Feature: Charcoal gains ground in Cuba as export product

HAVANA, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) — Formerly considered as tough low-paid work that held interest for only the poorest peasants, small-scale vegetable coal production is gaining ground in Cuba thanks to its growing export potential.

Cubans first became aware of how difficult it was to make charcoal after the 1959 Revolution, when they learned poor peasants in the countryside employed the most rudimentary methods to make vegetable coal.

Sadly famous were the coal men of Zapata Swamp, Cuba’s largest wetland, in the central province of Matanzas, where Fidel Castro became an almost daily presence upon his arrival in power.

Now, more than half a century later, the production of vegetable coal has taken off again due to marabou, or sickle bush, an invasive plant that spread like wildfire over thousands of hectares of former cropland.

A national campaign to rid Cuba of marabou led to the rebirth of vegetable coal production, with cooperatives and state-owned companies keen to make the most of the low-cost and pervasive raw material.

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Cuba to Support Nicaragua for 11th Central American Games

Managua, Aug 20 (Prensa Latina) Nicaragua will receive support from Cuba to organize the 11th Central American Games, which this Central American country will host for the first time from December 3-17, official sources said on Sunday.

‘The fundamental objective is to accompany Nicaragua in the organization of these Games,’ Gladys Becquer, vice president of the Cuban Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER), said during a four-day visit made by a delegation from that institution to Managua.

The official noted that both countries will join efforts so that Nicaragua can give a brilliant performance in this sporting event and can further enhance the achievements of the Sandinista Revolution in recent years.

For his part, Managua Mayor Fidel Moreno stressed that the two nations will further strengthen their ties of brotherhood with the signing of a much larger cooperation agreement on Monday.

Among other initiatives, the Managua 2017 organizing committee expects to receive Cuba’s assistance in anti-doping control to ensure clean games, in addition to having an institute of sports medicine in a near future.

Nicaragua has prepared about 40 sports facilities, with the construction of new areas and the restoration of others, to hold this multi-sports event.


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Cuba Selects Former FARC Rebels to Train as Doctor

Students graduating from Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine. | Photo: Prensa Latine

In order to attend the medical school in Cuba, aspiring students must commit to one promise: that they return to their local communities to practice medicine there.

This week marked the first selection of 200, primarily former FARC guerrillas, as well as young campesinos in Colombia, to study medicine in Cuba.

A committee of medical professionals from Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine and officials from the Cuban embassy in Colombia completed the selection process.

Between July 19 and Aug. 16, according to Colombia Informa, the student beneficiaries — residing in Transitional Standardization Zones or in the countryside — were chosen to begin medical study in September.

Student doctors will be trained in accordance with the Cuban family medicine model so that they may return to Colombia once they’ve graduated to improve and fortify primary health care for the underserved.

“Today, in our country, we work to build peace. To reach this, we are in constant war against the cruelest enemy called inequality. From every mountain, every millimeter of Colombian soil, we give you infinite thanks for performing such an important and great work,” said Ignacio Cabrera, a member of the ELAM Foundation.

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Venezuela Rejects Washington’s Criticism of the ANC

The Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza | Photo: Venezuela Cancilleria

Members of the newly-elected body refute allegations that the opposition-led National Assembly has been dissolved.

Venezuela’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned comments by the U.S. State Department’s spokeswoman Heather Nauert against the National Constituent Assembly, ANC.

In a statement, the Ministry rejected Washington’s criticism of the newly-elected body’s “sovereign decisions”.

The Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, tweeted the full text.

Venezuela said the words of the U.S. government’s representative clearly demonstrate “…a new act of interference in Venezuelan internal affairs by the US administration in violation of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and of the norms of international law.”

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Cuban baseball over the last 10 years

Granma was the seventh team to win a National Series competition in the last 10 years. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

For over five years Cuban baseball’s top batter was Osmani Urrutia: the star player from Macagua 8, Las Tunas, and winner of six titles

Time doesn’t just pass; it flies, and with the 57th National Baseball Series recently inaugurated, now seems like a good moment to review the highlights of the competition over the last 10 years, from the 47th to 56th edition.

The decade began with a win by Santiago de Cuba’s Hornets. The team dominated the competition from start to finish, led by players such as Alexei Bell and Rolando Meriño – the latter currently having a fantastic offensive season – and top-class pitchers like Norge Luis Vera. This was the team’s swansong moment, as the Hornets have failed to win another series since.

The following year a “power” team claimed the title of the Cuban Classic. Havana’s team featured one of the most powerful pitching line-ups in the history of the competition. Left-hander Yulieski González and three right-handers the caliber of Jonder Martínez, the late Yadier Pedroso and Miguel Alfredo González, gave Havana its first and only win, as shortly afterwards the province was reorganized to create two new territories: Artemisa and Mayabeque.

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Ties of friendship based on music

Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Danny Rivera. Photo: Courtesy of Ricardo Alonso Venereo

Puerto Rican artist, Danny Rivera, is currently recording two albums in Cuba

Artemisa.-Singing has been my life ever since I was born and it is an honor to come here to do it. As a child I learned about Cuba and its music: I was always curious about those artists who were played in my country, Puerto Rican singer and composer Danny Rivera stated during a press conference at Artemisa’s Casa de la Música.

In this space, which was inaugurated earlier this year, he offered a concert on August 11, accompanied by the Artemisa musical group Alabao, and perfomed “Para decir adiós” alongside the young Chila Lynn.

