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 E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Philippe Waechter, Chief Economist with French Company Ostrum Asset Management, published on May 17 last year an interesting analysis of the current tensions between China and the United States.
The French expert explains that Donald Trump’s tweets of May 5 increased tension between Washington and Beijing and re-launched new discussions on the terms of a trade agreement between the two powers.
Chinese retaliation against US imports in response to the new U.S. tariffs calls into question the lengthy period of calm begun after the G20 meeting on December 1st last year.
Trump’s desire to impose new restrictions on China reflects his desire to repatriate jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector, and also to reduce US dependence on China.
In 2018, the U.S. external trade balance with China showed a more than $400 billion deficit.
The counterpart of this Chinese surplus with the United States reflected Chinese financing of the U.S. economy through the purchase of U.S. federal bonds. The logic was that the Chinese products in the U.S. market financed the U.S. economy to compensate for the lack of savings there.
The functioning of the Chinese-American trade was on the basis of complement, but this balance is now changing in nature because China’s weight in financing the US economy has been declining.
In March 2019, the weight of U.S. financial assets in the hands of China as part of the total U.S. foreign funding had fallen to the low level observed in June 2006.
The balance of the relationship between the two countries is changing and the United States no longer has the capacity to influence China as it did in the past. China now has more autonomy, says Waechter.
The White House is impatient over Chinese unwillingness to respond to its requests. By taxing Chinese imports, Washington wants to influence Beijing’s economy by creating strong social tension there that would force the hand of the Chinese authorities who do not wish to take this social risk.
The slow pace of Chinese activity indicators since the beginning of the year could validate Washington’s analysis and encourage it to further harden its commercial tone.
At the beginning of 2019, the weight of the United States in Chinese exports slowed significantly. China’s dependence on the United States is being reversed and, at the same time, the Chinese are re-launching the New Silk Road initiative, whose objective is, among others, to further diversify Chinese markets.
China is now expanding market opportunities and effectively limiting the influence of the U.S. on its internal economic situation.
The other major point of disagreement between Washington and Beijing concerns technology. “It seems to me that this is the main point of the differences between the two countries,” says Waechter.
The Chinese have updated technologically very quickly in the last twenty years. This has been the case both in technology transfers as in resources to facilitate it. And this has worked so well that the Chinese are now considerably ahead of the U.S. in 5G and Artificial Intelligence, among other significant developments.
In this question of technological supremacy, there is a radical change because the Chinese have the means to develop these technologies without American support.
This situation could have arisen with Japan a few years ago, but the Japanese always opted for remaining in the US fold, which is not the case in Beijing –says Waechter– because China has a very large internal market and this them to create conditions for autonomous technological dynamics.
The stakes are simple:
Whoever sets the standards for these new technologies will have a considerable comparative advantage. It will be easier to develop innovations using these technologies. That’s why this is where the negotiations get stuck.
The Chinese have devoted significant resources to achieving this technological advantage and will not fall naively under U.S. control.
This technological stagnation will not be resolved spontaneously, and the possibility of an agreement between the two countries seems unlikely.
“The dynamics of the world economy are changing. This is the first time in modern history that a situation occurs that makes it likely that the world economy moves to a new region due to criteria related to technological innovation.”
When the core of the world economy moved from the United Kingdom to the United States, there was a continuity that does not exist in the current situation. This will alter the dynamics of the world economy and will inevitably redistribute the cards among the regions of the world,” concludes Philippe Waechter.
May 22, 2019.
This article may be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation edited by Walter Lippmann.
Last month marked a decade since President Barack Obama declared, standing before a crowd in Prague, the United States’ commitment to seek peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons. However, today we are on the top of that world, but with more weapons, not less.
The future of the United States-Russia Arms Control agreement to reduce the threat of both superpowers instigating a nuclear war –a bilateral tradition that goes back to the governments of Nixon and Brezhnev– looks bleak.
Once that both countries officially abandon the treaty on Non-Proliferation of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) next August, only the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) will remain in force as a formal agreement limiting the size and range of the nuclear arsenals between the two major nuclear-weapon states. And as if that weren’t enough, the New START expires in February 2021.
The Trump administration says it is considering extending the new START, but there are reasons for skepticism about this affirmation.
U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has set standards in the United States by abandoning the Iran’s Nuclear Treaty and the INF Treaty, is a very likely advocate of dismantling the New START as well.
In fact, Bolton has already loudly referred to the participation of the United States in that treaty by calling it “unilateral disarmament”. According to what has been published, Trump himself rejected Putin’s offer to extend the New START during the first official telephone conversation that they held.
Russia is still supposed to be interested in extending the treaty beyond 2021, and President Vladimir Putin has already extended an open invitation for talks with a view to an extension.
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, expressed a similar interest at this year’s Munich security conference.
Putin manifests his disinterest in bilateral agreements and prefers a multilateral framework based, as he explained in 2012, on the fact that the US and Russia could end up “disarming endlessly while other nuclear powers accumulate weapons.”
But without these agreements, Moscow and Washington could be heading towards a new arms race: a possibility that the Russians and Americans seem to have grasped. (According to a recent survey conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Levada Analytical Center, seven out of ten Russians (72%%) and 70% of Americans fear that their countries will move toward a new arms race.
But there is still room for hope. Most Russians (87%) and Americans (74%) are in favor of reaching an agreement to limit nuclear weapons.
In 1982, three-quarters of Americans favored freezing nuclear weapons production (75%), according to a joint survey by NBC News and Associated Press. Most of the U.S. public also disagreed with Reagan’s assertion that the freeze movement was being manipulated by foreign interests to weaken the country (48%). Reagan soon changed course.
The Nuclear Freeze campaign –which included a million-person US protest calling for an end to the arms race– is considered to have forced Reagan’s hand to begin negotiations with Gorbachev in 1985.
By 1982, three-quarters of Americans were in favor of freezing the production of nuclear weapons, according to a joint survey by NBC News and Associated Press.
Most Americans also disagreed with Reagan’s assertion that the freezing movement was being manipulated by foreign interests to weaken the country (48 %). Reagan soon changed course.
By 1982, the United States had lived 35 years of Cold War. Americans had practiced protection exercises since primary school and most remembered the missile crisis in Cuba and the constant threat of nuclear war.
This partly explains why, despite the support we see among the American people to a new arms control agreement and the sensation that a new arms race looms above our heads, only 54% of Americans opposed the U.S. decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty.
Today, the INF’s decision has been turned into a partisan issue, with 73% of the Republicans supporting Trump’s decision to withdraw and 74% of Democrats who oppose him. The challenge for defenders of arms control today is to break with the partisanship that surrounds the decisions on arms control.
According to Lily Wojtowicz, associate researcher at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs which studies Russian and American public opinion: although 78% of Americans describe Russia as a rival and not as a partner, they all support the search for new restrictions on the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia (90 % of Republicans, 89% of Democrats, and 84% of Independents).
May 20, 2019.
This article may be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Right now, there’s a good chance that the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, be very brief. The word impeachment is already part of the current language in the media and social networks in the South American giant.”
At least that’s what Andrés Ferrari Haines, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil, wrote in an article published, on May 21, by the Argentinean newspaper “Página 12”.
Eduardo Bolsonaro, the president’s son, warned in Buenos Aires that an electoral victory of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s would represent the risk of turning Argentina into another Venezuela.
Curiously, says the newspaper, his father is achieving in Brazil what mercenary Juan Guaidó could not achieve in Venezuela: to have protests everywhere promoting the rule of law and opposition to the President.
An historic march took place on Wednesday, May 15, in which nearly two million people took to the streets in 200 Brazilian cities to protest against the budget cuts in education. It was a turning point in the rejection of President Jair Bolsonaro, his children and several personalities close to him.
Those who, during his electoral campaign, thought that his violent and bellicose style was part of an electoral strategy to attack his opponents are realizing that this is a trait of his personality.
It seems that his capacity for dialogue is zero, and he can only express himself aggressively –even if this might not be his intention.
One could think that Bolsonaro, together with his sons, tried to strengthen his image in a direct relationship with his electoral base, discrediting sectors that were part of the coalition government, such as the military, which occupy several positions in allied political parties.
Even more serious, in the field of the economy, has been the appointment of his “super minister” Paulo Guedes, an extreme neoliberal choice, submissive to U.S. capital, especially to those that seek the extreme exploitation of natural resources and the control of state financial institutions and companies such as Petrobras.
In his strategy, Guedes placed all his chips in favor of the approval of a brutal reform aimed at preventing an “inevitable” economic catastrophe. Here he is meeting great resistance in and out of parliament.
It is a strategy of submission to private activity that launched Minister of Education Weintraub who, summoned by Congress, in the midst of a student protest, made it clear that the objective was not to cut the educational budget, but to extinguish the public education system.
In line with his President, the minister ignored the students and affirmed that “the graduates of the Brazilian public universities don’t know anything.”
