Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 21, 2014

Cuba sends doctors to combat Ebola in Africa


This article by Seth Galinsky appeared in The Militant
The revolutionary government of Cuba is sending a 165-member medical team to Sierra Leone to combat the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. This is the largest number of medical personnel being sent to West Africa from anywhere in the world.
Like other internationalist aid from Cuba since working people took power following the 1959 revolution, the mission to combat Ebola “is carried out under the principle that we don’t give what we have left over; we share what we have,” Cuba’s Public Health Minister Roberto Morales said at a Sept. 12 press conference in Geneva.

Morales said that Cuba currently has 50,731 volunteer health care workers in 66 countries, 4,000 of them in Africa. About 20 percent of Cuba’s 75,000 doctors are currently engaged in volunteer internationalist missions.

Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, told reporters at the press conference that there are only about 170 foreign health care workers — including doctors, nurses and disease control specialists — in Africa combating Ebola. The Cuban contingent of 62 doctors and 103 nurses, which will arrive at the beginning of October, will double the number of medical personnel working directly on treating those infected with the disease.

The Cuban volunteers are getting specialized training in Cuba to prepare to effectively deal with the deadly disease, which is spread mainly through contact with body fluids.

“We need at a minimum 500 to 600 doctors … and more than 1,000 other health care workers,” Chan said. “As of today 4,782 people have been infected and 2,400 have died.”

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Conakry have less than one or two doctors for every 100,000 people.

“The Cuban government, like we have always done during these 55 years of revolution, has decided to participate in this worldwide effort under the leadership of the World Health Organization,” Morales said. “We call on the governments and health ministries of all countries to join the struggle against this disease.”

“We are willing to work shoulder to shoulder with doctors from any country that decides to do so,” he added, “including from the United States.”

Reporters in Geneva asked Morales why Cuba was sending the brigade to Sierra Leone.

Cuba already has 23 health care workers in Sierra Leone, who have been there for years, and 16 in Guinea-Conakry. “That facilitates the work that can be done there,” Morales said.

“We thought the initial effort that we could do is to concentrate in one country,” he said, “and not disperse the human material that really could get overwhelmed and tired out.”

“We are going to work with the public health authorities in Sierra Leone and the government to carry out a plan that prevents the disease and contribute in that way to stopping the epidemic and keep it from expanding to other regions.”

When the Ebola epidemic broke out, Cuba kept all of its medical workers in Africa.

At the same time, the U.S. government’s Peace Corps evacuated all 340 of its personnel in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, including all health education workers. The Connecticut-based Heartt Foundation pulled out its four U.S. doctors from Liberia after the epidemic began. Boston-based Wellbody Alliance did the same.

The Pentagon announced Sept. 8 that it is sending a 25-bed field hospital for treatment of local medical workers in Liberia, not the general population. No U.S. doctors will staff it.

After Cuba’s aid announcement received wide publicity, President Barack Obama said Washington would send U.S. military engineers and teachers to train health care workers in Liberia.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 21, 2014

Designs for life: Posters of the Cuban Revolution


This piece by David Pratt appeared in Scotland’s Herald.

As I came down the aircraft’s steps into the stifling heat and onto the tarmac of Havana airport, I looked around me at the soldiers dotted along the runway apron dressed in khaki fatigues with Kalashnikov assault rifles slung over their shoulders.

As a young photojournalist and aspiring foreign correspondent, straight out of Glasgow School of Art, I was on my way to Nicaragua to cover the aftermath of the Sandinista revolution there in 1979. This was my first overseas assignment, the first time too I had set foot in a country outside Europe. It was only a transit stop, but here I was in Cuba, the land of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. This is what it’s all about, I recall thinking to myself, I have found my calling.

In the eyes of so many people like myself, Cuba was then, and to a great extent still is, quintessentially the land of revolution and international solidarity. Exotic, intriguing, controversial and above all political, Cuba is to the concept of international socialism, what prayer is to the Vatican.

In the years following my first encounter with the country, when assignments would later take me to locations as far flung as Vietnam, Angola or the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cuba’s indelible stamp on the socialist psyche of such places was always apparent.

As a sole communist outpost, barely 200 miles from the US mainland, Cuba during the uncertain and volatile days of the Cold War, was to reach out across the world through its unique propaganda art form, the political poster.

What is wonderful about this work and the artists who produced it, is the willingness they showed to embrace the most contemporary, often avant-garde graphic techniques and iconography to communicate their message.

“Our enemies are capitalists and imperialists, not abstract art,” was how Che Guevara, himself the subject of a memorable poster by Helena Serran, summed up the modernity of the artists’ approach.

