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 […]
Donate Blood, Not Prejudice
By LISANDRA GÓMEZ GUERRA.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The Autoexclúyete [Self-Exclusion] Campaign seeks to guide people on the health requirements they must have so their blood can be used
At the Sancti Spíritus Provincial Blood Bank, behind the desk of the receptionist, there is a poster that, rather than informing, generates noise, misinterpretation and, above all, segregation.
Seeking to explain the health requirements that a person must have to become a blood donor, the poster warns: “There are individual behaviors and actions the law does not prohibit, but that can be a disease-transmission risk among those who practice them. It is recommended that these people self-exclude, that is, they should abstain from donating their blood. Among these practices are: homosexuality, bisexualism, sexual promiscuity …”
This is worrisome because the fact that an institution belonging to the health sector expresses such misconception on the diversity of tastes, behaviors and inclinations of human sexuality is indicative of underlying discrimination.
According to Graduate Nurse Víctor González, Deputy Director of the Center, the Autoexclúyete Campaign seeks to guide the population on what health requirements they must have for their blood to be used. Thus, everyone should be able to tell whether they are eligible or not to donate blood. But, more than that, the poster reveals that at this workplace, in the 21st Century, several myths and misconceptions are still held.
Historically, homosexuals have been blamed for the emergence and spread of HIV. Several religions maintain that it is a punishment for going against nature. For years, however, science has been responsible for denying this and, although it is true that AIDS is more common in men than in women, it has also been shown that its spreading was linked to the widespread habit of not using condoms.
It is also known that in Africa –the geographic region where the disease began spreading– the first infections were among heterosexual persons. The truth is that AIDS has no face.
This wrong perception is also linked to the prejudice that the homosexual population is promiscuous. It is striking that, for the World Health Organization, a promiscuous person is “one who has more than two sexual partners in a year”. So the label fits homosexuals, bisexuals, heterosexuals, transsexuals and as many denominations as we would care to mention.
Rather than worrying about how a person finds pleasure, it would be advisable that the Provincial Blood Bank maintain its excellent work. To this end, there are some provisions –a sort of ABC– ranging from detection by primary health care services of those who wish and are eligible to donate blood, to the analyses of blood samples to corroborate the quality and type of blood, whoever the person is.
The real risks are not in what we are, but in the responsibility (or lack of it) with which we face our lives. Only free from stereotyped conceptions can we live in a more just and less exclusionary world.
10 Responses to “Donate blood, not prejudice”
Incredible, as I read it I do not believe it … and what role has played in all this by the administration of the blood bank that has allowed such a poster ?? … UFF … attitudes like these leave a lot to be desired …
Companions of Escambray:
With my mouth open I have been left to read the Public Health reply to this letter, published in today’s print edition. I had not really read the commentary from the journalist Lisandra Gómez and ran to see her on this medium. Why have not they put that reaction here already? I hope to see you soon and, if you can, to include this opinion below.
First of all I want to say that it is a very serious disrespect to the readers to send a press text so poorly worded. The lack of agreement, coordination in ideas and misuse of gerunds and other components of language are obvious. Incidentally, even the poster contains linguistic errors. And it has been there for years, according to them, without someone noticing not only the errors of form, but, above all, content!
The poster is very eloquent, well, it is enough to publish it alone, without comment, to realize that the letter sent by the sanitary authorities seeks only to protect itself from a correct criticism, but was eluded by them, since apparently they believe themselves infallible.
A few years ago, I think that in the middle of 2014, I read another similar reaction and I think it becomes worrisome that tendency to not accept the external valuations, more when in the eyes are mistaken.
I would recommend to those who wrote this document to contact the fellows of the Cuban Association of Social Communicators to give them a course on how to write, brainstorm ideas and, finally, communicate. I’m serious. So maybe they do not incur new mistakes other than that already denounced by the publication.
Finally I recommend you reread the letter of the companera Lisandra so that they realize that yes, they exclude instead of adding followers to the campaign of blood donation. And discriminate. The poster speaks for itself.
I, too, have been stunned by such a poster. If, as from journalism itself, we have tackled on other occasions, blood banks are rigorously analyzed before use, if Cuba is ever more advanced in methods and resources to ensure safe blood, if the fact that donations are made voluntarily contributes to that aspiration, what does the campaign of self-exclusion then respond to? Do they no longer have the necessary resources for a reliable quality test, or are they increasingly costly to the country and, therefore, is it expected that this measure will contribute to safer donations? This initiative is worrying, as well as others that have appeared in recent times, but are another matter.
And who says that heterosexual people with a single partner can not be carriers of HIV, one responds to their sexual behavior, but what about the couple? What else do you do if you are gay, bisexual, straight or trans, autoexclúyete discriminates more, if you want to prevent: rapid testing is a method to detect HIV / AIDS.
What a shame to find such promotional banners like these. Apparently, we do not agree on promotion and propaganda, as close as May 17 and the day against homophobia. Thanks to whatever, we have in the world a profession called “journalism” that criticizes, values and educates. Good post
What communicator and designer could participate in the conception of this campaign? That is discrimination, segregation, an outrage and use of faculties that no institution can tell people to EXCLUDE to donate blood. I have donated blood repeatedly and have never been asked such things.
And the blood does not undergo a rigorous analysis to know if it is optimal or not? Or just for the word of the donors is approved ???
Congratulations to the journalist Lisandra.
When I saw the misleading poster (let’s call it that), I wondered where they received the title that accredits them as health officials, those responsible for such nonsense (I included from who conceived the idea of the poster, who gave the campaign its name and even who approved it and put it on).
I came back to a country lost in geography (I think beyond the stone age) and I resisted thinking that in the country where I trained as a scientist there could be people so twisted, able to hide their homophobia and disguise it from ignorance, illiteracy, medical, epidemiological and other excesses that I prefer not to mention.
SELF-EXCLUDING !!! ??? but where it has seen similar and opprobrious nonsense !!! And such inadequate and erroneous arguments. Does this nurse not know about the very rigorous quality tests to which the donated blood is (donation by donation) before being released and declared fit for use? Or is that the hidden intention of “de-instruction” another.
Is it that we are going to return to a past that we have criticized so many times and that we have so often admitted the gravity of the mistakes made?
I wonder if there is a scientific advisor who reads what is going to be published in that institution or someone responsible for such nonsense to not be displayed on behalf of a health institution that is respected ?.
I am more relaxed if it is only a local initiative, wrong but perfectly correctable. If the evil has other dimensions, then it is still much more serious.
Thank you Lisandra Gomez Guerra for this article that expresses the feeling, concern and indignation of many who have wondered, baffled, if the program of Nursing Degree where our colleague Victor González graduated should be reviewed, completed or in case this Is optimal, then analyze the suitability of who holding a professional title acting as if it were not. THANKS also to the editorial board of this newspaper for putting objectivity and social justice on the side of reason.
I understand that my words may sound a bit strong and hopefully my opinion is not EXCLUDED (in the middle of this harmful campaign) to face the lack of objectivity and put the finger in the yaga of that old behavior that disguises homophobia with many masks and has made many bleed. THANK YOU!!
I am glad that people are as prepared as you to analyze and that response so admirable, because, without offending anyone, and without ideology trastocada, has said the greatest truth, that in these times there are still people with such reasoning and even worse that there is a leader a little analyst and prepared that he did not give a stop to this stupidity, thanks to the journalist that I hope that comment has not brought consequences as usual in our country.
