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 for CubaNews.
The crass coarseness of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, in matters of civic and formal education cannot justify the daily barbs of this false lunatic turned head of state that, ultimately, goes to the main detriment of the reputation and dignity of US citizens.
Following Trump’s racist pronouncement, which described Haiti and the whole of the countries of Africa as “shithole nations”, Cuban journalist José A. Téllez Villalón published on the Spanish site “Rebelion” a work to remind us that a large part of the arms, ammunition and men with which France contributed to the independence of the then Thirteen Colonies, passed through the then-French colony of Saint-Domingue (today Haiti) which had contributed with the blood of its children to the triumph of the forces in struggle for their independence from the British metropolis.
On March 12, 1779, the French colonizers began the recruitment of a body of volunteers to participate in the American Revolution. “The Volunteer Hunters of Saint-Domingue,” as the contingent was called, was made up of French settlers and between 500 and 800 black and mulatto freedmen.
Between the end of 1780 and the middle of 1781, the troops commanded by General George Washington and those commanded by the French general Jean Batiste de Vimeur, Count of Rochambeau, had been left without resources to land a final blow on the English troops positioned in Yorktown.
George Washington, the leader of the independence movement, reflected it on May 1, 1781 in his diary: “In a word, instead of having everything ready to go to the campaign, we have nothing. Instead of having the perspective of a glorious offensive campaign before us, we have but a confused and defensive situation, unless we receive powerful aid in the form of ships, land troops and money from our generous allies. For now, this is too eventful to be able to count on it. “
French Marshal Rochambeau wrote to French Admiral François Joseph Paul, Count de Grasse: “I must not hide from you, Sir, that the Americans are at the limit of their resources. Washington does not have half the troops it calculates, and in my opinion, although he remains silent about it, he does not have 6,000 men, nor does Mr. de La Fayette gather 1000 regulars in the militia to defend Virginia … “.
Téllez Villalón explains that Rochambeau asked the head of the fleet to recruit troops and bring them with him as reinforcements for General Washington’s Continental Army. The Admiral complied with instructions, recruited 3,000 volunteers from Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien, and placed them under the orders of the young officer Claudius Henry of Saint-Simon who was the founder of French socialism and utopian socialism. The same man who, for Engels, was, together with Hegel, the most encyclopedic mind of his time and in whose work most of the later ideas of socialism are contained.
The multinational reinforcement, consisting of a battalion of ex-slaves, pardos [tri-racial descendants of European, black and indiginous peoples] and mulatos from Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien commanded by Saint-Simon, disembarked in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, and took part, between September 26 and October 19, 1781, in the Siege of Yorktown.
So, says Tellez, the Americans owe a lot to foreign forces -French, Latin American and Haitian- for the achievement of their Independence. It was ratified by the United States Congress on November 15, 1784, after Great Britain capitulated on September 3, 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.
Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the American nation, acknowledged in an editorial published on July 5, 1803 in the New York Evening Post that “to the fatal climate of Saint-Domingue (Haiti), and to the courage and obstinate resistance of its black inhabitants, that we owe the obstacles that delayed the colonization of Louisiana until the favorable moment when a rupture between England and France gave a new turn to the latter’s projects”.
Nevertheless, another American founding father, Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, who was second vice president (1797-1801) and third president (1801-1809) of the United States, showed no gratitude for this assistance. On the contrary, he suspended all trade with Haiti in 1804.
The United States resisted recognizing the newly independent country for many years, joining the European empires in punishing Haiti for its insubordination. It was not until June 5, 1862 that President Abraham Lincoln granted American diplomatic recognition of the generous and heroic Fatherland of Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines.
February 7, 2018.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Not to be kissed by force, not to be cuddled up to from behind and not to be grabbed around the waist without prior consent: Brazilian women have mobilized more than ever this year around the “No means no” movement to put an end to the frequent instances of sexual harassment inflicted on them during Carnival.
The situation is repeated countless times per day in many of the dance troupes that fill the streets in Brazilian cities and towns: A man begins to make advances to a woman, the woman tells him to stop, that she’s not interested, but the man keeps insisting.
In just three hours, a woman can be accosted up to five times, according to what some of them have said.
But something is changing in Brazil, although for the past two years, the number of sexual harassment complaints during Carnival has been growing in a country where 52 percent of women who have experienced such behavior from men have decided to keep silent, according to a survey by the Brazilian Public Safety Forum.
In 2018, stickers and tattoos have begun being seen calling for respect for women’s bodies and an end to macho behavior that is still seen as natural among a large portion of the public.
“When we say ‘no means no,’ we’re speaking up so that women can empower their bodies, we’re saying they aren’t obligated to endure that and that they have a support network,” Julia Parucker told EFE.
Even the police seem to pay the issue little heed. At one Carnival celebration in the state of Pernambuco, one girl said that when she went to the police to complain about a sexual attack the officer said: “Girl, this is Carnival. What do you want me to do…?”
Given that situation, Parucker and a group of female friends have launched an initiative –with donations from the public– to print 25,000 stickers for women to stick on their skin saying “Nao e Nao” (no means no).
“Our bodies are going to be our battleground, where we cry that there’s no reason for it to be like this,” she said.
The initial target was to collect 7,500 reais (about $2,330) but the campaign resonated so strongly among women that they received 20,457 reais ($6,365), which has allowed them to get their message out in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Olinda and Brasilia.
Even if this is a “daily battle”, Parucker believes, it is important to step up the struggle against harassment whenever “it is necessary, like during the carnival”.
Eloisa Honorato, 31, a member of a dance troupe called “Maravillosas Cuerpo de Baile” (Wonderful Corps of Dancers), enjoys the atmosphere of the popular Sao Paulo-based parade Pilantragi together with more than twenty of her colleagues.
Most of them are carry a female symbol on their head and a top with a patterned music player showing a comb shaped like a Fallopian tube. Eloisa, however, displays a full-body painting, her breasts covered with two red hearts surrounded by a golden bra-like drawing.
“We’re here to fight against patriarchy and against an oppressive society that believes itself to be the owner of our bodies”, Eloisa complains. “We’re all fed up, we can’t take it anymore, and when we all get together we feel stronger and protected by the energy we create”, she adds.
Near them is Luiza Gonçalves, 21, who says “as women we are now more empowered and aware” that we don’t have to put up with “any intolerable situation”.
At least 42 percent of Brazilian women say they have suffered sexual harassment, according to a survey conducted by Datafolha and released last December. A third of them admitted to being sexually accosted as they were walking down the street.
To Parucker, Carnival is particularly delicate because men take advantage of the fact that everybody is happy and joking to “poke around”, to put it mildly, convinced that they can get away with it and nothing will happen.
In her opinion, there’s still a long way to go before society and authorities stop downplaying the cases of harassment “so typical” during Carnival.
The tattoos, stickers and other signs saying “No means no” are the start of a situation in Brazil where women who suffer sexual harassment can “have the courage to complain” because “when we say no means no it’s not a yes or a perhaps. No means no and (men) have to respect that,” said Parucker.
(With information from EFE)
Posted: Saturday 20 January 2018 | 11:07:00 PM
Author: Juventud Rebelde email@example.com
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
WASHINGTON, January 20 – Although there were still no official figures, press offices estimated in hundreds of thousands the number of women who took to the streets this Saturday in more than 200 cities in the United States to express their rejection of the policies of Donald Trump on the first anniversary of his arrival to the presidency. Only in Los Angeles there was there talk of 400,000 protesters.
As reported by AFP, the second Women’s March came back to the streets with the pink caps and was also held in cities like New York, where a colorful crowd invaded an avenue that surrounds the western sector of Central Park to the Trump International Hotel, one of the facilities of the President’s real estate empire, starting early in the morning.
«Where to start? There are too many things that are wrong and I can not choose,” said LeighAnn Ferrara, a 35-year-old mother questioned about what had led her to come from the north of that state with two neighbors to demonstrate.
The peaceful protest activities will last until this Sunday when they will remember the day after Trump’s inauguration. Then, PL recalls, more than three million people from all over the country joined the Women’s Marty to express their opposition to the Republican leader.
In San Francisco, Portland, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver and Philadelphia women also raised their voices in solidarity with victims of sexual harassment and the #MeToo (Yo también) movement, which emerged a decade ago in support of black women victims of sexual violence, but green with other characteristics in recent months.
The accusations, said PL, have reached Trump himself. Since his time as a presidential candidate he has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct.
The demonstrations coincided with the closure of offices and dependencies of the Government after Republicans and Democrats in Congress maintained inability to reach a consensus on the federal budget.
The feared closure came into effect shortly after midnight this Saturday, when the Senate vetoed a budget measure approved by the House of Representatives.
So far, neither of the two main political parties seems to give ground in their demands, although both sides face risks for a prolonged closure, said the website The Hill, specializing in issues of the Capitol.
The White House maintains that it will not negotiate on the issue that caused the stalemate: how to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the 800,000 undocumented youth brought by their parents to the United States during the childhood.
The leader of the Democratic minority in the upper house, Charles Schumer, convened a meeting at the White House this Saturday with the main leaders of Congress and President Donald Trump, in order to discuss a broad agreement on immigration, spending limits and disaster prevention.
For its part, the leader of the Republican majority, Mitch McConnell, tried to maintain an agreement close to the bill approved in the House – rejected by the majority of Democratic senators – whose goal is achieving at least one financing agreement provisional for three weeks.
Polls show that the majority of voters support a solution that allows immigrant youth to remain in the United States, although most also believe that this should not be a reason to force the closure of the government, PL reported.
By María Elena Balán Sainz
January 15, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
It is true that today, the image of the person seeking a job competes in the employment market, and I am not talking about Europe or other countries of the so-called first world, also in Cuba when we read an advertisement for employees they put as requirements that they be young, tall, good-looking and white, because there such a discrimination is exposed clearly.
Among the requirements sought are age and it is spelled out that they prefer youth to experience; marital status, because being single and without family responsibilities or children in your care represent points in your favor; be a beautiful and attractive young woman and send a photo in a resume that may not say much professional about her qualifications, but a profile in which beauty stands out.
In advertisements, published mainly on job websites, you can see the age range that employers ask for: 80 percent of them are up to 35 years of age.
They are not interested in those who are called geeks, that is, enthusiastic to the point of obsession with knowledge, knowers and lovers of technology issues, or those who do not have that name but are cultured, educated, are characterized by their seriousness to work and are recognized for their performance and productivity.
The search for girls with a pronounced bust, a narrow waist, a beautiful face, slenderness and marked flirtatiousness that make the client’s neck turn is setting a trend. It leaves those who do not have those attributes at a disadvantage, but above all, encourages discrimination and strengthens the stereotype of women as an advertising and sexist object.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The projected wall to separate Mexico from what had been its own territory until the day that it was taken away by United States. US President Donald Trump’s characterization of some nations in Africa as shitholes. The eviction from US soil of Salvadoran, Nicaraguan and Haitian residents. The deportation of undocumented young people who’d arrived in the US in childhood and are known as the “dreamers”. The rejection of refugees. The reduction of green cards by half. These and other anti-immigration actions have characterized Washington’s foreign policy during the Trump administration.
Wide-reaching, all over the world, hegemonic corporate propaganda has always presented the US as a model of democracy and a welfare paradise. It has made the US a dreamland fantasized about by millions of would-be emigrants from poor nations. Now, the US President is doing even the unimaginable. He wants put an end to such an image, by resorting to decisions that may bring about great violence.
The project of an expanding nation has prevailed since English immigrants, through the annexation of lands populated by indigenous peoples or occupied by Dutch immigrants, created the Thirteen English colonies. They later united to fight
against the natives and especially against the French immigrants.
The United States, in a continuous and expansionist process, through the purchase of territories from France and Spain, the dispossession of Mexico from a good part of its territory and several asymmetrical wars, has expanded its territory, possessions, and global hegemony..what today President Donald Trump defends with the motto “America First!” and consists of closing borders as a new phenomenon, opposed to expansionism.
The US of the fantasized American Dream is no longer being built. Having achieved its objective, it has turned to defending its accomplishments. Now, the America First doctrine is the calling card of a nation that Trump, as a white multimillionaire in love with his own genetics, considers the best in the world.
By the way, when we talk about a country called “the United States of America” we refer to an impossible entity or an entelechy. This is because America is geographically a continent made up of several independent nations. None should claim the right to represent the union of all the states that make up the continent.
Originally, the name “United States of America” could have been the expression of a legitimate and plausible aspiration of the precursors of a dream of unity that has never been made possible, but which today embodies a deceptive purpose of domination and hegemony.
Even if this were the historical reason for the imbroglio, the nations of the affected continent can survive the terminological confusion provided there is absolute respect for the sovereignty of all countries involved.
Regrettably, there have been, and still are, many occasions when conflicts arise because one of the parties, always Washington, takes advantage of the semantic confusion for its own benefit.
The United States was born practically accompanied by the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. This is the idea that the United States of America will expand because of its obvious (manifest) need and definite destiny. First, it would expand from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific. Then, the northeastern states would carry their concept of “civilization” throughout the continent through territorial expansion.
For US commercial interests, expansion offered great and lucrative access to foreign markets. This allowed them to compete under better conditions against the British. Owning ports facing the Pacific would facilitate trade with Asia.
The ideological and philosophical connotation of its name was not embraced by all of US society. Differences within the country about the objectives and consequences of the policy of expansion would determine its acceptance or rejection.
Only when the peoples who inhabit the region today known as the American continent want to proclaim in common the unification of their territorial sovereignties, could the resulting nation be legitimately declared the “United States of America”; or else when humanity reaches its eternal yearning to live in a communist world, without classes or borders.
January 30, 2018
Author: Francisco Arias Fernández
January 24, 2018 22:01:42
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A young Canadian with untidy blond hair and faded blue eyes walks back and forth between both ends of a boulevard in downtown Ottawa, the capital of one of the world’s richest countries, begging for money to buy marijuana. In Montevideo, Uruguay, a crazy-looking young man of about 25 offers to work as a car parking attendant for a pittance, enough so he can buy a joint. In Central American capital cities, car drivers waiting for the traffic lights to change get besieged by children eight or nine years of age performing as fire-eaters or simply holding out their hands to beg for charity on behalf of their parents, who lie hidden nearby as they wait for the “prize” to buy drugs and food.
Back in December, Brasilia’s political center was all but occupied by security forces and foreign journalists, all waiting for the arrival of a new president who would take office the following day. A few meters from the Foreign Ministry, one of the venues of the inauguration, a taxi driver warned his passengers not to roll down the windows to take pictures because of the gangs of “dope-smoking” teenagers could appear out of the blue to mug tourists.
These are personal stories, not hearsay or exaggerations. Besides, they are not isolated cases in today’s world or in the countries where I witnessed them.
Felipe met his Spanish wife through a friend who rents out his apartment in Havana. He moved to Barcelona, leaving behind his eight-year-old daughter and his parents. In his new country, he started to consume and smoke synthetic marijuana or whatever he could get his hands on. After some time, while on a visit to Cuba and a week before his return trip, he was caught in possession of small amounts of the narcotic that he had got from a dealer. He ended up in prison, which also brought a lot of suffering and trauma to his child and loved ones.
Cuban internationalist doctors cry as they share stories of children in Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia or other South American nations who show symptoms of marijuana consumption from an early age, and others who died in their arms because they could not get any marijuana and decided to sniff paint thinners, gasoline or strychnine.
A Uruguayan psychologist, who provides therapeutic services to slum areas in Tijuana, on the U.S. border, described in his doctoral thesis, which he defended at the University of Havana, how his patients take advantage of the legalization of marijuana in southwestern U.S. states to cross the border and get a marijuana prescription for stress treatment, a sure way to maintain their addiction as they get gradually worse, both physically and mentally.
Far from tackling your ailments or bringing you benefits, he remarked, making that drug legal has boosted its use and multiplied health problems in those regions.
Similar findings were disclosed last October in a study by the French National Institute for Advanced Studies in Security and Justice (INHESJ) and the French Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFGT) about the impact of cannabis regulation on U.S. states and in Uruguay.
According to the study, “the regulated sale of marijuana in special pharmacies has led to a nationwide rising trend in all indicators for use in Uruguay and has had no significant effects on the black market”. Legalization in the U.S. has brought forth a noticeable rise in consumption, particularly among occasional and regular users aged 25 or over.
Also underlined in the study is “a major rise in hospital admissions related to presumed cannabis intoxication in two North American States” (Colorado and Washington State).
The World Health Organization (WHO) came to the conclusion in 1948 that the consumption of cannabis (marijuana, hashish and hashish oil) was dangerous from every point of view, be it physical, mental or social. More recently added to the list are the so-called synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic or laboratory marijuana), even more harmful.
