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Vladimir Pardo

Vladimir Pardo

How to Stay in Havana without Dying in the Attempt

Almost two decades ago I arrived in Havana convinced that, after finishing my five years of university, I would return to my native city, like a Spaniard who returns home with the wealth of knowledge, the audacity of the capital and a certificate I would hang in my parents’ living room, over the TV set, just beside the Sacred Heart. Naïve…. It was a brutal shock, not so much because of the indescribable early morning train ride from Sancti Spíritus, practically being thrown onto the platform of the Central Station, but rather because of the 20 flights of stairs without an elevator that awaited me in the student dorm of F and 3rd, an old den of initiations, the building where I would stay for five intense and licentious years. I only needed a week in that place, retracing the stairs on an almost empty stomach, to promise and swear to myself that there was no way I would stay in Havana where the people, as my grandmother used to say, became “physically and spiritually lost.” Perhaps it was the bohemian nights, the readings of Mayito Wolf or the late nights preparing my thesis, but the truth is that I...

Trending Cuba

For some time now, celebrities have been raining in Havana. We haven't had a decent rainstorm, but the show-business storm isn't letting up. And I love it that they're coming and building bridges, shooting selfies, enjoying this uncomfortable complex of ancient objects.... Let's see if we understand each other: Cuba is not a socialist theme park, and we don't dance the Internationale here to the rhythm of rumba; we are not pure lust bathed in mojitos, nor do we go around yelling “Azucar, comrade!” among the ruins, old American cars and socialist surrealism. Hey, yumas, we're in the 21st century here, too. The fact that old cars are still running here does not mean we're frozen in time. There are tablets and smart phones, and we have cross-fit fans, and we had emos and metrosexuals that opened the way for urban tribes of hipsters, swingers, cruisers, bears and so on. And we suffer from globalized cultural silliness, and we enjoy every Cuban success in the Major Leagues. It may be that somebody gets disappointed by this ecumenical, unexpected and eclectic Cuba, but that's what we are, and that's how it is. While we Cubans are far from being that exotic...

Nico Jimenez, the elegant centerfielder

The Cuban baseball mourns one of the first heroes of those romantic years, when according to Pedro Chavez they played at 42 degrees in the shade: Antonio Jiménez Casa del Valle, the great "Nico" Jiménez, died in his native Guines, at  74. Before Michael Jordan resized us the number 23, before Enriquito Diaz was king of stolen bases, already Nico Jimenez had made famous the flannel 23 of Industriales and Havana, thanks to perfect steals and elegant fielding. In fact, one of the virtues that characterized him was his explosiveness and "timing" to steal the base to the pitcher, and to evolve after a drive and turn in the right place to catch a fly as the book rules: at the chest, with both hands. Not a month ago he reappeared on national television, after years without knowing what had become of that coal seller child who dreamed of being an engineer and Almendares, and ended become a must in Cuban baseball. He looked thin and sparse, very talkative compared to Urbano González, who had been interviewed earlier. "Nico" started in amateur baseball with just 14 years, at the Trujillo Deportivo in Guines. In 1957 he joined the Mayabeque Textile...

Robert Kraft will speak at Cuba on film scoring

Robert Kraft, one of the most respected voices in the field of music for cinema, previously proclaimed his love for Cuba and we’ll have to believe him: the ex-president of 20th Century Fox Music will return to Havana to participate in the theoretical event of the 14th Sample of Young Filmmakers, from March 31 to April 5. The critic Rubens Riol, in charge of the academic part of the film festival, said the presence of Kraft gives prestige to the Sample, not to mention that attending his classes will be a privilege that will impact the training of future filmmakers. We speak of someone who has supervised and given approval to the soundtrack of more than 300 films and a dozen series. To cite a few examples, his art is behind the mega-productions Titanic, Avatar and Slumdog Millionaire and the musical Moulin Rouge and comedy Family Guy. Furthermore, in 1989 he won an Oscar for the track Under the Sea, the famous song sang by Sebastian the crab in Disney’s Little Mermaid. He has worked in recording projects with monsters like Linda Ronstadt, Bette Midler, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Bruce Willis and Ozzy Osbourne, among others. In 2013 he created...

New Vatican ambassador in Havana

In a sui generis exchange, the Vatican Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq and Jordan was destined to Cuba, and the former ambassador to the Holy See in Cuba ended in Egypt. Indeed, Giorgio Lingua is the new man of Pope Francis in Havana, where he will assume the position vacated by Bruno Mussaró last February, months after a controversial Mass he officiated in Vignacastrisi, Italy. On that occasion, Mussaró said the economic situation in Cuba was difficult, and people here had no job neither knew how to feed their children. No one knows if such opinion catalyzed the end of his mission here, just three years after the start, but the truth is that he has been sent to a nation that is being Islamized at full gallop. For his part, Monsignor Lingua arrives in a historic moment in which the Vatican played a key role, as recognized by presidents of Cuba and the United States last December 17. Born when the Cuban Revolution just turned its first year, the now Archbishop of Tuscania already accumulates a diplomatic curriculum he could put at the service of the ongoing process. In fact, he was responsible for Latin America and the Caribbean in...

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