We run various sites in defense of human rights and need support in paying for servers. Thank you.


Cubaverdad on Twitter

Daily Archives: February 15, 2015

… :35Mexico, Feb 15 (Prensa Latina) Cuba Domadores won 4-1 Mexico Guerreros … Brian González was defeated by Cuban Andy Cruz, with a verdict … the 64 kg division, the Cuban double World silver medalist Yasnier … division of 75 kilograms, the Cuban Arlen López excelled in combinations … Continue reading
  POCAS ESPERANZAS

LA HABANA.- La política de los Castro ha sido un boomerang. Nunca antes en Cuba tantas personas han idolatrado la cultura, el consumismo y el modo de vida estadounidense como ahora



Leer todo   -   Cuba Continue reading
… relationship up with Cuban officials in Washington and Havana [over the last … our exports and help the Cuban people with food products.” Virginia … mission for the Cuban Interests Section in Washington and Cuba’s top … Cuban government to send poultry there in 2007. But access to CubaContinue reading

A pocas semanas del anuncio de Barack Obama de permitir que las empresas de telecomunicaciones estadounidenses ofrezcan sus servicios en la Isla, el Gobierno de Raúl Castro está dejando claros los límites del mundo virtual. Últimamente los voceros oficiales se han dado a la tarea de explicar a la población que la baja conectividad no se debe a una decisión gubernamental, y éste parece ser el propósito del Primer Taller Nacional de Informatización y Ciberseguridad, que ha sido convocado para los días 18, 19 y 20 de febrero.

Según explica el diario Granma, en el evento participarán más de 11.000 informáticos cubanos, “la mayoría interconectados por videoconferencia”. La cita se encamina a perfilar una política de informatización que rija en todo el país, en un momento en que las presiones por un pleno acceso a la web ganan fuerza. Fenómenos alternativos, como la distribución de materiales audiovisuales en los llamados combos o paquetes, también han estado empujando a las autoridades del Ministerio de Comunicaciones a tomar algunas decisiones al respecto.

Los 19 y 20 de febrero, alrededor de “260 especialistas compartirán criterios en comisiones acerca de cuatro temas fundamentales”, refirió el órgano oficial del partido comunista. La agenda incluye “los recursos humanos y científicos de los que dispone el país, el gobierno electrónico, seguridad informática y economía y legalidad”. A lo largo de la Isla se habilitarán 21 sedes donde los usuarios interesados en participar en el debate podrán acceder a las discusiones. A través del sitio www.mincom.gob.cu será posible opinar y hacer preguntas sobre los temas en discusión, según declaró al portal Cubadebate, Ailyn Febles Estrada, vicerrectora de la Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas (UCI).

Uno de los resultados más singulares del evento radica en la gestación de una nueva organización social que agrupará a los profesionales del país vinculados a las TIC (Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación), donde podrían integrarse los graduados de diversas carreras como Informática, Ciencias de la Computación, Telecomunicaciones, Automática. Es un claro intento de aglutinar a los cubanos con conocimientos informáticos, muchos de los cuales están brindando servicios en el sector privado de la reparación de ordenadores y teléfonos inteligentes.

[[QUOTE:La implementación de un modelo al estilo chino, con una potente ciberpolicía y un extenso cortafuego para censurar, se va perfilando]]

La palabra Ciberseguridad en el título de esta cita también ha hecho saltar las alarmas, pues en los últimos años el Gobierno ha aumentado su batalla ideológica en Internet. La implementación de un modelo al estilo chino, con una potente ciberpolicía y un extenso cortafuego para censurar contenido y filtrar sitios, se va perfilando como una prioridad de las autoridades cubanas.

El anuncio de este taller se suma a la reciente promesa de directivos de la Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) de que se abrirán 136 nuevas "salas de navegación" en el primer trimestre de este año. La mayoría de ellas estarán ubicadas en los Joven Clubs de Computación, donde los usuarios abonarán el tiempo de conexión en moneda nacional. A finales de 2014 existían en todo el país 155 salas colectivas de navegación, con un total de 573 plazas para acceder al servicio a través del pago en pesos convertibles.

Según el recién publicado informe Freedom on the Net 2014, que analizó 65 países entre mayo de 2013 y mayo de 2014, Cuba es el único país de América Latina calificado como "no libre" en cuanto al acceso a Internet. El estudio señala las limitaciones para el acceso a la gran telaraña mundial, además de la censura de ciertas páginas y de los altos precios de una conexión desde locales públicos.


Continue reading
… Netherlands to train for eventing, Cuban trainers are creating prized competitors … professional sports. Since 2005, however, Cuba has been importing and training … Park on the outskirts of Havana, and is investing the proceeds … for high-quality show-jumping horses and Cuba’s programme could be important … Continue reading
… infected has been identified in Cuba. The aggressive variant was seen … team studied 95 recently infected Cuban patients. They pinpointed a mutated … , but is more widespread in Cuba, researchers said. It responds to … Continue reading
… report about the outbreak in Cuba, that shows no signs of … variant observed in patients in Cuba appears to be much more … infected." Patients found in Cuba had not previously been diagnosed … new CRF19 strain discovered in Cuba seems to eliminate that option … Continue reading
Los cubanos participarán también en juegos deportivos castrenses, conferencias de seguridad y cooperación militar Continue reading

El viceministro de Defensa de Rusia, Anatoli Antonov, aseguró este domingo que Moscú no tiene planes de emplazar bases militares en América Latina, aunque admitió que estudia la posibilidad de crear "puntos de avituallamiento y apoyo técnico" en algunos países de esa región, reporta EFE.

"Con algunos estados estudiamos la posibilidad de instalar puntos de avituallamiento y apoyo técnico. Quiero subrayar que en ningún caso de trata de crear bases", dijo Antonov en una entrevista con la agencia Interfax.

leer más

Continue reading
Aquel 12 de marzo de 1899, si hubiera existido un frente patriótico con un plan de acción común, la historia habría sido otra Continue reading

Los primeros pomos plásticos de litro y medio que conocí eran de Pepsi Cola. No recuerdo cómo llegaron esos pomos a mi casa, pero debe haber sido a mediados de los noventa, cuando mi abuelo comenzó a trabajar en el turismo para una empresa que traía viajeros canadienses a Cuba. 

Eran pomos plásticos de dos piezas, el pomo y la base. El pomo era transparente como los de hoy, pero con una base pegada que, al menos en aquellos pomos de refresco, era negra. Fueron un bien que conservamos con esmero, pues hacerse con un pomo de refresco era difícil aunque estuviera vacío. También por eso puedo narrar con detalle su decadencia. 

La base de aquellos pomos era lo primero que comenzaba a deteriorarse. El deterioro del pomo no era tan lamentable como perder la base negra. La razón es que en aquellos pomos, a diferencia de los actuales, en los que base y pomo son una misma cosa, el fondo era redondo y una vez que perdían la base no podían pararse. Cuando los pomos se hicieron más cotidianos, era normal ver refrigeradores con varios de estos pomos siempre acostados.

