Friday, December 23, 2011

Bloody Christmas: days of horror in 1956


By Alfredo Hernadez Carralero

Rafael Orejón Forment would be the first in the list of the 23 youngsters that were murdered and massacred by the end of December 1956 on the north coast ofthe former province of Oriente, in an operation luanched by the Batista dictatorship under the code name “Christmas Gift” that passed into History as the Bloody Christmas.

Orejón was then Chief of the July 26 Movement in Nicaro, a municipality in the Holguin province and was killed that day in La Portada, a place near the industrial area of the current Mayarí municipality.

The spree continued until December 26th of that year, and eventually left 23 victims, all from different municipalities of the Cuban north-eastern region, from Las Tunas to what is now the province of Holguin.

In that region of the former territory of Oriente the July 26th Movement was very well organized since late 1955, the national leadership had primary cells in Sagua de Tanamo Mayari Nicaro, Antilla, Banes, Holguin, Gibara, Puerto Padre and Las Tunas.

To back up the arrival of the Granma yacht expedition had they had increased the number of sabotages, posters with revolutionary slogans were secretly displayed in public places, bursting of firecrackers, and distribution of leaflets that appeared in theaters, parks and streets.

The dictator Fulgencio Batista had alerted Colonel Fermin Cowley Gallegos, Chief of Military Regiment of Holguin, about the possibility of the occurrence of a landing in the area under its jurisdiction and urged him to prevent the occurrence there of supporting actions.

It was then organized the operation called Christmas Gift. The repression was brutal and the bodies of young revolutionaries appeared savagely tortured, hanged or shot, with the premeditated purpose of spreading terror and extinguish the rebel flame that stretched across the Sierra Maestra mountain range under the orders of the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz.

Most of those killed were taken from their homes, tortured and their bodies were found dumped in different places, only because they opposed the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.

With all the logistical support of forces and means, the bloodthirsty colonel Fermin Cowley Gallegos, blasted his actions against the revolutionary movement from the 23 until 26 of the last month of the year.

The massacres of that black December truncated life among others of the leader of the July 26 Movement in Holguin, Pedro Diaz Coello and figures of the Socialist Party, workers and union leaders.

The slain youth lived nights and days of horror in the east Cuba, as well as their families and people in general, without their criminals managing to put out the light of the triumph of their ideals, reached on January first, 1959.

Cowley Gallegos finally paid for his crimes when he was executed on November 23, 1957 in Holguin by members of the July 26 Movement of the eastern territory.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fidel included in the Guinness Records Book


According to the Guinness Book of World Records, and for sure the files of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States, Fidel Castro is the person who most often has been attemped to murder.

According to data published on the blog of portal Yahoo, there were 638 assassination attempts against the leader of the Cuban Revolution until 2006, most of them promoted by the CIA.

All the failed methods planned to kill him included sharpshooter, explosives in his shoes, poison injected into a cigar and even a small explosive charge inside a baseball, among others.

From the moment Fidel led the triumphant Cuban Revolution in 1959, it was began planning his death. Among the most interested in killing the then Cuban prime minister were American intelligence agencies and subversion.

With information of Radio Havana Cuba

Covert CIA Agency Grants Medal to Laura Pollan

By M. H. Lagarde*


During a ceremony held at the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress, the president of the National Endowment for Democracy (a covert CIA agency), Carl Gershman, posthumously honored Laura Pollan (1948-2011) the Service to Democracy Medal.

Yolanda Huerga Cedeño, a representative from the counterrevolutionary groups in the U.S., received the medal on behalf of Pollan's relatives. She said that Pollan’s death had "strengthened" the “Ladies in White,” a mercenary group that she founded.

During the ceremony, one of the representatives of the Cuban-American mafia, the Democratic senator from New Jersey, Bob Menendez, said that the Cuban government is a "threat" to the peaceful activities carried out by the "Ladies in White" for the "dignity" of the Cuban people.

The president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Lower House and Republican leader in Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and her Democrat colleagues from New Jersey, Albio Sires, and, Howard Berman (California) also participated in the ceremony.

Pollan's widower, Hector Maceda; her daughter, Laura Labrada Pollan; and the current leader of the Ladies in White Berta Soler also took part in the event via videoconference from Havana.

Both the U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent statements that were read during the ceremony.

" Taking to the streets in peaceful protest to draw attention to the plight of those unjustly held in Cuba’s prisons, Taking the streets in peaceful protest to attract attention on the difficulties of people unjustly detained in Cuban prisons, Laura Pollán and the Ladies in White have stood bravely against Cuban authorities" read Obama’s statement.

Obama also criticized "the campaign of repression unleashed this weekend" against the Ladies in White in a street in Havana, during a ceremony in memory of Pollan.

The president referred to an incident that took place on December 11, when a group of 50 women members of the "Ladies in White" was harassed by dozens of pro-government militants after concluding a peaceful march after a mass.

Obama reiterated the U.S. support for the Cuban people "to freely determine their future and to enjoy the rights and freedoms that define the Americas, and that should be universal to all human beings.”

What the president did not say in his statement was that the provocation orchestrated last weekend by the Ladies in White was oriented during another tribute to Pollan held in the house of the head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana on December 7.

Obama should know that the U.S. Interests Section in Havana is dedicated to organizing and funding subversion in Cuba and may respond to the interests of electoral politics of the current U.S. government, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the determination of the Cuban people to defend their sovereignty.

M. H. Lagarde, a Cuban journalist, is the director of the Cubasí portal. Cambios en Cuba is his blog.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hutcherson in Havana

“I think that the general view that my colleagues have of Cuba is changing and is now more open”, said U.S. actor Josh Hutcherson in his recent visit to Havana to attend the International Film Festival.

Hutcherson traveled to Havana to star El Yuma, one of the seven stories making up the film 7 Days in Havana. He’ll be portraying a young American actor named Teddy Atkins, who comes to Cuba to visit an acting school. Later he is taken on an non-traditional tour of the city.

7 Days in Havana is a film set in Cuba made up of seven stories led by seven different directors. The directors include Laurent Cantet, Gaspar Noe, Elia Suleiman, Pablo Trapero, Julio Medem, Juan Carlos Tabio, and Benicio Del Toro, who’s directing El Yuma.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gibara's speleologists find flooded cavern


A unique freshwater cave filled with water 10 meters deep with several galleries, was discovered Tuesday by local speleologists in La Gegira, in the municipality of Gibara.

Researchers said the cave represents an important find because of the verticality of the entrance and the presence of multiple corridors with different shapes and angles.

The head of the researcher team, Arturo Rojas, said that during the exploration they found a cave gallery estimated at some 100 meters long by 70 meters wide, with numerous secondary formations such as stalactites and thick rock columns, which lead them to new galleries, some horizontal and others with steep inclinations.

"These are the largest galleries we have found in flooded caverns”, said the specialist. He also noted the existence here of blind fish and shrimps.

The president of the Speleological Committee in Holguin, Juan Jose Guarch, said that this finding provides new opportunities to explore areas far from the coast, as they can find deeper caverns with greater underground conduits like the Tanque Azul cave, also in Gibara. / AIN

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Some of the pictures that made history in 2011


A girl isolated to pass the tests of radiation detection looks her dog through a window in Nihonmatsu, Japan, on March 14. (Reuters / Yuriko Nakao)


Puyehue Volcano erupts in Chile, causing cancellations of air traffic in South America, New Zealand, Australia and forcing more than 3,000 people to seek refuge.


The city of Joplin, Missouri, before and after the devastating tornado on May 22.


This sightseeing boat, Hama Yuri, was pulled 1300 feet from the coast and somehow balanced itself on a two story house during the tsunami in Japan.


Tsunamis, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, dust storms, pepper sprays, the death of Amy Winehouse, hunger in Kenya, the Libyan invasion that ended with the lynching of the head of state ... A spectacular apocalyptic world featured in the 2011 pictures, a year that has not yet finished... fortunatly it ends soon. Let's hope that 2012 opens the way to better times. / With information of Cubadebate

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kisses

Kiss: love professed through lips.
Scarlett Bene


Kisses, whether stolen, passionate, of affection, rituals or formals, are the most important expression in human relations.

