The Havana Reporter

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HavanaRe porter YEAR II .10 JULY 2, 2012 HAVANA, CUBA ISSN 2224-5707 Price: 1.00 CUC, 1.00 USD, 1.20 CAN Tourism Cuban Tourism Likely to Grow Despite U.S. Economic Pressures P. 2 Cuba U.S. and Cuban Scholars Advocate for Increased Academic Exchanges P. 3 Societ y Cuba’s Oldest Vintage Car P. 4 Politics Solidarity from the Brazilian Amazon P. 6 Culture Operation Miracle’s 5th Anniversary in Nicaragua P. 13 Econom y e Eco-Friendly Cuban Agriculture Model P. 14 Cuba Together for a Labor of Love P. 16 YOUR SOURCE OF NEWS & MORE $ :HHNO\ 1HZVSDSHU RI WKH 3UHQVD /DWLQD 1HZV $JHQF\ © THE Birthplace of the Mojito Turns 70 Graffiti on the walls, doors, and columns testify to the celebrities from all over the world who were won over by the bohemian atmosphere of La Bodeguita P. 11 Photo: Vladimir Molina.

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Transcript of The Havana Reporter

Page 1: The Havana Reporter

HavanaReporter YEAR IINº.10

JULY 2, 2012HAVANA, CUBAISSN 2224-5707

Price: 1.00 CUC, 1.00 USD, 1.20 CAN

Tourism Cuban Tourism Likely to Grow Despite U.S. Economic Pressures

P. 2

CubaU.S. and Cuban Scholars Advocate for Increased Academic Exchanges

P. 3

Society Cuba’s Oldest Vintage Car

P. 4


Solidarity from the Brazilian Amazon

P. 6

CultureOperation Miracle’s 5th Anniversary in Nicaragua

P. 13

Economy The Eco-Friendly Cuban Agriculture Model

P. 14

CubaTogether for a Labor of Love

P. 16

Y O U R S O U R C E O F N E W S & M O R E


Birthplace of the Mojito Turns 70Graffiti on the walls, doors, and columns testify to the celebrities from all over the

world who were won over by the bohemian atmosphere of La Bodeguita P. 11



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Page 2: The Havana Reporter


Cuban Tourism Likely to Grow Despite U.S. Economic PressuresBy RobertoF.CAMPOS

HAVANA._ The Cuban tourism industry

will continue to grow despite economic

pressures and other global barriers, Cuba’s

Tourism Ministry Marketing Director said

José Manuel Bisbé said.

Bisbé presented the report “Destination

Cuba: Current Situation and Growth

Prospects,” at the International Seminar

on Journalism and Tourism, held in

Havana’s José Martí International Institute

of Journalism. The forum, organized by

the Cuban Journalists Union (UPEC), was

attended by 40 specialized journalists from

eleven countries.

Bisbé presented an overview of the

development of Cuba’s tourism after the

victorious revolution of 1959 led by Fidel

Castro, whom he characterized as the

driving force behind the island’s tourist

sector. When diplomatic relations with

the United States were broken in 1961,

tourism dropped abruptly, since up to 90

percent of tourists had come from that

country, he noted.

During the 1970s and 80s there was

a revival in the foreign tourist trade, and

when the Eastern Bloc collapsed in the

1990s, the industry was boosted yet again,

he explained.

“The U.S. blockade,” said Bisbé, “has

caused approximately $23.71 million in

losses to Cuban tourism, which was forced

to develop despite having access to only

50 percent of the tourists who visit the


Among the main Cuban tourist

destinations nowadays, Bisbé mentioned

the Varadero beach resort (19,418 hotel

rooms), Havana (12,699), Santa María Cay

(5, 531), the Jardines del Rey archipelago

(4,484) and Holguín province (4,219),

among other interesting places.

The Tourism Ministry has 14 tourist

information bureaus, 12 offices providing

service for Havanatur S.A. International Tour

Operator Group, and an office representing

the ITH Distribution Company. Cuba is

connected to 82 world cities through

65 regular flights and charters, has ten

international airports, and three cruise ship


The Cuban hotel industry is growing

at an annual rate of 5.6 percent, with 335

hotels and 58,434 rooms currently in


As many as 65 percent of the hotels are

four and five-star operations, with 30 joint

ventures running about 6,000 rooms in

14 hotels. According to Bisbé, 62 contracts

have been signed with 13 foreign hotel

groups including Sol Meliá, Barceló, Spain’s

Hoteles C, and France’s Accor.

By the end of 2011, the largest sources

of tourism to Cuba were Canada, the United

Kingdom, Italy, and Spain. Through May of

this year, the leading tourist sources were

Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and


Bisbé pointed out that challenges and

priorities for Cuban tourism include the

promotion of its diving facilities, yacht

clubs, eco-tourism and golf courses.



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SAN FRANCISCO/HAVANA._ In a historic context marked

by disagreements and tensions, academics from the United

States and Cuba view their exchange of experiences as a

bridge toward the normalization of bilateral relations.

The 30th Congress of the Latin American Studies

Association (LASA) provided the most recent example of

the existing tension in bilateral relations. The over 5,000

scholars who attended the Congress held in San Francisco,

May 23-26, could not evade the controversy caused by the

denial of U.S. visas to various Cuban academics.

In an interview with The Havana Reporter, Dr. Jorge

Mario Sánchez, who co-chairs the LASA Cuba section,

attributed the problem to a political decision combined

with bureaucratic elements when the visa applications

were analyzed.

Sánchez said that the State Department issued around 70

entry visas to Cuban scholars, while another 10 persons, well

known for their active participation in US-Cuba academic

exchanges were denied entrance to the United States.

According to Sánchez, the visa denials were counter-

productive and criticized by everyone, from the Cuban-

American extremists who opposed any Cuban participation

at all, to the media and academics who forcefully criticized

the visa denials to the 10 scholars.

Evidently, Sánchez continued, there is a policy in place

that opposes academic ties or any possible step toward

an improvement in Cuba-USA relations, contrary to what

President Obama claimed at the Summit of the Americas

in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009.

Signs of inertia and continuance of the old policies of

isolation, punishment, and differential treatment remain,

which are contrary to the interests and principles of LASA

as an organization, he noted.

For Sánchez, the LASA Congress has been one of the

most important events for Cuban scholars abroad, for

the possibility of presenting work in a diverse range

of academic studies, including humanities, economics,

history, demography, political sciences, and gender studies,

among others.

This is the largest such congress in the United States,

and possibly the world, for individuals and institutions

engaged in the study of Latin America. Despite being an

academic forum, it includes participation by organizations

with relevant links to the governments of their countries.

The LASA is divided in sections by regions or countries.

The Cuba section is the largest of all, with 263 members

and two chairmen, Sánchez, for Cuba, and Sheryl Lutjens,

for the United States.

Sánchez said the 30th Congress was particularly

important because it returned to the United States, despite

the mass denial of visas to Cubans who applied for the

2003 Congress in Dallas.

After that incident, the organization decided to hold

the Congress outside the United States, to defend the

principle of free flow of ideas and academic exchanges,

without discrimination.

Rio de Janeiro and Toronto served as previous venues. The

assumption for the San Francisco forum was that there would

be no discriminatory treatment toward the Cuban delegation

and therefore the Congress returned to a U.S. venue.

No one imagined that a policy of visa denials for a select

group of Cubans would be applied, said Sánchez.

