News on Cuba - March 28, 2016
Raul Receives Visiting ECLAC Executive Secretary
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 25 (acn) Army General Raul Castro, President of the councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, received Alicia Barcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), who is on a visit to Cuba, according to a note published by the Granma newspaper.
During the cordial meeting, held on Thursday afternoon, they spoke about the excellent cooperation existing between Cuba and the ECLAC and the willingness to continue deepening it. Likewise, they tackled other topics on the regional and international agendas. The top official of the United Nations expressed her satisfaction for being able to contribute to the process of updating of the island’s economic model.
Accompanying the distinguished visitor was Anibal Severino Rodriguez.
Cuba was also represented at the meeting by Bruno Rodriguez and Rodrigo Malmierca, ministers of Foreign Affaire and Foreign Trade and Investment, respectively.
Scientific-productive poles to contribute to Cuban development
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 28 (acn) The revival of scientific-productive poles of the country is a contribution to national socio-economic development, said in this city Miguel Diaz-Canel, first vice president of the council of State and Ministers.
He noted that the fact of reviving and enhancing their functioning should be on the same principles of integration conceived by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro in the early 80s of last century, but adapted to the current context.
In a meeting with representatives of scientific institutions from the provinces of Havana, Mayabeque and Artemisa, Diaz-Canel highlighted the convening power of the latter, joined together in a collaborative entity to raise their contributions to the economy and society.
He described as essential the achievement of greater integration and speeding up the introduction of scientific and technological results, especially those resulting from innovation with high added value.
He suggested the need to extend to other sectors the successful experience of the Group of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries (BioCubaFarma), created in November 2012, in particular on the closure of the cycle of design-production and marketing of products and services.
Although subject to the decisions of the 7th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC by its Spanish acronym), to be held next April, priorities in science, technology and innovation are related to food production, tackling climate change and computerization and automation.
The rational water management, basic and natural sciences, energy, particularly renewable, physical planning, comprehensive development of the population, biotechnology and medical-pharmaceutical production, as well as social and educational sciences and their technologies are included in this strategy.
At the meeting with Diaz-Canel, scientists approved the organizational principles of the Poles and their proposals for topics to be discussed at their sessions in June, September and December.
With emphasis on the introduction of the results, three scientific-productive poles were settled only in the province of Havana: the Biological Front (1981), the one on Western Havana (1991) and those of Humanities in a period of two years.
Their branches in the provinces of the nation were created shortly after.
In general, they all formed alliances to enhance resources, dedication to work and the idea that science was a tool for development, amidst of emergencies of the so-called special period.
Ricardo Cabrisas Receives FM of Gabon
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 24 (acn) Ricardo Cabrisas, Vice-president of the Council of Ministers, received Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Francophonie and Regional Integration of the Gabonese Republic, who is on an official visit to Cuba.
During the meeting, held on Thursday afternoon, they spoke about the good state of bilateral relations and expressed the willingness to continue working to expand the political, economic and cooperation bonds existing between the two countries.
To this end, the Gabonese party expressed its intention to participate in the next International Fair of Havana, as well as to advance in the process of negotiation of several bilateral agreements establishing a stronger legal framework to support new initiatives between the two countries, including a Trade Agreement and a new Cooperation Agreement.
They also discussed various issues of interest of international topicality.
The distinguished visitor was accompanied by Jean Claude Moussounda, Ambassador of the Gabonese Republic to Cuba; Madeleine Berre, Minister of Commerce, Small and Medium Enterprises, Craftsmanship, Tourism and Development of Services; Serge Mickoto, Director General of the Gabonese Strategic Investment Fund, and other officials of the Gabonese Embassy to Havana.
Cuba was also represent5ed at the meeting by Angel Villa, Director of Sub-Saharan Africa, and Gospel Montero, an official of that Department, both of them from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Seventh imported Zika case in Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 28 (acn) It was diagnosed the seventh imported case of patient confirmed with Zika virus, corresponding to 36 years old Cuban collaborator, Comprehensive General Medicine specialist (MGI in Spanish), who arrived in the country from Brazil on March 22, and resident of No. 304 of B Street, between Calixto Garcia and Los Maceos in the city of Guantanamo.
Although she has not presented symptoms, by being a pregnant with 28.2 weeks of gestation coming from Brazil, her admission is decided immediately after arrival for surveillance at Angel Arturo Aballí Hospital in Havana, carrying out sampling for isolation of Zika, which was sent to Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK by its Spanish acronym).
On March 26 the IPK laboratory reported that the real-time PCR performed on the patient at the time of admission is positive for Zika virus. She remains asymptomatic.
Cuba and Holland Sign Agreement on Bilateral Debt
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 24 (acn) Ricardo Cabrisas, Vice-president of the Council of Ministers, received Norbertus W. M. Braakhuis, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Havana, and Gerald Enting, Deputy Director of the Export Credit Insurance Division and representative of the Ministry of Finance of that country.
During this meeting, held on Wednesday morning as part of the process of implementation of the Multilateral Agreement signed by the Ad-Hoc Group of Countries Creditors of Cuba in the Paris Club with the Republic of Cuba, two legal instruments were signed by Vice-president Ricardo Cabrisas.
The first one, between the Government of the Republic of Cuba and the Government of the Netherlands, represented by the Dutch Bank of Investment, was signed by the Ambassador, and the second one between the Government of the Republic of Cuba and the Government of the Netherlands, for commercial credits, insured by the Atradius Dutch State Business NV, was signed by Gerald Enting.
The two parties confirmed that the agreements signed represent an important contribution and an incentive to the further development of economic, commercial and financial relations between Cuba and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The occasion was also conducive to hold exchanges on the positive state of bilateral relations and their potential for expansion and strengthening in areas of mutual interest, where bilateral trade between the two countries places the Netherlands among Cuba’s top 10 trading partners.
Also attending the meeting was Pieter Hendrik Olivier Van Schaardenburg, Senior Claims and Recoveries Manager at Atradius Agency (Credit Insurance Company).
Cuba was also represented at the meeting by Isaac Hernandez, Director of External Debt of the Central Bank of Cuba; Yamila Fernandez, Director General of Economics of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment; Aleida Gonzalez, Vice-president of the National Bank of Cuba, and Elio Rodriguez, Director for Europe and Canada and Manuel Pirez, Director of International Law, both of them from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, respectively.
Cuba: Close to 85 Million Doses of Anti-polio Vaccine Administered
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 23 (acn) From 26 February 1962 to date Cuba has administered almost 85 million doses of anti-polio vaccine, which confirms the country as the first in Latin America to eradicate the dreaded childhood disease.
This has made it possible that the entire population under 68 is protected against this illness, said in an exclusive interview with the Cuban News Agency Dr. Marlen Valcarcel, director of the National Immunization Program of the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP).
Such an event of international significance in the health field established guidelines in mass campaigns in the national archipelago, starting from the free immunization for children under three years and their subsequent reactivation, protecting them against the poliovirus caused by this disease.
