What challenges do Cuban neighborhoods face?

Provincial assemblies, leading up to the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution’s IX Congress, began in Pinar del Río and Artemisa, presided by José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba

cuban neighbourhoods

The leading role of youth and the importance of their ideas in neighborhood work, along with the necessary participation of those with more experience in community organizing and revolutionary vigilance – and teamwork as the most effective way to stay connected – were some of the challenges noted in discussion held in Artemisa, during the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) Provincial Assembly, leading up to the organization’s 9th Congress.

During the meeting, José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, addressed the groups professional cadre policy and work with developing leaders, discussing the skills and disposition required of those assuming such positions.

The role of families

José Antonio Valeriano Fariñas, head of the Party in the province and a Central Committee member, commented on the role of families in preventing illegalities and anti-social behavior, and Yailka García Pérez was reelected as provincial coordinator.

In Pinar del Río, Carlos Rafael Miranda, national CDR coordinator, as well as a member of the Party Central Committee and the Council of State, addressed the assembly, recalling the principles guiding the organization that emerged from Fidel’s work and thinking. Ovidio Miranda Martínez was reelected as coordinator in this province.

– CDRs are the country’s largest mass organization.

– Some 8,500,000 Cubans are members.

– Some 7,200 have joined the CDR youth contingents, in the country’s 168 municipalities.

– Provincial Assemblies will continue across the country, culminating in Havana July 8.

– The 9th Congress is scheduled to take place this coming September 26-28.

What did Che Guevara Fight For?

Source:  Moorbey’s Blog / The Dawn News

September 26, 2017

Che Guevara’s daughter reminds us of the reasons behind his revolutionary struggle

By: Aleida Guevara March

che 5.jpgPhoto credit: Politico Scope

In order to speak about the Che Guevara we need time and space, but in order to explain his existence in our times we just need to look around us. If we ask what he was fighting for, the immediate answer is: for a better world. But what does this mean? Decent houses for everyone, free and high-quality education in equal conditions, accessible healthcare for all of the population, peace that would enable us to destine the available resources to research how to have better life. But, what do we really have?

Che’s view of youth

To Che Guevara, youth is the clay with which we can model the New Man. But, what are we actually doing to youth? What kind of life are we offering them? What example are we setting for them? Who can inspire them to perfect their conduct? These are many questions and there are practically no answers—at least not the answers that youth need.

He said: “How long will we continue to have this order that is based on an absurd sense of caste—that is a question I can’t answer, but it is time for our rulers to dedicate less time to propagandizing their virtues as a regime and destine more money—much, much more money—to fund works for the benefit of society”.

What do you think about that? We could say the same thing to many rulers who do a bad job at governing many of our peoples, to begin with.

“… but those people who tackle things head on, who lead by example—to follow or to get others to follow you is a difficult task at times, but it is enormously easier than to push other to get them walking…”

Where do we want to go? What do we need? If we don’t fight for what we need, who will do it for us? It is undeniable that we have strength and courage, but we need unity, we need to organize that strength in order to conquer what we need to modify what doesn’t work, at least for the majority of the people.

“… to be quintessentially human, to be so human that we approach the best qualities of humanity, to purify what’s best in mankind through work, study, the exercise of continuous solidarity with the people and with all the peoples in the world…”

“… to develop sensibility to the maximum, to the point that we feel distressed when a man is killed in any corner of the world, and to feel enthusiasm when in any corner of the world a new flag of freedom is risen”.

That’s what we want for our youth, and it is very important to keep it in mind it now that we’re raising our voices to claim for the life of a young man like Santiago Maldonado, who recently disappeared in Argentina for being on the side of the Mapuche people and defending their rights. What message are they trying to send with the forced disapparition of this young man? Fear, that’s what they want us to feel in order to paralyze us, to silence us.

We can and must fight for that better world

I remember the first time I was in Brazil. Imagine this young woman arriving in Sao Paulo and being told to not roll down the window of the car she’s travelling in, who feels fear for her driver whenever the car has to make a stop at a corner, which is when they assault you, who sees the eyes of a child high on drugs asking for something to eat—my reaction was immediate and I repeat what I said back then: it is better to die trying to change that reality than to avoid dying of hunger. But then I remembered that I come from a different culture, a different people, where the life of a human being, and especially of a child, is sacred, it is the most important thing. I thought I was reacting like this because I am Cuban, and I was raised by the socialist Revolution that we have, but I was wrong.

Later on in my journey I met Mrs. Rosa, in Rio Grande do Sul. She’s a member of the Landless People’s Movement of Brazil. This humble peasant not only said what I was thinking, but she died defending a piece of land with which to feed her children. Mrs. Rosa proved to me that we indeed can and must fight for that better world, no matter where we come from, or which culture we carry with us—what matters and what prevails is the need to live.

“Let me tell you, at the risk of sounding ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. It is impossible to think of a true revolutionary without this virtue” .

A virtue that is indispensable to be able to give our best for a just cause, even risking our lives. I truly believe in this and I have seen it in the dedication of many men and women, luckily, in many parts of the world.

“And we, the exploited of the world, what role do we play? The peoples of three continents are watching and learning their lesson from Vietnam. Because, with the threat of war, imperialists blackmail the entire humanity: not fearing war is the right answer”.

“Under the slogan ‘We Won’t Allow Another Cuba’ there’s a hidden possibility of widespread aggressions, such as the one perpetrated against Dominican Republic or, previously, the Panama massacre, and the clear sign that yankee troops are willing to intervene anywhere in Latin America where the established order is altered and their interests are threatened”.

The OAS and the UN

“This policy has almost absolute impunity: the OAS is a comfortable mask, however discredited; the UN has a degree of incompetence that borders ridicule or tragedy; the armies of every country in Latin America are ready to intervene to crush their peoples. The internationale of crime and betrayal has been formed de facto”.

Luckily for us, it is not like that anymore for all the peoples, but unfortunately in many the army is still a tool to crush the just claims of our people and one wonders where these men come from, who attack their own people. We’ve seen pictures of these uniformed men repressing demonstrations, attacking youth, women and even children without vacillation, and what do the Magna Cartas say about this? Because I know for a fact that many of them state that the army exists to defend the people and what happens in fact is exactly the opposite—so, whose side is violating the law?

When reading Che’s words today, 50 years after his death, many things still resonate with what we see day to day, the relevance of his thoughts is strong and we should turn to him for answers more often.

There’s plenty to do, and the road is long and difficult, but we can and we must change many things to achieve the full dignity that human beings require in order to live. I always remember something that an Argentine mother had written on the tombstone of her daughter when she found her remains: “if I die, don’t cry for me; do what I did and in you I’ll live”. That is exactly what we owe to the men and women who have given their strength to us through their example, and encourage us to take action. Go on comrades, let’s live in such a way that, when our days come to an end, we don’t feel pain for the years that passed in vain, let’s feel the joy of leaving something beautiful for those to come.

Until Victory Always!

aleida guevara 2.jpg

Maduro Invites Opposition Youth to Join Employment Program

Source:  TeleSUR
August 19 2017

Nicolas maduro aug 2017Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks at Miraflores Palace in Caracas | Photo: REUTERS


Maduro said that the program will welcome all youth participating in the opposition protests with “open arms for work and study.”

The President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has invited the young people who have been caught up in the violence of far-right opposition groups to join the efforts to build productive and educational pathways for youth, called the “Plan Chamba Juvenil.”

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“The Democratic Unity Table (MUD) led them on the road to violence… I, for the sake of peace in our country, extend my hand so that we follow the path of education, work, and culture,” the President said on Friday, speaking from the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas.

Maduro assured that if the youth who have been used by opposition leaders during recent months to foment a violent coup d’etat wish to leave that behind and follow the path of productivity and respect for law and constitution, they will have his full support and be able to participate in the Youth program, created by the Bolivarian government to ensure education and employment opportunities for the country’s young people.

Related:  Venezuelans speak to TRUMP

Your greatest ally

“If some of you who went down that path of violence and want to do politics, do it in peace. And if you want to change the schemes of politics and attend to social problems, you can count on me. I am not your enemy, I am your greatest ally if your desire is to bring education, sport, culture, and employment to our community’s youth, to all the neighborhoods, to the whole country. Stop the violence!” Maduro said.

Plan Chamba Juvenil

He said that the Plan Chamba Juvenil would welcome all youth participating in the opposition protests with “open arms for work and study,” in order to engage them in productive activities to benefit society.

The plan offers education opportunities, as well as employment in areas such as social and health services, recreation, urban agriculture and maintenance, and security.

As of today, over 594,000 young Venezuelans have signed up for the program, and 300,000 of those have already been enrolled in a job.


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.


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.

Nicaragua creating job opportunities for at-risk young people

Source:  NicaNotes Nicaragua News

daniel ortega 7.jpgRepresentatives of the Central America law enforcement organizations noted that Nicaragua is the country with the lowest juvenile delinquency rate in the region. The Nicaragua educational model and the creation of job opportunities for at-risk young people are some of the factors that have influenced the decline in juvenile offenses in the country.

