Young Singers from Teatro Lirico de Cuba to Perform

Havana, May 25 (Prensa Latina) Young singers from the Teatro Lirico Nacional de Cuba (National Lyric Theater of Cuba) will perform on Friday a program that highlights their vocal skills.

Tenors Luis Javier Oropesa, Andres Sanchez and soprano Zoylin Ibarra will perform at the hall Gonzalo Roig, in Habana Vieja, singing a repertoire by Cuban and Latin American composers.

The concert 'Pensado para tres' (Intended for Three), directed by Helson Hernandez, gathers for the first time the three singers that have different musical experiences.

The program will be dedicated to the 55th anniversary of the company, which has a repertoire of more than 40 operas and 25 operettas, Spanish and Cuban.

Teatro Lirico Nacional de Cuba was founded on September 11th, 1962, although the first lyric performances in Cuba were held in 1776, in which the work 'Diddone abbandonata', written by Metastasiowas, was premiered.

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Cuban vice-president lays a wreath in honor to Jose Marti in Ecuador

The First Vice-president of the Council of States and Ministers, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, laid a wreath at the monument of Cuba´s National Hero Jose Marti.

This is my third visit to this land and we have experienced the same emotions thanks to the friendships of our people, said the Cuban vice-president while greeting those who attended the ceremony in Pichincha.

Diaz-Canel Bermudez arrived in Ecuador yesterday morning accompanied by deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Ana Teresita Gonzalez in order to attend the presidential inauguration of Lenin Moreno.

I want to salute Lenin Moreno and the Alianza Pais Movement. Both are the leading figures of a victory that transcends Ecuador to become a triumph for Latin America.

The also member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba confirmed Cuba´s support to the Ecuadorian people and their Citizens’ Revolution, their achievements, “in the spirit of moving forward in our relationship.”

He also recalled patriot Eloy Alfaro and his relation with Cuba. He fondly addressed to that great man, son of Ecuador.

Likewise, Miguel Diaz-Canel recalled how the province of Pichincha was the first in Ecuador to declare itself free of illiteracy thanks to the Cuban educational method Yo, si Puedo.

In that sense, he affirmed that it was paramount “that our people learn how to read and write to understand the possibility of a better world,” as our historical leader, Fidel, noted.

On the other hand, Gustavo Baroja, prefect of Pichincha, said that Marti, along with Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin, is one of the main figures in the emancipation process of America.

Baroja also stated that Ecuador is influenced by Marti since the country, in its educational system, has lots of Marti’s thoughts.

“Today, 122 years after his death, Marti’s fundamentals, ethic and human principles are still valid.”

Cuban ambassador in Ecuador Rafael Dausa, as well as officials from the Cuban embassy, attended the ceremony.

After the end of the activity, Diaz-Canel and the accompanying delegation toured the Equatorial and Ethnography Museum of the Middle of the World City where specialists answered all of his questions.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / Cubasi Translation Staff

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Nineteen Films Confirmed for European Festival in Cuba

Havana, May 23 (Prensa Latina) The 2nd edition of the European Movie Festival in Cuba will exhibit 19 films coming from 16 nations from June 1st to 11 in this capital, announced organizers of the event here.

Petra Rohler, representative of the cultural section of the German Embassy in Cuba, was happy when she knew that the film 'Fukushima Mon Amour', the most recent one by director Doris Dörrie, was chosen for the opening ceremony.

Rohler said the film is a very human one, artistically well elaborated, reflecting the pain for the loss suffered after the nuclear accident occured in March 2011 in Japan.

The film presents a friendship between a mature Japanese geisha, a survivor of the accident, and a young German woman who reaches the place of the tragedy, as part of a company of clowns, trying to give back the joy to the affected people, in the middle of the catastrophe.

This film received awards in the Movie Festival of Berlin last year and director Doris Dorrie obtained the Heiner Carow Award, while actress Rosalie Thomass won one of the awards at the Bavarian Movie Festival and was nominated to win another at the German Movie Festival.

For his part, the programmer of Cinemateca de Cuba, Antonio Mazón, noted at a press conference the humanism of the 14 feature films and five documentaries selected for the second edition of the event, most of them, premieres in Cuba.

The films come from 16 member countries of the European Union: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic and Sweden.

