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Daily Archives: July 13, 2017

Luz Escobar

Poco antes de la 1 de la tarde del pasado viernes, una rampa en mal estado se desplomó en las obras de restauración del Capitolio de La Habana. En el accidente murió un trabajador y sufrieron lesiones dos estudiantes que hacían prácticas en las instalaciones, según confirmó a 14ymedio uno de los heridos.

El fallecido, Dariel F. Rodríguez, de 39 años y nacido en Camagüey, era un especialista en restauración y había sido contratado en las obras del emblemático edificio inaugurado en 1929. El empleado murió durante el traslado al Hospital Clínico Quirúrgico General Freyre de Andrade, conocido popularmente como Emergencias.

Un albañil de la Empresa Puerto Carenas, que conversó con 14ymedio bajo la condición de anonimato, asegura haber informado en una ocasión a sus jefes sobre "el deterioro de las tablas de la plataforma que se cayó" y lamenta que los trabajadores del lugar estén todos los días en riesgo. "Nadie se hace responsable, nos dicen que no hay presupuesto", lamenta.

En el momento de la caída, F. Rodríguez se disponía a bajar de la cúpula después de haber trabajado en los capiteles junto a cuatro alumnos de la Escuela Taller Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos de la Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad, fundada en 1992 y dedicada a la enseñanza de los diferentes métodos de restauración y conservación.[[QUOTE:En el momento de la caída, F. Rodríguez se disponía a bajar de la cúpula después de haber trabajado en los capiteles junto a cuatro alumnos de la Escuela Taller Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos]]El accidente ocurrió al quebrarse la madera de la rampa de acceso al elevador de obras, cercana a la cúpula. La plataforma llevaba varios años sin mantenimiento y cedió bajo el peso de los hombres que cayeron desde una altura de entre seis y siete metros, según confirmaron a este diario varios colegas del fallecido, que prefieren mantenerse en el anonimato.

Alejandro Mato Soberao, de 19 años, y Alex Gata Vergara, de 21 años fueron los estudiantes que resultaron heridos. Un tercer alumno que iba en el grupo logró asirse a un saliente en el momento en que la rampa se rompió, mientras que el cuarto estudiante había bajado por las escaleras hacia la planta baja en busca del ascensor.

Mato Soberao se encuentra en la sala de terapia intensiva del Hospital Universitario Calixto García del municipio Plaza de la Revolución. El joven fue intervenido quirúrgicamente para extraerle el bazo y además sufrió heridas en el hígado y un pulmón. Este miércoles su estado era "grave pero estable", según explicó su madre, Yaneida Soberao.

"En las últimas horas los doctores lo han logrado estabilizar", detalla. Varios colegas del aula de Mato Soberao acompañan a sus familiares a las afueras de la sala y el historiador de la ciudad, Eusebio Leal Spengler, ha visitado el hospital en dos ocasiones para interesarse por su estado.

Alex Gata Vergara sufrió una fractura en el codo y está hospitalizado, fuera de peligro, en el Pabellón Weiss Torralba del mismo centro de salud. El joven contó a 14ymedio que llegaron hasta las obras acompañados por el profesor Otmaro Medina Muñiz y poco después Dariel Rodríguez se ocupó de acompañarlos en el recorrido por la parte superior del inmueble.

"Subimos a la cúpula para montar unas piezas que son los capiteles. Una vez que terminamos de hacer el trabajo bajamos pero el güinche [elevador] estaba abajo", detalla Gata Vergara. Uno de los jóvenes decidió descender por la escalera para buscar el montacargas, parado en la planta baja durante el horario de almuerzo.[[QUOTE:Uno de los sobrevivientes cree que los administradores de la obra quieren desviar la responsabilidad de lo sucedido hacia el profesor y los estudiantes]]Los otros cuatro esperaron en la rampa por el ascensor pero "no había llegado arriba cuando se desplomó la estructura", recuerda. "Llegamos abajo en condiciones críticas. Yo fui el único que quedó consciente".

Rodríguez se golpeó la cabeza contra las vigas de metal que hacen de tope al elevador, mientras que a Alejandro Mato Soberao le impactaron por la espalda. El tercer estudiante "logró engancharse y no caer". "La plataforma tenía unos palos que la sostenían, que llegaban hasta abajo, por el peso de nosotros se reventaron porque estaban podridos", asegura.

Uno de los sobrevivientes cree que los administradores de la obra quieren desviar la responsabilidad de lo sucedido hacia el profesor y los estudiantes. "Cuando llegamos al hospital nos preguntaron si la plataforma estaba inactiva, pero llevamos quince días subiendo por la plataforma", aclara. "Hasta los jefes de obras del Capitolio suben por esa plataforma", insiste.

El joven aclara que "no existía ningún cartel que dijera que no se podía utilizar", aunque ahora los responsables de la obra "dicen que estábamos fuera de los parámetros porque nosotros no podíamos subir a la cúpula".

El ingeniero Pedro Mato, técnico eléctrico de la obra del Capitolio, dijo que no podía dar información sobre el accidente laboral sin la aprobación de su empresa. "Nosotros no estamos autorizados a dar declaraciones a la prensa porque todos sabemos dónde vivimos, cómo vivimos y con qué regulaciones vivimos. Aquí normalmente esas cosas no se publican".

El ingeniero confirmó que el viernes pasado sucedió un incidente en el lugar y aclaró que "hay una comisión trabajando" en la investigación que dictaminará "por qué sucedieron las cosas". Desde que Rodríguez falleció "no se ha retomado el trabajo y nadie puede subir a la cúpula en espera de los peritos", asegura un trabajador.

