August 22, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
To be honest, I thought, at first, that the word nasobuco was an Asian voice like Kawasaki or Tamagochi. Since it was the genesis of the pandemic in that region, the word could well spread along with the new coronavirus. However, in recent readings of specialized articles, I could confirm that it is not so, even some scholars consider that Cuba is one of the few countries in America, where this garment or tool that protects the nose and mouth from the exit and entrance of microbes and bacteria is called this.
The most experienced ones grant the Cuban people this linguistic license because of its deep relationship with the medical and scientific community, which is where this neologism is really used more, referring to the nasal and mouth region (nose and mouth) belonging to the respiratory system.
For other countries, it is less complicated and they simply call it tapaboca, cubreboca, mascara, or barbijo… The important thing in all cases is to keep it well on and not to use it as a hat, mask, cubrementón or “tapa güergüero”, as my grandmother would call it when it is worn around the neck as if it were a bandage covering a tracheotomy.
The truth is that the nasobuco (or whatever you want to call it) has come to stay for an indeterminate period of time and with great possibilities that it will be a garment that we will carry in our wallet or pocket like we carry a handkerchief, keys or wallet.
It is already part of our attire and although many times we forget it when we leave the house and have to return to look for it, it is a component that has taken on vital (and read well: vital) importance.
Like everything new in clothing, the nasobuco does not escape fashion. Its confection already reaches personalization edges. The same is combined with the colors of clothes, shoes, cap, headscarf, necklaces, bracelets… When its color does not play with any of the above-mentioned it is that it is combined with the panties, brassiere’s or panties that we carry. In this case, it is not advisable to find out too much.
The designs and materials used are different. Those more spiritual, artistic and sensitive, make drawings, embroider flowers, embed a sticker of your company, favorite sports club or the name of your loved one. It should not be misunderstood in case you have two names embodied. It can be your wife and daughter or son, father and brother… in short, if not, it is not your business either: each one puts in their nasobuco what they want! I said whatever you like, not wherever you like; we talked about that and I hope it was clear, even though I said it with the nasobuco on.
By Mailenys Oliva Ferrales and Eduardo Palomares Calderón
August 23, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
United by the Sierra Maestra mountain range and the waters of the Cauto River, in the struggles marked by Mariana Grajales, Canducha “la Abanderada”, and more recently by Celia Sánchez and Vilma Espín, the women of Santiago and Granma are now united in this beautiful story woven by the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), in the 60 years they observed this August 23.
It was to Vilma Espín Guillois, a brave and sensitive woman from Santiago, that Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz entrusted the creation and strengthening of the organization destined to work for full gender equality in the new society. This is why the FMC women of her territory made a firm commitment this time to dedicate the Vanguard flag and the national act for the date.
“For all the FMC women of the country it has been a year of intense work -considers Elena Castillo Rodríguez, secretary-general of the FMC in Santiago de Cuba-, first because we started it under the incentive of such an important anniversary, and then because the appearance of the pandemic changed the life of all Cubans and, of course, it imposed the reorientation of our work.
“Based on the Party’s motto in the territory: “With the effort of all, we will win!”, we did the same intensity of work from the Guantanamo border of Yerba de Guinea to the Granmense of Baire, and that allowed us to declare all the municipalities (9) as Vanguards, and to seal that result at the level of the country.
Based on the solid tradition that has kept it in the vanguard in recent years, Granma was very close, achieving vanguard status in ten of its 13 municipalities. It wa, a challenge that, according to the Secretary General, María Elena Hechavarría Carralero, was focused on strengthening its grassroots structures and community action.
“We are one of the links that the enemy imagines with weaknesses to try to distort the reality of the Island, but, considered by Fidel as well as by Raúl and Díaz-Canel, as bastions in each project undertaken, we have taken all the spaces to demonstrate that women are an essential force in the sovereignty of the Nation”.
THE VITAL HEARTBEAT OF SOCIETY
For most of the 412,500 FMCers in Santiago and the 325,000 in Granma, one of the most important, humane and beautiful activities of recent times has been the challenge taken on from the COVID-19 pandemic, because not only was it to make thousands of nasobucos, but they also provided the fabric and thread, and then went to donate them in the neighborhoods, squares and workplaces.
In both territories, they also went voluntarily to the health control points, to the sanitation and hygienization of public areas, to the house-to-house investigation and, without thinking twice, not a few young people took the step to contribute in what was necessary in the red zone of hospitals and centers of isolation of suspects.
Perhaps there is something more emotional,” says Castillo Rodriguez, “than seeing a girl with a pharmacy card or a warehouse notebook buying medicine and food products for a vulnerable person, or for the members of the Federation who took care of the old man who lives alone and brought him the same food prepared for the family.
