Cubans starred Good Performances in Eppe Grand Prix

Reynier Henriquez and Yunior Reytor were the best-ranked Cubans in the 2018 FIE Epee Grand Prix of Cali, Colombia, won by Olympic monarchs: Frenchman Yannick Borel and Hungarian woman Emese Szasz-Kovacs.

Henriquez finished 12th after beating 15-13 Ukrainian Igor Reizlin and 15-14 Swiss Alexis Bayard before losing 13-15 to Korean Jung Jinsun.
Meanwhile, Reytor (13) reached the round of 16 by defeating 15-9 French Alex Ava and 15-5 Colombian Andres Campos to then lose 15-10 to Korean Park Sangyoung, who was one of the bronze medalists of the tournament.

The other two members of the Cuban squad were the current national champion Luis Enrique Paterson and veteran Ringo Quintero, who both lost in the first round.

The best performance of the women was achieved by the current local monarch Jiselle Franco, who ranked 32, better than Ceyli Mendoza (46), Yana Gavilan (52) and Yamilka Rodriguez (58).
The 2018 FIE Epee Grand Prix of Cali was attended by around 200 fencers from 25 nations.

  • Published in Sports

Cuba to host Colombia’s peace talks with ELN

Colombia and the ELN rebels said on Saturday that they will move peace negotiations to end more than five decades of war to Cuba, after original host Ecuador pulled its support for the talks.

The Andean nation has been at war with the National Liberation Army (ELN), founded by radical Catholic priests, since 1964. 

The government of outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos and the ELN started formal talks 15 months ago in Quito.

Last month Ecuador, then one of six guarantor countries, said it would not host the negotiations as long as the guerrillas continued to wage attacks. 

The ELN is well known for kidnapping and for bombing oil and military infrastructure.

Ecuador's decision came after two Ecuadorean journalists and their driver were killed by a group of former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, the majority of whom demobilized under a 2016 peace deal negotiated in Havana.

Fifth cycle of talks

"After jointly examining the options to restart talks as soon as possible, we have decided to continue the fifth cycle of talks in the city of Havana, Cuba, beginning next week," the two sides said in a joint statement.

Negotiations will continue to focus on agreeing a new ceasefire, the statement said. The two sides' first-ever ceasefire ended in January and was followed by a period of increased violence and a six-week pause in talks.

Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the FARC peace deal, has repeatedly expressed his gratitude to Cuba for hosting those negotiations, which lasted four years.

Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Norway and Venezuela are the five remaining guarantor countries for the ELN negotiations.

Colombia's long conflict between the government, rebel groups, paramilitaries and crime gangs has killed at least 220,000 people and displaced million

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba, Norway Say Colombia-FARC Peace 'Living Difficult Moments'

Recent developments, including the killings of former FARC fighters and arrest of its future representative Jesus Santrich, have put the process at stake.

The Cuban and Norwegian governments, which sponsored the talks and the subsequent peace agreement between the Colombian government and the former insurgent group FARC, expressed their concerns about the current state of the implementation of the peace process in the country amid the persecution and killing of former members of the former guerrilla group as well as the recent arrest of congressmen-elect Jesus Santrich.

RELATED:

Colombia: FARC Warns Peace Deal at 'Most Critical Point' After Leader Arrest

“We express our concerns about the recent events related to the peace process,” said a statement signed by both governments, which also called on Colombian authorities to “guarantee the protection of the final agreement... and secure the strict observance of the deal, including the provisions related to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, designed to guarantee truth, justice, repairment and non-repetition.”

The Alternative Revolutionary Forces of the Common, the new political face of the FARC, back tracked on their presidential campaign as their leader Rodrigo Londoño “Timochenko” suffered from health issues and the party decided the government wasn't providing the party members with the ideal security conditions.

The situation escalated when Jesus Santrich, a former FARC commander, was arrested on drug trafficking charges by DEA's order, who accused him of taking part in a business network intending to export 10 tons of cocaine into the United States, and may now face extradition.

"With the capture of our comrade Jesus Santrich, the peace process is at its most critical point and is threatened to be a true failure," said Ivan Marquez, future representative and number two of the FARC, said at a press conference in Bogota last week. He also demanded Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos "keep his word" regarding the peace process.

Interpol's red alert accuse Santrich of participating in the drug trafficking network between June 2017 and April 2018. His defense filed an Habeas Corpus appeal but it was rejected by Bogota's Superior Tribunal.

Also, the activities of groups claiming to be FARC dissidents who oppose the peace agreement and have refused to demobilize, are being used to discredit the peace agreement despite FARC leadership distancing itself from them and rejecting their actions.

One of those groups, the Oliver Sinisterra Front led by Guacho, recently kidnapped and murdered three Ecuadorean journalists reporting on the violence situation on the border between both countries.

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Colombia: Gov't to Meet Peace Sponsor-Nations After FARC Leader Arrest

Added to that, some in the Colombian government claim that the former insurgent group wasn't honest about their assets and accused it of running a money laundering chain of stores, which sparked riots and looting in several cities of Colombia. FARC leadership flatly reject such accusations and said they have made all their assets available and have welcomed any government audits.

