USAtells its citizens to reconsider trips to Cuba, one of the safest countries in the world
Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez | email@example.com
January 10, 2018 23:01:15
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Although Cuba is one of the safest destinations in the world, and meets all international standards, the United States on Wednesday recommended that its citizens “reconsider” possible trips to the Greater Antilles.
The State Department changed its old alert system with a ranking that places all nations on four levels, where the first only involves “taking normal precautions” and the fourth receives the warning “do not travel.”
Cuba, whose citizen security indicators are among the best in the region, was located at level three, with the suggestion of “reconsidering visits” because “there are serious risks to their safety and protection.”
Venezuela, Honduras, Haiti and Guatemala are among the Latin American countries given the same classification.
As on September 29th of last year, when an unjustified travel alert was issued against the Island, the argument used by Washington once again was the occurrence of alleged “attacks” against US diplomats in Havana, about which there is no any evidence.
“Because the safety of our personnel is at risk and we can not identify the source of the attacks, we believe that US citizens may also be exposed to danger,” says the Department of State website.
However, after months of both US and Cuban investigations, evidence to support the hypothesis of the so-called “acoustic attacks” is still lacking.
Three State Department officials acknowledged before a US Senate hearing last Tuesday that the causes and reasons for the health conditions alleged by their staff in Havana are still unknown.
Also, a report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), cited by the Associated Press, argues that there is no evidence that “sonic attacks” have been carried out against US diplomats in Cuba.
On Tuesday, Josefina Vidal, General Director for the United States of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, criticized on Tuesday the State Department for continuing to use the word “attack” when it lacks evidence to support that.
“Cuba is a safe, peaceful and healthy country for Cubans, for foreigners, for accredited diplomats and for the millions of people who visit us every year, including the Americans,” said Vidal.
SAFER THAN IN THE UNITED STATES
Despite the unilateral measures taken by the administration of Donald Trump to strengthen the blockade and limit travel between the two countries, in 2017 there was an increase in visits by Americans to Cuba.
According to official figures from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, between January and November of last year 579 288 people traveled from the United States, for an increase of 248.7% in relation to 2016.
The increase in visits has occurred in a security environment, as recognized by travelers, specialized sites and tour operators.
«I have always felt safe in Cuba. I spent a month there recently and I felt more secure than in Los Angeles,” American journalist Walter Lippmann told Granma.
“Under the current law, it is still illegal for Americans to travel as tourists,” Lippmann recalled.“But anyone who visits the island, no matter the route, will find that they are in what is probably the most peaceful country in the world.”
Daniel Howell, a professor at the University of New York and a specialist in Cuban literature, told this newspaper that Cuba is objectively a very safe country, because there are almost no crimes, especially compared to the United States, which has one of the highest rates of highest violence in the first world.
According to figures from the Brady Center Against Armed Violence, about 93 Americans die every day from the use of firearms. Last year, one person killed 58 others in Las Vegas, using more than a dozen assault rifles that can be purchased without difficulty in that country.
“It does not make sense to recommend to Americans not to visit Cuba. I think they use the supposed sonic attacks to scare away tourists, but this does not make sense,” Howell added.
DISAGREE WITH THE MEASURE
Although Cuba was placed in one of the most negative categories, without the support of objective data, some lawmakers of Cuban origin reacted indignantly, expecting a worse rating.
“The Department of State should not minimize Cuba’s threat to American citizens. Lowering the level of travel warning to the Island is irresponsible, especially when there are still so many unanswered questions about the attacks against US diplomats in Havana, “Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a well-known supporter of the anti-Cuban ultra-right of Miami.
In her opinion, the new classification is less drastic than that of last September 29, when the US authorities, despite lack of evidence, said that their citizens “could be at risk of being victims of sonic attacks” and recommended abstaining from everything about traveling.
Michele Thoren Bond, an undersecretary of the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the State Department, was consulted on Wednesday in a teleconference.
“We made a careful examination, we consulted with our experts and this has been the conclusion regarding Cuba,” she said after pointing out that the new classification is not due to “a change in the situation on the island, but to the need to be consistent.” in classifications of risks in different countries ».
Quoted by several media, she explained that category four includes countries where there is “a high probability of life risks.” Eleven nations have that classification: North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Libya and Mali.
The legislators of Cuban origin, opposed to the rapprochement between the two countries, would be pressing for Cuba to appear in the fourth level and thus achieve an even more drastic reduction in the flow of people between the two nations.
Counseled by some of them, including Senator Marco Rubio, the Trump administration has already taken unilateral measures such as reducing the categories of approved trips and drawing up a list of products and places banned for Americans in Cuba.
In addition, under the pretext of the supposed acoustic attacks, the State Department reduced the personnel of its embassy in Havana to the essential and paralyzed the consular services. He also demanded the withdrawal of 17 Cuban officials from Washington.
These actions have a “high cost for our population, Cuban emigration and the American people,” recently reported Josefina Vidal. (With the collaboration of Ernesto Gómez, Dayron Rodríguez and Jeiddy Martínez)
By Francisco Castro, November 12, 2017.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Whistles and compliments – sometimes risque – are constant and common. So are harassment and even sexual attacks in exchange for work or favors, and complaints, due to fear, ignorance or immigration status, are nonexistent.
