Thursday, December 12, 2013

English Version of Fresa y Chocolate at Off Broadway Theater in New York

An adaptation of the award-winning Cuban film Fresa y chocolate has reached the Off Broadway theater in New York, on his debut in English, starred by Dominican actor Roy Arias, who for two years cherished the idea of representing the story. "I really liked the theme of intolerance (the script ) and the character of the protagonist is spectacular ," said Arias, who founded the International Theatre Studio in Times Square and opened theater 77 a year ago, where he presents his works. The Dominican actor, who plays Diego in this part (Strawberry and Chocolate), said to be pleased that the public has reacted " super good" to the work, which also perform Andhy Mendez and Frank Huerta. Eugenio Nunez, adapted the story into English for theater in New York, where it will be presented Friday and Saturday until late December at the Theatre 777 in the popular area of Times Square, under the direction of Roger Robinson, Tony Award winner and with 47 years of experience in New York's cultural activities. / With information from Lecturas Cibercuba

Cuban Interests Section in Washington Reestablishes Consular Services up to February 17

The Cuban Interests Section in Washington announced the reestablishment of consular services until February 17th. According to Granma newspaper, on December 6th, the M and T Bank informed the Interests Section its decision to extend until March 1, 2014 the deadline of the definitive closing of the banking account of the Cuban office, explaining that the bank will process deposits until February 17, 2014. The Cuban Interests Section continues to look for a new bank to definitively normalize its consular services. The office has expressed its regret for any inconveniences brought about by the suspension of consular services on November 26, 2013 either for both Cuban and US citizens.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cuban Interest Section in Washington Closes Consular Services

The Cuban Interest Section in Washington announced the interruption of consular services beginning November 26 and till further notice, amidst the impossibility to have a financial institution willing to keep its bank accounts as a consequence of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba. A statement by the Cuban Interest Section in the US capital, cited by Cubadebate webpage, explains that despite countless contacts with the US Department of State and numerous banks, the office has been forced to close consular services. The Cuban office explains that on July 12, the M & T Bank notified that it would not continue to offer its services to foreign diplomatic missions. The Bank gave the Cuban Interest Section and the island’s permanent mission at the United Nations a limited period of time to finish relations and find a new bank. But due to current restrictions derived from the US blockade against Cuba, the office has not been able to find another bank that keeps the bank accounts of the two diplomatic missions. For this reason, the Cuban Interest Section in Washington has been forced to suspend consular services as of November 26 till further notice, the statement explains and adds that the office will only attend to humanitarian issues and of other nature in a limited way. The Cuban office has reiterated the US Department of State that the US government has the legal obligation to meet international conventions on services to be granted to diplomatic missions and consular offices to facilitate their appropriate work. The statement recalls the accord dated May 30, 1977, which set up the two interest sections both in Washington and Havana, in which both parties affirmed their commitment to international treaties that rule diplomatic and consular relations. The Cuban office in Washington particularly regrets the inconveniences that this situation will have for Cuban and US citizens, due to the impossibility of the Consular Section to keep offering its services, which include the issuance of passports, visas, legalization of documents and others. The statement concludes by saying that such inconveniences will have a negative impact on family visits, academic, cultural, educational, scientific and sports exchange between Cuba and the United States. / With Information from ACN

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Young Farm Lad with the Will of a Creator

"Tired of suffering from pain in my feet, one day, while I was preparing to help my dad to plant some grain in La Lucy farm, I got the idea of that invention, to which I can already name: agricultural implement, made from waste material,"says Carlos Rafael Heres Pérez , the son and grandson of farmers. “Farmers at the José Martí and Antonio Maceo agricultural cooperatives, in the municipality of Calixto Garcia, welcomed the initiative,” said the 22-year-old young man, whose main pastime since he was a child was creation. On many occasions he was surrounded by other children, whose astonished eyes, watched as from his hands came a small miniature bicycle or a figure carved in wood, hobbies that gradually turned him into an innovative self-taught person, with that undeniable and irreplaceable practical reason. The truth is that today they are solid criteria to substantiate the advantages of the new "equipment”. As expressed by Rafael Vega Avila, president of the José Martí farmer cooperative: " This invention replaces approximately 12 men’s work and performs several tasks, with a single movement : it plows, fertilizes, plants various types of grains, covers, earths up planting and allows seeding uniformity, both in space and depth in the seed set." So far, the economic results are important as it has contributed to saving fuel, lessening expenses for labourers. The larger number of hectares planted in a day, the seed deposited has the same moisture, a factor that greatly helps germination and saves about $ 460.00 Cuban pesos per hectare. After meeting the practical operation of this agricultural implement, which makes the work easier of the labourers, we need to think big to the possible generalization, which is usually the " Cinderella" of Science and Technology. But the same need to replace imports and untie the knots that bind the productive forces it is well worth looking for solutions like this, one of the thousands of practical innovations from our people, to make the land of this region produce. With Information from Radio Juvenil

Monday, October 7, 2013

I really enjoyed the place

This is a pleasant place in one of the many beaches of our country, a corner where every summer we go to relax and enjoy the warm sun and white sand.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Over 300 delegates to attend Ibero-American Festival

Some 300 delegates from 20 countries have so far confirmed their attendance at the Ibero-American Culture Festival, to take place October 24-30 in Holguin city. Participants include International Artistic brigades, which were set up after the ravaging passage here of hurricane Ike, back in 2008. The Festival’s agenda includes theoretical activities on Ibero-American thinking, a crafts exhibit, a campesino feast and a solidarity encounter, along with visual and performing arts sessions and music concerts. The annual event invites intellectuals from different parts of the world who are interested in sharing with their Cuban counterparts their experiences in the world of culture.

Monday, September 9, 2013

La Ceiba river, a beautiful glass-like stream

La Ceiba River, which rises in the north-west slope of Sierra del Cristal, is a beautiful glass-like stream flowing out of the mountain to about 600 meters above the sea level. Its course flows through serpentinized ultrabasic rock areas with different degrees of alteration and purple ferritic soils. It flows towards the bottom of these elevations, flattened area, dissected, with embedded background valley where terraces are not observed, allowing the river running through its floodplain. The area flooded by La Ceiba river belongs to the Nipe and Cristal districts, where vegetation consists mainly of pine and evergreen forests. These forests are populated by birds like the tocororo, cartacuba, the hummingbird and reptiles, including the mountain Bayoya and lizards of the genus Anolis, among others. There is scarcity of vegetation along the river's course, resulting from the intense mining and forestry activities carried out in the area. La ceiba river, currently threatened by erosion, took its name of the once abundant ceiba trees in the middle and lower course of the river, where there are just a few trees, next to Royal Palms. With information from

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Piedra Pescuezo, Guardalavaca, damaged by the action of time

Guardalavaca Beach is the largest natural resort in Holguin province and one of the most important in Cuba. It is located on the northern coast of the municipality of Banes, about 30 kilometers from the capital city of the same name. Piedra Pescuezo (Stone Neck) was a symbol on this beach in the 40's, 50's and early 60's and was in itself one of the key attractions for vacationers who came to this beach to enjoy a healthy life. From this stone swimmers used to dive into the warm waters of the Atlantic. It was ideal for the way it was located, as it was used as a natural springboard to launch into the sea. It had the shape of a human neck (hence the name) which emerged from the shore of the beach and jutted out several meters into the sea with its large size.
Today, vacationers visiting Guardalavaca cannot really appreciate this natural element that a long time ago was one of the natural beauties of this beach. The passage of time has allowed the north coast beach to gradually emerge, until it left behind the huge rock buried in the sand. Only photos taken in the 40's show the full extent of the majesty of Piedra Pescuezo. Current images show the changing appearance of the beach. With Information from

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Key address by army general Raul Castro Ruz at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes

Dear friends, Do not be surprise if along with this olive green uniform and the ranks of Army General I’m carrying a ‘mambí’ hat (Applauses), since this army was born from the ‘mambí’ army; and dark glasses although I like to look my interlocutors clearly in the eyes. Distinguished guests, Men and women from Santiago, People from Oriente, Cuban people, We have listened attentively to the generous and fraternal words of the heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America, and also the President of Uruguay, who is in Cuba. Actually, José Mujica had been here in the 1960s, when this fortress was turned into a school. He was then a young dreamer, just like today but without rheumatism. (Applauses and laughs). We’d also like to express our appreciation to outstanding personalities from other countries that are here with us today. We salute the members of the 24th Caravan of U.S.-Cuba Friendship (Applauses) organized by the interreligious group Pastors for Peace (Applauses), which has persevered in the solidarity effort of the unforgettable Reverend Lucius Walker. The presence of all of these friends in this commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Barracks is a clear expression of support to and solidarity with the Cuban Revolution showing the changes Our America has gone through since the challenging and bleak days of 1953. At that time we, but mostly Fidel, had read about Bolívar’s exploits and those of other national heroes of the struggle for independence in our region, and we all realized the importance of a united and independent Latin American and Caribbean region. In his transcendental court appeal known as “History Will Absolve Me”, Fidel anticipated, and I quote: “[...] the Cuban policy for the Americas would be one of deep solidarity with the democratic peoples of the continent, and those subjected to political persecution by the bloody tyrannies that oppress our sister nations would find in Martí’s homeland not persecution, hunger and treason but generous asylum, brotherhood and bread. Cuba should be a beacon of freedom and not a disgraceful link to despotism.” Martí’s premature death in combat had thwarted his yearnings, expressed in an unfinished letter to his Mexican friend Manuel Mercado, “[...] to opportunely prevent with the independence of Cuba that the United States expand throughout the Antilles and fall, with that additional force, on our lands of America.” The Cuban Revolution has been faithful to that legacy and offered its solidarity, even during the hardest times, despite attempts at isolating it and starving it into submission with a criminal blockade that has been in place for over half a century, and efforts to destroy it through all kinds of aggressions. We shall never forget that after our release from prison Mexico gave us shelter, and after the victory its government was the only one in Latin America that refused to turn its back on us. The support and solidarity of the peoples of every continent has never failed us, particularly of the peoples in this region, which have always perceived Cuba as an inseparable part of Our America, the same that united in its diversity moves forward with determination towards its second and final independence. Twenty years after the triumph of January 1st, the Sandinista Revolution attained its own victory. Just last week, Nicaragua, always youthful, celebrated that event under the leadership of Commander Daniel Ortega. (Applauses) Two more decades would pass before our dearest brother Hugo Chávez embodied Bolívar’s ideals, and today, multiplied in his people he moves along with his Revolution under the steady guidance of comrade President Nicolás Maduro. (Applauses) The unstoppable processes of Bolivia’s Democratic and Cultural Revolution advance headed by Evo Morales, a symbol of the vindication of the original peoples (Applauses); like the victorious Citizens’ Revolution in Ecuador led by President Rafael Correa (Applauses), represented here by his Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, with wide popular support, and the great social progress experienced in Uruguay under the leadership of comrade José Mujica (Applauses), a Tupamaro guerrilla incarcerated for fourteen years. Similar processes take place in the Caribbean region, where nations strive for sustainable development, justice and sovereign equality, and whose prominent leaders, Prime Ministers Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominique, Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda, Ralph Gonsalves of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Kenny Anthony of Saint Lucia are also here with us today. (Applauses) Despite attempts at causing divisions that facilitate plundering, the integration of our nations keeps strengthening through such mechanisms as Alba, Caricom, Mercosur, Unasur, and others. Likewise, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Celac, which Cuba is honored to preside, moves onward with its consolidation. I avail myself of this opportunity and, on behalf of all Cubans and particularly of the victims of hurricane Sandy in the provinces of Guantánamo, Holguín and Santiago de Cuba, express our deepest gratitude to all the governments and peoples that have generously supported, and are still supporting, our reconstruction works. (Applauses) Nine months ago that hurricane hit land in this city, and for five hours fierce winds of approximately 125 miles/hour lashed the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Holguín and Guantánamo causing the death of eleven people. The effects of that meteorological phenomenon also impacted on the central provinces with intensive rains and floods. After a thorough study it was determined that total economic losses amounted to nearly seven billion pesos, most of these due to devastation of houses and public buildings although farming and crucial infrastructure like utilities, communication and roads sustained considerable damages. The trajectory of hurricane Sandy brought the greatest damage to the province of Santiago de Cuba, particularly to its capital, where 50 percent of houses were smashed and the power grids and telephone lines collapsed. For days the trees fell by the winds and the debris stood in the way of traffic in the streets of the second largest city in the country, with one and a half million people. In the province of Holguín, the northeastern municipalities were the most severely damaged by Sandy’s assault. Coincidentally, these same areas had endured the ravaging of the powerful hurricane Ike as it made landfall in Cuba four years before, on September 2008. There, 19.3 percent of the houses sustained damages as well as a large part of the crops, including sugarcane. Up until the present, 52 percent of the housing problems have been solved. The western municipalities of the Guantánamo province were also impacted by the same hurricane but less severely, and have since then recovered. In the case of Santiago de Cuba, first of all with the efforts of its own people and with the resolute support of the rest of the country, including the contribution of the combatants from the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior, as well as brigades of electricians and telephone workers from every province, minimal living conditions were reestablished in a few days. The largest contribution to palliate the situation in Santiago, and one of the first to arrive, was sent personally by comrade Hugo Chávez. (Applauses) In the months following the event, the recovery work has not ceased, consequently, 42 percent of the housing problems have been resolved. At the same time, a construction program is underway in the province leading to the eventual relief of the tense situation in that area. On the other hand, the government has subsidized 50 percent of the price of the construction materials assigned to the repair of the damaged houses, and with the same end it has offered bank credits at lower interest rates and with a longer period for repayment. Likewise, in the cases of full house collapse the State Budget has taken on the payment of the interests and subsidized the lowest income families. Progress has also been made in the recuperation of healthcare, education and culture facilities, and of transportation. Additionally, the investment process undertaken in 2004 has continued with the rehabilitation and expansion of the provincial capital aqueduct, allowing a steady and daily supply of water to 30 of the 32 hydrometric segments of the city, although this service is yet to be ensured to the areas of Altamira and Litoral which are presently receiving water every other day. It is the responsibility of the provincial authorities and enterprises to secure the sustainability of the system. These works regularly monitored by the Central government have yet to be completed. Let me assure the women and men of Santiago that, foremost with their direct involvement, we shall build an ever more beautiful, hygienic, orderly and disciplined city that will live up to its condition of Heroic City and birthplace of the Revolution. May no one forget that Santiago (Exclamations of “Santiago is still Santiago”) is still Santiago. It seems miraculous that 60 years after that 26 of July some of us involved in those events are still alive, particularly when the dictatorship unleashed its thirst for revenge on many combatants who were tortured and murdered. We also wanted to take heaven by assault. It was a dream, we tried and couldn’t make it, but exactly five years, fives months and five days later, on January 1st, 1959, we came through that main gate to demand, on behalf of Fidel, the unconditional surrender of the city garrison with its over 5000 troops. (Applauses) Fidel’s determination and decorum, that turned him from accused into accuser in the trial to which we were submitted, led to our first victory, followed by a fruitful imprisonment and exile in Mexico; the rearrangement of the revolutionary forces and the preparations for the Granma expedition, whose delayed arrival in the Cuban coasts prevented the synchronization with the heroic uprising in Santiago de Cuba organized by that young leader Frank País, on November 30, 1956 −he was not 22 years old yet, and the following year, before his 23rd birthday, he was cowardly murdered by the tyranny’s henchmen. There was the setback in Alegría de Pío and the reunion with Fidel in Cinco Palmas two weeks later; the liberation war, first in the Sierra Maestra and later in other mountainous regions; the decisive victory, in 74 days of ceaseless and intensive combats, against the great offensive launched by Batista’s forces on the territory of the I Front in the Sierra Maestra, where the Rebel Army’s General Staff was located. As Che [Guevara] indicated, that victory “broke the backbone of the tyranny” and marked the onset of the strategic counteroffensive of the insurrectional Movement. Thus came, in the summer of 1958, the irreversible turning point of the war, that with the operations of the invading columns, which had departed from the Sierra Maestra, and the actions of the combatants in the underground movement led to the military collapse of the regime, the assumption of power by the victorious Revolution and the establishment of the first Revolutionary Government at the University of this city. Then, the general strike −called by Fidel from Palma Soriano, before entering Santiago− with the working class and the support of all of the people, frustrated the U.S. embassy’s scheming to steal victory while Fidel was on his way to Havana. This is brief summary of an intensive story. At that point, a much more challenging period started, one which shook the foundations of the society as a whole. Four and a half months after the victory, −in the Sierra Maestra itself and the headquarters used by Fidel in the final days of the war− in compliance with the Moncada Program, the first Land Reform Law was enacted. This action placed the Revolution in a confrontational path with powerful foreign economic interests and with the local bourgeoisie, which for several years would fund and encourage the actions of armed gangs and the assassination of young teachers, many of them only teenagers; the Playa Girón invasion in April 1961, on the eve of which the Socialist nature of the Revolution was proclaimed; the Missile Crisis in October 1962, when the United States was preparing a direct invasion of Cuba with its troops, and the incessant aggressions and crimes against our people carried out for decades. Many years have passed but this is still a revolution of the young, as we were young that July 26, 1953, and also those who fought and died in the streets of Santiago de Cuba on November 30, 1956. Most of those who fought the bandits were young, too, −for five years, from 1960 until approximately January 1965 they fought the bandits that in two occasions during that period had managed to have active gangs of different sizes in every province in the country, including south of the capital− as were young the ones who defeated the mercenaries in Playa Girón, and those youths who joined the literacy campaign −most of them students; the young people incorporated in masse to the Militias, and to the newly formed Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior. Hundreds of thousands of our compatriots who discharged their duty with internationalist missions in other lands of the world −most of them in Angola, as one of guests just said− were young, the same as those who are today offering healthcare and education services in various countries −most of them young women; the scientists, intellectuals, artists and sports people who have brought so much glory to the homeland; those who do their military services, including girls who have volunteered for this task; the middle level education students and our university students who were the successful protagonists of the latest population and housing census; the workers and farmers who in the areas of production and services yield revenues for the economy; our teachers and professors. This shall continue as the Socialist Revolution of the humble, by the humble and for the humble proclaimed by Fidel on April 16, 1961, at the funeral of the victims of the bombings that preceded the Playa Girón [Bay of Pigs] invasion. This Revolution −and I repeat it because it has proven as much for 60 years− will keep on being a Revolution of the young. (Applauses) Today, over 70 percent of Cubans were born after the triumph of the Revolution. It could be said that several generations are living in our homeland, each with their own history and merits depending on their times. The historical generation is giving space to the “new trees”, at peace and with calm confidence, aware of their proven capacity and preparation to uphold the flags of the Revolution and of Socialism for which countless patriots and revolutionaries have sacrificed their lives, from the natives and slaves who rebelled against oppression until today. As previously informed, the process is underway for the progressive and orderly transference of the main leadership responsibilities of the nation. To ensure the success of this undertaking, we will never lose sight of the strategic importance of preserving, above all −and I repeat it, preserving above all!− the unity of all worthy Cubans, just as Fidel has taught us. Comrades all, This is a good occasion to pay homage to all those who fell through centuries of redeeming struggle. And also to Fidel, the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution (Applauses), who with unwavering optimism and alongside our people −capable of enduring so much sacrifice, and the true protagonist of this epic− led us to victory and placed our tiny island in the world map as a beacon of social justice and respect for human dignity. Let’s pay tribute to Cuban women (Applauses) in their roles of mothers, combatants, comrades in sacrifices, struggles and joy (Applauses), and to the new generations that will forever defend the revolutionary ideals. From this historical place we send a fraternal embrace to the courageous antiterrorist fighters (Applauses) that for fifteen years have been kept unjustly incarcerated in the United States. We will continue striving restlessly for their return to our Homeland. At this point, we cannot fail to pay a heartfelt tribute to the unconquered Commander of the Bolivarian Revolution in our sister country Venezuela, the dear comrade Hugo Chávez Frías, an advanced pupil of the national heroes of Latin American and Caribbean independence. (Applauses) Eternal glory to the martyrs of our Homeland! (Exclamations of “Glory!”) Long live the Socialist Revolution! (Exclamations of “Long live!”) Long live free Cuba! (Exclamations of “Long live!”) Long live Fidel! (Exclamations of “Long live!”) Ever onward to Victory! (Exclamations of “Long live! Long live!”)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Miami: Witch-hunt against Antonio Castro

