Whoever believes that all other systems are worse, look at the blocked and vilified Island, where no one dies of hunger, everyone is guaranteed medical safety and the human being is the center of the system. The problem is capitalism.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Churchill said that capitalism (he disguised it with the word democracy) was the worst form of government, except for all the others. Something that Eisenhower liked to repeat, who, as a military man, was not exactly known for his profound ideas. The sharp phrase might be clever if it were true, but it is not.
Today, the worst system is capitalism, above all others, of humanity and even of the planet.
This pandemic, unfortunately, only made the reality of it more visible to everyone. Capitalism is incapable of surpassing itself in terms of humanity, it only does so in terms of capital.
While people are dying in the streets, in the US, governors are cheating each other to ensure that the manufacturers of medical instruments sell them their products to the detriment of others. According to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, ventilation equipment companies are calling government offices to say that their order has been overtaken by another state’s, which has just upgraded its purchase offer. Thus, based on the death of human beings, the companies are seeking to magnify their profits in the midst of tragedy.
The price of ventilation equipment has gone from $25,000 to $40,000, when it is needed most. The state, hospital or institution that does not have enough resources to buy them, simply will not have them, regardless of the cost in lives.
The nice motto that he says is that where some see problems, others see opportunities, is no longer so nice. Governor Cuomo is threatening to sign an order allowing the confiscation of unused medical equipment stored in private spaces for speculative purposes.
That is, people and businesses that keep unused ventilation equipment waiting for the advance of the pandemic to make it more expensive and then sell it to hospitals.
The federal state has been unable to impose a national policy for the distribution of medical equipment and supplies. If they ever do, because of their slowness, the dead will no longer be able to thank them. It is a matter of every person for themselves, typical of capitalism and today seen in all its criminal magnitude.
Practices of pillage that are nothing new, but that in everyday life are hidden behind the mantra that “that is the norm”. But that is not all. European governments confiscate shipments of medical equipment in transit to other European nations. France has confiscated 130,000 nasobucos in transit to the United Kingdom. Germany claims that the US Government has confiscated 200,000 masks that it had already bought from a manufacturer in China, owned by a US company. The shipment was intercepted in Bangkok at an event that German Interior Minister Andreas Geisel called modern piracy’.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau complained that a shipment of masks had been reduced because part of it had been repurchased by the U.S. In Turkey, the nasobuco business has become so profitable that the government has confiscated nearly one million clandestine sales in a business that is already estimated to be worth over several million in profits.
The United States, not even for a moral imperative, would help the global fight against the pandemic. Reality shows its inability to do so effectively even in its own home, where Make America Great Again we already know what it [really] means, at the expense of the rest of humanity.
If anything, for the elites, America is 1% at the top of the social pyramid. Capitalism cannot fail to be savage; what happens is that, now, savagery without make-up touches the showcases, where their miseries were hidden behind the prosperity they maintain at the expense of the poorest people.
Frantz Fanon said that fascism was the name given to colonialism when it was brought to the metropolises. Outside of the first world centrality, the horror is lived in Ecuador or another location, which in that scavenging use of language, are usually called peripheral or emerging. Today, in front of the evidence of the medieval nightmare, they do not even mention it.
But it is worth remembering, now that everyone in the metropolises is scared, that the Third World does not escape pandemics. In Africa alone, 30 million people are in life-threatening conditions of hunger, and certainly with consequences for their physical and mental development.
Of the 5.9 million children who die every year in the world, at least half are the direct result of hunger. Oxfam, the author of the above-mentioned data, explains this reality very well: “Hunger is not the result of too many people and too little food. It has to do with power, and its roots lie in the prevailing inequality in access to resources and opportunities”.
Whoever believes that all other systems are worse, look at the blocked and vilified Island, where no one dies of hunger, everyone is guaranteed medical security and the human being is the center of the system.
The problem is capitalism.
The World Health Organization has recommended these public health strategies to stop the new coronavirus, but how shall we differentiate between them and apply the appropriate one in each case?
April 6, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Isolation applies to people who have tested positive for Covid-19, to suspected cases or to people who have had close contact with sick people and who would have a high probability of having contracted the virus.
Isolation should be strict to avoid contact between people who have become ill and those who are healthy and is usually done within a hospital or health center, with the necessary medical supervision.
