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 Víctor Hugo Robles, El Che de los Gays
May 14, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
For more than 10 years, the National Center for Sex Education of Cuba CENESEX has convened and organized the Cuban Days Against Homophobia and Transphobia. It is a popular and important event that includes academic, cultural, social, political and street activities, including the so-called “Cuban Conga” or “Pride March” in neo-capitalist reading, a public demonstration where the LGBTI community of the island travels the main streets of Havana to make their demands visible. Every year, the beautiful capital of Cuba and a provincial city are the scenes of these awaited activities promoted by public institutions of the Cuban State, social organizations, youth groups and sexual diversity networks that work together with CENESEX.
CENESEX is the coordinating center for the national sex education program in Cuba, a valuable and world-renowned institution. It was created in the 1970s as a response to the request made by Cuban women, organized in the Federation of Cuban Women, at its second Congress in 1972.
At that meeting, the women raised the need for sex education for their daughters and sons. Cuban women benefited from the programs of what is now called reproductive health promotion or sexual education. Later, since the 90’s, it was the LGBTI community that was incorporated in the central concerns of CENESEX, particularly with the realization of the Cuban Days, celebrated in May of each year in the context of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Historic Advances in LGBTI Rights
From the beginning, valuable and unprecedented activities have been developed that educate the population, sharing experiences, feelings and information about sexual education, HIV/AIDS prevention and the rights of the LGBTI community that seeks, demands and demands civil rights. Rights that they gradually conquer.
It is remarkable and demonstrable that the work of CENESEX has allowed great advances such as the incorporation into the National Constitution of non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, being the ninth country in the world to achieve this, as well as the institutionalization of comprehensive public policies for LGBTI people and the creation of social and legal guidance devices, the construction of a comprehensive health mechanism for trans persons, including free genital adequacy surgeries, recognition of all forms of family and approval of a transitional clause in the National Constitution that opens the door to equal marriage by eliminating gender binarism, moving from the definition of “man and woman” to “spouses”.
It is not a little, rather a lot, considering the timid advances in LGBTI rights in neoliberal capitalist societies such as ours. The promoter of these actions and director of CENESEX is the renowned sexologist Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Vilma Espín and Raúl Castro, the most outstanding niece of the mythical Fidel Castro Ruz.
The photo of the dead Che
I was present at the Cuban Days Against Homophobia and Transphobia in 2014. I was a protagonist and witness of the active participation of a diverse community committed to change, added to the refreshing enthusiasm of many young people to participate in CENESEX activities, including the crowded “Cuban Conga”, which in Chile we call “Sexual Diversity March”.
On that occasion, I remember, seeking to run the fence of what was possible and symbolically allowed, I appeared and broke into the march with an emblematic photo of the dead Che surrounded by red feathers. It was a rebellious and daring gesture, typical of the acts I seek and try to star in.
The action did not go unnoticed and provoked diverse reactions and comments, so much so that I had to go up to the main stage at the end of the Cuban Conga to explain the reasons for my intervention, receiving the applause of the present public. There I said that Che’s missing body had been discovered in Bolivia on June 28, 1997, just in time for International Gay Pride Day.
I explained to them that this is why I call myself “The Gay Che” and use the guerrilla star to intertwine desires and revolutions. In Cuba, it was surprising but my action was understood. Nobody censored me, although the foreign press, particularly the Miami correspondents, made a feast with the images of my performance pointing out that “Mariela Castro leads the Gay Pride march with a photo of the dead Che”, thus seeking to generate political repercussions that could affect the image of Mariela Castro and CENESEX.
I did not fall into the trap of that mercenary press and I shared my reasons with my comrades who listened to me with affection. “Life is necessary with irreverence,” said our beloved and unforgettable Gladys Marín in Chile, generously valuing the actions of “El Che de los Gays.
I relate this episode because I can attest to the respectful work of the friends of CENESEX, especially Mariela Castro Espín, who, beyond the legitimate pain and discomfort caused by seeing the photo of the dead Che in a public march of sexual diversity in Havana, understood the deepest and most political meaning of my crazy staging. I’m always opening paths of fraternal and internationalist dialogue in a besieged rights revolution that is built and rebuilt every day.
Some time later Mariela was in Chile and together with other local sexual diversity activists we shared with her these crazy experiences, projecting the struggles of the LGBTI community in Cuba and Chile. Since the 1970s with President Salvador Allende en la Moneda, the friendship between Chile and Cuba has been part of our political history and that includes the history of sexual diversity movements.
The “independent” march
The deplorable events that took place in the self-proclaimed “independent” LGBTI march of last Saturday, May 11, appear as the other side of a complex process of changes and transformations that the LGBTI community in Cuba is living and promoting. Although it was a march or walk that could be understood as legitimate and even fair due to the controversial cancellation of the official Cuban Conga, its convocation, its organizers and the media repercussion that the international press encouraged make us maintain that it was a staging studied and prepared.
It wasn’t from CENESEX, but from the U.S. Embassy in Havana, an office that did not hesitate to send its diplomats to cover and participate in the “independent” march. The U.S. Embassy in Havana itself publicly unmasked itself by writing on its official Twitter account: “We closely observed that #The Alternative March began peacefully, but then there were aggressive arrests. The regime denies the Cuban people their fundamental rights. We are with the people of Cuba.
The blatant declaration of the imperialist diplomacy of Donald Trump’s government says “it is with the people of Cuba” but omits that the United States maintains and deepens a condemnable and inhuman economic blockade of almost 60 years that punishes not only the Cuban “regime”, as they call the Cuban Revolution in the U.S., but an entire people.
It’s a condemnable economic blockade that Trump wants to extend to the unimaginable, including a criminal and unprecedented maritime blockade around Cuba, the largest island of the Antilles.
From my social networks I saw this transnational political operation confirmed by reliable checks and information received from Havana, unleashing various comments, criticisms and condemnations of my right to critical expression, the same freedom that my detractors demand but that they neither apply nor recognize for others.
On the night of May 11, after seeing various videos, photos and images, studying the public profiles of the organizers and gathering background information from Cuba, Chile and Argentina, I wrote my legitimate opinion on Facebook, being replicated directly by Mariela Castro Espín.
