Whenever one writes a CV, one tries to imagine what might be most interesting for the people reading it and so in producing one for this site, I’ll try to focus on the parts that might be of most interest to those looking for information from Cuban archives.
In 1973 I graduated from the Superior Naval Academy of the Caspian, and went directly to serve in the Cuban Navy. Shortly thereafter I was assigned to teach classes, first at a center for training specialists, and starting in the 1980s, at Cuba’s Naval Academy.
As a teacher I have been involved in plenty of research, which introduced me to the world of library science and information systems. I also produced a number of manuals and study texts that required significant documentary research.
In the 1990s I was the head of the Information Center at the Naval Academy, the term used in Cuba for libraries dedicated to scientific and technical information. As part of my training to direct that center I completed courses in cataloging, reference documents, computing and programming, remote access to databases (as this was called in the pre-Internet era), etc.
In the middle of the 1990s I completed my active naval service and began two years of studies in Marketing, going on to work at the Finlay Biomedical Research Institute in its marketing department. At the end of the 1990s I worked briefly at a public relations institution and participated in the elaboration of various market studies. I was also a business consultant at a service housed within the Ministry of Science and Technology in Cuba. Later on, I worked as a business consultant for foreign companies at Cuba’s Free Trade Zone, where I produced numerous market studies for foreign businesses.
I also participated in the first deployment of Internet “clients” in Cuba, before the worldwide web came into existence.
At the beginning of the 2000s I began writing for various websites, as an analyst of political and military affairs, and have more than 200 pieces of published analysis online. Currently I am a market analyst and work in conjunction with the IcarusCuba consulting firm where I produce a wide range of studies related to doing business in Cuba.
As can be seen, I’ve had constant contact with libraries and information centers in Cuba and other countries, although my work has primarily taken place in Cuba. This has allowed me a comprehensive understanding of how the mechanisms of searching and processing information in Cuba function, where in fact, the system is sui generis. Many people, with good reason, say that finding information in Cuba is an extremely difficult task, and that’s what makes collaboration with Archival Research such an interesting proposition.
My specialties include: technical documentation, historic documents, political documents, newspapers, magazines and journals, as well as legal documents (excluding those for individuals).
What is not included? Administrative documents (invoices, entity reports, etc.), civil documents (birth, death, marriage certificates), judicial sentences and personal documents (unless they are historically or internationally significant).
As well, I am able to handle these documents according to the highest possible standards, taking into account the difficulties that exist in Cuba for document conservation.
I have authorized access to the main centers where Cuban documents and information are preserved, among which include: the José Martí National Library, the National and Sectorial Archives, Centers for Scientific Documentation and the Patent and Trademark Archives.
Considering certain characteristics peculiar to Cuba, the time necessary for retrieving information is variable and difficult to predict. I have worked intensely on research projects that required months in order to compile the necessary documents, and other cases that I’ve been able to retrieve within a matter of hours. Each case is individual, but I am happy to offer an estimate for a job of any size.
Should translation be needed for the requested documents, I have easy access to a high quality native-speaking translators specialized in a range of fields.
David Urra Arias