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Quick Reads + Cuba

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Latest stories from Quick Reads + Cuba

Human Rights Video: 2013 Year in Review

A video by WITNESS on the Human Rights Channel of YouTube wrapped up some of the most significant protests and human rights abuses of 2013. Dozens of clips shot by citizens worldwide are edited together to show efforts to withstand injustice and oppression, from Sudan to Saudi Arabia, Cambodia to Brazil.

A post on the WITNESS blog by Madeleine Bair from December 2013, celebrates the power of citizen activism using new technologies including video, while readers are reminded that the difficulty of verification and establishing authenticity remains a big obstacle.

“Citizen footage can and is throwing a spotlight on otherwise inaccessible places such as prisons, war zones, and homes,” says Bair. “But given the uncertainties inherent in such footage, reporters and investigators must use it with caution.”

Journalism, Cuban Style

Iván's File Cabinet shares some of the must-haves if you want to be a journalist in Cuba.

Cuba: Madiba Was Great, But Not Perfect

Cuban blog Without Evasion says the best way in which she can pay tribute to Nelson Mandela is by “imitating him in forgiveness and reconciliation”:

I forgive you…for the friendship with…the vilest dictator my people has ever had…for placing your hand –redemptive for your people- on the bloodied shoulders of the one who excludes and reviles mine.

Cubans’ Daily Concerns Trump Controversial Handshake

While the Obama-Raúl thing sent a large part of the exiled Cuban-American community…into an uproar, in Havana [it] was little more than just another bit of news.

Iván García offers insight as to why most Cubans overlooked the exchange.

Cuba Temporarily Reestablishes Consular Services in the United States

The Cuban Interest Section, the country's diplomatic mission in Washington, has temporarily reestablished its consular services until 17 February 2014. The decision comes after M&T Bank Corporation indicated they would postpone closing the Cuban diplomatic mission's accounts in the United States. 

The official announcement by the Cuban Interest Section is an indication that the country “will continue efforts to identify a new bank to take over the operation of its accounts and, to the extent that this is achieved, will be capable of permanently normalizing consular services.” 

According to the website Café Fuerte, “it is estimated that some 80,000 people travel to Cuba from the United States during the December holiday period.”

Last July 12, M&T Bank Corporation informed the Cuban Interest Section in Washington that it would no longer offer banking services to foreign diplomatic misions. As a result, the Cuban Interest Section and the Cuban Permanent Mission to the United Nations found themselves, in short order, having to terminate the relationship and initiate the search for a new financial institution with which to conduct their banking activities. 

This situation had prompted the Cuban Interest Section to suspend its consular services until further notice. 

400 Cuban Doctors Go to Brazil

David Oliveira de Souza, a doctor and professor from the Research Institute of the Sirio-Libanés Hospital, sent an open letter to the more than four hundred Cuban doctors who recently arrived in Brazil and who constitute the first group of a total of 4,000 physicians who are expected to come to this country before December of this year.

Maternal home in Cuba. (Foto: Randy Rodríguez Pagés)

Maternal home in Cuba. (Foto: Randy Rodríguez Pagés)

The missive, published by the daily Folha from Sao Paulo, states:

Welcome, Cuban doctors. You will be very important for Brazil. The lack of doctors in remote and outlying areas have left our people in a difficult situation. Do not worry about hostility from some of our colleagues. You will be compensated greatly by the warm welcome in the communities for which you will care from this point on.

According to Oliveira de Souza, in states like Sergipe, it is easy to move from the capital to the Interior, but even so there are hundreds of unused job positions, even in equipped health units and in good conditions.

Before the deficit of 14,500 physicians in the South American nation, the government of Dilma Rousseff approved the “Mais Medicos” (More Doctors) program, which will contract doctors from Spain, Portugal, and Cuba, among other nations.

Recently, one of the principle critiques on the contracting of Cubans states that ”they were being exploited.” In the face of this argument, Oliveira de Souza says in his letter:

It was talked about as if they would work like slaves. The Panamerican Health Organization (PHO), with a century of experience, would be an accomplice, since it signed the cooperation agreement with the government of Brazil. Their smiling faces in the airports condemn those hypotheses. In the name of our village and the majority of our doctors, I can only say with conviction: a brotherly hug and thank you very much.

Could Guantánamo Be Returned to Cuba?

Michael Parmly, ex-representative of the United States in Cuba, suggested to President Barack Obama that the Guantánamo military base be returned to the island's authorities, along with other recommendations mentioned in a 26 page report which the news agency Reuters had access to and which will be published shortly at the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs.

Entrada a la provincia de Guantánamo, Cuba. (Foto: Ángel Baldrich)

Entering the Guantánamo province, Cuba. (Photo: Ángel Baldrich)

The negotiation of an agreement with Cuban President Raúl Castro about the naval base could contribute to the establishment of a direct relationship with the Cuban government and with Cuban citizens, thinks Parmly, who was Chief of Mission of the United States Interests Section in Havana between 2005 and 2008.

Most of the prisoners at Guantánamo could be moved to jails on United States soil, while the most problematic cases would stay on the island, notes Parmly.

According to the diplomat, the naval base is a “historic anomaly”:

The current partisan tensions on the (Capitol) Hill ensure that it would be an uphill climb, but it is the thesis of this paper that a similar bold step, akin to the Panama Canal, is called for regarding Guantánamo.

Cuba: Another Brick in the Wall?

The whole process is managed and legitimated by a whole army of high-level psychologists and pedagogues in the name of the common Good.

Erasmo Calzadilla blogs at Havana Times about the state of education in Cuba: ”Till recently, school and repression were for me synonymous.”

New York Times Profiles Global Voices Cuba Contributor

Elaine Díaz en el Global Voices Summit 2012, Nairobi, Kenia. Foto de @Rezwan.

Elaine Díaz at the Global Voices Summit 2012, Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by @Rezwan.

According to the New York Times’ The Lede blog, Global Voices Cuba contributor Elaine Díaz “may be the most important Cuban dissident you’ve never heard of.” Elaine, currently on a visit to the US, is profiled in a June 11 post titled “Cuban Blogger Who Reveres Castro Pushes for Reform”.

Cuba: Yoani Returns

I’m back now. Beginning to feel the peculiarities of a Cuba that in my three months absence has barely changed.

High-profile Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez talks about returning home after her first trip abroad in years.

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