Our Blog Havana Times Turns Six


oeste-de-la-habana-1HAVANA TIMES — Six years ago, a friend of mine called me and asked me: “Would you be interested in letting a yuma (gringo) use your photos?” Put that way, it sounded awful. Immediately, however, he gave me a more serious explanation: “He’s an American who works as a translator here and he’s putting together a web-site. He needs a guy – or girl – to take pictures for the page.”

I didn’t know the gringo in question, but the idea excited me. Six years ago, I was beginning to work as a photo-journalist for a Cuban newspaper – a newspaper I will always be grateful to for having given me the opportunity to learn a bit more about photography out in the field, and even to travel some, without any previous experience and without even being a member of one of the two Parties (the one for young or the one for old communists).

As one would expect, most of the photos I took for the newspaper weren’t exactly a point of pride or cause for enthusiasm, so any opportunity to do something different was exactly what I was looking for.

That is how I met Circles, a gray-haired man who was quite definitely a hippy, someone who spoke Spanish with a very funny accent and had many ideas for photo features. It was just a handful of us when Havana Times started out.

During the first months, we even had the crazy idea of approaching the Cuban Journalists Association (UPEC) to become an accredited newspaper. I say “crazy” because, even though Circles had the best of intentions, there is but one intention for the Central Committee, the Party’s, and all others are either dismissed or declared enemy plots.

Even though Havana Times hasn’t been among the blogs most severely “criticized” or discredited by those at the helm of official Cuban journalism, there has been no shortage of attacks on its editor or bloggers.

To live in Cuba and to write for a site, magazine or news medium that isn’t official is a problem for anyone. What is written may or may not be considered truly critical by readers, but the mere fact of mentioning the dreadful quality of Cuban education or how the police mistreat a group of young people who simply want to have a good time in a public place, is enough to get a call from a some gentleman from State Security or whatever you call those government agents.

And we know that a single phone call can make life difficult for even the bravest among us.

I believe that is what all of us who write for Havana Times, and even those who participate in its fora, are: brave. For even if one does not live in Cuba, doing so can become a problem when one asks for “permission” to enter the country and see one’s family.

In the meantime, regardless of what anyone says from any of the political bands behind which people tend to hide, our blog continues to be independent, open to any ideology and opinion, from Cuba and about Cuba.

12 thoughts on “Our Blog Havana Times Turns Six

  • Moses, you bring much to the table and for that I’m grateful for this venue.
    I disagree with you most of the time but you are a gift!

  • A wonderful website and an example on how to allow all opinions to air their
    views. Mr. Castro, are you seeing this?

  • The economy and how it will effect my two Cuban / Canadian children !!!

  • Aside from the recipe for the perfect mojito, what exactly are you researching in Varadero?

  • I also wish to offer my appreciation for your efforts over the past six years, Circles! Also, kudos to the many writers, including the diarists, the feature writers, etc. I always check the HT at least once a day–sometimes more often–to see what’s happening in Cuba. Without the HT, I’d feel a great loss. While no person, or publicaton, is indispensible, with me HT is close to it. Keep up the great work!

  • The New Internationist Magazine did a 18 paghe article on Cuba this month. %The Havana Time was notd with web address. T%here are few errors but the report is better than most. As Dr. Fidel Castro would say ” Good – but still room for improvement ” I have written the auther with my correction and omissions.
    Gordon Robinson Port Alberni B.C. Western Canada
    email ::: [email protected]
    I will do my 86th research visit to Cuba starting November 2. This trip is to Varadero.

  • Happy Birthday, Havana Times. Keep writing, please. I read your articles on a daily basis. Many thanks to the authors, the translators and the ‘Soul’ of this site. God bless you all.

  • Happy Birthday Havana Times.

    Congratualtions and my deepest thanks to the tireless Circles Robinson and all of his fine contributors for their terrific work.

  • I second this!

  • I read Havana Times (or scan it) daily. Keep it up.

  • Congratulations Havana Times. Especially to you Circles. I genuinely appreciate every writer who dares to contribute to this site. Even those I disagree with. I wish you all of you the very best and look forward to a day when Cuba is free.

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