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 […]
By Manuel Calviño
March 21, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A hidden threat often triggers fear and anxiety on a personal level, in each of us. Knowing the possibly fatal effects of the threatening agent, multiplies the anguish and with it the tendency to seek solutions usually extreme and unlikely to be effective. If, in addition, these effects are visible, and they already affect others, then the cycle closes: perception of indiscriminate-risk increases the idea of vulnerability-uncertain resolution behavior. But even though it is known that in a pandemic situation, such as the one our planet is experiencing today, and our country is no exception, some are tempted to fall into the trap that distances them from appropriate behavior. There appear then, behaviors of neglect and denial (those that underestimate the situation, do not recognize it in its shocking reality, or hallucinate a certain invulnerability), and also behaviors that contain the necessary ones, but with a tendency to transcend them in excess, so much so that they can produce the opposite effect.
I believe that, in general, we have more in focus those who, due to an excess of confidence (personal and institutional), from an absolutely mistaken deduction (“nothing is going to happen here”, “I’m not going to be so unlucky”, and others similar), without taking into account the extra personal vulnerabilities. In other words, that is to say without the slightest perception of risk, ignore the essential measures of protection and care. I confess that some psychological traits make some more likely than others to build such an attitude. But nothing justifies or sustains it. We are what we are capable of doing with who we are. And that is how we build a better way of being.
But it is important to focus also on the other end of the bell of Gauss, that which describes what would be a normal distribution. Perhaps, by intensifying in order to attract attention, I mean those who hype-act the measures, with innovations of dubious value, moved from an excess of anxiety mobilization. When this happens, and the sense of basic care in the face of the pandemic is passed on, that which scientific knowledge dictates as essential actions, the way to face the situation seems to be helping us, but it may be harming us. Then, from a harmful mental disposition, any care seems little to us, and we can begin to produce not so careful care, which by its extreme nature, I insist, can be a generator of damage. Exaggerating is a common way of falling into what is being avoided.
Pandemics, in any of their forms, but the more aggressive they are, the worse they tend to promote among some people the idea, and not just the idea, but the deep belief, that along with the essential isolation of suspected and already victimized cases, the best thing is the total absence of links with everything around them. What, without a doubt, if this were the case, would have to be undertaken with supreme responsibility and at the right time. I therefore share a vigilance and a just and legitimate concern in this direction. A concern that is not stubborn and excessive, but constructive and sustained. In any case, legitimate, understandable and with the right to speak. Because only by talking will it be productive.
But I would like to refer to that action that implies having the unreasonable certainty that the enemy is anywhere, or rather everywhere, and that we have to find a hiding place at any cost and at any price. And I am not talking about the care and limitation of direct physical contact, which is usually one of the causes of the epidemic’s spread, but about the spiritual, identity-based sustenance of the forms of expression of human values. It would seem that for some people limiting behavior is synonymous with limiting, invalidating, the values they contain.
Let’s think about the challenge of distance. As a way to substantially cut the chain of transmission, scientists and professionals from many parts confirm the need to maintain a certain distance, they call for so-called social distance. What does this mean? In operational terms, maintaining a social distance means: not being in places where many people are, staying away from crowds of people; keeping a distance of about two meters from other people; not touching other people. Perhaps it is better to talk about physical interpersonal distance, to show that it is proposed to considerably limit physical contact, since it is one of the most powerful causes of the spread of the disease. Then, it is clear that shaking hands, hugging, kissing, these expressions of affection, love, friendship, companionship, tend to be substantially avoided in the current conditions of a pandemic.
But distance is not necessarily a problem. The problem is always separation. With you in the distance, it is not only a beautiful poetic phrase, but also an ethical attitude, a human relationship. García Márquez confirms it: “Distance is not a problem. The problem is the humans, who do not know how to love without touching, without seeing, or without hearing…” Ernesto Lecuona, in his beautiful Always in My Heart, convinces when he says that “nothing should be able to stop me from loving you”. The essence, is the essence, no matter how many different ways it is expressed. The essence of expressions of affection lies in the feelings and values that motivate them, and these can be lived, expressed and shared in many more ways.
Limiting is essential. But it is not necessary to limit, on the contrary, it is necessary to multiply, that spiritual, valuable substantiality that is expressed in this way. I am talking about the challenge of making the kiss, the embrace, the handshake felt, where it should not be physically realized. We know, paraphrasing Galeano now: good and authentic human feelings and values cannot be silenced. If they are not expressed in one way, it will be in another. But they cannot not communicate, they cannot stop interacting, co-living. To silence them would be to spread the maleficence of the pandemic.
The same goes for collaboration, solidarity, interpersonal relations, willingness to help and support. The axiom “all for one and one for all” applies, with undoubtedly different expressions, to these moments of indispensable precautions, but which cannot undermine the human essence. What we can achieve will always be more, and more forceful, if we do it together. That, on pain of being accused of being super-optimistic, is to emerge strengthened, resilient, from such violent and destructive adversity. That is, to take charge of an intelligent optimism.
A pandemic is not just a health, scientific, and political challenge. It is also, and above all from my professional perspective, an attitudinal challenge. It is our attitudes that protect us. It is they that get us through the situation. It is they who ensure that among the foreseeable consequences, there are also achievable conquests, just as “among the thorns, flowers are born”.
