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 […]
Cuba Observes International Yoga Day
• by Reno Massoby
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
This weekend the celebration of International Yoga Day took place in Havana. The activities took place in the Círculo Social Gerardo Abreu Fontán of this city.
Yoga is one of the most important legacies of our culture, and we are very proud that the United Nations has designated this day to celebrate it, at the request of the Prime Minister of India, Rajendra Modi and with the support of more than 170 countries, explained His Excellency Mr. C. Rajasekhar, Indian Ambassador to the Island.
From 9.00 am to 5.00 pm massive sessions were held and the physiological, therapeutic and ethical aspects of Yoga, which are becoming an effective remedy against everyday stress, were discussed.
Organized in coordination with the Cuban Yoga Association, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, International Yoga Day was also celebrated in 7 provinces of the country where the Association has its headquarters.
By María Elena Balán Sainz
January 15, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
It is true that today, the image of the person seeking a job competes in the employment market, and I am not talking about Europe or other countries of the so-called first world, also in Cuba when we read an advertisement for employees they put as requirements that they be young, tall, good-looking and white, because there such a discrimination is exposed clearly.
Among the requirements sought are age and it is spelled out that they prefer youth to experience; marital status, because being single and without family responsibilities or children in your care represent points in your favor; be a beautiful and attractive young woman and send a photo in a resume that may not say much professional about her qualifications, but a profile in which beauty stands out.
In advertisements, published mainly on job websites, you can see the age range that employers ask for: 80 percent of them are up to 35 years of age.
They are not interested in those who are called geeks, that is, enthusiastic to the point of obsession with knowledge, knowers and lovers of technology issues, or those who do not have that name but are cultured, educated, are characterized by their seriousness to work and are recognized for their performance and productivity.
The search for girls with a pronounced bust, a narrow waist, a beautiful face, slenderness and marked flirtatiousness that make the client’s neck turn is setting a trend. It leaves those who do not have those attributes at a disadvantage, but above all, encourages discrimination and strengthens the stereotype of women as an advertising and sexist object.
By Iviani Padín Geroy
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
All Cuban women of childbearing age are entitled to one package of sanitary pads per month 1.20 pesos in national currency. It may be that our country is the only one in the world that gives women the possibility of obtaining this product in pharmacies in a regulated manner, and for this the State spends considerable sums of money.
However, to say that the “intimate”, as it is popularly known, is a consumable subsidized by the State, that only partially solves a basic hygienic need which believes in neither productive delays nor obsolete machinery.
That is why JR returns to one of the issues that the national press has insistently addressed in recent years, and in which again and again the same complaints are repeated by the population involved.
Ten are not enough
“Now they are giving me the pads from September, according to the pharmacists, because they have reached the eighth cycle and these will be the last ones to be given this year,” says Odalis González, 25 years old.
Odalis, like many other Cuban women, has seen the need to buy sanitary pads on the black market, or “under the table”, as Marta Valdés, 34, says, claiming that the resellers always have the item and decide its price according to demand. “Ten pesos in normal times, and in times of shortage at 15 to 20 pesos in national currency,” she says.
Even with this alteration, the Mariposa pads continue to be the first option for those who cannot afford them in hard currency stores, where their price starts at 1.00 CUC.
“At home it’s me and my two daughters, and the three of us have a lot of menstrual flow, so we need three to four packages per month in addition to those assigned to us. We buy them near the pharmacy from a man who always sells them for ten pesos, because my salary is not enough to pay for them in hard currency,” says Yuniet Medina, from Centro Habana.
Danay Zaldívar, from Cerro, also prefers to buy them in this “cheaper” way, and she always have some in stock, she points out, because whoever sells them to her has them “even if the factory stops [producing them for] three months”.
The Mariposa pads are surcharged not only in the streets, but also in pharmacies, says Dayana Montejo, 22 years. “When you go many times they tell you that they don’t have them, that the factory has stopped, that there is no way to transport them, but if you ask them to ‘solve your problem’, a package appears at once, of course, at 10 or 15 pesos.”