The 23 and 12 Theater, Havana's Palacio del Segundo Cabo, center for the interpretation of the Cuban-European cultural relations, and the Infanta Movie Complex, will be the hosts of the second European Movie Festival in Cuba.

As part of this event, the Orchestra of the Lyceum of Havana will be coming on June 5 at the Oratorio San Felipe Neri for performing a concert titled 'Classical Music in European Cinema', in which musical pieces from various nationalities.

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Emblematic Cuban Rumba Group Los Muñequitos Celebrates 65 Years

Matanzas, Cuba, May 22 (Prensa Latina) With 65 years and equal number of presentations in Cuban cities, the famous rumba group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas celebrates its six and a half decades of life, Rafael Somavilla Provincial Center of Music (CPMRS) informed today.

The presentations began in April and will last until October, when the 9 of that month in 1952, in the bar El Gallo, of the popular neighborhood La Marina in this city, 100 kilometers east of Havana, the idea of founding the group emerged and was materialized.

The members of the group will also offer special presentations in hospitals, nursing homes and orphanages, schools and other centers, said Luis Ortega, promoter of the CPMRS.

'In June they will visit Germany, and in September Japan,' Ortega told Prensa Latina.

Numerous specialists consider Los Muñequitos de Matanzas as one of the best exponents of rumba in Cuba, with all the flavor and irresistible cadence of that musical expression of the island.

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Casa de las Américas Hosts Virgin Islands Artists and Academics

Havana, May 22 (RHC)-- Casa de las Americas, Cuba’s best-known and most prestigious cultural institution, is featuring the work and words of a delegation of Virgin Islands artists and scholars from May 22nd until Friday, the 26th.

A full day of events, screenings and exhibitions during the institution’s sixth edition of its International Colloquium on Cultural Diversity in the Caribbean is devoted to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

This year’s colloquium, entitled “Memory and Border Conflicts,” is particularly concerned with the centennials of two events in the Caribbean region: the transfer of the Danish West Indies to the United States, and the passage of the Jones Act which gave Puerto Ricans United States citizenship.  Both events occurred in 1917.

“Both events are of crucial importance not only in the geopolitical map of their time, but to the cultural and social reconfiguration of territories and communities,” said Camila Valdés León, director of the Center for Caribbean Studies at Casa de las Americas. “Thinking about these historical moments today involves understanding them in their multiple dimensions, including the present."

A third historical event to be discussed during the five day colloquium is the eightieth anniversary of the 1937 massacre at the Haitian-Dominican border.  According to Valdés León: “It will prompt us to think about the impact of this event on the collective memory of the region.”

The U.S. Virgin Islands has been represented at the past two international colloquiums at Casa de las Americas in 2013 and 2015, but this is the first time that a complete section of the program is dedicated to the territory.

“We are very excited about the program and look forward to welcoming the delegation from the Virgin Islands of the United States on the centennial of such an important event, for them and for the whole Caribbean,” said Valdés León.

As in previous years, the colloquium is expected to attract an international crowd of Caribbean Studies specialists, artists, musicians, performers, students, and people interested in the subjects to be addressed.  All events are free and open to the public, including musical concerts, art exhibits and performances.

On Monday, an exhibition of work by seven practicing contemporary artists on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix  opened at Casa de Las Americas, located in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana.

The exhibition is entitled “My Islands Do Not Make a Nation” after a line from a poem by St. Thomian writer Tiphanie Yanique.  It features works by La Vaughn Belle, David Berg, Shansi Miller, Sigi Torinus, Cooper Penn, Janet Cook-Rutnik, and Jon Euwema.  The exhibition is curated by St. John-based curatorial team The Gri Gri Project, consisting of Priscilla Hintz Rivera Knight and David Knight Jr.

According to the curators, the exhibition hopes to capture “how some contemporary artists in the territory react to the ambivalent cosmopolitanism of life in one of the world’s last non-self-governing territories, an unincorporated territory of the United States.”

The show also features an epilogue of carnival photos taken by Cuban-born V.I. artist, publisher and author Mario Picayo.

On Monday, former V.I. Government Representative for External Affairs Dr. Carlyle Corbin inaugurated the conference portion of the event along with Sergio Valdés Bernal of the University of Havana.

