viernes, octubre 19, 2012

sábado, agosto 25, 2012

Malaysian students to study medicine in Havana

Four more M’sian students to study medicine in Havana under Cuban govt scholarship

Posted on August 25, 2012, Saturday

PETALING JAYA: Four Malaysian students will leave for Havana Cuba, on Sunday to study medicine under scholarships sponsored by the Cuban government.
Cuban Embasador to Malaysia, Ruben Valdes said they would join another 28 Malaysian students still studying at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana under the scholarship programme which was introduced six years ago.
“The course takes seven years to complete and the first batch of the Malaysian students are expected to graduate in 2014,” he told reporters after officiating the scholarship awards ceremony here yesterday.
Valdes said during the first year the students were required to master Spanish, the medium of instruction at the university.
On the value of scholarships, Valdes said it varied, but each students only paid for their flight to and from Cuba, while others costs including accomodation, books, equipment, tuition fees and allowances were included in the scholarships.
One of the recipients from the 2010 batch, Thanussha Francis Xavier, 21, from Taiping Perak, said she was thankful for the scholarship and hoped more deserving students would get their chance to pursue their dreams in education.
Thanusha, who is in her second year and scored 10 A’s in her SPM in 2008, described life in Cuba as different and the opportunity to study abroad had opened her eyes and appreciate Malaysia even more.
A new recipient, Vinodh Sethumadavan, 17 from Klang, who scored 9 A’s and 1 B in his SPM last year, said that he understood that he had to sacrifice seven years without being with his family but they were the reason why he had vowed to make a difference in his future. — Bernama

From the New Straits Times:

From The Star:
Headline: Heading for a Cuban adventure (This article is with a video clip)

jueves, agosto 23, 2012

Defense Attorney Discloses US Manipulation of Cuban Five case

HAVANA, Cuba, Aug 20 (ACN)  
The defense attorney of Gerardo Hernandez, one of the five anti-terrorist fighters held in the US since 1998, disclosed illegalities committed by the US administration during the 2001 Miami trial that gave the five Cubans unfair and extremely long sentences.

In a press conference via telephone, Attorney Martin Garbus revealed a long list of US-based journalists who were paid to launch a hostile campaign against the five defendants during the trial, PL news agency reported.
The denunciation is part of actions aimed at putting an end to the unfair incarceration of the five Cuban antiterrorists, based on Washington’s anti-constitutional behavior to have the men jailed.

The most severe sentence was given to Gerardo Hernandez who is meeting two life terms plus fifteen years.
Known as the Cuban Five, Hernandez and his compatriots, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Ramon Labanino, were in US territory monitoring the activities of Florida-based terrorist groups. They were arrested in 1998 and submitted to a biased Miami trial in 2001.

According to attorney Garbus, the US government paid journalists to flood the Miami community with propaganda through the local media against the Five, between 1998 and 2001. The paid journalists published their articles in outlets like El Nuevo Herald, The Miami Herald, Diario de Las Americas, Radio and TV Marti and WAQI Radio Mambi, among others, who played the role of paid and secret agents.

The El Nuevo Herald published 806 negative articles in just 194 days, while the Miami Herald posted another 305 similar works in the same period of time, said the attorney.

Garbus revealed a list of the paid journalists, which includes names such as Pablo Alfonso, Humberto Cortina, Julio Estorino, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Olance Nogueras, Enrique Encinosa, Ariel Remos, Luis Aguilar, Wilfredo Cancio, Helen Ferre, Caridad Roque, Enrique Patterson and Alberto Muller.

Some of the aforementioned have participated in violent actions and subversive activities against Cuba and have been linked to the CIA, like Humberto Cortina, who participated in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion; Alberto Muller, who was in charge of organizing armed gangs; Julio Estorino, Carlos Alberto Montaner and Enrique Encinosa, who were part of violent groups that acted against the island.

The payment offered by the US Government ranked between 3 000 to dozens of thousands of dollars, said the lawyer. But despite these elements, the Washington insists in hiding the proofs in an effort to prevent the disclosure of the names of all the paid reporters and the amount of money dedicated to the propaganda activity.
CubanFive/lcg/lcg/ 08-21-12

Revelan detalles de manipulación en EE.UU. de caso contra los Cinco

Cuban News Agency

miércoles, agosto 22, 2012

Fidel Castro: Time to reflect on his legacy

Fidel Castro: Time to remember his legacy
Sunday, August 12, 2012
By Marce Cameron

