By Graziella Pogolotti
May 3, 2017
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The image of the tourist was, at first, that of a traveler who, individually, undertook an adventure in search of new horizons to gain knowledge. Thus, exotic visitors began to show up in Cuba, who very often left testimony of their experience through letters, stories or books that proposed more ambitious insights.
The perspective of others gave us a vision of our singularity in the multiple planes that natural and human landscapes offer. For those persons who come from other lands, the richness of a prodigal natural universe –unaffected by the harsh rigors of winter– is striking.
The chromatic luxury of the environment made an impact at first sight. The true singularity was expressed in the human face of a cordial country, with open doors, where the refinement of customs was accompanied by the abandonment of the rigid formalism prevailing in other lands. The deepest bond was established in the human plane and there was also the first-hand approach to a culture forged under different circumstances. Thus, the characteristics of “being Cuban” were beginning to be defined.
Later on, in the twentieth century, workers’ demands gave the middle classes the right to vacation time. Inexpensive because of geographical proximity, access to a tourist trip was within reach of Americans encouraged by the stimulus of the warm climate and the exoticism of a certain folklore trivialized by the trinket trade.
In the winter months, the high season prevailed. It offered an enjoyable warm weather and coincided with the Havana carnival. In Parque Central, a maracas player stood at the door of a store that offered cheap musical instruments, along with belts, purses, and other articles made of genuine crocodile leather.
The flourishing business imposed its perverse features. When Prohibition was established in the United States, Havana was a space open to free consumption of alcohol. Bars multiplied and a malicious substrate became linked to the contraband privileged by the vicinity between the coasts of the two countries.
With its well-known ability to forge mentalities, neo-liberal globalization has appropriated large-scale tourism, associated with what is called with apparent innocence –eternal trap of words–: the leisure industry.
Its extreme expression is manifested in the cruises. In these, instead of observing the new, travelers contemplate each other in a coexistence that consumes most of the available time. In a tour of preset destinations, they pass through some paradigmatic sites and lunge into the search for small souvenirs, trophies to give to friends, once back home. The human landscape and the power of culture have disappeared from the picture. They will get to know, if at all, a masquerade willing to show –with roaring stridency– the expected exotic component.
Before becoming the grave of desperate emigrants, the Mediterranean’s natural environment suffered the predatory effects of tourism. There, too, on a short excursion, the testimonies of one of the original sources of so-called Western culture moved to the background
The Caribbean is the counterpart of that mare nostrum. We preserve virginal areas, but our being an island makes us extremely vulnerable. We have beautiful landscapes, but we lack abundant water resources to quench the thirst of a temporary overpopulation and maintain perfect lawns for golf courses.
In the cultural field, the dangers are even greater. While the Mediterranean tradition still evokes the glories of a dilapidated Parthenon and the infinite management of the Egyptian pyramids, –all victims of neo-colonial perspectives– our culture does not enjoy similar recognition.
Exoticism always maintains a component of underestimation, and our inhabitants have psychologically suffered from this conditioning. Expansive in the last half century, the leisure industry was already emerging, when “the Commander arrived and ordered it to stop.” [a refernence to the lyrics of a song, by Carlos Puebla, referering to Fidel putting an end to capitalist evils].
The hotels that multiplied in Havana were fronts for gambling halls, meeting points for high class prostitution, and business centers of an expanding mafia.
At that time, a master plan for the development of Havana was designed which articulated interests of a diverse nature. Speculation based on the price of the land oriented the growth of the city towards the east, where investments were made with a view to the creation of new neighborhoods.
The government would pay the expenses of infrastructure for investments with an absolute guarantee of profitability. New management centers were being directed there.
The historic city would be at the expense of the underworld. Since the space provided for that predatory universe was insufficient, a floating island would be built in front of the Malecon, for the free flow of large-scale gambling dens. The landscape value of the Malecón –complemented by the gentle hills that shape the profile of the city towards its geographical center, the present-day Plaza de la Revolución– did not matter. The capital of the country, the historical and cultural jewel in our crown, would be hopelessly dismembered.
For a country like ours, lacking in great mining wealth, tourism is a source of income of indisputable importance. The challenge is to devise strategies that enhance the possibilities of development in favor of the nation, culturally and humanly, because in the virtues of our people lies the soul of the nation.
The emergent demand for a large-scale project focused on the advantages of the availability of sun and beaches must be accompanied by the analysis of the risks involved, with the purpose of elaborating the indispensable counterparts. It is important to discard the notion of the leisure industry and to take into account that the fashion of beach enjoyment may be temporary.
Our true strength lies in our status as a large island, endowed with a multitude of possible options: many of them based on a cultural and historical tradition.
There is also the possibility of proposing designs aimed at valuing good living, latent in our large and small cities, in the varied landscape environment, and in the survival of little-explored corners made to the measure of the human being. To elaborate these projects, it would be advisable to complement the geographic and geological maps with a cultural map illuminated by a deep inward look.
By Clifford D. Conner
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
When I learned that an edition of A People’s History of Science would be published in Cuba, it occurred to me that in no country in the world would readers be more likely to appreciate its central theme, which is that science is not and never has been the exclusive province of a few elite geniuses. President Castro himself made that point very succinctly in a National Science Day speech on January 15, 1992. In Cuba, he said, “there are hundreds of thousands of scientists. Even the individual that manufactures the small parts and looks for solutions is a scientist and an investigator of a sort.”
This book is a general survey of a very large subject, and does not pretend to be all-inclusive. One particular area to which it accorded insufficient attention was the science of the twentieth century, and especially the relationship of science to the great revolutionary events that occurred in Russia, China, and Cuba. I will try to at least partially remedy that deficiency now.
Throughout history, revolutions have tended to create positive conditions for the development of science by removing obstacles to innovative thought and practice. In the process of “turning the world upside down,” revolutions have typically eliminated censorship and broken the institutional power of entrenched intellectual elites that stifled science. Furthermore, by liberating subordinate social classes, revolutions have brought many more actors onto the stage of history. The resulting vast increase in the number of people able to play an active role in shaping their lives has enhanced all fields of human endeavor, including science.
Revolutions in the twentieth century have also encouraged the development of science in other ways. From Russia to Vietnam, science became a major governmental priority wherever revolutions guided by Marxist parties occurred. The socialist revolutions that replaced market-controlled economies with centrally planned economies have been able to marshal resources and focus attention on scientific goals to an unprecedented degree and with unprecedented results. “National liberation” revolutions in poorer countries have broken the chains of imperialist domination that had previously restricted them to the low-tech role of raw-materials suppliers. Being free to create their own modern industries naturally stimulated their interest in modern science and technology.
