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Daily Archives: May 30, 2016

El gobernador del estado de Misuri, Jeremiah Nixon, destacó en La Habana que Cuba "representa una importante oportunidad para los productores y hombres de negocios de Misuri para expandir el comercio". Continue reading

El robo de huesos con fines religiosos se ha convertido en una manera más de “resolver” para los trabajadores de los cementerios

El uso de restos humanos en la religión afrocubana de Palo Monte es un fenómeno de la tradición cultural del país

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El pintor cubano José Rosabal (1935) ha ganado el premio a la carrera de la edición 57 del Premio Internacional Bice Bugatti-Segantini, que por primera vez recae en un autor no italiano, informó este lunes la organización.

El jurado valoró "su devoción y dedicación al arte concreto", señala en un comunicado.

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Somos+, Joanna Columbié, 24 May 2016 — The Cuban economic model, one that is imprecise, vague, and very particular to Cuba, does not manage to meet the needs of the Cuban people. The nominal wage does not come close to the actual salary that a Cuban citizen needs to cover their basic necessities and, in … Continue reading "Without Haste and With Many Pauses / Somos+, Joanna Columbie" Continue reading
  DIPLOMACIA

Didier Reynders reiteró la posición de Bélgica en contra del embargo económico y comercial que Estados Unidos mantiene sobre la isla



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14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 30 May 2016 – Every evening he emerges with his briefcase from the place where he purges his fate of being ousted. Carlos Lage, former vice president of Cuba’s Council of State, works on the campaign against the Aedes aegypti mosquito at the 19 de Abril polyclinic. Seven years ago he … Continue reading "Away From “The Honey Of Power” Carlos Lage Focuses On Fighting Mosquitoes / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata" Continue reading
Los republicanos Carlos Curbelo y Marco Rubio, ambos de Florida, han presentado un proyecto de ley que reducirá en 2.400 millones de dólares (unos 2.200 millones de euros) en la próxima década las ayudas que prestan las administraciones estadounidenses a los inmigrantes cubanos y las restringirá a los que puedan demostrar que son refugiados políticos perseguidos por las autoridades cubanas. Continue reading
Debido al retraso, el crucero no visitará la ciudad de Cienfuegos, en la costa sureste de Cuba, dijo Roger Frizzell, jefe de comunicaciones de Carnival Corporation. Continue reading

El crucero de Adonia se dirige este lunes de nuevo a Cuba tras superar las "fallas técnicas" que lo obligaron a regresar este domingo al puerto de Miami, informó a EFE la compañía Carnival. 

Debido al retraso, el crucero no visitará la ciudad de Cienfuegos, en la costa sureste de Cuba, informó Roger Frizzell, jefe de comunicaciones de Carnival Corporation

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Los cubanos en Ecuador se muestran seguro de que esta acción acabaría de una vez con la actual crisis migratoria de los cubanos en Centroamérica, y por lo pronto evitaría el traslado de miles de cubanos hacia Colombia de forma irregular. Continue reading

El crucero de Adonia se dirige hoy de nuevo a Cuba tras superar las “fallas técnicas” que lo obligaron a regresar este domingo al puerto de Miami

Debido al retraso, el crucero no visitará la ciudad de Cienfuegos, en la costa sureste de Cuba

El Adonia está programado para comenzar y terminar en domingo y hace los viajes a Cuba una semana sí y otra no

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El viceprimer ministro y titular de Asuntos Exteriores de Bélgica, Didier Reynders, inició este lunes una visita a la Isla con un encuentro con el canciller Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, con quien sostuvo conversaciones oficiales, según divulgó un comunicado del MINREX que replica la prensa oficial.

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La galería Factoría Habana, en la capital de la Isla, exhibe una muestra de los diseños de interior de la cubana Clara Porset (1932-1981), pionera del diseño industrial en Latinoamérica.

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(EFE).- La Armada colombiana interceptó a siete inmigrantes cubanos cuando se desplazaban en una embarcación cerca de la isla de San Andrés (en el Caribe) hacia Centroamérica, informaron este lunes fuentes castrenses.

Los siete ciudadanos, cinco hombres y dos mujeres, viajaban a bordo de una lancha de nombre Faith in Jesus, que fue interceptada por los guardacostas, informó la Armada en un comunicado.

Tras ser interceptados, las siete personas fueron llevadas a la Estación de Guardacostas Samuel May Corpus, en donde se les brindó atención médica y asistencia humanitaria, agregó la información.

Posteriormente los inmigrantes, cuyas edades oscilan entre los 28 y 43 años de edad, fueron puestos a disposición de la Oficina de Migración Colombia.

El capitán de la embarcación y otro hombre de nacionalidad colombiana que la tripulaba fueron entregados a las autoridades judiciales competentes.

