-South Carolina, 2007), known as “The Godfather” or “Sir Corporation.”

The Cuban-American mafia in Hollywood

U.S. films’ fascination with Cuba and Cuban things is almost as old as cinema itself. First the island was a landscape, an open lens to shoot diverse scenarios of the Spanish-American War. Then it was epiphany, music, tourism and romance, perhaps Hollywood’s most used historical perspective, typical of movies like Weekend in Havana (Walter Lang, 1941), with Alice Falle and Carmen Miranda; Guys and Dolls (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1955), with Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra, and Habana by Sidney Pollack, with Robert Redford (1990). More recently, Chico and Rita (Errando, Trueba and Mariscal, 2010), an animated cartoon whose action takes place in several of the world’s capitals, a sort of peculiar turn of Buena Vista Social Club. Cuba was also favorable ground to reflect social and revolutionary upheaval, such as We Were Strangers (John Huston, 1949), an anti-Machado drama that logically culminates in what is probably one of the most disastrous attempts at political cinema in the world like: Cuban Rebel Girls (Barry Mahon, 1959), a soap in the very middle of the Sierra Maestra starring an Errol Flynn who’s Robin Hood cape was by then too worn out and his elbow too broken. But the empire of...

President Donald Trump waves when crossing the garden on his return to the White House from a tour of five Asian countries. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP.

Sanctions against Cuba: biting its tail

  It is said that one day André Breton said to Luis Buñuel that “In our times, my dear, no one is surprised anymore.” I’m afraid that something similar is happening with the new measures of the Trump administration toward Cuba, those that took effect last November 9 when they were printed in the Federal Register. One step in tune with the words “roll back” and “cold war,” practically key since the new mandarins came to power. And it’s not surprising, first, because of the times: they took five months instead of the 90 days announced at the beginning, and it wasn’t only because of the “Havana deafness” and all the associated environmental noise, which as is known served as the background for the withdrawal of 60 percent of its personnel in Havana and the expulsion of almost two-thirds of the Cuban embassy in DC. That delay is also a sign of the island’s place among the priorities of this administration, consumed by the Russian uterine fire, intra bureaucratic struggles and the syndrome of multiple dysfunctions. Second, because of a double pattern: it is reiterated that apparently there are tolerable and intolerable, good and bad communists for the current occupants...

President John F. Kennedy in Dallas a short time before being assassinated. Photo: AP / El País.

Influence and fate of JFK

In late 1992 the Congress of the United States legislated the President John F. Kennedy Records Collection Act ordering that the documents, filmed materials and recordings related to the assassination be disclosed in a period of 25 years, unless the president at the time determined the contrary due to damage identifiable to the defense, intelligence or foreign relations, among other aspects. Signed by President Bush (father), the act in turn also ordered the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to establish a specific and differentiated collection about the Dallas crime, which, as is known, is a real turning point in the history of the United States. The act operated under certain preconditions, one of them the social and psychological impact of JFK (1991), of the well-known and controversial filmmaker Oliver Stone, a film that put a perfect finish in a collective imagination to an idea present since the beginning: Kennedy was executed by a conspiracy that involved actors like the FBI, CIA, the mafia, the Cuban exiles and the military high command. Twenty-two years later, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination (2013), a national poll carried out by Gallup revealed that 61% of Americans thought Kennedy’s death had been...

Photo by Alain Gutiérrez

Travel to Cuba in the Trump Stage

In its process of interaction and engagement with Cuba, the former U.S. administration gradually modified the regulations of the Cuban Assets Control (CACR) to work in favor of its own objectives: “to get involved with and empower the Cuban people,” and “to increase the contacts to support Cuban civil society.” This was done several times since 2009. The last one was on March 15, 2016, before President Obama’s visit to Cuba. In this context the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced “significant amendments” to the CACR in several senses, one of them: to allow “non-tourist personal trips,” a measure to clear the way for commercial flights, which had already been announced in January of that year. Starting then going to the island would be simpler: it was no longer necessary to do so in groups or packages, but rather individually – the self-certification -, a variant that some named face-to-face. You only had to fill out an application form declaring the person’s educational purpose to be able to travel to Cuba. In fact, with the regular flights it was possible to book a ticket to Cuba online, as...

Photo by Osbel Concepción

Spanish Is Also Spoken in the United States

In the mid-1990s a young Cuban academician landed for the first time in Miami. That same day a friend picked him up for a tour of the city: from Calle 8 to the Chapel of Our Lady of Charity. When entering a shop, all of a sudden he saw a sign on the shop window: ENGLISH SPOKEN. His first reaction was not verbal but rather gestural, a quick glance at his friend and classmate, one of those looks with wide-open eyes. Wasn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Where were we? Sometime later, continuing what is called the process of cultural immersion, he ran into other realities. In Miami people didn’t return your call but rather llamaban pa’ atrás; they di not pay bills, but rather biles; the ACs and the faucets did not leak, but rather liqueaban; they did not file a lawsuit, but rather a sue, something that language experts call loans, one of the results of the contact between two cultural bodies that had already culminated in Spanglish, to which the Puerto Ricans from New York and the Chicanos from New Mexico had sufficiently contributed. But the young man also witnessed other processes. Two of...

Photo by Korda

The return of the golf clubs

Golf clubs don’t have an edifying connection to Cuba. In April 1959, three months after the establishment of revolutionary power, Fidel Castro traveled to the United States as a guest of the American Society of News Editors, which was understood as an act of “singular bad behavior” in a meeting of the National Security Council for not having consulted it with the Department of State. President Eisenhower, who seriously considered denying the visa to the unpredictable and heretic bearded young man, finally decided to not receive him and instead put him to speak with Vice President Richard Nixon. The story started off badly from the beginning. Eisenhower had decided to go golfing. A short time later golf would function like a sort of boomerang when Fidel himself, Che Guevara and Antonio Núñez Jiménez played a game in the fields of the Colinas Villarreal, to the east of Havana, but not dressed with the traditional attire of shorts or white slacks, golf shoes and dark glasses, but rather with their respective olive green uniforms and black boots. The unprecedented event was captured by the lens of Korda, the photographer that would go down in history for shooting one of the world’s...

Trump in the traditional sword dance with the King of Saudi Arabia. Photo: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters (Detail).

Trump, thunder and Cuba

The Daily Caller is not a very influential and prestigious news website. Neither in Washington DC, where it is based, nor in the entire U.S. territory. Founded seven years ago by editor Neil Patel, former Vice President Dick Cheney and Tucker Carlson, current political commentator of Fox News and protagonist of the show “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” of the same chain, it is a conservative response to the liberal The Huffington Post, and is not precisely known for making incursions into Cuban affairs. The fact that it did so on May 29 with a very conspicuous headline, “Exclusive: Trump Set to Roll Back Obama’s Cuba Policies,” could have different readings. One of them is that over there the opinions of sectors within the GOP opposed to that roll back or the more or less partial dismantling of the Obama policies toward the island are being amplified. This is more significant if it is taken into account that, according to a poll, the majority of its readers (64.8 percent) identify themselves as Republicans. It could also mean that, from the corporative point of view, some elephants from up there have aviation, cruise, telecommunication and hotel businesses that have already invested a certain...

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