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Daily Archives: July 29, 2013

HAVANA, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Cuba on Monday denounced the United States for imposing a fine on an Italian bank for operating with the island, saying it demonstrated Washington's "insolence" in the treatment Continue reading
A representative of the Cuban Catholic Church explained at an event Monday that presently the Catholic Church is exerting a growing influence in the country. Continue reading
The government is campaigning for the ‘loss of ethical and moral values’ in society, but what about the disrespect of entering into armament arrangements with the North Korean dictatorship? The title refers to a memorable documentary that many of us … Continue reading Continue reading

El jefe del Departamento de Relaciones Internacionales del Comité Central del Partido del Trabajo de Corea, Kim Yong Il, y su homólogo en el Partido Comunista de Cuba, José Ramón Balaguer, conversaron en Pyongyang sobre "temas de interés común", reportó la agencia oficial Prensa Latina.

Durante el diálogo, las partes coincidieron en "el buen estado de las relaciones bilaterales y acordaron fortalecer los vínculos y ampliar la cooperación entre las dos organizaciones políticas".

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Zucchero is one of Italy’s most successful musicians. He plays to sold out arenas all up and down the Italian peninsula. But as his fans both at home and abroad know, he’s not your typical Italian singer. ';I grew up with ... Continue reading
Georgetown, Jul 29 (Prensa Latina) The Minister of Health of Guyana, Bheri Ramsaran thanked Cuba''s help in the training of doctors, which will improve the standard of living of the population, today reported the official news agency ... Continue reading
HAVANA ... Continue reading
Police forces of the Cuban regime have not only taken up the task of arresting, beating, deporting and spying on human rights activists on the island, but also have a long history of carrying out acts of vandalism against their homes.  In the last couple of days, new cases of these actions have been documented. […] Continue reading
La ALBA es un bloque de integración regional impulsado por Cuba y Venezuela en 2004, al que se sumaron Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, San Vicente y las Granadinas, Dominica, y Antigua y Barbuda. Continue reading
GUANTÁNAMO, Cuba, 29 de julio de 2013, Roberto Quiñones Haces/ www.cubanet.org.- El pasado miércoles 24 de julio, la policía de Guantánamo efectuó  la detención de seis trabajadores del Combinado Cárnico en sus puestos de trabajo y los condujo a sus respectivos domicilios, donde se les realizó un registro y ocupación de algunos bienes. Desde ese [...] Continue reading
El jefe del Departamento de Relaciones Internacionales del Partido Comunista, José Ramón Balaguer y su homólogo del Partido del Trabajo de Corea del Norte, Kim Yong Il, resaltaron "el buen estado de las relaciones bilaterales". Continue reading
GUANTÁNAMO, Cuba, 29 de julio de 2013, Roberto Quiñones Haces/ www.cubanet.org.- Hasta el momento, gran parte de los 16 heridos en el accidente de tránsito ocurrido el pasado sábado 27 de julio en el poblado de Perseverancia, municipio El Salvador, provincia de Guantánamo, ha evolucionado satisfactoriamente. Ayer domingo, varios de ellos fueron dados de alta [...] Continue reading

La Habana dijo este lunes que una multa impuesta por Estados Unidos al banco italiano Intensa Sanpaolo por operar con la Isla, muestra la "desfachatez" de Washington para tratar a sus socios europeos, reporta la AFP.

"La aplicación extraterritorial de esta sanción pone en evidencia la desfachatez con que EEUU trata a sus socios europeos y sienta un precedente negativo para otras instituciones que comercian con Cuba", dijo la cancillería cubana en una nota publicada en su página web.

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Sixty years after having initiated the actions to seize power, General-President Raul Castro finds it opportune to emphasize that “the process of transferring the main responsibilities of leadership of the nation to new generations is ongoing, gradual and orderly.” At … Continue reading Continue reading
The son of the Ohio man who admitted kidnapping, raping and enslaving three women for about a decade has said his father belongs in prison for the rest of his life. In an interview on NBC's Today show, Anthony Castro said he has nothing to sa... Continue reading
Los disidentes cubanos Ignacio Estrada Cepero y Wendy Iriepa, que en 2011 se convirtieron en el primer matrimonio transgénero de la isla, pidieron hoy, 29 de julio, apoyo a proyectos que ayudan a la comunidad homosexual de su país, que, en su opinión, vive “marginada” y es víctima de “persecución”. Continue reading
An Interview with Berta Soler, Leader of the Ladies in White / Ivan Garcia
Posted on July 28, 2013
(Exclusive, Iván García in Havana)

If you want confirmation that socialism does not work, do yourself a
favor and visit Alamar. This community, twenty minutes east of Havana,
is an example of real urban chaos. A place without rhyme or reason,
ugly, poorly constructed buildings rise four, five, even eighteen
stories high along poorly paved, winding roads.

I spent more than an hour trying to find building number 657 where Berta
Soler lives. She is the leader of the brave women known as the Ladies in
White, a group founded in April 2003 in response to the imprisonment of
seventy-five peaceful activists opposed to the Cuban regime.

For the last 28 years, Berta has lived in Alamar, a bedroom-community
created in 1970 to alleviate Havana's housing shortage. Her convoluted
neighborhood, with its run-down interior alleyways, is known as Siberia.

Soler shares a modest two-bedroom apartment with her two sons and
husband, Ángel Moya, one of the twelve Black Spring dissidents who opted
to continue his opposition work from inside the country. In her
ivory-colored living room there is a photo of Pope Francis greeting
Berta during a public audience at the Vatican.

When I arrive, she and her husband are washing a large batch of clothes.
"We have to take advantage of the break in the rain," Berta explains,
looking at the items and throwing them into the washer. Before sitting
down in a red vinyl sofa for an interview with Diario de las Américas,
she prepares coffee in her tiny kitchen.

"I was born in Jovellanos, Matanzas province. I came to Havana when I
was nineteen. I am a microbiological technician and worked in the
América Arias maternity hospital. Before becoming a Lady-in-White, I
belonged to a dissident group called the Leonor Pérez Mothers' Committee.