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La Armada colombiana halló a siete migrantes cubanos cuando se desplazaban en una embarcación cerca de la isla de San Andrés hacia Centroamérica

Los siete ciudadanos, cinco hombres y dos mujeres, viajaban a bordo de una lancha de nombre “Fait in Jesús”

Los migrantes, cuyas edades oscilan entre los 28 y 43 años de edad, fueron puestos a disposición de la Oficina de Migración Colombia

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La crisis migratoria cubana tiene actualmente en Turbo, Colombia, el mayor atascadero, desde que Costa Rica decidió cerrar el paso a cientos de migrantes cubanos después de negociar la evacuación de unos 8.000 que llegaron a EEUU. Continue reading

El gobernador del Estado norteamericano de Missouri, Jeremiah W. Nixon, alabó este lunes en La Habana las posibilidades de intercambio comercial entre las compañías del territorio norteamericano y las empresas estatales cubanas, en particular las del sector de la agricultura, informa la estatal.

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Ha regresado a La Habana, donde planea instalar su Instituto de Artivismo Hanna Arendt, pero trabas burocráticas le han impedido concluir la reparación de la sede. Martí Noticias conversó con la artista el lunes. Continue reading

Zunilda Mata

Cada tarde sale con su portafolio del local donde purga su suerte de defenestrado. Carlos Lage, otrora vicepresidente del Consejo de Estado, trabaja en la campaña contra el mosquito Aedes aegypti en el policlínico 19 de Abril, en el municipio habanero de Plaza. Hace siete años fue apartado de su cargo y acusado por Fidel Castro de ser adicto a "las mieles del poder", pero hoy es un empleado del ministerio de Salud Pública y evita hablar de su pasado.

Con 64 años, Lage apenas ejerció la pediatría en la que se especializó tras estudiar medicina. Su actividad como presidente de la Federación Estudiantil Universitaria (FEU) y la posterior responsabilidad como secretario general de la Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas (UJC) apenas le dejaron tiempo para atender pacientes. Tras su caída política, en 2009, pasó por varios cargos administrativos menores en los que ha tenido poco contacto con el público.

En la actualidad, el también exsecretario del Consejo de Ministros labora en el Departamento de Higiene y Epidemiología de un policlínico que con frecuencia recibe visitas de delegaciones extranjeras. Más de una vez, se ha tropezado en los pasillos con antiguos colegas y diplomáticos que le rendían pleitesía cuando los rumores lo señalaban como el posible primer vicepresidente.[[QUOTE:Fuera de la Isla, el vicepresidente era visto como una figura civil con la que se podría negociar una futura transición]]

El nombre de Lage estuvo entre los sucesores mencionados en la proclama con la que Fidel Castro anunció su alejamiento del poder por problemas de salud y que fue leída en los medios nacionales el 31 de julio de 2006. En el punto seis de aquel texto se le asignaban las funciones como "impulsor principal del programa de la revolución energética" y la gestión de sus fondos. Fuera de la Isla, el vicepresidente era visto como una figura civil con la que se podría negociar una futura transición.

Entre 1993 y 2009, desde desde su alto cargo, Lage representó a la Isla en varias Cumbres Iberoamericanas, en discursos ante las Naciones Unidas y en la toma de posesión de innumerables presidentes. El humor popular lo bautizó entonces como "el administrador del manicomio", por mostrar cierta sensatez en medio de los delirios políticos que caracterizaron esos momentos en Cuba.[[QUOTE:En lugar de ascenderle a la posición de primer vicepresidente, en febrero de 2008 Raúl Castro nombró en el cargo al ortodoxo José Ramón Machado Ventura]]

Sin embargo, en lugar de ascenderle a la posición de primer vicepresidente, en febrero de 2008 Raúl Castro nombró en el cargo al ortodoxo José Ramón Machado Ventura, enviando así una clara señal de reforzamiento de la generación histórica en el poder y apartando a los posibles reformistas. Una reflexión publicada por Fidel Castro confirmó la caída en desgracia, cuando acusó a Lage y al canciller Felipe Pérez Roque de haber jugado un "papel indigno".

Ahora, cada mañana, el benjamín apartado del poder imparte las orientaciones a los trabajadores de la campaña contra el mosquito que transmite el dengue y el chikungunya. El resto del día recibe las quejas de los vecinos de Nuevo Vedado sobre la actuación de los fumigadores y del personal sanitario vinculado a las inspecciones.

