Cuba: Un Paraíso Natural | El Manglar

Llegamos al reino del mangle, el lugar donde otras semillas viajeras encontraron tierra. Es el final de trayecto de nuestra semilla y el inicio de nuestro recorrido por uno de los ecosistemas más desconocidos y fascinantes de Cuba: el manglar.
A pesar de su naturaleza costera el sustrato de los mangles nace en el interior insular.
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Las densas selvas que cubren las regiones altas del interior retienen el agua de las lluvias. El agua se filtra poco a poco por el suelo laterítico del bosque y forma ríos que descienden creciendo hasta llegar al mar.
El agua que cayó en zonas altas va erosionando la superficie de la tierra arrastrando minerales y materia orgánica en suspensión y al llegar a la costa el encuentro con la sal del agua marina provoca la sedimentación de este limo orgánico rico en nutrientes.

Es un mundo extraño y siniestro. El limo se condensa formando un barro viscoso, corrosivamente ácido por la falta de oxígeno.
Extrañas formas surgen de la penumbra acuática.
Hay poca luz por las partículas en suspensión y una creciente salinidad que cambia con las mareas. Pero aquí, en un lecho que parece opuesto a las necesidades de la vida, es donde se asientan y crecen los diferentes tipos de mangle.
Para sujetarse a este lecho venenoso los manglares han desarrollado unas raíces especiales; un sistema de fijación horizontal que convierte al manglar en un laberinto impenetrable.
Estas raíces extraordinarias consiguen extraer los nutrientes de la capa superficial del fango mientras su complejo entramado afianza los limos que llegan del interior evitando que las mareas se los lleven mar adentro. Para conseguir este milagro en un sustrato mortalmente tóxico las raíces aéreas de los mangles cuentan con tejidos esponjosos que absorben oxígeno del aire o bien generan raíces que, desde el fondo, crecen como respiraderos hasta salir por encima del agua.
El resultado es que cualquier semilla insertada en estos fangos asfixiantes germina con rapidez y el manglar crece de forma imparable arrebatando progresivamente terrenos al mar.

En superficie el manglar es una selva de supervivientes. Hay pocas especies vegetales que sean capaces de soportar las restricciones de este sustrato salino y carente de oxígeno pero las que lo consiguen proliferan rápidamente y dan cobijo a una compleja comunidad zoológica. Para las jutías las copas de los mangles son una despensa inagotable. En Cuba existen diez especies distintas y entre ellas es ésta, la jutía cubana de Desmarest o jutía conga, la de mayor tamaño.
Generalmente las jutías son nocturnas pero aquí, en los mangles del norte de la isla, pasan las horas del día escondidas entre las copas de los mangles comiendo hojas, cortezas, frutos e incluso algún pequeño lagarto.
Como cualquier habitante del manglar las jutías se mantienen permanentemente en guardia. Nadie está seguro en este laberinto de sombras. Cerca del suelo el agua esconde temibles cocodrilos y entre las ramas y raíces del laberinto de mangle hay boas que comen jutías así que el mínimo movimiento cercano a las copas las hace ponerse en guardia y huir en busca de refugio.
Genre: Documentary feature
Theme: Contemporary Cuban Art
Production Company: Lost Boy Productions
Director: Bruce Donnelly
Locations: Havana, Cuba and Boston, USA.
Running time: 75 minutes
Language: Spanish

This documentary feature film looks at the work and lives of twelve contemporary Cuban artists, living in Havana today. Visiting each person in their home and studio, the film explores the varying styles and techniques used, the themes, philosophies and ideas present in their work, as well as the many obstacles and difficulties they face on a daily basis and the feelings each person has towards the place they call home. Through in-depth interviews, the film covers a diverse range of subjects and issues, from supply shortages and constant blackouts (“apagones”) to family life, love, sex and music.
Video Rating: / 5

Where and How to apply for a U.S. Passport

This is a short intro to how you apply for a U.S. passport yourself. It’s not necessary to use an expediter if you aren’t in a rush. You can do it yourself, without any extra fees. We do offer a dollar service (in addition to the standard government application fee of 0) that relieves you of having to do anything, but most people can get through the online instructions and avoid spending the extra money.

Ready to apply for citizenship? Visit:

There are a lot of good reasons to become a U.S. citizen, but here are five you might not be familiar with, brought to you by Hana Boston. is the easy, affordable way to complete your U.S. immigration applications online. Our software walks you through all your forms, checks for incomplete answers and ensures your application is 100% complete! You can complete your form in English or Spanish and we provide 24/7 technical support along the way.

