Cuban artists reaffirm solidarity with Palestinian people

Havana, Feb 22 (Prensa Latina) Writers and intellectuals reaffirmed their solidarity with the people of Palestine at an event held on Thursday within the framework of the 32nd Havana International Book Fair.

The event took place at the Abelardo Estorino Theater, the headquarters of Cuba’s Ministry of Culture, where guests made their position against the genocide committed by the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank clear.

The event was chaired by Abdel Nasser, former Palestinian Ambassador to Ecuador and advisor to the Palestinian National Council; Murat Al-Sudanni, general secretary of the Palestinian Writers Union; and Akram Samhan, Palestinian ambassador to Cuba.

Also present were the ambassadors from Algeria, Egypt, Syria and Yemen to Cuba, who expressed their support for the cause of the attacked Gaza.

As part of the cultural event, actors Simon Carlos and Irasema Cruz recited the poems “El pasaporte” (The Passport), “Carnet de identidad” (ID) and “Nosotros amamos la vida” (We Love Life”) by Mahmud Darwish, who is considered the Palestinian national poet.

During the meeting, Nasser reflected on the 1948 incidents in Palestine that led to the creation of the State of Israel and the role played by the United Kingdom and the United States; the latter he described as “the world’s police.”

Why do the Israelis have the right to come to the West Bank and steal my land? Where is justice in this world? Palestinians love peace; they have been fighting for 77 years to live in peace in a free and independent State, he declared.

It is time for the bloodshed to stop; Palestine is the beacon of security in the world and Jerusalem is the gateway to peace; the war in Palestine dates back 70 years and not to October last year, Al-Sudanni noted.

He denounced how Israel’s army is holding even deaths and strongly reaffirmed that “despite this act of savagery, Palestine and its citizens will continue to resist until the establishment of an independent State and the return of the refugees to our beloved land.”

During the meeting, intellectuals Alex Pausides, Basilia Papastamatiu, Jorge Fuentes and Fidel Antonio Orta Perez recited their poems on the situation in Gaza, which they described as “appalling.”

“One cannot renounce to be heard, so that the whole world knows and is on the side of the good, which is the Palestinian side, highlighted Cuban editor and poet Alex Pausides, who presented his poem “Minute of Silence.”

Papastamatiu, in turn, recited “With their Souls Still Undiscovered,” and confessed that she cannot conceive how a people who lived through something as terrible as the Holocaust can repeat the same thing years later against another people.

I find this forgetfulness of history and the total lack of humanity terrible; we will also live with the guilt if we do not manage to unite, peoples and governments, to find a solution and stop this slaughter, the Argentine writer added.

Jorge Fuentes, author of “Gaza,” acknowledged that for Cuban writers and artists it is difficult not to be able to go and help in Palestine and only collaborate with a poem, an action that he described as “a very humble gesture compared to the great tragedy that people are currently living.”

The writers’ presentation ended up with the declamation of the poem “Arde la Franja de Gaza” (The Gaza Strip is Burning), by Fidel Antonio Orta, director of the Jesus Orta Ruiz Research Center.

The event concluded with the interpretation of the song “Palestine” by singer songwriter Ariel Diaz, who noted that one cannot stop singing when there is injustice, and even after the victory one must sing more.

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Revolution and Resilience: UM-Flint students can travel to Cuba for (essentially) free

UM-Flint faculty members Stephanie Vidaillet Gelderloos (front) and Thomas Henthorn (rear) will be leading students on a funded trip to Cuba in 2025. They are pictured here near a mural in Viñales, Cuba, approximately 114 miles southwest of Havana.

By LOGAN MCGRADY On February 22, 2024 – UM-Flint News – University of Michigan-Flint

Despite being just 100 miles off of Key West, Florida, it can seem that Cuba is a world away. Since the U.S. embargo against the island country first began in 1960, the Caribbean nation has been largely isolated – politically and economically – from its neighbor to the north. But despite the embargo and restricted travel opportunities, the Cuban diaspora has made significant contributions to the culture of the U.S. and the world. 