Las relaciones de Lage con el resto de los trabajadores del policlínico son cordiales, según explicaron a este diario varios de sus colegas. Pocos se atreven a recordarle los tiempos en que bastaba una orden suya para nombrar un director o remover a un administrador. Con frecuencia, tras la jornada laboral, le da botella a algún colega en su Lada color rojo vino, un reemplazo del que conservaba de sus tiempos en el poder.[[QUOTE:En los pasillos del centro de salud le llaman “el hombre de la jabita”, en alusión a una orientación suya que puso fin a una bolsa con productos como jabón, pollo congelado y detergente que se distribuía entre personal de la salud]]

En los pasillos del centro de salud le llaman "el hombre de la jabita", en alusión a una orientación suya que a principios de este siglo puso fin a una bolsa con productos como jabón, pollo congelado y detergente que se distribuía entre personal de la salud. Con sorna, sus actuales compañeros de trabajo le recuerdan aquel recorte.

Ni siquiera en las partidas de dominó que con regularidad organiza en su casa y a las que invita a otros trabajadores del policlínico, Lage habla de aquel 3 de marzo de 2009, cuando Raúl Castro lo destituyó de su cargo como vicepresidente. También fue dado de baja del Comité Central del Partido Comunista y de su puesto de diputado en la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular.

"No quiere ni mencionar su vida anterior", comenta a 14ymedio una empleada del laboratorio del 19 de Abril. "Al principio tenían un operativo de vigilancia bien visible", asegura la empleada, pero "con el tiempo ha ido disminuyendo".

Un intento de obtener declaraciones del propio Lage no recibió ninguna respuesta. "Ese hombre sabe que el silencio es el que lo mantiene con vida", comenta su colega.

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El demócrata Jeremiah Nixon, inició hoy una visita oficial a Cuba, acompañado de una veintena de empresas, para aumentar el comercio bilateral

Nixon explicó que Missouri es líder en la producción mundial de muchos alimentos que se consumen en Cuba

El gobernador también destacó que Cuba y Missouri pueden intercambiar conocimientos en investigación agrícola

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La Fundación independiente LOGOS, creada en el año en curso, hizo este domingo en La Habana su primera presentación pública, con un debate para el cual su director, el master en Ciencias Roberto Díaz Vázquez, presentó la ponencia Cuba: La economía privada como herramienta para la solución de la crisis.

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Las rachas de vientos y la caída de 58 milímetros de lluvias dejaron afectaciones en viviendas, caída de tendidos eléctricos y un derrumbe importante en un conocido edificio en la ciudad de Camagüey. Continue reading
Medios oficiales suelen con frecuencia informar acerca de la crisis en el abasto de agua en la isla, que a menudo deben "resolver" con pipas de agua mientras las soluciones definitivas no parecen a la vuelta de la esquina. Continue reading
“Es que la cerveza da muchas ganas de orinar. Pura, mire para otro lado”, le dice un joven a una señora que camina por la Calzada. Continue reading

Sol García Basulto

Una inesperada tormenta con vientos de más de 90 kilómetros por hora sorprendió este sábado a los camagüeyanos. El evento meteorológico dejó a su paso 40 viviendas afectadas y desplomó un viejo edificio declarado inhabitable. En muy corto tiempo, las lluvias alcanzaron un nivel de 61 milímetros, sin causar víctimas.

Los vecinos del inmueble colapsado, ubicado en la Plaza de San José, cerca de la Terminal de trenes, ya tenían asignadas desde hace meses nuevas viviendas en un reparto conocido como Los Coquitos. Sin embargo, los residentes no habían querido mudarse a las nuevas casas en la periferia de la circunvalación que conecta la ciudad con las provincias orientales, por lo lejos que se encuentran de sus espacios habituales.

El derrumbe del edificio conocido como Tres Banderas, en la esquina de las calles Francisquito y San José, ha generado conmoción entre los vecinos de las cercanías.

[[QUOTE:Los mayores daños se localizaron en los distritos Cándido González y Joaquín de Agüero, donde, además, se produjeron averías en los tendidos eléctricos y telefónicos]]María A. Rodríguez, vecina de un edificio de 12 plantas en la Avenida Finlay, se encontraba este domingo en el área del derrumbe presenciando el proceso de recogida de escombros. Comentó que su apartamento se afectó con "la filtración incontrolable de agua" y recordó sentirse temerosa de perder sus bienes, en especial los muebles.

Otra de las vecinas afectadas fue Anolay López Vallejo, residente en la calle Quiñones 154. La caída de un árbol de mango ocasionó "el derrumbe total de un ranchón que tenía en el patio".

Según reportes de la Defensa Civil, los mayores daños se localizaron en los distritos Cándido González y Joaquín de Agüero, donde, además, "se produjeron averías en los tendidos eléctricos y telefónicos", publicó este lunes el diario oficial Granma. Al menos cuatro postes y dos transformadores fueron derribados, además de las afectaciones ocasionadas sobre el tendido eléctrico en 11 circuitos por la caída de árboles.

La Empresa Eléctrica y Etecsa trabajan intensamente para reparar los daños. Obreros del sector de la construcción, la Oficina del Historiador y la dirección de Comunales terminan de demoler el edificio y se llevan los escombros, mientras los vecinos intentan recuperar lo que queda de sus pertenencias.

