By Flor de Paz, Cuban journalist and plastic artist
March 8, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
This is the last interview given by the director of Editorial de la Mujer, who passed away in Havana on Sunday, March 4. Her testimony is part of an audio-visual series that was recently recorded to dignify the work of Cuban journalists, who will be holding their 10th Congress this year.
The project, which will soon be broadcast on Cuban television, is being carried out by young graduates of FAMCA and is the fruit of collaboration between the Union of Journalists of Cuba (UPEC) and the Association Hermanos Saíz (AHS).
— Constance and strength? A trait of my personality. I am, I don’t want to use the term fighter because it has many meanings, but I am a combative woman who always believes in Anaïs Nin’s phrase: “Put your dreams on the horizon and start walking”. You never reach the horizon, we know that, but push.
The entrance hall and living room of Isabel Catalina Moya Richard’s house are very spacious, as in most Havana construction of the first decades of the 20th century. Both spaces are demarcated only by four circular columns, and are passageways for the furniture that inhabits it —sofás, armchairs, armchairs, tables— and, among the latter, a huge one that Enrique Sosa, a professor at the University of Havana and panelist for years in the television program Escriba y Lea [Write and Read], gave to Isabelita.
It’s San Lázaro Street, in the popular neighborhood of Centro Habana. The noises of the road buzz around the house like a volcano erupting. And Isabel, seated in front of the precious wooden table that Professor Sosa gave her, now supporting an old typewriter, a souvenir from La Catrina, photos with Juan Carlos, and Gabriela, the 20-year-old daughter of both of them, as well as other ornaments, talks about the image she has hanging on one of the walls of the room: “it is Frida Kahlo’s Blue House”. It was given her by its author, the Mexican Aurea Alanis, who was in Havana for a course in gender photography.
—I’ve always been very gregarious, I enjoy being in a group, I’m very social, but I realized that I wanted to study journalism because I liked to write, I liked to research, I liked to read, I liked Humphrey Bogart’s films, from film noir, in which it was always a journalist who discovered everything. And I thought: I want to be that kind of person who investigates, who reveals secrets, she says, while Daniela Muñoz Barroso and Lena Hernández’s cameras “focus” on her eloquence.
During a pause, her mother, also named Isabel, also 72, reaches for a glass of water and medication. “All my life I have known what my faculties and shortcomings are. I have a degenerative bone disease that has forced me to use braces to walk since I was born. I’ve been operated on many times and during those periods I devoured books and books; of course, without order or concert, I read The Consecration of Spring, by Carpentier, as well as seven novels by Corín Tellado.
At that stage she tried, above all, to fill herself with a world of words that would allow her to live other lives in her own life. And then, in high school, when teachers began to direct their reading, she realized that she really had writing skills.
—But look, I never approached journalism as literature; I have not written stories or fiction as journalism. No, I’ve always been interested in writing essays on history or politics. It’s important to write about reality. And, of course, I’ve written poems, like everyone else, to give them to the groom, but not because they are publishable. Far from it.
—I would say that I had a beautiful childhood; a very happy growth process. Starting school was an important time because I always loved studying. In the fifth grade, I won a literature contest with a fantasy fiction story. I felt tremendous joy!
“I don’t forget that in elementary school my political life began, even though I wasn’t very aware of that reality at the time. Many times, we would go with Vietnamese hats and leaflets glued on our uniforms to support Vietnam in its war against the United States. Also, one of the first marches I participated in as a child was for Angela Davis’ freedom. Then she came to Cuba and I realized that I was already worried about those problems. Later, in the middle school and high school years, when I made friendships that I still have, and when my interests were taking shape, I definitely knew that I wanted to study journalism.”
Isabel Catalina Moya Richard was born in Havana on November 25, 1961. She is the eldest daughter of a family of four, including her parents. Their existence – marked by the impossibility of their organisms to assimilate calcium and, in turn, an optimism compensating for the lack of the mineral and all difficulties – can be summed up this way:
On her feet, on crutches or in a wheelchair, she is still herself: PhD in Communication Sciences, director of Editorial de la Mujer and the magazine Mujeres, the Associate Professor of the Faculty of Communication at the University of Havana, the president of the Chair of Gender and Communication and coordinator of the International Diploma in Gender and Communication at the José Martí International Institute of Journalism; the admirable José Martí Prize for Dignity and the National Journalism Prize (for her life’s work), awarded by the Union of Journalists of Cuba in 2016 and 2017.