There are lots of reasons to become a US Citizen—whether it’s the right to vote or the ability to bring family to the US. But there’s a few amazing benefits that you probably haven’t considered.

[One…The Right to a U.S. Passport]

Having a U.S. passport allows you to visit one-hundred-and-sixty countries without needing a visa, saving you time and money. Don’t miss out on your chance to see the world!

[Two…Living outside the U.S.]

As a green card holder, you cannot travel outside the US for more than one year at a time. If you do, you risk losing your green card. US citizens don’t have this restriction! As a citizen, you can remain outside the US for however long you like — without ever having to worry about losing your status.

[Three…Citizenship is cheaper in the long run]

Becoming a US citizen is actually much cheaper than remaining a green card holder. Green card holders need to spend four-hundred-and-fifty dollars every time they renew or lose their green card! That’s a lot of money!

But if you become a US citizen—you never have to renew your green card again, saving you potentially thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime.

[Four…Protecting your children]

When you become a U.S. citizen—any qualified children under age eighteen will AUTOMATICALLY get their citizenship too! This means you’ll never have to worry about the expensive process of renewing a green card; they’ll immediately have access to all the benefits of citizenship; and… they’ll never have to worry about losing their U.S. immigration status. Why not give YOUR children the gift of citizenship?

[Five…U.S. citizens make more money]

Studies show naturalized US citizens make more money than green card holders. There are many reasons for this, one being that U.S. citizens have better access to jobs and education opportunities.

Visit FileRight-dot-com for more more on how naturalized citizens make more money than green card holders.
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Tibet, Cry of the Snow Lion.(Documentary)….(2OO2)

-Ten years in the making, this award-winning feature-length documentary was filmed during nine journeys throughout Tibet, India and Nepal. CRY OF THE SNOW LION brings audiences to the long-forbidden “rooftop of the world” with an unprecedented richness of imagery…
-Visit ▸▸ ▸▸ from rarely-seen rituals in remote monasteries, to horse races with Khamba warriors; from brothels and slums in the holy city of Lhasa, to magnificent Himalayan peaks still traveled by nomadic yak caravans. The dark secrets of Tibet’s recent past are powerfully chronicled through personal stories and interviews, and a collection of undercover and archival images never before assembled in one film. A definitive exploration of a legendary subject, CRY OF THE SNOW LION is an epic story of courage and compassion
-(Next Video) The Cuba Prostitution Documentary (Documentary-2O11)
– ▸▸ ▸▸ It is not a documentary about “prostitution” in Cuba per se, as in the guy pays money in exchange for sex, it is more about Andrew trying to pick up girls in Cuba. The author, Andrew Lindy, is obsessed with beauty. A New York based fashion and travel photographer Andrew longs as much for connection as he does for beauty. Being a travel photographer and having written travel articles for ELLE magazine, Andrew feels at home anywhere in the world… and as a fashion photographer, he is comfortable around beautiful women. This is a look at the lack of sexual taboo in Cuba, as well as the financial difficulties that lead to prostitution in some Cubans, for the purpose of survival.

prisoners and Congress

Pope Francis will meet with homeless people, immigrants and prisoners during his upcoming trip to Cuba and the United States. He will also preside over a meeting about religious liberty, a major issue for the US Catholic church in the wake of the supreme court’s gay marriage decision.

The Vatican published the itinerary on Tuesday for the eagerly awaited 19-28 September visit.

Francis added the Cuba leg to the start of his US trip at the last minute after helping contribute to the historic thaw in US-Cuba relations.

In Cuba he will celebrate mass in Revolution Square in Havana as both of his predecessors did during their trips to the Caribbean island nation. He will travel to Holguín and pray before the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, the patron of Cuba, and meet with Cuban families in the eastern city of Santiago.

Francis arrives on 22 September at Andrews air force base in Washington, and the next day will be welcomed on the south lawn of the White House by President Barack Obama, the Vatican said.

He will become the first pope to address the US Congress on 24 September, and will meet with homeless people later in the day at a local parish, St Patrick’s. He will give America a new saint by canonizing the 18th-century Spanish missionary Junípero Serra at the National Shrine.
On 25 September, Francis will deliver a speech on sustainable development at the United Nations, in New York City, where he will have another opportunity to voice his concerns about the environment ahead of make-or-break climate negotiations in Paris later this year.
He will host an interfaith gathering at Ground Zero and meet with children and immigrant families on the other end of Manhattan, in Harlem.