It is the way to limit the movement of healthy people who may have been exposed to the virus and do not know it. Quarantine lasts 14 days and must be done by all people who arrived from the affected and high transmission areas of covid-19.
Many people have made the decision to stay home voluntarily, as a preventive measure for two weeks. This way they will avoid contact with other people. By not attending work, not receiving visitors at home, and not using public transportation, the risk of contagion is potentially reduced.
If you are not in quarantine or isolation, when you leave your home for strictly necessary reasons, such as going to the supermarket or pharmacy, you should adopt social distancing: separating one meter from another person, minimizing activities or going to public places.
The Chilean Government is preparing a set of measures to expand the network of support for women victims of gender violence from government and business bodies
April 7, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The Ministry of Women and Gender Equality in Chile reported on Monday a 70 percent increase in calls made by women to a domestic violence hotline during the first weekend under quarantine in the country following the health crisis generated by the coronavirus.
The information came to light as part of a study provided by the minister of the portfolio, Carolina Cuevas, who implemented a contingency plan that included special reinforcement of the Fono Orientación 1455 shifts, to protect women who reported being subjected to domestic violence.
The weekend before the quarantine, 532 calls were received, while in the same period, one week later, the number rose to 907. “This significant increase in calls is also a reflection of the fact that there is a need to ask for guidance and help in times when women are spending more time in our homes, possibly with our partners,” Cuevas explained.
For its part, the Public Prosecutor’s Office reported that, although reports of domestic violence have decreased by 18 percent compared to last March, reports of femicide have increased by 200 percent in the same period of time.
The Chilean government is preparing other measures to expand the network of support for women victims of gender violence, such as coordination with public agencies to safeguard care in periods of emergency, increasing the capacity of shelters and a messaging service, via SMS or WhatsApp, so that women can communicate in a “silent” manner that will be implemented in the following weeks.
Cuevas also met with the president of the employers’ union, the Confederation of Production and Commerce (CPC), Juan Sutil, to discuss the impact of the health crisis on women workers. The minister requested that companies provide formal support to women in preventing domestic violence and incorporate the issue into their permanent policies.
In this regard, a group of Chilean women legislators and feminist organizations sent a letter to President Sebastián Piñera, asking him to strengthen measures to prevent violence, to prohibit the sale of alcohol that can trigger violent acts, such as creating immediate action groups and establishing strategies for reporting violence through websites, pharmacies or supermarkets. Gael Yeomans, MP and president of Convergencia Social, said that additional measures should be taken to allow victims of gender-based violence to break out of quarantine if they need help.
A Spanish-language label is spreading rapidly through Facebook and Twitter. Used in serious, funny publications, it is used by professionals to share tips on how to protect themselves from COVID-19 and the citizens of the world when they post photos from their days of isolation, at home, in physical isolation.
April 7, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
This is the famous label #QuedateEnCasa, which – who would imagine it – began as a challenge from the doctors and nurses at the Hospital Clínico in Madrid. They invited all of Spain to become aware of the importance of individual responsibility to avoid infecting other people, according to the Mallorca newspaper.
The challenge, the first and most famous of many launched later by people from all over the world, began with a video available on the official Twitter account of the Public Health of the Community of Madrid that exceeded 250,000 views in five hours. In the audiovisual, the medical staff calls on the population to join a voluntary quarantine and recommends taking responsible measures so as not to collapse the Spanish health system.
According to Europa Press, the promoter of the initiative was surgeon general Sandra García Botella, who came up with the idea “because of the impotence of seeing that the message that is being transmitted through the media is not reaching the people well” (?) “it’s not a vacation, the children don’t have to be in the park, [the young people] don’t have to be staying, they don’t have to go out to the bars,” she said.
She also added that with the youth “it doesn’t work for a politician to go out and give a message, hashtags [labels] work, challenges work.
The campaign, which immediately went viral on social networks, was joined by representatives from the world of sports, entertainment, culture and “influencers. Now there are videos calling for social isolation, such as the one by the Spanish Football Federation. New challenges have appeared to encourage confinement, such as daring to tell a goal, creating recipes with a sporting aroma, doing crossfits with bags of rice, or playing golf with toilet paper, says Marca, one of the most well-known media in the field of sport.
