Author: International Editor | email@example.com
27 March 2018 22:03:04
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Young people in the United States raised their voices this weekend against violence, under the theme March for Our Lives. Some one million people, mostly students, took to the streets of 800 towns across the country last Saturday to demand greater control over access to guns.
The mobilization follows one of the most recent school shootings, in Parkland, Florida, when in the midst of the Valentine’s Day celebrations, a 19-year-old boy killed 14 students and three teachers carrying a legally-acquired assault rifle.
The fact once again opened up the debate in a country where there are an estimated 200 to 300 million guns, almost one per capita, and where lobbyists such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) are lobbying hard in Washington to avoid any legislation that would diminish the profits from their lucrative business.
NO TO GUNS
Such was the scope of the demonstrations, that some of the older attendees remembered those of the young people decades before against the intervention of the United States in the Vietnam War.
Mary Riley, a 50-year-old filmmaker who traveled from San Francisco to Washington to support young people, said, “What made a difference in Vietnam was when the students went out on the street and now the students are the ones who were shot and they are also future voters.
In that sense, one of the survivors of the February shooting told the crowd: “We can and will change this world!».
Tired of the killings and school insecurity, young people are asking politicians for more action, not so much their “prayers and thoughts”.
Author: Gabriela Ávila Gómez | firstname.lastname@example.org
20 March 2018 21:03:48
Place of birth: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date of birth: 27 July 1979
Date of Death: March 14, 2018
Occupation at the time of her death: Sociologist and councillor in Rio de Janeiro
Political affiliation: Socialism and Freedom Party
Alma Mater: Catholic University PUC and Federal University Fluminense (master’s degree)
Photo: Taken from TN.COM
“Another murder of a young person who may enter the Military Police account. Matheus Melo was leaving the church. How many more will it take for this to end?” That was the last message on the social networking site Twitter from Rio de Janeiro city councilor Marielle Franco, who paradoxically became the next victim just 24 hours later.
Criticizing the military intervention ordered a month ago by the de facto president, Michel Temer, the activist had emerged from an act of defense for black women and was riding in a car when the shooting began.
According to the Brazilian daily O Globo, the goal was to reach the councilor, who was shot five times. The driver also died in the accident and only one of the advisors who accompanied her survived.
The event caused a stir in Brazil, as she was a woman respected and admired by Brazilians for being a fervent advocate for social causes. There have been several marches and mobilizations called by political parties and social movements under the slogans “Luto e luta” (Mourning becomes fighting), “Murdering police, they will not silence us” or “Warrior woman who died for the people”. Demonstrations were also held in Argentina.
Marielle Franco was a woman, young, black, a favela woman, but she managed to make all these elements – still discriminatory for many – her driving force in the struggle, and from every possible platform she dedicated herself to raising her voice against racism, machismo and the abuses committed by the police in Rio de Janeiro.
The activist was born and raised in La Maré, one of the most violent slum complexes in Rio. At the age of 18 she became pregnant and dropped out of school, but later she attended night classes. Thanks to a scholarship, she obtained a degree in Sociology from the Catholic University PUC, one of the most prestigious in the country. She also held a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Federal University of Fluminense.
One of the events that marked her in her youth and that defined her later line of work was the death of her best friend due to a stray bullet in the Maré; this led her to work on the denunciation of violence within the favelas.
In 2006, she became parliamentary assistant to Marcelo Freixo, He was an emblematic deputy who fought terror unfounded by militias in the favelas. Years later, Franco headed the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights and Citizenship of the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro.
At the time of her death, Franco was a member of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), and on this political platform she became the fifth most votes for municipal legislator in 2016.
Both the councilor and the PSOL were among the biggest critics of the military intervention ordered by Temer.
In this context, Franco became the rapporteur of a commission set up in the Rio municipal chamber to report on possible abuses committed by the military in this intervention.
She gained respect and admiration for the ideas she promoted: that of a greater presence of women, especially black women, in politics, the defence of human rights and her denunciations of the abuses committed under the pretext of stopping the violence in Rio.
