I confess it, I have some unresolved issues with Amsterdam. Although I lived there for a semester in 2010, from January to June, I didn’t manage to figure out my feelings for the city. So let’s try to break this down.

The landscape

(c) Giulio Cesaroni. Dam Square, Amsterdam, 2010

(c) Giulio Cesaroni. Dam Square, Amsterdam, 2010

Yes, Amsterdam is massive. It’s a mix of history, modernity, great architecture and engineering. A great evidence of how much mankind can accomplish. Have you heard the saying that “God created the Earth but the Dutch created the Netherlands”? Well, Amsterdam would be the exact embodiment of that statement. adam (6)

adam (5)As soon as you are there, before you’ll actually get to the Red District, the canals will be the first thing that catches your eyes. The second will be the bridges, especially the older ones that still work and are elevated to grant pass to the boats. I found interesting that, for a society that seemed to be in a hurry almost all the time, no one seemed upset waiting for the bridge to come down again.

Amsterdam is below the sea level, a city stolen from Poseidon. There has to be persistent supervision to all the infrastructure of bridges, canals, dams, harbors and the port. I guess this could be a reason why so many Dutch I met were so organized and good at planning.

In general, the infrastructure is great. From technology to public transport, everything seemed state of the art. Everything except for the architecture. The city is packed with these tall, skinny buildings that clearly show a sort of Lutheran style -beautiful but solemn and sober. The structures are so old that need that metallic reinforcement between stores. Some buildings are leaning over the next one, because the foundations are not strong and have changed with time. A clear evidence that is a city build over the water.

adam (9)

Even if buildings are leaning, and corpses of dead people need to be taken out through the windows because there’s no way to carry them down the stairs, rents in Amsterdam are easily among the most expensive in Europe, which is a lot to say in a continent that also includes Copenhagen, Paris, London and Hamburg…

If you are dreaming with a season living on one of those lovely boat-houses, I’ll recommend you to make sure you’ll dispose of a deep pocket.

adam (2)

What to do

Once in Amsterdam, there are of course some must-go places. The Van Gogh Museum comes to mind and the branch of the Hermitage; the “Bloemenmarkt” or Flower Market; The Anna Frank House if interested on the topic and the suffering; the local Chinatown is over Zeedijk Street, close to the train station, though there is a lot of Thai, Korean and other Asian cultures mixed there, not just Chinese; for shopping I’d recommend Kalvertoren; the Red District is over both Oudezijds Streets.

Oh! For a surrealist experience, don’t miss Paradiso, an ex church building turned into “sanctuary for the creatures of the night”.queen day (1)

Another “healthier” choice is heading to the city parks, in case you are simply a daylight person.

queen dayQueen’s Day used to be on April, celebrating Queen Beatrix birthday. You will have to check whether the Dutch keep the holiday or moved it match the current King’s B-day. Either way, there are no other days like those to party hard in the city.

Amsterdam is actually a really overcrowded city with over 780,000 inhabitants in a very small area. On Queen’s Night and following Day everybody goes out to parade, dance, smoke, drink, and eventually lay around under the sun or drunk in an alley or rather by the side of a canal.


The public transportation system includes a metro system that covers a limited area -very narrow space where there are no canals-, buses and trams inside the city and trains that connect to suburbia and neighboring towns such as Hilversum or cities such as Haarlem. Everything runs punctual. But the farther you are from downtown, the less convenient it is to use it.

Imagine Amsterdam as a series of rings sharing the same center: the port that is close to the train station. That’s also the main spot to catch buses and trams. The different routs tend to follow lines that are like radius of the rings: so the wider the arch connecting the radius, the wider the distance between routes and stations. That is why, if you are planning to visit, you should consider renting a bicycle instead of a car or resorting to public transport.

Seasonal amusement park at Dam Square, the heart of the city, to celebrate the spring

Seasonal amusement park at Dam Square, the heart of the city, to celebrate the spring

I loved that it is a city made for boats, bikes and pedestrians. Going around in a car gets to be not only impractical, but a real nightmare. But I hated its very humid weather, the constant rain in the winter.

But I admit, when eventually the sun decides to shine, outside is the place to be.

Amsterdam, March, 2010.

Amsterdam, March, 2010.

