October 26, 2017
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Local sources reported today that New York actress Jordana Grolnick denounced George HW Bush , who ruled the United States from 1989-1993, for sexual harassment.
The woman recounted an episode similar to that of the first accuser, Heather Lind, who on Wednesday filed a complaint through her Instagram account, which she erased shortly thereafter.
According to Grolnick, Bush grabbed her buttocks in August of last year during a group photo shoot at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine.
The actress told the Deadspin news site that Bush joked that her favorite magician is “David Cop-a-Feel” – a wordplay on the name of the character David Copperfield and the English word “feel” – and he fingered her.
He added that his wife, Barbara Bush, responded, “She’s going to have him sent to jail.”
“We were all around him and his wife Barbara for a picture,” recalled Grolnick, who was currently working on a production of “Hunchback of Notre Dame” at the Maine Theater. “I was next to him and he put his hand on my back.”
On Wednesday, the former president apologized publicly to actress Heather Lind, who accused him of having tampered with her while the president was in a wheelchair.
The former president’s office said in a statement that he often repeats the same joke” and sometimes he has patted women on the butt in a jocular tone.”
He apologizes “to all the people he has offended,” the official statement added.
Bush, 93, was charged first by Heather Lind, 34, in her Instagram account, in a message he later decided to delete.
“When I had the opportunity to meet George Bush four years ago, to promote a TV show I worked for, he sexually assaulted me while we were posing for the picture,” Lind said in her account.
“He did not shake my hand. He touched me from behind. His wife Barbara Bush was at his side. I thought the joke was in bad taste, “he wrote.
(With information from ANSA)
October 29, 2017
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A survey carried out earlier month in Germany reveals that 43 percent of women and 12 percent of men admit to having suffered sexual harassment, according to data from British pollster YouGov.
The survey also reveals that one in six men confirms that they have sexually harassed someone. Eighteen percent of the men surveyed acknowledge that they have ever had inappropriate behavior that could be perceived as “disproportionate or sexual harassment.”
According to data from the study of more than 2,000 people, inappropriate touch (28 percent) and suggestive observations (24 percent) are common forms of harassment, occurring in 14 percent in places 13 per cent in the private sector and 10 per cent in work.
This study came after about thirty women, including assistants and members of the MEP team, reported having been harassed by several politicians in the European Union (EU).
(Taken from TeleSur)
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The United States, 1953. The call is to meet in front of the White House in Washington to support the campaign for the lives of the couple Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, condemned to die in the electric chair *. Estela Bravo is a 20-year-old daughter of a union leader, studying sociology and working for the furrier’s trade union in New York. Before leaving, she buys an eight-millimeter camera to film what would happen at the rally.
Upon arrival, two children catch her eye. They are the small Rosenberg children who are next to the demonstrators demanding mercy for their parents. That painful image is the first to be captured with her camera. Images and facts mark and set the course of her life. “I could not believe they would do something like that to you. That execution of the Rosenberg couple was always with me. “
This defined Estela Bravo’s existence from the political and personal point of view. That same year, she traveled to Europe as part of the delegation of her country participating in the Fourth World Youth Festival in Bucharest and the Third World Student Congress. In Warsaw, she also came to know Ernesto Bravo, the Argentine student leader with whom she has shared love, home, three children, two grandchildren and an impressive cinematographic work for almost 60 years.
Married in Argentina in January 1956, Estela and Ernesto decided to settle in Cuba, in 1963, after he received a contract to work as a professor of biochemistry at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Havana. She also does radio and television programs and organized the memorable Encuentro de Cancion Protesta (Protest Song Encuentro) in 1967. It was an event that would lead to the creation of the Center for Protest Song that Estela herself would direct.
From that event, she kept some memories that she now shares with Mujeres. “The first time the song Hasta Siempre, Comandante was sung, was in that Encuentro. Carlos Puebla wrote it when Che Guevara left Cuba. It was also the first time that Silvio, Pablo, and Noel sang together. “
It was in this same Casa that the multiple-award-winning filmmaker returned. Now, to donate to the archives of the Library a part of her more than 50 documentaries. With these she has registered the diversity of contexts and realities, with its human and divine conflicts, its migratory processes, its good actions, its political and social complexities, their barbarities, their injustices, their wars, their peace pacts, their joys, their dramas, their heroics, testimonies and truths that shake and hurt as they fill the soul with tenderness and love.
There they are to confirm it Those Who Left, Los Marielitos, Missing Children, Debtor Children, Holy Father and Glory, Cuba-South Africa, after the battle, Miami-Havana, Nelson Mandela in Cuba, The Excludables, Operation Peter Pan, Closing the Circle in Cuba, Fidel, The Untold Story.
FROM NEW YORK TO HAVANA, THE BRAVOS
New York University (NYU) is facing the arduous and expensive task of digitizing the filmography of Estela and Ernesto Bravo. It is a project that will guarantee the durability of this historic and universal heritage.
“We needed to clean up and digitize many of our files. NYU kindly offered to do the work. That is a very costly process, and we do not have enough resources to conduct it. We must bear in mind that each material was filmed and recorded with formats and equipment that are already obsolete,” Estela explains. She thanks the cooperation and donations received from “people who appreciate our documentaries to finance the digitization of films .”
Last January, Casa de las Americas received the good news that the Bravo couple had decided to donate much of that restored material.
“We already have other documentaries, passed on to the new technology, in our hands. That way, all the documentaries will be in the libraries of New York and of Casa so that the public has free access to them, which gives us great satisfaction “.
With marked jubilation, Estela mentions a message sent by NYU where she lea that they had shown, “the film Conversando con García Márquez on his friend Fidel in this center for advanced studies. A hundred people were unable to get in. It was all a success!”
THE VOICES OF HER CAMERA
It’s a Sunday in April at midday. Estela Bravo opens her home and part of her life to Mujeres magazine. We spoke in a room where there are plenty of portraits of her children (two women and one man), as well as her two grandchildren (woman and man). Pictures with posters of the Protest Song Encuentro and some works of art cover the walls. A picture of wood stands out. Estela is smiling between Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro. It’s an image of which, of course, she is very proud.