Experts remark that the symptoms of marijuana intoxication appear more slowly and take longer to go away. Not only that, but that it can trigger very serious mental disorders. Its most common and socially detrimental effect is the so-called affective or amotivational syndrome, characterized by severe detachment from reality, not unlike the kind related to serious forms of schizophrenia.[Marijuana use] impairs our thoughts, causes memory and concentration problems and tampers with learning. It also delays reaction time with visual and auditory stimuli, disrupts time perception and hinders coordination. It also causes bronchitis and lung cancer in a much larger proportion than smoking. Moreover, it is known to affect our sex life and reproductive capacity, not only because of the resulting dissociation but also the reduction of our hormonal level and sperm motility that it brings with it. Marijuana consumption also has catastrophic consequences on addicted mothers, such as congenital deformities and premature births.
Furthermore, it paves the way for lack of coordination and balance, tachycardia, conjunctival injection (bloodshot eyes), dry mouth and throat syndrome, and drowsiness, as well as death by heart arrhythmia.
Marijuana is young people’s gateway drug and a springboard to the abyss of other even more dangerous substances.
In Europe there has been evidence since the 1970s of a consumption cycle that starts with marijuana and then leads to other more harmful substances like LSD, heroin or morphine. None of them bring a happy end, for they either blow you out or kill you.
FIVE FACTS ABOUT MARIJUANA:
Source: Interview granted to journalist Lisandra Fariñas xcby Dr. Ricardo A. González Menéndez, a consultant with the Integrated Addiction Treatment Service of Havana’s Psychiatric Hospital and chairman of the National Medical Ethics Commission.
Author: Redacción Internacional | firstname.lastname@example.org
January 30, 2018 03:01:42
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The signing of the Peace Agreement negotiated in Havana opened the doors of civilian life and political struggle to the FARC guerrilla, which is now a political party with the same acronym by which it was identified for more than a quarter century.
The Common Revolutionary Alternative Force recently launched its campaign for this year’s presidential and legislative elections. Timoleón Jiménez, leader of the former guerrilla secretariat, heads the list to occupy the Casa de Nariño [Colombia’s presidential palace}.
The Peace Agreement establishes that the FARC are entitled to ten Congress seats, regardless of their results at the polls.
By Alfonso Nacianceno email@example.com
January 26, 2018 22:01:19
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Firearm sales skyrocket whenever a massacre, like the one caused by Stephen Paddock on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, takes place in the United States. It’s a sad truth that weighs heavily on its population.
The 58 deaths caused by this 64-year-old retired individual who fired into a crowd of more than 22,000 concertgoers at a country music festival gave rise to angry protests against firearms. However, the tycoons who showcase their novelties in any of the three arms fairs scheduled for 2018 in the U.S. consider theirs a serious line of business. It’s marked by deals worth millions and millions of dollars that benefit the U.S. economy and which, therefore, they are unwilling to abandon.
Never mind the feelings of those who are still mourning over the horrifying deaths of so many people. They only expected to have an enjoyable evening. The U.S. gun industry held its biggest annual fair for four days, just a few miles from the killing fields. Despite the general public’s astonishment and annoyance, Shot Show featured its products along 20 kilometers of aisles, adding to a history of more than 40 events, half of them held in Las Vegas, according to an AP report about the characteristics of this mega-event.
Over 1,700 exhibitors signed agreements and made deals worth millions, whereas the organizers tried to placate peoples’ logical concerns by assuring us that only gun manufacturers and dealers were allowed into the premises, the firing pins were removed from all guns on display, and there was no live ammunition.
Beyond any arguments behind the appeals for calm, absent from the show this time was the company Slide Fire, the leading manufacturer of bump stocks —attachments that enable rifles to fire faster— an invention used by Paddock in the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in U.S. history. The Texas-based company has not said why it was not among the exhibitors, nor has it confirmed its presence at the National Rifle Association (NRA) meeting.
Even if Slide Fire’s bump stocks were not on display, the show presented other accessories made to enable gun users to mimic fully automatic fire and reduce noise.
In the wake of the massacre in Las Vegas, and as discussions about gun control continue, Pennsylvania hosted the Guntoberfest gun show, another huge shop window with similar interests as those of Shot Show’s. In addition to this recent exhibition, they have already planned for another two meetings of rednecks, as gun industry leaders are usually nicknamed.
Marine West, devoted to displaying the state of the art in heavy military equipment, will have a venue in Anaheim on February 7 and 8. And April 9 to 11 will see the third of these conventions at Camp Pendleton, the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps.
Figures provided by the Centers for Disease Control of that country—also in charge of recording the number of deaths by firearms—reveal that 33,000 die of gunshots every year; two thirds of the annual 12,000 homicide victims are African-Americans; and people between the ages of 15 to 64 are more prone to suffer fatal accidents.