I imagine that many are very worried about what is written on that poster, and others do not even count, it is not necessary to offend anyone if what is just read is enough to draw some conclusions, what a shame and then they say they know what they are talking about (I.e.
We will denounce it internationally. If I could file a lawsuit with that institution, I would … but we already know that we are unprotected.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive to the daily POR ESTO! of Mérida, Mexico.
Political organizations and religious institutions of all kinds, tones, and colors have tried to legislate about what have been (or are) the most appropriate “carnal relations.”
An investigative work on homosexuality in several countries, by University of New Mexico professor emeritus of sociology, Nelson Valdés, states that the Bolsheviks in Russia criminalized homosexuality for a short time in 1922. But it has been a general rule that both communists, socialists and capitalist parties always avoid defining guidelines on sexual orientation.
Valdés points out that in the United States, the change came just on December 6, 2011, when US foreign policy manifested itself in defense of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender “rights” in some countries of the world. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then announced a global LGBT policy, although she acknowledged that she was talking about this subject “knowing that my country’s record on human rights for homosexuals is far from adequate.”
Until 2003, it was a crime in the United States to be LGBT. Many homosexuals in the United States suffered violence and harassment. For some – among them many young people – harassment and exclusion continue to be daily realities. “Hence, as in all nations, we have a lot of work to do to protect human rights in our country,” Secretary of State Clinton said in a December 2011 statement.
His new international policy promised to open the borders of the United States to give aid and protection to the LGBT refugees and asylum seekers … as long as they came from those countries of which Washington demands regime change.
Practically, the United States had only added one more pretext for its intrusion into the internal affairs of those countries that defied American power.
Shortly afterward, in the mid-1970s, the media “influenced” by Washington within their own nation and around the world unleashed a great campaign on the alleged discrimination against homosexuals in Cuba.
Simultaneously, a media crusade was initiated to demonstrate that “the roots of homophobia in Cuba were in the revolution of Fidel Castro and the new Cuban communist leadership.” In 2000, the Cuban leader admitted his personal responsibility for not having promptly corrected the phenomenon, derived from the stubborn policies of years before the revolution.
Until 1973 homosexuality was considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and other related professions throughout the hemisphere shared similar attitudes. Homosexuality was considered until very recently a “deviation” and prohibited in the majority of the states of the United States. For its part, Cuba had inherited a macho culture because of long-standing attitudes, both in Spain and in the African cultures that contribute to its national identity.
However, in the last two decades, says Professor Nelson Valdes, the changes on issues of sexual identity and gender have been extraordinary. The Cuban media has played a systematic and concerted role in the education of the general population. Cinematography has been at the forefront in discussing these issues. In the last 13 years, Cuban television has more explicitly explored issues related to alternative sexual behavior.
The openness to openly gay behavior has not been limited to Havana alone. Homophobia is clearly in decline throughout the island as evidenced by the fact that gay and lesbian candidates are being elected to public office. A well-known foreign observer has pointed out that, in this area, “Cuba is much more liberal than the United States and Europe.”
What remains to be addressed is how it has been possible for a country characterized by such macho tendencies so entrenched in institutions, politicians, and national culture to have changed so much in the relatively short period of half a century and now that homophobia has become the enemy.
Indeed, the mainstream media and political and social leaders in the country have openly attempted to positively influence the population, in which some of the older people have tried to cling to the sexual and gender roles learned before the triumph Of the Cuban revolution.
Valdes highlights as a great achievement that Cubans have overcome the idea that machismo, manhood, and masculinity are the expressions of what defines a revolutionary. But, in my opinion, it is the awareness of the necessity of national unity for the defense of the revolution that has played an essential role in such a transcendental task for the progress of the human condition.
July 6, 2017.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Author: Lourdes Perez Navarro
January 10, 2009 0:40:08 CDT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A little over two years ago, the Resolution 188 of 2006, issued by the Minister of Labor and Social Security, came into effect. Consequently, institutions created or updated their internal disciplinary regulations. The aim was to strengthen labor discipline, educate the workers and deal with the lack of discipline and illegalities present in work places.
The draft [of this Resolution] was discussed and analyzed in meetings with workers before its approval, because it establishes rules and obligations at the workplace. Obligations include punctuality, meeting schedules, not leaving the workplace during working hours without permission of the supervisor, etc. It also states prohibitions like, not punching the card or signing the attendance record of another employee, and serious offenses, such as repeated absences, unjustified unpunctuality, and disregarding warnings and remonstrances.
According to Resolution 188, administrations are obliged to disclose and permanently explain to the workers the internal disciplinary regulations. Workers must obey regulations, or be subject to different disciplinary sanctions, depending on the gravity of the infraction.
It is known that lack of labor discipline slows production rates, erodes service quality and efficiency, and damages the country’s economy. It also dissatisfies the population. For example, if a machine operator doesn’t arrive on time, he interrupts or reduces that day’s production. If a lab technician is absent from work, a number of clinical trials can no longer be made.
These things are happening now. Specialists of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security monitored 2 042 companies and budgeted units during May-June 2008. The study showed that 60% of the workers did not comply with their working day.
They recorded 26 622 violations of labor discipline. Some of them were: late arrivals (46%), taking more than the allotted time for recess and eating (19%), working less than the stipulated working hours(13%), leaving before closing time(10% ) performing other unauthorized activities (5%), and leaving the workplace without proper authorization (4%).
Are a lot of financial and material resources needed to control and enforce discipline and efficient performance during the working day in each workplace? Or do we need more control, supervision and organization at the workplace?
Local administrations and directors are responsible for ongoing observation and control of how their workers comply with their obligations and abide by the rules established. Higher instances must be more demanding.
Why are internal disciplinary regulations put away in a drawer? On the contrary, they should be displayed on the workplace bulletin board, so all workers can see them. The Boards of Directors should periodically discuss the results of internal control checks.
Lack of labor discipline is not only personal. Certainly, those who violate discipline have names, and are liable to disciplinary actions that affect their pocket, their prestige or, in more serious cases, cost them their jobs.
But, this is not the only consequence. It damages the workers collective image, hinders completing economic plans, and affects the quality and efficiency of service. That is why labor discipline should be discussed in workers assemblies, at least once each quarter. This can not continue to be a problem.
By L Eduardo Domínguez, Claudia Yilén Paz Joa
June 17, 2017
When Sunday is celebrated in several regions of the world as Father’s Day, Gerardo Hernandez and Adriana Perez, will have two new reasons to celebrate the special date. The family they built together, fighting two life sentences and 15 years, has already grown to five members, like the five who were the heroes of their cause. The three children born in less than three years, although it is hard to believe, were dreamed of almost exactly as they arrived.
What is a day in the life of the hero who named in letters the children who were going to be born? How did he feed his hope and that of his beloved, more than ninety miles from an infernal hollow? What does a man feel when he fulfills all his dreams and a review of his life is full of impressive coincidences?
Behind the studio glass headsets and microphones are adjusted. They are ready now. Excited and happy, they share laughter and tears, after the poem that provokes memories, music and anecdotes of love. Don’t stop listening to the exclusive interview with the Hero of the Republic of Cuba that from his space “The Light of Memory”, Radio Rebelde gives to parents on their day this Sunday at 11:00 p.m. At Cubadebate we bring you the exclusive.
