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.

Cabaret Kursal, Havana, 1950s. Photo: Herbert C. Lanks/FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

The Camelot of the libido

Curves and sensuality are perhaps the two words that best define women’s fashion of the 1950s. While World War II (1939-1945) had brought modesty and contention in these dominions, during the postwar era the new look of designers a la Christian Dior and Givenchy moved the other way, a return to the glitter and splendor, but, at the same time, with explicit social messages. “Women,” wrote a specialist, “had to concern themselves with their beauty, their aesthetic and their way of dressing. They had to be excellent housewives, wives, mothers and women at the same time.” Dresses were worn tight and clinging, at times with thick belts to highlight the hips. The skirts were worm below the knees, with high heels for the figure’s greater visibility. Makeup highlighted the eyes, well-outlined in black, and lips absolutely red, as if to not leave any doubt about what it was all about. Frequently, handbags and furs were added to the portrait, together with pearl necklaces and diamond bracelets. A sensuality recreated in the TV series Magic City (2012-2013), of the Starz network, which tells the story of a Miami Beach hotel magnate married to an ex Tropicana chorus girl and with numerous...

Photo: Yaniel Tolentino

Let´s go to Cuba

One of the results of the historic relationship between the United States and Cuba was the existence of an entire infrastructure to transport merchandise and persons, a history that can be traced back in time and which reached its highest point in the 1940s and 1950s. Toward the first half of the 20th century, the changes in communications and means of public transportation made it possible for a substantial increase in the transportation of passengers, in as well as outside the United States. There were, for example, more trains and lines connecting Key West to Tampa, New York, Washington DC, Chicago and other points of the Union, at times in an express way for a hop to Cuba: a train and ship combo. That was what President Calvin Coolidge used to attend the 6th Pan American Conference, held in Havana in 1928. Moreover, there were more ships devoted to the “smokeless industry,” phenomena all related to the greater availability of free time of persons as a consequence of the reduced workday and more vacations. As a destination, Cuba combined two insular dimensions: exoticism – a different culture and language – and proximity almost at the reach of your fingertips, which...

On the altar: The spell’s aim is to avoid President Trump from doing harm and to banish him from his post. Photo: Facebook / Mail Online.

Wiccas vs Trump

Trump is operating in the context of a divided and polarized society. He took over the White House thanks to the mechanism of the electoral college, questioned by the popular opposition (and its surroundings) for being old-fashioned and, ultimately, antidemocratic. The president and his team came to power with a string of executive orders in their hand, the first to start dismantling Obamacare, and one of the last to block the entry into the United States of persons from seven Muslim majority countries with visas or permanent residence, all of this under the mantle of national security. It was the first blow, a measure that was stopped dead by the judicial power and which fuels, among other things, the allegations of unconstitutionality that from then until today is reverberating in U.S. society. Protests by the Muslim community in New York. January 2017. Photo: Joe Hill / Round Room Image. The result of these and other moves redounded in a violation of the social contract in a range of economic, social, cultural and political actors which are reacting from their respective spheres with statements or acts against the presidential power, beyond the media, the new Satans that...

Donald Trump in Greenville, South Carolina, last September. Photo: Richard Shiro / AP.

Trump’s pendulum

“Fifty years is enough,” he said in early September 2016. “The concept of opening to Cuba is OK,” “I think it’s OK,” he repeated. However there was a distancing: “But we have to make a better deal.” For starters, this is one of the problems in Donald Trump’s thinking, if it can be called that. He frequently doesn’t have clear and precise definitions. He uses and abuses the tweets, valid spaces to communicate, but which he floods with simplistic and clumsy messages that contradict any complexity of a politician. His alluded condition of an outsider consists in this, among other things. His populist style is not as spontaneous as is frequently assumed: he has people talking into his ears. And he will continue using it as he has done until now, for the wall as well as to fire a woman official and to discredit a federal judge, speaking of fraud or emphatically rejecting the polls that reveal he is the most unpopular incoming president in the modern history of the United States. At the time it was unknown for sure what that “better deal” consisted of. Analysts and academicians asked themselves, for whom and for whom? For the U.S....