In Italy, they launched a campaign similar to the Spanish #QuedateEnCasa. The authorities resorted to more shocking images to reach their population more effectively. Then the campaign calling for quarantine had to be turned into law to contain the pandemic.
Quarantine is the way to limit the movement of healthy people who may have been exposed to the virus and don’t know it, says the World Health Organization. It usually lasts 14 days and must be done by all people who arrived from affected areas with high transmission of the virus.
Social distancing, on the other hand, is the separation of one meter between one person and another; and is based on the call not to go to public places, as well as to avoid population concentrations.
In the face of the global emergency caused by the new coronavirus that appeared in China at the end of 2019, many have decided to stay home voluntarily as a preventive measure.
By not going to work, not receiving visitors and not using public transport, the risk of contagion is potentially reduced. This type of decision is called voluntary quarantine.
by Julio Martinez Molina
Audiovisual critic and journalist, member of the Cuban Association of the Film Press and UNEAC. Author of the books published on film criticism in North America and the end of the century, Causes and Influences of Contemporary Cinema and Haikus of My Filmic Emotion. From his blog, La Viña de los Lumiere
March 16, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Whether or not it is a bacteriological weapon of the United States aimed at slowing down China’s advance, the coronavirus has seriously affected the world economy; especially that of Washington’s main rival, yes, but its overall effects reach a planetary scale, including the northern nation itself.
The saddest images of the harshest dystopias are now verified, not in book pages but in real scenarios characterized by desolation. What happened or is happening in nations such as China, Iran, Italy and Spain surpasses any science fiction or fantasy narrative.
A world on edge sees closed borders, has confined millions of citizens, separated regions and blocked the entry of tens of thousands of people.
This attack on humanity does not understand geography, economic classes, or climate. Nor of fields, sectors, industrial universes and the entertainment industry. The latter is experiencing a very strong contraction at a global level, except in streaming giants such as the American platform Netflix or in the pornography industry, an emporium that annually moves more money in the US than the NBA. The same coronavirus has even been a callous theme in several “adult films”.
Now, beyond such exceptions or others very pointed, the turn suffers the biggest cliff in its history. The plunge in ticket sales meant a 45 percent drop this weekend in the U.S. and Canada. In the main cities of both nations, theaters were closed during the night of Sunday the 15th. The start of the closures was marked by China on February 2, when the Alliance of Radio, Film and Television Production Committee and the Federation of Radio and Television Association directed film companies, production teams, actors and actresses to cease work.
Both there and in the US, India (the country that produces the most films per year in the world), France, Spain and Italy paralyzed film activity. The Los Angeles Times reports that “the Fast & Furious franchise has decided to postpone the release of its ninth film for a full year. Neither will the new James Bond film, No Time To Die, a decision made several weeks ago to postpone the release from April to October. For its part, the Disney giant’s coronavirus agenda could not have been worse: Its big bet for spring was the new version of Mulan, a film that, for obvious reasons, has the Asian market as its main focus.
“After postponing Mulan’s global release and closing its theme parks, Disney has taken another drastic decision to curb the coronavirus: to suspend production of all its films, with animation as an exception. This way, the new version with real actors of The Little Mermaid will delay its shooting, which was going to start soon in London, as well as William of the Bull’s thriller Nightmare Alley, Ridley Scott’s drama The Last Duel and the next installment of Home Alone. The new Peter Pan and Wendy, as well as Shrunk, a sequel to the 1980s classic Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, were also delayed, although both were in early pre-production.
“Disney’s decision affects a large number of studios the company owns, such as Fox and Searchlight. Marvel, also under its control, suspended the filming of Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, after its director, Destin Daniel Cretton, has been isolated by his own decision. The Mickey Mouse factory has also suspended some 16 television pilots for the same reasons. They have also interrupted filming in other different studios such as Mission: Impossible in Italy, Official Competition – with Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas – in Spain, and The Amazing Race” competition around the world. And preparations for filming the biography of Elvis Presley have been slowed down after one of his protagonists, Tom Hanks, tested positive for the coronavirus in Australia,” says the half-Angelian.
Shooting on Sony’s Budapest-based The Nightingale, starring sisters Elle and Dakota Fanning directed by France’s Melánie Laurent, also stopped. The Malaga (Spain) and Guadalajara (Mexico) film festivals were cancelled. And so, unstoppable is the rosary of news that arrives every morning.
