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Crabs invade Bay of Pigs showing US how it’s done

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Si algo conoce Marilín Jiménez Bouchereau, y de cerca, es dejar el pellejo para salir adelante: es mujer, negra, oriental, no tiene una carrera universitaria y tampoco suficiente dinero como para guardar en el banco. Por si fuera poco, ha sufrido el rechazo y la discriminación por ser Testigo de Jehová, una combinación no apta para personas que teman meterle el pecho a la vida.
      Ella es una verdadera «Mariana». En Cuba se le dice así a esa mujer heredera del espíritu de Mariana Grajales, esposa de Marcos Maceo, progenitora de una estirpe gloriosa de la historia nacional y patriota cuyo valor y fuerza de carácter le hizo ganar el epíteto de «Madre de todos los cubanos».
      Generalmente se les llama así a las féminas obrera, campesina, Heroína del Trabajo, investigadora, científica, dirigente, todas vinculadas de alguna manera al sector estatal… y aunque Marilín nunca saldrá en la televisión o en el periódico, y su conmovedora historia jamás será convertida en ondas radiofónicas, ella tiene de sobra para considerarse una verdadera Mariana.
      Leer más: https://www.cibercuba.com/noticias/2018-08-18-u135253-e20037-s27061-vida-marilin-cubana-testigo-jehova-ha-hecho-todo

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      3. Jehovah's Witness  in Cuba, for decades, were stigmatized, persecuted, criticized and taboo, even Catholic. But in recent years there has been some other flexibilization. However, Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, continue to suffer discrimination. Pedro and María Isabel are a couple from Las Tunas. Both are Jehovah's Witnesses. On one occasion, Pedro applied for a vacant post in a company. Among the inquiries that are normally made in the CDR that detail was known, that even though it did not officially prevent him from opting for the position, he knew from comments from a friend that it was what tipped the scale unfavorably. But María Isabel has also suffered discrimination because she is a Jehovah's Witness. The first was when, after being affected by a cyclone, she was denied the temporary facilities she required when she lost the roof of her house. Officially she was told that it was because of being a Jehovah's Witness. The second one "happened to me in a hospital. I said I was a Jehovah's Witness when I required blood and I requested to them to  use a blood substitute. The doctors disrespected me and did what they pleased. I felt bad, more than religious they treated me like an insane person, "she says.
      https://www.cibercuba.com/noticias/2018-07-09-u1-e42839-s27061-siete-historias-reales-discriminacion-cuba
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      3. Testigo de Jehová
      La práctica religiosa en Cuba, por décadas, fue estigmatizada, perseguida, criticada y tabú, incluso, la católica. Pero en los últimos años ha habido alguna que otra flexibilización. No obstante, los testigos de Jehová, por ejemplo, siguen sufriendo discriminaciones.
      Pedro y María Isabel son una pareja de Las Tunas. Ambos son testigos de Jehová. En una ocasión Pedro optó por una plaza en una empresa. Entre las averiguaciones que normalmente se hacen en el CDR se supo ese detalle, que si bien oficialmente no le impidió optar por el puesto, supo por comentarios de un amigo que fue lo que inclinó la balanza de forma desfavorable.
      Pero María Isabel también ha sufrido las discriminaciones por ser testigo de Jehová. La primera fue cuando, tras resultar afectada de un ciclón, le negaron las facilidades temporales que requería al perder el techo de su casa. Oficialmente se le dijo que era por ser eso, una testigo de Jehová.
      La segunda “me pasó en un hospital. Dije que era testigo de Jehová cuando requería sangre y solicité que usaran un sustituto de sangre. Los médicos me irrespetaron e hicieron lo que le dio la gana. Me sentí mal, más que religiosa me trataron como una demente”, señala.
      https://www.cibercuba.com/noticias/2018-07-09-u1-e42839-s27061-siete-historias-reales-discriminacion-cuba
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Pero más en el presente, existen casos donde la libertad religiosa sigue siendo nula, para Berta Núñez, practicante testigo de Jehová, la vida en Cuba se le hace difícil, ella me da su nombre completo, pues “estoy acostumbrada a las represalias, como de costumbre fui abucheada por no usar pañoleta cuando niña, no se me permitió entrada a la universidad y ahora a mis hijos, que decidieron abrazar este camino, les pasa lo mismo. Las relaciones con el Estado son pésimas, puesto que nos tratan como una secta malévola”. La prohibición de hacer templos pesa sobre los Testigos de Jehová, grupo que casualmente ha sido igual de perseguido por otros regímenes totalitarios como la Alemania Nazi o la Rusia de Stalin.
      Leer más: https://www.havanatimes.org/sp/?p=133783
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      HAVANA -- A Cuban-operated airliner with at least 110 people on board crashed into a cassava field just after takeoff from Havana's international airport on Friday. There appeared to be mass casualties as Cuban officials said three people had survived, but had yet to give an official toll.
      Authorities said there were 104 passengers and nine foreign crew members on the flight that was headed to the eastern city of Holguin. Witnesses said they saw a thick column of smoke near the airport.
      Witnesses said they saw a thick column of smoke near the airport.
      "A column of black smoke rose up in the sky," resident Ana Gonzalez told the Reuters news agency.
      The screams of high school kids could be heard inside a nearby school as they ran to safety, CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez reports.   
      The plane lay in a field of yuca-root plants and appeared heavily damaged and burnt. Firefighters were trying to extinguish its smoldering remains. Government officials including President Miguel Diaz-Canel rushed to the site, along with a large number of emergency medical workers. Residents of the rural area said they had seen some survivors being taken away in ambulances.
      Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/plane-crash-havana-cuba-today-2018-05-18/
    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      La organización Solidaridad Cristiana Mundial (CSW, sus siglas en inglés) denunció el jueves en un nuevo informe un incremento de las violaciones de los derechos religiosos y de culto en la Isla durante el 2017.
      De enero a diciembre de 2017, CSW documentó 325 violaciones a los derechos religiosos y de culto.
      Para Kiri Kankhwende, vocera de la organización citada por Martí Noticias, ello evidencia la tendencia del Gobierno cubano y la Oficina de Asuntos Religiosos de hostigar a líderes de la iglesia de todas las denominaciones.
      El reporte recoge detalles sobre la restricción severa a eventos religiosos públicos, incluida la interrupción y la detención de un evento de culto interconfesional en el oriente de Cuba, que había recibido permiso anticipado de las autoridades locales.
      http://www.thecubanhistory.com/2018/01/in-cuba-jehovahs-witnesses-and-other-religious-organizations-cult-rights-are-violated-en-cuba-testigos-de-jehova-y-otras-organizaciones-religiosas-son-violados-sus-derechos-de-culto/
    • By The Librarian
      Testigos de Jehová de Cuba Asamblea en La Polivalente Documental
    • Guest
      By Guest
      Cuba Embassy Attacks on U.S Diplomats State Department officials testified about the attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba before a Foreign Relations subcommittee chaired by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). Several questions to the witnesses focused on the timeliness of the State Department’s response to the attacks, the health and medical treatment of personnel affected, the possibility of the involvement of a third party, and future relations with the Cuban government. Several committee members determined that a future classified briefing would be needed to address more sensitive questions about the attacks. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women's Issues
    • By Bible Speaks
      Mysterious sonic weapons reportedly caused brain injuries in US diplomats in Cuba — here's what we know
       
      Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
      Mysterious "sonic weapons" have been blamed for symptoms affecting American and Canadian diplomats in Cuba. Victims reported hearing loss, mild traumatic brain injury, nervous system damage, and balance issues. Sound-based weapons exist, but experts aren't sure whether any were actually used in this case. More than 10 US diplomats and their family members in Cuba have experienced strange symptoms including hearing loss, mild traumatic brain injury, and central nervous system damage after being exposed to some kind of mysterious sonic weapon, according to a review of medical records by CBS News.
      The Associated Press reported: "After months of investigation, U.S. officials concluded that the diplomats had been exposed to an advanced device that operated outside the range of audible sound and had been deployed either inside or outside their residences. It was not immediately clear if the device was a weapon used in a deliberate attack, or had some other purpose."
      But a number of experts aren't sure whether such a device exists.
      "There isn't an acoustic phenomenon in the world that would cause those type of symptoms," Seth Horowitz, a neuroscientist and author of the book "The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind," told Business Insider via email.
      Horowitz explained that no known inaudible - and seemingly undetectable - device could have the properties attributed to these strange sonic weapons.
      Would someone target diplomats with mysterious devices?
      Starting in late 2016, a number of diplomats and their family members sought medical attention for mysterious nausea, hearing problems, and balance issues. At least five Canadians have experienced similar symptoms, according to CNN.
      The attacks - if that's what they were - appear to have stopped. But it remains unknown what sort of device could have caused these medical issues and who was behind these attacks.

