Milena Recio

Milena Recio

Editora, periodista y profesora. En ese orden, según las horas del día que actualmente dedico a cada oficio, con sincera e íntima impresión de aprendiz.

Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez

Cuban Information Flows in the Time of COVID-19

Help us keep OnCuba alive The first half of an unforgettable year is past us. We have experienced simultaneously, in almost every country of the world, the fear of imminent death and physical pain. We were forced to halt to our daily lives, confine ourselves way from the streets, while the global economy induced itself into a coma, posing serious consequences for less developed countries such as Cuba. Many, when thinking about the presence of the virus in Cuba, foresaw a major disaster. Our precarious material conditions and inability to store products to resist long-term confinement, sizable high-risk groups—people over 60, who represent 20% of the population—and the low availability of ventilators at the ICUs were three of the principal causes for concern. The shortage of financial resources needed to import products during the pandemic, and the limitations to the Cuban economic and commercial activities caused by the blockade/embargo imposed by the United States, completed our Dantean outlook. Nonetheless, Cuba has achieved—in medical and epidemiological terms—praise-worthy results in the struggle against the pandemic. On June 23rd, there were 2,319 confirmed cases and 85 deaths in total. In less than three months—from March 11th, when the first cases were confirmed—Cuba managed to control the spreading...

Facundo Correcto in his home in the “Vivir del Cuento” TV program. Photo: @facundovivirdelcuento / FB.

Andy, don’t back up. Facundo, don’t die

We are experiencing a kind of mourning, mixed with irritation, disappointment, uncertainty, because of the very summary suspension of actor Andy Vázquez of the “Vivir del Cuento” TV program, and the disappearance with him of one of the most beloved characters he embodied, Facundo Correcto. I don’t know if at the top of Maisí, or in his native Baracoa, they know that it is an act of rampant censorship, and a rotund stupidity of the decision makers in “the ideological sphere.” But in Havana, Miami and Facebook, those three Cuban cities where some of our daily anxieties are resolved, the news has been going around, suspecting that the reasons given to justify such a decision are only pretexts that don’t convince many. The director of the Cubavisión Channel, Rafael Pérez Insúa, spoke through an “informal” interview (with a “jeez, that’s great!” included) on a YouTube channel―Cuba en Directo―that coincidentally started publishing last December 31 four fragments of an interview without rhyme or reason that don’t reach the 300 visits. As one friend described it, “that invented page” was used to try to especially silence those who are following this debate through the social networks. Why was this clarification not transmitted...

Photo: Milena Recio.

Leonardo Padura, surrounded by water

Now spring really started in Madrid and "the faithful to the Alberti bookstore," as Cuban writer Leonardo Padura affectionately calls them, arrived at number 57 Tutor Street, very close to the Moncloa metro station. It is a narrow place, a kind of cavern bathed in led light and with multicolored book spines. The walking space is in an L shape and a pair of microphones and high stools for special guests have been placed at its vertex. The space is so small that it is empty between books, shelves, posters and human beings, that for those of us who have arrived in advance, and before we all start to exhale in unison, the air begins to thin. But at 7:30 in the evening, when it is still daylight, Padura and his wife, Lucía López Coll, arrive punctually. She is dressed very simple, all in black; I recognize her as Cuban because of her way of looking, how she tries to orient herself to look for a place to settle in the room. He comes dressed in orange. Not like I've seen him other times, in red or terracotta ―a gamut he seems to prefer― but orange, lively, sharp. Dressed in...

Santiago de Cuba preparing for the national ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the Revolution. Photo: Ernesto Mastrascusa / EFE.

60 years

Someday we too will shoulder 60 years. My parents died when they were a bit older than 70. They had been born about 10 years before the Revolution triumphed, and my daughter's 10th birthday will be in 2019. She will complete her first decade of life the same year in which the Revolution is becoming a "senior." The Revolution has been the mold of our lives. Wherever we Cubans are, no matter what we dream. The most hurtful or the most enthusiastic, the most severe or the most indulgent, those who don’t even want another year of it, and those who would still die defending it.... Everyone - even those of us who are not located in any of the two extremes - knows, or feels that the Revolution has governed our destinies. We are children of the Revolution: noble, cunning, cultured, ignorant, humans or beasts. We are all children of these six decades that have passed between hopes and slights, between celebrated triumphs and hidden failures. We are children of this social circumstance that some build with great dedication, while others object it and others attack it. We know that the Revolution has not been just a government -...