In the palace of the Municipal Chamber, where the activist’s remains were veiled, the steps were covered with flowers and banners.
Many organizations and personalities around the world have called on the Brazilian authorities to explain this brutal act, which they describe as a “political assassination”.
In the midst of the investigation, based on the hypothesis of premeditated murder, it emerged that the ammunition that ended Marielle Franco’s life was part of lots sold to the Federal Police of Brasilia in 2006. This fact that opens another discussion and raises the question: was it the activist murdered by the police?
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
Parkland students’ pressure even reached the White House, where President Donald Trump met with several of them and their parents on Wednesday.
Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez | email@example.com
22 February 2018 20:02:57
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Hundreds of young people, with tears in their eyes for the friends they lost and, also, although it may seem contradictory, for the good fortune of having survived; human chains guarded by the police evacuating the danger zone and Valentine’s Day balloons and teddy bears lying on the ground. Those were the images that toured the world after the massive shooting at a school in Florida that left 17 dead and about 20 injured on February 14.
Those same faces today throughout the United States are demanding “Never Again” about tragedies like the Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland and for the enforcement of stricter gun control laws.
“No matter how many people die. Legislators in power don’t take action,” Ryan Deitsch, one of the surviving students who met with legislators, told reporters.
Now is the time to get on the right side of this, because it’s not something we’re going to sweep under the carpet,” Emma Gonzalez told NBC News Meet the Press.
But what were isolated appearances in the media and spontaneous displays of pain, has become a whole movement that is already known by the label #NeverAgain.
The young people touched a sensitive fiber of public opinion and began to mobilize in city councils demanding a change in gun control laws.
They soon won tens of thousands of fans on social networks and made frequent appearances on national television. They also received millions of donations from celebrities like George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, and Steven Spielberg to fund future demonstrations.
A march is being called in Washington for March 24, which they hope will have a national repercussion.
Its impact is greater than previous initiatives, since the voice of young people comes in the midst of a politicized scenario in which the issue of arms is diluted in political conflicts and economic interests that go beyond the traditional parties.
The legitimacy of the lawsuits, which in many cases come from the families of victims or survivors of the massacre, are putting politicians like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has received more than $3.3 million from the National Rifle Association (NRA) to buy his votes on the weapons issue, on the ropes.
During a public assembly in Sunrise, Florida, the father of one of Parkland’s victims challenged Rubio to tell the truth and acknowledge that “guns were a factor in his son’s death.” Rubio tried to sneak away and responded that if he believed that a ban on assault weapons “would have prevented this from happening, he would have supported it.> His response was booed by the audience.
Then, student Cameron Kasky told the senator, “It’s hard to look at you and not see the barrel of an AR-15 and not see Nikolas Cruz,” referring to the assault weapon used in the shooting and the 19-year-old perpetrator, who acquired the rifle legally despite a history of violence. “Can you tell me right now that you won’t accept a single donation from the National Rifle Association?”, she added.
Parkland student pressure even reached the White House, where President Donald Trump met with several of them and their parents on Wednesday.
The president was pressured to declare that he will seek “solutions” to the problem.
But so far, some of his ideas are on the way to authorizing teachers to carry weapons in schools and be more severe with the background check of prospective buyers.
That is precisely the vision that the NRA supports to divert attention from the main problem that American students now denounce:”guns are not only a variable of the situation, but they are the key to the problem.”
Author: Francisco Arias Fernández
January 24, 2018 22:01:42
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A young Canadian with untidy blond hair and faded blue eyes walks back and forth between both ends of a boulevard in downtown Ottawa, the capital of one of the world’s richest countries, begging for money to buy marijuana. In Montevideo, Uruguay, a crazy-looking young man of about 25 offers to work as a car parking attendant for a pittance, enough so he can buy a joint. In Central American capital cities, car drivers waiting for the traffic lights to change get besieged by children eight or nine years of age performing as fire-eaters or simply holding out their hands to beg for charity on behalf of their parents, who lie hidden nearby as they wait for the “prize” to buy drugs and food.
