Author: Gabriela Avila Gómez, Special Envoy | email@example.com
June 8, 2018 21:06:54
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
BEIJING: The proclamation of the People’s Revolution in China, the 1st. of October 1949, represented a transformation of the country that took deep root in every sphere, including the role of women in society, which until then could be defined in one term: obedience.
The belief in the superiority of men within the family and society over women led to the conception that women should always obey: first their father, then their husband and, if they were widowed, their son. As if this were not enough, the woman did not work, she had to admit her partner’s surname and did not even have the right to divorce, but the man did.
However, after the coming to power of Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China (CPC), a new stage for the development and empowerment of women was opened, leaving behind superstitions, lineages and patriarchy.
On one occasion, the Chinese leader stated that “in order to build a great socialist society, it is of the utmost importance to mobilize the great masses of women to engage in productive activities. (…) Only in the process of socialist transformation of society as a whole can true equality between the sexes be achieved.
In a conversation with Liu Meng, Vice-China Women’s University’s vice-chancellor, she said the Constitution – adopted just a few years after Mao took office as the country’s top leader – opened a new page for women’s emancipation by advocating for gender equality and encouraging them to move out of the confinement of the home to which they were previously committed.
Years before the appearance of the Magna Carta, the first Marriage Law had been enacted in the Asian giant, thanks to which the imposed and forced marriages, characteristic of ancient China, were definitively annulled.
WOMEN IN TODAY’S CHINA
Nearly 70 years after the People’s Republic, women in the Asian giant are an essential part of a society facing an ageing population and have a number of institutions that safeguard their security and promote gender equality, such as the National Federation of Women of China.
While the data provides an encouraging picture, it also reflects a number of difficulties for them, which the government of the president and secretary general of the CCPH Central Committee, Xi Jinping, knows and works to eliminate step by step.
“We will continue to pursue gender equality as a basic state policy and guarantee the legal rights and interests of women and children,” Xi said last year when presenting her report to the 19th National Congress of the CCPH.
Currently, their participation in political life is very notable, they are part of the National People’s Assembly, the Political Consultative Conference, and the administration at all levels.
Currently, the employment rate of women in the Asian giant is among the highest in the world, with a greater presence in sectors such as service and agriculture, said the vice-rector of the Women’s University of China.
However, as in other countries, efforts are being made to close the wage gap: in the Asian giant, women earn only 70% of men’s wages, and the higher the level of employment, the fewer women there are.
In that sense, Liu considers it difficult to have a female president in the short term, as their weight in top-level positions within the Asian nation is still very low.
This is due to the fact that they are left behind from antiquity and it is thought that if women want to be leaders they are ambitious and illogical, to which is added the difference in access to higher education between those in the countryside and those in the city, with 24% and 2%, respectively.
“We hope that the presence of Chinese women in high positions can increase,” she said.
The Asian giant has around twenty women’s universities, created under the premise of promoting gender equality, and training women’s talents to contribute to economic and social development and diplomacy.
One such institution is the China Women’s University and, according to its vice-chancellor, Liu Meng, currently has around 6,000 students, 99 per cent of whom are women.
There are careers,” said Liu, “in which there is a need for a balance between people of both sexes, such as that of a radio presenter.
Currently, the university has three cooperation projects, the first of which is aimed at training female officials from developing countries such as Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela. The second is dedicated to master’s degrees in women’s leadership and social advancement, and the last one is dedicated to women’s talents from nations included in the Silk Road and Strip.
Although women in China, and around the world, still have a long way to go to achieve their full rights, work from every family, locality and government is critical to their empowerment.
1949: Implementation of an agrarian reform that benefited more than 90% of the population. Some 300 million farmers obtained farmland.
1953-1957: First Five-Year Plan. From that experience are the Chinese progress that increased the national income to almost 9 a year and created a solid industrial base for a rise as a power.
1978: Policy of Reform and Openness, a project of nationhood that began more than 30 years ago and which considerably increased its national power, the standard of living of the people and the weight and contribution to the world economy. It catapulted the country’s political stability, fostered development and active diplomacy, which is still in place.
It has consolidated the construction of socialism with Chinese peculiarities and defined the path that the country should follow.
By 2020, the integral construction of a modestly affluent society would be completed.
China’s prosperity and stability are opportunities for all humanity to live on.
More than 30 countries are participating in the Strip and Silk Road initiative.
STUDENTS: TOTAL MEN(%) WOMEN(%)
UNIVERSITY: 1,793,953 51 49
TEACHING: 1,495,650 48.6 51.4
GRADUATE: 298,283 63.1 36.9
MEN: 86,852,572 (51.27%)
WOMEN: 65,287,288 (48.73%)
NATIONAL PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY (2018)
24.9% are women out of about 3000, total.
Data provided by Liu Meng, Vice-Rector of Women’s Univesity of China.
Although it is only in these times of increasingly widespread use of the Internet that the term has become popular, social networks have existed as long as human groups have existed.
Author: Iroel Sanchez | firstname.lastname@example.org
19 June 2018 19:06:05
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Although it is only in these times of increasingly widespread use of the Internet that the term, which used to be common only among sociologists and other social science professionals, has become popular, social networks have existed since human collectives first existed. Even other non-human groups also function as networks. Just look at an ant hill, a honeycomb… Their functioning is crucial for access to food, protection against other species, reproduction and for sharing essential information related to these vital activities.