"It was the beginning of the 2003 wave of repression. In the foyer of
Villa Marista — the barracks of the political police — there was Blanca
Reyes, the wife of poet Raúl Rivero, Claudia Márquez, Gisela Delgado,
Miriam Leyva and Laura Pollán, among others. By order of Fidel Castro we
had been separated from our husbands, fathers and sons. We decided to
demand their release by carrying out a march every Sunday outside St.
Rita's Church in Miramar.

"From that moment Laura excelled at being the leader. She was my sister,
my comrade-in-arms. Those were years of marches, verbal attacks and
beatings by paramilitary mobs. On October 14, 2011, when she died under
circumstances that I find suspicious, I felt as though a part of me had
been ripped out. In one week the regime planned Laura's death. One day
what really happened will come to light.

"In the beginning there were forty-eight Ladies in White. Most of us had
never been dissidents. We were workers, technicians and housewives who
were forced by Castro's dictatorship to protest, demanding the release
of our loved ones.

"In 2010 the repression against us intensified. Most of us are monitored
by the regime's special services. In front of what had been Laura's
residence in Central Havana, they still maintain an intelligence command
post with cameras and listening devices. In an apartment across from
mine they have installed a permanent operative.

"Every time we go out into the streets of any province to march —
gladiolas in hand, demanding freedom for political prisoners still in
detention and asking that human rights be respected — the state
'generously' spends resources that it does not invest in the people on
tracking and repressing us. There are always police patrol cars, two
city buses (in spite of the shortages in the urban transport system),
hundreds of agents with communication equipment and even an ambulance. I
would like to know how much money is spent on repressing us.

"After Laura's death it was decided that I should be the group's
spokeswoman. We don't have many secrets except logistical details such
as the hour, day and location of a march. Since November 2011 we have
had a standing rule. Any woman may join the group.

"We keep growing. Currently we have 240 women working on seven fronts:
Havana, Granma, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo, Villa Clara and
Matanzas. Soon we will add Ciego de Ávila. But, like I always say, we
prefer quality to quantity," notes the leader of the Ladies in White.

Berta Soler was a key player in a negotiation in April 2010 between the
government of General Raúl Castro and Cuban cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino.

"We have to thank the cardinal and the Catholic church for their role as
mediator in the conflict which arose after the death of Orlando Zapata
from a hunger strike. Those were difficult months. The repression was
fierce. Jaime Ortega himself witnessed a savage attack and verbal
assaults against the Ladies in White from the doorway of St. Rita's Church.

"It was then that Ortega decided to write a letter to Raúl Castro to
negotiate a release. The cardinal acted as go-between. The regime wanted
us to expel the Ladies in Support.* We refused. We reminded General
Castro that, when they were imprisoned after the assault on the Moncada
Barracks, his mother sought support from people who were not relatives."

They then gave in. It was historic. For the first time the military
rulers allowed them to march along Fifth Avenue without being harassed
by paramilitaries. Mediation by Ortega and Spanish chancellor Miguel
Ángel Moratinos led to the release of all the prisoners arrested for
their support of the seventy-five and most of the other political detainees.

"But these days the Catholic church and the cardinal remain silent,
continues Berta." Other dissidents and I have even been the subject of
strong criticism in Espacio Laical, the clergy's own publication. Right
now, even as we speak, there is a Lady in White who has been held for
over a year without trial.

"She is the only member of the group in prison. Her name is Sonia Garro.
She and her husband, Ramón Alejandro Muñoz, were detained in March 2012
as though they were terrorists. The Ladies in White demanded their
immediate release," says Soler.

It started pouring down rain in Alamar. Berta went to the kitchen to
prepare dinner. As she peeled sweet potatoes, she continued.

"One member of the group, Berta Guerrero — a resident of Holguín — went
through an extensive interrogation in which she suffered physical
torture in her hands and was held in a room whose temperature had been
set very low. We learned that State Security asked her to collaborate
with them in exchange for a new house. When she refused, they issued a
blunt warning: 'We have been ordered to put an end to the Ladies in
White by July 26.'

"None of this intimidates us. We will continue to grow stronger. Even if
the regime frees those close to the fifty political prisoners who remain
in jail, we will keep marching in support of democracy and human rights.

"And to clear up the legal gibberish looming over the twelve dissidents
who decided to remain in their homeland, among them my husband.
Technically they are not free men. The regime can overturn their cases
and send them back to jail. None of them has been issued a passport so
they can travel," Berta points out.

The leader of the Ladies in White sees the value in dissidents' recent
overseas trips. "I believe they have been positive," she say. "They have
exposed the deplorable economic and social conditions and the lack of
political freedom in our country. We have learned how civil society
functions in democratic countries. When you return, you realize how much
there is left to be done in every area, especially in community work."

In response to the accusations by eighteen members of Ladies in White
Laura Pollan Movement in the eastern provinces, Berta states, "On June
30 the Ladies in White issued a declaration. It was a painful decision.
We can accept any opinion, whether it be from someone in exile or any
other dissident in Cuba. And we respect that. But we believe the
internal affairs of the group should be left to us to manage. In my
opinion the evidence is not strong enough to accuse Lady-in-White Denia
Fernández Rey of being an agent of Cuban special services. You cannot
condemn a person on the basis of reasonable doubt."

Berta Soler is a woman of character. Her group's vociferous demands for
freedom during their peaceful protest marches over the course of ten
years cannot be ignored.

"We have made great personal sacrifices. These include family members
dying from poor medical attention while we were marching. Children like
my daughter who have not been accepted to universities due to our
political positions. Years in jail from which our relatives never
recovered. Sisters like Laura Pollan who are no longer with us. And
other Ladies in White who had to go into exile. No, Iván, this struggle
has cost too much. No one is going to divide us, especially not the
divisions hardened by the Castro special services.

Text and photo by Iván García

*Translator's note: The Ladies in Support was organized to support the
cause of the Ladies in White. Its members generally do not have
relatives in prison but they often join in the group's peaceful marches.