I defend, summon and fight for the self-care of each and every one of us. But, I need a self-care that implies, that includes the other (like a quantum reality, I could say some physicist). That self-care that knows how to take care of others, of ourselves. That which is not only personal responsibility, but human responsibility. That which commits us to preserve, and also to nourish and cultivate, our human essence, our condition as human beings. I say this because I know it professionally and scientifically, and I believe it deeply, “if I did not believe, what would I be?
But since temptations exist, since the human mind gives for the good and the not so good (even the bad), gives for the earthly and the divine, then it is necessary to be attentive, and to refer to our personal essence as human beings. I say more, to our national being, to our identity, to our being Cuban [somos cubanos]. So, to focus on our light zones and not on the dark ones, on what makes us a country where everybody is a brother, a partner, a friend, where anybody throws a line at anybody, where if we solve everybody, if we are participative, proactive, and extroverted (sometimes to diffuse limits), we are recognized as good people. Like that neighbor in my neighborhood, whom I observed from my balcony, who suffered the denial of a handshake with a buddy on the corner, and with genuine acceptance commented:
Who’s going to change what we are, let alone a virus, however many crowns he has?” And separating himself two meters away he said to the other: “Hand or no hand, I love you, my sister. You are on my team.”
You have to be careful. You have to take care of yourself. You have to let yourself be taken care of. You have to take care of each other. And we must also preserve the Cuban soul. “Let it not be said, brother, let it not be said.”
By Emilia Vera Da Souza
Translated by Stefanie Levi for CubaNews.
from PostCuba blog, who got it from the Argentine blog Opina Mendoza.
I suppose that it’s true…
Cuba, in the midst of this global health and economic crisis, decides to come spy and take some jealously guarded secrets [from] the concentrated centers of the elaboration of Argentinian thought, science and technology.
First, they must find where the centers where thought is elaborated, where science secretly investigates the most interesting issues for the advancement of world conquest and where they apply the technologies that will allow us to dominate planet Earth are located. Where? The Cuban spies ask themselves. And those of us that are not Cuban [ask ourselves], also.
Another problem for the Cuban spies. Who? What people are they that, in a hidden and surreptitious manner guard the most interesting issues of Argentinian intellectual development? Will these be in the communication media, well-camouflaged, where the most elaborate national thought is shown?
Will they be in companies that, so that nobody knows, they are paid poverty wages, but their owners have them well-guarded in impregnable dens, the results of their effort and they live publicly superficial and skin-deep lives in order that the Cubans do not take their best production?
Will the most advanced thoughts be in the political parties, hidden so that the Castro-communist ambition and egoism do not have access [to them]?
Will it be in the most recondite estates of justice, the secret that the Cuban spies seek so much, right there where the most elaborated of free thought is preserved, in order to better the lives of the citizens? And, so that it is not stolen, they do not show it, not even in the most hermetic places of the doctrinaire bureaucracy.
The most serious problem for the Cuban spies is to hide themselves. Everyone already knows that for a better performance of conspirational espionage, it is advisable to use a good cover-up, a good costume, scenery, a masquerade, makeup. And the Cubans lack precisely all of that.
They are recognizable at a distance by their tone of voice. They cannot speak without shouting. They usually have a skin color quite difficult to disguise. Nor are they able to minimize their peculiarities when they communicate: they always talk like Cubans, including when they speak in other languages.
They use easily identifiable insults: Come mierda (eat shit), hijeputa (motherfucker), que tu no sabes nada (that you know nothing), que ni lavas ni prestas el fregadero (you will not get anything), que te den candela (that they will give you fire), jinetera (?), concha de tu madre (your mother’s pussy), chico (dude) and other things like that.
They always substitute the letter “R” for an “L”. Because of this, they are able to spy on China.
It is also possible to recognize a Cuban by their style of walking. Carefree, as if tired, with a cadence of step that seems more like a dance move than [simply] a mode of moving.
And finally a bit of information: in order to recognize a Cuban spy it is advisable to put on some salsa music, a son or an island bolero, and if they start to move to the rhythm of the drums, they are undoubtedly Cubans.
Now… if they are well-seen, it can be observed that they usually walk with white overalls, stethoscopes hanging from their necks, with a little book in a bag and they take notes with very short pencils, spent from so much use.
They walk measuring the fevers of the miserable and sick in different corners of the world. They take care of children. But they take care of them so much that they do not have a single illiterate. But there is not one, not even a very little one that goes hungry.
They always circulate more closely to the places where the poverty of the skyscrapers nests. They move proudly, as if they have made a revolution. They shout calling attention and when they are silent, they also attract attention. They mention Fidel as if they know him.
They love Che and the Argentinians, as if they were the same. They hug wildly as soon as they make friends with someone and they leave from the island, full of consumable goods, according to foreign tourists, but, always, always, always each one (all) want to return to Cuba.
“Un orgasmo de verdad,” dijo la Sra. Dodson, “no importa de dónde venga, es algo de lo que se apropia la mujer.”
Por: Ruth La Ferla
26 de marzo 2020
Translation to Spanish by CubaNews. Traducción dedicada a Mileyda Menéndez y al Dr. Alberto Roque Guerra.
¿Qué hace falta para hacer ruborizar a Gwyneth Paltrow? Pues resulta que basta con algunas clases explícitas sobre cómo entonar su suelo pélvico. Su instructora, Betty Dodson, artista convertida en educadora sexual y evangelista de la auto-estimulación femenina, exaltaba los beneficios del ejercicio kegeliano que, según sostiene, ayuda a provocar el orgasmo.
“Levanta, contrae, relaja,” insistía, causando que la Sra. Paltrow, vendedora de una vela de $75 llamada This Smells Like My Vagina [Esto Huele Como Mi Vagina] enrojeciera desde el mentón hasta la frente.
La escena es de “The Goop Lab,” una entrega de Netflix sobre el negocio de régimen de vida de la Paltrow (popular entre los ‘millennials’) que marcó un hito para la Dodson, pues le dio más visibilidad y, posiblemente, más relevancia de la que ha disfrutado desde que comenzó hace medio siglo a enseñar a las mujeres a alcanzar el orgasmo.
“Ahora hay educadoras más jóvenes,” dijo Annie Sprinkle, estrella porno de la década de 1970 devenida educadora sexual y desde hace mucho discípula de Dodson, “pero Betty todavía les puede dar dos vueltas.”
La Sra. Dodson, una perturbadora desde antes de que el término se pusiera de moda, ha ganado adeptas a su ideal de sexo positivo durante décadas, exhortando a las asistentes a los talleres Bodysex que fundó en los 70 a sentarse desnudas en su piso alfombrado, observarse mutuamente sus vulvas y aprender a masturbarse con eficacia.
Incluso antes de que el Dpto. de Salud de Nueva York afirmara “you are your safest sex partner” [Tú eres tu pareja sexual más segura] en un memo muy publicitado, la Sra. Dodson, que ya tiene 90 años, disfrutaba de un oportuno renacer. Su mensaje se hace sentir en su primer manual, “Bodysex Basics” [Fundamentos del Bodysex], con Carlin Ross como coautor, y en una versión reeditada de sus memorias de 2010, “Sex by Design: The Betty Dodson Story” [Sexo Intencional: La Historia de Betty Dodson]; en los populares talleres mensuales que ofrece en su apartamento de Midtown Manhattan (actualmente sustituidos por charlas colectivas por Internet); en el arte erótico que captó la atención del público por primera vez (sus imágenes de parejas copulando, que se exhibirán este año cuando el Museo del Sexo, del cual es consultora, reabra sus puertas); y en www.dodsonandross.com, la página web que mantiene junto con la Sra. Ross, su asociada comercial y presunta heredera de 46 años.
En “The Goop Lab,” la Sra. Ross yace bocabajo en la penumbra de un cuarto. Dodson está encima de ella, aplicándole suavemente aceite en los genitales mediante una técnica de masaje que se acelera gradualmente, y susurrando dulcemente mientras guía a la Sra. Ross hacia un eventual clímax.
Si la tierra tembló para la Sra. Ross, no se notó. Aparte de su respiración agitada y algún que otro estremecimiento por momentos, el auditorio no vio ni escuchó nada parecido a los fuegos artificiales sonoros y visuales que desde siempre han sido el puntal de la pornografía heterosexual.
Las Acusaciones Eran Falsas. Pero, ¿Podíamos Probarlo?
Si pareció insulso por comparación, dijo la Ross, “es porque no fue un orgasmo actuado.”
Antes de la propagación del nuevo coronavirus que obligó a los neoyorquinos a auto-aislarse, ella estaba chateando en la oficina-dormitorio donde ambas escriben y planifican sus proyectos.
Un pene dorado con alas, uno de los diversos premios curiosos de la Sra. Dodson, ocupa el lugar de honor en uno de los estantes superiores de un librero lleno de videocasetes que ella misma ha promovido—tales como “Viva la Vulva”—y de varios de sus trabajos iniciales, incluyendo “Sex for One: The Joy of Self-Loving” [Sexo para Uno: El Goce del Auto-amor], su trascendental primer manual (1987) sobre la masturbación femenina.
Herramientas de trabajo: Vibradores Magic Wand [Varita Mágica] que la Sra. Dodson utiliza en sus talleres.
La Dodson hizo su entrada vestida con una bata de baño desgarbada cuyo bolsillo superior está decorado con las letras B.A.D., “mis iniciales, Betty Anne Dodson,” dijo entornando los ojos antes de retomar su tema.
Claro que sí, el orgasmo puede ser ruidoso en ocasiones. “Sin embargo, por lo general los sonidos son mucho más guturales, profundos y animalistas,” afirmó. “Las piernas tiemblan, el cuerpo entero tiembla. Eso nunca lo he visto en pornografía.”
¿Por qué entonces tantas mujeres se sienten obligadas a montar un espectáculo enriquecido con una banda sonora de gemidos y gritos desgarradores? “Los hombres no quieren ver un orgasmo de verdad, quieren el pornográfico,” señaló la Dodson con mordacidad. “Es cosa del ego. Quieren ver el tipo de efecto que causan en una mujer.”
“Un orgasmo de verdad,” agregó, inclinándose hacia adelante para mayor énfasis, “no importa de dónde venga, es algo de lo que se apropia la mujer.”
He ahí un precepto básico de sus enseñanzas. “Tienen que dirigir” el coito, le pide a las mujeres encarecidamente: Asuman el mando, o sea, participen activamente en su propio placer. Si están con una pareja, “Llévenla a hacer lo que ustedes quieren,” dijo casi con furia. “Busquen la posición que ustedes quieren.”
En su opinión, la masturbación, sea manual o con dispositivos de baterías, es la piedra angular de la realización sexual, un catalizador del placer, y, más que eso, la base fiable de la independencia social y emocional.
“Mi instinto me dijo,” escribe en su monografía, “que movilidad sexual era lo mismo que movilidad social. Los hombres la tenían y las mujeres no.”