It has been published that the losses may frustrate the five billion dollars, a peak that I consider extremely low given the circumstances.
By Iris Oropesa Mecías firstname.lastname@example.org
April 2, 2020
Translated by Merri Ansara for CubaNews.
Edited by Walter Lippmann
One of the issues that we have valued much more since the beginning of the current pandemic is the work of every worker who has been kept in place. From artists who play for us in their homes, to street sweepers who stay in the streets, bakers and cooks, caretakers of the elderly, traffic inspectors, teachers who give digital classes on their own initiative… and yes, them, the everyday doctors, whom we applaud at agreed hours, a gesture that seems to us still small in the face of their daily greatness and which in countries like Spain has become almost religious in its fulfilment.
These are also days when we have to learn to deal with matters in an intelligent way. That is why this time Detrás de la ciencia goes in search of that mystery of hundreds of people clapping their hands on their balconies as we Cubans do every night. Is the applause an exclusively human gesture? How did it come about? What are the secrets of its contagion? What does science know about this social phenomenon?
Most human beings just beat the palms of their two hands rhythmically. In some sectors there are variations. There are universities where tables are beaten when a lecture is over, or the well-known clapboards of tobacco farmers, for example. But, in general, applause is an expression of admiration for a well-done performance. And we find it so natural that we might come to believe it is part of our DNA.
Joaquim J. Vèa, a Catalan primatologist, has explained the human exclusivity of applause, quoted by the magazine Quo: “After many years studying primates in the forests, I have never seen a (non-human) primate applaud”.
This phenomenon is discovered totally socially. We are not born as a species knowing what applause is in its current concept. We need to learn it in society. History, then, is a science that has much to say about it.
The emergence of the custom dates back to ancient civilizations. The ancient Greeks expressed their approval of plays by cheering and clapping their hands. The Romans preferred to snap their fingers, but they also clapped and waved the tips of their robes, or used special strips just to generate a sound of admiration.
It is often said that Emperor Nero paid nearly 5,000 people to applaud his public appearances. They would practice two types of applause: imbrex, with hollowed-out hands, and testa, with flat hands.
Over the centuries, several sounds alternated in the taste to express approval of a show: whistle and even spit became among the favorites, widely used in the seventeenth century.
The churches, both during the Middle Ages and much later, in the Protestant era, played an important role alongside the theater, in the social development of applause. But even when the Catholic clergy forbade these manifestations at masses, coughing, humming or blowing through the nose became the way a brilliant sermon or a well-toned chorus was approved.
But this journey does not yet answer: why do we do it, what human needs do we satisfy in this very contagious cultural fact?
Psychologists say that any form of applause satisfies the human need to express an opinion, a euphoric emotion, and the need to communicate with a protagonist with whom we cannot engage in a conversation in person. Social psychology specialists also explain that applause gives the audience the feeling that they are participating. Since the audience cannot pat the actors on the back, they applaud.
Another mystery studied by psychologists, which was published in a study in the journal Nature, by the way, was the highly contagious nature of applause.
The specialists who analyzed thousands of recordings of massive applause in different parts of the world concluded that the great contagion of applause is not due to the imperiousness that is recognized in itself, but to the social nature of the act of applauding.
Another study, from Uppsala University in Sweden and published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, sets out mathematical models for measuring applause in a social group, and shows that if a person starts clapping 2.1 seconds after a lecture or presentation ends, 0.8 seconds later the whole group starts clapping, whether they like it or not.
“We used the selection of the Bayesian model to test several hypotheses about the spread of simple social behavior, applause after an academic presentation. The probability that people will start clapping increased in proportion to the number of other audience members already ‘infected’ by this social contagion, regardless of their spatial proximity,” explained the lead author.
The Greek Plutarch (46-127 BC) says that due to paid plaudits, for example, Philemon of Syracuse (361-263 BC) managed to surpass the famous Menander (342-291 BC) several times in theatrical performances, not necessarily because he surpassed him in the dramatic.
But science, this time physics, has discovered more than mysterious features of this social action. The authors of an article on applause published several years ago in Nature pointed out that they alternate in periods in which the ovation is an incoherent sum of palms along with other periods in which the audience applauds in a rhythmic and synchronized way, and they verified that in the synchronized applause the frequency of the palms of each spectator is half that of the incoherent applause.
