In the course of next week, Correos de Cuba will put on sale in all its units and newsstands, the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba that was approved in the Second Ordinary Session of the IX Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, at the price of one peso in national currency. Correos […]
Why there will be no socialism (for now) in the United States
By Dr. Salvador Capote
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Please see the translator’s explanation below. Thanks.
The incoherence within the two major parties of the United States has never been greater than in these times. Roughly speaking, the Republican Party is divided between Trumpists, with their far-right extremism, and conservatives who follow the traditions of the “Grand Old Party” (GOP), while in the Democratic Party a left-wing has been strengthened whose most conspicuous figure is its independent ally, Senator Bernie Sanders. Joe Biden represents the mainstream, while Bernie Sanders represents the left of the political spectrum.
Translator’s comment: The author is someone I’ve never met. He is a Cuban-American living in Bentonville, Arkansas, according to his Facebook profile. He posts short and pithy interpretive essays on Facebook and Radio Miami TV. He has lived in the United States for a very long time (but just how long I cannot say because I do not know), but he always has something sensible and thought-provoking to say. Those who are wondering, after all the years of social support cutbacks and racist repression, why there is STILL no broad-based left-wing political opposition here in the United States, will, I think, find a lot here in Dr. Capote’s explanation to reflect upon.
By Posted on 31 July, 2016 – 17:00 by Raiza Arango Medina
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Breastfeeding is the first act of love given by a mother; moreover, it goes beyond the emotional connection established between her and her child.
It is scientifically proven that breast milk is the only food that children require for the first six months of life. “Any other type of drink, including water, would increase the risk of diarrhea or other illnesses. Exclusive breastfeeding is therefore the baby’s first immunization; there are no alternative formulas for its protection at the beginning of life,” said Dr. Roberto Álvarez Fumero, head of the Maternal and Infant Department of the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP).
It is necessary to reiterate to Cuban women and their families the advantages of this universal and scientifically proven nutritional practice. Unfortunately, this ideal means of protection is not being used in an exceptional way up to six months of age by 70% of women, said Dr. Fumero.
In this sense, World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) is dedicated to promoting this practice as the optimal mode of nutrition in infancy. Its privileged use is based on the fact that human milk is composed of 88% water, a characteristic that facilitates the filtering function developed by the kidneys, so that the baby does not need to be rehydrated with any other liquid other than what the mother can offer.
A method of salvation
“Exclusive breastfeeding also means food security for children, because it can reduce hunger, malnutrition and obesity,” says the World Health Organization (WHO) in its campaign to promote this experience. In Cuba, actions are prioritized so that the whole society understands the goodness and countless benefits of this custom, which is an essential factor to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in terms of health, explained the MINSAP specialist.
Earlier this year, the scientific journal The Lancet published a series of research studies, which show that increasing breastfeeding could save more than 820,000 children a year, nine out of 10 of them in the first months of life.
Fumero warned that infectious diseases are re-emerging in the world and there are others that -although our country has been able to control the hygienic-sanitary conditions that predispose them- continue to exist.
Its benefits for both parties are undeniable: it facilitates the development of the child’s intellect and protects it from possible chronic non-transmissible diseases; in women, it reduces the risk of hypertension, breast and ovarian cancer, postpartum depression, osteoporosis, and reduces weight gained during pregnancy.
The mother will help her health after childbirth with three balanced meals a day and two snacks; a nutritious formula sufficient to provide energy to the nursing mother.
According to studies, the amount of milk has nothing to do with the ingestion of beer or any other type of beverage perpetuated for generations as a stimulant to better flow the first food we receive in this world.
Similarly, Alvarez Fumero argued that investing in breastfeeding has a significant impact on the health of women and children and on the economies of families.
A guarantee from the start
Despite the persistence and vigilance on the part of MINSAP, Dr. Fumero stressed that Cuban mothers have to overcome a group of myths that unfortunately is passed on to several generations and more and more women are looking for a pretext not to breastfeed.
According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) conducted by the Ministry of Public Health between February and September 2014, only 33% of Cuban children received exclusive breastfeeding up to six months.
Regarding the issue, the scientist stressed that we cannot tolerate any excuse to stop breastfeeding when scientifically there is none that prevents it.
“This figure has a lot to do with cultural patterns in families that can be changed with the support of everyone, mainly family doctors, community organizations and the media,” Anna Lucia D’Emilio, representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund, once told the press.
For this reason, it is still a challenge to continue increasing actions to promote and encourage breastfeeding in Cuba, and this need is reflected in the MICS surveys, which indicate that 96.2 % of children born in the last two years have breastfed at some time. This percentage was 98% in 2011, according to these surveys.
According to the 2014 results, 48 % of infants breastfed within the first hour of birth, a figure that is also decreasing compared to the 77 % recorded in 2011.
Cuban medical institutions advise starting breastfeeding within the first hour after giving birth, breastfeeding exclusively during the first six months and continuing breastfeeding for two years or more.
The specialist concluded that guaranteeing optimal breastfeeding practices requires the support of the family and especially of the couple, who should share the mother’s sleepless nights and collaborate in every way. In addition, he added, it has been associated with long-term social behavior, which is more often adequate in those children who received exclusive breastfeeding.
By supporting and promoting breastfeeding, the nation complies with article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that infants should enjoy the highest level of health.
In this sense, the specialist underlined the importance of having Human Milk Banks (BLH) in the country. These are currently located in eight provinces: Pinar del Rio, Havana, Matanzas, Las Tunas, Granma, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo.
