The 18 communities in Cuba’s Ciénaga de Zapata, the largest wetlands in the Caribbean, have long survived on the abundant local hunting and fishing and by producing charcoal. But that is no longer possible, due to climate change.
From a very young age, Irma Castañeda has braided her curly hair and cared for it with natural recipes inherited from her mother, ignoring the widespread conception that black women’s hair is “ugly” or “bad”.
The meagre budgets of Cuban families are put to the test when one of the members is diagnosed with cancer. Although treatment is free of cost, only extended networks of support help alleviate the economic impact of the disease, which is now the number one cause of death.
The extinction of a single species (a fish off the coast of Cuba, a bird in the Brazilian forest) creates a void that can trigger a whole series of repercussions, from the alteration of ecosystems to increased hunger.
For the Cuban economy, the year 2014 is set to start with the opening of the first installations in the Special Economic Development Zone in the upgraded Mariel port, 70 km west of Havana.
One year ago, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast United States, causing an estimated 68 billion dollars in damage and paralysing the world’s financial nerve centre.
The unification of the two currencies circulating in Cuba, announced by the government but without any clear timeframes, will put an end to two decades of a dual currency system that was introduced when the country was brought to its knees by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
But experts say the inequalities that emerged during the severe economic crisis will not be resolved through mere monetary reform.
The following graphic provides a timeline showing the key developments in the dual currency system and the way nominal wages, revenue, savings and liquidity have evolved.
An end to the country’s dual-currency system is one of the reforms most anxiously-awaited by Cubans, who nevertheless reacted with scepticism and doubt to the announcement of a timeline for eliminating the system, blamed for exacerbating social inequalities in the country.
As self-employment and cooperatives expand in socialist Cuba, they are making incursions into new areas, such as waste picking and recycling – for many a means of subsistence, but for others, a gold mine.
In the 1960s, the Cuban government declared that storage of fresh water for times of drought or hurricanes was a matter of national security, and it began to dam up the country’s rivers. But that policy has claimed an unforeseen victim: mangroves.
U.S policymakers indulge in a variety of child’s play called collapsism. They close their eyes when they want a particularly despised adversary to go away. And poof! Kim Jong Eun’s North Korea eventually disappears. Raul Castro’s Cuba eventually vanishes.
You can’t buy it in a store or get it in Cuba’s public health clinics. But young men who frequent gyms know who sells it and secretly inject themselves with “peanut oil,” as people in this country refer to synthol and other products that increase muscle mass.
A rise in temperature modifies the physiological features of some plants – a consequence of climate change that is less perceptible than stronger and more frequent hurricanes, but just as harmful to food production.
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.
One challenge faced by the Cuban government, and a high priority for citizens, is improving the efficiency and sustainability of public health services, a constitutional right that the state is supposed to ensure for all.