By Juana Carrasco Martín
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
“For the first time, a woman will appear on U.S. bills.” “The face of Harriet Tubman, a former slave and abolitionist militant, will replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bills. On April 20, 2016, almost at the end of Barack Obama’s presidential term, these were headlines in the U.S. and world press – because of the power and globalized scope of the U.S. currency.
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in 1820, escaped from inhumane captivity in 1849, and went on to organize slave rescue networks, many of them to Canada. During the American Civil War (1861-1865) she served with the Union army as a cook, nurse and even a spy. At the end of her life, Tubman – who died in 1913 at the age of 93 – helped organize movements for women’s suffrage.
Precisely, the new bill was to be circulated no later than 2020 to commemorate the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.
A discriminatory designation for women was to be broken, and Tubman’s election to place her alongside other American heroes who are honored in the monetary system was not easy. The consultations lasted almost a year, [there were] thousands of proposals, and in the end, the finalists included First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and the legendary leader of the movement against racial segregation and civil rights of the 1950s, Rosa Parks, the courageous young woman who, on December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, as racist laws and customs dictated.
But, if in 2016 the then-Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew had already seen a photo and proof of design of the bill with the face of Harriet Tubman, why are there still no effective steps to replace the paper money that has General Andrew Jackson as the protagonist, even if it is moved to the reverse [side] as agreed?
Jackson also has a history: Owner of hundreds of slaves who worked on his Hermitage Plantation, he began in the military camp during the War of Independence against the British. He earned the rank of general by waging war on the Indians, first on the Creek, who called him Jacksa Chula Harjo, which means “Jackson, old and fierce”, and on to the Seminolas, among whom he was known as “sharp knife”. As the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson stood out especially for having signed the Indian Removal Act, guaranteeing the theft of their ancestral lands and provoking a march toward Oklahoma in which thousands of natives died, and he was given the name of “Trail of Tears.
In 2016, Twitter overflowed with predictable messages from conservatives and traditionalists – not to say also racists – who saw the decision as an affront from the forces they called “politically correct”.
There werer also tweets in favor of the inclusion of the ex-slave. A historian commented in the Huffington Post: “In 2016, the United States faces serious problems related to poverty, inequality, and racism. The arrival of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill will not solve these problems. Its purpose is to present itself as a vivid and powerful symbol of freedom, equality, and inclusion. It is up to us citizens to make use of it.
But then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in 2016 that he opposed the decision that honored Tubman. He called it “pure political correctness”. Rejecting the measure was already an insult to both women and the African American population, and he multiplied it by suggesting that Harriet Tubman should be on the two-dollar bill, [which has been] discontinued in the U.S. monetary system.
What is real now is that the current Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, said last Wednesday, May 22, that plans to replace Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $20 bill by abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman are on hold until at least 2026.
Mnuchin was questioned by Massachusetts Democratic legislator Ayanna Pressley, who told him: “The American people understand the importance of representation on the banknotes of the world’s most powerful economy. … Do you support Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill?” and the cantifleus came as a response: “I have not made any decision since it refers to that decision not being made, in, as I have said (…) until 2026 probably.”
The representative reminded him that there was a national community process, to which Mnuchen argued: “again, it is a decision of the Treasury Department. Now my decision is focused on security functions”, referring to the fact that they could not be falsified…
Andrew Jackson is an admired president and perhaps even Donald Trump’s favorite. Some historians claim that Jackson had an arrogant and difficult character…
By Luis Autié Cantón firstname.lastname@example.org
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Cuba is lagging behind. And no, I’m not talking about transportation or technology. I’m talking about boxing. Our men’s squad are championss because of their respect for each other. To name the four letters in a pugilistic event is to sow, among rivals, fear of the coming storm. It is to know that they will have to die on the canvas to defeat ours. We’ve earned that right over the years. But, I insist, we are lagging behind. When the next edition of the World Series begins, if it sees the light after the corruption scandals at the highest levels of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), it will be competing in eight male divisions and, listen well, in four female divisions. While this is not yet confirmed, when the river sounds…
And our female boxing, dear reader, doesn’t even bring stones.
Nelsy Torres is 21 years old and gets up early every day to train. Her greatest aspiration is to be able to compete officially.
“As a boxer, I need boxing to be legalized because I want to fulfill a dream. If they don’t give me the opportunity, they are slowing down women’s rights. While other countries advance with results, Cuba is lagging behind. I’m sure we can have the same results as men. Even better. We can’t wait for generations of boxers to go by, and we can’t get anywhere,” she says impotently.
Rolando Acebal, helmsman of our main boxing squad, confesses that he has not seen any girl fight here in Cuba, but he does not hide his opinion that we could have good exponents in the future. “Currently, in the world, the countries that practice male boxing also practice female boxing, and no harm has been seen to the health of the athletes. If it had been any other way, it would have been detected and it would all be over.
“There are Cuban coaches abroad who work with women’s boxing. I think we should not deny that right to women who have the desire and have requested the opportunity to train and compete. There are even mothers advocating for their daughters’ opportunity. We’ve been told that they’re analyzing, doing medical studies, but we’ve been doing it for a few years now and we’re lagging behind in that sense.
The girls with their jabs, their uppercuts and their hooks are not rain that just fell. Since the 18th century, there have been sports fights between women in this discipline. The Londoner Elizabeth Wilkinson, in 1722, is the oldest known champion. A little more than a century later, it was fought for the first time on this side of the Atlantic, when the bell rang for the North Americans Nell Saunders and Rose Harland to face each other, ring by ring, in 1876, on American soil.
In 1954, almost 80 years later, a women’s poster could be seen on television. One of the fighters who appeared in the “magic box” was Barbara Buttrick, one of the most famous boxers of all time.
The United States was the country where women’s boxing developed the most, following that fight of the nineteenth century. Between 1975 and 1978 some women applied for boxing licenses. Particularly important was the successful trial that the boxers Cathy “Cat” Davis, Jackie Tonawanda and Marian “Lady Tyger” Trimiar carried out against the state of New York, due to the rejection of their requests for licenses. The wide media coverage of these events directed public attention to this discipline.
However, the persistence of restrictions and prejudices led Lady Tyger to go on a one-month hunger strike for women’s rights in boxing in 1987.
As can be seen, some of the most important fights in the history of women’s pugilism have not been fought on canvas, but in the courts. Five years after that hunger strike, in 1992, Massachusetts boxer Gail Grandchamp knocked the system out by getting the state Supreme Court to recognize her right to box after eight years of trial. At the time, the Court held that it was illegal for an official to deny a license to box on the sole ground of the applicant’s sex. However, Grandchamp was unable to practice boxing because he had already exceeded the maximum age of 36 for amateur boxers.
In 1993, the USA Boxing Association, which is responsible for amateur boxing in the United States, agreed to regulate women’s boxing throughout the country after 16-year-old Dallas Malloy won a federal discrimination lawsuit in court.
Despite all the official and unofficial history, of all that baggage that goes back to the eighteenth century, it was not until March 15, 1996, that occurs the fact that is considered by many as the birth of modern female professional boxing. We refer, in this case, to the fight between Christy Martin and Deirdre Gogarty. That same year, the UK Amateur Boxing Association repealed the 1880 ban on boxing for women, and a year later, in July 1997, the first U.S. women’s boxing championship was held. In the following years, other countries were authorizing and organizing this discipline, in the women’s section, and were consecrated world champions in all categories. That is why it is difficult to understand that, in a country like ours, where neither race nor gender distinctions are established, we still do not have the legal or institutional instruments that allow our girls to get into a ring and defend the four-letter t-shirt with their gloves.
Boxing was first included in the modern Olympic program in 1904 in St. Louis, but it wasn’t until London 2012 that women were able to fight under the five hoops.
At the British event, women competed in three weight categories and a total of 36 boxers took part. The Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) still refused to include women’s pugilism as a demonstration sport in the program of the Games four years earlier in Beijing.
The time for women’s boxing matches in summer events is four rounds, two minutes each, unlike men, who fight in three three-minute moments.
If we consider our route, in which boxing has undoubtedly been the sport with the most Olympic and world titles in our history, nothing takes away the right to think that we could, with a little time, become a power of female pugilism. I sign it, and I stamp it.
Perhaps one of the aspects that most restrains the Cuban Boxing Federation is the issue of the safety of girls in the ring. In this regard, Rafael Lerena Naples, head of the medical corps of the national team of this sport, believes that there is nothing to worry about in this particular case.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have an athlete in the squad at the moment. The problem is that the competent authorities have not yet authorized Cuban women’s boxing to begin. We are waiting for that”.
The doctor says that “there has never been any damage to the health of these girls”. In this regard, he explains that “the risk in sport is in all specialties. People are at risk of being injured, even walking down the street. However, the risks in high performance are always minimized. The Cuban athlete has entered satisfactorily in all the sports disciplines and for having, especially in the specialties of combat. So why not in boxing? Cuba has demonstrated, with results, quality in boxing since the triumph of the Revolution, and has made it clear that we are a source, a quarry, of good boxers. Why not have boxers”?
“Bebo” Alcántara, 76 years old, ex-bodeguero and boxing fan since childhood, does not understand why women should fight in a ring. “Boxing is a gentleman’s sport. My father always told me this when my mother protested against the violence of the fights. Now, I love boxing, but I don’t see any attraction in seeing two women “punching each other”. Women are more delicate. I think they would lose even femininity.
On the other hand, the soul of the ring, the protagonists, who live daily the intrigulis of this sport, have favorable opinions on the development of them in the pugilism. The light welter Andy Cruz, considered the most complete boxer in Cuba at the moment, expressed his support: “I like very much that they also take into account female boxing. I have seen Cuban women fight, many have come from other sports. I have liked them, I have seen that they have quality and I know that in the future they can achieve great things. I am sure that in a short time they will reach the same height that male boxing has achieved.
Rolando Acebal explains that in Cuba women have had results in sports such as judo, weights or wrestling. “Traditionally, the Cuban woman is brave, a fighter, sacrificed. They are the example of Mariana Grajales, and have demonstrated over the years that they are capable of performing any task.
