Teresa Bevin's Cuba Blog

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Reflections on Cuba and related thoughts

Cuba -blog has moved to:


November 8, 2009 - An extraordinary example of Cuban balsero inventiveness can be seen in Miami, at the corner of 8th and 42. The original craft was in pieces when the balseros were found, so Chevrolet contracted the man who made the original to make this replica, shown below. 



September 20, 2009 - The International Concert for Peace Without Borders occurred today and stirred up a memory that I had forgotten.  Please read Roses in the Ocean.

May 31, 2009 - This is a radio conversation where Venezuela's new laws are discussed:  venezuela1.mp3

Here are more of the new Venezuelan laws. Nuestrossocios.doc

My comments to a friend who sent me the emails about Venezuela.

Esto sucedio en Cuba, en el 1962 y aun esta vigente. Nunca llegaron a llevarse a los ninos de sus casas porque el estado no los podia alimentar ni proveer de las cosas esenciales. Tampoco era necesario porque los adoctrinaban en los circulos infantiles.
Pero de hecho teniamos que ir a trabajar al campo cuando al gobierno le daba la gana. En ese anio mandaron a 14,000 ninos fuera de Cuba en los vuelos "Pedro Pan" para que fueran recibidos en Miami por Monsenor Welch, quien los puso en foster homes. Eso fue un programa desastroso para algunos y bueno para otros. Muchos miles mas de ninos fueron enviados fuera de Cuba en barcos y yatas a como diera lugar. Espero que los venezolanos tengan mas exito en su protesta que los cubanos.


May 13, 2009 -Photos from a street expo of pottery and another of ceramics in Camaguey.



April 13, 2009

U.S. President Barrack Obama, true to his promise, has opened the door to Cuba and Cubans a little bit more by issuing an order to open travel to Cuba for family members in the United States.  Click here to read the official Fact Sheet from the White House's Office of the Press Secretary. To view the this file, you'll need Adobe Reader.  If you don't have Adobe Reader, you can download it from the Adobe website:  http://get.adobe.com/reader/?promoid=BUIGO


November 16, 2008

Some time ago I published a few entries about the so-called “opening” of the Cuban government. The official word was that the new president (still a Castro) wished to give some slack to the repression, vigilance, and acts that were deemed “anti-government” such as buying food on the black market.

At that time I simply published what was available as far as information, but I made no comments. I remember that even during the first 10 years of the “revolution,” whenever there was a rumor (spread by government entities) it only meant that a new round-up was coming. This time, it has proven true once again. . . .


September 20, 2008

Ten days ago, the series of hurricanes in Cuba was on everyone's minds. The people of Cuba still are not receiving aid and support from the Cuban government.  Relief and medical supplies are being sent to the island, but very rarely are the citizens seeing the supplies that other countries have sent.  Don't let out of sight be out of mind! The people still need your help!

I am making every effort to keep the posts current and up to date about what is happening on the island. The Cuban people are suffering with little assistance from their government.  Please read my Cuba-Blog for updates. As photos are sent to me, I will post them on a special page showing photos and video reports on the hurricane.  Go to http://www.teresabevin.com/cuba_hurricane.htm and if you have photos you want posted, send them to me.

Also if you have information on reputable aid organizations that can guarantee supplies and money for the victims of the hurricanes in Cuba, please send an e-mail to:  Teresa@teresabevin.com and place the word "Relief" in the subject line.  I will distribute that information through the blog.  Some relief organizations are listed in my blog postings:  "Woman Appeals For Hurricane Relief For Cuba"  and "Cuba Needs Our Help"

Many thanks,

September 13, 2008 - THE PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY

Since the hurricanes Gustav and Ike plowed through the island, I have spoken with people inside Cuba, and have received messages from people all over the World who want to find out whatever happened to their loved ones. I have made efforts to get aid to them through agencies and through the brave ones who are traveling to the island. I have contributed with my own energy and resources, and all I can say is that my efforts are just a drop in a bucket. 



