By Kaloi Santos Cabrera
March 04, 2009 00:42:57 GMT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The festival “For you, Woman” will be held from the 6th -8th March concurring with the Cuban Women Federation 8th Congress.
The Young Communists League is giving the finishing touches to an extensive program called “For you, Woman”, to be held from the 6th – 8th of March, to entertain Cuban women in every corner of the country.
This festival, concurring with the sessions of the 8th Congress of the Cuban Women’s Federation that will take place Saturday and Sunday, will hold its main events at the Cuba Pavilion [in Havana]. It will start with a meeting of female soldiers. Participants will be young students from several military schools and the founders of the Feminine Anti-aircraft Artillery Regiment formed by Vilma Espin.
Similar meetings will take place this day with women of other fields, like education and science. An exhibition of famous Cuban heroines painted by Antonio Guerrero will also be shown. Similarly, the [Computer] Youth Clubs will present several multimedia, like “Celia, Butterfly of the Sierra”. Singer Ivette Cepeda and her group Reflection will close the day.
On Saturday, the meetings will be held with women from the cultural sector. Therefore, music, literature and art will seize the pavilion. Children from “Bebe Compañia” and from the “Cascabelito” choir will be two of the outstanding performances that day. The presentation of the literary anthology “Spaces in the Island, 50 years of women’s stories in Cuba” and the opening of a collective exhibition of paintings from 17 artists are also included. The vocal group “Zamba” has been announced for the evening concert,
On Sunday, it’s the International Woman’s Day and the debut of our baseball team in the II Baseball World Classic. So, the main event will be a meeting with great national sporting figures. Other important events will be the performances of the Ballet of the L y 19 school, of the “Nene Traviesa” Children’s Company, and of the project “JADE” of the “Hemanos Saiz” Association.
During these three days, Pavilion Cuba will also provide food and hairdressing services and CDs, books, and craft sales in local currency.
By Alina Perera and Yailin Orta
March 8, 2009 00:39 GMT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
To be a woman with spread wings; to be One and not to lose the charm and tenderness inherent in one, in this island…it’s a tough job. Don’t be frightened, reader: the authors of this article are no hard-core stubborn upholders of women’s liberation excluding indispensable male companionship. We do not uphold the statement: “foolish men who accuse women without reason…”
If we look at things more profoundly, more justly, we have to admit that despite everything, Cuban women have gained, in the maelstrom of a revolution that has never stopped thinking about them, there are still bonds that tie them down. From these bonds, as old as the human species, a patriarchal vision stems forth, silent as a ghost.
“To run on a par with the wolves, they have to pay the price”, confessed an anthropologist who studies the history of feminism in Cuba. And now, in light of the Congress of the Cuban Women Federation (FMC), we wondered about how women in our society, where discrimination against women is not legitimate, face a cultural challenge. Granted women and men are different, But, why do they have to assume life’s responsibilities so inequitably?
This is a fascinating issue that concerns us all. Hence, we went in search of voices to help us think about the reality of women in Cuba today. And, on the path walked by the Federation; born in 1960 when huge gaps between men and their partners had to be closed.
The cost of advancement
“Living in these times is difficult, both for women and men,” said Ivette Vega Hernández, editor of the magazine “Muchacha”, published by “Editorial de la Mujer”.
She could not ignore the impact of the distressing blockade that gravitates over our daily life: “The FMC has denounced it in international forums. It has done so, thinking about the great toll it is for women to assume roles historically assigned to them. When a woman occupies minutes from her working time worrying about the food she needs to cook, it is time taken from her work. Besides being good professionals, they feel they must also be good at home”.
And, this is not wrong. What’s wrong is that only women are concerned with such issues. The pattern seems cloned in the younger generations, said Ivette Vega: “It is common in high schools that girls, to meet the expectations of their partners, take on the responsibility of managing and taking care of the weekly groceries, or washing clothes. Disparities are not changed by a stroke of a pen; they pass through the individual conscience of each human being. Change is costly because it means getting rid of more than five or six hundred years of patriarchal culture.”
In the eyes of specialists, women continue to function compelled by very old triggers. It is obvious that in many households, the times when the “weaker sex” requested permission to work “outside the home“ are over. But, Ivette Vega reflects, “now, there’s a deep silence when we get home, or there’s a disapproving expression on their faces when we open the door.”
There are other, more blatant, discriminatory signals, such as we find in “popular songs” that brand women as heartless thieves or greedy. As long as there are people that see us in this way, equal opportunity and social justice will not be achieved“, said the director of the magazine “Muchacha”.
And she gave us other examples to ponder: “If I have a brother and he works less than me at home simply because he’s male, justice has not been achieved. If I’m the one who has to be careful about having sex, and not him, the point of view is still lopsided. Because, becoming a father is something as serious and responsible as becoming a mother. “
There is a trend Ivette did not overlook: ‘When you move up the social pyramid, the number of women in leadership positions diminishes. Is it because they are no longer bold, decisive, and intelligent? No. Life changed them, and those that “get there” … What have they lost, what have they gained, what makes them suffer? And, if apparently they have not lost anything, what do they feel guilty of? What is the cost to pay if they fail to conform to the mother or wife cultural pattern expected of them? A truly revolutionary change is needed, because it is not enough for me to be present: we must be really there, without it being considered a heresy. “
To run or to flirt, with the wolves?
Without including the male point of view, this journalistic expedition would be incomplete. That is why we invited Julio Cesar Pages, Ph. D. in Historical Science and anthropologist, to contribute his point of view on this complex and sensitive issue. It’s an issue that triggers the most diverse views, and there’s always the risk of not being able to balance them.
“We are a country with high expectations, we have a large population of women with university and pre-university studies, we have achieved a great professional level, but ‘machismo’ survives as a cultural and educational label.
“Whereas our women have grown in their spiritual universe and in the professional world, our men have not done the same. We remain a gallant, but discriminatory society. I’d like to make clear that the ‘machismo’ discourse includes everyone. It is not just superficial, it’s a set of ideas profoundly embedded [in our consciousness].
“The challenge to overcome it can not be left solely to the FMC. It seems to me it lacks responsibility, if only those who are most vulnerable face it. It needs a social synergy in which all the institutions must work. The Federation must be the generator, but not the custodian of all the problems. “
Julio Cesar wanted to remind us that absent mothers and fathers are judged differently. Mothers who turn away from their children are downright disqualified. On the other hand, [absent] fathers are seen as wayward or judged simply as abiding by tradition.
“If a woman decides to run at a par with the wolves, it will be very difficult for her. She will probably be disqualified. Similarly, if a man isn’t dominant, he will definitively be disqualified and even run over by the competition,” stated the anthropologist. For him, it’s not easy to make educational talks coincide with day by day reality, among other reasons, because “we keep sticking to women without involving men.”