      Thomson Reuters
      Diplomats have experienced other forms of harassment, like break-ins and surveillance, since the US formally restored diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015. But a physical attack is unprecedented, and many experts say Cuba has no interest in damaging relations with the US. Some experts have said that the fact Canadians experienced similar symptoms make the possibility of an intentional "attack" even less likely, since Cuba and Canada have a strong relationship.
      Because of these factors, experts wonder whether the symptoms could be the result of a third party (potentially from another government) trying to sabotage US-Cuban relations. Others have mused that this could be some sort of eavesdropping device gone haywire.
      It "sounds like a science experiment," James Carson, former head of the US Interests Section in Havana, told The New York Times.
      For the most part, it seems victims didn't hear anything, which implies the device operates outside the audible range of sound. But CNN's report said two officials also described "a deafeningly loud sound similar to the buzzing created by insects or metal scraping across a floor," though no one knew where that sound came from.
      Toby Heys, the leader of Manchester Metropolitan University's Future Technology research center told New Scientist that it's possible for something emitting infrasound - vibrations at a frequency below what humans can hear - to cause hearing loss. But Heys said that would require large subwoofers, making covert deployment unlikely.
      Ultrasound devices, which operate above the range of human hearing, exist and could damage the ears, Heys said. But these would need to be directly targeted into the ear.
      "Overall, I would be pretty circumspect about the claims to be honest - it is all very Philip K. Dick territory," Heys said. "That said, we are living in a fairly surreal world right now."
      Horowitz said via email that without more evidence of these weapons, this incident should be considered a non-story, and that other possible explanations for these medical problems should be considered.

      Sonic weapons have been used to repel Somali pirates.
      AP
      The use of sonic weaponry
      Sonic weapons do exist, but for the most part they are "highly visible and easy to avoid," according to Horowitz.
      Such weapons include long range acoustic devices, or LRADs, which emit a shill, loud, disabling sound that can damage the hearing of people more than 900 feet away. These devices have been used by US troops in Iraq, for crowd control in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and by cruise ships to repel Somali pirates. Similar "sound cannons" were also used by police against protestors at the G-20 meetings in Pittsburgh in 2009.
      But those devices are large and emit obvious sounds. A mystery machine that emits harmful, silent waves defies any immediate explanation.
      Business Insider has reached out to other experts on non-lethal weaponry and will update this post if a plausible explanation emerges.
       
      http://nordic.businessinsider.com/sonic-weapons-cuba-diplomats-hearing-loss-2017-8/

    • By The Librarian
      Visiting Bethel in Cuba
      Via
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      LUTZ — In a way, credit for the opening of one of the Tampa area's newest Cuban restaurants belongs to Fidel Castro.
      If not for the late Cuban president, Jose "Pepe" Diaz said, he might never have become a chef or opened La Yuma Cuban Cuisine in Lutz.
      "He's being ironic," said his daughter and restaurant co-owner Thania Clevenger.
      Diaz, 76, learned his trade as a prison cook in Cuba after he was jailed for speaking out against communism.
      Calling what he did "cooking" may be a stretch, though.
      The fare was usually bland Russian meat from a can and all Diaz had for seasoning was paprika, which he overused.
      "They called me Paprika Pepe," Diaz said, with his daughter translating.
      Still, he said, when he eventually was released from prison and moved to Madrid, Spain, he landed a job as a chef at a five-star restaurant — based on his claim he had years of cooking experience.
      On his first day, he was given a filet to prepare. The head chef quickly realized he had embellished his culinary experience.
      "The chef said you have a lot of courage," said family friend and La Yuma employee Juvenal Alfonso, 33, conveying Diaz's recollections. "So, he taught him to be a chef."
      A year later Diaz made his way to Miami. There, he met his wife Tania, 61, who fled Cuba in 1970.
      Together, they would go on to operate restaurants in Miami and Key West before moving to Lutz this year to partner with their daughter on La Yuma, a name Cubans use for the United States. The business at 16411 N Florida Ave. opened in early March.
      "This restaurant is the representation of the American dream," said daughter Clevenger, 33, a Tampa attorney. "That's what we are."
      Diaz, born and raised in the town of Yaguajay in central Cuba, originally fought for Castro against Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, who ruled the island through fear and the military.
      Among those he met in battle, Diaz said, were Camilo Cienfuegos and Ernesto "Che" Guevara, two of the Cuban Revolution's top leaders.
      "I hated Batista," Diaz said. "I hated his exploitation of the villages, his robbery, his theft, the murder."
      Castro, he explained, portrayed himself as anti-Batista, someone who cared about bringing freedom to Cuba.
      But within a year after revolutionary leaders declared victory Jan. 1, 1959, he realized Cuba was not the country he fought to create. He began publicly denouncing the new government.
      In 1963, Diaz, then a civil engineering student, was arrested.
      "They said he was a danger to the government," Clevenger said.
      He spent a year in a prison in Sancti Spiritus before he was transferred to an agricultural labor camp in Camaguey.
      He joined others deemed anti-revolutionary or considered by the government to be socially abnormal. Most cut sugarcane for 10 to 12 hours a day, seven days a week. They had no showers, bathrooms or clean drinking water.
      Jehovah's Witnesses and homosexuals were treated the worst, Diaz said.
      He was given the option of kitchen duty or the fields. The choice saved his life.
      "There were a lot of things I saw at those camps that are hard to talk about," Diaz said. "A lot of people died."
      He was released after four years and told to leave Cuba. But as he waited for a visa, he had to work in the fields under government supervision to be sure he did not support the dissident movement.
      Five years later, in 1972, he moved to Spain.
      Now working in suburban Lutz, he finds the culture much dfferent from the hustle and bustle of South Florida. But he is happy to be here, working with his daughter, and hopes his restaurant brings a Cuban flare to the area.
      "This is a good place," he said. "I respect it and everyone treats me with respect."
      http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/lutz-chef-got-start-as-fidel-castros-prisoner-with-paprika-and-russian-meat/2318390
    • By Kurt
      February 15, 2017
      HAVANA TIMES — Organoponicos or urban organic farms in Cuba are a style of farming that can be used to produce vegetables, condiments, various crops and fruits. Tania Reyes Ferro, a 45 year old Cuban lady, is one of the few women who is in charge of an organoponico in the municipality of Candelaria. Her dedication and passion for her work give her the strength to continue on as a farmer.
      HT: Having an organoponico is good for your financial and food situation. What disadvantages are there to working the land?
      Tania Reyes: I studied agriculture but I never practiced it. I never thought that after all these years I would have a piece of land to cultivate. Working the land is hard. I’ve had problems with my cervix, backbone, waist, lower abdomen. I’ve been diagnosed with generalized osteoarthritis; when I suffer an attack and I can’t go to the fields, my children help me cook and do other chores. Whatever I collect is enough for us to eat at home. We use the money we get from selling extras to buy rakes, hoes, we don’t have the farm implements we need to do more work.
      HT: How much do you have to give to the State for farming?
      TR: We don’t produce very much on my plot, it’s just a hectare which I’ve divided into the garden and fruit trees.  As the plot is very small, the only thing I have to do is give fresh condiments, vegetables and fruit to the maternity center and the Jose Luis Tacende primary school for disabled children. I pay a social contribution to the cooperative I belong to.

      HT: Do you use any chemicals on your crops?
      TR: No, there are many alternatives to getting rid of pests. For example, we collect seeds and leaves from the Neem Tree, which is a pesticide, we mash them up and let it set so we can fumigate the next day. We also use ashes of a fire, none of these products are harmful to our health, plants grow better and pests are kept under control using natural products.  I have planted Mexican Marigolds because of their different colors and its unpleasant smell which keeps bad insects away so they don’t attack the plants; sunflowers, basil, millet and rosemary are all natural repellents, I also use blue, yellow and white traps.
      HT: I imagine it’s hard to get a hold of seeds.
      TR: There is a store that sells them here but they don’t have them a lot of the time or they are bad quality. I’m trying to leave some of my plants which give me seeds like lettuce and runner beans for example. I have 17 crops, six which are currently in production: moringa, tomatoes, lettuce, parsley, oregano, leeks. Sweet potato, corn, cassava, caimito and citrus fruits are growing at the moment.

