Barbados could give ‘Queen’ the boot

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart plans to mark 50 years of independence from Britain by removing Queen Elizabeth as the head of state. 

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart BarbadosThe Queen of England could be removed as head of state of Barbados, 400 years since the Caribbean island was colonized by the British. Despite gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, the British royal family has remained as Barbados’s constitutional monarchy.

50th anniversary of independence

In a move to mark the 50th anniversary of independence next year, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart plans for the island nation to become a republic, with a ceremonial President installed in time for the celebrations.

According to George Pilgrim, general secretary of the ruling Democratic Labour Party, the prime minister was uncomfortable pledging allegiance to the Queen, who has not visited the former colony in 26 years.

Awkward in the year 2015 to have to stand up and pledge allegiance to the Queen

“(The Prime Minister) said he found it awkward in the year 2015 to have to stand up and pledge allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen,” Pilgrim said. The Queen remains head of state of 15 Commonwealth nations, such as Jamaica, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Source:  Barbados could give Queen the boot TeleSUR

Latin America Inspires Barcelona to El Clasico Victory

A winning goal by Uruguayan Luis Suarez and a key assistance by Argentine Lionel Messi ensured Barcelona’s defeat of Madrid.

soares 1Uruguayan Luis Suarez found the net to secure Barcelona an El Clasico victory over Real Madrid Sunday, sending their biggest rivals to a 2:1 defeat.

The Catalans went ahead in the first half with a strong header by Jeremy Mathieu, assisted by Argentine Lionel Messi, at the Camp Nou clash.

Luis Suárez Jérémy Mathieu BarcelonaReal Madrid caught up briefly with an equalizer by player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, but Suarez hammered home the Barca victory, scoring his ninth goal in the 11 games. Barcelona’s third Latin American in its world-class front three, Neymar Jr., had a quieter game.

messi y neymar celebrateHaving won ten out of 11 league games, Barcelona are now four points clear of second-placed Madrid, the current European champions.

Source: Latin America Inspires Barcelona to El Clasico Victory TeleSUR

Diaz-Canel: We come to Angola to confirm our friendship, our brotherhood

Source: Granma
March 19, 2015

“Our struggle for the abolition of slavery, for independence and later the joint battle with Angola to liberate the peoples of Africa and eradicate apartheid …has been a common struggle.”  Miguel Diaz Canel

With the aim of strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation between Cuba and Angola, on Tuesday March 17, Cuban Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel arrived in Angola for a three-day official after a successful one-day stay in South Africa.

diaz canel in angola 1At Luanda’s “4 de Fevereiro” International Airport, the Cuban official was welcomed by the Angolan Foreign Affairs minister, Georges Rebelo Pinto Chicoti, accompanied by the provincial governor of Luanda, Graciano Domingos, and members of the embassy of Cuba, led by its ambassador, Gisela Garcia Riveira

We come to Angola to confirm our friendship, our brotherhood

“We come to Angola to confirm our friendship, our brotherhood. We are united with Angola by very fond ties,” he said on arrival at the capital’s international airport, where he was warmly received by Angolan Foreign Minister, Georges Chicoty.

Speaking briefly to the press, Díaz-Canel, noted that, “in Angola we have part of our historic and cultural roots,” and referred to, “our struggle for the abolition of slavery, for independence and later the joint battle with Angola to liberate the peoples of Africa and eradicate apartheid. It has been a common struggle.”

This year marks 40 years of independence of this African country and the establishment of relations between Cuba and Angola.

Diaz-Canel pays homage to Agostinho Neto and Comandante Diaz Arguelles

The Cuban First Vice President explained that, “It was impossible to come to Angola and not visit the Memorial to Neto,”as he lay a wreath to the first president of Angola, whom he described as, “one of those essential and necessary men in history that never die because the grateful peoples will never allow him to die.”

diaz canel pays homage to netoAfter visiting the Memorial, Díaz-Canel held a working meeting with Minister of State and Chief of Civil House, Edeltrudes da Costa, who stated that the history of his young country was indelibly marked by the enormous sacrifices made by the sister nation of Cuba.

Paying tribute to the Cuban internationalist fighter, Comandante Raúl Díaz Argüelles

On Wednesday, 18 March, Díaz-Canel continued his tour of the country, paying tribute to the Cuban internationalist fighter, Comandante Raúl Díaz Argüelles who fell in combat on December 11, 1975, in Angola.

raul diaz arguelles 1“This modest tribute to Comandante Argüelles also includes heartfelt recognition of those who gave their lives in the heroic feats of Angola,” he said after laying a wreath at the tomb in the capital’s Alto das Cruces cemetery.

The First Vice President reaffirmed Cuba’s commitment to Angola, stating, “What each one of us can contribute to the development of Angola also pays tribute to and honors the memory of those who fought in these lands to safeguard their independence and self-determination, and exalts the legacy of men like Comandante Raúl Díaz Argüelles.”

A worthy son of Cuba and a friend of President Agostinho Neto

General Clemente Con­ju­ca, Angolan Secretary of State and Minister of Former Combatants and Veterans of the Homeland, referred to Comandante Argüelles as, “a worthy son of Cuba and an old friend of President Agostinho Neto.”

Díaz-Canel also met with the Secretary General of the governing People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), Julian Mateus Paulo, and noted the key role played by the party in the independence struggle as well as the establishment of relations between the two republics of Angola and Cuba.

Fidel Neto Raul y Osvaldo

During his trip, the Cuban leader met with the President of the National Assembly, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, and Angolan Vice President, Manuel Vicente, as well as Cuban health collaborators and staff at the country’s embassy in Luanda.

This Thursday, the First Vice President will continue his tour of Africa, travelling to Namibia for the inauguration of the President elect, Hage G. Geingob.

Source: Cuban First Vice President pays official visit to Angola  Granma

Díaz-Canel reaffirms Cuba’s unconditional support for the African cause

Source:  Granma

March 18, 2015

On March 16, First Vice President, Miguel Díaz-Canel, reaffirmed Cuba’s unconditional support for the African cause during a visit to South Africa.

 miguel diaz canel y cyril ramaphosa

(Photo:  Miguel Diaz-Canel and South Africa’s Vice president Cyril Ramaphosa)

 First Vice President, Miguel Díaz-Canel, reaffirmed Cuba’s unconditional support for the African cause during a visit to South Africa.

This was the sentiment which emerged during talks with the highest authorities of this country, Díaz-Canel noted in an interview with Prensa Latina, following a tour of the iconic Freedom Park historic complex located in the country’s capital.

“We reviewed bilateral issues, in the case of South Africa with regard to collaboration,” the Cuban leader said, adding that, “we have all recalled and relived the history and culture that unites us.”

Sister nations, fraternal peoples

Upon his arrival in South Africa, Díaz-Canel  was received by President Jacob Zuma, Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the Secretary General of the South African Communist Party, Blade Nzimande, who is also education minister.

Referring to this first trip to African soil, Díaz-Canel said he was fulfilling a personal debt to visit the continent and within it, “sister nations, fraternal peoples such as that of South Africa.”

The Vice President added, “We have experienced here a part of history, of the identity we received from Africa, but also of the history we have helped to build with South Africa’s independence and subsequent collaboration.”

The conviction of a people to be internationalists

He said his generation grew up accompanied by heroic stories of Cuba’s presence in Africa, which “expressed the conviction of a people to be internationalist.”

cubans in africaOver 2,000 Cubans shed their blood on African soil and the country has trained some 28,000 professionals across the continent, as part of the conviction not to contribute only what Cuba has in excess, he said.

The Vice President also noted that he will take with him the impression of a people who love Cuba, “and one leaves very committed.” The country’s leaders also have strong communication skills and understanding of our realities, he emphasized.

Angola and Namibia

During this tour of Africa, the Cuban First Vice President also visited the People’s Republic of Angola and attended the inauguration of President-elect, Hage G. Geingob, in the Republic of Namibia.

”These three African countries are very dear,” Díaz -Canel stated while noting that the last leg of his trip will take him to the Republic of India.

Díaz-Canel is accompanied by Gerardo Peñalver, Foreign Ministry general director for Bilateral Affairs, and Ángel Villa, director for Sub Saharan Africa.

Source:  Díaz-Canel ratifies Cuba’s unconditional support for the African cause  Granma

Cuban Medical Professionals Return from Africa

Source:  Cuban News Agency
March 23 2015

Following a successful mission against Ebola in Africa, 150 Cuban medical professionals returned home, 98 of them worked in Sierra Leone and 52 in Liberia.

cuban medics arrive in Cuba from west africa 1The medical brigade arrived at early hours Monday at the Juan Gualberto Gomez international airport in Varadero, western Matanzas province, after a nearly five-month mission that contributed to save over 400 lives threatened by the Ebola virus in Africa.

cuban medics arrive in cuba from west africa 2They are part of the Henry Reeve International Contingent, which groups 256 medical workers, who traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea following the call by the United Nations and the World Health Organization to fight the lethal disease in those African nations.

cuban medics arrive in cuba from west africa 3Following their arrival here, the medical personnel will be submitted to an epidemiological control established for all persons coming from countries affected by the Ebola virus.