Many interpretations seek its origin in the baby's sucking impulse, cannibalistic tendencies (the love bite), or the primitive tribes habits of smell.

It is also said that its birth can be traced back to the Cro-Magnon man, when Cro-Magnon woman fed their babies chewing food to pureeing, then it went to her son's mouth.

But whatever its origins, kissing evolved into a way of expressing feelings, passion and affection to loved ones or anyone who want to care and love in any way.

They serve as a powerful weapon to make a heart surrender, to silent words when they become unnecessary, to relieve pain or simply to ask for forgiveness. But kisses are better if they are spontaneous and genuine.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mayari, natural treasure of Holguin


The municipality of Mayarí is located in the mountainous region of Holguin. This place was blessed by nature with mountains of pine, el Salto del Guayabo, the natural bridge Bitirí, forest reserves and the paradisiacal Cayo Saetia, among others of great attraction for Cubans and foreign visitors.

Here we find all supporting key areas of the economy and natural resources indigenous to Cuba. Nickel, sugar cane, forestry, fisheries, tourism, power generation, coffee, an increased food production, among others, all combined in total harmony.

As this region has the largest water reservoir in Cuba, a project so-called the "century engineering work" is under construction here: the East-West water transfer that will benefit several eastern Cuban territories.

It also has the Pico Cristal National Park, distinguished by its flora and fauna, which was declared as a protected area in 1930.

The park treasures historical values as it served as a refuge for slaves and sheltered guerrilla troops during the revolutionary process carried out in Cuba.

This region has two rainy periods and a plant coverage consisting in Pinus cubensis of high endemism, with 325 species identified and about 50 unique to the region.

In its fauna, comprising 491 species, highlights the almiquí, which is under a protection program in Cuba.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Unpublished interview with Fidel Castro to be screened in Cuba


An interview with Fidel Castro on the eve of his entry into Havana after the triumph of the Revolution, which remained forgotten for more than 50 years, was found by Cuban filmmaker Rebeca Chávez.

This unpublihed material will be screened during the 33 International Festival of the New Latin American Cinema in the noncompetitive section "Hecho en Cuba", to be held in Havana from December 1 to 11, 2011.

Rebeca entitled the documentary "El día más largo" (The longest day), after she found the material in the film archives of the Cuban Radio and Television Institute (ICRT).

The 20 minutes long documentary "El día más largo," was produced by the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) and contains the original dialogue, recorded on January 4, 1959 in the airport of Camaguey, between Fidel and a journalist from the former CMQ Radio and Television Channel in that city.

At that time, the Commander in Chief of the Rebel Army was heading to Havana to lead the Caravan of Victoria and decided to stay there for a while to rest.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Holguin: Natural Charmings


El Mirador de Mayabe is one of the tourist attractions that further distinguishes the province of Holguin. Just 5 minutes from this city, El Mirador is on the top of a hill which overlooks a vast valley of the same name that surrounds the city.

This site is surrounded by autochthonous flora and fauna and it's a favorite place for Cuban couples celebrating their honeymoon. The facility is distinguished by its swimming pool and restaurant, unique for its panoramic views of the green valley.

The villa Mirador Mayabe is the only place in the world where a donkey drinks beer, visitors learn more about the richest traditions of the Cuban countryside and taste Creole food.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Coffee Planting Grows Back in Cuba


Cuban farmers added to cooperatives have increased their coffee plantations and many have undertaken to collect it with their own forces, which would represent a substantial saving by reducing the number of people mobilized from other sectors of the economy and services.

After the sharp decline in the contributions of coffee in recent years for various reasons, farmers, officials and Cuban technicians in the industry are engaged in what they have set as the slight increase in production.

When the planting of coffee trees has been completed and its collection has even started, agriculture strategists say that the volume of grain to be delivered should be increased by 10% over the last collection.

That is, is expected to harvest 700 tons of coffee more than compared to last year, efforts in which private farmers will have a decisive role because they collect 64% of coffee in the country.

Today, as in order to increase food production progress on the implementation of the new law that encourages the delivery of land in usufruct, one can say that in Cuba there is a greater number of people with an interest in growing coffee.

This news is encouraging because labor force on coffee plantations located mainly in the mountains, where increased urban migration, was significantly reduced in recent years.

The State cannot continue to appeal to its coffers to compensate for deficits in national coffee production, since these allocations are already ranging between 40 and 50 million dollars annually.

Last year, for instance, Cuban coffee purchases in the international market amounted to 18 000 tons to ensure local consumption.

The State also allocated 190 million pesos in national currency to subsidize the sale of powder to get the nectar.

It is for this reason that stands out the common effort to reforest the coffee plantations with younger fields and lush bushes and take care of them in a more actively way.

Four thousand hectares of coffee were planted in Cuba last year and this amount reached 7 thousand this year, to increase such actions from 2012 to 2015, the year estimated when national demand can be met and grain may have exportable surpluses.

Efforts to increase the results of the coffee harvests are capped by very favorable official decisions.

These include doubling the payment to producers for their contributions and State delivery of fertilizers for the first time in several years.

Similarly, new shrub species are introduced to eradicate the homogeneity of coffee plantations, a circumstance in which they become more vulnerable to the devastation in the event of pests.

Cuban farmers are working to increase yields per hectare that are very low today, basically by the aging of the trees and the lack of stable work force.

Peasants are expected to work with full care and dedication to Cuba to recover its historical levels of coffee production.

By Alex Silva from Radio Havana Cuba

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I´m ready to keep with my fight until my last day, says Rene Gonzalez

” I´m ready to keep with my fight until my last day” were some of the first words by Cuban anti-terrorist fighter Rene Gonzalez upon his release from a Florida prison last October 7 amidst a highly emotional encounter with his daughters, father and brother.

First Images of Rene Gonzalez out of Prison Along some of his Closest Relatives

Holguin specialists work to assist autistic children


Psychiatrists, neurologists, speech-language pathologists, social workers and nurses in Holguin are developing a multidisciplinary project to assist autistic children, aimed at improving the quality of life of these patients.

The project is headed by the Neuropsychology Department of the Clinical Hospital "Lucía Iñiguez Landín" in this city.

Autism is a serious developmental disorder characterized by limitations on language, impaired social interaction, cognition and behavior.

Work with these children includes activities such as training classes at kindergartens involving patients, relatives and childminders.They also include stimulation actions in the early years of the kids who are greatly benefited by therapies.

According to specialists work experience is useful for treatment of children with other language deficiencies, their social interaction and behavior such as patients suffering from mental retardation, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Rett Syndrome and other pathologies.

Friday, October 7, 2011

One of the Cuban Five, Rene Gonzalez, released today at 4:30am from US prison


This Friday, at 4:30am Rene Gonzalez was released from a jail from Marianna, Florida; although he will have to remain in the United States on three-year probation.

Outside the correctional, he was embraced by his two daughters, Irma and Ivette, his brother, Roberto, and his father, Candido, apart from his lawyer, Phillip Horowits, said teleSUR correspondent Aissa Garcia.

“Today, Rene Gonzalez has become the first of the Cuban Five antiterrorists to be released from US prisons, and set foot outside jail,” said the reporter from the site.

The Cuban was released at 04H30 local time (08H00GMT) this Friday and is currently with his family, said his lawyer Phillip Horowitsz to teleSUR.

He told Aissa Garcia that Rene Gonzalez is reported to be in good health after being examined following his release.

Despite he left prison, Gonzalez won’t be able to return to Cuba, due to a court order that forces him to remain three years on probation.

The Cuban is currently with his daughters, his father and his brother. However, he cannot see his mother Isma Sehweret or his wife Olga Salanueca, because the US government did not grant them visas to wait for his release.

In Cuba, teleSUR correspondent informed that this afternoon “all religions will join and make a proclaim of the Committee of Solidarity with the Cuban Five”.

“In the proclaim that will be carried out by believers they will also demand the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles.”

Rene Gonzalez is one of the Cuban Five who were condemned in the United States for monitoring Cuban-American terrorist organizations based in Miami. Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino and Antonio Guerrero are still imprisoned in the US since September 12, 1998.