Often drawing on historical, ethnic and indigenous cultural motifs rendered in the most contemporary of graphic styles, this sharp juxtaposition made for propaganda at its most potent. What ultimately was produced is about as far removed from the hackneyed, stereotypical Colgate smiles and clenched fists so beloved of Soviet Socialist Realist paintings as it is possible to imagine.

This instead is a genre that more often borrowed its iconography and visual alphabet from those earlier powerful Russian art movements of Constructivism and Suprematism. Time and again these dramatic poster images providing rallying calls in the fight against globalisation, imperialism and the defence of human rights, would also just as easily incorporate an amalgam of psychedelic and primitive art.

These poster messages – like Africa 1969 by Jesus Forjans or Day Of Solidarity With The People Of Laos by Rafael Zarza – were also aimed at communicating beyond simple text to audiences of different languages, levels of literacy and cultural backgrounds. They reveal an exuberance, irreverence and humour that moves far beyond the stuffiness of most political propaganda. The Cuban designers had the visual perspicacity to deploy a wide vocabulary of images and idioms, making their work distinctive and contemporary as well as politically effective. There is something too so uniquely Cuban about the works’ energy, despite the disparate international audience for which it was primarily created.

Unlike so many of the posters produced by anti-war campaigners in the West around this time, these images are often confrontational, calling on their viewers to seek victory rather than peace.

In Cuba itself at the height of the Cold War, a number of agencies were set up to achieve this task. Among them was the rather grandly titled Organisation in Solidarity with the People of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAAL). At its peak the organisation’s quarterly publication Tricontinental, which was distributed in four languages to as many as 87 countries, effectively served as a kind of catalogue and lifestyle magazine for the numerous liberation movements seeking to emulate Fidel Castro’s popular revolution, be they in Africa, the Middle East, Asia or Latin America.

For many people who have never encountered this poster art before, these images will come as something of a political and visual revelation. Wonderful then that the Glasgow School of Art is to show around 70 posters in an exhibition brought together from an extensive portfolio gathered by collector Michael Tyler.

Tyler is the first to admit that, having grown up in the peaceful backwater of suburban Sydney, he was blissfully ambivalent about politics and knew little about Cuba beyond reading The Motorcycle Diaries, recounting the early life of Che Guevara.

“I began my adventure into largely unknown territory, journeying into the dark heart of the Cold War era, with its revolutions, coups, dictators, proxy wars, paranoia and the struggles for independence from imperialism and colonial rule; dirty, nasty business that, were it not for these posters, I would most likely never have known about,” he explains.

This is an exhibition of work rarely seen. These too are images that, while reflecting on history, are equally powerful in revealing why so many of the issues and conflicts they first addressed continue to play out and haunt the world today.

Posters Of The Cuban Revolution is at the Reid Building, Glasgow School of Art, until October 31, daily from 11am-5pm,

For the original report go to

Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente

With Hispanic Heritage Month in progress and the 2014 Major League Baseball regular season coming to an end, Damon Salvadore has compiled a list of the greatest Latin American players in MLB history for The Latin Post.

  1. Mariano Rivera

Panama gave MLB the greatest closer of all time. Mariano Rivera recorded the most saves in MLB history with 652. Rivera spent his entire 19-year career with the New York Yankees. There, Rivera would win five World Series titles and three Delivery Man of the Year Awards.

  1. Dennis Martinez

Arguably the most underrated pitcher in baseball history. Nicaragua’s own Dennis Martinez had a tremendous career for multiple teams. In 1991, he pitched a perfect game, the single greatest accomplishment for any pitcher.

  1. Tony Perez

What a great career Perez had with the Cincinnati Reds.

To this date, Perez is the only Cuban-born player in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Perez won two World Series titles with Reds in 1970s and was a seven time All-Star. His greatest moment came in the 1975 World Series, when he hit a two-run home run in Game 7 against the Boston Red Sox.

  1. David Ortiz

The Dominican Republic is home to many great baseball players. David Ortiz has a fantastic playoff resume with three World Series titles and a lot of clutch hits. Ortiz has also won the World Series MVP award, and shows little signs of slowing down.

  1. Albert Pujols

One of the best players of the 21st century. Pujols made his mark in St. Louis with the Cardinals winning two World Series titles. Pujols now has 518 career home runs–putting him at No.21 on the all-time MLB home run leaders list–and an impressive .317 batting average. Pujols has also been a great first baseman.

  1. Rod Carew

Rod Carew has the most career hits of any Latin American player with 3,053. He was voted in to the Hall of Fame in 1991. Although not a power hitter, just 92 home runs, Carew was a magician at the mound batting an outstanding .328 at the plate. He also won a Rookie of the Year award and an MVP award.