Hopefully, these voices will serve as a straight line to the chin to change mentalities. Hopefully, the brake and the lack of decision will not recover to the protection count of logic. We want to hear our National Anthem while, on a ring, the referee raises his arm to a Cuban girl.
No female boxing.
I am a passionate lover of boxing, in all its dimensions. I do not think it is right to truncate the wishes of any woman, who voluntarily loves this sport and wants to practice it. They want to see history more beautiful than Mary Kom’s. For me the best boxer of all time, within the amateur world. The one that fought against all adversity and prejudices and became multiple Olympic champion. Cuba is left behind, many times for banal justifications. the personal decision of the individuals to respect themselves, as long as it does not affect the general society. And approving female boxing, does not affect anyone. Let’s step forward and in a few years we will have our champions, I’m sure of that. The potential is.
Very much in agreement with this inclusion of women’s boxing we are missing medals and opportunities and above all we have not given women their opportunity to demonstrate their boxing qualities that I have no doubt that in a short time they resemble male pairs
Yesterday I saw a photo on Facebook where in the foreground you can see a woman with a machine gun and in the background a man with an apron in front of the sink and a text almost the same as the caricature .. What a strange coincidence.
No to Boxing for women ??? And when they have taken the rifle? If we are going to talk about danger.
Not allowing female boxing is simply discrimination against women. Only they must decide if they are boxers or not. Why do some people believe they have the right to decide what only they should do? For a long time the female weightlifting was stopped.
That other countries do something is not an argument for us to imitate them. But undoubtedly women have the right to practice any sport according to their physical characteristics. I personally do not like boxing and least of all feminine.
Well if they want to promote women’s boxing or drawing serves, very badly, each person independent of gender has the same rights, at least is what they enact.
it’s horaaa !!!
If it is found that there is no risk for women, that is, that does not cause any disorder to women because of the blows they may receive in the breasts, etc., I agree that it should be practiced; That the FMC of his opinion on the matter, because I am convinced that they will investigate before giving an opinion.
9 de Mayo del 2017 11:56:38 CDT
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
Posted: Tuesday May 9, 2017 | 11:56:38 am. Updated: Friday 22 September 2017 | 12:41:44 am.
This Friday, the community of readers of Juventud Rebelde will have the opportunity to dialogue online with specialists from the Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (Cenesex), about the 10th Cuban Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Mariela Castro Espín, director of Cenesex; Manuel Vázquez Sejido, deputy director of the center and National Coordinator of Community Social Networks; Andy Aquino Agüero, head of the Department of Community Work and director of the Transgéneros Cuba Project; Ángela L. Urquiza Ramessur, specialist in the Department of Community Work and member of the National Commission for Comprehensive Care of Trans People; Yoanka Rodney, Doctor of Science and professor at the “Enrique José Varona” University of Pedagogical Sciences; Susana Hernández Martín, journalist of the Communication Department of Cenesex, Francisco Rodríguez Cruz, activist, collaborator with Cenesex and journalist of the newspaper Trabajadores, exchange with cybernauts about the prejudices that can subsist in the scenario of social learning, in the advance of public policies at the country level, and in aspects related to citizen and political opinion about the LGBT population (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals).
[Follow the publications of Mariela Castro through her official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/castroespinmariela ]
Why are schools the main scenario of this day? How can we face a situation of homophobic and transphobic bullying in the school environment? How is it possible to strengthen the sexual education program of the country’s school system? These are some of the concerns that will be answered.
The director of our newspaper Yailín Orta welcomed them to the Cenesex team and praised the work of that center in the defense of gender equality and the promotion of the rights of LGBTI people; at the same time, she gave them a collection of books published by Juventud Rebelde.
[You can visit the CENESEX accounts on Facebook and Twitter for more information on this day]
Joel García: What do you think has been Cenesex’s greatest achievement in this decade? What has been its greatest unfulfilled goal?
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: I consider that the main achievement of Cenesex in this decade, in terms of confronting homophobia and transphobia, would be the placement of the topic in public debate. [It has brought about] a change in the perception of a significant part of our population that now assumes as an anti-value, that is, something negative and socially repudiable, the fact of being a homophobic or transphobic person. This is palpable even among individuals who still harbor prejudices toward sexual orientations and gender identities that do not conform to the heterosexist norm. They have begun to express more tolerant attitudes that, over time, could evolve toward full acceptance and respect for sexual diversity. The great objective that has not been achieved would be to make more concrete these advances in terms of greater political and social consensus on the need to confront discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. [To achieve this] all the legal norms and public policies are still required so that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people can enjoy the same rights as the rest of the Cuban people.
Juan Carlos Ramírez: How can you find out about the things Cenesex does outside of the days against homophobia? Do you have your own channel of communication? I want to be an activist, to help.
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: In addition to all the information it disseminates on its institutional website www.cenesex.org, Cenesex develops a broad and systematic relationship with the media that requests the participation of its specialists in radio and television programs and specialized pages of the print media, for the approach and dissemination of all the actions of the National Education and Sexual Health Program.
It also has the Cenesex publishing imprint, which publishes numerous scientific publications during the year, as well as the magazine Sexología y Sociedad, with academic approaches to the multiple topics studied by the institution.
In terms of activism, there are currently six community social networks linked to Cenesex: the TransCuba network of trans people and their families; the lesbian and bisexual women’s network; the Humanity for Diversity network; the youth network for sexual health and rights; the network of jurists for sexual rights; and the network of social workers. Most of them have groups or individuals who collaborate or participate in their work in various territories of the country, not only in the capital.
These social networks linked to Cenesex promote, throughout the year, a great number of training and interaction actions with the community. They have great autonomy in their activist work, based on work objectives and specific operating principles for each case. We invite you to visit us and inquire about the contents addressed by each network, to integrate and participate in the one that is closest to your interests, affinities and possibilities.
Yasmany: Why don’t you use a .cu domain, so that everyone can access it? Before Cenesex had its own website and now? I would like to know about the event that will take place in Cayo Coco during the vacations on the subject. I’m a lawyer.
Susana Hernández Martín: Hello Yasmany, you are right in what you propose to us as to have our page in a Cuban domain, it would be the best and it is what we want. In fact, we are currently in the process of “moving” our site, which is .org to .cu so that everyone in the country can visit it even if they don’t have an Internet connection.
Anyway, until the change happens, you can visit us at: www.cenesex.org to be informed about the activities of the center and also so that with your opinions about what we publish there help us to make our contents more and more like what the population needs to know about sexuality and sexual rights.
About the event in Cayo Coco that you mention, for the moment there is nothing projected, but keep visiting the page so that you will learn all the events and days that we do inside and outside Havana.
Dalia: Well I guess when they say school they mean high school, high school and college, right? I always repudiate homophobes but I’m worried that this campaign will push the limits and confuse our children. I honestly have nothing against sexual orientations, that’s everyone’s business in their intimate spaces but EYE it’s very difficult to explain to a child who is just understanding the love between two people of the same sex or the fact that a boy wears skirt and makeup? What to do in this situation!? I think that first to access the mentality of the future adult must teach respect for others and their right to be happy, I do not think that a gay person is just that, is also a person, daughter (or), aunt (or), friend (or), teacher (or), I myself have great admiration for my professor of Psychology and I have never thought about what he does with his partner. For me, respect comes first and foremost.
Angela L. Urquiza Ramessur: Dalia, first of all I want to say that I think it is very positive that you participate in this space, it is with the participation of all Cuban society that we aspire to make it inclusive.
When we say schools we mean all school spaces, sexuality (which is much more than coitus and genitality) is an integral part of human beings and is always expressed, with its particular characteristics in each stage of development. From this logic, we also refer to primary education, where girls and boys need to understand how sexuality is expressed in people, in ALL people. In this way they do not get confused and grow up thinking that the heterosexual and gender identity variant as it is the only existing and valid or, worse, that it is okay to insult, hit, exclude other people under that premise.
We cannot afford to be naïve thinking that it is okay to leave the sexuality education of our children totally to chance, because yes, they are receiving content on this all the time and from dissimilar sources, often wrong and lacking the human values defended by our social project. So, yes, we agree that the “future adult” must be taught “respect for others and their right to be happy”… Also that their actions have an effect on that perception of happiness, that they are responsible for their actions.
Another important point is the one referring to “intimate spaces”. Non-heterosexual people have the right to hold hands, to express their feelings with gestures of affection, to talk about sexual relations, to express their sexuality in the public spheres as heterosexual people do. It is not a question of taking away anyone’s rights, but of guaranteeing the same rights for all people. A fair, equitable position is that of inclusion, not that of excluding human beings from common spaces under prejudiced premises, whether these spaces are real, imaginary or symbolic.
Finally, human beings are diverse and this diversity can be a common space for being human. Among these children, adolescents and young people learning about the world there are many who love or will love people of the same sex.. Many have gender identities different from those historically normed, and they need to know that they are normal and have the same right as other people. Sometimes we think that children will find it as difficult to understand love and desire as we do, but that is not necessarily the case. Questions to ask when children, in their dealings in the world, find trans people, you already have the answer: “Respect is first and foremost”.
JAHD: If marriage between LGBT people is not legally permitted in our country and there is no prospect of this being achieved in the medium term, what legal variants can be applied according to the laws in force to protect stable couples from separations, deaths and similar events?
Andy lay: Very timely this talk in cyberspace I would like to know how far has been advanced with the issue of gay marriage in Cuba and the main policies for the LGBT population in our country.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: At the moment, there is no possibility of legally recognizing marriage between people of the same sex, although I am optimistic and believe that there are sufficient conditions to move towards a legislative amendment that will allow everyone to have access to the institution of marriage. Notwithstanding the above, there are some “legal solutions” that can be used to protect same-sex couples from situations that may arise with the break-up of the couple or the death of one of its members. For example, the possibility of acquiring property in co-ownership, donating property to the other member of the couple in situations in which the absence of one of them is foreseeable or granting a will.
