Bolivian Program My Health attended over 8.8 million Citizens

Source:  Prensa Latina
September 27 2016

Through the program My Health, more than eight million 800 thousand Bolivians have received free medical attention in 306 municipalities of this Andean nation.

Ariana Campero Bolivia.jpgThis was confirmed on Monday by the Minister of Health, Ariana Campero, when analyzing the results of this policy implemented by the government of president Evo Morales with the advice of Cuban specialists since June 1 2013.
She specified that over 50 percent of those attentions were made in the homes of patients and the rest in medical institutions.

my health bolivia 1.jpgThe initiative started with the support of 155 doctors and 11 specialists focused on giving free consultations house by house and reinforcing the work of first-level health centers.

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Official data show that at present were added to this program two thousand 389 doctors who work in 359 consultation urban centers and 773 medical posts.
They attend mostly vulnerable population groups and indigenous villages in rural areas.

Cuba Supports Fight vs. Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia

Source:  Prensa Latina
September 28 2016

united-nations-human-rights-logoCuba has reaffirmed the willingness to support the international fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, during the UN Human Rights Council, whose sessions continues today.

anayansi-rodriguezAfter speaking at the forum in Geneva, the permanent representative of the Caribbean nation in Geneva, Anayansi Rodriguez, recalled that despite the adoption of Durban’s Action Program referred to the issue, some practices of racism and xenophobia are still affecting the populations in many places of the planet.
‘We have seen with concern how political parties and associations with a strong anti-immigrant, xenophobic and racist nature have grown in developed countries,’ she said.
Millions of migrants are daily harassed, discriminated and marginalized in developed societies, while minorities such as gypsies or Romani citizens continue receiving a humiliating treatment, she said.

Police use of lethal force against Afro descendants

She also described as alarming the multiple examples in which police have resorted to lethal force against members of minorities and Afro descendants.
Given this facts, Cuba provided and continues providing its solidarity contribution to the realization of the basic human rights of excluded sectors in many countries, she said.

She also estimated as crucial the international cooperation on the issue because ‘most of the victims and people exposed to these practices belong to historically marginalized groups, among them are Afro descendants, indigenous people, women, migrants and ethnic minorities.’

The 33rd regular session of the Human Rights Council is being held in Geneva from September 13 to 30.

Uruguay’s Pepe Mujica: ‘Inequality Is the Enemy of Democracy’

Source:  TeleSUR
September 24 2016

“The biggest threat to democracy is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few,” said the former Uruguayan president.

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Pepe Mujica became president of Uruguay in 2010. | Photo: Reuters

Former President of Uruguay Jose Mujica said Latin America was the richest and at the same time the most unjust region in the world, and that all democracies should seek to end economic injustice, remarks that came during the third annual Latin American Summit of Progressive Movements in Ecuador on Wednesday.

RELATED: Uruguay’s  Mujica Campaigns for FARC Peace Deal in Colombia

“The biggest threat to democracy is the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, and therefore the concentration of power,” Mujica told an audience in the coastal city of Guayaquil.

If you like money

Lenin Moreno, former vice president of Ecuador and the U.N.’s Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility, greeted Mujica and recalled one of his most important sayings: “If you like money, don’t go into politics. Keep making money, for that is not the fruit of politics.”

WATCH: Mujica Breaks with Almagro over Criticism of Venezuela

 Equality, not charity

According to “Pepe” Mujica, to achieve a socialist vision of an ideal society, governments need to fight for equality, not charity.

“We live in the most unequal and unjust continent in the world,” said Mujica, now an Uruguayan senator. “We have so many debts to our people.”

RELATED:Uruguay’s Jose Mujica Says ‘Coup’ in Brazil Was Premeditated

Without unity, we lose our strength

Mujica said that people can’t live in an idealistic world, since there is a deep economic inequality in the region, and cited the example of the Mexican billionaire businessman Carlos Slim.

“The richest man in the world is from this continent. He would have to live 250 years, spending US$1 million a day, to spend it all,” said Mujica.

Mujica said leftist parties and governments should not let the right-wing destroy everything for which they have fought.

“Inequality is the enemy of democracy,” said Mujica. Mujica called on progressive movements to find unity, since “without unity, we lose our strength.”

Argentina’s Poverty Rate Increasing Dramatically Under Macri

Source:  TeleSUR
September 29 2016

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Argentine President Mauricio Macri speaks during news conference at the Olivos presidential residence in Buenos Aires in Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 28, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

The release of the figures prompted Macri to hold a press conference, in which he acknowledged that INDEC had now “put the real numbers on the table”.

RELATED: Argentina Records Its Worst Economic Growth Since 2009

Now one in three Argentines is poor

According to the country’s statistics bureau, the Instituto Nacional de Estadistic y Censos (INDEC), nearly one in three Argentines is poor, or don’t earn enough to buy a basket of goods and services.

The figure, released Wednesday, showed that 32.2 percent of Argentines live in poverty, up from 22 percent in 2007, the last INDEC report before the report was cancelled because there were concerns about reliability.