According to the communique by Cuba and Norway, the peace process is “living difficult moments,” and reminded that “is important that the involved parties and the international community reaffirm their support to the process and the enforcing and observance of the agreement.”

They also recommended speeding up the actions aimed at guaranteeing the full reintegration and reincorporation of FARC's former fighters into civil society and reiterated their compromise to reach a stable and lasting peace in Colombia.

Gloria Ospina, director of the Colombia in Peace Fund, was dismissed from office on April 9 after being accused of irregularities in managing the economic resources provided by the international community for the peace process.

The peace process has been heavily politicized and is one of the main discussion points for all candidates in the May 27 presidential elections. Most of them support the continuance of the process, including leftist Gustavo Petro, but the right-wing protegee of Alvaro Uribe, Ivan Duque, has said the agreement needs serious restructuring.

  • Published in Cuba

Bogota: Trump hurts Cuban pockets deeply

Donald Trump's Havana policy has another pretty negative aspect: multiple expenses imposed on those who must firstly travel to Colombia aimed at carrying out visa procedures to reach the United States.

El Nuevo Herald journalist Catalina Ruiz Parra narrated on Wednesday the odyssey suffered by those people to obtain it.

The main concern of those travelers lies in the high costs imposed on them.

For example, the consular authorities request their hotel booking in Bogota and their last six months bank statements with a minimum balance of $2,000.

In addition, they must pay their food and transportation expenses for a nearly 3-week stay, because it is mandatory to arrive 10 days before the interview.

The Herald journalist said that “the visa study” in the US embassy in Bogota costs $52 and if it is approved, there is another $82 charge.

In the face of the scene described, some hotels and private citizens offer those Cubans less expensive options.

Add to this that they must pay for travel insurance covering accident, disease and baggage loss, as well as lab tests, medical appointment, fingerprinting, interview and passport/visa collection.

It also includes the amount of $820 for one or two people and a 10-day stay.

Journalist Catalina Ruiz Parra warns in her article that “travelers must verify the information well before choosing any option to avoid being victim of a scam”.

Hence here another example of how those who have been advising Donald Trump's Cuba policy express their irrational and clumsy performance.

One of them, Marco Rubio, Florida's far-right Republican senator.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

 

  • Published in Specials

Life and Works of Legendary Gabriel Garcia Marquez Digitalized, Now Freely Available

Marquez was introduced to Marxist teachings while he was in secondary school in Zipaquira, where teachers had been taught Marxist theory under President Alfonso Lopez’s leftist government of the 1930s.

University of Texas' Harry Ransom Center which acquired the legendary Latin American writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's works two years ago has digitalized the collection, making it available to the public for free. 

RELATED: How Fidel and Gabriel Garcia Marquez Shaped World Literature

A Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) contributed to the searchable, online archive which consists of nearly 27,500 items from Garcia Marquez's papers possible. 

The digital archive includes manuscript drafts of the legendary writer's published and unpublished works, research material, photographs, scrapbooks, correspondence, clippings, notebooks, screenplays, printed material, ephemera, including an audio recording of Marquez's acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, the Harry Ransom Center's website noted. 

Part of the collection bought by the Ransom Center for US$2.2 million hasn't been digitized, including the 10 drafts of García Márquez’s final, unfinished novel, “We’ll See Each Other in August." A chapter from the novel was published in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia in 2014, shortly after García Márquez’s death at age 87. 

But a 32-page draft section of the projected second volume of García Márquez’s memoirs is available online that covers the years the Nobel Laureate spent in  Europe and then Mexico City, where he died. 

"Often estates take a restrictive view of their intellectual property, believing scholarly use threatens or diminishes commercial interests," Steve Enniss, the director of the Ransom Center, told the New York Times.

“We are grateful to Gabo’s family for unlocking his archive and recognizing this work as another form of service to his readers everywhere."

The Colombian writer most known for his iconic works like Hundred Years of Solitude, Chronicles of a Death Foretold was also a fierce critic of the U.S. imperialism. Marquez, lovingly called as 'Gabo' by many, had close ties to the revolutionary Cuban leader, Fidel Castro. Fidel, known to be an avid reader, also acted as an unofficial copy editor to the Colombian Nobel Laureate, 

"He even became one of the first reviewers of Gabo’s books," Stephanie Panichelli-Batalla, a Marquez scholar said, according to Jacobin. 

The legendary author was fascinated by Fidel’s socialist model for Cuba, considering it ideal for neighboring countries to adopt across the continent. He considered himself more "a sympathizer than a real militant." 

Marquez was introduced to Marxist teachings while he was in secondary school in Zipaquira, where teachers had been taught Marxist theory under President Alfonso Lopez’s leftist government of the 1930s.

"When I was young,” Marquez told the New Left Review in the April 1983 issue, “he (grandfather) would regale me with horrifying accounts of the last civil war that free-thinkers and anti-clerics waged against the conservative government. My grandfather also told me about the massacre of the banana workers which took place in Aracataca the year I was born. So you see my family influenced me toward rebellion rather than toward upholding the established order."

  • Published in Culture

FARC Leader to Run as 2018 Presidential Candidate

Londoño, known as Timochenko, was nominated as the political group's 2018 presidential candidate by a majority vote.

The Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Commons has announced Rodrigo Londoño, popularly known as Timochenko and former leader of the guerrilla group, as their candidate in the 2018 Colombian presidential election as the group awaits the legalization of its newly established political party by Colombia's National Electoral Council, according to Caracol Radio.

RELATED: Timochenko Considers Quitting Leadership of FARC's New Party

Until this process is complete, the FARC will be unable to advance with the formal registration of their presidential candidate and congress people.

The decision to nominate Timochenko was made in a majority vote by FARC members, despite their belief that his chances of reaching the presidential palace are minimal.

However, they expressed their desire to have a candidate run in next year's presidential election, forming political coalitions in the process that would eventually run a candidate with greater chances of winning in future campaigns. FARC members noted that this would entail a transitional government aimed at consolidating peace throughout the country.

FARC representatives also stated that in the coming days they will officially announce Pablo Catatumbo, Ivan Marquez and other members who will run for congressional seats, according to Caracol Radio.

RELATED: FARC Leader Timochenko Recovering Well in Cuba

With Timochenko at its head, the FARC faces many obstacles as it attempts to transform from a guerrilla group into a political party, with members pointing to the lack of will shown by the administration of Juan Manuel Santos to carry out true peace as social leaders and FARC members continue to be targeted by paramilitary forces and the Colombian military.

However, the former guerrilla leader said he would uphold his commitment to peace and signaled he would work closely with the two commissions set up in order to re-structure the party.

“Just like all of you, what motivates me is that the (peace) process moves forward,” he reiterated.

  • Published in World

Cycling: another key sport for Barranquilla 2018

Several sports will be key so Cuba can achieve the aim of remaining in first place in the medal standings in the Barranquilla 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games.

One of them is cycling, which contribution should be around ten titles, all or almost all from the female team.

The power of the hosts, Mexicans and Venezuelans in this discipline is very well known, but our girls have a world-class quality and can achieve that goal with a good effort dosing.

Four years ago, the men contributed no gold medals, and within tem months exactly the scene should be similar, because we do not have talents that invite us to think otherwise. I wish I am wrong, but I think we won’t see any Cuban in the highest step on the podium, as it happened in Veracruz 2014, where we only picked Arnold Alcolea’s silver medal in the men’s points race.

In any case, Colombia has a great power in this sex, and pedaling at home makes them unbeaten to lead the general medal standings in this discipline.

But among the girls, things change, because Marlies Mejías and Arlenis Sierra should contribute more than one title each, and should Lisandra Guerra reaches the competition recovered after her pregnancy, we can expect the best from her too, likewise from Yudelmis Domínguez, another athlete with good results in the last few times.

The girls’ versatility will allow that, except Lisandra, they could also make it to the podium in the route events, and even strive as a team in the queen competition.

We should not forget there are very good competitors in the region, mainly from Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela, who have lost and won vs. the Cuban girls, now more experienced after running as part of professional teams in the world of cycling.

There are still ten months to go, enough time for some of them to recover from their present injuries and for Lisandra to retake her shape after achieving the most precious of her medals, that’s why, I am confident that cycling won’t fail at Barranquilla 2018.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

Former FARC Members Arrive in Cuba for Medical Training

The peace process in Colombia also created a unique opportunity for students to learn more from the Cuban health system, which is praised worldwide.

Some 200 young Colombians — mostly former FARC members and campesinos — arrived in Cuba to begin their studies at the Latin American School of Medicine as part of the offer made by Cuba after the peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

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Cuba Selects Former FARC Rebels to Train as Doctor

The Cuban government is set to grant 1,000 annual scholarships in the next five years for students from Colombia, which will include aspiring doctors that had to postpone their training due to the armed conflict of more than 50 years in their country.

The medical students arrived at Jose Martí International Airport where they were received by the dean of ELAM Antonio Lopez. Authorities say this is a contribution of the Cuban government to the implementation process of the peace deal which was negotiated and reached in Havana.

"The opportunity to be in Cuba is great because the health system model developed here is to serve the human being, always trying to prevent diseases and that seems fantastic," Duerney Perez, a young student told Prensa Latina.

RELATED:
Maduro Marks 12th Anniversary of Medical Cooperation with Cuba

Student doctors will be trained in accordance with the Cuban family medicine model so that they may return to Colombia once they've graduated to improve and fortify primary health care for the underserved.

Between July 19 and Aug. 16, according to Colombia Informa, the student beneficiaries — residing in Transitional Standardization Zones or in the countryside — were chosen to begin medical study in September.

"I come from the department of Caqueta, very affected by the violence that the war created," Perez said.

  • Published in Cuba
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