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Daily Archives: May 1, 2016

14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 30 April 2016 – Like an arbitrary lottery, Havanans dream of having a WiFi zone installed near their homes. These outdoor places to connect raise the price per square foot of real estate in the immediate vicinity and help local businesses flourish. Speculations about where the new wireless antennas will … Continue reading "Living Near A Wifi Area Is Like Winning The Lottery / 14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada" Continue reading

14ymedio

La empresa de enseñanza de español en el extranjero Enforex abrirá un centro en Cuba ante la "creciente demanda proveniente de Norteamérica", ha informado la compañía en un comunicado reproducido por la agencia Europa Press.

Desde hace varios años la empresa española ofrece cursos en tres puntos de la geografía cubana localizados en La Habana, Trinidad y Santiago de Cuba. Sin embargo, estos programas se han hecho en un “entorno alternativo” sin un “edificio central”, informa su página digital.

Actualmente las opciones de aprendizaje que Enforex gestiona en la Isla incluyen cursos intensivos en grupo, curso superintensivo y clases privadas. Unas ofertas que planea ampliar con la inauguración de una nueva sede, de la que aún no se ha precisado la ubicación.

La empresa ha previsto una inversión de un millón de euros para costear la apertura del centro cubano y otro local en Colombia, ambos enfocados en "atender la creciente demanda proveniente de Norteamérica", según ha afirmado el director general de Enforex, Carlos Anadón.[[QUOTE:El estudio de la lengua española vive un momento de repunte en Estados Unidos]]

El estudio de la lengua española vive un momento de repunte en Estados Unidos, donde la cifra de alumnos matriculados para el aprendizaje de esta lengua supera al número total de estudiantes en cursos de otros idiomas, según muestra el último informe del Instituto Cervantes.

"Es una oportunidad de expansión para la compañía, que a lo largo de sus 27 años de historia ha formado a más de un millón de estudiantes de español", ha puntualizado Anadón.

Enforex factura más de 32 millones de euros al año y está acreditada por el Instituto Cervantes. Además, la empresa ha sido reconocida por más de 250 universidades estadounidenses y otras 150 universidades del resto del mundo.

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Passengers boarded the Fathom Adonia Sunday to inaugurate the first cruise service between the United States and the island in more than half a century. … Click to Continue » Continue reading

Un grupo de 28 Damas de Blanco y otros cuatro activistas fueron detenidos este mediodía a la salida de la sede del grupo opositor en Lawton, informó a DIARIO DE CUBA el opositor Antonio G. Rodiles.

Las activistas fueron detenidas cuando se dirigían al parque Gandhi para celebrar la actividad semanal organizada en el marco de la campaña #TodosMarchamos del Foro por los Derechos y Libertades (Foro DyL).

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Los directivos de la compañía de cruceros Carnival afirmaron que hasta una docena de los más de 700 pasajeros que viajaron esta tarde en el buque Adonia, el primer crucero de Estados Unidos a Cuba en 50 años, son cubanos o cubanoamericanos. 

En una rueda de prensa ofrecida este domingo en el puerto de Miami, desde donde zarpó la embarcación, el gerente general de Carnival Corporation, Arnold Donald, señaló que "hay de media docena a una docena de cubanos o cubanoamericanos en este crucero". 

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The 600 passengers on the Adonia are first cruisers to take such trip in half a century

Making history “is one of the greatest honors a company can have,” CEO says

Ship will arrive Monday morning in Havana

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  PROCESO DE PAZ

Desde septiembre de 2015 Timochenko permanece en La Habana, sede permanente de las negociaciones de paz, aunque no participa directamente en la mesa de diálogos



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El barco Adonia cubriendo la ruta Miami-La Habana tiene previsto levar anclas a las 3:30 pm

Los cruceros navegarán dos veces al mes, con el objetivo de promover el intercambio cultural

El Adonia tiene previstas actividades culturales en la capital cubana, Cienfuegos y Santiago de Cuba

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This week's Uncommon Sense Cuban Political Prisoners of the Week are five activists with the Patriotic Union of Cuba, who have been in jail since their arrests last summer after peaceful protests at Central Park in Havana. This past week,... Continue reading
Cardrona Alpine Resort boss Bridget Legnavsky anticipates a surge in visitors from China. "We were amazed to find out how quickly the country is developing world-class ski resorts," Legnavsky says of her trip to China in January.... Continue reading
Not willing to let Cubans demonstrating for freedom upset their May Day party, the Castro dictatorship Sunday unleashed another day of repression, moving to block Damas De Blanco and other activists from taking to the streets to demand respect for... Continue reading
Miles de personas participan en el desfile por el Día Internacional de los Trabajadores celebrado el domingo 1 de mayo de 2016, en la Plaza de la Revolución de La Habana. … Click to Continue » Continue reading
El gobierno mantiene férreo control de las voces disidentes este 1 de Mayo, y los detiene para impedirles que salgan a las calles a manifestarse pacíficamente. Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 1 May 2016 — With the slogan “For Cuba: Unity and Commitment,” massive Labor Day parades were held across Cuba. The march in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution started at 7:30 in the morning, with the presence of some 600,000 people and was marked by references to the recently concluded 7th Communist Party … Continue reading "May Day In Cuba: Many Commitments, No Demands / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
… on January 10, 2012.  The Cuban Hospital saw its first birth … The Cuban Hospital.” TCH is a joint project between Qatar and Cuba. The hospital is staffed by 455 Cuban medical professionals … maternity services, however with The Cuban Hospital and Al Wakra Hospital … Continue reading

