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Daily Archives: January 8, 2017

… birthday with a vacation in Cuba when tragedy struck. While staying … Continue reading

El presidente de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, dijo este domingo que el próximo martes juramentará un "comando antigolpe" que estará encabezado por el vicepresidente ejecutivo, Tareck El Aissami, para "derrotar y acabar definitivamente todos los vestigios del golpe de Estado oligárquico y de derecha", reporta EFE.

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14ymedio, Havana, 8 January 2017 — Faithful, hard-line and knowledgeable of the ultimate secrets of dissidents and ministers, Carlos Fernandez Gondín made his mark on the Ministry of Interior (MININT), the most feared Cuban institution. But shortly after taking over the portfolio in 2015, life played a bad trick on him and he had a stroke, … Continue reading "Time Takes Another Life In Cuban Politics / 14ymedio" Continue reading

El médico José A. Soto cumplió en navidades el reto personal de llegar al campo base del Everest, "a 5.643 metros de altura" y "lo reclama como la cota más alta ascendida por un cubano", según informa el diario español El País.

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… A Winnipeg couple vacationing in Cuba died after an ambulance transporting … with the Canadian embassy in Cuba. He said Rózsa was an … Continue reading

Los especialistas señalan varios nombres para el asesor para América Latina del presidente electo Donald Trump, incluidos los de los cubanoamericanos Mauricio Claver-Carone e Yleem Poblete , según informa el diario digital leer más

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Global Advanced Wound Care Market is expected to reach USD 20.7 billion by 2024 from USD 11.6 billion in 2016. DALLAS, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, January 8, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Global Advanced Wound Care Market, By Type (Dressings, Biologics, Therapy … Continue reading

El líder del MCL (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación), Eduardo Cardet, fue "golpeado por un recluso conocido como 'Chocoloco' hace ya varios días cuando aún se encontraba en la zona conocida como 'depósito' de la prisión provisional de Holguín", denunció este domingo el MCL en su página web.

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8 enero, 2017 ( Clarín. Argentina )-. "En el terreno cubano, al Gobierno  le conviene cumplir con los acuerdos básicos . A favor de esta tesis cuenta la  incertidumbre de las acciones del gobierno de Trump . Además, la precaria situación de  Venezuela  y la evolución de otros gobiernos latinoamericanos,  pueden privar a Raúl Castro  y su sucesor del apoyo necesario para... Continue reading
Un mal en aumento: la indigencia callejera 4 enero, 2017 7:24 pm por Jorge Bello Domínguez Güira de Melena, Artemisa, Jorge Bello, (PD) El nivel de mendigos en las calles va en ascenso, no solo en la capital, sino también en algunas provincias del país. Se suponía que la indigencia era un mal que había […] Continue reading

Las operaciones comerciales con las dos monedas que circulan en Cuba en los comercios estatales en los que antes solo se podía pagar en divisas presentan aún deficiencias más de dos años después de que se pusiera en marcha esa medida, afirmó este domingo un reportaje en el diario oficial Juventud Rebelde, según reporta

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Leadership and Dissidence / Rebeca Monzo

Rebeca Monzo, 6 January 2017 — The leadership and the dissidence seem
more and more the same to me. Is it coincidence or lack of experience?

At this very moment, if suddenly there were free elections on my planet
Cuba, supervised by the United Nations or other countries, I would not
know who to vote for.

Lately, what I see and hear most among the dissidents is about travels
abroad and buying things cheaply and so-and-so "stayed." I don't hear
much talk about organizing and meeting to raise awareness among
neighbors and friends, with the goal of winning supporters.

The Cuban people, in general, don't know any of the leaders from the
many existing groups. Not even their neighbors know who they really are
and what they do, unless State Security visits them to alert them
against the dissidents and presents a false picture of them. Of course,
the government takes full advantage of the lack of internet that it has
intentionally imposed on us.

Increasingly, sadly, the dissidence is more divided. Everyone aspires to
be the "head of the mouse" but they are not resigned to being the "tale
of the lion." The heads of the groups are those who receive economic
support from abroad and distribute it how they wish, along with the
courses and trips to different events in distant countries, the content
of which is shared with no one.

This, without counting those who have a police file on their
"dangerousness" and then, at the first opportunity, leave the country
for good. Apparently, without realizing it, they are giving the
government what it wants.

How is it possible to change the destinies of a country if the
opposition groups within the island are distancing themselves from each
other and, therefore, it is so difficult to effectively dedicate
themselves to spreading democratic ideas among the people?

It is time to reconsider and smooth things over and try to become
united, ignoring differences, then denounce the most acute problems
suffered by the Cuban people, and try to find solutions to them.

Being divided pleases the government, whose policy from the beginning
has been precisely that: divide and conquer.

Translated by Jim

Source: Leadership and Dissidence / Rebeca Monzo – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/leadership-and-dissidence-rebeca-monzo/ Continue reading
Cubans Don't Have Big Plans For 2017 / Iván García

Iván García, 6 January 2017 — When you live on the edge of an abyss, you
lose your capacity to think about the future. Just ask Giraldo, who
works as a plumber for Aguas de La Habana, what his plans are for 2017,
and you'll see an expression of surprise on his face.

He takes off his faded New York Yankees cap, which once was blue, and
takes a few seconds to think. Before I tell you his answer, I'll give
you some details about his every-day existence.

