South Africa’s election result had few surprises, but one rude awakening

Source:  Quartz Africa
May 11 2019

By Lynsey Chutel

south africa's national electionsFrom left to right: Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters,
President Cyril Ramaphosa, leader of the African National Congress, and
Mmusi Maimaine, leader of the Democratic Alliance. Reuters

It is no surprise that the African National Congress emerged victorious in South Africa’s general election this week, but the changing profile of its rivals shows that political landscape of Africa’s most advanced economy is beginning to transform radically, to the left and the right. Land is the center of both sides of the debate.

ANC’s worst performance yet

Despite their victory, this is the ANC’s worst performance yet. At 57.5% of the national vote, the ANC continues a steady decline. Despite president Cyril Ramaphosa’s promises of a new dawn, the party couldn’t shake its darker recent past of corruption, slow economic growth and factional fighting. Ramaphosa’s focus on land redistribution and anti-corruption did not quite yield the results the party had hoped and it struggled to hold on to the economic hub, Gauteng.

Its nearest rival, the Democratic Alliance, did not fare much better, earning 20,7% of the national vote, down from 22,23% in 2014. The liberal party maintained its stronghold in the Western Cape, but for the first time since 1994, failed to grow its support. The party’s first black president, Mmusi Maimane, may be out of a job soon, analysts said.

EFF’s huge advance

Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters party looks set to become the official opposition by the next election, growing its share of the national vote from 6.35% in 2014 to 10,79%. With its leftist policies and the impatient slogan, “Our Land and Jobs, Now!” the EFF not only tapped into the frustration of disenfranchised youth, but peri-urban communities throughout the country.

Ahead of the vote, pollsters analyzed that the Democratic Alliance would bleed conservative votes, to the Freedom Front Plus. The DA itself conceded that the loss of this constituency was “inevitable,” yet the growth of this hitherto fringe party has shocked many in the country.

“It’s part of the repositioning of the party and we will have to learn the lessons from this election,” a member of the DA’s leadership.

For its part, the FF+ made it clear that it represented minorities, positioning itself as the voice for “a new generation of embittered individuals is forming among Afrikaners, coloured and other nonblack people.” And it seems to have worked: party only won five districts in the last election—this year it claimed more than 100 making it the fifth largest party in the country. With 2,4% of the vote, its portion of the win is small, but thanks to South Africa’s proportional representation electoral system, the FF+ will have a louder voice in parliament.

The conservative, right-leaning party campaigned with the slogan “Fight Back,” with a manifesto centered on the principle that “South Africa is teetering on the edge of ruin.” Land and farm murders were among their key issues. The party is “strongly opposed” to expropriation without compensation and described farm murders as “a national crisis.”

“The two biggest parties to grow in 2019 are the FF plus on the far right representing predominantly white Afrikaans communities and the EFF on the far left representing largely black young, economically marginalized youth,” said Tessa Dooms, a social analyst. “The lesson is that the lived realities and the legacies of Apartheid that we have thought would go away over time have not only remained but are becoming politically significant.”

While campaigning overtly on race would be frowned upon in South Africa today, the FF+ is using the Afrikaans language to mobilize coloured South Africans, Dooms told Quartz. Like its rival on the opposite end of the political spectrum, the EFF, the FF+ has tapped into the frustrations of those who feel left behind.

Related:   South Africa: Ruling African National Congress (ANC) Wins With 57% Of Votes  – TeleSUR

 

Diaz-Canel receives President of Ghana

Source:  Granma
April 5, 2019

by: Granma | internet@granma.cu

Diaz y President of Ghana Photo: Estudios Revolución

The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Thursday afternoon received the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Mr. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on an official visit to our country.

During the amicable meeting the two leaders addressed the positive state of the historic bilateral relations their countries share, and reaffirmed the will to promote political ties and collaboration. They also discussed other topics of on the regional and international agenda.

Accompanying the distinguished visitor were the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Health, and Education: Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Matthew Opoku Prempeh and Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, respectively; and Ghana’s ambassador in Cuba, Napoleon Abdulai.

Also participating on the Cuban side were Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla; the Ministers of Foreign Trade and Investment, Higher Education, and Public Health, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, José Ramón Saborido Loidi, and José Ángel Portal Miranda, respectively; as well as Cuba’s ambassador in Ghana, Pedro Luis Despaigne González.