The mirage of equity
There are many traps, sometimes subtle snares, set on the road to equity. To sustain this idea, Julio Cesar Gonzalez suggested we examine how, when some women occupy positions in which they have to make important decisions, they tend to use certain communication codes used by men.
In this reflection, the Doctor of Historical Sciences says that “we cannot bring about equity without working on men’s perception of their masculinity. When we talk to some men about changing, they associate change with being weak.”
When referring to the history of women struggles for liberation, the interviewee noted that, due to their public success in the nineteenth century, men made progress. But, women went further because they questioned their essence. “For me as a social activist, the great challenge of the twenty-first century is to work with men and get them to influence others [men].”
– How do you feel people see you for studying issues such as masculinity?
-Sometimes I provoke skepticism. Some doubt me. “This man is missing something,” they sometimes think. But later, during the debate, people become passionate [with the subject]. So, I get a lot of solidarity. And many people come to me to tell me their most intimate conflicts.
Significance and dreams of a federation
To get to know the intricacies of the Federation, to get to be part of its National Directorate, was for Ivette Vega an opportunity to discover the transformative dimension of the Revolution on women. It’s a change that has been “much more inclusive than what might be dealt with in books. We speak of a job that has been difficult, systematic, and not always well understood.”
– What do you consider are the most immediate tasks the organization has to perform?
– I think the first challenge facing the FMC is to make the girls of the new generations understand fully, that conquered goals do not last per se, and if we fail to defend them, they can be lost.
“In the ’60s, most women had to the community as their sole political and social participation space.
Fifty years later, many young girls study in boarding schools; others work and have different responsibilities in other organizations. So, I think the biggest challenge for the FMC lies in getting the [Federation] to vibrate and to be felt strongly at the lower echelons. “
According to Ivette Vega, one of the weaknesses of the Federation is that few of the lower echelon delegations are headed by young women, who, incidentally, must be called upon attractively. They tend to have a greater presence at middle or higher echelons.
But despite all challenges, the objectives of the FMC are still valid because the primary purpose is to keep up the work of the Revolution. “
To make the organization look increasingly similar to the new generations is one of the cardinal horizons outlined by Lisa García Gayoso, legal adviser to the national FMC Community Work field and executive coordinator of the National Group for the Prevention and Treatment of Domestic Violence.
“We are privileged to have close to us women who were in the Federation since its inception. We have learned from them. There are objectives, laid down when the Federation was found, that are still valid, and that need to be transmitted to young women today in the language of 2009.
“We must make sure that young people see the organization as theirs, not only as the one born in 1960; that they see it as one that is fighting for what must be conquered now. Some equity has been achieved, but there are still dilemmas. We still have, for example, violence in some homes. And, I dare say that after the special period, with the intensification of economical difficulties in Cuban families, tensions have not diminished. ”
Moreover, according to Lisa, the organization has to divulge more and in a better way what it does, and work in specific ways with young women. The way it’s run is another key factor: “We have delegations that work very well, others not so much, and others that do not work at all. The latter ones are those in which people say, “The Federation [representatives] only comes here to collect fees “.
It is a weakness that must be corrected, because good performance guarantees our being able to attract the younger generation, especially in the communities where all kinds of women live: housewives, workers, students, and retired women.”
– What is the most exciting thing the organization offers to young women?
– There are things that have interested me a lot and that I first heard of when I arrived at FMC: they include humanity, simplicity and sensitivity. The Federation has been involved in many beautiful endeavors in this country. Few people know, for example, the great impulse given by the Federation to the current Family Code. It was created, partly because of the impetus given it by Vilma and the FMC, to restructure the concept of motherhood and fatherhood. And so that men could share all family roles equally with their wives.
”The FMC participates in programs that help those who neither study nor work. It helps in schools, day care centers, and homes for children without parental care. There are many social endeavors unknown to the young people. There are the Counseling Houses for Women and Families where we can ask for counsel in any kind of situation. “
Julio Cesar Gonzalez has no doubt that the Federation is “an important organization, which needs and deserves the solidarity of other social organizations. It is badly needed, because until we have equity between women and men, many federations will be needed.
“The FMC reaches the most distant and difficult places; it travels into the family, and it does so by activism. Women are the ones who mobilize for any public good campaign. “
Norma Vasallo Barrueta, president of the Women’s Chair at the University of Havana, Ph. D. in Pedagogical Sciences and Senior Professor of the Psychology Faculty, said that the Federation needs to diversify the work it carries out today. It should be diverse corresponding to the different interests of its addressees. “If it were more active and rewarding, it would achieve plenty of results.”
Maité López Peña, a promotion and media official of the FMC in Havana, is confident that the organization must “work more with young women at the lowest echelon, and also be more operational. We must do more to reach housewives who have no other links. The work must be individualized, because all young women do not have the same interests. We must find areas where they feel motivated. “
The difficult art of existence
”No one can doubt,” Norma Vasallo said, “the rising significant presence women have in the public world of Cuban reality. But, parallel to the evolution of their social involvement, a partial stagnation of their private and domestic life has resulted. And this not only happens in Cuba.
“The feminist movement has had significant achievements in the twentieth century, meaningfully expressed in labor market participation and different levels of education. But, women are still the ones mainly responsible for household tasks and in Cuba these tasks require more time, more dedication. “
This specialist said Cuban women, because they work in the social and domestic fields, have a double shift. Because of everyday shortages, it often turns into two and a half shifts, which means a 20 hour work day.
“The other thing that is a reality in Cuba is the need to care for the elderly at home. This is another task that tradition has assigned to women. In our country, we already know, population is aging. Therefore, it’s peremptory to think about creating institutions that help women. So they don’t have to give up their professions, when they are still in full possession of their faculties, to care for their loved ones full time. “
The Ph. D. in Psychological Sciences touched yet another abrasive issue, that of gender violence; the one, women suffer in social spaces. She recalled how some institutions prefer to hire young and beautiful women; and that harassment on the street is such, those of the “weaker sex” will wind up needing space suits to go out.
“Violence against women is also emotional, -she added- psychological, and even economic. Economic violence can be enforced when women are dependent on the man’s salary, or when it’s his house, and he uses this as blackmail. These are realities that are with us, which we must be disassemble and denounce, because if they are seen as natural, we are at risk of making them almost legitimate.
There are women who, as a result of years of patriarchal culture, can be more ‘macho’ than men, said Lisa Garcia Gayoso. The social authority we have gained sometimes cracks when we cross our front doors inwards, and we limit our partner’s help with domestic chores. For example, were we born with a sign in our foreheads saying ‘I’m the one who cooks’? How many times do we come home at night to find our husband watching TV and our son hasn’t taken a bath yet?”
Thinking of the future, we can not expect our society to be better tomorrow, if at home the son is seeing that Dad is doing nothing and Mom is the orchestra- woman. When that child grows up, he will repeat the pattern he has learned.