Translation by Irish Sam and Cuban Nellie

16 July 2013

Source: "An Interview with Berta Soler, Leader of the Ladies in White /
Ivan Garcia | Translating Cuba" -
http://translatingcuba.com/an-interview-with-berta-soler-leader-of-the-ladies-in-white-ivan-garcia-2/ Continue reading
Cuba's Civil Society Is Transnational Says Rodiles / David Canela
Posted on July 29, 2013

HAVANA, Cuba, July 22, 2013, David Canela/www.cubanet.org — Last
Saturday the independent Estado de SATS project sponsored a panel
discussion among Cuban civil society activists. The participants
included attorney Yaremis Flores, journalist Jorge Olivera (one of
seventy-five dissidents imprisoned during the 2003 Black Spring
crackdown), Roberto de Jesús Guerra, director of the news agency
Hablemos Press, and Manuel Cuesta Morúa, a political analyst. The topic
of the event was the current situation on the island following the
latest political reforms and especially after recent trips overseas by
many independent activists.

In regards to the experience of trying to be part of a globalized world,
Flores emphasized that "the issue for Cubans is the lack of
information." Referring to his work representing those involved in legal
cases, whose rights have often been at risk, he said, "If you cannot
travel (to Geneva), they can send you information."

Guerra and Olivera emphasized the need to strengthen the intellectual
and organizational capabilities of the peaceful opposition. We must
"continue organizing and empowering opposition groups," said Guerra. For
his part Olivera pointed out that the government "tries to manipulate
international public opinion and buy time, which means we must adopt a
more articulate and professional approach."

According Cuesta Morúa, "the government has moved the battle of ideas
abroad, and in Cuba tries to present a friendly dissent or a loyal
opposition."

The trend to a more balanced and dynamic migration flow would be a
catalyst in the modernization of the country, as there is now a
"transnational Cuban civil society," as Rodiles called it.

As for the present, not all agreed with the idea that we are in a
political transition, — as the journalist Julio Aleaga said — although
this has not been officially declared. He explained that the reforms in
China had begun in 1979, although its results were visible a decade
later, with the Tienanmen protests, and that the Soviet Union no one
imagined, in 1985, that Perestroika would be the dismantling of socialism.

Olivera believes that in the future "there will be a negotiation between
the government and the opposition, because the country is in ruins." In
this regard, the journalist José Fornaris enunciated that "we have to
prepare a program of government," and not be ashamed to admit that we
want to be part of the new government.

When the panel was asked what recommendations would that give to those
traveling abroad, the lawyer Yaremis Flores suggested bringing evidence
and documents on specific cases that demonstrate the problems of Cuban
society that are not exposed in international forums, and so give a new
face to the society, that humanizes it, and belies the manipulated
figures from official groups of the government.

Cuesta Morúa added to avoid saying "I speak on behalf of …", "I am the
voice of …" He said there are receptive people abroad, who don't want to
hear protests, but rather proposals. And with regards to his experience
at the last meeting of the Latin American Study Association (LASA), he
noted that for the first time they broke the monopoly and the image
(official) of Cuba at these academic meetings, due to the actions of
independent sectors of the Island

This coming Saturday will be the three-year anniversary of the Estado de
SATS project.

22 July 2013

From Cubanet

Source: "Cuba's Civil Society Is Transnational Says Rodiles / David
Canela | Translating Cuba" -
http://translatingcuba.com/cubas-civil-society-is-transnational-says-rodiles-david-canela/ Continue reading
Decomisan fotos de Payá en Holguín Álvaro Yero Felipe 29 de julio de 2013 La Habana, Cuba – www.PayoLibre.com – En horas de la mañana del pasado 22 de julio la policía política de Holguín le decomisó a los activistas del Movimiento Cristiano Liberación (MCL), Juan Carlos Reyes Ocaña y Joel Ordóñez Gorostiza, fotos de [...] Continue reading
Max Marambio: 21 respuestas al gobierno cubano Publicado el Lunes, 29 Julio 2013 05:30 Por Wilfredo Cancio Isla “No dejaré que mi nombre sea manchado de esta forma, y ejerceré lealmente y con determinación todos los derechos que me asisten para demostrar la falsedad de las imputaciones de que he sido objeto”, escribió el empresario [...] Continue reading
WSJ: barco norcoreano es una llamada de atención La periodista Mary Anastasia O’Grady publica en el diario The Wall Street Journal que el contrabando de armas en el barco norcoreano muestra la naturaleza del régimen cubano. julio 29, 2013 El diario The Wall Street Journal publica este lunes, la columna de la periodista Mary Anastasia [...] Continue reading
July 28, 2013, 6:28 p.m. ET

The Castro Brothers Get Caught in the Act
News of arms shipments to North Korea rudely interrupts the happy talk
about reforms in Cuba.
By MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY -

The news that Cuba was caught smuggling fuel and weaponry on a North
Korean freighter through the Panama Canal surprised many who have bought
the line that the Castro regime is reforming and eager to lose its
reputation for criminality.

They are like the fabled frog that agrees to carry the scorpion on his
back across the water. When the scorpion stings the frog midstream, the
amphibian is confounded because it is clear that both will drown. But
the scorpion explains that what he did was inevitable because "it's my
nature."

The same goes for the Castro brothers. They are simply incapable of
containing their beastliness.

A handout picture provided by Cubadebate on February 24, 2013 shows
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro (L), and his brother, Cuban
President Raul Castro (R), during a session of the Cuban National
Assembly, in Havana, Cuba.

To pretend otherwise is to deny that the Castros, who lobbied the
Soviets for nuclear war against the U.S. in 1962, are still dangerous.
Yet denial is in fashion in some newsrooms and in the cloakrooms on
Capitol Hill, which is why the weapons-smuggling story was so evanescent.

The scorpion nature of the Castros is hardly news to Cubans. They are
not permitted to use the Internet, to watch independent news broadcasts,
to earn dollars, to speak their minds, to send their children to private
school or to worship freely. Something as basic as milk for children is
hard to find.

