Off the Pool, José Antonio Guerra Swims Against the Tide

After almost 30 years inside pools José Antonio Guerra, the best Cuban grateful as the best Cuban diver of all times, he never thought that off the pools an even more tiring struggle was waiting for him.

If you become a coach and take your work seriously, exhausting days will be part of your everyday life. Guerra remain in the Cuban national team for over two decades and became one of the oldest divers worldwide.

Today whistle to his lips, wearing a cap and sun glasses, the charismatic former athlete already looks like a typical swimming coach, he shouts orders all over to his disciples without letting the uncomfortable recorder of the reporter disturb him.

With his thumbs he approves and disapproves, with his voice he encourages them to do their best, and with his look, the current head of the national team spreads respect in those who at some point in their training will receive with approval a sentence of sarcasm.

During the last years of my sport career I had the chance to earn the trust of the boys and that enabled a more comfortable transition to a position of directing, explains the silver medal winner in 10-meter platform in Montreal 2005.

It meant a difficult twist to lead a group of coaches at a domestic level, now I have fewer time than before, but it’s a challenge I face with responsibility and great desire, Guerra considers Lino Socorro, the author of the achievements in this discipline in Cuba, an example to look up to.

I need Lino all the time, every time a problems comes up I get my cellphone and ask for his opinion knowing his advice comes from experience and success, says José Antonio.

It was him who pushed me to study and self-teaching before retirement, although I truly doubt he completely retires from the diving tanks, born in eastern Santiago de Cuba.

About the state of diving in Cuba, Guerra highlights the youth of the main figures of the Cuban team who set their goals in synchronized events keeping in sight the Central American and the Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia.

Now it’s my turn to se the game from the benches, my task now is to provide knowledge and remember with nostalgia the moments of glory, said the Pan-American champion of Rio de Janeiro 2007 and Toronto 2015.

Cubasi translation staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

  • Published in Now

US Is Stepping on the Cuban Rake Again

The relations with the Republic of Cuba have long been one of the most painful problems of the United States. Even after the withdrawal of its main ally – the USSR – from the global stage, all the US attempts to get Cuba under its influence have failed. Lately, Cuba has acquired a new strong ally – China.

The deterioration of the US-Cuban relations occurred in the middle of the 20th century due to a number of mistakes made by the US leadership. In the 19th century, America helped Cuba in its struggle for independence from Spain. Since that time, it has considered this small island state as a part of its area of influence ignoring construction of mutually beneficial cooperation. After the victory of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the new leader of the Republic of Cuba Fidel Castro visited the USA. However, the American President of that time Dwight Eisenhower refused to meet. Such neglect on the part of the American leadership accelerated the downfall of the US-Cuban relations and promoted the strengthening of cooperation between Cuba and the USSR.

Soon, expulsion of the American capital from the Island of Freedom began. Many companies, banks, and factories owned by the US citizens were nationalized.

Instead of taking attempts on establishing friendly relations, America responded by strong economic and political pressure. In 1960, America stopped the oil supply to Cuba and imports of the Cuban sugar. It was a strong blow for the Cuban economy. However, the Soviet Union came for assistance. In 1961, Fidel Castro announced the socialist orientation of the Cuba, after which America ruptured diplomatic relations with it. In early 1962, Washington imposed a ban on trade with Cuba for all American companies.

Very soon America paid a heavy price for underestimation of the new Cuban leadership and for its habit of solving issues by force. In autumn 1962, the Soviet missiles with nuclear warheads were located on the Island of Freedom, after which the Cuban missile crisis broke out putting the USA on the verge of a nuclear war with the USSR. Perhaps, it was the time when the USA felt sorry for its policy towards Republic of Cuba. The isle of Cuba is located 180 km away from the US coast, and missiles located there could easily reach Washington and many other strategic facilities in America.

Fortunately, military clash was prevented. Nonetheless, the opposition between the USA and Cuba continued even after the USSR breakup.

Some thaw in relations was reached during the presidency of Barack Obama (2008-2016). The weakening of the US economic sanctions against Cuba started in early 2015. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were resumed in July 2015. A number of trade barriers were lifted in 2015-2016. Certain categories of the US citizens were allowed to visit Cuba. The air service between the countries was also resumed.

However, these insignificant achievements were brought to naught after the acting US President Donald J. Trump moved to the Office. Prior to his election in November 2016, Trump stated that America made too many concessions for the Republic of Cuba to the detriment of its own interests. Donald Trump also announced his intention to cancel the decision of Barack Obama if the Cuban leadership failed to meet a number of US requirements.