Su actitud de mando, subversiva e incluso incendiaria de principios de los años 70, no les sentó muy bien a algunas feministas que consideraban la noción de la Sra. Dodson sobre el apareamiento como mecánica y carente de conexión. Además, estaban demasiado concentradas en protestar por los abusos y las humillaciones que sufrían por obra de los hombres. “Siempre se estaban quejando,” recordó con irritación.
Otras fruslerías sobre el buró de la Dodson.
Respondió, imperturbable, con un modelo de concientización sexual. El repudio total al amor romántico era vital para su mensaje. “El romance es algo muy serio,” dijo en su apartamento. “Ya no es ese paradigma de que yo tengo que amarte y tú tienes que corresponderme.”
La Sra. Ross intervino: “El sexo puede ser juguetón, algo más parecido a, ‘Vamos a divertirnos.’”
Los jóvenes pueden enseguida a guías en la Internet tales como “How to Masturbate, Female Style: 8 Steps to Having Orgasms” [Cómo Masturbarse al Estilo Femenino: 8 Pasos para Tener Orgasmos] en Bustle, con instrucciones a mano, según escribe la autora, “porque conocer varias formas de producirse un orgasmo es una habilidad que todo el mundo debería tener.” Similar naturalidad respalda la afirmación un tanto simplista de Flo Perry, escritora e ilustradora británica de 27 años, en “How to Have Feminist Sex: A Fairly Graphic Guide” [Cómo Tener Sexo Feminista: Una Guía Bastante Gráfica], al afirmar que la masturbación no consiste en mucho más que “una forma de cuidado personal.”
No obstante, algunas de las más jóvenes parecen preferir el enfoque manual (si me perdonan) de la Sra. Dodson. Las lecciones que ofrece en la Internet tienen muchísimos clientes, de las cuales aproximadamente la mitad tienen entre 24 y 40 años, según la Sra. Ross. Pocas pueden responder al caudal de furia que caracteriza a los escritos de la Dodson y caldea su conversación.
Ella recuerda en su monografía el caso de una amiga de más edad que se le insinuó con manoseos a su mejor amiga. La Dodson agarró un cuchillo de encima de la tabla de cortar y le dijo con rabia, “Mejor vete antes de que te clave este cuchillo en el estómago.”
Sin embargo, en otros casos, la Sra. Dodson parece inexplicablemente cooperativa. En su escrito describe el encuentro en su patio trasero con un extraño semidesnudo, que se le acercó amenazadoramente por detrás. Sintiendo que el hombre estaba a punto de abalanzarse sobre ella, se dio vuelta, se zafó el cinturón, lo empujó hacia una silla y se le montó encima.
Es un incidente sorprendente de leer, sobre todo en la era del #MeToo, cuando la actitud aparentemente displicente de la Dodson suena a herejía. Pero ella no está dispuesta a retractarse. “Si Ud. no sabe artes marciales,” afirma, resistirse a un hombre durante un ataque “es inútil en la mayoría de los casos. Los hombres son más grandes y más fuertes. No me importa cuántas razones tiene Ud.: pelear no da resultado.”
Su relación con el sexo más fornido puede ser agriamente despectiva. “Los hombres son muy bidimensionales,” señaló. “Si algo tienen de interesantes es por las mujeres con las que han estado.”
La Sra. Ross le recordó a la Dodson que a la edad de setenta y tantos tuvo un amante de 25 años de edad, con quien vivió durante una década. Para la Sra. Dodson, el recuerdo aún despide chispas.
“¡Era tan bello!,” dijo entre nostálgicas chupadas a un Marlboro Light. “Tenía el cuerpo perfecto, hombros ancho, genitales de buen tamaño y huesos fuertes. ¡Ah, y olía muy bien! Con esa juventud y mucha agua y jabón.”
“Ya terminé con el sexo en pareja,” continuó. “Pero no rechazaría a un tipo bien parecido si entrara aquí ahora.”
No tener pareja no es motivo para abandonar el terreno, agregó, como si tal cosa, confiándome que todavía fuma marihuana ocasionalmente (“Sin ella no estaría aquí.”), a veces como preludio del sexo casual en solitario.
No tiene sentido recostarse a esperar ociosamente a que el deseo me tome la delantera.
“Sentimos el deseo una vez que nos excitamos,” dijo. “No esperes a que tu espíritu te mueva, porque nunca lo hará.”
Una versión de este artículo aparece impreso el 26 de marzo de 2020 en la Sección D, Página 1 de la edición de Nueva York, con el título: The Soothsayer of Solo Sex [La Adivina del Sexo en Solitario]. Solicite Copias | Periódico de Hoy | Suscríbase
I found that if I paint my eyelashes I touch my eyes less. Same with the lips. Makeup, in general, can be a great ally in avoiding the coronavirus. Since the medical advice of not touching your face I can’t put it into practice rigorously, at least the aesthetic advice of not rubbing my eyes with mascara on my eyelashes can save me.
Who would have thought it: that the most vain people were the ones who in the end had the best chance of surviving. I have also discovered that I can’t stand antibacterial gel on my hands. It reminds me of when I used to eat a cold snack in elementary school and squirt soda down my hands and then get sick.
So far, this has been a day of important discoveries. I still haven’t managed to isolate myself. I had to leave in the morning. I’m sorry. Things that can’t be helped. But I came home quickly. I unrolled my yoga or pilates mat, depending on my craziness at the moment, and started doing some stretching exercises, which are very relaxing.
