By Israel Hernández Álvarez
July 28, 2018.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
One person was reported seriously injured among the 30 injured in the traffic accident that occurred at dawn this Saturday at kilometer 327 of the National Highway, belonging to the province of Sancti Spíritus.
The incident occurred when a Yutong bus went off the road and its driver, trying to incorporate it into the road, lost control of the vehicle, which overturned.
The general hospital Camilo Cienfuegos received the injured, some of whom received first aid at the mother and child hospital in the municipality of Cabaiguán.
Two children are in a state of care and are cared for at the José Martí Provincial Pediatric Hospital.
At noon today, 22 people with minor injuries had already been discharged from the hospital and, after receiving the appropriate treatment and verifying their good state of health, they continued their journey to Havana, the destination of the National Bus Company’s vehicle, which was arriving by freight from Baracoa, in the province of Guantánamo.
Dr. Eduardo Pedrosa Prado, director of the Camilo Cienfuegos Hospital, told ACN that, as in these cases, the Integrated Emergency Medical System was immediately activated and the injured were provided with the necessary resources for their care.
Every four hours, Pedrosa Prado added, we make the visit pass, and in correspondence with the evolution of the patients we will adopt the behavior to follow with them.
Upon learning of the incident, authorities of the Cuban Communist Party, the Government and the Health Ministry in the territory went to the largest health centre in Sancti Spíritus to take an interest in the wounded and their medical care.
This is the fifth massive accident that has taken place this year in the territory of the Spirit, and the second in less than 10 days; the previous one took place in the early hours of last Saturday at kilometer 332, also on the National Highway, in which 37 people were injured.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Manolo and the author.
For Colonel Luis González
Manuel Núñez León, 89 years old and with seven children, is known as Manolo. He was born on September 4, 1928, at the El Rosario estate, today a Cooperative in the municipality of Puerto Esperanza. He currently lives alone in a modest house in San Vicente, between Palenque and Cueva del Indio, in Viñales. There, when he was able to locate him, Commander Faustino Pérez visited him several times.
It takes a lot of work to get words out of him that talk about himself. Always behind, against all bad things. In spite of accumulating so many years, he still has a prodigious memory and the same old mood, wearing a Carlos Gardel hat and a gray mustache. His life has been fascinating. Because of their way of being, those who pass by them cannot imagine the story they are carrying with them.
I asked him who his team was in the ball and he answered categorically: Pinar del Río. When I went further back, he repeated: Pinar del Río. After several inquisitions: “Well we were from Almendares, one was born like this”.
He is not satisfied with the film about that action: “I was invited to the presentation. When he finished they asked me what I thought and I said that some things didn’t happen like that and that the name of none of the members of the command didn’t appear. He silently accepted the explanation, because it is not purely historical, but fiction based on historical facts. He grimaced a couple of times and never came back.
The family lived next door to Los Cayos, where Antoñica Izquierdo was a transcendent figure for her preaching. They, plunged into ignorance and, in turn, helped by the enigmatic and kindly woman, took the sermons and began to heal themselves with cold water, or to try to heal themselves. Antonica, in her preaching, advised not to vote for corrupt governments, which brought her many consequences. That detail penetrated deeply into Manolo’s ideas.
The family did not vote and suffered the cruel eviction. They were placed on the side of the road with their articles and their gaze fixed on the sky, as if looking for a star to take them away or open the way for them. Several families were evicted in the style of Realengo 18 Oriental. From then on, life became much more difficult for them. Manolo recalls: “That area was owned by the landowner Pedro Blanco Torres, senator of the Republic, who demanded that they vote for him”.
According to her account, they sent thirteen wagons for thirteen families, which they took to a junction far from the Rosary, so that they could manage as best they could. The rural guard arrived and took some of the elderly prisoners to Pinar del Río. But the Cuban people have great solidarity and families in the new area took the “Bedouins” to their homes, especially the children.