In June 2017, Donald Trump announced cancellation of the US-Cuban agreement on normalization of relations due to the violation of the human rights in the Republic of Cuba. He demanded the Cuban government to elaborate a new agreement that meets the US interests. The Republic of Cuba flatly refused.

In November 2017, the US Treasury Department announced new sanctions against Cuba. The American citizens are prohibited to carry out financial transactions with institutions related to the Cuban security agencies and make private educational visits to Cuba.

The story of the 1960s, when the rough US policy pushed Cuba away and contributed to the development of relations with the USSR, is apparently repeating. The difference is that now the leader of the communist world is the People’s Republic of China.

China has long been a reliable partner for Cuba. Cuba was the first Latin American country to recognize China as a country in 1960 and established diplomatic relations with it.

In 2008, China’s leader Hu Jintao declared that the Communist Party of China intended to keep friendship with Cuba and support it in building socialism and confronting the United States.

Now the economic and political interaction between Cuba and China is experiencing a period of the rapid development. In 2015, the Chinese imports to Cuba reached a record level of $1.9 billion. Cuba buys Chinese automobile and agricultural equipment, household appliances, PCs, and many other goods. China’s business is rapidly developing on the Island of Freedom. In early 2017, the media reported China’s intention to invest about $500 million in the new resort close to Havana. The Chinese Haier factory producing computer hardware launched its work in Cuba in 2017. In early 2018, the Chinese-Cuban projects in the sphere of renewable energy resources have started, and China is planning to give a loan worth $120 million to Cuba for this purpose. China has already became Cuba’s main creditor.

The growing presence of China in close proximity to the US territory causes anxiety of many American politicians, but Trump’s administration stubbornly continues its policy. As it was a half the century ago, it results in a number of unpleasant consequences for America.

As mentioned above, the isles of the Republic of Cuba are in close proximity to the USA. Therefore, the deployment of the nuclear weapon in Cuba was important for the USSR under its project of containment their possible enemy – the USA.

In addition, the importance of Cuba’s location is not only in the proximity to the USA but to the Panama Canal as well. This Canal that separates the two American continents and unites the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans has huge importance for the global trade. About 5% of the cargo shipping on the planet passes through it.

As you know, the main task for the Chinese foreign policy now is the implementation of the project the One Belt – One Road (OBOR), under which China and its partners intend to create a global transport system. While speaking about the OBOR, they usually mean the merger of the Eurasian and African countries in one transport network. In fact, this project does not have restrictions, and the Latin American states also perfectly fit into it. Cuba is not the only country where China expands its presence. China is working actively with all the states and pushing out America from them at the same time. Even now China is the main trade partner of Brazil, Peru, and Chile – the most economically developed countries of South America. It also develops cooperation with Mexico. Every year, China’s influence is also growing in Panama, through which territory the Panama Canal flows.

However, Cuba has particular importance as a possible stronghold of China in the Caribbean Sea. If China, as the USSR back in the day receives permission from the Cuban authorities to deploy its armed forces on the island, it will be able to ensure the safety of navigation through the Panama Canal and control all shipping in the Caribbean Sea. This fact will finally turn China in the prime force in Latin America and put an end to the US domination in this region.

  • Published in Cuba

Trinidad and Tobago to Strengthen Agricultural Ties With Cuba

Ambassador to Cuba Lancelot Cowie spoke to Prensa Latina about the increasing relations between the both Caribbean nations.

Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba are set to deepen ties and engage in knowledge sharing in the area of food production and sustainable agriculture. The news comes from Trinidad and Tobago's Ambassador to Cuba, Lancelot Cowie, who said that they are interested in strengthening food industry relations with their Caribbean counterpart, a "very experienced country on the matter."


Cuba to Send 100 Doctors to Kenya

Cowie commented on the development while praising Cuba's achievements in urban and suburban agriculture at the 21st International Food and Agriculture Fair (Fiagrop 2018) in Havana, Cuba. Cowie pointed to Cuba's advancement in the use of natural fertilizers and other organic products as an area of particular interest. 

In the past, Cuba has sent experts in vegetable production and other agricultural branches to Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean countries, and Cowie told Prensa Latina that the two-island nation hopes to expand that partnership to cacao production.

An entrepreneurs delegation from Trinidad and Tobago visited Cuba in 2017 to promote bi-lateral partnerships in a number of areas including paint production and other petrochemical areas.

