Eric Caraballoso

Eric Caraballoso

Corresponsal acreditado de OnCuba en La Habana.

Havana: scenes from a particular de-escalation

Havana: scenes from a particular de-escalation

Havana is already experiencing its new de-escalation. Its own, the particular one. Since last Monday, the city entered phase 3 of the post-COVID-19 recovery stage, after reporting an improvement in its epidemiological indicators. Its inhabitants seem to have taken the pulse of that awaited moment quickly. The capital is currently the only Cuban province in this phase, in which “a greater standardization of services and productive activities is envisaged, bringing those considered to be of lower risk to normal, keeping the measures to reduce it in place,” according to the new strategy for confronting the pandemic on the island. A hairdresser resumes his private business in Havana, during the post-COVID-19 de-escalation. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez. However, due to the complexities involved in the territorial characteristics― a street is often just the boundary between two municipalities―and the population density of Havana, its authorities chose to launch their own recovery plan in which, at least for the moment, not all the measures originally planned for phase 3 of the de-escalation will be applied. Thus, for example, regular flights are suspended throughout October, while trips by buses and trains to other provinces will begin next week. Neither can gyms in...

Havana, COVID-19 and the “new normal” (II)

Havana, COVID-19 and the “new normal” (II)

One week after the lifting of a group of restrictions, in force until then to contain the spread of COVID-19, Havana has a different face. It’s not only about increased activity in the streets, which there is, or the return of the buses to the urban landscape, or other opened shops, offices and restaurants and other businesses, but also about the people’s attitude, in the way in which they begin to assume their “new normal.” “You have to adapt, there’s no other way,” said to OnCuba Luis, an electronics technician and owner of a home appliance workshop which he hopes to reopen “in these days” to improve his personal economy, affected by the pandemic. “I already reopened it in July, when the coronavirus situation improved, but I preferred to close it when we went back, because the risk was high and health always comes first,” he explains. “Now I’m letting a few days go by to see how everything is going, but I’m ready to start, yes, taking extreme hygiene measures because the disease is not over and cases continue to appear in the city every day. But I have to, because if not, how do I feed my children?...

Havana, COVID-19 and the “new normal” (I)

Havana, COVID-19 and the “new normal” (I)

For a week now, Havana has been living its “new normal.” After being the epicenter of COVID-19 in Cuba for months, and experiencing an outbreak in August and September that forced the imposition of harsh restrictions, the Cuban capital began October with a de-escalation that seeks, according to its government, “to reactivate production and services,” and thus boost the economy, mired in the quagmire of the pandemic. When reporting on this change on September 30, the Havana authorities affirmed that the measures applied until that moment―among them, a night curfew and a substantial limitation of the socioeconomic life of the city―had had a “positive impact” and that the statistics on the disease in Havana―new cases, active cases, deaths, and open transmission events in recent weeks―showed “a trend towards epidemiological stability.” However, they explained that the risk in the capital was still high, so the reopening would be partial. For this reason, along with the lifting of prohibitions and the reactivation of a group of activities, several restrictive measures would remain in force―such as the prohibition of interprovincial transportation to and from Havana―and mandatory sanitary provisions, both for people and private businesses, state enterprises and institutions. In addition, the high fines...

Tamayo and me

Tamayo and me

Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez was 38 years old when he flew into outer space. I was not yet four. By then, Tamayo had already been in the process of selection and arduous preparation for the joint Soviet-Cuban flight of the Soyuz 38 for nearly three years. During that time, I had learned things that were very important to anyone, such as talking, walking and not peeing in my pants, which, however, cannot be remotely compared to flying to the Saliut 6 orbital station alongside Soviet Yuri Romanenko to spend more than a week in space and go around the Earth’s orbit 128 times. Two crews were prepared for this flight. One, formed by Romanenko and Tamayo and another by Eugeni Jrunov and Revolutionary Armed Forces Captain José Armando López Falcón. Photo: Perfecto Romero via Juventud Rebelde On September 18, 1980, 40 years ago, at 10:11 p.m. Moscow time, 3:11 p.m. Cuban time, Tamayo and Romanenko took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Cuban was traveling as a research cosmonaut; the Soviet―who had already flown to the Saliut space station in 1977, to spend more than three months and even do a spacewalk―as commander of the...