This isn’t an obituary. Every now and again those who hope and pray for his death spread yet another rumour, only to be disappointed by a photo or a commentary in that unmistakable style, confirming that Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro is very much alive and making the most of his twilight years.
When the inevitable does happen, the world, admirers and detractors alike, will pause for reflection. The corporate media will saturate our inner recesses with words and images that convey, for the most part, how the 1% appraise his life and legacy. Just imagine the gloating on Fox News.
I suspect it will be harder, and take longer, for those who admire Fidel and feel a sense of loss at his passing to be heard amid this din.
The hundreds of millions of the 99% for who Fidel has been an inspiration, and for those globally for who he has been something of a political compass, and a spiritual compass in the secular sense, will want to reflect and recommit to our shared vision of a better world.
Thus will begin a new battle of ideas, a concept promoted by Fidel. Between the extremes of hatred for the man and sycophantic adulation lies a broad field for critical, nuanced reflection in the framework of the struggle for socialism.
But why wait for the inevitable before doing this? Better to begin now, while Fidel is still here and before the corporate vultures descend on his tomb.
In Sydney, Cuba solidarity activists are organising a conference to discuss the role of Fidel Castro's ideas and example in the 21st century.
In this necessary, timely endeavour we are joined, first and foremost, by millions of Cubans committed to the continuity of Cuba’s socialist project, the stage from which Fidel has set out to change the world and, to a degree, succeeded.
Would a pregnant woman in a remote East Timorese village be seen by a doctor today if it were not for Cuban medical personnel and medical training?
How much longer might apartheid have dragged on in South Africa if Cuban blood had not been shed in the sands and jungles of Angola and Namibia? Would Venezuela’s Bolivarian socialist revolution even exist? According to Hugo Chavez, probably not.
In this sense, “Fidel” is something more than an individual. As the leader of the Cuban Revolution, he has become associated with certain ethical values, ideas and ideals; a cause and a devotion to that cause. These include adherence to principles but rejection of sectarianism and dogmatism in the struggle for a better, socialist world.
Fidel Castro's essential message is one of hope, that we can reverse the gradual descent of global capitalism into a 21st-century barbarism, besieged by ecological collapse, if we can only unleash the power of masses of ordinary people acting together with a shared vision and strategic compass. His example is that of solidarity in a selfish world.
It is asking what we can contribute and share rather than what we can plunder and hoard. It is worrying about the infant mortality rate in Western Sahara and the waves lapping at the doorsteps of Pacific islanders, and doing something about it.
It is internationalism: the rejection of subservient seclusion behind our white-picket fences and national borders decked out in razor wire.
Australia doesn’t have a revolutionary tradition like that of Cuba. After the European invasion and dispossession of its Indigenous people the continent developed as an outgrowth of British imperialism.
Relative prosperity for most, thanks to a combination of circumstance and struggle, has blunted radical urges and channelled them into the English gentleman’s game known as parliamentary reformism.
Waves of progressive radicalisation have ebbed and flowed, but none has yet succeeded in placing the country under new management, as did the Cuban Revolution under Fidel’s leadership.
The next one may just do that, opening the way to a very different kind of Australia. Call it socialism or call it whatever, it will have to bury capitalism.
Fidel's example is one of daring to dream of such a revolutionary transformation of our own society. And working patiently towards it in ways that are meaningful to each of us, respecting each other’s contribution and seeking the path of principled unity.
[Marce Cameron edits Cuba's Socialist Renewal blog. The Sydney conference discussing the ideas of Fidel Castro will take place over August 18-19 at the NSW Teachers Federation building, 23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills.]

Acknowledgement: This article is by the kind permission of Marce Cameron which can be found here:

lunes, agosto 20, 2012

José Martí (born José Julián Martí Pérez January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895)
Ho Chi Minh (born Nguyễn Sinh Cung 19 May 1890 - 2 September 1969)

lunes, agosto 13, 2012

domingo, agosto 05, 2012

CUBA - Olympic Profile


Cuba's first Olympic champion was fencer Ramon FONST, who won gold as a 16-year-old in the men's epee at the Paris 1900 Olympic Games. He won three further gold medals at the St Louis 1904 Olympic Games and also competed in the Paris 1924 Olympic Games.

The last time the Olympic Games were held in London in 1948, Cuba's Carlos de CARDENAS CULMELL and his son (also Carlos) took a silver in sailing. The competition was held at Torbay in south-west England.

More recently, Cubans have enjoyed success in athletics. At the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, Alberto JUANTORENA won the men's 400m and 800m double. Alejandro CASANAS claimed successive silver medals in 1976 and 1980 and his example was followed by Anier GARCIA, who took gold at Sydney 2000, and Dayron ROBLES, who won gold at the Beijing 2008 Games.

Javier SOTOMAYOR was the outstanding high jumper of his generation. He won gold in Barcelona in 1992 and silver in Atlanta in 1996. Maria COLON won the women's javelin at Moscow in 1980 and Osleidys MENENDEZ followed up a bronze at Sydney 2000 with gold at Athens 2004.

