Posted by: ivetteromero | March 27, 2015

Venezuela slashes oil shipments to the Caribbean

nicA900-4B55-4A5F-90BB-84C560951706_mw1024_s_nAntonio M. Delgado (Miami Herald) cites a Barclays report that confirms that Venezuela has cut in half its subsidized shipments of crude oil to Cuba and PetroCaribe member nations to 200,000 barrels per day, down from 400,000 shipped in 2012.

Also, the British investment bank’s report considered it “ironic” that Venezuela would ship any oil at all, highlighting that while the country is going through extreme difficulties, it continues to subsidize oil sales to countries that have healthier economies.

Because of the cuts in oil shipments to the Caribbean, the firm reduced its deficit forecast for Venezuela to $22.6 billion, down from more than $30 billion predicted for 2015.

“The oil agreements have been a heavy burden for Venezuela. These deliveries reached 400,000 bpd at their peak in 2012, though Venezuela only received payment for 200,000 bpd,” said the Barclays report, citing figures from Petrologistics, the firm that follows tanker movements. “In the last decade, the agreements have cost Venezuela up to $50 billion,” added the report, titled Reducing Generosity.

Surprisingly, Cuba, the most important ally of Nicolás Maduro’s regime, has not been exonerated from the cuts, which deepened after August 2014, when crude-oil prices began to drop. “Cuba has received about 55,000 barrels per day since September, nearly half of what it received in 2012,” the report says.

The cuts in deliveries to Cuba are more important than those of the other countries benefiting from Venezuela’s generosity, because unlike member countries of the Petrocaribe program, which at least pay a portion of the deliveries, Havana’s regime does not make cash payments for the exchange.

Under the cooperation agreements in place between both countries, Cuba pays for oil with the services of doctors and sports trainers for the social programs launched by the Venezuelan government, as well as with the island’s intelligence services.

However, shipments to Petrocaribe member countries have also been reduced significantly.

Shipments to the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, which account for about half of the program, have dropped 56 percent and 74 percent compared to 2012. [. . .]

For full article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | March 27, 2015

Montague Kobbe Reviews Pedro Juan Soto’s “Spiks”

Spik780853453314_p0_v1_s260x420In his “Memo from La-La Land,” Montague Kobbe reviews Pedro Juan Soto’s 1956 Spiks. It is a real pleasure to rediscover, through a fresh lens, a literary work that one has read long ago. After reading Kobbe’s review I rushed to my bookshelves, searched and searched, and finally found my old copy of Spiks, dusted it off, and it’s now waiting for me on my nightstand! Here are just a few excerpts of this lively review; I recommend reading the full post:

[. . .] That is the setting of Spiks, a succinct collection of seven short stories paired with six other capsules or “miniatures” that brutally and strikingly reflect the reality encountered by these “new Americans.” Written in 1956 by precisely one such member of the northward march that was meant to bring prosperity and wellbeing—that was supposed, let’s face it, to bring a minimal measure of civilization to a people deemed to be backward—Spiks is inevitably bleak and even grim in its depiction of the lives of Puerto Ricans in New York, of New Yoricans, in the 50s. But perhaps the book’s greatest insight comes from Soto’s frank portrayal of his own people—a complex bunch with wildly differing expectations who mostly lead miserable lives but who in many ways are not so much victims of circumstance but rather the perpetrators of their own demise. In some sense, Soto is keenly aware of the major challenges and precarious conditions that punctuate the existence of Puerto Ricans in New York but at the same time he is not overtly sympathetic or unnecessarily sentimental about it: he remains true to his stories, damningly so, and this affords them with a distinct edge, with an element of double condemnation that never allows the reader to fall into a well-defined comfort zone. [. . .]

PJSotoSpiks is Soto’s first work of consequence, and the fact that it was only published upon his return to Puerto [Rico] bears significance. While the bulk of the stories unfold in New York, the collection opens with the start of a journey—not only a metaphoric one—in “Captive,” a story that deals with the forced departure of Fernanda, a 17-year-old nymphet whose burgeoning sexuality has resulted in an adulterous relationship with her sister’s husband, all of whom live under the same roof. [. . .]