‘Barack Obama estuvo aquí. Pero esto no se cambia por dinero’, dijo uno de los que desfilaron

El gobierno informó que 600,000 personas participaron en la actividad

También estuvieron en el acto 1,600 invitados extranjeros de 209 organizaciones y 68 países

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(EFE).- Los directivos de la compañía de cruceros Carnival afirmaron que hasta una docena de los más de 700 pasajeros que viajarán esta tarde en el buque Adonia, el primer crucero de EE UU a Cuba en 50 años, son cubanos o cubano-estadounidenses.

En una rueda de prensa ofrecida este domingo en el puerto de Miami, desde donde zarpará la embarcación, el gerente general de Carnival Corporation, Arnold Donald, señaló que "hay de media docena a una docena de cubanos o cubanoamericanos en este crucero".

"Tenemos a cubanos nacidos en Cuba, cubanoamericanos que nacieron en EE UU, es una bonita mezcla y creemos que la diversidad hace que haya una profunda conexión que nosotros hemos construido", destacó por su parte la presidente de Fathom, Tara Russel.[[QUOTE:Fathom, filial de Carnival, comienza desde hoy a operar cada dos semanas viajes a Cuba en el crucero de lujo Adonia, con capacidad para 704 pasajeros]]

Fathom, filial de Carnival, comienza desde hoy a operar cada dos semanas viajes a Cuba en el crucero de lujo Adonia, con capacidad para 704 pasajeros, un hecho que lleva al gerente a señalar que la compañía está "contribuyendo a la historia" y a generar "un impacto mucho más positivo para la sociedad".

"Ser la primera compañía que puede realizar cruceros desde Estados Unidos a Cuba, incluyendo a aquellos que pueden embarcar en Cuba, es un privilegio tremendo", destacó Donald.

El directivo de Carnival, una de las principales compañías de cruceros del mundo, recordó que desde que recibieron la aprobación de los Gobiernos de EE UU y Cuba para operar estos viajes la compañía hizo gestiones para que en el barco pudieran viajar "todos", entre ellos los cubano-estadounidenses.

La empresa mantuvo una política inicial de no aceptar a viajeros cubanos en la línea que se inaugura hoy, en atención a una ley del país caribeño que impide a los nacionales de ese país llegar por mar, una decisión que mereció una demanda civil por discriminación, que posteriormente fue retirada.

Carnival rectificó y el pasado 18 de abril anunció que no iba a hacer distinciones y que eran bienvenidos todos los pasajeros.

En una nota, la compañía afirmó en aquel entonces que mantenía "diálogos constantes con Cuba" para que sus autoridades permitan que los cruceros operen del mismo modo que los vuelos chárter a la isla.

"(Las autoridades de Cuba) vieron necesario que se debía cambiar la regulación para que los cubanos también pudieran viajar y así lo hicieron. Fue un intercambio muy colaborativo y el resultado se está viendo hoy", señaló este domingo Donald.

El exilio cubano tiene previsto para esta tarde la partida de una "flotilla de protesta" que zarpará desde la bahía de Miami, con el fin de pedir al Gobierno de la isla derogar el decreto presidencial de 1999 que prohíbe a los nacionales de este país salir y entrar por mar.

Ramón Saúl Sánchez, presidente del Movimiento Democracia, calificó de "valiente" la decisión de Carnival de no discriminar pasajeros y en declaraciones a Efe señaló que esperan una "muestra de cambio" del Gobierno cubano.  

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Cubanoamericanos a bordo del Adonia, que viajan a Cuba por primera vez desde que emigraron a Estados Unidos, dijeron estar emocionados y nerviosos con esta travesía. Continue reading
Armando Valladares cree que la muerte de los Castro puede dar paso a ‘un cambio violento’ en Cuba DDC | Buenos Aires | 1 Mayo 2016 – 3:55 pm. El exprisionero político Armando Valladares ha afirmado en una entrevista con el portal argentino Infobae que la muerte de Fidel o Raúl Castro puede “producir un […] Continue reading
Filósofo oficialista pide ‘rescatar las maneras de vivir socialistas’ frente a la ‘ofensiva de paz de EEUU contra Cuba’ DDC | La Habana | 1 Mayo 2016 – 3:30 pm. El filósofo y ensayista Fernando Martínez Heredia ha hecho un llamamiento para “rescatar en términos ideales y materiales las relaciones y la manera de vivir […] Continue reading

La salida del primer crucero a Cuba en décadas está pautada para las 2:30 pm el domingo

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El líder de la oposición venezolana Henrique Capriles anunció en las redes sociales que hasta el sábado se contabilizaron más de dos millones de firmas para solicitar la activación del referendo revocatorio presidencial, informa El Universal.

