Black Lives Matter in Cuba

Source:  TeleSUR
August 21 2017

By: Andrew King

Afro-Cubans in Havana Plaza | Photo: EFE

It is precisely because of Cuba’s anti-racist and pro-worker policies that the U.S. government has labeled the country “a violator of human rights.”

As activists unite to confront white supremacy in the United States, it is important for us to study other societies outside the U.S. that have made true strides in racial and economic justice, in order to better envision the world that we want to create.

OPINION: Britain’s Open University Bows to US Pressure over Cuba

After listening to President Donald Trump’s June speech on Cuba, in which he reversed all the steps that the Obama administration had made to improve relations, one might not think to look towards this island nation as such an exemplary society. However, one must understand the history of Cuba to see why the U.S. government is escalating the six-decade war and embargo against the socialist country. It is not hard to see that the issue of race is central to the capitalist empire’s war on this socialist stronghold.

The Revolution’s Early Measures Against Racism

Like most colonial nations, institutional racial oppression was brutal in pre-revolution Cuba. Black Cubans formed the most oppressed sector of society: they faced rampant job discrimination in which they had no access to most positions in government, health care, transportation, and retail. A system of Jim Crow-style segregation relegated Afro-Cubans to specific neighborhoods and schools, and they were banned from hotels and beaches.

Illiteracy was widespread among the most oppressed sectors, and medical care was out of reach. Few know that after Castro’s failed guerilla attack on the Moncada Garrison in 1953, it was a black lieutenant from then Dictator Fulgencio Batista’s army that found him in the hills, and — sympathizing with the rebel cause — saved Castro’s life by sending him to jail in Santiago rather than to the Moncada Barracks where he would have been shot and killed along with the 70 guerilla soldiers who met such a fate. History works in mysterious ways.

When the revolution triumphed six years later, one of new government’s first measures was to abolish racial discrimination in employment and recreational sectors. When the rebel army tanks entered Havana, they crushed the hotel fences, which represented the old racial order signifying where the black and poor could not go. Castro’s government abolished the private school system of the white Cuban elites and established a well-funded and integrated public school system for all.

OPINION: US Human Rights Record, Not Cuba’s, Should Be Condemned

Laws were passed to outlaw racial discrimination

Revolutionary laws were passed to outlaw racial discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare and education. Hence, while the white upper class Cubans fled to Miami, there were no questions of loyalty from working class blacks as to whether they would support the socialist government. The fight against racism and the struggle for socialism go hand in hand.

The revolution dramatically improved the socioeconomic conditions of black workers and farmers, cutting rents in half, redistributing land, and providing universal free education and healthcare to all. Before 1959, over a quarter of Cubans were illiterate. The revolution launched a massive literacy campaign, sending brigades of student teachers into the most remote areas of the countryside, and in 1961, Cuba was declared free of illiteracy. Today Cuba has a 99.8 percent literacy rate, the highest in Latin America.

Solidarity with African-Americans

fidel y malcom.jpgCuba has always been a guiding light in the black freedom movement. Fidel’s historic visit with Malcolm X in Harlem’s Theresa hotel in 1960 was symbolic of the Cuban revolution’s blow against colonialism and world white supremacy. Both Malcolm and Castro understood the centrality of racism to the capitalist system: “you can’t have capitalism without racism,” Malcolm once famously said. Along the same vain, at the 2001 World Conference against Racism , Castro argued that:

“Racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia are not naturally instinctive reactions of the human beings but rather a social, cultural and political phenomenon born directly of wars, military conquests, slavery and the individual or collective exploitation of the weakest by the most powerful all along the history of human societies.”

Assata Shakur

Assata Shakur, former leader of the Black Liberation Army and one of “America’s Most Wanted’, escaped prison in the 1970s, and sought refuge on the socialist island. Cuba has vowed to protect this revolutionary heroine, a crime for which the empire will never forgive her. This past June, when President Donald Trump demanded that Cuba return Shakur, Cuba’s Deputy Director of American Affairs said: “It is off the table .” Throughout the ‘70s, other African-American revolutionaries such as Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton and Stokely Carmichael all visited the revolutionary Caribbean nation. Over the decades, black pastors and community leaders have led key US-Cuba solidarity initiatives such as Pastors for Peace which has made over 20 annual trips to Cuba and raised awareness to end the embargo of the island. Indeed, the African-American people have been the most consistent and loyal of friends to the Cuban people.

Cuba’s Contribution to African Liberation Movements

Less well-known is Cuba’s historic and pivotal role in supporting the African Liberation movements of the 1960s and ‘70s. For a period spanning over a decade, the small island nation sent over 300,000 volunteer soldiers to Angola, not in pursuit of diamonds, oil or natural resources like the imperialist nations, but to assist the anti-colonial fighters of Angola in their struggle against the South African apartheid army which had invaded the newly independent nation.

Fidel y Amilcar Cabral.jpgAs Guinea Bissau’s legendary independence leader Amilcar Cabral once said of this selfless solidarity: “When the Cuban soldiers go home, all they will take with them are the remains of their dead comrades.” Cuban forces struck the decisive blow to defeat the apartheid army in the battle of Cuito Cuanavale.

In addition, Cuba sent troops to battle alongside independence fighters in Algeria, the Congo, Ethiopia and Guinea-Bissau. In his 2000 speech at Harlem Riverside Church, Fidel exclaimed that:

“Half a million Cubans have carried out internationalist missions in numerous countries in different parts of the world, especially Africa. They have been medical doctors, teachers, technicians, construction workers, soldiers and others. When many were investing in and trading with the racist and fascist South Africa, tens of thousands of voluntary soldiers from Cuba fought against the racist and fascist soldiers.”

It was these historic feats of internationalist solidarity that prompted Nelson Mandela to visit the Caribbean nation after his release from prison, where he proudly stated : “The Cuban people have a special place in the hearts of the people’s of Africa.”

Socialist Health Care

One of the landmark pillars of the revolution has been the establishment of a world-class health care system which provides free, quality medical care to all Cuban citizens, and has disproportionately benefitted the island’s black and historically marginalized citizens. While all Cubans have free access to comprehensive medical care, people of color in the United States (the richest country on earth) face extreme health disparities and make up over half of the 32 million nonelderly uninsured. Cuba has twice as many primary care doctors per capita than the United States, due to its prioritization of community-level preventative care.

OPINION: The World Must Learn From Cuba

Infant mortality rate is an important indicator of a country’s health. In pre-revolution Cuba, the infant mortality rate was over 50 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Now it is down to 4.3 . Meanwhile the United States, one of the richest nations on earth, has a rate of 7.7 . Further, when you look at underserved regions of the US like Mississippi — which has the largest black population of any state – the infant mortality rate is 9.6 , double that of the Cuba’s. In other words, Black babies matter in Cuba — more so than they do in the US.

Revolutionary Doctors

If there’s one accomplishment the international community cannot ignore it is Cuba’s ‘medical internationalism’ which in 2014, saw 50,000 Cuban doctorssaving lives in over 60 developing nations across the globe. While activists around the world attend protests, Cuba demonstrates her belief that black lives matter by sending doctors and medical personnel overseas to African and Caribbean nations to literally save black lives. Cuban doctors operate a comprehensive health program, which makes 3,000 doctors available for the region of Sub-Saharan Africa. Speaking on Zimbabwe, a nation where the former apartheid regime did not train any black doctors, Fidel explains that, “We sent teams of 8 to 10 doctors to every province: specialists in comprehensive general medicine, surgeons, orthopedic specialists, anesthiologists and x-ray technicians.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Cuban government assembled the Henry Reeve Brigade — 1,500 fully equipped health professionals trained in disaster medicine — which were brought together on an airstrip, ready to depart for New Orleans immediately to help save black lives.

