el maestro

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

Friday, July 29, 2011

Perú becomes 14th leftist government in Latin America

President Ollanta Humala, 17th president of Perú
Nationalist leader and former lieutenant colonel Ollanta Humala was sworn in Lima today as president of Perú. In attendance, there were eleven presidents mostly from Latin America, Cristina Fernández from Argentina, Evo Morales from Bolivia, Rafael Correa from Ecuador among others and dignitaries such as Nicolás Maduro Venezuelan Foreign Affairs minister and Cuban First Vicepresident José R. Machado Ventura, all of whom traveled to the Peruvian capital to be present at this historic event.

Humala, 49, is the 17th president in the republican history of Perú and assumes power amidst a wave of anticipation over the changes he has promised in terms of redistributing Peru’s mineral wealth beyond the usual recipients, and extend it to the poor, which are the majority of the country and have always been left behind.

Humala receives the presidential band
Humala is the fourteenth leftist president to take office in Latin America in what has become a trend in the political arena in a region that traditionally had been rabidly rightist. The turn to the left in this region is the effect of the failure of hundreds of years of neoliberal governments, which have been unable to provide a fair and sustainable solution to the mounting inequality and brutal poverty in the area. Their only contribution: the perpetuation of exploitation and marginalization.

The president greets cheering supporters
The new president’s pledges include modest old age pensions for Peruvians at age 65, beginning with the neediest; raising the minimum monthly wage to $270 by next year; free pre-schools in Peru’s poorest districts, college scholarships for top-performing needy students and building hospitals in 50 cities where they are lacking.

Humala has also promised to invest in public transportation in the congested capital of Lima; to expand highways and railways; to rebuild Peru’s merchant marine and re-establish a national airline which went bankrupt in 1999.

Humala's first speech as president
In his first speech after the assumed the post of president, Humala said that “we want the term ‘social exclusion’ to disappear from our language and lives forever”. It remains to see how the new president with a substantial opposition in Congress will be able to fulfil his plans.

President Humala has expressed the full commitment of his government to work towards the integration of Latin America, and if as to corroborate his statement, he chaired an UNASUR meeting that took place in Lima shortly after the assumption ceremony. Incoming Foreign Affairs minister Rafael Roncagliolo assured on Thursday that holding the summit in Perú reaffirms of the new government’s involvement in that respect, and concluded that “our countries united can become a world power”.

The new Peruvian government

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rebellion Day celebrated in Ciego de Ávila, Cuba

Raúl Castro and José R. Machado Ventura today in Ciego de Ávila
Raúl Castro, and Machado Ventura, President and VP of the Republic of Cuba presided over the official celebrations of the 58th Anniversary of the attacks to the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes garrisons in Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo respectively, on National Rebellion Day, which this time took place in the Máximo Gómez Revolution Square in the city of Ciego de Ávila.

Party, state and government officials
On July 26, 1953, a group of young Cubans under the leadership of Fidel Castro attacked these military fortresses in an act of rebelliousness and heroism unknown to the island then. From a military stand point, the assault failed, since most of the survivors were either massacred or imprisoned after the actions and the military goal was not achieved. However, the attack was the spark that set the fire of the Cuban Revolution, on account of the awareness it brought of the prevailing impoverishment, illiteracy, unemployment and the extreme inequality in that moment in Cuba, which also depended economically and politically from the U.S., as described by Fidel Castro in his declaration “La Historia me absolverá”, during the trial for his part in the attacks.

The people of Ciego de Ávila representing Cubans
After the military occupation of 1898, the United States had imposed amendments to our constitution which allowed them to intervene in Cuba at any time they dimmed it necessary. When the pseudo-republic was born in 1902, it was a sad caricature; Cuba had lost its dignity and independence.

President Raúl Castro Ruz
The actions of that day of 1953 when the Movimiento Revolucionario 26 de Julio was born, was the inevitable result of the desperate situation under which Cuba was living. Under the leadership of Fidel and after an unequal struggle in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, they would triumph on January 1st, 1959. 