Los medios locales y nacionales no han hecho mención de lo ocurrido y la directora de la Unidad Presupuestada de Inversiones de la Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad, vinculada a la contratación de los obreros que laboran en el inmueble, también se negó a ofrecer información bajo el argumento de que "normalmente esas cosas no se cuentan".[[QUOTE:Los medios locales y nacionales no han hecho mención de lo ocurrido y la Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad, vinculada a la contratación de los obreros, también se negó a ofrecer información]]El director de Recursos Humanos de la propia Oficina del Historiador, Mario Vaca, señaló a la Empresa Constructora Puerto Carenas como la entidad que contrató a Dariel. Sin embargo, Niurka, directora de recursos humanos de la Empresa, lo niega categóricamente y subraya que "alguien tuvo que acreditarlo para entrar a la obra".

El año pasado 67 personas fallecieron en accidentes de trabajo, según datos oficiales.

En diciembre pasado la restauración del edificio, realizada en colaboración con la empresa alemana MD Projektmanagement GmbH, recibió el premio Bernhard Remmers 2016. Mientras que la empresa estatal rusa Goszagransobstvennost convocó un concurso de proyectos para la restauración de la capa de oro de la cúpula por un valor de 354.000 dólares.

Aunque en noviembre de 2016 se inauguró simbólicamente la sede del Parlamento en el Capitolio, la actual sesión de la Asamblea se está realizando en su tradicional emplazamiento del Palacio de las Convenciones.

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Descubanizar a Miami y neutralizar al exilio. Esa es una vieja consigna de los Castro. Por descubanizar a Miami se entiende impedir que el peso económico, cultural y social de … Click to Continue » Continue reading
Bruno Rodríguez habla a la experta de la ONU sobre ‘programas de cooperación’ del Gobierno DDC | La Habana | 13 de Julio de 2017 – 21:36 CEST. El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, recibió este jueves a la experta independiente de la ONU sobre derechos humanos y solidaridad internacional, Virginia Dandan, en […] Continue reading
Raul Castro Apparently Decided to Change His Personal Image / Juan Juan
Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 11 July 2017 — The President of the Councils of State
and of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba recently underwent cosmetic
surgery to improve his chin. The chief of Cuban communists wants to be
rejuvenated so that young people won't feel they are being governed by
an old man of 86.

The absurdity is that a process so normal and ordinary acquires, on the
island, the unusual dimension of a "State Secret." The problem that
arises from such a "mystery" is that as a recognized public figure he is
under the magnifying glass of the public observer who, from now on, will
compare his current appearance with old photographs of him.

Apparently, and this could not be confirmed, patient Raul Castro refused
general anesthesia for fear of bad intentions. The truth is that the
operation on the president was performed by a Cuban eminence of cosmetic
surgery, a celebrity of the guild, of whom I will only say that he is an
assistant professor and first class specialist in plastic surgery,
because I want to protect his identity from future attacks or implacable
witch hunts. Some time ago he had problems at CIMEQ hospital, and later
started to work in one of the most well-known teaching hospitals in Havana.

General Raul Castro is a man of particular appetites that grew over
time, the influence of alcohol and a real frivolity. It is normal with
this surgery to try to correct the traces of a person's excesses,
without exaggerating or abandoning his disagreeable natural aspects.
However, he is not the first president, nor will he be the last, who
tries to improve his image using surgical techniques.

Plastic surgery ("plastic" derives from the Green "plastikos" which
means to mold or give shape) is the medical specialty that deals with
the correction or restoration of the form and functions of the body
through medical and surgical techniques.

In 1994, while Libya was faced with an international embargo, a group of
Brazilian doctors traveled to Tripoli via Tunisia, to perform a hair
implant and neck surgery on the now deceased Muammar Ghaddafi.

In 2011, the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi underwent a
long cosmetic surgical procedure on his jaw which, according to reports
from his personal doctor, lasted more than four hours.

Argentina's former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner also
succumbed to vanity and was remodeled with the help of the scalpel.

And although the Kremlin spokespeople insist on the contrary, one only
has to look at old photos and images of President Vladimir Putin and
compare them to recent ones. The change is obvious.

It is normal that the Cold War raised the conflict between ideologies
and the leaders of that time needed to focus on strategy and wisdom.
Then, with the coming of globalization, nationalist discourses lost
political strength. Now, in today's world, several leaders, some fierce,
some bullies, prostitute their political ends paying special attention
to self-promotion on the internet and on social networks.

Raul Castro cannot escape the desire to look like a modern old man and
subjects himself to discrete adjustments with the truculent intention of
showing himself to be less despicable.

Source: Raul Castro Apparently Decided to Change His Personal Image /
Juan Juan Almeida – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/raul-castro-apparently-decided-to-change-his-personal-image-juan-juan-almeida/ Continue reading
Work Accident Takes The Lives Of Two Cuban Builders In Caibarién

14ymedio, Havana, 11 July 2017 — The collapse of a wall during the
reconstruction of the Hotel Commercio in Caibarién, in the province
of Villa Clara, cost two workers their lives on Tuesday and left eight
others injured. The crew was working on rehabilitating the property, as
confirmed to 14ymedio by a resident who lives nearby.

The work accident occurred when a wall collapsed which caused a part of
the second floor of the build to collapse, the local press reported.

The deceased are Dorian Toledo Pascual, 40, and Felix Morales Dominguez,
28, both residents of Caibarién. According to statements by the
authorities, both were buried under the hotel debris. The builder
Richard López Pérez is in critical condition and Andrés Estévez Báez, is
in serious condition.

