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Category: Stories

Hurricane ready: What we can learn from Cuba’s storm resilience

In the quiet hour of 4 a.m., University of Havana meteorology professor Armando Caymares was working alone at his desk when he was jolted by a phone call. A familiar voice scratched through the hazy connection. It was Gladys Rubio, a Cuban-American tropical storm analyst at the National Hurricane Center in Miami: Hurricane Michael was tracking toward Cuba, she verified. It’s time to get ready.

Protecting Cuban roots, organically

At Organoponico Vivero Alamar farm just outside of Havana, where rows of fruits and vegetables soak up the early spring sun on a recent Wednesday, a simple red-stemmed mint plant is under the 24-hour surveillance of a security guard and watchdog.

Boston’s own little (tiny) Havana

Phil Chiampa and his wife Toni Lyn have been coming to El Oriental de Cuba for decades, but they worried they may have lost “the best Cuban food that we’ve ever had” when an arsonist set fire to the restaurant in 2005.

Hip hop artists find a new beat in Cuba

Hip hop music was born in the United States but Cubans have always loved a good beat. Now young artists are trying to create their own following, which isn’t always easy in a country known for salsa, rhumba and jazz.

Young Cuban-Americans watch as dramatic change takes hold of the island

As they prepared for bed, “Breaking News” flashed across the TV: “Fidel Castro has died at 90.” Isabella Prio, a second-generation Cuban-American, was at her Miami home during Thanksgiving break from her junior year at Boston College when then-president of Cuba Raul Castro announced his brother’s death

Evangelicals surge in Communist Cuba

John Wesley rides his horse through the Cuban countryside, beneath tall palm trees and mountains so green they look purple. He holds the reins in one hand and his Bible in the other.

Scientists navigate Cuban-US strife through collaborative research

Laura Weber looks fondly at a gallon-sized tank filled with test tubes and adorned with weathered security clearance forms. This tank, called a dry shipper, had been charged up with liquid nitrogen to act as a special cooler that would keep its contents cold during the long journey from the United States to Cuba and back again.

Cuban doctors go back to their roots for plant-based remedies

Just off of Avenida 23, one of Havana’s busiest streets, lies a small shop, its storefront minimally decorated like most others in communist Cuba. The interior is organized like a small jewelry store, with a glass countertop display case separating patrons from a woman in a lab coat, darting in and out from the back room.

The Afro of Cuban music

African influences are often lost when listening to Latin music. Cuban rhythms would be empty of the clave and the drums without the creativity, imagination and strength of the Yorùbá people who were forced to leave their homes as slaves. Today, those sounds still beat as the heart of the island.