In human societies, each individual already belonged to family networks, friendships, neighbors, co-workers or students, professionals, often overlapping, long before spaces such as Facebook or Twitter became commonplace.
However, the advent of the Internet has made tangible, and even capitalizable, what was previously invisible. By recording in the memories of powerful computers called servers, every search, every exchange, every publication of text, video or photos and those that interact with them, as well as the metadata that accompany them (date, time, sex, theme and geographical location of the participants, among others), in a space where every minute billions of these actions occur, the current development of computer tools to correlate them allows us to find and connect affinities at a speed that was unthinkable before.
This has given rise to companies known as “internet giants” or technology giants, whose potential lies precisely in capitalizing on these intangibles. Offering its users as advertising merchandise for other companies with an effectiveness that was unimaginable a few years ago, Facebook and Google have gone public for hundreds of billions of dollars. Fewer and fewer people are arriving at information by typing the address in their browser, the most common thing is to navigate through what a search engine like Google or the Facebook algorithm puts in front of us. Rather than surfing, we relate to internet applications that select for us virtual answers from the real world hegemons who paid for it.
For most people who use these two tools most of the time, the Internet is Facebook and Google, just as the operating system is synonymous with Android or Windows.
On May 18, 2012, a joint statement was issued by a group of civil society organizations to the United Nations meeting in Geneva for enhanced cooperation on public policy issues related to the Internet. It noted that “what was a public network of millions of digital spaces, is now largely a conglomerate of spaces of a few owners. Six years later, many people talk about Gafam (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft) as the giant that controls the global digital space from a single country.
Beyond the denunciations of its use for political and military domination, as a consequence of what the former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden has already revealed, the effectiveness that transnational companies which can pay for advertising acquired in national markets, micro locating audiences according to their characteristics, tastes, and needs, crossing national borders, is devastating.
With more than 4 billion Internet users, the battle between Google and Facebook to manage the connection of the remaining 3 billion Earthlings to “internet.org” (free access to the services of these companies, but charged when they leave these spaces) is on the rise. The policies that penalize external links at Mark Zuckerberg’s corporation, making them virtually invisible, while rewarding content that does not require users to leave the social network to access it, are a manifestation of this obsession with having users all the time in the space where each action produces metadata for the company.
Undoubtedly, the digital divide has been closing at a much faster rate than the radio or television. However, far from meaning a diversification of cultural consumption, this has deepened the chasm between the core production of content and services held by a few American companies and the rest of the planet, causing a growing homogenization.
In Latin America, of the 100 most popular sites, only 26% are of local origin and less than 30% are in the local language, and even though much of the latter is in Spanish, it is of American origin.
It is an everyday fact that an advertiser can now micro-localize in a network like Facebook or in the results of a search engine like Google the recipient of a message based on age, gender, geographic location and professional profile. This can be whether to position a product or news item, whether true or not, it’s just that you have to have the money to pay for it. This is absolutely legal and widely used, and has nothing to do with the recent scandals over the use of data derived from personal activity on Facebook to create political profiles of users associated with Cambridge Analytica.
Few countries have a critical demographic mass and language of their own that allows them to develop alternatives, such as China and Russia. Stanford University expert and professor Evgeny Morozov, not at all suspected of admiration for either country, pointed out ironically in 2015: “Notice the crucial difference: Russia and China want access to data generated by their citizens on their own soil, while the US wants access to data generated by anyone anywhere, as long as American companies manage it.
Processes such as Brexit, the election of Donald Trump or the response to the referendum on peace in Colombia have been impacted by these realities. The guarimbas of the first semester of 2017 in Venezuela, the defeat of the referendum for the re-election of Evo Morales in Bolivia, or the instantaneous deployment of violence in Nicaragua have had millions of dollars invested in social networks on the Internet.
The Internet is not the problem, but the economic and social inequality with which the hegemonies of the real world are transferred to virtual space, through money.
Tim Berners Lee, creator of the world wide web, on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of his invention in March 2017, expressed his “growing concern about three new trends” on the web: we have lost control of our personal information, it is very easy to spread misinformation on the web, and online political advertising needs transparency and understanding.
In 2016 Jonathan Albright, a professor at Elon University in North Carolina, published a map showing how, from the domain of Google’s search algorithm, the far-right colonized digital space much more effectively than the liberal left in the United States. Albright’s map, which followed 1.3 million hyperlinks, shows how a “satellite” system of right-wing news and propaganda (dark forms on the map) surrounded the dominant media system just in the year that Donald Trump reached the White House. Asked by The Guardian about how to stop this process, Albright replied: “I don’t know, I’m not sure if it can be done, it’s a network, it’s much more powerful than any actor.
“So it almost has a life of its own?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied the scientist, “and it is learning. It gets stronger every day.
What is the solution to this problem for a small country that does not want to be dominated by US hegemony? Can we flee from the social networks of the Internet? They are already part of the daily life of billions of people, of the majority of young people and of a growing number of Cubans. Can we create, without a critical demographic mass, national spaces that are exclusive as China does, that has more Internet users than the United States and Europe combined?