“It was in 1991. It turns out that Mandela and I were talking at a reception where Fidel was coming to speak, and that’s when we took the picture. Having been there makes me feel very special; to be a woman with enormous luck because it is to be among the two most certainly important men of our time. I met Mandela in Namibia, during the celebration of Independence Day; From that moment I’ve also kept a photo with him. Later I saw him again when he was in Cuba.
There are many other images of memorable moments for Estela. These figures confirm the intensity with which this woman, born on June 8, 1933 in New York, has lived and created: major world leaders, political and religious figures, social leaders, artists, poets, writers, dear friends and friends and protagonists of her documentaries. In addition to numerous prizes, decorations, and memories that she leafs through with the same nostalgia with which she reads the small note next to a drawing, sent by the (recently-deceased) Uruguayan writer, Eduardo Galeano. “I would like to have as many eyes as the camera of Estela Bravo.” She is silent for a few moments, and her eyes seem to be damp.
Respectful of her sadness, I remain silent. She smiles with a warm tenderness as if distressed by the raw quality of her memories. So we talked a little more about her audacious cinematic experiences.
“My career has not been without difficulties when filming, to obtain testimonies, although that happens to every person seeking information. However, I have always received help from many people, and many doors have been opened to me. In the end, I feel a deep satisfaction because the public sees my films, comments on them, they stop me in the street … and that gives me the biggest bliss “.
Are you fond of a particular documentary?
“I am fond of each of the works we have done. Because if, through a film, we can transmit to people what we feel, then we make the stories of many people imperishable. Certainly, there are some jobs that one wants more than others, for example, Operation Peter Pan … Today I maintain ties with all those young people. Similar affection provokes me The Found Children of Argentina, for which I remained a great friendship with Estela Carlotto, president of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo. I remember when she found her grandson (who is 114[?]) I went back to the documentary and added it at the end. We even made a new version that ends with the testimony of her embracing her 37 year-old grandson.
“The film The Holy Father and Gloria is the most-awarded of all that we have done. Personally, I have a deep affection for this documentary, as well as Carmen Gloria **, her protagonist who is married today and has a beautiful girl. “
Will Estela Bravo ever stop making films?
“I’m almost 82 years old. I cannot believe it! It is no longer the same, but I will always try not to stop working. Right now we are immersed in a new production, but I do not want to speak, for the moment, of what we are doing. “
Even if she does not want to reveal to this magazine the details of her new documentary, it is evident to us that once again we will be confronted with stories, experiences, dramas, and joys, images and voices captured in an exceptional way by this woman’s brave camera.
Estados Unidos, año 1953. La convocatoria es reunirse frente a la Casa Blanca, en Washington, para apoyar la campaña por la vida de los esposos Ethel y JuliusRosenberg, condenados a morir en la silla eléctrica*. Estela Bravo tiene 20 años, es hija de un líder sindical, estudia sociología y trabaja para el sindicato de peleteros, en Nueva York. Antes de salir, compra una cámara de ocho milímetros para filmar lo que ocurriría en el mitin.
Al llegar, dos niños llaman su atención. Son los pequeños hijos Rosenberg que están junto a los manifestantes que pedían clemencia para sus padres. Aquella dolorosa imagen es la primera que capta con su cámara. Imágenes y hechos que marcan y determinan su vida. «Yo no podía creer que les harían algo así. Esa ejecución de los esposos Rosenberg quedó siempre conmigo».
Así quedaba definida la existencia de Estela Bravo desde lo político y personal: ese mismo año 53 viaja a Europa como parte de la delegación de su país que participa en el IV Festival de la Juventud, en Bucarest, y al III Congreso Mundial de Estudiantes, en Varsovia; también conoce a Ernesto Bravo, el dirigente estudiantil argentino con el que ha compartido amor, hogar, tres hijos, dos nietos y una impresionante obra cinematográfica por casi 60 años.
Casados en Argentina en enero de 1956, Estela y Ernesto deciden instalarse en Cuba, en 1963, luego de que él recibiera un contrato para trabajar como profesor de Bioquímica en la Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad de La Habana. En tanto ella hace programas de radio, de televisión y organiza en la Casa de las Américas el memorable Encuentro de la Canción Protesta, en 1967. Un suceso que daría paso a la creación del Centro de la Canción Protesta que la propia Estela dirigiría.
De aquel suceso rescata algunos recuerdos que ahora comparte con Mujeres. «La primera vez que se cantó la canción Hasta siempre, comandante, fue en ese Encuentro. Carlos Puebla la escribió cuando el Che Guevara salió de Cuba. También fue la primera vez que Silvio, Pablo y Noel cantaron juntos».
Precisamente, a esta misma Casa retorna la multipremiada cineasta. Ahora, para donar a los archivos de la Biblioteca una parte de los más de 50 documentales con los que ha registrado la diversidad de contextos y realidades, con sus conflictos humanos y divinos, sus procesos migratorios, sus buenas acciones, sus complejidades políticas y sociales, sus barbaries, sus injusticias, sus guerras, sus pactos de paz, sus alegrías, sus dramas, sus heroicidades… Testimonios y verdades que estremecen y duelen lo mismo que llenan de ternura y amor el alma.
Ahí están para confirmarlo Los que se fueron, Los Marielitos, Niños desaparecidos, Niños deudores, El Santo Padre y la Gloria, Cuba-Sudáfrica, después de la batalla, Miami-La Habana, Nelson Mandela en Cuba, Los excluibles, Operación Peter Pan, cerrando el círculo en Cuba, Fidel, la historia no contada…
DE NUEVA YORK A LA HABANA, LOS BRAVO
La Universidad de Nueva York (UNY) está encarando la ardua y carísima faena de digitalizar la filmografía de Estela y Ernesto Bravo. Una labor que garantiza la perdurabilidad de ese patrimonio histórico y universal.
«Necesitábamos limpiar y digitalizar muchos de nuestros archivos. La UNY se ofreció, gentilmente, para hacer el trabajo. Ese es un proceso costosísimo y nosotros no tenemos suficientes recursos para asumirlo. Hay que tener en cuenta que cada material fue filmado y grabado con formatos y equipos que ya son obsoletos», explica Estela, quien agradece la cooperación y donativos recibidos de «personas que aprecian nuestros documentales para financiar la digitalización de las películas».
