Elections in Cuba: More Than 85% of the Electorate Exercised Their Right to Vote

Source:  Cuba Inside the World & TeleSUR

The president of the National Electoral Commission emphasized that the day passed with tranquility, organization and discipline.

cuba's municipal elections nov 2017 3.jpg

Seven million 608,404 Cubans went to the polls this past Sunday to elect the delegates to the municipal assemblies of the Popular Power, reported on Monday Alina Balseiro, president of the National Electoral Commission (CEN).

Related:  Elections in Cuba: Like Nowhere Else!

This figure represents 85.94 percent of the eight million 855,213 citizens summoned to exercise their right to vote in the first stage of the 2017-2018 general elections, according to data offered by Balseiro at a press conference.

cuba's municipal elections nov 2017 2.jpgThe number of voters this past Sunday increased by 54,882 with respect to the elections of 2015.

– Of all the ballots deposited, 91.79 percent were valid, 4.12 percent were blank and only 4.07 percent were canceled.

– The provinces with the best percentages of valid ballots were Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Las Tunas, Granma and Sancti Spíritus.

-11,415 delegates were elected from the 12,515 existing districts.

-Of the total of elected, women represent 35.47 percent, while young people 14.36.

-The second round will include 1,100 districts next December 3, 67 less than in 2015.

Balseiro stressed that the election day passed with calm, organization, discipline and compliance with the law. He also thanked the agencies and institutions that supported the process.

cuba elections nov 2017.jpg

Four million and counting

Source:  Granma
November 6 2017

by National news staff | informacion@granma.cu

As the tourist high season begins, the island has already received four million visitors thus far this year, according to Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism

four million and counting.jpg Photo: Juvenal Balán

In a November 6 press note, Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism reported that the island has received four million visitors thus far this year; 54 days before the same figure was reached in 2016; and proof of Cuba’s growing popularity as a tourist destination.

Meanwhile, despite the impact of Hurricane Irma and campaigns to deter international visitors from traveling to the island, concerted efforts by different sector entities have ensured continued interest in Cuba.

In this sense, several key resorts including Cayo Santa María, Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, reopened this November 1, marking the beginning of the tourist high season on the island, with improvements made to facilities and all destinations fully operational, according to the press note.

Good outlook for tourist high season 

good outlook for tourist high seasonWith over 12,000 rooms nationwide, the Gran Caribe hotel chain is focusing its attention on tourist high season, which officially begins on November 16.

During a press conference at Cuba’s Hotel Nacional, one of the chain’s iconic establishments and a symbol of Cuba’s hotel industry, Gran Caribe directors expressed their confidence in a successful high season.
Eduardo Acosta, the entity’s president, noted that Gran Caribe expects to see positive results in the coming months, with this year’s winter period expected to be more successful than that of 2016.  He went on to highlight the hard work undertaken to repair and improve facilities and infrastructure following Hurricane Irma.

According to the group’s Vice President, Cristina León, Gran Caribe focused its efforts on refurbishment, painting, exteriors, nightclubs and restaurants across its 14 establishments in Havana.  Meanwhile, repairs were also carried out in the company’s hotels in Varadero – Cuba’s number one beach resort – above all to terraces, beach huts, bars and pools; while exterior and communal areas were repainted, and furniture replaced.

Directors went on to note that damage caused by the hurricane to establishments in Jardines del Rey (Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo), demanded serious and professional work, the results of which can be seen today.
These actions will mark the 2017-2018 winter season; offering clients a renewed image, and inviting them to return and discover that we have not only changed but are also a unique destination in the Caribbean, stated the officials.
With a record four million international visitors, the outlook is good for the tourist high season. (ACN)

Ten truths about Cuba’s general elections

Source: greenleft.org
November 17, 2017

Although the media spends a lot of time portraying Cuba as a “dictatorship”, it has barely covered the fact that Cubans have once again begun a process of electing officials, starting from the local and going all the way up to the national parliament.

ten truths about cuba.jpegAlready, 78% of the population has participated in the process of selecting candidates for local government elections scheduled for November 26. A second round is scheduled for December 5 in cases where no candidate reaches 50%.

More than 27,000 candidates (from an initial list of 60,800 nominees) will contest for more than 12,000 seats spread out across 168 municipal assemblies. Sixty-five per cent of candidates are not sitting incumbents and 35% are women.

The second round of the process, to elect representatives to regional parliaments and the National Assembly, is scheduled for early next year. President Raul Castro has already announced he will step down as the head of state following the election of the next National Assembly.

Below, Sean J Clancy takes a look at Cuba’s electoral system, busting some of the myths that are constantly repeated by media pundits and critics.

  1.  “No party basis

Cuba’s elections are organised and conducted in two stages on a “No Party”, as opposed to (and as often suggested) a “One Party” basis.

The Cuban Communist Party (PCC) is not a political party in the sense that this term is generally understood. No PCC (or any other party) candidates stand for election.

This system avoids many inequities and imbalances inherent in its party-political based counterparts and ensures a fairer and more – rather than less – democratic electoral process.

Local government candidates are selected during the first stage of the electoral process, on personal merit, by their neighbours and peers in an open and transparent community-based process. They are elected by secret ballot on polling day.

2.  Fund raising

Candidates can neither – nor do they need to – raise nor spend any funds or offer any favours on election campaigns. All candidates – regardless of their political, social or economic status – are granted equal access to all voters and media.

3.  Candidate information

Information about each candidate and their attributes, experience, qualifications, suitability and ability are posted with a corresponding passport photograph in a uniform CV-style presentation in public buildings and spaces, to which all voters have access.

4.  Voluntary participation

People are encouraged to participate in the democratic process, which is very well organised, supervised and secure.

Voting is not obligatory, but more than 90% of the electorate have traditionally participated voluntarily in the polls.

In a country where migration is an integral part of the societal fabric, the actual turnout is often even higher than recorded, because of the presence on the register of people not in the country on voting day.

5.  Number of candidates that you can vote for

Voters can vote for one, any or all of the candidates on the ballot sheet. Each candidate needs to secure more than 51% of the popular vote to be elected, even when it is a “first past the post” election.

If no candidate in a designated area reaches the quota, a second round is held.

6.  Part-time or full time job?

Participation in politics in Cuba is essentially a part-time (but nonetheless time-consuming), unpaid and voluntary act of public service, rather than a materially motivated career choice. It involves self-sacrifice and effort.

Parliamentarians seconded from their jobs onto one of the full-time commissions that undertake the legislative administration of the state receive the same salary they were paid prior to their secondment and return to their posts once the relevant commission’s work has been concluded.

7.  Participatory vs representative

Cuba’s electoral and democratic model is “participatory” rather than “representative”.

Prior to the passing of any significant new laws, legislators often consider thousands of proposals, suggestions and concerns, raised by millions of citizens at hundreds of nationwide grassroots meetings and internal mass organisation consultations.

Informed popular opinion does not determine political decision-making, but it is given a degree of due consideration absent in most other supposedly “superior” systems

8.  Role of Cuban mass organisations

Candidates for election during the second stage of the electoral process to the provincial and single chamber National Assembly are carefully selected by qualified members of Cuba’s representative mass organisations, including (but not only) the Cuban Congress of Trade Unions, the Federation of Cuban Women, the National Association of Small Farmers and the unions covering university and school students.

Up to 50% of the candidates, who will form the foundation of the higher assemblies, will come from those that have already been elected to local governments. They will stand again in their home constituencies.

The remaining candidates are nominated and selected on merit and can stand in the constituency that would most benefit from their particular skill sets, experience and political proposals and where they are deemed to be most needed.

9.  Neighbourhood-based assemblies

All deputies give an account of their endeavours on behalf of their constituents and relay information about local and national political developments and at neighbourhood-based assemblies.

Constituents freely (and often vociferously) express their views at these assemblies about everything from rubbish collection and street lighting to national taxation policy, the scourge of bureaucracy and world affairs.

10.  More corruption – free

Cuba’s unique and sovereign electoral model ensures that no elected deputy or appointed official is in a position to offer political or administrative favours in return for monetary or material reward.

The Cuban model is probably more corruption-free than any global counterpart, although – like every other – not without its imperfections and critics.

It is a democratic and electoral process from which a lot can be learned and within which there is a lot to be lauded.

Cuban National Ballet announces program-tribute to Fidel, from November 23 to 26

Source:  Cubadebate
November 17 2017

ballet tribute to fidel.jpgThe fille mal gardée. Photo: Carlos Quezada

The National Ballet of Cuba can not miss in the Tribute to Fidel Day, the historical leader of the Revolution, which has meant so much in the history and development of the company .

The program-tribute includes works with different interpretative styles and will be presented on Thursday 23, Friday 24, Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November, at the Gran Teatro de la Habana “Alicia Alonso” .

This season also celebrate the 140th anniversary of the premiere of La bayadera, and the 65th of the staging of Alicia Alonso’s version of La fille mal gardée .  It also includes the world premiere of the ballet Anyali , by Ely Regina Hernandez

The Grand pas de La bayadera (choreography: María Elena Llorente, on the original by Marius Petipa, music: Ludwig Minkus, set design: Ricardo Reymena, costumes: Salvador Fernández) was produced in 1877, at the Marinski Theater, St. Petersburg, as lead soloist to Lev Ivanov, who would later achieve celebrity as a Nutcracker choreographer and the second and fourth acts of Swan Lake .

The libretto of La bayadera , created by Serguei Kuschelok and Marius Petipa, was inspired by two dramas by the Hindu poet Kalidasa. The present Grand pascorresponds to the scene of the festivities for the betrothal of Gamzatti, the daughter of the Raja, and Solor, a warrior prince.

In the oriental culture, the bayaderas were dancers and singers who intervened both in religious ceremonies and in profane parties. In the theatrical dance of the 19th century, populated by extraordinary female creatures – sylphs, undines, wilis, swan-women, shadows, ghosts … -, the bayaderas, for their exoticism, enjoyed special popularity.

In the repertoire of the National Ballet of Cuba is another fragment of the ballet La bayadera : the scene known as The Kingdom of Shadows . The protagónicos will be assumed by Anette Delgado, Sadaise Arencibia, Bárbara Fabelo, Rafael Quenedit, Raúl Abreu and Ariel Martínez, who debuted in the roles of Gamzatti, the daughter of the Raja, and Solor, respectively.

The world premiere of Anyali (choreography and costumes: Ely Regina Hernández, assembly assistants: Yasser Domínguez and Mercedes Piedra, music: Ezio Bosso, light design: Ruddy Artiles) will have as interpreters Anette Delgado, Bárbara Fabelo, Adrián Sánchez, Daniel Rittoles, Darío Hernández, Ariel Martínez and Adniel Reyes.

Close the program, La fille mal gardée (choreography: Alicia Alonso, on the original by Jean Dauberval, music: Peter Ludwig Hertel, designs: Salvador Fernández).

This ancient choreographic comedy, created by Dauberval in 1789 and whose music and choreography have subsequently undergone frequent changes and adaptations, was reconstructed by Alicia Alonso for the National Ballet of Cuba in 1952, in a summarized version in one act. It presents a synthesis of the most characteristic elements of the plot and the style of the time, but without neglecting the incorporation of technical and theatrical elements that have subsequently enriched the language of ballet.

The protagonists of these functions are Anette Delgado, Viengsay Valdés, Chanell Cabrera and Claudia García, who debuts in the role of Lisette. Rafael Quenedit, Patricio Revé, Yankiel Vazquez and Raúl Abreu are the Colin. In Mama Simón you can enjoy the experienced Ernesto Díaz and Félix Rodríguez. The cast is completed by Daniel Rittoles, Narciso Medina and Brian González, who debuted in the Alain. In the sympathetic character of Don Tomás, Adniel Reyes and Yansiel Pujada will premiere, those who will alternate with Ernesto Díaz. All seconded by soloists and body dance.

Tickets for these performances (Thursday 23, Friday 24 and Saturday 25, 8:30 pm., And Sunday 26, 5:00 pm.) Can be purchased at the box office of the Gran Teatro de La Habana “Alicia Alonso” from next Tuesday, November 19 .

CIBERSOCIEDAD 2017: Cuban firms sign MOUs with foreign companies

Source:  Granma
October 19 2017

By: National news staff | informacion@granma.cu

cs 2017CIBERSOCIEDAD 2017: Cuban firms sign memorandums of understanding with foreign companies

Cuban and foreign firms signed agreements that will contribute to the development of the Cuban software company.

Photo: Cibersociedad 2017

A memorandum of understanding was signed on October 18 between Cuba’s software applications company, Desoft, and Germany’s International Software Quality Institute, iSQI, as part of the Cibersociedad 2017 international event, underway in Varadero.

The Directors of Desoft and iSQI, Luis Guillermo Fernández Pérez and Stephan Georicke, respectively, signed the agreement with the objective of ensuring the international certification of Cuban specialists in different software development life cycle processes, and allowing iSQI to expand its market to the region.

Meanwhile, the Cuban Union of Computer Scientists (UIC) and the Information Technology Company, belonging to the BiocubaFarma business group, also signed an agreement. Aylin Febles, president of the UIC, explained that this will allow for collaboration between both entities in terms of courses, events and the training of sector personnel.

Ailyn Febles Estrada.jpgAilyn Febles Estrada

The Cibersociedad 2017 civil society forum was inaugurated the same day, with broad participation of the non-state sector, academics, state enterprises and government representatives. The main topics addressed were Industry 4.0, virtual education in health, Internet governance, human capital in the development of ICTs, and emerging platforms. Discussions also arose on information technology architecture, cybersecurity, software production, virtual teaching, among other areas.

