Eternal Chavez: “America is my homeland”

Undisputed leader of the awakening of the new America, unconditional friend of Cuba, Hugo Chavez embodied the aspirations of his people. Hugo Chavez ceased physically to exist five years ago, but his legacy is more alive than ever. President and commander, he did not labour in vain. Beyond subjective appraisals, there is a resounding work, which he tirelessly worked for. It is at everyone’s sight. No matter what exalted theoreticians, the spokespersons of the big hegemonic powers, capitalism propagandists say… the truth is that any president had done so much for Venezuela and the entire America.

He offered millions of his compatriots something that cannot be measured: a notion of dignity. He led them in the attainment of a homeland, which prevails over everything, the attainment of decorum. He woke them up from an almost ancestral lethargy, put in their hands the tools to build a future. He was deeply committed with the well-being of the ever forgotten ones. He was a brilliant leader, who spoke a lot, but did a lot at the same time. His affection, his friendliness and his extraordinary charisma placed him at the head of a renewing wave that changed the rules of the game. But charisma is not enough, as history has repeatedly demonstrated. The Chavez phenomenon was based on strong convictions, a humanist sense of an authentically Christian root, a diaphanous kindheartedness and an honest militancy.

Some of his enemies said that Chavez captivated. Actually, what he used to do was to convince. He spoke to the poor in their language, sympathized with and urged them to fight. Ignoring (or pretending to ignore) the force of facts, his adversaries again and again called him dictator. There’s an irrefutable fact no head of state of the continent underwent so many electoral processes. And always respecting people’s will, the democratic spirit of his people.

Among so many facets of his political itinerary, there remains one of particular importance: his determined Latin Americanist vocation. Hugo Chavez articulated a new vision of unity, which kicks off from the recognition of differences to strengthen the extraordinary collective heritage of our peoples. He was a continental leader. The premise of that integration lies in both solidarity and complementation. His integrationist projects always started from the knowledge of sharing what you had, not what was left over. Petrocaribe, the Bolivarian Alliance for America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) created a solid platform for the very elusive project of Latin American unity. There lies his main legacy, which earned him his great stature as a stateman. Hugo Chavez Frias made Bolivar and Marti’s dreams his own, but he was not happy with being a visionary: he was also a soldier. Five years after his death, our America honors him because America was the homeland for Chavez.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

University 2018: Cuba is the Reference

Environment, renewable energy sources, sustainable and local development, the use of new technologies, tourism, industry, studies of Medicine, curricula, didactics, the role of university in different contexts, all of these subjects were discussed in the 11th International Congress of Higher Education Universidad 2018 — event that marked the 100th anniversary of the Argentine University Reform.

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University 2018 gathered more than 2,000 delegated from 60 nations.

Few hours before the closing ceremony, Cuba’s Minister of Higher Education Jose Ramon Saborido Loidi was asked by a colleague about the most interesting thing of the Congress and he highlighted that Cuba “is today a reference in the educative field.”

Without ignoring handicaps and obstacles, the truth is that our country can boast realities that are still yearnings for other countries of the world.

In this regard, following the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN, 2015), the Minister pointed out: “we are in a better position to fulfill them” and noted that Cuba is working hard to meet these goals as soon as possible.

As he stressed in the opening ceremony speech: “The advance of the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development is imperative for the world as nations are trying to counteract the current unsustainable model of development—discriminatory, hegemonic, and predatory.

Today’s University in Cuba

There have been many changes in Cuba’s Higher Education from the Triumph of the Revolution to the present days, always aiming at improving the quality and access to Universities in Cuba.

In this regard, almost 1.5 million professionals have graduated from 1959 to present days. Therefore, 12% of the population and 22% of workers in Cuba has university level.

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Cuba’s Higher Education has graduated almost 1.5 million professionals

The remarkable growth of its institutions is another achievement. Cuba boasts today 50 universities all around the country compared to the 3 universities that existed back then (in Havana, Las Villas, and the Eastern side of Cuba). The system also includes 126 university centers in municipalities.

Destined to experience a continuous development process, the Higher Education in Cuba advances on the basis of an inclusive process, which has certainly brought positive results concerning material resources and financial savings as well as a better use of the workforce in universities, especially in the field of teaching.

