In the course of next week, Correos de Cuba will put on sale in all its units and newsstands, the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba that was approved in the Second Ordinary Session of the IX Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, at the price of one peso in national currency. Correos […]
By Roberto Alfonso Lara
April 5, 2017
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Living a comfortable old age can be the aspiration of anyone in the world. Some even set it as a goal and work hard to achieve it. But this effort at the individual or family level requires socio-economic support. This implies changes in health-care services, transportation, the stores…
For several years, Cuba has given emphasis to policies to protect senior citizens. The irreversible aging of its population has led to a number of transformations, essentially in public health. Other sectors remain oblivious to the challenge. Marketwise, for example, old people are forgotten.
The country´s stores disregard the needs and preferences of the elderly. The sale of clothing, footwear and food without adjustment to their demands, is proof of the low visibility of this age group in commercial matters. When it comes to selling, gray hair is usually not taken into account.
Somehow, I think there is an incomplete perception about the elderly, which doesn’t realize their true potential. A degree of conformism is attributed to them. The limited satisfaction of their urgent needs often follows that premise. It is usually thought that, due to their age, they lack tastes and interests, and that anything will be good for them.
Neither slippers nor pajamas nor “home scrubs” at reasonable prices are to be found in stores. Neither are light fabric clothing, nor shoes with the proper design to cope with corns and bunions, or anything that gratifies or pleases them. They do stumble upon sneakers and high heels, shiny blouses and tight pants.
Domestically-made garments hardly fill the vacuum. The use of textiles inadequate for Cuba’s hot climate (polyester instead of cotton), make the articles on sale of little use. Industry needs, first, to know in detail the type of customer to whom its products are intended. The same happens with prices, which bear no relationship with the very little money pensioners receive.
In terms of marketing, older people are scarcely valued in the country as an economically attractive group. Nevertheless, nations with similar demographic characteristics find in seniors numerous possibilities as consumers. Several specialists have even argued that the future of the market lies in the grandparents.
If in 2025 one in four Cubans will be over 60, wouldn’t it be appropriate to take another look at the issue? The care of the elderly –a strategic issue in the development of the nation– requires the implementation of comprehensive action in pursuit of greater comfort and quality of life.
The construction and repair of nursing homes and grandparents’ homes, along with new geriatrics clinics, anticipate the way forward. The other lap corresponds to the spheres of production and services. These are still permeated with the stereotype that the elderly do not buy enough.
Because of the size of the changes required, it may be difficult to deal with the needs of old age. For Cuba’s weak economy it is, in fact, a problem. However, all the elements should be thought of instead of continuing to postpone possible options. Not only in terms of clothing or food, also in the constant supply of wheelchairs, canes, hearing aids, mattresses, beds…
The government’s own interest in promoting the active participation of senior adults in the socio-economic life of the country clearly speaks of the need for reorienting the compass towards the current demographic process. Consequently, it is a task for the market to review its current situation and expand what’s available. The elderly, like other generations, need to see their reflection own in the mirror.
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
Recently, actress and American film director Jodie Foster was in Cuba. During her visit to Havana, the winner of two Oscars for Best Actress in 1989 and 1992 shared with specialists from the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX).
Dr. Mariela Castro Espín shared her impressions about the meeting with Jodie on Facebook today:
“It was a pleasant surprise that the American actress Jodie Foster showed interest in knowing about our work at Cenesex Cuba, during her recent private visit to the Island with her wife, Alexandra Hedison, and her sons Charles and Kit, with whom we had a beautiful family evening” .
Open to scientific search, exchange of experiences and dialogue of knowledge, CENESEX counts on professionals of recognized prestige from different scientific disciplines who use a comprehensive approach in the study of sexuality.
Foster, whose performances in Taxi Driver, The Silence of the Lambs and Panic Room have always been in the memory of her followers, has now been added to the list of artists of the United States who have visited the Island after the approach initiated by Havana and Washington in December 2014.
By Roberto Alfonso Lara, February 7, 2017
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Elena has a sort of magnet for that. Going home or on her way to work, her eyes seem condemned to stumble upon the same scene. On a park bench, behind the post, hidden in any bush or in some old construction site, she finds the man who masturbates; he looks at her and comes out of his den to tempt her.
She suffers the “fate” of a society where flashers assault public spaces, determined to solve, openly, what they do not achieve on a personal level or in intimacy with their partner. She has knocked on doors several times and presumes that nobody is listening. No one responds when she claims to feel somewhat raped, everyday, on the street.
Women are the main target of this sexual aggression if we consider the common intention of the act or the underlying cultural background: machismo. By showing their genitals and masturbating in public places, men in fact exercise their power against women. But, is this only a gender-related problem?
Despite their sex, there is no choice for those who bump into addicts bent on showing the size of their penises and getting excited in broad daylight. When the person displays toward the stalker an attitude of surprise, panic or simple rejection –almost always going out of their way– it is because the person feels that her or his rights have been invaded and therefore violated.
Although women are the most affected, the problem concerns all citizens and should be addressed from that perspective. This involves a security issue: who can feel safe and protected while sexual flashers are present in the spaces we share?
Movie theaters used to be their favorite site, today they do not waste time in distinctions. Elena finds them everywhere, and sees them approaching her, chasing her, with their dicks in their hands, fully aware of the panic they cause. She is frightened and has come to see me in despair. She doesn’t know what street to take to get home in the evening.
Few people report the crime to the police, it’s true. But… what happens if they do? Do Cuban laws strongly condemn these cases of sexual harassment?
Decree Law 141, on the contravention of public order, sets a fine of 40 pesos to those who “offend modesty or good customs with lewd exhibition”. There is no other provision about it, not even to define the limit or scope of the lewd act. And the small fine, well … it’s almost like paying a cheap license to masturbate out in the street.
Without rigorous measures against those who violate collective coexistence, and go to the extreme of sexually harassing women and disrespecting an elementary norm of civility, every effort to eliminate the problem will suffer the same “fate” as Elena’s when, after knocking on many doors, she feels no one cares about her fear.
Yes, masturbation is a legitimate way of experiencing sexuality, but doing it visibly in open places is detrimental to the human condition. Neither institutions nor society as a whole should remain indifferent to this type of violence.
It is said that the first complaint in Cuba against masturbators in public places was registered in 1881. It is painful to say this: how long will Elena have to wait?
Time Does Not Devour Redeemers
Living statue of the strongest metal,
The monsters of gold and silt who could not
Kill you with bullet and poison,
Want time to condemn you to death.
They count your hours, are encouraged by seeing
your beard gone white on your Greek profile;
And on the high summit of serene thinking
The outbreak of your gray hair amuses them.
The peoples, however, give you roses,
poems and songs; more for the dreams
you made come true than for your birthdays.
Because the age of the heroes and geniuses
is not measured by days or years,
But for long centuries and millennia.