The dynamics of the group applause was summarized: at the beginning of the ovation most of the applauses are enthusiastic and synchronization is not possible; but after about ten seconds the spectators reduce to half their applause frequency and a synchronization period begins. If you are a ballet lover, you will not let these scientists lie.
The journalist Juan Manuel Rodríguez Parrondo explained it this way: “Imagine that at the end of a play you have especially liked and you applaud as you would in the theatre; count the number of palms you give during ten seconds and obtain the frequency of the applause; repeat the experiment, but imagining that you are in the situation of synchronized applause. You will see that the frequency in the second case is about half that of the first.
This mystery of frequency doubling and synchronization of applause is a widespread phenomenon in nature and there is no particular reason for it, but it has been proved that nature likes periodic oscillations.
Heart rhythms, menstrual rhythm, the swing of a swing… Thus, a person tends to always applaud with two frequencies, one double the other, depending on his or her enthusiasm. But in short, it seems to be true that we have an unconscious attraction when we synchronize our applause with the rest of the audience.
Which of these scientific explanations do we put into practice when people from various regions of the world go out to their balconies to give their doctors a standing ovation? Probably, the psychological explanation of wanting to be part of something, of communicating with actors that we cannot pat on the back, this time, the best actors and actresses: all the health personnel who every day put themselves in the line of battle against the virus that is plaguing us. To compensate us, the Spanish clinical psychologist Juan Castilla assures us: “It is an invaluable gesture. We are not aware of the positive impact this generates”.
By Manuel Calviño
March 21, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A hidden threat often triggers fear and anxiety on a personal level, in each of us. Knowing the possibly fatal effects of the threatening agent, multiplies the anguish and with it the tendency to seek solutions usually extreme and unlikely to be effective. If, in addition, these effects are visible, and they already affect others, then the cycle closes: perception of indiscriminate-risk increases the idea of vulnerability-uncertain resolution behavior. But even though it is known that in a pandemic situation, such as the one our planet is experiencing today, and our country is no exception, some are tempted to fall into the trap that distances them from appropriate behavior. There appear then, behaviors of neglect and denial (those that underestimate the situation, do not recognize it in its shocking reality, or hallucinate a certain invulnerability), and also behaviors that contain the necessary ones, but with a tendency to transcend them in excess, so much so that they can produce the opposite effect.
I believe that, in general, we have more in focus those who, due to an excess of confidence (personal and institutional), from an absolutely mistaken deduction (“nothing is going to happen here”, “I’m not going to be so unlucky”, and others similar), without taking into account the extra personal vulnerabilities. In other words, that is to say without the slightest perception of risk, ignore the essential measures of protection and care. I confess that some psychological traits make some more likely than others to build such an attitude. But nothing justifies or sustains it. We are what we are capable of doing with who we are. And that is how we build a better way of being.
But it is important to focus also on the other end of the bell of Gauss, that which describes what would be a normal distribution. Perhaps, by intensifying in order to attract attention, I mean those who hype-act the measures, with innovations of dubious value, moved from an excess of anxiety mobilization. When this happens, and the sense of basic care in the face of the pandemic is passed on, that which scientific knowledge dictates as essential actions, the way to face the situation seems to be helping us, but it may be harming us. Then, from a harmful mental disposition, any care seems little to us, and we can begin to produce not so careful care, which by its extreme nature, I insist, can be a generator of damage. Exaggerating is a common way of falling into what is being avoided.
Pandemics, in any of their forms, but the more aggressive they are, the worse they tend to promote among some people the idea, and not just the idea, but the deep belief, that along with the essential isolation of suspected and already victimized cases, the best thing is the total absence of links with everything around them. What, without a doubt, if this were the case, would have to be undertaken with supreme responsibility and at the right time. I therefore share a vigilance and a just and legitimate concern in this direction. A concern that is not stubborn and excessive, but constructive and sustained. In any case, legitimate, understandable and with the right to speak. Because only by talking will it be productive.
But I would like to refer to that action that implies having the unreasonable certainty that the enemy is anywhere, or rather everywhere, and that we have to find a hiding place at any cost and at any price. And I am not talking about the care and limitation of direct physical contact, which is usually one of the causes of the epidemic’s spread, but about the spiritual, identity-based sustenance of the forms of expression of human values. It would seem that for some people limiting behavior is synonymous with limiting, invalidating, the values they contain.