Cleverly structured into pairs of short and super short pieces, Spiks develops a rhythmical counterpoint through strong if brief characterizations that build a credible, complex and somewhat dismaying social environment of their own. The world of Spiks, beautifully erected on single-page “miniatures” that predate by well over half a century the rise in popularity of flash fiction, is the same world that Arthur Laurents would later portray in West Side Story, a tale that unfolds across town, on Upper West Side rather than East Harlem, but that nevertheless is laden with the same degree of violence and prejudice, of struggle between integration and assimilation that permeates throughout Soto’s stories.

[. . .] Thus, the journey in Spiks is ultimately one of introspection, one that might start at any airport but that ultimately must lead to peace with yourself, one that must necessarily be traveled alone. It was a journey that Soto would need to explore time and time again during his life, experiencing the pain of rejection in New York as well as in Puerto Rico—an outsider in both places. [. . .]

For full review, go to

Posted by: ivetteromero | March 27, 2015

Puerto Rico Prepares for Luxury Shopping Amid Recession


Yup, the ironies never cease. This AP article centers on The Mall of San Juan, a new $475 million shopping center opening in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which includes Puerto Rico’s first Nordstrom (“where shoppers can choose from 7,000 different lipstick colors . . . ‘We heard that people in Puerto Rico love their cosmetics.’”) as well as the first Saks Fifth Avenue, “which has mother-of-pearl walls and polished white Italian marble floors.” A friend recently posted photos of the wall-to-wall crowds that attended the opening—a sight to behold. Read excerpts here and view full article in the link below:

A pair of nearly 5-inch black satin heels with a large gold alligator that serves as the front strap retails for almost $1,600 at the first Saks Fifth Avenue store to open in Puerto Rico, more than what the average person here earns in a month and where nearly half the population lives in poverty.

While a nearly decade-long recession has forced many Puerto Ricans to seek a more affordable life on the U.S. mainland, some of the world’s priciest retailers have stores at The Mall of San Juan, a $475 million shopping center opening Thursday alongside one of the island’s most crime-ridden public housing projects.

“We know that Puerto Rico has its challenges, but we’re not basing our decision on the economy’s ups and downs,” said Manuel Vazquez, the mall’s general manager. “The sales of shoes, clothes and accessories in Puerto Rico have always been strong.”

Puerto Ricans do seem to have been busy shopping while the government struggles with $73 billion in public debt and U.S. investors worry some of island’s public agencies could go bankrupt. Retail sales grew 0.5 percent over the past year to $37.6 billion, with a 17 percent increase in sales at women’s clothing stores, according to government statistics.

Shopping on credit is popular on this island, where the population of 3.65 million holds more than $22 billion in consumer debt, compared with the $3.3 trillion held by consumers on the U.S. mainland. Laura Ortiz, a sociology professor at the University of Puerto Rico, said consumers she interviewed for her book “Shopping in Puerto Rico” told her they didn’t worry about debt. The view was, “I’ll handle it,” she said.

That shop-until-you-drop mindset is on full display at the Plaza Las Americas, the largest shopping center in the Caribbean. It generates roughly twice the sales-per-square-foot of the average U.S. mall and draws up to 70,000 visitors daily.

[. . .] Developers are betting the trend will continue at the new two-story, 650,000-square-foot mall. It has more than 70 stores, many new here, including Lululemon and Jimmy Choo. [. . .] Other malls that tried to attract a high-end clientele have failed, and stores including Macy’s have had to lower prices and modify products for consumers, said economist Jose Villamil, CEO of the Puerto Rican consulting firm Estudios Tecnicos. [. . .]

For full article, see

Also see;_ylt=A0LEVrySzxVVKXIAlDcnnIlQ

Posted by: ivetteromero | March 26, 2015

Feast on the Beast during Lionfish Festival


Anne Reed writes about South Florida’s Lionfish Festival and all the mouth-watering ways that can be prepared. The invasive species is plentiful in Florida’s waters as it is in the rest of the Caribbean. Although I do not agree that the first lionfish were spotted in the Bahamas; according to older articles, the lionfish disaster began in Florida. In any case, this article makes these creatures sound appetizing indeed. The annual Lionfish Festival takes place at the community center of the Heights Foundation in Fort Myers, Florida.

Red and white striped aliens appear and decide Earth is their new home. They multiply, their numbers growing exponentially, because here, on Earth, they have no natural predators, and humans are powerless to stop them. Sounds like a great blockbuster movie — but the truth is, it’s our reality.