María Luisa Ortega, from the same municipality, does not [always] get the ten pads that the package should contain, let alone that it is too small a number. “Sometimes they contain eight or nine pads, I have also found some with 11; but I do not think that this is a big problem, because in neither case are they enough, not even for women who, like me, have a regular three-day-long flow,” she remarks.
The said picture is also complicated from the popular viewpoint. Beyond nuances and stories, the black market should not be the solution to acquire this highly sought-after product.
What does science say?
The perspective of the specialists regarding menarche [fertility cycle?] and the frequency with which the pads have to be changed, justifies Cuban women’s concern when they reach a stage that by itself is complicated enough.
So says Dr. Arelis León Rodríguez, a specialist with the Amércia Arias Teaching Gyneco-Obstetric Hospital who recommends a change every four hours, that is, six pads per day during an ordinary period.
«When blood comes into contact with oxygen it begins to give off a bad smell. Also, if you use a pad for longer than you should, you would be at risk of catching germs and bacteria, since blood is also an excellent culture medium,” she explains.
Menarche can start from ten years of age and it tends to disappear before 55. That is why this is the stage in which the regulated pads are distributed; however, it is a biological process that manifests itself in different ways in each person, so the flows are not equally regular or abundant.
Then, doing some calculations reveals that 18 units are needed for a three-day-long period, and 42 for a week-long one. Definitely, the fertile stage becomes a real tragedy for women, who are forced to break the sanitary rules suggested by the specialists to make our stock of pads last a few more days.
And the quality?
«Terrible. I have to buy them in hard currency stores for my 15-year-old daughter because the ones they sell in the pharmacy make her skin sore and absorb very little, so she often gets stained. It is a sacrifice to buy them at 1.00 CUC or more because my salary is 350 pesos in national currency, and that is to cover all household expenses,” says Maribel Fuentes, from Old Havana.
The lack or excess of glue in the body of the pad is another recurring complaint. “When they have it, the glue is not where it should be, and that makes the pad very uncomfortable to wear because it runs constantly and that can be an embarrassment in front of other people,” warns Yenisey Yera, from Bauta.
Since 2007, extra-thin PADS cushions with and without wings [see translator’s note at bottom] have been marketed, but the change has not been welcomed by all women. Amarilis Verdecia, from San Miguel del Padrón, feel that, although sometimes it has been explained that these pads have greater absorption than the previous ones, it is not like that, and that to be safe, she must use more than one at the same time.
Yadira Ariosa, from Cerro, agrees with the poor quality of the product in general, but believes that the extra-thin pads are more comfortable than the thicker ones.
Butterfly according to Mathisa
On December 15, 2017 Emma Hernández Ibarra, general director of Mathisa, the National Hygienic-Sanitary Materials Company –and the only producer of sanitary pads in the country– replied through Granma newspaper to a complaint issued by Yudania Roche Sánchez, who decried their poor quality.
In the publication, director Hernández Ibarra explains that Mathisa relies in technology from the year 2004 that allows producing pads with and without wings, the latter mainly destined to hard currency stores.
She also said that the decision to produce “wingless pads for pharmacies responds to technological difficulties in the production lines”.
In search of more answers, JR spoke with Emma Hernández Ibarra and other Mathisa executives. As explained in the aforementioned publication, the super fine Mariposa pad is intended to offer greater comfort, since it is thinner and has a more compact super absorbent core in charge of gelatinizing the menstrual fluid.
She also clarifies that these pads are designed for a normal flow and a time of use of around three hours.
“Production depends on our current capacity, that is, a rate of 300 units per minute with a manual packaging system, which allows us to produce 3.6 to 3.8 million packages per month and no more” , she says.
These figures match the Cuban fertile population, so it is only possible to guarantee one package for each woman.
According to Hernández Ibarra, in 2017 the production of pads in the three factories of the country -one in the capital, which supplies the western region; one in Sancti Spíritus, in charge of the central provinces, and another in Bayamo, to supply eastern Cuba- was affected by the lack of essential raw materials.
“Eight of the ten raw materials needed to make them are imported from countries such as Spain, Italy and China, and only the packing and packaging material is found in the domestic market,” she says.
