Cuban First Vice President: Nicaragua will always have Cuba's Support

Cuba's First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel said on Wednesday in Managua, that Nicaragua will always have the unconditional support, friendship and solidarity of the Caribbean island, reported Prensa Latina News Agency.

The Cuban First Vice President traveled to Nicaragua to participate in the 38th anniversary celebrations of the Sandinista Revolution. He said that the Cuban government and people express their solidarity and revolutionary feelings to the Nicaraguan people.

He extended greetings on behalf of President Raul Castro to his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo who, together with the Sandinista National Liberation Front, struggle to eradicate poverty in Nicaragua.

The Cuban leader stressed that Nicaragua is living intense reaffirmation and revolutionary struggle after hosting the 23rd Meeting of the Forum of Sao Paulo, important space of political debate in which the Latin American left forces are drafting common strategies to face neoliberalism.

It is significant that at such a transcendental moment we are able to express our congratulations to the Nicaraguan people and ratify once again that they have the unconditionally support, friendship and solidarity of the Cuban people, said Diaz-Canel.

The Cuban government leader was welcomed by Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada and other government authorities at the Augusto Cesar Sandino Airport.

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Bulls in Cuba

Cuba was the first country in Latin America where bullfights took place.

Last weekend, in Havana, you could almost hear the snorts of the fevered animal and the olé shouted by hundreds of fans, always rewarded with some challenging pass of the bullfighter.

The exhibition “Cuba brava. El toreo en la memoria historica de Cuba”, hosted by the House of Mexico, was unveiled in Havana. Paintings, pictures, posters, customs, documents and other related articles recalled the long and unknown bullfighting tradition in Cuba.

It is easy to realize that Spanish conquerors were the ones who introduced here and other Latin American countries the bullfight shows. Such shows are being criticized due to the cruelty with which these animals are treated.

According to Spanish Placido Gonzalez Hermoso, the first bullfight in Cuba took place in 1514 and Friar Bartolome de las Casas witnessed the event in his “Historia General de Indias.”

The first bullring in Cuba was built in 1769.

Twenty seven years later, the inhabitants of the village witnessed the second bullring built in Monte and Egido Streets. Bulls and bullfighters were brought from the metropolis.

Among the first documented bullfight festivities, the one held in 1569 to honor Saint Christopher is well-remembered. To honor the crowning of Carlos III, it was held a resounding one in 1759.

To honor this king, the bullring “Carlos III” or “La Infanta” was opened in 1885. Such bullfights were even broadcasted by the television for ten years, but it could not capture the audience’s attention, though.

However, this bullfights environment did not quit easily and they won the government’s approval to allow bullfighting in Havana on the exceptional condition of not killing any animal. The aforementioned bullfight took place at the Tropical Stadium before 13,000 fans in April 27th, May 4th, and May 11st 1941.

Not even Mazantin the Bullfighter

You can listen to some of our grandparents the phrase “This cannot be done by even Mazantin the bullfighter.” And some of our young people use the same expression.

manzantini

Perhaps, they do not know that Mazantin the bullfighter was the very famous Luis Mazzantini y Eguia, a Basque born in 1856.

He was unique due to his elegant and refined art of behaving inside and outside the bullring. He liked opera, social talks, and hanging out with the Spanish high society, where he returned after a long stay in Italy.

He starred a total of 16 bullfights in Cuba. And the bullring located in Belascoin Street, between Virtudes and Concordia Streets was the place where he boasted great skills.

Mazzantini left his mark in the island’s fashion and customs as well as one cigarettes’ brand.

Four decades later, the bullfighter vanished from the daily life of Havana.

In 1899 and after the Maine’s wrecking, the U.S. interventionist forces prohibited bullfights by military order. If any failed to comply with that order, a 500 Cuban pesos fine was executed.

The art of bullfighting in Cuba left like Mazzantini after four centuries. It happened once but those times will never come back again. It may be seen only in exhibitions like the one taking place in Havana.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

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Nicaragua Celebrates 38th Anniv of Sandinista Popular Revolution

Nicaragua is commemorating today the 38th anniversary of the triumph of the Sandinista Popular Revolution, a feat that ended in 1979 several decades of dictatorship and opened a stage of transcendental changes in the country.

