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News on Cuba - March 25, 2015 PDF Print E-mail

A Total of 28 Ministers Confirm Presence in Havana’s International Health Convention

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 24 (acn) Cuba’s Deputy Health Minister, Doctor Marcia Cobas, announced that 28 ministers have already confirmed their attendance to the International Health Convention that will be held in this capital on April 20-24.

Over 600 papers by foreign delegates have been received and a dozen of the world’s most prestigious medical sciences publishing houses will be present, among them three of the United States, specified the Deputy Minister.

The 13th edition of the Health for All Commercial Fair will be held parallel to this meeting, at Havana’s Pabexpo Pavilion, in which 25 nations will be represented, including Cuba, and will contribute to boost negotiations and the commercialization of the island’s medical services, emphasized Cobas.

From now on, the Fair –the last edition of which took place 10 years ago - will take place every two and a half years, she added.

In statements to ACN, Doctor Iliana Morales, executive secretary of Cuba/Salud 2015 recalled that in 2005 Health for All was attended by a high number of international entrepreneurs and that on this occasion there will also be keynote lectures, round tables and business rounds.

The Convention will welcome over 1,000 delegates from all parts of the world, more than 400 of them Cubans, while over 100 personalities have confirmed their participation, concluded Doctor Morales.


City Historian Eusebio Leal Receives Acknowledgement of the Dominican Senate

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 24 (acn) Havana City Historian Eusebio Leal received on Tuesday an acknowledgement given by the Senate of the Dominican Republic, for his willingness, sacrifice and commitment to the preservation of Cuba’s historic heritage, the Prensa Latina news agency reported.

The ceremony was scheduled for the Juan Pablo Duarte Multipurpose Hall of the National Congress Palace in Santo Domingo, where Leal gave a lecture entitled "Historic relation between Cuba and the Dominican Republic.”

Later, he was invested with the Honoris Causa Doctorate by the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, where he also gave a lecture for professors and students.

The Cuban historian was received on Tuesday by Dominican President Danilo Medina at the National Palace, and on Wednesday he will take part in the ceremony to mark the 120th anniversary of the Manifesto of Montecristi.


Cuban Medical Professionals Return from Africa

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 23 (acn) Following a successful mission against Ebola in Africa, 150 Cuban medical professionals returned home, 98 of them worked in Sierra Leone and 52 in Liberia.

The medical brigade arrived at early hours Monday at the Juan Gualberto Gomez international airport in Varadero, western Matanzas province, after a nearly five-month mission that contributed to save over 400 lives threatened by the Ebola virus in Africa.

They are part of the Henry Reeve International Contingent, which groups 256 medical workers, who traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea following the call by the United Nations and the World Health Organization to fight the lethal disease in those African nations.

Following their arrival here, the medical personnel will be submitted to an epidemiological control established for all persons coming from countries affected by the Ebola virus.


Cuba and the EU to Continue Holding Constructive Talks

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 24 (acn) Cuba renewed on Tuesday in this capital its constructive commitment to the process of negotiation for an ongoing agreement of a political dialogue and bilateral cooperation with the European Union (EU).

Bruno Rodriguez, member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed at his Ministry that the process will have positive results, while receiving Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU, and Vice-president of the European Commission.

I’m conviced that bases agreed for relations between the EU and Cuba and for these negotiations, of sovereign equality, mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs, will lead us to a beneficial end, said Rodriguez.

He expressed his appreciation for the vote of the member states of that community at the U.N. General Assembly in October, against the economic, financial and commercial blockade of the United States against Cuba.

Federica Mogherini is on her first official visit to Cuba and coincided with Rodriguez in the need to continue political and cooperation talks.

My presence in Havana responds to the willingness the two parties have to continue holding these talks, she pointed out, and suggested the possibility of exploring the signing of other agreements.

Cuba has diplomatic relations with the EU since 1988 and its bilateral relations began a new stage in April, 2014, with the opening of the process of negotiations o fan Agreement of Political Dialogue and Cooperation between the two parties, which represented the beginning of the ed of unilateral policies towards the island.