Jesús Orta Ruiz, “El Indio Naborí”
(Written in 1996, for Fidel’s 70th Birthday)
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
El tiempo no devora redentores
Estatua viva del metal más fuerte,
no pudiendo los monstruos de oro y cieno
matarte con la bala y el veneno,
quieren que el tiempo te condene a muerte.
Cuentan tus horas, les anima verte
blanca la barba de perfil heleno;
y en la alta cumbre del pensar sereno
el brote de tus canas les divierte.
Los pueblos, sin embargo, te dan rosas,
poemas y canciones más por cosas
de cumplesueños que de cumpleaños,
pues la edad de los héroes y los genios
no se mide por días ni por años
sino por largos siglos y milenios.
Jesús Orta Ruiz, “El Indio Naborí”
(Escrito en 1996, con motivo de
los 70 años de Fidel)
By Karina Marrón, Chief of National Information, Granma daily
October 5, 2015, 8:58 PM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
These are comments by Karina Marrón, who heads the paper’s national editorial staff.
At barely 30 years of age, leading the national news staff of the country´s highest-circulation newspaper is no easy task. Karina Marrón, who is head of the national news staff of Granma newspaper, can tell us about it because every day she faces the enormous challenge of trying to bring a balanced Cuba to its pages.
“It is not easy to fit into just eight pages our nuances plus characters, events, news from all provinces, recognition and criticism,” she assures me. But Karina does not give up her desire to transform Cuban journalism for the better from her daily space.
On the occasion of Granma’s 50th anniversary, we spoke with Karina regarding changes necessary for Cuban press and the challenges, challenges and opportunities for Granma in present-day Cuba.
Q: When you came to lead Granma´s national news staff you already had a record in the newspaper Ahora! Now, how much change and continuity was there between what you were doing –thinking mainly of Holguin– and what you began to conceive for the national audience?
“I started with Granma in October 2013 and although work on Ahora! was certainly a great school –due to the quality of the professionals with whom I worked and the concepts of journalism that have become a tradition in that newspaper– Granma was quite different.”
“If we talk about continuity, I think I can mention two fundamental things: being the official organ of the Cuban Communist Party –each medium adjusted to its aim– and the need to address issues that matter to the population. The challenge of reconciling both, of delving into the issues that people care about and doing so with the social responsibility that comes from being the official voice of the Party, that’s something I saw as continuity, even though, as I said, the scope is different.”
“When I think about change, I must necessarily refer to daily editing. It is not even remotely similar to work in a weekly. This is because, in a daily journal, even when you strive to have a good online edition of your newspaper, in our minds the printed paper is still the main media. So, I had to adapt to a different pace of work, different conceptions of space; to think about a country and not just one province, different relationships with information sources, and new styles of work.”
“In essence the job remains the same, because the work of any news media, even the smallest, implies preparing yourself to inform correctly, implies sacrificing to investigate and to finding the best way to say things. The big difference is the impact and what can be achieved through a media like Granma.“
Q: What was your relationship with the daily Granma before you joined it? The Granma that you used to read and the one which you are now part of; how much has the image of that paper changed in your mind?
“Honestly, I think I was pretty severe. As a reader and as a journalist I was full of dissatisfaction with what I read, and had many ideas about how it should be. I think I’m not alone in that. I think every person who reads Granma is like I used to be. This is because for those who read us –whether in print, in Granma International or on the Web– the battles fought internally every day to get the newspaper out are invisible and all that matters is the result.”
“People expect more and more of this newspaper; and that’s fine, because it means that people are still confident that we can meet their expectations. The issue, the challenge, is not to leave them wanting, not to fall too short of what people are expecting.”
“Now that I’m part of the newspaper team and specifically of its editorial board, I understand many things: the professional limitations, the mediations in the process of preparing the paper and even the material problems. But as I said, none of that can justify us before those who follow our publication in any of their presentations; and that’s what we can not lose sight of.”
“I think the Granma that I used to “see from the sidelines” and this one which I am part of right now are different. The Web version of the newspaper is perhaps the most notable example, not only because of its new image and the possibility of interacting with users through their comments, but also because of the way of understanding the news coverage of certain events. In the printed version, there are also differences, especially in the still hesitant approach to research, and the diversity of journalistic genres. They are different, but they’re still not the Granma I’d like to read. “
Q: In your opinion, how is the Cuba that Granma presents? What is the challenge of putting together each day a national newspaper? What are you proud of? What would you change?
I think the Cuba shown in Granma still lacks many nuances. Characters are missing and sometimes facts are missing. It is very difficult at times to reconcile all interests so that Cuba is shown in its entirety every day in those 8 pages. This is because the newspaper is not only the place where people look for information as an instrument in the ideological struggle waged by our country. It’s also a document that remains in history. But it is also seen by many people as a place of recognition. So everyone wants to see themselves there, but not in criticism.”
“And it is very complex because, on the one hand, people question why Granma mostly publishes articles on positive experiences in different sectors: agriculture, construction, health, education … when there are so many problems to solve. On the other hand they do not want us to stop recognizing their work.”
“I think that’s the hardest part to fill every day in a national newspaper: balance. To have the different provinces represented, to include criticism and recognition, so we can fulfill the task of informing and stimulating thought. That is a score that is not yet settled, because, when we have gotten closer we always find that something is missing. For example: chronicles or life stories, which are other ways of showing Cuba and that breathe so much life into a publication.”
“Personally, I am proud to belong to this group. It gives me great joy when we do something that is well-received by those who read us. No matter if it’s something from my staff, or from culture or internationals, because if there is something positive in Granma it is that there are no individual “beats”; what is most important is the newspaper, rather than your own signature on an article.”
“As for change … I would change many things. Some within Granma; others outside, but that also have an impact on what happens inside. However, there are changes that do not happen just because you want them to –all the more so when you are dealing with a newspaper. There are changes that depend on many people, and take time. So I think it’s best to change myself slowly (it’s hard to get rid of certain habits and ways of thinking) and to try to be part of that change in other people and things.”
Q: For several years, now the staff of Granma has been characterized by being eminently young. Can you describe the challenge of being a very young leader who works with so many young people? What role will they play in the kind of journalism that we are called upon to do?
“What is most complex is that you yourself are learning and sometimes you do not have much to teach. Although I graduated ten years ago, I do not think my past experience is enough to become the mentor that the young people I lead need or to be the guide they need to fully develop their potential. The shortcomings of the national news team today are my fault, my own shortcomings; and that is what I feel when any of my staff’s work is rejected.”
“But it’s very rewarding to work with young people, especially in these times when generational leaps are faster. At least, that is how I see it. Today a five year difference can be a huge gap in terms of the way we see the world. To work with those who view things differently can open my eyes to things I had not seen before. In journalism that seems fundamental.”
“As to the role they should play … I think it’s essentially the same: to speak with the voice of the times. Ideally, without losing this new voice –controversial and full of color that youth always has– Granma would reflect the very serious issues that it has to deal with on account of its role in Cuban society.”