COVID-19 in Cuba: six months of epidemic

COVID-19 in Cuba: six months of epidemic

The COVID-19 epidemic in Cuba has already passed the six-month curve in the middle of a dangerous outbreak. Despite the measures taken on the island to prevent and control its spreading, and the indisputable success achieved in stopping a first wave, the disease is experiencing an expansion that keeps alarms on throughout the country, even though not all provinces today exhibit the same scenario. Havana, which had become the epicenter of the epidemic early on, continues to be the most affected territory, with a wide spread of the coronavirus in its geography. However, in recent weeks the central Ciego de Ávila has shown a complex situation in several of its municipalities and, in particular, in the provincial capital. Other provinces such as Artemisa, Matanzas, Pinar del Río, Mayabeque, Villa Clara and, more recently, Sancti Spíritus, Cienfuegos, Holguín and Camagüey have also reported positive cases and remain in tension. But how has the disease gotten to this point? What has been the evolution of COVID-19 on the island? Which are its advances and setbacks? What are the most illustrative figures of what happened for more than six months? OnCuba invites you to follow a chronology of the epidemic in Cuba and...

The quarantine for Cubans, in 7minutes

The quarantine for Cubans, in 7minutes

Help us keep OnCuba alive COVID-19 has changed the world. It has infected millions, it has caused the death of hundreds of thousands, it has spread fear and suffering along with its invisible perpetrator: the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Borders from everywhere have been closed to try to contain the deadly invasion; trips, events, and classes have been canceled; long confinements and restrictions have been imposed, which, after becoming more flexible due to the apparent improvement, have had to be resumed in many countries in the face of new waves of the disease. As it has also happened in Cuba. People are not the same today either. The quarantine has changed their life dynamics, priorities, and interests. It has forced them to adapt to a different, more oppressive and claustrophobic reality, to multiply virtual interactions over physical ones, to be creative and willing to overcome the limitations imposed by the pandemic, to persevere in holding on to who they are, what they do, and what they want, even from home; and to find an opportunity to grow, even in adversity. As it has also happened in Cuba. Mariacarla Dausá and Claudio Peláez found that opportunity. She (a producer) and he (a filmmaker),...

Havana, a setback

Havana, a setback

Less than what a meringue lasts at the door of a school (Cuban popular saying). That was in Miguel's opinion the time that Havana lasted in the first phase of the post-COVID-19 de-escalation. His opinion seems exaggerated if you look at it literally, but it is not at all if you look at it from the prism of popular wisdom. "We could see it coming" explains this retired person from Havana. For just over a month, the Cuban capital remained on the first step of the return-to-normal ladder and, contrary to what happened in the rest of the Island, it did not manage to continue moving forward. Just a few days after entering the recovery stage, the capital authorities had to open two local transmissions detected events in the municipalities of Cerro and Diez de Octubre, and since then, the outbreaks have increased. And although the main Cuban city did not report autochthonous cases for two days in a row and met the health indicators for a short time to move on to the second phase, the truth is that it could never completely get off the tightrope. With the cases reported at the end of this Friday, the main...

Online stores in Cuba: catch me if you can

Online stores in Cuba: catch me if you can

Help us keep OnCuba alive If Steven Spielberg were to take a trip to Cuba these days―if he could do it even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic―he would surely film the second part of Catch Me If You Can, that so-much-liked film based on the life of famous swindler Frank Abagnale Jr. that Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hanks starred in 18 years ago. Only instead of narrating the persecution around the world of the elusive Abagnale by a stubborn FBI agent, its sequel would take place mostly in a digital environment and would reflect the countless vicissitudes of those who try to buy the different products that Cuban online stores sell today. At least this is what Ihosvani thinks, “a movie buff for pleasure and a buyer out of necessity,” one of the many and many Cubans―I wouldn’t dare risk a number―who dedicate part of their days to monitoring the different online shopping platforms that exist on the island, mainly the controversial TuEnvío, of the state corporation Cimex; to monitor notifications and alerts for mobile applications and groups on social networks; to navigate the not infrequently stormy waters of connectivity in Cuba; and to “hunt” any “prey”...

