Cuba: Summon to World Solidarity for Freedom of Lula

The members of the Brazilian caravan 60 years of the Cuban Revolution called on Monday for international solidarity in support of the struggle for the liberation of former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.

Brazilian activists called the world union around that cause in a statement read by Maria Ivon de Souza, director of the Jose Marti Cultural Association of the State of Bahia, during an act of welcome to the caravanistas at the headquarters of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) in Havana.

In presence of the presidents of ICAP, Fernando Gonzalez; and Silvio Platero, of the Cuban Movement for Peace and the Sovereignty of Peoples; and authorities on the island, the activist recalled that Lula was illegally detained because, he said, no evidence of allegations of corruption was presented.

'Is innocent; he is a political prisoner; he was arrested to prevent him from appearing in the last presidential elections in Brazil; and continues in jail for being the greatest popular leader. It is an attack on democracy, 'de Souza said.

The statement also contains a denunciation of the actions of the new executive of Brazil with Jair Bolsonaro as president who, according to the pacifists, lacerates the Brazilian people and represents a setback to the achievements of the 13 years of the party's government. the Workers (PT).

In the text, it also reiterate their repudiation of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for almost 60 years, as well as all attempts of interference by Washington against the Caribbean nation.

In this regard, he highlighted the courage of the Cubans to face the onslaughts of the US government against the revolutionary process of the largest of the Antilles.

Since last April, Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva, leader of the PT, celebrates 12 years and a month in prison at the headquarters of the Federal Police of Curitiba, southern state of Paraná, for alleged acts of corruption.

Composed of more than a hundred Brazilians, the 60-year-old caravan of the Cuban Revolution is located on the island in the context of the celebrations for the date of great historical significance for the inhabitants of the Caribbean nation and their friends in the world.

  • Published in World

Cuban Public Health: A Guarantee of Happiness and Well-being

Although is not a numeric indicator, this little girl’s expression shows a state of happiness, only achievable with a health service that responds to the People’s needs.

In year 2018, health indicators and services to the population were superior to those of the precedent year.

According to the Minister of Public Health (MINSAP), José Portal Ángel Miranda, by the end of the year is a positive balance in attaining the objectives, but we "also have much dissatisfaction, when it’s not always achieved in institutions that services correspond with the resources invested."

The National Health System faces at present the aging of the population, the decrease of fecundity and birth rate, the predominant epidemic panorama in the country, the financial limitations and costs rising, the technologies, the complex and expensive processes, the upgrade of organization and operation guidelines, the increase of international commitments and the blockade imposed to the country.

Many of these are programs prioritized by the institution and one of the most important is Family Medicine, created by the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro in 1984. Next January 4th this program will be reaching its 35th anniversary.

The Minister stressed the importance of the program to attain other goals, therefore the upgrading process carried out last year and that will continue strong through this 2019.

It includes it the improvement of facilities and, as a new element, the fact of incorporating one more year in the specialty of Integral General Medicine. "Today we have that possibility and that will improve the quality in the care."

It’s a need - he commented - to take that program to higher levels, because it’s not sustainable to guarantee the health of the people on the basis of health care institutions, which should be targeting more complex activities. "We have to continue strengthening primary health care with the doctors and nurses who work steady, make them believable, and resourceful", he emphasized.

Drugs Production, a Prioritized Program

Among the programs that MINSAP pushes forward is that of the Natural and Traditional Medicine, the Mother Children Program (falling within this one the issues related low child birth rate and fertility), the one against population aging and that of drugs production, among others.

High executives from of BioCubaFarma recently informed that at present this institution supplies the National Health Program a thousand 12 products (to do that it’s necessary to acquire more than 12 thousand materials), most of which are drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic equipments.

If we didn't have this industry in the country we’d to pay more than a thousand millions a year, approximately, to acquire these products, said BioCubaFarma president Eduardo Martínez Díaz.

This institution gives the health system 482 drugs which amounts for the 62% of basic medicines.

Martínez clarified that in the last years difficulties have arisen in the supply of several drugs by several causes, among which organizational problems, and the availability of raw materials and other things needed for this complex production.

The quality in services, the main challenge

Our health is for free, but it costs, it’s a message that MINSAP has sent over the last years, due to the importance for the population to be aware of the rational use of all resources.

