César Milani, exjefe del Ejército argentino entre 2013 y 2015, durante el Gobierno de Cristina Kirchner, fue detenido en la provincia de La Rioja este viernes por su presunta implicación en el secuestro y tortura de dos hombres y una mujer durante la última dictadura militar, según reporta AP.Continue reading
Los inmigrantes fueron repatriados a Bahía de Cabañas, según informó la Guardia Costera en un comunicado.Continue reading
Juan Juan Almeida, 14 February 2017 — In a memorable address on December
18, 2008 in Salvador de Bahía, Brazil, Raúl Castro referred to what we
now know as Operation Carlota, saying, "We told the Angolan people we
will only take with us the remains of our dead." But he lied.
The Cuban military mission there did some farming and planted a seed
that is only now bearing fruit. Initially, the mission provided support,
earning the regime international prestige and increasing its political
capital. Witness for example, the vote against the US embargo in the
United Nations' General Assembly. Now, General Castro, who is also
president of Cuba, is counting on a good harvest: Angolan oil.
Below are the names of thirty people who were flew on KLM or TAAG
Angolan Airlines on January 26 of this year from Havana to Luanda with
the express purpose of trading medical services for Angolan crude oil.
Mariluz Simales Cruz, nursing
Larisa Peña Roja, biology
Ángel Alexis Calas Ortiz, nursing
Isabel Chala Castaneda, MD, hygiene and epidemiology
Margarita Saltaren Cobas, nursing
Alfredo Saltaren Cobas, biological sciences
Erenis Serrat Morales, clinical laboratory
Jorge Luis Vargas Mendoza, hygiene and epidemiology
José Alexander Campos Castillo, pharmacy
Mario Oscar León Sánchez, comprehensive general medicine, intensive therapy
Eladia Cuenca Arce, clinical laboratory
Paula Pompa Márquez, microbiology
Isabel María Oliva Licea, transfusion medicine
Andrés Aguilar Charon, chemistry education
Dioenis de la Caridad Campoamor Hernández, health care technology
Martha Alfreda Zamora González, immunology
Agustín Rodríguez Soto, professor of stomatology
Geisy Pérez Pérez, nursing
Marlenis Sánchez Tuzón, MD, clinical laboratory
Lazara Josefina Linares Jiménez, clinical laboratory
Yunia Delgado Peña, nursing
María Libia Paneque Gamboa, professor, Uniología Institutos Médicos
Dimey Arguelles Toledo, nursing
Katiuska Garboza Savón, professor, clinical laboratory
Victoria Priscila Moreno Zambrano, clinical laboratory
Maria Cristina Varela Alejo, pharmacy
Gliceria Alicia Díaz Santa Cruz, health care technology
Dania Victoria Rodríguez Hidalgo, nursing
René Camacho Díaz, professor, maxillofacial surgery
Yaimy Royero Martínez, surgical nursing
"In politics, money talks. It has the first and the last word. The
medical missions in Venezuela won't be cancelled. Speculation is that
the price of oil will rise and, if that happens, the income we receive
from that program should also rise," explains an official from the Cuban
Ministry of Public Health who, as is always the case, fears government
reprisal and prefers to remain anonymous and out of sight.
"The Angola mission," he points out, "is a different sort of thing. They
are not sending doctors to be doctors but rather to be instructors. They
are going there to teach classes, not to see patients.
"This is predicted to be Cuba's most profitable economic endeavor, more
than tourism or remittances from overseas. We are talking about a
massive shipment of doctors and other medical personnel as part of an
exchange agreement that will guarantee favorable crude oil prices.
"Also, on January 12 a US government program, the Cuban Medical
Professional Parole Program, was cancelled, easing fears that our
physicians will abandon their overseas missions."
Source: Cuban Doctors and Nurses in Exchange for Angolan Oil / Juan Juan
Almeida – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuban-doctors-and-nurses-in-exchange-for-angolan-oil-juan-juan-almeida/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 16 February 2017 – In the photo the
couple smiles with one glass of beer in hand, all they were able to
obtain after waiting in a long line at a Varadero resort. Nine years
after the government allowed Cubans to enter hotels in Cuba (a right
previously denied them in what was commonly called 'tourist apartheid'),
local customers continue to be discriminated against relative to foreign
tourists in the midst of the current boom in tourism.
Eugenia and Guillermo, retirees from the transport sector, are trying to
make up for lost time after decades of being unable to enjoy the tourist
facilities of their own country. With the remittances sent by their son
who emigrated and the profits on a house that they sold a few months
ago, they decided to enjoy the natural beauties of the Island and its
Nevertheless, the so-called smokestack-free industry is experiencing
tense times caused by the increase in the number of foreign visitors. At
the end of last year, the country reported a record of more than 4
million tourists, good news for the national coffers but which does not,
however, represent a better situation for local customers.