It is essential to emphasize that the BLHs are attended by mothers with their partners as it is part of the responsible motherhood that is intended to be transmitted in the country. At the end of 2015 in Cuba, 3 thousand 19 mothers became donors, and thanks to this, 738 liters of milk were collected, which benefited 1 thousand 285 newborns.
This August 4, bank number nine will be inaugurated at the Camilo Cienfuegos hospital in Sancti Spíritus, with the aim of helping in the survival of newborns, especially those born with congenital malformations and those who present malnutrition in the first stage of life.
About the author
Raiza Arango Medina
Graduated in Journalism at the Faculty of Communication of the University of Havana in 2014. Since then she has been dedicated to writing and research on social issues, aging and population dynamics. She is also one of the main editors of the Health page, specializing in topics related to health, science and technology. She has attended several postgraduate courses at the Center for Psychological and Sociological Research and at the International Institute of Journalism, related to the study of Cuban society.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
On the same day that the declarations of Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama were made public, announcing a path towards normalization between the United States and the uncomfortable neighbor located 90 miles from the Florida peninsula, the website Diario de Cuba published false news about the [supposed] sinking, by the Cuban government, of a ship in the bay of Matanzas.
Dozens of people who were emigrating to the U.S. were supposed to have died. In the midst of the announcement made by both presidents, the main information of that day, the “news” of Diario de Cuba passed without pain or glory to the history of falsehoods fabricated by a publication that, since its origin, has received several million dollars from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for propaganda against the Cuban government.
The NED’s web page contains these figures, and the most recent one, published there, establishes the allocation for 2019 at $600,000. The nefarious role of the NED is not communist propaganda, even the not at all leftist newspaper The New York Times has established its condition as a screen for the CIA and its involvement in the financing of coups d’état in dozens of countries.
When Trump won the elections for the U.S. presidency in November 2016, Diario de Cuba was among the media that disseminated a video where several Cuban “opponents” show their euphoria for that “resounding victory”. Their words are eloquent:
(Trump) The man we need to get out of this whole situation (in Cuba).
We dragged all the communists with us.
In Cuba, almost all the people who suffer the consequences of the regime are happy (with Trump’s victory).
Women have suffered a lot during these two years of the reestablishment of relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
Obama, you are finally leaving.
It was very frustrating to see how the Obama administration was allowing the regime to gain space and leave the Cuban people and their demands aside.
We cannot do it alone (decide Cuba’s fate).
President Obama’s legacy regarding Cuba is not positive.
With the election of Trump, hopes are reborn in those who had lost them.
(With) the arrival of Trump to the White House we can rescue that ally we always had in the struggle for freedom in Cuba.
There is a magnificent juncture for all democratic actors in the region to have a unique triumph, which is to finally and totally overthrow the military dictatorship of the Castro brothers.
Now we have to work with those political actors who are thinking about a real democratization of Cuba.
Mario Díaz Balart, Carlos Curbelo, Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros, kisses, I love you all, gentlemen.
Congratulations from the bottom of my heart, and I say it with total joy, to the Cuban-American congressmen who are doing so much for the freedom of the Cuban people, I love you, I love you all so that you know and continue as you are going.
Such a background of the media, represented by one who wielded a cell phone in the face of the head of the Cuban Ministry of Culture, is a thing of no importance. Together with the correspondent, is shouting in his support someone who, against what he calls “pacification”. He has published in his social networks the need for a more economic blockade and a military intervention against Cuba. This is something that should not fail to be taken into account, because, more important is the way in which the Minister prevented the one paid by the NED from fulfilling his task: to weaken the Cuban position in any process of changing U.S. policy towards Havana, something Diario de Cuba has not ceased to advocate.
Those who say that a minister does not act like that in other countries are right. True: it is the police who “dialogues” -with clubs and water jets- against anyone who protests. Ultimately, it would be an escort who would undiplomatically put an end to any object unexpectedly placed in front of authority.
What would happen if the provocateur is paid by an agency historically associated with the efforts of a foreign government to change the current order in that country? One does not have to be very imaginative to imagine it, especially when every year journalists are murdered in double digits in the “democracies” around us.
That the libertarian correspondent insults, with all the repertoire of foul words in the Spanish language, the Minister that the private media system financed from abroad against Cuba has tried to lynch in the media, is not important either, much less if we take into account that, for this type of behavior, more than one rapper was sentenced to jail where Diario de Cuba has its headquarters: democratic Spain.
It is not very original either. The authorship of the insults belongs to another person who, in the 2016 video we mentioned before, was happy about the triumph of Trump and the anti-Cuban congressmen in Florida, exhibiting the emblem of the mercenary brigade 2506, defeated in Playa Girón, and requesting a tough hand with Cuba, precisely the one who expressed the tolerant phrase “We dragged all the communists”.
The correspondent of another media paid from the United States (ADN Cuba) acknowledges having received between $150 and $200 dollars for reporting from the Ministry of Culture on January 27, another unimportant thing.
This is who defends the model of free, democratic and independent press that Cuba must implement, nothing more: the yellow journalism that puts the superfluous in the foreground and hides the essential. Why be its unwitting victims, or worse, its accomplices, when what is really being demanded is not freedom of expression, but freedom for insults and lies turned into a business with foreign money?
February 11, 2021
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Although the exceptional circumstances caused by COVID-19 mean that we cannot yet do as many things as we want to do, that we cannot yet kiss and touch and embrace as we used to and as we will do again, that cannot stop us from continuing to love.
There are as many ways of loving as there are people and heartbeats in the world. But immersed in a pandemic of perimetralized provinces, of physical and emotional safety distance or of norms and fears, we are forced to relate to each other as we have never done before.