Some Cubans who rebel languish for years in dungeons. Others are now
victims of a new method of repression that observers call "catch and
release." The Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs in Cuba reported last
week that "in the first six months of 2013 the Cuban government
political police made more than 1,000 arbitrary arrests for political
activity, the majority [of the arrests] violent and lasting on average
between 12 and 24 hours." The council counts more than 70 political
prisoners serving multiple-year sentences.

Increased repression has accompanied recent efforts to bring in more
foreign exchange by attracting American visitors through "educational"
and "cultural" excursions that are permitted by the U.S. under its
long-standing embargo. The movements of these visitors and their
interaction with Cubans must be tightly controlled by the dictatorship
to ensure that they don't see too much of the real Cuba. They are
supposed to go away singing the praises of the happy communist paradise,
and many do.

A dictatorship is apparently an exotic curiosity for well-to-do
Americans. They are being herded through selected parts of the country
in large numbers to view firsthand what deprivation can inspire.

This week the elite Phillips Exeter Academy announced that it would join
with Miss Porter's School "on a weeklong exploration of the fascinating
art and culture of Cuba." There was no mention of whether students in
these prep schools would be visiting the jails where
nonconformists—including artists, musicians and the black human-rights
advocate Sonia Garro—reside. Nor was it clear whether the children would
learn about the dual-currency regime in which the military government
pockets dollars from the visitors while it pays workers in almost
worthless bits of paper. Somehow I doubt it.

‪Now comes the news of the arms shipment aboard the Chong Chon Gang
headed for North Korea, a land of barbed-wire fences and starvation, a
regime so dangerous to world peace that even the dithering United
Nations Security Council, China included, agreed unanimously in March to
heightened sanctions against it.

The Cuban foreign ministry immediately claimed that the weaponry, found
hidden under 10 tons of sugar and undeclared, was obsolete and going
abroad for repair. But José Otero writes in the Panamanian daily La
Prensa that Panamanian officials found two MiG fighters and full tanks
of jet fuel, along with "a mid-air refueling plane, two vehicles for
towing radars, a rocket-launching platform, a radar antenna with
platform and many cables" in the ship's hold.

Experts say the story doesn't add up. Weapons repairs are normally made
by ordering parts and flying in technicians. What is more, since
everything was made in the Soviet Union, sending it to North Korea
doesn't make sense.

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe tweeted on July 18 that a
reliable source told him that part of the shipment was destined for
Ecuador. Colombian journalist Eduardo MacKenzie noted in an online
column last week that "seven other North Korean ships had made trips to
Cuba in the last four years with itineraries similar to the Chong Chon
Gang." A further mystery is what these ships may have brought to Cuba in
the first place.

All of this smells bad. Cuba wants to shake off its international pariah
status so that it can get World Bank and InterAmerican Development Bank
handouts and credit from U.S. banks, thereby avoiding economic and
political reform. Indoctrinating the girls at Miss Porter's School is
part of that effort. The arms-trafficking is, or should be, a wake-up call.

Write to O'Grady@wsj.com

A version of this article appeared July 29, 2013, on page A11 in the
U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The Castro
Brothers Get Caught in the Act.

Source: "Mary O'Grady: The Castro Brothers Get Caught in the Act -
WSJ.com" -
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323610704578630152321250888.html Continue reading
10 preguntas al ministro de las FAR Noel zurce las aspas de un ventilador. Tiene su pequeño taller en un portal de la barriada del Cerro. Reinaldo Escobar julio 29, 2013 Al terminar esta mañana la revista informativa Buenos Días seguía brillando por su ausencia en los medios oficiales cubanos el asunto del barco norcoreano [...] Continue reading
El fiscal primero de drogas de Panamá, Javier Caraballo, dijo que las inspecciones han avanzado en la segunda bodega del barco. Continue reading
Coronel cubano confirma colaboración en defensa El oficial retirado dijo en una entrevista que hay “colaboradores internacionalistas” cubanos dispuestos a defender la revolución bolivariana ADRIANA RIVERA 29 DE JULIO 2013 – 12:01 AM Nelson Domínguez Morera, coronel retirado de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Cuba, accedió a tomarse una fotografía mientras leía una edición del [...] Continue reading
Cuba, ¿una guagua en reversa? LUIS GUILLERMO MARTÍNEZ lumartinez@laestrella.com.pa La isla de los edificios y autos de antaño emprende nueva una ruta con giros hacia la derecha. Más de cincuenta años de un mismo estilo socioeconómico trae confusión y muchas expectativas 2013-07-29 — 12:00:00 AM — PANAMÁ. Cuba tiene el pie puesto en el acelerador [...] Continue reading
Mujica, Cuba y la democracia HEBERT GATTO ABOGADO, ESCRITOR, PERIODISTA. Hace sesenta años un grupo de jóvenes comandados por Fidel Castro se levantó contra el gobierno de Fulgencio Batista intentando la toma del cuartel Moncada en Santiago de Cuba para iniciar una revolución. No nos proponemos cuestionar jurídicamente al presidente por preservar sus devociones juveniles, [...] Continue reading
Cuba impulsó una industria de armas clandestina Durante años La Habana comercializó armamento en África y América Latina FRANK LÓPEZ BALLESTEROS | EL UNIVERSAL lunes 29 de julio de 2013 12:00 AM Una forma por la que Cuba logró exportar su proyecto revolucionario potenciado por una ideología antiestadounidense, fue proveyendo armas a países y organizaciones [...] Continue reading
La ONU pide a Cuba que erradique las causas estructurales de la prostitución Agencia EFE Ginebra, 29 jul (EFE).- Cuba debería asumir que en el país existe la explotación sexual y la prostitución y que éstas tienen causas económicas, por lo que tendría que tratar de erradicar las causas que derivan en la explotación femenina, [...] Continue reading
29 de julio de 2013 • 18:52 La resistencia a reformas opera como nueva oposición en Cuba (analistas) Las reformas del presidente cubano, Raúl Castro, enfrentan la resistencia de un sector “inmovilista” que se comporta como una nueva oposición, aunque con intereses contrarios a la disidencia política, opinan analistas. Se trata de “burócratas que resisten [...] Continue reading
Raúl bajo el sombrero de yarey Lunes, Julio 29, 2013 | Por Alberto Méndez Castelló SANTIAGO DE CUBA, 29 de julio de 2013, www.cubanet.org.- A 60 años del asalto al cuartel Moncada, Raúl Castro volvió a hablar más de lo mismo: ratificar la continuidad del socialismo. Con una dicción por momentos errática, traspapelando páginas -“me [...] Continue reading
Tras varias semanas de reñida competencia la cantante Paola Guanche, de padres cubanos, resultó ganadora de la primera temporada de La Voz Kids , el recién concluido concurso de canto que transmitió la cadena Telemundo hasta el domingo. Continue reading
Chong Chong Gang – del paso inocente al delito internacional Lunes, Julio 29, 2013 | Por Alberto Méndez Castelló PUERTO PADRE, Cuba, julio, www.cubanet.org -El canal de Panamá está abierto al paso inocente de buques, dice mi diccionario de Derecho Internacional. Por “paso inocente”, se entiende el hecho de navegar por las aguas territoriales de [...] Continue reading
CDR – La cuota de espías no está racionada Lunes, Julio 29, 2013 | Por Tania Díaz Castro LA HABANA, Cuba, julio, www.cubanet.org – Los cubanos sabemos que el gobierno de Fidel Castro, desde sus inicios, violó el derecho a la privacidad de los ciudadanos. El 28 de septiembre de 1960 fundó los Comités de [...] Continue reading
CARDENAS: Beware of Raul the Reformer
Cuban arms trafficking puts the lie to 'change'
By Jose R. Cardenas Monday, July 29, 2013