Science and the Russian Revolution
“The Bolsheviks who took over Russia in 1917,” Loren Graham writes in Science in Russia and the Soviet Union, “were enthusiastic about science and technology. Indeed, no group of governmental leaders in previous history ever placed science and technology in such a prominent place on their agenda.” The results proved to be momentous. “In a period of sixty years the Soviet Union made the transition from being a nation of minor significance in international science to being a great scientific center. By the 1960s Russian was a more important scientific language than French or German, a dramatic change from a half-century earlier.” The Soviet Union’s ascension to international scientific leadership was strikingly confirmed when it became the first country to launch an artificial satellite and to put an astronaut into orbit.
Lenin’s appreciation of the value of science-based technology is apparent in his famous definition of communism as “Soviet power plus the electrification of the entire country.” But despite Lenin’s desires and intentions, scientific development got off to a slow start in the early years of the Soviet Union. Efforts to promote research were severely hampered not only by the war-ravaged country’s shortage of material resources, but by a deficiency of scientific talent caused by the exodus of many scientists who were hostile to the revolution. Nor did it help that a large proportion of the scientifically and technically trained specialists who did not emigrate were unsympathetic to the Bolshevik regime. More than a decade after the 1917 revolution, fewer than two percent of the Soviet Union’s engineers—138 out of about 10,000—were Communist cadres.
Nonetheless, Lenin believed it would be counterproductive to try to forcibly impose the Bolshevik will on the recalcitrant scientists and engineers. Totalitarian control of scientific institutions was not his policy but Stalin’s. At the end of 1928 the Imperial Academy of Sciences, a Czarist institution, not only continued to exist but was still the most prestigious of scientific bodies, and not one of its academicians belonged to the Communist Party. It was not until the 1929–32 period, when Stalin was well on his way toward assuming complete command, that the Communist Party took over the Academy and reorganized it.
In the first years of the revolution, an ultra-radical current within the Communist movement demanded the “proletarianization” of science and the dismissal of the “bourgeois” experts. Lenin vigorously opposed this Proletkult movement, which he characterized as infantile and irresponsible. Lenin’s great authority was able to hold the Proletkult campaign at bay for a number of years, but after his death Stalin demagogically manipulated it for factional purposes. In the years 1928–31 he promoted a Cultural Revolution (later to be imitated by Mao Zedong in China) that once again counterposed “proletarian science” to “bourgeois science.” Purges of scientists and campaigns to ensure political conformity caused chaos and disruption within the scientific institutions. Scientific education was paralyzed as the works of Einstein, Mendel, Freud, and others were condemned as bourgeois science and banned from the universities.
Meanwhile, however, the relentless pressure of external threats to the Soviet Union allowed Stalin to rally support, consolidate his power, and impose a program of rapid industrialization and agricultural collectivization requiring significant input from the sciences. Compulsory centralized planning plus massive funding rapidly gave birth to “Big Science” in the Soviet Union. The result was the creation of a powerful, but distorted, science establishment.
The limitations Stalin’s policies imposed on free inquiry acted as a counterweight to the revolution’s great gift to Russian science, which was the ability of the centralized economy to marshal and organize resources. Although the Soviet Union rose close to the top of the science world—second only to the United States—in the final analysis, its record was disappointing. In spite of its success in accomplishing some very impressive large-scale technological feats—hydroelectric power plants, nuclear weapons, earth-orbiting satellites, and the like—the achievements of the Soviet science establishment, given its immense size, fell far short of what might have been expected of it.
The demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 caused it to forfeit the strong position it had gained in international science. A 1998 assessment by the U.S. National Science Foundation reported that with regard to Russia and the other spinoffs of the former Soviet Union, science in those countries is on the edge of extinction, surviving only by means of charitable donations from abroad.
Science and the Chinese Revolution
Just as World War One gave rise to a Marxist-led revolution in Russia, so did World War Two facilitate the victory of a revolution in China under the aegis of a Communist Party. In 1949 the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed and the remnants of the Guomindang regime fled to Taiwan. The revolution brought to power a government that for the first time had the will and the ability to create institutions of Big Science, as had previously been done in the Soviet Union.
Soviet science provided more than simply a model for Mao Zedong’s regime. In the 1950s Soviet scientists and technicians participated heavily in the construction of science in the new China and they created it in their own image. However, there were strings attached—Stalin expected the Chinese to submit to Soviet control—and that led to problems.
Stalin had originally pledged full support to the effort to replicate Soviet Big Science in China, including the development of nuclear weapons. But there were sharp limits to the Kremlin’s spirit of proletarian solidarity. When the Mao regime began to show signs of resistance to Soviet control, Soviet leaders apparently had second thoughts about creating a nuclear power in a large country with which it had a long common border. They reneged on their promise to share nuclear technology, precipitating a deep and bitter Sino-Soviet split.
In June 1960, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev abruptly ordered the withdrawal of all aid from China. Thousands of Soviet scientists and engineers were called home immediately, taking their blueprints and expertise with them. It was a ruthless act of sabotage that dealt a crushing blow not only to Chinese science but to the country’s economic and industrial development as a whole.
Although set back several years, the goal of constructing a Soviet-style science establishment endured. The Soviet formula of heavily bureaucratized central planning plus massive funding produced similar mixed results in China. With very little foreign assistance, strategic nuclear weapons were developed and satellites were launched into space—both extremely impressive feats. Nonmilitary science and technology in Chinese industries and at the research institutes and universities, however, remained at a relatively primitive level.
In spite of the devastating blow caused by the Soviet Union’s withdrawal of support, China accomplished some remarkable achievements in nuclear and space technology—a testament to the power of the planned economy to mobilize and focus resources against all odds. The country tested its first atomic bomb in 1964 and its first hydrogen bomb in 1967, and launched its first satellite into Earth orbit in 1970—number one in a series of scores of space probes leading up to 2003, when China became only the third nation to independently send an astronaut into space. The science establishment, however, has remained highly bureaucratized and focused on military and big industrial projects at the expense of research aimed at improving the lives of the billion-plus people of China.
It is undeniable that the centralization and planning made possible by the 1949 revolution is at the root of China’s transformation from a negligible factor to a major player on the international science scene—perhaps even the primary future challenger to the United States’ dominance. Yet the mass of the Chinese population continues to endure a material standard of living far below that of the people of Europe, Japan and the United States. That an orientation more centered on human needs is possible has been demonstrated by a revolution that occurred in a much smaller country.
The people-oriented science of the Cuban Revolution
In the first week of 1959 revolutionary forces under the banner of the July 26th Movement entered Havana and established a new government. As events unfolded, the revolution’s leaders soon found themselves embroiled in conflict with the United States. They came to believe that economic sabotage by pro–United States industrialists operating within Cuba could only be prevented by nationalizing the Cuban economy and declaring a governmental monopoly of foreign trade. As United States–owned firms were nationalized, Cuba’s confrontation with its mighty neighbor deepened, and for protection the new regime entered into an alliance with the Soviet Union.