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
Cuban spy Gerardo Hernandez spent 16 years imprisoned in the US and was amnestied in the process of rapprochement.
Former Cuban spy in the US believes that Havana has won the tug-of-war with Washington.
Havana, 03/19/2016 02:45 h.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Gerardo Hernandez (Havana, June 4, 1965) is the son of a Canary Islands woman who came to Cuba when she was fifteen. He does not have a Spanish passport and considers himself a Cuban patriot. He is the man of the moment on the island. Convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage in the United States, he spent more than fifteen years in prison there.
On December 17, 2014 he was amnestied as a gesture of good will in the process of rapprochement between Cuba and the US. El Español has spoken with him under the watchful eye of the Alma Mater statue at the University of Havana days before the historic visit of Barack Obama to the island, which begins this Sunday. His words are echoed, and heavily so, throughout Cuba in this crucial moment for the largest of the Antilles.
Why were you sent to jail and why where you amnestied?
I was sent to jail because I was doing intelligence work for Cuba in the United States. For many years, groups that were sometimes paid and other times tolerated by the United States had been coming to attack Cuba, planting bombs in hotels, blowing up planes … The US never did anything to stop it, so Cuba was forced to send people over there to uncover their plans and send information over here.
We were arrested and tried in Miami without the minimum guarantees of impartiality. In my case, I was sentenced to two life sentences plus fifteen years of imprisonment. After sixteen years in prison, as part of the ongoing process of rapprochement, the two countries reached an agreement, a part of which was the release of three of the five of us who were still in prison.
Is it correct to say that you were a spy?
Look, there are people who defend us and who take offense by the term. I tell you that the term is wrong, but I do not take offense. Legally it does not apply to us because according to US law, we were not accused of spying, but of conspiracy to commit espionage. But I do not feel offended by the term, as I said. I was an intelligence officer and a spy is something that people talk about in the movies and such.
Fidel Castro talks to Hernandez and Ramon Labañino, another of the prisoners.
Photo: Cuban government
Looking ahead, do you see yourself returning sometime to the US, or do you think of the country holding a grudge?
I hold no grudge whatsoever. I took up a responsibility when I agreed to carry out my mission and I have no problem with that. While we did have the unpleasant experience of hearing people say that they wanted to lynch us, and of having had an unfair trial that lasted more than six months, there were also people, including political and religious officials, who were able to see that our cause was just; also there were actors like Danny Glover, who supported us.
Generally speaking I have no negative feelings toward the US people, but I do not see myself going back because one of the conditions imposed for our release was that we could never go back to that country.
I’m going to ask you to be critical of the Revolution and tell me what it has done wrong in these decades, and if you understand that it is time to seriously consider holding multi-party elections in Cuba.
I think that we do have options in Cuba. I guess you mean the fact that there is a single party. That is the result of historical factors: José Martí founded a single party to make it the party of the Cuban nation. Over time, the Communist Party of Cuba has opened up to other sectors such as the religious. Our goal is to make it even more participatory; but we firmly intend to maintain unity.
Our people, 90, 80 or 75 per cent of it support their Revolution.
Throughout our history we have paid dearly on account of disunity. If they manage to divide us, we will be in trouble. You cannot analyze Cuban reality without emphasizing that we are a small country only ninety miles away from the most powerful nation in the world, one that has been determined to prevent Cubans from choosing our own destiny. Our people, 90, 80 or 75 per cent of it support their revolution. You can rest assured that the day when Cubans do not support the revolution, this could not hold. If we are standing today, it is because we have the majority of Cubans with us. It is not a perfect society, but we want to make it ourselves.
Raul Castro has already announced that he resigns this year. There is talk about Vice President Miguel Diaz Canel, the Minister for Economy Marino Murillo, even about a son of Raul’s…
This is not a monarchy. In Cuba, the succession that occurred was because Raul was our vice president and there was no one else more apt or loved by the people. The [National] Assembly [Parliament] met and he was elected.
This is not a monarchy. In Cuba succession happened because Raul was our Vice President
My personal opinion is that it should be comrade Miguel Diaz Canel, who has a great performance record. But everything depends on the will of the Cuban people.
You speak of the will of Cubans and the possibility of it being expressed under the current regime. When you were in prison, the late dissident Oswaldo Paya collected signatures –as contemplated in the law– in what was known as the “Varela Project”. He demanded freedom of expression and assembly, entrepreneurial freedom, democratic elections and amnesty for political prisoners. He was ignored, but eventually some of his proposals have been adopted. What do you say to that?
Actually I was in prison then. I do know that there have been many projects financed from abroad. For less than that, in the United States you get accused of being an agent at the service of a foreign power, for which I got a fifteen-year sentence. I am sure that in Spain anyone who tries to change the government while being paid by a foreign power would go against Spanish law. If this happens in Cuba, other countries applaud. And, well, if we have taken measures that were in that project, let them be welcome.
The bottom line is: in Cuba do people really have the possibility to make decisions about the political system within the current framework?
Cuba’s current system is not perfect, just like all others. But I’ll give you an example: in the last election of the People’s Power, people who are openly against the Government were nominated. There was a vote and they had their chance. The only requirement in our system is that you get elected at the grassroots; you do not have to be a Party member. It is enough to have a base that supports you.
Yoani Sanchez is primarily a media phenomenon created by the Grupo Prisma, and she is better-known abroad than inside.
We can continue modifying aspects of the system to make it more participatory, but the possibility already exists. What happens is that these dissidents, who sometimes are better known outside Cuba than inside, do not have a base of social support. These are cases artificially created from abroad for a reason. And I’ll give you the case of Yoani Sanchez, a media phenomenon created primarily by the Grupo Prisma, who is better known outside than inside. She can stand here at any corner and nobody knows her.
Nor do the Cuban media give her any coverage…
Sure, she hasn’t deserved it either. The Cuban media would give coverage to a woman who may be having a hard time trying to push her family forward. But I do not see any merit in this person to promote her, and we are not going to waste any money of our media to do so.
There is a great expectation with Obama’s visit. Everyone in Cuba surmises that a new stage is about to begin, but no one gives a name to it. Perhaps it is an economic opening without altering the political system, as in China, or something else. What is your perception?
I don’t have a crystal ball to tell you how Cuba will look like in a few years. What I can tell you is what most Cubans want: a country that solves the problems that still affect us, but also that it does not resemble the Cuba of the past when it was necessary to make a revolution.
What would you demand from the United States so that it doesn’t stop at a policy of gestures; what specific measures would you like to see?
Just what we have demanded for more than half a century, since the triumph of the Revolution: For the US to recognize our right to exist as an independent and sovereign nation, to recognize that we are not their backyard. For them to understand that Cuba is a nation that decided its own destiny; and that we Cubans have the right to resolve our own problems without foreign interference.
In relation to the many Cubans who reside in the United States, conflicting versions circulate. The state newspaper Granma argues that this is not so and that they will do anything to prevent the Castro regime from receiving a life-line. What do you think?
For many years now a lot of surveys have been performed by respectable firms, some of which are not at all friendly to Cuba. Even surveys by the US government itself recognize that the vast majority of Cubans living in the US want a normal relationship with their country. Now then, that vast majority of Cubans do not yet have enough economic and political clout to push for more rapid measures.
Cuban power in the US is held by a minority segment –increasingly so– of powerful Cuban families who have found their way into Congress.