Antes del pomo plástico de refresco, en Cuba solo eran conocidas las botellas y las latas. Las latas las conocimos, como mismo nos pasó con los pomos, con las bebidas extranjeras. 

Recuerdo que las primeras latas que conocí las llevaba a la escuela Persi Alvarado Sariol, mi gran amigo de la primaria, pues su papá, que luego resultó ser el agente Fraile, un espía cubano de origen guatemalteco, se las traía del extranjero o quizás se las compraba aquí mismo en las tiendas de diplomáticos. 

Hablo del año 87, mucho antes de la legalización del dólar y la apertura para los cubanos de las tiendas donde se podía comprar con aquella moneda. Las latas vacías eran objetos de colección y cuando una vecina que trabajaba en embajadas y por ello podía tener cosas como refrescos y cervezas enlatadas, comenzó a botarlas en el patio de su casa, algunos amigos que detectamos el malbaratamiento de aquel caudal buscábamos a ratos en su basura para engrosar nuestro patrimonio.

Que yo recuerde, la primera lata que vi con bebida cubana era de refresco TropiCola, estaría yo en sexto grado, así que debió ser también en el 87 o el 88. Y si mi memoria no me falla, pero la memoria falla con facilidad, aquellas latas especificaban que habían sido fabricadas en el extranjero.

Pero la lata no era de la utilidad del pomo plástico, aunque en la actualidad muchas cafeterías particulares la usan como molde para pequeños flanes. Solo que estoy hablando de una época en que vender flanes estaba prohibido. 

El pomo plástico me permitió comprar el refresco que vendían en el Ferreteros, el club de 1era y 20 en Miramar, y llevarlo cómodamente en jaba a la casa. Antes de eso usaba unos pozuelos que no cerraban herméticamente y transportarlos llenos de refresco era incómodo.

Recuerdo que en las Tiendas INTUR (Instituto Nacional de Turismo), a las que también se les llamaba diplotiendas, había unas jabas blancas que tenían un caracol amarillo. Creo que decían en letras azules Tiendas INTUR y abajo easy shopping, de donde debe haber salido la palabra chopin que se usaba popularmente para llamar aquellos establecimientos y sirve aún para nombrar las tiendas en dólares o CUC.

Pero esas jabas de nailon no eran comunes, precisamente porque para los cubanos comprar en estas tiendas estaba prohibido. Hasta su legalización a mediados de los 90, tener un dólar en el bolsillo era un delito que llevaba a la cárcel, y las diplotiendas o chopin eran lugares cerrados a los que los cubanos no podíamos entrar. No es que difícilmente entrábamos, sino que, de acompañar a un extranjero a comprar algo, los cubanos teníamos que permanecer afuera.

Sin embargo, cuando se pudo tener dólares y se nos permitió entrar a esas tiendas –las acciones no eran coincidentes, los hoteles también eran en esa moneda y no se nos permitió hospedarnos en ellos hasta muchos años después–, la jaba de nailon se hizo popular. 

Quizás muchos ya no lo recuerden, pero en el momento de abrir las tiendas para los cubanos, los precios subieron drásticamente de un día para otro. Es decir, los extranjeros, que ganaban en dólares, pagaban los productos más baratos. En cambio, los cubanos con un salario equivalente a 2 dólares —la divisa estaba entonces a 150 pesos, no a 24 como hoy— fueron castigados con precios más altos.

Las jabas de aquél entonces no eran jabas blancas como las actuales. En un principio, por la jaba se identificaba la cadena de tiendas a la que pertenecía. Había una cadena de tiendas cuyas jabas decían TRD, que quería decir Tienda de Recaudación de Divisas. Estas eran jabas blancas con las letras azules. Estaban las tiendas CIMEX y no recuerdo si las Tiendas Caracol, que eran unas jabas que tenían el antiguo caracol amarillo de las Tiendas INTUR, pero rediseñado en función de su nueva denominación. A CIMEX pertenecían las Tiendas Panamericanas, y con los años apareció PALCO, también con sus tiendas y sus jabitas con logotipo, y TRASVAL, cuyas jabas desaparecieron junto con la compañía, al poco tiempo de haber despuntado de manera formidable y sospechosa. 

La falta de identidad de las jabas actuales solo es achacable al hecho de que en nuestro país todas las tiendas están bajo control del Estado, y al monopolio no le importa atraer al cliente con reclamos hermosos, diversos o complacientes. 

Pero la jaba de nailon ha merecido un lugar especial en nuestro imaginario técnico. Con jabas de nailon los plomeros sellan los empates de las tuberías, los albañiles hacen relieves que imitan la piedra tosca para cubrir fachadas y los tapiceros rellenan colchones e imitan el mullido de los cojines. 

Nos protegemos de la lluvia con ellas y, estirada, una jaba de nailon es un magnífico lazo. Se las puede ver afianzando puertas sin cerraduras, cerrando cajas de herramientas o aguantando cualquier objeto a la parrilla de una bicicleta. Conocí incluso quien rellenó con jabas de nailon la goma de su bicicleta para sustituir la cámara y el aire.

Cuando en el mundo comenzó la campaña para disminuir el consumo de plásticos, y proliferaron los envases reciclables y la bolsa reutilizable, no pocos cubanos se sintieron pioneros en el último hallazgo de la economía de la prosperidad. 

Pero la nuestra es una economía de la miseria, y la jaba, el pomo y el pozuelo son compañeros inseparables de una tarea fundamental e inaplazable que nos obsesiona: conseguir la comida del día.

Los detalles de la miseria no se recuerdan con gusto ni se exhiben con complacencia. El intelecto, extraordinario como es, nos procura sin que se lo pidamos el olvido de episodios que pueden producir dolor o vergüenza. Cuando todo un Estado basa su gobernabilidad en la miseria general, rememorar se convierte en una acción social. Por eso, por significar a la vez un episodio ingrato pero también una denuncia colectiva, recordar es de los más heroicos actos de subversión contra el castrismo.

Continue reading

El presidente de Turquía, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, se declaró "fascinado" por el Palacio de la Revolución, donde lo recibió Raúl Castro durante su visita a Cuba, reporta EFE.

"Miren a Cuba. Vienen del socialismo. El palacio en Cuba me fascinó. No entras a un edificio de hormigón. No caminas por pasillos de mármol. El palacio de Cuba es magnífico", apuntó el mandatario turco, quien pasó 24 horas en la Habana durante su gira por Colombia, Cuba y México.

leer más

Continue reading
Para este politólogo argentino, los cubanos no tienen acceso a internet debido al “bloqueo” de Estados Unidos a la Isla Continue reading
… after only one week in Havana? Very little. There are exceptions … , likewise, not to identify the Cuban people with their government.) 3 … in Cuba and write in Cuba? Possibly not. The rebels in Cuba rebel … radically change or overthrow the Cuban government, and the United States … Continue reading
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's administration announced Friday it was allowing small private Cuban businesses to sell goods to U.S. entities, in a move that could potentially loosen a half-century Continue reading
, The Am Law Daily Share With Email Send Thank you for sharing! Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided. Two weeks after the Super Bowl, the National Football League Continue reading

La XXIV Feria del Libro de La Habana abrió este viernes sus puertas con una afluencia masiva de público en busca de algunos de los más de 2.000 títulos a la venta, pero con quejas de asistentes que no encontraron obras de autores populares en la Isla o de renombre internacional, reporta EFE.