My convinced and informed text said: “Advances in the rights of LGBTI communities always have contradictions. It moves forward steadily, stops momentarily, and sometimes seems to backtrack. The images of the diversity march on the streets of Havana this Saturday, May 11, 2019, hide not only the legitimate desire for greater spaces of rights for all, but also the staging of an orchestrated operation that seeks to question the unique and indispensable work of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education CENESEX.
The freedom that is publicly demanded is twinned with support for the US invasion of Venezuela and the political-media destabilization of left-wing governments in Latin America and the Caribbean. The indelible colors of our rainbow are proudly painted with anti-imperialist brushes.
Written with accurate information, contrasting the headlines of the international press, I recognized and valued the important work of CENESEX, transforming my opinion into a wall of hurried and unfounded regrets, criticisms and accusations such as those that indicated that I justified violence and arrests.
Nothing could be further [from the truth] than to argue and endorse arrests, as I have always demanded in Chile when students, young people, women and Mapuches are arbitrarily and unfairly arrested. Neither CENESEX, nor Mariela Castro, nor Vicente Feliú, nor Silvio Rodríguez, much less the LGBTI activists of the world that we see (and feel) with concern how they seek to discredit the historic work of Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education and the virtuous leadership of Mariela Castro Espín.
Nothing and no one justifies or guarantees arrests just as we do not justify or guarantee that rainbow flags are used by anti-communist opponents who use and abuse our agendas of social-sexual transformation to favor and promote the activities of the external and internal Cuban opposition.
It is reprehensible that a legitimate demonstration for LGBTI rights in Cuba is manipulated by the detractors of the Cuban Revolution and the National Center for Sexual Education hoping -mistakenly- to undermine the arduous, señero and intelligent work of Mariela Castro Espín who, confronting painful expressions published against CENESEX and its leadership, dialogued in the “Round Table” program of Cuban television, reaffirming the emancipating principles of the Cuban Revolution.
Francisco Rodriguez Cruz, an LGBTI journalist from Cuba, an active blogger and an important sexual diversity activist on the island, wrote a heartfelt column on his personal blog, “Paquito el de Cuba,” lamenting the facts and pointing out the text:
“The negative repercussion of these events demonstrated that the march was not a success, as those who defend their anti-government agendas more than our rights as LGBTI people say, but a serious error that we could pay with a very high cost of splits, extremisms and setbacks in future dialogue processes, if we are not capable of critically analyzing what happened and thus draw lessons to overcome it.
Like “Paquito,” assuming attacks and misunderstandings for openly distrusting the motivations of the organizers of the event and carrying out a critical analysis of the political-public repercussions of the spectacular public event, I decided to take an open position against a new attack on the Cuban Revolution and all its brave people.
It would have been simpler and more comfortable to remain silent enjoying the local capitalist comfort as fellow activists and sexual diversity organizations who prefer political and ideological neutrality have done.
It is not the time for neutrality, doubts, or silences, much less fear of denouncing the blows of the empire infiltrated in our diverse cultural and sexual struggles. In the current regional political and ideological scenario, the U.S. government seeks to stick its noses and military troops in Venezuela, our beloved Cuba being the final objective.
I raise my voice to warn against the use of multiple destabilizing imperialist strategies, including flying the flags of sexual diversity, longing to destroy the revolutionary utopias of left-wing governments in Latin America and the Caribbean in times of right-wing advance in the region.
From Santiago de Chile, remembering and thanking the generous and infinite solidarity of the Cuban people with our own people in past times, I send my affectionate embrace to all those Cuban brothers and sisters, comrades and comrades who fight every day to defend a courageous revolutionary journey. The time has come to raise and wave with more strength the rainbow flags but painted with proud and indelible anti-imperialist colors.
THE LEFT DAILY MEXICO
May 19, 2019
Pablo Oprinari interviewed Frank García Hernández, organizer of the recent “First International Academic Event on Leon Trotsky”, held in Cuba, in which the Leon Trotsky Center for Studies, Research and Publications (Argentina-Mexico) participated.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
IdZ What is your assessment of the Trotsky event held in Cuba?
FG: I always thought that the event was going to mark a before and an after. I know that if we had done it in Brazil or Mexico -countries where it is possible that the 2nd and 3rd edition of this meeting will take place- it would not have been the same, because, although we have not had much financing due to all the economic problems that Cuba has, we did achieve a very large international participation, with high-level presenters such as Robert Brenner, Paul LeBlanc, Susy Weissman or Eric Toussaint, You have come [CEIP León Trotsky, N del E], those from the Karl Marx Center for Socialist Studies, the Casa León Trotsky Museum, researchers from the three most important universities in Brazil have arrived, participants and academics have come who at other times are not meeting because of the traditional disputes that their political organizations have, but who come because Cuba is everyone’s land and nobody’s.
Trotsky, Cuba and the current situation in the country have brought people from all over the world: from India, Iran, Turkey, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Great Britain, Argentina, Canada, Spain, the United States, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, intellectuals from Colombia and Pakistan, who were finally unable to attend, Michael Lowy and Tariq Ali also wanted to be present and at least ten other exhibitors. The event, in fact, should have lasted four days, but it was impossible, almost impossible, and cannot leave. We had a very difficult logistical situation so we couldn’t receive a foreign audience. I hope you understood and didn’t bother with us. To those of us who asked them not to come, we never did so for political reasons, much less for personal reasons. If we had accepted the 192 applications for public participation we would have collapsed, in fact, you saw that in the room where we were, they would not have had space.
The only thing I didn’t like about the event is that there wasn’t much Cuban public, which I think was due to bad management, it’s our responsibility, and that could give the false idea that in Cuba there is no will to meet Trotsky. Moreover, the lack of time caused the program not to be ready for the first day.
But the event, for me, in spite of its problems, is a total advance. In addition, the Institute of Philosophy undertook to publish the memoirs of the event, an institute that if it had not been for him we would not be here today. We must also thank the director of Casa Benito Juárez, where this congress was held. And we would also like to thank the logistical support given to us by the Juan Marinello Cuban Institute of Cultural Research, which also seems to be preparing to collaborate in the publication of the memoirs.