Q: If I asked you for a kind of SWOT matrix with respect to Granma today, what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats would you identify? How can we change it for the better? How would you like Granma to be in the next five years?
“It’s a fitting question for a thesis, but I will try to answer briefly on the basis of the analysis we have done within the editorial board of Granma.”
“Threats: unfair competition from the so-called alternative media, both printed and digital, which offer better economic compensation and do not have the editorial pressure of the official media. To this I could add the inconsistencies in the information policy of the country, and the general absence of a culture of communication on a societal scale (hence the excessive secrecy and excessive regulation, etc.).”
“Weaknesses… Lack of professionalism and continuous emigration of an important part of young, trained journalists for a number of reasons. There are also the material limitations which we cannot overcome. This is coupled with a limited administrative autonomy (believe me… this also has a bearing on the newspaper we make).”
“These are just two, but I could mention others such as insufficient readership studies to know our public, generational gaps that exist in our newsrooms, self-limitations and lack of self-preparation by some professionals, not just journalists.”
“As for the strengths … Having achieved a system of collective leadership in decision-making and a growing collective construction of the media’s agenda which takes into very serious account the interaction with its readers. Furthermore, it is also very positive to have a Web page that technically allows us to be “up-to-date” with what goes on in the world of hyper-media journalism. There is also an understanding of the need for convergence between the traditional and the digital media.”
“If we consider the opportunity of having professionals who are mostly willing to make the changes and the training to do so –especially young people– then arguably part of the way towards the transformation we want is clear. But of course, there are things that do not depend on Granma, and these are matters of time and effort. And finding the way to do it, which is not always as easy as identifying problems.”
Q: For several years you´ve had the blog “Espacio Libre [Free Space]”, which is well-liked. I see that you haven’t written for some months. What is the relationship between Karina the blogger and the Karina who carries a national newspaper on her shoulders? What is the contribution of the blogosphere to the journalism we build in the media?
“Blogger Karina has many debts to those who read her, because I dedicate a lot of time to the newspaper and the blog is the most affected by that. On the other hand, I have run into an ethical dilemma, because when I want to write something for the blog I immediately think: why don’t I write about that for Granma?”
“Sometimes one is seduced by the magic of the fact that on the blog you’re the journalist, the editor, the one who dictates the information policies, the editorials and the writing manuals and therefore it is somewhat easier to write about anything. You don´t even have to convince those who read you. In the end, whoever comes to your blog knows in advance that he or she will find their personal criteria and they can share it or not, but that is your very own space to comment.”
“A public media like Granma has to respect its public service and, therefore, even if you are giving an opinion, you are obliged to present arguments; to think carefully what you want to convey to your readers; what use they can find in what you do. It is not a space for personal catharsis.”
“That’s why I was talking about an ethical dilemma, because if I want to write about something controversial in my blog, for instance, I always ask myself why not do it for the newspaper, which also needs these things. Often these ideas end in stories I ask my own reporters to cover because I realize that for Granma, I can’t present certain subjects with just my limited personal perspective. Thus, the blog has been going dry or includes texts that are closer to my experiences as an individual than to journalism.”
“That competition between Karina the blogger and the editor, I think, is one of the main contributions that the blogosphere makes to journalism today: to show all roads that are still untravelled. If the media tapped more into the multiple voices that are there, either to nourish ourselves with issues, or even publishing the best that we find in the blogs, Cuban journalism would breathe fresher air.”
Q: As for the debate on the need for a change in the Cuban press: What role do you see for ethics, the participation and leadership of young people in the journalism that we all want to see? What can we ourselves do?
“I think that if there is something that those of us who work in the media and the population agree on is that the Cuban press must change. Better yet, I would say that the system of the press in Cuba must change. Now then, in that change ethics is essential.”
“We want a press that has nuances, colors, where each publication is distinguished by its exclusive content, and that is closer to the people. However, to achieve this goal we cannot become frivolous, sensationalist tabloids. Ethics is the only thing that can save us when we fail to see clearly the boundaries between achieving a product that is attractive, even entertaining, and entertainment per se, i.e., populism.”
“The Cuban press has a tradition of defending truth, of patriotism: and, although this can sound like a “spiel” to some, I think they are values that we can never forget.”
“And it is also ethical to prepare every day to do a better job in the media; to fight against those who want to hide information … So for me any path toward change must be linked to ethics.”
“Furthermore, in that change, young people are the key, because they have the strength, the momentum, the new knowledge and the time to go tearing down walls. But first they must feel the commitment to do so.”
“Today’s world promotes many different ways of disconnection, of individualism. There are many people waiting for the guy next to them to resolve the problems that affect us all while they care only about their own. I think the first thing we can do is begin to realize that change is also in us and we must join forces with those who think alike. Only then will we be taking the step in the right direction. At least that is the way I see it, and I try.”
Source: María del Carmen Ramon – Cubahora
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
On March 10, 1952, with a door slam, a chapter of Cuban history came to a close. Fulgencio Batista –who, two decades before, had introduced a harsh dictatorship– seized power once again with a handful of his former collaborators had liquidated the revolutionary government of just one hundred days which had emerged in 1933 after the fall of Gerardo Machado. The new coup took place without major setbacks and thus ended Cuba’s brief experience with “representative democracy”. This had lasted for only two terms of the Cuban Revolutionary Party (Autentico), which had governed for little more than seven years.
The “Autentico” Party presented itself as heir to the Revolution of 1933, in which its leaders had had played an outstanding role, but did not go beyond national-reformism, creating some necessary institutions and showing an independent foreign policy on some important issues at the UN and the OAS. Its work was, however, hampered by government corruption which invaded almost all branches of the administration. Besides, its adherence to McCarthyism led to the division among the trade union and popular movement, and the assassination of some of its main leaders.
The prevailing dishonesty caused the split in the “Autentico” Party and the emergence of the Cuban People’s Party (Orthodox) which raised the slogan “Vergüenza contra Dinero [Shame against money]” as its main banner. Among its founders was a recently graduated lawyer named Fidel Castro Ruz.
The general elections scheduled for June 1952, brought face-to-face, according to all polls, two candidates: the “orthodox”, headed by a respected university professor [Roberto Agramonte], and the government official, led by an “autentico” whose honesty was beyond doubt. A third candidate, Batista, supported by reactionary groups, appeared in a distant last place and no one gave him the slightest chance of winning in the polls. Everyone in Cuba knew this, including Batista who, for that reason, prevented the people from deciding.
The coup and its immediate aftermath deeply wounded Cuban society. Batista received immediate support from the big property owners as well as from the conservative political forces and corrupt trade union bureaucracy. Political parties –the ones close to the government as well their opponents– were trapped in inaction and inconsistency. Authenticism and orthodoxy were divided into contradictory trends and new parties emerged from them; some willing to collaborate or compromise with the new regime. These and all other parties engaged in endless controversies unable to articulate a path against tyranny.