Due to the deficit of imported products, Mathisa, in turn, fail to meet its 2017 annual plan by ten percent and, although it managed to reduce the problems of distributing the entire product in stock, it will be impossible for the company to recover the production of the months in which the factories were stopped. “We do not have the capacity to produce what is necessary on a monthly basis and to make up for the delay on top of that.”
In response to this limitation, the National Hygienic-Sanitary Materials Company will begin a new “cycle” in 2018, which means that the women censored as of this month will get the pads for this year, but not those that remained pending in 2017, explained the Director General of Mathisa.
Yaimara Díaz Placeres, director of the UEB Almohadillas Mariposa Habana, explained that, in addition to the long-used machinery, the fluctuation of personnel also interferes with the quality of the process, since the quality control and package inspection activities are done manually, therefore, due to human errors, generally of personnel with little experience, defective packages are marketed.
In addition to Mariposa, Mathisa deputy director Mireyda Feris Tamayo explained, the company produces a discreet amount of the Petalos brand; the rest of the pads sold in Cuba are imported.
The concerns that women raise regarding the sanitary pads seem to accumulate, and for them there are still no definitive solutions, at least in the coming months, during which it only remains to expect that there will be no problems in the production or transportation of the Mariposa packages, and therefore, that at least we will get the 120 units that we are supposed to receive every year.
Also posted to Cubadebate:
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: Wings are adhesive and are supposed to stick to the underwear so the pad stays put.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
On January 18, at 5:00 PM, the photographic exhibition SOMOS, by the visual artist Roberto Chile, will open at the Collage Habana Gallery of the Cuban Fund of Cultural Assets
From the representation of faces, symbols, rituals and offerings, perfectly captured by the insightful and timely viewpoint of the artist, we discover the mysticism and charm of an environment forbidden to many and that is exhibited here and now, as a photographic essay.
At the same time – in what constitutes one of the fundamental contributions of this exhibition – Chile shows us that imaginary bundle with which the slaves were brought to the Island: memories, dances, songs, languages, ceremonies, which, when interacting between yes and with the dominant culture, motivated the so-called religious expressions of African origin.
In the words of Rafael Acosta de Arriba, in his words to the catalog, “all the religious syncretism that these images reflect is based on the strength and relevance of the subjects who stage them, masterfully recorded by their eye”.
Somos, dedicated to the memory of Enriquito de La Hata, will remain open to the public until February 18, at the headquarters of the gallery, which is located on San Rafael, between the Consulado and Industria, Centro Habana, and may be visited at the usual hours.
La galería Collage Habana del Fondo Cubano de Bienes Culturales, inaugurará el 18 de enero de 2018, a las 5:00 p.m., la muestra fotográfica Somos, del artista visual Roberto Chile.
A partir de la representación de rostros, símbolos, rituales y ofrendas, perfectamente captados por la mirada perspicaz y oportuna del artista, se nos revela el misticismo y encanto de un ámbito vedado para muchos y que se exhibe aquí y ahora, cual ensayo fotográfico.
Al mismo tiempo – en lo que constituye uno de los aportes fundamentales de esta muestra – Chile nos asoma a ese fardo imaginario con el que los esclavos fueron acarreados a la Isla: memorias, bailes, cantos, lenguas, ceremonias, que, al interactuar entre sí y con la cultura dominante, motivaron las llamadas expresiones religiosas de origen africano.
Al decir de Rafael Acosta de Arriba en sus palabras al catálogo, “todo el sincretismo religioso que reflejan estas imágenes parte de la fuerza y relevancia que poseen los sujetos que las escenifican, registrados magistralmente por su ojo”.
Somos , dedicada a la memoria de Enriquito de La Hata, permanecerá abierta al público hasta el 18 de febrero, en la sede de la galería, que se ubica en San Rafael, entre Consulado e Industria, Centro Habana, y podrá ser visitada en los horarios habituales.
By Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
To banish gender violence from our lives, we must begin by accepting its multiple guises and propose worthy alternatives to everyday behaviors that normalize that scourge from male and female roles.
