Mayle González Mirabal

Mayle González Mirabal

Periodista. Directora de la página web de OnCuba. Siempre buscando historias y personas que sepan contarlas.

Orestes Kindelan: I would have liked to play in the Major Leagues

In Santiago de Cuba, the use of motorcycles as taxis is a way of relieving the city’s deteriorated urban transport system. Hundreds of motorcycles roam these hilly streets at every hour of the day. A good number of them bear a logo, in a variety of designs, honoring a number that holds a special meaning in this eastern Cuban province: 46. For 21 seasons, that was the jersey number of one of the idols of baseball in Cuba and in Santiago: Orestes Kindelán, the top home run-hitter of amateur baseball on the island. To paraphrase the brilliant ESPN commentator Ernesto Jerez, “Kinde said no” to the ball 48 times during his time in the national classics. “The Cannon from Central Dos Ríos”, another nickname for this ballplayer, agreed to an interview with OnCuba. And here we can find his opinion with regard to some of the top issues in Cuban baseball, that universe that reaches beyond the actual practice of the sport and is entwined with the identity of “being Cuban.” Most baseball fans point to the 1980s and 90s as the peak of baseball on the island, a kind of “golden age.” You played during that time; do you...

Carlos Manuel: My landscape is a state of mind

Carlos Manuel has always lived amid the beauty of La Palma, a little town near the mountains in Pinar del Río, a spot on the Cuban map, nestled between Bahía Honda and the Valley of Viñales. Perhaps it was that experience that caused him to look around him, from a very early age, with a piercing gaze. In fact, that background has influenced him so much that while he has tried his hand at other forms of art, landscapes come to him almost genetically, determinately. “Like a country boy at heart,” he loves Havana, but needs to know that he inhale and breathe deeply; in back of him stand the ancient limestone formations known as mogotes, and in front of him, just a few kilometers away, is the sea—where he can swim as much as he likes with no fear of pollution. He dreams that someday the local Community Cultural Center, where he took his first steps as an artist, will be revitalized: “La Palma has a lot of talent, and a large group of young people with a predilection for painting. Those young people need to be able to learn, channel their interests, and express themselves.” Like other landscape...

Cuban vaccine against cholera

The Finlay Institute is working in the development of two potential vaccines against cholera, an acute diarrheic disease that, according to the Pan American Health Organization, takes between 100 000 and 120 000 lives per year at the international level. During the 20th Latin American Congress on Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Latinfarma 2013) Dr. Reinaldo Acevedo Grogues, deputy director of Applied Researches from the Finlay Institute, informed this newspaper that this institution is working for obtaining one tempered and one inactive vaccine against cholera. “The first one is the result of more than ten years of joint research with the National Center for Scientific Research (CNIC by its acronym in Spanish)”, noted Acevedo. He explained that this vaccine is made up of the living cholera bacterium released from its virulent components, which makes it a non-pathogenic strain and that it is taken orally, simulating the natural infection and causing an immune response from the body without making patients sick. The researcher also said that when compared with vaccines around the world this one has the advantage of a single dose that eliminates the virus in less than 72 hours. “This living microorganism reproduces inside patients. The immune system can respond as...

Explaining the start of currency unification

The Cuban press echoed on Thursday, October 24, 2013 the beginning of the end of dual currency. Many people breakfasted listening to Ariel Terrero, a journalist specializing in economic issues, explaining on national television the official note published on Tuesday, October 22. Terrero, who was translating economic technicalities to conversational Spanish, began by recalling that there are "in Cuba , both dual currency as dual exchange rates, and that creates a huge amount of distortion, especially in the business sector of the economy, which have effects on the rest of the economy. " To dispel doubts, Terrero slowly said the Official Note "clearly states that we are in the beginning of the entry into force of a set of measures to establish monetary and exchange rate unification. In other words: at the start of the schedule. " He noted that it will require certain gradualness in steps, because "we are talking about really solid changes , which can be complex." He mentioned that new legal and accounting standards should be developed. In Cuba, companies and all entities that handle money operate with double counting, that " usually obscures reality of the functioning and economic efficiency of enterprises." "Moving towards monetary and exchange rate unification, at one time, will actually have as one of its main virtues the creation of transparency in economic sector." One benefit of this measure, according to Terrero, will be the establishment of "new exchange rate that is more in line with reality." Terrero said that we must find a point of monetary convergence that "really expresses the reality of Cuban economy especially for the business sector." Currently, in Cuba there are two exchange rates: the one in force for companies (one Cuban peso (CUP) corresponds to one convertible peso (CUC)), and the one decreed for natural persons throughexchange houses (CADECA), which tells that 25 CUP corresponds to 1 CUC). Terrero explained that Cuban economy today has both strengths and weaknesses to perform this step . The Cuban Central Bank (BCC by its Spanish acronym), on its website, said that the elimination...