—When I graduated, in 1984, I was the first in the group and was placed as a disseminator in the Office of Nuclear Affairs, but I did not agree. My dissatisfaction did not go down well because that institution was very important at the time. However, I wanted to do journalism and, when I asked to be relocated, I didn’t know where I was going to work for three months. The second choice was Mujeres [Women} magazine, and I took it as a punishment.
“How wrong I was! There were opportunities that many of my classmates didn’t have. I know all of Cuba thanks to my work as a reporter for Mujeres. I have been in the Pico Turquino, on the black beaches of the Isla de la Juventud, in the wonderful landscapes of Pinar del Río, in the Escambray… And, as at the same time I was attending the correspondence section, one day I thought: “Oh, I’m going to do a postgraduate course in research methodology”. And so I was able to design a content analysis tool that allowed us to classify all the letters we received. We get a lot of information from them, both for the magazine’s work and for the attention to the problems they alluded to. And I was forever hooked on research.
With the support of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), Isabelita had the opportunity to do a course on feminism at Casa Morada in Chile, and to participate in numerous international events on gender. Until in one of her daily inner dialogues, she asked herself: “Well, I have to try to create an environment where theories of gender and communication converge and thus we will have a better journalism”. And in this approximation, her doctoral thesis is aligned, for which she received the highest grade.
In the School of Communication, Isabelita gave her first gender classes, a horizon reached by which she lets us see great passion. When thinking about it, she brings to mind, that master’s degree given in Villa Clara, “one of the adventures in which I enrolled with UPEC: the teachers had to stay there every school week”.
Then it was time to found the Chair in Gender and Communications at the José Martí International Institute of Journalism, thanks to Guillermo Cabrera, she said. In this way, a line of training and research was opened in our country, of which we can be proud today. This is because, in addition to having graduates from numerous graduate schools, some of them have done their doctoral theses on the subject.
—More than two hundred communicators from all over Latin America have graduated from our courses. Through the Chair, I have also been able to teach at several important universities in the region and in Europe. Two years ago, for the first time, I gave online TV classes to some high schools in the United States. Having students everywhere is a delightful experience.
It’s February 3, 2018, Saturday morning. Isabelita, in front of Daniela and Lena’s cameras, talks about the issues that move her the most. Irina, with a demanding expression, reveals her concern for the continuous sounds coming from Calle San Lázaro, but this is the daily environment in which she lives.
—The challenges facing women in Cuba? The first is to think that they have already achieved everything. When we look at the statistics and see the number of women in the National Assembly, the number of women scientists and women communicators, and that more than seventy percent of the prosecutors are women, and so on, we come up with a distorted idea of reality. Because we have managed to open ourselves up in professions that were not previously considered feminine, we are now in the most complex moment, that of confronting subjectivity, culture, value judgments, and customs. These are much more difficult to change, since they are based on collective imagery and social representations. This is what we sing when we sing a bolero, a salsa song or sometimes, unfortunately, a reggaeton and what the novels tell us: romantic, dependent loves.
Her reflection is based on two substantive arguments: the communicational processes in Cuba do not problematize the reductive approaches of these audiovisual spaces, nor the subjective gaps that in the seventies the media managed to tackle documentaries such as that of Sara Gómez, Mi aportación, and the feature films Retrato de Teresa. Furthermore, attitudes that unwittingly blame and associate the advancement of women with certain family crises are frequent.
Today they say, “Women don’t give birth,” but that’s not the problem. The problem is that society has put women in the dichotomy of motherhood or professional fulfillment, so society has to change in order for the couple, the family, to have more children. It is not just a matter for women because even with all the advances in science and technology, it takes an egg and sperm to conceive a human being. But the media, instead of questioning this sexist approach, return and blame women for the problem of low birth rate.
Despite being public, of representing a social system that has human beings as the center of its goals, the media in our country does not achieve a racial balance, for example, Its aesthetics are very homogeneous: the majority of women come out with straightened hair. I liked it very much that the other day I saw a young black girl with her braids on the Morning Magazine. Because, as I say, there is no problem with straightening your hair, but in that fashion, it becomes a cultural mandate that forces you to assume aesthetics with which not all want to express themselves. It is still a challenge for diversity to be understood.
Using her experience as an example of what can be done in the communication processes, Isabelita talks about a work recently published in Mujeres magazine. It was about the people who sell coffee and fried foods from a window of what was the living room of her house, of a small house. And she asks, “What about the children living in these homes, where do they do their homework? You guys get to work? How do you reconcile business and family life in a small space like that??? Oh, and what good is it, grandparents live longer, but now the child is going to marry so grandma must move out of her room, and sleep in the living room…?
