Colombian 'Birds of Passage' Wins Best Film at Cuban Festival

The Film received the highest award at the 40th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.

The Colombian film "Pajaros de Verano" (or Birds of Passage), directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, was crowned with the Coral prize for the best fiction film at the 40th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema held in Havana, Cuba.

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"Pajaros de Verano" is a story set in the seventies, when the cultivation and sale of marijuana brought enormous wealth, and also decadence, to some families of the Wayuu indigenous community in the Colombian department of La Guajira.

The film, which was presented at the Directors' Fortnight at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and has been shortlisted to represent Colombia at the Oscars, also received the Coral prize for best original music at the Havana Festival.


According to Jenn Sepulveda, a Colombian film critic, the film's success stems from its ability to become something more than an ethnographic description.

Its plot reconstructs the socio-cultural scenario faced by a couple of foreigners who came to La Guajira looking for cannabis. Their search, which might seem simple and trivial, ends up leading to drug trafficking, a business that merges power, violence, and death.

The story unfolds between 1975 and 1985, a time when Colombia went through episodes of violence derived from the competition between marijuana producers and cocaine traffickers.

"We looked for a feminine perspective for a genre that always tells its stories from the male voice. We looked for those silent stories they had not told us," Gallego said, as reported by Canaltrece.

‘Pájaros de verano’, la transformación del ritual

"Birds of Passage" the transformation of the ritual

At the center of that story is Ursula Pushaima, a character who embodies the female perspective from the Guajira, a matriarchal community in which strong, empowered women face everyday life within a conservative, macho society.

The film is infused with the magical realism of a culture where the value of words influences people's relationships with the dead, dreams, and nature.

"The word is a means of negotiation. It is a way through which [the Wayuu] have been able to find peace, stability, and protection, despite not having clear rules as a community," explained the female director of "Birds of Passage."

This year’s edition of Havana Film Festival, which kicked off Thursday, will screen 333 Latin American films until Dec. 16.


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ALBA-TCP Will Step Up Efforts to Strengthen Regional Integration

Havana, Dec 15 (Prensa Latina) Member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of our America-Trade Treaty of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP) committed today to step up efforts to strengthen regional integration.

According to the final declaration of the 16th Summit of the bloc presented Friday night by the Cuban Minister of Foreign Relations, Bruno Rodriguez, the members of the organization expressed their will to build a new international order.

This commitment should stand out for being democratic, inclusive, just and equitable, in which the sovereign equality between States is effective and the respect to free determination of the peoples, stressed Rodriguez in the capital's Convention Center.

We ratify the commitment to the political concertation and conscious cooperation that only unity will give Latin American and Caribbean nations a greater capacity to face the interference and political and economic domination of the global powers.

Members of ALBA-TCP insisted -said Rodriguez- that coercive unilateral measures are contrary to the United Nations Charter and international law, besides threatening peace and world security.

We demand that the World Trade Organization adopts measures to face violations in this sector, he indicated.

The final declaration also condemns aggressive actions against Venezuela and supports the president elect of the South American nation, Nicolas Maduro.

The members of the regional group rejected the interference of the United States, that uses the Organization of American States in its interventionist policy against sovereignty, free determination of Venezuela, Nicaragua and other countries.

We support the government of Nicaragua and its anti-imperialist struggle and the end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington on Cuba, emphasized Rodriguez.

We reiterate our solidarity with the emblematic Brazilian leader, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, political prisoner in his country.

The document expresses likewise the support of ALBA-TCP to the government and people of Bolivia in its struggle to have an outlet to the sea with sovereignty and the signatories called on Chile to renew the dialogue with its neighbor.

The text reiterates its support to Caribbean countries in their claim for compensation due to the genocide of the native population from horrors of slavery and human trade.

We reaffirm the commitment to face climate change conscious that the causes of this phenomenon lies in the irrational and unsustainable models of consumption imposed by the capitalist system.

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Díaz-Canel: ALBA-TCP Summit in Havana ratifies Cuban

This Friday's celebration of the XVI ALBA-TCP Summit will be an opportunity to ratify Cuba's will to integrate Latin America in solidarity, said Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of the Councils of State and Ministers on Twitter.

The president said on the social network that Havana will dawn tomorrow hosting the XVI ALBA-TCP Summit on the 14th anniversary of its founding by Commanders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. We ratify our will to consolidate Latin American and Caribbean integration.

At the meeting, whose heads of delegations will begin to arrive tonight, high-level representatives of the 10 nations that make up this integration mechanism have announced their participation along with other invited countries and observers.

During the meeting, the member countries of the Alliance will discuss the commitment to Latin American and Caribbean unity and the need to strengthen unity in diversity.

The program released to the press indicates that it will also commemorate the 14th anniversary of the foundation of this platform that has promoted cooperation projects such as Miracle Mission, the Cultural Fund of Alba, the Latin American School of Medicine, the multinational Telesur and SUCRE, currency issued by the Bank of Alba in order to assess trade and financial exchanges between countries in the region.

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Concert on 120th Anniversary of Japanese Migration to Cuba

Japanese musicians and the Cuban group Havana Ensemble will share the stage in Havana to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the first Japanese migration to Cuba, organizers announced.

The concert, scheduled for December 17 and 18, will also include performances by the The Taiko Club of the Reitaku Mizunami School in Japan.

At the Jose Marti Theater, the cultural event will be part of the visit by a Japanese delegation headed by the president of the Japan-Cuba Parliamentary Friendship League, Keiji Furuya.