Cuban Medical Professionals Return from Africa, CubanNews Agency

World Bank: Cuba has the highest investment in education worldwide


March 14 2015

by Salim Lamrani

According to the international institution, no country, including the richest, spend such a high part of its national budget on education as Cuba. The results are outstanding.

cuban school children 3Cuba is a world leader in education, according to a World Bank classification which placed Cuba in the top position in terms of investment in education for 2009-2013.  With nearly 13% (12.9%) of GDP invested in this sector, Cuba has made social policy a development model for nations as it leads the world, including the most developed countries, in this area. [1]

Timor Leste and Denmark round the world podium, with 11.3% and 8.7% of GDP respectively, dedicated to education. By comparison, the United States spends only 5.4%, i.e. less than a half of corresponding figure for Cuba; and Canada 5.5%.

In Europe, France spends 5.9% of its national budget on education, Germany 5.1%, UK 6.2%, Italy 4.5% and Spain 5%.

Bolivia ranks second in Latin America

In Latin America, Bolivia ranks second behind Cuba at 7.6%. Brazil attaches 5.8% of GDP on this sector, while Mexico and Argentina will spend 5.2% and 5.8% respectively. [2]

It is not the first time that the World Bank has praised Cuba’s accomplishment in this field. In another report published in 2014, the international organization notes that the Island has the best education system in Latin America and the Caribbean;  one with “strong academic talent, high wages and high professional autonomy that characterize the most effective educational systems in the world, such as in Finland, Singapore, Shanghai (China), Republic of Korea, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Canada. “[3]

Health education, culture and sport have always been a priority in Cuba

Areas such as health education, culture and sport have always been a priority in Cuba and the results are outstanding.  With a literacy rate of 99.8%, the island exhibits the lowest rate of illiteracy of Latin America, according to UNESCO, which also emphasizes that Cuba has the highest enrollment rate in Latin America with 99.7 of the students with free education.

Another UNESCO report on education in 13 countries in Latin America ranks Cuba in first place in all subjects and stresses that a Cuban student has twice the knowledge and skills of the average Latin American student. [4]

Austerity policies and the dismantling of the welfare state are actually harmful to the public interest

The World Bank, in praising the Cuban educational system, confirms in a way that austerity policies and the dismantling of the welfare state are actually harmful to the public interest. By prioritizing education, Cuba shows the world that it is possible to provide all citizens with a high level access to knowledge and training.  The limited resources is has as a Third World nation  and the  extremely severe economic sanctions imposed by the United States for more than half a century, have not prevented the Caribbean island from enjoying an efficient education system and remembering to locate the human being in the center of the social project.

* PhD in Iberian and Latin American Studies at the University Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani is a professor at the University of Reunion and journalist specializing in relations between Cuba and the United States. His latest book is titled Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality , New York, Monthly Review Press, 2014, with a foreword by Eduardo Galeano.

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[1] World Bank , “Public Spending on Education, Total (% of GDP)”, 2014. (accessed December 31 site 2014).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Barbara Bruns & Javier Luque, excellent teachers. How to improve learning in Latin America and the Caribbean , Washington, World Bank, Accessed August 30, 2014).

[4] Salim Lamrani, Cuba: les médias face au défi de l’impartialité , Paris, Star, 2013, p. 38.

Source:  According to the World Bank Cuba is the country that invests more in education, by Salim Lamrani    Almayadeen

Special and exclusive to Al Mayadeen


Cuba Eradicates Syphilis, HIV Transmission to Babies

Source: TeleSUR

March 20 2015


The World Health Organization is set to confirm Cuba as the first country in the world to have eliminated the STI transmission from mother to child.

cuba eradicates syphillisExperts from the World Health Organization (WHO) will visit Cuba soon to review if the country can be certified to have eliminated the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child.

In order to receive the certification from the WHO, a country must have a transmission rate in less than 0.5 percent of live births in the case of syphilis and less than 2 percent in the case of HIV. Medical care for pregnant women and access to HIV tests must exceed 95 percent and antiretroviral treatment must be available for 95 percent of seropositive pregnant women.

“We believe Cuba meets the indicated requirements and we hope to receive certification,” said Dr. Rosaida Ochoa, director of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Unit.

 Despite its status as a low-income country, Cuba’s medical system is recognized as one of the best in the world

Dr. Ochoa indicated that 24 experts from the WHO will visit hospitals, clinics, and laboratories in the provinces of Havana, Villa Clara, and Santiago de Cuba.

The Cuban doctor indicated that should Cuba be certified to have eliminated the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child, it would be the first country in the world to do so.

Despite its status as a low-income country, Cuba’s medical system is recognized as one of the best in the world. As an example of Cuba’s solidarity with the peoples of the world, Cuban doctors often travel to countries affected by disasters in order to provide medical relief. Cuban doctors recently went to countries in West Africa to help treat the Ebola epidemic, saving the lives of hundreds.

Source:  Cuba Eradicates syphilis, HIV Transmission to Babies TeleSUR