"Venía buscando alguna de las novelas de (Leonardo) Padura o de (Daniel) Chavarría porque me gusta mucho la literatura policiaca, pero no he encontrado nada de eso", dijo Irene Arteaga, una jubilada aficionada a la lectura y habitual de la feria, que se clausurará el próximo 22 de febrero.

leer más

Continue reading
Havana Feb. 15 2015 A Cuban man has managed to filter through HavanaContinue reading
Your requested update has been submitted Our data partners will research the update request and update the information on this page if necessary. Research and follow-up could take several weeks. If Continue reading
Recently uncovered secret tapes from the White House show President John F. Kennedy may have used duplicity when it came to some of his most important accomplishments, including the struggle for civil Continue reading
Cuba. The U.S. announced Friday it was allowing small private Cuban … prospect of normalizing relations with Cuba. Some Cuban-American lawmakers strongly oppose Obama's shift in policy toward CubaContinue reading
La policía hondureña detiene a 25 cubanos en la frontera con Guatemala DDC | Tegucigalpa | 15 Feb 2015 – 11:34 am. Van más de 1.240 en mes y medio. La policía hondureña detuvo este sábado a 25 cubanos por no portar la documentación requerida para circular por el país. Se dirigían hacia la aduana […] Continue reading
Shortage of Condoms / 14ymedio, Rosa Lopez
Posted on February 14, 2015

14ymedio, ROSA LOPEZ, Pinar del Rio, 12 February 2015 – People in Pinar
del Rio didn't have to wait to read about it in the newspaper Granma.
For weeks the popular voice says it, louder and louder. "There are no
condoms," started to be heard like a whisper on the corners. "There are
no condoms," said the couples on hearing it and the teens warned their
parents before they went out on Saturday night. "There are no condoms,"
howl the pharmacy clerks when their customers dare to ask. The uproar
was such that finally this Wednesday the official organ of Communist
Party issued a formal answer.

Those who still have a sense of humor, after a month long shortage of
contraceptives in the country's westernmost province, suggest that
perhaps it's a government strategy to increase the birth rate. We will
have to see the birth statistics between September and October of this
year, although it could be that the number of abortions will also shoot
up in the coming weeks.

Before every shortage, some specialist always suggests a workaround.
That's what happened with the article published by the official
newspaper, which says that the Program of Prevention and Control of STDs
and HIV proposes that, given the scarcity of the product, "people find
alternatives, for example, limiting the sexual act to kissing, caresses
and masturbation…" Tell that to a customer burning with passion whose
store of condoms ran out at the end of last year!

What the note in Granma doesn't say is that contraceptives aren't the
only thing missing from pharmacies. A brief tour this morning of places
where medications are sold in the city of Pinar del Rio demonstrated
that other products have also been disappearing for weeks. Both in the
pharmacy on the central corner or Marti Street at Recreo, as well as the
one known as Camancho or the one located on the ground floor of the 12
story building on Maceo street, have empty shelves and drawers.

The shortages include drugs such as Meprobamate, anti-flu medications,
Dipyrone, Azithromycin, Prednisolone and Clotrimazole. What do the
public health authorities propose in the face of such shortages? Looking
for alternatives like with condoms? Will they then engage in the fantasy
to anticipate what the patients should do in the face of such shortages.

Source: Shortage of Condoms / 14ymedio, Rosa Lopez | Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/shortage-of-condoms-14ymedio-rosa-lopez/ Continue reading
Cubans of Milkless Coffee Put Their Feet on the Ground / Ivan Garcia
Posted on February 15, 2015

Ivan Garcia, Havana, 14 December 2015 — "The truce ended," bawled a
newspaper vendor on the bustling central Calzada de 10 de Octubre, in
south Havana.

Leaning against a peeling wall in the lobby of an old neighborhood movie
theater, the vendor offers the newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth)
to passersby who read, while they walk, an article by the historian
Elier Ramirez calling for Cubans to be cautious about the dark
intentions of the United States.

At the door of a farmers market stained with reddish earth and with
stands overflowing with pineapples, sweet potatoes and yucas, Roman, a
market clerk, reads the article seated on an iron chair.

"It's more of the same. They want to crush Cubans' widespread
expectations after the 17 December accords. The other day the newspaper
Granma also was marking territory, saying that our sovereignty is not
negotiable. Those people (the regime) are scared shitless. If the doors
really open, the system is going down. It won't last as long as an ice
cube in the sun," says Roman.

After noon, the old newspaper seller, sitting on a cardboard box in a
doorway next to an art gallery, eating a serving of rice and beans and a
slice of an omelet.

In a bag he still had more than thirty unsold newspapers. "We Cubans
don't care much about the news any more, good or bad. There are people
who buy the newspaper to wrap up their garbage or to use as toilet
paper. The enthusiasm awakened by the December 17th news has died down.
They (those in the government) want it that way. And that's why they're
saying the Yankees are the enemy and the people want to go to the US,"
says the old vendor.

At El Lateral, a private restaurant on Acosta Avenue, a group of friends
were drinking Cristal beer while waiting for their Hawaiian pizzas. They
preferred to talk about soccer, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo or "The Flea"
Messi.

The government's political manipulation of the issue of relations with
the United States. They haven't written even a comma to implement some
of the measures that could favor the owners of private businesses. They
don't want to leave the throne. They don't want people to live their
lives independently and to have a better standard of living. My advice:
leave Cuba. The sooner the better," says a boy with a quirky haircut.

In a park in the Havana neighborhood of Sevillano, Daniel, retired
military, looks after his grandson riding a bicycle. "People aren't
happy with the Cuban government's treatment of Obama's policy toward
Cuba. Most want the tensions to end. We're tired of the same broken
record. Cubans want to prosper," he says, lighting a Popular brand
cigarette.

"I wonder if the government thinks about the future. For the youngest
people, the Cold War is ancient history. Our differences are not theirs.
Cuban youth see the United States as an aesthetic reference and a model
life," says the ex soldier.

When asked about the issue of democracy and human rights, the silence is
profound. "I don't think you can pressure Raul Castro on that topic.
That political rights aren't respected in Cuba? It's true. But the
world, expect some dozen nations, in one way or another also violates
human rights. You have to wait for this generation of leaders to die for
there to be an opening in this land. The government has one last option:
get on the train and normalize relations. If they don't do it, it's
obvious to the people, who are already tired of everything," says Daniel.

In an Internet surfing room in the old part of Havana, a
twenty-something employee who sells mobile phone cars has her own
therapy to escape the political.

"For my mental health, i don't read the newspaper. I prefer to rent the
"packets" with soap operas, serials and movies. My personal goal is
short-term. Tonight I'm going out with a delicious "mango" (boy) who has
a car and money, and enjoy a disco. It is my present and my future. In
Cuba you can't pick a fight. Otherwise those old guys (the Castros) will
kill you with a heart attack," she says laughing.

