Bob Marley: Reps Greenlight Zimbabwe Statue of Reggae Icon

Chemhere proposes the statue be erected at Rufaro Stadium in Harare, where Bob Marley and The Wailers performed to usher Zimbabwe's independence.

As Jamaica prepares to celebrate the birth of world-renowned Reggae icon, Bob Marley, Zimbabwean arts consultant has been given the go-ahead to have a statue erected in his honor.

RELATED: Jamaica Hosts Heritage Preservation Talks With Rastas

According to a Daily News Live report, Martin Chemhere – after successfully negotiating with representatives of the late King of Reggae's estate – will initiate the process to curate a statue of the beloved singer.

“I’m thrilled to have finally succeeded in this project for our beautiful country. The approval is a great achievement for Zimbabwe (and Africa) as the statue will attract tourists,” Chemhere said.

“The statue is approved subject to the following conditions: The sculptor and or Government of Zimbabwe and or private sponsor shall obtain all appropriate releases from the photographer or artist on whose work the sculptor intends to base the Statue; the Government of Zimbabwe and or other private sponsor shall pay for the costs associated with the materials and construction of the statue; the statue will be strictly for the public completely free of cost; BobMarley.com requires approval rights to the actual statue – not to be unreasonably withheld. Prior to construction of the statue, rendering of the statue must be submitted for approval by his family. The statue shall substantially comply with the rendering approved by Bob Marley.com."

Chemhere proposes the statue be erected at Rufaro Stadium, Mbare, Harare – the venue of Zimbabwe's historic independence celebrations as well as an iconic performance by Bob Marley and The Wailers to usher the nation's break away from colonial rule.

“The reason behind this statue is that of Africa’s more than 50 countries Bob Marley only performed in Zimbabwe as part of the country’s independence celebrations in 1980,” the arts aficionado explained.

Marley rejected a fee offered by Zimbabwean officials for the performance at the liberation celebration and, instead, paid all the expenses – to charter planes to transport his equipment, band and entourage from Kingston, Jamaica to Harare, Zimbabwe and back to Kingston – from his own pocket.

“The singer had, back in 1978, sang a song titled “Zimbabwe” that inspired freedom fighters and Zimbabweans in the struggle for independence.”

The consultant disclosed that the statue will be an eight-meter bronze work. Two South African artists – Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse Van Vuuren – will create the piece. Prinsloo and Van Vuuren are best known for creating a Nelson Mandela statue which is located at the Parliament-Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa.

“I have no doubt this is a national project and I will be talking to several stakeholders including the Zimbabwean government, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Harare City Council, corporate companies and individuals at home and abroad as well as the donor community and others for support,” Chemhere said.

“The project will need everyone to come on board for it to be successful.”

Meanwhile, annual activities – which include tributes, symposiums, a kiddie village and concert – have been planned to celebrate Marley's birthday at the musician's famous 56 Hope Road home in Kingston.

Marley's grandson Skip – by daughter Cedella – and son Stephen will reportedly participate in the celebratory festivities.

An Istanbul-based digital art and culture platform, Babylon, will also remember Marley with tribute performances from several artists at the special event on Feb. 9.

Marley died in 1981, after battling cancer, at the age of 36.

  • Published in Culture

JAS updates Cuban ambassador on MOU with small farmers

The Jamaica Agricultural Society, met recently with Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica, Inés Fors to update her on progress made under a MOU signed in 2015 between the JAS and the National Association of Small Farmers of Cuba.

The agreement involves an exchange programme geared at sharing best practices, technical expertise and farm technology between small farmers in Jamaica and Cuba.

JAS President Norman Grant says among the areas discussed at the meeting are participation of Cuban farmers in the Denbigh Agricultural Show; establishing  a pilot project to explore rice growing in Jamaica; and the possibility of Cuba hosting Jamaica’s national farm queen and champion farmers to expose them to the agricultural environment in that country.

They also examined opportunities for Jamaicans to be offered scholarships in agriculture and rural development at Cuban institutions; reviewing techniques Cuban farmers use for disaster preparedness, and the possibility of a JAS delegation visiting Cuba sometime in May this year.

Mr. Grant assured the ambassador that the JAS is committed to the implementation of the initiatives and proposed agreements under the MOU.

  • Published in Cuba

Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

It is precisely because of Cuba’s anti-racist and pro-worker policies that the U.S. government has labeled the country “a violator of human rights.”

As activists unite to confront white supremacy in the United States, it is important for us to study other societies outside the U.S. that have made true strides in racial and economic justice, in order to better envision the world that we want to create.

