Tag Archives: Cuba

The Underground Economy Supporting Public Internet Use in Cuba

Posted by Sam Kellogg — MA candidate in Media, Culture, and Communications at NYU

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The Wi-Fi park on 14th and 15th street, Vedado, Havana.

I met *Victor the second or third time I visited my local Wi-Fi park, on the corner of 14th and 15th streets in Vedado. Vedado is a neighborhood in Havana a mile west of the city center known for its tree-lined boulevards and grand houses, many of which were converted into shared living spaces or dedicated to municipal functions following the Cuban Revolution’s triumph in 1959. It’s in one of these converted houses I’ve been living for the past few weeks.

In the mornings, I sometimes pass by the park on 14th and 15th street to check my email, and most mornings until noon Victor is there, lounging on a green park bench beneath the extravagant orange flowers and merciful shade of the Flamboyán trees. His hustle is selling tarjetas to park visitors—single-use cards with scratch-off codes that give buyers access to the Internet for a set amount of time, usually an hour or two.

This is how most Cubans and island visitors get online, check their emails, scroll through Facebook, and listen to the latest music. The process of connecting goes something like this: Visit your local Wi-Fi-enabled park, turn on your device’s Wi-Fi, and connect to the public network. Usually the network will be named “WIFI_ETECSA” (ETECSA is the state telecom company, and the sole Internet provider on the island). Once connected to the network, a pop-up screen with spaces to type in a username and password allows you to log in. If you’re using the scratch-off single-use cards that Victor sells to connect, you’ll type in two twelve-digit numbers printed on the back of the card for your username and password and cross your fingers. Wait a few seconds, and if you typed in the numbers correctly (I often don’t), you’ll see a green check-mark and emails and notifications will start pouring in.

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Front and back of a five-hour single-use login card.

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Early Latin American Migration to the U.S. Focus of Next Indocumentales

Post by Gretchen Kyle Shaheen, CLACS MA Candidate and Graduate Associate for K-12 Outreach

On Monday, November 23, CLACS will be presenting the second film in this semester’s installation of Indocumentales.  Starting at 6:30pm, we will be screening Empire of Dreams (1880-1942) of the PBS Series Latino Americans.

The second part of the Latino Americans Series, this film highlights immigration to the U.S. from Latin America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Empire of Dreams documents how the American population begins to be reshaped by the influx of people that began in 1880 and continues into the 1940s, as Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans begin arriving in the U.S. and start to build strong Latino-American communities in South Florida, Los Angeles and New York. 

The screening will be followed by a conversation with award-winning journalist, author, and 2015 Andres Bello Chair in Latin American Cultures and Civilizations at NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, Juan González, and Maribel Hernandez Rivera, Executive Director of Legal Initiatives at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

To read more about the screening of Empire of Dreams (1880-1942), and register to attend, click here.

Viewers interested in K-12 education can find more information on ways to incorporate the themes explored in the film into their classrooms by clicking here.

Indocumentales is a film and conversation series exploring the immigrant experience. This series is done in partnership with Cinema Tropical, and What Moves You?.  For more on Indocumentales, click here.

Our last screening of 2015 will be the award-winning film by Diego Quemada-Diez entitled La Jaula de Oro. This film will be showcased on Thursday, December 17. More information here.

 

Ada Ferrer’s Book Wins Prestigious Prize

Ada Ferrer's book, Freedom's Mirror, won three awards from the American Historical Association.

Ada Ferrer’s book, Freedom’s Mirror, has already won four prestigious awards.

Ada Ferrer, professor of history and Latin American and Caribbean studies at New York University, has been selected as the winner of the 2015 Frederick Douglass Book Prize for her book “Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution” (Cambridge University Press).

The Douglass Prize was created jointly by Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. It is awarded annually by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the best book written in English on slavery or abolition. The $25,000 prize will be presented to Ferrer at a reception sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute in New York City on February 4, 2016.

In addition to Ferrer, the other finalists for the prize were Ezra Greenspan for “William Wells Brown: An African American Life” (W. W. Norton), and Michael Guasco for “Slaves and Englishmen: Human Bondage in the Early Modern Atlantic World” (University of Pennsylvania Press).

This year’s finalists were selected from a field of more than 80 books by a jury of scholars that included Douglas Egerton (chair) of Le Moyne College, Rosanne Adderley of Tulane University, and James Sweet  of the University of Wisconsin. The winners were selected by a review committee of representatives from the Gilder Lehrman Center, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Yale.

“Freedom’s Mirror” offers “a fresh perspective and links these two nations together in a complex web, in which sugar slavery declined in Haiti just as it rose in Cuba,” commented the jury. “Ferrer’s research is most impressive; she fills her pages with proslavery Cuban generals, African slaves in both colonies, refugee ‘French Negroes,’ and Haitian leaders who hoped to weaken slavery on the islands that surrounded them. ‘Freedom’s Mirror’ will force even specialists to reconsider this era.” The jury also praised Ferrer’s “rendering of the complex politics in a beautifully written and understandable way that will be readily followed by readers with minimal knowledge of 19th-century Cuba, Haiti, and the Spanish Caribbean.”

This Ferrer’s book has already been awarded with other prestigious prizes. For instance it won the Friedrich Katz Prize in Latin American and Caribbean History, the Wesley-Logan Prize in African Diaspora History, and the James A. Rawley Prize for the History of the Atlantic Worlds before the 20th Century.

The Frederick Douglass Book Prize was established in 1999 to stimulate scholarship in the field of slavery and abolition by honoring outstanding books on the subject. The award is named for Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), the slave who escaped bondage to emerge as one of the great American abolitionists, reformers, writers, and orators of the 19th century.


*Re-blogged from news.yale.edu. See original post here.

#CubAngola40 is Almost Here – What You Need to Know

CubAngola Program Cover

This Friday, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (KJCC), Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures, and the Department of History at NYU have the pleasure of welcoming a diverse group of speakers to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Cuban military intervention in Angola’s war of independence.

The events of 1975 represented much more than a military intervention; they also had consequences for visual arts, music, anthropology, and other areas. The speakers presenting at this event are the leading scholars on the topic, and their diverse array of experience and academic study speaks to the complexity of the Cuban-Angolan connection.

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#CubAngola40: Rethinking the 1975 Afro-Cuban War

Poster of President Agostinho Neto and Fidel Castro after Angolan independence celebration.

Poster of President Agostinho Neto and Fidel Castro after Angolan independence celebration.

In November of 1975 the Cuban government made a major military intervention in Angola’s independence process. Forty years later we gather to commemorate this historical moment and its consequences with #CubAngola40  – a daylong symposium at New York University.

This event will be held at the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center on Friday, November 6th, and will elapse from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

The conference will have the participation of  Piero Gleijeses, Linda Heywood, Christabelle Peters, Adriano Mixinge, Tony Pinelli and Ned Subletteto to remember and reconsider the event, to illuminate its political and cultural consequences and rethink the relevance of this important chapter of Global South history.

What happened in November of 1975?

Forty years ago, the Cuban government launched Operation Carlota, a large-scale military intervention in Angola while this African country was on the eve of its independence from Portugal. The Cuban military victory over the forces supported by the United States and South Africa represented an explosive chapter  of the Cold War and of the African decolonization. The consequences were immediate and long-lasting, since the resulting defeat of South African troops contributed  to the end of the white-supremacist regime of Apartheid. In that context, the intervention of a small Latin American country into the two main geopolitical struggles of the time was not only unique, it represented an audacious South-to-South cooperation.

Nonetheless, this important historical fact still underrepresented.  A great deal of historical and cultural material remains open to exploration, discussion, and scholarship.  Hence, #CubAngola40  begins to redress the scant attention this event has received and will strive to answer many pertinent and suspended questions:

What did the internationalism behind this event mean,or what could it have meant to today’s racial politics of the African diaspora and to transnational solidarity?

What political role did the Bantu-based cultures shared by both countries since early slave trade bring to bear in the Angola-Cuba context?

