2017: 256 Angolan students graduate in Cuba

“Cuba not only trains men of science, but also of conscience,”  Angolan student

This year, a total of 256 Angolan students graduated in Cuba…Granma spoke with some of them and found that almost all defined their studies in Cuba as one of the best experiences of their lives

Source:  Granma
August 21 2017

by: Darcy Borrero Batista | informacion@granma.cu

cuban trained angolan graduate 1.jpgEsmeralda de Fátima Damiao graduated with a high academic average of 5.03 points in Educational Psychology from the University of Sancti Spíritus. Photo: Darcy Borrero Batista

“It was all like a flash of lightning. It was a shock for me to come here. At first I didn’t want to. My father, as a former revolutionary soldier who adores the history of Cuba, wanted me to study here. My brothers had already done it; so I tried too, even though the first few days I didn’t feel like eating and was a little depressed.

I met wonderful teachers

“Then I started to interact with people and, in the end, I loved it. I fell in love with the province of Holguín, where I met wonderful teachers, a father, a mother, friends, who have offered me a life experience because we have shared everything. I learned the concept of fraternity, and that inspired me to write my thesis on local development.

“I was the first Angolan to write an applied thesis on local development!” Augusta Lopes Miranda explains, today a graduate of Economics from the University of Holguín.

Born in central Luanda, the capital of Angola, Lopes is mainly interested in politics. She is not the only one among the thousands of international students who graduated in different specialties in Cuba this year to have such an interest. Many leave the island wanting to change the world.

This year, a total of 256 Angolan students graduated in Cuba, among them psychologists, biologists, economists, architects, mathematicians, physicists, doctors, chemists, and engineers.

Granma spoke with some of them and found that almost all defined their studies in Cuba as one of the best experiences of their lives.

I would like to become the first female President of my country

“I arrived at just 20 years of age and here I became a woman, a professional, and I’m leaving ready to contribute to the development of my beautiful homeland. I would like to become the first female President of my country,” Lopes states, noting her desire to expand the social participation of women.

Esmeralda de Fátima Damiao is another Angolan graduate. At the University of Sancti Spíritus, she studied the specialty of Educational Psychology, and graduated with a high academic average of 5.03 points.

“From the time I arrived I was always very clear on the objective that brought me here. I did my degree in four years, even though it was five. I had the opportunity to do fourth and fifth year in a single course, due to my commitment and dedication,” she reveals.

I can consider myself a doctor today

International students on the island can opt for a range of careers in the university system throughout the country.

In the case of Angola, “There is a national cadre training program and an administrative institute for scholarships abroad. Through this body, scholarships are awarded to students who meet the requirements: to be healthy, not to be over 25 years of age, and have a good academic average,” explains Mauro Molose, who just graduated as a doctor.

Aged 30, he is the seventh of eight children in a family from the south of Angola. “I have always been very dedicated to my studies and, thanks to that, I can consider myself a doctor today.

The experience in Cuba was magnificent

“Our educational system is very different from that of Cuba. In fact, many of us have had certain difficulties entering universities here due to the change of evaluation system. Nevertheless, human beings have an adaptive capacity and we have managed to leave here as professionals,” he adds.

Back in his home country, Dr. Molose studied Agrarian Sciences, but “without giving up my dream of becoming a doctor someday. I knew that Cuba is a world power in this field and when it was announced in my country that they would grant scholarships to Angolans, at that very moment, without looking back, I suspended my agricultural studies and I came here.”

He now considers himself to be Cuban, more specifically from Santiago, and expresses with satisfaction that the experience in Cuba was magnificent. “We lived far from our families, but in Santiago de Cuba we were met with a very welcoming people, very similar to ours. As for seismic activity, Angola is a fairly quiet country. However, in Santiago we always had to deal with tremors. The one that marked us most was that of January 17, 2017, we were very scared.

I leave as a doctor, but also as a more humane person

“We experienced very important moments in the history of this country: the arrival of the Five Heroes, the death of our Comandante…

“We experienced many other events that marked our lives significantly, and I leave as a doctor, but also as a more humane person.”

Yuri Dos Santos, 27, graduated in Architecture at the University of Camagüey. Before coming to the island, he was already studying the third year of Architecture in Angola.

“But I left everything behind and started over here in Cuba. Until I came to Cuba, I felt an uneasiness that I could not explain. So, coming here and being exposed to a different environment, made me grow. Cuba has been exactly that, a school in terms of the development of my thought.

Studying here has been a privilege

“Studying here has been a privilege because being a graduate of a Cuban university is, for Angolans, synonymous with pride and respect.”

The most important thing for this young man, of everything he has learned here, is the philosophy with which degree courses are taught, at least in his case.

“We learn not only the technical aspect, but the social philosophy. The architecture I have learned is the product of a socialist system, and that is tangible when drawing. I can not create a 41-story tower; I have to think of buildings for the poor and the rich.”

WHAT DO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS FACE ON RETURNING TO THEIR COUNTRIES?

cuban trained Angolan graduate 2Yuri Dos Santos, aged 27, graduated in Architecture from the University of Camagüey. Photo: Darcy Borrero Batista

“In the case of Angola, we must enter the labor market and present our curricula to companies,” notes Yuri from Luanda, who studied alongside students from China, Djibouti, and several countries of the Americas.

“Spanish was the common language for all of us, even though the language was a barrier at first. I’m not going to lie. The early years were not easy, especially as I got sick, but the help of doctors and teachers meant I survived. Not only on the health side of things; also as a human being,” he explains.

The most successful international student

José Antonio Ferrera, the most successful international student in his graduation, is from the province of Kwanza Sul, Angola.

“What motivated me to come in principle were the results of Cuban education. My brother came before me and that also served as my inspiration. Now that I have graduated as a mechanical engineer, I do not regret having trained here. There I studied at a polytechnic, which would amount to a vocational course here, and I felt I had a solid base to study on the island.”

I am what I am now thanks to Cuba

“Angola is emerging from a civil war and we have had just a few years of peace, so our education system cannot be excellent. That’s why we are turning to sister nations to train the intellectuals and scientists who will build the country. We are going to involve them in the country’s social development,” notes José Antonio, who chairs the Assembly of Angolan Students in Cuba.

“I have spent more than half of my youth here and, throughout history, the island has offered its contribution to my country; and today Angola is what it is, thanks to the sisterhood of the Caribbean nation,” José Antonio stresses.

“Cuba not only trains men of science, but also of conscience,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mauro, who graduated with an academic average of 4.92 points, notes: “In my town, we believe that he who is not thankful, is a sorcerer. That’s why I thank Cuba. Because I am what I am now thanks to Cuba.”

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More Than 200 Killed in Mudslides in Sierra Leone

Source:  TeleSUR
August 14 2017

The Red Cross said at least 205 bodies had been taken to the central morgue in Freetown.

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People inspect the damage after a mudslide in the mountain town of Regent, Sierra Leone August 14, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

A mudslide has killed more than 200 people on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, sweeping away homes and leaving residents desperate for news of missing family members.

RELATED:  WHO to Announce End of Ebola in Liberia, Thanks to Cuba

The Red Cross said at least 205 bodies had been taken to the central morgue in Freetown. Police and military personnel were at the scene in the mountain town of Regent searching for people trapped in the debris.

Mountainside collapsed

Many people living at the foot of Mount Sugar Loaf were asleep when the mountainside collapsed, burying dozens of houses, including two-storey buildings, witnesses said.

Standing in the rain, residents sobbed as they mourned family members and waited for news of those missing. Adama Kamara wept as she described a failed attempt to rescue her 7-week-old child.

“We were inside when we heard the mudslide approaching. I attempted to grab my baby but the mud was too fast. She was covered alive,” said Kamara, who escaped with bruises. She said she was not sure what had happened to her husband.

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Rescue workers remove the rubble after a mudslide in the mountain town of Regent. | Photo: Reuters

A man said he had left early in the morning to buy bread. When he returned, his wife, children, siblings and in-laws were all dead.

The death toll is expected to rise as more bodies are recovered, Red Cross spokesman Abu Bakarr Tarawallie said.

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The disaster is so serious

Vice President Victor Foh told Reuters at the scene: “It is likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble.” He said a number of illegal buildings had been erected in the area.

“The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken,” he said. “We’re trying to cordon the area. Evacuate the people.”

An excavator plowed away at the mountainside and ambulances rushed back and forth to the city center with bodies and wounded, but rescue efforts were hampered by bad roads and the weather, a Reuters witness said.

Community chief Fatmata Tarawallie said she had started calling for help at 4 a.m. but that it did not come soon enough.

“Now our community has sunk,” she said.

Mudslides and floods are fairly common during the rainy season in West Africa, where deforestation and poor town planning has put residents at risk.

Pan African solidarity with the Cuban people

Source:  Pambazuka News

A Statement by the North American Delegation to the 8th Pan African Congress on the passing of Comrade Fidel Castro Ruiz

PanAfrican Wire

The Pan African Congress – North America

His anti-imperialist policies, socialist initiatives and strong internationalism have earned him a lasting place in world history.

November 30, 2016

 

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The North American Delegation to the 8th Pan African Congress would like to express its solidarity with the Cuban people at the moment when Comrade Fidel Castro joined the ancestors. For over 60 years Comrade Castro gave leadership to first a rebellion and then a revolution after which he was appointed as Prime Minister and later as President and Commander-in-Chief of Cuba, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and Secretary General of the Non Aligned Movement. His anti-imperialist policies, socialist initiatives and strong internationalism have earned him a lasting place in world history.

Leadership 

Noted for many of the internal social policies which addressed the quality of life for Cuban people such as increasing the literacy rate to 98% and decreasing the infant mortality rate to 1.1%, Comrade Castro and the Communist party of Cuba gave leadership to the peoples of the Caribbean, Central and South America. Castro was an undying opponent of all forms of colonialism and provided moral and political support to the Puerto Rican Independence movement.

Unswerving support for the anti-colonial struggles

Among the African descendants, Fidel will be remembered for his unswerving support for the anti-colonial struggles.  Soon after the decisive victory of the revolution, in the early 1960s Comrade Castro and the revolutionary leadership introduced a call for a “Marshall Plan” type program for Latin America. To counter this, the John F. Kennedy administration launched the Alliance for Progress to stifle the progressive initiatives of Cuba to support the oppressed of the American hemisphere.

Fidel y malcolm 5.jpgIt was among African Americans in the USA where the solidarity was manifest in numerous ways. Castro encouraged African Americans to visit Cuba, as a non-discriminatory country, and provided refuge for Pan African revolutionaries such as Robert Williams. Up to today, Assata Shakur is being protected in Cuba by the Cuban state. His visit to Harlem in 1960, talks with Malcolm X and other African-American leaders reaffirmed the growing ties between the two communities.

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A decade later he was one of the first to support President Salvador Allende against the right-wing elements of the Chilean military. In many ways it was the solidarity of the African progressive forces that cautioned the USA against an open invasion after the Bay of Pigs debacle in 1961. After that it was reported that there were over 600 attempts at the life of Comrade Castro by the US intelligence services.

Deep and abiding ties to Africa

Comrade Castro had deep and abiding ties to Africa, beginning with his connections to the African descendent community in Cuba. After visits in the 1970s to Guinea and Algeria, he led Cuba to become a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, and encouraged revolutionary movements everywhere, including Vietnam and Palestine. Comrade Castro actively supported the liberation forces of Africa and sent military advisers to assist Angolan President Agostinho Neto in 1975. Cuba then strengthened its support of the revolutionary forces in Mozambique and Southern Africa. In 1977 Comrade Castro was able to tour Algeria, Libya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Angola and in each country was warmly greeted as a true friend of African liberation.

fidel-y-neto-2During the period of the Reagan and Thatcher counter-revolution, the CIA and apartheid intensified their efforts to crush the freedom fighters in South Africa and Namibia. When the United States and South Africa increased their support for the forces of UNITA in Angola and the MNR in Mozambique, the Cuban government dispatched over 25,000 troops to Angola which led to a major victory at Cuito Cuanavale. Fidel Castro personally worked with the commanders on the ground, and his military clarity during the battles at Cuito Cuanavale led to the decisive victory. This was the battle that changed the history of Africa and ended white minority rule in Namibia and South Africa. Afterwards Castro rightly stated that, “The history of Africa will be divided into before and after Cuito Cuanavale.”

Support for Reparations

Comrade Castro supported the Global Reparations campaign and his support for the position of the Caribbean position at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001 shifted the position of most of the progressive forces in Latin America to support the reparative claims of African descendants in the Americas. Pan Africanists remember Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolutionaries for their strong support for the health programs in Africa at a moment when the IMF and the World Bank called on governments to cut health expenditures. It was this tradition which was manifest in 2014 when Cuba dispatched thousands of doctors to West Africa to assist Africans in containing the Ebola virus.

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The North American delegation of the Global Pan African movement salutes the bravery and focus of Comrade Fidel as we pledge to continue the fight against capitalism and racism.

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Hasta la Victoria Siempre!  Patria o Muerte!  Venceremos!

Martinique and Algeria’s Franz Fanon Remembered

Source:  TeleSUR
December 6 2016

“When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.”

RELATED:  5 Anti-Colonial Caribbean Leaders That You’ve Never Heard Of

franz fanon.jpgFrantz Omar Fanon was born July 20, 1925, in the Caribbean nation of Martinique and died on Dec. 6, 1961. He was a revolutionary philosopher, writer and psychiatrist who participated and influenced political processes for liberation across the world. His work has marked decolonial thought and anti-colonial struggles for the globally oppressed, especially African nations and people of the African diaspora.

 

Th Wretched of the Earth

Fanon supported the Algerian War of Independence from France and was actively involved in the Algerian National Liberation Front. Although he lived a comparatively short life, Fanon produced emblematic texts and theories that have proliferated anti-colonial revolutionary thought such as “Black Skin, White Masks” (1952) and “The Wretched of the Earth”(1961).

Fanon’s political thought encompassed the implications and consequences of colonization. He focused considerably on anti-colonial struggles of the time and people’s transforming consciousness. He focused on language, land and other factors that were utilized by the colonizer to oppress people’s of the world.

Ridding the people’s mind of the impact of imperialism

Fanon detailed the connections between the systematic colonization of people, land and language. For example, Fanon declared that “Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.” As such, he defended that “For a colonized people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.”

In 1953, Fanon was named the Head of the Psychiatry Department of the Blida-Joinville Hospital in Algeria. There, he spearheaded patient care reform and desegregated the wards. The war for Algerian independence began during this time and patients shared with Fanon stories of torture and brutality. Learning the realities first-hand of the Algerian cause, in 1956, Fanon resigned from his position with the French government to struggle for Algerian independence.

RELATED:  Algeria to Mourn Fidel Castro’s Internationalist Legacy

Algerian independence

Fanon went to Tunisia and began to work with the Algerian independence forces. He documented the independence movement writing articles in a number of publications. Several of his pieces were published after his death. He also served as the Ambassador to Ghana for the Provisional Algerian Government.

After returning from a trip to the Sahara to build another front for the Algerian independence movement, Fanon was diagnosed with leukemia. Despite the burden of his illness, Fanon continued to give lectures to the National Liberation Army along the Algero-Tunisian border.

His final text, “The Wretched of the Earth” was written in 10 months as he fought his cancer. Jean Paul Sartre published the text the year of his death. He sought treatment for his cancer but died in Bethesda, Maryland Dec. 6, 1961. Fanon’s body was buried with honors by the ALN and his body currently rests at the martyrs’ graveyard in Ain Kerma, Algeria.

Exhibition in tribute to Fidel Castro inaugurated in Algiers

Source:  Algeria Press Service

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ALGIERS- An exhibition of photographs and archives shedding light on the life and career of the leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro opened Thursday in Algiers.

Organized by the National Archives, the exhibition, devoted to the memory of Fidel Castro, who died on 25 November 2016, includes photos, newspaper cuttings and official correspondences exchanged between Algiers and Havana.

The exhibition comprises photos on Fidel Castro’s official visits to Algeria and meetings with foreign leaders and Algerian Presidents namely Houari Boumediene, Ahmed Ben Bella, Chadli Bendjedid and Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

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The visitors will also be able to see newspaper cuttings and photos of Fidel Castro’s official visit to Algeria in 1972 where he returned, one year later, on the occasion of the Non-Aligned Movement Conference held in Algiers.

Other photos showing the Cuban leader receiving Algerian presidents in Cuba, including Ahmed Ben Bella (1962), Houari Boumediene (1974), Chadli Ben Djedid (1985) and the recent visit of Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal (2016) are also part of this exhibition.

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This exhibition also includes the written speech of President Bouteflika on the occasion of Fidel Castro’s visit to Algeria in 2001.

Attending the inauguration, Director General of the National Archives Abdelmadjid Chikhi said that the exhibition is meant to be “a tribute to a great man who managed to lead his people according to the principles of the Algerian Revolution.”

See also:  Fidel Castro’s death: President Bouteflika declares 8 days of national mourning

November 26 2016

ALGIERS- President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Saturday has declared eight days of national mourning as from Sunday following the death of Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro, said the Presidency of the Republic in a statement.

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In a statement issued by the presidency, Bouteflika said Castro’s “death is a great loss for the Algerian people,” and declared a national mourning period that is to start on Sunday.

The Algerian president also sent his condolences to his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, in which he said that he has lost a friend that has accompanied him for half a century.

I lose personally, a friend

“With his passing, I lose personally, a friend and companion of more than half a century. This is also a great loss for the people of Algeria who have a special relationship with El Comandante, made of respect, admiration and mutual affection,” Bouteflika said.

Algeria and Cuba established diplomatic relations right after Algerian independence in 1962, and the Caribbean island state supported the North African nation’s reconstruction efforts, especially in the medical field.

Fidel Castro visited Algeria in 1972 and 1976 where he was welcomed with great pomp and ceremony. Castro’s last official visit to Algeria was in May 2001.

Castro died on Friday at the age of 90 in Havana.

“The commander-in-chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening,” President Raul Castro announced on national television just after midnight Friday local time.

Living by the slogan “socialism or death”, he kept the faith to the end, even as the Cold War came and went.

His rule endured numerous assassination attempts and the disastrous US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion attempt in 1961.

“If I am considered a myth, the United States deserves the credit,” he said in 1988.

Thousands pay tribute to Fidel in Namibia

Source:  Prensa Latina/ Granma
December 9 2016

The posthumous tribute, held in the gardens of Namibia’s Parliament building, was broadcast live by channel NBC and saw the participation of the all senior members of government, the SWAPO Party and representatives of the diplomatic corps.

thousands pay tribute to fidel in namibia.jpgNamibian professionals, who graduated from the island’s universities, as well as Cuban collaborators and nationals living in the African nation, also participated in the act. Photo: Cuban Embassy in Namibia

Windhoek.—Thousands of people attended a solemn ceremony in the capital – led by Namibian President Hage Geingob – in honor of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

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According to the Cuban Embassy in that country, the posthumous tribute, held in the gardens of Namibia’s Parliament building, was broadcast live by channel NBC and saw the participation of the all senior members of government, the SWAPO Party and representatives of the diplomatic corps.

Eternal gratitude owed to Fidel and Cuba

Namibian professionals, who graduated from the island’s universities, as well as Cuban collaborators and nationals living in the African nation, also participated in the act.
Gein­gob described the leader of the Cuban Revolution as a hero and reiterated that Namibia “owes its eternal gratitude to Cuba and Fidel.”
He went on to recall the great sacrifice made by Cubans who fought to defend the people of Africa.

Namibia supports the call to end the US blockade against Cuba

The leader also reaffirmed his country’s unwavering support to the island in its struggle against the economic, commercial and financial blockade, imposed by successive U.S. administrations for over 50 years.

On behalf of all Namibians educated under the Cuban Revolution, National Police Chief, Lieutenant General Sebastián Ndeitunga, gave a moving speech, in which he recalled Fidel’s frequent visits to the Isle of Youth where many Namibians studied, and his constant support and encouragement.

Namibian revolutionaries Sam Nujoma and Andimba Toivo; secretary general of the Swapo Party, Nangolo Mbumba, and Cuban Ambassador to Namibia, Giraldo Mazola, also spoke during the event.

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