Surf Revolution Cuba – Huck Magazine 2009
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    This article originally appeared in Huck 15 – The Maya Gabeira Issue from summer 2009. As relations thaw between Cuba and the US, and talk of lifting the blockade is in the air, Huck is thinking about how the blockade has affected young people and how their lives will change if it’s lifted. In this archive piece from summer 2009, we headed to Cuba to uncover the island’s underground surf scene. Cuban surfers are among the most dedicated in the world, risking imprisonment to find materials and relying on donations from foreigners to get boards and leashes. Never mind the blockade. Psssst, psssst…” Eduardo Valdés, head of the Asociación de Surfistas de Cuba, looks uncharacteristically shifty as he peers through a wire fence, trying to attract the attention of a worker at Cuba’s national plastic factory. It’s here that the island’s chairs, tables and packaging are produced and employees, like in every industry in Cuba, supplement their meagre wages by selling the materials of their trade on the black market. Pretending to take a cigarette break, a man sidles up to the fence three metres to the left of Eduardo. Looking in opposite directions, a rapid-fire exchange takes place. “What you want?” “Three bottles of resin.” “45 CUC.” “No way, man. 30.” “40.” “35.” “Wait for me outside the bar around the corner. Give me thirty minutes. I need the money now.” Forty tense minutes later and the worker appears clutching a flimsy plastic bag containing three cylindrical […]

The Cuban Pleybo vs The Goons Of Doom
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Check out how to create a crude Cuban surfboard in the time it takes The Goons Of Doom to sing ‘Slapper’. It took me about one week to source a small piece of scrap plywood. This is because in Cuba nothing is wasted. Everything is recycled and re-used. The Pleybo is a Cuban surfboard that was, and still is, very common around Cuba’s beaches…

The dark side of Cuban Hip Hop.
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The plan of the US Agency for International Development was seeking the same purposes as the frustrated ZunZuneo network and its Latin American travellers contractors: to enlist youth to promote a movement against the Cuban government, “no matter putting in danger those it had recruited “says an investigation by the news agency Associated Press (AP). The documents obtained by the AP show that for more than two years, USAID secretly infiltrated the Hip Hop movement on the island and recruited several rap musicians without their consent for this subversive purpose. The terms for explaining the operation were also repeated: “break the information blockade” and create a network of young people who seek a “social change”. The AP is scathing in its assessment: “But the operation was executed with little professionalism and failed miserably.” “Any claim that our work is secret or hidden is simply false,” said USAID in a statement Wednesday. The revelations have taken up space in major US and European media, reports PL. The program again manipulated people who were unaware of being part of a subversive project of USAID, and the AP considers that it ended up hurting the active Hip Hop community on the island. Other analysts weigh up that some of its members were turned into instruments against national stability, so ended up leaving the country, or failing to present their shows with lyrics that offended the authorities. In this new anti-Cuban monster also reiterated the name of its executors: The program was conceived and […]

New Beginnings for Cuba…
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Following 56 years of a revolution that has out-lived 10 US presidents, more than 5000 acts of terrorism, trade sanctions and so much more… here is today’s statement from the Cuban president: Statement by the Cuban president (December 17, 2014) Fellow countrymen, Since my election as President of the State Council and Council of Ministers I have reiterated in many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality, in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment to the national Independence and self-determination of our people. This stance was conveyed to the US Government both publicly and privately by Comrade Fidel on several occasions during our long standing struggle, stating the willingness to discuss and solve our differences without renouncing any of our principles. The heroic Cuban people, in the wake of serious dangers, aggressions, adversities and sacrifices has proven to be faithful and will continue to be faithful to our ideals of independence and social justice. Strongly united throughout these 56 years of Revolution, we have kept our unswerving loyalty to those who died in defense of our principles since the beginning of our independence wars in 1868. Today, despite the difficulties, we have embarked on the task of updating our economic model in order to build a prosperous and sustainable Socialism. As a result of a dialogue at the highest level, which included a phone conversation I had yesterday with President Obama, we have been able […]

Living Off The Wall – CubaSkate
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One of Cuba’s most creative skaters and surfers, Yojani Pérez Rivera reflects on how he and his amigos are #livingoffthewall to make the most of the little they have. Mamerto, as he’s known around the island, is among the most active local skaters advancing Cuba Skate’s mission. Cuba Skate, an NGO created by American skater Miles Jackson, is in the process of creating a documentary feature following the lives of Mamerto and his scrappy crew, 23yG, to rally the international skate community around its goals: 1. provide much needed skate materials to the Cuban youth 2. renovate the only, dilapidated skateparks in Havana 3. establish the first skate shop in Cuba and foster a bilateral educational exchange between Cuban and American skaters Winning Vans’ #LIVINGOFFTHEWALL Contest would help us make the Cuba Skate documentary a reality and share Mamerto and 23yG’s story with the world. Thanks for your consideration!  

Trinidad, Cuba. Through Our Eyes….
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Trinidad is one-of-a-kind, a perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement. With a hurricane heading towards our next destination of Baracoa, Trinidad became our home for a few days so we enjoyed it’s beauty and colourful people while deciding whether to carry on to Baracoa to get surfboards to the local kids.