Inflation Wreaks Havoc on the Cuban Economy During 2022

Food prices in Cuban markets and establishments have only risen in the last two years. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Elías Amor Bravo, Economist, 2 February 2023 — It’s the news of the day but let no one look for a single reference to the data in the communist state press. And that, despite its importance and that it has a prominent influence on the living conditions of the population. I am referring to the inflation rate of the Cuban economy in 2022, which has just been published by the National Bureau of Statistics and Information, ONEI.

In fact, the data are not good. In 2022, Cuba closed with a year-on-year inflation rate of 39.07%, one of the highest in the world and with very negative effects that the regime does not seem to know how to control or mitigate. This rate, without going any further, is almost 5 times higher than that recorded in the neighboring Dominican Republic, and almost 4 times higher than that of all Latin American countries.

Inflation also has very negative features if the behavior of the different components is analyzed. Food and non-alcoholic beverage inflation increased to a spectacular year-on-year rate of 62.95%, more than 30 percentage points higher than the average, and that of the Restaurants and Hotels component to 55.64%, another 20 points more.

The two rates have an intense impact on the increases in the index, with Food at 76% and Restaurants at 12%. The rest of the components have a lower weight in the year-on-year rate, and from an objective perspective the regime should know where it has to concentrate its efforts in the fight against inflation, but it does not, or what is worse, it may not know how to do it.

Other equally negative aspects can be pointed out from inflation in 2022. The most worrying was its acceleration throughout the year, which can be measured by the monthly variation rates. In December, the rate for the entire CPI was 3.74% in a single month, but in the case of Food it reached 5.66% and in the Education component (which is a public service of the state) the price increase in the month was 3.96%. continue reading

The upward profile of inflation throughout the year is detected when it is found that the monthly increases were smaller at the beginning of the year, growing continuously from the second half of the year. This is a direct consequence, not only of the shortage of supply of goods and services that it has been planning all year round about price tension, but also of the effect of greater public spending that increases as the year progresses, generating the problems of lack of monetary control that feed inflation.

But, in addition, inflation in Cuba over the last two years has broken the foundations of the functioning of the economy in a very prominent way. In 2021, the year-on-year rate was 77.3% as a result of the impact of the Ordering Task.* In 2022, it grew by 39.07%, as mentioned above.

To know the impact of this rise in inflation in two consecutive years, let’s think of a salary of 3,000 pesos on January 1, 2021. Its purchasing power at that time was equivalent to 3,000 pesos, but with inflation of 77% in 2021, that purchasing power in December was equivalent to 690 pesos.

Throughout 2022, with inflation of 39.07%, those 690 pesos would have become 420 pesos. In other words, the 3,000 pesos of January 1, 2021 would have an equivalent purchasing power of 420 pesos on December 31, 2022. The accumulated loss would be 86%. The purchasing capacity of Cubans, with the average index, decreased by 86% since January 1, 2021, but obviously it would be much greater if the data of the Food and non-alcoholic beverages component are taken into account. However, economists measure purchasing power with the general index, which has caused that erosion of 86% in salary, or pension.

This erosion of the purchasing power of nominal incomes also hits bank deposits and any other asset that Cubans possess, because inflation is an unfair, asymmetric tax, which hits the most disadvantaged groups more intensely, as is happening in Cuba. You have to imagine the distortion that requires business accounting to continually update income and costs so as not to lose competitiveness. A true chaos.

In addition, analyzing the individual behavior of the prices that make up the “basket” that defines Cuba’s CPI, surprising results are obtained. The products that see prices rise the most intensely are the basic foods red and black beans (13% and 10%, respectively), and toilet paper, 10.65%, another product of necessity.

Inflation falls harshly on the most disadvantaged groups, whose incomes and pensions are lower, to cope with these uncontrolled prices. ONEI emphasizes that tomatoes with a drop of 18% or peppers, with 5.8%, were the products that experienced the greatest price declines.

There is then miscellaneous data on price increases during the month of December for other products, such as pork, 8.1%, ham, 6.3%, snacks 7.8%, breakfast, 4.68%; in addition to the toilet paper already indicated is the application of dyes at 6.1%.

The data underpin the difficulty of the economic scenario, in which price increases are combined with lower economic growth, which points to a complex situation of stagnation, for which the solution can be much more complex. There is the sense that communist leaders are being condescending with the evolution of inflation and aren’t seriously engaged in fighting against a serious evil that distorts prices and wages, the value of assets — in short, the functioning of the economy.

 *Translator’s note: The “Ordering Task” is a collection of measures that include eliminating the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), leaving the Cuban peso as the only national currency, raising prices, raising salaries (but not as much as prices), opening stores that take payment only in hard currency, which must be in the form of specially issued pre-paid debit cards, and a broad range of other measures targeted to different elements of the Cuban economy. 

Translated by Regina Anavy 

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

A ‘Mule’ is Punished for Trying to Send a Toy Helicopter to Cuba

On another previous occasion, Carlos had sent a remote-controlled toy helicopter to Cuba. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Miami, 31 January 2023 — One of the few consolations of Carlos (fictitious name), who left Cuba last year for Nicaragua, desperate like so many other Cubans to seek a better life in the United States, is that at least now his children and nephews, who were left on the Island, could have decent toys for birthdays or Christmas.

Carlos buys them in a department store in Miami, at the good prices allowed by competition from the free market, and sends them to Cuba through an agency. He uses Fe, located in Hialeah. He has also sent remittances for his family through that agency.

He never had any problems. In these months in the United States, he has sent, for example, probes for his father (sick with cancer in Havana), gloves for his mother, seasonings and coffee for his wife, a robot for his eldest son, and a stuffed unicorn for his little daughter. On one occasion, he even sent a remote-controlled helicopter for his son’s birthday. Barely 8 inches  long, the object was light, barely weighing 5 ounces.