Panama City. Photo: memotogel.info

The Cuban dollars that will go to Panama

Hundreds of Cubans are forming lines every day in front of the Panamanian embassy in Havana. They are there to get a shopping card, special for the self-employed and independent workers, which will allow them to take their few or many savings in dollars to Panama and bring back to the island the necessary “shoddy goods” to get supplies of anything: of whatever there is a shortage of in Cuba. It’s a great deal for everybody: Panama stays with the hard currency, the airlines and authorized agencies benefit from selling tickets, the Cuban customs amasses its thousands of pesos or convertible pesos on import taxes – including the corruption, always present -, and the parallel, deregulated domestic market grows and grows…. And the State continues depending. In Panama, tax-free purchases can be made at extraordinarily lower prices than in Cuba and in a fully stocked market, which is why these facilities that the Panamanian authorities put into effect starting last September 22 and which the Cuban authorities have received with a rictus of satisfaction, will encourage more the growth of a non-authorized, but allowed, domestic market. These thousands and thousands of Cubans who the Panamanian authorities expect to receive in...

Carlos Lazo and his son, who joined him on his most recent trip to Havana with his north-american students. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

Teacher Lazo

Carlos Lazo, a Cuban teacher from Seattle, has gone viral in some social media after having published a video in which he sings with his young U.S. students the song “Cuba Isla Bella,” by the Cuban hip hop trio Orishas. His gesture and that of his students moved thousands of Cubans and transmitted the power of the friendship between the two countries which Lazo recognizes today as his mother (Cuba) and his father (United States). The road to reach those feelings has been full of hurdles…. Alone in Havana “At 15 I was alone and I learned to cook. When I was afraid of the dark and the cockroaches, I would walk to the Malecón and I would sit there facing the sea until I felt sleepy.” In 1980 his older brother was able to go into exile in Peru with the events of the embassy, and his mother traveled to Miami a few months later with the idea of staying there and recovering her sons, even though legally that could be very difficult. Everything in him, all his energy, was ready to “leave” Cuba. His father, a revolutionary, continued being the amorous father from his childhood. He would go...

Ketty Fresneda won second place in MasterChef 6 Spain.

Ketty Fresneda: being a Cuban in MasterChef Spain

On the night July 9 some 3 million persons were watching for the broadcast of MasterChef 6 Spain, the toughest and most tear-jerking contest, according to the Spanish press comments. The emotions overflowed on the dish, a rather neck-to-neck duel to get the title. Cuban Ketty Fresneda came in a second place that tasted gloriously for her after 13 weeks of a difficult competition. “I’m super happy. Of course I would have loved first place, but I think the competition was fair.” In the last culinary match, Ketty delighted with a seafood salad with a coconut cupula, a monkfish in its juice and, as desert, a sponge cake with a “Cuba libre” flavor. “I was rather nervous. But I’ll stay with the good part: I’ve learned a great deal, I’ve met a great many good people and doors are going to open for me to study, to grow and train to be a chef, which is what I like.” In October, the Cuban, who lives in Pontevedra, Galicia, will be able to attend the Basque Culinary Center, one of the world’s most important cooking schools, and, from there on, she will start materializing her dream of opening her own restaurant....

Carlos Alzugaray, co-chair of LASA’s Cuba Section, talks about Cubans’ participation in the next Congress in Barcelona. Photo: Milena Recio.

Alzugaray: “LASA is a showcase for Cuban social sciences”

We met at a café close to the Puerta del Sol where around these days it’s easy to recognize the Cubans who have come to Madrid, in passing, before getting to Barcelona. It is special to meet here and not in Havana, where I have been able to talk many times – also drinking a cup of coffee – with Carlos Alzugaray, former Cuban diplomat, academician, independent political analyst, and an OnCuba collaborator. Alzugaray is getting ready to participate next May 23-26 in the 36th International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). It is the first time this event is held in Europe. “Two years ago it was decided to diversify and expand LASA because its annual congresses were not only focused on the Americas because LASA has enormously expanded with members from all over the world,” he explains. In fact, this year’s theme is “Latin American Studies in a Globalized World.” “When the Congress was held in New York two years ago, LASA had around 12,000 members and now it has 17,000,” adds Alzugaray, who for some years was elected by its members to co-chair LASA’s Cuba Section, in the “half” that corresponds to the residents on...