The violence that is externalized in public spaces against women, girls or other men according to their gender identity or sexual orientation, is barely ten percent of what occurs in an imperceptible way. It leaves no physical traces because it is exercised at the symbolic and psychological level, and is not denounced because it generates feelings of shame or disability. This is especially if the violent act comes from people who should guarantee us affection and protection.
Also influences the social tendency to tolerate other manifestations of violence reaffirmed through popular music and sporting events, the relaxation of the rules of coexistence or the misrepresentation of creeds that assume male supremacy as natural and necessary.
More than obeying
To modify this practice, it is necessary to understand the impact of intimidation on individual health and the well-being of society. Dozens of institutions investigate its causes and paths in Cuba, including the Institute of Legal Medicine, the Attorney General’s Office, the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex), the chairs of women, the Center for Women’s Studies and the Family, the Cuban Women’s Federation (FMC), the Center for Youth Studies and the Center for Psychological and Sociological Research.
The work of the Oscar Arnulfo Romero Reflection and Solidarity Group is an example of how Cuban civil society is also involved in the transformation of these lessons. Since 2007, that body has generated messages of public good that invite reflection on psychological violence, involving students and professionals of design, social communication, journalism and audiovisual media in the creative process.
This is how the Eres Más campaign was born, which, in addition to using traditional media circuits, occupies visible spaces in billboards and other media to reach all the municipalities in the country and make stereotypes problemmatic or to dismantle myths and macho customs.
Its main goal is to urge adult women of any race and origin to become aware of their rights and adapt the response to that aggression (subtle or obvious) that seeks to perpetuate the economic and sexual dominance of the masculine.
It also invites men to gradual change in beliefs and habits, in order to establish more equitable relationships from a spirituality committed to solidarity, plurality and participation.
More than resist
One campaign does not change the reality, but it makes the evil visible and appeals to feelings and principles to overcome the resistance to change of those who live with the abuse, although as they praise equal rights, sowing in the new generations those double standards, loaded with discriminatory prejudices .
Some patterns survive in our identity to such an extent that many people justify male violence unconsciously. Society is silent when the man controls or limits the woman, but is scandalized if it is she who tries to “put on pants” because that subverts the supposed natural order, and the same happens with the distribution of passive and active roles in homosexual couples .
Neither of the two extremes is right: It is necessary to educate ourselves in amorous dialogue to break such habitual mechanisms. It may also be necessary to seek legal or therapeutic help in the orientation centers for the woman and the family, the National Revolutionary Police, the Primary Health and the offices of attention to the citizen rights of the municipal Prosecutor’s Office.
The invitation to change is made: As a man, you can make the decision to try a different behavior, more respectful and consistent with your feelings. As a woman you have the challenge of suspending the legitimacy of violence, not allowing it in your environment or transmitting it uncritically to your children.
Do not accept being imposed on the road: build your reality according to your dreams and potentialities knowing that you are more, much more than what they make you see. You are not responsible for the suffocating behavior of significant men in your life (couple, father, brothers, colleagues, religious leaders, formal authorities), even if they try to justify centuries of patriarchal domination.
Day dedicated to youth
The main activities will take place in Las Tunas province from December 7 to 9. There will be held the National Meeting of the Platform of Cuban Men for Nonviolence and Gender Equity
Published Friday 01 December 2017 | 09:44:47 PM
The capital city of Tuesday 12 in the Mathematics Department of the University of Havana and will be dedicated to people with special needs, and their ability to love and enjoy the erotic without limitations
Author: Mariela Rodríguez Méndez
Masters in Clinical Psychology, counselor in STDs and HIV/AIDS and psychoanalyst
Posted: Friday 01 December 2017 | 09:46:58 PM
The confusion begins when I spend time without having sex with girls and I begin to get attention from men
JB: I’ve spent my whole life studying. That’s not why I stopped going out, having sex with girls and feeling good about them. The confusion begins when I spend time without having relationships with girls and I begin to draw attention to men … The problem is that I do not know if I’m gay or bisexual. I do not know in what direction my sexual orientation is. I am a 26 year old young man.
It’s better not to impose an answer that you still do not have. You must wait for experiences that allow you to distinguish your preference. You would have to define if you are only with men when you lack famale options or if you wish,in the first place, to be intimate with them, with women or both.