Cuba and UNESCO to Deepen Diplomatic and Cooperation Links

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 24 (acn) Cuba and the UN Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) reiterated in Paris their willingness to keep strengthening diplomatic and cooperation relations.

The statement was made during a meeting between UNESCO´s director general Irina Bokova and Cuban ambassador to that organization Dulce Maria Buergo, who presented her credentials before the UN official.

The meeting focused on major issues on the UNESCO agenda, including development post 2015, in which the island has played a major role in boosting and defending education, science and culture as part of that effort, according to the permanent Cuban mission.

Cuba has been an UNESCO member state since August 29, 1947. This year, the island has joined commemorations for the 70th anniversary of the UN organization with a large agenda of activities.

 

 
News on Cuba - March 20, 2015 PDF Print E-mail

Raul Castro Reaffirms Full Support of Venezuela in the Face of US Interference
 
Caracas, March 18 (acn)  Cuban President Raul Castro said that the arbitrary, aggressive and groundless executive order issued by US President Barack Obama against the government of Venezuela, which declared the South American country a threat to US national security, reveals that the United States is capable of sacrificing peace and the course of hemispheric relations in the interest of domination and its domestic policy.
 
The Cuban President addressed the extraordinary summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas, a regional integration bloc known as ALBA, held in Caracas on Tuesday.
 
Raul described as unsustainable the idea that a supportive country like Venezuela, which has never invaded or attacked any other nation and that substantially contributes with altruism to the energy security and economic stability of a considerable number of nations of this continent, may represent a threat to the security of the strongest power in history.
 
“We back the honorable, brave and constructive position of president Nicolas Maduro, who despite the serious threat, has extended his hand to the president of the United States to open a dialog based on international law and mutual respect that leads to the unconditional repeal of that executive order and to the normalization of relations,” Raul noted.
 
Venezuela is not alone and our region is not the same as 20 years ago, said the Cuban president who added that “we will not tolerate the violation of sovereignty or the damage of peace with impunity in the region.” He stressed that the threats against peace and stability in Venezuela represent a threat against regional stability and peace.
 
Raul Castro noted that the United States should understand once and for all that it is impossible to seduce or buy Cuba or to intimidate Venezuela. “Our unity is indestructible,” he pointed out.
 
He said that “we will not yield a bit in the defense of sovereignty and independence nor we tolerate any kind of interference, or conditioning in our internal affairs.”
 
The Cuban head of state also said “we will never leave our brothers in struggle on their own.”
 
Finally, Raul Castro said that the principles are not negotiable and in order to defend such conviction, Cuba will go to the 7th Summit of the Americas  in April to expose its position with firmness, clarity and respect. In that meeting, we will strongly reject all attempts to isolate or threaten Venezuela and we will demand the definitive cease of the US blockade of Cuba.

 

Cuba´s First Vice-president Attends Inauguration of Namibian President

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 20 (acn) Cuba´s first vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel is in Namibia to attend the swearing-in ceremony for president-elect Hage Geingob and to participate at celebrations for the 25th anniversary of that country´s national independence.
 
According to Granma newspaper, Diaz-Canel will meet in the capital Windhoek with top government Namibian officials and with the country´s founding father Sam Nujoma. He will also visit places of historic interest.
 
The Cuban official arrived Thursday afternoon in Namibia and first on his agenda was a visit to Cuban workers who are offering their services in that sister African nation. On the occasion, Diaz-Canel stressed the internationalism, altruism and humanistic vocation as values that must always be defended.
 
In briefing the workers about the events underway in Cuba he pointed to two scenarios: the economy and the ideological work.
 
He said that Cubans celebrate Namibia´s independence as we recall all we did together, in reference to the contribution by Cuban combatants to the liberation of Angola, Namibia and South Africa.
 
Diaz-Canel also stressed the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of relations between Namibia and Cuba shortly after the African nation go its independence on March 21st, 1990. That same year, he said, Cuba began assisting Namibia in the field of health in tune with a request made by then president Sam Nujoma.
 
At present, a total of 139 Cuban health workers are offering assistance in 13 out of 14 Namibian regions.
 
Diaz-Canel, who will depart Windhoek on Monday for India, is heading a delegation that includes the general director of bilateral affairs at Cuba´s Foreign Ministry, Gerardo Penalver, and the director for Sub-Saharan Africa at the Ministry Angel Villa.

 

WHO to Evaluate Cuban Syphilis and HIV Transmission Levels
 
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 20 (acn) Experts with the World Health Organization (WHO) will arrive March 22 in Havana to consider the certification of Cuba as the first country in the world to have wiped out the transmission of Syphilis and HIV via mother to child.
 
The announcement was made by first deputy Health minister Doctor Jose Angel Portal during a meeting with the press in Havana also attended by Health minister Roberto Morales and other officials.
 
The WHO representatives will visit doctor´s offices in neighborhoods in Havana, central Villa Clara and eastern Santiago de Cuba provinces, where they will evaluate the results of the Cuban Prevention Program for Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
 
The deputy minister said Cuba is in conditions to be certified by the world organization given its notable results in the area.
 
The certification of a country for having eliminated the mother-to-child transmission of congenital syphilis must include indicators such as a vertical transmission rate equal or below 0.5 in every 1 thousand live birds, and for HIV the rate must be equal or below 2 percent, said Doctor Rosaida Ochoa, director of the Promotion of Health and Disease Prevention Unit.

 

Namibian Street Named after Fidel Castro
 
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 20 (acn) In the heart of downtown Windhoek, capital of Namibia, a street flanked by main commercial offices and businesses bears the name of Fidel Castro, in honor to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution.
 
This we learned from a PL news reporter Daisy Francis, who described the street as peculiar in its design, starting right at the entrance of Parliament and stretching one kilometer downwards to meet other important metropolitan avenues.
 
The fact that it was named after a live world figure is part of African culture, which not only names landmarks after diseased personalities as it usually happens in Latin America for instance. This way, you can also find in Windhoek the streets named after Namibia´s founding father, Sam Nujoma and independence Namibian leader Herman Andimba. However, it is Fidel Castro the only name of Latin American figure naming one of the city´s streets.
 
In Pretoria, when Nelson Mandela was still alive, there was a main avenue near the University of South Africa that had been named after him. The name of first black South African President is also present on a Windhoek street, as well as that of the leader of the People´s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, Agostinho Neto.
 
Other streets paying homage to Namibian and African figures are Hendrik Witbooi, a warrior that headed the Witbooi clan and who was killed in action in 1905 and Mandume Ya Ndemufayo, an anti-colonialist leader murdered in 1917 who defeated the Portuguese invaders in October 1916.
 
It is Windhoek, a city to be visited by Cuban First Vice-President Miguel Diaz-Canel as his last leg of an African tour that has taken him to South Africa and Angola this week.
 
It is Windhoek that has preserved a touch of African, Nambian and world history right on the corners of its street, like an honor to the legacy of the great leaders of contemporary history.

 

Cuban Youth Contributes Experience to Panama Civil Society Forum
 
HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 20 (acn) Members of Cuban student organizations and youth movements are gathering in Havana to contribute, from their experience and reality, ideas and proposals to the Civil Society Forum that will take place in Panama April 8-10, during the 7th Summit of the Americas.
 
The forum, entitled The Youth and The Americas includes four panels addressing issues like citizen´s participation and governance, the environment and energy, education and health, and urban security.
 
The forum is being hosted by the University of Havana, the Higher Education Institute of Science and Technology and the Cuba Pavilion cultural exhibit hall. Also scheduled till April 1 is an on-line forum on the Soy Cuba website, to allow for larger participation by the Cuban youths.
 
This initiative, which was preceded by a similar forum with representatives of Cuban society earlier this week, will also include book launchings, performances by young artists, audiovisuals and different arts exhibits.

 

 
News on Cuba - March 19, 2015 PDF Print E-mail

We must call upon all the peoples and governments of Our America to mobilize and be alert in defense of Venezuela

Photo: Estudio RevoluciónSpeech 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 BolivarianRepublic of Venezuela, March 17, 2015

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

(Council of State transcript)

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:
 
Photo: Estudio Revolución

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 can not 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)


Fidel sends message to President Nicolás Maduro

The historic leader of the Cuban Revolution emphasizes the heroic attitude assumed by the Venezuelan people, as well as the exemplary discipline and spirit of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces in the face of U.S. sanctions

Honorable President of the BolivarianRepublic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro:

As the press has reported, tomorrow Tuesday March 17, an Alba Summit will take place in Caracas to analyze the outrageous policy of the United States government toward Venezuela and Alba.

The idea of creating this organization came from Chávez himself, wanting to share with his Caribbean brothers and sisters the enormous economic resources with which nature had blessed his native homeland, the benefits of which had however landed in the hands of powerful U.S. corporations, and a few Venezuelan millionaires.

Corruption and squandering were the fundamental motivations of the first oligarchy with fascist tendencies, addicted to violence and crime. The violence and crime committed against the heroic Venezuelan people was so intolerable that it can never be forgotten, and a return will never be allowed to the shameful past of the pre-revolutionary era which led to attacks on commercial centers and the murder of thousands of people, the number of which no one can today confirm.

Simón Bolívar devoted himself entirely to liberating the continent. More than half of the best of his people struggled and died over long years of uninterrupted fighting. With less than 1% of the world’s surface area, Venezuela possesses the world’s greatest oil reserves. For a full century, the country was obliged to produce all the fuel which European powers and the United States needed. Even when today, the hydrocarbons produced over millions of years could be consumed in no more than a century, and human beings, who today number 7.2 billion, will double within 100 more years, and in 200 will reach 21 billion. Only the marvels of the most advanced technology may perhaps allow the survival of the human species for a little more time.

Why are the fabulous means of communication not used to inform and educate about these realities, instead of promoting trickery, which every one in their right mind should recognize?

An Alba Summit cannot be held without taking into account these realities which are so close to us.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has stated in a very precise manner that it has always been disposed to talk with the United States, in a peaceful and civilized fashion, but will never tolerate threats or impositions on the part of this country.

I add that I have been able to observe the attitude, not only of the people of Bolivar and Chávez, but also a special circumstance: the exemplary discipline and spirit of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces. Whatever U.S. imperialism may do, it will never be able to count on them to do what they did for so many years. Today Venezuela can count on the best equipped soldiers and officers in Latin America.

When you met with officers recently, it was evident that they were ready to give their last drop of blood for the homeland. 

A fraternal embrace for all Venezuelans, the peoples of Alba, and for you.
 
Fidel Castro Ruz
March 16, 2015


 

 
Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz at CELAC Summit in Costa Rica, Jan. 28, 2015 PDF Print E-mail

President Raul Castro RuzBy President Raul Castro Ruz

Esteemed President Luis Guillermo Solís;

Esteemed Heads of State or Government of Latin America and the Caribbean;

Esteemed Heads of delegations and guests;

Ever since the inception of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Our America has entered a new stage and advanced toward independence; sovereignty over our natural resources; integration and construction of a new world order; and, social justice and democracy of the people, by the people and for the people. There is a stronger commitment to justice and the rights of the peoples today than in any other historical period.

Together, we make up the third world economy, the area with the second largest oil reserve, and the region with greater biodiversity on the planet with a remarkable concentration of the global mineral resources.

The development of unity in diversity, and of concerted action and respect for our differences shall be our primary purpose and inescapable necessity because the world problems tend to aggravate, and great dangers and robust challenges persist that transcend the national and even the sub-regional potential.

In the past decade, economic and social policies and sustained growth have enabled our countries to face the economic global crisis and facilitated a reduction of poverty, unemployment and unequal income distribution.

