Friday, October 29, 2010
Omni Zona Franca en Alamar (1995-2010)
Click below to watch this hip-hop music video don't forget to turn it up! Direct from Habana del Este.
Title: ¡PROTESTO! - ¡La Famila en Movimiento!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
El Yuma (aka, Theodore Aloysius Henken II, aka, Ted) turned 39 on October 7, 2010.
Today this blog, also called El Yuma, turns one year old. We've been on-line for a year. Hooray!
It turns out that back on October 7 the readers of the blog gave me an inadvertant birthday gift. On that day, the blog received a new record of 217 visits in a single day, most coming to see the post "Twitter responds and we learn a few lessons" (many visitors were referred by Ernesto over at Penultimos Dias - thanx Ernesto).
I want to give a big, fat, Cuban "mil gracias" to all my loyal readers, commentators, those who have sent me individual e-mails, and especially to those who have placed El Yuma on thier blogrolls and linked to me in their posts over the past year.
Referral sources are one of the main way a blog grows, gains followers, and establishes a profile in the web. The leading referral sources over the past year for El Yuma are: Yoani and her gang over at DesdeCuba.com (5,705), Phil at The Cuban Triangle (4,050), Tracey at Along the Malecon (1,494), Ernesto at Penultimos Dias (1,249), and Wilfredo and Ivette at Cafe Fuerte.
For those interested, what follows is a round-up of the stats from the past year, from my very first blog post on October 29, 2009, "Aplatanado" through the Taxman post I put up yesterday, October 27.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
El Yuma has a new post up at The Havana Note on Cuba's new tax regime for self-employment. After I work my way through the new regs from La Gaceta Oficial, I will post a follow up. Stay tuned.
PS: Can anyone guess the name of another Beatles song that coincides with the significance of tomorrow, Thursday, October 28, for readers of El Yuma? Hint, the Brazilians say, "Para Bens!" on this day.
That's right - El Yuma cumple un año de existencia mañana!
Monday, October 25, 2010
For those interested in the fine print, here are the full texts of the two new groups of "decree-laws" regarding the layoffs, self-emplyment, and taxes for the self-employed released to the public in Havana this morning.
First, there is the relatively short 17-page group of seven laws grouped together in La Gaceta Oficial No. 11 (officially dated October 1, 2010). Then there is La Gaceta Oficial No. 12 (dated October 8).
Courage! This second document is 81 pages long with 14 different resolutions or decree laws. Everything from layoffs to the new tax regime for the self-employed.
Friends in Cuba tell me that there are long lines both at the self-employment offices and at the various newsstands that sell the two special issues of La Gaceta (Nos. 11 and 12).
I went to La Gaceta's website (and here) to see if I could download the regs. They are there but given Cuba's slow internet speeds (and perhaps the high demand for these particular regs), it takes a while to download them. Once you have them, however, I hope you have better luck than I at opening/viewing them as they are in the Russian compression program .rar.
Go here for Paul Haven's AP story.
Go here for a brief summary at the Cuba Standard Blog.
Here is Prensa Latina's take (H/T Penultimos Dias).
Finally, Granma gives the following brief announcement here. It will cost you 1.40 in Cuban pesos.
"A la venta Gaceta Oficial extraordinaria especial 11 y 12"
Desde hoy lunes comienza la venta en todas las oficinas de correos y estanquillos de prensa del país, de la Gaceta Oficial, de carácter extraordinaria especial, números 11 y 12.
El contenido de la Gaceta Oficial número 11 recoge las Disposiciones Generales dictadas por los Consejos de Estado, de Ministros y su Comité Ejecutivo, acerca del proceso de reducción de las plantillas infladas, y la ampliación del ejercicio del trabajo por cuenta propia.
La edición número 12 contiene las normas que complementan dichas Disposiciones Generales, por medio de resoluciones emitidas por los ministerios de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, Finanzas y Precios, Transporte, Agricultura; del Banco Central de Cuba y el Instituto Nacional de la Vivienda.
La Gaceta Oficial número 11 tiene un precio de cuarenta centavos, y la 12 de un peso.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
This Reuters article by Marc Frank also unpacks the Granma article, but has a substantially different take on the significance of new tax regime and its difference from the "rudimentary" one put in place back in 1994.
Phil Peters also put up a helpful summary on Friday on his blog, The Cuban Triangle.
I will post my own analysis here on Monday - so stay tuned.
Friday, October 22, 2010 - By Marc Frank
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba unveiled on Friday a new tax code it said was friendlier for small business, signaling authorities are serious about building a larger private sector within the state-dominated economy.
