News on Cuba - December 9, 2013 Print

Cuban Five Express Sorrow for Mandela's Demise

Nelson MandelaWashington, Dec 7 (Prensa Latina) Ramón Labañino, one of the anti-terrorist Cuban fighters unfairly held in U.S. prisons for 15 years, expressed deep sorrow for the demise of South African ex-president Nelson Mandela, whom he described as a symbol of justice and optimism.

"He was and will always be a real example of freedom, peace and victory," Labañino wrote in a message released this weekend by the National Committee to Free the Five in the United States.

Labañino also sent condolences to Mandelaâ's family and friends and all of South Africa on behalf of his comrades and the entire Cuban people.

"His world stature as a leader, a symbol of justice and optimism, accompany us forever," said the message.

Labañino and his comrades Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez were arrested in the United States in 1998 and given unfairly harsh prison sentences for monitoring Miami-based terrorist groups operating against Cuba. They are internationally known as the Cuban Five.

Rene is now in Cuba after serving his prison sentence and an additional period of supervised release and giving up his US citizenship.

With his message, Labañino joins world leaders, international organizations, figures and social and political groups that lament the death of Mandela, who passed away yesterday at the age of 95 at his residence in Johannesburg.

Cuba, One of the Latin American Countries that Eradicated Hunger

Havana, Dec 8 (Prensa Latina) Cuba is one of eight countries in Latin America and the Caribbean who managed to eradicate hunger, said here the FAO representative in Cuba, Theodor Friedrich.

According to Granma newspaper of national circulation, Friedrich highlighted the support of the Cuban government and the political will to carry out programs to increase food production.

In the region there are still around 47 million Latin American and Caribbean hungry, according to FAO. Haiti, Guatemala and Paraguay are among the countries that have higher numbers of hungry.

The newspaper also reported that according to the Panorama of the Food and Nutrition Security of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the hunger in the region declined from 14.7 percent in 1990-1991 to 7.9 in 2011-2013.

The same happens with chronic child malnutrition (stunting among children under 5 years). Currently the regional indicator stands at 6.9 million children affected when there were 13.8 million children affected in 1990.

FAO also noted that these developments in the region respond to combination of economic growth, political commitment and decisive public action, supplemented by government policies aimed at changing the structures that generate exclusion and inequality.

World Twitter Action to Highlight Cuba’s Work on Human Rights

Havana, Dec 9 (Prensa Latina) Cybernauts of the world will express from today their solidarity with Cuba by highlighting the work of this country through messages in an international twitter account in the context of the celebration of the Human Rights Day.

According to Cubadebate website, the initiative, with the hash tag # DDHHCuba and # DerechosdeCuba, will take place from 14:00 local time (19:00 GMT) on Monday until 12:00 (17:00 GMT) next Wednesday.

”In the social network Twitter will be felt the solidarity with Cuba, a country with an undeniable work for the basic human rights of its citizens, despite the U.S. blockade against Cuba which is maintained for more than half a century, ¿ notes the publication.

According to CubaDebate, participants will share solidarity messages, photos, videos and multimedia to reveal the work of the revolutionary process begun in this Caribbean country in January 1959.

Cybernauts will also demand an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade against the Caribbean nation, and the release of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters imprisoned in U.S. jails since 1998.

Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández and René González were arrested in Miami for monitoring groups that organized and financed terrorist actions against Cuba.

From the internationally known as the Cuban Five, only Rene Gonzalez is on the island, after serving his sentence and renouncing the U.S. citizenship.

CubaDebate reminds that the Caribbean country is one of the few who met the Millennium Development Goals agreed by the United Nations, including eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equality.

The Human Development Report 2013 of that world organization states that Cuba ranks 59 among 187 countries in this indicator.

Chilean Solidarity Groups Renew Commitments with Cuba

Iquique, Chile, Dec 8 (Prensa Latina) The 21st national meting of the Chilean movement of solidarity with Cuba concluded in this city today with the renewed commitment of those groups to promote and defend the achievements of the Cuban Revolution.

In the final declaration, the organizations highlight the Cuban people's achievements in health and education, the same rights that today in Chile are of hard access by its population.

The declaration says that the commitment with the Cuban Revolution includes the unmasking of the pro-government and pro-imperialist media campaigns in Chile, the same press that is being investigated for the crime of having incited the September 11, 1973 coup d'etat against President Salvador Allende.

It is the press which permanently distorts and lie about the Revolution, said the declaration, calling to widely spread and promote the achievements of the Cuban Revolution in different sectors.

The Chilean groups of solidarity with Cuba expressed their determination to continue supporting the international campaign to demand the release of the Cuban antiterrorist fighters condemned to severe sentences at U.S. prisons.

One of the five Cuban anti terrorist fighters, Rene Gonzalez, already served his sentence in prison and retuned to Cuba, but Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, and Gerardo Hernandez, remain in jail for infiltrating organizations that plan terrorist actions against Cuba from the U.S. territory.

Raul Meets with Visiting Spanish Communist Leaders

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 7 (acn) Army General Raul Castro, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, received the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain, Jose Luis Centella, and the Federal Coordinator of Izquierda Unida, Cayo Lara, who are on a visit to the island at the invitation of the Cuban Communist Party.

During the meeting, held on Saturday, exchanges were held on various topics of national and international interest, while participants coincided in their willingness to continue strengthening the relations of friendship and cooperation that exist between the Cuban Communist party and the Communist Party of Spain and Izquierda Unida.

Also taking part in the meeting were Jose Manuel Mariscal, Senator and Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain in Andalusia, as well as Gloria Aguilar, Secretary for International Cooperation of the aforementioned Party. Cuba was also represented by Politburo member Bruno Rodriguez, Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Jose Ramon Balaguer, member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and head of its Department of International Relations.

Cuba Paid Tribute to Antonio Maceo at El Cacahual

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 7 (acn) Several generations of Cubans paid tribute on Saturday to General Antonio Maceo and his assistant Francisco (Panchito) Gomez Toro, who fell heroically in combat 117 years ago, at the mausoleum of El Cacahual, devoted to all martyrs of the homeland.

At the place where the mortal remains of this patriot rest in this capital, members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) and educational institutions, pioneer children, internationalists and combatants, swore to perpetuate the legacy of those who gave their lives for national sovereignty.

The military ceremony was presided over by Politburo members Mercedes Lopez Acea, Vice-president of the Council of State and first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party in Havana; and the Hero of the Republic of Cuba, First Deputy Minister of the FAR and Chief of Staff, Army Corps General Alvaro Lopez Miera.

Wreaths were placed by the tombs of Maceo and Panchito, heroes of the island’s 19th century pro-independence wars, and also of communist leader Blas Roca Calderio and the last mambi, Juan Fajardo Vega.

Visit to Cuba mayor of the city of Richmond

Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor of the City of Richmond, California, visited the offices of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), which was received by President Kenia Serrano and other directors of the institution.

On this visit to Cuba, the mayor deepens aspects of the Cuban reality and favors ties between the two peoples. Also learn about the health care system to the population.

Semester at Sea Cruise Ship Arrives in Havana

Havana, Dec 9 (Prensa Latina) The Semester at Sea cruise ship, an academic program sponsored by the University of Virginia, in the United States, arrived in here today, nine years after its last visit.

About 648 people arrived in the island, 568 of them are students from more than 200 universities in 42 states of the northern country, mostly Americans, but there are also students from other nations, such as Mexico and Canada.

University of Havana rector Gustavo Cobreiro and a delegation from the higher education center boarded the ship after docking in the harbor to welcome the visitors.

The objective of the stay here is that those students know this country's history and the scientific development reached, while exchange with Cuban students from different careers, Jose Manuel Febles, director of International Relations department at the university, told reporters.

During the stay in Cuba, the Semester at Sea students will also visit many universities in different provinces, and announced a meeting with the media for tomorrow.

Inaugural Flight Arrives in Varadero from Stockholm

VARADERO, Cuba, Dec 6 (acn) An inaugural charter flight of Novair Airlines, from Stockholm, arrived on Friday at the Juan Gualberto Gomez International Airport of this city, as a link in charge of the tour operator Apollo, one of the most important of the Scandinavian market.

Attracted by the recreational activities offered by the famous beach resort located at some 120 kilometers east of Havana, a total of 265 passengers arrived on this occasion from Sweden, Finland and Norway, in an weekly operation that will last until the end of March, 2014.

Sidsel Nottrup, destination manager of Apollo, the company that also promotes trips to Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, told ACN that for Scandinavian vacationers this is an opportunity to experience Cuban culture and history, in addition to nature.

President Raul Castro Heads Cuban Delegation to Funeral Services for Nelson Mandela

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 9 (acn) President Raul Castro is heading the Cuban delegation that will attend the funeral services for Nelson Mandela, who passed away last Thursday in Johannesburg.

The Cuban television announced on Sunday that the Cuban delegation is also made up of foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez and ambassador to Pretoria Carlos Fernandez de Cossio.

Over 50 heads of state and other world leaders are expected to attend the funeral service, which will take place in Johannesburg on December 10 and five days later Mandela will be buried in his hometown Qunu.

Raul Castro Holds Talks with President of the Regional Government of Galicia

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 9 (acn) Cuban President Raul Castro received in Havana on Saturday the President of the regional government of Galicia, Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, who is paying an official visit to the island.

After the talks, Nuñez Feijo told reporters that he considers the update of the Cuban economic model as an opportunity which Galicia is willing to take advantage of.

Making allusion to Galicians residing in Cuba, Feijoo said that there are 40 thousand reasons for Galicia to open to Cuba and that he has noticed that Cuba is also opened to Galicia.

He said that he is very interested and willing to jointly work with Cubans in economic projects.

Nuñez Feijoo met on Saturday with the Archbishop of Eastern Santiago de Cuba City and president of the local Episcopal Conference.

The Galician government official previously met with Cuban First Vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel and with the ministers of Foreign Relations Bruno Rodriguez and Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca.

President Raul Castro also received a delegation headed by the leaders of Spain´s United Left Party, Cayo Lara Mora, and the Communist Party, Jose Luis Centella Gomez.

Puerto Rican Delegation to World Youth Festival Condemns Imperialism

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 9 (acn) The Puerto Rican delegation to the World Festival of Youths and Students, underway in Ecuador issued a communiqué condemning imperialism.

We will fight against the privatization, neo-liberalism, oppression and exploitation inherent to the capitalist system and we support participatory democracy and social justice, which are so necessary for the liberation of human beings,” the communiqué reads.

The Puerto Rican delegation expresses its support of all nations currently fighting colonial rule, Palestine, the Saharawi people, the native people of the Americas and Argentine’s claim over the Malvinas islands.

“We condemn all US acts of aggression and espionage carried out from our own territory against sister nations, particularly Latin American countries,” the delegation stresses.

The delegation of youths also demand the release of Puerto Rican political prisoners Oscar Lopez Rivera and Norberto Gonzalez Claudio and of the four Cuban antiterrorist fighters also held in US prisons.

They also request compensation by the US navy for its criminal acts in the island of Vieques and the main island of Puerto Rico and demanded the respect for social rights of human beings.

And the communiqué also expresses gratefulness to Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Latin American and World nations for their support of the decolonization and independence claim of Puerto Rico.

The communiqué was signed by the Pro-Independence University Federation, the Socialist Front, the Hostosiana Youths and the National Independence Hostosiano Movement, the Socialist Youths Union and the Socialist Workers’ Movement.

Cuba Announces Reestablishment of Consular Services in the US till February

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 9 (acn) The Cuban Interests Section in Washington announced the reestablishment of consular services till February 17.

According to an announcement published on Granma newspaper, on December 6, the M and T Bank informed the Interests Section of its decision to extend till March 1, 2014 the deadline of the definitive closing of the banking account of the Cuban office, explaining that the deposits for consular services will still be received until February 17, 2014.

The Cuban Interests Section continues to look for a new bank that takes its banking operations to definitively normalize its consular services. The office regrets any inconveniences brougth about by the suspension of consular services on November 26, 2013 either for Cuban or US citizens, the announcement reads.