  1. Sammy Sosa

“Slamming Sammy” has the most career home runs by a Latin American born player with 609. Sosa only batted .278 at the plate, but nobody hit the long ball like he did. Sosa is the only player in baseball history to hit 60 home runs in three separate seasons.

  1. Manny Ramirez

Probably the most entertaining player in recent memory. “Manny being Manny” gave baseball fans a lot of great moments at the plate and in the field. Ramirez is one of the greatest hitters of all time in the postseason and with the bases loaded. His 29 postseason home runs are a Major League record.

  1. Juan Marichal

The Dominican Republic has had some of the best hitters in recent memory, but during the 1960s, Juan Marichal was one of the best pitchers in baseball. Marichal is currently the only Dominican-born player in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

  1. Roberto Clemente

Puerto Rico’s own Roberto Clemente is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Clemente helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win two World Series titles and made 15 All-Star appearances in the process. He finished his Hall of Fame career with exactly 3,000 hits. There’s nothing Clemente couldn’t do on the field. For his off-the-field contributions, MLB has the “Robert Clemente Award,” which is handed out every year.

Best of the Rest

With so many other great players from various Latin American nations, 10 players just isn’t enough to honor everyone. Here are some of the best Latin American baseball players of all time.

Jose Reyes, Luis Aparicio, Bobby Abrea Jose Canseco, Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez, Pedro Martinez, Rafael Palmero, Chili Davis, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Alamor.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 21, 2014

Reggaeton Star Wisin Debuts as Restaurateur


Wisin, formally half of the reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel, is diversifying with the inauguration of a 130-seat, retro-chic-themed restaurant in this San Juan suburb, The Latin AMerican Herald Tribune reports.

The Nabo Restaurant, Wisin told Efe, “realizes a yearning of many years to do something different, to show people that I can thrive in different areas.”

Juan Luis Morera, a.k.a. Wisin, is joined in the venture by his long-time business manager, Paco Lopez.

Puerto Rican artist Edgardo Larregui created a mural for the restaurant.

The restaurant will create 35 direct jobs and 15 indirect jobs, according to Wisin, who said he is very concerned about Puerto Rico’s troubled economy.

“Besides giving joy to the people and my homeland, we are providing jobs for many families,” he said.

Nabo’s kitchen, run by chef Javier Nassar, caters to eclectic tastes including typical Puerto Rican menu, Spanish tapas, universal pizza, sushi bar and more than 45 craft beers.

“The whole package,” said Wisin who embarks next week on a concert tour of Mexico with Prince Royce.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 21, 2014

Ricky Martin set to premiere new single ‘Adiós’ on Sept. 22


Ricky Martin has returned to the airwaves following his international hit “Vida,” with a new single titled “Adiós” (Goodbye), whose exclusive premiere will be held on Monday, September 22nd on Uforia’s radio stations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The single will be available on all digital platforms the following day.

“Adiós“, produced by Jesse Shatkin (responsible for Sia’s popular song “Chandelier”), Yotuel Romero, Antonio Rayo, and Ricky Martin, features an original sound and rhythmic influences from different parts of the world where the multiple GRAMMY® award winning artist has traveled throughout the year.

“We chose “Adiós” because it represents who I am today. The title is a reference to the opening of another cycle,” Ricky Martin said of the first single off his anticipated new album, scheduled to be released at the beginning of next year by Sony Music Latin.

A week after the release of “Adiós“, Martin will kick off a concert series called “Live In Mexico” with two consecutive concerts at the Palacio De Los Deportes in Mexico City on October 3 and 4. The tour will continue on to Mexico’s main cities including: Guadalajara, Monterrey, Ciudad del Carmen, Puebla, Morelia, among others. (Tour dates ahead).

Tickets are available at

In addition to the release and tour, Ricky continues his work as “coach” on the new season of “The Voice Mexico,” which airs every Sunday on Televisa.

- See more at:

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 20, 2014

CIFO shows off cutting-edge Caribbean works in Miami

Nayari Castillo - Postcards from the Post Revolution, Notations from a PTSD

With its annual Grants & Commissions exhibit, the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) is once again doing a great job of showing off cutting-edge, innovative art made south of our borders, Anne Tschida reports in this article for The Miamia Herald. Follow the link below for the original report and a gallery of photos.

Fleeting Imaginaries features the eight winners of the commissions program, who hail from South America, Mexico and the Caribbean; and for the first time two artists have been chosen for a career Achievement Award.

