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.