Friday, May 31, 2019

Revised Forecasts on Rising Sea Levels
The estimated increase in sea levels around the island is projected to be on the order of 29.3cm by 2050, and 95cm by 2100

Orfilio Peláez |
May 31, 2019 14:05:10
Photo: Ismael Batista

Through the application of an improved version of software, Cuban experts have reformulated estimates regarding the rise in average sea level around our archipelago for the years 2050 and 2100.

D.Sc. Rafael Pérez Parrado, a researcher at Cuba’s Institute of Meteorology’s Center for Marine Meteorology, told Granma International that the figures obtained are higher than those of ten years ago, and as such the impact of rising sea levels will be greater than initially expected, especially in low-lying coastal areas and wetlands.

According to the scientist, the rise in sea levels around the Cuban archipelago is estimated to be on the order of 29.3cm by 2050, and 95cm by 2100; whereas the previous calculations for these years were 27cm and 85cm, respectively.

Such a projection could also aggravate the effects of storm surges caused by hurricanes, with the sea inundating larger populated areas and arable land.

Upwellings, or storm surges, cause a significant rise in sea level when tropical storms hit land, and can span coastal sections greater than one hundred kilometers long.

The sea is highest to the right of the hurricane’s path, in the area near the entry point of the eye of the storm, and close to the maximum wind area.
Why Guaidó Won’t Accept Elections
The time will soon come for the “self-proclaimed President” to answer to the people, and be held accountable for attempting to usurp a position to which he has no right

Elson Concepción Pérez |
May 30, 2019 14:05:40

Juan Guaidó with Colombian President Iván Duque and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Photo: TN.COM

During his first public appearances in Venezuela, whenever he could, the National Assembly in-contempt deputy, Juan Guaidó, would put on a media show demanding new elections, insisting that those of 2018, when Nicolás Maduro was elected President, were “illegal.”

Now, the deputy is surprised that, as a result of negotiations with the opposition and the Bolivarian government’s goodwill, President Maduro has agreed to early elections for the National Assembly.

The poorly advised, improvised figure, anxious to play a leading role and make money, has faithfully followed orders from the U.S. government and won the support of the worse elements in Trump’s neo-fascist retinue, including Pompeo, Bolton, Rubio, Abrams, and Mike Pence.

Guaidó doesn’t want elections because he knows he’s lost. And the time will soon come for him to answer to the people of his country, and be held accountable before the law for attempting to usurp a position to which he has no right; for proposing a foreign military intervention; encouraging an economic war that has already left children dead, as a result of the blockade of food, medicine, and other vital resources; and for taking possession of diplomatic offices abroad in violation of international laws and conventions.

Doesn’t Guaidó know that he is legally responsible for the violations he has committed? Or does he think that Venezuela is a failed state with no laws or bodies to enforce them?

Guaidó wants Maduro to leave the Presidency and hand it over to him. He wants the 6,190,612 votes cast for the legitimate President in 2018, recognized by international authorities, to be given to him for his "noble” efforts to destabilize the country, even though U.S. sanctions have caused hunger and a military intervention could have incalculable consequences.

Juan Guaidó does not want elections, and moreover expresses himself with a vulgarity indicative of his frustration, describing President Maduro as "increasingly disjointed," dismissing early legislative elections outright.

It remains to be seen what opinion of early elections his U.S. masters may have, those who have repeatedly called for “restoring democracy" and were sorely disappointed by the self-proclamation show.
ALBA, as Inspiring as It is Necessary
The founding of ALBA, in December 2004, was undoubtedly one of the greatest expressions of unity and solidarity in Latin American and Caribbean history

Elson Concepción Pérez |
May 30, 2019 10:05:07

Fidel and Chávez in the founding act of ALBA. Photo: Ahmed Velázquez

FIDEL, as a disciple of José Martí, 22 days after the revolutionary triumph of 1959, and on his first visit to Caracas, presented his integrationist thought, valid today and for all time:

“I want the concept of homeland to have a greater scope, that on referring to our country we are referring to the great America that our small homelands make up.”

It was very clear that the visionary Fidel was thinking and planning to build that great homeland, a dream frustrated over a hundred years of colonialism and an annexed Republic.

The founding of ALBA, in December 2004, was undoubtedly one of the greatest expressions of unity and solidarity in Latin American and Caribbean history.

ALBA is an institution as inspiring as it is necessary, and represents a unique legacy, which must be taken care of, strengthened and defended. To renounce unity in these times is the worst act that individuals and governments can commit, as it would be to play into the hands of the imperialist forces that threaten, attack, and want to reconquer us by applying colonialist recipes like the Monroe Doctrine.

That moment when two of the most outstanding men of the 20th and 21st centuries, Fidel and Chávez, signed in Cuba the declaration that founded ALBA, on December 14, 2004, soon began to bear fruit.

Five years later, on October 19, 2009, Fidel wrote in one of his reflections: “ALBA, created by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Cuba, inspired by the ideas of Bolívar and Martí, as an unprecedented example of revolutionary solidarity, has shown how much can be achieved in just five years of peaceful cooperation.”

Thus emerged the medical missions of hundreds of thousands of Cuban doctors who have offered their valuable services in the most remote geographical spaces of Latin America, the Caribbean, and also Africa and Asia.

The Ecuadorian, Nicaraguan and other peoples will forever remember those Cuban specialists who undertook genetic studies to then embark on the major battle to rehabilitate disabled persons, or improve the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of children of the world’s most deprived

Before the impressive progress of plans and programs in health, education, culture, sport and others, Fidel, during the Latin American School of Medicine’s first graduation ceremony, on August 20, 2005, expressed: “However, everything that I have said so far pales in comparison with the colossal movement that is being promoted by Venezuela and Cuba to train doctors ready to march in the front line of the Bolivarian dawn. Thanks to this, and as part of the Barrio Adentro Mission devised by President Hugo Chávez, 22,043 Venezuelan undergraduates have now embarked on their pre-med studies in the 7,898 Barrio Adentro surgeries, in close cooperation with the Venezuelan Ministries of Higher Education and Public Health. On October 3, they will begin their first year studies in Medicine. In only ten years time, 40,000 will be graduating.”

As of September 2018, the Miracle Mission had carried out 5,600,000 eye operations in 37 countries.

Through the Cuban Yo sí puedo (Yes, I Can) literacy program, up until February 2019, more than 10 million people in 32 countries had been taught to read and write, and three nations have already been declared free of illiteracy.

ALBA, despite ups and downs, is the heart of unity and solidarity among our peoples, and as such we must defend and consolidate it.


- High level of political coordination in regional and multilateral organizations, in defense of the principles of international law, the postulates of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, and mutual solidarity.

- Three countries of Our America were declared “Territories Free of Illiteracy”: Venezuela (2005), Bolivia (2008) and Nicaragua (2009).

- The Miracle Mission has returned eyesight, free of charge, to more than five million people. Additionally, it has offered more than 27 million ophthalmological consultations, and provided more than 41 million pairs of glasses.

- The Miracle Mission has privileged mainly low-income people who never received medical attention for their ophthalmological conditions.

-  As part of the Genetic and Psychosocial Clinical Study of People with Disabilities, more than one million people in six countries have been identified as in need of support. More than two million consultations have been carried out, and more than 1 million technical aids such as prosthetics provided.

-  The Genetic and Psychosocial Clinical Study of People with Disabilities, as a program, has also helped integrate patients into society, without discrimination, while promoting their individual potential.

-   More than 2,000 young people from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa are being trained as community doctors, with a profound social vocation and high level of scientific, technical, ethical and humanistic education, at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), with campuses in Cuba and Venezuela.

-  Four editions of the ALBA Games were held, with the participation of more than 10,000 athletes from 31 nations.

-  As a consequence of the earthquake of January 12, 2010, in Haiti, ALBA-TCP member countries approved an action plan and contributed to the reconstruction and promotion of the development of this sister Caribbean nation, in the fields of health, finance, energy, agriculture and food sovereignty, education, construction, security, transport and logistics.

- The organization has proposed the construction and consolidation of a Space for Interdependence, Sovereignty and Economic Solidarity through the People’s Trade Agreement, the SUCRE currency, and the Bank of ALBA.

ALBA staunchly condemns the United States’ genocidal economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.
Descendants of Batista’s Henchmen Look to be “Compensated” Under the Helms-Burton Act
With the U.S. government re-activating the Helms-Burton Act’s Title III, José Ramón López - son of a swindler and lackey of the Batista dictatorship, José López Vilaboy - has filed a claim on Cubana Airlines, legally confiscated as a misappropriated asset after the triumph of the Revolution

Dolphin Xiqués Cutiño |
May 31, 2019 15:05:24

Fulgencio Batista became a major stockholder in Cubana de Aviación S.A. via murky financial maneuvers, with the rest of the shares owned by his henchmen. Photo: Granma Archives
When dictator Fulgencio Batista decided to flee Cuba, a large number of his cronies joined the expedition. Some 25 suitcases accompanied him onto the aircraft and he pressed a bulging briefcase to his chest. The briefcase contained dollars and Batista, who trusted no one, feared losing them. He was well acquainted with his traveling companions, the many outrages they had committed and the shady operations they ran.

The money had been given to him by his closest relatives, like Andrés Domingo and Morales del Castillo, Presidential secretary; José López Vilaboy and Manuel Pérez Benitoa, although the latter had been in New York since the end of December, when he took Batista's children to the city, along with 43 million dollars that were deposited in the dictator's account, although the story goes that he deposited 42 and kept a million himself.

Lopez Vilaboy couldn’t get a seat on the planes that took off with the dictator’s pals, obliging him to seek refuge in the Guatemalan embassy in Havana.

These days, with the United States government re-activating the Helms-Burton Act’s Title III, granting the right to file court claim to those who were not citizens of that country at the time of nationalizations, a character known as José Ramón López, who says he is the son of Cuban businessman José López Vilaboy, has asserted that, pre-1959, his father’s properties included the Rancho Boyeros airport, Cubana Airlines, the Colina Hotel, and other buildings.

Let us recall how the Cuban Ministry for the Recovery of Misappropriated Assets acted in these cases, as the body charged with processing nationalizations and confiscations, among other tasks.

In the case of Mr. José A. López Vilaboy, 27 charges were filed against him and his spouse, for illicit enrichment, along with 15 other persons who served as front men for his companies and businesses.

To mask and "legalize" fraudulent financial operations, his clan of henchmen had the support of the firm Pérez Benitoa, Lamar, and Otero, with its battery of lawyers ready to facilitate illegalities. The three partners were related by conjugal ties with the Batista family, and other politicians tied to the dictatorship.

In terms of Cubana de Aviación, in his book Las Empresas de Cuba, 1958, Guillermo Jiménez Soler refers to a "passenger and cargo aviation company, valued at 22 million, with 796 workers and offices at 23 and O Streets, Vedado, Havana.” It was based on Cuban capital, both private and state, with the Economic and Social Development Bank (Bandes)as its principal owner. Among prominent shareholders was Fulgencio Batista.

Via murky financial schemes, another portion of the shares were owned by entities controlled by Batista’s henchmen, and others close to the regime, while the Air Federation trade union also held stock.

"The Bandes had become the owner at the end of 1958 by converting into shares loans granted for the company’s rehabilitation, amounting to 11 million, which, as of 1955, included the participation of (another bank) Banfaic, later replaced as lender and shareholder," according to the aforementioned book.

More than two thirds of the company’s private capital belonged to

Fulgencio Batista through the Rocar real estate corporation, registered as property of Andrés Domingo Morales del Castillo and Manuel Pérez Benitoa. Batista had been gradually transferring his shares to José López Vilaboy, the second largest shareholder, figurehead and manager of these financial maneuvers.

The private stock was distributed among 200,000 common shares, of which 68,021 were controlled by the Unión Inmobiliaria de Construcciones S.A. with Vilaboy at the head, and the rest were held by another 200 shareholders, including Luis G. Mendoza and Company, Jorge Barroso, Julio B. Forcade, and others. Its vice-presidents were José M. Casanova Soto, José M. Garrigó Artigas, both shareholders, and as secretary Dr. Antonio Pérez Benitoa Fernández, who had been married to Mirtha Batista Godínez, Batista’s daughter from his first marriage.

When the Ministry of Recovery of Misappropriated Assets’ team of officials, commercial experts, and auditors finished their work, it came to light that Mr. José López Vilaboy was not an enterprising businessman as he appeared, but a skillful figurehead in the service of President Fulgencio Batista. Thus, on February 3, 1960, the newspaper Revolución published on its front page an article with the headline: "Properties of Vilaboy and his front men confiscated." It was announced that Cubana de Aviación, the Rancho Boyeros airport, the Colina Hotel, and many other businesses would became state property.

The article specified that the Ministry of Recovery of Misappropriated Assets had confiscated all his properties, and Vilaboy was charged with 27 counts of illicit enrichment under the protection of public power, including cases involving his spouse, Carmen Bagur Peñalver - who also benefitted from illegal enrichment - as well as those of 15 people who appear as figureheads in his operations.

Among the additional assets confiscated from Vilaboy and other frontmen were 51% of the airport restaurant and half of the parking area there; the Mañana newspaper; the airport’s radio station; the Mañana subdivision; a lease for the Mañana tile factory; half of a tourism company in Cienfuegos which owned the valuable Hotel Jagua; and a residence, valued at more than 20,000 pesos, located at 1255 17th Street, in Vedado.

Another Vilaboy property confiscated was the Banco Hispano Cubano, which was placed under the control of the National Bank of Cuba.

The properties illegally acquired by Vilaboy were returned to the service of the people, under the management of the new state’s agencies: Cubana de Aviación, the airport and parking lot were handed over to the Ministry of Transportation; the newspaper Mañana was awarded to the Ministry of Communications; the subdivision and residence in Vedado, to the National Housing Institute; the Colina and Jagua hotels, and the airport restaurant went to the National Tourist Industry Institute (INIT); the match company to the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA); and the tile factory was handed over to the Ministry of Public Works.

All loans and mortgages owed 15 persons were cancelled, and it was clarified that the Ministry’s confiscation of the airport restaurant involved the 51% ownership held by Vilaboy, recognizing Elpidio Pizarro as the legitimate owner of the remaining portion.

Likewise, only half of the airport parking lot was confiscated, since two other individuals legally owned the remainder.

As for the Mañana subdivision, only pending monthly payments for homes sold were awarded to the state, without affecting those who had paid off their mortgages, who were given titles, if they had not yet received this document.