Back in December, Brasilia’s political center was all but occupied by security forces and foreign journalists, all waiting for the arrival of a new president who would take office the following day. A few meters from the Foreign Ministry, one of the venues of the inauguration, a taxi driver warned his passengers not to roll down the windows to take pictures because of the gangs of “dope-smoking” teenagers could appear out of the blue to mug tourists.
These are personal stories, not hearsay or exaggerations. Besides, they are not isolated cases in today’s world or in the countries where I witnessed them.
Felipe met his Spanish wife through a friend who rents out his apartment in Havana. He moved to Barcelona, leaving behind his eight-year-old daughter and his parents. In his new country, he started to consume and smoke synthetic marijuana or whatever he could get his hands on. After some time, while on a visit to Cuba and a week before his return trip, he was caught in possession of small amounts of the narcotic that he had got from a dealer. He ended up in prison, which also brought a lot of suffering and trauma to his child and loved ones.
Cuban internationalist doctors cry as they share stories of children in Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia or other South American nations who show symptoms of marijuana consumption from an early age, and others who died in their arms because they could not get any marijuana and decided to sniff paint thinners, gasoline or strychnine.
A Uruguayan psychologist, who provides therapeutic services to slum areas in Tijuana, on the U.S. border, described in his doctoral thesis, which he defended at the University of Havana, how his patients take advantage of the legalization of marijuana in southwestern U.S. states to cross the border and get a marijuana prescription for stress treatment, a sure way to maintain their addiction as they get gradually worse, both physically and mentally.
Far from tackling your ailments or bringing you benefits, he remarked, making that drug legal has boosted its use and multiplied health problems in those regions.
Similar findings were disclosed last October in a study by the French National Institute for Advanced Studies in Security and Justice (INHESJ) and the French Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFGT) about the impact of cannabis regulation on U.S. states and in Uruguay.
According to the study, “the regulated sale of marijuana in special pharmacies has led to a nationwide rising trend in all indicators for use in Uruguay and has had no significant effects on the black market”. Legalization in the U.S. has brought forth a noticeable rise in consumption, particularly among occasional and regular users aged 25 or over.
Also underlined in the study is “a major rise in hospital admissions related to presumed cannabis intoxication in two North American States” (Colorado and Washington State).
The World Health Organization (WHO) came to the conclusion in 1948 that the consumption of cannabis (marijuana, hashish and hashish oil) was dangerous from every point of view, be it physical, mental or social. More recently added to the list are the so-called synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic or laboratory marijuana), even more harmful.
Experts remark that the symptoms of marijuana intoxication appear more slowly and take longer to go away. Not only that, but that it can trigger very serious mental disorders. Its most common and socially detrimental effect is the so-called affective or amotivational syndrome, characterized by severe detachment from reality, not unlike the kind related to serious forms of schizophrenia.[Marijuana use] impairs our thoughts, causes memory and concentration problems and tampers with learning. It also delays reaction time with visual and auditory stimuli, disrupts time perception and hinders coordination. It also causes bronchitis and lung cancer in a much larger proportion than smoking. Moreover, it is known to affect our sex life and reproductive capacity, not only because of the resulting dissociation but also the reduction of our hormonal level and sperm motility that it brings with it. Marijuana consumption also has catastrophic consequences on addicted mothers, such as congenital deformities and premature births.
Furthermore, it paves the way for lack of coordination and balance, tachycardia, conjunctival injection (bloodshot eyes), dry mouth and throat syndrome, and drowsiness, as well as death by heart arrhythmia.
Marijuana is young people’s gateway drug and a springboard to the abyss of other even more dangerous substances.
In Europe there has been evidence since the 1970s of a consumption cycle that starts with marijuana and then leads to other more harmful substances like LSD, heroin or morphine. None of them bring a happy end, for they either blow you out or kill you.
FIVE FACTS ABOUT MARIJUANA:
Source: Interview granted to journalist Lisandra Fariñas xcby Dr. Ricardo A. González Menéndez, a consultant with the Integrated Addiction Treatment Service of Havana’s Psychiatric Hospital and chairman of the National Medical Ethics Commission.
