By Ricardo Ronquillo Bello
June 20, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
It’s not normal, it’s not normal, it’s not normal… I was repeating as in the chorus of an endless serenade by a well-known Cuban politician several months ago. He was doing it when the coronavirus still seemed no more than a disturbing little strain licking itself with its appearance in a market in faraway Wuhan and its unexpected and mournful Bib bang was not spreading it at lightning speed across the four corners of the planet.
Normality versus abnormality, here is a question, we could define a peculiar Cuban Shakespearean drama, which feeds on strains, some as strange and imposed on us as the very COVID-19, and others very much made in Cuba, made in Cuban socialism, as much as they make us proud in some cases, or beat us Theophilus-like on the chin of our welfare in others.
Because of the above, while a good part of the world is heading towards the renamed “new normality” – despite the fact that the daily death of thousands of people and other misadjustments, which some romantically believe will be corrected by the arts of the coronavirus, discredit or unmask it – in Cuba we should better assume that the country, with its first phase of de-escalation, is advancing towards its new “abnormality”, yes, as you read it, abnormality.
In this regard, the aforementioned Cuban politician can be justified not “in part”, as the vocabulary of the Creole bureaucracy is accustomed to saying, but in all his parts, which he repeats, repeats and repeats, and it is not a “rattle” of any kind, that much of what we live, enjoy or suffer in this archipelago is definitely not normal, although some people might like to believe it or even make us believe it for sometimes very devious purposes.
Let’s take an example, of those that were heard in passing and unfortunately without any major media outbreaks, in the fight against the coronavirus: in Cuban prisons there were no cases of the virus detected and, consequently, no deaths. Compare this with what happened or what is still happening in other places, or with humiliating snapshots of prisoners in the region that have shaken the world’s conscience.
The same could be said of the gesture made by the Cuban Government and people – quite silenced, by the way, even by the powerful international media of the most benefited country – to the MS Braemar cruise ship passengers. A later report by Ignacio Ramonet would highlight Cuba’s rare horizon in the tragic fate of many of those strollers adrift in the ocean of selfishness and lack of solidarity framed by COVID-19.
It is not normal in this pandemic world -it was not so before and, despite all the good omens, it will surely not be so common in the future- that the human being comes first, that definition contained in all the documents that give shape to the aspirations of Cuban socialism in the 21st century and that, due to repetitions and hackneyedness, sometimes become pedestrian slogans.
It is worthwhile “baldly” to compare those two previous pearls with the Malthusian reason that spread throughout the world at the same rate as the coronavirus to try to defend that the economy – it would be better to say the capital of the powerful – should be above the value of any life.
From the philosophy of disposable beings did not escape even prominent nobles, from whom at least a rationality as high as their humanism would be expected. However, some calmly justify, without any charge of conscience, that throughout Europe the number of deaths from COVID-19 is similar to that which occurs in a very strong flu season. Something like that is pure waste to form so much international fuss for what is nothing more than a common cold.
It is also very suggestive that the proposals that the highest Cuban authorities are offering to their announced de-escalation – already in the first phase in most of the national territory – point more towards a new “abnormality”, than a return to the previous normality, which would be like continuing to carry old atrophys and vices. We had already made progress in the midst of the virus.
This is out of tune with the dismissive way in which it seems that the lessons of the coronavirus will be assumed worldwide, from which an infinite number of currents and conceptions could be armed, from the most reactionary to those that claim to humanize capitalism or warn of reconfiguring the role of states and public and private actors.
The new “normality” here would be to return to that situation, for moments of levitating resistance, in the face of the U.S. blockade, without really aiming -with forcefulness and rigor- at a program of national development that, although it does not prevent the criminals and growing branches, definitely overcomes them more successfully than in the past. It would be to continue to rely on boats to fill the plates and as many thirsty tanks.
The new normality would be to settle for the scandalous resilience of old knots, which tie us to worn-out and repetitive ways of overcoming serious structural problems. It would be to continue feeding the criminal chains as opposed to the legal and necessary chains between the public and private sectors of the country. It would be to ignore the modern rules of communication -based on closeness and transparency- in order to continue clouding them with prejudice and instrumentality. It would be, it would be, it would be…
And nothing that was announced in the country for the post-COVID-19 escalation resembles the above, because it would be to resort to the old and worn-out normality, when what we need is to rush, overwhelmingly, towards a revolutionary abnormality.
