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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.


Jose Marti Celebration Helps fight against Ebola PDF Print E-mail


This year’s annual José Martí Dinner and Dance included a special raffle with proceeds going to the Canadian Network on Cuba’s (CNC’s) campaign to support Cuban medial workers in West Africa helping victims of the Ebola epidemic. Donated prizes included a set of Cuban Baseball cards, a baseball cap made of repurposed Cuban Cristal Beer cans, a painting of José Martí, a CD of the all women Cuban band Maquque, and a novel about Cuba, Anita’s Revolution by Shirley Langer. About $150 was raised on the raffle. The winner of the baseball cap said that it was for her granddaughter whose name was “Cristal”!

The delicious dinner, prepared by volunteers was followed with a desert of creamy, yummy Cuban Flan. The diner’s spirits were nourished as well with greetings from Cuban Consul, Javier Dómokos Ruiz talking about the release of the Cuban Five and the struggles ahead. Julio Fonseca, President of the Juan Gualberto Goméz Association of Cubans living in Toronto brought greetings and support to the work of the CCFA Toronto. Elizabeth Hill, CCFA President, talked of the tradition of celebrating José Martí’s birth date, and the work of the CCFA Toronto. Liz described how it was she who had made eleven flans in just two days and how she had to place them in the snow on her back porch to cool (luckily, the neighbourhood racoons didn’t get to the flans first).

As always, Pablo Terry and Sol de Cuba brought participants to the dance floor with the lively, beautiful Cuban music.

Master of Ceremonies, Juan Carranza delightfully guided everyone through the evening with his humour and deep commitment and understanding of solidarity with Cuba.

The CCFA Toronto thanks all of the volunteers who helped in solidarity in every capacity — from preparing the congri, to making the coleslaw, to tending the bar, to serving food and helping with the final big cleanup including washing piles and piles of dishes. Working together helps to bring people closer and build community in the true Cuban spirit!



Book by Gerardo Hernandez, one of The Five, Presented in Havana PDF Print E-mail

Humor from my PenHAVANA, Cuba, Feb (acn) The book entitled “Drawings by Gerardo Hernandez: Humor from my Pen,” which includes drawings and documents related to the case of the five Cuban antiterrorist heroes unfairly condemned in the United States in 2001, was presented on Monday in this capital.

It’s a compilation of caricatures I made while I was in prison, on Fidel (Castro) and various topics, as forms of expression, said Gerardo at the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) during the ceremony where the book was presented by Manuel Lopez, coordinator of the Committee for the Freedom of The Five in Ukraine, the organization that prepared the printing.

Also included in the book, in addition to the  caricatures, was an explanation on the case of the antiterrorists, the Affidavit presented at the court by Gerardo’s lawyer, Martin Garbus, and pictures of friends of international solidarity who visited him imprison, he explained.

The epilogue was written by Gilbert Browstone, a friend of Cuba and president of the Browstone Foundation. The book was edited in the United States and it is being distributed by the Amazon network, Lopez informed.

On December 17, after 16 years of unfair imprisonment in U.S. jails, Ramon, Antonio y Gerardo returned to their homeland and joined their families; Rene and Fernando, the other two members of the group, were released after serving their sentences. Humor from my Pen


News on Cuba - January 27, 2015 PDF Print E-mail

Fidel Message to University StudentsFidel Castro Sends Message to University Students

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 27 (acn) Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro sent the Cuban university students a message stressing the development of the country´s education over the past 56 years.

Fidel recalled that when he registered at the University of Havana, on September 4, 1945, the entity was the only higher education center that offered access to young people that could afford it, but that has changed since he said “we now have over fifty higher education centers throughout the country.”

In his message, the Commander-in-Chief said that if he had the opportunity to again go to university, he would take on a scientific course and he went to recall his years as a student and the influence he received from the Marxist-Leninist doctrine.

The message was read during a ceremony at the Aula Magna of the University, in which rector Gustavo Cobreiro granted the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters and heroes, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, a plaque marking the 280 anniversary of the University of Havana.

The ceremony was attended by Interior Minister Army Corps General Abelardo Colome, who is a member of the Political Bureau of Cuba´s Communist Party; Rolando Alfonso, department director of the Central Committee of the Party, and Armando Hart, also member of the Central Committee and director of the Office of the Marti Program, among other personalities.

International Pedagogy Congress Kicks off in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 27 (acn) The 14th International Congress Pedagogy 2015 starts today its discussion sessions in the Convention Palace, on a day that will include the involvement of several prominent figures in the national and international educational context.

The list of those in charge with imparting lectures on this day includes the renowned Brazilian theologian Frei Betto, who will make emphasis on the importance of developing critical awareness in young people.

On the Cuban side, Rodolfo Alarcón, Minister of Higher Education, will offer stock of how the integration process is in Cuban universities, while Rolando Forneiro, deputy minister of Education, will explain the working system that is used to train teachers in the island.

Today, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the foreign country with more lectures, will be center of attention, as there will be a special intervention of its Minister of Education and will be developed a panel called Hugo Chavez’s Educational Thought, in tribute to the support offered by the commander President to education in the South American nation .

The 1st Meeting of International Representatives on Projects for the Integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), one of the most important side activities of the event will start also today.

As part of the importance given to the use of ICT in this year's event, this conference will include a keynote by the Spanish professor Paloma Anton on its use in meeting the goals of Education for All Programme.

Under the slogan " For the unity of educators", Pedagogy 2015 will run until today with the participation of more than four thousand delegates from 30 countries.

Vietnamese Company to Invest in Cuban Mariel Zone

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 27 (acn) Vietnam´s Thai Binh Investment Trading Corp expects to build plants to produce detergent and disposable diapers at the Special Development Zone located at the Mariel Port, in western Cuba.

Thai Binh representative in Cuba Tran Thien Minh told PL news agency earlier this year about plans for the year and that the new factories will further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.

Vietnam is among 30 countries proposing investment projects for the Cuban Special Zone.

“We have been at the Cuban market since 1998,” said Tran Thien and recalled that the Vietnamese company was one of the first entities of that country to establish commercial relations with Caribbean nations.

In the beginning we exported textiles, shoes, perfumes and foods, but later we added construction materials, furniture, stereos and home appliances, said the executive.

Thai Binh sold tiles in Cuba foro ver 12 million dollars in 2014. It is tiles that make the largest sales of that company in Cuba, according to information by that entity.

Spain Supports Solar Energy Project in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 27 (acn) Representatives of Cuba and Spain launched a shipment of supplies to the island in order to support a solar project, sponsored by Spain´s Agency for International Cooperation (AECID).

The project will be implemented in the Guama municipality, in eastern Santiago de Cuba province and it will operate water pumps fueled with solar energy.

The initiative is being carried out by Spain´s SoDePaz and Cuba´s Cubasolar non-government organizations, based on solar panels provided by companies from the Spanish region of Colmenar Viejo, 30 kilometers from the capital Madrid.

The project also includes solar facilities for home lighting in rural areas.

At the shipment site were the mayor of Colmenar Viejo, Miguel Angel Santamarina and Cuban ambassador to Spain Eugenio Martinez, local government officials and entrepreneurs.

Iberia Returns to Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 27 (acn) Spain´s Iberia Airlines will resume flights between Madrid and Havana on June 1 after a two-year interruption due to an economic slump and deep restructuring process.

Iberia had interrupted its flights to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Uruguay following a reported lack of benefits, but last September it resumed flights to Montevideo and Uruguay after reducing operational costs and purchasing A 330 Airbus planes, which provide less fuel consumption.

The director of Iberia´s Communications Department Juan Cierco told reporters that they expect to be successful in their Business class due to the economic prospects of Cuba.