The specialist specified that in the second stage of the 55th National Anti-polio Vaccination Campaign, which will run from March 28 to April 3 in the country, the second dose of the oral vaccine will be administered to nearly half a million children, 372,856 of them under three years of age, who were given the first dose in February.
Experts from 40 Countries will Participate in Cuban Diabetes Congress
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 18 (acn) Specialists from over 40 countries will discuss the control of diabetes and vascular treatment during two congresses that will be held simultaneously on December 9th in the famous Varadero Beach Resort.
During an exclusive interview with Dr. Manuel Raices, president of the scientific committee announced that the forum called Controlling Diabetes and its severe complications will be held in plenary conferences and symposiums and will treat the prevention of the disease and metabolic control and molecular biology in the healing processes.
The event will also center in the existing therapies in the world for the management of the ulcers of diabetic foot and the implementation of health programs, directed at the integral control of the patient with diabetes, said Dr. Raices, expert of the Biotechnology Center of the BioCubaFarma group.
Meanwhile, the AngioCaribe 2016 International Congress will center its attention in vascular treatments and procedures associated with vascular surgery with special emphasis in healing therapies associated to non-diabetic wounds, he said.
With the registry to the event, participants will be able to participate in all of the scientific sessions taking into account the association of the work of ulcers in diabetic foot and the arterial diseases in patients.
He added that the participants will also discuss the tools and methodologies developed and implemented in the management of wounds and vascular complications and surgery.
The International Diabetics Federation reports that diabetes currently affects over 415 million people in the world, close to half of the patients cannot control the sugar levels in the blood with the current medication in the markets, diet or exercises increasing the risk of complications.
In Cuba, there is almost one million people with diabetes due to the inadequate living styles like the lack of exercise, obesity and mainly the food habits, he stressed.
News on Cuba - March 7, 2016
Raul Castro calls for effective mosquito campaign
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 7 (acn) Cuban President Raul Castro called for more discipline and effectiveness in implementing the current anti-mosquito campaign island wide as he headed a meeting on the effort to prevent the spread of diseases transmitted by that vector.
According to Granma newspaper, during the meeting at the Health Ministry, the President called for strong actions within the frames of the law against those who do not abide by established measures and he also called for constant efforts to guarantee the sanitations of Cuban cities.
The epidemiologic situation in The Americas continues to be complicated with 31 countries reporting local Zika transmission.
Cuba has thus far detected two Zika cases imported from Venezuela and keeps on the alert and studies all unspecific fever cases.
During the meeting, a videoconference with health, government and communist party authorities, members of the armed forces and the interior ministry and community organizations, revealed that by the end of the second stage of the campaign more than 12 thousand homes were not open to fumigation actions, though the figure is lower than the previous week, Granma reported.
Inappropriate planning of actions, failure to announce dwellers about the fumigation days and other subjective factors were main causes to fail in the fumigation of those homes, the paper explained.
The meeting reported a decrease in mosquito presence in labor centers and advancement in sanitation work in risky areas.
Raul Castro was interested in the collection of solid waste in the capital, which generates 23 thousand 800 meters a day, out of which some 6 thousand meters of solid waste remain on the streets uncollected, due to the lack of collection trucks.
This is not just one more campaign, said Raul Castro and insisted in making the effort successful, on time and in a comprehensive manner.
Cuba condemns attacks against Brazil democracy
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 7 (acn) The Cuban Foreign Ministry condemned the attack against the constitution and democracy in Brazil, which has made former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva a target for unjustifiable and disproportionate judicial and parliamentary actions.
A statement by the Ministry on Sunday reads that the manipulation of the fight on corruption is aimed at discrediting and demonizing Lula da Silva and toppling the legitimate government led by Dilma Rousseff, thus overthrowing the progressive process in this region.
Lula and Dilma have proven their admirable braveness and determination to counter these actions against them, reads the statement.
The Government of the Republic of Cuba has no doubts that truth will prevails and that the working people of Brazil will close ranks in their defense and the safeguarding of their political and social achievements under the Workers Party.
People of Cuba and Venezuela pay homage to Hugo Chavez
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 7 (acn) Cuban and Venezuelan people paid homage on Friday in Havana to Commander Hugo Chavez “the best friend the Cuban people has ever had” as defined by Fidel Castro, on the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of his death on March 5th.
Before the Simon Bolivar Monument on the Avenue of the Presidents in Havana, a number of renowned figures, representatives of social and grass roots organization and friendship with Cuba associations remembered the ideas of the Venezuelan leader in favor of integration and changes in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The ceremony with the presence of Alicia Corredera, Vice President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship Among the Peoples, ICAP, the General Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Latin American and Caribbean Division, Manuel Aguilera and Venezuela’s ambassador in Havana, Ali Rodriguez began with the people singing “El Regreso del Amigo (The Return of the Friend) dedicated to Chavez by the island’s singer songwriter Raul Torres.
Rodriguez Araque spoke about Chavez who shared bad and glorious moments and followed the ideals and practice of El Libertador after spending long periods of time studying and carrying out Bolivar’s thoughts aimed at working for the unity of Our America.
The Venezuelan leader’s project went beyond the borders, said the ambassador of the South American nation and ended by shouting Viva Chavez porSiempre, (Long Live Chavez Forever).
Also recalling the rebelliousness and human character of Chavez were Julio MarcelinoChirino, General Consul of the Venezuelan embassy in Cuba; Coronel Ramon Barza, attache of the Bolivarian National Guard in Havana and Graciela Ramirez, Coordinator of the International Peace, Justice and Democracy Committee.
Venezuela will continue to be a nation of glory, said the participants, ratifying a firm solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution, with the government of Nicolas Maduro and absolute loyalty to the memory of Hugo Chavez Frias.
India condemns the US economic blockade against Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 7 (acn) The Northern Indian Church of Protestant denomination with over 1.5 million followers condemned on Friday the US economic, financial and commercial blockade against Cuba. According to Prensa Latina News Agency, during a religious ceremony in a temple in New Delhi on the occasion of the World Prayer Day which is dedicated to Cuba this year, the church’s Communications Secretary Sushma Ramswami demanded an end to Washington’s unjust blockade against Cuba.
Ramswani highlighted the island’s social achievements, especially the defense of woman and children after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959.
During the speech, she gave a brief explanation on the history of Cuba, its people, struggle and symbols.
On its part, the Cuban ambassador to Cuba, Oscar Martinez thanked all those present in the prayers and positive thinking in favor of the Caribbean island and highlighted the importance in putting an end to the US blockade.
We share the sentiments of solidarity, said the Cuban ambassador, our objective is to fight in favor of children and the most vulnerable.
During the liturgy promoted by the Council of Christian Women of All of India, the participants denounced the unjust blockade affecting the Cuban people for over half a century, endangering the people’s health and growth of the children.