I know that there are people who think that these issues are minor and that the only thing that matters is global warming, but in what happens global warming there are people who live similar tragedies every day, so it is very good that there is journalism for global warming and that there is journalism that helps in the day-to-day, a service journalism and a journalism of social activism.
Isabelita, what does journalism mean to you?
A commitment to my contemporaries, to my country, to my people; a passion, a passion that saves. I have been sick, in the hospital at terrible times, when one of those moments in which the fragility of the human body is observed. Someone passed by and said to me, “Oh, how I like your magazine”. And, listen to me, all the fears and pains have been frightened away. So I tell you, journalism is my salvation.
And she added:
Rosa Luxemburg said that socialism is not just a knife and fork problem, it is a profound cultural revolution. I, therefore, believe that journalism will help transform machismo, sexism, homophobia, racism, the inheritance of five hundred years of Western Judaeo-Christian culture, first, from an atrocious first colonialism and, later, from a capitalism that destroys human beings.
(taken from Cubaperiodistas)
September 3, 2018
By Ana María Domínguez Cruz
Posted: Tuesday 07 August 2018 | 09:06:12 PM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
When it comes to a haircut, a bold nail polish or a bold piece of clothing, it’s not as worrisome, because of the ephemeral nature of fashion, in the end. The alarm is triggered when health risks are evident when assuming styles and habits that far from guaranteeing beauty, touch us with danger.
Several blogs dedicated to fashion and pseudo beauty, as well as photos, have multiplied in social networks, promoting a series of aesthetic fashions, based on extreme thinness and non-professional criteria. Examples: the bikini bridge, thigh gap, diastema, belly-button challenge and ab-crack, among others.
During the summer, in particular, the fashion of slimming the belly until the rubber on the bottom of the bikini becomes so tight between the hips has spread so far. The textile piece then forms a bridge over the navel that can only be achieved when adolescent girls practice arbitrary diets without any balance or with excessive fasting periods.
When we talk about a thigh gap, it is because we also test our body’s strength by trying to make the upper part of the thighs so firm and thin that it leaves a clear space between them and the pubic area. Specialists warn that this is very dangerous, because, to obtain this separation of the calves from their inner faces, depends on the anatomy of the hips and not on the amount of muscle or fat in the leg, girls often resort to anorexic behaviors that put their nutritional needs at risk.
The furrow of separation between the two muscles of the abdomen in a well-marked way is another tendency between adolescents and adults, called the “ab-crack”. They do not take into account the risk of obsessive hyper-musculation from unbalanced protein intake, or in some cases, from abuse of vitamin supplements and other less-desirable substances.
As if that weren’t enough, there are plenty of images on Instagram and Facebook of teenagers who want to show off their slender bodies, running one arm behind their backs to try to touch their bellybuttons with their hands, while with their other hand they take on a selfie. The belly button challenge also certainly flirts with dangerous diets and eating disorders, as does the so-called collarbone challenge, another challenge for teenagers who want to demonstrate that they can fit a string of coins in the gap between their collarbone and their neck.
For both the female and male sexes, the diastema is now spreading as a fashion, which is nothing more than the search for the separation of the upper denture into two halves after a widening of the central teeth. It is then valued to undergo an expensive dental operation to wear what is not naturally available.
In the area of cosmetic surgery, we note with concern the fact that some teenagers between the ages of 13 and 16 want to undergo labiaplasty, an aesthetic operation that seeks to resize the vaginal lips and leave them shorter, more even or more turgid.
The followers of this surgery for aesthetic purposes consider preventive reasons regarding hygiene or pain when having sexual intercourse, as well as psychological reasons when the lips are asymmetrical and when sexual acceptance and self-esteem disorders are associated, but what is alarming is that this type of operation is not recommended before the age of 18, since the vaginal lips during adolescence are in full growth phase.
Also not without risks, and also associated with high prices is the pubic lifting, another practice used by girls and boys who want to attract more from a sexual point of view to their partners. They are exposed to lightening the adipose tissue of the Mount of Venus in women and the lower abdomen in men to rejuvenate the urogenital area.
How many wrong associations with beauty! Imitating aesthetic models that are far removed from what is healthy only shows the vulnerabilities that those who do not feel completely satisfied with their physique and way of being suffer during adolescence.
It is a complex period in life, say psychologists and sociologists, because adolescents need to build their identity and value the opinion that others have of them. However, this is the best time to alert them to the health consequences of certain behaviors and, above all, to the importance of accepting themselves and cultivating what may be invisible to the eyes, but which is ultimately the most valuable.
