Cuba treats 800 children from Chernobyl

Source:  Granma
April 27 2016

by : Redacción Internacional |

The program provides treatment to children affected by the April 1989 Chernobyl disaster from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus

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Children of those affected by thermonuclear radiation from Chernobyl receive medical treatment in Cuba. Photo:Otmaro Rodríguez

Cuba currently provides medical treatment to 800 children from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, all affected by the April 1989, Chernobyl nuclear disaster, considered to be the worst in history.

One of the first nations to respond to the tragedy

The island was one of the first nations to respond to the tragedy and offer help in the form of rehabilitation treatment to those affected, the majority children. Cuban doctor Julio Medina, coordinator of the program, reported that to date the Cuban government has provided treatment to some 24,000 children.

According to Telesur, treatments last around 45 days for the majority of patients, however some stay up to a year at the Tarará health resort – a facility which was modified into a semi-hospital for victims of the nuclear accident and is located 20 kilometers east of Havana.

The suffering of the victims

Many children from the Chernobyl disaster suffer from thyroid cancer, leukemia, muscular atrophy, physiological and neurological disorders and alopecia.

On April 26, the United Nations General Assembly held a special session in honor of the anniversary of the disaster which occurred in the then Soviet Union, now Ukrainian territory, during which the international community recalled the suffering of the victims and courage of those who responded to the emergency.

In addition to the Fukushima crisis in Japan, the Chernobyl accident, which occurred at the Vladímir Ilich Lenin nuclear power plant, is rated as the worst nuclear disaster on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, according to Prensa Latina

Cuban Firm Awarded Prize in Geneva for e-health

Source:   softel
May 4 2016

On the morning of Tuesday May 3, 2016 the awards of the World Summit on the Information Society WSIS 2016 was held in Geneva, Switzerland with the Cuban firm SOFTEL achieving the top award in the category e-health.

SOFTEL receives the GRAND PRIX in WSIS 2016


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In the picture, the General Director of SOFTEL, Ariadna Curbelo, receives the award from the President of the International Telecommunication Union, Mr. Houlin Zhao. More information web Site International Telecommunication Union

The “Computerization of public health in Cuba” project was presented by SOFTEL at the WSIS Forum and had been the Champion project in the vote made online.   Now it has been chosen by the jury as the WINNING PROJECT in the category e-health .

The project SOFTEL, conducted in close collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, is now over 15 years old and has been involved  consistently in different areas of the computerization of health in Cuba – it covers the various interrelated systems:

  • hospital computerization –with 69 hospitals across the country, several levels of care, and with different levels of computerization, among which are the Hermanos Ameijeiras, the Military Finlay, the Fajardo Hospital, the Lenin Hospital in Holguin and Provincial Saturnino Lora Hospital in Santiago de Cuba. The system has more than 120 functions available in many areas of patient care, and continues to expand its reach.
  • Computerization of the National Network of Blood Banks –Covers all 47 blood banks in the country and allows the management of donors and their donations. Connected to the Centralised Donor Registry ensures the traceability of blood and identifying the excluded donors.
  • System Primary Health Care– With more than 12 records developed enables standardization of information and encoders, and the interrelationship between all the components of system on a single platform.
  • Technology Solutions Advanced– Systems developed for managing Platforms of Telematic Services, facing the “cloud computing” as well as for the generation of Expert Systems and Artificial Neural Networks applied to the health sector . the whole system allows interoperability and scalability of its components and is developed in open source technologies.

World Forum on the Information Society (WFIS)

The award was given in the context of the World Forum on the Information Society (WFIS), running in this Swiss city through May 6, according to a communique issued by Cuba’s Permanent Mission in Geneva.

Director General of Softel, Ariadna Curbelo, who was given the prize, explained that the project includes three solutions to respond to the informatization needs of the Cuban health system.

Besides, she said that the project is integrated to the strategy of informatization of the Cuban society, it has been implemented for over 15 years and involved over 100 institutions under the guide of the Direction of Informatics and Communications of the Health Ministry of Cuba.

Softel is a firm that belongs to the Business Group of Informatics and Communications. It has 30 years of experience and offers services of consultancy, specialized informatics services and design and implementation of informatics solutions for the said sector, among other tasks.

The award granting ceremony of the Forum WFIS was presided over by Secretary General of ITU, Houlin Zhao.

The awards were granted in 18 categories to successful projects in the implementation of commitments assumed by the states in the World Summit on the Information Society, as well as those that better respond to the UN sustainable development targets.

End of Blockade of Cuba and Sabotage on Progressive Govts Demanded

Source:  Prensa Latina
May 2 2016

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Representatives of 209 guilds, institutions and social movements from 34 countries demanded today the end of the US economic blockade of Cuba and the cease of political sabotage against the Latin American progressive governments and movements.

