Raul Castro Visits Devastated Areas in Eastern Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 29 (acn) Cuban president Raul Castro visited on Sunday Santiago de Cuba to asses the damages in that eastern Cuban city, stricken by Hurricane Sandy last Thursday.
Raul arrived in Santiago leading a group of top officials, including First Vice-President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, VP Adel Yzquierdo, and several ministers, reported the National Television Newsreel.
The delegation was briefed by First Secretary of the Communist Party in that province, Lazaro Exposito, on the main damages; especially in four municipalities where over 130,000 houses were partially or completely destroyed.
Exposito said the electric grid, agriculture, communications infrastructure, the school and health systems, and production centers were severely affected. Transportation and commerce scratched to a halt in the first hours after the passing of the storm, but have gradually started to provide services again.
Raul urged the local authorities in the eastern provinces of Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo to use efficiently the resources the central government allocated in that area to help solving the people’s problems as soon as possible.
On his way to Santiago, Raul stopped in central Ciego de Avila province where he received information on the conditions resulting from the heavy rains associated to Hurricane Sandy. There, the president of the Council of Defense, Felix Duarte, reported no damages in the agriculture and on the other hand situation was favorable for the reservoirs that had received millions of cubic meters of water.
Raul asked the leaders of the central provinces to send larger supplies of agriculture products to Eastern Cuba, especially to the provinces battered by the hurricane.
Cuba: Victims of Hurricane Sandy Start Receiving Construction Materials
GUANTANAMO, Cuba, Oct 29 (acn) Members of the over 7600 families in the easternmost province of Guantanamo, whose houses had their rooftops damaged to certain extent by Hurricane Sandy, are receiving now asbestos cement sheet to repair them.
“We knew the Revolution would never forget about us; we always had encouragement and support” said, visible moved, Maricel Veitía, a young neighbour of the Costa Rica People’s Council in the municipality of El Salvador.
Over 17,600 asbestos cement sheets were already delivered, out of the 45,000 the Cuban government allocated in Guantanamo, a province that along Holguin and Santiago de Cuba were severely pounded by Hurricane Sandy with sustained winds of over 110 miles per hour and stronger gusts.
The president of the Costa Rica People’s Council Lorna Mirás said over 600 houses had their roofs partially damages while 56 had lost them completely.
“The Revolution is already coming with its “reconstruction hurricane” and soon our shire will be prettier” she said.
In all Guanatanmo towns, people are receiving these sheets. Estimates place the number of partially destroyed roofs at over 6000 while a fourth more are totally gone, like the one in Maricel’s house where she lives with her 82 year old grandmother, her mother and a sister.
Truck driver Ariel Abreu said they have their trucks ready with their drivers to move as many sheets as possible. “I am now in Costa Rica with 1200 sheets, and later I will drive to Las Tunas to fetch metallic carpentry”
In Guanatanamo the population and the local authorities are working together to heal the scars let by Sandy in its wake.
International Artists Performance for Hurricane Sandy Victims
Holguín, Cuba, Oct 27 (Prensa Latina) Artists from Colombia, Chile and Cuba, attending the XVIII Fiesta de la Cultura Iberoamericana,went to perform in Báguano municipality in Holguin,which is one of the most hard hit by Hurricane Sandy in this eastern province.
In an act of soldarity and altruism memebers of the Brigada Artística Internacional de Solidaridad (BAIS)worked in an improvise set for the town people of that area, still without electric power and lacking basic services.
Cuban children and adults saw the colombian dancing company Tequendama, the artistic work of chilean photographer Marcia Cifuentes, the music band Zenda and the Puppet Theater from Holguín.
International Ballet Festival of Havana Kicks Off in Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba , Oct 29 (acn) The XXIII International Ballet Festival of Havana kicked off this Sunday in the Avellaneda hall at the National Theater of Cuba, with a parade of all generations of dancers led by prima ballerina Alicia Alonso.
After this traditional ceremony, Alicia Alonso was acclaimed by the audience, when she appeared on stage at the newly revamped theater hall.
Miguel Diaz-Canel, Vice President of the Cuban Council of Ministers, attended the inauguration and praised the event that has charmed people of several generations, he said.
This festival, he said, is thanks to Alicia Alonso, Fernando Alonso and many others who have made possible the existence of a Cuban School of Ballet and a company recognized throughout the world, a troupe that legitimizes us from its birth to the present day.
Every two years the festival becomes a meeting of solidarity, peace and love in a special way and this year marks the 64 anniversary of the birth of this dance group, whose artistic work that has contributed to the development of Cuban and universal culture.
Today, it takes place after a hurricane devastated part of Cuba, but is made with affection and human solidarity and through the ballet comes a message of peace and optimism, with the conviction that a better world is possible, he added.
“Let’s have then the miracle of dance and let’s all dance to the beat of beauty,” he concluded.
The inaugural function included the choreography “En la noche “ by Jerome Robbins, with music by Chopin and a live piano performance by Leonardo's Milanes and starring Viengsay Valdes, Sadaise Arencibia, Yanela Piñera, Yaniel Gomez, Victor Estevez and Arian Molina.
The closing ballet was La fille mal gardée, choreography by Alicia Alonso on the original by Jean Dauberval and performances by Anette Delgado and Dani Hernandez.
Cuba´s Minister of Culture Rafael Bernal attended the event, as well as other personalities of art and politics.
The Festival will run through November 7, and it is attended by dancers, choreographers and personalities from Argentina, USA, Canada, Chile, France, Mexico, Norway, Puerto Rico, Great Britain, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Italy and the host country.
Ecuadorian Deputy Minister Calls in France End Blockade vs.Cuba
Paris, Oct 29 (Prensa Latina) The U.S. blockade against Cuba must end immediately because it constitutes a dangerous violation of human rights, Ecuadorian Deputy Foreign Minister Marco Albuja said here.
In remarks to Prensa Latina, Albuja claimed Washington to comply with the resolutions adopted by the U.N. General Assembly that has opposed to that economic, commercial and financial siege in 20 consecutive occasions.
It's not fair that one country can impose its will on an overwhelming majority of nations that claim to lift the blockade, the Ecuadorian deputy minister said during a visit to France.
In 2011, some 186 countries voted in favor of the cessation of that unjust policy that, up to December 2011, has caused losses to Cuba of more than $1.066 trillion dollars, considering the depreciation of the U.S. dollar against the value of gold in the international market.
The Cuban people are suffering the unjust punishment the United States has imposed upon it, he said.
On November 13, the U.N. General Assembly will vote on the island's report about the negative consequences of the blockade.
Not only the United Nations, but also in other international forums, Ecuador is quite beside the Cuban people, the deputy foreign minister said.
Albuja chaired the Ecuadorian delegation to the second session of political consultations with France, in which he discussed bilateral and multilateral issues.
His visit was part of a tour that also included Russia and Belarus. The objective is to strengthen ties, deepen political dialogue, and discuss new cooperation agreements.
El Salvador in Solidarity with Cuba and the Cuban Five
San Salvador, Oct 29 (Prensa Latina) The 4th Congress of Solidarity with Cuba put new wind in the sails of the movement in El Salvador to support the people of that nation and call for the cessation of U.S. aggression against Cuba.
Raul Martinez, president of the Salvadoran Coordinating Committee of Solidarity with Cuba, said that willingness was expressed in agreements reached by hundreds of participants at the meeting.
The event was held on Sunday at the University of El Salvador, and was attended by Vice President of the Republic Salvador Sanchez Ceren, other personalities, legislators, and political leaders of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).
In the final statement, participants expressed their decision to increase campaigns for the release of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters imprisoned in the U.S. for more than 14 years. They approved creation of a combative front to continue demanding that the U.S. government immediately end the more than 50 year criminal and immoral blockade of the Caribbean nation.
Another agreement is to incorporate people's organizations and religious bodies in activities to demand the release of the five antiterrorist fighters and end the U.S. blockade and aggressions against Cuba.
In the same sense, delegates decided to promote greater participation in such actions by artists, intellectuals, writers, and other representatives of Salvadoran culture.
In addition, the departmental committees of the Coordinating Committee established Internet blogs tto help distribute information in support of Cuba and reject lies campaigns against the Revolution in that country.
Maria Eugenia Guerrero, sister of Cuban antiterrorist fighter Antonio Guerrero, and the representative of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Yamil Martinez, participated as guests at the Congress.
Maria Eugenia read a message of greeting from her brother, on behalf of the five antiterrorist fighters, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Rene Gonzalez and Guerrero.