This is how Ramona Félix, coordinator of the program on harassment and sexual assault and human trafficking for the Líderes Campesina organization, describes what happens in the countryside to rural women.
“People are afraid to report it, they are afraid of being fired, many are single mothers,” about what agricultural workers live on. “There have been cases where there is harassment and run and supervisors spread the word ‘she is problematic’. The woman is left without any money. For fear, for the legal status, for what they will say, they remain silent. “
That’s why this Sunday, almost two dozen of them traveled from Ventura County to be present and participate in the #MeToo March against sexual harassment that took place in Hollywood.
Survivors of harassment and sexual assault and abuse walked from the meeting point – the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue – to the offices of a television station [CNN] where several people spoke out against this social scourge, before going back to the point initial.
The scandal over allegations of sexual harassment against powerful men in the film industry has opened the door for women in all kinds of industries to raise their voices and tell their cases.
“For every Harvey Weinstein (the famous Hollywood producer), there are hundreds more men in the neighborhood who are doing the same,” said Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement. “The conversation around Hollywood will spread to include other industries if we force it to happen.”
“This goes beyond Hollywood,” said Brenda Gutierrez, one of the organizers of the march. “I think it’s time that we no longer keep silent, that we are not ashamed and that we end up with the stigma and I think that is the great message of this march.”
“If a person can go out and get help, that will make me happy,” Gutiérrez added.
With chants of “Stop the violence, stop the rapes”, “Stand up for the women of the world” and “Violence must disappear”, hundreds of women – and men – joined the march yesterday in solidarity with their wives, mothers and sisters, as well as, some actresses.
“If people start talking about this, I think it will make a difference,” said Elizabeth Perkins, actress of the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks.
Many women said that men’s help in stopping this is essential.
“They are the ones who can solve this,” said Gretchen, who did not want to give her last name. “There are many wonderful men out there, but they have to go and talk to those who cause problems.”
TIME MAGAZINE story, including support statement by female farmworkers:
Claudia González Corrales
Havana, Oct 13 (ACN) Even though the level of women’s inclusion in Cuban society is high, violence against women adopts more overlapping forms of expression, said María Isabel Domínguez, director of the Center for Psychological and Sociological Research, of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment.
By intervening in the panel Youth Imaginaries about violence against women. Cooperation for social research, held in the context of the VI International Meeting on Children and Youth, Dominguez stressed that this is due to cultural factors and prejudices associated with women.
From face-to-face interviews with 435 youngsters -230 women, 200 men and three transgenders- from western, central and eastern Cuba, it was identified that violence is perceptible in the recycling of domestic life and in the prevalence of stereotypes in as for gender roles, the specialist said.
Gender violence is also evident in the idea of women’s “weakness” and the spirit of overprotection by men, in the fact that she must be “controlled” by him, in the acceptance of male infidelity and punishment of the female, among other manifestations, she stressed.
This assessment came to light from a study carried out since the first quarter of the year and convened by the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) and Oxfam, an international confederation of non-governmental organizations fighting poverty and inequality .
The research focuses on physical, material and symbolic violence against women and their representation in the juvenile imagination, and focuses its study in Cuba and six other countries in the region: Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Dominican Republic.
Pablo Vommaro, director of the Working Groups of CLACSO, stressed that the study is still ongoing, but some preliminary results are already known about the dimensions of the problem.
So far, more than 3,500 youth surveys have been taken, some 80 in-depth interviews conducted and more than 40 focus groups, he said.
As part of the meeting, Julián Loaiza, a Colombian specialist who belonged to the team of authors, said that 680 young people were surveyed in his country. They identified forms of violence that may be due to structural, symbolic and direct causes.
Only a situation of violence is perceived when physical aggression occurs, and this is due in large measure to strongly entrenched contextual factors, prejudices and power relations, he emphasized.
Christian Ferreyra, an adviser to Oxfam, said that the most interesting aspect of this inquiry is that, once the results are known, it will be possible to establish a campaign to question the attitudes that legitimize the different forms of violence.
The full report is expected to be released in March next year, Ferreyra said.
clau / fr / clg 17 17:56
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Debaten sobre inclusión femenina y violencia de género
Claudia González Corrales
La Habana, 13 oct (ACN) Aun cuando los niveles de inclusión femenina en la sociedad cubana son altos, la violencia contra la mujer adopta formas de expresión más solapadas, aseveró hoy en esta capital, María Isabel Domínguez, directora del Centro de Investigaciones Psicológicas y Sociológicas, del Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Medio Ambiente.
Al intervenir en el panel Imaginarios juveniles acerca de la violencia contra las mujeres. Cooperación para la investigación social, celebrado en el contexto del VI Encuentro Internacional sobre Infancias y Juventudes, Dominguez subrayó que ello se debe a factores culturales y prejuicios asociados a la mujer.
A partir de la entrevista cara a cara a 435 jóvenes -230 mujeres, 200 hombres y tres transgéneros- del occidente, centro y oriente cubano, se identificó que la violencia es perceptible en la recarga de la vida doméstica y en la prevalencia de estereotipos en cuanto a los roles de género, indicó la especialista.
La violencia de género también se evidencia en el ideal de “debilidad” de la mujer y el espíritu de sobreprotección del hombre, en el hecho de que esta debe ser “controlada” por él, en la aceptación de la infidelidad masculina y el castigo a la femenina, entre otras manifestaciones, destacó.