India Ready for 2015 Cuba Book Fair

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan (acn) India will be the host country in the coming 24 Cuba Book Fair which will be a unique opportunity for Cubans to peek into the rich and ancient Indian culture, C. Rajasekhar, ambassador of that nation to Cuba told ACN

We are very happy to have been able to organize a varied itinerary especially designed for the celebration, which we attended extremely honored to be the first Asian nation Guest of Honour in this great literary event, the diplomat said during an exclusive interview.

Rajasekhar, enthusiastic promoter of cultural exchanges, was one of the main responsible of enabling the dedication of this edition, for which they are still finalizing details of what will be an intense program that will include, in addition to literature, theater, dance, crafts, food, yoga and an expected bazaar.

Besides the titles that we sent to the Cuban Book Institute for translation into Spanish, a lot of books have already arrived that the Embassy has selected, will sell at an affordable price and we believe will be received with great interest, he said.

He announced that 16 of the most important Hindu publishers will be in Fortaleza San Carlos de La Cabaña, traditional venue, where they will take, in English, volumes on science, math, cooking, yoga and religion, among other subjects.

The India Pavilion will be the center of the literary program, everyday texts include presentations and panels, among which highlights the one on climate change with the presence of Rajendra K. Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Nobel Peace Prize.

We were very honored to receive news and excited, Rajasekharsaid, that New Delhi World Book Fair is on the same days have created some challenges, but India is great and of course Cuba is special.

The XXIV International Book Fair will be dedicated this time to the National Awards Leonardo Acosta, Literature, and Olga Portuondo, History, Social Sciences and Research, and when the international version ends in the capital, will spread across the country until next April.


Cuban Minister of Tourism to Promote Cuba as a Destination in Spain

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 27 (acn) In order to ensure the Spanish market as one of its major sources, Cuba will participate from January 28 to February 1st in the 35th International Tourism Fair, FITUR 2015, based in Madrid.

The event, considered the most important in Latin America and the second with the largest worldwide reputation, according to specialized media, will host professionals interested in positioning their tourism products and strengthen ties with tour operators and travel agents in the region.

To that end, the Cuban delegation, headed by Manuel Marrero, minister of the branch on the island, will attend the meeting to present new offerings of this Caribbean destination, designed for the Spanish market.

According to the Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR by its Spanish acronym), the Cuban mission will update to its members about upcoming openings of facilities and services, and shall promote new projects that Cuba offers to foreign investment.

At the Cuban stand, visitors can learn about the heritage cities of Santiago de Cuba and Remedios, celebrating their 500th anniversaries of founded, and the Jardines del Rey tourist pole, home of the upcoming International Tourism Fair, FitCuba 2015, which 35 th edition shall be devoted to the nautical product.

Other tourist interest points of the Antillean archipelago that will attract the attention of the audience will be Havana -declared on December 2014 World Wonder City -, Varadero, Trinidad and Santa Maria, Coco and Guillermo Cays.

According to a statement by MINTUR, the Cuban delegation will be also made up by María del Carmen Orellana, Commercial Director, and José Daniel Alonso, director of Business of the branch.

FITUR 2015 shall also be attended by managers of hotel chains like Gran Caribe, Islazul, Cubanacán, Habaguanex, Grupo Gaviota, Iberostar, Grupo Pestana and Melia Hotels; and the agencies Viajes Cubanacan, Havanatur, Cubatur and Gaviotatours, and Cubana Airlines.


UNDP Announces Continuity of Development Plans in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan (acn) United Nations Development Program director Jessica Faieta announced on Saturday that the international organization will continue supporting Cuba in various projects in the economic, social and environmental fields.

In a press conference offered in this capital, Faieta said that the cooperation plan began in 2014 and will run until 2018, with the objective of contributing to increase the quality of life of Cubans, the Prensa Latina news agency reported.

The UN undersecretary general pointed out that her organization aims to local development, particularly production, in order to achieve the replacement of imports.

Likewise, it helps in renewable energy, climate change, risk prevention and HIV-AIDS and gives attention to youngsters and to problems of gender approach, added the official.

Faieta described as positive the results obtained in projects developed by the City Historian Office, which includes the restoration of Old Havana’s heritage as well as social and public services.