The world has become confined in every sense, but we continue to love seamlessly as best we know and can, with memories and imaginary embraces. We feel that, paradoxically, we are farther and closer than ever to those or that we love.
How are we feeling love? How is it saving us in this difficult journey? Is love the most resistant and mutable feeling in the universe? To think about these questions, Cultura Inquieta leaves us this selection of photographs.
February 10, 2021
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The National Classification of Economic Activities (CNAE), is integrated in 4 levels of aggregation that are distributed in 21 sections identified by an alphabetical code of one letter, subdivided in turn in 87 divisions, 237 groups, 421 classes, that in total contain 2 thousand 110 activities, limiting totally or partially some of these structures, or only certain activities, that the proposal proposes to limit 124 of them.
The list does not include activities considered illegal for all economic actors or expressly prohibited by law, such as: hunting and fishing of prohibited and endangered species, exploitation of endemic plants, child labor and forced labor, among others.
Download the list of activities where self-employment is not allowed (PDF 153 KB) (in Spanish)
Date: December 15, 2012
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Julio Jané. In 1925 he became the first Latin American to graduate as a specialist in Radiology and Radiodiagnosis. In 1927, at the age of 26, he graduated as Doctor of Medicine at the Sorbonne.[/caption]
One hundred and eleven years ago, a series of events took place in Cuba worthy of being engraved in that book of yesterday that is our national memory.
Did you ask for examples? Well, here are just a handful of them.
In that already remote 1901, Ñico Saquito, Luis Marquetti and Rafael Cueto were born to Cuban music. The National Library is founded. Havana joins the number of cities in the world that have streetcars.
Yellow fever is drastically reduced, thanks to the application of the theory enunciated by the Camagüeyan genius Carlos J. Finlay.
Meanwhile, in the southeast of Cuba, in the Villa del Guaso, on October 22, 1901, a certain couple -formed by the doctor in pharmacy Mr. Pablo Jané Trocné and his cousin Julia Jané Escobedo- is giving birth to a child. An apparently irrelevant fact, but which would later prove its transcendence.
THE CAREER OF AN ILLUSTRIOUS CUBAN
Yes, when the twentieth century was dawning, the Jané-Jané family of Guantanamo had a child, who they named Julio. Twenty-seven years later, we will find him as an assistant to that glory of world science, the Polish Marie Curie -born Marja Sklodowska-, at the Rhodium Institute in Paris. For several years he would assist in their research -until the death of the scientist- to that pinnacle of knowledge.
Julio Jané graduated in Medicine at the universities of La Sorbonne and Havana. He passed his residency exams at the French Croix Saint Simon Anti-Cancer Center (1923). In 1925 he became the first Latin American specialist in Radiology and Radiodiagnosis. Two years later, he was nominated to become the director of the surgical services of the Anti-Cancer Center of the Lariboisière Hospital in Paris.
Among many other qualifications, he obtained a degree as a nuclear energy technician from the Institute of Nuclear Studies based in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the place in the United States where the atomic bomb was developed. He already enjoyed renown in the world scientific world, and was not lacking in offers in Paris, which he turned down to work in his country.
Armed with his talent and the solid preparation he had acquired, Julio Jané was a pioneer in science in Cuba, where he returned in 1937.
Here he put electrology to work in rehabilitation and physiotherapy. His experiments created a novel method to diagnose cancer, and he was involved in the application of ultrasound, when this resource was still in its infancy. He worked successfully in the rehabilitation of polio patients and was a sworn enemy of invasive techniques.
In El Vedado he gave life to the Electrotherapy and Radiotherapy Center. He contributed to the founding of the Radium Institute, attached to the Reina Mercedes Hospital, while at the same time he received offers to work in Barcelona or New York.
Jané collaborated with the American atomic physicist Paul C. Aebersold (1910-1967), one of the greats in the peaceful applications of nuclear science. He shared with Dr. Aebersold sympathy for the nascent Cuban revolution. Perhaps this explains why the American died, under strange circumstances, falling from a skyscraper, a fact that the American special services wanted to show as a suicide, caused by psychic imbalance.
Dr. Julio Jané was not only a leading scientist, but also a man of high civic virtue.
His deep-rooted friendship with Eduardo Chibás, with whom he shared dreams of popular improvement, was no coincidence. (When the Orthodoxo leader was wounded by his own hand, Jané was prevented from being part of the medical board that discussed the case. This refusal led many to believe that a conspiracy had taken the leader’s life).
In the midst of the official indifference to health, he gave public talks in the university Plaza Cadenas, in order to instruct the people medically. Such action would be described as subversive by the henchmen of Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship.
Concerned about agriculture and popular food, he advocated the conservation of food by means of radiation, because, he said, “we sow to rot”.
He declared war on transnational companies that added carcinogenic substances to food.
Batista – a usurper in power – tried to develop a nuclear project and a congress on that matter, which were not going to be anything more than masquerades. Jané opposed this “and, supported by scientists of solid prestige, among them Dr. Aebersold, managed to frustrate the political attempts.
This Guantanamero descendant of Mambises, great for his brain and his heart, was an unconditional supporter of his homeland until August 8, 1973, when he went down to the grave in the Pantheon of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.
It has been said about Dr. Julio Jané that he did not value the Hippocratic Code as a cold mandate, much less as a text of professional formality and vague importance -only useful for quoting it in speeches-, but that he assumed it as a vital commitment.