Cultural presentation
Fifty-eight years after, the Cuban Revolution, not exempt of mistakes because it is human and a live social process, is strong and vibrant and zealously guards our most precious assets: our independence and dignity. Under necessary economic transformation, Cuba advances to a new future of hope and prosperity, and despite the continuous hostility and aggression of the U.S., the Cuban Revolution will live on because as Fidel said “that 26 of July we learned how to turn defeat into victory”.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Alarming proportions of drought in Horn of Africa: millions in need

View of drought from space in the Horn of Africa
Tens of thousands of people are being displaced by the intense drought in the region that affects Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. The crisis is visible from space and can be seen in this animation, derived from SMOS satellite data, which shows soil moisture in the Horn of Africa from April to mid-July 2011. The orange and yellow colouring depicts little to no moisture, while green and blue depict higher levels of soil moisture. 

If we consider the lasting armed conflict and political unrest which has reduced Somalia to a state of anarchy divided in sectors controlled by warlords and pirates, and where there are no guarantees for the most vulnerable; then Somalis are probably the hardest hit by the famine caused by the drought. Thousands of them have been fleeing to neighbouring countries seeking shelter from both nature and humans. Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp receives over 1000 people, mostly children, who arrived severely malnourished and dehydrated.

International aid agencies and the United Nations have called this the ‘worst drought’ in decades and are urging the international community to turn their sight to yet another crisis and donate relief funds. It is believed that around 12 million people on the brink of starvation are in need of urgent help in the Horn of Africa. To this effect the UN food agency FAO will host emergency talks in Rome on Monday to press countries and aid organizations to raise at least $1.6 billion.

Cristina Amaral, head of emergency operations in Africa for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said in Rome today that they “are afraid that things will get worse in the coming months if nothing is done now. The main aim of the meeting is to call the political attention of leaders of the world”.  

with information from ESA Portal

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cuban Film Havanastation to premiere in the U.S by invitation of Michel Moore

Ian Padrón, a Cuban filmmaker, has been invited by Michael Moore to present his first feature film, Habanastation in Michigan, U.S., on the 27th of this month.

Cuban filmaker Ian Padrón
Habanastation is the story of two children from different social backgrounds that contrast in an adventure that unites them. The movie was shot in a working-class neighborhood of Marianao. Starring Andy Fornaris and Ernesto Escalona and featuring a cast of children from La Colmenita theater group, the movie played to a totally packed Charles Chaplin movie theater in Havana.

Michel Moore’s Sicko was played on Cuban National TV, and his movies are frequently shown in Cuban movie theatres. The outspoken US filmmaker has visited Cuba in the past and has established links with local colleagues.

Birthday Celebration of “El Libertador” Simón Bolívar on Sunday July 24, 2011

El Libertador

The Avanzada Bolivariana Campaign Invites you to the 
Birthday Celebration of "El Libertador" Simón Bolívar

Wreath Laying - 2:30PM
At the statue of "El Libertador" Simón Bolívar
Trinity Bellwoods Park Place
North-West corner of the park at Dundas)
1053 Dundas St. W
(Shaw St east Ossington)

Parade of Flags - 3:30PM
From Trinity Bellwoods Park along Dundas to Lula Lounge

Social Cultural Event -
Music, poetry, dance and refreshments
Lula Lounge
1585 Dundas St W

Avanzada Bolivariana is a campaign in solidarity with Venezuela consisting of grassroots organizations in Canada including Barrio Nuevo, Coalición Venezuela Estamos Contigo (CVEC), Consejo Internacional de Mujeres Latino Americanas y del Caribe, Dialogo Venezolano (CHHA 1610AM), Hands Off Venezuela-Circulo Bolivariano Louis Riel, Red Latinomericana y del Caribe de Solidaridad, Programa Sembradoras (CKLN).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Toronto experiences record breaking temperatures: 49° Celsius with humidex (plus video)

A child cools down in the water
The heat wave that has engulfed Eastern and Central Ontario over the last few days has reached 39° Celsius today in Toronto, with a humidex reading of 49°.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather alert for the region on Thursday, warning residents that a “sultry tropical air mass” will make its way across all of southern Ontario.

Torontonians will do anything to alleviate the heat
The City has opened a series of “cooling centers” so that Torontonians can come in and relax while swimming pools have extended their hours until midnight. The TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) has instructed train and streetcar operators to drive slowly since the rails have expanded due to the extreme heat. 