En enero pasado, la Casa de las Américas recibía la buena noticia de que el matrimonio Bravo decidió donar buena parte de ese material restaurado.
«Ya tenemos otros documentales, pasados a la nueva tecnología, en nuestras manos. De ese modo, podrá estar toda la documentalística en las Bibliotecas de Nueva York y de Casa para que el público tenga acceso libre a ella, lo cual nos da mucha satisfacción».
Con marcado júbilo, Estela menciona un mensaje enviado por la UNY donde le comunican que exhibieron, en ese centro de altos estudios, «la película Conversando con García Márquez sobre su amigo Fidel. ¡Cien personas se quedaron sin poder entrar. Fue todo un éxito!»
LAS VOCES DE SU CÁMARA
Domingo de abril al mediodía. Estela Bravo abre su casa y parte de su vida a la revista Mujeres. Conversamos en una sala donde abundan retratos de sus hijos (dos mujeres y un hombre), al igual que sus dos nietos (mujer y varón). Cuadros con afiches del Encuentro de la Canción Protesta y algunas obras de arte cubren las paredes. Sobre un mueble de madera resalta una foto. Estela sonríe entre Nelson Mandela y Fidel Castro. Una imagen de la que, por supuesto, se siente profundamente orgullosa.
«Fue en el año 1991. Resulta que Mandela y yo estamos hablando en una recepción y Fidel se acerca para conversar y es cuando nos toman la foto. Estar ahí me hace sentir muy especial; ser una mujer con una suerte enorme porque es estar entre los dos hombres, con toda seguridad, más importantes de nuestro tiempo. Yo había conocido a Mandela en Namibia, durante la celebración del Día de la Independencia; de ese momento también guardo una foto con él. Después lo volví a ver cuando estuvo en Cuba.
Hay otras muchísimas imágenes de instantes memorables para Estela. Manifiestos gráficos que confirman la intensidad con que esta mujer, nacida el 8 de junio de 1933, en Nueva York, ha vivido y creado: importantes líderes mundiales, figuras políticas y religiosas, dirigentes sociales, artistas, poetas, escritores, entrañables amigas y amigos y protagonistas de sus documentales. Además de numerosos premios, condecoraciones y recuerdos que hojea con la misma nostalgia con que lee la pequeña nota junto a un dibujo, enviada por el escritor uruguayo (recién fallecido), Eduardo Galeano. «Yo quisiera tener tantos ojos como la cámara de Estela Bravo». Queda callada unos instantes y sus ojos parecen humedecerse.
Respetuosa de su tristeza, guardo silencio. Sonríe con una ternura cálida, como apenada de la desnudez de sus recuerdos. Entonces, hablamos un poco más de sus audaces experiencias cinematográficas.
«Mi carrera no ha estado exenta de dificultades a la hora de filmar, de conseguir testimonios; aunque eso le ocurre a toda persona que busca información. Sin embargo, siempre he recibido ayuda de numerosas personas, y muchas puertas se me han abierto. Al final, experimento una profunda satisfacción porque el público ve mis películas, las comenta, me paran en la calle… y eso me proporciona la más grande dicha».
¿Siente cariño por un documental en particular?
«Le tengo cariño a cada uno de los trabajos que hemos realizado. Porque si a través de una película podemos trasmitir a la gente eso que sentimos, entonces hacemos imperecedera la historia de muchas personas. Ciertamente, hay algunos trabajos que una quiere más que otros, por ejemplo, Operación Peter Pan… Hoy mantengo relación con todos esos muchachos. Similar cariño me provoca Los niños encontrados de Argentina, del que me quedó una gran amistad con Estela Carlotto, presidenta de las abuelas de Plaza de Mayo. Recuerdo que cuando ella encontró a su nieto (que es el 114) volví al documental y lo agregué al final. Incluso, hicimos una nueva versión que finaliza con el testimonio de ella abrazada a su nieto de 37 años.
«La película El Santo Padre y la Gloria, es la más premiada de todas las que hemos realizado. En lo personal, siento profundo cariño por ese documental, al igual que por Carmen Gloria**, su protagonista que hoy está casada y tiene una preciosa niña».
¿Nunca dejará de filmar Estela Bravo?
«Casi voy a cumplir 82 años. ¡No lo puedo creer! Ya no es igual, pero siempre trataré de no dejar de trabajar. Ahora mismo estamos inmersos en una nueva producción, pero no quiero hablar, por el momento, de lo que estamos haciendo».
Aun cuando ella no quiera revelar a esta revista los detalles de su nuevo documental, nos resulta obvia la expectativa de que, una vez más, estaremos frente a relatos, vivencias, dramas y alegrías, imágenes y voces captadas, de manera excepcional, por la cámara brava de esta mujer.
Violence against women presents numerous facets ranging from discrimination and contempt to physical or psychological aggression and murder. Producing itself in many different spheres (family, work, training and others), it acquires special drama in the area of the couple and the domestic, where every year women are murdered by their partners by the tens or hundreds in the different countries of the world .
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann
October 9, 2017
o 7.1 Violation
o 7.2 Rape as a weapon of war
o 7.3 Sexual exploitation
o 7.4 Ablation of the clitoris
o 7.5 Feminicidio
o 7.6 Gender Violence
o 9.1 Legal status
At least one in three women in the world has suffered an act of violence (abuse), abuse, harassment and others) during their lifetimes. It has been emphasized that this type of violence is the first cause of death or disability for women between 15 and 44 years of age. Researcher Raquel Osborne states that: “Since violence against women is mostly exercised by men because of their sexist conditioning, the term macho violence is also used.”
At its 85th plenary meeting, on 20 December 1993 , the United Nations ratified the declaration on the elimination of violence against women. They recognized it as a grave violation of human rights and “urges all possible efforts to make it [the declaration] universally known and respected “. The resolution defines violence against women in its first article as any act of violence based on belonging to the female sex that has or may result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering for women , as well as threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty , whether occurring in public or in private life.