Directed by Cuban saxophonist Cesar López, Habana Ensemble has a series of new elements, in both in the music and aesthetics, which differentiate it significantly from other Cuban groups.

The celebrations on the 120th anniversary of Japanese migration to Cuba will also include an exhibition of dolls, friendly games, panels, academic exchange, conferences, presentation of calendars, public speaking contest and the publication of a commemorative book.

Japanese immigrants began arriving in Cuba in 1898, mainly from the regions of Okinawa, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Nagano, Niigata, Fukushima and Miyagi.

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Cuba to Host Interregional Workshop on Sustainable Development

 UNESCO and the Jose Marti Chairs at the University of Havana announced the Interregional Workshop on Exchange and Cooperation, a sustainable development forum scheduled for January 2019.

The event will be held from January 29 to 31 at Havana's Convention Center, with the confirmed participation of researchers and experts from Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay and Spain.

The director of UNESCO's Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, Katherine Müller, explained that the workshop's goal is to foster reciprocal collaboration between the two Chairs.

The event will help the introduction of new teaching programs and the analysis of new ideas through research and the enrichment of cultural diversity.

The official stressed that through this workshop, Higher Education and research institutions will pool their resources to advance towards meeting the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals, approved in September 2015 at the United Nations.

The importance of expanding the Cuban network of schools associated with the international organization, currently 76, through new actions to train and prepare university students will be among the subjects to be debated.

Müller also explained that the Unitwin program and the UNESCO Chairs will play a key role during the forum.

'It is an essential tool to contribute to capacity-building in higher education institutions through knowledge-sharing and international solidarity,' she said.

The Unitwin program gathers more than 700 institutions in 116 countries and supports the implementation of issues related to UNESCO's fields of competence, education, natural and social sciences, culture and communication.

Martha del Carmen Mesa, vice minister for Higher Education, told Prensa Latina that the role of the governmental agency in the growth of chairs and the advancement of projects fosters inter-university ties.

She added these networks and chairs are centers for reflection and to build bridges between academic circles, civil society, local communities and researchers.

'The Chairs Program in Cuba is an intersectoral platform and needs these opportunities to exchange experiences and acquire new practices from several countries in the region,' Mesa noted.

UNESCO recently drafted its five-year work plan for Cuba, which includes contributions on issues such as sustainable economic development, food security and environmental sustainability.

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Benicio del Toro presents his most recent film in Havana

Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro presents his most recent film at the XL International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana, entitled Sicario: Day of the soldado, a sequel to a film of the same name released in 2015.

In the film, the renowned actor once again plays Alejandro, a cold, unconscious character who rehabilitates himself and becomes more human in this second installment.

The plot revolves around the relationship between Alejandro and a girl whom he must kidnap and murder, and the violent events that develop from the protagonist's refusal to comply with the order.

It is a very physical film, almost a Hollywood western that is not for all audiences but serves to entertain and reflect, said del Toro.

On the cinematographic subgenre of drug trafficking, del Toro said it is a phenomenon similar to that of the gangsters of American films in the 1930s, when the Prohibition, and that it will not be exhausted until the world of drug trafficking comes to an end.

The Puerto Rican actor is currently working on the serial Escape at Dannemora, distributed by the U.S. television network Showtimes and a production of four stories by U.S. director Wess Anderson.

Benicio said that in the short term he plans to make film projects with Cuba, but did not offer more details.

The Puerto Rican interpreter was awarded at the 36th edition of the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema with the Coral of Honor for his long acting career. (ACN)

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Parliamentary Group for Cuban-Syrian Friendship : Syria will absolutely triumph over terrorism

Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Group for the Cuban-Syrian Friendship Santiago Badia affirmed that Syria will absolutely triumph in its war against terrorism.

Badia’s remarks came during a meeting with Syrian Ambassador in Cuba Dr. Idris Mayya.

Badia hailed the steadfastness of the Syrian people and army in the face of the conspiracy hatched against their country.

He expressed his country’s rejection of any foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs, underlining the importance of enhancing parliamentary relations between the two countries.

For his part, Mayya called for further strengthening the parliamentary cooperation between the two countries and for activating the work of the parliamentary friendship societies to serve the best interests of the two friendly peoples and countries.

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US Has No Moral Authority to Judge Cuba on Human Rights

The US Government has no authority to point at Cuba on human rights issues, the island''s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez stressed, reacting to a statement by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on alleged violations.

'Pompeo lies and libels,'underlines Rodriguez in a tweet the Foreign Ministry reproduced in social media.

The Cuban FM demanded from the US Government and its Secretary of State to lift the economic, trade and financial blockade Washington has maintained over almost 60 years.

He also wrote about Washington's poor performance on human rights for its condition as 'global repressor' and for its cruel treatment of migrants, minorities and poor people.

Director General of the US Office of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, also lambasted Pompeo's writing on Cuba.

With usual lack of decency the US Government shows when dealing with human rights, Pompeo issued a letter he said he had sent to Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, but it had not been received at the time he made it public.

He further said the US Government is dishonest when it expresses concern over human rights in Cuba or elsewhere.

'Its historical trajectory, its constant and flagrant abuses against its own population and that of many countries, and its alliance with dictatorial regimes guilty of vicious crimes disqualify the moral authority of US leaders,' emphasized Fernandez de Cossio.

To him, the letter and its public handling are actions of propaganda.

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