In order to show the world a more in-depth Cuba — different from the dilapidated, colorful buildings, cigars and 1950s cars — photographer Carlos Otero Blanco went where most people are not allowed, the bedroom.
“It’s the most intimate part of a home. A lot of things happen there: They love, argue, dream, procreate.”
And it wasn’t just to discover more about Cuba, but more about the people. “When you look at the photos, you discover the person who lives there,” Otero Blanco said.
“Visitors may see a living room or bathroom, but they are never allowed to go to bedrooms where people have their private lives.”
Dormir con 120
As part of his project called “Dormir con 120” — an ode to the type of film he uses — Otero Blanco traveled around Cuba photographing all kinds of bedrooms, from an old farmer’s house to a more modern one.
See all the different bedrooms from around the island here.
New reports show that President Donald Trump tried to register his trademark in Cuba in 2008. The revelation shows another contradiction from President Trump who promised not to do business in Cuba until the island was a free democracy. The news comes just one week into Hispanic Heritage Month and has left some on social media questioning President Trump’s commitment to Cuban-Americans.
A new Miami Herald story is shining a light on Trump’s attempted business dealings in Cuba.
The story highlights President Trump’s hypocrisy and frequent contradictions throughout his life. The president’s attempted business dealings in Cuba came after he told the Cuban American National Foundation that he would not. During a 1999 speech, President Trump promised that he would not do business in Cuba until the island and the people were free.
For some, the revelation comes as a reminder of President Trump’s record with the Latino community. Latinos have been a constant target for Trump’s attacks since he called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals when announcing his candidacy in 2015.
The news has angered Latinos who see the gesture as a sign of betrayal.
“I’ve had a lot of offers and, sadly, it’s all be very recently, to go into Cuba on deals. Business deals, real estate, and other deals,” Trump said at the 1999 speech in front of the Cuban American National Foundation. “I’ve rejected them on the basis that I will go when Cuba is free.”
Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, Republican political pundit and outspoken Trump critic, did not hold back.
Navarro-Cárdenas is one Republican who has long stood up against President Trump. Her tweets highlighted the fact that President Trump didn’t try to do business in Cuba just once. There are several instances that show that the president tried to make business happen in Cuba.
“Putting money and investing money in Cuba right now doesn’t go to the people of Cuba,” Trump told the audience in 1999. “It goes into the pockets of Fidel Castro.”
People are not completely shocked by the news.
The Trump administration has also been tied to the Cuban government. Earlier this year, news surfaced that Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, met with “Castro’s son” in Cuba. The meeting happened in 2017 just days before the inauguration. Emails show Manafort trying to relay information from “Castro’s son” to Kathleen T. McFarland, who would go on to be the Deputy National Security Advisor for the Trump administration.
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Cuba has been one of the hemisphere’s coronavirus success stories — but a sudden outbreak in its capital has brought on a strict, two-week Havana lockdown. Residents of the capital city will be forced to stay-at-home for 15-days, while people from other parts of the island ill be prohibited from visiting – essentially sealing off the city from the outside world.
Meanwhile, the Coronavirus pandemic has pummeled the island’s economy and has left many everyday items out of reach for many Cubans. Some are being forced to turn to ‘dollar stores,’ where the U.S. dollar is once again accepted as hard currency – something now allowed since 1993.
Officials have ordered a strict 15-day lockdown of Havana in an effort to stamp out the spread of Coronavirus in the capital.
Aggressive anti-virus measures, including closing down air travel, have virtually eliminated COVID-19 in Cuba with the exception of Havana, where cases have surged from a handful a day to dozens daily over the last month.
A daily curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. was instituted Tuesday. Most stores are barred from selling to shoppers from outside the immediate neighborhood in order to discourage people from moving around the city.
Some Havana residents complained that the measures were complicating the already difficult task of buying food in a city hit by constant shortages and endless lines for a limited supply of basic goods. Some provinces that saw no new cases for weeks have begun detecting them in recent days, often linked to travelers from Havana.
The start of in-person classes for students was also indefinitely delayed in Havana, while schools opened normally in the rest of Cuba.
To enforce the lockdown, police stationed on every road leaving Havana are supposed to stop anyone who doesn’t have a special travel permit, which is meant to be issued only in extraordinary circumstances.
Under the strict new lockdown measures, anyone who is found in violation of the stay-at-home orders face fines of up to $125 per violation, more than triple the average monthly wage.
The island nation had seemed to manage the pandemic well – with fewer cases than many of its Caribbean neighbors.
The island of 11 million people has reported slightly more than 4,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with fewer than 100 deaths, one of the lowest rates in the region.
The government made face masks obligatory in the early stages of its pandemic response, and in the first months of the crisis police aggressively fined and even jailed people for violations.
That vigilance slackened somewhat as Havana moved out of the first, strictest phase of lockdown in July, when public transportation restarted and people returned to work. The number of coronavirus cases then began to climb again.
Meanwhile, the Cuban economy has tanked and residents are struggling to make ends meet now more than ever before.
The pandemic has hit the island’s economy particularly hard. Much of the island relies on agricultural and tourism – two sectors that have been decimated by Coronavirus.
As a result, many Cubans are struggling to afford everyday items. Rice – which used to sell for about $13 Cuban pesos per kilo is now going for triple that.
In an effort to allow Cubans better access to goods, the government has began recognizing the U.S. dollar as official currency. This is extraordinary as mere possession of U.S. dollars was long considered a criminal offense. However, the measure draws a line between the haves and have-nots, one that runs even deeper than it did before the pandemic.