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Showing posts from February, 2014

Señor Ralph, your taxi is here

Ralph Nader had already made auto safety his cause in 1959, but his visit to Cuba in April that year was prompted by Castro, not cars. He wanted to get a close look at the revolutionary whose seizure of power in Cuba had captured the world's attention.
   Nader succeeded, taking in a press conference and, despite his lack of media credentials, even managing to direct some questions at the Cuban president.    On his return to the U.S. Nader co-authored a report for the Harvard Law Record, an independent, student-edited newspaper, that today reads largely as an apology for the rush trials and executions that followed Castro's takeover.
   He travelled to Cuba at least twice more, dining with Fidel Castro at the Palace of the Revolution in 2002, where he might have discussed with the Cuban leader his own presidential aspirations, and then returning six years later to again criticize the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.
   There have been no recorded visits since. Maybe Nader notic…

Driving in Cuba, again

SO WHY, after writing here about visitors detained after traffic accidents, and being fully aware of our own government's advisory against driving in Cuba, would we rent a Kia Picanto from Cubacar?
   Well, we wanted to get somewhere. Couple of places, in fact. But we weren't quite sure where we were going or how long we wanted to stay. So hiring a car and driver, our habit in the last few trips, wasn't as practical this time.
   It went fine. Our travels took us to the Varadero resort strip, home of some of the calmest roads in Cuba, and then on to Cárdenas, a city where the biggest obstacle is the horse-drawn carriages rolling along the straight streets.
   We didn't speed (good thing, considering all the radar traps we saw) and we tried to take special care at intersections.
   One thing I had forgotten. While much of the world uses red octagon stop signs, Cuba employs the red, downward-facing triangle (with PARE, or stop, in not-so-large letters) that is the second for…

Why Justine Davis felt safe driving in Cuba

Update:The Canadian government and the Cuban embassy in Ottawa announced Thursday that Justine Davis will be allowed to leave Cuba and is expected to arrive in Canada on Friday.



 Justine Davis is the latest visitor detained in Cuba while police investigate the circumstances of a fatal road accident. Like all who have been in her situation, she wants to go home.
  But there is a compelling reason for her desire to return to Toronto.
  This weekend is the funeral of Davis's three-year-old son, Cameron, who was killed in late December when a scooter operated by his mother collided with a truck on Cayo Largo, a resort island on Cuba's south coast. Davis wants to be at her son's funeral in Canada.
   Cuba, we know, has been rigid in forcing foreigners to remain in the Caribbean nation until its often lengthy investigations are complete. Damian Buksa, 34, of Mississauga, was detained for months after a July 2013 fatal accident near Guardalavaca.
   According to Bjesment, a Polish new…