The good vibrations provoked among many ordinary Cubans by the news of
December 17th is being displaced by the permanent indifference of the
olive-green regime. The desire for a radical change that could transform
their lives was just that: an illusion.

13 February 2015

Source: Cubans of Milkless Coffee Put Their Feet on the Ground / Ivan
Garcia | Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cubans-of-milkless-coffee-put-their-feet-on-the-ground-ivan-garcia/ Continue reading
Filete de res, picadillo de soya VICTOR ARIEL GONZÁLEZ, La Habana | 14/02/2015 Esta parábola está dedicada a los teóricos del régimen cubano, maestros del relativismo moral que intentan redefinir los conceptos de democracia, libertad y derechos humanos. Por más que quieran hacer creer otra cosa, filete de res es filete de res. Sólo me […] Continue reading
“Esto tomará tiempo pero vamos en la dirección correcta” El diplomático estadounidense asegura que la única negociación entre Washington y La Habana fue el intercambio de agentes de inteligencia ERNESTO HERNÁNDEZ, Miami | Febrero 13, 2015 El director para el Hemisferio Occidental en el Consejo de Seguridad Nacional de Estados Unidos, Ricardo Zúñiga, es el […] Continue reading
La imposible libertad de la isla LUIS LEONEL LEÓN 02/14/2015 8:00 PM 02/15/2015 1:00 AM En el principio era la libertad. Pero la libertad (entre utopías y miserias, temblorosa, etérea, fugaz, siempre entre Dios y el diablo) le fue robada a la isla. ¿Y qué es una isla sin libertad sino un anhelo insoportable, doblemente […] Continue reading
La senadora Claire McCaskill tiene previsto reunirse con diplomáticos, empresarios, trabajadores de la salud y otros grupos. Continue reading
US-Cuba relations still precarious despite deal
Published on the 14 February

EVEN as Americans look forward to buying Cohibas with their Amex cards,
US intransigence continues to crush Cuba, writes Brian Wilson

ON THE drive in from Jose Marti airport to downtown Havana, my driver
observes that it's cooler than usual due to a cold wind blowing down
from the United States.

At any other point in the past 50-odd years, he might have been talking
in political metaphor. Now the comment is purely climatic. There is a
very long way to go but the first breezes of liberalisation in US policy
towards Cuba are beginning to be felt though it takes a seasoned visitor
to discern the practical impacts.

Last week, for example, US visitors to Cuba were able to take cigars
home with them legally for the first time since the economic blockade
was introduced in 1962. The evening before the blockade came into force,
John F Kennedy sent his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, round
Washington to buy up 1,200 of his favourite Petit Upmanns – an act of
hypocrisy which Fidel Castro was still recounting half a century later.

As part of President Barack Obama's raising of travel restrictions, US
citizens can leave with up to $400 worth of goods including $100 in
tobacco and alcohol. It is a cautious first step which is hardly going
to transform the Cuban economy. But after so long, it is at least a step
in the direction of common sense and normalisation.

Within another couple of weeks, the departing Americans should be able
to pay for these souvenirs using their credit cards, as the US banking
embargo is lifted on individuals, though not yet on businesses. Using
American Express to buy Cohiba cigars in Havana begins to conjure up a
little bit of symbolism which suggests change is really starting to happen.

Incidentally, British banks are still slavishly following the American
line while their counterparts in other EU countries are not. A friend
who has business dealings with Cuba but keeps his personal account
entirely separate has just been told by a leading British bank that he
will have to close it after 35 years, because of his Cuban involvement.
Presumably when the Americans say it's OK to jump, our own banks will
timorously follow.

Havana's hotels are already bursting at the seams and, as has been the
case for several years, many of the occupants are from the United
States. It is a bit of a myth that Americans cannot visit Cuba as the
accents in the hotel lobbies confirm. Travel is allowed by Washington so
long as it is under headings like family ties, educational, religious or
humanitarian purposes.

President Obama's initial measures expand the number of exempt headings
while leaving in place the general travel ban – part of the battery of
embargo legislation that would require Congressional approval to repeal.
All the American airlines are now discussing the reintroduction of
scheduled services and the first such flights between New York and
Havana are due to start next month. The number of American visitors
should double this year to over a million.

The flourishing tourism business is abetted by a widespread desire to
"get there before it changes". In truth, there is not a lot of need to
rush. This is going to be a long, slow process and the scale of
investment required to make a real difference to the Cuban economy and
infrastructure is not going to happen any time soon.

When it does, it will be at a pace dictated by the Cubans and not at the
behest of Washington alone. The Cuban government welcomes the mood of
détente but has absolutely no intention of being passive in the process.
Cuba has survived for a long time in the face of Washington's
vindictiveness and the desire for a sensible relationship does not mean
that it will open the economic or political floodgates.

This is already being made clear at many levels. For example, the
decision by Obama to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba is not
without its complications and conditions from the Havana end. Absurdly,
Cuba is still on a US State Department list of "state sponsors of
terrorism" along with North Korea and Iran. This is the rationale that
underpins many of the financial sanctions which Washington imposes.

Obama has asked John Kerry to review Cuba's presence on that list and he
is universally expected to recommend its removal within the next few
months. Meanwhile, the Cubans – who find this "terror state" designation
deeply offensive – may tell Washington that diplomatic relations can
wait until then. The appointment of an ambassador will then be subject
to Congressional approval and that is where much of the political
grandstanding in Washington will be focused.

Discussions around all of these tricky issues are going on behind the
scenes and there is a will on both sides to find ways of addressing them
without stalling the momentum for change. The language used by
Washington is very important. As far as the Cubans are concerned, this
is about ending an illegal blockade which has crippled their economy and
imposed great hardships upon their people. It is not about the internal
affairs of Cuba.

The more the Obama administration tries to appease hard-line domestic
critics by suggesting otherwise, the greater the determination of the
Cubans to stick strictly to protocol. Yet neither side wants this
opportunity to founder on the rocks of rhetoric or ideology. There is an
acute awareness that Obama has less than two years left in office and
any change not made irreversible within that timescale could fall victim
to the veto or disinterest of a future president, particularly a
Republican one.

That said, party divisions within Congress are by no means clear cut. In
the last 20 years, there have been Republican governors and senators,
particularly from the wheat states, around town, desperate for access to
a market on their doorstep. The US is already the second biggest
exporter of food to Cuba, under various dispensations, but there are
many American interests ­with a vested interest in ­normalising
commercial ­relationships.

The fact that Cuba imports around 80 per cent of its food, at a
crippling cost to its economy, is a bleak reminder of how effective half
a century of economic attrition can be. For 30 of these years, Cuba was
sheltered from the storm by an alliance of necessity, far more than of
ideology, with the Soviet Union. When that disappeared overnight, Cuba
faced its most desperate period from which it has slowly recovered with
help from tourism, the high price of nickel and its oil-for-doctors and
teachers deal with Venezuela.