The Five, as they are known internationally, were detained on September 12, 1998, in the U.S. city of Miami. A biased trial held there in 2001 condemned the men to prison terms ranging from 15 years to two life sentences plus 15 years.
Cuba Reduced Infant Mortality Rate to 4.5 this Year
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 26 (ACN) Cuba reported a reduction of its infant mortality rate to 4.5 deaths in every live births so far this year.
Health authorities told Cuba television that the achievement was thanks to the efforts and work of health specialists throughout the country, who were also able to lower the maternal mortality indicator, according to PL news agency.
Cuba’s achievements in the area compare to infant mortality rates in highly developed nations, said the health authorities.
The island reported a 4.9 percent infant mortality rate last year, an indicator that kept the island in a leading position in the Americas among the countries that reported indicators below five percent.
Puerto Rican Candidate to the Senate in Solidarity with Cuba
San Juan, 27 oct (Prensa Latina): Puerto Rican social activist José Parilitici, who is runing for the Senate on the Movimiento Unión Soberanista (MUS) ticket, express his solidarity with Cuba, Haití and Jamaica after Hurricane Sandy hit those countries with high winds and heavy rains.
He said that he is ready to offer help to those borther peoples in those countries where the meteorological event cause heavy material damages and lost of lives.
Paralitici,played a leading role in the struggle for the US Navy to leave Vieques Island, and now is running for the puerto rican Senate in the 6 of novemeber elections.
As a historian and journalist he has always been linked to caribbean affairs as a member of the now disbanded
Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño (PSP) and as a reporter for the left wing weekly, Claridad.
FIHAV, Major Promoter of Cuban Foreign Trade
Havana, Oct 29 (Prensa Latina) Over the years, the Havana International Fair (FIHAV) has gained importance in promoting trade relations between Cuba and the rest of the world, an sector''s source said.
The 13th edition of that trade fair, starting November 4 through 10, will be a further demonstration of the consolidation of this event, Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, told exclusively to Prensa Latina.
As in previous occasions, FIHAV 2012 will be distinguished by the presence of numerous government delegations and Chambers of Commerce.
Also with the visit of representatives from other organizations promoting trade and foreign investment, the also chairman of the organizing committee said.
Some of the delegations will be led by ministers and other senior officials, confirming the recognition of the authorities from other countries to the importance of this event.
According to Malmierca, the most important thing is the extensive participation of companies from over 60 countries and the intensive program of activities to be held during the fair.
This includes business meetings, business forums, and other interesting proposals for participants, the minister stated.
Sandy Could Become a Hurricane Threatening Eastern Cuba Tonight
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 24 (ACN) In its latest advisory on Wednesday at 6 a.m. the Cuban Meteorology Institute alerts that Tropical Storm Sandy is gaining intensity and could reached Cuba as a Hurricane category 1 in evening hours.
The forecast center with the Meteorology Institute warns the population in eastern Cuba about the strong and intense rains and strong winds that could affect half of the eastern part of the island.
With maximum and sustained 110-kilometer-per-hour winds and higher gusts, Sandy was located at 155 kilometers south of Kingston, Jamaica and at 410 kilometers Southwest of Santiago de Cuba.
The storm is moving northwards at 22 kilometers per hour and it is expected to gain in organization and intensity and turn into a hurricane before reaching Jamaica on Wednesday morning. Sandy is could make landfall in a point between the eastern Cuban provinces of Granma and Guantanamo tonight, said the Institute.
The forecast center also alert of strong and intense rains from central Sancti Spiritus province all the way east up to Guantanamo. Strong tropical storm and hurricane winds will be produced along with surge on the southern Cuban coasts.
As a consequence of recent rains, Cuban soils are saturated, which poses a threat to be followed by pertinent authorities.
Fidel Castro Praises Nutritious Properties of Moringa and Mulberry
Havana, Oct 24 (Prensa Latina) The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, praised again today the properties of Moringa Oleifera and mulberry plants as nutritious alternatives.
Moringa, "originally from India, is the only plant that has every kind of amino acid. With proper planting and management, its green-leaf production can exceed 300 tons per hectare in a year. It has dozens of medicinal properties," Fidel said in an article posted at the Cubadebate website, in response to a reader.
"Its effects on the digestive system are very good as with all plants, apart from its high protein qualities, but people should not eat more than 30 grams per day, depending on intestinal motility. Some people can handle more. I know some who consume more in the form of tea, or powder, with excellent results due to its sedative qualities which are helpful for rest," the Cuban leader said.
He states that "samples of seeds from different varieties have been provided to the agricultural research institutes in our country. We will soon know more about their potential. From my point of view, the greatest benefit for the population lies in its qualities as animal feed, for the production of meat, milk, eggs, and even fish farming."
According to Fidel Castro, "Morera complements this important quality of Moringa...It has been the basis for silk production through a biological process developed by the Chinese people over thousands of years, using silkworms. The main varieties we have come from that country, but different varieties are currently being developed in other parts of the world, some of which we have recently received."
In another part of his article, Fidel states that "Latin America and the Caribbean, as a whole, have land, water, and energy resources without need to promote the production of gas obtained from shale through hydraulic fracturing as is done in the United States, with proven risks to the health of the citizens of that country, as certain serious media have begun to reveal."
Cuban Parliament President Highlights Turnout at Local Elections
HAVANA, Oct 24 (ACN) Cuban Parliament president Ricardo Alarcon stressed the huge turnout in the most recent elections of delegates to municipal assemblies of People’s Power, or local governments.
In statements to Cuban TV, Alarcon said that the Cuban electoral process is going well and with the support by the people’s huge and genuine participation.
According to the National Electoral Commission (CEN), over 8 million 100 thousand Cubans exercised their voting right in the first round of municipal elections held on Sunday. The huge turnout represented 91.9 percent of the voters’ registration.
The parliament president recalled that over one thousand constituencies will hold a second round of elections on Sunday October 28, because none of the candidates in those areas got more than 50 percent of the votes.
The top parliamentary official underscored the responsibility of municipal governments in the country’s current and future transformations and changes.
These transformations are aimed, among other goals, at providing local governments with more authority and larger participation in the country’s economy and society; so delegates will have to boost and control people’s power activities at their levels, said Alarcon.
Three LatAm Doctors Call for Cuban 5 Honoring Washington
Lima, Oct 24 (Prensa Latina) Three Latin American physicians urged in this capital for the release of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly held in the United States, in a tribute to George Washington.
The claim to U.S. President Barack Obama to pardon Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando Gonzalez, and Antonio Guerrero was raised during a tribute at the monument to the U.S. independence leader in the Lima square that bears his name, few meters from that nation's embassy.
Bolivian doctor Juan Tola, and Argentine's Dario Valenzuela and Milco Figueroa, who are travelling South America by motorcycle evoking the juvenile travels made by revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, went to the memorial to lay a wreath.
The three youth graduated in Cuba stressed the unjust nature of the detention 14 years ago of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters, and the disproportionate sentences without having committed those crimes.
Activists from the Peruvian Committee of Solidarity with the Cuban Five, led by its president, Gustavo Espinoza, attended the event. He highlighted the welcome given by many organizations to the solidarity physicians.
Activists of 43 Countries to Attend Colloquium on Cuban Five
Havana, Oct 23 (Prensa Latina) Some 280 delegates from 43 countries have confirmed their attendance to the 8th Colloquium of Solidarity with the Cuban Five, according to organizers.
Traditionally held in Holguin province, in eastern Cuba, the event is expected to gather over 300 delegates from some 50 countries, delegate from the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) in Holguin, Amaury Torno, told Prensa Latina.
The objective of the meeting, scheduled for Nov.28 - Dec.1st, is to coordinate actions for the release and return to Cuba of Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino and Fernando Gonzalez, who were detained in 1998 and given harsh sentences in US prisons for monitoring Miami-based terrorist groups operating against Cuba.
The gathering is also expected to increase solidarity and step up international strategies to spread their case in all possible forums.
The program of the meeting includes an exchange with relatives of The Cuban Five, setting up Tents for Peace and a cycling tournament.
The ICAP delegate said in an on-line message that visitors will also be able to see first hand the running of Cuba’s economic model updating.
Cuba Condemns All Terrorist Methods, Actions
Havana, Oct 23 (Prensa Latina) Cuba condemns all terrorist methods and actions no matter who commits them or what their excuses are, including those carried out by states, said Rodolfo Benitez, Deputy Director of Multilateral Affairs of the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.
In an interview granted to Prensa Latina, the diplomat provided specific details of the actions Cuba has carried out to tackle that scourge, such as its passage of Law 93 in 2001, which defines all actions of international terrorism as serious crimes and establishes severe sanctions against terrorists.
