Cubalex, 4 April 2017 — In the cycles of the United Nations Universal
Periodic Review (UPR), held in 2009 and 2013, the Cuban State rejected
32 recommendations calling for an end to repression against human rights
defenders and lifting restrictions that impede freedom of speech,
opinion, association, assembly and peaceful demonstration.
Members of the Human Rights Council suggested that the state ensure a
safe, free and independent environment for human rights activities,
without the risk of harassment, intimidation, persecution or violence.
They recommended that the state refrain from abusing the criminal code
to repress and harass people. In addition, all necessary measures should
be taken including a review of the legislation, to ensure that all cases
of aggression against human rights activists are investigated by
independent and impartial bodies.
The Cuban State objected to these recommendations, on the grounds that
they were inconsistent with the exercise of the state's right to
self-determination; they claimed that this would imply implementing a
policy conceived by a foreign superpower, with the aim of destroying
Cuba's political, economic, and social system.
However, the government claims that, in the country, human rights
defenders are protected, on an equal footing, and act with total freedom
and without any restriction that is incompatible with international
human rights instruments.
The state adds that there are the millions of people who in Cuba are
grouped in thousands of organizations, and who have all the guarantees
for the exercise of their rights. They do not need different protection
from that of anyone with Cuban citizenship. They are not a threat, they
are not in danger, nor do they face the possibility of an act in
violation of the conduct of their activities.
Source: The Risks of Defending Human Rights in Cuba / Cubalex –
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/the-risks-of-defending-human-rights-in-cuba-cubalex/ Continue reading
Francis Sanchez, 29 March 2017 – Cuba is the country with the second
highest levels of depression in Latin America, exceeded only by Brazil.
The statistics appear in a report from the World Health Organization
(WHO) released in Geneva. From this report, paradoxically, this data is
omitted by Cuban publications that otherwise echo the report.
The state discourse may not know how to handle this data, along with
another which places us among the countries with the highest suicide
rates. But, are depression and suicide not, in general terms, typical
disorders of developed societies? As is the aging of the population.
Why, then, aren't our rates of depression, anxiety and suicides
considered, as is increasing old age, as national achievements?
Surely we Cubans are not depressed, nor do we suffer anxiety, for the
same reasons as Brazilians, Swedes or Japanese. We run little risk of
addiction to work. Rather, it is the complete opposite. Our work places
are a façade to "mark time" and "resolve things under the table." A very
true and repeated axiom is: "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us."
Not having work to do, does not mean that we are exposed to leisure
(good for enjoying extreme activities such as family vacations or lying
on the couch of a psychoanalyst). We live day by day "struggling" for
Although our war is so asymptomatic that it does not deprive us of the
luxuries of sadness and the abysses of madness. In catastrophes, it is
often the case that the effort to breathe increases (during wars, when
fewer people commit suicide). Countries of Central America, where the
gangs swarm and great atrocities are committed, show more satisfactory
rates of depression.
Despite the regrets, we must have some self-imposed sources of
frustration. The truth is that we are taken for the cliché of the
tropical couple with the smile from ear to ear and the pair of
maracas. Might this have something to do with the permanent state of
pretending? With the naturalized and institutionalized lies?
Between immobility, lack of economic and political opportunity on the
one hand, and the state's chauvinistic and triumphalist discourse on the
other, there are few reasons for hope. Our everyday problems, even if
they are the same as those inherent in life in any other country, may be
swallowed by us in a special and not recommended way. Never forget that
we have been the only people of this hemisphere politically and
ideologically converted into a "mass." By discarding the individual
will, even the masks were eliminated from our carnivals.
Many want to assign us the role of the most amusing. Besides those in
power, as expected, including the Latin American peoples, their
academics, their social leaders who manage to constantly mobilize people
if they so much as raise the price of transport by a single peseta, they
say that they envy us, and they ask us to continue resisting.
But lately, for some years now, I have noticed that political jokes are
no longer whispered in the streets as they were, for example, in the
Special Period. After many turns of life or history, and a lack of
imagination to visualize the future, maybe everyone already knows the
end and no one is amused?
I remember that in the worst years of the 1990s we laughed at the
hunger, the blackouts, there were parodies on the quota of two
hamburgers for each identity card, at the infinite marches, etc. Then
came the anecdote of how, on a billboard, under a slogan that adorned
streets and roads ("We are happy here"), a daring soul wrote at night:
"Imagine out there." The story included the curiosity that, at dawn,
even the policemen could not stop laughing.
