Latin America honors 100th anniversary of birth of Oswaldo Guayasamin

Hondored as one of the greatest painters of the 20th century, the memory of Ecuador’s Oswaldo Guayasamin was celebrated Saturday on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Across the region and in his home country of Ecuador, events were held to celebrate the centennial of his birth.  The artist's final years were spent bringing the struggles of Latin American history to life with his colorful and powerful paintings.  Guayasamin once described his work as "a painting of denunciation, of great strength, of content.”

"From town to town, from city to city, we witnessed the most immense misery: peoples of black clay, black earth, with children muddied with black mud, men and women with faces of skin burned by the cold, where the tears were frozen for centuries, until not knowing if they were salt or stone," said Guayasamin in a phrase that stands out on the website of the foundation dedicated to the painter.

Born to Indigenous parents in 1919, Guayasamin was sympathetic to the trials faced by the Indigenous communities, and those displaced and abused by “imperialists” throughout the centuries.

As the world wars and regional conflicts filled the headlines of newspapers, Guayasamin took to his art, creating the series “The Age of Wrath,” which, he said, “shows all the tragedy of the twentieth century, the wars kill-men, the torture and pain that produced the dictators, the anguish of mothers who lost their children.  As well as a denunciation of the violence of man against man.”

Guayasamin collaborated with one of Mexico’s greatest painters, Jose Clemente Orozco, in the 40s and completed several murals both in Ecuador and abroad.

Some of his best known works are "The Workers," "The Dead Children," "Mother and Child," "Quito Green Fog," "White Coffin," "The Hands of Protest," "Mutilated," "Tears of Blood," "The Guitarist," “Cabeza de Napalm," “Playa Giron" and “Meditacion I."

  • Published in Culture

Cuban Residents in Argentina Reject New US Measures

The Union of Cuban Residents in Argentina (URCA) rejected the new measures of the US Government that seeks to suffocate Cuba by putting in force Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, written since 1996.

In an evening arranged by the Cuban embassy in Buenos Aires, community members of that Caribbean nation and supportive Argentine friends shared a night marked by Cuban identity in which they reaffirmed their loyalty to the Revolution led by Fidel Castro.

The event was attended by the anti-terrorist hero and fighter Ramon Labañino, Vice President of the Association of Economists and Accountants (ANEC), who once again thanked all the Argentines who, with their solidarity, made it possible for him and his four colleagues to return to their country. Along with Rene Gonzalez, Gerardo Herandez, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez, Labañino suffered 16 years of unjust imprisonment in the United States for defending his country from terrorist acts planned by the right rancid seated in Florida.

It is always good to return to this country, the land of a man who wanted to give everything including his own life so that the peoples were free of the US empire, said the hero in reference to Ernesto Che Guevara.

During the evening, URCA President, Adonis Torres, read a statement from that organization in which they categorically reject the upsurge of US economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.He restated that Cubans 'will continue to decide the fate of a free and sovereign nation.'

Among tangos, rumba and son, Cuban and Argentine friends enjoyed an emotional evening, a time also to review everything done in favor of solidarity and defense of the island in recent months.

The musical part was carried out by the soloist Yaisel Burgal, the tango dancers Juan Manuel Alemani and Miriam Cuaglarini; the Colombuco group, led by Liliana Hidalgo and Sabastian Vazquez and the Sentido de pertenencia group, directed by Yordanka Navarro.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba Dissatisfied with Reduction of Categories for Olympic Boxing

The coach of the boxing team Domadores de Cuba, Rolando Acebal, expressed his disagreement about the reduction of the number of weight categories for the World Series and Tokyo-2020 Olympic Games.

In conversation with the international news agency Prensa Latina, Acebal expressed his disagreement and that of the national federation of the discipline, about the new disposition of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), recently announced.

The Cuban coach said that all Cuba wants is for world boxing to increase the number of categories to 11 or 12, instead of decreasing its number, which is now set at eight, with the weight categories of 52, 57, 63, 69, 75, 81, 91 and +91 kilograms.

This measure, in addition to harming Cuba in terms of the chances of medals in summer events, requires the coaching staff to make various strategies to take on future commitments such as the World Series-2019, where Domadores intends to rewin the title and add his fourth crown.

The strategies drawn up by the coaching staff are also intrinsically related to the idea of renewing the national team, as several figures are in their final phase of the cycle, Acebal said.

We are working with young athletes, to gradually renew the team with a view to Tokyo-2020. We have a job perspective with a good future. There are athletes who are in their final phase of the cycle and if they do not defend their position now, they can be replaced, he said.

This argument is based on the need to have men capable of doubling in some categories, as will happen with the 49 and 52 kg since in the Pan-American Games Lima-2019 the competition will take place under the current system of 10 categories.

There will be eight categories for the World Series and Olympic Games and 10 for the Pan-Americans, that is, we have to use a very well-defined strategy to keep the athlete in the different events, he argued.

The technical group has to adjust the strategy, define who can fight in 49 and 52 kg, for example, while Lazaro Alvarez must go down to 57 kg to strengthen that division and Andy Cruz would be in the new 63 kg, for being the absolute owner of the current 64 kg.