Before that, I cooked some chickpeas that were spectacular. I love to cook. I won’t go running in the afternoons on Fifth Avenue and the Malecón, nor will I see the sunsets in front of the sea, nor feel the salty breeze on my tongue. I’m ready to make my life miserable. I think so.
At least my house has huge plants and I keep incense, ginger and coffee for about two months. They say that in Spain, in quarantine, whoever has a dog can walk it. I wonder if having an imaginary dog will count, or that one will suddenly start barking.
DATEL March 19, 2020.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
By Juana Carrasco Martin
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The new coronavirus has upset some people. The symptoms are a brutalization caused by bad intentions and Cubaphobia, translated into attempts to politicize the pandemic and -irrationally- to put Cuba as the focus and center of the contagion.
Of course, such bullshit could only come from Miami – a city contaminated for more than six decades by a visceral hatred and a vengeful desire for Cubans to disappear from the map, in order to appropriate this beautiful archipelago at any cost.
The most recent invention arrived with Twitter feeds and a letter sent to President Donald Trump by Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo, asking him to place Cuba on the list of restricted travel to the United States, because “we need to take all preventive measures to protect Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida from the spread of COVID-19.
In Bovo County, the number of confirmed cases rose to 76 (March 18 data) and is increasing, as is the number of positive cases in all of Florida, which is almost 400, ranking among the highest in the 50 U.S. states.
Everyone knows, as do many Americans, including medical experts, and Democratic presidential hopefuls, say, that Trump did not act on SARS-CoV-2 in time, and that the public health care system — and, of course, the private health care system, plus the insurance companies — are responsive to the profits they can make, not the needs of their citizens.
Therefore, the records show that the United States is the country with the highest rate in the entire hemisphere, with 13,737 cases positive for COVID-19; 201 deaths and 108 recoveries. There are now 178 countries where the pandemic has made landfall.
However, the commissioner assures that Cuba has falsified its records, that it is rumored that the sick are Italians, that there have been no medicines in the country for a long time, and he dares to point out that “Cuba cannot protect its people, much less the tourists”.
Such is the blindness and bad temper of the aforementioned that he does not see how the world recognizes the benefits of the Cuban anti-viral recombinant Interferon alpha 2B, nor the gratitude of the passengers and crew of a cruise ship condemned to sail aimlessly through the Caribbean. [It wasn’t] until the humanism, solidarity and generosity of the largest of the Antilles and its people, opened a port and airport for them to return to the United Kingdom. A “I love you Cuba” was the best message from HM Braemar…
It would be good, in case they need it, to take into account that the Cuban pharmaceutical industry is prepared to treat thousands of possible patients with COVID-19, and our antiviral has already been successfully used in China.
The problem is that the Bovo is riding on the xenophobic bandwagon of the White House president, who never acknowledges his failures and looks for scapegoats in others, in order to also run an election campaign, since he hopes to be the mayor of Miami.
Nor does he care that if this extreme measure of cutting off travel between Havana and Miami were taken, it would totally sever the ties of Cuban families, a crime against humanity.
By Carlos Miguel Pereira Hernández
March 22, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
As you know, there has been encouraging news of the last few days in China indicating substantial progress towards controlling the spread of the virus at the mainland level. Together with the strengthening of quarantine measures in major cities to stop the upsurge of new cases “imported” from abroad, are reflected important changes in the scenario we have experienced in recent weeks.
While cities such as Wuhan and others, considered epicenters or areas most affected by the epidemic could move towards a gradual relaxation of the quarantine measures imposed, others such as Beijing and Shanghai will have to remain under strict mandatory quarantine measures for those arriving by air from abroad. This will involve adjustments to air routes, with previous stops in other cities and even changes in the planned destinations of international flights, as part of the measures taken to control the upsurge of new cases arriving from abroad. Only six new cases were reported in Beijing in this way.
The situation in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao still remains complicated, although the trend of increasing new cases is also showing an encouraging slowdown.
As it is known, the situation of all our colleagues and relatives in China has remained unchanged and uneventful. This is largely thanks to the joint efforts of all and the discipline maintained in complying with the measures indicated. However, while the situation here is improving after two very critical months, in the rest of the world, including our country, it is tending to worsen and become more critical. That is why we must redouble our efforts so as not to compromise what has been achieved, to avoid complacency and, at the same time, to prepare for a gradual return to normality.
These have been intense days. In addition to taking care of ourselves and preserving the health of our collective to the maximum, it has been necessary to deploy an intense battle for the truth in our networks. [We want] to close the way to the lies and manipulation that have proven to be more contaminating and lethal viruses than COVID-19 itself. From our pages in different platforms, we responded to incredulous and manipulative people about the successful use of nebulized applications of Cuban interferon manufactured in the Changheber plant, both from the preventive point of view by the Chinese medical staff before attending the patients and in the treatment itself of the patients infected with the virus.
Just a few days ago, when we were in the midst of that other battle, in an inexplicable way, Facebook, based again on its questionable algorithms, surprisingly deleted the official page of our embassy, from which we had been informing the world in an objective and systematic way about what had happened in these long months of the epidemic, the situation of our compatriots and the work of the diplomatic mission and the consulates in the People’s Republic of China.
However, Cuba’s commitment to the truth can never be erased, not even with all the clicks in the world. Barely 24 hours later, a new page was created from which we have followed and will continue to disseminate to the world our bilateral work, as well as reiterating our support and recognition to the Chinese people and government. [In addition, there are such] humanist acts as the decision to receive the British cruise ship infected with COVID-19 in Cuban territory to enable its passengers to return to their countries of origin, or the decision by China and Cuba to send medical brigades and to strengthen international cooperation as the only effective way to win this battle for life.