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El exprisionero político Armando Valladares ha afirmado en una entrevista con el portal argentino Infobae que la muerte de Fidel o Raúl Castro puede "producir un cambio violento en Cuba". 

Para Valladares la desaparición de uno de los dos Castro "es el único factor, o el último" que "puede producir un cambio drástico de la situación cubana porque no hay nadie que llene el vacío de poder".

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Iberoamérica celebra este primero de mayo el Día Internacional de los Trabajadores o Día del Trabajo, una fiesta para el movimiento obrero, que pretende recordar los avances que se han producido para las clases trabajadoras y que cumple este año su 130 aniversario. Continue reading
En la actualidad, el 19 por ciento de la población está por encima de los 60 años, y los pronósticos indican que esa cifra comprenderá el 30 por ciento de la población en menos de una década. Continue reading

El filósofo y ensayista Fernando Martínez Heredia ha hecho un llamamiento para "rescatar en términos ideales y materiales las relaciones y la manera de vivir socialistas" en Cuba, algo que ve en peligro en el marco actual de acercamiento entre la Isla y Estados Unidos.

Analizando las relaciones actuales entre ambos gobiernos, el pensador cree que se debe apostar por una "mayor socialización dentro del ámbito y la gestión estatales" a demás de dar "un impulso" a aquello que beneficie al socialismo, "y no al individualismo y el afán de lucro".

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Hoy zarpa desde EEUU a Cuba el primer crucero en medio siglo El Adonia de Carnival saldrá del puerto de Miami a las 3:30 de la tarde domingo, mayo 1, 2016 | Agencias MIAMI, Estados Unidos.- El primer crucero que recorrerá la ruta entre Estados Unidos y Cuba en medio siglo zarpará este domingo desde […] Continue reading
A prisión opositores detenidos en el Parque Central Entre el 14 y 15 de abril fueron arrestados por manifestarse pacíficamente domingo, mayo 1, 2016 | Augusto César San Martín LA HABANA, Cuba.- Cuatro de los nueve activistas de las organizaciones opositoras Unión Patriótica de Cuba (UNPACU), Damas de Blanco y Todos Unidos, arrestados entre el […] Continue reading
“El embargo es un cuento: Cuba puede comerciar con más de 170 países” Por: Claudia Peiró cpeiro@infobae.com El escritor y opositor cubano Armando Valladares, que pasó 22 años en la cárcel por criticar la adhesión de Fidel al comunismo, cree que nada cambiará en la isla hasta que no muera uno de los hermanos Castro […] Continue reading

Zunilda Mata

Con el lema "Por Cuba: Unidad y Compromiso" se realizó este domingo un masivo desfile por el Día de los Trabajadores en varios puntos de la geografía cubana. La marcha en la Plaza de la Revolución de La Habana comenzó a las 7:30 de la mañana, contó con la presencia de unas 600.000 personas y estuvo marcada por las alusiones al recién concluido VII Congreso del Partido Comunista y al 90 cumpleaños del expresidente Fidel Castro, a celebrarse en agosto próximo.[[QUOTE:Entre los miles de carteles que enarbolaron los trabajadores ninguno exigía reivindicaciones laborales ni aumentos salariales]]

Entre los miles de carteles que enarbolaron los trabajadores ninguno exigía reivindicaciones laborales ni aumentos salariales. Una peculiaridad de los desfiles por el primero de mayo que han tenido lugar en la Isla en el último medio siglo y cuya motivación principal ha sido mostrar la adhesión de los profesionales y obreros al sistema político.

La prensa oficial anunció previamente que a los festejos se sumarían por todo el país unos 200.000 trabajadores por cuenta propia, en representación del sector privado que ya suma más de medio millón.

En la tribuna y saludando a los participantes del desfile, que duró alrededor de una hora y media, estaban el presidente cubano Raúl Castro, recién ratificado como primer secretario del PCC; el primer vicepresidente Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez; José Ramón Machado Ventura, segundo Secretario del Comité Central del PCC y Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento dirigente de la Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC), la única organización sindical permitida en el país y que reúne a 3,4 millones de trabajadores estatales, privados y jubilados.

En el discurso que dio inicio al desfile, Guilarte de Nacimiento, también miembro del Buró Político, catalogó de “maniobras” los problemas que atraviesan varios gobiernos de izquierda en América Latina. En especial las protestas o procesos legales que cuestionan el ejecutivo en Venezuela y Brasil, además de Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua y El Salvador.