Cuba Reaffirms Commitment to Peace and Social Justice
HAVANA, Cuba.- (acn) Cuba reaffirmed in Geneva on Wednesday its commitment to the struggle for a world of justice, freedom and equality for all in the context of the 31st regular period of sessions of the Human Rights Council.
In his speech, the Director General of Multilateral Affairs and International Law of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pedro Nunez, said that while marking this year the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Human Rights Council, in that international organization political manipulation and double standards that put paid to his predecessor persist.
Nor has the fact that the realization and enjoyment of human rights continues to be an illusion for hundreds of millions of people in the world changed, when many human beings don’t have right to development, although 30 years ago a declaration on the matter was approved.
The huge gap between the richest and the rest of the population continues to increase, considered the Cuban representative.
In the international context, the diplomat recalled the conflicts that NATO carry out in the Middle East and Europe, causing destruction and death, as well as the emergence of forms of international terrorism never seen, which pose additional threats to peace and security, he said.
Although there are numerous international instruments, the same powerful countries that have signed them, in practice, intensify abuse and violation of human rights of hundreds of thousands of refugees, forced to flee their countries of origin as a result of conflicts that others stoked or of the exacerbation of poverty.
Rich nations present their views on democracy and governance as the only ones valid; and they try to give them supposedly universal scope, when in fact it is the exclusive right of only one part of humanity, considered Nunez.
The Cuban representative also referred to the countries that conceive the market, the multi-party system and the formulas of electoral alternation as the most accurate way and the paradigm of governance, while ignoring the fact that this should focus on the conduction of public affairs efficiently, people's participation in decision-making and proper exercise of integrity and social justice.
In contrast to the bleak international prospect, the Cuban diplomat referred to the example that in terms of peace the historic decision of the leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean at the Second Summit of the CELAC, held in Havana in 2014, to proclaim to the region as a zone of peace, represents.
Nunez reiterated the support of Cuba of the cause of the Palestinian people and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the government and people of which deserve the widest international solidarity in their fight against destabilizing actions encouraged and supported from the outside.
He also expressed the island’s rejection of unilateral sanctions against Russia and reaffirmed the right of the Syrian people to find a dignified solution to their problems without external interference, and preserving its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Cuba strengthens its commitment to genuine international cooperation, based on the indivisibility of human rights, non-selectivity and non-politicization, he said.
With regard to the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, he said that the government of that country has acknowledged not only its failure as a policy, but also its negative impact on the exercise of human rights of the Cuban people.
We hope that the recent demonstrations of the highest authorities of that country of their interest in contributing to improving the lives of Cubans, have as their center to continue adopting measures that allow to actually realize the end of this harmful policy for Cubans and U.S. persons and lead to its final lifting, the Cuban diplomat stressed.
It is particularly important to proceed without delay to end the blockade that my country has suffered for more than five decades and that is the main violation of human rights of all Cubans, which remains intact. and the extraterritorial nature of which has been exacerbated by increasing sanctions for banks and financial institutions from third countries, with the purpose of intimidating them and eroding Cuba’s exchanges with other nations.
Finally, Nunez highlighted the willingness shown by Cuba to discuss the differences of views on human rights with any other party on the basis of equality, respect and reciprocity, without imposing any vision or accept that those of others are tried to be legitimated as the only ones valid.
We believe that the true commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights on a global scale should have as a starting point a genuine willingness to contribute to the realization of these rights, stripping them of political expediency, media manipulation, selective vision or double standards, he concluded.
Cuba Solidarity Campaign Bank Accounts Closed in UK
HAVANA, Cuba.- The bank accounts of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) were closed in Great Britain, following the acquisition of the Co-op Bank by hedge funds based in the United States.
According to the Granma newspaper, other organizations with links that could be considered contrary to the foreign policy of the United States are the Campaign of Solidarity with Palestine, which suffer the close of their accounts since the Co-op Bank was rescued by US funds.
Rob Miller, director of the CSC, the main organization of solidarity with the Caribbean nation in the UK, stressed that "it is not pure chance" that the close occurred after the rescue, but "that it was made unilaterally".
"All accounts of the national campaign have been closed. We believe it is unethical and unacceptable," Miller said, asserting that "we have consulted lawyers and they have not ruled out taking legal action.”
The CSC wrote to the bank on several occasions asking for an explanation, but the answer by the Co-op Bank was that "it is changing its assessment of risk"; thus, it is indicated that the institution now considers Cuba as a country of "high risk".
Recently, the British newspaper Daily Mirror referred to the "secret international black list" that can leave users blocked to access their bank accounts. One of the examples given by the newspaper was the case of the CSC, citing its director: "The Co-op Bank has finally admitted that the close of the bank accounts of the Campaign of Solidarity with Cuba is a direct result of the policies of the U.S. blockade against Cuba."
Miller also added that "the fact that a British institution as historic and proudly independent, recognized for its ethics, has been forced to adopt policies imposed by the United States is an affront to us all."
Despite the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S., in addition to the ongoing process of normalization of bilateral relations, the blockade and its extraterritorial nature continue to hamper Cuban economy and entities seeking to approach the island.
This extraterritorial implementation also ignores the fact that the British government has diplomatic relations with Cuba, promotes trade with the island and has signed a series of bilateral cooperation agreements.
The persecution of organizations only interested in working in solidarity with Cuba, for the benefit of the Cuban people, shows, once again, the scope of the blockade and the need to end this criminal policy once and for all.
News on Cuba - July 21, 2015
Embassy of Cuba Reopens
STATEMENT BY BRUNO RODRÍGUEZ PARRILLA, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA, AT THE CEREMONY TO RE-OPEN THE CUBAN EMBASSY IN THE UNITED STATES. WASHINGTON, JULY 20, 2015.
Embassy of the Republic of Cuba
Her Excellency Mrs. Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State; Officials of the US Government accompanying her; Honorable members of Congress; Esteemed Representatives of the US Organizations, Movements and Institutions who have made huge efforts in favour of the change of the US Cuba policy and the improvement of bilateral relations; Esteemed Representatives of the Organizations and Movements of the patriotic emigration; Distinguished Ambassadors; Comrades of the Cuban Delegation; José Ramón Cabañas, Chargé D’ Affairs; Officials and workers of the Cuban Embassy;
The flag that we revere at the entrance of this room is the same that was hauled down here 54 years ago, which was zealously kept in Florida by a family of liberators and later on by the Museum of our eastern city of Las Tunas, as a sort of premonition that this day would certainly come.
Flying once again in this place is the lone-star flag which embodies the generous blood that was shed, the sacrifices made and the struggle waged for more than one hundred years by our people for their national independence and full self-determination, facing the most serious challenges and risks.
Today we pay homage to all those who died in its defense and renew the commitment of the present generations, fully confident on the newer ones, to serve it with honor.
We evoke the memory of José Martí, who was fully devoted to the struggle for the freedom of Cuba and managed to get a profound knowledge about the United States: In his “North American Scenes” he made a vivid description of the great nation to the North and extolled its virtues. He also bequeathed to us a warning against its excessive craving for domination which was confirmed by a long history of disagreements.