The problem arose when he sent, for Three Kings Day, another one for his stepson. When inspecting the shipment, as they usually do in this type of agency, he got the first disappointment. “To begin with, this time they wanted to charge me a fee [an extra fee] for the helicopter,” Carlos tells this newspaper, and says that he reminded the employee who attended him: “How are you going to charge me a fee, if the other time I already sent a helicopter with you and I didn’t have to pay?” After claiming that he was sending a large package, and even $300 in remittances, the girl kindly agreed not to charge him the fee. continue reading

Days later, he had another surprise: “On the day the arrival of the package was scheduled, they called me from the agency to inform me that they had seized the helicopter at Cuban Customs.”

The explanation they gave to Carlos is that “the ban on the entry of drones now applies to anything that flies a little and has remote control.” Indeed, in June 2021, the Cuban government issued a law that regulated “unmanned aircraft,” with the intention of restricting the use of drones for model aircraft purposes or specific aerial work and always under the supervision of a state entity.

Carlos doesn’t understand how, on the one hand, the first helicopter did pass and, on the other, how that rule can affect a simple toy of just over 20 dollars, “which only flies for seven minutes per charge, a very short distance and at very low altitude.”

His stepson didn’t understood either and spent days crying. “I think it’s a huge lack of respect!” denounces Carlos.

The agency only had an answer for the first question: the other time they simply didn’t open the suitcase of the man to whom they sent things. “These types of agencies work with mules,” Carlos explains. “The mule sells his pounds to the agency and it resells them to the customer for 7 dollars a pound of medicine, food and toiletries and 9 dollars for the rest.”

When the man handed over the rest of the package to the family, he complained: “That helicopter caused me a tremendous mess in Customs. I’ll never bring anything that flies again!”

Carlos had the consolation that when the mule returned, the helicopter would be returned to Customs and, one day, when his family met with him in Miami, his stepson would finally have it in his hands. But that wasn’t the case. “The agents told him that Customs was equipped with cameras and were like ‘border guards.’ Not only did they not return the helicopter to the man, but they also they gave him a warning [an alert], ‘and he is marked from now on.’ In other words, every time he travels to Cuba, they will open his suitcase to check his luggage.”

Even then, the young employee who had taken care of him offered him hope: “The girl asked me for the purchase receipt, for the man to show at Customs, to see if they return the helicopter and remove the warning.” He wasn’t very optimistic: “I don’t know why, but it seems to me that that toy already has an owner in Cuba.”

There was still one last episode, weeks later, with the owner of the agency, who called him a few days ago about the bad outcome, to inform him that he had fired the employee.

“For a moment I thought I had returned to Cuba and was talking to an Etecsa* official, who thinks you are a servant instead of a client,” says Carlos, who conveyed his surprise at the firing of the girl. “That’s my problem, not yours!” the lady screamed at him.

In the middle of the harsh words and the untimely treatment, Carlos knew what really happened at Customs: “The woman told me that the man at Customs, when he went to get the helicopter back, they asked him for money, a tax in dollars, but he refused to pay it, and then they said that the helicopter had lights and a camera and was a coastguard.” Definitely, the innocent toy had found an owner other than his stepson, who still angrily remembers the Three Kings’ gift that he did not receive.

*Translator’s note: Etecsa is the Cuban state telecommunications company, and is notoriously difficult to deal with.

Translated by Regina Anavy 

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

‘Here We Do Not Receive a Salary, Only a Stipend’, Admits a Cuban Doctor in Mexico

Part of a group of 13 Cuban specialists who are in the Mexican state of Michoacán. (Government of Michoacán)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mexico, February 2, 2023 — The 620 Cuban doctors who have been in Mexico since January 27 receive from the Government of Cuba “a stipend for their needs.” With those words spoken in an improvised interview, uploaded to YouTube by the newspaper Reforma, the Cuban geriatrician Juan Andrés Echemendía, stressed: “We do not receive a salary here.”

“Our salary is in our country, in Cuba,” insisted this specialist, who affirms that they still do not have “the certainty” of how much the stipend will be. According to the legal agreement collected and announced in August last year by Prisoners Defenders, the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) Bienestar will give the Comercializadora de Servicios Médicos de Cuba, S.A. up to 1,283,728 dollars per month (more than 15 million dollars a year).

La Comercializadora, identified by human rights organizations, agreed with Mexico in May of last year to hire 641 specialists. An official who opts for anonymity revealed to 14ymedio that for each specialist the Government of the Island will pocket 2,042 dollars per month and for the services of a general practitioner 1,722 dollars.

Echemendía is one of the Cuban doctors who was received last Sunday by the Morelos authorities at the IMSS Bienestar hospital in Temixco María de la Luz Delgado Morales. He arrived in Mexico two days earlier along with a group of 68 health workers.

The general director of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), Zoé Robledo, said that 10 specialists in geriatrics and gerontology arrived, 9 in dermatology, 7 in allergies, 6 in physical medicine and rehabilitation, 6 in ophthalmology, 4 in general surgery, 3 in cardiology, 3 in internal medicine and another 20 undefined.

According to Robledo, these health workers will provide service after receiving introductory courses in the states of Colima (11), Guerrero (11), Michoacán (8), Morelos (8), Tlaxcala (8), Oaxaca (5), Veracruz (5), Baja California Sur (3), Campeche (3), Nayarit (3), Zacatecas (2) and Sonora (1).

The authorities did not offer details about whether the hospitals in which the specialists will be located are in remote areas, which is supposedly why they were hired by the Administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The Cuban dermatologist Ramón González Rodríguez, who proclaimed that they are there “voluntarily” and at the request of the Mexican government, announced that an anesthesiologist, a geriatrician and a dermatologist would stay at the Temixco hospital, but he did not know the fate of the other 5 health workers.

As usual, the accommodation, food and transport of the specialists will be covered by the state governments.