Rey Anglada: second baseman of Boston

The legendary player of Industriales, Rey Vicente Anglada, took on the challenge and this time he played as second base of Boston veterans in Havana, during one of the friendly softball matches, which are carried out for five years by Americans against former Cuban players. The game, described as "an old friends match" by Michael Eizenberg, initiator of the project, served to bring together on the ground of Havana´s Sports City to national baseball glories as the aforementioned Rey Anglada, Tony Gonzalez and Pedro Chavez. The interesting thing about the game, beyond competitive quality, is the teaching that sport can be much more than muscle and technical prowess. This Thursday at Juan Ealo stadium, also calledBeisbolito due to it is exclusive for children, attendees could feel the atmosphere of camaraderie that Americans and Cubans have achieved with these five editions of the matches, which, sometimes inBoston and others in Havana, join players from both countries. Anglada, from his defensive position, smiling challenged Tony Gonzalez, while columns of laughter rose from both dugouts regardless of the rain that stopped the match several times. "This is a great idea," Anglada said before adding: "Sport can unite, and that is the main virtue of this type of event: joining together under a single passion." When asked about why he played with the visitors , the former Industriales head coach answered smiling: "we came to play and have a good time among friends, unfortunately the second baseman of them had problems and could not be with us, and then I agreed to the invitation to occupy his post. In the end, it is not about winning but to enjoy the moment. " The game was sealed by rain in the seventh inning when the Boston veterans were ahead in the score 15-9. On the ground, still wet because of the downpour, rivals embraced each other and raised their caps thanking the audience that applauded them from the stands. Between jokes in Spanglish and feelings of gratitude, a family of men bonded by the same passion, left the field in small groups, with the hands on their shoulders and many...

Coulthard drives “the Cuban way”

David Coulthard landed in Havana and just a handful of journalists and as many motor enthusiasts could identify him. He walked through the city like just another foreigner that roams our streets without grabbing our attention, although he is the world runner-up in Formula 1. Perhaps the name is not too musical, maybe he doesn’t draw much attention, or has the familiar face of Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, but Coulthard is the sixth best pilot in the history of racing, such and as reflected in his 62 podiums in the Formula 1 World Championships and 13 absolute wins in his 14 years competing at the highest level with the teams Williams, McLaren Mercedes and Red Bull. Bold man, the Scot has always lived on the edge, not only by the logical risks of competing at more than 300 kilometers per hour in cars, but also because in 2000 he suffered a plane crash that killed the two pilots of the craft and he and his wife were saved by a miracle. However, Coulthard slowed down the pace somewhat in its journey through the Caribbean, he visited to participate as special guest at the IX Regularity...

Foto: Iroko Alejo

Isaac Delgado: Cuba is an inspiration

In recent months, Isaac Delgado has returned to Cuba several times. At first it seemed like nobody wanted to know about it, or as if Isaac himself had decided to go unnoticed. During his first public performance, at a concert organized by Carlos Varela with musician friends to celebrate his birthday, Isaac came onstage almost at the end, after most of the guests had performed. With the exception of two or three public commentaries, nobody that night paid too much attention to the presence of salsa’s “El Chévere” in Cuba. Several weeks later, Isaac was back in Havana to sing with Silvio Rodríguez at one of several neighborhood concerts organized by that singer-songwriter. One usually finds out about these concerts the day after they’ve happened, when photos begin flooding the social networks. But this time, that wasn’t the case. Two or three days earlier, they announced that Silvio would sing in the Tamarindo neighborhood, and that Isaac Delgado would be with him. That day, Isaac admitted, “I’m still just a guy from the neighborhood,” and he ended his brief but unforgettable performance with a world premiere of “Cubanos.” The lyrics of this song describe, to a salsa beat, the people...

Tomás Sánchez

Tomas Sanchez: I’venever left Cuba

“Cuba is something from which I’ve never been able to disengage. Because of certain circumstances –I was given no other choice– I went to Mexico in 1993 and then to Miami, but just two years after leaving, I returned to Havana, and since then I have been coming at least once every 12 months. I have participated in many different cultural events, such as landscape exhibitions, and have given talks to students. I attended the 10th Havana Biennale (2009), participating in an exhibition with my late teachers, Servando Cabrera Moreno and Antonia Eiriz, and in a collective exhibition that was organized by Kcho (Alexis Leiva Machado) at the Convent of San Francisco de Asís. When I come, I paint ceramics, but I feel that, actually, I’ve never left Cuba. In 1995 I discovered Costa Rica, and I settled down there.” These statements were provided to OnCuba in an exclusive interview by the celebrated painter, engraver and sculptor Tomás Sánchez, one of the most sought-after contemporary Cuban artists, who vehemently asserts that he has always championed the idea of a single Cuban culture: “Wherever there is a Cuban who is making art –be it painting, literature, film or any other expression–...

