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Daily Archives: February 18, 2012

Coast Guard repatriates 108 Haitian migrants, 14 Cuban migrants

Coast Guard repatriates 108 Haitian migrants, 14 Cuban migrantsBy: MMD Press ReleasesPosted on February 16, 2012 at 15:47 PM EST

MIAMI (MMD Newswire) February 16, 2012 — The Coast Guard repatriated 108 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti, Thursday, and 14 Cuban migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, Tuesday.

The Haitian and Cuban migrants were interdicted at sea during two separate events.

The crew of the Boston-based, 270-foot Coast Guard Cutter Spencer assisted the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Monday in the interdiction of 108 Haitian migrants. The Haitian migrants were repatriated Thursday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami aircrew spotted 14 Cuban migrants Friday in the Florida Straits. The crew of the 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Kodiak Island, homeported in Key West, Fla., repatriated the migrants Tuesday.

For more information on how to legally immigrate to the United States, call U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at 1-800-375-5283 or visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.

All migrants interdicted were provided with , water, shelter and basic medical attention.

http://finance.sfgate.com/hearst.sfgate/news/read?GUID=20657309

La Iglesia apuesta por la reconciliación y cree que las reformas ‘podrían ser más audaces’

Religión

La Iglesia apuesta por la reconciliación y cree que las reformas 'podrían ser más audaces'AgenciasSantiago de Cuba 17-02-2012 – 9:04 pm.

El de los obispos católicos, Dionisio García Ibáñez, dice que el Papa llegará a la Isla en un momento de cambios.

La Iglesia Católica apuesta por la "reconciliación" entre los cubanos como prioridad en un año marcado por la visita del Papa a la Isla, en el que se propone continuar el diálogo abierto con el Gobierno en medio de los "tímidos cambios" que vive el país.

En entrevista con EFE, el presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Cuba (COCC), Dionisio García, afirmó que los cubanos necesitan esa "amplia" reconciliación, aunque reconoce que aún "hay gente que la rechaza" dentro y fuera de la Isla.

El también arzobispo de Santiago de Cuba considera que la "división", la "separación" y las "diferencias" afectan tanto a las familias como a los ámbitos social, cultural o político, y por ello ve necesario fomentar una actitud de "aceptar al otro, aceptar lo que piensa, lo que dice, lo que es, cómo ve la realidad de las cosas".

Las autoridades católicas han puesto énfasis en potenciar esa actitud conciliadora durante su labor pastoral en 2012, cuando se celebra el Año Jubilar por el aniversario 400 del hallazgo de la imagen de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, patrona de Cuba.

Punto de inflexión

García recuerda que esa celebración, así como la visita del papa Benedicto XVI en marzo, tienen lugar después de que el país transitó "de un Estado marxista rígido a un Estado en que la religiosa (…) sea aceptada".

La visita de Juan Pablo II a Cuba en 1998 significó un "punto de inflexión", tras años de trabajo en los que la Iglesia se propuso lograr una mayor presencia en la Isla, donde los vínculos entre las autoridades católicas y el Gobierno revolucionario tienen un historial de crisis, tensiones y altibajos.

En ese sentido, el arzobispo recalcó que la visita de Juan Pablo II y el próximo viaje de Benedicto XVI son "situaciones diferentes".

"Hubo cambios internacionales que conmovieron a Cuba. Hubo cambios también en la manera del Estado, del Gobierno, de ver el papel de la fe y el religioso, la caída del campo socialista, y una vuelta más firme de Cuba hacia América Latina", señala García.

En particular, destaca el hecho de que el Gobierno haya puesto "su mirada" en Latinoamérica, ya que en la región "el papel de los creyentes tiene un peso social y cultural, y eso también hizo que (…) el respeto a la fe de la persona se empezara a ver de otra manera".

El viaje de Benedicto XVI a la Isla, entre los días 26 y 28 de marzo, se enmarca en las celebraciones del Año Jubilar y el Santo Padre llegará como "peregrino" para visitar el Santuario Nacional de la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre en Santiago de Cuba.

No obstante, monseñor Dionisio García reconoce que es "inevitable" que se busquen los "efectos políticos" de esa visita a Cuba.

"Esta visita del Santo Padre, en este momento de cambios, que son muy tímidos todavía pero son cambios, nos va a animar a vivir estos cambios en una perspectiva de respeto a cada persona, en su dignidad como persona", sostiene García.

'Las reformas podrían ser más audaces'

Para el arzobispo, de 67 años, las reformas que desarrolla el Gobierno "podrían ser más audaces", aunque dijo que las transformaciones que se impulsan "sí pueden ayudar".

Asimismo confirma que la Iglesia y el Estado mantienen su comunicación con "fluidez" y, aunque no existe una agenda predeterminada de áreas para trabajar en conjunto, el canal de diálogo se mantiene abierto.

Precisó que la Iglesia ahora "puede verter con más facilidad sus opiniones", sus criterios "son escuchados" y muchas veces reciben respuesta.

"Me parece que es una continuidad producto de la presencia de la Iglesia en Cuba en todo este tiempo, del trabajo amplio de la Iglesia durante todo este tiempo, y también un cambio de actitud de parte del Estado", aseveró.

Sin olvidar antiguos reclamos como un mayor acceso al sistema educativo y a los medios de comunicación, García admite que sin dudas tienen actualmente una mayor presencia en los medios que en otros años.