The Puerto Rican artist is currently recording two albums in Cuba. The first of which, Aire libre, will feature the Tremendochi children’s musical project. According to the singer-songwriter, he met the children’s group in the community of Las Terrazas and, following the philosophy of providing opportunities to new talents, he invited them to be part of this new proposal.

Meanwhile, the album Diez lindas cubanas will be dedicated to Cuban songs written some decades ago. In this regard, Rivera commented that all the tracks have women’s names, and recording them is a means of ensuring they are heard once again, recreating them in his own way. “When I encounter this music again, I see that time has not passed, and I feel like that same child who grew up listening to it.”

The singer has enjoyed a career spanning more than 50 years, and visited Cuba for the first time in the 1970s. At that time, he was welcomed by children singing “Tu pueblo es mi pueblo,” and he stated that “from that point on, the love affair has been unique.”

As part of his stay in the province, Riviera visited the Mausoleum to the Martyrs of Artemisa, where he learned about the history of this solemn site, its characteristics, and paid tribute to the young people of the territory who participated in the Moncada assault.

Yusmary Romero Cruz, Granma

August 17, 2017

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The ultimate paradise

The Pullman Cayo Coco is Accor’s first all inclusive hotel in the world. Photo: transat.com

It comes as no surprise that French hotel chain, Accor, one of the ten largest in the world, with over 20 years experience in Cuba, decided to invest in an area known to many as the ultimate paradise

Jardines del Rey, Ciego de Avila—. Set in a prime location, against the backdrop of Las Coloradas beach, the Pullman Cayo Coco Hotel, whose staff is arguably its best attribute, charms visitors.


It comes as no surprise that French hotel chain, Accor, one of the ten largest in the world, with over 20 years experience in Cuba, decided to invest in an area known to many as the ultimate paradise, in the Jardines del Rey archipelago, off Cuba’s northern coast.

The five-star all inclusive Pullman Hotel is located in exotic tropical surroundings, between a natural coastal lagoon and long stretch of white-sand beaches.

This luxury resort was the latest to open its doors in the attractive tourist destination, in December 2015. The complex is divided into two sections: the main hotel with 566 luxury rooms, and a series of suits exclusively for adults known as The Collection. The hotel offers a wide range of recreational and relaxation facilities and services.

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Cuba to Challenge for Bronze in Pan-Am U-15 Baseball Championship

Cartagena, Aug 19 (Prensa Latina) After an flawless winning streak, Cuban baseball team has been unexpectedly defeated (7-4) by the Dominican Republic in the so-called super-round and will challenge Panama for bronze medal in the 3rd Pan American U-15 Baseball Championship.

The Dominican Republic and USA will challenge for the championship, a team that defeated Brazil 4-3 at Once de Noviembre Ballpark in Cartagena de Indias.

The game between Cuba and Dominican Republic was extended to extra-innings. In this much-expected game, Cuba, unlike as it did in the rest of the tournament, had a very poor offensive (4 hits).

Yadiel Guerra was one of the most outstanding Cuban batters (2 for 5, 2 RBIs) during the game.

However, Cuban baseball team qualified for coming 2018 World U-15 Championship in Santo Domingo, as well as the United States, Panama, Brazil and Dominican Republic already included as host country.


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Venezuela’s ANC President Proposes New Liaison Commission

The National Constituent Assembly now holds certain legislative responsibilities. | Photo: VTV

The ANC has assumed some the National Assembly’s functions by decree, as it continues to be in contempt. 

The President of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly, ANC, Delcy Rodriguez has proposed setting up a liaison commission, made up of deputies from the old parliament and its constituents, to facilitate dialogue and work with the newly-elected body.

In a series of tweets, Rodriguez said five deputies would be appointed to oversee the panel.

Earlier, the ANC, assumed some the National Assembly’s functions by decree, as it continues to be in contempt.

The National Assembly, which is led by the right-wing opposition, hasn’t been dissolved and its members can resume their activities, said Rodriguez.

She added that opposition leaders had ignored a call to attend the session establishing the powers of the ANC voted for by millions of Venezuelans on July 30 in open and free elections.

“The Legislative Power has not been dissolved, as they want to suggest in the national and international media,” Rodriguez said.

ANC member Diosdado Cabello said, “If it were dissolved, we would not be making a decree in which only certain functions are assumed.”

“They can continue to meet and comment as the National Assembly. What we cannot allow is a National Assembly which paralyzes the state.”

Cabello recalled that the legislative body has been in contempt since it swore in lawmakers whose elections were under investigation for irregularities.

The politician said he believes this action destroys the allegations made by the U.S. government that Venezuela is a “failed state.”

by teleSUR / cg-RSF-CL

teleSUR, August 18, 2017

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Restoring sandy beaches

This site was home to the Caney y Villa Bertha Restaurant from 1986-1987, which had a negative impact on the dune. Works undertaken have made it possible to restore the beach. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. José Luis Juanes

The conservation and recovery of these ecosystems is among the tasks included in the State Plan for Confronting Climate Change, approved by the Council of Ministers in April

Along with mangroves, wet grasslands, and coral reefs, sandy beaches are natural elements offering coastal protection by buffering the impact of storm surges caused by hurricanes and other extreme weather events.

As such, beyond constituting one of the preferred recreational options of a large part of the Cuban population, particularly during the holiday season, safeguarding this valuable ecosystem is a matter of the highest priority for the country.

An additional factor is the risk arising from the gradual rise in average sea level. In the waters surrounding the island, this rise has been on the order of 6.77 centimeters since 1966 to date, while projections indicate that it could reach up to 27cm in 2050 and 85cm in 2100.

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