Is it time for cuban professionals to go private?


Certain indications suggest that airs of change are blowing in Cuba. COVID-19 has come to mobilize wills that seemed inert in the face of the risks of making difficult decisions and mindsets clinging to the illusion of expecting different economic results by doing the same thing that has been done for decades and that life, stronger than any whim, has demonstrated its inefficiency.

The economic strategy announced days ago by the Cuban government seems to be going in the right direction but it is still a great unknown because the details of its implementation have not yet been converted into new rules of the game, nor divulged so that we can join with our opinions to the final shaping of the regulations to come.

The practical and seemingly minor details, those that are not talked about in television appearances, or of which some are not interested in knowing why reading an Official Gazette has little bit of entertaining, are usually the decisive ones. They say more than an official statement or the pronouncement of a high public servant. It is there and in the interpretation of the regulators that the game is won or lost, that we will know, when they are published, whether we are really going to break molds or continue to hit with the head a wall that will only yield under the brute force of intelligence and audacity.

One of the unknown “details” for the time being and that will be an indicator of how deep the national economic fabric is willing to transform is the space that will open up, or not, to professionals within the announced expansion of the private sector, whether in self-employment (TCP), non-agricultural cooperatives or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Until the day I write these lines, we have scarcely seen a handful of professional work licenses on their own, such as computer equipment programmers, arts teachers or translator-interpreters who allow someone with a university degree to earn their bread and contribute to society with their taxes by exercising the profession for which they employed studying , at least 5 years of his life.


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Masks are the new condoms, and the majority of Americans are on board

Masks are the new condoms.

In the earliest days of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, when so little was known about this deadly, incurable, highly transmissible disease, none other than a young Dr. Anthony Fauci was at the forefront of research and public education.

Today, he advocates masks. Then, he advocated condoms.

His goal was to calm a panicked nation and to convince deniers — those who believed condoms were an infringement on personal freedoms — that he was working in the interest of public health. He always cited the science — not his beliefs, just the facts.

In a 1993 column called “No Thrill is Worth the Odds,” nationally syndicated advice columnist Ann Landers answered a female letter writer who was convinced that condoms were not adequate prevention against HIV infection.

Landers called Dr. Fauci and printed his reply.

“Latex condoms,” he said in part, “provide an excellent barrier against fluid and are effective against HIV passage in the laboratory.”

If there’s one thing Fauci and the National Institutes of Health have made clear over these past few months, it’s that masks provide an excellent barrier — the best weapon we have, really — against COVID-19. A video posted by the NIH in April, showing a mask-wearing speaker emitting a drastic decrease in airborne droplets, makes the case for masks undeniable.

How is wearing a mask still politicized?

On July 14, the CDC officially advised all Americans to wear masks in public. They cited a recent study of two hairstylists in Missouri, both of whom were infected with COVID-19, both of whom unknowingly worked for days in their salon — where masks were required for employees and patrons.

Contact tracing found that none of their combined 139 clients was infected, nor were those clients’ family members.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said. “If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really think in the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this under control.”

President Trump is cratering in the polls on two issues: his handling of the virus and the nation’s subsequent economic collapse. If all it takes to turn this around is federally mandating masks, why not do it?

One thing that we’re missing in the COVID era compared with the AIDS era is the use of popular culture, Hollywood and public figures to change attitudes.

In 1994, the federal government, slow to respond to the then-decade-long AIDS crisis, hired Ogilvy & Mather to create an ad. Ian Latham, then the company’s executive creative director and senior vice president, pitched his concept to The New York Times.

“This little guy,” he said, meaning the condom, “is the hero.”

Why doesn’t the Trump campaign sell MAGA masks? American-flag masks?

A younger Dr. Anthony Fauci in 1996.
A younger Dr. Anthony Fauci in 1996.AP
What if Kylie made a lip kit mask, or Kim wore Skims or Gucci? Think of how quickly Kim Kardashian, criminal-justice warrior, could build on her cultural credibility by championing face masks the way global celebrities like Madonna and Princess Di advocated for AIDS patients and worldwide research before it was the expected thing to do.

Condom usage rose, infection rates fell and eventually, medicines caught up — not a cure, but at least a treatment for HIV/AIDS, no longer a death sentence.

Consider that Dr. Fauci said just last week that, much like HIV, we will never eradicate COVID-19. So until we have some form of herd immunity, coupled with a vaccine, the onus is on all of us to adopt the best public-health measures, which include a very cheap, very accessible physical barrier: the face mask.

It’s quaint, decades on, to recall how controversial condoms were — that there was ever debate about making them readily available, about changes in sex ed and in a necessary and explicit public discourse. In the 1980s, we had a president who refused to even say the word “AIDS” for years, and it cost untold lives. What would happen now if our president refused to go outside without a mask?

Cuba excels in international tourism competition


Havana, Jul 27 (PL) A team of students from the Faculty of Tourism of the University of Havana stood out in an international test of this sector that lasted several months, that educational instance reported today.

A report received by Prensa Latina indicates that it was an electronic test in which the team from this island ranked 12th, when 60 universities from 32 countries in Asia, America, Europe and Africa participated.

Some nations such as Spain, China, Mexico and Canada, were represented by more than one university.

The Cuban team was made up of Aliber Velázquez (fifth year), Ernesto Rodríguez, Adriel Málvarez and Laura Feyt (fourth) and Melissa Quintana (third).

Luis Daniel Ortiz and Gerardo Hernández (fourth year), all with a Bachelor of Tourism, entered as reservations and the dean of the Faculty of Tourism, Alejandro Delgado, as professor-coach.

The Faculty report specifies that the competition consisted of the monthly publication of a challenge, a specific situation to which the teams had to propose a solution within 20 calendar days.

The answer was in a specified format where they should contain diagnosis, analysis and solution proposal in no more than 10 pages in English.

In turn, an international jury assessed the responses within 10 days, so that the results of each challenge were published on the same day as the next challenge.

The challenges varied, from proposals for the exit of the tourist crisis induced by the Covid-19 in countries such as Spain, to comprehensive solutions for tourism development in one of the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah.

Dubbed the Student League of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the competition spanned five months, from late February to July 2020, with four challenges in total.

The Faculty emphasizes that the possibility offered by the Bachelor of Tourism in 10 universities in this country, in addition to the increasingly solid collaboration with the entities of the Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) in the territories, will make it possible to organize a National League.

The Cuban team had a preselect ion of 16 students from which seven were chosen, including the reservation of two students. To form it, a test was carried out with 85 numerical, verbal and critical thinking questions, always in English.


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Trump signs memo excluding illegal immigrants from 2020 Census count


“The Constitution says count “persons” not citizens,”…


WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order excluding illegal immigrants from being counted in the 2020 United States census.

Since the first census in the 1970s, both US citizens and non-citizens have been included in the country’s official population count, regardless of their immigration status, as part of a process which determines federal funding and how many seats each state gets in Congress.

But Trump’s order, which had been anticipated for weeks, is the latest salvo in his administration’s ongoing battle with the Census Bureau.

The president last year failed in his bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census after the moved was blocked by the Supreme Court.

Trump planning executive order to exclude illegal immigrants from census
Chicago mayor deploys ‘Census Cowboy’ to boost participation: ‘Time to giddy-up’

“My Administration will not support giving congressional representation to aliens who enter or remain in the country unlawfully, because doing so would create perverse incentives and undermine our system of government,” Trump wrote in Tuesday’s brief but strongly-worded memo.

“Just as we do not give political power to people who are here temporarily, we should not give political power to people who should not be here at all,” he continued.

The memo directs Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to exclude illegal aliens from the apportionment count but it is unclear how Ross would make that distinction when the citizenship question is prohibited.

New York and Ohio lost two members of the House of Representatives after the 2010 census, while Texas picked up four.

The order will likely be met with legal challenges from Democrats and legal professors who are already calling the move unconstitutional.

“The Constitution says count “persons” not citizens,” University of Alabama law professor Joyce Alene wrote on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.

“His unconstitutional EO today, directing a count of only citizens is red meat for his base & an effort to distract from Covid & his other disasters,” he continued.

The state of Alabama is currently in the throes of a legal battle with the Census Bureau arguing illegal immigrants be excluded from population counts because it supposedly gives an unfair advantage to states with more undocumented residents.

According to a Washington Post report from August 2019, states such as New Jersey and California could lose up to two seats in Congress if undocumented immigrants were excluded from the census count.


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Statistics show Cuba is the safest country in the Americas; crime and security


Cuba appears ahead of first world countries such as Canada (2nd in the area) and the United States (5th).

Havana, Jul 21 (PL) Cuba is the safest country in the region of the Americas, released on Tuesday the press based on a statistical report of crime and security rates by nations.

According to the Numbeo website, a global database of perceived crime rates, quality of healthcare and other issues, the island has the lowest crime rate in the area, with 29.02 so far in 2020.

It also notes that the security index is 70.98, for which elements such as the level of crime, security when walking on the streets, both day and night, and robberies have been taken into account, among other indicators.

Cuba appears ahead of first world countries such as Canada (2nd in the area) and the United States (5th).

At the world level, the country is located in 28th place, being one of the few States on the continent that manages to be above the global average in terms of security.

In general, the safest region is Europe, while South America is shown to be the one with the highest risks for travelers and residents.


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Poll: Majority of Voters Say U.S. Society is Racist

A majority of voters — 56% — believe that American society is racist, a recent Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll found.

Eighty-two percent of Democrats polled agreed that American society is racist, more than any other subset included in the polling, including blacks and Hispanics. Ninety percent of Dems said black people are discriminated against.

The poll, conducted July 9-12, comes amid months of unrest and racial tension sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody over Memorial Day weekend.

Seventy-one percent of respondents agreed that race relations are either very or fairly bad, a 16-point increase since February.

“Americans are concerned about issues of inequality, and George Floyd’s death helped contribute to that,” Brenda Lee, a pollster who worked on the survey with Democrat Jeff Horwitt and Republican Bill McInturff, told the Wall Street Journal.

Fifty-seven percent of voters said they support the nationwide protests ignited by Floyd’s death, and 58% said they are more concerned with racial inequality as a result of the demonstrations.

“We’ve moved the needle a great deal in terms of just clearly identifying that we, as Americans, have an issue with racism in this society,” she said.

Though 65% of black voters said racial discrimination is built into American society, including U.S. policies and institutions, 48% of white voters attributed racial discrimination to individuals who hold racist views rather than institutions or society as a whole.

While historical statues have become a focus point for many as the country grapples with how it will change in light of its recent racial reckoning, with protestors vandalizing statues and demanding Confederate tributes be taken down, only a slight majority in the poll, 51%, support removing Confederate statues from where they stand now on public property. Forty-seven percent would leave them in place.

The Journal/NBC News poll surveyed 900 registered voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.27 percentage points.


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Threats against federal judges and families reportedly on the rise


“…there were 4,449 threats and inappropriate communications against protected persons in 2019.”

District Judge Esther Salas (left) and Roy Den HollanderAxel Dupeux/Redux
The murder of a New Jersey federal judge’s son has highlighted a disturbing trend that authorities fear is on the rise — threats against federal judges and their families.

According to the US Marshals Service, which protects federal judges, there were 4,449 threats and inappropriate communications against protected persons in 2019, ABC News reported. In 2015, that number was 926.

Over that same time period, the number of threats investigated rose from 305 in 2015 to 373 in 2019, peaking at 531 in 2018, the network reported.

In addition, inappropriate communications or threats to protected court family members have also been on the rise, according to the Marshals — to 4,542 in 2018, up from 768 in 2014.

On Sunday night, the college-student son of Judge Esther Salas, Daniel Anderl, was shot dead in the family’s home in North Brunswick, New Jersey, while her husband, prominent attorney Mark Anderl, was also shot multiple times and is in critical but stable condition, police sources told The Post on Monday.

Salas was not injured and the suspect, identified as Roy Den Hollander, was later found dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in Rockland County, sources said.

Salas, who is now under 24-hour protection, had received threats in the past and authorities are investigating whether there is any connection between the threats and the shooting, ABC News reported. A package or envelope addressed to the jurist was found near the man’s body, sources told The Post.

In 2017, federal Judge James Robart also became the target of malicious threats after he issued a temporary restraining order on President Trump’s first travel ban.

According to the American Bar Association, before Robart left the Seattle, Washington, courthouse where he presided, his personal information was put out on the internet, along with his wife’s information.

Outside the home of federal judge Esther Salas, where her son was shot and killed and her defense attorney husband was critically injured in North Brunswick, New Jersey.

Outside the home of federal judge Esther Salas, where her son was shot and killed and her defense attorney husband was critically injured in North Brunswick.

Trump also unleashed a Twitter attack on the judge — leading to an estimated 1,100 serious threats against him, the ABA said.

The Marshals say the increase in threats against judges and their families is due to “improved effectiveness in data collection and reporting of potential threats.”


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‘Diplomacy is the best way forward,’ says Cuban ambassador in the US


“…It has become even more obvious that diplomacy is the best way forward.”

Washington, Jul 20 (PL) The Cuban Embassy in the US highlighted the value of diplomacy nowadays, to mark the 5th anniversary of the reopening of that legation and the reestablishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.

On a day like today the Cuban Embassy in Washington D.C. was reopened as part of a broader chapter of commitment between the two countries, recalled the Cuban officials on Twitter.

‘In five years, many things have changed, but it has become even more obvious that diplomacy is the best way forward,’ the message added.

Today, as in the past five years, our flag is raised in the bottom of Washington D.C. in front of the Cuban Embassy. Our diplomatic mission has witnessed and supported the strong ties between our peoples, the diplomatic legation expressed in another tweet.

Those messages were accompanied by a video of the moment the flag was raised during the reopening ceremony of July 20, 2015, in which Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez was present.


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Mark Zuckerberg surfboards in Hawaii with way too much sunscreen


** PREMIUM EXCLUSIVE ** Mark Zuckerberg takes to the high seas in Hawaii on board a Efoil, Mark rides the $12,000 electric hydrofoil while followed by his security details and professional surfer Kai Lenny

New photos show Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg zipping around on an electric surfboard in Hawaii — while wearing enough white sunscreen on his face to make the Batman super villain blush.

The 36-year-old billionaire — who was recently accused of colonizing the island of Kauai — was caught in the geeky moment while his security detail followed behind him on a boat on Saturday, according to Mega Agency photos.

In the snaps, Zuckerberg is shown hanging 10 on the $12,000 Efoil board, which allows users to glide above the water, alongside pro surfer surfer Kai Lenny, according to the Mega Agency.

A tan and toned Lenny went shirtless — and did not appear to apply sunscreen with the same zeal as Zuck.

But Zuck is shown rocking a less-than-gnarly soaked blue hoodie and shorts as he cruises along the mouthwash-blue ocean.

Earlier this month, native Hawaiian Mia Brier launched a campaign to stop Zuckerberg from snapping up land on the island — calling him “greedy” for suing locals who own property close to his massive $100 million estate.

“Mark Zuckerberg is the sixth richest man in the world… and he is suing Native Hawaiians in Kauai for their land so he can build a mansion,” she wrote in a change.org petition.


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Trump mulls veto of defense bill if military bases strip Confederate names


“…we can’t cancel our whole history.”

President Trump threatened to veto a defense spending bill if it includes a provision to remove the names of Confederate leaders from US military bases.

“I might. Yeah, I might,” he told Chris Wallace during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

But Wallace pressed him, saying the military is behind stripping the names.

“I don’t care what the military says. I’m supposed to make the decision,” he said. “Fort Bragg is a big deal. We won two world wars — nobody even knows General Bragg. We won two world wars.”

“What are we going to rename it? You going to name it after the Reverend Al Sharpton? What are you going to name it, Chris?” he asked. “No, I’m not going to go changing them,” Trump added.

The National Defense Authorization Act sets aside $1 million to change the names of 10 bases named after Confederate soldiers.

It also includes a pay hike for members of the military that Trump said they would still get.

The president also defended the Confederate flag, which has come under renewed attack amid the protests over the killing of George Floyd at the end of May.

Trump threatens to veto defense bill to keep Confederate base names

“When people proudly had their Confederate flags they’re not talking about racism. They love their flag, it represents the South. They like the South,” he told Wallace. “I say it’s freedom of many things, but it’s freedom of speech.”

NASCAR recently said it would ban the Confederate flag at its events and Mississippi voted to remove the Confederate battle emblem from its state flag.

He also weighed in on the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I’m not offended either by Black Lives Matter, that’s freedom of speech. You know the whole thing with cancel culture — we can’t cancel our whole history. We can’t forget that the North and the South fought.”


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