Let’s think about the challenge of distance. As a way to substantially cut the chain of transmission, scientists and professionals from many parts confirm the need to maintain a certain distance, they call for so-called social distance. What does this mean? In operational terms, maintaining a social distance means: not being in places where many people are, staying away from crowds of people; keeping a distance of about two meters from other people; not touching other people. Perhaps it is better to talk about physical interpersonal distance, to show that it is proposed to considerably limit physical contact, since it is one of the most powerful causes of the spread of the disease. Then, it is clear that shaking hands, hugging, kissing, these expressions of affection, love, friendship, companionship, tend to be substantially avoided in the current conditions of a pandemic.
But distance is not necessarily a problem. The problem is always separation. With you in the distance, it is not only a beautiful poetic phrase, but also an ethical attitude, a human relationship. García Márquez confirms it: “Distance is not a problem. The problem is the humans, who do not know how to love without touching, without seeing, or without hearing…” Ernesto Lecuona, in his beautiful Always in My Heart, convinces when he says that “nothing should be able to stop me from loving you”. The essence, is the essence, no matter how many different ways it is expressed. The essence of expressions of affection lies in the feelings and values that motivate them, and these can be lived, expressed and shared in many more ways.
Limiting is essential. But it is not necessary to limit, on the contrary, it is necessary to multiply, that spiritual, valuable substantiality that is expressed in this way. I am talking about the challenge of making the kiss, the embrace, the handshake felt, where it should not be physically realized. We know, paraphrasing Galeano now: good and authentic human feelings and values cannot be silenced. If they are not expressed in one way, it will be in another. But they cannot not communicate, they cannot stop interacting, co-living. To silence them would be to spread the maleficence of the pandemic.
The same goes for collaboration, solidarity, interpersonal relations, willingness to help and support. The axiom “all for one and one for all” applies, with undoubtedly different expressions, to these moments of indispensable precautions, but which cannot undermine the human essence. What we can achieve will always be more, and more forceful, if we do it together. That, on pain of being accused of being super-optimistic, is to emerge strengthened, resilient, from such violent and destructive adversity. That is, to take charge of an intelligent optimism.
A pandemic is not just a health, scientific, and political challenge. It is also, and above all from my professional perspective, an attitudinal challenge. It is our attitudes that protect us. It is they that get us through the situation. It is they who ensure that among the foreseeable consequences, there are also achievable conquests, just as “among the thorns, flowers are born”.
I defend, summon and fight for the self-care of each and every one of us. But, I need a self-care that implies, that includes the other (like a quantum reality, I could say some physicist). That self-care that knows how to take care of others, of ourselves. That which is not only personal responsibility, but human responsibility. That which commits us to preserve, and also to nourish and cultivate, our human essence, our condition as human beings. I say this because I know it professionally and scientifically, and I believe it deeply, “if I did not believe, what would I be?
But since temptations exist, since the human mind gives for the good and the not so good (even the bad), gives for the earthly and the divine, then it is necessary to be attentive, and to refer to our personal essence as human beings. I say more, to our national being, to our identity, to our being Cuban [somos cubanos]. So, to focus on our light zones and not on the dark ones, on what makes us a country where everybody is a brother, a partner, a friend, where anybody throws a line at anybody, where if we solve everybody, if we are participative, proactive, and extroverted (sometimes to diffuse limits), we are recognized as good people. Like that neighbor in my neighborhood, whom I observed from my balcony, who suffered the denial of a handshake with a buddy on the corner, and with genuine acceptance commented:
Who’s going to change what we are, let alone a virus, however many crowns he has?” And separating himself two meters away he said to the other: “Hand or no hand, I love you, my sister. You are on my team.”
You have to be careful. You have to take care of yourself. You have to let yourself be taken care of. You have to take care of each other. And we must also preserve the Cuban soul. “Let it not be said, brother, let it not be said.”
By Emilia Vera Da Souza
Translated by Stefanie Levi for CubaNews.
from PostCuba blog, who got it from the Argentine blog Opina Mendoza.
I suppose that it’s true…
Cuba, in the midst of this global health and economic crisis, decides to come spy and take some jealously guarded secrets [from] the concentrated centers of the elaboration of Argentinian thought, science and technology.