Translated by Regina Anavy 

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Trial on Cuba’s Sovereign Debt in London, in Five Questions

Demonstration of opponents of the Cuban regime, in front of the Rolls Building, headquarters of the commercial division of the High Court of London. (EFE/Judith Mora)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), London, February 3, 2023 — The trial in London of the  claim for non-payment of the CRF I investment fund to the National Bank of Cuba (BNC) and the Republic of Cuba for 72 million euros (78 million dollars) of public debt went to trial on Thursday.

1. What will be decided in this trial?

The trial before the commercial division of the London High Court of Justice seeks to establish whether CRF is a legitimate creditor of Cuba — if it has the right to claim the payment of sovereign debt from Havana — and whether this court has jurisdiction over the issue. After the end of the public part, it will be weeks, even months, before the court issues a judgment. The court does not have to publish it, and its dissemination may depend on the parties. In addition, the ruling will not be final, so it could be appealed, prolonging the process. As for the substance of the issue, experts agree in pointing out the significance of the ruling for Cuba, which is going through a very delicate financial situation after more than two years of serious economic crisis.

2. Who are the plaintiffs and the defendants?

The lawsuit was filed by the CRF I irrigation capital fund, founded in 2009 and based in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven. According to different sources, it is Cuba’s largest sovereign debt holder and holds bonds of 1.2 billion euros (1.3 billion dollars).

The BNC is a Cuban state bank with commercial powers, but until 1997 it also served as a central bank. In that year, the Cuban Government created the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC) and limited the functions of the BNC to commercial ones. However, it  continued to take responsibility for the registration, control and service of the debt it had placed. This means that the BNC would be the entity that would respond in the first place to the debt. That’s why CRF I also sued the Republic of Cuba. In the event that it wins, it can also claim from the Cuban State the satisfaction of the debt with its funds and assets.

3. Where does this debt come from?

The debt originated as a result of two loans that Cuba closed in 1984 with two European banks, the French Crédit Lyonnais and the Italian L’Instituto Bancario Italiano, with the BNC as guarantor. Three years later, then Cuban president Fidel Castro declared his country’s debt — and in general that of all the ex-colonies — “unpayable,” and the Island ceased to comply with its creditors.

The situation changed with the arrival of his brother Raúl Castro to the presidency in 2006, as he tried to reopen the door of international financial markets as part of the economic reforms he launched.

Cuba renegotiated its debt with the Paris Club (where the main creditor nations are located) in 2015 and again in 2021. As did Russia, which forgave Cuba much of the credits granted during the Soviet era and improved conditions again in 2022.

But Havana did not negotiate with the London Club (where private creditors are grouped). CFR I says that it contacted Cuba on several occasions to reach an agreement, but that in seven years it did not get a response. In February 2020, CFR I filed the complaint that led to this trial.

4. What have been the arguments of the plaintiff and the defendant?

Cuba has reiterated that CFR I is not a legitimate creditor. Its argument has three fundamental points:

– That the fund took over this debt illegally, bribing an employee of the BNC. About this, the former worker himself, convicted of bribery, has testified electronically from a prison on the Island.

– That the procedures for the acquisition of this debt were not complied with: the two relevant signatures were not obtained, nor was government authorization received.

– That CFR I is a “vulture fund” that only seeks litigation and does not act as a “responsible” creditor.

CFR I, which denies being a “vulture fund,” assures that it did not bribe any employee and has questioned the veracity of the testimony of official in prison, claiming that he could have been pressured by the Cuban government. CFR I also states that it acquired the debt correctly and is, therefore, a legitimate creditor.

5. What could be the consequences of the trial?

The court has to decide whether CFR I is a legitimate creditor and, more importantly, whether the court has jurisdiction over this issue.

On the first point, it could decide either way, and that would mainly affect CFR I and whether or not it could claim the debt.

But the fundamental thing, as Cuban-American lawyer Luis Carlos Battista explained to EFE, is whether the court “decides that there is jurisdiction,” because new lawsuits from other creditors could arrive. There are billions of dollars at stake.

They would claim the debt from Havana and even try to satisfy it with state assets abroad, where Cuba has a network of companies, including banks. Many of them belong to Gaesa, the business conglomerate of Cuba’s Ministry of Defense, which controls telecommunications, remittances, imports and tourism on the Island, among other sectors of the economy.

For this, another trial would be necessary, in which the creditors — on whom the burden of proof would fall — would have to ask the court to lift the corporate veil of Gaesa and its subsidiaries.

Translated by Regina Anavy 

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

A Brazilian Court Orders the Rehiring of the 1,789 Cuban Health Workers Who Were Dismissed

In the five years that the Mais Medicos program lasted in Brazil, Cuban health workers occupied 18,240 places. (Granma)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 31 January 2023 — The Federal Justice of Brazil authorized the reinstatement of 1,789 Cuban health workers from the controversial Mais Medicos [More Doctors] program, which was canceled in 2018 by then-President Jair Bolsonaro, who considered it a way of injecting money into the Island regime in exchange for doctors who, sometimes, lacked a specialty.

Rafael Matos Medina, with professional studies at the Medical University of Camagüey and currently residing in Espírito Santo (Brazil), told the local media Seculo Diario that the judicial decision was given 11 months after the group appealed to the Federal Court of Brasilia arguing that their contract was not renewed during the Médicos por Brasil [Doctors for Brazil] program, created during the Bolsonaro Government and which replaced Mais Medicos.

Represented by the National Association of Medical Professionals Graduates in Foreign Institutions and Exchange Students (Aspromed), health workers were informed last Friday that they were favored by the ruling of Judge Carlos Augusto Pires Brandão.

Translation: GOOD NEWS! Federal Court determines rehiring of Cubans from ’Mais Médicos’. TRF1 decision determines immediate rehiring of 1,789 doctors from the 20th class of the program, who left in 2018. — Helder Salomão (@heldersalomao) January 28, 2023

“The failure of the legitimate expectation of these doctors is evident. Most of them have already formed families on Brazilian soil,” Pires Brandão said. “They rescheduled their lives according to the expectations formed from these hirings, and it seems fair to recognize that they now intend to remain in Brazil,” the judge concluded.

Although it is not specified, these doctors are part of the 2,000 Cubans who decided not to return to the Island after the cancellation of the program created in 2013 by then-President Dilma Rousseff with the aim of attracting professionals to rural areas that suffered from a lack of medical assistance.

In the first week of January, Brazil announced its intention to resume Mais Medicos, without confirming Cuba’s participation. The Secretary of Primary Care of the Ministry of Health, Nésio Fernandes, reiterated on January 26 that priority will be given to Brazilian professionals.

According to the new scheme, the first stage would be the hiring of doctors registered in Brazil or foreigners with an approved revalidation exam. In the second stage, Brazilians trained abroad without revalidation would be hired. The third stage, if there is a quota, with foreigners without the Revalida, which is the validation exam of the degrees issued by a foreign higher education institution.

The redesign of Mais Medicos promoted by the Government of Lula da Silva does not convince the doctors. The president of the Federal Council of Medicine José Hiran Gallo warned that there would be “front-line assistance in large capitals and second-line assistance in small towns in the interior or on the periphery of large settlements, where there may be people without recognized training,” published the newspaper Estado de Minas.

In 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics and Information revealed that with Mais Medicos the Government of the Island pocketed 6.4 billion dollars for the sale of health services. Cuba kept 75% of the $3,300 of the monthly salary of professionals, a common practice that has been described by different international organizations as a form of modern slavery.

In five years of the program, Cuban health workers filled 18,240 positions, and treated 113.3 million Brazilian patients, according to official data.

Translated by Regina Anavy 

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Cuban Regime’s Defense Begins its Final Arguments Against the CRF Investment Fund

The trial between CRF and Cuba ends this Thursday with the reply to the allegations. (Judicial Office, UK)

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, London, 1 February 2023 — The National Bank of Cuba (BNC) and the Republic of Cuba have begun their final arguments this Wednesday in the trial in London against the CRF investment fund to settle the ownership of the 72 million euro sovereign debt that it claims.

Attorney Alison Macdonald has refuted one by one the legal arguments raised since January 23 by CRF, which this afternoon will do the same with the Cuban position, before both have the right to reply on Thursday.

Macdonald reiterated that the transfer to the fund of the contractual rights to that debt which, until then, was managed by the ICBC Standard Bank, was “defective.” It was authorized on November 25, 2019 by former BNC director of operations Raúl Olivera Lozano, who has testified that he himself failed to comply with the procedures.

The lawyer asked Judge Sara Cockerill of the commercial division of the London High Court to “reject” CRF’s allegation that Olivera’s 13-year sentence in May 2021 was “a farce” for allegedly accepting a bribe of Jeetkumar Gordhandas, a consultant to the investment group registered in 2009 in the Cayman Islands.

“There is no evidence, much less admissible evidence in this trial, that supports the allegation that the Cuban sentence and the investigation processes and the trial that led to it proceeded on the basis of false or invented evidence,” Macdonald said. continue reading

The lawyer added that “there is no evidence” to “challenge the honesty” of the Cuban authorities who, after receiving another request from CRF in November 2020, expressly denied the reassignment of the debt, considering that it was a “vulture fund” focused on claiming its payment through the court.

Her colleague Anton Dudnikov then questioned “the experience” and rigor of the testimony offered to CRF by the Spanish-based Cuban lawyer Hossana Rodríguez Calvo, who did not hide “her feelings against the Cuban regime,” and pointed out that his own legal expert, Juan Mendoza, was more reliable.

The Cuban Minister of Justice, Oscar Silvera, arrived in the United Kingdom on Tuesday to witness the last sessions of the trial. “I’m in London. I will participate in the final days of the hearing at the High Court of England. We defend the truth: Banco Nacional and Cuba confirm that CRF has not been and is not its creditor,” he wrote on Twitter.

The parties are expected to conclude their arguments on Thursday, when the magistrate will indicate the approximate date on which she could pronounce her ruling, which may take weeks.

Once it is known, the parties can appeal, so the process could be extended in time.

Translated by Regina Anavy

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

‘On-Line Tool’ is Launched to Send Complaints of All Kinds from Cuba

The Human Rights group will first submit the complaint to verification, the details of which have not been provided. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 31 January 2023 — The  Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH), based in Madrid, has launched a new online tool to denounce any violation committed by the authorities against citizens. The alert, channeled through a web page, can be sent through a WhatsApp message, by filling out a form or a Word document.

The organization admits complaints from very different fields, from the police or judicial, including unjustified fines, arrests, threats or persecution, through labor rights — expulsions, unpaid wages, sanctions or disciplinary measures — and lack of social protection. This last section includes lack of supplies, housing in poor condition or medical and pharmacological neglect.

The objective is to be able to document and account for all kinds of problems that affect citizens, although for this the complaint will first be subjected to verification, the details of which have not been provided.

This is the second mechanism of this type that the OCDH has activated, after the launch of  Digno Trabajo [Decent Work]  last year, in alliance with the Independent Trade Union Association of Cuba (Asic). On that occasion, the tool consisted of a Telegram robot (bot) capable of answering labor-related questions, as well as reporting cases of abuse in the workplace.

Digno Trabajo allows “asking and receiving information”, “reporting” or “contacting” and, according to the observatory, claims are dealt with “directly and personally” to report the “circumstances or situation” of the workplace of the interested party. continue reading

In its last annual report, from 2022, the OCDH recalled that the social indicators have deteriorated even more with the crisis that is affecting the Island and that it has caused an extreme shortage of food, the prices of which have also risen by around a 40% in the official market. At least 72% of the population lives below the poverty line and 8 out of 10 Cubans have problems getting medications.

Access to basic supplies, especially electricity, has also worsened, with cuts for at least six months that have exceeded 16 hours.

Throughout the year, more than 5,499 repressive actions were verified, at least 1,447 detentions of activists, opponents or relatives of prisoners in their homes and at least 1,354 arbitrary detentions, of which 832 corresponded to women.

In addition, throughout 2022 trials have been held against 11J (11 July 2021) protesters, some of whom have resulted in prison sentences of more than 25 years for crimes of sedition, which have been rejected by lawyers from around the world and human rights associations.

The repressive pattern that has most characterized the year has been the forced exile of a multitude of opponents of the regime, intellectuals and journalists, while the population has emigrated massively; the population lost in the last year is estimated to be close to a quarter of a million people.

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Poet and Official Loyal to the Cuban Regime, Teresa Melo Dies at the Age of 61

Teresa Melo worked at Editorial Oriente during the last days of her life. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 31 January 2023 — Cuban writer and editor Teresa Melo, 61, died this Monday in Santiago de Cuba of a heart attack, as confirmed by 14ymedio with sources close to the poet.

The announcement of her death in Cubadebate was accompanied by a brief biographical note where she is described as “one of the primordial lyrical voices of the eighties.” Melo was born on October 21, 1961 in Santiago de Cuba and studied Philosophy at the University of Havana.

Melo was among the first signatories of the declaration of unconditional support for the Cuban regime signed in December 2022 by national and foreign intellectuals allied with the Government of the Island.

She was the director of Ediciones Santiago, a member of the cultural associations of the regime and was part of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (Uneac). In addition, she published the poetry books El vino del error, El libro de Estefanía and Las altas horas.

She received several official awards, including Criticism, the Nicolás Guillén of Poetry and the Distinction for National Culture, from the Ministry of Culture of Cuba. She directed the magazine Cúpulas, of the Instituto Superior de Arte, and collaborated with the publications La Jiribilla, El Caimán Barbudo and Sic. continue reading

As an official, she served as director of the Provincial Center for the Book and Literature in Santiago de Cuba and coordinated the Poets of the Caribbean Festival. In addition, she was invited to join several literary award  juries.

The official press also stressed Melo’s loyalty to the regime and her “unwavering vocation to serve her Revolution.” During the last days of her life she worked at Editorial Oriente.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel dedicated a tweet to the death of Melo, whom he called “our friend” and “an impeccable woman.” The same was done by Alpidio Alonso, Minister of Culture, who said that “her honest word was always ready to defend the culture and the Revolution.”

Melo published articles of absolute fidelity to the Government in the official newspaper Granma and other newspapers of the regime. Two months before the outbreak of the protests on July 11, 2021, she wrote that Cuban opponents were leading an “individual and predatory search.” She criticized the proposals of intellectuals and artists opposed to the regime and stated, unequivocally, that she did not believe in “their demands” or in “vulgar protests.”

Melo’s wake will continue until noon on Tuesday at the Casa del Caribe, in Santiago de Cuba.

“Teresa was much more than just a friend in those difficult years of the early nineties, when the little room where she and Sigfredo [Ariel] lived in the America building was so often a refuge for so many,” Cuban writer Odette Alonso, based in Mexico, wrote on Facebook when she learned of Melo’s death. “At that time, my poetry engaged a lot with theirs, with that of other generations. Then we distanced ourselves, for the political reasons that everyone knows.”

Translated by Regina Anavy 

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Faced With the Rise in Shoe Prices, Cubans ‘Resolve’ With the Cobblers

Cobblers usually work with directly with the customer For them, it is a guarantee of quality and that they do not cheat with the material. (Giron)

14ymedio bigger

14ymedio, Havana, 3 February 2023 — The walls of the workshop are eaten away by humidity. A tube giving off a cold light illuminates the work table, but it is not enough. Three men, hunched over soles and laces, try not to interrupt their work while the official press questions them. They are cobblers from Matanzas, they wrack their brains trying to find the materials and life becomes increasingly difficult for them, but the report that Girón dedicated to them this Thursday prefers to silence those “trifles.”

“Before the revolutionary triumph, the cobbler shoemaker was a poor trade. The present shows the opposite,” the newspaper asserted triumphantly. The few times that the text gives a voice, directly, to the workers of the workshop –located on Manzaneda street, between Milanés and Contrera – their concern for a future, due to the lack of spare parts, comes to light; they do not know whether their craft will survive.

Behind the scenes that the newspaper of the Communist Party in Matanzas describes, the shoemakers tell their true story: “Many people think that we get rich, and it is not true. The materials are expensive, in addition to the cost of daily life in these times,” says Alexis, almost at the end of the article. He is one of the members of the workshop together with the brothers Saidel and Laureano.

The conditions of the Manzaneda premises are, judging by the images published in the newspaper itself, extremely precarious. The furniture is rickety, paint chips are falling on the floor, the electricity depends on wires jerry-rigged several times, and the appliances are outdated and in need of maintenance.

Girón attributes a “fantastic” utility to cobblers, but does not refer to the contrast between the salary of Cubans and the impossibility of accessing new, quality footwear. The reason that the repair is increasingly popular lies in the “constant rise in prices” that individuals face in acquiring new shoes. continue reading

A pair of tennis shoes – the quintessential Cuban footwear – can currently cost up to 5,000 pesos, if it is an imitation. An adornment or a better appearance of the shoe increases the price up to 6,000. But if it is a brand name, the figure shoots up to 25,000 pesos. As for the repairers, a simple job – gluing a sole, for example – costs around 200 pesos.

“We do not abuse, the price is adequate,” insists Alexis, who works, as the newspaper admits, in a “semi-dark” room. Most of the cobblers learned their trade in orthopedic shoe shops. There they trained to make a type of footwear that meets the requirements of people with disabilities, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health.

However, as Laureano laments, they had to give up that work and start working on the “common” patch, as he calls it. Now as leasers and “with the resources that come to hand,” at least the profit goes to their pockets and not to the State.

The Manzaneda private workshop began with the repair of orthopedics, but the materials soon ran out. “That specialty is nothing like that of the common shoe, without diminishing the importance of the latter, which we must also repair with rigor and quality,” they say. However, for six months they have earned more money dedicating themselves to regular footwear.

Cobblers usually work directly with the customer. For them, it is a guarantee of quality and that they do not cheat with the material. Often, they say, even that is not enough. “The client is not always satisfied. Sometimes they return, they complain that the work did not turn out as they wanted. From dissatisfaction they go to discomfort,” they lament. Then there is no other option than to return the money.

With the absolute poverty of the Island, there has been an uptick in requests at the workshop. Nobody can afford to buy new shoes and they come to do the third or fourth repair on pairs that have been used for many years. “Dozens and dozens of people request our knowledge so that their shoes extend their useful life, despite the fact that it is difficult to obtain materials to do so,” they say, while the newspaper points out the culprit: the “galloping world crisis.”

The Manzaneda workshop could not be more different from the efficient private shoe stores of Villa Clara, where the Cuban government has given the go-ahead to a series of “new rich” dedicated to footwear. Large warehouses, security cameras and no supply obstacles characterize the Camajuaní workshops, the mecca of Cuban footwear.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel himself, in addition to various ministers and officials of the leadership, have given their blessing to the businessmen affiliated with the Cuban Fund for Cultural Assets. A network of exchanges that extends from Villa Clara to Havana, and from there to Mexico and the United States, has the approval of inspectors and members of the Party.

These shoemakers, very different from the cobblers of Matanzas, also appear in the newspaper. They are the champions of the “entrepreneurship” that washes the face of the regime and they invoice in dollars and MLC (freely convertible currency), in amounts that the workers of the Manzaneda workshop can only dream of.

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

In a Havana Post Office, Money From Retirees’ Pensions is Stolen

Post office located at Calle Tejar and 14, in Lawton, in the municipality of Diez de Octubre, Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger

14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 3 February 2023 — The thief who broke into the Post Office at Tejar and 14 streets, in the Havana neighborhood of Lawton, calculated every aspect of the robbery well this Monday morning. The money for the meager pensions of retirees in the area had just arrived, as had a few stamps for paperwork. In addition, the place has very little surveillance, it is in a secluded neighborhood and at night no one dares to go outside.

“They took everything: the money, the stamps and even the telephone,” the only employee in the office explained on Tuesday to two elderly people who came to request their pensions. Given the fact, denounced by some relatives on social networks, the worker can do nothing. She asks those who come to buy the stamps required to file different types of official paperwork to go to another office – the one in Porvenir, also in Lawton – but the elderly will remain, for the moment, without cashing their checks.

“Here everyone lives ‘indoors’,” one of the elderly residents explains to this newspaper, frustrated, as he leaves the post office. “During the day, this looks like a ghost town, like in the country.”

For several days, they say, they tried to call the office to find out if their payment was ready. “We called many times and it was out of service,” they recount. “Then, upon arrival, they explained to us that the thief had also taken the phone.” continue reading

The office is one of the ugliest and most precarious buildings in Lawton. Stains of lime and dirt cover the walls, two public telephones that nobody uses preside over the entrance and, inside, there are cardboard tables, murals full of slogans and portraits of Fidel Castro, and a small counter to serve customers.

“Everyone here lives ‘indoors’”, explains one of the elders to this newspaper. “During the day, this looks like a ghost town, like in the countryside.” (14ymedio)

“In the morning the people of Trasval were here,” says another old man, alluding to the company in charge of transferring and supplying cash in stores, offices and banks. “They let the employee know that so far no measure has been taken, nor will there be money until further notice. We are left without the pension for the month,” he laments.

The authorities have not reported anything about the investigation of the case. The little that is known is what the worker has told the clients, as a justification for not being able to provide any service. The official silence has sparked speculation among the people: some accuse the custodian of the premises, others the employee herself, and many agree that it is a crime with the collaboration of someone who had the keys to the office.

“No one forced the door,” says an old man. “The lock is intact and no one has changed it recently either.” “It’s self-robbery,” says the other, settling the issue. He calculates that, in addition to the pension money, the thief will sell the stamps at a good price. A five-peso stamp can exceed the cost of 600 pesos on the black market.

The stamp deficit is one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome for those who have planned a trip or want to complete a procedure that requires an official stamp, however simple it may be. The sale of stamps, at a time of maximum migratory effervescence, has become one of the most lucrative businesses in Cuba’s informal trade.

As for pensions, which the Cuban government itself has described as insufficient for the cost of living on the island, they are subject to numerous collection requirements that prevent retirees and social assistance beneficiaries from going to another office to collect their checks.

Affiliation to a Cuban Post Office, like the one that was just robbed in Lawton, is one of the essential requirements to return home with retirement money.

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

With Reservoirs at a Low, Las Tunas is One of the Cuban Provinces Most Affected by the Drought

The outlook for the coming months is not encouraging for the families of Las Tunas, especially due to evaporation in the dams, warns the official press. (Periódico 26)

14ymedio bigger

14ymedio, Havana, 3 February 2023– The drought in the province of Las Tunas, which last year caused the deaths of 4,400 head of cattle, will not let up in 2023, with the reservoirs now at a third of their capacity.

The latest bulletin from the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INRH) reports that the 23 reservoirs under its administration in this eastern province accumulate 106 million cubic meters of water, equivalent to 30% of the filling capacity. These results indicate the “obligation to prioritize this natural resource fundamentally for the consumption of the population,” adds the official newspaper, Periódico 26, which quotes the report.

The low accumulation of water is mainly due to a drastic reduction in rainfall, which at the end of January barely reached 6.8 millimeters (mm), well below the historical average for that month, of 30.3 mm. The outlook for the coming months is not seen as encouraging for the families of Las Tunas, especially due to evaporation in the dams and a greater demand due to the increase in temperatures, at least until winter begins between May and October, warns the provincial newspaper.

The drought was one of the factors that prevented the development of the agricultural sector in 2022 and led to the death of cattle due to “mismanagement and insufficient availability of water and food,” Manuel Pérez Gallego, a member of the Central Committee, and first secretary of the Communist Party in Las Tunas, said at the beginning of January. continue reading

The municipalities most affected by the shortage of water reserves are Jobabo, with barely 8% in storage, as well as Puerto Padre with 12%, Jesús Menéndez with 18%, Colombia with 32%, Las Tunas 33%, Manatí 42%. and Majibacoa 59%, while Amancio has the least alarming figure, with 74%.

Periódico 26 pointed out that the insufficient amount of water has forced the toughening of the “saving” measures in consumption. One of the most rigorous was applied to the Juan Sáez dam, the one with the largest storage capacity, which had to restrict the supply for customers in the sugar and agricultural sectors.

Similarly, the supply has been limited in the regions of Jobabito, Bartle and Bejuco, and also those of the main municipality of the province, whose homes will be served through pipes on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The newspaper also asks the population to take “extreme measures” in the consumption at homes, schools and workplaces.

Cuba suffers more and more prolonged and continuous droughts, a phenomenon that last year left consequences in the production of the province of Villa Clara, where, according to the official press, about 22,000 cows also died due to lack of water, food and medicine.

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuban Government Opponents Were Imprisoned When They Planned a Meeting with US Officials

Benjamin G. Ziff took over this summer as head of the US embassy in Havana. (Kyiv Post)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 1 February 2023 — The US charge d’affaires in Havana, Benjamin Ziff, recounted in an interview with the Associated Press that talking about human rights with the Cuban authorities is very complicated and that there have been arrests of opponents with whom his embassy wanted to meet, although he declined to give names.

“It is our number one priority, to ensure that the Cuban population can have a future without repression and with economic hope,” Ziff alleges, however he is very clear when it comes to putting the fate of Cuba in the hands of its own citizens.

“The change in Cuba comes from Cuba, from the Cubans, it does not depend on anyone else. The United States can support, help, encourage, advocate, pressure, everything, but basically the future of Cuba depends on the Cubans,” he says.

A few days have passed since the visit to the Island of two members of the Delaware state government who, from Havana, asked President Biden to return to a thaw like that of 2014. “The hope is that eventually we can return to where we were in the Obama times,” said Democrat Michael Scuse. Ziff, however, sets out why “it’s hard to go back,” as he puts it.

“The world has changed since Obama’s time and now we have to deal with the world of today,” he says. The senior official indicates that the Biden Administration is taking measures in areas that he considers can improve the lives of families, but confesses there are tensions with the regime. continue reading

“The relationship with the United States for historical reasons, political reasons, human rights reasons, is difficult,” says the diplomat, who defines it as correct and pragmatic.

During the Obama administration, the embassies in Washington and Havana were reopened, travel from the US to the island was authorized in various categories, as well as commercial flights between the two countries and direct money transfers. In addition, some measures were taken that stimulated commercial exchange or, at least, its expectations.

However, the arrival of Donald Trump to the presidency reversed the situation: flights were halted, the provision of consular services was reduced to a minimum, remittances were prohibited and, most importantly, Cuba was once again included on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, from which it has not yet emerged despite the expectations created by the change of Administration in 2020, fueled by the fact that Joe Biden was Obama’s vice president.

Ziff touches on another of the core issues of diplomacy between the two countries: emigration, which has become a priority issue for the US, with more than 310,000 Cubans arriving in the United States in 2022. This represents the highest number in history, including the 1980 Mariel Boatlift, during which roughly 125,000 Cubans arrived.

“The lack of hope is what is driving the rate of irregular migration,” says Ziff, who confirms that the authorities still do not accept repatriations from Cuba but will do so “soon” if they fulfill their commitment.

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuba’s Artemisa Bacteriological Laboratory ‘Does Not Comply With Any Biosafety Standard’

The Artemisa Microbiology Laboratory does not have the necessary materials to carry out tests for infectious diseases. (El Artemiseño)

14ymedio bigger

14ymedio, Havana, 1 February 2023 — The deterioration of the facilities of the José Suárez Blanco Microbiology Laboratory, in Artemisa, Cuba, and the shortage of medical materials make it difficult to diagnose infectious diseases in the province. A publication of the official newspaper El Artemiseño presents a string of misfortunes since the creation of the center, which has not worked at its maximum capacity in almost five decades of operations.

The laboratory, for example, ran out of nasal swabs when it was most required, due to the increase in Covid-19 infections in 2020, recalled its director, Adilis Palacios Cristi. Although the shortage of cotton swabs affects the entire Cuban Public Health system, the official acknowledged that it is more serious in this center, because it is in charge of this type of test in the province.

This lack led it to concentrate it services on fertility, pregnancy and child exams. “For the rest of the population, we process urine cultures, fecal samples, and analyze water and food, acute diarrheal diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, sanitary surveillance, tuberculosis, and syphilis.”

The creation of the laboratory dates back to 1967, when it was a meeting place for doctors from Artemisa. That year it was declared a microbiology laboratory to deal with infectious diseases in the municipality, but its beginnings were marked by abandonment and the precariousness of supply.. In 2004, it had to close and was reopened four years later after completing repairs in the sterilization and scrubbing area. continue reading

“It did not meet any biosafety standard” due to the poor state of the infrastructure, acknowledged Dr. Yasmín Hernández Carpio, who was in charge of the institution for 19 years. Under her administration, the story continues, a proposal was presented to the municipal and provincial governments to improve the conditions of the property, but it was not approved because “the idea of ​​installing the provincial microbiology laboratory in Mariel and San Antonio de los Baños prevailed.”

Those plans did not prosper and currently the laboratory covers the municipalities of Artemisa, Caimito, Guanajay and Mariel, including the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM).

The Maintenance Company carried out partial repairs in the waterproofing of the roof and painting in 2019, but these were not enough to contain the leaks that affect the Tuberculosis Department and a hermetically closed room, which since 2013 has had a hole in the wall where the air conditioning was removed.

Carlos Milanés Segura, director of the Municipal Hygiene and Microbiology Unit, confirmed to the provincial newspaper that the works were not completed in 2019 due to the lack of waterproofing resin, and the tanks were not changed due to lack of pipes. The doctor added that, for this year, the management of materials and the repair of a turbine that has been damaged for years is already planned.

Humidity and lack of ventilation make disease analysis difficult. In addition, “there is no adequate flow diagram for the cultivation of molds and yeasts in the food area, despite having an incubator,” added Hernández Carpio.

Another factor that adds to the deficiencies of the laboratory is that the water stored in two tanks is not enough to install a still, so they must request support from the hemodialysis plant of the Ciro Redondo García hospital, located in the capital of the province.

Similarly, Pedro Sánchez Machado, head of the Microbiology section in Artemisa, complained that they are the only territory without a laboratory of this type. He added that thanks to the financial support of a French organization, whose name he did not reveal, this year they have the necessary money to purchase equipment for sanitary analysis of water and food, which will go to the Mariel bacteriological laboratory, which has a larger capacity, by decision of the Ministry of Public Health

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Signatures of 10,000 Cubans Sought for the Legal Right to “Assemble and Demonstrate”

Protest against the blackouts on Línea street, in El Vedado, Havana, last October. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger

14ymedio, Havana, 1 February 2023 — Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP) has responded in writing to the request of the Council for Democratic Transition in Cuba (CTDC) to include an assembly bill on this year’s legislative agenda that addressed the right to assemble and demonstrate. The response, however, is not encouraging and is limited to stalling.

A document made public this Wednesday by the Council itself, was signed on January 24 by Carmen Aguilar Martínez, the ANPP’s Director of Attention to the Population, and addressed to Julio Alfredo Ferrer Tamayo, a member of Cubalex, a legal NGO. In the document, Aguilar Martínez claims that Parliament  “received and analyzed the letter that you and eight other people” sent to the president of the legislature, on December 9, in which, in her words, “they offered a group of considerations related to the regulation of rights assembly and demonstration recognized in article 56 of the Constitution of the Republic.”

The ANPP says that “at first” the legislative schedule was planned to include “the elaboration of a law to develop these important rights,” but that “the very dynamics in the legislative activity have not made it possible to materialize it.”

The chamber highlights the petition received by opponents who “recognize the legislative work carried out by the National Assembly,” having approved “several regulatory provisions related to the rights and guarantees of people.” That would demonstrate, the text continues, “the interest in continuing to regulate aspects of this nature,” but, it warns, “when appropriate.”

Finally, they argue that the requirement to approve a demonstration and assembly law as soon as possible does not follow the proper procedure “for its materialization,” for which they suggest “get proper advice and direct your request as legally appropriate.” continue reading

In the statement that accompanies the letter from the Assembly, the Council for the Democratic Transition in Cuba notes that the petition made by nine citizens but “on behalf of another 500” was protected by Article 61 of the Constitution and referred to the “reinclusion” in the legislative schedule for the first quarter of 2023 of the draft “Law of Demonstration and Assembly,” which should regulate some of the rights included in article 56 of the Constitution.

The opposition platform regrets that the possibility of its discussion in the Assembly is postponed “to an indeterminate date” and anticipates that they will include within the “Cuba11J* Initiative” the collection of: “10,000 citizen signatures, protected by Article 164 Subparagraph k), to ensure that the debate and consequent approval of a Law be included in this year’s legislative schedule, we quoted ourselves, ‘that implements and develops the fundamental rights, endorsed by the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba in Article 56, to the meeting and demonstration for lawful and peaceful purposes.”

Cubans residing on the island who have signed or are going to sign any of the Council’s initiatives are asked to request the “certification accrediting their status as voters,” a requirement established by law for legislative initiatives promoted by citizens.

*Translator’s note: “11J” refers to 11 July 2021 and the nationwide demonstrations that occurred on that day.

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

‘Yo Si Te Creo’ Denounces Two New Femicides in Cuba

Independent observatories verified 34 gender-based killings in 2022. (Alas Tensas)

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Havana | 1 February 2021 — The independent feminist collective Yo Sí Te Creo [Yes I Believe You] in Cuba lamented, this Wednesday, a new femicide on the island and once again called for “effective mechanisms to prevent gender violence.”

In the absence of official statistics on sexist murders, the platform posted on Twitter that the case “is under police investigation, but the disappearance and characteristics of the attacks indicate femicide.”

The family of 36-year-old Yailanis Pérez reported her disappearance on January 28 in the province of Matanzas. The young woman’s body was found two days later, according the activists who, along with other organizations such as Alas Tensas, are the main source for accounting for these crimes.

This Wednesday the discovery of the body of Yoilén Acosta Torriente, an 18-year-old young woman who was reported missing on Sunday, January 29, was also confirmed. According to La Proa del Centro, the body was found in a cane field in the area known as Tumba Saco, in Cruces, Cienfuegos.

Four people have been detained for this crime, according to the media, for their alleged involvement, including two women and two men. However, the authorities have not confirmed or provided details about these two events. continue reading

Independent observatories verified 34 gender-based killings in 2022, 36 in 2021, and 32 in 2020.

“We reiterate our claim for effective mechanisms to prevent gender violence so as not to reach its extreme manifestation, which is irreparable,” said Yo Sí Te Creo in Cuba.

The activists also stressed the need for “early warnings of disappearances, which help to avoid these extreme violent outcomes.”

The new crimes occur at a time when there are several reports of disappeared women in Cuba, including minors. The activists are demanding a law against Gender Violence and criticize the Cuban government for not classifying femicide as a crime in the new Penal Code, which came into force last December, although it contemplates gender-based violence.

The most recent official statistics appear in the 2016 National Gender Equality Survey in which 10,698 women participated.

The survey showed that 26.7% of Cuban women between the ages of 15 and 74 have suffered some type of violence in their partner relationship in the 12 months prior to the study. Only 3.7% of the assaulted requested institutional help.

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.