The new system, outlined in the Communist Party daily Granma, greatly increases tax deductions, but also adds taxes and comes with a warning of stiffer enforcement of tax collection.
It replaces a rudimentary tax code in place since 1994 when some self-employment was first authorized but then squeezed by severe regulation.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Nick Miroff of NPR has a great audio story from this morning's Morning Edition on the fate of Cuba's much maligned and much needed ration booklet. The story, "Amid Reforms, Cubans Fret Over Food Rations Fate," can be heard (and read) at NPR. A translation of the story is up at Penultimos Dias.
Also, go here for a related story in this month's Harper's Magazine by American journalist Patrick Symmes, "Thirty Days as a Cuban," on his attempt to live on the average Cuban wage for one month. My colleague, the anthropologist Ariana Harnandez Reguant, sent me the provocative article which seems to have caused a bit of a debate among Cuba-watchers.
Finally, I'm pasting below my own somewhat-lengthy description of the history of the ration booklet in Cuba taken from my book.
By 1962, the Cuban government had nationalized all major industries and was thus responsible for producing goods and services in sufficient quantity and at prices manageable for the mass of citizens who had supported the revolution.
You won't often find El Yuma reproducing an entire article from Granma, but this morning's paper has an extensive article covering the details of the new tax system to be put in place for the self-employed.
Go here for a preliminary report from the Havana AP bureau chief Paul Haven (H/T from the always sharp Cuban Colada blog).
En materia de tributos
El pago de tributos en Cuba no es nuevo, pero en el actual escenario económico también se rediseña la política tributaria
LETICIA MARTÍNEZ HERNÁNDEZ y YAIMA PUIG MENESES
La Habana, 22 de octubre de 2010 - Casi todos hemos pagado tributos alguna vez en la vida. Sin embargo, no siempre sabemos cómo los abonamos, cuál es su destino o mediante qué mecanismos se recaudan. Y es que, aun cuando a diario rehacemos números y cuentas para equilibrar los gastos hogareños, poco conocemos sobre conceptos como impuestos, tasas o contribuciones.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Soon after Cuba announced its most recent layoffs and economic reforms in the area of self-employment, El Yuma was inundated by calls from the media.
In the space of two weeks I spoke to The New York Times (twice), The Miami Herald, the AP Havana bureau, The Christian Science Monitor (twice), a Jamaican radio station, a reporter from the Dutch equivalent of AP (who is now in Cuba), and the Chinese magazine Life Week, whose reporter, Cloris, told me that it is the most widely circulated news magazine in Beijing. Can anyone confirm or deny this?
So, exclusive to readers of El Yuma, here is the PDF of the article (en chino) that appeared yesterday on October 20, 2010 in Life Week, followed by the complete internet interview we did (en ingles).
Go here to practice your Chinese. (A special prize goes to anyone who can read the Chinese article and then tell me if I was quoted correctly based on the English transcript of the interview below.)
Read on for the text of our internet interview done from my trusty Blackberry while at the LASA conference in Toronto two weeks ago. El mundo si es un panuelo.
Please confirm that you have received this message. Thank you for contacting me. I'm glad to share my thoughts on Cuba's new economic reforms with you. See below for my answers to your questions.
LW: Over the years, the government has reluctantly relinquished some jobs to the private sector. In the 1990s, when faced for the first time with mounting unemployment, the government licensed some 200,000 workers to launch their own businesses. What is Cuban government’s major guideline in this field? What are the most important dynamics for the current decision of layoff of Cuban government?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Desastres o logros? Ud. decide!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
It is called El pequeño hermano (Little Brother) and is written by Ernesto Morales Licea. Parts of the blog are also available in German and English thanx to HemosOido.
Morales is a Cuban journalist from Bayamo. It's unclear to me wheather he still lives on Bayamo, has moved to Havana, or has left Cuba altogether. However, he has a perceptive eye and sharp tongue.
Though he started blogging over the summer, I first came across his name back in April of this year when he published this long interview of Reinaldo Escobar and Yoani Sánchez, "Un límite para todos los odios," at Claudia Cadelo's blog Octavo Cerco.
On July 9, 2010, he put up his first post at El pequeño hermano which follows:
Prologue to The Little Brother, 9 July, 2010
"Finally, yes, I yielded to necessity. I often wondered how long I could resist the stimulus, the temptation, and I delayed my response as if it had something to do with the uncomfortable or inevitable.
Go here or here to check it out.
From the editor's note:
"As far as political notoriety goes, Cuba punches far above its weight. The feisty Caribbean nation is well known for playing “David” in a longstanding conflict with its nextdoor neighbor, and still Fidel Castro and Che Guevara remain two of the most recognized characters in contemporary history.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Published: October 08, 2010
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cubans faced a harsh new reality this week - dismissal slips - as the government began paring state payrolls in a cost-cutting move that has created job insecurity for the first time in years in the Communist country.
Workers were being laid off in countless industries, from hospitals to hotels, and in the biggest action to be made public so far, employees at a state-owned enterprise, the Special Protection Services Company, were told that the company would be shut down and 23,000 people let go.
It was the beginning of President Raúl Castro's plan to cut 10 percent of the government's work force, or about 500,000 people, by April in the most significant overhaul attempted since he succeeded his older brother, Fidel Castro, in 2008.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
(AFP) – Oct 6, 2010
WASHINGTON — A top US senator just back from a five-day visit to Cuba to meet with officials there said he did not believe there was any chance of a prisoner swap between the United States and its communist neighbor.
This week they disagree.
A few days ago there was a bit of controversy on the web when a number of attendees to this month's "Ultimo Jueves" open debate on the 'special period' sponsored by Temas magazine and held at Fresa y Chocolate cafe on 23rd street and 10th Ave in El Vedado were not given access (it seems).
Rafael Hernandez (pictured to the left) for an apology, or at least an explanation this time around.
It seems, however, that Hernandez is in Beijing (or Toronto?).
In any case, the always intrepid Fernando Ravsberg was there, inside, and gives the following fascinating, detailed description. (Can anyone out there in cyberlandia identify the economists or sociologist he mentions?)
A shout out to Havana Times for translating and posting this. HT keeps getting better and better.
"Debatiendo Temas en Cuba"
Debating Issues in Cuba
October 7, 2010
HAVANA TIMES — To see disagreements between the panelists on a program like Cuba's news/commentary program "Mesa Redonda" (the Round Table) is something that rarely occurs. To also allow members of an audience to raise blunt criticisms against the government would be truly astounding.
Notwithstanding, this is what happened at the Fresa y Chocolate Cultural Center at the end of September. In the panel discussion held there was a former economic minister of Fidel Castro, a well-known economic analyst from the University of Havana, and a renowned sociologist.
The New York Times
Thursday, October 07, 2010 -- 7:12 AM ET
Mario Vargas Llosa Wins Nobel Prize in Literature
The Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa has won the 2010 Nobel
Prize in Literature.
The Swedish Academy said that it was honoring the 74-year-old
author "for his cartography of structures of power and his
trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010
However, this brief episode tells us a few interesting things:
First, it indicates that when Yoani talks or tweets, people (including the Cuban government and the executives at Twitter) listen.
Second, the long and immediate response from the Cuban government indicates that they are very sensitive to news, PR, and critical claims about access and use of ICT and social networking in Cuba.
Third, while we continue to "kick the darkness (in Cuba) 'till it bleeds daylight" - i.e., demand transparent freedom of expression and assembly whether in the streets or on the net, we can't forget that our own counterproductive, "torpe y anacronico" embargo (in the memorable words of la flaca) and travel restrictions are responsible for part of Cuba's continued isolation from the rest of the world...
...Not to mention constituting, as always, a convenient whipping boy whenever the Cuban government needs a scapegoat for its own desire to control the free flow of information and communications.
Connergo has left a new comment on your post "Twitter via sms blocked in Cuba?":
"This just in. Sorry, I don't have time to translate it but in a nutshell: sort of. This is also the reason why Skype and other VOIP programs don't work here."
Descarta Cuba limitaciones en acceso a redes sociales en Internet
Por Antonio Rondón García
Moscú, 6 oct (PL) El viceministro cubano de la Informática y las Comunicaciones, José Luis Perdomo, descartó hoy alguna limitación en el acceso de sus conciudadanos a las redes sociales en Internet y denunció aquí obstáculos a las comunicaciones impuestos por el bloqueo estadounidense.
"Cuba no bloquea el acceso de ningún ciudadano al envío de mensajes a las redes sociales en Internet como Twitter o Facebook y ello es una calumnia que se ha levantado contra nuestro país", indicó el viceministro en declaraciones a Prensa Latina.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Can anyone confirm this?
If this is indeed true, I guess it means that Raul doesn't subscribe to The New Yorker where Malcolm Gladwell published an article last week under the provocative title, "The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted."
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