Students at the University of Michigan-Flint will have the opportunity to travel to Cuba during spring break 2025 as part of the Wyatt Exploration Program, a unique offering focused on global engagement and learning through faculty-led travel experiences. The program is named in honor of Dorothea Wyatt, who was one of UM-Flint’s original 16 faculty members when the university was founded in 1956. Wyatt served as the first chair of the institution’s history program and after her death in 2007, her estate established an endowment in her name, which funds the program trips.

The 2025 trip will be co-led by Thomas Henthorn, Dorothea E Wyatt Professor of United States History, and Stephanie Vidaillet Gelderloos, lecturer IV in English.

A classic car parked in front of a building
Due to the trade embargo, American cars from the 1950s are a common sight in Cuba.

“This type of experience can really broaden our students’ perspectives in a way that no lesson in class, no book could ever do,” said Gelderloos, who is Cuban-American and has family in the country. “And while I think there’s value in any kind of international travel, Cuba is unique in being so close yet so far away. It’s an experience that most people will never have because of the restrictions. You can only go for certain reasons. Most people, even though it’s so close to us, will never get this opportunity.” Gelderloos and Henthorn traveled to Cuba in February to begin preparing for the trip, some of which can be seen on Gelderloos’ YouTube channel Motor City Migrant

While in past years eligibility for Wyatt trips has been limited to history majors and minors, a much broader population of students could have the opportunity to join as this excursion is open to any UM-Flint undergraduate student who meets the following criteria:

  • Enrolled in a history course during the 2024-25 academic year.
  • Attend at least one Wyatt Exploration event. 
  • Possess a U.S. passport by Dec. 1, 2024.
  • History majors, history minors, and historic preservation minors are automatically eligible.

A series of on-campus events – open to both students and community members – will help orient potential student travelers to the trip and share important historical context to aid in their experiential learning. The 2024-25 kickoff will be staged during the Latinos United for Advancement Carnaval Ball, which will take place 5:30-9:30 p.m., March 7, in the Northbank Center. Other events will include a film screening and discussion with Cray Novick, director of the documentary series “Re-Evolution, the Cuban Dream”; a salsa dancing social; and a talk from Arlene Díaz, associate professor at Indiana University, who will share details from her latest book project “Espionage, Media Manipulation, and the Forging of the US Empire: A Backstage History of the Spanish-Cuban-American War.” 

Henthorn noted that, in addition to the widened eligibility requirements, this trip is notable because of the economic realities present in Cuba. 

“The Wyatt Program has hosted trips to Europe and Asia, but all of these have been in highly developed, highly industrialized areas,” he said. “While these trips absolutely introduced students to different cultures and different parts of the world, this Cuba program is going to do so in a different way than in past trips.

“We’re going to spend most of our time in Havana, but we will be getting out of the city to a town called Viñales. Havana is the largest city in the Caribbean, and some of the infrastructure is lagging behind other cities of similar size. But at the same time, it has a rich history that has many facets, from the colonial era to pre- and post-revolution.”

Students who are interested in taking part in this year’s program are encouraged to register for the kickoff event and attend in person. For more information about the Wyatt Program, visit its webpage.

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Cuba reaffirms its willingness to collaborate with the US agricultural sector

Díaz-Canel in meeting with representatives of the US agricultural sector (Photo:cubaminrex.cu)

Radio Habana Cuba – Feb. 21, 2024

By Roberto Morejón

Trade delegation visits could be frequent between Cuba and the United States given their geographic proximity, although the blockade prevents this.

Nevertheless, the persistence of the important agricultural sector in that country to explore possible trade links stands out.

It does so in the midst of the thick legal net inherent to the siege and the harassment of any vestige of negotiation by legislators of alleged Cuban origin.