Lionfish are the aliens, and this exotic invasive species is slowly taking over reefs in Southwest Florida. Their numbers have been steadily growing and have spread to our waters from the Bahamas, where Mike Campbell, Lee County Natural Resources Senior Environmental Specialist and Lee Reefs Board of Directors member, first saw them. “I went on a research cruise to the Bahamas,” Campbell recalled. “I noticed the sheer amount of lionfish, and the lack of other fish. And I’ve been scared ever since.”

Environmentally, lionfish are a huge problem. “We’re the last area of Florida where they are starting to move in,” says Campbell. “Some of our further sites out — around 20 to 30 miles out — you see a lot more and, as you come in, you see less. Typically, one year you see one or two, then the next year 25 in that same spot. They come in like a big wave.” And once the lionfish are present on a reef, they are here to stay, because they do not fit into the food chain.

“They don’t look like food and they don’t act like prey. They don’t run,” explained Campbell. With their red and white coloring, their venomous spines, and their behavior, lionfish do not resemble anything in our local waters that normal apex predators would eat. “I’ve seen them with goliath grouper, and (the grouper) could eat them, but they just don’t.”

Clearly, what is needed in an attempt to avoid our reefs turning into ghost towns overrun with lionfish is an apex predator. And Campbell thinks he has found the perfect one — humans. Which is why he, along with the Heights Foundation, started the Lionfish Festival in 2014.

“One thing I know we humans are good at — if we want something, we can put a dent in the population, no matter what it is,” Campbell explained. “So with the Lionfish Festival, we are looking for solutions, and my solution is to develop a demand for these fish, which are very good, and hopefully a commercial industry someday.”

Last year, more than 100 people attended the Lionfish Festival, and raised approximately $5,000. The goal this year is to raise $7,500, with attendance hoping to be close to 150 people. The festival is held in the community center of the Heights Foundation, which was built in 2013 on five acres of land in the heart of the Heights neighborhood. “Two things are funded by the festival,” explained Kathryn Kelly, President, CEO, and Founder of the Heights Foundation. “Our school success program, and our after school and summer camps.”

For full article, see

cuba.downloadCuba Straits is Randy White’s twenty-second Doc Ford novel. A short description reads: “Doc Ford’s old friend, General Juan Garcia, has gone into the lucrative business of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the U.S. He is also feasting on profits made by buying historical treasures for pennies on the dollar. He prefers what dealers call HPC items—high-profile collectibles—but when he manages to obtain a collection of letters written by Fidel Castro between 1960–62 to a secret girlfriend, it’s not a matter of money anymore. Garcia has stumbled way out of his depth.”  Mark Rubinstein interview the author. Here are excerpts with a link to the full interview below:

In Cuba Straits, your extensive knowledge of Cuba is evident. Tell us a bit about your Cuban adventures.
My first trip to Cuba was in 1977. President Carter had relaxed the embargo. I went diving in Cuba using Soviet equipment. The water and marine life were magnificent. I returned in 1980, during the Mariel boatlift. It was a very powerful experience. I spent more than a week in Mariel. I returned on a fifty-five foot boat loaded with one hundred forty-seven refugees. When we reached the U.S., they all began chanting, ‘Libertad, libertad.’ It was an amazing thing. Even though these people made a trip over what seems like a small distance–ninety miles–it was a lifetime for them. Over the years, I’ve maintained relationships with people in Cuba. I’ve returned there with some frequency, and have been involved in various causes: we’ve donated money to hospitals; purchased air conditioners; and helped kids get baseball equipment.

Cuba Straits brims with Cuban culture, the language, and even slang. Do you speak Spanish? And, how did you learn about the Cuban beliefs and superstitions so beautifully described in the novel?
My Cuban friends say I do not speak Spanish (Laughter). I manage to get by with the language. Keep in mind, I played baseball there many times, and a number of my Cuban friends are ball players. Most people who play baseball are quite superstitious. The superstitions referenced in the book are very accurate. The shortstop is called atorpedoer. I’m guessing it’s a combination of “torpedo” and “matador.” An outfielder is known as a jardiniero [sic] which translates to “gardener.” A relief pitcher is an apagafuegos or “fire quencher.” These Cuban colloquialisms are pretty cool. There’s a park in Havana, the Parc de Revolucion, where each day between thirty and forty men argue about baseball. Cubans are so passionate about the game, sometimes it seems fights will break out. The place is known as esquina caliente, which means “the hot corner.”