The American citizens themselves have coined two lapidary sentences to describe the situation of helplessness that they are exposed to every single day:
“There are more guns than people in the United States… Carrying a gun is as common as having a flowerpot at home”.
By Olga Salanueva Arango (posted to Facebook)
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Reflection by Olga Salanueva Arango
I begin by clarifying that I have not been summoned by anyone, nor interviewed by anyone, nor cited by anyone; not even by the famous commission. I was surprised by the commotion over a comment that at first was intended to be a clarification for some friends, whose deductions in relation to the reasons for the exclusion of three of the Five seemed wrong. By following the suggestion of several of them, “to make my comment public to share it better”, the writing ended up exceeding the originally intended scope
I plead guilty to not being an expert on Facebook. I hope that at least those of my generation understand it. If I live long enough, I’ll try to make amends.
I did not consult with any of the Five, nor have I received a reprimand from any of them, including René. He respects my right to write on Facebook the few times I do it. I would have written it even if René was one of the two chosen, especially when, in that case, he would be in a difficult position in relation to his non-selected brothers. The Five are above this. I, on the other hand, am an earthly person, but like them revolutionary and proud of my militancy. This is very clear, because people who I thought were friends have hurt me insinuating the opposite. Paraphrasing the film, even if I were “the worst of all”, I would never be counterrevolutionary.
[ This is an allusion to a film about Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. The title of the film is the famous phrase “Yo, la peor de todas” with which she signed a letter to the Archbishop.]
In passing, I also clarify that I maintain my opinion that the five should have been on the ballot, that the vanguard demonstrated should be with their voices and their votes in the Assembly. I still think it unfair to distinguish between them, and it seems a mistake to have done it. I did not fight so many years just for René, but for the five as a unit, and it hurts me that someone would try to separate them, even if he does not really realize what it is doing. This feeling is still very strong in me, and I would not be myself if I said that with two in the Assembly the five are represented (which confirms that this writing is not the result of convocation, or interview, or a summons, not even by the famous commission).
If I write this, it is because I think we should put this issue to rest and take care of what matters: The Revolution. I do not care at all what the Herald does or does not do. The Herald has spent the last 60 years trying to destroy the Revolution without success. It will continue to do so, with the same lack of success, either with this issue or with any other. I am proud that they have written several times about me, and never well. Here I am, alive and kicking, and happy with my family together. I know closely that the five, far from being offended, had fun with their pamphlets in the hole, when they had few entertainment options.
I would like to think that, after all, this issue has produced a useful, very interesting and necessary discussion. If my writing provoked it, it was because it was already in the air. Thanks to those who supported us and said so many things worthy of thanks. Thanks also to those who respectfully disagreed with our opinion. To those who were disrespectful and aggressive toward me, or were dedicated to manipulating my opinions, I thank them for allowing me to know them better so I can cross them out of my list of friends.
Now the issue is what to do: To keep moving forward. Doing our duty to the best of our ability. Go to vote. Respect the system we have and not let our reaction to its imperfections make a dent in its results. I would like to urge all those who have thought about putting the five on the ballot not to do so. Remember that this would annul the vote, and, in doing so, those friends would be doing what our true enemies want. Let’s not correct what we consider an error with a bigger error. None of the five, inside or outside the candidacy, would approve of that.
Nor is it necessary to wait for someone to withdraw their candidacy in favor of one of the five. This would not be fair to that candidate or even legal. On the other hand, it would imply a challenge to the work of a legally-constituted commission. Although we do not agree with its decision regarding the five, we must respect its work. With the same spirit with which we supported the five, I ask that we unite to make this election another victory for the Revolution. We can keep arguing afterwards.
Let’s show, like Felix Dzerzhinski, a cold mind and a heart ablaze. I want to sincerely congratulate all the deputies. They will have been elected in each municipality of the country by more than half of the votes, which allows them to legally represent the inhabitants of that municipality. My vote will be united, although I will continue to miss three more. Remember that I am still earthy and stubborn. Maybe that’s why I am, and I will be until death, revolutionary.
Olga Salanueva Arango.
By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Special for Punto Final
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
In 1944, under this title, Juan Bosch published an article in solidarity with the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico. It was one of the countless journalistic, political and literary works that the great Dominican writer produced during his prolonged Havana exile, several of which he dedicated to the cause of the sister island.