We’ve been able to make it through this date thanks to the firm and wise leadership of Fidel Castro Ruz, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, whose ideas we will always revere with utmost loyalty. We now recall his presence in this city, in April of 1959, with the purpose of promoting fair bilateral relations, as well as the sincere tribute he paid to Lincoln and Washington. The purposes that brought him to this country on such an early time are the same that have pursued throughout these decades and coincide exactly with the ones that we pursue today. Many in this room, whether politicians, journalists, outstanding personalities in the fields of arts or sciences, students or American social activists, have been able to treasure unlimited hours of enriching talks with the Commander, which allowed them to have a better understanding of our reasons, goals and decisions.
This ceremony has been possible thanks to the free and unshakable will, unity, sacrifice, selflessness, heroic resistance and work of our people and also the strength of the Cuban Nation and its culture.
Several generations of the revolutionary diplomacy have converged in this effort and offered their martyrs. The example and vibrant speech of Raúl Roa, the Chancellor of Dignity, have continued to inspire Cuba’s foreign policy and will remain forever in the memory of the younger generations and future diplomats.
I bring greetings from President Raúl Castro, as an expression of the good will and sound determination to move forward, through a dialogue based on mutual respect and sovereign equality, to a civilized coexistence, even despite the differences that exist between both governments, which makes it possible to solve bilateral problems and promote cooperation and the development of mutually beneficial relations, just as both peoples desire and deserve.
We know that this would contribute to peace, development, equity and stability in the continent; the implementation of the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter and in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, which was signed at the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States held in Havana.
Today, the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and the re-opening of embassies complete the first stage of the bilateral dialogue and pave the way to the complex and certainly long process towards the normalization of bilateral relations.
The challenge is huge because there have never been normal relations between the United States of America and Cuba, in spite of the one and a half century of intensive and enriching links that have existed between both peoples.
The Platt Amendment, imposed in 1902 under a military occupation, thwarted the liberation efforts that had counted on the participation or the sympathy of quite a few American citizens and led to the usurpation of a piece of Cuban territory in Guantánamo. Its nefarious consequences left an indelible mark in our common history.
In 1959, the United States refused to accept the existence of a fully independent small and neighboring island and much less, a few years later, a socialist Revolution that was forced to defend itself and has embodied, ever since then, our people’s will.
I have referred to History to reaffirm that today an opportunity has opened up to begin working in order to establish new bilateral relations, quite different from whatever existed in the past. The Cuban government is fully committed to that.
Only the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade which has caused so much harm and suffering to our people; the return of the occupied territory in Guantánamo and the respect for Cuba’s sovereignty will lend some meaning to the historic event that we are witnessing today.
Every step forward will receive the recognition and the favourable acceptance of our people and government, and most certainly the encouragement and approval of Latin America and the Caribbean and the entire world.
We reaffirm Cuba’s willingness to move towards the normalization of relations with the United States in a constructive spirit, but without any prejudice whatsoever to our independence or any interference in the affairs that fall under the exclusive sovereignty of Cubans.
To insist in the attainment of obsolete and unjust goals, only hoping for a mere change in the methods to achieve them will not legitimize them or favour the national interest of the United States or its citizens. However, should that be the case, we would be ready to face the challenge.
We will engage in this process, as was written by President Raúl Castro in his letter of July 1st to President Obama, “encouraged by the reciprocal intention of developing respectful and cooperative relations between our peoples and governments.”
From this Embassy, we will continue to work tirelessly to promote cultural, economic, scientific, academic and sports relations as well as friendly ties between our peoples.
We would like to convey the Cuban government’s respect and recognition to the President of the United States for urging the US Congress to lift the blockade as well as for the change of policy that he has announced, but in particular for the disposition he has showed to make use of his executive powers for that purpose.
We are particularly reminded of President Carter’s decision to open the respective Interests Sections back in September of 1977.
I am pleased to express my gratitude to the Government of the Swiss Confederation for having represented the Cuban interests for the last 24 years.
On behalf of the Government and the people of Cuba, I would like to express our gratitude to the members of Congress, scholars, religious leaders, activists, solidarity groups, business people and so many US citizens who worked so hard for so many years so that this day would come.
To the majority of Cubans residing in the United States who have advocated and called for a different kind of relation of this country with our Nation, we would like to express our recognition. Deeply moved, they have told us that they would multiply their efforts and will remain faithful to the legacy of the patriotic emigration that supported the ideals of independence.
We would like to express our gratitude to our Latin American and Caribbean brothers and sisters who have resolutely supported our country and called for a new chapter in the relations between the United States and Cuba, as was done, with extraordinary perseverance, by a lot of friends from all over the world.
I reiterate our recognition to the governments represented here by the Diplomatic Corps, whose voice and vote at the UN General Assembly and other fora made a decisive contribution.
From this country José Martí organized the Cuban Revolutionary Party to conquer freedom, all the justice and the full dignity of human beings. His ideas, which were heroically vindicated in his centennial year, continue to be the main inspiration that moves us along the path that our people have sovereignly chosen.
Thank you, very much.
Statement by the Revolutionary Government
Havana, Cuba - July 1, 2015 - With the reestablishment of diplomatic ties with the United States, the lifting of the blockade, among other issues, will be essential to the ultimate normalization of relations
On July 1, 2015, the President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, and the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, exchanged letters through which they confirmed the decision to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries and open permanent diplomatic missions in their respective capitals, from July 20, 2015.
That same day, the official opening ceremony of the Embassy of Cuba in Washington will be held, in the presence of a Cuban delegation led by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla and composed of distinguished representatives of Cuban society.
By formalizing this step, Cuba and the United States ratified the intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between both peoples and governments, based on the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and International Law, in particular the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.
The Government of Cuba has decided to reestablish diplomatic relations with the United States in full exercise of its sovereignty, invariably committed to the ideals of independence and social justice, and in solidarity with the just causes of the world, and reaffirming each of the principles for which our people have shed their blood and ran all risks, led by the historic leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz.
With the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies, the first phase concludes of what will be a long and complex process towards the normalization of bilateral ties, as part of which a set of issues will have to be resolved arising from past policies, still in force, which affect the Cuban people and nation.
There can be no normal relations between Cuba and the United States as long as the economic, commercial and financial blockade that continues to be rigorously applied, causing damages and scarcities for the Cuban people, is maintained, it is the main obstacle to the development of our economy, constitutes a violation of International Law and affects the interests of all countries, including those of the United States.
To achieve normalization it will also be indispensable that the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo Naval Base is returned, that radio and television transmissions to Cuba that are in violation of international norms and harmful to our sovereignty cease, that programs aimed at promoting subversion and internal destabilization are eliminated, and that the Cuban people are compensated for the human and economic damages caused by the policies of the United States.
