Stories written by Dalia Acosta
Dalia Acosta joined IPS in 1990 as a contributor and has been the IPS Correspondent in Havana since 1995. Dalia received her degree in international journalism from the State Institute of International Relations in Moscow in 1987. She worked for the Cuban newspapers Granma and Juventud Rebelde, where she specialised in investigative journalism related to women, minorities, AIDS and sexual rights. In 1991, she began working for the Servicio de Noticias de la Mujer (SEM). In 1990, she received the Tina Modotti Journalism Award and two years later she won the National Journalism Award for an article on the rock music community in Cuba. Currently she alternates her IPS work with an academic investigation of homosexuality in Cuba. | Web

Mariela Castro (centre) and sexual diversity activists lead a conga in Santiago de Cuba. Credit: Archivo Cuba/IPS

CUBA: Sexual Diversity in a Sexist City

Known as the cradle of the revolution and of the conga, but also as one of the most machista places in Cuba, the city of Santiago in the east of the island was the scene of two days of activities demanding respect and freedom for different sexual orientations and gender identities.

Homophobia in the Caribbean Varies Widely

While homosexuality is punishable by law in nine Caribbean island nations, gay activism is increasingly taking root in countries like Cuba.

CUBA: Month-Long Offensive Against Homophobia

LGBT social networks and experts with Cuba's National Sex Education Centre (CENESEX) announced Tuesday that events surrounding the Day Against Homophobia will last a month this year in this Caribbean island nation.

CUBA: Changes Lie Ahead, on Obstacle Course

Although it failed to bring about the hoped-for generational renewal at the highest level of Cuba's governing Communist Party, the recent party congress may have marked the start of a new stage of socialist development, if the resistance to change among the most conservative sectors is overcome.

Young people dance a 'conga' at a protest against homophobia in Havana. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

CUBA: The “Other” Revolutions

YES to sexual diversity! NO to transgenics! LONG LIVE @! In stark contrast to the political apathy of many of their contemporaries, some sectors of Cuban youth are radically re-writing the standard slogans, opting for active participation and fomenting "new revolutions within the Revolution."

Fidel and Raúl Castro greet the sixth PCC congress.  Credit: Jorge Luis  Baños/IPS

CUBA: Raul Castro Proposes Change from Within Socialist System

Accompanied unexpectedly by Fidel Castro, his brother Raúl brought the sixth congress of Cuba's Communist Party (PCC) to a close Tuesday with a call to "change everything that should be changed," but without abandoning the socialist path taken on Apr. 16, 1961.

Most illegal emigrants from Cuba are unemployed young men, many of whom have criminal records. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

CUBA: Young People Look Abroad

While for their parents, leaving Cuba was a traumatic event because of the impossibility of returning, for younger generations, "moving abroad" is becoming more and more of a normal decision, just another alternative for the future.

"Urban tribes" on Calle G in Havana. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

CUBA: Today’s Youth, As Diverse As the Times

Mariana García is a child of the 1990s, when Cuba was in the grip of the severe crisis that hit the island after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the East European socialist bloc. She grew up bombarded by the first video games and surrounded by people who talked more about how to get by than about their dreams and ideals.

CUBA: Forum Calls for Decentralisation, to Boost Participation

The annual Critical Observatory Social Forum discussed the need for new spaces of dialogue, debate and participation in Cuba, including the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and decentralisation to empower local communities.

CUBA-US: Alan Gross and the “Cyberwar”

The 15-year jail sentence handed down over the weekend to U.S. citizen Alan Gross, who was found guilty in Cuba of "acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state," is part of a new chapter in the conflict between Havana and Washington, which is now playing out in cyberspace.

Cuban President Raúl Castro, whose country is involved in a process of change. Credit: Cuban government

Public Debate on the Shape of Socialism in Cuba

The absence of more open social policies and real citizen participation are some of the concerns being debated in the run-up to the Sixth Congress of the ruling Cuban Communist Party (PCC) in April.

CUBA-US: Half-Century of Conflict Backdrop to Alan Gross Trial

More than 50 years of conflict between Cuba and the United States, and in particular Washington's consistent support for dissidents in this Caribbean island nation, will leave their mark on the trial of U.S. citizen Alan Gross that began this Friday.

CUBA: Varadero’s Architectural Charm Threatened by Tourism

Important architectural works from the Modern movement in Cuba appear to be doomed as a result of the expansion of massive hotel complexes, which threaten to take over the landscape in Varadero, this country's most famous beach resort.

RIGHTS-CUBA: Tension on Anniversary of Hunger Striker’s Death

The first anniversary of the death of Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata, after an 85-day hunger strike, was marked by the usual tensions between internal dissident sectors, supporters of the government of President Raúl Castro, and Cuban authorities.

CULTURE-CUBA: Night of One Thousand and One Texts

The legendary Scheherazade has exchanged her enthralling tales of "One Thousand and One Nights" for a compact disc with 1,001 academic articles, essays and books, giving Cubans access to materials that would otherwise be very difficult to obtain.

CUBA: Urban Tribes Prowl Havana Nights

A different city emerges on the weekends in Havana. Young people, whose faces are as strange as they are common, take possession of the city and reinvent it. They are the "urban tribes," a global phenomenon that has made its mark on Cuba.

Transvestites and other artists at the Song for Life gala. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

CUBA: Drag Queens and Volunteers Promote Safe Sex

Margot Parapar gets plenty of laughs from the audience with this joke: "Now the human body is divided into five parts: head, trunk, upper and lower limbs, and condom." Using his female stage name, Cuban drag queen, comedian and health promoter Oliver Alarcón includes HIV/AIDS prevention messages in his shows.

CUBA: Foreign Ministry Explains Controversial “Sexual Orientation” Vote to Activists

Gay rights advocates in Cuba received an unprecedented response from Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, in a meeting held at the ministry itself, after they complained about this country’s support in the United Nations for an amendment seen as a step backwards from the government’s position against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

CUBA: “Sexual Orientation” Vote in UN Panel Kicks Up Controversy

An unusually strong controversy has broken out in Cuba over a vote by the delegation from this Caribbean nation in favour of an amendment that left out the specific mention of sexual orientation in a United Nations General Assembly resolution on extrajudicial, arbitrary or summary executions.

Nery Lázaro advocates a new kind of doctor-patient relationship, to protect women's health. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

CUBA: Lesbians Demand Fair Treatment from Health Providers

Lesbian and bisexual women's groups in Cuba, which welcome anyone who wishes to participate "with solidarity and in a respectful, friendly and healthy manner," point to the need to sensitise health personnel to the issue of female sexual diversity.

CUBA: Popular Knowledge Can Transform People’s Worlds

Valuing and sharing common people's knowledge and experience, awakening critical consciousness and finding paths for effective social participation are the processes used by more than 1,000 people in Cuba working in Popular Education, a liberating approach to education developed by Brazilian educator Paulo Freire in the 1960s.

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