Steps and keys for reopening Cuban tourism

Steps and keys for reopening Cuban tourism

Help us keep OnCuba alive here This July 1st Cuba officially opened its first hotels to international tourism. It did so only in keys adjacent to the island after three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, without clear indications of its possible convocation and short-term economic success, and with the imperative to apply strict hygiene and safety measures to prevent new outbreaks that would represent a reversal in today’s controlled epidemiological scenario of the country. The decision, announced days ago by the Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR), only foresees the arrival of foreign visitors to Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Cruz, Cayo Santa María and Cayo Largo―the first four located in the northern keys of the center of the island, and the last one, in the south of western Cuba―, from which for the time being tourists will not be able to leave. Meanwhile, other hotel and non-hotel facilities have already opened their doors to the national market, as part of the beginning of the post-COVID-19 stage. https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba/cuba-to-open-to-foreign-tourism-on-july-1-but-only-in-its-keys/ The first phase of the de-escalation, which has already ended in most of the Cuban provinces and which Havana entered this Friday, seeks to be the first step towards a gradual...

Rainier’s and Ámbar’s gaze

Rainier’s and Ámbar’s gaze

Help us keep OnCuba alive here Amber doesn’t know why Rainier looks at her over a piece of cloth, or why that cloth stands between their faces and her father’s words collide with the cloth, and they become strange for her. She also doesn’t know why when he comes home from work, or from the street, he first goes to take off his clothes and bathe to leave behind any dirt from the outside world, before hugging and kissing her as any father would like to do. She doesn’t know and can’t ask him, at least not in words, although sometimes she opens her curious baby eyes wide and Rainier thinks he sees more than one question in them. Those questions that also distress him and that he tries to answer silently, between one hug and another, when he finally knows that he is clean, sure that he won’t infect his daughter with the coronavirus or any other illness that he may have accidentally picked up in his hands. Ámbar was born a month ago, just a month ago, in a Havana that became the epicenter of COVID-19 in Cuba; in a city that 30 days after her birth continues...

Why has Cuban biotechnology been successful against COVID-19? (II)

Why has Cuban biotechnology been successful against COVID-19? (II)

Help us keep OnCuba alive here The biotechnology sector has been fundamental in Cuba’s successful battle against COVID-19. Thanks to a more than 30-year-old structured and recognized industry, the talent and dedication of its scientists, and the results obtained over decades, the island’s biotechnology has been able to quickly make available to hospitals a battery of products, converted by their effectiveness into pillars of the Cuban medical protocol against the pandemic. The recombinant interferon alpha 2b, of proven antiviral efficacy, the monoclonal Itolizumab and the CIGB 258 peptide, the latter two used in the treatment of patients who reach the severe phases of the disease, have been key in reducing the mortality rate from COVID-19 in Cuba, which has remained below 4%. They are not, logically, the only medicines produced on the island now redirected as part of this battle for life, but they are bulwarks of that effort, the most visible fruits today of a leafy tree still growing and with many challenges ahead. “There are 70 ongoing research protocols in Cuba related to COVID-19, which in these months have been approved by the joint scientific committee. It may be difficult for someone to believe, but it is so,”...

Why has Cuban biotechnology been successful against COVID-19? (I)

Why has Cuban biotechnology been successful against COVID-19? (I)

Help us keep OnCuba alive here Although Cuba has not completely defeated COVID-19, as evidenced by the outbreaks and positive cases detected in recent days, the island has undoubtedly successfully managed to cope with a disease that has become a pandemic, which has already spread to some 8 million people and killed more than 430,000 worldwide. The island’s figures, although they have maintained a progression since the first cases were reported on March 11, have not suffered an exponential jump, as has happened in many nations, and have managed to remain within a favorable scenario. This has prevented hospitals from overloading, victims from multiplying—to date, just over 2,260 infected have been confirmed and 84 patients have died—and for the country to carry on its shoulders the weight that an uncontrolled epidemic would represent for its already hit economy. The key to this achievement, the Cuban authorities assure, has been the implementation of a comprehensive strategy that combines active epidemiological surveillance, isolation measures for the population—although without decreeing quarantine, except where there have been localized transmission events—, the compulsory hospitalization of positive cases, contacts and suspects—even asymptomatic—, and medical attention that has not spared all the resources at its disposal for...

Risk perception

Risk perception

The perception of risk, I read in a synthetic scientific definition as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, is “a subjective assessment of the probability of having an accident or a disease.” The key concept here is “subjective assessment,” that is, what each one interprets, analyzes, thinks on the matter; but that subjectivity, it is already known, is separated by many objectivities. Or by one, which contains the others: life itself. A line is objective. Having the fridge empty, too. The refrigerator is never “subjectively” full or empty: it either has chicken or it doesn’t; or it has mincemeat, hotdogs, eggs, sausage or―a miracle―meat, or it doesn’t have them. Yolanda is a big mulatto woman, one might say plump, who paces from one side of the line to the other, controlling, putting order, imposing her character even behind her facemask. No one chose her for that, she decided to do it herself. And she carries out his task with the discipline of a Tibetan monk, although not with his silence and restraint. People acknowledge her will, they abide by it, although from time to time someone questions it, their spirits rise, and the whole delicate balance of the line is...

