Things That Matter

Here’s How Some People Tried To Show The Reality Of Cubans During Cuban Independence Day

@CommBovo / Twitter / Pedro Szekely / Flickr

Cuban Independence Day was May 20 and people were definitely celebrating the day that Cuba declared their independence from Spain. However, while people danced, drank, and partied in the name of Cuba, others questioned the significance of the day considering the government of the island nation is still Communist.

May 20th was Cuban Independence Day and, of course, there were several celebrations.


The Cuban Revolution was in full force in the 1890s when Cuban nationals started to fight back against the Spanish rule. By 1895, the Spanish government sent 100,000 soldiers to Cuba to squash the revolution. Yet, the post-Civil War United States decided to get involved in a fight on behalf of the Cuban people and Cuban independence. The United States did take control over Cuba after the war with Spain’s rule in Cuba was over in 1898 and by May 20, 1902, the Republic of Cuba was born.

Cuba earned its independence from Spain in 1898 following a 5-year war. The United states stepped in during the war to help free Cuba from Spain’s hold on the island nation and the U.S. maintained their control of the island until 1902 when Cuba became a self-governed republic.

There were small memorializing services like the rededication of 22nd Ave. in Miami to Generalísimo Máximo Gomez Ave.


Generalísimo Máximo Gomez fought in two wars in Cuba. He first fought in the Ten Years’ War and then joined in the fight for the revolution and independence of Cuba later.

People even reacted to Trump’s Cuban Independence Day statement.


“Today, we remember patriots like José Martí, who devoted himself to making Cuba an economically competitive and politically autonomous nation,” reads Trump’s statement. “He reminds us that cruel despotism cannot extinguish the flame of freedom in the hearts of Cubans, and that unjust persecution cannot tamper Cubans’ dreams for their children to live free from oppression. The Cuban people deserve a government that peacefully upholds democratic values, economic liberties, religious freedoms, and human rights, and my Administration is committed to achieving that vision.”

But the celebrations on social media were paralleled with the reality of what Cuban people face.


Despite the U.S. attempting to normalize ties with Cuba, Cuba continues to be a Communist country with Raúl Castro, Fidel Castro’s brother, still calling the shots. Raúl is currently the president, the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, and he is the head of the Cuban military.

Many people echoed this sentiment of wanting true freedom and democracy for the Cuban people including Esteban Bovo, the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners for Miami-Dade County.


Ana Navarro tweeted on the day to remind everyone that even though U.S. policy toward Cuba is changing, it is still a country ran by a regime that oppresses human rights.


The Human Rights Watch reports that the beatings, public shaming, and the firing of all those who dissent and question the government publicly have increased since the U.S. began softening their stance. The Human Rights Watch reports that the Cuban government still relies on arbitrary arrests of political opponents, critics of the government, and independent journalists. An example The Human Rights Watch points to is the arrest of about 300 political dissidents in advance of President Obama’s visit in March 2016.

While no one tried to say not to celebrate Cuban Independence Day, they did ask that those celebrating think about what is left to make Cuba the democracy Cubans and Cuban-Americans crave.


In the words of Pitbull from his “Fate Of The Furious” single “Hey Ma” featuring J Balvin and fellow Cuban Camila Cabello: “Pa’lante con la libertad de Cuba/Y que la isla entera suba.” (“Forward with the liberty of Cuba/And that the whole island rises up.”)


READ: Gay Activists Met In Havana To Talk Cuban LGBTQ Rights

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The Fourth Of July Parade Was Drenched In Rain And Everyone Was Worried About Trump’s Hair

Things That Matter

The Fourth Of July Parade Was Drenched In Rain And Everyone Was Worried About Trump’s Hair

CSPAN

Donald Trump came under fire for politicizing the US Independence Day celebrations, after ordering a large military parade through the nation’s capital city and delivering a speech of his own at the Lincoln Memorial. The US president has toyed with the idea of a grand show of arms since observing the 2017 Bastille Day celebration in Paris.