At Havana’s Conference Center, around 1,600 activists that shared on Sunday with the Cuban people the celebrations on the International Workers’ Day, recognized that the policy of economic, trade and financial hostility by Washington against Cuba still persists.

kenia serrano 7The blockade is still harshly in force

The blockade implemented more than 50 years ago has not disappeared and is still harshly in force, said the president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Kenia Serrano, in the plenary of the International Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Serrano explained to the participants that many could have a false perception that the hostile policy, vestige of the Cold War, disappeared after the measures adopted by the Administration of President Barack Obama, starting from the process to normalize the relations that the two countries began.

However, the truth is that despite the measures, the blockade is still rigorously in force.

End sabotage by the capitalist counter-offensive in the Latin American

The need to end that restrictive regulation, the main hindrance to Cuba’s normal development, was also justified and demanded by all participants in the meeting, many of whom were members of the 11th Contingent of the Brigade of Solidarity Primero de Mayo (May 1).

The group, composed of representatives of nations in all continents, also demanded the end of what they called political and economic sabotage by the capitalist counter-offensive in the Latin American region, and urged to confront it

Cuban Education: A Revolutionary Achievement

Source:  Granma
April 29 2016
By  Lissy Rodríguez Guerrero |

Cuba has met the teacher coverage and literacy targets for basic education outlined in the World Conference on Education Action Plan

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1959 marked a watershed in Cuban history. Tyranny had left an unsavory legacy across all spheres of society including education: of a population of five and a half million, 23.6% people over the age of 15 were illiterate.
fidel under arrestThe Moncada Program, referenced by the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, speaking in his own defense on trial for the attack on the Moncada Garrison, July 26, 1953, highlighted Cuban society’s most pressing problems, including universal access to free education – a feat later achieved by the Revolution.

Today Cuba has met teacher coverage and literacy targets for basic education, outlined in the World Conference on Education Action Plan, held in Jontien (Thailand).

Cuba has more than one million university graduates

Figures from the United Nations Development Program rate the average number of years of education received by Cubans aged over 25 at 11.5. Meanwhile the expected years of schooling, that is the total number of years of schooling (primary to tertiary) that a child can expect to receive is 13.8 years (almost up to the second year of university education). Likewise, with a population of 11.27 million inhabitants, Cuba has more than one million university graduates.

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Transforming schools into the epicenter of Cuban cultural life

Although much remains to be done, efforts must continue to follow the path charted 57 years ago, when the official discourse changed to focus on transforming schools into the epicenter of Cuban cultural life.

This initiative  also addressed global illiteracy with the creation of the Yo, sí puedo (Yes, I can) method which has taught over nine million people in 30 countries to read and write.


Havana’s May Day Rally: An Expression of Unity, History and Solidarity

Source:  Cuban News Agency  & Mail Online
May 1 2016

The parade staged on Sunday by over half a million Havana residents was a convincing demonstration of the unity of the Cuban people around its Revolution, the Communist Party, Fidel and Raul, and of history, commitment and solidarity with other fraternal peoples.

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Although for any compatriot these are everyday precepts, what was experienced on Sunday at Havana’s Jose Marti Revolution Square by the over 2,000 foreign visitors invited to May Day celebrations was completely new, surprising and encouraging.

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Many could not contain their emotion, especially those who know that in their countries International Workers’ Day was celebrated with great effort, because it was necessary to demand the end of neo-liberalism, massive layoffs, repression, poverty and disrespect for human rights.

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Some also felt healthy envy because the leadership of the Revolution, headed by Army General Raul Castro, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and President of the councils of State and Ministers, was present at the rally, since in many nations leaders hardly come close to the masses.

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Aware of the historic moment the region is living, where Latin American right, in complicity with U.S. imperialism, tries to reverse revolutionary processes and progress in social justice, Cubans also showed their solidarity with fraternal peoples.
Homeland is humanity, said Jose Marti, the Apostle of the Caribbean island’s independence, and under this concept, not only in Havana, but in the rest of the country, youngsters from other parts of the world studying in Cuba to become physicians and in various professions paraded with students, workers, soldiers, housewives, artists and farmers.

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Perhaps many foreigners were seized by curiosity when during the parade they saw replicas of lanterns, booklets, manuals and pencils, symbols of the literacy teaching campaign carried out in Cuba in 1961, in addition to photos of Commanders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and of other Latin American heroes.

The same thing happened when banners and models passed before their eyes in the hands of participants in battles like those waged against the Ebola virus in West Africa and amid the current vector control, or as expressions of the progress of major investments and of the development reached in other sectors.

The close of the parade, which ended on a high note, was even more exciting. Young students, along with members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Ministry of the Interior, marched at Revolution Square, which immediately gave way to the intonation of the International by Cubans and friends from other parts of the world from the platform, together with Raul and other leaders.

Founder of Cuba’s Granma Newspaper Dies at 67

Source:  Granma & TeleSUR
May 1 2015susana lee lopez founder of granma 2

“In the media, we have tried, with heart and conviction, to continue defending the work that we started very young.”  Susana Lee Lopez.