First, they must find where the centers where thought is elaborated, where science secretly investigates the most interesting issues for the advancement of world conquest and where they apply the technologies that will allow us to dominate planet Earth are located. Where? The Cuban spies ask themselves. And those of us that are not Cuban [ask ourselves], also.
Another problem for the Cuban spies. Who? What people are they that, in a hidden and surreptitious manner guard the most interesting issues of Argentinian intellectual development? Will these be in the communication media, well-camouflaged, where the most elaborate national thought is shown?
Will they be in companies that, so that nobody knows, they are paid poverty wages, but their owners have them well-guarded in impregnable dens, the results of their effort and they live publicly superficial and skin-deep lives in order that the Cubans do not take their best production?
Will the most advanced thoughts be in the political parties, hidden so that the Castro-communist ambition and egoism do not have access [to them]?
Will it be in the most recondite estates of justice, the secret that the Cuban spies seek so much, right there where the most elaborated of free thought is preserved, in order to better the lives of the citizens? And, so that it is not stolen, they do not show it, not even in the most hermetic places of the doctrinaire bureaucracy.
The most serious problem for the Cuban spies is to hide themselves. Everyone already knows that for a better performance of conspirational espionage, it is advisable to use a good cover-up, a good costume, scenery, a masquerade, makeup. And the Cubans lack precisely all of that.
They are recognizable at a distance by their tone of voice. They cannot speak without shouting. They usually have a skin color quite difficult to disguise. Nor are they able to minimize their peculiarities when they communicate: they always talk like Cubans, including when they speak in other languages.
They use easily identifiable insults: Come mierda (eat shit), hijeputa (motherfucker), que tu no sabes nada (that you know nothing), que ni lavas ni prestas el fregadero (you will not get anything), que te den candela (that they will give you fire), jinetera (?), concha de tu madre (your mother’s pussy), chico (dude) and other things like that.
They always substitute the letter “R” for an “L”. Because of this, they are able to spy on China.
It is also possible to recognize a Cuban by their style of walking. Carefree, as if tired, with a cadence of step that seems more like a dance move than [simply] a mode of moving.
And finally a bit of information: in order to recognize a Cuban spy it is advisable to put on some salsa music, a son or an island bolero, and if they start to move to the rhythm of the drums, they are undoubtedly Cubans.
Now… if they are well-seen, it can be observed that they usually walk with white overalls, stethoscopes hanging from their necks, with a little book in a bag and they take notes with very short pencils, spent from so much use.
They walk measuring the fevers of the miserable and sick in different corners of the world. They take care of children. But they take care of them so much that they do not have a single illiterate. But there is not one, not even a very little one that goes hungry.
They always circulate more closely to the places where the poverty of the skyscrapers nests. They move proudly, as if they have made a revolution. They shout calling attention and when they are silent, they also attract attention. They mention Fidel as if they know him.
They love Che and the Argentinians, as if they were the same. They hug wildly as soon as they make friends with someone and they leave from the island, full of consumable goods, according to foreign tourists, but, always, always, always each one (all) want to return to Cuba.
By Juana Carrasco Martin
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The new coronavirus has upset some people. The symptoms are a brutalization caused by bad intentions and Cubaphobia, translated into attempts to politicize the pandemic and -irrationally- to put Cuba as the focus and center of the contagion.
Of course, such bullshit could only come from Miami – a city contaminated for more than six decades by a visceral hatred and a vengeful desire for Cubans to disappear from the map, in order to appropriate this beautiful archipelago at any cost.
The most recent invention arrived with Twitter feeds and a letter sent to President Donald Trump by Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo, asking him to place Cuba on the list of restricted travel to the United States, because “we need to take all preventive measures to protect Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida from the spread of COVID-19.
In Bovo County, the number of confirmed cases rose to 76 (March 18 data) and is increasing, as is the number of positive cases in all of Florida, which is almost 400, ranking among the highest in the 50 U.S. states.
Everyone knows, as do many Americans, including medical experts, and Democratic presidential hopefuls, say, that Trump did not act on SARS-CoV-2 in time, and that the public health care system — and, of course, the private health care system, plus the insurance companies — are responsive to the profits they can make, not the needs of their citizens.
