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Daily Archives: February 17, 2015

… shtick on the streets of Havana. It certainty has potential. Footage … also be the rum." Cuban officials said O'Brien … . would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, a steady stream of U … have also broadcast recently from Havana, O'Brien is the … Continue reading
… reopening embassies in Washington and Havana, will take place at the … the Cuban negotiators. The first round of talks took place in Havana last month, where some early divisions emerged. Cuba has … Cuba this week. The delegation arrived Tuesday and will meet with CubanContinue reading
… 17, 2015 4:37PM EST HAVANA, Cuba -- A new round of … in Havana and allow its diplomats to travel freely in Cuba, among … ," Warner told reporters in Havana on Tuesday. He did not … meeting with U.S. diplomats, Cuban government officials and private citizens … Continue reading
… .), who called the Loop from Havana on Tuesday afternoon as she … she walked down the streets, Cubans recognized her. And Dec. 17 … the possibility of opening up Cuba to American businesses and tourists … famously, Obama eased restrictions on Cuban cigars, allowing Americans to bring … Continue reading
Many prominent figures who consider themselves democrats enter into alliances — both tactical and strategic — as well as conversations with their political opponents based on dogma. One’s position on the embargo, as well as on renewed diplomatic relations with the United States, is a dividing line. This aspect of our national experience is a result of our proximity to the United States as well as to a corresponding anti-imperialism in the extreme. It weakens the fight for democracy and serves as a political ploy that only benefits the Cuban government. It has nothing to do with civic dialogue, which should be about more pressing issues such as the relationship of salaries to prices, the tax burden and the national budget. Society must make a concerted effort to diminish profound social differences — enriching, not impoverishing — and to eliminate the obstacles that prevent further economic development. It is very disingenuous to use a sham referendum as a means of choosing an “eternal” social model, especially since its eternity has failed to produce positive results in any country in which it has been tested. In our own country it now has so many loopholes that one is hard pressed to demonstrate that we even live under socialism. This is even more difficult when the measures adopted to relieve the economic crisis rely on capitalist remedies. It is also highly irresponsible to design a future for the regime’s heirs while locking out the nation’s voters. Let’s hope that — for reasons of dialectical sense and common sense — such a fate is, as much as possible, avoided. We need an open discussion about how to protect and fully enforce human rights, stripping away the aura of malignancy and subjectivity with which the government portrays them and making them binding. Civil society must take a leading role in dealing with these challenges. Rather than defining whether we are for or against the Embargo or diplomatic relations, it is ultimately a matter of whether we are for or against the Change. 11 February 2015 Continue reading
… By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) – The United States and Cuba will hold … sides held historic negotiations in Havana last month and the next … U.S. embassy in Havana before Cuba is officially removed from the … Washington to halt support for Cuban political dissidents, a step the … Continue reading
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El estado de Iowa es líder nacional en la producción de maíz y es el segundo del país en la producción de soja. Continue reading
HAVANA — On the freshly painted, … of Chabad’s Cuba operation, Chabad Friends of Cuban Jewry, or CFCJ … a barbed-wire gate in Old Havana, pictures of Lubavitch emissaries posing … at a rented location in Havana, Lubavitch emissaries refused entry to … Continue reading
La única arte de pesca que en lo adelante podrá utilizarse en el área marítima frente de la Zona Especial de Desarrollo Mariel (ZEDM) será la "línea de mano", como se dice en el argot de los pescadores Continue reading
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Cuba y Estados Unidos retomarán las conversaciones para normalizar sus relaciones bilaterales el próximo 27 de febrero en Washington, según ha informado este martes la portavoz del Departamento de Estado, Jen Psaki, en la rueda de prensa diaria. Continue reading
… first official House delegation to Cuba since the Obama Administration began … Maryland -- traveled down to Havana in December to bring back … who was held by the Cuban government for five years. Gross … included the return of three Cuban intelligence officials. This House delegation … Continue reading
Es el primer viaje oficial a la Isla de una delegación de la cámara baja de EEUU desde el inicio del proceso para reanudar las relaciones diplomáticas bilaterales Continue reading
… moved toward normal relations with Cuba and some members of Congress … . "This delegation travels to Cuba in friendship and to build … delegation will meet with Cuban government officials, Cuba's Catholic Cardinal … Human Rights Commission. Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on … Continue reading
La cita del mediador comunitario con los diputados españoles fue a iniciativa del legislador Teófilo de Luis, portavoz de asuntos cubanos en las cortes. Continue reading
17 febrero, 2015 El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba, Bruno Rodr Continue reading
La reuni Continue reading
… road — all the way to Cuba, in fact. The rust-haired comedian … weekend filming on location in Havana for an episode slated to … viewers “a rare glimpse into Cuban daily life.” We hope Conan … dish: The Cubano, a bite-sized meat-and-cheese sandwich born in Cuba and perfected … Continue reading
… scheduled to arrive Tuesday in Cuba as part of the first … group will meet with "Cuban government officials, Cardinal Jaime Ortega … . "This delegation travels to Cuba in friendship and to build … Continue reading
Se trata del primer viaje oficial a Cuba de una delegación de la cámara baja de EEUU desde el inicio del histórico proceso para reanudar las relaciones diplomáticas bilaterales. Continue reading
… moved toward normal relations with Cuba and some members of Congress … . "This delegation travels to Cuba in friendship and to build … delegation will meet with Cuban government officials, Cuba's Catholic Cardinal … Human Rights Commission. Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on … Continue reading
… Representatives will be heading to Cuba on Tuesday for the first … them. “This delegation travels to Cuba in friendship and to build … .” The delegation will meet with Cuban government officials, Cardinal Jaime Ortega … Continue reading
In funding Cuba port project, Brazil set to gain key foothold
February 17, 2015

