By Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
March 24, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
“Yeah, I know what they’re gonna tell me, if I’m on the street for fun they’re gonna give me a ticket. So what? So I have another reason to get out of the house: to pay them. I’m not going to be locked up! If what you get, you get one day…
The (not so few) people traveling on the A95 this Monday would think that my (involuntary) chat partner would be joking, but I chose to think that her bravado, bordering on indolence, was her way of dealing with something that makes her nervous and she doesn’t dare to admit it.
“Let’s see, why aren’t you locked up,” she tried to challenge me by staring at her. “I’m going to work,” I explained, and she took advantage of the situation to justify herself: “And I’m going to fight! They brought out detergent in the Vedado and I already have a point that buys at a premium everything I get. For me, that’s ham, because I form my own in a line and I see the load.
I sighed long and deep. Explaining to the lady the legal and moral implications of her conduct would be like plowing in the sea. But people were paying attention to her gestures and I decided to take advantage of the improvised mobile platform for a preventive civic talk, including the teenager who was clearly accompanying her on the “walk”.
“It’s not just fines: You can be imprisoned for three months to a year… to begin with,” I let out in an intriguing voice, assuming that her “bogeyman” would be to lose his freedom. She raised an eyebrow, and still with a cheek, asked, “Why is that?”
“Because that is the penalty for those who commit crimes against public health, such as spreading epidemics or refusing to collaborate with the health authorities in campaigns to prevent them,” I said, summarizing Article 187 of the Cuban Penal Code. Then, without pause, I reinforced the blow: “If you also boast, as you do now, it can be assumed that you are acting maliciously and the penalty is five to eight years. Ah! and as an author, not an accomplice, so there is no reduction”.
She took a breath, as if to reply in a not very good way, and I took advantage of her gesture to add: “They also give three months to a year to anyone who incites others not to take action against an epidemic, so go on adding up… And if “doing your thing” is to create panic to tangle up the tail, that crime costs you one year to three more. And, of course, contempt for the authorities–and those who report actions at the Mesa Redonda are contempt for the authorities–is also a crime, and failure to take care of your dependents is also a crime under the law.
In front of us, a young man followed my monologue of legalese, splashed by the speaker with that sound that in Cuba we call “frying eggs”. His face showed disbelief, but he did not dare to support or deny the alleged anarchist.
Another gentleman, standing near the door, commented that, even putting it all together, the penalty was little for the gravity of the moment, So that gave me grounds to say that if injuries or deaths are proved to have been caused by an irresponsible attitude, the penalty is multiplied in years, not counting the punishment for hoarding products in an illicit economic activity.
“You want to put more fear into it than the coronavirus,” he cut off my explanation, no longer smiling. “And with me, that doesn’t walk. Besides, putting people in jail doesn’t solve the problem,” he insisted on defending himself, but the young man finally took a stand for common sense: “What not? If you stop exposing others with that, it will surely work, and in the long run, people will understand that this is serious, so let’s get back, pure, get back!
By Roberto Díaz Martorell
March 23, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Nueva Gerona, Isla de la Juventud – The alarm clock sounds at 5:00 a.m. and Dr. Alexander Labrada Torres turns it off instinctively. His tired body resists getting out of bed, but the responsibility as a doctor gives him the final push and, as he did several weeks ago, he gets ready to do her duty.
At his side, his wife, Yuraika Gonzalez, diligently prepares breakfast and helps with the backpack. Nothing can be left behind: gloves, nasobuco (mask), cap, the water to drink, the glass…, and the kiss goodbye after the strong coffee to recharge the batteries. Alex goes out on his bike and travels the distance between his house and the Passenger Boarding Terminal in Isla de la Juventud, where he is the head of the border service dealing with COVID-19.
“Responsibility is inherent in every doctor and you comply with corresponding rigor, especially when it is your turn to look after the health of more than 500 people every dayl There are are two trips more than a thousand, in addition to the crew. In addition, each person conducts himself in a different way and sometimes it is very difficult to dialogue,” he says while organizing the work at the terminal.
First, he prepares with all the established attachments for cases like these, then he distributes the resources to the workers who, are obliged to interact with the people and watch over the fulfillment of the foreseen measures. It stops. He observes that everything is going well and he almost smiles.
“It is my responsibility to monitor every boat that leaves or arrives on the Isle of Youth; I do it together with the nurse on the catamaran to check the temperatures and the active search for any respiratory symptoms. The first trip begins with the check of bulletins from 5.30 a.m., and when we set sail, contact with the director of the entity along with the board of directors to assess the implementation of health and hygiene measures in all its units.
“And if it were only one trip, it would end with the reception of the boat around 3:00 or 4:00 p.m., but on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays there are two,. On the second one, the control begins around 2:00 p.m. That second trip arrives in Nueva Gerona after midnight and sometimes until 4:00 a.m., and already at 5:30 a.m. a new day begins.
“I am very grateful to my wife; without her support, it would be very difficult to complete these schedules, I almost always arrive at the house to eat and sleep. I almost always arrive at the house to eat and sleep. While keeping myself informed of the hygienic and epidemiological situation of the country and the municipality,” he says, taking a seat to “refresh” the tiredness caused by the intensity of the work and sleeping after hours.
But Alex is not satisfied yet; he still thinks that a large part of the population does not understand the magnitude of the situation and maintains inadequate behavior. “The fact that, in Isla de la Juventud, there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 does not eliminate the conditions of vulnerability for contagion and that is avoidable if the measures of the Ministry of Public Health are fully complied with,” he explains.