As a result of the situation, LASA’s leadership agreed to

send a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in support

of Cuba’s right to participate in the Congress. Meanwhile,

the Cuba section issued a resolution condemning the

incident, which was offered to all LASA members for their


As many as 180 U.S. universities maintained academic

ties with the Cuban universities before George W. Bush’s

term in office from 2001 to 2009, but all those exchanges

practically disappeared during those years, Sánchez


Despite the ups and downs, Sánchez expressed the

belief that it is still possible to restore these relations,

defended by academics from both countries who have

been forcefully distanced by the U.S. blockade and its

associated pressures for more than fifty years.

U.S. and Cuban Scholars Advocate for Increased Academic ExchangesBy MiguelLOZANO

Dr. Jorge Mario Sánchez co-chairs the LASA Cuba section. From left to right, Omar Everleny (Cuba), Juan Triana,(Cuba) and Claes Bundernius (Sweden) the 30th LASA Congress.

Page 4: The Havana Reporter

HAVANA._ One of the first Cadillacs in the world was

also the first car to roll down the narrow cobblestone

streets of the Villa de Guanabacoa, east of Havana, on

May 19, 1907.

The car, a Model E made in 1905, was designed by the

Cadillac Automobile Company, which was founded on

Aug. 22, 1902 as a subsidiary of the Henry Ford Company.

Five years later, this vehicle was purchased by the Moner

family of Guanabacoa, Cuba.

Even thought, the Cadillac brand is a real symbol of

the United States – currently owned by General Motors –

the name itself came from the surname of a French army

officer, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, founder of the city

of Detroit (later to be known as the famous “Motor City”)

in the U.S. state of Michigan, in 1701.

One hundred years later in Havana, that early Cadillac

that plied Cuba’s streets in 1907 stands in Guanabacoa’s

Museo Municipal (city museum), where it is being restored.

Built in 1902, it is the oldest vintage vehicle in Cuba.

Up until just a few years ago, the one-cylinder, two-

horsepower, chain-geared engine still started, with

sparks. Its headlights were powered with kerosene.

Its wheels were made of wood, with rubber tires. This

is a totally authentic car, with all of its factory-made

parts, except for its convertible-style roof, which had

deteriorated beyond repair.

After the Moner family bought the car, it was used for

trips to Havana. It was also used as an ambulance and placed

at the service of the city’s firefighters. One of the many

people who became interested in buying this vehicle from

the Moner family was the U.S. writer Ernest Hemingway.

In 1950, the Cadillac company offered the family cash

— some say they offered a blank check — and a brand

new Cadillac in exchange for the 1902 model, but the

Moners turned it down.

But in 1964, at the urging of José Luís Llerena, then

the director of the Guanabacoa museum, the car’s owner,

Vicente Moner Tantalora, donated the valuable treasure

to the museum.

According to historians, it was this car that most

attracted the attention of Cuban revolutionary leader

Fidel Castro when he visited the museum in the 1980s.

A few years ago, experts from the vintage car motor-

racing association in Cuba (Asociación de Escudería de

Autos Antiguos de Cuba) confirmed that this Cadillac

was indeed the oldest auto on the island, leading to the

organization’s decision to use it as their emblem.

The Caribbean in CubaBy WaldoMENDILUZA

Cuba’s Oldest Vintage Car By SilviaMARTÍNEZ




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President: Luis Enrique González.Information Vice President: Miguel Lozano.Editorial Vice President: Maitte Marrero Canda.Chief Editor: Néstor Marín.Translation: Prensa Latina English Department.Graphic Designer: Mario Sombert Fernández.Chief Graphic Editor: Emilio Herrera.Advertising: Irina Hernández.

Circulation: Commercial Department.Printing: Imprenta PALCOGRAF.Publisher: Agencia Informativa Latinoamericana, Prensa Latina, S.A.Calle E, esq. 19 No. 454, Vedado, La Habana-4, Cuba.Telephone: (537) 838-3496 / 832-3578Fax: (537) 833-3068E-mail: [email protected]


Y O U R S O U R C E O F N E W S & M O R EFor SUBSCRIPTIONS in North America

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HAVANA._ People from other Caribbean countries and their

descendants, residing in Cuba, preserve their traditions and

customs through a wide variety of sociocultural activities.

National holidays, history, music, dance, sports, typical

dishes and other Caribbean elements find a space at the

Caribbean Association of Cuba (ACC), a non-governmental

organization that is celebrating its 80th anniversary this


The ACC is a cultural society that allows Caribbean

people and their descendants from 28 territories of this

region to preserve the legacy of their ancestors and places

of origin, ACC President María Rollock said in an interview.

According to Rollock, more than 700 people belong to this

institution, which was founded on March 3, 1932.

“For the time being, this association only serves

Caribbean people who live in Havana, but we hope to

reach the entire country, and we are working toward

that,” said Rollock, the daughter of a Barbadian who came

to Cuba in the late 1920s to seek his fortune in the sugar

industry. Caribbean residents in Cuba try to preserve

their roots by organizing workshops, exhibitions, cultural

events, and reviving history, she said. They gather several

times a week to share dances and music, and in doing so,

they interact with the surrounding community.

“We also organize Creole and English-language

workshops, and have plans to do the same with French,”

Rollock said.

Other attractive activities include the domino

championships and cricket games. The latter sport is

very popular in the Caribbean, but is hardly known in

Cuba. It first appeared in England in the 16th century.

Young members of the association have learned to play

cricket, and compete with young Caribbean students

who are studying in Cuban schools, she added.

The ACC marks the national holidays of every

Caribbean country and territory, such as independence

days, Rollock noted. In this regard, the ACC has very

good relations with the Caribbean diplomatic corps, and

their representatives take part in different activities, she


Speaking about the rescue of the ACC’s history, Rollock

mentioned the research that is being conducted with the

support of the National Archive, which includes interviews

of senior ACC members. “We have people who have been

with the Association for decades, and they are helping us

to recover a lot of information,” she stated.

For Rollock, the good work of the NGO founded 80

years ago is the result, to a large extent, of its relations

with Cuban organizations, such as the Cuban Institute

of Friendship with the Peoples, Casa de las Américas,

the Foreign Ministry, and the Cuban Peace Movement,

among others. Also beneficial are its links with

Caribbean students who are studying in Cuba, as part of

cooperation agreements with many countries, and the

local diplomatic corps, she added.

Rollock said ACC members are mostly from Jamaica,

Haiti, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic, in that order.

Another interesting fact is that 12 percent of its members

are young people ages 16 to 35, while older adults make

up 42 percent of its membership.

The Caribbean Association of Cuba was created in 1932

at the initiative of the British embassy, to bring together

Anglophone citizens and descendants in Cuba. It was not

until 1978 that the organization welcomed people from

the entire Caribbean region, Rollock explained.

Page 5: The Havana Reporter

CAMAGÜEY._ A new radar system using Doppler effect

technology, designed and created in Cuba by engineers from

the national Meteorology Institute’s Radar Center, will give

the country an efficient tool for top-quality forecasting of

atmospheric phenomena.

Developed with advanced technology based on the MRL-

5 radar, which has been operating since 1981 in the Camagüey

Meterology Center, the new system will make it possible for

Cuba to conduct unprecedented tropical atmosphere studies

throughout the archipelago, because it is the only double-

wavelength radar that uses Doppler effect measurements for

both channels.