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La intención de los migrantes era llegar hasta el municipio de Turbo Continue reading
Las trampas de jugar con la realidad REINALDO ESCOBAR, , La Habana | 28/05/2016 Como en un videojuego de estrategia en que se crea a la medida una ciudad o un país, los ideólogos del Partido Comunista de Cuba han confeccionado el proyecto del Plan Nacional de Desarrollo Económico y Social hasta 2030. Sin embargo, […] Continue reading
La zafra en Villa Clara será muy inferior a la de 2015 JOSÉ GABRIEL BARRENECHEA, Santa Clara | Mayo 29, 2016 Con la paralización de siete de sus nueve centrales en activo, la zafra de 2016 casi ha concluido en Villa Clara. Ha trascendido que la provincia que en la actualidad produce más azúcar en […] Continue reading
La solución busca privacidad y vencer los obstáculos para las transferencias bancarias en la Isla Continue reading

La organización Civil Rights Defenders pidió a los miembros de la plataforma EU-Cuba Network escribir a los gobiernos de la Unión Europea para que el bloque publique el Acuerdo de Diálogo Político y Cooperación que firmó con La Habana el 11 de marzo pasado.

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UNPACU Activists Denounce Raid On Their Homes / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 28 May 2016 – This week has been one of surprises for
several activists from the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) who denounce
that they have been victims of a raid on their homes and the
confiscation of their belongings. The dissidents detailed that the
political police raided three houses in the city of Santiago de Cuba on
Saturday morning and a fourth in Havana on Wednesday.

Ermito Morán Sánchez, an UNPACU activist, confirmed to14ymedio that they
"raided the homes of Carlos Oliva Torres, Yusmila Reyna and Karel Reyes
where they seized printed materials, a camera, and other items in
response to our activities to disseminate the reality of this country
among the people."

In a telephone conversation with 14ymedio, Yusmila Reyna said that at
six in the morning, while her family was sleeping, there was a "knock on
the door." It was the police with "a search warrant for subversive
activities." An officer showed her a paper, but did not allow her to
read it carefully or to take it in her hands. The incident occurred on
12th Street in the Mariana de la Torre neighborhood in Santiago de Cuba.

Reyna managed to read that the order specified that they came to "seize
methods of communication, money, and any other means of
counterrevolution." A total of ten uniformed officers plus two in plain
clothes, who supposedly came to witness the search (Cuban law requires
two civilians to witness such a search), participated in the operation.

The raid lasted over an hour and ultimately they seized working notes,
two laptops, an electronic tablet, two hard drives, a printer, a camera,
"and even receipts for items acquired abroad," according to Reyna.

The activist circulated a text where she says that "acts like these do
not prevent us from continuing our work in defense of human rights and
accelerating the process of democratization of our island."

During the search of her house they also seized a number of issues of
the magazine Coexistence, documents relating to the initiative Otro 18
(Another 2018)—in support of free multiparty elections—and documents
relating to the Roundtable for United Democratic Action (MUAD).

"They took two staplers and the boxes of staples, and a hole-punch. They
didn't leave any document I was working on and warned me that any demand
[for the return of the seized items] would have go to the 'Confrontation
Offices' but that they were not going to return anything."

Meanwhile the dissident Arcelio Rafael "Chely" Molina Leyva said that
Wednesday morning the police arrived to search his home, which serves as
the UNPACU headquarters in Havana.

"They came with several gentlemen in plainclothes and after a thorough
search took three laptops, a battery to recharge cell phones, two mobile
phones, office supplies, news from international agencies, printed civic
material and digital backups," Chely enumerated.

This is the fourth search of this nature by the political police on
UNPACU's Havana headquarters. As a part of the operation they arrested
Carlos Amel Oliva Torres, who despite having a temporary residence
permit for Havana was taken to the third station of the National
Revolutionary Police (PNR) in Santiago de Cuba, where he is still under
arrest.

Source: UNPACU Activists Denounce Raid On Their Homes / 14ymedio –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/unpacu-activists-denounce-raid-on-their-homes-14ymedio/ Continue reading
"I Am Prepared To Go to Prison Today," says Berta Soler / 14ymedio

14ymedio, Havana, 29 May 2016 – From early hours Sunday a major police
operation surrounded the headquarters of the Ladies in White in the
Havana neighborhood of Lawton, according to denunciations by several
activists from that organization. At least "13 women and four opponents
were brutally intercepted outside the house" and forced into police cars
in the last 13 hours, dissident Luisa Ramona Toscano Kendelan said by
telephone to 14ymedio.

The group that surrounded the property included, as has become
customary, a conga line with music through powerful speakers and signs
that use the opposition campaign slogan "We All March" together with the
phrases "with Fidel," "with the Revolution" and "with socialism."