RGC: School bullying is not necessarily related to homophobic and transphobic behavior, it is good that this topic is touched on, it should be started by educators who should not allow it or be part of it, children are very sensitive to this, goes from the bullyng by the physical aspect, the very fat or very skinny, the directed to those who have economic problems, those who do not use name-brand clothing, the one that refuses to smoke or those who refuse to intimate to that age, to those who do not like noise and prefer tranquility, the least intelligent and even the very intelligent are separated are the center of ridicule that can be very hurtful, educators have maximum responsibility and educates the relatives of the harassers, no one is born being a harasser, I think there should be disciplinary and legal measures in this regard, social education is essential but must be supported by legal penalties, our society must learn a lot, that is educated from the earliest ages, then we can talk about marriage in the LGBT community. They know they should not even be called that they are from that community, we are all Cubans independent of sexual inclinations and physical appearance, from the moment we say gay community, and that is discriminatory, separates the concept of “Cubans”, the same with those who say Afro-Cubans, are separating a group of “Cubans”, we all have a mixture of different cultures, we are human beings born on this island, Whether we are physically beautiful or ugly, then we are Cubans, the mentality is that we should all integrate into a better society, participatory, where everyone brings the best of himself to society, the one who contributes the most with his talent, knowledge, work, that is special, that is integrated and has synergistic effect towards the rest, I do not like that kind of separatism “gay community”, “Afro-Cuban”, etc… Let’s leave this nonsense far from us, we all have to integrate ourselves in social development, educating and this education must have legal support to be able to sanction those who impede integration, education in the human being also implies control of behavior, for something legality was invented.
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: I share practically all his points of view, in particular, his concern for the unity that we find so expensive for the Cuban revolutionary and socialist project. Nevertheless, when there are groups of people or population sectors that suffer some kind of social disadvantage in terms of access to certain opportunities or not having all their rights guaranteed, it is logical, inevitable and necessary to make visible the problems that affect them, so that the rest of society identifies and resolves those deficiencies that hurt other people in their own midst. In other words, in order to achieve the integration into the social development to which you aspire, it may be inevitable to make this transition through certain specificities that distinguish and place certain human groups in difficulties. This will lead to better thinking about and implementing ways of guaranteeing the legal support required to avoid harassment and redress injustices. Acknowledging the existence of such differences would even allow us to prevent, rather than sanction, the inappropriate behaviors and actions that sometimes occur.
Pedro: I would like to know if it is possible to build or if there is a Cuban LGBT movement?
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: It is a complex question, especially because it has to do with the different conceptions of this particular phenomenon. Therefore, it is important to emphasize that my position on this matter is influenced by the vision I have on the subject. In Cuba there is an important group of activists who have organized themselves and form part of different networks, for example: Trans People, Families and Couples Network (TransCuba), the Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Network, the Network of Jurists for Sexual Rights, the Youth Network for Health and Sexual Rights, the Humanity for Diversity Network, and the Network of Workers for Comprehensive Sexuality Education. We are talking about more than 4,000 activists trained throughout the island from the support and training spaces generated by the National Center for Sexuality Education since the beginning of 2000. Each of these networks has very specific objectives and unites in the main task of contributing to the recognition and guarantee of sexual rights as human rights without distinction of any kind. There is definitely an important group of people in our country who join forces to advance in these issues of social justice, a group of people who are not only lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex, but also include allies and fundamental allies, heterosexual people. Cenesex has promoted spaces for dialogue and reflection, and activists are an important part of these spaces; for example, the Cuban Days Against Homophobia and Transphobia are promoted by activists. As I was saying, alliances are vital, strategic; in our case, they have concretized as much with civil society organizations as with State institutions and the Communist Party of Cuba itself. I believe that in Cuba, LGBTI people, together with our allies and allies, are in evident “movement” and committed to the constant construction of strategies that allow us to have a positive impact on society in general, to unite, educate, respect, coexist.
Cruz: We must respect the right to choose one’s sexual orientation but, aware of the necessary breaking of taboos, we must also respect the right not to agree with the liberalism that we want to impose. Just as the hetero people do not proclaim how to behave with couples of the opposite sex, homosexuals and those who promote and almost force through campaigns that we accept everything, should admit that they are exceeding themselves … please!!! Don’t exaggerate.
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: Cenesex and its activists do not intend to impose anything on anyone or disrespect any right of another human being. Nor is it the intention to exaggerate, nor do I think it has been done. On the contrary, we always think carefully about each step we take, based on the advances of scientific knowledge and the most appropriate management of social communication. Perhaps you do not perceive it, but all western culture, from which ours does not escape, constantly proclaims – and imposes – the heterosexual norm, not only through the constant visibility of its ways of expressing sexuality, affections and filial relations, but also through the silence or concealment that it demands of those who depart from this cultural pattern. Can you imagine that homosexual people would bother us because heterosexuals would walk hand in hand in the street, kiss their partner in public to greet each other, or comment on their opposite-sex partner at school, at work or in the neighborhood? If we were to question heterosexual people about those or other rights, as they do to us homosexuals or trans people, then you could rightly say that we were exaggerating. But it’s lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and trans people who get that.
Rodin: I agree with Cruz (the forum participant). And it is that many times the Campaigns against homophobia go through what the final message arrives distorted, such it seems that the homosexual is being “imposed” or given “publicity” and it is there where the problem is formed and a very wide sector of society is opposed, because the publicity is atrocious. Another thing: I’m heterosexual and I don’t go around saying it, I don’t have to boast or feel heterosexual pride as gays do, I’m just like that. Also, it’s embarrassing to go to Fraternity Park at night and see the clothes that gays wear, they dress like prostitutes, it’s a displeasure towards the Cuban woman so decent that she is, in fact, they dress worse than the gays… Cuban women, they disrespect each other, they mess with each other without tone and they are not and I’ve seen every thing that I’m not going to tell you here but that’s what you have to fight against. It is true that sometimes they are discriminated against, but they are also very eccentric and problematic. Not all of them are, because I know many who are decent, cultured and worth talking to them but the other sector leaves much to be desired. In addition, now he has some negative opinion about a certain fact related to homosexuals and they classify him as homophobic, why? If it is badly done, what is being done is discussed as it is being discussed against heterosexuals, and it should not be given greater relevance – as often happens – for being gay. This is a reflection that I wanted to raise although I know that I will be labeled homophobic or not put in this space.
Andy Aquino Agüero: Hello Rodin and it is good that you have shared your opiinions with us because it is important to dialogue about our realities, it is an important way to sensitize the entire population in terms of comprehensive sexuality education and this virtual scenario is guaranteeing it to us.
We agree that we must work on the subject of communication with great care and ensure that the messages arrive with the greatest clarity and, above all, that there is no “imposition” or “publicity” look. Placing issues related to sexual orientation or gender identity in the media is as legitimate as so many others. It is a human right to be able to develop in all senses, without stigma and discrimination.
It is not a question of making comparisons between heterosexuals, homosexuals or trans people. The essence of the reflections is aimed at respecting the rights of all from their singularities of expression.
Trans people and homosexuals have seen their rights violated by not “complying” with established codes that only socially legitimize heterosexuality as a form of expression. Many rights in heterosexual people are already naturalized and should not be pronounced in their defense, this is not the case for non-heteronormative expressions.
It is not a question of proclaiming the individual characteristics of each one, but when because of these singularities human beings are unable to develop, then it must be said and emphasis must be placed on the achievement of rights, in these cases sexual rights as human rights.
You mention a situation that is painful, but it is only an effect of discriminatory and stigmatizing postures that are structured in society. Trans people often choose to only go out at night for all the manifestations of ridicule, laughter, choteo, harassment and bullying to which they are subjected during the day, and that is also shameful because it does not speak well of a people like ours.
We are talking about people in whom it has been demonstrated that their family, school and work environments are constantly being violated.
And, in relation to prostitution, you will agree that as a reflection in society it is multicausal, it is a phenomenon that generates violence around it and is not exclusive to trans people, but is reflected equally in men and women.
We are called to think about and not stigmatize anyone because of sexual orientation or gender identity. There are problematic people, eccentric, decent or not, of all kinds, and it does not depend on their sexuality. But sexuality, as a device of power, if it causes discomfort to people who are not heterosexual. I agree that we must work to avoid all these manifestations.
When we talk about these issues with Respect we cannot describe them as “homophobia or transphobia”, we are human beings who dialogue on the basis of equality and who have the firm intention of generating a social project that is evidently more inclusive.
Javier Alejandro: What does Mariela Castro consider to be the main public policy issues benefiting the LGBT community and why are the responses not advancing faster?
Mariela Castro Espín: Designing public policies is a complex and difficult process, first it requires preparation to know how to do it on a scientific basis from specialized cinemas, institutions that have this social mandate, after approval the participation of other social actors must be organized. Cenesex has proposed strategies as public policies to address the rights of LGBT people in Cuba. We have advanced in some objectives that are opening steps to achieve others. An example: That the objectives and principles approved in the policy of the PCC have included non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This policy is being translated into concrete actions. The campaigns developed by Cenesex contribute to generating social awareness to help the population understand these objectives and overcome their prejudices. Consensus is important so that these tasks are not [just] formally fulfilled. Previous campaigns served to draw attention to the responsibilities of families after work and union activism in favor of these rights. We are now drawing attention to the role of schools where we know there are situations of homophobic and transphobic harassment. The proposals being prepared at the legislative level are an important part of these concrete actions. Social policy is a strategy of intervention from the political power over social relations. When a policy is designed, there are objectives of immediate, medium and long term scope, and the changes in consciousness, in culture, to achieve change in social relations occur slowly. There will always be a party that opposes and resists, so we must maintain diverse spaces to continue the dialogue and build consensus.
Jjsdjsdsd: The new family constructions, challenge for the Law was a work that was recently published in our press. On the subject, I would like to know why family diversity, which as we all know exists, is not recognized in Cuban law.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: The new family configurations, although not so new and more visible today, are precisely the expression of a social reality evident in our context that must be regulated legally. This juridical regulation is not a vain question but obeys the need to recognize and guarantee the rights of all people in a socio-political system that is defined and has been characterized since 1959 by the constant search for social justice and equality for all. Although much progress has been made, there are still prejudices that hinder decision making and even the very interpretation and application of our current legal norms. The need to modify the current Family Code has been an issue put on the debate table from activism, but also from academia; civil society organizations such as the Federation of Cuban Women and the National Union of Jurists of Cuba have worked very seriously on a modification proposal that has been taken as a reference by the legal-political group of the National Sex Education Program (ProNESS) to present this and other legislative proposals in relation to the recognition of sexual rights as human rights. It is for this reason that it is so important to implement educational processes for the diverse groups of our society in order to deconstruct the cultural and imaginary social patterns that generate resistance, the norms themselves do not assure changes in consciences, they need changes in our “ways of acting” that allow the respect of legally regulated rights.