The less serious injured are at Caibarién Hospital, where all the
injured received first aid, 14ymedio confirmed by telephone.

After the accident, several fire rescue crews deployed to search through
the debris, where they found the workers trapped in the rubble, but two
of them were found dead.

For years, the Hotel Comercio has experienced a long process of
deterioration. The current rehabilitation work is intended to allow it
to to reopen its doors at the end of 2018.

Source: Work Accident Takes The Lives Of Two Cuban Builders In Caibarién
– Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/work-accident-takes-the-lives-of-two-cuban-builders-in-caibarien/ Continue reading
Trafficking in Goods, a Strategy to Survive in Cuba / Iván García

Iván García, 28 June 2017 — On Havana there are illegal stores for all
tastes. Pirated jeans at 20 CUC, copies of Nike shoes at 40 CUC and
imitation Swiss watches at 50 CUC. People with higher purchasing power
mark the difference. By catalog, they buy fashions, smartphones, LED
lights, Scotch whiskey, Spanish wines.

And although the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba applies
retrograde and severe laws on the importing of merchandise, rampant
corruption always opens a gateway to singular private commerce. Although
there are no exact figures, it is calculated that it moves twice as much
money on the island as does foreign investment.

Let me present Rolando, the fictitious name of a guy who has been a
'mule' for three years. "My grandparents live in Miami and to supplement
their pension, they became 'mules'. They took the orders to customers'
homes, whether it was clothing, medicine, household goods or
dollars. When travel abroad became flexible in 2013, I obtained a
multiple-entry visa for the United States. Every year I travel seven or
eight times and I bring stuff either for family use or to resell. All
for a value of four to five thousand dollars."

The complicated Customs regulations only allow Cubans to import certain
goods once a year and to pay the customs fees in Cuban pesos — rather
than convertible pesos, each of which is worth 25 times as much — but by
means of bribes under the table the provisions of the law can be evaded.

Yolanda, an assumed name, is dedicated to bringing garments and hair
products. "In Cuba, the stake fucks anyone who follows the letter of the
law. This is the case for Cubans living in other countries when they
send things by mail: they can only send three kilograms and if the
package exceeds that weight, every additional kilogram is taxed at 20
Cuban convertible pesos (CUC). A real abuse.

"What do those of us who dedicate ourselves to this business do? We have
good contacts in Customs and so we can take all the stuff through. You
pay the people according to what you bring. If you bring in goods valued
at $10,000, for example, you have to give them $200 and a "present"
which can be a flat screen TV, a home appliance, or some clothing."

According to Yolanda, "Palmolive, Colgate, Gillette or Dove toiletries
sell like hot cakes in Cuba. If you buy in the free zone of Colon,
Panama, you earn a little more. In Miami, it depends on the place: in
small stores and wholesale markets you get more for you money. Gillette
deodorants purchased wholesale will come out at $1.50 and in Havana they
will be sold at 5 CUC (roughly $5 US).

"An appliance or television is not profitable if you buy it at Best Buy,
you have to buy it in Chinese stores or have a contact that sells it
wholesale. The problem of the electrical appliances is that they weigh a
lot, that's why they are shipped by boat.

"With the exception of certain items that my regular customers order
from me, the rest I buy to sell in quantity to the resellers. On a trip,
apart from recovering expenses, I can earn up to 800 CUC. And I am a new
'mule' in this market, the ones that spend more time, they earn three
times more, because they bring more expensive items such as car parts
and air conditioning equipment."

Several 'mules' consulted believe that the best places to buy
merchandise are Panama, Miami, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. "Moscow is
expensive for the cost of the plane ticket. But if you have the way to
bring into the country large quantities of parts and components for cars
and motorcycles, you earn a lot of money. Any trip leaves a percentage
of profits that ranges from 30 to 100 percent," says Rolando.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published a report on the traffic of
automobile parts between Moscow and Havana: "They travel 13 hours, sleep
crowded in emigre apartments and ask for borrowed coats and boots to
rummage and bargain in a cold weather looking for used parts of the
Russian capital. But do the accounts: a Lada car of the Soviet era in
good conditions sells on the Island for 14 thousand dollars."

The current collection of Soviet-era vintage cars has made the supply of
parts and components for these cars into a highly profitable
business. "In Russia there are few Moskoviches, Ladas and Volgas
manufactured in last century still running. With the help of Cubans
residing in Moscow, full cars are bought for the equivalent of 300 or
500 dollars and scrapping them for pieces increases the values
tremendously. There are also small businesses where you can packaged new
parts," explains Osiel, dedicated to the selling of car parts bought in
Russia.

It may seem like an unimportant business, but a Soviet-era car, with an
American chassis and parts from up to ten different nations, costs
$10,000 to $20,000 in Cuba.

In the Island you find 'mules' specializing in the most diverse
branches. "I only buy smart phones, tablets, PCs and laptops. After
paying the respective bribe, in a single trip I bring in up to ten
phones, five or six tablets, two PCs and four laptops. The profits can
exceed 3,000 CUC. Smartphones are a gold mine. Companies buy them, then
through payment they activate to unlock them and there are those who
know how to 'crack' them. In Havana, the iPhone 7 or Samsung 8 is
cheaper than in Miami," says Sergio.

At the beginning, the 'mules' started as a business managed by Cubans
living in the United States and they moved any amount of money and
stuff. The parcels are delivered personally to people in their homes.

After the olive-green state did away with the so-called White Card — the
travel permit you use to have to have — that blocked Cubans from
traveling freely, thousands of compatriots on the island decided to
become 'mules' and started to traffic in goods.

