Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bloody Christmas recalled in Holguin

Five decades and four years have passed since the bloodthirsty Colonel Fermin Cowley Gallegos, under the dictartorship of Fulgencio Batista, assassinated 23 young men in the last days of December of 1956, a painful moment in the history of Holguin.

Days later after the landing of the Granma yacht, a brutal repression was carried out against those that opposed the tyranny, whose sad history began on December 23rd and ended on the 26th with the death of the last of the revolutionaries included in the dictatorship´s black list.

In the northern area of the former Oriente province in the territories known today as Holguin and Las Tunas, two men were savagely tortured and killed.

Operation Christmas Gift was a macabre plan organized by Cowley, head of the military Regiment in Holguin, as a reprisal for the revolutionary actions carried out days before like the uprising on November 30th in Santiago de Cuba and the landing of Granma Yacht two days later.

Members of the 26 of July Movement and the Socialist People´s Party, workers, union leaders and many young people without political affiliation, were savagely tortured and its bodies abandoned in highways, under bridges or hanged on trees.

The dictatorship´s strategy of smothering the fire lit with the landing of the Granma Yacht and provoking terror among the population never succeeded. The main people responsible of those assassinations would pay for their crimes on November 23rd of the following year when a commando belonging to the 26 of July Movement made justice.

Since then, the days of horror lived by the population and family of themassacred humble revolutionaries are known as the Bloody Christmas.

Each December 24th, the people of Holguin, in representation of Cuba, pay tribute to the martyrs of that monstrous event with a march to the obelisk built in their memory in the eastern city.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

“Looking for Hemingway” in Cuba


Italian painter Franco Azzinari, who declares himself to be in love with Cuba, its culture and its people, will open the exhibition “Looking for Hemingway” on December 10th at Finca Vigía, the place where the writer lived in Cuba.

Azzinari has visited the island 59 times since 1992 and has painted some 200 paintings linked to his experiences on the island.
He said that when he visited Finca Vigía and met Cojimar’s fishermen, some of whom had met Ernest Hemingway, he became inspired and painted portraits of them, the places related to the U.S. writer, and the flamboyant trees he admired so much.

He also expressed that he has already received proposals to exhibit these pieces in several universities and plans to bring the topic of Hemingway and Cuba to many centers for higher studies in the world.

Azzinari specified that he has never met the 1953 Nobel Literature Prize winner personally, but that he was a friend of Gregorio Fuentes, the skipper of his yacht El Pilar, who was very close to the notable writer.
He also visited the places in which Hemingway used to fish marlins and swordfish in Havana, as well as Kenya, where he contacted members of the masai tribe that participated in the hunting safaris organized by the writer.

With respect to his artistic work, he declared that he has never worked for money and that he keeps most of his pieces, many of which are located in a personal museum that exists in the city of Calabria, following an initiative of the municipal administration of Altomonte in Cosenza.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In Cuba, the people is the one who decides


Today, the first of December, party organizations begin the debates on the Draft Guidelines for the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution, a process that will include, until February 28, all the labor unions and communities across the country.

What does this debate means?

It means people's participation in the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party to be held in April, 2011, and the possibility that each citizen expresses a view, without restrictions, even if they are not agreed.

Nobody should be left with an opinion to express, much less to be prevented from expressing it. The party demands the maximum of transparency to all organizations, a greater clarity in the analysis, clarifying all the doubts and concerns we have at the very heart of the Revolution.

To participate in the country's destiny is the right of every Cuban, and is also the lightest exercise of socialist democracy and the clearest expression of clarity of the Revolution and its unity with the people.

And it must be the people, because what is at stake is the future of the Cuban nation, which we only guarantee by preserving and developing the social system that we have built from those epic days in the Bay of Pigs, and that we ratified in the Constitution of the Republic, proclaiming that socialism and the political and social system included in it, are final.

On November 8, at the ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Cooperation Agreement between Cuba and Venezuela, while announcing the Sixth Congress, comrade Raul expressed: "Congress is not only the meeting of those who are elected as delegates, but also the prior process of debates by the membership and the entire population of the guidelines or decisions to be adopted in it. That's why the 6th Congress will be of the entire membership and all the people who actively participate in making key decisions of the Revolution. "

The debate started is the quintessence of the beginning of our Revolution: the people is the one who decides.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Symposium on the Five Cubans held in Holguin


The Sixth International Symposium for the Release of the Cuban Five and against Terrorism was held last week in Holguin with some 330 delegates participating from 56 countries.

This year marked the event’s largest participation since it was first held in 2005. Social activists, members of Cuban friendship associations, leaders of national and international committees for freedom for the Cuban Five, political representatives, union and youth leaders, lawyers and other professionals, were among participants in the event.

In our country there are several people, businesses, economic activities that have been the victim of terrorism, of the US blockade and the injustice committed against the Cuban Five and their relatives, this is why that although Holguin was the epicenter of this gathering, all of Cuba was also part of the symposium.

The event took place at the Holguin Expo Fairgrounds and begans with a meeting with the foreign delegations, followed by an interactive internet forum with relatives of the Cuban Five.

As has become a tradition, the symposium was extended to the Holguin municipalities of Calixto Garci¬a, Gibara, Rafael Freyre and Banes.


The misguided arrest of the Cuban Five in 1998 and the subsequent travesty of justice lead to their convictions on multiple unsubstantiated charges in 2001. The Cuban Five were dedicated to uncovering plots by ultra-rightwing Cuban-American organizations based in Miami with a long record of terrorist actions against Cuba and the Cuban people.

In a trial plagued with irregularities and held in a highly biased Miami court, the Cuban Five —Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez— were given harsh sentences ranging from 15 years to consecutive life terms plus 15 years. The five Cubans were working to uncover information about terrorist activities being planned and carried out against Cuba by ultra-rightwing organizations based in southern Florida with a long record of terrorist actions against Cuba and the Cuban people. When they turned their information over to authorities they were arrested and have been in jail ever since.

A UN Working Group reviewing the case determined that the trial did not take place in a climate of objectivity and impartiality, which is required in order to conclude on the observance of the standards of a fair trial. The UN report also charges that the Cuban Five were wrongfully held for seventeen months in solitary confinement after their arrest, and that their lawyers were deprived of the opportunity to examine all of the available evidence before the government invoked the Classified Information Protection Act.

Shortly following the UN ruling, on August 9, 2005, a three judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals of Atlanta issued a 93-page reversal of the initial conviction as well as nullified the sentences. In response to the reversal, the Bush administration and Attorney General Gonzales vehemently pushed for the US Solicitor General to appeal the verdict of the three-judge panel’s decision before all twelve judges of the 11th circuit in Atlanta. This time the court bowed down to pressure from the Bush administration and reversed the previous pro-Cuban Five ruling by a vote of 10-2.

In 2008, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of all five prisoners, but ruled that the sentences handed down to Labañino, Guerrero, and Fernando Gonzalez were excessive. Subsequently their sentences were slightly reduced.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Renovation works at the Eddy Suñol theater of Holguin almost concluded


The Eddy Suñol Theatre of Holguin is one of the most emblematic places of this city. Since 2007, major renovation works were undertaken here, which are almost completed.

Dressing rooms, socio-administrative offices, housing and ceiling, are almost ready.
Construction brigades are working hard in the assembly of a new stage, scheduled for later this month as well as the Art Deco facility with capacity for a thousand people.

This cultural institution will provide modern technology costing more than 428 000 dollars. It also will have at the artist’s disposal new stage lights, bars, among other scenery elements.

The rebuilding will allow a greater presence in Holguin of theatre groups, comedians and dance companies throughout Cuba, in a city with proven cultural development.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

10th Anniversary of the Holguin Symphony Orchestra


The Symphony Orchestra of the city of the parks (a reason for pride to the people from this Cuban province) is celebrating today, November 4th, the 10th anniversary of its foundation with a concert at the Art Center.

As part of the activities for the celebration they will perform the Symphony No. four of Johannes Brahms, a selection of "Pictures at an Exhibition" orchestrated by Mussorgsky-Ravel, and arias from famous operas by various authors.

It is expected that musicians who founded the orchestra will also be on stage along with young talents of the Conservatory "José María Ochoa" of this city.

As expressed by its director Orestes Saavedra, the orchestra has lived important moments since its foundation in 2000, that include the outdoor performing of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and the Overture 1812, by Russian composer Pior Igor Tchaikovsky, which marked a stage of advance in the group.

They also have had the support of renowned Cuban pianist Frank Fernandez, who has always provided a helping hand to help both, musically and with any logistical problem.

The company had its national debut three years later, at the concert by the 75th anniversary of the Amadeo Roldan Auditorium Theater, where they accompanied the maestro Frank Fernandez.

The Holguin´s Symphony Orchestra has been directed by leading musicians of national and international prestige, as the Cuban Leo Brouwer, Ivan del Prado and Maria Elena Mendiola, as well as the American Bernard Rubisntein and Mexican Guillermo Villareal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Colloquium in support of the Cuban Five in the city of the parks


Some 300 social leaders and activists from more than 50 countries of all continents have confirmed their participation in the upcoming 6th International Colloquium for the Freedom of the Cuban Five and against Terrorism slated for next November in the city of Holguin.
Delegates from Latin America including the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia will travel to the eastern Cuban city of Holguin to raise their voices for the release of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unfairly imprisoned in the US during the colloquium scheduled for November 21-27.
The colloquium will include an interactive internet forum about the current situation of the process held against the Cuban Five. A panel of specialists on the case will be available to answer questions asked by those interested in learning about the five Cuban revolutionaries who have been imprisoned since 1998 in American jails.
a concert for peace and the freedom of the Cuban Five will take place Friday, October 29, in Holguin, as part of the closing activities of the 17th Ibero-American Culture Festival underway in that city. Twenty musical groups will reportedly take part in the concert organized by event’s organizing committee and ICAP.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Once again, the Ibero-american fiesta in Holguin


The Ibero-American Fiesta of the city of the Parks will be held from October 24 to 30.
This year’s festival is dedicated to the Bicentennial of the Independence of the Latin American countries, to the 50 anniversary of the foundation of the Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP), and the tenth years of the World Food Program (WFP)."
The program of activities includes the fourth Iberian-American Congress of Thought, to be held October 25 to 27 in the Pernik hotel, colloquiums, as well as different cultural spaces such as the Ibero-American Colloquium of Arts, space that will provide debates on the works by writers Jose Lezama Lima and Miguel Hernandez, Spanish poet twice evoked by the singer Joan Manuel Serrat and not a few Cuban troubadours.
During the event Papyrus Publishing House will launch a new book collection called "Cubanos para llevar", which consists of several texts published in handmade paper, carefully packaged, that comprises poems written by Lezama Lima.
The Ibero-American fiesta will also support the cause of the Cuban Five, unjustly imprisoned in US jails, and for such reason local artists are preparing an eight hour concert for peace next October 29 dedicated to Gerardo, Rene, Fernando, Antonio and Ramon, internationally known as the Cuban Five.
It is expected the participation of writers from different countries, local artists, intellectuals, and guests from other Cuban provinces.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 12, Christopher Colombus and Confrontation of Cultures

It was in October 12, 1492, when Spanish sailors led by Christopher Columbus on board three ships La Niña, La Pinta and Santa Maria, came to our continent and then, the confrontation of cultures and the fusion of races occured.

The cry of “land” released by Rodrigo de Triana began the historical events of violence and destruction where communities of natives took the worst part, colonized by the newcomers and later by local oligarchies and foreign companies, that have maintained a slavery for over 500 years to their descendants marginalized and in total oblivion, using new approaches such as globalization and free Trade.

Today marks 518 years of the arrival of Christopher Columbus, who broke into the new world to those who came with the admiral and those who arrived later, made change by force the course of history, which would couple magical realism of the wilderness.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October 6th: a day for pain in Cuba


On October 6, 1976, one of the most atrocious terrorist actions ever committed was perpetrated against Cuba off the coast of Barbados; the bombing in midair of CUT 1201 of Cubana airlines.

The terrorist attack claimed the lives of all who were on board the plane. Most of them young people that made up the team of 24 athletes, who had won for Cuba, the Central American and Caribbean Fencing Championships.

Since then, every October 6th, is a reason for pain in Cuba, but also a constant denunciation of the perpetrators to pay for their crimes, as they are free in the US with the protection of the US administration.

Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch Avila were responsible for the assassination, and true justice still remains elusive.

People worldwide who are aware about this case also feel outraged and along with the Cuban people demand punishment for the terrorists, authors of other terrorist actions.

Friday, October 1, 2010

No Cuban will be left unprotected under the current economic reorganization

The Cuban economy has to be efficient and, we Cubans can make it work efficiently both in the financial and human sectors, based on the resources we have available and with better and more effective distribution of wealth.

The economic battle is today, more than ever before, our main commitment and the core for the ideological work of our leaders, the sustainability and preservation of our social system depends on it, said Cuban President Raul Castro on April 4. He also noted that "without a solid and dynamic economy, without eliminating unnecessary expenses and waste, we won’t be able to keep on improving the people’s living standards, nor maintaining and improving the high levels already reached in education and health care which are guaranteed free of charge for all citizens."

Obviously, the current process aimed at reducing bulky payrolls and redundant workers is in tune with the aforementioned principles. It is nothing improvised or hasty, but a strategy to meet the mandate of the people of Cuba contained in the Constitution of the Republic which states that its socialist character and its social and political content are irrevocable.

WHY THESE TRANSFROMATIONS?

Making each working post an efficient one, having payrolls with at least 80 percent of the workers directly linked to the production of goods and services or to other main activity, which is not precisely today’s reality, are crucial goals. Just a few examples prove the need for this significant strategy.

At present, the Cuban state invests 1.5 billion dollars to guarantee food for the population; this expenditure adds to the fact that 50 percent of the country’s cultivable lands are unexploited; in some work centers the security personnel outnumbers the workers in the productive areas; if there is such a large number of workers in unproductive activities it is due to deficiencies of the economic planning system. This inefficiency has caused increasing economic unbalance, also influenced by the international financial situation: increasing import prices and falling export prices.

If to do the job of one worker, we have three people employed, and if these three persons are not linked to the production sphere; if at the same time the industry is inefficient and the workers are not the best prepared for the job, how can we increase production? How can we increase our services? How can we raise salaries or the people’s living standards?

The reduction of bulky payrolls, excessive subsidies and inappropriate free services, along with relieving the state from bearing on its shoulders the burden of a certain group of activities, must allow the financing of salary increases in the near future, said vice-president of the Council of Ministers Marino Murillo Jorge.

These are the major reasons suggesting the need to improve labor and salary relations for workers declared redundant or left available; this includes the abolition of a series of resolutions issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, which are no longer in tune with the country’s economic reality. This measure aims at guaranteeing rational employment and strengthening the role of the salary and its relationship with production results.

HISTORY PROVES IT

The Cuban people have resisted the economic war and the cruel blockade launched by US Imperialism, which was joined by the fall of the Socialist camp; these two factors had an increased negative impact on the Cuban economy whose consequences were beginning show in the 1980s, due to the bulky payrolls and paternalistic behavior which discouraged workers, led to high levels of absenteeism and indiscipline with their relevant effects on efficiency and productivity.

We, Cubans have faced a very difficult situation for nearly five decades, given the strategy adopted, which not only saved the Revolution and Socialism but also made it possible to maintain the social achievements already reached. All this happened despite aggressions, subversive actions, tropical storms, inexperience and inefficiency that have crushed the will of men and women who, although amidst these complex conditions, have developed a social policy that is an example to follow by the world, even when the country has not achieved production levels according to that great effort.

But now, the future of our homeland demands new decisions to keep improving and advancing firmly towards the country’s development. In this endeavor, it is the Cuban women and men, along with the Communist Party and the Revolution, and making use of our own resources, who have to make the decisions. No one will come from abroad to tell us how we must do it, or to give us anything to do it, we do not expect that to happen; we must put into practice, with determination and commitment, the concept expressed by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro on May 1st, 2000, when he said that Revolution means emancipating ourselves on our own and with our own efforts.