Decorated with the red-and-black flags of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and the blue and white colors of the national flag, the esplanade of the Plaza de la Fe is ready to welcome hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans and figures from around the world who will accompany President Daniel Ortega and Deputy Minister, Rosario Murillo.

Bolivia's President, Evo Morales, El Salvador's Salvador Sanchez Ceren, and Cuban First Vice-President, Miguel Díaz-Canel, are already in the country to take part in the celebrations.

Representations of social movements and left-wing political parties in Latin America and the Caribbean, which participated in the recent 23rd meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum, are also on the list.

The FSLN ended on July 19, 1979, the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza Debayle, the latter of the family in power, and undertook since then a series of profound changes to benefit the majority.

After the devastating effects of an economic siege and the war financed and organized by the United States, the FSLN lost the 1990 elections in front of a coalition that brought together all political opposition forces.

About 17 years later, through ballot, the FSLN returned to the government to begin a second stage that shows substantial changes in all orders, applauded and recognized by many countries and international organizations.

Nicaragua has solid indicators today in several fields and is considered one of the most stable and safe nations in the world, while it is in a position to emerge as one of the major economies in the region.

  • Published in Cuba

Euthanasia in Cuba: To Die with Dignity?

Most interviewees are in favor of euthanasia, provided it’s regulated and the means to exert strict control.

"Euthanasia, what’s that? ", told me - incredibly! - a recently graduated doctor. With that answer I never knew for sure if he ignored the term or he simply didn't want to take part in this respect.

Searching for approaches on euthanasia I certain positions, although from these first lines I’d rather established that most interviewees are in favor of its practice, provided it’s regulated and the means to exert strict control.

A neighbor in her early 80’s pointed out sharply: “That’s not my case, but an old man, for example who doesn't have a quality of life and becomes a burden for the family, what’s the point on go on surviving under such conditions? "  

"I agree provided is beyond saving, and every medical and scientific resources have been tried, expressed Carmen Ibañez, specialist in Information and Documents Management.

The worker at Granma newspaper considered that the euthanasia should be practice also when a baby comes with a congenital malformation and the parents don't want to have the child.

"It’s very sad to bring to a human being to life with a defect. Take a look at myself, I have negative Rh factor and always - in my permanent concern - I told the doctor that, if any test were outside the standard, I’d rather act ahead of time! ".

Not all opinions were favorable, and some of them denied the euthanasia flatly. Inés and Heriberto are married and both are evangelical religion followers. In that, perhaps, resides their total disagreement with this practice which, according to them could bring about other inconveniences.

"The euthanasia, for example could be used as a shield to carry out unscrupulous actions, related to the acquisition of assets, inheritances, or other negative attitudes and bad behaviors", they stressed.

Two Doctors, One Opinion

Accustomed to work with patients whose lives "hang by a thread", to put it in a way, Doctor Tania Fernández Sordo, first degree specialist in Intensive and Emergency Care, already coincides with approaches related to the topic which are also complex for her.

Master in Medical Emergencies she considers that the euthanasia should be applied in those patients who – on their own request – desire with a terminal or incurable illness, like cancer.

"Besides, in critical patients, like those we take care of in our ward (intensive care unit), where their vital parameters are kept with the use of medication or apparatuses to prolong life, without real chances at recovery."

The doctor affirmed that in our country such practice is not regulated. Nevertheless, she believes that it could be analyzed by professionals of health, mainly doctors working in the ICU wards, oncologists, and other specialists. "Our job is to save lives (those that are possible), and not those that cause suffering and stretch agony."

On the other hand, the medical resident in Geriatrics Diana Rosa Graverán González explained: "taking into account the concepts handled through centuries, we must not overlook the importance of euthanasia regarding the cultural, religious traditions and habits of each country in correspondence with its environment as for socio-cultural development.