This is a dialectical and modern Constitution, if tradition is to be broken, tradition is to be broken, because breaking tradition is also a revolutionary act. Under socialism there is no room for any kind of discrimination against humans. Love does not have sex,” stressed intellectual Miguel Barnet.
Author: Susana Antón | firstname.lastname@example.org
July 22, 2018 12:07:10
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
As part of the analysis of the Draft Constitution at the First Ordinary Session of the Ninth Legislature of the National Assembly of the People’s Power, some of the issues discussed were gender equality, marriage and family as part of Article 68.
Mariela Castro Espín, a deputy for the municipality of Plaza de la Revolución, commented that with Article 68, Cuba places itself, from a perspective of comprehensive protection of people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, among the leading countries in the recognition and guarantee of human rights.
“This proposal for protection is the result of the maturity reached by the revolutionary process that legitimizes and protects social relations that materialize in various types of families, from which the State’s duty to protect them and not to discriminate against them is derived,” she said.
She expressed her agreement with the provisions of Article 68, which provides for the voluntary union of two persons with the legal capacity to do so and is based on the rights and duties of spouses.
Castro Espín submitted for the plenary’s consideration that the continuation of the text of the article should be left to legislation because it is specific and refers to the obligations of couples who choose to be mothers and fathers, in addition to the fact that it is based on the absolute equality of the duties and rights of the spouses and on the conditions that favor the achievement of their ends.
“It would result in an axiological and normative contradiction in the letter of the constitutional bill between the grounds of discrimination, sexual orientation and gender identity in Articles 39 and 40, and we would discriminate against families with gay parents in Article 68,” she added.
On the other hand, she stressed that Article 41 stipulates that the State works to create the necessary conditions to facilitate equality of citizenship and “the best way to say it is to do it”, she concluded.
For her part, the Secretary General of the Federation of Cuban Women, Teresa Amarelle Boué, commented that it is a step forward that it has been taken away that marriage is the consensual union between a man and a woman..
However, there is no mention of adoption in this Article, and this is an issue that should be left to the Family Code and that should govern what marriage and other issues will be like.
“No one can be discriminated against because of their orientation. All rights are for all people and it is up to couples who want to be mothers and fathers to decide,” said Teresa Amarelle.
On the subject, Homero Acosta commented that the concept of matrimony that has been changed has an impact on the continuation of the article because it has a vision of a single-parent family and the issues related to children have a different formulation in the article.
The issue of children is regulated in Articles 69, 70 and 72, which refer to a concept of the family. “In no way does it limit the obligation of parents, whatever marriage in which it is constituted,” he said.
Yolanda Ferrer, deputy for Pinar del Río, commented that marriage must rest on the absolute equality of the duties and rights of the spouses and the law must determine the way in which it is constituted.
“We are taking a revolutionary and very important first step. There is no justification for depriving the happiness of forming a family. We have to face prejudice and make the justice we defend inclusive,” she said.
Speaking again, Deputy Mariela Castro Espín stated that “if we consider the reproductive issue, we must be consistent in giving these guarantees to all families”.
Miguel Barnet also commented that we are entering a new era. “This is a dialectical and modern Constitution, if tradition is to be broken, tradition must be broken, because breaking tradition is also a revolutionary act and under socialism there is no room for any kind of discrimination against humans. Love doesn’t have sex,” she said.
At the conclusion of the plenary debate on the subject, the deputies agreed to leave Article 68 as it stands and to include the terms “families” throughout the Constitution.
Symbol of the and militant protesting woman of the feminist movement, the French novelist visited Cuba and, hand in hand with its main leaders, learned about the Revolution and the role of the so-called weaker sex in the emerging Caribbean social process.
By Javier Gómez Lastra
May 26, 2016
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
“The fact that determines the present status of women is the stubborn survival of the oldest traditions in the new civilization being outlined. That is what is unknown to hasty observers who see women as inferior to the opportunities offered to them today, or who see only dangerous temptations in those opportunities. The truth is that her situation lacks balance, and for that reason it is very difficult for her to adapt to it. (…)
“Everything still encourages the unmarried young woman to expect ‘Prince Charming’ fortune and happiness rather than to attempt the difficult and uncertain conquest alone. In particular, it will give her the hope of reaching a higher social stratum than her own, a miracle that will not reward her life’s work. But such hope is dire, because it divides their energies and interests; it is a division that is perhaps the most serious disadvantage for women. The parents still educate the daughter with a view to marriage more than they promote her personal development, and the daughter sees in it so many advantages (…)”.
