Posted by: ivetteromero | May 4, 2015

40th Carifiesta: Montreal’s Annual Caribbean Festival


Hannah Korbee writes that Montreal’s annual Caribbean Festival—Carifiesta—is set to take over Saint Catherine’s Street in Montreal this summer on July 4, 2015. This is the 40th edition of the festival and the city expects 250,000 people to attend this Canadian city’s Caribbean carnival.

For an event that has stood the test of time for 40 years, you have to assume there is something great about it. People don’t return for the sub-par, that’s for sure. We want culture and excitement, that’s what Montreal is all about. Well, this July 4th, you better hold on to your hats, because Carifiesta is back in town.

A true-blue celebration of heritage, Carifiesta highlights music, dance, and dress in its traditional Caribbean form. Prepare for feathers, bedazzlement and a good time. And of course we can’t forget the parade. Saint Catherine’s Street is set to be packed and colourful with Caribbean performers, lighting up the city with every step.

For full article, see

For more information visit the Carifiesta website or Facebook page.

Posted by: ivetteromero | May 4, 2015

US Business Schools Set their Sights on Cuba


Jonathan Moules (Business Education) writes about the long-term prospects for business education in Cuba in the context of the changing relations between Washington and Havana. He gives examples of US business schools that have been able to take advantage of the possibility for US-based academic institutions to visit Cuba for study trips. His main example is that of Professor Stephan Meier from the Columbia Business School in New York. In three years, Professor Meier has taken 120 students to Cuba.

Another program is NYU Stern, which has offered a similar program called Doing Business in Cuba. Moules writes that “To date, the 84 Stern MBA students who have taken the trip to Havana have only been able to do so thanks to connections provided by Ludwig Foundation, a not-for-profit body created to build links between the US and Cuba, primarily in the arts.”

He also underlines that the pace of change in Cuba, where no business school yet exists, is a subject of debate. He offers varying points of view by specialists such as Tom Pugel, vice-dean of MBA programs at NYU Stern and Carl Voigt, professor of clinical management and organization at USC Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles (who led the first US business school delegation to Cuba in 2000 and has since taken about 1,000 students on study visits).

For the article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | May 4, 2015

The Bahamas: Rum Cay Artist Turning Trash into Treasures


This article focuses on the artwork of Florida-born artist Bobby Little and his work with recycled materials  for producing a great array of impressive artwork. Mark Ellert, president of the Guy Harvey Outpost, explains how the group has used Little’s large-scale artwork to promote fishing tournaments as well as to promote conservation and education. Little’s 20’ Burning Wahoo sculpture will light up the skies at Old Bahama Bay in West End Grand Bahama for the Bonfire Beach Bash & Tournament scheduled for June 25-28, 2015 (see [See “ Burning Marlin” sculpture above.] Ellert says that eventually the Marlin and Wahoo sculptures created from metal rebar and other materials will be sunk as artificial reefs providing a new site for divers as well as hosts for new reefs and habitat for fish.

As the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and for artist and sculptor Bobby Little, recycling discarded materials into art has literally become a larger than life mission.

For nearly a quarter of a century, Little has built a cottage industry around dead coral, trashed conch shells, abandoned oil drums and discarded metal that have either been washed onto the beaches by the Antilles Current or dumped at the local landfill on tiny Rum Cay.

From soaring “Burning Marlin and Wahoo” metal sculptures, recycled for the popular Bonfire Tournament Series created by Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts in Bimini and West End Grand Bahama to two-inch pink tinted turtles caringly shaped from conch shells, Little’s work defines the eco-challenges of conservation and public education and awareness.

[. . .] More recently, Little has found a unique way to recycle conch shells into jewelry forms, shaped as marlins, sailfish, turtles and other sea life native to the Bahamas. “There are literally four million conchs that are harvested annually, which leaves four million discarded shells,” said Little. “Each conch is worth maybe $2 to those harvesting, but I can turn that shell into $200 to $500 in sea life art.” By sawing the shells into rough forms and then finishing into distinctive shapes and polishing, Little’s conch has become popular in local shops and restaurants. [. . .]

The 53-year-old artist has always been a creator and craftsman. As a youngster, growing up in Hollywood, Florida, Little was grabbed by the skateboard craze. Not satisfied with just participating, he set up a workshop in his parent’s garage and began building his own skateboard brand “Little Skateboards”, selling 300 to 400 yearly.

