Author: Gabriela Avila Gómez, Special Envoy | email@example.com
June 8, 2018 21:06:54
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
BEIJING: The proclamation of the People’s Revolution in China, the 1st. of October 1949, represented a transformation of the country that took deep root in every sphere, including the role of women in society, which until then could be defined in one term: obedience.
The belief in the superiority of men within the family and society over women led to the conception that women should always obey: first their father, then their husband and, if they were widowed, their son. As if this were not enough, the woman did not work, she had to admit her partner’s surname and did not even have the right to divorce, but the man did.
However, after the coming to power of Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China (CPC), a new stage for the development and empowerment of women was opened, leaving behind superstitions, lineages and patriarchy.
On one occasion, the Chinese leader stated that “in order to build a great socialist society, it is of the utmost importance to mobilize the great masses of women to engage in productive activities. (…) Only in the process of socialist transformation of society as a whole can true equality between the sexes be achieved.
In a conversation with Liu Meng, Vice-China Women’s University’s vice-chancellor, she said the Constitution – adopted just a few years after Mao took office as the country’s top leader – opened a new page for women’s emancipation by advocating for gender equality and encouraging them to move out of the confinement of the home to which they were previously committed.
Years before the appearance of the Magna Carta, the first Marriage Law had been enacted in the Asian giant, thanks to which the imposed and forced marriages, characteristic of ancient China, were definitively annulled.
WOMEN IN TODAY’S CHINA
Nearly 70 years after the People’s Republic, women in the Asian giant are an essential part of a society facing an ageing population and have a number of institutions that safeguard their security and promote gender equality, such as the National Federation of Women of China.
While the data provides an encouraging picture, it also reflects a number of difficulties for them, which the government of the president and secretary general of the CCPH Central Committee, Xi Jinping, knows and works to eliminate step by step.
“We will continue to pursue gender equality as a basic state policy and guarantee the legal rights and interests of women and children,” Xi said last year when presenting her report to the 19th National Congress of the CCPH.
Currently, their participation in political life is very notable, they are part of the National People’s Assembly, the Political Consultative Conference, and the administration at all levels.
Currently, the employment rate of women in the Asian giant is among the highest in the world, with a greater presence in sectors such as service and agriculture, said the vice-rector of the Women’s University of China.
However, as in other countries, efforts are being made to close the wage gap: in the Asian giant, women earn only 70% of men’s wages, and the higher the level of employment, the fewer women there are.
In that sense, Liu considers it difficult to have a female president in the short term, as their weight in top-level positions within the Asian nation is still very low.
This is due to the fact that they are left behind from antiquity and it is thought that if women want to be leaders they are ambitious and illogical, to which is added the difference in access to higher education between those in the countryside and those in the city, with 24% and 2%, respectively.
“We hope that the presence of Chinese women in high positions can increase,” she said.
The Asian giant has around twenty women’s universities, created under the premise of promoting gender equality, and training women’s talents to contribute to economic and social development and diplomacy.
One such institution is the China Women’s University and, according to its vice-chancellor, Liu Meng, currently has around 6,000 students, 99 per cent of whom are women.
There are careers,” said Liu, “in which there is a need for a balance between people of both sexes, such as that of a radio presenter.
Currently, the university has three cooperation projects, the first of which is aimed at training female officials from developing countries such as Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela. The second is dedicated to master’s degrees in women’s leadership and social advancement, and the last one is dedicated to women’s talents from nations included in the Silk Road and Strip.
Although women in China, and around the world, still have a long way to go to achieve their full rights, work from every family, locality and government is critical to their empowerment.
1949: Implementation of an agrarian reform that benefited more than 90% of the population. Some 300 million farmers obtained farmland.
1953-1957: First Five-Year Plan. From that experience are the Chinese progress that increased the national income to almost 9 a year and created a solid industrial base for a rise as a power.
1978: Policy of Reform and Openness, a project of nationhood that began more than 30 years ago and which considerably increased its national power, the standard of living of the people and the weight and contribution to the world economy. It catapulted the country’s political stability, fostered development and active diplomacy, which is still in place.
It has consolidated the construction of socialism with Chinese peculiarities and defined the path that the country should follow.
By 2020, the integral construction of a modestly affluent society would be completed.
China’s prosperity and stability are opportunities for all humanity to live on.
More than 30 countries are participating in the Strip and Silk Road initiative.
STUDENTS: TOTAL MEN(%) WOMEN(%)
UNIVERSITY: 1,793,953 51 49
TEACHING: 1,495,650 48.6 51.4
GRADUATE: 298,283 63.1 36.9
MEN: 86,852,572 (51.27%)
WOMEN: 65,287,288 (48.73%)
NATIONAL PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY (2018)
24.9% are women out of about 3000, total.
Data provided by Liu Meng, Vice-Rector of Women’s Univesity of China.
Although it is only in these times of increasingly widespread use of the Internet that the term has become popular, social networks have existed as long as human groups have existed.
Author: Iroel Sanchez | firstname.lastname@example.org
19 June 2018 19:06:05
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Although it is only in these times of increasingly widespread use of the Internet that the term, which used to be common only among sociologists and other social science professionals, has become popular, social networks have existed since human collectives first existed. Even other non-human groups also function as networks. Just look at an ant hill, a honeycomb… Their functioning is crucial for access to food, protection against other species, reproduction and for sharing essential information related to these vital activities.
In human societies, each individual already belonged to family networks, friendships, neighbors, co-workers or students, professionals, often overlapping, long before spaces such as Facebook or Twitter became commonplace.
However, the advent of the Internet has made tangible, and even capitalizable, what was previously invisible. By recording in the memories of powerful computers called servers, every search, every exchange, every publication of text, video or photos and those that interact with them, as well as the metadata that accompany them (date, time, sex, theme and geographical location of the participants, among others), in a space where every minute billions of these actions occur, the current development of computer tools to correlate them allows us to find and connect affinities at a speed that was unthinkable before.
This has given rise to companies known as “internet giants” or technology giants, whose potential lies precisely in capitalizing on these intangibles. Offering its users as advertising merchandise for other companies with an effectiveness that was unimaginable a few years ago, Facebook and Google have gone public for hundreds of billions of dollars. Fewer and fewer people are arriving at information by typing the address in their browser, the most common thing is to navigate through what a search engine like Google or the Facebook algorithm puts in front of us. Rather than surfing, we relate to internet applications that select for us virtual answers from the real world hegemons who paid for it.
For most people who use these two tools most of the time, the Internet is Facebook and Google, just as the operating system is synonymous with Android or Windows.
On May 18, 2012, a joint statement was issued by a group of civil society organizations to the United Nations meeting in Geneva for enhanced cooperation on public policy issues related to the Internet. It noted that “what was a public network of millions of digital spaces, is now largely a conglomerate of spaces of a few owners. Six years later, many people talk about Gafam (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft) as the giant that controls the global digital space from a single country.
Beyond the denunciations of its use for political and military domination, as a consequence of what the former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden has already revealed, the effectiveness that transnational companies which can pay for advertising acquired in national markets, micro locating audiences according to their characteristics, tastes, and needs, crossing national borders, is devastating.
With more than 4 billion Internet users, the battle between Google and Facebook to manage the connection of the remaining 3 billion Earthlings to “internet.org” (free access to the services of these companies, but charged when they leave these spaces) is on the rise. The policies that penalize external links at Mark Zuckerberg’s corporation, making them virtually invisible, while rewarding content that does not require users to leave the social network to access it, are a manifestation of this obsession with having users all the time in the space where each action produces metadata for the company.
Undoubtedly, the digital divide has been closing at a much faster rate than the radio or television. However, far from meaning a diversification of cultural consumption, this has deepened the chasm between the core production of content and services held by a few American companies and the rest of the planet, causing a growing homogenization.
In Latin America, of the 100 most popular sites, only 26% are of local origin and less than 30% are in the local language, and even though much of the latter is in Spanish, it is of American origin.
It is an everyday fact that an advertiser can now micro-localize in a network like Facebook or in the results of a search engine like Google the recipient of a message based on age, gender, geographic location and professional profile. This can be whether to position a product or news item, whether true or not, it’s just that you have to have the money to pay for it. This is absolutely legal and widely used, and has nothing to do with the recent scandals over the use of data derived from personal activity on Facebook to create political profiles of users associated with Cambridge Analytica.
Few countries have a critical demographic mass and language of their own that allows them to develop alternatives, such as China and Russia. Stanford University expert and professor Evgeny Morozov, not at all suspected of admiration for either country, pointed out ironically in 2015: “Notice the crucial difference: Russia and China want access to data generated by their citizens on their own soil, while the US wants access to data generated by anyone anywhere, as long as American companies manage it.
Processes such as Brexit, the election of Donald Trump or the response to the referendum on peace in Colombia have been impacted by these realities. The guarimbas of the first semester of 2017 in Venezuela, the defeat of the referendum for the re-election of Evo Morales in Bolivia, or the instantaneous deployment of violence in Nicaragua have had millions of dollars invested in social networks on the Internet.
The Internet is not the problem, but the economic and social inequality with which the hegemonies of the real world are transferred to virtual space, through money.
Tim Berners Lee, creator of the world wide web, on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of his invention in March 2017, expressed his “growing concern about three new trends” on the web: we have lost control of our personal information, it is very easy to spread misinformation on the web, and online political advertising needs transparency and understanding.
In 2016 Jonathan Albright, a professor at Elon University in North Carolina, published a map showing how, from the domain of Google’s search algorithm, the far-right colonized digital space much more effectively than the liberal left in the United States. Albright’s map, which followed 1.3 million hyperlinks, shows how a “satellite” system of right-wing news and propaganda (dark forms on the map) surrounded the dominant media system just in the year that Donald Trump reached the White House. Asked by The Guardian about how to stop this process, Albright replied: “I don’t know, I’m not sure if it can be done, it’s a network, it’s much more powerful than any actor.
