Natasha Vázquez

Natasha Vázquez

Alexandr Seriogin. Photo: Natasha Vázquez.

Fidel’s “Russian son” and the Cubans in the pandemic

His official name is Alexandr Seriogin, but he likes to be called Castro. This 57-year-old Russian claims to be Fidel’s son and feels a bit Cuban. With the pandemic, he learned that some of his “compatriots” from the island were in precarious situations and decided to honor his surname and the land of his alleged father. Soviet-Cuban living history Alexandr (Sasha) Seriogin tells everyone who wants to hear him. Valentina was a young cook in the house where Fidel Castro stayed during his first visit to the Soviet Union, in 1963. Everyone there wanted to see the mythical bearded leader and she managed to be one of the first to see him. “She asked him if he wasn’t afraid that the Americans would kill him and he replied that he was only afraid of her blue eyes,” says Alexandr. “I was born just nine months after Fidel’s stay in Moscow.” “I always knew that in my family there was a connection with Cuba and Fidel, but nothing more.” Until at the age of nine they went to live in Havana. “We stayed there for several years in a house in Alamar,” he says and affirms that Fidel visited them at...

Photo: Sputnik/Alexey Filipov

The long return home of Cubans stranded in Russia

Help us keep OnCuba alive here When a special flight to Havana took off from Sheremetyevo Airport on June 3, a months-long nightmare ended for some Cubans in Russia. For others, the nightmare has no expiration date yet. About a hundred Cubans stranded in Moscow previously requested to return to Cuba. They had the possibility to do so on the special Azur Air flight, which in addition to the Cuban capital, will land in other Latin American cities to pick up and repatriate Russian citizens also stranded due to the pandemic. On the aforementioned flight, only Cuban citizens residing in Cuba who previously updated their immigration status with the Consulate and registered their request to return could return to the island, after buying the air ticket. Tickets were sold on the airline's website at a price of 43,726 rubles (about 630 dollars), considered a very high price for most of those currently in Russia, preventing many from accessing the flight. Among those who were left wanting to board that plane, many had return tickets, but on Aeroflot, the largest Russian airline and the only one that regularly flew to the island. This is the case of Ricardo, a young...

Timur Dementyev confesses that he traveled to Cuba to escape the severe Russian winter.

9,550 kilometers to vacation on the “island of freedom”

Since she began studying Spanish, as a child, the young Muscovite Maria (Masha) Karpova dreamed of getting to know Cuba. "I love its culture, history and nature. The only problem is that it is far from Russia, that's why I was waiting for a special occasion to travel. " That occasion arose with her wedding. "My husband and I decided to take advantage of our honeymoon to fulfill this dream. We decided to go to Varadero and Havana and we did not regret it. We had a great time," says Masha, who is now Ivannikova, taking her husband's surname. She is one of the 137,500 Russians who visited the island in 2018, which represented a 30 percent growth, according to Cuban Minister of Tourism Manuel Marrero. So far this year, 36,500 Russians have gone to Cuba, which again means a substantial increase compared to the same period in 2018. These numbers are growing despite the fact that, in general, Russians are traveling less abroad in recent times due to the devaluation of the ruble against the dollar and the rise in the cost of living in the country. Many of those who decide to travel the 9,550 kilometers and cross...

Cuba sets its sights on golf

It was almost a century ago that golf first appeared in Cuba, between 1910 and 1920, thanks to amateur players from the United States who lived on the island. By 1959 close to 10 golf courses had been built, and some were part of PGA (Professional Golf Association) circuits. From that history only two remained the nine-hole Club de Golf de La Habana (Havana Golf Club), and the 18-hold Varadero Golf Club. The latter—which is the best course in Cuba today and holds the added attraction of the beach—attained international fame in 1999, with the European Challenge Tour Grand Finale, one of the chief tournaments for this sport in the world. In addition to being a sport now included in the Olympics, golf is an excellent option for attracting high-standard tourism, with higher-than-average purchasing power. Figures for this market segment indicate that worldwide, golfers travel twice yearly on average to play, tend to go back to their favorite courses, and spend more than sun-and-beach vacationers. This is not news to the executives of the Palmares Group, which oversees Cuba’s two existing courses and its growth strategy for that tourist product in this island nation. Very close to Varadero, an initial...

Plaza Las Morlas: the end of Varadero is where it all starts

Arriving at the Hicacos Peninsula from the sea can be a great experience, and there’s no better welcome that the one offered by the Plaza Las Morlas complex, a tourism and nautical center of the Gaviota S.A. tourism group, with a diversity of food and drink establishments, entertainment, and services, making it Varadero’s most complete and modern non-hotel option. A marina with a capacity for more than 1,000 berths and 13 floating docks with additional services ensure your arrival. Just a few meters away, the hotel and condominiums of the Meliá Marina Varadero Hotel & Apartments provide accommodations for the most demanding tastes. The 5-star hotel is all-inclusive, and has 409 standard rooms and 14 suites with beautiful views. Those who prefer a more family-oriented environment can choose from among its almost 400 apartments, featuring a varying number of rooms, decorated in a nautical theme and with all comforts, including Wi-Fi Internet. For guests and other visitors, the village has a magnificent commercial maritime promenade with a variety of options, designed especially for ocean lovers. A gallery of stores and boutiques, minimart, bowling alley, several specialized restaurants (including the Kike and Kcho seafood restaurant), an ice-cream shop, and a number...