The political and economic power there is held by a minority segment –increasingly so– of Cubans who left this country. They belonged to powerful families and in recent years have come to hold seats in Congress. Up until this week, there were two aspiring candidates for the US presidency of Cuban origin [Republicans Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio who has withdrawn from the presidential race]. That segment is increasingly small, but unfortunately it is the one that controls the banks and the media. The majority is on the other side, but unfortunately many still do not vote and have no power to raise an opinion.
If Ted Cruz wins, would it be good or bad news for Cuba?
I think it would be very bad, because they are people who have lived off the hatred industry for many years. Hatred against Cuba has given them a modus vivendi like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for example, Lincoln Diaz-Balart … members of Congress who for many years have not had a well-defined program other than hatred against Cuba. They have objected to everything that might have benefited the Cuban people. For instance, when hurricanes have devastated the Island and the Red Cross has wanted to seek help from the United States, they have even opposed that. Their preaching has always been: we will destroy the Government of Cuba; we will recover Cuba at any price. They have motivated a generation of old Cubans who know nothing but that message of hatred. That will change with the new generations of Cuban immigrants, especially starting in the eighties, who went to that country to advance economically and help their families.
If the US puts on the negotiation table the need for free elections in Cuba before discussing Guantanamo and the blockade, would it be acceptable?
Of course not. If we talk to them it is because they have recognized that it is impossible for Cuba to accept preconditions. For many years they said they had nothing to negotiate while the Castros were in power, the country was Communist and had a single party; Cuba always remained firm and said that if we ever sat down to negotiate, it would be on equal terms without preconditions. Finally they had to accept.
If we talk with the US it is because they have recognized that it is impossible for Cuba to accept pre-conditions
Do you think Cuba is the winner of this tug-of-war?
I think that Cuba has already won in the sense that we have not given up any of our principles to sit down and negotiate. They are the same since 1959. The United States has said for decades that it would never negotiate while the Castros were in power and yet, Raul Castro is our president, Fidel is alive and is our guide. And they are negotiating with us. It is a victory for Cuba that they have sat down to negotiate without conditions.
EX HUMORIST AND FATHER ‘BEHIND BARS’
Before joining the Cuban intelligence services, Gerardo was a cartoonist. Throughout his years behind bars he claimed he had not lost irony as a weapon of defense. “You can put humor into sixteen years in prison; it is something that helps a lot. We humorists have a particular way of seeing life, and is not that what we take everything lightly, but I do not know any embittered person who can be a humorist. In my case, my optimistic nature helped me a lot. All along the years that we spent in prison, the five of us often laughed at our own misfortunes. That helped us. “
In prison, the five of us often laughed over our own misfortunes
Gerardo has recently become a father. The numbers don’t add up for a period of normal pregnancy, since his daughter was born a few days after he was released. The explanation: “We always wished to have our child; we had asked for conjugal visits for prisoners, something that happens in Cuba but not in the United States, at least in federal prisons. My wife Adriana asked an American senator for help and he knocked on the right doors to allow me to make a donation after my wife had her eggs frozen. It was a process of in vitro fertilization”. The little girl is called Gema and she was born on January 6, 2015.
DANIEL PINILLA La Habana
19.03.2016 02:45 h.
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo (La Habana, 4 de junio de 1965) es hijo de una canaria que llegó a Cuba cuando tenía quince años. Él no tiene el pasaporte español y se considera patriota cubano. Es el hombre del momento en la isla. Condenado por conspiración para cometer espionaje en Estados Unidos, ha permanecido más de tres lustros en la cárcel allí.
El 17 de diciembre de 2014 fue amnistiado como gesto de buena voluntad dentro del proceso de acercamiento entre ambos países. EL ESPAÑOL ha hablado con él bajo la atenta mirada de la estatua del Alma Mater de la Universidad de La Habana en los días previos a la histórica visita de Barack Obama a la isla, que se inicia este domingo. Sus palabras tienen eco, y mucho, en toda Cuba en este momento trascendental para la mayor de las Antillas.
¿Por qué fue encarcelado y por qué ha sido amnistiado?
Fui encarcelado porque estaba en Estados Unidos haciendo labor de Inteligencia para Cuba. Durante muchos años, grupos a veces pagados y otras tolerados por Estados Unidos han estado viniendo para agredir a Cuba, han puesto bombas en hoteles, derribado aviones… EEUU nunca hizo nada para impedirlo, así que Cuba se vio obligada a mandar gente a ese país para descubrir sus planes y mandar información para acá.
Nosotros fuimos arrestados, se nos hizo un juicio en la ciudad de Miami sin las mínimas garantías de imparcialidad. En mi caso se me condenó a dos cadenas perpetuas más quince años de privación de libertad. Después de haber cumplido dieciséis años en prisión, como parte del actual proceso de acercamiento, los dos países llegaron a un acuerdo, parte del cual era la libertad de los tres de los cinco que quedábamos encarcelados.
¿Decir que ejerció de espía es correcto?
Mira, hay personas que nos defienden y que se ofenden con ese término. Yo te digo que el término es incorrecto, pero yo no lo tomo como una ofensa. Legalmente no nos aplica porque las propias leyes de EEUU no nos acusaron de espionaje, sino de conspiración para cometer espionaje. Pero no tomo ofensa con el término, ya te digo. Yo era agente de Inteligencia y lo de espía es algo que dice la gente por las películas y demás.
Fidel Castro habla con Hernández y Ramón Labanino, otro de los encarcelados. Gobierno cubano
Mirando al futuro, ¿se ve regresando en alguna ocasión a Estados Unidos o piensa en el país con rencor?
No hay rencor ninguno. Asumí una responsabilidad cuando acepté cumplir mi misión y no hay problema. Si bien tuvimos la desagradable experiencia de escuchar a personas decir que nos querían linchar y de haber estado en un juicio sin garantías que duró más de seis meses, también hubo gente, incluso funcionarios políticos y religiosos, que supieron ver que nuestra causa era justa; también actores, como Danny Glover, nos apoyaron.
En sentido general no tengo ningún sentimiento negativo respecto al pueblo estadounidense, pero no me veo regresando porque una de las condiciones que se impusieron para nuestra liberación era que no podíamos regresar más a ese país.
Le voy a pedir que sea crítico con la Revolución y me diga qué ha hecho mal en estas décadas y si entiende que ha llegado el momento
de que se valore seriamente celebrar elecciones plurales en Cuba.
Pienso que en Cuba sí hay alternativas. Supongo que te refieres a que hay un único partido. Eso responde a factores históricos; José Martí fundó un único partido para que lo fuera de la nación cubana. Con el paso del tiempo, el Partido Comunista de Cuba se ha ido abriendo a otros sectores como el religioso. Nuestra meta es que sea aún más participativo, pero tenemos el firme propósito de mantener la unidad.
Nuestro pueblo, en un 90, 80 ó 75% apoya su Revolución
A lo largo de nuestra historia hemos pagado cara la desunión. Si logran dividirnos, estaremos en problemas. No puedes analizar la realidad cubana sin destacar que somos un pequeño país a sólo noventa millas del más poderoso del mundo, que se ha empeñado en impedir que los cubanos escojamos nuestro propio destino. Nuestro pueblo, en un 90, 80 ó 75% apoya su Revolución. Puedes estar convencido de que el día en que los cubanos no apoyen la Revolución, esto no podría sostenerse. Si estamos en pie es porque tenemos con nosotros a la mayoría de los cubanos. No es una sociedad perfecta, pero queremos hacerla nosotros.