The deep political and social transformations carried out in various countries of the region have brought dignity to millions of families, which have left poverty behind.

But the Latin American and Caribbean region is still the one showing the greatest disparities. As an average, 20 percent of the lowest income households receive only 5 percent of the total revenues; 167 million people still endure poverty; one in five children under 15 lives in abject poverty; and, the number of illiterates exceeds 35 million.

Half of the youths in our countries fail to complete secondary education or finish their ninth grade, but in the lowest income segment that figure exceeds 78 percent. Actually, two thirds of the new generation do not make it to the university.

Meanwhile the increasing number of victims of organized crime and violence endanger the stability and progress of our nations.

What do the tens of millions of marginalized people think about democracy and human rights? How do they feel about political models? What do they think of election laws? Is this the civil society that international governments and organizations take into account? What would they say if asked about the economic and monetary policies?

There is little that many industrial nations can show our region in such areas since half their youths are unemployed, and the weight of the crisis falls on the workers and students they suppress. On the other hand, they protect bankers, prevent the organization of trade unions, pay women lower salaries for equal work and apply inhumane policies against immigrants. Meanwhile, racism, xenophobia, violent extremism and neo-fascist tendencies gain ground, and the people do not vote because they see no alternative to corruption in politics or because they know that election-time promises are soon forgotten.

In order to achieve social inclusion and environmental sustainability, we must come up with our own vision of the economic systems, production and consumption patterns, the relation between economic growth and development, and the efficacy of political models.

We should go beyond structural gaps, ensure a free and high-quality education, provide free and universal healthcare coverage, social security and similar opportunities to all, and the full exercise of all human rights by every person.

In the framework of such endeavors it shall be our primary duty to embrace solidarity with and advocate the interests of the Caribbean, particularly, of Haiti.

A new economic, financial and monetary international order is required where the interests and necessities of the South nations are not only included and given a priority, but also where those imposing neoliberalism and the concentration of capital cannot prevail.

The post-2015 Development Agenda should offer solutions to the structural problems of the regional economies and produce the changes conducive to a sustainable development.

Likewise, it is indispensable to build a world of peace, without which development is not possible, a world guided by the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and International Law.

The signing by the heads of State or Government of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Peace Zone marked a historic step, and now provides a point of reference for our States’ relations with the rest of the world.

Solidarity will be of paramount importance in Our America to advance our common interests.

We want to express our strong condemnation of the unjustified and unacceptable unilateral sanctions imposed on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and of the continuous foreign interference intended to create a climate of instability in that sister nation. Cuba, who profoundly knows all these stories because it has endured them during more than 50 years, reaffirms its strongest support to the Bolivarian Revolution and the legitimate government headed by President Nicolás Maduro Moros.

We join the Republic of Argentina in its demand over the Malvinas [Falkland], the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and the surrounding maritime space. We support the South American nation and its President Cristina Fernandez who is facing the attacks of speculative funds and the rulings of venal courts that impinge on the sovereignty of that country.

We reiterate our solidarity with the people and government of Ecuador, and the demands of President Rafael Correa for reparations on account of the environmental damages caused by the transnational company Chevron in the Ecuadorian Amazonia.

As we have previously said, the Community will be incomplete while Puerto Rico is not a member. The colonial situation of that country is inadmissible, and its Latin American and Caribbean nature are beyond dispute.

Concerning the peace process in Colombia, significant agreements have been reached by the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces-Peoples’ Army of that nation at the negotiating table in Havana. Never before so much progress had been made toward peace. Cuba, as one of the guarantors and the venue of such negotiations, shall continue offering the necessary facilities and contributing as much as possible to end the conflict and build a just and lasting peace in that fraternal nation.

We will provide our resolute support, as we have until now, to the fair claim of the Caribbean nations to receive reparations for the damages caused by slavery and colonialism. And, we shall definitely oppose the decision to deprive these countries of indispensable financial resources under the technocratic pretext of considering them middle-income economies.

We welcome the excellent progress made at the CELAC-China Forum and the region’s relations with the BRICS group.