María: For several years there has been talk of a draft Family Code, which will come with new proposals and among them there is talk of unions between people of the same sex, why this proposal has been delayed so long, where it is deceived, why they have not just defined what is going to be done, I believe that Cuban society is prepared for this issue.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: This question is related to an earlier one, only to add that I fully agree with you in stating that our society is ready for them and, even if it were not, these issues are human rights issues for one group of people and therefore you should not wait for another group to “agree” with your recognition. However, legal norms when supported by majorities have greater legitimacy and definitely a greater chance of being respected by those to whom they are addressed.
Elianet Carrazana: Good morning, I would like to know if Dr. Mariela Castro Espín is aware of the Autoexclúyete campaign. Are the requirements that this Blood Bank establishes for a donation really reasonable? How have we been able to publish that people who “practice homosexuality, bisexuality and sexual promiscuity” should feel unfit to perform such a human act as donating blood? It is truly a disappointment and a pity that this and even more so in the midst of the 10th Conference against Homophobia and Transphobia. Thank you.
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: The denunciation made by the newspaper Escambray was the immediate object of the attention of Cenesex, which immediately received the concern through several activists. According to Deputy Director Manuel Vázquez Seijido, when answering a question similar to his during the conference of Dr. Mariela Castro Espín at the University of Computer Science, this concern was transferred directly to the office of the Minister of Public Health and the Vice-Minister of Medical Assistance, because we share the same concern about the discriminatory nature of this banner, whose letter and spirit would violate Law 41 that regulates the public health system in Cuba. As soon as there is a response, we will make it known.
Carlosvaradero: Why, despite progress in LGBT rights, is there still harassment of homosexuals by PNR members? If they aren’t doing anything in a certain place, just gathered, the police arrive and ask them for identification as if they were criminals? However, another criminal act can happen nearby and the police never appear or turn a blind eye? Why this harassment? I would like Mariela to be able to talk about it at some point. Thank you.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: The Ministry of the Interior has been one of the ministries with which we have had a closer rapprochement as part of our sensitization workshops on issues related to Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Sexual Health and Human Rights, including, of course, sexual orientation and gender identity. Within the Ministry of the Interior, the General Directorate of the National Revolutionary Police (DGPNR) has been key and a fundamental ally; its chiefs have supported these processes of training their forces, however, we have not achieved all the desired results. It is a complex process to deconstruct rigid thought systems that drive homophobic and transphobic behaviors, then the instability in the forces and in particular those officers who are in contact with the general population further complicates the issue. Definitely, although we have advanced in this point, if we make a quick comparison with the panorama of 10 years ago, this is an issue that is still pending and to which we must continue to pay special attention.
Carlosvaradero: What is the country’s political will regarding same-sex unions? The subject is touched upon, but there is never anything clear about it, it is as if one avoids speaking about the subject by those who have to decide about that subject. Thank you!
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: Your question is a broad one, I have preferred to answer it by taking as a reference a transcendental political decision in recent years and that, personally, I identify as a clear expression of the political will of our State. I am referring to the documents that emerged from the VII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in which equality and non-discrimination are understood as a fundamental pillar for the development of the prosperous and sustainable nation to which we aspire; in these, the illegitimacy of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is clearly addressed and this will undoubtedly guide the political decisions that are adopted from this moment on.
Juana T.: Does the Cuban Penal Code take into account homophobic and transphobic bullying in the school environment? Do you have any proposals in this regard?
Francisco Rodríguez Cruz: On his first concern, we already offered an answer to the commentator Elianet, in question 13. His other question was also answered by the deputy director, Manuel Vázquez Seijido.
Sachiel: Good morning, sir. I hope that a similar campaign will be made against bullying in general, and not only this issue of homophobia and the like, but I also hope that someone from MINED and MES will be present in the debate. I very much agree with Yasmany (for me that is elitism and lack of awareness of those who preach and seek equal rights) and ask how to avoid acts of public disorder (dishonest exhibitions, sexual harassment, etc.) by LGBT people or groups; what education or procedure is followed for that by Cenesex and related, and what has been achieved in that sense.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: Our campaign, although it draws attention to homophobic and transphobic bullying, starts from the understanding that this is a phenomenon that occurs in a more general context and that includes the victimization of people whose characteristics deviate from the hegemonic norms that rigidly organize our social dynamics, we are often victims because of our height, skin color, physical complexion, etc. The Ministry of Education is an important part of the actions that we are developing and the Ministry of Higher Education has shown its support, we cannot pretend that the changes take place automatically, because they depend on the changes that must be generated in our consciences.
Julio Alberto Gavilán: Once again I ask for your help to put an end to eight years of injustice. I was unfairly punished for separating from the sector, for sexual harassment of students that I have not been able to know who they are. In all instances, including the Public Prosecutor’s Office and MES, they argue that it is not necessary to present witnesses. I wonder where my rights as citizens have been respected. Please, I repeat, it is time to put an end to so much injustice that it has affected my health, my morale and my job without proof.
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: Julio Alberto: For a situation like yours, it would be more convenient if you would send us all the information possible and the allegations that you make to the legal orientation services of Cenesex, which operate on Wednesdays and Fridays, starting at nine o’clock in the morning, at our headquarters at Calle 21 esquina a 10, Vedado.
Juana T.: Does the Cuban Penal Code take into account homophobic and transphobic bullying in the school environment? Do you have any proposals in this regard?
Manuel Vázquez Sejido: The Cuban Penal Code has some penal figures that are linked to bullying in a general way and therefore allow criminal legal responsibility to be demanded for events of this type. For example, when bullying generates injuries, or is related to threats, coercion or is linked to lascivious abuse, rape, etc; it also has to do with a possible crime against the right to equality. However, it should be noted that the solutions provided by the penal code are partial, since the under-16s are not included in their cases, since they are not criminally responsible and, in addition, there is an important group of situations that may constitute homophobic or transphobic bullying that are not legally defined as crimes.
Camila Fonck: Is there harassment in Cuban schools? How can one identify a child victim? Is it also possible to identify those who may become or are potential victimizers?
Yoanka Rodney: Yes, there is scientific evidence that allows us to affirm the presence of the problem in some schools.
They are children considered weak and unable to defend themselves. They are often teased by classmates or higher grades. In the case of those who attend primary school, they often complain to their teacher about the discomfort of their classmates. In our country, they are known as the hustle and bustle. Also, refusal to attend the educational institution can be associated as an indicator.
Potential aggressors are those children who are dominant, manipulators and controllers. They are those who intentionally and repeatedly annoy a particular peer or a group of them for various reasons. They can be negative leaders in the classroom and with a certain development of social skills that allows them to add followers and harass other classmates.
Lucifer: Hello. Good morning Mariela, first thank you for your hard work to get you the beauty and intelligence of your mother. First I would like to know, if CENESEX is thinking of an educational campaign to educate gays to reasonable behavior, I am a supporter that everyone should be as they like. If heterosexuals give each other a kiss on the street, which I think is wrong, everyone should express their affection to one another in private. If you plan to make more news with gay cut, almost in the news, or TV we see nothing that deals with gays. I wonder if they have a project to change this situation.
Susana Hernández: Hello Lucifer, for the National Center for Sex Education – as its name implies – educational campaigns are an essential tool. Throughout the year we broadcast messages about the universe of sexual health and rights through our own media, such as the website www.cenesex.org and the Facebook page Cenesex, but also through the national media in both informative and varied spaces.
The messages are as diverse as the topics the center works on and are not limited to LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) issues. On the other hand, we share a broad vision of education, which goes beyond educating one group or another. Our goal is for society as a whole to share the importance of sexuality for the full development of the human being and to understand the multiple dimensions and forms that sexuality can present in each person.
Juventud Rebelde: Why are schools the main scene of this day against homophobia? How can homophobic and transphobic bullying be dealt with in the school environment? How is it possible to strengthen the sex education programme of the country’s school system?
Yoanka Rodney: Various international agencies such as UNESCO and scientific research in various countries say that homophobic bullying is a universal problem, affecting schools, the people involved and the quality of education. It is also recognized that the school is in charge of the integral formation of the younger generations and the space par excellence to ensure that from an early age people learn to relate to each other on the basis of respect, acceptance, sensitivity, and solidarity regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. For this reason, the system of influence carried out by teachers in collaboration with the family and the community plays an important role.
A situation of homophobic or transphobic bullying is faced with education, prevention, acceptance, solidarity, sensitivity, respect towards the other. Also using properly the school regulations which prohibit the use of teasing, rude jokes and hurtful words among peers. Another way of dealing with harassment is by implementing the Sexual Education with a Gender and Sexual Rights Approach program, in which the essential content includes addressing the issue of sexual gender violence and, in particular, that which is produced by sexual orientation and gender identity.
It also confronts by communicating to teachers and family members the situations of harassment they are experiencing so that they can take action. In any situation of harassment, including homophobia and transphobia, many students remain silent and at the mercy of their aggressors without receiving the necessary help.
The sexual education program is strengthened by educational activities that are designed, which should be aimed especially at students, teachers and families. Although it cannot be ignored that if the school is the most important cultural center of the community then the educational work to be developed by this socialization agency must reach the entire population. In the same way, it is strengthened with the collaboration of other socialization agencies, the participation of the media and civil society institutions.