I also hated the city’s double standards. Prostitution is legal, but you would probably have a hard time finding any Dutch prostitute. The Red District feeds from human traffic, and those are the bodies in display behind the glasses. If you haven’t yet seen this ad for Stop the Traffik, do it now. A sharp irony is that the Red district is located one block away from the University van Amsterdam’s building where I attended my second semester as visiting MA student. UvA is among the most important centers of knowledge in Europe and probably the world. I can’t decide if this is real open mindedness or simple double standards.

Marihuana is sold legally in coffee shops and “soft drugs” are allowed to be consumed in student dorms, but the authorities aren’t granting any new licenses to open new coffee shops and they are actually using any pretext to shutdown the existing ones. In the surface is beautifully diverse, a cosmopolitan dream, but underground xenophobic feelings are polluting the air, water and soil. The name of Geert Wilders and the Party of Freedom comes to mind.

adam (7)Historically and culturally, The Netherlands are very influenced, and a lot can be explained and understood, by something called “Pillarisation“.

The pillars are four, segmenting people according ideology or religion. Catholics, Protestants, Social-Democratics and then Socialists. Back in time, a catholic would only read a catholic newspaper, purchase from a catholic business and employ catholic services. The same pattern would repeat in the rest of the groups. That explains a lot today’s political system and media in The Netherlands, to mention very visible elements.

According Wikipedia: “The development of pillarisation in the Netherlands was favoured by the emancipation of working and lower-middle classes on the one hand, and the execution of elite control on the other hand. The emancipation of the working class led to the establishment of socialist parties, trade unions, media, cooperative shops and collectively organised leisure activities. This “full care” of the socialist movement for its members existed similarly in other European countries. The emancipation of the conservative and often strongly religious lower-middle class fostered the emergence of the Protestant pillar. While the Dutch bourgeoisie was rather liberal and adhered to “enlightened” Protestantism, a large part of the lower middle class embraced a more orthodox Calvinist theology taught by preacher and politician Abraham Kuyper.”

Don’t get me wrong. I can see the wonders, peculiarities and greatness of Amsterdam. Still, I am not its advocate. Maybe it’s the best choice for a sudden, quick visit, but spending time there leaves a certain sense of otherness. There are so many people there, so many tourists in the way of locals, so many newcomers from so many corners of the world, that somehow the city has become a hostile playground where everyone could fit, but it is difficult to belong. adam (10)

Luego de meses con la tarjeta verde (green card) o residencia permanente legal (Legal Permanent Resident Card) descansando entre mis documentos, ya va siendo hora que me anime a subir este post, en plan de servicio público.

Este post está dirigido a todos los cubanos que a partir de ahora necesiten llenar estas planillas, juntar los documentos, y están aturdidos y mareados porque todos los quieren mandar a lugares, aconsejar, y ya los tienen al borde del ataque histérico. Este es el camino que hay que seguir, en tanto funcionó bien para mí, y ojo que lo preparé por mi cuenta, no le pagué a nadie y todo me fluyó perfectamente.

Lo primero es la planilla: la I-485

Siga el link, descargue el documento a su computadora, y puede llenarlo digitalmente, sin necesidad de imprimirlo hasta el final cuando sólo precisa firmarlo, en tinta negra, y con suerte su firma queda en ese rectángulo minúsculo.

Llenar el contenido honestamente no tiene ciencia. En internet hay mil foros con toda la información necesaria, si tiene dudas con el inglés use Google translator, y si tiene dudas en alguna casilla, siéntase libre de contactarme en Twitter, le doy permiso: @jennroig

Por cierto, la planilla viene con sus propias instrucciones, que lo dejan absolutamente todo claro: son estas.

(Guarde la planilla llena, le servirá luego si quiere seguir el proceso de naturalización).

Va a necesitar 1070 dólares para enviar con su aplicación, eso o aplicar por bajos recursos para lo cual no puedo ayudarle, porque no viví la experiencia. El dinero lo puede pasar por cheques o los llamados money orders, lo cual es probablemente su alternativa más viable. En USPS se consiguen a mejor precio que en Western Union, si es que no vive cerca de ningún Amscot.

Los documentos:

- Examen Médico: asegúrese que es un médico registrado, y no un estafador. El gobierno provee un servicio para localizar a los doctores apropiados con oficina en las inmediaciones de su código postal: es este link.

- Dos fotos con determinadas características, pero en cualquier CVS o Walgreen puede ir, y explicar al fotógrafo para qué necesita las fotos, ellos saben los detalles.