Resistance found refuge in the universities. Out of these came the first demonstrations and acts of protest. Among the students there was a growing awareness of the need to act and to do so using methods different from those of the politicians who had failed miserably. There was talk of armed struggle, but nobody knew how to wage it or had the resources to undertake it. There were some isolated attempts while rumors spread about plans led or linked to the president overthrown on March 10.
For those of us who were still in secondary education, the assault on the military barracks in Santiago de Cuba (Moncada) and Bayamo (Carlos Manuel de Cespedes), on July 26, 1953, was a complete surprise. We knew nothing of an event that would change our lives forever.
The news highlighted the name of someone previously unknown to us: Fidel Castro.
The political crisis deepened. The tyranny became even more aggressive. The Communist Party (Partido Socialista Popular [Socialist People’s Party]) was banned and its publications closed, while increased repression against the student movement became the norm. Batista’s accusations against the Communists sought the sympathy of Washington, but had nothing to do with reality. The PSP was not only alien to those events, but rather condemned the action of the young revolutionaries as did the other opponents to Batista, almost without exception.
With Puerto Rican Independentists, Lolita Lebrón, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irving Flores and Oscar Collazo, Havana 1979.
Once again it fell to the students to replace the parties that had proved incapable of fulfilling their role. The Federation of University Students (FEU) sympathized with the attackers of the Moncada garrison and called for a campaign for their release. This soon acquired a national dimension and forced the dictatorship to grant them amnesty in 1955.
That same year, Fidel founded the July 26th Movement. Along with the survivors of the initial action, it counted especially on young people who, in neighborhoods and study centers, identified themselves with that heroic deed against tirades and criticism from Tiryns and Trojans.
Their ranks were filled with youths, no few of them teenagers, who rebelled amid frustration, inertia and division, inspired by a feat that had shaken the tyranny and its opponents as well. Antonio López (Ñico), who had led the attack on the barracks in Bayamo, was responsible for organizing the youth brigades of the M-26-7 until he went to Mexico to return with Fidel and die fighting in the Sierra Maestra. He was replaced in Havana by Gerardo Abreu (Fontán), a black man of very humble origin, who had not completed primary school. He managed, on his own, to acquire a broad cultural background and a poetic sensibility that caused astonishment among us college students who had the privilege of fighting under his leadership. Ñico and Fontán –both from the Orthodox Youth– knew Marxism, shared socialist ideals, and were profoundly anti-imperialist. They were determined to create an organization that would massively bring in the new generation. They succeeded. Their followers were identified with a single word: “fidelistas”.
The presence of the Brigades was felt quickly by sending their message directly to the people. While the press and politicians criticized Fidel and the Moncada action, everywhere, in every corner of the capital –on walls and facades– using very modest resources, Brigade members painted a brief slogan which everyone understood: M-26-7, or a name that others wanted to silence: Fidel.
In view of the hostile environment which made it impossible to wage open political struggle, Fidel went to Mexico in order to organize the return to carry out the battle that would end the tyranny. He proclaimed it openly, undertaking a historic commitment: “In ’56, we will be free or we will be martyrs” thus challenging the followers of inaction and despair once again. And also their jokes: a government newspaper carried on its front page every day the number of days which had elapsed that year without the defiant promise being kept.
Well into November, the propaganda against the Moncadistas intensified. Demonstrations, organized by the FEU and the newly created Revolutionary Directorate, climaxed and led to the closure of the university. The last day of the month, to support the landing [of the Granma expedition], the M-26-7 carried out an uprising in Santiago de Cuba. Two days later Fidel and his companions arrived at the eastern shores aboard the yacht Granma, in what Che described as a “shipwreck”.
Scattered and persecuted by the Army, a small group finally managed to reunite in the Sierra Maestra. Many members of the expedition died fighting, or were assassinated.
Among these, as the US news agencies reported, was its main leader. Fidel’s death was reported on the front page of every newspaper. Anguish and uncertainty remained until after a passage of time that seemed endless. Gradually and by clandestine channels, the truth came to be known.
The last two years of the dictatorship were rife with crimes and abuses in the urban areas while the initial guerrilla force grew to become the Rebel Army.
“Fidelismo” reached massiveness. On the night of November 8, 1957, one hundred simultaneous explosions rocked Havana, each in a different neighborhood and distant from one another. They were practically heavy firecrackers –rather homemade devices– that only made noise. No one was injured and no one was arrested by the police who went around frantically from one place to the other. It was sound evidence that the “26th” was everywhere and showed the youth brigades’ efficient organization.
The murder of Fontan, on February 7, 1958, sparked a students’ general strike which lasted until May. It paralyzed all education centers, including private universities and academies, and led to the consecutive resignations of two of Batista’s Education Ministers of Batista.
Never before had such a movement occurred in Cuba to such extent and for so long. For three months, all attempts, violent or “peaceful” to end it failed. The student walkout continued, even several weeks after the movement suffered in its most painful and bloody defeat in Havana.
The failure of the attempted general strike by the workers, on April 9, was a very severe blow. It decimated urban militancy, almost completely destroyed the underground structures, and allowed the dictatorship to mobilize thousands of troops to launch what it thought would be the final battle in the Sierra. Once again everything depended on Fidel and his leadership.
PHOTO Elian and Juan Miguel Gonzalez, at the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Moncada assault.
Batista’s offensive proved a complete failure. The Rebel Army –well-established in the East– sent two columns led by Che and Camilo Cienfuegos, which crossed half the island and won many battles in its central region. The rebels were close to liberating the cities of Santiago de Cuba and Santa Clara. The last day of December, the dictator arranged his escape and –in close coordination with the US Ambassador– left behind a military junta in Havana that would have been the continuity of his regime. To thwart the maneuver, Fidel called for a general strike.
In the early hours of the first day of the New Year, the people took over the streets in the capital. The youth brigades –almost totally unarmed– occupied all police stations without meeting resistance from the demoralized and nervous troops of the regime. However, in other parts of the city, armed paramilitary groups of Batista henchmen had to be confronted. The strike continued until the total collapse of the tyranny. On January 8, Fidel rode triumphantly into a city that was already and finally “Fidelista”.
The victorious Revolution would have to face more powerful obstacles and even greater risks for over half a century: Political, diplomatic and propaganda aggression, armed attacks, subversion and sabotage, and the economic blockade that is still ongoing and is the longest genocide in history. Another blow was the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and the disappearance of allies and trading partners plus the complete isolation of the island. It has been a long and stormy path that the people have weathered under Fidel’s guidance.
Ninety years of age has now come to the man who had to face more than six hundred assassination plots against his life and whose death has been announced countless times by imperialist propaganda. Maybe someday his enemies will have to admit that they were never able to kill him. This is because Fidel and his people are one and the same. And that people, largely thanks to him, is invincible.
