Cuban Activist Warns about Danger of Foreign Military Bases

The president of the Cuban Movement for Peace and the Sovereignty of Peoples, Silvio Platero, said today that it is important for the media to warn of the danger of foreign military bases in the world.

Speaking to Prensa Latina, Platero referred to the role of media and social networks in spreading the threat to peace these enclaves entail.

According to the activist, there are more than 800 US military bases and about 200 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the world.

It is vital that the world knows this danger, argued Platero, who participates in the National Council of the Cuban Association of Social Communicators scheduled until tomorrow at the Havana Convention Center.

He also highlighted the work of social communicators in Cuba in regard to the need to know that 'peace is not just absence of war.'

He also considered it appropriate to disseminate the proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, adopted in Havana in 2014 during the II Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The Cuban Movement for Peace and the Sovereignty of Peoples works in the articulation of efforts with organizations and individuals on the island and abroad interested in contributing to the global campaign for the peaceful coexistence of states or nations.

The non-government organization works with fighters for peace in the world and has established a wide coordination with other entities whose work objectives are in favor of it, without distinction of ideological, political or religious positions.

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Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba and the choreographic passion

Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba is with no doubts one of the most prestigious Cuban dance companies inside and outside of our frontiers, turned in less more than a quarter of century, in a complete cultural institution.

The group, dedicated in its beginning to the flamenco and the Spanish dance, has been evolving towards a very defined and original style, where there are joined classical ballet, Spanish dance, flamenco and other Cuban rhythms.

Inside the company there are vocational workshops, child ballet, youth ballet, the docent-artistic group, the professional company and a musical group that always accompanies them live during their presentations.

In equal manner the dance group makes the Fusion Body Choreographic Contest which in this 2019 arrives to its twentieth edition.

This competition offers the opportunity of participating for children, youths, and adults lovers of creation, who presents their works in front of the audience and a jury of prestigious personalities.

The contest entries began last February 4th and will be open till next April 4th, in the company's headquarter, located in Compostela Street 659 b/w Luz and Acosta, Old Havana.

After the inscription it will be made, as in each edition, a process of pre-selection during May 6th and 7th; and the contest will take place on June 21st and 22nd at the Martí Theater of the capital.

One of the characteristics of the event is that professional choreographers or not, belonging to dance companies, Spanish societies, Houses of Culture and other artistic groups of all over the country can participate.

Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba and the choreographic passionLizt Alfonso Dance Cuba and the choreographic passion

Carelys Rodes, one of the dancers of the company, is the responsible of this edition of the Choreographic contest. According to what was affirmed by her, she has been participant of many editions of the contest.

She assures that “it is a great experience due to its give knowledge of the dance world in general, and it gives the possibility to connect and meet choreographers of the entire island and their way of doing”.

When saying of Rodes, the fact that non professional choreographers can participate is very positive, because it gives the possibility of presentation and demonstration of their potentialities, to every person that has restlessness about the creation and dance composition.

Lilian Cabrera Cabrera is other of the members of Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba Company. She declared that she has had the opportunity of living the contest in many ways, first as a dancer, when she was not a professional dancer yet, later as a choreographer and now she has the possibility of being one of the organizer of the contest.

Idania La Villa Palenzuela, former prime soloist of the National Ballet of Cuba and currently trainer of the ballet of Lizt Alfonso’s company, is one of the winners of the previous editions of the Fusion Body Choreographic Contest. During the 19th edition the event obtained pleasing results with the play “Where do you take me”.

According to what she explains, participating in the contest was a great experience for her, equally for her dancers, all of them members of the Youth Ballet.

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US: Helms-Burton Act and the Insistence in Destroying Cuba

In the next few days, the United States will decide whether or not it will enforce Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, an initiative that evokes the darkest elements of the Monroe Doctrine to destroy the Cuban Revolution.