El sindicalista también se refirió al proceso de normalización entre los gobiernos de Cuba y Estados Unidos, sobre el que aseguró que no será posible completarlo mientras “se mantenga el bloqueo económico, comercial y financiero contra nuestro país”, además de la presencia estadounidense en la base naval de Guantánamo.

Desde horas tempranas de la madrugada comenzaron a congregarse en los alrededores de la Plaza habanera trabajadores de varios municipios y de zonas cercanas a la capital cubana. La mayoría de ellos fueron trasladados en ómnibus pertenecientes a centros laborales y unos 3.257 vehículos que cubren las rutas de transporte urbano en la ciudad.

La marcha fue abierta por una representación de 40.000 maestros y profesores, en recordatorio a la Campaña de Alfabetización de la que este año se celebra el 55 aniversario. Según datos de la prensa oficial cubana, en la congregación participaron 1.600 invitados en representación de 68 países y 209 organizaciones sindicales. Sin embargo, a diferencia de años anteriores el acto no contó con la presencia de ningún mandatario extranjero y en la tribuna la figura foránea de más alto nivel fue el diputado del oficialismo venezolano Elías Jaua.[[QUOTE:“La historia no la vamos a olvidar” repitieron en varios momentos los locutores que animaron el desfile, en alusión directa al discurso de Barack Obama en el Gran Teatro de La Habana]]

“La historia no la vamos a olvidar” repitieron en varios momentos los locutores que animaron el desfile, en alusión directa al discurso de Barack Obama en el Gran Teatro de La Habana, cuando el presidente de EE UU aseguró conocer la historia entre Cuba y Estados Unidos pero se negó a quedar “atrapado por ella”. Una referencia que molestó especialmente al oficialismo cubano.

El desfile transcurrió según lo pautado en la clausura de la cita partidista, el pasado 19 de abril, cuando Raúl Castro hizo un llamado a los trabajadores afiliados para mostrarle "al mundo", a través de una "entusiasta y masiva participación", la "unidad y el apoyo" a los acuerdos del Congreso y "al rumbo socialista e independiente de la Patria".

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El senador reveló que durante años buscó ganarse la confianza del gobierno cubano para facilitar las conversaciones, cuyo primer fruto fue la liberación del excontratista estadounidense Alan Gross. Continue reading

La marcha del Primero de Mayo en Cuba empezó este domingo en La Habana con proclamas a favor de la Revolución y los líderes históricos del régimen, así como advertencias directas para el Gobierno estadounidense. Miles de personas desfilaron en diferentes ciudades de la Isla.

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Comienzan pruebas de audio en la Catedral de La Habana para la pasarela de Coco Chanel del 3 de mayo o para el After Party, nadie sabe a ciencia cierta. Para el suceso, del que no participarán los cubanos, han sido instalados varios grupos electrógenos a varias cuadras de distancia. Algunos creen que Chanel traerá más diferencias a la ciudad.

Los vecinos están "avisados", no podrán asomarse a los balcones ni fotografiar. Solo tendrán acceso a esa zona de la Habana Vieja quienes tengan la dirección del lugar.

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If not infected, a vaccine can prevent infection with some strains of HPV. (1) ROCHESTER, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, April 27, 2016 /EINPresswire.com/ -- “Infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV)? The CBCD recommends taking … Continue reading
La empresa de enseñanza de español en el extranjero Enforex va a abrir un centro en Cuba por la "creciente demanda proveniente de Norteamérica", ha informado la compañía en un comunicado. Continue reading

En Cuba hoy no se venden o reparten juguetes en pesos cubanos

En vez de cantar canciones infantiles, los niños bailan y cantan reggaetón con gestos vulgares

Hoy los niños tienen que reparar viejos juguetes y los padres no tienen qué darles de merienda

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Cuba Will Lose One Million People In Next Decade / 14ymedio, Abel
Fernandez, Mario Penton

14ymedio, Abel Fernandez and Mario Penton, Miami, 29 April 2016 — By
2025, the Cuban population will be reduced to 10 million. The dramatic
demographic change on the island—from 11 million to 10 million
inhabitants—is propelled by the low rates of fertility and birth, and an
elevated emigration, a group of experts recently explained at Florida
International University.

In addition, Cuba will continue to have the oldest population in Latin
America. Currently, 19% of its inhabitants are over 60, and forecasts
indicated that this figure will reach 30% in less than a decade.

"Life expectancy is not the same as aging," said Dr. Antonio Aja Diaz
from the Center for Demographic Studies at the University of Havana. In
Cuba, life expectancy is high and infant mortality is low. But birth and
fertility are also low. These demographic characteristics, Aja said,
"are processes that occur in highly developed countries."

"In developed countries, mortality, birth and fertility are low, but
they do not lose population because they receive immigration," said
Aja. "But that is not the case for Cuba."

Until the late 1930s, the island was receiving immigrants. Since that
decade, emigration has been sustained, with large fluctuations during
mass exoduses of the past century—the Mariel Boatlift in the 1980s, the
Rafter Crisis of the 1990s—and most recently, the exodus through South
America that still continues.