“So it almost has a life of its own?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied the scientist, “and it is learning. It gets stronger every day.
What is the solution to this problem for a small country that does not want to be dominated by US hegemony? Can we flee from the social networks of the Internet? They are already part of the daily life of billions of people, of the majority of young people and of a growing number of Cubans. Can we create, without a critical demographic mass, national spaces that are exclusive as China does, that has more Internet users than the United States and Europe combined?
It does not seem to be viable, our alternative seems to be to network our values, to ask ourselves if the Cubans who carry them are the ones who have the best facilities to access the Internet, to make our media and our schools promote a culture of the use of these technologies that allows them not to be manipulated and that the institutional, political and social leadership is present and articulated in the network based on timely and quality information that is related to Cubans’ expectations and needs.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.Jack F. Matlock Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, called on his country’s citizens to end the Russian-phobic madness that dominates Congress and many of the media in North America in a recent article in several U.S. media outlets.
He cites as a blatant example of this, the New York Times’ leading editorial of February 17 entitled “Stop letting the Russians get away with it, Mr. Trump”, in which the newspaper’s editors repudiate Russia for interfering in the US elections and call for greater sanctions against it in order to protect American democracy’.
“It had never occurred to me that our political system, no doubt dysfunctional, was so weak, underdeveloped and sick that with inept actions on the Internet it could be damaged,” says Matlock. But the New York Times isn’t the only one accused. Most other U.S. print and electronic media have followed suit. “Increasingly, both in Congress and in the media, Russian interference in the 2016 elections has been accepted as a fact.+
Among the Russian actions that have upset the American establishment and are now presented as events that have contributed from Russia to Trump’s rise is the creation by the Russian government of a sophisticated television service (Russia Today or RT) that provides entertainment, information and propaganda to foreign audiences, including that of the United States. The magnitude of its viewers may be several times smaller than that of the big U.S. media, but it has undoubtedly weakened the monopoly on news that the Western media have had and has had a huge reception everywhere, not excluding the United States.
Russian leaders, like most other countries in the world, thought Clinton would be elected, but some senior Russian officials expressed a preference for Trump’s candidacy after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Hitler to President Putin and urged more active U.S. military intervention abroad, contrasting with Donald Trump, who then spoke out in favor of cooperation with Russia rather than treating it as an enemy, Matlock says.
No one seems to have made even a superficial study of the effect of Russian actions on the vote. There is no evidence that Russian activities have had a tangible impact on the election result, says Matlock.
But the most important fact, obscured by anti-Russian hysteria, is that it was the Americans who elected Trump under the terms set out in the Constitution; the Americans created the Electoral College, which allows a candidate with fewer popular votes to become president, and it is they who manipulate constituencies in favor of a particular political party when it suits the system.
The Supreme Court issued the infamous decision allowing for corporate funding of candidates for political office. The Americans created a Senate that is anything but democratic because it gives disproportionate representation to states with relatively small populations. It was US senators who established undemocratic procedures that allow minorities to block legislation or confirm appointments.
For Matlock, just because the Americans themselves chose their electoral system does not mean that Trump’s choice is good for the country. In his opinion, the 2016 presidential and legislative elections represented an imminent danger to the nation. They have created potential disasters that will severely test the checks and balances built into the Constitution. This is especially true today when both houses of Congress are controlled by the Republican Party, which in turn represents fewer voters than the opposition party.
Matlock claims he did not vote for Trump, but he believes that the allegation that Russian actions interfered with the elections, or damaged the quality of democracy in the country, is ridiculous, pathetic and shameful. “And I should add dangerous because making an enemy of Russia, the other nuclear superpower, is closer to political madness than anything else I can think of.
The former U.S. ambassador concludes his article by calling on his countrymen to desist from the current Russo-phobic madness and to encourage Presidents Trump and Putin to re-establish cooperation on nuclear security, non-proliferation, nuclear material control and nuclear arms reduction, issues that are of vital interest to both the United States and Russia.
June 25, 2018.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.One might think that under this title it would be appropriate to read something about the conflicts that affect relations between Trump, the narcissistic president of the United States, and the leadership of the political party that had him as its candidate for that high office.
The Republican Party has had the elephant as its electoral symbol since 1887 when a cartoonist drew it in response to the Democratic Party’s electoral symbol, the donkey.
The donkey had emerged in the 1828 elections as a Democratic symbol as an expression of mockery by his opponents of the stubbornness and lack of intelligence attributed to the then-Democratic presidential candidate, Andrew Jackson.
The insult was jocularly assimilated by the leaders of the Democratic Party who adopted the donkey as their electoral emblem, highlighting its capacity for work and its modesty. So the Republican elephant was born in response to the Democratic donkey invoking the mastodons for their memory, docility and submissiveness.