At several points in the city similar operations prevented the women who
form part of the human rights organization from reaching Santa Rita
Church. Several on-scene witnesses report that at least two Ladies in
White had managed to reach the vicinity of the parish on the western
periphery of Havana.

Minutes before her arrest and in statements to this daily, Berta Soler,
leader of the Ladies in White, declared that she was ready to confront
the risks of leaving her organization's headquarters in order to
exercise the right of "peaceful demonstration." She explained that she
was prepared to go "to prison to await the trial" with which they
threatened her last week for a charge of resisting the authorities.

"I am prepared, I have my blood pressure monitor, my pills, shots,
personal hygiene articles, flip flops … I carry it all. I am again going
to commit the crime they accuse me of, so I expect to end up in the
Manto Negro women's prison."

In the morning hours in the Matanzas province, Lady in White Leticia
Ramos Herreria, who urged agents to take her directly to prison to await
trial, was detained. Nevertheless, the State Security officers responded
to her that "it was still not time."

Translated by Mary Lou Keel

Source: "I Am Prepared To Go to Prison Today," says Berta Soler /
14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/i-am-prepared-to-go-to-prison-today-says-berta-soler-14ymedio/ Continue reading
Silver Airways has big plans for growth in and beyond Tampa
Justine Griffin, Times Staff Writer
Monday, May 30, 2016 6:00am

Silver Airways became the only air carrier to offer nonstop flights from
Tampa to Nassau last week.

And they're just getting started.

Silver Airways CEO Sami Teittinen said the Fort Lauderdale-based
discount airliner is pushing forward on major expansion plans over the
next year. The airliner, which considers Tampa one of its main hubs,
wants to be a regular airline option in Cuba. The company wants to
expand beyond Florida and the Bahamas and be a top contender for quick
flights in the Southeast.

Right now Silver Airways operates more routes in Florida and between the
Sunshine State and the Bahamas than any other airline. The company
offers more than 120 daily flights to 26 destinations on a fleet of 22
Saab 340B Plus turboprop aircraft that seat 34.

Silver Airways was born from the ashes of Gulfstream International
Airlines, a small South Florida company that filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection in 2010. The company was bought by a hedge fund
and rebranded as Silver the next year.

Teittinen was in Tampa on Thursday to celebrate the new daily flight to
Nassau from Tampa International Airport, where he spoke with the Times.

Why did Silver Airways want to offer nonstop service to Nassau from Tampa?

We focus on providing safe air travel at affordable fares. We looked at
Tampa and saw that there were a lot of destinations that just weren't
being served today. Nassau was one of them. Well, we used to service
Nassau from Tampa when we were still Gulfstream International Airlines,
but it's been a while since then and we wanted to bring that service back.

We already serve seven different destinations in the Bahamas so this
seemed like a natural extension. No one wants to have to connect in
Miami or Fort Lauderdale if you don't have to.

Silver Airways has been vying to be one of the airlines that will offer
flights to Cuba. Can you tell me more about that?

Our growth plan is going in two directions. The first is to offer
flights to 10 different destinations in Cuba. It is a lot but there are
10 international airports in Cuba. As the market is opening, the plan is
to be there. Right now we're waiting to see if our plans will be accepted.

So what's the other direction for growth?

We want to serve more destinations in the southern Caribbean and more
states surrounding Florida. You'll start to hear more announcements
about that in the next 12 to 18 months. That includes newer aircraft, too.

How does Tampa International Airport compare to other parts of Florida,
like Fort Lauderdale, where you're based?

Tampa and Fort Lauderdale are our key hubs. It's easy for us to serve
more traffic in Tampa for that reason. It's a very convenient airport
and we're very excited to be here during its expansion. It will be very
nice. The airport has been very supportive of our growth plans, too.
Everything in Tampa has been very easy.

When we first started looking at Tampa, we noticed that there are
opportunities to offer flights that are not being served today. That's
mostly because of airline consolidation over the years. Orlando, too, is
experiencing that. But it's great for us.

Tell me more about Silver Airways, for our readers who might not be
familiar with your name.

We're a full-service airline known for providing ultrashort flights. The
average flight time is an hour and 10 minutes, though most of our
flights are really an hour or less. We fly 34-seat aircraft today but
plan to expand that. We're known for our fair price point and nonstop
service. We have arrangements with United Airlines and JetBlue, so
travelers are able to accumulate points for those programs when they fly
with us. We don't offer our own loyalty program. We offer nonstop
service almost everywhere in Florida and the Bahamas, and soon beyond that.

