Archive for the ‘Translator: Regina Anavy’ Category

Sticks, Iron Bars and Cables

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Through pious hands the Plan Against Disturbances to Order and Counterrevolutionary Riots, reached the bloggers and independent communicators. The plan was prepared by the Ministry of the Interior under the supervision of the Communist Central Committee, which distributed it to the addresses of Interior Ministry, police, firefighters, business and institutions, provincial and municipal governments and the military sector of each of the country’s territories.

The index of the document includes Objectives, Missions, Structure of the Forces, Armaments, and appendices with guidelines, an Action Model, to create Rapid Response Brigades in workplaces.

It attempts to enlarge and organize the repression, so that every police unit can respond in an organic manner to the supposed disturbances of order “provoked by counterrevolutionaries,” a phrase that embraces everything from critical opinions on a bus, in a workplace or a school, up to a meeting of several people on a corner, a “suspicious house” or a cultural institution.

The assignments list “observing the areas of possible disturbances of order, maintaining the organization of the Unit forces with improvised weapons, extinguishing fires and informing the higher command post.”

The structure of the Plan is divided into “organizing the workers at work, and if the situation requires it, alerting those off duty. Weapons which can be used are “sticks, iron bars and cables.” The Administrator of the center will be in charge and the workers will carry out the Plan.

The attached Appendices describe plans for the protection and defense of the Unit, for repelling altercations and disturbances, and for giving alerts; and it contains an Act of cooperation and the citation from the Constitution that creates the Rapid Response Brigades.

Although these plans describe concrete actions, it’s to see if the Administration, the Union and other internal factors in the community can act with the agility of military commandos that they give them assignments before possible subversive activities.

The fear and uncertainty of the political and military authorities are the essence of the Plan Against Disturbances to Order and Counterrevolutionary Riots. The intent to convert the workers and employees into an armed parapolice force with sticks, iron bars and cables shows how desperate they are to keep power at all costs.

Perhaps these measures are effective in military centers, like police stations, firehouses and military schools. Perhaps people in the mass organizations serving the Party or the Communist Youth agree to beat others for a price upon the denunciations of old informers and delinquents, themselves blackmailed by the heads of the police sectors.

Whoever has just elaborated and distributed the new repressive plan to convert the workers into hit men of the citizens is forgetting the discredit of the official discourse, the economic crisis that is crossing the island and the absence of the revolutionary fervor that favored the executions and the political impunity during the decades of the 70’s and the 70’s of the past century.

The attempt to convert injustice into justice by using violence is a call to insanity. Let’s hope it’s the last.

Translated by Anonymous and Regina Anavy

The Year of Mathematics

December 4, 2009 Leave a comment


With the closure of the Eleventh National Congress of Mathematics and Computer Science, held in Havana between November 18 and 20, came the end of the Year of Mathematics in Cuba, launched on October 31, 2008 to promote activities that attract people to this science, improve  enrollment and prepare young people to pursue this career in higher education.

The theoretical debates and educational issues affecting teacher recruitment of future mathematicians were at the center of the analysis, according to Dr. Luis Ramiro Piñeiro Díaz, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics, University of Havana and President of the Cuban Society of Mathematics and Computer Science, who told reporters of the need to elevate the image of the mathematician, encourage teachers and researchers and disseminate the importance of math among parents, children and adolescents.

According to the Dean, “Math makes things happier; you need it everywhere; it helps you do accounting, and calculates the speed of vehicles when crossing the street. Advanced math helps show real patterns; polls are an example.  If there is no math there can be no biotechnology. The best vaccine requires a statistical study of its effectiveness. ”

The academic pointed out that the Year of Mathematics included the Course on Numbers and figures in history, taught in an enjoyable way by the University television program for everyone, as well as work in upper secondary education to enhance the students’ approach to mathematics and other exact sciences like Physics, Chemistry and Biology, affected by the low number of graduates in the country’s higher centers of learning.

In order to reverse the situation, the Minister of Higher Education offered the eleventh-grade students the possibility to take entrance tests in these disciplines. Those selected are now completing their twelfth year in the universities, where they will be on the same track as those in the Pre-University Institutes for the Exact Sciences, in addition to having vocational orientation and taking laboratory classes.

The low number of graduates is palpable even in the faculties of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology at the University of Havana, where 10 or 15 were graduating every year. Actually, 125 students from the western provinces of the Isle of Youth are in the twelfth grade in the higher center of studies. Twenty-two of them graduated in Physics, 25 in Math, 28 in Chemistry, 30 in Biology and 20 in Physical Engineering.

To regain ground and show that the sciences are attractive, other preparation and instruction methods are being used that avoid the stigma of difficult subject matter. “It’s a question of learning to think and developing the capacity for analysis,” affirmed Luis R. Piñeiro, who added that in order to increase the number of alumni, the entrance system has been changed, and more rigorous requirements have been imposed that guarantee a vocation for future mathematicians.

The Year of Mathematics ended with the award of the prize “For Mathematics Education,” that brought together children and young people to express this science through drawings, poems and stories. In addition, they awarded the Pablo Miguel national prize (for outstanding research) and the Raimundo Reguera prize to professors with long-standing experience.

Translated by Regina Anavy