En total 26 personas, 22 Damas de Blanco y cuatro activistas opositores, fueron detenidos este domingo en Lawton de forma violenta y en medio de un despliegue represivo, en el que otra vez han sido movilizadas turbas de civiles, niños y adolescentes, según declararon testigos.
El fotógrafo Claudio Fuentes, presente en la sede de las Damas de Blanco en La Habana, contó a DIARIO DE CUBA lo ocurrido.Continue reading
¿El carnaval santiaguero sigue siendo de los mejores de Cuba? "Eso creen los que lo visitaron años atrás, lo cierto es que se ha convertido en un ir de venir de gente buscando cerveza de termo, de aquellas que tropiezan unas con otras subiendo y bajando las áreas; quioscos deprimentes y reguetón, mucho reguetón", opina Delia, económica de 42 años, muy divertida y gustosa de las trepidantes noches de shows y cabarets santiagueros.Continue reading
El gobernador chavista del céntrico estado Aragua, Tareck El Aissami, afirmó este domingo que el chavismo ha sostenido encuentros con sectores de la oposición venezolana, sin precisar cuáles, para explorar vías que lleven al "diálogo político", reportó EFE.
"Nosotros hemos conversado con casi la mayoría de los dirigentes de la oposición venezolana, bilateralmente, colectivamente; hemos hecho esfuerzos de todo tipo, horas y horas de trabajo, con agendas un poco para buscar un factor en común", dijo El Aissami en una entrevista ofrecida al canal privado Televen.Continue reading
El procurador general de Venezuela aseguró que la Asamblea Nacional —de mayoría opositora— "se encuentra ahora ilegal e ilegítimamente constituida", luego de que reincorporara el jueves a tres diputados, quienes habían sido suspendidos en diciembre por el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia por supuestas irregularidades en su elección, reportó la AP.
Un diputado opositor acusó al procurador de tratar de boicotear al Congreso.Continue reading
Note: The version below is the summary of the message released in
English by the Vatican.
With great hope I join with you in this moment, in which you are in
harmony with the universal Church whose young heart is in Krakow. I
trust that these days will be, for all, a special occasion to foster the
culture of encounter, the culture of respect, the culture of
understanding and of mutual forgiveness. This is about 'making a
ruckus', about dreaming. And young people are supposed to 'make a ruckus'!
I suggest that you live the experience of listening carefully to the
Gospel and then bringing it alive in your own lives, in the lives of
your family and friends. … When you pray the Via Crucis, remember that
we cannot love God if we do not love our brothers. When you pass through
the Holy Door, let yourself be infused with this love … and this way you
will learn always to look upon others with mercy, closeness and
tenderness, especially those who suffer and those who are in need of help."
Stand before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; because in Him, and only in
Him, will you find the strength to follow the most beautiful and
constructive plan of our lives; because love is constructive, love
destroys not even the enemy, love always builds up. And, when you are
sent by the bishops as Witnesses of Mercy, remember that the Master's
most beautiful wish is that you will be afraid of nothing.
Boys and girls, do not be afraid of anything, be free of the bonds of
this world and proclaim to all, to the elderly, the sorrowful, that the
Church weeps with them, and that Jesus is able to give them new life, to
Young Cubans: open yourselves to great things! Do not be afraid! … Dream
that with you, the world can be different! Dream that Cuba, with you,
can be different, and better every day. Do not give up! In this endeavor
it is important that you open your heart and mind to the hope that Jesus
gives. … And never forget that this hope is suffered; hope knows how to
suffer to carry out a project, but likewise do not forget that it gives
life, it is fruitful. And with this, hope will not be fruitless; rather,
it will give life to others, it will create a homeland, a Church, it
will do great things. …
Hope is instrumental in building 'social friendship', even though people
may think differently. It is not necessary for us all to think in the
same way … we must all join together in 'social friendship', even with
those who think in a different way. But we all have something in common:
the wish to dream, and this love for the homeland.
The important thing, regardless of whether we are the same or different,
is to build this 'social friendship' with all; to build bridges, to work
together. Build bridges!
Source: Message from Pope Francis to Young Cubans / 14ymedio –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/message-from-pope-francis-to-young-cubans-14ymedio/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 29 July 2016 – A message from Pope
Francis aimed at young Cubans raised spirits Thursday in celebrations
that took place in Havana simultaneously with World Youth Day held in
Krakow, Poland. "Young Cubans: open yourselves to great things! Do not
be afraid!" the Bishop of Rome told them in a few words that were
projected on a large screen in front of more than a thousand Catholics
throughout the island.
Havana's Cathedral Square, from early Thursday morning, displayed a
panorama completely different from usual. Although there was no lack of
tourists, performers and, of course, the police, there were around 1,300
young Catholics from all provinces who met "in sync with Krakow,"
according to the organizers.