(Taken from Cubahora)
By Paquita Armas Fonseca, a Cuban journalist specialized in cultural issues. She is a regular contributor to Cubadebate and other digital media such as La Jiribilla, CubaSi and the Cuban Television Portal. She was director of El Caimán Barbudo.
February 4, 2021
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Degree in Psychology, PhD in Psychological Sciences, Master in Sexuality and Sexuality Pedagogy, Professor and Senior Researcher, President of the Cuban Multidisciplinary Society for the Study of Sexuality (SOCUMES). Beatriz Torres Rodriguez is the Bety who once a week has been talking about Sexuality and daily life for 20 years, first on CHTV and then on Canal Habana.
That has been one of her jobs as a communicator, she has had others (you will find them in this text) and soon she will be the host of Miradas sin excusas, a magazine that will precede the awaited series Rompiendo el silencio (Breaking the Silence). “The panels do not comment on the chapters of the serial, but make reflections and look for alternatives and turning points to prevent gender violence to give alternatives for coping with it” stresses this charismatic psychologist:
-Why Psychology? Is there a gene in the family?
When choosing a career as a teenager, generally as in my case, there is no effective professional orientation, but I have always been a passionate reader and lover of cinema and I was attracted by the characteristics of the characters, how they faced conflicts, how there could be different alternative solutions, which not only depended on the environment in which people developed, among other elements and that approached the studies, which I later learned, were the components of the psychological framework. Also, because from what I knew was a helping profession, at that time with the vision of patients with psychiatric disorders, which constituted and constitute for me a great mystery, despite the years of professional practice.
There is no specialist in my family related to this science.
Since I was a student at the Psychology Department of the University of Havana, I became interested in this subject and received extracurricular courses given by what was at that time the National Group for Sex Education. At the same time, I began my professional practice in a Mental Health Center, and I saw how mental health disorders, whether the most complex and chronic or the most acute, mostly have an impact on sexuality and life as a couple, at different ages of life, which leads to present, from discomfort related to this area, to disorders, with a great burden of suffering in most cases.
This was later enriched by working at the Center for Medical and Surgical Research, where I expanded my diapason to the accompaniment and treatment of patients with chronic diseases, especially non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney disease among others and the impact they have on sexuality, not only because of the disease itself, but also because of all the stigmas and prejudices of the patient himself, the couple, the team of professionals and society, mostly due to the lack of knowledge or undervaluation of these issues and the impact they have on the welfare of people regardless of the disease they have.
For ten years I have been the president of the Cuban Multidisciplinary Society for the Study of Sexuality (SOCUMES), one of its multiple lines of research is precisely gender violence.
In recent years I have also participated in counseling for women in situations of gender violence, where the implications are very marked in their sexuality, self-esteem and well-being, among others. In other words, for me it is an area of knowledge of great need and sensitivity and that, in our culture, since it is considered by the majority of the population as a private matter, people delay a lot in asking for help and in some cases do not do it at all.
-Where and when did you start as a communicator?
I started in 2000 on TV in CHTV, in its magazine, with the session Sexuality and daily life, with journalist Dianik Flores, a session that I later continued in Canal Habana, since its foundation 15 years ago, together with a group of prestigious directors and hosts such as Sandra, Magdiel and the entire production team, which has allowed me to grow as a person and as a professional and a systematic dialogue with viewers, because I keep a space within the session to answer them, based on the questions of the topics presented in the space. This exchange has been very enriching and I have been given alternatives of help or orientation to different services in the cases I require. Hearing, analyzing and learning from other colleagues whom I admire and who also have their section in the Magazine, has been very useful for me.
I have participated in other TV programs, such as El triángulo de la confianza, De tarde en casa, Entre tú y yo and Pasaje a lo desconocido, among others.
In addition, since 2005 and for several years, I developed in the newspaper Trabajadores a digital consultation on sexuality in their health page. The session was called “Let’s talk about sexuality”, which for years was a very interesting experience, receiving various questions from people of different ages, marital status, schooling, even from other countries, which allowed me to get feedback on the issues that most often concerned the population about sexuality and life as a couple and that many did not dare to raise, neither to their own partners, nor in the space of consultation, so we could see the usefulness of this space. I would like to acknowledge the collaboration of the journalist Carmen Alfonso, in charge of this health page.
I have seen the importance of communication on these issues in the media, since it allows a large group in the population to become aware, reflect and learn. At the same time, as a specialist, it has helped me to be aware of what concerns the population the most, in order to be able to offer help alternatives.
-Have you taken a speech course?
In 2008-2009, together with other specialists in charge of sessions at Canal Habana and a group of journalists, I took a speech course, which was very useful and a necessary learning experience.
-How long did you prepare for this job?
I was invited to be the host or moderator of the panels of specialists of the magazine Miradas sin excusas, before the presentation of the chapters of the serial Rompiendo el silencio. Although the preparation time was short, we had the necessary and deep table work, both with its director and screenwriter Elena Palacios, Altair Reyes, the head of production and advisor Karina Paz, magnificent professionals, with whom we developed an excellent teamwork.
In addition, for some years, I have had an approach from the research with the problems related to gender violence, I was one of the coordinators of the Consensus of Gender Violence, organized in 2018 by SOCUMES and in the meetings of researchers in gender violence, organized by the Oscar Arnulfo Romero Center. For the last 5 years, we have jointly organized a colloquium on this topic. For three years I have been part of the counseling team for women in situations of gender violence in this institution. All this has made it easier for me to raise awareness and deepen my knowledge of these issues.
-What topics will be discussed?
It is a specialized magazine of analysis of the different expressions of gender violence, which will serve as a framework for the two seasons of the series Breaking the Silence. It tells the stories of women and girls in situations of violence, in its different forms of presentation, from the most recognized and obvious, such as physical violence and sexual abuse, to the more subtle, but no less serious, such as psychological and other types of violence. In its second season, it expands and diversifies to other forms of violence, such as violence against men. There is a representation of the different contexts where it can occur, such as the family, the couple, school, work, among others.
Its first season was intentionally broadcast in early December 2016, in the framework of the Day for Non-Violence against Women and Girls. For the first time, a national teleseries addressed this issue of gender violence as a central axis, which continues in its second season as a common thread.
The themes of this second season are related to:
Sexual violence against girls, adolescents and adult women in its different forms of expression.
The consequences of gender violence affect the main victims (women), but also the rest of the family members and the perpetrators themselves.
One of the consequences of GBV is the reproduction of violence, particularly for women in the double condition of victim-victimizer.
Symbolic violence that uses women’s bodies to exercise control.
Gender violence towards homosexual men, homophobia, transphobia, paternity and homosexuality.
Rape within the family.
Violence between men.
Stories of characters with their conflicts, limited situations and responses to them are presented, with the aim of provoking recognition, analysis and awareness of this phenomenon of gender violence.
-Could you comment on the specialists?
The panels were composed of specialists from different fields of knowledge, who had two characteristics in common:
They were experts in their fields of knowledge and in issues related to GBV.
They are very sensitive to these issues.
We had 58 appearances, according to the characteristics of the topics, there were experts who participated in more than one panel on several occasions. Psychologists, Sociologists, Jurists, Journalists, Anthropologists, Pedagogues, Doctors, Historians, Filmmakers, Communicators and Photography Professionals, among others, were represented. Teamwork was achieved and the most important thing, in my opinion, is that we sought to enlighten the population on these issues, to see the signs of GBV, its causes, repercussions in the family, society, the different alternatives to face it and where to find turning points in the different situations that arise, in order not to reproduce violence and, most importantly, to prevent it.
-Any recommendations for viewers?
Not to be alarmed by these issues, since the important thing is to recognize the different forms of GBV, and that this is a social problem of such importance, that to stop at the number, or if it is more or less frequent, is not the essential thing, but if a single woman, girl or any person is in these situations, it deserves all our effort and attention. The most important thing is to PREVENT, so that GBV and any form of violence does not become naturalized. Hence the political will of our country and its institutions to achieve an effective, comprehensive and integrated response. This magazine is part of this effort, of the many that are needed.
The FMC, together with other institutions, is leading this strategy, which is already showing signs such as the helpline and the Women’s Advancement Program, among others.
-Is there anything I haven’t asked you or anything you’d also like to say?
Finally, I would like to thank once again the entire team of the magazine and Ms. Mareleen Díaz Tenorio, with whom we had a systematic exchange during the entire filming process, since she was the capable advisor of the series Breaking the Silence.
(Taken from TVC’s website)
November 12, 2012
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Intelligence, rigor, will, imagination, passion… these were some of the qualities of Marie Curie, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. But there were more things in which she was a pioneer. We list them below:
1. Top of her class when she finished high school at the age of 15 (1883). She was awarded a gold medal.
2. The first woman to graduate in Physics at the Sorbonne University. That year (1893) only two women graduated in the entire University of Paris. Marie was also the first in her class.
3. The first person to use the term radioactivity (1898).
4. The first woman in Europe to receive a doctorate in science (1903).
5. The first woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Physics (1903). The prize was awarded to her, together with her husband Pierre and Henri Becquerel, for the discovery of radioactivity.
6. The first woman to be a professor and head of laboratory at the Sorbonne University (1906).
7. The first person to have two Nobel Prizes. The second was in Chemistry, in 1911, for having prepared radium and researched its compounds.
8. The first woman to be a member of the French Academy of Medicine (1922).
9. The first Nobel mother with a Nobel daughter. In 1935 her daughter Irene was awarded the prize in Chemistry.
10. The first woman to be buried under the dome of the Pantheon on her own merits (1995).
By Carlos del Porto
November 7, 2017
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Maria Curie was a Polish physicist, mathematician and chemist, and a naturalized French citizen. She was the fifth daughter of Władysław Skłodowski, a high school teacher in physics and mathematics like her grandfather, and Bronisława Boguska, who was a teacher, pianist and singer.
In 1891, at the age of 24, Maria enrolled in the Mathematical and Natural Sciences Department at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. From that moment on, Maria was renamed Marie Skłodowska. Despite having a solid cultural background acquired in a self-taught way, Marie had to work hard to improve her knowledge of French, mathematics and physics, in order to keep up with her peers.
In 1893, she obtained a degree in Physics and came first in her class; in 1894, she also graduated in Mathematics, coming second in her class. In that year she also met her future husband, Pierre Curie, who was a professor of physics. The two began working together in the laboratories and married on July 26, 1895.
After a double degree, the next challenge was to obtain a doctorate. Up to that time, the only woman who had been awarded a doctorate was the German Elsa Neumann. The first step was to choose the topic of her thesis. After discussing it with her husband, they both decided to focus on the work of physicist Henri Becquerel, who had discovered that uranium salts transmitted rays of an unknown nature. This work was related to the recent discovery of X-rays by the physicist Wilhelm Röntgen. Marie Curie became interested in this work and, with the help of her husband, decided to investigate the nature of the radiation produced by uranium salts.