In the wake of Panama's seizing of a North Korean freighter laden with
240 tons of illegal weaponry traversing the Panama Canal from Cuba to
North Korea, many observers have professed to be nonplussed by the
brazenness of Cuba's role in the caper. After all, we have been told,
this is a "new" Cuba under Raul Castro, who is ostensibly committed to
reforming the outdated system of his brother, Fidel, and ushering in a
kinder, gentler Cuba.

The reality is that the Panama incident only exposes the carefully
constructed narrative of Raul the Reformer as utter propaganda designed
mostly to force a unilateral change in U.S. policy toward Cuba. Raul
Castro has no more interest in liberalizing Cuba and returning it to the
peaceful community of nations than does Syria's Bashar Assad.

Still, it is remarkable how successful the marketing campaign has been
for the idea of Raul the Reformer. Even The Economist has

bought the line, writing, "Since Raul Castro took over from his elder
brother in 2006, he has moved to dismantle Fidel's system," and that the
only thing holding his reform effort back is that the outside world "is
not helping enough."

What bunk. The only transition underway in Cuba today is from a
personalist dictatorship under Fidel Castro to a military one under
brother Raul. And neither is good for U.S. security interests.

Since Raul Castro took power, the only defense minister that Cuba has
known in 50-plus years has moved methodically and systematically to
purge his brother's civilian acolytes from positions of power and
replace them with generals loyal to him. Today, eight of the 15 members
of the Cuban Politburo are members of the military, as are four of seven
vice presidents on the council of ministers.

However, the militarization of the regime doesn't end there, as Mr.
Castro has also created a parallel ruling body off the books where the
real power lies. This 14-member junta is stocked with military men only,
including the country's four most powerful generals: Leopoldo Cintras
Frias, 72, minister of defense; Abelardo Colome, 73, minister of the
interior; Alvaro Lopez Miera, 69, first vice minister of defense and
chairman of the Joint Chiefs; and Ramon Espinosa, 74, vice minister of
defense. In other words, not a group that can be expected to be a font
of new thinking. (It's worth noting that Mr. Castro's much-ballyhooed
successor, the 53-year-old nondescript civilian Miguel Diaz-Canel, is
not a member of this group.)

Mr. Castro has also further expanded the military's reach into Cuban
society by cutting it into lucrative economic enterprises, especially in
the tourist sector. Today, the Cuban military elites control more than
60 percent of the Cuban economy. Operating under the holding company
GAESA, the array of companies the military operates rakes in an
estimated $1 billion a year for the generals to divvy up.

Yet even as the military has been steadily permeating all sectors of
Cuban society, all that most outside observers focus on are minuscule
reforms on the margins of the Cuban economy. That some Cubans are now
allowed to work outside the state under a circumscribed list of
microenterprises such as doll-repairer and refilling disposable
cigarette lighters is myopically hailed as a stunning breakthrough.

The bottom line is that under Raul Castro, there has been absolutely no
fundamental change in the regime's repressive governing philosophy.
Cuban citizens are still subordinated to the state, and there is no
recognition of their inalienable rights to think and do as they please.
The tepid reforms to date reflect not a new willingness to grant more
freedom to Cubans to better fend for themselves and give them a stake in
their own future, but to help ensure the primacy of the regime in
maintaining absolute control.

And, today, with military elites comfortably ensconced as captains of
profitable economic enterprises such as tourism and dollar-only stores,
the prospects for true reform in Cuba are as negligible now as they were
under Fidel Castro.

The final irony regarding the Panama incident is that just as
authorities there seized the North Korean freighter, State Department
officials were sitting down with Castro regime officials to resume
long-suspended immigration talks. As to why the Obama administration
thinks the time propitious to restart talks with an unrepentant and
inflexible Castro regime on any subject is what is truly
incomprehensible. It certainly cannot be based on anything positive that
is happening on that captive island nation.

In light of the Castro regime's egregious actions in trafficking illegal
arms to North Korea under the U.S.' nose, what is needed now are not
State Department talks for the sake of talking, but meaningful measures
to hold Cuba accountable for its latest undermining of regional and
international security.

Jose R. Cardenas was acting assistant administrator for Latin America at
the U.S. Agency for International Development in the George W. Bush
administration and is an associate with Vision Americas.