According to Rolando, "It has many points in its favor: you do not work
for the government and do not depend their shitty wages. On each trip,
you earn a ticket that makes your life more comfortable, you disconnect,
meet people and travel to clean cities and well-stocked stores. And the
government has not opened fire on the 'mules' as much as they have on
the self-employed."

In addition, they don't pay taxes to the state for their underground
business.

Source: Trafficking in Goods, a Strategy to Survive in Cuba / Iván
García – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/trafficking-in-goods-a-strategy-to-survive-in-cuba-ivn-garca/ Continue reading
Cuba: Cavities and Abscesses in the Oral Health System / Juan Juan Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 23 June 2017 — Located in the stately building with
its exquisite art-deco style, at the Havana intersection of Salvador
Allende Avenue (formerly Carlos III) and G Street, is the Cuban symbol
of the oral health system. Officially known as the Raúl González
Sánchez Dental Medicine Faculty, it is also on the point of collapse.

"The budget is tighter than the screws on a submarine. Most of the time
the autoclaves used for sterilization don't work, nor is there aseptic
paper to wrap the dental instruments in; but the human material is
there. Prices fluctuate between 15 and 300 CUC, according to the
treatment or the urgency," says a person who travelled from Miami to be
treated in the "signature" Havana institution.

"There is no air conditioning in the treatment room, the windows are
open and they have to position the chairs to avoid facing the sun. So
you either bring a fan, or spend an extra 50 CUC to be treated in an
operating room where there is only hygienic equipment, green clothing
and adequate air conditioning. Being treated in Cuba, besides being
cheap is folkloric," my interlocutor continues, in tone so celebratory
it provokes indignation. The saliva extractors are broken and so you
have to bring a bottle of water and towel. And when the slime
accumulates the dentist says, "spit it out."

According to the constitution currently in force on the island, the
Cuban state guarantees free medical attention to the population as one
of the fundamental social paradigms; but the Healthcare system is
suffering the restrictive effects of lack of resources because of the
economic crisis, neglect, corruption and negligence, which among other
things is a consequence of political mistakes.

"The politics of the country stipulate that the attention of every
dental clinic should be free from payment; but then there is what we
experience," explains a professor of the fames institutions, who prefers
to remain incognito, because to survive he has, at home, an old dental
chair, a light and a pedal machine.

"Unless it's an emergency, getting a regular appointment is very
complicated and the receptionists charge for facilitating it. We have to
live," he breathes deeply and recites his price list. "For a mouth exam,
prophylaxis, a light filling and a clinic diagnosis — 15 CUC. We visit
many patients, the majority with chewing problems, gingivitis,
periodontal disease. These conditions require long treatments, and this
case they cost 2 to 10 CUC per visit. There are more expensive ones that
require complex operations that in some other country would cost around
$10,000 or more. Of course, the difficulties of the country force us to
tell patients that to avoid problems they should bring their own
anesthesia and the braces should they need orthodontic treatment."

"Our prices," concludes the professional, "vary depending on the
patient. If it's a Cuban living in Cuba, a Cuban living abroad, or a
foreigner."

Source: Cuba: Cavities and Abscesses in the Oral Health System / Juan
Juan Almeida – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuba-cavities-and-abscesses-in-the-oral-health-system-juan-juan-almeida/ Continue reading
Bread In Cuba's Rationed Market Is An Unsolved Problem

14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 9 July 2017 — With a sharp knife and the
skill of a surgeon, Luis Garmendia, 68, slices the bread from the
rationed market into six small slices. Like so many Cubans, this retiree
cannot afford to buy from the liberated (unsubsidized) bakeries and
considers that, every day, the quality of the basic product is "worse."

In the Havana neighborhood of Cerro, where Garmendia lives, the ration
bread 'starred' in the last assembly of accountability with the local
People's Power delegate. "Since I started going to those meetings, the
same problem arises, but it is not solved," he protests.

The capital has 367 establishments dedicated to producing "ration
bread." Most have serious technical difficulties, according to a recent
report on national television. In the last three years at least 150 of
them have been renovated but customer dissatisfaction continues to grow.

The taste, size and texture of the popular food are at the center of
customer criticisms. Hard, rubbery, and weighing less than the required
80 grams (2.8 ounces), are the characteristics most commonly used to
describe "ration bread." Its poor quality has become a staple in the
repertoire of comedians.

The product's bad reputation leads families that are more financially
comfortable to avoid consuming it. "Now we Cubans are divided between
those who can eat flavorful bread and those of us who have to make do
with this, subsidized and flavorless," says Garmendia while displaying a
bread roll this Friday.

According to María Victoria Rabelo, director general of the Cuban
Milling Company, "It is sad and frustrating to hear the opinions of the
population," regarding the rationed product. Her entity is in charge of
producing and commercializing the wheat flour used throughout the
country for the manufacture of bread, confectionery and its derivatives.

In the informal market flour is highly valued especially by private
business owners who make pizzas, sweets and breads. The diversion of
resources from state-owned establishments has become the main source of
supply to the retail sector and affects the quality of the regulated
product.

"I have to take care of each sack of flour as if it were gold," says the
manager of a bakery in Marianao's neighborhood, who preferred
anonymity. "They also steal other ingredients involved in the process,
such as the improver, fats and yeast," he details.

"I am the third administrator to have this establishment in five years,
the others exploited it to steal," says the state employee. For years
the business of state bakeries "has been robust, because there is a lack
of controls and demand has grown as there are more cafes and
restaurants," he says.

The profession of baker has been a gold mine. In spite of the low
salaries in the sector, which doesn't exceed 30 CUC a month, there is a
high demand to work in these establishments. "I know people have become
millionaires with the resale of ingredients or of the product," says the
administrator.