During the early afternoon, the delegations made their cultural and
pastoral presentations. The Santiago delegation accompanied the chorus
of the "first diocese in Havana bringing the message of Charity"with
percussion instruments. Those from Camagüey presented a choreographed
dance, while those from Bayamo, Pinar del Rio and participants from
every corner of the island made an effort to leave their mark on the
Among the more than 60 young people from Camagüey who attended the
meeting was Dariel Hernandez, coordinator of the youth ministry in that
diocese. "We come having prepared for this event for almost a year to be
in sync with what is happening right now in Poland with Pope Francis. We
have raised money to cover the cost of these activities," he explained
Melisa Boga, is a second year student of Foreign Languages at the
University of Cienfuegos. "We are 84 from our province; I hope and
desire to know the reality of the other young people who have come
here," she said.
Around 9:00 PM, a message to young Cubans sent by Pope Francis
specifically for the occasion was broadcast, interrupted with cheers and
shouts of approval.
The pontiff recalled the legacy of Father Felix Varela when he said,
"You are the sweet hope of the nation." And declared, "To be carriers of
hope you need not to lose the ability to dream," and said that someone
who "doesn't have the capacity to dream is already retired."
"Young Cubans: open yourselves to great things! Do not be afraid!"
continued Francis, while the crowd cheered and applauded. " Dream that
with you, the world can be different! Dream that Cuba, with you, can be
different, and better every day. Do not give up!" he said.
"It is not necessary for us all to think in the same way. No, everyone
has to join in the 'social friendship,' even with those who think in a
different way. But we all have something in common: the wish to dream,
and this love for the homeland," said the Pope Francis. The Pope invited
young Catholics to "to build bridges, to work together with the word,
with the desire, with the heart."
Source: Pope Francis Asks Young Cubans "Don't Be Afraid" / 14ymedio,
Zunilda Mata – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/pope-francis-asks-young-cubans-dont-be-afraid-14ymedio-zunilda-mata/ Continue reading
Cubanet.org, Julio Cesar Alvarez and Augusto Cesar San Martin, 29 July
2016, Havana – Hector Maseda dreamed of designing big ships and hanging
his naval engineering degree where everyone could see it, but "since
they only built boats here," he graduated with a degree in electrical
His excellent grades assured him a post in the National Center for
Scientific Research (CNIC) until 1980 when the Mariel Boatlift changed
his life, as it did for tens of thousands of Cubans who decided to
emigrate, but from a different angle.
Hector did not emigrate but lost his job at the CNIC for refusing to
repudiate his colleagues who chose to leave the Island. He stopped
enjoying the "political trustworthiness" indispensable for working at
the center, the "father of science in Cuba."
From a scientist with three post-graduate studies and author of
several scientific articles, he became a handicrafts vendor for more
than a year in order to be able to survive. After going through several
different jobs he began to work in the medical devices department in the
oldest functioning hospital in Cuba, the Commander Manuel Fajardo
Teaching Surgical Hospital.
It was there, on Christmas of 1991, that he began the courtship of Laura
Pollan, a teacher of Spanish and literature who would later become a
symbol of the peaceful struggle for human rights in Cuba.
The spring of 2003 was a "Black Spring" for Hector and 74 of his
colleagues (known as the Group of 75). Sentenced to 20 years in a
summary trial for a supposed crime against the independence and
territorial integrity of the State, he spent more than seven years in
From that Black Spring emerged the Ladies in White, a group of wives
and family members of the 75 dissidents. Laura Pollan, because of the
arrest of Hector Maseda, quit her job as a professor in the Ministry of
Education and became the founder and leader of the Ladies in White.
"From that moment, she gave up all her pleasures, all her intellectual
and social inclinations, etc., and became a leading defender of human
rights," says Maseda.
But Laura would not survive long after Hector's liberation. A strange
virus ended her life in 2011, although Hector Maseda is convinced that
the Cuban political police assassinated her.
President of the National Commission of Masonic Teaching and
past-President of the Cuban Academy of High Masonic Studies, Hector has
traveled the whole road of Cuban Freemasonry.
From apprentice to Grade 33 of the Supreme Council for the Republic of
Cuba, he is one of the 25 Sovereign Grand Inspectors of the order which
is composed of about 29 thousand Masons spread through more than 300
lodges around the Island.
He has worked as an independent journalist for outlets like CubaNet,
Miscelaneas de Cuba and others. His book Buried Alive recounts the
conditions of the Cuban political prison system and the abuses of
jailers against political and common prisoners.
But he, who at age 15 was arrested and beaten by the Batista police
after being mistaken for a member of the July 26 terrorist group and at
age 60 psychologically tortured by Fidel Castro's political police by
being subjected to sleep deprivation in interrogations, still has not
overcome the death of his wife Laura Pollan.
"I have not been able to overcome that trauma," says Maseda.
Translated by Mary Lou Keel
Source: "I Have Not Been Able to Overcome Laura's Death"/ Cubanet,
Hector Maseda – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/i-have-not-been-able-to-overcome-lauras-death-cubanet-hector-maseda/ Continue reading
14ymedio/EFE, Paraguay, 29 July 2016 – Cuban technicians will travel to
Paraguay in August to study the possibilities of importing food products
to the island, especially meat, dairy and soy, according to the Ministry
of Industry and Commerce of Paraguay (MIC).
The delegation plans to visit two dairy plants and several refrigeration
companies, where they will verify the processing of beef, pork and
The visit was announced by Cuba's ambassador in Paraguay, Sidenio
Acosta, who met Wednesday in Asuncion with Minister of Industry and
Trade, Gustavo Leite.