The day featured a panel entitled “Roots/Crossroutes: Migration and Memory in the Virgin Islands Diaspora” featuring University of the Virgin Islands professors Vincent Cooper, Alscess Lewis Brown and Chenzira Davis-Kahina.

A second panel on the last 100 years in the Virgin Islands featured Amrey Mathunin from the University of Pennsylvania, and Hadiya Sewer, a PhD candidate at Brown University.

A third panel on arts and cultural education included Picayo, Hintz Rivera Knight, Knight Jr. and participating artists in “My Islands Do Not Make a Nation.”

The day also featured a Mocko Jumbie performance by Penn and two movie screenings:  “We the People, a Transfer Day Perspective” directed by Erik Miles, and “Jamesie, King of Scratch,” directed by Andrea Leland.

Edited by Pavel Jacomino
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Yovani Aragon amid his toughest game

The commissioner of Cuban baseball talked with Escambray about strategies, hiring, and projections of our national sports.

None of the games he played for Sancti Spiritus in 16 seasons or with the national team in 1998, when he was Cuba’s MVP in the World Championship held in Italy, is being more difficult for Yovani Aragon than the challenge of heading the National Commission of Baseball in Cuba.

Surrounded by a soccer invasion, baseball is bleeding to death among players’ defections. International titles vanished. Fans are bored. U-23 tournament does not meet fans’ expectations. Some, unhappy, target the tournament held prior to the National Series because players have not been paid a dime for what they did last season. But used to tough moments, the native from Sancti Spiritus threw his slider and wipes the sweat away. Escambray follows him play-by-play.

“We are not as bad as they say. We have witnessed a tournament with acceptable technical level. We have witnessed kids motivated and it means health for the sports. Next year, we start over with the U-12 category. It is sort of a guarantee to have this concentration in a single place (EIDE –School for Sports Initiation) since existing scarce sources can be allocated there.”

But there is lack of gloves, bats, balls, stadiums…

Baseball in Cuba is not safe from the lack of resources our country is experiencing. But we have reached municipalities with balls, bats, and jerseys. We use the money earned by the Federation not only for international tournaments and representing Cuba.

Today people playing baseball are not those who love it, but those who can afford it

We know the economic conditions of some families and baseball kits are expensive. We appreciate trainers, parents, and commissions’ efforts and we suggest all provinces to go to remote places. There are talents in Cuba, we just need to go and find them.

How does the National Commission assess desertion in lower-level categories?

It is a problem. Three or four players remain in Cuba from the teams that won the U-15 World Championship and the U-18 Pan American tournament each. We insist on parents and athletes not to be deceived. Not all of them can reach the Big Leagues. We have seen some of them abandoned in the world. No country in the world gives them the attention and love they get here. Most of those who decide to return are reinstated. They have the option of being hired. Some, like Oscar Luis Cola, Raidel Martinez, and Leandro Urgelles, are very young.

What is the policy with those coming back?

Those who left legally —they had the right and did not renege on their provinces— can play the provincial tournament and then the national series, if call up. If not, those players must wait one year because there is indiscipline. One season is not too much for athletes who abandon their provincial teams amid one tournament. Let’s take into account the sacrifice of trainers who teach athletes until they have 18-19 years old and then defect.

Are Japan and Canada the only options?

The Can-Am league is not the Major Leagues, or the Japanese League. But it has very good level with former big leaguers and other players who played AA and AAA. Cuba’s U-18 team will train in Quebec for the world championship. There are other events like the one in Rotterdam, the Cuba-USA friendly match, and the U-15 Pan American competition. Japan has increased its hiring and we have some in Italy. These are the options.

Do you agree Cuba should learn more about signings?

We have been dealing with signings three or four years now and we have done it with already experienced leagues. There are lots of clauses, legal issues that we must learn. We are training personnel so that every contract may be stronger. We are doing good business. We insert protective sections. Therefore, we are not far from the right path.

Any lights on the possibility of playing in Latin American leagues? Where are we in the talks with the Big Leagues?

Caribbean leagues or other leagues related to the MLB cannot hire any Cuban player due to the US blockade. We are still talking with the MLB. Perhaps we are not making great strides, but certain agreements are in place with mutual respect and interests.