The forecast for the coming days predicts more of the same, above normal temperatures from Alberta through to Prince Edward Island. Toronto will only cool down with some rain on Sunday evening.

Fresh water feels like a blessing
Environment Canada Special Advisory

Extreme temperatures and humidex values will continue this evening. The humid tropical air mass has arrived as expected. The strong July sun has caused the mercury to soar well into the middle and upper thirties. Combining the record setting temperatures with the high humidity in this tropical air mass has resulted in oppressive humidex values in the low to mid forties across all of Southern Ontario. The situation will continue into this evening. Current indications suggest that a weak front will slip through tonight. However in the wake of the front it will continue to be hot on Friday with temperatures in the low to mid thirties but somewhat less humid. Well above normal temperatures will continue into the weekend for most of Southern Ontario with temperatures reaching the low thirties again on Saturday. It will be the combination of the duration of the high heat along with warm overnight conditions which makes this heat event particularly significant. During times of high heat and humidity, it is critical to stay properly hydrated by drinking Plenty of fluid like water or juice. Strenuous outdoor activities should be scheduled during the early morning or evening hours. Wear loose fitting, light weight clothing and spend as much time as possible in air conditioned places. Stay out of the sun and never leave elderly, children or pets unattended in a car.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Peruvian President-Elect Ollanta Humala arrived in Havana this morning

Bruno Rodriguez welcomes Humala in Havana this morning
Invited by Cuban President Raúl Castro, Ollanta Humala, President-elect of Perú, arrived early this morning in Havana. At the airport, the Peruvian guest was welcomed by Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez, and shortly after declared to reporters that “we have come to visit a sister country and share an open agenda with the Cuban President”.

This is the last stop of the Peruvian politician before he takes office on July 28 in Lima. In the last month Humala has toured the region where he has received the solidarity and friendship of other heads of state. In a recent and brief visit to Washington, the future President of Perú was surprisingly received by President Obama. Humala’s visit to Cuba is the meeting that was missing in this program.

Ollanta was elected last June in a runoff election. The newly elected president has promised that his government will work on behalf of the forgotten masses and the marginalized sectors. He has also assured that poor Peruvians, ignored by most liberal governments before his, will receive a share of the Andean nation mineral riches. In the regional context, it is expected that Perú joins the ALBA Bolivarian bloc, enhancing and enriching the Latin American integration process with the diversity that a committed Perú can contribute to the alliance.

It is expected that apart from the official conversations with President Raúl Castro, Ollanta Humala will be received by Fidel personally. It would not be a surprise that Venezuelan President Commander Hugo Chávez, who is in Cuba undergoing the second part of his medical treatment, also meets with the Peruvian President –elect.  Chávez already welcomed Humala in Caracas last week, shortly before he traveled to Havana.

Chávez and Humala in Caracas last week

July 26th celebrations in Toronto

On Tuesday, July 26th
join us in celebrating
6:30pm to midnight
United Steelworkers’ Hall, 25 Cecil St.
(one block southeast of College and Spadina)
Admission:  $5 suggested donation
(no one will be turned away for lack of funds)


On July 26th, 1953 a group of brave young Cubans attacked the Moncada and the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes garrisons, symbols of the tyranny and occupation of Cuba under the U.S. puppet regime of Batista.

Although the attack was defeated, it raised the banner of struggle, which would lead to the victory of the Cuban Revolution on January 1st, 1959. 
We celebrate the heroic resistance of the anti-terrorist Cuban Five who are unjustly held in U.S. prisons while the Cuban nation is defending its socialist achievements through mass mobilizations for the implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and of the Revolution.

