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FARC Addresses Reparations for Conflict Victims

August 14, 2014

by AQ Online

In a press release Wednesday, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—FARC) announced that it would create a special fund for reparations for victims of the armed conflict. The group also asked the Colombian government to take tangible actions to protect the rights of said victims.

The release came on the second day of the twenty-seventh convening of the peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC taking place in Havana. The topic of restitution for the victims of the conflict is the fourth point of a six point peace agenda, and by far the most controversial subject being negotiated. A total of 60 victims’ testimonies will be presented before two teams of negotiators, with the first 12 victims arriving in Havana to testify this Saturday.

In their statement, the FARC recognized that finding a solution to this issue will not be easy but emphasized the necessity of doing so. “This matter is very important because it is going to hand us the keys to clear the path toward the reconciliation of the Colombian family,” said Iván Márquez, the FARC’s chief negotiator. Land reform, political participation of the FARC and drug trafficking have already been discussed, while disarmament and the way in which the final peace deal will be incorporated are the final two topics that have yet to be addressed.

Colombia currently has the greatest number of displaced people in the world at over 5 million due to the armed conflict over the past 50 years. While peace talks have been ongoing since November 2012, both the FARC and the Colombian government continue to blame each other for the over 220,000 individuals killed and the millions more displaced.

Tags: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), Havana, FARC peace negotiations

Reflexiones durante mi visita a La Habana

January 25, 2013

by Cecilia Lanza

El Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano de La Habana comenzó en 1979 y se repite cada diciembre. Es una oportunidad única para conocer a cineastas reconocidos y prometedores en América Latina. Es el lugar donde recién conocí al actor René Esquivel.

René Esquivel está “en la cresta del anonimato,” leo por ahí, intentando saber más de él. Efectivamente, parece ser un ilustre desconocido. Pero en el hotel Habana Libre, este hombre de cabello canoso es el botones más popular. Y como gran parte de los cubanos, aunque se gane la vida cargando maletas a los turistas, René es en verdad otra cosa. Es músico y también está vinculado al cine. O por lo menos eso es lo que desea.

Como buen caribeño, durante los días del Festival de La Habana, René me recibió con un piropo: “¡Usted debe ser una actriz…!” exclamó, ladeando la cabeza al tiempo que soltó una sonrisa que dejó ver sus dientes gastados. Este ha debido ser un hombre muy guapo. A sus sesenta y tantos años todavía lo es.

Yo le seguí la corriente, pero en el camino le conté que no voy al Festival sino que preparo una película. Sorprendido, inmediatamente me contó que él participó en un documental: When Castro Seized the Hilton (Cuando Castro tomó el Hilton) señaló, esta vez con seriedad. Y como no le entendía lo que decía, repitió un par de veces más el nombre de la película pero en voz baja. “Es un documental que cuenta el día aquel que Fidel tomó el hotel, el Hilton, éste… Bueno, aquí no lo pasaron… usted sabe, aquí… cuestiones políticas…” Y entonces lanzó una infinidad de datos que no alcancé a memorizar. El caso es que sí, René participó en el documental del noruego Bjarte Thoresen, producido por Bente Olav para Frameline Film, el año 2009.

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Tags: film, Havana

Cuban Court Sentences Doctors for Patient Deaths

February 1, 2011

by AQ Online

Havana Provincial Court sentenced Wilfredo Castillo Donate, the director of Havana Psychiatric Hospital, to 15 years in prison on Monday for negligence in the deaths of 26 patients during a cold spell last year. Twelve other staff members of Cuba’s largest mental health institution also received sentences ranging from 5 to 14 years in prison.

The 26 patients died of hypothermia and other ailments last January during a spell of cold winter weather that dipped as low as 38 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius)—unusual for Cuba’s tropical climate. The prosecutor argued that despite the hospitals dilapidated condition, the staff had sufficient resources in its possession, such as extra blankets and available warmer rooms, to prevent the deaths. 

Critics of the government claim that the patient deaths expose shortcomings in Cuba’s free health care system, which has been a point of pride for the Castro regime. Members of the convicted hospital staff have 10 days to appeal their sentences.

Tags: Cuba, Havana


 
 

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AQ and Efecto Naím: NTN24 Partnership

June 1: This AQ-Efecto Naím segment looks at sustainable cities in the hemisphere.

 

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