Maggie Alarcón

Posts Tagged ‘Rep Ileana Ros Lehtinen’

Menos voces en BBC Mundo.

In Politics on March 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm



Me llamó la atención que en la entrada del Sr. Hernando Álvarez de la BBC no hubiera comentario alguno e intenté enviar uno.

Más abajo verán el comentario que intenté publicar en el sitio de BBC Mundo.

No hay forma que lo publiquen. Al parecer, quieren más voces desde Cuba pero en la BBC no quieren oír más que sus propias memeces.


“Me van a tener que disculpar los directivos de la BBC y con el mayor respeto, no entiendo. Cómo el Sr. Álvarez nos cuenta que con Cartas desde Cuba, “Hubo polémica, debates y muchos comentarios a favor y en contra. Es decir, un éxito” para luego decirnos, “Queremos escuchar voces críticas de la revolución que no encuentran espacio en los medios cubanos, pero también a aquellas que apoyan el proceso y de jóvenes que sueñan con mejorar el sistema desde dentro.”

Cartas desde Cuba precisamente se plasma como un éxito gracias a que a través de la buena redacción, una que fue siempre, directa, precisa y oportuna, se logró establecer un dialogo a partir de los comentarios, entre todos; individuos a favor de la Revolución Cubana a ultranza, aquellos que la desprecian visceralmente y los que conforman esa inmensa gama de grises en el medio, todos, participaban. Me parece que lo que BBC Mundo no nos está diciendo es que el problema no es con el contenido de Cartas… el problema es con el creador.

Y si quieren,  considérenme creyente en las teorías de la conspiración, pero me resulta muy interesante que el “fin” de Cartas se produzca justo después de que BBC se negara a publicar la entrada EEUU y la paja en el ojo ajeno | Un escrito donde el autor, arremete contra la doble moral del gobierno de los Estados Unidos respecto al tema de los derechos humanos y hace referencia al caso de los Cinco Agentes cubanos encarcelados en esa misma nación. Es realmente lamentable que la BBC haya caído tan bajo y le brinden tan poco respeto a sus lectores.

Señores míos, no hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver, mantuvieron a Ravsberg mientras tocaba temas “políticamente correctos” para los intereses allende los mares, en cuanto mencionó algo que no gustó, se acabó la fiesta.

Verdaderamente lamentable. y con los documentales tan buenos que hacen, …  di tu!”

Behind the wall

In Arts, CENESEX, Cuba, Cuba/US, Cuban Americans, Culture, Design, LGBT, Politics, Travel, US on May 30, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Margarita Alarcón Perea

Every two years the city of Havana gets a new makeup job. Not paint, and not cement. It’s a makeup job in the sense that it is unfortunately ephemeral but no less beautiful to contemplate and enjoy while it lasts. The Biennale of Havana is the makeup job I refer to and this year it has hit the town hard and is painting it bright red.

Artistic Practices and Social Imaginaries is the theme of this 11th Havana Biennial 2012 and most of the work present is made up of interactive groundbreaking concept art reminiscent of Alexander Calder back when he revolutionized the notion of art and movement as one.

Over one hundred artists from 45

 countries are sharing in this festival of graphic imagery, many in collaborative works, all taking over the streets, the pavement, buildings, scaffolding and breathing in from the energy of the city itself to create in some cases a city of their own.

“Behind the Wall” gives title to one of the more expressive and interactive of the exhibits which stretches along the Malecon Habanero, (Havana ocean front walk). Cuban artists of the younger more provocative generation living both inside and outside the island have chosen this part of town to show their work. Pieces that have in common the desire for peace, belonging, movement and acceptance.

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The Biennale will go on for a month from its inaugural date of May 11th. During this time, over 1,500 legal US visitors will be walking the streets of Havana partaking in the event, learning, and writing about the days they spend here. This year the Biennale is proving that art can create a bridge to bring people together on the common ground of beauty and self expression.

Arles del Rio “Fly Away”

Meanwhile, back home in the US, members of Congress are having a field day over a couple of visas granted to two Cubans. A couple of visas, TWO mind you, not 100, not even 200, just TWO. One was to the historian of the City of Havana and a world renown preservationist, Dr Eusebio Leal Spengler who also happens to be an honorary member of the French Foreign Legion and an invited speaker at the Brookings Institute. The other is Mariela Castro Espín, who is a sexologist, the director of the Center for Sex Education in Cuba and yes, well, her last names give her away, she is also one of the children of Raul Castro.