People sleeping on the steps of the old colonial church because their homes are destroyed or houses so damaged they about to fall. Wet mattresses that cannot be replaced are lining the streets, the people hoping to recover them and avoid mold if they get enough sunlight during the day.

No gas, kerosene, nothing combustible with which to cook food. No shipments of food are coming to any community center. Fights starting, witness saw blood drawn, people fighting over a sack of coal someone was selling.

Water is contaminated. Most people have no means to boil it.

All stores closed -- no electricity (no looting as of yet), perhaps because there's nothing to loot. No food except what people had in their homes, which was minimal. No refrigeration to keep anything. The day before Ike hit (before gov't announced that it was coming & before people in general were aware of its existence), a friend could only find a loaf of bread and a 1/4 lb of butter. He had two small cans of tuna in the house, but nothing else. He found someone selling onions and was able to buy a bunch of little ones at an exhorbitant price. When canned and stored food goes, what to do? There is a bakery that still sells bread, somehow managing to bake it in a woodstove, but people must make appointments to get a loaf. Prices already more than normal, bordering on gouging.

Those who can, burn wood, there's plenty of wood to burn, as most trees have fallen. But can you imagine being surrounded by fallen trees that you could possibly burn for cooking and sterilizing, but you don't have a saw or axe and have no place to create a fire? (Can you imagine burning wood in your apartment without a fireplace? I can't.)

Someone is selling boxes of powdered milk they had hoarded, going for 60 pesos (almost a month's pay for some).

Once transportation & electricity is restored, there will be

No fresh vegetables -- all farms have been wiped out.

If people have dollars, there is no place to exchange money legally until the electricity is restored-- what to do?

(We're investigating a few leads that people have supplied us. If you know a reputable channel for getting aid and supplies into Cuba, send an email to: Teresa@teresabevin.com . We are also trying to contact the groupe in Puerto Rico recommended by a reader today -- see the comments section to Cuba-Blog's Chronicle of a Hurricane published on Sunday, Sept 7: http://cuba-blog.teresabevin.com/?p=136#respond )

Flooding is thankfully down in the city of Camaguey proper, but has left a stinky muck everywhere.

Apparently no sighting of cleanup efforts by government as yet. No information from the government. No distribution of anything. No assistance. No official word. Nothing.

Most still don't have phone contact, definitely no internet. We're waiting for photos once the internet is restored. The only place there is electricity is where there were generators, such as in a few tourist hotels. There is also phone service to the tourist hotels, therefore there is some phone service to areas near the hotels, though it is patchy and unpredictable.

A radio station with a generator in central Camaguey (Radio Cadena Agramonte) is blasting music -- no information -- over the rubble and devastation -- 0ver the people gathering in the street trying to figure out what to do and how to survive. Tempers are beginning to flare and angry words are being spoken by older citizens who expected better.

There is a slogan propagated in Cuba: "The revolution does not abandon its children" The revolution's "children" feel abandoned at this point.




I was able to establish communication with a friend in Camaguey. He was lucky, but he says that the destruction has been widespread. The roof or the Principal Theater blew away, as did one of the main doors of the Merced Church. Most structures of the Casino Campestre went away, as did the park in front of the Instituto Pre Universitario, and Agramonte Park. There are blocks and blocks of homes that have lost their roofs. Camaguey Cuba Post Hurricane Ike

The river has surpassed its banks and is now past the third block of the Ave. de la Libertad.

A friend, whose home had received little damage, suddenly heard a big crash. A mango tree came through the courtyard and into her kitchen. She was spared, but there's the tree in the kitchen... 

It is estimated that the city will be without power for several days. 

The old sugar mill town of Vertientes has been destroyed.

See videos and photos of Camaguey's hurricane damage.


September 5, 2008 - CUBA-BLOG IS BACK!

For well over a week, Hostway.com, the service that hosts my websites and blog has been out to lunch. Cuba-Blog was off-line since at least August 28 (could be the 27th) until just a few minutes ago, today, Sept. 5, 2008. My original trouble ticket with Hostway took 48 hours for a response (other than the immediate automated form e-mail) -- and that response was just another form email. So much for 24/7 service. Numerous insipid phone conversations and e-mails later, the site finally was resurrected.