Advised by several friends, he decided to go to Havana, but he was penniless. Then, in a conuco loan, he managed to sow and collect 100 quintals of malangas, which he sold for a peso each. And with the hundred pesos he went to the capital.
When I arrived in Havana, I joined the Orthodox Party of Eduardo Chibás, for which Fidel was running for the House of Representatives. I was accepted because of my revolutionary and peasant way. On Marianao’s 51st Street, Fidel made his last public speech to be elected. Coincidentally, when he finished, he called me and asked where I was from, what I was doing there and those things he was asking. I told him the story of my family and the Rosary Community. And look at the way things are, where he first came to my province, he went precisely to create the Cooperative in El Rosario. Maybe I had something to do with it. 
Then came the 1952 coup d’état, where all constitutional guarantees were closed and Manolo, along with other Orthodox militants, were left without a political compass, until they joined the July 26th Movement.
Juan Manuel Fangio, known as El Chueco and El Maestro, was born in Balcarce, Argentina, on June 24, 1911, and died in Buenos Aires on July 17, 1995, at the age of 84. He is considered one of the greatest motorist drivers in history and at his peak, the best.
Using the Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes Benz and Ferrari cars, as well as the Ford and Chevrolet, between 1929 and 1958 he was proclaimed five times Formula 1 world champion in the 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957 editions.
Batista’s tyranny was trying its best to attract attention with some cultural and sporting activities, including boxing fights, as the popular uprising was growing stronger. Thus, in 1957, they designed the Cuban Grand Prix in motor racing. Fangio won unquestionably. The idea of kidnapping has been around ever since, but it was not possible for several reasons. The same could not happen now.
On February 24, 1958, the tyranny tried to re-edit the competition. Approved by the highest leadership of the July 26 Movement, Faustino Pérez, who was leading the underground struggle in Havana, planned a reckless action of universal significance and activated the command that would kidnap the great champion, led by Oscar Lucero.
The objectives set out were fulfilled to the letter: to protect the life of the champion with all our might, to demonstrate the upward force of the Revolution in arms, to avoid or minimize the connotation of the race and to draw the attention of the world to the fight against Batista.
-It was planned to kidnap him on the exit of CMQ Television, but it could not be because of the public and the strong police protection. —The wagons were bet to execute the action; it was impossible. Among those mobilized was Manolo Núñez.
-On a visit of the champion to the National Hotel, but it was the most protected place.
-When I was walking along the route of the race around Havana’s Malecón, it was very well guarded.
And the time was passing. Then Faustino, a man of strong character and courage at all costs, said to Lucero, “You do it, or I will do it”. And from there the hero came out to accelerate the action. According to Arnol Rodriguez in his book Operation Fangio, Faustino later regretted speaking to a religious, disciplined and courageous man, who soon after became a martyr.
As is often the case, there are many versions of the event. From here we present Manolo Núñez’s:
On the night of February 23, 1958, a command of three cars (all with Thompson machine guns and handguns), loaded with three revolutionaries each and well-armed, stood in the vicinity of the Lincoln Hotel, where the champion was staying.
It was all in the blink of an eye. At 8:40 pm, Fangio went down to the hotel lobby and established his identification. The action has begun.
Manuel Uziel and Primitivo Aguilera entered the lobby and headed for the “Tres Molinos” bar. At the same time, several posts were erected. Manolo had to cover the entrance to the Hotel, machine gun in hand. Uziel approached the group where Fangio was and called him. The Argentinean was displeased: “Why do you want me?” Uziel then said: “I am from the 26th of July Movement and we are going to kidnap him”. After the surprise and with a gun to his side, the champion said, “Let’s go.
Some, perhaps from the protection team to the champion, moved suspiciously and Manolo’s voice echoed in the room: “If anyone moves again, I’ll shoot and there won’t be one left alive”. Uziel, without hesitation for a second, kept Fangio under gunfire and went out with him through the door of Virtudes Street. He then put the champion in the first car and started fast.