Orlando Rodríguez, director of the Radar Center in this

eastern city, said in an interview with The Havana Reporter

that this radar holds great potential for helping Cuba study

all types of weather phenomena, especially hurricanes, which

frequently affect this country.

Forecasts will be better, because in addition to calculating

the intensity of rainfall, the Doppler radar will provide accurate

estimates of the speed and direction of winds brought

by storms and hurricanes — which is a new feature for

Cuba’s meteorological service, Rodríguez said. It will make it

possible to precisely detect tornadoes, hailstorms, wind gusts,

windstorms, and local severe storms. Moreover, the Doppler

technology also makes it easier to suppress signals from non-

meteorological objects, such as birds, terrestrial echoes from

hills and buildings and ocean echoes, whish are basically cases

where waves are created in the atmosphere that divert the

radar’s beam from its usual course.

For all of these reasons, Rodríguez said the information that

the radar will provide to forecast personnel will be “superior” to

that is provided by conventional radar systems, which report

signal intensity but not wind information, he said. Data from

the Doppler radar, which is currently being tested in this

province 550 kilometers east of Havana, can be included very

quickly, in numeric forecasting models, he said.

This equipment signifies an important technological leap,

because the Doppler radar’s information processing and

distribution system can use free software like ORPG (Open

Radar Product Generator), which is used by WSR-88D radars

in the United States, and which previously had been adapted

and modified by Cuban engineers for Cuban radars.

“This gives us total compatibility with the algorithms

(detection of storms, hail, tornadoes, etc.) developed over the

last 40-plus years by the meteorological community in that

field, and with the information formats of most radar systems

in the region,” Rodríguez said.

Cuba’s Doppler radar has a maximum range of 500

kilometers and should be fully operative by the 2012 hurricane

season, which lasts from June to November.

At this time, the market price for a radar of this type

would be between four and six million dollars, Rodríguez

said. The production cost for the Cuban prototype was about

$300,000, a figure that could be reduced to less than $100,000

if extended to other radars, he added.

Doppler Radar, a New Cuban Meteorological ToolBy MabelGUERRA




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Cuba, USA Jointly Monitor Migratory BirdsBy AdalysPILAR

PINAR DEL RÍO, CUBA._ Cuban and U.S.

scientists are conducting a study for the

monitoring of migratory birds and birds of

prey in the Guanahacabibes peninsula on

the island’s western tip.

The research involves experts with

the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, which is

based in Texas, and researchers from the

western province of Pinar del Rio, according

to Osmani Borrego, one of the project’s


Explorations in the area are preceded by

a training period for all experts who will be

involved in the study of birds that migrate

from the United States and elsewhere to

Cuba. Considered an important corridor for

migratory species, Guanahacabibes harbors

more than 200 species of birds. Birds of prey

that tend to fly to the peninsula include the

swallow-tailed kite, which is native to North


In the spring, the region large numbers

of bluebirds and the Lazuli Bunting songbird

from Mexico and the United Unites fly here

as part of the spring migration, Borrego

said. Most of them come to this karst plain

following the route of the Mississippi River

flyway. In general, these birds are small and

come in many different colors, some with

very bright plumage. Though they prefer to

live in forests, many can be seen in gardens

and backyards as well. In Guanahacabibes,

migratory birds can be found in forests,

mangroves, swamps and along the coast,

where they recover their strength to

continue their migration journey, said

scientist Alina Pérez a leading figure among

local ornithologists.

The American redstart (known as

Candelita in Latin America), and the ovenbird

Seiurus Aurocapillus (known as Señorita del

Monte in Cuba) are among the birds that

most frequently migrate to Guanacahabibes,

which is also known as El Cabo (The Cape).

This peninsula is one of Cuba’s best-

preserved natural, with some of the country’s

greatest biodiversity and was designated a

Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1987.



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Page 6: The Havana Reporter

Solidarity with the Cuban Five from the Brazilian AmazonBy AlejandroGÓMEZ


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BRASILIA._ Solidarity with the Cuban Five,

who have been unjustly imprisioned in

the United States since 1998 for fighting

against terrorism, continues to grow

around the world, including in a remote

corner of the Brazilian Amazon.

In Amapá, one of Brazil’s nine Amazonian

states, and its capital, Macapá — the only

state capital that does not have a land

connection with another state capital — a

Committee for Solidarity with Cuba and to

Free the Five was organized in early May.

The new organization includes

legislators and representatives from

political, social, trade union and student

groups in this state, through which the

Amazon River flows, and which is the

only Brazilian state that is crossed by the

imaginary line of the Earth’s equator.

In a founding ceremony for the

committee attended by 300 representatives

from the different member organizations,

Senator Joao Capiberibe of the Brazilian

Socialist Party (PSB) was elected as honorary

president, and the Amapá Sports Secretary,

Luiz Pingarilho, was elected as president.

In a telephone interview from Macapá

with the Prensa Latina news agency,

Pingarilho said that the group’s first decision

was to send a letter to U.S. President Barack

Obama, urging him to free the Cuban Five

— Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino,

Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero and

René González – and to allow them to

return to Cuba.

The Five, as they are known around the

world, have been locked up in the United

States for almost 14 years, after receiving

long unjust prison sentences for reporting

to Cuba on the terrorist activities of right-

wing anti-Cuban extremists.

In addition to opposing the 50-year-old

U.S. blockade against Cuba and demanding

that it immediately be lifted, Pingarilho

said that the committee’s top priority at

this time is to mobilize to end the injustices

committed in the case of the Five and to

achieve their freedom and return to Cuba.

The group will also work to defend

Cuba against misinformation the media

regarding the real situation in Cuba and its

revolutionary process.

Pingarilho, who is also president of

the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB)

in Amapá, highlighted the support

offered by state Gov. Camilo Capiberibe

for the creation of the committee and its

objectives. The activist also praised the

participation in the founding ceremony

of Sen. Joao Capiberibe and his colleague

Randolfe Rodrigues, of the Socialism

and Freedom Party (PSL), and of federal

deputies Evandro Milhomen of the PCdoB

and Janete Capiberibe of the PSB, all of

whom are national legislators for the state

of Amapá.

WASHINGTON._Cubans residing in the United States

organized a demonstration in Miami to demand normal

relations with their native country and to oppose what

they described as a “terrorist attack” against a travel agency

that books charter flights to the island.

On May, a caravan of almost 100 cars was organized by

grups belonging the Alianza Martiana coalition and the

Cuban-American Defense League, as a response to the Apr.

27 attack on the offices of Airline Brokers, located in Coral


Andrés Gómez, journalist and editor of Areíto Digital,

said that caravan participants believe that the “terrorist

attack was not just against that company, but also against

the right of Cuban émigrés to travel to Cuba.”

With flags and placards reading “Yes to travel to Cuba,

No to terrorism” hanging from the sides of vehicles, the

caravan passed through some 12 miles of centrally-located

Miami streets.

The immense majority of drivers in the thousands of

cars encountered by the caravan along the way expressed

support by honking their horns, but the Miami-based

media, faithful to its right-wing nature, completely ignored

the demonstration, Gómez said.

“We want to make it known that we most vigorously

condemn the terrorist act that destroyed the offices of

Airline Brokers,” caravan organizers said in a press release

issued prior to the demonstration. The grups also urged

members of congress and other elected public officials in

the state of Florida to condemn the attack.

