Lorena Cantó / EFE

Lorena Cantó / EFE

Some young people listen to the speech of the former U.S. President Barack Obama, sitting on the roof of a car decorated with posters that say “Cubans with Biden Harris,” during a rally in support of Democratic candidate for the presidency Joe Biden, in the Biscayne Campus of Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, Florida. Photo: Giorgio Viera/EFE.

Can Biden resume rapprochement with Cuba?

The arrival of Joe Biden to the White House opens a new scenario for relations between Cuba and the United States, marked by hostility and increased sanctions during Donald Trump’s term in office. Will the Obama-era thaw return? The ephemeral rapprochement faded in four years at the same rate as more than 200 sanctions from Washington that have pushed an already exhausted Cuban economy to the brink, under the argument of Cuba’s supposed support for Nicolás Maduro, in Venezuela, and the lack of democracy on the island. President Joe Biden signs his first executive orders, January 20, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP. Trump punished transportation, tourism, and remittances; banned business with an extensive “black list” of companies linked to the Cuban military; paralyzed consular services after mysterious health problems suffered by U.S. diplomats; and bid farewell by returning Cuba to the list of sponsors of terrorism, from which it had been taken out in 2015. For many, it was a strategy to win votes in Florida, the epicenter of Cuban exile. Biden lived through the “thaw” as Barack Obama’s vice president and, during his campaign, he advanced that he would retake it,...

Padura this August 17, in Havana. When the 80th anniversary of the crime that, for Padura, initiated the path of no return to the end of the Russian communist utopia, the writer reflects in an interview on the still valid lessons of that historical episode. Photo: Ernesto Mastrascusa/EFE.

Padura: Trotsky’s assassination and the voracity of power

Help us keep OnCuba alive The assassination in Mexico of Leon Trotsky at the hands of Spaniard Ramón Mercader by orders of Joseph Stalin illustrates “how tremendous this need for power to take up all possible spaces can be,” a scenario that is repeated throughout history, in the opinion of Cuban writer Leonardo Padura. When the 80th anniversary of the crime that, for Padura, initiated the path of no return to the end of the Russian communist utopia, the writer reflects in an interview on the still valid lessons of that historical episode. Padura: “I always say that what led me to have the idea of ​​writing this novel was my ignorance, a logical and programmed ignorance.” Photo: Radio France International. The novel The Man Who Loved Dogs (2009) has made him an essential reference when talking about the murder of Trotsky, because the Havanan author dedicated five years of exhaustive investigation to the pilgrimage in exile of the Russian intellectual and reconstructing the life history of his murderer, to later be able to narrate it. TURN THAT LIGHT OFF “What matters above all is the symbolic character of that murder. The Trotsky whose assassination was ordered by Stalin at...

Several people eat ice cream this Friday, July 3, 2020 at Coppelia, during the first day of the ice cream parlor’s reopening in Havana since the coronavirus pandemic began. Photo: Yander Zamora/EFE.

Cuba, the “new normality” and economic uncertainty

Help us keep OnCuba alive here Restaurants, beach and public transportation but with mask and distancing: since this Friday all of Cuba is officially in the recovery phase and once the battle against the coronavirus has been won, the next challenge will be to overcome the serious economic crisis affecting the island, aggravated by the pandemic. Havana has been the last Cuban region to join a three-stage de-escalation that had already started two weeks ago in almost the entire country, and is the only place where there is still a drip of cases, less than ten a day on average. With 2,361 infections of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to date and 86 deaths, Cuba has managed to keep the virus at bay compared to other countries with a similar number of inhabitants, thanks to a strategy based on the tracking and immediate isolation of confirmed and suspicious cases and their contacts. The capital had been waiting impatiently for days for the green light to officially join the rest of the country in the recovery, although unofficially, as many Cubans have ironically been saying lately, the city “had been in phase 1 for more than a month.” Finally, the sea And...

Cuban doctors talk inside a tent in a field hospital installed for COVID-19 patients on March 23, 2020, in Crema (Italy). Photo: Filippo Venezia / EFE.

Cuban doctors and the coronavirus pandemic

The Italian region of Lombardy, one of the most affected by the coronavirus, has recruited 53 Cuban doctors and nurses, while medical brigades from the island have also started arriving in other countries in the Americas, the Caribbean, and even Africa. What makes them so valuable in this type of scenario? How does public health work in Cuba and why are there so many doctors? The training of doctors and health personnel for decades has been one of the priorities in Cuba, where both the healthcare system and education and university studies are public and free. The system that has been in force on the island for 60 years does not allow doctors to work in the private sector: they all do it for the State. In the country there are nine doctors for every 1,000 inhabitants, according to official data from 2019. The “army in white coats”: going where no one wants to go The “medical missions,” as they are called in Cuba, consist of sending health professionals to countries that request it from the Cuban government. These requests come in the event of a crisis, as has happened now with Italy, but they are usually made by nations...

A person observes one of the works of the "Conexiones" exhibition, organized by Spaniard Concha Fontenla, in the Factoría Habana Gallery. Photo: Yander Zamora / EFE.

Cuban iconic posters take a leap to the 21st century by way of art and design

A Twitter "wall", plywood that comes to life as a mural sculpture, clothes made of bicycle flanges and wheels or a Cubanized version of The New Yorker coexist in a collective exhibition in Havana that pays tribute from art and design to the rich Cuban poster tradition. "Conexiones" (Connections), curated by Spaniard Concha Fontenla and which can be seen starting this week in the Factoría Habana Gallery, is an ambitious project that has brought together 43 contemporary artists and designers in a heterogeneous tribute to Cuban graphics that also serves to eliminate borders between different disciplines. "Graphic, industrial design, illustration, wardrobe design, installations, all types of artistic manifestations are linked. I have a hard time putting up barriers, because we already put them up in our lives and times," Fontenla told EFE. Spaniard Concha Fontenla, 2017 National Prize for Curatorship, speaks with EFE at the opening of the "Conexiones" exhibition, in the Factoría Habana Gallery. Photo: Yander Zamora / EFE. In the three levels of this space in the heart of Old Havana, graphic works, installations, furniture, clothing, sculptures and photography will coexist until January in a risky bet that starts off with a tribute to the “exceptional roots” of...

Antonio Gades’ sevillanas in the heart of Havana

Some 200 persons concentrated in a landscape surrounded by two of the capital’s emblematic buildings, the Grand Theater and the Capitol, to dance a “Fuego” sevillana, perhaps one of the works that marked the most the career of the Alicante artist, and with which he triumphed on stages all over the world. The summons surpassed all expectations since young people and girls wearing flamenco dance clothes didn’t stop arriving to the place, in an “evident” show that “Spain greatly loves Cuba but Cuba also greatly loves Spain,” Eugenia Eiriz, Gades’ widow and director of the Foundation that bears the dancer’s name, affirmed to EFE. The Foundation is in Havana to participate in the 26th International Ballet Festival with the pedagogic show “Movements; dancing from the toe to the heel” and the workshop “Flamenco as theater language,” which includes an excerpt of “Fuego” (1989), Gades’ show inspired on the film “El amor brujo” by Carlos Saura. “That excerpt corresponds to a sevillana and it occurred to us to take it out of the classroom environment where we were going to work with professional dancers, ask for the collaboration of the Spanish dance schools that exist in Cuba and that they also...