Cuban Physicians provide Services to Guatemalan People affected by Volcanic Eruption

A group of Cuban doctors provide their services to more than 900 people from the Guatemalan southeastern department of Escuintla, one of the most affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano, only a week after its most powerful eruption since 1974.

According to Prensa Latina (PL) news agency, the presence of the Cuban physicians there did not start with the emergency; they are part of the 26 health workers of the Cuban Medical Brigade (BMC by its Spanish acronym) that for years have lived with the inhabitants of the area, so they are well acquainted with their customs and needs.

As soon as they heard the news of the high number of victims of the fatal Sunday June 3, immediately went to offer their services voluntarily and continuing to meet their daily work at the hospital in Escuintla and the surrounding areas.

Dr. Relmar Quintana, coordinator of the Escuintla group, says that overcrowding, poor ventilation and availability of sanitary services, generate the early appearance of respiratory and digestive infections, which first manifestations are already appearing.

We are investigating everyone – Quintana explains - in order to have them under control to act quickly in the face of any emergency.

Yessenia Peralta, a volunteer firefighter, told PL that she has had all the time the support of the BMC to control the growing outbreaks of diarrheal, skin and respiratory diseases.

Yuri Batista, BMC National Coordinator in Guatemala, is together with five other collaborators evaluating the epidemiological situation of the place, and they are permanently accompanied by the Cuban ambassador in Guatemala, Carlos de Cespedes Piedra.

From the first moment of the natural catastrophe, Cuba put at the disposal of Guatemalan authorities the experience accumulated by the BMC during almost 20 years of uninterrupted presence.

Batista emphasizes that in total there are 431 Cuban health workers, 245 doctors and 136 nurses, deployed by 16 of the 22 departments of the country, and that they cover dissimilar specialties.

That figure also includes 39 members of the Henry Reeve Brigade, specialized in disaster situations and created on September 19, 2005 by the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

  • Published in Cuba

Pennsylvania Joins Coalition against US Blockade to Cuba

Washington, Jun 11 (Prensa Latina) Leading leaders of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania launched today the bipartisan Pennsylvania State Council-Engage Cuba, aimed at seeking support for the island''s approach, and the end of travel and trade restrictions.

With that step, the territory becomes the 18th state in this country to join Engage Cuba, a coalition based in Washington DC that is dedicated to promoting legislation to eliminate the economic, commercial and financial blockade that has been imposed on the Caribbean country for more than 55 years old.

Through a statement, the organization reported that the structure created on Monday will urge Congress to lift the prohibitions that harm both the inhabitants of Pennsylvania and the Cubans.

Ending trade restrictions on Cuba could bring new opportunities to Pennsylvania's agriculture, manufacturing and other major export industries while creating jobs in the Commonwealth, coalition president James Williams said on the subject.

But he said that to implement that boost the Congress should put an end to arbitrary measures that impede U.S. participation in Cuban markets, and applauded Senator Bob Casey (Democrat), and representatives Mike Doyle (Democrat) and Glenn Thompson ( Republican) for their support of legislative efforts in this area.

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ECHEVARRIA SAILS WINDY 8.83M IN STOCKHOLM

The long jump world may have just discovered its future king, and he’s just 19 years old, Cuban and called Juan Miguel Echevarria.

At the BAUHAUS-galan meeting in Stockholm on Sunday (10), the sixth stop of the 2018 IAAF Diamond League, the teenager sent a shockwave through the sport in the final round of the men’s long jump, soaring out to an astonishing 8.83m, a jump that is unfortunately ineligible for record purposes due to a marginally illegal tailwind of 2.1m/s.

But when he hit the sand and the mark flashed up on the screen, few cared about such minor details as gasps rippled through the crowd in the Olympic Stadium.

The event had been billed as a duel between Echevarria and world champion Luvo Manyonga, and most in the crowd would have picked the latter after he’d leapt 8.58m to beat Echevarria in Rome 10 days ago.

But in truth, Manyonga never showed up here in Stockholm, at least not as the jumper we know, the South African’s only valid jump coming in the second round with 8.25m. Instead it was USA’s Jeff Henderson who mounted the strongest challenge, finishing second with his leap of 8.39m (+3.4m/s).

Echevarria seized command with his 8.50m (+0.2m/s) in the fourth round, then fouled his fifth before shaking up Stockholm in the final round with 8.83m, the longest jump in the world for 23 years.

“Today I wanted over 8.50m but I didn’t think I could jump so far,” he said. “The pressure on me was good today and it was good competing against the top guys. I want to jump at this level for a long time, but it’s early season so I will take it all step by step.”

DUPLANTIS NOTCHES FIRST DIAMOND LEAGUE WIN

The men’s pole vault also saw a world champion defeated by a precocious teenager, the contest drawing the biggest cheer of the day from a sizeable Swedish crowd when 18-year-old Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis soared up and over 5.86m at the first attempt.