Tal valoración salió a relucir a partir de un estudio que se realiza desde el primer trimestre del año, y convocado por el Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO) y Oxfam, confederación internacional formada por organizaciones no gubernamentales que luchan contra la pobreza y la desigualdad.
La investigación se enfoca en la violencia física, material y simbólica contra la mujer y su representación en el imaginario juvenil, y centra su objeto de estudio en Cuba y otros seis países de la región: Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua y República Dominicana.
Pablo Vommaro, director de los Grupos de Trabajo de CLACSO, destacó que el estudio continúa en curso, pero ya se conocen algunos resultados preliminares sobre la dimensiones de la problemática.
Hasta el momento se han aplicado más de tres mil 500 encuestas a jóvenes, unas 80 entrevistas en profundidad y superan los 40 grupos focales, apuntó.
Como parte del encuentro, Julián Loaiza, especialista colombiano que integra el equipo de autores, destacó que en su país fueron encuestados 680 jóvenes, quienes identificaron que las formas de violencia pueden ser debido a causas estructurales, simbólicas y directas.
Solo se percibe una situación de violencia cuando ocurre una agresión física, y eso se debe, en gran medida, a factores contextuales, prejuicios y relaciones de poder fuertemente afianzadas, enfatizó.
Christian Ferreyra, asesor de Oxfam, precisó que lo más interesante de esa indagación es que, a partir de que se conozcan los resultados, será posible establecer una campaña para el cuestionamiento de las actitudes que legitiman las distintas formas de violencia.
Se espera que el informe completo sea divulgado en marzo del próximo año, informó Ferreyra.
clau/fr/clg 17 17:56
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive to the daily POR ESTO! of Mérida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The speech with which Donald Trump, as President of the country that hosts the world’s largest organization, inaugurated the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, overshadowed even more the prospects for peaceful coexistence in the world. Far beyond offering evidence of his disrespect for the international community as a whole. Trump was particularly direct with regard to some of the most representative world powers, such as China, Russia, India and Iran, among others.
Perhaps It was Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who had the most ingenious and educated response to Trump’s speech, which had been full of calls for violence, along with his arrogance, haughtiness and total disrespect for the world organization. When all the dignitaries present hoped that the Iranian leader would respond with justified indignation to Trump’s insulting characterization of his government as “a corrupt dictatorship behind the false appearance of democracy,” the Iranian leader contrasted Trump’s uncultured rhetoric with a fine reference to Persian literary masters of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
“In order to promote our culture, civilization, religion and revolution, we enter into peoples’ hearts and capture their minds. We recite poetry and spread our philosophy in speeches. Our ambassadors are our poets, mystics and philosophers. We have flown to the shores of this side of the Atlantic through Yalal Al-Din Rümi extending our influence throughout Asia with Saadi (Musarrif ibn Muslih). We have already captured the world with Hafiz (Sams al-Din Muhammad), and we do not need new conquests, “quipped the head of the Persian government.
Rouhani used the word “moderation” no less than ten times, contrasting with Trump’s repeated use of the words “violence, chaos and bloodshed.” He even recited a poem with many healthy tips:
“Moderation seeks neither isolation nor hegemony; and it does not imply either indifference or intransigence”.
“The path of moderation is the way of peace; but a just and inclusive peace: not peace for a nation and war and agitation for others. Moderation is freedom and democracy; but in an inclusive and comprehensible way.”
“Do not pretend to promote liberty in one place by supporting dictators elsewhere; moderation is synergy of ideas and no dance of swords; the path of moderation nourishes beauty. Exports of lethal weapons are not beautiful; peace is.”
Dozens of heads of state, presidents of governments and other senior officials of the countries represented in the United Nations contributed to this 72nd session of the highest global organization without appealing to the arrogant language of Trump.
The United States, the dominant imperialist power in these times, now has a president at its head whose evident ineptitude confirms the total incapacity of the capitalist system to represent a unifying role of the world community that would serve to confront old and new challenges that stand in the way of survival.
It would seem that the spectacle offered by the UN General Assembly evidenced the fragmentation in which humanity lives. This starts with the distance between the head of state and government of the United States and his own people, and the insurmountable contradiction between the dominant power and the rest of the world .
When humanity’s articulated response to the challenges that are being imposed on it by nature is most needed, the President of the United States opposes everything positive that the international community has advanced in its fight against climate change.
The nearer the world has been to atomic war since the United States dropped its weapon on Japan, Trump announces the desire to “destroy” a nation possessing nuclear weapons, one which is not willing to sacrifice its sovereignty to imperialist impertinence.
Trump boycotts long-negotiated compromises for high-level nuclear issues with North Korea and with Iran in whose development his predecessors played sterner roles than he.
Today the planet needs the United Nations all the more as a center to harmonize the efforts of nations to achieve their common ends, to fulfill their role of maintaining world peace and security, to eliminate threats of war, to suppress acts of aggression and other breaches of peace. By contrast, the United States –in the voice and presence of its highest representative– boasted of its power to mobilize and railed against the world organization itself without sparing all kinds of lies.