Harvard University Vice Provost Mark C. Elliot and Cuban Deputy Minister of Higher Education Aurora Fernández. Photo: Erin Goodman.

Harvard vice provost: we have been able to overcome the logistical challenges

  Harvard seems unreachable. It is a powerful hallmark. It represents a tradition not only for being the first university founded in the United States or because it manages one of the major financial grants among the world’s universities. Harvard has formed global political and business leaders, scientists and artists. Harvard is a dream, at times so fantastic that many can’t even dream of dreaming it. In the early 20th century a group of more than one thousand Cuban teachers went to a summer school course there and, although their story is not very well-known in either of the two countries, they strongly marked relations between that university and Cuba; relations that never completely disappeared, even during the decades of greatest distancing between Cuba and the United States. Recently, a memorandum of understanding was signed in Havana between Harvard and the Ministry of Higher Education to relaunch and expand forms of mutual cooperation. Harvard Vice Provost Mark C. Elliott, who was in charge of the signing in this capital, gave OnCuba an interview about this new moment. The Memorandum of Understanding recently signed between Harvard University and the Ministry of Higher Education of Cuba, provides for postgraduate training and joint...

My Little Arendelle Girl

  My daughter is eight years old and has eyes like a hawk. She has surprised me dozens of times while we have been walking: Look Mom, an Elsa! Where? Over there! And no one can imagine in what small corner of the surrounding world my little girl can see any sign, silhouette, detail, attempt at looking like Elsa of Arendelle, or of her sister Anna, or of the Olaf snow doll. They have all activated in Sofía a special sensitivity ever since, when she was five, she heard of Walt Disney’s blockbuster, winner of two Oscars and which in a few months became a global icon. When we at last saw the film, a happy astonishment was awoken in her by the power of Princess Elsa, capable of unleashing with her hands the most intense winters, gusts of frozen fractal, ice palaces…. She spent months trying to emulate her, but she failed. Mom, there’s too much heat in Cuba! she would say, as a way of justifying herself. Ever since that birth with Frozen I also shared with her the melancholy caused by Princess Anna’s wish for love: “Make me a snowman, come on, let’s play….” That small unruly...

A diva for me

Whoever sees him can’t imagine that, buried in that slight presence, there is an ironic being, capable of disemboweling an icon. It is Guillo. He barely speaks, with his countertenor voice – I say, I who knows nothing about that. A melodic and diffuse voice; light, It could also be said. He bears a very wide smile and warm eyes under a shag of reddish hair. In this way, this kindhearted man spends his time working on his laptop which he takes with him everywhere he goes. In this way, solicitous, he pleases, suggests or dissents without those of us who make this magazine OnCuba with him becoming aware. It is Guillo, who designs and illustrates, who gives color and shape to our data and has made OnCuba, with its illustrations, a very specific virtual profile. You just have to take a look at the Billboard. He graduated from the Higher Institute of Design in Havana just two years ago. His work dossier already has a few tomes with such different matters as the redesign of the identifier of the Santiago de Cuba baseball team or the identity handbook of Guanabacoa’s Niceto Pérez Agriculture and Livestock Cooperative. But these days...

More than 1,200 young Cubans spent six weeks at the Harvard Summer School for Cuban Teachers and two weeks visiting iconic sites in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

The Harvard Cubans

In the summer of 1900, five warships --the McClellan, the McPherson, the Crook, the Sedgwick, and the Burnside-- carried unusual “cargo” from Cuba to Massachusetts. At the beginning of July, over 1,200 Cuban teachers from across the island arrived in Cambridge to attend the Harvard Summer School for Cuban Teachers, where they were trained in topics such as culture and pedagogy. An additional benefit of this experience was their encounter with American society at “this time of splendid productivity and transformation,” as described by national hero José Martí. “Whoever names ‘Harvard,’ the great college of Massachusetts and the Oxford of North America, utters a magic word that opens all doors, carries all sorts of honors.” Under these auspices, the Cuban teachers, coming from towns and cities plagued by 30 years of warfare, dedicated themselves to the formation of a new republic. They enjoyed the warm welcome of their host society to such an extent that at the end of their studies, the teachers met with President William McKinley himself in Washington. According to press reports from the period, McKinley greeted each Cuban teacher by name as he shook their hands one by one. The Cuban teachers who attended the...