But,” the politician would say, “it would be blissfully normal, right, normal…, although it does speed up a little, as Formell would say.
July 14, 2020
By Juventud Rebelde
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
While President Donald Trump is obsessing over his reelection hopes in his White House bubble, state and local leaders are frantically reversing the state reopenings he demanded, making the United States the largest access point for the coronavirus in the world, says a CNN analysis.
As emergency rooms filled up and the virus accelerated its relentless march through southern and western states, Trump clung to the fiction that the worst is over: “We had to close it; now we’re opening it,” President Trump said of the economy, patting himself on the back for saving “millions of lives.
As new cases of the disease reach 60,000 a day across the country, many leaders, including those who supported Trump’s aggressive approach, now have no choice but to prioritize science over policy, leaving the president out of touch with reality.
In Texas, Houston Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner proposed a two-week shutdown, days after Republican Governor Greg Abbott raised the possibility of tougher measures after issuing a mandate to wear the mask that offended conservative orthodoxy. West Virginia called for the closure of bars in the hardest-hit county.
In California, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of all restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters, zoos, museums and all bars. Los Angeles and San Diego said their children would start the new school year online only. Oregon banned gatherings of more than ten people inside due to an “alarming increase” of cases in the state.
KFC encouraged franchises in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and California to stop serving. Florida on Saturday set a record for any state in one-day data on new infections, and COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
The picture is one of a nation that is beginning to close again in defiance of the President’s triumphant but misleading claims that he is leading a “transition to greatness,” the analysis released by CNN says.
The restrictions imposed on cities as large as Houston and Los Angeles could reverse the surprising economic revival of last month. The modest employment gains, trumpeted by the President, could turn into permanent job losses.
In comments that are likely to infuriate Trump even more, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made what is, unfortunately, becoming an obvious point: the rapid openings have triggered a disaster.
“It’s very clear — and we know from countries around the world — that if you physically separate people to the point where you don’t allow the virus to spread … we know we can do it if we close,” Fauci said at a Stanford Medical School webinar.
“We don’t close down completely – and that’s why, when we went up, we started going down, and then we stagnated at a level that was really quite high – about 20,000 infections a day,” Fauci said. “So, when we started to reopen, we’re seeing today’s waves, as we speak, in California … in Arizona, in Texas, in Florida, and in several states.
There are some bright spots. For the first time in months, there were no COVID-19 deaths in New York City in a 24-hour period, a moment of liberation that Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio called “knock and move.
Massachusetts announced that its seven-day average of positive tests had fallen to 1.7 percent — 94 percent less since mid-April. The lesson for states now at the center of the storm — which predated the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on safe reopening — is sobering.
New York and Massachusetts bought what may still be only a temporary truce with the coronavirus for weeks of closures and a strict reopening process that waited for the infection curve to be properly suppressed before restrictions were lifted. Even now, there is no guarantee that the virus will not return to dangerous levels when normal life returns.
However, El Nuevo Herald reports that Florida reported 9,194 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Tuesday and 132 deaths in 24 hours, the highest number of deaths from the disease recorded in the state since the start of the pandemic in March, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The state set a national record on Sunday with 15,300 infections on the day, but Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is insisting on a reopening.
Our greatest threat is not pandemic, but “pandemonium”. Among the meanings that appear in the Grande Dicionário Houaiss of Portuguese is the following: pandemonium is an “association of people to practice evil or to promote disorder and confusion”
Author: Frei Betto | firstname.lastname@example.org
July 15, 2020 00:07:24
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The Brazilian news program prioritizes the advance of the pandemic and the ineffectiveness of the federal, state and municipal governments. Allegations of corruption, such as the purchase of overcharged respirators and misappropriation of public funds, follow one another. What each of us fears most, even those who for reasons of survival are forced to disregard confinement, is contracting the virus in a lethal way.
Is it true that our greatest threat of genocide is COVID-19?
I don’t think so. Our greatest threat is not pandemic, but “pandemonium”. Among the meanings that appear in the Grande Dicionário Houaiss of Portuguese is the following: pandemonium is an “association of people to practice evil or promote disorder and confusion”.