The hero’s eyes shine when he remembers his sentence: “We’ll be stationed here, and in five minutes nobody will leave, because nobody will die. And no one dared to leave.
The retreat took place in perfect organization, everyone went to the wagons stationed. This is what Arnol Rodríguez, who has already disappeared, tells us in the book quoted:
Immediately the three cars started moving along Virtudes Street. Oscar’s, the Black Monk, accompanied by his wife Blanquita, who was the closest to the hotel’s door, was the first one to start, although the car immediately got in front, driven by Primitivo Aguilera (El Pibe), accompanied by Manuel Uziel and Reinaldo Rodriguez, was a green Plymouth, the third a grey Buick with Carlos García (Cara Pálida) at the helm, occupied by Ángel Payá, Manolo Núñez and Ángel Luis Guiú (William).
According to Manolo, Oscar Lucero’s return was the last one. There was only one obstacle, other than the kidnapping. The second one hit another and Carlos Garcia, the driver, had to go to the police station to testify. At Manolo’s initiative, they withdrew in time.
I immediately reacted: “Pale Face, you have to go with the man to the barracks because of the accident, give me your gun”. They left with the policeman, who never suspected the action, everything flowed normally. We walked along the path we were coming from and then Oscar Lucero’s car and his wife Blanquita picked us up and took us to the first place where they took Fangio: the house of Uziel.
Once at the station, the officer on duty asked them to agree among themselves, as the coup had been simple. Pale Face proposed to pay the man and everything was just as if nothing happened.
The authorities were afraid that the great champion would suffer some injury and even death, because the whole world would fall on them. They could not imagine one of the orientations: “Take care, no one should be hurt or killed, but first you, before Fangio, must protect the life of the champion at all costs…”
When I read the book of marras, I understood that in the things of life, chance plays a determining role. Maybe everything would have been pitiful. Let’s see how Arnol narrated a tragicomic anecdote in the definitive home of the New Vedado, which hosted the champion:
A few houses nearby, on the same block, lived a Tropicana dancer who was called the Mamboleta, a lover of Batista’s politician and ruler Rafael Díaz Balart. This motivated that at every moment, cars of the repressive forces parked almost in front of him, and it was the case that when Haydeé Santamaría Cuadrado and Armando Hart Dávalos, who was distracted, left the house, he went to one of those cars and only Haydeé’s quick reaction could prevent him from taking it. 
The outcome is known. Fangio felt at home and befriended his captors, who went out of their way to pay attention. The race took place without him and was one of the most cruel, as it skewed the lives of several fans, when a car at full speed lost control and was over the spectators. The great champion saw the accident on television and decided not to compete again.
That night of February 24, another command was created, now with the difficult and risky mission of returning Fangio.
Faustino’s order had been categorical: Well, come on, you yourself, Arnol, are responsible for the delivery. I don’t have to tell you anything else. Go in Emmita’s car and have Flavia (Berta Fernández Cuervo) accompany you. Only a few glasses were added to his usual clothing.
It was all just a matter of asking for it. At the proposal of the Argentine Embassy, the return was made in an apartment located at Calle 12, No. 20, 11th floor, between 1st and 3rd floor, El Vedado, in the home of Mario Zaballe, military attaché of that Embassy, who was outside the country.
That’s how Arnol remembered it:
After the doorbell rang, they opened the access door to the inside, we waited for the elevator and, once inside, we dialed the 11th floor. We penetrated and saw three lords of very serious countenances. Fangio immediately, changing his face and almost smiling, broke the ice, saying, “These are my kind kidnappers, my kidnapping friends.
The culmination of one of the best prepared actions, with a popular and international connotation, as the press around the world turned to the kidnapping of the great champion, who ended up a friend of the revolutionaries because of the attention he received.
After 1959, Manolo Núñez, whom on October 17, 2017 we had as a guest at the Peña of the Scientific Veterinary Council of Pinar del Río, would obtain military degrees and fulfilled risky tasks in the Escambray Cleanup. Among other actions, he was in charge of taking the twelve Malagones to Ciudad Libertad, to place them under the command of Commander Camilo Cienfuegos.
The champion would visit Cuba in 1981 and met with the highest authorities, including his captors.
1] Manolo Núñez: Scientific Veterinary Council of Pinar del Río, October 17, 2017.
2] Arnol Rodriguez: Operation Fangio. Editorial Ciencias Sociales. Havana, pp. 31 and 32.
3] Manolo Núñez: Idem.
4] Arnol Rodriguez: Ob. Cit. p. 36.
July 31, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
An investigation by the British Parliament confirmed that the Facebook company conducted a secret campaign against Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in the 2015 presidential elections.
The report of the House of Commons Digital, Culture and Media Committee, entitled “Anti-Kirchner Campaign”, alludes to the existence of “alarming evidence” of Cambridge Analytica’s interference in the elections in the South American country.
The current president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, won the presidential elections of November 2016, ending 12 years of Kirchnerist governments of Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and Cristina Fernández (2007-2015).
The campaign against the Argentine ex-president reportedly used “spy tactics”, “information warfare”, and “the use of retired officers from the intelligence and security agencies of Israel, the United Kingdom and Russia, in support of the British group’s mission of interference in Argentina”.
This, in addition to the manipulation of the data of at least 87 million Facebook users, and the use of fake accounts, both on that platform and on Twitter, with the aim of manipulating public opinion.
The UK Parliament expects the owner of the social network, Mark Zuckerberg, to return to the British legislature to answer questions he did not answer or answered with false information at his last appearance before the legislators.
Cambridge Analytica had already made the news about the illegal collection of information when it was revealed in March 2018 that it had had access to the account of more than 50 million users through Facebook, to support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.
(With information from Telesur)
By Lisbet Penín Matos
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Undoubtedly one of the most-discussed articles during the recently concluded first ordinary session of the IX Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power was article 68, which establishes the concept of marriage between two people.
The change with respect to the current constitution is that the one approved in 1976 includes marriage as the union between a man and a woman, while the current proposal, with a revolutionary vision, does not define sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
In this regard, the press spoke with Deputy Dr. Mariela Castro Espín. She said during the discussion that this article mixes the rights proposed by the Constitution to guarantee the institution of marriage with the responsibilities of mothers and fathers.
“That is a technical question, I wanted to separate them because simply when it comes to operationalizing all this in the laws, it makes it easier to differentiate them, and also, it reproduces a reproductive or reproductivist vision of marriage.
She stated that there are unmarried people who, while others marry and are unable or unwilling to have them, hence marriage does not pursue only the reproductive end.
The director of CENESEX commented that marriage has several purposes, among them the desire, the pleasure of living together where shared responsibilities are assumed in the home. “That’s fine, but then marriage takes on another purpose, another project, which is that of the children.
“If we’re going to consider the reproductive responsibility of mother and father within marriage, then when we put all this into practice in the law, we have to guarantee the same options and possibilities to heterosexual couples, same-sex couples and people who decide to become single mothers or fathers,” she said.
Dr. Mariela Castro also mentioned that the current constitutional reform has a more inclusive vision. She described the achievement of human rights-based marriage as wonderful.
She commented that no person can be excluded or discriminated against for any reason. She also said that today Cuban society has more knowledge and can openly discuss these issues with the intention of protecting couples who wish to join together, without exclusion.
Despite its proposal, the National Assembly adopted that the article should remain unchanged, but that it would be enriched by the views of the people.
“That is a wonderful revolutionary achievement,” she said, and continued, “hopefully, when the document is submitted for analysis by the people, the majority will be able to understand the very important step we are taking in the field of human rights, in recognizing all the rights of people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, because we have had difficulty reproducing the prejudices we have learned.
She reflected that there are people in the population with their dogmas, prejudices and beliefs who consider that homosexual people are not fit, capable of being mothers and fathers.
