International Book Fair in Cuba Breaks Several Records

Havana, Feb 18 (Prensa Latina) The organizers of the 28th International Book Fair (FIL) in Cuba are reporting on Monday the results with several statistics records.

At the closing of the event in Havana, its president, Juan Rodriguez Cabrera, reported that the audience acquired about 409,395 copies this year, 5,000 more than what was achieved in the previous event.

The participating record of countries was also broken by receiving more than 400 representatives from 48 nations and the attendance at the San Carlos de la Cabaña fortress, headquarters of FIL in Havana, exceeded 385,000 visitors, higher to 20,900 to 2018.

According to the official count, about 100,651 people attended the fair on Saturday, February 16.

The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria was the guest of honor during this fair. The country was represented by a delegation made up of more than 30 artists, panelists, editors and writers who exhibited not only literary works; but also music, photography and the cinema of the African nation.

The 28th edition of FIL paid tribute to Cuban writer Eduardo Heras Leon, National Literature Prize laureate (2014) and Edition (2001). It also celebrated the 500th anniversary of the founding of Havana.

According to the president of the event, the fair opened the E-Commerce Book in national currency, a service to be available throughout the country.

The fair will now be extended to the rest of the provinces until April 14, in eastern Santiago de Cuba, in an attempt to multiply its benefits.

  • Published in Culture

Diaz-Canel: New Cuban Constitution Defends Human Dignity

The new Cuban Constitution defends human dignity, President Miguel Diaz-Canel said on Monday, just six days before the referendum to ratify the magna carta.

'Our Constitution guarantees and preserves the universal and free access to public health and education, so it defends the respect for human dignity,' the president wrote on his Twitter account, where he has more than 95,000 followers.

Diaz-Canel repeated his Yes vote in the referendum on February 24 on a document that resulted from people's contributions, translated into more than 780,000 proposals made in neighborhoods, work places and schools during the consultation that took place from August 13 to November 15.

On Sunday, the Cuban president recalled on Twitter the glorious nature of the date chosen for the referendum, as it marks the resumption of the wars for independence in 1895, and noted the people's protagonism in the construction of the new Constitution, which will replace the one in force since 1976.

'Cuba is ready to say Yes to the Constitution that we made among all. I vote Yes for that collective work,' Diaz-Canel stressed.

  • Published in Now

Venezuela: Famous Artists and Unfair Causes

Venezuela undergoes an ordeal in its economy. That is true, but the first thing that should come into the minds of some artists, who are worldwide followed and who let themselves dragged into the media show against the South American nation is in the causes that have led this country to the present situation.

Far beyond the achievements and failures in the economic policy of Nicolas Maduro’s government, the media war and above all the economic war endured by this sister country has been truly harsh. The oligarchy of that country is the number one factor. Foreign powers, like the United States and its allied the European Union have not spared efforts in their attempt to choke the booming of that kind people.

That is a pill hard to swallow. One must be a juggler to survive and I mean it as a Cuban who has endured in our own blood the blockade since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

Therefore I do think that it’s serious that famous artists, either purposely or unaware fall into that trap, since in my personal opinion is an irresponsibility on their behalf.

I also hope, with all my heart, that although they don’ care much about my humble opinion, Luis Fonsi – an artist whom I like – fights with the same strength for the independence and freedom of his homeland Puerto Rico, which coincidentally is the Caribbean island where the puppeteer who in the end pulls all the strings against Venezuela, plays basketball with toilette paper and the basket turn out to be the needs of the people who lived there when hurricane Maria hit.

A similar reaction I expect from Mr. Juanes. Yes, when in his beloved Colombia more than 10 social and union leaders are killed in a month after the Peace Talks, a country regrettably sunk in violence and that, what a coincidence, houses almost ten military bases of the foreign power that has exacted misery and unjust wars to the entire continent. If you read a history book, you can accurately tell how many they were and how many lives they took.

As for the boys from the Metropolis, Alejandro Sanz and Miguel Bosé I applaud the initiative of always trying help the poorer, but I repeat, I think that this time they are biased or indirectly being manipulated.

One of these days I will launch an initiative to protest against the wall president Trump wants to build on the Mexican border to isolate Latin America. Let’s not be mistaken, in the end we are just lab rats, roaches, lesser beings to them. I truly hope from the bottom of my heart that they also join that initiative which is much more honest and fair than the one they partake today. Come to think about it.

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Minister of Commerce and Industry meets Cuban Foreign Trade and Investment Minister

DOHA: H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry, met with Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment of Republic of Cuba, Rodrigo Malmierca, who is currently visiting the country.