At the meeting it was explained that Cuba is interested in Paraguayan
cattle genetics and embryos and has already approved the authorization
for the importation of soybeans, corn, wheat, rice and oil, according to
The Cuban government also extended an invitation to Paraguayan companies
to participate in future editions of multisector fairs held on the island.
Leite met last year with Vice Minister of Commerce Oscar Stark to
initiate efforts to increase trade with Cuba.
According to official figures, Cuba imports products worth seven billion
a year, most of which is food.
Despite the relaxations carried out by Cuban President Raul Castro since
he took office in February 2008, livestock production continues to be
tightly centralized on the island. In 2011, in an interview with the
official weekly Workers, Omelio Borroto, director of the Institute of
Animal Science (ICA), said it was "fundamental to decentralize producers
and businesses" to achieve an increase in milk production.
However, four years later, at the end of 2015, the numbers pointed to a
decrease in the production of cow's milk. The numbers fell from 579 to
479.5 million liters of milk produced in the country and experts agree
that the current year will show still more alarming figures due to,
among other factors, the drought.
This April there was a reduction in the price of powdered milk in the
hard currency stores across the island. The price of a 500-gram bag went
from 2.90 to 2.80 CUC and for a one kilogram bag the price was lowered
from 5.75 CUC to 5.50 CUC. This benefit has been criticized by consumers
who don't consider it significant, and has also contributed to the
shortage of powdered milk on store shelves.
In the past, Cuba has imported milk from as far away as New Zealand.
This situation led to Uruguayan president Tabaré Vázquez and Cuban
Castro to commit in 2015 to studying the installation in Uruguay of a
production plant for milk powder whose output would be destined for the
Source: Cuban Government Seeks Meat And Dairy In Paraguay / 14ymedio,
EFE – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuban-government-seeks-meat-and-dairy-in-paraguay-14ymedio-efe/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, Reinaldo Escobar, 30 July 2016 — Ten years after the
Proclamation in which Fidel Castro announced his departure from power,
that document continues to reveal distinctive features of a personality
marked by the desire to control everything. More than an ideological
legacy, the text is a simple list of instructions and it is unlikely
that the official media—so addicted to the upcoming major anniversary of
Fidel Castro's 90th birthday—will offer an assessment of whether these
instructions have been followed.
On 31 July 2006, the primetime news broadcast brought an enormous
surprise. Around nine at night Carlos Valenciaga, a member of the
Council of State, appeared in front of the cameras to read the
Proclamation of the Commander in Chief to the People of Cuba, where he
announced that due to health problems he felt obliged "to rest for
several weeks, away from my responsibilities and tasks."
After giving his version of the complications that plagued him and the
causes that had caused them, Fidel Castro offered six basic points in
this document and additionally left instructions about holding the
Non-aligned Summit and about the postponement of the celebrations for
his 90th birthday.
The first three points of the proclamation are dedicated to the transfer
of powers to his brother Raul Castro as head of the Party, the
government and the armed forces. The order for these transfers were
completely unnecessary because it was already in his position to
undertake these functions given that he was then in second position in
both the hierarchical order of the Party and the government. It is
striking that in each case he reiterated the "temporary delegation" of
the transfer of responsibilities.
In the three remaining points he delegated (also on a temporary basis)
his functions "as principal promoter of the National and International
Public Health Program" to then Minister of Public health Jose Ramon
Balaguer; the "principal promoters of the National and International
Education Program" to Politburo members José Ramón Machado Ventura and
Esteban Lazo Hernández; and as "main promoter of the National Energy
Revolution in Cuba and collaborator with other countries in this area"
Carlos Lage Davila, who was then secretary to the Executive Committee of
the Council of Ministers.
In a separate paragraph he clarified that the funds for these three
programs should continue to be managed and prioritized "as I have
personally been doing" by Carlos Lage, Francisco Soberon, then
minister-president of the Central Bank of Cuba, and Felipe Perez Roque,
at that time minister of Foreign Relations.
Almost immediately after having read that proclamation there was an
enormous military mobilization in the entire country, called Operation
Caguairán. Shortly afterwards the former omnipresence of the Maximum
Leader was reduced to some sporadic Reflections of the Commander in
Chief published in all the newspapers and read on all the news shows.
Twenty months later the National Assembly formally elected Raul Castro
as the president of the Councils of State and of Ministers and later the
2011 Sixth Congress of the Communist Party elected him as First Secretary.
From his sickbed Fidel Castro affirmed on that 31st July that he did
not harbor "the slightest doubt that our people and our Revolution will
struggle until the last drop of blood to defend these and other ideas
and measures that are necessary to safeguard our historic process." In
the text itself he asked the Party Central Committee and the National
Assembly of Peoples Power "to strongly support this proclamation"
although in previous lines he had had already dictated that the party
"supported by the mass organizations and all the people, has the mission
of assuming the task set forward in this Proclamation."
A decade passed, the temporary absence of the "main driver" became
permanent and four of the seven men named no longer occupied their
positions. The reader of the proclamation was ousted. The programs
mentioned have become part of the normal functions of the ministries in
charge of these tasks and the "corresponding funds" (although no one has
proclaimed it officially) are no accounted for in the nation's budget.