Our women have grown up during the confrontation with COVID-19,” says Hechavarría Carralero, “because they did not wait to be called, they began to spontaneously deploy initiatives and we generalized and brought them together so that their impact would be greater, and all this has had the moral recognition that contributes to new efforts.
Within this complex situation, both leaders agreed that the scourge of gender violence that has wounded the world so much, has not been an embarrassing problem for their respective territories, since the Women’s and Family Orientation Centers work preventively, and a differentiated work has been done in dysfunctional nuclei.
Through specialists, talks have taken place aimed at promoting family unity and curbing the tendency to burden women with domestic tasks. At the same time, through dozens of training programs, the FMC has held training courses in socially useful activities for women and men who are not working.
In this way, including in recent days, some of the so-called “choleras” received job offers in the state sector or on their own account, ranging from pharmacy and commerce clerks, technical services, gastronomy, barbers and other trades that reintegrate them with dignity.
IN FRONT OF THE FURROW
According to Castillo Rodríguez, “Hot spots” in her province are the fronts for food production that women share today. This is not because of the complexity of the work, but because of its importance. In addition to facing the pandemic, they moved to gardens and patios to plant short-cycle crops and medicinal plants, which are already bearing fruit.
A lot has been said about the initiative of the food production areas in Santiago,” he explains, “and those structures are already in all the municipalities, where, if in the agricultural ones there is parity between men and women, in the industrial ones the majority of the women are making bread, cookies, candies, preserves and dozens of assorted products.
Currently, the strategy concluded in the Second Front and that goes through the Third Front, is sealing each municipality with the patios incorporated into urban agriculture, and the creation of agreements for pigs, sheep and poultry, attended purely by women or jointly with the family, which provides them with meat, food, grains and vegetables.
The women of Granma also contribute to these forms of agri-food production, their presence in the mobilizations called for, and the empowerment achieved in the labor area, where they make up 67% of the technical force, and assume key management positions, from the base up to all levels.
VALIDITY OF VILMA
Although the Commander-in-Chief considered the full incorporation of women as a Revolution within the Revolution, among the greatest teachings bequeathed by Vilma Espín is the defense of rights and the work she has conquered. This is why Santiagueras and Granmenses are now equally focused on confronting social indiscipline.
Her actions in the face of coleros, resellers and hoarders range from preventive work with people characterized by that anti-social behavior in the community, which has made it possible to detect soluble dysfunctional problems and the incorporation of 12 cases to work in Santiago de Cuba, to the support to order in the lines [in from of] commercial establishments.
Elena Castillo and María Elena Hechavaría emphasize the enthusiasm with which the FMCers have received the respective recognitions as vanguard and outstanding women. There is in a 60th anniversary celebrated in all the municipalities, in centers such as hospitals and of textile clothing, with high presence of women, and of course in the base.
In a special way, the Vilma Espín Memorial, located in the house where she lived and matured as a revolutionary, by turning it into a meeting point and even a staff for young clandestine fighters, once again hosted the Vilma en la memoria workshop, with the presentation of 28 research papers from the provinces of Granma and Santiago de Cuba, on the extraordinary woman.
Coinciding with the date and in view of the impossibility, due to the COVID-19, of the desired mass mobilization, a representation of the municipality of Segundo Frente paid homage to the eternal President of the FMC, Vilma Espín Guillois, in the name of Cuban woman, and before the rock monument that in the mausoleum to the heroes and martyrs of the II Eastern Front receives its ashes.
By José Alejandro Rodríguez
August 22, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Now that Cuba is on the offensive against economic crime, corruption and all sorts of indiscipline and violations, the most sensible thing is not to limit ourselves only to repudiating and neutralizing these demonstrations and the police operations. We must also diagnose with a perennial scalpel the socioeconomic causes that generate these evils and distortions, in order to prevent them and remove them at their roots.
Without ignoring the syndrome of asphyxiation caused by the imperturbable American blockade, the recent self-critical recognition by the country’s authorities of the slowness and lack of integrality in the process of updating the Cuban economic model in recent years is at least promising. And in the midst of so many difficulties and hardships, the new post-Covid-19 strategy raises expectations and encouragement to face the crisis. It also aims to translate into irreversible transformations what is pending in guiding documents such as the Economic and Social Guidelines and the Conceptualization of our Socialist Model.