This text, taken from the work “Le Deuxième Sexe” or “The Second Sex” by Simone de Beauvoir, a French writer, narrator and philosopher and an essential figure in 20th-Century literature and thought, was a theoretical starting point for various feminist groups and became a classic work of contemporary ideology.
The piece, which breaks the existing canons in Europe since the Second World War, tells a story related to the social status of women and analyzes the different characteristics of male oppression.
It also exposes the gender situation from the point of view of biology, psychoanalysis and Marxism, and destroys the existing feminine myths, inciting the search for the authentic and full gender liberation.
Considered ambitious, the text also maintains that the struggle for women’s emancipation is different and parallel to that of the classes and that the main problem to be faced by the so-called weaker sex is not the ideological but the economic front.
The publication evoked strong reactions because of the marked character of nonconformity that the women of that time began to show.
The big push for gender equality
The beginning of the second half of the 20th century had very particular characteristics in the socio-cultural field in Europe. If anything brought about radical changes in ethical, political and philosophical thought in the countries of the Old Continent after the World Wars, it was the enormous need to achieve fundamental human rights and the emancipation of women.
Faced with the example of the policy of equality for all, applied by the governments of the nations of the newly created socialist bloc, many thinkers, human rights fighters, writers, poets, philosophers, and even politicians in Western Europe took a 180-degree turn in their way of valuing life and began to call for true equality between men and between men and women.
It was in this context that Simone de Beauvoir stood out and left a deep mark on the universal history of the world, leaving behind not only her extensive literary work, but also her tireless struggle.
In spite of her bourgeois origin, from a very young age the intellectual knew the difficulties of her contemporaries in a world dominated by men, markedly masculine, made in the image and likeness of the male and where women were relegated to domestic chores or simply to love.
Her work reflected women’s problems, marked by exclusion from production and home-based processes and purely reproductive functions, which represented the loss of all social ties and the possibility of being free.
A radical change
Simone was born in Paris on January 9th, 1908, in a district where coffee shops were beginning to proliferate, where literary gatherings were present and intellectual environments that logically influenced the writer’s education were created.
Very early on she excelled as a brilliant student and studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. Until 1943, she was involved in teaching in high schools in Marseille, Rouen and Paris.
At the age of eighteen, she wrote the first literary essay where the protagonist has many traits in common with her. From that moment on, literature played an essential role in her work.
In 1929 he met the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who became her companion for the rest of her life. Together they shared almost five decades of existence.
Sartre’s influence was unquestionable and Simone began to make use of her existential freedom. This led her to renounce her family and friends, adapting to the real world and choosing a new system of life based on her encounter with the philosopher.
Under these principles, she managed to penetrate the world of the Parisian intellectuals of the 1930s, being one of the few women that this closed universe came to accept.
Extensive literary legacy
According to the vast majority of critics, researchers and scholars of Simone’s literature, in her literary texts she dared to revise the concepts of history and character and incorporated, from an existentialist perspective, the themes of freedom, situation and commitment.
Together with Sartre, Albert Camus and Merleau-Ponty, among others, she founded the magazine Les Temps Modernes [Modern Times], whose first issue was published in October 1945 and became a political and cultural reference point for French thought in the mid-20th century.
The thinker’s extensive work includes the texts “The Guest” (1943), “The Blood of Others” (1944), “Pyrrhus and Cinema” (1944), “All Men are Mortal” (1946), “For a Morality of Ambiguity” (1947), “America Today” (1948) and “The Farewell Ceremony” (1981).
In the latter, she openly dealt with the curious love relationship, from her youthful days to her old age, and the death of her companion, which implies their hard separation. Despite the absolute identification between them, they never shared the same roof, making use of freedom and with no other purpose than the mutual need to find each other, which allowed them to achieve a perfect symbiosis.
The work ends with the striking phrase: “His death separates us. My death will not bring us together, it is so. It’s been a long time since our lives could have melted together.
In the mid-twentieth century, with some feminists, she also established the Women’s Rights League, which set out to react firmly to any sexist discrimination, and prepared a special issue of Modern Times to discuss the subject.
Her many testimonial and autobiographical titles also included other texts such as “Memoirs of a Formal Young Woman” (1958), “The Fullness of Life” (1960), “The Power of Things” (1963), “A Very Sweet death” (1964), “Old age” (1968), “The End of Accounts” (1972) and “The Farewell Ceremony” (1981).
Character is destiny
The Algerian war broke out in 1954 and Simone felt powerless in the face of reality, thus beginning her period of political struggle.