Our stance is the same: Cuban players should be able to play that baseball and then return to our country like Mexicans, Venezuelans, and Japanese…Now, those who betrayed our country in any international event cannot represent Cuba yet.

Signings are good but hurt the National Series

We cannot be isolated. The signings are opportunities and most of the time they are positive. Most of them return and play the second stage of the postseason. The National Series will be always played with 16 teams. And there will be a time to group the quality. Cuba is baseball. Do you see a province without a baseball team?

Is it the U-23 tournament the sort of baseball the Cuban Baseball Commission aspires?

The fans are following it with other perspective. But we should understand that this is a tournament for player development.

Do you agree that baseball in Cuba is not in its prime?

No, I say it again: I do not think we are that bad as many believe we are. We played the World Baseball Classic where teams like South Korea and Venezuela —better placed in the world ranking and with big leaguers in their rosters— could not advanced. And we did it with Cuban-born players. It is true there are problems. But we do achieve things and we praise the work of trainers and workers. We are an athlete-producer machine.

But almost all stadiums remain empty, except in the postseason. Day games are hurting baseball players.

The most important thing is that we must demand more efforts from players. It is not about baseball kits or fields. Regarding the game time, we decided to unify the time. However, we are open to allow that provinces can change the time according to their needs. We are planning to change the lights in stadiums.

There are small sample of 90+ pitchers. How do you go to Japan?

Strategies, signings, young players, everything prepares us to face this new cycle to look for the qualification ticket in the Pan American Games. Japan is our goal. We have 90+ pitchers in the U-23 tournament. We are projecting a national pitching school to achieve a more specialized work.

To some, the Commission has lost credibility and authority

I do not know anything about such opinion. The Commission is working hard. Not all you read on social media is true. Everyone has his/her own opinions, and we are open to talk and help Cuban baseball.

Is this your toughest game?

This is a tough one. But we are trying to do the same we did in crucial games: to get opponents out with everyone’s help. I trust we can win this game.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / Cubasi Translation Staff

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Lucia, Emblematic Cuban Film in Cannes Film Festival

Film "Lucia", considered one of the masterpieces of cinema in Cuba, will be screened in a restored version during the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, which is now living its second session in France.

The film by filmmaker Humberto Solás is one of the 20 materials chosen for the Cannes Classics 2017 section, dedicated to presenting recovered works that marked the history of cinema internationally.

Produced in 1968, Lucia is composed of three episodes located at different times in the history of Cuba, each of them is starred by a woman with that name.

The film marked a milestone in the film production of Cuba in the fruitful 1960s, along with the film Memorias del Subdesarrollo (Memories of Underdevelopment), by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, which was screened in the Cannes Classics section last year.

According to the information disclosed, the Cineteca of Bologna is responsible for preparing the technical and organizational details for the exhibition of the restored film, scheduled for May 27 in the room Luis Buñuel of the city of Cannes, a French city that hosts one of the major film festivals in the world.

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Jose Martí is Still Present More Than a Century After His Death

Havana, May 19 (Prensa Latina) Representatives of several generations will pay tribute today in all the Cuban territory to the National Hero Jose Marti, fallen in combat 122 years ago, but with a permanent presence in the political ideology and ethical action of this Caribbean nation.

Today, academic meetings, talks, exhibitions and various activities, with which people will remember the life and work of the most universal of all Cubans, will take place in work and educational centers, as well as institutions and historical sites.

Scholars of the legacy of this pro-independence hero from Puerto Rico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, and Venezuela, along with their Cuban colleagues, will conclude today the International Colloquium José Martí and the Caribbean, inaugurated last May 17.

The meeting is divided into three commissions which address topics such as the preparation of the Necessary War and the presence of the region in the newspaper Patria, founded by Martí to boost the independence of Cuba and Puerto Rico, and it includes panels on various aspects of the thought of that pro-independence hero.

In the days prior to the commemoration of the unfortunate combat of May 19, 1895, where he fell down by Spanish fire with the rank of Major General of the Liberating Army, the new generations of Cubans held municipal seminars, theoretical events and visited historical places linked to Martí.

As part of these activities, students from different levels of education will go today to Dos Ríos, a town in the current Granma province (east), where these events occurred, to express their commitment to the work and legacy of El Maestro, as he is also known in Cuba.

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