Their case has unleashed a series of protests in different parts of the world. Intellectuals, relatives, politicians and other sectors of civil society have demanded their release.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cuba Denounces US Denial to Reveal Facts About Cubana Plane Attack


The U.S. Government's denial to release information, compiled by the CIA, related to those responsible for the terrorist attack to a Cubana Airlines plane in October 1976, was denounced by Cuba's Granma newspaper on Tuesday.

Cubans in Nicaragua Claim Justice for Barbados Crime "Why did the United States tell Venezuela they did not have any information on the October 6, 1976 events that could be used during the trial against the masterminds of the attack?", underlined Granma's article after presenting extracts of reports of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The article, entitled "What did George Bush know about the Cubana Plane attack in October 1976?", reproduces extracts of a more comprehensive article published in May 2006.

During a hearing at the U.S Senate in September 1988, 12 years after the 73 occupants of the Cubana plane died, Democrat Senator representing Iowa, Tom Harkin, asked the then vice president about his investigations on the participation of Posada Carriles in the attack.

A CIA document, dated in June 1976 (two months before the terrorist attack), proves that the organization had information on the plans of Orlando Bosh of destroying a Cuban aircraft.

Another secret CIA document, dated in October 13, 1976, and addressed to the FBI Intelligence Department included other clues related to persons involved in the October 6 events.

RELATED NEWS

. Venezuelan Journalist Denounces Prevailing Impunity in Barbados Bombing

Taken from Prensa Latina

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cuba Passes Law on Sale and Purchase of Motor Vehicles


By Alex Silva / RHC

Law Decree 292 will come into force on October 1, 2011, along with several ministerial resolutions that alleviate and eliminate procedures on the transfer of motor vehicle ownership.

The new regulations were published in Cuba’s Official Gazette and establish the sale and purchase of motor vehicles by Cuban citizens.

According to Granma newspaper, the sale and purchase procedures will be performed before a public notary without prior authorization.

These documents establish a tax on the Transfer of Assets and Inheritance for buyers and beneficiaries of donations, and the tax on personal incomes for sellers. In both cases, taxes are estimated at four percent of the vehicle’s worth.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Low-budegt Film Festival Returns to Gibara


The Cuban coastal town of Gibara, in Holguin, will be the venue once again for the 9th Humberto Solas International Film Festival to be held from April 17th through the 22nd, 2012.

Next year's event will be dedicated to the people of Gibara, where the the festival took place for the first time in 2003, and it will include film screenings in several communities of this city, which has made the event theirs.

Its new director, young filmmaker Lester Hamlet, expects to turn the also called La Villa Blanca de los Cangrejos (White Villa of Crabs), National Monument, a huge set where filmmakers from various countries shoot their productions.

The agenda of the meeting also includes spaces dedicated to children and adolescents, and to evoke Solas (1941-2008), creator and driving force, National Film Award and director of films like Lucia, El siglo de las luces, miel para Oshun and Barrio Cuba.

The International Low-budegt Film Festival is the ideal opportunity for promoting high aesthetic quality of movies that not need meny resources for their production, making good use of digital technology.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cuba Announces National Team for Baseball World Cup

The team is made up of three catchers, six infielders, five outfielders and 10 pitchers.

Cuba Team:

-Catchers: Ariel Pestano, Frank Camilo Morejon, Yosvani Alarcon.

-Infielders: Jose Dariel Abreu, Hector Olivera, Yulieski Gourriel, Erisbel Arruebarruena, Michel Enriquez, Rudy Reyes.

-Outfielders: Frederich Cepeda, Alfredo Despaigne, Rusney Castillo, Alexei Bell, Giorvis Duvergel.

-Pitchers: Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Freddy Asiel Alvarez, Yadier Pedroso, Norberto Gonzalez, Yulieski Gonzalez, Vicyohandri Odelín, Dalier Hinojosa, Alberto Soto, Miguel Lahera and Jonder Martinez.

-Manager: Alfonso Urquiola.

-Assistants: Jose Hernandez, Jose Medina, Javier Galves, Ronny Aguiar, Victor Mesa, Enrique Rojas, Hanoi Choong.

-Medical Corps: Andres Cañarte, Jose Barrizonte, Pablo Gutierrez.

Head of Delegation: Higinio Velez. / PL

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blessed Poison


As the saying goes " there is nothing more itching than the sting of a scorpion." But more than itching, the scorpion's sting causes severe pain due to its neurotoxic action.

This small animal, which only attacks if threatened or kill the prey that will become its food, has been used in many ways by man. Their bites were used as a military tactic in the war in the desert. In many Asian countries it is considered an exotic dish due to its excellent source of protein.

The use of the scorpion's toxins to cure various ailments dating back to earlier centuries, even when the chemical or radiation therapy had not been institutionalized.

In Cuba, the potential of scorpion venom Rhopalurus junceus, endemic to the east of the island, has been confirmed. And perhaps by the fact that Cubans are inclined towards taking anything someone says has a positive effect on health, its use emerges as an alternative with scientific basis to treat cancer. Blue scorpion venom strengthens the immune system in patients suffering from this disease, thus contributing to reducing not only the tumor processes, but also the pain and inflammation.

Our country recently registered Vidatox, a drug developed by LABIOFAM using the technique of homeopathic pharmacy with this scorpion venom, which has benefited thousands of patients suffering from cancer.

This business group has launched a marketing and promotional offensive that has helped to place and export this product to countries such as Albania, in Europe, providing the service to Italy where there is high demand.

Cuba currently has scientific institutions such as the Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine institute, the Oncology and Radiobiology, Ministries of Science, Technology and Environment and Public Health, working on the development of innovative products, not only for our benefit but for the world, since cancer is the second leading cause of death, preceded by cardiovascular diseases.

If Cubans were a community of religious people, we might adore the scorpion for providing this "poison" that help to relieve, to a large extent, the discomforts of a painful disease like cancer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cuba‘s Report vs Blockade 2011

The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States government against Cuba has been maintained and further tightened despite the growing and categorical demand by the international community — in particular the United Nations General Assembly— for its elimination.

While the current US gover ment has taken some positive steps, they are insufficient and extremely imited in scope. Furthermore, they are not intended to alter the complex structure of laws, regulations and provisions that make up the blockade policy against Cuba...


Read full text of the report at: http://www.cubaminrex.cu/English/Actualidad/2011/septiembre/INFORME%20BLOQUEO%202011%20INGLES.pdf

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Virgin of Charity: Cuba’s Patron Saint


By Damián Donéstevez

Every September 8th Cubans pay tribute to La Virgen de la Caridad or the Virgen of Charity of El Cobre, the most cherished religious image in Cuba.

Located in the town of El Cobre, few kilometers away from the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, the Virgin’s sanctuary is visited by thousands of people from all over the world to pay promises and carry small copper rocks from a nearby mine, which, according to devout believers, give people good luck.

The legend goes that at the end of the 16th century three fishermen –Juan Esclavo, Juan Indio and Juan Pescador (John, the slave, John, the Indian and John, the fisherman) found the image of the virgin in the middle of a storm in the immense Bay of Nipe in what is today known as the eastern province of Holguín.

At the time of the finding, the piece of wood holding the image, which had a rare beauty and a copper-colored skin, read: “I AM THE VIRGIN OF CHARITY”. It is said that it appeared in the large bay to save the fishermen, symbolizing the birth of a people and a nation, made up of Spanish, African and Indian ancestors.

On September 24th, 1915, high ranking officers and members of the former Ejército Libertador or “Mambí” Army, who had fought on the island’s second independence war against Spain, asked Pope Benedict XV to proclaim the Virgin of Charity of “El Cobre” as Cuba’s Patron Saint.

In a mass held the same day, the “mambises”, or former independence fighters, packed the old Sanctuary in the small town of El Cobre to request the canonical declaration from the Catholic Church. They also offered the Virgin a Cuban flag and promised to support the building of a new Sanctuary.

The canonical proclamation was approved by Papal decree on May 10th, 1916, less than a year after the Cuban patriots had requested it and the new Sanctuary opened on September 8th, 1927.

Years later, Pope Pious XI authorized the canonical coronation of the sacred image, but it was not until the morning of December 20, 1936 that the coronation was held by Santiago de Cuba’s Bishop Monsignor Valentín Zubizarreta.

Much later, the Virgin of Charity of “El Cobre” –Cuba’s Patron Saint- was personally crowned by Pope John Paul II in a public mass at Santiago de Cuba’s Antonio Maceo Square during his historical visit to Cuba in 1998.

The Sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity of “El Cobre” is a neoclassical style construction built in 1927 on the summit of a hill on the island’s oldest copper mine which began to be exploited in the late 16th century.

The current sanctuary, where mass is given every morning, has a silver altar and other highly valuable ornamental objects. Under the virgin, you can find the so called Chapel of Miracles, a small room where believers pay promises and deposit different offerings, including gold and precious stone jewels, clutches and other objects.

The Chapel of Miracles treasures the gold medal awarded to US writer Ernest Hemingway when he was proclaimed Nobel Literature Prize laureate in 1954, donating it to the people of Cuba and offering it to the Virgin.

The Virgin of Charity is also known as “Virgen Mambisa” or “Mambí” Virgin due to the devotion of fighters for the island’s independence wars against Spain, who were better known as “mambises”.

The Virgin is also worshipped by Afro-Cuban religious believers. In the Yoruba religion, the Virgin of Charity of “El Cobre” is known as “Ochún,” the deity of love and money and the owner of running water. Her festivities are linked to those of her sister “Yemayá”, the Goddess of the Ocean, or the Virgin of Regla in the Catholic Pantheon, to whom believers pay tribute on September 7th.

The Virgin of Charity of “El Cobre” is part of the Cuban people’s spirit and culture.

Taken from Radio Havana Cuba

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Natural Areas Protected in Holguin


The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment has declared 16 natural areas protected in the eastern province of Holguin, for their high values in terms of flora and fauna.

Pico Cristal national park in the municipalities of Sagua de Tanamo and Frank País, and La Mensura-piloto, located in Mayari-Cueto, stand out among the protected areas.

Also included is the “Cerro Galano” Nature Reserve, on the border of the municipality of Rafael Freyre and Báguano as well as the Caletones Ecological Reserve in Gibara.

Other important areas are “Los refugios de fauna” of the Mayari River Delta, the Cananova and Tanamo Bays in Frank País, and “Las balsas” in Gibara.

The province also has areas with managed floral reserves in Punta Lucrecia; Cabo de Mulas, in Banes; Dos Rios, in Holguín; Ceja de Melones, in Rafael Freyre, Cerro Miraflores, in Moa and the El Ramon Peninsula, in the municipality of Antilla.

Naranjo Bay and and the Cerros Carsicos of Maniabón in Rafael Freyre are preserved as natural landscape, while work is in progress on the proposed protected landscape in the area adjacent to the natural bridge over the Bitírí river in Cueto, recently declared a National Monument.

These areas are home to significant biodiversity resources, including the Polymita, the most beautiful land snails on earth, birds like the nightingale and the Colilargo hawk, the Almiquí and also many endemic plants.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Part of Cuban Territory will be under the Sea in 2050 due to Climate Change

By Luis Chirino

More than 2 percent of the Cuban territory will be under Caribbean waters by 2050 due to ongoing sea level, which is caused by climate change, according to a national commission researching the natural phenomena.

Some 2.550 square kilometers will be submerged by 2050; this stands for 2.32 percent of the Cuban territory, but in 2100 the total area expected to be underwater will reach 5.994 square kilometers, Granma daily reported on Saturday.alt

The research commission is considering a Macro-project about coastal dangers and vulnerabilities for the years 2050 and 2011. This project includes experts from 16 scientific institutions and state agencies.

Cuba is an archipelago with 111.000 square kilometers and a population of 11.2 millions.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Memories of my childhood

A bellflower lying on the street made me to remember my childhood. I lived in an old house with zinc roof, surrounded by shrubs of bellflowers, a wild flower that grows in the fields of Cuba and serves as food to the bees for making honey.

I spend my childhood in a very peaceful place of the countryside. It was the decade of the 70's and there was not electricity service in some rural regions of Cuba at that period, so listening to the radio was the hobby for people living there.

It was a peaceful and healthy life, breathing fresh air. Rainfalls were something very common and fields and crops remained green, storms were not so severe, rivers and water reservours remained filled for long periods and the hobby of the locals was to go fishing at those places. The heat was not so intense and the idea of ​​climate change and its catastrophic consequences never came to my mind.

Today I wonder how this could happen and how far we have been responsible. The truth is that all humanity is suffering the consequences. Big natural desatres, high temperatures, strong hurricanes, earthquakes, severe storms, severe droughts, global crisis and famine.

There is a willingness to find solutions ... but we have time to solve this problem?

Write a comment

Friday, August 5, 2011

We must help to preserve enviroment


Holguin has been developing a comprehensive rehabilitation project of the areas devoted to opencast mining, intended to ensure the protection of environment.

The project intends to repair the environmental damage caused by opencast mining operations by cultivating plants in the affected areas. It includes drainage, storage of organic matter and pine and casuarina planting.

Following the process of cultivation of the land birds appear, which help to disperse seeds creating a natural ecological process that contributes to the conservation of enviroment.

In this regard, the Pedro Sotto Alba Nickel Company in Moa has been working in the enlistment of 23 hectares of forest for their delivery to the national forests fund.

According to specialists of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment here, the application of green manures and investments in irrigation systems are some of the initiatives implemented to mitigate major impacts to the environment.

Comprehensive rehabilitation of mineral deposits is an international practice, but not all countries have serious policies regarding the protection of environment.

In Cuba, mining works are regulated by Law 76 that ensures fair and equitable correspondence between the annual nickel production and the necessary reforestation of areas damaged by mining operations.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gibara: The legend of the Cup of Love


Gibara, village of fishermen, never ceases to amaze visitors with its unique natural and architectural beauty and a legend of love that was perpetuated in one of the pantheon of this city with a sculpture known as the Cup of Love.

It is a round figure that stands majestically on a pedestal and has a glass jar partially covered by a robe; ornaments used for funeral purposes in the last decades of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There are garlanded with flowers on the pedestal, symbols of beauty and short life. The vase or amphora, representing the rest, the immaterial. It has large broad leaves that occupy the third part of the body of the cup, which mean death and resurrection, coupled with the annual cycle of plants. The robe may have two meanings: "a sign of superior dignity" or "the establishment of a veil of separation between the person and the world."

There are several versions around the legend, here is the one closer to the truth:

The girl suddenly gets sick and because of her health condition, his boyfriend Adolfo couldn't visit her in her room, until almost midnight when he finally saw her.

The young lady, whose name was Ignacia, feeling that she was almost dying, gave him back her engagement ring as proof of loyalty and love. She finally died in the morning.

After that, Adolfo asked Ignacia's father to let him cut some locks of the girl's hair.

Two months later, Adolfo refers an engraving in which appears the figure of the crypt. Later, in a letter written to Ignacia's aunt, he informed that the pantheon has been entrusted to Italy.

The hair cut was used to prepare the young flowers, the leaves of willow and many more details contained in the coup.

The Cup of Love represents a feeling of sorrow for the loss of a beloved person. In the case of Adolfo and Ignacia, what prevailed was the intention to perpetuate the romance of both lovers. It is also a very beautiful sculpture that can accompany us in every moment of our existence and even beyond it.

This reflects the richness of popular fantasy. Some typical in residents of this village; it is amazing how they embellish the most common fact of life. That's why Gibara has not only a magical setting of its culture but also because of tits people, belief, way of being, aspirations and imagination that makes them specials.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

AI declares to be in favor of Five Cubans


Amnesty International (AI) issued a report which reflects serious concerns about the fairness of the trial of the five Cubans unjustly imprisoned in U.S. jails.

There are fears about serious injustices and a real concern that the Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal, which violates Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reads the report cited by Mexican news outlets.

AI questions how much access the defense lawyers had to evidence, and even the validity and soundness of these, so it calls on Washington to reconsider the case and take appropriate action to remedy such arbitrariness.