Sobre el papel futuro de la Iglesia en una Cuba cambiante, cree que se trata de "hacer camino al andar" y no descarta que la Iglesia pueda mejorar su trabajo interno y también cambiar "para bien".

http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/9668-la-iglesia-apuesta-por-la-reconciliacion-y-cree-que-las-reformas-podrian-ser-mas-audaces

Cuba Always Skimps on Resources for Education and Teachers / Dora Leonor Mesa

Cuba Always Skimps on Resources for and Teachers / Dora Leonor MesaDora Leonor Mesa, Translator: Unstated

It is my duty to refute the following public statements: "Cuba does not spare resources for Education" (Juventud Rebelde, August 26, 2011. Print Edition), "… is an education (Cuban) that has been developed in constant conflict with the aggressive policy of the United States …" (Juventud Rebelde, October 19, 2011. Print edition). I just want to point out some ways to not make too long a list where the keywords are lack and scarcity:

1. 45% of Cuban schools have no telephones. Cuban firms and companies that have abundant hard currency, such as , the phone company, do not have plans to support the Ministry of Education.

2. Most Cuban teachers and professors do not have media technologies such as flash drives and computers, which in addition were banned for years, with private purchase prohibited.

3. Much of the current Cuban teacher technology training suffers from the need to share knowledge successfully with education professionals from other countries.

4. As officials from the Ministry of Education(MINED) have publicly stated on Cubaeduca websites and online Cuban newspapers Cuban, the schools have computers at a ratio of 1 to 20 students.

5. The technology available is obsolete and scarce.

6. Schools do not have access and those that have it, have a very narrow bandwidth, controlled by censorship.

Some seek to attribute the educational disaster to the U.S. and the Ministry of Education. Something like the famous phrase: "The fault of all lies with all." Maybe I should say "the alls" …

Although the current Cuban education is going through a crisis, defending the criteria that give Cuba a prestigious reputation for its education system. However, it doesn't merit it, I believe, the availability of resources for many years have been insufficient. The real perpetrators and promoters of the successes have been, in large part, the Cuban teachers have done wonders out of nothing.

We must also mention the ex- , with his charismatic and populist leadership… and unquestionably highlight the contribution of books and consultants who come from countries like East and the Soviet Union, possessing a vast cultural and scientific culture, both formed by world-class names as Mendeleyev, Pavlov, Koch … This influence benefited, there is no reason to deny it, Cuban pedagogy, which in all ages, has always been attentive to the progress and pedagogical innovations.

In this small island, a notable Cuban personality says with good reason: Here prosperity is demonized. When a teacher or teacher have several resources for their classes, they will face, first of all, questions about how they come to have them.

Research confirms that talented teachers give more importance to good working conditions than to salary (Protheroe, N., Principal's Research review, vol. 6 Issue 1, 2011). Surveys show the unquestionable impact of good working conditions in the high retention and recruitment of new teachers.

Just 50 years ago any Latin American country was much richer than South Korea. According to the UN today South Korea has higher income per capita than any of them. The secret lies in a high quality education system.

Cuba has been living in the XXI century for a decade. You can not go back to prehistory, dinosaurs disappeared, Cuba was declared more than four decades ago "Territory Free of Illiteracy". Am I wrong?

October 28 2011

http://translatingcuba.com/?p=15310

False Paradigms / Fernando Dámaso

False Paradigms / Fernando DámasoFernando Dámaso, Translator: Unstated

Print encountered on a street in Havana.*

The five spies serving sentences in the United States, four in prisons and one on parole (for two years he can't leave the country), together with their families, have been converted, at least officially, as a result of a massive media campaign, into paradigms of the politically correct citizen.

When one speaks of courage and sacrifice, they constitute the supreme examples. On Father's Day, they are proclaimed fathers par excellence. On Mother's Day, their offspring emulate Mariana Grajales, Maceo's mother. And on Valentine's Day (here the "Day of Love and Friendship"), they and their partners rival Romeo and Juliet or Tristan and Isolde. A real soup of sentiment! To see for yourself, just follow the propaganda — written, on the radio, and on TV.

A neighbor of mine — one of those few who still believe unconditionally in "the model", who perform surveillance duty for and attend the meetings of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, unconditional model, participate in the Delegate Accountability meetings of their district, and even vote in the so-called elections — told me the other day, "It seems to me that The Five, instead of being in , are enjoying holidays with pay in the United States, paid for by U.S. taxpayers. In addition, their family members at our expense, and even receive a few dollars to stock up on odds and ends."

At first I was shocked and didn't know how to answer. Was he being serious, or provoking me? When I realized it was the former, I totally agreed with him.

These characters live better and eat better than most Cubans, play chess with the children here, enjoy and telephone communication, offer interviews to be broadcast and published, are visited by Hollywood stars and other personalities, develop their artistic skills, publish books of poetry and put on art exhibitions and, perhaps, one of them might even be writing a book, sure to win the Casa de las Americas Prize. In addition, they enjoy first world medical care and receive regular visits from their families (for those who don't receive visas to do so, it is because they were for espionage activities). As you can see, my neighbor is not very confused in his judgment.

Anyone who knows anything about publicity knows that a campaign, when it reaches the degree of saturation, should be discontinued as it may obtain results diametrically opposed to those expected: people begin to reject what is offered so insistently, as a mechanism self-defense.

And so it has happened with The Five: Cubans, weary of such absurd and cloying propaganda, they get the joke. As usual, the authorities have gone too far, without observing the effect. Again, Maximo Gomez proves to be absolutely right when he said, "Cubans: either they go too far or they fall short." The most common is that we fall short.

February 17 2012

Tag: CDR

http://translatingcuba.com/?p=15323

Cardinal Rivera encourages greater religious freedom in Cuba

Cardinal Rivera encourages greater religious in CubaMexico City, Mexico, Feb 14, 2012 / 06:06 pm (EWTN News)

Weeks before Pope Benedict's visit to Latin America, Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City encouraged Cuban Ambassador Manuel Aguilera de la Paz to work for greater religious freedom in his country.

During a Mass at the Cathedral of Mexico City on Feb. 12, Cardinal Rivera said Mexico welcomed the Cuban ambassador "with affection, and we rejoice that you are exercising your religious freedom," reported Vatican-based Fides news agency.

"We know with certainty that the commander () and Raul (Castro) are taking care of each detail of Pope Benedict XVI's visit," the cardinal said.

Ambassador Aguilera told the Archdiocese of Mexico City's News Service that his meeting with Cardinal Rivera was "very cordial."

"We spoke about the upcoming visit of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, to Cuba. I told the cardinal that the Cuban people are going to receive His Holiness with great unity, much affection and respect, just as we received Pope John Paul II in 1998."

He also said Cardinal Rivera told him that he went to Cuba with Pope John Paul II "and that he was sure that this new visit would be a great success."

"My best wishes for a successful visit to Mexico for His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, and of course I hope for great success for the visit he will make to our country," Aguilera said.

http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Americas.php?id=4875#ixzz1mZFjJvVU

Cuba Medicine and an Offended Doctor / Miriam Celaya

Cuba Medicine and an Offended Doctor / Miriam CelayaMiriam Celaya, Translator: Unstated

Following the publication of the post "The Broken Showcase" in this , in which I noted several criticisms of the Cuban system and the loss of professional ethics by not a few doctors, a reader was kind enough to send me the letter of a doctor with the surnames Alemán Matías, which circulated on the web, not in response to my post but in response to a note which was published some time ago in the Letters section, a feature that appears every Friday in the Granma newspaper.

However, as somehow the topic is related, and as I have opposing views to those wielded by the aforementioned doctor, today I propose to my readers to comment on the letter, transcribed in full below, and whose writing, spelling and style I have respected without altering them in the slightest. I do not cite the web source because I'm transcribing directly from the message of my reader. I urge readers, in order to avoid misunderstandings, to bear in mind that Dr. Alemán refers to a letter published in Granma and not to my post of last Monday, February 6:

And the patience of the doctors?!

On Friday, November 4, 2011 was published another letter of the many that have already been published, constantly criticizing the medical staff that still has the dignity of working in the National Health System. The letter in this case, entitled "Patience of patients," doesn't speak about the myriad difficulties faced daily by health workers, but superficially criticized and, in a way that has become a tradition, in a non-constructive way.

In other words, the doctor has no right to speak, amid all her difficulties must remain stoic, and can not comment to her partner over a breakfast she can't eat that morning because if she did she would miss the and not arrive early to attend to the patient who would later feel every right to criticize her, and so this is one of what are countless examples of what doctors could talk about that would not fit in all the pages of a newspaper.

That doctor has to have all the patience to sit and wait for a bus, to arrive at the of her child where they tell her there is no teacher or they do not have lunch, to arrive to buy detergent for the month in CUC, a currency in which she does not receive her wages, and to wait for the clerk to finish gossiping with the one next to her, to deign to check out everything she would buy.

Patience to come and pick up the garbage cans, overflowing outside her home and on every corner, the community workers, who surely have the right and time to have pleasant conversations so that they forget they have to clean up the city trash.

I speak as a doctor, because it is because of this that I arrive at ten o'clock in the morning in the operating room without having been able to have breakfast and having to tell my co-worker next to me how hungry I am! And knowing that there is no snack and that lunch will arrive at 2:00 pm and at that hour I will be able to have lunch although it will be a taste of what they give the doctors and the rest of the workers in this section.

But the physician continues standing there, giving the best care to the patient she is operating on, and who will later have "every right to criticize all doctors" who although conversing, gave him quality medical care, which all Cuban doctors continue doing, and all which all the people of Cuba should be proud of, yet they continue to us without having the least idea of the inhuman conditions in which we work and how much we contribute to society.

I will end with the same question: Should we get used to this?

Dra. A. Alemán Matías

Specialist 1st grade of Anesthesiology and Reanimation.

So much for the letter-catharsis of the doctor. Now, from my personal perspective it is obvious that the evil is deeper than many thought. For starters, it would seem that Dr.Alemán understands that doctors are some particular kind of breed to be placed above the rest of humanity.That is, the vast majority of Cubans of any profession, occupation or trade pass through identical material deprivation and problems, they have to wait for the bus for long hours, often have nothing to eat breakfast, are paid in local currency and need products that are sold only in hard currency and, to round it off, they get sick. Therein lies our greatest disadvantage.

I believe that every patient is within his rights to demand better treatment and better care from the doctors, regardless of whether or not they have eaten, particularly because the patients are not responsible for the material privations and the personal problems of the physicians. Health is the most precious of treasures, which explains the concern and anxiety of the patients when they are forced to go to consultations from which they often emerge without a diagnosis, in hospitals where frequently the necessary equipment to perform complete exams doesn't exist, or where there are no reagents for the lab tests. We have experienced going to the labs where, in addition, "they don't have" intravenous needles, which rapidly appear when we open our wallets. It's an irrefutable reality that happens with such regularity it's become a tradition. Not to mention the shortage of .