Behind the production of medications and the most modern technologies purchased and set for the availability of the population, even in the most remote places, the State invests a great amount of money, and that is the scenario the country faces every year.

Although some think the blockade of the United States against Cuba is something intangible, last year alone in the health sector losses represented more than 98 million dollars and it accumulates over two thousand 711 million through these years, which are more visible when availability is short of certain resources, technologies, raw materials that most of the times must be purchased abroad.

Nevertheless, to guarantee a public health for the entire population is the State’s desire. In this regard at present the 51% of the country’s budget is dedicated to the sectors of Education and Public Health, from that more than 27% is dedicated to health and social welfare.

Looking at 2019, MINSAP has several challenges, among them to guarantee the stability of the epidemic situation; to diminish the mortality rate in children between 1-4 years old, as well as the mother mortality; to assure the execution of the export plan of services and incomes; to diminish the expenses to strictly what’s necessary, beginning with the implementation and execution of the program for efficiency.

Nevertheless, the most visible challenge for the population is the relationship with the quality in the medical services.

This is a topic – said the Minister in the TV show Round Table - that it needs the maximum attention, and he stood out that the greatest dissatisfactions are not in the medical care, but in the processes related to the services.

He said about the importance of keeping the ethics and the values in a sector where – perhaps like in any other - they are indispensable.

Doctor from Cuba Present in Brazil: Unforgettable

The closing of the participation of Cuba in the More Doctors Program for Brazil, in late 2018 has been an event that will remain in the history of both countries.

For Cuba because, once again, it allowed the country to demonstrate the elevated preparation, dignity and patriotism of our doctors. And for the South American Giant the presence of Cubans was valuable and unique, because they worked in many places where no doctor had ever tread before, like the Amazonia, for example, and they assisted the population left out and with less resources.

After it was known the MINSAP’s statement, in Brazil were stationed 8 471 collaborators, but they had already worked in that nation 20 thousand.

Cubans - 63% of that group that returned was young and 66% were women - they worked in two thousand 860 municipalities, in remote locations and conditions of extreme complexity, therefore the moving was really difficult.

Nevertheless, putting all difficulties aside, the return was successful, thanks to the combined participation of several Organizations from the Central Administration of the State, among them the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Transport, Foreign Commerce and Foreign investment as well as MINSAP.

After the return to Homeland the rewarding given has been “well deserved”, on behalf of the Government, the Party and the people in general, said Vice-minister Marcia Cobas who also highlighted the moral conditions and courage of that medical brigade.

When the declaration of the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) was known, 8,471 collaborators were working in Brazil, but almost 20,000 had already worked in that nation.

The Cubans -63% of that brigade that returned were young people and 66% women- served in 2,860 municipalities, in hard to reach places and conditions of extreme complexity, so the transfer process was awkward.

However, apart from all the difficulties, the return was successful, thanks to the joint participation of several agencies of the Central State Administration, including the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Transport, Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment and MINSAP itself.

Deputy Minister Marcia Cobas said that after the return to the Homeland, the recognition given by the Government, the Party and the people in general "has been well deserved", and highlighted the moral and courageous conditions of that medical brigade.


Cuba, Public Health: Some figures

- 13,000 institutions

- 94,000 doctors (8,2 per 1000 inhabitants)

- 19,000 stomatologists

- 85,000 nurses

- 57.4% of its workers are professionals and more than 92% are trained in the health sector.


Infrastructure:

    - 450 polyclinics

   - 10,869 doctor’s offices

    - 1,215 stomatological services

    - 150 hospitals

    - 131 maternity homes

    - 287 homes for grandparents

   

    - 150 nursing homes


    - 111 stomatological clinics

    - 30 psycho-pedagogical medical centers

     -12 research institutes


 For the training of human resources, it has:

-13 universities

-2 independent faculties

- Latin American School of Medicine

- National School of Public Health

-Teaching staff: More than 33,500 teachers



Cuban medical collaboration in the world

- 55 years of collaboration

- Our health workers have worked in 164 countries and completed more than 600,000 missions

- Around 400,000 health workers have participated, and many more than once

- Today, Cuba has a medical presence in 66 nations, with 34,000 workers (in 30 countries in Africa, 13 in the Americas, 11 in the Caribbean, 8 in Asia, 3 in Oceania and 1 in Europe)

Cuba intends to expand facilities for foreign trade

The Single Window of Foreign Trade (VUCE by its Spanish acronym) will provide information and will allow managing, through electronic means, the required approvals for the entry and exit of the products.