"There are places where employees at the counter pocketed at least 400
CUP per day just selling the bread that is destined for the basic basket
under the table." Inside, near the ovens, "workers can get away every
day with up to 800 Cuban pesos [Ed. note: more than the average monthly
wage]," he confirms.

Each ingredient has its own market. "The baked bread is much sought
after by paladares (private restaurants), coffee shops and people who
organize parties," he adds. While "the yeast and improver end up in the
business of selling pizza and the fats have a wider clientele."

The administrator of the bakery on Calle 19 and 30 in Playa, Reina
Angurica, believes that in order to avoid embezzlement, she must "talk
to the workers, communicate with them and not allow illegal
productions." In their place they meet weekly "to talk about the
short-term problems of the bakery and to eradicate them," she told the
national media.

The Cuban Milling Company imports 800,000 tons of wheat each year which
is processed in five mills throughout the country, three of which are in
Havana. "Strong wheat or corrector" is mixed with "weak" wheat to
produce the flour sold to the food industry.

The ration market bread is made with a "weak or medium strength flour"
ideal for achieving soft texture. However, the wheat blend has been
affected by import irregularities and the state bakers are only
receiving strong flour, more suitable for a sturdier bread.

With more than 7,500 workers in the capital and a daily consumption of
200 tons of flour, the Provincial Food Industry Company is directly
responsible for the ration bread. But the entity is floundering
everywhere because of the lack of control, hygiene problems and the poor
quality of its products.

In some 1,359 inspections carried out in the last months in the
facilities of this state company, there were 712 disciplinary measures
imposed for irregularities in the preparation of the product. The
problems detected ranged from indisciplines and diversion of resources
to lack of cleanliness.

For María Victoria Rabelo, from the Cuban Milling Company, the
technological difficulties or the problems with the raw material are not
the keys to understanding the current situation: one must "dignify the
profession and, without speaking with demagoguery, bring love to what we
do," she says with determination.

But in Cerro, where Garmendia is waiting every day for a miracle to
improve the rationed bread, the words of the official sound like
Utopia. "I do not want anything fancy, I just want it to be tasty and
softer, nothing more," says the retiree.

Source: Bread In Cuba's Rationed Market Is An Unsolved Problem –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/bread-in-the-rationed-market-is-an-unsolved-problem/ Continue reading
El vigésimo tercer aniversario del hundimiento del remolcador cubano “13 de marzo” fue recordado el jueves en Miami en un acto al que asistió uno de los supervivientes y en … Click to Continue » Continue reading
Taxi Driver Arrested In Havana After Being Accused Of Racism

14ymedio, Havana, 10 July 2017 – The driver of a private taxi was
arrested after being accused of racial discrimination by Yanay Aguirre
Calderín, according to a report Monday in the weekly paper Trabajadores
(Workers). The event has generated numerous articles in the official
press which is making an example of the case.

On 2 July, the same weekly published an article by Calderín, a law
student who is black, where she related how she engaged the taxi and was
treated aggressively by the drive due to the color of her skin.

According to prosecutor Rafael Ángel Soler López, head of the Office of
Attention to the Citizenry of the Attorney General's Office, "We cannot
yet anticipate what the end of the process will be," since they are now
"investigating to be able to prove the criminal act before the courts."

The Cuban Penal Code establishes a penalty of between six months and two
years of deprivation of liberty, or a fine of between 200 and 500 CUP,
to anyone who denies "on the grounds of sex, race, color or national
origin the exercise or enjoyment of the rights of equality established
in the Constitution."

Aguirre Calderín, who does not specify the exact date of the events,
took the private car on Avenida 41, in the Marianao municipality, but
when she wanted to change her destination, the driver reacted "very
upset" and "very violently." The young woman explains that at that
moment the driver shouted that "every time there is a black person in
his car it's the same" and that for that reason "he could not stand them."

Calderín then rebuked the driver, whom she accused of offending her, to
which the taxi driver responded by asking the passenger to get out of
the car before arriving at the place initially designated by her. At
that moment the complainant took a photograph of the car with her cell
phone and noted the number of the license plate, which facilitated the
arrest of the driver by the police.

Source: Taxi Driver Arrested In Havana After Being Accused Of Racism –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/taxi-driver-arrested-in-havana-after-being-accused-of-racism/ Continue reading
Cuban Government Fires Off One Lie After Another / Iván García

Ivan Garcia, 3 July 2017 — The fan stopped turning around 3:30 in the
morning, when in the middle of a heat wave, a black out forced Ricardo,
his wife and their two children to sleep on a mat on the balcony of
their apartment in the Lawton neighborhood, a thirty minute drive from
central Havana.

Several areas were left dark and lit only by candles and lanterns,
dozens of neighbors complained with rude words and sharp criticisms of
of the poor performance of state electricity and water companies.

The blackout lasted for seven hours. "I couldn't iron my children's
school uniforms and they are in the midst of final exams. I sent them to
school in street clothes. Nor could my husband and I go to work. When I
the light came on, after ten in the morning, we lay in bed for a while.
The situation is already so bad no one can stand it. It's one problem
after another. The water crisis, which is still affecting us, public
transportation is the worst, food prices don't stop rising and now this
black out in the middle of this terrible heat," says Zoraida, Ricardo's
wife.

Almost a month after a break in one of the main pipes that brings
potable water to Havana, and then an intense information campaign on the
part of the office press, filled with justifications and an exaggerated
optimism, where radio, TV and newspapers report the hours there will be
water in each neighborhood, after the repairs, completed two weeks ago,
and with the promise that service would gradually return to normal in
the different zones of the capital, they are still suffering the affects
and the media doesn't offer any explanations.