None of that has prevented the decline of investment-starved
infrastructure and agriculture. Cuba was once the world's biggest sugar
producers at eight million tonnes a year. That figure fell to barely a
million tonnes and is rising slowly. Cuba could again be an exporter of
food to the region. But vast acreages have fallen into disuse because
the blockade ensures there is little money to invest in the equipment
and technology the soil cries out for.

Economic reforms introduced by Raoul Castro have created tens of
thousands of small businesses. There is a real sense of what could be
achieved in more normal circumstances. But the fundamental challenges
cannot be addressed until it is possible for investment to take place on
a scale that remains unat­tainable until the blockade is lifted. And
that decision remains in the hands of the US Congress.

Indeed, there has been a paradoxical effect of moves towards
liberalisation. The closer it is perceived to be, the greater the
American vested interest in making life difficult for others who want to
get there first. Therefore, particularly via the banking system and with
the help of compliant governments, they continue to bully anyone with
any trace of American economic involvement into not doing business with
Cuba.

The incremental changes now going on, and momentum within the United
States itself, may eventually prevail. For the time being, the
counter-productive cruelty of the American blockade can only be nibbled
at and not erased. There are very few Americans in these hotel lobbies
who would dissent from the view that Obama is on the right track but
also that Congress should respond by abandoning the whole apparatus of
economic persecution.

As the waves break over the Malecon, the great boulevard along Havana's
seafront which is now a Unesco World Heritage site, they might also
recall at this critical moment in American policy-making that if it had
not been for the revolution, the whole lot was due to be demolished to
make way for a ghastly vision which was then transferred instead to the
Nevada desert and named Las Vegas.

That is a living reminder of why Cuba will never offer an open door to
the Americans – as opposed to the civilised relationship built on mutual
respect which President Obama has pointed the way ­towards but cannot
himself ­deliver.

• Former Labour minister Brian Wilson is chairman of Havana Energy, a
company promoting renewable energy in Cuba

Source: US-Cuba relations still precarious despite deal - The Scotsman -
http://www.scotsman.com/news/us-cuba-relations-still-precarious-despite-deal-1-3690676 Continue reading
New Jersey Technology Council is heading to Cuba
IN THE MONEY BLOG
Michael L. Diamond, @mdiamondAPP 11:52 a.m. EST February 13, 2015

Cuba may be a hot button of political debate, but a group of New Jersey
business leaders sees nothing but dollar signs.

The New Jersey Technology Council said it will lead a delegation to Cuba
in April to talk to Cuban officials and business people about partnerships.

James Barrood, the trade group's chief executive officer, said the
potential is enormous. Cuba's infrastructure, from its electrical grid
to Wi-Fi, is behind the times, and he thinks New Jersey companies could
lend a hand - and find a windfall.

(I say, as I navigate our potholed roads to the coffee shop, where my
Wi-Fi is cutting in and out. But, apparently, it could be worse. I could
be in Cuba.)

President Obama opened the door to the trip, when he announced in
December that he would lift travel restrictions to Cuba in a bid to
improve relations.

The trip, April 12 through April 18 via a charter flight from Miami,
might not be embraced by everyone. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and a
Cuban American, has been among the most outspoken critics of the shift,
saying it would reward a repressive regime.

His constituents, though, risk losing business to other states that no
doubt are preparing their own trade missions.

Barrood is leading the contingent that includes:

* Gene Waddy, CEO of Diversant, the Middletown-based staffing firm.

* Scott Megill, president and CEO of Coriell Life Sciences in Camden.

* James M. Golubieski, president of New Jersey Health Foundation.

* Monica Smith – Chairwoman, Founder Marketsmith Inc., a marketing firm
in Parsippany.

* David Shulkin, CEO of Morristown Medical Center.

* Venu Myneni, CEO of Radiant Systems Inc., an energy company in South
Plainfield.

* Darren Hammell, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Princeton
Power Systems, an energy management company in Lawrenceville.

*Luiz Iole, director of Latin America at Sharp Electronics Corp., whose
U.S. headquarters is in Mahwah.

I'm curious to know what you think. Good idea? Inappropriate?

Source: New Jersey Technology Council is heading to Cuba -
http://www.app.com/story/inthemoney/2015/02/13/new-jersey-technology-council-is-heading-to-cuba/23347799/ Continue reading
U.S., CUBA PLAY UNIQUE ROLES IN ABOLISHING SLAVERY
Bill Federer recounts real history of world's forced labor
BILL FEDERER About | Email | Archive

Nearly all ancient cultures made captives of war serve as slaves, such
as in Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, China, India, Africa and Rome.

Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and brought so many captured slavic peoples
into to Rome that the term "slav" took the connotation of permanent servant.

Over half of Rome's population were slaves.

Another form of slavery was generational indebtedness, spread by Roman
Emperor Diocletian.

The Roman economy was so bad that people unable to pay their mortgages
abandoned their properties, renounced their Roman citizenship and went
off to live with the barbarians.

Diocletian made it so people could never be free from their debts, tying
them and their children to the land in perpetuity, creating the feudal
system.

When Muslims conquered areas of Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece
and the Mediterranean, over a million Europeans were carried off into
slavery. Medieval Catholic religious orders of the Trinitarians or
"Mathurins" collected donations to ransom people from Muslim slavery.
Muslims enslaved an estimated 180 million Africans over its 1,400 year
expansion.

In pre-Columbian America, the Inca Empire had a system of mandatory
public service known as mita, similar to the Aztec's tlacotin.

When Spain conquered the New World in the early 1500s, conquistadors
deposed Indian government leaders and ruled in their stead.

As Indian populations had been trained to obey government orders, they
willingly obeyed their new leaders, even though it meant dying in forced
labor such as in the Potosi silver mines.

Spaniards set up a system called encomienda or repartimiento, which was
similar to feudal France's Corvée "unfree labour."

Priests like Bartolomé de las Casas, Franciscan Friars and Papal Bulls
ended the enslavement of Indians.

Those wanting slaves replaced Indians with Africans purchased from
Muslim slave markets.

A notorious trade triangle developed with Havana, Cuba, at its center:
Slaves from Africa to sugar from the Caribbean to rum in England.

In North America, Christian missionaries and movements, especially
Quakers, Moravians and Methodists, were a voice of conscience against
slavery.

Many poor Europeans sold themselves as "indentured servants," a
temporary slavery for seven years, in exchange for transportation to
America.

King James II, followed by Charles I and Oliver Cromwell, sold over
500,000 Irish Catholics into slavery throughout the 1600s onto
plantations in the West Indies Islands of Antigua, Montserrat, Jamaica,
Barbados, as well as Virginia and New England.

Some North American Indians were sold into slavery in the West Indies.

The first African slaves were brought to North America on a Dutch ship
to Virginia in 1619.

Importation of slaves to the United States ended in 1807, but in 1839,
an international incident occurred. A Portuguese ship from Sierra Leone
sold 53 slaves to Spanish Planters on the Cuban ship Amistad.