In the opinion of many Cuban economists, who have been loyal to socialism since the brave critical and saving diagnosis, the recently announced strategy confers a much more audacious, systemic and integrating emphasis to transformations: it removes knots and obstacles to productive forces. It decentralizes and confers greater horizontality. It promotes food self-sustainability, greater export diversity and less dependence on imports. It makes the economy more democratic and invigorates entrepreneurship, because it seeks complementarity and similar possibilities among the different forms of ownership and management. It promotes incentives rather than prohibitions. It opens the doors of the watertight compartments.
Of course, these are the purposes. Changes will take time to reap their fruits, paradoxically in a fight against time. What is important about this strategy is not only its goals, but the way in which they are expressed, the intelligent ways to open those gates without being flooded and swallowed by the transformations. The other would be to fail through dogmatic starvation, to accept that economic problems continue to be faced with voluntary administrative measures and the attachment to the ucase, which is never political.
To the liberating and emancipatory character of the announced measures, the permanent scientific diagnosis of the transforming work should be added, so that from an observatory the errors and deviations in the shaping can be corrected. And at the same time promote the feedback of the states of opinion and popular consensus in terms of decision making.
For now, the daily episodes of police operations on economic crime reveal how far the Cuban economy has been submerged for years in the black market and illegalities, and in social coexistence with moral deterioration, to the nation’s detriment. And at the same time they alert us to how many distortions and design errors need to be corrected.
I will never justify crime and economic fraud no matter how difficult the circumstances. But it is also true that we lived for years among too many economic prohibitions that are now beginning to be rectified. And a proverbial ability to transgress the “legal” in order to survive was created, while it took a long time for these realistic processes of validation and sincerity to be carried out for many activities that were considered alien to the socialist ideal.
The result is what we are witnessing. Hence, post-Covid-19, with the ramifications of the world economic crisis and the perennial Yankee blockade, there will be no alternative but to assume all the risks of the transformations. On the one hand, rigor and discipline; on the other, incentive and entrepreneurship so that honest work, whether State-run or not, is the cornerstone that leads us to prosperity without abandoning social justice.
By Julio César Sánchez Guerra
July 29, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
This coronavirus that goes around the world, brings us some lessons and challenges. There are ancient truths that sometimes remain hidden in the agility of the days. These are some of them: sickness can knock at the door of the prince or the beggar; man’s life is fragile, and we all have, as an increasingly connected species, a common destiny. That, in a way, reminds us of César Pavesse’s dramatic verse: “Death has a look for everyone”.
Overwhelming were the images of empty cities in the midst of quarantine. It seemed as if a flutist had taken away the inhabitants of a town, or that we were leaning out of a window that let us see clip from one those science fiction images in dystopian and apocalyptic societies.
There are countries where human health is just another commodity; where a test to determine whether someone is a carrier of the virus could cost $3,000. Is that true? And how do those who have no health insurance manage? COVID-19 lays bare the structural flaws of social systems, where people are the screws of the great machinery that produces millions of dollars for a few, and poverty for many.
Now the virus is also an examination of ethics; selfishness makes its trenches, lies and morbidity run through the social networks exacerbating panic and uncertainty, and solidarity is a bit of fire that survives the drizzle.
How beautiful was the scene of the Italians singing as a chorus from their balconies! It is as if they were contaminated by the virus of collective happiness, of laughter, or that mystery of love that cannot be defeated in the best of peole.
That’s why Evangelina, in Havana, took three of her sheets and turned them into nasobucos for anyone who needs them, no matter who is a stranger. And a ship, where there were people carrying the virus, was given permission, despite the risks, to enter a Cuban port for humanity, and then sent them all home by plane.
Perhaps for Cubans, the biggest problem has been how to avoid hugs, effusive greetings, that habit of affection that identifies us as much as an identity card. It’s just is that we are used to rolling over in a conga, even after that cyclone that blows us away; to throwing the domino on the table to sing a capicua; to dance casino or to argue about a ball in a corner.
Today we still need that distance that this terrible disease forced us into. In spite of the phases that put the country on the road to a new normality, it is still necessary to delay the overdose of affection; to continue the truce by talking to us so closely; to extend the rest to the squeezes of euphoria. We still need to greet each other with closed fists, with forearms, with that gesture, which is not ours, of bowing like someone going to a judo match, or retiring from the tatami.
Let’s give ourselves one more time. Everything has its time. We are winning, but let’s not be in a hurry to go back to the burden of divided hugs, to that mania of walking mixed up in the noise and the affections. Let responsibility and patience dominate our actions, so that the unwanted return of the virus, in the form of carelessness, does not destroy love, optimism or desire.
Let us keep an open book so that, later on, we can fill it with hands that squeeze, in this Island where joy lives on guard.