Raúl Castro Ruz presides over 50th anniversary of the Federation of Cuban Women

Yenia Matos Henríquez

PRESIDENT Raúl Castro Ruz headed up the official cultural gala yesterday, August 23, for the 50th Anniversary of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), where the role of women in the creative work of the Revolution was recognized.

At the event, José Ramón Machado Ventura, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party and first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, emphasized women’s participation in the economic, social and political sectors as well as those of a scientific, cultural and sporting nature.

Machado Ventura recalled the discrimination that women suffered before the revolutionary triumph, and said that because of that situation, necessary changes were put in place to enable their total equality and integration, which constitutes a task of the whole society, of institutions and of organizations. The atmosphere of equality and respect created by the Revolution, allowed women to develop their potential as human beings and, in this way, to achieve their position of dignity in society, he emphasized.

In order to achieve this objective, a half century ago today, the Federation of Cuban Women was founded in which Vilma Espín Guillois, who faithfully and creatively developed Fidel’s ideas concerning social justice and gender equality, played a decisive leadership role, Machado Ventura affirmed.

The first vice president of the Council of State and of Ministers pointed out that more than 4,237,383 federation members currently belong to the FMC, the largest membership in its history.

He also highlighted the hard battle that took place in the 80s to enable a half million women to complete the sixth and ninth grade levels of education, the result of 330,000 housewives taking adult classes, and 140,000 studying in Worker-Campesino Faculties.

Women currently constitute 46.7% of the workforce in the civil state sector, while 65.1% are technical and professional staff: they are teachers, doctors, nurses, researchers, scientists, architects, engineers and technicians, he noted.

He also referred to the definition given by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, when he stated: “It is also the duty of the Federation to be alert to all questions that concern women, in which they are interested, and to defend those interests in the heart of the Party, in the heart of the state.”

He recalled that the principal mission of federation members is to defend the Revolution in all fields, even more so when our historic enemy is maintaining its tendency to promote political disconnection, frivolity and a lack of interest, particularly among youth and women.

He also acknowledged the FMC’s contribution to developing an internationalist spirit in Cuban woman, which has made it possible for them to bring health, education and hope to those in greatest need. One example of this is to be found in the medical brigades in countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, where they have undertaken an important groundbreaking psycho-social and clinical-genetic research study.

“The role played by the FMC has allowed the expression in many different forms of our support for just causes and, moreover, to reveal our realities, condemn campaigns against the Revolution and contribute to the growth of solidarity toward Cuba, her women and all of her people,” he affirmed.

At the beginning of the celebration, Yolanda Ferrer, general secretary of the FMC, read the pledge of federation members on the occasion of their 50th anniversary and stated: “We are aware of the insufficiencies and deficiencies which we need to eliminate, the directional change which we need to make at the grassroots level with innovative, efficient and attractive ways of working that would make the organization’s labors more effective everywhere, in line with the times in which we are living.”

Ferrer Gómez also referred to the revolutionary thought of Vilma Espín Guillois, whose example, daring, creative and consistent political strategy, constitute a guide for Cuban FMC members. “We will forever to be faithful to her legacy in order for it to live on eternally in the new generations who will continue her work,” she highlighted.

Likewise, she emphasized the commitment to Fidel and Raúl to make the FMC’s political and ideological work broader and deeper every day. “We know that the changes that we have to make are complex and difficult, but when we Cuban women embrace a cause and make it ours, nothing and nobody can make us turn back.”

At the event, attended by a representation of our most distinguished federation members, messages of greeting from Gerardo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero, on behalf of the five Cuban heroes were read out.

Yolanda Ferrer also presented Raúl with a picture containing the complete text of the pledge of commitment on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the FMC.

Similarly, at the beginning of the gala, the documentary “Sentirse Mujer,” (“Feeling Oneself a Woman”), by producer and journalist Eva Maura Díaz was screened, and in which the work of women and their social involvement were the central themes.

