Fidel and the advancement of Cuban women

Source:  Granma
August 19 2016

by Jesús Jank Curbelo |

The colloquium “Fidel and the Women’s Revolution” provided an opportunity to review Cuban history and challenge modern day “discriminatory culture

fidel and the advancement of women.jpgPhoto: Ismael Batista
Fidel and gender equality

The colloquium “Fidel and the Women’s Revolution,” which took place yesterday, August 18, represented a chance for participants to explore in greater depth the Comandante en Jefe’s ideas regarding gender equality.

The event also provided an opportunity to review Cuban history, challenge modern day “discriminatory culture” across the world, and provided a guide “to use in the present we are building today and the future we dream of,” according to Teresa Amarelle Boué, a member of the Party Political Bureau and secretary general of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC).

Amarelle Boué noted that the Revolution changed the history of the nation, and above all the lives of Cuban women. Central to this was Fidel, whose ideas and efforts have been crucial to the gains made by this sector of Cuban society to date, she stated.

Fidel 1959:  Women too need to be emancipated

The FMC Secretary General added that “In his first speech to the Cuban people on January 1, 1959, in Santiago de Cuba, our beloved Fidel showed, once again, his concern for women’s situation, stating: “Women are a sector of our country which also needs to be emancipated, as they are victims of discrimination in the workplace and in other aspects of life.”

This profound humanist vocation led Fidel and Vilma Espín to create the FMC; celebrating its 56th anniversary on August 23, noted Amarelle Boué.

Since its founding the organization has struggled to ensure full equality for women and that they occupy their “rightful place in society,” stated Yolanda Ferrer Gómez former FMC secretary general, 1960-2007.

The historic contribution made by Cuban women to the country

Meanwhile, journalist Marta Rojas highlighted the importance of remembering the historic contribution made by Cuban women to the country, citing figures such as Ana Betancourt, Mariana Grajales, Juana Borrero and Celia Sánchez: “women of different social and cultural classes, but extremely important to Cuban identity.”

Likewise, Brigade General Delsa Esther Puebla (Teté) recalled her experiences alongside the leader of the Cuban Revolution in the Sierra Maestra.

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In La Plata, Tete Puebla, next to Fidel, with Celia and others.  Source: Granma

Likewise, Brigade General Delsa Esther Puebla (Teté) recalled her experiences alongside the leader of the Cuban Revolution in the Sierra Maestra.

During the war, she noted, women did everything: we worked as nurses, teaching campesinos to read…Later Fidel taught us how to shoot, and created the Las Marianas platoon, and well, just like he said, a people where men and women fight together, is an invincible people.

Brazil Foreign Ministry Workers Launch First Indefinite Strike

Source:  TeleSUR
August 23 2016

Intransigence of interim government’s foreign minister also cited as a problem.

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Brazil’s Foreign Ministry workers protest in 2012. | Photo: Facebook / Sinditamaraty

Workers from Brazil’s Foreign Ministry entered the second day of the union’s first indefinite strike Tuesday for higher wages and to protest the intransigence of “interim” Foreign Minister Jose Serra in the face of the union’s demands.

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The strike kicked off Monday at 12:00 p.m. local time in Brasilia after over 1,300 workers of the National Union of Public Servants of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, known as Sinditamaraty, voted earlier this month to greenlight the labor stoppage, union statements indicated.

According to the Sinditamaraty, the staff will maintain a 30 percent capacity to cover what are deemed essential services, including passport issuing and consular assistance, to ensure there is not a total disruption of public services in the ministry.

Video:  Wikileaks – Brazil’s new foreign minister promised to help Chevron

Wage talks

Wage talks have long languished after the union proposed a 27.9 percent wage hike early last year to bring salaries in line with similar positions in other public services. The union argues that even that increase wouldn’t cover wage losses since 2008, which has hit lowest-rank workers the hardest at over 30 percent losses. Workers have also raised complaints in recent months over delays in the payment of their housing allowances, the Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported.

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“Valuing the institutions means valuing the workers,” said Sinditamaraty President Suellen Paz in a statement. “The workers’ view is that the lack of political will to solve problems devalues the institution as a whole.”

Social media campaign

Workers rallied outside the Foreign Ministry building in Brasilia Tuesday, with plans to continue demonstrations on Wednesday. The union has also announced a social media campaign aimed at increasing pressure for talks on acting Foreign Minister Jose Serra, appointed by unelected “interim” President Michel Temer.

Foreign Ministry laborers outside of Brazil are also organizing actions.

The strike committee raised concern on Tuesday over reports received by the union that interns in the ministry had been “compelled” after the launch of the strike to act as scabs and cover the duties of the workers who walked off the job. In a statement, union leaders urged the ministry to respect labor laws and the parameters of the government’s internship program.

Video: Leaked recording reveals plot to oust president Rousseff

Media silence

Despite marking an historic job action for Sinditamaraty, the strike has received scant coverage in Brazilian media.

The strike comes just days before the Brazilian Senate will launch a trial Thursday against suspended President Dilma Rousseff, the final step in the impeachment process that could permanently remove her from office with a two-third Senate majority as early as next Tuesday.

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Temer and Foreign Minister Jose Serra embroiled in massive corruption charges

If Rousseff is ultimately ousted, Temer and his all-male Cabinet will be installed for the rest of her term until 2018. Both Temer and Foreign Minister Jose Serra have been embroiled in massive corruption charges, accused of accepting millions of dollars in corporate kickbacks as part of the Petrobras state oil scandal.

A plea bargain deal recently revealed that Serra received over US$7 million from a slush fund of the construction company Odebrecht to finance his unsuccessful 2010 presidential campaign against Rousseff. Serra also unsuccessfully ran for president against Rousseff’s predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2002.

Serra has also come under fire for making promises to multinational oil corporations, according to WikiLeaks cables, saying that he could easily push for privatization of the state oil industry and change laws to open up Brazil’s significant offshore oil reserves to foreign exploration and drilling.

WATCH: Brazil’s Foreign Minister Confused About His Country’s Name?

Indigenous Activists Detain Panama’s President for 2 Hours

Source:  TeleSUR
August 23 2016

The Indigenous protesters are upset about a government plan to develop a hydroelectric project they fear will destroy their lands.

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Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, President Juan Carlos Varela and Ngabe Bugle representative Silvia Carrera | Photo: EFE

A dozen Indigenous people detained the president of Panama at a school on Tuesday to protest a deal he signed that could lead to the building of a highly controversial Barro Blanco Dam project in Chiriqui Province. Construction on the hydroelectric dam, which is nearly finished, was frozen last year in response to protests.

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“Burn down”the agreement to build the dam

President Juan Carlos Varela was detained after he was about to give a public speech praising a recent deal with some Indigenous leaders to resume construction. Opponents of that agreement threw stones at police cars, injuring four officers, reported local media.

The president’s security team immediately took Varela and Indigenous representative Silvia Carrera inside a nearby school, where they were forced to stay for two hours while the Indigenous dissidents threatened to not let them out until the agreement was “burned down.”

Movimiento 10 de Abril

The dissidents are part of Indigenous group Movimiento 10 de Abril, or M-10, a movement representing communities affected by the dam. The M-10 denies Carrera the authority to represent them, saying she is “sold to the government.”

They blocked the school’s main entrance for two hours, until Varela threatened to arrest the dissidents if they did not let him go.

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The hydroelectric project will soon be resumed … President Varela

“This is just an isolated incident promoted by a dozen disrespectful Indigenous people that do not officially represent the Ngabe Bugle community,” the president said after he was released. He affirmed that the hydroelectric project will soon be resumed, in accordance with the deal signed with the official Ngabe Bugle authorities as soon as Congress ratifies the text within the next 30 to 60 days.

Under the deal, the government will seek another independent firm to carry out the project and remove the license initially assigned to Panamanean mining firm Generadora del Istmo S.A., or Genisa.

Until the government finds a new contractor, Genisa’s shares will be placed in Panama’s National Bank. European banks are also funding the project, including Germany’s DEG, Deutsche Entwicklungsgesellschaft and Netherlands Development Finance Company.

Future projects will be subjected to popular consultation

The government has also agreed to cancel all the licenses for hydroelectric projects planned on the Tabasara River. Future projects will also be subjected to popular consultation and require approval from official Indigenous and campesinos authorities.

But according to M-10 leader Ricardo Miranda, the floodgates on the dam were already opened in some places on Saturday afternoon in order to start filling the reservoir, flooding the lands of dozens of nearby families.

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Barro Blanco dam will flood nearly 15 acres of Indigenous lands

Barro Blanco dam, whose construction is 95 percent finished, will flood nearly 15 acres, or 6 hectares, of Indigenous lands surrounding the site of the dam on the Tabasara River.

The Ngabe Bugle communities affected by the project—representing about 170,000 people—have argued that their rights to free, prior and informed consent under International Labor Organization Convention 169 have been violated and that they never gave permission for the dam.

The local Ngabe Bugle people

Critics of the dam fear that the project will displace tens of thousands of people, harm the local agricultural sector, and flood Ngabe Bugle land and traditional sacred sites. The Tabasara River is fundamental to the livelihoods of the local Ngabe Bugle people, who rely on it for water, fishing, and agricultural production along its fertile banks.

Hundreds Hold Memorial for Victims of Transatlantic Slave Trade

Source:  TeleSUR

Tomorrow marks International Slavery Remembrance Day, but the day goes largely unnoticed. Yet that didn’t stop these people from holding the first-ever memorial in London’s Trafalgar Square.…

The annual Slavery Remembrance Day

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The annual Slavery Remembrance Day is held on 23 August. On this day in 1791 an uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint Domingue (modern Haiti) began. It was a crucial event in the fight to end the European transatlantic slave trade. The date has been designated by UNESCO as Slavery Remembrance Day, a reminder that enslaved Africans were the main agents of their own liberation.

Our Slavery Remembrance Day commemoration acknowledge a major period of trauma and injustice in world history, which is too often forgotten. The events enable us to remember and reflect upon the millions of lives that were stolen through enslavement. It also allows us to consider the many legacies and achievements of people of African heritage throughout the diaspora.

Cuba: Quality and rigor to characterize the upcoming school year

Source:  Granma
August 22 2016

by Ortelio González Martínez |

CIEGO DE ÁVILA.—The country has the necessary study materials and resources, including those which are imported, to commence the 2016-2017 school year this September 5, during which quality and rigor will be among the top priorities to strengthen the teaching/learning process

cuba ready to start the new school year.jpg

The country has the necessary study materials and resources, including those which are imported, to commence the 2016-2017 school year this September 5, during which quality and rigor will be among the top priorities to strengthen the teaching/learning process.

Ena Elsa Velázquez.jpgAt a meeting to analyse the outstanding needs of the upcoming academic year, Education Minister Dr. Ena Elsa Velázquez Cobiella noted that despite the economic constraints of the country, supplies of chalk, notebooks, pencils, other basic materials and textbooks have been guaranteed, with some of the latter currently being put together by the country’s printing and graphic communications industry, where great efforts have been made to produce materials to schedule.

The Minister stressed that students and teachers should take good care of school study materials and promote ways to save electricity and water, and reiterated that no school can open its doors in September if it finds itself in sanitary and epidemiological conditions which compromise the normal functioning of classes.

In the case of the province of Ciego de Ávila, the greatest concern is the exodus of teachers, with a shortage of 663. According to Bárbara Rodríguez Milián, provincial director of Education, these teaching posts will be covered by hourly contracted staff, a university contingent, methodologists and members of school management boards.

Valuing the work of teachers

In this sense, Velázquez Cobiella referred to the importance of valuing the work of teachers in every school, municipality and province, an issue included in the documents adopted at the 7th Party Congress.

She acknowledged that the attitude toward students of teaching careers and educators has to be one of support, help and guidance, to ensure that they feel valued, and as one way of halting the mass departure of professionals from the field, which has affected Ciego de Ávila for several years.

Cuban delegation attends Seventh MPLA Congress in Angola

Source:  Granma
August 22 2016

MPLA Secretary General Dino Matrosse reiterated his party’s gratitude to the Communist Party of Cuba, “for accepting our invitation and sending a high-level delegation” to the Congress.

by Osvaldo Cardosa Samón |

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Angola has Cuba to thank for many of its achievements, stated MPLA Secretary General Dino Matrosse. Photo:Prensa Latina

Luanda.— The presence of a Cuban delegation was a honor for delegates to the Seventh Ordinary Congress of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the Secretary General of the political organization, Juliao Mateus Paulo (Dino Matrosse), stated this Sunday, August, 21.

We have Cuba to thank for many of the achievements we enjoy

“We have Cuba to thank for many of the achievements we enjoy, for their invaluable and necessary assistance during that decisive moment for the existence and later the consolidation of the Republic of Angola,” Dino Matrosse stated, speaking exclusively to Prensa Latina.

After meeting with José Ramón Balaguer, member of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) Central Committee Secretariat, the Angolan political leader noted, “When we talk about Cuba, we talk about Angola, given what the Cubans represent for our people.”

He reiterated his gratitude to the PCC “for accepting our invitation and sending a high-level delegation” to honor the 7th Congress, held August 17 through 20, with the participation of 2,620 delegates from 18 provinces across the country.

The challenge to combat poverty, hunger, illiteracy

Regarding the challenges ahead for the MPLA, Dino Matrosse explained that, the priority is to ensure that decisions are implemented, in particular what President José Eduardo dos Santos has called for; “to become increasingly dynamic and true to Party principles.”

He added that another challenge is to steer the economy toward greater development in order to combat poverty, hunger, illiteracy and other issues.
Meanwhile, Balaguer, who headed the Cuban delegation to MPLA Congress, told Prensa Latinathat “We depart with a very good impression of the Congress. We heard the report of the President of the Party, compañero José Eduardo dos Santos, who provided a detailed analysis of the situation in the country.”

We learned of the difficulties, transformations, economic development and the real possibility to move forward, added the head of the International Relations Department of the PCC Central Committee.

“We leave with great confidence that the MPLA will continue to govern, together with the people and strong popular support,” Balaguer concluded. (PL)