Source: Depressed But Happy? / Francis Sanchez – Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/depressed-but-happy-francis-sanchez/ Continue reading
Cuban foreign minister describes ongoing talks between Havana and Madrid
Madrid 18 ABR 2017 - 12:11 CEST
Spain's King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have accepted an
official invitation to make an official visit to Cuba, which the Foreign
Ministry says will take place "as soon as possible," probably at the end
of this year, ahead of the retirement of the Caribbean island's leader,
Raúl Castro, in February 2018.
Felipe's father and predecessor, Juan Carlos, led a Spanish delegation
that attended the funeral of Fidel Castro in November 2016. During Juan
Carlos's 39 years in power, between 1975 and 2014, he only visited
Havana once: in 1999, when Cuba hosted the IX Ibero-American Summit.
José María Aznar, who was prime minister with Spain's conservative
Popular Party between 1996 and 2004, has said publicly that he refused
to sanction further visits by Juan Carlos to Cuba given the politician's
ideological differences with the regime in Havana.
King Felipe and Rajoy intend to visit Cuba "as soon as possible,"
according to official sources. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez
gave King Felipe the invitation at a meeting in the Zarzuela official
royal residence in Madrid on Monday during a private visit to the
Spanish capital. He later met with Rajoy.
The invitation comes after a May 2016 visit by the then-Spanish foreign
minister, José Manuel García-Margallo.
King Felipe and Queen Leticia are making a state visit to the United
Kingdom between June 6 and June 8, which means the visit to Cuba could
take place after summer, toward the end of the year.
During their conversation, Rodríguez and King Felipe discussed the
worsening situation in Venezuela where protesters have taken to the
streets after the opposition-controlled national congress was briefly
stripped off its powers. Speaking at a press conference afterward,
Rodríguez said Cuba would continue supporting the government of
President Nicolás Maduro to find the best "solutions and decisions." He
also referred to the 2002 coup that briefly toppled Maduro's
predecessor, Hugo Chávez.
Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said after meeting with
Rodríguez that the invitation "symbolizes the will of Cuba to increase
links with Spain." He added that following the end of the year-long
political stalemate in Spain in October produced by two inconclusive
elections, Prime Minister Rajoy intended to "strengthen and intensify"
political, social, economic, trade, cultural, family and other ties
between the two countries.
In December, Spain raised the issue of renewing the EU's agreement with
Cuba, leaving behind the approach of the Aznar government and its focus
on human-rights issues. Rodríguez described talks between Madrid and
Havana as "multi-faceted", "promising," "cordial," "productive,"
"useful," and "beneficial."
Spain is Cuba's third-major trading partner and the
eighth-most-important source of tourists. Rodríguez praised Spain and
the EU's position regarding the ongoing US embargo.
Dastis pointed out that Spanish governments over the years have not
supported the trade embargo and hoped that the Trump administration
would continue the thaw begun by Barack Obama. On the subject of
political prisoners and human rights in Cuba, Dastis, who has offered to
travel to Cuba ahead of the visit, said both governments would address
all issues "with respect andtrust, and pragmatically."
English version by Nick Lyne.
Source: Spanish head of state visit to Cuba: Spain's King Felipe and PM
Rajoy to visit Cuba "as soon as possible" | In English | EL PAÍS -
http://elpais.com/elpais/2017/04/18/inenglish/1492502808_481245.html Continue reading
Los usuarios cubanos de la telefonía móvil están satisfechos con la llegada de la red 3G pero algunos la ven también con cierta preocupación ante la necesidad de cambiar sus celulares si quieren beneficiarse de la nueva tecnología. Según varios técnicos de Etecsa consultados por 14ymedio, cerca de 250.000 terminales actualmente en servicio en el país no son compatibles con la frecuencia de 900 Mhz escogida por el monopolio estatal para la tercera generación de telefonía móvil (3G).
Además de este problema, los usuarios han notado una reducción de la velocidad de conexión de la red actual (2G) en las zonas en las que se está instalando la 3G.
La Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (Etecsa) no consigue aclarar a sus usuarios el impacto que está teniendo la instalación de la 3G en la Isla. Una operadora del monopolio estatal aseguró a 14ymedio que han recibido críticas de usuarios desde zonas donde se ha implantado el servicio. "Hemos recibido muchas quejas de Pinar del Río y otras provincias en las que se está probando".
Las principales quejas de los usuarios tienen que ver con la disminución en la velocidad de conexión que la red 2G implantada en Cuba puede sufrir con la instalación de la 3G. Ante estas quejas, desde Etecsa han respondido diciendo que "nada se deteriora".[[QUOTE:A estos problemas de la velocidad de conexión se añade también la dificultad de dar con un aparato de telefonía móvil compatible con la tecnología 3G]]A estos problemas de la velocidad de conexión se añade también la dificultad de dar con un aparato de telefonía móvil compatible con la tecnología 3G, que en la Isla ha sido configurada para que funcione en una frecuencia de 900 MHz, una decisión que responde a factores puramente técnicos.