Source: "CARDENAS: Beware of Raul the Reformer - Washington Times" -
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/29/beware-of-raul-the-reformer/ Continue reading

Los disidentes Ignacio Estrada Cepero y Wendy Iriepa, que en 2011 se convirtieron en el primer matrimonio transgénero de la Isla, pidieron este lunes en EEUU apoyo a proyectos que ayudan a la comunidad homosexual de su país, que, en su opinión, vive "marginada" y es víctima de "persecución".

"Nuestro mensaje es muy claro: venimos a narrar nuestra propia realidad, que se nos escuche y se reconozca que existen proyectos paralelos para la defensa de los derechos de los homosexuales en Cuba", dijo Cepero en entrevista con EFE en Washington.

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Gambling and the law: Cuba needs casinos
29 July 2013
By I. Nelson Rose

"I crapped out" -- Meyer Lansky, quoted in T.J. English's HAVANA
NOCTURNE: HOW THE MOB OWNED CUBA...AND THEN LOST IT TO THE REVOLUTION

Fidel Castro is gone.

He may not be dead. But on a recent trip to Cuba, I was told by both
American and Cuban experts that he is beyond retired. His image may be
everywhere, but he no longer has a living influence. Fidel has become to
Cuba what Mao is to China.

His younger brother, Raul, is still alive, but is 82 years old. He has
called for term limits, including his own. He will not run for
reelection as President in 2018.

Since taking over from Fidel in 2007, Raul started introducing reforms.
He had to.

Cuba is a country where nuclear physicists drive taxis, because they can
make more than their $40 per month government salaries. Under Fidel,
Cubans could not buy or sell cars or homes, so they arranged phoney
marriages. The property could then be transferred through a divorce.

Still today, everyone owns their own apartments, but literally nobody
owns the apartment buildings; so, there is no one to fix leaking roofs.

Since there are no opportunities, young adults flee the country. Many
are willing to risk their lives on Styrofoam rafts to try to get to America.

Change is coming to Cuba. The big questions are whether it will be slow
or fast, peaceful or violent.

The old men who have led Cuba for the last 54 years – there have been 11
U.S. Presidents since Fidel took over – are survivors. They know how to
hang on to power. If a charismatic leader arose who might one day
challenge the Castro brothers, he was sent to work in the sugar fields.
So, there is no caudillo (strong man) to lead a second revolution.

But the old men also have to keep the disappointment and anger of the
general population under control. They are understandably scared by what
they saw happen to dictators during the "Arab Spring."

On January 14, 2013, the government began allowing most Cubans to leave
the country, without having to get approval, pay $400 for a visa or
forfeiting their right to return. This may turn out to be like the fall
of the Berlin Wall. Average citizens visiting countries with more than
four state-controlled television channels, let alone access to the
Internet, will be more frustrated upon their return, with their lack of
just about everything.

The U.S. embargo, and the failures of communism, have locked Cuba into
1959. Even the cars and buildings are the same. And this may provide the
solution to Cuba's problems.

Classic 1950s Fords and Chevys are everywhere. Imagine the reaction of a
guy making $20 a month, after trade reopens with the U.S.: "I won't give
you more than $40,000 for your car."

Cuba's 1950s hotels are also still standing. More importantly, so are
its casinos. Although now dark and empty, nothing else has changed; even
the chandeliers are the same. You swear you hear the ghost whispering of
long-gone slot machines and crap tables, when you walk around the
Riviera casino.

Many of the bars and nightclubs are still open. The largest showroom of
them all, the Tropicana with its multi-level, outdoor stage, sells out
every night. The extravaganza features statuesque showgirls with
feathered headdresses and sexy dancing, or at least what would have been
considered sexy in 1959.

Fidel, through his hand-picked provisional president, Manuel Urrutia,
closed the casinos immediately after seizing power, just as he canceled
the national lottery. But the thousands of Cubans thrown out of work
took to the streets in protest. Castro's own economic advisors told him
that the country's economy would collapse unless the casinos were reopened.

They proved to be right, but too late. Castro relented, for a while. But
tourists, especially Americans, stayed away in droves. The casinos were
closed for good; and the economy did collapse.

Communist nations are not averse to legal gambling. Casinos in
particular have been seen as a way of extracting hard currency from
tourists and from the underground economy. I played in a casino in
Hungary, with all transactions in Deutsche Marks (this was before the euro).

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam still has casinos. Surprisingly, so,
too, does North Korea.

And then, of course, there is Macau. The casinos there win more than all
of the privately owned casinos in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi and
the rest of the United States – combined.

Macau, like Hong Kong, is a Special Administrative Region of the
People's Republic of China. The PRC is still technically a communist
country, although it would be more accurate to describe it as Marxist:
widespread free enterprise capitalism flourishing under a totalitarian,
one party dictatorship.

The bureaucrats who run Cuba can find a partial solution to the
country's present economic catastrophe and its pending political crisis
by looking east – far east. Cuba needs to pull a Macau.

Resort casinos create jobs and bring in much needed revenue. They could
ease Cuba's transition out of the economic stagnation created by pure
communism, as they did in China.

Of course, Cuba does not have hundreds of millions of middle-class
residents with few other legal outlets for gambling. In fact, the people
are so poor that it is one of the few countries where it actually is to
the advantage of casino operators that locals would not be allowed to enter.

But, Cuba already attracts large numbers of tourists from Europe and
Latin America; tourism is the nation's leading industry. The spectacular
success of Havana's casinos in the 1950's show what legal gaming could
do, especially once Americans can visit without restrictions.

The major problem is political. Havana's casinos were symbols of the
prior dictator, Fulgencio Batista's, corrupt regime. When asked about
the Americans who ran Cuba's gambling, Fidel said, "We are not only
disposed to deport the gangsters, but to shoot them."

In the early 1960s, children could get cartoon trading cards with
purchases of Felices [Spanish for happy] Frutas's canned fruit. They
would glue them into their "Album de la Revolucion Cubana." One shows an
angry crowd storming the Deauville Casino, with this label: "El pueblo
destroza algunos casinos y casas de juegos," "The people destroy some
casinos and gambling houses."

Still, this was half a century ago. Times change. Fifty years before
Macau became the top casino market in the world, gambling in China was
punishable by death.