Díaz-Canel: Cuba is making every effort to secure the safe return of Assel and Landy

Source: Granma
April 15 2019

Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, tweeted that Cuba is working tirelessly for the safe return of Assel (Herrera) and Landy (Rodríguez), Cuban doctors abducted in Kenya, this past Friday

Assel Herrera and Landy Rodríguez. Photo: Internet

“Cuba is working tirelessly for the safe return of Assel (Herrera) and Landy (Rodríguez), our doctors abducted in Kenya,” stated Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, on his Twitter account, adding, “We share the certainty, with them and their loved ones, that their humanitarian mission will be respected and recognized. We believe in the power of solidarity.”

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla likewise tweeted, “I held a telephone conversation with the Kenyan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mónica Juma. We discussed the abduction of the two Cuban doctors and actions being taken by the government of this country given the unfortunate incident.”

On both of these Twitter accounts, it was made clear that other Cuban doctors are safe and fully informed of every step being taken to rescue their two colleagues.

Assel Herrera Correa is a specialist in Comprehensive General medicine from the province of Las Tunas and Landy Rodríguez Hernández, from Villa Clara, is a surgeon.

A communiqué released April 12 by the Ministry of Public Health stated that channels of communication were immediately established with authorities in Kenya to address the situation, and family members here are being kept informed.

Landy’s mother, Martha Hernández, told Granma, “I have full confidence that sooner than later, my son will return to the heart of his family. The Revolution never abandons one of its children, and this time, it will be the same.”

Despite the overwhelming pain, Martha insisted that solidarity, in Cuba and around the world, supporting the doctors’ freedom is key to their safe return.

She said that, since she heard the news, Party, government and Public Health authorities in the municipality of Placetas and on the provincial level, have kept her informed of every detail.

Assel’s family in Las Tunas is also receiving continuous support and all information available is being provided them.

In a statement to Granma, Grégory Antonio Pérez Héctor, deputy director of Public Health in the province explained that, upon receiving the news, a commission was immediately created, first to visit the home of his daughter, a high school student in the provincial capital, and then his parents in the community of Delicias.

“We have stayed in permanent contact with them, and not only on the part of Health, but political and government authorities, as well. Saturday, his parents were visited by Public Health officials who stayed with them most of the afternoon, explaining everything the country is doing to secure the return of their son. As elderly persons in poor health, they have been assigned the continuous support of a doctor, a nurse, and psychologist.”

Ruciel Tamayo Pérez, head of the clinic where Assel worked, told Granma that every day the administrator on duty visits the home of his daughter, who lives nearby.

“His daughter is finishing twelfth grade and tells us that she wants to be a doctor like her father. We have assured her that our government never abandons anyone.”

I do not want to “think badly”

Source:  Guajirita Soy
April 15 2019

By: Ana Hernández Hernández

from guajirita 1.png

During the last few months, some unprecedented events in the medical collaboration that Cuba has given, have happened one after another, which without the slightest interest in “thinking badly”, I do interpret that behind them can go the hairy hand of those who have always tried to discredit the human task, to bring life, hope and light, where others are present with missiles, bombs and military forces in the name of vaunted “Humanitarian Aid”.

First, once he assumed power in Brazil the  neofascist Jair Bolsonaro, discontinues the More Doctors Humanitarian Program, thus putting the Cuban doctors out of the South American giant, but not before proffering as many slanders and lies as possible  against the true professionalism of our doctors, while, at the same time, encouraging them to defect and assuring them employment.

Jair Bolsonaro, who stated,  among the many falsehoods, that the doctors were slaves of the Cuban government, assured employment to those who were willing to leave the mission and not return to Cuba.  Those who decided to opt for his call and his promises, today are the same ones who the passing of the months have found them unemployed and drifting away from what they can find to pay for their livelihood.

Second , just a few days ago, as a result of irregularities in the payment, by their country, to the Congolese scholars who are studying at the Latin American School of Medicine, ELAM, these students created a climate of violence and instability in the center. It transcended borders, where the intervention of  public order personnel was necessary  in order to control indiscipline.

A few hours after the events,   the future health professionals apologized to Cuba, for such a situation …, but notwithstanding that it is a problem that concerns the Congolese authorities and not the Cuban ones, an unusual event occurred and before the eyes of the malicious, manipulators of information, criticism appeared blaming the largest of the Antilles and its study programs that train medical and paramedical personnel.

Third , and only a few hours ago, they kidnapped in Kenya two Cuban collaborators that make up the Medical Brigade, which since last year has been serving in that African land, an unprecedented fact throughout the long history of Cuba, in more than 160 countries of the world, where they have arrived with their message of health, life and hope for the needy.

