Thursday, February 16, 2012

Beyond Fresa y Chocolate: AMI Cuba Film Delegation Summer 2012

 AMI_logoemailheader 2Cubalogo_logo 2

Americas Media Initiative Announces Summer Cuban Film Delegation

 June 30 – July 8, 2012
Americas Media Initiative (AMI) announces their summer Cuban Film Delegation, CUBAN CINEMA BEYOND FRESA Y CHOCOLATE, a unique opportunity to study the history of Cuban Film and interact with young Cuban filmmakers. The delegation will spend four days at the world famous International Film and TV School (EICTV) located 45 minutes outside of Havana in the town of San Antonio de los Baños. Participants will take part in a 3-day intensive course on the history of Cuban film and 3 days in Havana meeting with young Cuban filmmakers. The delegation will be small so applications are accepted on a first come first serve basis.

AMI has developed a close relationship with EICTV and they have organized for us a special three-day course, CUBAN CINEMA BEYOND FRESA Y CHOCOLATE that will be taught by Luciano Castillo, renown Cuban film critic, researcher and film historian. The course will provide a unique opportunity to screen and discuss Cuban films beginning at the turn of the 20th Century up to today. EICTV has one of the most important and extensive Cuban film libraries and all films will be subtitled in English. Delegates will participate in the course during the day and in the evening have the chance to interact with the Cuban filmmakers who work at the school.

The last three days will be spent in Havana where the delegation will stay in Cuban homes (casa particulares) instead of a hotel and visit young Cuban filmmakers in their workplaces and homes. This is a very rare opportunity made possible through the relationship AMI has developed with these filmmakers. The filmmakers work in all fields and genres: animation, documentary, fiction, experimental. We will screen some of their work with them and engage in discussion around topics such as: what does it mean to be a filmmaker now in Cuba? How are independent films financed and produced? The delegation will also meet with staff of the Young Directors Film Festival (Muestra Joven) in the ICAIC that is now recognized as the most important showcase for young cinematic talent in Cuba.

The cost of the delegation is $3000 and includes RT plane fare from Miami to Havana, housing, transportation and all meals except for dinners in Havana.

Some partial scholarships are available on a case-by-case basis.

For more information please contact

Americas Media Initiative
106 Main St., Suite 5
Burlington, Vermont 05401

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

ASCE Student Prize Competition


The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) is a nonpolitical, professional international association dedicated to the study of the Cuban economy in its broader political, social, and cultural context.

The Jorge Pérez-López Student Award Competition
ASCE Student Award Committee is accepting nominations for the 2012 Jorge Pérez-López Student Award Competition.  Anyone can nominate original papers authored by undergraduate and graduate students in good standing.  The papers should address topics related to Cuba's domestic issues, its foreign relations, or Cuba in comparative perspectives.  Papers cannot be co-authored with an instructor. At a minimum, all papers must outline a thesis statement, present evidence or data supporting it, confine to 5000 words double-spaced length, and follow one of the standard academic writing and citations styles.  Self-nominations are also welcomed.  All correspondences must be accompanied by a letter stating the name, school affiliation, mailing address, phone number, and email of the nominee as well as a brief statement describing the merits of the nomination. 

Graduate Awards
*       First prize $ 150, up to $600 travel,
            and publication in Cuba in Transition.
*       Second prize Honorary Mention.

Undergraduate Awards
*      First prize $100, up to $400 travel, and publication in Cuba in Transition.
*      Second prize Honorary Mention.

All students who enter the competition will receive a one year complimentary membership in ASCE, which will entitle them to receive our publications and newsletter. If they wish to attend the annual meeting in Miami, they will also receive a complimentary conference and key speaker luncheon invitation (but no travel allowance, except to the first prize winners).

Papers received or postdated by May 20, 2012 will be considered.  The winner of the competition will be announced in June.
Basis for Award
A panel of scholars on the basis of relevance, originality, quality, contribution, and clarity of presentation will judge papers.  The 5000 words limit for the essay will be STRICTLY ENFORCED.

