Cuba and Mali to strengthen Sports Cooperation

Antonio Becali, president of the Cuban National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER by its Spanish acronym) and Jean Claude Sidibe, Mali´s Minister of Sports, signed a Letter of Intent to promote exchange in that sector between the two countries.

The exchange is aimed at the creation of a Sports Medicine Center and an Anti-Doping Laboratory in Mali, as well as to strengthen the training system for the athletes, coaches and specialists of that African nation.

It is also planned to strengthen the links of collaboration between sports researchers and physicians, along with other professionals, in order to advise and train the Malian side.

Sidibe was accompanied in his official visit to Havana by Habib Sissoko, head of the Malian Olympic Committee.

During their five-day stay on Cuban soil, the visitors toured scientific sports institutions and training schools for high-performance athletes, among other activities.

  • Published in Sports

Bellamar Caves: A Gift of Nature

Since you go down the first step, you can start imagining, discovering, and dreaming of this site located in the Western side of Cuba. A great hall, as if it belongs to a fairy tale. You can enjoy magic waters and figures that scare or move you. It all depends on the nature whim. All these wait for visitors in Bellamar Caves, in the city of Matanzas.

Few miles away from the beach resort of Varadero, you can find the oldest tourist resort in Cuba. Jesus Castellanos, with almost four decades of work in Bellamar, is cleared to tell us the story…

Is this really the oldest tourist resort in Cuba?

Yes. The caves were discovered by chance in April 17th, 1861. In this farm, property of Don Manuel Santos Pargas, it is said that limestone rocks were extracted to be processed and used in the construction of the Sauto Theater. The Spaniard, who had been miner and speleologist, went down into the hole using a rope and then, he found the first hall. One year later, November 22nd, 1862, it took place the first trip to this place. Therefore, it is the oldest tourist resort in Cuba.

From the scientific and environmental approach, what is the importance of this place, which was —by the way— awarded National Heritage Site?

“This is a cavern, not a cave. A cave is an underground cavity when it has less than 1,000 meters explored. This one has 3,500 meters. It means it is a cavern, an active cavern, very much alive. It is said it is like a school for speleologists as we can find here everything studied in underground caves. For instance, the Helictite are famous because it is not common to find them and nobody has found a credible explanation as to why they continue growing defying even the laws of gravity.

We also have the popular Fountain of Youth, Love. We also have found fossil remains. We have five levels. The highest is the oldest one.”

Can you tell us how was the cavern formed?

This a cavern originated under phreatic conditions. Many have asked if this is a cave of fluvial origin. It was not the river’s flow, but the quiet waters of the phreatic surface. The limestone dissolves easily in water and created the cavities. As soon as this area dries because it gets below the sea level, then it starts a secondary process, which leads to the well-known stalactites and stalagmites. Both processes are active in Bellamar Caves. It is certainly of high interest to specialists as they can find everything here. That is why we ask visitors not to touch rock formations since we have oily hands, dusts, which stop and modify the growing process. As I said to you, it is very much alive.”

Is there anything interesting, cute, or funny you have experienced here in all of these years?

One of the cutest things I have ever seen here is couples coming to the Fountain of Love and they hold tight and kiss. Some of them have spent time without doing such a romantic thing. And they do it here. That’s cute!

What is the origin of such stories?

Well, it depends on how you want to see them. You can say it is history, or a legend. But it is not. Use your mind, and if you believe everything I tell you, you get closer to the Fountain and you touch it. Then it is happening!

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

Kenya, Cuba sign deal Sports CS Echesa enters deal with Cuban counterpart to develop sports in both countries

Sports Ministry Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa has signed a 5-year deal with his Cuban counterpart Dr. Antonio Becali that will see Kenya benefit immensely towards sports development.

According to the contract signed yesterday, both parties will work towards raising the sporting level in both countries under the ‘innovative exchange’ program.

The agreement will implement activities such as organisation of sports programs, access to sporting facilities and equipment. Training and development of coaches and specialists has also been factored in the deal as well as academic exchange. Both countries will together explore issues like ports medicine, community sports and participation in long and middle distance races, doping control, sports management and computer Science applied to sports.

According to the CS Advisor on Communication & Strategy, Isaac Nyangay, other activities will be undertaken as may be agreed. Kenya is renowned global powerhouse in middle and long distance running meaning Cuba stand to benefit immensely from high altitude training programs by the expertise of local coaches and athletes.

Likewise, Kenya stands to benefit from Cuba who have dominated amateur boxing for years on the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) calendar.

Until the 1980s, Kenya was once a power house in boxing with Robert Napunyi Wangila winning the country Africa’s maiden Olympic Games gold and Steve Muchoki winning a World championship gold medal in Belgrade in 1978. But as technology and sports investment took centre stage in global boxing, the country’s fortunes have dwindled.

The introduction of computerised scoring meant a nosedive into the country’s gains in boxing.

Due to historical associations with the United States, many Cubans participate in sports which are popular in North America rather than the traditionally promoted in other Latin American nations. Baseball is by far the most popular other popular sports and past-times include boxing, where Cuba is a dominant force to reckon with.

The partnership will also focus on areas of performing Arts, visual Arts, Music, Heritage, film, cultural information and research.

  • Published in Sports

First high-level official Palau delegation visits Cuba

The first high-level official visit by a Palau delegation since the establishment of the Palau-Cuba diplomatic relations in 2015 was led by Minister of Health Dr. Emais Roberts.

They arrived in Cuba on Feb. 23, 2018. The purpose of the visit was to further strengthen the relationship between Palau and Cuba in the area of health.