According to Aja, "Cuba could not even compete from the point of view of
in-migration with the Dominican Republic," with regards to attracting
migrants. One of the main problems of the island is that people who
migrate are generally younger and in the fullest years of their
productive and reproductive capacity.

According to Dr. Sergio Diaz Brioquets, another panelist, emigration
from Cuba is a phenomenon that will continue. "The Cuban government has
for decades promoted emigration of the political opposition," he said.

As for fertility, between 2010 and 2015 Cuba had an average of 1.63
children per woman, the lowest fertility rate in Latin America and the
Caribbean.

The early years of the republic were years of high fertility and
population growth, a trend that continued until 1930. Then began a
process of decline until the years 1959-1960. In 1978, Cuba fell below
replacement level, which is usually established as an average of 2.1
children per woman. On the island, the downward trend has continued to
the present.

According to experts, the composition of the 10 million Cubans who will
remain on the island in 2015 will bring a number of challenges, among
them ethical values and interpersonal relationship. With regards to the
family, and in particular Cuban women, they will face a series of
responsibilities that will worsen with the aging population. "In Cuba,
the job of caring for the elderly falls mainly on the woman," explained Aja.

On the other hand, wages in the island have decreased to 73% of their
real value, said Dr. Carmela Mesa Lago, a renowned expert on the Cuban
economy. In addition, self-employed workers, a growing sector of the
economy, are at risk of not accumulating pensions and not receiving
social assistance.

Source: Cuba Will Lose One Million People In Next Decade / 14ymedio,
Abel Fernandez, Mario Penton – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuba-will-lose-one-million-people-in-next-decade-14ymedio-abel-fernandez-mario-penton/ Continue reading

La organización Archivo Cuba acusó el sábado al Gobierno cubano de beneficiarse de "la venta de productos sanguíneos y partes corporales, la migración forzada, el trabajo forzado de presos y menores de edad y el tráfico sexual".

La directora ejecutiva de Archivo Cuba, Maria Werlau, precisó que el Estado cubano "es posiblemente el mayor y más rentable traficante de personas del mundo".

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The Bridge / 14ymedio, Pedro Junco Lopez

14ymedio, Pedro Junco Lopez, Camaguey, 27 April 2016 – Some have
suggested I write about US President Barack Obama's recent visit to
Cuba. A great challenge after so much criticism about it. However,
despite the blockade I've suffered in international research, I lean to
two very attractive topics—and as far as my information sources permit
me to know—two that have been hardly discussed: first, the oratory style
of the American president who, according to what they are saying here,
"has the Cuban people in his pocket"; and second, "the bridge" between
the two systems and societies, which both presidents brought up.

With regards to oratory, I will not dwell too long on that of the
general-president, considering his having always been in the military,
his extreme longevity, and his usual approach of reading his texts.
Whether or not a man is an excellent orator has nothing to do with his
other aptitudes. Oratory is an art, an art that isn't learned, but that
one is born with and perfects or doesn't. But I propose to compliment
Obama's rhetoric, offering as a counterpart that of some contemporary
Cubans speaking live.

I don't think it was at Harvard where the American learned to launch
these clear and precise parliamentary arrows in the form of short
sentences; then he stops, tightens his lips and puts a brake on the
overflowing words, giving the audience time to digest his ideas and then
one phrase after another, repeats the pauses, often with a smile playing
on his lips and without losing the thread of his exposition, without
even looking at the script that guides him in his discursive ascent and
ending with the clear solidity of a prophet.

How different is the style of some Cubans who speak haltingly, breaking
their phrases as one who walks along a path strewn with large boulders
that must be leaped over, taking a breath in the middle of well known
phrases, seeking respite from the terror of making a mistake and
expounding something that could upset whoever dictated the script.

We appreciate the serene movement of President Obama's hands, always in
a lilting rhythm in sync with the idea of the phrasing. How different
from the immoderate flapping of other local speakers for whom the podium
must be cleared of ornamental objects, lest one of their swipes knock
the microphone to the floor or any other instrument on the set where
they are talking.

The people of Cuba saw a president in the flesh who proposes and
convinces, not the god who taught them to listen with meekness half a
century ago: powerful, imposing, unanswerably humbling and always
threatening.

But let's address the detail of the bridge. Nothing in the theme
surprises us, when many years ago the young Guatemalan singer Ricardo
Arjona wrote and performed a song with this name; watching the video
brings tears to the eyes of Cubans who have suffered a separation from
their loved ones. This time the initiative came from the Cuban
president: it is easy to destroy a bridge; it is difficult to build it
back again; a straightforward simile, but concise.

So the naiveté of the general-president in "mentioning the rope in the
house of the hanged man" surprises; and the condescension of the
northern president in seeking a convergence between the two governments
and not taking the bull by the horns and telling a story that surely he
knows.