That title had been suspended by all US administrations for six months since 1996, but the current government, headed by President Donald Trump, has decided to postpone its approval for 45 days only, a stance that Cuba has described as political blackmail and irresponsible hostility.

With the possible activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, the United States bets again on the domino effect to destroy the Cuban Revolution, the researcher Olga Rosa Gonzalez said.

The deputy director of the Center for Hemispheric Studies and on the United States (CEHSEU), attached to the University of Havana, said in an interview with Prensa Latina that Washington is trying to step up the blockade of Cuba to achieve its long-awaited goal of a regime change.

She noted that Venezuela plays a key role in that political scheme by the White House, because as an added effect from its coup attempt in that South American nation, the US seeks to finish off the social system in Cuba.

'It is as if we return to the story of the domino effect that the US used in the 1990s when the Helms-Burton Act came into force as an unprecedented legislation in the world, due to its strong interfering and extraterritorial nature,' the expert added.

The Helms-Burton Act, which came into force in March 1996, establishes the internationalization of the blockade, and the refusal to credits and financial aid to countries and organizations that favor or promote cooperation with Cuba, thus hindering foreign investments in the Caribbean island.

'It was approved in a very difficult economic context for Cuba, because after the demise of the socialist camp in the 1990s, Cuba lost its major economic partners and was forced to join the international market from zero,' Gonzalez noted.

A theory that did not work for Washington, with the maximum evidence that Cuba still maintains the system of its revolutionary and socialist government, she pointed out.

Gonzalez noted that the rafters' crisis took place in 1994, when bilateral migration agreements were signed. It was a very convulse period in which the counterrevolution mobilized against Cuba, she went on to say.

It was so that in 1996, Cuba's air space was violated by small planes belonging to Brothers to the Rescue, a counterrevolutionary organization closely linked to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). That group is closely linked to the Miami-based extreme right wing, which is responsible for terrorist actions carried out in Cuba and abroad, Gonzalez noted.

The researcher stated that Cuba repeatedly complained to the US Government about incidents, but Washington did nothing, and in an act of legitimate defense, Cuban authorities brought down two small planes from Brothers to the Rescue on February 24, 1996.

'It was a major election year in the United States and for William Clinton, and according to the characteristics of the US election process, Florida, as a state, determines a large number of votes in any presidential race,' she explained.

The regrettable event, which could have been prevented by the United States, was used by Senators Jesse Helms and Dan Burton to submit to then President Clinton the act that no one dared to sign, due to its marked extraterritorial nature.

At present, 23 years later, Donald Trump is threatening to activate its Title III which, if approved in the next few days, would authorize lawsuits in US courts to demand compensations for properties nationalized in Cuba in 1960.

Even though that process (the nationalization) was carried out on the basis of international laws, the United States did not want to negotiate with Cuba as other countries did, Gonzalez ratified.

Cuba, in the context of the possible approval of Title III, says that the Helms-Burton Act is repudiated in all its content, because it interferes in the country's internal affairs.

In addition, there are other titles, like Title II, which the United States enforces with the objective of openly betting on the demise of the Cuban Revolution and the establishment of a regime that will serve Washington's interests, violating international law.

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A few glimpses of the Book Fair in Havana

The International Book Fair, Cuba 2019, has concluded in Havana. As a unique epilogue, the annual event now begins its journey to 15 other cities in the country, to culminate April 14 in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.

During this 28th edition, the ancient San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, the fairgrounds for the last several editions, hosted dozens of book launches, colloquiums, conferences, awards, stands, and bookshops.

Granma International offers readers a few snapshots to give an idea of the happenings there.

- Eduardo Heras León: writer, journalist, editor, literary and ballet critic; 2014 National Prize for Literature winner, to whom the Fair is dedicated. Along with the colloquium in Nicolás Guillén Hall on the life and work of someone who is widely known as “Chino” Heras, readers were gratified to find new editions of a number of his most important works, including La guerra tuvo seis nombres and Los pasos en la hierba, as well as new titles like El libro de los elogios, El libro de las entrevistas, and El libro de las presentaciones.

