Fuerzas del régimen detuvieron la mañana de este jueves en La Habana a la Dama de Blanco María Cristina Labrada, informó a DIARIO DE CUBA la líder del movimiento femenino Berta Soler.
"María Cristina para nosotros está desparecida porque no sabemos dónde está. Entre las 9:00 y 9:30 de la mañana tuve una llamada del activista Zaqueo Báez y me dice que María Cristina iba detenida en una patrulla", añadió Soler.Continue reading
El juicio al coordinador nacional del Movimiento Cristiano Liberación (MCL), Eduardo Cardet Concepción, se celebrará el día 20 de febrero, informó este jueves en su web el grupo opositor.
La esposa de Cardet, Yaimaris Vecino, confirmó a DIARIO DE CUBA que la vista judicial tendrá lugar en 18 días.Continue reading
Eduardo Vázquez García, quien denunciara la muerte de su hermano en una prisión de Matanzas en noviembre del año pasado, asegura estar 'sufriendo acoso y amenazas' desde entonces, 'recrudecidos' hace varios días después de haber articulado una célula de la Alianza Democrática Oriental (ADO) en su localidad en Camagüey.Continue reading
/ EFE, 14ymedio
EFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 1 Februday 2017 — The global
organization Amnesty International on Tuesday called for the "immediate
and unconditional" release of Cuban dissident Eduardo Cardet, who has
been detained for two months accused of the crime of assault.
Amnesty International believes that Cardet, the national coordinator of
the illegal Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), is a prisoner of
conscience who is imprisoned "solely for the peaceful exercise of his
right to freedom of expression," according to a statement EFE had access to.
He also says that Cardet was violently arrested when he returned from
visiting his mother on November 30, five days after Fidel Castro's
death, and since then has been held in a prison in the eastern province
Cardet, according to his wife, Yaimaris Vecino, cited by Amnesty
International, is accused of attacking an agent of the authority, so
that the prosecution could seek a three-year prison sentence.
In the middle of this month, Amnesty International also called for the
release of Cuban dissident graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado, known as El
Sexto (The Sixth), also considered a prisoner of conscience who was
imprisoned without trial in the high security Combinado del Este in Havana.
El Sexto was released without charge on January 21 after spending nearly
two months in prison for having written the phrase "He's gone" on a wall
of the Habana Libre hotel in the capital on November 26, 2016, after the
death of Fidel Castro.
Source: Amnesty International Calls For Release Of Cuban Opponent
Eduardo Cardet / EFE, 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/amnesty-international-calls-for-release-of-cuban-opponent-eduardo-cardet-efe-14ymedio/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Mario Penton
14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 1 February 2017 – The rapid aging of the
population, joined with the reduction in available resources and the
decline in the quality of teaching, are three of the features with which
the economist Carmelo Mesa-Lago has characterized the situation of
Cuba's educational system.
"In 2007, the government of Raul Castro declared that he could not
sustain the expenses of the educational system inherited from the
previous administration, since then the investment in education and
social spending in general have been reduced," Mesa Lago explained on
Saturday at a conference sponsored by the Center for Coexistence Studies.
"It was supposed that Cuba was going to have the same indicators as
Uruguay by 2025, but today not only has it reached the level of that
country, it has surpassed it," said the researcher referring to the
aging of the population.
Cuba is now the oldest country on the continent and this has a direct
impact on the education system. The students enrolled in primary school
have been fewer year after year. As has the numbers in their productive
years, which in the opinion of the economist poses a serious danger,
because that segment of the population is responsible for financing
society's old and young.
Specifically, the education system has seen its budget shrink by 4
percentage points between 2008 and 2015.
Some of the measures that Raul Castro took when taking power were the
closure of "schools in the countryside," (boarding schools), as well as
the gradual elimination of more than 3,000 university seats opened by
his brother Fidel in the years of the Battle of Ideas. There has also
been a progressive readjustment in schools, closing those with less
enrollment, and moving the remaining students to other educational centers.
Castro also eliminated costly programs like social worker programs,
which graduated thousands of young people who ended up controlling fuel
consumption at gas stations or handing out refrigerators and light bulbs
in massive exchange programs. Programs for emerging teachers and art
instructors were also dismantled, while universities for older adults
and the use of technological devices in classrooms were reduced.