Cuba has more than 65,000 hotel rooms and some 17,000 private houses
that provide lodging. The tourist boom of recent years tests that
infrastructure and the complaints accumulate, especially with regards to
the facilities managed by the state or by joint ventures.
Eugenia and Guillermo were among the first customers to purchase
an all-inclusive package back in 2008 to spend a weekend in a four-star
hotel near the city of Holguin. They recall the experience as
excellent. "It was like living a dream and enjoying what, before, only
foreigners could have," recalls Guillermo.
However, with the passage of time that initial joy was transformed into
discomfort. "The prices have gone up and the quality of the facilities
has decreased a lot," comments the retiree. At the end of last year they
booked four nights in Pasacaballo, a hotel in Cienfuegos from which they
say they left "horrified."
"The all-inclusive was actually rationed," says the wife. "The initial
times when you could eat and drink whatever you wanted are now just a
memory." Despite having paid for an "open bar," the Cuban guests found
themselves with their food and drink rationed.
For the retirees, that regulation of consumption reminded them of "the
ration market bodegas," they say. "We wanted to escape reality, to
disconnect a few days but it turns out that we found ourselves in the
same situation we wanted to escape," Guillermo points out.
In the Pasacaballo restaurant "the main courses are limited," he
clarifies. You can only choose one meat, fish or chicken course. On
arrival, each guest received a card that allowed them to consume a
maximum of 64 beverages, including two liters of rum for the four nights
of their stay.
The situation is repeated in other accommodations around the Island. Not
even the Royalton Cayo Santa Maria, with five stars, is immune from
these types of restrictions. "We had to supervise the domestic guests
better because they were cleaning out the hotel," a maid told 14ymedio,
on condition of anonymity.
Managed by the Gaviota Tourism Group, a business arm of the Cuban
military, special controls are placed on the accommodations of guests
from Cuba. "We have lost huge amounts of towels, cups, glasses and
cutlery," complains the employee. She blames "the Cubans who come and do
not understand how things work in a hotel, they think this is a boarding
school in the countryside."
"They want to eat at breakfast what they don't consume in two months at
home, so there are many excesses," she says. "While a Canadian will
breakfast on an omelet, a Cuban wants to put a hunk of cheese in their
pocket, take twenty servings of bread for their room and carry off all
the jam they can find."
Maria del Pilar Macías, Director General of Quality and Operations of
the Ministry of Tourism, told the official press at the end of last year
that the fundamental challenge was to achieve a competitive service
"without disregarding international standards" based on "quality and
In 2014, the influx of domestic tourists to hotels reached 1.2 million
guests, an increase of 23% compared to the previous year. On that
occasion, the locals spent 147.3 million CUCs in those facilities,
according to a report published by the National Office of Statistics and
Information of Cuba (ONEI).
The Communist Party has urged in its guidelines "to expand and push the
development of national tourism by creating offers that make it possible
to take advantage of the infrastructure created in hotels and other
recreational and historical tourist attractions."
Eugenia and Guillermo prefer hotels with managers from another
country. "They are much more attentive and do not seem to differentiate
in the treatment of national tourists." In those run by the state and
under the control Gaviota the situation is different. "If you're a
national, they leave you with the word in their mouths or with
half-service while they run off to look after a foreigner."
The reason for that difference in the treatment lies in
tipping. Although most are all-inclusive accommodations, foreign guests
"always leave something," comments the maid at the Royalton Cayo Santa
Maria. Also, according to the employee, "there have been many incidents
with Cuban clients who mistreat workers."
Varadero is the main beach resort on the island and Cubans have become
the second largest group of guests in the resort, behind the
Canadians. "Cuba's customer today not only goes to standard hotels but
also goes to the chain's highest quality hotels," said Narciso
Sotolongo, deputy sales director of Meliá Hotels International in Cuba.
The Hotel Group Islazul gets the worst comments among islanders. "I
dropped something on the floor and when I looked under the bed I was
surprised at the amount of dirt," Guillermo says. The curtains were old,
there was no minibar in the room and for several days there was no water
in the sink or shower. The manager never showed up for explanations,
despite repeated customer complaints.
For the retired couple, the most difficult thing is to accept the price
increases. "So before we paid between 70 and 85 Cuban convertible pesos
(about the same value in $US) per night with all inclusive; now we can't
find it for less than 120 or 140 CUC," the woman complains. An employee
of Cubanacán who manages a tourism bureau at the Hotel Vedado denied
that there has been an increase in rates.
"We are in the high season and prices are rising every year," she
explains to 14ymedio. "Now what is happening is that there is much more
demand and the cheaper offers are sold abroad, through the internet and
with a credit card." But Eugenia and Guillermo have never connected to
the great world-wide-web and only know about cash.