- Prueba de su nacimiento en Cuba: acá las instrucciones se abren a interpretaciones. Y el documento que use usted, variará según la forma en que llegó a EEUU. Pero mi consejo es que proporcione de cuanta evidencia disponga: certificado de nacimiento, copia del pasaporte, documento de viaje que pueda tener.

- Traducción: No escuche las anécdotas de quién pueda sugerirle que no hace falta traducir nada. El mundo es grande, las historias de cubanos muy variadas, y puede haber quien efectivamente haya hecho sus trámites sin necesitar las traducciones, por lo menos del certificado de nacimiento. Pero no tome el riesgo, no vale la pena. Consiga un servicio de traducción decente, que de paso incluya servicios notariales. Los documentos son caros, no arriesgue atrasos.

- Police clearance o background check: es básicamente lo mismo, un documento que debe conseguir en la policía de acá, no pierda el tiempo pidiendo nada a sus familiares en Cuba. No cuesta casi nada, y es una hoja que sencillamente dice que usted no tiene delitos ni cuentas pendientes -en tanto este sea el caso. Una vez más, busque en Google qué estación es la que ofrece esos servicios, porque no todas los brindan.

- Debe también llenar la G-325

Ya está. No hay más misterios. Asegúrese de que su dirección sea estable, de confianza, y no la cambie hasta tener la residencia.

Cuando envíe sus documentos, verifique la dirección donde los debe enviar en este link. Verifique, no copie de una la misma dirección a la cual la mandó alguien más. Las cosas cambian, las oficinas se pueden relocalizar. Asegúrese de que está siguiendo un procedimiento en vigencia.

Pasados algunos días le enviarán cartas oficiales con unas numeraciones. Puede usar esos números que hasta ahora comienzan con MSC para chequear el estatus de su caso en este link.

Le mandarán a seguido una citación para sus huellas digitales. Asegúrese de no perderla, sólo entonces la aplicación se considera completa. A partir de entonces será cuestión de esperar.

F&$% Music, and Love, and Mathematics… Chocolate is the real Universal Language. It doesn’t matter who we are or where do we come from, we can like each other like brothers and sisters if we share some delicious chocolate. With chocolate, there will be peace and love.

So, let’s agree that chocolate is the best content ever, inside any container, no matter the shape, no matter the price, no matter the size. Yes… size is irrelevant to chocolate.

And where do chocolate and magic merge? Well, in Seattle, there’s this little store at Pike Place Market: Chukar Cherries. Forget the Cherries and focus on its chocolate, if you ever get there. It’s heaven melting in your mouth.

(c)jennroig - Chukar Cherries Store at Seattle's Pike Place Market

(c)jennroig – Chukar Cherries Store at Seattle’s Pike Place Market

Thus, this is my version of this Week’s Photo Challenge theme: Containers.

Have a blast!

Make no mistake: Cuba is a poor country. The situation is not as desperate as it can be in some African failed states, or some of the poorest countries in Latin America, but for sure the Cuban economy is in bad shape. Still, the Cuban passport is insanely pricey, considering the average salary of USD 20/month.

Cubans who live in Cuba must pay 100 CUC to request a new passport or to renew it.

Theoretically,1  CUC = 1 USD. Thus you may find many online currency converters telling that. However, CUC can only be exchanged inside the island, the actual rate being 1USD = 0,80 CUC. So, in real life, we are talking about USD 125. But let’s calculate according the official numbers and pretend that it’s 100 USD.

In comparison, US passport costs 165 and it’s valid for 10 years. The Australian passport costs AUD 244 (USD 229) also valid for 10 years. I have learned that some countries, such as New Zealand, issue passports only valid for five years, where it costs NZD 134 (USD 116). There’s actually an interesting debate in NZ about this five years validity and how citizens are paying a lot more than other countries for the document. Still, they don’t spend in five years more than Cubans spend in six.

Compared to emerging economies, specifically Latin American economies, Cuba is supposed to have the second most expensive passport. Chile is said to have the most expensive document of the region, as reported by Chilean publication La Tercera. However, that news item dates back to May 2013. By now, those CLP 48,900.00 represent USD 86. Cuba’s CUC doesn’t flow because its value is fixed by the government. So, Cuba’s no longer the up-runner but the champion.

This is how the extensions (prórrogas) look like

This is how the extensions (prórrogas) look like

That’s not it. The passport expires every six years, but every two years, for some random reason I can only imagine responds to the government’s desperate need for cash, the passport needs an extension, which costs 20 CUC/USD. Two extensions are required, so make it 40.