The United Nations, in 1999, on the proposal of the Dominican Republic with the support of 60 more countries, approved to declare November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Situation of violence against women in the world
Sexist violence is too entrenched around the world, more than half of women live under this threat. To eradicate it requires political will and economic resources. When a man beats a woman he is “impoverishing his entire community and damaging several generations of his family” .
According to recent data cited by the world body, between 40 and 70 percent of the murdered women die at the hands of their husbands or sentimental partners, in latitudes as Australia , Canada , USA or South Africa .
In Colombia, every 6 days a woman dies at the hands of her partner, while in the last 10 years hundreds have been kidnapped raped and murdered in Ciudad Juárez , in northern Mexico. Other studies in 71 nations show that a significant percentage of women are physically, sexually or psychologically aggression, and physical violence is the most widespread.
According to the Instituto de Mujer Ibérico , between 1999 and 2003 , 246 women died at the hands of their husbands, partners or ex-companions, in various ways.
The current Spanish government pledged to pay greater to this topic; so their Council of Ministers approved a couple of years ago ten urgent measures against this scourge.
The evil that has caused enough deaths and damage. In the rest of Europe, gender abuse is an issue that affects one in five European women. In the American continent, USA, this issue affects 32 million Americans every year. Every 9 seconds an American woman suffers from mistreatment and more than three are killed, according to the references of the centers for disease control and the National Institute of Justice.
The risk of being abused is higher among American Indian and Alaska Native women and men, African-American women, Hispanic women, young women, and people living in poverty.
Valuation from international organizations
In 1993 the United Nations recognized “the urgent need for universal application to women of the rights and principles relating to the equality, security, freedom, integrity and dignity of all human beings”.
It also recognized the role played by women’s rights organizations, which facilitated the visibility of the problem.
Since violence against women is a problem that affects human rights. It “constitutes a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to the domination of women and discrimination against them by men and prevented the full advancement of women.
It is one of the fundamental social mechanisms by which women are forced into subordination to men”. It sees the need to define it clearly as a first step for the States, mainly, to assume its responsibilities and there is “a commitment of the international community to eliminate violence against women”.
The declaration includes six articles defining violence against women and the forms and areas of violence, while enumerating the rights of women to achieve equality and their full development and urges states and international organizations to develop strategies and put the means to eradicate it. In the same vein, on March 5, 1995 , the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women: the Belem Do Para Convention was adopted.
Historical considerations on violence against women
Violence against women is linked to the consideration of women who detach themselves from the patriarchal family. Humanity in its origins could be constituted by matriarchal communities, as Lewis Henry Morgan , considered one of the founders of modern anthropology, in his book Ancient Society in 1877 . “The abolition of the mother’s right was (could be) the great defeat of the female sex”.
Today the patriarchal family may appear blurred after centuries of women’s efforts to emancipate themselves. In its origins, it made the woman an object owned by man, the patriarch. The the material goods of the family and its members belonged to the patriarch.
Thus, the wife passed from her father’s hands into her husband’s hands, both having full authority over her, being able to decide even on matters of life and death, that is, excluded from society, she was part of the family heritage, relegated to the reproductive function and domestic tasks.
In classical Rome, in its earliest times, the dependence of women was evident, owing obedience and submission to her father and her husband. The paterfamilias [head of the family, male] had on their children the right to life and death. He could sell them as slaves in foreign territory, abandon them at birth or hand them over to the relatives of their victims if they had committed any crime; separating them and agree or dissolve their marriages.
But just as men became paterfamilias when the father died and acquired all their legal powers within their family, women, on the other hand, were to remain for life subordinated to male power, alternating between father, father-in-law and husband. File: Antonio Gil Hambrona confirms that this model of the ancestral patriarchal family suffered numerous modifications during the Republic and the Empire. The right over the life of women was abolished. The death penalty was still preserved in certain cases, but it was no longer the husband who decided on it, and the community was responsible for judging it.
At certain moments, the woman came to achieve a certain emancipation. She could divorce on equal terms with man, she stopped seeing herself as selfless, sacrificed and submissive and in the relationship between husbands the husband’s authority was indicated. This occurred mainly in the upper classes and did not prevent violence from occurring within the marriage “aimed at controlling and subjecting women through physical aggression or murder”.
The advances that could be made during the Republic and Empire disappeared in the dark period of the Middle Ages. A society that worshiped violence also exercised it against women, and women frequently became a bargaining chip to forge alliances between families. “In the lower classes, in addition to fulfilling the reproductive function, constituted labor to work at home and in the countryside.”
In this history, religions have played an important role, assuming a moral justification of the patriarchal model: “Married women are subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is head of the woman, as Christ is head of the Church and savior of her body”.
Another consequence of patriarchy has been the historical exclusion of women from society; being excluded from all its spheres: cultural, artistic, political, economic, this being another form of violence against women.
It was not until the industrial revolution in the West, when women were allowed to participate in social life, that a path of emancipation truly begins. However, the uses and abuses committed against women for centuries have proven difficult to eradicate.
Violence against women is not exclusive to any political or economic system; is given in all societies of the world and without distinction of economic position, race or culture . The power structures of society that perpetuate it are characterized by its deep roots and intransigence. Throughout the world, violence or threats of violence prevent women from exercising their human rights and enjoying them. Amnesty International, It is in our hands. No more violence against women.
It was the feminist organizations that in the second half of the 20th century gave full visibility to the problem of violence against women. It is curious that in many countries statistics on traffic accidents were collected while ignoring the incidence of femicide and rape.
Latin America and the Caribbean have been “one of the regions of the world that has given more attention to the fight against violence against women” It has been especially active in the consolidation of social networks, sensitizing the media, acquiring institutional commitments and legislating to eradicate a problem that affects 50% of the world’s population by limiting and violating their most basic human rights.
In those times, it was hard to see that the aggressions towards women were not the product of moments of frustration, tension or outbursts, contingencies of life in common; but were a consequence of attempts to maintain the subordination of women, the ancestral consideration of women as the property of men, and should, therefore, be given special consideration.
Of particular importance was the International Tribunal of Crimes against Women in Brussels in 1976. That was first time that crimes different types of violence committed against women, creating the International Feminist Network with programs of support and solidarity. As a result of its resonance in 1979, the United Nations Assembly approved the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and in 1980 the First United Nations World Conference on Women was held in Mexico, following the Convention to Eradicate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
These events promoted a whole series of legislative measures and modifications of penal codes that in the different countries have been taking place ever since. In 1993, the United Nations ratified the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, and in 1995 in Belem do Para (Brazil) adopted the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence against Women.
Numerous countries now have specific strategies to combat violence against women and have amended their legislation including laws against violence against women, design general and sectoral plans to combat it and promote campaigns to interest the different spheres of society in this problem.
These strategies have also served to sensitize states and society to other forms of violence: against children, the elderly, the handicapped, minority groups, etc.
Violence against women in the family
Violence against women begins in childhood, and it is in the family that violence is most prevalent. Infancy is especially vulnerable to violence and the girl suffers an added bonus for her female status. Ablation [surgical removal of human tissue], is widespread in certain communities and inevitably linked to the female sex.
Examples: the sexual commerce that can start in the family with the sale of the girl, or infanticide and sexual abuse, more often linked to the female sex, a more rigid paternal authority, also exercised by siblings, and a discriminatory education that limits their vital expectations.
More than 80% of rapes are perpetrated by members of the victim’s family, and most of them at very young ages, when she is only a child; parents, grandparents, uncles, adults she trusts become her aggressors. This is a worldwide problem that in many cases does not transcend beyond the limits of the family itself, the girl suffers violence in silence, embarrassed and feeling guilty.
The sale of girls would be another form of violence suffered by women in childhood and in the family. These sales may serve a variety of purposes, but the lucrative business of prostitution, the unhealthy sexual inclinations of clients, coupled with the misery in which many families are found, have extended the trade in girls, under 10 years of age, in many cases, destined for to sexual exploitation.
To this violence, we still have to add many of lesser character that would go from greater paternal and family authoritarianism, to forced marriages. Violence against women, whatever its nature, has as its preferred framework the family.
Violence against women in the couple
Violence against women by their partner or ex-partner is widespread in the world, affecting all social groups regardless of economic, cultural or any other consideration. Even though it is difficult to quantify, since not all cases transcend beyond the scope of the couple, it is assumed that a high number of women suffer or have suffered this type of violence.
In all human relationships, conflicts arise and in relationships as well. Discussions, even heated discussions, can be part of the relationship. In conflictive couple relationships, fights can arise and physical aggression can arise between them. This, which could reach levels of violence that would be objectionable and objectionable, would be part of the difficulties faced by couples.
In the couple, the abuse is mostly exercised by him against her. It has specific causes: man’s attempts to dominate women, men’s low opinion of women; causes that lead to seeking to establish a relationship of domination through scorn, threats and blows.
The most visible traits of abuse are beatings and murders, which transcend the realm of the couple; However, “low intensity” mistreatment, psychic mistreatment that undermines women’s self-esteem, is the most common. When it transcends a case of mistreatment, the woman can take years suffering the abuse. And, if mistreatment can occur at any stage of the couple’s history, it is at the time of rupture and after this, if it occurs, then they become exacerbated.
It is frequent to treat the subject of the mistreatment as individual cases, the abusers would suffer the sort of disorders that would lead them to mistreat the woman and to this, in its fragility, to receive those mistreatments. This would be a reassuring vision of the problem that would not call into question the patriarchal model.
The psycho-pathological model explains the violence as a result of deviant behavior peculiar to certain individuals whose personal history is characterized by a serious disturbance. This approach, after all reassuring, speaks of an “other,” a “sick” or “delinquent”, who, after examination, can be punished or treated medically.
From the feminist point of view, male violence is perceived as a mechanism of social control that maintains the subordination of women to men. Violence against women derives from a social system whose values and representations assign women the status of dominated subject. Maryse Jaspard: The ultimate consequences of violence against women in the couple are that of tens or hundreds of women killed each year, in different countries, by their partners or ex-partners.
Rape is a global reality. In both rich and poor countries, despite cultural, religious and social differences, women are still often seen as mere objects. Sandrine Treiner: “Rape is without any doubt the most obvious form of domination exercised, in a violent way, by men over women. ” In it the atavistic icons still present in the mind of man, which is known as machismo, is implied: it implies a contempt of the woman considering it as mere object destined to satisfy the sexual appetites and the conviction that the woman must be submitted to the man .
It does not mean to consider woman inferior to the man in a matter of degree but to consider it an inferior being, a being with whom all kinds of excesses can be committed.
More than 14% of American women over the age of 17 admit to being raped. This figure could be extrapolated to other Western societies. And although this percentage may fall in countries (8% in Canada , 11.6 in Switzerland, 5.9 in Finland ), in South Africa, one of the countries with the most worrisome problem, the percentage rises to 25% with 1,500,000 violations every year. Again it is the area of the family that produces the highest percentage of violations, probably more than 70%.
The figures underscore the extent of rape as an abuse of power and trust, and blunt the guilty tendency of so many societies that the victims of rape are reckless women with risky behaviors: provocative outfits, late night outings, Etc. Sandrine Treiner : It would be women with higher levels of training and independence who would be most likely to be raped. They would be more exposed to being raped those women with more determination to the unwanted sexual requirements; which would indicate that many violations do not occur when women give in to sexual relations imposed.
As for the fact of the violation should be added that of the imposition of unwanted sex, a form of rape that would not figure in the statistics. Sexuality is not always a choice for the adolescent: 15.4 per cent of the girls stated “having suffered one or more sexual relations” under coercion “or” by force “. Among them, three-quarters of the relationships imposed were by young people and, more often, by well-known young people.
Raquel Osborne : Rape produces devastating effects that go beyond those caused by violence. Women who are raped may fall into deep depression, may become suicidal, may change their character becoming more withdrawn, fall into alcohol or drugs , … AIDS or become pregnant of their aggressor are also possible consequences.
The women victims of the rape suffer a double aggression, the one of the aggressor is added that of the family and the community. The raped woman is stigmatized by a family and a society that put their honor on her body. According to which cultures can be killed by members of their own family to “wash their honor” or suffer their rejection and that of the community.
