el maestro

el maestro
"Trincheras de ideas valen más que trincheras de piedra." José Martí

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bayamo: living history

To all our readers and followers.
Dignidad Cuba visits Bayamo, capital city of Granma province in the east of Cuba.
A series of articles will begin appearing after Saturday 26th, about Cuba's cleanest city, its rich history, its citizens, where the Revolution is very much alive and well thanks to the efforts of its amazing people.
Keep checking our blog for a unique perspective on Cuba, Bayamo and the Revolution.
Thanks once more for following our blog.

Viva Cuba libre!
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Japanese conductor Akira Miyagawa mixes Bethoven’s Simphony #5 and Pérez Prado’s Mambo #5




The Independence War that had begun on October 10, 1868 when Carlos Manuel de Céspedes freed his slaves and started the fight to end the Spanish colonial rule in Cuba, continued on February 24 of 1895, under the direction of José Martí, patriot, poet and writer, who is considered by all the Cubans as the National Hero.

Martí gave the order of beginning the revolution on that date, and it began simultaneously in four places of the Oriente of Cuba - in Bayate, under Bartolomé Masó; in Ibarra, under Juan Gualberto Gómez and Antonio López Coloma; in Baire, with the siblings Saturnino and Mariano Lora; and in Guantánamo, with Periquito Pérez, Emilio Giró and others. The date of February 24 is commemorated in Cuba as a national celebration under the name of "Grito de Baire."

Unfortunately, Martí, who had decided to take an active part in the fight, was killed on May 19 of 1895 in Dos Ríos in the Oriente of Cuba, when their group was surprised by a column of Spanish soldiers at Colonel Jiménez de Sandoval's command.

On September 13, 1895 an Assembly formed by delegates of the five squads that formed the Liberator Army met in Jimaguayú and chose Salvador Cisneros Betancourt as President of the Republic, Bartolomé Masó as Vice chairman, Máximo Gómez as Generalísimo  (military chief), Antonio Maceo as Lieutenant General and Tomás Estrada Palma as diplomatic representative in the United States.

Máximo Gómez, a brilliant military leader, organized several highly successful campaigns, including the Circular Campaign around Camagüey, and the Invasion from Oriente to Occidente (West of the island). The invasion showed the military might of the Cuban rebels and their determination to free Cuba once and for all.One of the most outstanding actions was the victory over Spanish General Martínez Campo in the town of Coliseo.

The Spanish government's reaction was to replace Martínez Campos by General Valeriano Weyler and to increase of troops in the island that added up to 180 000. Weyler ordered all the inhabitants of rural areas to be confined in the cities and he declared that all those that were in the field would be considered insurrectionists. This cruel "concentration" had devastating effects for the economy of the island, while the yellow fever continued taking as victims tens of thousands of soldiers in the island.

In September of 1897, a constitutional convention took place in La Yaya, where a new revolutionary government was chosen. General Bartolomé Masó was chosen as President and Domingo Méndez Capote as Vice chairman. During this year, the tensions between the United States and Spain increased markedly. Spain finally removed General Weyler and it granted Cuba autonomy in domestic matters in 1897.

Unfortunately when the Cuban mambises (rebels) were at the doors of Santiago de Cuba and Havana, and the Spanish army was almost defeated and demoralized the United States of America, who already was eying Cuba for its vicinity, its perfect geographical location as the key to the Caribbean and its resources, frustrated our hopes of freedom.

Recently declassified official documents expose the manipulations on the part of the US government to prevent Cuba’s independence. They sent the Maine, a battleship, to Havana’s harbor to “protect US interests”; and using a strategy of self-aggression, they deliberately mined it and blew it with 266 marines inside on February 15, 1898, and then blamed Spain for the explosion.

They found the perfect excuse and intervened militarily in the conflict preventing the Cuban rebels from entering the capital Havana and Santiago de Cuba. Our people saw with sadness how from the colonial rule of SpainCuba was transferred to a neocolonial status under the United States of America.

For the next 57 years, Cuba lived through a succession of governments, not all of them constitutional but all corrupt and unable to provide the basic necessities of its people and to defend our dignity against the ambitions of the neighbors to the North, the United States. US companies owned or controlled about half of Cuba's cultivated land, its utilities and mines, and other natural resources. The US Marines intervened in 1906, 1912, and again in 1920.

It would not be until 1959 that Cuba finally achieved its final and definite independence, doing away with the pseudo republic that had been the result of US meddling in our affairs. For the first time Cuba was in the capacity of deciding its own destiny, and despite the continuous aggressions of successive US governments, our country builds a political and economic system entirely ours “with all and for the benefit of all”.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


The Wilfrid-Pelletier Hall of the Place des Arts Theater of Montreal, Canada, will present Cuban prima ballerina Viengsay Valdes, and the world renowned Cuban Ballet Theatre in Giselle, in what will be their first appearance in this city on February 17, 18 and 19. The only other Canadian city to have hosted the Cuban National Ballet has been Hamilton, where a project of collaboration between the Cubans and the Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble has been underway for the last three years. This exchange has been mutually beneficial for both companies, and has enriched cultural diversity and sharing between the two peoples.