Photo by Danay Nápoles

X Alfonso: Fábrica de Arte Cubano, A Symphony in Constant Creation

I was able to interview X Alfonso in January 2014, when the FAC was still a wish sprinkled with fresh cement on giant bare walls. We were walking through the spaces recovered from the ruins of an old factory in Havana. X explained the sketch of his dream, from floor to ceiling; he looked elated. “It can’t come out bad,” he told us. “This is like one’s own home, to which one gives the best vibe. It can’t come out bad,” he highlighted. Three years later we all know that the FAC has been more than a good idea. For me the Fábrica continues being our own home. I say “our” and I think about the entire team – as we affectionately call them: the Fac-in-Band – and about the public that has made the Fábrica its home. This big space actually has become small for us. Expanding it a bit more would give us many possibilities for emerging exhibitions or concerts by very famous artists who tell us they want to play in the FAC, and the concert hall only has capacity for 250 persons. Just imagine how I can feel when artists like Usher, Dave Matthew, Chucho Valdés...

Standing by President Trump in the Oval Office. Photo: Taken from Anthony Scaramucci’s FB.

Ciao Scaramucci

In March 2016, a few days after President Barack Obama visited Cuba, Anthony Scaramucci arrived in the office of OnCuba magazine in Havana. He came not wearing a tie and left with his hair slightly a mess because of the wind on the ninth-floor terrace. Despite the fact that he was with his back to the light, the photo that accompanied the interview we published then showed him smiling, pleased at having Havana in the background. That day, a bit over a year ago, Scaramucci felt proud and without euphoria spoke of the importance of the new steps in relations between Cuba and the United States, Referring to the policy of normalization he said that it was the biggest story in the west in 2016 and the most exciting financial event is that Cuba’s economy has integrated with that of the United States, he added. That morning Scaramucci was a successful businessman of Italian origin, born on Long Island, New York, a leader in financial investments, philanthropist and host of the economic forum in which top-level global figures in the sphere of business and politics meet every year to describe the future they have decided to shape. But starting this...

Photo by Ismario Rodríguez

AUGE: Molding the Dreams of Others

They are four friends. They used to spend time dreaming during their gatherings and placing on the table the skills each one of them could contribute to a common enterprise. An economist with a master in Business Administration, a graphic designer, a communicator and a biologist with a master’s degree in International Relations and qualified in Foreign Trade; all of them young, all of them wanting to change together with Cuba. They wanted to try themselves out as agents of their own business in a country where there are already more than half a million private workers and thousands of private enterprises. That’s how AUGE was born in October 2014. After almost two years they proudly present themselves with a portfolio of more than 20 clients who have decided to place their trust in them to receive business advice. The venture began with a four-month research for a first diagnosis of 128 private businesses in Havana. Between the four they went to businesses in Plaza, Playa and Old Havana and devoted themselves to making “spy client” or “secret client” visits, a research technique adapted to Cuba’s conditions. “We wanted to avoid being taken for inspectors, for example. We passed ourselves...

Maria Contreras-Sweet: “What we want is to promote the spirit of innovation in Cuba”

I had ten minutes, no more. Her assistant stayed close by to act as a reminder that the head of the US Small Business Administration did not have more time available. But in return I was rewarded with a conversation in Spanish with hints of Mexican. Maria Contreras-Sweet had recently returned from Cuba and was now in Stanford University, Palo Alto, bringing me news of what she had done in the island, which the press barely reported. She was satisfied with the fact that eleven Cubans, from the more than 700 entrepreneurs from all over the world present, had attended the 7th Global Entrepreneurship Summit. The day after our interview, her boss, President Obama, devoted a special greeting to the Cubans during his closing speech for the summit. "Hello, nice to meet you" he told them in Spanish, while his gaze sought them out in the theatre boxes. "They are ready to help create new opportunities for the Cuban people," he told those present. A week ago Contreras-Sweet had met with senior Cuban officials from the ministries of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Domestic Trade and Labour and Social Security. It was her second time in Cuba, after having part...