OPINION: Britain’s Open University Bows to US Pressure over Cuba

After listening to President Donald Trump’s June speech on Cuba, in which he reversed all the steps that the Obama administration had made to improve relations, one might not think to look towards this island nation as such an exemplary society. However, one must understand the history of Cuba to see why the U.S. government is escalating the six-decade war and embargo against the socialist country. It is not hard to see that the issue of race is central to the capitalist empire’s war on this socialist stronghold.

The Revolution’s Early Measures Against Racism

Like most colonial nations, institutional racial oppression was brutal in pre-revolution Cuba. Black Cubans formed the most oppressed sector of society: they faced rampant job discrimination in which they had no access to most positions in government, health care, transportation, and retail. A system of Jim Crow-style segregation relegated Afro-Cubans to specific neighborhoods and schools, and they were banned from hotels and beaches.

Illiteracy was widespread among the most oppressed sectors, and medical care was out of reach. Few know that after Castro’s failed guerilla attack on the Moncada Garrison in 1953, it was a black lieutenant from then Dictator Fulgencio Batista’s army that found him in the hills, and — sympathizing with the rebel cause — saved Castro’s life by sending him to jail in Santiago rather than to the Moncada Barracks where he would have been shot and killed along with the 70 guerilla soldiers who met such a fate. History works in mysterious ways.

When the revolution triumphed six years later, one of new government’s first measures was to abolish racial discrimination in employment and recreational sectors. When the rebel army tanks entered Havana, they crushed the hotel fences, which represented the old racial order signifying where the black and poor could not go. Castro’s government abolished the private school system of the white Cuban elites and established a well-funded and integrated public school system for all.

OPINION: US Human Rights Record, Not Cuba’s, Should Be Condemned

Laws were passed to outlaw racial discrimination

Revolutionary laws were passed to outlaw racial discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare and education. Hence, while the white upper class Cubans fled to Miami, there were no questions of loyalty from working class blacks as to whether they would support the socialist government. The fight against racism and the struggle for socialism go hand in hand.

The revolution dramatically improved the socioeconomic conditions of black workers and farmers, cutting rents in half, redistributing land, and providing universal free education and healthcare to all. Before 1959, over a quarter of Cubans were illiterate. The revolution launched a massive literacy campaign, sending brigades of student teachers into the most remote areas of the countryside, and in 1961, Cuba was declared free of illiteracy. Today Cuba has a 99.8 percent literacy rate, the highest in Latin America.

Solidarity with African-Americans

fidel y malcom.jpgCuba has always been a guiding light in the black freedom movement. Fidel’s historic visit with Malcolm X in Harlem’s Theresa hotel in 1960 was symbolic of the Cuban revolution’s blow against colonialism and world white supremacy. Both Malcolm and Castro understood the centrality of racism to the capitalist system: “you can’t have capitalism without racism,” Malcolm once famously said. Along the same vain, at the 2001 World Conference against Racism , Castro argued that:

“Racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia are not naturally instinctive reactions of the human beings but rather a social, cultural and political phenomenon born directly of wars, military conquests, slavery and the individual or collective exploitation of the weakest by the most powerful all along the history of human societies.”

Assata Shakur

Assata Shakur, former leader of the Black Liberation Army and one of “America’s Most Wanted’, escaped prison in the 1970s, and sought refuge on the socialist island. Cuba has vowed to protect this revolutionary heroine, a crime for which the empire will never forgive her. This past June, when President Donald Trump demanded that Cuba return Shakur, Cuba’s Deputy Director of American Affairs said: “It is off the table .” Throughout the ‘70s, other African-American revolutionaries such as Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton and Stokely Carmichael all visited the revolutionary Caribbean nation. Over the decades, black pastors and community leaders have led key US-Cuba solidarity initiatives such as Pastors for Peace which has made over 20 annual trips to Cuba and raised awareness to end the embargo of the island. Indeed, the African-American people have been the most consistent and loyal of friends to the Cuban people.

Cuba’s Contribution to African Liberation Movements

Less well-known is Cuba’s historic and pivotal role in supporting the African Liberation movements of the 1960s and ‘70s. For a period spanning over a decade, the small island nation sent over 300,000 volunteer soldiers to Angola, not in pursuit of diamonds, oil or natural resources like the imperialist nations, but to assist the anti-colonial fighters of Angola in their struggle against the South African apartheid army which had invaded the newly independent nation.

Fidel y Amilcar Cabral.jpgAs Guinea Bissau’s legendary independence leader Amilcar Cabral once said of this selfless solidarity: “When the Cuban soldiers go home, all they will take with them are the remains of their dead comrades.” Cuban forces struck the decisive blow to defeat the apartheid army in the battle of Cuito Cuanavale.

