University Press of Florida has just published John M. Kirk’s Healthcare without Borders: Understanding Cuban Medical Internationalism (October 2015). This volume offers a well-researched assessment of Cuba’s medical policies and practices at the national and global levels. Noam Chomsky (author of Manufacturing Consent and Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at MIT) writes, “Kirk’s invaluable study reveals to us, for the first time, the range and character of Cuba’s remarkable achievements, which should be an inspiration and a model for those with far greater advantages.”

Description: Cuba has more medical personnel serving abroad–over 50,000 in 66 countries–than all of the G-7 countries combined, and also more than the World Health Organization. For over five decades, the island nation has been a leading force in the developing world, providing humanitarian aid (or “cooperation,” as Cuba’s government prefers) and initiating programs for preventative care and medical training.

In Healthcare without Borders, John Kirk examines the role of Cuban medical teams in disaster relief, biotechnology joint ventures, and in the Latin American School of Medicine–the largest medical faculty in the world. He looks at their responses to various crises worldwide, including the 1960 earthquake in Chile, the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine, the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the subsequent cholera outbreak, and the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Kirk issues an informative and enlightening corrective for what he describes as the tendency of the industrialized world’s media to ignore or underreport this medical aid phenomenon. In the process, Kirk explores the philosophical underpinnings of human rights and access to medical care at the core of Cuba’s medical internationalism programs and partnerships.

John M. Kirk is professor of Spanish and Latin American studies at Dalhousie University. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Canada-Cuba Relations: The Other Good Neighbor Policy, Medical Internationalism: Origins, Evolution and Goals, and Culture and the Cuban Revolution.

For more information, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 6, 2015

Comedy’s no laughing matter for Jean Paul


The Jamaica Observer focuses on Trinidadian comedian based in Canada, Jean Paul:

Seventeen years ago Jean Paul quit his job at the Trinidad and Tobago Consulate in Canada to pursue his love for comedy. He has no regrets. “I’ve been doing live comedy since I left my full-time job in 1998. This is what I have been doing and will continue,” the 45-year-old comedian told the Jamaica Observer backstage at last week’s FLOW Comedy Café.

He was a special guest performer on the series. It was Paul’s third appearance in Jamaica. “Comedy is something I have wanted to do from I was 12 years old. At first, I wanted to be a pilot so I could travel the world, but doing comedy and performing in different places, such as South America, the USA, the Caribbean and all across Canada, has given me the opportunity to travel,” Paul explained.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, his family relocated to Canada when he was an infant. “Even though I live in Canada, I try to keep my roots as close to my art as possible,” said Paul. “Where I grew up in Canada, all the West Indians are one. I learnt to appreciate everyone’s culture.”

Staying close to those roots helps whenever he performs before Caribbean audiences, like at the FLOW Comedy Café [in New Kingston, Jamaica].

For original article, see

Also see

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 6, 2015

Festival Les Voix Humaines / Las Voces Humanas / Human Voices


Until October 18, 2015, Havana, Cuba is hosting the Human Voices Festival (Las Voces Humanas/Les Voix Humaines) with singers from all over the world bringing their voices together in a call for peace and for the conservation of the planet. The Festival, which opened on September 25, includes all types of concerts, exhibitions, film screenings, tributes to artists and cultural institutions, theatrical productions, workshops, and traveling performances, as well as on of the main highlights, the Environmental Carnival. Indira Ramírez Elejalde reports:

Organized by Leo Brouwer’s Office, the event is the continuation of the Chamber Music Festival, which that institution coordinated until 2014.

“A perfect marriage of intelligent music” is one of the publicity slogans promoting the performance of such different musical genres as classical, contemporary, early music, jazz, rock, flamenco, pop, fusion, hip hop, electronic, choral, opera and children’s music. National and international guests invited include Silvio Rodriguez (Cuba), Andreas Scholl (Germany), Diana Fuentes (Cuba), Badi Assad (Brazil), John Potter (United Kingdom), Yasek Manzano (Cuba), Dulce Pontes (Portugal), and groups such as the Coro Entrevoces, directed by maestra Digna Guerra ( Cuba), Take 6  (United States), Camerata Vocal Sine Nomine (Cuba), Ensemble Desmarest (France), Vocal Sampling (Cuba), The Back Alley Big Band (Canada), among many other groups and soloists.”

For four weeks, several Cuban stages will serve as venues for the event including the Karl Marx, Martí, Mella and National Museum of Fine Arts theaters, the Bertolt Brecht Cultural center, the Casa de África, the El Sauce Cultural Center, the Casa del Alba, and the Plaza Roja, among many others.

In addition to concerts, the audience can enjoy exhibitions, film screenings, tributes to artists and cultural institutions, sales of albums, books and scores, plays, educational workshops and travelling performances. This is why diverse institutions have gotten involved in the festival, among others the Cuban Film Institute’s film library, the Spanish-American Cultural Center, Ojala Recording Studios, and La Colmenita Children’s Theater Company, and the Palomas Project.

Among the most awaited events the Environmental Carnival stands out. This will be more than 12 hours of activities for children and young people, featuring concerts, audiovisual presentations, and talks on the environment. Another anticipated innovation is two contests. Voces a Capella is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the founding of Take 6, and Contratenores honors Alfred Deller in memoriam. [. . .]

For full article, see

Also see

Posted by: ivetteromero | October 6, 2015

Books4Kids Jamaica now reaching more kids across island


The Palmyra Foundation has as a primary goal to inspire and encourage children at the basic school level to get excited about reading and writing through the non-profit organization’s Books4Kids Jamaica program. Their slogan is: “The future is bright, when you can read and write!” (Read more in the link below.)

It’s only been three weeks into the 2015 book distribution and Books4Kids Jamaica teams have visited 5,508 children at 54 schools. This achievement, in part, is due to the support given by the 50 sponsors and volunteers who have participated in the event so far.

“We go out and solicit donations and various people and organisations, such as the Spanish Court Hotel and Terra Nova Hotel, will give us a donation in the form of a three or four night stay at the hotel,” member Frank Perolli told the Jamaica Observer. Support from the hotels along with other donated items from the public are integral to the programme’s biggest fund-raiser — an online auction now in its fourth year. Perolli said people are invited to go online and bid for the different items or services offered and will usually get great bargains for travel and hotel stay.

[. . .] He explained that one of the ways of expressing gratitude to the hotels that make donations is to allow them to choose some of the schools they would like to benefit from the Books4Kids Jamaica programme, which has also seen them ‘adopting’ schools while working with the programme.

According to the Books4Kids Jamaica mission statement, its primary aim is to help increase literacy and promote a positive educational experience by providing books and early educational materials to four-year-olds (K1) and five-year-olds (K2) in pre-schools across Jamaica.

It has also stuck to its slogan — The future is bright, when you can read and write! — and believes in fostering the self-esteem of children growing up in challenging circumstances, introducing them to positive community role models and giving them real, practical resources for continued success.

For full article, see

Also see and


Nelson A. King writes that, according to an Antigua and Barbuda government statement, Antigua and Barbuda and Malta have pledged to work together in advancing the interests of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

“As Small Island Developing States and with our nations poised to take up leading roles on the international stage, I believe that we have an obligation to put the interests of SIDS at the forefront,” said Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne in a meeting in New York, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, with the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat. [. . .] Muscat thanked Antigua and Barbuda for its commitment to climate change and its leadership role regarding climate change initiatives within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the statement said. [. . .]

The Antiguan leader noted Muscat will become the European Union chair and that he can use this opportunity to further put the interests of SIDS at the forefront.

Additionally, both leaders discussed their respective countries’ Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP) and expressed congratulations at the successes of each program, “noting that Malta has the leading CIP in Europe, and Antigua and Barbuda has the leading program in the Caribbean,” the statement said.

It said Malta expressed interest in partnering with the Antiguan government and also investing in the growing energy sector in Antigua and Barbuda, particularly regarding sustainable and green energy.

For full article, see

Posted by: lisaparavisini | October 6, 2015

T&T: Hunting for Opportunities


A plea for forest conservation from community leader Omardath Maharaj

There is disquiet in the national community at the recent expiration of the hunting moratorium which began on October 1st 2013 for a period of two years in Trinidad and Tobago; justifying the need for greater national conversation on this issue as well as agriculture and fisheries management. Various stakeholders have presented almost opposing views relating to animal welfare, wildlife preservation, income and livelihoods as well as sport and recreation.