“What a ride,” he said, adding that he also formed a Little Skateboards team competing in local, regional and national events. He was recognized this year by being inducted into the Skateboard Hall of Fame during a ceremony held in the Jacksonville, Florida area.

When it came time to find a signature art-oriented theme to promote fishing tournaments at Guy Harvey Outposts in Bimini and Old Bahama Bay, fellow artist Guy Harvey and his Outpost Team needed to look no further than Little to come up with a dramatic signature statement.

“I had seen photos of his “Burning Man” sculpture which he used on Rum Cay to commemorate special events and it was singularly iconic and dramatic to say the least,” said Guy Harvey Outpost President Mark Ellert. “Bobby’s vision of creating art from recycled objects also fit our mission of promoting conservation and education.”

[. . .]  “It’s the full cycle,” said Little. “My way of showing how to imaginatively recycle and recreate.”

For more information on Little’s art go to

For original article, see

[Photo above from]

Posted by: ivetteromero | May 4, 2015

Why Major League Baseball Teams Are Fleeing Venezuela


Brian Costa in New York and Ezequiel Minaya in Aguirre, Venezuela (The Wall Street Journal) that Major League Baseball teams are leaving Venezuela write that baseball clubs are taking their ball and going home (or to the Dominican Republic) out of concern about security, costs and other hassles. The Mariners are the latest major-league team to decide to pull out of the country. See excerpts with a link to the full article below:

Tucked away among the tilled plots and scrubby pastures of this rural town, the Seattle Mariners’ baseball academy is mostly abandoned. The weight room has been cleared of machines. The numbered locker-room stalls are bare. One afternoon last week, a grounds crew pulled out bases from the main field while workers packed away a few stray trophies, bats and uniforms. But the teenage prospects who shared bunks here just three weeks ago are gone, shipped off to a newer school in the Dominican Republic.

The Mariners are the latest Major League Baseball team to pull out of Venezuela, leaving only four such academies in the country, down from more than 20 in the late 1990s. The steady exodus is a byproduct of rampant violence and, more recently, widespread political and economic turmoil. And it is endangering one of the country’s most visible and valuable exports outside of oil: baseball players.

As of opening day this year, there were 65 Venezuelan-born players in the major leagues, just below the all-time high of 66 in 2012. Outside the U.S., only the Dominican Republic produces more major leaguers. The list includes some of the biggest stars in the sport, including the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera and Seattle’s Felix Hernandez.

But the near-total demise of the academy system, coupled with the increasing difficulty of traveling to and scouting in Venezuela, has put the talent pipeline in jeopardy. “Those academies helped us to be here,” said Venezuelan-born Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, who came through the Minnesota Twins’ academy. “Now, it’s very hard for all those kids who want to play this sport. The doors are closing for their dreams.”

Since the early 20th century, baseball has served as a cultural link between the U.S. and Venezuela, even as diplomatic ties have grown increasingly strained. The country’s first professional team was the Magallanes Navigators, who began play in 1917 and have since produced major leaguers such as former Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana and 2012 World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval.

But it was the emergence of the academy system, pioneered by the Houston Astros in 1989, that made Venezuela a top exporter of baseball talent. Teams would sign players in bulk as teenagers, house and train them at their facilities and send the best of them to the American minor leagues. Players from each team’s academy would compete against each other in the MLB-run Venezuelan Summer League, which will now include only affiliates of the Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays.

“Just having a presence there helps,” said Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper. Among other benefits, he said that teams are allowed to keep amateur free agents at their academies for up to 30 days before deciding whether to sign them. “It’s a better way for us to judge their ability when we can see them longer,” he said.

Most teams no longer believe such a presence is worth the danger, hassles and costs that come with it. Stringent labor laws and a Byzantine currency system have long made Venezuela an expensive place to do business, but it has become increasingly complicated and less safe for MLB to operate there.

For full article, see [. . .]

Posted by: ivetteromero | May 4, 2015

15th Ernest Hemingway International Colloquium


The 15th Ernest Hemingway International Colloquium [Coloquio Internacional Ernest Hemingway] will take place in Havana on June 18-21, 2015 at the Palacio O’Farrill Hotel in Havana, Cuba. The colloquium is organized by Ernest Hemingway Museum, at Finca Vigía, in collaboration with the National Council of Cultural Heritage.

