Cuba: First Stage of Elections Ends

The first stage of Cuban electoral process ended well and with the presence of 78% of voters, informed today the National Electoral Commission (CEN for its acronym in Spanish).

A note from CEN ran at the news television show specified that 60 870 proposals were made, from which 27 221 candidates were nominated.

From that total, 9 637 are women, representing the 35,40%; while 5 307 are young, 19,49%.

The candidate nomination process to the municipal assemblies of People’s Power – scheduled from September 4th to October 30th - was characterized by discipline and organization.

CEN also reported that of the current delegates 8 331 were nominated, representing the 66,44%.

The report also highlighted that last October 19th until November 9th the lists of voters will be published in the districts, and works are done in their background checks and upgrade.

The pictures and biographies of those nominated are also shown on boards since November 1st, so that voters have the necessary elements when choosing the candidate of their preference next November 26th.

CEN added that from November 1-17 selected voters to join polls tables at polls offices, as well as the rest of electoral staff will get ready to direct the voting process in the districts.

The Council of State modified last September 19th the schedule of the first stage of elections because of the impact of hurricane Irma.

The first round of elections for delegates to municipal assemblies of People’s Power will be carried out next November 26th.

The second round is scheduled for December 3rd for those districts in which none of the candidates won more than half of the issued valid votes.

  • Published in Cuba

My Chronicle on When the Army took the Streets of Cuba “Socialist Dictatorship?”

After the havoc of hurricane Irma, another green hurricane brought hope: Revolutionary Armed Forces took the streets and together with the rest of the people cleaned the streets and made them beautiful again: this is Cuba.

Hope, they say, it’s green, I’ve never been quite sure of that metaphor, I’d rather think of a multicolor hope or customized hope, but the neighbors from Pueblo Nuevo in the city of Matanzas, they seemed sure that after the havoc wrecked by Irma, another hurricane brought hope: the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, took the streets and together with the people, they cleaned and restored the beauty of the streets: this is Cuba.

Most of them are very young, in the Military Service under the Central Army, they are different: the mulatto from Cardenas with the type of good dancer, the skinny guy from Sancti Spíritus who responds quick and concise: “here we are, ready until it’s necessary”, the other talkative boy from Sancti Spiritus who tells me about the lesson of a retired officer, an old man who joined the group of volunteers to help them in whatever he could do and tried almost everything: “I was impressed”, he assured; I won't forget the “tiger” from Ciego de Ávila whose only thought was what would his former father-in-law would say when he saw him “see, what a good revolutionary, how hard-working this boy is, my daughter doesn’t know what she missed!.”

Happy, with an energy and drive characteristic of those about to be twenty years old, they jump on and off the trucks, loaded trunks heavier than themselves, talked about baseball at breaks and still found time to launch a sneak peek to the pretty girls of Matanzas who handed them some water. The fact is that the people from the neighborhood brought forth all the sympathy, altruism and solidarity which characterizes Cuba while sweating, like the woman, sweeping next to the soldiers in uniform.

The neighbors have no way to say thank you and choose the best way: “they bring us some water, coffee, bring shovels, brooms to sweep, women have given us their full support, Cuban women are unique, they are the first ones to wonder if we need any help…”

Soldiers: “Colonel, you are going to be interviewed!” “Journalist talk to the Lieutenant Colonel Juan de Dios!”. Officer: “Boys tuck your uniforms” “did you already have a break?” after many days of hard work, they address each other like parents to their children, they look after each other, respect each other, officers praise highly the effort that their troop has done; the soldiers feel proud of being useful.

A certainty was repeated on each officer or soldier we spoke, Lieutenant Colonel Juan de Dios, for example, he said: “I am not from Matanzas, but back in Villa Clara, from I am from, the hurricane hit too, my partners at the Armed Forces are doing their best there…”

The thinking made by Camilo Cienfuegos is present: in Cuba the Army is the people in uniform, that’s why the Armed Forces took the Cuban streets without rifles nor tanks, but with working tools, with the desire and will give back hope and turn that green into a beautiful reality, which is the socialist Cuba: “… they say that when the army intervenes things are a lot quicker and more effective, but it’s only because of that we are also part of the people…” says Juan de Dios and the Colonel Féliz Hernández supports him: “we are but one person, we have always been and we will be just one…”

Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasi Translation Staff

Irma: The Wind of Profiting in the Mind of a Few Cruel Ones

Some cruel people working in places with power generators charged 1 CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso) for recharging mobiles and flashlights. Others, luckily the majority did it for free.

Amid the turmoil of efforts to recover the country on the wake of Irma, negative behaviors of a few people who seek profit out of the poor situation are censurable and inadmissible.

Natural disasters always bring up the best of people, their sensibility, humanism, and solidarity. An entire nation stands up to attenuate best as they can, if there’s any, the havoc, attending those families in need and damaged, to recover strategic economic and social objectives…

The decision-making staff gets activated and by every means necessary they attempt to restore order, communications, and a save return to normalcy.

Of course, amid so much pain, when the minds and energy, almost completely are set to rescue and safeguard, there are a few «smart guy» who, in a way or other, take advantage of the prevailing situation in order to make profit.