After discussing the matter in detail, the report concluded that the process was surrounded by anomalies and considered punishment that was imposed disproportionate.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power Convened

Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power (Parliament) will hold the seventh ordinary session of its seventh legislature on August 1.

Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon convened the meeting at 10 a.m. at Havana's International Conference Center, Granma newspaper reported Tuesday.

During the closing of the sixth...

Read more at: www.ahora.cu/english

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cuban Adaptation to Climate Change to Cost Millions

The adaptation to climate change will cost Cuba several millions of dollars a year, according to data published in the opening session of the International Environmental and Development Convention in Havana.

The information is based in a developed model, by experts from the British University of Southerton, presented here on Tuesday by Asher Minns, a scientist from the Tyndal Center, who explained that this model contains data from 2005 to 2095 on the amount of land that will be lost, the effects on swamps by square kilometers and the number of people who will be put at risk because of floods.

The name of the simulation tool is DIVA, and shows the cost of the adaptation to sea level increase in the world, said the British investigator to Prensa Latina.

The studies cover the Caribbean Sea, to evaluate the impact of the effects of the increase of the global temperature and the costs to take measures to adapt to the phenomena, said Minns.

In the inauguration of the 2nd Congress on Climatic Change, one of the events being celebrated at the 8th International Convention, Minns said there are 18 models to predict the physical impact of climate change.

However, he considered human dimension is the challenge to understand to draw the guidelines for adaptation to the global temperature's increase.

On technological disparity, since it is the rich countries that have the advanced technology to study climate change, Minns said there is a lot of paradox in this aspect, since the people of the poor countries know more about adaptation, while in the rich countries it is seen as an engineering problem.

However, he said there is no doubt the industrialized world is responsible for climate change and the poor countries are the ones suffering the worst consequences.

"Richer countries should facilitate the underdeveloped countries the necessary resources and technologies to adapt to the effects of the global temperature's increase," he concluded. / PL

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Corrupt ex-director of Radio-TV Martí offers cheap course on Cuban regime

BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD

The Institute of Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) at the University of Miami, headed by a former CIA analyst and funded by USAID, is announcing a special course: Fidel Castro and the Political Process in Cuba, taught by Pedro Roig, Mafiosi ex-director of Radio-TV Martí.

It is a fact that Roig has a MA in Arts from the University of Miami and a degree in Law from Saint Thomas University. His credentials as a supporter of terrorism and an annexationist are also equivalent to a doctorate.

Roig was a hard-line buddy of the deceased Jorge Mas Canosa, CIA agent and creator of the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF), the organization whose secret paramilitary committee directed and financed international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. Mas Canosa and Roig share the dubious honor of having been together in CIA terrorist training camps with this "star" of the local mafia, the old killer who was Commissar Basilio with the DISIP, the secret police of Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez, and then became a trafficker of drugs and arms in Central America, before acting as security advisor to a number of repressive regimes in the hemisphere.

Pedro Roig is a big buddy of Herminio San Román, another ex-director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) who, with Roberto Rodríguez-Tejera, Julio Estorino, Frank Díaz-Pou and other disinformation mercenaries, initiated the station’s conversion into a den of obsessive conspirators and other extremist capos.

The aim of the ICCAS course, according to its publicity, is to analyze – among other things – "the cult of violence, the pedagogical and political training of Fidel Castro, his arrival in power and the destruction of Cuban institutions." This was stated by a man who trained for Operation 40, a plot to exterminate Castro supporters, which was to have gone ahead in parallel with the 1961 mercenary Bay of Pigs invasion.

The cost of Roig’s course is $50 for the two classes. Free with the lectures comes Pedro Roig’s book The Death of a Dream: A History of Cuba (unavailable in Spanish) and an ICCAS diploma. The ICCAS is managed by former CIA analyst Jaime Suchlicki who, incidentally, was Roig’s professor – in what circumstances it is not exactly known.

According to Carlos Alberto Montaner, the CIA intellectual, "Pedro Roig is a prime source of the history of Cuba, not only as a historian and spending his life reflecting on the problem of this country, but also because of his revolutionary efforts as an adolescent." On expressing this opinion, Montaner did not specify that, in his youth, Roig placed explosive devices in Havana movie theaters and stores, which he did.

Radio and TV Martí are nothing less than a den of nepotism and favoritism, where only the privileged members of the executive’s circle of friends survive, according to a wide-ranging report on the English-language website of Poder 360°, an important business magazine circulating in various Latin American countries.

A report from the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations revealed that Alberto Mascaró, the nephew of Pedro Roig’s wife, was appointed director of the Latin American service of Voice of America – thanks to Roig.

The report also details how in February of 2007, the former program director of TV Martí, jointly confessed in a federal court, with a (non-identified) relative of a Congress member, to having received close to $112,000 in legal commissions on the part of an OCB contractor.

To enroll for the course, call the Institute. "Capacity is limited," they are saying.

Taken from Granma International

Thursday, June 30, 2011

US Policy against Cuba: War without Bullets


A media war against Cuba? It is as real as the economic blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for more than 50 years. They have tried to distort a situation that can be easily understood with a serene analysis.

A quick glance at the international media or social networks is enough to see how the enemy weaves a "web" in its attempt to discredit, in a shameless way, the Cuban process towards socialism, and Cuba’s outstanding leaders and press.

The first conclusion that can be made is that the large media corporations conceal the internal achievements of Cuba, while manipulating the facts about the transformation process underway to develop a more suitable social and economic model given the...

TO READ MORE...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chorro de Maíta museum of Holguin, an interesting place


On the occasion of the International Event on Archeology recently held in the city parks, one of the sites that most attracted the attention of foreign participants in the meeting was the aboriginal cemetery Chorro de Maita, located east of Cuba, in the municipality of Banes, Holguin.

This site is considered the first native farmers-potters cemetery found in Cuba with more than a hundred skeletons, dating back at least 500 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

Chorro de Maita, takes its name from a spring located near its present location, in an area traditionally inhabited by indigenous groups before the Spanish arrived, favored by climate and soil fertility.

Trans-culturation is made clear in this historical place with the presence of vases, ornaments, fragments of brass and Spanish bells, in addition to Christian burial: extremities extended, arms crossed over the chest and skulls, mostly not deformed.

Chorro de Maita should be a place of contact with other cultures. It was found there a copper medallion -only if its type in Cuba- typical of Venezuelans, who used it to the height of the kneecap and shoulders.

Coincidentally, there appeared an skeleton of a man whose stature rest one meter and seventy-six centimeters, exceeding the Aborigines average height. Even today, there are many misteries to work out in Chorro de Maita.

Perpetuating the Aboriginal memory, Holguin authorities instituted a symbolic idol made of sea shell, which recreates a woman with gifts and that is given to distinguished personalities who visit the territory.

Today, the Museum Chorro de Maita rises, as witnesses of the time, a cemetery and a Taino Indian village to recreate life of aboriginals from the the ancient island.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

International workshop on Archeobiology in Holguin


From June 20 to 22, the city of the parks is the venue for the Second International Workshop on Archeobiology that this time focuses on research, preservation, conservation and analysis of these resources.

The event, sponsored by the Archeology Department of the Provincial Research Center and the universities of Alabama-Tuscaloosa, Mississippi and Pennsylvania, in the United States, gathers here about 30 Cuban and U.S. specialists, including Ph.D. Russell Graham, Jim Knight and Lee Newson, who affirmed that Cuba plays an important role within the Caribbean system of islands for the development of biological archaeology.

Participants have also debated on global assessment of the Caribbean regarding archaeobotany and archaeozoology, the importance of organic preservation in archaeological contexts, and the recovery and sampling of biological remains, which offer valuable data to get to know life as it was in ancient times.

Specialist Roberto Valcárcel, director of the archaeological project Chorro de Maita (a cemetery of Cuban aboriginals), in the municipality of Banes, said that the meeting is an opportunity to deepen knowledge, evaluate achievements in this field and strengthen scientific collaboration, among other benefits for the specialty in Cuba.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Haiti: The World's Garbage Dump?