This partnership between Palau and Cuba was initiated in 2012, when a young high school graduate, a native of Peleliu, Jason Arurang, had a dream of becoming a doctor and was offered the Cuban scholarship to attend the Latin American School of Medicine or in Cuba.

The Palau delegation toured the University of Havana. Seventy percent of the medical students are women. Photo shows 2nd year pre-dentist students. Palau Ministry of Health photo

Besides Arurang, the Palauan medical students studying in Cuba are Terebkul Ngiraingas, Jade Adelbai, Demei Yobech, Remeldil Bells, Jun Rafael, Lara Reklai, Mya Siang, Ngesmus Hosei, Irikl Masters.

The Palau delegation that visited Cuba included Minister of Education, Sinton Soalablai, Sen. Aric Nakamura, Chief Justice Arthur Ngirakelsong, Palau Ambassador to the U.N. Olai Uludong, Ambassador-designate to Cuba Dr. Greg Dever and Dr. Lala Lalavalevu.

The delegation visited the Palauan students attending the Latin American School of Medicine, toured the various medical facilities, and met with Cuban medical and foreign affairs officials.

Cuba is the only Small Island Developing State to offer free health care and education from the elementary level to PhD level. For Palau, this trip was an opportunity to foster and strengthen South-South cooperation between Small Island Developing States across the Oceans — from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea.

According to Roberts, “This trip has opened my eyes. I have learned new things: culture and innovation with small resources. The strengthening of our partnership bilaterally and the success of it, will benefit the people.”

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban leader congratulates Putin on winning presidential election

Cuban leader Raul Castro has congratulated Vladimir Putin on winning the presidential election, Cuba’s Ambassador to Russia Gerardo Penalver Portal said.

"Raul Castro has conveyed his warm congratulations to Russia’s President-elect Vladimir Putin on his convincing election win on Sunday," the ambassador wrote on Twitter.

According to Russia’s Central Election Commission, incumbent head of state Vladimir Putin has garnered 76.56% of the vote with 95% of the ballots counted.

Director of the Lenin State Farm Pavel Grudinin, nominated by the Communist Party of Russia, is second with 11.92%, while leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky is third with 5.77%.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba Calls 15th International Meeting on Criminal Sciences

The 14th International Meeting on Criminal Sciences and the 2nd Event on Legality, Law and Society concluded in this capital with a call to a new edition of the event.

At the closing ceremony at Havana's Conference Center, the Attorney General of the Republic of Cuba invited the delegates to participate in the next meetings, scheduled for March 2020.

Both meetings will be co-sponsored by the National Association of Cuban Lawyers, the Law Faculty of the University of Havana, the People's Supreme Court, the National Organization of Collective Law Offices and the National Association of Economists and Accountants of Cuba.

The call is mainly addressed to prosecutors, attorneys, lawyers, judges, police officers, prison workers, criminal lawyers, criminologists, victimologists, experts in forensic medicine and forensic psychiatrists.

Officials who attend to minor who are victims of crimes or suffer from behavioral disorders, psychologists, sociologists, controllers, auditors, economists, legal advisors, professors and university students can also attend the meeting.

Among the main issues to be discussed are human trafficking, transnational crime, cybercrime, prevention and confrontation with drug and migrant traffickers, economic and civil servants' crimes, asset laundering, illegal trafficking in minors and sexual exploitation.

Other issues that will be analyzed are environmental crime, the fight against corruption, immigration laws, terrorism and the execution of sentences on persons deprived of their freedom.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba: National Award of Music to José Luis Cortés

The flautist and professor José Luis Cortés, artistically known as El Tosco, will receive the 2017 National Music Award of Cuba today, as an acknowlegdment of his vast career and contributions to the country''s culture.

The awarding ceremony will take place at the theater of the National Museum of Fine Arts, where the Flute Orchestra, Peruchín Jazz and Tradition, Germán Velazco, Giraldo Piloto, Peruchín, Orlando Valle (Maraca) and NG (New Generation) La Banda, a group founded and directed by Cortés himself since the 1980s, will performe.

The award was granted by a jury made up of Digna Guerra, Adalberto Alvarez, César Pedroso, Beatriz Márquez and Juan Piñera. They noted how difficult the decision was, due to the high quality of the work of the candidates for such an important recognition.

For his part, Alvarez recently highlighted the important artistic career of El Tosco, not only as a musician but also in other facets such as pedagogy, in allusion to the flute and singing academies created by Cortés, whom he described as an integral artist.

When the director learned that he had won the award, he thanked the gesture and considered it an acknowledgment of Cuban popular music.

This is one more grain to enhance that mountain that is popular dance music, that gesture makes me stronger and worthy to continue representing the genre, and as long as people love me, there will be El Tosco for quite a while, he said.

  • Published in Culture

Cuban Jumper Confirms His Quality with 8.40-Meter Record

Cuban long-jumper Juan Miguel Echevarría proved that his 8.40-meter jump at the World Indoor Athletic Championships on Friday was not a fluke.

The 19-year-old athlete set the record in the outdoor season at the Rafael Fortún stadium in this central Cuban and ratified his excellent physical fitness after competing in the British city of Birmingham, where he won the gold medal with an 8.46-meter jump.

However, his coach Daniel Osorio, who took over his training a few months ago, noted that Echevarria's results are not a surprise.

'He has an ideal physique, I had seen him years ago, when he was still in Camagüey, and I followed his evolution closely,' he told Prensa Latina.

'Last year, he made very good jumps, over eight meters, so I predicted that at some point he would explode,' the coach of the national team noted.

After concluding his career in the junior category with a discreet performance at the World Championships in London last summer, Echevarria went on under Osorio's supervision in the senior category and his training focused on the psychological aspect.

  • Published in Sports
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