It is unusual to see Cuban sports legends in public service announcements. However, a handful of champions and rising young stars are wearing messages or appearing in TV spots against violence among men or toward women.
In nearly all of Latin America, illegal abortion is a serious public health problem. But in Cuba, where abortion is legal, it is being overused by teenagers.
The stray cat’s fur was burned and its eyes were hanging from its sockets when pensioner Neida González found it on a street in the Cuban capital. The cat, which she named Grenlito, now lives with her eight other pets.
The furrows are hard to make out in fields of the Finca de Semillas, a farm on Havana’s outskirts, because its administrators, Esmilda Sánchez and Raúl Aguilar, protect every centimetre of soil with mulch.
Vilda Figueroa and her husband, José Lama, live in Marianao on the outskirts of Havana, where they share hundreds of recipes based on Cuban-grown foods and sun-drying, along with other ecological food preservation methods.
Despite the progress made by Cuban women in education, where they account for 64 percent of university graduates, they continue to have a limited presence in management positions.
More and more young men in Cuba are moving away from the traditional masculine aesthetic and are spending hours in front of the mirror or at the gym. But they are not any less “machista” in behaviour, according to specialists meeting in the capital.
Houses with sturdy masonry walls and reinforced concrete roofs, looking like they could survive any tropical storm or hurricane, are sprouting up on the outskirts of this city in central Cuba, thanks to the development of local production of construction materials.
Homemade machines for pulverising fruit and sealing cans of preserves, created by inventive entrepreneurs, are one of the pillars of a slight rise in mini-industries in different parts of Cuba, where food production is picking up.
"How much is a species worth? What is the price tag on the services provided by a river or a forest?" These are the questions biologist María Elena Perdomo is asking to encourage Cubans to take account of environmental costs, which may apparently be incorporated in the present economic reforms.
On a piece of paper, Jennifer Rivas draws a beach, with little girls carrying bags of trash and signs that say “Let’s take care of the environment.” The 10-year-old is part of an educational programme, Friends of the Bay, that involves 322 schools in the Cuban capital.
Many lesbians and gays in Cuba find different ways of achieving their dream of becoming mothers and fathers and forming families. But this is complicated in a country where neither civil unions nor adoption by non-heterosexual persons are legally recognised.
“The people are the only thing that matters,” says agronomist Miguel Ángel Salcines, who then goes on to list a series of other “secondary” factors that have turned Vivero Alamar, an urban farm on the outskirts of the Cuban capital, into a rare success story in the country’s depressed agricultural sector.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Cuba has won advances on issues like the change of name of pre-operative transgender persons, while they continue to fight for the right to same-sex civil unions.
“But I always used a condom!” was the sentence that played over and over in Jaime Roche’s mind when the young Cuban man tested positive for HIV in October.