The main evil that threatens the Brazilian nation today is the government of Bolsonaro, who suffers from thanatomania, an obsession with death. A person suffering from phallic obsession embodied in weapons, who defends torture and exalts torturers and paramilitaries, certainly does not feel the slightest concern for the growing number of victims of the pandemic, whether 60 000 or 600 000, because she is psychologically blocked from warning the other. He only manages to see himself and the extent of himself, as his children.
It is the syndrome of depersonalization, a disorder that leads to insensitivity and makes feelings just work in the head, that is, one reasons about them without managing to experience them.
A person who likes to shoot so much and brags about his good aim doesn’t have to care about a wave of lethality, as long as he doesn’t get it. Since he cannot follow through on his manifest desire to “kill 30,000”, as he has said, he is pleased to see the number of dead multiplied daily by the COVID-19.
His only concern is that the pandemic will seriously affect the economy and, consequently, his chances of re-election, which psychologically can be understood as perpetuation. He acts as if he were invulnerable. He escaped an alleged stabbing attack, so it will not be a “crack” that will bring him down. That is why he does not respect confinement or social isolation, goes out on the streets without a mask, does not avoid crowds and does not care about personal detachment.
It is this sense of impunity and immunity that must have crossed Nero’s mind when he saw Rome devoured by fire. Hugging his lyre, he was convinced that the fire would not reach his palace.
More serious than the virus is this government negligence. Because, in addition to thousands of deaths from the pandemic, it produces victims of the economy: the 13 million unemployed and the 120 million Brazilians, of the 150 million over 16 years of age who earn less than two minimum wages a month. That’s not counting those who will be affected by the recession caused by COVID-19.
The “pandemonium” virus spreads the specter of symbolic death, by giving free rein to police violence and the arms trade; undermining culture and respect for human rights; weakening education; and encouraging deforestation and the invasion of indigenous lands.
This “pandemonium” virus, which lives in the Alvorada Palace and has been carrying out its lethal work since the Planalto, is the most serious threat to democracy and the Brazilian nation.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The renowned American opinion columnist and distinguished professor at New York University Graduate Center, Paul Krugman, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work in international trade and economic geography, summarizes in an article entitled “The Deadly Delusions of Mad King Donald”, published yesterday, the precarious situation in which the American nation is being talked about.
A month ago it was still possible to hope that the impulse of Donald Trump and the Trumpist governors of the Sunbelt states to relax the social distancing and reopen businesses such as restaurants and bars, even though they may not have any of the reasons to do so safely, might not have absolutely catastrophic results.
At this point, however, it is clear that everything the experts have warned of as likely to happen, is happening. The new daily cases of Covid-19 are running two and a half times longer than at the beginning of June, and are increasing rapidly. Hospitals in the early reopening states are under terrible pressure. National death totals continue to decline with the drop in deaths in the Northeast, but are increasing in the Sunbelt. And the worst is surely yet to come.
A normal president and a normal political party would be horrified by this turn of events. They would realize that they’ve done something wrong and that it’s time for a course correction. They would begin to take the health experts’ warnings seriously.
But Trump, who began his presidency with a defiant complaint about “American carnage,” doesn’t seem completely disturbed by the number of victims of a pandemic. It presages killing more Americans than have been killed over the past decade and aims to double that number by the week with the full reopening of schools in defiance of existing guidelines.
Without even calling on Americans to protect each other by wearing masks, or setting an example by wearing one himself, how can we make sense of Trump’s pathologically inept response to the coronavirus?
There is an underlying core of absolute cynicism: clearly, Trump and those around him don’t give a damn how many die or suffer lasting damage from Covid-19, as long as it works in the arena of electoral politics. But this cynicism is wrapped in multiple layers of deception.
Regardless of what one thinks of George W. Bush’s response to September 11 and how Bill Clinton faced stubbornly high unemployment, Trump inherited a nation at peace and in the midst of a long economic expansion that continued, without visible change in that trend, after he took office.
Then came Covid-19. Another president might have seen the pandemic as a crisis to be dealt with. But that thought never seems to have crossed Trump’s mind. Instead, he has spent the last five months trying to get back to where we were in February, when he was sitting on top of a moving train and pretending to drive it.
“This helps explain his strange aversion to epidemic masks: they remind people that we are in the middle of a pandemic, which is something he pretends everyone forgets. Unfortunately for him, and for the rest of the population, positive thinking will not make a virus go away.