One of the latter, Peruvian Teresa Burga (born in 1935), starts off the exhibition with a room-size installation that is a superb introduction. Her utterly dark, black-draped room has two air vents shooting out two columns of air, Estructuras de Aire. Enter the room and your movement interrupts the flow, and you and the projected air become the art piece. That this was first conceived in 1970 suggests how avant garde her position in the Lima and South American art scene is, and why it is so important that it is shown here in 2014.

But most of the other art is ultra-contemporary in terms of creation, all made in the last year.

While your own body plays a part in Burga’s piece, it is all Carlos Martiel’s body in the most talked- about and controversial work here. Although only in his mid-20s, the Afro-Cuban, Havana-born performance artist has already made waves, most prominently at the Liverpool Biennial, where he said before the opening, “With surgical needles I sew an expensive classic English suit to my body.”

Skin, and in association, skin color, play a huge part in this artist’s work — the skin we live in, the skin others see us in. He was a Miami Cannonball (formerly LegalArt) resident this summer, part of an ongoing collaboration with CIFO, where he created Condecoracion Martiel, Carlos. This installation includes a small, wall-mounted video of a piece of Martiel’s skin being surgically removed in a Coral Gables medical office: that piece of skin is dried and preserved and set into a gold Cuban medal of honor, which hangs next to the video. That image was then tattooed around the wound. So many layers here it’s hard to begin: how the skin of black people has been tortured through the ages; how it has been studied in a creepy anthropological way as an artifact; how skin and blood-lines define us.

These two powerful, physical installations frame the other works, which address myriad other issues.

Nayari Castillo of Venezuela has some tales that are on the surface not that hard to navigate, as she has long text accompanying them. Her work, like so much made in the Americas, involves the process, integration, complications and results of migration. She is also a molecular biologist, so she follows all species as they migrate and transform, in little lab jars and in illustration. One work in her large multi-piece installation involves a tale of a Middle Eastern woman moving to Argentina, where she comes up with an ill-fated scheme to export penguins.

The Grants & Commissions program has always intentionally been heavy on nontraditional, multimedia forms. They often involve journeys, which is why when done well, they are about adventure.

Brazilian artist Marcellevs L., now based in Berlin, took his video camera out to the canals of England, where the narrow passages rarely allowed his small boat-slash-production studio to travel faster than four miles an hour. Not so different from paddling through our mangrove alleyways, where perception slows down.

Video continues to be some of the strongest work here. Claudia Joskowicz, a Bolivian artist, has a two-screen gem that is loosely, very loosely based on the John Ford film The Searchers. The searchers here, in sunglasses and other macho costuming, are not marauding the North American West, however; they are marching through church stalls and the particular identities of this Andean land-locked nation. Some of the soundtrack comes from the Canadian musical explorer Neil Young. Make sure you watch it all.

Another video, viewable in segments and possibly one of the most daring, is from Brazilian Rosangela Renno. She has filmed people on their way about life in hectic, urban Lagos, Nigeria. But in the fore of the video are two cars, honking Morse Code to each other (they don’t want to be drowned out). The Morse Code signals are also the musical translations of famous Nigerian artists such as Fela Kuti. The two cars are having a discombobulated 21st century conversation a la Waiting For Godot. It’s called Waiting For.

References to music, literary heroes and artistic pioneers are woven through the entire exhibition: The striking black-and-white sculptures in the second room, a nod to the early 20th century avant-garde Russian Kazimir Malevich from Venezuelan Antonieta Sosa, is one such example. But it stands on its own even without knowledge of its conceptual origin.

Fleeting Imaginaries combines emerging, mid-career and well-established artists who dig deep to come up with works that incorporate text, video, installation and sculpture to challenge and inspire. Read into the individual pieces what you want, it’s a fascinating tour.

For the original report go to


Developing societies in the Caribbean are the most vulnerable economies in the Americas to climate change because the majority of the population live in coastal areas, environmental experts said Thursday–as Hispanically Speaking News reports.
Rising sea levels, coastal erosion and the spread of tropical diseases are among the signs of climate change, the experts said during a telephone news conference organized by El Puente Latino Climate Action Network.
“Atlantic Ocean temperatures have been increasing in recent years and the water’s pH imbalance has been harming marine species,” Ernesto Diaz, director of the Coastal Zone Management Program at the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources, said.
“We are losing our beaches and that not only affects tourism, but also our people,” he said.
Predicting more intense hurricanes, Diaz urged Caribbean governments to maximize the protection of ecosystems and inhabitants.
He said it is understandable that the Caribbean calls for more international cooperation on the issue and that he expects the region’s representatives to call for action once again at next week’s U.N. Climate Summit in New York.
“We are the first ones to experience climate change,” Diaz said, after noting that populations of coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to rising sea level and hurricanes.
Cecilio Ortiz, associate professor in Public Administration from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, said governments must learn about the issue in order to prevent or lessen the impact of climate change on their territories.

For the original report go to


At 10 am today in the Supreme Court, an inter-parties hearing will take place between unusual opponents: Roman Catholic Bishop of Belize Monsignor Dorrick Wright and Jamaican dancehall star and journalism student Earlan Bartley, 20, also known as “Alkaline,” reports.

Alkaline is in Belize to perform concerts in San Ignacio and Dangriga as well as a pool party over the Independence holiday weekend as part of his “Live Life Tour.”

But the Cayo event is scheduled for the Sacred Heart College Auditorium, which was rented out by school management.

An angry Bishop Wright fired off a press release today, scolding the school for providing the venue to a performer who he says has been harshly criticized by his own peers for an act which can feature satanic symbols, and glorifies immorality.

He argues that “this event presents a grave moral danger to the socially fragile and impressionable youth of the college and those from all over Belize who will attend.”

Having been banned in some Caribbean islands, he should not be welcome here, the Bishop said, adding that he pleaded with parents of concert-goers not to allow their children to attend, lest they be negatively impacted by his performance.

Late on Friday evening, Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel temporarily granted the injunction pending the rare Saturday hearing.

Reached for comment this evening, promoter Martin Castillo says they will fight to keep the concert at the venue as the school signed written contracts for the rent of the venue.

For the original report go to


Saturday September 27
The Small World Music Festival presnts
Revival, 783 College St.
Doors 7:00pm / show 8:00pm
Tickets: $30 @

‘A living legend of calypso! This lady is 74 years old, but on stage, still moves like a young girl!’ – Festival Nuits d’Afrique, Montreal

McArtha Lewis, aka Calypso Rose, was born in the small island of Tobago in the West Indies. She started singing at the age of 15, and over 50 years later she is the reigning Queen of Calypso. In a world where men dominate, she was able to stand out through her strong personality and her stage charisma. Calypso Rose has received more honors and medals that any other living Calypsonian. In 1966, she wrote “Fire in Meh Wire”, which has become one of the international anthems of Calypso, translated into eight languages. In 1977, she was the first woman to win the crown of Calypso Monarch (originally called Calypso King re-named Calypso Monarch after her win). From there, there was no stopping this energetic and powerful woman, who has taken Calypso all over the world and has shared the stage with some of the biggest international stars, Miriam Makeba, Tito Puente, Mahalia Jackson, Michael Jackson, Roberta Flack, Bob Marley among others.

Toronto’s Kobo Town, led by singer Drew Gonsalves, has made an international impact with their modern interpretation of traditional Caribbean sounds. Some traditionalists, however, carped about the new elements Gonsalves included in his music. “I’m not sure I should call it calypso,” he says. “It is calypso inspired and derived, but it’s a conscious departure from the way it developed back home. Calypso is the folk music of urban Trinidad, but it has always drawn on outside influences, from big band and jazz in the 30s and 40s, to funk and disco in the 70s and 80s. It’s hard to pin down pure calypso. For me, the calypsonian is a singing newspaperman commenting on the events of the day, with an attitude halfway between court jester and griot.” The band’s recent CD, ‘Jumbie in the Jukebox’, which was recorded in Belize, Montreal, Toronto and Trinidad has won acclaim throughout North America and Europe.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 20, 2014

Palenque: Cuban Artists Exhibition Opens in France


The exhibition Palenque (hiding place for slaves), with some 100 works by Cuban artists, opened today at the Oscar Niemeyer site, in the building designed by the famous Brazilian architect in the 20th district of Paris.

The exhibition is part of the activities for the 20th year of the Slave Route, a project of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the objective of which is to show the scourge of human trafficking and the African influence in the world.

“This exhibition that we admire today seeks to show the legacy of slavery in the Caribbean. It illustrates the link between Africa and its diaspora in the world”, said Alfredo Perez de Armiñan, deputy director general for culture of that organization.

On behalf of Irina Bokova, Director General of the organization, Perez de Armiñan appreciated the Cuban Permanent Delegation to UNESCO and the association Made in Cuba for the exhibition.

The opening ceremony was attended by Hector Igarza, Cuban ambassador to France, Yahima Esquivel, third secretary of the Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, Ali Moussa, head of the Slave Route Project, Pierre Laurent, secretary of the Communist Party of France, members of the diplomatic corps and the association Made in Cuba.

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