Benitez emphasized that Cuba has backed and strictly implemented the resolutions on terrorism approved at the United Nations.
Regarding the inclusion of Cuba on the list of supposedly terrorist countries drawn up by the United States, Benitez considered it an embarrassing and politically motivated decision aimed at trying to justify the continuity of the blockade imposed on the island for more than 50 years.
"Washington’s double standards are proven, given that as long as it includes Cuba in that list, it intends to ignore the fact that our country has been a victim of terrorist actions, probably more than any other country, actions that are mostly financed and organized from U.S. soil," stated Benitez.
According to official reports, nearly 3,500 Cubans have died and more than 2,000 left disabled as a result of terrorist actions promoted by the United States since the triumph of the Revolution.
Benitez also stressed that Washington has not responded to Cuba’s proposal, issued in 2001, to sign a bilateral agreement to fight terrorism.
Cuba: Preliminary Results of Sunday’s Elections, Announced
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 22 (acn) The president of the National Electoral Commission (CEN), Alina Balseiro, described on Monday the preliminary results of Sunday's elections throughout the country as a new victory of the revolutionary process.
During a meeting with the press at Havana’s Central Computing Club, the head of the top electoral body announced that more than eight million 100,000 Cubans exercised their right to vote, which represents 91.9 percent of citizens called to go to the polls.
Balseiro, after stressing that the CEN is presently absorbed in the validation of the election’s data, underlined that, after counts at polling stations during the early hours of Monday, seven million 338,569 ballots were valid, 4.9 percent were blank, and 4.4 percent were declared null.
The official told the press that 14.07 percent of candidates elected on Sunday are young people and 33.57 percent women, which she considers an example of the importance given by the people to these segments of the Cuban population to represent them.
She informed that the second round of the elections of candidates to delegates of the municipal assemblies of the People’s Power, which will take place next Sunday, will include approximately 4,000 electoral colleges, pertaining to 410,000 constituencies.
This second round has been scheduled for constituencies in which candidates obtained less than half of valid votes or ties occurred.
Lastly, after praising the high turnout and discipline of the people on Sunday’s elections, Balseiro pointed out that elections were affected by adverse weather conditions in some areas of the central and eastern parts of the country, which caused delays to count the votes in 14 municipalities.
Cuban Legal Changes Strengthen Delivery of Idle Land
Havana, Oct 23 (PL) Legal changes in the delivery of idle land will come into force as of December, Granma newspaper reported.
The changes are based on the application of Decree-Law 259 and statements sourcing from community discussions of the draft program from the Communist Party of Cuba, the daily said.
Another influential factor in the changes is the most recent accounting for land use, the report stated. Decree-Law 300 reflects certain elements in the delivery of idle state lands in usufruct, which led to the repeal of Decree-Law 259 in order to open the opportunity to extend land area to 67.10 hectares (five acres).
That delivery is set for individuals linked to a State Farm with legal status, Basic Units of Cooperative Production (UBPC), and Agricultural Production Cooperatives (CPA).
Such producers, according to the law, should already own land, keep it in full production, and fulfill their legal and contractual obligations, says the Granma article.
To do this, the country authorizes the owners of land to be linked to the aforementioned contract state farms, UBPC or CPA.
Decree-Law 300 and four additional rules, including all released in Official Gazette number 45, are intended to strengthen the delivery of idle land, and ensure sustainability in operation, authorities said.
Cuban University Extends Studies on the Island, Caribbean
Santiago de Cuba, Oct 22 (Prensa Latina) The University of Oriente, the second founded in Cuba, will extend its study program here and on the Caribbean, through the sixth edition of a master''s program promoting research on different features of development in the region.
Dr. Heber Perez, academic coordinator for the Cuba-Caribbean Center which sponsors postgraduate courses, told Prensa Latina that more than 120 professionals from the eastern provinces, Camaguey and Sancti Spiritus, have been trained at that institution since 2009.
Perez said that the study program is three years in length and students from Angola, Switzerland, Ecuador and Mexico are among its graduates.
One of the main results of the master's program, said the member of the Cuban History Academy, is the book "Pensar el Caribe" (Thinking the Caribbean), containing five essays about the Caribbean region, along with dozens of other volumes and articles published both in and outside the country.
Cuba Hosts International Television Festival
Havana, Oct 23 (Prensa Latina) Television directors from about 30 countries will participate in the International Television Festival "Cuba 2012," starting today through October 25 at the capital''s Conference Center.
We expect to meet 100 delegates from abroad, and 105 of Cuba, from many television specialties, Caridad Rojas, executive secretary of the organizing committee, said at a local television.
According to Rojas, the event aims to exchange and marketing of audiovisual products, and promote cooperation and recognize the artists participating through a national spot contest entitled "Imagen de Cristal".
The member of the organizing committee also stated the holding for a first time of an Expo-Fair, also at the Havana's Conference Center, with the participation of about 23 exhibiting companies.
In remarks to local media, Rojas said that the closing gala will be held on Thursday, October 25, at the Havana's Karl Marx Theater, with figures such as Buena Vista Social Club with Omara Portuondo, Havana de Primera band, and Juan Formell and his group, Los Van Van.
Cuba Closed September with over 100,000 Tourists more than in 2011
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 22 (acn) Cuba received until September a total of 106,277 tourists more than in the same period of the previous year, announced on Monday the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI).
According to the ONEI’s Web site, two million 170,067 tourists arrived on the island during the first nine months of 2012, a figure that represents a 5.1 increase in this period.
Varadero, together with the hotel facilities of Jardines del Rey and the Santa Maria cay continue to be favorites of those coming to Cuba to enjoy its sun and beaches.
Sunday’s Municipal Vote Concluded Satisfactorily, Electoral Authorities Say
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 22 (ACN) Sunday’s round of elections to vote delegates to the Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power or local governments concluded satisfactorily throughout Cuba, said the vice-president of the National Electoral Commission Rosa Charroo.
At 5 p.m., just one hour before most voting stations closed on Sunday, 7 million 889 thousand 314 citizens had already voted, which stands for 89.61 percent of the over 8 million eligible voters called to the polls.
We are very satisfied with the huge turnout and the enthusiasm of the population, said Charroo, who highlighted the work of electoral authorities, the organization and discipline of voters during the election of those with the best merits and qualities to represent the people at local government offices.
The voting hours were extended in some municipalities in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey and Ciego de Avila, and in a voting station in Sancti Spiritus due to heavy rains affecting those territories.
Meanwhile, the president of the National Electoral Commission Alina Balseiro said that in some regions communication systems were affected by the bad weather, which forced authorities to resort to alternatives already foreseen in those cases to achieve the appropriate flow of the information.
Where the power system was affected communications were backed by small power generators.
Some 14 537 delegates to local government were elected among over 32 thousand candidates proposed throughout the country in September.
A second round of elections will take place October 28 in those constituencies where none of the candidates got over 50 percent of the valid votes.
Fidel Castro Votes in Cuba's Municipal Elections
Havana, Oct 21 (Prensa Latina) The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, exercised his right to vote on Sunday in the elections of delegates to the People''s Power municipal assemblies.
Fidel Castro sent his ballot to polling station 1, in the electoral district 13, in the downtown Havana neighborhood of El Vedado, in Plaza de la Revolucion municipality, where he has voted since 1976.
Raul Castro Votes at Municipal Elections
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 21 (ACN) Cuban President Raul Castro cast his ballot at Cuba’s municipal elections in early morning hours on Sunday. Raul exercised his right to vote at a voting station in the Havana municipality of Plaza de la Revolucion.
The Cuban leader greeted local electoral authorities at the voting station and after casting his ballot he also congratulated the pioneer children guarding the ballot boxes for meeting an important duty.
Cubans Vote in Support of Sovereignty and Economic Updating
Havana, Oct. 22 (Prensa Latina) Cubans turned out en masse to vote for some 14,500 representatives, in what is considered a show of support for the island´s socialist project and the socio-economic changes underway.
With only partial results tallied, nearly 8 million Cubans were shown to have voted in the first elections held since the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party held in April 2011 set up guidelines for moving forward with changes meant to result in higher productivity and a more efficient economy.
By 5 p.m., an hour before the close of polling stations, the National Electoral Commission (CEN) reported that 89.61 percent of the 8.5 million citizens registered to vote had already done so, even despite rain which caused polling hours to be extended in certain areas.
Rosa Charroó, Vice President of the CEN said that the vote, held in some 29,585 schools throughout the nation, was a unmistakable sign of support for the Revolution and Cuba´s democratic system.
CEN statistics show that since 1976 when the first general elections were held, more than 90 percent of the electorate has always participated.
Justice Minister Maria Esther Reus told Prensa Latina that the people´s exercise of their democratic rights is also a sign of their support for the updating of the country´s economic model.
Moreover, she pointed out that voting is entirely voluntary and demonstrates Cubans´ civic-mindedness.
"It´s something we have that people who live in other countries do not; the ability to freely exercise one´s right to vote, without pressure, in order to choose those who we consider best able to represent us," she said.
Tree Planted by Che Shelters Asia-Pacific Solidarity with Cuba
Colombo Oct 22 (Prensa Latina) Along with a mahogany tree planted by Ernesto Che Guevara in Sri Lanka 53 years ago, Asia and Pacific participants renewed their vows to foster friendship with Cuba at the end of a regional meeting on Sunday in solidarity with the Caribbean nation.
Under a strong downpour, more than 200 delegates swore by the living symbol to continue supporting the Cuban people's battles, as they had recently made when signing the final declaration of the event.
The mighty tree was planted by the legendary Argentine-Cuban guerrilla fighter in August 1959, when he visited Sri Lanka, as part of an Asian tour.
Fresh flowers placed at the trunk injected new energy into the ties between Cuba and the representatives from 52 friendship associations, political parties, parliaments, and non-governmental, youth, students and women organizations from 22 countries in the region.
Speeches were given by former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, and Dinesh Gunawardena, president of the Association of Sri Lanka-Cuba Friendship and Minister of Water Supply and Drainage.
Sri Lanka hosted successfully the 6th Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba, with a large and combative attendance.
The event also demanded an end to the United States economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba, as well the immediate release of five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly held in the U.S. prisons since 1998 for monitoring terrorist activities by South Florida-based anti-Cuba groups.
Preparations for Solidarity Congress with Cuba Begin in El Salvador
San Salvador, Oct 21 (Prensa Latina) The first activities of the 4th Congress of Solidarity with Cuba began on Sunday in the western city of Sonsonate, said organizers of the event, scheduled for October 28. Raul Martinez, president of the Salvadoran Coordinating Committee of Solidarity with Cuba, stated that similar activities in the capitals of the country's departments will be carried out throughout the coming week.
Asked by Prensa Latina, Martinez said a march to support the Cuban people and government is taking place on Sunday in Sonsonate, about 70 kilometers west of San Salvador.
During the pre-congress meetings held in that city, activists will analyze issues such as the struggle for the immediate release of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly held in the United States since 1998.
That demand and the denunciation of the biased trial and injustice committed against Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino and Rene Gonzalez are priorities for the Coordinating Committee, Martinez said.
Other topics to be analyzed are the condemnation and denunciation of the U.S. blockade against Cuba for over 50 years, and other U.S. aggressions on the Caribbean nation.
Doctors in Solidarity with Cuban 5 Busy in Peruvian Capital
Lima, Oct 22 (Prensa Latina) Three young doctors who are touring South America by motorcycle will begin two days of intense activity on Monday in the Peruvian capital, discussing the case of the Cuban Five, anti-terrorist fighters who have been unjustly imprisoned in the United States.
The Bolivian doctor Juan Tola, along with Argentinean colleagues Dario Valenzuela and Milco Figueroa, will visit the General Confederation of Workers (CGTP), and meet with leaders there.
They will also hold a press conference and meet with organizations in solidarity with Cuba and with solidarity activists working to free the Cuban prisoners Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzalez.
The Five were imprisoned 14 years ago in the U.S. while collecting information about attacks being plotted against their country by terrorist organizations tolerated and sponsored by the U.S. government.
The Latin American doctors arrived last night at the town of Puente Piedra, well north of Lima, and were greeted jubilantly by leaders and activists from the Peruvian Committee of Solidarity with the Five and other organizations.
In an interview with Prensa Latina, the doctors expressed appreciation for the welcome and the receptivity expressed by the citizens of Peruvian cities seen in their travels since October 10, when they arrived in Peru from Ecuador.
Tola, Figueroa and Valenzuela, who graduated in Cuba, have named their solidarity tour "Sowing Pathways," inspired by the youthful motorcycle journeys of the Argentine-Cuban revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, throughout Latin America.
So far in Peru they have traveled about 400,000 kilometers and visited the cities of Tumbes, Piura, Sullana, Chiclayo, Trujillo and Chimbote. From Lima they will travel to the south on Wednesday and then on to Bolivia.
Canadians Pay Tribute to Che Guevara
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 18 (ACN) Canadian activists announced a series of activities for November, in Vancouver, to pay homage to Cuban-Argentinean guerrilla fighter Ernesto Che Guevara and in support of the cause of the five Cuban antiterrorists held in the U.S. since 1998.
The coordinator of local communities in Vancouver, Tamara Hansen sent ACN an email message announcing that the 5th International Conference on Che Guevara, the cause of the five Cuban heroes and in support of the Cuban Revolution will open November 2.
Since these actions kicked off in 2008, over 1700 activists have attended sessions focused on 35 Cuba-related issues, including international solidarity with the island.
Guest of honor to the conference for the third year in a row is Che’s daughter, doctor Aleida Guevara, the message reads.
On November 5th, activities will conclude with a forum that will recall the legacy of Che during a year that marked his 85th birthday and the 45th anniversary of his assassination in Bolivia.
Activists in Vancouver, one of the major territories of Western Canada, have expressed their support of Cuba with actions condemning the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba and other acts aimed at violating the island sovereignty.
Cuban Families are Owners of 85 Percent of all Homes in the Country
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 22 (ACN) Cuban families currently own nearly 85 percent of the houses in the country, while only six percent of the housing stock belongs or is linked to state entities.
The rest is under rental system, or are rooms, rural homes and other kinds of places, according to the most recent 2011 report by the Housing Institute.
The housing stock was reported at nearly 4 million homes, with 60 percent of them built after the 1959 victory of the Cuban Revolution. Most of them are houses and apartments.
A fact that tells about the improving of the people’s quality of life is that 75 percent of the total number of homes is located in urbanized areas, with an average occupation of 3.4 inhabitants per every home. However, 63 percent of those housing units are considered as in good technical conditions and 37 percent in regular or bad shape, due to their aging or lack of appropriate maintenance, either by the state or the population.
The situation improved over the past decade, particularly in historic city centers, where vulnerability and risk studies are carried out by the local Environment Agency. These studies contribute to construction projects while bearing in mind the damage inflicted by 10 hurricanes that affected the island between 2001 and 2008, which caused the loss of one million homes.
A decree law adopted 28 October 2011 eased legal actions related to the donation, permutation, sales and purchase of homes.
Fidel Castro Denounces Media Deception, Lies
Havana, Oct 22 (Prensa Latina) The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, said today that although many people in the world are deceived by the media which is almost completely in the hands of privileged and wealthy owners who publish garbage, generally speaking, people are less and less taken in by such lies.
"All it took was a message to the graduates from the first course of the Victoria de Girón Institute Medical Sciences to set it off", the Cuban leader said in a note published at the Cubadebate website entitled "Fidel Castro esta agonizando" (Fidel Castro is on his deathbed).
In the article, Fidel also noted that the news agencies "added the most unusual stupidities in their dispatches." Similarly, he stated that Spain's ABC newspaper had reported that a Venezuelan doctor, "residing who knows where," claimed that the Cuban leader had suffered a massive embolism in his right cerebral artery.
Fidel pointed out that the doctor had insisted, "I can say we will not see him again publicly," and added that "nobody likes to be deceived, even the most incorrigible liar who is waiting for the truth to be told."
Fidel Castro pointed out how "in April 1961, everybody believed the news published by the wire services that the Bay of Pigs mercenary invaders were on their way to Havana, when in fact certain of them were struggling to board boats back to the Yankee warships that had escorted them."
The Cuban leader added,"people learn and resistance is growing against the capitalist crises that recur with increasing frequency; no lies, repression or new weapons, will prevent the collapse of an increasingly unequal and unjust system of production."
In another part of his note, Fidel Castro referred to the October missile crisis and how agencies had identified three culprits: "Kennedy, a newcomer to the empire's leadership, Khrushchev and Castro. Cuba had nothing to do with nuclear weapons, nor the needless slaughter at Hiroshima and Nagasaki perpetrated by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, where the tyranny of nuclear weapons was established. Cuba was defending its right to independence and social justice," the revolutionary leader said.
In the final paragraphs of his remarks, the Cuban leader said "I enjoy writing and so I do, I enjoy studying and so I do. There is plenty to do when it comes to knowledge. Never, for example, have the sciences advanced at such astonishing speed."
Fidel Castro stated that he stopped publishing his Reflections "because my role is certainly not to take up space in our press, which is devoted to other tasks required by the country."
"Vultures! I don't even remember what a headache is. As an evidence of what liars they are, I am furnishing some photos along with this article," the Cuban leader stated.
Fidel Castro Meets Former Venezuelan Vice President
Havana, Oct 22 (Prensa Latina) The leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, met this weekend with former Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua on his visit to the island, national media reported.
After a five-hour meeting on Saturday, October 20, Fidel Castro accompanied the current gubernatorial candidate for the state of Miranda, in Venezuela, to the capital's National Hotel, Jaua told Juventud Rebelde.
According to the politician and leader from Venezuela's United Socialist Party, Fidel Castro "is very well, and quite lucid."
"Commandante Fidel was kind enough to greet us yesterday. We spent five hours talking about agriculture, history, international politics and, well, Fidel is fine," the Venezuelan leader said.
Jaua showed reporters some photos where he is pictured together with the leader of the Revolution.
For his part, National Hotel director Antonio Martinez said Fidel Castro is "very happy, with a constant smile and talking about many things. Fidel will be with us for awhile," he said, quoted by Juventud Rebelde.
Cuba Updates its Migration Policy
As part of the work undertaken to update the current migration policy adjusting it to prevailing conditions in the present and the foreseeable future, the Cuban government has decided to forgo the required Travel Permit as well as the Letter of Invitation.
Therefore, as from January 14th, 2013, it will only be necessary to submit the ordinary passport, duly updated, and the visa issued by the country of destination, in those cases when it is required. The ordinary passport will be issued to the Cuban citizens who meet the requirements of the Migration Law, as modified in compliance with these provisions. Such Law will come into effect ninety days after its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba.
Those already in possession of an ordinary passport, issued before this decision is valid, should request from the corresponding authorities of the Ministry of the Interior its updating absolutely free of charge. Likewise, those with a valid Travel Permit will be able to depart without any additional procedure.
It has also been decided that Cuban residents travelling overseas on private affairs will be permitted to remain there for a period of twenty-four months, counting from the date of departure. For a longer stay, they will be required to obtain the corresponding evidence of extension of stay from a Cuban consulate.
The updating of the migration policy takes into account the right of the revolutionary state to defend itself from the aggressive and subversive plans of the US government and its allies. For this reason, those measures aimed at preserving the human capital created by the Revolution from the theft of talents practiced by the powerful nations shall remain in force.
In due course, other measures related to the migratory issue will be adopted that will certainly help in the consolidation of the efforts being made by the Revolution towards the full normalization of Cuba’s relations with its emigrants.
Today, the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba is publishing the Law Decree of the State Council modifying the current Migration Law as well as other supplementary regulations.
Additional information on the procedures required by the law and other specificities concerning the country’s migration policy are available to the people at the Dirección de Inmigración y Extranjería and its voice message through phone number 2063218; Portal del Ciudadano Cubano: www.ciudadano.cu; and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba: www.cubaminrex.cu. (HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 16)
Cuba Ready for Municipal Elections
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 15 (ACN) Cuba is ready for the first round of municipal elections to take place October 21, according to the National Electoral Commission (CEN).
A dynamic drill carried out on Sunday throughout the country yielded positive results that proved the efficient operations of voting stations, said CEN president Alina Balseiro.
The test allowed evaluating the performance of voting stations, communication systems and the results of the training received by electoral authorities at all levels, Balseiro noted and she went on to explain, however, that in some areas the flow of information was affected by rains and electrical problems, which led to the activation of alternative mechanisms.
The rigorous assessment of material conditions forced the transfer to a second location of some voting stations and revealed the need to complete materials necessary to carry out the vote in some areas.
The official announced that one of Cuba’s TV channels will air information on the electoral process Monday and Tuesday, particularly aimed at the youths, since 200 thousand youngsters will vote for the first time in the upcoming elections.
The first round of municipal elections will take place October 21, with a second round on the 28 for those constituencies where none of the candidates gets more than 50 percent of the valid votes.
Concert for the Cuban Five Held in Madrid
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 15 (ACN) An emotive music concert dedicated to the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters held in the United States was hosted by the Madrid-based Galileo Galilei center.
Organized by the Madrid’s Committee for the Release of the Cuban Five, the concert included Cuban and Spanish singers, who joined their voices for the freedom of Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramón Labañino and Rene Gonzalez, internationally known as the Cuban Five.
The concert is part of international actions that kicked off September 12 to mark the 14th anniversary of the incarceration of the five Cuban heroes, who were given extremely long sentences for having monitored US-based terrorist organizations.
The gala included songs whose lyrics in favor of the release of the Cuban Five and against the US economic blockade of Cuba, including a poem titled “From the Solitude of my Window,” written by Antonio Guerrero.
Many messages of solidarity with the Five were read at the event, which was attended by Cuban ambassador to Spain, Alejandro Gonzalez and diplomats from other Latin American countries.
Ramón Labañino and relatives of the Five sent their deepest gratitude to the concert, and stressed their honor of counting on the strong support of the Spanish friends.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Cuban Friendship Institute in Spain, Jesus Bayos, expressed his appreciation for the concert in the name of his organization and the Cuba mission in Madrid.
Numerous world personalities and organizations have claimed the release of the Cuban Five, who were arrested September 12, 1998 in Miami after they alerted their country on US-hatched terrorist actions.
Book on Fidel Castro Presented in Montevideo
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 15 (ACN) Cuban researcher and journalist Katiuska Blanco presented her book on Fidel Castro, titled Guerrilla of Time, in Montevideo, Uruguay. The two-part book encompasses several conversations with the Cuban Revolution leader, whose ethical principles and early interest in social justice were stressed by the author during the presentation.
He (Fidel) is a man of future time, said Blanco during the book-launching ceremony at Montevideo’s 35th International Book Fair, where she was accompanied by Cuban presidential advisor Abel Prieto, according to PL news agency.
Responding to questions by the audience, the autor recalled passages of Fidel Castro’s relations with historic leaders of the Cuban Revolution, such as his brother Raul Castro, current Cuban President, and with commanders Camilo Cienfuegos and Ernesto Che Guevara.
As to the impact by Che’s death on the Fidel Castro, Blanco recalled an article by writer and journalist Jorge Timossi, titled “Fidel’s Dreams,” in which the author says that Fidel had told him that he used to dream of Che alive.
During the ceremony, which was attended by Uruguayan personalities in the world of culture and politics and diplomats, Abel Prieto said that the book depicts Fidel in a very personal manner. He stressed the family context in which Fidel Castro grew up, and how he always rejected injustice in his childhood, adolescence and youth.
In statements to PL news agency, Katiuska Blanco referred to her impressions in presenting the book in Uruguay by stressing what she called the marvelous relations linking Cuban and Uruguayan intellectuals, such as Mario Benedetti and Eduardo Galiano.
Blanco described as extraordinary the Uruguayan contribution to the education of Cuban children, particularly at difficult times when Uruguay backed a special edition of books on National Hero Jose Marti, a work she said was the dream come true of intellectual Cintio Vitier.
She said that all this facts came to her mind with special value at the time she brought the image and passages of the life of Fidel Castro to Montevideo.
Cuba to Host International Agriculture Congress
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 15 (ACN) Cuba will present its most recent technological achievements in the setting up and use of watering and drainage systems, during the 2012 International Agricultural Engineering Congress that will take place October 16-19 in Havana.
Maria Amalia Hernandez, member of the event’s organizing committee told reporters that experts, directives, business people and researchers from Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Mexico and Venezuela confirmed attendance of the Congress.
The forum, which will be held at the Cojimar Conventions Center, east of the city capital, was organized by the Agricultural Engineering Research Institute with the Cuban Agriculture Ministry and it will also assess the efficient use of conventional and renewable energy sources; climate change and food security linked to water resources.
Guatemalans Condemn US Blockade of Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 15 (ACN) Guatemala’s Organization in Solidarity with Cuba and the Peoples called a demonstration on Monday to condemn the over-50-year US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.
The organization, which groups members of parties such as Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) and the New Nation Alliance, plus a dozen of social groups, will urge Washington to lift its siege on Cuba.
Speaking with PL news agency, URNG’s Mayra Godoy described the blockade as a inhumane, unfair and illegal policy, which is rejected by most countries of the world as it has been proven at the UN General Assembly over the past 20 years.
The activist recalled that the international community’s claim against the blockade—186 countries voted against the US measure last year—is turned a deaf ear by the United States, which keeps reinforcing its hostile Cuba policy, thus inflicting huge material damage on the Cuban people.
Documentary “Maestra” to Launch in Los Angeles
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 11 (acn) La Femme International Film Festival will debut the documentary “Maestra” by Catherine Murphy on Saturday in Los Angeles.
The film is a 30 minute documentary paying tribute to the thousands of young Cuban women that participated in the 1961 literacy campaign. Approximately 50 thousand teenage girls launched a practically impossible task and helped construct a new society at the ages of 16 and 17, said Catherine Murphy who spend almost 10 years researching in archives, searching for teachers of the time and taping an oral history of their experiences.
The La Femme International Film Festival is the largest women’s event in the US with the participation of renowned movie stars. The festival kicked off on Thursday and will run until Saturday with the presentation of over 100 independent, short and documentary, commercial films and musical videos.
Actresses like Susan Sarandon and Daryl Hannah will reportedly be on hand. For more information on the documentary “Maestra” on one of Cuba’s most important achievements, visit www.maestrathefilm.org.
Che is Present in the Struggle of the Peoples of Latin America, says Cuban Commander
SANTA CLARA, Cuba, Oct 8 (acn) Commander of the Revolution Ramiro Valdes, stressed the validity of the ideology of Ernesto Che Guevara in the current struggle of the peoples of Latin America.
In the act for the 45th anniversary of the assassination of the Heroic Guerrilla, the leader referred to the pride Che would feel for the new electoral victory of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
The ceremony was attended also by Ricardo Alarcon, president of the National Assembly of People's Power, and Miguel Diaz-Canel, vice president of the Council of Ministers, all members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC)
During the ceremony at the Ernesto Guevara Sculptural Ensemble, of this city, where the remains of the Argentine-Cuban doctor and some of his comrades in Bolivia, he evoked the path of Che, from the meeting with Fidel in Mexico, to his guerrilla struggles in other countries.
Valdes highlighted the international projection of the hero, who set a paradigm in the struggles for the world's dispossessed.
He stated that Che is often seen only as a man of action, and that is needed to praise as well his ideas in the development of socialism, when he advocated for proper accounting, raising productivity and the use of moral and material incentives, mobilizing of workers, among other ideas.
The tribute to Che began with a wreath at the statue of the hero and the performance by Vionaika Martinez along the group Danza del Alma of the song “Por los Andes del Orbe” by Tania Castellanos.
The ceremony was attended by students, workers and members of the Ciro Redondo Eight Column, which Che led the invasion to the West.
During the ceremony people enjoyed the performances of troubadour Gerardo Alfonso, with his song “Son los Sueños Todavía”; the Creole Quintet, along with a big band, with the melody Hasta Siempre Comandante by Carlos Puebla.
Cuba Urges UNESCO to Make Changes
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 9 (acn) Cuba urged UNESCO today to make steady changes to become a rejuvenated and vibrant organization, rooted in its founding principles and internationally recognized for its contribution to development.
Juan Antonio Fernandez, Cuba's representative to the Executive Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said this organization needs a change of mind with a new humanism.
Prensa Latina relates that in his address to the 190 session of the Executive Council, held in Paris, Fernandez said that today's world’s main problems remain unresolved, such as the growing gap between rich and poor, lack of job opportunities for young people, poverty, illiteracy and the savage capitalism that cultivates selfishness, war and plunder of natural resources.
Fernandez called to restore the balance between the natural and social sciences, and the use of their contributions in the discussion and solution of economic, political, and social problems.
Cuba´s official said that UNESCO´s default crisis -because of the financial blackmail of its main contributor (USA) - must be taken as an opportunity for structural reform of the organization, making it more efficient so as to regain its leading role in the international arena.
The Cuban diplomat urged UNESCO not to move away from its original programs and not to deviate from its true purpose.
French Association Rejects U.S. Blockade and European Common Position on Cuba
HAVANA , Cuba, Oct 8 (acn) Cuba Cooperation, a French Solidarity-with-Cuba Association, reiterated its rejection of the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade and also to the so-called common position of the European Union on Cuba.
The nongovernmental entity emerged in 1995, first as a form of opposition to the U.S. blockade and then to promote collaboration and those goals still remain in force, told Prensa Latina news agency Victor Fernandez, the new president of the association.
The organization adopted a resolution that intends to establish committees to support Cuba in all French territory, to become a national institution.
Fernandez said that the common position is an interventionist policy promoted in 1996 by the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, which drastically limits relations with Cuba, and it is a violation of the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
This association brings together politicians, businessmen and people interested in helping the Cuba and they say that there can be constraints on cooperation between peoples.
Fernandez explained that the organization currently carries out several projects, including the water treatment of the Metropolitan Park, in Havana and the rehabilitation of Tomás Terry Theater, in Cienfuegos, with funding from a French government agency and Veolia Foundation.
Cuba Cooperation also participates in cultural events, exhibitions and launching Literary Prize of Victor Hugo House.
Finally he added that a delegation will visit Cuba in November to inaugurate Cienfuegos trade school and also to analyze cooperation in other areas.
Cuba Organizes Workshop on 1962 Missiles Crisis
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 9 (acn) The Cuban Academy of History has organized the scientific workshop “50th Anniversary of the October Crisis” considering the historical and political significance of the events of 1962 known as the October Crisis or Missiles Crisis.
Granma newspaper reported that the workshop will start on the 19th, from 9:30 am, in the Hall of Mirrors at the Museum of the Revolution in Havana, with the participation of renowned experts and protagonists of the events.
The program also includes panels that will discuss issues related to the Crisis: reflections and debates 50 years away, Operation Mongoose, the Revolutionary Armed Forces and October 62, The October Crisis and the principled position of Cuba, among others .
Cuba and Brazil Review their Economic Relations
Havana, Cuba, Oct 8 ( acn) Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment , will meet today in Sao Paulo with Paulo Skaf, president of the Brazilian Federation of Industries, with whom he discussed the progress of the ties between Cuba and Brazil .
Malmierca arrived this Sunday in Sao Paulo to participate in the VII Cuba- Brazil Working Group Meeting for trade and economic relations , said Prensa Latina news agency.
The Cuban Minister is accompanied by deputy ministers, business leaders and diplomats, who will meet with their Brazilians counterparts of tourism , energy and telecommunications.
Cuban Tourism Deputy Minister Xiomara Martinez will talk with Brazilian tour operators to expose the benefits and development of the tourism industry in Cuba .
Cubans have planned contacts with biopharmaceutical entrepreneurs from Sao Paulo, which is considered the main economic and financial center of Brazil.
Cuban delegation is also made up of Ambassador Carlos Rafael Zamora, Marcia Cobas and Rosell Guerra , Deputy Ministers of Health and Basic Industry respectively, as well as banking executives and managers of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center.
Cuban official representation will move tomorrow to Brasilia , capital of the South American country , where it will be received by top government officials .
This visit is part of an agreement to improve trade and socioeconomic links undertaken by both governments after the visit to Havana last January by President Dilma Rousseff.
Brazil is Latin America's second trading partner of Cuba , after Venezuela. In 2011 trade between the two countries exceeded 45 percent the previous year , and in the first half of 2012 , there was an increase of eight per cent over the same period of the year before.
US Delegation Speaks with Jurists in Cienfuegos
CIENFUEGOS, Cuba, Oct 8 (acn) Students and educators of the US Eastern Kentucky University spoke on Monday with members of the National Association of Jurists in central Cienfuegos province.
During the exchanges, the foreign visitors took an interest in Cuba’s legislative system, environmental laws and higher education.
Chuck Fields, professor of criminal justice, told ACN that these meetings make it possible for students to know more about the country’s reality and hold exchanges with their counterparts.
He said that the group is made up by students of specialties like Ethnographic Studies, History, Africa’s presence in the Americas and Law.
Fields pointed out that, with the purpose of encouraging and preparing them for these meetings he gave them materials on Cuba’s culture and society, as well as on the history of the Revolution.
He stressed that many US citizens ignore aspects of life on the island, which makes these trips more important.
The US professor also underlined that he intends to maintain these visits every year and invite students and professors from other specialties and courses.
Eugenio Mayon, representative of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples in the province, informed that, during their stay, the US visitors will meet with neighbors of a Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).
Venezuelan Diplomat Highlights Example of Che
SANTA CLARA, Cuba, Oct 8 (acn) Venezuela’s ambassador to Havana, Edgardo Ramirez, said on Monday in this city that attending the ceremony for the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Ernesto Che Guevara had a significance of respect, solidarity and love.
In statements to the press, the diplomat added that at Complex of Monuments named after the Heroic Guerilla you feel a sensation of union, rebelliousness and above all of strength against the Empire.
Che’s example has special value, both for the peoples of Cuba and Venezuela and also for mankind as a whole, for which he represents for peace, justice and liberation against a colonizers, he expressed.
Cuban Women’s Federation Has New Leader
HAVANA, Cuba , Oct 8 (acn) Teresa Amarelle Boué was elected Secretary General of the Cuban Women’s Federation (FMC), replacing Yolanda Ferrer Gómez, who has led the grassroots organization for five years.
Amerelle Boué, 48, was the First Secretary of the Communist Party in the eastern province of Las Tunas, and she is a major in History and Social Sciences, with several years of experience as a teacher.
According to Granma newspaper, the FMC Plenary acknowledged the leadership of Ferrer Gomez, who for many years performed several roles in the organization with great responsibility and dedication.
Meanwhile Amerelle Boué is a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (PCC) and a Deputy in the Cuban National Assembly of the People´s Power.
The Plenary was presided over by the Second Secretary of the PCC Jose Ramon Machado Ventura.
Raul Reiterates Call to Work with Rigor and Discipline
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 1 (acn) Chaired by Army General Raul Castro, an expanded meeting of the Council of Ministers was held on Friday, September 28, which had as its first point on the agenda the situation of non-payments between December 2011, and July, 2012.
While referring to this matter, the President of the councils of State and Ministers underlined the need to work with rigor and discipline to eliminate lack of organization, which leads to waste, theft and negligence. We have to abide by agreements reached and respect laws, since otherwise it will be very difficult to advance in the updating of the country’s economic model.
Next, Marino Murillo, vice-president of the Council of Ministers, informed about adjustments made to the policy of retail prices in accordance with Guidelines 66 to 71 approved by the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party. Their main objectives are aimed at establishing the principles for the formation of prices for the population with a comprehensive approach, and to guarantee monetary balance between the incomes of the population and retail mercantile circulation. He considered that the proposal now made, after profound studies, is aimed at adapting the policy of retail prices to the ongoing updating of the island’s economy.
The Head of the Permanent Commission for the Implementation and Development also explained the reorganization of the Textile and the Leather and Footwear enterprises, in accordance with Guideline 238 approved by the 6th Party Congress referred to the reorganization and restructuring of the business system of the Light Industry, which will contribute to eliminate excess structures and staff, favoring an increase in efficiency.
Later, Leonardo Andollo, second head of the Permanent Commission for Implementation and Development, explained the proposals to perfect the institutes of Physical Planning and Housing, a decision that has as a starting point the changes approved in procedures related to the transfer of house ownership and the strengthening of the country’s territorial and urban order.
As part of this restructuring process, it was agreed to turn the Housing Institute into a general department of the Construction Ministry, in charge of leading, executing and controlling the policy of the State and the government with respect to the construction, maintenance and refurbish of houses.
In this regard Raul considered that a meticulous work had been done, however, he specified, this is only the beginning of restructuring.
Lastly, Domestic Trade Minister Mary Blanca Ortega informed the members of the Council of Ministers about the development of the renting of places to self-employed workers linked to activities of personal and technical services, in keeping with Guideline 308 of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution.
The President of the councils of State and Ministers assessed that the implementation of the new forms of management represent another step ahead in the updating of the Cuban economic model, which contribute to free the State from these activities to devote itself to others of greater strategic importance for the country’s development.
Alarcon Reiterates Importance of Solidarity with The Five
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 1 (acn) Spreading and strengthening the solidarity movement in the United States in support of the five Cuban heroes unfairly incarcerated over the last 14 years in that country will contribute to their return, reiterated on Monday Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon.
In his speech at the opening of the academic year of the University of Havana’s Senior Citizens Department, Alarcon updated participants on the legal situation of the case of The Five, to whom this new academic period is dedicated.
The campaign of hatred of the Miami media against these antiterrorists, which declared them guilty before the beginning of the trial in that city, has distorted and silenced the case for US citizens, pointed out Alarcon, who is also a member of the Cuban Communist Party’s Politburo.
For this reason, to advance in a solidarity movement that gets to the United States and grows as social strength in that nation is the main challenge to pressure President Barack Obama to set these men free so they can return to their families, he stated.
It’s a battle in which we all have to participate, highlighted Alarcon in the presence of relatives of these fighters, proclaimed honorary members of this Department since 2005.
Cuban Historians Call for Support of Venezuela
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 2 (ACN) Cuba’s National Association of Historians (UNHIC) called on Cuban citizens and foreigners residing on the island to sign the declaration titled “Our Solidarity with Bolivarian Venezuela.”
The declaration signing will take place on Thursday, October 4, at the Historian’s Center, in Havana, in an action coordinated with the Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Activists.
Historians, professors, scholars, artists, students and people in general will visit the place and stamp their signatures on the document, in support of the Bolivarian Revolution and the reelection of its leader Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias.
UNHIC president Felipe Perez Cruz told ACN that after signing the declaration all participants can take part at lectures, debates on the realities and challenges of the sister Latin American nation.
On Thursday, just three days before the electoral battle takes place in Venezuela, honest citizens from around the world will ratify in Havana their support of the Venezuelan Revolution and its people, who are building and defending a promising future.
Washington Hinders Cuban Band Performance in Puerto Rico
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 2 (ACN) The popular Cuban music band “Los Van Van” was prevented from giving scheduled concerts in the Puerto Rican cities of San Juan and Mayaguez following the US denial of an entry visa to drummer and music director Samuel Formell.
Concert producer Leo Tizol said in a press release that Bill Martinez, who was in charge of the visa request, was notified by the US Department of State about the visa denial, Granma newspaper reported.
Tizol said that at certain point they considered taking on another drummer, but it was not possible, since Samuel is also the stage music director, and that they would appeal the US decision.
At the same time, a US court will open hearings on Sunday on the cancelling of a Cuban music festival in Miami that was to include Cuban musicians, such as Juan Formel and Los Van Van; David Calzado and his Charanga Habanera Band, Buena Fe Duet; Moneda Dura and Pachito Alonso, who would join US musicians on the stage.
The World Cuban Music Festival was scheduled to take place April 9, 2011 at Homestead Speedway, 40 kilometers from Miami city, but the owners of the place cancelled the concert under the pretext that they were not given all the information.
Concert organizers denied the arguments and filed a lawsuit demanding a one-million-dollar compensation for the loss inflicted after the cancelling of the event and the failure to honor the contract.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the concert organizers said that the speedway place owners were under pressure by right-wing sectors and by Miami-Dade legislator Lynda Bell, who publically promised to prevent the event from taking place.
Relations between Cuba and Tanzania Strengthen
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 1 (acn) The historic bonds between Cuba and the United Republic of Tanzania were assessed on Monday during a meeting between the president of that country of East Africa, Jakaya M. Kikwete, and Cuba’s ambassador to that nation, Ernesto Gomez, who will soon conclude his mission there.
Kikwete acknowledged the excellent state of bilateral relations and especially thanked the Caribbean island for its help in the spheres of health, education and the training of human resources, as informed by the Cuban embassy from Dar es Salaam, one of the main Tanzanian cities.
He reaffirmed the willingness of this people to continue supporting the cause of the Caribbean nation at international forums, particularly in the struggle for the lifting of the US blockade imposed on Cuba for over half a century now.
The Tanzanian head of state recalled his official visit to the island in 2009, when he went to the Sierra Maestra Mountains, the Moncada Barracks and other places of historic interest in the city of Santiago de Cuba, thus making one of his oldest dreams come true.
Gomez expressed his gratitude for the solidarity of the Tanzanian people and government, and for their solid stance against the US blockade of Cuba, which -until December- had caused an economic damage amounting to one trillion 66 billion dollars.
Cuba Hosts International Penal Science Congress
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 2 (ACN) Focusing on the fight on the trafficking of drugs and persons, terrorism, corruption and economic crimes the 11th International Penal Science Congress opens doors Tuesday in Havana.
General Comptroller Gladys Bejerano is schedule to lecture on the Cuban domestic control system, according to the organizers of the forum, which is being attended by 300 delegates from 17 countries.
The Congress, which is organized by the Cuban Attorney General’s Office, includes workshops, panels and presentations on issues relevant to penal science disciplines.
Cuban Election Preparations Starts Crucial Week
Havana, Sep 30 (Prensa Latina) Preparations in Cuba for the election of delegates to 168 municipal assemblies of People''s Power (local governments) on October 21 came on Sunday in a decisive week.
After officially ending on Saturday of nominations of candidates for districts that will integrate municipal governments, on Sunday begins publishing of their photographs and biographies in high voter attendance.
The step is considered of great importance, because the effective 1992 Electoral Act prevents propaganda and proselytizing promises of the candidates for seats.
On Monday will begin the training of more than 200 000 members of the electoral commissions and the members of the 29,000 polling stations set up for this first phase of the general elections.
Preparations will be attended by more 72 000 500 members of the electoral commissions and the more than 150 000 members of the polling stations, according to the newspaper Juventud Rebelde.
Until the October 9, people with electoral rights, over 16 years old and not court or mentally disabled, will verify if their data in the lists are correct or if it is necessary any exclusions or inclusions.
So far the electoral roll has more than eight million people enrolled, though a process that occurs automatically upon people reach the age of majority (16 years), which includes about 200 000 young people who will vote for the first time.
Angola Highlights Cuban Cooperation in Health
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 1 (acn) José Van Dunem, Angolan Health minister, said today in Luanda he considered fundamental Cuban cooperation in this field to allow improving quality of life of that African country’s population.
In statements to Prensa Latina news agency Van Dunem said Cuban cooperation is highly appreciated by Angolan authorities.
He noted that within two years the impact in Angola of the Cuban Medicine teaching system will be higher when the first physicians graduate in the five faculties created in the country, which features Cuban professors´ advice.
Van Dunem expressed that in medical schools in several Cuban provinces there are students of his country and added that Cuban pharmacists help drugs reach the 18 Angolan provinces especially to those where they are really needed.
On the other hand, the minister dubbed as very important Cuban collaborators´ contribution in malaria vector control in many communities and also highlighted the improvement of the information system in the national public health system.
Cuba Changed our Lives, said Ethiopian Professionals
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 1 (ACN) Ethiopian professionals, who graduated in Cuba, said that their stay on the island changed their lives and allowed them to contribute to their country’s progress.
In statements to PL news agency following his attendance of the 4th African Congress in Solidarity with Cuba, Getachew Eyob said that the island’s support of his country not only allowed achieving territorial integrity against the Somali invasion, but also the training of many professionals and technicians.
Eyob, who headed the Congress’ organizing committee, said he took high school in Cuba and later he graduated as a microbiologist from the University of Havana. He said he returned to Ethiopia prepared to undertake different health-related missions.
The Ethiopian professional said he is now working at the Infectious Diseases Department under the National Institute of Health Research, particularly dealing with T.B. He regretted that millions of people in the world are currently suffering from that contagious disease.
The Cuban Revolution has had a favorable impact on the professional development of many African nations, in all sectors, said Eyob, who also stressed the need for the immediate lifting of the US economic blockade of Cuba.
Other Ethiopian professionals, who graduated from different disciplines in Cuba also expressed their support of the island and the release of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the United States.
Zerthun Gathun said he not only became a veterinary doctor but also a person with an internationalist vocation.
Over 1 500 Ethiopians graduated from Cuban education centers and they are now contributing to the social and economic development of their country.
The Solidarity-with-Cuba Conference was held at the headquarters of the African Union with the participation of 129 delegates from 27 nations. Its final declaration condemned the US blockade of Cuba and demands the immediate release of Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Ramon Labanino, known as the Cuban Five.
Panamanians Reiterate Solidarity with Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 1 (ACN) The 13th Panamanian Forum in Solidarity with Cuba wound up in the city of Penonome, Panama, after two days of sessions by members of solidarity movements from nine provinces.
The event was attended by the first vice-president of the Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP), Elio Gamez and by the director of the ICAP Latin America division, Roberto Cesar Hamilton.
Also at hand were the general secretary of the University of Panama, Miguel Angel Candanedo, Cuban ambassador to Panama Reinaldo Calviac and other diplomats.
In his closing remarks of the forum, Gamez thanked delegates from around Panama for their attendance and invited them to keep up with their enthusiasm in meeting the agreements reached at the conference, while the general secretary of the University of Panama presented a statement in favor of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters held in the United States for 14 years now.
Participants also debated issues related to the forum’s final declaration, the US economic blockade of Cuba, the case of the Cuban Five and the plan of action adopted by the conference.
Ban Ki-moon Met Cuban Foreign Minister
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 1 (ACN) United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met on Saturday with Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez, who is participating at the UN General Assembly annual debates.
During the meeting, the Cuban government official stressed the role that the international organization must play in favor of the preservation of peace and security on the basis of the principles and goals stipulated by the UN Charter, PL news agency reported from the United Nations.
The Cuban foreign minister explained Ki-moon about the consequences of the reinforced US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, particularly its impact on the island’s financial sector.
The UN Secretary General announced the upcoming presentation of the Cuban report titled Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.
For the 21st year in a row, the UN General Assembly will vote the Cuban resolution under that title on November 13. The document has been overwhelmingly approved by the international community over the past two decades.
Minister Rodriguez underscored the setting up of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) by explaining that it is a new and genuine Latin American organization aimed at peace, development and the sovereignty of the states over their natural resources.
During the meeting, at the UN headquarters in New York, Ban ki-moon stressed the significant contribution by Cuba to Colombia’s peace efforts and its meeting of the Millennium Development Goals.
Ki-moon also underscored the participation by the president of Cuba’s Environment Agency Gisela Alonso at the high-level UN panel on the development agenda after 2015.
Renowned Jurist Criticizes the U.S.A. for the case of The Five
HAVANA, Cuba, Sept 29 (acn) Renowned Puerto Rican lawyer Vanessa Ramos, president of the American Association of Jurists (AAJ), described as unethical the US stance in the case of the five Cuban heroes arbitrarily condemned in that country.
The payment by the US government to journalists to influence the public opinion and the jury during the trial against these patriots was a gross impropriety, the AAJ leader told the Prensa Latina news agency.
The AAJ is a non-governmental organization with consultative statute at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
For several years now, Ramos has been following the cause of Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez (known internationally as The Five), who were arrested in Miami in September, 1998.
The jury described as very important the new evidence presented at the court of first instance on the bad conduct of the district attorney’s office, which evidently influenced the public opinion in Miami –where the trial was held- and the jury.
The case of The Five is not merely judicial but essentially political she stressed.
We’re talking about anti-terrorist patriots who wanted to prevent criminal acts against their country and against the United Estates, specified Ramos, who lives in New York.
The lawyer, who attended a seminar on human rights in the Chilean capital sponsored by the organization she’s heading, underlined that President Barack Obama has the legal authority to pardon them.
It’s very important -she underlined- that at the international level, particularly in US soil, mobilizations continue, in order to achieve their return to Cuba, concluded the lawyer.
African Peoples Thank Fidel for his Contributions to Mankind
HAVANA, Cuba, Sept 29 (acn) Tomas Mechera, Minister of Public Health and Social Welfare of Ecuatorial Guinea, thanked Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro on Friday for his contributions in the interests of humanity, including the African peoples.
During the closing ceremony of the LABIOFAM 2012 International Congress, a meeting that brought together in this capital over 600 delegates and guests from some 40 countries, the visitor highlighted Cuba’s advances in biomedical science research, put at the service of people in need.
Cuba, with scarce resources and the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States for over half a century now, is above many states in terms of public health indicators, he emphasized.
The African peoples have a great moral debt with Fidel and the Cuban people, asserted Mechera, after praising programs to prevent and control vectors, and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and in the struggle to wipe out malaria con bio-pesticides produced by the LABIOFAM Business Group.
Cuba Guarantees Employment for Youth with Disabilities
Havana, Oct 1 (Prensa Latina) The employment for more than 1,000 youth with disabilities in Cuba is a guarantee, Special Education officials told the press today.
According to Moraima Orozco, national director of that teaching, the Ministries of Education, and Work and Social Security ensure blind, deaf, people with physical limitations, and those with mental disease, a training in skills required for the performance of trades.
Depending on the labor demand, both institutions determine the necessary workshops in schools, Orozco told Trabajadores newspaper.
Special Education methodologist Osmel Garrido stated that job training of students adapt to new forms of employment, taking into account the changes the country has implemented.
Garrido acknowledged as a challenge the maintenance of education quality provided to people with special educational needs.
He also ratified the fundamental mission of his sector, consisting of ensuring the social integration of students, and prepare them for life.