Cuban medicines against COVID-19 (II)

Cuban medicines against COVID-19 (II)

Cuban science, particularly that linked to the pharmaceutical industry, has been decisive in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic on the island and beyond its borders. Its contributions, according to executives and specialists, have been concentrated in three main directions. In a first work, we addressed the development of medications that seek to prevent vulnerable people from contracting the disease and becoming seriously ill. Drugs such as Biomodulin T and the vaccines to increase people’s innate immunity can be mentioned in this direction. https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba/cuban-medicines-against-covid-19-i/ A second course is that of the products used for the usual treatment of those who become infected with the virus. This is a key line of work since, according to Dr. Eduardo Martínez, president of the BioCubaFarma business group, “patients whose immune system fails to respond effectively to infection can have a viral load up to 60 times greater than that of those who go through the disease asymptomatically or mildly, so it is very important to have antiviral agents that reduce this load.” Treatment of COVID-19 patients Recombinant Alpha 2B human interferon Of this drug, a pioneer in the Cuban biotechnology industry, “there is plenty of evidence of its antiviral action” and it has...

Cuban medicines against COVID-19 (I)

Cuban medicines against COVID-19 (I)

Although they are widely recognized inside and outside the island for the proven quality of their products and research, Cuban scientists aren’t usually in the spotlight or press headlines. Their work is mostly anonymous; it goes unnoticed by most people. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has come to change, like so many other things, that reality. In the midst of the fight against a disease that has conquered the world in a few months, with a fierce balance of thousands of lives and millions in economic losses, Cuban science has suddenly and deservedly jumped into the spotlight, and its medicines and research centers have become part of the daily events of those who live on the island. https://oncubanews.com/especiales/especial-sobre-la-covid-19/ Products such as recombinant Alpha 2B interferon, CIGB 258 and Biomodulin T, and entities such as the BioCubaFarma business group, the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) and the Finlay Institute, are systematically mentioned in the media, and their executives―who have become spokespersons for those who remain working in the shadows―have become public figures at a time when the true contributions to life are gaining ground compared to the usual celebrity of the frivolous. https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba/the-famous-cuban-interferon-vs-the-sars-cov-2-coronavirus/ It is a work-in-progress that until today...

Havana in times of coronavirus: (un)common scenes with facemask

Havana in times of coronavirus: (un)common scenes with facemask

Orlando walks slowly down Reina Street. At more than 70 years old, his legs don’t allow him to walk too much, but, although he could now, he tells me, he prefers to walk without haste and save his energy for the return, or for when he needs to evade some crowds or group of passers-by who continue as if nothing were happening, despite the COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging the world and has an increasing number of cases on the island. He is going to the bakery. He is wearing a cloth facemask and carries a bag, also made of cloth, in one hand. “It was made by my wife,” he explains, “who knows how to sew and has also made facemasks for several neighbors and friends, even though she hasn’t been shown on television.” The bag, for the moment, is empty, but Orlando is confident that it can change that situation. In addition to bread, he plans to buy vegetables and tubers from a man selling them from a cart and some meat product in a store that is on his way. “Even if it’s mincemeat or sausages,” he says, “because to buy chicken you have to face a...

Old ink: Mariblanca Sabas Alomá and Cuban feminist journalism

Old ink: Mariblanca Sabas Alomá and Cuban feminist journalism

Although less known ―and recognized―than their male colleagues, several women have made history within the Cuban press. Theirs has certainly not been an easy path; particularly for those who chose this path at a time when intellectual work was an (almost) exclusive fief of men. To prevail they had to demonstrate talent, will and courage, and leave behind the many prejudices that weighed on women who preferred the heat of public life to the subdued tranquility of the family and home. Domitila García, Ofelia Domínguez, Renée Méndez Capote, Loló de la Torriente, María Collado and Mirta Aguirre are some of the most well-known pioneers of women's journalism on the island, a list that would be incomplete without Mariblanca Sabas Alomá. Sabas Alomá, who was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1901 and died in Havana 82 years later, began her career in the press in 1918 in her hometown, where she collaborated with two of the main publications of the time: El Cubano Libre and Diario de Cuba. Already in Havana, where she would move in the 1920s, she would gain relevance for her work as a journalist and, especially, for her ardent support for the emancipation of women, both...