Once the revolution’s leaders were in command of a fully nationalized economy, they enjoyed the same advantages that had enabled their Soviet and Chinese counterparts to develop powerful science establishments. The situation in Cuba, however, was considerably different: The earlier revolutions had occurred in two of the world’s largest countries, but Cuba was a small island with a population of only about ten million people. Its scientific endeavors, therefore, were not channeled into a quixotic effort to compete directly with the United States in the field of military technology. Instead, Cuba would depend on diplomatic and political means for its national security—that is, on its alliance with the Soviet Union and on the moral authority its revolution had gained throughout Latin America and the rest of the world. That allowed its science establishment to direct its attention in other, less military-oriented, directions.
The USSR and China had both sought to build powerful, autonomous economies that could go head-to-head in competition with the world’s leading capitalist nations. With that in mind, they aimed their science efforts at facilitating the growth of basic heavy industry. The Cubans, by contrast, oriented their science program toward the solution of social problems. Scientific development, they decided, depended first of all on raising the educational level of the entire population. Before the revolution, almost 40 percent of the Cuban people were illiterate. In 1961 a major literacy campaign was launched that reportedly resulted in more than a million Cubans learning to read and write within a single year. Today the literacy rate is 97 percent and science education is a fundamental part of the national curriculum.
In addition to education, universal healthcare was assigned high priority, giving impetus to the development of the medical sciences. A harsh economic embargo imposed by the United States compelled the Cubans to find ways to produce their own medicines. They met the challenge and the upshot was that Cuba, despite its “developing world” economic status, now stands at the forefront of international biochemical and pharmacological research.
As evidence of the success of their medical programs, Cuban officials point to comparative statistics routinely used to quantify the well-being of nations, the most informative measures being average life expectancy and infant mortality. In both categories, Cuba has risen to rank among the wealthiest industrialized nations. Richard Levins, a professor at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, contends that “Cuba has the best healthcare in the developing world and is even ahead of the United States in some areas such as reducing infant mortality.” As for life expectancy, the CIA’s World Factbook statistics for 2006 report that the average lifespan in Cuba of 77.41 years earns it a rank of 55th out of 226 countries, while the United States’ average of 77.85 years puts it slightly higher, in 48th place.
Another key indicator of the quality of a nation’s healthcare system is the doctor-to-patient ratio. According to the World Health Organization’s statistics for 2006, out of 192 countries in the world, Cuba ranks first in that category: There is one doctor for every 170 people in Cuba, compared, for example, with one doctor per 390 in the United States, per 435 in the United Kingdom, per 238 in Italy, and per 297 in France. Most of the nations of the developing world have fewer than one doctor per 1,000 inhabitants.
The abundance of Cuban medical practitioners today is especially remarkable considering that in reaction to the nationalization of medical services in 1960 almost half of the island’s physicians emigrated to the United States, leaving only about 3,000 doctors and fewer than two dozen medical professors. In 1961 the revolutionary government addressed that problem by constructing medical teaching facilities. Today, according to the World Health Organization, thirteen medical schools are in operation in Cuba.
The doctor-to-patient ratio only tells part of the story, because Cuba’s medical schools in fact produce a large surplus of physicians—far more than can be put to productive use on the island itself. As a result, Cuba has actively exported its doctors to other parts of the world. The itinerant Cuban physicians do not “follow the money”—they go to parts of the developing world most in need of healthcare services. With the stated ambition of becoming a “world medical power,” Cuba offers more humanitarian medical aid to the rest of the world than does any other country, including the wealthy industrialized nations. The Cuban government has more doctors working throughout the world than does the World Health Organization.
A January 17, 2006, BBC News report stated: “Humanitarian missions in 68 countries are manned by 25,000 Cuban doctors, and medical teams have assisted victims of both the Tsunami and the Pakistan earthquake. In addition, last year 1,800 doctors from 47 developing countries graduated in Cuba. . . . Under a recent agreement, Cuba has sent 14,000 medics to provide free health care to people living in Venezuela’s barrios, or shantytowns, where many have never seen a doctor before.” In addition to the medical equipment, medicines, and the services of doctors it has provided throughout the developing world, Cuba has also helped to build and staff medical schools in Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, and Yemen.
Cuba’s healthcare successes have been closely linked to the pioneering advances its laboratories have produced in the medical sciences. In the 1980s a worldwide “biotechnological revolution” occurred, and Cuban research institutions took a leading role in it. Among the most noteworthy products of Cuban bioscience are vaccines for treating meningitis and hepatitis B, the popular cholesterol-reducer PPG (which is derived from sugarcane), monoclonal antibodies used to combat the rejection of transplanted organs, recombinant interferon products for use against viral infections, epidermal growth factor to promote tissue healing in burn victims, and recombinant streptokinase for treating heart attacks.
The Cuban biotech institutes focus their attention on deadly diseases that “Big Pharma” (the profit-motivated multinational drug corporations) tends to ignore because they mainly afflict poor people in the developing world. An important part of their mission is the creation of low-cost alternative drugs. In 2003 Cuban researchers announced the creation of the world’s first human vaccine containing a synthetic antigen (the “active ingredient” of a vaccine). It was a vaccine for treating Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b), a bacterial disease that causes meningitis and pneumonia in young children and kills more than 500,000 throughout the world every year. An effective vaccine against Hib already existed and had proven successful in industrialized nations, but its high cost sharply limited its availability in the less affluent parts of the world. The significantly cheaper synthetic vaccine has already been administered to more than a million children in Cuba and is currently being introduced into many other countries.
The Cuban example offers a particularly clear case study of how a revolution has contributed to the development of science. The Cuban revolution removed the greatest of all obstacles to scientific advance by freeing the island from economic subordination to the industrialized world. The wealthier countries’ ability to manufacture products at relatively low cost allows them to flood the markets of the nonindustrialized countries with cheaply produced machine-made goods, effectively preventing the latter from industrializing. The only way out of this dilemma for the poorer countries is to remove themselves from the worldwide economic system based on market exchange, where the rules are entirely stacked against them. The history of the twentieth century, however, suggests that any countries wanting to opt out of the system have had to fight their way out. The Cuban revolution was therefore a necessary precondition of the creation and flowering of Cuban science and its biotechnology industry.
The scientific achievements of the Cuban revolution testify that important, high-level scientific work can be performed without being driven by the profit motive. They also show that centralized planning does not necessarily have to follow the ultrabureaucratized model offered by the Soviet Union and China, wherein science primarily serves the interests of strengthening the state and only secondarily concerns itself with the needs of the people. Cuba’s accomplishments are all the more impressive for having been the product of a country with a relatively small economic base, and with the additional handicap of an economic embargo imposed by a powerful and hostile neighboring country.
The Cuban revolution has come closest to realizing the noble goal of a fully human-oriented science. Although Cuba’s small size limits its usefulness as a basis for universal conclusions, its accomplishments in the medical sciences certainly provide reason to believe that science on a world scale could be redirected from its present course as a facilitator of blind economic growth (which primarily serves the interests of small ruling groups that control their countries’ economies) and instead be devoted to improving the wellbeing of entire populations.