Giselle, choreographed by living legend Alicia Alonso and based on the original by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, is one of the most representative pieces in the repertoire of the Cuban company and it is a historic piece as well since Alicia Alonso immortalized it 1943, when she performed this role almost by chance. Her rendition of Giselle is considered a classic and probably, according to critics, the best interpretation ever done of this character. Alonso is still the ballet company director at 90 and it is common to see her on first row at all the performances.

The Cuban Ballet company has informed that prima ballerinas Anette Delgado, Viengsay Valdes and Sadaise Arencibia will play the role of Giselle; Elier Bouzac, Alejandro Virelles and Dani Hernandez will interpret Duke Albrecht; and the Queen of the Willis, will be starred by Sadaise Arencibia, Yanela Piñera and Marize Fumero.

This presentation of Giselle this month in Montreal falls into the celebrations for the 170th anniversary of Giselle and the bicentenary of the birth of Theophile Gautier (1811-1872), a French poet, critic and novelist that was also one of the scriptwriters of the piece. Giselle was premiered in Paris, on June 28, 1841.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mubarak is gone: now what

Delirious crowds celebrate in Tahir Square in Cairo, Egypt
Mubarak finally gave in to the pressure of protesters gathered at Tahir Square for the 18th day demanding that the president resign. He has. Hosni Mubarak has transferred power to the Armed Forces Supreme Council. The new boss is Mohamed Tantawi, 75, a close ally of Mubarak and Minister of Defense. Tantawi has been in direct contact with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in the past weeks. 

Mubarak is just the second victim of waves of popular upheaval that are shaking the sensitive area of the Middle East. The first was Tunesian Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali who also surrendered to popular protests 4 weeks ago. He was also an ally of Washington.

Al Arabiya reports that the ex-president has left Cairo with all his family and is on his way to Sharm el Sheik in the Sinai Peninsula.

Mubarak, who the influential western media are calling today a 'dictator' and his government 'a tyranny', has been Washington’s man in the Arab world for the last 30 years. They praise the crowds as 'pro-democracy protesters' and Mubarak's departure as the end of 'an authoritarian regime', as if they had just realized. As the recipient of billions of dollars in aid from the United States, he represented with loyalty the interests of that country in the the area. Even in the gravity of the present situation the US has been rather ambivalent about the Egyptian crisis and his resignation. They fear groups opposed to Washington's hegemony might gain power in Egypt, altering the delicate and already strained balance in the Middle East.

What last-minute Machiavellian manipulations must already be taking place by powerful world forces to frustrate the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptians?

For how long will the euphoria last?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


But Posada Carriles is not on trial for his terrorist past as a CIA operative. Instead, U.S. prosecutors allege that during immigration hearings in El Paso, Posada Carriles lied about how he gained access to the United States in March 2005, and did not acknowledge his active rol in planning a series of 1997 bombings in Havana that killed an Italian tourist, Fabio di Celmo. Posada Carriles faces 11 counts of perjury, obstruction and immigration fraud.

El asesino que "duerme como un bebé" y una de sus víctimas, un joven italiano

Posada Carriles participated indirectly in the U.S.-backed, unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, and then joined the U.S. military and became a CIA agent. In the 1980s, he was involved, on behalf of Washington, in organizing the supply of aid to the contra rebels in Nicaragua during the Reagan administration. In 2000, he was arrested in Panama in a conspiracy to assassinate Cuban president Fidel Castro during a regional summit taking place in that country. He was pardoned in 2004 by Mireya Moscoso, then president of Panama, who was following orders from Washington.

Posada Carriles has been living freely in Miami since his release from an U.S. immigration detention center in El Paso in 2007.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone ruled last month that defense attorney Arturo Hernández would be allowed to question the credibility of the Cuban government and its experts while cross-examining the officials from Cuba. However, Cardone told Hernández that it is not Cuba and its political system what is on trial.

Cuba and Venezuela have repeatedly requested his extradition  to either country to face justice for the 1997 hotel attacks as well as a 1976 Cubana airliner bombing that killed 73 people on board. But the U.S., in violation of the international law, refuses to do so "for fear he could be tortured."