We reaffirm our concern for the huge and growing military expenses imposed on the world by the United States and NATO, as well as for the intent to expand the latter’s aggressive presence up to the borders of Russia, a country we are bound to by historical, fraternal and mutually advantageous relations. We state our vigorous opposition to the unilateral and unjust sanctions imposed on that nation.

The increasing aggressiveness of NATO’s military doctrine and the development of unconventional wars, with their devastating effects and grave consequences, constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

As to Cuba, the principles of sovereign equality among States and self-determination of the peoples cannot be waived.

The United Nations General Assembly should exercise its power to preserve international peace and security in the face of the Security Council double-standards, excesses and omissions. It should wait no more to secure the full membership of Palestine, whose people count with the solidarity of the Cuban people and government. The Security Council veto providing impunity to Israel’s crimes must cease.

Africa, where our peoples have their roots, needs no advice or interference but the transference of financial resources, technology and a fair deal. We shall always defend the legitimate rights of those nations alongside which we fought colonialism and apartheid, and with which we have today fraternal relations and cooperation. We shall never forget their unshakeable solidarity and support.

Cuba will restlessly advocate the just causes and the interests of the South countries, and will be loyal to their common objectives and positions knowing that Humanity is Homeland. The foreign policy of the Revolution will always be faithful to its principles.

Dear friends and colleagues:

Last December 17th, we welcomed to our homeland the Cuban counterterrorist fighters Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero, who alongside Fernando González and René González are to us a source of pride and an example of determination.

The President of the United States admitted the failure of the policy implemented against Cuba for more than fifty years, and the complete isolation it brought to his country as well as the impact of the blockade on our people. Additionally, he ordered the review of the obviously unjustifiable designation of the Island in the List of States Sponsors of International Terrorism.

That same day, he announced the decision to re-establish U.S. diplomatic relations with our government.

These changes are the result of nearly a century-and-a-half of heroic struggle and fidelity to its principles by the Cuban people. It has also been possible thanks to the new era we are living in our region, and the sound and brave demand of the governments and peoples of CELAC.

This has come as a vindication to Our America, which has together defended this objective at the United Nations Organization and in every other forum.

The debates that took place in the Summit of the Americas held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in 2009, against the background of the ALBA Summit held in Cumaná, Venezuela, led recently elected President Barack Obama to speak of a new beginning with Cuba.

In 2012 Cartagena, Colombia, provided context to a strong discussion and a unanimous and resounding stance against the blockade, occasion that compelled an important United States official to call it as the great failure of Cartagena or disaster –this is the exact term-, and against Cuba’s exclusion from such events. In protest, Ecuador had decided not to attend while Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia, with the support of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, stated that they would not attend another summit in the absence of Cuba. The Caribbean Community adopted a similar position, and so did Mexico and the other nations present at the meeting. Likewise, before his inauguration, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced his decision to invite Cuba, on equal footing and with full rights, to the 7th Summit of the Americas, and he has acted on that statement. Cuba immediately responded that it would be there.

Martí’s assertion that “a just principle from the depth of a cave is more powerful than an army” has been proven right.

To everyone here I convey Cuba’s deepest appreciation.

To the 188 States that vote against the blockade at the United Nations, to those that raise a similar demand in the General Assembly and International summits and conferences, and to all the popular movements, political forces, parliaments and personalities who labored restlessly to that end I express the sincere gratitude of our nation.

To the American people that recently manifested its growing opposition to the policy of blockade and hostility lasting more than five decades, I also reiterate our appreciation and friendly feelings.

These results prove that governments with profound differences can find solutions to problems, through a respectful dialogue and exchanges based on sovereign equality and reciprocity to the benefit of their respective nations.

As I have repeatedly affirmed, both Cuba and the United States should learn the art of civilized coexistence based on respect for differences between our governments, and on cooperation in areas of common interest that may contribute to tackling the challenges facing the hemisphere and the world.