She took part in anti-fascist demonstrations and gave lectures to the students, but all attempts to impose criteria against the system were unsuccessful, and, despite her efforts, Charles de Gaulle was declared President of the Republic.
This new political situation prompted Simone to rekindle the need to rebel once again, and she agreed to accompany Sartre to Cuba in 1960. There she met Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara, among other revolutionaries, in Havana. Cuban photographer Alberto Korda documented the meeting between the couple and the two leaders.
Both Sartre and Simone were always fascinated by the Heroic Guerrilla. At the time of his death, seven years later, Sartre wrote: “Che was not only an intellectual, but also the most complete human being of our time”.
The couple spent almost two months working on the main island of the Antilles, which led to their subsequent and continued dedication to the defense of the Cuban Revolution.
They made an intense tour of the island, which included a tour of the Ciénaga Zapata swamp, the inspirational examination of the book “Sartre Visits Cuba”, published in Havana in 1960 by Ediciones Revolución. In its pages, the philosopher narrated his experiences in the country.
Fundamental decade for women and their rights
The Frenchwoman’s ideas soon reached the rest of the world and Simone de Beauvoir centers began to proliferate everywhere.
The emancipation of women was her ideal of struggle. Without denying the biological differences, she was able to denounce a whole system of oppression that worked – and still persists – from levels such as the home and that can extend to entire nations where one sex is established and dominated by another.
Her main ideology was based on equal opportunities for both men and women and on the true emancipation of all, both at work and in society.
Simone disappeared physically in 1986, but her intense work of ideological activism and broad literary exercise remain imperishable as a sure guide to the struggle for full equality. This is what her work testifies to.
By Juventud Rebelde
Posted: Monday 26 March 2018 | 11:09:09 PM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
In the first quarter of 2019, the Vietnamese Thai Binh Investment Trading Corp, which has been operating in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) since 2016, will start producing sanitary pads and disposable diapers.
In a statement to the Cuban News Agency, Vi Nguyen Phuong, director general of the consortium, said the factory, which is currently under construction, will produce 40 million diapers and 150 million sanitary pads annually.
The investment, which totals more than nine million dollars, aims to provide local consumers with high quality, Cuban-made items, said Thai Binh, a company that has been present in the country for almost 20 years.
To meet the growing demand from domestic customers, the company decided to expand its investment activities in the ZEDM, where it also plans to build a powder detergent plant with a capacity of 50,000 tons annually, the directive said.
He argued that this new project will be under the form of a joint venture, in partnership with the commercial company Industrias Nexus S.A. of Cuba, a proposal that they plan to submit to the Mariel Office next April to become operational in 2020.
Today, Vietnam is Cuba’s second largest trading partner in the Asia-Pacific region and its main supplier of rice. The two countries have a relationship of more than half a century, which will be strengthened by the visit to Cuba of Nguyen Phu Trong, secretary general of the Communist Party of Vietnam, from 28 to 30 March.
By Tania Rendón Portelles (ACN)
Tuesday, 17 July 2018 11:25
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
The protagonist of this story, Rosalba, may have several names, as there are many who, faced with an unexpected pregnancy, find themselves in the difficult situation of what to do: have a child or wait longer.
Many people in the home intervene and give their opinions left and right, and while Rosalba can hardly sleep and stress upsets her, she tries to listen to the views of each one to make the best decision.
Now, she regrets her own lack of care and that of her partner, and is afraid of using abortion as a contraceptive method, but at the same time, she has not yet planned or wanted to become a mother.
Rosalba will not be the first or the last woman between this three and two, and there is a question that she expects, without surprises, every time someone knows her condition: are you going to take have the baby or not?
In Cuba, contrary to other Latin American countries, social and moral acceptance of abortion, as well as its practice, is common.
The last National Fertility Survey was conducted in the Greater Antilles in 2009 by the National Statistics and Information Office. It highlights the high prevalence of these situations in Cuba, which has led specialists to say that these procedures are currently used as contraceptive methods.
In other words, abortion becomes an alternative to the non-use – or misuse – of different methods to avoid pregnancy.
Although the archipelago lacks an abortion law, its practice has been decriminalized since 1965. Up to 10 weeks of pregnancy you do not need to give any reason to opt for this practice.
The use of abortion as an alternative to avoid being a mother or having more children has also been due to the fact that medical professionals are safe and reliable to perform this procedure.
Here in the Caribbean nation, abortion or curettage is safe, comfortable and free, despite the discomfort it can cause in patients or the complications that sometimes occur.
Today, Cuban birth control is centralized from the primary health care level, which is a guarantee for any procedure in this regard. It includes counseling and family planning consultations, with the expectation of reducing unwanted pregnancy, maternal mortality, and infant mortality.