Let’s meditate together on this. Without having to experience arguments like the following, this is a true story:
– There is a lot of ‘machismo’- says the female subordinate to the male boss. And he says: “What we have is a lot of ‘womanism’.” She is struck dumb at the new word. And he continues: “Yes, a plague of women who want to boss us around.” And so, in this case, it’s a dialogue between two deaf persons, biting its tail, without hope for solutions that would provide wise balance.
By Marianela Martín and Alina Perera
March 8, 2009 00:58:49 GMT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Vilma’s voice is being projected across the room and large screens show images of her during distinct moments of her life. In her loving tone, she speaks of the privilege of being a woman in Cuba. Like Fidel she has been a faithful promoter of our conquests.
Minutes later, young women in uniform bring Vilma’s guerilla outfit and her pistol closer to the stage, symbols that prevail during the sessions of the 8th Congress of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC).
These were the first moments of the most important meeting of Cuban women, which ended on Sunday in Havana’s Convention Palace. The inaugural session on Saturday afternoon include the presence of the First Vice President of the Council of State and Ministers, José Ramón Machado Ventura, the Moncada Heroine, Melba Hernández, the founder of the Federation and Vilma’s comrade from the clandestine struggle and the Sierra Maestra, Asela de los Santos Tamayo, and the mothers, wives, and sons of our five compatriots unjustly imprisoned in U.S. jails for fighting terrorism.
In the meeting, where almost half of the delegates were born after 1959, the secretary general of the FMC, Yolanda Ferrer Gómez, displayed confidence in the women who will provide continuity to the life of the organization.
“Cuban women will never return to the oppressive past”, the member of the Party’s Central Committee affirmed. She repeated something that Vilma said and which Fidel has always praised: women have to put up a fight for life and the Revolution alongside their male comrades.
Especially moving was the proposal to place an image of combatant Vilma in front of the logo on the Federation’s flag. The delegates raised their hands in a sign of approval and afterwards a young woman declared that the face of this exceptional woman will be an incentive for women to become members of and take an active part in the organization’s endeavors.
Reading a summery of the Central Report to the Congress, Yolanda Ferrer emphasized that Cuban women are a «true army», in which the precepts conceived of by Vilma for the full liberation of women have taken root.
The Secretary General of the Federation acknowledged that the organization has become stronger and its membership base has grown. It has identified the most important challenges for women, developed and promoted educational and preventative programs, taken part in the tasks of the Energy Revolution, defended the incorporation of women into the work force, and decided on the modification of cardinal laws for the country, among other achievements.
“This, our first Congress of the 21st century, serves to consolidate what has been achieved” Yolanda Ferrer stated. She said that even though the FMC has advanced, it continues face challenges. The organization must improve the politics of cadres; achieve the smooth functioning and liveliness of each section of the Federation; work in a multifaceted manner in order to attend to individualities; make it so that the organization is felt in every community; energetically confront all the symptoms of corruption; and revolutionize content and ways of organizing.
During the first day, the delegates also approved the suggestion of the National Secretary to not fill the position of the President of the FMC in the future and for it remain symbolically in the hands of compañera Vilma Espín as a tribute to her.
From woman to woman.
In the morning, there were reflections by commissions dealing with cadre politics and the operation of the organization, ideological work, the formation of values, the defense of the country, international solidarity work, the participation of the women in the economy, community and preventative work, and the fight for equality and the promotion of women.
This last subject provoked multiple people to express their ideas, among which was the need to go beyond analysis that refers only to men and to women when it should be about equality.
According to the delegate’s criterion, it’s necessary to add other variables that display the principal areas where inequality is generated in Cuba today. How do the families depend on women’s economic contribution in the home? How does subjectivity function depending on the social group to which a person pertains?
Only if we see the Cuban reality as something heterogeneous and contradictory, a female member alerted, will our ways of doing politics be more effective.
Another concern expressed in the commission was in reference to the importance of respecting the diversity of preferences among human beings. This principal applied to the area of sexuality, which, according to more than one voice in the Congress, is the antidote to prejudices and discriminatory attitudes.
One woman requested that we not forget that behind each person that has sexual preferences, to which we either are or are not accustomed, there is someone who has feelings and can struggle together with us.
The director of the Cuban National Center of Sexual Education (CENESEX), Mariela Castro Espín, said in a reflection about the challenges of achieving equality that in some ways we are returning to the 1970s, when at the height of the Second Congress of the Federation, women asked for sexual orientation for their children so that they did not repeat the same errors that they had.
“We return to those problems, although with a dialectical focus – Mariela said –; gender violence is not longer as explicit; the bad keeps reducing but it does not disappear, which is why we must keep working intelligently”.
The director of CENESEX posed a question for all to ponder: How does a woman that has governmental, administrative, and political responsibilities live? With how many contradictions? “This is a problem whose solution can be found in the joint work of men and women”.
To envisage, the curative attitude of José Martí, was in the spirit of the delegates that participated in the commission, where they spoke about efforts in the community and in educational settings where it is possible to deeply confront attitudes that lessen the moral health of the nation.
Lázara Mercedes López Acea, member of the Secretariat of the Party’s Central Committee emphasized that good intentions are not enough for deploying effective preventative work: its necessary to prepare oneself. If direct attention for children and youth is important to the Federation, it’s cardinal to provide guidance to the organization’s social workers who work closely with families.
The organization’s impact in homes, in the School Councils, in its projects like the Courses of Integral Advancement for Youth, and in all of the key spaces for the education of new generations was highlighted by Lázara Mercedes. When one speaks about prevention, she said, one must always do it with infinite reserve, which the FMC has in its work with the human being.
What woman can do
In 2000, Aida Leonor Oro Lau, director of the company Inejiro Asanuma Holguin Spinning Mill, suffered an accident that caused her to lose her right hand, but did not weaken her desire to work. Now «left-handed by force», she admits, the initiatives arising from her are countless and go beyond giving orders or singing papers.
This Saturday, among delegates of the 8th Congress of the FMC analyzing the participation of women in the Cuban economy, Aida Leonor brought up the epidemic sadness that the hurricanes left in Hoguin, also known as the city of parks.
“Of my workers, 171 suffered damage to their homes and 41 were left without a place to live. The factory had to take on, amidst the chaos, the production of food for these workers and also form a strategy so that absenteeism would not affect production plans.”
With this Cuban woman in charge, operating one thread winding machine, 57,000 hours of voluntary work were done and the plans were completed.
Aida took over this company in 1992. At that time, the center suffered from shortages and the exodus of many workers. Coming from the standpoint that willpower is more powerful than the available consumables, she had the intention of diversifying products to temporarily ride it out.
With a 40 year-old sowing machine that belonged to the center and three female workers, they began to make pillows. Later the workshop grew with the obtainment of 8 of these machines and with the reclamation of the movement Sewing at Home, which the Federation promoted.
Thanks to this initiative, the factory sold 224,000 dollars worth of products at TRD stores last year, and in 2009 its sales will reach $314,000, almost 36% of which the company will pay to the state. The company envisages producing thread for textile products made in the country, including the production of antiseptic tape.