In light of recent changes in US-Cuba relations, can we expect new narratives, revelations, or perspectives regarding the intervention?

Stay tuned for more information, programs and biographies that are coming. Also follow this link to RSVP.

This week, Afro-Cuban topics are on the spotlight

Cuba Events
On Monday, October 12, the CLACS Caribbean Initiative hosted María del Carmen Barcia and Oilda Hevia Lanier from Casa de Altos Estudios Fernando Ortiz at University of Havana, who presented the latest research that have been conducted on Cuba and the illegal slave trade to a gathering of 15 guests which made for an intimate discussion.

Barcia is a well-known Cuban history professor that has been awarded with the prestigious prizes, Juan Marinello and Casa Award. Her studies emphasize in elites and social power relations. From 1982 – 2002 she was member of Scientific Council of the Cuba’s National Archive.

Meanwhile, Hevia Lanier is another Cuban historian that specializes in African Descendents in Cuba and in the Caribbean. She has been recognized on a myriad of occasions during the Wemilere African Roots Festivals.

This event was held  in room 404 of the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (KJCC).

Next Thursday, October 15 at 6:30 p.m., a colloquium will be held on the crucial role of books in the advancement of Black advocacy movements throughout the Americas. This event will take place on the fourth floor of 20 Cooper Square and will be led by the Afro Cuban author, bibliographer, and activist Tomás Fernández Robaina.

Fernández Rabaína, is both researcher at the Havana’s National Library and professor at University of Havana. He publishes mostly about Afro-Cuban issues. One of his most prominent books is The Blacks in Cuba 1902-1958: Notes on the history of the struggle against racial discrimination.

He has an extensive background in working for initiatives devoted to anti-racist activities. For instance, the Cuban National Committee on Slave Routes and Cofradía de la Negritud are two of the organizations to which he has been part of.

This free event is co-sponsored by CLACS, the AfroLatin@ Forum, Social and Cultural Analysis, and Ford Foundation.

Finally, to top it all, during Friday, October 16 we will host Heriberto Feraudy Espino, president of the Cuban’s government anti-racism agency –The José Antonio Aponte Commission.

Feraudy Espino will join us at 12:30 p.m. to present on the current racial problems in Cuba. This event will be held in room 404 of KJCC at 53 Washington Square South.

In his many years of experience, Feraudy Espino, has involved himself in teaching at University of Havana and writing both: history and Cuban society academic papers, and fictional literary pieces.

He has also been the director of the Africa and Middle East división at the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples.

This event will be held in Spanish.

Seeing the Change: La Fábrica in Havana

Posted by Nicki Fleischner- MA Candidate at CLACS/ Global Journalism at NYU 

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Kevin, a 24 year-old design student, checking out the skateboard exhibition at La Fábrica.

When we arrived there is already a line snaking its way around the block: Cuban girls in heels, boys in gold chains and brightly printed graphic tees, foreign tourists or exchange students sprinkled throughout. At the door a few groups try to grease the impressively built bouncers. Some people are successful just by dropping the right name, or flashing their Biennial art festival badges—available only to those (mostly foreign tour groups) who paid for them ahead of time. It’s the Biennial’s opening night at La Fábrica in Havana, and as several people have emphasized to me, it is the place to be.

I always knew I wanted to do my fieldwork in Havana. Following President Raúl Castro’s economic reforms in 2010 and then President Barack Obama’s decision to renew diplomatic relations with the country last December (and the slew of media hype that has followed), it feels like the right time to be here; a time when Cuba is on the brink of transformation (or not at all, as many of my more cynical Cuban friends will tell me). Leaving for Havana on my direct flight from New York (another change) the check-in line filled with American tour groups headed to Havana’s 12th Biennial— an international art festival that takes place in the city from late May through June—it did feel different, and that an opening up (and commercialization) is actually happening. Now in Havana it is my goal to assess what the “changes” we read about have tangibly resulted in for Cuba’s younger generation: does it impact their daily lives, their aspirations for the future, their conception of themselves?

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