The evening ended with an excellent performance by the Camerata Romeu which, conducted by Zenaida Castro Romeu, delighted everyone with music by Cuban composers such as Ernesto Lecuona’s La comparsa; Almendra, by Abelardo Valdés; La bella cubana, by José White; and Camerata en Guaguancó, a piece by Guido López Gavilán.

Leading figures of the Communist Party, government and political and mass organizations also took part in the event, which was also attended by family members of our five compatriots incarcerated in U.S. jails.

Translated by Granma International

Hugo Chavez Meets with Fidel and Raul Castro in Havana

Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez held a fraternal and emotive meeting on Wednesday in Havana.

During five hours, the two leaders discussed several issues of international affairs, particularly the serious threat of a pending nuclear war.

The Venezuelan president acknowledged the exceptional role being played by Fidel Castro to raise universal awareness to prevent a war that would have incalculable consequences for the human species and expressed his satisfaction over the excellent health of the Cuban leader.

During the productive meeting, Fidel Castro shared some passages of his new book The Strategic Counter-Offensive, which is about to be published. The book recounts the revolutionary struggle starting with the defeat of the military offensive launched by the Batista dictatorship against the rebel army in mid-1958 up to the January 1, 1959 triumph of the Cuban revolution.

In the afternoon, the Venezuelan head of state met with Cuban President Raul Castro. The two leaders reviewed the excellent state of political and economic relations between Venezuela and Cuba.

Raul Castro accompanied Chavez to the Jose Marti International Airport where he saw him off Wednesday afternoon.

FINAL MINUTES OF THE 2ND HIGH LEVEL CUBA-VENEZUELA ECONOMIC UNION MEETING

THE 2nd High Level Cuba-Venezuela Economic Union Meeting, established under the auspices of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), signed by the presidents of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Cuba on December 14, 2004 in the city of Havana, Cuba, took place in the city of Caracas, Venezuela from July 15 -19, 2010.

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Chavez Says the Venezuelan Opposition Is Desperate

President Hugo Chavez said that the Venezuelan opposition is desperate as their defeat in the upcoming September 26 elections becomes more evident.

According to Chavez, his political rivals wanted to see the country sink in chaos in order to seize control of the National Assembly and use it to destroy the Bolivarian revolution, the Prensa Latina news agency reported.

They promoted economic, electric and food crises, organized sabotages and terrorist attacks with the support of the US empire, but now that there is only one month left for the elections polls show that the people is not on their side.

Chavez said that something that attests to their desperation is their behavior on the eve of the inauguration of the campaign.

“They’ve been provoking and attacking us. Yesterday they wanted to take the National Assembly,” said Chavez in a speech at the graduation ceremony of a group of Venezuelan medical students.

Chavez described the plans of the opposition as evil and encouraged Venezuelans to vote as their conscience dictates. “Those who love their homeland, follow me on road to socialism. The rest, that’s their problem,” he said.

During the graduation ceremony held for the medical students, Chavez denied rumors of having been diagnosed with cancer.

“The escualidos (Chávez’ radical opponents) are saying I have cancer. They want to see me dead, but they’re going to be disappointed. I, however, wish them all the health in the world, so they can live to see their defeats,” he commented.

On September 26, over 17,500,000 Venezuelans will be called on to elect the 165 Assembly deputies.

Surveys conducted to date concur that the revolutionary alliance, a block made up of socialists, communists and political allies, shall come out victorious.

The Opinion of an Expert

If I were to be asked who best knows about Israeli thinking, I would answer that without question it is Jeffrey Goldberg. He is an indefatigable journalist, capable of having dozens of meetings to ascertain how some Israeli leader or intellectual may think.

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Fidel and Cuban scientists discuss nuclear danger

IMMERSED in his incessant battle to inform the world of the danger of a nuclear war and to succeed in persuading President Obama not to pull the trigger, Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz met on Monday, August 23 with Cuban scientists to talk about nuclear weapons and the danger of a nuclear conflagration.

Your browser may not support display of this image. For two hours, the leader of the Revolution exchanged ideas with and asked countless questions of Dr. Tomás Gutiérrez Pérez, general director of the Institute of Meteorology; José Fidel Santana Núñez, president of the Nuclear Energy and Advanced Technology Agency attached to the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment (CITMA); Colonel José Luis Navarro Marrero, head of the Science and Technology Secretariat of the Revolutionary Armed Forces; and Dr. Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, scientific advisor for the Council of State.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki; uranium, plutonium and hydrogen bombs; the military nuclear capacity of the major powers; areas of radioactivity that could be caused by the explosion of a nuclear bomb according to its power; the sinking of the Russian nuclear submarine in 2000; the so-called nuclear winter; and other issues of interest were discussed at the meeting.

Fidel evoked the days of the October Missile Crisis, the process that led to the agreement to site Soviet missiles in Cuba, the danger that lies ahead for our country and the world, the errors of Krushchev and Kennedy. “Kennedy himself was horrified at how close war was,” he noted.

“We were not interested in having missiles here, or having a base. We were more interested in the country’s image. A Soviet base devalued the image of the Revolution, its capacity to influence in the region. Why did we accept them? For us it was very hard. But it was a question of internationalism.” And he recalled the meeting with the revolutionary leadership at which he proposed, “If we are hoping that the socialist camp would sacrifice itself and fight for us, we have to be prepared to sacrifice ourselves for them.”

That historic memory served for Fidel to analyze the current dangers, with almost 25,000 nuclear devices in the world: “Doesn’t it seem a thing of lunatics to you?” he asked the scientists. “On this planet, 100 nuclear bombs are enough to provoke a nuclear winter. That isn’t a thing of sane people.”

He later commented: “It would seem that this is going to be the first war of the world, and human history knows nothing else but wars. Since humans had clubs they have devoted themselves to making war. All those reasonings are erroneous, and for that reason I am making the effort to try and persuade of the danger of war. Who knew until very recently of the danger of war? Who spoke about that? Who is controlling all of the world media?

“Here, everything is going to depend on one man; not because he is powerful, but because he is the only one who has the faculty to pull the trigger. If he doesn’t pull it the whole world is going to be grateful to him, even the millionaires; even Israel will be grateful to him,” concluded the Comandante en Jefe, with the conviction that scientists can also help a lot in this battle of creating awareness of the grave risks to humanity.

Translated by Granma International

I am an optimist on rational grounds

THE days are passing by. One after another, they are going by rapidly. Some people are getting anxious. I, on the other hand, am calm.

I share with our workers the results they are achieving in their work, in the midst of the blockade and other accumulated necessities.

Our country is one of those that is most prepared to confront obstacles, and not only has it demonstrated tremendous altruism but also solidarity with other peoples, such as the efforts that it undertook in Haiti prior to the earthquake and much greater efforts afterwards. Some days ago, I had honor of receiving the members of the heroic Moto Méndez Solidarity Mission, which complemented the work of the Cuban Medical Brigade in Bolivia, which has provided more than 40 million medical consultations and had performed, up until yesterday, 543,629 eye operations. They are overcoming the ravages of climate change, where tremendous heat alternates with the most intense cold.

We are very well aware of what Russia is suffering with the heat and the hundreds of forest and peat fires, the suffocating clouds of smoke, the belated rains and, to cap it all, snow in the summertime. We have seen the images of rivers overflowing in Pakistan and the vast ice floe that has become detached from Greenland. All of this is the result of alterations to natural conditions, caused by human beings themselves.

But I am optimistic on rational and solid grounds. The future worries me but I also increasingly believe that the solution is within our grasp, if we manage to carry the truth to a sufficient number of people among the billions that inhabit the planet.

Fidel Castro Ruz

August 20, 2010

1.17 p.m.

Translated by Granma International