Marie Curie and Pierre Curie studied radioactive leaves, in particular uranium in the form of pitchblende, which had the curious property of being more radioactive than the uranium extracted from it. The logical explanation was to suppose that the pitchblende contained pieces of some element much more radioactive than uranium. They also discovered that thorium could produce radioactivity. After several years of constant work, by concentrating various kinds of pitchblende, they isolated two new chemical elements.
The first, in 1898, was named Polonium in reference to their native country. The other element was named Radium, due to its intense radioactivity. Pierre had periods of great fatigue that even forced him to rest in bed, and both suffered burns and sores from their dangerous radioactive work. Shortly thereafter Marie obtained one gram of radium chloride, which she achieved after handling almost eight tons of pitchblende. In 1902 they presented the result, which brought them fame. Both Pierre and Marie accept and lend all their research without making any profit from it by means of patents, a fact that is applauded by the whole world.
Directed by Becquerel himself, on June 25, 1903, Marie defended her doctoral thesis, entitled Investigations on Radioactive Substances, before a tribunal presided over by the physicist Gabriel Lippmann. She obtained her doctorate and was awarded cum laude. Together with Henri Becquerel and Pierre Curie, Marie was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903, “in recognition of the extraordinary services rendered in their joint research on the radiation phenomena discovered by Henri Becquerel”. She was the first woman to receive such an award.
On April 19, 1906, a tragedy occurred: Pierre was run over by a six-ton carriage and died without anything being done for him. Marie was greatly affected, but continued with her work and refused a life pension. She also took over her husband’s professorship and was the first woman to teach at the university in the 650 years since its founding. On November 15, 1906, Marie Curie gave her first lecture. Expectations were high, as it was the first time a woman had taught a class at the university. A large number of people attended; many of them were not even students. In that first session, Marie spoke about radioactivity.
In 1910 she demonstrated that a gram of pure radium could be obtained. The following year she received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “in recognition of her services to the advancement of Chemistry by the discovery of the elements Radium and Polonium, the isolation of Radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this element”.
With a disinterested attitude, she did not patent the process of Radium isolation, leaving it open to the research of the entire scientific community. Marie Curie was the first person to be awarded two Nobel Prizes in two different fields. The other person to have won it so far is Linus Pauling (Chemistry and Peace). Two Nobel Prizes in the same field have been won by John Bardeen (Physics) and Frederick Sanger (Chemistry).
A few months after her last visit to Poland, in the spring of 1934, Curie, after going blind, died on July 4, 1934 at the Sancellemoz Clinic, near Passy (Haute-Savoie, France), from aplastic anemia, probably due to the radiation to which she was exposed in her work, and whose harmful effects were still unknown. She was buried next to her husband in the cemetery of Sceaux, a few kilometers south of Paris.
Sixty years later, in 1995, her remains were transferred, together with those of Pierre, to the Pantheon in Paris. In the speech delivered at the solemn entry ceremony, on April 20, 1995, the then President of the French Republic, François Mitterrand, addressing especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, emphasized that Marie had been the first woman to be buried in the Pantheon, noted that Marie, who had been the first French woman to be a Doctor of Science, to be a professor at the Sorbonne and also to receive a Nobel Prize, was again the first French woman to be laid to rest in the famous Pantheon in Paris on her own merits (in which she remains the only one to this day).
Her eldest daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie (1897 – 1956), also won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, in 1935, one year after her mother’s death, for her discovery of artificial radioactivity.
She founded the Curie Institute in Paris and in Warsaw, and in addition to the two Nobel Prizes, won the Davy Medal in 1903, the Matteucci Medal in 1904 and the Willard Gibbs Prize in 1921.
Author: Víctor Fowler
firstname.lastname@example.orgJanuary 01 to January 25, 2021
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
On December 1, 1955, during a public bus ride in Montgomery City, Alabama, a 42-year-old black seamstress named Rosa Parks refused to give a white man the seat in which she was sitting. The codes of segregated behavior at the time included that Black people (in the southern states) paid their fare by boarding at the front door, where the driver was located, alighted to re-enter the bus now at the rear door, and only then sought accommodation in the back seats. Black people were not even allowed to walk through the aisle of the bus between white passengers to the back of the bus.
If they acted otherwise, for example, by remaining seated (which is what Parks did), the driver – who, in all likelihood, would offend the offender – was to call the police to take them to the station and, later, to try and punish the Black man or woman foolish enough to violate the rules. A little more than ten years earlier, Parks herself had had an altercation when, after paying, she refused to enter through the back door; on that occasion, rather than be arrested, Parks chose to leave the bus.
The above episode is known as one of the main moments, the detonator, of a protest of leaders and, in general, Black demonstrators who – opposed to this segregationist practice – maintained a boycott against the company that extended, heroically, throughout a year and that would draw the attention of the mass media of the entire country to the violence and cruelty of racial discrimination in the South of the American nation. As stated from the very beginning of the volume Civil Rights in America. Racial desegregation of public accommodations. A National Historic Landmarks theme study:
Physical separation of the races in public accommodations was an uncomfortable and degrading practice for those who were denied equal access. Segregation in theaters, restaurants, hotels and buses was a constant irritation in daily life and an insulting nuisance. This resulted in direct confrontations between racial minorities who demanded their right to pay for goods and services in the marketplace, and white business owners who demanded the right to only serve whom they chose.[i] The segregation of theaters, restaurants, hotels, and buses was a constant irritant in daily life and an insulting nuisance.
The roots of the problem extend to the beginning of the 19th century when the northern states of what would become the United States of America virtually abolished slavery thanks to a variety of “constitutional, judicial or legislative” actions (p. 6). At the same time, in the South, the practices of separation between races intensified.