Reach Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com. Follow @SunBizGriffin

Source: Silver Airways has big plans for growth in and beyond Tampa |
Tampa Bay Times -
http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/airlines/silver-airways-has-big-plans-for-growth-in-and-beyond-tampa/2279157 Continue reading
Waves of Cubans are crossing into Texas
By Lomi KrielMay 28, 2016 Updated: May 28, 2016 11:05pm

Cuba to Houston with a flight to Ecuador. From there, he traveled by
bus, boat and foot through Colombia into Panama, including a treacherous
trek through a jungle, before being airlifted to Juarez.
Rodolfo Peña trudged through the muggy Panamanian jungle, full of deadly
jaguars, insects and plants. He tried not to dwell on the murderous
Colombian guerrillas who hide out here, too, and concentrated on making
it to Houston.

Lithe and athletic, the 29-year-old was better equipped for this
dangerous trek last month through 100 miles of near impenetrable forest,
known as the Darién Gap, than many of the roughly 80 Cubans in his group.

"You put a price on your life and that price is way too low," Peña said.
"The jungle has everything."

Like Peña, more than 26,450 Cubans have crossed the Texas border since
October. Roughly 29,000 arrived in fiscal year 2015, 80 percent more
than the year before and quadruple that of a decade ago. The pace of
these northbound migrants has overwhelmed not just resettlement agencies
here but also governments across Latin America. Some countries,
including Panama and Nicaragua, have shut their borders to Cubans,
prompting a refugee crisis that shows no signs of abating.

"We don't have the capacity to serve them all," said Wafa Abdin, vice
president of immigration and refugee services at Catholic Charities of
the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

The organization has helped more Cubans in the eight months since
October, nearly 1,500, than it did for the 12-month period between
October 2014 and September 2015. It's more than double that was seen in
the same timespan the year before that, and other refugee agencies in
the area report a similar uptick.

Unlike much of the last century, the perilous currents of the Florida
Straits are no longer the forefront of Cuban migration. Instead, most
Cubans risk this harrowing journey from Ecuador to Colombia and up
through the Panamanian jungle to the Texas border. From there, many make
their way to Houston rather than Miami. The influx began seizing
national attention in 2014.

The rush prompted Nicaragua, a close ally of Havana, to close its
borders late last year, creating a bottleneck in Costa Rica. In January,
that country began airlifting as many as 6,000 Cubans to El Salvador and
busing them to Mexico before shutting its front, too.

The crisis simply moved south. In early May, the Panamanian government
similarly banned Cubans as it began daily flights bringing about 4,000
migrants to Juarez, from where they are rushing en masse into
neighboring El Paso. The traffic jam has since moved to Colombia, which
hasn't yet announced what it might do.

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Much has changed since President Barack Obama restored diplomatic ties
with Cuba in December 2014: An American flag now flies over Havana for
the first time in 54 years and commercial flights are expected to resume
this summer. Last week, Cuba said it would legalize small and
medium-sized private businesses - once unthinkable in one of the world's
last few communist strongholds, which regularly cracked down on
enterprises that competed with Cuba's state monopolies.

But what hasn't changed is the desperation of Cubans to leave the island
despite promises that their lives will improve alongside better
relations with Washington. Driving them is their unique immigration
benefit that makes them the only nationality to be almost automatically
admitted into the United States and receive legal residency after a year.

Resettlement agencies from Houston to El Paso say they have remained in
the dark about the newest wave of Cubans. Most refugees are screened and
admitted through the United Nations and various U.S. government
agencies, including the State Department and Department of Homeland
Security, and can take years to arrive at a destination, giving agencies
time to prepare and allot money. Cubans, on the other hand, simply cross
the border but are nonetheless immediately eligible for the same welfare
and benefits as other refugees. It has put agencies in a terrible bind.

"We have been using whatever resources we can in order to take care of
immediate needs, and there's just not enough," Abdin said. "The numbers
keep increasing."

Cubans say they're driven to come now because they worry about an
increased push to repeal the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which gives them
expedited path to citizenship. Intended to protect dissidents in the
Cold War, critics say most Cubans now come chiefly for economic reasons
and that it should be discontinued.

Indeed, Cubans say they still struggle to survive in a country where
average monthly salaries remain as low as $24 and perhaps most pressing:
They see no significant change imminent until Fidel and Raul Castro die.

For now, they say they'll keep betting on this path, which for many
means saving for years and traveling across Central and South America
for as long as 24 months and enduring numerous horrors.

---

For Peña, his exodus from Cuba began "the day I was born," he said,
describing a lifelong dream to come to America. The plan, however,
seemed attainable only once Cuba lifted travel restrictions for its
citizens in 2013, allowing them to fly elsewhere if they obtain a visa
for that country.

But many nations are reluctant to grant Cubans visas because of the
widely realized fear that they won't return to the island. Since Ecuador
in 2008 eliminated visas for all tourists, the throng of Cubans arriving
at the Texas-Mexico border has skyrocketed.

The Andean country rescinded that benefit late last year to stem Cuban
migration but tens of thousands of Cubans remain there or in Venezuela,
whose government has a close relationship with Havana.

As a carpenter with his own small business, Peña earned a relatively
good salary for the island, about $120 a month. But with a 5-year-old
son living with his mother in the poverty-stricken interior and dozens
of friends who had succeeded on the journey in Ecuador and the U.S.,
Peña decided he too would make the trek north. He saved for a year to
buy the $850 plane ticket and have a few hundred to spare before
boarding his flight in July 2015.

At first, Peña thought he would stay in Ecuador, where roughly 41,000
Cubans entered on commercial flights in 2014, up 70 percent from the
year before. He was living with friends, working construction jobs and
making five times as much as in Havana.

"My son could finally have toys," he said.

But when he saw he wouldn't be able to get a work visa, Peña decided to
go north, knowing he could get a green card in the U.S. He took a
five-hour taxi ride to Ipiales, a Colombian border city, an eight-hour
bus ride to Cali, another eight-hour bus ride to Medellin and finally a
six-hour bus ride to Turbo, a gritty town on the southeastern end of
Panama's Darién Gap on Colombia's last stretch of northern paved road.
This route has become infamous not only among Cuban migrants but also
Colombians themselves who have turned it into a lucrative enterprise.

"Cubans are walking money," Peña said, describing how he was harassed at
every stop by criminals knowing the migrants carry cash. Some Cubans
have recounted being beaten, and women have reported brutal rapes.

The worst and most dangerous part of his journey, however, was yet to
come: A three-hour boat trip in darkness to elude authorities to
Colombia's last frontier of Capurgana and another boat ride to Panama's
Puerto Obaldia. Then the dreaded trek through the Darién jungle.

It is here, in this desolate outpost off the Caribbean, home to
indigenous tribes, drug traffickers and guerrillas, where many Cubans
are stuck. Some run out of money and can't afford to pay a guide to lead
them through the jungle. Others are weak from the trip and can't carry on.

"It's not worth the risk," said Lorena Justiz, a 26-year-old Cuban who
arrived in Houston this month via this route.

Once through the ocean odyssey, migrants walk for 12 hours at a time
through the jungle, often without food and drinking water. They rely on
crabs and rivers for sustenance. Danger is everywhere, from
dengue-carrying mosquitoes to poisonous plants and tumbling ravines.

When Peña finally made it to Panama City in mid-April, he was exhausted
and nearly out of money. By that time the Panamanian government had
already arranged for migrants to stay in makeshift camps near Costa
Rica's border, so he was flown up there where he waited for weeks until
Panama decided to airlift the Cubans to Juarez at a cost of some $800
each. Several hundred migrants who didn't have that are still stuck there.

Arriving in the border city two weeks ago, Peña crossed into El Paso. At
the city's bus station, he stood, distressed. He didn't have money for
the trip to Houston. It's a dilemma faith and community leaders in El
Paso have been struggling with as Cuban migrants overwhelmed their city.

"It has been very difficult, and at first our only information was
coming from the refugees themselves," said Bishop Mark J. Seitz of the
El Paso Catholic Diocese. "These people were totally lost on the streets
of El Paso and taken advantage of."

---

Though many were on their way to family and friends mostly in Houston
and Miami, at least 15 percent had nowhere to go.

El Paso's faith community rallied. Cuban migrants slept in church pews
and received donations and help to arrive at their final destinations.

"Four thousand refugees is overwhelming if you don't prepare for it,"
said Ruben Garcia, executive director of Annunciation House, an
immigrant advocacy group in El Paso. "But it's an overwhelming number
only if you don't get basic advance fundamental planning and notice.
Washington could have facilitated this immensely."

A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the airlifts
were coordinated between Panama and Mexico. A State Department official
similarly said the United States was not involved.

"We understand regional governments are working to find solutions to the
ongoing Cuban migration challenge," the agency said in a statement. "We
remain concerned for the safety of all migrants throughout the region."

The ripple effect in Houston has been immense.

Abdin, from the region's Catholic Charities, said about a dozen Cubans
landed on their doorstep nearly each day this month.

"These are not numbers we have proposed we can serve," Abdin said.
"Refugees, ones that go through the system, they are accounted for, we
prepare their apartments before they come. What happens with the Cubans
is that they come and that day they're homeless. They need a place to
stay, and the city does not have enough capacity in terms of shelters."

Last year, Cubans made up more than a third of all refugees settled in
Texas, more than 5,110. In all, the federal and state government spent
more than $255 million on services for refugees in Texas last year.

Some have called to end the Cuban Adjustment Act, arguing that it draws
migrants here at increasing harm to themselves and is unfair to other
immigrants fleeing persecution. This week, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a
Democrat from El Paso, joined a small but growing chorus of voices
including Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, saying that it should be
repealed.