Between 1989 and 2007 there was an increase of the offerings of careers
in the area of humanities and social sciences were greatly increased,
while university-related careers in the natural sciences were greatly
With Raul Castro in command, the panorama changed radically with a
decrease of 83% in humanistic careers and a 13% increase in those
related to the natural sciences.
However, university enrollment declined by 30% in 2014, a trend shared
by other sectors, such as secondary education, where enrollment dropped
Mesa Lago recognizes that universal and free access to education is a
very important achievement that has had positive effects "in the lower
income sectors such as Afro-Cubans, women and peasants." However, the
researcher emphasized that the ideologization of education and absolute
control of the State on educational projects are its most important
Another criticism, in the opinion of Mesa Lago, is teachers' salaries,
which are among the lowest in the continent. The average salary of the
educational sector is 537 Cuban pesos, which is equivalent to 21.40
dollars a month.
"Cuba has extraordinary human capital, but it is lost because it
emigrates to other economic endeavors that have higher remuneration," he
According to a study carried out by the academic, in 2015 real wages
adjusted for inflation only covered 28% of the purchasing power of
incomes in 1989.
In order to guarantee the presence of a teacher in front of the
classroom, the Government has had to transfer teachers from one region
to another, as has been the case in Matanzas and Havana, where there is
a significant presence of teachers from the eastern region of Cuba.
Although Cuba does not participate in the international examinations
that measure the quality of educational programs, the government itself
has offered a mea culpa for the deterioration of the system.
Mesa Lago proposes eleven points to take into account in the future of
the management of the educational system. According to the economist,
resources must focus on the population most in need in the poorest
provinces. The demand for work for training programs should also be
taken into account.
To achieve the sustainability of the system, the economist proposes to
collect tuition in higher education from those with a high income. The
education system must be open and oriented to the world market.
Another important aspect is to offer more university careers in those
specialties of greater demand. The fair payment to teachers and the
opening to private education, through the de-ideologization of the
educational system, would be indispensable for the future of the Island.
Finally, the academic proposes to restore the financial autonomy of the
research centers so that they can attract international investments and
allow self-employment in the educational area.
Source: Statistics Reflect The Serious Crisis Of The Cuban Education
System / 14ymedio, Mario Penton – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/statistics-reflect-the-serious-crisis-of-the-cuban-education-system-14ymedio-mario-penton/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Havana, 1 February 2017 — The Union of Young Communists (UJC)
has joined the national blogosphere, the newspaper Juventud Rebelde
(Rebel Youth) reported on Wednesday. The Young Cuban arrives ten years
behind the world of blogs, that the opposition, independent journalism
and civic activism have successfully developed over the last decade.
The managers of the new digital site seek to turn it into "another
alternative" so that young Cuban internauts can participate in a
"scenario of debates and displays of opinions," according to the
official media. It is hosted on the free WordPress platform and is
defined as "a blog of the vanguard Cuban youth."
Asael Alonso Tirado, an official of the UJC National Committee,
clarified that the space is committed to "a fresh language that is
consistent with the codes of youth," and "stipped of all formalism."
However, he said that in the debates there should be first "respect for
and defense of the best values of the Revolution."
The official is optimistic and says that the space has 31,500 followers
and in "less than five days has achieved almost 1,000 visit, mainly from
Cuba, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile,
Namibia and Angola."
Nevertheless, the UJC's blog lands in a tangled jungle of digital spaces
that gain presence on the Island in spite of the low rate of
connectivity to the internet. Most young people consume content that
they acquire through informal distribution networks.
The Cuban Youth blog joins the most important official services and
social networks. Prominent among them is Ecured, which attempts to rival
the volunteer led Wikipedia; Reflections, similar to blog hosting
services like Blogger; The Washing Line, which tries to compete with
Facebook; and Backpack, a substitute for the informal but ubiquitous
None of these copies has achieved the popularity of the originals, so we
will have to wait to see if the new UJC blog is able to overcome the
indifference of users to official initiatives and mass organizations.
Source: Cuba's Young Communist Union Comes Late To The National
Blogosphere / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cubas-young-communist-union-comes-late-to-the-national-blogosphere-14ymedio/ Continue reading
En la madrugada de este jueves, en la provincia de Guantánamo, un accidente de tránsito se cobró la vida de tres personas y dejó al menos 50 lesionados, tres de ellas en estado muy grave, según informó Telecentro Solvisión. El percance ocurrió en las inmediaciones de Yacabo Abajo, en el municipio de Imías
El siniestro ha sido catalogado por la prensa local como "masivo" e involucró a dos camiones, uno de carácter público perteneciente a Empresa de Acopio y otro privado, habilitado para el transporte de pasajeros.[[QUOTE:Los accidentes de tránsito son la quinta causa de muerte en Cuba]]Los heridos han sido trasladados al Hospital General Docente Aghostino Neto de Guantánamo, y "en este momento se trabaja en la clasificación y atención de los lesionados", detalla la nota.
Los accidentes de tránsito son la quinta causa de muerte en Cuba, con una tasa de mortalidad que supera los 6 fallecidos por cada 100.000 habitantes.
Según la Dirección Nacional de Tránsito de la Policía, durante 2016 se produjeron más de 10.000 accidentes de tránsito, lo que supuso un incremento con respecto a 2015.Continue reading
El Teatro Jorge Negrete de México DF acoge el estreno de Variaciones enigmáticas, obra teatral de Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt bajo la dirección de Manuel González Gil, donde el cubano César Évora actúa junto al mexicano Jorge Salinas.
Évora inició este proyecto junto a González Gil hace un año; sin embargo, "tuvimos que parar por compromisos de trabajo que teníamos los dos, y ahora lo retomamos", dice el actor a Radioformula.com.mx.Continue reading
Una veintena de médicos cubanos llegará a Miami el lunes en vuelo directo desde Bogotá, Colombia, y serán los primeros en poder viajar a Estados Unidos desde que el Gobierno de Barack Obama suspendiera el 12 de enero el Cuban Medical Professional Parole (CMPP), que otorgaba refugio a los profesionales de la salud que escapan de misiones a las que fueron enviados por el Gobierno cubano.Continue reading
An ingenious answer to digital deprivation
Feb 4th 2017 | HAVANA
CUBANS, like citizens of most countries in the digital age, are familiar
with app stores. But theirs have actual doors, windows and counters. Los
Doctores del Celular, a mobile-phone repair shop a few blocks from
Havana's Malecón seaside promenade, is one example. Inside, a Super
Mario effigy, kitted out with lab coat and stethoscope, keeps vigil
while technicians transfer apps to customers' smartphones via USB cables
attached to the shop's computers. Although the United States' embargo on
Cuba makes it hard to buy apps and other services online, "Cubans are
quickly picking up on app culture," says Jorge-Luis Roque, a technician.
A bundle of 60-70 apps costs $5-10. Customers delete the ones they don't
The bricks-and-mortar app store is an ingenious Cuban response to
digital deprivation. The island has some 300 public Wi-Fi hotspots, up
from none two years ago. But connections are slow and, especially by
Cuban standards, expensive; they normally cost $1.50 an hour. Adhering
to the American embargo, app publishers like Apple and Google block
downloads in Cuba. Music lovers can browse the iTunes store, but cannot
buy songs or apps; Cubans can get the free apps on Google Play, but not
the ones that cost money.
Mr Roque and his colleagues compensate for such faulty connections with
human ones. With relatives abroad and access to their credit cards, they
can download apps using "virtual private networks", which can fool app
publishers into thinking that they are communicating with, say, Miami.
Los Doctores del Celular then sell these on to the shop's customers. The
clients' phones come from relatives overseas, the black market or
Revolico, a website that lists services and second-hand goods for sale.
Among the most popular apps are Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, cheaper
ways of staying in touch with families living abroad than texting or
calling. "We have a very large population of app-literate grannies,"
says Mr Roque. Cubans like apps that require little memory or
connectivity. Imo, a video and messaging app that can operate with low
bandwidth, is a favourite. Students are customers for offline versions
of Wikipedia and apps that specialise in biology, maths and other
academic subjects. Taxi drivers rely on offline navigation apps like
Cubans are creators as well as consumers of apps. Isladentro, a
directory of services offered by small businesses, is updated monthly
and hand-delivered on USB sticks to 100 mobile-phone repair shops. The
app's digital listings, which incorporate photos, reviews and maps, are
a big improvement over promotional flyers, says Indhira Sotillo, who
manages the listings. These were expensive and messy, and "we all ended
up with little pieces of paper everywhere", she says.
Isladentro's imagery is crude by Retina Display standards: maps are low
resolution and photos are compressed. That is because the data has to be
stored on the phone rather than in the hard-to-reach cloud. Cuban-made
apps are thus as thrifty with bytes as the locals are with cash.
Isladentro's developers reduced the memory it occupies from 890
megabytes to 240, says Ms Sotillo.
Such expedients may be less necessary if data start to flow faster.
Cuba's communist government is letting that happen, but cautiously. It
says the Malecón will become a 6km-long (four-mile) Wi-Fi hotspot. In
December it reached a deal with Google to put servers in Cuba. That
should speed up connections to Google's services, which account for
roughly half of Cuba's internet traffic. There is talk of introducing
mobile data. That would make downloading apps easier, though it would
not solve the problem of the embargo or the absence of local credit
cards. Neither Cuba's government nor the Trump administration is in a
hurry to free Cubans' access to data. Until they do, Los Doctores del
Celular will remain a bricks-and-mortar app store.
Source: In Cuba, app stores pay rent | The Economist -
http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21716099-ingenious-answer-digital-deprivation-cuba-app-stores-pay-rent Continue reading
By Agweek Wire Report Today at 10:29 a.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and John
Boozman (R-Ark.) on Thursday reintroduced their bipartisan bill to help
American farmers and support good-paying jobs in North Dakota, Arkansas
and across the country by lifting restrictions on private financing for
U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba.
The biggest barrier for producers in North Dakota, Arkansas, and beyond
as they seek access to Cuba—a market with high demand for U.S. crops
like beans and rice—is a prohibition on providing private credit for
those exports. Heitkamp and Boozman first introduced their bipartisan
Agricultural Export Expansion Act in April 2015 to lift the ban on
private banks and companies offering credit for agricultural exports to
Cuba, and to help level the playing field for exporters across the
country and support American jobs.
"Our farmers rely on exports, and exports help create more American
jobs. Any North Dakota farmer or rancher could tell you
that," said Heitkamp. "Financing restrictions are the number one barrier
facing North Dakota farmers who want to sell their crops to Cuba, and
this bill would do away with that obstacle. Cuba is a natural market for
North Dakota crops like dry beans, peas, and lentils, and there's no
good reason for us to restrict farmers' export opportunities—which
support good-paying American jobs—by continuing this outdated policy."
"It's time for Washington to enact commonsense reforms so Arkansas
farmers and agriculture producers across the country can compete fairly
for the Cuban marketplace," said Boozman. "Current law prohibits
the financing of agricultural exports to Cuba and requires cash payment
up front, essentially preventing U.S. farmers from being able to export
their products to Cuba. Lifting the ban would allow private banks and
companies to offer credit for the sale of U.S. agricultural commodities
to Cuba. This small step would help level the playing field for American
farmers and exporters while simultaneously exposing Cubans to American
ideals, values and products. This bill is a win-win for American farmers
and the Cuban people."
"North Dakota farmers rely on exports to make ends meet. This bipartisan
bill would make it easier for us to sell our top-notch black beans and
pinto beans to Cuba—a market with high demand for North Dakota
crops," said Dan Fuglesten, of Central Valley Bean Cooperative in
Buxton, N.D. "Lifting these outdated and self-imposed restrictions will
open a critical market for American farmers and support good jobs right
here in North Dakota—and it's time Congress acted. With commodity prices
what they are, we appreciate Senator Heitkamp's work to expand market
access and help American farmers."
"Being able to sell our commodities to Cuba just as easily as we sell to
other markets like Mexico and Canada would be huge, especially for
U.S.-grown rice," said Jeff Rutledge, of Newport, Ark., a rice farmer
and president of the Arkansas Rice Council. "Senator Boozman's bill
would strip away the regulatory red tape and allow us to compete in the
Cuban market just like we do everywhere else."
U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin
(D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Susan Collins
(R-Maine), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Ron Wyden
(D-Ore.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) joined in
cosponsoring the bill.
In January 2016, the previous administration loosened export
restrictions to allow companies to sell non-agricultural products to
Cuba on credit, but statutory restrictions on financing agricultural
products are still in place.
For years, Heitkamp and Boozman have pushed to improve agricultural
export opportunities to Cuba and make it easier for farmers to sell
their crops to this high-demand market. Currently, all U.S. exports to
Cuba require cash up front, while other nations around the world offer
credit to Cuban importers, in effect preventing farmers and ranchers
from being able to ship their products to Cuba. The change in U.S.-Cuba
policy would provide at least some relief from low American commodity
prices by opening new markets.
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill as an
amendment to a financial services spending bill last year, as well as in
Source: Heitkamp, Boozman reintroduce bill to expand exports to Cuba |
http://www.agweek.com/policy-and-politics/4210568-heitkamp-boozman-reintroduce-bill-expand-exports-cuba Continue reading
The U.S. East and Gulf coasts can expect to be significantly served by a
pair of transshipment hubs – ideally in Cuba and Canada's province of
Nova Scotia – a leading port industry economist said today [Feb. 2].
Robert W. West, Waltham, Massachusetts-based chief senior consultant for
the Colombia-based DUAGA consulting firm and former Worley Parsons Group
principal ports and marine strategist, offered the theory in the opening
presentation of the 10th annual Planning for Shifting Trade Conference
in Tampa, Florida.
West said Cuba's Port of Mariel is "in many ways the most ideal
location" for a major Caribbean transshipment center, while he expects
one or more of a trio of Nova Scotia port developments serving as a
northern hub. In response to a question from the American Journal of
Transportation, West expressed uncertainty regarding the potential
impact upon future Cuba transshipment prospects of Trump administration
policies and the recent threats by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to pull
funding from Sunshine State ports engaging in commerce with Cuba.
"The point here is not a political point," West said. "The point is an
"As we know, politics can mess things up, but I'm not saying it's going
to happen here," he continued. "To me, Cuba looks like a great
opportunity for transshipment."
West said Nova Scotia transshipment opportunities include at the
Macquarie Group's Halifax undertaking, facilities being developed by DP
World at Saint John and/or the future Novaport project in Sydney in
which Ports America has recently expressed interest.
He said new leadership in Washington does combine with factors such as
consolidation of global containership capacity to create a future
outlook he termed "certainly uncertain."
Noting that nearly half of all the world's containership capacity is in
the hands of the three biggest shipping lines – Maersk/Hamburg Süd,
Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM/APL – West said he anticipates
that three or four major alliances will ultimately control between 75
percent and 80 percent of global container volume.
West said he believes 2017 freight rates "will remain lower than we
would want them to be, with too much capacity chasing too little demand."
Of the 325 ships, representing 8 percent of world fleet capacity,
currently not in operation, West said, "It's too much. We really need to
squeeze that out."
West said that, with the Transpacific Partnership having been torpedoed,
he sees potential for expansion of the Pacific Alliance, which currently
includes Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile and is likely to soon add
Costa Rica and Panama, as well as Asian nations. But West said his
suspicion is that the United States will not join the Pacific Alliance.
The overall 2017 economic outlook for the Western Hemisphere is seen by
West as improving over 2016, including with 2.9 percent U.S. growth
compared with 1.6 percent last year.
"We're pretty optimistic; I can't say we're exuberant," he said. "2017
should be an up year for cargo, for consumers, for government
expenditures, all of which should stimulate the economy."
The Feb. 2-3 conference, hosted by Port Tampa Bay, is presented by the
American Association of Port Authorities and the Transportation Research
Board in partnership with the Florida Chapter of the American Planning
Association and in cooperation with the U.S.; Maritime Administration.
Comprehensive coverage of the conference is slated to appear in the Feb.
13 edition of the American Journal of Transportation.
Source: Economist sees East, Gulf coasts served by Cuba, Nova Scotia
transshipment hubs | AJOT.COM -
https://www.ajot.com/blogs/full/blog-economist-sees-east-gulf-coasts-served-by-cuba-nova-scotia-transshipme Continue reading