The firebombing was considered by Cubans resident

in the United States to be an action opposing certain

measures taken by U.S. President Barack Obama to ease

restrictions on travel to Cuba, even though the economic,

commercial and financial sanctions of the U.S. blockade

against Cuba remain intact.

In an attempt to intensify the half-century-old blockade,

the governor of Florida also decided to ban access to public

funds by foreign companies that have trade ties with Cuba.

The law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott, should become

effective on July 1, but is considered unconstitutional by

many groups in the United States, because it interferes in

federal matters of international relations, making it likely

to be contested.

In a related development, the U.S. Treasury Department

has redoubled its efforts to supervise travel to Cuba, and

announced that any violations of the restrictions will be

punished with fines of up to $65,000 and the suspension of

travel licenses, among other actions. According to a press

release from the Department’s Office of Foreign Assets

Control, the purpose of the warning was to prevent any

attempt by U.S. citizens to enjoy tourism in Cuba that does

not qualify for one of the cultural, educational or academic

programs authorized by President Barack Obama in

January 2011.

Cubans in USA Demand Normal Relations with CubaP








Andrés Gómez, a journalist and editor of Areíto Digital.

Page 7: The Havana Reporter

Festival of Fire in Santiago de CubaBy AdonisMARTÍNEZ





: Fer


Santiago de Cuba will become the spiritual capital

of the Caribbean from July 3-9, when more than

800 guests from 50 countries are scheduled to

gathered in the Cuban eastern city to celebrate the

Festival of Fire.

With Martinique as a guest country, the week-

long Fiesta del Fuego will feature different cultural

expressions not only from the Caribbean region but

also from other parts of the world.

The well-known annual street party is celebrated

all over the city, where Cuban conga and son music

will merge with the French tumba and calypso, the

Colombian cumbia, Haiti´s kompa, the zouk from

Martinique and Guadeloupe, Jamaica´s reggae and

the Dominican merengue.

Prominent scholars will attend a seminar entitled

“The Caribbean binding us together,” to discuss

identity and cultural resistance of the Caribbean

people, as well as a workshop on popular religions

that will include academic sessions and rituals.

The 2012 Festival of Fire, which will also pay

tribute to its founder, the late Joel James Figarola,

will wrap up with the traditional Burning of the

Devil ceremony.

Page 8: The Havana Reporter

THEATERBertolt Brecht

13 esq. a I, Vedado. Tel: 832-9359.

Every Tues.-Fri. in July (6:30 p.m.): La

Historia de Juan Lennon, a musical

theater performance inspired by

the history of rock music and The

Beatles. Performed by the company

Teatro de las Dos Orillas and the

rock band Miel con Limon.


Ayestarán y 20 de Mayo, Centro

Habana. Tel: 878-5551.


Calle K, e/ 25 y 27, Vedado, Havana.

Tel.: 832-0630.

Teatro Miramar

5ta. Avenida Esq. a 94, Playa. La

Habana. Tel. 203-7676.

Hubert de Blanck

Calzada e/ A y B, Vedado, Havana.

Tel: 830-1011.


Línea e/ Paseo y A, Vedado,

Havana. Tel. 831-9304.

Teatro Mella

Línea e/ A y B, Vedado. Tel: 833-


Teatro América

Galiano e/ Neptuno y Concordia.

Centro Habana. Tel: 862-5416.


Basílica Menor de San Francisco

de Asís

Oficios e/ Amargura y Churruca,

Habana Vieja. Tel.: 862-9683 — Sat.

30 (6 p.m): Concert by Havana´s

Polyphonic Choir. Tue. July 3, Sat.

July 7 (6:00 p.m): Opening and

closing concerts of the Corhabana

2012 Internacional Choir Festival.

Fri. July 13 (6:00 p.m.): Concert

by Musica Eterna (chamber

music orchestra directed by

Guido Lopez-Gavilan Sat. July 14

(6:00 p.m.): Vivaldi´s Four Season

and Astor Piazolla´s Estaciones

Porteñas by Camerata Romeo,

directed by Zenaida Romeu.

Gran Teatro de La Habana

Prado e/ San Rafael y San Jose.

Habana Vieja. Tel: 861-5873 —

Garcia Lorca hall: Sat. July 20

(8:30 p.m.) & Sun July 21 (5 p.m.):

The National Lyrical Theater and

Orchestra of the Gran Teatro

perform Madama Butterfly.

Oratorio San Felipe Neri

Aguiar Esq. Obrapía, Habana Vieja.

Tel: 862-3243. — . Thur. July 5 (7:00

p.m.): Nuestro Tiempo (chamber

music orchestra) and Ecuadoran

pianist Juan C. Escudero will play

Dmitri Shostakovich´s Concert

No.1. Thur. July 12 (7:00 p.m.):

Concert by a Chinese string

quartet. Last Sat. of every month

(11 a.m.): Children´s lyrical chorus


Iglesia de Paula

Ave del Puerto esq. a San Ignacio,

Habana Vieja. Tel: 860-4210 —

Venue of the Corhabana 2012

International Choir Festival. Wed.

July 4 (7:00 p.m.): Ensemble

Alter Voce, from México, Coro de

Cámara from Matanzas, Cuba.

Thur. July 5 (7:00 p.m.): Ensemble

Vocal Luna (Cuba), and Ensemble

Coral Mexiquense de Cultura

(México). Fri. July 6 (7:00 p.m.):

Camerata Vocale Sine Nomine

(Cuba) and Ensemble Vocal

5 (Colombia). Fri. July 13 (7:00

p.m.): Cellists Juan Verdera and

Alejandro Martínez will play the

Concert for two violoncellos. Sat.

July 14 (7:00 p.m.): Concert by

students from the Convivium

Musicum academic program

sponsored by Ars Longa. Directed

by German maestro Martin Rost.

Palacio de Teatro Lirico

Zulueta e/Animas y Neptuno,

Habana Vieja. Tel: 860-4392 —

Main venue of National Lyrical

Theater. Every Fri. (6 p.m.), every

Sat. (5 p.m.): Opera performances.

Sundays (5 p.m.) Chamber

orchestras & small groups perform

classic & contemporary pieces.

Museo de la Revolución

Calle Refugio e/ Monserrate y

Zulueta. Old Havana. Tel: 862-

4091. Fri. July 27 (5 p.m.): Concert

by singer-songwriter Raul Torres.

Sat. 29 (3 p.m.) National Chorus of

Cuba performs.

Teatro Karl Marx

Avenida 1ra y 10, Miramar. Tel:

203-0801 — Sat. July 7 (8:30 p.m):

Arnoldo y Su Talisman (salsa) will

perform songs from their new



Submarino Amarillo

Calle 17 Esq.a 6. Vedado. Tel:

830-6808. — Tues.-Sun: Live

performances by rock bands and

classic rock videos nightly.

Casa de la Música Galiano

Galiano y Neptuno, Centro

Habana. Havana. Tel: 860-8296.

— Every Tue. in Jun. (6 p.m.): Kola

Loka (fusion). Every Sat. (5 p.m.):

Combinación de La Habana


Teatro Nacional Café Cantante

Teatro Nacional, Paseo y 39, Plaza

de la Revolución, Habana. Tel: 879-

6011 — Every Sun. in July (5 p.m.):

Los Kents. Every Fri. (5 p.m.): Cary


Centro Cultural Fresa

y Chocolate

Calle 23.Esq. a 12, Vedado. Havana

Tel: 836-2096 — Every Thu.