Cuba already has tourist zones, where locals are not allowed to enter,
except for work. Canadian tourists already fly directly to resorts on
the southern coast of Cuba, just to go to the beach. The natural spot
for the first Cuban casino-resort is, ironically, the Bay of Pigs. The
scene of the disastrous failed invasion of 1961 is now a thriving
resort, especially for Europeans.

But there is another spot, where a casino would be even more of a
positive political statement by the Cuban government: Guantanamo Bay. It
is isolated from the vast majority of the population; at more than 500
miles from Havana, it is actually closer to Miami. There are beaches and
an airport and one of the largest sea ports in the world for cruise
ships, if the U.S. will allow free passage.

Cuba could set up another tourist zone, with legal gambling, on the
Cuban side of Guantanamo Bay. Local residents would be barred. But
visitors from every other country, including the United States, would be
welcome.

Americans can travel to Macau without even having to get a visa.
Wouldn't it be great if Guantanamo Bay became better known for its
hotel-casino resorts than for its prison?

Source: "Gambling and the law: Cuba needs casinos - RGT Online" -
http://www.rgtonline.com/article/gambling-and-the-law-cuba-needs-casinos-112034?CategoryName=Gaming%20Life Continue reading
¿Un libro sucio? julio 29, 2013 Yanelys Nuñez Leyva HAVANA TIMES – Otro libro del grupo humorístico cubano Nos y Otros ha llegado a mis manos. Publicado por la Editorial Capiro de Santa Clara en el año 1998, este “Libro sucio” (como se titula) reúne un grupo de cuentos dominados por una crítica ingeniosa y [...] Continue reading
Los dirigentes viejos ¿eligen también a los nuevos? julio 29, 2013 Rogelio M. Diaz Moreno HAVANA TIMES — Este discurso del 26 de julio era demasiado importante: aniversario redondo, en Santiago de Cuba, y muchos dignatarios extranjeros. Esta vez, el presidente Raúl Castro no le cedería el estrado al nuevo vicepresidente del país, Miguel Díaz [...] Continue reading
A "Dirty Book" About Cuban Reality
July 29, 2013
Yanelys Nuñez Leyva

HAVANA TIMES — Today, I got a hold of a book by the Cuban comedy group
Nos y Otros. Published by Santa Clara's Capiro publishing house in 1998,
this "dirty book" (as the volume is titled) gathers a collection of
stories driven by clever and scathing social critique.

Its authors, Eduardo del Llano and Luis Felipe Calvo, delve into such
sensitive issues as the abuse of power, false unity, repression,
censorship, corruption, despair, bureaucracy – in short, the whole
series of problems Cuba faced in the 1990s.

What prompted me to write about these stories, however, is the fact they
continue to reflect Cuban reality quite accurately.

The stories create an absurd atmosphere which draws continuously from
ironic and parodic statements, a world where not even the nation's lofty
history (The Diary of a Mambi Soldier), or renowned figures such as
Mendelev (When Great Men Were Children), are spared.

I am told the anti-establishment and highly critical nature of the book
stirred up some controversy when the volume was first published – a
phenomenon which perhaps confirms a number of the situations the book
describes.

Without a doubt, the fear of reflecting on the country's ills and vital
problems that impoverish the fabric of society was sown in our minds
long ago, and very few people have dared uproot it.

Because of this, I believe that, far from being a "dirty book", this
text is a lucid and transparent assessment of our reality, a reality
characterized by a notable absence of critical and daring voices.

Source: "A look at the "Dirty Book" on Cuban reality" -
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=97147 Continue reading
Posted on Monday, 07.29.13

Charter starting new Cuba flight as demand rises
BY JAMAL THALJI,

TAMPA -- Island Travel & Tours operator Bill Hauf said that in November
his company will add another weekly flight to Cuba from Tampa
International Airport.

That's significant because air travel to Cuba is at its strongest during
the summer months, when school is out and Cuban-Americans can take their
kids with them to visit relatives.

So adding Cuban flights in the offseason may be a better indicator of
the growing demand for flights from Tampa to Cuba. Those visitors
include many non-Cubans traveling to the island for educational trips
and other purposes authorized by the U.S. government.

Island Travel & Tours will add a Friday flight starting Nov. 1. So
during the offseason, the company will offer round trips to Cuba on
Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

"We still see the demand growing by American groups as well as
Cuban-Americans here in the Tampa region," Hauf said. "We think it's
time to add a third flight. We're in the middle of a strong season, but
we expect to keep at it after the season is over."

Tampa International was allowed to resume commercial flights to Havana
in 2011 for the first time since the trade embargo took effect half a
century ago. More than 75,000 people have since used the airport to
visit Cuba.

There are now five flights a week from Tampa to Cuba. Island Travel &
Tours offers a flight to Havana on Wednesday and two on Sunday. ABC
Charters Inc. of Miami offers Tampa-to-Holguin on Tuesdays and
Tampa-to-Havana on Saturdays.

When the peak summer travel season ends next month, Island Travel &
Tours will give up one Sunday flight. ABC Charters Inc. will also stop
its Holguin route, according to its website.

But when Island Travel & Tours starts up its Friday route to Havana,
that will still give Tampa International four weekly flights to Cuba
during the offseason.

Tampa has a base of about 80,000 Cuban-Americans that provides a steady
stream of customers to fill airplane seats to Cuba during the summer.

But the real potential to grow the market lies in non-Cubans. The U.S.
government doesn't allow Americans to go to Cuba for tourism. But it
does issue "people-to-people" licenses that allow Americans to travel to
Cuba for educational, cultural, religious and humanitarian reasons.

Hauf said that's the market that's growing. He's also trying to get
permission from the U.S. and Cuban governments to book flights to the
Cuban cities of Santa Clara and Cienfuegos.

"All those people that can legally travel to Cuba are the impetus for
growing the business," he said. So, in three years Hauf has added three
different flights to Cuba. "We're adding one once every year," he said.
"The business is growing. More Cuban-Americans are traveling and
traveling more frequently, and more Americans are traveling, all of
which is good news."

