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Posted January 30, 2006 by Cubana in Castro's Cuba

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Prague Daily Monitor

HAVANA, Jan 26 (CTK)

Czech supermodel Helena Houdova and psychologist Mariana Kroftova were detained in Cuba on Monday when Houdova was taking photographs of a slum in the capital of Havana, Reuters news agency reported today.

The two women spent 11 hours in police custody.

Houdova, Czech Miss 1999 has lived for a second year mainly in New York and Los Angeles doing modelling. At the same time she tries to raise money to help children with social and health handicaps in nine countries the world over.

One of its projects is the Sunflower foundation fund.

Houdova said that she went to Cuba to find out how she could help children in the communist country.

She said that during their detention neither she nor Kroftova were allowed to contact the Czech embassy.

They were released after they pledged in writing that they will not join any “counter-revolutionary activities” in the country, Houdova said.

They were also ordered not to leave Havana until Sunday when they are to end their stay in the country.

Cuban police also confiscated Houdova’s film, but she said she had succeeded in hiding the memory card from her digital camera in her bra.

“They screamed at us. We were afraid,” Houdova said, adding “we grew up under communism and know what it is like.”

Czech-Cuban political relations have been frozen since the fall of communism in then Czechoslovakia in 1989. The reason is the Czech criticism of the ruling political regime in Cuba.

The Czech Republic has tried several times to push through the U.N. resolutions criticising the state of human rights in Cuba.

Cuban authorities detained among others Jan Bubenik and deputy Ivan Pilip who met local dissidents during their private stay in Cuba in 2001.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on January 30, 2006 by ElaineMiami

    If Miss Houdova is truly interested in helping children, she should go instead to places like Haiti, Guatemala and El Salvador, where children don’t have even the basics in medical care and are severely mal-nourished.  I’ve gone to Cuba, rented a car and traveled the island at my leisure, and took pictures everywhere I went, without ever being questioned once on what I was doing.  Perhaps there is is more to Miss Houdova and her reasons for being in Cuba that are not mentioned in this article?


  2. Follow up post #2 added on February 11, 2006 by Kathleen

    Re Czech model’s detention, I agree with Elaine from Miami.  Have been travelling to Cuba for more than 30 years, many parts of the island, and have also seen Haiti, Mexico City, and others.  Cuban status of child welfare (food, education, medical) is to be applauded, as is the level of Cuban family support and caring for their children.


  3. Follow up post #3 added on August 03, 2006 by Billy

    Hi, guys, for those saying good things about that system, like my grandfather used to say: WHEN YOU GO ON HOLIDAYS, EVEN HELL IS A NICE PLACE TO VISIT!!!. They should move to Havana for a year, if they love that system so much and live ONLY with ” LA LIBRETA” [the little book] and a Cuban salary ONLY [Since ANYTHING YOU DO TO GENERATE EXTRA INCOME is prohibited]. And then, come back here after to write some great comments about that system.
    I am sure you don’t want to get sick in a place where there are lot’s of doctors [so they say, they are now in Venezuela] and no medicines. [Medicines for tourists and foreigners only]
    And you don’t want your kids to be raised in a place where being educated means being brain washed with political doctrines to serve one guy.
    I am sure that if you moved to one of those other countries you have visited you would do better than in that island.


  4. Follow up post #4 added on August 03, 2006 by Billy

    Hi, guys, for those saying good things about that system, like my grandfather used to say: WHEN YOU GO ON HOLIDAYS, EVEN HELL IS A NICE PLACE TO VISIT!!!. They should move to Havana for a year, if they love that system so much and live ONLY with ” LA LIBRETA” [the little book] and a Cuban salary ONLY [Since ANYTHING YOU DO TO GENERATE EXTRA INCOME is prohibited]. And then, come back here after to write some great comments about that system.
    Because you don’t want to get sick in a place where there are lot’s of doctors [so they say, they are now in Venezuela] and no medicines. [Medicines for tourists and foreigners only]
    And you don’t want your kids to be raised in a place where being educated means being brain washed with political doctrines to serve one guy.
    I am sure that if you moved to one of those other countries you have visited you would do better than in that island.


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