By Mauricio Vicent
Havana – July 19, 2009
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Last New Year’s Eve, Spanish priests Isidro Hoyos, Mariano Arroyo and Eduardo de la Fuente had dinner together in the San Martin de Porres parish, in the workers’ neighborhood of Alamar, east of the Cuban capital. “A simple meal: vegetable soup, some chicken, nougat, and Spanish cider to celebrate”, remembers Isidro. Sharing a dinner on New Year’s Eve, he explains, “had become a tradition… “.
The three priests had been friends for years and the three were in Havana because of their religious vocation, but it was Mariano who put the idea of coming to Cuba in their heads. Mariano Arroyo Merino was the first one to arrive on January 19, 1997. Then Isidro Hoyos, in December 2000. Both were from Cantabria and knew each other since they were young.
Mariano had been a missionary in Chile. For 20 years he lived in that country, always in contact with the poorest [of the people]. Hoyos even became a lawyer for the Workers’ Commissions. He was a worker and a committed priest, for that reason when he arrived in Cuba he found it proper to take charge of the small parish of Alamar, a neighborhood built by the revolution in the ‘70s as the home of the New Man, and therefore without a church.
Eduardo de la Fuente began traveling to the island to substitute for Mariano and Isidro when they left on vacation. He did this for seven or eight years, until in 2006 he decided to stay permanently.
Eduardo, 61 years old, had a mysterious and violent death on February 13. He was found on a highway on the outskirts of Havana, stabbed and strangled. It caused a shock wave in the ecclesiastical world and it especially affected Mariano, who was also murdered later.
Mariano Arroyo was a Philosophy and Theology major from the Comillas Papal University, and a philosophy and literature graduate of the University of Madrid. He was not only a wise man; he was also “a humble, good and venturesome person”, according to those who knew him. “Father Mariano was very dear to us here, nobody had any grudge against him”, said one of the neighbors, who laments his death today in Regla, a neighborhood of Havana.
First, he was a parish priest at the Our Lady of Pilar church in the municipality of Cerro, from which he also assisted the congregation of Alamar. On occasions he made 20 kilometer trips there by bicycle and celebrated mass at people’s homes. In December 2004, Mariano took charge of the parsonage and the parish of the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Regla, on the other side of the Havana bay. He immediately stood out.
Regla is a parish with special characteristics because its Virgin is one of the most worshiped among the Afro-Cuban cults. The Virgin of Regla symbolizes the goddess Yemayá in these cults, ruler of the waters and the sea, the fundamental source of life. Mariano didn’t repudiate these beliefs, but rather he studied them thoroughly and tried to understand them. Many bishops invited him to their dioceses to give lectures on this subject. “Mariano was very learned and very understanding and he was valued more and more in the Cuban Church”, Isidro affirms.
On the dawn of last July 13th, exactly five months after the murder of Eduardo de la Fuente, somebody entered the parochial house where Mariano lived in Regla. Before dawn, a neighbor saw smoke coming out of the priest’s room and called for help. The one who entered to help him found the priest handcuffed, gagged, and with burns in the soles of his feet and hands, hit on the head and knifed.
The crime, or rather, the crimes against two priests in such a short space of time and on the same day of the month February 13 and July 13 , the fact that they were friends and that both were victims of violent attacks, generated numerous rumors. Mainly because in Cuba there is no crime chronicle and news is spread from mouth to ear. Some thought that the two crimes could be connected.
Isidro Hoyos himself admitted, shortly after hearing of Arroyo’s death, that he was afraid. “I am not superstitious, but yesterday was exactly five months after Eduardo’s death, and it seems the procedure is the same: torture, savagery… “.
And, he added, still excited: “The first one, the second… what is behind this? Who are they? What are they looking for? This is something the people in charge of the investigations need to clarify. Are they some kind of mafia? I don’t know “. But, he warned himself: “There are not two, without three.”
The following day in Spain, Agustín Arroyo, brother of the murdered priest, stated that “to steal it is not necessary to kill”. And, he suggested other possible causes: “In Cuba, priests are a nuisance. My brother was very much loved in the community, he had influence over the people and maybe that caused a certain mistrust.”
The Church had to take a stand on this and Cardinal Jaime Ortega himself discarded such arguments last Friday in the homily he gave during the Exequial Mass for Father Mariano Arroyo, denying any “anti-religious or anti-Spanish significance.”
In truth, it was the mystery and the secrecy surrounding the investigation of the first death, that of Eduardo de la Fuente, which fueled speculation. Neither the Church nor Spanish authorities revealed the results of the police investigation, even though they had conclusions, detainees and confessed perpetrators.
If truth be told, Father de la Fuente died at the hands of another man who was his significant other, and to whom the priest had passed himself off as a foreign CEO. This is why, in the Friday homily, the cardinal said that in his case, “the criminals ignored that they had killed a priest”. Police sources informed the Church and the [Spanish] Embassy of what had happened. They also informed them that the perpetrator and his accomplices had been captured and that because it was such a delicate matter they had treated it with the utmost discretion.
Priest Mariano Arroyo’s death was absolutely different. The motive of the crime was robbery, something more and more frequent on the island. The safe that Arroyo had in the house, which apparently had things of little value, was found open. Sources at the Church indicated that the murderer, already in custody, was the guardian of the parish, who acted in complicity with others.
In the homily in memory of Mariano Arroyo, Cardinal Jaime Ortega remembered the priest’s words explaining why he remained in the country: “The Cuban people have a warmth, a sympathy toward the Church and toward the priest in his search for God that, although they don’t know almost anything of religion, shows an interest and an avidity that is enthusiastic”. On Friday, people filled the cathedral of Havana and said goodbye to Mariano Arroyo with tears in their eyes and songs of love.
[At noon yesterday the remains of Arroyo arrived at the Madrid airport. The funeral one will take place this afternoon at Cabezón de la Sal (Cantabria)].
By Rolando Perez Betancourt
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
For several days now, the international press that covers show business and their scandals was making a lot of fuss over millionaire Paris Hilton going to Europe to “meet” soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, best man in the courts today.
Would they begin an affair? Can the Portuguese escape the seduction of this romance collector? These were some of the expectations around the young star, who was recently acquired by the Real Madrid at an unpronounceable price, and the so called blond of gold. Her merits list is larger, more because she comes from a rich family and for the scandals she never stops creating, than for her performances as actress, model and singer.
Everything seems to indicate that the boy saw her for some minutes, smiled courteously and continued on his way to training. The tall queen of the media, slighted, declared that he had looked “somewhat feminine.”
Soon after, Cristiano Ronaldo was again in the spotlight, not because he is a sports star, but for kicking the car of a paparazzo that was following him on the streets of Lisbon. The soccer star explained in a press release that up to that moment, he had put up with weeks of harassment by sheer self control. But, the image hunter had not taken into consideration that his victim was traveling with his mother. And, one doesn’t disrespect someone’s mother! Therefore, if such a situation repeated itself, he would probably react in the same way.
The almost coincidental deaths of Michael Jackson and actress Farrah Fawcett have put the topic of the paparazzi again on the table. And in passing, the fatal accident of princess Diana of Wales while escaping from a group of them in Paris is also remembered.