"No podemos acusar a Etecsa por usar la banda de los 900 MHz porque cada operadora utiliza la que mejor funcione en su país teniendo en cuenta todos los factores que podrían influir en la calidad de la señal", explicó en el blog TuAndroid el ingeniero informático Jorge Noris Martínez.
"Si compraste un móvil y le falta la banda de frecuencia de tu país, no podrás hacer nada al respecto. Entonces, es fundamental que al momento de comprar, verifiquemos las bandas de frecuencias disponibles en el móvil que nos interesa", concluye.
Los altos precios de los móviles dificultan la sustitución de estos terminales con precios que rara vez bajan de 50 CUC, el salario mensual de un doctor, los profesionales mejor pagados en la Isla.
En diciembre pasado las preocupaciones se hicieron sentir durante un foro online con varios directivos de Etecsa. Ante la insistencia, la jefa del departamento de Gestión de Ventas Móvil, Yusnely Llano, aclaró que "la 2G no se va a quitar, seguirá funcionando y prestando servicios a los clientes que se conecten a nuestra red, en dependencia del servicio que vayan a utilizar y el tipo de terminal que posean".
Buena parte de los móviles que llegan a Cuba provienen de Estados Unidos y países de América Latina como Panamá o México. El mercado de los electrodomésticos y los celulares se nutre fundamentalmente con las mulas que viajan con su pasaporte español o un visado de alguno de estos países.[[QUOTE:Muchos poseedores de teléfonos BLU, una de las marcas más usadas en la Isla, se verán afectados ya que buena parte de los dispositivos de la marca no trabajan en la banda 3G de los 900 MHz]]Los dueños de teléfonos que no pueden leer la banda de los 900 MHz (entre ellos algunos terminales de último modelo configurados para trabajar en el ancho de 2100 MHz) tendrán que conformarse con usar el acceso a datos a través de la cobertura Edge (E) o GRPS (G), que sigue estando marcada por la lentitud y la congestión.
"Aunque en esta etapa la 3G será usada solamente para consultar el correo Nauta, nuestra finalidad es brindar a través de ella el servicio de internet a los móviles", informó a 14ymedio un funcionario local de Etecsa.
"Es la forma más factible, porque las cifras de teléfonos móviles superan ampliamente a los fijos. Ya se están haciendo las pruebas de internet por datos, y aunque no tenemos todas las condiciones para proveer el servicio, pronto lo lanzaremos y haremos los ajustes necesarios sobre la marcha", concluyó el empleado.
Los que no gozan de mucha suerte son los poseedores de teléfonos BLU, una de las marcas más usadas en la Isla y con numerosos terminales que no trabajan en la banda 3G de los 900 MHz. De 163 modelos que ha fabricado la empresa estadounidense solo 12 son compatibles con la tercera generación que acaba de extenderse en Cuba.
Ante esos cambios tecnológicos, los clientes han tenido que aprender a la carrera y los sitios de clasificados como Revolico ya empiezan a especificar si los terminales en venta funcionan con la nueva red 3G de Etecsa.Continue reading
Las autoridades panameñas iniciaron en la mañana de este martes el traslado de los migrantes cubanos que permanecían en la sede de Cáritas Panamá, hacia el albergue ubicado en la comunidad en Los Planes de Gualaca, en la provincia de Chiriquí.
En dicho albergue recibirán alimentación y alojamiento temporal, mientras "se estudia y define su situación", informaron varios medios locales.Continue reading
By MITCH WERTLIEB & LIAM ELDER-CONNORS
An offshoot of a Vermont-based nonprofit is helping young athletes in
Cuba with some critical improvements to the places they play. And we're
not talking about baseball.
Kids on the Ball is helping to repair some of Cuba's badly damaged
tennis courts — fixes that cost more than half a million dollars. The
group eventually wants to foster some lasting ties between Cuban tennis
players and their U.S. counterparts.
Jake Agna is the founder of Kids on the Ball, and this week he's
traveling down to Cuba for the ribbon-cutting for newly resurfaced
courts there. He spoke with VPR before his trip.
The transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity. Listen to the
full audio above.
VPR: What prompted you to first visit Cuba? What did you discover in
connection with kids playing tennis and the conditions of the courts?
Agna: "In America, I had gotten a lot of acclaim for grassroots tennis,
because that's what we've been doing ... since 2000. But my daughter
nudged me and said, 'These guys? This is grassroots tennis.' And so I
got up there, humbled right off the bat, and said, 'You know, I don't
know why I'm down here in a lot of ways, I wanted to see what you guys got.'
"So they took me out to the National Tennis Center pretty quickly, and
it was just humbling. The courts were really beat up. I've never seen
balls that beat up ... the nets were strung up to chairs and I felt a
lump in my throat.
"I looked at these kids [and] the first thing you notice is the attitude
— tremendous attitude and talent. I mean, the kids are physically fit,
but more than anything, just the energy and the enthusiasm was like, I
How did you get the idea to raise money to repair these courts, and how
did you make that happen?
"I told the Cubans that I'm going to go back to some of the foundations
that I talk to and see if they are willing to get behind this. My plan
was to help them right off the bat with balls, string, rackets, shoes, a
stringing machine, and then the first phase basically was to fix the
courts, which was going to be a lot of money.
"Second phase was to fix this building that's there, it's the National
Tennis Center — it's really beat up. And then the third phase was to get
kids to play each other — American kids to go down there and Cuban kids
come up [here].
"And so I came back and I went to a couple of the major donors I have. I
went to Bob Stiller, who at that time had Green Mountain Coffee
Roasters, and he gave a tremendous donation to get it off the ground.
And then I just was enthused, I felt like it could happen. That's how I
fundraise. I just get in a mood and I just started calling people up and
we got a lot of money pretty quickly."
When you started traveling to Cuba, President Obama was in office and
was working to reestablish diplomatic ties to Cuba. Now it's unclear
where U.S.-Cuban relations are headed in the Trump Administration. Has
the new political climate affected what you're doing in Cuba?
"Not really, but for sure the Cubans are asking questions. The normal
Joe on the street, the cab driver, says, 'What do you think's going to
happen?' And you know, I don't know.
"It was amazing, we started right at the right time. Cuba was opening
up, I started to take people down on trips because partly I wanted to
fundraise that way, but mostly I wanted people to see what I saw and
come back with stories. I thought that would be the way to spread the
word about how great a people they are.
What are your hopes for getting some of these Cuban players to Vermont
at some point, and again, do you think that might be affected by what
happens with the Trump Administration?
"I do think that the embargo has to be lifted for these kids to be able
to come out of there and play. Over the past two years, we've taken some
teenage kids down there. That's what I want to see is, I want to see our
kids play with their kids, because everybody comes back saying, 'Man,
that was fun.'"
Source: Vermont Nonprofit Helps Fix Up Tennis Courts In Cuba | Vermont
Public Radio -
http://digital.vpr.net/post/vermont-nonprofit-helps-fix-tennis-courts-cuba#stream/0 Continue reading
By Marc Frank | HAVANA
An electric car dealer with a Miami subsidiary is telling Cuba-based
diplomats struggling with a gasoline shortage on the Communist-run
Caribbean island that they should fret no longer.
The United States, which maintains a trade embargo on Cuba, licensed
Premier Automotive Export to sell vehicles to non-state entities in
Cuba, such as embassies and private companies, as part of detente under
former president Barack Obama.
"We put together a special offer and are distributing the flier - a 2016
Nissan (7201.T) Leaf electric sedan, plus super charger, for $25,000,
including shipping direct from Miami to Mariel Port," said John Felder,
owner of Premier's Cayman Islands-based parent, Automotive Leasing and
The cash-strapped Cuban government cut back deliveries of high-octane
gasoline this month, sending diplomats, other foreigners and better-off
Cubans scrambling to locate fuel and waiting in long lines to fill up
It was not clear how long the shortage would last, and the government
has not commented on the situation.
Most Cubans who own cars, mainly vintage American and Soviet-era models,
use lesser-quality fuel that can damage modern engines.
To date, Felder has sold just one of his vehicles, to the Guyanese
Embassy before the shortages began.
Ambassador Halim Majeed said his government purchased the car as part of
its green energy initiative, but now it has proved handy indeed.
"I'm lucky, and I'm happy about that," He said.
Majeed said other diplomats had always shown interest in his electric
car, but there was more now.
"It is natural that when one faces an issue, you devise ways and means
to overcome that challenge," he said, "and in this situation, the
electrical vehicle can help do that."
Cuba depends on crisis-racked ally Venezuela for about 70 percent of its
fuel needs, including oil for refining and re-exports.
But socialist Venezuela's subsidized shipments have fallen by as much as
40 percent since 2014. Potential new suppliers usually want cash due to
Cuba's poor credit rating.
Two of three Cuban refineries have closed or have operated well below
capacity for months.
Swedish Ambassador Jonas Loven said he would "think seriously" about
Premier's offer the next time the embassy changes its official car.
"It would send a good CO2 message as well," Loven said. "Unfortunately,
we just bought a new Mercedes."
(Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
Source: Miami electric car dealer sees opportunity in Cuban gas shortage
| Reuters -
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-energy-shortages-idUSKBN17K1MJ Continue reading