Aida spoke in the commission about replacing imports with national products and that national industry must recover its reliability. In the same discussion, Odalys Álvarez from Pinar del Rio requested that the FMC more rigorously to demand that companies pay based on results because not doing so weakens women’s incorporation in the workplace.
Audit and Control Minister Gladys Bejerano called for the creation a culture of control and prevention. She was an invited guest at the 8th Congress and spoke about the presence of women in the economic life of the country, where they have not only spread intelligent ideas but have also known how to confront corruption and other illegalities using their talent of persuasion and love.
May 2, 2017
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
Icon of the Argentine cinema, actress and director Norma Aleandro arrives today at her 81st birthday in a full creative phase.
Much rain has fallen since she starred in The Official Story in 1985, the first film from this southern nation to win the Oscar for best foreign film and for which she earned the laurel at the Cannes Film Festival for Best Actress.
She became one of the most acclaimed faces inside and outside of Latin America, Aleandro remains very active, at once directing theater or lending her voice to classic national and world tales in a new cycle in Buenos Aires telling a story.
She recently primiered the play Escena de la vida conjugal, about the work of Swedish Ingmar Bergman, in which she directs two other great actors, Ricardo Darín and Erica Rivas, at the Maipo.
Although almost always seen in front of the cameras, the role of director also draws her.
“It’s a different place to the extent that someone else is going to take the stage but I’m in a place where being an actress is good for understanding the actor’s mind and vice versa. We are good for the actors and we also like to be able to direct, although they are two very different things,” she said in recent statements to an Argentine media.
When asked recently in an interview with the Infobae website, what is the best thing that this career has given her. She answered many things, for example she answered that many things, for example, she said, the knowledge that she can give authors telling stories.
“It helps a lot to understand the human being and therefore yourself. You have to put other people in place who have very different customs, who have loves and hatreds very different from yours, which helps you empathize with the other human being next door.
Argentines who have grown up with Aleandro thank her for her memorable movies and leave nice messages for her on social networks like Twitter and Facebook on this new birthday.
Born on May 2, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Aleandro made her debut in 1952. Among her most notable films are: Autumn Sun, Anita, Gaby: a true story, The son of the girllfriend and The Son of the Bride, and the bed inside.
(With information from Prensa Latina)
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
She was the girl in the house, nice and affectionate. He was the “uncle”, Dad and Mom’s best friends since they were little children, like her. She always ran to greet him. He visited the house on every birthday, on weekends, in the afternoons … Her parents would leave her in the care of the “uncle” so they could run errands. He brought her dolls, candy, cookies. She never understood why he kissed her in the mouth, took off her robe and touched her everywhere when they were alone. He told her it was a secret, as in the tales of princesses. She did not like it; but it was a princess’s secret … He left her half-naked and crying one afternoon when Mom and Dad had not yet returned … She’s barely four years old.
Contrary to the widespread belief of an “unknown stranger,” “distant from our home or affective environment,” events such as the one narrated above are very much our own, close, historical … Social taboos or stigmas –even institutional ones– manage to silence them, but never avoid them, much less eradicate them.
“I worked with cases that came to the Court in 2015 and the first months of 2016,” explains Lisandra León Borrero, whose Master’s Degree thesis in Criminology discussed the “Victim Factors that Promoted Sexual Abuse of Children Under 16 in The Municipality of Cienfuegos in 2015-16: Actions for prevention.” However, the author mentions the existence of other cases still being processed and says there are cases that are never reported.
Researchers say that in our country the most common crimes related to child sexual abuse are lascivious abuses, and the most vulnerable are children between three and ten years of age.
According to the 2013 Cuban Report on “Legal-penal actions against human trafficking and other forms of sexual abuse”, protection was granted to 2,321 girls and boys who had been victims of these acts (1036 of lascivious abuse, 553 of corruption, 365 of rape, 191 of sexual outrage, 57 of pederasty and 29 of rape under 16 years of age). From then to date, the figure has been rising.
“I do not think it has increased,” explains Dr. Diana María Stuart Duarte, child psychiatrist at the Centro de Evaluación, Análisis y Orientación del Menor (CEAOM) [Center for Evaluation, Analysis and Guidance of Minors] in the province. From the very beginning of the history of humankind, abuse has been present. But people have gained confidence, knowledge, and are less afraid. Thus the number of accusations has increased. In fact, many families had their children being victims of sexual abuse and did not disclose it. We are already more open in that regard.”
Other studies reveal that, even with such progress, the reported cases are usually only 10 to 20 percent of the real number .
The victimizers, like the victims, have no face, no age, no sex, but “they are almost always close to the family and study their victims, identifying problems of any kind: children who lack affection. And many times the child is mentioning the abuse to the elders and they do not believe it; they take him or her to be a liar. Imagine being in a situation like that,” says Lic. Sara Rey Hernández, a psychologist at CEAOM.
As part of her research, Lisandra León Borrero identified some risk factors that increase the vulnerability of children to this type of abuse. The absence of risk perception on the part of the family is at the top of the list and reveals certain shortcomings of present-day Cuban society.
“Most of the cases under study were dysfunctional families; they did not pay attention to their children; they did not know who they related to; they were not prepared to provide them with adequate sex education; and they were permissive.”
“Another element was the economic factor. In juvenile corruption, for example, when we analyze how the crime is committed –the age, the crime itself—material factors are almost always present. Predators take advantage of those teenagers who wish to have cell phones or tablets, and whose parents cannot give them those goods.”
Master Lisandra Leon Borrero also discusses the social factor with the presence of alcoholism in our communities, and the lack of adequate recreation spaces for the children. “The mother lives on a fifth floor and lets the child play in the street, in a dark place, without supervision,” she added.
Whether in the short or medium term, the aftermath is usually manifested in the child victim. Among the most serious consequences, Dr. Stuart Duarte includes: affective disorders, psycho-somatic problems (physical symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite or gastrointestinal, perception, function or behavioral disorders) or personality disorders, deriving even from substance abuse.
The law, for its part, falls more heavily on those responsible depending on the age, the circumstances of the event, or the significance of the damage. Punishments range from 12 months for lascivious abuse, to 30 years or death for rape, violent pedophilia or corruption of minors when the victim is under twelve years of age.
“In 1991 Cuba ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, our Penal Code shows a certain lack of protection when it comes to considering aggravating factors,” Leon Borrero explains. In civil law here, a person is a minor until he or she is 18; but for punishment in criminal law we speak of a minor until he or she is 16, and in the end, aggravation is only considered when the victim is 14 or younger”.
WHEN THERE IS CONFIRMATION
Although each child may react in different ways to this type of aggression, there are symptoms that would help relatives or friends to detect them.