Raúl Castro ya ha anunciado que este año renuncia a su cargo. Se habla del vicepresidente Miguel Díaz- Canel, del ministro de Economía Marino Murillo, incluso de un hijo de Raúl…
Esto no es una monarquía. En Cuba la sucesión que se dio fue porque Raúl era nuestro vicepresidente y no había nadie más capacitado ni querido por el pueblo. Hubo una asamblea y fue elegido.
Esto no es una monarquía. En Cuba la sucesión que se dio fue porque Raúl era nuestro vicepresidente
Mi opinión personal es que debe ser el compañero Miguel Díaz- Canel, que tiene una gran trayectoria. Pero todo depende de la voluntad de los cubanos.
Habla de la voluntad de los cubanos y de la posibilidad de que se exprese en el régimen actual. Cuando usted estaba en prisión, el
disidente ya fallecido Oswaldo Payá recogió las firmas como plantea la ley en lo que fue conocido como ‘Plan Varela’. Pedía libertad de expresión y reunión, libertad empresarial, elecciones democráticas y amnistía para los presos políticos. No se le hizo caso, pero con el tiempo se han adoptado algunas propuestas que proponía. ¿Qué opina?
Realmente yo estaba entonces en prisión. Sí sé que ha habido muchos proyectos financiados desde el exterior. Por menos de eso, en Estados Unidos te acusan de ser agente al servicio de potencia extranjera, por lo que yo tenía quince años de condena. Estoy seguro de que en España cualquiera que pretenda modificar el Gobierno siendo pagado por una potencia extranjera iría contra la ley española. Si esto ocurre en Cuba, en otros países lo aplauden. Y, bueno, si tomamos medidas que eran de ese proyecto, bienvenidas sean.
La cuestión de fondo es: ¿en Cuba existe realmente la posibilidad de que la gente tome decisiones sobre el sistema político en el marco actual?
El sistema actual cubano no es perfecto, como todos. Pero te pongo ejemplo de que en el último ejercicio de elección del Poder Popular fueron postuladas
personas que son abiertamente contrarias al Gobierno de Cuba. Se votó, tuvieron la posibilidad. El único requerimiento en nuestro sistema es que te elijan en la base, no tienes que formar parte del Partido. Basta con que haya una base que te apoye.
Yoani Sánchez es un fenómeno mediático fundamentalmente creado por el Grupo Prisma, que es más conocida dentro que fuera
Podemos continuar modificando aspectos del sistema haciéndolo más participativo, pero la posibilidad ya existe. Lo que ocurre es que estas personas de la disidencia, que a veces son más conocidas fuera de Cuba que dentro, no tienen una base de apoyo social, son fenómenos creados artificialmente desde afuera con algún propósito. Y te pongo el caso de Yoani Sánchez, un fenómeno mediático fundamentalmente creado por el Grupo Prisma, que es más conocida dentro que fuera. Aquí se puede parar en cualquier esquina y nadie la conoce.
Tampoco le dan cobertura los medios cubanos…
Claro, tampoco lo ha merecido. Los medios cubanos le dan cobertura a una mujer que esté pasando trabajo para sacar adelante su familia. A esta persona no le veo ningún mérito para promoverla y no vamos a gastar dinero en nuestros medios para hacerlo.
Existe una gran expectación con la visita de Obama. Todo el mundo en Cuba intuye que se va a entrar en una nueva etapa, pero nadie le pone nombre. Quizás se trate de una apertura económica sin alterar el sistema político, como sucedió en China, o de algo más. ¿Cuál es su sensación?
No tengo una bola de cristal para decir cómo va a ser Cuba de aquí a unos años. Sí te puedo decir lo que queremos la mayoría de los cubanos: un país que resuelva problemas que todavía hoy nos afectan, pero igualmente que no se parezca a la Cuba del pasado en la que fue necesario hacer una revolución.
¿Qué le demandaría a Estados Unidos para que no se quede en política de gestos, qué medidas concretas desearía?
Lo mismo que llevamos demandando más de medio siglo, desde el triunfo de la Revolución. Que reconozcan nuestro derecho a existir como nación independiente y soberana, que reconozcan que no somos el patio trasero de ellos. Que entiendan que Cuba es una nación que decidió su propio destino y que los cubanos tenemos el derecho a resolver nuestros propios problemas y hacerlo sin injerencias extranjeras.
En relación a los muchísimos cubanos que residen en EEUU circulan versiones contrapuestas. En el diario estatal Granma sostienen que no es así y que harán lo que sea para evitar que el régimen castrista reciba un balón de oxígeno. ¿Qué opina?
Se vienen haciendo muchas encuestas desde hace ya muchos años por parte de firmas respetables y algunas de ellas nada amigables con Cuba. Incluso encuestas del propio Gobierno norteamericano que reconocen que la gran mayoría de los cubanos que residen en EEUU desean una relación normal con su país. Ahora bien, esa gran mayoría de cubanos todavía no tiene el poder económico y político suficientes para impulsar que se tomen medidas más rápidas.
El poder cubano en EEUU lo tiene un segmento cada vez más minoritario de cubanos de familias poderosas que han llegado a congresistas
El poder político y económico allí lo tiene un segmento cada vez más minoritario de cubanos que se fueron de este país, que pertenecían a familias poderosas y que en los últimos años han llegado a ocupar puestos de congresistas. Hasta esta semana había dos aspirantes a la presidencia de Estados Unidos de origen cubano [, los republicanos Ted Cruz y Marco Rubio, que se ha retirado de la carrera presidencial]. Ese segmento es cada vez más reducido, pero desgraciadamente es el que controla los bancos y los medios de comunicación. En el otro lado está la mayoría, pero lamentablemente muchos todavía no votan ni tienen poder para levantar opinión.
Si Ted Cruz ganara, ¿sería una buena o una mala noticia para Cuba?
Pienso que sería muy malo, porque son personas que han vivido muchos años
de la industria del odio. El odio contra Cuba les ha dado un modus vivendi y pongo por ejemplo a Ileana Ros, Lincoln Díaz Balart… congresistas que por muchos años no han tenido un programa definido que no sea el odio contra Cuba. Se han opuesto a cuanto beneficio pudiera haber para el pueblo cubano.
Por ejemplo, cuando los ciclones han devastado la isla y la Cruz Roja ha querido ayudar desde Estados Unidos, ellos se han opuesto hasta a eso. Su prédica siempre ha sido: vamos a destruir al Gobierno de Cuba, a recuperar Cuba al precio que sea. Así han movido a una generación de viejitos cubanos que no conocen otra cosa que ese mensaje de odio. Eso va a cambiar con las nuevas generaciones de emigrantes cubanos, sobre todo a partir de los ochenta, que fueron a ese país para mejorar económicamente y ayudar a sus familias.
Si EEUU pone encima de la mesa de la negociación la exigencia de unas elecciones libres en Cuba para hablar de Guantánamo y el bloqueo, ¿sería admisible?
Por supuesto que no. Si conversamos con ellos es porque han reconocido que es imposible que Cuba acepte condiciones. Durante muchos años dijeron que no tenían nada que negociar mientras los Castro estuvieran en el poder, el país fuera comunista y hubiera un único partido; Cuba se mantuvo firme siempre y dijo que si alguna vez nos sentáramos, sería de igual a igual sin condiciones previas. Finalmente lo han tenido que aceptar.