Lizandra: Who said the LGBT community is protected? I mean, I’ve lived with my partner for 20 years, if my partner gets sick and has no one to take care of her, do I get permission at work to take unpaid leave in order to take care of her? If she dies, after I am left grounded, do I have the right to the benefits that the law gives me to be able to be in the funeral home and that those three days that the labor code establishes do not exclude me? Noooo, because for the purposes of the law, it is nothing of mine, but if she dies, do I have the right to receive her salary? Do I have the right to inherit her property? The workers receive protection, through the Social Security System, in cases of illness, accident, disability and old age, if their death occurs, their relatives receive this protection, in accordance with the provisions of the Social Security Law or special regimes, as the case may be. In unpaid leave for workers, family responsibilities ARTICLE 108, Article 116 paragraph g) and others. On the other hand, I am a Spanish citizen and since in Cuba they have not just approved civil unions between people of the same sex, I cannot legalize the union with my partner in the Spanish Consulate; therefore, I cannot travel with her because the Spanish Embassy in Cuba cannot do anything because they are in Cuban territory and the union between people of the same sex is not approved in Cuba, since it makes it impossible for me to carry out any procedure of this nature. So is it fair or not that you have just approved this union? I think there are only taboos
Lizandra: It is only fair that homosexual people have the same opportunities and rights. If we hold these Cuban days against homophobia and transphobia, it is also because we are aware of how much progress remains to be made in terms of legal guarantees and inclusive social policies. Thank you for the examples you give us, which are very illustrative.
cristiano: Hello, I’m a Christian and I know I’m labeled homophobic because I’m against homosexual marriage, abortion and the adoption of minors by homosexuals, my question is: What do you think of the position that the majority of churches take on these issues? Would you be in favor of laws that censor the right of the church to proclaim its beliefs?
cristiano: Many of us respect people who have religious faith. In fact, we have alliances with Christian leaders in Cuba who have a different conception of respect for and inclusion of LGBTI people. In the long run, I believe that the churches and the people who are part of them will also advance towards an understanding of sexual diversity, because it is human, because it is just, because it is Christian. I don’t think we should criticize churches, or any institution or person who doesn’t understand our views. It is a question of offering arguments, scientific evidence and testimonies that help to understand, from the human sensitivity and spirituality that should characterize people with religious faith, and that we have the security that they would not want to harm any of their peers.e respect many people who have religious faith. In fact, we have alliances with leaders and Christian leaders in Cuba who have a different conception of the respect and inclusion of LGBTI people. In the long run, I believe that the churches and the people who integrate them will also advance towards an understanding of sexual diversity, because it is human, because it is just, because it is Christian. I do not think we should censor the churches, nor any institution or person who does not understand our views. It is about offering arguments, scientific evidence and testimonies that help to understand, from the human sensitivity and spirituality that should characterize people with religious faith, and we are sure that they would not want to harm any of their peers.
amance: What is Cenesex’s official position on a future approval of the adoption of children by homosexuals in Cuba?
Cenesex would agree that the same requirements and the possibility of adoption exist for all persons and types of families, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. What matters is the happiness of girls and boys, and to guarantee them affection and protection.
Amanece: Homosexuality has always existed, but just in our time it is intended to assume that homosexual marriage is normal. Why is this? Will we be smarter than our predecessors? What consequences for all of society can equal marriage bring in Cuba?
Susana Hernández: Amanece, if as you state in your commentary “Homosexuality has always existed” then there should be no contradiction in assuming that marriage between two people of the same gender is a perfectly possible option.
That it is in our time and not in another that its legalization is promoted and achieved, responds to the same reason why women managed to vote for the first time in the nineteenth century and not in the time of Greece or Rome.
History has its processes, and although we would like rights to be recognized only by the fact that we have them, it is sometimes necessary for leaders to emerge to defend them and social movements to promote and demand them. These movements have achieved that in many countries of the world the equal marriage is already a legal fact and not only social.
In Cuba, thanks to the work of institutions such as Cenesex, sexual rights activists, and entities such as UNEACand ICAIC that through art have assumed the mission of sensitizing the Cuban people on these issues, marriage equality could be an ever closer option for those who wish it.
On the consequences for Cuban society, there will be only one: Cuba will be a fairer country and the people who live there will be happier.
MfasT108MPH: I am heterosexual but because of my upbringing I was educated to respect the right of others to be as they please people, as long as those people do not affect those around them and they behave correctly as human and social beings, that has helped me to see all people without contempt or discrimination, there has always been the rejection of some people towards others for being “different”, but that is the human essence, the diversity of all kinds, of culture, religious, skin color, sexual preference and all kinds…. that’s why I consider that discrimination is of one type only… DISCRIMINATION… what tries to frame or identify society today is the possible “origin of rejection”… of course, there is discrimination by gender, purchasing level, social origin or origin, skin color, religious belief, by habits and customs that mark living in a given territory of a country or as in the case analyzed rejection by sexual preference, even, rejection can be for infinite causes depending on how retoncida can be the people who focus more on what separates us than on what unites us…. clarifying this I would like to say that I consider that many mistakes are being made in these diversity campaigns… I have even discussed this issue with a gay friend who has a stable partner with whom he lives, both are professionals and people whom I consider men, because as I once said “what you do in bed is your business, what matters to me is how you are as a person” and in effect is good son, good brother and good friend, finally I consider that the campaigns should be against HOMOPHOBIA which I support 100% and I applaud the efforts made by the country, but neither should be these campaigns in favor of homosexuality, practically is stimulating the new generations with quite graphic propaganda, is posed as a NORMAL behavior…. as my colleague said, “I know that my behavior may not be normal because the normal thing would be to look for a woman who is biologically designed to give me a child and pleasure, but this is my decision and my preference”… I defend and support that because everyone should live their life as they wish… but neither should we promote the practice of homosexuality as if it were something normal… let’s not go to extremes, because as good Cubans, if we don’t get there we go too far…. I think we went from making life impossible for gay people to the point of almost stimulating homosexual practice… it is against homophobia but not in favor of homosexuality… they should give legal guarantees as has been commented for those who live together, I don’t think that the constitution should be modified to guarantee the rights of gay couples, if they want to have a ceremony, they should go on a honeymoon…. I also consider that when there is a small group of gay people in a place and the police arrive as one participant said, of course they can be asked for documentation like any other group of ordinary people… are ordinary people, I think that many times gay people in search of making a difference just bury themselves more by adopting in many cases rejectable positions in any kind of people (heterosexual), there are attitudes they adopt that are socially inadequate and then hide in the HOMOPHOBIA to do what gives them THE WIN…. let’s not get lost in concepts, signs of affection should be regulated in both heteros and homos … I hope no one has felt pleased but that’s what I think, the only way to avoid abuse in schools is with patience and changing mentalities over time, do not think that changing mentality is something of two days … my vote is AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA BUT NOT FOR HOMOSEXUALITY … greetings and NO!!!! TO DISCRIMINATION AND REJECTION OF ANY KIND
Angela: Hello MfasT108MPH, immediately obvious in your speech is the notion that homosexuality is not normal and that is apparently the point we should debate, especially when it is clear that you are a person with a social conscience.
If the only function and/or nature of human sexuality were reproduction, we would have sexual relations only at a certain time of the month, and only between the male and female of the species. I imagine that if this were the only function of sexuality, history would not contain so many efforts to control, regulate and repress it; it would not have been made a central theme in religious ideologies nor would the pornography industry have been so successful, it would not have been a “thorny” theme of sex education in schools….
The diversity of expressions of human beings in the matter of sexuality is a fact, it is the proof that human sexuality is much more than reproduction, but this, paradoxically, appears as difficult to understand even when it is widely accepted that the human being is bio-psycho-social. We are in charge of pathologizing, from different structures, those manifestations of sexuality that do not correspond with the purpose of reproduction and we do this, in most cases, uncritically and thinking that it is not discrimination.
In this crusade to maintain the paradigm of reproduction as ruler of our sexuality we forget that we share our feelings and bodies with other people also for pleasure, which has been ignored and even condemned from some ideologies. It is lawful and not pathological to desire, to love, to have sexual relations with other human beings who consent to it and, moreover, it is best to do it in a responsible way.
For Cenesex it is a duty to defend the right of people to express their sexuality freely and responsibly, to promote respect, sensitivity, and understanding. We are against homophobia and, on this path, it is necessary to focus positively on non-homo-normative sexualities because only by understanding that these are neither aberrant nor abnormal will violence cease.
The comment “I don’t care what you do in bed” is a whole declaration of principles on the subject, it is a veiled mode of discrimination, it says: I accept you if I forget what you do in your private space, moreover, leave it there because it is shameful, it belongs there. Homosexuality is not something to be ashamed of, something to hide from the world, something that indicates less capacity or competence. Homosexuality is one of many ways of being human and is as appropriate for public space as other sexual orientations.
From this dialogue, I prefer to keep what we have in common, which is a resounding NO to discrimination, and I invite you to reflect on the theme of “normality”, which is the basis for so many actions of this kind.
Adrián: I really respect you, but you should consider in this country where we’re going.
Mariela CE: We are moving towards an increasingly just society, with policies that benefit all people in their different realities and needs. Today scientific development can better clarify the historical origin of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and provides new arguments and references for society’s policy and normative system.
We do not promote homosexuality but neither do [we promote] heterosexuality, we do not promote any type of sexual orientation or gender identities, we only educate in universal ethical principles, we offer elements of analysis and reflections on human realities and sufferings that must be dealt with in solidarity, not from the position of power in which hetero-normativity places us (which was also consolidated in the 19th century). Many people feel peace and tranquility because they identify comfortably with these norms, but also many people feel uncomfortable, unfortunate and rejected because they do not have the backing of the norm. According to international studies on social perception, the viewpoint divulged by Medicine that these people are sick, contributed to developing the stigma and discrimination, also expressed in the laws that punish them unfairly. The International Day Against Homophobia is celebrated to distinguish the decision of the World Health Organization (WHO) to consider homosexuality an expression as valid as heterosexuality. For people to be able to live fully as subjects of rights these regulations must be modified not only in the letter of the laws but also in the symbols with which our thoughts, emotions, feelings and behaviors operate, and this is what we are dealing with.