The meeting dealt with bilateral relations and bilateral cooperation and the means to enhance them, particularly in commerce, investment and Industrial fields.

The meeting also shed light on the Qatari economy’s developments in recent years. The two sides then reviewed investment opportunities available in all sectors as well as the legislation adopted by the State in order to support the private sector and increase direct foreign investment.

The two sides also discussed ways to support joint investments and how to encourage the private sector to establish innovative investment projects in main sectors that could benefit the two countries’ economies.

  • Published in Cuba

Reasons for a YES for Cuba

Ana Sánchez Collazo, Elier Ramírez Cañedo and René González Barrio explain the reasons for voting YES for Cuba, in the coming elections on February 24th.

Cuban academics and intellectuals who line up with the principles of the Revolution, spoke to CubaSí about the essences and reasons that will take them to vote YES for Cuba in the coming elections on February 24th.

All patriots: The head of the Study Center of Martí, Ana Sánchez Collazo; the young historian Elier Ramírez Cañedo, and the president of the Institute of Cuban History, René González Barrio.

For my Present and my Future

“My vote will be Yes for my Homeland, my family, my present and my future”, affirmed Ana Sánchez Collazo, a woman who has found in Martí’s ideas a philosophy of life.

Very excited around these days, after participating in the 4th International Conference for World Balance, Ana Sánchez is convinced about the validity of Martí’s ideas and the need to study his work.

“As Cuban I am proud that this Constitution reflects the Cuba of today and that in addition guarantees the fundamental rights of human beings, for those the Revolution has fought for over 60 years.

“This new Constitution expresses something that our José Martí always said about the dignity of people, that it must be respected. It’s a text shaped to our times nowadays, to the needs we have today of defending what’s ours, but also open ourselves to the future and to the world.”

The professor added that this is a very advanced document that shows “our achievements” and, above all, it opens paths to keep the work of the Revolution. “For that reason I invite everybody who feels Cuban to vote for the Homeland!”, she emphasized.

A new Constitution, as Revolutionary as that of Guáimaro!

Academic, a PhD in Historical Sciences, member of the Drafting board of the Constitution, Elier Ramírez Cañedo considers that the process scheduled to finish on February 24th with a popular referendum has been historical and unparallel.

“We can’t deny that in the history of the Revolution other similar processes have occurred —for example, in 1976 another referendum took place—. However, that happened during these months is unparallel keeping in mind the level of participation and the role of new technologies as well as the social networks.

“That is, the fact that people have been able to participate two or three times in the consultation and give opinions in each space, even the opportunity to revise materials in the social networks, something that improved the presented project.”

The young historian qualified this Constitution as advanced, modern, adapted to the conditions of our country and, at the same time, thought for the future, in defense of our socialist system, the leadership of the Party, the unity, the praise to man’s dignity that “is present in the entire document.”

He added that the new Constitution increases dearly the number of Rights in comparison with that of 1976. These are some of the strong points.

“The process was a democratic exercise, plenty of debate that demonstrated us the popular knowledge and also that capacity attained by the Revolution, that’s why at present we have specialists of multiple subjects.

“It’s a Constitution that sets a landmark, not just in Latin America but also in the world, for the rights that incorporates and the guarantees of those rights.”

He pointed out that with this constitution begins a new stage with an extraordinary symbolism “because it takes place, in fact, on the 60th anniversary of the Revolution and with the presence of the Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, the number follower of Fidel of all Cubans, directing the Drafting Board of the constitution.

“Besides that is proclaimed in the 150th anniversary of our first Constitution of Guáimaro to be commemorated next April 10th. Nevertheless, I consider that the new text is still as revolutionary as the one approved by our freedom fighters in 1869 and that pays homage to our history, where the ideas of Martí and Fidel are also present.”

Consequent with the Homeland History

For René González Barrio, to vote YES next February 24th implies to be consequent with the history of our nation, with the project began by Carlos Manuel de Cespedes and that Fidel was able to make real with the victory of the Revolution.

“It means to be consequent with all the fallen revolutionaries all those years of making the Revolution before and after 1959 in the fight against bandits, in the Literacy Campaign, in the internationalist missions. The entire effort, the sweat and blood of our people rests in that Constitution which is the result of popular knowledge.

“Because it’s been a democratic process it has allowed us to enrich the initial project feeding on the comments, additions, and teachings of the people. To vote YES for this new Constitution is to say YES for the project of Homeland that we Cubans have chosen.”