It does not seem to be viable, our alternative seems to be to network our values, to ask ourselves if the Cubans who carry them are the ones who have the best facilities to access the Internet, to make our media and our schools promote a culture of the use of these technologies that allows them not to be manipulated and that the institutional, political and social leadership is present and articulated in the network based on timely and quality information that is related to Cubans’ expectations and needs.
Author: Julio César Sánchez Guerra | email@example.com
June 5, 2018
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
In an old legend, back in 1284, the city of Hamelin was infested with rats. A stranger appeared and proposed to free them from such undesirable company in exchange for a reward. The people accepted the deal, the man played a flute and brought out all the mice, who then followed the flutist, who took them to the Weiser River, where they drowned. Then the people refused to pay the reward. The flutist returned one day in June and, in an act of revenge, with the music of the flute he took all the children who came after him to a cave from from where they never returned.
Fables hide stories and symbols. Has the pied piper returned to look for the children? Today a strange “music” threatens to take them away and rob them of their innocence in one fell swoop.
From an early age they are subjected to adult language. They consume songs marked by high doses of sex, video games and audiovisuals that stimulate the culture of violence…. From the room where they play connected by Zapya one says happily: “I’ve already killed more than 30!».
Now some families prepare the girls for the mini-quinceaneras where they are dressed in clothes that are not proper for their age; as if their parents were saying to their children: “Fly, fly, it’s time for you to grow up!” On the other hand, a globalizing wave of brands and manufactured customs seduces them with omnipresent toys.
Faced with these realities, the family, school, society… have new cultural challenges. How can we educate our children today? You can’t answer with prescriptions. But it is not from the “pedagogy of the cry” or confusing children with the grass that grows alone. We cannot forget Martí’s warnings: “The street is guilty when it does not educate”.
Let’s encourage habit of reading and the ability to astonish. Since when do we not put our children to sleep by reading them a story? Or do we prefer that they sleep with their cell phones in their hands? Let us teach with all our strength the mystery of the poem The Two Miracles, from the Golden Age, where nature is saved by the kiss of a child to a butterfly.
Let us always return to our children the country of the wonders and powers of imagination, the one that my Saharawi brother Abdel Mayí taught me in a book of his culture and colonised country, a book called Tales under the Jaima.
The teacher came into the classroom threatening all the children: “You have two minutes to paint on your blackboards a bird and a tree; if you don’t do it in that time, I’ll kneel you down facing the wall, get to work! The children painted desperately. As the two minutes passed, the master struck a blow on the table. “Time’s up: raise your boards!” In all of them there was a tree and a bird, but a child at the end of the classroom had only one tree. The teacher prepared to give the punishment, and with rage asked, “Where is your bird? The boy, with his face full of magic elves, replied: “Teacher, when you hit the table, the bird was frightened and flew away”.
Let’s feed the children with the bird that always flies, with the music that beats the pied piper so that this time it leaves our children at home, and in our souls, a song with our childhood intact.
27 May 2018 20:05:48
Photo: Pagina 12
There is no fact that justifies the closed hatred of many people with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) embodying Kirchnerism in general.
This hatred is deep in the bones of a large part of the population, based on the very effective media campaign that “reported” many actions of the previous government that never happened, but they did so following “post-truth” methodology. That is, “it doesn’t matter if what we say is true, but if people believe it”. Of course, in order to achieve this, they had a near monopoly on all the media, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, internet, etc.
For those people who are interested in knowing the truth and doing small or large investigations on their own, alternative websites were enough to expose the lies of the government’s dismissive opposition to the previous government, and those of the current government. But a large part of the population does not carry out this task. And the progressive press, like Page 12, was also demonized, and still is.
To create such a false negative image of CFK, they also used a propaganda apparatus aimed at manipulating people’s subjectivity instead of arguing, with some basis, using real facts. Not only was and is Durán Barba, but a whole team of publicists, Argentine and foreign, many of them appointed by the U.S. Embassy, who organized the “subliminal” campaign against Kirchnerism.
The previous one was a middle-class government, which respected the general functioning of capitalism; therefore it did not affect economic concentration, large agrarian property and the economy in its almost totality in private, foreign and oligopolistic hands. At the same time, it carried out a very important series of social reforms and infrastructure growth more than any other government in Argentine history, as well as the extension of human rights.
Without directly confronting the concentrated and centralized international capital (CCyCI), which is the true power that dominates Argentina and the world, it laid the foundations for a more integral economic development, promoting science and technology, education, health, employment, retirement, the interconnection of long distances with electricity, the beginning of the reconstruction of railways, sewage pipelines, running water and in general it laid the foundations, to a certain extent, for a greater “growth with social inclusion”. In addition, it was freed from the burden of foreign debt, albeit by paying millions of dollars, but much less than the nominal demand for it. The country thus acquired a certain degree of economic independence, and the increase in the number of schools and universities, the recovery of technical schools, the return of more than a thousand scientists to the country and the construction of laboratories to enable them to carry out their work at the level of global technological progress. It manufactured three satellites entirely in the country, which placed it in eighth place in this area.
However, the international CCYCI remained intact, made large profits and continued its concentration, centralization, foreignization, oligopolization and privatization.