The truth is that the Iraqi tribal tradition leaves them no choice: when a woman is “defiled” by rape or extramarital sex, she is endangering the honor of her family and the whole tribe. Rape is retaliated with, but the first thing is to eliminate the “stain”, for which it is necessary to physically eliminate the woman.
Rape as a weapon of war
Cécile Hennion : In times of war women become targets to punish the enemy community. The wars in Bosnia and Rwanda revealed the reality of systematic violations in times of war, in the present and in history.
You will never have certain figures on these facts, the feeling of shame of the victims will mostly keep them silent and also, to these violations, in many cases, the murder follows. It is estimated that for each report there have been 100 unreported cases.
In the woman’s body the hatred towards the enemy and the anxieties of its destruction are staged: the rape can be public, in the presence of its relatives; parents and family are forced in turn to rape their daughters and loved ones. Women, girls and boys would be the chosen victims. All in an attempt to annul them as people and to perpetuate the victory over the subjugated community carrying their wives with the children of their enemies.
Rape is the crime of desecration par excellence against the female body, and, consequently, against all promise of life of the community as a whole. Hence, it can be defined anthropologically as an attempt to invade the historical space of the other by inserting into the family tree the son of the “ethnic” enemy. (Véronique Nahoum Grappe)
According to United Nations sources, during the decade 1990-2000, trafficking in persons destined for prostitution claimed 33 million victims, three times more than the traffic of African slaves for four hundred years, estimated at 11,500,000 people.
This, too, is a universal crime. Women caught with deception or by force can belong to any country, especially countries where the population suffers from economic deprivation or countries at war, and the destination can be their own country or any other, in this case, mainly rich countries. Sexual exploitation makes victims into slaves. Pimps are enriched by keeping victims in subhuman, frightened and threatened conditions, forced to engage in prostitution under exploitative conditions.
From feminism it is seen as a means to combat this trafficking to combat prostitution, to end the sex trade which, they consider, degrades women. The debate on prostitution is open, there are groups, including groups of women dedicated to prostitution, who consider this election a right, and feminist organizations willing to eradicate it.
Ablation of the clitoris
Clitoral ablation, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), is another form of violence against women. It is estimated that this is practiced annually on two million women. Ablation reduces women to “a mere reproductive function” by nullifying their sexuality .
The consequences of FGM begin at the time of the intervention with unbearable pain and the possibility of causing the victim’s death. prolonging the sequelae [definition: an abnormal condition resulting from a previous disease.] during the rest of her life with chronic pains, problems during childbirth and making it impossible for the woman to have satisfactory sexual relations.
To the physical consequences should be added psychic: the woman who has been ablated is aware of the mutilation to which she has been subjected and can lose her self-esteem. It is the most visible expression of man’s efforts to dominate the woman, its purpose would be to “calm” the sexual inclinations of women and “guarantee their fidelity to the husband.”
Ablation is practiced mainly in communities of sub-Saharan African countries and, although mostly practiced by Muslim communities, it is also practiced in animist, Christian and Jewish communities.
Among the countries where ablation is practiced are Nigeria , Senegal , Sudan , Egypt , Ethiopia (mostly Christian), Pakistan , Indonesia , Malaysia , … “It is a cultural and non-religious tradition, even if it is in the Islamic countries where it is most frequently practiced.
In most Muslim communities, ablation is not applied, but the social and religious imaginary has associated it with Islam. “In many cases, ablation is carried out in secret by the communities that practice it. It is a tradition very difficult to eradicate since parents, especially mothers, though still disagreeing, feel obliged to practice it on their daughters in fear of not being able to marry them.
Femicide is the homicide of women motivated by their status as a woman. It is a more specific term than homicide and would serve to give visibility to the ultimate motivations of a majority of women’s homicides: misogyny and machismo; being “the most extreme form of violence against women”.
Femicide is the crime against women on grounds of gender. It is an act that does not respond to a conjuncture or specific actors, since it takes place both in times of peace and in times of armed conflict and female victims do not have a unique profile of age range or socioeconomic status. However, there is a greater incidence of violence in women of reproductive age. The perpetrators of the crimes do not respond to a specificity since these acts can be carried out by persons with whom the victim maintains an affective, social or social bond, such as family, couples, lovers, boyfriends, partners, spouses, ex-offenders, ex-spouses or friends.
It is also done by well-known people, such as neighbors, co-workers and students; just as by unknown to the victim. It can also be perpetrated individually or collectively, and even by organized gangs.
The term gender violence is also frequently used. It would be a less concrete expression and, in a way, soften the true nature of violence against women.
Less concrete because it would refer to the violence practiced by both sexes; and, in a sense, it would be sweetened, since it obviates a factor that is not symmetrical, which is only caused in the violence of man against woman: the feeling of superiority and domination of the latter over her and, more extensively, machismo. The same would occur with the terms “sexist violence” and “partner violence”.
The term “gender violence” is the English-language translation of gender-based violence or gender violence, a widespread expression following the Congress on Women held in Beijing in 1995 under the auspices of the United Nations.
Participation of women in decision-making
The participation of women is a basic requirement for consolidating democracy. However, both in times of peace and especially in times of war, the presence of women in decision-making bodies is rather scarce. That is why UNIFEM works to remedy this situation. The maximum participation of women, in equal conditions with men, in all fields, is indispensable for the full and complete development of a country, the welfare of the world and the cause of peace. Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In Africa , UNIFEM support and efforts helped the activists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure that the Constitution recognized the full participation of women in peace-building. The Sierra Leone Truth and Reparations Commission currently includes a witness program to help women report gender-based violence. In Afghanistan and Peru UNIFEM worked closely with the delegates of the Loya Jirga and the Truth Commission respectively to ensure that the Afghan Constitution guarantees women’s equality and Justice and Reparation declares rape as a weapon of war.
Situation of violence in Cuba
Cuba exists in the context of this world and survives amidst manifestations of a sexist culture despite everything we have accomplished, especially in education and health. This is added to the economic crisis in which the country lives, aggravated by the blockade of the EE . as a fact of systematic violence that transcends the social and personal aspects of daily life.