A trio from Miami and New Jersey, led by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, have sent a letter to Secretary of State, John Kerry, asking him to deny a visa to Cuban sports doctor Antonio Castro Soto del Valle. Dr Castro was part of the Cuban baseball team, and months ago he was re-elected as a vice president of the International Baseball Federation, headed by Italian Ricardo Fraccari. Now, he ought to take part in an international university series that will start next week in Des Moines, Iowa, a new friendly series between Cuba and the United States. According to the letter of Ileana and her men to John Kerry, they are "deeply concerned" if they grant a visa for the doctor to enter the country. Pretext? Being the son of Fidel Castro and nephew of President Raul Castro, they venture to say that Dr Castro often accompanies baseball players who travel abroad "to intimidate them" and "prevent their defection." Clearly, the obsession of Ros-Lehtinen and her men against Cuba has reduced their common sense and has fused with the most rancid ineptitude. Even the primary school children in the U.S. could understand that two political figures like Fidel and Raul Castro would not need to stoop to such grotesque methods. Those three from congress had previously questioned the granting of visas for the U.S. director of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Josefina Vidal, sexologist Mariela Castro, and historian of Havana, Eusebio Leal. According to Ileana and her duet of followers, to authorize the entry of Antonio Castro, "would undermine our efforts to promote democracy and freedom" within the island, and "isolate the oppressors." Does that excuse impose a rigorous selection beyond political and ideological to provide a green light for entry into the country? Many cases tend to indicate that. Suffice five of them. In August 1995, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen sent a letter demanding the State Department not grant a visa to Fidel Castro if in Ocotber he decided to attend the 50th anniversary of the UN in New York. Her request failed. Five years ago she made strenuous efforts trying to avoid the presence of South African leader Nelson Mandela in various regions of the United States who were waiting for him. One of her arguments: that Cuba supported him in his fight against apartheid. In mid-October, 2011, she sent a letter to then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to demand explanations for authorizing visas to Cuban children's theater group La Colmenita, composed of children aged from six years old and said that it damaged the national security interests. Eleven months later Ileana criticized the stay of the Cuban singer Vicente Feliu, who performed in Washington, New York and San Francisco, California. This road has transited through years of visa applications, among them for artists, scholars, scientists and athletes, and even relatives of the Cuban Five unjustly held in jails of that country. Now they hinder entry to U.S. soil of a known doctor who specializes in baseball and vice president of the International Federation of that discipline, Antonio Castro. No wonder! Those political witches from Miami are daughters or granddaughters of those murderers and torturers that came out of Cuba in January 1959 and were kindly received in the North, even without a visa.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Quinque-Cocal: Rehabilitation that Nurture the Soul