By the end of a 6 years period, Cubans have paid 140 CUC/USD for a passport that doesn’t rank high in the global ranking of passports. According an infographic that circulated the Web a while ago, Cubans have access forto 61 countries, either without need f visa, or with a visa granted on entry. According this other ranking, Cuba ranks 111 out of 221 nation-states.

Sure, you could need a passport to go out once in a life time, or travel every six year with a new passport and skip paying the extensions -and make it worthwhile because it’s a great price to pay. But in general, that’s not what usually happens. A passport is such a huge investment, that an individual would only consider it given very specific, heavy reasons, such as living permanently out of the country with a spouse or with a work contract, going out as student for some postgraduate program, or going out as some foreigner’s fiance or a tourist, again with plans to not coming back.

Historic Diaspora – Recent migration patterns

Cuba has always been a nation in diaspora, probably since the moment it conceived itself as nation, as a separate entity distinct from the Spanish Metropolis. There have been historical Cuban communities in cities in the United States, France, Dominican Republic, Spain, Puerto Rico… However, since the early 60’s Cubans have been leaking out of homeland in a steady trend, which skyrocketed since the 90’s. Reuters reported in July 2013 that “The number of Cubans leaving their country [reached] levels not seen since 1994 when tens of thousands took to the sea in makeshift rafts and rickety boats”. According the annual demographic report for 2012 that Reuters referred to, “46,662 Cubans migrated permanently in 2012, the largest annual figure since more than 47,000 left the communist-ruled island in 1994 after what international observers dubbed the ‘Rafter Crisis’.”

All those tens of thousands -maybe a few millions- Cubans that were born in the island but are living elsewhere, every time they want to visit their homeland, they need to travel with a Cuban passport. For them, the same requirements apply: there’s a fee for renewal plus the fee for both extensions. There’s no unique amount, each consulate has determined prices to its various services.

In fact, I always suspected Cubans had to pay for one of the most expensive passports in the world, but never before I had taken the time to research and make the maths. Today I did it, and this is evidence.

Country First Time & Renewal Fees (USD) Extension (USD) Total (USD)/6 years
USA 375 180 735
Australia 356 178 712
Canada 298 149 596
Brazil 293 134 561
Japan 276 138 552
Denmark 253 127 507
Germany 250 121 492
The Netherlands 243 121 485
Spain 243 121 485
Finland 243 121 485
Egypt 243 121 485
China 238 119 476
Russia 241 113 467
Argentina 245 110 465
Mexico 216 108 432
Ecuador 206 100 406
Chile 200 100 400
Cuba 100 20 140

There are a few facts that will, or should, catch your eye:

Prices is the United States are far higher than in any other place. Go figure the reason.

Chilean prices are lower than other Latin American countries, even though they are all closer to Mexico, where the passport is elaborated. FYI there are some countries where Cuban passports can be issued outside Cuba, I’m aware it’s France for Europe and Mexico for South and Central America.

Denmark’s prices are the highest of the list, but everything is expensive in Denmark anyway. I bet numbers for Norway and Sweden must crazy as well, but not close to the USA.

In 20 years, an American will spend USD 330 while a Cuban have spent USD 2450. In the case that Cuban have naturalized, then you add the price of the American passport.

Bringing context to the table

- I converted all local currencies using Oanda’s currency converter. Values correspond to 07/20/2014.

- I picked the countries using data available on the website www.cubadiplomatica.cu

- My selection is random. I researched data about countries where I have lived, or I have visited, or I know of some Cuban friend or colleague living over there.

- To better visualize the differences, go to this chart in Datawrapper.

Finally, one last thing. Why does love makes the passport even more expensive?

Once a Cuban leaves his or her country, there is no actual need for extensions. No other country in the world demands it, and I have seen confusion in the faces of immigration officers from different countries when examining my passport. They don’t really get it, but as it’s any of their business, they move on. The only reasons why Cubans in the USA spend more than 700 dollars, Cubans in Canada pay almost 600 and those in Brazil pay 561 for that document, within a six years period, it’s out of love and longing for their families that remain back in Cuba. There’s no other explanation.

I won’t say Italy’s the most beautiful country on Earth, because Italians are already crying that out loud. But I definitely say Italy offers some of the most breathtakingly beautiful landscapes on the planet.