While the 80th birthday wasn't able to be held with his presence, nor
the 2 December 2006 50th anniversary of the landing of the Granma, the
yacht that brought the Castros and other revolutionaries from Mexico, as
foreseen in his proclamation, now in 2016 all cultural events, sporting
events, productive activities, have been dedicated to his 90th birthday.
The ultimate significance of that proclamation lies not in the message
it contains, among other things because its author seemed to be
persuaded that this was not his political testament but a "bear with me,
I'll be back in a while."
The final results of this proclamation has been like a blinding
spotlight that goes out, a permanent noise that we have become
accustomed to and suddenly stops ringing, a will that ceases to give
orders, the termination of an omnipresence. The absence occasioned has
more connotations of relief than of a capsizing. There is nostalgia. The
anxiety about the final outcome has been diluted in a fastidious tedium,
like that of sitting in front of those films that stretch unnecessarily.
Source: Fidel Castro's Proclamation, A List Of Unmet Instructions /
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/fidel-castros-proclamation-a-list-of-unmet-instructions-14ymedio-reinaldo-escobar/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Eliecer Avila, Havana, 28 July 2016 — On numerous occasions I
have had to listen to the stories of friends and colleagues who have
been detained or have been interrogated by the State Security. "These
people are unreal, they know everything. The day I went to see
so-and-so, what I said to what's-his-face, what time, and even that we
had coffee and ate roast pork. They don't miss a thing!"
I imagine that these people feel very impressed, because it is as if
they were sitting with a fortuneteller who "divines" their past, present
and can even predict their future. The difference is that the
fortunetellers, or so they tell us, "have a gift," while State Security
has human and technical methods and a society completely organized to
facilitate their work, such that their gifts are simply their ears and a
crystal ball made of optical fiber.
How are they not going to know the exact locations of the moles on our
bodies, if they can openly and brazenly invade all our privacy?
They don't have to be super-gifted nor pass in some school to "discover"
who we spend time with, what our plans are, what our means are, because
in the vast majority of cases we don't even hide these things. The
reason? It is very simple, we are citizens who study in normal schools,
lead normal lives, we are not trained and don't even want to be in
intelligence or counterintelligence, we speak naturally and openly about
what we think and desire because we are not ashamed.
On the other side, we have something very different, military personnel,
indoctrinated, with studies of all kinds, with specialized equipment,
transportation, a made-to-measure judicial system, subordinated press
and fearful people who offer them what they ask for to avoid becoming
targets of their investigations.
Who could do a bad job with all this? The contrary would amaze me. That
there would be something they don't know.
However, to the extent that you interact with them, you realize that
they have many gaps. For example, there is an important difference
between what the bosses know and what they tell the field agents. There
is the need for State Security to constantly convert the ordinary into
the extraordinary. This is justified because each one of these agents
has to constantly think they are "saving the country" and that "the
people appreciate their heroism and bravery." In the majority of cases,
however, what they are doing is committing a common crime in the name of
authority against natural persons unhappy with a bad government.
In this sense they are very exquisite in their internal language. There
is nothing a seguroso – security agent – likes more than to be called a
"combatant," and it delights them even more when the designation
"anonymous" is added, because this gives them the sensation of being a
spy and makes them think they are smarter. Incidentally, before society
they think they "run great risks…" OK, this is true in part, because on
retirement the majority suffer back pain because they dedicated
themselves to dragging people into patrol cars. Upon reflection, they
should wear supportive belts to protect themselves in these dangerous
Surely, in times past and under other circumstances, there might have
been some who did more serious things against real threats, I don't deny
it. But today. 99% of what these "combatants" "confront" are the natural
rights of a people who want to peacefully change what does not work to
move the country forward and above all to not continue to shipwreck it
in every respect. "Confronting" this is neither brave, nor intelligent
and much less just or admirable.
The work of those who have to protect the state in societies based on
rights and fundamental freedoms is very different; in societies where
the threats are of an extreme magnitude and it is not enough to demand
an ID card so that people or companies "cooperate."
Men and women who risk their lives and dedicate themselves to protecting
their nations against the grave threats our civilization confronts will
always be heroes and heroines worthy of every kind of recognition and
the gratitude of their peoples. But if the terror they impose themselves
in the service of a dictatorship tramples the lives of protestors to
keep themselves in power at all costs, these combatants have made a
mistake in the ethical and moral sense of their careers and their lives.
So they should not confuse their facile abuse with expertise or ability.
Because this latter is an attribute of those who survive and express
themselves, despite them.
Source: Neither Brave Nor Intelligent, Much Less Fair / 14ymedio,
Eliecer Avila – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/neither-brave-nor-intelligent-much-less-fair-14ymedio-eliecer-avila/ Continue reading
By SUSAN CRABTREE (@SUSANCRABTREE) • 7/31/16 12:01 AM
Critics of President Obama's diplomatic thaw with Cuba are questioning
why a top official with the U.S. government office charged with
maintaining the trade embargo and leveling sanctions against the Castro
government was in Havana earlier this month meeting with regime officials.