It is a strength for Cuban women their right to decide about their bodies. Specialists, however, warn that this practice should not become a common occurrence.
Even when school-based sex education campaigns are implemented, contraceptive methods are offered at very low prices, and it is emphasized that avoidance is best, there is generally little knowledge related to sexuality, especially among adolescents.
It is almost always women who decide whether or not to continue the pregnancy, partly because of their empowerment achieved and partly because of men’s lack of responsibility for reproduction and the consequences of unprotected sex.
It is also recognized that there are multiple causes involved in the decision to be a mother or to have more children. These include: unsuitable age for pregnancy, pregnancy very close to the last birth, ignorance, misuse, failures and limited availability of contraceptives, obstacles to personal projects, prejudice and poor material and family conditions.
Hence, the best method will always be protection, something that Rosalba understood very well, for whom the termination of her pregnancy was traumatic.
Whoever has gone through that tough time knows how difficult it is to make that decision, she shared with ACN.
It should also be noted that in Cuba, the illegal termination of pregnancy is criminalized, i.e., outside health institutions, as established by the Criminal Code since 1979.
Previously, since 1965, the procedure had been hospitalized, after many women died on the island due to poor home practices; however, in 1968, the official figures for abortion in the country began to be recorded.
There remain several questions which need to be answered, even in the face of the high number of abortions. A few are collected in a 2014 research study by the University of Havana:
To what extent has safe abortion and its social legitimization created a “culture of abortion” among Cuban women? Do they really know the risks involved in abortion? Do men and women receive age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health information and services? Is there awareness that prevention is better than action?
Despite the possibility of betting on safe and legal abortion, an inalienable right conquered by Cuban women as a result of the Revolution, this option does not eliminate its risks and consequences for women’s health.
Author: Gabriela Avila Gómez, Special Envoy | email@example.com
June 8, 2018 21:06:54
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
BEIJING: The proclamation of the People’s Revolution in China, the 1st. of October 1949, represented a transformation of the country that took deep root in every sphere, including the role of women in society, which until then could be defined in one term: obedience.
The belief in the superiority of men within the family and society over women led to the conception that women should always obey: first their father, then their husband and, if they were widowed, their son. As if this were not enough, the woman did not work, she had to admit her partner’s surname and did not even have the right to divorce, but the man did.
However, after the coming to power of Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China (CPC), a new stage for the development and empowerment of women was opened, leaving behind superstitions, lineages and patriarchy.
On one occasion, the Chinese leader stated that “in order to build a great socialist society, it is of the utmost importance to mobilize the great masses of women to engage in productive activities. (…) Only in the process of socialist transformation of society as a whole can true equality between the sexes be achieved.
In a conversation with Liu Meng, Vice-China Women’s University’s vice-chancellor, she said the Constitution – adopted just a few years after Mao took office as the country’s top leader – opened a new page for women’s emancipation by advocating for gender equality and encouraging them to move out of the confinement of the home to which they were previously committed.
Years before the appearance of the Magna Carta, the first Marriage Law had been enacted in the Asian giant, thanks to which the imposed and forced marriages, characteristic of ancient China, were definitively annulled.
WOMEN IN TODAY’S CHINA
Nearly 70 years after the People’s Republic, women in the Asian giant are an essential part of a society facing an ageing population and have a number of institutions that safeguard their security and promote gender equality, such as the National Federation of Women of China.
While the data provides an encouraging picture, it also reflects a number of difficulties for them, which the government of the president and secretary general of the CCPH Central Committee, Xi Jinping, knows and works to eliminate step by step.
“We will continue to pursue gender equality as a basic state policy and guarantee the legal rights and interests of women and children,” Xi said last year when presenting her report to the 19th National Congress of the CCPH.
Currently, their participation in political life is very notable, they are part of the National People’s Assembly, the Political Consultative Conference, and the administration at all levels.
Currently, the employment rate of women in the Asian giant is among the highest in the world, with a greater presence in sectors such as service and agriculture, said the vice-rector of the Women’s University of China.
However, as in other countries, efforts are being made to close the wage gap: in the Asian giant, women earn only 70% of men’s wages, and the higher the level of employment, the fewer women there are.
In that sense, Liu considers it difficult to have a female president in the short term, as their weight in top-level positions within the Asian nation is still very low.
This is due to the fact that they are left behind from antiquity and it is thought that if women want to be leaders they are ambitious and illogical, to which is added the difference in access to higher education between those in the countryside and those in the city, with 24% and 2%, respectively.