Another stripe

Another stripe

Another stripe for the tiger. An additional executive order, one of those that had been planned with all the anticipation in the world, this time to produce another hard-line act: to ban the entrance into the country of refugees and immigrants from seven nations with a Muslim majority. Its name is high-sounding: “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” A ploy planned, in fact, during the presidential campaign. A new congruence between the discourse and facts that does away with the idea – rather common – that one thing was with a guitar and another with a violin; that is to say, that the White House’s Trump had to necessarily be different to the one from the electoral campaign. In a singularly acid editorial, The New York Times said it was the first step of a long legal road. But no matter how important that was – and it is -, the point now consists in that those regulations related to immigration and refugees are not just a rupture, but above all a clear and different sign of what’s in the head of those raptors, who in their arrogance did not know or could not or...

Photo: Jae C. Hong / AP.

House taken over

While, as affirmed, Donald Trump is unpredictable, his inauguration was not. Absolutely not. His inaugural speech sums up, as a sort of very well-coordinated tablet, his hardcore political philosophy, if it can be called that: first, an explosive mixture of protectionism and nationalism. After – and correlatively – a renewed isolationism, consisting in focusing on domestic affairs, prosperity and the security of the United States. His strategists call all this Make America Great Again, a mantra taken from Ronald Reagan during a famous 1980 Republican Convention. He again displayed an anti-establishment that is – to say it in Cuban – more talk than facts, denied, among other things, by the selection of a cabinet made up of conservative millionaires from institutions and octopuses like Wells Fargo, Exxon Mobil and other transnational companies; the real power behind the scene, be they Republicans or Democrats who install themselves in the White House. He is also predictable for his Manichaeism, identical to the electoral tournament. The people against the elites. The country against foreigners, a specific concretion of that isolationism and one of the corsi e ricorsi of U.S. politics since the nation’s founders. And civilized versus uncivilized world, which presents the problem...

Donald (almost) has no one who will sing to him

Donald (almost) has no one who will sing to him

Inaugurations are a mixture of political-institutional rituals and shows. In 1993, Bill Clinton’s first term in office inauguration included Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, comedians Chevy Chase, Bill Crosby and Jack Lemmon. Bush Jr.’s had Ricky Martin, Mohammed Ali, John Secada and Larry King. And Barack Obama’s had Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Lopez, Lila Downs, Marc Anthony, Paulina Rubio, Alejandro Sanz, Shakira, Beyonce and James Taylor. If analyzed as a whole, beyond their differences, even with Republican presidents, their common factor consists in underlining the idea of diversity and inclusion, two of the pillars preconized by the melting pot, even when the reality of the facts not always follows that road. Beyonce singing the U.S. anthem during Barack Obama’s inauguration, January 2013. Photo: AFP. But you can bet this January 20 festivity will represent a rupture with that norm. Not because the organizers are not seeking it but rather because of the difficulties in incorporating renowned musicians and artists. It is at least difficult to lend oneself to the show based on everything that happened with Trump in a race that was as dirty as divisive, and on his “legacy,” deeply associated to racism,...

Photo: Richard Shiro / Associated Press

The mark of the Zorro: Cuban Americans in Trump’s team

The appointments for Trump’s cabinet have been consistent with the nominee’s electoral platform and the pressures made by the grassroots that took him to the presidency. The president-elect and his team have been covering those posts with a gallery of personas whose conservatism is as solid as what they donated and their business position, the latter point putting in crisis his status of outsider and practically leaving in the open the criticisms of Hillary Clinton for her links to Wall Street. This is the nature of the game: corporate power, the foundations of a building today in full existential crisis. But, evidently, it is a question of a foreseeable move of the pendulum, a U turn toward the extreme, which began with the appointment of Steve K. Bannon as White House chief strategist, spokesman of the so-called alternative right, the new euphemism to name that white supremacy that is now running wild in several points of the Union. One of the new moves in this sphere was placing Scott Pruitt at the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt’s connections to the world of fossil fuels are little less than those of a marriage contract, and with the same...

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