(c)jennroig - Florence, a sight from San Miniato al Monte, January 2010

(c) jennroig – Florence, a sight from San Miniato al Monte, January 2010

In Italy, the Tuscany region is especially gifted. Within Tuscany, where every site can be unique, either in the countryside, the rural towns or the cities, Florence is indispensable in any list of go-to places.

I have been twice in Florence. First, during the Winter in 2010. That’s the rainy season, when the sky is gray and the colors of the trees seem opaque. Still, streets were crowded with tourists from every corner of the globe. If you are not carrying an umbrella, be prepared to be offered one every time you’ll be about to cross a street.

In fact, those days were so persistently rainy that the the waters of the Arno river had risen to levels not seen in years.

Arno River, January 2010

Arno River, January 2010

The Arno is Florence’s main river. It divides the city in two sides, pretty much like the Danube does to Budapest, without taking it to the extreme of turning it into two different parts with particular features and history. As it can be seen in the picture, walking to the left side would take to the oldest part of town. A lot of museums are there and art galleries and souvenir stores. To the right, it’s where you can go to find more modern cafes, business offices and and jewelry shopping.

The second time was by the Summer of 2011. The city was shining under the sun, glowing with every possible color and still bursting with foreign tourists; as usual, a lot of Asians with huge cameras. The Arno had its regular levels that time, and there was a lot of art and trade happening on each of the sides.

The Arno, Summer 2011

The Arno, Summer 2011

Planning a visit to Florence can be a bit of a headache of there’s not a lot of time or money. However, the city is far from being so pricy as Venice and it’s even less expensive than Rome. Among the many choices -museums, guided tours, trips to nearby towns- some can be taken at almost no cost and give you great joy.

Il Duomo

domoIl Duomo, also known as The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, is the main Cathedral and among the most important pieces of historic and artistic value in Italy, and probably in the entire Europe. outside duomoWhen you’ll walk around the building and enter the church, keep in mind that it took almost a century and a half of architectonic and engineering work to finish the construction (1296-1436).

A key information that is never missing from tourism guides and Art Encyclopedias the same, it’s that the Dome was engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi, one of the giants of the Italian Renaissance.

The other must-know fact refers to the campanile, or that tall bell tower next to the basilica showing “rich sculptural decorations and polychrome marble encrustations”. It was designed by Giotto, another great name, famous due to his religious frescoes and paintings with a distinctive style that set him apart from another great artists of his time.

History tells that Giotto took over Arnolfo di Cambio’s work when the first Master of the Works died, leaving the work unfinished. A lapse of 30 years was needed to find and appoint a fair successor. Brunelleschi would only start working on the Dome by 1420. Sixteen years went by before it was finished.

il duomoGalleria degli Uffizi

Uffizi Gallery is one of my favorite museums ever. On the one hand, its catalog includes Botticelli’s La Primavera and The Birth of Venus. Only because of that, it’s worthwhile. But its collection goes far and beyond to include Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Judith and Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi, besides paintings by Vasari, Raphael, Caravaggio and Piero della Francesca among others.

However, the real deal breaker here is that it is the one museum in Italy that I actually managed to visit gratis thanks to my press card.

San Miniato al Monte

Now, this is a place where a well informed local -basically any individual born and raised in the city- would tell you to go and even take you there. This Basilica stands over one of the highest points in the city. So, it’s a must-go for sightseeing. It tells a very interesting story that mixes Armenian influences with Ancient Roman Emperors and a the British King Henry II paying for a construction of the current building in 1013. Interestingly, it’s one of the last places on Earth where you can actually hear a mass told in Latin.

Atop of the hill, San Miniato al Monte

Atop of the hill, San Miniato al Monte

Very near to San Miniato there’s Piazzale Michelangelo, another awesome square to visit, having a very close-to-the-original copy of the David, the most famous of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s statues. Buonarroti, by the way, is a native from Florence and its most relevant artist of all times.

Just walk around and keep your eyes wide open

You’ll suddenly find yourself in a place with this view.

A street in Florence

A street in Florence

Whether in the winter or the summer, the city is lively and there will always be amazing scenes you can suddenly get to attend.

Winter's Renaissance Parade

Winter’s Renaissance Parade

Small shopping business are decorated with great taste.

Florence, June 2012

Florence, June 2012

Did you ever wonder about that thing of locking your love “forever and ever”? It may be originated there.

Lockers for lovers, in Il Ponte Vecchio

Lockers for lovers, in Il Ponte Vecchio

And whatever you do, don’t miss Il Ponte Vecchio.

