By Liudmila Peña Herrera
March 4, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The demand of the deaf community that Cuban sign language be accepted as an official language, along with Spanish, was evident on the first day of the 5th Congress of the Association of the Deaf of Cuba (ANSOC), which is in session at the Havana Convention Center since Tuesday.
The speakers highlighted the richness of this form of communication, the academic research on its development and the need for families to have the opportunity to study and communicate through it, as it is a symbol of inclusion.
In one of the panels at the conference, aspects related to the linguistics of Cuban sign language and the culture of the deaf community, the methodology for teaching it to children, society’s knowledge of the potentialities and needs of these people, as well as the importance of sign language being protected by law were addressed.
In this sense, Leonardo Pérez Gallardo, professor of Civil Law at the University of Havana, reflected that in its Article 42, the Constitution prohibits any type of discrimination on the basis of disability, and one of the specific manifestations of disability is hearing.
A touching moment was the presentation of the video clip Soy el verso, with music by Telmary, performed in sign language, and the message that the artist sent, from there, to her colleagues: “It is important that society hears the concerns of the deaf community and the efforts made in the country in their favor. I hope that many artists can join in”.
The first day of the Congress was attended by Jorge Cuevas Ramos, member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Party; Marta Elena Feitó Cabrera, Minister of Labour and Social Security; Joseph Murray, President of the World Federation of the Deaf; Fermín Quiñones Sánchez, President of the Cuban Association of the United Nations; and Alejandro Marzo Peña, President of the ANSOC.