From the time of the cave dwellers, rich people emerge who over time give way to new ones…04/08/2016
By Arturo Chang
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
After Cuba was declared a territory free of illiteracy, the new rich were those who had learned to read and write. (Alfredo Martirena Hernández / Cubahora)
As promised last Friday in “Lo particular, privado y la lluvia” [The Individual or Privately Owned and The Rain], I present the topic of the new rich in Cuba. To start, let’s say that the cyclical emergence of people with lots of money is not a phenomenon that is only occurring now for the first time. It has been happening repeatedly over time.
Shortly before the defeated Bay of Pigs invasion (1961), a counter-revolutionary man who fell into the category of “gusano” [worm, because they spiritually crawled at the feet of the Yankees, wl] asked me what INRA meant (Instituto Nacional de Reforma Agraria/National Institute for Agrarian Reform) because he said the Spanish acronym meant what in English would read as Impossible to be Born Rich Now. And, to prove his point, he used the example of the nationalized properties and lands that had been given to those who worked them.
Despite his sarcastic tone, that minor character was not without reason, since, as soon as the Revolution triumphed in 1959, measures were adopted aimed at preventing that, by the mere fact of being the owners of basic means of production, these people could exploit others.
Those were times when, after Cuba was declared a territory free of illiteracy, the new rich were those who had learned to read and write and then continued their studies within or outside the scholarship system. Education was considered an essential requirement for getting ahead in life.
Blockaded by the US government in all spheres of life, Cuban citizens lived for many years under aseptic conditions. Social ownership of the fundamental means of production guaranteed that no one could amass an outstanding fortune. This was even more so after March 1968, when small businesses became state property.
Under such circumstances, even small privileges, such as a job with fringe benefits, was viewed with displeasure by society. When individuals flaunted those benefits, especially if they were excessive or the result of unwholesome aspirations, they were popularly rejected. The latter practically defined the category of new rich as unscrupulous careerists and opportunists who took advantage of positions they had reached within the ranks of the revolution.
In those days, there were persons who had so-called “historical” high salaries and who –without having committed any sin– decided to lower their own salaries several times, because they believed in living at the same level of others and in sacrificing for the good of all.
That beast we all have inside us, which can be awakened by a lack of moral values, and can unleash all its fury against others, reached a high point at the end of the 1980s. Then, due to actions outside the law, a group of people amassed huge sums of money and goods. Starting with the most notorious New Rich, they were all neutralized before the approving eyes of the majority.
Evils that had already been eradicated or reduced to their minimal expression, reappeared in completely new contexts in the 1990s of last century. This was in step with measures to deal with the brutal consequences of the collapse of the socialist bloc in Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, coupled with the intensification of the blockade.
Someone who had gotten rich during the implementation of decisions a quarter of a century ago, confided to me his most intimate thoughts as a person devoted entirely to the Revolution: I am sure that my children will always defend this –he said– but living with so much money and having everything, those who I start worrying about are my great-grandchildren. They will inherit from us without knowing where everything came from.
With the measures introduced in recent years, there is a sector whose incomes far exceed those of others. They seem to increase without limits. Others receive high salaries for their contribution at work. Are they all new rich? Are they the same as those who receive remittances, benefit from corruption and illegalities?
Although they are far from being a majority, their reach is wide enough to disrupt or set the tone in many aspects of life. This situation becomes more complex when an imperial country pretends to promote these persons as a social basis with which to change course toward the private ownership of the fundamental means of production.
Under such circumstances, with many more questions than answers, I conclude for now this Friday to read again a work by Friedrich Engels: The Origins of Family, Private Property and the State which I will discuss next Friday taking into account the views that you send after reading this post.
Por Arturo Chang
Cumpliendo lo prometido el viernes anterior en “Lo particular, privado y la lluvia” presento el tema de los nuevos ricos en Cuba, pero para comenzar, digamos que el surgimiento cíclico de personas muy adineradas no es un fenómeno que ocurre ahora por única vez, pues ha estado ocurriendo constantemente.
Poco antes de la derrotada invasión de Playa Girón (1961), un contrarrevolucionario que clasificaba en la escala de “gusano” (porque se arrastraba espiritualmente a los pies de los yanquis) me preguntaba qué quería decir INRA (Instituto Nacional de Reforma Agraria), pero su óptica descifraba la sigla como Imposible Nacer Ricos Ahora, y como argumento exponía las propiedades nacionalizadas y las tierras entregadas a los que la trabajaban.
A pesar de su tono burlón, aquel personajillo no dejaba de tener razón, pues apenas triunfó la Revolución en 1959, las medidas estuvieron encaminadas a evitar que por el hecho de ser propietarios de medios fundamentales de producción, pudieran explotar a los demás.
Fueron momentos en que tras declararse Cuba como territorio libre de analfabetismo, se consideraban nuevos ricos a los que aprendieran a leer y escribir, y continuaran sus estudios dentro o fuera del sistema de becas, lo cual estaba considerado un requisito esencial para ascender en la vida.
Bloqueados por el gobierno de EEUU en todas las esferas de la vida, la ciudadanía cubana vivió muchos años en condiciones asépticas en las cuales la propiedad social sobre los grandes medios fundamentales de producción garantizaba que nadie pudiera amasar una fortuna que sobresaliera. Más aún cuando en marzo de 1968 los pequeños negocios pasaron a propiedad estatal.
En tales circunstancias, hasta pequeños privilegios otorgados como facilidades para ejercer un cargo, fueron vistos con desagrado por la sociedad, y rechazados cuando alguien ostentara esas facilidades, sobre todo, cuando eran excesivos o fruto de malsanas aspiraciones. Estas últimas fueron prácticamente las que otorgaron categoría de nuevos ricos a inescrupulosos, arribistas y oportunistas que se aprovechaban de posiciones alcanzadas dentro de las filas de la Revolución.
Hasta aquellos momentos, hubo casos en los cuales quienes tenían los llamados sueldos históricos o altos sin cometer ningún pecado, se los rebajaron varias veces porque tenían entre sus convicciones vivir al nivel del prójimo y sacrificarse por el bienestar de todos.
Esa bestia que todos tenemos dentro y que sin valores morales puede despertar y desatarse con toda su furia contra los demás, hizo que como punto culminante, a finales de los años 80, gracias a cometer actos fuera de la ley, un grupo de personas se hicieran de enormes sumas de dinero y bienes. Empezando por los Nuevos Ricos más connotados, fueron neutralizados ante la mirada aprobatoria de las mayorías.
Males que ya habían sido erradicados o llevados a su mínima expresión, resurgieron en contextos inéditos en la década de los 90 del siglo pasado al ritmo de las medidas aplicadas para enfrentar las brutales consecuencias del derrumbe del campo socialista de Europa del Este y la desintegración de la Unión Soviética, unidos a la intensificación del bloqueo.
Alguien enriquecido al calor de la implementación de decisiones de hace un cuarto de siglo, me confiaba sus pensamientos más íntimos de persona dedicada por entero a la Revolución: Yo estoy seguro de que mis hijos siempre van a defender esto, pero viviendo con tanto dinero y teniendo de todo, los que sí empiezan a preocuparme son mis bisnietos que van a heredarnos sin saber de dónde salieron las cosas.
Con lo introducido en los últimos años, hay un sector cuyos ingresos superan con creces a los de los demás de manera tan creciente que parecen no tener límites; otros, reciben salarios altos por su aporte en el trabajo, y todos ¿son? nuevos ricos junto a quienes reciben remesas, se nutren de la corrupción y las ilegalidades, y aunque están lejos de ser mayoría, su alcance es suficiente como para desorganizar o marcar el rumbo en muchos fenómenos de la vida, que se vuelve más compleja cuando un país imperial pretende fomentarlos como base social para torcer el rumbo hacia la propiedad privada sobre los medios fundamentales de producción.
En tales circunstancias, con muchas más preguntas que respuestas, concluyo por ahora este viernes, para releer una obra de Federico Engels: El origen de la familia, la propiedad privada y el Estado, que comentaré en próximo viernes teniendo en cuenta las opiniones que ustedes viertan después de leer esta post.
Cuba: Permit me to disagree
By Guillermo Almeyra
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
[Reformatted for easier reading on the web.]
Two kinds of problems arise in the recent changes made in the Cuban government, some of form, others of content.
Regarding the former, neither Raúl nor Fidel, or any other official, have taken into account the need to make room for an economic alternative other than the existing one that depends on rules dictated by the market forces, or, for that matter, the need to introduce economic methods based on direct democracy and self-management, where the Cuban citizens-producers would play a more active role as much in decision-making as in the implementation of what is decided thereby.
More centralization, more institutionalization, more resolutions coming from the pinnacle of power, and more wartime-like economics has been the motto, and even the ousting of Pérez Roque and Lage were made, it has been said, to create a more functional structure of government, which reveals unspoken criticism leveled at the typical voluntarism practiced both by those seen as Fidel’s men and by Fidel himself.
That way Cuba has taken some sort of step toward the Chinese path… which we all know where it ended. In other words, a strong power underpinned by its single monolithic party that tries to steer its way into a pragmatic opening to the capitalistic market in order to modernize the country’s economy, increase labor productivity and reduce production costs without too much heed to the social consequences.
However, Cuba is not China, as it has a small, if highly educated, population with a low birth rate and a history of poor productivity, unable to resort to huge amounts of foreign capital because of its very limited domestic market and the lack of a powerful and wealthy Cuban nationalistic bourgeoisie overseas which might be willing to invest in the island.
To cap it all off, a relative shortage of young people makes labor more expensive and, truth be told, Cubans are not easily satisfied, since the Revolution taught them to protest and demand. Furthermore, Cuba can’t just apply the Chinese recipe in the middle of a terrible worldwide crisis which is bound to become worse.
So much for the problems of form: rather than democratize the country, laying the foundations of a government planned from the bottom up by workers’ councils and sidelining the State’s bureaucratic apparatus, the Cuban establishment chose to have a go at the utopian purpose of rationalizing red tape and make the arbitrariness and squandering typical of any vertical system even more effective.
Moreover, I also differ on other points: why weren’t these problems happening in the highest circles informed to or discussed with the men and women in the street?
Instead of presenting the people with a number of faits accomplis, unexplained and obscure as befits a government-owned media which fearful of critical thinking and prone to underestimate the workers’ level of comprehension, why weren’t the merits and flaws of each leader publicly debated?
If the foreign minister and the vice-president of the Council of Ministers misbehaved and misused their status, as hinted in the press release, how responsible are their fellow leaders, starting with Fidel and Raúl?
If they were comrades in the said statement, and kept their high-ranking positions in the Political Bureau, the Central Committee and the government up until they announced their resignation in regrettable Stalin-like self-critical notices where they admit to mistakes not even mentioned, why does Fidel Castro, by whose side they worked for many years, say they became greedy and unworthy men who fed on the sweet nectar of power and had thus played into the hands of the enemy?
Do Raúl and the political and state leaders call comrades and invest powers in unworthy potential traitors, as Fidel tagged them, or is he (Fidel) using their statements to wreck another line –the victorious one?
Was the remark thrown over to Michelle Bachelet about vindicating Bolivia’s right to an outlet to the sea just a gaffe or an internal maneuver about an issue the Cuban government had decided to hush while awaiting for the Chilean president’s visit to consolidate his comeback to the Latin American stage?
Is the uncalled-for anger oozing from Fidel’s statements a symptom of old age or a camouflaged political torpedo destined to keep the various bureaucratic factions –the victors, the centralist military brass, and the vanquished– from engaging in a certain modus vivendi?
What does such cloaked goings-on in the upper echelons have to do with the battle of ideas, that is, with the socialist moral and political education (a task which Raúl has just assigned to the former chief of police Ramiro Valdés)?
What was discussed with Hugo Chávez? The possibility that Venezuela may be forced to cut down on the assistance he gives to Cuba given the fall in oil prices and Cuba’s necessity to take immediate economic action as a result?
Why not disclose and hold an open discussion about Cuba’s outlook and future tasks, especially now that it’s making preparations to hold the Party Congress and restructure the State apparatus?
Are by any chance the moral lynching of leaders who are answerable to and controlled by collective bodies a blow to the ethics of the Party’s rank and file and the respect they deserve?
Socialism cannot break away from democracy, and democracy requires freedom of information and forthright discussion of ideas and proposals.
Bureaucratic secrecy opens your flank to the enemy no less served by those who are always ready to welcome whatever comes down from the state Olympus and spit today on those who until yesterday were their leaders. It’s criminal, particularly in difficult times, to mislead, misinform and depoliticize those who will have to put their creativity, understanding and effort to good use in order to overcome hardship.
Por Guillermo Almeyra
Domingo 8 de marzo de 2009
institucionalización, más decisiones desde el vértice, desde el poder, más
economía de guerra, ha sido la consigna, e incluso los cambios de Pérez Roque y de Lage han sido efectuados en el nombre del funcionamiento de las intituciones, en crítica implícita al voluntarismo que caracterizó tanto a los que aparecían como hombres de Fidel como a Fidel mismo. Se abre así una especie de
camino cubano a la vía china… que todos sabemos adónde condujo. O sea, a un poder fuerte basado en el partido único monolítico que trata de pilotar una apertura pragmática al mercado capitalista para modernizar la economía del país, aumentar la productividad de los trabajadores y reducir los costos de los productos, sin tener demasiado en cuenta las consecuencias sociales.
Además, discrepo igualmente en lo que se refiere a la forma: ¿por qué no se informó y se discutió con los
cubanos de a pie lo que estaba pasando en el aparato? ¿Por qué no se discutieron abiertamente los méritos y defectos de cada dirigente y, en cambio, se prefirió presentar hechos consumados, sin explicarlos y en la oscuridad tan característica de la prensa oficial que teme el pensamiento crítico y subestima la capacidad de comprensión de los trabajadores? Si el canciller y el vicepresidente del Consejo de Ministros fueron indisciplinados y poco
institucionales, como sugiere el comunicado, ¿cuál es la responsabilidad de sus colegas dirigentes, empezando por Fidel y Raúl? Si para el comunicado eran
compañeros y siguieron ocupando altos cargos (en el Buró Político, el Comité Central y el gobierno) hasta que
renunciaron con lamentables autocríticas de tipo estalinista, reconociendo
todos sus erroes que ni siquiera mencionan, ¿por qué Fidel Castro, a cuyo lado trabajaron por muchos años, dice que eran ambiciosos e indignos, cebados
en las mieles del podery proclives a ser utilizados por el enemigo? ¿Raúl y la dirección política y estatal califican de compañeros y dan responsabilidades a indignos y potencialmente traidores como sugiere Fidel, o éste utiliza sus declaraciones como torpedos contra otra línea, la triunfante? ¿No fue una gaffe sino una maniobra interna el arrojarle a Michelle Bachelet la reivindicación de la salida al mar para Bolivia cuando el gobierno cubano callaba al respecto para aprovechar la visita de la presidenta chilena para afianzar su retorno al concierto de los países latinoamericanos? ¿La furia fuera de lugar que empapa las declaraciones de Fidel no es una manifestación de senilidad sino una cobertura para un torpedo político destinado a impedir unmodus vivendi entre las diversas facciones burocráticas, la vencedora, la militar burocrática centralista, y la perdedora? ¿Qué tendría que ver esa fronda en el aparato con una batalla por las ideas, o sea, con la educación moral y política socialista? (que ahora Raúl ha dejado en manos del ex jefe de policía Ramiro Valdés). ¿Qué discutieron con Hugo Chávez? ¿La posibilidad de que Venezuela pueda verse obligada a reducir su ayuda a Cuba ante la caída del precio del petróleo y la necesidad, por consiguiente, de que Cuba tome desde ya medidas económicas? ¿Por qué no informar, no discutir abiertamente las perspectivas y las tareas, sobre todo en un periodo de preparación del congreso del partido y de reorganización del aparato del Estado? ¿Los linchamientos morales de los dirigentes que siempre responden a organismos colectivos y están controlados por éstos no son acaso un golpe a la ética y al respeto a los militantes? El socialismo no se puede escindir de la democracia y ésta exige libertad de información, plena discusión de ideas y propuestas. El secreto burocrático abre el flanco al enemigo y a éste sirven también los que dicen sí a todo lo que viene del Olimpo estatal y están dispuestos a escupir hoy sobre quienes hasta ayer consideraban sus dirigentes. Particularmente en las épocas difíciles es criminal confundir, desinformar y despolitizar a quienes deberán superar las dificultades con su creatividad, su comprensión, su esfuerzo.
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
2016 is an extremely tense year for Cuba’s tourism industry. The island has had to face many challenges arising from the need to respond to a surprisingly high number of visitors. This was caused by the coincidence of a series of factors that turned the country into the absolute star of the leisure industry in the Caribbean and a “fashionable” destination on a world scale, with the successive visits of celebrities, including the President of the United States with his family, which attracted immense publicity.
Paradoxically, the US government has maintained gigantic campaign against Cuba, for seven decades, with the support of all the resources of its espionage and subversion agencies. As well, Washington has had the open complicity of their capitalist satellites around the world.
This has been recognized as the most intense, prolonged and costly libelous campaign launched against any nation in the history of the planet. This policy contributed to the intensification of global curiosity about this small country and its people which was so persistent and determined to decide its own destiny despite a hostile global context.
A basic factor in the sudden success has been, obviously, the sustained development of the tourism industry designed by the Cuban government more than twenty years ago. Its goal was to cope with the effects of US policy. The economic blockade –still in place– imposed by the United States against the Island,was aggravated by the disappearance of the Soviet Union. The USSR was a bastion of solidarity in the economic field for the resistance of Cuban against the ravages of Washington’s imperialist policy.
At the end of December 2015, it was reported that, in the course of that year, the total number of visitors to Cuba had surpassed the three and a half million. This was by far the highest figure in the country’s history with a growth over the previous year that also amounted to a historical record.
This result was obtained despite the fact that Cuba remains the only country where citizens of the United States –the natural and traditional source of visitors to the island for historical and geographical reasons– are forbidden by US law to travel to Cuba as tourists. This prohibition has been in force for over half a century.
It is true that this prohibition began weakening when the United States proclaimed a policy called “people-to-people”. The aim of that policy was to allow certain categories of citizens to visit Cuba on the assumption that this would stimulate the exodus of Cubans from their country once they learned of the “benefits of capitalism.”
Cuba accepted the challenge –even knowing its hostile purposes– with the certainty that it would provide an opportunity to dismantle, through these exceptionally authorized travelers, the falsehoods of Washington’s great disinformation campaign against Cuba. Cuba aimed to turn the “people-to-people” policy around into a boomerang against its promoters in Washington as it has turned out to be.
The sudden growth of international arrivals has not only been due to the increase in visitors from the US who are exceptionally authorized by Washington and who require special authorization be granted for twelve categories of US citizens. Apart from a certain flexibility in the application of these requirements, after the official announcement of Obama’s visit to Cuba, there has also been a significant growth in the number of visitors from Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
However, the phenomenon of such a broad acceptance of the Cuban tourist product
has brought out much evidence of the shortcomings in the infrastructure of the island’s tourist sector. These are not only in hotel capacity, transportation and distribution of food, but also in quality of services and the lack of some essential supplies for the development of an industry that demands many unique services for very demanding consumers.
According to Zane Kerby, President of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), “at least two million US Americans could visit Cuba in 2017, if Congress finally votes to lift the current restrictions.
To manage this increase in a sector that is accurately identified as the engine of the economy and that now faces new challenges derived from the complex international scenario, Havana and Washington have decided to restore their diplomatic ties despite the persistence of significant differences in both their political views and principles.
April 7, 2016.
Por Manuel E. Yepe
Para Cuba, 2016 está siendo un año extremadamente tenso en su industria del turismo. La isla se vio obligada que encarar un cúmulo de retos derivados de la necesidad de responder a una demanda sorpresivamente elevada de visitantes por efecto de la coincidencia de una serie de factores que convirtieron al país en vedette absoluta de la industria del ocio en el Caribe y destino “de moda” a escala mundial, con la visita sucesiva de un buen número de celebridades diversas, incluyendo la del Presidente de Estados Unidos con su familia, que concitó una inmensa publicidad.
