Cuba: growing criticism of the rules

While at a Feb. 5 Havana screening of a documentary on his youth, popular Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez criticized regulations that keep Cubans from staying in Cuban hotels reserved for tourists. “I belong to a generation that when we had 30 pesos in our pockets, we could stay in any hotel,” he said. Rodriguez also criticized the requirement for Cubans to get special permission to travel out of the country. These and similar criticisms have become common since July 2007, when acting president Raul Castro called for a reform of the system; in September and October people participated in a series of meetings in which they were encouraged to voice criticisms.

In a Jan. 19 meeting with National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcón, Information Sciences University students complained about Internet access, which is lower in Cuba than in Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere. Raul Castro himself told the National Assembly in December that there was an “excess of prohibitions and legal measures, which do more harm than good.” (La Jornada, Mexico, Feb. 7; Reuters, Feb. 8 via

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 10

See our last post on Cuba.