“And I repeat what I said in committee: motherhood and fatherhood is not a gift from nature, it is not an instinct as they believe: it is a learning experience”, based on observation of other mothers and fathers.
The only difference between heterosexual and homosexual mothers and fathers is simply their sexual orientation, she said.
“There are even those who believe that homosexuality is a disease, it sticks, it will be learned. No. If it were that simple, there would be no homosexuals, because they would be heterosexuals just like their parents were.
“It is an era in which this obscurantist, manipulative and retrograde thinking is being overcome with science, with scientific knowledge, inspired by the humanist spirit and based on the interest of the Cuban State in advancing the human rights agenda,” she concluded.
To make up Cuba, all the people contribute to and contribute to social and economic transformations.
This is an intentional and tempered draft project in the sense of the historical moment with the aim of guaranteeing more rights, more inclusion, independence, sovereignty and equality.
July 6, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Dr. Lilian Valdivia García, head of the nutritional support group at the National Minimum Access Surgery Center in the Cuban capital, where she works as an intensivist, told Radio Rebelde that obesity is currently a health problem in the country.
Also a specialist in General Comprehensive and Internal Medicine, Dr. Vadivia explained that a national survey on cardiovascular risk factors reported that 42 percent of the Cuban population was overweight, of these, 47 percent were female and 37.6 percent were male; the most worrying thing was that 13 percent of the total are children, and as a result they are exposed to serious diseases.
The above, he said, has an impact on health, because if not taken up in time, these infants will become obese in adolescence and later as adults with risk factors for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hypercolestoremia, ie, increased fat and incidence of diseases such as heart attacks, cerebrovascular diseases and increased incidence of high blood pressure, among others.
“Many patients who come to our consultations with these diseases respond favorably to a diet plan that makes them lose weight, thus compensating for their diabetes or stop being so, and others eliminate hypertension.
Dr. Valdivia Garcia also said: “As for the types of obesity, we classify the weight of the patients according to their body mass index; we calculate the size squared and divide it by the kilos of weight they weigh.
He explained that a person’s normal body mass index should be between 18.5 and 24.9; when it is above 25 and 29.9 it is said that the patient is overweight, and after 30 is considered obese, according to the different degrees that has this condition that indicates that when the body mass index is 40 corresponds to super obesity.
He categorically affirmed that this evil is preventable from childhood. A person becomes obese, among other causes, because he or she begins to have bad eating habits from a very early age. “It’s not that they don’t eat jams,” he says, “but that’s one day, without being the essence of the infant’s diet; parents usually offer them empty calories, such as soft drinks, sweets or candy.”
For Dr. Valdivia, good nutrition is provided by a balanced diet: “It is considered that in the first place are cereals and fruits, then vegetables, followed by proteins as a contribution of essential amino acids, then dairy products for the body that is not capable of producing them and then what I say to patients are the “whims” or jams, known as empty proteins that should be eaten one day as something exceptional.
The population has the false concept that only meat is protein,” he said, “but so is a dish of rice and beans because legumes are legumes; eggs are also a protein with the highest biological value that exists. Sometimes they go to the agricultural market and instead of buying fruits and vegetables, they choose empty calories and other products that do not provide the body with vitamins or other necessary nutrients.
Dr. Valdivia also pointed out the importance of becoming aware of the harmfulness of inadequate dietary habits to human health; each person has the power to stop the growth of overweight and obesity – she said categorically.
(Taken from Radio Rebelde)
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: 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)
May 20, 2012
By: Marta María Ramírez
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Crossings: eleven ways of being, coming out and entering the closet
In this article: 11 Havana Biennial, Art, Havana Biennial, CENESEX, Cuba, Culture, Havana, Manuel Mendive, Mariela Castro Espín, Sexuality, Society
20 May 2012 | 33
By: Marta María Ramírez
11 exponents of the plastic and visual arts from Cuba gathered in a collective exhibition to represent the experience of homosexual people in the public recognition of their sexual preference.