Reality, however, has demonstrated the opposite: public schools are at the top of the list in the national ranking –with only two or three private ones– in the front rank. Even more so: the public ones are among the first in comparisons with those in emerging countries, and some have reputable placements at the international level. Thus, it is clear that there is no basis whatsoever for the government project aimed at dismantling public education to the benefit of private education that the minister so much praises.
For his part, Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo aligned Brazil’s foreign policy to the United States in a moralistic crusade that identifies “globalization” with a process driven by “cultural Marxism” and climate risks with a “communist conspiracy”, even at the expense of losing important foreign markets.
Meanwhile, the economy comes to a standstill, the stock market falls and the dollar soars.
In addition, it has become known that consulting firm A.T. Kearney removed Brazil –for the first time—from the top 25 destinations for the United States investors. During the government of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil was in the third place.
Bolsonaro was losing so much support in the last week that even his “guru,” astrologer Olavo de Carvalho, predicted that he will abandon politics in Brazil.
The Brasil LIbre [Free Brazil] Movement, a great player in the fall of Rousseff and in the anti-PT wave, also announced its breaking up Bolsonaro.
The students are calling for a mobilization on May 30 and, in addition, they have joined the General Strike, on June 14, against Bolsonaro’s reforms.
The main print media, O Globo de Rio and Folha do Estado de Sao Paulo, in their editorials are very critical of the political maneuvers of the President and his attacks on democracy.
Investigations of corruption and illicit association against one of his sons, Flavio, are growing every day, and affect nearly one hundred people who were hired or moved fortunes in connection with his office, including the President’s wife herself.
May 24, 2019.
This article may be reproduced by quoting the newspaper POR ESTO as the source.
By La Izquierda Diario México
Tuesday May 14, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Daily Left (LID): How do you evaluate this event?
Gabriel García Higueras: This is an event of great academic and political importance. It is transcendental that an encounter of this nature has taken place in Cuba. As I said this afternoon, at the beginning of my presentation, since 1990 there has not been an international congress on Trotsky that brings together such a number of presentations and speakers from so many countries. Frank García’s call and organization have been magnificent, as well as the reception he has found in the public. The fact that it takes place in Cuba is unprecedented and will mark a milestone in the research on Trotsky that will be carried out in this country. It should also be noted that the conference is taking place despite not having sufficient organizational support. This is very meritorious and evidences the dedication and commitment of those who have made it a reality.
LID: What is the importance of this taking place in Cuba?
Gabriel García Higueras: Without a doubt, it is very important that this event has been allowed in Cuba, which also reveals a greater political openness to address issues that were previously censored. As is well known, for a long time Trotsky was a taboo figure on the island, since the revolutionary government of Cuba, by aligning itself with the bloc of communist countries, adopted the Stalinist version of his role in the Russian Revolution. Precisely, Leonardo Padura writes about this distorted vision in one of the texts that make up his recent book Agua por todas partes (Tusquets, 2019). So this event is a vindication of one of the essential figures of socialist thought in the twentieth century.
On the other hand, I think it is important that Trotsky’s work be made known to new generations of Cubans. In that sense, the presentation of two of his fundamental books: The Revolution Betrayed and Latin American Writings, will be of enormous importance in this event.
In addition, tomorrow we will have the scoop of world premiere of the documentary on the life of Trotsky in the process of editing, The Most Dangerous Man in the World, by filmmaker Lindy Laub, who has had the historical advice of Suzi Weissman. It is the most complete and best-documented film ever made about Trotsky. And I say this because I saw the trailer at the Leon Trotsky Museum in Mexico nine years ago.
LID: Why don’t you tell us what your participation consisted of?
Gabriel García Higueras: Well, I dealt with Trotsky’s historiographic representation in the Soviet Union during the perestroika. That subject is important because, at that time, a revision of the official history was initiated and, therefore, his figure as the protagonist of the Russian Revolution was recovered. Moreover, this revision allowed the appearance of new historical narratives about Trotsky, some of which are still circulating in Russia.
Due to the fifteen minutes I had for my presentation, I limited myself to presenting the main lines of the subject. I would also have liked to talk about the historical vision of Trotsky in Russia today.
LID: You also presented a book…
Gabriel García Higueras: Yes, this is Trotsky’s second edition in the mirror of history, published in Mexico two years ago. Although I couldn’t bring many copies from Lima, I’m excited that my book will be consulted in libraries by avid Cuban readers.
LID: What about Trotsky today?