Following his inauguration in December of 2015, President Mauricio Macri reinstated the poverty reports, and Wednesday’s release was the first of his administration.

The news, as he conceded, was not good.

Loss of more than 150,000 jobs

The INDEC report, Macri said Wednesday, “put the truth on the table.” Since coming to office, Macri has faced near constant protests in response to the loss of more than 150,000 jobs, cuts to education, and revisions to the country’s tax and tariff rates, that privilege large, commercial exporters at the expense of smallholder farmers.

The result is a shrinking economy. Unemployment is nearly 10 percent, according to August figures. And in addition to the 14 million Argentines who live in poverty, the INDEC report found that 6.3 percent of all citizens, do not even have enough to buy enough food to meet the minimum monthly nutritional requirements for their diets.

Poverty level at 47.4 percent for the youngest segment of the population

Most shocking is that the poverty level climbs to 47.4 percent for the youngest segment of the population, Argentines younger than 14. Only adults between the ages of 30 and 64 years old (27.5 percent) and senior citizens above 65 years old (8.1 percent) are less impoverished than the national average.

RELATED: Argentina Faces 17% Inflation in 2017: Government

With its broad manufacturing base and Keynesian macroeconomic approach, Argentina was, by most indicators, the most prosperous economy in South America for most of the 20th century.

Neoliberal reforms

That changed abruptly following the 1989 election of Carlos Saul Menem, who introduced a raft of neoliberal reforms similar to Macri’s.

The result was an implosion. Within a decade of Menem’s election, unemployment, which had never eclipsed 5 percent in the post-war era, climbed as high as 22 percent.

And the poverty rate, which had not climbed higher than 6 percent over that span, had encompassed 56 ´percent of the population by 2001.

When poverty was as low as 4.7 per cent

The election of Nestor Kirchner as president in 2003, followed by his wife, Christina Fernandez Kirchner, began to reverse the trend, though not entirely.

The release of INDEC’s economic date was suspended when under the Kirchners, poverty estimates fell as low as 4.7 percent, a figure that was widely believed to be incredible

Obama Wants Kaepernick to Consider Military Families’ “Pain”

Source:  TeleSUR
September 29 2016

I want them to listen to the pain that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat,” Obama stated.

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U.S. President Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting with members of the military community hosted by CNN’s Jake Tapper at Fort Lee in Virginia, U.S., September 28, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

As the racial battle of narratives heightens, almost everyone in the United States has voiced their opinion on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s highly-publicized protests against police brutality—including President Barack Obama.

RELATED:  ‘I Won’t Be Silent:’ Black Athletes Pick Sides in US Race War

While the “Commander-in-Chief” has remained relatively mute on the spate of recent, highly-publicized instances of police violence against Black people, he wants Kaepernick to think about the “pain” he’s causing military families next time he chooses to take a knee during the national anthem.

“Sometimes out of these controversies, we start getting into a conversation, and I want everybody to listen to each other,” Obama said during a CNN town hall with members of America’s armed forces community on Wednesday. “So I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat, and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing.”

Perhaps to his credit, the president did add, (though almost as an afterthought): “I also want people to think about the pain that he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.”

RELATED: Kaepernick Protest Continues to Inspire More Players and Fans

Courtesy call to the major

These comments come on the heels of protests against the killings of 3 Black men by police in the last couple of weeks, the latest in a roster of continuing violence across the country. While Obama has released no statement on the latest extra-judicial killing, claiming the life of Alfred Olango in El Cajon, California, he did have comments on protests that broke out in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Charlotte, North Carolina, in demonstrations against the murders of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, respectively.

Instead of offering condolences to the victim’s families, however, he opted instead to extend the courtesy call to the major of the cities amidst the ensuing protests.

The unevenness of Obama’s response is consistent with a pattern that dates back at least to his first presidential campaign when, instead of expressing any sympathy, he instead chastised New Yorkers angry about the acquittal of three police officers who had opened fire on 23-year old Sean Bell as he left his bachelor party at a Queens strip club, killing the young African-American the day before his wedding day.

Cuban university students condemn subversive U.S. schemes

Source:  Granma
September 28 2016

by Eduardo Palomares Calderón | palomares@granma.cu

Students from the Julio Antonio Mella University in Santiago de Cuba condemned manoeuvres by the U.S. government, such as the World Learning program, which attempt to manipulate Cuban youth.

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Students from Santiago de Cuba condemned U.S. schemes. Photo: Eduardo Palomares

On September 28, before the monument to Julio Antonio Mella, students from the University which bears his name in Santiago de Cuba, condemned manoeuvres by the U.S. government, such as the World Learning program, which attempt to manipulate Cuban youth.

“I will be returning to my city of Las Tunas in a few months as a civil engineering graduate and in these five years our Revolution has guaranteed all my studies, free of charge, which is why we don’t need any scholarships from the U.S.,” stated Orestes Martínez Guerra, speaking to Granma at the demonstration.