Cuba have excelled in combat sports. In boxing, Teofilio STEVENSON won three consecutive gold medals in the heavyweight division (1972–80), a feat emulated by countryman Felix SAVON (1992–2000).

In judo, Driulys GONZALEZ collected a full set of Olympic medals. Her gold medal-winning performance came in the lightweight competition at the Atlanta 1996 Games.

Wrestler Filiberto AZCUY won the men's Greco-Roman welterweight gold in 1996 and 2000, and Mijain
LOPEZ took the men's super heavyweight crown at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Cuba have also success in team sports. When baseball was introduced to the Olympic programme at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, Cuba won the gold medal. They won two further gold medals (1996 and 2004) and finished no lower than second in the other tournaments before the sport was removed from the programme after the Beijing Games.

Cuba's women won the volleyball gold medal at four consecutive Olympic Games (1992–2004).

Anthem: Title
La Bayamesa (The Bayamo Song)

Anthem: Year of Induction

Anthem: Composer
Words and music by Pedro FIGUEREDO.

Official NOC/NPC name

IOC recognition date

NOC/NPC President's name

NOC/NPC General Secretary's name

IOC Member's Name

Year of first appearance in an Olympic and Paralympic Games

Number of appearances in Olympic and Paralympic Games
19, including London 2012

Summary of Olympic and Paralympic Games Appearances

Medals per sport
Sport Gold Silver Bronze Total
Athletics 10 13 14 37
Baseball 3 2 0 5
Basketball 0 0 1 1
Boxing 32 19 12 63
Canoe - Sprint 0 3 0 3
Cycling - Track 0 1 0 1
Fencing 4 3 3 10
Judo 5 11 16 32
Sailing 0 1 0 1
Shooting 0 0 3 3
Swimming 0 1 1 2
Taekwondo 1 2 1 4
Volleyball 3 0 2 5
Weightlifting 2 1 1 4
Wrestling - Freestyle 2 1 4 7
Wrestling - Greco-Roman 4 4 2 10
Total 66 62 60 188
Medals per year
Year Gold Silver Bronze Total
1900 1 1 0 2
1904 3 0 0 3
1948 0 1 0 1
1964 0 1 0 1
1968 0 4 0 4
1972 3 1 4 8
1976 6 4 3 13
1980 8 7 5 20
1992 14 6 11 31
1996 9 8 8 25
2000 11 11 7 29
2004 9 7 11 27
2008 2 11 11 24
Total 66 62 60 188

jueves, julio 14, 2011

Cuban Contemporary, the Malaysian Link exhibition

Dear Friends, 
We are pleased to inform you that the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in collaboration with the MAP @ Publika and Friends of Cuba Association Malaysia, are holding an exhibition entitled “Cuban Contemporary, the Malaysian Link” Exhibition featuring 40 pieces of artworks from renowned Cuban artists from 12th to 21st July 2011. The event will be held at the following venue:

Black Box MAP @ Publika
Level G2-01, Block A5,
Solaris Dutamas
Jalan Dutamas 1
(Off Jalan Duta), Kuala Lumpur

Gallery hours – Monday to Saturday, 11.00 a.m to 7.00 p.m. Close on Sunday.
Gallery contact no.: 603-62079732
Embassy of Cuba contact no.: 603-26911066/71/75

Attached please find the brochure of the exhibition. All paintings are for sales.

With warmest regards,

Carlos A Amores
Embassy of the Republic of Cuba

Cuba comes to Malacca

MALACCA: Cuba is a country known for producing high quality cigars.
Less-mentioned, is its unique culture that is an amalgamation of African, Spanish and North American influences.
For the observant, one would find such elements in its food, music and art.
To promote the country, the Cuban Embassy here is giving Malaysians a taste of the unique blend of its culture through Casa Cuba, an exhibition gallery in Bukit Peringgit.

Keen visitor : A visitor visiting the gallery.

The gallery, built in June 2007, is located inside what was a former senior government officer’s residence during the British rule. It is one of Malacca’s historical sites.
The Second Secretary (Political Affairs) at the Cuban Embassy in Malaysia, Nestor Tores said Casa Cuba had an important role in introducing Malaysians to Cuban culture.
The gallery showcases various forms of art by Cuban artists, including paintings, lithographs and ceramic works.
Tores said the embassy features over 80 works of renowned Cuban artists, including Nelson Dominguez and Belkis Manso.

Just like in Cuba: A scene in a factory making Cuban cigars.

Belkis was a Cuban artist and lithographer whose work was based on the Afro-Cuban religion, combining the myth of Sikan and the traditions of the Abaku which is a man’s secret society. The artist committed suicide in September 1999, at the age of 32.
Since her death, the Cuban government declared her work a patrimony where none of it was allowed to leave the country.
“It is a privilege that her works were allowed to be brought to Malaysia, to be featured in the exhibition,” said Torres.