Crime reduction in children under 17

The Nicaragua National Police has found that reduction of crime rates in children under the age of 17 is due to integrated programs designed for at-risk young people, keeping them from joining criminal groups.

Construction of new sports facilities

aminta-granera-nicaraguaConstruction of new sports facilities has also been a priority of the Nicaraguan  government to promote healthy entertainment and maintain low juvenile crime rate.

At the meeting of the Chiefs and Directors of Police of Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Colombia, Nicargua’s Police Chief Aminta Granera (photo) was re-elected president of the body. Many of Nicaragua’s police reforms have been initiated under her leadership. (Nicaragua News, Dec. 14; El Nuevo Diario, Dec. 14)

Investing in youth: The future is now

Source:  Granma
July 15 2016

by: Lisandra Fariñas Acosta | lisandra@granma.cu &  Lauren Céspedes Hernández | informacion@granma.cu

Since 1987, the United Nations Population Fund has worked to promote and protect the rights of youth.

world population day 2016 1.jpg

When, on July 11, 1987, the world reached the landmark population of five billion inhabitants, the need to address population problems and their relationship to socio-economic development was becoming increasingly clear. Thus, the United Nations General Assembly recommended the annual observation of World Population Day, as an opportunity to focus on gaps and challenges, and this year the 27th edition has taken as its watchwords, “Investing in teenage girls.”

Focusing efforts on this age group is crucial to development, while young women face vulnerabilities because of their gender, requiring special attention and specific interventions to address issues such as violence, abuse, early and underage marriage, teenage pregnancy and motherhood – all of which prevent young women from developing to their full potential and improving their physical, economic, and social wellbeing.

Every adolescent girl has the right

Rafael Cuestas“Every adolescent girl has the right to a transition to adult life in secure conditions and the right to take advantage of the opportunities the future holds for her,” emphasized Rafael Cuestas, international coordinator of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) office in Cuba, during an interview with Granma International.

“The Unfpa is devoted to promoting and protecting these rights and supporting adolescent girls so they can determine their own future, since it is they who, throughout the world, face more and greater challenges than their male counterparts. In many countries, families believe that girls, once they have reached puberty, are ready for marriage, pregnancy, and childbirth, and many are obliged to leave school. A girl may suffer a debilitating experience giving birth, since her body is not ready for it, thus denying her human rights. The challenges and obstacles that an adolescent girl confronts are multiplied if she is part of an ethnic minority, lives in a poor village or home,” he stated.

“When an adolescent girl has power, the means, and information to make her own decisions in life, it is more likely that she will reach her full potential, and become a positive force for change in her household, community, and nation,” Cuestas emphasized.

cuban teenage girls 2016.jpgPhoto: Jorge Luis González

Cuba stands out as the country with the highest development of youth in Latin America

“In the Latin American context, Cuba has always been an obvious exception, both in terms of the organization of the state in general, and in regards to public policy addressing youth in particular. This is so much the case that when relevant comparative analysis is done, around general or specific issues, the Cuban model is often left to one side or barely mentioned, as a special case, different, difficult to compare,” said Ernesto Rodríguez, director of the Latin American Center For Youth, during the last International Congress of Youth Researchers.

He emphasized at that time, “The entire world, and Latin America in particular, have taken note of two important comparative studies, in which Cuba stands out as the country with the highest development of youth in Latin America,” and holds 11th place internationally.

But what is the situation facing this age group in Cuba? How are they being supported with investment? A single article is not adequate to address the multiple points of view and matters affecting youth, to draw conclusions and identify the challenges that remain to be faced, but this piece is a beginning, based on the premise that this issue is crucial to the future of the nation in which we live, and the one we hope to construct, a future already taking shape in each of us.

Schooling, a protective factor

“Cuban adolescents are schooled, and this is always a protective factor. They have access to sexual and reproductive health services, and comprehensive sexuality education in their schools, among many other benefits,” Rafael Cuestas pointed out, while emphasizing the potential Cuba has to continue taking action, “because the political will is evident, and a platform already exists within the different programs implemented.

“In Cuba, the challenges are different from those we can identify in the region,” he said, referring, for example, to teenage pregnancy, a focus of attention because, even though the rate is lower here than in other countries of the region, Unfpa is working in collaboration with the ministries of Health and Education, and other institutions, to further lower its incidence.

“It’s a question of identifying provincial differences, the less visible causes, as we always say, spin a fine thread (go deeper).”

