Return to Words to intellectuals, 60 years later (I)
Elier Ramirez Cañedo June 23, 2021 Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The young Fidel during his speech known as Words to the Intellectuals. Photo: Granma Archive.
The passage of time forces new readings of Palabras a los intelectuales (Words to the intellectuals). Not a few representatives of the new batches of young people are unaware of this memorable speech by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, delivered on June 30, 1961 at the National Library, as well as the circumstances in which it was produced, after long days of exchanges on the 16th and 23rd between the country's leadership and representatives of the artistic and intellectual vanguard of the Island. "Within the revolution everything, against the revolution nothing", is the phrase that is used in many cases as the only reference to the historical Words....
Unfortunately, the rest of the speeches are not published, especially those of the 16th and 23rd, which would allow to put even more in context the words of Fidel, which were not a speech properly speaking, but an intervention built from the notes he made as he patiently listened to the rest of the participants, asking only brief questions and interruptions. However, many eyewitnesses of those meetings left to posterity their memories of that meeting and the audio of Fidel's words is also preserved, which allows us to capture the climate and tone of them.
The trigger for the meeting had been the prohibition of the exhibition of the documentary "PM". Although the 14-minute short film had already been premiered on Monday on TV in the first days of May, its presentation in the country's movie theaters would be disallowed after Alfredo Guevara, as president of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (Icaic), informed Edith Garcia Buchaca, secretary of the National Council of Culture, of the disagreement of the Icaic's Commission for the Study and Classification of Films with the idea of its massive screening.
The film, made by Orlando Jimenez and Sabá Cabrera Infante, showed the nightly entertainment activities of a part of the population in bars, clubs and canteens in Havana, something inconsequential if we see it in today's light, but that in that context of 1961, when the country was mobilized and massively facing the constant aggressions of imperialism, could lend itself to other readings, as, in fact, it did. The documentary, although it did not fail to receive praise and positive criticism, was questioned as extemporaneous and harmful to the interests of the Cuban people and their Revolution.
In view of the disagreements that arose with PM's censorship, a meeting was called with a group of artists and writers on May 31 at the Casa de las Americas, but after heated discussions, no definitive conclusions were reached. It was proposed that the film be analyzed by the mass organizations and that they give the last word, but the consultation did not take place.
On June 2, the newspaper Hoy published the agreement of the Icaic's Commission for the Study and Classification of Films, which made the atmosphere even more tense. Guillermo Cabrera Infante wrote a letter of protest to Nicolás Guillén, who presided over the Association of Writers and Artists. It was then necessary to postpone the Congress of Writers and Artists, which was in preparation, and Prime Minister Fidel Castro asked the National Council of Culture to convene a broad meeting with artists and intellectuals in which all tendencies would be present.
Beyond PM... However, beyond the censorship of the documentary PM, which served as a catalyst, there were more fundamental issues that gravitated in the atmosphere and that were more urgent to be addressed by the leadership of the Revolution, such as the question of forging unity within the Cuban artistic and intellectual movement and incorporating that process to the one that was already being followed with other sectors and the main forces that had led the struggle against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
This would be one of the most immediate fruits that would be achieved from the meetings at the National Library, when after the successful holding of the First Congress of Writers and Artists, in August of the same year, the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (Uneac) was founded, whose first president would be the national poet Nicolás Guillén. A few months later, Lunes de Revolución and Hoy Domingo would disappear as cultural supplements, giving way to the birth of the magazine Unión and the magazine La Gaceta de Cuba, both published by Uneac.
Fidel was fully aware that there was a strong internal struggle for the control of the cultural apparatus between tendencies with different and even conflicting positions in the way of understanding the relationship between politics and culture, so it was an urgent matter to intervene to settle the disagreements, avoiding giving weapons to one against the other and clearly defining a position, not in relation to what happened with pm, but on the paths that the Revolution would take in terms of cultural policy.
The mapping of tendencies and groups with different perspectives and visions on what should be the relationship between power and culture is very complex, but they could be grouped into two large blocks at the risk of schematizing: one group was centered around the cultural magazine Lunes de Revolución and Carlos Franqui -he had been expelled from the PSP before joining the 26 de Julio movement- who in addition to some television channels, directed the newspaper Revolución, the official organ of the 26 de Julio Revolutionary Movement. Revolucion published, since March 1959, its cultural weekly Lunes de Revolucion, edited by Guillermo Cabrera Infante.
They defended the militant commitment of the artist with the Revolution, but also the non-interference of politics in cultural affairs and freedom without classist and ideological formulations. They maintained a critical position towards figures they considered decadent representatives of the cultural past and of the old generation, which led them to commit errors of sectarianism and unnecessary attacks from the publication against artists and intellectuals essential to the national culture, among them: José Lezama Lima, Cintio Vitier, Samuel Feijóo, Alejo Carpentier and Alicia Alonso, which far from contributing to the creation of an intergenerational bloc in the same channel of the revolutionary process, had an impact on the creation of unfavorable generational gaps and conflicts for unity in the cultural front.
They also made many criticisms of the PSP from the magazine, emphasizing its past mistakes, which went against the intention of the leadership of the Revolution to make up for previous mistakes and unite the main political forces that had fought against the Batista dictatorship. They frequently insisted on incorporating more of the international legacy into Cuban culture, as well as experimentation and the incessant search for new paths in art.
They spoke out against any hint of Stalinism, but a part of them used this position to mask their deep anti-communism. The PM incident served as a pretext for some of this group to stir up the fear that in Cuba the excesses committed in the USSR would be repeated with the creators. Nevertheless, Lunes de Revolución, as a printed publication, left an important historical legacy by taking the pulse of the national and international cultural events of that time and carrying out an intense informative work.
Another group, in general, had a Marxist-Leninist projection that exalted political commitment, although their positions on the way of understanding the relationship between art and politics also differed from each other in many nuances. Within this group, figures such as Alfredo Guevara, Edith García Buchaca and Carlos Rafael Rodríguez stood out, from the Hoy newspaper and its Sunday cultural magazine: Hoy Domingo.
Within this group, fundamentally in the editors of Hoy, the rescue and revaluation of the Cuban cultural past was postulated as a strength to confront U.S. imperialism, but some of its members certainly assumed or approached the guidelines of "socialist realism" to promote those objectives. Of course, at the level of individuals the ideological positions were more varied.
Imperialists Desperate to Hold Control Over Colombia, Fearing Next Wave of Socialist Revolutions
By Rainer Shea – Jun 20, 2021
Many teeth have been gnashed by the reactionary media throughout this last month or so amid the lower class uprising within Colombia, and amid the victory of Pedro Castillo in Peru’s presidential election. The imperialists may have succeeded at stopping an anti-IMF candidate from winning in Ecuador this year by manufacturing synthetic “leftist” factions which divided the vote in favor of the rightists. But what’s happening in these other two countries portends to how the masses in Ecuador — and in the rest of Washington’s neo-colonies — are going to soon respond to the deepening impoverishment and state violence imposed upon them by U.S.-engineered neoliberal policies.
In an op-ed vilifying Castillo and other Latin American anti-imperialists, the Wall Street Journal has written that “Castillo’s threat to freedom is so serious that Nobel Prize-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa, whose intense dislike of the Fujimori political machine [the campaign of Castillo’s opponent Keiko Fujimori] is well-known, has endorsed Keiko.” Which shows that even more independent-thinking reactionaries like Llosa are feeling compelled to take sides in Latin American politics as the class struggle there intensifies.
Fujimori’s Trump-esque conspiracy theory about the election being stolen is getting amplified by the bourgeois media, parallel to how neocons in publications like The Daily Wire and TheNational Interest are propagating the conspiracy theories from Colombia’s neo-Nazi governmental factionsabout how the protests are the work of criminal organizations and foreign interference. One National Interest piece, which has been republished by the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, calls for Biden to double down on backing state terrorism in Colombia by bizarrely claiming that “advancing human rights in Colombia” can best be accomplished by “cooperating with regional security services, not by disengaging and shunning them.”
Taking the nonsense a step further, the failed Colombian “libertarian” politician Daniel Raisbeck has charged that “Colombia’s anti-imperialists import cancel culture,” and has defended Colombia’s government even amid the recent instances where police have opened fire on unarmed demonstrators, the government’s imperialist backers have coordinatedinternet disruptions and censorship of dissidents to try to cover up police violence, more than 2,000 incidents of police brutality have been reported, more than 1,600 people have been arbitrarily detained, human rights leaders and union activists have been detained or deported, bounties have been offered for the murder of medical workers working within the protests, protest leaders have been criminalized, protesters have been disappeared by the hundreds and sexually abused by law enforcement in the dozens, a third of Colombia’s police departments have been newly militarized to deadly effect, government helicopters have shot civilians in broad daylight, and state-backed paramilitaries have executed people extrajudicially. These things are likely worse than cancel culture.
The country’s hard left, led by former guerrilla member and now-Senator Gustavo Petro, wants the world to believe that Colombia is under an illegitimate, authoritarian regime that systematically abuses human rights. Colombia, however, is still a liberal democracy, imperfect and now beleaguered, that is fighting to preserve the republican institutions that its neighbors have either lost — as in the case of Venezuela — or may be about to lose, as in the case of Peru…”In the modern state,” wrote Colombian philosopher Nicolás Gómez Dávila, “the classes with opposed interests are not the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, but rather the class that pays taxes and the one that lives off them.”
This assertion that the logic of neoliberal austerity is right, and that Colombia’s government must be defended even by “libertarians” in order to preserve this austerity paradigm, is intended by Raisbeck to be a rhetorical shutting of the door on those who seek to end neo-colonialism in his country and elsewhere. As Raisbeck declares, “the rent-seekers’ rebellion has achieved little beyond dispelling the Marxist notion of class struggle.” Imperialism has won, he insists, and the very notion of class struggle isn’t even worth thinking about. Under this reasoning, Latin America’s neo-colonial regimes should be unquestioningly supported no matter how horrific their actions are; Raisbeck has even lamented last year’s throwing out of the Pinochet constitution in Chile, calling this measure that effectively extended Pinochet’s murderous rule “the most successful by far in Latin America as measured by the economic results of its protections for private property.” Human rights are irrelevant to the defenders of Colombia’s regime. All that matters is protecting capital.
Yet the Pinochet-esque methods that Colombia’s regime has used to try to crush the protests and the national strike have worked to accelerate a deeper-running class revolt, one which could replicate Cuba’s socialist revolution within the country.