- Mirta Yañez: The Fair honored this writer, philologist, teacher, and member of the Cuban Academy of Language with the 2018 National Prize for Literature.

Considered one of the most important intellectuals of her generation, Mirta Yañez (Havana, 1947) has excelled in practically all genres she cultivates: poetry, stories, novels, and essays. Among her narrative titles, outstanding are the novel Sangra por la herida; short story collections Todos los negros tomamos café, La Habana es una ciudad bien grande, and El diablo son las cosas; and poetry to be found in Un solo bosque negro, and Las visitas y otros poemas.

She is one of the principal investigators of the female voice in Cuban literature and the co-author of the anthology Estatuas de sal, with poet Marilyn Bobes.

- 500th Anniversary of Havana’s founding: The anniversary led to the publication of more than a dozen books with Havana themes, a program headed by the City Historian’s publisher Ediciones Boloña. The novel titles were presented in the Plaza de Las Armas, in the heart of city’s central historic district, a World Heritage Site.

Azzedine Mihouni, Algerian Minister of Culture, presented his novel El juramento de Atocha at the fair, which featured Algeria as the guest Country of Honor. Photo: Juvenal Balán

This is how readers got their hands on classic works like the novel Cecilia Valdés or La Loma del Ángel, by Cirilo Villaverde; the anthology Crónicas habaneras, by Alejo Carpentier, who Graziella Pogolotti, the title’s presenter noted “contributed to the construction of the Havana myth,” and Cuadernos de historia habanera, volumes IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX and X, by Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, Havana City Historian from 1935 until 1964. The first three volumes released in 2018 are now joined by seven more, bearing the notebooks numbered 11 through 36.

- Two publishing events: The re-issue by Letras Cubanas publishing house of Oppiano Licario, the unfinished novel by José Lezama Lima; and Rayuela, the uncommon work of Julio Cortázar, as part of the Casa de Las Américas’ Classics of Latin America collection.

Published for the first time in 1977, a year after Lezama death, the new edition of Oppiano Licario was presented, 40 years later, at the Dulce María Loynaz, Cultural Center, while Rayuela, with the study by Lezama Lima for the first edition, exactly half a century later, was celebrated at Casa de Las Américas headquarters.

- Algeria, Guest Country of Honor: Arriving with a delegation of 30 writers, the sister nation opened a beautiful pavilion displaying more than 200 works on their patrimony and history, plus children’s literature and novels.

Presented during the fair were 18 titles by Algerian authors in Spanish including the novels Tierra de mujeres, by Nassira Beyoula; El viento del sur, by Abdelhamid Benhadouga; Un mar sin gaviotas, by Djilali Kellas, and El juramento de Atocha by Azzedine Mihouni, now the country’s minister of Culture.

Mihouni’s book is a serious reflection on the phenomenon of collective violence, with episodes that continue to occur around the world, which the author hopes will be taken as a message “in favor of peace and the need to promote dialogue and understanding among peoples, since culture can build bridges.”

- The literary celebration in figures: 1,300 literary and artistic presentations; more than 80 lectures; some 50 panel discussions, 45 prizes and tributes; more than 100 poetry readings and 150 book launches, concerts, film screenings, and art exhibits.

During the Fair’s closing ceremony, February 17, Juan Rodríguez Cabrera, president of the Cuban Book Institute, reported that more than 4,000 titles and four million copies were made available to readers; the public purchased some

409,395 books, more than 5,000 more than were sold during last year’s edition.

A quote from the great Jorge Luis Borges serves to celebrate Cuban readers

“Let others boast of the pages they have written, I am proud of those that have been read.”