"Some 200,000 people are still affected and are receiving water every
three days. By Thursday, June 22, it was expected to regularize the
service, but some problems have arisen," said an official of Aguas de La
Habana in the municipality Diez de Octubre, the most populated of the
capital's districts.

The affected Havanans don't stop complaining. "In my house, the tank
that we have on the roof does not have the capacity for the water to
last three days. Although we try to save it, in the bathroom, kitchen
and laundry, the water that we are able to collect is spent in two
days. The government comes up with one lie after another. First it was
reported that the break was a matter of a week, at most two. And we're
going on for a month now. Instead of responding with so much noise to
Trump's measures, they should focus on improving the living conditions
of Cubans," complains Mario, a resident of Luyanó, a working-class
neighborhood in the south of the city.

Rumors about the resurgence of the perennial economic crisis that Cubans
are experiencing, spread throughout the city. "I have it on good
authority, from a friend of my brother who is in the party, I know that
by summer the government is going to make new cuts in companies' fuel
consumption, and they will close unproductive factories and industries
until further notice. The scarcity is noticeable. The state farm
markets are empty and the shortages in the hard currency stores are
obvious. It is said that in the upcoming session of the National
Assembly of People's Power, on July 14, they are going to announce new
measures of cuts. Thing looks ugly," says Miriam, housewife, at the
entrance to a bodega in Cerro municipality.

Diario Las Américas could not verify those comments and rumors.

A banking official who prefers anonymity believes that the country's
financial situation is "quite delicate." He says, "There is not enough
currency liquidity. Even payments of the various debts contracted with
foreign companies are not being made. Tourism, which contributes about
$3 billion in revenue, devours almost 60 percent of that revenue in the
purchase of inputs. Remittances are the lifeline, but with shortages in
foreign exchange stores and high prices, many people are spending their
convertible pesos on the black market or in the parallel trade of the
'mules' that bring products from abroad. A large part of that money is
not being returned to the state coffers, as people involved in these
activities either save it or use it as an investment in their business."

To minimize reality, the olive-green autocracy uses anti-imperialist
discourse and condemnations of Donald Trump's new policy of restrictions
as a smokescreen.

"That narrative has always worked. But people on the street know that
this discourse is exhausted. They can't justify all the national
wreckage and the poor performance of the public services with the
economic blockade of the United States nor with the recent aggressive
policy of Trump. Cubans are at their limit with everything. It is not
advisable to think that Cubans will always be silent. Situations such as
blackouts and cuts in the water supply make people angry and their
reactions could be unpredictable," warns a sociologist.

With finances in the red, an economic recession that threatens to turn
into a crisis of incalculable consequences, and grandiose development
plans that sound like science fiction to ordinary Cubans, the
authorities are facing a dangerous precipice.

Six decades of selling illusions and with unfulfilled promises are
already coming to an end. And it could be less than happy.

Source: Cuban Government Fires Off One Lie After Another / Iván García –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuban-government-fires-off-one-lie-after-another-ivn-garca/ Continue reading
If Trump Ends Our Remittances? / Iván García

Ivan Garcia, 8 July 2017 — Without too much caution, the CUPET tanker
truck painted green and white begins to deposit fuel in the underground
basement of a gas station located at the intersection of Calle San
Miguel and Mayía Rodríguez, just in front of Villa Marista, headquarters
of State Security, in the quiet Sevillano neighborhood, south of Havana.

The gas station, with four pumps, belongs to the Ministry of the
Interior and all its workers, even civilians, are part of the military
staff. "To start working in a military center or company, be it FAR
(Revolutionary Armed Forces) or MININT (Ministry of the Interior),
besides investigating you in your neighborhood and demanding certain
qualities, you have to be a member of the Party or the UJC (Union of
Young Communists)," says one employee, who adds:

"But things have relaxed and not all those working in military companies
are 100 percent revolutionary. And like most jobs in Cuba, there are
those who make money stealing fuel, have family in the United States and
only support the government in appearances."

Let's call him Miguel. He is a heavy drinker of beer and a devotee of
Santeria.

"I worked at the gas station six years ago. It is true that they ask for
loyalty to the system and you have to participate in the May Day marches
so as not to stand out. But it is not as rigorous as three decades ago,
according to the older ones, when you could not have religious beliefs
or family in yuma (the USA). I do not care about politics, I'm a
vacilator. I have two sons in Miami, and although I look for my
shillings here, if Trump cuts off the remittances to those of us who
work in military companies, Shangó will tell me what to do," he says and
laughs.

If there is something that worries many Cubans it is the issue of family
remittances. When the Berlin Wall collapsed and the blank check of the
former USSR was canceled, Fidel Castro's Cuba entered a spiraling
economic crisis that 28 years later it still has not been able to overcome.

Inflation roughly hits the workers and retirees with a worthless and
devalued currency, barely enough to buy a few roots and fruits and to
pay the bills for the telephone, water and electricity.

Although the tropical autocracy does not reveal statistics on the amount
of remittances received in Cuba, experts say that the figures fluctuate
between 2.5 and 3 billion dollars annually. Probably more.

Foreign exchange transactions of relatives and friends living abroad,
particularly in the United States, are the fundamental support of
thousands of Cuban families. It is the second national industry and
there is a strong interest in managing that hard currency.

"Since the late 1970s, Fidel Castro understood the usefulness of
controlling the shipments of dollars from the so-called gusanos
('worms,' as those who left were called) to their families. When he
allowed the trips of the Cuban Community to the Island, the Ministry of
the Interior (MININT) had already mounted an entire industry to capture
those dollars.