Trump’s demand to include tanks and military jets in the July 4 festivities this year breaks with tradition in Washington, where hundreds of thousands of people typically gather for a night of patriotic songs and fireworks broadcast on national television.

Despite the controversy, Trump went forward with his military-style 4th of July celebration.

Credit: @newsweek / Twitter

On a rainy Independence Day at the Lincoln Memorial, Donald Trump emceed his “Salute to America.” As promised, his speech largely eschewed politics, and instead found the president, positioned behind rain-streaked panels of bulletproof glass, sharing tales from the nation’s military history, highlighting accomplished Americans, and presiding over a display of weapons of war.

“We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag—the brave men and women of the United States Military,” said the president near the opening of his remarks. He thanked the leaders of the “Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines—and very soon the Space Force.”

And although he stayed out of politics, Trump still managed to make the event one we won’t soon forget.

During his remarks, Trump also told the stories of notable Americans in attendance, including a man who participated in civil rights sit-ins during the 1960s, and an Army veteran Catholic nun who served as a first responder at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks.

Though supporters packed the mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial, early reports of a scramble to secure VIP attendees were further confirmed by The New York Times. The paper reported that though Trump requested the attendance of all of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, most were “on leave or travel” and did not make an appearance.

His administration has also kept secret the costs of this giant military 4th of July Celebration.

The Trump administration has been silent on the question of how much the display cost taxpayers, but The Washington Post reported that to fund the event, the National Park Service redirected close to $2.5 million for the ceremony. During the event, 24 military aircraft performed flyovers, at a cost the Post calculated to be at least $560,000 per hour. And according to The New York Times, the ceremony cost the Pentagon more than $1 million.

I mean it was so controversial that even the Russian news media came for Trump and his parade.

Credit: @JuliaDavisNews / Twitter

You know things are bad for Trump when his biggest foreign fans are knocking his performance.

But perhaps the biggest news from the event was that we found out that there were airports during the Revolutionary War.

Credit: @Vets4EU / Twitter

Trump also made a major historical blunder. In a portion of his speech that addressed the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, Trump said that “our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do.”

Trump’s gaffe made for some pretty great memes across social media.

Credit: @Mike63194845 / Twitter

But during those wars, of course, the invention of air travel was still decades away—and Trump’s gaffe spawned delighted mockery on social media.

Other’s imagined the possibility of what Trump’s hair might actually look like if it were to get wet…

Credit: @larsmcmurty / Twitter

I don’t think Trump has that much hair but still..you get the point.

Trump also drew fire for a comment he made urging young Americans to join the military.

It seems pretty ironic for a man who complained about ‘bone spurs’ in his feet to skip military service during the Vietnam War to be asking young men and women to risk their lives.

READ: For This Year’s July 4th Consider Volunteering Your Time With Organizations Meant To Help Migrants And Dreamers

Some People Don’t Believe The Cuban Government Is Being Honest About The Number Of People Living To 100

Culture

Some People Don’t Believe The Cuban Government Is Being Honest About The Number Of People Living To 100

Alexander Kunze / Unsplash

Longevity is both the question and the answer to experts seeking to understand communities that live longer than average. In the U.S., wealth is often more correlated to health, with greater access to both healthcare and self-care. Cuba, however, is not a wealthy country. With the average monthly income being publicly listed as $30 per month, experts are puzzled as to why there are 2,070 Cubans living over 100 years old on the island.

Like many other communities of centenarians, experts suspect a strong family system is a key to a long life. Other experts suspect Cuba is lying.

The data on thousands of people living to 100 is released by Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health.

@AFP / Twitter

The data itself is based on the first quarter of 2017, which showed that more than 1,200 of the centenarians were women. According to the communist nation, 19.8 percent of its people are 60 years and older.

“Centennials now represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the population, with very special socioeconomic and health implications,” Dr. Alberto Fernández Seco, director of the Ministry’s Department of the Older Adult, Social Assistance and Mental Health told Juventud Rebelde.

Dr. Fernández Seco credits Cuba’s free healthcare for the success of its citizens.

“Health care is free in Cuba, a country with has an average life expectancy of 79.5 years. Photo: AFP” Digital Image. AFP. 2 July 2019.

What’s more is that Dr. Fernández Seco says the population isn’t demented, disabled or heavily dependent. The majority of those 100 years and older live with their family.

Rigoberta Santovenia, 102, credits her family for her ripe age.

“Rigoberta Santovenia, 102, at her home in Havana. Photo: AFP” Digital Image. AFP. 2 July 2019.

She lives with her 68-year-old daughter, Regla, who takes care of her. “I’m very family oriented — I love my children, my grandchildren, my six great-grandchildren. I’ve never been alone,” she said.

Regla is convinced her mom will make it to the “120 Club.”

“Rigoberta Santovenia, 102, reads a newspaper at her house in Havana. Photo: AFP” Digital Image. AFP. 2 July 2019.

In 2003, Fidel Castro’s personal doctor, Eugenio Selman-Housein, created the “120 Club,” which is promoted to this day. Dr. Raul Rodriguez, President of the “120 Club” maintains that “biologically, it has been proven that humans can live for 120 to 125 years.”

Regla thinks her mother was born to live to 120 years old. “Her great-grandmother was a slave. Slave blood seems to be stronger — that’s why she’s kept going so long,” Regla said. Rigoberta continues to read the newspaper every day without reading glasses.

Delia Barrios, 102, also says that it’s her family that keeps her going.

“Delia Barroso, 102, blows out the candles on her birthday cake at a party in Havana. Photo: AFP” Digital Image. AFP. 2 July 2019.

“I don’t feel like I’m this old. I have a family … that loves me a lot. That helps me to feel good,” she said. Barrios uses a motorized wheelchair–one that her great-granddaughter Patricia likes to join for the ride.

When Barrios was 60 years old, she was diagnosed with colon cancer and moved to the U.S.

“Delia Barroso (left) receives a present at her 102nd birthday party in Havana. Photo: AFP” Digital Image. AFP. 2 July 2019.

Twenty years later, she moved back to Cuba so she could be cared for by family. She lives with her granddaughter, Yumi, 59. Barrios says she spent her youth dancing, drinking, and smoking.

Plus, like most of our abuelas, she’s still dressed for success.

@newsroll / Twitter

For Cubans, reaching 100 isn’t the goal. They want to join the “120 Club,” and to live as you’ve still got two decades ahead of you, once you’ve reached 100 years old, certainly offers motivation.

Some experts, however, think Cuba is smudging the numbers for propaganda’s sake.

@EmbassyofRussia / Twitter

Robert Young, an expert with the U.S. Gerontology Research Group, does acknowledge the family support system as a significant factor. “We see that in Japan, too,” he says. On the other hand, he thinks the numbers are meant to propel “a myth that’s used for ideologic propaganda purposes.”

The methods of manipulation are shocking.

@AFP / Twitter

An expert on the matter for Cuba, specifically, Vincent Geloso, says that Cuban doctors “have targets to reach or they’re punished.” Geloso references a similar government’s strategy–the Soviet Union used to record infant deaths as miscarriages to keep down mortality rates.

Regardless, Cuba’s life expectancy relative to revenue is truly remarkable.

@ANTICONQUISTA / Twitter

It doesn’t add up to other countries. Experts have a range of theories ranging from the low rate of car ownership and resultant accident deaths to even the 1990’s food rationing that kept diabetes rates down while other countries’ skyrocketed.

Whatever the case may be, many feliz cumple’s a Cuba.

READ: A Brazilian Social Security Worker May Have Discovered the Oldest Living Person Ever

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