Monthly Archives: April 2016
El programa Más Médicos cuenta actualmente con más de 18.000 médicos
extranjeros, de los cuales 11.429 son de Cuba.
La presidenta de Brasil, Dilma Rousseff, presentó una iniciativa el
viernes para prorrogar por tres años la permanencia de médicos
extranjeros en Brasil, entre ellos miles de cubanos, sin que tengan que
revalidar sus diplomas.
El programa Más Médicos cuenta actualmente con 18.240 médicos, de los
cuales 11.429 son de Cuba.
Por ley, el contrato de los galenos extranjeros que participan en el
programa, no podría ser renovado si los médicos no presentaban exámenes
de reválida en universidades públicas, asegura Estadao.
La medida que propone Dilma y que ahora tendrá que ser aprobada por el
Congreso, fue anunciada en el Palacio de Planalto, ante médicos y
seguidores de Rouseff.
"Sólo un pueblo guerrero tienen el valor de llevar este proyecto
adelante", dijo el ministro interino de Salud", José Agenor Álvares da
El programa creado en 2013 ha estado sujeto a numerosas controversias:
la mayor crítica provino de instituciones médicas, en contra de la
contratación de profesionales extranjeros para trabajar en zonas de
difícil provisión sin hacer una prueba de validación diploma y las
condiciones en que fueron contratados los cubanos a través de un acuerdo
con la Organización Panamericana de la Salud y el gobierno cubano.
Source: Dilma prorroga ejercicio de médicos cubanos en Brasil, sin
http://www.martinoticias.com/a/dilma-prorroga-ejercicio-de-medicos-cubanos-en-brasil-sin-revalida/120862.html Continue reading
By ALAN BJERGA AND MARVIN G. PEREZ Bloomberg News
First Published 4 hours ago
Florida citrus farmer Dan Richey is worried about a Cuban fruit invasion.
"They have a better climate than us and the same growing season," said
Richey, who farms 4,000 acres of mostly grapefruit near Vero Beach.
"They could become the low-cost competitor, right at our doorstep."
While a diplomatic thaw is just beginning, President Barack Obama is
seeking closer U.S. trade ties with Cuba, signaling an end to five
decades of sanctions that left the country starved of cash and little
changed since Fidel Castro's revolution in 1959.
That's clearing a path for more agricultural investment on a Caribbean
island just 90 miles south of Florida.
Cubans have been more buyers than competitors because they eat mostly
imported food and already get grain from the Midwest.
But expanded farming in the country poses a new threat for Florida, the
top U.S. grower of sugar cane, oranges and fresh tomatoes. Cuba was once
a major supplier of sugar, fruits and vegetables, and with land
untouched by modern chemicals or genetically modified seed, it is
drawing the attention of organic food producers.
"The opening of full trade and commercial relations with Cuba will have
a more significant impact on Florida agriculture than anything else in
the history of our state," said William Messina, an agricultural
economist with the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Trade agreements have been a lightning rod in this year's presidential
campaign. Candidates from both parties have decried the impact on jobs
when domestic industries are forced to compete with cheaper imports,
especially those subsidized by foreign governments or produced with
fewer workplace or environmental rules than in the United States.
U.S. farmers were early and enthusiastic advocates for closer ties with
Cuba. Congress in 2000 authorized humanitarian exports, including
agricultural products valued at $685 million in 2008.
Since 2014, when Obama moved to re-establish normal diplomatic ties --
an effort that included a trip to Havana to meet Raul Castro, who
replaced his brother Fidel as Cuba's leader -- agriculture groups have
streamed south. Cuban purchases could mean $1.1 billion in annual sales
for American farmers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. But
the prospect of more grain sales has overshadowed concerns from growers
who may eventually compete with the island once crop output is expanded.
"Exports to Cuba are always a huge economic opportunity," said Janell
Hendren, national affairs coordinator with the Florida Farm Bureau
Federation in Gainesville. "Imports from Cuba we are not really keen on."
The state is the biggest U.S. producer of oranges and sugar cane, and
ranks second to California in vegetables and third in fruit. Florida
sold $4.2 billion of crops in 2014, exporting $3.6 billion of them,
according to USDA data.
Cuban agricultural production struggled as its economy sputtered. In
1989, the island was the largest sugar producer behind Brazil and India,
growing 8.12 million metric tons, USDA data show. With the collapse of
the Soviet Union, its biggest buyer, production plunged. By 2011, it was
1.1 million tons, the lowest since before the revolution.
"They don't have much money, but they have land they could give away to
farmers," said Messina, the University of Florida professor. "That makes
production much less expensive."
It's also a lure for U.S. investors. Agricultural equipment maker Deere
& Co., soybean processor Bunge Ltd., and several state farm bureaus are
all in favor of opening Cuba trade, according to lobbying records.
Cargill Inc., the world's largest agribusiness, is bankrolling the U.S.
Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, a consortium of commodity growers, farm
lenders and exporters.
Members of an organics-focused group that includes food companies like
Stonyfield Farm plan to visit Cuba for several days starting May 3. They
see the island's land and farming practices as a potential fit,
especially with expanding demand for food that isn't produced with
pesticides or genetically modified seeds.
"We as an industry need to start to developing new supply chains," said
Dave Alexander, president of Global Organics, the biggest seller of
organic sugar in the U.S. and Europe. "We're rapidly approaching the
time when demand is far outstripping supply."
Any competition with Cuba is still years away, and its agricultural
exports to the U.S. probably will never evolve beyond niche-market
status, said John Kavulich, president of the New York-based U.S.-Cuba
Trade and Economic Council.
Crop diseases may be a bigger immediate concern, especially if the U.S.
moves too quickly ease limits on food imports. Citrus greening, which is
destroying fruit trees, has cut Florida's production of oranges, its
biggest crop, by 46 percent since 2013, according to a USDA forecast in
April. Meanwhile, fruit flies have damaged crops in Dade County.
"Some of the insects and disease that we got in citrus came from
abroad," including South America, said Dean Mixon, 64, who grows citrus
on 50 acres in Bradenton, Florida, that his grandfather started in 1930.
"There are large plantations with citrus in Cuba, and they don't have
all the rules and regulations we do, that's when it becomes unfair."
The White House is sensitive to grower concerns but sees plenty of room
for more supply, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
"Cuba is in a position to be a supplier, especially in organic," Vilsack
said by telephone on April 20. "But that doesn't necessarily mean
they're competing against us when there's so much demand."
Source: Food fight with Cuba risky for big Florida crops | The Salt Lake
http://www.sltrib.com/home/3837406-155/food-fight-with-cuba-risky-for?fullpage=1 Continue reading
HAVANA | BY MARC FRANK
Cuba decided at a secretive Communist Party congress last week to
reverse market reforms in food distribution and pricing, according to
reports in official media, reflecting tensions within the party about
the pace of economic change.
President Raul Castro unveiled an ambitious market reform agenda in one
of the world's last Soviet-style command economies after he took office
a decade ago, but the reforms moved slowly in the face of resistance
from conservatives and bureaucrats.
At the April 16-19 congress, Castro railed against an "obsolete
mentality" that was holding back modernization of Cuba's socialist
economy. But he also said the leadership needed to respond quickly to
problems like inflation unleashed by greater demand as a result of
reforms in other sectors.
In response, delegates voted to eliminate licenses for private wholesale
food distribution, according to reports over the past week in the
Communist Party daily, Granma, and state television.
Delegates said the state would contract, distribute and regulate prices
for 80 to 90 percent of farm output this year, compared to 51 percent in
2014, according to debates broadcast in edited form days after the event.
Reuters reported in January that Cuba had begun a similar rollback in
some provinces, increasing its role in distribution again and regulating
prices. The decision at the congress will extend that program.
Data released in March showed that Cuba's farm output has barely risen
since 2008, when Castro formally took over from his brother Fidel,
contributing to a spike in food prices blamed on supply-demand mismatch.
Cuba imports more than 60 percent of the food it consumes.
The Union of Young Communists' newspaper, Juventud Rebelde, reported
late last year that the price of a basket of the most common foods
increased 49 percent between 2010 and early 2015.
There are no government statistics on food inflation.
While hurricanes and drought have played a part in poor farm output,
some experts and farmers say Cuba did not go far enough in allowing
farmers freer access to seeds and fertilizers to increase production.
But demand is rising fast. Relaxation of restrictions on self-employment
has led to a boom in small restaurants, at a time when Cuba's detente
with the West is leading to record numbers of tourists and an emerging
According to the reports, there was no discussion at the congress of
moving ahead with plans to allow farmers to buy supplies from wholesale
outlets, instead of having them assigned by the state.
Nor was there mention of another reform, also adopted five years ago and
never implemented, to have cooperatives join forces to perform tasks
currently in state hands, for example ploughing fields.
The state owns nearly 80 percent of arable land in Cuba, leasing most of
it to cooperatives and individual farmers. It has a monopoly on imports
and their distribution.
"They never fully carried out the reforms and gave them time to work.
They stopped half way and appear unable to come up with any other
solution than backtracking," said a local agriculture expert, who asked
to remain anonymous.
He said farmers often had no equipment and few supplies such as seed.
The government reported leafy and root vegetable output at 5 million
tonnes in 2015, similar to 2008, and unprocessed rice and bean
production of 418,000 tonnes and 118,000 tonnes, compared with 436,000
tonnes and 117,000 tonnes eight years ago.
Cuba produced 363,000 tonnes of corn last year, just 3,000 more than
when Castro took office.
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
Source: Cuba backtracks on food reforms as conservatives resist change |
Reuters - http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-reforms-idUSKCN0XQ2LK Continue reading
Ivan Garcia, 25 April 2016 — It is a Black Friday of a different sort.
In the United States the morning after Thanksgiving marks the beginning
of the Christmas discount season, where people wait in long lines to buy
electronics, computers and clothing. But in Cuba on Friday, April 22 — a
date when the military government has reduced prices by 20% on a variety
of grocery items — there are no lines
As usually happens at Brimart, a grocery store in the heavily populated
Tenth of October district where products are sold for hard currency,
employees open the doors fifteen minutes late.
Seven people are waiting outside. Four of them know about the sale on
chicken and ground meat but are only planning on buying their usual
items, which in the case of Mireya, a housewife, consists of a kilogram
of chicken thighs, two packages of ground turkey and, if available,
three containers of natural yogurt smoothies. "With the 0.70 centavos I
save on the chicken and ground turkey," she says, "I plan on buying my
granddaughter a piece of candy."
Arnaldo, a carpenter, found out about the sale before going into the
store. "I'm going to buy chicken, ground beef, cooking oil, detergent
and soap," he says. "With what I have left over, I'm going to buy two
Planchaos (small cardboard containers with two quarter bottles of rum).
The only way to disconnect from this country is by getting plastered and
watching the paquete."*
Among the products listed as being on sale, Brimart only has chicken
thighs, whole chickens, ground beef and one-liter bottles of cooking
oil. Shortages are noticeable. However, the shelves are full of rum,
whisky, wine, beer, canned tomato puree and plastic bottles of vegetable
"I was expecting a big crowd, but it is as slow as ever," says Olga
Lidia, a state worker. "A lot of people are happy about the sale. It
has a positive impact on the household budget. But the reality is that
the discounts are on items sold in a currency to which a lot of people
don't have access."
Rachel, a store employee, confirms they are waiting on shipments of a
wide assortment of canned goods, cookies and cold cuts but, she notes,
"according to the manager, they have not arrived yet due to the
On the lower level of the Carlos III shopping mall, there are people
eating hamburgers and drinking draft beer in the food court, while in
the meat and cheese department a man with a furrowed brow is looking at
"What sons-of-bitches," referring to government officials, he says.
"They lower the prices by a few centavos on ground meat and chicken —
the food of the poor people — but beef, good fish and imported cheeses
still cost an arm and a leg."
Noel, an economist, believes this is new measure is a populist move. It
is more a political ploy than anything else," he notes. "They know how
disgusted people on the street are. The price reductions they have put
in place won't even put a dent in the 240% to 400% markups on goods sold
in convertible pesos. These twenty-percent reductions are a way to curb
Although Susana, a professor approves of the reductions, she claims they
will be of no benefit to her. "We teachers earn between 500 to 600 pesos
(twenty to twenty-five dollars) a month. That is barely enough to eat
on. The government should be thinking about raising salaries and
lowering prices of household appliances," she says as she eyes a washing
machine costing 757 CUC, the equivalent of three-years salary for an
elementary school teacher.
Gilberto — the manager of a market inside a store in the Flores
neighborhood in Miramar, a suburb west of the capital — cannot guarantee
that people will always be able to find the lower-priced items on sale.
"Because supply outstrips demand," he explains," and generally owners of
food and hospitality businesses buy in large quantities. All this
suggests the government reduced prices after taking into account its
Selma, the proprietor of a cafe, does not think prices will be lowered
at food service establishments.
"If the price of these foods stays low and the prices of other items are
gradually reduced, then that might lower the costs for family
businesses, but we'll have to wait and see. In Cuba prices are lowered
on things that are in short supply, like potatoes. They used to sell
them by the pound and now you can only get them once a year," says Selma.
In several of Havana's hard currency stores, things have been in short
supply for the last ten months. Chicken breasts, yogurt and domestically
produced cheese are scarce almost everywhere.
Dariel, the head of business that occupies one floor of a building in
the old part of the city, sees the glass half full. "They say that there
will be ships coming into port loaded with food and other things to sell
in stores," he says.
It seems Cuba is always waiting for its ship to come in.
*Translator's note: the "package," a weekly compendium of foreign TV
serials, soap operas, sports shows and films sold illicitly throughout Cuba.
Source: Price Reductions on Food Items in Cuba Are Not Enough / Ivan
Garcia – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/price-reductions-on-food-items-in-cuba-are-not-enough-ivan-garcia/ Continue reading
abril 28, 2016
Un salto en la proporción de nacimientos de niños fue percibido en
Alemania del Este y en Cuba donde, al parecer, consumieron carne, leche
en polvo y leche condensada que habían estado expuestas a la radiación.
Han pasado 30 años de la mayor tragedia nuclear, que ocurrió en
Chernóbil, Ucrania. De una manera u otra, en muchos países se ha
recordado el hecho.
El 26 de abril de 1986 explotó el cuarto reactor de la Central Nuclear
Vladimir Ilich Lenin y se sabe que errores humanos durante unos
experimentos causaron el desastre nuclear pero, hasta ahora, las
consecuencias de esa catástrofe todavía se investigan.
En entrevista con Radio Europa Libre, el académico ruso y exasesor
presidencial Alexei Yablokov dio detalles de una investigación,
desarrollada por científicos alemanes, que vincula la explosión atómica
con la determinación del sexo de los nacidos tras la catástrofe.
El salto en la proporción de nacimientos de niños y niñas fue percibido
en Alemania del Este y en Cuba donde, al parecer, cubanos y alemanes
consumieron carne, leche en polvo y leche condensada que habían estado
expuestas a la radiación.
"La expansión de la radiación tuvo impacto en todo el planeta, pues una
semana después del 26 de abril de 1986 los funcionarios de aduanas de
Estados Unidos comenzaron a rastrear los productos radiactivos
procedentes de Europa como el arenque de Noruega, el té de Turquía o el
queso de Suiza", explica Yakoblov.
Una nube tóxica, provocada por la explosión y el incendio arrastraba
cesio 137, estroncio-90 y yodo-131 por toda Europa, en dependencia de la
dirección del viento. Así, estos elementos llegaron a Polonia, Alemania,
Noruega, Austria, Finlandia y las vecinas Rusia y Bielorrusia.
En un inicio fue el silencio del Kremlin, intentando ocultar la magnitud
del desastre, el 28 por la noche el noticiero Vremia, anunciaba que se
tomaban medidas para eliminar las consecuencias del suceso y que las
víctimas estaban siendo atendidas. También anunciaron la creación de una
comisión gubernamental y criticaron la cobertura de los medios de prensa
El 1 de mayo se desfiló en Kiev, por el Día del Trabajador, como si la
radioactividad no afectara a los soviéticos.
Después, Mijail S. Gorbachev reconoció a la prensa que fue un error el
no haber suspendido los desfiles, pero tenía miedo a que el pánico
cundiera en millones de personas.
Todavía hoy en día, hasta un incendio en los bosques cercanos a
Chernóbil provoca un aumento en los índices de radiación. Y un equipo de
bomberos, con los medios que tienen, muchos obsoletos que datan de la
época soviética, evita que la radiación se propague.
En Cuba se habla de los niños afectados por la radiación de Chernóbil,
pero hay silencio sobre las secuelas provocadas por la carne y leche
contaminadas que llegaba desde la URSS.
Source: Carne y leche radioactivas enviadas a Cuba tras avería en
http://www.martinoticias.com/a/cuba-chernobil-radiacion-carne-leche/120734.html Continue reading