“Isolation is one of the most common,” says psychiatrist Diana Maria Stuart. Also school rejection, hostility, rebellion, fluctuations in appetite, difficulties in personal relationships … Depression in children and adolescents is not as in us adults: in children, it responds to a manifestation of behavior, rather than to emotional causes…
Behavioral alterations take precedence over emotional ones. The school plays an important role: when a child is being abused his or her academic performance almost always decreases. The child reacts differently: some are not aggressive and at a certain moment they become so; they reject physical contact …”
“It is paramount to maintain close observation of such changes,” stresses psychologist-pedagogue of CEAOM, Lic. Arianna González Fernández. “Sometimes we get cases in which the parents cannot tell us if there is an emotional alteration or not: the child is in school until 5:00 pm, comes home, takes a bath, does homework, eats and goes to bed. In such circumstances, it is the teacher who helps us with a more complete characterization.”
It is difficult to react serenely to the chance of possible abuse of some of the smallest of the house. However, it is essential to take into account some procedural steps for the safety and welfare of the child.
“When the family learns of the abuse, it should address the PNR unit [Policia Nacional Revolucionaria/ National Police] and file a complaint without the presence of the child. The child should not be taken to the unit of the PNR, emphasizes psychologist Sara Rey Hernandez. The child has already told the story to a cousin, an aunt, then to the mother, and then goes to the police station and repeats the story to whoever is there. They may not be the person prepared to explore the child. To work with them is our group of specialists. We must not re-victimize the victim.”
“Nor should parents insist on getting more details. That is our job,” comments González Fernández. “We keep repeating this because that insistence only creates more problems. By the time we get the information, it will already be tainted and the child will give us a narration of what he heard, guessed, imagined… altering the concrete fact.
The specialists interviewed agreed on the fact that, in general, delays in the detection and reporting of abuse persist.
“Speaking in terms of crime, we should not cause alarm either,” suggests Lisandra León Borrero. We should be careful with the subject, because perhaps the child’s symptoms respond to something else and misunderstandings can generate family conflicts.”
“We know that everyday life is difficult, but we must devote time to our children,” emphasizes Stuart Duarte. “Talk to them, play with them. Draw with them. The idea is not to be permissive, but to devote time to them. And have control: boys and girls should have schedules according to their age; parents should know who they play with, where they play … All this is important in the family’s actions to prevent their children from being victims of sexual abuse.”
Stories like that of the girl in our opening paragraph are very close to home, they are our own, historical … And silence does not manage to silence the pain, much less avoid it.
Crimes involving sexual abuse
Violent pederasty: sexual intercourse with men
using violence or intimidation.
Sexual outrage: harassment with sexual demands,
exhibitionism or obscene acts; producing or circulating pornographic materials.
Lewd abuse: to lasciviously abuse a person
of either sex, without the aim of carnal access,
using force or intimidation.
Rape: to have sex with a single woman
older than 12 years and under 16,
using abuse of authority or deception.
Corruption of minors: using minors under 16
in the practice of prostitution or in the practice
of acts of corruption, pornography, or other
A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.
Recently, actress and American film director Jodie Foster was in Cuba. During her visit to Havana, the winner of two Oscars for Best Actress in 1989 and 1992 shared with specialists from the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX).
Dr. Mariela Castro Espín shared her impressions about the meeting with Jodie on Facebook today:
“It was a pleasant surprise that the American actress Jodie Foster showed interest in knowing about our work at Cenesex Cuba, during her recent private visit to the Island with her wife, Alexandra Hedison, and her sons Charles and Kit, with whom we had a beautiful family evening” .
Open to scientific search, exchange of experiences and dialogue of knowledge, CENESEX counts on professionals of recognized prestige from different scientific disciplines who use a comprehensive approach in the study of sexuality.
Foster, whose performances in Taxi Driver, The Silence of the Lambs and Panic Room have always been in the memory of her followers, has now been added to the list of artists of the United States who have visited the Island after the approach initiated by Havana and Washington in December 2014.
March 15, 2009 00:53:09 GMT
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
At the Museum of the Revolution, the 25 years of existence of this regiment was remembered. The regiment was created by initiative of Vilma Espin, eternal president of the Cuban Women Federation.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) in the capital paid tribute to the first anti-aircraft artillery regiment of women, created by initiative of Vilma Espin, eternal president of the Cuban Women Federation (FMC), according to AIN.
During a ceremony at the Museum of the Revolution, the 25 years of existence of this regiment were remembered. Reserve Colonel Mirta Garcia Llorca was in command of this regiment from 1984 to 1991.
After placing a wreath at the eternal flame to the Heroes of the Fatherland at the Granma Memorial, the women shared their experiences and remembered the founding years. The myriad tasks performed on behalf of the FAR and the FMC, particularly during international missions and in Cuba, were also remembered.
The event, chaired by Major General Antonio Enrique Batlle Lusón, Hero of the Republic of Cuba, and by Yolanda Ferrer, secretary general of the women’s organization, was a propitious moment to recount the significance Cuban women have had as part of the Cuban people in uniform.
It also recognized the efforts of the FAR, the UJC, the FMC and the High School Student Federation (FEEM) to comply with the Women’s Voluntary Military Service, a vital link in the incorporation of young girls to the defense of our homeland.
At the end of the ceremony, Brigadier General Ramon Martinez Echevarria, of MINFAR, stressed the merits of these women who stepped forward at a time when the country urgently needed their presence in the Armed Forces and reiterated the altruism and courage with which they faced different missions.
The First Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment of Women was founded on March 8, 1984, and many of its members are still active within the FAR and the MININT, while others are active in different sectors of Cuban society.
15 de marzo de 2009 00:53:09 GMT
En el Museo de la Revolución fueron recordados los 25 años de existencia de este órgano armando, que surgió por iniciativa de Vilma Espín, eterna presidenta de la Federación de Mujeres Cubanas
Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias (FAR) rindieron homenaje en la capital al primer regimiento femenino de artillería antiaérea, una iniciativa impulsada por Vilma Espín, eterna presidenta de la Federación de Mujeres Cubanas (FMC), informó la AIN.
Durante una ceremonia en el Museo de la Revolución fueron recordados los 25 años de existencia de este órgano armando, al frente del cual estuvo desde 1984 hasta 1991 la coronel de la reserva Mirta García Llorca.
Tras colocar una ofrenda floral en la llama eterna a los Héroes de la Patria en el Memorial Granma, las féminas intercambiaron experiencias y rememoraron los años fundacionales y las innumerables tareas cumplidas por encargo de las FAR y la FMC, en particular en misiones internacionalistas y en suelo patrio.
El acto, presidido por el Héroe de la República de Cuba, general de división Antonio Enrique Lusón Batlle, y Yolanda Ferrer, secretaria general de la organización femenina, devino oportuno recuento de lo que ha significado la mujer cubana como parte del pueblo uniformado.