Cuba is considered one of the most advanced countries in the world because of the guarantees offered by the State to the exercise of the sexual rights of the population, especially women. These achievements are the results of the historical struggles of women with the support of other progressive forces; they are the result of the actions of the FMC and the policies of the Revolution. The free, professional and voluntary interruption of pregnancy insurance services provided by the National Public Health System, since 1965, has contributed to a significant decrease in women’s mortality from these causes, fulfilling one of the reasons why this service was established: to save women’s lives. Another reason was to guarantee the respect of the woman to decide about her body, because we have soul, conscience and also (like men), capacity to exercise autonomy. It is precisely the integral education of sexuality that is aimed at developing the reproductive responsibility of men and women, which contributes to avoiding unwanted pregnancy and also to training to exercise maternity and paternity in a responsible manner, among other objectives.
Facilities for consensual unions, marriage and divorce, recognition of sons and daughters, among many other rights, are conquests of society; they are acquired freedoms.
END OF TRANSCRIPT
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
More than 200 artists are present at the XIV edition of the Art Fair for Mom, sponsored by the Fondo de Bienes Culturales, which takes place every year in the Cuban capital and other provinces of the country, prior to the celebration of Mother’s Day.
This Friday was officially inaugurated at the Pabexpo exhibition center, the event, which this time also pays tribute to the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the village of San Cristóbal de La Habana.
Mercy Correa Piñero, director of FCBC’s National Crafts Center, emphasized in her words of welcome to guests, journalists, and the general public, the significance of the national scope of this 14th edition of Arte para Mamá, the second to reach all the Fund’s affiliates in the country, published by ACN.
Outstanding Cuban singer Annie Garcés and her group animated the event with the interpretation of well-known themes such as Mauricio Figueiral’s conga Agua; Todo natural, by Adrián Berazaín; and Tú me amas, by Andy Villalón.
In around 600 exhibition spaces, visitors can find artistic and cultural promotions from all over the country, including crafts, textiles, ceramics, handcrafted furniture, footwear, goldsmith’s pieces, Arte en Casa products and different works of art and literature.
Representing the Cuban cultural industry are the Empresa de Grabaciones y Ediciones Musicales (EGREM), the Distribuidora Nacional del Libro, Génesis Galería and the Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográfica (ICAIC).
The fair will be open every day until Saturday, May 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., except Wednesday, May 1, in rooms B and C of the venue.
By Olga LIlia Vilató de Varona
Published: Thursday 18 April 2019 | 09:05:39 am.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
CAMAGÜEY: It is usually very pleasant to talk with a little girl; however, I confess that on this occasion it was not. The subject of bullying (bullying, no matter the term) hurts. I promised her and her grandfather, who accompanied her, that I would not publish her name for various reasons. I asked her to call me, nothing about you.
Daniela, that’s what I’ll call her, when she’s only 13 years old and in 8th grade. She’s lived through undesirable moments for anyone, especially at an age when illusions abound, but they can even fall into anguish. I came to her story because she had gone through a therapy group for teenagers, led by José Eduardo Vázquez Benítez, a graduate in Psychology and Defectology.
-Tell me how the discomfort began, how did you get to such a hard trial?
-I started to suffer from this problem in the 7th grade, because I was the one who didn’t fit into the group. Another thing was that another little girl was considered the best and from that moment on, I surpassed her in Chemistry and Physics and everything began. Now I think it was because I was a student, I got good grades and I never “blew” on others in exams.
“They called me crazy, scared and a lesbian, the latter because I didn’t have a boyfriend. Especially the “scared” and also the “punctualita”, for that TV series.
-Did you tell the teacher and the director? Did they take action?
-Yes, the teacher scolded them sometimes, but they didn’t change. The principal found out, but she didn’t do anything and, luckily, she’s gone. Now we have a director who has taken care of me; he’s the one who changed my group.
-Did you tell your parents?
-Of course, they began to realize that something was happening to me, I told them and then they went to school.
-But you stayed in the same school…
-Yes, although I wanted to go to another one, my mother and my grandparents advised me that I should face problems and not run away, because it was something that could happen to me somewhere else and I wasn’t always going to [be able to] escape.
-How did the family support you in the face of this unpleasant event, besides taking you to the psychologist?
-They helped me a lot. In fact, they gave me affectionate advice and accompanied me to group therapies, where we talked about our problems, we opened up, we all did it. It gave me the strength to continue.
-Did your academic performance drop as a result of these difficulties?
No, because I have continued to study and make an effort, and I plan to do my pre-university studies in the Vocational [program].
-How would you describe the suffering caused by the rejecting attitudes you received?
-Like something big, I suffered a lot; I wasn’t used to mistreatment, I cried every day, and I was terrified to go back to the classroom. In my home, they love me very much. I have three brothers and thanks to their advice and that of my whole family we asked for help from the specialist.
-Are you doing well in the new group?
-Better. There is more discipline, I have more girlfriends and so far I have not been treated badly. My teacher keeps order and the first day I arrived in that classroom she asked her students to treat me as if we had been together since the first day of school.
-How do you feel now?
-Well, it’s all happening now.
-In this classroom, there are probably other smart students like you…
-Of course. That’s good, what I don’t like is that they brag about it and make fun of those who aren’t so good.
-Have you ever been in love with a boy?
-I’ve been told “I love you” and things like that, but I’m a child and I want to study, and I’d like to have a boyfriend when I’m in love.
-What subjects do you prefer?
-Biology, Geography… almost all of them, except Mathematics.
-What do you plan to study?
-Medicine. I don’t have a clear specialty; I’ll see in due course.
-Did you ever think you didn’t want to live?
-I don’t know if it was that way, but I had no motivation whatsoever, either to go to school, or to go out. It was as if I was worthless. I locked myself in my room, stayed in my bed and didn’t even want to eat. I became very depressed. I tried to isolate myself from everyone who hurt me, and then they kept saying things to me. It was terrible.
-You must never not want to live, life is always divine and there are more people who love you, at least in quality, no matter the quantity. Have you thought about that?
-I know, and especially my family.
-How would you face another similar situation if it happened?
-Without violence, because I am not aggressive, but with intelligence. I learned that now. Besides, my behavior has been described as excellent and I want to keep it [that way].
-Would you dare to give advice to boys your age?
-Of course. First of all, don’t let them be bothered. They must be strong, face everything, and if they don’t get it, then they must communicate with their parents, teachers, and a specialist to help them.
-You have to love yourself and yours. Don’t stop studying, or pursuing your dreams…
-Of course, I must tell myself that I am pretty, intelligent and always think positive.
It’s good to know that school bullying is a worldwide problem, and has physical, emotional, verbal and cyberbullying nuances.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON THE WEB
(unedited machine translation, but easy enough to grasp.)
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 10:00:31 am.
The bullyin is something so unpleasant and unfortunately so common that it is embarrassing but in my experience never affect me because I really care about a face…… what other people think of me the only opinion that matters is mine, and I faced the mockery or criticism in two ways the first thought of the thought of our apostle Jose Marti if sad is not to have a sad friend but sad is not to have enemies because he who has no enemies has no talent or anything that is envied, the other way to face the mockery and bad criticism and the one that caused me more pleasure was to break their faces and make them bleed to those who mocked me after that I took so much fear that I surrendered or guataqueaban, because they knew what I am capable of doing with my intelligence and my violent and aggressive character.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 10:13:17 am.
Olga Lilia: the school is a melting pot that shapes the personality of new generations. A good teaching staff not only teaches the content of the different subjects; it is not only prepared to combat bullying, but it also knows how to sculpt the souls of its students so that they may be good people, and practice solidarity, love and justice. Well-educated children cultivate responsibility, discipline, good feelings, respect, good manners and shame. Hence the importance of educators being academically and professionally trained and mastering the art of teaching, taking into account necessary tools such as pedagogy, methodology, means of teaching, psychology etc. The financial investment that gives better fruits, greater profits and very valuable results is the one related to the sphere of education. A well-educated people translates into well-being, savings, prosperity; it translates into culture, hygiene, public service, competition, functionality; it translates into ethics, morality, efficiency, patriotism, decorum and human quality. A well-educated people will always commune with beauty, honesty, hope, harmony and happiness.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 10:52:28 am.
As a former teacher and as a member of the LGBTI community, I believe that bullying is a phenomenon that we have to put an end to, especially in schools. I never allowed any kind of rejection in my classroom for any reason. I always encouraged respect for the human being and acceptance in all my students. It is unheard-of to see that this kind of behaviour is going on in our country and the worst thing is that there is no institution to which you can go to denounce and that measures are taken in this regard, including imprisonment for violation of Article 42 of the Constitution in force. I have been a victim during my time as a student because I am a homosexual and I have not yet been able to forget it. But I imposed myself and I was able to overcome all obstacles and today I am a happy and fulfilled person and of course the support of my family was vital.
Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona
Friday 19 April 2019 | 02:01:10 pm.
Alejandro, thank you for your comment and also for being such a Master, that’s how it should be. Your experience? although you never forget it, surely made it stronger and that’s why it’s the happy you are today.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 01:20:29 pm.
Excellent article I also suffered from that problem in high school and I had to choose to apply brutal methods of physical violence to eliminate choteo, as time goes by I do not feel well at all to think of the damage I caused.
Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona
Friday 19 April 2019 | 01:54:03 pm.
Palax , thank you for your opinion. He weighs his own attitude because it is not violent by nature, perhaps if he had been guided by a professional would have resolved the same without getting to do what does not go with his personality. I’m glad he served you.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 01:31:13 pm.
The best advice comes from the house: Mom, Dad, grandparents and other relatives. There are single mothers who raise their children very well on the basis of “respect, love” and then understand those around you. It is a subject of centuries this is not new nor it appeared now in this epoch. There are those who physically can be said to be full of defects however they have a strong self-esteem capable of knocking down “stones” just with the look. And how do you do that? It occurs to me that the most self-confident person is the one who has finally understood what “beauty” means.
Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona
Friday 19 April 2019 | 01:56:34 pm.
Thank you for your comment. I understand your criteria, only in this case is a girl of 13 years and at that age not infrequently requires the help of a professional, fortunately your family is very well harmonized and your support was great.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 01:57:47 pm.