Has Hostway's growth and acquisition of various service and data providers compromised their own service structure? Is the company stretching itself too thin? Has Hostway grown too big to look in to the needs of their smaller but heritage customers? Have they bought out companies then cut their staff? Or is it simply that their engineers are too busy watching YouTube?

SPECIAL NOTE: September 1, 2008:  The on-line service that hosts the new Cuba-Blog is experiencing a technical problem that has prevented the blog from being published since August 28.  The technicians are supposedly working on it ...   I will keep you posted of their progress, or lack of progress therein.  Until the site is repaired, I will post entries on this old summary page.

--- Teresa Bevin  9/1/08

When service is restored, you will be able to access the new  format Cuba Blog by going to:

September 1, 2008 - Reports from sources inside Cuba following hurricane Gustav indicate that the damage, though extensive, is limited to property, buildings, etc., mainly on the Isle of Youth. The cinder-block houses apparently withstood the winds and torrents, but when the roofs blew off, what little furnishings the residents owned were ruined.   To everyone's knowledge, no lives were lost. 


Cuba Blog Summaries

April 5, 2008 - I received a copy of the official list of prices for electronics in Cuba. It appears that the list is being distributed internally in the country, and some of the lists have leaked out. It's lengthy, so click on this link: Electronics in Cuba. If you can't view a ".pdf" file, you can download a free version from Adobe at: http://www.adobe.com/products/reader/ .  When reading the list, be aware that although the prices may seem reasonable to us in other countries, the cost of every item is about 10 times more than the average Cuban can make in a month, and to add to the difficulty, CUC (Cuban Universal Currency) can only be obtained by exchanging foreign currency, which many Cubans do not have -- and if they do have foreign currency, the government tags a surcharge onto their exchange, which it doesn't do for tourists. Here's a link to understanding CUCs: http://www.cubacurrency.com/cuban_convertible_pesos_cuc.html

On a similar note, I've come in to possession of the "public" hotel rates -- "Public" meaning rates for Cubans at what had been tourists hotels. Here's the list, again in .pdf format: Cuban Hotel Rates and a chart for additional hotel service fees.

Last but not least, is a document explaining how Cubans can now purchase and use cell phones: Cuban Cell Phones -- at 60 cents a minute, I suspect that there won't be many people who can afford these permissible toys.

March, 2008 -  Cubans manifest their desire to hang on to something greater than themselves.  They express their faith as far as they can without becoming a target. In front of a mural of Che, prayers are given, and the Worker's Plaza of Camaguey (old Plaza de la Merced) is voluntarily filled with worshippers.  Through the streets where vigilance reigns, the people marched in hope.

See more photos: http://www.teresabevin.com/easter_2008_camaguey.htm


February, 2007 - Watch the trailer for the recent controversial video, "The Secret."

June, 2006

A Cuban Pick-up Truck

Yet another example of the ingenuity of the Cuban people who will survive because they find creative ways to fulfill their needs and desires . . .


More Cuban Inventions

Makeshift inventions are the way of life for most Cubans. A friend who recently visited his family and friends in Cuba, returned with photos of one of his more elaborate inventions which is still being used. It is a corn mill, or better said, an everything mill. Anything that needs to be made into powder can be put through this machine. He created it from found parts, (some from old Russian equipment) and a lot of brain power.
 What follows is the inventor's explanation of his creation.

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Although support to ease restrictions on travel to Cuba for non-Cuban born Americans appears to be growing, it is still illegal for most U.S. citizens to travel to that island.  The U.S. Department of State website and the U.S. Treasury website contain regularly updated guidelines for the public.  

NOTE:  The U.S. Interests Section, Havana lists the latest U.S. Government Statements and News on U.S. Policy toward Cuba.

©Teresa Bevin 2010
Updated 06/17/2011