Cowie thinks that the new flight routes between both countries will also contribute to greater trade, as well as cultural exchange and tourism.

Fiagrop is a Cuban annual fair that intends to promote foreign investment in Cuban fields, business ideas, livestock and agricultural farming, and rodeo as a sport for ranchers.

The fair is taking place from March 17 to 25 in the Rancho Boyeros Fair Venue at Havana.

This year the Fiagrop has 226 exhibits, including exhibitors from Spain, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Netherlands, Brazil, Argentine, Slovakia, Colombia, Uruguay, Guatemala, Costa Rica, the United States of America, Ghana, Antigua and Barbuda, Nigeria and New Zealand, besides exhibitors from all Cuban provinces.

The participation amounts to a 131 percent growth since 2017's edition according to Aroche Rodriguez, director of the fair.

The fair is hosting conferences on cattle breeding, feeding and the production of organic products.

Besides agricultural projects and businesses, the fair also includes the National Rodeo Championship, with participants from the Villa Clara, Ciego de Avila and Santi Spiritus provinces, followed by an international rodeo competition with participants from Colombia, the U.S., Costa Rica and Cuba.

The closing ceremony on March 25 will feature a showcase from the rodeo champions.

  • Published in Cuba

Russian GM Dreev main attraction of upcoming Capablanca tournament

Russian Alexei Dreev will be the major attraction in the Elite Group of the Capablanca Memorial Chess Tournament to take place in Havana from May 8-20 next.

Dreev currently owns 2,653 ELO points and although he no longer appears among the best players of his country, his curriculum includes five Chess Olympics, attendances to world championships and victories in famous contests.

He will undoubtedly bring prestige to the six-player-round-robin event that will also feature famous players such as American Samuel Shankland (2,668) and Russian Alexander Rakhmanov (2,655).

Shankland finished second last year when the winner was Indian Krishnan Sasikiran, only one able of "stealing" a crown from Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk in all his attendances to this competition, but he won´t come this time.

Carlos Rivero, Cuba´s national commissioner, told JIT sports publication that the 2018 Capablanca Memorial Chess Tournament will also include an Open Group to be attended by about 150 players, mainly locals, and an U16 Poole.

  • Published in Sports

Eight Cuban players to play pro baseball in Italy

Eight Cuban baseball players will sign their contracts next Friday to professionally play in the Italian Baseball League (IBL).

Several of the athletes to play in the European nation are local aces such as left-hander pitcher Ulfrido Garcia (Parma Baseball A.S.D), and right-handed pitchers Erly Casanova (Parma Baseball A.S.D) and Bladimir Baños (Polisportivo Padule), in addition to catcher Frank Camilo Morejon (Parma Baseball A.S.D).

The list also includes infielder Yordany Alarcon (Polisportivo Padule) and RHPs Eddy Abel Garcia (Cagliari Baseball A.S.D), Frank Montieth (A.S.D Athletics Bologna) and Jose Pablo Cuesta (B.C. Sala Baganza).

  • Published in Sports

Cuba Promotes in Germany Investments in Foods

A delegation of the Cuban Food Industry Ministry is promoting a set of opportunities for investments in foods in Germany, diplomatic sources said here Thursday.

Yanoski Calderín González, Cuban Vice Minister in the sector, is heading a Cuban group taking part in the 2018 Foottech International Foods and Beverages Fair in the German city of Cologne from March 20 to 23.

Calderin Gonzalez met Germany's expert German Jeub -general director for Policies with the European Union (EU), International Cooperation and Fishing- at the host building of the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture.

At the meeting Calderin and Jeub exchanged information on the Cuban National Economic and Social Development of Cuba until 2030 for the food production sector and other bilateral interesting topics.

Calderin and the Cuban delegation formed by Jesus Rodriguez Mendoza, first vice president of the Cuban Food Industry Entrepreneur Group, and Raul Castañedo Avila, director of Cuban company Alimpex met other German officials, visited factories and had meetings with German food production companies.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba: with much to contribute to the Hemispheric Dialogue in Peru

Cuba has positive experiences to share on the issues to be discussed at the VIII Summit of the Americas: democratic governance versus corruption, said Yamila González Ferrer, vice president of the National Union of Jurists of Cuba.

In exclusive statements to the Cuban News Agency through social networks, González Ferrer, who is participating in the Hemispheric Dialogue prior to the VIII Summit in Lima, Peru, considered that the island is in a position to promote sustainable development and be effective in the fight against corruption, the main topics of discussion of the event.

