Archive for August, 2013

La política no cabe en la azucarera

August 31, 2013

Cuba Central - The Blog

Last week, when we wrote about new legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to extinguish people-to-people travel to Cuba, we knew it was bad.

We write today with a greater urgency.  A deeper analysis of the proposal by Dawn Gable, CDA’s assistant director, demonstrates how far-reaching an effort to gut travel this amendment represents.  Moreover, the political climate has become more uncertain after the seizure of Cuban cargo hidden beneath brown sugar that may violate the UN arms embargo against North Korea.

First principles first:  We believe in engagement.  We believe that Cuba and the United States are trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of animosity and distrust because the two governments rarely talk and because both publics have historically been walled off from normal contact.  In the last five decades, both governments have circled each other suspiciously and bad conditions have often been made worse because of the absence…

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Cuban Doctors Bring Eyesight, Healthcare to Haiti

August 29, 2013

Cuban Doctors Bring Eyesight, Healthcare to Haiti
By Patricia Grogg

Many Haitian women have their blood pressure taken for the first time at mobile clinics like this one staffed by a Cuban medical brigade in Salomon market in Port-au-Prince. Credit: Patricia Grogg/IPS

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Aug 28 2013 (IPS) – It’s Saturday, and the entrance hall of a police station in front of the busy market in Salomon in the Haitian capital has become an improvised health post. In a few minutes there is a long queue of people waiting to be seen by the Cuban medical brigade.

The police officer on duty said he was not authorised to speak to journalists, but the extent of police cooperation is obvious. The police stations’ tables and chairs are quickly lined up along the entrance hall to facilitate the work of La Renaissance hospital workers, who carry out preventive health work here once a week.

“We are a mobile clinic,” said Damarys Ávila, the head of La Renaissance hospital, which is staffed by the Cuban medical mission. “We check for high blood pressure, cataracts, pterygium (a benign tumour of the conjunctiva) and glaucoma,” she told IPS. “We send people with these conditions to the hospital.”

Women are the majority of those waiting in line. “Women have the highest rate of high blood pressure because they bear the greatest burden of labour. Then there are dietary factors, like eating too much hot, spicy food, refined flour and salt,” she said.

“Many people have their blood pressure taken here for the first time in their lives,” Ávila said.

On a tour of this unusual health post, where in a single morning 167 poor women and men receive attention, expressions of gratitude abound.

“We seek out the Cuban doctors because they treat people well and they don’t charge. We are poor, we cannot afford to pay,” said a resident of Port-au-Prince before she raised the heavy load she was carrying on to her head.

The first Cuban medical brigade to Haiti arrived on Dec. 4, 1998, bringing relief in the aftermath of hurricane Georges. Since then cooperation has been uninterrupted and has had a decisive effect in this impoverished country, which in 2010 suffered an earthquake that killed 316,000 people, according to government figures, along with an ongoing cholera epidemic that has also claimed thousands of lives.

During this period Cuban medical personnel have seen 18 million patients, carried out 300,000 operations, saved 300,000 lives and restored eyesight to 53,000 people. According to official reports, there are 640 Cuban health professionals in Haiti, including 357 women.

The international healthcare aid to Haiti stands out not only due to its scope – it reaches the entire country – and its humanitarian impact, but also because it is preparing the country for the future by putting in place a public health system, including the reconstruction of hospital infrastructure.

Financial contributions towards these efforts come from Cuba, and also from Australia, Germany, Namibia, Norway, South Africa, Venezuela, and to a lesser extent from other countries.

The Cuban programme involves remodelling and building 30 community hospitals to act as reference centres, more than half of which have already been completed. Some 39 Haitian health ministry units are to be fitted out as healthcare centres, with or without beds, as well as 30 comprehensive rehabilitation wards.

There are two ophthalmological missions, part of Operation Miracle, one based permanently in Port-au-Prince and the other touring the interior of the country. There is a laboratory for prosthetic and orthopaedic devices, three electromedical workshops and a network for epidemiological and environmental surveillance.

Operation Miracle got underway in 2004, and by 2011 (the latest figures released) had restored or improved vision for more than two million people in 34 countries of Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

John M. Kirk, a professor at Dalhousie University in Canada, said that Haitian doctors who trained in Cuba have a key role to play in creating a stronger health system in Haiti.

According to his figures, 430 of the 625 Haitians who graduated from Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM, ) in early 2011 are already working in their country. Another 115 Haitians graduated from the University of Santiago de Cuba in 2011.

ELAM was established in November 1999, and was proposed to the 9th Ibero-American Summit, held that year in Havana (,), as a project for training health personnel in the regional grouping, made up of 19 Latin American countries, Andorra, Spain and Portugal.

But although the initiative was praised, it was not taken up by the high officials present at its inauguration. Cuba went ahead with the programme, which today embraces 122 countries and trains “young people mainly from the poorest strata of society, who are ethnically, educationally and culturally diverse,” its website says.

In an essay on the topic, Kirk said that since the 1970s, Cuba has helped to found medical schools in various countries, like Yemen (1976), Guyana (1984), Ethiopia (1984), Uganda (1986), Ghana (1991), Gambia (2000), Equatorial Guinea (2000), Haiti (2001), Guinea-Bissau (2004) and East Timor (2005).

A report given by the Cuban health ministry to IPS says 39,310 health professionals, including 25,521 women, are on “missions” in 60 countries. Of these, 34,794 are in the Americas, 3,919 in Africa, 554 in Asia and Oceania and 43 in Europe.

As a result of the economic reforms initiated in 2010, free provision of Cuban cooperation is being reduced, although it will continue to be “absolutely free” in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and Operation Miracle will also be free in Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay and Ecuador, among other countries.

Meanwhile, the Comercializadora de Servicios Médicos Cubanos (SMC – Cuban Medical Services Marketing Company,,) is expanding: it offers fee-paying medical attention in Cuba and abroad to raise revenue to finance Cuba’s free public health system.

Through the SMC, Brazil has hired 4,000 Cuban doctors to work in poor areas in the north of the country.
Related IPS Articles (, )
Doctors in Brazil: Too Few, or Just Too Far Between?
CUBA-AFRICA: Decades of Assistance and Cooperation
HAITI: Patchy Healthcare Adds to Miseries of Women and Girls

Intercambia René González con jóvenes de Nuevitas, Camagüey

August 29, 2013


Ayer fue un día diferente para los jóvenes trabajadores de la Fábrica de Cemento 26 de Julio, en la ciudad agroindustrial de Nuevitas,  al dedicar parte de su jornada a un intercambio -mediante audio conferencia- con René González, uno de los cinco cubanos luchadores antiterroristas.

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¿Qué es ser periodista en Cuba hoy?

August 28, 2013

El Adversario

Por: Raúl Antonio Capote.


Cuba necesita una prensa revolucionaria, una prensa martiana, fidelista, libre de oportunismos, de superficialidades, que critique, que señale, que eduque, que no pida permiso, que se atreva, debe ser el látigo del corrupto, la espina en el asiento del burócrata, la vergüenza del oportunista, la pesadilla de la contrarrevolución, la maestra de la sociedad, debe ser el orgullo del patriota, el ánimo del indeciso, la fe, la unidad, el espíritu de Cuba

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Cuba quiere potenciar el uso de energías renovables (#Cuba #economía #energíarenovable)

August 26, 2013

El incremento paulatino de las fuentes de energía renovables (FER), como la  eólica, es una necesidad en Cuba  ante el aumento de los precios de los combustibles y el agotamiento de esos recursos en los venideros años.energía eólica

Según el programa de desarrollo, la Isla pretende generar hacia el 2030 al menos el 10 por ciento de energía eléctrica a partir de fuentes renovables, para lo cual lleva a cabo proyectos inversionistas.

Entre estos se destaca la construcción del nuevo parque eólico en la playa La Herradura, en la provincia de Las Tunas, el cual será el mayor de su tipo en la nación caribeña al contar con 50 megawatts de potencia.

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From Cuba to Brazil: More Doctors

August 26, 2013


by Alfredo Prieto

After it was used as a political football by her opponents, and a process of push and pull, the government of Dilma Rousseff has announced the addition of four hundred Cuban doctors – through the More Doctors program of the the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), aimed at providing health services to underserved communities in Brazil.

To try to prevent this, the opposition vainly deployed a range of arguments ranging from the ideological to the technical. Starting with the latter, they imposed a requirement that they speak Portuguese, apparently forgetting that it is neither the Serbo-Croatian or Mandarin, but a language very close to Spanish – Don Miguel de Unamuno once called it “Spanish without bones” – and especially of the same variety spoken in Angola and Cape Verde, where thousands of Cuban physicians and health personnel have worked from the 1970s to the present. And they also insisted on four weeks of orientation on the Brazilian health system and a basic knowledge test. For Cubans, it should work more or less like what in English is called “a piece of cake”.

As for the former, for Brazilian medical associations, especially for the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) – an entity that brings together the upper middle class doctors exercising their modest offices in certain neighborhoods of Rio, Brasilia or other large cities – the presence of the Cubans, as well as “electioneering, irresponsible and disrespectful”, “violates human rights and threatens the health of Brazilians, especially those living in poor and remote areas.” This formulation gives the impression that the inhabitants of the favelas and the deep Brazil are living in a Swiss canton without suffering structural health problems that they actually suffer. This is why the government decided to accelerate the program after popular protests in the summer demanding fundamental changes in social policies. For associations of its kind, attempts to disqualify the Cubans professionally has been a true recurrence, which has no factual basis from its proven professional-academic and an accumulated history that has led them to practice in places like Gambia and Haiti, with emphatic results in reducing infant mortality rates or cholera, and recognized by institutions such as the World Health Organization and even markers of American liberal media as the New York Times.

But behind those ideological stratagems there are certain truths. The Brazilian government's initial call only garnered a response from 1618 physicians either local or from other parts of the globe, i.e., only 10.5% of the more than fifteen thousand necessary. And of course, they declined to go to communities and more isolated and difficult places in the country (north and northeast), in which Cubans are, nevertheless, real experts, having been tanned in the plains of African and through the mountains of Pakistan or the Venezuelan hills. And we know that once there they do their jobs not only technically, but also socially, according to the type of medicine that is practiced. A popular way to empowerment, but without ideological political speeches or pamphlets, as well, as a fellow colleague and New Mexico resident has emphasized.