“I get tired and I get better; fulfilling my medical responsibility is the daily vitamin I consume. We can’t afford not to identify a COVID suspect, because I know that with my work I’m protecting an entire island that expects the best from me,” he says.
At the Viajero maritime terminal in Nueva Gerona, no confirmed positive cases are reported, but they are on high alert. Any respiratory or feverish symptoms are monitored in those who leave or enter the territory by this route. “Here we have a post or isolation room, health hearings are held for passengers during their stay. Also, when they board the boat they disinfect their hands with sodium hypochlorite,” he explained.
During the trip to the port of Batabanó, the catamaran carries a nursing staff with the necessary medical supplies to act in case of an emergency and also during the three hours of travel is observed the conduct of passengers, if necessary to activate the protocol provided.
Alex tells us that the most critical day happened with the first Italian who arrived in the territory with catarrhal symptoms and he was on duty at the General Teaching Hospital Héroes del Baire. “Everything was very fast, with no time for training, and we didn’t have much knowledge of the disease. It was a long night without sleeping and I was worried, because I didn’t know what would happen in the morning. Luckily it was negative; the patient only had to be treated for pneumonia.
“I have been counting the days for two weeks in a row, but I have the confidence and assurance that my personal actions are helping to keep this little island free of the coronavirus. And I know that, like me, there are thousands in the country who keep a permanent watch on our borders; a hug for them and we continue to fight. Our duty is to protect people and we will do it,” he emphasized.
By Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
July 27, 2012
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Is sex dirty? Only when it’s done the right way.
— Woody Allen
Seeking sexual satisfaction is one of our basic drives as humans, and masturbation is our first natural sexual activity; it’s the way we discover our eroticism, learn to respond sexually, gain self-confidence and build self-esteem, according to therapist Betty Dodson, author of the book Sex for One that we e-mailed to you some months ago.
In her opinion, modern society governs sexual activity in such ways that as humans we have become too inhibited about the topic to handle our erotic responses “naturally”.
Sexual skill has to be learned from practice, she says. The first step to enjoying orgasm is learning to like our own genitals, particularly in the case of women, who have been compelled for centuries to see themselves as sexless mothers and domestic-slaves.
There’s not a “right” or “better” way to have sex, especially if we repress our desires or fantasies for the sake of vaginal sex as the only proper kind of sex and reproduction as love’s ultimate purpose.
We can get pleasure out of touching our own body without feeling guilt, even in front of our partner, Dodson recommends. Couples seldom feel the urge at the same time, but sometimes all either one of them has to do is start with self-caressing for the other to become aroused and follow suit. And if not, well, the one who started will at least satisfy his or her sexual urge, which is fun, since neither of them has to restrain themselves or feel obliged to do something against their will.
Cultivating pleasure leads to more of it. Masturbating together provides a wider range of possibilities to experience new things and first-hand knowledge about what our partner prefers and, at what rate, by paying attention to their reaction as we caress their erogenous zones.
Our psychological intimacy grows as well when we are free to speak our mind and feel less compelled to meet the other’s needs all the time.
Many of Dr. Dodson’s patients admitted being very tense when they didn’t feel like having sex. Thinking a simple “No, thanks” was out of the question, they would start an argument instead, as the best way to stay clear of their partner’s advances, which would eventually do more harm than good to their relationship.
Such a negative attitude toward things erotic has been culturally induced. Behind most stories people tell their therapists or discuss in the media is a great deal of needless suffering caused by ignorance.
This lack of knowledge about their genitals and how to stimulate them has led women to think they’re less a person than their partner and in many cases to fake their orgasms, which gives them a sense of being trapped in a big sexual lie.
Once they get to bringing down the cultural barriers and agreeing from the beginning of the relationship that all orgasms are equally valid, they will suffer less and spare their significant other the trouble of striving to make them feel satisfied with penetration.
If a woman can masturbate to orgasm, she is orgasmic, Dr. Dodson points out. Men call frigid a woman who fails to reach orgasm in the traditional position, in a matter of minutes, and the way he likes. But very few women will climax like that, mainly if their center of pleasure par excellence –the clitoral area– is not caressed. Can males by any chance have orgasms without stimulating their glans?
A massage with no strings attached
Having orgasms is not a requisite to enjoying love, but those who never have them will hardly ever take a positive stance towards sex. If you feel obliged to pretend you’re having a good time just to keep your partner happy or avoid his/her demands for more intercourse the hopeless way, your relationship is sure to pay for it and you will start living in a constant state of anxiety.
Sexual repression and distress take a toll on both sexes. Sometimes men also force themselves to penetrate their partner even if they’re not in the mood only because “they’re supposed to” or for fear of being dumped. However, specialists worldwide agree that when we’re too tired or tense to have sex it’s better to forget about it and get a good massage instead.
No one expects to have orgasms from or get turned on by a massage, so it’s safe to ask your partner for one. You only have to let yourself be carried away with the feeling and loosen up to enjoy such a sensual, relaxing rub that gives a good lift without demanding a sexual response in return.
Dr. Dodson assures us that modern men and women are always on edge because they “pretend” all the time and play multiple roles in their jobs, families, communities… Not everybody looks for a chance to leave the “stage”, stop thinking and find a little time to feel without any obligation to fulfill other people’s needs.
Therefore, whenever she works with couples who have been together for a long time, she advises massage and masturbation, stressing that when we stop doing the same old things in the same old positions, a new erotic experience is likely to open up new horizons to our intimacy, and without any pressure.
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