Despite the time elapsed, almost three-quarters of a century ago, a similar text, with the same title, could be written today: “Adrift by the seas of history, without direction, without destination, goes Puerto Rico: for four and a half centuries “
Now it should be added that the situation is worse and the island, hit by fierce hurricanes, especially the most recent and brutal named Donald Trump, faces a decisive moment in its history.
In those days, when Bosch wrote his beautiful prophecy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who promised the American people a new deal that benefited the workers and the poor and the peoples of the Continent, governed in Washington and offered a policy of good neighborliness. But his promises did not outlive him.
For a long time now, both projects have been reduced to ashes, swept away by the savage capitalism and unbridled warmongering that has been practiced, in one way or another, with secondary nuances, by all the US administrations since the Second World War.
In the 1940s, Luis Muñoz Marín and his Popular Democratic Party (PPD) still advocated the independence of the island. Later, they would relegate to a secondary level the fundamental question of national sovereignty and would accept, under Washington’s patronage, the so-called “Associated Free State” (ELA), a clumsy disguise that changed nothing in the harsh colonial reality.
Thanks to tax exemptions and other privileges, the territory was flooded by North American capital displacing local producers and promoting a massive emigration to the north. Quantum investments in the infrastructure gave it an air of modernity. Imperial propaganda spared no effort to sell the beautiful island as a paradigm, a model for the rest of the continent. At the same time, they filled the small territory with bases and military installations, turning it into a real fortress that was a key piece in its aggressive and interventionist policy throughout the continent.
That propaganda managed to hide, at the same time, two decisive aspects for understanding the Puerto Rican reality. On the one hand, there is the systematic persecution and repression against the patriotic movement, often violent and open, at other times, covert and more or less subtle, but always overwhelming. And on the other, Washington´s rejection of each and every one of the requests by the Puerto Rican people, including the PPD, to modify the colonial relationship and make it less harmful to their legitimate interests.
In fact, the ELA was a lie from its birth. There was never an “association” between Puerto Rico and the United States and to call “free” the creature thus created was, in addition to an affront to its victim, the Puerto Rican people, a gross insult to language itself. All the efforts promoted from the island to reach spaces of autonomy failed in the face of imperial insolence.
With the passage of time, the colonial metropolis was also changing. The United States continues to be the main economic and military power of the planet but its domain is no longer absolute, undisputed, as it was at the end of the Second World War. It has had to eliminate several important provisions that had favored its investments on the island and these were made in search of other more lucrative markets.
The economic model imposed on the colony ended in a resounding failure. The local authorities had to acknowledge their inability to pay the public debt of more than 70 billion dollars. They struggled uselessly in search of an impossible solution for a country totally subjected to a foreign power.
Denied of its own sovereignty, all negotiation possibilities were closed to Puerto Rico in order to confront a problem that independent countries face every day. In Washington, Congress and the Administration agreed to establish a so-called Fiscal Control Board, which today is the true authority that administers the territory and whose task is to force Puerto Ricans to pay what they supposedly have to by means of imposing draconian measures of austerity that increased unemployment, eliminated basic social services and boosted emigration.
To make matters worse, the island was hit by two hurricanes of great intensity, Irma and Maria, especially the latter which ruined it almost completely. The losses caused by these meteorological phenomena are calculated at more than 90 billion dollars. Thousands of families lost their homes and four months later a large part of the population has no electricity or potable water, many schools have not resumed their activities and nobody knows when or how the collapsed infrastructure will recover.
The precise figure of how many people lost their lives as a result of Maria’s passage is not even known. Independent journalistic investigations calculate that they go upwards of a thousand.
More than 200,000 have sought refuge in the United States in a migratory wave that does not seem to stop.
To top it all, along cameTrump. The unusual character, who has done nothing to alleviate the Puerto Rican tragedy, not only recalled that the supposed debt must be reimbursed, but also promotes a tax reform that, among other things, taxes the products coming from the island with 20% that will make economic recovery an unrealizable chimera.
In the midst of the disaster, the people’s determination to rebuild their country, without federal aid and against the corruption and clumsiness of those who claim to represent it, is moving.
It seems that what Juan Bosch anticipated so long ago may come true. At the time of the wreck it would be the workers, the dispossessed, the downtrodden, finally united in pain and hope, the only ones capable of saving the Homeland.