This year’s celebration is dedicated to Dudley Laws and Leonard Weinglass
Indigenous Opening Ceremony
Spiritual Guides
Nana Esperanza - Maya Council - Akijab
Mabel Ernest - Quechua Nation
Special Guests
Raúl Delgado Concepción – Honourable Consul of Cuba in Toronto
Professor Keith Ellis – Award winning Author, Poet
Special presentation on Dudley Laws
Charles Roach
Owen Leach
Special presentation on Leonard Weinglass
Morteza  Gorgzadeh
Arnold Itwaru
Carlos Angulo
Enrique Castro
Maria Elena Mesa Mejia
Elvis Campbell
Natasha Ksonzek
Dub Poetry
Charlie Bobus
Live Music
Jimmy Reid
Steve Hall
Pablo Terry & Sol de Cuba
Dance MC
Home-made Halal food and more
Organized by
TORONTO FORUM ON CUBA – http://torontoforumoncuba.weebly.comtorontoforumoncuba@rogers.com
Asociación Cubanos en Torono de JUAN GUALBERTO GÓMEZ - http://asociacioncubanosjgg.blogspot.comasociacion.jgg@gmail.com 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Arizona Senator points loaded gun at reporter

Republican state Sen. Lori Klein and her .380 Ruger gun

Richard Ruelas from The Arizona Republic was in for a big surprise when he interviewed Republican state Senator Lori Klein about attitudes towards guns. During the interview, and as a demonstration of the raspberry-pink .380 Ruger gun she carries at all times “to protect herself”, she pointed the loaded weapon at the reporter’s chest as she commented how cute her little gun was.

“The red dot of the laser pointer was on my chest for a few seconds”, later declared the reporter. The loaded pistol does not have safety but the senator explained that “there was no need to worry because her hand was not in the trigger”.

Arizona is a state immersed in a debate of whether they should change the non-restrictive gun laws, especially after a gunman opened fire at a congressional constituent event held at a grocery store outside Tucson on Jan 8. He killed six people and wounded 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
Just two days after this mass shooting in Tucson that shocked the world, State Sen. Lori Klein carried a loaded gun into the state Capitol, a handgun is always in her purse. When security tried to stop her from taking the weapon into the Legislature floor packed with personalities for the governor’s annual address, she put forward the old argument that she had the “right to bear arms”. And of course, she was allowed in with the gun.

In March this same state senator read a letter on the Senate floor maintaining that “Hispanic students hate America” and they only want to become “gang members and gangsters”.

With information from azcentral.com

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bolivarian president Hugo Chávez has returned to Venezuela from Cuba

Early this morning Chávez sent this message on Twitter
Early this morning, Hugo Chávez returned to Caracas from Havana where he had been submitted to two emergency surgeries to remove a cancerous tumor.

“I’m home and very happy. Good morning my beloved Venezuela” he wrote in a message he sent his followers on Twitter.

He was received at the airport by the Venezuelan VP Elías Jaua, members of the Bolivarian government and his brother Adán.

Chávez and Fidel meet in Havana yesterday
Chávez has just arrived on time for the 200th Anniversary of Venezuela’s declaration of independence from Spain which is expected to be marked by huge celebrations in Caracas with the attendance of Caribbean and Latin American foreign ministers.

However, the meeting for the foundation of CELAC in Caracas on July 5th, the first regional integration mechanism, of which neither Canada nor the United States will be members, has been postponed for a later date this year due to Chávez illness.

Toronto celebrates diversity: Gay Pride 2011

Minutes before the Parade starts
More than a million people, many from overseas, joined the parade that marked the end of a week of celebrations in Toronto devoted to sexual diversity and acceptance.

Revellers were joined by scores of politicians who attended to show their support for the Gay and Lesbian Community in Toronto. Even David Miller, former Toronto major, and a great supporter of diversity blew kisses to a crowd that applauded him as he marched in the parade.

Marchers bore Ford's masks
Current Toronto Major Rob Ford was a no show. He decided to break the tradition of Toronto Majors opening the Gay Parade every year, and go instead to a cottage north of Toronto with his family. This has sparked a controversy that questions Mr. Ford’s support for the Gay and Lesbian community whose members have been very critical of his decision and have vowed to reconsider their vote in the next city elections.

The parade, however, was a complete success, as in the past. The procession of colourful floats packed with marchers bearing Canadian and Rainbow flags started at Church and Bloor Streets at 2:00 PM, and some four hours later ended at Church and Gerard Streets, after covering an important section of the downtown core.

This was the 31st edition of the Pride celebrations in Toronto, an event that brings millions of dollars to the local economy and is considered one of the biggest in the world.