Precisely as proven, Vilaboy was involved in multiple businesses, becoming a real gangster. Batista lent him ten and a half million pesos, which would be paid with the money saved by "waived" taxes and, for the airport business, they tricked the former owner, making him believe that he would be moved him to another location by the dictator and his pal.

Thus the company was obliged to sell, for just over one million pesos, and to improve the site, a Bandes loan of more than four million was granted - yet to be repaid.

This is but one of the cases among hundreds processed by the Ministry for the Recovery of Misappropriated Assets, which are now the object of claims by those who, like their predecessors, have never thought of the Cuban people’s interests.
Efforts Continue in Search of Development Opportunities for the Country
Government visits to different regions of the country, led by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, have been invigorating work days and included lively conversations with workers and residents

Germán Veloz Placencia |
May 31, 2019 09:05:23
Photo: Estudios Revolución

HOLGUÍN.– The government visits to different regions of the country, led by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, have been invigorating work days and included lively conversations with workers and residents.

This was reaffirmed during the summary meeting concluding the President’s second government visit to Holguín, when he expressed satisfaction with his tour of the sugar cane harvester factory “60 Aniversario de la Revolución de Octubre,” popularly known as the KTP, where productive chains have been developed that contribute to the Azcuba state enterprise group and other companies affiliated with the Ministries of Agriculture and Construction.

Regarding the development of the new cane harvester CCA 5500, he noted the need to produce this machinery for the country and the export market, while proposing evaluation of possible foreign investment options, to give the project a wider scope and greater sustainability.He likewise called for extension of the experience gained here to the design and production of harvesters for rice and other crops, also mentioning the possibility of manufacturing a machine to clean beaches and remove sea weed.Díaz-Canel also recognized the potential of the “26 de Julio” Agricultural Implements Factory, which provides another example of developing productive chains and the potential to supply both the domestic and foreign markets.He highlighted the work done at this factory to develop a wide range of equipment for rice production, and said that instructions have been given to design and manufacture - independently or in conjunction with others - machines required by the rice processing industry, including mills and dryers, to avoid importing these, as is currently the case.
Seeking Initiatives to Boost the Economy
The Council of Ministers, headed by President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, began a government visit to the province of Holguín on Wednesday.

National news staff |
May 30, 2019 10:05:45

The Council of Ministers, headed by President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, began a government visit to the province of Holguín on Wednesday:

- The tour began at the “60th Anniversary of the October Revolution” Sugarcane Combine Harvester Enterprise, where the President learned of the main products produced in its workshops.

- Touring the “Heroes of July 26” Mechanical Enterprise, Díaz-Canel noted that given the installed capacity of the factory, its production could be diversified to include services for the population.

-  The President reviewed the semi-hard cheeses line of the Holguín Dairy Products Enterprise, where he spoke with workers and master cheesemakers.

- The mini-industry of the Frutas Selectas Enterprise, included in the tour, exhibits local alternatives to boost food production and has the necessary productive links with other sectors of Cuban industry.

- The President, accompanied by ten ministers, toured the Celia Sánchez Manduley University of Holguín.

-  Meanwhile, in Moa, various aspects related to the production of nickel and cobalt, as important exportable items, were reviewed; and the Cuban President learned details of the production processes in the Comandante Pedro Soto Alba and Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara factories, which to date have met production plans by 105% and 91%, respectively.
Senseless Hatred
U.S. hostility toward Cuba has once again been demonstrated with the cancellation of the agreement reached between theCuban Baseball Federation and Major League Baseball (MLB)

Alfonso G. Nacianceno García |
May 29, 2019 18:05:11

Despite the blockade, athletes like Mijaín López have supported the values of revolutionary sport. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

CUBAN fans follow a wide range of sports, among which baseball stands out as a favorite. It is for that reason that U.S. administrations have repeatedly adopted measures to damage this sport, which represents so much to Cubans.

The most recent example of that hostility was the opposition of the Donald Trump administration to the agreement made between the Cuban Baseball Federation and Major League Baseball (MLB), which was of a broad humanist nature. Among the most valuable contributions of the text was to end people trafficking and avoid Cuban players having to renounce their citizenship to play in the MLB.

Such opposition, widely condemned, exposes the baseness of a government that has spared no effort to damage Cuba’s prestige in every area of daily life.

Another example of such desire to do harm was Cuba’s inability to compete in the last Caribbean Series as a full member of the organizing entity, which prevented the Las Tunas team from receiving the $72,000 dollars awarded for finishing in second place. Similarly, slugger Alfredo Despaigne, and pitcher Lázaro Blanco, were unable to receive the $5,000 prize conceived for each member of the All-Star event, as it is controlled by the United States.

Conservative estimates allow us to affirm that between April 2018 and March 2019, Cuban sports suffered losses amounting to more than 4,683,991 dollars, as a consequence of the blockade imposed on Cuba, condemned by the UN General Assembly on 27 occasions.

In addition, having to resort to third countries to acquire the Rawlings and Marucci bats used in the last National Baseball Series, increased costs by over $11,000 compared to purchasing them in the U.S. market.

Cuba is forced to secure sports equipment produced by U.S. firms – much of which is of mandatory use according to international federations in different sports – in third countries, increasing costs by up to 30%. Brands such as Louisville, Wilson, Xbat, Rawlings and Easton, of recognized quality, are just some examples.

Although they have made the path much harder, such evil measures have not prevented the Cuban sports movement from gaining the prestige that it enjoys around the world today.
Cuban Medical Collaboration: A Source of Life
Cuba not only prides itself on having a rate of 8.5 doctors per thousand inhabitants, one of the best in the world, but also having provided the services of 407,000 health professionals in 164 countries on all continents since 1963

Lisandra Fariñas Acosta |
May 30, 2019 10:05:50

Cuban doctors working around the world are true heroes. Photo: Yudy Castro Morales
CUBA not only prides itself on having a rate of 8.5 doctors per thousand inhabitants, one of the best in the world, but also because “due to the values of solidarity and humanism that characterize us, from 1963 to the present, 407,000 health professionals have been present in 164 countries on all continents. Currently, there are more than 29,000 in 66 nations,” Cuban Public Health Minister, Dr. José Ángel Portal Miranda, recently noted on speaking at the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly, held in Geneva, Switzerland, May 20 through 28.

“More than 35,000 professionals from 136 countries have been trained in our universities, and 8,478 from 121 nations are currently studying. The positive impact on the lives of millions of people in tens of thousands of communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean is unquestionable,” Portal stressed.

The Minister emphasized that these achievements have been possible despite the unjust and cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. government for almost 60 years, which is currently intensifying and constitutes the main obstacle to the country’s development. .

Despite this, he said, “Cuba reiterates its commitment to share its experiences in the development of primary health care, making available to the World Health Organization and its member states, cooperation programs, medical universities for the training of professionals and technicians, the products of the medical-pharmaceutical and biotechnological industry, as a way of contributing to universal health coverage for all.”
Cuban President Follows Strategic Development Programs
In recent tours and meetings, Díaz-Canel and government authorities were informed of the national production of medical equipment and devices, as well as efforts to confront climate change

National news staff |
May 29, 2019 11:05:45

Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro at the Immunoassay Center, part of the West Havana Scientific Pole. Photo: Jorge Oller

DETAILED information on the development in Cuba of 31 pieces of medical equipment and 15 high-tech devices that will contribute to qualitatively improving health care, replace imports and result in technological sovereignty for the country, was announced at the most recent meeting of the Productive Scientific Pole of Havana, Artemisa and Mayabeque, in the presence of the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

According to the official website of the Cuban presidency, this experience, which dates back more than three decades and was promoted by the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz, has supplied national hospitals with equipment and devices developed in the country.