Kempinski hotel chain brings High-end Tourism to Cuba

La Manzana de Gomez will soon become a reference point for anyone looking for exclusivity in the Cuban capital. The project is implemented with the investment by Gaviota with the consent of the Swiss Kempinski hotel chain, which will be responsible for management of the future hotel. To finalize the details of the management contract one of the most important directors of the Swiss chain, Bugra Berberoglu moved to Havana and confirmed to OnCuba exclusively his company's participation in the project. "We want the Kempinski Manzana de Gomez to be the pride of the nation," he said. "We're only in places where our hotels are the best and we have been pioneers in many markets." Established in 1897 and with more than 70 luxury hotels worldwide, Kempinski is the oldest and one of the most important chains in that market. "None of our hotels are alike, we have a different conception of what luxury is," Berberoglu says. Cuban company Gaviota managers consider its landing in Havana mean attracting a nonexistent segment in today's top tourism to the island "We got behind in Cuba; we wanted it to be here years ago. The Manzana de Gómez hotel will open its doors...

Capri: between legend and reality

With the charm of the 1950s, and like something out of a gangster flick, the Hotel Capri rises up as one of Havana’s most emblematic hotels. Now remodeled, it is once again arrayed in its finest. Its construction is said to have been financed by the Mafia in the United States, and that its inauguration, on Nov. 27, 1957, was attended by Santos Trafficante himself. What is definitely true is that hotel was designed by architect Jaime Canavés, and according to historian Ciro Bianchi: “The Mafia leased its luxurious casino for $25,000 annually, and in turn financed what soon became one of the most famous nightclubs in Havana at that time.” But this story began a little bit earlier, when in 1955, former President Fulgencio Batista passed the Law on Hotels 2070. That legislation, which began to benefit notorious gangsters of the era, provided tax incentives, government loans, and casino licenses to anybody who wanted to build a hotel worth more than $1 million in Havana. Capitalizing on that law, hotels that sprang up included the Habana Hilton (today the Habana Libre), Habana Riviera, Saint John and the Capri, which takes its name from the Italian island in the Tyrrhenian...

Varadero Gourmet in sight

Although we are still some months away from the most important Cuban gastronomic event, already begins to take shape the sixth edition of 2014Varadero International Gourmet Festival. With the aim of positioning Cuba as a destination for quality in food service, the Cuban Ministry of Tourism and the Palmares extrahotel business group have called entrepreneurs, experts, academics and other professionals involved in the sector of food and drinks, to participate as exhibitors, speakers and delegates at this meeting, to be held in the Plaza America Convention Center in Varadero, on April 23-25, 2014 . Foreign participants can travel through HAVANATUR (, official host of the event, which already has prepared special packages for the occasion. Varadero Gourmet once again aims to provide a space for meeting and promote the exchange of experiences on issues such as gourmet Cuban cuisine from our culinary roots and new trends in food and beverage management. Gastronomy as a tourist attraction, the history of the Habanos, Cuban coffee, fusion cuisine, rum and wine, will be other issues that are they are invited to address. Varadero Gourmet will feature the participation of major companies and Cuban state tourism and gastronomy entities, as well as dozens of...

Upgrading in the Cuban way

Josefa Hernandez is surprised. It was much easier to visit this Sunday her daughter and grandson in the village of San Jose de las Lajas, Mayabeque, about 25 km from Havana. Public transportation,consisting of small passenger trucks ("semi -buses"), is essentially the same, but something has changed. Instead of making you wait for hours, the trucks are "one behind the other ," she says. And the way of management has also changed: from the state to cooperative. These means of transportation now belong to one of the 124 non-agricultural cooperatives that have joined recently the independent sector of the Cuban economy. This is a measure qualified as "bold"by analysts, which benefits, in addition to the service consumers, to the cooperative members and the state, which is released from productive activities which are not fundamental and have not beenefficiently developed so far. Areas such as construction and services are also linked to this initiative. However, some others, such as those belonging to artistic industry or computing must continue waiting. "I thought that our Government had already approved something that is actually functioning in a cooperative way for so long like the audiovisual production companies, " Alejandro says, young graduate from the Faculty of Arts of the Audiovisual Media of the Higher Institute of Art. Meanwhile, Fernando Rojas, Deputy Culture Minister told recently in an interview to OnCuba that the topic of cultural cooperatives is still in a very early stage of discussion. "The cultural sector has a business model that has proved being successful, "he said." I think the business management will become more efficient and flexible in its relationship with the artist. " The implementation of non-agricultural cooperatives is another step in the process of transformations derived from the Guidelines for the Economic and Social Policy, adopted in April 2011, and proposes modifying old guiding principles and procedures of the Cuban economy, associated with exclusive state ownership or centralization. However, for some, this document does not...