Gabriel García Higueras: He is a thinker whose ideas are unavoidable to understand the main processes of the contemporary world. Trotsky reflected and wrote about such a diversity of problems that his ideas always illuminate our vision of reality. Just to cite one example, his theory is key to understanding the Russian Revolution and the historical process that began in 1917. In that perspective, his writings provide us with solid arguments to understand the degeneration of the first workers’ state and the causes for its disappearance.
Interviewed: Pablo Oprinari
You can also read: Trotsky revisited in Havana, Cuba
By Lizzett Talavera Calvo
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
The main veterinarian of the Clinic located in the Quinta de los Molinos ecological park, attached to the Office of the City Historian (OHC), Dr. Leyssan Cepero Fiallo infuses the love he feels for animals to pet owners and colleagues. Under his responsibility various projects for the care of flora and fauna, aimed mainly at children and young people, are implemented. Among the most important actions that the Clinic carries out every year are the campaigns of sterilization and deworming of pets and urban animal colonies. This initiative has contributed to fostering a culture of animal protection in the population of Havana.
“When I was a child, I had all kinds of animals; my hobby was innate. My father took me to the baseball stadium because he wanted me to be a sportsman, but I sat with my back to the field, until he definitely realized I wasn’t going to be a ballplayer,” says veterinarian Leyssan Cepero in this interview.
The main veterinarian of the Clinic located in the ecological park Quinta de los Molinos, attached to the Office of the City Historian (OHC), Dr. Leyssan Cepero Fiallo infuses the love he feels for animals to pet owners and colleagues. Under his responsibility are implemented various projects for the care of flora and fauna, aimed mainly at children and young people.
Among the most important actions that the Clinic carries out every year are the campaigns of sterilization and deworming of pets and urban animal colonies. This initiative has contributed to fostering a culture of animal protection in the population of Havana.
How long have you been interested in animals and veterinary medicine?
When I was a child I had all kinds of animals; my hobby was innate. My father took me to the baseball stadium because he wanted me to be a sportsman, but I sat with my back to the ground until he definitely realized I wasn’t going to be a ballplayer. Even so, I studied karate at a sports school until I reached 12th grade, when I was recruited to the Escuela Superior de Perfeccionamiento Atlético (ESPA).
From a very young age, I knew I was going to study veterinary medicine, so I decided to reorient myself towards that specialty and go to university in what I really liked. At first, the idea was not approved by my family. In spite of that, I took the entrance exams and started my degree at the Agrarian Department of the University of Havana in 2011. In the latter, I stayed in day school for two years until, for personal reasons, I came to live in Havana. I then changed to the course for workers, where I received the title of veterinarian doctor and zoo technician.
While at university, I first worked as a plant and drug group leader at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas (CNIC). In my 4th year of graduation, I was proposed to work as a veterinarian in the National Department of Dog Training of the Ministry of the Armed Forces.
Finally, I received a call from Doctor Eusebio Leal proposing that I come to work as the main veterinarian in the Quinta de los Molinos ecological park, as they needed a specialist who knew how to work with all animal species. At that time, I was also vice-president of the Cuban Society of Clinics and Veterinary Surgery, attached to the Scientific Veterinary Council of Cuba. It was thanks to that institution that the Historian of the City received references about my work in that sense. At first, I was not very convinced, so Dr. Leal proposed that I come for a month’s trial and, if I liked it, I would stay. I’ve been here for eight years now.
From the point of view of the veterinary specialty, what do you like the most?
What I do the most are surgeries, because I specialized in Clinic and Veterinary Surgery of all species. In other words, I operate on a turtle as well as a bird, a dog as well as a cat. In the Veterinary Council of Cuba, where I am currently Vice President of Clinica and Veterinary Surgery, we give training courses at a national level to all veterinarians who are interested in working with a diversity of species: reptiles, birds, pets… since specialized knowledge is required for each case.
What motivated you to begin your collaboration with the Spanky Project and, in turn, work with the Civil Society Community, Heritage and Environment of the Office of the Historian?
Since 2004 I began to collaborate with Spanky, when it was still working in the National Department of Dog Training. Every time they carried out a massive sterilization campaign, they summoned me to support them, because they needed target surgeons, so that the animals would come out healthy and without problems after the surgery. When I entered the Quinta de los Molinos I was elected as Spanky’s representative within the Office of the Historian, while the Civil Society Community, Heritage and Environment attends to the project directly by the non-governmental side.
What do you think will be your greatest contribution to the mass campaigns?