"As a doctor I think that one of our missions - and the most important one- is to alleviate the pain of human beings. However, the euthanasia could be carried out keeping in mind the patient's decision, of their relatives, whenever they are aware of the suffering and the irreversibility of the disease; not applicable to coma patients and who have not put in written in their last will their expressed desire.

"In Cuba is forbidden, there are no laws on this regard. But the law can be passed, hence patients (conscious) with irreversible illnesses they can put an end to sufferings, on well grounded legal terms.

"Human beings can’t choose when or how to be born, if only we could have the chance to - in great pain and discomfort - be able to make the call of ending with a difficult situation. The saying that goes there’s still hope while you can breathe it is not always that simple. There are coma episodes, long and irreversible, that prove otherwise."

A vote in favor from his position as lawyer

The young Cuban lawyer Malena Pérez Rodríguez thrilled with a matter on which her schoolmates at law school didn't want to go deep – due to its own content and the ignorance about it - the young lawyer Malena Pérez Rodríguez decided to go further (she even wrote a thesis) on euthanasia, which supports completetly, although she explains that before its approval some conditions must be established.

Some human beings - Malena explained - suffer from pains, regardless the drugs they are given. They are those who fight against cancer, for example, but others feel they aren’t strong enough to join this battle. And the relatives are within arm’s length, watching them suffer without any solution in sight. Therefore I say Yes to euthanasia, because there are people who don't want to live, mainly those at an advanced phase of the disease.

"How many phrases are heard in the street that go: 'I don't want to get old like that! '; 'well (…) he finally rested in peace'; 'he died and didn't suffer! '. Nobody wants to die with anguish and pain. Then, why not speed up death? Euthanasia could be included in the Civil Law; to pass a law.

"When I was studying law I found information explaining that the State cannot regulate euthanasia if the medical community and society were in agreement. In this regard, the last saying falls completely in the hands of health professionals, but I think there’s phobia with this practice.

“It’s true that the State cannot force society to accept it, but it can regulate it, for those who wish to undergo assisted death. It’s not passing a compulsory ordinance, but knowing that the chance is at hand, and that at a given time you can use it.

The possibility should exist of deciding whether / or not I want or abstain. It is important to know that proceeding is regulated and if I want to undergo that procedure I’d be committing no crime.

"Those suffering from Alzheimer, suffer a degenerative illness, but they are in no pain. However, a patient with terminal cancer suffers, it suffers an irreversible disease. That’s why I don't see euthanasia as a general alternative, but for those who want to finish with a life of suffering.

"Brakes in the current Cuban society? Mainly, I see it in the field of medicine, starting from the so-called Hippocratic oath – first do not harm, you will help to prolong life -. It is indispensable to widen the idea in this regard, and reflect on up to what point carrying euthanasia is effective to help a sick person. That is the goal. Before being doctors, first we are human beings, and we have the responsibility to aid patients and avoid traumatic processes".

According your approach, how to regulate it in order to avoid windows to wickedness?

As everything else in this world it also has negatives aspects. The Achilles heel is that euthanasia could be used to malpractice, but even so in Cuba medical mistakes have happened and as there were not aggravating rights everything has stayed just there. Anyway, I think that its approval would bring more benefits than disadvantages."

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Pinar thrives (+ Photos)

The city of Pinar del Rio is today an unstoppable revelry. People are painting, collecting the garbage, putting up posters, fixing things, or just remodeling façades.

Clean, beauty, and fixed up are perhaps epithets too simple to label a city that proudly gets ready to celebrate the July 26th festivities.

Fidia OK

Playground adjacent to the Milanes Theater, restored by Fidia Project


Parque José Martí en Pinar del Río OK

Jose Marti Park, another work restored to celebrate the July 26th festivities

Pinar del Rio is not that forgotten place of decades ago. On the contrary, men and women command our admiration these days as they work relentlessly in the Revolution Square, or the recently restored Marti Park, or the Milanes Theater —top place in Pinar del Rio´s culture.