Submission and Information
Please send an electronic MS Word or PDF attachment of the paper to:

Dr. Enrique S. Pumar, Chair Student Award Committee
Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy 

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Recent Changes in the Cuban Economic Model": Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva @ The Bildner Center, March 6, 2012, 4PM

Recent Changes in the 

Cuban Economic Model

Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva
Centro de Estudios de la Economía Cubana
Universidad de la Habana
Mauricio Font
Bildner Center for 
Western Hemisphere Studies
This talk will be in Spanish!
DATE: Tuesday, March 6, 2012, 4PM
LOCATION: The Graduate Center,
Room 9205/06
365 Fifth Avenue (@ 34th Street)
PLEASE RESERVE by sending an email to:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Bloggers' Polemic (3): Let a Thousand Bloggers Bloom!

In my last post on Cuban bloggers, I promised to provide readers of El Yuma with an extensive listing of all the entries that I know of to date in what I have been calling:


Here goes...

The "Bloggers' Polemic" is an unprecedented debate among many of Cuba’s leading bloggers themselves where they describe their own efforts to preserve their editorial independence and access to the Internet in a political context where being labeled oficialista (Cuban government propagandist) or mercenario (U.S. government mercenary) is constant.

Although this controversy starkly reveals the great differences of opinion and ideology among the protagonists of the Cuban blogosphere on the island, they are no longer so isolated, suspicious, or ignorant of one another’s points-of-view as before.

For example, see "Cuba Blogger Feifdoms / Los feudos blogueros," the most recent entry in the debate by Dariela Aquique at the increasingly valiant and vital Havana Times, which itself is a response to the interview of Miriam Celaya by another HT blogger Yusimí Rodríguez, "A Dissident by NatureUna disidente por naturaleza."

As a result of this on-going debate, members of Cuba's various blogging "collectives" have gone on record about their common struggle to establish their legitimacy, preserve their independence, maintain their access to the Internet, and engage in a dialogue with the public, despite obstacles both foreign and domestic.

I hope that providing this list here in hypertext will make their on-going series of posts and counter-posts more widely available.

(Readers are asked to please add any links that I missed below in the comments section.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ethan explains himself (rather well) - UPDATE to: Graham Sowa: Our Man @ Havana (Times)

Given the current dispute over the value of educational, religious, and other people-to-people travel to Cuba raging in the news and in Washington, DC, I think it would be wise to ground ourselves by looking at some of the reports that are starting to trickle in from a few of the students who have begun to spend time down in Cuba as part of organized educational trips.

I know that I have received a barrage of requests from both undergraduate and graduate students planning trips down to the island to set them up with some of my none-too-party-line contacts on the island.  I have been more than happy to oblige.

A group of journalism students from the University of California was even brave or naive enough to include an afternoon session with Yoani Sanchez and other citizen journalists as part of their 2-week educational tour of the island.  Here is here photo of the encounter via Twitpic:

Another group of journalism students from SUNY Stonybrook was down in Havana during the January intersession and since returning has set up the great website, "Journalism Without Walls: Cuba 2012," profiling their work.

As luck would have it, some of those students did an interview with Graham Sowa, as part of a story about US medical students studying in Havana.  I did a previous post on Graham Sowa's response to that interview.

After reading my post, as well as Graham's own post on it, Ethan Freedman wrote me the following message giving his side of the story.  Here it is:

Hello Mr. Henken,

My name is Ethan Freedman and I am the student journalist mentioned in Mr. Sowa's article. Internet was one of the three topics I covered from Havana, and I thought I might want to share the contents of our trip here, since you blogged about it. I did articles on Che Guevara, Internet and Americans who have received political asylum in Cuba.

The site for all the student work is here.

As for the article, I had developed an idea of how the Internet functions in a country like Cuba, not because of arrogance, ignorance, or hypocrisy, but because I found it to be statistically true. I felt that the access to the Internet there was empirically bad for most, particularly when compared to the United States.

There are several statistics I list in the article, one about internet penetration citing the World Bank and a study from the International Telecommunications Union that found that Cuban access to internet and cell-phone service ranked 149th in the world, out of the 152 countries it looked at.

Several other statistics I found were cut out of the article by my editors. One was one from the Internet information provider Akamai Technologies, Inc. They found that 93 percent of Cubans have a narrowband connectivity (a limited Internet connection less than 256 Kbps), compared to the global average of 3.9 percent.

