|| issue 6, year XIII, 2006
Vice-president of the Cuban Parliament:
THE FIRMNESS OF THE PEOPLE AND OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR COMPENSATING THE BLOCKADE
Interview by Valentin Kostov
The blockade is the greatest hindrance to the economic and social development of Cuba. Only in 2005 the country lost more than 4 billion US dollars due to this criminal policy. For the past 48 years the blockade has cost Cuba more than 86 billion US dollars. The blockade, imposed on Cuba by the United States, has caused great suffering to the Cuban people. Many significant sectors for the population’s wellbeing are basic targets of that genocide policy. The determination and firmness of our people and government to develop the country and improve the living conditions of the people are the important factor for compensating the blockade hardships. We are looking for markets and alternative products, we stimulate the development of technologies and national production, we do not develop a consumer society. On the contrary, we take care of, and keep, the available means, and use them in a rational way, and encourage the policy for sustainable development in the name of the wellbeing of the entire Cuban people.
H.E. GERARDO JUAREZ ALVAREZ,
Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba:
THERE WILL BE MORE AND MORE REVOLUTION, SOCIAL JUSTICE AND SOCIALISM
Interview by Tsvetanka Elenkova
Despite the blockade and the difficulties of today’s world, since 1994 our economy has gradually gone through a rehabilitation process, whose maturity and strengthening are realized with a new tempo. Cuba has left behind that special period and has currently surpassed the gross domestic product of 1989. It grew in 2005 by 11.8% - i.e. the highest since 1959, up to the present day. Tourism has widened by 12.3% and has reached 2,3 million tourists. Nickel provides the main income to export. Investments have grown by nearly 39% (five times more than those in 2004). Export, 70% of which consist of services, has risen by 27.9%. Increased in the same way are petrol and gas drilling, production in the sections of biotechnology, the pharmaceutical industry, agriculture and communications. Cuba today has the best index for teachers per capita, which means 1 out of 42 citizens (or on the average - out of 103); there are more than 500 000 students in the Universities, and more than 6 000 art teachers. This will turn our country in the coming years into a country-university, as some analysts say. Wages, pensions and social loans were increased in 2005. The infant mortality rate is lower than 6% per every 1000 live-born babies. Longevity in Cuba has reached 77 years. Nearing finalization are 100 programmes about the so called “Battle of Ideas”.
ALBA and ALCA:
THE DILEMMA BETWEEN INTEGRATION AND ANNEXATION
by Osvaldo Martinez,
Professor at the Economics Faculty in Havana
University, Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission
for Economic Rights
The idea about an integration of peoples, not of capital, or, in other words, the real integration, called upon by both history and culture, as well as by the necessity for survival and development, was outlined by the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Caribbean States’ Association, held in 2001 on Marguerita island (Venezuela). Which are the lessons from the failure of that integration which took ALBA as a basis, with the aim to urge again the Latin Americans and the inhabitants of the Caribbean islands to integrate? The first of these lessons was that should such regional integration be achieved, it could not be an integration with the United States (ALCA), nor could it falsely claim the non-mentioning of that country’s government. ALCA and ALBA possess not only different, but also mutually excluding logic. The integration will not be managed by the region’s oligarchies. These oligarchies which are captives of the transnational companies and are within the frames of free trade and formal democracy, can do nothing else except manage the flight of capital and oppose every government or popular movement in the region which raises its head. Integration cannot be confined only to trade, nor could it measure its progress by the rate of international exchange. The integration process should affect with the greatest speed the spheres with the biggest deficit and should start alleviating the social evils. The ‘social” cannot remain second to economics.
WHAT WILL TOMORROW’S AGENDA BE LIKE?
by Krassimir J. Nikolov
Following Bulgaria’s entry into the European Union (EC), two heavy battles will be forthcoming - a real, and a virtual one. The first one concerns the distribution of the benefits and negatives from its membership, measured in utilized (or diverted) means from the European funds, won (or lost) niches and opportunities for a breakthrough on the highly competitive EC market, quick and effective integration in (or isolation from) the European networks of production, distribution and management and exercise of power, as a whole, etc. The second battle - the virtual one - is that of the interpretations, of the ways in which the real processes will be explained and legitimized in the public debates and the political process. The battle of the “stories” about what is happening - especially in the first, most crucial years of our EC membership - is also as important as the real one: the fight to win and not to lose. Therefore, the struggle will be going on for the dominating interpretation, which will prevail and will eventually give brighter (or, on the contrary - darker) colours to the start of our living together with 26 more European communities.
CUBA - LOVE FOR EVER
by Stanka Shopova,
Chairwoman of the “Bulgaria-Cuba” Friendship Association
The “Bulgaria-Cuba” Friendship Association is keen to continue the exchange of information between Bulgaria and Cuba, to help those who show interest in learning more about the socio-political and economic processes in the two countries, about their participation in international life, as well as about their achievements in science, culture and sports. With the Association’s support the following books were published, namely “Modern Cuba”, “Cuba - Love For Ever”, and the anthology “To Cuba - With Love”, which comprises of poems by Bulgarian poets, dedicated to the Island of Liberty. We hosted the visits to Bulgaria of the Cuban poetess Nancy Morejon, of the guitarist Aldo Rodriguez, who plays classical guitar, of the jazz quartet “Sixth Feeling”, and others. We also organize meetings with visiting businessmen, journalists, sportsmen. We contribute to the revival of old and the creation of new contacts, as well as to finding concrete forms of cooperation between our two countries.
THE XIVth MEETING OF NON-ALIGNED COUNTRIES
The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (NAM) was founded and got strength during the years of the colonial system’s disintegration and the struggles for equal rights of the peoples in Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world, and at the height of the Cold War. At the Movement’ onset its action was an important factor in the decolonization process, which later led to the gain of freedom and independence of many countries and peoples, and to the establishment of dozens of new sovereign states. During its existence NAM has played an important role for safeguarding world peace. The NAM Summit, held in Havana on 11-16 September 2006, created suitable conditions so that the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries could enter a new stage for the greatest efforts and actions of international bodies, and so that the voice of international accord could be heard. The Summit ended with profound documents, which outlined the goals marking the way of non-aligned countries and the directions they had to take, all that giving the NAM meeting unique characteristics. 56 state and government leaders of the countries - full members of the Movement, as well as 90 foreign ministers attended the Havana Summit.
Currently, Cuba disposes of 71 000 physicians and 11 500 teachers in medical sciences. There are 22 Faculties (including the Latin American Institute of Medicine) and nearly 3000 higher institutes of learning in all provinces of the country. In the 1980-ies Cuba introduced biotechnology and today Cuban biotechnological products are exported to over 50 countries. The first synthetic vaccine in the world against the haemophilus influenzae bacterium, which causes meningitis to children under 2, was created in Cuba. Science in Cuba, and especially biotechnologies, are an impetus to economy and lead to new higher levels, including the development of nanotechnology. Presently, the country has at its disposal 1.8 scientists and engineers per 1000 people on the average, while in Latin America that figure amounts to only 0.3 %. The list of Cuban scientific achievements also includes 90% efficiency of weather forecasts.
UNPARALELLED CUBA: HISTORY, CULTURE AND HUMANENESS
Santiago de Cuba
Isla de la Juventud
TOURISM IN CUBA: SIMILAR, BUT DIFFERENT
The so called “entertainment industry” is one of the most dynamically developing sectors in the country. It provides jobs and paralelly develops other sectors of the national economy. Its annual revenues come up to 2 billion and 300 million US dollars. 200 000 people are connected directly or indirectly with this sector. In 2005 Cuba has been visited by 2 319 334 foreign tourists, which is 13.2% more in comparison with 2004. The tourists are mainly from Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Mexico, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Venezuela, Argentine, Brazil, Turkey. These results were possible owing to the implementation of innovatory strategies, taking into consideration the difficulties stemming from the intensified blockade, imposed to the Island by the USA, and also the hard period which world tourism has experienced in the last years. Cuba expects to have welcomed 2,5 million foreign tourists by the end of 2006, which will be an increase of 7.7% and will be break a record, with the accommodation of 66 900 tourists daily. Bulgaria also figures in the list of the countries whose citizens visit Cuba. In 2005 the Island was visited by 1 857 Bulgarians, which constituted 73% more, compared to the previous year.
by Kadrinka Kadrinova
Chairwoman of the Association of Spanish-speaking Journalists in Bulgaria
Everyone, who has once sipped of the elixir of Havana’s mysteries, would wish for the rest of his life to return and taste it again. The spell begins with the first steps of the newcomer to this sun-bathed land, full of colours and music, as well as with the first breaths of the air, heavy with sweet fragrances and tender moisture. What embraces you here is different - smiling faces, dancing bodies, fantastic facades, that come to life in the shades of time, as elusive as in a Dali’s picture, unending moments, full to infinity, for tomorrow is too far away and everything beautiful should be felt and lived out right now, and definitely on 100 percents. Havana, of course, is not Cuba. But it is the most many-sided and magnetic of its images. Not only due to the fact that ever since colonial times it has been the pearl of the Caribbean and today decorates UNESCO’s World Heritage List, but most of all due to its citizens, who are Havana’s real landmark.
THE FIRST BULGARIAN COSMONAUT GEORGI IVANOV: THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS ARE ACCOMPLISHED IN TEAM
Interview by Tsvetanka Elenkova
When I first visited Cuba in 1982, I met there the most benevolent, most positive, vital and hospitable people. Maybe in Cuba socialism from the universally acknowledged unique theory will be shown in the best way possible as an excellent practice. Despite the enormous difficulties, Bulgarian space science continues its development to the present day. Our scientists and specialists, students and heirs to Academician Serafimov and Academician Mishev, take an active part in the modern projects of Russia, USA, and the European Space Agency (ESA). Bulgarian space equipment is still flying and working presently on board the International space station. So far, Alexander Alexandrov and myself are the only two Bulgarians, who have flown in space. There are at least three things that Bulgaria needs in order to have a third, fourth or more cosmonauts, namely: a serious Bulgarian scientific programme, a persuasive professional candidature, and last, but not least - financial means.
CUBAN BALLET: AGE-OLD HERITAGE WITH NATIONAL LOOK
The National Ballet of Cuba is one of the most prestigious dance groups in the world and occupies an eminent place in modern Hispanic-Latin American culture. The artistic accuracy and technique of the ballet-dancers, the width and diversity of the aesthetic concepts of the choreographers, guarantee the troupe a significant place on the international stage among the great institutions in this genre. The dance group was set up in 1948 by prima ballerina Alicia Alonso. In 1950 a National Ballet School of Alicia Alonso was established under the professional troupe. Every year the National Ballet of Cuba undertakes international tours in various countries of Europe, Asia and the Americas. It has won great prizes, such as “Grand Prix” of Paris and the “Felix Varela” Order of the Republic of Cuba. The National Ballet has been highly acclaimed by the specialized critics.
CUBAN CINEMATOGRAPHY: CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD CINEMA
Within a short time the production of the Cuban Cinematography Institute gained international prestige, receiving hundreds of prizes from all world festivals, while Cuban documentaries were recognized as a contribution to world cinema. This is how the Cuban school of documentary films came into being. Its peak is the creative work of the great documentary director Santiago Alvarez. Owing to all these efforts Cuba has a renowned cinematographic industry, which allows the successful shooting of national film production, participation in co-productions and contracting film services for third countries.
HUMILITY TO GOD
by Goran Blagoev, Bulgarian National Television (BNT)
We celebrate this holiday with glamour and exuberance. The streets are flooded with bright lights, while we are shopping so hectically, as if the end of the world is near. We tell our children about the holiday, as if it were a fairy-tale, for we no longer remember, nor believe that what we celebrate is actually true. It is a story. A story of a beginning. There is no luxury, nor piled up tables in it. There is only poverty and humility. As well as radiance, beaming from a light that eyes cannot discern. It is not like that neon light in the streets, which we expect to create a festive mood in us, who have lost the ability to create it ourselves in our souls. Christianity is the only religion in which not only man looks for God, but also God looks for man. Long after Adam-and-Eve’s sin, the Saviour came among their descendents as a new-born infant. The Eternal and the Infinite takes, by His own will, the image of a man, who has a beginning and an end. That is why the Church calls Christ’s Nativity the great humility to God.
YORDANKA HRISTOVA: THE CUBANS DO NOT MAKE “HITS”OF SORTS, THEY MAKE REAL WORKS
Interview by Tsvetanka Elenkova
I fell in love for ever with Cuba and the Cubans 40 years ago! This love and recognition are mutual! I was impressed by the straight-forward, proud and artistic people, who accepted me as one of them, I was thrilled by the Island’s remarkable nature. I have sung everywhere. I am amazed by the versatile talent of Cuban singers and musicians. They are both modest and great! As for instance, Tony Tanio (trumpetist, composer, arranger and conductor), Chuchu Valdez, who has several “Grammy” awards, or Leo Brouwer, who is one of the three greatest players of classical guitar. You probably know about the world-wide recognition of Compay Segundo. Silvio Rodriguez and Pablito Milanez are not only authors, they are idols in both Latin America and Spain. How about the unique Alicia Alonso? I can enumerate names of famous Cubans for hours! Can anyone remain indifferent to such world-wide art presence?
A BLOW KISS
by Ivona Tacheva
SERBIA - THE ROAD AND THE STONE
by Tsvetanka Elenkova
CUBAN WORLD-FAMOUS PERSONALITIES
Jose Julian Marti y Perez
Nicolas Guillen Batista
Claudio Jose Domingo Brindis de Salas
Raul Roa Garcia
Jose Raul Capablanca Graupera
Carlos Juan Finlay Barres
PHOTOATELIER PRESENTS: RUMYANA CHAPANOVA
MILA MOUSSAKOVA: POSITIVISM AND ADORATION
by Dochka Kissiova-Gogova
ZLATKA ANDREEVA: ARISTOCRATIC FLAIR AND INTROVERTNESS
by Dochka Kissiova-Gogova
|Translated by Galia B. Cholakova