If the patient requires hospitalization, then his concern and that of his family members increases exponentially. You are almost always admitted using your own resources, your own bedding and personal effects in every detail, generally you must bring your medications from home and your family must guarantee your to avoid your consuming the gastronomic offal that is food. The conditions of the rooms and bathrooms are another chapter of horror: lack of water, blocked drains, cockroaches, filth, are a constant in most hospitals. And I am referring only to the hospitals in the capital, with two or three honorable and rare exceptions. I urge Dr. Alemán to disprove something of what I've asserted here.

Another feature of the Cuban health system is the absolute impunity with regard to medical patients. Cubans do not have the slightest opportunity to challenge a diagnosis or to sue doctors and hospitals for mismanagement or fatal errors. The examples of silencing them abound. About two years ago a cousin of mine died in the Naval Hospital in East Havana. Unknowingly she had an ectopic pregnancy and in the face of severe abdominal pain that came on suddenly she was rushed into surgery. From there, shortly afterwards, she emerged dead. She was 40, a healthy and beautiful wife, mother of two children, and in the matter of a few hours she was dead. It was the consequences of the effect of the anesthesia, whether this was fatal or there were other complications we will never know. She, Ana Margarita Celaya, was cremated, a family left devastated, but the doctors of that unfortunate surgical intervention continued practicing. At best, what happened that day, is that they had not eaten breakfast, go figure.

My father was diagnosed with a metastatic brain tumor just five days before his death, although for more than six months we had been frequenting consultations and specialists in various branches of medicine. The scanner could not detect his illness and only the MRI, that my older brother and I managed to "resolve" — that is, arrange for — through some friends, discovered too late his impending death. Up to that moment we were wandering around hospitals, trying to figure out what strange illness was making my father lose his balance, be so confused, forget even my phone number, become more and more melancholy, suffer sleep disorders and lose control of his legs and even speech. The doctors said it was "stress," that he had "anxiety," and prescribed one psychotropic after another for months. Perhaps knowing earlier what he was suffering from would not have changed the outcome, but at least he would have had a better quality of life in his last months. I will never forgive the health care system — the political system, a source of many evils — for my father's terrible agony.

For me, personally, on January 28 they diagnosed me at Calixto Garcia hospital with a kidney infection I never had. They did no analysis of any kind and prescribed me oral antibiotics. I, who was vomiting, almost dehydrated. Of course, it was my fault for coming to a consultation without "sponsors," knowing as I do what the system is.

Dr. Alemán should convince Yoani Sanchez of the ethics of the doctor who attended her after she experienced the beating given to her in a closed car by various minions of the political . I saw the bruises from the blows and helped my friend through her painful convalescence. The doctor, who initially recognized the marks of the blows and the bruises on Yoani's body, soon retracted under pressure from the agents of the repressive forces. A monument to Cuban medical ethics, I think.

If I were to list here all the personal anecdotes of my friends and acquaintances in their experiences as Cuban patients, I couldn't do it in a single blog nor in my entire lifetime. So I cannot accept that a doctor feels particularly offended by the criticisms leveled against the Cuban public health system and some doctors. It's very bold of her to speak on behalf of all doctors when she says that patients are given "quality medical care, which all the Cuban doctors still offer." Not true. I know that there are still doctors who provide excellent treatment to their patients with a professional zeal that is increasingly deficient in half of them, but far from "all." Recently I heard of a doctor of Centro Habana who does not even take the blood pressure of pregnant women in his consultation "because he has to attend to many" and ultimately they even stopped paying him the 25 CUC a month that he received for having completed an international "mission." If that is ethical I prefer to "die in my own bed" before going to a doc like that.

For the rest, I suggest to Dr. Alemán that she properly focus her anger. The best would be that she complain to her superiors about the bad working conditions, the low salary, and the dreadful food offered her during her workday. That she protest and focus her outrage upward, not downward. The patients shouldn't have to resolve her problems, much less suffer the consequences. In any case, all doctors who ever decided to study for such a humane career and to take their Hippocratic oath, know what the Cuban conditions are. It doesn't seem to disgust many of them to go and sacrifice themselves in Haiti or in the most remote village of some obscure country, amid the filth and disease at the risk of losing their own health, to be able to acquire household appliances, other trashy little things and a little more money. With all due respect, I am not convinced that they do if from a stroke of pure altruism. When a doctor is mobilized to some remote destination outside of Cuba, he doesn't say, "No, I mustn't abandon the patients of my clinic." But if they send him to some lost village in Las Tunas or the Sierra Maestra, he howls to the heavens. And it's that in Cuba spiritual values have deteriorated almost irreparably, faced with the material miseries of life.

No, we Cubans really don't have much reason to feel the pride the doctor asks of us. Much less the appreciation. Instead, we feel helpless, abused and often humiliated. We feel powerless because we have no choice other than to seek the services of doctors of dubious quality. To go to a clinic at random in Cuba has now become a kind of Russian roulette: only if you're lucky do you save yourself. I don't play.

February 13 2012

http://translatingcuba.com/?p=15294

Zafra: sudor y lágrimas

Agricultura

Zafra: sudor y lágrimasLuis Felipe RojasHolguín 18-02-2012 – 8:03 am.

Exigencia comunista, presión del sindicato oficial, aprobación tácita de los trabajadores: los obreros del azúcar laboran durante 12 horas diarias y más.

Macheteros en Quiebra Hacha. (GETTY IMAGES, 2011)

Las noticias no pueden ser peores: ante la poca y deficiente alimentación, la depresión de los salarios dada la subida de los precios, y el aumento de las cifras de desocupados, los obreros del sector azucarero están laborando durante 12 horas diarias y más. Todo esto sin el mínimo asomo de protesta por su parte.