According to Vivian Herrera, an official in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, the implementation of VUCE will go through several phases due to its complexity and should be fully operational by the end of 2019.

She added that the establishment of the window responds to the commitment to trade facilitation contracted by the Cuban government before the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has the technical assistance of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD).

This will mean an important step forward, as until now only the electronic single window systems at the General Customs Office and the one at the Mariel Special Development Zone were operating, Herrera said.

Streamlining foreign trade operations is essential for Cuba given its economy, with a high dependence on external links, which includes the acquisition of essential items such as fuel and food.

According to the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, more than 3,000 foreign companies participate in these transactions, and the purpose is to continue diversifying the market for exports and imports.

  • Published in Cuba

Miguel Diaz-Canel praises Jose Ramon Fernandez´s legacy

Cuban president, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, paid tribute today via social networks to Jose Ramon Fernandez, one of the most notable men of the Revolution.

In his words, the Cuban head of state said Jose Ramon Fernandez was a pure man, one of those soldiers who chose being in jail rather than serving a tyrant, apropos of his passing away yesterday morning.

Diaz-Canel said farewell in his Twitter profile to the Hero of Bay of Pigs, teacher of Teachers, and the minister who revolutionized the Cuban educational system.

In another tweet, the head of state also confirmed that the sovereignty of our people is settled in the approach regarding Venezuela.

Likewise, he stated that backing up the legit right of the sister nation to decide its own future is to defend the dignity of all of us.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

  • Published in Cuba

Yorgelis Rodríguez: Searching for the Gold Medal in Tokyo

Always ready to speak, with a smile that certainly shows a positive attitude before sports and life, always ready to hear advice and seeking perfection in the seven disciplines that make up the heptathlon.  

That is Yorgelis Rodríguez (January 25th, 1995) who had a dreamt year, one out many of perseverance in the elite since she won the medal in Pan American Games of Toronto 2015 with personal record of 6 332 points.  

Her huge progression since year 2012 until today shows that her register in the seven events reached 5 994. Next, her ongoing rhythm started in 2013 - 6 186 points; 2014 - 6 231 points; 2015 - 6 332; in 2016 reached 6 481 in the main event of the year: the Olympic Games of Rio de Janeiro.  

This has been another constant issue in her sport career, because in the World Championship of London 2017 she reached her top of 6 594; and in this 2018, against the elite of this sport in Glottis, a competition classified as compulsory within the year calendar of combined sports she got 6 742. This amount of points won her the third position in the World ranking, behind the Belgian Nafissatou Thiam (6 816) and the British Katarina Johnson-Thompson (6 759).  

During a talk at the awarding gala of best sportsmen of the year in Cuba, distinction that put her among the best ten athletes, she said:  

“I am very happy especially for all the achievement this year. That is the outcome of the sacrifice and effort for an entire year next to my coach, and the physiotherapist. I believe that the main objectives were fulfilled, like the medal in the Central American and Caribbean Games of Barranquilla (6 436 points), and increase my registers in some competitions, as well as the global score in Gotzis.  

That will be the same frame of mind I’ll take the training starting January, thinking of the Pan-American Games of Lima and the World Championship, besides keep growing to face Tokyo 2020. It’s an honor to be for the first time among the ten best Cuban sportsmen and I hope this is only the beginning in the path of recognitions."

You said that there are where you can still improve or polish a bit more. As for the training, which are those events and what specific work do they do?

"Right now I am focused in the physical side, it’s essential and one of the elements that helps me on the second part of the competition to polish my techniques. It’s still early, but reaching the individual competitions with the best possible physical shape is very positive."

What are the events in which you feel more confident?

"Those will be jumping events. The long and high jump, although the long jump is a test where I can still improve more. On top of those the 800 meters flat. One of the things that makes me improve toward the end, to bring forth extra strength in this test despite the exhaustion, it’s when I am under pressure or fighting for a place in the podium or a record and that motivates me to give my everything."


 

Do you plan to go beyond the 6 800 points in 2019?

“It’s one of my first objectives. To improve the 6 742 points and go beyond the 6 800. It’s a mark that practically puts to discuss medals in any competition at the highest level."

Without such effort, how do you visualize Lima?