Giraldo lives in a tiny, one-room apartment, but because of
overcrowding, he had to enlarge it with a "barbecue" — the name Cubans
have given to a makeshift platform built in existing room between the
floor and the ceiling (see page 7 of this document). Now seven people of
three different generations live together.

They have coffee for breakfast, when there is some, and spread a mixture
of cooking oil, crushed garlic and salt on a 2.8 ounce bread roll,
which, for the price of five centavos, the ration book gives by right to
all Cuban-born citizens.

In the living room you see an outdated, cathode-tube Chinese television,
and on a wood and glass shelf, a half-dozen empty bottles of rum and
whisky serve as decoration.

The Haier refrigerator, also Chinese, granted to them 11 years ago, has
still not been paid off. "And we're not going to pay it," says Giraldo's
mother, calmly, while she rocks on a chair of springs.

The apartment needs work. But the money is only enough to give it one
coat of paint. They don't have money in the bank, they don't dream about
having a modern car with GPS, and they have never thought about spending
their vacation in Varadero or Cayo Coco.

Their lives are made up of working eight hours a day for the adults,
studying Monday to Friday for the kids and, after they have dinner,
sitting in a patched armchair to watch the current soap opera or a
national-series baseball game.

Probably, like in a movie, these images passed through Giraldo's mind
before answering a question that any other person would find easy. Now,
with his speech armed, he answers, without drama:

"For people like us who count their money by the centavo, every year is
more or less the same. Some less bad than others. But none are good. I
think it's unfair that the Government doesn't resolve the problems of
working people and fucks us over. My only plan is to get enough money to
fix the roof, which is full of holes. It's been that way for over three
years, and I haven't been able to get enough money."

You should walk in his shoes before judging. I suppose that right now in
Aleppo, Syria, or in a stronghold in Yemen being overrun by warlords, a
crust of bread or not hearing the howl of mortars is a good sign that
you'll still be alive the next day.

But Cuba isn't in a civil war. The plans of Julio, a Cuban who arrived
recently in the United States, are different. He was put in prison on
the Island for embezzlement when he was the manager of a State
cafeteria. Then alcohol and a lack of future sent him into a
self-destructive cycle. But when he crossed the El Paso international
bridge in Laredo, he swore that he was going to start anew.

Now he lives in Kentucky, where it's unbearably cold. Two times a week,
by instant message, Julio communicates with his friends in Havana, who
wait for a connection from a wifi zone. And he tells them how things are
going in la yuma, and that, really, you have to work hard in the United
States to move forward.

Cubans are emigrating precisely in order to move forward. They know the
difficulties, what it costs to adapt to other customs and to learn a new
language.

"The problem is that to hold onto an option, it has to be achievable,
however distant it is. That when you pass by a store or a car
dealership, you can say, 'Look at that car; if I work hard, I'll be able
to buy it. If I make an effort, I can improve my quality of life.'
Everything good that can happen in your life depends on you. Here things
don't depend on you," says Sergio, who clandestinely sells clothing he
imports from Panama out of his home.

It would be very pretentious to paint a picture of Cuba as monolithic.
There are too many realities superimposed on the Island. But if anything
remains clear it's that people have lost the capacity to think big.

"Every New Year's Eve we set goals. And we tell our relatives and
friends,'May you fulfill your dreams in the New Year.' But what are our
dreams? To get a better salary at work, to be able to become sainted (in
the Yoruba religion), to win a big sum in the numbers game or leave the
country. Very few have plans to increase their business or to buy a
better house or modern car. Our goals are not big. To make a little more
money and eat more meals. The Government has killed our hopes with
ideology, anti-imperialist speeches and odes to Fidel Castro," says
Rachel, a lawyer.

When you ask Cubans, their aspirations for 2017 are not at all
ambitious. Quite the contrary. Antonio, retired at 79 years, wishes for
this year that "there won't be blackouts, the quality of bread gets
better, the State repairs the multi-family buildings and they increase
my pension by 1,000 pesos."

He says this with a joking tone, but it makes you sad and compassionate.
And among the average Cuban citizens you perceive a skepticism, fatigue,
unease and apathy that doesn't seem to have a cure.

It's not that they don't aspire to live better. It's that they don't
find the way to do so.

Translated by Regina Anavy

Source: Cubans Don't Have Big Plans For 2017 / Iván García – Translating
Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cubans-dont-have-big-plans-for-2017-ivn-garca/ Continue reading
'Hot Avocado', A Viral Video Infuriates Cubans / 14ymedio

Note to viewers of the video: This video was taken by the police, and as
can be seen with careful viewing, the uniformed officers are not the
only enforcers in this video; many plainclothes officers are also present.

Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=544jMluPys0

14ymedio, Havana, 7 January 2017 — Images of a police operation against
informal fruit and vegetable sellers fill the viral video that is
infuriating Cubans. Although the event occurred in mid-August 2016 in
Old Havana, when some people uploaded it to Facebook, only in December
was the recording leaked to alternative networks where it now is being
passed hand-to-hand.

The video shows the most agitated moment of a trifling occurrence on the
corner of Aguacate and O'Reilly streets in the historic center of
Havana. A pushcart vendor is arrested by the police, who confiscate his
merchandise, while onlookers gather all around so as not to miss what is
happening.

The minutes, captured by one of the plainclothes officers who
participated in the arrest, show popular outrage at the event, which
some present called "abuse." The harshness of the vendor's beating at
the hands of plainclothes officer is also captured in the video.

According to witness statements gathered this week at the scene, the
incident began when a police officer detained an avocado seller who did
not have a license to sell agricultural products. The vendor's
resistance and the subsequent action to overcome it, sparked solidarity
and protests among those passing by this busy intersection.

"Every now and then something like this happens," confesses Luisín, a
pedicab driver who covers the route between the Fraternity Park and the
historic center. The man remembers the arrest last August and says that,
"for days the neighborhood did not talk about anything else, because it
got hot."

The same corner is a focal point and meeting place for the police who
staged the operation. "We have to show an iron fist against the
illegalities, because we can't have people getting rich selling food to
the population," Veronica, a retiree and habitué of the place, told this
newspaper.

The police video not only documents the moments of greatest violence,
but also seems to have the express purpose of recording the faces of
those who reacted with the greatest dissatisfaction to the police operation.

The official offensive against the pushcart vendors started last
January, after a sharp rise in food prices. The government imposed price
caps at some points of sale in the capital, closed the El Trigal
wholesale market, and unleashed a concentrated raid against street
vendors selling fruits and vegetables.

However, twelve months after the start of the offensive, food prices
have not dropped as much as the authorities hoped and informal sellers
have again proliferated all along Aguacate Street.

In the face of the problems of supply and low productivity, the
government plans to import 1.75 billion dollars worth of food in 2017,
about 82 million dollars more than in 2016.

Source: 'Hot Avocado', A Viral Video Infuriates Cubans / 14ymedio –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/hot-avocado-a-viral-video-infuriates-cubans-14ymedio/ Continue reading

El presidente de Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, señaló este domingo que su sucesor Donald Trump y él son "opuestos en algunos aspectos", pero reconoció que ambos coinciden en contar con una alta "confianza", reporta EFE.

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Paisaje del porvenir: ¿Qué pasará con la relación comercial Cuba-EEUU después del 20 de enero? Posted on 7 enero, 2017 Por John S. Kavulich* La comunidad empresarial de Estados Unidos debe avanzar rápidamente si acepta lo que la administración de Donald Trump puede hacer con respecto a la República de Cuba y prepararse para ello. […] Continue reading
2017: Comienzo del fin del socialismo del siglo XXI 5 enero, 2017 2:30 pm por Guillermo López Rayneri Miami, USA, Guillermo López Rayneri, (PD) Estimado Sr. Director: Comenzamos primero que nada con la elección de un nuevo presidente en la nación más poderosa del mundo libre al ser elegido un verdadero americano que ama este […] Continue reading
¿58 años de exclusión y aun proclaman que Cuba es nuestra? 4 enero, 2017 7:29 pm por Rogelio Travieso Pérez El Cerro, La Habana, Rogelio Travieso, (PD) El primero de enero se cumplieron 58 años del derrocamiento de la dictadura de Fulgencio Batista por las fuerzas revolucionarias encabezadas por Fidel Castro. En casa de mis […] Continue reading
El primer artículo en la prensa cubana sobre las jineteras 4 enero, 2017 7:23 pm por Jorge Luis González Suárez Plaza, La Habana (PD) La Revista juvenil Somos Jóvenes publicó hace cerca de 30 años, en septiembre de 1987, en el número 93-94, un reportaje titulado: El Caso Sandra. El tema central de aquel trabajo […] Continue reading
Huelguista y familiares sienten que el gobierno los engañó “de nuevo” Idolidia Darias La salud de Vladimir Martín Castellanos “está muy deteriorada” tras una prolongada huelga de hambre para exigir a las autoridades su derecho a viajar y establecerse legalmente en la localidad tunera de Puerto Padre. El activista Vladimir Martín Castellanos, de la Unión […] Continue reading
Netflix estrena “Día a Día”, serie cómica sobre familia cubanoamericana Lizandra Díaz Blanco La historia original es considerada uno de los clásicos de Norman Lear, el genio de comedias de 94 años de edad. La nueva versión mantiene a la madre trabajadora divorciada y con dos hijos, pero esta vez es una enfermera y veterana […] Continue reading
A pesar del deshielo, Cuba endurece la represión Desde la reanudación de las relaciones con EE.UU. hubo casi 10.000 detenciones de opositores; la disidencia hizo una denuncia ante la ONU SEGUIRDaniel LozanoPARA LA NACION DOMINGO 08 DE ENERO DE 2017 CARACAS.- La ola de deshielo entre Cuba y Estados Unidos trajo una resaca con la […] Continue reading
Cuba's opening to the world has a problem much closer to home than
Donald Trump
Christopher Woody

Donald Trump's denunciations of Obama's opening to Cuba while on the
presidential campaign trail and his continued insistence on getting a
"better deal" with the long isolated island nation have stirred worry
that the president-elect will halt or undo Cuba's rapprochement with the US.

It remains unclear what kind of policy toward Cuba Trump will pursue,
but Cuba's work toward expanding its economy and engaging with the world
faces an obstacle that is much closer than Washington.

Cuba's centrally planned economy has long been stunted by its relative
isolation from the rest of the world, and the country has relied on its
partners to support its citizens.

"The economy of Cuba would've collapsed under its own weight long ago,
as a consequence of population growth and an economy that couldn't
really accommodate that growth, had it not been for the state-sponsors —
first the Soviet Union and then Venezuela — and now both of those are
essentially out of the picture." John Weeks, a professor of geography at
the San Diego State University, said on a recent late-November edition
of the Understanding Latin American Politics podcast.

Cuba pursued some reforms in the 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet
Union severed the lifeline of the support that Havana had received from
Moscow for much of the Cold War. With Hugo Chavez's rise to power in
Venezuela in the 2000s, the island nation again found an ideological and
economic partner.

But as Venezuela's own economic woes have plunged it into crisis, Cuba
has once more seen a vital ally fade. Improving relations with the US
helped boost remittances and the tourism sector, bringing growth of
close to 3% on average between 2011 and 2015, but Cuba's economy is
still largely tied to Venezuela's.

Raul Castro, who took over for his late brother, Fidel, in the
mid-2000s, told Cuba's National Assembly that the country's economy
shrunk 0.9% in 2016. That decline came in tandem with Venezuela's, and
it marked the first time since 1993 that official figures showed a fall
in GDP.

"Restrictions in cash and in the provision of fuel" — which Venezuela
has long provided to Cuba and others in the region — "worsened in the
second half" of the year, Castro said in late December.

"Financial tensions and challenges that might intensify again in certain
circumstances will persist, but we hope that gross domestic product
(GDP) will grow moderately, by around 2 percent (in 2017)," the Cuban
president added.

Mayda Molina, left, an official of the Institute of the Cuban Civil
Aviation, Eduardo Rodriguez, Cuba's vice minister of Transport, and
Alfredo Cordero, right, president of the Institute of the Cuban Civil
Aviation, attend a news conference in Havana, August 29, 2016. Thomson
Reuters

In his remarks, Castro stressed that the country was "not going, and
will not go, toward capitalism." But he also called for a more welcoming
attitude to foreign investment and for more local production to replace
imports the country could no longer bring in.

But any effort to support the economy with local production or to expand
it with foreign investment is likely to be hamstrung by a significant
and deep-seated issue: Cuba's anemic population growth.

"So Cuba faces what we might call ... a very certain future of disaster
if something doesn't happen, because the population has reached a peak
of about 11 million. UN demographers project that it's going to go
down," said Weeks, who is the director of the International Population
Center at SDSU.

"The population size is going to go down, because the population is
aging, and the birth rate had been below replacement level for quite a
while," Weeks added.

Cuba's birthrate fell to about 10 per 1,000 people in 2010, part of a
long-term decline that has continued in the years since.

Moreover, according to UN data, a considerable number of Cubans fall
into the 40- to 55-years old age range, and about one-quarter of Cubans
are older than 55. All of which means the country is poised to see a
considerable number of elderly people in the coming years, just as
declining birthrates draw down the working-age population.

Paradoxically, Cuba's population problem has to some extent been
exacerbated by improving relations with the US. A wave of migrants have
left the island over the last two years, many of them concerned that
preferential immigration policies toward Cubans arriving the US would
end with a new era of engagement between Washington and Havana.

Cubans who've remained have shifted heavily into the country's tourism
sector, drawn by pay that exceeds the state-controlled salaries many
other industries received.

Entrepreneurship in that sector has surged (though that rising tide has
not benefited all Cubans). And both remittances and the growing private
sector have been bright spots for Cuba.

The government has required proficiency in English for high-school and
university students — a break from the Cold War policy that mandated
Russian instruction.

The Castro government has also loosened other labor policies to spur hiring.

Some Cubans are optimistic about what's to come, but, despite the
government's piecemeal reforms, young Cubans continue to see brighter
futures elsewhere.

"It's very stagnant here," Bryan Ponce, a 17-year-old accounting
student, told journalist Tim MacGabhann in early 2016. "My plan is to
get out of here as soon as I can, anyway."

"I work 14 hours a day as a porter at a hospital, and I can't do
anything." Gabriel Iglesias, 19, told MacGabhann. "As soon as I can
afford to, I'm leaving Cuba — I don't care where."

With the country's economic contraction, attitudes like that are sure to
persist among Cuba's youth, especially if the Castro government pursues
painful policies in response economic struggles.

Castro, in his remarks to the National Assembly, said achieving GDP
growth in the coming year would require three steps: "guarantee exports
and their opportune collection, increase national production to
substitute imports, reduce all dispensable expenses and use available
resources rationally and efficiently."

On the first point, as noted by UNC Charlotte professor Greg Weeks,
"opportune collection" is unlikely to be forthcoming from Venezuela. And
"reducing all dispensable expenses" is a phrase that may suggest
unwelcome policies like rationing or other steps to limit domestic
consumption.

"So it's not sure exactly what Raul is going to do, but he's got to do
something," said John Weeks, of SDSU, "because the Cuban economy and its
demographics paint a picture that, unless people come in, particularly
American investors come in and rebuild the island, it's going to crash."

Source: Cuba economic political opening demographic problems - Business
Insider -
http://uk.businessinsider.com/cuba-economic-political-opening-demographic-problems-2017-1?r=US&IR=T Continue reading
Obama Boots Russian "Spies"—but Welcomes Cuban Spies
Humberto Fontova |Posted: Jan 07, 2017 12:01 AM

The deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Defense Department
by an enemy agent in modern history was pulled off by a spy working for
the Castro regime.

Problem is, the mainstream media treasures their Havana bureaus. So they
always strive to avoid any stories that might unduly upset the Stalinist
apparatchiks who make these "news" (i.e. propaganda) bureaus possible.

"Cuba as tourist hot-spot! The magnanimity of the Castroites as free
health-care providers! The wickedness of the (so-called) U.S. embargo!
Obama's wisdom and courage in (unconstitutionally) loopholing the
embargo half to death!" These themes pretty much sum up the MSM's
"reporting" on Cuba.

But in a rare hiccup of honesty (or ghastly error) CNN itself admits to
some very important Cuba-sponsored unpleasantness, about which most
Americans remain ignorant. "The Most Dangerous U.S. Spy You've Never
Heard of," is how they titled a special on this Castro-sponsored spy
named Ana Belen Montes (16 years after her arrest.)

In brief: the spy's name is Ana Belen Montes, known as "Castro's Queen
Jewel" in the intelligence community. In 2002 she was convicted of the
same crimes as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and today she serves a 25-year
sentence in Federal prison. Only a plea bargain spared her from sizzling
in the electric chair like the Rosenbergs.

Significantly, Ana Belen Montes was arrested on September 21st 2001.
That's exactly ten days after Al Qaeda demolished the Twin Towers. By
then she had been uncovered for a while, but, as is customary in such
cases, was being monitored to see if her activities would reveal others
within her spy network. That monitoring was scheduled to continue for
much longer, but her access to U.S. intelligence secrets unrelated to
Cuba (mid-east, for instance) demanded she be shut down—and quickly.

Interestingly, just days after the 9-11 terror attack, Castro's
KGB-founded and mentored intelligence mounted a major deception
operation attempting to trip-up our investigation into the terrorist
culprits:

"In the six months after the 9/11 attacks," ran the Miami Herald
investigative report, "up to 20 Cubans walked into U.S. embassies around
the world and offered information on terrorism threats. Eventually, all
were deemed to be Cuban intelligence agents and collaborators, purveying
fabricated information. Two Cuba experts said spies sent by Cuba to the
United States were part of a permanent intelligence program to mislead,
misinform and identify U.S. spies."

"Montes passed some of our most sensitive information about Cuba back to
Havana" revealed then Undersecretary for International Security, John
Bolton.

Shortly after Montes' conviction a Cuban spy named Gustavo Machin, who
worked under diplomatic cover in Washington D.C. (and thus enjoyed
"diplomatic immunity") along with 14 of his KGB-trained Cuban
colleagues, were all booted from the U.S. for serving as accomplices to
super-spy Ana Belen Montes.

Now, thanks to Obama's "normalization" with the
Castro-Family-Crime-and-Terror-Sponsoring Syndicate (commonly and
grotesquely mislabeled as "Cuba" by the media and Obama State Dept.)
Gustavo Machin is a regular visitor and main operative in the
newly-opened Cuban embassy in Washington D.C.!

"From Machin's perspective, it certainly would be a Cuban spy-handler's
dream," says retired Lt. Col. Chris Simmons, who helped nab both Montes
and Machin along with 14 other Cuban spies and is widely hailed as
America's top Cuba spycatcher. "Hundreds of media, politicians,
academics and Castro apologists all in one place at the same time. The
DI (Cuba's Directorio de Intelligencia) staff embedded within the
Embassy will certainly be working overtime – I expect they also brought
in temporary help within the "30-member delegation of diplomatic,
cultural and other leaders" that arrived for the Embassy opening."

"All Cuban personnel now working in the (U.S) Interests Section (in
Havana) work for Cuban State Security," revealed high-ranking Cuban
intelligence defector Pedro Riera Escalante last year. "All housing for
(U.S.) officials may have microphones and other devices installed."

"Virtually every member of Cuba's U.N mission is an intelligence agent,"
revealed Alcibiades Hidalgo, who defected to the U.S. in 2002 after
serving as Raul Castro's Chief of Staff and himself as Cuba's ambassador
to the U.N.

"Cuba is intelligence trafficker to the world," stresses Chris Simmons.
Among many others, the U.S. military secrets stolen by Castro's spies
have been sold to former regimes in Iraq, Panama and Grenada, alerting
these dictatorships to U.S. military plans against them and costing
untold American lives."

Last January 26th the U.S. military's Southern Command held the
"Caribbean regional security conference" to which Gustavo Machin was
kindly invited to participate as leader of a delegation of numerous
other KGB-trained Cuban spies.

A few months later in April 2016—again on Obama's orders--4 top Cuban
Military and Intelligence officials were given an in-depth educational
tour and a detailed briefing of the U.S. Southern Command's vital Joint
Interagency Task Force headquarters in Key West—described as the U.S.
Defense Department's "command center on the war on drugs."

In brief, if Obama's so worried about Russian spying why does he invite
their closest allies (Cubans) to infest our capitol and inspect our
vital defense facilities?

Source: Obama Boots Russian "Spies"—but Welcomes Cuban Spies - Humberto
Fontova -
http://townhall.com/columnists/humbertofontova/2017/01/07/obama-boots-russian-spiesbut-welcomes-cuban-spies-n2267912 Continue reading
El ministro del Interior de Cuba, Carlos Fernández Gondín, ha fallecido este sábado, a los 78 años en La Habana, a causa de complicaciones de una enfermedad crónica que padecía, según ha informado una nota oficial del Consejo de Ministros de Cuba. Continue reading
Do Cuba's Workers Deserve a Chance?
January 7, 2017
By Raudiel F. Pena Barrios (Progreso Semanal)

HAVANA TIMES — The reflections and comments that I will present this
time are a response to events which have taken public spotlight in Cuban
and foreign media recently.

First there was the news, which was later repeated by the official Cuban
Communist Party newspaper Granma, that a French company responsible for
building a huge hotel in the country's capital had hired workers coming
from India. Maybe the most note-worthy point about this whole issue was
the explicit recognition that they were more productive and efficient
than Cuban workers.

Then, the second leading government newspaper Juventud Rebelde quoted a
CEO from a Cuban company who stated that workers from India involved in
this building project were performing three or four times more than the
national average.

However, what wasn't said in the Cuban press is that our builders, and
generally-speaking any worker (professional or not), are unable to be
hired directly by foreign companies which are operating in the country,
even though our work force wants this and companies have agreed to the
terms and conditions of their contracts.

I believe that we should ask ourselves what a Cuban worker's performance
would be if they could earn similar wages or even a percentage less than
what foreign workers earn working in our country. We'd have to see what
a fellow countryman's efficiency and productivity levels would be if
they could earn, for example, 1500 CUC per month, which is what the
Indians are earning or maybe just 500 CUC even. They can't be compared
for the simple reason that the same parameters aren't used in the two
situations.

More recently, I was surprised to hear that the Ministry of Labor and
Social Security put a resolution into effect, which allows companies
established at the Mariel Special Development Zone to hire foreign
individuals who don't live in Cuba, to make up a max. of 15% of its
total workforce. The regulatory provision specifies that these should be
personnel who will perform management duties or some technical job
positions. With regard to the latter, we can think about experts with
knowledge and experience in productive processes or services, which
companies established in Mariel can offer. The government press also
echoed this news; sparking a wide range of responses.

Ever since the country began to talk about the Mariel project, both in
government speeches, the and official press as well as from experts, it
was said that one of the good things about it was the possibility of
creating new and various jobs. I don't doubt that this will happen.
However, I find myself asking whether we aren't putting the Cuban
workforce on an inferior level because of the legal framework that
exists today for hiring national workers, which as we all know can only
take place through government employment agencies and now add the chance
to hire foreign workers? Nobody can expect job competitiveness between
people who don't earn the same wages, even when they are doing the same job.

Furthermore, I believe that behind the current landscape lies a more
complex reality for the country's present and future. While we give
companies in Mariel the opportunity to directly employ foreigners, we
have young professionals right here in Cuba who are just as skilled as
anybody else; and the worse thing of all is that they are leaving the
country in droves, everyday, taking their thirst for personal well being
with them. A thirst which they can't satisfy in Cuba because, among many
other factors, the majority of them are unable to access the foreign
private sector of our economy. Many of them don't know how; others
aren't trusted to form part of the so-called job offers at the
government employment agencies; and others have to put up with the
handicap that their expertise isn't needed for the companies which are
establishing themselves in Cuba.

It's all too easy to criticize whoever decides to abandon the country
looking for a better future. It's still much easier to call those who
immigrate having secured a job beforehand in their field of expertise,
in line with their studies, "defectors". However, nobody thought about
getting rid of all of the political, administrative and mental (the
worst) barriers that exist around the chance of Cubans being hired
exclusively by foreign entitites established in Cuba without any kind of
intervention. And among those who stay, you have to think about the
thousands of Cubans who have a hard-earned university degree working in
the most varied of private jobs; they could be a rental car driver in
one of our old Chevrolets or a waiter in a restaurant.

In the face of this situation, isn't it better for foreign companies to
specialize by employing our own professionals, who have the skills they
are looking for? It would even be much more worth their while
economically-speaking as they would pay a great deal of money for a
foreign trainer to come for a short period and they probably wouldn't
pay the same monthly amount to a Cuban employee. Wouldn't it be better
to let everybody earn what every company is willing to pay them, and
therefore prevent them from leaving the country?

According to Article 45 in the Cuban Constitution, work in a socialist
society is a right, a duty and a source of pride for every Cuban
citizen. This work is paid in accordance with its quality and quantity;
by working, economic and social demands are being met, the choice of
worker and their skills and qualifications. Without wanting to carry
out an exhaustive analysis of the aforementioned article, and assuming
that a lot of phenomena take place today which infringe the potential of
its content; I think that our economy's updating process should be more
centered around it functioning as it's supposed to and ensuring that its
clauses are met.

Last but not least, if we have to take the worker's choice into account,
their skills and qualifications, then we should get rid of the legal
hurdles which hinder these choices so that our workforce's skills and
knowledge reach their maximum expression. Maybe the day we're able to
make these adjustments we won't have workers from India building hotels
in Havana, or lawyers and engineers working as cab drivers and waiters.

Source: Do Cuba's Workers Deserve a Chance? - Havana Times.org -
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=123026 Continue reading
US-Cuba trade numbers hard to follow
By Silvio Canto, Jr.

According to the Obama administration, there is a lot of trading going
on with Cuba. After further review, there is not a lot of trading at
all. In fact, the difference may be somewhere between the $6 billion
that the Obama administration is projecting and about $380 million in
real commerce going on.

This is from The Miami Herald:

The Obama Administration has said that trade with Cuba could reach up to
$6 billion under its new policies, but U.S. companies in fact exported
barely $380 million worth of goods to the island since the beginning of
the thaw in bilateral relations two years ago.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said early last year that her
department had issued 490 licenses to companies trying to do business
with Cuba valued at $4.3 billion. More recently, White House spokesman
Josh Earnest said that since late 2014 "more than $6 billion in trade
has been initiated between Cuba and the United States since then, which
obviously has an important economic benefit here in the United States."

Experts said the administration is exaggerating, and that those numbers
must be put in better context.

Well, put me down as one who never bought this nonsense that Cuba and
the U.S. were doing $6 billion in trade.

First, let's understand that these are the people who told us you could
keep your health care policy if we wanted to. How did that one work
out? Not hard to be skeptical after that or the nonsense about ISIS
being the J.V. team!

Second, as the article confirms, Cuba's economy is not growing. Cuba's
GDP grew by 0.9% in 2016. Cuba's GDP is $81 billion. How can the U.S.
and Cuba be doing $6 billion in trade?

Third, Cuba does not have the liquidity to pay for all of these U.S.
goods or services. This is because no one is lending Cuba any money,
and the US embargo cuts off access to credit lines in the U.S.

Fourth, the article points out that U.S. exports to Cuba, food items
such as chicken, soya, and corn, actually fell since the Obama
administration eased sanctions on Cuba.

So be cautious with all those expectations about how opening up Cuba
would lead to all of those opportunities on the island.

In other words, there are no opportunities, unless you want to build a
hotel to fly in U.S. tourists. Of course, such investments require you
to have the Cuban government as your partner – the family business, that is!

How can you expect a country with very little purchasing power to buy
anything?

We say it again: the Obama policy toward Cuba has not really
benefited U.S. companies or the Cuban people. It has been pretty good
for the Castros and the thugs who protect them.

In time, a free Cuba could return to the economic relationship it had
with the U.S. before 1961. It won't happen anytime soon as long as
the aforementioned family is running the island for its own gain.

Source: Blog: US-Cuba trade numbers hard to follow -
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/01/uscuba_trade_numbers_hard_to_follow.html Continue reading
… Day Parade marches through Little Havana on Calle Ocho from 4th … Continue reading
El presidente boliviano, Evo Morales, lamentó este domingo la muerte del ministro del Interior de Cuba, Carlos Fernández Gondín, debido a las complicaciones producidas por la enfermedad crónica que padecía. … Click to Continue » Continue reading
Se trata del Acta de Libertad para Viajar a Cuba Continue reading
Fiel, de línea dura y conocedor de hasta el último secreto de disidentes y ministros, Carlos Fernández Gondín marcó con su impronta el Ministerio del Interior, la más temida institución … Click to Continue » Continue reading

Los congresistas Jim McGovern y Mark Sanford presentaron este viernes ante la Cámara de Representantes un proyecto de ley que elimina las actuales restricciones de viaje de los estadounidenses a la Isla, según dio a conocer Sanford.

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Bajo su mando, la Seguridad del Estado recrudeció en 2016 la represión contra los opositores Continue reading

14ymedio

Fiel, de línea dura y conocedor de hasta el último secreto de disidentes y ministros, Carlos Fernández Gondín marcó con su impronta el Ministerio del Interior, la más temida institución cubana. Pero poco tiempo después de asumir la cartera en 2015, la vida le jugó la mala pasada de un accidente cerebrovascular, y este sábado se ha convertido en el más reciente fallecido de una gerontocracia que agoniza.

Su fallecimiento, a los 78 años, no ha sido una sorpresa para nadie. La nota oficial asegura que murió "a causa de complicaciones de una enfermedad crónica que padecía", y el pasado 6 de junio, en la celebración por la creación del Ministerio del Interior (Minint), las cámaras de la televisión nacional no lo mostraron, algo que avivó los rumores sobre su estado de salud.

El poderoso ministerio que dirigió controla la policía, migración y extranjería, las cárceles y la omnipresente Seguridad del Estado, entre otros departamentos. Gondín llegó a la cima de la institución gracias también a la fidelidad a toda prueba que mostró siempre hacia Raúl Castro, bajo cuyas órdenes combatió en el II Frente Oriental en los años de la lucha contra Batista.

Gondín hizo carrera dentro del ejército cubano, graduándose en la Escuela de Guerra de Matanzas y posteriormente fue seleccionado para estudiar en la academia Frunze de la Unión Soviética. Participó en las aventuras militares en Angola y Etiopía, llegando a obtener el puesto de segundo jefe de las tropas cubanas en tierras angoleñas.[[QUOTE:El poderoso ministerio que dirigió controla la policía, migración y extranjería, las cárceles y la omnipresente Seguridad del Estado, entre otros departamentos]]Desde 1980 ocupó un puesto en el Comité Central, órgano superior del Partido Comunista de Cuba, que decide el número de integrantes del Buró Político, el máximo círculo de poder en la nación. También fue electo miembro del Parlamento desde su séptima legislatura.

En 1989 el Minint fue descabezado y Fidel Castro nombró a Abelardo Colomé Ibarra, Furry, como ministro del interior y Gondín pasó a ser el viceministro primero. Ambos habían trabajado conjuntamente desde que en 1978 le encomendaron a Gondín la jefatura de la Dirección de Contrainteligencia de las Fuerzas Armadas

“Era un hombre de las Fuerzas Armadas que se ocupa del Minint en un momento en que este es depurado de sus elementos más abiertos y reformistas”, dice a 14ymedio desde México el politólogo e historiador cubano Armando Chaguaceda.

Según el académico, siempre ha existido una rivalidad entre el Ministerio del Interior y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias que tuvo su clímax con la condena del General Arnaldo Ochoa y otras 13 personas acusadas de enriquecerse con operaciones de narcotráfico en 1989.

“El aparato del Minint tiene gente más sofisticada que el de las fuerzas armadas. Hay muchas personas dedicadas a analizar, a pensar, sobre todo aquellas que estén en contacto con el exterior”, explica Chaguaceda. Considera que la muerte de Gondín no afectará la política actual en la Isla. “Hasta que se pruebe lo contrario es más de lo mismo”, afirma.

Gondín fue conocido también por ser un hombre meticuloso, que sabía mantenerse en las sombras. Se le consideró la eminencia gris tras la represión política durante el mandato de Furry. Varios disidentes señalan al recién fallecido militar como el organizador principal de los arrestos, las detenciones domiciliarias y la estricta vigilancia contra opositores, en especial contra las Damas de Blanco.[[QUOTE:Gondín fue conocido también por ser un hombre meticuloso, que sabía mantenerse en las sombras. Se le consideró la eminencia gris tras la represión política durante el mandato de Furry]]Sin embargo, la vida le jugó una mala pasada y poco tiempo después de asumir el cargo de ministro, Gondín sufrió un accidente cerebro vascular que lo dejó incapacitado para cumplir sus funciones. Desde entonces y hasta la fecha, el ministerio más poderoso de Cuba ha estado bajo el mando del vicealmirante Julio Cesar Gandarilla Bermejo, viceministro primero del Ministerio del Interior y proveniente de la Contrainteligencia Militar del Ministerio de las Fuerzas Armadas.

El analista Julio Aleaga, autor de un estudio sobre quién es quién en la política nacional, aseguró a 14ymedio que la gestión de Gondín fue “muy corta” y cuando lo nombraron para el cargo “ya se sabía que era un hombre enfermo”. Ante la interrogante de quién ocupará el puesto vacante, señala a Gandarilla Bermejo, quien ha cumplido misiones en 11 países, incluido Angola, y que también es un septuagenario.

Aleaga descarta la llegada al frente del ministerio de Alejandro Castro Espín, hijo del actual gobernante, y a quienes muchos señalan como posible sustituto. “Si a Alejandro lo están preparando para ascender en el control de la dinastía, ostentará un cargo a otro nivel, no en el Ministerio del Interior”, opina.

Por su parte, Juan Antonio Blanco, director ejecutivo de la Fundación para los Derechos Humanos en Cuba con sede en Miami, se muestra escéptico sobre la llegada de una etapa reformista con al muerte de Gondín.

“Es más probable que se relacione con facilitarle el ascenso al nieto, Raúl Guillermo Rodríguez Castro y al hijo, Alejandro Castro Espín, dentro del Minint y de la élite del poder”, afirma.

Para Blanco “lo que viene es la consolidación definitiva de la sucesión castrista antes de 2018”, año en que culmina el segundo mandato de Raúl Castro.

Por su parte, Chaguaceda establece un paralelismo entre la longevidad de los gobernantes cubanos y la de los ancianos secretarios del partido comunista en el Kremlin, durante la época de la Unión Soviética. Hacia 1982, una sucesiva cadena de muertes hizo renovar el mando soviético y permitió a una generación más joven asumir el poder e implementar cambios.

Buena parte de los integrantes del Buró Político están en la séptima década de sus vidas. En los próximos meses los obituarios y los nuevos nombramientos podrían volverse muy frecuentes en la prensa cubana.



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Esteban Santiago, el sospechoso del tiroteo en el aeropuerto de Fort Lauderdale será acusado de cargos federales, según indica un comunicado del Departamento de Estado, informó CNN en Español.

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Un reporte de los servicios de seguridad de Estados Unidos que culpa a Moscú de interferir en las elecciones presidenciales estadounidense provocó burlas punzantes de políticos y medios de comunicación rusos, reporta AP.

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Villa Clara ganó este sábado 4-1 a Ciego de Ávila una de las semifinales del campeonato cubano de béisbol discutida en el estadio Sandino, según dio a conocer la estatal leer más

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El presidente de la Conferencia Episcopal Venezolana (CEV), monseñor Diego Padrón, consideró este sábado que el proceso de diálogo nacional iniciado en octubre pasado fracasó por culpa exclusiva de los interlocutores: el Gobierno de Nicolás Maduro y la alianza opositora Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD), reporta EFE.

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Corea del Norte celebró el cumpleaños de Kim Jong-un este domingo con una discreción deliberada, informa AP.

Aunque el aniversario del joven líder es una fecha bien conocida en todo el país, todavía no se celebra con los festejos adulatorios que acompañaban a los de su fallecido abuelo y su padre.

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La escampavía Charles Sexton repatrió a 74 migrantes cubanos el martes 3 de enero y la escampavía Isaac Mayo a 76 el viernes 6.

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El ministro del Interior Carlos Fernández Gondín, falleció este sábado en La Habana "a causa de complicaciones con una enfermedad crónica" a los 78 años, según indica una nota del Consejo de Ministros y reproduce la estatal Prensa Latina.

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Rebeca Monzo, 6 January 2017 — The leadership and the dissidence seem more and more the same to me. Is it coincidence or lack of experience? At this very moment, if suddenly there were free elections on my planet Cuba, supervised by the United Nations or other countries, I would not know who to vote … Continue reading "Leadership and Dissidence / Rebeca Monzo" Continue reading
Fuente: Prensa Libre Cuando el país se adentra en pleno período seco, la escasez de lluvias y la consiguiente carencia de agua atenazan hoy a esta provincia, una de las más persistentemente afectadas por el fenómeno atmosférico. En varios momentos, … Continue reading