The ways have been dissimilar, from a new version of hitchhiking for 20 Cuban pesos or one Convertible Peso (cuc) in the middle of a «desert» city, without full recovery of the transportation system; the smart ones charging one CUC for recharging mobile phones, tablets, laptops, even electric bikes, at places like the Cupet gas stations, polyclinics and other institutions backed up with power plant generators, even in the moments of greater anxiety, tension, the need to be informed or establishing communication with our relatives, and close friends…

Unbelievable, amid so much turbulence, the lash of winds, and the penetrations of the sea in many places along the coast line and even in-land communities, we find a few shameless people who have tried to put a price (ten pesos) to the possibility of sharing water.

Water, key fluid which in emergency situations like this becomes more than indispensable, not only to quench the thirst amid recovery works, but also, to give solution to many other needs. Imagine an old man or any elder, unable of walking a couple of blocks, where sea waves didn’t cause havocs, to get some water…

I witnessed some of these situations, nobody told me a thing. For example, inconceivable that at the Cupet next to the checkpoint following the traffic light of Micro X, Alamar, the line of those in need waiting for the «rechargers» was endless.

Even more inconceivable, the fact that this practice became extensive to polyclinics and other health assistance centers, like 13 de Marzo, in Alamar, and another one in the municipality of 10 de octubre, just to mention two examples, even police officers had to intervene to end this phenomenon.

If criticizable, worthy of reprimands are the negative behaviors of those irresponsible ones who on Sunday, even with the crushing of huge waves went to fishing around gas station El Tángana, and the commercial center Galerias Paseo, products floating in the vicinity risking their lives, these sort of practices exercised by those insensitive ones who seek profit out of the tiniest chance, without caring the scenario of a natural disaster, solidarity and existent reconstruction in most of the nation, to take money in their pockets and banish the humanism of their behavior.

Luckily, these are few, amid an uncontainable rush of concern and energy, combined effort of the Cuban people, government, entities; of a restless work having in mind the goal of returning to normalcy… But these actions should not be overlooked; they must be denounced or criticized, with the finger of solidarity and the good behavior as principle.

Of the other side of the scale, it’s fair to highlight two positive examples, as one in a house of Vedado that opened its doors to a colleague needing to recharge her mobile, and the guard at the Phone Center located on 19 Street that solicitous agreed to help a workmate.

Cuba rises; in fact, I don't have the smallest doubt that we will do it. A recuperative revolution has started, from Baracoa to Matanzas. Therefore, a flimsy blast of wind, amid similar tsunami of desires and good intentions, won't find a crack to increase.

  • Published in Specials

Irma’s and her Granparents’s Bad Omen

Secrets on why this hurricane is so destructive as well as revelations on similar phenomena that hit Cuba.  

Irma has already hit the Cuban eastern region, happily a bit weakened because its sustained top winds dropped to 250 km/h and now ranks on the verge of a Category-4 Hurricane.

But since it appeared in the proximities of Cuba it had very peculiar features.

Generally hurricanes keep category-5 in the Saffir-Simpson scale for only a few hours. This hurricane still keeps that terrible condition for about three days.

This is because warm waters are the "fuel" of those phenomena and Irma has remained among waters with temperatures that surpasses between 0,7 and 1 degree Celsius the usual heat. This Thursday, for example, the waters it whirled with fury had a temperature of 30degrees and more.

It so happens that hurricanes need that the water to be at least 26 degrees Celsius and the top stage in the hurricanes season in the Atlantic is right between mid-August and Mid-October.

Besides hot, waters where Irma has been are deeper than usual and on top of that the winds at great altitude which are those that can dissipate the hurricane, are not strong enough to do so.

While on Tuesday it remained on the Atlantic Ocean, winds about 297 km/h of this phenomenon had already reached a record in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Mexican Gulf because only hurricane Allen, in 1980, could rival it with winds of 305 km/h.

Damned Lineage

Since these phenomena started to be tracked via satellite, about 40 years ago, this is the second time in which sustained winds of 297 km/h have been registered for more than 24 hours, said Philip Klotzbach, outstanding meteorologist from Colorado University.

Previously, the satellite had detected bearing similar characteristics the sinister typhoon Haiyan which in 2013 took the life of more than six thousand people in the Philippines.

Other hurricanes with terrible winds were Wilma, in 2005; and Gilberto in 1988.

Since year 1851 began a record of these phenomena, top winds reached by Irma have been the highest registered in the Atlantic since the 80’s, next to those of 305 km/h of hurricane Allen, which crossed the Caribbean, went through the Yucatan peninsula and the south of Texas, leaving a toll of 269 dead and billionaire losses.

Along the history of hurricanes, Wilma had been the most intense and Hurricane San Calixto the most deadly. The latter took place in 1780, also known as The Great Hurricane, and possibly the one with the highest death rate; nearly 22 thousand after hitting the Caribbean.

The largest of registered hurricanes was Sandy which in 2012 reached 1 520 kilometers of diameter.

By the time I a finishing these lines, Irma had already surpassed the record of maximum energy generated by a hurricane in 24 hours.

Hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel, from the Massachusetts Institute Technological (MIT), calculates that Irma has about 7 trillion watts: almost twice the energy of all the bombs used in World War II.

Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials
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