In addition to Martínez Guerra, the over 14,000 students enrolled in the 55 degree courses offered by the University across its 13 faculties, outlined the true intentions of the supposed scholarship programs launched by the “non-governmental” organization World Learning, at a country with one of the best education systems on the planet.

New schemes by the U.S. government

Young people from various educational institutions in Ciego de Ávila joined in protests against new schemes by the U.S. government. Students from the José Assef Yara Faculty of Medical Sciences gathered in the university’s Ernesto Che Guevara Park to denounce the project.

Second year Dentistry student and a member of the faculty’s Federation of University Students (FEU) secretariat, Pedro Miranda Hernández condemned the subversive and manipulative nature of U.S. scholarship programs aimed at creating supposed opinion leaders and agents of change which have nothing in common with the Cuban Revolution’s social project.

Meanwhile, FEU President Abel Mayea categorically stated: “There are no ulterior motives in the scholarships awarded. It’s clear that they want to subdue us.
“Cuba is not opposed to exchanges, but these must be undertaken with respect and with complete adherence to institutionality. They won’t be able to offer us more than what the Revolution has given us in 58 years,” he stated

Damage caused by the U.S. blockade to education in Cuba

Source:  Granma
September 28 2016

by Yenia Silva Correa | informacion@granma.cu

“If the United States were willing to sell the materials and supplies we need to successfully develop our education system, Cuba would save $1,245,000 USD on shipping fees alone.

damages-caused-by-the-us-blockade-to-education-in-cuba

The US blockade prevents Cuba from obtaining state-of-the art applications and IT resources.  Photo:  Jose M. Correa

The efforts and political will of the Cuban state to continue to provide free and universal education to the people are laudable, above all given the limitations it faces as a result of the economic, commercial and financial blockade unilaterally imposed by the United States on the island for over five decades.

The aggressiveness of this policy markedly increased from April, 2015 through March, 2106; affecting in particular the export of educational services from Cuba to other countries, according to Dr. Paul Torres Fernández Ministry of Education (Mined) spokesman, during a recent press conference.

Dr. Torres highlighted losses associated with having to operate in distant markets, one of the areas where the negative impact of the blockade is most evident, with higher shipping fees raising costs for the island.

Citing an example he noted that transporting a 20 foot container from China costs Cuba approximately 3,200 U.S. dollars. However, the same operation from the U.S. would cost the island only 1,300 dollars.

“If the United States were willing to sell the materials and supplies we need to successfully develop our education system, Cuba would save $1,245,000 USD on shipping fees alone,” stated Torres.

Modern laboratories and audio-visual equipment

The blockade causes substantial damage to the sphere of educational services. For example, language schools work on the basis of the National System of Information for Education and Mined Central Archive, but lack modern laboratories and audio-visual equipment.

In order to highlight the extraterritorial nature of U.S. economic sanctions, Torres reported that a notable decrease in purchases, exchanges, and donations of texts, scientific papers and educational documents has been seen, given restrictions on publishing houses and institutions in third countries.

Use of the US dollar

“Despite remarks made by U.S. President Barack Obama, stating that Cuba can now use the dollar in international transactions, this continues to be an unresolved problem, directly impacting exchanges and purchases,” highlighted the Mined spokesman.

Another negative effect of the stifling economic policy toward the island is the reduction of publishing plans for school libraries and educational information centers.

“We can barely produce workbooks. The entire bibliography that has been published in previous years in regards to postgraduate and scientific education, of vital importance to the continued development of our teachers, has been severely inhibited,” noted Dr. Torres.

Technical-Vocational Education

The impact of the blockade has been acutely felt in Technical-Vocational Education from April 2015, through March 2016, especially given the need to renew and repair tools and machines.

The specialist noted that institutions offering Mechanics courses have been unable to replace out-dated equipment given the lack of sufficient resources to purchase them.

A similar situation is affecting students enrolled in Chemistry, the Sugar Cane Industry, and Food Industry courses, who are prevented from developing their skills to the full, due to insufficient equipment and devices.

Biology and chemistry laboratories

In regards to difficulties associated with purchasing laboratory units for Technical Education, the Mined spokesman stated, “The country has made extraordinary efforts to buy biology and chemistry laboratories. We have covered an important number of pre-universities in the country. However, we have not been able to reach all high-schools. If we take an overall look at high-school education, we have barley met a third of laboratory requirements.”

The U.S. government’s aggressive economic policy toward Cuba also negatively impacts Special Education, although the country serves all children and adolescents with special learning needs.

The financial sphere

The blockade also causes damages in the financial sphere. Payments relating to international collaboration agreements signed with Cuban educational institutions must be made in euros or Canadian dollars, causing further losses due to the currency conversion process.

In regards to technology, the limitations are notable. During the last decade, Cuba’s educational policy has focused on the use of Information and Communication Technologies. However, this process has been stunted due to the blockade, above all given restrictions on obtaining computing tools and Internet band-width available to the island.

All these figures demonstrate the tangible and considerable limitations faced by the Cuban education system as a consequence of the U.S. blockade. Despite this, Cuba continues to undertake numerous efforts and make substantial investments in order to continue being an example in the sphere of education.