Michel Miglis

A Swede in Havana

Seventeen years ago, Michel Miglis came to Havana. A Swedish friend had invited him to work on a documentary about Gregorio Fuentes, the former captain of Ernest Hemingway’s boat. At the time, Miglis was living in Jamaica and working as a photographer, producer and musical director. Cuban would be another of his many destinations, he thought. As a child, Miglis had traveled all over Europe and Africa with his parents, authentic hippies who had journed around the world by car in the 1970s, listening to the Beatles and Elvis Presley. His mother is originally from Gotland, a small island in Sweden, and his father is Greek. Every year, they would spend time in Rodas, where the family had a restaurant that was very popular among artists. If you ask him now about the celebrities who used to go to his house, he smiles, because he probably has some very good stories to tell but prefers not to; for example, you can infer that something happened between his father and Cher. Miglis studied chemical engineering but never worked in that profession. When his parents got tired of being on the road, they told him that he should do what they had...

Cuban Swimmer Hanser Garcia Reaches Semifinals in 100m freestyle

Hanser Garcia advanced to the semifinals of the 100m freestyle at the World swimming championships (short course) underway in Istanbul, Turkey. The Cuban was fourth in his heat with a time of 47.84 seconds, enough for a 12th place among the 16 men who were qualified to the next stage. In his heat, Garcia was defeated by the Russian Evgeny Lagunov (47.37), the American Matthew Grevers (47.51) and China's Lu Zhiwu (47.80). The Russian representative led the general ranking.

Sandy devastates housing in eastern region

“The woodcutter” is how people are referring to Hurricane Sandy since it swept across the eastern region of the country, from south to north, resulting in 11 deaths and damaging or destroying the homes of tens of thousands of people. Landscaping that was not designed for the city, the poor state of 43 percent of housing, and numerous homes with light roofs were “fodder” for the hurricane’s 110 mph winds in Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second-largest city.

哈瓦那老区新的租赁政策

关于促进个民营经济的一项新的政府措施已经引起了一些首创性的大动作在这个方面。已经有很多人把他们的房子用作开设一些私有的店面。门厅,阳台,车库甚至是房子内部的房间在一定措施下都变成了支撑家庭经济的场所。但是,也有 但是,在哈瓦那老城区发展了一个让人满意结果的试点项目,之后就可以拓展到城市的其他市区或者整个国家。有8个可租赁的地区被用来发展不同的生意。 据Eusebio Leal说,“城市历史办事处(OHC)的已经获得了在不属于Habaguanex 公司和任何其他哈瓦那贸易中心的8个小场所试点的批准;合适的小型场所,有着租赁合作的,已经成为有益于正等待法律分析或者政府发表其他合适安排的试点。” 一个理发店,一个按摩和spa的场所,2个有着植物装饰的商店,此外,还有不同的盆栽,一个用来养育和买卖鸟类的空间,一个买手工艺的商店,包括一个小咖啡厅,擅长古巴食物的Mamá Inés餐厅和四季吧。 这些例子与OHC的发展政策协调将近二十年。从概念上说,自1993年在哈瓦那的历史中心的管理模式,把文化作为主要发展轴,恢复经济效率的中心。

Neue Leasing-Richtlinie in La Habana Vieja

Die neue Politik der Regierung, kleine Privatunternehmen auf der Insel zu fördern, hat eine Lawine von Initiativen ausgelöst. Viele Personen haben ihre Wohnungen umgeräumt, um mit ihren eigenen Unternehmen zusammenzuleben. Vorhallen, Terrassen, Garagen und sogar die Zimmer der Wohnungen werden zu Lokalen, die zu einem guten Teil die Familienwirtschaft unterhalten Allerdings sind  auch viele aus Mangel an einem strategischen Ort für das Geschäft in Konkurs gegangen.

“You have to compete”

Orlando Ortega Echavarría is one of the many Cubans who today put their knowledge at the service of promoting the development of sports in different nations throughout the planet. An athlete in his early years (runner of 400m hurdles) and later devoted to the passion of teaching, this native of Artemisa has been working as a trainer since 1996, specialized in speed and hurdles.

New policy for renting retail space in Habana Vieja

Photos: Darío Leyva The government’s new policy for promoting small private businesses island-wide has triggered an avalanche of initiatives. Many people have fixed up their homes to coexist with their own businesses. Doorways, terraces, garages and even interior rooms are being converted daily into retail spaces that have become the mainstays of some families’ finances, to a good extent. However, many of these businesses have failed for lack of a strategically-placed locale.

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