Por lo menos en tres de las cinco fábricas de azúcar de la provincia Holguín se ha comprobado que ante la desaparición de la llamada 4ta Brigada (para que las demás rotaran), los turnos de trabajo en estos centrales se elevaron en la presente zafra a doce horas, con la tácita aprobación de los trabajadores, la exigencia de la dirigencia comunista y la presión del sindicato oficial.

Aún con el aplazado proceso de "reordenamiento de la fuerza laboral", en el desaparecido Ministerio del Azúcar sí hubo bajas considerables. Y esto ha traído consigo la perniciosa inestabilidad de los hombres claves para hacer el azúcar, oficio antiquísimo que en las últimas décadas ha sufrido las mil y una improvisaciones.

Según testimonios de trabajadores del central Urbano Noris, "es tarea imposible hacer que un hombre trabaje durante noventa días en turnos de doce horas". Las áreas de maquinado y calderas llevan una enorme responsabilidad en el acabado final del producto, por lo que sube el estrés en el personal a cargo, lo que comúnmente da al traste con accidentes laborales de consecuencias trágicas. Ante la pregunta sobre los reclamos por tal medida, sobran las evasivas. Quienes se deciden a responder solo atinan a citar la imposición que hace el sindicato oficial, el pedido de los líderes del país de que se trata de un asunto de seguridad nacional, o el susto a perder esta fuente de empleo ante los recortes en las plazas disponibles, como sucedió hace un año y como les han prometido ante un supuesto reordenamiento laboral.

Desde finales de los años 60 se conocieron las famosas Jornadas guerrilleras, consistentes en hacer que los trabajadores vinculados directamente en el cortes, y molida de caña de azúcar, doblaran sus turnos de trabajo, dedicando tales esfuerzos a la independencia nacional, un congreso partidista o cualquier evento social del momento. Hoy, más de cuatro décadas después, han vuelto las iniciativas socialistas de explotación, pero sin los estímulos de antaño: mejor alimentación e incentivos materiales como viajes al exterior o permisos ministeriales para la compra de automóviles y equipos electrodomésticos de fabricación soviética.

En la presente contienda, el caballo de batalla utilizado para animar a los azucareros cubanos ha sido el vicepresidente José Machado Ventura. En octubre pasado visitó el poblado de San Germán, y aparte de las palmaditas a los dirigentes sindicales y los saludos de parte del azucarero en Jefe, su cumplido no fue más allá de dos o tres tramos de calle reparadas, algún que otro retoque con cal en la paredes y la represión a los opositores locales.

Frases huecas como la de "Creemos que tiene condiciones para seguir manteniéndose bien" o "En esta provincia [Cienfuegos] se está cumpliendo, el territorio está haciendo lo que debe de hacer…", aparecen una y otra vez como un latiguillo que viene y va desde el Comité Central al ingenio y de ahí a las diezmadas ganancias del azúcar, sin que la imagen vetusta de Machado Ventura desaparezca de un primerísimo plano en el noticiero nacional de televisión.

Con una riquísima tradición en las luchas sindicalistas por establecer la jornada laboral de ocho horas y pedir mejorías en las condiciones de labor, los trabajadores azucareros no han vuelto a levantar la cerviz en cincuenta y tres años. Han vuelto las escalofriantes jornadas de doce, dieciocho y hasta veintiuna horas de trabajo continuo.

Ante la evidencia de que el único empleador de la industria azucarera —el Estado— ha vuelto sobre los métodos de explotación que criticaba a sus antepasados, el silencio de los explotados es aún más alarmante y vuelve la frase que el poeta dedicó a los anteriores dueños de centrales: "mi patria es dulce por fuera y muy amarga por dentro".

http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/9671-zafra-sudor-y-lagrimas

Catholic Church in Cuba Looks to Reconciliation in Year of Papal Visit

Catholic Church in Cuba Looks to Reconciliation in Year of Papal VisitBy Anett Rios

SANTIAGO, Cuba – The Catholic Church of Cuba is setting reconciliation among Cubans as its priority in the year of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the Communist-ruled island.

In an interview with Efe, the of Cuba's Catholic bishops conference, Dionisio Garcia, said that Cubans need a "far-reaching" reconciliation, though he admits there are still "people who reject it" both on the island and elsewhere.

Garcia, the archbishop of the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, believes that division is detrimental both to families and to Cubans' social, cultural and political life, and for that reason recommends promoting an attitude of "accepting the other, accepting what they think, what they say, what they are, and how they view the reality of things."

Cuban Catholic authorities will emphasize a strengthening of this conciliatory attitude during their pastoral labors of 2012, the Jubilee Year celebrating the 400th anniversary of the finding of the statue of Our Lady of Charity, patroness of Cuba.

Garcia recalls that this celebration and the pope's visit are taking place after the country's transition "from a rigid Marxist state to a state in which religious …is accepted."

The visit of Pope John Paul II to Cuba in 1998 signified a "point of change" after years of work in which the church sought a greater presence on an island where relations between prelates and the revolutionary government were generally fraught with tension.

In that sense, the archbishop said that John Paul II's visit and the upcoming trip of Benedict XVI represent entirely "different situations."

"There were international changes that moved Cuba. There were also changes in the way the government saw the role of faith and the clergy, there was the fall of the socialist bloc with Cuba turning more and more toward Latin America," Garcia said.

The March 26-28 trip of Benedict XVI comes during the celebrations of the Jubilee Year, and the pontiff will arrive as a "pilgrim" on a visit to the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre in Santiago de Cuba.

Nonetheless, Garcia acknowledges that it is "inevitable" that "political effects" are being sought through this visit to Cuba, where President is promoting economic adjustments and the church and government opened an unprecedented dialogue in 2010 that ended with the release of more than 100 political prisoners.

"The Holy Father's visit during this time of changes, which are as yet very timid but they are changes, encourages us to interpret these changes from a perspective of respect for each and every other person, in his dignity as a person," Garcia said.

For the 67-year-old archbishop, the reforms being developed by the government "could be bolder," though he said that the transformations being promoted "could really help."

He also said that church and state maintain "fluid" communications.

He added that the church can now "offer its opinions more easily," its points of view "are listened to" and often receive a reply.

"I believe that it all comes from the continued presence of the church in Cuba all this time, from the widespread work of the church during all this time, and also from a changed attitude on the part of the government," he said.

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=471387&CategoryId=14510

Letter to the Minister of Public Health / Jeovany J. Vega

Letter to the Minister of Public / Jeovany J. VegaJeovany J. Vega, Translator: Unstated

Artemisa, 10 February 2012."Year 54 of the Revolution"To: Roberto Morales Ojeda.Minister of Public Health

Five years and four months since we were disqualified from the practice of Medicine for an indefinite time, through Resolutions 248 and 249, of September 27, 2006. All the details of our case have been repeatedly sent to the Directorate of the Ministry of Public Health through almost twenty documents that have been delivered to your home from us, since we first addressed the then Minister Dr. José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera in March 2007.

Now, two months after our last letter addressed to you, which, as usual, once again received no response, we send a tenth letter that, being nothing less, equals the record of its predecessor. At least you should know that we will persist in the view that the only way to do justice in this case is the following:

Revoke the Ministerial Resolutions 248 and 249, issued by Dr. Jose Ramon Balaguer, and return us both to the original jobs we occupied in April 2006. This would would imply a moral public redress and economic compensation consisting of the full amount of wages forgone during these more than five years we have not worked against our will.

Repeal Resolution 14-06 issued by the then Dean of the West Branch of the Institute of Medical Sciences of Havana, and return to Dr. Jeovany Gimenez Vega the Residency regime allowing him to finish the specialty in Internal Medicine which was arbitrarily suspended in his final year.

Minister: We hold today all points raised in the previous letter, dated December 10, 2011 – indeed, on this World Day of , the same that you violate when we are deprived of the right to free exercise of our profession – and we repeat, for the tenth time, we will rejoin our work as soon as soon as you decide to repeal this injustice.

Thank you for your inattention:

Jeovany Giménez Vega. Rodolfo Martínez Vigoa.Especialista M.G.I Especialista M.G.I

February 13 2012

http://translatingcuba.com/?p=15274

El derecho a decir “no”

de Expresión,

El derecho a decir "no"

Cíclicamente se le ha dado permiso a la población para que diga su opinión abiertamente y critique, pero lo que no acaban de entender es que la libertad no se concede ni se dosifica

Esteban Gutiérrez, Ciudad de La Habana | 18/02/2012

Durante todos estos años, largos, larguísimos, de revolución, el Comandante se "ha dicho y contradicho" en infinidad de ocasiones, y ha prometido tantas cosas que, de haberse cumplido, seríamos, sin duda alguna, la nación más feliz y más próspera del mundo.

Hace unos días, en la presentación del libro Fidel Castro, el guerrillero del tiempo, después de desvariar sobre los temas más increíbles, como son los huevos de dinosaurios, el hombre de Cromagnon, y una sarta de incoherencias semejantes, al conversar con el hijo de la autora, Katiuska Blanco, un niño de once años, le preguntó si él hablaba inglés. El niño le respondió que no, a lo que el Comandante, muy sonriente, le explicó que había que conocer ese idioma porque la inmensa mayoría de los libros se escribían en inglés.

Y, muerto de la risa, comentó que hacía unos años, a la gente le había dado por estudiar ruso, algo totalmente absurdo. Los presentes en la reunión rieron junto con el jocoso comandante mientras muchos de los que escuchábamos sus palabras nos preguntábamos si el Comandante estaba siendo cínico o si ya en su decrepitud había olvidado que fue política del Gobierno que él dirigía que eso se hiciera así. Ahora, también a su hermano, el nuevo General , le ha dado por decir lo mismo, como si ellos no tuvieran ninguna responsabilidad de semejante disparate.

Esta forma de manipular la historia, como si la culpa fuera siempre de otros, ha sido una constante desde el mismo primero de enero de 1959. Ahora estamos en la batalla contra la corrupción, pero los que hemos tenido que soportar todos estos años los devaneos de la política cubana recordamos aquel discurso en el que Raúl Castro se puso muy bravo (este tipo de cosas siempre se las dejaba al Segundo Secretario) —si no recuerdo mal fue en 1979— y destituyó al ministro del Trasporte, Luzón y al ministro de Pública, Gutiérrez y, al otro día, a quince ministros más, por un escándalo mayúsculo de corrupción. En 1984 volvieron a desayunarse con que todo se había hecho mal —igualitico que ahora— y comenzó aquello del período de rectificación de errores y tendencias negativas. En 1986, después de haber pasado más de diez años de que Cuba entrara en el CAME (1972), y de creado el Sistema de Dirección y Planificación de la Economía (1975), el descalabro económico continuaba y, en 1986, el Comandante, sin que se le alterara un músculo de la cara, dijo "recuerden que se han perdido diez años, ¡ahora sí vamos a construir el socialismo!", lo que provocó total estupefacción en la población que se preguntaba qué habíamos estado haciendo hasta ese momento y dónde habían estado ellos que habían permitido que se descarriara el curso venturoso de la Revolución.