Blanca Rosa Blanco

Blanca Rosa Blanco: Being Cuban means not giving up on being authentic

She can’t walk down the block without being stopped at least 10 times… Meanwhile, there is no taxi or “almendrón” (classic American car driven as a cab) driver who would not happily take her right to her doorstep, something that is not always easily accomplished in today’s Havana. While some describe her as the “new face” of Cuban cinema, one thing is certain: Blanca Rosa Blanco can be seen in many of Cuba’s latest films and in other audiovisual productions. This prolific, successful actress is featured in Pages from Mauricio’s Diary, is a winner in The Booby Prize, plays the game in Habanastation, and flees from zombies in Juan of the Dead, to name a few. And as if that weren’t enough, she also teaches classes, has tried her hand at directing… and more. I am trying to reorganize my life in terms of time; I’m realizing that I need eight hours of sleep. It’s taken me 20 years to realize that! For a long time, it’s something that you’re not aware of, because you have to study, work and prioritize other things. Now I’m rethinking my priorities –family, home– without giving up on work. I’ve had my share of...


图片Fotos: Rigo Senarega 和Errol Flynn一起表演过,认识了Cantinflas。曾和有着国际名声的古巴艺术家比如Rita Montaner, Rosita Fornés o和Bola de Nieve工作过。超过70个年头,Aurorita Pita已经成为了一系列电台和电视剧,戏剧的主角,还涉足了电影。受到古巴一些最重要表演奖项的颁奖以及每天都感受到观众的热情。但是所有的故事都开始于西班牙…… 当她还是在妈妈怀中2个月大婴孩时就从一个英国伯爵的A Coruña港口起航了。Aurora变成了1936年到达哈瓦那的最年轻的加利西亚移民。 “对西班牙,特别是加利西亚的爱,我的家人传递给我的。记得小时候,经常参加吉利西亚人的舞会和朝圣,在哪里我跳舞和吹风笛……也许是那是引发了我对舞台的敏感。我一直都想成为女演员”肯定到。

More than half a century on stage

She acted with Errol Flynn and knew Cantinflas. She has worked with internationally-celebrated Cuban artists like Rita Montaner, Rosita Fornés and Bola de Nieve. Over more than seventy years, Aurorita Pita has starred in dozens of radio and television soap operas, plays and films. She has won the most important acting awards in Cuba and receives displays of affection from her public every day. But this whole story began in Spain….

David Álvarez, playing earnestly

David Álvarez grew up in Manzanillo amidst sones and guarachas. That is perhaps one of the reasons why, after studying in several music conservatories of the country and being part of prestigious music groups, he decided to return to his roots with a group that rescues the best of our musical traditions. With a handkerchief tied around his head and a contemporary sound capable to captivating the young generations, he then created his group Juego de Manos.


为了魅力的产生而花费几分钟在舞台上。12个舞者和4个音乐人用鼓声,优美的舞姿和节奏吸引了严格的观众。哈瓦那节拍舞团是以国家基本舞蹈为基础进行融合和再创造的创作团队。 Liliet Rivero,创建人和舞团团长,表示只能梦想这些东西在早些时候,比如2004年。 作为在芭蕾舞团Lizt Alfonso的舞者和舞蹈设计者8年之后,我认识到我对不同舞蹈的联合的艺术焦虑,决定和一起的4个舞者创建一个公司。因此,开始了一个不同而又多样的道路,经历了不同的阶段。 这些阶段里最近的就是2008年,当公司和是艺术先驱的Eduardo Córdova公司合并时。就在那时产生了公司的当代艺术路线,一个在西班牙舞蹈精髓,古巴非洲化的节奏以及现代舞的舞蹈设计融合,并借助新的美学方法“哈瓦那街拍舞团就是我和团队梦想的结晶。我们带着热情以及对艺术工作的完善,也是我们国民和祖先的声音,是一种我们民族所有起源文化的融合。古巴就是西班牙,非洲和美洲。就好像所有的一切聚在了一个大熔炉里:这是指我们是动感的,快乐的和我们强大的精神”,Liliet指出。

Kraft, Leidenschaft und Takt

Wenige Minuten auf der Bühne reichen aus, um die Verzauberung wahrzunehmen. Zwölf Tänzerinnen und vier Musiker begeistern den anspruchsvollsten Zuschauer mit Trommelschlag, Empfindsamkeit und Rhythmus. Habana Compás Dance (HCD) nährt sich, fusioniert und erfindet sich neu ausgehend von dem elementalen Wesen unserer Nation. Liliet Rivero, Gründerin und Direktorin des Ensembles, konnte von so etwas nur traumen, damals im Jahr 2004.

Power, passion and rhythm

Photos: Alain Gutiérrez  y courtesy of Habana Compás Dance Just a few minutes onstage are needed for the spell to take effect. Twelve women dancers and four musicians captivate even the most demanding spectators with their drumbeats, sensuality and rhythm. Habana Compás Dance (HCD) is nourished by, fuses with and reinvents the basic essences of our nation. For Liliet Rivero, the company’s founder and director, it was only a dream back in 2004.

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