Posted by: ivetteromero | October 31, 2014

Cuba Tries to Drive up Fertility amid Baby Slump


Associated Press stresses the Cuban government’s efforts to take action to improve sexual and reproductive health, due to their worries about the country’s birth rate. [Also see previous post Cuban government continues efforts to boost economy.]

Daymarys Gonzalez’s first attempt to have a child ended with an ectopic pregnancy at age 31. She stopped trying to conceive after a miscarriage the following year. Now, the 37-year-old pet-bird breeder is unexpectedly pregnant again, and Cuba’s communist government is doing all it can to make sure she has a successful delivery. Three months before her due date, she’s living fulltime at a special government medical care center for women with high-risk pregnancies as part of a broad campaign to drive up a birth rate that has fallen to the lowest in Latin America.

Years of fewer births mean the number of working-age people in Cuba is expected to shrink starting next year, terrible news for an island attempting to jumpstart its stagnant centrally planned economy.

The country’s governing Council of Ministers announced this week that it will soon unveil yet-unspecified financial incentives for couples considering starting families. It had already expanded maternity, and in some cases paternity leave, to a full year with pay.

The government also has opened dozens of special centers for infertile couples and special maternity units. At one of the centers in central Havana, Gonzalez and 50 other expectant mothers chat and watch television as nurses check their blood pressure and happy babies smile down from posters on the wall.

“We’ve been evaluating this low birth rate for years,” said Roberto Alvarez Fumero, chief of the maternity and child health unit at Cuba’s Ministry of Health. “Now we’re taking action to improve sexual and reproductive health, which can help drive up the country’s birth rate.”

Cuba’s baby problem is a result of some of the most notable successes of its 55-year-old socialist revolution: more working women with professional jobs and universal access to medical care, which includes contraception and free, legal abortion. It’s also a product of its failures: a lackluster economy, persistently high levels of emigration by young people and an island-wide housing shortage.

For full article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 31, 2014

Cuban government continues efforts to boost economy

ministerio del inerior

Cuban President Raul Castro presided over a session of the Council of Ministers recently, which considered and adopted policies and measures related to the update of the country’s economic model. Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

The issues on the agenda included the portfolio of opportunities for foreign investment, the aging of the Cuban population, the functions of entrepreneurial units, the registration of state facilities, the urban planning of Santiago de Cuba city and accounting activity.

Cuban vice-president Marino Murillo presented the portfolio of foreign investment, an aspect to be at the centre of the upcoming International Trade Fair next month.

The portfolio approved at the session includes 246 projects to be developed with foreign capital, estimated at $8.7 billion, in crucial sectors, such as agriculture and food, construction, the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industry, renewable energy, and others. All these projects are to be implemented in all Cuban provinces.

Also high on the agenda was the aging of the Cuban population, about which Murillo said over the next decades the country will see a trend towards population aging and decrease. This implies, he said, that if such trend is not reversed there will be more deaths than births by 2025 or 2027, with a decrease of the total population in all age groups, except for those 60 years of age and above.

In this respect, the session adopted a policy aimed at encouraging fertility, attending to the growing needs of the older segment of the population, and promoting employment for all citizens able to work.

For full article, see


Posted by: ivetteromero | October 31, 2014

Chikungunya likely to become endemic to the Caribbean

downloadA regional health official has served notice that the Chikungunya virus is likely to become endemic to the Caribbean.

Dr. James Hospedales, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) raised the issue during his participation in a public forum on Ebola and Chikungunya in Kingston on Tuesday.

“Like Dengue it (Chikungunya) will be with us for years to come, and there’s a lot more pain and misery associated with this one than Dengue,” he said.

He added that the virus has not reached its peak and continues to be under-reported.

For full article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 31, 2014

Barbadian couple missing at sea for five days found alive


A Barbadian husband and wife, who left St Lucia over the weekend for Barbados on board their 47 foot yacht, Serenity, have been found, family and relatives confirmed Wednesday.

Family members said Arthur Alleyne, 63, also known as ‘Captain Sam’, the former captain of celebrity ship, Brigg Unicorn, and his wife, Sharon Went-Alleyne, 59, have since returned to St. Lucia.