Therefore, the records show that the United States is the country with the highest rate in the entire hemisphere, with 13,737 cases positive for COVID-19; 201 deaths and 108 recoveries. There are now 178 countries where the pandemic has made landfall.
However, the commissioner assures that Cuba has falsified its records, that it is rumored that the sick are Italians, that there have been no medicines in the country for a long time, and he dares to point out that “Cuba cannot protect its people, much less the tourists”.
Such is the blindness and bad temper of the aforementioned that he does not see how the world recognizes the benefits of the Cuban anti-viral recombinant Interferon alpha 2B, nor the gratitude of the passengers and crew of a cruise ship condemned to sail aimlessly through the Caribbean. [It wasn’t] until the humanism, solidarity and generosity of the largest of the Antilles and its people, opened a port and airport for them to return to the United Kingdom. A “I love you Cuba” was the best message from HM Braemar…
It would be good, in case they need it, to take into account that the Cuban pharmaceutical industry is prepared to treat thousands of possible patients with COVID-19, and our antiviral has already been successfully used in China.
The problem is that the Bovo is riding on the xenophobic bandwagon of the White House president, who never acknowledges his failures and looks for scapegoats in others, in order to also run an election campaign, since he hopes to be the mayor of Miami.
Nor does he care that if this extreme measure of cutting off travel between Havana and Miami were taken, it would totally sever the ties of Cuban families, a crime against humanity.
By Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
March 24, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
“Yeah, I know what they’re gonna tell me, if I’m on the street for fun they’re gonna give me a ticket. So what? So I have another reason to get out of the house: to pay them. I’m not going to be locked up! If what you get, you get one day…
The (not so few) people traveling on the A95 this Monday would think that my (involuntary) chat partner would be joking, but I chose to think that her bravado, bordering on indolence, was her way of dealing with something that makes her nervous and she doesn’t dare to admit it.
“Let’s see, why aren’t you locked up,” she tried to challenge me by staring at her. “I’m going to work,” I explained, and she took advantage of the situation to justify herself: “And I’m going to fight! They brought out detergent in the Vedado and I already have a point that buys at a premium everything I get. For me, that’s ham, because I form my own in a line and I see the load.
I sighed long and deep. Explaining to the lady the legal and moral implications of her conduct would be like plowing in the sea. But people were paying attention to her gestures and I decided to take advantage of the improvised mobile platform for a preventive civic talk, including the teenager who was clearly accompanying her on the “walk”.
“It’s not just fines: You can be imprisoned for three months to a year… to begin with,” I let out in an intriguing voice, assuming that her “bogeyman” would be to lose his freedom. She raised an eyebrow, and still with a cheek, asked, “Why is that?”
“Because that is the penalty for those who commit crimes against public health, such as spreading epidemics or refusing to collaborate with the health authorities in campaigns to prevent them,” I said, summarizing Article 187 of the Cuban Penal Code. Then, without pause, I reinforced the blow: “If you also boast, as you do now, it can be assumed that you are acting maliciously and the penalty is five to eight years. Ah! and as an author, not an accomplice, so there is no reduction”.
She took a breath, as if to reply in a not very good way, and I took advantage of her gesture to add: “They also give three months to a year to anyone who incites others not to take action against an epidemic, so go on adding up… And if “doing your thing” is to create panic to tangle up the tail, that crime costs you one year to three more. And, of course, contempt for the authorities–and those who report actions at the Mesa Redonda are contempt for the authorities–is also a crime, and failure to take care of your dependents is also a crime under the law.
In front of us, a young man followed my monologue of legalese, splashed by the speaker with that sound that in Cuba we call “frying eggs”. His face showed disbelief, but he did not dare to support or deny the alleged anarchist.
Another gentleman, standing near the door, commented that, even putting it all together, the penalty was little for the gravity of the moment, So that gave me grounds to say that if injuries or deaths are proved to have been caused by an irresponsible attitude, the penalty is multiplied in years, not counting the punishment for hoarding products in an illicit economic activity.
“You want to put more fear into it than the coronavirus,” he cut off my explanation, no longer smiling. “And with me, that doesn’t walk. Besides, putting people in jail doesn’t solve the problem,” he insisted on defending himself, but the young man finally took a stand for common sense: “What not? If you stop exposing others with that, it will surely work, and in the long run, people will understand that this is serious, so let’s get back, pure, get back!