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News on Cuba - March 20, 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Fidel Castro's Legacy in Africa Extolled in Sudan

Khartoum, Mar 20 (Prensa Latina) The example of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and his legacy in Africa, were extolled today by Sudan Health Minister Bahr Idriss Abu-Garda, during an interview with Cuban ambassador Otto Vaillant.

Conducting a successful and solidarity revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are symbols of revolutionaries and personal dedication to their causes, said the African minister during an interview with the Cuban diplomat, who is carrying out a concurrency visit to this country.

The minister thanked the friendship of the Cuban government and people and was particularly interested in the Caribbean nation's cooperation in that sensitive area.

He also expressed his people's gratitude for providing scholarships so Sudanese youth can study medicine in the Caribbean island, a gesture he described as "an important contribution to his communities." 

The Cuban ambassador, resident in Cairo and concurrent in Sudan, began a working visit to the country, in which he expects to hold meetings with national authorities.


Cuban First Vice President Highlights Ties With Vatican

Vatican, Mar 19 (Prensa Latina) Cuba and the Vatican maintained cordial relations of mutual respect and cooperation and make progress in the development and deepening of these ties, said here today Cuban First Vice President, Miguel Diaz-Canel.

In statements to Prensa Latina, Diaz-Canel said that both parties agree in many respects, especially in social issues affecting the world.

The head of the Cuban delegation to the enthronement ceremony of Pope Francis, brought a message of congratulations from President Raul Castro, the Cuban government and people in wishing him success during his pontificate.

More than 130 foreign delegations attended the inauguration Mass of the Holy Father, which was held in St. Peter's Basilica.

As part of his agenda, the first vice president also met at the Embassy of Cuba in Italy with officials to explain aspects of the process of updating the cuban economic model.


Extensive Italian Movement in Solidarity with Cuban 5

Rome, Mar 20 (Prensa Latina) "We, the Five and you" is the name of a campaign held in this capital by the Italy-Cuba National Friendship Association in solidarity with the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly held in the United States.

Marco Papacci, Rome Circle secretary of that organization, told Prensa Latina that the campaign has brought together figures from the culture, sport, science sector, as well as some Nobel prizewinners.

In addition, there are activities in different parts of the country the fifth day of each month to reveal the public opinion the injustice committed against the five Cuban antiterrorists detained almost 15 years ago.

A violation to international law and human rights has been committed with the Five, because what these men did was to supervise groups that from Miami prepare attacks against Cuba," Papacci said.

The Italy-Cuba Association emerged in 1961 in solidarity with the Revolution against the mercenary invasion on Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs).

At present, the organization has more than 80 associations and thousands of members around the country.


Cuba to Celebrate International Children’s Book Day 

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 19 (acn) Cuba will join world celebrations for International Children’s Book Day with a wide cultural program for that public, dedicated to the 208th anniversary of the birth of Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), starting from March 28. 

Every April 2, International Children’s Book Day commemorates the birth of the author of The Ugly Duckling, The Brave Tin Soldier and The Little Mermaid, considered classic stories of world literature, the Granma newspaper reported on Tuesday. 

Sponsored by the City Historian Office, celebrations will last five days and will also pay tribute to Cuba’s National Hero Jose Marti on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of his birth, who also wrote for the little ones and left a vast work for them, like The Golden Age, one of the most important. 


Cuban Minister Opens International Tourism Fair in Russia

Moscow, Mar 20 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Minister Manuel Marrero opened today the 20th Moscow International Travel and Tourism (MITT) Fair, representing the special guest country, among more than 100 nations attending the exhibition event.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Marrero said that the heroic Russian people have always supported the island of the freedom in different fields, and tourism is today the bridge to strengthen the friendship and solidarity between our fraternal peoples.

For Cuba, the Russian market is one of the fastest growth rates in recent years, with a record of visits in 2012 that exceeded 10 percent (more than 86,000 tourists), compared to the previous year, the minister said.

The Ministry of Tourism has drawn up a strategy to strengthen this market in the coming years, so an extensive investment plan is being designed; and it includes the remodeling and renovation of existing hotels and the growth of new rooms, Marrero said in the opening ceremony of the 20th edition of the MITT Fair.

He also referred to the strong recovery of cultural and heritage values in the major cities, declared World Heritage.


Cuba to Show its Experiences in Disaster Situations 

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 19 (acn) Cuba’s experiences in disaster situations will be shown at the 2nd Congress on Health and Disasters, to be held in this capital from March 20th through the 22nd. 

Good practices in disaster risk management in public health will be presented at the forum, with a multidisciplinary, inter-sectorial and community participation approach, prevention, response and recovery in the face of these situations. 

The Center for Conventions and Academic Services of Havana’s University of Medical Sciences will be the venue of this meeting, which will favor the exchange of experiences of local levels in health services and in those of its organizations, both scientific and governmental, announced the organizing committee. 

This will contribute to develop initiatives that can boost the perfecting of cooperation in prevention, preparedness, response and recovery in the face of disasters, both in the national and international spheres. 

Organized by the Latin American Center of Disaster Medicine, the meeting will bring together representatives from Cuba, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Gabon, the United States, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain and the United Kingdom, among other nations. 

As part of activities programmed, English professor John Richard Ashton will give a keynote lecture entitled "Disaster Reduction in Health Systems.  Strategies and Perspectives." 



 
News on Cuba - March 18, 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Gerardo Highlights Value of Global Solidarity

Washington. - We know that the key to our inevitably freedom lies in the solidarity that continues to grow worldwide, stated Gerardo Hernandez, one of the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States since 1998, in a message disclosed by attorney Michael Avery, president of the National Lawyers Guild, during the opening of the exhibition of cartoons Humor from my prison, in Somerville, Massachusetts, Hernandez reiterated that humor releases and moves him away for a little while from behind those walls the Cuban Five have been unjustly confined to for nearly 15 years.


World Movement of Solidarity with Cuba’s Increases

The Movement of Solidarity with Cuba grows and spreads in America, Europe, Asia and Africa on Monday stated on Monday Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP, by its acronym in Spanish language). During a press conference, Serrano recalled that from October 27th to 31st, 2014 the Third World Encounter of solidarity with Cuba is to be held, and sponsored, among other institutions, by the Network in Defense of Humanity’s Cuban chapter.

The aim is for the participants to be in solidarity with Cuba and its revolutionary causes, but also support the Latin American integration and unity at the special current conjuncture, he said.


US Women Trade Unionists in Solidarity with the Cuban Five

Washington. - The case of the Cuban Five unjustly held in the United States was broached in the Women of Steel Conference, thanks to the work of groups of solidarity in order for the truth of the Cuban Five to be known among new branches of the US society.The 2013 Conference was an opportunity to share with women all the suffering bore by the families of these values men for nearly 15 years, said a press release of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five.


Chavez’s Contributions to the Revolutionary Theory‘s Encouraging Study

It is urgent to study the greatness of Hugo Chavez and his contributions to the revolutionary theory, stated German Sanchez Otero in Havana, Cuba's former ambassador in Venezuela.

Chavez led an original, creative, unique revolutionary process, full of surprises for the revolutionary theory, stressed, and recalled his impressions about his first encounter with the late president in 1994: spontaneous, emotional, with a nimbler wit, inquisitive in the best sense of the word, sharp in his approach, very creative, very humble.


Cuban Delegation to Attend Pope's Enthronement 

Miguel Diaz-Canel, First Vice President Of Cuba's Communist Party, heads the Cuban delegation that will attend the enthronement of Pope Francis I, which is to take place on next Tuesday at the Vatican.

The delegation is also composed by Homero Acosta, secretary of the Council of State; Marcelino Medina, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Eduardo Delgado, Cuba's Ambassador to the Holy See.


Culture Ministers of the CELAC to Increase Cooperation 

HAVANA, Cuba.- Culture ministers of the nations that are members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) declared to be in favor of cooperation and joint work, in the face of challenges in the region.   

Rafael Bernal, Culture Minister of the Republic of Cuba, the nation that holds the pro-tempore chairmanship, pointed out on Monday that during the first meeting of this kind held on March 14 and 15 in Suriname, the officials highlighted the role of cultural processes in the search for integration. 


Cyclists to Begin a Tour in Solidarity with the Five   

GUANTANAMO, Cuba, Mar 18 (acn) The five riders who began a tour across Cuba from Maisi Point to demand the release of the five Cuban anti-terrorist heroes unjustly convicted in the United States, were received here today. 

The headquarters of the provincial committee of the Youth Communist League in the city of Guantanamo was the second stop of the journey and also became grandstand from which they demanded U.S. President Barack Obama to make use of his executive powers and release the Cuban Five, as they are known internationally.


 
¡Farewell to the everlasting Commander of the Peoples’! PDF Print E-mail

By: Iliana García Giraldino  (Siempre con Cuba/ICAP)

The news was truly devastating. The news of the Venezuelan Commander in Chief’s decease swept all across the world leaving an immense trail of sadness and pain that will always etch on the historical mind of humanity, where the eternal Bolivarian commander will remain alive for good. 

The passionate hope worldwide that the president would overcome this battle against cancer disease, just faded at the very moment of his decease, which however can not defeat all the love emerged from the bottom of the beloved Hugo Chavez’ heart. That seed of love he planted and the love he has received and will receive from the peoples.

He has deceased and not. There is no way possible his ideas fade significance with his physical disappearance. The Venezuelan leader set an example of braveness and faith, the courage that always defined him, his integrationist thinking, his solidarity with the deprived, with the ones dropped out from society. The leader deserves a place of honour in the heavens of the heroes, from which he will enlighten the path of sovereignty, dignity and patriotism.

Venezuela mourns, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. Men of good will also weep. The whole Cuban people just shuddered at the harrowing news. Chávez was- and also belongs to Cuba, the island he felt deep love of, the island he felt he was part of, as well as he belonged to the cuban people.  Chávez used to be one more cuban. He used to talk to Cubans with the sympathy and ease of an older brother. 

His image next to Fidel, both smiling, is a symbol for the Cuban people. In that picture, and like in many others we know, is summed up the feelings of Cuba. Every time Chavez embraced Fidel and Raul, he embraced all cubans at the same time.

Cuba and Venezuela as one nation are grieving this ruthless moment.  The woes and sorrows felt by the Cuban people are felt in the most remote areas in Venezuela. Like brothers, we have to bear the pain. Like brothers will go on, faithful to Chavez’ ideas, the one who carried out and bolstered the Bolivarian Revolution, The Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), PETROCARIBE, The CELAC, and popular health, sporting and cultural programs. He will live within the souls of the children and women he saved with sanitary programs, in the redeemed people of his beloved homeland.  

As the lyrics of the song of Ali Primera ¨We will avoid the beautiful open door to life to be shut¨ 

Unity, unity, unity, was Commander in Chief’s legacy in his call to continue fighting regardless of the circumstances, the Bolivarian Revolution, and to continue building Socialism.

I can not imagine Chávez motionless. He will continue to deliver his speeches, quoting impassioned Bolivar’s phrases and José Marti’s verses, speaking with the people, carrying children in his arms, grinning to life, replying fiercely to whomever attempts to threaten the homeland, with his defiant stand facing the empire, caring with his family, holding hands with Fidel and Raúl, chanting the songs of Alí Primera, who in a song dedicated to Bolívar he expressed:

… who knows if you are ever seen over a star,
with bright parrots enlightening the jungle,
over the wet plantations shining its essence,
with your horse of war galloping next to me,
with your libertarian sword near me,
with your shout of battle…

You are very close to everyone, beloved Commander, leading the peoples of the world from a star.

 
News on Cuba - February 26, 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Five Days for the Five in Washington 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 25 (acn) New actions to spread the truth of the case of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the U.S. will take place in Washington D.C. from May 30 to June 5, as part of the Five Days for the Five solidarity campaign. 

In statements to PL news agency, the coordinator of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five, Graciela Ramirez, said the initiative includes events of political, religious and juridical nature. 

The activists will once again knock at the doors of US congress people and stage a march to the White House, Ramirez said and she recalled that last year, they explained various US lawmakers about the case of the five Cubans, an action they will repeat this year. 

Every fifth day of each month, President Barack Obama is addressed a letter by a renowned personality demanding the release of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, internationally known as the Cuban Five. 

Other actions include telephone calls, email messages, letters and calls on social networks demanding the freedom of the Five. 

Ramirez said that artists, scholars, lawyers, religious people and nationals from different countries have already confirmed assistance at the demonstration, which is the second to take place in Washington DC. after a previous one held in April, 2012. 


More Nicaraguans to Arrive in Cuba to Study Medicine 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 22 (acn) Nicaraguan youngsters will arrive in Cuba on Saturday to be trained as physicians, free of charge, at the capital’s Latin American Medical School (ELAM), confirmed on Friday the Ministry of Youth of that Central American country. 

The commitment of these 10 Nicaraguans is to maintain academic excellence and to return to their homeland at the end of their training to reciprocate with solidarity spirit the opportunity given to them by the Cuban Revolution by way of the National Program of Scholarships of the Sandinista government 

These youngsters come from different Nicaraguan departments and families of scant economic resources, whose parents expressed gratitude towards those who contribute to the future of their children, the Prensa Latina news agency reported. 

More than 1,300 Nicaraguans are currently studying at the ELAM, founded by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro in 1999, and over 550 graduated in Cuba as physicians in 2011 and 2012. 

Likewise, youngsters from that nation are presently studying on the island at agrarian universities as well as engineering specialties. 


Washington Chasing Cuban Scrap Metal 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 26 (acn) The California-based Tung Tai Group, in the metal recycling business, was forced to pay a 44-thousand-dollar fine for transactions with Cuba, considered a violation of the over-50-year economic, commercial and financial blockade of the island. 

According to Granma newspaper, a communiqué issued by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) accused Tung Tai Group of having purchased scrap metal in Cuba, in August 2010.  The US office chases all Cuban commercial and financial transactions. This is not the first time that the office fines a company for doing transactions with Cuba. 

Last July, Great Western Maltin Company, based in the state of Washington, was fined 1.35 million dollars for unauthorized commercial operations with Cuba. 

In 2012, the OFAC also fined Holland’s ING Bank with 619 million dollars for having carried out financial and commercial transactions with Cuba, in a joint action with its subsidiaries in France, Belgium and Curacao. 

In December 2012, The US office also imposed the London-based Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC Holdings) a fine amounting to 375 million dollars for the alleged violation of US unilateral sanctions on several countries, including Cuba. 


International Habano Cigar Festival Opens in Havana 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 26 (acn) The 15th International Habano Cigar Festival kicks off in Havana on Tuesday with the presentation of new cigar shapes of the famous brand Montecristo, an event which as the center of cigar lovers and guests from over 60 countries. 

Participants at the festival, which runs till March 2, will test new shapes Vegueros and Partagas, two brands on the commercial portfolio of Habanos S.A. corporation, which markets the Cuban product in more than 150 nations. 

Business people, cigar collectors, sommeliers, directives, artists, officials and diplomats will take part at seminars, testing sessions and marriages.  They will also visit cigar factories and plantations, among other usual activities held during the annual event. 

The festival will open with a music concert at the Morro Castle fortress, on the entrance of Havana Bay.


Cuban Baseball Team to Face Japanese Professional Baseball Teams 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 26 (acn) The Cuban baseball team will face tomorrow the Hanshin Tigers, a squad that belongs to the Nippon Professional League in its first-to-last preparatory game to the impending 3rd World Baseball Classic. 

Cuban manager, Victor Mesa, announced right-handed Odrisamer Despaigne as his starter pitcher in a game that will be held in the Kyocera Dome in the Japanese city of Kobe, the sports publication Jit reported. 

Mesa added that Cuban players are complying with the training program and are also adapting well to the time difference. 

The manager downplayed Cuba´s defeats against the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei in two of the four matches recently held in the latter nation, because it is a period of preparation designed primarily to try the players. 

After this game in Kobe, Cubans will play on March 1st against the professional team SoftBank Hawks in Fukuoka, which also will host the Group A of the 3rd WBC. 

Cuba will debut in the tournament against Brazil on March 3, a day later they will face China, to close the first phase on March 6th versus Japan, winners of the two previous editions (2006 and 2009) and executioner of Cuba in those events.


 
News on Cuba - February 25, 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Raul Castro Gives Closing Speech of Cuban Parliament Session 

HAVANA, Cuba,  Feb 24 (acn) Cuban President Raul Castro gave the closing remarks of the parliamentary session that set up the new National Assembly of People’s Power with its new president, and elected the new Council of State. 

Raul said that upcoming modifications of the country’s constitution include the limit of a top 10-year period for main state and government posts, also with limited age to occupy such responsibilities. However, he said that in his specific case, this will be his last term in office. 

The deputies elected Miguel Diaz-Canel as first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, in a decision of historic significance because it is a step towards the future configuration of the country’s leadership, through a progressive and orderly transfer of power to the new generations, said Raul. 

He recalled that 41.9 percent of the members elected to the Council of State are women, 38.6 percent is made up of black of colored persons, while the average age of its members is 57 years, with 61.3 of them having been born after the 1959 triumph of the Cuban Revolution. 

At the same time, said Raul, the Parliament underwent a 67.26 renovation of its members, with 48.86 percent of women, 37.9 persons of color, while 82.68 percent of deputies graduated from higher education, and the average age is 48 years. 

Raul said that the above mentioned data confirm the quality of the Cuban electoral system and the potential of the people’s power bodies, including the national parliament to meet the important duties established by the country’s constitution. 

In that regard, Raul said that the current legislature is in charge of undertaking an intense legislative work to strengthen institutional order and to implement the social and economic guidelines adopted by the Communist Party, which now entail far-reaching, deeper and more complex issues. 

Referring to the election of Esteban Lazo as new Parliament president, Raul said that it is an honor that the assembly is being chaired by a black man of humble family, a former sugar cane cutter, who was able to get an economy diploma after huge effort and without abandoning his political responsibilities. 

Referring to the transformations taking place in the country Raul said that they will continue to progress with no haste but without any pause, by protecting the people and by climbing the barriers of an obsolete mentality in order to favor the action of productive forces and the advancement of Cuban economy, along with the protection of the social achievements of the Cuban Revolution, such as education, public health, culture, sports. 

The Cuban president stressed the need to strongly fight illegalities, indiscipline and any act of corruption. 

Raul reiterated the Cuban people’s congratulations to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for his electoral victory and he conveyed fraternal greetings to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez  and his people by ratifying the solidarity by the Cuban Parliament and the people of Cuba. 

Raul said that Cuba will continue to demand the release of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the U.S. and he concluded his speech by citing the concept of the word Revolution, first given by Fidel Castro in the year 2000.


Raul Castro Re-elected Cuban President 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 24 (acn) The National Assembly of People’s Power (Cuban Parliament) ratified Raul Castro as President of the Council of State and elected Miguel Diaz-Canel as First Vice-President. 

The 605 deputies at the session, which set up the new parliament on Sunday, elected all 31 members of the Council of State, which represents the Parliament and implements its accords in the periods between its two annual sessions. 

Miguel Diaz-Canel is a 52-year-old electronic engineer. He is member of the Political Bureau of Cuba’s Communist Party and he was the first Party secretary in the provinces of Villa Clara and Holguin. He was also minister of Higher Education and vice-president of the Council of Ministers. 

Other vice-presidents of the Council of State elected in the session were Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, second Communist Party secretary; Gladys Bejerano, general comptroller; Ramiro Valdes, vice-president of the Council of Ministers; Lazara Mercedes Lopez, first Communist Party secretary in Havana, and Salvador Valdes, general secretary of the Cuban Workers Confederation. Homero Acosta was ratified as secretary of the Council  of State. 

Following the setting  up of the new parliament at Havana’s Conventions Palace, the deputies elected Esteban Lazo as president of the legislative body for its 8th Legislature and ratified Ana Maria Mari as vice-president, and Miriam Brito as secretary. 


Fidel  Castro: We fight for Ideas, not for Glory 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 25 (ACN) “We do not struggle for our own glory or for honors; we fight for ideas we consider fair and to which millions of Cubans have dedicated their youth and their lives,” said Fidel Castro in his address to the Eight Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Pwer, which was set up on Sunday. 

Fidel said he deeply appreciated the noble gesture by the people to have elected him a Parliament deputy. He said he never thought he would live that long and that his enemies would be that clumsy in their hateful practice of eliminating their adversaries, who are determined to fight. 

“In such an unequal battle, our people proved their astonishing capacity to resist and overcome,” he pointed out, and stressed that some eight hundred thousand Cubans have met internationalist missions. 

The Cuban Revolution leader recalled important moments of recent Cuban history, like the 1962 missile crisis, where the island was about to turn into a nuclear battlefield; the 1961 Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion backed by Washington; the participation of Cuban internationalist troops in the victory of Cuito Cuanavale, which led to the end of the former  Apartheid System. 

Fidel Castro said that after the 1959 Revolution triumph, the domestic battle targeted political ignorance and anti-socialist ideas instilled by the bourgeoisie and US imperialism. The fight of social classes unleashed just few miles from the United States was the most efficient political school for the country. 

However, he said, the big battle now focuses the need to deal with bad habits and mistakes that are being committed by many citizens, including Communist Party members in different social areas. 

Fidel said that humanity is now experiencing a unique stage, which is quite different from centuries ago. The world population increased to 7 billion people, an alarming figure expressing a demand for vital foodstuffs that science, technology and the natural resources of the planet are quite far from meeting. 

Fidel also referred to current natural threats on humanity, such as the consequences of climate change. 

He concluded his statements by paying tribute Cuban National Hero Jose Marti on the 160th anniversary of his birthday and on the 118th anniversary of the start of Cuban independence war against Spanish colonial rule. He said Marti was the revolutionary, anti-imperialist and bolivarian man that instilled in the Cuban youths the first ideas about their duty. 


Deputies Elect New First Vice President of the Cuban Government 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 24 (acn) The Cuban Parliament elected Miguel Diaz-Canel las first vice-president of the Cuban Council of Ministers on the proposal of President Raul Castro Ruz. Diaz-Canel had previously been elected first vice-president of the Council of State. 

Miguel Diaz-Canel is a 52-year-old electronic engineer. He is member of the Political Bureau of Cuba’s Communist Party and he was the first Party secretary in the provinces of Villa Clara and Holguin. He was also minister of Higher Education and vice-president of the Council of Ministers. 


Esteban Lazo, New President of the Cuban Parliament 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 24 (acn) Following the setting up of the new National Assembly of People’s Power, Cuban deputies elected Esteban Lazo Hernandez as new Parliament president for the next five-year-term Eight Legislature. 

Through direct and secret vote, the 606 deputies participating in the parliamentary session, including Revolution leader Fidel Castro and President Raul Castro, ratified Ana Maria Mari Machado as Parliament vice-president, and Miriam Brito as secretary of the legislative body. 

Esteban Lazo is member of the Politbureau of Cuba’s Communist Party and he has been first Communist Party secretary in the provinces of Matanzas, Santiago de Cuba and Havana over the past years.  

In presenting the candidature project of the assembly’s presidency, Amarilys Perez who heads the National Candidature Commission, said that all legislators were consulted and that the new Parliament legislature has the challenge of implementing of the social and political guidelines adopted by the latest Congress of the Cuban Communist Party. 


Cuban Communist Party Central Committee Held Plenary Session 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 25 (acn) The Central Committee of Cuba’s Communist Party held a plenary session, headed by First Party Secretary Raul Castro, prior to the setting on Sunday of the new National Assembly of People’s Power. 

During the session, Raul Castro presented the proposals for the new Council of State under the principle that “though the Communist Party does not nominate anybody, it cannot be foreign to the election of the top government leaders.” 

According to Granma news paper, the Central Committee members approved the proposals that were later submitted to the parliament, in tune with article five of the Cuban Constitution, which reads that “the Communist Party (…), organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, is the top leading force of society and the state.” 

Raul Castro explained about the proposal of Miguel Diaz-Canel as first vice-president of the Council of State and other members of that Parliament body. He said that this was the first step to orderly and progressively hand over to the new generations of Cubans the country’s top government posts, a process that will continue during the next five years. 

The action is in tune with the accords adopted by the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party and its First National Conference in relation to the policy of cadres. 

Raul acknowledged the attitude of former first vice-president Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and  army corps General Abelardo Colome in offering their state posts in favor of promoting new generations as part of the principle of continuity and renovation that marks the future of the country. 

The first secretary of the Communist Party also stressed the work of the Electoral and Candidature commissions, which was reflected in the new parliament, which has a better balance of its membership, given by race, age, educational level, and genre, among other aspects. 

Raul said that the new parliament will have intense legislative work to do, aimed at strengthening Cuban institutional order and at implementing the economic and social guidelines adopted by the Cuban Communist Party.


 
News on Cuba - February 22, 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Books by Fidel Castro in Digital Format at Cuban Fair

Havana, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) Three books written by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, will be launched in e-book format at the 22nd International Book Fair, Cuba 2013, Cubadebate website posted today.

Published by the Ruth Publishing House, the titles "La paz en Colombia" (Peace in Colombia), "La victoria estrategica" (The Strategic Victory) and "La contraofensiva estrategica" (The Strategic Counteroffensive) will enter the world of digital literature, aimed at achieving greater distribution on different continents via the Internet.

The e-book package also includes other books related to the Cuban leader's life, written by journalist Katiuska Blanco: "Todo el tiempo de los cedros" (All the days of the cedars), "Angel, la raiz gallega de Fidel" (Angel, the Galician root of Fidel) and "Fidel Castro Ruz, Guerrillero del Tiempo" (Fidel Castro Ruz, Guerrilla of Time).

Regarding the event, Blanco said that this is great news for Fidel Castro and shows how revolutionary he is, because "the word revolution not only refers to political or historical ideas, but also to man's ability to realize the need to move with the times," Cubadebate quoted.

According to the writer, "Fidel is not simply a reference to the past or present; Fidel is installed as a wise man on top of the mountain in the 21st, 22nd, 23rd centuries, "he is a man who has overcome time due to his revolutionary spirit in every sense of the word." 

It is necessary that Fidel's life and ideas be understood by young people in countries where the awakening of social consciousness is underway due to dissatisfaction with the system, different forms of struggle and related searches. Fidel is, first and foremost, a humanist reference, she said.


US Social Organizations Will Demand End of Blockade on Cuba

Washington, Feb 20 (Prensa Latina) Several social organizations of United States will carry out a concentration here on next February 24 to demand the end of the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the US government to Cuba for more than for half a century.

The activity will be carried out during the whole Sunday in front of the headquarters of the Section of Interests of Cuba in the US capital, said the National Committee for the Liberation of five antiterrorist fighters of the island condemned in the northern country since 1998, mostly known as The Cuban Five.

Members of that group, of the ANSWER Coalition and of the Revolutionary Party of the Peoples of Africa, among others, will participate in the protest action and will demand the immediate ceasing of the unilateral blockade of the White House, rejected in the UN in a serial way in the last 21 years.

In accordance with a report presented by the authorities of Havana, the economic damages that the Caribbean nation suffered because of the blockade until December 2011 ascend to a trillion, 66 billion dollars, considering the depreciation of the US dollar compared to the gold in the international market.

The demonstrators will also claim for the immediate and unconditional liberation of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez.

Four of them face severe sanctions since 1998 for monitoring violent groups based in Miami, from where they plan actions like those that have left more than 3, 400 victims in Cuba in the last 53 years.

Meanwhile, René left prison in October 2011 after completing his 13 year-old sentence, and now he has a three year-old additional punishment under supervised freedom in that city.

This Wednesday, prominent intellectuals from the United States will develop a discussion panel in the University of Maryland to expose the reality of the Cuban Five.

This forum intends to exert more pressure on the government so that the return of the Cuban Five to Cuba is finally effective.

Bill Norris, defense lawyer of Ramón Labañino; Kurt Schmoke, ex-dean of the Faculty of Rights of the University of Howard, Washington DC; Brian Becker, coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition; and José Pertierra, lawyer for Venezuela in the extradition request on terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, are some of the members of the panel.


Act of solidarity ¨Sowing the seeds for the Five¨ comes to an end. Journey throughout South America by motorcycles 

In the Patagonian city of San Martin de los Andes, where the mythical and heroic guerrilla man, Ernesto ¨Che ¨Guevara, when he was still called ¨Ernesto¨, rested and took a slumber during his trip to Chile as part of his journey throughout America, venezuelan doctors ended their trip on motorcycles in solidarity with the Five started last august from the Venezuelan Amazons.

This way, these young doctors who graduated from the Latin American School of Medicin (ELAM), by its acronym in Spanish, located in Cuba, ended on February 19th, a seven-month journey and more than 23 kilometers throughout America, campaigning for the cause of the Cuban Five. They are by their names, Milco Figueroa and Dario Valenzuela (argentinians) and Juan Tola (Bolivian), on their motorcycles, and the constant logistic support from Laura Machín (Uruguayan-venezuelan) and Nicolas Bravo (Argentinean). 

A long journey encouraged by the strong conviction of knowing that this is a fair cause they are defending. It was enough motivation for the youngsters to go on the journey because of the tremendous injustice that endures 14 years, of the arrest in the US of Ramón Labañino, Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and René Gonzalez, The five fighters against terrorism sponsored by the mafia linked to the CIA and the Department of State.

Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina, witnessed the motorcycles rolling with Cuban flags in tow and listened the voices of the three doctors, explaining the harrowing situation of the Cuban Five, el genocidal act that stands for the ruthless blockade against Cuba, and letting people learn about the huge solidarity that the Cuban Revolution carries out sharing everything it belongs to.


Cuba Outlines Nominations for Council of State

Havana, Feb 20 (Prensa Latina) The National Candidature Commission is outlining Council of State nominations to be submitted to the Parliament in a constituent session on Sunday, February 24, the press is reporting today.

According to the Granma newspaper, the Commission, comprised of a cross-section of civil society (workers, women, students and farmers) is working toward the opening of the Eighth Legislature of the People's Power National Assembly.

On February 24, close to 90 percent of registered voters in Cuba, or 7,900,000 citizens elected some 612 deputies elected 17 days ago, and these in turn will select by secret ballot the body that will represent the Cuban State.

The parliamentarians will elect the president, who is head of State and Government, the first vice president, five vice presidents, the secretary, and 23 other members of the State Council, which represents the National Assembly between its two annual regular sessions.

On Sunday, deputies will also elect the president of the Parliament for the next five years, the duration of each Legislature.


Cuban Drug vs. Diabetic Foot Tests Positively in Seychelles

Victoria, Feb 20 (Prensa Latina) An experimental study on the application of Heberprot-P, a Cuban medicine that has revolutionized the treatment of diabetic foot, concluded in Seychelles with highly encouraging results, the Caribbean nation''s embassy in this capital reported today.

Advised by Cuban specialist Manuel Estate, of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), the investigation allowed appreciating the positive evolution of 10 patients to whom the medicine was applied, in relation to others who continued receiving the traditional treatments.

In addition of having no adverse reactions, patients receiving Heberprot-P showed an encouraging healing of tissues, although some of them have up to 10 years suffering the disease.

For them, a great hope has been opened, the possibility that their limbs do not have to be amputated and have a better quality of life, local media highlighted after disseminating the results of the study.

Developed exclusively by the IGBC as of the recombinant human growth factor, Heberprot-P has been shown in more than a dozen countries, its clear superiority over other products prescribed for the ailment.

The experimental study in Seychelles, where there are a large number of diabetic patients, was conducted by Cuban angiologist Neobalis Franco, who works as a health collaborator in this Indian Ocean archipelago.

According to the World Health Organization, diabetes affects more than 300 million people, and diabetic foot ulcers are one of the complications of worse outcomes and higher costs of resources in national health systems.


Angola and Cuba Tighten Cooperation

Luanda, Feb 20 (Prensa Latina) The links of cooperation between Angola and Cuba were examined here on Wednesday at a meeting between the vice president of Angola, Manuel Domingos Vicente, and Ambassador of Cuba in this African state, Gisela Garcia Rivero.

After the meeting, the Cuban official stated that bilateral relations are positive and highlighted the presence of about 4,000 Cuban workers in this African territory.

Workers who contribute to the development of Angola, are inserted in sectors like health, education and construction, she stressed.

Angola and Cuba maintain strong bonds of friendship, grounded in the common struggle for the independence of the African country, accessed in November 11, 1975.


International Tourism Fair in Cuba Ready

Havana, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) Organizers of the next International Tourism Fair in Cuba (FITCuba 2013) said in advance that there is a great effort in the preparation of the Plaza America Convention Center, Varadero Beach, to receive such an event.

Some spokesmen specified that FITCuba 2013 will be held in this important resort (the most important in Cuba), 86, 9 miles distant east from Havana.

The main commercial tourism fair in Cuba will start on May 7 to finish on May 10.

Raul Caballero, director of the Plaza America Convention Center, said the works to fit the place started at the end of 2012.

This is one of the best Cuban convention centers, close to one of the most outstanding beaches in the island, to which more than a million foreign visitors arrive.

The organizers and officials added that 6 rooms are being remodelled mainly for tour operators from Europe, Canada and Latin America.

FITCuba 2013 will be dedicated to Brazil, a guest of honor, and will show the development of Cuban tourism to the participants apart from allowing visitors make businesses with the Cuban tourism sector.


Germany Conducts Meetings on Cuba's Economy, Trade

Berlin, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) An information forum on Cuba's economy and trade was held at the headquarters of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Chemnitz, in the German state of Saxony.

The event, presided over by Dr. Katrin Foerster, director of Industry and Foreign Trade of such institution, was attended by about thirty German businessmen from many sectors.

Cuban Economic Adviser Tania Vazquez Garcia and Economic Attache Luis Ruiz Gonzalez, both from the diplomatic mission of that Caribbean country, also attended the event.

According to reports from the Cuban embassy, both officials gave an update on the performance of the main Cuban economic indicators, and the state and prospects of trade exchange between Germany and Cuba.

They also informed on the priorities in the investment process and the importance of the participation of German managerial sector in the International Fair of Havana and other sector events.

The Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Chemnitz made a promotional presentation of the 31st International Fair of Havana, recounting German participation in the event.

Cuban diplomats responded to questions forwarded by the attendees, while the used the occasion to denounce the extraterritorial nature of the U.S. blockade against Cuba


Fidel Castro Meets Dimitri Medvedev 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 22 (acn) The historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, met on Thursday evening with Dimitri A. Medvedev, prime minister of the Russian Federation. 

Fidel and Medvedev exchanged views on the Russian leader’s visit  to Cuba and about the signing of important accords between the two countries. They also addressed issues of international interest, such as the world food situation and the dangers pending on humanity due to increasing prices and the harmful impact on the environment, as well as the serious threat posed by climate change on the human species. 

This has been the second meeting between Fidel Castro and Dimitri Medvedev. 


President Raul Castro Receives Russian PM Dimitri Medvedev 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 22 (acn) The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raul Castro Ruz received the President of the government of the Russian Federation Dimitri A. Medvedev, who is paying a working visit to Cuba. The two leaders presided over the signing of bilateral cooperation protocols. 

Raul and Medvedev held a cordial meeting on Thursday evening, in which they addressed the excellent state of bilateral relations between their two countries and they ratified their political will to further enhance those links in the fields of trade, investment, tourism, health, education, science and culture. They also addressed issues of international interest. 

The Russian Prime Minister was accompanied by the first deputy chief of the Russian cabinet Serguei E. Prijodko, and by Russia’s Industry and Trade minister Denis V. Manturov. 

On the Cuban side were government vice-president Ricardo Cabrisas; foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez and Foreign Trade and Investment minister Rodrigo Malmierca. 

Following the talks, Raul Castro and Dimitri Medvedev presided over the signing of 10 bilateral cooperation protocols in different economic areas. 

Ricardo Cabrisas, vice-president of the Council of Ministers and Serguey Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister signed an agreement on the regularization of the Cuban debt to the Russian Federation based on credits granted by the former Soviet Union. 

Candido Regalado, head of the National Office of Hydrography and Geodesy, and Vladimir Popovkin, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, signed an agreement on cooperation in the exploration and use of the outer space with peaceful purposes.    

Other agreements included the areas of hydrometeorology, the environment, and customs. 

The two parties also signed memorandums of understanding to cooperate in the fields of nuclear medicine and the production of radioactive preparations with medical purposes. They also agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of education. 


Cuba and Russia Sign New Bilateral Agreements 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 21 (acn) Cuban President Raul Castro and the President of the government of the Russian Federation, Dimitri Medvedev, on a working visit to the island, were present on Thursday in this capital in the signing of 10 new bilateral agreements. 

Ricardo Cabrisas, vice-president of the Council of Ministers and Deputy Foreign Minister Serguey Ryabkov signed an agreement on the regularization of the Cuban debt at the Russian Federation for credits granted by the former Soviet Union. 

Candido Regalado, head of the National Office of Hydrography and Geodesy, and Vladimir Popovkin, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, signed an agreement on cooperation in the exploration and use of the ultra-terrestrial space with peaceful purposes.    

Other agreements include hydrometeorology, monitoring of the environment, and customs, among other sectors. 

The two parties signed memorandums of understanding to cooperate in the fields of nuclear medicine and the production of radioactive preparations with medical purposes, another one on education, as well as another agreement for the supply of Russian aeronautical technique. 


US Publisher releases a book on the Cuban Five

The president of the National Assembly of People’s Power, Ricardo Alarcón and Kenia Serrano, Head of The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP, acronym in Spanish), attended the House of Friendship to partake in the launch of the volume ¨The Cuban Five¨: Who are they?, why is it a case sent to trial?, and why they should be released?¨ produced by the US publisher Pathfinder.

Edited by Mary-Alice Waters and Martin Koppel, the book is a compilation of several articles previously Publisher in the Marxist magazine ¨The activist¨, which is an approach to the injustice carried out against the five antiterrorist Cubans, held in US cells for over 14 years. 

Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and René González, received long term prison sentences in 2001 for infiltrating extreme right-wing organizations in Miami being hatching out terrorist acts against Cuba.

During her speech Mary-Alice Waters pointed out that the work represents an effort for the disclosure of the truth about the Cuban Five, and assured that thousands of the British edition’s copies have been acquired by US workers that did not have any knowledge about the case. 


US Ban on Habano Cigar Sales Inflicts Huge Loss on Cuban Economy 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 22 (acn) The prohibition on the sale of Cuban habano cigars in US territory, imposed by US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, prevents the island from earning over 300 million dollars annually. 

Cuba would market some 150 million cigars of all 27 renowned cigar brands in the U.S. if the blockade were lifted. 

Habanos S.A Corporation vice-president Jorge Luis Fernandez said that the island counts on the raw material and expertise to carry out such sales. Habanos S.A. is in charge of commercializing the Cuban product in over 150 countries of the world. 

If the US ban were lifted, Habanos could distribute some 50 million cigars during the first year alone, he said and went on to recall that before 1959, Cuban cigars, rum and coffee were major products traditionally marketed in the U.S. 

Cuba operates over 100 cigar shops in all continents, but the Cuban product is banned from the US market by the unilateral measure. 

Famous personalities, such as Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon Bonaparte, Stalin, Sigmund Freud, Orson Welles, Winston Churchill and Enrico Caruso, among others were cigar smokers. 



 
News on Cuba - February 21, 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Raul Receives Visiting Uruguayan Foreign Minister 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) Army General Raul Castro, President of the councils of State and Ministers, greeted on Wednesday afternoon Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro Lemes, who is on an official visit to the island. 

Raul and Almagro expressed their mutual satisfaction for the positive state of bilateral relations and spoke about the processes of integration in the region, particularly the prospects of the CELAC and the MERCOSUR, the pro tempore chairmanships of which are in the hands of Cuba and Uruguay, respectively. 

Accompanying the distinguished visitor were Ariel Bergamino, ambassador of Uruguay to Havana, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.     


Raul Holds Meeting with Iranian Special Envoy 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) Army General Raul Castro, President of the councils of State and Ministers, received the Special Envoy of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Doctor Ali Saeidlo, Vice-president for International Relations, who is on a visit to Cuba. 

During the meeting, held on Wednesday afternoon, the Iranian Vice-president conveyed a message from Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadineyad to Raul. 

The two leaders spoke about the excellent state of bilateral relations and the willingness to work for the strengthening of economic and commercial bonds and the bonds of cooperation existing between the two countries.   


Cuban National Assembly will be Set up on February 24 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) The National Assembly of Peoples’ Power (Cuban Parliament) will be set up on February 24 for its Eight Legislature, at Havana’s Conventions Hall. 

According to Granma newspaper, all 612 Cuban deputies, who were elected by the people on February 3, have been called to participate at the solemn session that will inaugurate the top state power body for the next five years. 

The deputies will first elect the Parliament president, vice-president and secretary through secret vote. They will also elect the Council of State, made up of the president, first vice-president, five vice presidents, a secretary and another 23 members. 

The daily newspaper stressed the significance of this event amidst the deep transformations underway in the country to update the economic model and improve the socialist system. 

These objectives are closely related to the analysis and accords  by the legislators who will represent the Cuban people as of February 24, a date that marks the 118th anniversary of the start of the last independence war against Spanish colonial rule. 

      

Iran Wishes to Increase Economic and Commercial Bonds with Cuba 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) Ali Saeidlo, Vice-president of Iran, on a visit to Cuba and special envoy of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, pointed out in Tuesday in this capital that his government wants to increase bilateral economic and commercial bonds at the same level of political relations. 

During a meeting with Ricardo Cabrisas, Vice-president of the Cuban Council of Ministers, Saeidlo said that he’s accompanied by a large delegation to begin a relaunch of bonds based on the capacity of the two countries for their development. 

Saeidlo arrived in Havana on Monday afternoon to meet with Cuban authorities and carry out other activities in this, his second trip to the island in less than a year. 

In May, 2012, the Iranian Vice-president spoke with his Cuban counterpart Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and ratified the "excellent" state of bilateral relations and “their willingness to continue strengthening bonds of friendship and cooperation.” 

The two states maintain close political bonds, fostered with the visit of President Ahmadinejad to the island on January, 2012. 

Havana supports Iran’s right to the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, like scientific use and in the generation of electricity, while Teheran condemns the blockade imposed by the United States on the island for over five decades now. 


Canadian Adolescents Visit Mausoleum in Artemisa 

ARTEMISA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) More than 70 students of secondary level from Quebec, Canada, visited on Tuesday the Mausoleum to the Martyrs of Artemisa, as part of an agreement of community aid between the non-governmental organization Aro Internacional and Cuba. 

These students are part of the first group that visit the island following the agreement, by their own choice, attracted by its culture, history and safety and to carry out a program that includes agricultural work and exchanges with youngsters of the municipality of Guira de Melena, Lourdes Sousa, member of Aro Internacional, told ACN 

Canadian Tommy Lauthier, 16, referred that he would like to return to Cuba because the experience he has lived is fabulous, after deepening in its history and take a closer look at dances, customs, places and educational centers. 

The delegation of Quebec, staying at the Training School of the National Association of Small Farmers, included in its agenda, activities like potato harvesting, repair of books, sports meetings, donations of school materials, visits to museums, historic places and the Cuban capital, among others. 

Aro Internacional is a non-governmental organization with no profit motive, directed by Canadian Colette Lavagre, president in her region of the Committee of Coordination and Solidarity with the Five Cuban Heroes unfairly condemned in the United States for fighting terrorism.  


Cuban Pharmaceutical Turns a Hope for Diabetic Patients in Seychelles 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) A demonstrative study on the Cuban pharmaceutical to treat diabetic foot ulcers, known as Heberprot-P, concluded in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Seychelles with positive results and a hope for diabetic patients in that country. 

According to a PL news agency report from the capital Victoria, the research study counted on the advice of Cuban expert Manuel Raices, from Havana’s Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center, and it was led by Cuban angiologist Neobalis Franco. 

The study allowed confirming the positive progress of 10 patients whom were administered the Cuban medication, in comparison to another 10 persons, who kept on traditional treatment. 

The patients on the Cuban medication did not suffer from adverse reactions and showed promising healing of their tissues, including those who had suffered from the disease for more than 10 years. 

Seychelles has a large number of diabetic patients who, with the Cuban pharmaceutical at home, harbor the hope that their lower limbs will not be amputated and that they will enjoy better quality of life, according to local media. 

Herberprot-P is a pharmaceutical exclusively produced by Havana’s Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center (CIGB) on the recombinant human growth factor, which favors the healing of diabetic foot ulcers thus avoiding feared amputations of lower limbs. 

The World Health Organization reported that diabetes is currently affecting over 300 million people on the planet, while diabetic foot ulcers constitute one of its worst complications implying the largest use of resources for the health systems in different countries. 


Cuba President Raul Castro Receives US Senator Patrick Leahy 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raul Castro, received on Tuesday the honorable Senator Patrick Leahy, democrat for the US State of Vermont and president pro-tempore of the US Senate and chairman of its Judiciary Committee, who is paying a visit to Cuba. 

Senator Leahy is heading a US Congress delegation to Cuba, made up of Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow, of Michigan and Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, of Ohio; Democratic Senator  Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island; Republican Senator Jeff Flake, of  Arizona; Democratic Representative James Mc Govern, of Massachusetts; Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland, and other personalities. 

During the meeting, which was attended by Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez, participants addressed issues of bilateral issues. Later, the Cuban president exchanged views with the members of the delegation. 

During their stay on the island, the US parliamentarians have met with  the president of the Cuban National Assembly of People’s Power, Ricardo Alarcon, and by foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez. 


Wife of Cuban Anti-terrorist in US Jail Denounces Violations 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) The Cuban five have been submitted to many violations of their own rights, even as prisoners; but we are now witnessing one of the cruelest acts ever, said Elizabeth Palmeiro, wife of one of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the U.S. since 1998. 

Palmeiro explained about the hard situation facing her husband Ramon Labañino after his prison transfers, as she addressed a meeting in Havana attended by a visiting Uruguayan delegation, headed by foreign minister Luis Almagro. 

However, before addressing her husband case, Palmeiro insisted in the sad situation facing Gerardo Hernandez, one of the five Cubans, who was given two life sentences. 

“He would never leave the prison and he is being submitted to the additional punishment of being banned from receiving the visit by his wife Adriana Perez,” she said. 

Referring to the case of her husband, she said that he has faced reiterated insults since last December, when he was suddenly ordered to get ready to be transferred to another prison, and he waited for a whole month with no access to his own belongings. 

Later in January, he was transferred on an alleged mistake to a low-security prison in Miami, which was considered dangerous as admitted by prison authorities, who kept him in the hole to prevent him from running any risk. 

Back to the prison in Georgia, thanks to actions by the Cuban government and after the mistake was corrected and even after achieving the visits by his father, his elder daughter and his brother, he faced a locked down upon his arrival at the penitentiary. 

His relatives could only visit him three out of eight possible occasions because on top of that, Ramon was again transferred without previous notice again, Palmeiro said. 

He does not know when he will be transferred again or what his final destination will be, and although he is expected to be taken to a low-security prison, this does not mean that he will be in better conditions, Palmeiro pointed out. 

We should not forget that the Five are political prisoners held in jails full of common criminals, some of them are murderers, she said and recalled that Fernando Gonzalez, for instance, is currently in one of those prisons, where he shares his cell with another nine inmates, without any privacy or safety at all. 


Austrian Artist Hermann Nitsch Donates Work to Cuba 

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) Austrian artist Hermann Nitch, considered to be a world  myth, donated on Tuesday to the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center one of his Works, the fruit of the proposal Aktion 135, which he developed in 2012 in the 11th edition of the Havana Biennial. 

Austria’s ambassador to Havana, Andreas Redl, highlighted that Nitsch’s visit to the island, his work and this donation are a significant chapter to concrete the Cultural Memorandum of Understanding signed two months ago between the two countries by ministers Claudia Schmied and Rafael Bernal, respectively. 

He stressed that he sees Nitsch’s actions in the Caribbean nation as the most important bilateral cooperation in many years, although not the last one, since already carrying out talks with Cuban authorities to undertake similar projects. 


US Publisher Wants Good Neighbor Policy with Cuba

Havana, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) United States publisher and journalist, Gary Heathcott, hopes for a good neighbor policy between the U.S. and Cuba, archipelago he visits every year attracted by his love for habano cigars.

He will attend for the fourteenth time this year's 15th International Habano Festival as a juror in the Habanosommelier contest, significant feature of this smoking feast to open on February 26 and run through March 2, at the Havana Cconvention Center.

Heathcott advanced to Prensa Latina his conviction that once revoked the trade and economic limitations imposed by his government against Cuba, many U.S. tourists will travel to this country.

This business executive has, among the most cherished hopes that the United States and Cuba become good neighbors and the ridiculous economic and failed restrictions imposed by the U.S. disappear.

He would  then, said Heathcott, would feel free to write relevant stories about the Premium Cuban cigars to let his country and the world know about this event.

He writes for important specialized cigar magazines like Life Style. For being a "connoisseur" of the good smokes, the International Corporation Habanos S.A. elected for juror of the Habanosommelier contest.


Cuba Expands Possibilities for Credit Access

Havana, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) Cuban banks are expanding access to credit for private sector workers and people interested in home improvement, according to rules released today in the Official Gazette.

In December 2011, Decree Law 289 came into force. It provides financing opportunities for small farmers, Cuban involved in non-state forms of management, and other citizens, however, those interested had to prove their ability to repay the credit issued.

With the additional provisions released today, people may use other assets as a guarantee, diversifying the options to ensure compliance with incurred debts.

"So far, Cuban financial institutions worked with liquid guarantees, in other words, with money, but becoming accustomed to the new reality in the country, it was decided to study other ways to offer a guarantee, through other assets," official Juana Lilia Delgado explained.

The head of the Macroeconomic Policy Group told Granma newspaper that one consideration was that people do not always have bank deposits, but do have valuables.

Furthermore, additional rules released in the Official Gazette state that state companies can stand as guarantor for private workers who have leased a house, premise, or property from such entities.

The island is experiencing an updating of its economic process in order to achieve greater efficiency and productivity.


 
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