There are undoubtedly three significant facts, in different latitudes, but they could very well be marked by a single interest, although apparently they could not have contact points … and I do not want to “think badly”, but that interest and points of contact I see through the magnifying glass that guides my steps and my eyes towards those who, once and a thousand times, have tried to tarnish the human work carried out by the Cuban medicine world, and of course! They are the same people who, without scruples,  have given themselves to the task of  calling Cuban collaborators, like military men who arrive to indoctrinate the peoples.

I do not want to “think badly”, but behind this may be the hairy hand of those who do not like us … I just conclude thinking: That on earth there are more flowers than snakes …, not to “Think Bad”

The honor of helping Mozambique

Source:  Granma
April 2 2019

A medical brigade from the Henry Reeve Contingent, specialized in disaster situations and serious epidemics, is saving lives in this sister African country

Arriving in Mozambique, the Cuban brigade unloaded all the equipment they brought to perform their work in this sister nation. Photo: Minister of Public Health on Twitter

Damage caused by Hurricane Idai in Mozambique has once again mobilized Cuban solidarity, with a medical brigade from the Henry Reeve Contingent, specialized in disaster situations and serious epidemics, providing help in the city of Beira, Sofala province. The extreme weather left 468 dead, while another 259 perished in neighboring Zimbabwe and at least 56 in Malawi. Some three million inhabitants of the region suffered damage during the storm, described by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as one of the worst weather-related disasters in the history of the African continent.

The brigade’s 40 members traveled with a field hospital donated by Cuba with spaces for consultations, operating rooms, a clinical and microbiological lab, imaging equipment, plus 20 hospital beds. Included in the group are specialists in Comprehensive General Medicine (MGI), surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, orthopedics, epidemiology, and health technology, who will join the more than 270 Cubans already working in the country, where our medical collaboration has been present since 1975, when independence was declared. Dr. Miguel Zorrilla Quiñones, a comprehensive medicine general practitioner, from the province of Pinar del Río, told Granma International that, when tragedy struck Mozambique on March 27, the Cuban government immediately proposed sending solidarity and began to prepare to depart, gathering information on the location and the epidemiological situation.

He has experience working in other countries: first in the Venezuelan state of Lara from 2001 to 2006; then in Pakistan in the wake of the 2006 earthquake there; in Angola (2006-2009); and Brazil (2015-2018). “In Mozambique I expect to find families with medical assistance needs and we will make every effort to resolve all the difficulties that the people are facing, as quickly as possible.” A similar comment was expressed by Dr. Ralfys Armando Carbó Sánchez, obstetrician at the Pedro Betancourt hospital in Jovellanos, Matanzas, who provided services in the city of Ebebellín, in Equatorial Guinea from 2008 through 2010, and treated patients with conditions rarely seen in Cuba.

As soon as everything was set up, Cuban doctors began attending the population in need. Photo: Minister of Public Health on Twitter

“I was the only Ob-Gyn. Also working there were a surgeon and a pediatrician, with two comprehensive medicine general practitioners. We organized shifts in general medicine and each of us faced all the ailments with which the population arrived at the emergency room. If a specific situation occurred, the specialist was called, so we were on duty 24 hours a day,” the doctor said. There was malaria, HIV/AIDS and typhoid fever, so he began prevention and health promotion work in suburban areas and distant villages to explain hygienic-sanitary measures to address these illnesses. During these community visits, he carried medicine to treat chronic non-infectious diseases and diagnose possible epidemiological conditions, while participating in the existing national program entitled “Growing without malaria,” offering educational talks on measures to be taken to control spreading the disease.

“I have several anecdotes to recount, but I was especially moved by the case of a pregnant woman who came to us in very serious condition. She had been in labor for five days, with very high blood pressure. She had convulsions when she arrived and without many material resources available, I was able to save her life. Neither she nor the baby died. Later, she came to visit me several times and thanked me for my efforts,” Carbó said. He also lived the experience of treating women who had abortions under poor sanitary conditions and developed infections due to these unsafe procedures. In these cases, he was obliged to use all his knowledge to assist the women, and is proud to say that in his two years of service, he had no maternal deaths and the infant mortality rate was reduced.

Getting ready to leave for Mozambique, he received updated information and participated in professional classes on cholera and malaria, since these are two diseases that can trigger epidemics after flooding occurs. “We discussed the prevention and prophylactic work we must carry out, mainly by presenting hygienic-sanitary talks.” He underwent medical tests to determine his health parameters and was vaccinated to prevent endemic diseases that have been eradicated in Cuba. He reviewed steps to take to avoid getting sick and updated his medical file, that he will take along, with this recent clinical evaluation.