A film to light up a symbol

The cinematographic circuit premieres “Inocencia” (Innocence), a film that recreates the events of the execution of the eight medicine students in November 1871. We talk to its director, Alejandro Gil.

This is a tragic story, but it had to be told. Everybody thinks they know it very well, but there are revealing elements. It was the martyrdom of eight youngsters, who could have perfectly been today’s youngsters… Reasons enough to make a film.

This is a project largely cherished by Alejandro Gil, a man who is now happily amazed by the reception the film is having: “People have received it with great emotion, regardless of their age. It tells about the force of our history, and the need to return to it”.

—How can one approach an event like this without making it look a boring History class?

—You must establish a dialogue with your contemporaries: from the human thing, a credible dialogue, starting from those assumptions the great events arouse: certainties, doubts, fears… I realized with “Innocence” that the event could be narrated as a story, it had drama… and that enabled me to establish a very favorable cinematographic “contact” with the event. You can approach a milestone or a personality in many ways, but you should not overlook the codes of language and cinema…, which is art.

“Watching this, what remains is to conceive an approach: to identify the conflicts, to recreate the plots in order to be able to build a story which, under the director’s responsibility, can contribute a new point of view.

“History is always in motion. And it always has its doors open so anyone can enter there to poke around, to look for a new truth or to find new foundations to confirm the generally assumed truth, or even, a different symbolic dimension”.

—It has been said it is a film dedicated to youngsters…

—As we had the premise that this would be a film especially for youngsters, starring youngsters… we conceived a formal dialogue with those youngsters. That’s why, we started to move the framing structures, color saturation; we tried to have a montage based on parallel stories, which would be contributed and linked with cadence; we never lost all sense of time when it came to articulating the scenes… in short, we made an almost goldsmithing work.

“The idea was that those two hours of film run without obstacles, a scene “pushed” by the need of the other.

“If you think about young people, you need to give more freedom to the gestural thing. The actors were free to be, to a certain extent, themselves. Many of my characters are not very well known, there were a few elements to lean on when it came to building a characterization.

“Some actors asked me: what is my character like? I replied: “It can perfectly be like you. Stamp your own strength on it. We are bringing that character to life for the first time”.

“Of course, there was a maneuver behind to make all this coherent. We wanted that each of them were both different and united by a poetics.

“We avoided long, static or very rhythmic shots… that could have been another way of narrating, another spirit. But it was not ours. The structure we chose (to tell two parallel stories) allowed us that “game”, those shifts.

We should add to this the own force of Amílcar Salatti’s script, which was a very solid support. Even, it pressured (in the best sense) during the table read sessions.

“Taking all that to images in very tough times really scared. In every sense.

“Imagine the scenario: Havana is now a city completely “invaded” by man, if you have to set it with few resources so it can be the 19th-century Havana you must take a risk. We tried not to avoid general shots. We wanted the film to be oxygenated from its majority interiors… but those interiors had to be broad. Since we could not “fly” towards the exteriors, we tried to oxygenate it from the interiors”.

—Why telling that story? Why telling it now?

—In 1992, I made a documentary on that topic and realized there was a lot to say. Enough to make a film. But conditions were not created, we went through the toughest years of the Special Period (economic hardship). Actually, it was almost impossible to think about a film of that nature.

“But we had the health, time and perseverance to continue investigating… and the opportunity to make it appeared. I think it was made at the right time.

“I think we have settled a debt with that event, with that date. We wanted resize the symbolic character of that story. There was an unbalance between the way in which the event was assumed every year, and the level of real knowledge about all of its vicissitudes.

“We thought it was important that the film shed light over many of the dark zones of that tragic story, that it could “revive” it a bit.

“I believe it is a film that shows universal values, based on the values of many of its characters. Fermín Valdés, for example, is perseverance, loyalty; he didn’t listen to the voices that were telling him to give up… and continued looking for and looking for the bodies of his classmates for fourteen years… until he found his truth in some way.

“If we need symbols, this is an event with great significance to create them. The film suggests a reunion with dignity”.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

The Benefits about Reading a Book

As it is shown by a new study of the Yale University from the United States, which concluded that the reading habit improves the hope and quality of life.

In that research published by the Social Science and Medicine magazine, it was discovered that there was a direct relation among the people with a longer longevity and those ones with reading habits.

The information was recently delivered and pointed out that after asking more than three thousands and five hundred participants who were over 50 years old about their reading habits, the related data allowed dividing those readers into some groups: the ones who did not read anything and those ones who used to do it over three hours and a half.