If this is done, if this book is published, it would be the first time that a book dedicated to Trotsky and the sociopolitical-cultural phenomena that has been generated around him would appear in Cuba. Trotsky’s other text that appeared, as a book, was published in the sixties by the militants of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party (Trotskyist), who were militants in the Fourth International Posadista. That book did not travel around the country because it was confiscated and never went to press.
Were other articles or materials by Trotsky published?
FG: In Cuba, only the following articles by Trotsky have been published without suffering censorship: one in the Revolution newspaper, of the 26th of July movement, in the cultural supplement “Lunes de Revolución” where a very short excerpt from the History of the Russian Revolution, published by Guillermo Cabrera Infante, appeared. That was in 1960.
Later, in 2014-2015, “Lenin’s Last Struggle” was published in Cuba, a compilation of Lenin’s writings and letters, which was originally published by Pathfinder Publishing, which ceded its rights to the Social Sciences Publishing House; there appeared some letters from Trotsky to Lenin. And after I taught the postgraduate course on Leon Trotsky, in November 2016 – the first in Cuba and had a great impact on the student body – almost two years later, in January 2018, the centennial of the Red Army, part of Trotsky’s speech at the founding of the Red Army was published in a Santa Clara cultural magazine.
So now, when we publish this book, we are going to live in Cuba a before and an after, because when all the presentations that were made are published, we are going to skip the political taboo that is Trotsky. With Trotsky in Cuba something very similar happened to what the Peruvian writer Héctor Béjar says in his book, which was awarded the Casa de las Américas Essay Prize in 1966, when he stated that after the 20th Congress of the CPSU, we all knew about Stalin’s crimes but nobody told us that the one who was not a criminal was Trotsky.
And the same thing happened in Cuba: after the fall of the Soviet Union, we all knew about Stalin’s crimes, but no one here has said that Trotsky was not guilty of what he was accused of. That is the importance of the event. To begin to say in Cuba that nothing that was said about Trotsky is true. And Trotsky is not even mentioned in the history books that students receive. Maybe the university students know him, but it’s very difficult for high school students to know about him.
Without a doubt, Padura’s work, The Man Who Loved Dogs, helped arouse curiosity, but they have no book to go to cover the doubts and learn more. On the other hand, friend and comrade Celia María Hart Santamaría could not successfully spread Trotsky[‘s ideas] in Cuba. Circumstances made her end up being a sniper on the roof of a tower. No one saw her, no one could see her, even though they felt her shots, accurate, very accurate.
IdZ: They talk about the dynamics of the event and the first repercussions.
FG: The academic level is very good, excellent, there is no complaint. We have to thank everyone for their presence. There was even the collaboration of Lindy Laub, a well-known North American filmmaker, who had participated in the Festival del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, here in Havana in 1999, and Suzi Weissman, her producer, who in turn was a speaker. They both brought a documentary that we enjoyed the 42-minute work-in-progress, The Most Dangerous Man in the World with unpublished images that no one has ever seen. We did this in a small but very collaborative room of the Young Directors Exhibition. Unfortunately, there weren’t many Cubans, but the important thing is that it was projected in Cuba.
What is real is that Trotsky, as a historical character has had an impact on sectors of the Cuban university student body, since students from Santiago de Cuba wanted to come to the event, they came from Santa Clara without even having the economic conditions, they came from Matanzas. Today in Santa Clara and Havana there are students who are reading and studying the books that you and other comrades brought to the event. For them, for those Cuban students, I ask for the most solidary of the help. They have only two titles. So I call on internationalism to send them material, magazines, books.
Escritos Latinoamericanos is, moreover, a text that has impressed some Cuban historians very much, because we had never been able, or even knew, that León Bronstein had dedicated political analysis articles to the Cuban situation of his time and especially to the Bolshevik Leninist Party. For me, who wrote the history of Cuban Trotskyism, that is a fundamental contribution. Another important point is that this Friday Latin American Writings will be donated, along with the text by Gabriel García Higueras, Trotsky in the mirror of history, to the library of the House of the Americas, the institution that attracted intellectuals such as Cortázar, Benedetti, Galeano and that today continues to be one of the best points of convergence on the continent. This library is very much visited by the Havana intellectuals. Also this Friday, May 17, Writings… will arrive at the libraries of the Faculty of Philosophy and History, and at the Central Library of the University of Havana.
I always make a very necessary clarification: the event was an academic activity about Trotsky and all the political, social and cultural phenomena that came out of it. It was not a call for international Trotskyist convergence. The perception that we young people have that we feel part of the Cuban Marxist left, that we use Marxism to understand reality, is that Trotsky belongs to the system of communist ideas, to all the theory that Gramsci, Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, Marx, Mariátegui give us. Some bureaucrats want to point out Trotskyists to us; I have nothing against Trotskyism, evidently, yes, some necessary and enriching divergences of criteria, but let’s remember that Stalin began to use that term to make believe that the followers of the Left Opposition were not Leninist Bolsheviks, but a tendency alien to the revolution.
We were missing Trotsky. We lacked Trotsky to understand what happened in the Soviet Union, because none of the referents of Marxism that I mentioned, as well as Che Guevara or Fidel Castro, could, for different reasons, give a systemic explanation of what happened. Trotsky has the courage to have done so since 1936, the courage to have developed a sociological analysis that we didn’t know about, and for which we Cubans are very interested.
Half a century ago, Ho Chi Minh wrote this political testament, which Granma reproduces not only for its validity, but also as a tribute to the leader of a brotherly people who was born on May 19, 1890.
Author: Ho Chi Minh | email@example.com
May 19, 2019 22:05:36
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Although the struggle of our people against US aggression, for national salvation, must face more difficulties and sacrifices, we are determined to obtain total victory. That is for sure.
I intend, when that happens, to travel both North and South to congratulate our heroic peasants, military cadres and combatants, and to visit the elderly and our beloved children and youth. Then, on behalf of our people, I will go to the fraternal countries of the socialist camp and friendly countries all over the world, to thank them for their heartfelt support and the help they gave to the patriotic struggle of our people against U.S. aggression.
Tu Fu, the famous poet of the Tang period in China, wrote: “In all eras, few are those who reach seventy years of age. This year, since I am seventy-nine, I can count myself among those “few”; however, my mind remains perfectly lucid, although my health has declined a little compared to the last few years.
When one has seen more than seventy springs, health deteriorates with age. But who can say how much longer I will be able to serve the revolution, the Fatherland and the people? Therefore, I leave these lines in anticipation of the day when I must meet with Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin and other revolutionary leaders; in this way, our people throughout the country, our comrades in the Party, and our friends in the world will not be taken by surprise.
First I will talk about the Party: Thanks to its close unity and total dedication to the working class, the people and the Fatherland, our Party has been able, since its foundation, to unite, organize and lead our people from success to success in a firm struggle.
Unity is an extremely precious tradition of our Party and the people. All comrades, from the Central Committee to the cells, must preserve the unity and union of thought in the Party as the apple of their eye.
Within the Party, establishing a broad democracy and practicing self-criticism and criticism regularly and seriously is the best way to consolidate and develop solidarity and unity. Affection and comradeship must prevail.
Ours is a party in power. Every Party member, every cadre, must be deeply imbued with revolutionary morality, and demonstrate industriousness, frugality, integrity, probity, total dedication to the public interest and complete altruism. Our Party must preserve absolute purity and prove itself worthy of its role as the leader and loyal servant of the people.
The members of the Young Workers League and our youth, in general, are good; they are always ready to offer themselves, without fear of difficulties, eager for progress. The Party must promote their revolutionary virtues and train them to be our successors, both “red” and “expert”, in the construction of socialism.
The training and education of future generations of revolutionaries is of great importance and necessity. Our workers, on the plains and in the mountains, from generation to generation, have resisted hardship, feudal and colonial oppression and exploitation; they have also experienced many years of war. But our people have shown great heroism, courage, enthusiasm, and industry. They have always followed the Party since it saw the light, with unconditional loyalty.
The Party must carry out effective plans for economic and cultural development, in order to constantly improve the lives of our people. The war of resistance against U.S. aggression can be prolonged.
Our people can face new human and material sacrifices. No matter what happens, we must maintain our resolve to fight the U.S. aggressors to total victory. Our mountains will always exist, our rivers will always exist, our people will always exist, with the American invaders defeated, we will rebuild our land to make it ten times more beautiful.
In spite of the difficulties and setbacks, our people are certain that they will obtain total victory. The U.S. imperialists will certainly have to resign. Our Homeland will certainly be unified. Our compatriots in the South and in the North will certainly be reunited under the same sky. We, who are a small nation, will have won the honorable medal of having defeated, through heroic struggle, two great imperialisms – French and American – and of having made a valuable contribution to the world national liberation movement.
With regard to the world communist movement: As a man who has devoted his whole life to revolution, I feel more proud of the growth of international communism and workers’ movements, and I feel more hurt by the current discord between the brother parties.
I hope that our Party will do its best to contribute effectively to the restoration of unity among the Brother Parties on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, in a way that suits both reason and feeling. I strongly trust that the brother Parties and countries will have to unite again.
Regarding personal affairs: all my life I have served my country, the revolution and the people with all my strength and with all my heart. If I must now depart from this world, I have nothing to regret except not being able to serve more and better. When I am gone, an onerous funeral should be avoided, so as not to waste the time and money of the people.
Finally: to all the people, to all the Party, to all the army, to my nephews and nieces, to the youth and children, I leave you my unlimited love. I also extend my cordial greetings to our comrades and friends, and to the youth and children all over the world.
My greatest wish is that our Party and our people, uniting their efforts closely, will build a peaceful, reunified, independent, democratic and prosperous Vietnam, and that they will make a valuable contribution to the world revolution.
By Nelson Rodríguez Roque
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
As of last February 16, it was admitted, through a circular of the Provincial Baseball Commission, the insertion in the 43rd edition of the Holguinera Provincial Series of the baseball players Lerys Aguilera and Yusmel Velázquez, who returned to Cuba before the historic agreement between the U.S. Major Leagues and the ball of the Island.
Those who are trying to sabotage the December 19 pact are deaf to stories like those of these boys, victims of human trafficking, but officially returned to the national sport, as evidenced by the fact that they represent their respective municipalities and are invited to the Holguin Stars Game, to be held on Dec. 31 at the Feliú Leyva Stadium in the City of Parks.
– “It’s inhumane what happens to you.”
An extreme situation is traumatic for any human being. That’s when the fibers of what’s made have to come out. This was experienced by Lerys Aguilera, when he decided to leave his country in April 2014 and try on another baseball. Before he emigrated, he was a consolidated figure in our National Series.
Born in Levisa (1985), Mayarí, province of Holguín, “El Búfalo”, at the time of his departure, had played 11 seasons on the Island and had 108 home runs and 434 runs-batted-in. Generally, he occupied the fourth wood of the holguinero representative.
– You declared that you did not advise anyone to take that path…
“Really, I said it and I reaffirm it, because it is something inhuman that happens to you, you become a bait, a commodity. You risk your life, in the end you go through moments you can’t even imagine. In good Cuban, they are siren songs, they promise you and say a lot, but not even 80 percent of that is fulfilled. Unfortunately, I had to live that experience. It’s a good thing I’m still here, to be able to tell it.
– You also talked about your journey in the illegal boat trip.
“I wouldn’t do it again at all. I was in danger twice. I have no idea where we’re going. I almost drowned, even knowing how to swim, but I was in a situation in which, due to ignorance, the clothes, the backpack and other things I carried weighed heavily on me. If I don’t grab the boat well, I fall and nobody would wait for me, as the night was a wolf’s mouth. It’s unspeakable.
– What are the conditions of the Cuban baseball players who do not win contracts and live in the Dominican Republic?
“It’s an odyssey what they live, we communicate continuously and it’s hard to be like this. When you can’t reach opportunities to play in the U.S. or elsewhere, everything becomes a save yourself. You have to do the unspeakable and work in jobs you’ve never done before, to have an economic income that allows you to survive.
“There are many young people who are in the Dominican Republic ‘eating a cable’, in good Cuban I tell you, having a tremendous job. Without support, without hope. I was able to receive help from many people, even before I left for Nicaragua, but not everyone is so lucky. It has been and continues to be difficult for the Cuban baseball players there.
– Many of them illegal?
“Yes, it’s the safest thing. What happens, most of them do their migratory procedures, stay, in Haiti. But once they cross into the Dominican Republic they become illegal. They are from here to there or they are deported. I managed to get my Dominican identity card, which I first saw as a way of being legal, but then it allowed me to be hired. On October 11, 2017, after coming into contact with the Boer Indians, I left for Nicaragua.
– Do you think that other baseball players can be seen with no apparent way out, like you?
“Of course, it’s desperate. When they cease to have an interest in you, everything becomes more complex. The issue of age can also marginalize you. I spend a lot of time thinking about everything I’ve been through. I had depressions and even tried to attack my life. I suffered from extreme hunger in the Dominican Republic and other very hard moments. I had to train on my own. Thanks to the Lord, those kinds of situations didn’t go to the extreme in me and I didn’t carry out my thoughts.
“What is being done now with legal hiring is a magnificent thing. The baseball players can return to their country without any problem. That’s the way I recommend. Ignore the propositions. The opportunities Cuba opens are the right ones.
– Another Puppy in “return plan”
2015 was a record year in terms of departures of players from the country, legal or illegal. Some, such as colleague Francys Romero, put the number at 150. Among the baseball players who left Cuba was right-handed pitcher Yusmel Velázquez, from Holguín, who had played six National Series, with 34 wins and 35 failures, but at the time was already considered the puppies’ best pitcher.
Velázquez, 27, after entering Haiti three years ago on a risky sea crossing from Maisí (Guantánamo) and staying in the Dominican Republic, returned to his province.
“He had been thinking about returning for months,” he said at home in the City of Parks. The native of the municipality of Urbano Noris is on the island since last November 4, after arriving in the company of his wife and son. But that is present. The future can play a good trick on him.
– Why did you decide to emigrate, just when you were already the pítcher leader of the holguinero staff and perhaps you could have integrated some team Cuba?
“At that moment, I went out in search of better economic conditions. Knowing that I had had good previous years, such as when I made the pre-selection for the Central American and Caribbean Games Veracruz-2014 and, personally, I thought I deserved to be on the team, but I was left out.
“Then, we were told that those of us who had been eliminated were going to the Rotterdam Tournament and then I didn’t make the trip either, without any explanation. Everyone who plays ball in Cuba aspires to become a national team and represent the country. I was a little disappointed that, on so many occasions, I had been pushed aside.
There are still some who think that signing with a U.S. franchise is just a formality. How was your particular case in the Dominican Republic?
“It’s not easy, it’s too big a change. You get to a different baseball, you face difficult training, very different from what you did in Cuba. Sometimes you have to spend several months getting in the right shape, so the Major League teams can see your skills. In the case of pitchers, they have to shoot over 90 mph. I saw very few Cubans who managed to sign.
“There’s still a lot of work going on there, because it’s hard to get hired. I came to be in the form required by the franchises, but for reasons beyond my control, for people who decided for me, I couldn’t be signed. They were three years lost, although at the same time I do not deny that I gained in experience and learning, and perhaps, with the knowledge acquired, I will be able to be a better pitcher in Cuban baseball and help my teammates.
– The “Dominican dream”…
“To the boys who go that way, I say it’s complicated. That it’s an area where you can’t believe in everyone. They, who capture us, promise many things that, in the end, when you are there, are not fulfilled. There’s a lot of ambition for money and you depend on others.
“I was never foreign to the Holguín team, I always followed it on the Internet, I was watching it all the time. Since I returned to Cuba, I didn’t miss a game at the Calixto García Stadium.
By Luis Autié Cantón firstname.lastname@example.org
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Cuba is lagging behind. And no, I’m not talking about transportation or technology. I’m talking about boxing. Our men’s squad are championss because of their respect for each other. To name the four letters in a pugilistic event is to sow, among rivals, fear of the coming storm. It is to know that they will have to die on the canvas to defeat ours. We’ve earned that right over the years. But, I insist, we are lagging behind. When the next edition of the World Series begins, if it sees the light after the corruption scandals at the highest levels of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), it will be competing in eight male divisions and, listen well, in four female divisions. While this is not yet confirmed, when the river sounds…
And our female boxing, dear reader, doesn’t even bring stones.
Nelsy Torres is 21 years old and gets up early every day to train. Her greatest aspiration is to be able to compete officially.
“As a boxer, I need boxing to be legalized because I want to fulfill a dream. If they don’t give me the opportunity, they are slowing down women’s rights. While other countries advance with results, Cuba is lagging behind. I’m sure we can have the same results as men. Even better. We can’t wait for generations of boxers to go by, and we can’t get anywhere,” she says impotently.
Rolando Acebal, helmsman of our main boxing squad, confesses that he has not seen any girl fight here in Cuba, but he does not hide his opinion that we could have good exponents in the future. “Currently, in the world, the countries that practice male boxing also practice female boxing, and no harm has been seen to the health of the athletes. If it had been any other way, it would have been detected and it would all be over.
“There are Cuban coaches abroad who work with women’s boxing. I think we should not deny that right to women who have the desire and have requested the opportunity to train and compete. There are even mothers advocating for their daughters’ opportunity. We’ve been told that they’re analyzing, doing medical studies, but we’ve been doing it for a few years now and we’re lagging behind in that sense.
The girls with their jabs, their uppercuts and their hooks are not rain that just fell. Since the 18th century, there have been sports fights between women in this discipline. The Londoner Elizabeth Wilkinson, in 1722, is the oldest known champion. A little more than a century later, it was fought for the first time on this side of the Atlantic, when the bell rang for the North Americans Nell Saunders and Rose Harland to face each other, ring by ring, in 1876, on American soil.
In 1954, almost 80 years later, a women’s poster could be seen on television. One of the fighters who appeared in the “magic box” was Barbara Buttrick, one of the most famous boxers of all time.