Il Ponte Vecchio

Il Ponte Vecchio

“Relic” is the theme of this week’s photo challenge, as suggested by The Daily Post. Kudos to you all, guys, it is a very good theme indeed.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “Relic” as “An object surviving from an earlier time, especially one of historical or sentimental interest.” I’d like to highlight those two specific values, Historical or Sentimental.

There’s a quote on History I particularly like: “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it” -Edmund Burke, Irish Statesman (1729-1797). I’d argue this is an old quote. So I think it tells a lot about how we [Humans] are as a specie, the fact that someone articulated so clearly this notion, so long ago, and we still seem not to grasp the meaning.

Loncoche, Chile, December 2011

Loncoche, Chile, December 2011

This house is in the town of Loncoche, in Chile. It can be considered a relic. The local story tells that it used to be the residence of a doctor and his daughters. This doctor wasn’t very well regarded by the folks, because rumors circulated claiming that he sometimes agreed to engage in the illegal practice of his trade -meaning he dared to operate on women who wanted to terminate pregnancy. To the very Catholic Chilean society, this is still a source of conflict. I can only imagine how was it decades ago.

As the story goes, one day there was a fire. The house was abandoned. The version I heard did not mention whether there were fatal casualties due to the fire or the doctor decided to leave town and never came back. But up to this day the legend says it is a haunted house by the souls and spirits of all the “babies” the “evil” doctor “killed”. Indeed, it is easy to realize the very conservative taste of the story.

With the debate around Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court’s decision still very relevant and engaging, I thought it was a good story to share. Oh! Not that I believe in ghost, anyway. It’s rather about how we still don’t learn to look at History to make better decisions. Or how we’re still allowing the wrong people to make them.

My second relic draws on its sentimental value.

Cuban notebook where quotas for basic needs products are set

Cuban notebook where quotas for basic needs products are set

In fact, that notebook may well be a Historic relic within a few years. Or not. It is known in Cuba as “Libreta de Racionamiento”. It is basically the document that Cubans take to the stores and markets to purchase basic needs products in specific quotas.

I’m not even sure if this is an updated version of it. Though, if it still exists, it must look the same, because it looked that way for the 27 years I lived in the island.

On The Onion: Little-Known Facts About The Founding Fathers

On The Onion: Little-Known Facts About The Founding Fathers

It is no news. Fake and satyric news have been there for a while. And we [journalists] love it. From The Daily Show with John Stewart  to The Onion and The Daily Currant, we follow their accounts via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, or whatever social media is fashionable at the moment and we may be using.

dogs pockerThe reason we love it, it’s the witty. Humor -smart humor at least- takes creativity, intelligence as well as to be informed. I’m not referring to the fake alerts that invade Internet with every new storm or flood, warning about sharks exploring parts of Manhattan with very bad Photoshop. I mean the good job, the one that takes time and it’s believable because something inside your brain agrees that no matter how crazy that sound, it eventually could happen.

Sometimes the lines are so blurred, and the comedy is so clever and the writing has been taken so far, that we buy the content, we believe the joke to be true for a moment, until someone calls it for what it is: they’re making fun of whoever is the target of the occasion. So we need someone who call us back to reality: “check it again, it’s in The Onion, the Pope wasn’t teaching how to use a condom in public”.

There are other styles in satira. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is a very good example. We appreciate so much the exquisite work of John Oliver’s team because they take the time to gather all facts and statements to mock a politician, a celebrity, a public official, or the general stance of a government towards a newsworthy situation. This time is about strong analysis, debunking misguided notions and bringing facts to the table again.

But sometimes the joke isn’t so clear and the issue is upsetting enough. I really resent this attempt by the “National Report” to throw accusations of doping over the Dutch Football Team in the World Cup. There’s nothing hilarious about it.

There’s nothing on the outlet’s presentation that leads to believe it is about Satira. Moreover, the tone and style of the writing do not suggest any satyric intention. By all means.

I know it’s up the reader to be aware and suspect the probable irrationality of it all. But sometimes emotions are too heavy and that’s a good moment to step back or be very clear about the intention.

I felt really dubious about The Netherlands’ performance against Costa Rica, mostly because I was rooting for CR, but also because I bought the fake report of a doping scandal. The fact that FIFA is so corrupt and so dirty and so unfair and disgusting, didn’t help to raise my flags.

Anyway, this is a note to self, and a suggestion to online readers. Wait a bit before making up your mind. You may be stumbling upon some fake, badly written, satirical attempt of news.