On July 1, 1839, the African slaves broke free of their shackles and
seized control of the ship, demanding to be sailed back to Africa. The
captain misdirected the ship, sailing slowly east during the day, but
quickly west at night, landing at Long Island, New York, where the
slaves were arrested.

The Amistad case went to the Supreme Court. Former President John Quincy
Adams, now 74 years old, defended the jailed Africans.

Adams stated, "By the blessing of God, I will argue the case before the
Supreme Court."

He wrote in his journal, October 1840: "I implore the mercy of God to
control my temper, to enlighten my soul, and to give me utterance, that
I may prove myself in every respect equal to the task."

Francis Scott Key offered John Quincy Adams legal advice.

Adams shook hands with Africans Cinque and Grabeau, saying: "God
willing, we will make you free."

John Quincy Adams, known as "Old Man Eloquent," argued in court: "The
moment you come to the Declaration of Independence, that every man has a
right to life and liberty, an inalienable right, this case is decided. I
ask nothing more in behalf of these unfortunate men than this Declaration."

Against all odds, John Quincy Adams won freedom for the Africans.

President James Buchanan wrote Dec. 19, 1859: "When a market for African
slaves shall no longer be furnished in Cuba … Christianity and
civilization may gradually penetrate the existing gloom."

In 1868, a revolt began in Cuba by a farmer of Spanish descent crying
out for racial equality, freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Spain put down the Cuban revolt in the Ten Years War, killing thousands.

A Spanish Royal decree finally ended slavery in Cuba in 1886.

In 1895, another rebellion began in Cuba, and Spain sent 200,000
soldiers to put it down. Thousands were put into concentration camps
where they suffered from starvation, disease and exposure.

Yellow Press journalism excited the American public, who demanded
President William McKinley intervene.

The U.S.S. Maine was sent to Havana, and on Feb. 15, 1898, it blew up in
the harbor under suspicious conditions, beginning the Spanish-American War.

President McKinley approved the Resolution of Congress: "Whereas the
abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the
island of Cuba, so near our own borders, have shocked the moral sense of
the people of the United States, have been a disgrace to Christian
civilization, culminating, as they have, in the destruction of a United
States battle ship, with 266 of its officers and crew, while on a
friendly visit in the harbor of Havana, and cannot longer be endured. …
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives … that the people of
the island of Cuba are and of right ought to be free."

Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.

Source: U.S., Cuba play unique roles in abolishing slavery -
http://www.wnd.com/2015/02/u-s-cuba-play-unique-roles-in-abolishing-slavery/ Continue reading
Hollywood and Havana inch closer with new Cuba regulations
By Christine Armario, The Associated Press
POSTED: 02/15/15, 12:03 AM EST

LOS ANGELES >> Fermin Rojas was thick into filming his documentary on
Cuban artists in Havana when a small wire connecting a camera to a
monitor snapped. There was no BestBuy nearby or FedEx delivery to
quickly ship a replacement to the Cuban capital.

"It took us three days to find another," the Cuban-born U.S. filmmaker
recalled.

For years, a small contingent of U.S. directors and producers has
managed to legally travel and film in Cuba despite the U.S. embargo
against the country, navigating a maze of ever-changing U.S. Treasury
Department regulations to get approval. Once in Cuba, they've been bound
to working with just the few cameras and equipment they are able to
bring and a tight cash-only budget with no access to an ATM.

Under President Barack Obama's new regulations, which went into effect
this month, documentary filmmakers will no longer need to apply for
permission to travel to Cuba from the U.S. government.

The process of filming should be simpler as well: The ban prohibiting
U.S. banks and credit card companies from operating on the island and
the cap on daily expenses have been lifted. American Express Co. and
MasterCard have announced plans to start doing business in Cuba.

And down the line, American companies could help boost the island's
Internet and communication systems.

The eased trade and travel measures are expected to increase the number
of U.S. filmmakers shooting on the island. However, a major Hollywood
production still appears a distant prospect.

While documentary filmmaking is permitted, travel for feature-length
commercial films is not specifically authorized. Even if it were, there
remain a number of barriers: The U.S. embargo is still in place and
Cuba's tightly-controlled economy is stagnant.

"It's still not an open door," said Bill Martinez, a California-based
attorney who has helped U.S. filmmakers travel to Cuba.

Hollywood and Havana's relationship dates back to the 1920s, when the
Fox Film Corporation filmed scenes for its "Movietone Follies" in Cuba.
Despite decades of sour U.S.-Cuba relations, many celebrities have been
unafraid to flaunt their affection for the island: Beyonce and Jay-Z
notoriously visited Cuba — legally — to celebrate their anniversary in
2013. Sean Penn visited and interviewed Raul Castro in 2008.

Filming in Cuba, however, has remained a vexing odyssey.

To produce his film "Alumbrones," examining the work and life of 12
Cuban artists, Rojas and director Bruce Donnelly contracted a Canadian
production company to help obtain a Cuban government film permit. The
post-production work was done in Brazil.

Alysa Nahmias, the director of "Unfinished Spaces," an award-winning
documentary on Cuba's revolutionary National Arts Schools, said it took
10 years to finish her film working on a cash-only budget on the island.
Bob Yari, who filmed a feature-length Ernest Hemingway biopic "Papa" on
the island last year, said it was hard to do basic tasks like pay crew
members.

"I think those things are going to be much simpler now," he said.

A number of new works filmed in Cuba are now underway: Actor Matt Dillon
is making a film on Afro-Cuban music. The Discovery Channel is filming
"Cuban Chrome," which will follow Cuban car mechanics trying to keep
their classic American cars on the road. Rojas is working on a second
documentary, chronicling the life and work of a gay men's jazz ensemble
he founded in Havana.

The filmmaking bubble comes at a time when Cuba's independent film
community is thriving despite limited access to digital technology. Film
will be an important channel to share stories and bridge a five-decade
divide, said Catherine Murphy, a producer for Dillon's documentary.

"That's what's beautiful about documentaries," said Murphy, who spent
eight years producing the documentary "Maestra" on the women teachers
behind Cuba's 1961 National Literacy Campaign. "The power of the human
story."

There are economic motives for Hollywood to return to Havana as well —
it's cost effective. Cuba offers low labor and material fees.

And aside from a lush tropical landscape, Cuba offers something that
hasn't changed much since the last time Hollywood had a significant
presence in Havana: Locations that still look like the 1950s.

Source: Hollywood and Havana inch closer with new Cuba regulations -
http://www.middletownpress.com/business/20150215/hollywood-and-havana-inch-closer-with-new-cuba-regulations Continue reading
A New Cruise to Cuba
By ELAINE GLUSAC FEBRUARY 15, 2015

Under newly relaxed regulations governing travel to Cuba, Cuba Cruise is
offering Americans seven-night trips that circumnavigate the island.

In the past, American passengers had to book lengthier land-and-sea
itineraries with a sanctioned American tour operator. Now securing
passage aboard the 1,200-passenger Louis Cristal involves reserving the
trip with Cuba Cruise, a Canadian company, and registering for a
People-to-People Program with the Fund for Reconciliation and
Development, an American nonprofit. The organization then issues a
participant letter authorizing travel.