Sexual orientation is defined by preference; not by practices or conveniences. A person, due to multiple circumstances, can have sexual practices with people whom they do not prefer.
Homosexuality refers to the preference for people of the same sex, heterosexuality refers to the preference for people of the other sex and bisexuality supposes that they like with the same intensity people of both sexes, without being able to do without one or the other.
From what he says, until now he is doing well to be surprised by his experience. It is striking that he is not interested in being part of a couple and now he is worrying about an answer that would tie down his future decisions. Why define your orientation now? What good would it do to have that answer now? What else is going on?
My Last Farewell to Armando Hart
By Manuel E. Yepe
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Tonight I will go to the Marti Studies Center of Cuba to give my last farewell to revolutionary combatant Armando Hart Dávalos, who died in Havana of a heart attack.
To say Armando Hart in Cuba is to invoke some of the most transcendental works of Fidel Castro’s revolution. Especially in the fields of education, culture, journalism and politics. Before meeting Armando Hart, I had had very casual relationships in the insurrectional camp with his brother Enrique Hart, whom I admired a lot but worked with very little, because although we both were active in the same revolutionary organization, the 26th of July Movement, my level in its hierarchy was far from from that which Enriquito and Armando had reached.
During my six years as Cuban Ambassador in Romania from 1962 to 1968, I used to do what I jokingly called “courtesy visits” to several colleagues with whom I had developed friendly relations at the time of the insurrectional struggle against the Batista dictatorship. which I consolidated during the period from 1959 to 1961 when I worked as “Introducer of Ambassadors”, a position that is also called Director of Protocol, in the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, then headed by the Chancellor of Dignity, Raúl Roa.
One of those habitual friends contacted during my always short vacation in Cuba was the young Armando Hart, at that time Minister of Education, with whom I exchanged my new diplomatic experiences, with his as minister and political leader.
Each annual meeting with Hart was for me a master class that left me better prepared to contribute to the revolutionary cause in my country while I felt that the experiences in international politics that Armando narrated were also well received.
When I finished my mission as an ambassador in Bucharest and introduced myself to Roa, the foreign minister informed me that, by indication, President Osvaldo Dorticos would go to work in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) with Armando Hart, who was then the Organization Secratary of the PCC. From then on, I served as head of the (unipersonal) section of international information of the Cuban party organization in a function that basically meant serving as Party spokesperson in permanent exchange with those responsible for international information of accredited national or foreign press organs.in Cuba.
For me, this was great news. It allowed me to continue for a few more years developing my intellect, which is the main benefit received by those who have had the honor to work as collaborators with Armando Hart.
A short time later, at Hart´s suggestion, I was selected Director General of the Prensa Latina news agency. There I maintained close working and friendship relations with this extraordinary Cuban revolutionary intellectual whose footprint will remain indelible in the history of the country.
In recent years I have shared with Dr. Armando Hart the role of collaborator with newspapers PORESTO! and a strong friendship with its General Director Mario Menéndez Rodríguez.
November 26, 2017.
By Manuel E. Yepe
MI ÚLTIMO ADIÓS A ARMANDO HART Por Manuel E. Yepe
Esta noche acudiré al Centro de Estudios Martianos de Cuba a dar mi último adiós al combatiente revolucionario Armando Hart Dávalos, fallecido en La Habana a causa de una crisis cardiaca.
Decir Armando Hart en Cuba es invocar algunas de las obras más trascendentales de la revolución de Fidel Castro. En especial en los terrenos de la educación, la cultura, el periodismo y la política. Antes de conocer a Armando Hart, había tenido relaciones muy eventuales en el campo insurreccional con su hermano Enrique Hart, a quien admiré mucho pero traté poco, porque aunque militábamos en la misma organización revolucionaria, el Movimiento 26 de Julio, mi nivel jerárquico distaba mucho del que habían alcanzado Enriquito y Armando.
