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This Happened

This Happened - April 28: Penelope Cruz Is Born

Spanish actress Penélope Cruz was born on this day in 1974, in Madrid, Spain. She began her acting career in the early 1990s.

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Where did Penélope Cruz grow up?

Penélope Cruz Sánchez grew up in Alcobendas, a town near Madrid, Spain. She grew up in a working-class family, the daughter of a hairdresser mother and a car mechanic father. Cruz has two younger siblings, Monica and Eduardo. She showed an interest in performing arts from an early age. At the age of 15, she enrolled at Spain's National Conservatory to study classical ballet.

What awards has Penélope Cruz won?

Penélope Cruz has won numerous awards for her acting, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the same film, and three Goya Awards for her roles in "Volver," "Blow," and "Broken Embraces."

Is Penélope Cruz married?

Penélope Cruz is married to Spanish actor Javier Bardem. The couple got married in 2010 and has two children together. Bardem and Cruz have worked together in several movies, including "Jamón Jamón" (1992), "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008), and "Loving Pablo" (2017).

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Forced Labor, Forced Exile: The Cuban Professionals Sent Abroad To Work, Never To Return

Noel, a Cuban engineer who had to emigrate to the faraway island of Saint Lucia, tells about the Cuban government's systematic intimidation techniques and coercion of its professionals abroad. He now knows he can never go back to his native island — lest he should never be allowed to leave Cuba again.

Forced Labor, Forced Exile: The Cuban Professionals Sent Abroad To Work, Never To Return

Next stop, Saint Lucia

Laura Rique Valero

Daniela* was just one year old when she last played with her father. In a video her mother recorded, the two can be seen lying on the floor, making each other laugh.

Three years have passed since then. Daniela's sister, Dunia*, was born — but she has never met her father in person, only connecting through video calls. Indeed, between 2019 and 2023, the family changed more than the two little girls could understand.

"Dad, are you here yet? I'm crazy excited to talk to you."

"Dad, I want you to call today and I'm going to send you a kiss."

"Dad, I want you to come for a long time. I want you to call me; call me, dad."

Three voice messages which Daniela has left her father, one after the other, on WhatsApp this Saturday. His image appears on the phone screen, and the two both light up.

The girls can’t explain what their father looks like in real life: how tall or short or thin he is, how he smells or how his voice sounds — the real one, not what comes out of the speaker. Their version of their dad is limited to a rectangular, digital image. There is nothing else, only distance, and problems that their mother may never share with them.

In 2020, Noel*, the girls' father, was offered a two-to-three-year employment contract on a volcanic island in the Caribbean, some 2,000 kilometers from Cuba. The family needed the money. What came next was never in the plans.

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