The right way: A worker showing visitors how to light a Cuban cigar.

The main exhibition hall features many paintings, including portraits of Cuban President Fidel Castro, and pictures of young people playing baseball, one of the popular sports in the republic.
Speaking on setting up the gallery in Malacca, Tores the move was based on the state as a well-developed tourist attraction.
He hopes that the establishment of Casa Cuba in Melaka will bring more local and foreign visitors to the gallery, and interest them in the republic.
Casa Cuba is open on weekdays from 9am to 5pm. – Bernama.

domingo, mayo 22, 2011

III Latin American Fest 2011

The 3rd Latin American Fest was held on the May 22, 2011 at the BB Park in Bukit Bintang, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur city.
Nine South American embassies in Malaysia took part in the event which was co-organized by the Latin Ladies Association of Malaysia. They are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
It was an afternoon of great fun, hot Latin & Salsa music, performances and dances, and food from the countries taking part in the event.
Also, art and handicraft items from the various indigenous groups were on display and for sale.
Various attractive prizes and hampers were given away at the lucky draw and those who won were delighted with the gifts from the various embassies. The main prize was the auction for a vacation in the Langkawi Islands which was won by the highest bidder. The proceeds of this and other from the sales of the various items and food sold will go to help the victims of  the Haiti disaster.

At the Cuban stand:

Members of the staff of the Embassy of Cuba in Malaysia had worked very hard prior to the event. The stall was manned by them and they helped out in serving food and drinks to all who came to patronise the stall.
Arroz congri, ropa vieja, cerviche, croquettas were among some of the Cuban food prepared for sale at very reasonable prices. Cocktail drinks of Mojitos and Cuba Libre were also sold besides beer and other drinks to those wanting to quench their thirst on that hot but overcast afternoon.
Also on sale were bottles of Cuban rum (Havana Club), Cuban beers, cigars, Cuban movie posters, art sculptures and paintings by Cuban artists.


miércoles, mayo 18, 2011

An Invitation: III Latin American Festival



Date:      Sunday, 22 May 2011

Time:     11am - 6pm

Venue:  @BB Park

You are cordially invited to the grand annual Latin American Fiesta where you will find plenty of food, arts & crafts on sales from various Latin American countries.

Our Cuban stall will offer authentic Cuban cuisine, Cuban cocktail “Mojitos” and many more.

The proceeds generated by this event will be donated to UNICEF in aid of the children of HAITI.

Come and join us this Sunday (May 22) for this colourful and meaningful festival.

Entrance is free.

jueves, mayo 05, 2011

Cuban Hand-Rolls the World’s Longest Cigar

The world’s longest cigar measures 81.80 meters and was rolled by cigar-maker Jose Castelar Cairo, better known as “el Cueto”.
Jose Castelar and his assistants started working on the giant Cuban cigar at the end of April and finished on Tuesday, May 3rd. British representatives from the Guinness Book of Records acknowledged that the 67-year-old cigar rolling master has set a new world record, beating the previous one (also set by el Cueto) of 60 meters.
Castelar began rolling cigars at the age of 14, in his native province of Villa Clara, and admits he never though he’d end up making cigars almost the size of football fields. He first made cigar history in 2001 when he rolled a 11.04-meters-long cigar, followed by a 14.86-meter one (2003), then 20.41 meters (2005) and 45.38 meters in 2008. For his next project Jose Castelar Cairo will make a cigar measuring 100 meters, and says that as long as el Cueto is alive, the longest cigar will always be found in Cuba.
Just in case you were wondering what “el Cueto” means, apparently it translates as “someone whose achievements cannot be surpassed”.

miércoles, mayo 04, 2011

Been to Cuba Lately?

by: Mike Farrell
Actor, 'M*A*S*H' and 'Providence'