Following the 2016 peace deal between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a faction of the FARC called Segunda Marquetalia has returned to waging guerrilla warfare throughout the last couple years. The conditions surrounding Segunda Marquetalia’s efforts and the success they’ve so far had at garnering support show that this renewed insurgency hasn’t been a fruitless act of revolutionary adventurism. Their decision to fight has come in the midst of the forced displacement of millions of Colombian peasants over the last five years by the country’s capitalist class, which has filled the power vacuum left in the wake of the old FARC’s defeat by mining, logging, poaching, drilling for oil, privatizing water, and proliferating narco-trafficking within the lands the FARC used to protect from this type of brutal exploitation. Amid the state’s successful marginalization of the FARC in its new electoral form, those within Segunda Marquetalia have had no choice but to restart the guerrilla struggle.
This context in which guerrilla warfare has been revamped in Colombia, where the guerrillas have been proportionately responding to atrocities from the capitalist state, is what creates such great potential for a proletarian revolution to occur in the aftermath of the protests. And these transgressions from the government go far beyond its refusal to follow along the terms of its own peace agreement. As journalist covering Colombia’s civil war Oliver Dodd assessed this March: “For the government this is a situation of its own making. Unable or unwilling to guarantee the safety of either demobilised fighters or social movement figures who played no role in the civil war, it has provoked exactly this reaction.”
Dodd has also reported that the new guerrilla insurgency is gaining popular support and direct involvement from the masses due to the dire conditions it seeks to overcome, quoting guerrilla comandante Villa Vazquez as saying that “all our hopes were in the agreement, but the agreement was betrayed by the government and other dominant class forces. That is why we had to return to arms. But it is not the Farc who has returned to arms — it is the people themselves. Today, we can say that 60 per cent of [Segunda Marquetalia’s] fighters are new, they are not ex-members.”
Another indication that Segunda Marquetalia has the credibility among the masses to carry forth a revolution is the fact that by the nature of its versatile design, it’s able to properly represent all the classes in Colombia with revolutionary potential, and therefore to continue growing rather than staying limited to a societal niche. “Vazquez baulked at their characterisation as a peasant rebellion,” continued Dodd. “The three organisational components — guerilla, militia and communist party, he said, reflect the peculiar historical conditions of the class struggle in Colombia. ‘Where does the revolutionary struggle develop?’ he asked me. ‘It is developed where the people are, not in the isolation of the jungle but where the masses of people are — and most people today are based in the cities and that is where the revolutionary and guerilla struggle is going to be developed.’”
Another point in their favor is that they can take advantage of the resources and training left for them by the decades of preexisting guerrilla struggle, and by the resources that the government has unintentionally provided them. “New militants are entering the ranks and committing themselves to the organisation for life, serving under a highly experienced political leadership with decades of struggle behind each of them,” continues Dodd. “The taxation of multinational corporations and extractive industries exploiting natural resources, as well as the black market, enable them to feed combatants three meals a day, clothe and arm them with modern weaponry and transport. They have the money and resources to allow all of their members to dedicate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to the cause.” Even the criminal and extractive enterprises that Colombia’s narco government has cultivated are helping the revolutionaries by giving them greater access to resources.
These factors, concluded Dodd, combined with the refusal by the government to reverse its extreme neoliberal policies that keep driving down living standards, make it assured that Segunda Marquetalia is going to gradually expand in the coming years. This is what’s made the corporate elites and neo-Nazis behind Colombia’s repressive campaign so desperate to suppress the uprising, especially the strike; in past revolutions from Russian to Cuba, it’s been a combination of strikes on behalf of the masses and the presence of a well-trained Marxist-Leninist vanguard which has brought about the overthrow of the capitalist state and the construction of a proletarian democracy in its place. If the government fails to suppress the perhaps even bigger uprisings that are going to occur in the coming years, Segunda Marquetalia or a larger revolutionary coalition that it builds is quite likely going to fill the role as the vanguard which overthrows Colombian neo-colonialism.
When this revolution happens, it’s going to be apparent to the imperialists and the local Colombian neo-colonists that they’ve dug their own grave. This is even something that’s been preemptively acknowledged by Raisbeck, who lamented this April that “Costly mistakes have allowed socialism to rise again in the 21st century.” Pointing to the failure of Washington’s 2019 coup attempt in Venezuela, the reversal of the 2019 CIA coup in Bolivia, the success of Chile’s movement to abandon the dictatorship-era constitution, and the imminent inauguration of Castillo, Raisbeck concludes that these losses for capital wouldn’t have occurred if not for the weaknesses and capitulations of the Latin American right. But the imperialists shouldn’t be so hard on themselves; their attempts to keep control over the region isn’t the fault of strategic mistakes on their part, so much as the inevitable rise of liberation movements.
Featured image: File Photo
Rainer Shea exposes the lies of capitalism and imperialism while encouraging people to fight for a socialist revolution. Go to my Patreon here: patreon.com
Colombia's Iván Duque questioned over abstaining in the vote against the blockade of Cuba
Translated by Walter Lippmann for Cubadebate
Gustavo Triana. Photo: PL.
The secretary general of the Dignity of Colombia party, Gustavo Triana, described this Friday as double standards the abstention of his country at the United Nations, during the vote against the US blockade of Cuba.
Through his Twitter account, Triana pointed out that the government of Iván Duque opted again at the UN to support the infamous economic, financial and commercial blockade of Cuba that dates back 60 years.
"The economic blockades cause serious damage to the population, with their votes (Joe) Biden, Duque and others, violate the human rights of the Cuban people, double moral!", Said the politician.
In Colombia, other figures also expressed their aversion to the abstention of the South American nation in the vote of the resolution Necessity to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba, among them Ángela María Robledo of Alianza Verde .
The opposition legislator described Iván Duque's double standard on human rights as disgusting.
Likewise, the human rights defender Reynaldo Villalba recalled that year after year at the UN the nations of the world have been voting against the criminal blockade of the Cuban people, and on the contrary, Colombia abstained from voting.
"A submissive international policy, on its knees, without an iota of sovereignty," he also emphasized on the same platform.
For his part, Jaime Monsalve, musical chief of Radio Nacional de Colombia, stated that there are 'Colombias' to which he does not belong.
"One of them is the languid and indeterminate Colombia that preferred to abstain from voting to lift the suffocating blockade in Cuba," he said.
Similarly, Carlos Caicedo, governor of the department of Magdalena, stressed that the world spoke out against the blockade, but Colombia had a shameful position and is indifferent to a situation that violates the rights and dignity of the Cuban people.
Meanwhile, former presidential candidate Sergio Fajardo assured that embargoes do not change governments, they go directly against people and increase their suffering.
He stressed that historically Colombia rejected this measure against Cuba, however, it is now one of the three countries that endorse an anachronistic measure with their abstention.
In his opinion, the government is wrong again, the Colombian politician wrote on Twitter.
This Wednesday 184 countries voted in favor of the updated resolution that Cuba presented for the 29th time at the United Nations and only the United States and Israel did so against it, while Colombia, Ukraine and Brazil abstained.
American magazine joins the voices calling for lifting the blockade of Cuba
Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Now that Cuba is facing the worst stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, lifting the US blockade would clearly be the most rational and humanitarian act, the US magazine CovertAction said on Friday.
The publication makes an extensive analysis of the situation in that Caribbean nation as a result of the recent condemnation in the United Nations General Assembly by 184 countries of the blockade policies applied by Washington.
In it assessment, it stated that despite the nightmare that Cubans suffer under the blockade, the commitment to health and its advanced biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry can help them emerge from the pandemic.
However, it assured readers, the blockade continues to stifle the economy and harm the Cuban people. But in addition, the policy nullifies all the productive potential that normal relations with Cuba would foster, even for Americans, it pointed out.
The island's situation, it said, is largely the result of US policy: isolating nations that, like Cuba, get rid of Washington-backed dictators and foreign control of their assets.
The magazine points out that, in fact, Cuba is not a mystery to the Bidens. Biden's wife, Jill, now First Lady, traveled to Cuba on an educational and cultural trip in 2016, it added.
Cover Actión stressed that while Biden annulled dozens of Trump policies, on Cuba he is silent. Of the more than 240 measures adopted by the latter to tighten the blockade against Cuba, Biden has not rescinded a single one, he said.
In another part of his assessments, the analysis addressed the increase in pressure for the White House to soften, at least, the policy against the Cuban people.
Will Biden fulfill his promise to relax the blockade and join the rest of the world, or will he continue with the old rhetoric of the Cold War against Cuba that has only harmed the Cuban people and exacerbated the anti-humanitarian image of the United States around the world? the American magazine.
Victims increase to four dead and 159 missing after condo collapse in Miami
Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
When 24 hours have passed since the tragic events, it was reported that there are already four people dead after the collapse of a building, while rescue forces continue to search for dozens of people who are missing after the partial collapse this Thursday of a condominium in Surfside, in Miami-Dade County.
The mayor of Miami Dade, Daniella Levine Cava, confirmed this Friday morning in a press conference that increased to 159 the number of people who at this time are still unaccounted for while about 120 are already safe.
Rescue teams of about 130 firefighters worked four-hour shifts throughout the night searching the rubble for possible survivors after the rear of the apartment condo collapsed in the early hours of Thursday morning north of Miami Beach, leaving dozens of people trapped between the floors that fell.
Collection of debris after the collapse of the building in Miami. Photo: AP.
The head of the Miami-Dade Police Department, Freddy Ramírez reported that after the collapse of the 12-story building from which some 55 housing units were completely lost, it is necessary to use heavy rescue equipment to make a kind of tunnel and be able to enter building in order to continue search and rescue efforts.
President Biden confirmed late Thursday that he had declared an emergency for Florida, making federal assistance available to the state to join local efforts. This statement mobilizes the Department of Homeland Security (DHA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help coordinate relief efforts.
Shortly after the call of the US president to provide assistance to families affected by the partial collapse of the building, Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Miami-Dade County.
Cuba reports 10 deaths and 2 464 new infections of Covid-19, the highest number in the pandemic
Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
At the close of yesterday, June 24, 36,671 patients were admitted, 7,957 suspects, 18,347 under surveillance and 10,367 confirmed active.
For COVID-19, 32,380 samples were studied, resulting in 2,464 positive samples. The country accumulates 4 million 948 thousand 516 samples made and 177 thousand 253 positive.
Of the total number of cases (2 464): 2 309 were contacts of confirmed cases; 60 with a source of infection abroad; 95 without a specified source of infection. Of the 2,464 cases diagnosed, 1,289 were female and 1,117 male.
29.4% (724) of the 2,464 positive cases were asymptomatic, accumulating a total of 83,178, representing 47.0% of those confirmed to date.
The 2 464 diagnosed cases belong to the age groups: under 20 years old (403), from 20 to 39 years old, (813), from 40 to 59 years old (856) and over 60 years old (392).
Residence by province and municipalities of confirmed cases:
Pinar del Río: 178 cases
Consolación del Sur: 8 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Guane: 11 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Los Palacios: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Mantua: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Minas de Matahambre: 10 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Pinar del Río: 100 (contacts of confirmed cases).
San Juan and Martínez: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
San Luis: 3 (2 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Sandino: 35 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Viñales: 7 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Mugwort: 89 cases
Alquízar: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Artemis: 22 (18 contacts of confirmed cases and 4 imported).
Bahía Honda: 5 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Bauta: 4 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Caimito: 4 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Candelaria: 18 (16 contacts of confirmed cases and 2 imported).
Guanajay: 11 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Güira de Melena: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
Mariel: 4 (contacts of confirmed cases).
San Antonio de los Baños: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
San Cristóbal: 18 (15 contacts of confirmed cases and 3 imported).
Havana: 391 cases
October 10: 37 (35 contacts of confirmed cases and 2 imported).
Arroyo Naranjo: 34 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Cattlemen: 33 (30 contacts of confirmed cases, 2 imported and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Centro Habana: 21 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Cerro: 30 (29 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Cotorro: 16 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Guanabacoa: 27 (contacts of confirmed cases).
East Havana: 37 (36 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Old Havana: 10 (contacts of confirmed cases).
La Lisa: 50 (49 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Marianao: 28 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Beach: 27 (24 contacts of confirmed cases and 3 imported).
Plaza de la Revolución: 16 (15 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Rule: 8 (contacts of confirmed cases).
San Miguel del Padrón: 17 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Mayabeque: 111 cases
Batabanó: 21 (20 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Bejucal: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Güines: 34 (28 contacts of confirmed cases, 1 imported and 5 without a specified source of infection).
Jaruco: 3 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Early morning: 9 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Melena del Sur: 5 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Nueva Paz: 5 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Quivicán: 4 (contacts of confirmed cases).
San José de Las Lajas: 26 (24 contacts of confirmed cases and 2 without a specified source of infection).
Santa Cruz del Norte: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Killings: 452 cases
Calimete: 17 (16 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Cárdenas: 103 (100 contacts of confirmed cases, 1 imported and 2 without a specified source of infection).
Ciénaga De Zapata: 1 (imported).
Colon: 54 (53 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Jagüey Grande: 5 (4 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Jovellanos: 14 (13 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Limonar: 30 (29 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Los Arabos: 23 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Martí: 4 (3 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Matanzas: 163 (160 contacts of confirmed cases, 1 imported and 2 without a specified source of infection).
Pedro Betancourt: 5 (4 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Perico: 22 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Unión De Reyes: 11 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Cienfuegos: 58 cases
Abreus: 3 (2 imported and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Aguada de Pasajeros: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Cienfuegos: 35 (32 contacts of confirmed cases, 1 imported and 2 without a specified source of infection).
Crosses: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Cumanayagua: 12 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Lajas: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Palmira: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Rhodes: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Villa Clara: 74 cases
Remedies: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Caibarién: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
Camajuaní: 4 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Cifuentes: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Corralillo: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Crossroads: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Manicaragua: 3 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Placetas: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Quemado de Güines: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
Ranchuelo: 6 (5 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Remedies: 1 (imported).
Sagua la Grande: 25 (24 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Santa Clara: 22 (19 contacts of confirmed cases and 3 without a specified source of infection).
Santo Domingo: 5 (4 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Sancti Spíritus: 139 cases
Cabaiguán: 24 (23 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Promotion: 6 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Jatibonico: 6 (contacts of confirmed cases).
La Sierpe: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Sancti Spíritus: 82 (61 contacts of confirmed cases and 21 without a specified source of infection).
Taguasco: 5 (4 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Trinidad: 9 (6 contacts of confirmed cases and 3 without a specified source of infection).
Yaguajay: 6 (5 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Ciego de Ávila: 100 cases
Baraguá: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
Bolivia: 9 (8 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Chambas: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Ciego de Ávila: 38 (36 contacts of confirmed cases, 1 imported and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Ciro Redondo: 12 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Majagua: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
Morón: 24 (22 contacts of confirmed cases and 2 imported).
Venezuela: 13 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Camaguey: 421 cases
Camagüey: 328 (327 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Céspedes: 28 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Esmeralda: 4 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Florida: 10 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Guáimaro: 8 (7 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Jimaguayú: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Minas: 3 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Nuevitas: 10 (8 contacts of confirmed cases and 2 without a specified source of infection).
Santa Cruz del Sur: 5 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Sibanicú: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Slopes: 21 (19 contacts of confirmed cases and 2 imported).
Las Tunas: 29 cases
Amancio: 3 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Colombia: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
Jobabo: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Las Tunas: 21 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Manatee: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Puerto Padre: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
Granma: 43 cases
Bartolomé Masó: 4 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Bayamo: 18 (15 contacts of confirmed cases and 3 imported).
Ox Top: 3 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Guise: 4 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Jiguaní: 6 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Manzanillo: 4 (3 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Niquero: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Río Cauto: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Yara: 1 (confirmed case contact).
Holguín: 129 cases
Báguanos: 11 (4 contacts of confirmed cases and 7 imported).
Banes: 3 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Cacocum: 9 (4 contacts of confirmed cases, 4 imported and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Cueto: 25 (24 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Gibara: 4 (2 contacts of confirmed cases and 2 imported).
Holguín: 60 (42 contacts of confirmed cases, 2 imported and 16 without a specified source of infection).
Mayarí: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
Moa: 9 (8 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Rafael Freyre: 3 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Sagua de Tánamo: 2 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Urbano Noris: 2 (1 imported and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Santiago de Cuba: 136 cases
Bosun: 20 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Guamá: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
Nick: 3 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Palma Soriano: 19 (12 contacts of confirmed cases and 7 without a specified source of infection).
San Luis: 3 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Santiago de Cuba: 88 (80 contacts of confirmed cases and 8 without a specified source of infection).
Songo La Maya: 2 (1 contact with a confirmed case and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Guantanamo: 114 cases
Baracoa: 25 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Caimanera: 1 (without specified source of infection).
El Salvador: 1 (contact of confirmed case).
Guantanamo: 73 (72 contacts of confirmed cases and 1 imported).
Manuel Tames: 2 (1 contact with a confirmed case and 1 without a specified source of infection).
Niceto Pérez: 12 (contacts of confirmed cases).
Of the 177 thousand 253 patients diagnosed with the disease, 10 thousand 367 remain hospitalized, of which 10 thousand 205 with stable clinical evolution. 1,219 deaths accumulated (10 in the day), two evacuees, 54 returned to their countries, on the day there were 1,573 discharges, 165 thousand 611 recovered patients accumulated (93.4%). 162 confirmed patients, 60 critically ill and 102 critically ill, are cared for in intensive care.
Critically ill patients:
Cuban citizen, 85 years old. Municipality and province Pinar del Río. Reported as a stable critic.
73-year-old Cuban citizen . Marianao Municipality. Province of La Habana. Evolutionary PCR, negative. Reported as a stable critic.
79-year-old Cuban citizen . Municipality Diez de Octubre. Province of La Habana. Reported unstable criticism.
54-year-old Cuban citizen . Marianao Municipality. Province of La Habana. Evolutionary PCR, negative. Reported as unstable critic.
54-year-old Cuban citizen . Marianao Municipality. Province of La Habana. Evolutionary PCR, negative. Reported as unstable critic.
53-year-old Cuban citizen . Municipality Playa. Province of La Habana. Reported as a stable critic.
67-year-old Cuban citizen . Central Havana Municipality. Province of La Habana. Reported as unstable critic.
75-year-old Cuban citizen . Old Havana Municipality. Province of La Habana. Reported unstable criticism.
67-year-old Cuban citizen . Municipality Diez de Octubre. Province of La Habana. Reported unstable criticism.
56-year-old Cuban citizen . Cotorro Municipality. Province of La Habana. Reported as unstable critic.
Cuban citizen . Municipality Playa. Province of La Habana. Reported as unstable critic.
58-year-old Cuban citizen . Province of La Habana. Reported stable criticism.
51-year-old Cuban citizen . Old Havana Municipality. Province of La Habana. Reported stable criticism.
82-year-old Cuban citizen . Arroyo Naranjo Municipality. Province of La Habana. Evolutionary PCR, negative. Reported as a stable critic.
58-year-old Cuban citizen . Arroyo Naranjo Municipality. Province of La Habana. Evolutionary PCR, negative. Reported stable criticism.
Cuban citizen, 70 years old. East Havana Municipality. Province of La Habana. Reported as unstable critic.
Cuban citizen, 57 years old. La Lisa Municipality. Province of La Habana. Evolutionary PCR, negative. Reported as a stable critic.
84-year-old Cuban citizen . Cerro Municipality. Province of La Habana. Reported unstable criticism.
81-year-old Cuban citizen . East Havana Municipality. Province of La Habana. Reported as a stable critic.
Cuban citizen, 60 years old. Guanabacoa Municipality. Province of La Habana. Evolutionary PCR, negative. Reported as unstable critic.
Cuban citizen, 49 years old. Municipality of San Miguel del Padrón. Province of La Habana. Reported as unstable critic.
88-year-old Italian citizen . Reported as a stable critic.
Cuban citizen, 18 years old. Cerro Municipality. Province of La Habana. Reported as a stable critic.
58-year-old Cuban citizen . Municipality San José de la Lajas. Mayabeque Province. Evolutionary PCR, negative. Reported as a stable critic.
83-year-old Cuban citizen . Guantánamo municipality and province. Grave report.
60-year-old Cuban citizen . Bauta Municipality. Artemisa province. Hospital stay: 12 hours. Personal Pathological Background: Arterial Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, Cerebrovascular Disease and Obesity. He presented clinical, radiological and gasometric worsening, with hypoxemia refractory to therapeutic measures and he proceeded to intubate and ventilate; later he did for cardiac that did not respond to the resuscitation maneuvers. We deeply regret what happened and convey our condolences to family and friends.
103-year-old Cuban citizen . Municipality Diez de Octubre. Province of La Habana. Personal Pathological Background: Arterial Hypertension, Senile Dementia and Osteoarthritis. Hospital stay: 6 days. He did cardiac arrest in asystole. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers were performed but were not effective. We deeply regret what happened and convey our condolences to family and friends.
66-year-old Cuban citizen . Cerro Municipality. Province of La Habana. Personal Pathological Background: Arterial Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, Hypothyroidism and Chronic Kidney Disease on dialysis. Hospital stay: 5 days. He presented bradycardia that did not respond to medications, followed by asystole. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers were performed but were not effective. We deeply regret what happened and convey our condolences to family and friends.
66-year-old Cuban citizen . Marianao Municipality. Province of La Habana. Personal Pathological Background: Arterial Hypertension, Ischemic Heart Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Obesity. Hospital stay: 8 days. He presented torpid evolution, hypoxemia maintained without response to ventilatory strategies, shock, anuria and later he presented cardiac arrest in asystole. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers were started, it was not possible to reestablish spontaneous circulation. We deeply regret what happened and convey our condolences to family and friends.
77-year-old Cuban citizen. Municipality and province of Santiago de Cuba. Personal Pathological Background: Arterial Hypertension, Type II Diabetes Mellitus, Chronic Renal Insufficiency, Old Ischemic Cerebrovascular Disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Prostrate. Hospital stay: 1 day. He presented arterial hypotension and oliguria that did not respond to volume, vasoactive amines were added to the treatment. Later he made cardiac arrest, resuscitation maneuvers were performed, spontaneous circulation was not achieved. We deeply regret what happened and convey our condolences to family and friends.
55-year-old Cuban citizen. Santa Clara Municipality. Villa Clara province. Personal pathological history: Arterial Hypertension. Hospital stay: 3 days. He did cardiac arrest in asystole. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers were performed, which were not effective. We deeply regret what happened and convey our condolences to family and friends.
53-year-old Cuban citizen . Morón Municipality. Ciego de Ávila Province. Personal pathological history: Healthy. Hospital stay: 14 days. He did cardiac arrest in asystole. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers were performed, which were not effective. We deeply regret what happened and convey our condolences to family and friends.
50-year-old Cuban citizen . Nuevitas Municipality. Camagüey province. Personal pathological history: Obesity. Hospital stay: 4 days. He had ventricular tachycardia and cardiac arrest in asystole. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers were performed, which were not effective. We deeply regret what happened and convey our condolences to family and friends.
60-year-old Cuban citizen . Nuevitas Municipality. Camagüey province. Personal pathological history: Ischemic heart disease, Diabetes Mellitus and Obesity. Hospital stay: 8 days. He did cardiac arrest in asystole. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers were performed, which are not effective. The patient dies. We deeply regret what happened and convey our condolences to family and friends.
70-year-old Cuban citizen . Santo Domingo Municipality. Villa Clara province. Personal pathological history: Arterial Hypertension. Hospital stay: 1 day. He presented cardiorespiratory arrest that was revived for 30 minutes without any reversal of the symptoms. We deeply regret what happened and convey our condolences to family and friends.
Until June 24, 190 countries and 30 territories with COVID-19 cases are reported, the confirmed cases amount to 180 million 580 thousand 112 (+ 442 thousand 819) with 11 million 392 thousand 163 active cases and 3 million 911 thousand 545 deaths (+ 9,377) for a fatality of 2.17 (=).
In the Americas region, 72 million 437 thousand 12 confirmed cases (+ 214 thousand 957) are reported, 40.11% of the total cases reported in the world, with 7 million 477 thousand 928 active cases and 1 million 895 thousand 995 deceased (+ 5,196) for a fatality of 2.62 (=).
Israel returns to masks after rebound in number of infections
Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews wearing masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, in the Romama neighborhood of Jerusalem. Atef Safadi / EFE.
The government of Israel announced on Friday the reimposition of the use of the mask in closed spaces, withdrawn last week, given an increase in cases that has led the country to record maximum figures for more than two months.
The Israeli Ministry of Health has indicated that the new order will take effect at 12 noon (local time) in all enclosed spaces, with the exception of homes, while it will not have to be used by children under seven years of age and people with disabilities that prevent them from wearing it.
Likewise, the Ministry has detailed that the exceptions equally affect people who are exercising and people who work together with others on a regular basis in the same room, as reported by the Israeli newspaper 'The Times of Israel'.
On the other hand, it has recommended that the population wear a mask in case of being in crowded areas outdoors and has asked people in risk groups who have not yet been vaccinated to avoid these gatherings of people.
The Ministry has stated this Friday that during the last 24 hours, 227 cases of coronavirus have been reported, bringing the total to 840,522, with 6,429 deaths. Likewise, it has indicated that there are currently 872 active cases, including 26 in serious condition.
On the other hand, it has revealed that the positivity rate is 0.6 percent - compared to 0.3 percent in recent days, and added that more than 5.5 million people have received at least one dose. of the coronavirus vaccine, of which 5,155,312 have received the second inoculation and have the complete schedule.
The Israeli 'czar' for the response to the coronavirus, Nachman Ash, has stressed in statements to the Kan station that he does not believe that the country will face a new major wave of cases and has expressed his wish that progress in the campaign vaccination programs prevents a large number of infections that increase the pressure on hospitals.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stressed on Tuesday that the government is dealing with the increase in cases as if it were a new outbreak and stressed that measures are being taken to deal with the spread of this variant in its early stages.
Bennett himself stated that the use of a mask will once again be mandatory at the airport and at border posts, while encouraging the population to wear it whenever they are in closed spaces, without imposing its obligation.
CDA is seeking two fall interns! Interns work in three key areas: Policy and Advocacy; Communications and Social Media; and Nonprofit Development. Internships may be completed remotely or in-person. The deadline to apply is August 5. Visit our website to learn more about the internship and to read reflections from past interns.
This week, Cuba’s state-run biopharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma announced the efficacy levels of the Soberana 02 and Abdala vaccine candidates following the final stages of clinical trials. The two vaccines have proved to be tremendously effective, with two out of three Soberana 02 doses reaching 62 percent efficiency levels and three Abdala doses reaching 92.28 percent.
Meanwhile, the U.S. once again voted against an annual resolution condemning the economic and trade embargo imposed against Cuba during a meeting at the 75th United Nations General Assembly in New York City. While the vote is not legally-binding, it signals the U.S.’s and the international community’s position on the embargo. The resolution typically receives nearly unanimous support. The U.S. traditionally votes no, but abstained from voting on the resolution for the first time in 2016 during the Obama administration’s rapprochement with the island. Had the Biden-Harris administration abstained, it could have signaled an openness to engagement. Instead, the “no” vote could signal a continuation of harmful travel and trade restrictions enacted under the Trump administration. Following the vote this week, the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA), the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Cuban Americans for Engagement (CAFE), MEDICC, and Oxfam Cuba released a joint statement denouncing the U.S.’s vote and approach to Cuba. Read the full statement here.
Yesterday, Cuba reported 177,253 cases of COVID-19. There are currently 10,367 total active cases of COVID-19 on the island, an increase from the previous day. Matanzas reported the largest number of new cases by far compared to other provinces at 452. The total number of deaths since March 2020 is 1,219. For a graph of case numbers since March 2020, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website.
As of June 16, the availability of the euro at money exchange houses in South Florida has decreased, El Nuevo Herald reports. This decrease follows an announcement made by Cuba’s Central Bank earlier this month, noting that the island will temporarily but indefinitely suspend cash USD bank deposits starting on June 21. Given the high demand for the euro, the currency’s availability at exchange houses in Miami has been limited to 750 euros per person once a day. Individuals trying to exchange currencies in South Florida often face hours-long wait times, highlighting the additional barrier this policy has imposed on Cuban-Americans trying to send remittances to the island. As of June 16, the exchange rate for the euro in Miami was listed at 1.45 USD, while the international exchange rate for the euro was quoted at 1.21 USD. Cuban Economist Pedro Monreal notes that this policy and the current exchange rate may affect the financial ability of families in the U.S. to send remittances to the island, “those who are required to exchange dollars outside Cuba to obtain cash euros to deposit into MLC (freely convertible currency) accounts would likely face a trend of loss of buying power for the dollar.” Dr. Pavel Vidal Alejandro, an associate professor of economics at the Pontifical Xavierian University in Colombia, also mentions that “while there will be less demand for dollars, there will also be less dollars in the informal market to sell, as many people will deposit them into banks.” This will ultimately increase uncertainty about exchange rates in the informal market on the island, making it difficult to determine precisely how much the USD will depreciate moving forward.
The suspension of cash USD bank deposits stems from the difficulty that U.S. sanctions impose on depositing the currency abroad. Cuban authorities have noted that the policy is temporary and will be removed once “restrictions that impede the normal functioning of the export procedures for the U.S. currency” are lifted. The new measure will not affect cash deposits in other currencies or the ability to transfer money between or withdraw money from accounts. According to Yamile Berra Cires, Vice President of Cuba’s Central Bank, the move was designed to protect the local financial system. The move comes as the black market price of the dollar in Cuba nearly tripled from 24 to 70 Cuban pesos (CUP) following the island’s elimination of its dual-currency system.
On Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard spotted six men and two women near Duck Keys, 57 miles off the coast of Key West, FL Keys News reports. According to Border Patrol spokesman Adam Hoffner, the migrants, who departed from Cuba, spent two days at sea in a small fishing boat and experienced no serious injuries. The U.S. Coast Guard will most likely repatriate them.
So far in fiscal year 2021, which began on October 1, 2020, the Coast Guard has interdicted over 400 Cuban migrants, compared to 49 Cuban migrants in fiscal year 2020 and 313 interdictions in fiscal year 2019. Unofficial migration by sea from Cuba vastly decreased following the Obama administration’s removal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy in January of 2017. The procedure essentially provided Cuban migrants who set foot on dry land in U.S. territory a fast track to obtaining visas. Experts on Cuba have also theorized that the recent spike in migration can be attributed to the island’s current economic crisis and treatment of local activists, including those taking part in the San Isidro Movement.
On Saturday, Cuba’s state-run biopharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma announced the efficacy level of two out of three doses of the Soberana 02 vaccine developed at the Finlay Vaccine Institute earlier this year, Al Jazeerareports. According to preliminary data collected from Phase III clinical trials, the Soberana 02 vaccine has 62 percent efficacy after the first two doses of the three-dose regimen. Vicente Vérez, director of the state-run Finlay Vaccine Institute, has expressed “in a few weeks we should have the results for the efficacy with three doses which we expect will be superior.” On Monday, BioCubaFarma also announced the efficiency levels of the Abdala vaccine candidate developed at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology earlier this year. After three doses, the vaccine proved to be 92.28 percent effective. Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel praised the Finlay Vaccine Institute and the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology on Twitter, giving tribute to the institutions’ perseverance in the face of multiple obstacles.
The results come as the island faces the highest number of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. While reported cases continue to increase on the island, the number of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) reach record highs. In the beginning of June, as many as 161 patients remained in intensive care, the highest number of patients in ICUs since March of 2020.
In May, Cuba’s government implemented an emergency vaccination campaign in Havana before Phase III clinical trials for the Soberana 02 and Abdala vaccines were complete. The vaccination campaign hoped to curb an increase in COVID-19 cases. Since the beginning of this vaccination campaign, the island’s capital of Havana has seen a decrease in infection rates – falling to about 370 cases from nearly 800 peak cases per day before the campaign’s initiation. This may not only be a result of the vaccine’s efficiency, but also a result of increased measures taken by the state to prevent the virus from spreading in Havana. While the island hopes to vaccinate its entire population by the end of this year, the country currently faces a shortage in syringes. In response to economic shortages, international campaigns and organizations have helped fund and compile syringes for the island. Global Health Partners (GHP), a coalition of nonprofit organizations that foster exchange programs and humanitarian medical aid to Cuba, among other initiatives have begun a Syringes for Cuba Program. The program hopes to raise enough funds to purchase at least 10 million syringes for the island.
As of June 20, foreign travelers and Cuban nationals arriving in Cuba at the Juan Gualberto Gómez airport in Varadero and the Jardines del Rey airport in Cayo Coco must purchase a hotel package before traveling to the island that includes a brief isolation-period stay at a hotel in Varadero or Cayo Coco, OnCuba News reports. All passengers traveling to these locations will be required to present proof of purchasing a package before boarding an aircraft to Cuba. Cubans with permanent residency on the island will be required to purchase the “isolation package,” which includes a seven-day stay in a hotel facility and transportation to the traveler’s final destination. Foreign travelers must purchase the “tourist package,” which includes a seven-day stay in a hotel facility. The packages will be available for purchase in freely convertible currency. Cuba’s national travel agencies and tour operators abroad plan to market the packages following the policy’s recent announcement. Travelers arriving at the José Martí International Airport in Havana and the Antonio Maceo International Airport in Santiago are expected to quarantine for five nights and six days in the respective province but do not have to purchase a package.
The policy aims to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus on the island while maintaining its borders open to tourism. Since opening its borders to tourism, the island has implemented various reforms that both welcome tourism and work to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus domestically. On June 5, Cuba announced that it would require tourists arriving at airports in Varadero and Cayo Coco to quarantine in hotels for six days. This policy differs from the recently announced requirements given that individuals were formerly expected to pay for their stay in U.S. dollars while residing at hotels in the provinces of Varadero or Cayo Coco. The policy aimed to increase the flow of U.S. dollars throughout Cuba, as tourists were expected to pay for their stay at these facilities with USDs directly rather than exchanging the USD for the CUP. Given recent announcements made by Cuba’s Central Bank, temporarily but indefinitely suspending cash USD bank deposits on the island, the USD will no longer be a common form of payment.
Cuba’s Neuroscience Center (CNEURO) has developed a system to trace hearing and vision impairments in newborn babies, OnCuba News reports. The State Control of Medicines, Equipment, and Medical Devices (CECMED) registered the device’s auditory screening component in 2019, while its vision screening component was registered in 2020. The device is known as “Infantix.” When performing a hearing screening on a newborn, the Infantix will “emit a sound” and analyze the child’s reaction, expecting an echo in response. The device targets the child’s middle and inner ear. In reference to the visual screening, the Infantix releases a visual stimulus and analyzes “the brain’s response to that stimulation.” Specialists highlight that while devices used for auditory stimulation exist, the Infantix is one of the first devices in the world to incorporate a visual component to these evaluations.
The annual United Nations General Assembly vote on whether to adopt a resolution advocating to end the U.S. economic and trade embargo on Cuba was held in New York City this past Wednesday at the Assembly’s 75th session, Reuters reports. During the session, the Biden-Harris administration opted to vote against the resolution, signaling its support in upholding the embargo. Israel was the only other country to vote no; while Colombia, Ukraine, and Brazil abstained. Before the vote, U.S. diplomat Rodney Hunter emphasized that the Administration noted "the challenges the Cuban people face. That is why the United States is a significant supplier of humanitarian goods to the Cuban people and one of Cuba's principal trading partners." Mr. Hunter highlighted that the embargo was a U.S. strategy to promote long-term democracy and human rights on the island. Ultimately, the Resolution received 184 votes in favor of lifting the embargo. Before the General Assembly meeting, Pedro Luís Pedroso, Cuba's permanent representative to the United Nations, declared that the embargo was "an act of war, a policy that causes calculated damage to an entire people" as it continues to deny "the Cuban people their right to self-determination."
The UN General Assembly has voted annually on the resolution condemning the U.S. imposed embargo since 1992, following the fall of the Soviet Union – what was then one of Cuba's greatest allies and a U.S. rival. In 2019, during the most recent vote, 187 countries supported the end of the policy. Most notably, in 2016 the U.S. abstained from voting on the Resolution for the first time under the Obama administration. At the time, the U.S. abstention was a symbol of growing potential for better U.S.-Cuba relations.
In this opinion piece, Jorge Dávila Miguel urges the Biden-Harris administration to take an active role on Cuba policy. According to Mr. Dávila, the Administration can actively promote trade and support private businesses on the island without alienating Cuban-Americans in South Florida
This article highlights the experience of Anna “Connie” Veltfort, a German immigrant who moved from the U.S. to Cuba following Fidel Castro’s Revolutionary triumph on the island. Ms.Veltfort returned to the U.S. in 1972, after “the conflicts between my ideals and my experiences became more and more difficult to navigate,” expressing her disillusionment with the progress of civil rights on the island at the time. Upon her return to the U.S., Ms. Veltfort created a blog titled “El Archivo de Connie” (Connie’s Archive) where she displayed “vintage posters, LPs, publications, and other ephemera” from the early Revolutionary era in the 1960s and 1970s. As of recently, she has decided to donate the archive to the University of Miami Libraries’ Cuban Heritage Collection.
In this article, Daniel Whittle, Senior Director for the Caribbean at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), highlights the importance of establishing positive bilateral relations between the U.S. and Cuba and explains how these relations impact the environment. Mr. Whittle emphasizes the positive impact of increased levels of scientific collaboration and bilateral agreements between the two countries under the Obama administration, urging the Biden-Harris administration to adopt similar measures.
This article briefly highlights the history of Obispo Street in Old Havana through a collection of anecdotes and photography. The article highlights the cultural, commercial, and historic significance of the street. Exhibiting a collection of state-run and private businesses, the street serves to merge the island’s past with a future that potentially welcomes economic reform. The street, ranging from Monserrate Street to the Plaza de Armas, contains attractions like the Ambos Mundos Hotel and the Floridita Bar-Restaurant, attractions enjoyed by U.S. writer Ernest Hemingway.
In this article, Patty Diez highlights the importance of representation in the media by examining Latinx representation in the Jon Chu-directed movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 Broadway musical In the Heights. Ms. Diez shares that a scene containing traditional Cuban dishes including crackers with guava jelly and cheese made her feel seen and represented as a Cuban woman. She also notes, however, the lack of Afro-Latinx representation throughout the film.
This article announces a new street in the Bronx named after one of Cuba’s most respected artists, Celia Cruz. The street was inaugurated on June 5 and will be known as “Celia Cruz Way,” located on the corner of Reservoir Ave. and West 195th St. The ceremony honored the legacy left by the Cuban artist and her ties to not only Cuba, but the Latinx community at large in New York City.
Mi Cuba Café, located in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. was featured in Washington Post Food reporter Tim Carman’s article on top 25 best sandwiches in Washington D.C. The featured sandwich was the restaurant's widely recognized pan con lechon, which includes “elongated wedges of Cuban bread” stuffed with thinly sliced pork.
Independent bookstore Books & Books independent bookstore and the Cuban Research Institute will host a virtual event with Ted A. Henken and Sara García Santamaria, on their new book Cuba’s Digital Revolution: Citizen Innovation and State Police, on July 9 at 12 PM EST. The book explores how Wi-Fi access in Cuba has impacted the island’s cultural, economic, social, and political arenas. The work also examines the impact that extended levels of internet access have on transitional democracies and precisely to what extent these increased levels of access influence Cuba’s state government policies. To register for the event, click here.
Support CDA: Click here to support CDA’s work bringing you the U.S.-Cuba News Brief each week and promoting a U.S. policy toward Cuba based on engagement and recognition of Cuba’s sovereignty. Make your 100% tax-deductible gift now!
United States and the "Human" Right to Blockade the People of Cuba
24 JUNE 2021
Perhaps with certain shame - he barely lifted his eyes from the paper he was given to read - the United States representative at the UN tried to justify again, with the same old lie, the policy of the genocidal blockade that his country keeps against Cuba.
"The people of the United States support the people of Cuba," was the first thing he said after listening to a dozen speakers, including the Cuban Foreign Minister, denouncing the damage that the blockade represents, from all points of view, to Cubans.
The policy coordinator of the United States mission in the UN, Rodney Hunter, also said that the sanctions imposed on countries are a legitimate way to carry out foreign policy, national security issues and other objectives.
“The United States is not alone in this opinion or in this practice. Sanctions are a single set of tools in our broader effort toward Cuba to advance democracy, human rights are respected, and help the Cuban people exercise the fundamental freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, said Hunter. "So, we are opposed to this resolution."
His words sounded both faker and hollower than ever if one takes into account that they were pronounced in the context of a global pandemic that his country is taking advantage of, in an opportunistic and cowardly way, to keep and prolong an economic blockade that lasts for more than sixty years.
Will the right to apply sanctions which only goal is to try to subdue, through hunger and misery, the independent and sovereign political election of a country - as prescribed in the early 1960s by Assistant Deputy Secretary of State Lester Mallory- be included among the fundamental freedoms written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
Is among the issues of National Security the blackmail exerted on the current administration by a gang of gangsters, created against Cuba in times of the cold war, by that same "exemplary democracy" that today legislates in a fortified Capitol?
In reality, the United States has never cared a bit about the rights of the Cuban people. And there’s history to prove it – no wonder Obama, "the good guy," wanted us to forget.
In their manipulation of the so-called manifest destiny - blatant invention of proclaiming itself as a nation destined to expand - the "democratic" U.S. imperialists denied, in the time of Hamilton Fish, the recognition of the belligerence of the Cuban patriots. The same did Cleveland and McKinley, during the war of 1895, against the majority and true sentiment of the North American people.
During the two wars against Spanish colonialism, while they sold arms and gunboats wholesale to the Spanish army, they blocked and persecuted, through the use of spies and courts, the expeditions that the Cuban exiles in that country, with the sacrifice of their savings, they managed to gathered to send supplies to the fighters in the Cuban mountains.
Since the days of ripe fruit - Platt Amendment and mediatized Republic in-between - the only interests that the United States has defended in Cuba are theirs.
And the Cuban people they claim to support today is none other than the small groups of mercenaries who, for more than sixty years, have been training and financing to justify the blockade which, they say, will one day culminate in a "humanitarian" bloodbath.
The latest proof of this unrestrained "love" for the Cuban people was given at the UN by the policy coordinator for the U.S. mission in the UN, Rodney Hunter, defending - with sad cynicism? - the "human right" of keeping intact, in the midst of a pandemic, the 243 sanctions against Cuba -55 of them taken during 2020- imposed by Donald Trump.
Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff
HELEN YAFFE: Here is the full text of the London Review of Books review of my book, We Are Cuba! How a Revolutionary People Have Survived in a Post-Soviet world (Yale University Press, 2020) for Walter Lippmann and others who could not access it via the link:
Vol. 43 No. 13 · 1 July 2021
'You say embargo ...' by Tony Wood.
The Cubans: Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times
by Anthony DePalma.Bodley Head, 368 pp., £9.99, July, 978 1 78470 822 1
We Are Cuba! How a Revolutionary People Have Survived in a Post-Soviet World
On 16 April Raúl Castro stepped down as first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party. Much of the coverage focused on the fact that, for the first time in more than sixty years, none of the island’s top political posts is occupied by a Castro. This was a generational transition: the current president and first secretary of the party, Miguel Díaz-Canel, to whom Raúl handed over the reins of government three years ago, wasn’t even born when the 1959 revolution took place. Soon the system established by Fidel Castro’s 26 July Movement will have outlasted its founders. Its longevity has confounded repeated predictions of its imminent demise, and should have put paid to the abiding image of it as a Cold War relic. After all, Cuba’s distinctive state-socialist model has now lasted longer in the post-Cold War world than it did before 1989. Yet the image of Cuba as stranded in a previous epoch stubbornly persists, distorting outsiders’ view of a state that has all along been changing at its own pace.
Cuba’s modern history is a famously polarising subject, with even simple word choices signalling opposed political sympathies. What most people in the US call an ‘embargo’ – meaning the sweeping trade restrictions first imposed in 1960 and ratcheted up many times since – is known in Cuba as el bloqueo, ‘the blockade’. One term suggests targeted trade measures; the other implies all-out economic warfare. The same applies to the word ‘revolution’: it is either a single event that occurred in 1959 or, for supporters of the Cuban model, a process that is still unfolding. Analysis of Cuba can seem to operate in parallel universes, depending on where you stand.
The Cubans tells the life stories of an assortment of people in Guanabacoa, a town across the bay from Havana. Anthony DePalma, a veteran correspondent for the New York Times, describes the real gains made after the revolution by several of his interviewees, but also the frustrations and dissatisfactions of their lives today. His subjects include Caridad Ewen, an Afro-Cuban woman from the poor, rural east of the island who eventually became vice minister of trade; her son Oscar Matienzo, one of a new generation of Cuban businessmen; Arturo Montoto, a dissident painter who went into exile but returned to Cuba because of its extraordinary light; and Jorge García, who became an implacable critic of the regime after the Cuban coast guard sank a boat carrying two of his children to the US. Migration, to Florida in particular, is central to DePalma’s stories, and to Cuban families across the island.
The Cubans is based on many hours of interviews and years of research. But it isn’t exactly journalism, or oral history: it adopts the omniscient third-person narrative voice of a novel, often dipping into the protagonists’ minds. It isn’t always clear whose thoughts and opinions we’re hearing. One or two of DePalma’s subjects remain committed to the revolution, but the story he chooses to tell is mostly one of disenchantment. Much of that feeling can be traced back to the privations of the 1990s, a time the Cuban government named the Special Period. Perestroika and the collapse of the USSR deprived Cuba of its main source of income: the Soviets had been paying three times the market price for sugar, which accounted for 80 per cent of the island’s exports. Fuel shortages and rationing followed. The US began tightening the political and economic noose, strengthening the embargo with the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 and the Helms-Burton Act of 1996. Pharmacies were no longer able to stock essential medicines, and hunger and malnutrition were widespread. Every scrap of waste was recycled or repurposed: meals were made out of fried grapefruit rinds or discarded banana skins. To this day, Cubans keep turning to the words luchar, ‘to struggle’, and resolver, ‘to solve a problem’ or to obtain what’s needed.
As DePalma sees it, the resourcefulness of ordinary Cubans enabled the system to survive. But such resourcefulness was also a ‘paralysing weakness’. ‘Instead of marching to the Plaza de la Revolución demanding change, or locking arms with dissidents to fix Cuba’s grim reality,’ DePalma writes, most Cubans still ‘simply accept and then adapt to the latest privation’. The Cuban state implicitly figures here as an unchanging monolith like those toppled in Eastern Europe in 1989. DePalma’s assumption that regime change would ‘fix’ Cuba is common in the US, but at the end of his book he reveals that he also has personal reasons for thinking this way: he is married to a Cuban exile whose family left in the months after the revolution. As an explanation for the survival of the Cuban model, DePalma’s paradigm – an oppressive regime facing off against a subjugated but passive people – falls short for the same reason most Cold War narratives do: their refusal to concede any legitimacy to the state, or even to analyse it. DePalma asserts without embarrassment that for his account he ‘had no contact with any officials of the government’. He makes no attempt to understand the system as it actually operates.
Helen Yaffe’s premise runs counter to DePalma’s: rather than presenting state and people as opposed, she describes the relationship between them as ‘extremely permeable’. She argues that citizens are directly involved in the governing system, helping it to adapt in spite of external pressures. Where DePalma sees stagnation and a subdued people, she sees popular participation and constant reinvention. Her use of Cuban government sources and official state data may deter some readers, as may her unabashed support for the Cuban model. But part of her argument is that, to a degree not really seen elsewhere, Cuban citizens are the state. For We Are Cuba! she interviewed government officials, diplomats, social workers, student leaders, economists, environmental scientists and immunologists, describing them all as ‘“ordinary” people given the opportunity to do extraordinary things by the Cuban system’. She also provides a mass of information missing from most accounts. In an earlier book, Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution, Yaffe wrote about some of the policy debates that preoccupied Guevara and his comrades: how to achieve growth alongside social justice, how to strike a balance between plan and market, what forms of ownership are compatible with a socialist economy. All this, she suggests, is still relevant today. She shows the state trying out various solutions to these questions over time, while responding to shifts in global economic conditions and geopolitics.
Yaffe spent a year in Cuba in the mid-1990s and describes the many privations of the Special Period. She backs up her account with data: ‘GDP fell 35 per cent in three years, the scale of collapse usually associated with war, famine or a natural disaster.’ The government responded by cutting military spending in half while increasing health spending and state pensions. Prices of essential goods were fixed to help people get by. But since imports had to be paid for with hard currency, state finances deteriorated. For most Cubans the 1990s were catastrophic: between 1989 and 1993, real wages dropped by half and household consumption fell by a third, along with the average calorie intake. Desperation led thousands to flee to the US on rafts, and in August 1994 the first serious anti-government demonstration in more than thirty years took place on Havana’s Malecón. Cuba avoided the hyperinflation and unemployment that accompanied market transitions in much of Eastern Europe, but it was hard for Cubans to imagine how things could have been worse. Yaffe addresses the discontents briefly but doesn’t take full account of the scale or impact of emigration. Between 1995 and 2015, about 650,000 Cubans were admitted to the US, with smaller flows to Spain and other Latin American countries – considerable numbers for an island with a population of eleven million.
The Cuban economy improved in the decade that followed: between 2002 and 2007, GDP growth averaged 7 per cent, nearly twice the level of Latin America as a whole. Credit for this is commonly given to the support Cuba enjoyed from the government of Hugo Chávez – as if the island had exchanged reliance on the Soviets for Bolivarian dependency. But Venezuelan oil is only part of the story. Over the course of the 1990s and 2000s, the Cuban economy was reshaped by a turn away from sugar: once the dominant export, by 2004 it accounted for only 12 per cent of earnings. Cuba was able to find other sources of revenue thanks to investments it had made long before the Special Period began. Long-term planning had laid a foundation for recovery.
Not all Cuba’s new sources of income have been universally beneficial. Long wary of the inequality and exploitation tourism generates, in the 1990s the Cuban government had to bet heavily on it all the same. In 1994, urgently needing to increase revenue, the authorities created a parallel ‘convertible’ peso to stand in for US dollars as a way of drawing in foreign currency. It worked, but it also effectively split Cuba’s economy in two: a limping, resource-starved state sector paid salaries and pensions in ‘national’ currency, while private-sector workers became relatively cash-rich earning convertible pesos. The imbalances were plain to see. An island in a general state of disrepair was dotted with enclaves of prosperity inaccessible to most Cubans.
But other sources of income were available, thanks to early decisions by the revolutionary government – in particular, the decision to invest heavily in medicine. Cuba now has a universal healthcare system with eight physicians per thousand people – nearly three times the UK’s density of doctors – and medical training schools that draw students from around the world. Cuban doctors are both a source of income and a diplomatic asset: in the past year they have been deployed to more than forty Covid-stricken countries. The biotech sector got underway in the 1980s and grew rapidly: by 2007, pharmaceutical exports were earning $350 million a year – the country’s second largest source of income after nickel. Among its innovations are vaccines for meningitis and hepatitis B, as well as a promising vaccine for some forms of cancer. Cuba is the only Latin American country to have developed its own Covid vaccines: two of them, Soberana 02 and Abdala, are now being rolled out across the island, and three more are in the final stage of clinical trials. The government is in talks with several countries over mass production for export. Not for the first time, Cuba offers hope for the developing world while wealthy states insist on patent protections for pharmaceutical companies.
Cuba continues to prioritise long-term social goals over immediate growth. In 2017 a hundred-year plan was announced to address the impact of climate change on the island. Long-term thinking and short-term expediency sometimes converge, as in 2005-6, when Cuba’s electricity grid was decentralised to improve energy efficiency and reduce its vulnerability to natural disaster and sabotage. As part of the same ‘energy revolution’, tens of thousands of social workers replaced more than nine million incandescent lightbulbs across the island with energy efficient ones in the space of six months. This exemplifies the Cuban approach: a combination of ambitious goals and, with mass mobilisation, a low-cost means of achieving them.
Yet the familiar dilemmas remained: how could a country with a state-dominated, low wage, low productivity economy make its way in a cut-throat global market without surrendering the revolution’s egalitarian achievements? Another dilemma was new. In November 2005, Fidel Castro pointedly asked in a speech: ‘When those who were the forerunners, the veterans, start disappearing and making room for the new generations of leaders, what will be done and how will it be accomplished?’ A few months later the announcement came that Fidel was ill and would be handing over power to his brother Raúl, who had been head of Cuba’s armed forces since 1959 and vice president since 1976. This wasn’t exactly a changing of the guard. But once he took over, Raúl oversaw a series of reforms that marked a new stage in the evolution of the Cuban model.
The centrepiece of Raúl Castro’s reforms was a set of three hundred ‘guidelines’ (lineamientos) for reshaping social and economic policy. They were first drafted in late 2010 and amended after a process of public consultation in which millions of Cubans participated. (DePalma dismisses the whole thing as a charade.) They involved change across the board: in agricultural co-operatives, foreign trade, education budgets, restaurant licensing, ministerial payrolls and private sales of apartments and cars. Taken together they signalled a shift from an overwhelmingly state-run economy to one in which state and private sectors, plan and market, are meant to coexist.
This is a major change. Previous gestures towards liberalisation, such as joint ventures with foreign capital, had been tolerated on the understanding that they were exceptions to the state-socialist rule. The lineamientos were different: the document introducing them blamed Cuba’s economic difficulties on the excessive weight of the state sector, and recommended a relaxation of restrictions on self-employment and small business. The liberalisations carried out by China and Vietnam in the 1980s – with the aim of creating a ‘socialist market economy’, or ‘socialist-oriented’ in Vietnam’s case – were seen as parallels for Cuba’s reforms. Some of the Cuban economists Yaffe interviewed were alarmed by the resemblances, pointing in particular to China’s current inequalities, and warning against too single-minded a focus on the economy.
The Cuban authorities seem to share some of these worries, and after 2016 the pace of reform slowed. Trump’s election was a factor, bringing as it did a more hostile US stance: the White House escalated sanctions and reinstated curbs on travel and remittances. Mounting US pressure made the Cuban government think twice about major policy shifts. There was unease, too, about the rapid creation of a new layer of Cuban entrepreneurs: a bourgeoisie in embryo. But Yaffe argues that the stop-start character of the reforms wasn’t a sign of hesitancy: it can largely be explained by the wish to defend los logros, ‘the achievements’ of the revolution. Necessary reforms could have undesirable side effects, and there was a tightrope to be walked.
In February 2019, after further public consultation, a new constitution was approved by referendum. It retains an insistence on Cuba’s socialist character and on the primacy of the Communist Party, but differs from the 1976 version in significant ways. It straightens out some of the legal obstacles to the implementation of the 2011 guidelines but also registers broader changes in society. Article 42 prohibits discrimination by sex, gender, ethnic origin, skin colour or religious belief, and Article 81 protects the family ‘in whatever form it is organised’. This was a feeble substitute for a draft article that would have legalised gay marriage: it was retracted during the consultation process under pressure from both old-guard party members and Catholic and evangelical churches. The latter receive generous, embargo-exempt funding from the US and are an increasingly assertive presence in Cuba. But change may still be on the way: a new Family Code is being drafted that could allow for same-sex marriage.
The new constitution has also reordered the political system. Power used to be centralised in the Council of State and in the hands of its chair: Fidel Castro for 32 years and then his brother. It is now distributed between a president, a prime minister and the head of the Communist Party. Both the first and third of these roles are currently filled by one person, Díaz-Canel, with the former minister for tourism, Manuel Marrero Cruz, serving as prime minister. The president is neither all-powerful nor permanent: he is limited to two five-year terms, and any successor must be younger than sixty on taking office. Generational renewal is now built into the system.
But there have been new tensions. One of Díaz-Canel’s first acts on taking power in 2018 was to sign Decree Law 349, which tightened state regulation of the arts. Cuban artists and musicians immediately denounced it as an instrument of censorship. Their campaign led to the formation of the Movimiento San Isidro, a group which last November mobilised public protests – the first since the Maleconazo of 1994. The usual anti-Castro figures voiced their support, enabling the government to paint the whole phenomenon as Washington’s creation. But many others on the island joined the protests too (including rappers with vast online followings). This messy convergence is unlikely to last, but the underlying discontent is real.
Covid-19 delivered a severe shock to the economy. Cuba’s healthcare system kept case rates and casualties low for several months – fewer than 13,000 cases were registered during the whole of 2020 – but tourist arrivals fell by 90 per cent over the year. The Trump administration’s decision to prohibit all remittances to the island severed a crucial lifeline for many Cuban families and made an already dire economic situation worse. In the middle of the crisis, the Cuban government launched a wide-ranging set of economic and monetary reforms. Long promised but much delayed, they came into effect on 1 January 2021 – Day Zero. The monetary component was especially fraught. Until this year, there was a sizeable difference between convertible and national pesos: the convertible peso (CUC) was pegged at parity to the US dollar, and one CUC was worth 25 national pesos. This meant the convertible sector was hugely overvalued, crippling exports, while the national sector remained mired in a low income, low productivity trap. Meanwhile, the government had to pay world market prices for imported goods – including the lion’s share of its food – while subsidising their cost since no one receiving a salary in national currency could afford them.
All this had put a heavy strain on Cuba’s economy for years, and currency unification was among the goals laid out in the 2011 guidelines. But the effects of increased US sanctions combined with the pandemic made it pressing. Without remittances or tourist dollars, the flow of hard currency into Cuba was drastically reduced, and the government had no room for fiscal manoeuvre. In 2020, GDP dropped by 11 per cent, and the shortages already affecting much of the island became severe. In better times it might have been possible to unify the currencies gradually, bringing them into alignment through periodic devaluations. But the crisis led the government to scrap the CUC altogether, bringing in a single currency officially pegged at 24 to the US dollar. Demand for dollars shot up after the announcement of Day Zero, with one US dollar fetching two CUC in some black market exchanges.
To make matters worse, early this year Covid cases began to climb. By 15 June the total number recorded in Cuba had passed 160,000, around half of them in Havana, with more than 1100 deaths – equivalent to around 1400 cases and ten deaths per 100,000 people. This was a significant increase from 2020. But the figures compare favourably with Cuba’s Caribbean neighbours: the incidence of Covid fatalities in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica is almost four times higher; in Puerto Rico it’s eight times higher. And they compare more favourably still with many much wealthier countries: there have been 188 deaths per 100,000 people in the UK, nearly twenty times Cuba’s rate. The island’s homegrown vaccines should bring down case rates quickly, but the wider economic picture isn’t promising. The Biden administration has so far done little to alter its predecessor’s course, and shows no real interest in a return to the Obama-era ‘thaw’. Punitive US measures seem set to remain in place for the foreseeable future.
How Cuba navigates the road ahead depends on how well its distinctive system can adapt to the terrain. The Day Zero reforms are, characteristically, both a hurried improvisation and a long-term bet on economic growth. Currency unification is designed to boost domestic production and exports. State sector salaries, pensions and the minimum wage have all been increased to help Cubans deal with any rise in prices, and to allow for the gradual elimination of subsidies. But currency unification will unfold unevenly across the economy. More of the labour force will be shifted out of the state sector but it remains to be seen if there will be enough jobs for them elsewhere. Díaz-Canel has rejected the idea that the reforms amount to ‘shock therapy’, but another round of hardship for Cubans may be on the way as a new balance is struck between plan and market, and a new hybrid model – market socialism with Cuban characteristics? – takes shape. Another common phrase in Cuba’s lexicon is ‘No es fácil’ (‘It’s not easy’), the words generally accompanied by a shake of the head but spoken with determination.
The former president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Evo Morales participated in a keynote address of the Bicentennial Congress of the Peoples of the World, where he presented the topic "Coups in Latin America, Impunity and Institutional Fragility of the Nation-State and the International System."
During his speech, Morales stressed that there was a moment in Latin American political history where being a militant of leftist movements was considered a "sin," AVN reviews.
He also affirmed that social movements continue to grow on the continent and around the world, while highlighting that the fight against leftist ideals by the elites has failed.
"Social movements continue to grow not only in Latin America, but also throughout the world, socialists, anti-imperialists," he stressed.
He also explained how the trade union movements were incorporated into politics to fight for social demands in their nation when there was a time in Bolivia where they were not allowed to get involved in these state activities. He also stressed the failure of the imperial governments in the fight against left-wing movements, as well as in the fields of drug trafficking and organized crime. Finally, he reflected that the maximum political instrument is found in the town itself, of the social forces, and that social demands do not solve the problems of the people, but rather a change to neoliberal structural policies is accompanied.
Cuba doctors say country will be first to fully inoculate with own vaccine
Thu, 24 June 2021, 10:34 pm
The head of the Cuban state-owned pharmaceutical group BioCubaFarma says the country plans to be the first in the world to vaccinate its entire population with homegrown vaccines. Under American sanctions, Cuba has a long tradition of making its own vaccines dating back to the 1980s.
June 25, 2021 12:06:23 AM Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez
The growth of sugar production is decided by a greater planting of sugarcane in all the agricultural units of the sector.
In this idea, Salvador Valdés Mesa, vice president of the Republic, and Commander José Ramón Machado Ventura insisted on Mayabeque, who also inquired about the preparations for the upcoming harvest and food self-sufficiency.
Simultaneously, they said, it is essential to carry out fertilization and cultivation, tasks that demand the highest quality to obtain higher yields per hectare, an aspect not resolved in many base entities.
Valdés Mesa referred to the need for efficiency in irrigation and other agrotechnical care, even in the midst of material limitations, and indicated the correct use of varieties with high sugar yield potential, an issue that requires more effective use of science next to the groove.
He pointed out the need to plant in the areas closest to the plant, which translates into savings in fuel, tires and other very expensive resources in the international market, and which the blockade prevents access.
The Vice President of the Republic said that the current spring season is an opportune moment to apply the measures approved by the Government's leadership to stimulate the agricultural process in a general sense; we must change the way of thinking and doing, and temper ourselves to the times we live in, he said.
In the base units, Machado Ventura stressed, animal traction must be used more in the tasks that allow it, as well as diversifying the productions to solve the nutrition of the workers and their families and sell to the community.
Regarding the industry, they referred to the urgency of making quality repairs, even when resources are not enough.
Terrorism killed Réplica magazine in Miami By: Hedelberto López Blanch June 22, 2021
Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Max Lesnik, recalls The siege was total and the monetary inflows were reduced to the minimum expression while the federal government "investigated" the facts but the culprits never appeared.
This article was published on May 19, 2005, in RadioMiami TV and Cubadebate.
An anonymous phone call alerted the employees of Revista Réplica: there was a bomb on the premises. Immediately the employees evacuated the building and a few minutes later a huge police deployment appeared with patrol cars, firemen and ambulances.
On three previous occasions bombs had exploded in the building occupied by the editorial offices of the Miami magazine Réplica and one of its offices, where I conducted the interview with its editor-in-chief Max Lesnik, was completely destroyed in 1981.
On none of the occasions did the intelligence services or the police investigate who could have been the perpetrators of these terrorist acts, based on the reality that they were in complete collusion with the Cuban-American ultra-right-wing organizations, whose members hated and attacked anyone who dared to speak or mention anything favorable to the Cuban government.
Revista Réplica emerged in the late 1960s as a counterpart to the only Spanish-language publication circulating in Miami at the time (there were no major radio, television or newspaper outlets) run by personnel of the overthrown dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and named, incredibly, Patria.
Batista's people, through their newspaper, influenced the mentality of all the emigrants, sowing intolerance and terrorism against the Cuban people.
Lesnik founded the weekly Réplica which, when it saw the light of day in its then offices at 3026nw and 7th St., did so with eight tabloid pages, few advertisements and poor printing quality. But its articles served to fill the information vacuum and to counteract the approaches and philosophy of the Batista ultra-right.
Given the positive impact it had within the emigrant community, in 1972 it was transformed from a tabloid into a weekly magazine with 48 pages and a format and style similar to the Cuban magazine Bohemia.
"From its beginnings, it did not accept foreign subsidies, much less from the CIA, which at that time gave money to journalists, newspapers and other publications," says Lesnik.
Due to the confrontation from its pages with the powerful Cuban-American right-wing, supported by the different U.S. administrations, these elements began a boycott against Réplica, especially when in 1978 the publication supported the talks that took place between the emigrant community and the government of the island.
Aggressiveness was not long in coming and "the poisonous seed of fascism was taking shape in the soul of the exile community," Max points out.
The result was several bombs in the offices, assassination attempts against the editor, threats and aggressions against the shopkeepers who distributed the magazines in the establishments, intimidations to the advertisers.
The siege was total and the monetary income was reduced to the minimum while the federal government "investigated" the facts but the culprits never appeared.
The U.S. authorities could not afford to let the last bomb go off. Four pounds of C-4 had been placed on the premises, and its explosive force would blow up the entire block and even a school across the street from Replica.
The device was defused and, with the intervention of the FBI, some members of the Omega 7 terrorist organization were arrested and later released.
In 1983 the main leader of Omega 7, Eduardo Arocena, was arrested and accused of planning the assassination attempt against the Cuban ambassador to the United Nations, Raúl Roa Kourí, of drug trafficking and of placing more than 20 bombs in New York and Miami.
In his pleas, before he was sentenced to life imprisonment, Arocena declared that Pedro Remón, (the same one who with Posada Carriles, Guillermo Novo and Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo attempted to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro in Panama), was the direct perpetrator of the murders of Cuban official at the United Nations, Félix García and Cuban émigré Eulalio José Negrín.
Remón was not charged with murder and served only a few months in prison despite the fact that in 1986 Judge Robert L. Ward of the Federal District of Manhattan sentenced him, along with Andrés García and Eduardo Losada to 10 years in prison. The sanction was only a hoax, as Judge Ward said at the trial that he admired Omega 7's actions to get Cuban ruler Fidel Castro out of office.
The aggressions against Réplica, carried out by Omega 7, caused the magazine and its other publications, which already numbered four, to reduce circulation and personnel until they ceased to circulate at the end of the 1990s.
In summary, as indicated by its founder and former editor, Max Lesnik, Réplica is another victim of the profuse terrorist actions carried out in Miami, which for more than 40 years have been supported by the different U.S. administrations.
New Caravan against the Blockade of Cuba on Sunday June 27, 2021
By: Andrés Gómez
June 23, 2021
NEW CARAVAN AGAINST THE BLOCKADE NEXT SUNDAY JUNE 27TH
Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Miami. After another overwhelming condemnation of the genocidal policy of the U.S. blockade against the Cuban people, the Cuban and Latin American emigration organizations that make up the Alianza Martiana Coalition: the Antonio Maceo Brigade; the Alianza Martiana (as an individual organization); the José Martí Cultural Association; the Bolivarian Circle of Miami, Negra Hipólita; the Women's Association and Radio Miami, accompanied again on this occasion by our fraternal organizations Fornorm and PazAmor join the call for a new Caravan against the Blockade organized by Caravana por la Familia Cubana y a Favor del Levantamiento del Bloqueo, which will take place next Sunday, June 27.
THIS SUNDAY, JUNE 27, THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE CARAVAN WILL BEGIN TO GATHER AT PONCE DE LEON PARK IN CORAL GABLES AT 8:30 A.M., TO LEAVE AT 9:00 A.M. IN THE MORNING. TO LEAVE AT 9:00 A.M. SHARP TO TRAVEL ALONG IMPORTANT AVENUES OF THE CITY.
PONCE DE LEON PARK IS LOCATED AT 1201 PONCE DE LEON AVENUE. COMING FROM S.W. 8TH STREET. SOUTHWARD,
THE PARK IS 5 BLOCKS AWAY, ON THE LEFT-HAND SIDE.
As a show of our support for the Cuban people and joining millions of people of good will throughout the world, we are raising funds to purchase and ship to Cuba needy syringes to vaccinate the Cuban people.
On the day of the caravan we will be raising funds to purchase syringes. For example, just $1,000 will buy 30,000 syringes. More information about this humanitarian campaign will be offered next Sunday in the time before the departure of the Caravan.
DON'T MISS IT! THIS SUNDAY, JUNE 27TH. https://radio-miami.org/2021/06/25/aun-se-desconocen-las-razones-del-derrumbe-de-un-edificio-en-miami/
=============================== WALTER LIPPMANN Los Angeles, California Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
International workshop will address challenges of aging and the pandemic
Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews. Yes, I am also getting older...
According to official data, Cuba is one of the oldest countries in Latin America. Photo: ACN.
This Friday, June 25, the University of Concepción together with the Embassy of Chile in Cuba and the Center for Research on Longevity, Aging and Health (CITED), in Havana, will organize the online workshop “Chile - Cuba on updates in old age, aging and management of the covid-19 pandemic ”.
The two days of academic and scientific cooperation, held this Thursday and Friday, are led by prominent Cuban specialists who will seek to address -in a cross-cutting manner- the challenges of the elderly and the covid-19 pandemic.
The Rector of the UdeC, Dr. Carlos Saavedra Rubilar, highlighted the importance of this activity for the University, explaining that “the International Relations Department of our University has organized the First Conference on Academic and Scientific Cooperation, whose objective is to share experiences in the realm of longevity, aging, health and the current pandemic. For this, specialists from Cuba will share their experiences with Chilean professionals ”.
The highest authority of the campanil added that “for the UdeC it is absolutely necessary to increase the professional capacities that allow guaranteeing an adequate response, from the academy and thanks to research, demographic change and the emerging challenges that this change implies and thus contribute to generating the conditions of dignity in the elderly in our country, "he added.
According to figures provided by CITED, by 2025, the number of people over 60 years of age will be around 1.2 billion, while by 2050 it will reach 2 billion, of which 80% will be living in the countries in development pathways.
“The aging of the population is one of humanity's greatest triumphs and also one of our greatest challenges. Ensuring that people have not only longer but also healthier lives will result in greater opportunities and lower costs for older adults, their families and society, ”said CITED director Lilliams Rodríguez Rivera.
Regarding the development of the joint workshop, the expert added that it responds to the “need to collaborate in the training of human resources in the region, being an excellent opportunity for exchange on aging issues in a context as difficult as the one faced by the world due to the covid-19 pandemic ".
Meanwhile, the National Director of SENAMA, Octavio Vergara Andueza, who will participate in the closing of the event, valued this academic-scientific exchange as a contribution to the discussion on the issues that afflict older adults in Latin America.
"One of the challenges that this pandemic leaves us is the evidence of the multiple needs in relation to the elderly, and that comprehensive and short-term responses are required. In that sense, the valuable experiences developed by the academic world, civil society as a whole, and the State itself, should dialogue and take advantage of these initiatives to contribute to improving the quality of life of the elderly. We are at a time when we can strengthen collaboration between countries, providing feedback on our work, learning from the good practices in this type of meeting, and from the experience of countries like Cuba, the oldest in Latin America and the Caribbean ”, he pointed out.
In November 2021, the second cooperation session will take place, an occasion in which UdeC specialists will share their knowledge and experience with Cuban professionals.
In this regard, the Chilean Ambassador to Cuba, Mauricio Hurtado Navia, stressed that “the long-term project seeks to lay the foundations for this issue to be a permanent pillar of collaboration between Chile and Cuba through direct exchanges that can translate into a joint action to tackle this great population challenge in all its aspects ”.
The online workshop "Chile - Cuba on updates on old age, aging and management of the covid-19 pandemic" has the participation of leading experts from the University of Havana, the Center for Research on Longevity, Aging and Health, the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba, the National Office of Design and the Cuban Society of Psychology.
(With information from the Cited and the Embassy of Cuba in Chile)