Cuban film director Fernando Pérez was inspired to make Life Is to Whistle by the work of modernist painter René Magritte, in whose work "reality does not stop being reality, but is, at once, another reality." Magritte's paintings have been described as "elaborate fantasies constructed around commonplace situations." Life Is to Whistle is an energetic look at commonplace situa
From a trip to Havana in the fall of 1980, I returned with two small statues of African female warriors, one with a machete, the other carrying a rifle. These were gifts from a government official who handed them to me after I stopped to admire them.
The taxi's motor died three times as the driver wound his way around the fallen trees and through the flooded streets of Havana. He was trying to get me back to my hotel before the worst of October's Hurricane Irene hit Cuba's capital. Each time the decrepit Lada—a Soviet version of a small Fiat—stalled, I climbed out to push it out of the deep water. And each time help appeared.
The camera panned away from a garbage fire in the middle of the street and followed the young men who had set it. The men were calling to a nearby band of demonstrators. “The people are afraid they might be provocateurs, under orders from Castro,” said the television announcer. “This is rowdier than most Miami traffic jams, but it isn’t a riot; it’s the beginning of a catharsis.”
The U.S. embargo against Cuba is crumbling of its own absurdity. An increasing number of religious, academic and business groups are eager to visit Cuba. The Clinton administration makes it easy to obtain travel permission (just get a license from the Treasury Department), and Fidel Castro wants U.S. dollars, so he readily sanctions invitations from Cuban groups.
The four front-runners for the presidency are following what has become a political pattern: candor when there are no votes to be lost, extreme caution when votes are at risk. This pattern of choosing expediency over courage is in plain view in the current debate over a Confederate flag and a Cuban child. The two issues have an obvious solution—send them back where they belong.
After decades, it's clear that the embargo of Cuba has had little political effect. George Schultz, secretary of state under Ronald Reagan, called the embargo "a failure by any measure"; it has served only to help impoverish Cubans while doing nothing to make them freer.