- In helping fund Cuba port project, Brazil has its sights set on
becoming the island's No. 1 partner
- Cuba seeks to turn port of Mariel into main entry and transshipment point

Heavy trucks groan through the muddy hills, laden with cement mixers,
earthmovers and tractors. Gigantic cranes loom just beyond piers and
shipping containers in Cuba's Caribbean waters. Stern guards keep watch.

A billboard proclaims: "The economic battle is today our principal task."

Thirty-five years ago, this port on Cuba's northwestern coast rose to
international prominence when, in a matter of days, tens of thousands of
mostly poor Cubans boarded rickety boats and crossed the sea to Florida,
in a hostile maneuver by Fidel Castro to overwhelm U.S. shores.

Today, it is bustling with anticipation as the Cuban government, with
international assistance, tries to reinvent Mariel as a crossroads of
global trade and commerce.

If business and goods pour into Cuba as relations improve and
restrictions are relaxed with the U.S., this will be a main entry and
transshipment point.

Brazil, with its own geopolitical aims in mind, is footing much of the
$1-billion bill to modernize a massive deepwater port that could become
the largest in the Caribbean, and build a 180-square-mile "special
development" zone for industrial and energy production. The idea is
partly patterned after China's special economic zones, such as the city
of Shenzhen, which, beginning in 1978, was given breaks from regulations
and taxes and allowed to become an incubator for the country's explosive
economic growth.

"They are challenging nature," a worker was overheard saying as rain
carved rivulets in piles of gravel. Authorities would not let
journalists from The Times enter the port, saying permission was needed
from an office that didn't answer the telephone. The reporters' driver
was interrogated for about half an hour.

Still, it was clear that work was well underway. Dredging will deepen
the port to nearly 70 feet, allowing the entry of gigantic ships in the
region after completion of the Panama Canal expansion, as well as the
potential addition of a canal in Nicaragua, a controversial project that
would be built with Chinese financing.

"This will open a huge opportunity," said Omar Everleny Perez, an expert
with the University of Havana. He said Mariel could become a way station
for sea traffic from the Americas to Europe and beyond.

The project is focused at Mariel, about 30 miles from Havana, because
the capital's bay is more shallow and increasingly has become a tourist
attraction, not an industrial operation.

Brazil is not alone: China, Singapore and other countries are planning
to get in on the action. Among about 100 proposals for industrial
projects, China would like to build an automotive factory, Brazil wants
to produce pharmaceuticals, and several companies are planning solar,
wind and other energy enterprises, Perez said.

Already, Argentina sends frozen meat to Mariel for transshipment to
Europe, which is quicker than shipping it directly.

For Brazil, the port funding is an investment in the nation's quest to
be Cuba's No. 1 partner, as a former foreign minister put it, and to
establish itself as an alternative to Venezuela, which has cultivated a
special relationship with Cuba.

With the center-left Workers' Party in power since 2003, Brazil has also
long sought to secure its position as a dominant economic power in the
Western Hemisphere.

But picking up nearly $700 million of the nearly $1-billion tab stirred
opposition in Brazil, especially during President Dilma Rousseff's
reelection campaign last year. It is unclear whether Brazil could have
predicted President Obama's decision in December to restore U.S. ties
with Cuba after half a century, but Rousseff clearly felt vindicated.

"It was extremely criticized during the election campaign, but the
Mariel port has shown today just how important it is for the whole
region and for Brazil," Rousseff said after the announcement was made.
"It's strategic due to its closeness to the United States."

Cuba has used the Brazilian money also to build a railway and highway to
Mariel to make it easier to bring in supplies and merchandise.

In return for the port financing — provided by Brazil's development
bank, BNDES, via Brazilian companies that participated in the project —
it was agreed that at least $800 million would be spent on Brazilian
goods or services, and Brazilian companies will have a special place in
a future special economic zone.

"The BNDES financing for Mariel had two important impacts for the
Brazilian economy," the bank said in a statement. "It contributed to
Brazil's trade surplus by creating the conditions for high-value
technological exports … and supported the growth of Brazilian industry."

Although Brazil may be hoping for better access to the U.S. market, Cuba
and numerous U.S. businesses, especially in the agricultural sector,
also are counting on increased commerce between their countries.

But many experts caution: Not so fast.

First, the U.S. embargo imposed on Cuba in the early 1960s remains
largely intact, limiting American business dealings with Cuba. Obama has
loosened some of the restrictions, but only an act of Congress can lift it.

And, despite some openings in the Cuban economy, President Raul Castro
has insisted that the basic socialist tenets of his country will remain
intact. American businesses that hope to invest will face a slew of

For example, in the Mariel port, companies must hire local workers
through the government; the companies will pay the government top dollar
for the workers, who in turn receive only a minimum salary that can be
as low as $20 a month.

"You can still operate much more cheaply in Central America," said Gary
Maybarduk, a former U.S. diplomat in Cuba and member of the Assn. for
the Study of the Cuban Economy. Mariel "is a good location, but it's not
really better than Mexico. Maybe better for the [U.S.] East Coast. But
it's not cheap working in Cuba."

In Mariel, once a sleepy port town that became famous, or infamous,
during the 1980 boatlift, there is also anticipation.

Yolexeis Abat Duanes, 34, has been busy working with construction crews
at the port. "Before, all I was doing was building houses," he said.
"This is much bigger."

Francisco Clavel, a 60-year-old math teacher in Mariel and enthusiastic
backer of the 1959 revolution that brought the Castro dynasty and the
Communist Party to power, said Cuba will finally be able to get a bigger
piece of the Caribbean trade pie.

"We grew up believing in the revolution. I could study thanks to the
revolution. It did a lot for us," said Clavel, the son of a farmer. "I'm
confident in Cuba's future now more than ever."

Abel Gonzalez was running the cash register at a 24-hour store-and-bar
in the center of Mariel, selling boxes of rum and liters of whiskey. He
said he was optimistic about the future but less enthusiastically so.
"Like the rain," Gonzalez said, "the future is in the hands of others,
not us."

Times staff writer Wilkinson reported from Mariel and special
correspondent Bevins from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Source: In funding Cuba port project, Brazil set to gain key foothold -
LA Times -
http://www.latimes.com/world/brazil/la-fg-ff-cuba-mariel-20150217-story.html#page=1 Continue reading
Cuba: My State of Conflict
Posted: 02/17/2015 10:30 am EST
Elinor Robin

Tomorrow I leave for six days in Cuba.

