Category Archives: Miscellany

Cuba: To travel or not to travel… is that the question?

This morning, alongside Ted Henken and Kim Osorio, I was at WNYW’s “Good Day, NY,” hosted by Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly. We talked about Cuba. The excuse: the recent trip that Jay-Z and Beyonce took on their wedding aniversary.

Here’s the clip.

“Nemesis” Art Protest Honors Cuba’s Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero

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Press release from Cuba Archive

April 7, 2013, New York City.

Last night, artist Geandy Pavón staged his latest “Nemesis” upon the façade of the building of Cuba’s permanent mission to the United Nations at 315 Lexington Avenue, New York city.

In Greek mythology, “nemesis” represents the persecutory memory of divine justice. The innovative art-protest consists of digitally projecting images onto buildings hosting Cuban government offices. Pavón “imposes the face of the victim upon the assassin using light as an analogy of truth, reason, and justice.”

Saturday night’s performance was dedicated to Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero. Payá, age 60, was founder of a movement calling for a peaceful change to democracy widely regarded as Cuba´s leading opposition leader (see www.OswaldoPaya.org in Spanish). Cepero, age 32, was an activist of the group. Both died July 22, 2012 after what the Cuban government reported as an accident of the car in which they were traveling with two foreigners. But, the family reports having evidence, now corroborated by the driver from Spain, that a vehicle in their pursuit had caused the crash. Plus, the two Cubans had apparently survived the crash and died later of unverifiable causes. The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, among others, have reported on the case.

The art-protest was timed to coincide with a visit to New York city of two of Payá’s three children, Rosa María and Oswaldo Jr., who were invited and on site. (See video of Nemesis Payá-Cepero.) Rosa María, age 24, has been on an international tour calling for an independent investigation of the deaths.

Mr. Pavón launched his art-protest in March 2010 at the same building of the Cuban Mission to the U.N. with the image of Cuban prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata, who died February 2010 while on hunger strike. Since then, he has staged Nemesis in Barcelona, Madrid, Washington, DC, and on several different occasions in New York city. In May 2011, he displayed the image of Chinese artist/dissident Ai Weiwei at China’s consulate in New York.

Geandy Pavón was born in Cuba and graduated from the National School of Fine Arts in Havana. He was part of the independent group “La Campana,” formed in 1988 to produce art critical of the lack of freedom in Cuban society. Exiled since 1996, he lives in New Jersey. His work can be found in private and public collections throughout Mexico, Cuba, and the U.S. (See www.geandypavon.com.)

Cuba Archive called for an international investigation soon after the death of Payá and Cepero and produced a report on their case as well as on “Strange Accidents and Unexplained Deaths.” (See www.CubaArchive.org, Reports and Alerts & Releases.)

*See PDF version and the Spanish translation at www.CubaArchive.org.

NJTransit and Spanish, the upside-down language

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The Battle for Content

If you are reading this is only because thanks to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google + (and fill in the blank with your favorite social networks), everybody and his aunt has gone from consumer to generator of content. Not only do we choose, based on our preferences and prejudices, where we get the news that inform our opinions and keep our moral compass pointing North. We have also become providers of content, and we put it out there for the world to be improved by our enlightened thoughts. And still, when the world wide web is not enough, people take their message(s) to the streets, and walk around with Japanese, Chinese and Korean characters, quotes from The Book or their favorite writers and every conceivable half-formed thought tattooed on their midriffs, necks, ankles, shoulders, forearms…

We are bombarded with information due to the endless need to stay in our minds and be relevant so innate to humans and corporations alike.

We have “Snapple real facts” in the inside lid of the ubiquitous iced tea bottles, and there we can learn the speed of the fastest serve in tennis, how many times one can fold paper until it is no longer possible to keep folding it, or the amount of hours vultures can fly without flapping their wings. The list goes on.

The day I accepted a job offer from my current employer, we celebrated with Chinese food. As the ritual demands it, at the end of the meal I opened my fortune cookie. It read: “Your income will increase.” We had a good laugh.

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We (and this includes you) have gotten used to reading platitudes in fortune cookies, that is of course until we get the ultimate and most accurate of all: “Now you are reading a fortune cookie.” But there’s a new kid on the block to keep us on our toes: Halls, the maker of cough drops whose sales probably go through the roof in the winter, now has raised the bar. It has included a “pep talk” in each and every one of its lozenges.

It annoyed me at first. But I know I will learn to live with it. After all, this is not a bad way to kickstart the day:

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Looking for a brand new definition of fun

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The American Bison was almost driven to the point of extintion… Fun fact? Not if you ask the Bison.

Photo taken at the Turtle Back Zoo. Happy Father’s Day!