"Look, you can not be naive. In Cuba, whenever foreign exchange comes
in, the companies that manage it are military, or the Council of State,
like Palco. That money is the oxygen of the regime. And they use it to
buy equipment, motorcycles and cars for the G-2 officials who repress
the opponents and to construct hotels, rather than to acquire medicines
for children with cancer. And since there is no transparency, they can
open a two or three million dollar account in a tax haven," says an
economist.

The dissection of the problem carried out by the openly anti-Castro
exile and different administrations of the White House is correct. The
problem is to find a formula for its application so that the stream of
dollars does not reach the coffers of the regime.

"The only way for the government not to collect dollars circulating in
Cuba, would be Trump completely prohibiting transfers of money. It's the
only way to fuck them. I do not think there is another. But using money
as a weapon of blackmail to make people demand their rights, I find
deplorable. I also have the rope around my neck. I want democratic
changes, better salaries, and I have no relatives in Miami. But I do not
have the balls to go out in the street and demand them," says an
engineer who works at a military construction company.

Twenty years ago, on June 27, 1997, the Internal Dissident Working Group
launched La Patria es de Todos (The Nation Belongs to Everyone), a
document that raised rumors within the opposition itself. Economist
Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, along with the late Félix Antonio Bonne
Carcassés, Vladimiro Roca Antúnez and lawyer René Gómez Manzano, tried
to get those Cubans who received dollars to commit to not participate in
government activities or vote in the elections, all of them voluntary.

It is true that the double standards of a large segment of Cubans upset
the human rights activists. With total indifference, in the morning they
can participate in an act of repudiation against the Ladies in White and
in the afternoon they connect to the internet so that a family member
expedites the paperwork for them to emigrant or recharges their mobile
phone account.

This hypocrisy is repulsive. But these people are not repressive. Like
millions of citizens on the island, they are victims of a
dictatorship. In totalitarian societies, even the family estate is
perverted.

In Stalin's USSR a 'young pioneer' was considered a here for denouncing
the counterrevolutionary attitude of his parents. There was a stage in
Cuba where a convinced Fidelista could not befriend a 'worm', or have
anything to do with a relative who had left the country or receive money
from abroad.

I understand journalists like Omar Montenegro, of Radio Martí, who in a
radio debate on the subject, said that measures such as these can at
least serve to raise awareness of people who have turned faking it into
a lifestyle. But beyond whether regulation could be effective in the
moral order, in practice it would be a chaos for any federal agency of
the United States.

And, as much frustration as those of us who aspire to a democratic Cuba
may have, we can not be like them. It has rained a lot since then. The
ideals of those who defend Fidel Castro's revolution have been
prostituted. Today, relatives of senior military and government
officials have left for the United States. And the elite of the olive
green bourgeoisie that lives on the island likes to play golf, drink
Jack Daniel's and wear name-brand clothes.

If Donald Trump applies the control of remittances to people working in
GAESA or other military enterprises, it would affect more than one
million workers engaged in these capitalist business of the regime,
people who are as much victims of the dictatorship as the rest of the
citizenship.

The colonels and generals who changed their hot uniforms for white
guayaberas and the ministers and high officials, do not need to receive
remittances. Without financial controls or public audits, they manage
the state coffers at will. One day we will know how much they have
stolen in the almost sixty years they have been governing.

Source: If Trump Ends Our Remittances? / Iván García – Translating Cuba
- http://translatingcuba.com/if-trump-ends-our-remittances-ivn-garca/ Continue reading
The National Council of the Performing Arts under Scrutiny / Juan Juan
Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 26 June 2017 — Another legal trial is threatening the
invulnerability of the Ministry of Culture. This time the prosecutorial
gaze is focused on officials at the National Council of the Performing
Arts (CNAE) while overlooking the culpability of Cuban leaders who, were
they to fall, would make too big a noise.

The Cuban government maintains a "zero tolerance" policy against any
form of human trafficking or related crimes. Its measures are intended
to enhance prevention, confront offenders and severely punish those
found guilty. But the business is lucrative, involving hundreds of
thousands of dollars. Very conservative estimates indicate that more
than 5,000 Cubans have emigrated legally using fraudulent documents
procured for them by CNAE officials.

"The investigation is snowballing. After interviewing each new witness,
investigators have to expand the probe," says a source close to the
Office of the Attorney General of the Republic of Cuba.

"According to our documents, there are several ongoing investigations.
On the one hand, those presumed guilty remain silent for fear of
reprisals. On the other hand, the victims being questioned — people
willing to assist in the investigation — allege they consented to
bribery by CNAE officials in order to emigrate safely. Everything points
to the government as the sole culprit because it has not been able to
provide them with the opportunity to have a decent life or a decent job."

"Passing judgement should not be a political issue and we aren't even at
that stage yet. The question is: Did the people who committed these
crimes do so in every case with the consent and for the benefit of those
affected? Does it make sense to continue exploring the causes of the
problem when we all know what the solution is? Whom does it harm? The
law will have to wait but I imagine that in the end the case will be
dismissed."

Founded on April 1, 1989, the National Council of the Performing Arts is
a legally recognized, financially independent cultural institution whose
mission is to promote the development of theater, dance, pantomime,
humor and the circus. All these categories were used as a ruse by
non-artists to escape the fiefdom. For the time being, CNEA's practice
of issuing exit visas is "on hold" and the documents are in the
possession of the state prosecutor after being seized as evidence.