The main objective of mass campaigns is to prevent many animals from being abandoned. We have calculated that of every 100 animals you find on the street, approximately 90 percent belonged to a home. For example, a cat can give birth two to three times a year; multiplied by 12, we have almost 60 offspring wandering around the city, and with dogs something very similar happens. During these years, we have reached a large number of sterilized animals, mainly in Old Havana, which is where the project is centered, but we are already extending the reach to other municipalities. Now, through the Office of the Historian, we are able to move to other areas and sterilize animals from “colonies” that we capture with trap cages and then return them to their habitat. It is said that when animals from a colony are sterilized, stray animals no longer enter; in other words, they become controlled colonies. They are also marked to prevent them from being captured again and undergoing surgery.
However, it is not only a matter of implementing sterilization to prevent the proliferation of procreation, but also of educating the population in the handling and care of their pets. Among our educational activities, we conduct workshops with children, taking advantage of the fact that infants can extend their love for animals to their parents and the entire community. Other educational actions are done with respect to the Veterinary University. We receive students in our Clinic from the first to the last year of their studies. There is an agreement between both institutions to promote this exchange.
At the request of Dr. Leal and Perla Rosales, Director General of OHC, our experience has been extended to each of the provinces of the country. Next November we will do a campaign in Sancti Spíritus and, later, in Santiago de Cuba. The objective is not to sterilize animals, but to train the veterinarians who are working there. It is in our interest that groups be created at the national level and that they join the campaigns for World Sterilization Day, observed in all Latin American countries. For the past three years, Cuba has also been observing that day, and in 2018, seven Cuban provinces organized their own days.
Can you define the concept of “colonies”, which you veterinarians use a lot during the campaigns?
By “colonies” we mean the groups of animals that are found in the city; usually in parks, parking lots or other abandoned places. Where there is a colony, there is usually a protective person who provides them with food. That’s why they stay parked in places where they have shade, as well as sources of water and food. In the case of cats, they can roam in several areas, but there is always a common point where 15 to 20 animals live together. This is what happens with other species of felines that live in groups and do not allow another animal to enter their territory.
For this reason, the sterilization of a colony keeps it under control; that is to say, it prevents procreation from continuing. In the case of cats, there is always an alpha male or a female leader, usually the most adult cat, hierarchically structured as a herd. While other females hunt, the males create the defense of the territory; that is to say, it is like a mechanism where each one has a role. As for dogs, there are examples of colonies in the Colón Cemetery and in the Plaza Vieja of the Historical Center. Another case is the pigeons of the Plaza de San Francisco, which tend to group in the fountain located there and usually fly to other open spaces.
Do you believe that through your work an ecological culture has been achieved in the population of the Historical Center?
I think so, since we began our work in the Quinta de los Molinos, we have prioritized educational work. The people who come to us came with different levels of information and, at first, it was a bit chaotic. However, they are now more educated in procedures and rules of behavior, as well as the growing interest in attending the conferences we give to train them. Even Veterinary student comes with an eagerness to improve themselves, since every day we teach them new and important techniques, from the disinfection of an instrument to how to resuscitate an animal after the operation so that it comes out well from the anesthesia. Each one of the doctors has the experience and integral knowledge to work in all the areas. If one of them is absent, any of them can take his place.
One of our greatest achievements is that the second group of students trained at the Clinic since the early years of their careers have already graduated. Some have stayed with us as doctors and others do not stop attending our campaigns. Thus our experience is passed on from generation to generation, guaranteeing the future of this project.
To close, I would like to go a little deeper into what other actions are being carried out by the veterinary clinic at Quinta de los Molinos.
From the Quinta de los Molinos ecological park, we take care of all the animals that are in the Historical Center. For example: the pigeons in the squares; the peacocks located in the museums, and the ornamental birds in the hostels. All these birds receive veterinary attention with monthly check-ups, deworming and blood sampling to prevent zoonotic diseases from entering the country. We also have environmental projects with an extensionist profile, aimed at children and adolescents for the teaching of good practices in the handling and care of animals. For example, we give individual workshops on endemic species and how to protect them by keeping them in cages, including the type of food and veterinary assistance they require.
On the other hand, we make special routes dedicated to wild and exotic fauna within the Quinta. We give courses to the elderly on the responsible ownership of pets, as many have them as pets, and we offer completely free veterinary care services. I have already mentioned the campaigns of sterilization and massive deworming of dogs and cats, but this year even rabbits were sterilized. In fact, we have had to increase deworming to twice a year: we do one on Calle Amargura and the other in Barrio del Santo Ángel. We also do very serious work with the horses that are inside the Historical Center, whose deworming takes place every two months. La Quinta is open from Tuesday to Sunday and every day we have many activities dedicated to children and young people. Perhaps it is the children who show the greatest sensitivity with our work in order to promote a culture of animal protection.
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.