The process that has been implemented since 2011 to updating Cuba’s economic and social model has demanded the accompaniment of the Higher Education as well. Thus, new policies have been approved.

A very good example of this is “the graduate and postgraduate teaching process improvement, short-and-medium term, so human potential stands behind the necessary technical, integral, and civic training, which allows working for the strategic goals for development.”

Likewise, as the Minister himself highlighted in the opening speech of Universidad 2018, “Cuba advances in the implementation of a new generation of curricula that sets the length of majors to four years and proposes a better interaction with the system of master’s degrees and postgraduate specialization through continuous training programs.”

The World and Higher Education

The critical nature and dissatisfaction of Cuban citizens lead us to believe we are the only nation in the world suffering from a certain ill.

However, this Congress allowed us not only to reflect on extremely serious problems affecting many countries in the region, but also to become aware of the right path of the policies undertaken by the Cuban State in order to overcome obstacles and certain quality index.

The testimonies of several foreign participants showed Higher Education is not going well and therefore, there is no positive sign in General Education (263 million students were not enrolled in schools as of 2014).

Uruguayan professor Fernando Rodal Mc Lean —President of the American Federation of Teachers— spoke in one of the panels about the need to “fight” against universities that limit enrollment. He also criticized that students, in order to access higher education, have to go into great debts.


“The university struggle —he pointed out— is the struggle for the quality of life of our people for the purpose of modifying the structure and functioning of capitalist society. It is to fight for a free university.”

Daniel Ricci, President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Union in South America, noted that Latin America is showing a regressive trend as the right has regained power in some of the nations. “Imperialism dislikes justice, equity, and free education and health care.”

Hence, it is important to reach that free, inclusive education and teachers can enjoy a decent job.

A moving situation was narrated by Salvadorians Monica Fernandez Rubio (Spanish woman naturalized citizen of El Salvador) and Sabas Clavel Fuentes, who showed the situations of young people in that country where just the 8% of the population have access to universities. In rural areas, this number barely represents 2%.

The International Congress of Higher Education Universidad 2018, in the words of the Minister Jose Ramon Saborido, was successful. “We have showed our truth and we have felt the appreciation of other nations for Cuba’s actions.”

The next Congress will take place on February 10-14, 2020. A lot will happen from now on. Nonetheless, Cuba will surely present new experiences, contributions, and impacts.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

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Resurrecting outdated Monroe Doctrine reflects Washington's entrenched backyard thinking

Ahead of his visit to Latin America, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that Washington's Monroe Doctrine "clearly has been a success" and "is as relevant today as it was the day it was written" in 1823.

The doctrine was first put forward to drive Europeans away from the region almost two centuries ago. With such an interventionist foreign policy, Washington officially staked out its backyard.

In 2013, then U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the era of the Monroe Doctrine had ended and predicted a new relationship with Latin America featuring equal rights. Today, with Tillerson's remarks, the Trump administration is signaling that it wants to resurrect the obsolete foreign policy.

Over the past year, U.S. President Donald Trump has brandished a big stick against Cuba and Venezuela. His government has abandoned a rapprochement with Cuba and issued a series of sanctions against Venezuela with the purpose of promoting a change of government in the country.

Ever since the doctrine was first formulated, the United States has sought to control and manipulate the region through direct and indirect interventions, and to extract huge resources and wealth from local countries.

To guarantee its almost absolute control over the continent, Washington has, over the past two centuries, carried out a host of military interventions in the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Cuba, Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Haiti.

Many historians and critics have observed that "Americans" in the phrase "America for the Americans" is limited to "the United States."

The region's excessive dependence on the United States neither brought it prosperity nor security, and this explains why the region has decided to expand its relations, both economic and political ones, to other countries in the world, to reduce such dependence and seek a greater integration into the wider international community.

Also in his speech delivered hours before flying to the region, Tillerson warned Latin American governments of the advance of "predatory" foreign countries. Similarly, over two centuries the Monroe Doctrine aimed to avoid interventions from outside the American continent.

He even labeled China and Russia as "imperial powers" in Latin America. Such blunt lecturing shows that the Trump White House still intends to keep Latin America strictly within its sphere of influence. It is like putting up a big sign that says: "Stay away! I own it."

