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Cuba: Interview with Mariela Castro, director of the National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX)

By Bernard Duraud for the French newspaper L’Humanité, published December 9. Published in Spanish on the Cubadebate website, December 14. Translation by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews, edited by Marce Cameron for Cuba's Socialist Renewal.

[See also "Rainbow Cuba: the sexual revolution within the revolution".]

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The daughter of Cuba's President Raul Castro and the late Vilma Espin, a key figure in the Cuban Revolution, Mariela Castro Espin, director of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), is a tireless campaigner for the rights of gays, lesbians and transsexuals, who have suffered discrimination for a long time. She is the initiator of important changes that concern them.

East Timor celebrates medical milestone, with Cuba's assistance

By Lisa Zilberpriver 

December 27, 2011 -- SBS (Special Broadcasting Service, Australia) -- Cuba is widely regarded as a world leader in medical outreach programs for developing nations. It began by sending doctors to support Algerian revolutionaries in 1963, and has since extended its programme to encompass more than 100 different countries.

There are more than 30,000 Cuban health workers stationed worldwide. The Cuban government also pays for the education of thousands of students from developing nations at the Latin American School of Medicine.

Tim Anderson is a senior lecturer in political economy at the Univeristy of Sydney. He has closely followed Cuba's medical outreach programs for several years. He hosted an East Timorese graduate of Cuba's program on a visit to Sydney health institutions in October that was organised by the Australia Cuba Friendship Society.

Rainbow Cuba: the sexual revolution within the revolution

March to celebrate LGBTI rights in Havana, May 2009.

By Rachel Evans

December 23, 2011 (updated January 28, 2012) – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When I was 16, I went to a Cuba solidarity event in my home town. At the end of inspiring speeches about Cuba’s health record, education standards, and the revolution’s policy of sending doctors and teachers to impoverished countries, a rousing “Cuba si! Yankee no!” chant erupted. It was electric. Much better than the fake feeling, singing and dancing we’d experienced in the church hall on Sunday. I was impressed and resolved to visit the country and see the revolution for myself. Years later and having come out of the closet, I decided my trip to Cuba could help prove or dispel the oft-uttered line of Cuba being homophobic.

This work will help put to bed the lies and distortions propagated by the powerful United States (US) propaganda machine: that the Cuban Revolution is undemocratic, homophobic and tyrannical. My visit to and study of Cuba finds that there is no basis to these claims.

Latin America: Summit in Venezuela opens 'new phase in history'

By Federico Fuentes

December 3, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A summit of huge importance was held in Venezuela on December 2-3, 2011. Two hundred years after Latin America’s independence fighters first raised the battle cry for a united Latin America, 33 heads of state from across the region came together to form the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

For Latin America, the summit represented a further step away from its traditional role as the United States’ backyard and its emergence as a player in its own right in international politics.

The importance of this new institution in world politics cannot be overstated. The combined gross domestic product of the countries within CELAC make it the third-largest economic powerhouse in the world. It is also home to the world’s largest oil reserves and the first and third largest global producers of food and energy, respectively.

Interview: Cuba's health-care miracle in Haiti

Dr Jorge Balseiro Estevez, of the Henry Reeve Cuban Internationalist Medical Brigade, interviewed by Roger Annis

October 30, 2011 -- Canada Haiti Action Network -- Dr Jorge Balseiro Estevez is director of the University Hospital of Psychiatry in the city of Camaguey, Cuba. He is a specialist in psychiatry and health administration and auxiliary professor of medical sciences at the university. He is a member of the Henry Reeve Cuban Internationalist Medical Brigade[1] and a director of the brigade’s field hospital in the city of Leogâne, Haiti. Leogane was the epicentre of the earthquake of January 12, 2010.

Estevez was invited to Canada on a speaking tour to some 15 cities across Canada in October and November 2011. The tour was organised by the Canadian Network on Cuba and its local affiliates, with sponsorship from a broad range of trade unions, health professionals and Haiti solidarity groups.

Roger Annis of the Canada Haiti Action Network sat down with Estevez on October 30 in Vancouver for an interview about the Cuban medical mission’s accomplishments in Haiti and the challenges that lie ahead.

Cuba: 'Information on results of the Debate on the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution'

Introduction by Marce Cameron, translator

November 12, 2011 -- Cuba's Socialist Renewal, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Here is the complete English translation of the booklet Information on the results of the Debate on the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution, an explanatory document published together with the final version of the guidelines adopted by the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) Congress in April. As far as I'm aware there is no official translation of this document. Please note that this is an unofficial translation.

You can view or download it as a PDF file here, or read it on screen below.

Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam seeks support from Cuba and Latin America

Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran.

By Ron Ridenour

October 4, 2011 -– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “We Tamils, inside and outside the island of Sri Lanka, still want an independent state. And because the war crimes and severe brutality of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government against our people has become well known, our cause is being spoken about all over the world”, Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran told me recently in Manhattan, New York.

A positive sign of recognition for Tamil rights is the dramatic Channel 4 UK documentary, Sri Lanka Killing Fields, shown first at a June Human Rights Council session and then worldwide.

Rudrakumaran is prime minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), and a prominent activist in the diaspora. He earned law degrees from the University of Colombo and Southern Methodist University. He later studied and wrote articles about self-determination at Harvard Law School

Camila Piñeiro Harnecker: Cooperatives and socialism in Cuba

September 26, 2011 -- First posted at Cuba's Socialist Renewal, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Cooperatives and Socialism: A Cuban Perspective is a new Cuban book, published in Spanish earlier this year. This important and timely compilation is edited by Camila Piñeiro Harnecker (pictured above). Avid readers of Cuba's Socialist Renewal will recall that I translated and posted a commentary by Camila, titled "Cuba Needs Changes" [also available at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal], back in January. Camila lives in Cuba and has a degree in sustainable development from the University of Berkeley, California. She is a professor at the Centre for Studies on the Cuban

Cuba: Voluntary work abolished -- a step forward?

By Luis Sexto, Havana

September 7, 2011 -- Progreso Weekly -- Voluntary work in Cuba, as a practice on weekdays or Sundays, has been abolished. In view of this action, neither original nor daring, one might suppose that the decision by the Cuban Trade Union Confederation (CTC) to end voluntary work, except in times of disaster or when enterprises face acute needs, has earned the implicit approval of most Cubans.

But to state the opposite, namely that many Cubans are not in agreement, might mean that one dons the mask of someone who is unthinking or opportunistic, or of a dogmatic person who does not understand the society in which they live and the circumstances that surround it.

To deny the decision's importance in the strategy of changes would not be accurate either, in my view. The effects of the measure – adopted during the 87th plenum of the CTC's national council on February 18 – are several. First, we must acknowledge that voluntary work, as it evolved, shortened leisure time for workers and reduced their status as free individuals through union and administrative pressures.

Revolutionary health care in Cuba and Venezuela: Beyond Western 'sickness-based' medicine

Monthly Review Press has kindly given permission to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish an excerpt from Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care by Steve Brouwer. You can download the excerpt HERE (PDF), or read it on screen HERE.

Readers of Links are also urged to purchase copies of Revolutionary Doctors. Those in Australia can order copies from Resistance Books; in other parts of the world, please click HERE to order.

Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care
By Steve Brouwer
New York, Monthly Review Press, 2011, 245 pp.

Review by Don Fitz

Cuban Five: Judge issues cruel and bizarre ruling

Judge Lenard order's René González to live in Miami on supervised release

[Below the article is a model protest letter; please adapt and send. For more background to the cases of the Cuban Five, click HERE.]

By Jose Pertierra

September 19, 2011 -- Counterpunch via the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society -- On September 16, a US federal district court judge made a bizarre ruling concerning one of the Cuban Five defendants who completes his jail sentence on October 7. Judge Joan Lenard ruled that René Gonzalez, who has already served 13 years in a federal penitentiary for being an unregistered agent of the Cuban government, will be forced for the next three years to live in Miami on what is called “supervised release”.

Gonzalez had asked the court to allow him to return home to Cuba to be with his wife, Olga, and his two daughters, Ivette and Irma. Several years ago, the US Department of State decided to permanently bar Olga from getting a visa to come to the United States. She has been able to visit her husband only once during the last 13 years. A cruel and unusual punishment for any prisoner.

Cuba: Changes go deep -- democratic reforms

Cubans vote for members of their local Assembly of People's Power.

[For more analysis and discussion on the changes in Cuba, click HERE.]

By José Alejandro Rodríguez, Havana

August 17, 2011 -- Progreso Weekly -- Apart from some exceptions, the powerful international media has ignored a recent Cuban parliamentary bill that would deepen democracy on the island. The reason is obvious: the news is not convenient. The initiative is made within socialist institutionalism, not in terms of the “transition” whose staging is highly anticipated and promoted by certain hegemonic interests in this world.

The idea is to give the green light to an experiment in the new provinces of Mayabeque and Artemisa, which, if they bear fruit, would be extended to the whole country through constitutional reform: the reassignment of the duties of the chairperson of the local Assembly of People's Power and chairperson of the assembly's territorial administrative board to different people, in each municipality and province.

Cuba: National Assembly approves economic changes; Raul Castro's speech

"More than once, I have stated that our own worst enemy is not imperialism but our own errors and that these, if they are deeply and honestly analysed, can be transformed into lessons in order not to fall into them again." -- Raúl Castro

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic changes in Cuba, and assessments of the sixth congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, click HERE.]

By President Raúl Castro

Speech given by President Raúl Castro Ruz, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, to the 7th ordinary session of the 7th legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, August 1, 2011. The parliament earlier that day also adopted the amended Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution as state policy.

Compañeras and compañeros:

Capitalism is just depressing

By Mark Harris

July 23, 2011 -- Resistance.org.au -- There is no denying it, depression is on the rise across the world. The World Health Organization says depression will be the second largest contributor to the global burden of disease by 2020. For young people this is already the case. Depression leads to about 850,000 deaths every year.

But why is depression on the rise? In some instances it is a product of more readily available methods of diagnosis and public understanding of the disorder. But increases in suicide rates and other indicators suggest that the increase in depression is well beyond this statistical readjustment.

Depression is not always caused by a chemical imbalance or as a result of human biology. It is a result of social factors such as loneliness, lack of social support, financial strain, lack of purpose and unemployment. These are endemic under capitalism.

Even in a wealthy country like Australia, youth often look to a future that is at best unfulfilling. Furthermore, capitalism is based on competition. In all sorts of ways we can only succeed if someone else fails. Obvious examples are job interviews or exams to get into uni.

Capitalist culture

Capitalist culture emphasises competition and individualism. Even the main form of transport — cars — means being physically separated from, and often in competition with, other people travelling on the same road.

Excerpt from 'Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care'

July 19, 2011 -- Monthly Review Press has kindly given permission to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish an excerpt from one of their latest books, Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care by Steve Brouwer. You can download the excerpt HERE (PDF), or read it on screen below.

Readers of Links are also urged to purchase copies of Revolutionary Doctors; click HERE to order.

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Cuba: Historian's party membership restored

Esteban Morales.

Message to my readers and friends

By Esteban Morales. Translation by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews

July 7, 2011 -- This is to let you know that last week I was summoned by the Appeals Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba to a meeting in which I was informed of their decision to nullify the separation order from the party given last year by the Playa Municipality Committee and to return my card and full membership.

I'd like to seize the opportunity to state how grateful I am for all the support I have received in the last few months from friends, intellectual colleagues and people I've never met who got in touch with me through different ways, made statements about this issue, or simply stopped me in the street for an update on my situation.

I also want to thank my family for their support in these difficult and yet extremely enlightening days. I will keep on working as hard as I have on the topics I have been writing about in my blog. I'm looking forward to your attention.

Cuba: Notes on socialist democracy, by Dario Machado Rodriguez

Photo by Roberto Suarez.

[For more analysis and discussion on the economic reforms in Cuba, and assessments of the sixth congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, click HERE.]

Introduction by Marce Cameron

June 12, 2011 -- Cuba's Socialist Renewal, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Generation R is an new bilingual blogin Cuba launched by pro-revolution Cuban university students. It's their answer to Generation Y, the blog of Yoani Sanchez, a Havana-based counterrevolutionary whose diatribes just happen to be translated almost instantaneously into over a dozen languages by her "fans" overseas. You can check out the English version of Generation R here.

Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine -- `an example of internationalism and human solidarity’

Students from Latin American School of Medicine march on May Day in Havana 2006. Photo by Bill Hackwell/Havana Times.

“We are one people who share a common history of struggle.” — Cassandra Cusack Curbelo, second-year ELAM student

By Don Fitz

May 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, an earlier version of this article first appeared at Monthly Review in March -- A revolution can only be successful when the new generation takes over from the old. When thousands of students come together because of their dedication to helping others at a school that was built to allow them to fulfill their goals, the ground is fertile for students to continue the struggle.

Sri Lanka: Will Tamils get justice from the UN?

Tamils are held in miserable conditions in IDP camps.

[For more on the struggle of the Tamil people, click HERE.]

By Ron Ridenour

May 16, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Forty-seven governments on the Untied Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) will discuss and decide, beginning at its May 30 session, what to do about an unusually truthful report in the world of international politics.

The “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka” was delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 31 concerning: 1) alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the last phases of the 26-year-old civil war, September 2008 to May 19, 2009; 2) consequences for approximately 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and, by extension, for 2.7 million Sri Lankan Tamils, 13% of Sri Lanka's 21 million population.

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