The Quinque-Cocal Therapeutic community of the Health and Tourism Company, located in Holguin province, welcomes patients from different countries who receives treatment for their drug dependence. Through a highly scientific rehabilitation process, the patients improved their quality of life and spirituality while overcoming their addiction. The community consists of two villages: El Cocal, managed by Juan Manuel Lopez Torres; and El Quinqué, directed by Mario Portuondo Isaac. The two organizations have specialists with a high professional level who provide a service of excellence to patients. The staff is composed of psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, physical education graduates and support personnel who form a close-knit team. According to Dr Pastor Aguilera, psychiatrics at villa El Cocal, sports and physical activity play an important role in the rehabilitation process, as they help to improve health and keep patients away from drugs. These activities favour the health recovery of the patients, who have said to be satisfied with the daily care provided by the medical team and service workers. "The attention is very good, I’ve been in villa El Quinqué for just one month and I have progressed a lot, I feel like at home and I'm sure I will continue to improve because the persons taking care of me do their job with love, so I will do my best to recover, " told to the local media Loryan Romero Marquina, a patient from Venezuela. Luis Rodolfo Ramirez, another patient, said "I am very happy with the care provided in villa El Cocal, I have no complaints, the medical team is really good and we are encouraged to continue toward greater recovery." Both Loryan as Luis Rodolfo speak highly of physical activity and sport, and the performance of the medical team as a whole, which ensures that the rehabilitation process carried out in the TC Cocal-Quinqué , strengthens the spirituality of patients. Confortable gyms, facilities for the practice of various sports that merge harmoniouslywith the practice of individual, group and occupational psychotherapies, constitute a whole in the health recovery of patients, the main goal of the staff of these two clinics. A strong sense of collectivism, a sound work ethics and a dedication to a work of high human values are some of the qualities that distinguish the Cocal-Quinqué Therapeutic Community. BY Jose Antonio Perez Chapman

Monday, July 1, 2013

A monkey flower?

Orchids are elegant flowers, but some of them have a very strange appearance, such as the monkey face orchid, one of the many curiosities of nature. Since this photo began circulating on the Internet, there have been many who have doubted its existence. The scientific name of this orchid is Dracula simia, but it is popularly known as monkey face orchid, from the resemblance of its flowers to the face of an ape. These rare orchids only grow in the cloud forests of southeastern Ecuador and Peru at elevations of 1,000-2,000 meters on the side of mountains.
The name Dracula comes from the strange feature of the two long spurs of the sepals, that resemble the fangs of a number of inhabitants of Transylvania in film and fiction. The orchid was named in 1978 by the botanist Luer, but is in a family that contains over 120 species mainly found in Ecuador. The monkey face orchid is not a typical flower season, although in their natural habitat can bloom at any time. This flowers smell like ripe orange, which is ironic, because with that face the least you can expect is they smell like bananas.

Monday, June 24, 2013

In my city

The region of Holguin is one of the richest scenes of nature in Cuba. High mountains, fertile plains and beaches of fine sand alternate in the landscape of this province unique for its beauty and many attractions. It also takes the best and most valuable of the local and universal culture with exponets in all branches of culture with renowned artists like Faustino Oramas (El Guayabero), painter Cosme Proenza, pianist Frank Fernandez. This eastern province of Cuba, has also a high quality health system. Sample is infant mortality rate achieved here, only comparable to that of developed countries, thanks to the implementation of a health system that allows pregnant women prioritized attention and care of newborns and infants in general. On several occasions it has hosted important scientific events as the International Symposium on Cardiovascular Research and the Cuba-canada International Symposium on the Heart, held in Playa Pesquero with the participation of leading Cuban and foreign specialists. This eastern territory of Cuba also hosted last week a Symposium on Pediatric Surgery that included the participation of Dr. Yann Revillon, outstanding professor at Descartes University and director of the pediatric surgery department of the famous children's hospital Necker-Malades in Paris, among other important scientists. The event demonstrated the quality reached by the Holguin and the island pediatric surgery in the field of science, research, teaching and care to patients in the province and the country, where there are many medical schools and pediatric hospitals that guarantee child care.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Love and Pain in the History of the Five Cuban

Mirtha Rodríguez talks intensely with the passion of someone who has a kind and deep feelings for his beloved family members and friends. It is difficult not to accept the words pronounced by this woman who has not stopped imagining that his son will be returning to Cuba to conclude a history of love and pain. This woman, who has already the color of her hair completely grey and loves the tango genre and artists like Libertad La marquee, Hugo del Carril and Carlos Gardel, among others, looks her memories into the past and present and looks into the present to see the future as if she was remembering occasions of her life without regrets and having the conviction of having done what she had to do on every moment of it and continues to do it. Mirtha de la Santísima Trinidad Rodríguez is the real name of Antonio Guerrero mother, who is one of the heroes of the Cuban Republic and a Cuban antiterrorist fighter that is currently incarcerated in US prisons for having monitoring terrorist groups which were conspiring against his nation. During more than 15 years of her son imprisonment, Mirtha, has never hesitated not even a single minute despite being thousands of kilometers from the motherland in respect of defending the cause of her son through true arguments and contributing with thousands of elements to make the people of good will aware about the case of the Cuban Five antiterrorist fighters taking into consideration that René, Fernando, Ramón and Gerardo are all considered by her as sons. As usual, she comes after having being requested her presence on the Radio Rebelde station in its program entitled La Luz en lo Oscuro (literally, the light in the darkness), then as if she was at her own house, she answered a series of questions with the typical sincerity from a mother who has never stopped thinking of her beloved son each single second of her existence. “Each single time that I travel overseas I say and insist a lot on the case of Gerardo Hernández given the fact that he was the one who experienced the most vicious attack from the US judicial system and we have to keep fighting for bringing the truth into light inside the own US people about the outrage and crime that has been committed against that man who had been given two life-imprisonment sentences even without proofs, let alone evidences againt him. Therefore, the US government has tried to punish Cuba through the case of Gerardo.” Mirtha Rodríguez said. Mirtha was the only woman from a family with seven siblings. She could get to know her name until she decided to get married and it was then when she knew about a change that not even her only family knew: Her name might be Mirtha Rita de Casia Rodríguez; however, behind her first name and inscription appeared the words De la Santísima Trinidad. The anecdote causes her to laugh at present, but she expresses the fact that when that happened, then all hell broke loose between her parents because they were not expecting that surprise. Life was not either good with her when she became a widow and her daughter Marucha was 15 years old and Tony, who was the youngest, was 13 years of age. It was something dramatic as happened right on her birthday. The pain always was present in her until her family members decided to celebrate her birthday by recovering that tradition. “The three of us got really united, so she and her two children made a pact of love, unity and respect that has lasted until nowadays.” This really kind woman, who talks slowly and clear and is a magnificent communicator, Mirtha Rodríguez highlighted. “I do consider myself an optimistic, enterprising and familiar person like my son as those are one of the aspects on which we both have many similarities.” Mirtha Rodríguez pointed out. What can be said about Tony? “It is a truly intense sadness what is felt after knowing that he is far away and imprisoned for having defended a fair cause, but it is precisely when I have had a personal problem and I usually tend to feel really depressed that I remember his case to talk to myself the undeniable fact that if my son is capable to defend that truth by even putting at risk everything, then how come I would not be able to go ahead, It is then when I take the right path again by rejuvenating my spirit and making it even stronger.” Mirtha Rodríguez highlighted. “When we visit the United States, we try that each single photo could transmit love. I always enjoy the occasion of the photos by my son when I have even desired to take my son with me. We usually try to have then a happy occasion and for Tony the truth is never absent.” Her mother stated. With that same truth, Mirtha Rodríguez travels there each time she is invited to talk about the case of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters in other nations. What does inspire you? “I talk and use the sincerity coming from my heart and the truth about this case, including the noble way these men, young ones with many dreams and families, left everything behind for a noble and fair cause to preserve the lives of more than eleven million of compatriots, including the ones from the own US population.” Mirtha Rodríguez highlighted. “It has been a story filled with love and pain, Olguita, as it is popularly named, had to wait over 13 years to see her husband. Adriana, on her part, has never been able to see her husband Gerardo due to the US government has never allowed it. They (The Cuban Five) took the decision about fulfilling their mission and that attitude shows their magnanimity as human beings. “Mirtha Rodríguez pointed out. When she talks about those men, Mirtha voice failed a bit until she recovers it and said: “Even though the price has been really high, taking into consideration the irregularities that has affected the case, their enemies will never success in breaking the moral of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters and their family members and that has been precisely their strength of spirit given that fact that despite they remain imprisoned, they continue being free through their thoughts and convictions.” Mirtha Rodríguez said finally. Regarding Mirtha and the rest of their family members, it is valid what has said many times René: “the mothers and wives of the Cuban Five families are also heroines.” By Demetrio Villaurrutia Zulueta

Monday, May 20, 2013

Yoani Sánchez, the Golden Girl of the Failed Extreme Right Wing in Miami

Cubaencuentro has recently published an article by Domingo Amuchástegui Álvarez, stating that Yoani Sanchez's credibility is in question after her ultra-reactionary speech before the Cuban exiles in Miami. Yoani, who was "apolitical", "no party preference" and "away from ideological commitments" has become their golden girl. We offer some of the fragments of the speech stating that the blogger traveller, from her opinions and the company that she has been surrounded with, has stopped her being the last hope for a "change" in Cuba. A crucial event took place in the course of her tour, starting with a visit to Brazil. Yoani lost her bid to keep a certain centrist political position. Her initial condemnation of the U.S. embargo and her demand to put an end to it, her demand regarding the necessity or desirability of the Miami Five being released, her position in favour of allowing normal tourism of U.S. citizens to Cuba, her argument for the return of the Guantanamo Naval Base to Cuba, all these together with her criticism of the Cuban government, its lack of democracy and freedom, and calling the current changes and reforms being carried out in Cuba as "cosmetic," and so on, changed overnight as soon she became aware of the wave of criticism, attacks and insults from several sources in Miami and Washington, DC. The next day she apologized for demanding the release of the Five, saying she had said it with irony, as a joke, and that the Five were guilty, as they were accused, and began to note that the embargo was the island's alibi --not intervention in the internal affairs of Cuba, as she previously expressed- to justify its failures and that it should be ended only after Cuba yields to certain pre-conditions imposed by the U.S., and she never returned to address grievances like American tourism and Guantanamo; the next day she focused entirely on these new "rectified" approaches and constantly emphasizing the conventional discourse of "regime change." These new "credentials" opened the way for her grandiose reception in the U.S.and Miami. After this, Yoanis lost her alleged "apolitical" centrism, "no party preference", "away from ideological commitments", while merging with the conventional discourse of the exiles and consequently with the older generations of exiles. In the absence of other alternatives, these seem to convert Yoani into their last hope. The Cuban lobby, recently characterized by Professor William Leogrande as a "right wing based on the hate of Castro" - turned Yoani into the golden girl and she accepted this deadly embrace with her long record of losses and failed policies from 1958, losing sight of a recent remark made by another exiled expert, Arnaldo Fernandez, in the Emilio Ichikawa blog, where he stated: "The starting premise to face Castro is: That he has not stopped winning." In this embrace, Yoani has overlooked the old saying of Don Miguel de Cervantes: "Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you the type of person you are." And in doing so, Yoani is no longer the last hope. She knows that, she is educated and astute enough to realize this, but that is her choice and with this comes her failure. As one Spanish writer and journalist recently said about Yoani's credibility: "How long will her credibility remain is still to be seen." In the past 25 years, Miami has experienced other icons and saviours from the island, and today they are nothing and not even remembered. / With information from

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"We were, we are and we will be the Cuban Five"

To my brother Rene, a free man That September 12th, with no adjective to describe its violence, I was the last who arrived in Miami, and therefore the last to be placed in an extremely cold cell, with an uncovered mattress, a blanket and a roll of toilet paper; all isolated. Silence was macabre in that 13th floor of the Miami Detention Center. Due to a purely animal instinct, one starts to walk around that extremely reduced space. Every now and then, I stopped in front of the narrow glass on the metal door, through which we were constantly watched by a guard taking rounds. In a cell across from mine, which was to a side, I looked at a man, who also stopped at times in front of the window. He had an austere bearded face, the naked chest and it made me wonder: who is this guy? Isn’t he cold? It was Rene, I had not met him yet. In those first days, of which there is still a lot to tell, they bring us down, both he and me, to the Court Hall. We were supposed to plead not guilty or guilty, which in our case was to plead worthy or unworthy, honest or dishonest, loyal or traitor. We were both certain of our innocence. But there was a guy I did not know either, who was going to plead guilty. Each one went separately in front of Judge, but Rene had read treason in the eyes of that despicable man, who was trying to convince him with his tale. Then, Rene said to me: “I have to talk to that guy.” I only asked him to calm down That’s how I met him. That’s how we became the five brothers we are. That’s why his freedom is our freedom; his pain and happiness are also ours. That’s why our unfair prison will continue to be his prison. That’s why we were, we are and we will be the Cuban Five, where a single man is formed, a Cuban as millions of compatriots, loyal to his people and his homeland. Tony Guerrero Rodríguez May 10, 2013 Marianna Federal Prison

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Bariay Park

The Holguin's Bariay park has enough attractions for the development of nature tourism programs, it has excellent beaches and a very rich and unique flora and fauna. It’s shows a vegetable formations of mangrove, complex of vegetation of rocky coast, complex of vegetation of sandy coast, heath coastal xenomorphic, forest ever green, forest semideciduo, secondary heaths and secondary forests. There, it is possible to admire two of the most attractive places in the geography of Holguin: La Silla de Gibara, mountain named this way for the Admiral Cristóbal Colón, due to its likeness with a saddle, and Colón’s Mosque, place that recreates a beautiful Andalusian legend. Today it constitutes a confirmed fact that the Bariay bay was the first point of our geography touched by La Niña, La Pinta and La Santamaría, the three ships commanded by Cristóbal Colón -reason for which Bariay Park has been transformed into National Monument- and the beauty of its environment gets rich with the rescue of the history and the bold efforts to return its original appearance to the place. There is a monument by local artist Caridad Ramos, which presents the ruins of a European neoclassical construction next to the copy of objects made by the native ones and found it in the near excavations, to show in a concrete way the encounter, everything amid an exuberant nature very characteristic of Cuba.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Holguin in Romerías

Over 200 delegates from 21 countries have bought tickets to attend the 20th Romerias de Mayo to take place in the city of Holguin from 2 to 8 next month. It is expected this figure will rise in the coming hours, so it promises to record worldwide participation. 200 young artists from all provinces of Cuba will be also participating in the event. So far, the World Meeting of Poets and Chile, Mexico, Venezuela and Spain have the largest delegations to this important cultural event. What are the Romerias? According to the Spanish custom of placing a cross in the highest places near populations in order to prevent epidemics or natural disasters, the Franciscan friar Antonio de Alegría placed, in the colonial era of the island, a cross in a hill that marks Holguin's geographic north (known as Loma de la Cruz). Long after this religious event turned into a festival that includes all artistic expressions, which starts with a pilgrimage to the cross placed by Friar Antonio de Alegría. During the Romerias the people started a procession from the San Isidoro Church to La Loma de La Cruz where they officiated a Mass and at the same place they started the festivities that lasted until the next day. After this, the Catholic holiday became known until becoming a popular festival. Today, and since 1994, The Romerias de Mayo have reemerged by the wish of young people from the Saiz Brothers Association, to link the new with the old, and realize its slogan "Because there is not today without yesterday."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Venezuelan TV Presenter Shows Recent Photos with Fidel

Political analyst and host of the show Cayendo y Corriendo (Falling and Running), broadcast by Venezolana de Television (VTV), Miguel Angel Perez Pirela, held on Sunday March 31, 2013, a personal meeting for over four hours, with the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz. The meeting allowed the journalist and the Cuban leader exchange on contemporary history and various current national issues. "Healthy, lucid, intelligent, analyzing countless numbers and measures, names and situations that leave anyone speechless," were the first words of Pirela, referring to the visit he made to Castro in Havana. He showed photographs and thanked the gesture of the Cuban leader, by sending the pictures and allow publishing. Pirela said he participated in a tour of observation by the Cuban countryside where agriculture experiments are made, and said that the results "will surprise more than one." "Those who are willing and predicting the death of our Comandante Castro and those who every day think on it, are these pictures," said the presenter of VTV about the images, which, he said, make happy the Venezuelan people that admire and respect him. "Without a doubt, Fidel is one of the most intelligent human beings who has given birth Latin America and humanity," said Perez Pirela, after the analysis made by Fidel on Venezuela, Latin America and the world, at a time when Venezuelans are still in pain and sadness for Chavez's death. / With information from Cubadebate

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A rock that came from ... space?

An irregular egg shaped rock, reddish-blackish, with dozens of small surface pores of different dimensions and moderately heavy fell on Friday, March 31, breaking the roof of the house of Jose Rafael Silva Velazquez, in the neighbourhood El Güirito, in the coastal town of Gibara. At 2:45am, the members of the family looked up to the ceiling and saw the sky, and deduced that the extremely bizarre rock never seen before had fallen from the sky, fortunately, without major consequences. The unprecedented fact, called the attention of the Gibara's Research Group, who transferred the rock to the Center for Research and Environmental Services and Technology (CISAT) of the delegation of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment the city of Holguin, where several experts pointed it was likely a meteorite. Just in the morning of April 1, scientists began the research process to certify the rock cosmic origin, something taken from characteristics that point to a high concentration of iron ore and polished surface, among other details, as the fact that in the region of Gibara, karst quintessential, abound limestone materials, including Lapies or Dogtooth. The "space" stone is about 5.5 inches long, has a maximum width of 3.6, a thickness of 3.3 cm and weighed 114 grams. Fortunately, it was a small rock.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Holguín, a Region of Important Natural Sites

There are some 36 natural sites in Holguin identified by their geographical, historical and cultural values, with view to their patrimonial classification. Some of them have been declared National Monument as is the case of the Natural Bridge of Bitiri River, close to the historic place Biran, in the municipality of Cueto. The site and the surrounding area including two hillocks and caves, are among the protected areas of Holguin. Just to name some sites there re the so called Colgadizos or Voladizos de Marea, Mazanga cave and surrounding valley, the cavern Tanque Azul and Natural Park Caballero Rojo, in the municipality of Gibara. In this territory also lie the stream of sulphurous water La Morena and migratory bird corridor Güirito-Punta Mangle. Also attracting attention are the Mujeres and Rey cays, the ecological path La Sabina, Salto del Guayabo, Charrascal de Las Cuevas, the Alto de La Estrella and Jardín del Pinar, in the municipality of Mayari . Banes Bay, The Peninsula El Ramon, in Antilla, Los Rejondones de Báguano, The botanical garden in Urbano Noris El Nispero, Mayari River Delta, cerro de Miraflores in Moa, cerros cársicos de Maniabón and Cejita of La Palma in Rafael Freyre, are part of the Holguin natural treasure.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Presentation In Memory Of President Chavez

It is not easy for me to speak to you tonight about somebody that I loved so much. As a matter of fact, it is hard: very, very hard. So please bear with me. I want to speak a bit about Chávez the man. He was born into a family of very modest means in 1954 in Sabaneta de Barinas. A small town in the Venezuelan plains: a town that had only three streets, none of them paved. Hugo was the second of 6 brothers and sisters. He was so poor that his family couldn’t afford to buy him shoes. His grandmother Rosa Inés took him to his first ever day of classes. Hugo wore a pair of alpargatas that she had made out of soft cloth and rope. But the kindergarten teacher would not allow the little boy into the class, until the family could find a way to buy him some shoes. President Chávez remembers he had no toys as a boy and said that he made do by playing with his brother, Adán, imaginary games using imaginary toys: imagen that. When Americans ask me why there is such an outpouring of emotion among Venezuelans over the death of this man, I point out that the ordinary people of Venezuela saw themselves in President Chávez. The President was a compendium of the very fabric of the country: part black, part indigenous and part white: a man who came from poverty and whose every decision as President was marked by his humble origins. President Chávez never forgot where he came from, and he always remembered who he was. He dedicated himself to giving a voice to the voiceless: to bringing dignity to a people who had been humiliated for centuries by those in power. To those ends, he empowered the Venezuelan people through the People´s Assemblies he forged throughout the land. Thanks to President Chávez, everything is open to debate in Venezuela. Everything. For the first time in their history, Venezuelans know how to govern themselves. President Chávez always called Venezuelans hermano, camarada or ciudadano: brother, comrade or citizen. And soon the people began to use those terms when addressing their compatriots. A workingwoman in Caracas summed up how much this meant to her and indeed to the people of Venezuela, when she said: “Citizens? Before Chávez, we didn´t even know we were human beings.” That, my brothers and sisters, is the President´s legacy. The Bolivarian Revolution has dramatically reduced poverty in Venezuela, virtually eliminated misery and totally eliminated illiteracy. The wealth generated by its oil company, PDVSA, now goes to people in need, rather than to the foreign oil companies that made billions of dollars from Venezuela´s natural resources—yet managed before Chávez to pay only a 1% tariff on their profits. The Revolution created Health Missions throughout the country to give free medical care to millions of needy citizens. I once rode in a plane from Havana to Caracas with over a hundred Venezuelans of humble means who were returning home after receiving medical treatment in Cuba, paid for by the Revolution. Many had arrived in Cuba blind in both eyes and they were now cured, thanks to President Chavez’ Operation Miracle. I will never forget that plane ride. Once they were blind and now they see. Those passengers savored the sight of white clouds against the backdrop of a bright blue sky and marveled at the sight of the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean Sea. They sang during the entire trip. And as the plane was landing, they broke out into a stirring rendition of “Gloria al Bravo Pueblo”, the Venezuelan national anthem, and finished it with choruses of: “Gracias Chávez, Gracias Fidel, Gracias Cuba, Gracias Venezuela.” That, my friends, is what the Revolution is all about. Yes, it´s true: President Chávez rubbed some the wrong way. The government of the USA, the Venezuelan oligarchy and the media it controls hated him. But the President used to say that unless there is opposition, there is no Revolution. And President Chávez was very much engaged in the business of making Revolution. He could have been just another Latin American politician: crass and commonplace. But he transcended mediocrity. The President was a leader, a revolutionary, the Simón Bolivar of our time. He fought for a united Latin America, free of the domination long exercised by Spain and the United States. He was a very unconventional President. He cried with us, sang with us, ate arepas with us, laughed with us and bucked every known rule of diplomatic protocol. He was in a word human. Some talking heads, academicians, businessmen and bankers could never stomach a leader like that, but the people felt his sincerity, his humanity, his brilliance, and his joy of living. He would interrupt his speeches with personal greetings to workers and farmers he had met during his many trips among the people. “Hola Pepe. Un saludo para Pepe en Barquisimeto”. Or, “Gladys en Petare. We are going to finish that project we discussed”. Or he would break out in English and exclaim with his booming voice. Fidel: How are you Fidel? Or he would send a special message to President Bush in English. Mr. Danger, if you decide to invade Venezuela, I´ll be waiting for you in the Sabana. Come on here, Mr. Danger.” And who can ever forget his exclamation at the UN podium where Bush Jr. had spoken only a few hours earlier: “Azufre. It still smells like sulfur here.” He was not an armchair socialist, content to debate the metaphysics of revolution. He was committed to changing Venezuela and he did. He was committed to changing Latin America and he did. He knew that in order for revolutionaries to effect change, they need first of all to seize power and then construct a socialism that is, as Mariátegui said, neither calco ni copia, sino creación heroíca—neither an imitation or a copy, but instead a heroic creation. President Chávez was a Bolivarian tsunami. He radically changed Venezuela and indeed all of Latin America. Some have said that he has left a vacuum that can never be filled. I disagree. As José Martí said, “Dying is the same as living and even better still, if in life we have done what we ought to.” President Chávez’ deeds exceeded expectations. In death, he is now greater than ever. He shines a bright light on the dark wilderness of poverty, repression and exploitation. Twelve elections he won before his death at the young age of 58: a remarkable record. Yet his enemies called him a despot. How many elections did Mr. Danger win? King Juan Carlos of Spain, who so criticized President Chávez, has never stood for elections. Kings believe that they should not have to stoop to such trivial matters. They believe they have inherited a God-given right to rule over us mere commoners. Whenever I arrived in Caracas, turned on the television and saw President Chávez´ face I smiled. I smiled anticipating what he would say next. Among the many attributes that we assign to him, let us never forget fun. Yes. President Chávez was fun. He was a fun guy, and that is another reason he appealed to so many. Another reason he reached even the little children in our society. A few years ago, I watched a children´s theatre company performing in Caracas. After their performance, President Chávez went on stage to thank the kids. They were in their performance costumes. “What are you dressed as?” the President asked a little girl who was wearing a black cape, a pink blouse that glowed in the dark and a top hat. The little girl responded, “I am a magician.” “Well, don´t make me disappear”, he said to her. “No Mr. President. You, I would have to multiply”, she responded. Well ladies and gentleman, President Chávez is now multiplied. Today, together we are all Chávez. He is in our hearts and minds. But as President Nicolás Maduro said on Sunday in Caracas, “We are all Chávez, only if we are united. If we are divided, we are nothing.” Please allow me a variation on the words of one of the most beautiful of national anthems, Cuando el despotismo levanta la voz, seguid el ejemplo que Chávez nos dió. (When despotism raises its voice, follow the example that Chávez gave us). My brothers and sisters, we can make our dream a reality, but only if we remain united. As President Chávez sang to us many times, Compatriotas fieles, la fuerza es la unión. (Faithful fellow citizens, our strength is in our unity). Our north star is the south. It is Bolivar’s dream of a united Latin America, our dream of a better tomorrow for the poor people of this earth, our dream of making possible the seemingly impossible, our dream de tomar el cielo por asalto (to take heaven by storm): President Chávez’ dream to reach the unreachable star. It’s the same star that the Man of La Mancha also followed. This was his quest To follow that star No matter how hopeless No matter how far To fight for the right Without question or pause To be willing to march into Hell For a heavenly cause And he knew if he would only be true To this glorious quest That his heart would lie peaceful and calm When he´s laid to his rest And the world will be better for this That one man, scorned and covered with scars Still strove with his last ounce of courage To reach the unreachable star Que viva el President Chávez! Que viva el Presidente Nicolás Maduro! Que vivan los pobres de la tierra! Comandante Presidente Hugo Chávez Frías: te acompañaremos siempre! Chávez Vive, Maduro Sigue! Written by José Pertierra

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cubans Mourn Death of Pitcher Yadier Pedroso

Cuban Baseball mourns the death of the pitcher Yadier Pedroso Gonzalez, who was part of the national team to the III World Classic, and died here victim of a traffic accident the night of March 16. World Baseball Classic Recalls Deceased Cuban Pitcher Pedroso According to the information of the weekly Jit, from the Cuban Institute of Sports (INDER) the death was confirmed by Joan Molina, director of Sports in the Province of Artemisa, birth place of the pitcher, who was 26 years old. The car in which he was travelling with two other people, who also died, crashed a freight truck in a place known as Manga Central, on the road leading to Artemisa. Pedrosito, as he was called was considered one of the top pitchers in the current Cuban baseball due to his conditions as an athlete. He participated in 8 national championships and scored 76 victories and 45 games lost. At international level he was part of the Cuban team in 10 competitions and played in 26 matches, mainly as relief pitcher winning twice and with one defeat./ With information from PrensaLatina

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Speech by Fidel Casto during the plenary session to set up Cuban parliament

Dear compañeros, I deeply appreciate the noble gesture of the people electing me as a deputy to Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power. The time I take for my comments today will not be long, nor will the period in which I occupy this honorable seat as a deputy be long, and not because of a lack of will, but rather as an imperative of nature. I never thought my existence would be so prolonged, or that the enemy would be so inept in its hateful task of eliminating adversaries committed to the struggle. In this unequal struggle, our people have demonstrated their amazing capacity to persevere and win. Yes, because every year of resistance between 1959 and 2013 has been a victory which our small country has the right to proclaim! We do not struggle for glory or honors; we struggle for ideas we consider just, those to which millions of Cubans have dedicated their youth and their lives, as heirs to a long list of exemplary individuals. One figure expresses everything: the number of Cubans who have completed self-sacrificing internationalist missions is close to 800,000. Considering that at the time of the triumph of the Revolution in 1959 we didn’t have seven million inhabitants, one can appreciate the significance of such efforts. However, this does not express it all. In October of 1962, the nation was at the point of becoming a nuclear battlefield. A year and a half before, a mercenary expedition trained and escorted by the United States Navy, came ashore at the Bay of Pigs and was at the point of provoking a bloody war which would have cost the U.S. invaders hundreds of thousands of lives – I say so without exaggeration – and our country, truly incalculable destruction and human losses. We had, at the time, around 400,000 weapons and we knew how to use them. In less than 72 hours, the powerful revolutionary counterattack prevented that tragedy, both for Cuba and for the people of the United States. We were victims of a "dirty war" for a long time, and 25 years after the October Crisis, internationalist troops defended Angola from the racist South African invaders, equipped in this period with several nuclear weapons based on technology and parts supplied by Israel with U.S. approval. On that occasion, the victory at Cuito Cuanavale and the subsequent resolute and audacious advance of the Cuban-Angolan forces, equipped with aircraft, antiaircraft weapons and adequate organization to liberate territory still occupied by the invaders, convinced South Africa that it had no choice but to abandon its nuclear ambitions and sit down at the negotiating table. The existence of the hateful racist system was ended. With the efforts of all, we have undertaken the work of a profound Revolution, which, starting from zero, our people were able to carry out. Others joined the first revolutionary cells. We were united by the desire to struggle and the pain caused by the country’s tragic situation following the brutal coup. While some had hope in a future they saw as still far removed, others of us were already thinking of the need to make a historical leap. Between the March 10, 1952 coup and January 1, 1959, only six years and 296 days transpired; for the first time in our homeland, power was totally in the hands of the people. The battle then began against political ignorance and the anti-socialist ideas which the empire and bourgeoisie had sown in our country. The class struggle unleashed just a few miles from the empire was the most efficient political school any country has ever had. I’m talking about a school which opened its doors more than 50 years ago. Men and women, from pioneros to much older persons, we have been students within this school. Nevertheless, according to what Raúl was telling me a few days ago, the great battle which is imposing itself is the need for an energetic and relentless struggle against the bad habits and errors which many citizens, and even Party members, commit in the most diverse sectors, on a daily basis. Humanity has entered a unique stage in its history. The last decades have no relation to the thousands of centuries which preceded them. In 2011, the world’s population reached seven billion inhabitants, an alarming figure. In only two centuries, the world’s population has grown seven times over, requiring a basic level of food supplies which science, technology and the planet’s natural resources are far from being able to provide. You can do dozens of estimates, talk about Malthus or Noah’s Ark, but it is enough to know what a gram is, and what amount of any food can be produced on one hectare of land, to draw your own conclusions. Perhaps the British Prime Minister or President Obama know the answer that could prolong human life a few days more, the multiplication of a few fish and loaves, the magic words to persuade Africans, the inhabitants of India, Latin America and all countries of the Third World, not to have children. Two days ago, an international agency recalled that one U.S. multi-millionaire, Dennis Tito, had spent 20 million dollars on his a trip to the International Space Station, where he stayed several days in 2001. Now Tito, who appears to be a veritable fanatic about space exploration, was discussing the details of an expedition to Mars. The journey would take 501 days. This, yes, is enjoying surplus value! Meanwhile, the polar caps are rapidly melting, sea levels are rising as a result of global warming, flooding large areas in only a few decades – all that assuming that there are no wars and that the sophisticated weapons being produced at an accelerating rate are never used. Who can understand them? I will conclude to fulfill my promise of being brief in my words greeting our National Assembly. On the 118th anniversary of the Grito de Baire and the 160th of the birth of our national hero, it pleases me honor the revolutionary, the anti-imperialist, the Bolivarian who planted the first seeds of duty in our youth. Thank you very much!