Hey, how you doing?
What's new? Been to Cuba lately?
Oh, that's right, you're only a U.S. citizen; you can't.
You can't. How stupid is that?
I guess they worry you'll catch communism or something. But you know what? Canadians and Europeans go there all the time without catching ... well, I guess Tea Party types say they're already socialists, so ... But hey, that's what they say about Obama.
But really, I ask you, what's the big deal? I went to Cuba some years back and I didn't come back a commie, though some on Fox might argue the point.
Our group had the required dispensation for researching Cuban medical and educational needs. And the trip was very interesting. We saw some extraordinary things, learned a lot about the country, the people and the government. We saw that education is free and they encourage -- and pay for -- people to become doctors. As a result, Cubans have free medical care and the government provides doctors to other countries. In fact they offered to send a group of physicians here to help out after Katrina. But I guess Mr. Bush and company didn't like the idea of free medical care.
Mr. Obama seems inclined to change things a bit, but our decades-old embargo continues to do harm -- as much to us as to them, one could argue. And the politics that drive it are truly absurd. We have relationships with Vietnam and China, for God's sake, so why do we let a group of diehard right-wing Cuban émigrés in Miami and their acolytes in Congress wave their tattered anti-communist banner and frighten us away from a productive relationship with another baseball-loving Caribbean island?
This anti-Castro obsession has led us down a rocky road for decades: a bungled invasion; illegal, embarrassing assassination attempts; nearly a nuclear war; the harboring of terrorists on our own shores; and decades of lies and hypocrisy.
It's nuts. And it continues. Two recent examples of the utter stupidity of our ongoing cold war against Cuba include the operetta involving an actual terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, and the dark tragedy of the Cuban Five, who are not.
Posada Carilles, who once told the New York Times, "I sleep like a baby," is, according to evidence known by our government, a CIA asset responsible for an ongoing terror campaign against Cuba, including the bombing of an airliner that cost 73 lives. Months after his publicly celebrated move to the U.S. in 2005, Posada Carriles was finally charged by the Bush Administration, not with terrorism but fraudulent entry.
The ante was raised a bit by the Obama Justice Dept. in 2009, adding perjury charges (again not terrorism) for statements he made under oath relating to hotel bombings. But after he was finally brought to trial three months ago in federal court in El Paso, Texas, under a Bush-appointed judge who, according to one report, "simply turned the floor over to the defense attorney," Posada Carriles was acquitted of all charges and is now free to enjoy life in Miami, where anti-Castro zealots cheer him as a hero.
Compare that outrage to this one:
Because of decades of attacks against Cuba by U.S.-based anti-Castro organizations like CORU, the F4 Commandos, Brothers to the Rescue, Omega 7 and Alpha 66, which Cuba reported 10 years ago had cost thousands of lives and great damage (including hotel bombings connected to Luis Posada Carriles), five Cuban intelligence officers were sent to the U.S. to gather information about these groups in an attempt to blunt their effectiveness.
The five, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Fernando González Llort and René González Sehwerert, not only succeeded in doing so, but sent home information on the activities of the groups that the Cuban government then made known (as if it was news) to U.S. authorities.
Agents of the FBI went to Cuba in 1998 to receive the information gathered by the five, returning with reams of evidence of terrorism committed by U.S.-based groups. However, instead of acting against them, the FBI, having discerned the identities of the five, arrested them instead, hoping to charge them with espionage.
But, because all they had done was infiltrate, observe and report on the groups committing terror against Cuba, the U.S. was unable to prove the five had done anything illegal other than being unregistered agents of a foreign power. So, Bush's Justice Dept. retrenched and charged them with "conspiracy" to commit espionage and "conspiracy" to commit murder (because the Cuban Air Force shot down two Brothers to the Rescue planes after a mission over Cuba).
Refused a change of venue, the men, now known as the Cuban Five, were convicted in a Miami court (!) and sentenced to long terms in prison (Gerardo Hernández Nordelo receiving two life sentences on the conspiracy to commit murder charge).
With their sentences overturned on appeal (a three-judge panel citing "prejudice" in Miami), reinstated and subsequently refused review, the Cuban Five have now served 12 years in American prisons for protecting their country from U.S.-based terrorism.
An international effort calling for freedom and fairness for the Cuban Five has grown up around the case. It includes Amnesty International, 10 Nobel Laureates, Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002, and many others. Former President Jimmy Carter added his voice after a recent trip to Cuba, saying,
I believe that there is no reason to keep the Cuban Five imprisoned; there were doubts in the U.S. courts and also among human rights organizations ... Now, they have been in prison 12 years and I hope that in the near future they will be released to return home.
So do I. In the interests of full disclosure, I am one of a group of Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban Five. For more information,

lunes, abril 25, 2011

Friends Of Cuba Boost Cultural Exchanges

Friends Of Cuba Boost Cultural Exchanges

MELAKA, April 21 (Bernama) -- The Friends of Cuba Association Malaysia (FOCAM) is set to boost cultural exchanges between the two countries, which have had diplomatic relations for the past 35 years.

The Cuban ambassador to Malaysia, Carlos A. Amores, said Casa Cuba, a gallery launched in 2007 here to exhibit Cuban culture, would help FOCAM boost cultural exchanges between the two countries.

"Besides cultural exchanges, the organisation aims to promote friendship and trade," he said at the Melaka launch of FOCAM in Casa Cuba, Bukit Peringgit here, Thursday.

The launch was presided over by Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, and attended by the Ecuadorian ambassador to Malaysia, Lourdes Puma Puma; the Iraqi ambassador to Malaysia, Dr Amal Mussa Hussain; the Fijian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Suliasi Lutubula; Russian Ambassador Vorobyeva Lyudmila Georgievna and Jose Soares Junior, Charge d'Affaires of Brazil.

Amores said the excellent political relationship between Malaysia and Cuba was based on brotherly friendship and close cooperation in issues raised by international organisations, besides shared interests on international concerns.

"FOCAM has been introduced to make this friendship closer and deeper, and to bring to Malaysians the culture of Cuba. It also aims to promote closer economic relations for the benefit of both countries," he said.

He said that to promote FOCAM outside Kuala Lumpur, the embassy chose Melaka because the state has been successful in promoting its traditional culture globally, especially to tourists.

He pointed out that Melaka received more than nine million tourists last year. By combining FOCAM's efforts to promote cultural exchanges and Melaka's efforts to promote tourism, both parties would benefit, he said.

Meanwhile, Mohd Ali hoped that the FOCAM launch would be the first of several activities to be held in Melaka by the Cuban embassy. He also looked forward to cooperative ventures between Melaka and Cuba through FOCAM.

"We are looking to send several of Melaka's scientists and doctors to Cuba to learn and serve there. We are also looking forward to Cuban scientists and doctors serving here. We can conduct such exchange programmes in the future," he said.

FOCAM was launched by the Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, on Oct 12 last year in Kuala Lumpur. Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir serves as its current president.


domingo, abril 10, 2011

52nd Cuban National Day 2011 in Malaysia

The 52nd Cuban National Day 2011 in Malaysia was held on January 06th, 2011 at Yayasan Seni, Kuala Lumpur.

photos (at the event) here: 

Welcome for HE Bruno Rodriquez, Foreign Minister of Cuba

photos of the event

A welcome reception was held at the La Bomba, Kuala Lumpur on 11 October, 2010 for HE Bruno Rodriquez, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cuba. In conjunction with that welcome is the introduction of the Members of Pro-Tem Committee of the Friends of Cuba Association, Malaysia to His Excellency. The Ambassador of Cuba to Malaysia, HE Carlos A Amores was the host for that event.

domingo, julio 13, 2008

With Sergio Correrie

Photos with Sergio Correrie taken in the residence of the Ambassador of Cuba to Malaysia. Sergio is a famous Cuban movie actor among the Latin movie viewers. Photos were taken in 2006.

miércoles, junio 22, 2005

Prime Minister with Fidel

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Adbullah Ahmad Badawi was featured in a newspaper article (datelined 26 Nov 2004) with President of Cuba, Fidel Castro when he was on an official visit to Cuba, last year.

News article: Prime Minister and President

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was bestowed the Jose Marti Award by President Castro.

miércoles, junio 15, 2005

Master Chef Pedro Reyes Corona

The Star's article on Chef Pedro

Chef Pedro will feature some of his favourite
Cuban recipes during the promotion

Cuban icecream Coppelia

Cuban cuisine has many recipes for appetisers.
This dish combines chicken with mayonnaise.

lunes, junio 13, 2005

Photos of Festival Cubano 2005 Launch

A set of some 50 photos by Aizuddin Danian that were taken at the Launch of Festival Cubano 2005 on 18 May, 2005 in Kuala Lumpur:

Photos here

jueves, junio 09, 2005

Hiroshy from Havana, Cuba

His name "Hiroshy" is Japanese but he does not speak Japanese and neither had he ever been in Japan.

Hiroshy is from Havana, Cuba and like most Cubanos, he speaks Spanish. He is on a visit to Malaysia and has been here for the past two weeks. This is one of the Asian countries that he is visiting for the first time since leaving Cuba five months ago.

Earlier, he and his companion, Bernard, were in Thailand and Laos and they are very impressed by the warmness of the Asians that they have met.

An engineer in Information Technology, he is married and they have a four year old son.

(From Malaysia: Herbert; from Cuba: Hiroshy)

domingo, junio 05, 2005

Frometa's Paintings - Opening Ceremony

Ribbon cutting
Originally uploaded by Friends of Cuba.
An official opening ceremony for the exhibiting of Cuban paintings was held on the early evening of 01 June, 2005 at the 1 Utama Shopping Complex in Bandar Utama, Kuala Lumpur.

Dato' G Palanivel, the deputy minister in the Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development who spoke 'off the cuff' at the event was the Guest of Honour. Also present among the number of distinguished guests were the Crown Prince of Negri Sembilan, His Highness Tunku Naquiyuddin, the Ambassador of Cuba to Malaysia, HE Pedro Munzon Barata and a Minister from Cuba, HE Bernand who is on a working visit to Malaysia.

The exhibition is to showcase a number of paintings by a renowned Cuban artist, Gilberto Frometa. The exhibition, open to the public, will be from the 01 to 08 June, 2005.

view photos:

jueves, junio 02, 2005

At the Cuban Embassy

Night of merriment at Cuban embassy

GUESTS had the opportunity to puff away Cuban cigars and sip on Cuban vodkas and wines during the recent dinner reception hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba to celebrate the arrival of Cuban tobacco producer Don Alejandro Robaina.

The reception on May 18 was part of the programme line-up in conjunction with the Festival Cubano 2005.

A press conference was held on May 18 at Qba, Westin Hotel Kuala Lumpur, to mark the launching of Festival Cubano the following day.

The hosts for the evening were Cuba ambassador MA Pedro Monzon Barata and wife Silvia Baeza de Monzon.

(From left) Guests Kamarul Ariffin, Barata, and Bioven Holdings Sdn Bhd
Johan Indot chatting with Don Alejandro and Hirochi.

Don Alejandro's visit to Malaysia was at the invitation of the Havana Club, Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Accompanying him was grandson Hirochi Robaina.

Many took the opportunity to pose for photos with the 86-year-old Don Alejandro who was seated on a sofa in the embassy hall.

Colourful oil paintings dominated the interior of the place while quirky handicraft items and figurines fill the nooks and corners.

Malaysian cigar lovers learned, from Don Alejandro, about tobacco production in Pinar Del Rio, a province in Cuba.

His tobacco production company, Vegas Robaina, is one of the largest tobacco producers in Cuba.

And such synonymous is the Robaina family with the world of cigar that there is a brand called Robaina.

The Robaina family has been involved in the cigar business for six generations now - a heritage which is claimed to be unmatched by other cigar companies in Cuba so far.

The hall was soon shrouded with strong cigar smoke and it was obvious that all guests were enjoying themselves.

(From left ): Ambassador of Chile in Malaysia Patricio Torres with wife Cecilia Torres, and Asian Business Solutions chairman Tan Sri Ernest Zulliger having a good time at the dinner reception with renowned Cuban tobacco producer Don Alejandro Robaina.

Host Barata said a few words in honour of Don Alejandro.All were then invited to tuck into dinner served at the alfresco patio of the embassy.

It was a night of merriment as they partied away with sumptuous food and servings of Mojitos - the signature Cuban cocktail.

Copyright 1995-2004, Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad. 10894-D.

jueves, mayo 26, 2005

Don Alejandro Robaina

Don Alejandro Robaina, producer of the finest cigar wrappers in the world.

Don Alejandro Robaina, master of cigars


Looking at Don Alejandro Robaina, an 86-year-old unassuming, small-framed man, you would not reckon that he is the “Godfather of Cuban cigars.” But the fact remains that he is the man who is widely recognised as the producer of the finest cigar wrappers in the world.
Robaina and his grandson, Hirochi (who was born in Japan), were recently in Kuala Lumpur to attend a charity cigar auction organised by Havana Club, in aid of the Yayasan Raja Muda Selangor, under the patronage of the Sultan of Selangor. It was Robaina’s first visit to Asia, although he has travelled to many other countries before.
He has been photographed and interviewed many times, and has the prestige of being the first person to have a cigar (Vegas Robaina) named after him. Yet he remains a humble farmer, as he likes to describe himself.
Asked if it is true that he and his family live modestly on their farm in the province of Pinar Del Rio, Robaina replied: “My house is a farmer’s house. It’s very widely visited by everyone. We are a big family, and we get together in the evenings. Economically, we live very normal lives, and we are close-knit. I am happy and contented with what I have, and I don’t wish for any other kind of life.”
Robaina’s father, Maruto Robaina, was also hailed as the finest tobacco grower in Cuba. After his father’s death in 1950, Robaina took over the plantations and continued the production of wrappers used for the manufacture of Habanos cigars. Five generations of his ancestors grew tobacco on that land, and their tobacco dynasty is one of the oldest in Cuba.

After the revolution, Fidel Castro met with the tobacco farmers and suggested that the best way to improve the quality of the tobacco was to form cooperatives, because he believed quality was easier to ensure in a group rather than individually. But in a meeting with Castro in 1960, Robaina voiced his disagreement and his wish to be personally responsible for his own crop. In the end, he joined the cooperative as an independent member and ran his own business. But Robaina said the picture the world has of what happened is inaccurate.

“The world is wrong about this,” he said. “Those who wanted to become independent were allowed to do so. They were not forced in any way. I was not the only one who worked independently, because a lot of other farmers chose to do the same.”

Indeed, Castro was the one who labelled Robaina the best tobacco grower in Cuba, and reportedly presented him with a Russian Lada. Asked if he still meets with Castro these days, he replied: “Yes, more or less.”

And what do they talk about? “We talk about tobacco. What else do we talk about?” he smiled.

Today, the farm employs about 80 workers, but the number varies according to the season and weather. The number naturally increases during harvest time.

“There are weeks and months when I employ about 130 to 140 workers,” Robaina explained. “It all depends. I supervise about 80 of them myself. In Cuba, for certain kinds of jobs, the state allows us to have extra workers, around 40 to 50. For example, some workers are needed to get the plant, tie it up and allow it to grow. This is a very demanding job.”

Robaina once said that not only is the climate and land important for crops to grow well, the “soul” of a farmer is equally essential. To be a good tobacco producer, one must love the land, he said, and also care for one’s family.
Other important skills include knowing how to predict the weather. In a magazine interview last year, Robaina cheekily said he knew how to predict the weather by listening to the weather forecast on the radio. But as it turned out, he was serious about it.

“We practically don’t need to know how to predict nowadays because we now have the weather forecast,” he said. “These days, when something happens, it’s not a surprise anymore because it has been known beforehand. Tobacco is easier to cultivate nowadays, because there are scientists working to produce new seeds that are equal or better in quality than those I produce. Back in the old days, you have to look at the moon, and commit to memory what happened in the past so that you can compare it to current weather.

“Even the weather has changed nowadays. In the old days, February was deemed to be a bad month for the crops, but now, February is considered a good month.”

Today, Robaina has passed the tricks of the trade on to his grandson Hirochi and son Carlos. The two help him to supervise the plantations, although Robaina himself still goes out to the fields to check for illnesses and problems in the crops. And as head of the family, Robaina still has the final say on everything.
The farm also receives tourists and other visitors regularly. The number ranges from 20 to 100 visitors a day. Tourists often bring cigar boxes for him to autograph, while others bring him cigars from other parts of the world. And the only way to tell whether a cigar is good or bad? Well, by smoking it, said Robaina.

“It is the only natural way to know,” he added. “Every cigar has its own aroma and strength. And I prefer those with strength in their flavour.”

Robaina, who admitted he started smoking cigars at the age of 10, used to smoke a whopping 15 cigars a day. But due to his age, he has had to reduce the number.

But he proclaimed: “If it was not for that, I would have continued with 15.”

And his advice to beginners?

“Start by smoking a Robaina,” he said wryly.

Festival Cubano 2005

Please note:

To view more photos of the event at various locations in Malaysia at this website:

jueves, mayo 12, 2005

Cigars of Cuba

Havana Cigars: A Hallmark of Cuban Tobacco

Havana cigars, one of the products of Cuba's economy with greater international recognition, treasure in its green leaves and unique aroma a history that is more than five centuries old, thus becoming a hallmark of Cuban tobacco.

According to legends, when Admiral Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492, he sent two of his best men with introduction letters from the Catholic King and Queen of Spain to the Emperor of China, since he thought they had arrived in that Asian country.

For Rodrigo de Xerez and Luis de Torres, the two men sent by Columbus, reality was completely different when they met with aborigines holding rolls of leaves between their lips. The natives lighted one of the ends of the roll and absorbed the smoke from the other end.

That way, unintentionally, Columbus discovered one of Cuba's biggest treasures, and even some of his companions, including Xerez, became aficionados to these aromatic leaves, so the words "tobacco" and "cigar" were incorporated into the vocabulary of the inhabitants of the old continent.

Although tobacco is harvested in most Cuban provinces, the best soil for this crop is located in western Pinar del Río province - especially in Vueltabajo, which is considered the region of the world's best tobacco.

A perfect combination of soils, climate and humidity results in a product regarded as unique in the world, because of its aroma, color, texture and flavor. All these characteristics are essential when rolling the famous Havana cigars, whose demand is increasing among the most select cigar aficionados.

Cuba's cigar industry meets the needs of the most demanding cigar aficionados, with dozens of trademarks and more than 700 vitolas, all of which are high quality.

The excellent plantations in western Pinar del Río province contribute the bulk of the leaves used for the outer layers of cigars. The leaves undergo a one-year, 190-operation process before ending up in the hands of a smoker.

For cigar rollers, making a Havana cigar is like creating a work of art, which is 100 percent handmade. The process of creation begins with the selection of the leaves according to their size and class, and the characteristics of each vitola.

Experts say that the secret of a good cigar lies in a perfect mixture, where dry and light leaves are combined in the right proportion.

Growing demand for Havana cigars have led to the opening of specialized establishments where customers can enjoy an excellent vitola and where the product is preserved under ideal conditions.

As a result of this, the art of specialized cabinetmakers plays an important role in the making of wooden humidors, which protect cigars from atmospheric changes and keep their aroma and flavor, so the humidors have become treasures for both collectors and cigar aficionados.

next story: How a Cuban cigar is made