(10:30 p.m.): Grupo Enfusion.

Every Sat. (10:30 p.m.): Soloist

Yeni Sotolongo. Every Sat & Sun

(9 p.m.): Laura duet. Every Wed.

(7 p.m): singer/guitarist Erick


Café Jade

San Nicolás esq. Cuchillo, Barrio

Chino, Centro Habana. Tel:

8639451. — Every Fri in July (9

p.m.): Anais Abreu. Every Sat. (10

p.m.): Argelia Fragoso. Every Thu. .

(10 p.m.): Lynn Milanes & friends,

featuring Rey Ugarte. Every Sat.

(6 p.m.): Silvio Alejandro and his

guests Ariel and Lili.

Casa de la Música de Miramar

Calle 20 esq. A 35, Miramar,

Havana. Tel: 202-6147 — Salon

Te Quedaras. Every Tue. in July (9

p.m.) & Every Thurs. (4 p.m.): Ray

Fernandez. Every Sat. (5 p.m.):

Gens (rock).


Calle 9 e/ 120 y 130, Cubanacan.

Tel: 204-6248 — Every Sun. in July

(5 p.m.): Frank Delgado (trova)

and Tue. (8 p.m.): Concert by D’

coraSón (salsa).


Museo de Artes Decorativas

Cale 17 e/ D y E. Vedado. Tel: 830-

9848. — Exhibition: Vases in the

history of decorative arts.

Basílica Menor de San Francisco

de Asís

Oficios e/ Amargura y Churruca,

Habana Vieja. Tel.: 862-9683 — All

of July: “The genius of Leonardo

da Vinci. “ Fri. 13th (4 p.m.):

Exhibition opening: “Las orillas

de la memoria“ by Miguel Vizoso


Casa Asia

Mercaderes e/ Obrapía y Obispo,

Habana Vieja. Tel: 863-9740. — All

of July: exhibitions on traditional

Asian dress and tourism in Asia.

Oswaldo Guayasamín

Calle Obrapía e/ Oficios y

Mercaderes, Habana Vieja. Tel:

862-2611 — Fri. July 6 (3 p.m.):

Exhibition opening: Jewelry by

Verenice Guayasamín.



rd Encounter of Casino & Salsa Dance Academies & Dancers, Jul 12 - 16, Varadero

Sun. July 8, Gran Teatro de La Habana

CorHabana festival, July 3-7, Teatro Amadeo Roldan & other venues




Page 9: The Havana Reporter

Centro de la Danza

Prado e/ Genios y Refugio, Habana

Vieja. Tel. 866-0806 — Fri. July 6 (3

p.m.) Fraternal encounter between

Afro-Cuban dance company

Raices Profundas and Venezuelan

traditional dance group Asi es Mi

Tierra, with performances by both


Teatro Nacional de Cuba

Paseo y 39, Plaza de la Revolución,

Habana. Tel: 879-6011 — Sala

Covarrubias. Fri. July 27, Sat. 28

(8:30 p.m.) & Sun. 29 (5 p.m.):

Contemporary dance company

Narcico Medina performs “Narciso

en el Umbral de la Semilla” as part

of a tour that continues on to the

United States.


Gran Teatro de La Habana

Prado e/ San Rafael y San Jose.

Habana Vieja. Tel: 861-5873 —

Garcia Lorca hall. Thurs. July 5 and

Fri. July 6 : Special show celebrating

graduation of the National Ballet’s

Vocational Workshop. Sun. July 8 :

Gala performance by the National

Ballet for 50th anniversary of the

Institute for Friendship with the

Peoples & European Solidarity


Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

Trocadero e/ Monserrate y

Zulueta, Habana Vieja. Tel. 861-

0241 — Edificio de Arte Cubano.

Until July 22: “Cuando Caen las

Fronteras” by Abel Barroso.

Palacio de Lombillo

Empedrado esq. Mercaderes,

Habana Vieja. — Fri. July 6 (4 p.m.):

Exhibition opening: “Aplicaciones”,

by Raylven Friman.

Museo de Naipes

Muralla e Inquisidor. Plaza Vieja.

Habana Vieja. Tel: 860-1534 — Sat.

July 7 (10:30 a. m.): Exhibition

opening: “El Mus: intimidades de

un lenguaje divertido.”

Casa Victor Hugo

Tue. July 10 (4 p.m.): Exhibition

opening: Impressionist decorative

porcelain, joint exhibit with the

City Museum.

Museo de la Orfebreria

Calle Obispo e/ Oficios y

Mercaderes Habana Vieja. Tel:

863-9861— Fri. July 13 (3 p.m.):

Exhibition opening: “Llaves

antiguas de la ciudad”, Michel Toll




(THR is not responsible for any changes made by sponsoring organizations)

rd Encounter of Casino & Salsa Dance Academies


July 12 - 16

Salsa and casino dancers and representatives from dance academies

around the world come together to enjoy dance classes and

workshops at Cuba’s famous beach resort, Varadero. Prestigious

Cuban arts schools professors will provide the classes during the day

-- including mambo, chachachá, rumba and son -- and participants

will enjoy evening performances by some of the island’s best dance


Main venue: Hotel Barcelo Solymar, Carretera Las Américas km. 3,

Varadero, Matanzas, Tel: (45) 61-4499

National Ballet of CubaGran Teatro de La Habana, Sala Garcia Lorca

Performance celebrating the graduation of the Vocational Workshop

of the National Ballet’s Cátedra de Danza.

Gala performance dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Cuban

Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and the 40th

anniversary of the creation of the European Cuba Solidarity Brigade.

“Elegy to a young man. Fabio Di Celmo In Memoriam,” a choreography

inspired by the story of the victim of a terrorist attack on a Cuban hotel,

representing moral and human values of these times. Choreography:

Alicia Alonso, Score: Antonio Vivaldi, Costumes: Pedro Moreno, Sets:

Ricardo Reymena.

CORHABANA9th International Choral Music Festival

Cuban and international choirs participate in this annual choral festival,

featuring performances in the city’s main concert halls, workshops,

and masters´s classes. The Festival’s 9th edition will be dedicated

to the work of maestros Electo Silva and Leo Brouwer. The Amadeo

Roldán Theatre will be the main venue of the festival, along with the

Basílica Menor de San Francisco de Asís, Oratorio de San Felipe Neri,

Iglesia de Paula and the Centro Hispanoamericano de Cultura. For

more information, contact:

Teatro Amadeo Roldan

Calzada esq. a D, Vedado, Havana. Tel: 832-4521-22

Page 10: The Havana Reporter

Cuba’s Conjunto Folclórico: 50 Years of Popular TraditionBy NubiaPIQUERAS


HAVANA._ The creation of contemporary

performing arts based on popular

traditions is one of the main contributions

of Conjunto Folclórico Nacional (Afro-

Cuban Music and Dance Group, CFN) to the

development of the Cuban culture along

its 50 years of existence.

In statements to Prensa Latina, the co-

founder of this emblematic Cuban group,

Rogelio Martínez Furé, said that in this

dialectic process, men and women from

this century have been able to create their

own forms of artistic discourse, without

forgetting the origins because, as an

African proverb goes, the future is full of

unforeseen events.

At the same time, the influence of

Cuban music and dance, key elements in

the company’s performances, has helped

enrich the cultural values, patrimony, and

historical identity of Cuba as a nation on all

international venues, he added.

