Interesting news and information articles to start your week recommended by Rob Sequin of Havana Journal. In no particular order…
Cuba-related donations are down this electoral cycle
By Juan Tamayo | El Nuevo Herald
Would-be donors say business is bad, there’s fatigue over the Cuba issue, and little chance Congress can change course on Cuba policies.
Just weeks short of the Nov. 7 elections, donors and political action committees linked to Cuba issues are notable by their absence from the campaign.
John Henry Cabañas, the pro-Castro Miami businessman who donated $75,000 to President Barack Obama’s coffers in 2008 and $14,400 to Joe Garcia’s bid for a U.S. congressional seat in 2010, has given them nothing this year.
The U.S. Cuba Now Political Action Committee, created last year to support candidates who favor ending the U.S. embargo, reported in its most recent filing with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) that it had collected only $6,600.
The pro-sanctions U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, which collected $803,000 in 2008, reported taking in $360,000 in its most recent filing to the FEC and said it planned to hit $650,000-$700,00 by Election Day.
Would-be donors say the low levels of Cuba-related contributions this year are due to the slow economy, fatigue with the issue and the likelihood that Congress, stalemated between Democrats and Republicans, can’t significantly change course on Cuba.
US says there is no deal with Cuba for release of imprisoned American Alan Gross
By Associated Press
A U.S. State Department spokesperson said Thursday the U.S. does not see any willingness on Cuba’s part to seriously discuss the release of imprisoned American contactor Alan Gross, and urged Havana to send him home as a humanitarian gesture.
State Department spokeswoman Neda Brown was responding to a senior Cuban diplomat’s comment Wednesday that her country was prepared to negotiate a solution in the case and was awaiting a U.S. response.
Job opening: Senior Producer, Reuters Television, Cuba Job
Title: Senior Producer, Reuters Television, Cuba
Reuters Television is looking for a dynamic, multi-skilled video journalist to run our video operation in Cuba. The job entails running a small team covering news, sports and feature stories on the island. The candidate must possess superior shooting and editing skills and have a keen grasp on the key stories in Cuba and the region and how to illustrate them for a global audience. The candidate must have a proven record of working under pressure to tight deadlines and spearheading large scale live coverage. The successful candidate must show an ability to work in a multimedia environment and come armed with ideas across the full range of output - covering breaking news and contributing original story ideas for Showbiz, Life!,
Innovations and other niche feeds. The candidate should have a good track record on running a video operation and take an active part in planning key news events.
Proven track record shooting high-quality news video in a range of environments, including hostile ones
Strong news judgment, ability to generate original story ideas
Ability to edit video to key deadlines
Fluency in Spanish and basic English essential
Ability to script and file shotlists
Willingness to work irregular hours including public holidays
Willingness to travel on foreign assignments at short notice, including to hostile environments
The successful candidate must have at least five years experience as a video journalist
Job: News & Editorial
Primary Location: United States
Organization: Reuters News Specialists
Education Level: Technical Diploma (±12 years)
Job Segments: Creative, Journalism, Multimedia, Publishing, TV
Miami’s Best Flan: Versailles, Cuban Guys, Little Havana and More
By Alex Rodriguez | Miami New Times
If there’s anything that describes Miami, it’s flan.
Sweet and silky, not too firm, not too soft, creamy or supple… and that’s just the people. Flan moves to its own rhythm. Its curves are as sexy as a salsa dancer on a hardwood dance floor—and it’s twice as easy to take home.
A good flan is one that’s balanced in all flavors (sweet, eggy, creamy, and caramelized). If it’s baked properly, the inside is smooth, with no sign of air bubbles. It shouldn’t be too gelatinous or too firm, and should always hold its form. A good flan uses the flavors to compliment one another without any being especially predominant.
The Havana Genius Bar
By Elien Blue Becque | Business Week
When my iPhone slipped from the back of the tank and into the toilet, I snatched it out immediately. Though at first all seemed fine, it soon switched off and remained unresponsive.