September 25, 2017.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive to the daily POR ESTO! Of Mérida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
For US imperialism and the continental right, July 30th in Venezuela should be a conclusive political lesson. It should also be a lesson for the organizers of the media campaigns against popular processes, whose reliability has been demonstrated by the mass exercise of their rights by a mature and determined population who rejects them.
The election on that day of the members of the Constituent National Assembly (ANC), according to the Constitution and the laws of the country, involved an enthusiastic participation of more than 8,090,230 Venezuelans –41.53% of the electoral roll– who said yes to Constituent Assembly and the Bolivarian revolution.
The President of the United States threatened the Venezuelans with an increase in economic sanctions. The event would certainly take place, no doubt assuming that the people, intimidated, would repudiate the democratic act and refrain from participating in it.
But, on the contrary, Trump’s threats and terrorist actions against the voters stimulated their attendance because patriotic motivation was added.
The Bolivarian government called on democratic and peace–loving people to be alert to this new interventionist escalation of US imperialism. They called for a categorical rejection of the violent, fascist, racist and criminal actions of the Venezuelan opposition who are so afraid of this democratic, legal, sovereign, peaceful and civilized act .
For his part, the angry American president, who has been forced to move all his chips at the same time to coincide with other serious clashes unleashed separately against Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This has led Washington to impose sanctions on Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, according to a statement from the US Treasury Department.
The statement specifies that all assets of President Maduro which are or may be under US jurisdiction will be frozen. In addition, US citizens will be prohibited from any agreement with Maduro. He, in turn, has reiterated that, as President of Venezuela, he does not have to render accounts to anyone but Venezuela’s women and men.
The Venezuelan president has described the day as the “biggest” of the Bolivarian Revolution and has based his success on the option that made the peace proposal ;his banner of struggle in such complex circumstances.
Maduro stressed that, until the last moment, he kept the doors open for the Venezuelan opposition, which did not cease to call for violence and destabilizing actions on election day. He revealed that a delegation of his government had been meeting for several weeks with opposition leaders. Among these he mentioned the President of the Parliament, Julio Borges, to try to add them to the constituent initiative. “Two weeks ago I proposed to the opposition that they register for the Constituent Assembly. But they did not accept,” said the leader.
“In the last six weeks there have been direct talks between the delegations of the Democratic Unity Roundtable and a delegation presided over by Jorge Rodríguez, Delcy Rodríguez and Elías Jaua,” head of state Nicolas Maduro announced Saturday. To reach an agreement to publish a statement approved by all parties of the MUD,” said the First Minister. He added that the leadership of the right “wanted to be registered before the National Electoral Council (CNE) for the elections of governors and governors. I called on them to get into the Constituent Assembly and they were afraid.” The meetings held were kept hidden at the request of the opposition sector.
President Maduro spoke at Bolívar Plaza in the city of Caracas, after the National Electoral Council (CNE) issued the first bulletin with results. The Venezuelan president stated that the Constituent National Assembly had been born amid great popular legitimacy. “Not only does the Constituente have power, but it has the strength of legitimacy, the moral force of a people who heroically, warlike, came out to vote, to say: we want peace and tranquility,” said Maduro.
“The newly-elected Constituent Assembly had the support of a people who were not intimidated by the destabilizing climate that the Venezuelan opposition intended to create. It is the largest vote that the Revolution has had in all electoral history. The one who has eyes that sees and the one who has ears that hear,” said the president.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusivo para el diario POR ESTO! de Mérida, éxico.
Para el imperialismo estadounidense y la derecha continental, loocurrido el 30 de julio en Venezuela debía ser una concluyente lecciónpolítica y debía serlo también para los organizadores de lasabrumadoras campañas mediáticas contra los procesos populares, cuyafalibilidad ha sido demostrada por el ejercicio masivo de sus derechospor una población madura y decidida que las rechaza.
La elección ese día de los integrantes de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente (ANC), conforme a la Constitución y las leyes del país,involucró una participación entusiasta de más de 8,89 230 venezolanos y venezolanas –41.53% del padrón electoral– que dijo sí ala constituyente y a la revolución bolivariana.
El Presidente de Estados Unidos, había amenazado a los venezolanos conun incremento de las sanciones económicas contra el país suramericanosi llegara a realizarse el evento, sin duda partiendo de la suposiciónde que el pueblo, amedrentado, repudiaría el acto democráticoabsteniéndose de participar en él.
Pero resultó todo lo contrario, la amenaza de Trump y las acciones terroristas contra los votantes estimularon la asistencia de éstos, porque le agregaron motivaciones patrióticas.
El gobierno bolivariano llamó a los pueblos democráticos y amantes de la paz a estar alertas frente a esta nueva escalada injerencista delimperialismo norteamericano y a rechazar categóricamente las acciones violentas, fascistas, racistas y criminales de la oposición venezolanaque tanto temen al acto democrático, legal, soberano, pacífico y civilizado.
Por su parte, el colérico presidente estadounidense, quien se ha visto obligado a mover todas sus fichas al mismo tiempo por coincidir entiempo con otros serios enfrentamientos desatados separadamente contra Rusia y con la República Democrática Popular de Corea, ha hecho que Washington se haya limitado a imponer sanciones al presidente deVenezuela, Nicolás Maduro, según comunicado del Departamento del Tesoro estadounidense.