The first foundations of that bridge were built by the Americans and the
mambises – Cuban independence fighters – at the end of the 19th century,
when they fought together to free Cuba from Spanish colonialism. Today
very subjective concepts are put forward about what led the United
States to invade Cuba, drumming on "the ripe apple" concept. It would be
good to detail when this apple ripened, with the two principals killed
in combat and the stubborn position of the Spaniards not to abandon the
island. In Spain to this day, when something goes badly for a citizen,
they seek solace in the classic phrase: "More was lost in Cuba." The
Spaniards were so attached to our native land that no one was able to
predict how many more years of fighting and how many human lives
independence would cost.

The first foundations for the bridge were built on solid ground after
the emancipation of the metropolis, and its horizontal beams were laid
when industrialized sugar cane production, the great electricity and
telephone companies and many others were brought to Cuba. Because on 20
May 1902, they lowered the American flag and raised that of Miguel
Tourbe Tolon and Narciso Lopez—names that barely appear in our schools'
current history books—and the Cuban nation had 10 people for every
square kilometer of the homeland.

Republican governments, despite the tyrannies of Machado and Batista,
thanks to close negotiations with the neighbor to the north, paved the
bridge with the building of the Capitol, the central highway and the
walls of the Havana Malecon, despite the aberration of the Model Prison
on the Isle of Pines.

They built hospitals, highways, local roads, and made our currency equal
to the dollar, and Cuba was the most developed country in Latin America,
thanks to a sugar quota with privileged pricing worked out with the
United States.

Projects for a 96-mile highway between Havana and Key West had already
begun: a physical bridge that would link the island to the continent.
Had this project been completed, the tens of thousands of compatriots
drowned in the Florida Straits would have completed their journeys with
greater safety and comfort.

But who broke the bridge? Who led to Washington establishing a
"blockade" against the revolutionary government for having confiscated
without compensation the billions of dollars the Americans invested in
the island during the Republican period?

Who destroyed the agricultural and urban infrastructure of this unhappy
country that today will have no other pillar to lean on if Venezuela
ceases to be socialist?

Who clings to refusing to see that without fundamental changes toward
industrial capitalism and development today's young people will continue
the exodus and we will be left in this beloved land with only feeble old
people, unable even to dig the graves of those who die first?

Source: The Bridge / 14ymedio, Pedro Junco Lopez – Translating Cuba -
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Cuba's budding businesswomen are learning as they build
Carole Sole, AFP

The six women came to Mexico City to participate in the Women's Forum on
Wednesday and Thursday, an international gathering of women, but also
men, from politics, business and civil society to discuss social and
economic issues.

They came with an arsenal of business cards with phone numbers, email
addresses and even Facebook pages or business websites.

While they use the Internet, web access is very expensive and hard to
come by in Cuba, where it is tightly controlled by the state.

Only 3.4 percent of households have Internet access, but the government
is opening public WiFi hotspots and President Raul Castro has promised
access to all Cubans by 2020.

"Our dreams and wishes include being able to export and through the
Internet you can not only buy but also sell," said Caridad Luisa
Limonta, who owns a workshop of seamstresses in Havana.

"If Cuba is opening up to the world, one of its potentials is to be able
to export," she said.

Gradual changes
In the meantime, like many Cubans who can afford to travel, they take
advantage of their trips to shop for the things they can't find in Cuba.

De la Rosa bought fabric for her children's decoration store, but it was
a "limited" quantity to avoid problems with customs in Havana.

It's nothing compared to the stuff that Nidialys Acosta buys and brings
on planes.

"For example, I've had car bumpers and fenders in my luggage," said
Acosta, who since 2011 has run a business that repairs the famous
classic American cars from the 1950s that are part of Cuba's street
landscape and which are used as taxis for tourists.

Most of the six women used to work for the government but they entered
the nascent private sector that Castro allowed after he succeeded his
brother, Fidel, in 2008.

This has helped them earn more money in a country where the average
monthly salary is $24.

Only 10 percent of the island's labor force, or nearly half a million
people, is in the private sector.

While the US-Cuba diplomatic thaw has raised hopes of change on the
island and a potential end to the US trade embargo, the Communist Party
Congress earlier in April suggested that Havana's opening to the world
would remain slow.

"I think that there were a lot of expectations of sudden, quick changes,
but I think the changes that are coming will be very gradual," Vicente said.

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Cuba opens up to U.S., revealing its paradoxes
Much has changed during half-century embargo
BY S. AMJAD HUSSAIN
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

HAVANA — This city is a short 45 minutes from Miami, but until the
relaxation of travel between Cuba and the United States, it could have
been at the end of the world. Many travelers assume the flight to Havana
will be like time travel to a land frozen in the 1950s.

A ride on a burro for 5 pesos in Trinidad.
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE/S. AMJAD HUSSAIN Enlarge | Buy This Photo
That's true, but only up to a point. Havana is an endearing combination
of the old and the new. To an undiscerning eye it is the old that
captures attention — run-down buildings and vintage American cars from
the 1950s plying the streets as taxis. But a closer look reveals an
enchanting and vibrant city where, despite an autocratic government,
human spirit is alive and well in the form of music, arts, and sports.

Travel to Cuba from the United States is possible at this time only by
charter flights for about $500 round trip from several cities. Regular
commercial flights will commence in the fall. Recently, some cruise
lines have added Cuba to their destinations.

Contradictions abound when landing in Havana.

There are vintage American cars running on Japanese and Korean diesel
engines. They run side by side with new Japanese, German, and Korean
imports. There are buildings restored to old glory next to crumbling
buildings.

People on the street appear healthy and well fed, and obesity is rare.
The expected images of unhappy, grim-faced, half-starved people living
under the yoke of a Communist police state just do not materialize.

So to judge Cuba from the looks of run-down buildings and old Chevys is
to ignore the fact that this country of a little more than 11 million
people has, for more than 50 years, not only survived a crushing embargo
by the United States but has made significant progress in certain
sectors of the society, including health care for all its citizens and
medical achievements rivaling first-world nations.

Most Western visitors to the island, particularly from the United
States, unconsciously compare Cuba with other Caribbean destinations.
But it's not fair to judge the well-being of a society or complexity of
a culture by the coarseness of available toilet paper.

In Cuba the government owns everything. In 2008, aging Cuban President
Fidel Castro transferred power to his younger brother Raul Castro, who
in due course relaxed state control on the island's small-scale economy.
That has led to a proliferation of small restaurants and other
businesses in the country.

The relaxation of economic regulations makes it possible for people to
rent rooms in their homes to tourists. There are not enough quality
hotel rooms in Havana to accommodate an increasing number of visitors.
But the prices of food, lodging, and other necessities for tourists have
slowly crept up.

A dinner for five people at an upscale restaurant in Havana cost $180.
That is more than four times the monthly salary a Cuban is paid by the
government.

Cuba has two currencies: ordinary pesos and convertible pesos called
CUCs. The latter is pegged to and usually at par with the U.S. dollar.
Most tourist transactions occur in CUCs, whereas government salaries are
paid in ordinary pesos. Most street transactions by Cubans are conducted
in pesos. Twenty-four pesos equal $1, or one CUC.

The salaries paid to government employees are fixed. A janitor draws the
same monthly salary of just under 1,000 pesos (or 40 CUCs/$40) as a bus
driver, an accountant, or a surgeon.

Even though this salary is grossly insufficient for comfortable living,
the government subsidizes basic food items such as beans, rice, and
sugar. Gasoline is also sold at reduced rates.

For most Cubans trying to live on $40 a month, there must be a lot of
month left at the end of the money. However, looking at the well-fed and
healthy-looking and adequately dressed populace, there has to be some
other source of money.

That other source is the remittance of dollars by the Cuban émigré
community in the United States. According to some estimates, 80 percent
of Cubans receive money from relatives in America.

Havana Times, an electronic daily news website published from Havana,
reported that Cubans received $2.1 billion in cash from relatives in the
United States in 2012. Add to that in-kind remittance in the form of
medicines, electronics, and food items, and the total swells to $5.1
billion. This amount doesn't include money carried illegally onto the
island.

Cuba's government

Havana is a city of about 2 million people. It is a relatively clean
city, and even in poor neighborhoods the potholed streets are clean and
not strewn with garbage and refuse. Average life expectancy in Cuba is
78 years, placing it 38th on a list of 192 countries. By contrast,
average life expectancy in the United States is 79 years.

There is very little evidence of police or the military on the streets
of Havana. And when there were occasional interactions between the
police and a citizen, it always appeared civil and respectful. One
seldom sees speeding or reckless driving on the streets of Havana or in
the countryside. Traffic rules are enforced rather firmly.

Cuba is a police state where the government keeps close tabs on dissent
and protests. In everyday conversation Cubans exercise restraint in
discussing poverty or democracy. Public protest is tolerated, but only
up to a point.

Most Cubans I talked to would not openly criticize the government, and
neither would they embrace the restrictive government policies with
enthusiasm. They were very pleased with restoration of diplomatic
relations with the United States and hoped that lifting of economic
sanctions would bring prosperity to their country. Everyone I talked to
approved and appreciated the visit of President Obama to their country.

Honoring history

Havana is also a city of statues and green spaces. No area illustrates
this better than G Street, which is called Avenue of the Presidents. A
wide boulevard with an ample landscaped median that has statues of
various presidents from a number of Latin American countries that had
stood for a united Latin America. There are the busts or statues of
Salvador Allende of Chile, Omar Torrijos of Panama, and Benito Bolivar
of Venezuela, among many others.

Surprisingly, there are no statues of Fidel Castro or his brother Raul
in public spaces. There is no visible evidence of a cult of personality
of the Communist revolutionary leaders. The only exception is Che
Guevara, who has a large monument and mausoleum dedicated to him in the
city of Santa Clara.

But the biggest monument in Havana is dedicated to Jose Marti, a
revolutionary Cuban poet from the 19th century. He was exiled to Spain
by the colonial Spanish government in 1871 at age 17, and returned to
Cuba 24 years later having lived in Spain, Mexico, New York, and
Guatemala. Within a year of his return to Cuba in 1895, he was killed
during an uprising against the Spanish colonial rule.

Americans may be familiar with a song based on Mr. Marti's celebrated
poems, "Guantanamera." It has been sung by Joan Baez, Jimmy Buffett,
Bobby Darin, Jose Feliciano, and many others.

A grand monument to him stands in the northern part of Havana. President
Obama visited it on his trip to Cuba in March. Mr. Marti's likeness in
stone and marble is present all over the country.

To get a flavor for Cuba, the real Cuba, leave the capital and take to
the wide-open spaces to meet people on their own turf. During my travel
to the cities of Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Santa Clara, I was afforded
that opportunity.

Travel in Cuba is comfortable on well-maintained roads. Most of them
have an outside lane for horse-drawn vehicles. Yes, horse-drawn buggies,
small flatbeds, and carriages are an integral part of the Cuban landscape.

The resurgence of horses as a means of transporting people and cargo in
Cuba was the result of the American embargo and the scarcity of
gasoline. On main highways there are signs of carriage crossings, not
unlike the signs we see in Amish areas of the United States.

The Cuban countryside is lush, green, and fertile. Along the roads are
wide swaths of agricultural land where most of the crops are grown in
collective farms. The crops include sugar cane, tobacco, potatoes, rice,
beans, fruits, and coffee. One third of the land in Cuba is under
cultivation, and the agriculture sector employs one in five working Cubans.

Villagers bring their products and sell them to passing motorists on the
side of the expressway — small slabs of homemade cheese, bunches of
bananas and plantains, and large garlands of onions and garlic.

Along the southern coast of Cuba, 160 miles from Havana, is the small
town of Cienfuegos. An important battle was fought here between the U.S.
Marines and Spanish forces in the late 19th century during the
Spanish-American War. In 1957, during the fighting between Batista
regime and the communists, the town was bombarded by Cuban air force and
badly damaged. Now there are hardly any visible scars of those battles.

At the outskirts of Cienfuegos, visitors are greeted by a large
billboard depicting Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Hugo Chavez of
Venezuela commemorating the visit of former president Chavez in 2007 to
attend a petroleum summit.

Mr. Chavez stayed at Palacio Azul, a small seven-room hotel where we had
booked our stay. Mr. Chavez left a handwritten note, displayed outside
the room, in which he expressed his "endless" love for Cuba.

From Cienfuegos, a one-hour drive to the east is the small town of
Trinidad nestled in the foothills of Escambray Mountains. The town is
known for its cobblestone streets, small boutique shops, and street-side
market where locally made wicker baskets, panama hats, cotton garments,
and trinkets of all kinds are sold.

Trinidad neighbors the Valley of the Sugar Mills, with the smokestacks
of sugar mills dotting the landscape. There are at least 70 historic
cane mills in this region.

Just 55 miles north of Trinidad is the provincial town of Santa Clara,
halfway between the northern and southern coasts. It is a thriving city
of 250,000 and ranks as the fifth largest in Cuba.

People of Santa Clara

Two people, both dead, dominate the history of this city. First is a
philanthropic woman by the name of Marta Abreu de Estevez (1845-1909),
who is credited with giving the city its present look by donating large
sums of money for construction of public buildings and a variety of
charitable causes.

The other is Ernesto Che Guevara, commonly known as Che. Born to an
aristocratic family in Argentina in 1928, Che studied medicine but was
attracted to Marxist revolutionary ideas.

He traveled extensively throughout South America and was deeply affected
by the poverty, disease, and deprivation among the poor.

He joined the Castro brothers in their struggle to overthrow the
U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, and played a pivotal role in the
two-year guerrilla war that led to the Communist takeover of Cuba in
1959. Here in Santa Clara, Che led a crucial battle in late 1958 that
turned the tide in favor of the communists, compelling Batista to flee
the island.

In post-revolutionary Cuba, Che was a central figure after Fidel Castro.
As minister of industries he instituted agrarian land reforms.

His aim was to help bring about a worldwide proletarian revolution. He
left Cuba in 1965 for Congo and then Bolivia. He was captured in Bolivia
and was summarily executed.

Che is celebrated as a national hero in Cuba. In 1997 his remains were
brought from Bolivia to Cuba and were entombed in a large mausoleum
erected in his honor in Santa Clara, where there is a statue of Che atop
a column, with disheveled hair, wearing his trademark fatigues and
beret, and holding a gun.

The inscription on the column reads: Until the Eternal Victory.

Tomorrow: Health care in Cuba.

S. Amjad Hussain is an emeritus professor of surgery and humanities at
the University of Toledo. His column appears every other Monday in The
Blade. Contact him at: aghaji@bex.net.

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