Jackson was constantly harassed in his intimacy and Farah Fawcett, who was a cancer victim, left a bitter testimony, days before her demise, accusing the press and the paparazzi of being decisive in the deterioration of her health. They took photographs of her in a wheelchair showing her fragile and haggard. “I asked them to please leave me to fight my illness alone, but they never heard me, they harassed me, they wanted to be beside me every step till the end and it is already known that cancer feeds on stress.”
Technological development –digital cameras and Internet for quick transmission—have made paparazzi proliferate and the competition is ferocious. Some of them are employed and some are independent. And, sometimes they are the ones who pay the so called “stars brokers”, who detect what public figures are doing and locate them. Then the paparazzi speed off by motorcycle, car or airplane to wherever they are. Their objectives are very specific following a unique and unalterable concept: all embarrassing situations are profitable! It doesn’t matter if they are infidelities, evident or imagined, accidents, carelessness of a physical nature (poor Britney Spears and others), being nude in the high seas or in restricted areas, and, most of all, sexual scenes.
In extreme situations, when the intrusion is of such proportion that it defies human understanding, almost all reproaches are usually made to the paparazzi and people forget that –although guilty– they are part of a mechanism that starts higher up. It begins where the owners of big businesses, generally printed media competing with each other, print just about anything “weird” about show business stars.
These are stars that they frequently help manufacture and then go after them and destroy them. All this on behalf of a reader –equally manufactured–that, without realizing he is being manipulated, pays to see what lies behind the curtains of the famous.
And of from there, the paparazzi take their share (of the blame).
By Kaloi Santos Cabrera
March 04, 2009 00:42:57 GMT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The festival “For you, Woman” will be held from the 6th -8th March concurring with the Cuban Women Federation 8th Congress.
The Young Communists League is giving the finishing touches to an extensive program called “For you, Woman”, to be held from the 6th – 8th of March, to entertain Cuban women in every corner of the country.
This festival, concurring with the sessions of the 8th Congress of the Cuban Women’s Federation that will take place Saturday and Sunday, will hold its main events at the Cuba Pavilion [in Havana]. It will start with a meeting of female soldiers. Participants will be young students from several military schools and the founders of the Feminine Anti-aircraft Artillery Regiment formed by Vilma Espin.
Similar meetings will take place this day with women of other fields, like education and science. An exhibition of famous Cuban heroines painted by Antonio Guerrero will also be shown. Similarly, the [Computer] Youth Clubs will present several multimedia, like “Celia, Butterfly of the Sierra”. Singer Ivette Cepeda and her group Reflection will close the day.
On Saturday, the meetings will be held with women from the cultural sector. Therefore, music, literature and art will seize the pavilion. Children from “Bebe Compañia” and from the “Cascabelito” choir will be two of the outstanding performances that day. The presentation of the literary anthology “Spaces in the Island, 50 years of women’s stories in Cuba” and the opening of a collective exhibition of paintings from 17 artists are also included. The vocal group “Zamba” has been announced for the evening concert,
On Sunday, it’s the International Woman’s Day and the debut of our baseball team in the II Baseball World Classic. So, the main event will be a meeting with great national sporting figures. Other important events will be the performances of the Ballet of the L y 19 school, of the “Nene Traviesa” Children’s Company, and of the project “JADE” of the “Hemanos Saiz” Association.
During these three days, Pavilion Cuba will also provide food and hairdressing services and CDs, books, and craft sales in local currency.
By Alina Perera and Yailin Orta
March 8, 2009 00:39 GMT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
To be a woman with spread wings; to be One and not to lose the charm and tenderness inherent in one, in this island…it’s a tough job. Don’t be frightened, reader: the authors of this article are no hard-core stubborn upholders of women’s liberation excluding indispensable male companionship. We do not uphold the statement: “foolish men who accuse women without reason…”
If we look at things more profoundly, more justly, we have to admit that despite everything, Cuban women have gained, in the maelstrom of a revolution that has never stopped thinking about them, there are still bonds that tie them down. From these bonds, as old as the human species, a patriarchal vision stems forth, silent as a ghost.
“To run on a par with the wolves, they have to pay the price”, confessed an anthropologist who studies the history of feminism in Cuba. And now, in light of the Congress of the Cuban Women Federation (FMC), we wondered about how women in our society, where discrimination against women is not legitimate, face a cultural challenge. Granted women and men are different, But, why do they have to assume life’s responsibilities so inequitably?
This is a fascinating issue that concerns us all. Hence, we went in search of voices to help us think about the reality of women in Cuba today. And, on the path walked by the Federation; born in 1960 when huge gaps between men and their partners had to be closed.
The cost of advancement
“Living in these times is difficult, both for women and men,” said Ivette Vega Hernández, editor of the magazine “Muchacha”, published by “Editorial de la Mujer”.
She could not ignore the impact of the distressing blockade that gravitates over our daily life: “The FMC has denounced it in international forums. It has done so, thinking about the great toll it is for women to assume roles historically assigned to them. When a woman occupies minutes from her working time worrying about the food she needs to cook, it is time taken from her work. Besides being good professionals, they feel they must also be good at home”.
And, this is not wrong. What’s wrong is that only women are concerned with such issues. The pattern seems cloned in the younger generations, said Ivette Vega: “It is common in high schools that girls, to meet the expectations of their partners, take on the responsibility of managing and taking care of the weekly groceries, or washing clothes. Disparities are not changed by a stroke of a pen; they pass through the individual conscience of each human being. Change is costly because it means getting rid of more than five or six hundred years of patriarchal culture.”
In the eyes of specialists, women continue to function compelled by very old triggers. It is obvious that in many households, the times when the “weaker sex” requested permission to work “outside the home“ are over. But, Ivette Vega reflects, “now, there’s a deep silence when we get home, or there’s a disapproving expression on their faces when we open the door.”
There are other, more blatant, discriminatory signals, such as we find in “popular songs” that brand women as heartless thieves or greedy. As long as there are people that see us in this way, equal opportunity and social justice will not be achieved“, said the director of the magazine “Muchacha”.
And she gave us other examples to ponder: “If I have a brother and he works less than me at home simply because he’s male, justice has not been achieved. If I’m the one who has to be careful about having sex, and not him, the point of view is still lopsided. Because, becoming a father is something as serious and responsible as becoming a mother. “
There is a trend Ivette did not overlook: ‘When you move up the social pyramid, the number of women in leadership positions diminishes. Is it because they are no longer bold, decisive, and intelligent? No. Life changed them, and those that “get there” … What have they lost, what have they gained, what makes them suffer? And, if apparently they have not lost anything, what do they feel guilty of? What is the cost to pay if they fail to conform to the mother or wife cultural pattern expected of them? A truly revolutionary change is needed, because it is not enough for me to be present: we must be really there, without it being considered a heresy. “
To run or to flirt, with the wolves?