El comunicado especifica que se bloquearán todos los activos del mandatario que estén o puedan estar bajo la jurisdicción de EE.UU. Además, se prohibirá a los ciudadanos estadounidenses contra cualquier acuerdo con Maduro quien a su vez ha reiterado que, como Presidente de Venezuela no tiene que rendir cuentas más que a los venezolanos y las venezolanas.
El primer mandatario venezolano ha calificado la jornada como la victoria “mas grande” de la Revolución Bolivariana y ha basado su éxito en la selección que hizo de la propuesta de paz como su banderade lucha en tan complejas circunstancias.
Maduro destacó que hasta el último momento mantuvo las puertas abiertapara la oposición venezolana, que no cesó de llamar a la violencia y alas acciones desestabilizadoras durante la jornada electoral. Revelóque una delegación de su gobierno estuvo reunida por varias semanascon dirigentes opositores, entre los que mencionó al presidente delParlamento, Julio Borges, para intentar sumarlos a la iniciativaconstituyente. “Hace dos semanas propuse a la oposición que seinscribieran en la Constituyente. Pero no aceptaron”, indicó elmandatario.
“En las últimas seis semanas se han dado conversaciones directas entredelegaciones de la Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) y unadelegación presidida por Jorge Rodríguez, Delcy Rodríguez y ElíasJaua”, anunció este sábado el jefe de Estado, Nicolás Maduro.“Estuvimos a punto de llegar a un acuerdo para publicar un comunicado aprobado por todos los partidos de la MUD”, aseguró el Primer Mandatario y añadió que la cúpula de la derecha “lo que quería era inscribirse ante el Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) para las elecciones de gobernadores y gobernadoras. Los llamé a que se metieranen la Constituyente y tuvieron miedo”. Las reuniones llevadas a cabose mantuvieron ocultas por solicitud del sector opositor.
Durante su discurso en la Plaza Bolívar de la ciudad de Caracas, luegode que el Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) emitió el primer boletín deresultados, el mandatario venezolano afirmó que la Asamblea NacionalConstituyente nació en medio de una gran legitimidad popular. “No sólotiene la fuerza constituyente nacional, sino que tiene la fuerza de lalegitimidad, la fuerza moral de un pueblo que de manera heroica, encondiciones de guerra, salió a votar, a decir: queremos paz,tranquilidad”, aseguró Maduro.
“La Constituyente recién electa contó con el apoyo de un pueblo queno se sintió intimidado ante el clima desestabilizador que pretendíaimplantar la oposición venezolana. Es la votación más grande que hayasacado la Revolución en toda la historia electoral. El que tenga ojos que vea y el que tenga oídos que oiga”, aseveró el presidente.
Julio 31 de 20
By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, Red DH
Much has been said and will be said about the grotesque show that took place in Miami on June 16 and the lies and threats against Cuba there pronounced. Trump’s speech, incoherent and clumsy like all of his, made at least two things clear: he will do all he can to harden US policy toward Cuba, canceling the timid steps that his predecessor had taken and [the fact that] the current President is an irremediable liar.
It is customary there in the North to mix politics with spectacle, information with entertainment, even if, as in this case, in terrible taste. For those who look at it from the outside, a good dose of Cartesian doubt is advisable and prudence is necessary to avoid being confused. Especially if it’s about what someone says like the quirky occupant of the White House.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a tireless fighter for justice and civil rights, was right to reject Trump’s speech. She stressed the importance of fighting to prevent specific regulations which would translate the presidential directive into mandatory rules that are even more damaging to peoples of the two countries. There, on that very day, there was evident proof of the correctness of her concern.
In his speech, Trump announced that he would issue a new executive order to replace the one already repealed that had guided Obama’s policy in its last two years. There in front of everyone, he added his signature to the document that appears on the official site of the White House, but which nobody read.
What he said does not correspond exactly with what he signed and the latter is what counts, because it has legal force and will guide the conduct of his administration. The contrast is evident, for example, in the case of remittances many Cubans on the island receive from their relatives residing in the United States. According to the speaker in Miami, such remittances would continue and would not be affected.
But right there, in the same act, without hiding, he signed an order that says exactly the opposite. On this issue of remittances, the document entitled “Presidential Memorandum for the Strengthening of The United States Policy towards Cuba,” which Trump signed and which was publicized by the White House. The fine print states that there would be millions of Cubans living on the island who would not be allowed to receive remittances.
In Section III, subsection (D), the definition of “prohibited officials of the Government of Cuba” is now extended to cover not only the leaders of the Cuban State and Government, but its officers and employees, the military and civilian workers of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior, the cadres of the CTC, of the trade unions, and the Defense Committees of the Revolution. Professor William M. Leogrande estimates that this would be more than one million families.
Trump boasted that he would drop all Obama’s moves and he probably intends to do so.
But he knows that this contradicts the interests and opinions of some business sectors linked to the Republican Party and that is why he hides behind aggressive rhetoric and often undecipherable jargon. With regard to the issue of Cubans and remittances he had no choice but to use his favorite weapon: the lie.
We must now see how they write and apply this new order that seeks to punish the Cuban population as a whole.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
April 7, 2017
Cuban-American filmmaker Lisette Poole recently presented her documentary “Reggaeton Revolution: Cuba in the Digital Age” at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Havana and the credits were still running when the debate began. In almost twenty minutes, Poole introduces everything: how the alternative recording houses operate; the production of this genre; the vital importance of “El Paquete” [The package] for its dissemination … the lifestyle of representatives of this genre; and the business concept that has been the cornerstone of this underground industry.
