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News on Cuba - June 7, 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Raul Castro Meets Kenneth Kaunda 

HAVANA, Cuba, June 7 (acn) The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raul Castro held talks on Thursday with Kenneth David Kaunda, the first president of the Republic of Zambia, who is paying a visit to the island. 

Granma daily newspaper reported that Raul and Kaunda recalled key aspects relevant to the historic relations between Cuba and Africa, and between the island and Zambia in particular. 

Kaunda, one of the founding fathers of African independence, expressed his interest in strengthening bilateral links every passing day, as it corresponds to relations between sister nations. 

Raul Castro, on his part, expressed his gratefulness to Africa’s support of Cuba and he noted that he was convinced that bilateral relations are solid and deep. 

The talks were attended by Zambian ambassador Bobby Mbaunji Smakai and by Jorge Risquet, member of Cuba’s Communist Party Central Committee. 


Cuban President Receives Syrian Presidential Envoy 

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 7 (acn) Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz met Thursday, in Havana, with Doctor Mohsen Bilal, special envoy of the President of the Arab Republic of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad. 

According to Granma daily newspaper, Mohsen Bilal conveyed greetings from the Syrian head of state to the Cuban President and he addressed the current situation in his country. 

The Cuban President underscored the right of the Syrian people to their self determination and sovereignty without any foreign interference. The meeting was attended by Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla. 


Important Cuba Presence at the Major Left Forum in New York 

HAVANA, Cuba, June 7 (acn) Cuba will be discussed in several panels at the Left Forum, June 7-9, Pace University, New York City. The event is the largest annual conference of its kind that takes place every year in the United States and possibly in the world as it convenes a broad spectrum of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics and interested public. 

This year’s conference includes at least seven panels on Cuba, which will hold sessions under several topics, such as Changing Economic System Remains an Environmental Model; Food Sovereignty and Cooperative Economics in the Cuban Revolution; Free the Cuban 5! It's time to bring them home!; A Changing Cuba, a Stagnant America strategy and the Continuing Plight of the Cuban Five; The Twenty-First Century Latin American Left; Venceremos Brigade: Who's gonna break the Travel Ban? Revolution in the Age of the Internet: an International Panel. 

Participants at the panels include Stan Smith, from the Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban Five, Ovidio Roque, First Secretary at the Permanent Cuban Mission to the United Nations,  Arnold August, Canadian political analyst, journalist  and author of the books “Democracy in Cuba and the 1997-98 Elections” and “Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion” 

Also at hand will be Martin Garbus, one of the country’s top trial lawyers, as well as Gloria La Riva, Coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, many other personalities, activists and journalists, including Cuban Rosa Miriam Elizalde, editor of the Cuban on-line publication Cubadebate. 

Left Forum provides a context for the critical dialogue that is essential for a stronger Left and a more just society. For the US and the world, revitalizing an American Left has never been more urgent; Left Forum has a critical role to play in that undertaking, reads the information posted on the Left Forum website. 

Conference participants come together to engage a wide range of critical perspectives on the world, to discuss differences, commonalities, and alternatives to current predicaments, and to share ideas for understanding and transforming the world. The forum will close with a plenary session on June 9. 

Left Forum 2012 involved 4,500 attendees, 1,300 speakers and over 400 panels. Left Forum is the culmination of the creative efforts of hundreds of people who engage the gamut of volunteer activities, from helping generate artistic events and panels, to outreach and involvement of a rainbow of organizations and individuals. 

The conference is sponsored by the Brecht Forum; Center for the Study of Culture, Technology, and Work at the CUNY Graduate Center; Critical Sociology; Logos; Monthly Review; National Lawyers Guild; New Political Science; New Politics; Radical Teacher; Rethinking Marxism/AESA; Rosa Luxemburg Foundation; Science and Society; Situations; Social Text; Socialism and Democracy; Social Register; Souls; Union for Radical Political Economics. 

In late April, representatives of 40 leftist parties and organizations from 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries met in Havana to hold the meeting of the Working Group of the Sao Paulo Forum, which issued a declaration calling for strong support of the nations currently undertaking economic and social transformations aimed at guaranteeing social justice, and making efforts towards regional integration and the unity of the left. 

The leftist representatives also expressed their support of the social, economic and political projects being implemented by Cuba and its efforts to keep building the socialist system. They also condemned the over-50-year US economic, commercial and financial blockade of the island and demanded the release of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the U.S. since 1998. 

The declaration issued by the Havana meeting also expressed the support by the leftist movements in the region of Venezuela and President Nicolás Maduro in the face of destabilization-oriented actions and campaigns by Venezuelan rightwing circles. And they also backed the Paraguayan people against rightist maneuvers to legitimize the coup staged against democratically elected president Fernando Lugo, through the latest April 21 presidential elections. 

The Forum of Sao Paulo also supported the peace talks underway in Havana between Colombia’s Armed Revolutionary Forces- People’s Army (FARC-EP) and the government headed by President Juan Manuel Santos. 

The Left Forum taking place in New York and the most recent Meeting of the Working Group of the Sao Paulo Forum in Havana are two examples of the increasingly active role being played by the left in this part of the world towards united and concerted efforts aimed at achieving a better world. (By Luis Chirino Radio Habana Cuba)


Venezuelan Parliament President Arrives in Cuba 

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 7 (acn) The president of the National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Diosdado Cabello, arrived Thursday, in Havana, on an official visit. Cabello was welcomed by Cuban deputy foreign minister Rogelio Sierra at Havana’s Jose Marti international airport. 

During his stay on the island, the top Venezuelan parliamentarian will meet with the President of the Cuban Parliament, Esteban Lazo, and will carry out other activities. 


Argentinian Journalists Reflect on Media War against Cuba

Buenos Aires, Jun 7 (Prensa Latina) Cuba has spent more than 50 years supporting disinformation campaigns aimed at a war of attrition, real media counterinsurgency, but has managed to face it and overcome it, Stella Calloni, Argentinian specialist in political science, said here.

The also journalist, writer and commentator participated yesterday night in the workshop "Cuba desde una mirada mediatica" (Cuba from a media look), prior to the Media Day in Argentina today, and in which she shared the panel of discussion with television filmmakers Jimena Riveros and Victor Hugo Morales.

The event was held at the Cuban embassy, in the presence of exponents of several mass media and members of Friends of Cuba Journalists and representatives of other sectors from the Argentinian social, cultural and economic life.

After noting that the U.S. government recently decided to assign another 20 million dollars to the subversive and media war against Cuba, Calloni also said that Washington boosts a distorting offensive against several Latin American governments.

On the other hand, Jimena Riveros presented an advance of the series "Ya tu sabes" (You already know), which will be screened in 16 chapters on the Argentinian public television about the situation in Cuba, in which the protagonists are the people of the island themselves performing their daily tasks .

Victor Hugo Morales, renowned filmmaker and television commentator also participated in the panel. He exhibited a space dedicated to Cuba in his program "Bajada en linea" (Lowering on line), for which he interviewed Cubans from many sectors.

Interviewed by Prensa Latina, Ambassador Jorge Lamadrid said that this is the first time an activity of this kind is organized, to combine audio-visual aids with an analysis of the situation in Cuban, specially media campaigns in which Cuba has been and is the subject.


Placed Bust of Hugo Chavez in Cuban Mountain

Havana, June 6 (PL) A bust of the late President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez was placed by a group of climbers in the Pico Caracas, one of the highest elevations of Cuba. Among them was René González, Cuban antiterrorist, who paid tribute to Chavez at that summit of the Sierra Maestra.

Gonzalez along with Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez is part of the group The Five, internationally known those who were convicted in the United States for monitoring the activities of violent anti-Cuban groups based in Miami.

Farmers in the area traveled long distances to greet the climbers, in particular René, whose release and that of his colleagues, still imprisoned in the United States, has been a claim in Cuba and many parts of the world.

"Those wishing homeland come with me", reads the front of the 2 meter tall pedestal with the bust of Chavez, local media reported.

The sculpture, modeled with resin and fiberglass, is the work of artist Andres Gonzalez and it was placed next to a bust of Simon Bolivar, by the same sculptor, 1,234 meters above the sea level.


United States: Jurists Underline Irregularities in the Case of The Five 

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 6 (acn) A panel of well-known jurists, including lawyer Martin Garbus, of the legal team in charge of the case of the five Cuban heroes unfairly condemned in the United States, made on Wednesday in Washington a detailed analysis of irregularities in the legal process of these antiterrorist fighters. 

Debates took place at the Legal Center of the University of Georgetown and included presentations by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and lawyers Martin Garbus, Rafael Anglada and Jose Pertierra, who was the panel’s moderator. 

Other speeches were those of Peter Schey, director of the Center on Human and Constitutional Rights of Los Angeles; Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Association for Civil Justice, and Belgian lawyer Jan Fermon (via Skype), specialized in human rights. 

The payment by the U.S. government during the trial in Miami to journalists so they negatively influenced local public opinion and the jury itself with respect to The Five was stated again by Garbus. 

The meeting held at the well-known U.S. university took place within the framework of the campaign “5 Days for the 5” which, organized by the Committee for the Freedom of The Five, wound up on Wednesday in Washington D.C. 


The United Nations Extols Cuban Energy Program 

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 6 (acn) Claudio Tomasi, resident representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Cuba, praised on Wednesday the program implemented by the island for the sustainable use of Renewable Energy Sources (RES). 

During a meeting with the press at the 12th World Conference on Wind Energy that wound up on June 5 at Havana’s Convention Center, Tomasi asserted that this initiative contributes to mitigate the effects of climate change. 

The UNDP official highlighted that the selection of Cuba as venue of this world forum is an acknowledgement to the country’s work in terms of energy. 

He added that the UNDP is currently working on 20 institutional cooperation projects that will favor the improvement of living conditions of small rural populations and the access to electric service, among other benefits. 

Tomasi said that joint programs include the development of solar energy and forest biomass in those settlements. 


Belorussian Journalists Denounces Injustice against the Cuban Five 

HAVANA, Cuba, June 6 (acn) The legal process held in the United States against the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters entailed a violation of the basic human rights of those men and the cruelty of US justice, Belorussian journalist Vasily Malashenko denounced in the capital Minsk. 

Malashenko is the author of an interview with Mirta Rodriguez, mother of Antonio Guerrero, who is one of the Cubans held in US jails since 1998 for having monitored South Florida-based terrorist organizations. 

The journalist addressed the case of Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino and René González, internationally known as the Cuban Five. 

In his interview with Mirta Rodriguez, which was published by Belta agency, the Belorussian journalist explains about the details of the case since the arrest of the Five in 1998 up to their current situation, with emphasis on the life of Guerrero. 

The five anti-terrorist fighters were unfairly punished in a biased process with marked political character, said the journalist as cited by PL news agency. 


Cuban Agriculture Minister Pays Visit to China 

HAVANA, Cuba, June 6 (acn) Cuban Agriculture minister Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero is on a five-day official visit to China, where he will participate at the first Forum of Chinese and Latin American Agriculture Ministers. 

According to PL news agency, the ministerial forum will be inaugurated on Sunday, June 9, at the Great People’s Palace, in the center of  Beijing. 

The Cuban government official is scheduled to meet with the president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Li Jianyang and with agriculture minister Han Changfu, and with local government officials.


 
News on Cuba - May 23, 2013 PDF Print E-mail

US Law Professors and Students visit ICAP

By: Iliana García Giraldino  Fotos: Orlando Perera (Siempre con Cuba)

Havana.- A group of US professors and students from Rutgers Law School of the State University of New Jersey, visited on Tuesday, May 21st, the headquarters of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP). During the visit they had the opportunity to learn about details related to ICAP’s aims of work.