“Write what you know” is a time-honored adage. Cuba Straits involves Cuba, baseball, boats, motorcycles, guns, cars, and evasion tactics. Is your knowledge from personal experience or research?
Everything except the stuff about motorcycles comes from my having been a fishing guide for many years. For my birthday last June, I took a course dealing with various aspects of guns, surveillance and evasion tactics. So, I have some knowledge of these things. It’s really a combination of personal experiences and research, all coming down a final common pathway in a novel. [. . .]

For full interview, see

The Queen and Prince Philip visit Bridgetown, Barbados in 1977.

Barbados is hoping to sever links with the Queen, drawing up plans to replace her as head of state with a president. The Guardian’s Leo Benedictus writes:

Barbados is getting rid of the Queen. For some reason, the prime minister, Freundel Stuart, feels that the country’s head of state should not be a foreign white woman who has the job because of a history of conquest, who is also head of state for 15 other countries, including most of their near neighbours, and who last visited Barbados in 1989. Stuart promises to present a bill to remove her in time for next year’s 50th anniversary of Barbadian independence. If he does so, it is expected to pass.

To some extent it is easy to see why Britain keeps the Queen. She is British, after all. But what about Elizabeth II’s other queendoms? Might they be tempted to follow Barbados? Most Commonwealth countries have not kept the British monarch as head of state, and even those that have kept warm feelings may cool when Charles takes over. The list of candidates is: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

Among these, Jamaica could well be first to go republican, and should have beaten Barbados to it. The prime minster, Portia Simpson-Miller, vowed to do so before Jamaica’s own 50th anniversary of independence in 2012. The fact that she still hasn’t may be a sign that this kind of constitutional change is often more popular than practical. [. . .]

For full article, see and


Team Caribbean Splash from the U.S. Virgin Islands exhibited their rockets and discussed their participation in the Team America Rocketry Challenge with President Obama at the 5th White House Science Fair. The team was invited to join the White House’s celebration of students from across the country who are engaged and excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Each year the Science Fair has a different theme and this year’s focus was diversity and inclusion in STEM. In addition to highlighting a number of impressive projects and inventions, the President also announced new steps of his Educate to Innovate campaign to get more girls and boys, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups, inspired and prepared to excel in critical STEM fields.

Hailing from the island of St. Croix, Caribbean Splash is hoping to bring the TARC national championship title home to the U.S. Virgin Islands. [. . .]

The 2015 TARC contest challenges students to design and build a rocket that can fly to 800 feet and back within 46 to 48 seconds while carrying a raw egg that must return to the ground undamaged. Caribbean Splash is one of 700 teams representing 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico that are contesting to qualify for the national finals scheduled for Saturday, May 9 in The Plains, VA.

For additional information on TARC please visit

For full article,

Posted by: ivetteromero | March 26, 2015

ADIFF Presents “Women in Film”


The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) presents the “Women in Film” series. This Friday, March 27, the festival presents Reshipment (Cuba/Haiti) directed by Gloria Rolando; and, in their Candomble and Santeria program, The Summer of the Gods (Brazil/USA) directed by Eliciana Nascimento and Oggun: An Eternal Presence (Cuba) directed by Gloria Rolando. See more information and reserve your free tickets below:

March 27, 6:30pm

Reshipment (Directed by Gloria Rolando, 2014, Cuba/Haiti, Documentary, 58 min, Spanish, English subtitles)

The voices of prominent historians join the memories of Haitians and their descendants in Cuba to help us reflect on a chapter of the complex economic and social history of the Caribbean: the presence in the Island of Cuba of thousands of West Indian laborers, especially from Haiti. For many, it was a great bargain of cheap labor. For others, the realization of the dream of every immigrant: make money and return home.

March 27, 8:00pm

The Summer of the Gods (Directed by Eliciana Nascimento, 2014, Brazil/USA, Drama, Portuguese with English subtitles)

The Summer of the Gods revolves around Lili, a six year old Afro-Brazilian who unites with her native religious ancestry on a summer visit to her family’s rural village. Soon after arriving in Northeast Brazil, where Afro-Brazilian religious traditions still endure, Lili encounters Orishas. As these African deities help her cope with a gift that has previously vexed her, Lili’s grandmother upholds Afro-Brazilian religious practices as a revered local priestess. To ensure that these customs carry on after her grandmother passes, the gifted Lili is led on a mystic and supernatural adventure of initiation.