Olga Lilia: self-esteem is a human need; it is basic and essential in the magical and complex process of life; it is indispensable for normal and healthy development. It has survival value. Not having a balanced self-esteem impedes our spiritual growth. If it is adequate, it acts as the immune system of the consciousness, giving it strength and regeneration capacity. When it is low, our resistance to the adversities of the time decreases. If we encourage (as politics) mediocrity, marginalism, servitude and dependence, we will obtain individuals with feelings of inferiority, insecure, prone to isolation, shy, introverted and incapable of conquering successes and much less of incorporating altruism, trust and decorum into their personality. People who really reject each other, underestimate each other and misunderstand each other, are not usually happy. Self-esteem allows the individual to face reality with greater decision and optimism, and therefore more easily achieve their goals and achieve, through work and merit, their self-realization. To understand this is fundamental and it is in benefit of the human relations, because the development of the positive self-esteem, increases the capacity to treat the others with respect and gentleness, favoring this way the enriching interpersonal relations and avoiding the destructive ones. Love for others and love for ourselves are not opposites. Quite the opposite. An attitude of love towards oneself is found in all those who are capable of loving others. Paradoxically, most people seek self-confidence and self-respect outside their heart, which is why they are doomed to failure. Self-esteem is best understood as a kind of spiritual or mental achievement, that is, as a victory in the evolution of wisdom that provides spiritual serenity, favoring, in turn, the enjoyment of existence. The state of a person who is not at war with himself or others is one of the most significant characteristics of healthy self-esteem. True self-esteem is not expressed through self-glorification at the expense of others, or through the eagerness to be superior to others or to lower them to elevate oneself. Arrogance, banality, celopathy, machismo and the overvaluation of one’s own capacities reveal a mistaken self-esteem, and not an excess of self-esteem. Let us say no to the obtuse manipulation that hinders the culture of respect for diversity and the full dignity of all human beings. Let us say no to the senseless, violent and patriarchal philosophy that sows revenge, hatred and resentment in the collective conscience. Let us say no to the ideology that imposes dogmas, absurdities and cravings to the detriment of love and happiness. Let’s say no, to the recycling of prejudices and conventionalisms that murder self-esteem, virtue and hope.
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 02:56:45 pm.
Olga Lilia: fighting bullying with violence is like putting ourselves at the same level as bullying. Intelligence is having a good heart; intelligence is looking for alternatives, where humanism, humour, respect and good will are manifested. Intelligence is to populate our foreheads with stars so that they illuminate the path that passes through the temple of altruism and culminates in the summit of perfectibility.
Friday 19 April 2019 | 01:51:48 pm.
In effect Mártivarela, and that has been the goal of the help group with this purpose, which also includes children with addiction to technology or cyberaddiction, is also known as Internet addiction disorder (IAD), and with very good results, the girl in this testimony has a family that has helped her and with the vision to take her to the specialist. She was already another at the time of the interview, without a doubt, her intelligence and the support received were more than unpleasant events. Thank you for your comment and I hope it is not the last…
Thursday 18 April 2019 | 04:51:56 pm.
Of course, the subject of self-esteem can not only be commented through the so-called “choteo”. There are many ways to “isolate” a human being, to harass him until he “alienates” himself. Abuse goes beyond classroommate to peer. From co-worker to boss and from this to subordinate. In my particular case to avoid what the first forista writes I prefer, in occasions, to isolate myself. Sincerely I despise the arrogance but…it has been the tracer bullet, you forgive me. You don’t have to do it the way I do and you don’t have to agree. I simply think that each one reacts and acts according to his heart…it still beats me ? …yes ? It means I can still survive. Thank you.
Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona
Friday 19 April 2019 |
Friday 19 April 2019 | 08:32:30 am.
Is that there are no laws that bring parents and students who bullying before a judge?
Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona
Friday 19 April 2019 | 01:50:12 pm.
Hello, I appreciate the kindness of Juventud Rebelde for this publication, and to readers who have used some of their precious time in leaving their comments, Olga Lilia Vilató de Varona.
January 20, 2019
Chapter III. Article 85. Family violence, in whatever its manifestations, is considered destructive of the persons involved…
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
This cartoon was one of a many which appeared in the newspaper Juventud Rebelde during the campaign to secure approval of the new Cuban constitution.
By Juventud Rebelde.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Since its founding in 2006, the WikiLeaks organization has contributed to revealing some of the darkest activities carried out from the highest levels of political power in various countries.
Through the anonymous leaking of hundreds of thousands of documents, this international network of cyberactivists, founded by Julian Assange – arrested this Thursday in London – has revealed military, political and diplomatic secrets, generating notable scandals and denouncing unethical or unorthodox behavior within different power organizations.
Espionage, war crimes, political or diplomatic pressure, abuses of power or government malpractices have come to light thanks to the work of WikiLeaks.
We review the most important leaks carried out by this organization, some of which have completely changed the perception of several events in the recent history of the world
1 U.S. Army Manual for Guantánamo Bay Prison
In December 2007, WikiLeaks published a U.S. Army manual for soldiers guarding prisoners at the Guantánamo detention center.
The text sets out the “standard operating procedures” that apply to prisoners, including measures such as the use of dogs for intimidating purposes or restricting access to the compound to members of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The increase in mental health problems or the number of suicides among prisoners is also reflected in the document.
2 Air raid on civilians in Baghdad
On April 5, 2010, Assange’s organization filtered a shocking video showing a group of civilians being attacked with powerful firearms from a U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopter on July 12, 2007.
Soldiers aboard the aircraft, whose often jovial conversations are heard in the leaked recording, fired on a group of Iraqis, killing 12 of them, including two Reuters news agency collaborators: Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh.
3 The “Afghanistan war diary”
It was the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. military history to date, and is a true milestone in WikiLeaks’ reporting: On July 25, 2010, the organization headed by Assange published 90,000 pages, divided into more than 100 categories, containing various incidents and reports of the war in Afghanistan.
The documents revealed, for example, that the US concealed the brutal massacres committed by the Taliban (resulting in some 2,000 civilian casualties), or the cases of 195 unarmed people killed by coalition forces as a result of gunfire motivated by the fear that they were suicide bombers. The search for Osama Bin Laden is also extensively documented in these reports.
Wikileaks simultaneously sent this information to the New York Times, the British Guardian and Der Spiegel in Germany.
4 The records of the war in Iraq
Wikileaks surpasses its feat just three months later: on October 22, 2010, it leaked almost 400,000 documents about the war in Iraq, the content of which horrifies the world.
This massive leak includes a count of victims, prepared by the U.S. Army itself, which puts the death toll in Iraq at 109,032, and acknowledges that 60% of them are civilians. The documents also reveal several cases of US soldiers killing civilians at checkpoints.
Another scandalous aspect uncovered in this impressive consignment of documents is the finding that the US tolerated abuse, torture, rape and summary executions of civilians committed by allied Iraqi forces, which they supervised and trained.
5 The ‘cablegate’: documents of American diplomacy
On November 28, 2010, WikiLeaks once again shocked the world with the leakage of more than 250,000 messages from the U.S. State Department, revealing unpublished episodes from various trouble spots around the world, as well as highly relevant data that reveal a very considerable part of U.S. foreign policy, as well as its obsessions, its mechanisms and many of its sources.
This is one of the most profoundly important revelations carried out by WikiLeaks, insofar as it contributes to citizens’ understanding of the real way in which the US develops the dark side of its international relations.
These documents contain comments and reports prepared by different U.S. diplomacy officials, sometimes written in an especially frank language and referring to personalities from all over the world. They also reveal the contents of interviews and meetings at the highest level, and even uncover unknown activities directly related to espionage.
In some cases, the very nature of the expressions used in these messages truly endangered U.S. relations with some of its allies; at other times, they made some U.S. foreign policy strategies difficult, such as rapprochement with Russia or with certain Arab countries.
The documentation was sent from the WikiLeaks server to the newspapers El País (Spain), Le Monde (France), Der Spiegel (Germany), The Guardian (United Kingdom) and The New York Times (USA).
6 The Guantanamo Bay archives.
On 25 April 2011, WikiLeaks leaked nearly 800 secret Pentagon documents revealing that the US government used the Guantánamo detention center illegally to obtain information from its inmates, many of whom had no links to terrorism.
There were 4,759 pages dated between 2002 and 2009, signed by the highest commanders of the base’s Joint Task Force and addressed to the Department of Defense Southern Command in Miami. These included classified dossiers, interviews and internal memoirs, reflecting, for example, the fragile mental state of some detainees, such as a 14-year-old boy or an 89-year-old man.
The United States even admitted in those reports that 83 of the 779 inmates posed no risk to the security of the nation, and 77 others acknowledged that it is “unlikely” that they were a threat to the country or its allies. The U.S. Army itself estimated that approximately 20 percent of the prisoners had been arbitrarily taken to prison.
7 Detention policies at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib
On October 24, 2012, WikiLeaks reveals abundant documentation – more than 100 reports – detailing the procedures used by U.S. military authorities with detainees in their custody in Abu Ghraib prisons (Iraq), and again in Guantánamo Bay (Cuba).
On the day this leak became effective, the United States was in the final stretch of the electoral campaign, with a view to the elections scheduled for November 6 of the same year, in which Barack Obama would be re-elected.
Assange, already imprisoned at the Ecuadorian embassy at the time, declared that these documents “show the anatomy of the detention monster created after September 11, the creation of a dark space in which law and rights do not exist, where people can be detained without a trace, at the will of the U.S. Department of Defense.
8 Espionage in Europe
In June 2015, Wikileaks publishes five reports from the US National Security Agency (NSA), based on intercepted communications from French ex-presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as then-President Francois Hollande.
The cyberactivists asserted that “the US has implemented a policy of economic espionage against France for a decade”, through mechanisms such as the “interception of all French corporate contracts and negotiations valued at more than 200 million dollars”.