“What a country cannot be without are policies and investment in health and education, including comprehensive sexuality education, actions that empower adolescents and create economic conditions which generate employment. This takes on particular importance when we’re talking about the young population, because they have the potential to drive forward and accelerate economic growth,” he explained.

Cuestas asserted, “Those in charge of making political decisions play an important role in ensuring that the rights of citizens, including adolescents, are respected; and in this sense, investment in youth can be diverse, infinite, but one point of departure is not to look at adolescents and youth as homogeneous groups.”

Obligatory investments

Education; health; culture; recreation; providing healthy and attractive family, community, and school environments, are all obligatory investments, Cuestas asserted, recognizing the need for differentiated policies as part of the plan.

He likewise emphasized that within the unquestionable need to invest in public health, sexual and reproductive health have a special place, saying, “There are many events related to sexual health, to sexuality, which occur during this period. That is why Unfpa has defended the importance of adolescents feeling secure, feeling capable; having information and someone to talk with; and being able to access education on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health services which meet their needs. Creating the capacity within the health system to work with this age group is central,” he explained.

Inter-sectoral policy making

Work with adolescents cannot be sectoral, he said. “An issue that is much discussed today is the effectiveness of policies on youth, since they end up isolating the group and not placing youth within the context of relations with other generations. Cuba is an example of inter-sectoral policy making, adolescents and youth are addressed via multiple sectors, disciplines, and focal points,” Cuestas said.

According to Cuestas, the new Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 constitutes an unprecedented opportunity for young people to assert their rights, make their aspirations a reality, and transform the world, “When countries invest in the health and education of their youth, especially adolescents, and generate opportunities that allow their potential to be put to good use, they are additionally in a better position to benefit from a demographic dividend that can drive economic growth forward, as a way of fighting poverty.”

Data and indicators that give adolescents visibility

“The generation of updated data and indicators that give adolescents visibility is a great challenge, above all in regards to those under 15 years of age, who many times are left out of the statistics,” said Marisol Alfonso de Armas, who works on Unfpa’s projects in Cuba and spoke with Granma.

In this respect, she mentioned that the international organization supports and accompanies programs developed by strategic partners like the ministries of Public Health and Education, the National Center for Sexual Education, and the national program serving mothers and infants. In this context, she said, the Unfpa makes a modest contribution with the donation of contraceptives for specific groups, adolescents among them.

“One of Unpfa’s most important commitments is to continue supporting the National Program for Sexual Education and Health, as a platform to coordinate all the initiatives in comprehensive sexual education that exist in the country. This inter-sectoral work, with participation from civil society, constitutes a reference for the region,” Cuestas added.

Research centers focused on youth

In a similar way, he said, Unpfa accompanies research centers focused on youth, in training and development of national studies on issues related to adolescents and youth, noting that national surveys are essential to decision-making.

We asked how investment in adolescence can be articulated with investment in the older adult segment of the population, which occupies an increasing important demographic position.

“Countries like Cuba, with advanced or completed demographic transitions, face this challenge, because several generations are living together, not only in the family environment, but also in the community, the neighborhood, in services for transportation, food, culture… The key lies in achieving the harmonious co-habitation of these generations,” Cuestas said.

Not a problem but a challenge

He noted that Cuban society is inclusive by nature, and this is already a step forward, “Demographic aging must be situated in its rightful place. Avoiding the connotation of a ‘problem,’ when it is a challenge, and not only for less developed countries, but for all, which therefore requires changes in the design of our cities, in infrastructure, and more expenses in the area of health for a growing age group which must be guaranteed the right to a longer life with quality.

“Inter-generational dialogue must be encouraged; we need spaces, that aren’t the traditional ones, they must perhaps be more attractive, to produce that so necessary mix of knowledge, energy, histories, for all, male and female,” he said, summarizing the great challenge ahead.

Encouraging the desire to be useful to society

Investing in youth to assure tomorrow’s investments requires awareness that we must encourage the desire to be useful to society within our economically active population, and continue providing greater opportunities to participate, to make proposals, to learn and create.

Awareness is also needed to celebrate what we have accomplished as a nation, and develop sufficient know-how to recognize and address diverse problems which, despite progress made, exist in our midst: teenage pregnancy, the impact of emigration on families and youth, and challenges the youngest face in the workforce within the country’s new socio-economic context.

Only a few notes, but an initial look inside Cuba.

Economics, ideology and the youth in times of uncertainty

Source:  Granma
January 27 2016

A series of talks took place in Havana as part of the Second International Conference on the ideas of José Martí, entitled “With all, for the good of all”, addressing topics such as the global economy, culture and identity and the role of the youth

Authors: Lauren Céspedes Hernández | informacion@granma.cuJesús Jank Curbelo | internet@granma.cu

A series of talks took place in Havana this Tuesday, January 26, as part of the Second International Conference on the ideas of José Martí, entitled “With all, for the good of all”, addressing topics such as the global economy, culture and identity and the role of the youth.

Leonel Fernández Reyna.jpgFormer Dominican president Leonel Fernández Reyna in his speech entitled, “Global trends in an era of uncertainty”, addressed issues of interest for the global economy, such as globalization and the free market.

Referring to the global economic crisis, the lawyer and writer highlighted that China, the world’s second largest economy, has not been unaffected. (Photo:  Reyna at the ConferencePhoto: Anabel)

The Chinese stock market

Fernández Reyna explained that throughout January, the Chinese stock exchange has continued to decline. The Shanghai Composite Index, for example, has suffered a fall of 10%; while the Shenzhen Composite Index declined by 6.6%. This represents million-sum losses for the Asian nation and its contagion effect has had a negative impact on stock markets in several countries, including the United States, which has recently reported losses equivalent to 1.36 trillion dollars

He added that as a result, the Chinese central bank set the yuan at its weakest level since March 2011, with the currency losing 6% against the dollar.

However, the U.S. economy is going through a slow recovery process, the former president said. He added that the U.S. economy expanded by 2.5% in 2015, at the cost of a significant increase in public debt. For the first time in the history of this nation, the public debt exceeds GDP, presenting a tense situation for the country in the years ahead.

Regional economic growth

Fernández Reyna also noted that according to data provided by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the region’s economy grew by just 0.4% in 2015.

As for global economic growth, the former president highlighted that this amounted to 2.4% in 2015, with an expected increase of 2.9% over the current year, and 3.1% in 2017.

The outlook appears bleak, he stressed, but awareness of the situation can help to find ways to reverse it, and work towards achieving an overall improvement.

Trenches of ideas are worth more than trenches of stone

Atilio Boron 3.jpgMeanwhile, during his talk entitled, “The new national security doctrine of the United States: allies, competitors and enemies”, Argentine sociologist Atilio Borón stressed the validity of Martí’s thought in the current stage of relations between Cuba and the United States.

We must commit to further spreading the work of Martí, as unfortunately it is not widely known in Latin America. Now more than ever we need to study Martí, as “trenches of ideas are worth more than trenches of stone,” the member of the World Council of the José Martí Project of International Solidarity stressed.

Regarding the process of the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, Borón stressed that everything possible must be done to put an end to the blockade, and advance bilateral relations, while resisting erosion of the island’s cultural identity, an increasing threat in this age of cultural imperialism.


Fernando Martínez Heredia.jpegSocialism is the guarantee of national liberation, especially in a continent such as ours, which serves as a paradigm of hope for today’s world, essayist Fernando Martínez Heredia stressed, speaking on the panel on “Neoliberalism, New scenarios in Latin America and the Caribbean and the global balance sheet”.

He noted that despite this being the most unequal region on the globe, Latin America has accumulated a number of initiatives, ideas and projects – projects which aim for a new political, economic and social model for the world that overcomes imperialist domination.

The role of the youth

Yusuam Palacios Ortega.jpgSpeaking during the forum of the José Martí Youth Movement, the national President of the organization, Yusuam Palacios Ortega, noted that contributing their ideas on solving global problems is a privilege for young people; and to do so based on the thought of José Martí has a double significance.

It is necessary to strengthen the role of the youth in a world marked by digital culture, and in which we must learn to position ourselves so that we can use these tools for revolutionary purposes, he added.

Lucía Topolansky.jpgAlso participating in the forum was Uruguayan politician Lucía Topolansky, member of the Tupamaros National Liberation Movement and spouse of the former president of this South American nation, José “Pepe” Mujica.

A meeting of this kind is indispensable to a collective thought, in order that a diversity of views contribute to the freedom of our countries, Topolansky stated. She added that this challenge, as always, falls to the youth, noting, “How old were the rebels who came down from the Sierra? They were just youngsters!”

She referred to technological advances, primarily the internet, which today can serve as both positive and negative tools. The internet can help us generate collective thought and advance Latin American integration, as it shortens the physical distance between us, she noted. However, she stressed that this technology must be approached from a critical perspective, and that this task falls to the youth, who have a much better understanding of these networks than older generations.