Susana Lee Lopez, founder of Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, died on May Day at 67 years old after over half a century of prominent reporting about the daily issues and achievements of the Cuban Revolution.

Susana’s life was one of service.  Following the triumph of the revolution, she was among the intrepid and committed young Cubans who didn’t hesitate to sign up for the literacy campaign.

She began her career in journalism without prior training, in May 1962, when she was still a high school student at the Institute of Secondary Education in Havana. Initially she worked with the paper Hoy, where she became a dedicated reporter of youth and women’s issues.

Between 1972 and 1976, she undertook a degree course for workers, graduating in Law, a profession she never practiced as she devoted herself completely to her vocation as a journalist. She was a founder of the papers Juventud Rebelde and Granma, in which she left her mark as a reporter. In the former, she worked for 15 years from 1966, when the paper was founded as a merger of the publications La Tarde and Mella.

At Granma, she carried out various reports personally assigned by Fidel Castro

She never tried to shine, but her work radiates from her modesty


As a result of her rich revolutionary journalistic career she earned numerous awards, medals, diplomas, and, more highly valued, the confidence of her party and the revolution which allowed her to be often beside the Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro.  Included among these  were the Dignity Award presented last year by the Union of Cuban Journalists and, less than two months ago, the highest professional recognition awarded by this body, the Jose Marti National Award for the work of a lifetime.

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Thanks to her work, said the jury on the day of the award ceremony, “we can read the historical review of the Revolution in detail, with investigative precision and reliability … She never tried to shine, but her work radiates from her modesty.”

We consider our profession as a reason to live

In her speech at the Jose Marti Memorial Theatre, where she spoke on March 11 last, on behalf of the winners of the national journalism awards, Susana Lee Lopez, born in Cuba from Chinese origins, thanked the jury saying, “As Fidel once said in the 1980s, the working day is sacred … we consider our profession as a reason to live …  in one way or another in the media, we have tried, with heart and conviction, to continue defending the work that we started very young, when others were not even born.”

“We receive (the prize) as the eyes and ears of the people, as the spokespersons of its resistance and sacrifices, its achievements and victories, its errors and failures,” she added, insisting that everyone should feel rewarded.

A simple, modest woman with much discipline

She joined the Communist Party of Cuba in 1992 and was deputy to the National Assembly of People’s Power for three terms (15 years).

She is  remembered by her colleagues and those who knew her as a simple, modest woman with much discipline.

Various tributes were paid to Susana this May 2, by relatives, friends and colleagues, while floral wreaths were sent by the leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro and Army General Raúl Castro Ruz

Marcri Aims to Solidify Argentina’sMedia Monopoly with Reforms

Source:  TeleSUR
March 29, 2016

Over the last 15 years, progressive governments in Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela and Uruguay have approved important legislative initiatives, challenging the structure of media ownership and creating alternatives to hegemonic models of communication.


media monopolies in latin america.jpgIn several countries in the region, at least one third of all broadcasting frequencies have been designated for community or alternative media sources.


telesur in english 3.jpgHowever, attempts to diversify media ownership have been complicated in countries like Argentina where the right-wing secured significant electoral victories in 2015.

IN DEPTH: Don’t Silence teleSUR

Macri announces  plan to empower corporate media

Only days after being sworn into office, Argentine President Mauricio Macri wasted no time in announcing his administration’s plan to empower corporate media conglomerates by dismantling the country’s state-run media watchdog, which was created under the 2009 Media Law.

The Media Law introduced in 2009 implied major changes in terms of ownership, specifically challenging media monopolies by lowering the threshold on the number of media outlets that can be owned by a single entity.

Media giant Clarin Group fought the legislation in courts for years, complaining the law would force it to sell off some of its operating licenses.

Move to eliminate teleSUR from the airwaves

Meanwhile, the recent decision by the government of Mauricio Macri to effectively take regional news broadcaster teleSUR off the air in Argentina, forms part of his administration’s larger overhaul of the country’s media laws.

The recent move to eliminate teleSUR from the airwaves comes after Argentine officials had publicly lamented the alleged lack of plurality of voices in the media.

However, despite government claims to try to create a more plural media environment, critics argue that Macri’s efforts to ban teleSUR represents an assault on the country’s 2009 Media Law and an attempt to further solidify the country’s already notoriously monopolized media market.

RELATED:Maduro Vows teleSUR Will Continue in Argentina

A significant impediment to media diversity

Like Macri, Argentina’s largest media conglomerate Clarin Group, view the 2009 Media Law – which sets aside a certain number of broadcast licenses for community groups like churches and cultural organizations – as a restriction on private property and press.

A recent study conducted by the Open Society Foundations concluded that the “concentration of property” in Argentina represents a significant impediment to media diversity.

“The concentration of property in multimedia groups, such as Clarin, that have dominant positions in print, radio, and free-to-air and pay television, restricts diversity,” the report noted.