In addition, Cuba sent troops to battle alongside independence fighters in Algeria, the Congo, Ethiopia and Guinea-Bissau. In his 2000 speech at Harlem Riverside Church, Fidel exclaimed that:

“Half a million Cubans have carried out internationalist missions in numerous countries in different parts of the world, especially Africa. They have been medical doctors, teachers, technicians, construction workers, soldiers and others. When many were investing in and trading with the racist and fascist South Africa, tens of thousands of voluntary soldiers from Cuba fought against the racist and fascist soldiers.”

It was these historic feats of internationalist solidarity that prompted Nelson Mandela to visit the Caribbean nation after his release from prison, where he proudly stated : “The Cuban people have a special place in the hearts of the people’s of Africa.”

Socialist Health Care

One of the landmark pillars of the revolution has been the establishment of a world-class health care system which provides free, quality medical care to all Cuban citizens, and has disproportionately benefitted the island’s black and historically marginalized citizens. While all Cubans have free access to comprehensive medical care, people of color in the United States (the richest country on earth) face extreme health disparities and make up over half of the 32 million nonelderly uninsured. Cuba has twice as many primary care doctors per capita than the United States, due to its prioritization of community-level preventative care.

OPINION: The World Must Learn From Cuba

Infant mortality rate is an important indicator of a country’s health. In pre-revolution Cuba, the infant mortality rate was over 50 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Now it is down to 4.3 . Meanwhile the United States, one of the richest nations on earth, has a rate of 7.7 . Further, when you look at underserved regions of the US like Mississippi — which has the largest black population of any state – the infant mortality rate is 9.6 , double that of the Cuba’s. In other words, Black babies matter in Cuba — more so than they do in the US.

Revolutionary Doctors

If there’s one accomplishment the international community cannot ignore it is Cuba’s ‘medical internationalism’ which in 2014, saw 50,000 Cuban doctorssaving lives in over 60 developing nations across the globe. While activists around the world attend protests, Cuba demonstrates her belief that black lives matter by sending doctors and medical personnel overseas to African and Caribbean nations to literally save black lives. Cuban doctors operate a comprehensive health program, which makes 3,000 doctors available for the region of Sub-Saharan Africa. Speaking on Zimbabwe, a nation where the former apartheid regime did not train any black doctors, Fidel explains that, “We sent teams of 8 to 10 doctors to every province: specialists in comprehensive general medicine, surgeons, orthopedic specialists, anesthiologists and x-ray technicians.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Cuban government assembled the Henry Reeve Brigade — 1,500 fully equipped health professionals trained in disaster medicine — which were brought together on an airstrip, ready to depart for New Orleans immediately to help save black lives.

Cuban doctors in Haiti

President Bush rejected the offer. Many of these same doctors then went to Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s first free black republic, where today there are several hundred Cuban doctors and specialists providing free health care to 4 million people. After the deadly 2010 earthquake, Cuba health professionals arrivedwithin 72 hours as some of the first responders.

OPINION: Representation and Resistance: Slavery Depictions in Cuba vs. US

The United States, on the other hand, sent thousands of marine soldiers to the island. This juxtaposition speaks volumes regarding the values of capitalist and socialist societies. In the aftermath of catastrophic disaster, one society exploited the crisis and sought to control black life; the other sought to save it. More recently, the same international Medical brigade spearheaded the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, sending surgeons, intensive-care doctors, epidemiologists and pediatricians. These efforts earned Cuba an award from the World Health Organization.

Over 100 scholarships for African American and low-income students from the United States

If it were not enough to export its own doctors to countries in need, the Cuban revolution has also taken up the admirable task of training doctors from other countries free of charge in Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM). ELAM currently has an enrollment of over 19,000 students most of which are from Africa and Latin America. Medical school is free for all students, and this includes over 100 scholarships for African American and low-income students from the United States who have agreed to use their training to serve low-income communities at home.

Despite these social gains, Cuba is far from a racial utopia; blacks are still underrepresented in high-level government positions and in the lucrative tourism industry, and whites have had disproportionate access to the new market-driven sector of the economy that emerged during the special period. However, most can acknowledge that it is quite difficult for a society to overcome a racial legacy of 400 years of colonialism, in just 50 years of revolution. The struggle against racism in Cuba is an ongoing process.