Among the communications spied on by the US agency were discussions on the debt crisis in Greece (including the possibility of the Hellenic country leaving the European Union) or talks on the leadership of the Eurozone, as well as on the relations between Hollande’s government and that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
9 Espionage against Netanyahu, Berlusconi and Ban Ki-moon
Barely 7 months later, in February 2016, Wikileaks revealed new documents that revealed more espionage actions carried out by the NSA against world leaders. In this case, the spies were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The U.S. agency conducted secret wiretaps at a meeting between Ban Ki-moon and Angela Merkel, which also appears in these reports. The documents also include a conversation between Netanyahu and Berlusconi and a private meeting between Berlusconi, Merkel and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
The NSA reports faithfully reproduce the content of these exchanges. Merkel and Ban talk about the fight against climate change; Netanyahu asks Berlusconi for help in dealing with the administration of US President Barack Obama; and Sarkozy warns the former Italian prime minister about the seriousness of the dangers facing his country’s banking system.
10 Hillary Clinton’s email
On March 16, 2016, she published a file with more than 30,000 e-mails received and sent by Hillary Clinton from her private server while serving as secretary of state. The documents cover the period from 30 June 2010 to 12 August 2014.
Among these leaks are 27,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee (CND), which uncovered issues as diverse and relevant as the maneuvers of various Party members or the supply of weapons for radicals in Syria, among many others.
The cyberactivists also made public some 50,000 emails from John Podesta, the head of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, which uncovered a large amount of confidential information from the top of the Democratic Party, including campaign strategies, complete transcripts of speeches and some internal party disputes.
Published in Russia Today: April 11, 2019
Published: Friday 29 March 2019 | 10:14:58 pm.
The mind is a friend of that soul that has known how to conquer it.
By: Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, many women report a significant increase in their level of sexual arousal and desire when they practice yoga. Their orgasms are of higher quality and their relationships are enriched while increasing their self-esteem and assertiveness.
It is not magic, suggestion or isolated physiological effects: whoever spends a few minutes three times a week pampering the mind, body and spirit integrally, can recover elasticity and fluidity in movements, reduce fear and discomfort, be more alert to perceive love and enjoy pleasures without attachments or obsessions.
Yoga is a lifestyle within the reach of all people, whatever their gender identity, because it is cultural conditioning and not biological sex that leads to experiencing the erotic act as a task to fulfill or mere relief, attitudes that deprive it of its true essence, which is the exercise of a joyful corporeal and spiritual freedom.
There are hundreds of postures or asanas. They all combine strength and comfort, which helps to burn fat, release toxins, quiet the mind and improve the skin and figure. By acting on various body systems, they stabilize their functioning and channel the unconscious emotions retained in them.
In this ancient technique, the movements are serene and natural. It is convenient to keep your eyes closed and at all times the breathing must be conscious and deep. With effort and discipline, each exhalation can bring you closer to the ideal pose. Just try not to violate the limits of your body or feed more frustration or arrogance.
To balance sexuality, various manuals suggest combining postures in which 15 seconds are enough for the kundalini energy, usually dormant at the base of the spine, to flow throughout the body. This tones the muscles, stimulates the endocrine system, clears the mind of rigid or repetitive thoughts (typical of stress) and increases the state of alertness and receptivity.
One of the recommended positions is Upavistha Konasana: sit with open legs and a straight back, and “walk” your hands on the floor so that the blood irrigates the entire pelvis and raises the level of excitement. You can also do Uttanasana and Paschimottanasana: the first is standing and the other sits; in both, you keep your legs closed and your back straight, and bend your body trying to touch your feet with your hands and knees with your head, as far as you go. If you do this consciously, you will feel an electrifying tickle in your spine that will keep you in good spirits for the rest of the day.
You can also exercise to use some postures during intercourse and observe your sensations. Very suggestive is the Supta Baddha Konasana or lying goddess: face up, join the soles of your feet, lower knees and leave your arms next to the body, palms up. Breathing brings the chin to the throat and separates the ribs from the hip. The Adho Mukha Svanasana or downward-facing dog (stand on hands and feet, elevated buttocks, straight legs) invigorates the body and helps to see things at a fun angle. You can “pedal” in place, if you like… that is a very attractive sight for your partner.
Other asanas improve sexual capacity: the chair, the cobra, the pigeon, the butterfly, the baby’s posture… all bring flexibility to the spine, hips, legs and abdomen. Fortunately, there are yoga schools in almost every province and Cuban books on the subject in libraries, as well as manuals and digital videos.
Some texts suggest combining poses with sounds (mantras) whose vibration is in tune with the neurovegetative system. For example, in the sphinx pose (pelvis, legs, abdomen and arms on the floor, chest elevated and front view) repeat the syllable “vam” and you will soon notice its beneficial effect.
Sexual yoga does not require much: an airy space, comfortable clothes, and a synthetic or vegetable fiber mat. If you are going to use music, it will help your equanimity. It can be done alone or as a couple, but it is important to reserve a moment of peace at the end (preferably meditating) before facing work, eating something or “using” energy sexually.
The plan is not to compete with anyone, but to improve skills to appreciate the good in life, including sex, and it still favors you if your choice is celibacy because your cells rejuvenate, healthy emotions and elevate the mood.
Yoga stimulates blood circulation, and where your blood goes, your energy goes. This charge of vitality is unique in each being and at the same time is “connected” with the entire universe, as shown by dozens of modern experiments. It is up to you to decide at every moment whether you are going to use it for creative, reproductive or recreational purposes.
The protest was seconded by thousands of Palestinian prisoners in various detention centres inside and outside the occupied territories.
Published: Wednesday 23 January 2019 | 09:09:46 pm.
Updated: Wednesday 23 January 2019 | 10:50:35 pm.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Ramallah, January 23.- More than 1,200 Palestinian prisoners held in the Israeli high security prison of Ofer went on an indefinite hunger strike in protest against the aggressions and mistreatment of military police, aided by dogs of prey, during violent searches carried out in their cells.
The protest was seconded by thousands of other Palestinian prisoners in various detention centers inside and outside the occupied territories, Middle East Monitor reported.
Ofer prison is the only Israeli prison built in Palestinian territory, located near the town of Beitunia, from which it is separated by an imposing concrete wall, and only three kilometers from Ramallah, in the West Bank.
The prison is governed by its own law and the hunger strike is considered a transgression of the rules, which carries severe punishments, sources of the Resistance recalled.
Ofer prison houses about 1,200 Palestinian prisoners, including a large number of young people and minors.
According to the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there are about 5,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, including 230 children and 54 women. Of that number, 481 were held without trial under the pretext of an illegal practice known as “administrative detention”.
In all Israeli prisons tensions increased, as the prisoners solidarized with Ofer, and suspended their daily activities, even refusing to eat.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners Association, some 150 prisoners were injured when special forces of the Israeli military police stormed Ofer prison on Monday morning.
According to this organization, six prisoners suffered bone fractures, 40 were injured in the head and had to receive stitches, and several were injured as a result of the use of rubber projectiles and tear gas.
Cuba condemns aggressions
Meanwhile, at the United Nations, during the Security Council’s quarterly open debate, the Cuban representative, Ambassador Anayansi Rodríguez Camejo, reiterated her strong rejection of Israel’s use of disproportionate and indiscriminate force against Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories.
It also condemned the unilateral actions of the United States, such as the withdrawal of financial support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East, the repeated obstruction of that country so that the Security Council does not condemn the escalation of violence, the tragic events that have occurred in the Gaza Strip since 30 March 2018, and the establishment of its diplomatic representation in the city of Jerusalem, which only contribute to the worsening of the situation.
Published: Tuesday 25 December 2018 | 07:39:10 pm.
By Marina Menéndez Quintero
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The new President of Mexico delivers… and makes the most of the time. He could be seen as the other side of social plundering, which in other Latin American countries means the return of the ultra reactionary and extremist right.
The Mayan train will touch every ruin of the ancestors, and will bring tourism, estimated in those areas at about ten million visitors, to each place. He is confident that it will help create new jobs.
His awareness of the need to mitigate the differences between the north and south of the country was also reflected in next year’s budget, which prioritizes the south-southeast as “an act of justice, because it has been the most abandoned region of the country and its time has come”.
He also thought of the workers and decreed a minimum wage increase of 16 percent, convinced that if there are no revenues there is no internal market or income. In addition, he said, people will earn a decent wage, and an historic debt will be settled with the worst paid workers.
The increase is 50 percent in the border areas with the United States, a difference that may be due to the desire that their nationals stay in Mexico and not emigrate to the neighboring nation.
Precisely, the most transcendent action of these first days, because of the repercussions it must have for his country and Central America, is perhaps the materialization of his approach to stop illegal migration, and the decision by his own citizens and those of neighboring countries to go to another country.
Five billion dollars will be dedicated in 2019 to productive projects in Central America. He has already presented the plan to the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who said he would analyze the project. Hopefully he will support it… and forgets the wall. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is also being consistent in this regard.
Certainly, the doors of social development may be opening for Mexico after being closed for dozens of years, including the recovery of an economy where the neoliberal model had almost reprivatized its main conquest, won by Lazaro Cardenas when he nationalized oil.
The announced creation of a National Guard is in the works and almost ready to be submitted to popular opinion. This body will henceforth be in charge of the security of all Mexico, and leave the army and the rest of the armed forces, for other types of orders.
In order to make sure that his mandate will be enough, AMLO, who insists that he will not lrun for president again, works 16 hours a day so that his term will be doubled and six years will produce twelve years’ worth of work completed, as he said just two days ago to journalists. But time is time, and in real life he only has a six-year term.
Knowing that whoever comes after him can upset everything again, he wants to have a Constituent Assembly and, in fact, has already issued decrees so that each vindicatory step that he is taking is written in ink and in the form of laws.
He is today the opposite side of the right-wing and neoliberal processes that feed on the Argentine population under Cambiemos and Mauricio Macri and, above all, on the hardships and vicissitudes that arelikely to fall on the people of Brazil when, on January 1, the intolerant and reactionary Jair Bolsonaro takes over.
Let’s hope that the Mexican opposition, respectful until today of the popular roots that demonstrated AMLO’s crushing triumph at the polls, does not trip him up or boycott him. And also that the mafias that up to now have profited from public money do not turn against him.
Let Andrés Manuel López Obrador do his job. And may he help our sister nation of Mexico get safely into 2024. That could be a good wish for Latin America on the coming New Year’s Eve.