Robert Siegel

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The Two-Way
3:41 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

In Havana, A Journey Into The Forbidden With A Provocative Artist

Cuban artist Tania Bruguera poses for a photograph near the statue of José Martí in Havana's Revolution Plaza. She was arrested in December for planning a political performance there.
Eyder Peralta NPR

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 7:00 pm

It was still dark when Tania Bruguera hopped into a cab with us on her way to Revolution Square.

"All of a sudden it looks quite subversive what we're doing," she said. Her voice revealed a little nervousness, but it translated into a giddy laughter.

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Parallels
2:58 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

With Improved Relations, Are The U.S. And Cuba Ready To Play Ball?

Yoan Francisco, a rookie for the Havana Industriales, warms up before a game at Havana's Latin American Stadium. Cuban baseball has been facing hard times, but improved diplomatic relations with the U.S. have raised the possibility of increased cooperation and new opportunities.
Eyder Peralta NPR

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 4:57 pm

It has already been a messy game at Havana's Latin American Stadium, the premier baseball stadium in Cuba. The home team, the Industriales, has given up five runs in the first inning; a shortstop fumbled a ball, an outfielder failed to hustle and an easy out became an extra-base hit.

The home crowd isn't deterred. The vuvuzelas, those ear-splitting plastic horns, still swell when an opposing batter reaches two strikes.

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Parallels
11:07 am
Mon March 23, 2015

An Object Of Desire: Hope And Yearning For The Internet In Cuba

The Havana studio of prominent artist Kcho is ringed by Cubans with their heads buried in screens. Users say the only other free Internet connection in Havana is at the U.S. Interests Section.
Eyder Peralta NPR

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 6:47 pm

After the sun sets on Havana on weekends, G Street turns into a kind of runway.

Blocks of the promenade — which is very colonial with its big, beautiful statues and impeccable topiaries — swell with crowds of young Cubans. For the most part, they just walk up and down, greeting each other with kisses.

It's a spectacle: Everyone, it seems, is here to impress. They're perfectly coiffed, perfectly matched; they're splayed on benches, arms wrapped around each other.

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Parallels
5:11 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

For One Parliamentarian, A Stronger Jordan Is Key To Fighting ISIS

Jordan's election laws make it impossible for any one political party to build a strong bloc in Parliament. Observers say that's one reason for the country's weakness — and for the growing appeal of the messages used by militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Khalil Mazraawi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 8:42 pm

There's a election law implemented in 2010 in Jordan known as "one person, one vote" that advocates of reform and democratization there regard, surprisingly, as a big step backward.

That's because of the strong ties Jordanians feel to family, clan and tribe, says Omar Razzaz, an economist and banker in Amman, the Jordanian capital.

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Parallels
3:58 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Jordan's Fuzzy Definition Of Free Speech

Lina Ejeilat helped found the Jordanian online magazine 7iber (pronounced 'Hebber'). While the government encourages free expression in principle, many strict regulations remain, as noted by the satirical chart next to her.
Art Silverman NPR

Originally published on Wed February 25, 2015 7:46 pm

Earlier this month, Jordan's Information Minister Mohammad Al-Momani told a conference that freedom of expression can contribute to stopping radicalization.

On the very same day, a military court in the capital Amman sentenced a man to 18 months in prison for a Facebook post that was seen as insulting a friendly country, the United Arab Emirates.

Momani spent years studying at Rice University in Houston, so he knows what Americans think of as free expression. But he sees it a little differently.

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