Source: "TAMPA: Charter starting new Cuba flight as demand rises -
Business - MiamiHerald.com" -
http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/29/3529073/charter-starting-new-cuba-flight.html Continue reading
Cuba, Where the Old Leaders Elect the New
July 29, 2013
Rogelio Manuel Diaz Moreno

HAVANA TIMES —This last 26th of July address was far too important. A
round anniversary of the assault on the Moncada Barracks, held in
Santiago de Cuba, attended to by many foreign dignitaries.

This time, President Raul Castro didn't give the platform to Cuba's new
First Vice-President Miguel Diaz Canel, as he had done in previous July
26 festivities with former First Vice-President Jose Machado Ventura.

In addition to paying tribute and expressing his gratitude to different
individuals, countries and cities, the president made a brief remark –
the most significant of the entire speech, in my opinion – about what we
are going through at the moment and our future.

The revolution's historical leadership, he declared, "begins to step
down so that the young can take their place, peacefully and with a sense
of serene confidence that stems from the new generation's proven
capacity to maintain the course of the revolution."

The inevitable passage of time has imposed this as a necessity on Cuba's
current government, which today acknowledges and explains that "the
process of handing the chief responsibilities of the nation over to the
new generations in a gradual and orderly manner is underway."

We could say that Diaz Canel is a clear example of this renewal within
the leadership. And, to tell the truth, I am bothered by the whole affair.

It would be reasonable to say that a bigwig's ultimate power isn't put
to the test during his term of office. It would be reasonable to say
that their ultimate power lies in deciding, when it is time to step
down, who will be handed the sceptre, in order to become the new bigwig.

As usual, I cannot help but ask myself a few questions. What does the
"process of transferring power" over to someone consist in, who controls
it and how is it handled in general?

The Cuban president/general insists that institutions are of the essence
in guaranteeing the country's smooth, orderly functioning. However, he
again blatantly avoids the fact that no institution, no leader, no
course set by any government will ever be more legitimate, respected and
powerful than democracy – the legitimate representation of the people's
will.

Abiding by the sovereign will of the nation, serving the people
represented by the government, this summarizes the role that all
governments should play, particularly those that would claim to be
revolutionary and socialist.

We can't have a situation in which a "historical leadership" has secured
a "place" of power, of preponderance (even if it is given a name with a
nice ring to it, like "vanguard") and now "begins to step down" to hand
over power to the new, selected caste of leaders.

The space of democracy, the space where citizens chose, evaluate and, if
necessary, remove, those leaders it believes will represent them most
faithfully, is apparently not to be mentioned by the official discourse.

What of the mechanisms of the People's Power, which aren't true
democratic institutions, but are the closest thing to these in Cuba? No,
no, the sun was beating down on that platform in Santiago de Cuba too
intensely to waste time talking about things that aren't important.

But, the fact of the matter is that we don't have to agree with the way
this process is being organized. No new batch of fresh bigwigs, chosen
at finger-point by the old bigwigs, could ever hope to secure any
legitimacy in the eyes of the people. Nor could they credibly demand
discipline, restraint and devotion from these people.

No new batch of leaders will ever secure any legitimacy unless it
subjects itself to and abides by the principles of those societies made
up of individuals with equal rights. And these principles invariably
demand universal suffrage, a process whereby every citizen, old or
young, male or female, of any race, religious creed or sexual
orientation, living anywhere in the country, judges and elects those who
will become their representatives on the basis of their merits and
capabilities.

The legal authority to judge and elect all current and future leaders
lies exclusively with the totality of the electorate.

Only respect towards this democratic principle – an obvious one, to be
sure – can effectively protect the unity of all honorable Cubans, a
unity that is of the essence to the country, not only its current president.

Source: "Cuba, a country where the old leaders want to elect the new
ones" - http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=97122 Continue reading
Ignacio Estrada Cepero y Wendy Iriepa de visita en EE.UU. buscan ser escuchados y que se reconozca que existen proyectos paralelos para la defensa de los derechos de los homosexuales en Cuba". Continue reading
Posted on Sunday, 07.28.13

Fidel Castro: 'Slander' over case of seized arms
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

HAVANA -- Foes of Havana have tried to manipulate the case of Cuban
armaments seized at the Panama Canal on a boat bound for North Korea,
Fidel Castro said in a letter published Sunday by state media.

In a letter dated July 26, Castro alluded to allegations that Cuba may
have violated U.N. sanctions against the Asian nation, calling them an
attempt to defame his country.

"In recent days there was an attempt to slander our Revolution, trying
to portray (President Raul Castro) as tricking the United Nations and
other heads of state," Castro wrote.

Addressed to foreign leaders who attended Friday's celebration marking
the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, the
letter also reaffirmed Cuba's stated opposition to nuclear weapons.

The Panamanian government on July 16 announced the discovery of missiles
and other military equipment on the North Korean-flagged freighter Chong
Chon Gang, underneath a shipment of sugar.

Cuba said they were aging defensive weaponry including surface-to-air
missile systems, fighter jets and engines that were being sent to North
Korea for repairs.

State-run website Cubadebate said Castro gave the letter to Venezuelan
President Nicolas Maduro at a meeting between the two men Friday.

Cubadebate published photographs this weekend of Maduro and Castro, who
wore a white warm-up jacket over a plaid collared shirt.

Castro was forced to step aside by a near-fatal intestinal condition in
2006 in favor of his younger brother Raul, and is rarely seen in public
these days.

Source: "HAVANA: Fidel Castro: 'Slander' over case of seized arms -
Politics Wires - MiamiHerald.com" -
http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/28/3527469/fidel-castro-slander-over-case.html Continue reading
Corrupción, indiferencia y resignación [29-07-2013] Alberto Medina Médez (www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- Cierta impotencia, bronca e indignación puede convertir determinadas percepciones superficiales en verdades absolutas e irrefutables. Eso sucede con la corrupción. Se trata, de un fenómeno casi universal que se presenta con tonalidades que van desde las más burdas a las más disimuladas. Su creciente virulencia y [...] Continue reading