Author: Redacción Internacional | firstname.lastname@example.org
January 30, 2018 03:01:42
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The signing of the Peace Agreement negotiated in Havana opened the doors of civilian life and political struggle to the FARC guerrilla, which is now a political party with the same acronym by which it was identified for more than a quarter century.
The Common Revolutionary Alternative Force recently launched its campaign for this year’s presidential and legislative elections. Timoleón Jiménez, leader of the former guerrilla secretariat, heads the list to occupy the Casa de Nariño [Colombia’s presidential palace}.
The Peace Agreement establishes that the FARC are entitled to ten Congress seats, regardless of their results at the polls.
By Alfonso Nacianceno email@example.com
January 26, 2018 22:01:19
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Firearm sales skyrocket whenever a massacre, like the one caused by Stephen Paddock on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, takes place in the United States. It’s a sad truth that weighs heavily on its population.
The 58 deaths caused by this 64-year-old retired individual who fired into a crowd of more than 22,000 concertgoers at a country music festival gave rise to angry protests against firearms. However, the tycoons who showcase their novelties in any of the three arms fairs scheduled for 2018 in the U.S. consider theirs a serious line of business. It’s marked by deals worth millions and millions of dollars that benefit the U.S. economy and which, therefore, they are unwilling to abandon.
Never mind the feelings of those who are still mourning over the horrifying deaths of so many people. They only expected to have an enjoyable evening. The U.S. gun industry held its biggest annual fair for four days, just a few miles from the killing fields. Despite the general public’s astonishment and annoyance, Shot Show featured its products along 20 kilometers of aisles, adding to a history of more than 40 events, half of them held in Las Vegas, according to an AP report about the characteristics of this mega-event.
Over 1,700 exhibitors signed agreements and made deals worth millions, whereas the organizers tried to placate peoples’ logical concerns by assuring us that only gun manufacturers and dealers were allowed into the premises, the firing pins were removed from all guns on display, and there was no live ammunition.
Beyond any arguments behind the appeals for calm, absent from the show this time was the company Slide Fire, the leading manufacturer of bump stocks —attachments that enable rifles to fire faster— an invention used by Paddock in the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in U.S. history. The Texas-based company has not said why it was not among the exhibitors, nor has it confirmed its presence at the National Rifle Association (NRA) meeting.
Even if Slide Fire’s bump stocks were not on display, the show presented other accessories made to enable gun users to mimic fully automatic fire and reduce noise.
In the wake of the massacre in Las Vegas, and as discussions about gun control continue, Pennsylvania hosted the Guntoberfest gun show, another huge shop window with similar interests as those of Shot Show’s. In addition to this recent exhibition, they have already planned for another two meetings of rednecks, as gun industry leaders are usually nicknamed.
Marine West, devoted to displaying the state of the art in heavy military equipment, will have a venue in Anaheim on February 7 and 8. And April 9 to 11 will see the third of these conventions at Camp Pendleton, the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps.
Figures provided by the Centers for Disease Control of that country—also in charge of recording the number of deaths by firearms—reveal that 33,000 die of gunshots every year; two thirds of the annual 12,000 homicide victims are African-Americans; and people between the ages of 15 to 64 are more prone to suffer fatal accidents.
The American citizens themselves have coined two lapidary sentences to describe the situation of helplessness that they are exposed to every single day:
“There are more guns than people in the United States… Carrying a gun is as common as having a flowerpot at home”.
Author: Msc. Mareelen Díaz Tenorio* | firstname.lastname@example.org
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
It has to do with all people, human groups and institutions that share their existence in concrete socio-historical and cultural spaces. It could be thought that it is a question of women, or rather of “some women”. Some people believe that it is not a problem in Cuba, it is not so serious, or it is simply a fad that seeks to change our language by forcing people to talk about “the” and “the”. by using inclusive words such as “it” instead of using “he” when referring to both men and women.
Let’s go in parts and start with its origins. Before having sons and daughters, people usually make up images about what the process would be like. Even if you do not think carefully or plan, in our heads, ideas and sensations are activated about what the child will be like, what name it will be given, how it will be dressed, what qualities it will have, what its occupation will be, what its relationship as a couple will be like and even the children it will have in turn.
A human being is built over the years. It’s a process in which not only the mother and father participate, but the rest of the family members with their diverse beliefs. In addition, the neighborhood, the school, friends, the religious group, workspaces, membership organizations, social media and many others play a role. In all that framework, the teachings and learnings, as a tendency, are marked by differences depending on whether the newly arrived child is considered a man or a woman
It is common to frame education or socialization according to pre-conceived beliefs that we transmit from generation to generation. The process starts at an early age and is reinforced throughout life. At pre-school age we teach children’s songs that forbid a girl to play because she has to do the laundry or iron the clothes on different days of the week «Monday before lunch, a girl wanted to play, but she could not play because she had to do the laundry…».
Likewise, in the song about the playful she-ant: “… she did nothing but play and her mom told her to come and help her clean …”. She is given the care of her sick mother, who only stops doing domestic work when she has to stay in bed due to incurable health problems. Girls are often given brooms and mops, cooking toys, ironing boards, princess dresses and make-up sets. Boys are given trucks, machines, pistols, baseball bats, swords, etc. As they grow up, each learns skills, trades and different professions for male and female, as well as ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.
FROM DIFFERENCES TO VIOLENCE
Society as a whole is transmitting these beliefs and stimulating a prevailing single acceptable way of being a man or woman. Women are supposed to be beautiful, delicate, obedient, passive, conciliatory, docile, weak, sacrificed, motherly, dedicated to domestic work and the care of sick and elderly people, given more to the private world of the family. Men are supposed to be strong, independent, competitive, virile, active, dominant, powerful, providers of family income, intrepid and daring, given more to the public. This pattern includes heterosexuality for both. As people move away from these sexist patterns, they are more likely to be rejected, discriminated against and violated. The type of society in which the dominance of the masculine and the subordination of the feminine is promoted is called patriarchy.
If these were just differences, it would not be so impressive. The issue becomes more complex when a deeper analysis leads us to understand that these differences become inequalities with negative effects for both. They become straitjackets that imprison the liberties and rights of people, based on false gender beliefs, on asymmetries of power between the feminine and the masculine that determine everyday life.
So-called gender violence lies in acting (or not acting), deliberately, based on inequalities and asymmetries of power. These are anchored in what is considered valid for the feminine and masculine from a patriarchal perspective and which causes physical, psychological, sexual, and economic damage.
Victims of gender violence can be found among people of any age, school level, social class, territory, income level or skin color. None of these variables excludes people from being victims or perpetrators of violence. Of course, when there are unfavorable living conditions, situations of violence and their solutions become more complex.
It is important to say that violence intersects. A person can be violated on the basis of gender and at the same time because someone is black, follows a certain religion, has a disability, poor [material] resources and/or lives in a specific region. The possible combinations demand the attention of each dimension.
Some of the costs of assuming the prevalent or hegemonic sexist masculinity include: difficulties in expressing painful emotions and feelings; pressure to maintain control over the partner, and violent handling of conflicts; non-responsible paternity and deprivation of the enjoyment of this role; problems with self-care such as resistance to exams for prostate cancer screening, or silencing health issues such as sexual dysfunctions; having simultaneous partners, promiscuity, risky sexual practices and permanent seduction; suicide and alcoholism when the role of provider cannot be fulfilled; obligation to have children; restraint of sexual orientation and gender identity; accidents.
While there are negative costs of the male pattern for men in patriarchy, the punishment for women who deviate from the norm established by this system has been widespread in the history of humanity and still is today. Gender violence against women is the most extensive and serious of gender inequalities. Among the consequences of this form of violence for women we can mention: personality problems such as insecurity, low self-esteem, little perspective for the future; depression, anguish, fear, sleeping and eating disorders; physical and psychological injuries; effects on health due to continued domestic overload throughout life; isolation from social spaces (family, school, friendships); limitations on autonomy due to prohibitions on their insertion and promotion in working life; sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies; sequels of sexual violations; suicide and death.
The balance of damages transcends personal stories. The implications reach a high economic cost for people and for a country that needs to optimize resources to ensure sustainable development. The other side of the effects is social. As long as gender violence exists, it constitutes in itself a benchmark for the education of all generations. This means that if attention is not paid, if this is not taken care of, if this is not stopped, sexist patterns will continue being reproduced with social behaviors and fantasies that “justify” this type of violence against women as something “normal” that has always existed.
CUBAN CONTEXT AND THE COMPASS IN THE WALK
Thanks to social policies implemented decades ago, Cuba has very favorable indicators in gender equality. There are no identified forms of violence in the country that still exist in other regions of the planet. For example, ablation (amputation) of the clitoris [aka genital mutilation], sexual enslavement and torture of women as spoils of war in armed conflicts, or mass killings of women with impunity. However, there are forms of violence against women in our context, as shown by social research, health institutions, instances of the Cuban judicial system and the Houses of Counseling for Women and the Family (COMF) of the Federation of Cuban Women among others.
There is sexual, physical, economic and psychological violence. The latter, is always the most frequent because it is linked to the previous ones and can appear alone, is invisible or neglected. Some believe it does not leave traces when, in reality, it is necessary to “train” the eyes to identify it with its consequences. Some of its forms are shouting, silence as punishment and condemnation, prohibitions, impositions, disqualifications, threats, emotional blackmail, etc. Gender violence and especially that perpetrated against women constitutes a social, health and rights issue.
If situations of violence are experienced, the first recommendation is to ask for help. The problem is not private even if it occurs in the family or another social space. People can contact the COMFs that exist in each municipality, the doctor’s offices and polyclinics, Mental Health Community Centers, the National Revolutionary Police stations and the Attention Offices of the Attorney General’s Office.
Gender violence requires attention and prevention. The solutions need a look at the system, the analysis of its causes and the participation not only of different professionals, sectors and institutions, but also of state coordination and monitoring. This system is under construction so that it can yield real and sustainable results. It is essential that the whole society be involved. No one is left out. And yes, it has to do with me and with you, with men and women who want a just society without victims of gender violence.
* Psychologist at the Oscar Arnulfo Center
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
On the 100th anniversary of his death, it has to be agreed that it was the spectacle, “show business”, that turned Buffalo Bill (1846-1917) into a legendary being and, at the same time, one of the par excellence promoters of firearms in the United States.
Buffalo, which was actually called William Frederick Cody, served as an army scout in the conquest of the West and also as a bison hunter to supply meat to the workers of a railway company. Having participated in the 1876 Sioux War allowed him to wear showman’s clothing for 20 years in a show that toured his country and Europe.
The two decades during which “Buffalo Bill conquered the West” came be the number one of the international shows that triumphed at the time, including Ringling [Brothers] Circus. It could be seen there, always in an excellent version in heroics, the old explorer fighting the Indians, among whom was Chief Toro himself seated, converted, or reduced by then, to one of the attractions of the troupe.
Numbers of cowboys, persecutions, beautiful galloping horses, all inspired by the border law, established thanks to a policy of territorial expansion carried out with the support of modern weapons. Standing in the center of his circus, holding a rifle, Buffalo Bill made an apology presenting them as heroes in the conquest of the West.
“Only one weapon in the hand will stop the other,” he used to condemn as a forerunner of an ideology of violence that would later become a cultural reasoning enthroned in much of American society. A firearm is a right and a protection “has been tried to make citizens believe, along with the support of an entertainment industry that extols each other’s death for the sake of life. This, unfortunately, translates into a staggering figure: 117,000 people are shot in the United States each year, statistics that involve both aggressors and defenders.
Buffalo Bill’s time coincided with the creation of the National Rifle Association (1871) that had in the showman one of its champions. It is an entity that, to this day, and from its economic power, has not ceased to foster close relations with American political power.
Now, on the 100th anniversary of the death of showman Buffalo Bill, another showman, President Trump, defending “bang-bang” culture”, makes us remember the extinct persecutor of Indians. He declares, to the bewilderment half the world -and referring to the shooting in Texas, in which a young white man killed 26 people in a church and wounded 20- “fortunately, someone else had a gun and fired in the opposite direction”.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Although Samsung does not record its pronounced words, it can collect associated texts and other data,” explains the company, which clarifies that it will use it “to be able to evaluate the performance of the function and improve it.”