However, no one should expect that to achieve that Cuba would renounce its ideals of independence and social justice or abandon any of our principles, or give in an inch in the defense of our national sovereignty.

We shall not yield to provocations but neither shall we accept any indication of advices or pressures in matters concerning our internal affairs. We have made great sacrifices and taken major risks to earn that sovereign right.

Can diplomatic relations be re-established before financial services cut off as a result of the financial blockade are restored to the Cuban Interests Section and its Consular Offices in Washington? How can the re-establishment of diplomatic relations be explained without rescinding Cuba from the List of States Sponsors of International Terrorism? What will the behavior of the U.S. diplomats in Havana be from now on concerning the observance of the standards set by the International Conventions for Diplomatic and Consular Relations? This is what our delegation said to the State Department during last week discussions, and more meetings will be necessary to deal with these issues.

We have shared with the President of the United States our disposition to move forward to the normalization of bilateral relations, once the diplomatic relations have been re-established. This involves the mutual adoption of measures to improve the climate between the two countries, the resolution of other pending issues, and advances in cooperation.

The current situation opens up a modest opportunity for the hemisphere to find new and better forms of cooperation that can benefit the two Americas. This would help in the solution of pressing problems and the opening of new avenues.

The text of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Peace Zone becomes an indispensable platform to that end, including the recognition that every State has the inalienable right to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system without interference from any other State, an unwavering principle of International Law.

The main issue still stands unresolved. The economic, commercial and financial blockade causing enormous human and economic damages to our country constitutes a violation of International Law, and must cease.

I remember a memorandum of April 1960 from Assistant Secretary Mallory where he said that in the absence of an effective political opposition in Cuba, a situation of hunger, suffering and despair should be created to bring about the ousting of the revolutionary government. Now, the objective seems to be fostering an artificial political opposition by economic, political and communication means.

The re-establishment of diplomatic relations is the beginning of a process toward the normalization of bilateral relations, but this will not be possible while the blockade remains in effect; the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base is not returned; the radio and television broadcasts breaching international rules and regulations do not cease; and, adequate compensation is not paid to our people for the human and economic damages sustained.

It would not be ethical, fair or acceptable to ask Cuba anything in exchange. If these issues are not resolved, a diplomatic rapprochement between Cuba and the United States would not make sense.

It can neither be expected of Cuba to negotiate the above-mentioned absolutely sovereign issues related to its internal affairs.

It was possible to advance in the recent negotiations because we treated each other with respect, and as equals. Future progress demands that this remains so.

We have followed with interest the announcement made by the President of the United States of some executive decisions aimed at modifying certain aspects concerning the implementation of the blockade.

The measures made public so far are very limited. The prohibition stands with regards to credits and the use of the dollar in our international financial transactions; the individual travels of Americans with license for so-called people-to-people exchanges are prevented and conditioned to subversive purposes; and maritime travels are also forbidden. Another standing prohibition, among many others, restricts the acquisition in third markets of equipment or technology with more than 10 percent of American input as well as the U.S. importation of goods containing Cuban raw materials.

President Barack Obama could use with determination his extensive executive powers to substantially modify the implementation of the blockade. This is something he can do even without Congressional approval.

He could allow other sectors of the economy to do what he has authorized in the field of telecommunications with the clear objective of exercising political influence in Cuba.

His decision to promote a debate with Congress towards the removal of the blockade is significant.

On the other hand, the spokespersons of the U.S. government have clearly stated that the methods are changing but not the objectives of their policy, and insisted in actions that interfere with our internal affairs, something we will not accept. The American counterparts should not pretend to relate with the Cuban society as if a sovereign government did not exist in the Island.

No one would even dream that the new policy announced accepts the existence of a Socialist Revolution 90 miles away from Florida.

There is the wish that the so-called civil society is present at the Summit of the Americas in Panama; that is a wish that Cuba has always shared. We protest what happened at the World Trade Organization Conference in Seattle, at the Summits of the Americas in Miami and Quebec, at the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen or at the G-7 and IMF meetings, where the civil society was confined tens of miles away from the venues, and kept behind steel fences and under brutal police repression.