Relatives of the 1976 Cubana airliner bombing victims wait for justice

Salvadoran bomber Otto Rene Rodriguez, jailed in Cuba in connection with a string of 1990s hotel bombings, told the Associated Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday that he received powerful C-4 explosives and $2,000 in cash directly from Luis Posada Carriles to carry out an Aug. 3, 1997, bombing at Havana's Melia Cohiba hotel. He was captured trying to enter the country on a subsequent trip with 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) of C-4 that Posada had given him, he said.

In a further attempt to prevent the real truth from coming out Judge Cardone ruled that jurors could only see a photocopy of the Guatemalan passport  and Mexican visa that prosecutors wanted to present as evidence and not the physical documents themselves putting forward a technicality as an excuse, arguing that “the passport had not been sufficiently authenticated to meet federal evidence rules.” 

On Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget Behling introduced a selection of documents that U.S. authorities obtained from Guatemalan officials as part of their investigation against Posada. The evidence includes a Mexican visa and a copy of the passport, showing Posada's picture but the name of Manuel Enrique Castillo Lopez, born in the Mayan town of San Antonio Huista, Huehuetenango province, Guatemala.

This time US District Judge Cardone had to rule in favor of those documents admitting that they had been properly authenticated and certified by both the governments of Guatemala and Mexico.

Today, two police officers and a state medical examiner from Cuba were expected to testify for the West Texas jury on the death of Fabio di Celmo, the Italian tourist killed when a bomb shattered the lobby bar at the Copacabana Hotel in Havana. Posada Carriles admitted responsibility for the Havana hotel bombings in a 1998 interview with The New York Times, saying they were meant to hurt the Cuban tourism industry but not kill anyone. He has since withdrawn his statement claiming he was confused because of his poor knowledge of the English language.

Evidence eventually admitted as valid by Judge Cardone

Monday, February 7, 2011


A student strike in the state-run University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras that began in December 2010 against an imposed fee and privatization of the institution has been brutally repressed by police; more than 150 students have been arrested in an unprecedented escalation of police brutality. Journalists have also had their share with several of them attacked and one arrested as they try to cover the events. This is the second time police forces have entered and occupied the main campus. The first time was in 1981.

As President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton call for prudence in Egypt, they turn the blind eye to the attack on the most basic speech rights in its colonial enclave of Puerto Rico.
Mainstream media has largely ignored these violations in a colony that the US occupies since 1898.

Governor Luis Fortuño's response to the student strike has demonstrated the lengths to which his administration will go to repress all dissent. The governor has laid off 26,000 public sector employees, nullified public sector union contracts, and gutted the budgets of cultural, educational and social agencies, including the University of Puerto Rico. Early in his term, he activated the National Guard for civilian purposes, to the public outcry of civil and human rights groups.


Cuba’s system of mouth cancer prevention starting at the primary levels of health care has enabled the country to be one of those with the highest rate of curability of this disease, ScD Julio Cesar Santana Garay said in Havana.

In an exclusive interview to ACN, Santana Garay, who is Honorary President of the Latin American Cancer Prevention Center, said Cuba has implemented a community-based national program for the detection of oral cancer since 1982.

Acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Cuban program
is the only one of its type in the world. Since it was first implemented, mortality rates for lip, gum, floor of the mouth and tongue cancers have dropped by more than 10 percent, said the doctor.

Santana Garay warned that adults should make an oral self exam once a week and see a doctor in cases of any abnormal signs.

He said smokers, people who frequently drink alcohol, and those who do not maintain oral hygiene are more likely to develop mouth cancer.

In Cuba, this type of cancer is the sixth most common malignancy, while in the world it is also among the top ten, according to the expert.

On the occasion of the World Cancer Day, marked on February 4, the doctor issued a call to raise awareness on the promotion of healthy habits to avoid mouth cancer which kills nearly eight million people every year, while around 13 million new cases are detected yearly worldwide.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


The second oldest woman in the world JUANA BAUTISTA DE LA CANDELARIA RODRÍGUEZ has just turned 126 years of age in Campechuela, Cuba.
According to her birth certificate she was born on February 2, 1885.

I am so happy with what life has given me, with this wonderful family and my homeland”, she told reporters at her residence in Granma province, as she ate her birthday cake.

A geriatrician, a family doctor and a nurse take care regularly of this amazing woman who according to her “hopes to turn 130”.

She also believes that her longevity is due to the pure air of the countryside, a diet based on vegetables and meat and a heart full of love for her fellow human beings.

Cuba is well known for having an ever increasing number of persons who have reached the respectable age of 100 years. Today there are 1,500 centenarians in a population of 11.2 million.

This has only been possible thanks to the efforts of the Cuban Revolution to provide every citizen with best health care possible, with standards, in many cases, better than the existing services in the so called First World.

Below, Candulia,as everybody calls her, holds a great-great grandchild,during her birthday party in Ceiba Hueca, Campechuela.

Read original article in Spanish: http://www.cubadebate.cu/