Acting Deputy Director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control
Andrea Gacki was one of several U.S. officials in Havana for meetings
that took place in mid-July, a senior administration official confirmed
to the Washington Examiner. The official did not respond to follow-up
questions about whom Gacki met with and what they discussed.
Since Obama announced his intention to start normalizing relations with
Cuba in late 2014, dozens of U.S. officials have participated in
negotiations about easing travel and other restrictions with the island
nation, both in Havana and Washington.
But Gacki's travel to Cuba this month has critics fuming because her
office is charged with doling out punishment for those who violate U.S.
law. Opponents of Obama's rapprochement with the Castro regime fear she
was there to help Cuba negotiate ways around U.S. sanctions.
Stay abreast of the latest developments from nation's capital and beyond
with curated News Alerts from the Washington Examiner news desk and
delivered to your inbox.
Only Congress can lift the embargo entirely, although Obama has used his
executive authority to allow greater travel from the U.S. to Cuba, and
U.S. banks are negotiating with Havana to allow them to operate on the
Marion Smith, the executive director of the Victims of Communism
Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit group founded to highlight the plight
of those who have suffered under communism, said he views Gacki's visit
to Cuba as the "latest blatant attempt" to show the regime how to get
around trade embargo against Cuba.
"While it's not surprising, it's hugely frustrating for us," he said.
"The oxygen the regime is getting in terms of access to capital is
something that we'll have to deal with from years to come," no matter
who is elected president of the United States in November.
Treasury officials have sometimes met with Iranian government officials
during international conferences focused on rolling back Tehran's
nuclear program, Smith acknowledged. But he said most of those meetings
occurred at international conferences where officials from both
countries just happen to be in the same place at the same time, instead
of a trip solely devoted to meeting with Cuban officials behind closed
doors with no transparency to the American public.
"If it was a technical-sharing of information about the existing
sanctions and why they remain, that would be one thing," Smith said.
"But if it's the sort of meeting that lets Cuba know what the
enforcement or non-enforcement intentions are of the Obama
administration with regard to the sanctions at this particular moment,
that is hugely problematic and possibly illegal."
Smith also hinted that Treasury officials who are dedicated to enforcing
sanctions instead of trying to ease them may also be upset with the top
Treasury official's recent travel to Havana.
"No career public servants are happy when they are put between U.S. law
and a very political agenda," he said.
Gacki was part of a U.S. delegation traveling to Cuba to participate in
the U.S.-Cuba Regulatory Dialogue in Havana June 12-13.
The State Department only confirmed that officials from the Departments
of Commerce, the Treasury and State participated, and that the purpose
was to describe regulatory changes announced in mid-March "related to
Cuba-related travel, commerce and financial transactions."
"The delegations addressed ways the two nations can work together within
existing U.S. laws and regulations," the release said.
The visit comes amid reports that Cuba's government-run bank and U.S.
financial institutions are trying to find ways to allow transactions
involving debit and credit cards from several U.S. banks, despite legal
hurdles posed by the trade embargo.
Right now, Stonegate Bank of Florida is the only bank authorized by both
the United States and Cuban governments to allow its customers to use
their debit and credit cards in Cuba. The bank opened an office in
Havana last year.
Shortly after the visit in mid-July, a senior State Department official
told reporters that the Obama administration is "close to approaching
the end of what can be done" through presidential executive authority to
expand commerce and normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba.
"However, we're constantly looking at the regulations to see where we
still may make adjustments or modifications that will further ... our
people-to-people ties with Cuba," he said, during a call to mark the
one-year anniversary of the re-opening of embassies in both countries.
The official was responding to a question about whether to expect
further easing of U.S. restrictions short of lifting the embargo between
now and the end of the Obama's time in office.Meanwhile, longtime human
rights activists in Congress, including Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., argue
that abuses by the Castro regime are increasing in Cuba with the renewed
diplomatic ties to the United States, not improving as the Obama
administration had hoped.
Meanwhile, longtime human rights activists in Congress, including Rep.
Chris Smith, R-N.J., argue that abuses by the Castro regime are
increasing in Cuba with the renewed diplomatic ties to the United
States, not improving as the Obama administration had hoped.
Smith held a hearing earlier this month on the human rights situation in
Cuba, where he said the "disregard for civil rights and political rights
has gotten worse, not better, since the president's much-trumpeted visit
to the island six weeks ago."
"The regime continues to jail and beat political dissidents, with even
extrajudicial killings apparently sanctioned," he said. "The Obama
administration cannot allow concerns over its 'legacy' to muffle its
voice when it should be loudly insisting that the rights of the Cuban
people be respected."
The hearing featured testimony from Sirley Avila Leon, who was a former
Cuban government official before becoming a dissident who was nearly
murdered in a brutal machete attack — the work, she says of Castro
regime-directed "security thugs."
Cuban officials were in Washington, D.C., this week for discussions on
another topic: how to settle outstanding claims between the two nations.
But the two sides made little progress other than to formalize the price
tags of their claims, and agreed to continue meeting.
A senior State Department officials told reporters Friday that there's
no way to tell how the ongoing embargo would factor into Cuban claims
related to economic damage it has caused because the talks are still in
a preliminary phase.