Of course, the Cuban civil society will attend, and I hope there will be no restrictions against our country’s non-governmental organizations, which are not interested in any status at the OAS but are definitely recognized by the United Nations.

I hope to see in Panama the popular movements and NGOs that advocate nuclear disarmament and environmental protection; those that oppose neoliberalism; the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Indignant of this region; the university and secondary school students; the peasants, trade unions, original peoples, and organizations that oppose shale contamination; the advocates of immigrants’ rights; those who denounce torture and extrajudicial executions, police brutality and racist practices; that demand equal pay for women for equal work; and those advocating reparation for damages from transnational companies.

The announcements of last December 17th have elicited world recognition and extensive support for President Obama in his own country, however, certain forces in the United States will try to derail this process that is just beginning. They are also the enemies of a U.S. fair relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean, the same that jeopardize the bilateral relations of many countries from our region with that nation. They are always blackmailing and exercising pressure.

We are aware that the path to the removal of the blockade will be long and difficult and will require the support, mobilization and resolute action of every person of goodwill in the United States and the world; the approval by the UN General Assembly in its next session of the resolution demanding the end of the blockade; and, especially, the concerted action of Our America.

Esteemed Heads of State or Government;

Dear friends;

We congratulate Costa Rica and President Solís and his government for the leadership of CELAC. We welcome the presidency of Ecuador and will fully support President Correa as the leader of the Community through 2015.

Thank you, very much.

 
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News on Cuba - February 26, 2015 PDF Print E-mail

Cuban Delegation Arrives in Washington for Second Round of Talks
 
HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 26 (acn) A Cuban delegation, headed by Josefina Vidal, Director of the United States Division of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, arrived in Washington for the second round of talks between Cuba and the US.
 
According to Granma newspaper, this round will give continuity to the conversations started in January this year in Havana, on the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in the respective capitals.
 
Vidal, along the other members of the delegation will carry out an intensive working agenda during their stay in the US capital.


Cuba Awaits U.S. Response to Issues of First Round

Havana, Cuba, Feb 25 (Prensa Latina) Cuba awaits response from the U.S. to its exclusion from the List of Promoters of Terrorism and to the banking problem of its mission in Washington, asserted here today Cuban diplomat Gustavo Machin.

Deputy Director General of the United States in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, assured in a press conference today that his country awaits for answers to those issues at the second round of talks between delegations of Havana and Washington, scheduled to begin in the U.S. capital next Friday.

The Cuban delegation will attend the talks with the State Department on the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies on both parts with a constructive spirit to continue the dialogue begun in Havana last January, sustained Machin.

The Cuban part, he said, relies on receiving answers to the issues presented at the first round of the talks, which Cuba considers important for the creation of an adequate context to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies of both countries.

He indicated those topics are the exclusion of Cuba from the List of Countries Sponsors of International Terrorism and the solution to the banking problem faced by our mission in Washington for more than a year.

The Cuban delegation will insist, as it did during the first round, in the observance of principles of international law and the obligations derived from the Vienna conventions on Diplomatic Relations and Consular Relations among States, he stressed.

In particular, he indicated, what refers to diplomatic personnel behaviour of respect to national laws and to non intervention in domestic affairs of the States.

We are going to make the U.S. delegation aware of the importance of starting this new stage of bilateral relations on solid bases and respect, he reiterated.

Machin highlighted the United States accepted the Cuban delegation’s proposal of July, 2014 and reiterated last January, of sustaining a dialogue on human rights.

"We were satisfied because the State Department accepted our proposal of having this dialog on human rights and the delegation travelling to Washington carries a proposal to carry out this bilateral dialog on bases of equality and respect," he affirmed.

Last December 17, the presidents of Cuba, Raul Castro and of the United States, Barack Obama revealed their decision of taking steps toward the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.

To that end, on January 22, delegations of Cuba and the United States had their first round of talks at the Havana Convention Centre.


 

 
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