However, Donald Trump is not identified as a historic Republican or any other party member, since his political career has been characterized by repeated changes in party membership since he entered politics.
Trump sought the presidential nomination of the U.S. Reform Party in 2000. It was a populist formation of nationalist economic orientation founded in 1995 and ephemeral in existence. He withdrew before the voting began. He then considered running for high office as a Republican in the 2012 election, but eventually did not.
In June 2015, he officially announced his candidacy for the 2016 elections, and gradually became the favorite among the seventeen candidates in the Republican primaries. In May 2016, the last of his rivals suspended campaigning and in July he was nominated, with Mike Pence as his running mate, at the Republican Convention.
His campaign received unprecedented media coverage and international attention. Many of his statements in media interviews, on social networks and at campaign demonstrations were controversial. No few were considered false, but they were always widely disseminated.
He won the general election on November 8, 2016 against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, and became president on January 20, 2017 at the age of 70, 7 months and 6 days, making him the oldest president to assume this position in his country. He is also the most affluent president, first without military service or political office before being elected and fifth in winning by the votes of the electoral college despite having lost the election by popular vote.
But, to return to the title of this commentary, it is curious that one of the many embarrassing situations Trump has been involved in stems from the accusations made against him for his support of elephant hunting in Africa.
Avaaz, a nongovernmental organization with more than 46 million members who protect nature and the ecosystem, which promotes actions aimed at protecting wildlife, has directly accused President Donald Trump of supporting elephant extermination actions in Africa.
A climax of this ruckus came when the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., mutilated an elephant during a hunt in Africa and appeared in the world’s press in a photo proudly depicting the white hunter with a smoking rifle next to the body of a large elephant. The president came to his aid and ordered the lifting of the ordinance prohibiting such “diversions” because of the danger they posed to this species in danger of extermination.
But this decision provoked justified outrage in the world. While it met the insistent demand of many wealthy American hunters thirsting for the morbid pleasure of killing harmless elephants in Africa in order to bring their ivory tusks to their mansions as trophies for the sake of human dignity and their role on the planet, nature and environmental protection organizations mobilized and succeeded, through massive global protest, in getting the United States to renounce such an offensive practice.
Following the general rejection of the measure, Trump tweeted that he would put this decision on the elephant hunt on “hold” but, earlier this year, in an interview, he assured us that the trophy ban act would not stand for long.
Obviously Avaaz’s protest has continued and the issue of the elephants remains on Trump’s agenda and with it the confrontation between the US president and the Republican party’s electoral symbol that supposedly sponsors him.
June 21, 2018.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Who could separate Che’s image and ideas from the 1968 student explosion, known as the “French May”, which led to a strike of 9 million workers in France, the largest in the history of the workers’ movement, and spread to many other countries in the industrialized world?
The most repeated among the slogans and writings on the walls identified with the student movement that sought to revolutionize French society at the time was Che’s recommendation, synthesized in the phrase “Let’s be realistic: let’s do the impossible”.
The photographic image of Che, with his hair scrambled under his black beret adorned with a star, became famous in the demonstrations against imperialism and the authoritarian and repressive capitalist order, which crowded the streets of Paris, Berlin, Rome and other European cities 50 years ago.
The student protests that took place in many of the great cities of the planet against the U.S. war against Vietnam – which in March 1968 added to its crimes the atrocious My Lai massacre – echoed another of Che’s slogans, that of “creating two, three… many Vietnams”, proclaimed two years earlier from the place where he was already fighting outside Cuba.
For a good part of the intelligentsia and students of the European left, Cuba was an unorthodox, creative and original alternative to the bureaucratic “real socialism” of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact neighbors.
“For an intellectual, it is totally impossible not to be pro-Cuban,” said French intellectual Jean-Paul Sartre in an interview. “Fidel started from opposition to Batista and, through the very radicalization of his action, soon discovered that behind Batista was the strength of the army and behind him, the North American power. The logic of radicalization is relentless….” Sartre proclaimed: “Castroism has nothing to give us, except the example of its radicalization.
In January 1968, in front of hundreds of European intellectuals attending the Havana Cultural Congress, Fidel Castro harshly criticized the stagnation of revolutionary ideas in the socialist camp.
“Because there can be nothing more anti-Marxist than dogma, there can be nothing more anti-Marxist than the petrification of ideas. And there are ideas that are even wielded in the name of Marxism that look like real fossils. Marxism needs to develop, to come out of its stalemate, to interpret today’s realities with an objective and scientific sense, to behave as a revolutionary force and not as a pseudo-revolutionary church.
Upon their return to Europe, the intellectuals sent out vibrant testimony of their experiences in Cuba. They had a strong impact on the European leftist youth and extolled the revolutionary advances in Cuba, its cultural pluralism and the emphasis on moral stimuli to the detriment of material incentives, to create the “new man” Che Guevara dreamed.
Anyone can assume that the critical pronouncements so often made by Che Guevara about the need to overcome the immobility of Marxism-Leninism in the USSR and other countries of “real socialism” were not well-received in those nations. It could not have been pleasant in the official circles of the USSR and the countries of Eastern Europe for Che to say in Algeria, at the Second Afro-Asian Seminar, that
“The socialist countries have a moral duty to liquidate their tacit complicity with the exploiting countries of the West and to set aside the supposed principle of reciprocal benefits in trade, because they force the underdeveloped countries to sell with the prices that the law of the value and the international relations of unequal exchange impose on the backward countries.”
In his closing speech to the Havana Cultural Congress in January 1968, before some of the intellectuals who would lead the events of May four months later, Fidel Castro said, in homage to his faithful companion in the struggle:
“Who were the ones who raised their name in Europe, who raised and exalted their example, who were the ones who mobilized, painted signs and organized events all over Europe? It was honest and sensitive men and women who had the attitude to assimilate, to understand, to admire, to do justice; to those who wonder why Che Guevara died, to those who are incapable of understanding, and who will never understand, why he died, nor will they ever be able to die as he died, nor be revolutionaries like him.”
June 18, 2018.
By Arthur González
June 9, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Never before has the U.S. government allowed Internet access to Cuba, nor the use of under-sea cables that pass near its coasts or other facilities. Many Internet sites are banned from the island because of the 59-year economic war. However, Barack Obama approved a license for Google to enter Cuba. What were the reasons for that decision?
To help Cubans access more scientific, technical and other information to improve the Cuban economy?
Definitely not. Definitely not. Access restrictions still remain in many of these areas, the real objective was to reach Cuban youth with their distorted information, symbols, and values, as Obama himself stated:
“…we can do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values through commitment. “The changes introduced in our new policy will further enhance our goal of empowering the Cuban people. […] and provide them with new sources of information…”
Of course, Cuba must take advantage of this opening, however small it may be. [We want] to go out into the world and make our truth known, to defeat the media campaigns that overflow the network of networks with lies, such as false claims of violations of the rights of Cubans, to share Cuba’s achievements, achieved with effort and sacrifice, despite the damage caused by the criminal policies of the United States.
It is the opportunity to tell the world about the terrorist acts carried out by the U.S. government, the biological warfare which affected the people and the persecution of all the foreign banks and companies that try to establish business with Cuba.
In order not to be naïve, Cubans must be aware of what lies behind Obama’s [granting of the] license and why Donald Trump maintains it, despite having taken steps to dismantle many aspects of his predecessor’s policy, including the Presidential Directive, which sought to kill the people with honey, rather than with whips.
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump took on the reactionary and ultraconservative language embodied in the Republican Party Platform, which sets out, among other things, the following points:
“The opening of the current Obama administration to Cuba was a shameful accommodation to the demands of the tyrants. They will only strengthen that military dictatorship. […] We demand an aerial platform for Radio and TV Martí broadcasts, and the promotion of Internet access as a technological tool to strengthen the pro-democracy movement in Cuba.”
Since his arrival in the White House, Trump has delivered on his campaign for the presidency, but he has not changed the license granted to Google for Cuba. In recent days he allowed Google’s executive president, Eric Emerson Schmidt, to travel to Havana in the company of Republican Senator Jeff Flake. Their background speaks for itself.
In 1996, the RAND Corporation of the United States National Defense Research Institute conducted a study for the Defense Department entitled “Cuban Communications, Computer Networks and their Implications for U.S. Policy.
That work puts forth the need to help open up Cuba and to force the emergence of an independent civil society, for which it states:
“It is necessary to encourage Cuba’s link to the Internet, to use it to transmit balanced news and analysis, to promote its use by Cuban NGOs, universities and other audiences.
Insisting on that, in March 2005, ultra-conservative Roger Noriega, Under Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs, testified at a congressional hearing:
“The United States has relaxed licensing requirements so that, for the first time, high-speed personal computers can be delivered to civil society groups.
During an event held in 2012 at the Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with Google Ideas, a report was prepared recommending that the U.S. government create a remote WIFI network to enable Cubans to access the Internet.
In that gathering Republican Senator Marco Rubio was present. He said:
“The Cuban totalitarian system could collapse if all Cubans had free access to the Internet, because Cuba would follow the same fate as those countries that spent the Arab Spring.
The State Department announced on June 13, 2013, proposed projects to promote democracy and human rights in Cuba, including the use of digital tools to be used, selectively and safely, by the civilian population, along with other programs to promote equality and defend the social networks of black Cubans.
Programs created for subversion in Cuba such as Zunzuneo and Conmotion, the latter designed by the Open Technology Institute at The New America Foundation, were promptly denounced.
We welcome full access to the Internet, because Cubans are sufficiently prepared to know how to differentiate between the useful and the subversive, but in the face of an enemy that has not stopped attacking for more than half a century, we must always be alert and, as José Martí said:
“Do at every moment what is necessary at every moment”
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Although it is an elective office with more ceremonial than political importance, the circumstances surrounding the person chosen to chair the meetings of the UN’s highest body has resonanated widely in the diplomatic media around the world.
With a vote of 128 countries in favor and 62 against, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa was elected President of the General Assembly of the United Nations for the 73rd session of the organization’s highest world body, from September 2018 until the September 2019.
The Latin American Information Agency (ALAI) based in Ecuador, is dedicated to the dissemination of information and the defence of the right to information. communication, research and training of experts from the United Nations system. and social organizations in the communication processes of America Latin America. ALAI, points out that Espinosa, 53, became the first Latin American women and fourth in the world to occupy this position. in the f the world organization’s 73 year life.
According to ALAI “this election was a setback for the government of the United States which did not approve of the progressive profile of Foreign Minister Espinosa. In the last eleven years, she has held high office during the government of Rafael Correa and was appointed Foreign Minister of the Republic by the President Lenin Moreno. The latter won with a program that contemplated the continuation of the Citizens’ Revolution led by Correa, on whom Moreno later turned his back.”
Espinosa’s election is a recognition of Ecuador’s foreign policy of recent years. She hass been recognized internationally when she was named chair of the G77 plus China (2017). In addition, Ecuador, together with South Africa, chairs a working group in the Human Rights Council, which seeks to to establish a legally binding instrument to regulate the transnational corporations, among other laudable purposes.
Washington was pulling its strings to block theEcuadorian’s candidacy. It openly supported the Honduran Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake, daughter of ex-president of the President Carlos Flores Facussé, who was trained United States universities.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley met with President Juan Orlando Hernandez for this purpose when he visited Honduras in February of this year to thank Honduras for its vote in favor of the resolution recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel without regard to Palestine.
By the way, this Washington-driven decision was one of the most important reasons that contributed to Flores’s defeat in the election for the United Nations General Assembly presidency.
The choice of Espinosa is also – admits ALAI – a setback. for the Ecuadorian right-wing represented by the Creando Opportunities (CREO) and Social Christian (PSC) parties that have always been ready to follow American policy. In the last few weeks, with the assistance of the major private media and diplomats from the right, a campaign was launched that had never been seen before because of its intensity against Foreign Minister Espinosa. In the media and social networks they launched hateful accusations in which there is they spared no epithets against Espinosa, such as “castrochavista”, “Sandinista,” etc.
In order to prejudice Espinosa’s candidacy at the United Nations, CREO and the PSC tried unsuccessfully to prosecute politically in the National Assembly to Espinosa for “failure to comply with the functions of her office.”
“Sensitive as he is to media pressure, President Lenin Moreno soon winked at the campaign. In his own style and with a little tap under Espinosa, Moreno broke away from the decision to grant Ecuadorian citizenship to Julian Assange, a refugee who had been given asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the United Kingdom. This was one of the most important themes of the alleged political trial of Espinosa as was the media campaign against her.”
María Fernanda Espinosa dedicated her election “to all the women of the world who today are involved in politics, who are facing attacks by political and media circles marked by machismo and discrimination”, as the Ecuadorian diplomat pointed out in her speech at the United Nations after her election.
She said one of her biggest challenges will be to accompany implementation of reforms to the United Nations system. “We have the challenge of build a stronger and more efficient organization.
Strengthening multilateralism is not an option, it is an obligation. It is urgent that the United Nations show a capacity to respond to the needs of the United Nations global challenges, and for the organization to move closer to people, Espinosa said.
June 11, 2018.
By Juventud Rebelde
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
PARIS, June 8.- Popular American chef Anthony Bourdain, 61, committed suicide in France on Friday, according to the CNN television network for which he worked.
Bourdain was in France preparing an upcoming program and his friend Eric Ripert, a French chef, found it without knowledge, the source said.
After an intense career as a chef in various restaurants in New York, Bourdain wrote his memoirs Adventures in the Culinary Belly and began his successful television career.
In 2012 he expanded his audience with his new television program Parts Unknown, in which he interviewed then-President Barack Obama. He received the prestigious Peabody Award in 2013.
Bourdain reportedly hanged himself and his body was found in a hotel room in Strasbourg, France.
The famous chef was in Cuba in 2011 to film a chapter of the No Reservations series and then repeated his trip to the island with the Parts Unkown program in September 2015. From the Caribbean nation he showed off the most traditional cuisine, passionate baseball and vintage cars.
It is with extraordinary sadness that we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague Anthony Bourdain, CNN said in a statement, in which it confirmed that the cause of death was suicide.
One of Anthony Bourdain’s most famous phrases is “Your body is not a temple, it is an amusement park”.
By: Enrique Ojito
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Elena was never this far from life. She opened the window of the apartment where the unexpected drizzle came in. At that time, her mother was enjoying the adventures on TV in the living room. At that time, her daughter sought to escape for good. Before, there was an overdose of psychopharmaceuticals and intensive therapy; there was a train, an infinite whistle and the hand that pulled her off the railway line at the exact second. She wanted to get rid of her 22 years and her stormy marriage, which was not so. She climbed into the chair to say goodbye, too, from the window. And she stumbled upon the wet emptiness of the night.
Attempts and consummated suicides are not exclusive to Sancti Spíritus or Cuba. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every 40 seconds a person is deprived of life on the planet; the number of deaths from this reason per year even exceeds the number of deaths due to armed conflicts and homicides in that period.
As international and Cuban experts maintain, this problem is not just a phenomenon of today; in the course of humanity, suicide has been valued from different cultural angles, not a few modified over time.
In ancient times, it was reasonable for Vikings and Gauls to take their own lives because of illness or old age; the Japanese resorted to it for atonement or defeat. In the Greco-Latin world, there is an extensive list of recognized figures who proceeded in this way: Socrates, Marco Antonio… In Cuba, first, the indigenous people; then, the Africans brought to the island appealed to hanging before the impotence and bitterness provoked by the Spanish colonizers, according to the book The Psychological Sutopsy: Suicide or Homicide? by Dr. Teresita García Pérez.
For the WHO, suicide – a word coined by the English writer and doctor Thomas Browne in his work Religio Medici in 1642, based on the Latin terms sui (oneself) and caedere (to kill) – is “death resulting from a suicidal act”, conceptualized by the organization itself as “any act by which an individual causes himself an injury, whatever the degree of lethal intent and knowledge of the true motive”.
The object of analysis from clinical, psychological-psychiatric, epidemiological and sociological perspectives…, such action constitutes a global phenomenon and affects both the most industrialized and the least developed nations, a reality that led to joint research between academics from the United Kingdom and the United States, who considered the high mortality rates for this cause in the “happiest countries” paradoxical; understood as happiness, essentially, as having enough money to make and buy what the person wants.
Regardless of this reductionist view, it also reveals the loss of human lives -even more so due to suicide-, whether in Japan or Switzerland, or in Cuba, with high annual rates per 100,000 inhabitants in the Americas.
This pitiful truth has been manipulated for political ends by the media to create opinion matrices against the Revolution, a project that can be improved and which has had the human being as its cornerstone, as demonstrated by the recent presentation of the report of the Greater Antilles to the Universal Periodic Review, a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council, based in Geneva.
Despite the State’s efforts to guarantee the right to existence – as the infant mortality rate of 4.0 reported last year attests – 8,954 people took their own lives in the country from 2013 to 2017, a period in which suicide was among the top ten causes of death – similar to the world trend – according to the Statistical Yearbook of Cuba and Health.
Specifically, Sancti Spíritus recorded 389 deaths for this reason from 2013 to 2017, 90 of them the previous year. The latter figure, in addition to tripling the number of deaths caused by traffic accidents in 2017 here, represents the highest of the five-year period, when annual death rates from intentionally self-inflicted injuries always exceeded the national average in that period and were among the top 10 causes of death in the territory, according to the Statistical Yearbook and sources of the Provincial Health Directorate.
From previous centuries to the present day, scholars have delved into the manifestations of suicidal behavior. As early as 1820, the French psychiatrist Jean Pierre Falret stated that suicide was the result of a mental disorder; in 1838, the Frenchman Esquirol argued that it was the result of an emotional crisis. The sociologist Émile Durkheim argued in his book The Suicide in 1897 that it was the result of the interaction between the social facts and the individual motivations of the victim.
In Sancti Spíritus, each completed suicide leads to the analysis of the Provincial Technical Advisory Commission on Suicidal Conduct, which determined that the cases of 2017 were linked, to a greater extent, to personal and family conflicts.
In order to save the lives of those who demonstrated suicide attempts and, fortunately, survived, the commission itself, with the support of the municipalities’ Mental Health departments, also evaluated the attempts, which amounted to 468 last year, a number that is often distanced from reality, given the stigma that acknowledging it arouses in the social imaginary.
More than half of these events were due to family friction, conditioned by dysfunctional homes, misunderstandings and communication problems. Couple and personal conflicts also led to the attempt, significantly present in the female group of 20 to 39 years old.
However, it is a matter of concern that more than a third of the attempts in 2017 in Cabaiguán – the municipality with the highest suicide rate in the province during the period – were among adolescents, events related to the lack of communication in the family, according to Orlando Ríos Taño, head of the Mental Health Department there. This commentary is in line with the evidence found in the inquiry about the causes and factors associated with the suicide attempt in that age group in Sancti Spíritus – it would deserve a particular analysis – published in the Cuban Journal of Hygiene and Epidemiology.
Knowing that the greatest number of suicides in 2017 was concentrated in Sancti Spíritus among people aged 60 years and over, “differentiated actions are carried out in elderly people who are alone, fragile and in a state of need, with adequate follow-up of psychiatric pathologies, especially those with a high suicidal risk,” according to Ledanay Aquino Pérez, Mental Health Coordinator at the Provincial Directorate of the sector.
Orlando Ríos warns of this vulnerability when he examines it in a scenario marked by the gradual increase in the number of single-person families due to migration abroad, especially of children, a phenomenon that has plunged many of those who remain on the island into depression.
Experts have assessed the influence of depressive disorders on suicidal behavior, associated with factors such as psychological functioning and personality factors (low self-esteem, hopelessness) and the presence of psychiatric pathologies and family conditions (divorce from parents, pressure from parents on children).
The relationship includes socio-demographic, biological (terminal illnesses, somatic deformities and amputations) and social reasons: poor support and acceptance of peers, school problems, interpersonal losses, alcoholism…
Several national studies refer to the incidence of disadvantageous economic conditions in interaction with other causes, a criterion supported by the increase shown by the suicide rate in the most dramatic years of the special period in Cuba.
Prior to this, in 1989, the Cuban State implemented the National Program for the Prevention of Suicidal Behavior, a reference in the world, but not executed with similar quality in the different areas of health in the country, according to the research consulted.
This program gives primary care a leading role in the identification of individuals at risk, as noted by this reporter at the Family Physician’s Office No. 20, from Polyclinic 2, in Cabaiguán; but it can be improved in other units of this type in the same territory.
In order for the program to leave the role and be corporated, there are Technical Advisory Commissions from the national to the municipal level, in charge of systematically evaluating manifestations of suicidal behavior, followinf-up of detected cases, intervention of the Mental Health teams and training, without forgetting the certainty of Martí: “It is a crime not to oppose all possible obstacles to death”.
The WHO insists that prevention transcends the borders of health systems and its approach must be multifactorial, with a focus on causes, in order to mourn death. At the same time, it warns of the consequences of suicide: the loss of human beings, family trauma and economic costs.
These expenses include the three operations that Elena underwent at the Camilo Cienfuegos Provincial General Hospital during her two months of admission. Only a miracle saved her life after she threw herself into the void that night. Only the skill of the specialists gave back the freshness to my friend’s new face.
(Taken from Escambray)
By Ariel Dacal Díaz
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Friendship, family, love and politics cross in this film from side to side, which traps, sensitizes, moves thought, renews indignation, places the characters in their context and demands we take a stand on that very present past.
The film that motivates these lyrics, The Young Marx, is a daring and challenging work. It brings to our time an accessible and necessary Marx, both by his thought and his conduct.
This is material that takes up ideas with more than a century of statements, but which are not old at all: abolishing property as a natural right, unraveling the materialism of human conflicts, understanding work as the primary source of the creation of social wealth and assuming criticism as a revolutionary method of emancipation.
The film offers revolutionary and loving content at the same time. It tells us about the life of a young man who, without looking for future transcendence, lived his constant conflicts with passion. A man aware of the paradox of his existence: having written so much about money having so little money. The young man who confesses to his close friend: “I need to write, but I also need to feed my family. He who, along with the material deprivation, suffered persecution and confronted the authorities in every country he stepped on. As Eduardo Galeano recalls, “this prophet of the transformation of the world spent his life fleeing from the police and the creditors”.
The story of the young Marx is also one of paradigmatic friendship with the young Engels, who became an irreplaceable complement to his theoretical and political creation, in support of his existential contradictions and indispensable economic support of the family in the face of the difficulties the German philosopher had in finding stable paid work.
Jenny of Westphalia, his wife, was a vital force in the life of the Moor (as he was known); another fair and wise recreation by the film. She was a critical, enlightened, scathing woman, consistent with ideals that led her to renounce her aristocratic privileges; who was, at the same time, a loving spouse, a supporter in daily material life and a companion of great intellectual depth.
The young philosopher, recreated in almost two hours of fiction, took up the struggle against the horrors of nascent capitalism with vehemence and certainty. He understood, demonstrated and criticized the exploitative essence of this socio-economic system, and chose to be on the side of the workers in this struggle. He testified to the coherence between the ideas put forward and the practice of life: he interpreted the world and dedicated himself to transforming it. He went further and proposed an alternative: communist society.
This man committed too many transgressions throughout his life to be forgiven by the usurers of history and their emissaries. It is an impertinent ghost that awakens the wrath of the powerful of the earth; those who in the face of the fear of losing their privileges are capable, to avoid it, of the most atrocious episodes. Marx, the spoilsport of the conformists, the crowd agitator, the one who harasses the power of the powerless, is a danger with which they have not been able to deal.
The bundle of lies, half-truths and distortions poured out on his life; the refined, scientific and enlightened criticism that flatly denies him; the attempt to reduce his ideas to a condition of utopia without a future and the foisted faults that do not touch him, fade before his transparent, verifiable, radical, sharp and undeniable truth.
It is not by chance or whim that Marx returns again and again. A world of established injustices still persists and must be interpreted, criticized and transformed.
It is no accident that I come back young and ask you in a radical way, “What is your political position in life? If you haven’t asked yourself this question yet, then I recommend this film.