Also, Tillerson's accusations against China are as ridiculous as they are self-defeating.

But Chinese policies, which promote free trade and globalization, including the Belt and Road Initiative, are now offering welcome alternatives for Latin America.

China is now a major international buyer of Latin American bulk commodities, and imports more and more agricultural and high value-added products from the region. China's investment in and financial cooperation with Latin American countries are in full accordance with commercial rules and local laws and regulations.

While Beijing is trying to help Latin Americans realize their dream of development and prosperity, Washington is becoming more protectionist against the region, and seeking to resurrect a policy born in the age of colonialism.

To Latin Americans and the world, it is becoming increasingly clear which country is really the imperialist power.

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The 39th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema Started

Havana, Dec 8 (Prensa Latina) The premiere in Cuba of Brazilian feature film ''O Filme da minha vida'' (The Movie of My Life), by Selton Mello, is marking today the opening of the 39th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.

The opening gala of the event will take place at Karl Marx Theater in this capital, and will begin with a concert by Camerata Romeu chamber orchestra and Cuban pianist Alejandro Falcon.

The Coral Prize of Honor will be given to Carlos Diegues, one of the representative figures of the Brazilian Cinema Novo movement, who in turn is one of the producers of 'O Filme da minha vida', a work based on the book 'Un padre de pelicula' (A Father of Film), by Chilean Antonio Skarmeta.

The cast of the feature film -set in southern Brazil in the 1960s- is comprised of actors Johnny Massaro (Tony Terranova), Vincent Cassel (Nicolas Terranova), Bruna Linzmeyer (Luna Madeira), Martha Nowill (Carmelia) and Mello (Paco).

The 39th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema will exhibit in Havana about 404 films from today until December 17.

According to the director of the Festival, Ivan Giroud, about 19 fiction feature films, 18 premier, 23 documentaries, 18 shorts and medium-length films, 16 animated films, 20 unpublished scripts and 24 posters will compete this year for the Coral Prize.

The 39th edition of the event will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Universidad del Cine, an academic institution in Argentina that has formed personalities of the Seventh Art, and in honor of the centenary of the October Revolution, it will exhibit the 1927 film entitled 'Oktyabr' (October), by Sergei Eisenstein.

The event will also pay tribute to North American film director, James Ivory, who will travel to Havana to present nine of his own fiction films, two of them with screenplays by Japanese novelist, Kazuo Ishiguro, who won the Noble Prize in Literature this year.

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Fidel Castro: A Latin American Legend

The Cuban revolutionary remained influential in Latin America and across the world for half a century.

Fidel was born in 1926 during a period when then-President Gerardo Machado was cutting off the traditional elite from its long-held power and defending the island’s sovereignty from the United States.

As a child, Fidel was sent to live in Santiago de Cuba, where he excelled more in sports than academia.

His youth was marked by turbulent politics: Fulgencio Batista became president in 1940 and ruled the country until 1944 before returning to power through a coup in 1952. With the blessing and material support of the United States, he ruled Cuba with an iron fist until 1959 in what even John F. Kennedy once referred to as “one of the most bloody and repressive dictatorships in the long history of Latin American repression.”

While studying law at the University of Havana, Fidel became increasingly involved in anti-imperialist activism. After traveling to the Dominican Republic and Colombia, Fidel sharpened his leftist politics and led protests against right-wing governments in both countries.

Upon returning to Cuba, Fidel used his legal training to oppose the Batista regime while founding an underground revolutionary socialist group called “The Movement.”

Armed Struggle

The Movement staged a failed attack on the Moncada barracks, and many—including Fidel—were arrested.

Prison was a time of learning for Fidel, who devoured authors ranging from Marx, Lenin and Marti to Freud and Shakespeare. It was during this time that Fidel made one of the most famous speeches in history, “History Will Absolve Me,” as part of his own defense in court.

Millions of Cubans hailed the anti-imperialist movement to oust U.S. imposed dictator Fulgencio Batista | Photo: File

Released in 1955, Fidel left Cuba for Mexico, where he met and soon befriended the Argentine Ernesto "Che" Guevara. The Movement ultimately survived and reorganized in Fidel’s newfound country, eventually assuming the name “26th of July Movement” in honor of the Moncada attack.

IN PICTURES: The Victory of Fidel Castro's Revolution

Fidel began his takeover of Cuba the next year, sailing to the island aboard the Granma. The few fighters soon multiplied and despite initial defeats against Batista forces, Fidel’s strategizing and sustained guerrilla attacks eventually resulted in the country being taken over piece by piece.

Despite U.S. attempts to stop him, on Jan. 1, 1959, Fidel officially declared victory in what would be the final nail in the coffin of the Batista regime.

Putting Words Into Action

Fidel transformed the country from one terrorized by torture, killings and dispossession to one radically committed to wealth redistribution, education and universal health care.

Domestically, he built his legacy on agrarian reform, establishing one of the world’s most ambitious literacy campaigns and developing a free, world-class health care system. He went on to nationalize companies, refineries and land and would serve as head of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1965.

Fidel parades through the streets of Havana 56 years ago celebrating the triumph of the Cuban Revolution | Photo: File

In Washington, he is known for opposing U.S. aggression, most prominently the CIA’s Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, and being a major player in the 1962 Missile Crisis that marked the peak of the Cold War with the USSR. He is also believed to have survived at least 638 assassination attempts as well as countless attempts to destabilize the small Caribbean country.

ANALYSIS: 5 Times Fidel Proved He Was a True Internationalist

In Latin America, Fidel built the groundwork for a tight partnership between left-wing governments of the Caribbean and South America. Along with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, he helped found ALBA, a socialist bloc opposed to privatization and liberalization which offers a vision of post-neoliberalism rooted in principles of social welfare and mutual economic aid.

For the Global South, Fidel is a revolutionary icon who has consistently supported principles—and policies—of internationalism. He was a key figure in the Non-Aligned Movement, winning the respect of leaders across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, where thousands of Cuban troops, doctors, agricultural specialists and teachers have helped on humanitarian missions.

Fidel’s Dawn

On April 19, 2016, at the final session of the Cuban Communist Party’s 7th Congress, Fidel addressed his audience. “This may be one of the last times that I speak in this room,” he said, “but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain as proof that on this planet, by working with fervor and dignity, we can produce the material and cultural wealth that humans need."

A photograph of Fidel being installed in preparation for his 90th birthday in Havana, Cuba, August 12, 2016 | Photo: Reuters 

It was a rare public appearance for the 90 year old, who still nonetheless penned letters and articles on global issues, influencing strategic decisions in Cuba with his moral weight. His behind-the-scenes diplomacy has also helped establish peace between the FARC and the Colombian government, and now the U.S. and Cuba through the normalization of diplomatic relations.

Suffering from an undisclosed digestive illness in July 2006, Fidel announced the transfer of presidential duties to his brother, Raul, who was vice president at the time.

On Nov. 25, 2016, his brother and fellow revolutionary Raul Castro announced that Fidel had passed at the age of 90.

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Havana Film Festival to Pay Tribute to James Ivory

Havana, Nov 21 (Prensa Latina) The 39th International Festival of the New Latin American Cinema, which will take place in this capital city from December 8th to 17th, will pay tribute to U.S. director James Ivory with eight films from his fruitful career, said organizers today.

Ivory will be paid homage by screening films he shot between the mid-1980s and 2005, including the awarded films 'The remains of the day' and 'Return to Howards End,' said president of the festival Pavel Giroud.

The films to honor Ivory, 89, also include 'Mr. and Mrs. Bridge', 'A Room with a View', 'The White Countess', 'The City of Your Final Destination', 'Jefferson in Paris' and 'Le Divorce'.

The 39th International Festival of the New Latin American Cinema, which is the most important cinema event organized in Cuba, will also pay tribute to the October Revolution on occasion of its centenary, with a restored copy of 'October', a silent film by Russian great filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, premiered in 1928 and considered a classic film.

The 39th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema will be held in 10 movie theaters of Havana, in which more than 400 films from the region and other parts of the world will be screened.

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Miami: Oasis for corrupters in Latin America?

This city shows the odd modality of sheltering and serving as a springboard to fugitive politicians and entrepreneurs, who seek to evade sanctions.

Last Sunday, Miami Herald’s section “Undertone” published an article on the issue signed by Kyra Gurney.