Neither Mariela nor Eusebio are travelling to the US to do proselytism on behalf of the “communist” regime. They are both visiting the US in regards to their fields of expertise, and because they were invited,  one to speak at  LASA “Latin American Studies Association” and the other at Brookings.

While members of Congress are insulting the current administration’s policy of reasonable and logical engagement with Cuba, and taking the Department of State to task over its decision to grant visas to a couple of Cuban citizens who happen to be academics other North American’s  are taking advantage of the Obama Administrations efforts to close the gap between both nations  by allowing travel and the parting in an artistic and scholarly  event that will help them better understand Cuba.


Rachel Valdés Camejo “…Happily Ever After…”

Visiting Cuba, but more specifically, Cubans

In Cuba, Cuba/US, Cuban Americans, Travel, US on February 1, 2012 at 11:05 am January 30, 2012

By Arnie Weissmann

Last week, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) issued a press release that read, in part, “It is irresponsible and reckless … to act as a travel agent for a brutal dictatorship.”

Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American, was talking about tour operators who send U.S. citizens to Cuba on “people-to-people” cultural programs. She was incensed that Smithsonian Journeys, a for-profit arm of the government-subsidized Smithsonian Institution, was participating, and as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, she initiated a congressional investigation into the Smithsonian tours.

Smithsonian Journeys says it has done nothing wrong and that it is among a group of tour operators that has applied for, and received, legitimate licenses to bring Americans to Cuba for cultural exchanges.

Ros-Lehtinen derided the programs as “little more than a tropical vacation.”

On the same day that Ros-Lehtinen issued her press release, Dan Sullivan Jr., CEO of Collette Vacations, returned from a three-day trip to Cuba — his first — where he previewed aspects of Collette’s 18 people-to-people departures in 2012.

He visited an international school of medicine that trains and provides doctors for developing countries. He was taken in one of the vintage American cars that still serve as taxis (in his case, a 1959 Ford Fairlane) to a dinner at a private home. He stayed at the once-grand (and still “solid four-star”) Hotel Nacional, where a photo on the wall shows Fidel Castro at the 1959 ASTA World Congress.

Sullivan spoke of the cultural pride that’s shared by both Cubans and Cuban-Americans, and he said his understanding of the people and the country was deepened during his visit.

He disputed the characterization of the experience as “little more than a tropical vacation.”

“The focus truly is on people,” he said.

And what he found was that “Cubans are very warm, friendly, hospitable and extremely engaging. They want many of the things we do: that their kids do well, get married, have a family, get a job.”

He did see evidence of propaganda in bookstores and museums, and photos of Castro and Che Guevara were ubiquitous.

He also saw, amidst charming examples of colonial architecture, the outward signs of poverty. Overall, he felt “very, very safe” in the areas he visited. He did not feel his tour was structured to only emphasize the positive. “They don’t just take you where they want you to go; you can walk around Havana.”

Sullivan said he came away with insight into daily life on the island. “They all have food; they get rations every month. Milk is subsidized to 3 cents a gallon. There are no taxes, and medical care is free. But housing is a challenge. Housing was the biggest complaint I heard about. You pick which in-laws you like best, because that’s who you’re going to live with.”

Economic opportunity, he said, often is found in tourism-related jobs that provide tips, making it possible for a bellman to earn more than a doctor.

He said most hotels in the Collette programs would be comparable to three- or four-star properties. Service was accommodating but “a little slower-paced” than most Americans are accustomed to, and maintenance was not what travelers might expect in more-developed countries. Nonetheless, the overall experience was “comfortable.”

In the end, Sullivan said his “expectations were exceeded.” Listening to his descriptions of Cuba as “unbelievable,” “fascinating” and “amazing,” I also better understood the sense of loss Cubans in diaspora must feel.

To Ros-Lehtinen’s point: It’s true, tourism provides economic support to tinhorn tyrants, entrenched party bosses, military strongmen and corrupt despots across the globe. The overarching question, however, is not only whether Americans should go to Cuba, but whether cross-cultural exposure among the world’s people is more inherently positive than the negative implications of providing hard currency to governments with whom we have disputes.

Cross-cultural exchanges are a two-way street. They’re not about sending “pockets of freedom” abroad, to use the Obama administration’s rationale for allowing people-to-people programs to Cuba. It’s also about what travelers learn.

I’ve been to my share of repressed societies, from Mobutu’s Zaire to Ceausescu’s Romania to Kim Il Sung’s North Korea. I make no apologies. Travel adds dimension to one’s understanding of the world.

Through a political lens, it’s easy to categorize countries as simply good or bad, but as Sullivan observed, “A country is made up of people. You don’t want to lose sight of that.”