In recalling the outstanding issues to be resolved between the two countries, the Cuban Government recognizes the decisions adopted thus far by President Obama, to exclude Cuba from the list of state sponsors of international terrorism, to urge the U.S. Congress to lift the blockade and to begin to take steps to modify the application of aspects of this policy in exercise of his executive powers.
As part of the process towards the normalization of relations, in turn, the foundations of ties that have not existed between our countries in all their history will need to be constructed, in particular, since the military intervention of the United States 117 years ago, in the independence war that Cuba fought for nearly three decades against Spanish colonialism.
These relations must be founded on absolute respect for our independence and sovereignty; the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, without interference in any form; and sovereign equality and reciprocity, which constitute inalienable principles of International Law.
The Government of Cuba reiterates its willingness to maintain a respectful dialogue with the Government of the United States and develop relations of civilized coexistence, based on respect for the differences between the two governments and cooperation on issues of mutual benefit.
Cuba will continue immersed in the process of updating its economic and social model, to build a prosperous and sustainable socialism, advance the development of the country and consolidate the achievements of the Revolution.
Africa Embraces the Five
The Five Cuban Heroes were received with expressions of love and admiration during their first tour of Namibia, after a 10-day visit to South Africa; and before heading to Angola.
By Nuria Barbosa León
The Five Cuban Heroes were received with expressions of love and admiration during their first tour of Namibia, after a 10-day visit to South Africa, stopping in five of the country’s provinces: Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo, KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape; and before heading to Angola.
Founding President of the Republic of Namibia, Sam Nujoma, embraced the Five at his home in Etunda, where they spoke for half an hour. Nujoma began by inquiring as to the health of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. Also present during the conversation was current President Hage Geingob, who described the Cuban anti-terrorists as an example of resistance.
In the capital of Windhoek, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González paid tribute to the fallen of Namibia’s independence struggles at theHeroes' Acre memorial, greeted people from the community of Katutura, visited the Independence Memorial Museum and participated in a solidarity rally.
Peya Mushelenga, interim Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, who accompanied the Five for the majority of their visit, made a statement in which he expressed the significance of their visit to his country.
Fernando González, vice president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, also commented on the expressions of love they had received from the Namibian people and the Cuban collaborators working in the country.
He described their stay as beautiful and fruitful, with many expressions of solidarity.
On their arrival, Deputy Minister of Environment, Tommy Nambahu, told the Five how much they are admired by the people who know of their work in defense of peace and against terrorism.
In Angola, the Five and their relations lay a floral wreath at the monument to Agostinho Neto, first President of the African nation, and spoke with Roberto de Almeida, vice president of the People's Movementfor the Liberation ofAngola(MPLA).
Later, they visited the Alto das Cruces Cemetery where they laid flowers at the site where the remains of internationalist fighter Raúl Díaz Argüelles lie. Díaz Argüelles, a Cuban martyr, died on December 11, 1975, in the southern province of Cuanza Sur, from wounds sustained after a land mine explosion which destroyed his tank.
In South Africa, the Five participated in an international solidarity symposium organized by the Tripartite Alliance, which was devised during International Colloquium held in Havana in September 2014 to demand the release of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio, then still incarcerated in U.S. prisons.
The final declaration – read out by Chris Matlhako, secretary general of the Society of Friendship with Cuba in South Africa (FOCUS) - was unanimously approved. He stated that the solidarity movement will continue to work given that, although the Five are now free, challenges still remain; such as ending the genocidal U.S. blockade imposed on the island and the return of the illegally occupied Guantánamo Naval Base territory.
Fathe Michael Lapsley and Justice Zac Jacob were among the key speakers of the event, also attended by the Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC), Gwede Mantashe, in addition to the Premier of the province of Gauteng, David Makhura.
During the encounter, each of the Cuban patriots recounted anecdotes of their case and lives in general. Ramón’s wife, Elizabeth Palmeiro, spoke about the impact of 16 years of separation on the families, as well as efforts made to secure the return of their loved ones.
The Five’s African tour began on June 21, in Cape Town, legislative capital of South Africa and the province of Western Cape, and concluded in Angola on July 8, where Gerardo Hernández, René González and Fernando González, served as internationalist fighters.
The Five on Robben Island: A tribute to Mandela
Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René visited the island where Mandela was imprisoned and paid tribute to his example of the triumph of human spirit over adversity
By Deisy Francis Mexidor
ROBBEN ISLAND, South Africa - June 25, 2015 — A sign in English and Afrikaans announces arrival on Robben Island, situated off the coast of Cape Town, a site which encompasses a painful history, thankfully now past for South Africans.
The island of dry sand and strong winds, surrounded by sharp reefs and the unique sound of the thousands of birds that fly overhead, is today a symbol of freedom.
To get there, you have to board a boat at the Nelson Mandela memorial located in the commercial and tourist district of Waterfront.
The journey is about 12 kilometers, a half hour boat ride, enough to reflect on the triumph of human spirit over adversity encompassed by this historical site.
Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, the Five Cuban anti-terrorists who themselves were greatly inspired by the spirit of resistance of Prisoner No.46664, Nelson Mandela, during their imprisonment in the U.S., traveled to the island as part of their tour of South Africa.
Mandela spent 18 of the 27 years that the apartheid regime kept him imprisoned on Robben Island.
Accompanied by Ahmed Kathrada, who was also imprisoned alongside Mandela, the Five toured the historical site that was opened as a museum on January 1st, 1997 and declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999.
Certain areas are usually off-limits to tourists, but Kathrada provided the Five with access to Mandela’s cell, a small, damp and unimaginable space.
They studied the iron bars through which only hands could pass, the blanket on the floor that was all Mandela had for a bed, the bench and a small window.
Each of them looked, touched the walls and tried to take an almost photographic image with their own eyes. It was a private moment of reflection. No questions were required.
Then, as they gathered to take a photo, Fernando noted the date: “Today is June 23. In 2001, 14 years ago, the Comandante en Jefe (Fidel Castro) said we would return (to Cuba).” Meanwhile, Gerardo wrote in the guestbook on behalf of the Five: “It has been a great honor to visit this place together with some of the brave compañeros of Nelson Mandela.”
The message continued, “all of them were a source of inspiration and strength for the Five Cubans to withstand the more than 16 years in U.S. jails.”
Gerardo stressed that this was a legacy that “the Five will honor for the rest of our lives.”
CUBAN ANTI-TERRORISTS RECEIVED BY SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT
CAPE TOWN.—Members of the African National Congress (ANC) in the South African parliament received the Five during their visit to the legislative capital of the country.
The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Lechesa Tsenoli, said that the Five are an inspiration across the world.
In exclusive statements to Prensa Latina, Tsenoli highlighted the example of resistance that these men provided whilst in U.S. prisons, where they remained confined for an extended and unjust period of time.
The legislator also stressed the contribution of Cuban solidarity to the African cause, a sentiment that is continuously repeated.
Since their arrival on June 21, when they were welcomed by ANC Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe, the Five have had the chance to talk with the leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP).
They were also warmly welcomed by members of the Society of Friendship with Cuba in South Africa (FOCUS) and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), who did so much to secure their release.
The visit by Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René will conclude on July 3 and forms part of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.
According to their busy schedule, they will travel this Thursday, June 25, to the province of Gauteng to complete their tour of five of the nine South African provinces.
The Five then continue on to Namibia and conclude their tour of Africa in Angola, where three of them (Gerardo, Fernando and René) served as internationalist fighters.
Raúl: We came to fulfill the mandate of Marti with the freedom won by our own hands
Redacción Internacional - April 11, 2015 - Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers thanked the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean for their solidarity, enabling Cuba to participate equally in this hemispheric forum, as well as the President of the Republic of Panama for the invitation to attend.
President Raúl Castro said this Saturday that Cuba was attending the 7th Summit of the Americas in order to fulfill the mandate of Martí with the freedom won by our own hands.
He thanked the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean for their solidarity, enabling Cuba to participate equally in this hemispheric forum, as well as the President of the Republic of Panama for the invitation to attend. He also expressed thanks for the extended time he had been given, given that Cuba’s “many years of absence” justified that he speak a little longer than the usual eight minutes allotted.
Raúl noted that with the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States on December 2 and 3, 2011, in Caracas, a new era in the history of Our America began, clearly establishing the hard earned right of its peoples’ to live in peace and freely develop as they decide fit as well as mapping a path for future development and integration based on cooperation, solidarity and the common will to preserve their independence, sovereignty and identity.
In 1800, the U.S. had considered adding Cuba to the Union, marking the southern boundary of the vast empire. In the nineteenth century, the doctrine of Manifest Destiny emerged with the aim of dominating the Americas and the world, together with the theory of the “Ripe Fruit” regarding the inevitable gravitation of Cuba toward the Union, which rejected the development of emancipatory thinking.
Raúl stated that later, through wars, conquests and interventions, this expansionist and hegemonic force stripped Our America of its territories extending down to the Rio Grande.
Following long and frustrated struggles, José Martí organized the “necessary war” and created the Cuban Revolutionary Party to lead it and to found a Republic “with all and for the good of all,” which set out to achieve “the full dignity of man.”
Accurately defining and anticipating the characteristics of his time, Martí devoted himself to the duty “of preventing the United States from spreading through the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence, and from overpowering with that additional strength our lands of America.”
Our America for him was that of the Creoles, the indigenous, the blacks and mulattos, the mestizo and hardworking America that had to make common cause with the oppressed. Today, beyond geography, this is an ideal that is starting to become reality, Raúl explained.
He added that 117 years ago, on April 11, 1898, the then President of the United States requested authorization from Congress to militarily intervene in the independence war, already won with rivers of Cuban blood, and that this body passed a deceptive Joint Resolution, which recognized the independence of the island “in fact and law.” They came as allies and seized the country as occupiers.
An appendix to its Constitution was imposed on Cuba, the Platt Amendment, which stripped the island of its sovereignty, authorizing the powerful neighbor to intervene in its internal affairs and led to the establishment of the Guantanamo Naval Base, which still usurps part of our territory. During this period, the invasion of northern capital increased, there were two military interventions and the U.S. supported cruel dictatorships.
On January 1st, 1959, 60 years after American soldiers entered Havana, the Cuban Revolution triumphed and the Rebel Army led by Fidel Castro Ruz arrived in the capital.
On April 6, 1960, just a year after the victory, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Lester Mallory, wrote in a perverse memorandum, declassified decades later, that “the majority of Cubans support Castro...There is no effective political opposition…The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship… to weaken the economic life of Cuba… denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government,” the Army General quoted.
He also spoke further of the great hardship that Cubans have endured. 77% of the Cuban population was born under the rigors imposed by the blockade. “But our patriotic convictions prevailed. The aggression increased the resistance and accelerated the revolutionary process. Here we are with our heads held high and our dignity intact,” he emphasized.
Once we had already proclaimed socialism and the people had fought to defend the Bay of Pigs, President Kennedy was assassinated precisely at the moment when the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, had received a message from him looking to initiate a dialogue, he continued.
At another point in his speech, the Army General stated that he had expressed to President Barack Obama and was now reiterating our willingness to engage in respectful dialogue and a civilized coexistence between the two states despite our profound differences.
He described President Obama as an honest man and said that he believed that this nature arose from his humble origins. But he stressed that normalizing relations is one thing and the blockade is another.
He considered Obama’s recent statement indicating that a decision regarding Cuba’s presence on the list of state sponsors of terrorism would be reached shortly as a positive step, noting that the island should never have appeared on the list.
To date, the economic, commercial and financial blockade, which continues to be applied in full force against the island, has caused damages and shortages for the Cuban people and is the key obstacle to the development of our economy. It constitutes a violation of international law and its extraterritorial scope affects the interests of all States, he underlined.
For our part, we will continue to be deeply immersed in the process of updating the Cuban economic model with the aim of perfecting our socialism, moving towards further development and consolidating the achievements of a Revolution that has resolved to “conquer all justice.”
He also stated that Venezuela is not and cannot be a threat to the national security of a superpower like the United States and described the fact that the U.S. President has acknowledged this as positive.
“Cuba will continue to defend the ideas for which our people have assumed the greatest sacrifices and risks and fought for, alongside the poor, the sick lacking medical care, the unemployed, children abandoned or forced to work or prostitute themselves, the hungry, the discriminated against, the oppressed and the exploited that constitute the vast majority of the world population,” he highlighted.
The Cuban President also noted that financial speculation, the privileges of Bretton Woods and the unilateral suspension of the convertibility of the dollar into gold are increasingly asphyxiating. “We need a transparent and equitable financial system.”
He said that it is unacceptable that less than a dozen emporiums, mainly American, determine what is read, seen or heard across the planet.
Raúl added that the Internet must have an international, democratic and participatory governance, especially in regards to the generation of content. He also paraphrased one of Aesop's Fables and said the Internet serves for the best but also the worst.
Furthermore, he considered the militarization of cyberspace and the covert and illegal employment of computer systems to attack other States as unacceptable. “We will not allow them to dazzle or colonize us again.”
Raúl argued that hemispheric relations must change profoundly, particularly in the political, economic and cultural spheres; in order that, based on international law and the exercise of self-determination and sovereign equality, they focus on the development of mutually beneficial links and cooperation to serve the interests of all our nations and the goals they set themselves.
He recalled that the adoption in January 2014, at the Second CELAC Summit, in Havana, of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, was an important contribution to this end, marked by Latin American and Caribbean unity in diversity.
The Cuban President stressed that “the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, as an essential condition to guarantee peaceful coexistence among nations,” must be respected, as stated in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.
He concluded that thanks to Fidel and the heroic Cuban people, we have come to this Summit, to fulfill the mandate of Marti with the freedom won by our own hands, “proud of our America, to serve and honor her...with the determination and capacity to help ensure that she is valued for her merits, and respected for her sacrifices.”
Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the 9th Extraordinary Alba-TCP Summit, convened in solidarity with the sister nation of Venezuela, held in Caracas, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, March 17, 2015
Esteemed Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America;
Esteemed Heads of delegations and guests;
Compañeras and compañeros:
ALBA brings us together today to reaffirm our firmest support for the Bolivarian people and government in the face of the latest interventionist measures and threats from the U.S. government against Venezuela.
The facts demonstrate that history cannot be ignored. The relations between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean have been marked by the “Monroe Doctrine” and the objective of exercising domination and hegemony over our nations.
Bolívar had anticipated that the United States, “seems destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of Liberty” and Martí fell in combat before concluding the letter in which he explained the “duty of preventing the United States from spreading throughout the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence, and from overpowering with that additional strength our lands of America.”
Later came the military interventions, the coup d’états, the maneuvers to overthrow nationalist or progressive governments, the backing of bloody military dictatorships, the undercover operations, the support for terrorism and subversion, as well as the appropriation and plundering of our resources to perpetuate dependence and underdevelopment.
The triumphant audacity to carry out a socialist revolution just 90 miles from the United States, has meant immense sacrifices, suffering, loss of life and material deprivation for the Cuban people, subject to, since that very revolutionary triumph, 56 years ago, every kind of hostility, including the support and organization of armed bands in the mountains from the end of that same year of 1959 – that is, since the very year of the triumph of the Revolution – the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961 and the formalization of the blockade in 1962, all with the stated intention of defeating the Revolution and changing the political, economic and social order we freely chose and subsequently confirmed in a constitutional referendum.
The result has been a resounding failure, the harming of our people and the complete isolation of the United States in its intentions, as recently recognized by President Barack Obama on announcing a new policy and resolving to open another chapter. However, his government spokespeople insist on clarifying that the objectives persist and only the methods change.
The triumph of the Bolivarian Revolution was an extraordinary milestone in the history of Venezuela and the whole region, which had begun to awaken from the long neoliberal slumber. An era of change commenced in the continent and other nations decided to embark on the path towards full independence and integration and again take up the flags of our national heroes.
Alba, Unasur, CELAC were born, which united, in their diversity, previous groupings and initiatives of genuine Latin Americanist and Caribbean calling, founded on principles of solidarity, cooperation, social justice and defense of sovereignty.
PetroCaribe was an extraordinary, generous and humanistic contribution of President Hugo Chávez Frías. Now they want to destroy PetroCaribe to threaten its member states, submit them to the oil multinationals and separate them from Venezuela. They do not realize that our peoples have decided, irrevocably, to continue our unstoppable advance and fight for a multipolar and just world, where those who were historically excluded have a voice, hope and dignity.
U.S. imperialism has attempted, without success, practically all possible formulas to destabilize and subvert the Bolivarian Chavista revolution, to recuperate its control of the largest oil reserves on the planet, and deliver a blow to the integrationist, emancipation process underway in Our America.
The arbitrary, aggressive, unjustified executive order issued by the President of the United States regarding the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s government, describing it as a threat to its national security, shows that the United States is able to sacrifice the peace and the direction of hemispheric and regional relations, for reasons of domination and domestic politics.
The idea is untenable that a country like Venezuela - which has shown so much solidarity, never invaded or harmed any other, and contributes in a significant and altruistic manner to the energy security and economic stability of a considerable number of nations of the continent - could represent a threat to the security of the greatest super-power in history.
We support the honorable, valiant, constructive position taken by President Nicolás Maduro, (applause) who, despite the seriousness of this threat, has extended his hand to the President of the United States, to initiate a dialogue based on international law and mutual respect, which could lead to the unconditional revocation of President Obama’s executive order and the normalization of relations. (Applause) Alba and CELAC should join in this proposal.
Today Venezuela is not alone, nor is our region the one it was 20 years ago. We will not tolerate the violation of sovereignty or allow peace in the region to be broken with impunity.
As we have reiterated, threats to the peace and stability of Venezuela represent threats to regional stability and peace, as well.
The peace which Venezuela today demands and which we all need, a “peace with justice, with equality, the peace on our feet, not on our knees, is peace with dignity and development,” as Maduro said, is the peace to which we committed ourselves in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, adopted by the II CELAC Summit in Havana.
Our country’s position under these circumstances remains unchanged. I reiterate the firm solidarity of the Cuban Revolution with the Bolivarian Revolution, with constitutional President Nicolás Maduro and with the civic-military union which he heads. (Applause) I reiterate our absolute loyalty to the memory of Comandante Hugo Chávez Frías, the Cuban Revolution’s best friend. (Applause)
As has been stated, we reaffirm once again, “The Cuban collaborators present in the sister country, will continue to fulfill their duties under any circumstances whatsoever, to the benefit of the fraternal, noble, generous people of Venezuela.”
The United States must understand once and for all that it is impossible to seduce or buy Cuba, or intimidate Venezuela. Our unity is indestructible. (Applause)
Nor will we concede one iota in the defense of sovereignty and independence, or tolerate any type of interference or conditions on our internal affairs.
Nor will we cease to defend just causes in Our America and the world, nor will we ever abandon our brothers in the struggle. We have come to close ranks with Venezuela and Alba, and reaffirm that principles are not negotiable. (Applause)
To defend these convictions, we will attend the 7th Summit of the Americas. We will present our positions, with firmness, clarity and respect. We will reject with determination any attempt to isolate or threaten Venezuela, and demand a definitive end to the blockade of Cuba.
Cuban civil society will be the voice of those without a voice, and we will expose the mercenaries who will appear there as Cuba’s civil society
We must call upon all peoples and governments of Our America to mobilize and remain alert in the defense of Venezuela. Solidarity is the foundation of unity and regional integration.
Thank you very much. (Applause)
Raúl Castro and Barack Obama meet at the 7th Summit of the Americas
Granma - April 11, 2015 - Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama, of Cuba and the United States, held a meeting in Panama in the context of the 7th Summit of the Americas, in which both are participating
PANAMA. – Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama finally met this Saturday, April 11, during a break in the sessions of the last day of the 7th Summit of the Americas, a meeting highly anticipated by everyone here.
After each had made his speech and moments after posing for the usual Official Photo, the two leaders gathered for the meeting in a small room at the ATLAPA Convention Center.
There, Raúl said that the key aspect is that we are willing to discuss everything, including human rights and press freedom. These and other issues relating to Cuba and also the United States.
I think everything can be discussed, if done so with mutual respect, the Cuban President considered. “It may be that we convince each other of certain things, but not others.”
We should be under no illusions, he warned, we have many differences and a complex history, but we are ready to move forwards in these meetings to establish diplomatic relations.
Raúl referred to the opening of embassies, increased visits between the two countries and to engage in all the issues pertinent to “such close neighbors”.