They were joined by Mariela Castro Espín, director of CENESEX, whose idea was not only original, but also part of the curatorship of Travesías, the title of the exhibition, which opened at the Rubén Oliva Gallery in the capital’s Bertold Brecht Cultural Center.
“To understand the stories of suffering and happiness it has been essential to listen. We saw the possibility of telling it through art and the looks of these artists, whom I invited,” said Mariela.
For the Cuban sexologist, who makes her debut as a curator in the visual and plastic arts, “decision-making is always a journey. It is necessary to show what these people experience because their experiences can be very cruel.
Manuel Mendive was the first to enlist. Mariela went on her search to her retreat-study in the rural town of Santa María del Rosario.
“I’m very excited about the idea. It is a challenge to represent a process that can be difficult because of the homophobia that reigns in the world, including in Cuba,” Mendive told me at the time.
The famous plastic artist is accompanied by Adonis Flores, Alejandro Calzada, Carlos Martiel, Elizabeth Ceviño, Humberto Días, I.A., Lázaro Saavedra, Marianela Orozco, Ricardo Rodríguez and Andrés D.Abreu, the latter sharing the curatorship with the sexologist.
“Each artist has communicated in their own way, with their own codes and in the way they interpreted this reality,” said Mariela.
It is not the first time in Cuba that people have created and exposed their perceptions of homosexuality. However, the contribution of Travesías lies in the fact that it is the result of a workshop in which creative people exchanged with gay, lesbian, transgender and heterosexual Cubans in March 2012.
Questioned about the reasons for the choice of plastic and visual arts, the sexologist said that “since the Havana Biennial was coming, there was an opportunity to use it as a communication resource”.
In this sense, D.Abreu pointed out that “art has shown that it is part of that great accumulation of things that make up the imaginary and thought of society. I can’t say that it alone is a transformer, but that it helps the transformation, so you have to take advantage of his possibilities.
“Three spaces for debate were created. One discussed what it felt like and how it was like to be inside the closet, because they fear that society would reject them; another group was for people who had freely decided to be who they are, and a last group was for those who are still in the process, in the journey,” he said.
Travesías, sponsored by the Brownstone Foundation, will be open to the public until next June, as part of the collateral activities of the 11th International Conference of the Red Cross. Havana Biennial and the V Cuban Day Against Homophobia
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Actress Charlize Theron said she is considering leaving the United States for the sake of her two adopted children because she is concerned about racism in the country, where “she is much more alive than people thought.”
Separated from actor Sean Penn since 2015, the actress is the single mother of two children, a boy, Jackson (6), and a girl, August (2), adopted in South Africa.
Concerned about the issue of racism in the United States, she said that “it exists and is much more latent than people thought.”
“We can no longer deny it. We have to raise our voices. There are places in this country where if I were offered a job there, I wouldn’t take it,” he continued. “I wouldn’t take my kids to certain parts of America and that’s pretty problematic.”
Interviewed by Elle magazine, she said she has only her mother, Gerda, to help her raise her children. “I’m so lucky to have her, without her I’d feel so alone in all this,” she said.
“Many times I look at my children and tell them: if this continues, I will have to (leave the United States). Because the last thing I want is for my children to feel insecure,” added the 42-year-old star, born and raised in South Africa during the apartheid era in that country.
“They’ll have to know that it’s a different climate for them than it is for me, and how unfair it is,” the Oscar winner said of her children.
Theron is promoting her new comedy, “Tully”, which will be released on May 4.
On the other hand, in the cover interview for Elle magazine, Theron spoke about the difficult adoption process she faced.
“I never saw the difference between raising an adopted child and a biological child. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything,” he said. “It was always my first choice, even when I was in a relationship.”
The actress recalled that she suffered “a lot during the process”. “Among the hardest times in my life was when I filed the adoption papers; it really destroyed me emotionally,” she said. “There were so many situations that didn’t work and you get attached and you get excited and then you get devastated.