Is there a “Havana Syndrome”?

Is there a “Havana Syndrome”?

When Dr. Mitchell Valdés-Sosa, one of the directors of the Cuban Neuroscience Center (CNEURO), is asked about the so-called “Havana Syndrome,” he replies without hesitation that he doesn’t believe it exists. “We believe that there really is no ‘Havana Syndrome’. What we think is that there are people who got sick from different causes and that we must continue the investigations to verify this or any other hypothesis,” he said about the health incidents reported by North American diplomats in the Cuban capital, which have been the source of the most diverse theories and speculations. Several of these hypotheses were the subject of analysis this week at the CNEURO, during the holding of the Is There a Havana's Syndrome? lthe holding of the Is There a Havana Syndrome?” event, which, according to Valdés-Sosa, sought to promote an “open and frank” debate about what happened. For this, the debates were attended by researchers and academics from several countries, including Cuba, United States and Canada, the main countries involved in this plot with hues of mystery and with an unquestionable political repercussion. After the first U.S. reports in Havana, three years ago, the Trump administration―wanting to dismantle the “thaw” promoted by Barack...

A festival for the Habano culture

A festival for the Habano culture

When Luis Sánchez-Harguindey, Spanish co-president of the company Habanos S.A., lists the values ​​of the Habano Festival―whose 22nd edition opened this Monday and will run until next Friday in the Cuban capital―, he mentions experience, innovation and luxury, but also identity, tradition and culture. That is precisely the event’s fundamental focus: the promotion of a centuries-old culture, of a tradition rooted in the island since the time of the colony, which has become an indissoluble element of national identity that has consolidated its prestige and global character thanks in good measure to the work of the Cuban-Spanish joint venture founded 25 years ago and today the world leader in the marketing of Premium cigars. This is why this festival is the most important event of its kind on the planet, capable of bringing together in 2020 around 2,200 participants from more than 70 countries, interested not only in acquiring the famous Cuban cigar and enjoying the novelties conceived for the occasion, but also to know firsthand its most diverse aspects, from its planting in the Vuelta Abajo tobacco plantations to its elaboration entirely by hand and the manufacture of boxes, humidors and the identifying images of its brands and vitolas....

Animal protectors in Cuba: the voice of the voiceless

Animal protectors in Cuba: the voice of the voiceless

Violeta has been dreaming of dogs and cats for months, she posts on Facebook about abandoned animals and does not stop fighting in Zoonosis to save those who wait there for their last hour. Yoanne, although she already was a civil engineer, decided to study Veterinary Medicine to help all the animals she could and created a dog shelter on a farm outside Sancti Spíritus. Camila and Paola have hidden their cats for years so that their landlords don’t discover them and have had to accommodate their schedules and even their professions to their activity as animal advocate. Sahily, who has not stopped collecting animals throughout her life, has been infected more than once by some of those she had rescued and has had, like them, to comply with the quarantine. These are just a few examples of the personal costs that Cuban animal advocates assume daily. To this must also be added the impact on their families and personal relationships, the perception that many have of them in their communities―“that you’re told that you are the crazy cat lady,” says Paola smiling, although very seriously―, and the suspicions with which they are seen by the authorities, which presume there’s...

From Michigan to Cuba: in search of new opportunities

From Michigan to Cuba: in search of new opportunities

Even when relations between Cuba and the United States are experiencing a marked setback since the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House, the interest in maintaining and even fostering relations with the island remains on the agenda of various sectors of U.S. society. One of the most persevering, even against the policy of the Trump administration, is the agricultural sector, which sees business opportunities go to waste just 90 miles from U.S. territory due to embargo regulations, and has bid for approval of laws that benefit export and trade with Cuba. And although at the country level the links are very limited and there are still barriers such as the impossibility of selling to the island agricultural products on credit, there are several U.S. states that insist on maintaining contacts with the Cuban authorities and producers, both to find niches in the current state of bilateral relations as well as for a possible future scenario of normalization of relations. This is the case of Michigan. A delegation of politicians and agricultural businessmen has arrived in Cuba from that U.S. state―the latter led by Chuck Lippstreu, current president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association (MABA)―to strengthen years of ties, even...