She begins her article writing that Miami “is still a magnet for those charged with corruption in Latin America”.

Then, she endorses her opinion detailing a large number of specific examples. One approaches the case of Alejandro Lyons Muskus, former Colombian governor who is facing 20 charges linked to this kind of dirty businesses.

He committed those offenses while he led the department of Cordoba between 2012 and 2015.

Prosecutors say it was a misappropriation scheme linked to payments made for the right to extract natural resources.

According to Gurney, since former governor Lyons Muskus left office, he has been trailed by allegations of corruption in Colombia.

“Now, the specialist writes, he could be the latest example of a long tradition in Florida:

What? Officials who chose to flee after plundering their homelands and settle down in this place “beyond the reach of their authorities”.

Later, to the surprise of many, she writes with great naturalness:

The climate of South Florida and its waterfront condos make it a prime spot for those who are under an investigative microscope.

An investigative report published by the Miami Herald in December outlined some examples. Last week, the most strident turn around Ricardo Martineli, former President of Panama, by the way, a bitter enemy of Cuba.

He was arrested in Miami near his $8.2 million home in Coral Gables.

“This practice is extremely common”, said José Miguel Cruz, research director of Florida International University’s Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center.

What was Cruz referring to? Firstly, to very influential politicians from elsewhere fleeing to Miami and added:

“Florida has a long history with regard to cases of corrupt officials who came to U.S. not only to evade charges in their own countries, but basically to retire with the dirty money they made during their tenure”. But without embarrassment they have slammed in diverse scenarios

the lack of human rights in Cuba.

And right now, they organize and wage a low-intensity war against Venezuela, because it does not do what they do.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

Venezuela to Send Troops to Train at Bolivia’s ‘Anti-Imperialist’ Military Academy

The school is seen as the anti-School of the Americas, which the U.S. used to train Latin American soldiers in torture and counterinsurgency methods.

Venezuela will send troops to train at Bolivia’s "anti-imperialist" military academy, the country's defense minister announced Monday.

RELATED: Bolivia Opens New 'Anti-Imperialist' Military Academy

"I have been instructed by Mr. Pdte @ NicolasMaduro to send FANB military professionals to train in Bolivia's Anti-imperialist School," Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez announced on his Twitter account.

The announcement came shortly after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met briefly with Bolivian President Evo Morales at the airport in Maiquetía, Venezuela, with Morales en route to New York for the U.N. Oceans summit.

Morales expressed his solidarity with Maduro, as Venezuela continues to suffer from political turmoil and sometimes violent anti-government protests that have resulted in the deaths of at least 73 people since April.

The Juan José Torres Anti-Imperialist School was created in November 2015, but officially opened in August of last year. Soldiers from Venezuela’s National Bolivarian Armed Forces, known by its Spanish acronym FANB, will attend the school that seeks to change the "repressive and imperialist" doctrines of military entities.

“We want to build anti-colonial and anti-capitalist thinking with this school that binds the armed forces to social movements and counteracts the influence of the School of the Americas that always saw the indigenous as internal enemies,” said Morales at the opening of the school.

The School of the Americas, later renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, was started during the Cold War to provide "anti-communist counterinsurgency training" to soldiers from U.S.-allied right-wing nations. Its graduates have gone on to be dictators, war criminals and death squad members, with notorious alumni including former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt, Salvadoran death squad leader Roberto D'Aubuisson, and former Bolivian dictator Hugo Banzer Suarez. In 1996 the New York Times, in an editorial titled the "School of Dictators," revealed that the school taught torture.

"A training manual recently released by the Pentagon recommended interrogation techniques like torture, execution, blackmail and arresting the relatives of those being questioned," the newspaper reported.

RELATED: Bolivia to Prioritize Occupation of Palestine During UN Security Council Presidency

The "anti-imperialist" school was built as a political and ethical commitment to the country and teaches history, geopolitics and military strategy. It also prepares pupils in the specialties of piloting, air defense and operational support.

Last week, Morales delivered a new Jatun Puma helicopter and two Cessna aircrafts to the military school and announced plans for more training aircraft to train cadets and officers of the Bolivian Air Force.

“All this is possible because we have changed the economic model of our country, thanks to the struggle of social movements,” Morales said.

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