It was at Finca Vigía, in the San Francisco de Paula neighborhood, where the author wrote one of his most famous novels The Old Man and the Sea, which won a Pulitzer award in 1953. This edition of the event aims at fostering the information exchange with specialists and institutions linked to the Museum, debating recent research on the writer’s life and work, commemorating the 90th anniversary of the first publication of his work entitled The Green Hills of Africa and the 80th of his In Our Time.

The works to be presented will be related to: the United States in the life and work of Ernest Hemingway; Childhood and adolescence; Hemingway: editors and publishers; Hemingway and his relationship with writers and artists; Works related to his life and work; Museology and preservation of collections and museums dedicated to Ernest Hemingway; and more.

Paradiso, Artex’s cultural tourism agency, is the official agency of the colloquium. For more information, contact: Paradiso Turismo Cultural at Email: or by telephone at (537) 836 5381.

[Many thanks to Dr. Michael Connors for bringing this item to our attention.]

Read more at:

For more information, see


I love stories about little-known heroes. I found the first line of this article as compelling as the story of Army nurse Carmen María Lozano: “Carmen Maria Lozano Dumler had a childhood so carefree, she didn’t realize there was a Great Depression.” Mrs. Dumler died March 29, 2015, at Brookdale Senior Living facility in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. She was 93 and had Alzheimer’s disease. Marilla Cushman of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation says, “She is certainly a pioneer for Puerto Rican women, one of the first 13 to be commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps. Carmen and her 12 cohorts led the way for Puerto Rican women in the Army Nurse Corps.” Here are excerpts of the article/obituary:

She spent her days horseback-riding around La Isla del Encanto— Puerto Rico. And when she entered the kitchen of the “Big House’’ where she lived on the coffee plantation run by her father, the cooks and servants shooed her away because it wasn’t thought proper for her to do something as lowly as cooking.

She itched for more. After a try at hang gliding, she longed to be a pilot. But in the 1930s, there weren’t many opportunities to learn to fly for a young, sheltered woman in Puerto Rico, especially not one with a protective abuelita. She decided to go to nursing school because medical expertise — along with her youth and good looks — could help her land a job as a flight attendant. In those days of rickety plane rides, airlines recognized in-flight crews of nurses were a marketing plus that could fill seats.

Nursing didn’t lead to flying, but it did give Mrs. Dumler one of the proudest moments of her life. On Aug. 21, 1944, she entered the Army Nurse Corps. She was the first sworn in out of a group of 13 trailblazing nurses in Puerto Rico recruited to care for the growing number of Puerto Rican soldiers at military hospitals in San Juan and the Caribbean, according to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation.

“The Army did not recruit women on the island until 1944,” said retired Lt. Col. Marilla Cushman, a spokeswoman for the foundation. “Mrs. Dumler was the first on the island to be sworn in.” A second lieutenant, she and the other 12 were valued for both their nursing and bilingual skills.

[. . .] During World War II, she studied at the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in San Juan, according to her daughter, Karen Balinski, then worked at Puerto Rico’s Camp Tortuguero before being assigned to a military hospital on the island of Trinidad, where she cared for recovering soldiers. “She would talk to them at night, and she recognized she kind of had a gift,” her daughter said. “She was gifted with therapy and counseling.”

She met Army Air Corps Lt. Joseph Dumler at the Officers Club at Trinidad’s Ford Read. “He danced with her as much as possible,” their daughter said. “My dad walked her home. She had to be on the steps of the nursing school at 11:30 [p.m.], and he got her there on time. And they sat on the steps and talked all night long till about 6:30 a.m. “And then, they went to 9 o’clock mass.” [. . .] Three months later, the couple got married at the Fort Read chapel.

[. . .] After marrying, the Dumlers resumed civilian life in his hometown of Baltimore and later settled  in Hoffman Estates. [. . .] Mrs. Dumler spent 20 years working as a nurse for Alexian Brothers Health System on the overnight shift because it didn’t interfere with raising her family, said another son, Chris. The last decade, she specialized in substance-abuse counseling. [. . .]

For full article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | May 4, 2015

New York, here comes the Caribbean!


Caribbean Week hits New York on June 1-5, 2015, organized around the theme: ““Where Business and Culture Inspire Travel.” Focusing on the business side of all things Caribbean, related activities include a trade show, seminars and dinners, several awards luncheons, information about the tourism sector, a Diaspora forum, the Rum and Rhythm social at Tribeca 360, and more. Here is more information from ETN—Global Travel Industry News:

New York City will come alive with the colours, flavours and rhythms of the Caribbean as the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) returns with Caribbean Week New York from 1-5 June 2015.