Cuba also maintains a fair speed in other matters, like sustainable development, disaster prevention and the protection of the ecosystem, added the UNDP executive.

Our programs, she said, are in line with the challenges faced by the Caribbean island, like food security, the care of senior citizens and South-South cooperation.

The UN undersecretary highlighted the role played by Cuba, which contributes its experiences to mitigate complex situations like the Ebola epidemics in Western Africa and previously in the struggle against cholera in Haiti.

She stressed that is also valid to underline the role played by Cuba in Latin America, particularly in the context of talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-the People’s Army and the government of that country, with the purpose of achieving peace.


News on Cuba - January 21, 2015 PDF Print E-mail

Cuba and the US can Work Together despite Big Differences

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 22 (acn) The delegations of Cuba and the United States agreed that the round of talks for the process of restoration of diplomatic relations, held today at the International Conference Center, is an important step on the road to the decision announced by Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro last December 17.

Josefina Vidal, director general of the US Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, head of the Cuban delegation, told reporters that the dialogue was held in a "respectful, professional and constructive" climate, while the head of the US delegation, Roberta Jacobson, called it "positive and productive".

The Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs said in a brief statement that they had discussed in concrete and real terms the measures to be taken to restore diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies.

Jacobson added that actions have been taken to implement the commitments of the President of the United States relating to this subject, and acknowledged it will be a very long process, because it is not limited to the restoration of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in each country, and she said that "today we have taken new steps in this direction."

Both diplomatic agreed that this process must be guided by the principles of international Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.

Vidal said the Cuban side reiterated the readiness of the Government of Cuba to continue to hold a respectful dialogue, based on sovereign equality and reciprocity, without prejudice to national independence and self-determination of peoples.

She also said it would be difficult to explain how they are going to restore diplomatic relations if the US doesn’t remove Cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, and voiced her concern for the lack of a bank the Cuban interest section in Washington has had for over a year to conduct its business.

Cuba willing to maintain Respectful and Constructive Dialog with Washington

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 22 (acn) Cuba reiterated its willingness to keep holding respectful talks with the United States, based on sovereign equality and reciprocity, with no undermining of its national independence and self-determination, said the general director of the United States Office at the Cuban Foreign Ministry Josefina Vidal in statements to reporters during talks on the reestablishment of bilateral diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana.

Vidal, who heads the Cuban delegation to the talks, ratified the Cuban government’s commitment to the improvement of bilateral relations and its will to keep advancing towards their normalization.

She said that bilateral diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies must be based on the principles of international law as established by the UN Charter and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations. For Cuba this stands for mutual respect for the political, economic and social systems of the two countries and for the avoidance of any form of interference with the internal affairs or threats to the political, economic and cultural foundations of both states, the official added.

Nobody can expect that Cuba will ever renounce its principles, Vidal stressed and added that these efforts aim at establishing a civilized relationship between two countries with profound differences and different conceptions on many issues, but that can get along in a civilized and peaceful manner, by recognizing and respecting such differences and at the same time, and as neighbors identify areas of common interest to develop cooperation in the benefit of the two nations, the region and the world, the official noted.

Josefina Vidal said that the two parties agreed on the steps forward to formalize the reestablishment of diplomatic relations through the exchange of notes in an upcoming date. However, she said that it would be difficult to explain that such reestablishment of relations has taken place while Cuba continues to unfairly be on the US black list of states sponsors of international terrorism.

Vidal added that they told the US delegation that in order to open embassies the current financial situation facing the Cuban Interest Section in Washington must be resolved. She referred to the impossibility for the US office to find a bank that provides its financial functions due to the US blockade.

This will be a long and complex process that will require work from the two parties, who will have to solve pending problems on the bilateral agenda, she noted and stressed that in order to normalize bilateral relations the lifting of the US blockade is crucial.

We recognize the willingness of the President of the United States to sustain responsible and honest debate at the US Congress to achieve the end of the blockade, said Josefina Vidal.