Cuban doctors in Haiti

President Bush rejected the offer. Many of these same doctors then went to Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s first free black republic, where today there are several hundred Cuban doctors and specialists providing free health care to 4 million people. After the deadly 2010 earthquake, Cuba health professionals arrivedwithin 72 hours as some of the first responders.

OPINION: Representation and Resistance: Slavery Depictions in Cuba vs. US

The United States, on the other hand, sent thousands of marine soldiers to the island. This juxtaposition speaks volumes regarding the values of capitalist and socialist societies. In the aftermath of catastrophic disaster, one society exploited the crisis and sought to control black life; the other sought to save it. More recently, the same international Medical brigade spearheaded the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, sending surgeons, intensive-care doctors, epidemiologists and pediatricians. These efforts earned Cuba an award from the World Health Organization.

Over 100 scholarships for African American and low-income students from the United States

If it were not enough to export its own doctors to countries in need, the Cuban revolution has also taken up the admirable task of training doctors from other countries free of charge in Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM). ELAM currently has an enrollment of over 19,000 students most of which are from Africa and Latin America. Medical school is free for all students, and this includes over 100 scholarships for African American and low-income students from the United States who have agreed to use their training to serve low-income communities at home.

Despite these social gains, Cuba is far from a racial utopia; blacks are still underrepresented in high-level government positions and in the lucrative tourism industry, and whites have had disproportionate access to the new market-driven sector of the economy that emerged during the special period. However, most can acknowledge that it is quite difficult for a society to overcome a racial legacy of 400 years of colonialism, in just 50 years of revolution. The struggle against racism in Cuba is an ongoing process.

Lift the embargo on Cuba

It is precisely because of these anti-racist and pro-worker policies, and Cuba’s audacity to stand tall in the face of empire, that the U.S. government has labeled her “a violator of human rights.” On the contrary, it is the U.S. government whose police forces continue to take black lives with impunity, and wage a war on the poor, who is the real human rights violators. Let us lift the embargo on Cuba and put the embargo on US capitalism and racism. Let us not forget that if there ever was a place where black lives truly matter, it’s Cuba.

Andrew King is a public policy doctoral student at UMass Boston, an activist-scholar, and has supported Black Lives Matter organizing and other racial and economic justice campaigns. Andrew has also done solidarity organizing with and research on Latin American social movements and has traveled to Venezuela and Cuba. He can be reached at andrew.king003@umb.edu.

 

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.”

fidel y neto 2.jpg

Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues statement addressing allegations by the U.S.

Soldier of ideas

 

It is unquestionable that Fidel is incarnated in the hearts of millions of Cubans and admirers throughout the world.

We evoke him dressed in his customary olive green uniform with its epaulets of Comandante en Jefe, with his upright gait, friendly manner, inquisitive gaze; and the deep anti-imperialist convictions he shared with Martí; his iron will to overcome the hardest blows, his wisdom… and above all his infinite love for humanity, for the poor, to whom he dedicated his entire life.

The eminent Cuban writer, debater, professor and diplomat Raúl Roa García said of Fidel, “He hears the grass growing and sees what’s happening around the corner.” He is our undefeated Comandante, confronting any danger whatsoever to safeguard the sovereignty and dignity of Cuba. He is the man who, alongside the people, defeated a bloody military dictatorship and the dark imperialist designs of 11 U.S. administrations, which failed in their efforts to eliminate, even with attempts on his life, the example, the symbol, the soldier of ideas he was.

Che’s farewell letter to Fidel

It’s worth recalling the farewell letter Che Guevara wrote to Fidel, in which the legendary Argentine-Cuban said, “I have lived magnificent days at your side and felt the pride of belonging to our people in the luminous and sad days of the Caribbean (missile) Crisis.

“Few times has a statesman shone as brightly (as you did) on those days. I am also proud to have followed you without hesitation, identifying with your way of thinking, seeing, and evaluating dangers and principles.”