U.S. nationals — including some Cuban-Americans exiled to the United
States after the Castro regime came to power in the 1950s — are
demanding a total of $1.9 billion, along with 6 percent interest, in
claims for private property they owned on the island that the Cuban
government seized. There are $2.2 billion in other outstanding U.S.
court judgments against the Cuban government.
The Castro regime, meanwhile, argues that the United States owes Cuba a
whopping $181 billion or more for "human damages" and $121 billion for
economic damages the trade embargo has caused.
Source: Why was the top U.S. sanctions cop in Cuba? | Washington
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/why-was-the-top-u.s.-sanctions-cop-in-cuba/article/2598200?custom_click=rss Continue reading
No Americans should be dancing and dining their way through Cuba,
enjoying the beaches, while those struggling for freedom lie in prison.
BY ELLIOTT ABRAMS ON 7/31/16 AT 11:00 AM
The motto of the American Bar Association (ABA) is "Defending Liberty,
It should perhaps be revised to "Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice,
and Travel to Cuba." Right now the ABA is sponsoring at least two trips
to Cuba–but neither one has anything to do with liberty or justice.
One could dream of an ABA-sponsored trip that would try to visit
political prisoners, or meet with the "Women in White" and other
peaceful protesters for human rights. One could envision a confrontation
between ABA members and officials of the Cuban regime's "courts" or its
"Ministry of Justice."
But don't hold your breath. The two tours advertised in the ABA Journal
right now are "Cuba: People, Culture and Art" for next March and "Cuban
Discovery" for next February.
In the latter, one does not "discover" anything about Cuba's
dictatorship and its complete disrespect for law–theoretically of some
concern to the ABA. "People, Culture, and Art" has nothing to do with
those Cuban people who are trying desperately to gain a measure of
freedom and live under a system of law.
The brochure describes the latter trip this way:
A uniquely designed itinerary provides opportunities to experience the
Cuban culture, history and people in four destinations: Havana;
Cienfuegos; Trinidad; and Pinar del Río. Discover the arts during visits
to art, dance and music studios, and talk with artists, dancers and
musicians about their craft and their lives in Cuba.
Savor authentic flavors of Cuban cuisine at state restaurants and
paladars, privately owned and operated restaurants. Learn about
contemporary and historic Cuba during insightful discussions led by
Want to bet how many of the "local experts" are dissidents or human
rights activists, fighting for a state of law?
The actual state of life in Cuba is described this week in The
Economist. Here is an excerpt:
Queues at petrol stations. Sweltering offices. Unlit streets. Conditions
in Cuba's capital remind its residents of the "special period" in the
1990s caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, the benefactor
in trouble is Venezuela. For the past 15 years Venezuela has been
shipping oil to Cuba, which in turn sends thousands of doctors and other
professionals to Venezuela.
The swap is lucrative for the communist-controlled island, which pays
doctors a paltry few hundred dollars a month. It gets more oil than it
needs, and sells the surplus. That makes Cuba perhaps the only importer
that prefers high oil prices. Venezuelan support is thought to be worth
12-20 percent of Cuba's GDP.
Recently, the arrangement has wobbled. Low prices have slashed Cuba's
profit from the resale of oil. Venezuela, whose oil-dependent economy is
shrinking, is sending less of the stuff. Figures from PDVSA, Venezuela's
state oil company, suggest that it shipped 40 percent less crude oil to
Cuba in the first quarter of 2016 than it did during the same period
last year. Austerity, though less savage than in the 1990s, is back.
Cuba's cautious economic liberalisation may suffer.
The regime ought to be worried indeed–but help is on the way, suggests
Tourism has surged since the United States loosened travel restrictions
in 2014, which will partially offset the loss of Venezuelan aid.
So that's where the ABA—remember, "Defending Liberty, Pursuing
Justice"—comes in. This vicious, repressive regime depended on the
Soviets, and then the Venezuelans, and may now depend on American tourists.
Will it be enough? One cannot know. One can only know that the American
Bar Association wants to lend a hand.
This is unconscionable, and in fact no American should be lending a hand
to oppression in Cuba. No Americans should be dancing and dining their
way through Cuba, enjoying the beaches and the architecture while those
struggling for freedom lie in prison.
That American lawyers are willing to do this, and that their main
professional association wants to promote it, is a sad reflection on the
profession. If the ABA said we want our members to visit if and only if
they can do something to promote liberty and law and human rights in
Cuba, such visits might be a genuine contribution.
Perhaps the ABA has secretly done this and actually all these trips do
include spending time with dissidents and pressing officials to respect
the rights of the Cuban people. I wouldn't place a lot of money on that
wager. If it has not, it is betraying the cause of justice and assisting
the most repressive regime in the Western Hemisphere.
That isn't "Defending Liberty" or "Pursuing Justice." It's shameful.
Elliott Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the
Council on Foreign Relations.
Source: Is It Right to Vacation in Cuba's Oppression? -
http://europe.newsweek.com/it-right-vacation-cuba-oppression-485022?rm=eu Continue reading
Emigrantes cubanos varados en Turbo, localidad fronteriza al noroeste de Colombia, solicitaron el sábado al presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, que interceda para facilitar su ingreso de "manera segura a su país", según una carta abierta al mandatario a la que tuvo acceso la AFP.Continue reading
Desde el 31 de julio de 2006 en que se hizo pública la proclama en la que Fidel Castro delegó el poder temporalmente, el expresidente se ha encontrado con dos Papas, ha recibido la vista de numerosos mandatarios de Europa, Asia y América Latina y ha escrito centenares de artículos, bajo el nombre de “Reflexiones”.
