There are two complementary angles from which to interpret both this visit and the entire process of attempting to normalize relations: what they mean for assessing the past, and what they mean as we move towards the future.
Looking to the past, it is clear that the recently initiated process of normalizing relations between Cuba and the United States must be interpreted as a victory, writ large, of the revolutionary and socialist people of Cuba, of their convictions, their capacity for resistance and sacrifice, their culture, their ethical commitment to social justice; and as a victory for Latin American solidarity with Cuba.
There are some things so obvious to us Cubans that sometimes we forget to underscore them.
Published on 4 April 2016 by Granma
To visit the Solidaridad con Panamá (Solidarity with Panama) School, where 180 children and young people with physical and intellectual disabilities or cerebrovascular diseases study, is a moment to rid oneself of sorrows, and be inspired by the determination to overcome any difficulties that lie ahead.
Students at the school are motivated by the staff who work closely with them every day, some 110 workers in total, including 64 teachers, and over 40 assistants, physical therapists and other professionals. Some of whom have also provided educational services in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and other countries.
The school, located in the Fontanar neighborhood in the municipality of Boyeros, Havana, is a site without architectural barriers to mobility, characterized for its cleanliness, order, discipline, lighting in every corner and use of color to invoke peace and happiness.
The Solidaridad con Panamá School was inaugurated by the leader of the Cuban Revolution Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz on 31 December 1989, in the context of U.S. military aggression against Panama. The school teaches at three levels: primary, secondary, and for children with intellectual and developmental difficulties. The school also participates in the “Educate Your Child” program, which offers tools for parents with disabled children.
Walking around the site, one comes across children with no hands eating with their feet; a child who has difficulty walking pushing the wheelchair of another; or another holding a pencil between his teeth to write during class. They all play the normal games for their age, particularly enjoy art classes and get up to mischief now and again. There is no sense here of pity for these children, solely because they have certain limitations.
What stands out is the joy expressed on each of their faces. They all are eager to be photographed and open to talk to anyone. Teachers, workers and students clearly recall key moments in the 25 year history of the school.
Published on 8 April by Granma
Cuban leader Fidel Castro attended an event honoring revolutionary heroine Vilma Espín, on April 7.
He visited the Vilma Espín educational center located in the Havana municipality of Playa, where, along with preschool and elementary students and teachers, he participated in a tribute to the founder of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), held on the 86th anniversary of Vilma’s birth.
“I am sure that on a day like today, Vilma would be very happy,” the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution said.
“She would be seeing why she sacrificed her life, why those who die struggling for the Revolution leave energy along the way, leave strength, and struggle for this,” he added
Fidel, who will celebrate his 90th birthday in August, could be seen in the television broadcast spiritedly greeting the children and teachers, and discussing issues related to education, health and nutrition.
“Those of us who are here consider being in this school today a privilege, since this type of school is getting close to a kind of dream. I was trying to remember if I had known of a place where a school like this one existed. Such a place doesn’t appear,” Fidel said.
Boris Fuentes, the Cuban television journalist covering the event, reported that Fidel emphasized the school’s experience and its utility for rural areas.
Currently attending the Vilma Espín School are preschool and elementary children, while a middle school program is to be initiated next September.
The educational center was inaugurated April 9, 2013, with two classroom buildings, a library, as well as computer lab, and is staffed by a total of 43 individuals including teachers, assistants and service workers.
Link to video in Spanish can be found here
Published on 28 March 2016 by teleSUR.
Cuba's Fidel Castro has responded to U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to his country last week in an opinion piece for the website Cuba Debate.
In the article, published Monday, the iconic revolutionary figure explained that "Cuba doesn't need the empire to give us anything," adding that "nobody should be under the illusion that the people of this noble and selfless country will surrender their rights and spiritual wealth that they have won with the development of education, science and culture,” under the Cuban Revolution.
He added that Cuba can "produce the food and material wealth we need through effort and intelligence of our people."
Published on 30 March 2016 by Granma.
Much more is revealed by what Obama didn’t say in Havana, than the little he did, no matter how choice his words. This is the same Obama who could do much more given his Presidential powers and yet has not. Dario Machado reports.
Like many others, I followed the visit by Barack Obama to our country and experienced mixed feelings: on the one hand, the healthy patriotic and revolutionary pride of witnessing a U.S. president rectifying the policy toward Cuba and repeating on our own soil that the blockade must be ended, reaffirming respect for our sovereignty and independence, which we Cubans have earned with our sacrifice, our sweat, our blood, our history; and on the other hand, the danger posed by those who believe that with these lukewarm changes, the contradiction between the interests of U.S. imperialism and the Cuban nation has disappeared. But it was only after listening to his speech that Tuesday morning that I decided to write this, because, as Fidel warned over half a century ago, from now on everything will be more difficult.
Who could doubt the enormous complexity of U.S. society, where black and white analysis is of little value?
Published on 18 March 2016 by teleSUR.
Cuba has awarded Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro one of the Caribbean country’s highest honors, the Maximum National Order.
"Jose Marti was the biggest Bolivariano of the 19th century, a loyal interpreter of the genuine spirit of the Liberator."
Maduro was in Cuba on Friday to accept the award, named after Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti.
“Our union comes from love, brotherhood, identity, from two peoples with heroic histories,” Maduro said on receiving the award. This award is truly for the heroic people of Venezuela, who have battled, and who do not give in.”
Cuba and Venezuela have a long history of solidarity, with joint projects like Miracle Mission, to cure blindness, and Mission Barrio Adentro, bringing thousands of Cuban doctors to Venezuela.
Published on 22 March by Granma.
The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, set off from Havana’s José Martí International Airport aboard the Air Force One plane this Tuesday afternoon, bringing his official visit to Cuba, which began on Sunday March 20, to an end.
He was accompanied and bid farewell at the airport by the President of the Councils of State and Ministers Raúl Castro Ruz.
Obama will now travel to Argentina to meet with his counterpart Mauricio Macri.
During his visit to the island, the U.S. President, together with his accompanying delegation, toured sites in Old Havana including the Plaza de Armas, the Captain Generals' Palace and the Cathedral of Havana, accompanied by City Historian Eusebio Leal Spengler.
On the morning of Monday, March 21, Barack Obama paid tribute to Cuba’s national hero, José Martí, laying a floral wreath to the monument in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución, and held official talks with the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz. Following the talks, both presidents offered statements to the press, which received wide international media coverage.
Published on 22/03/16 by teleSUR.
Below we look at how the United States government has provided “assistance” in order to sow dissent within Cuban society.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with U.S.-backed opposition organizations on Tuesday in Cuba as part of his visit to the island.
Leading up to his meeting, teleSUR takes a look at the historic ties between Cuban dissidents and the U.S. government.
Despite the thawing of diplomatic relations, the U.S. government continues to provide financial “assistance” to individuals and groups dedicated to "regime change" in Cuba.
Published on 17 March 2016 by teleSUR.
In the context of developing Cuba-U.S. relations, on March 2, 2016 in Geneva, the Deputy secretary of State of the U.S. State Department, Antony J. Blinken, issued the National Statement at the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. In this statement he indicated that Obama during his visit to Cuba in March “will emphasize that the Cuban people are best served by an environment where people are free to choose their political parties and their leaders ...”
Let us concentrate for the moment on the theme of “choosing their leaders.”