One of the visitors, Professor of the Rutgers School of Law–Newark, Charles I. Auffant, said to Siempre con Cuba (Always with Cuba) that he feels satisfied with the visit to the island, where he has been before in the year 2004 also along with a group of students, in the context of academic exchanges.

Auffant affirms that he’s always surprised by the warmth, fraternity and disposal to share showed on the part of the Cuban people. “I’m convinced that when people get to know each other, get together and work in conjunction, there will be hope for the of whole Mankind”, he stated.

"I think that the Cuban People have the right to choose how they want to be governed and the system they want for their country", he stated. At the time he also declared that his students are really aware of the fact the blockade is unjust and goes in detriment to the Cuban people and does not favours at all to the US people either. “They (the students) want the blockade to be lifted”, he reiterated.

He pledged to bring to Cuba more students each year. “This is the littlest thing that I can do to help the peoples from Cuba and the US”, he expressed and added, “I’d love to do more in the United States”. 

Another of the delegates is Steve G. Hockaday, who was still a law student back in 2004 when he visited Cuba, now he is a lawyer. When he learned about the trip to Cuba, he joined the group.

He treasures the encounters held with the members of the CDR (Committees in Defence of the Revolution) in the capital. Hockaday keeps as his most precious reminiscence the joyful exchanges of fondness and the salsa music when he danced with the Cuban neighbours.

The lawyer, Felipe Chavana, who has Mexican ethnicity, also expressed that he wasn’t that surprised of the Cuban reality he witnessed, because he knew Cuba before hand, he had learned about Cuba’s spirit of united struggle in order to raise its standard of living. He also said he use to be oblivious to the case of the Cuban Five and he’s taking some material back in the US to get further information.

Prior to this visit to ICAP, where they were attended by the specialist Rita Olga Martinez, the group held a meeting with the National Union of Cuban Jurists (Translated by Jorge Smith Juárez /Siempre con Cuba).



 
News on Cuba - May 9, 2013 PDF Print E-mail

U.S.: Lawyers to Demand Release of Cuban Antiterrorists

Washington, May 8 (Prensa Latina) Lawyers of different countries will take part in panels, lectures and debates from May 30 to June 5 will demand in this capital the return of tour Cuban antiterrorists arrested in the United States since 1998.

In the event to be attended also by well-known intellectuals, writers, artists, tradeunionists and religious leaders, participants will also propose the dialogue between Washington and Havana.

As a communique from the International Committee Freedom for the Cuban Five, there will be a debate between lawyers, summoned by Martin Garbus, member of the legal team defending the Cuban antiterrorists.

At the meeting organizers expect the presence of Ramsey Clark, Attorney General of the United States and Peter Schey, director of the Center for Human and Constitutional Rights of Los Angeles, California, stressed the communique.

Argentinean Beinusz Szmukler, president of the Continental Consultative Council of the American Jurists Association (2003-2010) and Graciela Rosemblum, president of the Argentinean League for the Rights of Man, said the note.

Other jurists expected to attend include Rafael Anglada of Puerto Rico, Fabio Marcelli and Tecla Faranda, of Italy; and the Cuban American lawyer Jose Pertierra, who represents Venezuela in the case of extradition of international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, advances the text.

The Five, as they are identified in different latitudes, monitored the plans and actions of violent groups and individuals of Cuban origin based in the south of Florida, dedicated to organize, finance and carry out terrorist actions against the Caribbean island.

Since 2005, a panel of experts of the United Nations concluded their detention was illegal and arbitrary and asked they were freed immediately, but the request together with that of ten Nobel laureates, the parliaments of several countries, polititians, artists and millions of friends of this cause have been ignored to this moment by the White House.


Cuban Residents in Russia Send Message to Rene Gonzalez

Moscow, May 8 (Prensa Latina) The Association of Cuban Residents in Russia ratified today in a message sent to Rene Gonzalez, the antiterrorist fighter released from prison in the United States, the will to continue fighting for the freedom of his colleagues.

We rejoice the news that Rene is already in Cuba, and we pledge to continue demanding President Barack Obama the immediate release of the other four brothers, states a note released today in this capital.

We will not cease in our demand to achieve the definitive return to the homeland and reunification with their relatives of Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, and Antonio Guerrero, the statement said.

In the letter, the Cuban residents in Russia explained that they have joined to the Russian movement of solidarity and every day 5 of each month, in front of the U.S. embassy in Moscow, they demand the immediate release of these antiterrorist fighters.

U.S. Judge Joan Lenard accepted on May 3 to modify the terms of Gonzalez' supervised release, and allow him to stay in Cuba in exchange for the renunciation of U.S. citizenship.

The Five were detained on September 12, 1998 during an FBI operation conducted in the city of Miami, while trying to prevent criminal plans by Cuban-origin individuals and organizations based there.

A panel of UN experts concluded in 2005 that the detention of those antiterrorist fighters was illegal and arbitrary, and called that they were immediately released, but this recommendation and the same order by 10 Nobel laureates have been ignored by U.S. authorities.


Cuba Hosts CELAC Coordination Meeting 

HAVANA, Cuba, May 9 (acn) Cuba is hosting the 5th Meeting of National Coordinators of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The meeting is taking place Thursday and Friday. 

The gathering aims at getting the approval of the 2013 Plan of Action and a timeline of events of the regional integration bloc, currently chaired by Cuba. 

The Cuban capital hosted the 1st Meeting of CELAC education ministers on February 7, while the Surinamese city of Paramaribo was the venue in March of the meeting of Culture ministers, and Ecuador organized a forum on the environment and sustainable development in April. 

In statements to PL news agency last April, Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez announced that the bloc would meet a large integration-oriented agenda. The minister spoke with the Latin American agency at the end of a meeting of the CELAC Troika in Havana. 

The community, which was founded in December 2011, will prioritize an agenda focusing on areas such as energy, finances, transportation, industrialization and the reduction of inequalities in the region. 