However, that’s where the second layer of deception comes in. By now it is clear that the cynical decision to sacrifice American lives in pursuit of political advantage is failing even on its own terms. The rush to reopen produced big job gains in May and early June, but voters were not impressed; their poll still showed the worst. But this year, it’s not the economy that determines, stupid, it’s the virus.
And now the rise in infections may be causing the economic recovery to stall. In other words, the strategy of “ignoring and cursing the experts and going full steam ahead” seems silly and immoral. But Trump, far from reconsidering that he is deepening the hole he is increasingly in, just as he continues to spin the dial on racism despite the fact that it is not benefiting him politically.
Incredibly, as hospitalizations are increasing, he continues to insist that the increase in reported cases is just an illusion created by the increase in evidence.
So what can we do? You may ask Trump – who has another six months left in office if he stays on after January 20 (God save us all). And it is already clear that he will not change course, no matter how severe the pandemic. “We are all passengers at the mercy of a mad captain who is determined to destroy his ship,” Krugman concludes.
July 13, 2020
This article can be reproduced by citing the newspaper POR ESTO as the source
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The confinement finally decreed in the United States to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the capitalist economy and thus demolished the process of capital accumulation, writes William I. Robinson, a U.S. professor of sociology specializing in political economy, globalization, Latin America, and historical materialism at the University of California, Santa Barbara
“The fact that this economic paralysis is throwing tens of millions of workers into a crisis of survival is entirely fortuitous for the transnational capitalist class’ concern to immediately resume the machinery of profit, since capital cannot remain idle while it remains capital. The impulse to revive accumulation explains the fact that in many American cities there have been public demonstrations by the ultra-right-wing to demand the lifting of the quarantine, just as the most reactionary sectors of capital promoted the Tea Party in the wake of the financial collapse of 2008, a movement that in turn mobilized in support of Trumpism.
Although the protests seem spontaneous, they have in fact been organized by conservative groups, including the Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works, and the American Council on Legislative Exchange (coo ALEC), which brings together the CEOs of large corporations along with local right-wing legislators from across the United States.
Donald Trump inflamed the protesters through a series of tweets, including one calling to “Free (the state of) Virginia, and for protecting its great Second Amendment, which is under siege.” The call to defend this amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms, was almost a call for armed insurrection. In the state of Michigan, armed Trump supporters blocked traffic to prevent the flow of aid. A few days ago, Trump claimed to have “total” power to lift the quarantine.
Despite its populist rhetoric, Trump has served the interests of the transnational capitalist class well by implementing a neoliberal program ranging from regressive tax reform and extensive deregulation and privatization to an expansion of capital subsidies, social spending cuts and union repression.
Trump – himself a member of the transnational capitalist class – picked up where he left off in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse and forged a social base among those sectors of the (mostly white) working class that had previously enjoyed privileges such as stable, well-paid jobs, and that in recent years have suffered acute socio-economic destabilization and downward mobility in capitalist globalization.
Like the Tea Party that preceded him, Trump has been able to arouse increasing social anxiety among these sectors, from a radical critique of the capitalist system to a racist and patriotic mobilization against scapegoats such as immigrants. These Trumpist tactics have turned these sectors into shock forces for the ultra-right-wing capitalist agenda that has brought them to the brink of a truly fascist project.
The growing crisis of global capitalism has led to a rapid political polarization in global society between an insurgent left and ultra-right and neo-fascist forces that have gained adherents in many countries of the world. Both forces draw on the same social base of the millions of people devastated by neo-liberal austerity, impoverishment, precarious employment and their relegation to the ranks of superfluous humanity. The level of global social polarization and inequality is unprecedented at this time.
The richest 1% of humanity controls more than half of the planet’s wealth while the lowest 80% have to make do with just 4.5% of that wealth. As popular discontent against this inequality spreads, the ultra-right and neo-fascist mobilization plays a critical role in the effort by dominant groups to channel such discontent into support for the agenda of the transnational capitalist class, disguised in populist rhetoric.
In this context, the conservative groups are determined to organize a far-right response to the health emergency and the economic crisis, involving a greater dose of ideological subterfuge and a renewed mobilization of their shock forces than to demand the lifting of the lockdown, a resource that could well require the State to provide aid to millions of poor workers and families instead of insisting on the immediate reopening of the economy.
May 25, 2020.
This commentary may be reproduced citing the newspaper Por Esto! of Merida, Mexico as the source.
The current Cuban Penal Code imposes penalties ranging from three months to one year’s imprisonment for the basic offence of spreading an epidemic; from three to eight years for theft; from three months to one year for disobedience, illegal economic activity, speculation and hoarding.
April 3, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Camagüey – Jacqueline Ballester Aranda, the chief prosecutor of the Camagüey Provincial Public Prosecutor’s Office’s Criminal Prosecution Department, told Radio Cadena Agramonte that the biggest complaints in that territory were about the crime of spreading an epidemic.
Eight people are involved in this case because of refusals by travelers from abroad to comply with the social isolation required to preserve the health of their families and the community.
Also, four cases are being prosecuted for speculation and hoarding, based on the occupation of large quantities of deficient products, both food and hygiene, which are basic necessities for the population or essential to combat COVID-19.
A citizen was tried for the purchase of 18 liters of chlorine, with the aim of selling it at a higher price, and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, while another was charged with a similar amount.
On the other hand, 652 pounds of malanga and 175 pounds of rice have been recovered; in both cases, they were intended for illegal economic activity, and, for example, the defendant was marketing cereal at eight pesos a pound.
There was a robbery with force in a placita (point of sale of agricultural products) in the city of Camagüey, whose authors stole 38 sacks of potatoes and the weights of the unit. Those involved are already in custody and under investigation.
The Chief Prosecutor of the Department of Criminal Procedure of the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office added that demonstrations of contempt for the authorities, including the health and public order authorities, have been made against the request to place the nasobuco on the public highway and the indication of isolation in the centers authorized for such purposes.
The current Cuban Criminal Code imposes penalties ranging from three months to one year’s imprisonment for the basic offense of spreading an epidemic; from three to eight years for theft; from three months to one year for disobedience, illegal economic activity, speculation and hoarding.
Since the beginning of the spread of the pandemic, Cuban Consulates have provided timely information to Cuban nationals abroad on the evolution of the disease on the island and on consular procedures.
April 27, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Since the announcement of the regulations on travel to and from Cuba, a measure adopted by the Cuban authorities as part of the national plan for the prevention and confrontation of COVID-19 as of March 20, more than 2,000 Cubans have returned to national territory, by air and sea, from more than a dozen countries, among them: Angola, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Mexico, Panama and Equatorial Guinea, Cubaminrex reported.
These return flights of Cuban citizens and foreigners residing on the island have been organized between the competent Cuban authorities and their counterparts in each of the countries involved, in strict compliance with internationally established standards.
Since the beginning of the spread of the pandemic, Cuban Consulates have provided timely information to Cuban nationals abroad on the evolution of the disease on the Island and on consular procedures. At the same time, the Cuban authorities are permanently monitoring the situation of our nationals stranded in different countries, while efforts are being made, whenever possible, to ensure their return to our country.
Equally commendable has been the action of Cuban residents and members of solidarity organizations with Cuba, who have provided food, medicines and arranged cheap accommodations for Cuban citizens who are waiting to return to our national territory.
By Manuel E. Yepe
http://manuelyepe.wordpress.com/Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
April 15, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Finding the right balance between public security and personal freedom after COVID-19 “will require a review of everything we in the United States say we need to do in the interest of our security, which should involve moving away from militarized approaches to global problems to many other instruments of American power and influence.
This is what Christopher A. Preble, Vice-President of the CATO Institute for Defense and Foreign Policy in Washington DC, reflects in an article published in the magazine “Responsible Statecraft”, on the possible implications of the COVID-19 outbreak on the future of US foreign policy.
Among the responsibilities of many U.S. government officials is the identification of national security threats and prioritizing, among many options, the appropriate tools to address them.
Those who advocate increases in Pentagon spending – the so-called hawks in the language of the day – are likely to argue that resources should not be cut to the military to free up more resources for public health.
“We will soon be back to normal,” they will say from their perspective, “it would not be wise to redirect our national security strategy and spending to address one particular type of threat, at the expense of all others.
This is not exactly how politics responded after 9/11, but, in that case, the military eventually emerged victorious. In fact, anyone who opposed the militarized approach (that of the doves, who see the fight against terrorism as primarily an intelligence and law enforcement problem) was attacked by the hawks for not taking the threat seriously enough.
“Only a war would be enough; anything else would be naive, or even insensitive: a sign of indifference to the inevitable suffering of future victims of terrorist attacks.
That perspective, set a few days or weeks after 11 September 2001, has persisted. Even today, proposals to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan, for example, are met with serious warnings that this will increase the risk of future terrorist incidents in the United States. We are told that “only a continued, indefinite US military presence can manage this risk and the best we can do is to manage that danger.
Will such arguments survive the current crisis here at home? What politician will argue that Americans would have to die from COVID-19 today to ensure that other Americans are not killed by a terrorist in the future? And, will it be true that such military personnel so willing to “help” other countries are necessary to save our own?
The suggestion seemed absurd for generations, because the danger was not near, not even on the horizon. Now, it’s here.
If before it was considered naive to doubt that terrorism would represent a very serious threat to public security in the future, and skeptics were considered dangerously out of touch with reality, then the suggestion was not accepted,
Will the claims of the traditional defense hawks now come under greater scrutiny, without any senator or representative asking, for example, how that ship, tank or missile might function against a deadly pandemic?
In the post-September 11 era, a few dared to question whether the enormous expenses we had incurred amounted to unnecessary overreaction. But most Americans literally fell into that line.
The disease and its aftermath should provoke strong debate about how to preserve America’s national security.
In a peculiar twist, those who call for more spending to defeat the diseases could be called the hawks of the pandemic, while those who argue against it (and prefer that most resources stay in the military) become the doves.
The suggestion might seem odd, and the terms hawk and pigeon belong to more than just spending priorities. Because, even if the coronavirus didn’t change everything, it would necessarily change many things.
The senior leader of the Washington DC-based CATO Institute for Defense and Foreign Policy concludes that “finding the right balance between public security and personal freedom after COVID-19 will require Americans to review all the things we have to do to keep ourselves safe and to move away from a militarized approach to global problems.
In view of the logical concerns and worries in the population, caused by the paralysis of public transport in the country, Eduardo Rodriguez Davila, Minister of Transport (Mitrans), stressed the importance of understanding, support and discipline towards these provisions, in view of the progress of the new coronavirus
Author: Susana Antón | email@example.com
April 13, 2020 21:04:09
Translated and edited by Merriam Ansara.
Edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Responding to the logical questions and concern of the population over the suspension of public transportation in the country, the Minister of Transport, Eduardo Rodriuez Davila, remarked how important it is for people to understand, support and uphold these measures as necessary in the face of advancing COVID-19.
He explained to Granma, that the suspension does not for the moment include state vehicles that are used to ensure the functioning of the economy, nor privately owned personal vehicles which can circulate as needed, so long as they also are not creating traffic jams.
There is still also the movement of cargo, he said, as necessary to support the economy.
He confirmed that the mandatory suspension imposed Saturday, April 11, includes all public transportation both urban and inter-urban, includes both state and privately owned, and includes the support services for state vehicles.
Instead, transportation services have been organized for workers in the medical and health centers, commerce -related services, policing services and others defined by the Defense Councils (Civil Defense) throughout the country as essential activities.
He added that these are for specific workers at specific hours so that they can go and return from their places of work.
He said also that transportation has been guaranteed for all dialysis patients, people undergoing cancer treatments and in other situations of medical urgency. Information telephone lines have been set up at the main health centers in each municipality.
For these services as well, transportation reinforcements have been provided to all of the local defense councils, including ambulances and medi-buses.
He said that all transportation drivers concerned about the situation of their salaries should check with their own work centers which have been put in charge of administering the benefit directives of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.
In terms of self-employed transporattion workers, Rodriguez Davila said that the current suspension of service applies for the moment to passenger and cargo transportation (including bici-taxis and buggies), and services related to these such as driving instructors and taxi stand managers.
The suspension applies to the operation of vehicles and does not include suspension of related activities such as vehicle repair, bodywork, or tire repair. These can continue so long as it does not lead to any gatherings of multiple individuals and that those involved observe the prescribed infection protection measures.
He said that for any further clarification or needs, workers in these services should direct themselves to the offices from which they have received their licenses.
The MINTRANS minister said he realized that there have had to be huge adjustments from the public transportation of passengers to transportation for designated workers.
All of these newly adjusted services have had to be carried out with strict adherence to measures of zero crowding, everyone wearing facemask, ensuring use of hypochlorite for hands before boarding and complete disinfection of the vehicles after each run.
Each day there will need to be adjustments to improve the new services and to avoid any adverse effects to essential services. He said that instructions had been given to all of the provinces to improve organization of the routes, schedule frequency and other elements that would ensure maximum efficiency of service and conservation of fuel.
He said that MINTRANS was also working with all of the main entities of the central government administration, the defense councils and the state enterprises involved in operation of port-to -transportation to economic distribution so as to guarantee timely distribution of the family ration basket of regular guaranteed goods and other measures to ensure the delivery of food and other basic products to the community.
He remarked that yesterday, Monday, because of the possibity of propagaiion of COVID-19, the Business Group for Automotive Transport Services had decided to close the Schools for Road and Driving Education to avoid gatherings of multiple individuals and had issued an announcement to this effect.
He announced that the deadlines for certificates, license renewals and psychological/physical driver exams for those whose documents were expiring had been extended until services were restarted in the related centers and offices.
Anyone who had already paid for the service at the time of the service suspension, who didn’t wish to continue the service could ask for 100% reimbursement of the amount paid.
by Yaymara Villaverde Marcé // Cuban News Agency
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Guantanamo, 11 abr (ACN) After the heroic medical army, today on the first front of battle against COVID-19, there is also a commendable rear guard of professionals and essential workers, food producers, dependents, carriers, and journalists, recorder or camera in hand always present in times of contingency.
Every profession entails sacrifice, yes, and communicating in times of global health crisis a risk quota, a reality that challenges media institutions to unleash all the reporting and creative capacity of their journalists. They have reorganized their routines to ensure the safety of the guild and the time to inform the population in a timely and transparent manner.
We have that responsibility to our people and humanity-as Taimi Fernández, president of glove journalists, tells it, this is our duty to avoid misinformation. More so in this difficult context where accurate guidance is needed, from reliable and scientific sources, to raise public perceptions of risk and encouraging preventive behavior.
Information is a vital tool, a way to fight the new coronavirus and its spread-points out. The responsible press must take advantage of the influence that the media exert on the collective consciousness, with reliable and contrastable data that cut the wings to rumors and false news that only generate confusion and hinder an effective response.
Consequent with the decisive measure of social isolation and confinement, the Cuban media has redesigned its daily dynamics, strengthened the teleworking modality to reduce the influx of professionals and technicians, and have exempted those with chronic suffering from risks which make them vulnerable in this epidemic scenario.
This is how Mabel Pozo, director of the radio station CMKS Guantanamera, where today the necessary health and protection measures are taken. She works with the essential staff, programming was adapted to the context shee points ou, and this and the views of the people are monitored by specialists, depending on which deliveries move.
Similar strategies assume reporters and technicians of the newspaper and provincial television. There, several take advantage of remote work, in an informative reality in which mobile journalism intensifies, taking advantage of the potential of smartphones and basic technologies to generate content and products communicative for online platforms.
Lisván Lescaille, in front of Telecentro Solvisión, tells us that his medium reduced active staff-as a first step to protect vulnerable groups – adjusted the billboard by prioritizing three information magazines with the theme COVID-19 and invited experts, and working groups were created both on the streets and from homes, through social media.
Ariel Soler, Head of Information of the weekly “Venceremos”, spoke of vital hypermedial work in this context spoke about the journalistic exercise in which their reporters are inserted, six with corporate mobile phones and others with the Internet in their homes, with whom the editorial board of the journal organizes the work by phone, giving special follow-up to the epidemiological situation.
And nothing more revealing than the opinion of the people regarding this work, like that of the septuagenarian Guantanamera Dalia Aguilar, of those sharp to which no one makes a story, who told the ACN that no report from the national press is lost and local, “because warfare well warned does not kill soldier”, and thanks the professionals in that sector for their credibility.
Last March Ricardo Ronquillo, President of the Union of Journalists of Cuba (UPEC), sent recognition to the professionals of the country’s public media system, for the extraordinary informative work in the confrontation of the global pandemic, urged to join this campaign to all communication platforms, and take institutional measures to protect the guild.
Journalists are close to the first line of battle against the disease, because they have to report what is happening around it in Cuba, so it is important to the media to ensure its protection, he stressed.
These are times to act quickly and informative transparency said Ronquillo in a meeting of the expanded presidency of the organization and emphasized-” UPEC is not demobilized, on the contrary, we must now unleash all the creative capacity to make visible to public opinion, national and international, the work of the media”.