Asimismo, se reconoció el esfuerzo de las FAR, la UJC, la FMC y la Federación de Estudiantes de la Enseñanza Media (FEEM) en el cumplimiento del Servicio Militar Voluntario Femenino, un eslabón imprescindible en la incorporación de las jóvenes a la defensa de la Patria.
Al término de la ceremonia el general de brigada Ramón Martínez Echevarría, del MINFAR, destacó los méritos de estas mujeres que dieron el paso al frente en momentos en que el país urgía de su presencia en las Fuerzas Armadas y reiteró el altruismo y la valentía con que enfrentaron disímiles misiones.
El Primer Regimiento de Artillería Antiaéreo Femenino se fundó el 8 de marzo de 1984, y muchas de sus integrantes se mantienen en activo dentro de las FAR y el MININT y otras en diferentes sectores de la sociedad cubana.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
In the three interviews that I have done with Aterciopelados in recent years, the Colombian rock duo repeated like a mantra their desire to perform in Cuba. Finally, they will succeed in November when they will lead, together with Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux, the roster of the Patria Grande Festival to be held in Havana and other provinces from 17 to 26 next month. The duo, composed of vocalist and composer Andrea Echeverri and bassist and also composer, Hector Buitrago, will premiere new themes on the island and perform the classics of their repertoire included on the DVD Reluciente, rechinante y aterciopelado (Gleaming, Screechy and Velvety) (2016).
Aterciopelados has a 20 year-plus career, seven studio albums and a handful of songs like “Bolero Falaz” and “Florecita Rockera”, which have become cult themes for their thousands of followers on the Latin scene.
These Colombians, responsible for the expansion of Latin rock on the international stage during the 1990s, will come to Havana after taking part in a historic moment for their country and Latin America. The duo went on stage a few days ago at a concert in Bogota to celebrate the peace agreements between the Government of José Manuel Santos and the FARC-EP.
“It was a great privilege to be part of this historic moment for the country; we were very excited. We all cried, it was emotional, but there was always the specter of what might happen in the plebiscite. Now the question is how to avoid this pitfall; that will be the ultimate test of the dialogue: the real ability to agree among abysmally opposed thoughts,” said Andrea about the triumph of the NO in the plebiscite, in this new interview with Granma, responding by e-mail together with her companion, Héctor Buitrago.
Since its foundation, Aterciopelados has taken sides for the end of the war in Colombia. What did it mean to you to have witnessed the peace agreements?
Andrea: We’ve spent sad and confused days. After being present and excited at the signing of the agreement between the Government and the FARC-EP, the YES lost in the referendum. Without fully understanding the implications of this setback yet, we think that despite the frustration, the conditions for dialogue and peace have been built anyway. The FARC-EP have said that their only weapons will be words, and the government has confirmed that another agreement will be sought that would be agreeable to the majority of Colombians.
Did you think that these agreements would someday materialize?
Andrea: We were really losing hope because the conflict has lasted practically since we were born; there were several attempts and no agreement had been reached. In some way, we became desensitized.
In several of our past interviews you have told me about your interest in playing in Cuba and you will fulfill that wish during the Patria Grande Festival dedicated to great female voices of the region. What are your expectations in those upcoming concerts which, coincidentally, will be held on this historic moment?
Andrea: – We are happy to go to Cuba, happy to accompany female singing, and despite the results, we remain committed to a life project, with an ideology, with a pacifist lyricism of gender, ancestral and ecological.
You’ve just released the CD DVD “Reluciente”. What stage of Aterciopelados does this album summarize?
Hector: It’s a retrospective. It is the celebration of our mileage; it’s like suddenly looking at the past through the eyes of those for whom our songs have been important, and to feel happy, honored, and grateful. And to also feel willing to see it as a new beginning, to continue learning and finding new stuff, errors and bets, wins and losses, risks and creation.
What differences do you perceive between the current Latin scene which gave birth to the band and the present?
Hector: It has grown a lot, the infrastructure, the technical and musical level have greatly improved, which is reflected in the large number and diversity of bands and projects currently on the scene.
Do you feel that Latin rock bands have lost the social activism that, for example, has always characterized Aterciopelados?
Andrea: I think that political militancy should not be imposed. We found it on the road, and it has accompanied us, nurtured us, and strengthened us. But I also feel that it should not be imposed, should not be forced upon; sometimes you want to denounce, criticize, sometimes you’re angry, but sometimes you feel serene and want to dance, sometimes you’re even in love, and you have to write about what you feel and respect that which you are breathing and express it.
In the new album there is the theme “RE”. Can it be seen as a tribute to the eponymous album Café Tacuba?
Hector: Yes it can. The song came up because Ruben himself, the singer of Cafe Tacuba, asked Andrea how Aterciopelados could contribute to the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the “RE” album. So Andrea decided to write that song.
The Duo has always maintained a strong stance in favor of women’s rights. Do you think discrimination against women in Latin America has decreased?
Andrea: I think we have certainly conquered spaces, but there’s still a long way to go. There’s too much inequality, too much patriarchal structure dominating the scene. In fact I think the hyper-sexualization and trivialization of culture (sexualized capitalism, reggaeton, pole-dancing in gyms and, in general, the realm of appearance over substance), has resulted in a setback in some respects. Furthermore, it has strengthened the vision of women as sex objects (a small piece of meat with a barbie-song complex, as we sing in “Oye mujer”), and the impoverishment of the many subtle dimensions of femininity.
What are you working on now after releasing “Reluciente”?
Hector: The idea is to make a new record in 2017. We have material from our solo albums “Conector” and “Ruiseñora”, each in its own house, but the idea is also to compose collectively.
The band has always experimented with rock and the native sounds of Colombia and Latin America. Will you keep that creative spirit in your next albums?
Andrea: The idea is that the high-risk creative spirit is never lost. We have included not only rock and folklore, but also electronics, reggae, disco, blues, music from the Atlantic, music from the Pacific, beach and mountain music; we have even mixed different things in one song, we welcome everything that comes our way, even reggaeton!!! I would love to make anti-reggaeton reggaeton.
El dúo colombiano de rock, Aterciopelados, tocará en Cuba el próximo noviembre
En las tres entrevistas que le he realizado a Aterciopelados en los últimos años, el dúo colombiano de rock ha repetido como un mantra su deseo de tocar en Cuba. Finalmente lo lograrán en noviembre, cuando encabecen junto a la rapera chilena Ana Tijoux el cartel del festival Patria Grande, que se celebrará en La Habana y otras provincias del país del 17 al 26 del próximo mes. El dúo, integrado por la vocalista y compositora Andrea Echeverri y el bajista y el también compositor, Héctor Buitrago, estrenará en la isla nuevos temas y presentará los clásicos de su repertorio agrupados en el DVD, Reluciente, rechinante y aterciopelado ( 2016).
Aterciopelados lleva más de 20 años de carrera, siete discos de estudio y un puñado de canciones como Bolero Falaz y Florecita rockera, que han sido asumidas como un objeto de culto por sus miles de seguidores en la escena latina.