“We hope that the presence of Chinese women in high positions can increase,” she said.
The Asian giant has around twenty women’s universities, created under the premise of promoting gender equality, and training women’s talents to contribute to economic and social development and diplomacy.
One such institution is the China Women’s University and, according to its vice-chancellor, Liu Meng, currently has around 6,000 students, 99 per cent of whom are women.
There are careers,” said Liu, “in which there is a need for a balance between people of both sexes, such as that of a radio presenter.
Currently, the university has three cooperation projects, the first of which is aimed at training female officials from developing countries such as Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela. The second is dedicated to master’s degrees in women’s leadership and social advancement, and the last one is dedicated to women’s talents from nations included in the Silk Road and Strip.
Although women in China, and around the world, still have a long way to go to achieve their full rights, work from every family, locality and government is critical to their empowerment.
1949: Implementation of an agrarian reform that benefited more than 90% of the population. Some 300 million farmers obtained farmland.
1953-1957: First Five-Year Plan. From that experience are the Chinese progress that increased the national income to almost 9 a year and created a solid industrial base for a rise as a power.
1978: Policy of Reform and Openness, a project of nationhood that began more than 30 years ago and which considerably increased its national power, the standard of living of the people and the weight and contribution to the world economy. It catapulted the country’s political stability, fostered development and active diplomacy, which is still in place.
It has consolidated the construction of socialism with Chinese peculiarities and defined the path that the country should follow.
By 2020, the integral construction of a modestly affluent society would be completed.
China’s prosperity and stability are opportunities for all humanity to live on.
More than 30 countries are participating in the Strip and Silk Road initiative.
STUDENTS: TOTAL MEN(%) WOMEN(%)
UNIVERSITY: 1,793,953 51 49
TEACHING: 1,495,650 48.6 51.4
GRADUATE: 298,283 63.1 36.9
MEN: 86,852,572 (51.27%)
WOMEN: 65,287,288 (48.73%)
NATIONAL PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY (2018)
24.9% are women out of about 3000, total.
Data provided by Liu Meng, Vice-Rector of Women’s Univesity of China.
By Caroline Amaral Coutinho firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: Saturday 24 March 2018 | 11:09:24 PM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A black, bisexual woman, born in one of the poorest slums in Rio de Janeiro, Marielle Franco became a symbol of the social struggle in the country after her brutal and mysterious murder on March 14.
Her second death – that of her honor, her principles, and her struggles – was caused by the dissemination of news in the social media, which tries to minimize the importance of the crime against the human rights activist.
One of the so-called fake news defamation stories against Marielle alleges that she married a well-known drug trafficker in the country, Marcinho VP. Others claimed that the counselor was using drugs or that she had had her daughter when she was 16 years old – all fake, as evidenced by several Brazilian data-checking websites.
On an even more sinister occasion, a federal judge at the Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice caused controversy by criticizing Marielle based on the false news that the councilor was voted for by members of the Comando Vermelho faction. The judge said in response to a Facebook post: “The point is that Marielle was not just a fighter”; she was engaged to bandits! She was elected by the Vermelho Command and failed to meet “commitments” made to her supporters.
The Free Brazil Movement, a right-wing opposition group known for disseminating sensationalist information, used the news about the judge’s baseless accusation in a web publication entitled “Federal judge breaks with the PSOL (Marielle’s party) narrative and claims that Marielle was involved with bandits and is a “common corpse”,” with more than 40,000 “likes” before she was killed.
Other representatives of the extreme right also mobilized to spread lies about the representative of the PSOL party (Partido Socialismo y Libertad). Among them, Alberto Fraga, deputy of the “Bancada da Bala” (parliamentary front for the right of access of civilians to bear arms), published last Friday on Twitter an image of defamation with false information about Marielle’s alleged relationship with criminals to question the action of the police in crime. As a result of the criticism, the Member had to withdraw the publication.
But the online lying machine could not contain the manifestations of pain and solidarity with Marielle. The day after her murder, tens of thousands of people from different parts of Brazil, as well as from Portugal and New York, took to the streets in repudiation of what had happened, according to G1 data.
In addition, around 50 members of the European Union’s Human Rights Council requested the suspension of negotiations with the Mercosur economic bloc. and 100 UN entities denounced Brazil for violence against social activists in the country.
Marielle Franco received the fifth most votes as a candidate in the city of Rio de Janeiro from the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL). She was also a sociologist and political leader in the defense of human rights. The councilor was shot dead on the night of Wednesday, March 14, leaving an event on the role of black women in politics.