Archive for February 15th, 2012

One in four young people in EU at risk of poverty, study says

February 15, 2012

Young people in Cuba should read this report very carefully and learn of the
advantages they have over their European counterparts by virtue of living in
a society that is not captive to savage capitalism and can prioritise their
human needs over the needs of the international money markets. Whilst
European governments are cutting wages and benefits and increasing taxes on
ordinary people, the very rich are having their taxes cut to encourage them
to keep their money in European banks and prevent a collapse of the European
economy. In this crisis of capitalism, as with any previous one, the rich
get richer and the ordinary people pay for it. Except in Cuba. -SMcG.

One in four young people in EU at risk of poverty, study says



  1. EU anti-poverty plan lacks substance, says civil society
  2. Europe 2020 and the battle against poverty: back to square one?
  3. EU unemployment hits record high


BRUSSELS – Almost a quarter of the EU’s population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion, according to statistics released Wednesday (8 February), with 13 member states recording a rise in the number of their citizens considered vulnerable.

The figures for 2010 show that 115 million Europeans, or 23.4 percent of the EU population, live in households with less than the poverty-threshold disposable income, in households where there is severe material deprivation (such as a lack of heating) or where the adults worked less than 20 percent of their total work potential.

Bulgaria has the highest percentage of population (42%) falling into one or more of these categories, followed by Romania (41%), Latvia (38%), Lithuania (33%) and Hungary (30%).

While 13 of the 25 member states that provided information recorded a rise in the numbers affected when compared with 2009, Spain (23.4% to 25.5%) and Lithuania (29.5% to 33.4%) saw the greatest leap from one year to the next.

The lowest rates of poverty and social exclusion were recorded in the Czech Republic (14%), Sweden and the Netherlands (both 17%).

The deprivation figures were even higher among those under 17 years of age with 27 percent of youth across the EU falling below the threshold. In all, 20 countries recorded a higher rate of poverty and risk of social exclusion among young people than among the general population.

Romania’s youth are the worst off in the EU where almost half of them (48.7%) are vulnerable. Young people in Bulgaria (44.6%) and Latvia (42%) fare little better – while Bulgaria also distinguishes itself by having by far the highest percentage of elderly people – 55.9 percent – considered deprived.

The poverty statistics come atop of unemployment statistics published last week recording a record high jobless rate in the EU, with some 23 million people without work.

Joblessness and poverty has been pushed up the political agenda in the EU with analysts increasingly questioning the merits of the austerity drive in the eurozone as governments seek to rein in spending – with the public sector the first in line to be hit.

At a summit at the end of January, EU leaders made a point of devoting debate and the subsequent summit conclusions to plans for economic growth – but there were few spending commitments while the EU commission itself is limited by the fact that employment is largely a member state power.

Meanwhile, the current harsh winter temperatures have thrown a spotlight on Europe’s homeless and socially vulnerable people, as hundreds have died due to the cold across the continent.

The media in Belgium, home to the EU’s institutions, has been reporting for several days on the need get people off the streets as temperatures have at times plunged to around minus 20. But the reporting has also highlighted the plight of people who have fallen into arrears on rent, are living in poorly-insulated apartments and are unable to pay for nutritious food or afford heating bills.

An appeal in response to the cold called Winter2012, run by Belgian broadcaster RTBF, since the beginning of the week has seen around 5,000 calls lodged.

Some 75 percent have been by people offering to help in the form of bedclothes, shelter and heating. The rest are calls by people looking for aid. Of these, half wanted heating, 15 percent bedclothes, 10 percent lodging and 5 percent voluntary assistance.

Love letter from Adriana to Gerardo: “Please come back soon, I need you”

February 15, 2012

Feb. 9, 2012
Reprinted from CubaDebate

A gift

My love, Valentine’s Day is coming and, once more, we remain apart; every year we say the same thing, this year will be the last!

I wish to wake up by your side and hug you as most couples will do; of them, I am envious today. A right we have been deprived of for a long time; more than fourteen years without kissing you, touching you, settling for only listening to your voice on a phone call whenever possible, a postcard or some detail thanks to your characteristic creativity and to the solidary support of those who manage to get a smile of happiness out of us.

As I was going over some papers and photographs, I took time to observe the last pictures we took on my birthday, in January 1998, and I couldn’t stop thinking of how happy we were at the time, our eyes said it all.

Where is my spring? Where has the sun hidden that forgot my garden, that my soul withered? Like the song goes.

I surprised myself dreaming you were free already, back home with me, and in a big hug I asked you not to let me alone again. Be on time!, as you usually say.

That’s why on this day of happiness, romance and gifts, I do not find a better present for you than to offer you my future, since you are already the owner of my past and my present.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Please, come back soon, I need you, I love you.

Your bonsai,

February 7th, 2012

Ramón’s poem for the Day of Love and Friendship

February 15, 2012

by Ramón Labañino
Feb. 14, 2012


In this daily struggle
Full of challenges and tenacity
There is glory in each morning
When I receive your good song.

Only love can create that work
Which for love you and I defend.
Only love rewards each good action
With its tenderness.

Only love crosses borders
And comes to where I am,
With the elegance of a thousand faces and one poem
Of love alone, only love…

Only love conquers chimeras,
That is how you and I will overcome!

Happy Day of Love and Friendship!
All the love of the Five is with you today and always!!!

Tony, Gerardo, René, Fernando, Ramón.
Feb. 14, 2012
FCI Jesup, Georgia


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