It is in this context that the visit to Havana of such an important group from the US agricultural sector, organised by NASDA, the National Association of US Departments of Agriculture, takes place.

While businessmen, farmers and other exponents of the North American agricultural industry have travelled to the Caribbean country on several occasions, this is the first time they have done so under the auspices of NASDA.

The Cubans highly value these efforts of northern growers to seek commercial bridges even with so many obstacles and knowing that, as they say, possible sales to the Caribbean archipelago would help business and create jobs there.

Cuba is a market of interest, but 80 percent of the agricultural area is managed by non-state actors, with around three thousand cooperatives.

Businessmen, farmers and officials who have visited Havana in the past, such as the participants in the fourth agricultural conference between the two countries in April 2023, have learned about this.It should be remembered that the activism of the farmers was decisive for the US Congress to pass a law allowing exports to Cuba in 2000.

However, the conditions under this instrument are detrimental, due to the manoeuvres of sectors opposed to bilateral cooperation.This peculiarity is well known to the Secretaries of Agriculture of several states visiting this capital, but they are also aware of the existence of a real potential for careful and mutually beneficial exchanges.

This has been noted by Paul Johnson, co-chair of the US Agriculture for Cuba coalition, now among the travelers. He acknowledges that agricultural relations between the two countries are insufficient and there is a willingness on both sides to do more. But, as Johnson said earlier in Havana, “we are missing opportunities and we are tired of missing them”.

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President Lopez Obrador rejects US policy on Cuba

Mexico, Feb 22 (Prensa Latina) Mexican President Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday described the United States blockade against Cuba as purely ideological and political charged, while recalling proposals on migration to US President Joe Biden.

“What will happen if the US removes the blockade against Cuba?” The head of State wondered at his morning press conference at the National Palace. “Well, nothing, they say terrorism, but there is nothing like that. It is pure ideology and politicking,” Lopez Obrador replied to the question himself.

The president added that what is happening is that there are Cuban politicians in the US who have taken advantage of that inhumane medieval policy.

“There are four or five million Cubans in the United States, but there are over 40 million Mexicans. However, Cubans have lawmakers, senators, people involved in all governments, they have big influence there,” the president argued.

Lopez Obrador stated, “Why? Well, because they profit from that confrontation, and they are not interested in the Cuban people doing badly as long as they are doing well.”

“But someone has to dare say that all that is going to change. President Barack Obama wanted to do so and even went to Havana, but then they reversed everything,” he recalled.

In that regard, head of State referred to item five and the programs for migrants to enter the United States through legal channels, and to eliminate uncontrolled migrations and described it as a good program that the State Department should generalize to all its embassies in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the one in Havana.

Lopez Obrador said that since it has been pursued, 400,000 Latin Americans and Caribbeans have already entered the US through legal channels without risk to their lives, thus satisfying a reality of the United States, which is its need for labor.

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Cuban and Palestinian intellectuals embrace in fair cause

Havana, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) Palestine’s Secretary General of the Writers Union Murad Sudani provided on Wednesday a lecture on the sisterhood between that nation and Cuba, in addition to explain the fair cause of Gazans.

The University of the Arts (ISA) hosted the dialogue, also chaired by the advisor to the president of the Palestinian National Council, Abdel Nasser H.A. Alaraj, and the Cuban poet Alex Pausides.

In the presence of the Palestinian Ambassador to Cuba Akram Samhan, and the directors and students of the educational institution, Sudani argued that what is happening today in Gaza is the continuation of a long history of assassinations, “it is an open war seen daily on the screens as never before, daily massacres in the face of an absent justice in the world.”

In his opinion, something more than a language is needed, a language to express what is going on in Gaza, “even the fantasy of Palestinian intellectuals will not be able to describe the true reality of what is happening there.”

According to the intellectual, there is a Palestinian resistance that clings to its land and homes. “As for Jerusalem, the closest point between heaven and earth, both churches and mosques are targets of the occupation, there is no distinction, if you are Palestinian, you are a target.”

The leader expressed with determination: it is a national principle that we cannot give up now or in the future, Jerusalem is and will be the capital of Palestine, not of Israel.

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Cuba seeks to clarify situation of kidnapped doctors in Kenya

Havana, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel reaffirmed on Wednesday that it is a priority for his Government to know the current situation of two Cuban doctors who were kidnapped by the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab, in Kenya in 2019.

Based on unconfirmed information, Doctors Assel Herrera Correa and Landy Rodriguez Hernandez would have been killed in a bombing by the United States African Command (Africom) on positions of the violent organization in Dilib, Somalia.

We share the deep sorrow of their families and all the people, added the Cuban president on his X profile, where he also pointed out that Parliament President Esteban Lazo had traveled as a High Level Special Envoy to Kenya to clarify the situation of those medical collaborators.

On Tuesday, the Cuban Foreign Ministry announced Lazo’s trip to Kenya and affirmed that since the early hours after receiving the news, the Cuban Government has given absolute priority to the negotiations, which will continue until all the possibilities to confirm the situation of the doctors have been exhausted.

The circumstances and characteristics of the military operation that the Africom spokeswoman confirmed to have occurred are unknown, as well as whether this (operation) was justified, and whether it was carried out with the obligatory care to avoid collateral damage, to protect civilians and innocent people, and with due respect for international humanitarian law, the MINREX pointed out.

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Cuba seeks alternatives to produce more food

Havana, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) Cuba seeks more efficiency in the use of agricultural inputs and financing in 2024 to increase national food production, considered among the main demands of the population, Granma newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Minister of Agriculture Ydael Perez Brito explained that the plan is to concentrate the available resources mainly in eight productive areas and 22 municipalities, as well as in all 22 largest companies in the sector, the daily added.

The minister noted that the Government is working on the design of a financial mechanism that will allow agriculture to use the foreign currency income generated by the sector’s exports for its own development.

This financing will be used to support resources and inputs from exporters and the main productions that have an impact on the country’s food balance, the official said at a meeting with the officials from the Government.

This way, the intention is to reduce gradually the country’s high dependence on foreign currency that the agricultural sector has today from the rest of the national economy.

This year we are called to change the economic situation of the country, and the agricultural system plays a fundamental role, since Cubans spend a large percentage of their salary only on food that they pay at high prices,’ Perez Brito remarked at the meeting with President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

The first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba reiterated his call to multiply the good examples and achieve adequate integration among all economic stakeholders that favor the strengthening of local agri-food systems. The municipalities have to build agri-food systems for self-sufficiency to cover some products of the basic food basket, and ‘not everything depends on imports,’ the president added.

For Cuba it represents a big challenge, since the regulated distribution is universal, hence Diaz-Canel praised the example of central Cienfuegos province, where they have already harvested beans to deliver to its inhabitants at a rate of 10 ounces per capita per month throughout the year.

The issue is not to produce to fulfill plans, but ‘to put on the table of every Cuban the amount of food necessary for a healthy diet,’ the head of State pointed out.

Financing for productive activity is limited; but sometimes it is not properly used and leaves room for inefficiency, he noted.

It is necessary to find our own solutions. If there is no foreign currency to obtain all the inputs, we must look for variants, said Diaz-Canel, who acknowledge the experience in producing agroecological potato, with national seeds and without technological packages, and it yielded 10 tons per hectare.

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Cuba expresses its commitment to peace at The Hague

The Hague, Netherlands, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Anayansi Rodriguez expressed Cuba’s genuine interest and commitment to peace, when speaking in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Wednesday.

At the headquarters of the International Court of Justice, the deputy foreign minister noted Cuba’s historic and unconditional solidarity with the peoples subjected to colonialism and foreign domination, and condemned the massacre committed against the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying power.

She said that this is happening with the complicity of countries like the United States, which are ‘responsible before International Law for the genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the apartheid regime that determines where people can live, work and circulate depending on their ethnic and religious origins.’