Jorge Piñon, director of the Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program
at the University of Texas at Austin, said as long as the Castro
brothers are in control, the island's policies will not change
significantly, and migrants will keep coming while the Cuban Adjustment
Act exists.

In Houston, Peña has signed up for job training and English classes at
the YMCA of Greater Houston, which so far in 2016 resettled more than
900 Cuban migrants. He is looking for work.

"Once you leave Cuba you feel the change," he said. "You can say to
yourself, 'I'm going to work hard for two months, and I'm going to buy
this,' and you can."

Lomi Kriel
Reporter, Houston Chronicle


Source: Waves of Cubans are crossing into Texas - Houston Chronicle -
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Waves-of-Cubans-crossing-into-Texas-7951545.php Continue reading
Missouri delegation travels to Cuba
May 30, 2016, 6:00am CDT

Gov. Jay Nixon is leading a group of Missourians representing
agriculture, business, education and government on a trade mission to
Cuba. The delegation will visit the island nation from May 29 to June 1.
The trade mission will focus on growing Missouri exports, especially
agricultural products, to the country.

Among St. Louisans represented on the trip are Thorstein Holt of Holtec
Gas Systems in Chesterfield and Jeffrey Fort, of MOM Brands Sales, a
division of St. Louis-based Post Holdings.

Other delagates include First Lady Georganne Nixon, Missouri Department
of Agriculture Director Richard Fordyce and Missouri Department of
Economic Development Director Mike Downing, Carlos Vargas, President of
Southeast Missouri State University; Gary Wheeler of the Missouri
Soybean Association; Silvia Hollis of Mid-Continent Aircraft in Hayti,
Missouri; Brady Moses of SatCommX in Lampe, Missouri; ; and several
representatives of Martin Rice Co. in Bernie, Missouri.

"Cuba represents a market of 11 million consumers that has been largely
untouched by U.S. exports for more than 55 years," Nixon said in a
statement. "Missouri is moving forward to take advantage of this
opportunity, particularly when it comes to rice, one of the staples of
the Cuban diet."

Cuba formerly was a significant export destination for Missouri-grown
rice, according to Nixon.

In addition to meeting with Cuban government officials in Havana, Gov.
Nixon will be briefed by Deputy Chief of Mission Scott Hamilton and
other officials at the U.S. Embassy on progress toward facilitating and
increasing trade between the U.S. and Cuba.

Travel costs for the Governor and First Lady will be covered by the
Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting
economic growth in Missouri.

Source: Missouri delegation travels to Cuba on trade mission - St. Louis
Business Journal -
http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/news/2016/05/30/missouri-delegation-travels-to-cuba.html Continue reading
Fathom Adonia returns to PortMiami following electrical difficulty
Cruise ship was headed to Cuba
By Tasia Stone - Producer
Posted: 12:41 AM, May 30, 2016
Updated: 8:08 AM, May 30, 2016

MIAMI - The Fathom Adonia was on its way back to PortMiami Sunday
evening, following a power outage aboard the ship during the initial leg
of its journey to Cuba.

A cruise spokesperson sent a statement to Local 10 that read in part,
"The ship is fully operational and guests are being updated regularly.
The Coast Guard has been notified and the ship is returning to Miami for
further evaluation."

According to the Coast Guard, the electrical issue surfaced at about 5
p.m. Sunday, and the power outage lasted for approximately 30 minutes.

Port workers said the ship returned to PortMiami and left again at 3
a.m. Monday to continue a seven-night tour of Cuba.

In a second statement, released Monday morning, a cruise liner
spokesperson wrote, "Fathom will now arrive into Havana for the two-day
call at 7:30 a.m. May 31, and will depart at 18:00 (6:00 p.m.) on June
1. Unfortunately it has been necessary to cancel the call to Cienfuegos
and the ship will proceed to Santiago de Cuba as scheduled."

The Fathom Adonia hosts voyages to Cuba and the Dominican Republic. In
early May, roughly 700 passengers boarded the ship to cruise to the
island nation. It was the first time a U.S. cruise ship had done so
since President Jimmy Carter eliminated travel restrictions to Cuba in
the late 1970s.

Source: Fathom Adonia returns to PortMiami following electrical... -
http://www.local10.com/news/fathom-adonia-to-return-to-portmiami-following-electrical-difficulty Continue reading

Corea del Norte ha iniciado una nueva campaña de lealtad hacia el régimen para potenciar el trabajo en el país, como parte de su estrategia económica a cinco años, anunciada en el último congreso del partido único celebrado a principios de mes, reportó EFE.

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La artista Tania Bruguera regresó este domingo a la Isla y fue "recibida" en el aeropuerto por la Seguridad del Estado, informó en Facebook su hermana Deborah.

"Efectivamente, la teniente coronel Kenia estaba esperando a Tania Bruguera en el aeropuerto", escribió Deborah.

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