Estos colombianos, responsables de la expansión del rock latino en los escenarios internacionales durante la década de los 90, llegarán a La Habana después de participar en un momento histórico para su país y América Latina. El dúo subió a los escenarios hace pocos días en un concierto en Bogotá para celebrar los acuerdos de paz entre el Gobierno de José Manuel Santos y las FARC-EP.
«Fue un gran privilegio ser parte de este momento histórico para el país, estábamos muy emocionados. Todos lloramos, fue emocionante, aunque siempre estaba el fantasma de lo que podía suceder en el plebiscito. Ahora la pregunta es cómo sortear este escollo, esa será la máxima prueba del diálogo, de la verdadera capacidad de ponerse de acuerdo entre pensamientos abismalmente contrarios, dice Andrea sobre el triunfo del No en el plebiscito en esta nueva entrevista con Granma, respondida vía correo electrónicojuntoa su compañero de ruta, Héctor Buitrago.
—Desde su fundación Aterciopelados ha tomado partido por el fin de la guerra en Colombia. ¿Qué significado le otorgan al hecho de haber sido testigos de los acuerdos de paz?
Andrea:—Hemos pasado días tristes y confusos. Luego de estar presentes y emocionados en la firma del acuerdo entre el gobierno y las FARC-EP, perdió el Sí en el plebiscito. Sin entender a cabalidad todavía las repercusiones de este revés, pensamos que de todas maneras, a pesar de la frustración, las condiciones para el diálogo y la paz han sido construidas. Las FARC-EP han dicho que su única arma serán las palabras, y el gobierno ha afirmado que se buscará otro acuerdo con el que la mayoría de los colombianos esté de acuerdo.
—¿Pensaron que estos acuerdos se concretarían algún día?
Andrea:—Realmente íbamos perdiendo la esperanza porque el conflicto ha durado prácticamente desde que nacimos, hubo varios intentos y no se había logrado concretar algún acuerdo. De alguna manera nos insensibilizamos.
—En varias entrevistas que hemos realizado me han hablado de su interés en tocar en Cuba y ya podrán cumplir ese deseo durante el festival Patria Grande dedicado a grandes voces femeninas de la región. ¿Qué esperan de esos próximos conciertos que casualmente se celebrarán en este momento histórico?
Andrea:— Estamos felices de ir a Cuba, felices de acompañar cantos femeninos, y a pesar de los resultados, seguimos comprometidos con un proyecto de vida, con una ideología, con un lirismo pacifista, de género, ancestral y ecológico.
—Acaban de estrenar su CD DVD Reluciente. ¿Qué etapa de Aterciopelados resume este material?
Héctor:—Es una retrospectiva. Es la celebración del kilometraje, es de pronto mirar al pasado con los ojos de aquellos para los que han sido importantes nuestras canciones, y sentirse feliz, honrado, agradecido. Y sentirse también con ganas de que sea un nuevo comienzo, que siga el aprendizaje y los hallazgos, los errores y las apuestas, los triunfos y las derrotas, los riesgos y la creación.
—¿Qué diferencias perciben entre la escena latina que vio nacer a la banda y la actual?
Héctor:—Ha crecido mucho, la infraestructura, el nivel técnico y musical han mejorado bastante, eso se ve reflejado en la gran cantidad y diversidad de bandas y proyectos que se mueven en la escena.
—¿Sienten que los grupos latinos de rock han perdido la militancia social que, por ejemplo, ha caracterizado siempre a Aterciopelados?
Andrea:—Creo que la militancia no se debe imponer. Nosotros la encontramos en el camino, y nos ha acompañado, nos ha nutrido, nos ha fortalecido. Pero también siento que no se debe imponer, no se debe forzar, a veces quieres denunciar, criticar, a veces estás furioso, pero a veces estás sereno y con ganas de bailar, a veces hasta enamorado, y hay que escribir sobre lo que se siente, respetar eso que se respira, expresarlo.
—En el nuevo material aparece el tema Re ¿Se puede considerar un homenaje al álbum homónimo de Café Tacuba?
Héctor:—Si así es, la canción surgió porque el mismo Rubén, cantante de Cafe Tacvba hablando con Andrea le preguntó cómo Aterciopelados podría aportar a la celebración del aniversario 20 del disco RE. Así es que Andrea decidió escribir esta canción
—El dúo siempre ha mantenido una fuerte postura a favor de los derechos de la mujer ¿Creen que ha disminuido la discriminación contra las mujeres en Hispanoamérica?
Andrea:—Creo que sin duda hemos conquistado espacios, pero todavía falta mucho camino por recorrer. Hay demasiada desigualdad, demasiada estructura patriarcal dominando el panorama. De hecho creo que la hipersexualización y banalización de la cultura (capitalismo sexualizado, reguetón, pole dancing en los gimnasios y en general el reino de la apariencia sobre la esencia) da como resultado un revés en algunos aspectos. Además se ha ido fortaleciendo la visión de la mujer como objeto sexual(pedacito de carne con complejo de barbie-canción, como cantamos en Oye mujer), y el empobrecimiento de las múltiples y sutiles dimensiones de lo femenino.
—¿En qué trabajan ahora después de publicar Reluciente?
Héctor—La idea es hacer un disco nuevo en el 2017. Tenemos material de nuestros discos en solitario Conector y Ruiseñora, cada uno en su casa, pero la idea también es componer en colectivo.
—La banda siempre ha experimentado con el rock y sonidos autóctonos de Colombia y América Latina. ¿Mantendrán ese espíritu creativo en sus próximos discos?
Andrea:—La idea es que el espíritu creativo de alto riesgo no se pierda nunca. Hemos incluido no solo rock y folclore, también electrónica, regue, disco, blues, música del Atlántico, música del Pacífico, música de playa y de montaña, incluso hemos mezclado diferentes cosas en una sola canción, bienvenido todo lo que se atraviese, hasta reguetón!!! Me encantaría hacer reguetón antireguetón.
By Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
February 27, 2015 22:07:41 CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 21, 2017 | 11:19:15 PM
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
CIENFUEGOS: She entered through the door when there were almost no more people. She waited for the last one in line and asked the heavens not to let anyone else in. But it’s almost impossible to find an empty pharmacy in Cuba. Then she left. I wouldn’t be able to stand those prying eyes again when I asked the salesgirl for five pesos worth of condoms.
Like her, many women are ashamed to buy condoms. Despite education and advocacy on these issues, they prefer to risk unprotected sexual intercourse rather than purchase them in a public institution.
Although the product is easy to access, buying it is for many a personal challenge. Adolescent girls worry that people will know or suspect them to be sexually active; unmarried women fear being labeled promiscuous; married women fear being unfaithful; and women over the age of 50 fear being ridiculed.
These are criteria that deny women’s empowerment in sexuality and therefore limit the practice of some sexual and reproductive rights.