Along with this, the anxiety of contact meant that in the most racist nuclei of the northern elites, efforts to extend spaces differentiated according to skin color also multiplied. An example of this is the introduction of cars for Black people on trains and the numerous cases of protest and refusal to travel in them (even the great black abolitionist Frederick Douglass was removed from his seat on one occasion for refusing to change cars).
An 1857 court case, Scott v. Sandford (where a slave, Dred Scott, tried to prove that – because he had resided in non-slave states – he should be considered a free man), was to have enormous consequences for the struggles that were to take place a hundred years later and that we know today as the Civil Rights Movement. In the Dred Scott case, which Scott lost, the Supreme Court ruled not only that the plaintiff was not a citizen, but that “Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in the territories”.
In other words, decisions about slavery (and others in this area involving customs) were left to the states and local governments. Another important decision was Hall v. DeCuir (1877) where it was decided that “the laws of a state are not applicable to interstate ship voyages and that only Congress can regulate interstate commerce”. Finally, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) opened the door for the extension of “segregation of the races, provided the separate facilities were of equal quality.” [ii]
Although protests throughout the century led seven southern states to eliminate laws that favored segregation in the public space, legal decisions such as those mentioned above made possible a reality where supply found its most evident application in Black individuals of high economic capacity .For the same price as their white counterparts, Blacks could travel in a sophisticated train carriage, while in the lower economic strata the difference was perfectly visible in the quality of supply and in the treatment received.
Parks’ arrest was followed by a mobilization on her behalf whose movers and shakers included Edgar Daniel (E. D.) Nixon, leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (with whom Parks had worked in the NAACP); Clifford Durr, a white Montgomery lawyer and strong advocate of interracial democracy with his wife Virginia; Jo Ann Gibson, an English professor at Alabama State College; and – among the clergy who offered support – a young pastor, just 26 years old, named Martin Luther King Jr. The success of the boycott, planned to last one day, was such that the organizers decided to extend it, and so it ended up spanning an entire year; along the way, on January 30, 1956, a bomb exploded in King’s house and on February 21 -along with almost 90 protest leaders- he was arrested and charged with having organized a boycott considered illegal. On November 13, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited racial segregation in interstate as well as intrastate travel, and so, on December 21, 1956, Reverend King “along with several black and white companions boarded a bus for a historic unsegregated ride” (p. 46).
From this point on, the life of Martin Luther King Jr. began to become more risky, complex and to grow into a legend. The son and grandson of Baptist pastors, a pastor himself, MLK developed his political, social, religious and cultural action in the brief period from 1955 to April 4, 1968, the date on which he died in Memphis, assassinated by James Earl Ray, a racist shooter. In this brief period, he became a leading figure in the Montgomery bus boycott (1955-1956); he helped found and was the first president (1957) of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLS); led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963, where he delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech, recognized as one of the most important pieces of oratory delivered in the country; was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and was a leading figure in securing passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In addition, he was the central figure in two of the greatest battles for civil rights: those that took place in the cities of Birmingham and Selma, both in the state of Alabama, in 1963.
In the first of these, on April 13, 1963, King was arrested and during the three days he was behind bars he wrote his well-known Letter from Birmingham Jail in which he said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable tissue of mutuality, bound together in a simple fabric of destiny. Anything that affects one directly affects all indirectly.” In that same document, MLK would explain the essence of nonviolence (the Gandhian-inspired mode of protest that he breathed into the Civil Rights Movement) as follows:
Why direct action, sit-ins, marches and the like? Isn’t negotiation a better way? You are exactly right in your call for negotiation. Indeed, that is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has consistently refused to negotiate is forced to confront the problem. (…) I have worked and preached vigorously against violent tension, but there is a kind of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth.[iii] I have worked and preached vigorously against violent tension, but there is a kind of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth.[iii]
The condition of nonviolence could only find its foundation in the love that cares for the suffering other and that, as part of God’s created works, even embraces the other who oppresses. Because of this, King’s nonviolence opposes both the part of the Black community that accommodates segregation (be it the lower strata or the academic sectors) and those who preach hatred and separation between the races (which, in context, pointed to the Black nationalists of Elijah Muhammad).
Martin Luther King’s social thought reached its greatest radicalism when, in an endeavor that would bring him multiple misunderstandings (even among leaders of the anti-racist struggles) as well as numerous new enemies (both among whites and Blacks), he became one of the most prominent intellectuals and political figures who publicly opposed the Vietnam War. The statement that gained the greatest resonance in this regard was the speech Beyond Vietnam: The Time to Break the Silence, delivered on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church before an audience of about 300 people, exactly one year before his death, whose first sentence was: “Tonight I have come to this magnificent house of worship because my conscience leaves me no other choice”, and where he singled out the United States as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”. The finesse of the socio-political analysis that MLK was able to develop shines through in excerpts such as the following:
Repeatedly we have been confronted with the cruel irony of watching black and white youths on television screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. We have seen them in brutal solidarity, burning shacks in a poor village, but we understand that they would never live together on the same block in Detroit. I cannot remain silent in the face of this cruel manipulation of the poor.[iv] Increasingly, by choice or by choice alone, the poor are being manipulated.
Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has played – the role of those who make peaceful revolutions impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and pleasures that come from the immense benefits of investments across the sea.