      HT: How long do you work in the fields?
      TR: I work from very early in the morning until 9 AM; and then from 5 PM until it gets dark. My father, brother and children all help me out regularly although I’m the one who does most of the work. I have a lot of love for the earth, plants are living beings and we need to water and care for them. It’s a habit and necessity for me.
      HT: Does the cooperative help you create optimum working conditions?
      TR: There aren’t decent conditions for working the land. When my husband left for the United States, I had to face the cruel and hard reality of my situation: I was alone. Everything went downhill from there. My brother spoke to me and told me that we couldn’t lose this piece of land, marabu plants were beginning to take over it. I fell into a severe depression which lasted several months; I wasn’t interested in what had been planted or the future of this land. Between all of us, we began to fix the fence because this was at the time that Hurricanes Gustav and Ike hit and we were left with nothing. We fixed the planting beds, we weeded. Two of my children decided to work with me but they didn’t see any short-term results, you need a lot of patience to harvest. It doesn’t give us enough to get by, just to eat. If you don’t work this land they can take it away from you, it’s in usufruct, it used to be idle land before.
      HT: You had studied agricuture, but there are some things which you forget, where do you get your information from?
      TR: I like talking to old people a lot, they haven’t studied very much but they have a lot of experience in farming. They plant using the moon phases, they know when to cut sweet potatoes, how far you need to sow one plant from another. I am also looking for courses, I like to know why you have to sow chicory 90 cm away from the other plant and am not satisfied with a: that’s how all of them are planted.

      HT: There is an agro-market not far from your house which sells the same products you harvest. Does it harm your business?
      TR: I try to sell for a little less than agro-market prices. Customers like organic crops, what comes directly out of the earth and doesn’t have chemicals. People know me and know that I am very helpful and that I’m not expensive. Everything I sow has grown under the sun. The organoponico used to have a semi-protected cover* which used to regulate the sun’s rays, but when we were hit by the hurricanes, we lost everything. Our crops all grow directly under the sun and that’s why they need a lot of watering.
      HT: What do you do in your spare time?
      TR: I go to the church twice a week; I’m a Jehovah’s Witness. This faith and trust I have in God is what has helped me to persevere. I go to the fields a lot of the time and ask him to give me strength to finish off this work because it doesn’t only depend on me, there’s a lot of work to do and when I get home I have to keep on doing chores here and there. Thank god for my children who help me out a lot. My sons are 27, 23 and 19 years old and my daughter is 16. But I do everything; I don’t believe there is anything that a woman can’t do.
      source
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Los compañeros de la víctima del incendio no podían reprimir su dolor por la pérdida de «un buen hombre». Recuerdan que Tomás -no sabían cuál era su apellido- había nacido en Cuba y que llegó a Andoain hace «unos tres años» procedente de Barcelona. «No tenemos muchos datos sobre su biografía. Recuerdo que en una ocasión me dijo que se había marchado de su país en una balsa. Creo que llegó a Estados Unidos, pero tampoco lo puede afirmar», relataron.
      Puede que no conozcan sus antecedentes, pero todos coinciden en señalar que era una excelente persona. «Estaba dispuesta a echar una mano. Cuando venía con algo de comida la solía compartir. Y siempre huía de los conflictos. Cuando a veces discutíamos con la persona que ha provocado el incendio, solía tratar de apaciguar los ánimos». 
      La víctima era miembro de los Testigos de Jehová. «A Tomás le habían dejado una casa para vivir pero prefería estar con nosotros. Allí se sentía muy solo».
      http://www.diariovasco.com/gipuzkoa/201701/27/balsero-testigo-jehova-marcho-20170127004101-v.html
    • By Jack Ryan
      By Zunilda Mata.
      Discriminated against for decades, Cuba’s Jehovah’s Witnesses just opened an employment agency that focuses on the “honesty and decency” of its people. The database “is an opportunity to advertise the skills that the brothers have in different professions and trades,” says Tamara Sanchez, one of the managers.
      As a “private initiative,” although it is linked to the religious community, she describes the new project as one to connect the private sector with “serious and decent” workers. Close relationships within the congregation are a plus for the rapid transmission of information.
      “When I look for a job with the state and they realize that I am Jehovah’s Witness they see me as a weirdo,” said Mario Francisco. “I was not a Pioneer [in elementary school] and did not wear the neckerchief,” he recalls.
      The young man works in the private sector as a caregiver for the elderly. He considers that job opportunities through the agency could be “a way to erase prejudice.” He notes that he only works with families who share his beliefs because he feels “more respected.”
      “Please, if you are not a witness, do not call to register (…), although we do not doubt that you are an honest person, we cannot accept your registration,” clarify the managers of the employment exchange. The project is focused only on those who “find it very difficult to get work in these critical times.”

      Jehovah’s Witness Hall in Havana. (14yMedio)
      The Cuban government’s relationship with Jehovah’s Witnesses has been tense since the coming to power of Fidel Castro. Many were interned in the Military Units to Aid Production (UMAP) camps that operated on the island between 1965 and 1968 – along with other religious believers, homosexuals and political dissidents – while others were driven underground and into exile.
      The official animosity continues today, but some years ago the authorities issued permits for the congregation’s meeting halls to open. “We are allowed to meet but there is no public recognition that we exist, that we are here and we are not criminals or bad people,” says the nurse.
      The stigma is felt strongly in teaching and working life. “There is not a single Jehovah’s Witness who is the manager of a hotel, a hard-currency store manager or a state official,” says Mario Francisco. In his opinion, this group is still seen as “unreliable” for certain positions.
      The latest report on Religious Freedom in the World (2014), released by the United States Department of State, reveals that the Cuban authorities continue to monitor the activities of religious groups on the island. Among the hardest hit are the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
       
      Although the Constitution, in force on the island since 1976, enacts that “the State recognizes, respects and guarantees religious freedom,” the Office of Religious Affairs of the Communist Party staunchly monitors construction permits for new houses of worship.
      Excessive controls have strengthened the informal networks that serve the Witnesses to spread their beliefs from door to door, to help each other in case of need and to warn each other of dangers. They have now extended these networks to the job search.
      Through a phone call, a text message or an e-mail sent to the organizers of the new employment agency, applicants submit their professional skills and contact details. The project has two databases, one public and one private.
      The public information can be read on classified site such as Revolico and others circulate in the Weekly Packet. There are more than twenty occupations included and they include everything from plumbing to cooking, cleaning, medicine and jewelry making.
      “Often someone would ask us for a serious, honest and responsible worker for a job and we didn’t have ways to identify the brother who would be ideal for the position,” the promoters explain. The list will favor those who until now have been adversely affected by prejudice.
      “The witnesses who are contacted for a possible job will be duly questioned about their beliefs and their faithfulness in the service of the Lord,” they clarify. A test that Mario Francisco deems necessary. “When people ask me for my religious beliefs, it is usually to not give me the job… but in this case I will answer the question without fear.”
      Source: 14yMedio and Translating Cuba.
       