Cuba and Guatemala to Deepen Bilateral Relations 

HAVANA, Cuba, May 9 (acn) The foreign ministers of Cuba and Guatemala, Bruno Rodriguez and Luis Fernando Carrera, expressed their interest in Havana to further deepen bilateral relations, which they considered positive. 

After welcoming his Guatemalan counterpart, Rodriguez expressed his satisfaction to see the positive pace of bilateral links and the existence of significant potential to keep joint work. 

The top government Cuban official said he was sure that Carrera’s visit to Cuba will contribute to deepen relations and he thanked Guatemala for its support of the island’s struggle against the US economic, commercial and financial blockade. 

The Guatemalan minister said it was an honor for him to be in Havana as he stressed that the two foreign ministries have maintained close relations with permanent opportunities for Guatemalan foreign ministers to visit to the island. 

Carrera said his country is optimistic towards the future of Central America and the Caribbean, and he considered that the region is experiencing important transformations in all nations. These changes, he said, will strengthen multilateral relations among our countries in Central America and the Caribbean and bilateral links between them as well. 


Nicaraguan Business Delegation to Explore Trade Opportunities in Cuba 

HAVANA, Cuba, May 9 (acn) A delegation from Nicaragua’s Chamber of Industries will pay a visit to Cuba, May 12 to 17, with the aim of exploring business opportunities in several economic sectors. 

Cuban Chamber of Commerce official Leyani Pena announced that the delegation is made up of entrepreneurs from six Nicaraguan companies, who will meet with Cuban business executives to enhance trade relations. 

The visiting business people represent entities from the Nicaraguan industry, particularly in the fields of PVC products, hydraulic connections, furniture and food stuffs. 

Nicaraguan Chamber of Industries consultant Oscar Aleman told reporters that the visit aims at promoting his country’s export products and considering possible bilateral agreements. 

Cuba and Nicaragua are member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA), the Latin American Integration Association and Petro Caribe regional bloc. 



 
René González Permitted to Remain in Cuba PDF Print E-mail

In a huge development in the case of the Cuban Five, the court has finally granted a motion, first made last June, to allow René González to serve the remaining portion of his three-year parole in Cuba, after which he will of course be able to remain in Cuba, outside the jurisdiction of the court. Until this time, the court has required him to spend that parole at an undisclosed location in Florida, requiring him to remain in virtual seclusion because of the danger to his life from the very terrorists whose plots he and the other members of the Five came to the U.S. to expose.

René has been in Cuba for two weeks to attend a memorial service for his father Cándido, who died recently.

Phil Horowitz, Rene's attorney, said: "Rene and I are happy that he will be able to be permanently reunited with his family. Rene's exemplary conduct shows that these are not individuals that the government has made them out to be.  We are just so happy and will take all the steps pursuant to the court order."

The 7-page court order by Judge Joan Lenard, describes the requirements for his right to remain in Cuba. The principal requirement is that he renounce his citizenship, which he willingly offered to do previously (René held dual U.S.-Cuban citizenship). To renounce a U.S. citizenship, it must be done outside of the United States, as per U.S. federal code, Section 1481 a(5).

We are extremely happy for René, who has, along with his Cuban Five brothers, been unduly punished for being a proud defender of his people, his homeland and the Cuban Revolution.

This development must give all the Cuban Five supporters great inspiration to continue the fight so that Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio and Fernando can return home immediately!



 
News on Cuba - April 10, 2013 PDF Print E-mail

New Injustice in the Case of the Cuban Five 

HAVANA, Cuba, Apr 9 (acn) Authorities of the penitentiary of Victorville, California, forbid renowned actor Danny Glover to pay a scheduled visit to Gerardo Hernandez, informed a communique of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Five. 

The prison’s authorities told Glover, who has met with th4 Cuban antiterrorist nine times since 2010, that he was not going to be received because they had no knowledge about the visit, the Granma newspaper reported. 

This is an absolutely arbitrary decision on the part of the prison, since any person included on the list of visits of an inmate has the right to visit that inmate, recalls the note of the Committee. 

Likewise the text thanks Danny Glover for his continuous efforts to support Gerardo and his four brothers in struggle also imprisoned in the United States. 

For almost 15 years now, it has been a pattern of the U.S. government to try to isolate Gerardo from his relatives and friends. During that period, the U.S. government has repeatedly denied entry visas to Adriana Perez to visit her husband Gerardo in prison.


University Students in Cuba Send Messages to Barack Obama 

HAVANA, Cuba.- University students in the central Cuban province of Villa Clara sent US President Barack Obama email messages demanding the release of the five anti-terrorist fighters held in the United States since 1998. 

Cuban Friendship Institute official in Villa Clara, Iris Menendez, told the Cuban news agency that the members of the local organization in solidarity with Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and René González, meet every month and send messages to Obama. 

The idea is to maintain a permanent struggle for the release of the five heroes and with this objective the group is joined by university students and members of grassroots organizations from all 13 municipalities in the province. 

The president of the Council of Nationalities at the Medical University in Villa Clara, Norvin Gonzalez, said that they organized the meeting in coordination with the University Student Federation in support of the international campaign for the freedom of the Cuban Five. 

Franco Arzamendia, member of the Ernesto Che Guevara Solidarity Brigade at the university expressed his wish for justice to be made in the case of the five heroes, who prevented US-based violent organizations from carrying out terrorist actions against Cuba. 

Other similar groups of foreign students in Cuba keep informed on the case of the Cuban Five in order to spread in their countries the truth of the case through messages, letters and phone calls. 

The Medical University of Villa Clara has a registration of over 1 thousand students from 60 countries of the so-called Third World. 


First Vice-President Meets Students and Professionals in Ciego de Avila Province 

HAVANA, Cuba, April 10 (acn) Cuba first-vice president Miguel Diaz-Canel met on Wednesday with students, intellectuals, scientists, athletes and journalists during a tour of several centers in central Ciego de Avila province. 