Cuba and the US Discuss Diplomatic Relations

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 22 (acn) The round of talks at the highest level in the past decades between Cuba and the United States to restore diplomatic relations will start in less than two hours in Havana city.

Josefina Vidal, director-general of the US department at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, leads the Cuban delegation, while Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs heads the US delegation.

During this meeting the two countries will address the principles and steps to be taken to restore diplomatic relations and the opening of their respective embassies in each country.

They will also tackle their cooperation to fight epidemics, terrorism, drug trafficking and other issues of mutual interest and benefit.

A Cuban diplomatic source told the press that is covering the historic meeting that ¨we cannot expect to solve all problems in just one meeting¨ and added that Cuba and the US are taking steps to reestablish ties that were broken over 50 years ago, but ¨the normalization of relations is a much longer and complex process when we have to discuss issues of interest for both parties¨

The Cuban delegation announced that the opening of embassies and restoration of diplomatic relations must be based on the UN Charter and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations

Cuba Issues Statement on Migratory talks with the US

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 21 (acn) At the end of the 28th round of US-Cuba migratory talks, the Cuban delegation issued a press release that ACN news agency now reproduces:


On January 21, 2015, a new round of migration talks was held between US and Cuban delegations, which were headed by Edward Alex Lee, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Director-General of the US Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, respectively.

During the meeting, which was held amidst a constructive environment, different aspects related to the migration relations were evaluated, including the compliance with the accords in force, the issuance of visas for immigrants and temporary visits, as well as the results of the actions carried out by both parties to combat illegal migration, human smuggling and document fraud. The Cuban delegation expressed its satisfaction over the recent celebration of a technical meeting between the US Coast Guard Service and Cuba’s Border Patrol Guard with the purpose of discussing measures aimed at a more efficient implementation of the Migration Accords and the Search and Rescue Procedures adopted by both countries.

In view of the continued implementation of the “wet foot/dry foot” policy and of the Cuban Adjustment Act, the Cuban delegation reiterated its concern about the validity of these policies, which are contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Migration Accords and continue to be the main encouragement to illegal migration, alien smuggling and the irregular entry into the US territory from third countries of Cuban citizens who have traveled abroad by legal means.

The Cuban representatives ratified their deep concern about the situation faced by the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, particularly its Consular Office, which, as a result of the implementation of the blockade, has been deprived from all banking services for almost one year now, which seriously hampers the provision of the consular services that are offered to Cuban citizens residing in the United States as well as to US citizens who are interested in visiting Cuba.

The Cuban delegation reaffirmed its willingness to continue holding these talks.

Cuba-USA Talks Advance in a Respectful and Constructive Manner

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 21 (acn) The talks between the delegations of Cuba and the United States on migration issues are taking place in respectful and constructive manner, Gustavo Machin, deputy director of the United States Department at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, declared to the press

He said that the round that began at nine o'clock today at the Conventions Palace in Havana, is attended by all members of delegations, headed by Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, director general of United States Department at the Foreign Ministry, and assistant secretary Bureau for Western Hemisphere Affairs, State Department, Edward Alex Lee.

At this point, he said, we are talking about migration trends between Cuba and the United States, how migration flows between the two countries are behaving, and "we agreed to disagree on some issues," specifically, as we have said, we have serious concerns about the permanence of the Cuban Adjustment Act and the policy of "dry foot-wet foot", the main stimulus for illegal emigration from Cuba.

He said that the persistence of these measures violate the spirit and letter of the migration agreements, whose compliance is being revised, "... we talked fluently, with openness and constructive approach although we have some differences in approaches to certain migratory phenomena ... "and stressed that" ... it has been a profitable tomorrow ... ".

The first of three rounds of talks between delegations of Cuba and the United States to address migration issues and the process of restoration of diplomatic relations, and other bilateral issues is taking place behind closed doors this morning.

The talks began this Wednesday with the twenty-eighth meeting on migration issues, to evaluate the progress of the agreements in this respect and the actions taken by both parties to tackle illegal migration and human trafficking, among other aspects of interest.


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