I am convinced that, if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we need, as a nation, to undergo a radical revolution of values. We need to quickly begin the transformation from a “things-oriented” society to a “people-oriented” society. When property rights and the profit motive are more important than the person, it is impossible to conquer the gigantic trio of racism, materialism and militarism.[v] (Idem)
The other enormous cause to which MLK devoted a great deal of energy was the struggle of American workers for better wages, health care, education for their children, and decent housing. The satisfaction of such demands had to derive, in Luther King’s thinking, from the action of workers integrated into a powerful, organized, highly conscious and nonviolent labor movement; the speech delivered to the Illinois state labor union meeting on October 7, 1965, in Springfield is an illustration of that idea as the following quote shows:
The labor movement was the main force transforming misery and despair into hope and progress. As a result of hard-fought battles, economic and social reforms gave birth to unemployment insurance, age pensions, government assistance for the indigent, and, above all, new standards of living that meant mere survival, if not tolerable living. The captains of industry did not lead this transformation; they held out until they were overrun.[vi]
For Cornel West, editor of the volume The Radical King, MLK’s growing engagement with progressive guild leaders “is integral to his calling”; according to the well-known scholar, poverty was for King not only “a barbaric form of tyranny to be banished from the Earth,” but that “the greatness of nations or civilizations is measured not by military might, architectural prowess, or the number of multimillionaire citizens; the greatness of who or what we rather consist in how we treat the least of these: the weak, the vulnerable, the orphan, the widow, the widow, the stranger, the poor, the marginal, and the prisoner (West, 2014).
MLK’s last (and unfinished) great battle was the so-called “Poor People’s March” -which sought to repeat the massive demonstration of people in front of the Capitol in Washington, which in 1963 had attracted a quarter of a million people-, but now to demand a fairer redistribution of wealth in the country. In political terms, the most outstanding feature of this new mobilization was that it was intended to convene and represent a multiracial sector which, in addition to Black Americans, was intended to include Native Americans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and poor white Americans. Thus, in a speech delivered in New York on March 10, 1968, he was able to say:
Now, I said poor people, too, and by that I mean all poor people. When we go to Washington we are going to have black people with us because black people are poor, but we are also going to have Puerto Ricans because Puerto Ricans are poor in the United States of America. We are going to have Mexican-Americans because they are mistreated. We are going to have Native Americans because they are mistreated. And for those who don’t let their prejudices lead them to blindly support their oppressors, along with us in Washington we’re going to have Appalachian whites (West, 2014).
MLK’s last public speech was the sermon he delivered in Memphis the night before his assassination. Known as I Have Been to the Mountaintop, this beautiful oratorical piece is inspired by the biblical story of Moses (who, after the Exodus, leads the people of Israel to the very Holy Land, although he dies without entering it) to establish a chilling parallel -in light of what was to happen the next day- between the biblical prophet and Martin Luther King himself. Following several investigations and testimonies about those last weeks, the amount of pitfalls, persecution, threats and misunderstanding around MLK damaged his spirit and health, to the point of causing depression and lack of sleep, among other ailments. Some testimonies even speak of the fact that, after years of threat, MLK began to feel, foresee or expect to meet an early death. The speech begins with a strange proposition that the speaker receives from the Almighty himself: to choose the era in which he prefers to live and this, after a long journey through time, turns out to be the one in which we find ourselves. At the end, after mentioning the possible threats to his life, MLK pronounced the following closing paragraph:
We’re going to have some tough days ahead, but I’m not interested in that right now. Because I’ve been to the top of the mountain. And I don’t worry about it. Like anyone else, I’d like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not worried about it now. I just want to fulfill God’s wishes and He has allowed me to climb the mountain. And I’ve looked around. And I have seen the Promised Land. I may not go in there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I am happy, tonight. I am not worried about anything. I fear no man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord (West, 2014).
During the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr., following the wishes of his widow, Coretta, excerpts from the sermon entitled The major drum, King delivered on February 4, 1968, at his Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, Georgia, were heard. May these words serve as a farewell:
If any of you are around when it’s my turn to find my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you have someone to say the eulogy, tell them not to talk too much. (…)
Tell him not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize, for that is not important.
Tell him not to mention that I have been awarded three or four hundred other recognitions, because this is not important.
Tell them not to mention where I went to school.
But I would like someone to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life in service to others.
I would like someone to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love someone.
I want you to say that I tried to take the right stand on the issue of war. I want you to be able to say that day that I tried to feed the hungry.
And I want you to be able to say that in my life I tried to clothe the naked.
I want you to be able to say that day that I tried to visit those who were in prison.
I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
Yes, say – if you wish – that I was a drum major; say that I was a drum major for justice.
Say I was a drum major for peace.
I was a drum major for honesty and all the other superficial things won’t matter.
I had no money to leave behind me.
I didn’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind me.
But I do want to leave a life of commitment and this is all I want to say.
If I can help someone as I pass.
If I can celebrate someone with a word or song.
If I can show someone that their journey is wrong,
then my life will not have been in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian,
If I can bring salvation to this world once built,
If I can spread the message as the master taught,
then my life will not have been in vain.
Yes, Jesus, I want to be at your right hand and at your left, But not for any selfish reason.
I want to be on your right and on your left, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition, but I want to be right there in love and justice, in truth and commitment to others, so that it will make this old world a new world. (Idem)
[i] Cianci Salvatore, Susan. Civil Rights in America. Racial desegregation of public accommodations. A National Historic Landmarks theme study. Washington, D. C.: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 2009.
[ii] Schultz, David (ed.) Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court. New York: Facts of File, 2005.
[iii] West, Cornel (ed.) The radical King. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014.
[vi] King, Jr., Martin Luther. All labor has dignity. Boston: Beacon Press, 2011.