Some months ago, before the recent diplomatic adjustment, Cuba seemed to
be calling me. I've lived in South Florida for most of my adult life.
And, Cuba's culture and people have profoundly influenced Florida,
despite the country's shroud of secrecy and mystery.

Knowing I'd make the trip happen, I started gathering information and
sorting out my options. Ultimately, I decided to organize my own trip
and get other professional mediators to come with me. There are 16 of us
going tomorrow. We are traveling on a General Research License and much
of our time in Cuba will be focused on the conflict and conflict
management that drives mediators' work. But, I have already learned a
big lesson about Cuba and conflict. Since it's putting a damper on my
trip, it's fitting I share it with you before we leave.

Guess what? Not everyone thinks it's cool to go to Cuba.

In order to get my little band of mediators together I "advertised" the
trip on social media and sent an email blast to the professional
mediators who have attended my training programs. The feedback started
coming in. It was as if I had worn a swastika in a synagogue.

"Enjoy your trip to Cuba. And, while you're sipping your cold drink,
keep in mind that my father was imprisoned for years. Your dollars will
further support the tyrannical regime that has brought nothing but
misery to my family. Don't email me again about your damn trip."

Ultimately, I saw a pattern. There was one consistent theme -- we hate
the Castro brothers. But, the feedback fell into three categories. Many
of the writers won me over and raised sympathy.

"Elinor, About your trip to Cuba: As a disclaimer, I am not objective. I
was born in Miami in 1961. My parents were Cuban refugees. My father
fought against Castro's men in the Sierra Maestra Mountains and barely
escaped the firing squad. One of my uncles died at age 19 during the Bay
of Pigs invasion. Another uncle spent 18 yrs as a political prisoner. I
grew up hearing stories of the hardships and cruelties endured by my
people." Blessings, Nancy, V., MD

"Dear Elinor, As a psychotherapist working with the Hispanic community
for over twenty two years, I have been intimately exposed to the
suffering of the Cuban exile community. Just like you, I would love to
visit Cuba, and I hope to do so when Cubans have the same basic human
rights that we enjoy only 90 miles away. Yes, I will visit Cuba, but
only when it is deemed to be a free country. I feel that I owe It to the
patients that I have worked with for decades, many of whom died with the
hope to see a free Cuba, to inform anyone who plans to visit the island
while it is still under the grip of a communist regime, that they are in
an indirect manner supporting oppression. May you have a safe trip."
Liliana W

"Dear Elinor, I was deeply hurt by your "Visit Cuba with Me" email.
Relations with Cuba are misunderstood. As with other world atrocities,
the cruelty is under reported and ignored. Our president has painted the
current situation as an opportunity to open up negotiations with a third
world country. But he is ignoring the huge human rights violations that
are a daily occurrence. As you know, our media and our leaders refused
to investigate stories of the holocaust and the truth was not told until
it was all over and the human accounts could be heard. In Cuba, hundreds
of people are jailed every day for what are called crimes of thought.
The government uses the internet as a weapon to spy and persecute. The
real embargo is the one imposed by the Castro government. They and their
families live lavish lifestyles while the people don't have sufficient
food, water, electricity, or medical supplies. I'm sure you didn't know.
Thanks for listening." Alina G

The second category of reactions are what I call the reptile brain
responses. The writers of these emails were reacting with a fight-flight
response. My Cuba email triggered a survival response in them because
the Cuba trauma experience is still with them, frozen in their nervous
systems. These were not emails that invited dialogue. "This is
disgusting! Never email me again! You are insulting me and my family!"

Finally, others, clearly, wanted to educate me. An example of this came
from my colleague, Angel Castillo, Jr. He sent me a copy of an Op Ed
piece he wrote for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel "Obama's Christmas
Gift to Fidel and Raul: A Win-Lose Deal" (12/18/14). As Angel sees it:

The break in formal relations between my two countries was rightfully
decreed on January 3, 1960 by President Eisenhower in response to Cuba's
tilt towards the Soviet Union and massive confiscations - thefts - of
American properties in violation of international law. Today, the
President's quest for finding his "place in history," has made Fidel
Castro's decades-old dream of triumphing over the US imperialists,
without giving up anything in return, a reality. If President Obama
wants "to promote more effective change" and "support for the Cuban
people" here are a few of the possible meaningful concessions he could
have demanded from Raul Castro in return for his unrequited largesse:

- Reparations to the surviving relatives of the four Brothers to the
Rescue humanitarian fliers, shot down over international waters by the
Cuban Air Force in 1996.
- An independent investigation into the mysterious death of Osvaldo
Paya, a leading dissident killed in a car crash in 2012.
- Granting freedom to the hundreds of political prisoners held in Cuban
- Allowing periodic inspections of Cuban prisons by international observers.
- Putting an end to the harassment, persecution, and jailing of
political dissidents.
- Allowing the Cuban people freedom of assembly, freedom to organize
political parties, freedom to create religious and private schools,
freedom of the press, and freedom of speech.
- Granting the Cuban people access to ownership of independent
newspapers, radio, and TV stations.
- Allowing the Cuban people unrestricted internet access and access to
international radio and TV stations without signal jamming.
- Holding free democratic elections supervised by international observers.

According to Angel, what the Castro brothers really covet is not the end
of the American trade embargo, as they already buy American goods
through third countries. Instead, they want the bigger propaganda
victory and access to American and international loans in order to fund
their bankrupt dictatorship.

Oy. I have such mixed feelings about my trip tomorrow. On one hand, I am
looking forward to the music and the old cars. We will get a chance to
see the before picture - a country frozen in time before it begins the
thaw-out process that seems to be right around the corner. The timing of
our trip could not have been better. Even the President seemed to be
supporting us. On the other hand, I feel like a traitor. My
Cuban-American friends and colleagues feel so betrayed. I fear that
going to Cuba may be akin to flying a confederate flag or contributing
money to the KKK.

Source: Cuba: My State of Conflict | Elinor Robin, PhD -
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elinor-robin-phd/cuba-my-state-of-conflict_b_6648974.html Continue reading
En una de ellas, se armó un pleito del cual resultó lesionado un señor mayor, al caer al suelo sobre su brazo izquierdo Continue reading
… leading a Congressional delegation to Cuba on Tuesday, two months after … . "This delegation travels to Cuba in friendship and to build … . The delegation will meet with Cuban government officials, local leaders, and … y Alamino, the archbishop of Havana. The president has said he … Continue reading
Senator: Next round of US-Cuba talks next week
02/17/2015 10:02 AM 02/17/2015 10:02 AM

A new round of negotiations to restore full diplomatic ties with Cuba
will take place next week in Washington, according to a delegation of
U.S. senators who said they were hopeful the two sides would reach a
deal soon.

Mark Warner of Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Amy Klobuchar
of Minnesota made their first trip to Cuba over the weekend in support
of a bill Klobuchar is sponsoring to lift the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba.

Teams of negotiators led by Assistant Secretary of State Roberta
Jacobson and Cuba's top diplomat for U.S. affairs, Josefina Vidal, are
working to resolve Cuban demands that include the easing of banking
restrictions on its diplomats in the U.S. and limits on U.S. support for
dissident groups that Cuba considers illegal.

The U.S. wants Cuba to eliminate some of the heavy security cordon
around its interests section in Havana and allow unrestricted travel for
its diplomats in Cuba, among other demands.

"We look with hope and expectations to the meetings next week in
Washington between the Cuban government and the American State
Department to make progress," Warner told reporters in Havana on Tuesday.

He did not say if he expected the pending issues to all be resolved in
the coming round of talks but told a large group of reporters, most from
Cuban state media, that diplomats often moved more slowly than
politicians want. The next three to six months are a key window for
progress in the normalization of ties between Cuba and the U.S., he said.

"Frankly I'm optimistic because the negotiators are two women and we
know how to get things done," McCaskill said.

"We don't think any of these things are going to stall out the ability
to get full diplomatic relations, hopefully soon."

Source: Senator: Next round of US-Cuba talks next week | The Miami
Herald The Miami Herald -
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/article10513895.html Continue reading
… of re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and in favor of unrestricted travel to Cuba (61 percent). Overall, expanding trade with Cuba was favored … the vision of investing in Cuba," said Monica Escaleras, director … , perhaps opening businesses in Cuba." The Cuba poll was part of … Continue reading
La presidirán Roberta Jacobson y Josefina Vidal. "Los próximos tres a seis meses son claves para la normalización de los lazos entre Cuba y EE UU" dijo el senador por Virginia, Mark Warner Continue reading
Serie: ¨Dictadura O¨ por un nuevo orden en Cuba [17-02-2015 11:55:23] Lic. Roberto E. Díaz Vázquez (www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- Se hace imposible en las actuales circunstancias, esperar que ocurran en Cuba verdaderos cambios sociales, económicos o políticos, si para ello no intervienen como protagonistas de los mismos los sectores que conforman la oposición activa en la isla. […] Continue reading
Quejas por la distribución de la canasta básica [17-02-2015 11:37:21] ICLEP (www.miscelaneasdecuba.net). Matanzas.- La canasta básica alimenticia la provee el Estado. Bajo cuestionables argumentos de contribuir a la nutrición esencial de los cubanos, funciona una red de distribución con un sistema operativo que atenta contra el tiempo establecido para los reaprovisionamientos y la calidad de […] Continue reading
Próxima ronda de diálogo entre La Habana y Washington será la próxima semana AGENCIAS | La Habana | 17 Feb 2015 – 5:21 pm. ‘Es muy importante que en los próximos de tres a seis meses sigamos viendo avances, aunque sean pequeños pasos, pero tenemos que ver movimiento por los dos países’, dice el senador […] Continue reading
… all around the city of Havana," O'Brien, 51 … . Jack Paar famously interviewed former Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro for … ;Brien's visit to Cuba follows President Obama announcing in … all around the city of Havana. I made countless friends and … Continue reading
…  a transcontinental aviation hub in Cuba is an interesting prospect, but … Novosti. The Interjet CEO believes Cuba has excellent opportunities to create … and the Communist government in Havana. In late 2014, US President … to restore diplomatic relations with Havana and ease the five-decade-long US … Continue reading
… chamber on a visit to Cuba that her office says is … to Cuba on Tuesday. They planned to meet with the Cuban government … after President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced steps … Continue reading
Apagones, largas colas, textos sobre los "Cinco Héroes". La Feria Internacional del Libro en la Habana Continue reading
La senadora McCaskill destacó que la visita a Cuba ha sido "una oportunidad fantástica para tener discusiones "abiertas y honestas" con emprendedores cubanos, representantes de la sociedad civil y del Gobierno. Continue reading
El jefe del equipo europeo que negocia la normalización de las relaciones entre la UE y Cuba, Christian Leffler, visitará este miércoles Madrid para informar a un grupo de diputados españoles del estado de las negociaciones con la isla, ha informado a Europa Press el diputado del PP Teófilo de Luis. Continue reading
… late-night show to film in Cuba since the embargo began. The … late-night show to travel to Cuba was 'The Tonight Show … crew filmed in and around Havana. "O’Brien experienced multiple … . would pursue normalized relations with Cuba. The two countries are currently … Continue reading
Un profesor del Instituto Superior de Relaciones Internacionales exalta en "Trabajadores" a Joanne Chesimard, asesina convicta del patrullero de Nueva Jersey Werner Foerster, y la llama "esclava fugitiva del siglo XX". Continue reading
José Díaz-Balart talks with Dr. Aileen Marty about the discovery of a highly-aggressive strain of HIV in Cuba—a strain that progresses into full-blown AIDS three times faster than the common strains of the virus. Duration: {{video.duration.momentjs}} Continue reading
… not an option in the Cuban economy. On our walk across … Continue reading
El Museo de Arte del Bronx, en Nueva York, y El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Habana (MNBA), en Cuba, han anunciado una iniciativa de artes conjuntas sin precedentes, que responde a la culminación de varios años de planificación y colaboración. Continue reading
El senador republicano cuestiona el hecho de que Cuba haya puesto como condición que los “diplomáticos norteamericanos no puedan reunirse con los activistas, la resistencia y la sociedad civil”. Continue reading