We can talk about everything with patience, even in these times when life moves so fast, he said. We hope that our closest collaborators know how to comply with the instructions of both Presidents.
Obama for his part, said that the history between the U.S. and Cuba was complicated, as there has been a climate of mistrust for a long time. After 50 years it is time for us to try something new, he said.
It is important to maintain contact between the two governments and peoples, he added. “We are now in a position to move on a path toward the future, we will leave behind the things that complicated the past.”
Obama said the two peoples have positively supported the changes. As exchanges increase I believe there will be more direct contact and greater connection between our countries, he said.
There will continue to be deep and significant differences, we will continue to attempt to “raise concerns about democracy and human rights.”
“As Raúl said in his impassioned speech they are also attempting to raise those concerns,” Obama noted, later adding that, “Over time, it is possible for us to turn the page and develop a new relationship between our two countries.”
We want our diplomats to have more daily contact, he said, to the point of opening the two embassies.
“Thanks to Castro for the spirit of openness that he has demonstrated towards us.” We can continue to construct our relationship based on mutual respect, he said.
Castro spoke in his speech of the hardships that the Cubans have had to endure, my policy is to help them to be more prosperous, “the Cubans are an enlightened, intelligent and brilliant people,” he concluded.
Also attending the relaxed meeting were Susan Rice, National Security adviser; Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs; Ben Rhodes, deputy National Security adviser; and Ricardo Zúñiga, senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council. Representing Cuba were Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla; Alejandro Castro Espín and Juan Francisco Arias Fernández, both of the Commission for National Security and Defense; and MINREX Director General for the United States, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro.
Daughter of Che Repudiates Presence of his Murder in Panama
CUBA, Prensa Latina - April 11, 2015 - Aleida Guevara, daughter of Cuban-Argentinean revolutionary man Ernesto Che Guevara, considered today a shame the participation in the activities prior to the Summit of the Americas, in Panama, of Felix Rodriguez Mendigutia, involved in the assassination of her father.
He, who allowed that, went out of his mind, and she reiterated several timers the word shame to describe the presence of the former agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
According to the statements by Che's daughter to the Cuban television, Felix was a CIA instrument and was despicably willing to order the assassination.
She also called a provocation the presence of Rodriguez Mendigutia at the continental meeting, the first in history that Cuba attends.
But at the same time, it is a total discredit for them, before the public opinion (in reference to the former agent and other anti-Cuban mercenaries), because it is obvious that they are trying to cause problems and that the summit does not develop well, she remarked.
As daughter of the revolutionary man admired in the world said to feel satisfied with the rejection expressed by Cuban and people from other countries that are participating in the activities prior to the summit.
The representatives of the Caribbean island issued a statement to to denounce the participation of the terrorist in Panama and demand his expulsion of the Central American country.
Cuban Medical Brigade Departs for Chile
CUBA, April 10, 2015 (ACN). Cuban Public Health Minister Roberto Morales, member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, gave on Thursday in this capital a Cuban flag to the medical brigade that left for Chile to mitigate the effects of the disaster caused by heavy rain.
At Terminal Five of Havana's Jose Marti International Airport, the Minister gave the flag to Dr. Jorge Armando Delgado, who is part of this group of 15 health professionals of the Henry Reeve International Contingent –nine physicians, six specialists of Comprehensive General Medicine, and three epidemiologists, in addition to four infirmary and two hygiene and epidemiology graduates.
Dr. Carlos Perez, head of the brigade, a specialist of Internal Medicine with two internationalist missions, read the commitment of that brigade, which reads: "we'll fight new battles for life; once again we will represent revolutionary medicine and the Cuban health system, in the best way possible."
Cuba presents business opportunities in Panama Summit of the Americas
PANAMA, April 10, 2015 (ACN) - In the 2nd Business Summit of the Americas, which meets from last Wednesday at the Panamanian capital, Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, explained the new opportunities offered by the island in tune with its process of economic update.
Cuba will introduce, in the forum parallel to the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama, its current portfolio of projects aimed at encouraging foreign investment in key sectors to demonstrate how much it is being done for energizing its economic development.
In the 2nd Business Summit of the Americas, which meets from last Wednesday at the Panamanian capital, Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, explained the new opportunities offered by the island in tune with its process of economic update.
Malmierca, the only Cuban confirmed to intervene in that alternative forum, said the portfolio includes 246 projects, valued at 8.7 billion dollars, and is focused to develop 11 sectors of high priority for Cuba, with the participation of foreign capital.
The minister also highlighted the Mariel Special Development Zone, a megaproject destined to become the main gate to trade in Cuba with the world, which main attraction is a port terminal equipped with the latest technologies to store more than 800,000 20-feet containers per year.
These new experiences confirm the interest of Cuba to strengthen and expand its economic relations with various countries, especially those in Latin America and the Caribbean, in spite of the blockade imposed by the US government for more than half a century, said Malmierca to business leaders in the region present at the meeting.
On the policy of the White House, the Cuban minister said that despite the desire shown by many US business groups to establish and increase their links with the Caribbean nation, they are still limited by arbitrary measures such as the ban on Cuba to use the US dollar in its financial transactions abroad.
In that sense, Malmierca also mentioned the inability to export Cuban products to the United States and to use trade credits, and other regulations that hinder transportation, hamper trade and prohibit investment.
Despite these limitations, the island proudly displays today high standards of education, health indicators comparable only with first world countries , significant achievements in gender equality, broad advances in the field of environmental sustainability and the compliance of the Millennium Development Goals, the Cuban official stressed.
In addition, there has been cooperation links with more than 160 developing countries, mainly in education and health.
"These results that highlight Cuba's government commitment with its people and humanity have only been possible thanks to the work of the Revolution," Malmierca stated.
On the relations between Cuba and the United States, the representative of Cuba to the Panamanian forum said that, notwithstanding the statements made by President Barack Obama in favor of a restoration of bilateral ties, the blockade remains in place, and this is the main obstacle for the achievement of a bilateral exchange.
He reaffirmed that Cuba will continue to promote progress in regional integration and boosting the potentials that are untapped, from more efficient economic schemes in the context of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.
After closing, Malmierca and other members of the Cuban delegation to the 2nd Business Summit met behind closed doors with Americans and representatives of the Department of Commerce from that northern country accredited to the appointment.
Chancellor of Argentina qualifies as historical Cuban participation at the Summit of the Americas
April 11, 2015 - Argentina (Cubaminrex) - The participation of Cuba at the Summit of the Americas is a historic event, manifested Hector Timerman, Chancellor of Argentina, hour before the inauguration of this summit in Panama.
Timerman expressed that "the fact that Cuba is seated today at the Summit is result of the great debates", and to this respect, recalled last summit in Colombian city Cartagena during which "many nations warned that they would not attend if Cuba were not invited. Argentine is proud for having supported the presence of Cuba", expressed the Chancellor.