According to Granma newspaper, Diaz-Canel was accompanied by Communist Party first secretary in the province Felix Duarte Ortega and by provincial government president Raul Perez Carmenate. 

During a meeting with students at the La Edad de Oro senior high school Cuban first-vice president was interested in learning about the ongoing preparation of 12 graders for upcoming exams to enter university courses and about the number of students applying for pedagogical courses. 

The meeting also focused on international issues, as the students commented on upcoming presidential elections in Venezuela, the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula and the US blockade of Cuba. 

“Perhaps you it will be up to you to find solutions tomorrow to many of the satisfactions you have today from your own work centers or according to the functions you will develop; that’s is why you must prepare so you can assume that task with responsibility,” said Diaz-Canel. 

The Cuban vice-president also visited the Maximo Gomez University, where he said that political dialog must be present in each and every classroom in order to contribute to the formation of competent professionals, committed to the Revolution and determined to build a prosperous socialist society, as it has been reiterated by President Raul Castro. 

Diaz-Canel also visited a scientific center where he learned that the results of dozens of research studies have already been contributed to the country’s economy, particularly in agriculture, healthcare, the environment, animal feed and water saving efforts. 

Speaking with local reporters, he called for the improvement of media work from a scientific, innovative, revolutionary perspective in the face of the challenges posed by ideological subversion unleashed by the enemies of Cuba. 

After visiting several cultural centers in the city, Diaz-Canel shared views with members of the Cuban Writers and Artists Association and the Hermanos Saiz Arts Organization on major problems facing the performance of both groups. 

And he finally during a meeting with sports directives in Ciego de Avila, Diaz-Canel insisted in the appropriate training of future athletes. 


U.S. Blockade Violates Cubans' Human Rights

Havana, Apr 9 (Prensa Latina) The economic, commercial and financial blockade the United States applies against Cuba is a violation of human rights of its inhabitants, according to some opinions collected in this capital.

For lawyer Maria Seibanes, "that policy of hostility violates the right to life, as it denies even medicines and health technologies." 

Osvaldo Hernandez, who is a barber by trade, notes that most of Cubans were born under the punishment of the blockade. "So it happens with my children and grandchildren." 

The local press remembered yesterday a memorandum dated on April 6, 1960, in which Lester D. Mallory, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, referred to the purpose of the sanctions.

The economic damage caused by the blockade exceeded 108 billion dollars until December 2011, according to conservative data from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The figure is much higher if we take into account the depreciation of the dollar against the value of gold in the international financial market.

A resolution against the blockade has been supported each year, by an overwhelming majority, at the UN General Assembly.

Other regional groups, such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), among others, also reject that measure of pressure against Cuba.


Cuban Penitentiary System Bets on Saving Human Beings

Havana, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) Preventing recidivism among those who have committed criminal offenses and achieving their full reinsertion in society are major objectives for the Cuban government, says Colonel Osmany Leyva, Assistant Chief of the Directorate of Penitentiary Facilities of the Ministry of the Interior.

In an interview with Prensa Latina during a tour of Havana's penal facilities, the high ranking official stated that the country is advancing toward these goals through three channels, consistent with a work-study plan applied to inmates.

Socially useful work, an increased cultural level, and apprenticeships are key for the social inclusion of inmates, as well as in preventing criminal recidivism, he said.

According to Leyva, this concern for skills training and knowledge is what allows for inmates' reinsertion.

That's why we are promoting multiple voluntary programs of work, study and training, said the Interior Ministry colonel, who confirmed that the island's prison population is around 50,000 people, 4,000 of whom are women.

Official figures state that about 27,000 inmates are involved in various educational options, while more than 20,000 are carrying out paid work, with many of them combining both activities.

Regarding the principles governing prison work in Cuba, Leyva mentioned first and foremost, respect for human rights.

The assistant chief said that family ties are expressed through visits, phone calls, conjugal visits, and inmates' departure for hospital or home, depending on the complexity of their health situation.

The situation in the prisons, the results of different programs and projections are reflected in the Cuban report for the Universal Periodic Review of the Council of Human Rights, to be presented on May 1 in Geneva, Switzerland, and in which all U.N. member countries must participate.


Zambian Official Satisfied with Visit to Cuba 

HAVANA, Cuba, April 9 (acn) Zambia’s minister of Sports and Youths, Chishimba Kambwili, described his visit to Cuba as fruitful and excellent. As part of his working agenda, which concluded on Tuesday, the Zambian official signed a cooperation accord in the sports area. 

Before returning to Zambia, Kambwili said that the accord he signed in Havana will help the African nation, which needs to learn from the Cuban experience in the fields of high-performing sports, physical activity programs at schools and communities and the sports for all project. 

The top government Zambian official said he was quite impressed with the community-oriented sports program, the assistance to pregnant women, mothers and their children and the senior citizens. 

“We thank Cuba for its willingness to accept our request that a group of Cuban trainers help develop sports in Zambia, as well as our petition for an increasing number of scholarships for our youths,” said the Zambian minister. 

Thirteen Zambian professionals graduated from Cuban higher education institute, while another seven are currently taking courses at the International Physical Education and Sports School, in the western province of Mayabeque. 


Cuba Celebrates 52nd Anniversary of Childcare Centres

Havana, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban childcare centres are commemorating their 52nd anniversary today, celebrating the period in which they have worked to ensure an appropriate educational services for children of pre-school age, says expert Maria de los Angeles Gallo.

According to the national director of pre-schools at the Ministry of Education, the functioning of these institutions is based on the evidence that a human beings who are well prepared in their first six years of life more easily develop skills and abilities to face the future school setting.

It is proven that good pre-school stimulation leads to better results in the student achievement, because for example, the rate for repeating a year in the first and second grades has declined in recent years from 8 percent to 1.8 percent, he said.

The teacher stated that the main working premise is to maximize the overall development potential in every child, and give special attention to the individual requirements derived from the fact that everyone progresses at their own pace.