“It’s toast,” was the verdict from Grant, an Apple store Genius. “We don’t deem it really, like, worth it to replace the inner components of the shell of a broken phone. I’ll throw that guy away and get you a brand new one.” Grant said I’d have to buy a new phone for $649 (or a refurbished one for $150). I was about to leave on a trip to Cuba, where my phone wasn’t going to work anyway. So I thanked him and left.
On my second day in Havana I pass a small electronics store in the once-upscale Vedado neighborhood and stop in. Fishing the useless slab from my bag, I ask, “Is there anyone who might know how to fix this?” The woman at the counter heads to the back and returns with a thin slip of paper bearing an address in the Miramar neighborhood.
A kid wearing white-framed Ray-Bans nods when I knock on the green plywood door at the destination. His name is Andy, and he’s confident he can fix my problem. Removing the tiny screws that hold the glass cover in place, he begins a rapid disassembly. I have to admit Andy seems less impressed with my fancy phone than I might have expected. “How often do you fix an iPhone?” I ask. “Daily,” he replies.
How creative entrepreneurs are enlivening Miami’s Little Havana
By Kaid Benfield | Switchboard: Natural Resource Defense Council Blog
I think something special may be happening in Little Havana, the neighborhood that serves as the social and cultural heart of Miami’s Cuban-American community. I am far from a local when
it comes to things Floridian, but I have a cluster of good friends in Miami, most of them involved in the worlds of community thinking and design. Not long ago, Little Havana started coming up repeatedly in their conversations. I decided to do some research, and now I see what the buzz is about.
A loosely defined district covering around three square miles just west of downtown Miami and housing some 50,000 residents, the neighborhood has a strong and proud Hispanic identity, reinforced by its visible components. There’s a monthly arts and culture festival; one of the largest annual celebrations of Carnival in the world, along Calle Ocho (8th Street, the area’s main drag); many small ethnic businesses; a wealth of historic properties and markers; and the Miami Marlins’ baseball stadium, where the famous Orange Bowl used to be.
Indeed, LittleHavanaGuide.com lists a dozen important neighborhood assets, including architecture, art, baseball, botanicas (shops carrying traditional spiritual and religious products), cigar factories and stores, cuisine, legendary games of dominoes, festivals, a central location, music and dance, affordability, and theater and film. The community is overwhelmingly Hispanic, now including residents whose families derive from Central America as well as those linked to Cuba. It contains some of the oldest and most historic buildings in Miami, including many fine examples of classic bungalow architecture. It is, in short, a place brimming with what, for lack of a better word, we call “character.”
The Oswaldo Payá mystery continues
By Jackson Diehl | Washington Post
On the evening of July 22, a string of revealing text messages and phone calls circulated between Cuba, Sweden and Spain and back to Cuba — where Oswaldo Payá, one of the country’s bravest and most influential dissidents, was lying dead on a rural highway. That, anyway, is the story of Regis Iglesias Ramirez, an associate of Payá and former political prisoner who says he is determined to expose what he believes was a state-sponsored murder.
Marta Beatriz Roque and Five Cuban Dissidents Continue 6 day Hunger Strike
Despite feeling frail, a group of Cuban dissidents are continuing their week long hunger strike to demand the released on an imprisoned colleague.
Rosa Maria Naranjo, one of the five people who joined the hunger strike led by dissident economist Marta Beatriz Roque, told Efe on Sunday that she and her fellow strikers felt “very weak” and some of them “are going downhill,” but adding that “we will continue until there is a response” from the Cuban government to their demand.
The opposition members involved in the group protest are demanding that Cuban authorities release political prisoner Jorge Vazquez Chaviano, whom they say has already completed his sentence and should have been set free on Sept. 9 in the central province of Villa Clara, and also to denounce the “difficult” situation in which they say the communist island’s internal dissident movement finds itself.