Armand Duplantis in Stockholm (Giancarlo Colombo)Armand Duplantis in Stockholm (Giancarlo Colombo) © Copyright

Up until then, Sam Kendricks led Duplantis on countback and looked firmly in command, but the world champion’s first-time failure put him on the back foot and rather than try a second time, he moved the bar up to 5.91m, at which he failed twice to bow out in second. Poland’s Piotr Lisek took third on countback ahead of compatriot Pawel Wojciechowski, both clearing a best of 5.76m.

Duplantis failed once at 5.91m before moving the bar up to a meeting record height of 5.96m, but neither of his two attempts looked likely to succeed, not that he was anything less than delighted after rising to the occasion to record his first victory over Kendricks.

“I finally beat Sam, which is a great big relief off my shoulders,” he said. “I couldn’t have written this whole competition any better. It was the perfect day, the perfect place and the way I was jumping I felt really smooth. I know higher heights will come. It was a great victory but I can’t stop there, now I have to go and win a couple more.”

DACRES OUT-DUELS GUDZIUS

The men’s discus produced the best contest in that discipline this year as Fedrick Dacres of Jamaica and Andrius Gudzius of Lithuania traded blows and pushed each other to lifetime bests.

Fedrick Dacres unleashes a national record in Stockholm (Giancarlo Colombo)Fedrick Dacres unleashes a national record in Stockholm (Giancarlo Colombo) © Copyright

The key round was the second one, where Gudzius seized command with a PB of 69.59m, a heave that would almost always prove good enough to win a Diamond League.

But not today, not when he was immediately followed by Dacres, who walked into the cage with a heavily strapped left knee after struggling with injury midweek and then fired a whopping 69.67m throw – a world lead, meeting record and Jamaican record.

“I felt strong today,” said Dacres, who could only manage 63.85m for eighth place in Oslo on Thursday. “It was good to bounce back, but actually I think I could have done even better today.”

Ehsan Hadadi of Iran took third with a best of 67.68m.

Britain’s Lorraine Ugen took maximum points in the women’s long jump by the smallest of margins, zero centimetres, winning on countback by jumping 6.85m on two occasions, a mark equalled by Germany’s Malaika Mihambo, whose second best jump was 6.67m. In a competition of impressive depth, Canada’s Christabel Nettey took third with 6.83m while Ivana Spanovic was fourth with 6.81m.

Lorraine Ugen sails to victory in Stockholm (Giancarlo Colombo)Lorraine Ugen sails to victory in Stockholm (Giancarlo Colombo) © Copyright

“Because I was injured during the indoor season, I’ve been struggling to find my rhythm – until today,” said Ugen. “I’ve been injury-free for a while now so I’m feeling better on the runway.”

LASITSKENE EXTENDS UNBEATEN STREAK TO 42

Mariya Lasitskene continued her winning streak in the women’s high jump, but the world champion faced a stiff challenge from Mirela Demireva, who soared higher than ever before when clearing 2.00m. However, when the pressure came on Lasitskene was once again peerless, clearing 2.00m at the first attempt to seal victory before three failures at 2.02m ended her competition.

Another victory for Mariya Lasitskene (Giancarlo Colombo)Another victory for Mariya Lasitskene (Giancarlo Colombo) © Copyright

Sandi Morris was a dominant winner of the women’s pole vault, a non-scoring event here. The US vaulter cleared her opening three heights – 4.55m, 4.65m and 4.75m – at the first attempt to seal victory, then moved the bar up to 4.86m, a meeting record, which she cleared at the third attempt to win herself a diamond. Sweden’s Angelica Bengtsson took second with a season’s best of 4.65m.

“My goal was to get that meeting record,” she said. “It can be really hard to come overseas and perform, it’s exhausting with flight delays so being able to perform to that calibre is a big deal.”

  • Published in Sports

Serbia-Cuba Celebrate 75 Years of Relations

Serbs and Cubans celebrated the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in an atmosphere of fraternity and joy.

The ceremony was held at the Buena Vista Café, in this capital, a cozy place uniquely decorated with profuse polychromy on the walls and photos, posters, flags, hammered iron bars and even clotheslines with clothes from the island.

It was convened by the Center for the Development of Relations of Havana and Belgrade, chaired by Dragan Kamenica, and the ambassador of Cuba in Serbia, Gustavo Tristá del Toro, who spoke about the historic event.

After referring to the importance of the date, he affirmed that Cuba and Serbia honored that decision in 1943 and began to consolidate it with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, which gave it an incontestable impulse.

In this regard, he referred to the visit to Belgrade in August of that year by Ernesto Che Guevara in an economic mission and to the joint work of the two states in the strengthening and consolidation of the Non-Aligned Movement.

He also recalled Cuba's support for the then Yugoslavia in 1999 during the illegal bombings of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the long-standing support of Serbia to the resolution in the UN General Assembly against the US blockade and from Havana to Belgrade on the question of Kosovo.

Tristá del Todo mentioned visits to Cuba by Serbian presidents Tomislav Nikolic and Aleksandar Vucic in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

He thanked those present for commemorating the historic date and expressed his conviction that both countries will continue together in the realization of new tasks and purposes to develop their ties both in Belgrade and in Havana.