Without including the male point of view, this journalistic expedition would be incomplete. That is why we invited Julio Cesar Pages, Ph. D. in Historical Science and anthropologist, to contribute his point of view on this complex and sensitive issue. It’s an issue that triggers the most diverse views, and there’s always the risk of not being able to balance them.
“We are a country with high expectations, we have a large population of women with university and pre-university studies, we have achieved a great professional level, but ‘machismo’ survives as a cultural and educational label.
“Whereas our women have grown in their spiritual universe and in the professional world, our men have not done the same. We remain a gallant, but discriminatory society. I’d like to make clear that the ‘machismo’ discourse includes everyone. It is not just superficial, it’s a set of ideas profoundly embedded [in our consciousness].
“The challenge to overcome it can not be left solely to the FMC. It seems to me it lacks responsibility, if only those who are most vulnerable face it. It needs a social synergy in which all the institutions must work. The Federation must be the generator, but not the custodian of all the problems. “
Julio Cesar wanted to remind us that absent mothers and fathers are judged differently. Mothers who turn away from their children are downright disqualified. On the other hand, [absent] fathers are seen as wayward or judged simply as abiding by tradition.
“If a woman decides to run at a par with the wolves, it will be very difficult for her. She will probably be disqualified. Similarly, if a man isn’t dominant, he will definitively be disqualified and even run over by the competition,” stated the anthropologist. For him, it’s not easy to make educational talks coincide with day by day reality, among other reasons, because “we keep sticking to women without involving men.”
The mirage of equity
There are many traps, sometimes subtle snares, set on the road to equity. To sustain this idea, Julio Cesar Gonzalez suggested we examine how, when some women occupy positions in which they have to make important decisions, they tend to use certain communication codes used by men.
In this reflection, the Doctor of Historical Sciences says that “we cannot bring about equity without working on men’s perception of their masculinity. When we talk to some men about changing, they associate change with being weak.”
When referring to the history of women struggles for liberation, the interviewee noted that, due to their public success in the nineteenth century, men made progress. But, women went further because they questioned their essence. “For me as a social activist, the great challenge of the twenty-first century is to work with men and get them to influence others [men].”
– How do you feel people see you for studying issues such as masculinity?
-Sometimes I provoke skepticism. Some doubt me. “This man is missing something,” they sometimes think. But later, during the debate, people become passionate [with the subject]. So, I get a lot of solidarity. And many people come to me to tell me their most intimate conflicts.
Significance and dreams of a federation
To get to know the intricacies of the Federation, to get to be part of its National Directorate, was for Ivette Vega an opportunity to discover the transformative dimension of the Revolution on women. It’s a change that has been “much more inclusive than what might be dealt with in books. We speak of a job that has been difficult, systematic, and not always well understood.”
– What do you consider are the most immediate tasks the organization has to perform?
– I think the first challenge facing the FMC is to make the girls of the new generations understand fully, that conquered goals do not last per se, and if we fail to defend them, they can be lost.
“In the ’60s, most women had to the community as their sole political and social participation space.
Fifty years later, many young girls study in boarding schools; others work and have different responsibilities in other organizations. So, I think the biggest challenge for the FMC lies in getting the [Federation] to vibrate and to be felt strongly at the lower echelons. “
According to Ivette Vega, one of the weaknesses of the Federation is that few of the lower echelon delegations are headed by young women, who, incidentally, must be called upon attractively. They tend to have a greater presence at middle or higher echelons.
But despite all challenges, the objectives of the FMC are still valid because the primary purpose is to keep up the work of the Revolution. “
To make the organization look increasingly similar to the new generations is one of the cardinal horizons outlined by Lisa García Gayoso, legal adviser to the national FMC Community Work field and executive coordinator of the National Group for the Prevention and Treatment of Domestic Violence.
“We are privileged to have close to us women who were in the Federation since its inception. We have learned from them. There are objectives, laid down when the Federation was found, that are still valid, and that need to be transmitted to young women today in the language of 2009.
“We must make sure that young people see the organization as theirs, not only as the one born in 1960; that they see it as one that is fighting for what must be conquered now. Some equity has been achieved, but there are still dilemmas. We still have, for example, violence in some homes. And, I dare say that after the special period, with the intensification of economical difficulties in Cuban families, tensions have not diminished. ”
Moreover, according to Lisa, the organization has to divulge more and in a better way what it does, and work in specific ways with young women. The way it’s run is another key factor: “We have delegations that work very well, others not so much, and others that do not work at all. The latter ones are those in which people say, “The Federation [representatives] only comes here to collect fees “.
It is a weakness that must be corrected, because good performance guarantees our being able to attract the younger generation, especially in the communities where all kinds of women live: housewives, workers, students, and retired women.”
– What is the most exciting thing the organization offers to young women?
– There are things that have interested me a lot and that I first heard of when I arrived at FMC: they include humanity, simplicity and sensitivity. The Federation has been involved in many beautiful endeavors in this country. Few people know, for example, the great impulse given by the Federation to the current Family Code. It was created, partly because of the impetus given it by Vilma and the FMC, to restructure the concept of motherhood and fatherhood. And so that men could share all family roles equally with their wives.
”The FMC participates in programs that help those who neither study nor work. It helps in schools, day care centers, and homes for children without parental care. There are many social endeavors unknown to the young people. There are the Counseling Houses for Women and Families where we can ask for counsel in any kind of situation. “
Julio Cesar Gonzalez has no doubt that the Federation is “an important organization, which needs and deserves the solidarity of other social organizations. It is badly needed, because until we have equity between women and men, many federations will be needed.
“The FMC reaches the most distant and difficult places; it travels into the family, and it does so by activism. Women are the ones who mobilize for any public good campaign. “
Norma Vasallo Barrueta, president of the Women’s Chair at the University of Havana, Ph. D. in Pedagogical Sciences and Senior Professor of the Psychology Faculty, said that the Federation needs to diversify the work it carries out today. It should be diverse corresponding to the different interests of its addressees. “If it were more active and rewarding, it would achieve plenty of results.”
Maité López Peña, a promotion and media official of the FMC in Havana, is confident that the organization must “work more with young women at the lowest echelon, and also be more operational. We must do more to reach housewives who have no other links. The work must be individualized, because all young women do not have the same interests. We must find areas where they feel motivated. “
The difficult art of existence
”No one can doubt,” Norma Vasallo said, “the rising significant presence women have in the public world of Cuban reality. But, parallel to the evolution of their social involvement, a partial stagnation of their private and domestic life has resulted. And this not only happens in Cuba.
“The feminist movement has had significant achievements in the twentieth century, meaningfully expressed in labor market participation and different levels of education. But, women are still the ones mainly responsible for household tasks and in Cuba these tasks require more time, more dedication. “
This specialist said Cuban women, because they work in the social and domestic fields, have a double shift. Because of everyday shortages, it often turns into two and a half shifts, which means a 20 hour work day.