As a lifetime apprentice, as Martínez

Furé called himself, there have been

ups and downs during the CFN 50 years

of existence, but also friends who have

helped become into professional artists

a series of dancers, musicians, and singers

who have inherited a rich popular cultural


“In any case, we have always welcomed

every positive trend; urban and rural,

experimental, old and new, sacred and

profane; as part of an assimilation process,”

affirmed Furé, who is also professor,

researcher, and writer.

Meanwhile, the group’s director,

Manolo Micler, mentioned the show

recently presented at the Mella Theater as

part of the activities marking company the

50th anniversary.

Referring to future projects, Micler

mentioned a tour of Cuba´s eastern region,

the group’s participation at the Cervantino

Festival in Mexico, and at the Salsa Festival

in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

In addition, they will perform in several

Cuban provinces along with Conjunto

de Danza Tradicional (Traditional Dance

Group) from Venezuela, where activities

for the CFN anniversary started recently.

Founded on May 7, 1962 by Martínez

Furé and the Mexican Rodolfo Aries

Cortés, Conjunto Folclórico Nacional has

won numerous international awards, and

enriched its repertoire with such pieces

as Alafín de Oyó, Ciclos arará, Palenque,

and Tríptico oriental, works acclaimed by

the most diverse audiences in Europe,

Latin America, and Africa.

Page 11: The Havana Reporter



Havana._ In the center of Havana’s colonial district, tucked between tall buildings

on each side, the Bodeguita del Medio restaurant and bar beckons to passers-by

with its unusual sign, advertising what continues to be a unique spot in Cuba.

Locals and visitors drop in to taste one of the delicious Cuban dishes prepared

here; sip a delicious, world-famous mojito cocktail, listen to traditional Cuban

music and enjoy warm, friendly service. Songs like “Guantanamera,” “Chan Chan”

and “Hasta siempre, comandante” are staples for the ever-present musicians as

diners enjoy roast pork, exquisite black beans, rice and other favorites.

Graffiti on the walls, doors, and columns testify to the celebrities from all over the

world who were won over by the bohemian atmosphere of La Bodeguita. Their

signatures blend in with thousands of others.

According to Alejo Carpentier, the eminent Cuban novelist, as Paris’s

Montparnasse became decadent, that it was when La Bodeguita sprang up, and

like any meeting ground for bohemians, it has been the venue ever since for love

affairs, romance, happiness, dreams and more.

La Bodeguita del MedioUnique Bit of Cuban Bohemia

Page 12: The Havana Reporter

Venezuelan Government Empowers Women By DamyVALES

CARACAS._ The government of

President Hugo Chávez is ensuring

a more active role for women by

implementing policies to strengthen

gender equality through by fostering

women’s economic, social, and political


According to Judith López, Vice

President of the Women’s Institute

(INAMUJER), because his campaign

platform had included advocating the

need to achieve gender equality as an

essential component of a just society.

“The Bolivarian government has

made Venezuelan women visible

in society. We now have the Equal

Opportunities for Women Act, the Law

on the Right of Women to a Life Free

of Violence and 46 courts that hear

gender-based cases, working with 63

prosecutor’s offices and 138 municipal

institutions,” she told Prensa Latina.

Lopez, who is an economist said,

the first concrete action taken for

strengthening women’s rights was the

creation of an emergency hotline for

women. Initially it operated for one hour

daily, but now it operates 24 hours a

day, seven days weekly, along with a 112

emergency number, which was adopted

some time later.

The fact that the number receives

more than 5,000 calls daily is evidence

of women’s awareness about their

indisputable right to a life free of

violence, she said.

“The Venezuelan government’s

strategic objective is to eliminate gender

inequality,” she said. That requires

systemic transformation of society as a

whole, “because it is impossible to get rid

of this problem, which is a public health

issue, in a capitalist society,” López said.

She said other achievements

included the 2001 creation of the

Women’s Development Bank, which

provides financial and other services

to women giving them productive

tools for participating in the country’s

socioeconomic development. That

institution strengthens public

microfinance with an approach based

on gender, class, and ethnicity. With

respect to ethnicity, López noted that

in 2006, the Afro-descendant Women´s

Coordinating Committee was created to

address cases of discrimination against

women from different ethnic groups

and abuse of indigenous women. In

2011 the first municipal institute for

Indigenous Women Services was created

in Alto Orinoco in Amazonas state. That

institute currently provides services for

women from the Piaroa, Yanomami, Baré,

Yekuana, Jivi, and Arawaka ethnic groups.

As an entity attached to the Ministry

of Women’s Affairs, INAMUJER’s role

is to prevent violence against women

through information, workshops, and

presentations in the community, as well

as to help raise awareness about the

need to achieve gender equality.

The Venezuelan legal system

recognizes a total of 19 types of

violence, López said. Since 2001, reports

of violence have been mostly cases of

psychological abuse, followed by cases

of sexual harassment and physical and

sexual attacks. Among other aspects,

López highlighted the importance of

a government program called Mission

Madres del Barrio (“Mothers of the

Neighborhood”) reduce women’s


According to article 67 of the

Organic Law on the Right of Women to

a Life Free of Violence, anyone accused

of violence against women must enroll in

programs aimed at helping them change

their behavior and preventing them from

committing similar acts again.

The increasing participation of

Venezuelan women in the political,

public, and legislative sectors is one of

the most visible achievements in their

fight for social equality.

Efforts by the Venezuelan

government to ensure women’s rights

might be summarized in a statement

by Chávez: “The peoples cannot attain

their full independence if women are

not truly independent. I am convinced

that a genuine socialist also must be an

authentic feminist.”


Investors Set Their Sights on Latin AmericaBy MarioESQUIVEL

HAVANA.- The positive performance shown by Latin

American economies, with a projected 3.7 percent increase

in overall gross domestic product for 2012, makes the region

an attractive target for foreign direct investment (FDI).

Figures recently disclosed by the Economic Commission

for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) corroborate

this view, after the region’s FDI experienced a record high

of about $153.44 billion in 2011.

The previous record high was reported in 2008, when

that indicator stood at $137 billion, but the following year

it dropped drastically to $81.58 billion, due to the world

financial crisis.

Experts agree that the 2011 record high is an interesting

one because it corresponds to a period when the effects of

the euro zone crisis began to be felt, weighed down by the

sovereign debt issue.

Signs of the upcoming upward trend had already

been perceived in 2010, when some $120.88 billion in

different forms of FDI were reported. ECLAC said that the

amount registered last year accounted for 10 percent

of the world total. During the period analyzed, Brazil

was Latin America’s largest FDI recipient, with $66.60

billion, accounting for 43.8 percent of the regional total.

In addition, the amounts reported by Chile ($17.29

billion), Colombia ($13.23 billion), Peru ($7.65 billion),

and Uruguay ($2.52 billion) represented record highs for

those countries.

In Central America, FDI experienced a 36 percent

increase on a year-on-year basis, and in the Caribbean, FDI

income grew 20 percent.

The ECLAC survey also mentioned the sectors

most attractive for foreign investment, with 57 percent

invested in natural resources, especially mining, oil, and

gas. The service sector accounted for 36 percent of FDI,

and manufacturing, just seven percent. Amid these

circumstances, the ECLAC called for the promotion of

polices for guiding FDI and making the best use of its

potential benefits, including the transfer of knowledge

and technology. The commission also called for increasing

local capacities by strengthening national innovation

mechanisms, creating production chains, training human

resources, and developing local businesses.

The European Union as a whole was the largest

foreign direct investor in Latin America, averaging

some $30 billion annually, followed by the United

States, Spain, and Japan. Taking this situation into

consideration, experts warned of possible effects that

the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis might have on the

flow of capital from Europe. According to ECLAC, that

crisis could affect exports, price policies, foreign direct

investment, remittances, and tourism, as well as other


Regarding finance, it could be difficult to access lines

of credit, markets could become volatile and there could

be capital flight toward the central banks of industrialized


Of course, a recession in Europe and in other

industrialized economies would result in reduced demand

for goods, with a consequent decrease in Latin American

exports and price cuts for its basic products.



: Wal





Page 13: The Havana Reporter

MANAGUA._ Without any patient

being charged a penny, more than

94,000 Nicaraguans have recovered

their eyesight as part of Operation

Miracle, a program to provide vision

restoration surgery trough the

humane touch of Cuban doctors.

“It might seem modest, but those

are 94,000 people, and behind them,

thousands of others are working away,

not just healthcare personnel, not

just Cubans; regular are also making

a huge effort,” Health Minister Sonia

Castro said.

Initially, these services were

provided in places such as Ciudad

Sandino, Matagalpa and Bluefields,

but subsequently, on instructions from

President Daniel Ortega, mobile surgical

posts were created to reach every corner

of the country.

In February 2012, this new experience

began in one of the poorest regions of

this small Central American nation: the

so-called Triángulo Minero. Siuna was

the town chosen, and in short period,

restorative eye surgery was provided

to more than 500 patients from the

towns of Paiwas, Mulu-kukú, Prinzapolka

and Mina Rosita, with the help of local

authorities who provided transportion.

Community organizations and

municipal governments, in particular

city councils run by the Sandinistas

(members of the ruling Sandinista

National Liberation Front), provide

food and transport to ensure access by

residents who live in remote areas.

May 1 marked the fifth anniversary

of the Cuban Operation Miracle group

in Nicaragua. “They have been going

non-stop since ever they came,” Castro

said, referring to the family doctors,

ophthalmologists and optometrists who

keep records of every case and conduct

laboratory analyses. This is “an effort

involving Christian, socialist and solidarity-

based accompaniment,” that only friendly

countries are capable of generating, as a way

of restoring the rights of the large majority of

people, she said.

According to Health Ministry

statistics, a cataract operation, which

involves the implant of an intraocular

lens, costs from $1,000 to $1,500 in a

private Nicaraguan clinic, making it

inaccessible for most of the population

in this country, which is considered

among the most impoverished in the

Western hemisphere.

As the result of an initiative by Cuban

leader Fidel Castro and Venezuelan

President Hugo Chávez, Operation

Miracle is one of the programs of the

ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples

of Our America), an organization that

promotes unity and cooperation based

on the principles of solidarity and

justice, according to its creators.

For Cuba, Operation Miracle

represents the expansion of a decades-

long practice: approximately 135,000

Cuban health workers have participated

in medical cooperation missions under

the principles of free service and

universal access, according to reports by

the Cuban Health Ministry.

Currently, 38,868 Cuban health

professionals, 15,000 of whom are doctors,

are working in 66 nations, said Yiliam

Jiménez, director of the Health Ministry’s

Medical Cooperation Central Unit.

BUENOS AIRES._ At the age of 44,

oil engineer Miguel Galuccio has just

accepted the greatest challenge of his

professional life: creating a new identity

for Argentina’s recently-renationalized

gas and oil company, YPF.

After graduating from the Instituto

Tecnológico Buenos Aires, Galuccio

began working at YPF, the country’s

largest and most important company,

from 1994 to 1999. After the Spanish oil

company Repsol bought YPF, Galuccio

quit because he disagreed with the new

management system.

Shortly after assuming his new post

as YPF chief executive a few weeks ago,

this Argentine engineer expressed

his decision to work for YPF again as

a company with “a nationalist sense,

which is competitive, enterprising,

modern, a leader in the oil industry, and

central to the development of Argentina’s oil industry.”

“We must seek our own identity, and we have a

concrete plan for YPF to become the world’s number

one expert in the revival of marginal oilfields, and

a leader in the development of non-conventional

resources,” he noted.

“We also aim to turn YPF into an exporter of professional

services for the development of downstream projects

throughout Latin America,” Galuccio added.

The opinion of this professional, who until very recently

was the highest-placed Latin American executive at oil-

services giant Schlumberger Ltd, is in line with that held

by Argentine President Cristina Fernández.

In announcing Galuccio’s appointment as YPF general

manager in early May, Fernández said that the company

was beginning a new stage of professionalization and of

alignment with national interests. Cristina recalled that

when the YPF nationalization bill was sent to Congress, she

stressed the need for the company to have a

professional profile, which “does not mean

that YPF will lack political leadership,” the

president clarified, and adding Galluccio’s

appointment was meant to achieve that.

On May 3, the Chamber of Deputies

passed the YPF nationalization draft bill

208-32 with five abstentions. Shortly

before, the Senate had passed it 63-3 with

four abstentions.

Cristina Fernández gave the green

light to the draft bill in Congress on April

16. The bill states that oil self-sufficiency,

prospecting, drilling, industrialization,

and distribution were matters of national

public interest. In explaining the decision

to renationalize YPF, which was privatized

in 1992, Cristina insisted it was imperative

for the country to regain control of

resources that are strategic and vital.

She also said that due to poor

management by Spain’s Repsol between 2001 and 2011,

the country’s oil reserves had shrunk by 50 percent. Last

year’s low production levels forced Argentina to import

gas and oil for the first time ever, she added.

If the practice of asset stripping, non-production,

and non-prospecting had continued, Argentina would

have become an unviable country, not because of a lack

of resources but because of poor business policies, the

president stressed.

Argentine Newly Re-Nationalized Oil Company Seeks New IdentityBy MoisésPÉREZ




: AP.



: Cés

ar P



Operation Miracle’s 5th Anniversary in NicaraguaBy María J.MAYORAL

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez announces a bill to nationalize Spain’s controlled oil company YPF, at Government House in Buenos Aires, Argentina,

Page 14: The Havana Reporter

Lefersa Keeps Cuba’s Bread RisingBy MasielFERNÁNDEZ


HAVANA._ Ten years after its founding,

Levaduras y Fermentos S.A, (Lefersa),

continues to play an essential role in

providing instant dry yeast for domestic

consumption and reducing the cost of


The plant, the only one of its kind in

Cuba, is located in Santa Cruz del Norte,

Mayabeque province, and operates in

association with the Lesaffre Group of

France, one of the world’s leading yeast


“The main goal of this plant is to produce

dry yeast for the domestic market,” the

plant’s general director, Raciel Alfaro, said

in an interview. A large variety of domestic

raw materials are used in the production

process, such as sugar cane molasses, the

most important ingredient.

The plant uses advanced technology,

and a number of the production stages are

fully automated, he said. Lefersa is currently

being reorganized to be able to meet

growing domestic demand with increased

domestic production, he said. “The fact

that a ton of yeast is currently valued at

nearly $4,000 on the international market

is something that cannot be ignored, Alfaro

noted. Domestic demand for yeast is about

2,400 tons annually, exceeding the plant’s

annual production of 2,200 tons. The main

challenge is to meet domestic demand, but

Lefersa also hopes to export in the long

term, Alfaro said.

Immediate plans include reorganizing

equipment, increasing possibilities for

expansion and seeking more viable

alternatives for investment, he said.

Quality control is maintained with

strict hygiene measures throughout the

production process, the plant director

said. A chemical lab and a microbiology

lab monitor the different variables during

yeast production, “because yeast is a living

microorganism that is given to undergoing

changes at any time,” he explained.


When Lefersa was created 10 years ago,

the idea was to replace baker’s yeast


At that time, four plants in Cuba were

producing fresh yeast, which requires

refrigeration and has a use-life of

approximately 21 days. Because of its high

moisture content, it remains biologically

active, and when it lacks nutrients, it

degrades and dies, as if it were feeding off

itself, explained Fernando Travieso, quality

control and development director at the

Lafersa plant.

For that reason, it was decided to

produce instant dry yeast, which requires

no refrigeration, has a much longer life

shelf than fresh yeast (up to two years

under optimum storage conditions) and

helps bread rise faster. During the bread-

making process, there is less handling of

this kind of yeast, because it is directly

added to the dough, so the procedure is

more hygienic, Travieso said.

After 10 years of keeping Cuba’s bread

rising, this enterprise is committed to

increasing its productivity, both to fully

meet national demand and to open up

the way to the international market in the

future, its directors said.

HAVANA._ The Cuban agricultural model is eco-friendly,

says the UN´s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

representative in Cuba, Marcio Porto.

According to Porto, .the economic crisis of the 1990s

in Cuba forced the country to make a good agricultural

decision saving means growing.

Cuba managed to develop sustainable technologies

to obtain the same amount of products that it used to

produce with chemicals and other supplies, he added.

There is no doubt that this practice helps preserve

the soil, and make a more efficient use of water and other

natural resources, Porto told Prensa Latina. In his view, the

research work done by Cuban scientific institutions helps

to improve the quality of agriculture and its sustainability

with regards to the environment.

Porto recalled that when he was working at FAO

headquarters in Rome, Italy, Cuban researchers used to drop

by to present their research and brand-new technologies.

Most of the times, these technologies used materials

that other people did not use, but they were cheaper and

effective, because they were in harmony with ecology, he

explained. They used low-cost biodegradable materials that

were as effective as the plastics or other costly materials used

in other countries, he added. Cuba is an interesting example

of how to create technologies in times of crisis, and of how

much the people can develop their capabilities to produce

more with less, Porto sustained. Commenting on the

International Seminar on Urban and Suburban Agriculture

recently held in Havana, he said the meeting provided space

to coordinate urban and suburban agricultural projects in

Latin America and the Caribbean. The objective is to agree

on a regional strategy to improve food and nutrition security

in the region, Porto stressed.

The Eco-Friendly Cuban Agriculture Model By RobertoSALOMÓN

Page 15: The Havana Reporter


HAVANA._ Cuba has become a world chess powerhouse,

according to Cuban Grand master Silvino García, president

of the National Chess Federation.

“This sport has developed so much here, that we have

our hands full with all of the chess players who have won

titles from the international federation,” García said in an


Cuba has many children with talent and tremendous

potential for chess, and a number of young chess players

who are very close to the top, such as Carlos Hevia, who

has an Elo rating of 2545, a figure yet that is out of reach for

many players around the world.

In America, only Cuba and the United States have

chess players with Elo ratings higher than 2700, and Cuba

has earned that distinction without the resources that

other countries have, García said. He noted that chess has

become widespread and popular in Cuba, and that there

are programs for developing an interest in chess among

extremely young children. “Not very far in the future, we

can aspire to having a champion — if not a world champion,

then a player very close to the top — at all times,” he said.

According to García, there are great expectations

surrounding the performance of the Cuban team that

will go to the coming World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul,

Turkey. The team has extremely strong players, such as

Leinier Domínguez and Lázaro Bruzón, both of whom have

Elo ratings of over 2700. Cuba’s players recently acquired

further “very positive” experience with the 47th Capablanca

Memorial tournament, which was held in early May at the

Hotel Habana Riviera, and which provided possibilities for

fostering links with other federations, Garcia said.

According to the Cuban GM, this traditional Cuban

tournament is a “global paradigm” due to its continuity

over the years, along with its contributions to Cuban and

universal culture, and for enabling the training of different

generations of chess players from Cuba and Latin America.

Cuba is a World Chess PowerhouseBy AdrianMENGANA



: Mig






Cuban Grand master Silvino García, president of the National Chess Federation, Cuban Grand master Leinier Domínguez and Cuban Grand master Lázaro Bruzón. (from left to right)

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Page 16: The Havana Reporter


HAVANA._ With almost two decades of

experience as a therapeutic clown, Joan

Barrington of Toronto recently shared

some of the tools of the trade with

members of the Cuban children’s theater

troupe La Colmenita.

Barrington traveled to the island in

March to hold an introductory workshop

on therapeutic clowning with 13 La

Colmenita artists, who then put their

learning into practice at the William

Soler Pediatric Teaching Hospital in the

Cuban capital.

Using laughter to heal the soul and

relieve the pain of thousands of child

hospital patients is the goal of this work

by Barrington. As one of the founders of

the Canadian Association of Therapeutic

Clowns, she helped start up therapeutic

clown programs in pediatric hospitals

across Canada, and is the founder of

Therapeutic Clowns International. “My

work is exhausting, but it is a gratifying

exhaustion,” she said in an interview

after a two-hour visit to the William Soler

Hospital with her Cuban pupils.

When she puts on her makeup and

costume and becomes Bunky, her clown

persona, Barrington brightens the

hearts of children who are hospitalized,

sometimes for months, bringing her

supreme satisfaction. “It´s very hard

to be a clown, especially a therapeutic

clown,” she said. “It´s like you´re from

another planet. You are accompanying

children who, in addition to their physical

condition, suffer from the anxiety and

sadness that come with being in a


The La Colmenita members who took

her course are 19 to 25 years old, but are

seasoned performers, having begun their

stage lives as children with the troupe,

directed by Carlos Alberto Cremata. One

theme they studied with Barrington was

“finding your inner clown.”

“The idea is to put yourself at the level

of the sick child, and create a harmonious

environment, not just for the patient, but

also for the parents, staff and visitors,” she

explained. “Our work is about building

trust through offering choices, and

bringing imagination and inclusive play

to the bedside. This is about the patients,

not about the clown. It means being a

playmate alongside these children in

their journey through their illness.”

The therapy centers on play; it is in the

nature of a child to play, Barrington noted.

“Why should children stop playing just

because they have to live in a hospital?”

Techniques she shared with the La

Colmenita members included how to

play with a child who is in isolation, or

hooked up to an IV or lying in bed, without

invading that child’s space. During their

visit to the hospital, the group moved

from floor to floor, turning heads with

their bright costumes, and using skits,

tricks and sterile toys to draw smiles and

laughter from babies, children, parents

and staff.

“Seeing the children laugh has been

one of the most gratifying experiences

of my life,” said troupe member Amalia

Rojas, 19, who began performing at the

age of 4. “The clowning workshop gave

us a new tool to bring joy to children, like

we do every day in La Colmenita.”

The La Colmenita group will begin

bringing their laugh therapy on a regular

basis to the William Soler Hospital and

other health centers, according to the

hospital´s director.


Together for a Labor of LoveBy MaylínVIDAL



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