Lift the embargo on Cuba

It is precisely because of these anti-racist and pro-worker policies, and Cuba’s audacity to stand tall in the face of empire, that the U.S. government has labeled her “a violator of human rights.” On the contrary, it is the U.S. government whose police forces continue to take black lives with impunity, and wage a war on the poor, who is the real human rights violators. Let us lift the embargo on Cuba and put the embargo on US capitalism and racism. Let us not forget that if there ever was a place where black lives truly matter, it’s Cuba.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban & Jamaican Music Converge On 'Havana Meets Kingston' Australian Tour

Australian reggae and dancehall producer Mista Savona has spent the better part of the past two years working on Havana Meets Kingston, an album — and now live show — celebrating a fusion of Cuban and Jamaican music featuring several of the countries' best.

Initially recorded over 10 days in June 2015 at Havana's Egrem Studio, Havana Meets Kingston saw Savana fly seven Jamaican musicians to join a group of established and emergent Cubans to create the groundbreaking project. It has since been finished over several more sessions in Jamaica, Cuba and the UK, and now features more than 50 international musicians among its ranks.

Ahead of the album's upcoming worldwide release in November, Savona is heading Down Under with British-Jamaican muso Randy Valentine and Cuban singer Solis in tow. The pair appear on the album's first single, Carnival, which landed back in February and has already been warmly received in the UK and Europe.

The Havana Meets Kingston Sound System Show will mark the first time several key tracks from the album have been played in a live setting. It kicks off in Sydney on Friday 20 October before heading to Cairns, Melbourne, Bangalow and Stradbroke Island.

The shows, proudly presented by The Music, will serve as something of a taster for the upcoming release, which is set to be followed by another album and a feature-length documentary in 2018. Next year will also see a full-band tour on the cards in the wake of these special sound-system shows.

Havana Meets Kingston will be released on Friday 3 November, and features contributions from the likes of Sly & Robbie, Boopee, Bongo Herman, Changuito and Buena Vista SOcial Club members Barbarito Torres and Rolando Luna.

  • Published in Culture

JAMPRO hosts inward trade mission from Cuba as Agency seeks to boost export to Caribbean region

Following its Caribbean Market Mission initiative to boost regional export, Jamaica’s trade and investment promotions agency, JAMPRO, is this week hosting a Cuban delegation representing 10 organisations for a week-long trade mission from July 17-to 21, 2017.

The trade mission, a result of JAMPRO’s Cuban market development programme, will have representatives from Cuban State Agencies such as the National Bank of Cuba, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment, Ministry of Domestic Trade, the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba, and key enterprises like QUIMIMPORT (chemicals), CORALSA (food), QUIMIMPEX (exports and imports), CUBASOL S.A. and IMECO (construction).  CUBASOL S.A.  is an entrepreneurial group composed of important agencies and enterprises related to the Tourism industry.  Jamaican companies will get the opportunity to promote their products for export to Cuba through factory visits organized by JAMPRO, as well as meetings with the Cuban companies to initiate negotiations for the sale of locally manufactured products. The Cuban representatives will tour Jamaican companies, to understand the country’s capacity for manufacturing to meet the demand of the Cuban market, with a population of 11 Million.  The delegation will also meet with Jamaican government counterparts to discuss improving the exporting process to Cuba. The mission will end with the “Doing Business with Cuba” seminar hosted by JAMPRO to provide companies with the knowledge necessary to do business in the country. A highlight of the seminar is a presentation on the CARICOM-Cuba trade agreement.

Having targeted the Cuban market through our many missions there, especially to FIHAV, The Havana International Fair, and hospitality trade fair HostelCuba, we needed to take the next step to cement the relationships we had initiated and concretise the demand we had identified,” said Diane Edwards, President of JAMPRO.

Vice President of Export and Market Development at JAMPRO Robert Scott added that the inward trade visit represents a leap forward for Jamaican companies, and suggests that Jamaica is now on the radar of the Cuban buying authorities. VP Scott said, “Success in the Cuban market requires persistent interactions over several years to encourage relationship building and knowledge of what is needed in that market. This mission is a breakthrough as it means our companies now have the opportunity to build relationships with key Cuban business organisations and buyers in the Jamaican space. For those who are already in contact with Cuba, they can now showcase the professionalism of their operations and convince the delegation of their ability to supply consistently high quality. We are excited about the possibilities for this mission, and we are pleased to receive support from the Embassy of Cuba in Jamaica and our embassy in Cuba. They have proactively encouraged business and dialogue between Jamaica and Cuba.”

According to His Excellency Bernardo Guanche Hernández, Cuba’s Ambassador to Jamaica, the mission is part of a continuous effort to build trade between Jamaica and Cuba and encourage knowledge sharing between both countries. He explained, “Thanks to the efficient and gracious work by JAMPRO, the Cuban delegation will visit Jamaica to fulfil an extensive agenda. The visit is part of the efforts carried out by both countries to increase trade and businesses in concordance with the excellent level of bilateral relations between Cuba and Jamaica. 