Aged ink: Martí, from the cloud to the microbe

Aged ink: Martí, from the cloud to the microbe

One hundred and sixty-seven years after his birth, José Martí is still an expanding universe. His immense, portentous work, still amazes for its innumerable nuances and teachings, for the depth and passion that unifies Cubans―and non-Cubans―from here and there, of all creeds, colors and ideologies. It is not gratuitous praise or patriotic rhetoric to call him “the most universal of Cubans”―although by force of repeating it to many its real meaning is blurred―because that is what he precisely was: a man of universal significance who, with his mind on Cuba, gazed at and embraced the world, and recorded it in his very vast written work. Quoted and revisited over and over again―not rarely uncritically or opportunistically―, Martí remains untouched by the passage of time. Both his brilliant poetry, which ranks him among the greatest Spanish-American writers of the 19th century, as his arduous and sacrificed political work, crowned with his death and that exalts him today as the National Hero of Cuba, would be enough to revere him. But they are joined by his outstanding and comprehensive journalism. “The journalist must know, from the cloud to the microbe,” he wrote about his most constant profession, and he was able to...

Cuba Sabe 2020: between Cuban cassava and gourmet cuisine

Cuba Sabe 2020: between Cuban cassava and gourmet cuisine

Between the very Cuban cassava and world-famous Italian pastas, between the excellence of gourmet cuisine and the interaction of the culinary with the visual arts; this is how the 2nd Cuba Sabe International Culinary Workshop, which concluded last Saturday in the Cuban capital, took place. Around 200 delegates and guests from nations such as Spain, the United States, Italy―the guest country in this second edition―, the United Kingdom and Cuba shared three intense days at the Iberoestar Grand Packard Hotel, the venue since the first edition of an event that transcends the field of gastronomy to highlight cuisine’s cultural resonances. Cuba’s culinary art, with its traditions, regional recipes and contemporary stylizations, was the main protagonist of the event, which shared its knowledge and flavors between lectures―among them, one on food sovereignty by Brazilian theologian Frei Betto, and another dedicated to the history and present of cassava, given by Cuban researcher Domingo Cuza―, practical lessons, tastings, exhibitions, concerts and book presentations. More than a “rescue” of Cuban cuisine, the workshop became a celebration of its recent declaration as a cultural heritage of the nation. “This is not an event to rescue Cuban cuisine, but to appreciate its values, its traditional knowledge,...

Cuba Sabe: from the farm to the table (going through the kitchen)

Cuba Sabe: from the farm to the table (going through the kitchen)

In less than a decade, Osmel Corrales turned an eroded and low-yielding plot of land into a paradigm of organic farming in Cuba. The goats and his perseverance were the key so that El Olivo farm, in the tourist valley of Viñales, not only improve the land, but also gain fame for the variety and quality of its cheese. This was confirmed by the participants at the 2nd Cuba Sabe International Culinary Workshop, which began its sessions this Thursday at the Iberoestar Grand Packard Hotel in Havana, with the presence of chefs, producers, sommeliers, academics, artists and specialized journalists. Corrales was one of the Cuban farmers who exhibited their artisanal organic products during the opening day, which was attended by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Prime Minister Manuel Marrero, among other invited personalities. Cheese with paprika, rosemary, a la guayabita del pinar, yogurt and cream made by him and his workers were shown―and tasted―along with cheeses and sausages from other independent producers, as an example of the potential of a movement still insufficiently known and exploited on the island, and of which Cuba Sabe aims to showcase. The cheeses, milk and other products of...

Havana stores start selling in dollars

Havana stores start selling in dollars

Monday, October 28, 10:30 in the morning. A hundred people, perhaps more, are grouped inside the Galerias de Paseo shopping center, in Havana. The line, which goes up the ramp that connects the ground floor with the upper floors, becomes thicker and more agitated as it approaches the door of the store where as of today different electrical appliances are being sold in dollars. The store is downstairs, at the back of the mall, at the beginning of the ramp. It is one of the 13 that opened its doors on Monday in the capital and in Santiago de Cuba, as part of the new economic measures announced days ago by the Cuban government. One of those that sell through debit cards associated with bank accounts in foreign currency. Many people look through the store windows. Others remain standing, or sitting on benches or on the edge of the ramp, waiting for their turn to go in. Some onlookers wander among those who wait. New buyers continue arriving and asking who the last person is on the line. Those in front crowd around the employees who answer their questions and try to organize the entry. There are also police officers...

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