HOW ARE WE DOING IT?

Firstly, we count on the people, with all the workers, since this is and will be the key principle of the Revolution, and the factor that consolidated our unity around the Revolution.

In order to carry out this process, it is crucial to reconsider the number of working posts at every center, as a step that will allow analyzing the ones to be retained and the number of redundant workers.

The principle of Proven Capacity will determine who will stay and who will be declared redundant, on the basis that each work post must be occupied by the worker with the highest capacity and this process must exclude any kind of favoritism, discrimination of genre or any other kind.

In this direction we are all equal. This means, the capable or the redundant workers has nothing to do with age or sex; it responds to the criterion that this procedure establishes.

If declared redundant or available, a worker must know his or her options to continue his working life, as well as his/her social right and duties. Similarly, the worker must be informed how he can put forth any claims.

In this process, no one will be left on his own. Cuba is reorganizing its economy and its labor force to make them more efficient and to improve the people’s living standards. Certainly we could find households that will be affected during the implementation of this strategy; however they will always be assisted by our humanistic Revolution, by evaluating and proposing solutions according to their real capacities.

The Cuban Workers Federation (CTC) plays a key role in every work center, so the organization must take part in this process with all its leaders fully prepared for their commitment. Similarly, the Communist Party, the Young Communist League must follow the process so that it takes place in tune with the principles of justice that characterize the Revolution, which is the soul of our people, since this process is aimed at making the will of the people guarantee a sustainable future.

PROVEN CAPACITY

Doing the job with required efficiency, quality and productivity; having an experience and knowledge demonstrated by the concrete results of the work; meeting the discipline and behavior requirements established by the state-budgeted center, company or higher staff organization, as well as those specific requirements established for each working post, and having the personal characteristics required by certain jobs or occupations, as well as the labor discipline established by internal rules; having the formal qualifications as expressed by school certificates or diplomas, in tune with the requirements established to apply for the job the worker aspires to get.

THE EXPERT COMMITTEE

This is the advisory organ, whose major mission is making recommendations to the head of the work entity about the proven capacity of the worker in order to decide his or her stay in the post. Work centers, legally considered as national strategic centers, will keep their commissions they currently have in tune with the legislation in force.

The committee is elected by the workers´ general assembly and by open vote, based on the principles of the best democracy. The assembly will present the members appointed by the staff and the union. The committee will elect its Coordinator at a first meeting. The committee takes the request for the consideration of a given case and issues its recommendation to the authorized head, who will take the final decision.

REDUNDANT WORKER

A worker who needs to be relocated as a consequence of payroll reductions in the areas where he/she was employed due to: reorganization process of the State Central Administration agencies and bodies and other national entities; rationalization processes following structural changes or conversion of work centers; merger or elimination of work centers; technical or technological transformations; reduction in activity levels; as well as studies of labor organization or other measures aimed at making more rational use of labor.

HOW TO DECLARE A WORKER REDUNDANT

The head of the labor entity, after consulting the trade union organization and bearing in mind the recommendation given by the Expert Committee, determines the workers to remain working at the center and those that are redundant. This analysis includes all workers with different contract modalities. The heads or executives are declared in employment or redundant by the organs with authority to appoint or elect them, according to proceedings established by the law or by the specific rules relevant to the case.

THE SOCIAL SECURITY ASPECT

If a worker who is declared redundant is receiving a pension for being partially impaired they will continue to get their pension plus compensation during the time he/she is out of work or available.

The available worker who, during the period of time he/she gets the salary compensation, meets the age and working time requirements established by the Social Security Law may request the concession of a pension for age. The proceedings relevant to this action will be carried out by the entity that declared the worker redundant. In case of death or presumption of death, the proceedings will be done in favor of his/her relatives with the right to receive the pension.

Any worker declared redundant and then available for having rejected the relocation proposal has the right to ask for a pension for age, if he/she meets the requirements of age and service time. All workers temporarily or permanently relocated or receiving salary compensation, also receive the financial amounts granted by the social security system that he/she is entitled to, and that have to do with subsidies in cases of disease or accident.

Any woman, declared redundant and temporarily relocated, or receiving a salary compensation, who arrives at the required pregnancy stage for maternity leave will receive the treatment established by current legislation.

SALARY GUARANTEES

Any worker that has been temporarily or permanently relocated in the state sector will be paid according to the new post. Any available worker that could not be relocated will get a salary guarantee equivalent to one month full basic salary, at that point the labor relation is terminated. After a month period, if that worker has not found employment and he/she has a record of 10 or more years of service, he/she will keep a relation with their labor center and will be paid a salary guarantee of up to 60 percent of his/her basic salary according to their service record: one month pay for those with 10 to 19 years of service; two months salary for those with 20 to 25 years of service; three months salary for those with 26 to 30 years of work; up to five months salary for those with over 30 years of service.

Any worker declared redundant that in an unjustified way rejects the relocation proposal in the state sector will only have the right to receive a one month salary guarantee equivalent to 60 percent of his/her basic salary, after that the labor relation is terminated.

EMPLOYMENT ALTERNATIVES

These are full time or part time vacancies needing to be occupied in the original work center or in the specific sector, for which the worker must meet the established requirements; self-employment activities; lands leased in usufruct; and other jobs in the state and non-state sectors.

RESOLUTION OF CONFLICTS

If any worker is aware of any violation of the formal aspects of the norms and proceedings applied, he/she has the right to make a claim at the local Labor Justice Body in the work center, in tune with the proceedings established for labor rights. If any of the parties does not agree with the verdict of the local justice body, they can file a suit with the corresponding Municipal Court.

SPECIAL SOCIAL SECURITY TREATMENT

Workers with a record of 25 years of service, who are declared redundant and can’t find a job, while they meet, in a five-year period, the requirements established by the law related to the gradual increase of the retirement age, will not need to have a labor relation to get their pension for age, and the relatives have the right to request that pension in case of death of that worker.

If a redundant worker can’t find a job for a prolonged period of time, they can request exceptional temporary financial assistance from the social security system, which will be approved or rejected by Municipal People’s Power Administrative Council. / Taken from Granma

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Holguin works to increase the production of coffee


This year coffee harvest un Holguin will be in charge of more than 200 workers who live in the areas of the Turquino Plan, and the support of students and professors who participate in the Plan the School to the Country, that will collect some 10,000 cans of the grain planned for this season in the region of Moa.

The brigades will work in the communities of farallones, Caimanes, Gran Tierra de Moa, El Colorado, La Redonda and calentura, where camps have been fitted for workers and students that will work in the 2010-2011 coffee harvest.

Parallel to the collection program, a group of workers involved in the coffee harvest during the year, will continue with the rehabilitation of the coffee and cocoa plantations in these settlements, as part of economic recovery being carried out in the mountainous regions, linked to the production of coffee and cocoa.

During the 1960s and 1970s, about 60,000 cans of coffee were collected each year in the mountains of Moa, a figure that decreased over the years, and now the highlanders collect no more than 10,000 cans, even when there is the so-called high season of coffee harvest.

According to the coffee growers of the region, the decrease of grain is essentially due to years of exploitation of the plantations, many of which already exceed six and seven decades. However, they have assured that with the current revival of the coffee plantations in Moa, production can increase.

The financial fare increase for each stockpiled can of coffee is undoubtedly an important incentive for producers in the territory, which are already highly motivated to both the coffee and with the results of other crops interspersed on coffee plantations.

Moa can reverse in three or four times the recent volume of coffee in the next five years, with the entry into production of rehabilitated areas, as stated by Luis Soler Real, a member of the Municipal Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC for its Spanish acronyms) in Moa, during a tour to areas of the Plan Turquino.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nuclear war: a total holocaust

Although war is a term closely related to the history of mankind, no one can ever get used to it.

For some people, and unfortunately there are still many, war is the continuation of politics by other means. Why conflicts between countries or organized armed groups can not be solved by peaceful means?

The world has witnessed several holocausts. However, the one that could break out into a nuclear conflict, of which the Cuban leader Fidel Castro has been warning about, would become the last of the millennium for our species.

Fidel said he is trying to create an international force of persuasion to prevent the threat of war from being fulfilled, in reference to an American and Israeli attack against Iran, which would immediately turn into a global conflict that would escape the control of the warring countries.

We are not dealing with the fact that the weapons of many nations amount to no less than 20 000 nuclear artifacts capable of destroying our planet several times. Today the destructive power of the nuclear stocks is equivalent to more than 440 000 times the power of those used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The mistake lies in that there are very powerful individuals who imagine that they will be able to get rid of their opponents through such action and remain unhurt in order to "totally enjoy" the alleged victory, and I am speaking about capitalism.

War would bring fatal consequences to all people and countries of the world, or do they really believe that they will not suffer the consequences of war? They will also be sure targets.

This is without thinking that if they survive such a deadly explosion, the planet will turn into a cloud of dust, high temperatures and unbearable radiation, where no means of life will be possible.

It is necessary to stop this disturbed group, because then the true, real and regrettable end to the story will finally arrive.

The problem of the world peoples, billions of people, it to prevent the tragedy of a nuclear war, therefore, and given the seriousness of the perspectives facing humanity today, we must act with urgency.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Sixteen protected areas in Holguin

The Cuban province of Holguin has established 16 protected areas, linked to the achievement of an efficient nature conservation, floristic values, wildlife, history and culture associated with the environment.

The protected areas include the Pico Cristal National Park, created in 1930, covering an area of 18 000 537 hectáreas in the municipalities of Frank Pais and Mayari, in the mountainous region of Nipe - Sagua-Baracoa.

With more than 325 endemic species and nearly 50 of the flora of this area, stand on its heritage the woodland of Pinus cubensis and the Charrascal, besides fauna jewels in the area like the Cuban Solenodon, known here as the “Almiqui”.

The National Park La Mensura-Piloto, approved in 2008 and located in the Sierra de Nipe, in the municipality of Mayari, is also among the protected areas. It has about 8 486 hectares of pine forests, evergreens, secondary and galleries, high landscape value crossed by several rivers and streams. This area has registered more than 600 plant species, one third endemic of Cuba and 82 strict endemic in the region.

This area shelters some 325 species and subspecies of fauna, including 135 endemic, mainly mammals and birds, as the cartacuba, the real thrush, nightingale, black bird, tailed hawk, the parrot and tocororo .

Holguín administratively shares to the province of Guantánamo, sectors of the Melba, Farallones de Moa, Ojito de Agua and Alejandro de Humboldt Park, World Heritage Site since 2001.

Other protected areas with varying designations, categories and tasks are distributed across the rest of the territory of Holguin, including the bird’s corridor of Gibara and the wetland at the mouth of the Mayari river.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

International Colloquium for the Release of the Five in Holguin

One of the most important events held every year in Holguin is the International Colloquium for the Release of the Cuban Five unjustly imprisoned in the United States for trying to prevent terrorist actions against the island.

The sixth edition of the event, to be held from November 17 to 21, will gather delegates from all continents to demand the immediate release of Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez, internationally known as the Cuban Five.

Lawyers, journalists, parliamentarians and religious leaders will attend the meeting to learn more and to help spread the truth about the unjust legal process against the Five.

The program of activites includes an interactive Internet forum to analyze the current state of the case with specialists answering questions. Torno added that the International Brigade against Media Terrorism, which will soon begin a visit to Cuba, will also attend the colloquium.

Participants will visit places of historic and social interest such as the birthplace of Fidel Castro in the municipality of Biran.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Holguin, Cultural Route “The Art of Beer”


In the City of the parks, several activities have been developed this summer for the enjoyment of people, and as part of these activities it was launched this Monday
the Cultural Route “The Art of Beer”, an initiative of Alexis Triana, provincial director of Culture.

The Route is conceived as a contest connecting 30 sites of the city that usually sell today’s most famous beers of the country Bucanero and Cristal, both brewed in Holguin’s Cervecería Bucanero S.A (CBSA).

The initiative seeks to pay homage to master beer brewers that brought the art of beer to the Caribbean and the Americas and to those who have kept it alive.

Participants in the Route will receive an ancient parchment-looking map and a leaflet with the instructions of the game and they have free entrance to some places like the Casa de la Musica, Casa de la Trova and the Salon Benny More included. The itinerary starts at the Loma de la Cruz hill and finishes at the Mirador de Mayabe lookout.

The first edition of the Route will take place a week before the Holguin’s carnival on August 19 and the jury of that popular party will also chose the winner of the contest.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

”The Strategic Victory”, a book by Fidel Castro


Fidel Castro presented on Monday his book "The Strategic Victory", a detailed story of how the rebel forces he commanded defeated the army offensive in the summer of 1958 in the mountain range of eastern Cuba.

"It´s something special to remember all that," the Cuban historical leader said while opening the presentation ceremony visibly surprised by the beautiful design of the 896-page book and moved by the memories.

Revolution Commanders Ramiro Valdés and Guillermo García and 17 leading officers of the rebel forces who today hold the ranks of general or colonel were the special guests at the televised ceremony held in one of the small halls of Havana International Convention Center.

They were "the boys", as he called them, who accompanied him since the initial combats. The book is a tribute to them and to all those who fell during the last phase of the liberation war that ended triumphantly on January 1st, 1959.

During the ceremony he discussed the content of the story, recalling the names of some of the fighters.

In the book, Fidel meticulously narrates the days in 1958 when the U.S.-equipped and trained army of dictator Fulgencio Batista launched a ferocious offensive against the First Rebel Front in the "Sierra Maestra" and the tenacious resistance and defense of that territory by the guerrilla forces.

It was an unevenly fight between 300 poorly-equipped men against a 10,000-strong, well-armed army, he stressed.

Who trained that army of torturers, who supplied the weapons, the tanks, the planes, the frigates, who taught them to torture and kill prisoners, asked Fidel.

And answered that it was the U.S. government, the same that is now torturing Gerardo Hernandez without any justification, he stressed referring to one of the five Cuban antiterrorists serving harsh sentences in U.S. jails.

"Everything is in the book, the Turquino (peak), the Joaquin (high grounds), La Jeringa, the small store", he said, recalling that he liked those places, specially the Turquino and Joaquin "because there was fresh weather that later turned cool".

"The Strategic Victory" has a sober, elegant design with ample margins, legible font and many photos and old manuscripts with faded colors that readers will enjoy as if they had in their hands the original documents.

Fidel announced that he will work on a second book that will tell the counteroffensive of the rebel forces till they victoriously entered Havana.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A new recreational complex in Holguin


A dream came true in the city of the parks with the opening of the recreation complex “Plaza 4 de Abril” for the enjoyment of people from the territory.

It was designed with open spaces, bright colours their exteriors and conservation of vegetation. The value of the investment was at about one million 230 thousand pesos and the implementation took more than 85 people daily. In addition, 52 homes in the vicinity were included in the resuscitation and alternatives to reduce costs while ensuring the sequence had to be found.

The plaza is also endowed with the technical devices to welcome the most diverse artistic and cultural projects, and to give the place one more touch a huge pigeon loft raises at the complex’s entrance.
The planners also built paths for physically impaired people, who along with all visitors can go to the place to ask for Cuban food. The Plaza has a Creole restaurant, named 465 in honour of the founding of the Hato San Isidoro de Holguin, and three smaller recreational spaces. It also has an amphitheatre and the complex “the Petals where people can also find ice cream, pizza, deli, candy, soft drinks and juices.