Si conversamos con EEUU es porque han reconocido que es imposible que Cuba acepte condiciones
¿Piensa que Cuba es el ganador de este pulso?
Yo pienso que Cuba ya ha ganado en el sentido de que no hemos renunciado a ninguno de nuestros principios para sentarnos a negociar. Son los mismos desde el año 59. Estados Unidos ha dicho durante décadas que nunca negociaría mientras estuvieran los Castro en el poder y, sin embargo, Raúl Castro es nuestro presidente, Fidel está vivo y es nuestro guía. Y ellos están negociando con nosotros. Ha sido una victoria para Cuba el que se hayan sentado a negociar sin condiciones.
Antes de enrolarse en los servicios de Inteligencia Cubanos, Gerardo era humorista. Durante toda su estancia tras los barrotes asegura no haber perdido la ironía como arma de defensa. “Se le puede meter humor a dieciséis años en la cárcel, es algo que te ayuda mucho. Los humoristas tenemos un modo particular de ver la vida, y no es que lo tiremos todo a relajo, pero no conozco a ninguna persona de carácter amargado que pueda ser humorista. En mi caso me ayudó mucho el tener un carácter optimista. A lo largo de los años que estuvimos en prisión, los cinco nos reímos muchas veces de nuestras propias desgracias. Eso nos ayudó”.
En prisión, los cinco nos reímos muchas veces de nuestras propias desgracias
Gerardo ha sido padre recientemente. Haciendo números, no sale un periodo de embarazo normal, puesto que su niña nació pocos días después de haber sido puesto en libertad. La explicación: “Siempre tuvimos el anhelo de tener nuestro hijo; habíamos pedido la visita conyugal para los presos, algo que se da en Cuba pero no en Estados Unidos, al menos en las prisiones federales. Mi esposa Adriana solicitó ayuda a un senador americano, quien tocó las puertas necesarias para que yo pudiera hacer una donación después de que mi esposa hubiera congelado sus óvulos. Fue un proceso de fertilización in vitro”. La pequeña se llama Gema y nació el 6 de enero de 2015.
By Orlando Marquez
February /2009 No. 182
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
After working for more than a year by request from the Washington Center for National Policies (CNP) a two-party team lead by former USA ambassador to Mexico James J. Jones and formed by Thomas Wenski, assistant bishop of Miami, University professor Max Castro, and Cuban American businessman Carlos Saladriga presented a report called “Cuba-United States Relations: time for a new approach” on January 23 2003.
In this 20-page report it was stated that “the United States will attain its goals with Cuba with a higher probability by using negotiation than by isolation”. The report didn’t recommend former President George W. Bush to lift the embargo. But, it recommended initiating a new policy and allowing American citizens to visit the Island. It also advised facilitating the sale of medicines and food products; to eliminate the limit set on money transfers to Cuban families; to review current legislations on Cuba, and facilitate scientific, professional and academic exchange. It recommended developing bilateral cooperation on issues of mutual interest like drug and people traffic, fighting crime and environmental protection. These recommendations were ignored at first, and a year later the government did just the opposite.
At the end of 2007 I met a former government official in Washington. Naturally, we talked about the United States and Cuba. He agreed with me that the isolation policy inherited, maintained and strengthened by his government had no followers. “So?” I asked. He talked about liberty, human rights… I agreed. I added that isolation had only created more problems and asked him if he thought China and Saudi Arabia, two of his country’s main associates, were good examples of liberty and human rights. He had no further arguments, and then he confessed that his superiors could not forgive, among other things, that former President Fidel Castro would have thought of launching a nuclear attack against the United States during the missile crisis, in 1962!… I was the one who ran out of arguments, because there is nothing to say when confronted with irrationality and passion. I must add that this government official did not agree with this policy, he only said that decision was out of his hands.
This issue has been treated very differently on our side! Certainly, there has been a lot of passion. Besides our “achievements in health and education” there has been no other issue more important in our national media than the evils of the United States. They have talked about presidential ineptitudes, economic crisis, social violence, racism (this may change somewhat after Obama’s election), police abuse, homeless, the millions of citizens without medical insurance, drug addicts… It would seem that every evil in the world is there, and only there, the worst, the most despicable. And, the attempt to distinguish between the American government and the “noble people of the United States” – that elect them- sounds absurd and untenable.
“A letter that put a mark on history” was the title chosen by Granma newspaper last year to accompany the fifty year old –four years before the missile crisis- letter they published. The letter was written by the Commander in Chief of the Rebel Army, Fidel Castro Ruz, to Celia Sanchez, after army planes had bombed the ‘bohio’ of a peasant with bombs made in the United States. In this letter the former Cuban President wrote; “When I saw the bombs they threw at Mario’s house I promised myself that the Americans will pay dearly for what they are doing now. After this war is over, I will start another war, longer and bigger: the one I am going to wage against them. I realize that this is my true destiny.” There is no proof that the former president kept on thinking the same way after the United States stopped selling armament to Fulgencio Batista’s government months later. This statement was not repeated later. Although it was reprinted, like this time on June 5. 2008, with a title that suggests, or intends to confirm, that our history is marked by eternal conflict with the United States.
Notwithstanding the fact that the United States government support of Fulgencio Batista’s government is criticizable, as is the fastidious and reprehensible interference in Cuban matters during the first half of the 20th century, Should our present and future history depend on the ill-fated attack on the humble home of a peasant that took place more than fifty years ago and on the feelings expressed in a letter written while those feelings were intense? Must we always suffer the consequences of what might have been, but didn’t happen, during the missile crises in 1962? I don’t think so.
During his campaign, Barack Obama, against all previously established molds, declared he was willing to talk to the leaders of all the countries considered as United States enemies, including Cuba. On our side, the will to establish a dialogue couldn’t be more evident, as President Raul Castro has declared more than once.
For many in his own country, Obama is still an enigma. And, for Cuba? Well, here, it is even more so. Many Cubans, including me, are waiting to see if the change in policy making in the United States and, therefore, in its external policy, also means a change in U. S, relations with Cuba.
However, Cuba is only pressing for Cubans. It is not very probable that Cuban issues will have a high priority for the new American government. Nevertheless, Cuba (with Cubans holding different points of view) shouldn’t be ignored. Cuba is too near, too active. It has a very large international and regional influence, as well as inside the United States. Cuba is too defying, and perhaps, it even has too much oil waiting to be extracted.
In spite of the willingness expressed by both presidents, some people have raised the alarm -both here and there – against a new status in the relations among the two countries. The ghostly remoras of the Cold War rise once more, ignoring the demands of millions of people. On that side some talk about the dangers of “recognizing” a dictatorship that never changes. On this side, those that always warned against an imminent military invasion, an argument that is already worn out, warn against a “cultural invasion” that can destroy us.
SOURCE: Original Spanish not available. Sorry!
The investigations of Leonardo Padura’s detective are in audiovisual form now. Jorge Perugorria plays the detective who investigates a series of crimes in a colorful and decadent Cuba
The script of the series is based on four novels by the Cuban author.
FOUR SEASONS IN HAVANA, by NETFLIX
By Federico Lisical
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
“I decided to make a character who was in conflict with the reality he was living,” Leonardo Padura once told this newspaper. The Cuban writer was referring to Mario Conde, the officer who was the main character ofj his police novels and who now centers the NETFLIX miniseries Four Seasons in Havana (that since last Friday can be seen online). The series is based on stories in Padura´s four novels: Past Perfect, Winds of Lent, Masks, and Autumn Landscape.
This disenchanted but noble man, who does not seem to be a police lieutenant and has a great love for books, is interpreted by Jorge Perugorría. Almost to his regret, the best thing he knows how to do is solve mysteries and write up his wanderings with a typewriter. “There is no one better than Mario Conde to get into Havana, rummage through its darkness, and draw some light. That special insight the detective has, is particularly revealing. What I wanted to do was to make a kind of chronicle, a testimony of what recent Cuban life has been like. In each of his investigations, he reveals a sector of Cuban society, but also the humanity of a number of characters who live that reality day-to-day,” said the writer in another interview.
In total there are four episodes, ninety minutes each. They were directed by the Spaniard Felix Bizcarte, and the role of Padura himself in the adaptation was key, as well as that of his wife Lucia López Coll. Their intention was to preserve the tone of the novels and let the Cuban reality filter in naturally. What is the resulting Havana? One that shows its darkest and most sinful side. There is corruption, traffickers of all kinds –of drugs and influence– has been but there is also the dream of what the revolution could have been. Conde is a romantic who goes around throwing phrases for whoever wants to listen: “Havana has fallen so much that is has gone to shit”; “Cops investigating cops… What the hell is going on?”
The context is crucial as the books were published between 1991 and 1998 and reflected what was happening on the island after the end of the Cold War, the tightening of the embargo, and the regime’s opposite sides. As the author said, “… I learned from Hammett, Chandler, Vázquez Montalbán and Sciascia that a police novel can have a real relationship with the country’s environment; that it can denounce or touch concrete facts and not just imaginary realities.” “El Conde” moves about the capital of Cuba as a Philip Marlowe who suffers the heat, and fights his destiny, “doing what I have to do, but never what I really want to do.” The big difference with the iconic detective of suburban Los Angeles is that Conde is a cop. “It was totally unrealistic to have someone who was not a police officer investigate a crime in Cuba, especially if it was a murder,” Padura explained. But Conde also dreams of being a writer and that is what saves him.
This jaded subject is summoned to investigate the murder of a high school teacher while he is also looking into another case that has to do with his own past. In all of these there are several criminal associations. As in every noir police story, in addition to the investigations there are institutions tainted with indolence, elites complicit with business interests, femmes fatale, jazz music and seedy bars. Its main character is a researcher of the shadows but with a complex humanity and far from clichés. “Conde represents a generation of Cubans who believed in a country project that will never be, and feeds heavily on nostalgia. He’s a fucking nostalgic, as he defines himself, “said the actor who has the role.
The photography (by Spaniard Pedro J. Márquez) is one of the highest points of the production. The tone is twilight and oblivious to any “for export” intention. The rundown houses of the old quarters convey the stupor of the characters; and the danger in a harbor city when the sun goes down. The scenes of violence are given in unusual settings that can capture the audiences. In short, there are four genre stories within a very unique context that reflects the day-to-day life of the Caribbean city and its surroundings. One can easily perceive how the characters are linked: their body language, how they breathe and perspire, their unrefined speech that mispronounces sounds, how their food smells, and how they have sex. Four Seasons in Havana is, above all, a sensory experience. “Noir was never so colorful,” said one of the promotions for the miniseries; but it may be exactly the other way around.
December 3, 2009
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
All the news we’ve had until now about Fidel Castro’s condition after almost three years of nonstop surgery and illness were his photographs with various heads of State and the articles he writes for the Cuban press on a regular basis. On Saturday, the Argentinean political scientist and sociologist Atilio Boron was in for a surprise while having lunch at a restaurant in Havana: someone came to tell him that Fidel would receive him that day at 5 p.m., so they would come to pick him up in a little while. Two days later, Fidel wrote about their one-hour-and-forty-minute-long meeting and sang the praises of a paper Atilio had presented in a conference of economists. At a later date, Mr. Boron gave Clarín unheard-of details about Castro’s daily life and the conversation they had in a place hitherto undisclosed.
“Truth is, I thought I would see a disabled person, but what I found was quite the opposite: he had a very good color and muscle tone, which I could check for myself in his handshake and hug when we said goodbye to each other”, Boron recalls. It was a summer afternoon, and Fidel was wearing the typical uniform of Cuban athletes, except for the short pants that revealed “very strong legs, a sign that he’s following his therapist’s instructions to the letter. He looks very bright”.
Fidel is not at a clinic, but in a house fitted with medical equipment for emergencies and facilities to move around and work out, and even a small pool where he can swim. He receives few visitors, his contacts with officials limited to “one or two meetings with Raúl”. You don’t see many people working in the house; he’s the one who seems to be working hard as befits “a soldier in the Battle of Ideas” and very happy and relaxed for not being in power.
We met in a living room where there was a desk, a run-of-the-mill PC, no cell phone, and the folders with clippings he’s always kept near since he was President. Boron also noticed a number of blue notebooks, organized by topic, where Fidel writes his reflections. And what about the voice of the great speaker who would talk to his audience for hours on end? “He’s never been one for speaking in a loud voice, on the contrary: he spoke slowly, still his usual self, a Fidel who chews on his every syllable”, Boron assured, adding that Fidel drank nothing nor was ever interrupted to take any medicine.
Always on top of current events, in the days of Darwin’s anniversary Castro reads his work while devouring what text on nanotechnology he can get his hands on. The chat with Boron centered on the economic crisis, and Fidel said he was worried about what he believes its great impact on the region will be like. “He thinks the continent’s certain shift to the left in the last few years will be compromised. Fidel understands the circumstances very well and fears the right will have a new lease on life”, he explained.
Did you talk about President Kirchner’s visit?
Yes, and he said to be quite impressed by how energetically she defends her positions. We also talked about the problems in the countryside, and he was shocked at the way it happened and as much concerned about the consequences as he was about other issues, for instance, Paraguay, as he believes President Lugo has many obstacles in his path.
Did you talk about the United States?
I’ve got the feeling he has taken a certain liking to Obama, but without building his hopes up too much. He said, “Obama will soon learn that the Presidency is one thing, but the Empire is another matter altogether”.
Your meeting took place at the end of a very hectic week in Cuba when changes were made in the government…
He started to talk about that and nothing else, going into greater detail about what he had already said that the enemy outside had built up their hopes with these officials, but it was made clear that what he meant was that Cuba’s enemies had raised their hopes over them. He mentioned they had made mistakes, sometimes because of excessive political ambition or personal impatience…
To get an idea of Fidel’s condition –keeping in mind that he’s almost 83– Boron points out that he can walk without anybody’s help and had even taken a stroll around the surrounding area a few weeks ago, alone and under no escort, to buy a newspaper. He was standing in line like any other Cuban and, they say, a woman recognized him and a small urban tsunami of emotions broke out in that Cuban neighborhood.
By Alexis Culay Pérez, Félix Santana Suárez, Reynaldo Rodríguez Ferra and Carlos Pérez Alonso
SOURCE: Rev Cubana Med Gen Integr 2000;16(5):450-4
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A descriptive horizontal study was carried out to learn the behavior of violence against women in the micro-district “Ignacio Agramonte”, of the “Tula Aerie” Policlinic in Camagüey. The period studied was from August 1st, 1997 to January 31st, 1998. From a total of 1088 women between the ages of 15-49, 310 were chosen to conduct a survey. The size of the survey was calculated using the well known statistical program EPIDAT. The results of the survey showed that 226 women reported some type of violence. This is 72,9% of the women interviewed. Psychological violence was reported by half the women, sexual violence by a third and physical violence was the least reported. The majority of women who reported violence were 30-39 year-old women with high school education. The great majority of the women victimized didn’t request professional help.