Sin embargo, su protagonismo ha disminuido en la vida cotidiana de los cubanos y en la esfera política se ha consolidado el control que ejerce su hermano Raúl Castro. Intentar una cronología de estos diez años se convierte en una tarea azarosa y difícil, pero constituye en fin de cuentas un retrato del final de esa era que lleva el nombre de “Fidelismo”.
31 julio. Carlos Valenciaga, miembro del Consejo de Estado, da lectura en la televisión a la proclama en la que Fidel Castro delega provisionalmente sus cargos en su hermano Raúl y otros colaboradores cercanos.
1 de agosto. Comienza la primera etapa de la Operación Caguairán, con una amplia movilización militar por todo el país que incluyó el despliegue de decenas de miles de milicianos y reservistas.
13 de agosto. No se realizan celebraciones oficiales por el 80 cumpleaños de Fidel Castro.
14 agosto. La televisión muestra un video en el que se ve a Fidel Castro convaleciente en una cama, mientras es visitado por Hugo Chávez.
16 de septiembre. Fidel castro es elegido como Presidente del Movimiento de Países No Alineados, durante su XIV Cumbre realizada en La Habana, a pesar de no haber estado presente en la cita.
2 de diciembre. Tienen lugar las celebraciones por el 50 aniversario del desembarco del yate Granma, pero no se realizan los homenajes por el 80 cumpleaños de Fidel Castro anunciados en la proclama.
26 diciembre. Se dan a conocer los primeros detalles sobre el padecimiento de Fidel Castro, cuando el médico español José Luis García Sabrido, jefe del servicio de Cirugía del hospital Gregorio Marañón, revela en Madrid que se está recuperando y que no tiene cáncer.
28 de marzo. Se publica la primera de las Reflexiones de Fidel Castro que periódicamente seguirán apareciendo en la prensa oficial. La emprende en ese primer texto contra la producción de etanol a partir del maíz.
24 de mayo. Fidel Castro rompe el silencio sobre su estado de salud y dice en una Reflexión que lo sucedido "no fue una sola operación sino varias. Inicialmente no hubo éxito, y esto incidió en la prolongada recuperación".
25 de mayo. Fidel Castro, “pasará de los 140 años”, afirma el médico cubano Eugenio Selman, quien por años formó parte del equipo médico del entorno del gobernante.
5 junio. La televisión cubana transmite una entrevista de Fidel Castro con el periodista Randy Alonso, la primera desde la lectura de la Proclama.
19 febrero. Fidel Castro anuncia en un texto publicado en el diario Granma que no aceptará ni aspirará a los cargos de “Presidente del Consejo de Estado y Comandante en Jefe" y aclara que esas responsabilidades exigen una “movilidad y entrega total” que no está “en condiciones físicas de ofrecer”.
24 febrero. Raúl Castro es elegido presidente del Consejo de Estado y como primer vice presidente nombra a José Ramón Machado Ventura, una figura de la "vieja guardia", en lugar del más joven Carlos Lage.
28 de abril. Raúl Castro anuncia que se realizará el atrasado sexto Congreso del Partido Comunista y conmuta la mayoría de penas de muerte a 30 años de prisión o cadena perpetua. Debido a retrasos, el congreso no logra hacerse hasta el 16 de abril de 2011.
2 de marzo. Raúl Castro destituye al canciller, Felipe Pérez Roque, y el secretario del Comité Ejecutivo del Consejo de Ministros, Carlos Lage Dávila, en lo que muchos analistas catalogan de una purga contra “los hombres de Fidel”. También son destituidos Fernando Remírez de Estenoz, jefe de Relaciones Internacionales del PCC, Otto Rivero, vicepresidente del Consejo de Ministros y Carlos Valenciaga, jefe de despacho de Fidel Castro y el hombre que leyó la Proclama.
3 de marzo. Fidel Castro publica una reflexión en la que acusa a los defenestrados y asegura que “La miel del poder por el cual no conocieron sacrificio alguno, despertó en ellos ambiciones que los condujeron a un papel indigno”, en referencia a Pérez Roque y a Lage.
20 de diciembre. Raúl Castro detalla en la Asamblea Nacional que durante el año se han trasladado a las ciudades 126.000 alumnos internos de la educación preuniversitaria y se trabaja para trasladar otros 80.000, con lo que se pone fin a una de las banderas educativas de Fidel Castro.
23 de febrero. Muere, tras 86 días de huelga de hambre, el preso político Orlando Zapata Tamayo. Las protestas de activistas se suceden por todo el país y el Gobierno desata una fuerte operación represiva.
24 de febrero. El opositor Guillermo Fariñas comienza una huelga de hambre que se prolongará por 135 días exigiendo la liberación de los presos políticos.
19 mayo. Tiene lugar una reunión entre el presidente Raúl Castro y las principales autoridades católicas cubanas: el arzobispo de La Habana, cardenal Jaime Ortega, y el secretario de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Cuba, Dionisio García. El cardenal confirma que la situación de los presos políticos se está tratando “muy seriamente” con el Gobierno.
16 de marzo. Las Damas de Blanco inician varias marchas de protesta en La Habana por el séptimo aniversario del encarcelamiento y condena de sus familiares. Son duramente reprimidas.
11 de junio. El Gobierno comunica a la Iglesia católica la inminente excarcelación por motivos de salud del disidente Ariel Sigler y un nuevo traslado de seis presos a penales de sus provincias de residencia.
27 de junio. Fidel Castro vaticina en sus Reflexiones una cercana guerra y advierte que "una catástrofe" se aproxima "aceleradamente" e incluso podría ocurrir antes de los cuartos de final de la Copa del Mundo de Fútbol en Sudáfrica.
7 de julio. La Iglesia informa en un comunicado el acuerdo entre el Gobierno cubano, la Iglesia y representantes del gobierno español para liberar a los 52 prisioneros de la Primavera Negra en un período de “entre tres y cuatro meses”.
7 julio. Primera aparición pública de Fidel Castro desde el anuncio de su convalecencia, en una visita al Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas (CNIC).
8 de julio. El opositor Guillermo Fariñas pone fin a su huelga de hambre.
7 de agosto. Fidel Castro interviene ante la Asamblea Nacional y asegura que “el orden actual establecido en el planeta no podrá perdurar, e inevitablemente se derrumbará de inmediato”.
19 abril. Fidel Castro participa en la jornada de clausura del VI Congreso del PCC, junto a su hermano, quien lo ha relevado como primer secretario de la organización partidista.
21 de septiembre. La Gaceta Oficial publica el decreto ley 286 que subordina el Programa de Trabajadores Sociales al Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, dándole el puntillazo final a uno de los últimos programas emprendidos por Fidel Castro.
1 de octubre. Entra en vigor el decreto ley que permite la compra y venta de autos, una de las medidas más esperadas por la población cubana y cuya postergación se adjudicaba a la expresa voluntad de Fidel Castro.
10 de noviembre. Se autoriza la compra y venta de viviendas, otra medida muy añorada por los cubanos y cuya aprobación era resultaba impensable durante el Gobierno de Fidel Castro.
23 diciembre. El Gobierno de Raúl Castro da a conocer el indulto de más de 2.900 presos.
28 marzo. El papa Benedicto XVI se reúne con Fidel Castro y su familia en la Nunciatura de La Habana durante una visita a Cuba. Castro aprovecha el momento para preguntarle al Obispo de Roma “¿Qué es lo que hace un papa, cuál es su misión?”
14 enero. Entra en vigor la flexibilización de la normativa migratoria que elimina el "permiso de salida" también conocido como "tarjeta blanca". La flexibilización permitirá a decenas de disidentes viajar fuera del país y disparará el número de emigrantes entre la población cubana.
4 febrero. Fidel Castro asiste a votar a un colegio electoral de La Habana durante los comicios para elegir a los 612 diputados de la Asamblea Nacional y los 1.269 delegados provinciales.
24 febrero. Preside junto a su hermano Raúl la apertura de la octava legislatura de la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular, después de casi tres años sin participar en la cita parlamentaria.
29 marzo. La Asamblea Nacional cubana aprueba la nueva Ley de Inversión Extranjera.
29 abril. Cuba y la Unión Europea dan inicio en La Habana a las negociaciones para normalizar la relación bilateral.
17 diciembre. Raúl Castro y Barack Obama hacen sendas alocuciones públicas donde anuncian que ambos gobiernos han estado en negociaciones por 18 meses en busca del restablecimiento de relaciones diplomáticas.
11 abril. Barack Obama y Raúl Castro se encuentran durante la Cumbre de las Américas en Panamá.
20 julio. Cuba abre su embajada en Washington en una ceremonia encabezada por el canciller Bruno Rodríguez.
14 agosto. El secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, John Kerry, preside la ceremonia del izado de su bandera en la embajada en La Habana. Posteriormente se reúne con un grupo de activistas cubanos en la residencia del encargado de negocios de EE UU en la Isla.
19 de septiembre. El papa Francisco se encuentra con Fidel Castro, durante su visita a Cuba, y le regala una colección de sermones del jesuita español Amando Llorente, quien fuera profesor del colegio donde estudió Castro pero se vio obligado a salir de la Isla poco después del triunfo de la revolución, tras la expulsión de los religiosos extranjeros.
20-22 de marzo. El presidente Barack Obama realiza una visita oficial a Cuba pero no se reúne con Fidel Castro.
28 de marzo. Fidel Castro publica una reflexión bajo el título “El hermano Obama” en el que fustiga el discurso del mandatario estadounidense en el Gran Teatro de La Habana, por usar palabras “almibaradas” para expresar: “Es hora ya de olvidarnos del pasado, dejemos el pasado, miremos el futuro, mirémoslo juntos, un futuro de esperanza”.
19 abril. Fidel Castro interviene en la clausura del VII Congreso del Partido Comunista de Cuba, en el que reconoce que "tal vez sea de las últimas veces" que hable en el Palacio de las Convenciones.Continue reading