Paradójicamente, la gigantesca campaña contra Cuba que ha mantenido el gobierno estadounidense con apoyo de todos los recursos de sus agencias de espionaje y subversión, con la abierta complicidad de sus satélites del capitalismo en todo el mundo durante siete décadas -reconocida como la más intensa, prolongada y costosa campaña difamatoria contra cualquier nación en la historia del planeta- contribuyó a la intensificación de la curiosidad mundial por conocer ese pequeño país y su pueblo tan persistente y decidido a darse su propio destino pese a un contexto mundial tan hostil.
Factor básico del éxito repentino ha sido, obviamente, el desarrollo sostenido de la industria del turismo diseñado por el gobierno cubano desde hace algo más de una veintena de años a fin de hacer frente a los efectos del aun vigente bloqueo económico impuesto por Estados Unidos a Cuba, agravado éste por la desaparición de la Unión Soviética, bastión solidario en el terreno económico de la resistencia de los cubanos frente a los embates de la política imperialista de Washington.
A fines de diciembre de 2015 se conoció que, en el curso de ese año, el total de visitantes a Cuba había superado la cifra de tres millones y medio, por mucho la más alta en la historia del país, con un crecimiento respecto al año anterior que igualmente constituía record histórico.
Este resultado se obtuvo no obstante el hecho de que Cuba sigue siendo el único país del mundo a donde los ciudadanos de Estados Unidos, -que son la cantera natural y tradicional de los visitantes a la Isla por razones tanto geográficas como históricas-, han tenido prohibido por el gobierno estadounidense, desde hace medio siglo, viajar como turistas.
Es cierto que esta prohibición comenzó a presentar fracturas cuando Estados Unidos proclamó una política que llamó de “pueblo a pueblo” porque su objetivo era permitir a ciertas categorías de ciudadanos suyos visitar a Cuba en el supuesto que con ello estimularía el éxodo de cubanos de su país al conocer las “bondades del capitalismo”. Cuba aceptó el reto, aun conociendo sus torcidos propósitos, con la certeza de que ello daría oportunidad para desmontar –por conducto de esos viajeros excepcionalmente autorizados- las falsedades de la gran campaña de desinformación sobre Cuba y hacer de esa política “pueblo a pueblo” un boomerang contra sus promotores en Washington , como así resultó en efecto.
Este crecimiento repentino de las llegadas internacionales no se ha debido solo al incremento de los visitantes norteamericanos
–excepcionalmente autorizados por Washington a hacerlo mediante permisos especiales previstos para doce categorías de ciudadanos de Estados Unidos. Además de cierta flexibilización en la aplicación de estos requisitos a tenor del anuncio de la visita oficial de Obama a Cuba, también se han registrado importantes crecimientos de viajeros procedentes de Canadá, Europa, Asia y América Latina.
Pero el fenómeno de la aceptación del producto turístico cubano de manera tan amplia ha traído consigo muchas evidencias de carencias en la infraestructura del sector en la isla, tanto en capacidad hotelera como en transporte y distribución de alimentos, calidad de los servicios, carencia de algunos abastecimientos imprescindibles para el desenvolvimiento de una industria que demanda muchos servicios singulares para sujetos que son consumidores muy exigentes.
Según Zane Kerby, presidente de la Sociedad Americana de Agentes de Viajes (ASTA, por sus siglas en inglés) “al menos dos millones de estadounidenses más podrían visitar Cuba en 2017, si finalmente el Congreso vota por levantar las restricciones vigentes.
Para manejar este incremento en un sector que justamente se identifica como locomotora de la economía y ahora se enfrenta a nuevos retos derivados del complejo escenario internacional, La Habana y
Washington, han decidido restablecer sus nexos diplomáticos no obstante la persistencia de sus grandes diferencias políticas y de principios.
7 de abril 2016
By Jorge Camarero Leiva, Social Communications student
March 18, 2009 01:27:03 GMT
A CubaNews translation by Giselle Gil.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
If anyone wants to see the reverence and affection the citizens of Havana have for their city, they can take a stroll around trash bins and enjoy the festival of ugliness and uncleanness that surround them.
Absent from our neighborhoods for many years, sorely deficient in quantity, the poor containers have been saddled with the blame for the violation of the hygiene and cleanness of our streets. “What can I do if there are no trash cans?”, says our everyday negligent citizen flinging his detritus into the air and letting it fall every which way.
During the most agonizing days of the special period trash containers from Seville, Valencia and the Basque Country appeared as a result of the solidarity among citizens and mayors. And, predators followed who, trampling on the nobility of our friends, began cannibalizing those containers. They removed, and remove still, the lids and wheels, especially the wheels, to build wagons, in high demand among street vendors.
In recent years, with great effort, the country has acquired trash containers, and still the needs of communal services are not met. That’s why it hurts so much that these hooligans viciously butcher them until they render them useless.
Poor containers! Do they feel it? Soon we will have to switch and instead of saying something lasts as long as candy in a school yard, we’ll have to say, as long as a trash container on a street corner.
But, the greatest mockery, the absolute insult, is watching the dumping sites teeming around containers. It’s a scorn on decency and civility. They’re throwing respect in the trash and burying it there forever.
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: I spent several hours trying to find an idion that speaks about fleeting things. I didn’t find it and so, I had to translate the idea of the one we have in Spanish.
Por: Jorge Camarero Leiva, estudiante de Comunicación Social
Si alguien quiere constatar la veneración y el cariño que profesan muchos habaneros por su ciudad, que merodee por los contenedores de basura y se sumerja en esos festivales de fealdad y desaliño que los rodean.
Ausentes durante años de nuestros barrios, agónicos en cantidades, los pobres contenedores cargaron con la culpa de tanto atropello al ornato y la higiene: No hay cesto, qué voy a hacer, decían los displicentes de siempre, lanzando al aire, en cualquier sitio los detritus.
En los días más agónicos del período especial aparecieron los contenedores de Sevilla, Euskadi o Valencia, frutos de la solidaridad de los pueblos y alcaldías. Y no faltaron los depredadores que, pisoteando la nobleza de los amigos, comenzaron a eviscerar aquellos depósitos: se llevaban —se llevan aún— las tapas y las ruedas. Sobre todo las ruedas, para armar carretillas, muy demandadas en los negocios callejeros.
A puro esfuerzo, en estos años el país ha ido adquiriendo contenedores, sin que aún se satisfagan todas las necesidades de Servicios Comunales. Por eso duele más aún que los vándalos se ceben sobre estos, hasta inutilizarlos.
Pobres depósitos… si sintieran. Falta poco para que cambie el refrán, y en vez del merengue en la puerta de un colegio, haya que decir: Dura menos que un contenedor en la esquina.
Pero la burla mayor, el escarnio sin límites, es ver cómo pululan los vertederos a la sombra de los tanques. Algo así como un reto a la decencia y la urbanidad. ¿No estarán vaciando el respeto allí, hasta enterrarlo para siempre?