But she doesn’t go beyond that: an introduction. After seeing the documentary, it would seem that being a Cuban reggaeton performer is the quintessence of success as an artist in Cuba. Many of us remained waiting for the turning point where it would talk about why it is a censored genre in the Cuban mass media. Neither was there time to criticize the way it presents women as barely more than objects, or the patriarchal hegemony and gender violence that abound in the audiovisual products of this artistic expression.
Lisette Poole’s images and the documentary glorify reggaeton, throwing much light on its spectacular dimensions and leaving the elements that justify its censorship in the shadow.
The premiere was planned for two moments: the showing of the documentary that would be followed by a discussion between a group of panelists: The Goddess (Dianelis Alfonso Cartaya), performer of Cuban reggaetón; Carmen Souto, musicologist with Casa de Las Americas, Marcos Junco, independent producer, and Marcos Juárez, director of the Latin Music Department at the US Digital Music Production Company “Pandora”.
Producer Marcos Junco commented on his firsthand experiences witnessing “the turning point of rap towards reggaeton, and how the boom of independent studios began. All artists left the official studios and went into their rooms with a computer and a microphone to do wonders.
“In independent studies there is a person behind a computer playing many roles at the same time: making music, recording it, adding its voice, and even going out in the streets to promote the work done –trying to get it played on the radio, on TV, etc.–“
Carmen Souto, a musicologist with Casa de las Américas, analyzed the particular rhythmic and generic elements that make Cuban reggaeton so striking: “It is fusion music with a strong influence of timba and rumba. This makes it extremely attractive and generates a world special interest on the reggaeton that is made in Cuba.
Regarding censorship, the musicologist said that “when an institution represses a certain genre, it makes it visibl; because everyone feels the need to consume what is being forbidden.”
“Censorship was frequently mentioned in the documentary; I think it was one of the reasons they made this communication product: the fact that despite being a genre highly censored by the media, it is still very popular inside and outside Cuba, but mainly inside.”
Women and Reggaeton
It may seem that the role of women in Cuban reggaeton would be that of –paraphrasing [Argentinean comic strip artist Kino’s character] Mafalda– a rag … in particular a tiny bikini.
Reggaeton performer known as The Goddess spoke about women and their representation in this cultural expression: “Starting from the idea that we live in a society ruled by patriarchal precepts, reggaeton is also a gender dominated by men; it has been so from the beginning, and the participation of women in these spaces is very difficult”.
Danilo de la Rosa, activist of “Súmate”, the campaign for non-violence against women and girls, was among the audience present at the premiere of the documentary. He drew attention to phenomena that are seen in Cuban musical videoclips, where “men take it on women and women take it on men, and thus tend to create ghetto-like divisions”.
“Often, artists do not realize that they harm the public by symbolically reproducing within the media the violence that is exerted on women and girls. In certain videoclips they are being used as a sex objects or worthless things. This is not only the artists’ fault, but I believe that they should approach the campaigns for non-violence that are implemented in Cuba,” de la Rosa said.
He also asked the panelists how they work on the issue of gender equality in commercial communication products that promote reggaeton. Producer Marcos Junco said that it should be officials from the media who talk about the censorship of the lyrics in Spanish of reggaetón, and how, however, “the lyrics in other languages, such as those in rap , that are much more violent, are played on national radio and television channels. It is necessary to do more than a campaign to end gender discrimination. “
Those who see the documentary “Reggaeton Revolution: Cuba in the Digital Age” could infer that in Cuba, in matters of reggaeton “everything is peachy” –as is popularly said by many performers of this genre. However, beyond the usefulness or virtue of the material, more documentaries are needed to deepen on the question of the success of the music industry of underground urban genres in Cuba bis a bis the debacle of the official national system of musical production. Likewise, it is also urgent to discuss more about the relationship between this type of urban music and the media, as well as to analyze in detail the current censorship codes, and the coherence (or lack of it) of the Cuban cultural policies concerning reggaeton.
And this is so, because everything is not “peachy” when “El Paquete” –avidly awaited by much of the Cuban public in every corner of the country– delivers videos, photographs, songs and other elements that reinforce a questionable “artistic” concept in terms of aesthetics, quality and values.
By Dr. Néstor García Iturbe
June 16, 2017
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
On June 16, as had been announced, Donald Trump visited the city of Miami and delivered a speech to an audience made of the worst Cuban exiles, who had gathered at the Manuel Artime Theater, to learn about the new measures that would be implemented against Cuba.
It is interesting to analyze the environment in which the act took place and its concrete results.
Trump, following the pattern of every US presidential speech, had someone write it for him and that person, was responsible for highlighting in it some names and situations. In addition to adding clumsiness, allows people to see Trump’s lack of knowledge Cuba.
Among the things that the president read, was calling the Brigade 2506 mercenaries, who surrendered in less than 72 hours, “heroic.”
The speech touched on an amalgam of facts that, instead of benefiting the United States, denigrates it. Among these was Operation Peter Pan, organized by the CIA and repudiated by the majority of those who were forced to come to the United States under it.