    • By Kurt
      I was born in one of the central eastern provinces. Cuba was recognized by many as the beautiful pearl of the Caribbean from the very first day of its discovery by Christopher Columbus, who expressed that this was the most beautiful land ever seen by human eyes. I was born in nineteen hundred and fifty-eight, one year before the triumph of the revolution. My parents were religious, they educated me in accordance with their principles. My father and my older brother were detained on various occasions, and completed sentences of deprivation of liberty; my brother on three occasions and my father on two. Mistreated and abused as you might imagine. I was the fourth son of seven that my mother had, we lived in a coastal town. My father owned a candy store and dedicated the better part of his time to his work and to preach the Word of God, as is common with the “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. He never wished to mix in political problems nor give opinions that were not about his religion, this was known by the whole town, where he was very appreciated for the help he offered to many people.
      In that time, to be religious, homosexual, or dress in the latest fashion was to be considered counter-revolutionary. They were persecuted or causes would be invented to detain and judge them.
      One day several uniformed men appeared at the house bearing large arms, they broke down doors and windows, one group entered brusquely and another surrounded the house outside, as if they had entered a haunt of criminals or terrorists, though my parents had never had troubles with the police or justice. They handcuffed my father, they took him out of the house beating him, and by force they took him into detention. I am never going to forget what they did before our eyes, I was already around seven years old and was there with three brothers younger than me.
      My mother took us all through town by foot, and we went to the police station where they were holding my father. When we arrived they were taking his statement, they wanted to accuse him of counter-revolution. He refused to sign, he told them he was a religious person and that his beliefs did not permit him to mix in political matters.
      After several hours of interrogation, of personal offenses and physical mistreatment, right in front of is they took him down with blows and shoving him, put him in a cell together with other common prisoners. One of them helped the policeman, and as a result, they fractured his ankle as well as left many marks on his body. That day they did not take him to the doctor, instead on the following day, then they could make out a certificate about the lesions that was useless; they never made a case based on the denunciation of my father.
      My father remained firm and offered resistance to being detained, because that was an arbitrary act, it was illogical to think that they were dealing with a counterrevolutionary or something like it. If he signed those documents he was recognizing his participation in something he had not done, the entire town was a witness to these facts, I remember having seen many people meeting in front of the police station.
      After several days of detention and without proof, the police decided to set him free. Our family looked for lawyers, we presented proofs, the medical certificate but they never accepted the complaint. With time we finally realized the impossibility of carrying a criminal complaint forward against the police and we left it all in God’s hands.
      On another occasion, they used Maturranga, a poor town drunk, to make him pass as a Jehovah’s Witness. I was small and don’t remember his real name, what was important was the trauma they raised around him. The police would get him drunk, they’d give him matches and fuel so that he would appear in a sugar cane field as if he were going to set it ablaze. The man followed orders and in those moments the police showed up, faked having been advised to stop this man — whom everybody knew well for his alcoholism and not as a religious type — from setting the sugar cane field on fire.
      Meanwhile in town the other part of the plan was being cooked up. The raising of a public show trial in the park. They had the circus set up, cars with amplifiers installed, to announce that they had surprised a Jehovah’s Witness trying to burn a cane field. They got the whole town together to give him a show trial, in the middle of a park in town; but as everyone knew it was a farce, very few attended.
      The only thing they succeeded in was being the town joke, which as always they invent stories and jokes around anything that happens. I remember some verses in the form of a popular satire which came out of that happening:
      In God’s Armaggedon
      According to the prophet Maturranga
      There will be a lot of taro,
      Butter, wine, and rice
      Source
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Discriminados por décadas, los Testigos de Jehová cubanos acaban de inaugurar una bolsa de empleo que apuesta por “la honradez y decencia” de su gente. La base de datos “es una oportunidad para anunciar las habilidades que tengan los hermanos en distintas profesiones y oficios”, asegura Tamara Sánchez, una de sus gestoras.
      Como una “iniciativa privada” aunque vinculada a la comunidad religiosa, la joven describe el nuevo proyecto para conectar al sector privado con trabajadores “serios y decentes”. Las estrechas relaciones dentro de la congregación son un punto a favor para que la información se transmita con rapidez.
      “Cuando busco trabajo con el Estado y se dan cuenta que soy Testigo de Jehová me ven como un bicho raro”, comenta Mario Francisco, un graduado de enfermería. “Sufrí mucho en la escuela. Me apartaban porque no era pionero y no me ponía pañoleta”, recuerda.
      El joven labora en el sector privado como cuidador de ancianos. Considera que la nueva bolsa de empleo podría ser “una manera de borrar prejuicios”. Cuenta que solo acepta trabajo en familias que compartan sus creencias porque se siente “más respetado”.
      “Por favor, si usted no es testigo, no llame para inscribirse (…) aunque no dudamos de que sea una persona honrada, no podremos aceptar su inscripción”, aclaran los gestores de la bolsa de empleo. El proyecto solo está enfocado en aquellos que “se les hace muy difícil conseguir trabajo por lo crítico que están los tiempos”.
      La relación del Gobierno cubano con los Testigos de Jehová ha sido tensa desde la llegada al poder de Fidel Castro. A muchos los internaron en las Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción (UMAP) que funcionaron en la Isla entre 1965 y 1968, mientras que otros fueron empujados a la clandestinidad y al exilio.
      La ojeriza oficial se mantiene hasta el día de hoy, pero desde hace algunos años las autoridades expiden permisos para que la congregación abra salones de encuentro. “Se nos permite reunirnos pero no hay un reconocimiento público de que existimos, que estamos aquí y no somos criminales ni malas personas”, apunta el enfermero.
      El estigma se siente con fuerza en la vida docente y laboral. “No hay un solo Testigo de Jehová que sea gerente de un hotel, administrador de una tienda en divisas o funcionario estatal”, asevera Mario Francisco. En su opinión, este grupo sigue siendo visto como “no confiable” para ciertos puestos de responsabilidad.
      El último informe sobre la Libertad Religiosa en el Mundo (2014), difundido por el Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos, revela que las autoridades cubanas continuaban controlando las actividades de los grupos religiosos de la Isla. Entre los más afectados estaban los Testigos de Jehová.
      A pesar de que la Constitución, vigente en la Isla desde 1976, promulga que “el Estado reconoce, respeta y garantiza la libertad religiosa”, la Oficina de Asuntos Religiosos del Partido Comunista vigila férreamente los permisos para la construcción de nuevas casas de culto.
      Los excesivos controles han fortalecido las redes informales que sirven a los Testigos para difundir sus creencias de puerta en puerta, ayudarse mutuamente en caso de necesidad o advertirse de peligros. Ahora han extendido esas redes a la búsqueda de empleo.
      A través de una llamada telefónica, un mensaje de texto o un correo electrónico remitido a los organizadores de la nueva bolsa de trabajo, los interesados remiten sus habilidades profesionales y datos de contacto. El proyecto cuenta con dos bases de datos, una pública y otra privada.
      La información pública podrá leerse en sitios de clasificados al estilo de Revolico y otros que circulan en el paquete semanal. Las ocupaciones aceptadas superan la veintena e incluyen desde la plomería hasta la cocina, la limpieza, la medicina y la orfebrería.
      “Muchas veces alguien nos pide un trabajador serio, honrado y responsable para un empleo y no tenemos maneras de localizar al hermano ideal para ese trabajo” explican sus promotores. El listado favorecerá a quienes hasta ahora se han visto perjudicados por los prejuicios.
      “Los testigos que sean contactados para un posible trabajo serán debidamente interrogados sobre sus creencias y su fidelidad en el servicio de Jehová”, aclaran. Una prueba que a Mario Francisco le parece necesaria. “Cuando me preguntan por mis creencias religiosas, normalmente es para no darme el trabajo… pero en este caso voy a responder sin miedo la pregunta”.
      http://www.14ymedio.com/nacional/Trabajador-serio-decente-busca-empleo-Cuba-Testigos_de_Jehova_0_2110588921.html
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      El huracán Matthew, el más poderoso del Atlántico en casi una década, dejó atrás la isla de Cuba y continúa curso rumbo a Bahamas y después a Florida, Estados Unidos.
      Matthew, ahora de categoría 3, tocó tierra en el extremo este de Cuba a última hora de la tarde del martes después de haber golpeado fuertemente República Dominicana, donde dejó cuatro muertos, y Haití, donde el saldo provisional es de cinco muertos, 14.000 desplazados y severos daños materiales.
      A territorio cubano, Matthew llegó como huracán de categoría 4. El ojo de la tormenta entró por Punta Caleta, en la provincia de Guantánamo, el martes a las 6 de la tarde y se mantuvo estacionario durante varias horas hasta que salió de la isla esta madrugada.
      Al dejar Cuba, las ráfagas bajaron a 215 km/h, aunque seguía siendo considerado de categoría 4. Los vientos huracanados se extienden a lo largo de 75 km alrededor del ojo.
      Se espera que Matthew siga en dirección norte durante las próximas horas y que el miércoles gire hacia el noroeste. Este jueves atravesará Bahamas y se espera que durante la noche pase "muy cerca" de la costa este de Florida.
      El Centro Nacional de Huracanes de Estados Unidos amplió las zonas de la península de Florida que considera en peligro de sufrir vientos huracanados el jueves.
      El paso por Haití y República Dominicana
      Además de dejar cuatro muertos, el huracán Matthew provocó daños en al menos 200 viviendas en República Dominicana, dijeron funcionarios después de que la tormenta sacudiera la isla que el país comparte con Haití.
      Las autoridades dominicanas se vieron obligados a evacuar a casi 800 personas. Las fuertes lluvias y los intensos vientos dejaron asiladas 31 localidades, informó el Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia local.

      En Haití, el huracán tocó tierra cerca de Les Anglais, en el extremo oriental del país, hacia las 7 de la mañana hora local (11 GMT).
      Informes desde la costa sur indican que varias comunidades quedaron anegadas.
      El alcalde de Les Cayes, Jean Gabriel Fortuné, le dijo a la BBC que casi todos los edificios de la ciudad habían perdido sus techos por los fuertes vientos y muchas de las casas más débiles habían sido destruidas.
      Mientras que las calles estaban inundadas por la marejada.

      El funcionario agregó que hubo numerosas muertes, aunque no precisó la cifra.
      Según el periódico Diario Libre, de República Dominicana, el Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia (COE) informó que cuatro personas habían muertoa causa de los deslizamientos de tierra producidos por las lluvias: dos niñas de ocho y diez años, un niño de cinco años, y un oficial retirado.
      El presidente interino de Hatí, Jocelerme Privert, dijo más temprano que algunas personas que no habían respetado las alertas habían muerto, pero no dio más detalles.
      Haití es uno de los países más pobres del mundo y muchos de sus 11 millones de habitantes viven en zonas propensas a las inundaciones y en viviendas endebles.
      El país no se ha recuperado del devastador terremoto de 2010 ni de una extensa epidemia de cólera que trajeron soldados de Naciones Unidas.
      Haití ha recibido un golpe brutal. Las condiciones aquí son atroces. Dar un paso fuera es igual a empaparse en cuestión de segundos.
       
      Los más vulnerables fueron quienes viven en las chozas a lo largo de la costa occidental. Allí, las grandes marejadas son el principal peligro.
      La gente aquí se enfrentan a inundaciones que amenazan sus vidas y la probabilidad de deslizamientos de tierra en un paisaje sin árboles.
      Esta tormenta de categoría 4 llega a este empobrecido país que todavía trata de recuperarse del terremoto de 2010 que mató a más de 200.000 personas, y una epidemia de cólera que llegó después del sismo.
      Muchos de ellos viven en los barrios marginales que ofrecen poca protección contra los fuertes vientos y lluvias. Y muchos se negaron a evacuar, por temor a que sus pocas pertenencias que les quedan fuesen robadas.
      Refugios
      Las autoridades haitianas informaron que se han construido unos 1.300 refugios, suficientes para acomodar a 340.000 personas. Los dos aeropuertos del país están cerrados.
      A pesar de que algunos haitianos han rehusado trasladarse a los refugios, un ciudadano de Puerto Príncipe aseguró que la comunidad se uniría para hacerle frente al peligro de la tormenta.
      "Estamos en comunicación entre nosotros por nuestros propios medios. Le informaremos al pueblo cómo está la situación. Si las cosas se ponen mal, nos uniremos".



      En Jamaica, el gobierno suspendió la alerta por huracán y la reemplazó por una advertencia de tormenta tropical luego de que el centro de Matthew cambiara su curso hacia Haití.
      "Evitamos lo peor del impacto, pero no creemos que estemos fuera de riesgo todavía", dijo Evan Thompson, director del Servicio Meteorológico del país.

      Tras golpear a Cuba, se espera que el huracán atraviese las Bahamas con una trayectoria noroccidental, pasando cerca de la costa este de Florida, en Estados Unidos.
      En este estado y partes de Carolina del Norte se ha declarado el estado de emergencia.
      "Impactos directos de huracán son posibles en Florida tarde esta semana", dice una advertencia del NOAA en su sito internet.

      El huracán Matthew es el más poderoso de la región desde Félix, en 2007.
      El Centro Nacional de Huracanes de EE.UU. también advirtió sobre la formación de una nueva tormenta tropical, Nicole, que se encuentra a 840 km al noroeste de San Juan Puerto Rico.
      Cuenta con vientos máximos sostenidos de 85 km/h con ráfagas más fuertes.
      http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-37548407
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The first time he attended the Pioner School, he did not have a book because of the persecution in Cuba. 

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      La primera vez que fue precursor en la escuela no tenía un libro a causa de la persecución en Cuba

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      La primera vez que fue precursor en la escuela no tenía un libro a causa de la persecución en Cuba

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The last direct flight carrying Cuban migrants out of Costa Rica arrived in Mexico on Tuesday, ending an effort to transport Cubans who have been stranded in Central America since mid-November.
      Nearly 8,000 Cuban migrants had been stuck in Costa Rica after Nicaragua, a Cuban ally, began denying them entry. As the flow of migrants began to bottleneck at the border of Nicaragua, Costa Rica in turn closed its border to new arrivals, forcing additional migrants to seek shelter in neighboring Panama.
      Panama and Costa Rica agreed on a solution to fly the migrants over Nicaragua to various cities in Mexico and El Salvador starting in January, from where they could continue north until they reached their destination: the U.S. border.
      “This has been a successful operation, which included organizing nine flights in a period of three weeks and which was made possible thanks to exceptional measures of support and collaboration on the part of Mexico, Panama and governments of the Latin American region for humanitarian reasons and from a viewpoint of shared responsibility,” Panamanian Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel De Saint Malo de Alvarado said Friday in a statement.
      Although most migrants were able to continue on their journey, all arrivals from Cuba after the end of the flight operation on March 8 have been left to comply with Panama’s standard immigration laws, according to the Latin American Herald.
      A small number of Cubans are still in Costa Rica as well, said Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, unable to make the journey north for various reasons, according to Agence France-Presse.
      The process has undeniably had its share of challenges, from lost passports to missing information and logistical setbacks. Tired of waiting in the shelters, approximately 2,985 migrants chose to take their chances with immigrant smugglers (although some reportsestimate the number is closer to 4,000).
      According to Costa Rican news source Tico Times, the Solís administration has sought to highlight Costa Rica’s respect for human rights after having helped cause the migration crisis in the first place. The country’s handling of the situation has been praised, and with good reason; Costa Rica issued 7,800 temporary transit visas to the Cubans in just four months, and sheltered 5,500 migrants in 44 locations across the country. These efforts were aided by dozens of families, community groups and religious organizations that helped provide both shelter and food.
      “We’ve never had such a large number of migrants together at one time,” President Solís told Tico Times on Friday morning, as one of the last planes carrying Cuban migrants left for Mexico. “Look how they’re leaving – they’re leaving happy and tranquil, thanking the people of Costa Rica.”
      The migration of Cubans to the United States has gathered speed in the past few years, with the renewal of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Many Cubans fear that the 1961 Cuban Adjustment Act will be eliminated, and with it, the opportunity to obtain residency in the U.S.
      Source: http://www.humanosphere.org/human-rights/2016/03/planes-carry-cubans-north-ending-long-standstill-central-america/

    • By Kurt
      An unprecedented crackdown on churches across the denominational spectrum in Cuba in 2015 has fuelled a spike in reported violations of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), according to a new report by CSW.
      Figures compiled by CSW, which are not exhaustive but which serve as an indicator of the level of FoRB violations, reveal a tenfold increase - with 2,300 separate violations recorded in 2015 compared to 220 in 2014. Many incidents involve involved entire churches or, in the case of arrests, dozens of victims. A digital illustration by CSW highlights the crackdown on churches in Cuba.
      The spike in cases was largely due to the government declaring 2,000 Assemblies of God (AoG) churches illegal, ordering the closure or demolition of 100 AoG churches in three provinces, and expropriating the properties of a number of other denominations, including the Methodist and Baptist Conventions. Legally registered and unregistered religious groups across the denominational spectrum reported varying degrees of hostility from the government.
      According to the report, “the consistently antagonistic relationship” between Caridad del Rosario Diego Bello, director of the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA), an arm of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party which oversees religious affairs on the island, and the leadership of many religious groups, “is evidence that the office exists solely to monitor, hinder and restrict the activities of religious groups.”
      In 2015, the ORA continued to deny authorisation for a number of religious activities and in cooperation with other government agencies, issued fines and threats of confiscation to dozens of churches and religious organizations. The ORA also sanctioned the arbitrary expropriation of historic, registered church properties and the actions against the AoG churches.
      CSW’s report also highlights “more brutal and public tactics” being employed by government agents than were witnessed in the first decade of the millennium:
      “Week after week, state security agents physically and violently dragged scores of women away from Sunday morning services. Most were arbitrarily detained until after the conclusion of religious services. The government continued to employ a strategy of frequent, temporary arbitrary detention to target those it views as political dissidents. This tactic is also applied to religious leaders who are viewed as problematic, for whatever reason, by the authorities…for the first time in four years a church leader was sentenced to and served six months in prison for holding unauthorised religious services.”
      In the face of intense pressure, many Christians are engaging in peaceful protest, as seen in the case of the attempted demolition of an AoG church in Santiago de Cuba in November 2015 which was thwarted after local Christians held a peaceful sit-in at the church building. On 8 January 2016, a large-scale government operation led to the mass arrests of several church leaders and the blocking of their communications devices while two churches were demolished, possibly to pre-empt a similar protest. Both churches belonged to the Apostolic Movement, an unregistered network of Protestant churches.
      CSW’s analysis suggests that the Cuban government is trying to eliminate the potential for social upheaval by cracking down on any and all groups that are calling, or could call, for social and political reforms alongside the limited economic reforms the government has enacted.
      CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “CSW doesn’t use the word ‘unprecedented’ lightly to refer to violations of freedom of religion or belief in Cuba in 2015. Following an upward trend in violations in recent years, 2015 witnessed a spike as the authorities deployed ever more public and brutal tactics to target churches across the denominational spectrum, regardless of their legal status. It is clear that despite promises of reform, the government is determined to maintain a tight grip on civil society, including churches. We commend the courage of religious groups who have spoken out publicly to denounce these violations and to call for the right to freedom of religion or belief to be upheld. We urge the international community to stand with them and to hold Cuba to account for these human rights violations.”
      CubaCrackdown
       
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    • After today's WT study I was reminded of how much simpler and clearer we have become. There are still some speculative elements there, but overall its nothing compared to some past WT studies, and although this might be slightly off topic here (but still on topic with regard to "difficult doctrine") I would just like to post one example from 1968. (WT 68/8/15)  Either people were more patient and studious than they are now, or even back then, perhaps only a handful were able to wrap their heads around this study. I will be bold enough to say many may have just heard "end in 1975", and that's it. Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975? 1, 2. (a) What has sparked special interest in the year 1975, and with what results? (b) But what questions are raised? WHAT about all this talk concerning the year 1975? Lively discussions, some based on speculation, have burst into flame during recent months among serious students of the Bible. Their interest has been kindled by the belief that 1975 will mark the end of 6,000 years of human history since Adam’s creation. The nearness of such an important date indeed fires the imagination and presents unlimited possibilities for discussion. 2 But wait! How do we know their calculations are correct? What basis is there for saying Adam was created nearly 5,993 years ago? Does the one Book that can be implicitly trusted for its truthful historical accuracy, namely, the Inspired Word of Jehovah, the Holy Bible, give support and credence to such a conclusion? 3. Is the date for Adam’s creation as found in many copies of the Bible part of the inspired Scriptures, and do all agree on the date? 3 In the marginal references of the Protestant Authorized or King James Version, and in the footnotes of certain editions of the Catholic Douay version, the date of man’s creation is said to be 4004 B.C.E. This marginal date, however, is no part of the inspired text of the Holy Scriptures, since it was first suggested more than fifteen centuries after the last Bible writer died, and was not added to any edition of the Bible until 1701 C.E. It is an insertion based upon the conclusions of an Irish prelate, the Anglican Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656). Ussher’s chronology was only one of the many sincere efforts made during the past centuries to determine the time of Adam’s creation. A hundred years ago when a count was taken, no less than 140 different timetables had been published by serious scholars. In such chronologies the calculations as to when Adam was created vary all the way from 3616 B.C.E. to 6174 B.C.E., with one wild guess set at 20,000 B.C.E. Such conflicting answers contained in the voluminous libraries around the world certainly tend to compound the confusion when seeking an answer to the above questions. 4. What have we learned in our previous study, and, hence, what are we now prepared to do? 4 In the previous article we learned from the Inspired Writings themselves, independent of the uninspired marginal notes of some Bibles, that the seventy years of desolation of the land of Judah began to count about October 1, 607 B.C.E. The beginning of this seventy-year period was obviously tied to its ending, that is, with the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C.E. So with 607 B.C.E. as dependably fixed on our Gregorian calendar as the absolute date of 539 B.C.E. we are prepared to move farther back in the count of time, to the dating of other important events in Bible history. For instance, the years when Saul, David and Solomon reigned successively over God’s chosen people can now be dated in terms of the present-day calendar. 5. What history-making events took place in 997 B.C.E.? 5 At the death of Solomon his kingdom was split into two parts. The southern two-tribe part, composed of Judah and Benjamin, continued to be ruled by Solomon’s descendants, and was known as the kingdom of Judah. The northern ten tribes made up the kingdom of Israel, sometimes called “Samaria” after the name of its later capital city, and were ruled over by Jeroboam and his successors. By our applying the prophetic time period of 390 years found in Ezekiel 4:1-9 with regard to Jerusalem’s destruction the death of Solomon is found to be in the year 997 B.C.E. This was 390 years before the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. ISRAEL’S ERRORS CARRIED 390 YEARS 6, 7. What time periods are referred to in Ezekiel 4:1-9? 6 Notice what is said on this matter by the prophet Ezekiel: 7 “And you, O son of man, take for yourself a brick, and you must put it before you, and engrave upon it a city, even Jerusalem. And you must lay siege against it . . . It is a sign to the house of Israel. And as for you, lie upon your left side, and you must lay the error of the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you will lie upon it you will carry their error. And I myself must give to you the years of their error to the number of three hundred and ninety days, and you must carry the error of the house of Israel. And you must complete them. And you must lie upon your right side in the second case, and you must carry the error of the house of Judah forty days. A day for a year, a day for a year, is what I have given you. . . . And as for you, take for yourself wheat and barley and broad beans and lentils and millet and spelt, and you must put them in one utensil and make them into bread for you, for the number of the days that you are lying upon your side; three hundred and ninety days you will eat it.”—Ezek. 4:1-9. 8. When did the carrying of the “error” of the southern kingdom end? 8 This chapter 4 of Ezekiel, was not recounting past historical events but was prophecy of future events. It was telling of the time in the future when the glorious city of Jerusalem would be besieged and its inhabitants taken captive, all of which occurred in 607 B.C.E. So the forty years spoken of in the case of Judah ended in that year. The “error” of the northern kingdom, said to be carried for 390 years, was nearly tenfold greater when compared with the error of Judah carried for 40 years. When, then, did these 390 years end? 9. What indicates the “error” of the northern kingdom also ended in 607 B.C.E.? 9 They were not terminated in 740 B.C.E., when Samaria was destroyed, for the simple fact that Ezekiel enacted this prophetic drama sometime after “the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin,” which would make the termination not earlier than 613 B.C.E., that is, 127 years after the destruction of Samaria by Assyria. (Ezek. 1:2) Since this whole prophetic drama plainly pointed forward to the destruction of Jerusalem, and since both the house of Israel and the house of Judah were in reality one inseparable covenant-bound people, the remnant of whom would not be a divided people upon their return from exile, there is only one reasonable conclusion, namely, the errors of both houses ran concurrently and terminated at the same time in 607 B.C.E. In this way the 70 years of desolation of the land of Judah ended 70 years after the termination of carrying the error of both houses, so that thus a remnant of both houses could return to the site of Jerusalem. 10. So when did the “error” of Israel begin? 10 If the “error of the house of Israel” ended in 607, its beginning, 390 years prior thereto, was in 997 B.C.E. It began the year that King Solomon died and Jeroboam committed error, yes, great error, in that Jeroboam, whose domain was ripped off from the house of David, “proceeded to part Israel from following Jehovah,” causing them “to sin with a great sin.”—2 Ki. 17:21. DATE OF EXODUS, 1513 B.C.E. 11, 12. What other event in man’s history are we now prepared to date, and with the aid of what key text? 11 Looking back into the distant past we see another milestone in man’s history, the never-to-be-forgotten exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, under the leadership of Moses. Were it not for Jehovah’s faithful Word the Bible, it would be impossible to locate this great event accurately on the calendar, for Egyptian hieroglyphics are conspicuously silent concerning the humiliating defeat handed that first world power by Jehovah. But with the Bible’s chronology, how relatively simple it is to date that memorable event! 12 At 1 Kings 6:1 we read: “And it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out from the land of Egypt, in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv, that is, the second month, after Solomon became king over Israel, that he proceeded to build the house to Jehovah.” 13, 14. (a) On the Gregorian calendar, in what year did Solomon begin to reign? (b) In what year did he begin the building of the temple? 13 With this information one has only to determine what calendar year Solomon began building the temple, and it is then an easy matter to figure when Pharaoh’s army was destroyed in the Red Sea. 14 “And the days that Solomon had reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel were forty years.” (1 Ki. 11:42) This means that his last full regnal year ended in the spring of 997 B.C.E.* Adding 40 to 997 gives 1037 B.C.E., the year that Solomon began his peaceful reign. He did not begin the temple building, as the account says, until the second month of the fourth year of his reign, which means he had ruled a full three years and one month. Thus subtracting 3 years from 1037 one gets 1034 B.C.E., the year that the building work began. The time of the year was the second month Ziv, that is, April-May. This, the Bible says, was “in the four hundred and eightieth year” after the Israelites left Egypt. 15. (a) Explain the difference between a cardinal and an ordinal number. (b) So when did the Israelites leave Egypt? 15 Anytime we put a “th” on the end of a number, for instance on the number 10, saying 10th, the number is changed from a cardinal to an ordinal number. When one speaks about playing baseball in the tenth inning of the game, it means that nine full innings have already been played, but only part of the tenth; ten innings are not yet completed. Likewise, when the Bible uses an ordinal number, saying that the building of the temple began in the 480th year after the Israelites left Egypt, and when that particular year on the calendar is known to be 1034 B.C.E., then we add 479 full years (not 480) to 1034 and arrive at the date 1513 B.C.E., the year of the Exodus. It too was springtime, Passover time, the 14th day of the month Nisan. HOW LONG SINCE THE FLOOD? 16. How far back in history have we now penetrated, and what are the prospects of probing even deeper? 16 Already with the help supplied by the Bible we have accurately measured back from the spring of this year 1968 C.E. to the spring of 1513 B.C.E., a total of 3,480 years. With the continued faithful memory and accurate historical record of Jehovah’s Holy Word we can penetrate even deeper into the past, back to the flood of Noah’s day. 17. In recounting Israel’s experiences, to what events and to what time period does Stephen refer? 17 Stephen, the first martyred footstep follower of Jesus Christ, referred to what Jehovah said would befall Abraham’s offspring. “Moreover, God spoke to this effect, that his seed would be alien residents in a foreign land and the people would enslave them and afflict them for four hundred years.” (Acts 7:6; Gen. 15:13) Stephen here mentions three of Israel’s past experiences: As alien residents in a foreign land, as people in slavery, and as people afflicted for four hundred years. 18. What argues against the conclusion that these events were separate experiences following one another in consecutive order? 18 It would be a mistake to assume that all three of these experiences were of equal duration, or that they were separate individual experiences that followed one another in consecutive order. It was long after their entrance into Egypt as aliens that they were enslaved, more than 70 years later, and sometime after the death of Joseph. Rather, Stephen was saying that within the same 400-year period in which they were afflicted, they were also enslaved and were also alien residents. 19. How do we know the Israelites were “aliens” before entering Egypt? 19 Please note that, when Stephen said they were “alien residents in a foreign land . . . for four hundred years,” he did not say and he did not mean to imply that they were not alien residents before entering Egypt. So it is a mistake to insist that this text proves the Israelites were in Egypt for four hundred years. It is true that, upon entering Egypt and being presented before Pharaoh for the first time, Joseph’s brothers said: “We have come to reside as aliens in the land.” But they did not say nor did they mean that up until then they had not been alien residents, for on the same occasion their father Jacob, when asked by Pharaoh how old he was, declared: “The days of the years of my alien residences are a hundred and thirty years.” And not only had Jacob spent his whole lifetime as an alien resident before coming to Egypt, but he told Pharaoh that his forefathers before him also had been alien residents.—Gen. 47:4-9. 20. When did these 400 years end, and when did they begin? 20 Since the affliction of Israel ended in 1513 B.C.E., it must have begun in 1913, 400 years earlier. That year would correspond to the time that Isaac was afflicted by Ishmael “poking fun” at him on the day that Isaac was weaned. At the time, Isaac was five years old, and this was long before the Israelites entered Egypt.—Gen. 21:8, 9. 21, 22. Were the Israelites 430 years in Egypt exclusively, and how do certain ancient manuscripts shed light on this point? 21 Well, then, how long were the Israelites down in Egypt as alien residents? Exodus 12:40, 41 says: “And the dwelling of the sons of Israel, who had dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came about at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, it even came about on this very day that all the armies of Jehovah went out of the land of Egypt.” 22 Here Ex 12 verse 40 in the Septuagint reads: “But the dwelling of the sons of Israel which they [and their fathers, Alexandrine MS] dwelt in the land of Egypt AND IN THE LAND OF CANAAN [was] four hundred and thirty years long.” The Samaritan Pentateuch reads: “IN THE LAND OF CANAAN and in the land of Egypt.” Thus both of these versions, which are based on Hebrew texts older than the Masoretic, include the words “in the land of Canaan” together with the word “Egypt.” 23. (a) So how long were the Israelites actually in Egypt, and how does Paul confirm this? (b) Explain the difference between the 400 and the 430 years mentioned in the Scriptures. 23 From the time that Abraham entered Canaan until Isaac’s birth was 25 years;* from that time until Jacob’s birth, 60 more years; and after that it was another 130 years before Jacob entered Egypt. All together this makes a total of 215 years, exactly half of the 430 years, spent in Canaan before moving in to Egypt. (Gen. 12:4; 21:5; 25:26; 47:9) The apostle Paul, under inspiration, also confirms that from the making of the Abrahamic covenant at the time the patriarch moved into Canaan, it was 430 years down to the institution of the Law covenant.—Gal. 3:17. 24, 25. The Flood began in what calendar year, and how long was this before Abraham entered Canaan? 24 By adding this 430 years to the 1513 it puts us back to 1943 B.C.E., the time when Abraham first entered Canaan following the death of his father Terah in Haran, Mesopotamia. It is now only a matter of adding up the years of a few generations to date the Flood correctly. The figures are given in Genesis, chapters 11 and 12, and may be summarized as follows: From start of Flood To Arpachshad’s birth (Gen. 11:10) 2 years To birth of Shelah (11:12) 35 “ To birth of Eber (11:14) 30 “ To birth of Peleg (11:26) 34 “ To birth of Reu (11:18) 30 “ To birth of Serug (11:20) 32 “ To birth of Nahor (11:22) 30 “ To birth of Terah (11:24) 29 “ To death of Terah in Haran, and Abram’s departure to Canaan at age of 75 (11:32; 12:4) 205 “ Total 427 years 25 Adding these 427 years to the year 1943 B.C.E. dates the beginning of the Deluge at 2370 B.C.E., 4,337 years ago. 6,000 YEARS FROM ADAM’S CREATION 26, 27. (a) How long before the Flood was Adam created? In what year? (b) What indicates that Adam was created in the fall of the year? 26 In a similar manner it is only necessary to add up the following years involving ten pre-Flood generations to get the date of Adam’s creation, namely: From Adam’s creation To birth of Seth (Gen. 5:3) 130 years To birth of Enosh (5:6) 105 “ To birth of Kenan (5:9) 90 “ To birth of Mahalalel (5:12) 70 “ To birth of Jared (5:15) 65 “ To birth of Enoch (5:18) 162 “ To birth of Methuselah (5:21) 65 “ To birth of Lamech (5:25) 187 “ To birth of Noah (5:28, 29) 182 “ To beginning of Flood (7:6) 600 “ Total 1,656 years 27 Adding this figure 1,656 to 2,370 gives 4026 B.C.E., the Gregorian calendar year in which Adam was created. Since man naturally began to count time with his own beginning, and since man’s most ancient calendars started each year in the autumn, it is reasonable to assume that the first man Adam was created in the fall of the year. 28. How does this chronology differ from Ussher’s in regard to Adam’s creation? 28 Thus, through a careful independent study by dedicated Bible scholars who have pursued the subject for a number of years, and who have not blindly followed some traditional chronological calculations of Christendom, we have arrived at a date for Adam’s creation that is 22 years more distant in the past than Ussher’s figure. This means time is running out two decades sooner than traditional chronology anticipates. 29. Why be concerned with the date of Adam’s creation? 29 After much of the mathematics and genealogies, really, of what benefit is this information to us today? Is it not all dead history, as uninteresting and profitless as walking through a cemetery copying old dates off tombstones? After all, why should we be any more interested in the date of Adam’s creation than in the birth of King Tut? Well, for one thing, if 4,026 is added to 1,968 (allowing for the lack of a zero year between C.E. and B.C.E.) one gets a total of 5,993 years, come this autumn, since Adam’s creation. That means, in the fall of the year 1975, a little over seven years from now (and not in 1997 as would be the case if Ussher’s figures were correct), it will be 6,000 years since the creation of Adam, the father of all mankind! ADAM CREATED AT CLOSE OF “SIXTH DAY” 30. What may occur before 1975, but what attitude should we take? 30 Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ will begin by then? Possibly, but we wait to see how closely the seventh thousand-year period of man’s existence coincides with the sabbathlike thousand-year reign of Christ. If these two periods run parallel with each other as to the calendar year, it will not be by mere chance or accident but will be according to Jehovah’s loving and timely purposes. Our chronology, however, which is reasonably accurate (but admittedly not infallible), at the best only points to the autumn of 1975 as the end of 6,000 years of man’s existence on earth. It does not necessarily mean that 1975 marks the end of the first 6,000 years of Jehovah’s seventh creative “day.” Why not? Because after his creation Adam lived some time during the “sixth day,” which unknown amount of time would need to be subtracted from Adam’s 930 years, to determine when the sixth seven-thousand-year period or “day” ended, and how long Adam lived into the “seventh day.” And yet the end of that sixth creative “day” could end within the same Gregorian calendar year of Adam’s creation. It may involve only a difference of weeks or months, not years. 31. What do the first two chapters of Genesis disclose? 31 In regard to Adam’s creation it is good to read carefully what the Bible says. Moses in compiling the book of Genesis referred to written records or “histories” that predated the Flood. The first of these begins with Genesis 1:1 and ends at Genesis 2:4 with the words, “This is the history of the heavens and the earth . . . ” The second historical document begins with Genesis 2:5 and ends with Ge verse two of chapter five. Hence we have two separate accounts of creation from slightly different points of view. In the second of these accounts, in Genesis 2:19, the original Hebrew verb translated “was forming” is in the progressive imperfect form. This does not mean that the animals and birds were created after Adam was created. Genesis 1:20-28 shows it does not mean that. So, in order to avoid contradiction between Ge chapter one and chapter two, Genesis 2:19, 20 must be only a parenthetical remark thrown in to explain the need for creating a “helper” for man. So the progressive Hebrew verb form could also be rendered as “had been forming.”—See Rotherham’s translation (Ro), also Leeser’s (Le). 32. What indicates the sixth creative day did not end immediately with Adam’s creation? 32 These two creation accounts in the book of Genesis, though differing slightly in the treatment of the material, are in perfect agreement with each other on all points, including the fact that Eve was created after Adam. So not until after this event did the sixth creative day come to an end. Exactly how soon after Adam’s creation is not disclosed. “After that [Adam and Eve’s creation] God saw everything he had made and, look! it was very good. And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, a sixth day.” (Gen. 1:31) After the sixth creative day ends, the seventh one begins. 33. (a) How do we know the end of the sixth creative day came very soon after Adam’s creation? (b) How does Genesis 1:31 prove the sixth day ended before Adam and Eve sinned? 33 This time between Adam’s creation and the beginning of the seventh day, the day of rest, let it be noted, need not have been a long time. It could have been a rather short one. The naming of the animals by Adam, and his discovery that there was no complement for himself, required no great length of time. The animals were in subjection to Adam; they were peaceful; they came under God’s leading; they were not needing to be chased down and caught. It took Noah only seven days to get the same kinds of animals, male and female, into the Ark. (Gen. 7:1-4) Eve’s creation was quickly accomplished, ‘while Adam was sleeping.’ (Gen. 2:21) So the lapse of time between Adam’s creation and the end of the sixth creative day, though unknown, was a comparatively short period of time. The pronouncement at the end of the sixth day, “God saw everything he had made and, look! it was very good,” proves that the beginning of the great seventh day of the creative week did not wait until after Adam and Eve sinned and were expelled from the Garden of Eden. 1975! . . . AND FAR BEYOND! 34. What has brought about a better understanding of Bible chronology? 34 Bible chronology is an interesting study by which historic events are placed in their order of occurrence along the stream of time. The Watch Tower Society over the years has endeavored to keep its associates abreast with the latest scholarship that proves consistent with historic and prophetic events recorded in the Scriptures. Major problems in sacred chronology have been straightened out either due to fulfillment of Bible prophecies or by reason of archaeological discoveries or because better Bible translations convey more clearly the records of the original languages. However, several knotty problems of chronology of a minor nature are not yet resolved. For example, at the time of the exodus from Egypt when Jehovah changed the beginning of the year from autumn time on the secular calendar to spring time on the sacred calendar, was there, in the Jewish calendar, a loss or a gain of six months?—Ex. 12:1, 2. 35. Why is this no time for indifference and complacency? 35 One thing is absolutely certain, Bible chronology reinforced with fulfilled Bible prophecy shows that six thousand years of man’s existence will soon be up, yes, within this generation! (Matt. 24:34) This is, therefore, no time to be indifferent and complacent. This is not the time to be toying with the words of Jesus that “concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matt. 24:36) To the contrary, it is a time when one should be keenly aware that the end of this system of things is rapidly coming to its violent end. Make no mistake, it is sufficient that the Father himself knows both the “day and hour”! 36. What helpful example did the apostles leave us in this regard? 36 Even if one cannot see beyond 1975, is this any reason to be less active? The apostles could not see even this far; they knew nothing about 1975. All they could see was a short time ahead in which to finish the work assigned to them. (1 Pet. 4:7) Hence, there was a ring of alarm and a cry of urgency in all their writings. (Acts 20:20; 2 Tim. 4:2) And rightly so. If they had delayed or dillydallied and had been complacent with the idea the end was some thousands of years off they would never have finished running the race set before them. No, they ran hard and they ran fast, and they won! It was a life or death matter with them.—1 Cor. 9:24; 2 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 12:1. 37. So what will you be doing between now and 1975? And beyond that, what? 37 So too with Jehovah’s faithful witnesses in this latter half of the twentieth century. They have the true Christian point of view. Their strenuous evangelistic activity is not something peculiar to this present decade. They have not dedicated their lives to serve Jehovah only until 1975. Christians have been running this way ever since Christ Jesus blazed the trail and commanded his disciples, “Follow me!” So keep this same mental attitude in you that was in Christ Jesus. Let nothing slow you down or cause you to tire and give out. Those who will flee Babylon the Great and this Satanic system of things are now running for their lives, headed for God’s kingdom, and they will not stop at 1975. O no! They will keep on in this glorious way that leads to everlasting life, praising and serving Jehovah for ever and ever!     You are referring to Luke 10:17,18 "Then the 70 returned with joy, saying: “Lord, even the demons are made subject to us by the use of your name.” At that he said to them: “I see Satan already fallen like lightning from heaven".  But one of the cross references to Satan falling is Revelation 12:7-9   "And war broke out in heaven: Miʹcha·el and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled 8  but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them any longer in heaven. 9  So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him". I wonder why, since as you say we are to understand that it referred to the power Satan had over Jesus and his disciples. In a way no, but I think we are meant to see that the world in general was brought into more of a turmoil than it had been before, with the world warring on a worldwide scale, with lethal weapons capable of total world destruction I am thinking rather than using the word "defeat" (because Satan won't be defeated until after the 1000 years) the purpose of the battle in heaven in 1914 was to cleanse the heavens of his evil presence. Then during Armageddon it will be to bind him and put him in "jail" for a period of time. So no, I don't think there are several stages of defeat.   We are to believe that what changed after the battle in 1914 was the world in general.   Yes indeed. But how fatal would it really be if we ignored Jesus words about not knowing the day or hour?
    • The music video for Lionel Richie's "Hello" directed by Bob Giraldi, attracts attention as it tells the story of a music teacher (played by Lionel Richie) who falls in love with his blind student. "Hello is it me you're looking for?" is quite an insensitive pick up line to use on a blind woman.   Ah, the 80s, when people thought teachers stalking their disabled students was romantic...    
    • Quote @b4ucuhear " For example, we realized that the “superior authorities” mentioned in Romans 13:1 are, not Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, but the political rulers " BUT the original teaching by the Bible Students was that the 'superior authorities' was the political rulers. It was fully understood in the first place. So, why was false reasoning used to give false teaching ? Obviously no Holy Spirit involved there. So you cannot say that it was new light or better understanding when it was originally known anyway 
    • “We Must Obey God as Ruler Rather Than Men”  This is something that not sound to me as doctrine. This sound as standpoint. Also we have to take context. Apostle responded with this statement as position on Sanhedrin's command that they must not preaching....about what? Peter and John answered: “We cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard.”  Well, this is original context. Some other examples speaking about similar things where JHVH and Jesus' servants refused to do something or have done something. Life has got to be more complexe through centuries, so we have now more explanations and interpretations how should look like today's reality of "obey god rather than man". Even things about education come to be viewed through this sort of glasses. Advice to not going to higher education coming from "spiritual place" as god's instruction through GB. Not obeying counsel/advice/recommendation in this matter is considered as not putting god on first place in life. But contrary, own selfish ambitions. As consequence this could be understand that you listen/obey yourself and not god.  About what JW's of today can making claim as apostles did? What things JW today "have seen and heard"  that make their standpoint so firm to obey god as ruler? They have seen and heard only their faith and beliefs. Because they have not seen and heard nothing similar what apostles or first christians experienced.   And this is good way how system making doctrines that sounds like "the truth". And after some time you will read new articles with similar explanation :))) ... year after year. ● At times there are changes in viewpoint on Biblical subjects discussed in the Watch Tower Society’s publications. We speak of what we believe as “the truth.” But does “truth” change? Yes, it changes. Because you believe in new, advanced knowledge. "The Truth" should not to be knowledge, but Principle. Because Principle is older than this what we calling "the Truth". Even in JW understanding when they speaking about something that is so firm and deep, unchangeable, they using word "Principle" not word "Truth". Principles in Old Testament, for example, that stood behind some laws of Moses, are visible in New Testament too.  In that context we can talk about Moses Law as "The Truth". Perhaps old Israel people used same or similar wording to describe what they think and feel about God' Words. But this kind of "Truth" and their "Truth" are gone. (Not completely, because we have Israel of today.) So, "The Truth" was changed, even more, with time it had been abandoned gradually by new formed Jew congregations. "Old truth" became useless as sort of knowledge about what, how, when and why to be practiced in daily life. Principles stayed. Love God, love neighbor are most known.
    • ronan keating singing a song from the film notting hill   Keith Whitley - When You Say Nothing at All  
    • This song does make you want to "hustle" in whatever you are doing. 😉  
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