Everything seems too little to Pinar del Rio´s men and women. Too many years have passed for them without being granted the venue of such an important event. Their mood rose up into the sky and everything seems just fine right now. When is this over? Nobody knows, but they will not stop until the 26th.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

Colombia keen to boost economic, trade ties with Cuba, says president

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday kicked off a two-day state visit to Cuba, where he hopes to expand economic and trade ties with the island country.

"My official visit has two goals: to thank the island's people and government (for their role) in the Colombian peace process, and to increase economic and trade ties," Santos said.

Cuba hosted the talks that led to a definitive peace deal between Colombia's government and leftist FARC rebels.

In Havana, Santos met with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro and also took part in a bilateral business forum, where he said Colombia was in a process of greater economic opening that included boosting investment in Central America and the Caribbean.

The peace agreement has spurred the national economy and tourism, which grew nearly 40 percent in the first half of 2017, Cuba's state daily Granma said.

Some 20 Colombian business leaders attended the forum, representing a variety of sectors, from construction to energy, chemicals and food.

Santos arrived in Cuba late Sunday accompanied by his ministers of foreign affairs, and trade, industry and tourism, as well as the head of Colombia's trade promotion agency ProColombia.

Santos was last in Cuba in June 2016, for the signing of the peace agreement.

  • Published in Cuba

European friends pay tribute to Che Guevara

The José Martí brigade of solidarity with Cuba visited historic sites in Santa Clara city in tribute to the 50th anniversary of Che´s fall in combat.

The tour included Ernesto Guevara Sculpture Complex, where brigaders from European countries learned about the Heroic Guerrilla; the Monument to the Taking of the Armored Train and the statue of Che.

This is the 47th edition of the contingent, made up by 86 members from Spain, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Belgium, UK and Russia.

Young Frenchwoman Laureline Ferrère visits Cuba from the age of seven and is excited to be here, because she comes from a communist family and the example of her grandfather motivated her to come to the island not as a tourist, but as a brigade member.

Spanish Olaya Nunez, said when a teenager she felt a special attraction for Commander Ernesto Guevara, an idol for young people fighting for a better world, and this influenced her decision to study medicine, a profession she practices in her country.

For a long time I heard talking about Cuba and I wanted to come and witness the reality of this country and its Revolution and I was impressed how they fight to defend what they conquered with their effort and dedication, stated Portuguese Luisa Carvalho.

Since their arrival in Cuba on July 3, the group has undergone volunteer days in the countryside and debates with members of the Young Communist League and the Federation of University Students, they have also visited social projects, received lectures on the Cuban political and economic system and Cuba-US relations, among other activities that brought them closer to the reality of the Caribbean nation.

  • Published in Cuba

Twenty-four Cuba athletes will participate in IAAF World Championships

Cuba will attend with 24 athletes the World Athletics Championships of London, England, from August 4 to 13.

The list is headed by women Yarisley Silva, pole vaulter, and Denia Caballero, Beijing 2015 world monarchs; as well as the other discus thrower Yaime Perez, who ranked fourth in that same contest.

It is also notable the presence of decathlonist Leonel Suarez, double Olympic bronze medalist and runner-up in Berlin 2009 WC, and heptathlonist Yorgelis Rodriguez, Toronto 2015 Pan American champion and seventh seat in Rio 2016 Olympics.

The group also includes short hurdlers Roger Valentin and Yordan O'Farril, long jumpers Juan Miguel Echevarria and Maikel Masso, along with triple jumpers Andy Diaz, Lazaro Martinez and Cristian Napoles.

Roxana Gomez (women´s 400m), Yoandrys Lescay (men´s 400m), Rose Mary Almanza (women´s 800m), Liadagmis Povea (women´s triple jump), Yanniubis Lopez (women´s shot put), Zuriam Hechevarria (women´s 400m hurdles), José Luis Gaspar (men´s 400 m hurdles) and Dailin Belmonte (women´s marathon) will also be present in London.

Finally, the men's 4x 400 relay will include Adrian Chacon, Osmaidel Pellicier, Williams Collazo and Leandro Zamora.

In Beijing 2015 WC, Cuba ranked tenth with two gold and one silver medals.

  • Published in Sports
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