I am focused and motivated. The back-to-back medals I won in Toronto are reason enough. I don't think of the problems, despite I’ll be facing high-level competitors, perhaps not world elite, but in that case I will compete against my registers, making me my own rival, pushing myself to the limits."

Yorgelis has the same spirit that her coach Gabino Arzola taught her equal Leonel Suárez: working capacity, seriousness and being a professional during trainings, strong mind and permanently seeking growth regarding the registers and frame of mind, in the end the results always support every minute

ALBA Countries Condemn Interference by US and Latam Allies

ALBA stated that the Lima Group was “violating the Venezuelan people and its institutions by negating Venezuela’s appeals to the United Nations for support" amid the US blockade.

The Union for Social and Popular Movements (ALBA) issued on Sunday a statement admonishing U.S. actions against Venezuela and its people, and condemning the recent statement issued by the Lima Group.

RELATED: Venezuela Rejects Interventionist Comments by Pompeo in Brazil

ALBA expressed "concerns" in a seven-point statement in support of “the united struggle of our peoples,” in which it decries the interventionist rhetoric made by the Lima group, which they described as having “the singular purpose thus far of threatening the sovereignty of the Venezuelan state breaking with the principles of ‘not interfering in the internal affairs of a nation."

The group of countries, including, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia  all signed on to a statement that calls for President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro to not take office for his second six-year term on Jan. 10, but instead, devolve his presidential powers to the Venezuelan National Assembly.

These thirteen countries have called the most recent elections, in which Nicolas Maduro was elected with more than 60% of the vote, illegitimate, despite the numerous international observers providing oversight. 

ALBA states that the countries are “violating the Venezuelan people and its institutions by negating Venezuela’s appeals to the United Nations for help to combat the “national emergency created by the coercive and unilateral blockade placed on the country by the United States.”

On the same day during a public act at the Military Academy of Caracas, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro reiterated his commitment to the defense of Venezuela's sovereignty and rejected any interference from the U.S. government and their allies, confirming he will take office on Jan. 10 in the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. 

"The problems of each country are solved by their people and the problems of Venezuelans are solved by Venezuelans without the intervention of another government in the world, this is what I am about, this is what the Revolution is about, and the Revolution is stronger than ever", Maduro concluded.

  • Published in World

Cuban Revolution Inspires Frank Fernandez Concert

Cuban pianist and composer Frank Fernandez announced Sunday that he will dedicate a concert to the Cuban Revolution on the 60th anniversary of Fidel Castro's entry into this capital, with the Caravan of Victory.

On Tuesday, January 8, the musician plans to offer the recital at 21:00 local time at the Morro Cabaña Complex, with free admission for the entire public, he told Prensa Latina.

Fernandez announced that the presentation will also be dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the founding of Havana's Villa San Cristobal and constitutes the preamble to the activities for the celebration of its 60 years of artistic life.

In the evening, he will perform works by Austrian composer Franz Schubert, Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin, Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, as well as pieces of his own authorship.

The hands of this versatile musician will again perform the work called Ode to the Homeland, a piece inspired by Fidel and premiered on January 1, 1999, in the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

Classified as one of the world's greatest pianists, he has been praised by critics from several continents for his masterful interpretations.

Inside and outside Cuba, several pieces from his repertoire became popular themes, such as the composition for the soap opera Tierra Brava, the series La Gran Rebelion, as well as the Suite for two pianos, played by himself, one of them live in contrast with the other, previously recorded.

  • Published in Culture

Cuban Revolutionary Jose Ramon Fernandez Died

Jose Ramon Fernandez, a Hero of the Republic of Cuba and a Division General of the Reserve, died on Sunday at the age of 95.

Known by the Cuban people as Gallego Fernandez (Galician Fernandez), he had an outstanding career at the service of the Revolution, according to a press release published in this capital.

He held several posts in the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), the State and the Government, as well as in the Cuban Olympic Committee.

Fernandez was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) and a lawmaker in the People's Power National Assembly.

He was also the advisor to the president of the Councils of State and of Ministers.

Born on November 4, 1923, in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, Fernandez held several degrees during his life, such as the Doctorate Honoris Causa in Sciences of Education from the University of Havana. In 2917, he was granted the National Pedagogy Award.

In order to fulfill his will, his remains will be cremated and the information about the organization of his funeral honors will be released later.

  • Published in Cuba
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