Violence in Cuba is conditioned by the economic, political and social processes that took place over 500 years, from the encounter of European and American cultures with the process of cultural identity, transculturation of Spanish and African cultures, prejudices and petty-bourgeois weaknesses were occurring in the course of our country, acts opposed to the exercise of women’s social equality.
Cuban women have all the possibilities to achieve their maximum development and occupy a place in society, and which does not depend on man, but on their intelligence, efficiency and work performance.
According to the penal codes of different countries or the criminalization of domestic violence, we find regions where it is not contemplated in its legislation and is passively tolerated by the state.
Addressing a subject as delicate as the one in question generates resistance, and can cause discomfort, defensive attitudes and even aggression, in some cases. People may feel vulnerable when they are discovered in situations they are often not aware of.
Unfortunately, slowness in the evolution of beliefs is one of the essential facts in history. The influence exercised by the past in the elaboration of the present modes of thinking, provides the resistance of values 0ik\and customs of the millenarian patriarchal society.
In Cuba, the type of society in which we live does not engender structural or institutional violence; on the contrary, the principle of equality, non-discrimination is incorporated into all laws and policies of the country, our society is not characterized by mistreatment, without However in the private world of the family there are couples where these manifestations survive, but in general the community rejects such behavior.
Violence in these times has acquired social resonance, not because it occurs more frequently but because today these behaviors are better known and studied.
Dynamics of domestic violence
Salazar Jamieson, Felipe E. Women, Violence, Psychosocial Factors. I work to opt for the Master’s Degree in Social Psychiatry. City of Havana 2002.
INFOMED. Domestic violence. NC. 25 August 2005.
Artíles de León, Iliana. Violence and Sexuality. Violence. ED Technical Scientist, 2001: 24-85.
Cervera Estrada, Lef et al. Behavior of Violence Intrafamiliar Revista Cubana de MGI. Domestic violence. Gender focus. April.2002.
http://en.wikipedia.org [United Nations Declaration]
http://en.wikipedia.org [Belem do Para Convention]
http://en.wiki . Fund_of_Development_of_United_Nations_for_the_Woman “
http://en.wikipedia.org . Violence against women
The Posadas return to Havana
By Gabino Manguela, Published July 3, 2017.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Someone once said that there were no safer businesses than funeral homes and posadas (hot-pillow motels). The reasons are obvious: death and love are simply inevitable. However, their differences are notable: in the first, you cry, in the second you enjoy.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
With the exception of the very young, the most Cubans remember at least something about the posadas: be it one unforgettable kiss, or the call of the clerk indicating to the lovers that their time was up. After the first position on the island –Carabanchel– established in the late nineteenth century and located in San Miguel and Consulado, in a three-story building with 22 rooms and apartments with independent entrance from the street–dozens of such establishments flourished. The rite was always the same: the man took care of the front desk process while the woman, with her face turned down, stayed at a distance keeping her discretion.
There had been many in the capital but, according to press reports, there were 60 in 1973, and only 30 in 1989. The truth is that despite long lines and the measures of “camouflage” that some developed in order not to be caught by prying eyes, the vast majority of people –myself included– wanted to go to these places because there we made love. “Villa Cándida”, “Dos Palmas”, “11 y 24”, “La Monumental”, “Edén Arriba” and “Edén Abajo”, “La Campiña” and many others, were names repeated furtively most of the time. They were open 24 hours and everyone knew their location, details and signs, although no one talked openly about them.
The posadas not only guaranteed a happy ending to the arrangements of interpersonal relationships, but were also an option for couples faced with the realities that were becoming more acute in the country, namely the lack of housing. No one had any doubts about the convenience of having these establishments, and even tradition demanded to keep them.
But, by the 90’s of last century, in view of very evident economic shortages, it was decided to move the victims of hurricanes –persons who had lost their homes– to many (almost all) of these buildings. The remaining buildings faced the impossibility of receiving adequate maintenance, and suffered much deterioration. Little by little the posadas, or INIT motels [Instituto Nacional de Industria Turistica – today INTUR] as they were called, disappeared from the national scene.
The new service will begin at Vento
The Empresa Provincial de Alojamiento de La Habana [Provincial Lodging Company of Havana] is in charge of an important network of accommodations in 27 different facilities in the capital where both natural and legal persons can today rent a room for a single night. This is the entity in charge of bringing about the reopening of the service the posadas used to offer: that is: lodging by the hour, with a minimum of three hours.
Except from the people who have a private room, own a house, or can pay for a night at a hotel, the rest can only afford hourly rents, parks, dark stairs, the beach or even the Malecón (seawall).
“This is a service that is now in the hands of private persons who provide the service lost with the famous posadas. We believe in the real possibility of bringing it back and developing it,” says Alfonso Muñoz Chang, director of the company. Today the couple that goes to a private lodging must pay the owner at least 5 CUC or its equivalent in CUP [Cuban pesos] –a high figure for the average Cuban– for three hours of amourous privacy.
Generally speaking, the room has air conditioning, a fridge, running cold and hot water and adequate comfort. Of course, that does not include beer at 1.20 CUC or more, drinks or a bottle of rum at sky-high prices, appetizers or some other finger-food to make the moment more pleasant.
Comfort, hygiene and privacy are fundamental in this business, private entrepeneurs say. This will undoubtedly be a challenge for the state-owned service, both in terms of price and comfort.
“We will start with the Vento Motel, on Vento and Santa Catalina. It is a two-story building with 16 rooms with bathrooms and other technical requirements, just a few meters away from where there used to be a well-known posada or Init motel,” said Muñoz Chang.”
“We are also working,” he added, “on other ideas to expand the service. From the old posada network we were also given the famous Monumental, a unit with 20 rooms and car parking space.”
We´ve been working on the project for a while and have already submitted it; but the funding is steep and we could not include it in this year’s plan. “We believe that by 2018 we’ll be able to undertake it. There is the will of the government in the capital to prioritize that emblematic place, which is not crumbling or anything like that, but needs work,” he said.
The Provincial Company director indicated that the strategy foresees –in addition to “Vento” and “La Monumental”– the recovery with equal purposes of “Edén Arriba” and “Edén Abajo”, as well as the “Motel Ocho Vías”, a facility that meets the indispensable requirements for this service. To think about diversifying the options for love is not a crazy idea: it is a reality that affects everyone and should not turn into a luxury item available only to a few.