GES 2016: Cuban entrepreneurs in Stanford

The University of Stanford has been taken over. Over 1000 people, invitees and hosts among them, roam around the all inclusive campus that impresses with its beauty and sophistication in this charming city of Mountain View. A city which is the general HQ of Google and NASA and one of the emblematic territories of Silicon Valley. You can see US government officials passing by everywhere. Various cabinet members, the Secretary of State, John Kerry included have been here for the last two days. Even President Obama will address the participants this Friday. He is the main inspiration and host of this 7th Global Entrepreneurship Summit that brings together over 700 entrepreneurs from across the world and over 300 investors, the majority of whom are American. Putting them in contact with one another is one of the aims. “The best thing the government can do it arrange a forum, make sure the coffee is hot and get out of the way”, said John Kerry An event of such magnitude is demonstrative of the level of this administration’s commitment to the promotion of entrepreneurial spirit. Kerry has explained it. For the administration there is a “direct relation between...

Photo: Iván Soca Pascual

Sting in Havana

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, Sting, visited Havana in mid-January, 2007. It was a private trip, but he didn’t hide away in his hotel room, or walked around in a punk costume, or docked a yacht at the Hemingway Marine. He didn’t want any press, but he accepted to be introduced to several Cuban artists, visit their houses, and have lunch or dinner with them. And he got help when he said that he wanted to learn to dance casino. Cuban photographer Ivan Soca accompanied Sting almost all the time during that visit. Soca has recently “declassified” some of the pictures he took of the British musician, a former member of The Police, and one of the artists who could soon perform in Cuba now that the thaw has started. Guitar player Dominic Miller, who has worked with Sting since 1991, launched his disc “Made in Cuba” in October 2015 in Havana, along with Manolito Simonet, and mentioned Sting’s interest to perform in Cuba. “I was recommended to be his photographer and he accepted,” said Soca. “I always keep my distance from the subject I’m taking pictures of; it’s a good way to give them confidence, and in the end they...

Arturo López-Levy: “Obama in Cuba, walking the walk”

President Barack Obama will be arriving in Cuba soon. In a few hours, he will land in Cuba. Thousands of journalists and photographers are already in their posts. Cuban and Washington officials would probably wish this moment pass in the blink of an eye – and reopen them when the storm is over - but at the same time, nobody wants to miss the symbolism of this historic moment. Many things had to happen to get to this point, since the announcement was made on December 17, 2014, that Cuba and the United Sates would start talks to re-establish diplomatic relations. Embassies were reopened in the respective capital cities of both countires, and several officials of the Obama Administration visited the island in the previous months. Four packages of measures were also announced that aimed at easing embargo regulations. This preamble seeks to create the conditions to persuade the U.S. Congress to put an end to the embargo, while at the same time build trust on the Cuban side. From Sunday, March 20 to 22, Obama will be able to get his own first-hand look at Cuban society. This unprecedented event marks the end of an era and opens a...

"For assembly and production at the Mariel Special Development Zone". Photo: Claudio Pelaez Sordo

Oggun: Tractors for Change

When Alabama-based Cleber LCC presented its "Oggun" tractors at the Havana Trade Fair in 2015 as the first U.S.-Cuba joint venture that would operate in the Mariel Development Zone, the news was welcomed with enthusiasm. But lacking the necessary permits from both Cuba and the United States, the project did not advance much further . Now a recent announcement by the Department of the Treasury has brought the project back to life: the American side has granted the small company the licence it needed to file its application before the Cuban part at Mariel. Saul Berenthal, a Cuban national who now resides in the United States, and one of the executives of Cleber LLC, talked to OnCuba about the process that led to this point. In what sense are these tractors a solution tailored for the Cuban market? The idea came from the business model of American agriculture in the 1940s and part of the 1950s, when small farms owned by families were a majority in the sector. Everything changed later on, with the emergence of large estates and the introduction of larger trucks. We decided to use a design based on that old business model and upgrade it using...

Daniel Sepulveda: “A Miami-Havana submarine cable would help our countries heal”

Daniel Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the State Department, and one of the first American officials to get involved in the U.S.-Cuba normalization process, visited Cuba for the second time. He had been in Cuba before leading a governmental delegation that held talks with the Cuban government about telecommunications in March 2015. Although from different perspectives, both countries are very interested on the issue, which is a priority in the bilateral agenda. It is also a topic of great interest to the public, who have been expectant, hoping to see changes fast. Only a quarter of the Cuban population has access to the internet, according to official figures, and most of these connections are very slow. Few Cubans have access to the internet at home. Sepulveda said that on that first trip both sides held talks about the regulatory and legal changes made by the United States. “We explained our system of government and our legal structure for the exchange of commerce, particularly in technology and telecommunications, with our aim to have Cuban commercial entities – in his case ETECSA – and American communications and technology companies work together...