Some members of the council have been temporarily suspended from their
jobs. All of them are under investigation, accused of issuing visas and
emigration documents to people with no formal connection to the
institution who paid 90 to 300 CUC to secure a safe and guaranteed escape.

A former employee of the Ministry of the Interior — someone fired for
political reasons who is now self-employed — notes with no small degree
of irony, "Investigators are doing everything possible to keep news like
this away from people like you because the consequences could be wide
ranging."

Source: The National Council of the Performing Arts under Scrutiny /
Juan Juan Almeida – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-national-council-of-the-performing-arts-under-scrutiny-juan-juan-almeida/ Continue reading
El Gobierno cubano no quiere ajustarse a las normas internacionales de DD HH PEDRO CAMPOS, Miami | 07/07/2017 Al ser rechazada y considerada de “innecesaria e injerencista” la declaración del Parlamento Europeo en relación al acuerdo entre Cuba y la Unión Europea sobre Diálogo Político y Cooperación, por parte de la Comisión de Relaciones Internacionales […] Continue reading
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El lado oscuro de algunos negocios privados en Cuba 11 de julio de 2017 – 19:07 – Por IVÁN GARCÍA Las leyes vigentes y el arbitrario capitalismo de Estado ejecutado por la junta militar que gobierna el país, permite que haya negocios que funcionen como latifundios feudales LA HABANA.- En el barrio de la Víbora, […] Continue reading
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Alan Gross se va a vivir a Israel, pero quiere volver a Cuba julio 13, 2017 En mayo pasado el subcontratista judeo-estadounidense que fue preso político en Cuba se estableció con su esposa Judy en la Tierra Prometida. En la isla perdió cinco años de vida, cinco dientes y su carrera de trabajador para el […] Continue reading
Los motivos de Fidel para ejecutar a Ochoa y sus colegas julio 13, 2017 Pablo Alfonso/ martinoticias.com Tuve el honor de conocer a Ernesto Betancourt y comprobar de cerca su capacidad de intuición política y de análisis, en especial cuando del castrismo se trataba. Compartimos juntos durante varios años, en Radio Martí, la conducción del […] Continue reading
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Los gobiernos de Cuba y Japón exploran la posibilidad de colaborar en proyectos de energía nuclear aplicada a la salud, dentro de una cooperación bilateral que ya incluye soporte técnico y capacitación en radiología y electromedicina a profesionales cubanos, según publicaron este jueves medios oficiales citados por EFE.

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Cubanos opinan sobre los temas que debe tratar la Asamblea Nacional julio 11, 2017 Las 10 comisiones parlamentarias iniciaron hoy dos días de reuniones previas a la sesión plenaria que la Asamblea mantendrá el próximo viernes, durante los cuales se asegura que abordarán unos 79 temas. Las diez comisiones parlamentarias de la Asamblea Nacional iniciaron […] Continue reading
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Fundación de Derechos Humanos envía información a experta de ONU de visita en Cuba julio 10, 2017 La organización señala que “gran parte de la colaboración internacional del gobierno cubano se realiza sobre la base de violar los derechos laborales de los trabajadores”. La Fundación para los Derechos Humanos en Cuba publicó el lunes una […] Continue reading
El culto a Fidel Castro en Cuba, de la escuela a la ronera Última actualización: julio 10, 2017 La imagen del fallecido Fidel Castro sigue rondando en la isla, lo mismo en la TV, los diarios, las pancartas y hasta en los diplomas escolares que están recibiendo los niños en las escuelas. Así lo notó […] Continue reading
Tras la controversia desatada por la salida de su actual director, la Universidad de Miami (UM) ha nombrado a Andy Gómez como director interino del Instituto de Estudios Cubanos y … Click to Continue » Continue reading
EN NUESTRA OPINIÓN: El hundimiento del remolcador ‘13 de Marzo’, un crimen impune JUNTA EDITORIAL La gran tragedia del pueblo cubano abarca insólitos e innumerables capítulos de sufrimiento. Desde los fusilamientos en el paredón al grito de “¡Viva Cuba Libre! ¡Viva Cristo Rey!” a principios de la revolución castrista, hasta el calabozo para quienes hoy […] Continue reading

El exmandatario brasileño Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, condenado por corrupción y lavado de dinero, prometió este jueves luchar "en todas las instancias" para demostrar su "inocencia" y se mostró más dispuesto que nunca a ser candidato para las elecciones presidenciales de 2018, reportó EFE.

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Redpinar es un intento por lograr un mayor acercamiento y diálogo con gran parte de la ciudadanía Continue reading
Díaz-Canel: Cuba creció más de un 346% en penetración en las redes sociales Agencia EFE 13 de julio de 2017 La Habana, 13 jul (EFE).- El primer vicepresidente de Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, dijo hoy que la isla fue el país que más creció en penetración en las redes sociales durante 2016, con un 346 % […] Continue reading
Una nueva clase media renace en Cuba tras el deshielo con EE.UU. Las medidas han incrementado las remesas, abierto nuevos comercios y mejorado el flujo de dinero hacia la isla. Una nueva clase media con “alto poder adquisitivo” ha nacido del histórico deshielo entre Estados Unidos y Cuba, impulsado por los presidentes Barack Obama y […] Continue reading
Cuba: el hueco, el barrio de Santa Clara que a solo unos pasos del mausoleo del Che no tiene ni nombre, ni agua, ni comunicación Abraham Jiménez Enoa Santa Clara, Cuba, especial para BBC Mundo -¿Dónde tú vives? -le dijo el policía. -Allá abajo -respondió Raudel, un joven de 19 años, señalando con el dedo […] Continue reading