"The equipment of the restaurant and 'The Petals' was purchased at $ 14,000. The most novel is the existence of a 'hot desk', a device that keeps the temperature of food, without being overheated, "said Osvaldo Santos, manager of the unit.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fidel Castro Warns over Potential Nuclear War in the Middle East


The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, has warned that an attack by the US and Israel on Iran will inevitably lead to nuclear war, while criticizing Washington for being the world’s largest spender on weapons.
On a special television appearance on Monday night, Fidel made an exhaustive analysis of the grave situation existing in the Middle East as a consequence of the threats by the US and Israel to launch a destructive strike against Iran.

In his analysis he noted Washington´s mistaken criterion concerning the possibility that the Iranian people would not resist the aggressors, and emphasized the type of resistance that they would indeed face.

The Iranians -he recalled- have been preparing themselves for 30 years, and have acquired modern airplanes and weapons necessary for their defence.

They are training all persons between the ages of 12 and 60; just the Guardians of the Revolution have a million members; the army and the navy have air, sea and land forces; there are 20 million Shiite Muslims, said Fidel.

He added that when a chemical war was launched against Iran after the Islamic Revolution, the current Iranian leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was heading the Guardians of the Revolution defending Iran´s frontiers. Ahmadinejad is no novice, reiterated the Cuban leader.

From where, then, does the US get the idea that they will run away in the face of an enemy that aims to destroy everything and even declares that to be so?, he questioned.

After coinciding with Noam Chomsky in that the present situation is the Obama administration´s most serious foreign policy crisis, he referred to the grave situation existing in the Korean peninsula.

He insisted that the US was responsible for the sinking of the sophisticated South Korean ship, by means of placing a mine below the ship, with the objective of justifying an attack on North Korea.

He observed that in any case, in the face of a massive attack against Iran, North Korea will not wait to be attacked, but will act, and a nuclear war will also break out in that zone. "When they decide to attack Iran", he declared, "one war after the other will be unleashed".

While analyzing the US Government´s military policy, Fidel Castro denounced that the US spends more resources on military matters than all the other countries of the world. In the past year -he noted- Washington designated 1.53 trillion of dollars to the armaments sector.

This figure, he emphasized, is 5.9 percent greater than that for 2008 and 49 percent more than the year 2000.

Commenting on statistics from various sources, he maintained that the US possesses two thousand and two strategic nuclear warheads and 500 non-strategic warheads. He noted, however, that other sources have different numbers for these types of armaments possessed by the US.

He contrasted these numbers with those for Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China, and affirmed that the numbers defy belief.

The truth is that nothing is known, they don´t play clean, the truth is never known, the Cuban leader emphasized, who repeated that the big powers are playing with fire.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Guillermo Fariñas, a Life Saved by Cuban Medicine

Science, humanism, professionalism and the most advanced and costliest treatments have been used to save the life of patient Guillermo Fariñas. Science because sophisticated treatments have been applied in his case; humanism and professionalism because giving back health to human beings is the top aspiration of the prestigious specialists who are caring for him; and the most advanced and costliest treatments because the Cuban government has spared no effort to ensure this person the latest generation medications, the same used in other well-known healthcare centers, many of which must be bought from other countries.

On March 11, Fariñas was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Arnaldo Milian University Hospital in the city of Santa Clara. The voluntary fasting he started more than 120 days ago has now become a threat to his life.

To inquire about his health, we traveled to the healthcare center in the central Cuban province and interviewed Dr. Armando Caballero, chief of the Intensive Care Services in the hospital.

First, we wanted to hear from this experienced Second Degree Specialist and founder of that special unit, how is it possible for a person to survive four months of fasting.

“Everybody is asking that,” he said, “because a person can’t live that long without nourishment; but that is not the case of Fariñas.”

Dr. Caballero explains that “this patient refuses to take food orally. He has been in this situation for 125 days, since he says he had spent two weeks in his house without eating before he was admitted to our services, where he has spent 110 days. On admission to the hospital, he showed some physical deterioration. He was conscious and he agreed that we provide him parenteral nourishment, that is, intravenously.

The patient is receiving amino acids that make up the proteins required by the body. He is also provided lipids, vitamins and minerals, “everything necessary in a balanced diet for any human being,” the doctor says. Then he adds that “Fariñas’ weight was 63 kg when he was admitted to our services, and at this moment it moves between 67 and 69 kilograms. He has recovered body weight during his hospital stay and this is due precisely to the parenteral nourishment he is receiving.”

How compromised is the patient’s health at this moment?

Parenteral nourishment requires that certain (osmolar) nutrients of high molecular weight pass through the central ducts of the human body. I mean, you need to catheterize major veins of the upper part of the body such as the subclavians and the internal jugulars, which can be hazardous and lead to complications, particularly when hyperosmolar nutrients, like amino acids and hypertonic dextrose, must pass through these catheters.

The risk of blood infections increases as time passes and the patients continue receiving this kind of nourishment. The tendency is for contamination and infection with bacteria and fungi or they develop other complications like we see in this patient now.

But, are these complications related to medical procedures or the care provided to this patient?

Absolutely not. These complications are a common occurrence in patients receiving this kind of nourishment. For example, in the 110 days that Fariñas has been our patient, we have had to change the catheter ten times. During his 251 days of fasting in 2006 –when he was also treated in our unit— he required 37 catheters. In my 37 years of experience in intensive care services, I never had another patient who required this procedure so many times.

In this case, four timely-detected infections were successfully treated with the corresponding medications for the type of staphylococcus that develops in the blood. In very instance, the germ was immediately isolated and efficiently combated with antibiotics and other specific measures.

But, from last week, the patient has developed another complication, which is not only an infection but something more serious. This time it’s thrombus phlebitis of the jugular-subclavian component in the neck veins. This thrombus or clot is very dangerous because it could detach and move toward the heart and from there to the lungs giving rise to a deadly pulmonary thromboembolism.

Such health condition is a relatively common occurrence in the hospitals and one of the causes of sudden death, when the thrombi are large. But sometimes they do not detach and can be dissolved with antibiotics and anti-clotting medications like we are applying to this patient. This time again, we have isolated the germ that caused the phlebitis of the central veins, which in this case is associated to the presence of the venous thrombus in the jugular-subclavian segment.

From last Sunday until today we have seen a slight improvement although we can’t say for sure that a more serious complication has been averted. No one can say here or anywhere in the world whether or not that thrombus will detach.

We have all the necessary medications. Last Saturday, when the complication was detected and the pathology confirmed with cutting-edge technology, we discuss collectively the diagnosis and treatment.

Is this the limit of what medicine can do in trying to save the life of this patient?

This is an extreme situation, mostly at this point. Since our patient-doctor relations are very good, we have discussed with him at length about abandoning his voluntary fasting and starting to take food orally in order to recover the energy he needs to fight the temperature caused by the infection.

It’s almost impossible to feed him through another catheter because new complications could arise when one is already developing. In his case, taking food is a crucial element in his fight for life.

What could happen if Fariñas insists on this behavior?

We feel that his condition could worsen, particularly the nutritional aspect, although until now we have been able to keep him stable despite his refusal to take nourishment orally.

And, what if he decided to eat?

The patient is perfectly prepared to take food orally. There is no contraindication in this regard. Simply his wish could be a major medical factor in the solution of his health condition.

What is the established medical procedure to deal with a patient who has decided not to ingest food?

As I said before, in my 37 years of experience in intensive care I have seen almost 20,000 patients, but Fariñas is the only one I’ve had here twice for voluntarily refusing to take food orally for a long period of time. This is not common. I’ve seen many patients in this unit; I’ve even treated persons who had tried to commit suicide for a certain reason, but at the end most want to live. That is what the doctors in this ward are asking Fariñas: that he helps us to save his life.

As to your question, there are no rules, but there is medical ethics. And, one of its basic principles is autonomy, that is, not to apply any procedure without the patient’s consent. We abide by that principle.

Fariñas is a patient who is conscious of his situation. He is not disoriented, he is in full command of his mental faculties, therefore, it is his right to accept or not, of his own volition, the application of any medical procedure. In my view, it is the wrong right a person has to kill him or herself. I have said to Fariñas that he is acting against his own physical integrity.

A doctor’s mission is to save lives; however, in a case like this we must respect the patient’s will. We can’t go against his will unless he is unconscious and his close family approves.