By Mildred Legrá

The richest in the world like to call the small island of Haiti "the garbage dump of the world,” as a derogatory way to describe the extreme poverty of the people living in this region.

The Haitian population is estimated at 6.7 million with close to 74 percent of the population living in rural areas. Ninety-five percent of Haitians are the descendants of black slaves and the remaining five percent are a mixture of African and French. The rivalry between these two communities has long marked the political life of Haiti since its independence.

Most of the population is illiterate and only those with good fortune have been able to attend higher studies and at great sacrifice. The rich people, only a handful, go to universities in the United States, Canada or France; they constitute a social class that exploits the poor and dispossessed majority.

Visiting Haiti is like arriving in a country that is not country. It's like a huge piece of land ruled by unspoiled nature and garbage. The lands have been embraced by a natural environment, which many Haitians look at with indifference. They do not work the lands. They prefer illegal trade, such as prostitution and drugs.

But that attitude to take the “easy” route is not their fault. It is due to centuries of extreme poverty and little attention. Despite being the first country in Latin America to win their independence, it was forgotten in time. And although the different governments have made some genuine efforts to improve things, they have not managed to save a society polluted by the world's great scourges.

And to make matters worse are the hurricanes that ravage the island leaving destruction and death, since Haitians are not prepared for such contingencies. It becomes a "save yourselves if you can" and nothing else. Nobody cares. The same happened during the last earthquake, which left an estimated 50,000 people dead. It is true that various global organizations and governments provided aid, but several countries promised funding which never materialized.

The destruction brought by the earthquake was followed by a cholera epidemic. It is as if "evil" persecuted these people allowing not a single second of respite. The consequences, in a country with no health infrastructure, poor environmental conditions and millions of people in need, were dramatic,

Today, no one speaks of Haiti; Cuba is the only country that continues to offer support. The Cuban doctors are still there, in the midst of very difficult conditions and under constant threat of disease.

The world needs to be more sensitive to Haiti. There are very rich countries that should share what they have with this poor nation. Even a little bit to help to pave the path to a better standard of living. It is not a matter of designer clothes or shoes, but rather of sharing medicines, education and food.

If the most powerful countries would stop waging war and instead provide knowledge, medicine and a little bit of food to the Haitians, they would be undertaking a great charity. But it is more comfortable for them to look down on Haiti and imagine it as an eternal garbage dump, which no one has the responsibility to clean up.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Coming summer in Holguin, many options to enjoy

The coming months July and August, are the hottest in Cuba. This period coincides with the students and workers vacations, who look for recreational options for their enjoyment.
 
Some prefer to stay home and enjoy a good television program or film, as the sun is burning is this caribbean island; others, the bravest get ready to go camping and enjoy nature, a healthy way of recreation.

But these are not the only options, beaches and pools are ready to welcome swimmers, as well as leisure trips and tours to different destinations.

The province of Holguin is loaded with many activities for the enjoyment of everybody, including inhabitants of the most remote areas, with the presence of popular dance, theater groups and cultural projects for children.

This summer, recreational activities will take place in the 14 municipalities having squares and parks as main scenarios, with the performance of amateur artists, members of the Saiz Brothers Assocciation (AHS) and cultural institutions throughout the country.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Why Will my Morning Cup of Coffee Cost me More?


Those who can´t help having a cup of coffee in the morning, before starting their work routine, have now found a good reason to be worried.

The price of coffee beans has reached a peak over the past 34 years, while producers and analysts warn that such increase will be emptying the coffee consumers ´pockets for a long while.

This fact contrasts with the depression that faced the coffee market until just few years ago, when the coffee yield was below its production cost. In Latin America, the depression led to generalized bankruptcy of small producers in particular.

But the picture has changed. Javier Blas, an expert in raw materials with the Financial Times told BBC World that for the first time in nearly a whole generation of producers we can see happy faces, particularly small coffee cultivators in Latin America.

Last year, the prices of Arabica Coffee—the highest quality variety—increased to 125 percent, to reach top level in little over three months. And in the previous five years, this price kept between 1 and 1, 50 dollars a pound.

SPECULATION?

The current situation has led to a war, at least in terms of words, between coffee roasting plants like Starbucks, which blame speculation, and coffee trading companies that put the blame on the offer-and-demand dynamics.

Starbucks executive director Howard Schultz said that the price hike is the result of extreme speculation and not of market factors. However, analysts say that Starbucks may have contributed to the increase with its decision to buy all the coffee it needed for a whole year, thus inflicting strong pressures on the market.

Other big companies like Starbucks have done the same thing, Javier Blas told BBC World. He said coffee-roasting companies have noted existing structural problems and that these prices will remain for long, so they have made their purchase in the futures market. Their purchases are usually aimed at guaranteeing three-month coverage, but some have bought all they need at the futures exchange for a year, the expert said.

Blas noted that speculation has played its role anyway, but he thinks some more important reasons explain the price increase.

LOWERING OFFER, INCREASING CONSUMPTION

One of these reasons is the decrease in the availability of coffee at the market. The stock lists register their lowest levels in the past 50 years.

In the first place, several Latin American countries reported low harvests.

In Colombia, production fell particularly as a result of heavy rains.

Mexico and Central America also reported a decrease in their harvests, while Brazil did not reach expected production levels.

This fall takes place amidst an important market change, because consumption is rising in emerging countries like Russia, Brazil, China and others.

Brazil is expected to become the world’s main consumer of coffee next year, displacing the United States.

A CULTURAL CHANGE

This consumption increase in emerging countries is spreading its influence due to the expansion of coffee culture promoted by coffee shops in the Starbucks style.

Colombia has lost some one million sacks of coffee due to the severe Winter. This means that a Colombia coffee cultivator, who used to produce 20 sacks of coffee, is now producing only 10 sack, though he is able to compensate this difference with the increasing prices, said Andres Valencia, marketing manager of Colombia’s Coffee Producers Federation.

Add to this the increasing consumption in countries where people would traditionally drink tea and they now begin to consume more coffee, he noted.

Valencia told BBC World that many of these new coffee consumers in Asia, the Middle East, or in Eastern Europe are now learning to drink coffee as they are consuming the highest-quality variety, Arabica, which is precisely selling at the highest prices.

Just ten years ago, the usual trend for new coffee consumers was quitting tea for low quality coffee first, and then they would go for the higher quality variety. But with the expansion of coffee shops, these countries are going directly for “express” or high quality coffee.

THE BENEFIT FOR PRODUCERS

For Latin America, one of the largest coffee producing regions in the world, this situation could lead to a relative beneficial stage for producers.

Colombia, where coffee stands for 20 percent of the agricultural production, is one of the countries with more benefits because it is the second producer of Arabica coffee.

And this is of great help in a country where the Winter has largely affected the harvest, said Valencia, who noted that in a year’s term, a family of coffee cultivators has been benefitted with an extra 200 dollars for each 125 kilograms of the grain, not pealed.

Finally, while the increase of coffee prices comes as a factor of concern for coffee consumers in Europe and the United States, in times of economic adjustment, it could not have come in a better moment for Latin American producers.

Taken from Granma

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cuban children, more than one reason to be happy


In Cuba, June 1st is a special day of celebration, as children are our greatest wealth.

In December 1954 the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) decided to hold an annual International Day of Children, understanding and brotherhood among all children in the world, on the date that each nation decided, and Cuba chose the first of June.

While millions of children around the world have nothing to put in their mouths and die prematurely from preventable diseases, in Cuba, the socialist Revolution allocated considerable resources to promote healthy childhood and the basic conditions for its development.

In this country, the children's rights are respected, they have the privilege of playing, walking freely through the streets and parks without fear of being assaulted or attacked by murderers and psychopaths as it happens in other countries. The have the right to go to school grouped in student organizations, where they realize their expectations. This is the only country where children do a conference (the student congress), where children do not have to demand their rights, do not speak on children living badly or begging on the streets or many other daily horrors, but speaking about achievements, determination, solidarity and continuity of the Revolution.

Here, free vaccination campaigns are carried out each year, not because their going to die because of a pandemic, but because they have the right to health. Our children are protected against 13 preventable diseases.