“The civil society forum has been very enriching. The debate was full of suggestions on how to access virtual education. The views were diverse and that underscored the importance of debate in spaces like this,” explained Dunia Colomé, a delegate to Cibersociedad and a member of the UIC.

Meanwhile, Sheila Esquivel, a Uruguayan participant in the event, stated: “I work in the technology side of Banca en Uruguay, and the event has been very good. I have learned new terms related to information technologies, and subjects that I believe will be very interesting to apply in my country.”

The day was also marked by several keynote speeches. Topics such as the development of the high-performance computing platform for biopharmaceuticals in Cuba; infrastructures based on Huawei’s experience; data analytics; big data; and democratic and inclusive governance, featured.

Carlos de Castro, executive president of the Multimedia Production Center for Interactive Television, traveled from Córdoba, Spain, to explain the power of data analytics and cognitive intelligence applied to health, business and tourism.

To conclude the day’s activities, the NOVA operating system, made in Cuba, was launched. This software, among other facilities, represents an important step toward the island’s technological independence.

Today, scientific sessions and the civil society forum continued. Issues related to the Internet of Things, and human and economic development coupled with technology, featured on the agenda.

Cuban linemen conclude work in areas affected by Irma

Source:  Granma
October 2 2017

by Prensa Latina (PL) | informacion@granma.cu

Linemen who traveled to the province of Ciego de Ávila to assist with the efforts to restore power following Hurricane Irma, have returned to their respective territories

cuban linemen 3.jpg

CIEGO DE ÁVILA.– Cuban linemen who traveled to this province to assist with the efforts to restore power following Hurricane Irma, have returned to their respective territories.

After 21 days of intense work, the almost 1,000 electricity workers from Guantánamo, Granma, Las Tunas, Camagüey and Sancti Spíritus, together with locals, succeeded in restoring 99.6% of the energy system across Ciego de Ávila.

Diosdado Hernández, director of the Electrical Company in the province, noted that workers recovered 250 kilometers of subtransmission lines, and more than 1,800km of primary and secondary power lines, as well as 1,020 utility posts and 202 transformers.

He added that some isolated homes still remain without electricity, but brigades of local linemen are working to restore power in the next few hours. (PL)

Villa Clara youth to pay tribute to Che

Source:  Granma
October 3 2017

by: Ángel Freddy Pérez Cabrera | freddy@granma.cu

Villa Clara youth to pay tribute to Che

Thousands of students from across Villa Clara province will lead the traditional “Por la ruta del Che” walk, in honor of the Hero of the Battle of Santa Clara on the 50th anniversary of his death.

villa clara youth

As part of the activities, on October 16 students of the Camilo Cienfuegos Military School will perform the traditional guard of honor before the mausoleum to the combatants of the Las Villas Front. Photo: Freddy Pérez Cabrera

SANTA CLARA.– Thousands of students from across Villa Clara province will lead the traditional “Por la ruta del Che” (Che’s route) walk this Thursday, October 5, in honor of the Hero of the Battle of Santa Clara on the 50th anniversary of his death, which will be commemorated across the island this October 8.

The walk will begin at 4.00 pm at the Marta Abreu de Las Villas Central University, which served as Guevara’s command headquarters during the capture of the city of Santa Clara, and where he returned in December 1959 to receive the title of Doctor Honoris Causa in Pedagogy. It will conclude close to the Loma del Capiro, in areas of the Sandino Cultural and Recreational Complex, with a concert by trova artist Adrián Berazaín, as José Antonio Marimón Carrazana, vice rector of expansion, computerization and communication of the institution, told Granma.

The event will be attended by young people from all higher education centers of the territory, including those studying at the MININT (Ministry of the Interior) Independent Faculty; Brigadier General Luis Felipe Denis; as well as students from the province’s schools, who will pay tribute to Che’s example and ideas.

che may day in Cuba.jpg

“Por la ruta del Che” is just one of many activities to be held in this province, which has the honor of guarding the remains of the Heroic Guerrilla and his fellow combatants, to mark the 50th anniversary of his death. Voluntary work tasks will also be undertaken in workplaces and institutions, as part of the recovery efforts of the territory following the devastation left by Hurricane Irma.

October 7 will see a cultural gala in Leoncio Vidal Park, while on October 16 students of the Camilo Cienfuegos Military School will perform the traditional guard of honor before the mausoleum to the combatants of the Las Villas Front.

A postage stamp commemorating the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the remains of Che and his comrades in arms to the city of Santa Clara will also be issued, while 50 students of the Ernesto Che Guevara semi-boarding school will be recognized as pioneers, in the act that will take place on the morning of October 8, in the square honored with his name.