The representative of the Cuban civil society participates in the Hemispheric Dialogue as part of the coalition number 15 of the Civil Society Forum of the VIII Summit, which is called for a respectful and inclusive world, and integrated by 226 actors from 19 countries of the region.

González Ferrer, who is also secretary of the Cuban Society of Civil and Family Law of the National Union of Jurists of Cuba, said that the Hemispheric Dialogue will allow spokespersons to express, in an atmosphere of dialogue and respect, the results of the work of the 28 coalitions approved for the meeting in Peru, as well as criteria, assessments and recommendations to governments on the agreed thematic axes.

The concepts of democratic governance, the fight against corruption and sustainable development are closely interlinked with each other and with the fundamental concept of effective citizen participation. They cannot express themselves independently, and in Cuba there is a will, expressed in public policies and legal regulations, that points directly towards these objectives, she said.

She added that Cuban civil society organizations are working to contribute to these public policies and purposes, such as the National Union of Cuban Jurists, which has among its priorities the strengthening of the professional ethics of lawyers and their role in the fight against corruption.

She said that the Coalition for an Inclusive and Respectful World in the Hemispheric Dialogue will raise concerns at today's meeting in the South American country regarding the format of coalitions adopted for the forum and their impact on the participation and exchange of organizations and social actors.

It will also highlight the multi-causal nature of corruption and the need for a comprehensive, transparent and cooperative approach, involving all members of society in its confrontation.

Corruption should not be associated with certain geographic regions or levels of development, and its treatment in the continent should take into account the persistence of high levels of social and economic inequality, said the expert from the National Union of Cuban Jurists, a non-governmental, non-profit organization that brings together more than 16,000 lawyers on the island.

She told ACN about the present manipulation in addressing the issue of corruption and stressed that national and regional policies to prevent and combat this scourge must respect the principles enshrined in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, endorsed by the region's leaders.

Before saying goodbye, at dawn, she highlighted the principled position of Cuban civil society to defend the sovereignty of the island and its self-determination, and therefore will not share any space with mercenary elements and organizations that respond to the interests of a foreign power, with a clear agenda of subversion and violence against the Cuban people.

The scenario of the Panama Civil Society Forum three years ago was used to try to invest some foreign powers' mercenaries as human rights fighters, but the legitimacy of the organizations and associations that represent the vast majority of Cubans prevailed.

  • Published in Cuba

Japanese Ambassador in Cuba Visits Agricultural Sites in Camaguey

Japan's Ambassador to Cuba, Masaru Watanabe visited on Tuesday the city of Camaguey to inaugurate the development of three production and conservation of seeds projects in urban and suburban agriculture financed by the Asian embassy on the island.

The objective of the initiative is for the socio-economic development of the local communities and its inhabitants, said Watanabe and mentioned the cooperation between both nations in over 100 similar programs that make up the donation of high quality agricultural machinery.

He highlighted the importance in the increase of biological elements as an indispensable aspect to strengthen Cuban agriculture with the objective of hiking the productivity through agro-ecological practices and guaranteeing the protection of the cultivations.

In his tour through the Los Ranchos urban farm of the Agricultural and Animal Company in Camaguey where the project was in its validation stage during five years, the Japanese diplomat observed some of the almost 30 varieties of 10 vegetable species, fruits and others that were harvested.

He also saw the work of the machinery that was installed like a cold chamber for the conservation of seeds, four equipment to decontaminate and produce them, a water purifier and room to plant, grow and dry.

The Director of urban, suburban and family agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture Office in Camaguey, Javier Rodriguez Guerrero said that over four thousand producers from the territory are benefited with the projects that allowed a harvest of over 91 tons of vegetables in 2017.

These programs allowed to obtain 790 kilograms of seeds in 2017, meaning an increase in the productivity that should continue this year to reach one thousand for its use in over 166 hectares, said Rodriguez Guerrero and added that the project will be expanded to benefit 11 farms in the province.

The Japanese ambassador expressed to the workers that improving the yield of the cultivation and increasing the rate of food efficiency will contribute in reducing the use of foreign currency for imports in the area.

He added that the development in the agricultural sector is a priority for the Cuban government and the countries that cooperate with the Caribbean island, according to what has been defined through dialog on economic cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment.

The Japanese diplomat will continue his tour on Wednesday through Camaguey with a visit to the Patricio Lumumba community in the municipality of Sibanicu, to inaugurate a rehabilitation and maintenance project of the water supply system in the region.

  • Published in Cuba
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