Marine authorities here as well as their counterparts in Martinique, and Barbados were involved in the search for the two people.

The couple’s daughter, Tao Alleyene, told the media that a family friend had informed her that her parents were found and that she has since spoken to her father.

“He told me that he unfortunately lost signal half way through, but he told me that both he and my mother were fine, except that they are dehydrated and hungry.”

According to her, Arthur did say that the yacht was drifting during their journey. However, it is unclear whether they managed to reach Barbados by themselves or they were rescued. [. . .]

For full article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 30, 2014

Puerto Rico’s Governor Stumps for Dannel P. Malloy


Gov. Alejandro García Padilla of Puerto Rico recently joined his Connecticut counterpart on the campaign trail Tuesday in an all-out effort to reach Latino voters. 

Padilla and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy embarked on a whirlwind tour of the state’s largest cities, an itinerary that included stops at a Spanish radio station in New Britain, a senior center in Bridgeport and a Puerto Rican restaurant in Waterbury.

“I’m here to ask every Puerto Rican, every Dominican, every Mexican, every Latino to go out and vote for Dan Malloy next Tuesday,” Garcia Padilla told a small crowd crammed into Pan del Cielo, a bakery on Prospect Avenue in Hartford.

Malloy’s Republican opponent, Tom Foley, is also courting Latino voters. On Saturday, he is scheduled to campaign in Waterbury with Luis Fortuño, who preceded Padilla as Puerto Rico’s governor.

Foley, who is locked in a statistical dead heat with Malloy, according to several public polls, is not ceding the traditionally Democratic cities to the governor.

“Tom has been engaging with the Latino media and engaging with community leaders,” said his campaign spokesman, Mark McNulty. “He has put a substantial emphasis on focusing on the cities, on all constituencies…and everyone across the state is reacting very positively to Tom’s message of lower taxes, more job and better paying jobs.”

When Malloy and Foley first faced one another four years ago, urban voters provided the Democrat with an edge and helped contribute to his hair-thin margin of victory.

This time around, Malloy said he hopes for a high turnout of Latino voters. “I would love to see the Latino vote represent 7 or 8 percent of the whole voting public,” he said. “We build it in to our models at about 6 percent…One of the reasons that I’ve asked [Garcia Padilla] to come and that he was more than willing to come is to try to drive that percentage up by one full percent, maybe two full percent. That would be great for us…so we’re going to be visiting the places where the Latino population is largely concentrated which are more urban communities.”

For full article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 30, 2014

Barbados No. 1 Darian King smeared by tennis court tantrum


The Antillean Media Group writes that Barbados’ Darian King is the lead news-maker of the pro tennis, minor-league Charlottesville Challenger “for all the wrong reasons.” Apparently, he made news with a major tantrum. See excerpts here:

The world’s No. 310 ranked player (and Barbados’ No. 1) angrily went down 6-4-6-6 (4-2) to Britain’s Edward Corie in the second set of his first-round match in Virginia on Monday. His loss of a tiebreaker point quickly escalated into a tantrum which saw King throw his racquet into the tarpaulin behind the court, deflecting onto a nearby line umpire who appeared to collapse in pain.

[. . .] The incident marks a career-low for King, who now finds himself in the cross-hairs of unforgiving media coverage.

Fox Sport Australia called the incident the “disgraceful things you are ever likely to see on a tennis court”, while several outlets have likened the Barbadian player to the now-infamous Argentine David Nalbandian, who was defaulted from the 2012 final of the AEGON Championships for deliberately kicking a linesperson.

It is an unfortunate bedfellow for the 22-year-old Barbadian rising star, who won three Future titles this year in America, Romania and the Netherlands. He also won five of his six Davis Cup singles matches to help Barbados progress to the first group next year.

For full article, see

For video and more information, see


The Andrew Freedman Artist in Residence Program presents the two person exhibit by Josué Guarionex and Melissa Calderón entitled “Suspicious Activity.” Free and open to the public, the exhibition takes place from November 14 to December 6, 2014, at the Andrew Freedman Home, 1125 Grand Concourse, Bronx. The opening reception is on Friday, November 14, from 5:30pm to 9:00pm.