Since 2002, UNICEF globally recognized Cuba's experience in providing education at early ages, through the program "Educate your Child, and Day Care Centers." The legislation created legal basis for protecting the family and especially for mothers and children, from the maternity. The Family, Labour, Children and Youth Code, Primary Health Care, low infant mortality rates are an expression of state policy, found in the Constitution of the Republic.

Cuba clearly shows that there is no need to be a rich country to provide protection and social welfare to children. Unfortunately, few countries are striving to guarantee the rights of children. The terrible reality of childhood, even in developed countries, is very different. Currently 600 million children worldwide live in poverty, 250 million between 5 and 14 work in Third World countries, 130 of these receive no education and six million suffer limiting injuries caused by war or armed conflict. Every 24 hours, 8 500 boys are infected with AIDS.

I only wish that children around the world be so happy as Cuban children.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stop smoking, you won't regret


Those who have the will, have the strength

Each May 31st, people celebrate the World No Tobacco Day in an effort to remember that smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death, in addition to the negative consequences of this habit for health.

According to recent investigations the number of women smoking increases noticeably and almost reaches the number of men with this habit, which rises a warning because they have more chances to suffer from lung cancer or heart attacks.

A large percent of population in Cuba is exposed to secondhand smoke including children which are of particular interest because it causes infections and asthma and substantially increases the likelihood of sudden infant death syndrome.

Despite bringing considerable expenditures for the people and for the nation budget, this habit, which has become an adiction, is associated with 90 percent of deaths from lung cancer, and 33 percent of other malignant tumors, as well as ischemic heart disease, bronchitis and enphysema.

But the risk does not only affect smokers; secondhand smoke also sickens and kills those who do not smoke, which is why one of every five deaths is attributed to passive smoking.

Then, why don't we stop with this malevolent habit?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Holguin's Candymaker, a Legend

The history of a country, a city, a town, comprises many stories, such is the case of “El rapido” (The Fast), a unique candy vendor that went all over the region. Here, in the city of the parks, nobody knows him by his real name: Francisco Escobar Piñera.

Barely a teenager and given the urgency to improve his poor lifestyle, he began thinking how to find out an honest livelihood.

He learned the secrets on the production of lollipops from his father, Manuel Escobar, who came to Cuba from Spain, full of ambition to improve his lifestyle, bringing with him the art of making these attractive candies of varied colors and flavors of strawberry, anise, mint, orange and lemon, among others. He was devoted to preparation and then distributed for sale.

One day, while enjoying the performance of some rural circus jugglers, Francisco comes up with an idea that would identify him for years: he decided to do something similar on the streets, but by selling candies. Then, he asked a carpenter to make a rod-shaped lamp with a small bell, which loaded with lollipops weighed about 70 pounds, and after that he went to the streets.

From that moment “ El Rapido” became a legend of local folklore. He used to walk the streets of Holguin waving his "streetlight" full of delicious lollipops and between the 40's and 50's he had travelled the whole country.

"I became candymaker by necessity. If I were born after 1959, I would surely be a great sportsman, doctor or artist. Or who knows what, but surely much more useful to my country. "

"I am retired now. However I'm happy with what I have done. I know that my work contributed to the happiness of children. I have also social recognition and I am loved and respected by children and adults. I consider myself a kind of street artist. "

The sweet trace left by this humble man will always last in the heart of Holguin's people.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Holguin Artists Exhibited in Montreal


Holguin artists Jose Antonio Salomon and Jairo Salomon Jr, attended the Montreal's Culture Week, in Canada. This year's event, which took place from April 9 to 23, was devoted to Cuba.

The artists share the Campbell gallery with Canadian artists Armand Vaillacourt and Dwight Baird in a group exhibition, dedicated to the Carribbean island.

The exhibition consisted in a kind of wooden and glass furniture containing insects made ​​of buffalo horn and precious metals.

The forniture that holds the little carved insects, has wooden hands of three colors that represents man in the generic sense. "Time is the foundation of our work. This exhibition is an environmental appeal to preserve our species. Scientists are searching for other land in the universe that humans can inhabit and we are neglecting our own planet, "said Jairo during a press conference after their arrival to Holguin.

He further explained that part of their work was completed in Montreal workshops. "It was an interesting experience, because we had the oportunity to share with artists from that nation”.

The cultural event included a special night dedicated to the Cuban Five, where Holguin artists put their work up for auction. The collection would go to the fight for the liberation of the Cuban heroes unjustly imprisoned in the United States for trying to prevent terrorist actions against the island.

José Antonio and Jairo are goldsmiths and sculptors, members of the ACCA (Association of Cuban Artists and Artisans). They have exhibited in Cuba and abroad, in countries like the Dominican Republic, Spain, the United States and Canada./ Aracelis Aviles

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What is the Agrarian Reform Law?


After 52 years of the promulgation of first Agrarian Reform Law, Cuban peasants are celebrating this Tuesday the Farmers' Day.

One of the first measures of the revolutionary process started in January 1959 was the approval of that law, which broke up large landholding with the nationalization of more than 402 hectares and redistributed them to those who worked them.

The Agrarian Reform Law, was just and necessary, in response to a law announced by Fidel Castro in the history will absolve me, when he promised to distribute the land to peasants and workers who worked it under contract, earned income or sharecropping and also to put an end to end evictions, abuses and injustices existing in the Cuban countryside.

The Agrarian Reform Law promulgated on May 17 1959, guaranteed not only more than 200 000 farmers own their land, but also led them medical care, schools and teachers since the early years of the triumph of the Revolution.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Friends of Cuba to Attend International Meeting on The Five


Some 240 friends from 37 countries have confirmed their attendance to the 7th International Colloquium to free the Cuban Five, antiterrorist fighters unjustly imprisoned in the United States since 1998.

This figure should increase considerable over the next few months, before the beginning of the event in this eastern Cuban city in November.

The Colloquium is one of the actions carried out in favor of the release of the Five, held every year in Holguin, where members of the Solidarity-with-Cuba Committees meet in support of the cause of the Caribbean nation and of the Five Heroes.

The confirmation was revealed as part of the world campaign "A 5 for The Cuban Five," an action carried out on the fifth day of each month, an idea that emerged during the 6th International Colloquium and has extended worldwide.

On these days, it was presented in the City of the Parks the Italian portal Quintavenida, which is dedicated to Cuba and its culture, and particularly to spread the truth about the unfair case of Ramon Labañino, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez, internationally known as the Cuban Five.


Stefano Guastella, one of the creators of the Web site, said that the idea of creating the portal emerged in March, 1999, when he and another four Italian friends decided to spread the reality of the Cuban people and its culture, against the ongoing media campaign against the Caribbean island.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cuba will not Reduce Prices of Tourist Offers


The Minister of Tourism in Cuba Manuel Marrero said today that the country will improve the quality of its tourist offers without reducing prices, despite the decrease of tourism worldwide, and Cuba not having access to the US market.

Speaking at the opening of the 31st FITCUBA Tourism International, taking place in Havana, the minister said that“Cuba will never consider the reduction of prices as a solution to the fluctuation between the high and the low seasons, because that will damage Cuba’s image as a tourist destination”.

He pointed out that while the United States forbids its citizens to freely travel to Cuba, other countries like Canada, the UK, and France, among others are increasing the amount of travelers they emit.

He highlighted that tourist arrivals have grown 11.7 percent in the first four months of 2011, which translates in close to 1.2 million visitors already, and that Varadero, Cayo Santa María, Cayo Largo and Holguin are among the favorite sites for tourists.

Havana city remains the most important tourist pole, and it is where most of the visitors (95 percent) arrive through.

Cuba has incorporated 2,792 new rooms to its lodgment capacity, and repaired 4,000, which improved the country’s infrastructure, said Marrero.

He also spoke of the investments made in airports, the increase of cruise ships arrivals, the boosting of the domestic market and the improvement of local and non-governmental offers.