In this sense, the country is carrying out some activities aimed at physical skills, the promotion of socio-moral values, and issues relating to food and hygiene, among others, the teacher explained.

There are currently 1,086 childcare centres nationwide, with 24,000 experts in Pedagogy, trained to educate children from one to six years old.


Cubans Pay Homage to Heroes of Historic 1958 General Strike 

SAGUA LA GRANDE, Cuba, April 9 (acn) Cubans are marking in this central city the 55th anniversary of the historic general strike waged by young revolutionaries against the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship in 1958. Sagua la Grande was one of the scenarios throughout the country  where the revolutionary action had huge repercussion. 

Pioneer children will recall the date by symbolically remaking the action, which included the assault by the revolutionaries of crucial economic entities and held control of the city during 24 hours. 

Participants at commemorations will pay tribute at the local cemetery to the revolutionaries murdered by the tyranny during the heroic deed on April 9, 1958. They will also honor others who were also killed during that event in other parts of the country. 


Cuba Willing to Turn Over Four U.S. Citizens

Havana, Apr 9 (Prensa Latina) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Minrex) expressed the willingness of the government of Cuba to turn over to the United States (U.S) authorities two citizens of that country and their two children.

According to a note released here, from press releases that associated Joshua Michael Hakken and his wife Patricia Sharyn Hakken with child kidnapping, the Foreign Ministry informed yesterday the Washington Interests Section in Havana and the U.S. Department of State the presence here of the couple and their children.

The statement adds that the Hakken, accompanied by small Julian Chase Hakken and Travis Cole Hakken, arrived in the island last April 7 at the Hemingway Marina in Havana, on board the yacht SALTY PAW, U.S. flag.

According to Johana Tablada, U.S. deputy director in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, who signed the text, the boat came under unfavorable weather conditions for sailing.

She said that from the first moment authorities exchanged diplomatic notes and there has been a maintained a professional and permanent communication between Minrex and the Interests Section of U.S. in Havana, to ensure the integrity and welfare of children


Canadian Communist Party Reaffirms Solidarity with Cuba  

HAVANA, Cuba, April 10, (acn) The 37 National Convention of Canada’s Communist Party, held April 5-7 in Toronto, Ontario, reaffirmed its support of the Cuban people and its revolution. 

According to PL news agency, the Canadian Convention adopted a main document stressing the “historic solidarity with the people and government of the island and its support of their efforts in the current updating of Cuba’s economic model and the safeguarding of the socialist character and achievements of the Revolution. 

The Canadian communists also affirmed their support of the Cuban people’s claim for the return to the island of the five anti-terrorist fighters held in the U.S and against their demand for the lifting of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of the island. 

The forum received a message of solidarity from the Department of International Relations of the Cuban Communist Party Central Committee. The Canadian Communist Party was founded 92 years ago. 


U.S. Blockade Against Cuba Hinders E-Commerce

Geneva, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) Cuba denounced in this capital the impeded access to information technology (IT) and communications caused by the U.S.-imposed blockade which as a result limits the use and development of e-commerce applications.

Cuban Deputy Minister of Communications Wilfredo Gonzalez, showed the discriminatory nature of the unilateral and extraterritorial dimension of Washington, which are contrary to the guidelines of the work program of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

To overcome these obstacles, the deputy minister raised the need to establish cooperative agreements that favor the development of IT solutions, and create hubs for regional traffic exchange in order to lower the costs of internet access and provide better service quality.

Gonzalez attended a workshop on e-commerce, development and the role of small and medium enterprises at WTO headquarters, organized at the initiative of the permanent missions of Cuba and Ecuador attending to the international organizations located in Geneva.

A group of member countries and experts invited to the meeting expressed their solidarity with Cuba against the unjust U.S. blockade, maintained for more than 50 years now.


Venezuela Denounces Opposition Plans to Ignore Elections

Caracas, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) The First Vice President of the Venezuelan United Socialist Party (PUSV), Diosdado Cabello, denounced opposition plans today to disregard the results of April 14 presidential election.

The also president of the National Assembly said that the right-wing is becoming increasingly desperate as their election defeat approaches and are as a result moving on to another agenda.

In that sense, he revealed the existence of an alleged Patriotic Junta that has already issued documents aimed at not recognizing the work of the National Electoral Council (CNE).

Cabello said that opposing candidate Henrique Capriles had made a political calculation and decided not to run for election, taking into account the likely negative toll on his aspirations.

Nevertheless, he traveled to New York (USA) and returned as the candidate for the so-called Democratic Unity Table (MUD), he added.

In the current situation, he said, the right-wing is far from obtaining victory in the elections and is therefore turning to the option of violence.

"As a result, we are denouncing this situation, to prevent that violence and see if they will come to their senses, because if they believe in democracy, they must realize that elections have winners and losers," he said.


Belarus Praises Cuban Collaboration in Vaccine Production Field 

HAVANA, Cuba, April 9 (acn) Belarus’ first deputy health minister Dmitri Pinevich described as valuable the cooperation between Cuban and Belarusian scientists in the production of vaccines against different diseases.

Pinevich met in Minsk with Cuban ambassador Alfredo Nieves to consider bilateral relations in the vaccine area, and he called for efficient work in the pharmaceutical program, which is the subject of bilateral exchange. 

The Belarusian official said that bilateral collaboration will empower the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries in both countries. 

According to PL news agency, during the meeting at Mink’s Health Ministry, the two parties considered the implementation of joint projects to encourage the production of new pharmaceuticals for the Belarusian market. 

The Cuban ambassador stressed the efforts by the Cuba and the Belarusian governments to foster the production and expansion of products that benefit human health. 

“We give much importance to cooperation in this area, and particularly the use in Belarus of products from the Cuban pharmaceutical and medical industry,” said the diplomat. 

The meeting was attended by deputy health minister Guennady Godovalnikov, the director of the Scientific and Practical Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and representatives of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, as well as Cuban charge d’ affairs Natacha Diaz. 


Reporters Visit Cuban Prisons

HAVANA, Cuba, April 9 (acn) Cuba’s Interior Ministry invited local and foreign reporters to visit Havana penitentiaries on Tuesday so that they take a first-hand look at prison conditions of inmates in those facilities. 

Among the penitentiaries on the list is the largest of five such facilities in the country, known as Combinado del Este, located in the Havana municipality of Guanabacoa. 

According to Interior Ministry sources, the reporters will tour the areas of the penitentiary and will corroborate the living and working conditions of inmates, as well as the attention given to visiting relatives. 

The national and international journalists will also visit a work center and educational facilities at La Lima women’s penitentiary, in the locality of El Guatao, also in Havana province, as well as juvenile penitentiary at the town of San Francisco de Paula, in another Havana municipality.


LatAm Caribbean Unity on Malvinas Islands Demonstrates Integration

Havana, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) The solidarity and understanding of Argentina's position on the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands is an expression the maturity of Latin American and Caribbean integration, Argentinian Ambassador to Cuba Juliana Marino said today.

Marino commented on the recent meeting between U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and representatives of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR).

The representatives of those organizations expressed Latin American and Caribbean support for Buenos Aires' call to London to negotiate over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, the ambassador noted.

"I think it is a moment of extraordinary awareness and commitment. Prominent figures led the representation at their (respective) forums," the ambassador said in exclusive statements to Prensa Latina.

Marino described the meeting with the U.N. Secretary-General as unprecedented and extremely important, where the request was made once again to resolve the conflict through dialogue. The support is extraordinary in light of the illegal referendum Great Britain is holding in the Malvinas Islands with the objective of confusing the international community about the nature of the conflict, he said.

This does not concern the self-determination of a people, because this is not a pre-existent population, but one transplanted by a power that usurped that territory in 1833, the ambassador said.


Nicaraguan Business Mission to Visit Cuba 

HAVANA, Cuba, April 8 (acn) A group of Nicaraguan entrepreneurs will visit Cuba in May to explore business opportunities, based on the benefits contributed by the use of the new regional currency known as SUCRE. 

In statements to the Nicaraguan daily El Nuevo Diario,  commercial expert Oscar Aleman said that the visit is likely to take place May 12 to 17 to present offers in 18 economic sectors and talk business with local authorities particularly aimed at strengthening bilateral commercial relations. 

At present, Nicaraguan companies are exporting to Cuba textiles, processed meat and sausage, beans, root vegetables, fruits and ceramics, Prensa Latina reported from Managua.

The commercial mission will promote products, such as furniture, coffee, cocoa, bee honey and other items, said Aleman who noted that bilateral relations could further developed based on the use of the new currency. 

The Unitary System for Regional Compensation and Payment (SUCRE) operates as a virtual currency at the level of central Banks for commercial transactions in the economic area of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of our America (ALBA). 


Haiti is Interested in Expanding Sports Cooperation with Cuba 

HAVANA, Cuba, April 6 (acn) Haiti’s Youth and Sports minister Magalie Racine expressed her interest in expanding and strengthening cooperation with Cuba in the sports sector. 

The minister made her statements in a meeting in the capital Port au Prince with Cuban ambassador Ricardo Garcia, according to diplomatic sources. 

The two officials addressed the work by Cuban sports trainers in Haiti, who are supporting the development of children and adolescent at the Croix des Bouquet Sports Talents School, in the Western Department. 

A Cuban team of athletes is contributing to the training of the Haitian soccer selection. 

The two countries signed a bilateral cooperation accord in the field of sports in 2011.


CELAC Favors Unity and Consensus 

HAVANA, Cuba, April 5 (acn) Foreign ministers with the Troika of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) ratified in Havana the bloc’s willingness to serve legitimate collective interests,  regional consensus and unity. 

During a press conference on Friday, foreign ministers from Cuba, Chile, Costa Rica and Haiti affirmed their willingness to jointly work by considering the rich diversity prevailing in this region. 

Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez described as very positive the meeting held with the participation of Haiti as representative of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). 

Rodriguez announced that the bloc’s plan of action was drawn up focusing on social issues, energy, the reduction of inequalities, finances, the environment, agriculture, science and technology, transport and industrialization. 

He also commented about the solid consensus found in relation to crucial issues on the regional and international agendas, and he reiterated the bloc’s full and absolute commitment to the current integration process. 

The Cuban government official recalled that, as Fidel and Raul Castro have affirmed, for Cuba the Community is the most significant event in the region over the past century, and he described the bloc as the biggest achievement in the struggle for peace, independence, development and social inclusion. 

Chile’s foreign minister Alfredo Moreno labeled as historic the setting up of the bloc, which groups 33 nations, and he said that this is an opportunity to work together. 

Meanwhile, Pierre-Richard who is Haiti’s minister of Foreign Affairs and Cult, expressed his satisfaction to have the Caribbean represented at the Troika, and he appreciated the decision declaring his country a priority for the region. 

Pierre-Richard call the attention on the characteristics of small Caribbean island states that are part of the bloc and he referred to his government’s efforts to recover the country’s economy and face current challenges. 

The Haitian official insisted in the significance of the Community and the importance of reaching consensus to advance common development and social benefits. 

Costa Rica’s foreign minister Enrique Castillo expressed his willingness to contribute to the Community’s progress and strengthening. He described as very fruitful the meeting of the Troika on Friday and stressed cooperation and solidarity as priority objectives of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean State. 


Cuba to be Represented at International Trade Fair in Panama 

HAVANA, Cuba.- (acn) A wide representation of Cuban enterprises will take part in the 31st International Trade Fair EXPOCOMER 2013, to be held from April 17th through the 20th in Panama. 

Cuba will have a collective pavilion at the ATLAPA showground of the Panamanian capital, where it will show products and services of over 30 enterprises, with a comprehensive and consistent design. 

Habanos S.A.; Labiofam S.A.; Consultoría Jurídica Internacional; Citricos Caribe S.A.; and Corporacion de la Aviacion Civil de Cuba will be among the island’s participating companies. 

The most represented categories at the Fair will be food and beverages, accessories, construction, technology and services. 

Likewise, from April 10th through the 13th, the Cuban medical-pharmaceutical, tobacco and cigar industries will be present at the International Trade Fair of Vietnam, to be held in Hanoi, the Cubaminrex Web site reported. 


 
U.N. Rights Chief Calls for Closure of Guantanamo Prison PDF Print E-mail

GENEVA - Fri Apr 5, 2013 (Reuters) - The U.N. human rights chief called on the United States on Friday to close down the Guantanamo prison camp, saying the indefinite imprisonment of many detainees without charge or trial violated international law.

Navi Pillay said the hunger strike being staged by some inmates at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in southeastern Cuba was a "desperate act" but "scarcely surprising".

"We must be clear about this: the United States is in clear breach not just of its own commitments but also of international laws and standards that it is obliged to uphold," the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement.

U.S. President Barack Obama pledged four years ago to close the controversial facility, opened by the Bush administration in January 2002 to hold men captured in counter-terrorism operations after the deadly September 11 attacks on America.

Pillay voiced deep disappointment at the U.S. government's failure to close Guantanamo despite its repeated commitments, but welcomed comments by a White House spokesman last week reiterating the intention to do so while citing congressional legislation as the prime obstacle.

About half of the current 166 detainees have been cleared for transfer either to home countries or third countries for resettlement, Pillay said. "As a first step, those who have been cleared for release must be released," she said.

"Festering for more than a decade"

"Others reportedly have been designated for further indefinite detention. Some of them have been festering in this detention center for more than a decade," she said.

Guantanamo detainees accused of crimes should be tried in civilian courts, especially as the military commissions "do not meet international fair trial standards" despite improvements since 2009, said Pillay, a former U.N. war crimes judge.

Of the 166 remaining detainees, only nine have been charged or convicted of crimes, according to military records. The 166 detainees are from 23 countries, the Red Cross says.

Forty inmates are currently staging a hunger strike to protest against their indefinite detention, according to a U.S. military spokesman at Guantanamo. Some have lost so much weight that they are being force-fed liquid nutrients through tubes inserted into their noses and down into their stomachs.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has visited Guantanamo regularly since it opened to check on conditions of detention and ensure humane treatment. It is currently carrying out its 93rd visit, expected to last another week.

The ICRC sent a doctor and another delegate to Guantanamo on March 25, a week earlier than planned because of concern about a growing hunger strike among detainees, the humanitarian agency said at the time.

An ICRC team of 13 now there are discussing issues including the hunger strike separately with authorities and in private interviews with inmates, ICRC spokesman Alexis Heeb said.

"Detainees can raise any problem they want to bring to our attention, this can be issues of detention, Koran issues, requests for medical attention," Heeb told Reuters on Friday, referring to media reports about searches of Korans for contraband.

The ICRC has a clear position of being opposed to forced feeding or forced treatment and upholds the principle of leaving the right to detainees to choose his or her fate, he said.

ICRC President Peter Maurer is expected to raise concerns about Guantanamo in talks next week with senior U.S. officials during his three-day visit to Washington, Heeb said.

"We continue to hold detainees under the internationally recognized Law of War and in keeping with the best of our core values, safeguarding and humanely treating all who are in our care and custody, there. Assertions that present some alternate narrative simply do not withstand intellectual rigor," a U.S. Department of Defense spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Todd Breasseale, told Reuters in response to Pillay's statement.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Additional reporting by Jane Sutton in Miami; Editing by Pravin Char and Stephen Powell)

 
CTV Network's "W5" Joins Anti-Cuba Diatribe PDF Print E-mail

- Isaac Saney, National Spokesperson, Canadian Network On Cuba - 

The Canadian Network on Cuba informs you that in addition to the Toronto Star's malicious disinformation campaign on Cuba in conjunction with the Miami Herald's Spanish edition, CTV's "W5" has also joined the scurrilous campaign of outright deception based on bogus sources. A lead item presented by Victor Malarek on the program "W-5" on Saturday March 16, presented Cuba as a "paradise for sex tourists," a veritable smorgasbord for paedophiles. The "big exposé" itself was a collaborative effort involving the Canadian Border Services Agency, The Toronto Star, and even Juan O. Tamayo, a CIA asset touted as a reporter with The Miami Herald. Neither the Miami Herald nor its reporter Tamayo are credible sources when it comes to Cuba. It is known that for decades The Herald has been a U.S.-backed mouthpiece for the Cuban counter-revolutionary mafia based in south Florida. As for Tamayo, he was "outed" as a CIA asset years ago by veteran Quebec journalist Jean-Guy Allard. 

CTV's motive is highly suspect. It is well known that Cuba has a zero tolerance for molestation of children and that it does not criminalize social conduct of any kind. There is simply no comparison of Cuba with the countries where sex tourism is promoted, which implies child pornography and paedophelia. These are not tolerated in Cuba. Simply that. 

Cuba holds an admirable place in the international community as concerns the protection and promotion of the rights of children. In Cuba every child is guaranteed an education and access to universal and free healthcare. In Cuba there are no homeless children roaming the streets eking out an existence in a dog-eat-dog society. There is no child pornography industry in Cuba or tolerance of paedophelia, no priests or educators or sports coaches molesting children, no media preying on children or promoting gossips and yellow journalism about them. 

"W5" is presented as CTV's flagship for investigative-journalism. It is now clear this is a euphemism for yellow journalism.   It is disgraceful. 

Rather than promote lies about Cuba at the command of the American counter-revolutionary agencies which are floating so-called dissidents to organize regime change in Cuba, the CTV would do well to remind its audience that anyone who violates Cuban laws as concerns laying a hand on a minor will definitely end up in jail.


 
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