DSc. José Luis Fernández Yero explained that the equipment, furniture and medical devices in question are currently being developed by the national industry, most of them intended for the diagnosis of diseases, in specialties such as neurology, surgery, stomatology, radiology, rehabilitation and pathological anatomy.

These products will be gradually introduced into the National Health System from this year through 2023, and will allow the country to make savings of more than 115 million pesos. In addition, due to their high quality, they could also be exported.

Fernández offered details of the wide range of equipment and devices that are being worked on in prestigious institutions, belonging to the BioCubaFarma Group, the ministries of Industry and Science, Technology and the Environment, as well as universities, which will permit the early prognosis of heart disease in the community; the auditory and visual screening of newborns and infants in the first months of life; the rapid detection of urinary tract infections; assist caregivers of patients with dementia; and ensure the treatment of biocontaminated waste generated in health facilities, among others.

He also mentioned the NeuroGer Pesquisa device, which will help to measure cognitive, psycho-affective and functional frailty disorders in large populations of the elderly; the high-power laser device that is used as a substitute for the scalpel or other conventional instruments; and an ozonator to disinfect operating rooms and other hospital areas.

In this regard, Díaz-Canel described such information as comforting, and highlighted the scientific-technological potential that the country has in such a sensitive area for the population, where different industries are integrated to contribute to Cuba’s development and achieve the necessary technological sovereignty in this field.

He pointed out that these investigations contribute to the development of the country; result in productive chains between industries, scientific centers and universities; substitute imports; and at the same time become exportable items due to their competitiveness.

Meanwhile, Roberto Morales Ojeda, a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, commented that the list of medical devices and equipment could be greater, if one takes into account the research carried out in scientific centers and universities of the country, the results of which have not yet been made widely known, and taken forward to the innovation phase.

He noted that these efforts respond to the current health situation in Cuba, with an ageing population, and the consequent appearance of chronic diseases. Morales also stressed the need to review how much more can be done to speed up the introduction of such devices into the national health system.

He highlighted the collaboration of the military industry, not only in the generation of new equipment and devices, but in extending the useful life of those currently used in medical institutions, which represents considerable savings of resources.

Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment, Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya, highlighted that these efforts involve not only the capital of the country, but all of Cuba, with the strengths of each territory contributing. In particular, she pointed to the capacities of Cuban universities to contribute much more to the scientific development of the nation.


The progress in the measures carried out in the country as part of the State Plan for the Confrontation of Climate Change, known as Tarea Vida, and the Program for the Preservation of Cuban Historical Memory, were recently checked by the state leadership and government.

On analyzing the strategy devised by the Ministry of Higher Education (MES) to implement Tarea Vida, the significant role it has played in dealing with climate change was recognized, long before the State Plan was institutionalized in 2017.

As a training body, MES has a high responsibility for increasing the perception of risk, the level of knowledge and the degree of participation of the entire population in confronting climate change, as noted by Ondina León Díaz, director general of Research and Postgraduate Studies of the Ministry.

In this sense, Dr. Tania Merino Gómez, specialist at MES, highlighted the implementation of various projects, courses, lecture series, methodological activities and professional training, as well as other actions that provide teachers and university students with the tools necessary to confront the problem of climate change.

In addition, she presented studies and research carried out in different universities and Higher Education research centers, to contribute to the conservation and recovery of beaches, forest resources, coral reefs and insular shelf ridges.

Among other measures, she highlighted phytosanitary improvements in crops of economic interest; the in vitro propagation of varieties resistant to drought and salinity; methodologies and warning systems for the integrated management of coastal areas; technological contributions to increase energy efficiency; and the participation of the university community in the planting of mangroves and the promotion of live fences.

The results obtained so far were described as satisfactory, while recognizing the existence of barriers that may be holding back progress and are related to insufficient control mechanisms, failures in the links between universities and the productive and services sectors; as well as the approval of programs and training courses not always adjusted to the needs of each territory.

Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment, Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya, in presenting opinions on MES performance, stressed that the Ministry can make an even greater contribution in provinces, municipalities and specific localities, to work more comprehensively on the current and future impacts of climate change, and the applicable alternatives, both economic and social.

Meanwhile, President Díaz-Canel insisted on the importance of Higher Education graduates leaving the classroom with knowledge about Tarea Vida, to provide more coherent thinking in relation to the issue.


As part of an intense working day, the Cuban leader also followed up on the Program for the Conservation of Historical Memory, in which analyzed was the attention that health authorities pay to the impact of environmental conditions on the health of people who work in archives, libraries and other institutions linked to the preservation of documentary heritage.

According to Regla Angulo Pardo, deputy minister of Public Health, these areas generally see high levels of dust and moisture, high temperatures, poor ventilation and inadequate lighting, factors that lead to increased morbidity from respiratory, ocular and dermatological diseases, linked to exposure to different fungi species.

Hence the need to propose measures aimed at guaranteeing, as far as possible, adequate working conditions; equipment and maintenance supplies, including dehumidifiers and vacuum cleaners; and means of protection for personnel such as gowns, eyeglasses, gloves, face masks and caps.

The Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Roberto Morales Ojeda, emphasized the importance of continuing to increase actions in terms of training, promotion and prevention, as well as encouraging research that broadens lines of work and allows for the development of new ones.

The meeting focused on the work of the province of Sancti Spíritus to preserve the documentary heritage that is stored in different institutions of the territory, and is part not only of the identity of the people of Sancti Spiritus, but also of the Cuban nation as a whole.

However, material scarcities and organizational difficulties affect the coherent preservation of historical memory in the province, where the need for local government to provide increasingly comprehensive attention to these institutions is evident.
The United States and Its Glass House
The application of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act is a flagrant violation of international law and an unacceptable attack on the self-determination of the peoples of the world

Oscar Sánchez Serra |
May 28, 2019 15:05:30
Photo: Granma

The empire no longer dresses up in sheep’s clothing; it fears that, as in the fable, the shepherd will take it for food for his family. Today, it does not disguise itself, but is enraged and seeks to cling to its ancestors, dusting off the Monroe Doctrine, McCarthyism and the worst moments of the Cold War.

It sinks its claws into Latin America and the Caribbean, destroying its peoples, either through the seizure of power by servile oligarchies representing its interests (any resemblance to Chile, Brazil or the self-proclaimed Lima Group, is not purely coincidental); the destabilization of legitimately and democratically elected governments, such as Venezuela or Nicaragua; or its genocidal economic war against the Cuban Revolution.

The Trump administration’s concern for the properties of those who lived in Cuba before 1959 is fanciful. Title III of the Helms-Burton Act and all its letter are just a pretext to end the Cuban model, humanist par excellence, which remains stuck like a thorn in the empire’s side, and has prevented it from continuing with what it started 174 years ago, in 1845.

In that year, Mexico lost half of its territory, after Texas fell into U.S. hands in 1836 following the unequal battle led by General Sam Houston. Fulfilling the ambitions of the eleventh President of the United States, James K. Polk (1845-1849), who had dreamed of that appropriation ever since coming to power, the area officially became part of the United States. The Texas bourgeoisie applauded the annexation, because it favored its cotton plantations, worked by African slaves.

Rafael Escalante states on digital daily La Izquierdada Diario, that “It was then that the expansionist intentions of the American Union were revealed with greater force, and they set their sights on other Mexican territories.” In June 1846, the United States began another unequal war that ended in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), with the dispossession of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and part of Colorado and Wyoming. Already the U.S. had its sights set on making Mexico, and later Latin America, into its backyard.

The total sum of those areas, including Texas, which today is the second largest State in the United States, is almost two million square kilometers. That is more than Mexico’s land area today, which stands at 1,959,248 km2, according to the publication México mi país.

According to our colleague Alexis Schlachter, who specializes in geography and geopolitics, author of the book Geografía sorprendente and host of Cuban television program La otra geografía, California is the State with the largest number of inhabitants in the United States (34,501,130), the third largest in size, and produces the largest amount and variety of agricultural products in the country. Most people are unaware that the famous Disneyland and Hollywood stand on former Mexican territories.

Our colleague points out that Nevada has important copper, oil, lead, gold and silver deposits; that Utah is home to the largest open-pit copper mine in the world; and that Colorado, part of which was Mexican, is visited annually by an average of 14 million tourists, representing $5.6 billion dollars in revenue. Meanwhile, Arizona has extensive mineral wealth, as well as livestock and citrus groves; New Mexico collects almost $2 billion in tourism; and Wyoming is the leading producer of dairy products and wool in the U.S., especially in the south western part of the State, snatched from Mexico.

With regard to the outdated and illegal Helms-Burton Act, what would happen if Mexico reclaimed those territories from the United States? The question came from Russia Today columnist John Ackerman, but would they have an answer? Or would they respond with the same xenophobia and aggressiveness as President Trump does against immigrants, women, children and workers, ignoring history on shouting from the rooftops that there are those who have “taken advantage of” the United States, and talking about establishing “fair trade” relations with his country.

The United States, in its glass house, seeks to sue Cuba through the Helms-Burton, as a flagrant violation of international law and an unacceptable attack on the self-determination of the peoples of the world.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

US-backed Demonstration Stutters 
Kudakwashe Mugari Deputy News Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

The United States Embassy in Zimbabwe openly pinned its mast on the anti-Government movement in Harare yesterday after it made a desperate call for the opposition to demonstrate against President Mnangagwa’s administration.

MDC-Alliance and its civic society flotilla had sold yesterday as a day for a “national shutdown”, a codeword for violent demonstrations predicated on bringing business to a halt in the country.

For its part, the US Embassy, long-linked to subversive activities in the country to effect illegal regime change, tweeted:  “All citizens and their civic leaders, political parties, or civil society organisations have the constitutional right to peaceful assembly and association. All important roles to play in contributing to Zimbabwe’s future and must be given the space and freedom to do so.’’

However, the call for the “shutdown” met with little success yesterday.

It was business as usual as Zimbabweans ignored calls on social media by rogue elements within opposition parties and civic society to stay away from work as a way of pushing President Mnangagwa out of power.

Social media was awash with calls from opposition parties, civic organisations and even the US Embassy in Harare inciting people to demonstrate, albeit hiding behind democratic rights to demonstrate as enshrined in the Constitution.

Messages inciting people to engage in violent behaviour come immediately after MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has repeatedly called on his party supporters to effect illegal regime change.

The Chamisa-led MDC-Alliance is known to have been clandestinely organising violent protests to push for regime change.

The demonstration turned out to be a big yawn as people continued with their businesses as usual despite spirited calls for disturbances.

This proved true what President Mnangagwa said in Gweru during a graduation parade for Zimbabwe National Army Cadet Officers that Zimbabweans are peace loving people.

President Mnangagwa had said that all efforts to disturb the peace enjoyed in the country were bound to fail as Zimbabweans by nature shun violence.

Truly, the efforts by regime change agenda to cause despondency failed yesterday as Zimbabweans shunned calls for stay away and continued with their errands.

Police were on high alert to check on unscrupulous elements that threatened the people’s peace.

Sensing that the stay away had flopped, rogue elements in opposition parties and civic society tried in vain to threaten people with violence but they never heed the call to leave town.

In a statement that circulated on social media, it threatened people with violence for turning a deaf ear on their calls to demonstrate.

“Everyone who is in town right now risks losing their lives, and belongings. “Everyone who sent their children to school please risks losing their beloved and innocent children.

“Every company or individual’s vane mota dziri pa road risks losing their vehicles, kombis, taxis, buses and trucks.

“We don’t want to repeat the same as what happened in January, please don’t force us to be violent we have sent you a clear message which circulated in the previous two days about today’s stay away and it seems as if you are relying on ZRP propaganda by 12:00 please please tapota  by 12:00 munhu wese ngaabude mu town nhasi, munhu wese budai mu town be it Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru Masvingo, Mutare, torai vana vamaendesa kuzvikoro before 12:00 today we are going to close all the roads, burning mota dzese dzichafamba after 12:00pm nhasi,” reads the statement.

However, people were not moved by the threats and continued with their business as usual.

Demonstrations have proved that they are not good for the country as they disrupt business and can be used by unscrupulous elements to loot.

Zimbabwe Retailers Association Denford Mutashu told Zimpapers owned radio station Star FM that negotiation between Government and business was the only way to solve the economic situation and not demonstrations.

Police yesterday said they were ready to deal with anyone who engages in any form of violence following social media reports by some rogue elements calling for a so-called national shutdown.

They are threatening to punish people conducting their business or going to work, burn vehicles, destroy shops and stopping children from going to school, among other illegal activities.

The ZRP which is now on high alert to thwart any disturbances countrywide has since started conducting investigations on the source of this alarming message.

In a statement on Wednesday national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi warned anyone who engages in any form of violence that they will be arrested and face the full wrath of the law.
Zimbabwe Government to Open Airwaves
 31 MAY, 2019 - 00:05
Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter

Government under the Second Republic is committed to opening up the airwaves and promoting freedom of expression and dissemination of diverse views, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.

Minister Mutsvangwa said this when she appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services.

She was accompanied by Secretary in the ministry, Mr Nick Mangwana, Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Obert Muganyura and his ZBC counterpart Mr Patrick Mavhura.

“The Second Republic is working very hard to make sure we open the airwaves, freedom of expression is very important, we have very educated people and we need those people to release their energies and bring new ideas on board which will take this country where we want it to be as a people,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.

“We are working very hard to ensure that we are also able to license a number of players to bring that variety. It is important and the Broadcasting Services Act which is being amended will enable BAZ to issue licences to several partners so that we give variety to our people.

“We are hoping that this will be possible in 2019 and we can actually issue like six licences.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said the opening up of the airwaves was in line with the provisions of the Constitution to promote freedom of expression.

She added that the new boards for BAZ, ZBC and Transmedia were expected to be appointed by June 20.

“We do have a mammoth task of reforming the media and this is in line with the vision of the Second Republic to make sure that we bring everyone on board.

“We have seen the benefits of opening up and deepening democracy and bringing everyone on board that is why we are carrying out these legislative reforms,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.

She told the Committee that Cabinet had since approved principles to three Bills namely, the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, the Freedom of Information of Bill and the Protection of Personal Information Bill and would be ready for tabling before Parliament by August.

The minister also denied perceptions in some quarters that her ministry interfered with operations of publicly-owned media.
“As a ministry what we do is provide policy guidance we do not interfere in their editorial policies. We are not even involved in who is hired or fired and I think these are issues we need to be very clear on,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Mangwana denied allegations that BAZ had illegally issued licences to some operators without a board and the holding of public inquiries.

The licences issued were for content distribution, video on demand and web casting to several players.
Amnesty International Suspends Corrupt Zimbabwe Office
31 MAY, 2019 - 00:05
Sydney Kawadza Mash West Bureau Chief

Amnesty International Zimbabwe, which was exposed in an audit that unearthed serious fraud and mismanagement involving millions of United States dollars has been suspended from its mother body, Amnesty International. Amnesty International is an international human rights organisation that has been part of a phalanx of anti-establishment non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe.

In a statement yesterday, Amnesty International media manager for Southern Africa Mr Robert Shivambu said the international organisation’s international body was putting the local office under administration following evidence of fraud and financial misconduct.

“An extensive forensic audit was conducted in late 2018 which uncovered evidence of fraud and serious financial mismanagement by individuals in AIZ.

“National law enforcement agencies were notified of the findings earlier this year and the organisation also commenced the legal process of civil recovery in order to recoup lost funds,” Mr Shivambu said.

He said they had instituted urgent financial risk management measures to ensure anti-fraud and corruption procedures are adhered to while making sure that donor funds are safe.

“However, the decision has been made to take extraordinary measures on AIZ to protect the reputation, integrity and operation of the movement. It is with regret that it is now clear that AIZ has not been able to take the necessary steps in its duty of good governance,” he said.

AI also pledged its commitment to work with authorities while providing full assistance to all investigations to ensure that individuals who were involved in the unearthed misconduct are held to account.

AIZ has been part of a group of anti-establishment non-governmental organisations whose purported fight itself is a key pillar in pushing the regime change agenda in Zimbabwe while working with the MDC-Alliance of Advocate Nelson Chamisa.

It also joins a lengthening list of Western NGOs that have lost money to local activists that purport to fight for civil and political rights in the country.

Earlier this year, The Herald exclusively revealed the audit held late last year which later unearthed the irregularities.

According to that report investigators seconded from the London, United Kingdom, Amnesty International office recommended a forensic audit.

Among those implicated in the forensic report were country director Cousin Zilala and chairperson Takesure Musiyiwa.

Zilala later resigned while Musiyiwa was suspended in December last year pending a disciplinary process.

Amnesty also suspended finance officer Sibongile Zimbeva on allegations of mismanagement.

AIZ is one of the quasi-political civil society organisations that work as appendages of opposition political parties that have been implicated in the abuse of donor funds.

The US, through its US Agency for International Development (USAID) last year suspended funding of some of these NGOs that include Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Election Resource Centre (ERC) and Counselling Services Unit (CSU) for failure to observe set financial guidelines and other improprieties.

Between 2011 and 2013, the USAID poured more than $850 million in the NGO sector, but dumped the civil society organisations after opposition parties lost resoundingly to Zanu-PF in 2013.

Most of the senior managers at the organisations have been accused of abusing donor funds to live luxurious lifestyles in upmarket residential areas and driving expensive cars.

The USAid, US Embassy in Harare and other Western embassies have lost significant amounts of money, but the matters have been hushed owing to the illicit nature of the operations.
Tanzania to Ban Single Use Plastics
 24 MAY, 2019 - 00:05
DODOMA. — Tanzania has become the latest African nation to announce a sweeping ban of single-use plastics, joining Kenya and Rwanda in the effort to tackle plastic pollution.

A statement released by the Tanzanian government says the ban will begin to take effect on June 1. As of that date, all plastic carrier bags will be prohibited from being imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied and used in mainland Tanzania.

Visitors to Tanzania are being advised to avoid bringing any plastic carrier bags or packing items in plastic carrier bags in suitcases or hand luggage before embarking on a trip to Tanzania.

To help screen out plastics moving forward, there will be a special desk designated at all of the country’s entry points, where visitors will be asked to surrender plastic carrier bags.

However, the government’s statement notes that Ziploc bags that are specifically used to carry toiletries will be permitted, as they are expected to remain in the possession of visitors and not disposed of while in the country.

A story from Reuters also reported that Tanzania plans to ban the production of such bags, as well as their sale and importation.

— Reuters.
SADC Hosts Corrections/ Prisons Sub-Committee
21 MAY, 2019 - 00:05

In an effort and commitment to ensure and deepen regional integration which amongst others is anchored on the maintenance of law and order, the SADC Secretariat convened the meeting of the Corrections/ Prisons Sub Committee in Gaborone, Botswana at Travel Lodge last week.

The Corrections/ Prisons Sub Committee is a statutory body aimed at facilitating co-operation between SADC Member States on issues related to Prison/ Correctional and Penitentiary Services.

Amongst other functions, the Committee oversees common regional approaches to harmonising and transforming Corrections and Prison Services and move them beyond being custodial entities to focus more on Rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into mainstream society.

The Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, informed the meeting that law and order are very crucial for the SADC Region’s sustainable socio-economic development both at the national and regional levels which makes it critical for SADC to prioritise Prisons and Correctional services as prescribed in the SADC Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (SIPO) III. Dr. Tax encouraged the Committee to lead the region in the  implementation of the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation which establishes the objectives of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation namely; promotion of peace and security across Southern Africa; protection of the region’s people from instability due to the breakdown of law and order; development of a common foreign policy throughout the region; as well as enhancing cooperation on matters related to security and defence.

For his part the Commissioner General of Zambia Correctional Service and the Chairperson of the Corrections/ Prisons Sub Committee, Dr Chisela Chileshe paid homage to the Republic of Botswana for its warm welcome.

He outlined the objectives of the meeting and affirmed that the Committee was poised to engage on fruitful deliberations on common regional approaches towards harmonising and transforming corrections and prison services in order to advance components of the SADC peace and security agenda.

He urged Committee Members to work as a unit in the consolidation of Peace Support Operations in order to contribute to peace-building efforts for the benefit of the SADC citizens.

The Committee noted progress made on the following; Finalisation of the Revised Draft Protocol on Inter-State Transfer of Foreign Prisoners; the Proposal for a Common Regional Corrections and Prison Services Integrated Management System; and the development of the SADC Corrections/ Prisons Training Manual.
Patricia de Lille was the biggest surprise when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his Cabinet on Wednesday night.

President Cyril Ramaphosa pictured with Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille. Picture: @PatriciaDeLille/Twitter

Jason Felix
Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - From exposing corruption to leading a department besieged by corruption, newly appointed Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille on Thursday said she was ready for her new post.

De Lille was the biggest surprise when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his Cabinet on Wednesday night.

Last year, she was sidelined by the Democratic Alliance and accused of being corrupt.

Now, she will be leading one of the country's biggest departments.

“Our country is in a dire state; there are great opportunities for that department to create the conditions conducive for the economy to grow by making sure that proper infrastructure is in place,” she said.

De Lille served on the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission when she was Cape Town mayor and said she had experience in this area.

She was also confident her department would drive economic growth by delivering proper infrastructure.
South Africa Gets Gender-balanced Cabinet
BBC World Service

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is the new Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a new cabinet in which, for the first time in the country's history, half of all ministers are women.

In another unexpected move, one of the women is from the opposition.

He appointed veteran opposition politician Patricia de Lille, who had stood for the Good Party, as minister of infrastructure development.

The African National Congress party won a general election on 8 May.

South African journalist Verashni Pillay told BBC Newsday that the move to have half of all cabinet posts occupied by women was a "surprise". But it shows that the head of state is "astute", she said.

What's been the reaction to a 50% female cabinet?
By Milton Nkosi, BBC News, Johannesburg

South Africans have welcomed the move to have equal gender representation. Tanya Cohen from Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said it sent "good signals to have qualified ministers like Dr Naledi Pandor as International Relations minister".

On Thursday President Ramaphosa made a point of hosting the "take a girl child to work" day, where he told students he wanted to be a lawyer from a very young age. Many hope that the presence of women will help in poverty alleviation especially among rural women.

The most unexpected move was the appointment of the former Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. She set up the Good party after she was forced to resign from the opposition Democratic Alliance following an acrimonious power struggle.

Mr Ramaphosa reduced the amount of ministers in what he called a "bloated" cabinet from 36 to 28 ministers.

However, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party said in a statement that the idea that he had reduced the size of the cabinet was "the first sign of absolute dishonesty" because, at the same time, he had increased the number of deputy ministers.

Mr Ramaphosa has pledged to root out corruption, but correspondents say eyebrows have been raised that he retained Deputy President David Mabuza.

Mr Mabuza, a close ally of former President Jacob Zuma, denies allegations of involvement in political killings and illegal tenders.

Pravin Gordhan was also retained as public enterprises minister. The respected political figure in the anti-apartheid struggle was found to have violated the constitution by a corruption watchdog, the Public Protector. He was accused of unlawfully granting a senior executive in the revenue service early retirement without following due process. He is challenging the veracity of the report in court.

Former African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who narrowly lost the 2017 ANC leadership election to Mr Ramaphosa, and was seen as the candidate of former President Jacob Zuma, her former husband, also kept her place in cabinet.
South Africa Joins Ethiopia, Rwanda in Small Club of Gender-parity Cabinets
Daniel Mumbere
Africa News

South Africa’s cabinet announced on Wednesday became the third on the African continent that has an equal number of female and male ministers.

Ramaphosa who hailed the cabinet for making history as the first gender-parity cabinet in the country’s history, joins Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame who have taken similar actions.

Ramaphosa’s female ministers include;

Thoko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education
Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Minister of Communications
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
Barbara Creecy, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation
Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities
Patricia De Lille, Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister of Small Business Development
Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Social Development
Ayanda Dlodlo, Minister of State Security
Nkhensani Kubayi-Ngubane, Minister of Tourism

Rwanda’s commitment to gender-parity

Rwanda, who are global leaders in women’s representation in parliament at 61%, maintained a gender-balanced cabinet in last year’s October reshuffle.

President Kagame told parliament he believes that women play a key role in addressing challenges hindering the socio-economic wellbeing of Rwandans.

‘‘Adding the number of women in these institutions should help in fixing these issues. If there are specific problems that concern girls and women, they should use all the tools available to make a difference,’‘ Kagame said.

Ethiopia’s historic cabinet

Reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed has been hailed for making bold moves since taking office in April last year, including making peace with Eritrea.

Abiy’s inclusion of women in key government positions of government has been particularly lauded. Abiy in October appointed a cabinet with 10 male and 10 female ministers, and has also appointed a female chief justice, president, and electoral commission chief.

Globally, there are 11 countries that have named gender-balanced cabinets over the past four years, including Canada, Colombia and Costa Rica. France, Nicaragua, Seychelles, Spain and Sweden are the rest.
Why Africa Leads World in Women’s Leadership
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced 50% of his new cabinet would be women. Since the 1990s, sub-Saharan Africa has led the global push for women's rights in politics. 

May 30, 2019
By Ryan Lenora Brown Staff writer

When South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his new Cabinet late Wednesday night, his country joined a rarified global club, becoming just the 11th nation on earth where at least 50% of government ministers are women. By comparison, just three of President Donald Trump’s 15 cabinet members are women, and the most-female Cabinet the U.S. has ever had was 41 percent women, during Bill Clinton’s second term.

But it’s really no surprise to see an African country outpacing the U.S. when it comes to political gender equality. Since the 1990s, sub-Saharan Africa has been a global leader in pushing political gender parity.  Four of the top ten countries in the world with the highest percentage of women in their legislatures are here – including No. 1 Rwanda, whose Parliament is more than 60% female. And just last year, Ethiopia announced its own gender-equal Cabinet – along with a female president and a female chief justice of its Supreme Court.

But political gender equality is also rarely as straightforward as it seems. As I’ve written in the past, many countries see appointing lots of women as a simple way to signal to the world just how progressive they are – without having to do the nitty-gritty work of actually bringing equality to every layer of their society.

Still, few deny the symbolic victory. See enough women in high places, and it’s hard not to begin believing that’s where they belong.
South African President’s New Cabinet is 50 percent Women
By Associated Press
May 30, 2019 | 12:34pm |

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives for his swearing-in ceremony at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s president on Wednesday named a trimmed-down cabinet that is 50 percent women, making the country one of the few in the world to be “gender-balanced.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement followed similar moves by Ethiopia and Rwanda last year.

Ramaphosa cut the cabinet from 36 ministers to 28 as he seeks to reduce the bloating under predecessor Jacob Zuma, who stepped down last year under pressure amid corruption allegations.

Fighting the corruption and mismanagement that has consumed billions of rand is the major issue facing the ruling African National Congress, whose election win this month was the weakest in its 25 years in power amid public frustration.

The ANC leadership still contains some Zuma allies, complicating Ramaphosa’s efforts at reforms aimed at restoring investor confidence in the economy, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa.

Creating jobs is another immense challenge in a country where unemployment is over 25 percent and where a growing youth population that never knew the harsh racial system of apartheid, which ended in 1994, is restless for a better future.

“The people who I am appointing today must realize that the expectations of the South African people have never been greater and that they will shoulder a great responsibility,” Ramaphosa said in a national address that stressed the need for an “ethical” government.

South Africa’s new cabinet retains Deputy President David Mabuza, who also has faced graft allegations but has denied wrongdoing. Also remaining are Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and public enterprises minister and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Both have been well-regarded.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance criticized the president for keeping Mabuza in what it called the first real test of Ramaphosa’s tough stance on corruption. “Unfortunately, Ramaphosa placed the internal factional interests of the ANC ahead of the interests of the people of South Africa,” the DA said in a statement.

Ramaphosa also included younger leaders in his cabinet, notably former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola as the minister of justice and correctional services. Another youth leader, Njabulo Nzuza, was appointed deputy minister of home affairs.

One notable appointee in a cabinet that Ramaphosa said was meant to reflect diversity was that of Patricia De Lille, a leader of the recently created opposition party GOOD, who will be public works and infrastructure minister. It was a rare instance of an opposition figure appointed as a minister in South Africa.

A notable exclusion from the new cabinet was former women’s minister Bathabile Dlamini, seen as a strong ally of Zuma.

On the sensitive issue of land reform to help address long-standing inequality, Ramaphosa grouped departments dealing with land and agriculture under one ministry, to be led by respected former parliamentary chairwoman Thoko Didiza.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

African Diplomats Hope for More Cooperation with China as AfCFTA Takes Effect
2019/5/26 17:30:53

African diplomats and officials commended the robust and diverse ties with China on Saturday, hoping for more cooperation as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is inching towards effect.

Speaking to Xinhua at an African Day celebration here on Saturday, Ambassador of Cameroon and the Dean of African Group in Beijing Martin Mpana praised China-Africa relations and cooperation.

It touches "practically all conceivable spheres of development," he said.

"The footprints of Chinese projects are visible everywhere in Africa ... (including) infrastructural development in roads, highways, building construction, mining, and water and sanitation projects, among many others," he said.

Mpana said the African people are striving for economic independence by building up a free trade area, after achieving political independence.

"A lot has to be done," he said, noting that China's investment, especially in infrastructure, helps interconnect the continent as roads, railways, airports and ports facilitate the flow of people as well as goods.

"We are relying on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)," said Rahamtalla M. Osman, head of the African Union (AU) Mission to China, stressing that relations and cooperation with China achieve win-win outcomes.

Osman added that Africa's integration and economic upgrading, which are one of the main issues and part of the African strategy, Agenda 2063 of the AU, will benefit the world economy, and will lead to more interaction with other economies.

He also admitted challenges in developing the free trade area, as well as in the economic development of the whole continent. Therefore Africa "would like to benefit from the experience of China ... I'm already contacting with the Chinese authorities in order to invest in many grand projects in Africa."

Development and cooperation would be a priority for Africa, including building the free trade area as well as connectivity on the continent, said Osama Elmagdoub, Egyptian ambassador to China.

He said Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi raised these ideas at last year's Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit, and the ideas were received very positively by China.

"We are working on the details now to see what contract projects can be achieved," he said.

Similarly, South Sudan's Ambassador to China John Andruga Duku said Africa is in the process of achieving its economic independence and prosperity. The continent had to "look for countries (for partnership) which have no colonial history (in Africa)," and it regards China as a supportive true friend, he added.

However, obstacles exist, said Duku, referring to Africa's infrastructure.

"We must have roads, we must have intercontinental roads, the roads which connect Africa, across the borders of member states," he said.

Within the framework of the BRI and FOCAC, Duku called for doubling efforts to solidify China-Africa relations.

"We see a future in the relations with China," he said.

The AfCFTA, which will come into effect on May 30, will establish the world's largest free trade zone by the number of countries, covering more than 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product of 2.5 trillion US dollars.
Decoupling from China Hampers Global Development
2019/5/26 17:21:30

For the past two decades, the botched theory of the "coming collapse of China's economy" has been debunked repeatedly by realities. If one must find a match for its fallacy, the theory of "decoupling from China" is a prime candidate.

In a world where the trend towards economic integration is irrevocable, decoupling from China, now a backbone of the global economy, means decoupling from opportunities and future development. Not to mention the calamitous damage the practice could trigger.

International trade promotes common prosperity for all. That is a lesson China and the world at large have learned from the Asian country's decades-long adherence to the policy of opening up to the world.

China's participation in the global economy has brought benefits to many parts of the world, and helped lift billions of people out of poverty worldwide. Former World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim once hailed China's poverty reduction efforts as a "great story in human history."

Thanks to its active and strong integration into the global economy in the past decades, China has become the key driver of global economic growth.

According to projections by the International Monetary Fund, China will account for 27.2 percent of world growth in 2019, compared to 12.3 percent by the United States.

For a world grappling with the specter of protectionism and zero-sum mentality, it is therefore good news that the second largest economy has pledged a stronger commitment to a deeper and wider engagement with the global economy.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an inclusive mega-program proposed by Beijing to improve regional cooperation and trans-continental interconnectivity, exemplifies the significance of economic engagement between China and the world.

According to a recent study by the RAND Corporation, transport infrastructure and connectivity, a major focus of the BRI cooperation, is generally lower in the BRI region compared to other regions.

If trading partners in the BRI region have a rail connection, exports could be improved by 2.8 percent, said the study.

What is more, thanks to the BRI cooperation, total trade volumes increase not only in the BRI region, but also in countries outside the initiative, making it "a win-win scenario," the RAND study concluded.

As the majority of the international community have reached a consensus that China's development offers a golden opportunity for the global economy, the wishful thinking of decoupling from China's economy goes against the present day trend and is a nonstarter.

It is in China's interests to remain integrated into the global economy, and any efforts to decouple from China economically could frustrate global development, against which everyone has to be on guard.
Xi Calls for Further Reform to Resolve Major Problems
2019/5/30 7:46:54

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, presided over the eighth meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform on Wednesday.

Xi, also Chinese president, chairman of the Central Military Commission, and head of the central committee for deepening overall reform, called for further reform to better serve the overall economic and social development.

China's reform and development is undergoing profound transformation, facing more external uncertainties and unstable factors as well as new circumstances and problems concerning reform and development, he said.

"We need to maintain strategic resolve, focus on solving problems, make best use of the circumstances, form overall plans, make accurate policy decisions, and work hard to prevent and resolve major conflicts and prominent issues," he said.

Li Keqiang, Wang Huning and Han Zheng, all members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and deputy heads of the reform committee, also attended.

Participants reviewed and approved 10 guidelines, plans and work report with topics ranging from innovating and improving macro-control to energy reform and food security.

The meeting stressed that China should "crack nuts" and solve new problems through deepening reforms, strengthening endogenous impetus for economic development and enhancing its ability to cope with challenges and resist risks.
Crackdown on Smuggling First Step in China-US Rare-earth War
By Hu Weijia
Global Times
2019/5/29 20:57:07

China must urgently intensify its crackdown on the smuggling of rare earths to the US.

China indicated Tuesday night that it will keep options open for using rare-earth minerals as a weapon against the US in an escalation of the trade war provoked by the latter. Once it begins, we believe the country will fully utilize its dominance in the production of rare earths to hit US industries and give the US no chance.

The crackdown on rare-earth smuggling began several years ago and achieved good results. In the early 21st century, small and medium-sized Chinese enterprises as well as foreign companies have been playing an important role in China's rare-earth supply chain. But some of them find loopholes in China's export quota system and smuggle rare-earth minerals abroad.

The State Council, China's cabinet, in 2011 announced the country would need one or two years to curb the rampant smuggling of rare-earth minerals. The government said in 2016 it had established a traceability system to supervise the entire process, from mining to the export of refined goods.

The crackdown on rare-earth smuggling makes it possible for China to weaponize the minerals in an escalation of the trade war. Now China needs to  tighten management of rare-earth enterprises, especially foreign-invested companies, to make smuggling absolutely impossible.

Rare-earth minerals are important strategic resources but China had never thought of using the minerals as leverage to hit the US. The trade war is prompting China to rethink its rare-earth strategy and make quick adjustments. Once merely an economic sector, rare earths have become a counter weapon for China to hit back at the US. There is a lot of work to be done, and cracking down on smuggling is only the first step in weaponizing the sector.

Now may be the time for China to cut the number of rare-earth mining licenses, increase rare-earth imports, and build strategic reserves of the minerals. China reportedly cut imports of rare earths from Myanmar in May, but the trade war is very likely to prompt China to increase its rare-earth imports in the future.

China is busy upgrading its rare-earth sector. If there is a rare-earth war against the US, we have absolute confidence that China will win and deal a knockout blow to the US economy.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.