Despite all this, the Kirchnerist government was unbearable for the CCYCI for a multitude of reasons. In the first place because it hindered their open and implacable plundering, as the current government does. Second, because it showed that within capitalism one can live better, and that was increasingly incorporated into the consciousness of the people, who could not know that under capitalism it is impossible to maintain that improvement for long.
Big capital always ends up annulling these reforms in one way or another. Thirdly, because a large part of the population began to understand, albeit with distortions inherent in the class-conciliation ideology of Kirchnerism, the nature of the CCyCI, its global economic power, and this increased awareness was becoming increasingly dangerous to the power of big business.
It is now said that CFK cannot be a candidate because she has a limited ceiling as a result of this demonisation. It cannot be that there are candidates, not just CFKs, who are demonized and therefore unable to stand for election, or at least see their presentation as very restricted.
It is necessary to know the differences, on the one hand, of a government with all its limitations such as Kirchnerism, but which had sincere intentions to promote “growth with social inclusion”.
The main need for the de-demonstration of Kirchnerism lies in being able to see reality objectively, in being able to see the differences between one government and another, between its different politicians, and in its different objectives: the previous “growth with social inclusion”, the current one, looting.
And this difference in objectives is reflected in different repressive policies. The previous government promised not to repress social protest, and as far as the national government is concerned, it did 90%. The strategy of the current government is to repress social protest, to repress dissenting voices, to repress anything that may come between its policy of looting with greater or lesser force. The latter is complemented by a very effective and sophisticated policy of deceiving the people. This deception must be fought.
Under the previous government, the social struggle was mainly focused on improving living conditions, on going for more, with practically no repression of social protest. In today’s world, the social struggle is increasingly dedicated to preventing murder, repression, unjustified imprisonment, and the freedom of political detainees; in short, the struggle is essentially defensive, rather than “going for more”.
Without the de-demonstration of Kirchnerism, it is impossible to understand the different policies being pursued in the country, and half the population will continue to be subject to constant deception. Economic power has the great capacity to permanently change its discourse to cover up every new step it takes in the looting it carries out.
The songs insulting the president reveal that a good part of the people have taken note of what the real policy of this government is. The dominant power has a great capacity to permanently deflect political protest that is directed directly at the president and the government in general by constantly inventing scapegoats to replace them. Big capital is causing the crisis, the population is increasing its resistance. The economic power itself is working to divert this protest to the representatives closest to the people, who are the ones who disturb the power.
The de-demonstration of Kirchnerism is a necessary condition for advancing in the general consciousness of the people, without which victory over the current dominant world power is impossible.
Army General Raúl Castro, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, and the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, have led the decision-making process in the face of this regrettable event.
Author: Yeilen Delgado Calvo | firstname.lastname@example.org
18 May 2018 20:05:57
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The speed and efficiency of the competent authorities and the discipline and solidarity of the population following the 12:08 p.m. plane crash in Havana on Friday – when a Boeing 737-200 leased by Cubana de Aviación was dropped to the ground at the time of takeoff – were highlighted from the scene by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Council of State and Ministers.
The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the PCC, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, who is recovering satisfactorily from a recent surgical operation, scheduled in advance to suppress a hernia, is keeping abreast of the situation and has given the relevant indications. He also asked to convey his condolences to the families of the victims of the catastrophic accident.
Diaz-Canel offered, on behalf of the Government and the Party, his condolences to the families of the victims. “All the measures planned for this type of event have been taken, the facts are being investigated and all the information will be given. No centres or homes were damaged,” he said.
In the afternoon, a government meeting was held, chaired by Díaz-Canel and Salvador Valdés Mesa, first vice-president of the Councils of State and Ministers, during which, together with the ministries and bodies involved, the event was characterised and evaluated.
After that meeting, the highest authorities of the Ministry of Transport (Mitrans) informed the press that on the national flight DMJ 0972, which was traveling from Havana to Holguín, 104 passengers and one infant were traveling, of which five were foreign citizens and the rest were Cubans. The six crew members were also foreigners.
Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila, first vice-minister of the Mitrans, reported that three people were rescued alive and are being cared for, but their condition is very serious; they have not yet been identified. In addition, he said that the plane fell to the ground in an uninhabited area between the José Martí airport and Santiago de Las Vegas.
A commission of inquiry, chaired by the Institute of Civil Aeronautics, has been set up to carry out an exhaustive investigation; with the collaboration of the Ministry of the Interior, the site has been preserved. The process of clarification will be complex, he said, and has been negatively marked by heavy rains. However, all the assurances are available to follow it up.
The Ministry of Public Health also created the conditions to care for the families at such a difficult time, with the help of psychologists and other professionals with experience in post-traumatic scenarios, and the Ministry of Tourism will guarantee them accommodation in the capital.
The provincial governments have been responsible for informing them of the news and ensuring its transfer to help identify the remains, which is expected to be difficult. At the end of the personalised notification, the flight manifest shall be made public.
Adel Yzquierdo Rodríguez, head of Transport, referred to the solidarity of the people of Boyeros, who arrived on the scene moments after the impact. “One survivor complained, and people hurried to remove the obstacles to reach him,” he said.
He also praised the professionalism of the Airport Fire Command and the other Rescue and Rescue personnel, who acted quickly and sensitively, and explained that the protocol for situations of this type worked as planned. He also stated that the management of the Mitrans was very close to him at a routine meeting, and arrived at the site immediately, as were several ministers and leaders in Havana.
“At the time of the accident, the post was activated for emergency situations and the tracks were closed for review. Minutes later, after seeing that there were no problems in them, the authorization was given to resume operations and the airport regained its vitality,” said the Minister of Transport.
Systematic information will be provided to the press and the public, and the highest party and government authorities will check the course of the investigations.
The Party, the Government, the Mitrans and the Civil Aeronautics accompany the pain of the loved ones of the victims, ratified Yzquierdo and Rodríguez Dávila.
April 3, 2018
By Rolando Pérez Betancourt
Graduated in Journalism from the University of Havana in 1973. Graduate in French from the Institutes of Foreign Trade and Foreign Affairs. José Antonio Fernández de Castro National Prize for Cultural Journalism (1999), José Martí National Prize for Journalism for the work of life (2007). Journalist at the Granma Newspaper. Attends the weekly program “The Seventh Gate”. He is one of the sharpest film critics in Cuba.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Increasingly, the globalization of gossip gains ground from the social and cultural magnitude.
“-Dig this!, Mrs. X divorced Mr. X after finishing her latest movie.”
“Yes, but he was already sleeping with somebody else.”
“With a He, or with a She?”
This is just an example of banal and depoliticized gossip in its comprehensive role of obliterating transcendental reasoning.
Back in the 50s, as a child, I learned about the subject — without understanding it then—by reading the glossy magazines collected by a cousin who, despite spending a fortune in red dye and high heels, never reached her dream of looking like Rita Hayworth and, by chance, marrying a prince from distant lands.
At the time, gossip about show-business celebrities was nothing compared to the explosive levels it reaches today in the huge and dominant information platforms of the Internet, where a headline about the latest mass killing at a school in the United States may rank equally, or below, the latest steamy dress exhibited by Jennifer Lopez, or any other actress with less artistic talent, but with enough curves, public life, or money to keep up with the hype.
These are myths and individual fame aimed at trivializing culture and monopolizing the attention of an audience eager to follow the bombastic life of the rich and famous, instead of the political, cultural or economic events that, in their fabric of human implications, could indeed influence their own lives.
The sensationalism irradiating from individuals is winning the battle from the social fact as part of the US-Americanization of the myth that –without landing craft or air strikes– invades and seduces millions of minds settled in Europe (also an exporter of those empty values), Asia, and Latin America.
“Information” maneuvers with the clear central objective to have de-politicization and banality govern the everyday life of an international society that –according to their plan– should become increasingly more individual and private, and less collective and social.
This cultural model based on sensationalism, the excessive transcendence of the image, and the exaltation of celebrities (true or fabricated), is aimed at focusing popular attention on egocentric principles with numbing effects. It has the same purpose – only now on a scale unimaginable in the mid 20th Century—that one day made my cousin try and fail to look like Rita Hayworth.
Author: Yeilén Delgado Calvo
May 4, 2018 21:05:20
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
For schools to be a place of love and inclusion, where ethical principles and references for life are built and reinforced, means preventing and confronting all manifestations of discrimination.
Teachers must therefore have the tools to identify situations of harassment, as well as the clarity and scientific culture to address these realities. In addition, the family should alert them to any experience of rejection, physical, verbal or psychological abuse suffered or referred by their child in the school setting, and reinforce the culture of respect from home.
Mariela Castro Espín, director of the National Sex Education Center (Cenesex), urged this during the press conference of the 11th International Conference on Sex Education. edition of the Cuban Conference against Homophobia and Transphobia, which will run until 18 May, to promote respect for free and responsible sexual orientation and gender identity.
Although the Cuban school stands out in the world for its levels of security, realities marked by mockery, physical or verbal abuse, situations of social exclusion and the use of a naturalized homophobic and sexist language must be made visible in order to overcome them, said Mariela.
The Director of Cenesex, an institution that celebrates its 30th anniversary, highlighted the support of the Cuban Party and Government in raising awareness among the population, educating them to overcome prejudices and moving forward, without ignoring resistance, in generating awareness and consensus. He also mentioned the alliances with Cuba’s Central de Trabajadores and the Ministry of Education, and said that the significance of Cuba’s projection for schools without homophobia or transphobia transcends its borders, since the island is a point of reference.
The agenda of the Conference gives relevance to the topics of formation, and the province of Pinar del Río will be the venue. Two emblematic events are to be held: the Gala, at the Karl Marx Theatre, on May 11 at 8:30 p.m.and the Conga and Diversity Festival, which this year begins at 6:30 p.m. May 12, and will go from Línea y Paseo to the José Antonio Echeverría Recreational Center.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Learn without fear. To make the daily lesson the realisable idea of having a space where to accept and respect, to listen to the other in peace; where mockery, mistreatment, punishment are crushed by dialogue, and security is never a chimera.
Say school, and you will have said that, and more, because you can’t think of this institution any other way. Efforts to eliminate all forms of violence in society, and particularly in schools, are therefore welcome.
This is one of the messages that the Cuban Conference against Homophobia and Transphobia is bringing us in these days. I’m included! For schools without homophobia or transphobia, which in its 11th edition – whose headquarters is in the province of Pinar del Rio – not only promotes respect for free and responsible sexual orientation and gender identity, as an exercise in social justice and equity, but also chooses a strategic scenario for it.
“Emotional violence and exclusion generate suffering, and it is not something that can be tolerated for any reason,” Mariela Castro Espín, director of the National Sex Education Center (Cenesex), told Granma.
There is an essential space, which could not be left out of this campaign that Cenesex organizes every two years, and that is the school, the interviewee confirmed, for whom she cannot lose sight of the fact that the causes of situations of violence are often interrelated.
“If we start from the fact that homophobia and transphobia are rooted in culture, institutional dynamics and relationships between people, which makes it difficult to make them visible as a social problem and their need for prevention, it can be easily understood that both phenomena are present in the schools, as a reflection of a changing social reality that requires more effective social action,” she explained.
Hence, the emphasis on these types of discrimination. This does not mean that the rest of the causes are not being addressed, but it is undeniable that we should focus on those areas where the “education” of homophobia begins, added Dr. Castro Espín.
“Cuba is a safe country, the Cuban school is safe, the family has confidence in it, and what we are looking for with these campaigns is to raise awareness, to address worries, and to provide education and guidance to the population, based on scientifically proven data in studies that we conducted in the Center and other institutions on the subject. They alert us to the need to make any of these expressions visible, in order to provide the appropriate response accordingly,” said the expert.
IN SEARCH OF TOOLS AGAINST VIOLENCE
According to academic sources at Cenesex, “studies of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Cuba are still scarce and are not focused on homophobic and transphobic violence as categories of analysis, but on violence in general”.
“Only some research addresses violence that has its origin in the prejudices and stereotypes associated with gender roles, those that the dominant cultures assign to men and women in order to maintain a social order that services the economic interests of the ruling classes,” they say.
In this sense, Dr. Castro Espín explains that, in the case of children, they do not work with or handle concepts such as sexual orientation or gender identity, but rather that prejudices are exercised through the expression of gender, which is also constructed from what we educate as roles historically assigned to the masculine and feminine.
But it must be understood, she said, that homophobic and transphobic violence in schools affects all those who are in this situation: victims, perpetrators and witnesses.
It also has a significant impact on the physical and mental health and well-being of the educational community, and adversely affects access to education, academic achievement and job prospects. “These situations create a climate of insecurity, fear and discontent in the school community. They diminish confidence in educational staff and the institution, increase the risk of self-injurious behavior and hinder the construction of enriching and non-judgmental relationships,” say scholars.
“The positive emotional environment that the school must create is fundamental for learning,” said the specialist, who pointed out that the Cuban state’s educational policy has a responsibility to continue to promote the values of inclusion, not hatred.
“Hate is begins with adults, not children. They are the ones who educate or transmit the prejudices, so the campaign is strongly aimed at making this understood,” he said.
Today, one of the main challenges facing Cenesex is to find appropriate and effective teaching tools that allow students, teachers and their families to tackle these phenomena. It is also a response to UNESCO’s call for states to investigate and address bullying issues in the context of violence in schools, said the director of the center.
The role of comprehensive sexuality education as a basis for training to prepare for and prevent violence is critical, she added.
In line with this, Manuel Vázquez Seijido, Deputy Director of Cenesex, pointed out that Resolution 139 of 2011 is a legal norm issued by the Ministry of Education itself. It orders and introduces sexuality education from the curricular point of view. It is an educational element that can become a framework that guarantees schools without homophobia or transphobia, if these elements are emphasized in the formative process.
The issue, he said, is to protect the fundamental rights of individuals, and this implies a shared responsibility that must be assumed and articulated by all sectors of society.
In Cuba, according to Cenesex experts, research that has dealt with homophobic and transphobic violence in schools has done so indirectly, one of the axes of analysis being the school environment. Likewise, another common element in these studies in our country has been the fragmentation of the samples in the LGBTI population, which prevents the integrated analysis and systematization of the results.
In this regard, they argue that retrospective research, conducted with samples of adult LGBT activists, offers among their main elements: difficulties in the processes of adaptation and permanence of trans people in school because they do not accept the school uniform established according to their legal identity (Castro, 2015; Suárez, 2015). In addition, there are experiences of rejection, physical, verbal and psychological mistreatment of trans people by students and some teachers, because they do not accept their gender expressions (Castro, 2015; Suárez, 2015) Also, there is the inability to begin or continue higher education because of the contradictions between their gender expressions and institutional norms (Castro, 2015). Finally, there is the tendency towards social exclusion of trans people in educational institutions (Castro, 2015).
For example, out of a total of 160 people surveyed, from 12 provinces in the country, 142 have been victims of homophobic acts (Garcés, 2015).
On the other hand, studies carried out in some school spaces in Havana show the existence of physical and verbal abuse, situations of social exclusion, as well as the use of a naturalized homophobic and sexist language (Rodney, 2015).
Some clues about the above can be found in the progressive exploratory study on homophobic and transphobic violence in the school careers of Cuban LGBT activists, by the authors Delia Rosa Suárez Socarrás, Massiel Rodríguez Núñez, Marais del Río Martín, Ada Caridad Alfonso Rodríguez, Gisett Suárez Gutiérrez. Their results, although they cannot be generalized to Cuban society, do offer important warning elements to work with.
The retrospective and exploratory investigation, which aimed to characterize the homophobic and transphobic violence experienced by activists of the Community Social Networks during their trajectory for Cuban schools, had, as a sample, 90 activists from the following networks: Youth for sexual health and rights; Transcuba. Network of Transgender people, couples and families; Lesbian and bisexual women; Humanity for diversity (HXD); and Men who have sex with men (MSM).
According to the text, “the average age of the sample was 28.1 years with a trend of 22 years of age. Attendance was predominantly white (48), followed by mestizo (25) and black (17) people from the provinces of Havana, Villa Clara and Santiago de Cuba. Most of the people studied in the urban areas of their provinces and the external regime was predominant.
“Distribution by sexual orientation and gender identity as stated by the subjects was 38 gay men, 27 transgender people, 19 lesbian women, 5 bisexual women and 1 bisexual man.
“The schooling completed was concentrated in Secondary Education. At the time of the investigation, 25 people were in higher education, mostly gay men.
Among the elements of analysis that stand out in the results, the authors cite school dropout, while “22 subjects indicated that they had left school at some point in their school career, and only 9 returned, mostly trans people who sought to complete their secondary education”.
According to the research, “the average age of dropout was concentrated at 16.6 years of age at the end of secondary school, with trans people being the most represented. Of the 22 people who reported having dropped out of school, 13 referred to the fact that this decision was linked to the situations of violence of which they were victims in the school environment . They experienced physical abuse, their opinions weren’t listened to, threats against them weren’t listened to, or they were ignored, mocked, had their belongings, stolen, were insulsted, sexually abused, sexually abused, not allowed to wear the uniform they wanted, were left home, not allowed to participate in activities, contracted the HIV virus, or needed to work because the family did not cover their basic needs.
Trans people (9) are the ones who mostly refer to this experience, followed by lesbian women (3)”.
“The response of the educational institutions focused on the change of study regime or on the isolation of the victims: (…) the solution from the residences was to put us in semi-boarding schools, (…) the daily trips (…)”, some of the testimonies state.
“It should be noted that the measures implemented could be considered a form of revictimization, since it is the victims of violence against whom measures are taken and not on those who victimize them,” the authors point out.
Among those who perpetrated violence, researchers cite students, teachers, the victims’ own families, relatives of other students, teaching support staff and others.
Support networks within the school were practically non-existent, and there was a tendency to normalize the situations that occurred: (…) they are the work of boys, they should not be given importance (…) The support, in the cases in which it was present, came from students who intervened to stop the mistreatment, according to the study.
“Verbal aggressions coming from friends were not seen as forms of violence: (…) they told me that they could make jokes and play with me, but we did not allow anyone to play with you (…), while the attitude of the teachers was aimed at silencing the situations and placing the blame on the victims”.
Another element of interest is that the people affected decided not to report when they suffered violence due to homophobia and transphobia. Among the reasons for not making the complaint are: Not being prepared to make sexual orientation public: (…) I didn’t say anything because my family didn’t know about it (…) The immobility of the teaching staff results in impunity for the aggressors: (…) Even though you denounced the abuse, nothing happened (…) Fear of the consequences against double stigmatization: (…) if you made a complaint, they made fun of you because you were gay and a snitch (…)
“Such evidence shows that it is essential to sensitize student organizations to act as support networks for situations of violence in the school setting. It is vitally important to strengthen the training of teachers and non-teaching staff in the identification and prevention of homophobic and transphobic violence,” the Cenesex experts say.
It so happens that homophobic and transphobic violence in the school setting reflects homophobia and social transphobia. “Preventing and confronting these manifestations of discrimination in schools contributes to guaranteeing one of the principles of the National Education System in Cuba: access to education free of discrimination. Thus, it will be necessary to promote, not only specific policies and regulations, but also social and cultural changes, which are expressed in subjectivities and therefore in the relations between people,” says the campaign of the 11th edition of this Conference.
Nothing compares to always, and without exception, listening to children and young people in Cuba, who say that they like their school, because fear has no place in it.
COMMENTS ON WEB:
Very enlightening interview with Mariela and the information she provides on the few studies that have been done on the subject. However, I believe that in addition to raising awareness in the aftermath, it is also necessary to raise awareness and educate the family, mainly parents, about the way in which they should deal with situations that may arise with their children and to give them tools, especially to parents of primary school children, to explain to them according to their age how to treat and accept and not to discriminate and to give them guidance on how to explain to them that it is homosexuality and transsexuality (I am referring to primary school children). Because although they are parents from a generation closer to these times and are not permeated by prejudice, I imagine it must be difficult for them to give this kind of information to their children. And I point this out because of the negative comments made by the readers in the articles that reported on the conga for the day against homophobia in terms of allowing the participation of minors, who have no level of understanding of what it means to be gay, lesbian, transgender, etc.
Eusebio Hdez said:
May 16, 2018
It is good that the school is a place of wide inclusion. However, with this campaign it would appear that violence is associated with gender issues, when it is not exactly so. The campaign against any kind of violence should be extended to ¨Bullying¨ For example against disabled, skin color, personal appearance, etc.
Author: Rolando Pérez Betancourt | email@example.com
April 22, 2018 20:04:56
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Next May 5, 200 years after the birth of Karl Marx, this proven director, who is undoubtedly the Haitian Raoul Peck, made the German film The Young Karl Marx in 2017, a film to which even those who do not sympathize with Marxism have had to grant him artistic merit and the rigor of the concepts on which it is based.
The film tells of two young people who did not know firsthand the ruthless exploitation of capitalism in their day – and of course the other is Frederick Engels – and yet set in motion a movement that overflowed the antagonistic politics of their time and has inspired the emancipatory yearnings of millions of people around the world over the course of a century and a half.
Biographical notes on some lives and events that began in 1843 and ended in 1848 with the edition of the Communist Manifesto, years in which Marx and Engels met and solidified an eternal friendship. The director Raoul Peck, adapting himself to the didactic demands of the biopic, shows that even in a genre, the biography, coming from a consolidated literary tradition at the service of bourgeois glorification, back in the 19th century, can innovate and make more attractive a narrative whose vital substance is the weight of ideas. A well-told film with a convincing August Diehl as the young Marx, it is a story not to be missed by those who want to know how a key text of contemporary political thought was forged, which is like saying how the Communist Manifesto was forged.
Haitian Raoul Peck was forced to emigrate with his family to the Congo after the Duvalier dictatorship threatened them with death. He was closely linked to African reality and studied filmmaking in Berlin. His films, such as Lumumba and I’m Not Your Negro, the latter a documentary about racism in the United States that was nominated for last year’s Oscar, highlights the political and social concerns of this filmmaker. Director Peck – and the film makes this very clear – is not interested in wax figures. Hence we will see a passionate young Marx, a troublemaker, a drunkard at times, a Marx with defects, as his wife reproaches him, at times self-sufficient, a person of flesh and blood. Peck’s Marx is also overflowing with a youthful energy channeled under the imperative that happiness, the meaning of life, becomes concrete for him in an act of resistance and constant struggle against social injustice.
A film for any kind of audience, but one that scholars of history and Marxism will enjoy very much as they witness the dialectical battles established between the two young revolutionaries and other figures who understood only part of what the struggle for a new world should be. Thus we will see a gallery of these characters in this story that, faithful to reality, dedicates a special treatment to the women who influenced the life of Marx and Engels, and not only in the love aspect, but also contributing ideas.
Excellent moments are recreated, such as when the young people are introduced and the director conceives the scene as a train wreck, with an ironic Marx reproaching his great friend for the golden buttons he wore on his jacket the day they first met. From the beginning, both face their egos, then show mutual admiration, and finally end up in a night party. From then on they will fight together against censorship and police raids, riots and riots that will augur the strengthening of the workers’ movement, which until then had been disorganized in no small measure.
Although the film takes fictional licenses as is usual in any biography, historically it is impeccable. At the same tim, nourishing new points of view concerning this present of ours, contaminated by many of the contradictions then predominant and perfectly explained in Das Kapital, the film is a masterpiece for then and now. It’s not for pleasure that director Raoul Peck concludes his film with a dynamic editing that alludes to the perennial validity of Marxism. First, we’ll see the historic photo of Mary and Frederick, Jenny and Karl Marx and No Direction Home, played by Bob Dylan, a collage of photos and images that remind us of what the world has been like over the last 60 or 70 years. It’s a way of telling us that the two young friends are still as relevant as when they wrote 170 years ago that a specter was haunting the world.
Leaders from around the world expressed their condolences after the death of the anti-apartheid fighter on Monday.
Author: International Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
April 3, 2018 20:04:36
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
PRETORIA: Leaders from around the world expressed their condolences after the death on Monday of Winnie Mandela, a woman whom the current South African president described as “the voice of challenge and resistance in the face of exploitation and repression by the apartheid regime”.
In a message released yesterday in Pretoria, the head of state and government, Cyril Ramaphosas, further noted that “Winnie was a champion of justice and equality and that throughout her life she contributed to the struggle through sacrifice and persistent determination”.
The news of the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 81, on Monday, April 2, at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, was reported by family spokesman Victor Dlamini. He said that “we want to communicate with deep sadness that she has passed away,” he said.
The African Union (AU), in the words of its Commission Chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat, also expressed shock and sadness at the death of Nelson Mandela’s second wife, reported Prensa Latina.
Also joining in the condolences was Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Yavad Zarif, who addressed his condolences to the South African people in general and to the supporters and all those who follow the thought and beliefs of the anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
Alluding to the four long decades of struggle against apartheid alongside Mandela, he noted that Winnie’s death had caused South Africa and the world pain.
From a closer latitude, Evo Morales, president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, expressed his solidarity with the South Africans for the loss of the one considered by many “mother of the nation” of South Africa.
Morales’ message on Twitter states that the second wife of South African leader Nelson Mandela “was and will be a symbol of the struggle for freedom and equality.
In 1994, after the first democratic elections, Madikizela-Mandela was appointed deputy and vice-minister of Art and Culture. Since then, she had been a member of parliament and remained a leading figure in the African National Congress (ANC), the governing body in South Africa since the first democratic elections after the end of apartheid, in which she won together with Mandela’s victory in 1994.
The South African government announced yesterday that on April 14 Winnie Mandela will be sent off by her people with state funerals, after President Cyril Ramaphosa visited her family in Soweto to express his condolences and support directly to them.