Taking into account the evolution of the situation in China, the embassy, the consulates general of Shanghai and Guangzhou, the Cuban representative offices and the Antillean personnel on official missions will continue to implement planned measures, which take into account the persistence of the danger and the call for strict compliance with measures to avoid contagion, in the midst of a gradual return to normality.
The medical post will remain in operation at the embassy headquarters, with the services of the medical team that is among us. It will continue to support us in the important task of providing medical guidance and advice, and also in complying with the medical protocol established since the beginning of the epidemic. Given the current epidemiological conditions of our country, this acquires even greater importance in order to ensure that nationals traveling to our country strictly comply with it. The impeccable implementation of that protocol has enabled dozens of our compatriots to return to the country in good health and no cases of contagion from China have been reported so far.
As it has been reported through different channels, all Cubans who plan to return to the country in the next few days must also strictly comply with the indicated medical protocol, for which they must contact the corresponding consular office and the medical post.
On the other hand, taking into account the evolution of the situation and the gradual reestablishment of face-to-face work by the Chinese institutions, starting tomorrow, Monday, March 23, the Cuban embassy and consulates in China will begin to resume their work in person, which will be done in a flexible manner according to the situation in each locality and in coordination with the respective heads of offices and consulates according to the priorities to be undertaken.
In the case of the Embassy, the following measures will be mandatory:
The mandatory use of masks. Once you arrive at the parking lot and before entering the offices, have your temperature taken at the medical post.
Hands and shoes will be disinfected at the entrance of the Embassy.
No inter-office visits will be allowed and only those meetings duly authorized and coordinated by the embassy management and with the measures duly taken.
Do not use common glasses, cups or spoons. Each colleague must have and use his or her own.
Meetings with external personnel will be analyzed on a case-by-case basis and with due authorisation and will be carried out in strict compliance with the measures indicated.
It is necessary that the offices are kept clean and aired at least twice a day for 30 minutes each time.
The Consular Office in Beijing and the Consulates General in Shanghai and Guangzhou will continue to provide services as before. Secretaries may be incorporated as long as services are provided for which they are required and with strict compliance with all measures, including the use of nasobuco on a permanent basis. The consulates must permanently have all the resources to ensure prevention and timely disinfection.
In the case of the group of students studying at different Chinese higher education institutions, general compliance with these measures will continue to be observed, and they will have to be adapted to the characteristics of each university and the decisions that will be announced by the corresponding authorities for the current school year. For the time being, the Chinese authorities recommend that students abroad do not return to China until otherwise indicated.
To the resident Cuban community, we reiterate that the embassy and its consulates will remain as they have been up to now, open and in permanent communication with you, to assist and support you in whatever may be necessary. As soon as the situation allows it, we will meet to take stock of what has happened during these days, in which the unity and cohesion of all becomes the main possible and necessary path towards the future.
To all of you, no matter the task or mission that has brought you to China or the migratory status you have today, I reiterate, on behalf of the leadership of our Embassy, that it has been a true honor to have shared these difficult days with you. We have made real the permanent call of President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez to “think as a country”. At the same time, I congratulate you for the exemplary attitude that has been maintained, which is allowing us to arrive little by little at the goal and to contribute our share in the battle that is being fought. I am not exaggerating if I say that you have been up to the task of our always hardened people and also of the brotherly and stoic Chinese people.
Reciprocal solidarity between Chinese and Cubans has always been present in the common history of our peoples. There are many and countless pages written throughout these years, in which each party has spared no time or effort in supporting and reaching out to the other, in the midst of situations of disasters, epidemics, media campaigns, and unprecedented manifestations of hatred and economic warfare.
These have also been days of deep solidarity and mutual support. Cuba has not only been among the leading countries in supporting and recognizing the epic battle waged by China, which has also been a crusader for the world. But China has also provided its concrete contribution in solidarity in many ways. These include the joint work of experts who have joined forces in the development of new medicines or therapies to confront a disease that, beyond announcements and predictions, remains dangerously unknown. Likewise, Chinese and Cuban doctors are working side by side today to confront COVID-19 in the region of Lombardy, Italy, one of the most affected regions in that country.
More recently, after the appearance of the first cases of the new coronavirus in the country, we have felt the human and supportive accompaniment of the Chinese government and authorities. They were among the first again, as well as their people, their companies, institutions and friends in general, to whom we extend our deepest gratitude. Increasingly, they contact us from all parts of China to send us their encouragement and support and their confidence in the capacity of our country and its health system to face the COVID-19.
As has already been announced by the Chinese authorities, an important government donation is ready, which will be joined by others that will generously send Chinese companies with a long history of links with the Island, including equipment, inputs, and others of great practical value that will reinforce the proven capacity of the Cuban health system to act, always focused on preserving the life of the people. In addition, a modest donation is being prepared by the community of Cuban residents through the Association of Cuban Residents in China “Ernesto Che Guevara”.
The battle continues, there is still much to be done. COVID-19 constitutes a global threat that must be faced with the cooperation and responsibility of all. In its prevention and containment, solidarity and international cooperation is the only possible way.
Beijing, 22 March 2020
This company belonging to the Ministry of Culture of Cuba, which produces and markets goods for the art industry, is today one of the institutions that have joined the production of nasobucos throughout the country.