He spoke of the disappearance of people, of murders by the police, which reminds us of the times of Batista, the dictator who, thanks to the support of the United States, was badly ruling Cuba until the Revolution triumphed.
I speak of people who are detained when they go to pray in temples and churches. The absence of freedoms and respect for human rights. Of the danger that Cuba had atomic weapons, something that refers to the 60s of the last century and that Cuba has sent arms to Korea, which gives us doubt, that Mr. Trump knows where Korea is.
Clearly, this was not exactly a speech in Miami, but a speech to Miami, full of demagoguery, lies and misrepresentation, but it was pleasing to the ears of those who went to the theater to watch blood run.
There was no lack of references to Venezuela and Cuba Washington’s plans against the people of that country.
According to Trump, the United States is the champion of freedom, democracy, the country where human rights violations are not discussed, where there are no political prisoners and where their armed forces help other peoples of the world to stay free.
Their actions on Cuba will be pointed in that direction, to liberate the Cuban people and that the exiles will be able to return to their homes, in addition to claiming their property, now with new owners, the Cuban people.
All this he says, as if it were true, or at least he seems to be convinced of what he’s putting out. Of course, he could be deceived, which implies that it is easy to deceive, like a fool, the president of the United States.
The main thing was not in the rhetoric, the demagoguery and the phrases he used so that some would feel happy. There were many kisses, hugs, handshakes, applause, pointing out supposed “heroes” in the audience, gift of little pens to some of them, all that was part of the show.
The main thing was in the executive order that he signed, and if it really implies a change in relations between Cuba and the United States, as detailed in the “agreements” reached during the Obama administration.
We can say that there are some changes and novelties, but of some, things were not even talked about. According to a communication dated June 16, issued by the White House Press Office on the executive order, we have the following:
If he doesn’t sign another order tomorrow, travel to Cuba by people of Cuban origin is still the same. The same can be said of remittances and trips to the United States to visit relatives and other reasons, all in an orderly manner with a visa.
Of the airlines that travel to Cuba from the United States and Transatlantic tourism, nothing new.
In relation to the accommodation of Americans in Cuba, in the order it is proposed not to do it with establishments or hotels under the direction of the Business Administration Group [GAESA], because it is deemed linked to the Cuban armed forces.
It confirms, as has long been established, not to allow Americans to travel to Cuba for tourism purposes. Visitors from the academic, artistic, and other sectors should travel in groups, not individually as authorized by Obama.
As a policy change, among the indications issued by Trump, is the increase of trade with the Private Sector. It does not say to which private sector it is concerned, but in Cuban agriculture we have a strong private sector and the Secretary of Agriculture, appointed by Trump, is in favor of trade with it.
He also reaffirmed the policy of blockade against Cuba and opposes efforts that can be made in the United Nations and other International Organizations to terminate it. In September we will see how they vote the resolution against the blockade in United Nations.
He said that the improvement of relations between Cuba and the United States will depend on the action of the Cuban government in order to increase compliance with the laws, the way of life of the people, respect for human rights and the increase of political, economic and religious freedom. All of this will be determined by the United States.
The order directs the Departments of Commerce and Treasury to establish corresponding regulations within a period of thirty days, to put it to work. This process, according to experts, could take several months in which the current regulations will continue.
So far as mentioned in the executive order, what was not mentioned, for the moment remains the same.
As you can see, these regulations affect those who are Americans, and what they can or can not do according to them.
The change of policy towards Cuba has been reduced to what the “country of freedom” allows its citizens to do in relation to Cuba.
It was evident that this activity was not directed at Cuba or the Cubans, but at the Americans of Cuban origin who participated in it. Not once was the name of Martí, Maceo or any of our heroes mentioned. The crowd shouted U S A … U S A …. U S A … and finally, an immitator of Ferruccio Burgos played the United States national anthem.
This was a speech to Miami. It could not have been given anywhere elsewhere in the world. I think Trump scoffed at the audience.
They are lost.
Por: Dr. Néstor García Iturbe
16 de junio 2017
El día 16 de Junio, según se había anunciado, Donald Trump visitó la ciudad de Miami y pronunció un discurso ante una audiencia formada por lo peor del exilio cubano, que se había congregado en el Teatro Manuel Artime, para conocer de las nuevas medidas que se implantarían contra Cuba.
Es interesante analizar el ambiente en que se desarrollo el acto y los resultados concretos del mismo.
Trump, siguiendo el patrón de todo discurso presidencial estadounidense, tuvo alguien que se lo escribiera y esa persona, se encargó de resaltar en el mismo algunos nombres y situaciones, que además de agregar torpeza, permiten definir la falta de conocimiento de Trump sobre Cuba.
Dentro de las cosas que leyó el presidente, estuvo el llamar “heroicos” a los mercenarios de la Brigada 2506, que se rindieron en menos de 72 horas.
El discurso tocó una amalgama de hechos que en vez de beneficiar a Estados Unidos, lo denigra, como la Operación Peter Pan, organizada por la CIA y repudiada por la mayoría de los que llegaron a Estados Unidos forzados por la misma.
Habló de desaparición de personas, de asesinatos por parte de la policía, lo cual nos hace recordar los tiempos de Batista, el dictador que gracias al apoyo de Estados Unidos estuvo mal gobernando Cuba hasta que triunfó la Revolución.