The United States was the country where women’s boxing developed the most, following that fight of the nineteenth century. Between 1975 and 1978 some women applied for boxing licenses. Particularly important was the successful trial that the boxers Cathy “Cat” Davis, Jackie Tonawanda and Marian “Lady Tyger” Trimiar carried out against the state of New York, due to the rejection of their requests for licenses. The wide media coverage of these events directed public attention to this discipline.
However, the persistence of restrictions and prejudices led Lady Tyger to go on a one-month hunger strike for women’s rights in boxing in 1987.
As can be seen, some of the most important fights in the history of women’s pugilism have not been fought on canvas, but in the courts. Five years after that hunger strike, in 1992, Massachusetts boxer Gail Grandchamp knocked the system out by getting the state Supreme Court to recognize her right to box after eight years of trial. At the time, the Court held that it was illegal for an official to deny a license to box on the sole ground of the applicant’s sex. However, Grandchamp was unable to practice boxing because he had already exceeded the maximum age of 36 for amateur boxers.
In 1993, the USA Boxing Association, which is responsible for amateur boxing in the United States, agreed to regulate women’s boxing throughout the country after 16-year-old Dallas Malloy won a federal discrimination lawsuit in court.
Despite all the official and unofficial history, of all that baggage that goes back to the eighteenth century, it was not until March 15, 1996, that occurs the fact that is considered by many as the birth of modern female professional boxing. We refer, in this case, to the fight between Christy Martin and Deirdre Gogarty. That same year, the UK Amateur Boxing Association repealed the 1880 ban on boxing for women, and a year later, in July 1997, the first U.S. women’s boxing championship was held. In the following years, other countries were authorizing and organizing this discipline, in the women’s section, and were consecrated world champions in all categories. That is why it is difficult to understand that, in a country like ours, where neither race nor gender distinctions are established, we still do not have the legal or institutional instruments that allow our girls to get into a ring and defend the four-letter t-shirt with their gloves.
Boxing was first included in the modern Olympic program in 1904 in St. Louis, but it wasn’t until London 2012 that women were able to fight under the five hoops.
At the British event, women competed in three weight categories and a total of 36 boxers took part. The Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) still refused to include women’s pugilism as a demonstration sport in the program of the Games four years earlier in Beijing.
The time for women’s boxing matches in summer events is four rounds, two minutes each, unlike men, who fight in three three-minute moments.
If we consider our route, in which boxing has undoubtedly been the sport with the most Olympic and world titles in our history, nothing takes away the right to think that we could, with a little time, become a power of female pugilism. I sign it, and I stamp it.
Perhaps one of the aspects that most restrains the Cuban Boxing Federation is the issue of the safety of girls in the ring. In this regard, Rafael Lerena Naples, head of the medical corps of the national team of this sport, believes that there is nothing to worry about in this particular case.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have an athlete in the squad at the moment. The problem is that the competent authorities have not yet authorized Cuban women’s boxing to begin. We are waiting for that”.
The doctor says that “there has never been any damage to the health of these girls”. In this regard, he explains that “the risk in sport is in all specialties. People are at risk of being injured, even walking down the street. However, the risks in high performance are always minimized. The Cuban athlete has entered satisfactorily in all the sports disciplines and for having, especially in the specialties of combat. So why not in boxing? Cuba has demonstrated, with results, quality in boxing since the triumph of the Revolution, and has made it clear that we are a source, a quarry, of good boxers. Why not have boxers”?
“Bebo” Alcántara, 76 years old, ex-bodeguero and boxing fan since childhood, does not understand why women should fight in a ring. “Boxing is a gentleman’s sport. My father always told me this when my mother protested against the violence of the fights. Now, I love boxing, but I don’t see any attraction in seeing two women “punching each other”. Women are more delicate. I think they would lose even femininity.
On the other hand, the soul of the ring, the protagonists, who live daily the intrigulis of this sport, have favorable opinions on the development of them in the pugilism. The light welter Andy Cruz, considered the most complete boxer in Cuba at the moment, expressed his support: “I like very much that they also take into account female boxing. I have seen Cuban women fight, many have come from other sports. I have liked them, I have seen that they have quality and I know that in the future they can achieve great things. I am sure that in a short time they will reach the same height that male boxing has achieved.
Rolando Acebal explains that in Cuba women have had results in sports such as judo, weights or wrestling. “Traditionally, the Cuban woman is brave, a fighter, sacrificed. They are the example of Mariana Grajales, and have demonstrated over the years that they are capable of performing any task.
Hopefully, these voices will serve as a straight line to the chin to change mentalities. Hopefully, the brake and the lack of decision will not recover to the protection count of logic. We want to hear our National Anthem while, on a ring, the referee raises his arm to a Cuban girl.
No female boxing.
I am a passionate lover of boxing, in all its dimensions. I do not think it is right to truncate the wishes of any woman, who voluntarily loves this sport and wants to practice it. They want to see history more beautiful than Mary Kom’s. For me the best boxer of all time, within the amateur world. The one that fought against all adversity and prejudices and became multiple Olympic champion. Cuba is left behind, many times for banal justifications. the personal decision of the individuals to respect themselves, as long as it does not affect the general society. And approving female boxing, does not affect anyone. Let’s step forward and in a few years we will have our champions, I’m sure of that. The potential is.
Very much in agreement with this inclusion of women’s boxing we are missing medals and opportunities and above all we have not given women their opportunity to demonstrate their boxing qualities that I have no doubt that in a short time they resemble male pairs
Yesterday I saw a photo on Facebook where in the foreground you can see a woman with a machine gun and in the background a man with an apron in front of the sink and a text almost the same as the caricature .. What a strange coincidence.
No to Boxing for women ??? And when they have taken the rifle? If we are going to talk about danger.
Not allowing female boxing is simply discrimination against women. Only they must decide if they are boxers or not. Why do some people believe they have the right to decide what only they should do? For a long time the female weightlifting was stopped.
That other countries do something is not an argument for us to imitate them. But undoubtedly women have the right to practice any sport according to their physical characteristics. I personally do not like boxing and least of all feminine.
Well if they want to promote women’s boxing or drawing serves, very badly, each person independent of gender has the same rights, at least is what they enact.
it’s horaaa !!!