The last two-year moratorium imposed between 1987 and 1989 allegedly resulted in large areas of the forests in Biche, Charuma, Cumaca, Ecclesville and Moruga being overtaken by marijuana interests. This was one revelation at a cottage meeting and conversations I was able to participate in over the weekend in Moruga, Rio Claro and Mayaro with the Tableland Pineapple Farmers Association (TPFA), Realize Road Environmental Club and other stakeholder interests.

The overall objective, while the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries pursues relevant data and approaches on the matter, should be to mitigate the interests of all stakeholders, especially rural people who lost a form of livelihood and food security two years ago.

There is a genuine opportunity to intervene with the development and implementation of a systematic community forestry-related project for rural communities through environmental education and social partnerships with governmental agencies, NGOs, CBOs and local stakeholder associations. An intervention, properly developed and implemented, will stop further degradation of our wildlife resources while increasing protein food security and reducing meat imports.

Research by UWI Professor Gary Garcia and others demonstrated the need to devolve research and technology development in developing countries, as present worldwide food price increases have resulted from depending on the few technologies available to supply the global protein. Using indigenous species as animal protein requires a strong will of the government to involve local people who have the knowledge of these species to develop the technology suitable for harvesting their potential. An alternative strategy will show how this is possible and has been modified with some success in international agricultural research between the Caribbean and Latin America.

Specifically to spur much needed income generation, employment, skills training and education, wildlife farming, rehabilitation and restocking as well as to satisfy culinary demands, I am recommending that a project of this nature be considered.

International examples exist to support the implementation of a re-defined natural resource management strategy for Trinidad and Tobago. The overarching objectives should be to:

1)      Improve management of all natural resources and conservation efforts by first consulting all stakeholder interests to gauge feedback on existing legislation and approaches;

2)      Identify and strengthen the range of income generation opportunities and Green Fund support, for example, available to hunters, rural communities and other interests who intend to pursue wildlife farming, rehabilitation and restocking initiatives with tagging, GPS tracking and other management components;

3)      Explore and develop the culinary market potential for increased availability of certified farmed ‘wild meat’, especially within the CARICOM region and the diaspora;

4)      Revise the Agriculture Incentive Programme to include wildlife farming since most of the implements are already considered for small ruminants.

In a recent column on Samantha Gillison put it that the way to kill a complex city is to chase out all the poor people and their food. When greed makes a place like New York, London or San Francisco unaffordable, the non-wealthy leave, and the city loses the smells and tastes that made it great.

The past must be treated as a distant country; we must do things differently, together. Opportunity is the scarce and endangered commodity.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | October 6, 2015

New Book: The Haunted Tropics: Caribbean Ghost Stories


New Book: The Haunted Tropics: Caribbean Ghost Stories        

Edited By Martin Munro

Description: “Every island of the Caribbean is the site of a deep haunting. Before Columbus, the various indigenous peoples – the Arawaks, the Caribs, the Tainos – lived in relative harmony with the land, the sea and each other. Everything changed in 1492: the Amerindian people quickly were decimated, their presence erased by disease, wars and overwork. These are the Caribbean’s oldest ghosts, almost invisible in history yet still present in the form of place names, fragments of language, ancient foods, and pockets of descendants speckling the islands. . . .

“Given the history of the Caribbean, it is not surprising that much of the region’s literature bears a haunted quality: ghosts are everywhere, be they of the Amerindians, the African ancestors, the slaves, the planters, the indentured workers, the victims of dictatorships, foreign invasions and natural disasters, or the modern exiles. To a large extent, Caribbean fiction in general is a collection of ghost stories, tales of haunted people, memories and places. . . .

“This book brings together some of the region’s leading contemporary authors, from the anglophone, francophone and hispanophone Caribbean, as well as the United States and Canada, and constitutes a unique, transcultural anthology in which living authors evoke the dead, the undead and the dying, the ghosts that haunt their experiences and their works as modern writers of the Caribbean.”

—From the introduction by Martin Munro

CONTRIBUTORS: Madison Smartt Bell, Maryse Condé, Fred D’Aguiar, Roberto Fernandez, Keith Jardim, Helen Klonaris, Earl Lovelace, Shani Mootoo, Geoffrey Philp, Alake Pilgrim,Giséle Pineau, Patricia Powell, Lawrence Scott, Marvin Victor, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw

MARTIN MUNRO is Winthrop-King Professor of French and Francophone Studies and Director of the Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. His publications include Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas and Writing on the Fault Line: Haitian Literature and the Earthquake of 2010.

For more information visit

Posted by: lisaparavisini | October 6, 2015

Call for Papers SCS Conference 2015

Stitched Panorama

40th Annual Conference of the Society for Caribbean Studies
Newcastle University Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, June 29th to July 1st, 2016

The Society for Caribbean Studies invites submissions of abstracts of no more than 250 words for research papers on the Hispanic, Francophone, Dutch and Anglophone Caribbean and their diasporas for this annual international conference. Papers are welcomed from all disciplines and can address the themes outlined below.

We also welcome abstracts for papers that fall outside this list of topics, and we particularly welcome proposals for complete panels, which should consist of a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 4 presenters.

Those selected for the conference will be invited to give a 20 minute presentation. Abstracts should be submitted along with a short bio of no more than 150 words by 14th January 2014. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered.

See below for Provisional Themes, Abstract Submission, and Bursaries.  Provisional themes emerged from the AGM and committee meeting and are suggestions: relevant papers not addressing these themes are also welcome.


200th Anniversary 1816 Rebellion
Barbados and Guyana Independence
Politics and Production of Knowledge
Language and Translation in the Caribbean and Beyond
LGBTQ Sexualities in the Caribbean
Film, Broadcast and Media
Visual and Performance Art
Indentured Communities
Natural Sciences
Migration and the Environment
1966: New Beacon Books and the Caribbean Arts Movement

We particularly welcome papers that deal with Cuba, Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Surinam and the countries of the Caribbean rim.


The link for abstract submission will soon be on the home page.

The Society will provide a limited number of bursaries for (a) postgraduate students, and (b) postgraduates or scholars based in the Caribbean, to assist with registration costs. Please indicate when submitting the abstract whether you wish to be considered for a bursary. Please note that travel costs cannot be funded. Concessionary registration fees are also available for postgraduates and for the low-waged.

For further queries, please contact the Conference Coordinator, Anyaa Anim-Addo, on:


From the Union for the Conservation of Nature’s website:

Over the course of its activities in the Caribbean, the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme, jointly implemented by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has focused much of its efforts on capacity building among young protected areas managers. One such professional who has benefited from several training opportunities through BIOPAMA is 28-year-old Tricia Greaux, who is currently employed as the Marine Resource Officer responsible for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) at the Department of Marine Resources in the federation of St Kitts and Nevis.

Tricia Greaux is a certified MPA Manger and serves on several committees that are geared towards establishing the first Marine Managed Area in the twin-island state. A natural dancer, choreographer, and certified cultural and creative entrepreneur, Tricia is a firm believer in bringing community awareness through dance. As the sole founder and director of the Anjolique Dance Company (ADC) she has used her talents to boost the awareness of different social and environmental issues including; Breast Cancer Awareness, Child and Domestic Violence and Abuse, Water Conservation (Just Do 1 Thing Campaign), and Lionfish Awareness in her country.  Here Tricia shares insight on her background, participating in BIOPAMA training, and her future goals:

How did you decide that you wanted to be involved in protected area management and when?

My fascination with whales and large marine mammals came at an early age. Being the granddaughter of a fisherman played its role in shaping my appreciation for the marine environment. A visit to my primary school from Green Peace prompted my desire to protect the habitat of these animals. The conviction I felt that day motivated me to rally my classmates to sign petitions to prevent the hunting of whales.

High school experience enhanced my appreciation for the environment. I knew my legitimacy on the matter would benefit only if I became qualified. That recognition influenced my decision to pursue Marine Biology at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI). There I served as UVI Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ambassador and initiated the ‘Pristine Pearl Environment’ programme through the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. programme initiatives.  Part of my degree requirements, involved presentations on topics of my selection; ‘Using dance to teach Biology: an adjunct method’, and ‘Marine Protected Areas – A Dancer’s Message’. After the second presentation the reality of the lack of a regional connected marine managed area systems propelled me to actively engage in playing my role to change this. I applied to the Department of Marine Resources to be employed as the officer responsible for Marine Protected Areas in 2013. I’ve continued on in that role and am presently involved in establishing our first marine managed area.

How has being involved in the two BIOPAMA-sponsored workshops in Belize and Grenada enhanced your capacity to manage protected areas?

The BIOPAMA sponsored training in Belize that I attended as a Junior MPA Officer inspired me by seeing how Belize has established and managed a network of MPAs, so this has now been added to my list of goals for the Eastern Caribbean region. The Grenada workshop provided an academically rigorous course set that resulted in my certification as an MPA Manager.

What, if anything, do you intend to change in your management practices now that you have participated in these workshops?

Participation in these training opportunities has enhanced my managerial skill set. They have also led me to truly appreciate all of the work, resources and effort that is involved in initiating and sustaining endeavours like MPAs.

What are the key messages that you choose to send to the general public about protected areas?

The key message I want to send to the general public is to support the positive management decisions and actions we are trying to make now to protect and nurture the resources of the marine environment, in order to ensure a sustainable livelihood for the future users of this resource.

How did you decide to use dance as a medium to get these messages across and where are these performances usually held?

As a dancer, I am well aware that movement stirs and evokes responses in order to reflect themes and messages. So naturally, I use this medium of dance to communicate my love and passion from the sea. As the Director of the Anjolique Dance Company our performances have included community-based performances; village festivals and pageants as well as local dance group performances.

What has the reception been like from your audiences to this non-conventional approach?

During UVI, my seminar presentations not only filled the lecture hall but I received grade A’s on both assignments! I was the project manager for a youth focused performing arts camp based on the marine environment. The participants for the camp performed a recital for 500 patrons. The recital received outstanding reviews, as evident in numerous press releases and social media appraisals. Anjolique Dance Company “Community Awareness through Dance” based performances have received standing ovations as well as members of the audience engaging the dancers curious and eager to learn more about the messages communicated.

What other non-traditional or popular media do you use to communicate your messages?

The Department of Marine Resources has engaged social media outlets as a means of keeping the public informed about the marine environment and its resources. The Anjolique Dance Company is on the verge of launching their social media campaign promoting a means of reducing the invasive species ‘Eat Lion Fish’ as well as the dance dubbed ‘Protect the Narrows’ (proposed marine managed area).

Are there any special outreach activities targeted at youth?

My role at the Department of Marine Resources combined with the Department’s alignment with different projects such as the Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions (CATS) and the Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network (ECMMAN) have resulted in youth focused outreach and awareness activities.

Tell us about your role in being part of the effort to establish the first MMA in SKN.

I am the Fisheries Officer responsible for Marine Protected Areas at the Department of Marine Resources.  I serve on several committees including the CATS Project Implementation Team, ECMMAN Technical Advisory Committee and Sustainable Financing Committee, as well as the on the Global Environment Fund (GEF) Project Steering Committee. Synergistically, these lend to the establishment of the Narrows Marine Management Areas.

What do you hope will be achieved once this MMA is established?

Once the MMA is established, I hope to achieve the support of the general public and a positive change in the attitudes and behaviours of the users of our federal waters, therefore resulting in a deep appreciation of this resource. Additionally, encouraging more research opportunities and scientific journal entries from local and foreign scientist.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | October 6, 2015

Fine Dining May Solve Puerto Rico’s Invasive Iguana Problem


Puerto Rico is overrun with green iguanas, and they’re wreaking havoc on the island’s ecosystem and its economy, Kiona Smith Strickland reports in this article for

Green iguanas are native to Central and South America, but on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, they’re an invasive species. With no natural predators on the island, their numbers have skyrocketed in recent years, which presents Puerto Rican farmers with a problem: the lizards keep eating their crops. How bad is it? Hunters found 110 iguanas on a single acre of farmland in Puerto Rico.

That’s why some people in Puerto Rico have suggested a creative solution: sell iguana meat as a delicacy.

Iguanas are a common part of local diets in many Central and South American countries, and iguana meat sells for about $6 a pound in the U.S., where it’s legal to sell as long as it has been processed in an FDA-approved facility. Much of the iguana meat sold in the U.S., in fact, is from Puerto Rico — where, ironically, the territory’s health department still hasn’t approved it for sale.

That’s mostly because of concerns about salmonella, which iguana proponents say can be prevented with sufficient regulation. Puerto Rican culture is also more averse to eating reptiles than the Central and South American countries where iguanas are a native species, although some activists are trying to change that by promoting iguana as a food.

It seems to be gaining a foothold in the U.S., at least, according to this video from National Geographic.

What is it like to eat iguana? It’s a lean, high-protein meat, and chefs say it smells like fish, feels like chicken, and looks like red meat, and some diners say it tastes a bit like pork.

For the original report go to

Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,712 other followers

%d bloggers like this: