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Daily Archives: May 27, 2016

El torpedero cubano de 25 años Aledmys Díaz ha causado sensación esta temporada en la gran carpa desde que asumió su primer turno vistiendo la franela de los Cardenales de San Luis, en abril.

El debut de Díaz en el béisbol de las Grandes Ligas se ha tornado tardío, teniendo en cuenta que cuatro de sus compañeros en el equipo Cuba juvenil de 2008 llegaron primero que él a las mayores.

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… countries going to pilfer Cuba’s resources. Cuba had the opportunity to … of the restaurants in Old Havana are filled with the music … poverty. The Cuban Revolution may have frozen the Cuban infrastructure in time and left the Cuban people with … Continue reading

La empresa estatal BioCubaFarma firmó este viernes un memorando de entendimiento en el área de salud con un centro del Ministerio de Salud de Chile, informa Prensa Latina.

Una delegación de ocho empresas estatales, lideradas por la jefa del departamento de Negocios de BioCubaFarma, Norkis Arteaga, está en Chile bajo la sombrilla de la Dirección de Relaciones Económicas Internacionales (Direcon) de la cancillería chilena.

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Vicki Gold Levi, judía de Atlantic City, amasó una colección de objetos cubanos, afiches y fotografías

La muestra se concentra en Cuba como un destino exótico para los norteamericanos

Uno de los objetivos es reflejar la influencia cubana en EEUU

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Judge orders another hearing

Migrants swam from boat to American Shoal lighthouse

Legal challenge to America’s wet-foot, dry-foot policy

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… government are taking place in Havana, Venezuela is serving as an … between the United States and Cuba. Cuba is still involved in many … refined products for the starving Cuban economy. The Venezuelan government takes … Venezuela while normalizing relations with Cuba. The renewed diplomatic ties also … Continue reading
14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 6 May 2016 — Accustomed to standing in long lines on the island, thousands of Cuban migrants stranded in Panama were waiting for hours Friday to buy an airline ticket to Mexico. Among these “middle class rafters” criticism was rising over the high price of airfares which has reached $805 for … Continue reading "Cuban Migrants Criticize The High Prices Of Airfares To Mexico / 14ymedio, Mario Penton" Continue reading
… Accra, May 27, GNA - Cuban trained graduates (The ESBECAN), have … groups, who benefited from the Cuban scholarship project. They presented a … brilliant needy Ghanaian students to Cuba on scholarship over the years … deprived areas are manned by Cuban trained health practitioners who are … Continue reading

Celebra la labor de escritores de la escena que han abordado la temática cubana

Se realizarán lecturas dramatizadas en el Creating Space for Arts y Artefactus Cultural Project, el lunes 30

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… days in the capital of Havana. But unfortunate timing and turbulent … he remain in Cuba, in the hands of Cuban doctors, even if … to Cira Garcia hospital in Havana. Within 72 hours, things looked … said. Cira Garcia hospital in Havana, in contrast, is small and … Continue reading
… .S. agriculture groups and a Cuban agribusiness group have formalized an … of understanding will re-establish the Cuban marketplace for U.S. food … for Cuba, says the move will ensure American producers and Cuban buyers … Continue reading
El abogado Kendall Coffee, que representa al equipo de la defensa integrado por un nutrido grupo de abogados especialistas en temas de Inmigración, pidió al juez que se pospusiera la vista legal. Continue reading
… popular food truck selling scene-stealing Cuban sandwiches. There are some impediments … cookbook, Spanish rice, sangria mix, Cuban coffee, saffron and smoked paprika … contestants in the sixth annual Cuban Sandwich Festival. Kang and Cho … . Follow @lreiley on Twitter. Tampa-style Cuban sandwiches are the star at … Continue reading

El Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos (OCDH) denunció este viernes ante el Comité de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas el proceso abierto por el régimen contra la líder de las Damas de Blanco, Berta Soler, a quien acusa de resistencia.

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Ivan Garcia, 27 May 2016 — As of three weeks ago there have been power cuts of up to three hours in different parts of Havana. Sometimes longer. “Friday, April 29 in Altahabana (a neighbourhood in the southeast of the city), the power was cut off from eleven at night until four-thirty in the morning. … Continue reading "Cuba: The Return of the Power Cuts / Ivan Garcia" Continue reading
… Business Insider in an email. Cuban was referring to Trump… half of the check." Cuban chose against proclaiming whether he … ratings."Screenshot/NBCMark Cuban.For his part, Cuban has made a … third-party or independent presidential bid. Cuban later said there was no … Continue reading
… flight on Air Jamaica to Havana through a stop in Kingston … carriers to Havana via Nassau, Bahamas. And once in Havana (via taxi … with Cubans and enjoying an up-close look at the authentic Cuba — not a gussied-up contact with pre-arranged Cuban actors. Cuba, through … Continue reading
Esta semana se ha hecho oficial la candidatura de la canciller argentina Susana Malcorra para ocupar el cargo de Secretario General de la Organización de Naciones Unidas (ONU). Continue reading
Es posible cambiar la identificación del teléfono móvil Continue reading

Fue el jefe de la llamada “Red Avispa” de agentes cubanos infiltrados en EEUU

Hernández es exalumno de la universidad diplomática

Su esposa salió embarazada gracias a una inseminación artificial durante su encarcelamiento

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… Cira Garcia hospital in a Havana suburb of wilting trees, cracked … rest of their holiday in Havana. The Puntarena sits near the … . Dance is taken seriously in Cuba: Napu’s physiotherapist is a … Manuel Carreno and Carlos Acosta – Cuban stars of an earlier generation … Continue reading
… that illuminate Cuba through time, space, and memory.   Dreaming in Cuban by … the glamour of 1950s Havana and the tropical Cuban countryside tells the … .   Cuba Libre by Elmore Leonard In this thrilling novel, set in Havana … , Cuban Ulysses.   Dirty Havana Trilogy by Pedro Juan Gutierrez Banned in Cuba but … Continue reading
… company also sees opportunity in Cuba’s crumbling buildings. Doug Oberhelman … on Airbnb in Cuba, watch: When I was in Cuba, I was … knows what the opportunities in Cuba hold for tech companies, construction … stay in an Airbnb in Havana. And, just maybe, see Caterpillar-made … Continue reading
La propiedad privada salió del escaparate del trabajo por cuenta propia Continue reading


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El Gobierno cubano reportó este viernes su decimotercer caso importado del virus del Zika, confirmado en un ciudadano de 67 años de edad que llegó a la Isla el 21 de mayo procedente de Colombia, donde trabaja por contrato independiente, informó el MINSAP.

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Un alud de filtraciones de grabaciones comprometedoras puso el jueves contra las cuerdas a varios dirigentes del partido liderado por el presidente interino de Brasil, Michel Temer, en cuyas conversaciones abordan formas de detener las investigaciones contra la corrupción, reportó EFE.

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Proceso penal contra el joven que participó en un vídeo sexual en San Rafael provoca polémica JORGE ENRIQUE RODRÍGUEZ | La Habana | 27 Mayo 2016 – 4:40 pm. La detención del joven que junto a una mujer protagonizó un acto sexual a plena luz del día en San Rafael ha provocado críticas de ciudadanos […] Continue reading
“Fortune” cree que los cubanos son innatamente capitalistas Martinoticias.com La revista de negocios destaca la laboriosidad y el ingenio de los cubanos. Los pequeños negocios clandestinos que abundan en la isla y la perseverancia de los cubanos en saltarse las prohibiciones del Estado para ganar unos dólares extra, prueba el espíritu innatamente capitalista de los […] Continue reading
Damas de Blanco invitan a Alcaldes de EEUU a marchar con ellas el domingo Martinoticias.com Se trata de la primera misión oficial de alcaldes estadounidensesa a la isla desde 1978, que esta vez estuvo integrada por la presidenta de la coalición, la alcaldesa de Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings; y los dos vicepresidentes, los alcaldes de Oklahoma, […] Continue reading
Líder de UNPACU: “Los cubanos necesitan saber cómo vive el mundo libre” mayo 26, 2016 Martinoticias.com “Ya muy poca gente asimila la idea de que Estados Unidos es el culpable de la miseria y el hambre en Cuba”, dijo José Daniel Ferrer durante una visita a las instalaciones de Radio y TV Martí, en Miami. […] Continue reading
"I'm Going to Set Fire to It and See What Happens" / Anddy Sierra Alvarez

by Lumumba residents against the dumping of solid waste in the
neighborhood is all but lost. The garbage dump, established three years
ago, is bigger today and includes debris from roadwork done in the area.

According to residents, there were initially only twenty meters of
trash, but today it covers more than a hundred. Local residents point to
Comunales, the company in charge of collecting the solid waste, as the
main cause for what is happening.

"They blame us for creating this dump but it's not our fault. In this
borough (Arroyo Naranjo) it's Comunales; they are the ones responsible
for all the waste here," said Amelia Corrales, a resident of Lumumba.

"The problem is that we are black and that makes us scapegoats," notes
Yaima Lombillo, a resident of a neighborhood that is predominately
dark-skinned. We either have to put up with it or set the trash ablaze
to get the firemen to come, as happened three months ago."

Enrique Peña, a worker at the local headquarters of the company, says
that every three months they pick up all the refuse. "We come with a
six-person brigade, two trucks and a bulldozer to collect the debris
left there by residents. It takes us three hours and in the end
everything is clean," he said. Pity.

He continues, "We don't throw our trash there but neither do we make
sure that some of our workers aren't dumping garbage there instead of
going someplace further away."

But the problem is that residents do see company workers dumping their
trash.

"I passed there three times yesterday and there was a worker throwing
garbage there instead of picking it up. When I returned, there was
another one doing the same thing. We will continue living in filth and
breeding more Aedes aegypti mosquitoes [carriers of dengue fever and the
zika virus]," said Miguel Borroto, an area resident.

Local authorities have not responded to the problem. Attempts were made
to speak to the local representative but he refused to discuss it. "I am
very busy and am not going to my waste time talking to you," said
Alejandro, the area's representative, when I asked him about the Lumumba
dump.

Residents will have to make due with Comunales' three-month schedule for
cleaning an area which apparently its own employees are trashing. "I am
not expecting much," says Yaima Lombillo, "so I am going to set fire to
it all and see what happens."

Source: "I'm Going to Set Fire to It and See What Happens" / Anddy
Sierra Alvarez – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/im-going-to-set-fire-to-it-and-see-what-happens-anddy-sierra-alvarez/ Continue reading
¿Será Cuba como Vietnam? En Vietnam, al igual que ocurre con Cuba, los opositores al régimen son percibidos como enemigos del cambio Se pueden encontrar muchas semejanzas entre Cuba y Vietnam en el momento del restablecimiento de las relaciones Después de 16 años de relaciones, continúan las cárceles llenas de presos políticos, se mantiene la […] Continue reading
¿Comprar o no comprar bonos cubanos en 'default'? Análisis de CNN en Español Continue reading
Hearing in lawsuit for Cubans who climbed Keys lighthouse

A hearing is set in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of Cuban
migrants seeking to remain in the U.S. after they climbed onto a
lighthouse several miles off the Florida Keys.

MIAMI
A hearing is set in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of Cuban
migrants seeking to remain in the U.S. after they climbed onto a
lighthouse several miles off the Florida Keys.

An attorney for the migrants says he's hopeful a Miami federal judge
will order at Friday afternoon's hearing that the Cubans remain under
U.S. control until the matter is settled. The 21 migrants are on a Coast
Guard cutter.

Under the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, Cubans who reach U.S. shores are
usually allowed to stay, while those intercepted at sea are generally
returned to the communist island.

The lawsuit claims the 136-year-old American Shoal lighthouse on a reef
off Sugarloaf Key should qualify as U.S. territory so the migrants can
stay. U.S. officials disagree.

Source: Hearing in lawsuit for Cubans who climbed Keys lighthouse | In
Cuba Today - http://www.incubatoday.com/news/article80250862.html Continue reading
Cuba and its Outstanding Dreams
May 26, 2016
By Fernando Ravsberg

HAVANA TIMES – When our children left home it was as if the sky had
fallen; my wife and I fell in what is known as the "empty nest
syndrome". Suddenly we were without our main occupation; educate this
pair of boys who gave us life.

Grisel, an excellent psychologist and best friend was the one who gave
us the key to get out of this existential anguish. Write down on paper
all the things you had wanted to do and had to forego to devote time to
your children, she said.

I realized then that we are not what we want to be but what the
circumstances impose and that can be projected to Cuba as a whole. I had
read somewhere that Cuban society in general and individual Cubans are
not what they had wanted to be.

For half a century they lived in a "besieged plaza" and adapted to the
circumstances; rationed food and freedoms, a single centralized chain of
command, unanimous unity, the nation above the individual and a single
slogan: resist, resist and resist.

Perhaps resistance could have been done differently or perhaps there was
no alternative to successfully stand up to the wrath of the world's
greatest economic and military power. The costs were high but even Obama
acknowledged that they had been unable to subdue Cuba by force.

But the fact is that in this process the nation ceased to be what it
wanted to be, adapting all the time to aggressions. If today you have a
dual currency, for example, it was because one day the US decided to
punish banks that receive dollars from Cuba.

However, now the "enemy" recognizes its failure, begins to lift the
siege mounted against the island and develops a new strategy that puts
the dispute on a different plane and changes "the circumstances" of
Cuban society.

The government complains that Washington is moving too slowly in the
dismantling of the economic war but perhaps they should be thankful
because it gives them the time to develop the new Cuban strategy adapted
to this context.

My wife and I had it worse when our children left home, almost
overnight, without giving us the shortest time to adapt our lives but we
finally managed to recycle or our original plans, those that had been
continually postponed.

Obama's policy regarding Cuba is not the same as that of his
predecessors; therefore Cuba's policy should also be different. However,
designing the new society only thinking in response to the US takes away
possibilities for the nation.

Perhaps the advice of my friend Grisel would serve the whole society,
look back and remember that nation it had wanted to build. Not
everything will be useful in the present circumstances but it will serve
as a compass to resume aspirations and redraw the course.

With the change of US policy the nation should not fall asleep but it
can dream again and even build on one of those old dreams that one day
was left in the storage room because the times demanded their being
very, very awake.

The exercise could be useful even to bring the different generations
closer. Possibly if a young Cuban asks his/her grandfather what society
he dreamed of in 1959 they will realize that it is much like the Cuba
that today's youth are seeking.

Source: Cuba and its Outstanding Dreams - Havana Times.org -
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=119019 Continue reading
Havana's Man in Washington Takes to Twitter for Q&A
By FELICIA SCHWARTZ
May 26, 2016 1:41 pm ET

Diplomats are increasingly turning to Twitter to engage with people
around the world and Thursday was no different. Except that the diplomat
the social media platform featured in a live question-and-answer
session hails from a country with extremely low Internet access and
scant press freedom.

José Ramón Cabañas, Cuba's ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, spent
about an hour answering questions via his verified account, from which
he frequently tweets.

He weighed in, in English and Spanish, on the significance of President
Barack Obama's March visit to the island, diplomatic contacts and
priorities between the two countries, whether Cuba's president Raúl
Castro would make a trip of his own to Washington and his taste in
music, among other topics.

Source: Havana's Man in Washington Takes to Twitter for Q&A - Washington
Wire - WSJ -
http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/05/26/havanas-man-in-washington-takes-to-twitter-for-qa/?mod=WSJBlog Continue reading
U.N. panel rejects press freedom watchdog accreditation request
May 26, 2016
By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The Committee to Protect Journalists, a press
freedom watchdog group, was denied consultative status at the United
Nations on Thursday, with South Africa, Russia and China among the
countries that opposed it.

The United States quickly denounced the decision and vowed to try to
overturn it.

New York-based CPJ reports on violations of press freedom in countries
and conflict zones around the world, reporting and mobilizing action on
behalf of journalists who have been targeted. A U.N. panel rejected its
application for status that would have given it access to U.N.
headquarters and allowed it to participate in U.N. events.

The 19-member U.N. Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations has for
years delayed action on the group's application for accreditation. CPJ
Executive Director Joel Simon described the NGO committee process as
"Kafkaesque."

"A small group of countries with poor press freedom records are using
bureaucratic delaying tactics to sabotage and undermine any efforts that
call their own abusive policies into high relief," he said in a statement.

The NGO committee rejected CPJ's application with 10 votes against, six
in favor and three abstentions.

Normally the committee decides by consensus. But a senior U.S. diplomat
requested a vote after South Africa and other committee members kept
posing questions that the United States and others denounced as a
delaying tactic.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said Washington
would seek to overturn the NGO committee's "outrageous" decision by
calling for a vote in the 54-nation U.N. Economic and Social Council.

"We are extremely disappointed by today's vote," she told reporters. "It
is increasingly extremely clear that the NGO committee acts more and
more like an anti-NGO committee."

Western diplomats said the U.N. NGO committee has become increasingly
unfriendly to organizations supporting Western notions of human rights,
noting that gay rights NGOs and other groups have had trouble securing
accreditation.

The NGO committee's current members are Azerbaijan, Burundi, China,
Cuba, Greece, Guinea, India, Iran, Israel, Mauritania, Nicaragua,
Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Turkey, United States, Uruguay
and Venezuela.

Western diplomats said they were especially disappointed by South
Africa, whose delegation criticized CPJ for, among other things, not
supporting punishment for speech that incites hatred. The CPJ has noted
that there is no internationally agreed definition of the term "hate
speech."

A Russian delegate said he had "serious doubts about whether this
organization really is a non-governmental organization."

China, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Sudan were also among those that voted
against CPJ's accreditation.

Azerbaijan, Iran, China, and Cuba are on the CPJ's list of the 10
most-censored countries. It says on its website that the legacy of
Nelson Mandela's drive for press freedom in South Africa has faded.

On Russia it says: "Russia has a poor record of impunity in the cases of
murdered journalists, which increases intimidation and acts of violence
against the press."

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by David Gregorio and Dan Grebler)

Source: U.N. panel rejects press freedom watchdog accreditation request
-
https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-n-panel-rejects-press-freedom-watchdog-accreditation-175157424.html?ref=gs Continue reading
The Mercado Único will be renovated ... but don't hold your breath.
PABLO PASCUAL MÉNDEZ PIÑA | La Habana | 27 Mayo 2016 - 10:19 am.

"Mala lengua conocida/ hablando mal de Machado/ que te ha puesto allí un
mercado/ que te llena la barriga/ La mujer de Antonio/ camina así" (A
famous sharp-tongued woman/ badtalking Machado/ who put a market there
for you/ that fills your belly/Antonio's wife /walks like this) sang the
trio Matamoros in its popular guaracha, back in 1928. But if the
Mercado (market) de Cuatro Caminos was the inspiration for the song's
lyrics, they made a mistake, as the landmark building opened in 1920,
when Mario García Menocal was the President of the Republic. And in
early 2014, without any official explanation, it was closed.

However, in the last 15 days, its perimeter has been covered with
galvanized steel plates, and signs have gone up reading, under a sketch
of the building in perspective: "Work on the Mercado de Cuatro Caminos;
License: 2304-100-1609-1 -2013; Designer and Investor: CIMEX;
Contractor: ECUSE; Completion date: December / 2019." Among other
details we can deduce, based on the code, that the project dates from
2013, one year before the closing. And the traditional participation of
the Office of the City Historian has been forgone.

In this way the military consortium GAESA went public with the
commencement of work to reconstruct the popular market delimited by the
streets Monte, Matadero, Arroyo and Cristina, in the Havana municipality
of Cerro. The construction involves two levels; a basement and a surface
area of ​​11,000 square meters.

Without even entering the site one can appreciate the ramshackle state
of the light, hipped roof, which lacks a significant number of
corrugated asbestos cement tiles resting on a frame of steel, joined by
rivets that remain rusty due to the lack of paint and their exposure to
the elements.

Despite its age (96 years since its construction), neglect, lack of
maintenance, and the heavy toll taken by car fumes, the building's
exterior is not in such bad shape.

Exhibiting an eclectic style typical of the first third of the 20th
century, its four exterior walls feature a number of pillars, openings,
arches, cornices and brackets, among other architectural elements which,
to the naked eye, do not feature damage that would prevent its restoration.

The mezzanine floor is of reinforced concrete and sustained by a series
of square columns with expanded capitals, affected by some structural
problems not classified as serious by the experts consulted, as are the
public entryways. Unfortunately, the state of the basement could not be
assessed, as access to the area was barred.

According to the sketch appearing on the sign, skylights or dormer
windows will be used – a plausible solution given that these features
can reduce energy costs during daylight hours by up to 25%. This system
was, in fact, widely employed in industrial architecture during the era.

What is distressing about the information one finds on the fence is that
the restoration work will take three years, an extremely protracted
period, in the view of specialists. And, according to sources with the
contractor hired for the project (ECUSE is a company attached to the
CIMEX corporation, dedicated to the repair and maintenance of automotive
systems and construction), the lack of skilled labor to complete the
work is alarming, due to the meager incentives. Therefore, it is
possible that the late deadline will not even be met, as is often the case.

In the memories of old Havanans

The original name of the property was the Mercado General de Abasto y
Consumo (General Supply and Consumption Market), and its construction
cost 1.2 million pesos at the time. Its administration was initially
assigned by the City of Havana to the Cuban politician and entrepreneur
Alfredo Hornedo, back when the capital listed a population of some 400,000.

In an article entitled "El Mercado Único" (The Sole Market), published
in the daily Juventud Rebelde, Ciro Bianchi stated that the concession
granted to Hornedo prohibited the opening of another similar market
within a radius of 2.5 kilometers, and within 700 meters for the most
humble sellers of foods and fruits and vegetables, hence its "Sole"
designation.

On the ground floor of the market agricultural products were sold, and
upstairs, meats and foods of all kinds. The freezers were found in the
basement. In the late evening the goods arrived on trucks, and were then
unloaded in the central courtyard, from which they were distributed to
the sales stands. There they were usually sold in the early morning
hours. After 9:00 am the products were discounted and sold to the mobile
vendors, to keep from storing them in the basement freezers. At 11:00
am the market closed for cleaning.

Felipe, a 78-year-old retiree who worked as a vendor in the 50s, said
the carts were rented at a daily cost of 40 cents, from a warehouse on
the Calle Vives, just a few blocks away. Many of the products were sold
"with the pointing of a finger;" that is, they could paid for later,
after their second sale. "Back then honesty was a good deal," he recalls.

Fish and shellfish were brought directly by the fishermen. They came
fresh and packed in zinc boxes full of ice. Lobster, shrimp, snapper,
yellowtail snapper, sawfish, grouper and other species stood out, among
others on offer. There was also a stand called El Escorial, where live
animals for sale were kept in cages on a shelf.

Most of the sellers were Spanish and Chinese immigrants; the former
mainly ran the stands selling meat, while the latter hawked fruits and
vegetables. Later Polish Jews began to run some of the stalls.

Some companies were present at the Mercado Único: the Compañía de
Armadores de Barcos, the American Chomer Fruit Company, and others. The
market housed a tavern, and various cafes and bars that were open 24 hours.

Antonio, a former tobacco vendor, age 82, still laughs about a trick he
played on a Chinese man at the Mercado Único. He shared how he put a
dead cockroach in a matchbox, went to the tavern and, after bingeing on
fried rice, dropped the insect into what remained on his plate.
Discreetly, but with an expression of outrage, he went up to the Chinese
man and said: "Look at this," to which he replied, "You no pay, you no
pay, you shut mouth."

José Candelario, an 84-year-old retiree, before 1959 was one of the many
night owls who, after frequenting bars, cabarets and other nightclubs
ended up at the Mercado de Cuatro Caminos. "Those soups cured your
hangover in a flash," he recalls. "I couldn´t even eat a full plate of
fried rice, the servings were so huge .... Oh, and the price for both
dishes was 25 cents. Those days were wonderful, until Mr. Barbatruco
(Fidel Castro) showed up, and brought hunger and misery."

Source: The Mercado Único will be renovated ... but don't hold your
breath. | Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1464337154_22668.html Continue reading
"The Cuban justice system is seriously corrupt"
DDC | Oslo | 26 Mayo 2016 - 9:03 pm.

For more than 15 years the Cubalex Legal Information Center has been
providing free guidance to Cubans, who, lacking resources and
information, must grapple with the regime's legal system.

Cubalex also advises Cubans and foreigners with regards to human rights,
and drafts reports for international organizations about the situation
in the island.

One indication of this independent project's success are the
approximately 120 requests for advice that it currently receives per
month. Another, the regime's harassment of its members.

Independent lawyer Laritza Diversent, the Director of Cubalex, spoke
with DIARIO DE CUBA at the Oslo Freedom Forum.

What does Cubalex's work consist of?

People come to Cubalex with housing problems, criminal matters, or want
to ask us questions. We do not discriminate. Most people have no
political motivations. They come to us to solve personal problems.

We ask for documentation, as one of our limitations is that we cannot
access records like the lawyers at the Collective Firms can. We conduct
a first interview and create a digital record that allows our lawyers to
carry out an analysis and assess each case.

We determine whether there have been any human rights violations, what
strategy to follow, if it is necessary to appeal to the international
level, but first internal legal channels must be exhausted.

The work can sometimes take between 15 to 20 days, because we labor
under difficult conditions, but when they come we give them a printed
document so they can present it directly to the authorities.

What kind of cases do you tend to receive?

Most of the cases we get at Cubalex are criminal matters, very shocking
murders, situations that clearly evidence the violence, often extreme,
affecting Cuban society, in which women bear the brunt. Apart from the
events themselves, we have also found very serious due process violations.

Prisoners and their families are among our main clients. Most of our
services are discussed inside the prisons, as the inmates themselves
pass the word on. They ask mothers and wives to come to us.

We are working, for example, with a blind mother who for two years has
been unable to visit her son in prison because he was transferred. That
mother is raising her grandson because her son killed his wife, the
child's mother. Such are most of the cases; people who are facing
critical social situations.

How many requests for assistance have you received since the project
began in 2010?

I can't venture an exact figure, but I would say more than 5,000. In the
last four months some 300 people have turned to us.

There is a lot of domestic violence, injuries suffered by women,
murders. The Government does not issue statistics on gender violence,
but what we see the most are cases of violence, intimidation and murder.
They are disturbing.

How do you work on a project like this, not recognized by the
Government? What kind of problems do you run into?

Almost all the cases that come to us have already been heard. Sometimes
they come to us during the investigation phase, but those involved are
compelled to hire a defense attorney from a Collective Firm, so in this
regard we cannot do anything.

What we can is to advise, orient. We say "look for this evidence, do
this, present that" because, generally speaking, unless you pay the
official attorney, they're not going to show much interest.

We provide technical assistance mechanisms to deal with the mechanisms
of the system. A lawyer may charge extra fees of 100, 200 or 400
dollars. Many of the people we see have no money even to pay the
attorney they're assigned. So, their lawyer often receives the case
immediately before the trial. It is very common to find contradictions
between what the lawyer and his client have said.

How serious is the corruption in the judicial system?

The justice system is seriously corrupt. Lawyers, prosecutors and judges
... many charge through the defense lawyers and ask for astronomical
figures that it is very difficult for a Cuban to come up with, unless he
has family abroad.

We have received cases of Cuban Americans charged with drug trafficking,
and in this regard we have achieved positive results. State justice
authorities have accepted appeals that we have prepared. We drew up the
appeals for a good number of those acquitted in 2015.

How many lawyers work at Cubalex? How do they join the project?

We have only four lawyers working full time at our "offices," which
consist of two rooms of my own house. Cubalex also offers advisory
services in Camagüey and Granma, where there are two lawyers.

First we look at the evolution of each person and their real interest,
and then we integrate him into the team. We don't close the door on
anyone, but one of the requirements is that they cannot work with the
Government, and they must have a bachelor's degree in Law.

We are now trying to form a multidisciplinary team. We have a
psychologist, a doctor and a social and prison investigator, working
from within these institutions, with the cooperation of prisoners.

What other lines of work does Cubalex have?

Legal professionals, a prosecutor, for example, do not take into account
the issue of gender when applying the law, and sometimes they do so
crudely and arbitrarily, in a way that is sexist. We consider this
institutional violence.

During the investigative work we have done we have found that most men
deprived of their freedom, more than 50%, are from families of African
descent living in slums.

This caught our attention, and we are conducting a transversal analysis
of the issue of gender, the plight of Afro-cubans, and criminal penal
policy. We started working on these research topics to present reports
on human rights.

We also strive for civil society to receive more information on human
rights.

We started out with workshops, going to organizations, mostly in the
eastern region, and with the Damas de Blanco. We managed for them to at
least begin to gather information about arrests. We teach them to act as
observers and not as victims.

Unfortunately, we have not yet succeeded in getting them to document
things thoroughly. We are planning a course for human rights activists,
to teach them mainly to document and exhaust internal legal channels
before taking their grievances international.

We were struck by the fact that, between December 2013 and December
2014, Cuba had only three complaints at the international level. That is
because civil society was not doing its job. How are you going to go the
United Nations to report human rights violations if there are no records
of complaints?

You mentioned gender violence and racial discrimination.

Crime statistics are secret in Cuba. We do not know, for example, the
number of murders, or femicides. The statistics are only those that are
issued by institutions such like the Interior Ministry and the Public
Prosecutor's Office. Some defense attorney might have access, but not
because they are public.

Police pursue lines of investigation based on racial profiling, which
constitutes institutional discrimination. Most Cubans of African
descent, we have seen in our research, live in marginal areas and their
social situations are dire. We have to work on a bill so that, at least,
positive measures are taken to address the challenges facing Afro-Cubans.

In the case of black women, they are discriminated against not only due
to the color of their skin, but also because of their sex. Almost all
live in slums, with rundown infrastructure and dreadful health and
hygiene conditions.

How does the regime react to the work of a project like Cubalex?

One of the regime's objectives is to isolate us, and to this end it
resorts to harassment. It is totally different from what it does with
activists who protest publicly. In our case, it is with threats,
interrogations, official citations... But we have a policy of not
accepting any citations if they are not signed by a court clerk.

Although until now it has not gone further, the regime has become more
aggressive of late. In April they prevented me from giving a talk on the
election issue. They surrounded the house and would not let me leave.
And, at airports the tactic is to review things, make you uncomfortable,
take what they believe is suspect.

There are neighbors who collaborate with State Security forces. There
are many who support us, but those closest are watching us. Security
forces don't show up directly to repress you, but they use other
indirect methods, involving your family and your close circle, to wear
you down and demoralize you. Repression takes the form of constant
surveillance, threats, and isolation.

Source: "The Cuban justice system is seriously corrupt" | Diario de Cuba
- http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1464289414_22659.html Continue reading

Más de 100 emigrantes de la Isla continúan a la espera de una solución para seguir hacia Estados Unidos, en una bodega acondicionada en Turbo, localidad colombiana de Urabá. Están hacinados, casi uno encima de otro, y decididos a tomar la selva antes que permitir la deportación, según revela un reportaje del diario local El Colombiano.

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