- Other prizes: The Paper Door, for the best titles published by the country’s 22 regional houses, was awarded to Las memorias vacías de Solange Bañuelos, by Maité Hernández-Lorenzo (Ediciones Matanzas); the Readers’ Prize, for the best-selling book of 2018 went to Cien Horas con Fidel, by Ignacio Ramonet (Editorial Nuevo Milenio and the Council of State publishing house); and the Mirrored Door, awarded by the José Martí National Library’s reading program, went to writer and journalist Marta Rojas, for El equipaje amarillo, the most requested book of 2018.

Cuban intellectual Miguel Barnet, winner of the 1994 National Prize for Literature, made an interesting reflection during the 11th edition of the Fair in Havana, which was dedicated to his works: “I believe that book fairs are growing in Cuba and around the world, because books cannot be replaced by anything, they establish an intimate, strong, igneous, erotic, and sensual bond with people that cannot occur with a cold screen.”

Despite the influence of novel and varied digital technologies and doomsday announcements, books are still desired. The 409,395 copies sold in La Cabaña February 7-17 can allow us a certain smile.

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Liar Marco Rubio was in Cucuta, but he didn’t see the houses

The echo of the lies launched by US Senator Marco Rubio during his visit to Cucuta resounded almost at the same time of his brief stay in that Colombian city on the border with Venezuela.

Marco Rubio, who travelled to Cucuta to supervise the development of the humanitarian aid program mounted by U.S., through the USAID, against Venezuela, was in Cucuta, but as the old saying reads, he didn’t see the houses.

Although Rubio, one of the architects of Washington to use the alleged humanitarian assistance as a Trojan House to invade Venezuela, had a photograph taken upon his arrival to Cucuta surrounded by a few inhabitants, and apparently he never realized that he had arrived at the least appropriate place to offer humanitarian assistance to anyone.

The "beneficent" senator who affirmed that: "One thing is to see human suffering, another is to see it up close and personal, and to meet the people and hear their stories”, and apparently his imperial arrogance did not allow him to meet or talk to some of the inhabitants who backed him as puppets of his show of misinformed proconsul.

Otherwise, he would have found out that the Colombian city he had chosen as platform to lie about the crisis in Venezuela has one of the highest inequality rates among the cities in the American continent.

Also that 40 percent, almost 300,000 Cucuta locals live in poverty, 10 percent in extreme poverty.

That the city’s unemployment is close to 20 percent and that around 20,000 children work and live in the streets.

He would have also found out that nearly 30 percent of the hospitals in Cucuta are in technical shutdown and that a normal delivery in that city costs 500 dollars, therefore, Cucuta’s women in labor travel to Venezuela to be assisted by the Bolivarian government of Venezuela.

The previous figures, based on sources from the statistics department in Colombia, were made public by Venezuela’s Communication and Information Minister Jorge Rodríguez in a televised appearance, where he announced that next February 22 and 23, the Bolivarian government would stage two concerts and provide food and health aid for free to the neighboring people of Cucuta.

But by then, the senator for Florida had already arrived in Miami, where he continued to repeat, in another press conference, the same lies about Venezuela.

Of course, the also member of the anti-Cuban mafia has a recognized record as a mythomaniac.

In October 2011, Sen. Marco Rubio was publicly accused in U.S. as a liar for having decieved with political purposes about his Cuban parents’ arrival in Florida after Fidel Castro’s takeover. However, press reports revealed that the parents of the senator left Cuba for the United States in 1956, under the government of Batista.

Rubio’s father was a barman and travelled to the northern country for economic reasons. Fidel Castro was not even in Cuba when Rubio’s family left the country. The story was initially reported by the St.Petersburg Times daily.

Marco Rubio arrived in Cucuta, stirred up and fled. Apparently, he will not attend the “War without Borders” concert, due to take place in that city on Feb. 22. Whereas Colombia’s President Ivan Duque has announced his presence, maybe he cares about the problems in Cucuta that his superior in Washington didn’t see.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

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My phrase of the day? We are Continuity (+ Photos and Video)

The phrase surrounds and inspires me. It comes to me full of that sense this Sunday in which we all, like a vegetable stew or rainbow, are continuity and say Yes for Cuba.