Oggun: An Eternal Presence (Directed by Gloria Rolando, 1992, Cuba, Documentary, Spanish, 52 min, Spanish, English subtitles)


Gloria Rolando relates the patakin or mythical story of Oggun, the tireless warrior who, enamored of his mother, decided as punishment to imprison himself in the mountains. Only Ochun, goddess of love, succeeded in captivating him when she let fall a few drops of honey on the lips of the gods of metal, war, progress, and civilization. Oggun is the first effort of the team known as Images of the Caribbean, now chartered as an independent video group.


For more information, see

Posted by: lisaparavisini | March 25, 2015

MOMA: Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980

torres del parque

Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980

March 29, 2015–July 19, 2015

Posted on April 22, 2014

The Joan and Preston Robert Tisch Exhibition Gallery, sixth floor

Press Preview: Tuesday, March 24, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

In 1955 The Museum of Modern Art staged Latin American Architecture since 1945, a landmark survey of modern architecture in Latin America. On the 60th anniversary of that important show, the Museum returns to the region to offer a complex overview of the positions, debates, and architectural creativity from Mexico and Cuba to the Southern Cone between 1955 and the early 1980s.

This period of self-questioning, exploration, and complex political shifts also saw the emergence of the notion of Latin America as a landscape of development, one in which all aspects of cultural life were colored in one way or another by this new attitude to what emerged as the “Third World.” The 1955 exhibition featured the result of a single photographic campaign, but Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980 brings together a wealth of original materials that have never before been brought together and, for the most part, are rarely exhibited even in their home countries.

The exhibition features architectural drawings, architectural models, vintage photographs, and film clips alongside newly commissioned models and photographs by Brazilian photographer Leonardo Finotti. While the exhibition focuses on the period of 1955 to 1980 in most of the countries of Latin America, it is introduced by an ample prelude on the preceding three decades of architectural developments in the region, presentations of the development of several key university campuses in cities like Mexico City and Caracas, and a look at the development of the new Brazilian capital at Brasilia. Architects met these challenges with formal, urbanistic, and programmatic innovation, much of it relevant still to the challenges of our own period, in which Latin America is again providing exciting and challenging architecture and urban responses to the ongoing issues of modernization and development, though in vastly different economic and political contexts than those considered in this major historical reevaluation.

The exhibition is accompanied by two major publications: a catalogue and an anthology of primary texts translated from Spanish and Portuguese.

For more information go to


This article by Lizette Alvarez appeared in The New York Times.

The rat-a-tat Cuban-inflected Spanish of the two Radio Martí hosts ricocheted back and forth during “Revoltillo,” a show laced with humor that airs classified ads posted in Cuba on a Craigslist-style website called Revolico.

Recorded here but aimed at an audience in Cuba, where Internet access is severely limited and the local news media is tightly controlled, the show presents news unfiltered by Cuban censors and snippets of life on the island, like examples of the recently unleashed zeal for private enterprise. So one of the hosts, as part of an effort to bolster Cuba’s fledgling independent businesses, recently promoted “Hilda in Havana,” who is offering desserts and decorations for events and restaurants.

But three decades after becoming a Cold War staple — regularly criticized for anti-Castro, one-dimensional slant and advocacy — Radio and TV Martí are at a crossroads, scrambling to stay relevant as the relationship between Cuba and the United States inches toward a thaw.

At their headquarters in Miami, the Martís try to keep pace with changing technology and habits on the island, greater competition and the longstanding concerns of federal watchdogs.

For instance, down the hall from the broadcasting studio, employees burned DVDs with news and features, 15,000 of which are distributed monthly in Cuba and circulated through flash drives as an end run around Cuba’s knack for jamming Martí television and radio signals. Often reported by journalists in Cuba, the coverage includes stories about housing travails, the latest small-business ventures (public bathrooms in private homes, 25 cents for a quick stop, 50 cents for longer visits), dissident detentions, how to find the rare Wi-Fi hot spots.

The biggest challenge, as always, remains being seen and heard in Cuba, where Radio and TV Martí are illegal and mostly blocked. But no less problematic is the need to entice Cubans with better programming, particularly at a time when there is more competition — Cubans now obtain flash drives that are loaded with television shows and movies from satellite dishes and sold on the black market.

“The decision about what to do should not be based on diplomatic relations but on the lack of a free flow of information into Cuba — and that has not changed,” said Carlos A. García-Pérez, the director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which is part of an independent federal agency that oversees Radio and TV Martí. “Our work is even more important now.”