FITCUBA 2012 will be held on May 2012 in Cayo Santa Maria, when it will have as its main goal to promote the Villa Clara keys, with Argentina as the guest of honor and the promotion of Family tourism as a product.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cuban Painter Cosme Proenza Opens Exhibition in Holguin


Renowned Cuban painter Cosme Proenza opened a mega-exhibition on Wednesday in Holguin, on occasion of his 40 years of continuous work. Under the title Parallels: history and tradition of western art, the exhibition includes more than one hundred pieces that review the various creative periods of the artist. The curator of the exhibition was Angel San Juan.

Parallels: history and tradition of western art is a didactic exhibition that presents the artist’s vision of Western culture throughout five centuries of inherited painting in our continent.

Cosme Proenza was born in the Cuban province of Holguin in 1948. He graduated as Master on Fine Arts at the Fine Arts Institute of Kiev, Ukraine, and has been granted much national and international recognition.

His works are being exhibited in major galleries and private collections in Australia, Italy, Germany, Italy, Costa Rica, Greece, Mexico, Russia, France and Venezuela.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hotel Ordoño in Gibara Undergoing Restoration


The historical, architectural and natural values of the city of Gibara, 32 km to the north of Holguin, make it an attractive site for Cuban and foreign visitors alike. Therefore, the tourism industry is currently pursuing efforts to expand the city’s accommodation facilities.

Among these efforts are the renovation of the Hotel Ordoño, one of the city’s emblematic buildings and a National Monument since 2004.

The construction project includes 27 rooms on three floors; the second floor is built following the Italian mezzanine system.

The renovation project consists of three stages. The first will include demolition, structural reinforcement and restoration of some damaged columns.

Although the major architectural and heritage values of the building will remain, the project foresees changes and the restoration of some elements such as early twentieth century paintings by León Hernández Cáceres, an artist from the Canary Islands based in Gibara

The Hotel Ordoño belongs to the Cubanacán Hotel Chain. The real estate agency of the Ministry of Tourism in the province of Holguin is in charge of its restoration.

The complete refurbishment of the hotel will be a major step that will help Gibara to offer its tourist products and to reaffirm Holguin as one of Cuba’s main tourist destinations.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cuban children will receive vaccines against polio


After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in January 1st, 1959, one of the main achivements of the public health system has been the implementation of vaccination campaigns in the island to prevent contagious diseases among the population.

Starting this Friday, more than half a million Cuban children will receive vaccines for the 50th campaign against polio.

The program will last until April, when children under three years old vaccinated last March will receive another dose (two drops orally), while nine-year-old children will receive a re-activation dose.

Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious viral and infectious disease that affects the central nervous system causing permanent paralysis and even death, mainly in children between five and ten years old.

Before the Triumph of the Revolution, Cuba registered an average rate of 300 cases annually.

The country began massive annual campaigns in 1962, and up to the present day the Cuban doctors have applied more than 79 million doses of this vaccine; therefore, the Cuban population under 62 years old is protected against this disease.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Raul Castro Gives Closing Speech at VI Communist Party Congress

The First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Raul Castro said the update of the Cuban economic model takes time and responsibility, and noted that the required changes will be implemented according to the objective conditions, without putting at risk the unity of the people and the Revolution.

The party leader, made these statements during the closing session of the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, which convened from April 16-19 in Havana and was attended by Cuban Revolution Leader, Fidel Castro Ruz.

Raul Castro informed that the Guidelines for the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution, enriched by popular opinion and party delegates’ proposals will be submitted for consideration and approval of the National Assembly of People’s Power.

He also called for the renewal of political and administrative positions. In this regard he informed that the newly appointed Central Committee of the PCC was reduced to 115 members, of which 48 are women.

Raul Castro reaffirmed that his main task as First Secretary will be to further develop socialism and not allow the return of the capitalist regime to Cuba anymore.

Referring to Fidel's absence from the active members of the PCC Central Committee, he said the Commander in Chief himself had so requested. But reaffirmed: “Fidel doesn’t need any position to occupy the highest place in the history of Cuba. While he has the strength to do so, he will contribute with the ideological battle of our time.”

Raul Castro finally highlighted the symbolism that involved closing the congress the day that marks the 50 Anniversary of the Victory of Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs), the first major defeat of U.S. imperialism in Latin America.

Furthermore, he sent a fraternal greeting to the Communist Parties all over the world that struggle for a better future and a more just and equal society. He also expressed Cuba's gratitude to all countries and peoples of the Third World, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, which - he said – “will always have the support and solidarity of the Cuban Revolution.” / RHC

POLITBURO MEMBERS ELECTED (LIST)

1. Raúl Castro Ruz
2. José Ramón Machado
3. Abelardo Colomé
4. Julio Casas
5. Esteban Lazo
6. Ramiro Valdés
7. Miguel Díaz Canel
8. Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
9. Leopoldo Cintra Frías
10. Ramón Espinosa Martín
11. Alvaro López Miera
12. Salvador Valdés Mesa
13. Mercedes López Acea
14. Marino Murillo Jorge
15. Adel Izquierdo Rodríguez

Sunday, April 17, 2011

6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party Started Saturday in Cuba

Cuban President Raul Castro opened the sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist party this Saturday with the presentation of the Central Report for the meeting.

In the report, Raul Castro stressed the need of having a reserve of well-prepared cadres as replacements to take on major duties.

The Cuban president underlined that this systematic rejuvenation should include all posts from the grassroots level up to the country's top posts, without excluding the PCC first secretary, who will be designated during this congress, and the president of the councils of State and Ministers.

At the same time, he suggested limiting the mandates of public office to a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms, a recommendation he considered possible and necessary under the current circumstances.

He said that conditions today are different from those of the early decades of the Revolution, when the revolutionary process had not yet been solidified and was under constant threat and aggression.

Raul Castro added that the reinforcement of the country's institutions would be a guarantor for a policy of renewal that would never jeopardize the continuation of socialism in Cuba.

WATCH VIDEO

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thousands of Cubans Participate in Military Parade and March


Hundreds of thousands of Havana residents, on behalf of the Cuban people, participated this Saturday morning in a military parade and mass march, passing through the José Martí Revolution Square in Cuba.

The activity marks the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist character of the Cuban Revolution on April 16th, 1961 by Revolution leader Fidel Castro, at the burial ceremony for the victims of the sabotage bombings against Cuban airfields perpetrated the day before by US Douglas B-26B Invader bombers.

The parade also marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban people’s victory against the US-led mercenary invasion at Bay of Pigs, regarded as the first defeat of US imperialism in the Americas.

Cuban youths, students, workers, militiamen and people in general marched to reaffirm the determination to continue with the Revolution. The people of the capital says “yes” to Socialism again, on behalf of the entire nation. The prelude of the invasion on the Bay of Pigs confirmed the imperialist intentions, which have not varied since 1961.

Watch video on the grand parade

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chronicles of a Playa Girón Veteran


Once again, the gun pointed right to his head, as if the invisible enemy would not give up the pursuit of killing him. Just like in the Saturday night movie, he awakens sweaty, relieved to escape from the nightmare.

Thomas Vidal works in the National Software Department (DESOFT) in Holguin. Those who look at him behind a desk full of documents, well supplied with the necessary technical work, will never imagine him carrying the FAL rifle on his shoulders, while leaving shreds of clothing and skin in the rugged terrain of Playa Larga, to defend our sovereignty.

After the Bay of Pigs victory against the imperialist mercenaries, the soldier of the Special Column 1 of Combat and Infantry, did not return home as one of those intangible heroes found in books of short stories: but he brought a kiss of relief to Elsa, the girl of his dreams, and endless stories and experiences under his field uniform.

Three years earlier, in the area of ​​La Palma, Tomas became a soldier of the Rebel Army, although his beard did not grow as the older ones, because the island was about to give birth to the Revolution.

Las Villas and Angola were lands of struggle and heroic deeds. In las villas he saw the death of one of his companions, while capturing a counterrevolutionary group. His work on African soil earned him the Diploma of Honour of the Angolan Republic.

Years later, Holguin received him when he decided to settle back into his native land, like a victorious son returning from very difficult battles. The knocker of La Periquera was the recognition and his response:
"If used, it would be to knock on doors of the city, to repeat what I did at that time: to fight for the Cuban revolution."

Author: Liudmila Peña Herrera