Furthermore, Cuba, at least for most, uses an "Intranet", regulated by a third party, in this case, the government, as opposed to an Internet, which is unregulated (I completely agree with Sowa on Net Neutrality, but I'm writing a story on Cuban Internet, not American). Other countries that have "Intranet"? North Korea and China. And, soon to be, Iran.

I get that things should always be put into context. That's why I'm posting the article here. Hope you have time to read it.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

El que anuncia, vende

"El que anuncia, vende: 

Mercadotecnica para cuentapropistas"

Avanza Cuba, Martinoticias

As is their habit, the Avanza Cuba team at Martinoticias is producing a live interactive international show tomorrow (Wed., Feb. 8, 11 am - noon) with guests from the island, the US, and Spain. 

The show, entitled "El que anuncia, vende," is focused on the art/science of marketing and business promotion and aimed at Cuba's new breed of cuentapropistas. 

CNBC and NBC will be following the show. 


Special guests include:

From Cuba: 

Karen Glavez Shoo, Yoani Sanchez, Eliecer Avila, and 3 cuentapropistas.


From the studio in Miami:

Two guests with their own advertising companies - Jose Rementeria ( and Roberto Schaps, president of the Turkel company. 


From Spain (via Skype):

Ayme Andrade, who runs Servihabana.esa website that assists Cuban cuentapropistas in finding work. 


The show will also include a recorded interview with former US Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Bloggers' Polemic (2): Larry and Ted's Excellent Adventure!

The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy has just made available on its website the proceedings from its annual meeting that took place in Miami last August: Cuba in Transition, Vol. 21.

Larry Press, a Professor of Information Systems at Cal State, Dominguez Hills, and the author of the blog The Internet in Cuba, and I were on a panel together.

His paper is entitled, "The Past, Present, and Future of the Internet in Cuba."

My own paper has the slightly more long-winded title:

"A Bloggers' Polemic: Debating Independent Cuban Blogger Projects in A Polarized Political Context."

[A shorter Spanish language version of the paper with an "alternate ending" was published in October, 2011 at Nueva Sociedad.  Lucía Luna at the Mexican magazine Proceso has also given attention to these "Debates en la blogosfera".]

Larry and I were also in DC at the Inter-American Dialogue a few days earlier where we gave a similar joint presentation entitled, "Cuba 1.5? The State of the Internet and Uses of Social Media in a Changing Cuba."  Here is a link to a video of that presentation.

In my next post on Friday morning, I'll provide readers of El Yuma with an extensive list of all the entries that I know of to date in what I call the BLOGGERS' POLEMIC.

Stay tuned...

U.S. Travel To Cuba Grows As Restrictions Are Eased, Nick Miroff, NPR

U.S. Travel To Cuba Grows As Restrictions Are Eased

4 min 37 sec
Add to PlaylistListen Now
The U.S. government has restricted travel to Cuba for a half-century. However, the Obama administration has gone back to a Clinton-era policy that eased some limitations, and some 400,000 Americans visited Cuba last year.
Published: February 06, 2012
by Nick Miroff
Cuba is the only country in the world the U.S. government restricts its own citizens from visiting. Americans can go to Burma, Iran, even North Korea if those places give them a visa.
The Obama administration has now relaxed travel rules for Cuba, leading to a surge in U.S.-government approved tours to the island. But in the U.S., some lawmakers staunchly opposed to the Castro government say the travel programs are filled with heavy doses of propaganda.

The lobby of Havana's iconic Hotel Nacional is as good a place as any to contemplate the evolution of the 50-year-old American trade embargo against Cuba and its corresponding restrictions on U.S. travel.

Every morning, busloads of U.S. visitors, many well into their golden years, gather with tour groups to go out and explore what has long been a forbidden island.

This government-owned hotel and others in Cuba have been packed this winter, and one reason is the restoration of a policy that dates to Bill Clinton's years in the White House. It's a policy known as people-to-people travel, designed to bring ordinary Cubans and Americans into closer contact.

Empodera Cuba - @EBECuba: See you in Havana in March?

Evento Blog Cuba


EbeCuba is a blogger conference to bring together bloggers from 
around the world to discuss, inspire and connect with each other.