“Bureaucracy Sees Popular Participation as a Problem”

In recent years, the legislative sphere has been one of the most active as a result of the transitional process undertaken by Cuba through the “updating” of the economic model impelled by the government. New norms have been established to enshrine popular aspirations that had been postponed for years: advantages for the usufruct of lands, the authorization of self-employment, the right to purchase and sell real estate and vehicles, migratory reforms and an opening to foreign investment. Many new norms still need to be passed, others still await updating and the number of prohibitions must be reduced. To name only a few, these include a Cinema Law, being impelled by that sector (and still unaddressed), a communications or press law, about which we know nothing, a Family Code that has been waiting to see the light of day for years and will recognize same-sex couples, among other things, a telecommunications law which was promised but has not yet been passed and a new electoral law, which should arrive on the scene before the next elections for parliamentary representatives. The direction and scope of these legislative changes will largely depend on how the legislative process as such unfolds: on how democratic...

The Voice of Cuba’s Catholic Church

On September 15, 2013, Cuba’s Catholic bishops made public what remains their latest Pastoral Letter (“Hope Does Not Disappoint”). At the time, the Cuban and US governments were beginning a year and half of secret negations, negotiations which involved Pope Francis and led to the watershed of December 17, 2014. It’s been almost two years since Cuba’s Episcopal Conference sought to make public its vision about Cuba and clarify how the Church conceives and envisages the options it recommends or demands for the country in the midst of its reform process. The pastoral titled “Hope Does Not Disappoint” was also a homage to a previous pastoral letter, issued in 1993 and titled “Love Endures All Things,” whose diagnosis of Cuba’s social situation and the scope of its proposals expressed a clear will to influence the design of solutions to the crisis. In 1993, the island’s bishops were fairly critical of the Cuban government, at times practically suggesting it was solely responsible for all of the economic and social conflicts that the crisis brought to the surface or intensified fiercely during the first years of the Special Period. In 1998, by acknowledging the legitimacy of Cuban authorities through an invitation to...

Cuba’s Black Hole of Public Opinion

We really don’t know here what interests our people, at least not with any certainty. Our Cuban “public agenda”, as the sociologists call it, is secret, confidential, and obscure. We lack independent pollsters interested in measuring and describing our collective thinking. At the same time our press is at the service of our institutions, addressing “on the street” topics only occasionally and on tiptoes. Hence, we Cubans are left to process “what we think we think” with great uncertainty. In Cuba we have erected that institution known as “Radio Bemba”, or the grapevine, as the most propitious entity for representing ourselves through rumors and thus attaining shared notions about the things that occur or should occur. Daily we adjust a good part of our world view in response to the list of issues scaling the Bemba hit parade on the streets. Recognizing how important a topic really is and how many people it touches may depend on how near or far we are from the “grieving” parties. Most of the time, the only feedback we get on “public events” comes from our own kitchens and intimate family circles, those discussions that are held peacefully or fought out tooth and nail...

Niños viajeros

Three in Havana

RAFA-WAN KENOBI WELCOMES THEM. THEY NEVER ARRIVE TOGETHER, but they fly in every summer without fail. When this Kenobi is not a Jedi master with a laser sword, he is a 10-year-old boy who lives in Havana, and who waits for months to reunite with Fernando Skywalker and Thomas Palpatine. It won’t be a dream; he’ll have them right there with him at Tita’s house, which over the summer becomes a palace of fun, located near the La Rampa district. For the next two months, the three boys will become even more like brothers through their games and their inevitable quarrels and reconciliations. Every summer, the hero from the Galactic Republic and the evil Darth Sidious arrive, also transformed into 10-year-old boys, educated and quite happy. Fernando comes from the lovely Mexico, with a catchy “órale” that he utters less and less frequently as the days go by. His mom has been sending him alone since he was 5 years old. A flight attendant brings him right to the door of the terminal. On this side, Aunt Tita and Granma Mercedes welcome him like a trophy of peace. His messiness and absentmindedness bring a special rhythm to domestic events: “Fernan,...

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