At the evening the group of Cuban and Serbian musicians Salsa y Punto performed with their vocalist and animator Raúl Pulido, and diplomats, Serbian friends of Cuba and citizens of the island residing in Belgrade participated.

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The United States accepts that they do not know the explanation, nature or cause of the health problems reported by its diplomats

On May 29, 2018, the Embassy of the United States in Havana informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba that, on May 27, an official of that Embassy had reported health symptoms as a result of “undefined sounds” in her place of residence.

 Immediately, the Cuban Government gave top priority to the matter and officially requested the Diplomatic Mission of the United States that specialized medical doctors and investigators respectively, could interview said official. 

The thorough and urgent investigation carried out in the residence premises found no indication of any kind of sound capable of causing health damages. 

As in the cases reported before, the Cuban authorities and specialists have had no access to the official.

Cuba has reaffirmed publicly and officially its willingness to cooperate in earnest in the joint search for answers, the elucidation and solution to the alleged facts.  

After more than a year of research by the specialized agencies and experts from Cuba and the United States, it is confirmed that there is no credible hypothesis or conclusions adhered to science that justify the actions taken by the government of the United States against Cuba to the detriment of the bilateral relationship and with obvious political motivations. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also taken note of the announcement made by the Secretary of State, on the past June 5, about the establishment of a Joint Task Force to respond to what he characterized as "unexplained health incidents to the personnel stationed overseas", specifically in Cuba and the People’s Republic of China.  

The announcement states verbatim that “the precise nature of the injuries suffered by the affected personnel, and whether a common cause exists for all cases, has not yet been established”.  
Guarantying the health and security of Cubans and foreign citizens, has been, is and will be a priority that distinguishes the Cuban nation.  It is widely known that the Government rigorously complies with its responsibilities in the attention and protection of the Diplomatic Corps. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates that no evidence whatsoever has been presented of the alleged incidents and maintains its unwavering commitment to cooperate with the authorities from the United States to achieve the elucidation of this situation and the best medical attention to the persons concerned. 

Cuba is and will continue to be a safe, stable and attractive country.

Havana, June 10, 2018.

  • Published in Cuba

Swiss Group Kempinski Intends to Extend itself in Cuba

The Swiss hotel group Kempinski expressed its intention to expand its business and investments in this island, undoubtedly from the Cuban tourist development, considered several media today.

This country's TV spread an extensive report on the aspirations of this chain of luxury hotels, which is already celebrating its first anniversary of operations in this country.

Kempinski manages Cuba's first five-star plus hotel, the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski in Havana, and its directors consider this task successful.

When celebrating its first anniversary of operations, the general manager of the Kempinski Manzana de La Habana, Xavier Destribats, said that the Swiss hotel group has several projects -especially in beach hotels- in conjunction with the Cuban company Gaviota.

He indicated that they are betting on Cuba and will continue to grow with a second hotel and perhaps a third.

Destribats highlighted the good results of this facility since its opening on June 8, 2017, with a good reception of tourists from France, Spain, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and China.

Manzana Kempinski hotel has 246 rooms, of which 172 standard and 29 percent suite and junior suite, and occupies a building of great heritage value that belonged to the old shopping center Manzana de Gómez, early in the twentieth.

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Vietnamese culture promoted in US

The Vietnamese Culture Festival, held in New York from January 25-26, illustrated the country’s cultural identities to US and international friends in the lead up to the Lunar New Year.

The event was co-organised by Chairman of the Institute for Vietnamese Culture and Education (IVCE) Tran Thang and the American Museum of Natural History as part of the Asian Cultural Festival.

Activities included an Ao Dai ( Vietnam’s traditional long dress) fashion show, and a showcase of Dong Ho paintings and Vietnamese calligraphy.

Ao Dai worn by Vietnamese youth studying and working in the city drew the attention of local people and visitors.

Artist Vu Hoi demonstrated calligraphy to visitors, and how to create a Dong Ho painting, a type of Vietnamese woodcut painting from Dong Ho village in Bac Ninh province.

Le Hoai Trung, Vietnamese Ambassador to the United Nations, and many overseas Vietnamese and students, attended the festival.

  • Published in Culture

Western Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico on alert for possible tropical storm late this week


A tropical low could strengthen into the second named storm of the 2018 Atlantic Basin tropical season late this week.

All eyes will be on the western Caribbean later this week, an area that looks to have the right conditions for a new tropical system to brew.

"A tropical low is expected to develop north of the Nicaraguan coast around midweek," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.

As the week progresses, the system looks to lift northward through the western Caribbean Sea, and eventually could reach the Gulf of Mexico. Depending on the exact conditions at the time, this low could become the next tropical depression or tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin.

"Water temperatures in both the Caribbean and the Gulf are more than sufficient for tropical development and possible strengthening," added Rossio.

If the system reaches tropical storm strength, it will be given the name Beryl.

However, the atmospheric conditions across the Western Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico this week are not that simple.

Some pockets of wind shear, as well as drier air in the western Gulf of Mexico, could inhibit any rapid intensification or organization of the system as it moves northward.

  • Published in Cuba
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