While St John Paul II and Benedict XVI celebrated mass in Yankee stadium during their New York visits, Francis will celebrate mass for a slightly smaller crowd in Madison Square Garden, and preside over a vespers service at the newly spruced-up St Patrick’s Cathedral.

On 26 September, he heads to Philadelphia, where he will join the church’s World Meeting of Families. He will host a “meeting for religious liberty” on Independence Mall with immigrants and the Hispanic community, the Vatican itinerary said.

US Catholic bishops have been decrying what they say are attacks on religious liberty for years, particularly over federal healthcare laws that require insurance coverage for contraception. Their latest rallying cry has come in the wake of the supreme court decision declaring that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide.

Francis will visit prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold correctional facility in Philadelphia before celebrating the final mass of the family meeting on 27 September.
Video Rating: / 5

Which Countries Can’t You Visit?

Rescuing Imprisoned Moon Bears in Vietnam

According to the US State Department, American citizens should think twice before visiting certain regions. So which countries have the US listed?

Learn More:
Alerts and Warnings
“We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all. ”

FCO travel advice mapped: the world according to Britain’s diplomats
“The world is a scary place right now; what with the Japan disaster and the Arab and Middle East unrest.”

10 countries Americans need advance visas to visit

10 countries Americans need advance visas to visit

“We live in an increasingly borderless world and we have access to many countries that were closed (or non-existent) 20 years ago.”

Henley & Partners

Watch More:
Rescuing Imprisoned Moon Bears in Vietnam

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Download the New TestTube iOS app! presents: Hotel Palma Real in Varadero / Cuba / Cuba presents: Hotel Palma Real in Varadero / Cuba / Cuba

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This hotel is situated in the centre of Varadero and so allows guests easily to dive into the atmosphere of the streets and the city with its nightclubs and shops. The sandy beach is a mere 250 m away, Park Josone is within 500 m and the town of Matanzas is only 32 km from the hotel.

This air-conditioned establishment sparkles with brand new elegance after its recent renovation work; at one with the surroundings and inspired by pure Cuban style. The hotel features its own garden and offers guests a total of 466 rooms, across four storeys, in two buildings, of which six are wheelchair accessible rooms. This establishment is equipped with a hotel safe, a currency exchange desk, lift access, a tourist bureau, car rental service, a post office, telegram, fax and public Internet (charges apply) services as well as a hairdresser. Further facilities include restaurants serving international cuisine and a lobby bar. Multilingual hotel staff, daily newspapers, room service and a service offering trips to the surrounding area as well as a games room complete the range of services offered. A car park may also be used by guests arriving by car.

The well-appointed, clean rooms all come with an en suite bathroom with a hairdryer, a direct dial telephone, satellite/ cable TV, a radio a double or king-size bed, a minibar, a hire safe, and either a balcony or terrace. The air conditioning is centrally regulated.

The hotel grounds feature a swimming pool for kids and adults, a sun terrace with sun loungers and parasols laid out ready for use. There is a sauna, a Jacuzzi, a sauna, massage treatments, a unisex beauty salon, a gym and tennis courts available to guests. Countless water sports are on offer for guests who may like to try their hand at water skiing and diving (charges apply), non-motorised water sports such as canoeing, snorkelling, pedal boating, windsurfing and water polo are available free of charge. The following leisure activities are also on offer, free of charge, for guests’ enjoyment: volleyball, football, basketball, table tennis, billiards and aerobics. The hotel organises a diverse entertainment programme, including live concerts, on a daily basis. The famous nightclub the Havana Club is right around the corner. Guests will find the Varadero Campo golf course within 5 km of the hotel. Sun loungers and parasols are laid out available for use on the sandy beach.

It is possible to book an all-inclusive stay.

MasterCard and VISA are both accepted in the hotel.

How to Replace a Lost or Stolen Passport

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If you are a jet-setter, than misplacing your passport can be a real downer. Follow these easy steps to replace your passport and get back on the road.

Step 1: Report the missing passport
Report your missing passport immediately. This is the crucial first step in replacing your lost or stolen passport. Call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. You will be asked to fill out the form “DS-64”:, which will validate your claim.

If you are overseas and misplace your passport, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Step 2: Fill out form DS-11
Begin the replacement process by completing the Application for Passport, Form “DS-11”: This form can be found online by going to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Step 3: Turn in the form
Print the DS-11 and take it to the nearest acceptance facility or passport agency. Do not sign the form until you are at the facility.

Step 4: Bring identification
Bring your DS-11, as well as a previously issued U.S. passport, a certified birth certificate, a naturalization certificate, certificate of citizenship, or current government-issued ID to the acceptance facility or passport agency

Step 5: Photocopy the ID
Photocopy both sides of your photo ID on an 8½-by-11-inch piece of paper, and bring that along with your other information.