Hablo de las personas que son detenidas cuando se encaminan a rezar en templos e iglesias. De la no existencia de libertades ni respeto a los derechos humanos. Del peligro que Cuba tuviera armas atómicas, algo que se refiere a los años 60 del siglo pasado y de que Cuba ha enviado armas a Corea, lo cual nos siembra la duda, de que el señor Trump sepa dónde está Corea.
Es evidente que aquel no fue precisamente un discurso en Miami, sino un discurso para Miami, lleno de demagogia, mentiras y tergiversaciones, que resultara agradable a los oídos de los que fueron al teatro para ver correr la sangre.
No podía faltar en aquel desbarrar la referencia a Venezuela y como Cuba la ayudaba en sus planes contra el pueblo de dicho país.
Según Trump, Estados Unidos son los campeones de la libertad, la democracia, el país donde no se comenten violaciones a los derechos humanos, donde no existen presos políticos y donde sus fuerzas armadas ayudan a otros pueblos del mundo para que se mantengan libres.
Sus acciones sobre Cuba estarán encaminadas en ese sentido, para liberar al pueblo cubano y que los exilados puedan regresar a sus hogares, además de reclamar lo que fueron sus propiedades, ahora con nuevos propietarios, el pueblo cubano.
Todo esto lo dice como si fuera verdad, o al menos parece estar convencido de lo que expone, aunque pudiera estar engañado, lo que implica que es fácil engañar, como a un tonto, al presidente de Estados Unidos.
Lo principal no estuvo en la retórica, la demagogia y las frases que dijo para que algunos se sintieran felices. Muchos besos, abrazos, apretones de mano, aplausos, señalar supuestos “héroes” que estaban en la audiencia, regalo de plumita a algunos de ellos, todo eso formaba parte del espectáculo.
Lo principal estuvo en la orden ejecutiva que firmó y si la misma realmente implica un cambio en las relaciones que se llevan a cabo entre Cuba y Estados Unidos, según los “acuerdos” llegados durante la administración Obama.
Podemos decir que hay algunos cambios y novedades, pero que de algunas, cosas ni se habló. Según comunicación de fecha 16 de junio emitida por la Oficina de Prensa de la Casa Blanca sobre la orden ejecutiva tenemos lo siguiente:
Si no firma otra orden mañana, los viajes a Cuba de las personas de origen cubano siguen igual, lo mismo podemos decir de las remesas y los viajes a Estados Unidos para visitar familiares y otros motivos, todo de forma ordenada y mediante visa.
De las línea aéreas que viajan a Cuba procedente de Estados Unidos y los Trasatlánticos turísticos, nada nuevo.
En relación con el alojamiento de estadounidenses en Cuba, se plantea en la orden no realizarlo con establecimientos ni hoteles bajo la dirección del Grupo de Administración Empresarial, por considerarlo vinculado a las fuerzas armadas cubanas.
Se ratifica, lo ya establecido desde hace mucho tiempo, de no permitir que estadounidenses viajen a Cuba con fines turísticos. Los visitantes del sector académico, artístico y otros, deberán viajar en grupos, no individualmente como fue autorizado por Obama.
Cómo un cambio de política, dentro de la indicaciones emitidas por Trump, está el incremento del comercio con el Sector Privado. Aquí no dice a cual sector privado se refiere, pero en la agricultura cubana tenemos un fuerte sector privado y el Secretario de Agricultura, nombrado por Trump, es partidario del comercio con el mismo.
También se ratifica la política del bloqueo a Cuba y se opone a las gestiones que se puedan realizar en las Naciones Unidas y otros Organismos Internacionales para la terminación del mismo. En septiembre veremos cómo votan la resolución contra el Bloqueo en Naciones Unidas.
Se dice que el mejoramiento de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos dependerá de la acción del gobierno cubano en función de incrementar el cumplimiento de las leyes, el modo de vida del pueblo, el respeto a los derechos humanos y el incremento de libertades políticas, económicas y religiosas. Todo lo cual será Estados Unidos el que lo determine.
En la orden se orienta a los Departamentos de Comercio y Tesoro para que establezcan las regulaciones correspondientes en un plazo de treinta días, para poner a funcionar la misma. Este proceso, según los expertos, pudiera demorar varios meses en los cuales seguirán vigentes las regulaciones actuales.
Hasta aquí lo mencionado en la orden ejecutiva, lo que no se mencionó, por el momento queda igual.
Cómo podrán ver, estas regulaciones a quienes afectan es a los estadounidenses, qué pueden, o no pueden hacer, según las mismas.
El cambio de política hacia Cuba, se ha reducido al cambio de lo que el “país de la libertad” permite que sus ciudadanos realicen en relación con Cuba.
Era evidente que esta actividad no estaba dirigida a Cuba ni a los cubanos, sino a los estadounidenses de origen cubano que participaban en la misma. Ni una sola vez se mencionó el nombre de Martí, Maceo o alguno de nuestros próceres. La muchedumbre gritaba U S A… U S A…. U S A… y para terminar, un émulo de Ferruccio Burgos, interpretó en solo de violín, el Himno de Estados Unidos.
Este era un discurso para Miami. No resiste ser pronunciado en otro lugar del mundo. Considero que Trump se burló de los asistentes.