Fernanda Ríos

Fernanda Ríos

Photo: Fox

The Simpsons returned to Cuba

One of the most important families of the United States published a few hours ago a video of their visit to Cuba. And we’re not talking of the Obamas or the Kardashians. The Simpsons were here for a weekend, including old grandpa Abe. This was seen in chapter 7 of season 28 of the series broadcast by Fox. In “Havana Wild Weekend” The Simpsons come to the island seeking a medical treatment for the elderly grandfather. They have been told that out of the 2,000 dollars they had to pay in the United States it would cost them only 6 in Cuba. However, everything seems to indicate that the best medicine for the Gringo veteran’s ailments are the vintage cars, the Chan Chan, the landscape and one or two troubles involving espionage. The episode, faithful to its essence, uses situations that are satirical and a bit acid, like the billboard at the entrance to the Havana bay welcoming visitors to Cuba, Russia’s Hawaii or the bureaucratic procedures in Customs. The family stays in the iconic Hotel Nacional, the children speak Spanish and they all go to dine in one of Havana’s paladares. In a bar, old Abe, while he flirts...

Misty Copeland, cultural envoy in Havana

“It’s a great honor to be here,” Misty Copeland, the first Afro-American ballerina of the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), said today in the venue of the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC). She has joined a group of U.S. personalities of culture, sports and the performing arts arriving to the island after the renewal of diplomatic relations between both nations. The young woman arrived yesterday to Cuba as a cultural envoy of the U.S. government and for three days will carry out exchanges in diverse points of Havana. She is not the first figure of the ABT to come to the island, since before her Cynthia Gregory, Ted Kivitt, Eleonor D’Antuono, Cynthia Harvey and other stars had done so. She, however, has arrived without stirring any other commotion than what she expresses with her dance, and although she does not speak Spanish she affirms that this is not a problem because she does understand the language of ballet. In the Cuban company the artist was part of a lesson given by Maestra Consuelo Domínguez together with first figures like Gretel Morejón and Ginet Moncho, and spoke with her compatriot Madison Hendrich, who is doing an artistic apprenticeship in the BNC. “It’s...

Cuba recoups Havana Club copyright in the USA

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office closed the dispute between the two brands Havana Club and Bacardí, having decided that the legitimate owner of the first is Cubaexport, Cuban counterpart of the French liquor factory Pernod Ricard, the international distributor of the most emblematic rum of Cuba. On January 13th the brand office informed David Bernstein, the New York lawyer who represents Cubaexport, that the U.S. registration of the company’s brand had been renewed. Olivier Cavil, Pernod Ricard’s spokesperson, said that a petition to register the trade mark for a further 10 years had already been presented. It is a new sign of thaw after two decades of litigation regarding trademark registration on U.S. territory. While Cavil has said that while the embargo is in effect the real impact of the brand in the market is “not that significant”, the outlook is encouraging. Last November the brand declared itself “ready” to enter the US market as soon as the country lifts the ban on marketing Cuban products there. “We are capable of satisfying a US market”, said French national Jerome Cottin Brizonne, general director of Havana Club International SA, a joint venture between Cuba Ron SA and the French company...

Obama at a Crossroads with Cuba

At some point in the near future, before September 14th, a request to renew the Trading With the Enemy Act – the legal foundation of the US blockade on Cuba – will be laid on Barack Obama’s desk. This is the 1917 statute invoked by John F. Kennedy in 1962 to set up the economic fence around Cuba which has been renewed, year after year, by the nine subsequent US presidents, including the current one. The political context is now very different and the US leader now shoulders the weight of a decision that will define the course of the most controversial aspect of the normalization of bilateral relations. At around this same time in 2014, the US president had already ratified the old document, but, in 2015, he’s taking his time with things. He may postpone the decision to the end, as, on September 11, the bilateral commission announced by Bruno Rodriguez and John Kerry during the reopening of the US embassy in Havana will meet for the first time. Several political analysts in the United States have been debating on the contradictions and risks inherent to the renewal or suspension of the law applied to Cuba by the...

Picture: Discovery Channel

The New Cuba Fever on U.S. Television

On July 13, the Discovery Channel premiered the first US television series filmed entirely on location in Cuba: Cuban Chrome. The show centers on A lo cubano (“Cuban Style”), a group of mechanics who refurbish vintage American cars, popularly known as “almendrones” in Cuba. The series is to be part of a brief Cuban immersion by the channel, which, to date, has produced two additional programs: one about sharks and a more recent one about Fidel Castro. These programs begin to appear in the context of a “Cuba fever”, endorsed by the US tourism industry, a sector which, according to Caribe News, is the most enthused about the re-establishment of diplomatic ties with Cuba, a type of nearby paradise which has been off limits for more than five decades. According to the site, offers of non-stop flights to the island from different US cities are accompanied by travel guides that include tours and sites of interest, suggestions for accommodations in the private sector and at hotels, high quality or affordable State and private restaurants, instructions for the use of Cuba’s two currencies and how to move around the city in taxis or rentals. What is the main focus of these...

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