From another angle, however, the crux is whether the move would generate more international coverage of the quality of services to the Cuban population, already overburdened by more than thirty-eight thousand health professionals –of these, some fifteen thousand doctors provide their services abroad– and problems such as lack of resources and inadequate treatment of people. Unfortunately, today these are not uncommon experiences in hospitals and health centers.

The Cuban press, which just held another of its congresses, has so far remained quiet on More Doctors, though the program got the limelight in the international media, including the United States. Another stripe for the tiger, even though it is a story that concerns Cubans, who, as always, access it via the classical word-of-mouth or the new information technologies. This generates feelings of empathy with the “cooperantes" [professionals offering services abroad through cooperation agreements] and their internationalism; in others, joy for the fringe benefits that the journey involves, but in both the concerns that ultimately make up the complexity of the scenario.

Moreover, the new Brazilian route reaffirms the main trend of the Cuban economy: almost from birth this country seems destined to export something. Sugar was the main protagonist from the mid-eighteenth century to the late twentieth – without it, it was said, there was no country. Then more than a hundred sugar mills were guillotined as old, inefficient and unproductive, and displaced by joint ventures and hotels. And then, since the dawn of the new millennium, the spotlight is on the export of professional services, especially in the area of health, but also in education and sports. It is no longer just “symbolic capital,” as Julie Feinsilver discussed in a classic study (Healing the Masses, University of California Press, 1993), but a reality of the global economy. In the Cuban case, this means an income of about six billion dollars a year for the state coffers.Final del formulario

08/24/13 – Cuba-L Analysis (Albuquerque) –
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann

Assange, Google y “lo que la CIA no puede hacer” en Cuba

August 26, 2013

La pupila insomne

Julian Assange publicó este sábado un artículo en el sitio web The Stringer donde demuestra el papel de Jared Cohen, director de Google Ideas, como “eficaz director de cambio de régimen de Google” y agrega que es “la canalización del Departamento de Estado en  Silicon Valley”.

El texto, que no encontré en español y por eso lo traduje, es abundante en pruebas y testimonios acerca del papel de Google en la política exterior de EE.UU.,

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Cuba Assisting Angolan Malaria Campaign

August 25, 2013

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Cuban and Angolan flagsA 145-strong Cuban contingent is currently assisting Angolan efforts to eradicate mosquito breeding sites in the capital Luanda with the aim of lowering the prevalence of Malaria in the country. 

The workers from the Cuban Labiofam enterprise have been committed to their mission, along with Angolan workers, in Luanda since 2009.  The mission covers several areas including the highly populated Viana municipality.  

Alejandro Figueredo noted that three Labofam representatives are working in Viana as advisors with a fumigation brigade. He explained that the work of the brigade is welcomed  by the neighbors in the Madera area given its contribution to fighting mosquitos and other vectors.

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Tengo carta de Obama

August 23, 2013

La pupila insomne

Iroel Sánchez

carta_obamaLo confirmaba la televisión. Fue una bomba, o más exactamente dos, lo que  escuchamos en el Pabellón Cuba el 12 de julio de 1997. Las explosiones habían ocurrido con apenas diez minutos de diferencia en los hoteles Nacional y Capri, dejando varios heridos, y el efecto de haber estado a escasos metros, en compañía de numerosos niños -entre ellos el mío- que esa mañana de sábado

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Cuban Five forums at US Law Schools in September, October

August 23, 2013


With the 15th anniversary of the Cuban Five’s unjust imprisonment approaching, the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five is busy organizing public events at Universities and Law Schools to reach new audiences among law students and faculty, as well as the wider university and community public.

For Friday, Sept. 13, at the University of the District of Columbia Law School, several student associations, including the Black Law Students Association, Black Men’s Law Society, Latino/a Law Student Association, National Lawyers Guild-UDC, and the Criminal Justice Society, are working with the National Committee on an important evening forum, featuring Danny Glover and Cuban Five attorney Richard Klugh.

For Thursday, Oct. 24, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, two important forums will be held at The Institute for the Study of the Americas and The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Law School. Among the panelists will be Danny Glover, Cuban Five attorney Bill Norris, and Louis Pérez Jr., ISA director and acclaimed Cuba historian.

If you are a student, faculty member or interested community activist,
contact us today if you would like to organize a similar forum!
Write to us at: or call 415-821-6545
Friday, Sept. 13, 6:00 pm at
The University of District of Columbia Law School
featuring Danny Glover and Cuban Five attorney Richard Klugh
Thursday, Oct. 24, 12 noon at
* The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Law School
featuring Danny Glover and Cuban Five attorney William Norris
Thursday, Oct. 24, 6:00 pm at
* The Institute for the Study of the Americas
featuring Danny Glover, William Norris and Louis Pérez Jr.

National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
Email: * web:

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