La Habana

I just got wind of the following event being planned for March, 2012 in Havana - Anyone got more info?

"Nuestra ONG EmpoderaCuba va a concretizar el mes proximo en la Habana. Pensamos organizar una conferencia internacional de blogueros donde todos los blogueros estan invitados….. los oficialistas, los cibermercenarios… todos sin excepcion. Pensamos tratar los topicos siguientes:

1. Twitter sin Internet – Welcome al mundo del twitteo ‘a lo cubano’.
2. Panorama de la blogosfera cubana.
3. Ciberespacio – Ciberguerra – Ciberdisidencia – Cibermercenarios.
4. Como se conecta Cuba: satélite, cable de Venezuela… que se le puede realmente achacar al bloqueo?
5. RRSS y prensa.
6. Penetración Internet en Cuba – 1% – alguna explicación?
7. Brecha digital con brecha racial.
8. Declaracíon universal de los derechos del internauta.
9. La nueva protesta-blogs, yo Rap, yo poesia, yo huelga de hambre, yo grafitis, – otras formas de dialogo.
10. Ser bloguero en Cuba en el 2012.
11. Blogueros vs. Dictadores.
12. Copyright, copyleft, Copycommon y otras propiedades.
13. Wikileaks sabe algo de Cuba?
14. Empoderamiento ciudadano mediate las TICs.
15. Hackers y piratas en el ciberespacio.
16. No todos los blogueros quieren o seran balseros.
17. Ecured – Infomed – GIGA, Intranet y el ciberespacio cubano en el mundo de hoy.
18. Lo ultimo en las NTICs.

Tu tambien estas invitado, si no estas ya en la Habana, compre tu billete que eso va a estar bien bueno.
Los esperamos.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

50 years ago today in the NYT/IHT

NYT/IHT headlines - Feb. 2 & 3, 1962

1962 U.S. Bars All Cuban Imports

President Kennedy has ordered a total cut-off of imports from Cuba to deprive Prime Minister Fidel Castro of nearly $35 million a year in dollar exchange, it was learned today [Feb. 2]. Barring a last-minute change of plans, Mr. Kennedy's decision will be announced sometime this weekend. The imports have been composed mainly of tobacco. Despite the new ban the President has decided, it is understood, to permit Cuba to continue the purchase in this country of foods and medicines. These imports from the United States run to about $13 million annually. Mr. Kennedy's decision to embargo imports was described here as being in the spirit of the Punta del Este declaration on isolating Cuba. His immediate practical purpose is to deprive Cuba of dollar exchange that, according to reliable intelligence reports, is being used to finance subversive activities throughout Latin America.

1962 U.S. May Ban Trade With Cuba

Secretary of State Dean Rusk said today [Feb. 1] that the United States will now consider imposing an all-out embargo on Fidel Castro's Cuba because of evidence that dollar exchange, gained through trade, is financing subversion throughout Latin America. At a press conference held only a few hours after his return from the hemisphere conference at Punta del Este, the Secretary of State indicated a quickening in steps to contain Cuba. Earlier, Mr. Rusk had received a very special personal welcome from President Kennedy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

La otra pupila insomne anda por estos lares: Juan Antonio García Borrero in The Big Easy

TUESDAY –  February 7, 2012

5:00 PM

Presentation by Juan Antonio García Borrero

Cine Cubano: Historia, Historiografía Y Nuevas Tecnologías (Cuban Cinema: History, Historiography and New Technologies)

Stone Center for Latin American Studies

Greenleaf Conference Room

100A Jones Hall

In Spanish with simultaneous translation.

Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute is pleased to bring to Tulane campus Juan Antonio García Borrero, critic and film historian from Camagüey, Cuba, the author of many books on Cuban Cinema and the creator of one of the most important Cuban cinema blogs "Cine Cubano: la pupila insomne".  

Juan Antonio García Borrero is the president of the "Cátedra de Pensamiento Audiovisual Tomás Gutiérrez Alea" and the coordinator of the "Talleres Nacionales de la Crítica Cinematográfica (Camagüey, 1993-2006)", considered the most significant theoretical event for film specialists in the country. 

Admission is free and open to the public.  For more information please contact Natalia Porto, or 862.8629. A reception will follow.