In short, owners of Samsung’s ‘Smart TV’ watch what they say in their own homes.(Taken from RT)
Alcoholism is a growing challenge for the countries of the area, which on average consumes more than in the rest of the world.
Author: Lisandra Fariñas Acosta | email@example.com
17 January 2016 21:01:31
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
It is scientifically proven that, as a result of its excessive consumption, alcohol diminishes the average lifespan of the population by more than ten years. This should be sufficient to maintain the commitment to combat this drug, which is legal but constitutes a health problem in Cuba.
Alcoholism, according to the report on the Regional Situation of Alcohol Consumption and Health in the Americas, issued by the Pan American and World Health Organizations, constitute a growing challenge for the countries of the area. Keep in mind that in the Americas region, alcohol consumption is, on average, higher than in the rest of the world.
According to the text, the burden of morbidity (diseases and trauma) is significant, as alcohol consumption contributes to the development of 200 diseases and damages/injuries, including neoplasms, HIV/AIDS infection and various mental disorders.
Cuba is no stranger to this health problem and the statistics do not lie. More than 45% of the population over 15 years old consumes alcoholic beverages, mainly in the age range of 15-44 years old. Meanwhile, the majority of alcohol-dependent people are between 25 and 42 years old, according to research by the National Unit for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.
It is clear that the tendency towards having the first drink is becoming earlier and earlier in life, without establishing differences by sex. Recent studies suggest that women drink today at the same level as their male counterparts, a trend that complicates this scenario, if we take into account that females, biologically and psychologically, are more vulnerable.
Experts warn that once women are introduced into the field of consumption, they are much more discriminated against and censured. They drink faster and take longer to seek help because of the stigmata with which they carry this scourge, in the midst of an eminently macho society, which delays treatment and hinders rehabilitation.
However, the results of the latest Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (2014) showed that the proportion of men who drink alcohol is higher than the proportion of women. Alcohol consumption before the age of 15 is more common in men than in women (11% versus 3% respectively).
On the other hand, alcohol consumption is more common in urban areas, equally for both sexes, while in women alcohol consumption is more common in the capital. The highest percentage of alcoholic beverage intake is identified in the center of the country with 53%. Women in higher education consume more alcohol (24%) than those in lower education. In men, the highest percentage of consumers is among those who have not studied or who have only reached the primary level, according to the survey.
It is imperative for Cuban society to know where the gaps that condition this situation are, as well as the cultural and imitative patterns that are repeated within households. There are many places today that encourage irresponsible consumption of alcohol and it is not difficult to access drinks, although the law prohibits the sale of these products, in addition to tobacco, to minors under the age of 18.
“The bottle” often ends up in the hands of the teenager, in flagrant violation of his right to preserve his health. In addition, paradoxically and contrary to what is legally stipulated in almost all countries, in our environment it is frequent to travel through public spaces bottle in hand, and nobody talks about having a Dry Law, but about responsible consumption that allows avoiding risky behavior.
Professor Ricardo González Menéndez, a renowned expert on addictions, warns us well in his article La atención integral al alcoholismo: experiencia cubana [Comprehensive Attention to Alcoholism: Cuban Experience]. He reflects on how “although alcohol and alcoholism are currently considered as the drug and drug addiction of greatest socioeconomic and human significance, little progress has been made with regard to the classic global social attitude of underestimating it as a health problem when compared to other drug addictions”.
However, the negative impact it has on all areas of the life of the individual and those around him or her, as well as its gateway drug status, make alcoholism not only a health but also a social problem.
Around 75% of the world’s drug addicts do not receive professional help. However, Cuba’s health system has, on the other hand, provided ways to confront this problem at all levels of healthcare.
We start from an integrated network of services and various forms of care for the alcoholic patient, ranging from primary care in the community to hospital services specializing in addictions. Community Mental Health Centers or polyclinic teams are essential links in the rehabilitation of patients suffering from this and other addictions.