By Redacción Cultural
March 23, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The National Council for the Performing Arts promotes the actions of Tecnoescena, a company belonging to the Cuban Ministry of Culture that produces and markets goods for the artistic industry, and which today is one of the institutions that have joined the production of nasobucos throughout the country.
According to José Martínez, its deputy director, this company is producing this add-on for free distribution, guaranteeing, fundamentally, the national schools of the artistic education system, as well as in the Theater and Dance centers of Havana, in some groups, among which is La Colmenita. Other cultural institutions, whose work will interact with the public,will also benefit, specifically in the area of tourism.
Tecnoescena is joined by three groups of artistic creators from the Cuban Fund for Cultural Goods (FCBC) in Ciego de Avila, who have made available to their province 5,000 nasobucos, made by them.
These timely initiatives are those that reinforce the action of the country’s main organizations, focused on the work of preventing the new coronavirus. (Cultural Editor)
By Claudia Korol
March 22, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
He was not yet Che, when he traced a route of travel through the lepers of the continent. He wasn’t the romantic hero or the guerrilla. He was a sensitive doctor willing to “touch” human pain, a product of poverty, stigmatization, isolation, and fear.
In their journey across the continent together with Alberto Granado, they met and challenged the logic of health care, visiting the lepers from Cordoba to Peru and Brazil. They sought answers in their dialogues with the Peruvian doctor Hugo Pesce, who shared with them everything from the writings of José Carlos Mariátegui – the rebel communist who questioned dogmas and made passion a fundamental part of the revolution – to his knowledge of the daily fight against leprosy.
In those years Ernesto wrote to his father:
“[…] farewells like the one the sick people in the Lima Leper colony gave us are the kind of farewells that invite you to go on […] All the affection depends on our going there without our duster or gloves, shaking hands with them like any neighbor’s child and sitting among them to talk about anything or play soccer with them. It may seem to you like a pointless comradely, but the psychic benefit to one of these sick people treated like a wild animal, the fact that people treat them like normal beings is incalculable and the risk involved is extraordinarily remote […]’.
There are many other writings by the young Guevara, in which he expresses his conviction that there is no true medicine that does not “touch” the roots of pain, and that does not break those imposed conditions of isolation, when they do not build bridges in which collective solutions to urgent needs circulate back and forth. There is no social medicine that does not question the capitalism that enriches itself by sowing disease and multiplying misery.
Was the young Fuser (Furibundo Serna, as his friends called him) an irresponsible boy when he visited the lepers and treated the people who survived there without fear or prejudice?
Was Che irresponsible when he decided to join his fate, as José Martí said, to the poor of the earth, making his way in the guerrilla struggle?
Many tried to make him irresponsible, before and after his immense figure multiplied in the hearts of the people of the world. To those who did, he replied in his ironic style, in his farewell letter to his parents written in 1965: “Many will call me an adventurer, and I am one, only of a different kind and one of those who put their skins on to prove their truths.
Che put his skin, body and soul, to fight the virus of capitalism, because he knew that its expansion and multiplication would only lead to new and increasingly dangerous wars, invasions, dictatorships, epidemics, and social diseases. His generous seed was tattooed on the social consciousness of the people
In these days when everyone shows off the tracks on their skin and in their awareness, fruit of battles won and lost, I think that the gestures of Che are indicated in this Cuba. [The Cuba] that opens its borders to receive the people infected by the Covid-19 virus that arrived in the English ship. I think that they are in the Cuban doctors who travel to Brazil, after the Bolsonaro government violently expelled them, subjecting them to humiliation and persecution as criminals; in those who travel to Madrid, to Lombardy, and to other destinations where the threat multiplies. Wouldn’t they be “safer”, wouldn’t they feel more “cared for”, taking refuge on the island and closing its borders?
Here, the profound internationalism of those who feel / live the world as a territory is put to the test, in the face of the narrow nationalisms and localisms that raise walls, as if the viruses could not get over them.
I think that the traces of Che, his gestures, are in the many doctors, nurses, health workers, who are exposed to the risks of the body to body, but who demand, more than the applause, that an adequate budget is allocated for health, for a healthy diet, to guarantee proper hygiene in all the houses, to safeguard the minimum conditions of care in hospitals, wards, and in the slums where the ambulances do not arrive.
Is the budget not enough, they say? Let’s make the collective gift that our mother from Plaza de Mayo, Norita Cortiñas, asked us for her birthday, and let’s decide once and for all not to pay the foreign debt. What’s crazy? Yes, it could be. Mothers have always been crazy. Their madness is our mental health as a people, it’s memory against impunity.
Great crises. New answers needed. Something like demanding that the state stop police patrols from chasing us when we go out to meet a basic need, and that they allocate the means and resources to bring health and food to distant places. Water for the Wichi. Freedom for political prisoners. Care for those who survive in places of detention.
Demand from the state and at the same time, build autonomy. I think that the traces of Che are multiplying in the activists of the popular movements that today organize the arrival of food, of elements of hygiene, of attention and care for those who are in necessary isolation. Health guerrillas – including mental health guerrillas – are shaking hands with lepers, with those infected by fear, by shame, by hunger, by despair. Popular guerrillas of the embrace, of care, of intransigent rebellion against the state militarization of all dimensions of life.
I speak of the community feminists, the popular feminists, the lifeguards, building bridges from solitude to solitude. I speak of the women who take care of the picnic areas and soup kitchens, looking for ways to continue reaching those who survive every day with food. I speak of the multiplication of the memory of resistance, flooding and overflowing the social networks, so that the 30,000 know that here we are, as always, building squares in the houses if necessary, making history so that the revolutions do not fail. So that they know that neither yesterday nor today, we will leave them out in the open. That we will repeat the gestures, until no virus has a little crown. Until collective victory, against loneliness.