The results of that research, which lasted 12 years, proved that those two groups that used to read surpassed two additional years the group that did not do it.

Canadian researches proved that those who ususally read have a wider vocabulary and that help to get to know the words' pronountiation.

Science unveiled the knowledge about reading and we do see that the scientists of the Emory University compared the readers´ brains and the non-readers´ ones in 2015 and they got the conclusion that those ones who keep the reading habit, while using their imagination for understanding and feeling the characters´ emotions are nicest, according to a published article.

The Benefits about Reading a Book

Other researchers proved that reading increases the capacity about detecting and understanding other people's emotions that is an essential skill for the complex social relations.

According to the research by Ph.D. Davis Lewis, who is the pioneer in the field of the neurology, reading reduce the stress levels up to a 68 % and it deeply reduces the heart rhythm in comparison with an outdoor walk as it reduces the stress levels up to a 42%.

Researchers, Alice Sulivan and Matt Brown from the Education Institute (OIE), could verify that children who used to read for pleasure achieved much better marks at the school than their classmates even in subjects such a mathematics. This was because of reading increases the skill about acquiring and processing information. The results were more visible among children who were from 10 to 16 years of age.

International studies also proved that the elderly people who often read and carry out mental exercises have a lesser chance to develop the Alzheimer disease, taking into account that an active brain improves its functions and the answer quickness.

Reading provides other important benefits that include improving the spelling, taking advantage of the free time and forgetting worries as well as providing a higher knowledge about the mother tongue.


  • Published in Culture

Cuba: US Planes Fly to Strategic Areas to Pressure Venezuela

The U.S. intends to manufacture a humanitarian pretext to initiate military aggression against Venezuela.

The Government of Cuba denounced Wednesday, through a statement, the escalation of pressures and actions of the U.S. Government in preparation for military action under the guise of humanitarian intervention in Venezuela, and called on the international community to mobilize in order to prevent consummation.

"Between Feb. 6 and 10, several military transport aircraft have been flying to the Rafael Miranda Airport in Puerto Rico; the San Isidro Air Base in the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean Islands that have a strategic location, most certainly without the knowledge of the governments of those nations," Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affair (Minrex), stated and added that "these flights took off from U.S. military facilities from where Special Operation Troops and U.S. Marine Corps units operate."

According to media circles, the U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton and the Director of the National Security Council's Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs Mauricio Claver-Carone, counting on the connivance of the Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, designed the attempted coup d'etat in Venezuela by means of the illegal self-proclamation of an interim president.

The characters, personally or through the State Department, are pushing governments in order to force their support the arbitrary call to new Venezuelan presidential elections, while promoting the recognition of the illegal self-proclaimed interim president. However, due to the Bolivarian people's resistance to a coup, which has been demonstrated in massive marches supporting President Nicolas Maduro, the U.S. intensified its coercive economic measures against Venezuela.

Among them are, on one hand, the blockade in banks of billions of dollars, which belong to Venezuela; and, on the other hand, the theft of Venezuelan's oil revenues, which causes serious humanitarian damage and harsh deprivation to the Venezuelan people.

The U.S.-backed opposition lawmaker who declared himself president, Juan Guaido, declared his willingness to support a U.S. military intervention under the pretext of receiving "humanitarian aid," describing the sovereign and dignified rejection of that maneuver as "a crime against humanity."

In the process of fabricating pretexts against Venezuela, the United States presented a draft resolution in the United Nations Security Council which expresses concern about "the humanitarian and human rights situation... the recent attempts to block the provision of humanitarian aid, the existence of millions of migrants and refugees... the excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, the situation of regional peace and security rupture."

According to Minrex, the United States is paving the way to establishing "a humanitarian corridor" under "international protection," invoking the "obligation to protect" civilians and applying "all necessary measures."

"The United States adopted similar behaviors and pretexts in the prelude to the wars it launched against Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya."

The Cuban Government also pointed out that the U.S. Government intends to eliminate the Bolivarian Revolution, which represents an obstacle for the appropriation of the world's largest oil reserves and other strategic natural resources located in Venezuelan territory.

"The aggression and the coup against Venezuela harm 'Our America' and only benefit the interests of those who are determined to divide us in order to exercise their control over our peoples," Raul Castro, Cuban Army General, warned on Jul. 14, 2017, and explained that the U.S. Government "does not mind generating conflicts of incalculable consequences in this region, like the ones we are witnessing in different places.”

  • Published in Cuba
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