Ahora, en medio de la debacle en la que se encuentra el país, Raúl Castro se ha dedicado a criticar todo lo mal hecho durante más de medio siglo en el que solo ha habido un gobierno, un partido, una prensa, en resumen, una sola voz, la de ellos. Las decisiones en el parlamento se toman siempre por unanimidad, no ha existido jamás un tímido voto en contra, ni siquiera una abstención. Y se le pide al pueblo que exprese sus criterios, incluso si van en contra de lo ordenado por los jefes.

Cíclicamente se le ha dado permiso a la población para que diga su opinión abiertamente y critique, pero lo que no acaban de entender es que la libertad no se concede ni se dosifica, la libertad es un derecho de todos, no de unos cuantos, y nadie te puede decir cuándo puedes o no puedes ser libre. Muchos recordamos aquel Llamamiento al 4to Congreso del Partido donde la gente se lo creyó y lo criticó todo, hasta el punto de que hubo que parar aquello y aclarar algunas cosas.

Se podía hablar sobre casi todo, pero no todo. Los dirigentes estaban en la plenitud de sus facultades, con una sólida y larga experiencia. El pluripartidismo era una degeneración capitalista, ajeno a nuestra "idiosincrasia" marxista y martiana, y el socialismo era nuestra única y legítima opción histórica. Zanjado el problema.

Ahora, más de veinte años después de ese congreso, el General Presidente vuelve a otorgar ese permiso, y lo dice como si estuviera proponiendo algo muy osado, muy liberal, para dar la impresión de que hay una verdadera apertura y de que las cosas van a cambiar a partir de introducir "nuevos" mecanismos financieros en una especie de redescubrimiento del " tibia".

Los tímidos cambios en la esfera económica pretenden sacar al país del estancamiento y deterioro en que se encuentra. La situación es angustiosa, los salarios no alcanzan; en los hospitales faltan medicamentos y equipos esenciales, ni hablar de que los médicos y enfermeras que quedan en el país no dan abasto; el es caótico; la calidad de la educación es pésima; la ciudad está a punto de desplomarse y el malestar popular va creciendo por días.

Pero siguen empecinados en defender la validez del partido único y no acaban de reconocer que es justamente por eso que estamos como estamos. Desde que a la libertad de expresión se le puso la camisa de fuerza con aquello de que "dentro de la Revolución todo, fuera de la Revolución nada" se cerraron las puertas a la posibilidad de un real intercambio de opiniones pues los límites los ponían ellos, los que estaban en el poder. Si usted consideraba, por ejemplo, que la Zafra de los Diez Millones era un disparate, estaba fuera de la Revolución; si opinaba que no debía eliminarse la enseñanza del inglés en las escuelas, también; si se le ocurre plantear que el sistema no funciona y que se debe autorizar la existencia de partidos opositores, va .

Al eliminar la posibilidad del pluripartidismo, de una sociedad realmente democrática con una prensa independiente, donde se pueda discrepar y plantear soluciones diferentes a la oficial, hasta que no se oiga en el parlamento cubano a alguien que diga, "no, no estoy de acuerdo", vamos a seguir en las mismas. Continuará la corrupción, la simulación y el robo.

Hasta que "el ente más infeliz" no tenga libertad para expresarse, el país seguirá estancado, los jóvenes seguirán yéndose y la prosperidad y felicidad de este pueblo continuará posponiéndose hasta límites insoportables.

http://www.cubaencuentro.com/opinion/articulos/el-derecho-a-decir-no-274072

Retos olímpicos de Cuba: una carga muy pesada

Retos olímpicos de Cuba: una carga muy pesadaPublicado el Sábado, 18 Febrero 2012 05:37Por Raúl Arce

El derrotero está marcado: los atletas cubanos deberán salvar difíciles obstáculos y soportar pesadas cargas antes de competir, durante el verano, en los Juegos Olímpicos Londres 2012.

Este sábado, el vallista Dayron Robles se enfrentará al chino Liu Xiang en Birmingham, Gran Bretaña, un duelo que reavivará la pugna deportiva entre ambos deportistas, marcada por la final del Campeonato Mundial del pasado año. En 2011 Robles entró primero a la meta, pero fue descalificado más tarde por agarrar una mano de su rival.

Pero el cubano, campeón olímpico y recordista mundial de los 110 metros con obstáculos, declaró recientemente a los periodistas afincados en La Habana que en su entrenamiento se enfrenta a una limitación de recursos. Hace dos semanas, y por primera vez en muchos años sin la compañía de su entrenador, Robles quedó segundo en los 60 metros con vallas en la reunión de Dusseldorf, , por diferencia de dos centésimas ante el estadounidense Kevin Craddock (7.53).

Según los reportes de prensa, el técnico Santiago Antúnez restó importancia al debut adverso de su pupilo y achacó esa derrota a una tardanza en su salida hacia Europa. Desde la capital cubana, Antúnez habló vía telefónica con el corredor poco después de la prueba en Alemania, y comentó que "El muchacho está muy bien, no hay por qué preocuparse, hizo dos carreras, salió muy explosivo, y después no cambió el ritmo, eso es cansancio".

Quejas de los forzudos

El martes último, atleta y preparador se reunieron en Guadalajara, España, donde los cubanos tienen su base de entrenamiento. El criollo, de 25 años, se prepara también para el XIV Campeonato Mundial en Pista Cubierta, del 9 al 11 de marzo en Estambul, Turquía; él ostenta el segundo mejor crono de todos los tiempos en los 60 metros con vallas, con 7.33 segundos.

Y menos mal, a la espera del duelo Cuba- sobre las vallas, hubo una buena noticia, el récord cubano y del área centroamericana y caribeña (bajo techo) de la pertiguista Yarisley Silva, quien logró 4.71 metros en el encuentro internacional atlético de Lievin, . Yarisley conquistó el segundo lugar en esa lid, superada por la estelar rusa Elena Isinbaieva, con 4.81 metros.

Pero hay más quejas. Mientras Robles se lamenta ante los obstáculos que encuentra fuera de la pista, el preparador del equipo cubano de pesas, Jorge Luis Barcelán, lamentó que la falta de "recuperantes" y la cancelación de bases de entrenamiento estén afectando la preparación de sus pupilos para los Juegos Olímpicos 2012.

Creatina y otros aminoácidos en falta dificultan la preparación, dijo Barcelán en declaraciones al diario oficial Granma.

"No todo es color de rosa", subtituló Granma al detallar la difícil situación que afrontan los cuatro forzudos clasificados para Londres (Sergio Álvarez, 52 kg; Iván Cambar, 77; Yoelmis Hernández, 85, y Javier Vanega, 94), donde el deporte de Cuba aspira a mejorar su actuación de Pekín 2008 (lugar 28 con 24 medallas).

Pablo Lara fue el último campeón olímpico cubano de halterofilia, en la ya lejana Atlanta de 1996.

http://cafefuerte.com/deportes/1593-retos-olimpicos-de-cuba-una-carga-muy-pesada

Raúl Castro’s train of ‘change’ to nowhere

Posted on Friday, 02.17.12CUBA

Raúl Castro's of 'change' to nowhereBY PEDRO ROIG

Delusion is riding high in the utopian train of change in Cuba. The problem is that the railroad station is empty with a sign that states: "The Communist Party is the soul of the Nation." Tenaciously holding to power, Raúl Castro stated at the recently held party conference in Havana, that the socialist system is untouchable and the supreme guiding force of the Marxist State.

Standing on the ruins of a failed revolution, he did not mention significant changes, downplaying any expectation that some mild economic reforms could entail an opening of individual rights. It is obvious that Raúl Castro is not interested in a Cuban political spring of . He is perfectly reconciled to the darkest night of a dogmatic fossil.

The Old Guard is in full control, completely oblivious to the universal discredit of the Marxist ideology. A corrupted inner power ring, the Cuban Communist Party is presided by the 80-year-old Raúl Castro, his 81 year-old deputy, José Machado Ventura, the 79-year-old Ramiro Valdés, a most feared executioner and the 85-year-old sick and delirious Fidel, who in his few moments of lucidity interferes in his brother's decision-making process. A difficult task for Raúl who worships the "Maximum Leader" as a father figure.

It is evident that the Cuban gerontocracy is concerned with the growing unrest and discontent that is sweeping the island. They have been forced to make inconsistent economic concessions. They are performing a cosmetic show for the gallery while launching a savage and systematic campaign of repression against the courageous resistance leadership, where Cubans of African descent and women are singled out for brutal punishment. Evidence of this cruelty is vividly documented on several website videos.

The Old Guard is holding their grip on power. They have gotten used to being the privileged class. They like the good life, comfortably settled with their families and comrades in the sheltered bunkers of their enduring Jurassic park. They seem to be unconcerned to the fact that Cuba remains without a back bench of young communist leaders. The former vice , Carlos Lage, and the ex-secretary of state, Felipe Pérez Roque, both young heirs apparent, were thrown out from Raúl's train, without hesitation, accused of being disloyal to the revolution.

Is this the train of change to be taken by Cuban exiles for an illusory trip to nowhere?

The island nation is a moral and economic catastrophe, where over 75 percent of the people's has to be brought from foreign suppliers and the people's hopes for a better life is to escape in a raft or get married to a foreigner. The situation is worse now than it ever was. The malformed communist state is rotten to the core by corruption, inefficiency and greed. The youth behave with the sadness of hopelessness. The system is rapidly degenerating. It is a moral sickness that's destroying the remaining healthy tissues. A convulse, almost grotesque spectacle of a dream that ended as a crime.

Raúl Castro is fully committed to survive clinging to power. But he is not good at the stage. Ill-trained by Fidel, the supreme showman, Raúl is putting up a poor performance. He has precluded the possibility of a national discussion on individual rights. The fundamental freedom to publicly dissent and criticize the government without fear of reprisal is not traveling in the utopian train. His octogenarian legion stand ready to fight against any threat to their total control of power, but they cannot fight off the inexorable revenge of time and growing rebellion.

Where did the idea that Raúl Castro is looking to negotiate a formula to change the system originate? In over 50 years, there is not a single piece of evidence to validate this premise. Raúl's train of change is a fake assumption. A restless delusion feeding an ill-advised script, a make-believe train that runs in a fertile imagination.

But the tragic show must go on. It is obvious that we Cubans have difficulties for profound meditation and logical analysis. As a collective entity, we tend to turn politics into a farce of inordinate protagonism and elaborated fantasies. The facts are there to be seen. The revolution is an unburied corpse. The catastrophe provoked by Fidel and Raúl Castro leaves the Cuban nation a legacy of an immense moral emptiness, infinitely worse than its economic ruin.

Pedro Roig, former director of Radio and TV Martí and teaches at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the of Miami

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/17/2647446/raul-castros-train-of-change-to.html

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