“We can do many things as a company, but others equally important do not depend on us –he stressed. Our aim is to recover that in-demand service, of great social impact and, undoubtedly, very profitable. “The main thing is to demonstrate that we can fulfill that purpose at the state level, and although we are sure of succeeding, we do not want to create false expectations,” he concluded.
By Alexis Culay Pérez, Félix Santana Suárez, Reynaldo Rodríguez Ferra and Carlos Pérez Alonso
SOURCE: Rev Cubana Med Gen Integr 2000;16(5):450-4
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A descriptive horizontal study was carried out to learn the behavior of violence against women in the micro-district “Ignacio Agramonte”, of the “Tula Aerie” Policlinic in Camagüey. The period studied was from August 1st, 1997 to January 31st, 1998. From a total of 1088 women between the ages of 15-49, 310 were chosen to conduct a survey. The size of the survey was calculated using the well known statistical program EPIDAT. The results of the survey showed that 226 women reported some type of violence. This is 72,9% of the women interviewed. Psychological violence was reported by half the women, sexual violence by a third and physical violence was the least reported. The majority of women who reported violence were 30-39 year-old women with high school education. The great majority of the women victimized didn’t request professional help.
Gaceta Médica Espirituana 2008; 10(2)
Medical Faculty “Dr. Faustino Pérez Hernández”
By Dra. Help Walls García1, Dra. Anabel González Muro2, Dr. Jorge Luis Toledo Prado3, Dr. Ernesto Calderón González4, Dra. Yurien Negrín Calvo5
1 First grade Specialist in Child Psychiatry. Adjutant Professor, Resident MGI
2 First grade Specialist in General Psychiatry. Adjutant Professor
3 First grade Specialist in General Psychiatry
4 First grade Specialist in MGI 5
A CubaNews translation by Giselle Gil
Edited by Walter Lippmann
Due to frequent reports of family violence against adolescents received at Clinic No.29 of the Sancti Spíritus Area Mental Health Community Center a research was carried out. The main objective of this study was to describe some of the characteristics of family violence. A horizontal descriptive study was made which included 63 adolescents between the ages of 10-18. We calculated the violence frequency as well as that of age and sex, abuse types, parent-child relations to the victim, symptoms associated with abuse and if the family is conscious of this violence. Results showed a high percent of family violence towards girls and towards children in the 13-15 year old group. Violence was found to be mostly psychological rather than physical. We also found mothers are more violent and that low self esteem and aggressiveness are the most common symptoms. Only a low percent of the families were aware of being violent. Based on these results we made a proposal to investigate this problem further in the different health areas. Further study will also help design community intervention strategies to eliminate or reduce this violence that affects adolescents and the rest of the family.
By Dr. Mario C. Muñiz Ferrer, Dra. Yanayna Jiménez García, Dra. Daisy Ferrer Marrero and Prof. Jorge González Pérez
A CubaNews translation by Giselle Gil
Edited by Walter Lippmann
A descriptive study of the results of the test “what I don’t like about my family” was carried out with the objective of studying family violence and how to confront it in a health area. The test was applied to 147 5th and 6th grade children studying in the “Roberto Poland” School located in the “Antonio Maceo” neighborhood of the municipality of Cerro. The different types of family violence were classified and grouped by incidence frequency. Family violence prevalence was also calculated, as well as its possible relation to drinking. The results allowed us to establish that family violence is a health problem and that it is related to the intake of alcoholic beverages.
One of the most pressing problems that humanity faces in the XXI century is violence. We live in a world in which violence has become the most common way of solving conflicts. Today it is a social problem of great magnitude that systematically affects millions of people in the whole planet in the most diverse environments, without distinction of country, race, age, sex or social class.
Psychological gender violence is a covert form of aggression and coercion. Because its consequences are neither easily seen nor verified, and because it is difficult to detect, it is more and more used. Its use frequently reflects the power relationships that place the masculine as axis of all experience, including those that take place inside the family environment.1
Psychological gender violence expressed in the family environment acquires different shades depending on the context in which it takes place. In a rural environment, we generally find families with specific characteristics such as low schooling, resistance to change, inadequate confrontation and communication styles. All this favors the stronger persistence of patterns belonging to a patriarchal culture in this area rather than in urban areas, and therefore, women become victims, especially of violence.2
Cuba has a large population in urban as well as in rural areas, and so doesn’t escape from this reality (that of feminine victimización), even when our social system contributes decisively to stop many of the factors that favor violence against women. Also, we have propitiated substantial modifications of the place and role of the family as a fundamental cell of society. But, even today, we haven’t achieved a radical reorganization of the patriarchal features present in the national identity or on socializing agents like family.
Author: LUZ MARÍA MARTÍNEZ ZELADA
La Habana, jueves 20 de agosto de 2009. Año 13 / Número 233
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
In the last 19 years, around three million people have been received in Woman and Family Counseling Homes in Villa Clara province, a sign of the social impact these services have on the community.
The first of these facilities was opened in the capital city Santa Clara on September 8, 1990 as a prime objective of the work undertaken by the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), in charge of a 170-strong network of these centers nationwide.
Their main purpose is to deal with concerns related to real gender equality, child upbringing, legal guidance and the provision of training in several skills of citizens who don’t work or go to school.
Provincial FMC board member Mayelín Díaz told AIN the organization will celebrate its 49th anniversary on the 23rd with outstanding results in this sphere.
New projects like the Family Courts –consultancy on legal topics regarding couples and childcare– come on top of this effort, she added, which our centers provide in the form of interpersonal communication skills and measures to prevent family violence, alcoholism, AIDS and drug use.
Idalmis Pedroso, a beautician who has given hairdressing and cosmetology courses in one of these local institutions for 18 years, talked about the importance of these programs to help men and women who neither work nor study to learn a a trade and better reinsert themselves into society.
All the 17 Counseling Homes in this central province are staffed by half a thousand volunteer professionals, including psychologists, teachers, attorneys, doctors and speech therapists.
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.