Theron remembered that she had always dreamed of adopting a child. “I’ve always been aware that there are many children in the world who don’t have families,” she said.
(With information from Ansa)
By: Martha Sánchez Martínez
May 17, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Chilean transsexual actress Daniela Vega has a lot of international awards at home, but she feels she lacks something like a human being and it is not a laurel, but a right.
The star of A Fantastic Woman, winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Film, would like to be able to stamp her name on her grave in her native country.
If I could, I would not take a jar, or my rings, or my glasses, when I die. I would take my name with me, because my name is what I am, it is what I did and what I wanted to do at the moment when I had to be alive, said the 28-year-old girl who at the age of 14 began her gender transition.
For Daniela, it is a question of dignity, which could be resolved by will.
Why not? Why not? Where is the dignity of the people then? Where is the creation of rights for human dignity? These and other questions make her one of the most valuable activists in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community today.
After making history as the first transgender woman to take the role of presenter at an Academy Awards ceremony, Time Magazine chose her in 2018 as one of the 100 most influential personalities in the world.
The performance of Marina Vidal, a trans woman, in Sebastian Lelio’s feature film, gave her a Platinum Award, a Caleuche, and Best Actress awards at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Havana International New Latin American Film Festival.
She also presented the Ibero-American Phoenix Film Award and the Best Actress Jury Award at the Lima Film Festival in Peru to the artist and lyrical singer.
Art, in general, helps to blur and soften many barriers, because art is a space for resistance, reflection and communion, she said during a colloquium held at the National Sex Education Center (Cenesex) in Cuba.
She travelled to this Caribbean island to participate once again in the actions of the Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, which takes place every May under the direction of the sexologist Mariela Castro.
According to Vega, in many countries of the Latin American continent, transgender people are destined for smaller tasks, not for political, strategic or community participation.
And I feel like why? is answered with the word fear, because some people are afraid to empower certain people, she said.
The Oscar won by A Fantastic Woman in the United States of course gave her satisfaction, and above all allowed her to raise her voice, but this girl can not stop thinking about others, ishe is not a unique case on the planet, she prefers to defend the opportunity to listen to everyone.
Why are some voices legitimate and others not? This has to do with the legitimacy we give to life, it should not be necessary to win an Oscar to be listened to, it is enough that there is only a will to listen, he said.
When will the States of the world understand that identity is an inalienable right?
In addition, she wondered where the power of States to support the childhood of transgender people lay, for we were not talking about someone who became a horse, a dog or a cat, but a human being, and she claimed it from her own experience, because she was a victim of discrimination in childhood.
Speaking of human beings, it would be nice to understand that human rights are not charged like a credit card, nor as a shopping mall, nor with a luxury car, human rights are taken to the grave, she said.
Who says that there are wars that are not legitimate, that there are unconquerable loves, that there are ungovernable bodies, asked this voracious reader of poetry who came to the world of acting in search of an instrument of self-understanding.
According to Daniela, giving dignity to people should be the political will of all States and governments, as they have supported the right to vote, among others, because the dignity of the human being is, together with diversity, its greatest wealth.
A Fantastic Woman launched her to stardom but it was not her first film work, as her film debut came in 2014 with The Visit, a film directed by Mauricio López Fernández, which allowed her to travel to various festivals around the world and gave her her first international awards as an actress.
At the end of this year, Vega will appear in a starring role in the film Un domingo de julio en Santiago, by Visnu and Gopal Ibarra, who invited her to perform as a femele lawyer.
She only answers with mystery a question from Prensa Latina about what she would be interested in doing in film:
“I like to surprise people, I prefer to surprise them,” she said.
These days, the artist is writing an autobiographical book, she is not ashamed of being a trans, but proud, and she suffers the obligation to travel with a masculine name on her passport, but she will not stop struggling to be recognized everywhere as who she is, and that is clear to her, simply Daniela Vega.