Sailors can embark in Montego Bay, Jamaica, or in Havana for trips that
include visits to six Unesco World Heritage Sites in and around Santiago
de Cuba, Cienfuegos and the capital. Americans are limited to
educational shore excursions, all of which are optional, including
visits to Fidel Castro's birthplace, the mountains of Baconao Park, the
Spanish colonial city of Trinidad and Havana via a vintage auto.

The cruises run through March and will resume in December. They start at
782 Canadian dollars a person, or $637.50 at 1.22 Canadian to the U.S.
dollar, plus port fees (178 Canadian dollars) and the cost of
registration ($75), excluding airfare.

Source: A New Cruise to Cuba - NYTimes.com -
http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/a-new-cruise-to-cuba/?_r=0 Continue reading
… War. The ship exploded in Havana harbor, in suspicious circumstances, 117 … Maine had even sailed for Cuba, the strongly anti-militarist Nation suggested … . No American men-of-war have visited Havana for more than two years … one Senator expressed it, fill Havana harbor with war-ships. If the … Continue reading
Durante el 2015 los militares cubanos participarán en Rusia tanto en maniobras militares, juegos deportivos castrenses como en conferencias de seguridad y cooperación militar. Continue reading
The Honey That Used To Heal Us / Cubanet, Reinaldo Cosano
Posted on February 13, 2015

Cubanet.org, Reinaldo Emilio Cosano Alen, Havana, 6 February 2015 – Bee
venom is considered 500 thousand times superior to any antibiotic. But
where to find that medicine and food, previously so abundant, older than
mankind?

The sick man came to the clinic with a bad cough. The doctor diagnosed
bronchopneumonia. She prescribed antibiotics. And issued the challenge:
"If you find honey, don't stop taking it."

After many inquiries he found a farmer who empties his hives, puts the
honey into discarded rum bottles and sells them on the black market for
50 Cuban pesos (two dollars; a fifth of the average monthly salary) each.

It is not worth questioning the hygiene of the package or the quality of
the honey, issues that are for the European Union and other importing
countries. The Apicultural Research Center in Havana analyzes and
certifies nine physical-chemical parameters for all honey for exportation.

"Here we check aspects like moisture, diastase and hydroxymethylfurfural
– which describes the freshness of honey – acidity, electrical
conductivity, non-soluble solids, reducing sugars and apparent sucrose,"
explains Maidelys Pena Garcia, technician in Food Technology in that
laboratory. (…) For the export of honey to the European Union there
exist rigorous regulations, among them limits on residues of prohibited
substances like pesticides and antibiotics.

Some years ago they stopped selling honey in the pretty pitcher-shaped
glass jars in the CUC (hard currency) stores. There was no explanation
why the State, which controls honey from the agricultural phase to the
retail, gave up the lucrative business in the so-called border market
(in foreign currency). It was also sold at reasonable prices in state
farmers markets. What happened to the honey?

Even the popular honey-filled candies disappeared from the marketplace
some unknown time ago.

"The state buys all the honey from the farmers but the lack of honey in
the domestic market incites traffic on the black market, theft of hives.
The hives are mistreated because the thieves always are in a hurry,"
says Diosdado Ferrer, an old beekeeper from the Mayabeque province.

Deforestation and frequent periods of drought are other causes that
reduce the production of honey, royal jelly, propolis and wax. The bees
can die of hunger. A temporary solution is the transfer of the hives to
sites with better blooming, among them the coastal flowering mangroves.


Each worker bee visits some 7,200 flowers during his fifty days of life
in some two hundred thousand flights in order to make barely five grams
of honey!

Bees and other useful insects effectively contribute to the pollination
of flowers and the production of fruit, another cause of the reduction
of agricultural production in the country.

"Bees form part of the food production chain, hence the great concern
about their deaths. In temperate climate countries 30 percent of foods
that are produced are thanks to bee pollination," says Doctor Adolfo
Lopez Pinero, director of the Apiculture Research Center.

Our grandparents cured themselves with honey from bees, which was sold
in all the stores of the country. But that was also when we were the
world's sugar bowl. The bees are not at fault.

Translated by MLK

About the Author:

Reinaldo Emilio Cosano, Havana, May 1943, graduate in Philology from the
University of Havana. He worked as a professor the last twenty years of
his professional life. He was fired from teaching for lack of "political
suitability," as recorded in the minutes of the final separation. He was
a member of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights and participated in the
Democratic Cuban Coalition. He has been writing for more than ten years
for CubaNet, through the Sindical Press agency, of which he is manager.
E-mail: cosanoalen@yahoo.com

Source: The Honey That Used To Heal Us / Cubanet, Reinaldo Cosano |
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-honey-that-used-to-heal-us-cubanet-reinaldo-cosano/ Continue reading
Una empresa canadiense ofrece a los estadounidenses viajes de 7 noches alrededor de la isla e incluyen visitas a la casa natal de Fidel Castro, Parque Baconao y ciudades como Trinidad y La Habana. Continue reading
El grupo de 180 cubanos están retenidos en Chiapas y lo conforman unos 140 hombres, más mujeres y menores de edad entre los 2 y 8 años. Continue reading
Sin embargo el edificio, ubicado tras la estatua a José Martí, forma parte de un proyecto monumental construido en tiempos de la República, cuya edificación duró desde finales de los años 50. Continue reading
During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, President John F. Kennedy consulted with his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, explaining the deal that pulled our country back from the brink of... Continue reading
Cuba says three baseball players flee island
Friday, February 13, 2015 | 2:56 PM

HAVANA, Cuba (AFP) — Cuba confirmed Friday that three baseball players
have fled the island, the latest in a series of defections affecting the
sports powerhouse.

Cuba's national baseball commissioner, Heriberto Suarez, identified the
men as utility player Osniel Madera, infielder Lazaro Alonso and catcher
Yoel Rojas -- all members of the Vegueros de Pinar del Rio club.

He provided no details on the circumstances around their departure, but
they had been rumoured to be missing for several days.

Vegueros de Pinar del Rio last week won the Caribbean Series held in
Puerto Rico, where two other Cuban players -- shortstop Dainer Moreira
and pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez -- were reported to have defected.

For the past two years, Cuba has allowed most athletes to travel abroad,
but the island's elite players must still get government permission.

The rosters of US Major League Baseball teams are peppered with Cuban
players who have made their way north.

Source: Cuba says three baseball players flee island - Latest News -
JamaicaObserver.com -
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Cuba-says-three-baseball-players-flee-island Continue reading
McCaskill Travels To Cuba, Hopes To Push Agricultural Trade
By JIM HOWARD

If U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Gov. Jay Nixon get their way,
Cubans will soon be dining on Missouri-grown rice, corn, pork, poultry
and soy products while driving pickup trucks manufactured in the state.
The two are aggressively pushing to open Cuba to trade following
President Barack Obama's announcement that the United States will
normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba.