Step 6: Pay the fee
Pay the passport fee. Fees are subject to change, but you can expect to pay at least , plus a execution fee.

Call the facility to find out the acceptable methods of payment. Some accept credit cards and other don’t.

Step 7: Bring photos
Bring two identical 2-by-2-inch color photographs of yourself. The guidelines are very strict, so it’s best to have someone who takes passport photos do the job.

Step 8: Wait for delivery
Wait for your passport to be delivered to you in the mail and you’ll be all set to globe trot again.

Did You Know?
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires travelers to present a passport or other ID when entering the U.S.
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Experience Cuba with Fathom – Travel Like an Architect™ For mindful travelers, Fathom offers a truly historic opportunity: a chance to help build new bridges to a rich and vibrant culture that, until now, hasn’t been open to U.S. travelers by sea for more than 50 years.

Fathom is proud to be among the first cruise ship companies to be granted U.S. approval for round-trip travel between the U.S. and multiple destinations in Cuba, including Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. Our intention is to create the kind of true cultural immersion experience that will give you and your fellow travelers the rare chance to learn more about the lives and aspirations of the Cuban people.

Fathom cruise itineraries to Cuba are authorized under current people-to-people guidelines as set forth by the U.S. government, which allow travel to Cuba for the purpose of engaging in activities that support the Cuban people. As a Fathom traveler, you’ll have the opportunity to interact, one on one, with the artists, musicians, small-business owners, students, health workers and others who make up the fabric of Cuban society. And you’ll quickly realize that what you could learn from them is every bit as important as what they could learn from you.

Your own itinerary might include a walking tour of Havana’s Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage site. A visit to an organic farm. A meal at a home-based restaurant. An English workshop with students at a local primary school. A brainstorming and idea-sharing session with local microentrepreneurs. A chance to interact with local artists and musicians in their own environment, as you deepen your understanding of the arts as a vital bridge between people and cultures.

Glenda León Magic Objects

The word intervention is very rich and has multiple meanings. It especially lies within a visible contemporary spirit. It has, without doubt, a pragmatic side, which drastic situations use to hide behind it. The word seems to have reached its other side–the liberation of so much pathos–with the emergence of the avant-garde of the early 20th century. At that time, the creative exercise linked it to a reinterpretation of reality and decompressed it giving it humor and intense parodic activity. From then to the present, the word has ensured a solid biography to which many have contributed their own bit. A number of protagonists of this adventure can be found in Cuban artists of recent decades. Today we have chosen artist Glenda León, a strange mind where the depth of concept and the burst of beauty exotically coexist.
Upon entering her space, which is delimited by tiny imprints that come together with magical accuracy, we understand that the artist matured in another dimension, that she exercised the activity of understanding phenomena (especially aesthetic ones), in which she later got involved in depth. As a result, she has achieved extreme clarity in each of her conceptual proposals. Her skill seems to come from the thorough study of the body, which surrenders unconditionally to the artist’s touch. Here, Glenda demolishes a number of myths of what might be called forced or toned-down complexity. What especially surprises us is the speed and effectiveness her solutions obtain within a range marked, most often, by simplicity.
The lucidity with which she faces her potential limits, how she manages to avoid other temptations and works her way through the fictions that emerge from a minimal event is an objective reality. She seems to rescue intensity from these minimal events and, especially, its link to a sector of our memory where scenes of affection occur related to these details or events, which are not usually the focus of our attention. From those supposedly marginalized fragments, she produces textures, and even stories that cautiously carry those firm subtleties, which, out of habit, catches us unawares.
Time, witnessing its flight, is one of her dilemmas. Escaped time is used to build other forms. Thus, the illusion of “time that has stopped” is palpable. In order to effect this action, she localizes Cada forma del tiempo [Each form of time] (2000), tracks it down and eventually represents what time allowed to take place in the vortex of its passage. In Cada paso es una forma del tiempo [Each step is a form of time] (2000), the wood rots or is devastated by termites, the walls are unsteady, the body wrinkles; but this is the only way things acquire meaning, a reason. The traces we leave, the small signs of our presence are assumed as a reflexive and true matter. We must accept the fact that time is broken down. For instance, Cada Sonido [Every sound] (2000) can be interpreted as a particle of time from which we may recognize small and even large details of our nature and of the nature of the things around us in each and every circumstance.

To read more about this story and to see many more Cuba related stories see for more Cuban cultural and travel stories.

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