Source: Cuban Customers: Collateral Damage In The Tourism Boom /
14ymedio, Luz Escobar – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/cuban-customers-collateral-damage-in-the-tourism-boom-14ymedio-luz-escobar/ Continue reading
14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 16 February 2017 — David Mauri
Cardoso, a 24-year-old from Cienfuegos, dreamt of being lawyer but could
not successfully pass a test of dishonesty. In appearance it was a test
of Spanish, but what was being evaluated was his capacity to fake it.
Along with 30 other young people, who had not been admitted to higher
education through the standard entrance exams, David was part of an
experiment where workers were enrolled in the first year of Law School
at the Carlos Rafael Rodriguez University in Cienfuegos and then
assessed on their knowledge of Math, History and Spanish.
The exams were conducted in January and David was one of twenty students
who had made it to the end of the previous stage. He finished high
school in 2011, and after several failed attempts to enter the
university, this seemed to be his last chance.
Everything seemed to be fine until the first week of February, when they
summoned him to a Disciplinary Council. His "incorrectness" is described
in the Teaching Regulation of Higher Education, where it specifies "it
is a very serious error to say or do anything against the Revolutionary
Process." The punishment established for this behavior is expulsion from
the higher education system in any program throughout the country. On
Friday, 10 February, the resolution imposing this punishment was signed.
What, in fact, did David do?
The Spanish test consisted of writing an interpretation of a fragment of
the lyrics from the song "Riding with Fidel," which flooded the airwaves
after the death of the former Cuban president at the end of November 2016.
David tells 14ymedio how he reacted when he read Question No. 5, which
inquired about what he had felt when he honored the ashes of the
historic leader of the Revolution. "I realized I was not in a position
to fully respond, because that wasn't the case for me. The question was
based on an erroneous supposition, because I had not participated in the
acts of homage to Fidel Castro, nor did I personally honor him in a
Before the exam, he had prepared himself to identify a simile or a
metaphor and felt capable of parsing a text to indicate subordinate or
juxtaposed sentences and to call out with precision grammatical mistakes
in any verb. But, he said, "To adjust to what they were asking me I
responded with total honestly about what this person had meant to me. I
was respectful because no one has the right to insult others. I gave my
opinion in the framework of good manners."
David recorded in his own handwriting the misery, the destruction of the
foundations of society and the injustices. He dared to use the term
"authoritarian" to define the established system in his country and at
some point, without his pulse trembling, he wrote the word "dictatorship."
"In short, I only offered my personal opinion, which is exactly what
they asked of me," he says with the simplicity of one who does not
believe he has performed a historic act.
The person in charge of grading the exam must have felt very troubled in
the face of such a demonstration of sincerity. David chose not to name
names, his Christian ethics precludes it. Nor did he mention the
identity of a Spanish-language methodologist at the provincial level who
is, at the end of the day, the person who assumed the responsibility of
lodging a complaint.
Here, the young student makes a legal argument. "This exam, more than a
private text, was a confidential document. Something between the
professor and the student that did not have to be sent on under any
And therein lies the key, because David did not make statements to
foreign television, nor did he publish an opinion piece in the
independent press, nor did he go out into the street with a poster, all
of which would have been his right.
In the sacred intimacy of the classroom, he offered his opinion, which
was what was asked of him. Without his consent, his responses were
"elevated" and analyzed under extra-academic rules.
Not a single one of David's classmates was consulted on this sanction
because according to the regulation that ordinarily requires a process
that does just that, it only applies to "regular" students in the day
Now everything is "comments in the hallway" and no one will come to his
David says he does not intend to appeal, although he explains: "I have
not resigned formally because I still have time, but I lost interest
because, when I think of appealing to the Minister of Higher Education,
I wonder who this official answers to and it makes me feel like not even
starting the process."
To the question of what he intends to do with his life now, David
jokingly replies: "What I was doing: inventing," that is figuring out
some way to get by, "like all young people do in Cuba."
Source: The Student Who Did Not Want To 'Ride With Fidel' / 14ymedio,
Reinaldo Excobar – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-student-who-did-not-want-to-ride-with-fidel-14ymedio-reinaldo-excobar/ Continue reading
Opposition," Says Berta Soler / 14ymedio
14ymedio, Havana, 16 February 2017 — Berta Soler, after meeting this
Wednesday with Archbishop of Havana Juan de la Caridad Garcia Rodriguez,
said that he has offered his full support to the Ladies in White and
that the prelate told her he had asked the Government to sit down and
talk to the opposition.
"We ask the Catholic Church to speak out, because whoever is silent
supports [the government], and he said to me: 'No Berta, silence is not
always support. We have asked the Cuban Government to sit down and talk
to the opposition, but what we say is one thing and what they do is
another," Soler told 14ymedio.
Soler, the leader of the Ladies in White, and Maria Cristina Labrada, a
member of the organization, met with Juan de la Caridad Rodriguez early
Wednesday morning and the Archbishop told them that that during the trip
from their Lawton headquarters they were "monitored by a large operation
made up of the National [Revolutionary] Police and State Security."
According to Soler's account, at the meeting the Archbishop was "very
receptive" to the movement's complaints, and they explained to the
prelate how they are systematically prevented from reaching the church
to attend mass and are victims of abuse such as thefts and fines for
"violating the security cordon of the Communist Party of Cuba" when they
leave their homes.
"We were able to give him some names and surnames of those who have told
us that we could never go to mass at any church," she added.
María Cristina Labrada and Berta Soler received from the hands of the
Archbishop "a family Bible with a dedication for each of us," and they
gave him "a CD and two reports with evidence of repression" suffered by
the women's movement and their families. Both left the door open for a
future second meeting.
Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez was named Archbishop of Havana in
April of last year after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Jaime
Ortega and Alamino who retired, as established by the Code of Canon Law,
after having reached the age of 75.
A few weeks after taking office, Garcia Rodríguez generated a bitter
controversy in declaring that he did not want Cuba to "have capitalism
or anything like that, but that socialism should progress" to go
"forward in a just and balanced society and one of brotherhood."
Source: Havana's Archbishop Asked Cuban Government "To Sit Down And Talk
To The Opposition," Says Berta Soler / 14ymedio – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/havanas-archbishop-asked-cuban-government-to-sit-down-and-talk-to-the-opposition-says-berta-soler-14ymedio/ Continue reading
The Telegraph 17 February 2017
Cuba remains a hot-ticket destination for British travellers as airlines
launch new routes and cruise tourism surges. But as the boom continues,
confusion has taken hold over whether Britons are able to board the new
direct US-Cuba flights.
Passengers flying to the Caribbean island from the UK with Virgin
Atlantic (VA) have also experienced difficulties as the airline gets to
grips with the ticketing system alongside its new partner, Delta.
Customers have been unable to book flights online by card, or use Air
Miles plus money, and they must, instead, call a Cuba phoneline at
Virgin Holidays. Miles then need to be converted into vouchers to be
discounted against a normal fare.
VA said the issue was temporary, but Rob Miller, director of the
UK-based Cuba Solidarity Campaign, accused the airline of discriminating
against the communist nation. "Virgin Atlantic must end this
discriminatory policy impacting on travellers wanting to use their Air
Miles to travel to Cuba," he said. "The US blockade is at the heart of
this latest travel dispute.
"We have written to the British Government, and Virgin Atlantic, calling
on them to take immediate action to ensure that all passengers are
treated fairly whether they are travelling to Cuba or elsewhere."
US and Cuba: a timeline
A VA spokesperson apologised for any inconvenience: "This is just a
different way to pay for this route, on a temporary basis. We certainly
aren't discriminating against Cuba. However, our technology is currently
restricted, meaning we can't take bookings."
The airline launches its second UK route direct to Cuba on April 2, to
Juan G Gomez airport. Thomson, too, is adding a route to Cayo Santa
Maria from May; Thomas Cook's inclusion of the small set of islands off
the coast from 2018, takes its total of Cuban destinations to four.
Last year, 10 US airlines made the first direct flights to the island in
more than 50 years, following a thaw in US-Cuba relations. Meanwhile,
cruise firms cannot organise itineraries fast enough and the demand for
hotel rooms has soared. In December Telegraph Travel reported how tour
operators were halting bookings to the island as its infrastructure
struggled to cope with demand.
14 sights to catch before Cuba changes forever
In the summer Swiss chain Kempinski will open Cuba's first truly
glamorous five-star hotel, Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana.
Further luxury hotels will follow.
Less positive has been the ambiguity facing British travellers flying to
Cuba from the US. Travel for tourism purposes remains illegal for US
citizens under a trade embargo. They may only fly direct to Cuba for one
of 12 reasons listed by the US Treasury's Cuba sanctions office
(OFAC). The same applies to Britons. Since self-certification (an honour
system) for travel was permitted last year by the Obama administration,
UK travellers, like US citizens, are ticking one of the
officially-approved categories (educational) for travel on airline sites.
Comparison website cheapair.com advises: "Keep receipts for cultural
activities to demonstrate your visit was filled with 'authorised' travel
activities… keep records of museums visited, local tours you took,
cultural activities attended, etc… most of the time, no one will ask."
The Foreign Office advises that travel between the US and Cuba is
permitted as long as visitors comply with US law. The OFAC's press
office has not yet responded to our inquiries.
Source: Flight confusion reigns as Cuba's tourism boom is beset by
teething problems -
https://uk.style.yahoo.com/flight-confusion-reigns-cubas-tourism-154436596.html Continue reading