With the theme “Where Business and Culture Inspire Travel,” Caribbean Week will convene several tourism officials and industry executives who are expected to break many news stories and reveal many new initiatives to further position the Caribbean as the leading warm-weather destination in the world.

CTO USA Inc., Director, Sylma Brown, confirmed that plans were on track to facilitate dozens of media practitioners, representatives of the Caribbean Diaspora, travel agents, consumers and students and government representatives who are expected to attend.

“Caribbean Week continues to be regarded as the premier international Caribbean tourism gathering and our team is constantly searching for ways to add value to those who attend. Simultaneously, we are challenged to deliver the legacy elements of our programme with increasing quality to ensure new and repeat attendees leave feeling refreshed, empowered and enlightened about our important tourism sector.”

A packed itinerary awaits the participants including business meetings; a trade show, educational seminar and dinner for travel agents; the Caribbean Marketing Conference and Allied Awards luncheon; the Caribbean Media Awards luncheon to recognize journalists and photographers who, year after year, educate their audiences about the Caribbean and influence their vacation choices; the students’ colloquium; the Diaspora forum; a chef’s programme and the week’s social highlight, Rum and Rhythm at the stylish Tribeca 360.

For full article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | May 3, 2015

EU funds project to develop coconut industry in Caribbean


The Jamaica Observer reports that the European Union is financing a project aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of small-scale coconut farmers by identifying market opportunities, creating synergies between national and regional programs and improving access to advisory services for improved production.

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) in partnership with the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) and the EU are implementing the Euro3.5 million (One Euro=US$1.29 cents) project. The project will be undertaken in nine Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries.

CARDI said that within recent years the demand for coconuts and coconut bi- products has skyrocketed on both the regional and world markets. “Many Caribbean countries have been unable to satisfy this growing demand due to setbacks experienced by industries in the early 1980’s. Principal among these have been the loss of international markets for traditional products, loss of consumer confidence, ageing populations and growing pest and disease problems.”

CARDI said it welcomed the support to revitalise the coconut industry in the Caribbean because of its “significant potential to contribute to economic development and poverty reduction in the benefiting countries”.

Phase one of the project will engage national stakeholders in formulating road maps for market-led development of the coconut and coconut products sector, as well as to agree on implementation plans.

For original article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | May 3, 2015

Two Books on Influential Caribbean Literary Figures

walrond.1JacketBrooklyn College writes that two of its faculty members recently published books that shed new light on influential literary figures—one nearly forgotten and one who rose to prominence posthumously. The press release is referring to James Davis’ book, Eric Walrond: A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean (Columbia University Press, 2015) and Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon (University of Illinois Press, 2014) [see previous posts New Book: “Eric Walrond—A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean” and New Book: Vanessa Pérez-Rosario’s “Becoming Julia de Burgos—The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon”.] Here are excerpts:

English Professor James Davis’ book, Eric Walrond: A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean (Columbia University Press, 2015), takes a look at the life of the little known Harlem Renaissance writer who was one of the first to depict the lives of Caribbean people in American fiction. Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon (University of Illinois Press, 2014) by Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Professor Vanessa Pérez-Rosario is the first book-length work in English that explores the life of poet and political activist Julia de Burgos, including her experience of migration and her legacy in New York City.

Davis wasn’t exactly looking for Walrond. It was more like the late author’s work found Davis while he was digging through the archives at Columbia University. Thumbing through an old publisher’s catalog, he stumbled upon an announcement for a book on the history of Panama, written by Walrond. [. . .] Davis did more than revisit the research—he ended up turning it into a book that draws a more complete picture of the life of the literary luminary who was largely assumed to have dropped off the face of the earth.

Walrond’s only book, Tropic Death, published in 1926, along with his journalistic writing and short stories that appeared in popular magazines, had earned him the respect of peers like Langston Hughes. He even went on to win a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction. But not too long after his book was published, he moved to England, ended up working as an accountant, and eventually committed himself to a mental institution—where he incidentally started a literary magazine and published his history of Panama in installments.

“It was super strange,” says Davis. “I’m leafing through pages of a mental hospital magazine and there’s something on the cricket match between the patients and the wardens and then a puzzle and then this heavily researched, foot-noted, academic treatment of the history of Panama sandwiched in between.”