For Lima-2019, Acebal said that Cuba's aspirations are to maintain the first position and achieve the highest number of medals in the men's division, although he warned that the tournament will be quite strong because the area has been strengthened in this discipline.

In this regard, he mentioned the squads of the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Brazil, and the United States, as well as the inclusion of professionals in the continental contest.

In general, Cuba will have the disadvantage of not having representatives in the female sector, a policy that is still under analysis by the country's sports management.

The experienced coach assured that they are analyzing the situation and we have the aspiration that the practice and competition of women's boxing in Cuba will be decided in a not too distant future.

Likewise, he said he was quite satisfied with the season that just ended, in addition to stating that Cuban boxing is now projected towards the national championship Playa Giron, in the province of Camagüey, from which the national team to the Pan-American Games Lima-2029 will be formed.

About the imminent prize of the best team of the year of the annual survey of Prensa Latina, Acebal said that Domadores is a team that was imposed worldwide, whose domain was held by the Kazakhs.

In a neutral playground, as we stated, we knew how to impose ourselves in the World Series final with a 7-3 victory against Kazakhstan, so it is well deserved that Domadores de Cuba is the Latin American team, he said.

Domadores was also selected as the Team of the season in Cuba, while its representative Cruz was exalted as the best male athlete of the campaign, in addition to Julio Cesar la Cruz (81 kg) among the 10 most outstanding athletes in the country.

  • Published in Sports

World Ballet Stars to Dance at Havana Festival

Havana.- The Alicia Alonso International Ballet Festival of Havana stands as an exceptional opportunity for ballet lovers from around the world.

As organizer of this festival, Cuba's National Ballet Company (BNC) recently announced that the event will be held from October 28 to November 6.

The upcoming 26th edition will mark the 70 years of BNC founding by Alicia, Fernando and Alberto Alonso, on October 28, 1948.

The festival's program will feature the season marking the 75 years of Alicia Alonso's debut in Giselle, which is expected to be performed by first dancers from Cuba and other countries.

Dancers with the prestigious Cuban Ballet Company will alternate with artists and companies from other countries during the shows. Some of them will premiere pieces in Cuba.

The main venues for the biennial festival will be the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, the Avellaneda and Covarrubias Halls at Teatro Nacional and Mella and Marti Theaters. The Ballet Company of the Grand Theater of Geneva, Switzerland; the National Ballet Company of Prague, Czech Republic; and the Danish Dance Theater of Denmark are among the foreign companies expected to perform in the festival.

Moreover, dancers of the New York City Ballet will bring the show 'Stars of American Ballet,' featuring names such as Daniel Ulbricht, Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, Sterling Hyltin, Adrian Danchig Waring, Indiana Woodward and Gonzalo García.

HeeSeo, Isabella Boylston, Alban Lendorf and Cory Stearns will come for the American Ballet Theater, while Camila Bocca, Juan Pablo Ledo, Macarena Gimenez and Maximiliano Iglesias will represent the Buenos Aires Colon Ballet Theater of Argentina.

The lead dancer of the New York City Ballet, Spanish Joaquin de Luz, will return to the Cuban festival, while U.S. Rasta Thomas will perform for the first time in the event presided over by Cuban Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso.

Other dancers who have confirmed their attendance are Rainer Krenstetter, of the Miami City Ballet, USA, and Marian Walter, of the Munich Ballet, Germany.

With more than 50 years of history, the International Ballet Festival of Havana favors the exchange between internationally renowned lead dancers, personalities, critics and businesspeople.

In order to honor Alicia Alonso, British choreographer Cathy Marston is preparing a ballet piece inspired by William Shakespeare's The Tempest.

The choreographer will turn the play's original male protagonist, Prosperous, into an equivalent female character to honor Alonso, Cuba's most important ballet dancer and one of the greatest legends of dance in the world.

'Prosperous is a magician that creates everything in that place surrounded by sea, like a small island full of music and dance. I rapidly pictured Alicia, who has created a sort of magic around the BNC and its dancers,' Marston told The Havana Reporter.

Different activities will be held in parallel to the festival such as exhibitions, theoretical conferences, book launch, and film and video seasons.

The Havana festival, which is one of the oldest of its kind in the world, will offer a special choice this time: a course on ballet technique for professionals, teachers and advanced-level students.

The long list of ballet stars who have participated in the Cuban festival includes Russian Maya Plisetskaya, French Sylvie Guillem, Italian Carla Fracci and Alexandra Ferri, Spanish Tamara Rojo and Jose Carlos Martinez, Argentinean Julio Bocca, Maximiliano Guerra and Paloma Herrera and U.S. Cynthia Harvey.

The BNC organizers always insist on turning the festival into a party of choreographic art that claims a phrase by outstanding Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier as its own: 'The spirit of dance is inseparable from the human condition.'

The Cuban Ballet Company has covered the country and Latin America with glory ever since it was founded.

The Cuban Culture Ministry this year issued a decree declaring the company Cultural Heritage of the Nation.

  • Published in Culture
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