Sunday, October 13, 2019



Havana 500 years

Sabanas Blancas -- Omara Portuondo
Havana 500 years



Havana celebrates 500 years
Cuba’s capital will be celebrating its 500th anniversary this November with festivities to honour this historic half-century milestone.  Havana, founded on November 16, 1519, was originally called San Cristobal de La Habana.  The city's historic centre was named UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982 and the surrounding city declared one of seven global "New 7 Wonders Cities in 2015. 

As part of the anniversary celebrations music will take over public spaces. The Cuban Institute of Music has lined up a series of concerts with the country’s best musicians, taking place every second, third and fourth Saturday each month until the big birthday bash in November. From festivals and cultural shows to theatre productions and art exhibitions — to culminate in November with an exhibition of ‘Footprints on the City’ by 50 Cuban painters, the premiere of  ‘Cecilia Vald├ęs’ and the Alabanza international dance event. On the eve of the anniversary we will have "Habanera Night" -with music, poetry, theatre and food throughout the city, along with fireworks at midnight. Havana is reopening facilities that have sat empty for several years, including the Cuatro Caminos market, currently a shopping centre.

"Everywhere you go in Havana, you will experience the feeling of music in the air. Cuba, especially Havana is one of the main centres of Latin American music and dance," says Eloy Govea, the Cuba Tourist Board’s director for Canada.We encourage people to go outside the resorts, to mingle with locals and visit cities such as Havana. Cuban people are so open, so talkative, so easygoing, so cheerful and willing to share. This year is a perfect opportunity for Canadians to visit and celebrate Havana's 500th anniversary."



Postcards from Cuba: Havana celebrates 500 years
https://www.euronews.com/2019/06/28/cuba-celebrates-500-years-of-history-through-its-arts#targetText=last%20updated%3A%2028%2F06%2F2019&targetText=Havana%2C%

Saturday, October 12, 2019


Climate Change and Cuba Highlights Conference Panel -

The Cuban Revolution@60 International Conference

https://www.cubabusinessreport.com/climate-change-and-cuba-highlights-conference-panels/

Square Canada doesn't have a tech issue: it's a Cuban coffee issue    Toronto coffee stand's collection problem stems from U.S. bank's Cuba embargo fears

MONICA MUSTELIER OWNS TORONTO'S LITTLE HAVANA MOBILE COFFEE SHOP. SHE SAYS PAYMENTS
MADE THROUGH SQUARE WERE NOT REACHING HER BANK ACCOUNT (ANDY HINCENBERGS, CBC)

THE OWNERS OF A TORONTO COFFEE STAND SAY SQUARE CANADA HAS TOLD THEM THEY CAN NO LONBER USE THE POPULAR PAYMENT TECHNOLOGY BECAUSE OF CONCERNS THE COFFEE STAND IS SELLING BEVERAGES MADE FROM CUBAN COFFEE BEANS. SQUARE CANADA ALLOWS CUSTOMERS TO TAP OR SWIPE THEIR FINANCIAL CARDS TO PAY FOR THINGS -IN THIS CASE COFFEE FROM TORONTO'S LITTLE HAVANA COFFEE STAND.
LITTLE HAVANA'S CO OWNER, MONICA MUSTELIER, SAID SHE'D BEEN IN CONTACT WITH THE TECHNOLOGY COMPANY REGULARLY SINCE LATE AUGUST, AFTER $14,000 IN CUSTOMER PAYMENTS COLLECTED USING SQUARE NEVER MADE IT INTO HER TD CANADA TRUST BANK ACCOUNT.
IN AN EARLIER CBC NEWS REPORT, SHE SAID THE COMPANY LED HER TO BELIEVE THE MISSING MONEY WAS BEING HELD DUE TO PROBLEMS WITH AN "ACQUIRING PROCESSOR." A SQUARE CANADA SPOKESPERSON HAD TOLD CBC NEWS, THE SITUATION WASN'T "ONE-OFF" — BUT WASN'T WIDESPREAD, EITHER.  IT TURNS OUT, THAT'S NOT THE CASE, MUSTELIER SAYS.
ACCORDING TO MUSTELIER, SQUARE CANADA TOLD HER THE TECH COMPANY USES THE U.S. BANK JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. TO PROCESS PAYMENTS, AND THE BANK CANNOT OR WILL NOT RELEASE THE FUNDS DUE TO POTENTIAL CONCERNS OVER LITTLE HAVANA'S CUBAN COFFEE BEANS. "I WAS KIND OF SHOCKED AND MAD, BECAUSE WE'RE A CANADIAN COMPANY USING CUBAN GOODS BOUGHT AND SOLD IN CANADA," MUSTELIER TOLD CBC NEWS MONDAY.
MUSTELIER LEGALLY IMPORTS THE COFFEE BEANS THROUGH A MONTREAL DISTRIBUTOR.




IT'S CURRENTLY 'CASH ONLY' AT THE LITTLE HAVANA MOBILE COFFEE STAND. (ANDY HINCENBERGS/CBC)
MONEY MISSING SINCE AUGUST

TODAY, VALERIE JACKSON, SQUARE CANADA'S COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, CONFIRMED TO CBC NEWS THE ISSUE ISN'T A TECH PROBLEM AFTER ALL.  "I WANT TO CLARIFY THAT SQUARE IS NOT EXPERIENCING A TECHNICAL GLITCH. WHILE I CANNOT SPEAK WITH YOU ABOUT MONICA'S INDIVIDUAL CASE, I CAN TELL YOU THAT SQUARE'S CUSTOMER SUCCESS TEAM SPOKE WITH MONICA YESTERDAY, AND SHE NOW KNOWS THE REASON," SHE WROTE IN AN EMAIL TO CBC NEWS. THE U.S. HAS A FINANCIAL AND COMMERCIAL EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA, SEVERELY LIMITING DEALINGS WITH CUBAN INTERESTS. MUSTELIER IS CANADIAN AND SAYS SHE HAS NO IDEA WHY A U.S. EMBARGO IS AFFECTING HER CANADIAN BUSINESS. "FOR THE U.S. SANCTIONS AGAINST CUBA TO AFFECT US SO DIRECTLY IS A SHOCK, BECAUSE I KNOW CANADA AND CUBA HAVE GOOD RELATIONS," SHE SAYS.

MUSTELIER HAD BEEN USING SQUARE TECHNOLOGY FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS WITHOUT INCIDENT. THEN, IN LATE AUGUST, THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS SQUARE CANADA WAS SUPPOSED TO TRANSFER INTO HER BANK ACCOUNT NEVER MADE IT.  EVER SINCE, SQUARE CANADA HAD BEEN WORKING WITH MUSTELIER TO FIND OUT WHAT WENT WRONG. "I DON'T KNOW WHY THEY WOULD BE USING A THIRD PARTY IN THE STATES TO PROCESS CANADIAN FUNDS," MUSTELIER SAYS ABOUT SQUARE CANADA'S USE OF THE U.S. BANK. "IF I KNEW SQUARE'S POLICY, I PROBABLY WOULDN'T HAVE USED THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE," SHE ADDS.    SHE SAYS SQUARE CANADA HAS TOLD HER, THE COMPANY IS STILL WORKING ON REFUNDING HER THE $14,000. IN THE MEANTIME, MUSTELIER IS NOW LOOKING FOR A PAYMENT SYSTEM THAT USES CANADIAN BANKS ONLY, TO PROCESS TRANSACTIONS.
CBC NEWS HAS CONTACTED SQUARE CANADA FOR FURTHER COMMENT ON ITS PLANS.

A LETTER TO THE EDITOR:  THE LONG ARM OF US POLICY