Could you offer more details about the care provided to Guillermo Fariñas?

This person, like every other patient here, is privileged. He is accompanied by a relative around the clock. He has a TV set where he is watching the Football World Cup, which he likes. He also has a direct telephone line, the same as every other patient in this ward. Beyond what medicine can do, these amenities are important to the spirituality of the patient.

The intensive care services are expensive worldwide. Thanks to our healthcare system, Fariñas, like every other Cuban who requires these services, is not paying a penny.

I’ve had the opportunity of working in other countries, both in underdeveloped and developed nations. I spent one and a half year in France and I could see how costly it is to keep a patient in an intensive care unit. It’s very expensive.

And, what can you tell me about the medical expertise, the equipment available and the additional tests he has had?

At this moment, the entire team of the intensive care unit is available to him. These are ten specialist doctors, half of them Second Degree Specialists in Intensive and Emergency Medicine. They are all working with Fariñas. Every day we meet and discuss his case, his condition and evolution, what to do and what may be needed in order to get it.

You have just said “what may be needed in order to get it,” and I ask you, to get it where, in this country or in other countries?

Here and in other countries. We have bought medicines for this and other cases because many medicines we need to buy from other countries.

For instance, all of the parenteral nutrients that Fariñas receives –amino acids, lipids, vitamins and trace elements—are coming from Europe. Cuba buys them not only for this patient but for other Cubans who need it. However, Fariñas is the only one that requires them because he refuses to eat.

Do you have an idea of how much the treatment provided to this patient is costing the country?

It’s practically impossible to compare the costs in Cuba with any other place. Cuban medicine is perhaps the cheapest in the world and probably the most efficient because healthcare services are not designed for profit.

What I can tell you for sure is that, in any developed country, one day in an intensive care unit costs no less than $1,300, and this does not include complementary tests and medicines. In this case, we are talking of 110 days in the unit and over 300 lab tests.

For example, we check this patient’s glycemia almost on a daily basis; 96 tests until today.

We have already treated him for four serious bacterial vascular infections which have required such antibiotics as vancomicyn, ciprofloxacin, gentamicyn and rocephyn. We have practiced 66 ionograms to measure electrolytes in blood and correct any imbalance. We calculate his 24-hours urea almost every day to assess the nitrogen used by his body and ensure an adequate balance.

We constantly monitor his system to prevent imbalances. This is what has enabled Fariñas to have a rather acceptable nutritional condition after 125 days of fasting, although the danger persists because this is not physiological, eating is.

This patient has had electrocardiograms, X-rays, ultrasounds, and multi-slice tomographies. We have conducted all the necessary studies.

You said before that the doctor-patient relation has been good. How would you describe the doctor-family relation?

I’ve talked to his mother, his wife and an uncle, as well as to some of his friends. There is a good doctor-patient relation that makes practically everything possible but eating. That is our constant request.

In sum, I think Fariñas’ and his family’s relation with the team of doctors and nurses in our services has been good. For as long as he has been here, I have not received any complains about the way he is treated. On the contrary, he always speaks of the professionalism of the doctors and he says he doesn’t want to go anywhere, although he says he has received offers to treat him abroad. However, he says he won’t go because here are the people who have saved his life. He trusts our healthcare services.

How do you describe Guillermo Fariñas’ condition at this moment?

Today, the patient faces a potential danger of dying. It depends on the evolution of that thrombus located in the jugular-subclavian left confluent, for which he is being adequately treated. I wish it dissolved; that would make it one more complication solved by our team of doctors and nurses. We shall continue doing our best to preserve his life.

This article was written by Deisy Francis Mexidor / Granma

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Renewed Community in the City of the Parks

The People's Council of Alcides Pino is showing a new aspect, as part of the constructive task undertaken in the city of Holguin. The real change occurred at the time the project to improved the municipality was promoted by the government.

The real beginning started at the very moment the people assimilated the project as a community issue.

The process began last September, based on a detailed assessment of the problems to solve: housing and roads in poor condition, lack of sewers and street lighting, unstable supply of drinking water, low voltage, among others.

People involved in the construction works received help from qualified staff and the whole community. Places like the mini-restaurant and the pizzeria El Fuerte, aimed to help people with low incomes and other social problems, were included in the project.

At the same time some housing problems were solved, the same people were repairing the schools, warehouses, parks, sports and recreational areas. Between July 2009 and early June this year, thousands of constructive actions were implemented.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tairona objects found in Chorro de Maita


Tairona funerary objects have been found at the ancient aboriginal cemetery Chorro de Maita, located near the famous Guardalavaca beach resort.

In the late 20s, archaeological evidence started to accumulate on the existence of an aboriginal settlement in the area of Chorro de Maita. Excavations following the chance finding of an aboriginal skeleton by some of the dwellers, led to the most important discovery in Cuban-Indian archaeology: a burial ground with the remains of 108 human bodies, the largest funeral site thus far found in the Antilles.

Firstly, never before had there been any evidence of the burial customs of the agricultural and pottery-making Indian communities that had settled in this area. Also, the position in which many of the bodies were buried was quite unusual: arms crossed over the chest, thereby leading to the supposition of some Indian- European contact in Chorro de Maita.

The new objects found, known as guanines, were typical of the aborigines who inhabited the area of Colombia and are made of an alloy of gold, silver and copper; match the style of the guanines made by the Colombian aborigines.

A comparative study conducted with pieces found in other parts of the country revealed that these were made using a completely different smiting technique.

Researchers are now trying to determine weather these objects were brought to the island by the Spanish colonizers or made here.

It is known that Colombian natives were brought as slaves to Cuba in the sixteenth century, and they continued to make their guanines here.

The research also corroborates the information that existed on smelting techniques in the West Indies.

The discovery makes of the Chorro de Maita cemetery a site of utmost importance for the reconstruction of the history of the aboriginal inhabitants of the island.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is the climate change an invention of Socialim?


One of the greatest mischiefs, with a strong taste of psychosis, is the maniacal defense of the idea that global warming is pure communist ploy to affect the "prosperous capitalist industrials."

Only those without a minimum of sanity can try to demonize this Social System with something that needs an urgent action, as the most pressing current problem of the planet and which the survival of human rage depends upon.

To say that "this global warming alarmism responds only to a political agenda rather than science," "because global warming is caused by nature, and particularly by the influence of the sun in Earth's climate, to what which neither humans nor fossil fuels have any responsibility," is to make irresponsible statements, which could cause a fatal consequence for the spirit of seeking consensus on mitigating the adverse effects of man’s actions for nature.

Reviews like this were read in open forum by “El País” on the subject, as if they had been written by someone living inside a box, but not glass, because otherwise we would have seen what happens on Earth.

Contrary to scientific theory they have explained: "High concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are favourable for plants, which develop particularly well in such conditions. And with plants animal life has been benefited as well. The planet is not running out, but greening in its departure from the Little Ice Age, thanks to the mild temperature and the small increase in atmospheric CO2."

At a time when it comes to winning a majority government will (not achieved at the last Summit in Copenhagen), to stop the accelerating climate change, joining such an approach can be highly dangerous, because it is not just a thought within the ideological war, but a topic to which they could grasp those die-hards who have not yet taken concrete steps, protected by the nationalist trend of "not affecting their economy."

Read this: "Unsuccessful scientists do not know how to get money to finance their research and were convinced by the socialists, who convince the world to reduce the use of fossil fuels, will cause enormous harm to the capitalists, whose industries and companies could hardly exist without the use of fossil fuels – and many individuals and institutions, sincerely environmentalist, who will give money to the unsuccessful scientists, to investigate how to stop global warming."

Those who qualify that "we now live in one of the best times that humans have had on planet Earth” tell lies so evident as if someone was saying that the collapse of the rig in the Gulf of Mexico, considered the worst disaster environment in the U.S., will not cause negative effects on the ecosystems of the region.