Durante los seis años que me desempeñe como Embajador de Cuba en Rumanía 1962 al 1968, acostumbraba a realizar lo que yo llamaba jocosamente “visitas de cortesía” a varios compañeros con quienes había desarrollado relaciones de amistad en la época de la lucha insurreccional contra la dictadura batistiana, que consolidé durante el período de 1959 al 1961 cuando trabajé como “Introductor de Embajadores”, cargo que también se identifica como Director de Protocolo, en el Ministerio cubano de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba, entonces encabezado por el canciller de la dignidad, Raúl Roa.
Uno de esos habituales amigos contactados durante mis siempre breves vacaciones en Cuba era el joven Armando Hart, a la sazón Ministro de Educación, con quien intercambiaba mis nuevas experiencias diplomáticas, con las suyas como ministro y dirigente político.
Cada encuentro anual con Hart era para mí una clase magistral que me dejaba mejor preparado para aportar a la causa revolucionaria en mi país mientras sentía que las experiencias en política internacional que narraba a Armando también eran bien recibidas.
Cuando terminé mi misión como embajador en Bucarest y me presenté ante Roa, el canciller me informó que por indicación el Presidente Osvaldo Dorticós yo pasaría a trabajar en el Comité Central el Partido Comunista de Cuba con Armando Hart, quien era entonces el Secretario de Organización de esa colectividad. Serví a partir de entonces como jefe de la sección (unipersonal) de información internacional de la organización partidista cubana en una función que básicamente constituía servir de vocero del Partido en intercambio permanente con los responsables de información internacional de los órganos de prensa nacionales o extranjeros acreditados en Cuba.
Ello constituyó, para mí, una gran noticia que me permitió continuar algunos años más desarrollando mi intelecto, que es el beneficio principal que reciben quienes han tenido el honor e trabajar como colaboradores de Armando Hart.
Poco tiempo después, a propuesta de Hart, fui seleccionado Director General de la agencia de noticias Prensa Latina en cuyo desempeño mantuve estrechas relaciones de trabajo y amistad con este extraordinario intelectual revolucionario cubano cuya huella permanecerá indeleble en la historia de la patria.
En los años más recientes he compartido con el doctor Armando Hart la función de colaborador con los periódicos PORESTO! y una fuerte amistad con su Director General Mario Menéndez Rodríguez.
Noviembre 26 de 2017.
They don’t feel sorry, should they?
Roberto Alfonso Lara Licenciado en Periodismo.
Graduado en la Universidad Central “Marta Abreu”
de Las Villas en 2013.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Two women walk together, holding hands, appropriating the same space and right that society allows heterosexual couples. Two women love each other and do not hesitate to share their affection, under the warm sun of these days. Two women kiss in public –an innocent touch of lips– and around them the looks of contempt, the feeling of disgust, the scandalized common shame.
-I don’t know, wow, I would be sorry, warns another woman.
Prejudices persist and reality is responsible for challenging them. Every day it is more frequent to see the amorous self-assurance of two women (or men) in the street. They try to lead their lives in this way, naturally, like the rest of the people, without feeling discrimination and offense towards one or another relationship. But the more habitual the scene is, the more settled the phobia of the different. There are still many people who conceive and accept, in public, only one type of affection.
To love and show it openly through any caress, goes through a strongly patriarchal culture, which still recognizes as legitimate and obligatory the value system linked to heterosexuality. Censure the candid kiss between two females with the same arrogance that should admonish the kissing, almost pornographic, of two young people of the same or opposite sex in a park or corner of the city. What’s reprehensible, given the case, does not lie in the sexual condition of those who kiss, but in the impudent manner in which something so intimate is exhibited. However, the morality shared today is sometimes more condescending in the face of obscenity and less in the face of what differs from their beliefs.
The prevailing macho and homophobic tradition repudiates the expressions of affection between two lesbians, for many, the most hidden and marginalized population within homosexuality. The reactions and terms used to define them (“disgusting”, “filthy”, “repulsive”) are truly offensive and show how little literacy continues Cuban society on issues related to sexual and civic education.
For the psychologist and activist Norma Guillard, a decades-long defender of the rights of lesbian women in Cuba, the situations of discrimination and rejection that involve them represent another example of gender-based violence in the country. This makes it difficult to face “lesbophobia” in the family and social spheres; more when there is not even a systematic observation about their conflicts, nor is sexuality promoted from an early age that allows people to face, with the necessary self-esteem, the condition in which they wish to live and be happy.
However, the matter goes beyond the institutional and legal efforts in favor of the rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and Intersex people (LGBTI), even in the nations where they have been recognized. Very recently, last October in Buenos Aires, Argentina –considered one of the most “gayfriendly” capitals in Latin America– Mariana Gómez, married to Rocío Girat, was arrested for kissing in public with her wife, in a clear attack on her sexual orientation The fact gave rise to protests against the obvious episode of lesbophobia.
If kissing is, as we know, a liberating and exciting act, its enjoyment in public, in a measured and tender way, should be assumed without sexist and discriminatory questions. Nobody is given the power to decide who should do it or not, but the possibility of being more tolerant, sensitive and respectful of the difference.
Roberto Alfonso Lara Licenciado en Periodismo.
Graduado en la Universidad Central “Marta Abreu”
de Las Villas en 2013.
By Yunier Javier Sifonte Díaz
October 24, 2017
As part of the academic program of the I International Scientific Convention of the “Marta Abreu” Central University of Las Villas (UCLV), Ramón Labañino, Hero of the Republic of Cuba, gave a keynote address today and spoke with those present about the main challenges of updating the Cuban economic model.
With a title as controversial as “Is Cuba returning to Capitalism?” , the Vice-President of the Cuban National Association of Economists and Accountants, presented in his talk the main characteristics of the national context. He discussed the need to understand the changes made in the Island as a way of working to ensure a better standard of living and an equitable and fair benefit for all citizens of the nation.
“The name of my talk is just a hook, a provocation to discussion, but what really matters is to draw attention to the most negative characteristics of capitalism and what are the inviolable essences in our country in order to maintain the social model chosen by the island for more than 50 years,” he added.
In his presentation, Labañino outlined the main characteristics seen in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics years before the fall of Socialism in that country. The role of the party, the need to keep the media in the hands of the people, to avoid regionalism, as well as the “wholesale privatization and commodification of the socialist economy” are factors that are essential for us not to repeat in Cuba the mistakes made in the Eurasian nation, he said.
He also referred to the importance of preserving the policy of a single party against alternatives aimed at dismantling that idea and advocated confronting imperialism’s cultural war with intelligence and a critical sense.
“The single party strengthens us as a nation. Defending alternative formulas to ours, based on a model of democracy that has already proven its ineffectiveness in many countries, means playing Imperialism’s game. Our party has the essences of that created by Marti in 1892: anti-imperialist, sovereign and with a defense of national dignity as the first inviolable law. These characteristics make it strong and necessary in every moment of the country’s history. “
Issues such as monetary dualism, the role of the press in the country, non-agricultural cooperatives, work in the agricultural sector, the development of the labor force in the public and private sectors and the need to increase labor productivity in all the areas of the country as a basic rule to achieve an effective growth of the Cuban economy, were also among the main issues discussed between the Hero and the delegates gathered to hear it.
Regarding the new economic figures that emerged in the heat of the changes implemented in the Cuban economy, Ramón spoke about their importance to free the state from the unnecessary wear and tear of controlling small spheres, but warned of the importance of carrying them out so that their income also plays a key role in the development of society.“What we transfer to private hands is not property, but the management of social property,” he summarized.
Similarly, Labañino discussed the relevance of the main transformations to the economic, political and social model of the country. He defended the idea of that these changes are essential for subsistence as a nation, but always for the sake of maintaining our social achievements .
“In a highly democratic process, the greatest news was consulted with the majority of Cubans, because one of our great strengths is that the measures applied are based on all citizens, especially to defend the most underprivileged. Although we want a greater speed in implementation, sometimes we must stop, rectify what is wrong and move forward, because we can not afford to make mistakes and waste the few resources at our disposal,” he said.
After his comments, the Hero of the Republic of Cuba talked exclusively with Cubadebate. He said the the merit of sharing his experiences in an event like the one organized by the UCLV, a Department of Advanced Studies “with highly-qualified professionals in both the technological and the political, as well as the scientific and academic.”
Likewise, Labañino spoke of his experience of returning to the island after 15 years of absence. He said he found a country “always changing, with a beautiful and well-done opening, especially since there is an awareness that the transformations in our society exist because of an historical necessity and not because of a whim or an idea of playing at Capitalism,” he said.
Questioned on the main challenges for Cuba’s present and future, Labañino did not hesitate to describe the blockade imposed by the United States as the first of them. “Although people sometimes do not see it, every economic action bears its stamp. If this were not so, our country would do better, because we have a high cultural and educational level, natural conditions and a high professional capacity to rub shoulders with first world nations. “
In a simple dialogue, always open to discussion and sharing experiences, the anti-terrorist fighter recalled the importance of knowing history so as not to repeat negative experiences. Likewise, in these times of “empty and manipulative discourses,” he highlighted Fidel Castro’s legacy for the construction of an increasingly prosperous and inclusive country. He warned of the importance of maintaining essential principles of the Cuban Revolution, such as internationalism, anti-imperialism and solidarity with the peoples of the Third World.
By Editor, Havana Radio/ Photos: Alexis Rodríguez
October 20, 2017
By: Luis Mario Rodríguez Suñol
Translated and edited for CubaNews
by Walter Lippmann. Oct. 20, 2017.
What can happen to the mind of a five-year-old boy who floats alone in the middle of the sea after losing his mother in a shipwreck? They say that he prayed to the Guardian Angel and that some dolphins dragged their raft towards the shore, but the opposite, away from his father and his true family in Cuba.
Little Elián González became a victim of the Cuban Adjustment Act. And at the same time, the key figure in the battle of a whole country [people] for his return. The shipwrecked child has become a 24-year-old revolutionary. He shared his story on Wednesday at the Anti-imperialist Tribunal, one of the core areas of the XIX World Festival of Youth and Students.
His history and the images of his return, in June of the year 2000, shook those present. Their voices united against imperialism. When he recalled his experiences, Elián could not contain his tears. Neither did the audience who heard his heartbreaking testimony in the first person.
Elián recalled how, as a victim of the Cuban Adjustment Act, he and his mother left Cuba illegally for the United States and the boat sank in the middle of the voyage. He maintained that the pain of losing his mother and being away from his father and his land, added to the violation of his rights and identity on American soil.
“They violated everything that is my country, my feelings, everything that was my culture,” said Elian, who said that these abuses happened with the approval of the United States government. He added: “Our crime has been sovereignty! Sovereignty was conquered, indeed, in January 1959! Our crime has been socialism! “
González pointed out other factors condemning imperialism, such as the 60 years of blockade against Cuba, the main barrier to the country’s development. He traced the history of Cuba, listing deeds that should have been prosecuted and condemned, such as the mercenary invasion at Playa Girón [Bay of Pigs], orchestrated by the Central Intelligence Agency; the illegal presence on Cuban territory of the US Naval Base at Guantanamo and the crime of Barbados where they killed 73 people [a reference to the 1976 mid-flight bombing of a Cuban passenger plane. The plane — containing all of Cuba’s young gold-medal winning fencing team as well as adults, students and children from 5 other countries — was returning to Cuba from Venezuela.It was history’s first terrorist bombing of a passenger plane, organized and carried out by a team led by Cuban counterrevolutionary expatriates Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles with the knowledge of the CIA, led at that time by George Bush.]
At the end of his speech, on behalf of the heroic Cuban people, which he said would rather disappear than go down on its knees, he asked for a condemnation of Yankee imperialism for all the human and economic damage it has caused.
Other voices from around the world spoke up at the tribunal, such as the young Saharaui Omar Hanesa, who maintained that in 1975 his country was under the dominion and occupation of Morocco, after two years of Spanish colonization. He also demanded justice for the crimes committed and demanded the release of political prisoners, sentenced to more than 20 years for organizing peaceful marches to defend the cause of his people.
Korean President Ri Cho Liu also spoke. He listed the damage caused by the US government’s economic blockade of Democratic Korea for more than 60 years in order to subdue his country.
The Tribunal became a space of unity to fight against imperialism by denouncing its crimes and proving that the young people of the world are willing to carry out the belief that a better world is possible.