Literary Event in Havana Cuba December 22, 2014

Cuba’s first all English-language bookstore, Cuba Libro, advertises itself as a bookstore, cafe and oasis. According to my friends in Havana, it has become a must go to destination while vacationing in Cuba. On December 22nd, 2014 a special event will take place celebrating the anniversary of the 1961 Cuban literacy campaign. A screening of the documentary film MAESTRA (meaning “teacher”) about the campaign is the signature event, and as the author of Anita’s Revolution, a book about the campaign, I have been invited to participate. If you will be near or in Havana that day, don’t miss attending. The address in Havana is:
Calle 24, corner of 19th Street, Vedado, Plaza.
Telephone: 830-5205

read more

Women and Cuba

This organization works to bring justice to Cuba, including pressuring the US government to end the 53-year-old economic blockade. They very kindly have posted information about Anita’s Revolution on their website as an available resource.

read more

Anita’s Revolution made the grade!

What an honour and thrill! The UK and USA Historical Novels Society selected Anita’s Revolution for review in their online Journal. To read the review, use the url below to access the website.

read more

Feeding Cubans

In the years that followed the Cuban revolution, many people left the land to live, work, and further educate themselves in towns and cities. The new Revolutionary government often facilitated this exodus, building large apartment developments to provide opportunities for former “campesinos”, agricultural workers. Food was cultivated by workers hired to labour on state-owned cooperatives. Food shortages required the government to issue citizens a ration card, the “libreta”, to ensure that everyone was fed as fairly as national food production permitted.

Cubans watched food being exported for foreign currency in order to import goods not available otherwise. People who have dollars can purchase food (and other goods) in stores which accept foreign currency only. And while some foodstuffs are available outside the libreta, today, 53 years later, the ration card is still required and in use. The problem? In a recent speech to the people, Raul Castro said that the government is the largest landholder in Cuba, yet most of that land is not under cultivation.

Educating Cuba’s illiterate and disenfranchised people was a great and noble thing. However, a great irony has resulted from the emphasis on education that resulted in people leaving the land to establish life in urban settings. As the old vaudeville song asks, “How’re you gonna keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Broadway–or Havana?

The solution is not simple. Government planning and priorities have obviously been faulty. Agriculture, agronomy, is a science. Knowledgeable farmers are now scarce. People are not motivated to undertake hard work on the land under the tropical sun when the fruits of their labour are for the state, not themselves.

Cuba is being praised for undertaking organic farming production, a by-product of the ongoing US trade embargo and little money to purchase expensive chemical fertilizers and pesticides. What will Cuba do with its currently uncultivated land? Watching how Cuba solves the basic problem of feeding its twelve million people from its own fertile soil and ending rationing will be fascinating indeed.

read more

Generosity in Cuba’s medical schools

Few people know that every year, Cuba enables many American students to attend medical school at Cuba’s universities — free of charge. This generosity is extended to students who cannot afford university fees in their own country. Yes, it is good public relations, but still a wonderful act of generosity extended to people whose country still maintains an economic blockade against Cuba causing 54 years of hardship. Thanks to Cuba, those graduating doctors (mostly black men and women) return to the USA to provide medical services to the very country that didn’t help them become doctors.

read more

A review by writer Linda Rogers of historical fiction novel, Anita’s Revolution

This review appears in the London Progressive Journal, a distinguished online journal originating in the UK. Author Linda Rogers was honoured with the position of poet laureate of Victoria, British Columbia.

read more