In an article on the subject, the Mexican writer Luza Alvarado explains: “The heart of the matter is in the fear that causes us to accept that women are desirous subjects (…). For centuries, women were educated to be a passive object, whose desire was only legitimate when it was placed in function of male desire. That scheme persists in our collective unconscious through prejudice and unwritten rules like “condoms are his business”.
This leaves it up to men to buy them, open them, put them on, avoid spills or breakages and throw them in the trash. Some, however, reject them, claiming that they do not experience the same sensations or that they are harmed. And as they see themselves as without alternatives, they give in to these excuses and venture into a game of Russian roulette whose price can be an unwanted pregnancy and even a sexually transmitted infection.
Studies conducted in Mexico in 2010 reveal that 83 percent of women in that country do not buy or carry a condom because of social prejudice. They fear being considered “easy women”, which contradicts the difficulty of often demanding responsible intercourse from men.
Take care of you (and me)
“The condom prevents the exchange of fluids between the penis and the vagina, which can not only transmit HIV, but also other infections such as the papilloma virus, a frequent cause of cervical cancer,” says Cienfuegos psychologist Yanisuleidy Tamayo Días, who recommends the use of this barrier method even in steady couples.
“Despite the myths, the low number of women diagnosed with HIV compared to men reflects that Cuban women do protect themselves. Most cases occur in married women, who acquire the disease from their steady partners. Several surveys confirm this,” she explains.
That is the price of the cultural stereotypes that still regulate female behavior. It takes a lot of effort not to trust our partner’s appearance or word, but it is necessary to take the initiative in terms of precaution.
Writer Luza Alvarado sums it up as follows: “Every exercise of freedom implies taking responsibility. (….) I feel that if something can prevail over time as a positive and transversal value, it is personal health care, which in the case of sexual life becomes caring for the other, of the community and of society.
“The biggest advantage is that it works like life insurance: if the man doesn’t carry condoms and we both feel like it, I don’t put my sexual health in his hands. It doesn’t matter if it’s casual sex or a more serious relationship, life is what’s at stake and if you take care of yourself you’re taking care of each other, your other potentials and your partner’s potential others… I mean, taking care of yourself is taking care of everyone.”
Also in Cuba, many women are a little apprehensive about the act of buying condoms. For them we bring some tricks, such as asking one or two friends to go with them, buying them along with other medicines, looking for a place where it is a man who dispatches and trying to get a low turnout (early morning or early evening).
The best advice is to always remember that this action shows you as a responsible woman, aware of the risks you take, and that for you to protect yourself is not just an option, but a vital obligation.
Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
27 de Febrero del 2015 22:07:41 CDT
CIENFUEGOS.— Entró por la puerta cuando ya no había casi personas. Esperó por la última en la cola y pidió a los cielos que no llegara nadie más. Pero es casi imposible encontrar una farmacia vacía en Cuba. Entonces se fue. No sería capaz de soportar de nuevo aquellas miradas indiscretas cuando pedía cinco pesos de condones a la dependienta.
Como ella, muchas mujeres sienten vergüenza de comprar preservativos. A pesar de la educación y la promoción en torno a estos temas, prefieren arriesgarse en una relación sexual desprotegida antes que adquirirlos en un establecimiento público.
A pesar de que es sencillo acceder al producto, comprarlo es para muchas un desafío personal. A las adolescentes les preocupa que la gente las sepa o sospeche sexualmente activas; las solteras temen ser calificadas de promiscuas; las casadas, de infieles; y las mayores de 50 años, de ridículas.
Son criterios que niegan el empoderamiento femenino en la sexualidad y, por ende, limitan la práctica de algunos derechos sexuales y reproductivos.
En un artículo sobre el tema, la escritora mexicana Luza Alvarado explica: «El meollo del asunto está en el miedo que nos provoca aceptar que la mujer es un sujeto deseante (…). Durante siglos, la mujer fue educada para ser un objeto pasivo, cuyo deseo solo era legítimo cuando se ponía en función del deseo masculino. Ese esquema persiste en nuestro inconsciente colectivo a través de prejuicios y reglas no escritas como “los condones le tocan a él”».
Así se deja a los hombres la responsabilidad de comprarlos, abrirlos, ponerlos, evitar derrames o rompimientos y botarlos a la basura. Sin embargo, algunos declaran su rechazo, al alegar que no experimentan las mismas sensaciones o que les hacen daño. Y como ellas se ven sin alternativas, ceden ante esas excusas y se aventuran en un juego de la ruleta rusa cuyo precio puede ser un embarazo no deseado y hasta una infección de transmisión sexual.
Estudios realizados en México en 2010 revelan que el 83 por ciento de las mujeres de ese país no compra o carga un condón por prejuicios sociales. Ellas temen ser consideradas «mujeres fáciles», lo cual contradice la dificultad que implica muchas veces exigir al hombre un coito responsable.
«El condón evita el intercambio de fluidos entre el pene y la vagina, los cuales no solo pueden transmitir el VIH, sino también otras infecciones como el papiloma virus, causa frecuente de cáncer cérvicouterino», comenta la psicóloga cienfueguera Yanisuleidy Tamayo Días, quien recomienda el uso de este método de barrera incluso en parejas estables.
«A pesar de los mitos, el bajo número de mujeres diagnosticadas con VIH, en comparación con el de los hombres, refleja que las cubanas sí se protegen. La mayoría de los casos se dan en las casadas, quienes adquieren la enfermedad con sus parejas estables. Varias encuestas así lo confirman», explica la especialista.
Ese es el precio de los estereotipos culturales que aún regulan la conducta femenina. Cuesta mucho no confiar en la apariencia o la palabra de nuestra pareja, pero es preciso tomar la iniciativa en materia de precauciones.
La escritora Luza Alvarado así lo resume: «Todo ejercicio de libertad implica una toma de responsabilidad. (…) Siento que si algo puede prevalecer en el tiempo como un valor positivo y transversal, es el cuidado personal de la salud, que en el caso de la vida sexual se convierte en un cuidado del otro, de la comunidad y de la sociedad.
«La mayor ventaja es que funciona como un seguro de vida: si el hombre no lleva condones y ambos tenemos ganas, no pongo mi salud sexual en sus manos. No importa si se trata de sexo casual o de una relación más seria, la vida es lo que está en juego y si uno se cuida está cuidando al otro, a sus potenciales otras y a los potenciales otros de ellas… O sea, cuidarse es cuidar a todos».
También en Cuba muchas sienten cierta aprensión hacia el acto de adquirir condones. Para ellas traemos algunos trucos, como pedirle a una o dos amigas que la acompañen, comprarlos junto a otros medicamentos, buscar un lugar donde sea un hombre quien despache y procurar horarios de poca afluencia de público (primeras horas de la mañana o en la noche).
El mejor consejo es recordar siempre que esa acción te muestra como una mujer responsable, consciente de los riesgos que asumes, y que para ti protegerte no es apenas una opción, sino una obligación vital.