“The other thing that is a reality in Cuba is the need to care for the elderly at home. This is another task that tradition has assigned to women. In our country, we already know, population is aging. Therefore, it’s peremptory to think about creating institutions that help women. So they don’t have to give up their professions, when they are still in full possession of their faculties, to care for their loved ones full time. “
The Ph. D. in Psychological Sciences touched yet another abrasive issue, that of gender violence; the one, women suffer in social spaces. She recalled how some institutions prefer to hire young and beautiful women; and that harassment on the street is such, those of the “weaker sex” will wind up needing space suits to go out.
“Violence against women is also emotional, -she added- psychological, and even economic. Economic violence can be enforced when women are dependent on the man’s salary, or when it’s his house, and he uses this as blackmail. These are realities that are with us, which we must be disassemble and denounce, because if they are seen as natural, we are at risk of making them almost legitimate.
There are women who, as a result of years of patriarchal culture, can be more ‘macho’ than men, said Lisa Garcia Gayoso. The social authority we have gained sometimes cracks when we cross our front doors inwards, and we limit our partner’s help with domestic chores. For example, were we born with a sign in our foreheads saying ‘I’m the one who cooks’? How many times do we come home at night to find our husband watching TV and our son hasn’t taken a bath yet?”
Thinking of the future, we can not expect our society to be better tomorrow, if at home the son is seeing that Dad is doing nothing and Mom is the orchestra- woman. When that child grows up, he will repeat the pattern he has learned.
Let’s meditate together on this. Without having to experience arguments like the following, this is a true story:
– There is a lot of ‘machismo’- says the female subordinate to the male boss. And he says: “What we have is a lot of ‘womanism’.” She is struck dumb at the new word. And he continues: “Yes, a plague of women who want to boss us around.” And so, in this case, it’s a dialogue between two deaf persons, biting its tail, without hope for solutions that would provide wise balance.
By Marianela Martín and Alina Perera
March 8, 2009 00:58:49 GMT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Vilma’s voice is being projected across the room and large screens show images of her during distinct moments of her life. In her loving tone, she speaks of the privilege of being a woman in Cuba. Like Fidel she has been a faithful promoter of our conquests.
Minutes later, young women in uniform bring Vilma’s guerilla outfit and her pistol closer to the stage, symbols that prevail during the sessions of the 8th Congress of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC).
These were the first moments of the most important meeting of Cuban women, which ended on Sunday in Havana’s Convention Palace. The inaugural session on Saturday afternoon include the presence of the First Vice President of the Council of State and Ministers, José Ramón Machado Ventura, the Moncada Heroine, Melba Hernández, the founder of the Federation and Vilma’s comrade from the clandestine struggle and the Sierra Maestra, Asela de los Santos Tamayo, and the mothers, wives, and sons of our five compatriots unjustly imprisoned in U.S. jails for fighting terrorism.
In the meeting, where almost half of the delegates were born after 1959, the secretary general of the FMC, Yolanda Ferrer Gómez, displayed confidence in the women who will provide continuity to the life of the organization.
“Cuban women will never return to the oppressive past”, the member of the Party’s Central Committee affirmed. She repeated something that Vilma said and which Fidel has always praised: women have to put up a fight for life and the Revolution alongside their male comrades.
Especially moving was the proposal to place an image of combatant Vilma in front of the logo on the Federation’s flag. The delegates raised their hands in a sign of approval and afterwards a young woman declared that the face of this exceptional woman will be an incentive for women to become members of and take an active part in the organization’s endeavors.
Reading a summery of the Central Report to the Congress, Yolanda Ferrer emphasized that Cuban women are a «true army», in which the precepts conceived of by Vilma for the full liberation of women have taken root.
The Secretary General of the Federation acknowledged that the organization has become stronger and its membership base has grown. It has identified the most important challenges for women, developed and promoted educational and preventative programs, taken part in the tasks of the Energy Revolution, defended the incorporation of women into the work force, and decided on the modification of cardinal laws for the country, among other achievements.
“This, our first Congress of the 21st century, serves to consolidate what has been achieved” Yolanda Ferrer stated. She said that even though the FMC has advanced, it continues face challenges. The organization must improve the politics of cadres; achieve the smooth functioning and liveliness of each section of the Federation; work in a multifaceted manner in order to attend to individualities; make it so that the organization is felt in every community; energetically confront all the symptoms of corruption; and revolutionize content and ways of organizing.
During the first day, the delegates also approved the suggestion of the National Secretary to not fill the position of the President of the FMC in the future and for it remain symbolically in the hands of compañera Vilma Espín as a tribute to her.
From woman to woman.
In the morning, there were reflections by commissions dealing with cadre politics and the operation of the organization, ideological work, the formation of values, the defense of the country, international solidarity work, the participation of the women in the economy, community and preventative work, and the fight for equality and the promotion of women.
This last subject provoked multiple people to express their ideas, among which was the need to go beyond analysis that refers only to men and to women when it should be about equality.
According to the delegate’s criterion, it’s necessary to add other variables that display the principal areas where inequality is generated in Cuba today. How do the families depend on women’s economic contribution in the home? How does subjectivity function depending on the social group to which a person pertains?
Only if we see the Cuban reality as something heterogeneous and contradictory, a female member alerted, will our ways of doing politics be more effective.
Another concern expressed in the commission was in reference to the importance of respecting the diversity of preferences among human beings. This principal applied to the area of sexuality, which, according to more than one voice in the Congress, is the antidote to prejudices and discriminatory attitudes.
One woman requested that we not forget that behind each person that has sexual preferences, to which we either are or are not accustomed, there is someone who has feelings and can struggle together with us.
The director of the Cuban National Center of Sexual Education (CENESEX), Mariela Castro Espín, said in a reflection about the challenges of achieving equality that in some ways we are returning to the 1970s, when at the height of the Second Congress of the Federation, women asked for sexual orientation for their children so that they did not repeat the same errors that they had.
“We return to those problems, although with a dialectical focus – Mariela said –; gender violence is not longer as explicit; the bad keeps reducing but it does not disappear, which is why we must keep working intelligently”.
The director of CENESEX posed a question for all to ponder: How does a woman that has governmental, administrative, and political responsibilities live? With how many contradictions? “This is a problem whose solution can be found in the joint work of men and women”.
To envisage, the curative attitude of José Martí, was in the spirit of the delegates that participated in the commission, where they spoke about efforts in the community and in educational settings where it is possible to deeply confront attitudes that lessen the moral health of the nation.
Lázara Mercedes López Acea, member of the Secretariat of the Party’s Central Committee emphasized that good intentions are not enough for deploying effective preventative work: its necessary to prepare oneself. If direct attention for children and youth is important to the Federation, it’s cardinal to provide guidance to the organization’s social workers who work closely with families.
The organization’s impact in homes, in the School Councils, in its projects like the Courses of Integral Advancement for Youth, and in all of the key spaces for the education of new generations was highlighted by Lázara Mercedes. When one speaks about prevention, she said, one must always do it with infinite reserve, which the FMC has in its work with the human being.