This trade mission gives continuity to the visit by Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment of Cuba (MINCEX), Ileana Nunez Mordoche, in May 2016, as part of a tour to the Caribbean, signaling the commitment we have made to boost trade. I am pleased to say that we believe we’re making significant headway in this effort, and I look forward to the outcomes of the mission to Jamaica.

  • Published in Cuba

Bolt To Run Two Events At London IAAF Worlds

The fastest man in the world Usain Bolt has confirmed that he will feature in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the IAAF World Championships in London in August.

The championship is expected to be his final event before retiring.

Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist and one of the world’s most recognisable sports superstars, holds the 100m (9.58 seconds) and 200m (19.19 seconds) world records and won gold medals at the last three Olympic Games.

“My aim is to win in London. I want to retire on a winning note,” the Jamaican, 30, said during a press conference on Wednesday.

The World Championships take place from 4 August to 13 August in London.

The men’s 100m final will be run on Saturday, 5 August, while Bolt’s final race, the men’s 4x100m relay, comes up Saturday, 12 August.

  • Published in Sports

Jamaican Sprinter Usain Bolt Cleared of 'False' Doping Reports

The global Olympic authority re-tested samples from the 2008 games and found that Jamaican athlete did not "abuse" clenbuterol.

The International Olympic Committee said it had not detected any significant abuse of clenbuterol after finding "very low levels" of the banned substance during retesting of samples from the Beijing Olympics, as Jamaican officials slammed the reports of abuse as “outright false.”

RELATED: Bolt Makes Olympic History

The International Olympic Committee's comments Monday came one day after German broadcaster ARD reported that traces of the banned substance were found in samples provided by members of the Jamaican sprint team at the Games in 2008.

Jamaica won 10 medals in the sprint events led by Usain Bolt, who took gold in the men's 100 and 200 meters.

In a statement, the IOC said that "very low levels of clenbuterol" were found in the cases of athletes from a number of countries and different sports. It said the athletes were innocent and could not give any more details.

Without mentioning Jamaica or the ARD allegations, the IOC said that all values were "in the range of potential meat contamination cases". It said it "carefully deliberated" whether or not to proceed with the cases and consulted the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA.

https://images.openmultimedia.biz/640x480/clips/imagen-2016-08-21-183526889360-581965.png

According to the IOC, WADA said it could not find "any significant and consistent pattern of abuse of clenbuterol in these cases and that it would be appropriate not to take these cases any further."

Jamaican officials said they hoped the IOC and WADA would set the record straight with regard to the ARD report. "I think some of the innuendoes and assertions have been unfortunate, if not outright false, and hopefully these will be corrected by the IOC and WADA in due course,” Jamaica Olympic Association president Mike Fennell told Reuters.

“It is clear that there are many people in the world that want to get at Jamaica because some of them feel that we have been far too successful and we do not deserve to be successful," Fennell added.

RELATED: Russia Doping Allegations Politicize Olympic Games

"They cannot believe that this little country can produce so many superstars and they are trying to find some way to damage that. Our athletes are clean and we respect the anti-doping rules."

Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, also questioned if the report was aimed "at trying to destroy Jamaica's good name."

The IOC stores samples for a decade to test with newer methods or for new substances. It ordered re-tests of samples from Beijing in the run-up to last year's Rio Olympics to try and root out drug cheats.

Clenbuterol is a performance-enhancing substance sometimes found in weight-loss pills and is on the WADA banned list.

Jamaica were stripped of the Beijing 4x100 meters gold medal in January when Nesta Carter was found in retests of his sample to have taken the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine. The whole relay team lost their medals as a result, including Bolt.

  • Published in Sports

German TV Assures that ICO Hid Jamaican Athletes' Doping

Germany's public television station ARD assured on Sunday that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hid and stopped investigating cases of doping by Jamaican athletes.

According to the TV station, some B tests that were apparently positive for clenbuterol and were taken during the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 were considered negative although the banned substance had been found.

The program 'Sportschau' reported that it had received the information in the autumn of 2016 from IOC sources.

In that regard, the international sports body made it clear that those cases of minimal values of clenbuterol had been shelved following regulations from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WAA) 'to protect innocent athletes.

Clenbuterol is a bronchodilator that has notable anabolic effects, so it is one of the substances banned in sports.

In December 2014, ARD denounced a big doping scandal in Russian sport that resulted in an in-depth investigation by the WAA and sanctions on that country's athletes.

  • Published in Sports
Subscribe to this RSS feed