Cuban Despaigne homers for second straight game at Japan´s final playoff

Cuban Alfredo Despaigne increased his great home run production when taking the ball out of the park for second consecutive day in the final of the Japanese Professional Baseball League (NPB).

This time it was a solo homer in the fourth inning, thus helping his team, the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, to win 4-1 in the fourth game of the final (Japan Series) over the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

The Caribbean slugger batted 1 for 4, with two strikeouts, and descended his batting average (BA) to .333, although he amounts six RBIs in this final series, with a highlight for what he did in the third match, when he brought four teammates to home plate.

Another Cuban, lefty setup reliever Livan Moinelo, pitched a third of an inning with two walks, but did not allow runs thus maintaining his ERA immaculate in the grand final.

The Hawks took advantage 2-1 in the Japan series, since the first game ended in a draw and extended their consecutive wins-at-home streak in the Japan Series to eleven, thus breaking the previous record of ten held by the 1970–73 Yomiuri Giants.

With two other victories, Cubans Despaigne and Moinelo would be crowned champions for the second year in a row, while utility Yurisbel Gracial would debut with the title in his first foray into the NPB.

  • Published in Sports

Diaz-Canel invites Putin to visit Cuba in 2019

President of Cuba’s Council of State and Council of Ministers, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to pay a visit to Cuba in 2019.

"Considering the importance of your visit, we would like to invite you to pay a visit to Cuba once again in 2019, which will mark five years since that moment (Putin’s last visit to Cuba - TASS)," he said during the talks in the Kremlin.


The Cuban leader pointed to the high level of relations between Russia and Cuba describing them as fraternal.

The Russian delegation at the talks includes Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov and Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak.

Putin and Diaz-Canel will sign a joint statement after the negotiations and make a statement for the media.

The Kremlin press service earlier reported that the two countries’ leaders planned to discuss the current state and prospects for deepening bilateral strategic cooperation in various areas and exchange views on pressing global and regional issues.

According to Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Putin and Diaz-Canel will also raise the issue of military-technical cooperation. He declined to comment on whether providing loans to Cuba for the purchase of military equipment would be discussed during the talks.

  • Published in Cuba

U.S. to Ban More Cuban Entities from Transactions

The U.S. government will expand the list announced almost a year ago of Cuban entities with which U.S. citizens are prohibited from making transactions, national security advisor John Bolton reported.

During a speech given in Miami, Florida, about the increased pressure from the Donald Trump administration on Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, the adviser announced more than twenty new institutions subjected to that measure.

The aforementioned list was released on November 8, 2017 as part of additional limitations imposed by Washington on travel and trade with the neighboring nation, and included about 180 entities allegedly linked to the island's defence sector and national security.

That relationship includes the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, five business groups, 83 hotels, two travel agencies, five marinas, 10 stores of different types, among other organizations of various kinds.

According to Bolton, the Presidential Memorandum of National Security on strengthening U.S. policy toward Cuba, signed by Trump in June 2017, is just the beginning of his efforts to put pressure on this country.

Although Cuba has expressed its willingness to engage in a bilateral dialogue on a basis of respect, without conditioning or impositions, the adviser said they will only approach a Cuban government that 'is ready to undertake necessary and tangible reforms.'

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UN vote on Cuba's resolution against blockade: 189 in favor, 2 against, no absentions

United Nations, November 1 (RHC)-- The United Nations General Assembly passed with 189 votes in favor and only 2 against -- the United States and Isreal -- a Cuban-sponsored resolution on the necessity of ending the blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.

This was the 27th consecutive time, since 1992, that the world body approves such a resolution, urging the U.S. to lift its coercive measure against the Caribbean state.

Prior to the vote on the resolution on the U.S. blockade, the eight amendments introduced by the U.S. government to try to confuse UN member states were rejected, one by one, by the UN member states.  The only three votes in favor of the U.S.-proposed amendments were those of the United States itself, Israel and Ukraine.

In his speech at the UN General Assembly on Thursday morning, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez insisted that the U.S. blockade violates the human rights of the entire Cuban people.

Shortly before the vote, Bruno charged that despite all the pressure exerted on sovereign nations and the amendments introduced by the U.S. government to try to create confusion and boycott the debate and approval of the resolution against the U.S. blockade, he was confident that the resolution would be passed as traditional -- with the support of the vast majority of UN member states, represented at the General Assembly.

Senior representatives of national governments, regional blocs and international organizations and took the floor, during Wednesday's and Thursday's sessions, to explain their vote in favor of the Cuban-sponsored resolution and against the U.S. blockade, urging Washington to listen to the claim of the vast majority of the international community represented at the UN General Assembly, thus correcting this wrong by repealing, once and for all, the economic siege of Cuba.

The rejected the extraterritorial nature of the U.S. blockade and the obstacles it imposes on Cuba's normal economic, trade and financial relations with the rest of the world.

Edited by Ed Newman
  • Published in Cuba

Int'l Ballet Festival in Cuba Honors Master Marius Petipa

Havana, Nov 1 (Prensa Latina) The 26th International Ballet Festival in Havana Alicia Alonso dedicates on Wednesday a gala to the famous French master and choreographer Marius Petipa, whose work marks the development of dance until the present.

Several companies, universities and other institutions around the world are celebrating 2018 the 200th anniversary of the creator's birth in Russia.

If we ask anyone to mention a ballet piece, the most likely answer will be a title related to Petipa: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Bayadera, Don Quixote, The Corsair.

Even Nutcracker was to be his version, but after becoming ill he gave this work to his pupil Lev Ivanov.

During a period of ballet decline in France and strong political and social tensions, the Marseilles artist settled in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, where in 1847 he was appointed first dancer of the Mariinsky Theatre.

As choreographer and teacher, Petipa would lay the foundations of a new style: classicism, within which he rescued the protagonism of the male dancer, so relegated from the scene during the Romantic period, and - at the same time - trained several dancers who could only rival each other in terms of technical power.

Nobody doubts in cataloguing him as the most universal choreographer, nor in recognizing that with Petipa the fourth ballet school in the world arose: the Russian one, which would join the Italian, French and Danish schools.

According to specialists, the French creator's talent boosted the technique and expressiveness of ballet to higher levels. His works had a higher degree of exigency and included dissimilar popular dances he knew and inspired him.

Many of the works by Petipa remain sacred in the repertoire of all the world's major companies.

He and Ivanov gave us the opportunity to know Swan Lake, a piece whose premiere in 1877, at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, was booed.

The legacy of the so-called 'father of classical ballet' has set standards, unavoidable until now for any dancer or company in the world.

  • Published in Culture

Natural therapies, a viable healthcare option

Cuba’s medical protocols for different ailments suggest the complementary use of therapies based on natural and traditional medicine, since patients respond well with the integration of this treatment, according to the country’s experts.

“Natural and traditional medicine is not the solution to poverty, but it is an option of wealth,” Raúl Castro Ruz.

The combination of natural and traditional methods with conventional treatment recommended by Cuban doctors has generated a body of knowledge that supports precise medical attention and serves to extend academic training.

Natural and traditional medicine is understood as a broad profile clinical specialty with a unique, holistic scientific focus, using techniques and procedures to promote health, prevent disease, make diagnosis, treat and rehabilitate with a medical approach based on ancestral practices and non-Western cultures.

Its principal goal is establishing a balance or correcting imbalances in human beings, based on medical thinking that considers the person as a unique whole, taking into account the individual, not just the illness. It includes awareness of the interdependence of human beings and the environment, and the impact on health of lifestyles.

This discipline bases selection of therapies on individual criteria that have as a foundation specific concepts related to health and its affectations, which generate effective, safe, and efficient treatments, since they address intrinsic causes of ailments.

This approach is used in Cuba at the primary care level and in hospitals, based on a systematic, nationwide state plan of action. The program includes ensuring the production, distribution, and sales of natural products; guaranteed medical attention; training of personnel; ongoing research and the generalization of findings; health promotion and education; in addition to supervision and evaluation of measures adopted.

All of this is captured in the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines, approved by Congresses of the Communist Party of Cuba, and framed within the context of transformations underway in Cuban society. Guideline no. 158 from the Sixth Congress reads: Afford maximum attention to the development of Natural and Traditional Medicine; and no. 132 from the Seventh calls for ensuring the implementation of action plans to guarantee the development and consolidation of Natural and Traditional Medicine.

Dr. Silvia González Rodríguez, secretary of the Cuban Society of Natural and Traditional Medicine, and specialist Dr. Gilsa Asunción Cabrera Leal, believe that this approach offers patients another medical option. Photo: Nuria Barbosa

Dr. Silvia González Rodríguez, secretary of the Cuban Society of Natural and Traditional Medicine and president of the advisory committee working with Havana’s University of Medical Sciences, explained to Granma International that the field includes traditional Chinese methods, as well as therapeutic procedures practiced by the island’s original peoples and from the long legacy of folk medicine in Cuba.

“The fundamental push for its introduction in Cuba was determined by the shortage of medications in the 1990s, caused by the economic crisis that we know as the Special Period. Today we have consolidated work carried out over 25 years. Our medical protocols for different ailments suggest the use of therapies based on natural and traditional medicine, since with the integration of this treatment, a better evolution for patients is achieved,” explained Dr. González.


The first course in acupuncture for doctors was offered in Cuba in 1962. In 1973, the “Dr. Juan Tomás Roig” medicinal plants station was established, and in 1975, the first surgery with acupuncture anesthesia was performed at Comandante Manuel Fajardo Hospital.

In 1988, the Central Pharmaceutical Laboratory attached to Havana’s University of Medical Sciences was founded, and in the 1990s several ministerial resolutions were approved to extend the use of these practices throughout the country. The Cuban Society of Bio-energetic and Natural Medicine was founded in 1996.

The first academic programs for Masters in Natural and Traditional Medicine were initiated in this decade, while in 1998 the first edition of Cuba’s Journal of Medicinal Plants was published. With the turn of the century, the subject was introduced in medical school study plans, and advanced studies became available in all provinces. More than 35% of community family doctor’s offices now have the necessary supplies to practice acupuncture and related techniques.

Among Natural and Traditional Medicine treatments offered in Cuba. Photo: Jose M. Correa

“In the courses to train specialists, we teach a series of techniques and procedures approved by our national public health system – ten at this time. In this, we integrate modern medical thinking with elements of natural, traditional medicine,” Dr. González reported.

Every year, a convocation is issued to encourage the training of specialists, and many Comprehensive General Medicine doctors, as well as others who wish to pursue a second specialty, enroll in the three-year course that includes all modalities of natural and traditional treatment recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to expert Dr. Gilsa Asunción Cabrera Leal.

“In the health technology department, there are eight major areas of study, and plans are under consideration to offer a class on natural and traditional medicine. Medical school programs have conceived a rotation in this specialty, and all teach the basic principles of the specialty with emphasis on acupressure, acupuncture, and other techniques,” explained the doctor, also a health administration specialist.

She added that eight short courses have been offered nationally for doctors in other specialties, prior to which a methodological workshop was held for those who would be delivering classes, to ensure consistency and update the bibliography to be used. Audio-conferences and other digital media were used to make the information available to more professionals.

Havana was recently the site of the Cuban Society of Natural and Traditional Medicine’s Sixth Congress, BIONAT 2018 (September 4-7), where a broad exchange of experiences took place. Of special note was the Indigenous and Afro-descendent Traditional Medicine Symposium, sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization.

Also held in this context were the Second Cuba-Japan Integrative Medicine Symposium; debates on issues like ozone therapy; complementary traditional medicine at the primary care level; and training of professionals.

The Cuban Society had a stand featuring expositions from the Traditional, Complementary, Integrative Medicine Network of the Americas, and held a natural nutritionist session, as well.

Dr. Cabrera Leal participated in a panel discussion on homeopathy, presenting the experience she gained in offering the eight programs in several provinces, commenting, “We additionally offered an open class on the use of natural and traditional medicine in the event of disasters, and presented the work of our Health Technology faculty in building ties with the community.”


The doctor invited Granma International to visit her office, where we met several patients who have benefited from this approach. A seven-year-old girl, Lía de Jesús Pérez y Borge, was there seeking treatment for frequent intestinal Giardia infections.

Her mother, Odette, reported that she first came to the clinic about a year ago, on the suggestion of friends whose children had been treated here for attention deficit. The doctor provided self-help exercises and floral therapy.

Likewise, Dilsia Rosa Verdecia, 45 years of age, has been receiving help with her allergies for a number of years. She had been prescribed antihistamines, but complementing these with homeopathy, she said, has been more effective. Niurka Herrera Sabarría was visiting for the first time, referred by her orthopedic doctor, seeking help with pain in her legs.

All agreed in pointing out that this type of treatment helps heal the body, reinforce the immune system, strengthen doctor-patient relations, reduce the use of chemical medications, and has fewer side effects and risks than other treatments.

United Nations General Assembly to vote resolution on the US economic blockade

New York, November 1 (RHC)-- The UN General Assembly will vote today on the draft resolution calling for the end of the US blockade against Cuba. Foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla told TeleSur  that once again the document will garner the overwhelming support of the international community.

The minister added that on Wednesday 31 delegations took the floor at the General Assembly Hall to voice their rejection of the hostile measure and called for the end of a policy that violates the human rights of an entire people.

Cuba's top diplomat noted that the United States has tried to distort the nature of the resolution with the addition of eight amendments which seeks to alter its content arguing presumed violations of human rights on the island, in order to obtain  a pretext to further reinforce the blockade.

Rodriguez projected that there will be a rejection of the US amendments, and that like on the 26 previopus occassions, the international community will flattly rejectythe long-standing hostile and extraterritorial measure.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares

  • Published in Cuba

Blockade to Cuba Isolates United States at UN

United Nations, Oct 31 (Prensa Latina) The international community demonstrated on Wednesday at the UN, for the umpteenth time, its rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for almost six decades.

Representatives from all over the world raised their voices in the plenary session of the UN General Assembly to support a draft resolution, presented by Havana, against this punitive policy.

Latin America and the Caribbean denounced the U.S. strategy, which they considered an obstacle to the development of Cuba.

The economic, commercial and financial blockade violates international law and the UN Charter, and constitutes a violation of Cuba's right to interact fully with humanity, declared Venezuela's ambassador to the UN, Samuel Moncada.

Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Moncada denounced that the direct and indirect damage caused affects all Cuban sectors, including health, nutrition, agriculture, as well as investment, trade, tourism and banking.

Similarly, the Chinese ambassador, Ma Zhaoxu, called for respect for the legitimate right of peoples to self-determination and reaffirmed Beijing's opposition to unilateral sanctions imposed by other countries.

Both Vietnam and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) criticized the blockade for the damage caused to the Cuban people.

On behalf of the G-77 and China, Egyptian representative Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta condemned Trump's government's policy and reiterated the forum's commitment to the UN Charter, in particular the principle of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of states, which must be assumed by all.

As spokesman for the African group, the Moroccan Abdeslam Jasni urged Washington to put an end to this punitive measure, which he considered a stumbling block for the development of the island.

  • Published in Cuba
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