No one disputes the success of the Martís in one respect: angering the Castro brothers, who have long viewed the transmissions as violations of international norms. In January, President Raúl Castro called for an end to the Martís as a condition for normalizing relations with the United States.

“The one thing that has kept it alive with policy makers is the absolute antagonism of the Cuban regime for this broadcasting venture,” said Helle C. Dale, who has studied the Martís for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

The Cuban American National Foundation, a once-monolithic lobbying group of Cuban exiles, helped persuade the Reagan administration to establish Radio Martí in 1983. It started broadcasting in 1985, and TV Martí began in 1990. The foundation’s influence over the Martís remains strong, experts said.

Through the years, reports by congressional staff members and federal agencies, like the Inspector General for the State Department, have delivered stinging assessments; the most recent report came last summer. They have accused the Martís of “a lack of balance, fairness and objectivity,” of cronyism, malfeasance and, most recently, low employee morale. A frequent source of displeasure was the millions spent until recently on an aerostat balloon and a plane to try to transmit TV signals to Cuba. The project was a failure.

“There have only been costs, and zero benefits,” said John S. Nichols, a specialist in international communications at Pennsylvania State University who has studied the Martís. “And it became a flash point that caused some serious problems in the U.S.-Cuba relationship.”

In Congress, where the Martís have champions and detractors, Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, reintroduced legislation this year to eliminate them.

While Obama administration officials support the Martís, they are eager to cut the Office of Cuba Broadcasting loose from the federal mantle.

In its budget for next year, the administration proposed consolidating the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and Voice of America’s Spanish-language programs, turning them into a nonprofit. The organization would be funded by federal grants, with federal oversight, but would not be part of the government. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which gained prominence during the Soviet era and served as the model for the Martís, has long operated this way, as a “grantee.”

Supporters said the change would make the Martís more flexible. But Cuban-American lawmakers in Congress say the shift would weaken the government’s commitment to the broadcasts.

“Its mission must remain true to its principles from when it was founded by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 and to its aim at promoting freedom and democracy,” said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican.

Still, there is little danger that the Martís will lose funding altogether. “It is more important now than ever, especially as you get to this openness stage,” said Michael P. Meehan, a Democrat who until recently served as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the federal agency that oversees the Martís.

At the Martí headquarters, Mr. García-Pérez, who took over in 2010, said he had focused on diversifying coverage of Cuba and ramping up a Martí website. Most important, he said, is that the Martís are bringing more Cubans into the conversation through video, articles, texts, blogs and social media. Last year, Martí’s website drew 3.9 million visits, almost half from outside the United States.

Another goal was to lift journalistic standards, he said, particularly an attempt to offer more diverse views of Cuban life and United States foreign policy. Reporters now call the Cuban government to get its response for certain stories. There are still slips. In a 2012 Martí editorial, Mr. García-Pérez, speaking for the American government, called the cardinal in Cuba, Jaime Ortega, a “government lackey.” Mr. García-Pérez said he did not regret the word choice, which drew sharp criticism from some members of Congress.

The Martís also have expanded their cadre of journalists in Cuba who file videos and articles, with their names made public at great risk. Some of those interviewed by the reporters are also identified, a sign of diminishing fear. Citizens can post their own blogs and news items through features like “Reporta Cuba,” which often spreads news of detentions.

And Piramideo, a separate social network created by the Martís, allows Cubans to use cellphones or email accounts to gain access to a site that circumvents government restrictions. From there, they can send messages to hundreds of Cubans in Cuba about nearly anything.

How many people can receive or choose to pay attention to the Martís is unclear. Satellite dishes have made the Martís more available to Cubans, Mr. García-Pérez said. Past surveys have indicated that the overall audience is tiny — as low as 2 percent of the island’s population, although measuring audience size in Cuba is nearly impossible. Mr. García-Pérez said he knows that Cubans look and listen because they send email, text and call in to the programs and reporters.

In Miami, where gothic power struggles among exiles over the Martís still play out, there is some skepticism about the rush into digital communications at the expense of broadcast radio. Radio can evade jams more readily, and it is the most effective way to reach Cubans. Too much emphasis on digital media may doom the Martís, some say, because the vast majority of Cubans lack Internet access at home.

“In Cuba, there are no new platforms because in Cuba there is practically no Internet; that is not the way to penetrate,” said Roberto Rodríguez Tejera, director of Radio Martí during the Clinton administration. “It’s not the present; it’s not even the near future.”

For the original report go to

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