As Congress leaves Washington for a week-long break, McCaskill and two
other U.S. senators are heading to Cuba for four days of meetings with
government officials, citizens and small business owners.

"We certainly can compete with any of the countries that are currently
providing commodities to Cuba, particularly our rice," McCaskill told
St. Louis Public Radio Thursday. "We're right on the Mississippi, we can
put it on a barge, and it can almost be in Cuba by nightfall."

For McCaskill, the trip has two primary objectives. "I'm hoping that I
will be able to determine what, if any, barriers remain and then share
that with our commodity producers in Missouri, who are all going down
(to Cuba) in March," McCaskill said.

Nixon is set to lead a trade mission to Cuba with several of the state's
agricultural organizations early next month. He's also taking the lead
among U.S. governors in promoting agricultural trade to improve
relations between the two countries quickly. In January, Nixon helped
launch a coalition of about 30 agricultural organizations and business
groups to push Congress to back the president's plans.

For her part, McCaskill has spent much of the last week doing her
homework and reaching out to the state's agricultural interests ahead of
her trip.

"I've got a big briefing book and I've begun to slog through it."
McCaskill said. She also met Thursday with the chief of the Cuban
Interest Section, Dr. Jose Ramon Cabanas Rodriquez, in Washington.

While the U.S. and Cuba do not yet have full diplomatic relations, they
do host so-called Interest Sections in each other's capital. The offices
handle many of the same functions as embassies but lack the full legal
distinctions and recognition that embassies enjoy.

Besides promoting Missouri agricultural products to government
officials, McCaskill and the other senators are scheduled to meet with
Cuban citizens and small business owners "and talk privately about what
life is like for them. The entrepreneurs are trying to make their way
through a very difficult regime in terms of being able to get out from
underneath government control."

On Capitol Hill, McCaskill has a reputation of asking direct, sometimes
pointed questions of federal officials and witnesses who appear before
Senate committees. While she says that she does have some "probing
questions" to ask that "might be a little uncomfortable" for individuals
in Cuba, she says she also plans to "keep in mind that I'm a guest of
Cuba, but I'm representing America. So, I want to be polite and show
them that we have good manners" she says, with a laugh.

McCaskill says she wants to know "how isolated" Cubans are from each
other and the rest of the world. "Why is the internet not as robust in
Cuba as it should be? Is that because (of) the ability to control what
citizens learn, or is it a technical problem or a lack of capability on
their part?"

The trip is being organized by the Centers for Democracy in the
Americas, but McCaskill says she and her husband, who will be joining
her on the trip, are paying their own way.

The group is among only a handful of lawmakers to visit Cuba since the
president announced his new policy. McCaskill is scheduled to return to
the United States on Tuesday.

Source: McCaskill Travels To Cuba, Hopes To Push Agricultural Trade |
St. Louis Public Radio -
http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/mccaskill-travels-cuba-hopes-push-agricultural-trade Continue reading

Los monarcas exponentes Domadores de Cuba mantuvieron su invicto este sábado en la V Serie Mundial de Boxeo (WSB, por sus siglas en inglés) al imponerse 4-1 a los Guerreros de México.

La única derrota de la escuadra cubana la sufrió el joven Johanys Argilagos (49 kg) ante el campeón panamericano Joselito Fernández, informa la prensa oficial de la Isla.

leer más

Continue reading
[1]Ivan Garcia, Havana, 14 December 2015 — “The truce ended,” bawled a newspaper vendor on the bustling central Calzada de 10 de Octubre, in south Havana. Leaning against a peeling wall in the lobby of an old neighborhood movie theater, the vendor offers the newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) to passersby who read, while they walk, an article by the historian Elier Ramirez calling for Cubans to be cautious about the dark intentions of the United States. At the door of a farmers market stained with reddish earth and with stands overflowing with pineapples, sweet potatoes and yucas, Roman, a market clerk, reads the article seated on an iron chair. “It’s more of the same. They want to crush Cubans’ widespread expectations after the 17 December accords. The other day the newspaper Granma also was marking territory, saying that our sovereignty is not negotiable. Those people (the regime) are scared shitless. If the doors really open, the system is going down. It won’t last as long as an ice cube in the sun,” says Roman. After noon, the old newspaper seller, sitting on a cardboard box in a doorway next to an art gallery, eating a serving of rice and beans and a slice of an omelet. In a bag he still had more than thirty unsold newspapers. “We Cubans don’t care much about the news any more, good or bad. There are people who buy the newspaper to wrap up their garbage or to use as toilet paper. The enthusiasm awakened by the December 17th news has died down. They (those in the government) want it that way. And that’s why they’re saying the Yankees are the enemy and the people want to go to the US,” says the old vendor. At El Lateral, a private restaurant on Acosta Avenue, a group of friends were drinking Cristal beer while waiting for their Hawaiian pizzas. They preferred to talk about soccer, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo or “The Flea” Messi. The government’s political manipulation of the issue of relations with the United States. They haven’t written even a comma to implement some of the measures that could favor the owners of private businesses. They don’t want to leave the throne. They don’t want people to live their lives independently and to have a better standard of living. My advice: leave Cuba. The sooner the better,” says a boy with a quirky haircut. In a park in the Havana neighborhood of Sevillano, Daniel, retired military, looks after his grandson riding a bicycle. “People aren’t happy with the Cuban government’s treatment of Obama’s policy toward Cuba. Most want the tensions to end. We’re tired of the same broken record. Cubans want to prosper,” he says, lighting a Popular brand cigarette. “I wonder if the government thinks about the future. For the youngest people, the Cold War is ancient history. Our differences are not theirs. Cuban youth see the United States as an aesthetic reference and a model life,” says the ex soldier. When asked about the issue of democracy and human rights, the silence is profound. “I don’t think you can pressure Raul Castro on that topic. That political rights aren’t respected in Cuba? It’s true. But the world, expect some dozen nations, in one way or another also violates human rights. You have to wait for this generation of leaders to die for there to be an opening in this land. The government has one last option: get on the train and normalize relations. If they don’t do it, it’s obvious to the people, who are already tired of everything,” says Daniel. In an Internet surfing room in the old part of Havana, a twenty-something employee who sells mobile phone cars has her own therapy to escape the political. “For my mental health, i don’t read the newspaper. I prefer to rent the “packets” with soap operas, serials and movies. My personal goal is short-term. Tonight I’m going out with a delicious “mango” (boy) who has a car and money, and enjoy a disco. It is my present and my future. In Cuba you can’t pick a fight. Otherwise those old guys (the Castros) will kill you with a heart attack,” she says laughing. The good vibrations provoked among many ordinary Cubans by the news of December 17th is being displaced by the permanent indifference of the olive-green regime. The desire for a radical change that could transform their lives was just that: an illusion. Photo from Cubanet 13 February 2015 [1] https://desdelahabanaivan.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/vendedor-de-peric3b3dico-la-habana-_mn-620x330.jpg Continue reading
… variant observed in patients in Cuba appears to be much more … HIV observed in patients in Cuba that makes this transition much … Continue reading