Dayron. Yampier. Yankiel. Yordenis. Yulieski. Eglis. Idel. These are just some of the stranger given names to be found among the 149 athletes representing Cuba at this year's Summer Olympics in Beijing, and they spotlight a quirky custom practiced by many of the island's 11 million inhabitants: a penchant for giving newborns unusual, custom-made monikers, many of them beginning with the 25th letter of the English alphabet.
This trend goes back years. Among the gold-medal-winning pugilists of Cuba's illustrious Olympic past are heavyweight Odlanier Solís, flyweight Yuriorkis Gamboa and light flyweight Yan Barthelemy. And the phenomenon goes beyond athletics. The island's best-known antigovernment blogger is a 32-year-old philologist named Yoani Sánchez, and the parents of the once famous shipwrecked boy Elián González came up with his handle by fusing their own (Elisabeth and Juan).
Why is this? Sánchez theorizes that in one of the world's last remaining Stalinist regimes, fashioning a bizarre name from whole cloth has been one safe way of flexing creative muscles without running afoul of the authorities. "Cuba is a country where everything was rationed and controlled except the naming of your children," she says. "The state would tell you what you would study and where, and creating names was a way of rebelling." Jaime Suchlicki, a Cuba expert at the University of Miami, says many middle-aged Cubans spent their youth fighting Fidel Castro's proxy wars in Ethiopia and Angola and may have given their kids African-sounding names in tribute to the continent. Similarly, the preponderance of names starting with the letter Y may reflect the contact Cubans had with Russian advisers sporting names like Yuri and Yevgeny in the years when the Soviet Union was bankrolling Castro's revolution.
Cubans on both sides of the Florida Straits associate the practice with the..........
https://www.newsweek.com/why-cubans-hav ... ames-87959
Israel/Palestine issue? Brexit? Human Rights?
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