In Search of the Almiquí

Cuban and Japanese scientists, with backpacks, cameras and other equipment in tow, have begun a tour of sites in the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, Natural and Cultural Heritage of Humanity, to pursue the study of Almiquí populations in this area, in a second phase. In the first stage, which began in 2012, they found seven adults (four males and three females) of Soledon cubanus –the scientific name of this endemic species- something that had not happened for the last hundred years. The discovery took place in the El Toldo plateau, in the same area that showed promising evidence of the presence of other specimens. This animal is a true living fossil whose ancestors bones have been found dating back 30 million years. This is a primitive mammal, and the few who possess venom. The investigations are part of an agreement signed between Cuba and Japan last year, which was restored due to its results, and is in effect for the five years 2012-2017. This time specialists from the Budgeted Unit of the Alejandro de Humboldt Environmental Services, Guantanamo, biologists from the University of Havana, and the Japanese Tsukuba, Hokkaido and Miyage Universities are participating. Using different methods of capture, the scientists will continue to study the behaviour of these nocturnal animals using recordings of the sonic and ultrasonic calls between them, for future use of a monitoring program for the species. Also, thanks to the Japanese support additional research may be made, like the advanced study of population genetics, which previously was almost impossible due to the financial and economic blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba. Saliva analysis will be done for the first time in Guantanamo and our country on this mammal, one of the few in the world whose secretions contains poison. They will assess their toxicity and possible ecological role and determine its possible role a priori in biomedical and other applications still unknown to science. With information from Juventud Rebelde

Monday, February 11, 2013

International scientific event at Holguin university

The "Oscar Lucero Moya" university of Holguin, will hold its 6th International Scientific Conference from April 24 to 26, 2013, at the Hotel Club Amigo: Atlantico-Guardalavaca. "University and Society" is the slogan of this event that offers a wide program of activities including topics for debate such as Computer Science and Mathematics for development, Organizational Management, Higher education Sciences, Engineering and Development, Social Sciences and humanities to the challenges of today's world, Local Development and Gender Studies, Agriculture and aridity: producing, preserving and developing the rural environment. The program also includes the event “TheBIG Mini-WEFLA 2013”, the "7th International Seminar on Canadian Studies" and the workshop "One science-technology-society and axiological integration of knowledge in the Current world". The conference aims to show the results of researches carried out by specialists at the Holguin univesity and professional exchange with researchers from other similar centers in the world, interested in the development and common good.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cuban elections: between the right and the duty

Without large amounts of money at stake, conflicts between political parties of different tendencies or smear campaigns in favor of one candidate or another, this February 3 Cuba will hold the general elections, to elected Members of Parliament and delegates to the Provincial Assemblies of People's Power, the second phase of the Cuban electoral process. This general elections started, in the first stage, with meetings to nominate candidates for delegates and the subsequent election of those who represent the people in the municipal assemblies, as district delegates. The Cuban electoral law stipulates that in the country there are two types of electoral processes. Every five years general elections are held, where people elect deputies to the National Assembly of People's Power, while every two and a half years partial elections are held to select delegates to the municipal assemblies of People's Power. The proposals coming out of the base, along with a nomination process carried out by the mass organizations, make up the core of the delegates to the provincial assemblies and deputies to Parliament. According to data released by the National Electoral Commission (CEN), since 1976, all elections held in Cuba have involved more than 95 percent of those registered, which shows that in our country the elections are characterized by active and massive participation of the people and transparency throughout the process. LAST STEPS For several days, the members of the polling stations and other authorities in charge of the general elections have been working in the preparation of the same. According to Caridad Alvarez, member of the CEN, the next elections are different from those held in late 2012 to elect the 14,537 delegates to the municipal assemblies of People's Power, so it requires a better preparation. "This time we have two ballots instead of one, to exercise a free, equal and secret vote and choose separately the 612 members of Parliament and the 1, 269 delegates to the provincial assemblies," she said. A few days after the general elections to be held on Sunday in Cuba, the electoral commissions and municipal offices of the Identity Card and Voter Registration checked the Register of Electors, in order to verify the correct update regarding the elections. Electoral authorities in the island have been carrying out several actions to allow voters to know the candidates to deputies better, such as the exibition of photos and biographies of them in public places and meetings held in various areas throughout the country. Lieutenant Colonel Julio Torres García, member of the CEN, said that about 26,000 young Cubans will be voting for the first time for their representatives in the Parliament and the 15 Provincial Assemblies of People's Power. In Cuba everyone older than 16 can exercise their right to vote. Current legislation only sets with inability to suffrage those judicially sanctioned and people with mental problems that prevent them from exercising that right. The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, once said: "Democracy means to me that governments, first, are closely linked with the people, emerge from the people, with the support of the people, and devote themselves entirely to work and fight for the people and for the people's interests. " It is then for every Cuban an enormous responsibility to attend to this important moment for our democracy and elect those who they consider that will best represent them. With information from Cubasí.cu

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cuba: Crossroads for Washington

The application of the new Cuban immigration reforms shatters the old stereotypes created by the fierce propaganda campaign carried out by the U.S. government against the Cuban Revolution. Washington will not be able to continue selling the ridiculous image of the island-prison that the big media has been spreading worldwide. The United States is exposed as the only American country that prevents its citizens from travelling, although such insulting fact will not appear in the headlines as noted by Cuban blogger Iroel Sanchez in his web page lapupilainsomne. The promoters of press freedom hide the fact that Americans are banned from traveling to Cuba. If they do so without authorization from Washington, they are heavily fined or sanctioned. However, from now on Cubans can not only travel anywhere in the world without having to perform cumbersome proceedings, but will be allowed to become residents or citizens of other countries, including the United States, without losing legal residence in Cuba. But this, if necessary, can be retrieved at any time upon request. Although the State reserves for reasons of national security or of public interest, the right to deny permission to travel to a minority of officials, scientists and elite athletes, we are seeing a willingness to make less use of that prerogative. Even the U.S. mercenaries on the island have proven that they can apply for a passport, so I guess as soon as they get it they will travel to the country that grants a visa. We know that they are not lacking money. The new legal regulations, with all its depth, come from a policy of gradual relaxation in immigration controls by the Cuban government. According to official data, between 2000 and August 2012, 99.6 per cent of the exit permits requested by Cubans were approved. In that period some 941, 953 persons travelled for private reasons, of whom 120, 275 did not return, equivalent to 12.8 per cent. Of travellers, 158, 68 were university graduates, of whom 10.9 per cent did not return. The figures clearly show that the vast majority of Cubans who travel come back to Cuba. So the versions or illusions of an alleged exodus are devoid of substance. Although I do not have official data, I know first-hand that many Cubans are returning to the island as a result of the crisis of capitalism or are moved by the growing facilities that are available to start a small business in the island. The impact of this change is such that just a few hours after taking effect it has leave the members of the Miami mafia dumbfounded, beyond uttering expressions like "everything that the Castro dictatorship does is to keep them in the power." For its part, the State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland and even the most anti-Cuban media like El País have called the new Cuban immigration reforms positive. The main problem now is to Washington, which will have to decide what to do with the famous Cuban Adjustment Act, which allows the granting of work permits, residence and naturalization to all Cubans who-legally or illegally-enter the United States. It is supposed to be politically persecuted, but very strange, because they have traveling for years to the island by hundreds of thousands and now they can do so with every facility imaginable from Havana. The vast majority are economic migrants and their political positions are far from those of the rabid Miami counterrevolution. With information from