By Danay Galletti Hernández
March 24, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Hysteria is as dangerous as social apathy, said Dr. Annia Duany, head of the Psychiatry Group at the Hospital Docente Clínico Quirúrgico Salvador Allende in Cuba, She said that confidence in the social measures taken in Cuba against COVID-19 is essential.
Panic does not help in pandemic situations and a favorable mood affects the prevention and treatment of diseases, Dr. Duany told Prensa Latina.
“It’s normal in this situation for people to experience nervousness, worry, anxiety and fear, but it’s essential to have positive coping resources. Examples being with family, seeking reliable and safe information, doing tasks and enriching our spiritual world,” he said.
On the other hand, Dr. Ana Sarracent, head of the Psychiatry Group at the Calixto Garcia Hospital, explained that although there is a risk of contagion at any age, epidemiological research indicates that those over 60 are more vulnerable to Covid-19.
“In these cases, family support is transcendental because they are more sensitive from the psychological and organic point of view. Also, extreme care and hygiene must be taken, as well as those with nervous or cognitive disorders, to ensure that they enjoy positive and happy materials,” she said.
The research work implemented to identify flu symptoms in the population and possible cases of the pandemic also reveals a significant number of adults who live alone and, therefore, need community support, Sarracent added.
They tend to have a hypochondriacal view of diseases and their situation of loneliness, as well as a diverse perception of the news broadcast on the subject, he said.
In coming days, numerous Cuban residents will arrive in the Caribbean nation and will be under isolation in response to a protection measure. The family, far from being distressed or depressed, must be aware and assume it in an appropriate manner, he said in reference to the most recent measures taken by the authorities.
About the children and how they should be treated in this context, Dr. Mabel Whilby, head of the Infant-Juvenile Group at the Pediatric Teaching Hospital of Cerro, Havana, explained that this sector of the population has different stages in psychological development and should receive information age appropriately.
The family must convey to the children that this situation will soon return to normal and then they will be able to play again with their friends, she said.
Children also have emotions, sadness and fears and must channel them, and at the same time, their parents must instill security and confidence in them through play, she added.
In this sense, conversations between adults cannot take place in front of children because they are too aware of the signs of how adults handle this situation, as they are patterns to imitate.
The specialists agreed on the importance of risk perception and insist that isolation and surveillance in homes be assumed with appropriate behavior: avoiding alcoholic beverages, smoking or neglecting eating habits.
Questions and rumors about COVID-19
March 24, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Cuban cartoonist, caricaturist and filmmaker Juan Padrón, creator of the legendary Elpidio Valdés cartoons, died on March 24 after being hospitalized for almost a month.
His son, Ian Padrón, announced the sad news on his Facebook profile.
Our beloved father Juan Padrón has just passed away at 5.20 am today, March 24, 2020. “The last mambí” struggled for 20 days and leaves full of love and tranquility. We thank all the doctors, friends and admirers who during these days have shown their affection and admiration for this great artist who is already part of the Cuban people and the independence of Cuba. Daddy, I know you would say “don’t get so serious”… and you are right. We will always remember you as the nicest, humblest, and coolest human being we will ever meet in our lives. Thank you for Elpidio Valdés, for the Vampires in Havana and above all for being such a noble and loving father and husband. So long, compay!
Juan Padrón’s biographical journey:
He was born in January 1947 in Central Carolina, in the province of Matanzas.
He graduated from the University of Havana with a degree in Art History (1978). Since 1973 he has been working at the ICAIC Animation Studies.
He has performed several functions as part of his artistic work, including comics and cinema. In 1963 he began his artistic career as a comedian in the weekly magazine “Mella”. He published comic strips and jokes in the supplements “El Sable”, “La Chicharra” and “Dedeté” of the newspaper “Juventud Rebelde”, where he created the series “Vampires”, “Zoo”, “Comejenes”, etc. In 1970 he creates the famous character Elpidio Valdés, who appears for the first time in the pages of the weekly magazine “Pionero” and who was later included in both series and animated films.
He has had an outstanding record within the realization of animated films. He has developed diverse functions, among which we can mention: script elaboration, scenographic and storyboard design, character design, animation, animation direction and voices. He has been a judge in national and international competitions.
He has worked as a film director of several animated films made with different techniques and duration. His titles include: Elpidio Valdés’ series, Filminutos, Quinoscopios, Mafalda and Más se perdió en Cuba; feature films such as “Una aventura de Elpidio Valdés”, “Elpidio Valdés contra dólar y cañón”, “Vampiros en La Habana”, “Mafalda”, “Más se perdió en Cuba”, “Más vampiros en La Habana”.
Among the recognitions obtained by his career and the works he has directed are
Cuban President expresses condolences fover death of Juan Padrón
The President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, expressed through the social network Twitter, his condolences for the death of the outstanding filmmaker and cartoonist Juan Padrón, due to a serious lung disease.
Juan Padrón, father of our beloved Elpidio Valdés, genius and figure of the Cuban mambisado in such an authentic animation that it became real to us. Our condolences to family and friends, wrote the Cuban leader.
Díaz-Canel referred to Padrón as the creator of a brilliant and inseparable artistic work of Cuba, for being insurrectionist, for being a mambisa, for being a patriot.