If it is found that there is no risk for women, that is, that does not cause any disorder to women because of the blows they may receive in the breasts, etc., I agree that it should be practiced; That the FMC of his opinion on the matter, because I am convinced that they will investigate before giving an opinion.
April 17, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A new group of Cuban citizens deported from Mexico arrived in Havana on Wednesday as part of the migration agreements between the two countries.
The Mexican Federal Police aircraft landed at José Martí International Airport with people who had left the island legally, but became irregular migrants on their way to Mexico.
In less than a month, approximately 300 Cubans arrived on the island in five flights of the deported, many of them with anecdotes of vicissitudes and outrages suffered during their route through South and Central American countries bound for the United States.
As in previous cases, these human beings will return to their families after receiving the necessary attention, including health care, said immigration authorities, but said that those who left accounts pending with the legal system before leaving must face it.
The Cuban government took advantage of this situation to insist on its call for regular, orderly and safe emigration, in order to prevent people from becoming victims of criminal groups linked to human trafficking in the region.
The scenario has been complicated in recent months by the escalation in the aggressiveness of the U.S. government against the island, which includes the politicization of the flow of Cubans between both sides of the Florida Strait.
Recently, Washington reduced the period of validity of the B2 visa for Cubans from five years to three months, with only one entry, under the pretext of an alleged reciprocity with Cuba’s treatment of Americans.
Havana, through its Foreign Ministry, rejected the decision, describing it as ‘an additional obstacle to the exercise of the right of Cuban citizens to visit their relatives in that country’.
This measure adds to the closure of the services of the United States Consulate in Havana, to the unjustified interruption of the granting of visas to Cubans, forcing them to travel to third countries without any guarantee, and to the failure to comply with the visa quota established by the migratory agreements, he stressed.
With information from Prensa Latina.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Playuela Beach, located next to Cayo Guillermo, has been the site chosen to build one of the hotels that will undoubtedly be visited by the LGBTI community.
According to Mathu Hotel in Cuba, the country plans to open the Rainbow Muthu Hotel, the first hotel facility dedicated to the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) community in October 2019.
The new hotel will have 248 rooms of high comfort, five restaurants, three bars, a room of animation and all the necessary facilities for the practice of aquatic sports.
“A perfect #LGBT-Friendly hotel, for an escape to #cayoguillermo #granmuthurainbow, will be an incredible place to visit all year round with these incredible rooms and views,” says one of the facility’s promotions.
The Muthu Hotel representation in Cuba has summoned CENESEX to help in the selection and training of the personnel that will work in the facilities; in addition to collaborating in events, promotions and campaigns.
By Redacción Razones de Cuba
May 16, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
There are many images that swarm in social networks and in different international press media about the march that last May 11 which was called by some “independent activists” of the Cuban LGBTI community. In the vast majority of them, there is a morbid delight in showing the detention of four people who insisted on continuing the march, disregarding the considerations of the authorities who, in the absence of an official permit, urged the participants not to continue marching through traffic-filled streets.
In the video that Razones de Cuba shares with its readers, we see the exchange between a PNR official and several of the demonstrators, without any weapon whatsoever, in a tone of respect and logical argumentation. The media tends to silence these details, trying to show that the march was repressed in its entirety and not to give birth to these testimonies that the vast majority of the participants in the demonstration held a dialogue with the authorities, without outbursts or any desire to break with institutionality.
Respect, reason, and peace: cardinal points of citizen tranquility, for the search in Cuba of individual and general well-being under the rule of law.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The failure this year to carry out the conga against homophobia and transphobia because of a decision beyond the organizing committee of this twelfth edition of the Cuban Days Against Homophobia and Transphobia, as reported in a note on the institutional pages of social networks linked to the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex), is a fact that we can no longer remedy.
The analysis of this negative impact coincides with my blog post 400 after almost ten years of existence, a text that, of course, I would have preferred outside for a very different reason.
Of course, we never aspired to a process of cultural transformation as profound as the dismantling of homophobic and transphobic prejudices so prevalent in our society, taking place in a linear manner, without contradictions and even stagnation or setbacks, as this adjustment to the program might seem to many people.
We must not, however, allow such a setback to spoil the party.
It is true that the conga is the seed and almost the origin of these Jornadas, which were preceded in 2007 by a brief walk by Mariela Castro Espín and a group of activists, mainly trans women, who marched from Cenesex to the movie theater at 23rd and 12th.
Already the following year, the conga erupted as the initial activity of the first days. Its realization has become a tradition, as the moment of greater visibility of LGBTI people in Cuba, to celebrate and promote educational strategies and progressive policies of social inclusion. We’ve been have been forging ahead for more than a decade, from the work of successive batches of activists, most of whom have been formed under the impulse and leadership of Cenesex and its director.
The result of all this evolution is palpable. Pronouncements against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the country’s main policy documents. Approval of the first law that explicitly protects sexual diversity. Proclamation of a Constitution that proscribes any discriminatory action against persons on that ground and recognizes equal rights for all types of families.
And so, there are many other transformations in consciousness and social practice that are sometimes difficult to quantify, but are there in our daily lives, and those of us who have lived this process can perceive them, and it would be an injustice not to assess them in their exact value.
We have just had, for example, a broad participation of LGBTI and H activists (heterosexuals who accompany us in this long struggle) in the parade last May First, both in Havana and in other provinces – and not only of people linked to Cenesex, by the way, who waved their rainbow flags with pride and conviction, in support of the urgent causes for which all our people are fighting today, against the blockade, the Helms-Burton Act, and also for our legitimate aspirations for a prosperous, sustainable… and inclusive socialist society.
I, therefore, have the peace of mind that nothing and no one can send us back to the closet, nor do I want nor can I believe that anyone would want us to.
I am sure that this apparent circumstantial setback with the conga will also allow us to take out essential experiences for future battles.
We must concentrate on the main purposes ahead of us. The legislative changes that have to accompany the new Magna Carta are essential, and we must work to defuse any concerns, concerns or reservations that conjunctural situations – such as this one with the conga – might create, if we are not capable of closing ranks and acting with intelligence and unity.
As the popular saying goes about the procession, our conga goes inside. It doesn’t matter that this year we are asked not to do it. What has already been danced – and what remains to be danced – is not going to be taken away from us.