In this regard, she underlined that the nations present at the hearing bear the high moral, historic and legal responsibility to make a clear, transparent and forceful denunciation of the Palestinian people’s ignominious situation.

As representative of the Cuban delegation, the deputy foreign minister noted the essential legal elements to determine the international responsibility of Israel and the other international stockholders, in addition to the legal implications and consequences of these illegal acts.

As explained above and, especially, taking into account the untenable situation of the Palestinian people, the Honorable International Court of Justice should pronounce itself in the clearest, most forceful and energetic legal terms, in defense of International Law,’ the diplomat added.

Therefore, the Cuban delegation requested the speedy issuance of a Consultative Opinion opposing so many years of impunity and ‘clearly establishing the international consequences and responsibilities of all those who in one way or another contribute to the extermination of the Palestinian people.’

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Cuba takes urgent steps to clarify the situation of kidnapped doctors

Havana, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) The High Level Special Envoy and president of the National People’s Power Assembly (Parliament) of Cuba, Esteban Lazo, is in Kenya taking urgent steps to clear-up the situation of two doctors kidnapped since 2019.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) of the Caribbean island explains that Lazo will make urgent representations to the highest authorities of Kenya in search of cooperation and clearings in light of the recent news published about the possible unconfirmed death of doctors Assel Herrera Correa and Landy Rodriguez Hernandez.

Unofficial media recently published reports about the alleged death of the Cuban doctors during a U.S. military bombing of positions of the Somali-born terrorist group Al-Shabaab, which took them prisoner on April 12, 2019.

The MINREX statement affirms that since the first hours after receiving the news, the Cuban government has given absolute priority to the efforts that, through various media and different international actors, have been carried out in order to obtain the most objective information on the facts.

That action will be maintained until all possibilities are exhausted to confirm the situation of the Cuban doctors, the note reaffirms.

The Ministry details that, in that context, since Sunday, February 18 and in addition to the negotiations and communication with the Kenyan government, official contacts were initiated with Somalia in search of precision on the military operations reported through unofficial channels.

These media cite the United States African Command (AFRICOM), which reports that the event took place on the night of February 15 during the aforementioned bombing with U.S. drones in the town of Dilib, in Somalia, according to the MINREX.

Cuba, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contacted the U.S. government through diplomatic channels on Sunday, February 18, seeking clarification and is still awaiting a response, the Foreign Ministry statement says.

The note points out that so far there is no public statement from the U.S. government or its armed forces, confirming or denying the news involving our health collaborators.

Likewise, the circumstances and characteristics of the military operation that the AFRICOM spokeswoman confirms to have occurred are unknown, as well as whether this (operation) was justified, and whether it was carried out with the mandatory care to avoid collateral damage, to protect civilians and innocent people, and with due respect for international humanitarian law, the MINREX warns.

Such actions are an issue about which international organizations have expressed serious concerns in the past, the note concludes.

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Cuba to celebrate Press Day

Havana, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) Cuba’s communication professionals will celebrate Press Day from March 5 to 20, in the context of the 132nd anniversary of Periódico Patria, founded by National Hero José Martí.

Inspired by the idea of the considered Apostle of the Cuban independence that “He who tells the truth serves the homeland better”, this time it will be dedicated to the 170th anniversary of the birth of the outstanding patriot Juan Gualberto Gómez and the 95th anniversary of the revolutionary journalist Ernesto Vera Méndez. As a prelude, on February 23, there will be the proclamation of the winners of the national awards José Martí, for Life’s Work, and Juan Gualberto Gómez, for the work of the year.

The press day will begin with the laying of a wreath at the tomb of patriot and journalist Juan Gualberto Gómez, in the capital’s Colón cemetery, on the 91st anniversary of his death, and from March 18 to 20, it will close with the third Patria International Colloquium, the Cubaperiodistas website reported.

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