Some 40 members have the brigade have departed for areas affected by Hurricane Idai. Photo: Roberto Suárez

For his part, registered anesthesiology nurse Serguei León Alonso, from Villa Clara, who just arrived from Guatemala where he served in a hospital operating room, in the city of Ixchiguan, San Marcos province, commented, “In Mozambique I will face a difficult epidemiological situation. I expect to see the population very sad and in pain, after witnessing a great catastrophe,” the young man said. He said he was proud to have been selected to work in these circumstances to show the humanism of his profession, something learned over the many years of study, and as part the legacy of Fidel Castro’s life and thought, who instilled in Cubans the desire to help the most needy even if they live in faraway, remote villages, adding, “Every health professional should be wherever duty calls,” Leon said.

Likewise, Yoanky Valdés Baullosa, a 33-year-old psychiatrist at the Pedro Borrás Polyclinic in Pinar del Río, has the experience of working with indigenous peoples in a mountainous area in the municipalities of Cajigal y Cariacó, in the Venezuelan state of Sucre, 2016-2018.

He points out that Cuban professionals have sufficient academic preparation to adapt quickly to change and find solutions to their problems and those of others. His assignment involves providing clinical therapy to the local population and his own colleagues, who will no doubt experience difficult moments, given the complex situation they will face in Mozambique. “For me this is about fulfilling a duty, leaving a legacy, that is, to be part of the history of Cuban medicine.”

Cuba Sends Field Hospital to Help Mozambique amid Cyclone Idai

Source: TeleSUR
March 26 2019

  • Patients await treatment at a hospital that had roofing blown off during Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, March 26, 2019.
    Patients await treatment at a hospital that had roofing blown off during Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, March 26, 2019. | Photo: Reuter

Cuban cooperation includes doctors and equipment to counteract the public health effects of the worst southern hemisphere tropical storm ever.

Cuba’s vice minister of Foreign Affairs Anayansi Rodriguez Camejo announced that Cuba is sending Wednestay a “field hospital”, with full staff and equipment, to Mozambique, which is a form of international cooperation whose purpose is to contribute to the management of public health conditions after the devastating impact caused by Cyclone Idai.

RELATED:  Death Toll Reaches 446 in Mozambique After Cyclone Idai

This new internationalist medical brigade will join 372 Cuban doctors who are already providing their services in the African country, 36 of whom arrived on March 14, when Idai made landfall for the first time, according to the Cuban News Agency (ACN).

In Mozambique the death toll rises to 447 and the directly affected population reaches 794,035 people, 128,941 of which are currently staying in 143 shelters provided by President Filipe Nyusi administration, according to the data updated until Monday by the National Institute of Catastrophe Management (INGC).

Cyclone Idai started as a tropical storm at Mozambique’s eastern coast on March 4. Days later, Idai made landfall and became one of the worst southern hemisphere tropical cyclones ever recorded as it reached four of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale, causeing multiple economic losses in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

“Our Cuban doctors, the Cuban Revolution’s most perfect work, always upholding our values, with their love of humanity, helping with a solidarity gesture to the Mozambican people. We are Cuba. We are Continuity. Let’s go for more.”

Vice Minister Rodriguez Camejo also accompanied Tuesday Gladys Bejerano Portela, who is Cuba’s State Council vice president and Comptroller General, to the Mozambican embassy in Havana, where both officials signed a condolence book with the African republic.

“In the name of the Cuban state, government and people, we express our deepest condolences, sorrow and solidarity with the government and people of the sister Republic of Mozambique, in the face of the lamentable human and economic losses caused by Idai,” Bejerano wrote.

In the center of Mozambique, the provinces of Manica and Sofala, where some 4.4 million people live, were the most affected by the cyclone.

In the capital Maputo, some 25 million people experienced the onslaught of Idai, whose consequences have been described by the United Nations as a “Level 3” humanitarian emergency, a category which only Syria and Yemen had achieved so far.

Cuban Vice President Ines Maria Chapman to Arrive in Kenya Today

Source:  Prensa Latina

March 31 2019

Nairobi, Mar 31 (Prensa Latina) The vice president of the Cuban Council of State and of Ministers, Ines Maria Chapman, will arrive on Sunday in Kenya, the last stopover of a tour of three African countries.
The tour, which also included South Africa and Lesotho, contributed to fostering relations between Cuba and the African peoples.

The Cuban vice president was welcomed by the top government and political authorities in the nations she visited.

At each meeting, participants highlighted Cuba’s role in the independence of this part of the world, as well as its collaboration in several fields, particularly public health.

The vice president, in turn, expressed her country’s gratitude for the strong stance against the economic, commercial and financial blockade the United States has imposed on Cuba for more than six decades.