“Suspicious Activity” melds political and ecological concepts with the ritual and symbolic significance of materiality and process. This exhibition also presents a snapshot of current political and ecological worldviews, addressing topics of surveillance, labor, inequality, and extinction through a historical and philosophical lens.

Artists Calderón and Josué Guarionex create a unique dialogue through materials and concepts, focusing on the current status quo of imbalance and indifference embedded within political systems and its treatment of the natural world. Their work investigates the current state of complacent ideology while addressing the duality of an ever-changing world within the Sisyphean cycle that history cannot escape.

Melissa A. Calderón born and raised in The Bronx, New York. She uses ecological concepts to create different bodies of work, and investigates the space in-between; memory and re-memory, the ephemeral and the eternal. Her work also explores the social and political landscape of change while drawing upon historical references of power, fragility and perception. Calderón has exhibited at El Museo del Barrio, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Queens Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Portland Museum of Art, Arsenal de la Puntilla and Galería 20/20 in Puerto Rico, Pioneer Works, Longwood Arts Project among others. She is a PEPATIAN artist; a South Bronx-based organization dedicated to creating, producing and supporting contemporary multi-disciplinary art by Latino and Bronx-based artists founded by visual artist Pepon Osorio and dancer/choreographer Merian Soto. Moreover, she continues to be an advocate and activist for arts revitalization in the South Bronx. Melissa founded the Mott Haven loft series CONVERSIONs and has co-founded organizations such as Haven Art Space and Coalition of Mott Haven Artists. Fall projects include works at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art in Odd Places Festival on 14th St in NYC, and inclusion in the book Strange Material Storytelling through Textiles from Arsenal Pulp Press.

Josué Guarionex took his first steps in artistic creation alongside his family: his mother is a dressmaker/fashion designer and his father a cabinetmaker/wood artisan. He studied Civil Engineering (1991) at the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce and later pursued studies in diesel mechanics. In 1996, he pursued Visual Art studies at Universidad de Sagrado Corazón. During this period, professor Nitza Luna recommended him to serve as the assistant of renowned photographer Jack Delano. In Puerto Rico, Guarionex also assisted several photographers in charge of advertising campaigns, underwater and tabletop photography. He also coordinated photographic productions such as the advertising campaign for the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and St. Croix US Virgin Islands in 1997. After moving to New York City, he became part of the Puerto Rican artist community in El Barrio and began an audiovisual project dedicated to the documentation Afro-Puerto Rican music. His first exhibition of sculptures, RollingPin=Espacios Ideales (RolllingPin=Ideal Spaces) took place in September 2009 at the Guatíbiri Gallery in Río Piedras, PR. His work has also been exhibited at BAAD Theatre, El Museo de las Américas IV Biennial of Photography in San Juan, Hostos Community College, Dominico-Americano Cultural Center, Palacio de Bellas Artes of Santo Domingo, Bronx Art Space, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and the Andrew Freedman Home.

For more information, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 29, 2014

Gonsalves proposes CARICOM panel to help solve cricket crisis


St Vincent’s Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is advocating the assembling of a three-member CARICOM panel to help resolve the ongoing contract dispute between West Indies players, their union WIPA and the West Indies Cricket Board.

In a letter to WICB president Dave Cameron last week, Gonsalves said the current crisis was too serious a matter to be solved by the Board alone, and suggested the wider of engagement of CARICOM.

Gonsalves proposed the panel be comprised of current CARICOM chairman, Antigua’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne; Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell and former Jamaica prime minister PJ Patterson.

“I consider that a mature engagement with regional governments through CARICOM may assist in finding satisfactory ways to the impasse,” Gonsalves wrote in the letter, which he read on the popular Mason and Guests cricket show on 92.9 FM Radio here Tuesday.

He added: “I do not think that this huge complicated issue can be handled in an ad hoc manner or by the WICB alone. This is an extraordinary enterprise which takes us beyond the boundary.”

The experienced leader, who played a key role in resolving the impasse between the WICB and Chris Gayle two years ago, said while his proposal was not a new one “the urgency of now demands its embrace.”

For full article, see

Also see

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 29, 2014

Jamaica Biennial 2014 –Renee Cox and Richard Mark Rawlins


The National Gallery of Jamaica Blog reports that the selection of the juried section of the Jamaica Biennial 2014 was completed on October 20. Judges Diana Nawi and Sara Hermann selected 65 works by 53 artists. The gallery is still receiving submissions by the invited artists (the submission period ends on November 7). Here are excerpts of the blog’s information on two of the six specially invited artists: Renee Cox and Richard Mark Rawlins:

Renee Cox is a New York-based photographer and mixed media artist who is known for her seminal and at times controversial presentation of Afrofuturistic photography to the art world. She has also worked as a fashion photographer in Paris and New York. Cox was born in Jamaica and moved to New York where she received a degree in Film Studies at Syracuse University. Cox has been featured in many museum exhibition including the Spelman Museum of Fine Art (2013), the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art (2008), the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke (2006), the Brooklyn Museum (2001), the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston (1996), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1993), to name a few. Cox’s work was recently featured in the book and exhibition Pictures from Paradise: A Survey of Contemporary Carribean Photography as part of the Contact Photography Festival 2014 in Toronto, Canada.

[. . .] The Jamaica Biennial 2014 will feature a selection from Cox’s latest body of work, Sacred Geometryconsists of digitally manipulated black and white portraits that display self-similar patterns. They are executed with precision, creating sculptural kaleidoscopes of the human body while exploring the power of symbols as elements of collective imagination. The inspiration for Cox’s new work comes from fractals, a mathematical concept centuries old and used by many ancient African cultures. “Sacred Geometry” has also been the result of Cox’s embrace of the digital world. Bridging the gap between the old and new technology has brought on new challenges and endless possibilities Renee Cox’s biennial submission will be shown at National Gallery West.

Richard Mark Rawlins is a graphic designer and contemporary artist who lives and works in Trinidad. He is the publisher of the online magazine Draconian Switch (, and collaborator in the Alice Yard contemporary art-space initiative. His most recent exhibition, STEUPPS (2013), took place at Medulla Art Gallery, Port of Spain, Trinidad. He has had several solo exhibitions in Trinidad and was a resident artist in Vermont Studio Center, Vermont, USA (2012). His work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Art and Design, New York (2010) and in Kingston, Jamaica (2012).

Rawlins will feature two new works at the Jamaica Biennial 2014, Finding Black and #DidYouHearYourself, a scathing commentary in political mores in contemporary Trinidad. He had the following to say about the series Finding Black: ‘I think the control and presentation of one’s own image is an important concern. How you are perceived shouldn’t be defined by passing “poplitical” references which often make simplistic, stereotypical or racist depictions of blackness.’

[Image above: Renee Cox - From the Sacred Geometry series (2014)]

For full blog post, see


Last week, Chloe McCardel, a 29-year old Australian ultra-marathon swimmer, became the first person to swim 128km unassisted in open water under Marathon Swimmers Federation international rules. Taking 42.5 hours, the 29 year old swam from Lighthouse Beach on the southern tip of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, finishing at Nassau at around 1am local time. Upon ratification, Chloe will have completed the longest open-water solo, continuous, unassisted marathon swim in history.

McCardel has been readmitted to a hospital to recuperate from the effects of jelly-fish stings suffered during her record-breaking 128 kilometer swim. She was stung at least 15 times; some of those stings became sunburned and have become infected. Here are excerpts:

Wearing only regulation bathers, a swimming cap and goggles, Chloe arrived exhausted, greeted by a group of locals and media, and was escorted by her husband and support crew for a medical check-up and few hours sleep.

He husband, who travelled alongside her on the support boat and scheduled her various pauses for food and water, said: “I know she will take some time to recover from this massive achievement which she has spent her entire swimming career preparing for. She is elated at successfully setting this record in this way, and is a very, very proud Australian.”

Chloe is expected to remain in the Bahamas until comfortable enough to travel and is expected to arrive back in Australia in early November.

For original article, see and

Also see

Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,879 other followers

%d bloggers like this: