CELAC at the Center of Talks between Cuban Foreign Minister and UN Secretary General
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 2 (acn) UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez addressed in New York the role of Cuba as temporary president of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC.
During the talks, which took place in the context of the 68 Session of the UN General Assembly, Ban and Rodriguez also addressed issues of regional interest.
The Millennium Development Goals, the development agenda to be implemented by the international community after 2015 and the impact by climate change on the Caribbean were also at the center of the talks.
Ban took the opportunity to acknowledge Cuba’s supportive role as host to the Colombian peace talks.
US Blockade of Cuba Has Serious Impact on Pediatric Attention
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 2 (acn) Serious limitations imposed by the US Blockade of Cuba on the Island’s public health system are evident in the Pediatric Cardiocenter William Soler, in Havana, one of the most reputed hemispheric institutions dealing with the treatment of heart complaints in children and adolescents.
Due to US interference, doctor Herminia Palenzuela, Head of the Quality Programme of the Institution reports, the Cardiocenter is unable to acquire Nitric gas, manufactured in the United States.
This gas is indispensable for the treatment of crisis in pulmonary hypertension resulting from cardiotoraccic surgery, a very serious problem that may lead to the death of the patient, she said.
There exist alternative ways of dealing with pulmonary hypertension, said the Cuban medical specialist, but the most effective is nitric acid.
Its direct application to the lung immediately leads to the increase in its breathing capacity, thus releasing pressure and guaranteeing the swift improvement of the patient’s condition. Lamentably, the US blockade prevents Cuba’s access to that product.
Another limitation imposed on Cuba’s capacity to treat its children with cardiovascular complaints is the nation’s inability to purchase US-manufactured nitrous oxide, a most efficient product that guarantees an immediate improvement in the small patient’s capacity to breath.
This product cannot be shipped by air and must be transported by ship adopting special measures. But US manufacturers refuse to sell it to Cuba because of the Washington-imposed blockade.
Another product banned to Cuba is the anesthetic Servofluorane, the best such product for children’s cardiovascular surgery.
But it may not be purchased by Cuba. The real losers are children who must be operated on and are deprived of the best anesthesia, because it is of American manufacture and the US Government, in fact, conspires against the right of those children to lead healthy lives, just because they are Cubans.
Cuba Supports at UNESCO Peaceful Solution for Syria
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 1 (acn) Cuba affirmed its position at the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO)about the need to prevent a foreign aggression on Syria in order to keep peace, which is the most urgent priority for the International Community.
Cuban representative at the UNESCO executive council, Juan Antonio Fernandez said expressed his country’s firm support of initiatives aimed at finding a peaceful solution for Syria, based on full respect of that country’s sovereignty and independence.
According to PL news agency, the Cuban diplomat also denounced the scandalous espionage by the United States which has been met with a tsunami of criticism at the world level. In this regards, Fernandez expressed his country’s support of the initiative proposed by Brazil, which invited the executive council and UNESCO to address the situation related to privacy and Internet ethics.
Over 300 Thousand Angolans Benefited with Cuban Literacy Method
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 2 (acn) More than 300 thousand adult Angolans have learned to read and write through an educational method developed by Cuba, named Yes, I can, which has been succesfully applied in at least 30 nations in the world.
In Angola, the programme was introduced in 2009, and has proven its effectiveness in the sharp reduction of adult illiteracy in at least eight provinces in that African nation.
Learning to read and write has been largely instrumental in the resounding success achieved by Angola in the eradication of hunger, poverty and disease.
The development of the Cuban educational programme by that African nation’s Government was enthusiastically supported by several Angolan institutions, including the Angolan Women’s Federation and church groups. The massive introduction of education has proven to be a major weapon in the successful Angolan struggle against poverty, hunger and disease.
Over six million illiterates in the world have benefited from the Cuban educational programme “Yes I can”, enthusiastically endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, which assigned it its prestigious “King Sejong Literacy Promotion Award in 2006.
Cuban First Vice-president Acknowledges Religious Community Support of the Revolution
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 3 (acn) Cuban First Vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel acknowledged the spiritualist community in Cuba for its commitment and Support of the people, the Revolution and the cause of the five Cuban anti-terrorists, who were arrested in 1998 in the United States.
During a meeting with representatives of the religious community, Diaz-Canel said that amidst the ongoing process of economic transformations in Cuba it is crucial to focus on the spirituality, sentiments, emotions and ideas of the people.
“If we are able to strengthen our economy and we assume the results of this process with culture, knowledge, decency, without vanity and selfishness, and in a supportive manner, then we will be defending our society, our ideals; we all agreed to these issues,” said Diaz-Canel who affirmed the government and Communist Party’s trust in Cuban spiritualists as he underscored their struggle for unity.
The Cuban first-vice president called on the religious community to keep defending its identity, based on historic roots, and without allowing the import of foreign formulas in order to guarantee its own autonomy.
He alerted that the Barack Obama administration has allocated millions of dollars to finance over 113 subversive programs against several sectors of Cuban society, including the religious community, in an effort to break the unity of Cubans and their Revolution.
The spiritualist community currently counts on over 550 societies in Cuba who freely carry out their activities with the support of local authorities. Members of the community expressed their gratefulness for the meeting and explained about their work in the benefit of human beings and society. They also supported the call issued by Cuban President Raul Castro to keep educating the Cuban people.
The meeting was also attended by the head of the Cuban Communist Party Religious Affairs Office, Caridad Diego and other party officials.
At UN, 40 Plus Countries Demand End of Blockade Against Cuba
United Nations, Oct 2 (Prensa Latina) Speaking at the UN General Assembly, leaders from more than 40 countries and all five continents urged an end to the U.S. blockade of Cuba, describing it as genocidal, illegal, and a Cold War relic.
During the seven days of the 68th session of the General Assembly, the call to end the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed more than 50 years ago was expressed from the United Nations podium by presidents, prime ministers, and foreign ministers alike.
Just like last year, the issue of Washington's blockade against the island was among the topics most mentioned by the leaders during the plenary session for the 193 U.N. member countries.
Yesterday, during the last day of discussion, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Granada, Suriname, Barbados, Syria, and Guinea joined the demand previously expressed here by representatives from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Europe.
For Bolivian President Evo Morales, the blockade against Cuba is the "worst genocide," while Mauricio Funes, president of El Salvador, Ghana's John Mahama, and Trinidad and Tobago's Kamla Persad-Bissessar, called it a relic of the past.
In turn, the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, described the White House siege as a kind of "myopic revenge," which has caused millions in losses and severe social harm, for its impact in sectors such as health and education.
For his part, Gambian President Hadji Yahya Jammeh called Washington's measures inhumane, unjust, and flagrant, and warned that they lack any sort of justification.
During the general discussion, participants considered the U.S. blockade on Cuba to be a strong obstacle to the country's development, as well as a violation of international law.
Cuba Implements New Legal Regulations
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 3 (acn) Cuban officials with the Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s Office and the Interior Ministry addressed new regulations relevant to the Cuban Penal Code and the authority of the courts of justice.
During the prime-time TV Show “The Round Table Discussion,” the officials explained that the initiative strengthen state policy in tune with the economic and social transformations underway in the country.
The vice-president of the People’s Supreme Court, Oscar Manuel Silvera, said that a new decree law reinforces the authority of municipal courts of justice to deal with crimes that imply up to 8-year prison terms, formerly up to 3 years imprisonment.
The regulations aimed at taking justice closer to the sites where crimes take place and to the individuals involved, which favors legal decisions, said Silvera who added that the measures pursue the preservation of security and the improvement of the quality of the judicial service, while the right to justice is more effective.
The changes in the Penal Code include the imposition of administrative fines, as long as the crime committed reveals low risk levels, while the sanction to be imposed for such crime does not exceed three years of imprisonment or a fine of up to one thousand-installment pay. This would always require the approval of the prosecution.
Colonel Felix Yanes, second chief of the General Criminal Investigations and Operations Department with the Interior Ministry, said that the new regulations favor case-to-case work with those subjected to up to three-year sanctions. Such work is in tune with the humanitarian principles promoted by the Cuban Revolution.
Dominican Unions Demand Freedom for The Cuban Five
Santiago de Cuba, Oct 2 (Prensa Latina)Union members from the Dominican Republic participating in a binational seminar on health and safety in the workplace demanded the return of four Cubans who have been imprisoned in the United States for over 15 years.
Juan Andrés Balbi, general secretary of the National Union of Heavy Equipment Operators, said the committees of solidarity with the Cuban Five are active and are expressing their demands through demonstrations in the streets and outside the U.S. embassy.
Balbi said that the U.S. justice system had meted out disrespectful and inconsiderate treatment to Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez, the latter back in Cuba after serving his sentence.
Balbi also joined the applause of those attending the forum, who condemned the political aberration resulting from the arrest in Miami of these Cubans who were trying to prevent violent actions against their country.
More Cuban Doctors Arrive in Brazil to Support Public Health
Brasilia, Oct 2 (Prensa Latina) A new group of 250 Cuban health professionals arrived in this capital today to provide services through the Brazilian public health system, as part of the "More Doctors" program.
They are part of the second contingent of Cuban doctors who will work in the rural areas of this country with low Human Development Index figures, as well as on the outskirts of the metropolitan regions.
"We came here to support and offer our knowledge to the Brazilian people," Dr. Roxana Garcia, 42, said at the Brasilia's International Airport. The experts were received by a group of citizens showing support for their work and thanking them for their solidarity with Brazil's needy.
Another 532 physicians from 11 countries will also join in this second phase of this health program. They were responding to a call made by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, to ensure healthcare for all citizens of this nation. Presented by the president in July, the "More Doctors" program will feature services provided by 4,000 Cuban doctors, in response to an agreement signed between the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the Pan American Health Organization.
Ovation for Documentary About Fidel Castro in South Africa
Pretoria, Oct 2 (Prensa Latina) A standing ovation was the response to a 95-minute documentary titled Fidel, The Untold Story, which marked tonight the opening of the 9th Festival of Latin America and the Caribbean Cinema in South Africa, with a large public.
The historical narrative passages filled with images and exclusive interviews, made by director Estela Bravo, summarizes with good sense the trajectory of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.
Ambassador and diplomats, including the head of the delegation of Venezuela, Mairin Moreno, and Carlos Sersale di Cerisano, of Argentina, filled the Lier theater of the University of Pretoria.
Others in the audience included high-ranking South African officials such as Faith Mazibuko, Minister of Community Safety of Gauteng province, who will lead a delegation traveling to Havana on Saturday.
The documentary Fidel, The Untold Story, was presented by the Cuban ambassador to South Africa, Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, who welcomed the interest shown by many people in attending the screening.
Activists Announce Caravan Against Terrorism in Miami
Washington, Oct 1 (Prensa Latina) Cuban emigre organizations that are part of the coalition Alianza Martiana announced that a caravan against terrorism will drive through the main streets of the city of Miami on Saturday.
Participants will demand the release of four of the Cuban Five who remain in U.S. prisons: Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez, according to a press release from the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five.
Caravan participants also will demand the prosecution of real terrorist organizations of right-wing extremist Cuban-Americans who are freely walking the streets of Miami.
The caravan is one of a number of activities taking place from September 5 to October 6 in solidarity with the cause of the Cuban Five, the 15th year since their wrongful arrest and imprisonment.
9th Meeting of Marti Project to be Held in Portugal
Panama City, Oct 2 (Prensa Latina) The 9th World Council Meeting of the José Martí International Solidarity Project will be held in 2014 in Portugal, according to Héctor Hernández Pardo, its executive coordinator, in opening remarks at the 8th Meeting in Panama today.
Participating in the meeting are members of the World Council from Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Portugal.
Professor Miguel Angel Candanedo, secretary general of the University of Panama, said that tomorrow workshops and presentations would take place in two faculties at that university and two others, and at the Ciudad del Saber (City of Knowledge), benefiting from the presence of well-known international academics such as Brazilian Frei Betto.
Guillermo Castro, a local academic, said that the Marti Project has an enormous value, because "Marti is more present now than ever, his vision transcends history as a process of human improvement through the practice of the utility of virtue."
Mexican Mario Alberto Najera said that José Martí studies departments have existed since the 1990s, and have multiplied now with the objective of opening a space for reflection, and they are becoming a forum for studying the most advanced ideas.
Zayda Castro, executive director of a Marti Studies Department in Venezuela, said that the delegation from her country wanted others to know what Venezuela is doing about Marti's ideas and its intimate links with that territory.
"Cuba's national hero is resurging again in Venezuela following the revolutionary process led by Commander Hugo Chavez and his political ideas can no longer be hidden from the people," she said.
IAEA Highlights Cuba’s Role in Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy
Havana, Oct 1 (Prensa Latina) The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, highlighted Cuba''s role in a keynote speech delivered here, emphasizing its wide range of peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology, with an emphasis on human health.
During yesterday's speech entitled "IAEA's work: Atoms for Peace," delivered at the University of Havana's main lecture hall, Amano said that Cuba has been an active member of the organization since it was founded in Vienna in 1957, and is a major contributor to technical cooperation programs, with its experts in many fields sharing their knowledge and experience with other countries.
Amano talked about his positive impression in regard to the variety of available services and the dedication of Cuban staff, after visiting several medical and research centers in Havana.
He added that thanks to IAEA collaboration with Cuba, the National Institute of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery was able to improve its imaging facilities in order to provide patients better diagnoses and treatment.
The agency works closely with the National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, as well as research activities. It is also involved in the production of essential radiopharmaceutical products and the creation of a center for environmental studies in the central province of Cienfuegos, to monitor marine and coastal pollution.
Cuban Cultural Institutions Lose Millions due to U.S. Blockade
Havana, Oct 1 (Prensa Latina) Cuban cultural institutions lost $ 12.7 million last year due to the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.
A report published by the Ministry of Culture says that the blockade prevents Cuban artists from engaging in normal exchange with U.S. artistic circles.
In 2012 the U.S. company Paypal restricted the bank account of a Spanish platform for funding Cuban cultural projects, claiming that it failed to comply with Cuba-related regulations of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Ministry of Culture report said.
That same year, the Cuban Music Institute sponsored performances in the United States of 365 musicians and technicians, who did not receive travel allowances to cover their expenses and were forbidden to market their presentations, due to the blockade's provisions.
The Cuban film industry was also prevented from direct access to the use of technology developed by the U.S. company Dolby.
Meanwhile, given the control exerted by U.S. capital, the Cuban audiovisual production company RTV Comercial cannot promote its products in the U.S. market or others in the region.
The Cuban government annually presents to the UN a report against the blockade imposed for more than 50 years with the aim of harming the Cuban economy.
Traditionally, this document has been approved by the vast majority of UN members, and last year 188 nations voted to lift the blockade, which was opposed by only three countries, with two abstaining.
Havana is now preparing a report on these and other incidents to submit shortly to the UN General Assembly.
Ecuador’s Rafael Correa Announces Plan to Improve Healthcare System
HAVANA, Cuba, Sep 30 (acn) Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa announced a strategy to improve his country’s healthcare system with the hiring of one thousand Cuban doctors, given the lack of physicians in the South American nation.
We need family doctors, so we will hire Cuban physicians, said Correa in his radio and TV weekend sow, aired from the province of Guayas, PL news agency reported from the capital Quito.
The strategy, to be implemented till 2017, includes the construction of one thousand 582 healthcare centers outfitted with all necessary resources, plus 163 general hospital and 24 specialized medical institutions. All those facilities will require some 18 thousand 675 health professionals, half of whom must be doctors.
Correa said that Ecuadorian youths are currently taking medical courses in Cuba, though they will take some years to graduate, so in the meanwhile the Cuban doctors will be hired. He said that the best example for the Ecuadorian health project to follow is Cuba, which has one of the most comprehensive health systems of the world.
Reverend Jesse Jackson Calls for Actions against US Blockade of Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, Sep 30 (acn) US Reverend Jesse Jackson called for actions against the economic, financial and commercial blockade which the governments of his country have maintained against Cuba for over 50 years now, and he also stressed the need to strengthen relations between the US and the Cuban people.
During a religious ceremony at the Havana-based Ebenezer Baptist Church, Reverend Jackson said that the blockade affects the life of the Cuban people and hinders relations between the two nations.
The US Reverend said that the Church must fight against the blockade, PL news agency reported on Sunday.
The sanctions posed by Washington against Cuba affect the use of the Internet on the island, telephone calls and transportation, among other consequences for the Cuban and the US people, he said.
During the religious ceremony, organized by the Cuban Council of Churches, participants recalled previous visits by the outstanding civil rights activist to Cuba in 1984 and 1988. Reverend Jackson recalled his meetings with Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro.
Meanwhile, Cuban Reverend Raul Suarez, director of the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Center, stressed the contribution by Jackson to relations between the US and the Cuban people. He said that the US activist has favored a new stage for relations between the churches and the state, which he described as a “blessing for our country, our people and the Cuban Revolution.”
IAEA General Director Beings Official Visit to Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, Sep 30 (acn) The general director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano is on an official visit to Cuba till October 1, which is in tune with the excellent relations between the island and the world energy organization.
Cuba is a founding member of the IAEA with a currently active participation particularly in technical cooperation projects in the field of health, agriculture and the environment, PL news reported on Sunday.
The IAEA has acknowledged, in several occasions, the highly skillful Cuban specialists and the contributions by Havana to boost cooperation projects linked to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
As a member of the IAEA, Cuba is currently promoting urgent negotiations to reach an International Convention on Nuclear Disarmament. In this regard, the island supports the setting up of concrete timetable for the total elimination and prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Cuba opposes all nuclear tests, both of real explosive nature or computer-based experiments and other sophisticated technologies.
Cuba honors the Tlatelolco Treaty, on the prohibition of nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Cuban government maintains a Safeguarding Accord with the IAEA, along with an additional protocol on the subject.
CDR: A Key Factor for the Safeguard of the Cuban Revolution
HAVANA, Cuba, Sep 27 (acn) Safeguarding the Revolutionary project continues to be the utmost mission of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), stressed the delegates to the 8th Congress of the largest Cuban grassroots organization, underway at Havana's Conventions Center in the presence of President Raul Castro.
The forum is being attended by 460 CDR members from all Cuban provinces, who are working on actions to improve the performance of the organization and support proposals aim at making the structure and functions of the CDRs more efficient and effective.
Delegates stressed the need to get the youths more involved in addressing the necessities prevailing in their areas of residence and communities and involve them in fighting illegalities. They also called for joint work in support of the implementation of the social and economic guidelines adopted by the Communist party.
The Congress of the over-eight-million-member organization will conclude on Saturday after adopting the main report and working guidelines for the upcoming years.
South Nations Demand at UN End of US Blockade of Cuba
Leaders of Latin American, African and Asian countries demanded at the United Nations General Assembly the lifting of the over-50-year US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.
During the session prime ministers and heads of state described the US blockade as policy of genocide, illegal, failed, a relic of the Cold War period, anachronistic and obstacle to development, among other terms.
Representing Latin America, the leaders of Bolivia, Antigua and Barbuda, Uruguay, El Salvador, Guyana, Trinidad-tobago demanded the end of the US siege which has inflicted huge damage on all Cuban economic and social sectors, particularly health and education.
Meanwhile, the representatives of South Africa, Namibia, Ghana, Chad, Mozambique and Gabon, and for Asia, the leaders of Sri Lanka and East Timor also called for the end of the US blocakde at the plenary session attended by 193 states, the overwhelming majority of which have repeatedly voted a Cuban resolution since 1992 demanding the lifting of the Usś anti-Cuba measure.
In his remarks at the forum, Bolivian President Evo Morales criticized the US administration for ignoring the claim by the international community against the US blockade of the island.
Cuba Improves Salaries of Athletes and Trainers
HAVANA, Cuba, Sep 27 (acn) Cuba will noticeably increase the salaries and bonuses to athletes, trainers and other sports specialists, as a policy pproved by the Council of Ministers.
According to Granma newspaper, the new policy will get in force in January 2014, though in the case of Baseball it will start with the opening of the National Series in November 2013.
The new measure aims at improving the performance of Cuban sports, generating income sources, increasing the quality and rigor in competitions, gradually increasing salaries and guaranteeing that each one receives a salary according to his or her work.
High-performance athletes, who devote all their time to practicing a sports modality, will get their salaries according to their results, the newspaper explains and adds that in the case of athletes who get contracts abroad, they will be guaranteed their participation in major competitions on the island.
The new policy maintains monthly payments to athletes in hard currency or Cuban convertible pesos as it has been done so far. This payment is received by athletes, trainers either active or retired in return for the medals they have won, while other payments in the Cuban national currency, the Peso, will also be included.
This way the pay will be based on the socialist principle establishing that “from each one according to his or her capabilities, to each one according to his or her work,” which will be expressed at the moment of obtaining competition results, as approved by the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party.
The newspaper also explains that when an athlete is no longer active, her or she will receive an additional pay as acknowledgement, which will be considered for the calculation of his social security fund.
Along with this Cuba will implement a annual system of contracts in the country accredited by the National Federation of each sports, thus replacing a system of leaves thus far in force.
The policy approved by the Cuban Council of Ministers establishes six sports categories according to the performance of athletes, which constitute the basis to set the basic monthly payments in national currency for high-performance athletes.
Cuban Government Approves Measures to Keep Boosting Economic Update
HAVANA, Cuba, Sep 24 (acn) The Cuban Council of Ministers, headed by President Raul Castro, adopted several measures and policies to keep implementing the economic and social guidelines approved by the Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party.
The first measure aims at updating the national medication supply program for the population with major productive capacity and more stable supply at drugstores and health care centers. This measure establishes the inclusion, in the general lists of medications, of those known as natural and traditional medicines. With this regards, the Council of Ministers indicated the update of a program aimed at further developing natural medicine.
President Raul Castro said that private producers and cooperatives can make an important contribution to the production of medicinal herbs, which are important for the prevention and cure of many diseases.
The meeting also agreed to repair and build a larger number of centers for the elderly and nursing homes between 2013 and 2015 given the growing aging of the Cuban population.
The Council of Ministers also approved a third group of non-agriculture cooperatives made up of 73 entities dedicated to gastronomic services, recreation, construction, transportation and manufacture.
The final results of the 2012 Population and Housing Census were released during the meeting. Such results will be publishes soon, according to the Cuban television.
Another proposal approved was a project to reduce a large number of posts included in the budgeted areas of the Ministry of Construction, in order to achieve higher efficiency.
Cuba and Jamaica Ties Highlighted
Kingston, Sep 23 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Jose Ramon Balaguer, who is member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Cuba’s Communist Party (PCC in Spanish) described as excellent the bilateral relations between his country and Jamaica and called for Latin American and Caribbean unity.
Speaking at the 57th annual conference of the ruling People's National Party held here, Balaguer appreciated the solidarity of the Jamaican government and people.
He stressed the importance of the integration process that is developed in the region and driven by organizations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
As part of his activities, Balaguer was received by the Jamaican Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, and visited the Chest Hospital’s eye clinic in the capital, and the Jose Marti Polytechnic School, in the city of Spanish Town.
In his meeting with Simpson-Miller, Balaguer thanked the Jamaican solidarity with the Cuban people, including support in the fight against the U.S blockade on Cuba that has been kept for more than half a century.
Meanwhile, Simpson-Miller thanked Cuban cooperation in various fields in Jamaica, especially in health care and sports.
CELAC Presents at United Nations Commitment to Persons with Disabilities
HAVANA, Cuba, Sep 24 (acn) The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, presented at the United Nations General Assembly its commitment to include the persons with disabilities in global development programs and strategies.
During a high-level meeting on the subject, Cuban deputy foreign minister Abelardo Moreno presented the position of the Community, a 33-member states bloc currently being chaired by Cuba.
“We are convinced that full social inclusion of persons with disabilities requires the renewed commitment by governments and societies, as a crucial condition to achieve equitable, democratic and multi-cultural societies,” the CELAC document reads.
According to the document, 12 percent of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean area faces some kind of disabilities, which stands for about 66 million people, most of whom are part of the most vulnerable population sectors.
The high-level UN General Assembly meeting aims at committing the international community to promote and implement social inclusion of persons with disabilities in the framework of global development after 2015, the deadline set in 2000 to materialize the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Over one billion people in the world face some kind of disability, according to the United Nations.
ALBA Condemns in Geneva Israeli Aggressions on Palestinean People
Geneva, Sep 23 (Prensa Latina) The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA) condemned here today the violations against human rights committed by Israel on Palestine and the negative of Tel Aviv to comply with UN recommendations.
When speaking before the 24th ordinary session of the UN Council of Human Rights, the delegation of Ecuador, in representation of the ALBA member countries, defended the claim of the Palestinian people to build an independent state and reivindicated the need of a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Middle East.
The declaration condemns the settlements in occupied territorios, the crimes against the civil population, as well as the extrajudicial murders.
On his part, Cuban representative Juan Antonio Quintanilla denounced that Israel continues to violate international humanitarian law that could end in its physical elimination.
In his statement before the Council, Quintanilla warned also about the denial of Israel to cooperate with the Universal Periodic Review, which adds to its long and persistent history of non-compliance with its most elementary international duties.
A similar warning was made by the representative of Venezuela, when condemning the total disregard of Tel Aviv to recommendations of the UN Council of Human Rights.
Venezuela claimed the need for Israel to put an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories, as well as those of the Syrian Golan and return to the frontiers of 1967.
Cuba Hosts International Course on Fighting Corruption
Havana, Sep 23 (Prensa Latina) General Comptroller of the Republic of Cuba , Gladys Bejerano, opened today the 8th International Course of Prevention and Control Tools in confronting administrative corruption with the attendance of representatives from nine countries.
Among participants, there are the General Comptroller of Bolivia, Gabriel Herbas, the member of the Accounting Chamber of the Dominican Republic, Alfredo Cruz and representatives of Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela and Cuba.
Bejerano made a comprehensive speech on the Cuban experience in that field, explained the system of control of the State and the Government, as well as the role of the Comptroller as auxiliary organ of the People’s Power National Assembly (parliament).
She highlighted that the Cuban Election Law is one of the strengths of the fight against corruption and a show of democracy in which the population proposes its candidates and decides in the election of delegates.
The most frequent contraventions in administrative control are associated to limitations and non-compliance in the introduction of components of internal control.
We are in a new stage in which economic information, statistics, accounting is a tool of direction, she said.
The General Comptroller introduces a group of actions so that administrations of enterprises learn how to apply self control and promote measures in that direction.
The course will run until September 27 and is organized by the General Comptroller of the Republic and the Latin American and Caribbean Organization of Superior Fiscal Entities (OLACEFS in Spanish)
Cuba Blockade Causes Millions in Losses in Food Industry
Havana, Sep 23 (Prensa Latina) Cuban food industry has annually lost about $45 billion USD for the impossibility of accessing to bank financing, due to the U.S. economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States for more than 50 years.
According to data provided by the Cuban food import company, ALIMPORT, the sector has suffered additional losses estimated at more than $20 million USD, for failing to perform transactions in the U.S. currency.
The sector has also lost another $10 million USD, due to the transfers originated on the island involving several banks to reach their destination, while the damages for the cost of freights has exceeded $28 million USD last year.
Let’s take into account that ships carrying cargo between Cuba and the United States should return to the northern port without any merchandise, increasing the costs.
On the other hand, the import and export of fishery products, Caribex, denounced the impossibility of locating Cuban products in the U.S. market, so they have to pay high tariffs and transportation prices to place their goods in more distant destinations.
Cuba presents a report to the UN against the blockade every year since 1992. This document has been historically approved by most of the member countries of this organization.
Cuba Works to Reduce Pollution at Largest Caribbean Wetland
Cienfuegos, Cuba, Sep 23 (Prensa Latina) With the design of an integrated sewage management system at the Antonio Sanchez sugar complex in south-central Cienfuegos, Cuba is working on decreasing pollution at the Cienaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp), the largest wetland in the Caribbean islands.
Engineer Ernesto Martinez, manager of the industrial plant at the Cienfuegos Sugar Company, told Prensa Latina that the environment is the great beneficiary of a strategy designed for an industry whose plantations frequently border the swampy areas located in the neighboring province of Matanzas to the west.
Located in the central town of Covadonga, the sugar mill is part of a large production complex, consisting of the only distillery in Cuba for refined spirits, along with additional factories that produce rum and "torula," a kind of feed meant to fatten pigs.
In the case of "vinazo," one of the derivatives sourcing from the production of alcohol and "torula," one solution is to send the polluting potential to cane growers via tanker-trucks, in order to be poured on plantations as a fertilizer.
Such technological innovation does not exclude the traditional fertilization-irrigation (by gravity) of sugar-cane plantations with some of those industrial wastes, Martinez said.
The introduction of pig feed, aligned with the economic policy guidelines adopted at the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba held in 2011, which allow for the expansion of the social purpose of such companies, constitutes an added value to the production at the Antonio Sanchez complex, some 200 kilometers southeast of Havana.
Nicolas Maduro says Meeting with Fidel was Historic
HAVANA, Cuba, July 28 (acn) Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said the meeting he held in Havana with Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro was historic.
During the meeting, Maduro presented Fidel with a painting made by Bolivarian leader Hugo Chavez during his days in hospital, in the Cuban capital. He also gave Fidel a book by author Ignacio Ramonet containing an interview granted by Chavez to the French writer.
Fidel and Nicolas recalled chapters of the Cuban revolutionary struggle and the assault on the Moncada garrison in particular, and they also recalled Hugo Chavez and his colossal work aimed at Latin American unity, which was the dream of The Liberator Simon Bolivar.
The Venezuelan president and the Cuban leader exchanged views on current challenges facing the region and the world, such as food security, the preservation of peace and climate change. Fidel expressed concern about the threat posed by climate change on humanity and he alerted that the ocean level could increase by 70 centimeters in just few years, bringing with it serious consequences.
Fidel Castro handed over to Maduro a letter addressed to all heads of state and government that assisted to national commemorations for the 60th anniversary of the attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Garrison.
Fidel Castro Sends Letter to Heads of Delegations at July 26 National Commemorations
HAVANA, Cuba, July 28 (acn) Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro sent a letter to the heads of the delegations that attended July 26 commemorations in Cuba, in which he recalled passages of the attacks on the Moncada and he pays homage to Bolivarian leader Hugo Chavez.
In his letter, published July 28 by Cuban television, Fidel Castro said he would not be able to attend the national ceremony, held in Santiago de Cuba to mark the historic date, because he had to abide by his doctors’ suggestions. However he said he could recall moments and transmit ideas.
Fidel said that the July 26, 1953 action undoubtedly was a courageous demonstration of the people’s capacity to undertake any task from the very beginning. He said the 160 men, who were selected to carry out the action were picked out of 1200 young combatants from Havana and western Pinar del Rio province.
After recalling specific moments of the attack on the Moncada garrison, Fidel Castro said that some recently tried to slander the Cuban Revolution by alleging that the Cuban president had deceived the United Nations and other heads of state with a double-standard behavior.
Fidel says he is not hesitant in assuring that for years the Cuban government refused to sign accords on the prohibition of nuclear weapons because they did not agree with granting such prerogative to any state; however, he said Cuba would never try to build a nuclear weapon.
The Cuban leader stressed Cuba’s position against all nuclear weapons. He noted that no nation, either big or small, should have such extermination instrument, which could wipe out human existence from the planet.
He added that at present, it is not only nuclear weapons but also climate change constitutes the most imminent danger that could make human existence impossible on the Earth in less than a century from now.
Fidel concluded his letter by paying tribute to Hugo Chavez, a Latin American and World leader, that made much for Cuba and other nations in the Caribbean area and the world. “He would be here today, among us, hadn’t he fallen in his brave fight for life; like us, he did not fight to live; he lived to fight.”
First Vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel Pays Tribute to Bolivarian Leader Hugo Chavez
HAVANA, Cuba, July 28 (acn) Miguel Diaz-Canel First Vice-president of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez paid tribute on Sunday to Bolivarian leader Hugo Chavez on the 59th anniversary of his birth.
The two top government Cuban officials laid a wreath at the Venezuelan embassy in Havana, which opened its doors to all those who wished to pay homage to the Bolivarian president. Sports figures and personalities in the world of culture as well as citizens from all walks of life paid tribute to Hugo Chavez at the diplomatic mission.
First vice-president Diaz-Canel wrote on the visitors’ book that “we commemorate the 59 birthday of our big brother, a Latin American and world leader, an extraordinary revolutionary and faithful friend of Fidel, Raul and the Cuban people...”
Cubans came in with poems, drawings, songs, flowers and letters as an expression of affection towards the man that led the social transformation process in Venezuela.
Venezuelan ambassador Edgardo Ramirez expressed his gratefulness to the Cuban people for their expressions of affection towards Chavez and he announced the setting up by president Nicolas Maduro of a center of study on Chavez’s ideas in Barinas, his hometown.
Cubans and Venezuelans Pay Tribute to Bolivarian Leader Hugo Chavez
HAVANA, Cuba, July 27 (acn) The Venezuelan embassy in Havana will open its doors on July 28 to all those citizens that wish to join the tribute to be paid to Bolivarian leader Hugo Chavez on the 59th anniversary of his birth, said ambassador Edgar Ramirez while announcing the activities for the occasion.
Ramirez said that all those who want to bring a flower, a poem, a painting to pay tribute to Comandante Chavez will be welcomed at the diplomatic mission.
The Venezuelan embassy along several Cuban institutions are sponsoring a series of activities until August 4th to mark Chavez's birthday and the 230th anniversary of the birth of Simon Bolivar on July 24.
The agenda includes the opening at Havana's Revolution Square of a visual arts exhibit dedicated to Hugo Chavez, a cultural and political ceremony at the Simon Bolivar Museum in Old Havana and tributes at the Bolivar Square.
Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Visited Housing Project in Santiago de Cuba
Havana, July 27 (RHC) Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patiño toured a housing project in eastern Santiago de Cuba, that includes the construction of over 1 thousand homes by the Ecuadorian army's engineering forces.
The action is a sample of the international support received by the eastern Cuban territory after the ravaging passage last October of hurricane Sandy.
The Ecuadorian foreign minister said that they came to reciprocate for the large support given by the Cuban Revolution to the Ecuadorian people. He added that the construction effort is part of a project for bilateral collaboration between the two sister nations.
The Ecuadorian initiative includes the donation of 1600 home roofing tiles and the rehabilitation of facilities at the Santiago de Cuba Medical University, where Ecuadorian youths are taking their courses.
The top government Ecuadorian official headed his country's delegation to national celebrations in Santiago on July 26 for the 60th anniversary of the attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes garrisons.
Mexican Social Organizations Call March in Support of Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, July 27 (acn) Over 50 political and social organizations in Mexico called a march on Saturday up to the US embassy in the city capital to demand the lifting of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.
The demonstration will also mark the 60th anniversary of the attacks on the Moncada Garrison, which Cubans commemorated on July 26 with a national ceremony in eastern Santiago de Cuba in the presence of several Latin American and Caribbean leaders.
“We will again take to the streets to express our affection and admiration for the Cuban people and give them our solidarity, since the Caribbean nation has been under permanent US aggression over fifty years of economic blockade,” the call to the demonstration pointed out.
The protest march will demand the lifting of the blockade and the release of the anti-terrorist Cubans held in US prisons since 1998.
Some of the organizations participating in the protest march include the Mexican Solidarity-with-Cuba Committee, the Mexican Solidarity-with-Venezuela organization, the Alliance of Social Organizations, the Monsignor Romero Committee, the Communist Revolutionary Youth, the Mexican Communist Party and many others. (rhc)
Cubans Pay Tribute to Martys of the Revolution
SANTIAGO, Cuba, July 30 (acn) The Cuban people paid homage on Tuesday to the martyrs of the Cuban Revolution by laying wreaths in different historic sites in eastern Santiago de Cuba city.
Revolutionary veterans Parmenia Suarez and Francis Velasquez laid wreaths on behalf of the Cuban people at the place where July 26 movement leader Frank Pais and his compatriot Raul Pujol were murdered on July 30, 1957 by henchmen of the Batista dictatorship.
Similar homage was paid at the Martyrs' Square, scenario of meetings of heroic youths, where 20 students and workers received their membership cards of the Young Communist League.
In statements to the Cuban News Agency, Luis Zamora, an Optometry and Optics student, stressed the pride felt by today's youths in following up on the ideas of those who gave their lives a day like today for the defense of their homeland.
Vet Manuel Mateo, who fought at the orders of Frank Pais, stressed the personal values of the 23-year-old revolutionary and his skills as a leader, which made him the organizer of the militias with the July 26 revolutionary movement to fight the bloody Fulgencio Batista dictatorship.
Santiago citizens paid tribute at Frank Pais at his former home, now a museum in the eastern city, and in all work centers named after martyrs of the Revolution.
A march will take place from downtown Santiago up to the Santa Ifigenia cemetery on Tuesday afternoon to recall the funeral of Frank Pais and also to pay homage to all revolutionaries killed in action during the revolutionary struggle. At the cemetery, the people will lay wreaths at the tombs treasuring the remains of the martyrs.
Cuban Socialism on the Way to Consolidation
HAVANA, Cuba, July 30 (acn) Socialism in Cuba advances towards its consolidation, while the island will prevail as example of solidarity, said the vice-president of Cuba's Councils of State and Ministers Jose Ramon Machado Ventura in Ecuador.
During a meeting with Cuban health workers in the sister Latin American nation, Machado addressed the most recent developments related to July 26 commemorations on the island.
The leaders who spoke at the national ceremony for July 26 stressed Cuba?s countless gestures of solidarity with the rest of the countries of the region and the world.
He said that economic transformations underway on the island are on their way to consolidation and with it favor the strengthening of the Revolution and the socialist project. Cuba needs to develop sustainable socialism, Machado Ventura stressed.
The top government Cuban official praised the work of Cuban collaborators in Ecuador, who constitute an example of solidarity and support through regional organizations, such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas.
The Cuban vice-president traveled to Guayaquil on Monday to take part at the 12th Summit of the regional integration bloc, which is made up of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Lucia.
Alba Summit Focuses on Regional Integration
HAVANA, Cuba, July 30 (acn)The Summit of heads of state and government of the countries making up the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA), underway in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil, is focusing on the bloc's foreign policy in an effort to expand the integration of nations.
In a communique issued on Tuesday, the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry announced the presentation at the summit of issues related to what was described as inclusive and participatory integration; based on respect for human dignity, economic development and the right of nations to self-determination, their defense of sovereignty, according to a report by PL news agency.
The expansion of the bloc's currency SUCRE, a regional and unitary compensation monetary system, the Comon Fund of Reserves and the strengthening of social programs are among the major topics on the Ecuadorian agenda for the summit.
The ALBA leaders are meeting at the Milton Colon hotel Tuesday morning, and they will continue their debates at the Voltaire Paladines Polose Coliseum in the afternoon, where they will share with members of social organizations.
The Guayaquil summit gathers the heads of state and governments and representatives of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Lucia. Meanwhile, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Surinam, Guayana and Haiti are guests to the meeting.
Uruguayan President Stresses Meeting with Fidel and Raul
HAVANA, Cuba, July 29 (acn) Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica briefed his country’s Council of Ministers about his visit to Cuba and he stressed his meetings with head of state Raul Castro and Revolution leader Fidel Castro.
President Mujica and foreign minister Luis Almagro reported on their visit to Cuba to attend July 26 celebrations.
In his report, Mujica said he intends to increase the exchange with Cuban in some areas and added that over the past few years, Cuba maintained intense collaboration with Uruguay. The head of state referred to the signing of a document to expand scientific and technical cooperation with Cuba.
According to the Uruguayan Communication’s Department, Cuba needs to enrich expertise on milk production and Uruguay can offer advice in that field.
At present, Uruguay counts on over 400 doctors graduated in Cuba, while a group of new 40 physicians return after graduation to offer their services in Uruguay.
Pastors for Peace Tour Cuba and Demand End of US Blockade
HAVANA, Cuba, July 30 (acn) The activists with the 24th US Pastors for Peace Friendship Caravan to Cuba visited the central province of Sancti Spritus, where they reiterated their unyielding position against the US blockade of Cuba.
Daniel Sanchez, a 32-year-old US activist with the group told the Cuban News Agency that the island's reality is quite far from what is being said about Cuba in the United States. He stressed the hospitality and warmth of the people.
The caravan previously visited Santiago de Cuba, where the activists attended July 26 national commemorations and they will now kick off their trip to the capital Havana.
The group was welcomed in Sancti Spiritus by the director of the Guayabera shirt museum, Carlo Figueroa, who briefed the visitors about the local cultural promotion center. He said the place treasures over 150 Bera shirts donated by different personalities, including one that belonged to Pastors for Peace founder, Reverend Lucius Walker.
The caravan includes activists from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Germany. The humanitarian project is organized every year by the US Inter-religious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) and Pastors for Peace in open defiance of the US economic blockade of Cuba.
Cuba Denounces Reinforcement of US Blockade
HAVANA, Cuba, July 29 (acn) The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced on Monday that Washington has reinforced its economic blockade of the island this year by using its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as a spearhead.
According to the Foreign Ministry, on June 28 the OFAC forced Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo S.P.A Bank, one of the most prominent financial institutions in that European country, to pay a fine of up to two million 949 thousand 030 dollars.
According to an OFAC investigation the bank carried out 54 money transfers in favor of Cuba between 2004 and 2008.
The Cuban government says that the extraterritorial enforcement of that sanction reveals the shamelessness of the United States in dealing with its European partners and sets a negative precedent for other institutions that maintain commercial relations with Cuba.
And if that were not enough, adds the Foreign Ministry, on July 22 OFAC also fined another entity for breaching the blockade of Cuba with five million 226 thousand 120 dollars, which is the largest sum reported this year. The victim was American Express Travel Related Services Company, one of the main US tour operators.
This has been the second fine imposed by OFAC in less than a month and the fifth such measure this year, the Foreign Ministry explains in an official release posted on its website.
OFAC announcedthe latest sanction following a detailed investigation that reflects the US obsession of preventing American citizens from freely traveling to Cuba, at all costs.
According to the US office, foreign subsidiaries of American Express and its branch offices overseas allegedly sold 14 thousand 487 air tickets to travel to Cuba from third countries out of the limited people-to-people exchange license that the company is allowed to process.
With these sanctions, the US administration once again makes concessions to the detractors of a policy change towards Cuba, by turning a deaf ear on the large claim to lift the Cuba travel ban, the Cuban Foreign Ministry points out.
At the same time, the US government reinforces the extraterritorial enforcement of its blockade of Cuba by imposing fines on foreign and US companies for their operations in third countries. The main objective of the criminal and inhumane US policy continues to be that of inflicting damage and suffering on the Cuban people, the official release concludes.
Guayana Grateful to Cuban Collaboratioin
HAVANA, Cuba, July 29 (acn) Guyana’s Health Minister Bheri Ramsaran thanked Cuba for its assistance in training doctors, who will contribute to improve the quality of life of the Guyanese people.
Guyana’s official GINA news agency reported that during a meeting with a group of Guyanese youths, who recently graduated from Cuban universities, Ramsaran stressed that bilateral collaboration with Havana will have an important impact on the improvement of his country’s health services.
“We want to welcome you and let you know that those who came before you have made a good job,” the minister told the new graduates.
Hundreds of Guayanese professionals graduated from Cuban higher education centers over the past few years, GINA news agency reported.
First Life-Size Statue of Jose Marti in Germany
HAVANA, Cuba, July 29 (acn) The first life-size statue of Cuban National Hero Jose Marti to have been set up in Germany was unveiled Monday in Berlin to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1953 attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes garrisons.
The work, which was made by Cuban artist Felix Madrigal, was set up on a park in the Berlin municipality of Pankow to mark the 160th anniversary of Marti’s birth.
First secretary at the Cuban embassy in Germany, Daciel Alfonso, stressed the historic value entailed by a work like this, which will be a meeting point for Cubans and Latin Americans and he thanked local authorities for having the statue at the park.
The statue was unveiled by Cuban ambassador Raul Becerra, who was accompanied by Chistine Kiel from the Pankow’s mayor office and the president of the Association of Cuban residents in Berlin Jose Conde.
Raul Castro Congratulates Association of Cuban Journalists
Congress Association of Cuban Journalists (UPEC) Havana, Jul 15 (Prensa Latina) President Raul Castro congratulated the Association of Cuban Journalists (UPEC) on occasion of the 50th anniversary of its foundation, and its 9th Congress, held in this capital.
The congratulations of the Cuban statesman was conveyed by First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who stressed that the thought of national hero, Jose Marti, the historic leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, and the head of State, was present during the working sessions.
Diaz-Canel also gave the UPEC on Sunday night a diploma of recognition signed by Raul Castro.
I want to congratulate the new UPEC leadership, and tell them you can count on the leadership of the nation, as we know that the media is contributing to the development of a prosperous and sustainable socialism, Diaz-Canel said.
This 9th Congress was necessary and appropriate, it was characterized by an intelligent debate and committed, and is important for its contribution to the present and future, the first vice president pointed out.
I do not think that our journalists are the most criticized, we require of them to build socialism, and there is no lack of credibility, he said.
The population is informed by the press, the newspapers are sold out at the stands, people write to the media, given criteria, participate, and that means we have confidence, said Diaz-Canel.
Cuban President informed that the press should be capable of reflecting the reality on the diversity in which we live, without excessive secrecy, with knowledge and debate, the first vice president recalled.
Medal “50th Anniversary of the UPEC” Bestowed upon Fidel and Raul
HAVANA, Cuba, Jul 14 (acn) The historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and Army General Raul Castro, President of the councils of State and Ministers, were awarded the Commemorative Medal “50th Anniversary of the Association of Cuban Journalists.”
The award was handed over on Sunday to Miguel Diaz-Canel, member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and First Vice-president of the councils of State and Ministers, at the 9th Congress of the organization, where the significance of Fidel and Raul, symbols of the strength and resistance of the people in the defense of the Revolution, was highlighted.
UPEC founders, leaders and professionals with important contributions to the development and work of that institution received a similar award at Havana’s Convention Center, while the Prize to Dignity was handed over to Tubal Paez, outgoing president of the organization, for his notable work in the leadership of professionals in this sector.
During the closing ceremony, Molto read a message of the Federation of Latin American Journalists (FELAP), on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the UPEC.
The closing speech was in charge of Miguel Diaz-Canel, as a summary of two days of debates on fundamental issues of today’s journalism.
US Lawyer Says the American People Must be Informed of the Cuban Five Case
HAVANA, Cuba, July 12 (acn) The case of the Cuban Five must be better known by lawyers and by the American people, given its humane, political and legal values, said Law Professor at the Washington University and Virginia’s Lee University Erick Luna.
In statements to the Cuban News Agency, the lawyer said that the legal process to which the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters were submitted was plagued with irregularities and that he is currently putting it as an example in his lessons to explain his students about the different illegal actions committed.
Hiding evidence, instructing the jury incorrectly, classifying information which the defense should have had access to, are some of the arbitrary actions from which his students can learn in their class, said the professor.
Luna said that most of the future lawyers must first be explained the basics of the case, because many of them have no information on it.
In September 1998, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino and René González were arrested in the United States and later given extremely long and unfair sentences on charges that were not proven. The Cuban Five as they are internationally known were collecting information on Florida-based ultra-right organizations that planned terrorist actions against Cuba, which could also endanger the lives of US citizens and other nationals.
Rene Gonzalez has been the only one of them who, after having me his unfair prison sentence was allowed to returned and stay in Cuba in exchange for the renouncing of his American citizenship.
Venceremos Brigade to Arrive in Cuba on July 21
HAVANA, Cuba, July 12 (acn) The 44th group of the US Venceremos solidarity brigade will arrive in Cuba on July 21 to attend the central ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes garrisons.
The group, made up of 34 youths, will arrive in the eastern province of Holguin, where they are scheduled to visit the home where Fidel and Raul Castro grew up, currently turned into a Museum in the town of Biran.
The activists will also meet with Cubans that survived terrorist actions in the locality of Boca de Sama and with members of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution grassroots organizations, as well as with Young Communist League members, according to the Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP).
They will also be briefed about the Cuban education and healthcare system and will join Cubans in voluntary work activities in Holguin, Granma and Santiago de Cuba provinces. The activists will visit other places of historic interest and will meet other activists visiting the island with the Puerto Rican Juan Rius Rivera brigade and the Pastors for Peace caravan.
Relatives of Cuban Five Express Sympathies for Death of Activist Bernie Dwyer
Havana.- (acn) The relatives of the five Cubans anti-terrorist fighters who were given unfair prison sentences in the United States expressed their deepest sorrow for the passing away on July 10 of activist and internationalist Bernie Dwyer, and expressed their condolences to her family.
Bernie Dwyer, also journalist based in Cuba fought in the defense of the Cuban Revolution and all just causes around the world till the last days of her life, Radio Havana Cuba reported.
In their message, the spouses, mothers and other relatives of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez, said that they learned about the passing away of unforgettable friend Bernie, who after a strong fight against her disease never stopped her struggle for the causes of the peoples and particularly for the cause of Cuba and the Cuban Five.
“Bernie, ‘The Irish’ as we used to tell her with affection, accompanied us since the very first day of the Cuban Five case, when the injustice committed against them in Miami was denounced. Her invaluable contribution to break the wall of silence raised against the case led her to express herself through her journalist work about it in an excellent manner, as she put her condition of being an English speaking native in favor of the five of the Cuban Five to break that wall of silence,” the message reads.
She traveled across the United States and Canada to show her documentary Mission against Terror, with which she spread the truth of Cuba and the Five to other people and she even attended an oral hearing of the case in Atlanta City’s Appeals Court.
The relatives of the Cuban Five conveyed their deepest condolences to the children, grand children and other relatives of Bernie on behalf of the five anti-terrorist fighters, and they stressed that Bernie will always be among us.
Bernadette Dwyer, known to all as Bernie, died Wednesday in her native Ireland. Bernie worked in the English-language Department of Radio Havana Cuba for ten years. Before her retirement from Radio Havana several years ago and during the final years of her life, she was a tireless fighter for the freedom of the Cuban Five.
Bernie Dwyer was co-producer of "Mission against Terror,” which examines the history of U.S.-based terrorist violence against Cuba and the struggle for the Cuban Five. Known for her excellent radio and film interviews, Bernie also directed "One Man's Story" on former CIA agent Philip Agee.
Bernie first traveled to Cuba as a brigadista with the Nordic Brigade in 1988 and returned to Cuba in 1998 with a Pastors for Peace Caravan. She began her work as a journalist and announcer at Radio Havana Cuba in the year 2000. (RHC)
Cuban First Vice-president Meets with Religious Leaders
HAVANA, Cuba, July 16 (acn) Miguel Diaz-Canel, member of the Political Bureau of Cuba’s Communist Party and first vice-president of the Councils of State and Ministers met on Monday with representatives of the Cuban Ecumenical Council at the building hosting the Cuban Council of Churches.
According to Granma newspaper, Diaz-Canel and the religious leaders welcomed the meeting, which focused on issue of common interest, such as the defense of social values and the importance of the family role with this regards.
The Cuban first vice-president insisted in the idea of identifying prosperity not only with economic development. Material improvement does not automatically lead to the creation of values, he said.
Council of Churches president Joel Ortega said that prosperous and sustainable socialism must also be participatory. He recalled the struggle of the Council for the return to Cuba of Elian Gonzalez and now for the release of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in US jails.
In a fraternal ambiance, participants put forward their concerns related to the youths, the media, the institutional order and theological education.
As to the role of the family in creating values and influencing behaviors, participants proposed to jointly share research studies on the issue, which have already been carried out by different centers, so that the out comes of those studies reach Cuban religious congregations.
Diaz-Canel addressed aspects related to the update of the Cuban economic model and he noted that the most complex stage will now come with the elimination of the double currency circulation, the salary and price reform and the changes relevant to the socialist state companies.
He stressed two issues that suggest joint work by state and religious institutions, such as permanent dialog to advance subjects of common interest and the preservation of unity, which is the paradigm of the Cuban nation.
The first vice-president also met with members of the Cuban Pastoral Platform for the reunification of the Cuban Five and their families and for the strengthening of the unity of Cuban families. The platform will address US President Barack Obama a letter demanding the release of the anti-terrorist Cubans. The dialog concluded with an ecumenical prayer.
Pastors for Peace Caravan Reaches Mexico in Route to Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, July 16 (acn) The 24th US-Cuba Pastors for Peace Friendship Caravan to Cuba arrived in Mexico on its way to the Caribbean nation with a humanitarian cargo, particularly tools and items to contribute to reconstruction efforts underway in eastern Cuba, a territory hard hit by hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
“We traveled throughout the United States and Canada, from Seattle to New York; from California to Southern United States, and we are heading for Cuba loaded with much love for our Cuban brothers and sisters,” said the Caravan’s coordination team member Manolo de los Santos in statements to Prensa Latina news agency.
We are also bringing medications, which have been prohibited for Cuba by the US administration’s blockade of the Caribbean nation, as well as tools to help the reconstruction of Santiago de Cuba, an eastern province severely affected by hurricane Sandy last year,” he said.
The Caravan also brings messages from the American people against the US blockade imposed by Washington, as well as voices for the freedom of the Cuban Five, as the anti-terrorist fighters held in US jails are internationally known, said de los Santos.
The action takes to blocs, one made up of 62 people, who will travel to Cuba, and another part made up of hundreds of thousands of persons who, all throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, joined the demand for the lifting of the US blockade of Cuba.
Manolo de los Santos announced a protest action in front of the US embassy in Mexico, which will send a message about the unity of the people in this continent against Washington’s hostile policy against Cuba and humanity.
“We are many, united in a single voice for Cuba and there we will join our friends from the Francisco Villa People’s Front, the Mexico-Cuba Solidarity Movement, the Ecclesial Observatory and other social organizations, the community and ecumenical groups,” said de los Santos.
In a message to the Cuban people, de los Santos said “we will arrive there on the 17th (July), but we from now we want to express our gratefulness because you (the Cuban people) constitute an example in our struggle, a daily inspiration to keep up with our fight; you prove that another world is possible an you are indicating the path to take,” he concluded.
Canadian Contigent Crosses the US Border with Aid for Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, Jul 15 (acn) A contingent from British Columbia, Canada, came to the United States with a batch of humanitarian goods destined for Cuba as part of the 24th Pastors for Peace Caravan.
The activists will tour the state of Washington for gathering more aid and updating the public on the negative impact of economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. to the Caribbean island for over half a century, Prensa Latina news agency reported.
Tamara Hansen, coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, said the convoy successfully crossed, on Sunday, the boundary point of White Rock-Blaine, in the U.S. northwest.
The shipment includes school and sanitation supplies donated in the cities of Waterloo, Toronto, Hamilton and Kingston, she told.
Hansen added that, before crossing the border, the group carried out some activities last weekend to highlight the importance of this solidarity initiative and show support for the Cuban Five Heroes imprisoned in the U.S. since 1998.
The current edition of the Interreligious Foundation for the Pastors for Peace Community Organization gathers nearly 100 activists from that country, Canada and Mexico, who intend touring at least 40 cities of their respective nations before July 18th.
In addition to articles for the educational and health sectors, this year the caravan also collects construction tools and supplies to help in the reconstruction of Santiago de Cuba province, severely affected by Hurricane Sandy last October.
Instead of using the traditional yellow buses, the caravan participants will move the aids on their own luggage and will fly from the U.S. to Mexico City and from there to Santiago de Cuba, where they remain from July 19 to 29.
Return of Cuban Antiterrorists Demanded in Miami
HAVANA, Cuba, Jul 15 (acn) Organizations of Cuba’s emigration in Miami that are part of the Marti Alliance demanded the return of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez, Cuban antiterrorists unfairly condemned in the United States.
Participants in the meeting, convened by the Antonio Maceo Brigade, the Marti Alliance, the José Marti Association, the ATC, the Bolivarian Circle of Miami and the Association of Christian Women in Defense of Family, received an update on the case, particularly on the process of appeal of these four fighters and on the activities of the political movement in favor of their return to their homeland, the Prensa Latina news agency reported on Monday.
Rene Gonzalez, the fifth man of the group, is back in Cuba after serving his sentence. Ramon, Fernando, Antonio and Gerardo are waiting for Judge Joan Lenard to respond to their extraordinary appeals, or habeas corpus, the last legal option they have.
The element common to the four appeals is the U.S. government’s conspiracy with some of the media and journalists of the city of Miami, to which it paid and directed to spark off a campaign of hatred against the accused.
Brazil and Cuba Foster Cooperation in the Tourist Sector
HAVANA, Cuba, July 16 (acn) Cuba’s Tourism minister Manuel Marrero and his Brazilian counterpart Gastao Diaz Vieira are scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding in Brasilia to Foster bilateral cooperation in that economic sector.
The document will express the parties’ willingness to jointly work and look for ways to boost collaboration.
This is the second time, the two minister hold a working meeting after a first one that took place in the Cuban tourist center of Varadero last May, during the visit here by the Brazilian official. On that occasion Diaz Vieira headed his country’s delegation to the Cuban International Tourism Fair FitCuba 2013.
The Cuban minister will also meet with the president of the Brazlian Tourism Institute Flavio Dino, who is in charge of the implementation of the National Tourism Policy in terms of promotion, marketing and support to the commercialization of tourist destinations and products at the international market.
IFCO Launches New Civil Disobedience Challenge to the US Blockade of Cuba This July
IFCO/Pastors for Peace will launch a nationwide challenge to the US blockade of Cuba with nearly 100 faith-based and social justice activists from across the US, Canada and Mexico traveling to Cuba without the permission of the US government this July.
As part of the effort, organizers in more than 35 cities in the US, Canada and Mexico will participate in the 24th IFCO/Pastors for Peace US/Cuba Caravan week of activities July 8-15th aimed at educating local constituencies about the devastating effects of US policy toward the island.
“The blockade is a byzantine maze of US Cold War-era policies aimed at destabilizing our neighbors in Cuba -- from the ban on commercial transactions, which still stifles Cuba’s ability to get basic medicines to the travel ban which separates families, to putting Cuba on the list of state-sponsors of terrorism, which is absolutely absurd,” said Gail Walker, Co-Director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace. “How can we label a country which sends doctors and teachers around the world and trains thousands of young people to become doctors for the poor as terrorist?”
IFCO chooses to deliver its humanitarian aid without a government license because it believes that the government uses licensing to maintain control over the flow of aid - for its own political purposes. Father Luis Barrios, Co-Director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace says, “By granting some licenses and not others, the government attempts to control which US organizations can send aid to Cuba and which cannot. IFCO believes that US government control of churches’ prerogative to give aid and charity violates the separation of church and state, which is guaranteed under the First Amendment. Instead the organization chooses to engage in this act of civil disobedience to oppose the unjust treatment of our Cuban brothers and sisters and to follow the teachings of the gospel, by providing ‘a cup of cold water.’”
As part of the civil disobedience challenge, caravanistas will carry with them humanitarian aid such as insulin, the majority of which is made by US companies and therefore difficult for Cuba to import. Caravanistas will travel to Cuba for nearly two weeks on July 18th for nearly two weeks of educational and faith-based activities.
Caravanistas will also bring construction tools and supplies to help in the reconstruction efforts in Santiago de Cuba, the eastern end of the island which was severely affected by Hurricane Sandy. “Many communities of color in the Northeastern US are also recovering from Hurricane Sandy and we see this as an opportunity to show our solidarity and to learn from Cuba’s tremendous knowledge and experience in climate change preparedness,” said local New York City environmental activist Julien Terrell, who will participate in the caravan for the first time.
This is the 24th IFCO/Pastors for Peace US/Cuba Caravan since 1992 and is a project of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), which has been been working for racial, social, and economic justice since 1967.
Solidarity With Cuba to Stop EU Common Stance
Berlin, Jul 5 (Prensa Latina) Organizations of solidarity with Cuba demanded today that the Lithuanian presidency of the European Union to stop the common stance against the island, for considering that it violates the basic principles of the international law.
In an open letter to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, who assumed the EU presidency in early June, they highlighted that the bloc's stance affects the right to self determination of countries.
Thus, organizations of solidarity with Cuba from 17 European States sent copies of the letter to the presidents or Foreign ministers of their respective countries.
According to Edgar Goell, vrece president of the Network of solidarity with Cuba in Germany, the document was presented to the governments of Belgium, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Greece, Romania, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Malta and Lithuania.
In the document, they explain that the EU Common Stance about Cuba was elaborated in the year 1996, under the US political pressure, with the objective of intensifying its illegal blockade against Cuba.
They said that abolishing that decision would be consistent, because the EU member countries reject every year in the United Nations the US economic, trade and financial blockade against Cuba.
The German Network of solidarity with Cuba is demanding, together with the other 16 European organizations and networks, strengthening fair economic and respectful relations with Cuba.
"Climate protection, desertification, biodiversity, struggle against poverty, fair trade and the goals for a sustainable development, currently elaborated by the UN, would be points for a bilateral dialogue between the EU and Cuba," Goel told the news agency Prensa Latina.
In a press release, the German Network of Solidarity with Cuba also referred to the international scandal of US wire tapping against its European allies.
"This scandal could help the European Governments to understand the methods used by the United States, and Cuba has been a victim of this aggressive policy for 54 years," the communique concluded.
Cuba and Belgium Increase Collaboration
Havana.- Cuba and Belgium signed today a memorandum of agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MINREX) from Cuba and the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs from Belgium. The signing took place at MINREX headquarters in Cuba by vice minister of Foreign Relations, Rogelio Sierra, and the Belgian ambassador in Cuba, Luc Devolder.
Both sides considered the memorandum a progress in bilateral relations to show the political interest of both countries to develop and strengthen friendship ties and exchanges. They also expressed that the signing boosts the international collaboration according to the principles of United Nations charter.
In statements to the press, the Belgian diplomat said that the agreement includes meetings between ministries and embassies of both countries. (PL)