Gaceta Médica Espirituana 2008; 10(2)
Medical Faculty “Dr. Faustino Pérez Hernández”
By Dra. Help Walls García1, Dra. Anabel González Muro2, Dr. Jorge Luis Toledo Prado3, Dr. Ernesto Calderón González4, Dra. Yurien Negrín Calvo5
1 First grade Specialist in Child Psychiatry. Adjutant Professor, Resident MGI
2 First grade Specialist in General Psychiatry. Adjutant Professor
3 First grade Specialist in General Psychiatry
4 First grade Specialist in MGI 5
A CubaNews translation by Giselle Gil
Edited by Walter Lippmann
Due to frequent reports of family violence against adolescents received at Clinic No.29 of the Sancti Spíritus Area Mental Health Community Center a research was carried out. The main objective of this study was to describe some of the characteristics of family violence. A horizontal descriptive study was made which included 63 adolescents between the ages of 10-18. We calculated the violence frequency as well as that of age and sex, abuse types, parent-child relations to the victim, symptoms associated with abuse and if the family is conscious of this violence. Results showed a high percent of family violence towards girls and towards children in the 13-15 year old group. Violence was found to be mostly psychological rather than physical. We also found mothers are more violent and that low self esteem and aggressiveness are the most common symptoms. Only a low percent of the families were aware of being violent. Based on these results we made a proposal to investigate this problem further in the different health areas. Further study will also help design community intervention strategies to eliminate or reduce this violence that affects adolescents and the rest of the family.
By Dr. Mario C. Muñiz Ferrer, Dra. Yanayna Jiménez García, Dra. Daisy Ferrer Marrero and Prof. Jorge González Pérez
A CubaNews translation by Giselle Gil
Edited by Walter Lippmann
A descriptive study of the results of the test “what I don’t like about my family” was carried out with the objective of studying family violence and how to confront it in a health area. The test was applied to 147 5th and 6th grade children studying in the “Roberto Poland” School located in the “Antonio Maceo” neighborhood of the municipality of Cerro. The different types of family violence were classified and grouped by incidence frequency. Family violence prevalence was also calculated, as well as its possible relation to drinking. The results allowed us to establish that family violence is a health problem and that it is related to the intake of alcoholic beverages.
One of the most pressing problems that humanity faces in the XXI century is violence. We live in a world in which violence has become the most common way of solving conflicts. Today it is a social problem of great magnitude that systematically affects millions of people in the whole planet in the most diverse environments, without distinction of country, race, age, sex or social class.
Psychological gender violence is a covert form of aggression and coercion. Because its consequences are neither easily seen nor verified, and because it is difficult to detect, it is more and more used. Its use frequently reflects the power relationships that place the masculine as axis of all experience, including those that take place inside the family environment.1
Psychological gender violence expressed in the family environment acquires different shades depending on the context in which it takes place. In a rural environment, we generally find families with specific characteristics such as low schooling, resistance to change, inadequate confrontation and communication styles. All this favors the stronger persistence of patterns belonging to a patriarchal culture in this area rather than in urban areas, and therefore, women become victims, especially of violence.2
Cuba has a large population in urban as well as in rural areas, and so doesn’t escape from this reality (that of feminine victimización), even when our social system contributes decisively to stop many of the factors that favor violence against women. Also, we have propitiated substantial modifications of the place and role of the family as a fundamental cell of society. But, even today, we haven’t achieved a radical reorganization of the patriarchal features present in the national identity or on socializing agents like family.
Author: Leticia Martínez Hernández
May 22, 2009
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
I admit it: it bothers me when my generation is called into question, not taken seriously and, worse yet, branded a lost cause, a very good reason to annoy the most even-tempered of souls, of which I am one. Is the word ‘lost’ by any chance synonymous with irreverent, revolutionary, nonconformist, impetuous, determined…? I don’t think so.
A few days ago I took a bus, a bag hanging on my shoulder. Just by chance I found an empty seat beside a boy wearing the latest styles, tattoos and earphones included, who was also carrying something.
As chance would have it, we got off at the same stop, and I felt a great sense of relief when he insisted on helping me down the steps of the rear door with my load, his own notwithstanding. Like a harbinger of doom, the gloomy phrase suddenly came to me, as did memories of so many other boys and girls in their twenties who would leave more than one skeptic at a loss for words, and some who do give their nitpickers cause to complain.
Should we call lost those youths who stormed into the Isle of Youth, Pinar del Río, Holguín, Las Tunas and other Cuban provinces to share the pain of –and ease the burden on– the victims when the heavy rains and strong winds laid into Cuba last September? Or those who for the first time got their hands dirty trying one way or another to reap some benefit from the wounded land? I remember some of tem doing their best to make sad children laugh while their own family had no roof over their heads.
And the thousands of young Cubans who keep our education system going today, are they also the target of those fire-and-brimstone statements? Do the skeptic know anything about the nights those youths spend preparing their lessons while others their age are having great fun at a party; about how nervous they are on their first day in front of a class; about how they puff up with pride to be teachers even before their twentieth birthday; about the overwhelming burden that mistrust places on their shoulders?
Would the word ‘lost’ apply to those boys and girls who ache for their faraway loves as they stand day and night on our coastal reef to watch over every stretch of this country? If they only knew about Lester and his stubborn patrolling along some far-flung beach of Guantánamo province, or about Javier’s great responsibility for a radar who does nothing but sweep the sea surface!
A colleague heard of the paper I work for and asked my age right away: “And at 25 you’re already writing for Granma?” I had to summon up my patience for a long while –someone else said once that we were being ripened with carbide– before I told him of so many others like me he could find walking the halls of the official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba, where they spend countless hours waiting for closing time or hunting for the best thesis to finish a report while listening to [Cuban folk singer] Silvio, taking a few dance steps or exchanging jokes.
Have the doubters forgotten the exploits of those beard-wearing boys who cut their way through the bush in the Sierra Maestra Mountains and then raided our cities to disrupt the existing order inside Cuba and out? If a brilliant man like Fidel has always trusted in our youth’s creative strength, why are there others who allow themselves the luxury of casting a shadow over them? We could fill endless pages with stories of young people who are underestimated on arguments as flimsy as their lack of experience. How different everything would be had the pioneers of this Revolution waited for the lazy, slippery experience…!
It’s true that things are different now and it’s no longer our role to be heroes in the crossfire, but the bullets now aimed at our heads are far more dangerous. Today’s average youth must place limits on their aspirations, chances of personal fulfillment and even opportunities to have fun at the same time as they are showered with deceitful canons designed to convince them there’s a better way of life outside our country. And despite the few who may fall for the swan song and others who allow despondency to get the better of them, millions remain who refuse to give in and still fight for their homeland’s future.
What do they mean then by saying that youth, my youth, is hopeless? That we wear provocative and stylish clothes, live noisily, say what we think without a second thought, dream of possible and impossible things, dare to take on responsibilities we have no idea we can ever fulfill, never wait until tomorrow to pledge our commitment to the future… ? If these are the answers, then not only are we lost, we don’t want to be found.