And it can’t be another for someone who has already received the warning of her 7-year-old son since Saturday: mom, there’s no school the day we have to vote Yes for Cuba, but wake me up early to accompany you. And the news from her daughter aged 9: mom, I must be ready at 6 o’clock, because Liani and I will go to guard the ballot boxes. That is, in my house, it is very clear: We are continuity.

But then I arrived at the Polling Station to exercise my right to vote and the first thing I found there was this couple. He was holding her arm with such candor that I only thought of one possibility: he’s her grandson. But he wasn’t, he was a neighbor and the fact is that solidarity is a daily thing in Cuba and emotions await you in any corner, so when I listed to the spontaneous words of Carmen on Fidel, the Revolution and our President Diaz Canel, I looked at her and my chest swelled up.

“I vote for my Revolution”, says Carmen and José Manuel assures: “As Cuban it is my duty to ratify the Fundamental Law of the Republic, which is a necessary document to ratify the continuity of the Revolution”. The Revolution of Carmen and José Miguel (who could be her grandson) is the same. In other words, in my neighborhood: We are continuity.

The phrase surrounds and inspires me. The phrase comes to me full of that meaning this Sunday in which we all, like a vegetable stew or rainbow, are continuity and say Yes for the will to progress, grow, evolve always embracing essences, loyal to the Revolution with all and for the good of all.



Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

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REFERENDUM FOR THE CONSTITUTION: The Strength is in the Neighborhood

This polling place in one of the neighborhoods of Cojímar is one of thousands across the country; it might seem insignificant to the national panorama, but in fact its lack of great singularities can give a perfect idea on the nation’s mood.

«There hasn’t been the slightest of problems here, Mr. journalist. Everything has gone as expected. At this hour, noon, almost everybody has already voted. We’ll count the votes in the afternoon. I am sure the Constitution will be approved here», comments one of the members at the board.

The urn, as it’s already tradition, is escorted by pioneers. «When I was a little girl, in capitalism, at the very few elections I witnessed, it was the military who decided. Polling places seemed barracks. I believe it was Fidel who had this wonderful idea: that children, as a symbol of purity, watch over the urns. My husband is physically impaired, these same pioneers will shortly go to the house so that he can vote», says Rosa Pereira who just moved in to Havana and for the first time exercises her right in this city.

For Esnaida Moncada, neighbor of this area for over thirty years, this is a unique moment: «I was very young when the other Constitution was approved, coming to vote more than forty years later for a new constitution is a privilege that I don't know if I’ll ever have again. Do you know why I am here? For three reasons: because I have civic responsibility, because I am a follower of Martí and Fidel, and because I want to support our new president. Did you watch the message passed in television yesterday? Very pretty, very heartfelt, speaking to people with simplicity and respect. This president is in the streets! We must support him in these complex times.

Exiting the polling place, one of the children who waited his time to salute next to the urn asked his mother:

—Why I cannot vote?

—Because you are very small yet, you will have your chance one day. But don't worry, I vote for you and for me.

—At least please allow me to put the ballot in the box for you.

And so they did.

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Raul Castro Votes in Cuban Referendum

The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Raul Castro, voted this Sunday in the referendum on the new Constitution of the Republic.

The Army general went to an electoral college in Playa municipality in Havana to endorse the constitution approved in December by the National Assembly of Popular Power.

After depositing his ballot, the leader spoke with the pioneers (primary and middle school students) who guarded the polls and with the members of the polling station.

Raul Castro headed the parliamentary commission responsible for drafting the Constitution, which is the result of the contribution of the population, expressed in more than 780,000 proposals, many of them incorporated into the text, which came out of a consultation in which nearly nine million people participated.

  • Published in Cuba
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