Today, the prolific seeds he sowed in millions of followers across the entire planet are flowering. And resounded in the sure words of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, during the closing of the constituent session of the National Assembly of People’s Power 7th Legislature, February 24, 2008, when he said, “Fidel is Fidel. We all know it well. Fidel is irreplaceable and the people will continue his work when he is no longer physically present. Although his ideas always will be those which have made it possible to uphold the bastion of dignity and justice our country represents.” He was not mistaken.

This August 13, when Fidel would have celebrated his 91st birthday, he continues among us, surrounded by the affection of his people. He bequeathed to us his abiding guidance, his revolutionary firmness, his unwavering optimism and confidence in victory. Thus our best tribute will be making a reality of his principles every day, regardless of where he might be.

 

Cuba to celebrate International Youth Day

With demonstrations of the art and work of young Cubans, the island will celebrate International Youth Day on August 12, which this year will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the assassination of the Saíz brothers

Photo: Yander Zamora

In memory of Sergio and Luis Saíz

With demonstrations of the art and work of young Cubans, the island will celebrate International Youth Day on August 12, which this year will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the assassination of the Saíz brothers.

Asael Alonso Tirado, head of the Communications section of the National Committee of the Young Communist League (UJC), told reporters that as part of the activities, young people will remember Sergio and Luis Saíz, killed on August 13, 1957, on the orders of dictator Fulgencio Batista.

sergio y luis saiz.jpg

Artistic and sporting events

This Friday, on the eve of International Youth Day, singer Paulo FG will play a concert in Havana’s José Martí Anti-imperialist Tribune, together with the finalists of the second season of the Sonando en Cuba project. The concert will mark the end of his summer 2017 national tour.

Among other activities, this weekend will see artistic and sporting events, as well as visits to historic sites.

The municipality of San Juan y Martínez, in Pinar del Río, will host the main national celebrations. “There, among other activities, a visit was organized to the house museum of the Saíz Montes de Oca brothers,” Asael Alonso Tirado explained.

Pico Turquino

The Hermanos Saíz Association will lead the commemoration and a group of representatives of the institution will climb, as is traditional every August 13, the emblematic Pico Turquino, the highest point of the island.

pico-turquino-cuba.jpg

On Sunday, August 13, youth will “visit the birthplace of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz in Birán, and other historic sites in the province,” the UJC official added.

The day will also see the close of the provincial Youth and Students Festivals in the capital and the Special Municipality of the Isle of Youth, concluding the selection process of delegates to the 2017 World Festival of Youth and Students, to take place in Sochi, Russia, this October.

Cuba offers 1,000 medical scholarships to Colombia peace process

 

March 16 2017
Source:  Granma

Cuban Ambassador to Colombia José Luis Ponce informed that the Caribbean nation will grant to the Colombian government and the FARC-EP a fund of 1,000 scholarships to study Medicine in the Island in the next five years

José Luis Ponce.jpg

Cuban Ambassador to Colombia, José Luis Ponce announced the opening of one thousand scholarships for Colombians in Cuba. Photo: Prensa Latina

BOGOTA .- Cuban Ambassador to Colombia, José Luis Ponce, informed that the Caribbean nation will grant to the Colombian government and the FARC-EP a fund of 1,000 scholarships to study Medicine in the Island in the next five years.

The Cuban diplomat made an offer to the Monitoring, Impulse and Verification Commission for the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement (CSIVI), while it was communicated in Bogotá to FARC-EP Secretariat member Iván Márquez and representatives Of the Government to the Commission.

A contribution by Cuba

Ponce explained that the distribution of the scholarships, at a rate of 200 per year -100 for the FARC-EP and 100 for the national executive- will be a contribution by Cuba to the implementation process of the Havana peace agreements and post-conflict peace in Colombia .

Students selected to receive such scholarships would begin in 2017-2018, according to Prensa Latina.

The program will be offered to young demobilized FARC-EP recruits, displaced persons, and other victims of the armed conflict, the latter chosen by the government. 


A pure gesture of humanity

The Embassy of the Republic of Cuba will provide the Colombian government and the FARC-EP with a document detailing the offer, which is being prepared by the Cuban authorities, said the diplomat of the island.

Cuba served as the venue for peace talks between the insurgency and the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos for more than four years until 2016, while – along with Norway – served as a guarantor of bilateral talks.

In his Twitter account, Márquez stressed that this contribution of Cuba to the implementation process of the Havana Agreement and post-conflict in Colombia is a pure gesture of humanity.

Thanks to Cuba

To Army General Raúl Castro (President of Cuba), our gratitude for filling Colombia with his love and solidarity and for supporting the peace process and offering doctors, added the insurgent commander.

For her part, Colombian lawyer and excongresista Piedad Córdoba thanked the gesture of Cuba.

Despite being blockaded, the Caribbean country not only has medicine that is among the best in the world, but it is also one of the most supportive, wrote the human rights defender and recognized leader of the Latin American left through his account in the social network Twitter.

Cuba’s great contribution to peace continues: it gives one thousand scholarships to government and guerrilla students, said Senator Iván Cepeda, one of the promoters of talks with the insurgency in the same social network.

Six CELAC Medals at the 2017 World Athletic Championships after day 4

August 7 2017

Source:  IAAF medal table

At the end of day 4, CELAC countries have earned 6 of the 46 medals won by 26 countries.

Jamaica and Venezuela each have two medals, a gold and a silver, while Cuba and Colombia have a bronze and a silver respectively.

This places Jamaica and Venezuela as joint 5th position holders on the medal table while Kenya (5), Ethiopia (3) and South Africa (3) rank 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively.

The CELAC medal winners are:

Jamaica: 

usain bolt wins bronze at wac 2017c

Usain Bolt, bronze 100m

omar mcleod wins 5

Jamaica’s Omar McLeod added the world 110 metres hurdles title to his Olympic crown in London on Monday.  McLeod, 23, led from start to finish to take the title in 13.04 seconds from defending champion Sergey Shubenkov with Balazs Baji of Hungary taking a surprise bronze.

Venezuela

yulimar rojas venezuela wins triple jump

Yulimar Rojas, gold, triple jump

Robeilys Peinado venezuela wins bronze at wac 2017 heptathlon

Robeilys Peinado, bronze (joint), pole vault

Source:  TeleSUR

The 19-year-old Peinado was the youngest athlete to compete in the competition. She was ecstatic at the historic win. 

Pole vaulter Robeilys Peinado became the first Venezuelan to win a bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships in London.

The 19-year-old Peinado was the youngest athlete to compete in the competition. She was ecstatic at the historic win.

“It’s very unexpected,” said Peinado. “When my coach (the Ukrainian Vyacheslav Kalinichenko) was calling me to give me the flag, I did not believe it. He would tell me, ‘I can not be third,’ until I saw him and saw him on the screen.” she told El Nuevo Herald.

“I will not be able to sleep tonight,” she added.

Peinado shared the bronze with Cuba’s Yarisley Silva, both with a record of 4.65 meters. Peinado’s vault equaled her national record, Reuters reported.

“At first I was uncomfortable because I’m not accustomed to sharing a mat with such athletes. But now I am included in that group,” Peinado said.

“I met Yarisley when I started my steps on the pole, and now I’m sharing the podium with her. What more can I ask for? ”

Twelve athletes made it to the final round. Peinado qualified in third place with a score of 4.56 meters, according to the World Athletics Federation.

Cuba

yarisley silva cuba pole vault 2

Yarisley Silva, bronze(joint), pole vault

Colombia

caterine ibarguen colombia silver medal wac 2017

Caterine Ibarguen, silver, triple jump