Heavy storms, severe droughts, earthquakes, the awakening of dormant volcanoes – inactive for over 200 years –, the fact that 20 percent of birds are in danger of extinction, the soaring temperatures, the melting glaciers or the increased sea levels are the greatest lie to those who try to minimize the negativity of such a serious matter.

Not to link the actions of human beings to what happens on the planet is as ridiculous, as holding the view that the climate of the future is unpredictable. Saving the Earth is a duty of both socialists and capitalists.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Holguin charms foreign tour operators


During the promotional activities held in Holguin over the weekend, linked to the 30th International Tourism Fair FITCUBA 2010, foreign tour operators charmed the tourist facilities and the hospitality of the people from this city, also called the city of the parks.

The delegation freely retraced the streets of Holguin, visited La Periquera museum, where original works of Ecuadorian painter Guayasamín are exhibited, and at the Caligari Art Center, they enjoyed paintings by Picasso and major Cuban artists.

The visitors also enjoyed climbing the Loma de la Cruz Hill, overlooking the city, where people can spot the main streets, buildings and other places of the city of Holguin, that holds the third largest population density rate in the country.

The program of activities of FITACUBA 2010 also included a tour of the most important hotels of the northern coast of the territory, such as Playa Pesquero, Esmeralda and Guardalavaca.

At Villa Mirador Mayabe, the only place in the world where a donkey drinks beer, visitors learned more about the richest traditions of the Cuban countryside and tasted Creole food.

A special performance by Cuban singer David Blanco and the presence of Cuban painter Cosme Proenza were well-received gifts. The visitors expressed their satisfaction about this tourist destination with a great potential for further development.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Romerias de Mayo, Pablo Picasso and Guayasamin



Once again the city of the parks hosts the Romerias de Mayo Festival (May pilgrimages), a cultural event that gathers in Holguin Cuban and foreign artists and writers.

This cultural event, organized by the Hermanos Saiz Association emerged from a religious holiday first celebrated on May 3, 1790 by Friar Antonio Alegre after he climbed the Bayado hill carrying a wooden cross on his back.

This year´s festival is dedicated to the Canadian city of Toronto, to the 50th anniversary of ICAP (Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples) and to the solidarity among the nations, as well as to the centennial of José Lezama Lima birth date.

The Romerias began with the traditional parade attended by participants and guests of honor to the event and people in general. It concluded with a concert at the foot of Loma de la Cruz hill by popular Cuban musician David Blanco.

Among the most important activities developed in this year’s festival was the opening of two exhibitions. The first exhibition comprises oil paintings and lithographs of the Ecuadorian painter Oswaldo Guayasamin, at the main hall of La periquera museum of this city.

Crossing the threshold of the place, the work that first caught everyone's attention was the portrait made in 1996 Guayasamín his friend, the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, a picture which highlights the use of colour and the expressive power of hands .

Guayasamín had three pictures of Fidel. The first was painted in 1961 and, according to Guayasamín’s son, the revolutionary leader remained restless throughout the process.

"He was attending calls. He spoke with subordinates. At the end, when Fidel saw the finished work, he stood still before the canvas for 15 minutes. Then my father said he had given him time to paint a better picture, " said the president of the Guayasamín Foundation.

"Guayasamín is Cuba. Cuba is Guayasamín "said the son of the painter.

The second exhibition, for the first time in Cuba in Holguin Arts Centre, is “Imaginary Portraits” by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso.

Composed by 29 pieces made in 1969 in the screen printing technique, and certified as evidence of the author, the works were donated recently to the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana by Gilbert Brownstone.

Brownstone said he decided to make this gift to the people of Cuba because no country in the world does so much for culture, as there is a government that prioritizes education and spiritual development of its citizens.

In the opening words of "Imaginary Portraits," Brownstone told how in the 80s Jaquelin Picasso, the widow of Pablo Picasso, gave him these works that are now part of the cultural heritage of the Cuban nation. He confirmed that in the next trip to Cuba he would bring other pieces of art by the artist known by many as the father of modern art to enlarge the collection.

The program of activities for the event also includes music and dance shows, films and literary Works, as well as the presentation of plays by Cuban and foreign artists.

Friday, April 30, 2010

May 1st: A day of revolutionary reaffirmation


Cuban workers and their families will attend this May 1st parade across the different squares of the country, under the slogan "United in the duty”. In this commemoration, people will express their full support to the Cuban Revolution.

The Cuban Workers Federation (CTC) recently issued a call urging the people to participate in the national May 1st celebrations in response to an ongoing anti-Cuba media campaign by the United States and its European allies.

“In the face of this smear campaign, all Cuban workers —who have never yielded and will never accept blackmail— will ratify our support of the Revolution with the same strength of our five compatriots who remain unjustly imprisoned in US jails, and whose freedom we will demand once again,” the text reads.

Like it or not the Empire, the assistance to this call for the homeland is an act of reaffirmation to Socialism, as the Cuban people did last Sunday during municipal elections carried out across the island, in which the majority of government representatives in the communities were elected in the first round.

But the enemies of the Cuban Revolution tries to disguise this undeniable truth, as part of the media war against Cuba, arguing that people attends the call issued by the CTC as mandatory.

Several comments in the media network echo these messages, repeated with the intention of planting the idea that popular support for the Cuban Revolution is fictitious, and that it arises from constraint and threats.

The truth is not object of concern to the enemies of the Cuban Revolution in handling the news. The technique of persuasion is one of the elements used by the U.S. government for 50 years, trying to defeat the resistance of Cuban people, hence the repeated use of lies in their propaganda, with the combination of repeating key words, set phrases and basic arguments, to penetrate the minds of recipients.

The war of thought against Cuba is well orchestrated, and that persuasion is achieved by the principles of psychology and social conductive psychology. It is a well-designed psychological work to influence gradually in the minds of people.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Humberto Solas Low-Budget Film Festival begins in its usual venue: Gibara


The international low-budget film festival is one of the most popular of the alternative film circuit. Since its first edition in 2003, it gathers filmmakers from around the world committed to defending more humane and aesthetic films made with modest resources.
The coastal town of Gibara is the usual venue for the event that takes place this time from April 19 to 25.
Cuban filmmaker Humberto Solas founded the low-budget Film Festival and choiced Gibara as the principal venue. The town is a hefty 800-kilometre trek from Havana and an hour’s drive along poor roads from both Holguín (which boasts an international airport) and the pristine beaches of Guardalavaca.
Gibara was declared a National Monument in 2004. Despite the remoteness, relocating the Festival is unlikely because of the very close relationship which bas been built through years between the festival and the people of Gibara.
During this year´s festival, several Culture Centres of this city will host forums for debates on current issues related to film production, theatre, painting, dance and literature will also have a space including art exhibitions by renowned Cuban artists, and the Objetivo Fishara photo exhibition.
Around 160 works of diverse formats, genres, countries, and styles will participate in the event. Of these, more than 70 will be in the official section divided into groups of fiction, documentary, animation and video art.
Contenders from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, France, Germany and Cuba, will animate this film fest under the guide of a 12-member jury of producers, critics, essayists and writers.
During the preceding seven years, the low-budget Film Festival has established itself as an autonomous cultural and community forum. It has developed a welcomed space for encounter, reflection and has laid the foundation for a network of independent filmmakers and small events with the objective of creating joint projects in the alternative field.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cuban electoral system: we can speak about democracy

As democracy and human rights in Cuba are included in the list of US actions against the Revolution, the closeness of elections to be held in April 25 in the island, is an intensive anti-Cuban propaganda by the enemy.

Trying to denigrate the Cuban Revolution, they have affirmed that under the dictatorship of the Castro’s brothers, there is not democracy or freedom or elections in Cuba. The US Government has repeated this lie a thousand times, hoping to make it true.

With increasing strength the capitalist world defends its idea of democracy, but their actions are inconsistent with their words, by the existence of mechanisms that restrict most popular participation in government issues, and believed the false image of freedom to choose representatives, only because the centre of representative democracy is competition between contenders for power; a circus armed around to the polls, in which the people have no liability whatsoever to the election.