Davis employed a lot of detective work, searching through archives from New York to Panama and England, to piece together what happened to Walrond and to detail in the book his relationships with several prominent Harlem Renaissance-era writers like Countee Cullen and Zora Neal Hurston. [. . .]

burgos9780252080609Pérez had a similar motive in writing about Burgos. “We celebrated the centennial of her birth in 2014 and still there was no book published on her in English,” says Perez. “It was time.” If Burgos, a native of Puerto Rico, is a Latina icon today, she was an iconoclast during her time. She is celebrated for knocking down stereotypes about women’s role in society, Latino culture, and for fighting for Puerto Rican independence.

Pérez started her book journey by reading Burgos’ poetry and then did some research on the political and social forces that surrounded her and informed so much of her writing. Perez also interviewed people who either knew the late poet or claimed her as an influence.

“I started out wanting to avoid the biographical,” says Pérez. “I later realized that it was the stories of her life, her migration, and her death that captured the imaginations of so many.”

Burgos grew up in a barrio in Puerto Rico where conditions were so dire, six of her siblings died of malnutrition. She ended up earning a scholarship to attend college, graduated at the age of 19 and then had a brief stint as a teacher, a job that was reportedly derailed by her political beliefs. She ended up marrying young, but like her teaching career, her marriage was short lived. Burgos yearned to live a more independent life which, eventually, turned her into a social pariah. She traveled to and New York and Cuba, journeys that introduced her to literary luminaries like Nobel Prize winners Juan Ramón Jiménez and Pablo Neruda, both of whom saw in Burgos a very promising poet.

She continued to fight for her island’s independence from the U.S. and as a writer for the New York based Spanish weekly Pueblos Hispanos, she developed a keen sense of Latin American solidarity and tried to connect and assist the immigrants living in New York. She ended up dying alone at the age of 39 after collapsing on a street in Harlem.

“Her life didn’t end as a tragedy; she was not a victim,” Pérez recently told NY1 Noticias. “Her legacy and her influence in the ’60s and onward has continued.” [. . .]

For original article, see

Posted by: lisaparavisini | May 3, 2015

Caribbean Conferences: May 2015-January 2016

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 7.56.32 PM

Our thanks, as always, to Peter Jordens for compiling this update on upcoming conferences for our readers. The abbreviated list is below. To download the full list, which covers the period ending in January 2016 and contains additional information about the conferences listed click here: Caribbean conferences 2015 May

Abbreviated list of scholarly conferences relevant to the Caribbean

Month of May 2015 only

May 4-8, 2015. La Habana, Cuba

‘Geociencias 2015’: 4th Cuban Conference of the Earth Sciences


May 5-7, 2015

St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

Caribbean Forum on Post-2015 Development: “New Pathways to Strengthen Resilience and Underpin Sustainable Development in the Caribbean”


May 12-16, 2015. St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

Commemorative Conference: “The Indian Diaspora: Identities, Trajectories and Transnationalities”


May 13-15, 2015. Montego Bay, Jamaica

Conference: “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education in TVET: Imperative to National and Regional Development”


May 17-21, 2015. Nassau, The Bahamas

47th Annual ACH Conference


May 17-22, 2015. Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

20th Caribbean Geological Conference


May 18-20, 2015. Santiago, Cuba

7th International Conference on Integrated Management of Coastal Zones ‘CARICOSTAS 2015’


May 18-22, 2015. La Habana, Cuba

5th International Colloquium: “Cultural Diversity in the Caribbean”

Webpages and

May 20-22, 2015. La Habana, Cuba

8th International Colloquium on Research of African-derived Religions


May 21-25, 2015. San Juan, Puerto Rico

65th Annual Conference of ICA: “Communication across the Life Span”



May 25-28, 2015. La Habana, Cuba

8th International Conference for Renewable Energy, Energy Saving and Energy Education ‘CIER 2015’


May 25-29, 2015. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

40th Annual CSA Conference: “The Caribbean in an Age of Global Apartheid Fences, Boundaries, and Borders—Literal and Imagined”


May 27-29, 2015. Cave Hill, Barbados

International Symposium: “Translating Creolization”


May 27-29, 2015. Mona, Jamaica

HRD Graduate Programmes 20th Anniversary Conference: “Raising the Profile of Human Resource Development: Promoting Organisational Transformation”


May 27-30, 2015. San Juan, Puerto Rico

33rd International Congress of LASA: “Precariousness, Exclusions, Emergence”


May 28-29, 2015. Mona, Jamaica

25th Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference: “Providing Evidence for People-Centered Care”


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