Translator’s Note: “La procesion (religious parade) va por dentro”. Popular saying meaning that a person can act bravely and show a smiling face, while dealing with a sorrowful situation that is within their mind.
I am Francisco Rodríguez Cruz, also known as Paquito, from Cuba; I am a Marti follower and an author; I am a communist and gay journalist; I am a convinced and superstitious atheist; I am the father of a son whom I have adored and have been a partner for fifteen years with a seronegative man who loves me; I have been an AIDS patient since 2003 and am a survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for more than twelve years; I am a university professor and a student of life; a follower of Cuban economic issues and a passionate devourer of universal literature; an incontinent and belligerent moderate; a friend of my friends and a compassionate friend of my enemies; often wrong and never repentant; a hardened and eternal enthusiastic optimist; alive and kicking; in short, another ordinary man who wants to share his story, opinions and desires with you…
By Fernando M. García Bielsa
(Specialist in North American issues. He has published in Cubadebate and other Cuban and foreign websites.)
April 26, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Former Vice President Joseph Biden has just officially announced that he is running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the November 2020 presidential election in the United States.
Covered in a cloak of false moderate or center positions, Biden is willing to come to the rescue of the corporate political establishment at a time when, between the electorate and the base of that party, demands and positions of support for a popular agenda have Abecome predominant.
Joe Biden is of course the best-known figure at the national level – among more than fifteen other politicians who are in the running for the Democratic nomination – perhaps with the exception of social democrat Bernie Sanders, who was much admired after his successful grassroots campaign in 2016.
A few days ago, the NY Times reported that Democrats who are part of the “Stop Sanders” effort are distressed by the momentum of the effort. A headline in the Washington Post said, “Center Democrats fear that far-left positions will lead to defeat in 2020. So they are pushing for alternatives.
In addition to having a name that part of the public identifies, Biden adds other advantages such as the favor of the country’s political and financial elite. With it comes access to the coffers needed to wage a successful and costly electoral campaign, as well as the favor of the national machinery of the Democratic Party. Also, it is supposed, he would also be assured of favorable coverage by the big media and television networks.
However, this politician also has his disadvantages before a rather skeptical electorate with clear tendencies to reject the same elite of Washington and Wall Street and, in general, those who conduct politics in the U.S. capital, a trend that has become more marked in recent years.
Joe Biden is 76 years old; he has been a member of Congress for no less than 36 years and vice president of the country for another eight during the Obama Administration. He is undoubtedly the oldest and most skillful of those serving the country’s among those who have announced their presidential aspirations.
Although with an image of center positions, his alignment with corporate and financial interests is very broad. It has been part of the corresponding game with policies in favor of big business, banking, insurance companies and the unanimously-favored increase in military spending, financial deregulation, and so on.
Like almost all Democratic politicians and presidential hopefuls from the Clinton and Obama currents, which are the ones that have hegemony in the party, Biden has a good arrival and relations with established elites in the African-American sectors and the union world.This is not the same as saying that he has real acceptance or descent from the workers or the so-called black or Latino communities.
One should not underestimate the strong and already established attitude of rejection, mentioned above, which has shown a large part of the U.S. electorate has shown toward towards politicians and elites in general.
These are factors that conspire against Biden’s potential, even though he has the advantage of being close to the establishment, the holders of the money and the favor of the big media.
Another issue to consider is the apathy of voters, also a longstanding trend that particularly affects Democrats when counting votes. Part of the factors that led to the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 20l6 was that by forcing her nomination, favoring her with all kinds of manipulations, the structures and leadership of the Party, they frustrated the possibility of motivating and energizing its base, as independent Senator Bernie Sanders was doing.
It is considered that for this electoral cycle and in order to defeat the Republican candidate, who most likely is the current president Donald Trump, it will be necessary to mobilize and give new energy to the Democratic electorate and rescue part of the popular sectors that it took from them.
Although this is definitely a party of the system, it will have to moderate its neoliberal propensity to reconnect to some extent with its base, with the so-called middle classes, a good part of them workers, and with many people disappointed with politics, and with the neglect and deterioration of their living conditions.
That was part of what gave Trump in 2016 the opportunity to manipulate anger and deep dissatisfaction among Americans with the country’s dysfunctional political system. Particularly the games symbolized on Wall Street and in the federal capital, and by the disconnection of the political spheres from the common people.
Although with a less unpleasant figure than Hillary Clinton, the Democrats, with Joe Biden (who resembles her in many substantive respects), could run the risk of repeating her discouraging and failed campaign in the last election cycle.
Biden has a history of openly defending capitalism and an underhand evasion of class inequalities. A long record and sequel to his positions that could make him vulnerable to his opponents during the coming months of the campaign, and in the home stretch if he were nominated, a record that includes expressions of racist type, of marked support for war, of favoring the deregulation of the banks, etc.
Or the fact that he has shown himself to be harsh in the face of crime, even to the point of insensitivity, as when he said in a speech before the full Senate in 1993:
“It doesn’t matter whether or not they are people who have been in need or marginalized in their youth. It does not matter whether or not they had a past that allowed them to be part of the social fabric. It doesn’t matter whether or not they were victims of society. The end result is that they are about to beat my mother…, shoot my sister…”, etc.
He is pointed out as a firm acolyte of the Military Industrial Complex. From his powerful position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2003, Biden provided political cover for the massive military attack on Iraq authorized by Republican President George Bush. Some have said he did more than any other Democratic senator to get the green light for the invasion.
The forgetful citizenry may only have a nebulous image of this personality whose name is familiar to them, but much is the burden and complexity of his political record. For Biden to get the Democratic presidential nomination next year, it will depend largely on how many voters in the primaries would or would not have known about the background of this consummate politician; how much of his actual record will come to the fore in the coming months.
Although it’s too early to say, and even considering that money and the big media will pull the embers into their frying pan, I estimate that, in the long run, the Democratic Party structures, to some extent pushed by the rank and file, will favor a “new face” from among the dozen or more presidential hopefuls who have already thrown their had in the the ring for the Democratic nomination at the national convention to be held in July next year in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.