What really defines the possibility of involvement by the people in government is what happens in Cuba. Our model differs from others, but its primary objective is that each citizen should feel an important part of society, under equal conditions and opportunities.

A Spanish journalist summed up the nature of the Cuban electoral system, and the points that argue why Cubans can speak on democracy.

1. Membership is universal, automatic and free for all citizens eligible to vote, from 16 years of age.

2, The nomination of candidates is made directly by the voters themselves at public assemblies (in the so-called democratic countries are the political parties that nominate the candidates).

3. There are no discriminatory election campaigns, offensive, defamatory, manipulated or millionaire campaigns.

4. Elections are transparent. The ballot boxes are guarded by children and young pioneers, as they are sealed in the presence of the population, and the counting is done publicly, and can engage the national and foreign press, diplomats, tourists and all the people in general.

5. Requirement that all are elected by the majority. The candidate is only elected if he gets over 50% of the valid votes cast. If this result is not achieved in the first round, candidates that received the most votes, will go into the second round.

6. The vote is free, equal and secret. All Cuban citizens have the right to elect and be elected. As no party lists, one votes directly for the candidate you want.

7. All representative bodies of state power are elected and renewable.

8. All those elected must job performance accountability to voters for their actions.

9 All those elected can be recalled at any time during their mandate.

10. The deputies and delegates are not professionals and therefore not paid a salary.

11. Deputies to the National Assembly (Parliament) are elected for a term of 5 years.

12. The integration of the Parliament is representative of the most diverse sectors of Cuban society.

13. One deputy is elected for every 20,000 inhabitants, or fraction greater than 10,000. All municipal territories are represented in the National Assembly, and the core base of the system, the constituency, actively participates in its composition. Each municipality elects at least two deputies, and from that figure, are selected proportionately as many deputies as there are inhabitants. 50% of the deputies must be delegates from the constituencies, who have to live in the territory of the same.

14. The National Assembly elects from its deputies, the State Council and the Chairman. The President of the State Council, is Head of State and Head of Government. This means that the head of the Cuban government has to undergo two elections: first be elected as MP by the people, for the direct and secret vote; and then by the other Members, also by the free, direct and secret vote.

15. As the National Assembly is the Supreme Organ of state power and legislative, executive and judicial functions are subordinated to it, the Head of State and Government can not dissolve it.

16. The legislative initiative belongs to many factors in society, not only deputies, the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor, but also of trade unions, students, women, social and individual citizens, requiring them to exercise in this case legislative initiative at least 10 000 citizens who are eligible voters.

17. The laws are subject to majority vote of the Deputies. The specifics of the Cuban method is that a law does not take the discussion of the Whole until, through repeated consultation with deputies, and taking into account the proposals they have made, is clearly shown that there is majority consent for discussion and approval. The application of this concept acquires greater relevance when it comes to public participation, along with the deputies, in the analysis and discussion of strategic issues. On those occasions the Parliament moves to the workplace, students and peasants coming true direct democracy and participatory.

The main quality of the Cuban political system is its capacity for continuous improvement, depending on the needs presented to perform a full, true and systematic participation of the people in the direction and control of society, the essence of any democracy.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

April 4th, a date to celebrate in Holguin


Holguin comes on 4 April to the 465th Anniversary of its founding as Hato, it became later a village and city, known today in Cuba as "the city of the parks" by the high number of these public spaces available for its nearly 300 00 inhabitants, characterized by their kindness and creativity.

Just a few days for the celebrations, Holguin residents are involved in the remodelling and beautification tasks like the restoration of important part of the central area of the city, the rehabilitation and paving of streets, widening of road access and resuscitation of street lighting, among others.

One of the priority actions is the construction of the Plaza Cuatro de Abril, because in addition to joining the celebrations, it will become a cultural-recreational complex for the enjoyment of all people.

It is fair to admit the good done by many people who deal with the renovation works to beautify the surroundings of the old city, because the beauty that surrounds us turns life more pleasant. It is a beautiful song from the heart of colleagues who model the city for enjoyment of all of us.

Friday, March 19, 2010

In Cuba: New Project to Help Children Born with Malformations

Cuba is undertaking a nationwide survey of residents with congenital anorectal malformations in children who can benefit from surgery. The project began in the framework of the Fourth Conference on Paediatric Surgery to be held March 22 to 27 in Havana.

The survey aims to identify possible patients that could benefit from surgery at one of the island’s specialized paediatric surgical hospitals, such as the William Soler Hospital in Havana, and the Octavio de la Concepción de la Pedraja in Holguin.

The results of the survey will be imputed into a national database, coordinated by Dr. Jianeya Manzano Suárez, a specialist in paediatric surgery from the province of Holguin.

Other activities linked to the conference include an international workshop on the treatment of anorectal malformations, surgical demonstrations and live broadcasts via satellite from the Medical and Surgical Research Center of Cuba (CIMEQ) to the conference room at the Havana Convention Center.

The workshop will be given by Dr Alberto Peña, from the United States. Peña is one of the leading authorities on the subject and is the author of several books and articles on anorectal disorders in infants, many that are part of the curriculum in Cuba.

Patients with this type of congenital malformation require several surgeries, often requiring the a temporary colostomy, prior to definitive treatment, which can sometimes be delayed due to the existence of other more severe anomalies or concomitants medical conditions.

Dr Rafael Trinchet Soler, president of the Cuban Society of Paediatric Surgery, said that "the course is designed as a top-level training course and will be attended by delegates from all paediatric surgical services of the country.”

Dr Rafael Trinchet Soler, who is also the president of the Latin American Society of Paediatric Surgery, explained that the meeting will increase the quality of care provided to these patients and, in particular to newborns with these conditions.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Holguin also works to strenghten the health system

Every year the province of Holguin hosts important international and national events on Health like those related to Natural and Traditional Medicine, Hereditary Ataxia and Cardiology, among others.

This week it begins in this city, the National Workshop on Medical Emergencies with the participation of medicine students and specialists from different Cuban universities.

The meeting, organized by the University of Medical Sciences "Mariana Grajales" and the University Student Federation in Holguin, aims to prepare future physicians to deal with possible complications before clinical manifestations with these characteristics.

The event takes place within the framework of the second Territorial Forum of hypertension and related diseases, which allows students to encourage research on this topic.

Representatives of all medical colleges of the island have confirmed their participation in the event, which also includes the presentation of researches on the topic.

The hypertension affects millions of people worldwide, so the need to establish an analysis and behaviour in patients with different pathologies.

The results of research conducted by students, lectures by visiting scholars and exchange among professionals, will provide a higher quality treatment to patients”, Said Dr Medrano Ojeda, one of the.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Holguin Culture Fiesta

Each January the people of Holguin celebrate the Culture Festival, an important event held in this province to celebrate the 258 anniversary of Holguin being granted the title of City and Seat of Government.

This time the event was held from January 13 to 18, and it was dedicated to the 51 Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and homaged poet Lalita Curbelo Barberán and Doctor in Medical Sciences, Pura Aviles Cruz. A photo exhibition about Lalita Curbelo´s life and work, as well as lectures and visits to the house where she was born, presently a cultural complex, were some of the activities developed.

The program of activities also included a parade from the house of Lieutenant Governor to the Calixto García Park, the opening gala in front of the Culture Center, the opening of the City Hall, the granting of Music Awards and a tribute to distinguished personalities of the city.

The traditional parade was attended by the authorities of Culture, the Government and the Party. The gala, featuring groups and soloists such as Golden Voices, Ernesto Infante and Martha de la Paz, recalled two prominent figures: the late poet Lalita Curbelo Barberán, who is honored, and Dr. Pura Avilés.

After the cultural event of Thursday afternoon, activities were multiplied: Workshops on History, craftsmanship fairs, panels examining the work of poets, book sales, literary café, exhibitions, theatre plays and music.

During the event, the fourteenth City Hall was opened to fans of the Visual Arts on Saturday in the Provincial Culture Center.

This event of the Arts has provided the necessary space to display the creative work of the growing number of painters, sculptors, engravers and photographers born in this city and that today distinguish our visual knowledge, nationally recognized.