What woman can do
In 2000, Aida Leonor Oro Lau, director of the company Inejiro Asanuma Holguin Spinning Mill, suffered an accident that caused her to lose her right hand, but did not weaken her desire to work. Now «left-handed by force», she admits, the initiatives arising from her are countless and go beyond giving orders or singing papers.
This Saturday, among delegates of the 8th Congress of the FMC analyzing the participation of women in the Cuban economy, Aida Leonor brought up the epidemic sadness that the hurricanes left in Hoguin, also known as the city of parks.
“Of my workers, 171 suffered damage to their homes and 41 were left without a place to live. The factory had to take on, amidst the chaos, the production of food for these workers and also form a strategy so that absenteeism would not affect production plans.”
With this Cuban woman in charge, operating one thread winding machine, 57,000 hours of voluntary work were done and the plans were completed.
Aida took over this company in 1992. At that time, the center suffered from shortages and the exodus of many workers. Coming from the standpoint that willpower is more powerful than the available consumables, she had the intention of diversifying products to temporarily ride it out.
With a 40 year-old sowing machine that belonged to the center and three female workers, they began to make pillows. Later the workshop grew with the obtainment of 8 of these machines and with the reclamation of the movement Sewing at Home, which the Federation promoted.
Thanks to this initiative, the factory sold 224,000 dollars worth of products at TRD stores last year, and in 2009 its sales will reach $314,000, almost 36% of which the company will pay to the state. The company envisages producing thread for textile products made in the country, including the production of antiseptic tape.
Aida spoke in the commission about replacing imports with national products and that national industry must recover its reliability. In the same discussion, Odalys Álvarez from Pinar del Rio requested that the FMC more rigorously to demand that companies pay based on results because not doing so weakens women’s incorporation in the workplace.
Audit and Control Minister Gladys Bejerano called for the creation a culture of control and prevention. She was an invited guest at the 8th Congress and spoke about the presence of women in the economic life of the country, where they have not only spread intelligent ideas but have also known how to confront corruption and other illegalities using their talent of persuasion and love.
May 2, 2017
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
Icon of the Argentine cinema, actress and director Norma Aleandro arrives today at her 81st birthday in a full creative phase.
Much rain has fallen since she starred in The Official Story in 1985, the first film from this southern nation to win the Oscar for best foreign film and for which she earned the laurel at the Cannes Film Festival for Best Actress.
She became one of the most acclaimed faces inside and outside of Latin America, Aleandro remains very active, at once directing theater or lending her voice to classic national and world tales in a new cycle in Buenos Aires telling a story.
She recently primiered the play Escena de la vida conjugal, about the work of Swedish Ingmar Bergman, in which she directs two other great actors, Ricardo Darín and Erica Rivas, at the Maipo.
Although almost always seen in front of the cameras, the role of director also draws her.
“It’s a different place to the extent that someone else is going to take the stage but I’m in a place where being an actress is good for understanding the actor’s mind and vice versa. We are good for the actors and we also like to be able to direct, although they are two very different things,” she said in recent statements to an Argentine media.
When asked recently in an interview with the Infobae website, what is the best thing that this career has given her. She answered many things, for example she answered that many things, for example, she said, the knowledge that she can give authors telling stories.
“It helps a lot to understand the human being and therefore yourself. You have to put other people in place who have very different customs, who have loves and hatreds very different from yours, which helps you empathize with the other human being next door.
Argentines who have grown up with Aleandro thank her for her memorable movies and leave nice messages for her on social networks like Twitter and Facebook on this new birthday.
Born on May 2, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Aleandro made her debut in 1952. Among her most notable films are: Autumn Sun, Anita, Gaby: a true story, The son of the girllfriend and The Son of the Bride, and the bed inside.
(With information from Prensa Latina)
By Francisco Rodriguez Cruz, from his blog
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
Around half a hundred LGBTI activists and workers from the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex) paraded again together with the Cuban people this May Day in front of the Plaza de la Revolución, in a demonstration that if Our strength is in unity, We also defend Unity in Diversity.
With large and small rainbow banners, signs of Me included – an allegory to the Cuban Day against Homophobia and Transphobia that begins next May 3 -, and t-shirts that identify the communication campaigns of Cenesex, we join together as already Is traditional in the block of Public Health workers.
In the gathering and en route to the Plaza de la Revolucion from early hours of the morning, sympathizers and activists of various nationalities, such as the Homosexual Community of Argentina (CHA), greeted us and conveyed their solidarity.
The networks of trans people and their families (Transcuba) and the Humanity for Diversity (HxD) network stood out for their participation, with the presence of members of the Oremis group, lesbian and bisexual women, among others that integrate community social networks Linked to Cenesex.
When we were ready to cross in front of the Plaza de la Revolucion a few minutes of eight in the morning, my son Javier called me on the cell phone, as I used to do at home on his 17th birthday, this May Day – He used to come with us to the parade-to tell me that he had just passed the platform along with the youth and student block.
Now we can say that the celebration of the Tenth Cuban Conference against Homophobia and Transphobia has began.
by Francisco Rodriguez Cruz, from his blog
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
Time passes and people are getting old. Not me, of course. From next week we will be back in the center of the maelstrom of another Cuban Day against Homophobia, the tenth. Amazing.
It seems like it was yesterday when I was filled with astonishment and excitement at the Pabellón Cuba in 2008, and I listened for the first time to other gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transvestite people, speaking in public – and loudly – about what was always hidden before In Cuba: our lives and problems.
I did not dream at the time to have this blog – I was short a little more than a year and a half to its birth – nor could I assume that I would have the opportunity to approach first and be a part of the organizing committee of these celebrations from 2010.
With that experience, so intense that makes it difficult to discriminate between the greater relevance of one fact or another, I propose what will undoubtedly be an incomplete selection of moments or key contributions by each of the previous Cuban Conferences against Homophobia and Transphobia .
I must admit that, at the beginning, I thought of doing so only from my (bad) memory, as well as from a review of the texts I wrote in this blog and the photographs I had kept; But then I realized that was not enough.
Memories are often imprecise. I ran the risk of mixing some events and details from year to year. So I took the trouble to check each event with the reports of the Cuban and foreign press that I kept throughout these ten years.
I should also like to thank Dr. Mariela Castro, director of the National Center for Sex Education, who agreed to review a first version of this chronological summary and made several pertinent suggestions to enrich it.
Although I tried to emphasize the elements of newness or rupture in each annual edition, it is very probable that even in this selection there are issues or nuances that someone might also consider important or central. I invite you to propose and add.
I am sure that we could enrich even more this brief tour for this first decade of the day, based on the experiences that each one keeps.
My humble intention is for everyone to remember and treasure for themselves, their first, most intimate or revealing participation in this endeavor, result of the work, persistence, creativity and daring of so many good people.
We will see each other from 3 to 20 May at the Tenth Cuban Conference against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Here I leave the most recent, almost final version of the program for this year: