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Monthly Archives: May 2017

El grupo empresarial estatal farmacéutico BioCubaFarma planea abrir una representación permanente en Rusia antes de fines de 2017, según declaró Adolfo Castillo Vitlloch, representante de la farmacéutica, a Sputnik.

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El Partido Comunista de Cuba (PCC) obtuvo el miércoles un nuevo respaldo para mantenerse como la única institución de su tipo en la isla, de cara a un futuro sin … Click to Continue » Continue reading
POISONED IN PARADISE Brit family's dream £6,000 Thomas Cook trip to
luxury Cuban resort turns into holiday from hell after they are struck
down by crippling stomach bug
Mum claims sewage leaked near swimming pool and they were served RAW chicken
By Neal Baker
30th May 2017, 4:04 pm

A MUM has told how a holiday of a lifetime was ruined when her family
were struck down with a crippling stomach bug at a "dreadful" resort.

Debbie Wood said her family's dream trip to Cuba turned into a nightmare
when their hotel served them raw chicken and sewage leaked near the
"filthy" pool.

Daughter Talia, 10, had to get emergency medical help and was bed-bound
for much of the holiday after getting ill
Her ten-year-old daughter Talia got so ill that she needed emergency
medical treatment and was bedridden for much of the two-week stay at the
Memories Varadero Beach Resort.

Their harrowing story will form part of a group lawsuit being brought by
several families who say they suffered holiday hell at the venue.

Debbie jetted off from Leeds with her ex and their three kids to the
Memories Varadero Beach Resort with Thomas Cook on March 31 hoping for
all-inclusive family fun at a cost of over £6,000.

'HE SCREAMED' Trump's son Barron, 11, thought his dad was DEAD when he
saw comedian Kathy Griffin's vile beheading sketch
But all five family members fell ill from a suspected food poisoning
outbreak.

Their plight was made worse by "dreadful" bathroom facilities and a
hotel said to be in a general state of disrepair.

Foster carer Debbie compiled an alarming list of hygiene failings,
claiming that her family was served raw chicken on at least two occasions.

She said the outdoor buffet selection was often left uncovered, inviting
birds and bugs to feast on prepared dishes.

She claimed that cutlery, crockery and glassware were frequently chipped
and not properly cleaned, with drinks appearing watered down and mains
water used.

Talia before she was struck down with illness. Her family claim to have
been served raw chicken twice

What appears to be a speck of blood on a bedsheet at the Cuban resort
Debbie, 46, said: "The swimming pool was simply filthy.

"It was horrific and was not once cleaned properly. You could see green
algae on the tiles.

"Whilst we were there, there was even a raw sewage leak behind the bar
in the pool."

Debbie also slammed cleaning standards inside the hotel, and remains
angry that her daughter Talia's bedding was replaced with what appeared
to be blood-stained linens.

Debbie said: "It was terrifying seeing how ill my daughter was.

"She had a raging fever as well as gastric issues but she was too poorly
to go anywhere so we had to call the doctor to the room.

"There she was given an injection, antibiotics and analgesics.

"She was in bed ill for at least four days, too ill to go out. She then
spent the rest of the holiday resting in the shade or spending time in
the room as she was so ill."

The Wood family say they have still not returned to full health with
both Debbie and Talia attending their GP at home.

Debbie added: "I have been told that it is likely we contracted food
poisoning, possibly salmonella.

"My daughter and I are still suffering ill effects weeks after we have
returned.

"It could have ended in a tragedy due to the unhygienic food practices.

"My advice to other holidaymakers would be to avoid Memories Varadero
Beach Resort at all costs.

"We spoke to experienced Cuban holidaymakers who advised us this was the
worst hotel they had ever stayed in.

"According to reviews, sickness has been a long running issue at
Memories Varadero Beach Resort with reports stretching back as far as 2012.

"We booked almost a year before going so Thomas Cook had ample time to
contact us regarding the problems that I can only assume they must have
been aware of."

Sue Robinson of Your Holiday Claims, part of Farnworth Rose Solicitors,
said: "We have reported on outbreaks of illness at Memories Varadero
Beach Resort for a number of years.

"This latest sickness saga is especially worrying – illness coupled with
disrepair is a recipe for disaster and I sincerely hope that the hotel
and tour operators work together in order to fully investigate the cause
or causes of illness.

"Contracting food poisoning on holiday is not only unpleasant but can
have lasting and even life-altering consequences if any number of
post-infective conditions are developed.

"For this reason, it is imperative that anyone affected by illness at
Memories Varadero Beach Resort seeks both medical and legal advice."

A spokesperson for Thomas Cook said: "We want our customers to have the
best possible holiday, so we are sorry to hear that Ms Wood and her
family became ill while in Cuba.

"We take all reports of sickness very seriously and will look into this
case thoroughly with the hotel as soon as we receive it."

Source: Brit family's dream £6,000 Thomas Cook trip to luxury Cuban
resort turns into holiday from hell after they are struck down by
crippling stomach bug -
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3672497/holiday-cuba-thomas-cook-nightmare-food-poisoning/ Continue reading

La organización Save the Children en su informe mundial de la infancia 2017 puso a Cuba en el sitio 61, en el grupo de los países donde "algunos niños y niñas se están perdiendo su infancia".

El informe midió "ocho parámetros" para ubicar a 172 países en su ranking.

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Turistas ingleses dicen haber vivido ‘una pesadilla’ en un hotel de Varadero DDC | Varadero | 31 de Mayo de 2017 – 19:39 CEST. La inglesa Debbie Wood viajó en marzo a la Isla junto a sus tres hijos y su exmarido y definió sus vacaciones como “una pesadilla”. “En el Memories Varadero Beach Resort […] Continue reading
HAVANA, Cuba, May 31 (ACN) Cuban cooperants in Venezuela continue their … that South American nation, said Cuban ambassador Rogelio Polanco Fuentes. To a question from the Cuban News Agency, Polanco said that … that the attitude of the Cuban collaborators in the land of … Continue reading
… music-themed Cuba trips, from a “Weekend in Havana” package to a seven-day “Cuban … six-day Havana tour, produced in partnership with the Insight Cuba travel company … . Jazz Cuba Jazz Cuba has opened booking for its annual “Official Havana International … Continue reading
¿Y la libertad de Cuba, qué? Es difícil creer tanta ingenuidad e ignorancia de parte de los legisladores estadounidenses Lunes, mayo 29, 2017 | Sergio Ramos SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico.- Un grupo de senadores bipartidistas ha presentado un Proyecto de Ley para liberalizar los viajes de turistas a Cuba. También se ha radicado otro proyecto […] Continue reading
¿Es Trump un anticastrista? Las evidencias indican que sus promesas de paralizar el ‘deshielo’ fueron pura fanfarria preelectoral Martes, mayo 30, 2017 | Jorge Olivera Castillo HARVARD, Estados Unidos.- Las evidencias indican que las promesas de Donald Trump de paralizar el acercamiento al gobierno cubano, iniciado por la administración Obama, fueron pura fanfarria preelectoral. Tanto […] Continue reading
HAVANA, Cuba, May 31 (ACN) Representatives of … of the Conceptualization of the Cuban Economic and Social Model of … . The legislator for Santiago de Cuba, Eduardo Torres-Cuevas, added that the … than one million 600 thousand Cubans, among them militants of the … Continue reading
Las partidas transcurren sin público y sin la presencia de los mejores jugadores cubanos Continue reading
Mi preparación militar para la guerra de Angola Fueron miles los muertos y los mutilados. Yo pude haber sido uno de ellos Miércoles, mayo 31, 2017 | Jorge Luis González Suárez LA HABANA, Cuba.- El año 1976 marcó mi vida con un acontecimiento imborrable en la memoria: fui llamado por la reserva militar a participar […] Continue reading

El cuerpo del cubano Ulises Lázaro Rabasa, de 23 años, fallecido hace dos meses en Ecuador no ha podido ser repatriado a la Isla y se encuentra en una nevera pública, según denunció su madre Gloria Rabasa Camejo a Cuba Independiente y Democrática (CID).

Rabasa Camejo, residente en La Habana, no ha podido repatriar el cuerpo de su hijo "porque no tiene dinero para el viaje".

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Concluyó la más reciente temporada de la compañía
HAVANA, Cuba, May 31 (ACN) Based on … standards, the recruitment process of Cuban athletes abroad continues to rise … confirmed the presence of 11 Cuban handball players in Europe, 10 … of the clubs and the Cuban side must be met. Continue reading
¿Una de las urbes más sucias del mundo? Ni siquiera las zonas turísticas de La Habana escapan a la mugre que, con los años, ha tornado en una marca de identidad Martes, mayo 30, 2017 | Ernesto Pérez Chang LA HABANA, Cuba.- La Habana pudiera clasificar entre las ciudades más sucias del planeta. Ni siquiera […] Continue reading

Pyongyang dijo este miércoles que está listo para realizar un test de un misil balístico intercontinental (ICBM) "en cualquier momento", un día después de que Washington hiciera un ensayo de interceptación de este tipo de proyectiles, reporta EFE.

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¡A correr oficiales raulistas! La represión desatada para evitar la celebración del 20 de Mayo en la Isla denota que la dictadura está con los pelos de punta Martes, mayo 23, 2017 | Tania Díaz Castro LA HABANA, Cuba.- De pronto pensaron los oficiales y tracatanes de la policía política del dictador Raúl Castro que […] Continue reading
Gobierno convoca a sesión extraordinaria de la ANPP Para analizar la ‘conceptualización’ y los ‘lineamientos’ Lunes, mayo 29, 2017 | CubaNet MIAMI, Estados Unidos.- El consejo de Estado cubano ha convocado a una sesión extraordinaria de la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular el próximo jueves para analizar “los tres documentos rectores” aprobados recientemente por el […] Continue reading

El musical "On Your Feet!" (¡En tus pies!) sobre la vida de los músicos cubanoamericanos Gloria y Emilio Estefan llegará a su fin en Broadway tras un respetable periodo de dos años en cartelera, anunció la producción, reporta AFP.

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WiseGuyReports.Com Publish a New Market Research Report On - “PPR Pipe Market by Manufacturers,Types,Regions and Applications Research Report Forecast to 2022”. PUNE, INDIA, May 31, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ -- PPR pipe is made of … Continue reading
Former ambassador recounts tense clash she had with Fidel Castro in 1991
Twenty-six years ago, Vicki Huddleston was brand new in her job as a
U.S. diplomat to Cuba — and her dramatic first test came from none other
than the country's charismatic and infamous dictator
VICKI HUDDLESTON 05.29.17

The year was 1991, the place was the Palacio de la Revolución in Havana,
Cuba, and my interlocutor was Fidel Castro, one of the most
consequential figures of the 20th century, and one of the most
commanding and charismatic men I have ever met.

A member of the U.S. foreign service, I had recently taken a job to
manage U.S. government relations with Cuba. It was a politically
sensitive position reserved for senior officers, but many of my fellow
diplomats avoided it because the powerful Cuban-American lobby dictated
a punitive policy toward Cuba. If you got on the wrong side of the
exiles ousted by the Castro regime, they could ruin your career.
Although I didn't have the rank required, the State Department had
decided to make an exception, perhaps because of an ongoing legal
challenge on behalf of women foreign service officers that claimed
discrimination in awarding high-ranking jobs. Whatever the reason, I was
delighted and seized the opportunity, despite the risks.

One of my first duties was to accompany a U.S. delegation to Havana. At
the time, U.S.-Cuba relations were frosty, at best. We'd imposed a
destructive unilateral embargo on Cuba; a CIA-organized invasion at the
Bay of Pigs was a disastrous failure; and the Missile Crisis brought us
to the brink of a nuclear Armageddon. Nevertheless, the United States
and the Soviet Union had played critical roles in negotiating what was
called the Tripartite Accord, which resulted in Namibia's independence
and Cuba's withdrawal of 50,000 troops from Angola. Fidel Castro had
invited to the Palacio de la Revolución ambassadors to Cuba from around
the world and additional delegations from five countries. Among the
200 guests there were only three women, Castro's young, beautiful
interpreter, the Soviet ambassador's spouse, and myself.

Immediately after the treaties acknowledging the successful completion
of the Tripartite Accord had been signed, Castro made a beeline for me.
I knew Castro preferred female interlocutors, assuming his formidable
charisma would work in his favor, but America was also his sworn enemy.
So I was not sure how he would react when we met. He was still handsome
at 65 with a long face made even longer by his heavy grey-black beard.

Castro smiled, clearly enjoying a moment where he could hover over the
petite representative of the "empire," as he called the United States.
He then asked in English, "Who are you, someone's spouse?"

I was furious. Fidel knew exactly who I was; he knew everything about
those of us who managed U.S. policy, and I had visited the island
several times when I was the deputy in the Cuba office. As I drew myself
up for an appropriately outraged reply, I realized that the entire room
was listening. No matter. I stood as tall as possible — at 5-feet,
5-inches — and announced boldly, "No. I am the director of Cuban affairs."

Fidel, now purring with pleasure, surveyed the room to ensure that no
one would miss his next words. He boomed, "Oh? I thought I was." Laugher
filled the great hall. My delegation was speechless; I was angry and
embarrassed. Fidel moved on, having skewered me. But just as I was
thinking that perhaps this job wasn't the right fit, security guards
asked me to accompany them. Fidel was waiting at the entrance to the
buffet. He offered me his arm. I swallowed my pride and took it.
Diplomats gasped.

Fortunately, there were no media on hand and no cellphones to record
Castro and me, arm in arm. Had the ever-wary Cuban diaspora seen this, I
would have been fired instantly. But diplomats live in a world where
personal relations count and, at that moment, I decided the better
course was to accept his calculated gesture of graciousness.

At the same time, I realized that, without even trying, I'd become
Castro's foil. Fidel gave a slight bow, indicating that I should lead
the guests in filling their plates with traditional Cuban delicacies. I
hesitated, uneasy, then took a few shrimps from the sumptuous display.
The impact of our embargo and dwindling Soviet subsidies meant that most
Cubans did not have enough to eat. Many survived on the tinned meat and
root crops they bought with their government-issued ration cards in
tiny, dingy, stores with unhappy clerks. Some were so desperate that
they raised pigs in their apartments, cutting their vocal cords to avoid
problems with the neighbors.

As I left the buffet table, a security guard again appeared, this time
to escort me to Fidel and his simultaneous interpreter, who were
standing alone on the far side of the room. By the time I'd reached him,
he was talking rapidly and passionately, throwing up his hands. The
American "Bloqueo" — Castro's name for the embargo — was cruel to Cuba's
children. They were suffering. It was all the fault of my uncaring
government.

The other delegations were keenly watching this pantomime. They couldn't
hear Fidel, but they could see his passion. They must have been
wondering how Fidel intended to humiliate the new American diplomat
next. Castro's calculating brown eyes scrutinized me, like a cat toying
with a mouse. With plate, fork, and napkin in my hands, I felt at a
distinct disadvantage. I felt trapped and detected a fleeting smile
cross Fidel's lips. I was on my own. This moment would determine whether
I was up to the job.

Fidel pushed closer to me, forcing me to step back. "Your Bloqueo is
killing our children. Not one aspirin to stop their suffering. How can
you be so cruel?" I took a deep breath. In fact, I disagreed with
American policy on exactly this point. Our embargo hurt the Cuban people
far more than its Communist leaders.

But as much as I disliked the embargo, I wasn't going to be Fidel's
patsy. It was my job to defend U.S. policy, no matter my personal
feelings. I looked him squarely in the eyes. "That's not true," I almost
shouted. "The embargo is not a blockade. Cuba can buy aspirin from any
country it wishes, except the United States. If there is a medicine your
children need that is only made in the United States, we will sell it to
you."

Fidel scoffed. "You know it takes years to get permission."

"When Cuba holds free and fair elections with international
observation," I continued, "we will lift the embargo." Castro moved
closer; he was intense, and seemed to be searching for a sign of
softening in my position. I stood my ground. "There is no change in U.S.
policy. Cuba must change first."

Fidel fumed, "You will never give up the Bloqueo; the Gusanos won't
allow it." Gusanos, or worms, was the spiteful term he used to describe
Cuban exiles in America. Turning away, he stomped off. Relieved, I set
down my still full plate and poured myself a glass of Cuban rum. I had
not succumbed to Fidel's forceful personality. I'd stood up to him and
proven to myself and my delegation that I could handle my new position.
I didn't like the embargo, but I loved the job. By doing it well, I
hoped I might help craft a policy that would empower — rather than harm
— the Cuban people.

Ambassador Vicki Huddleston is a retired career senior foreign service
officer whose last assignment was as U.S. deputy assistant secretary of
defense for African affairs in the office of the secretary of defense
from June 2009 through December 2011. Before that she was chargé
d'affaires ad interim to Ethiopia, U.S. ambassador to Mali, principal
officer of the U.S. interests section in Havana, deputy assistant
secretary of state for African Affairs, and U.S. ambassador to
Madagascar. She is a member of Women Ambassadors Serving America. Her
book Our Woman in Havana: A U.S. Diplomat's Chronicle of America's Long
Struggle with Fidel Castro's Revolution, The Overlook Press, is due out
in 2018.

Source: Former ambassador recounts tense clash she had with Fidel Castro
in 1991 – Women in the World in Association with The New York Times –
WITW -
https://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/05/29/former-ambassador-recounts-tense-clash-she-had-with-fidel-castro-in-1991/ Continue reading
HAVANA, Cuba, May 30 (acn) With an … by goalkeeper Danny Echevarria, the Cuban men´s U20 soccer team … Cuban substitute Rolando Oviedo scored the equalizer in the 69th minute. Cuba … forwards. In their second game, Cubans will face on June 1st … Continue reading
'Freak': meet Cuba's last self-infected HIV punk rebel
AFP
Héctor Velasco

Like many young punks, Gerson Govea saw himself as a misfit. But few
embraced the role as self-destructively as this Cuban rocker: he
deliberately infected himself with HIV.

He is considered the last of the most hardcore members of the "frikis,"
or "freaks," as the communist island's unique breed of hippy-punk
dropouts is known.

Beyond the rum, free love and forbidden rock 'n' roll music, they took
their rebellion a stage further: infecting themselves in order to get
into the relative safety and comfort of a state AIDS clinic.

"I found a friend who gave me his (infected) blood," recalls Govea, a
long-haired 42-year-old with earrings and tattoos. "I extracted it
myself and injected it into me."

That was 17 years ago. He has since seen friends die of AIDS and his
wife Yohandra Cardoso, 44, lose both her legs to the disease.

Meanwhile Govea, still standing but in fragile health, is rocking his
way into middle age.

- Best of worlds -

Sleeping in parks, listening to music and taking drugs, the "frikis"
would not have been such an unusual sight in many world cities.

But their lifestyle was a particularly bold statement in communist Cuba,
where rock music was outlawed during the Cold War and drug-taking
severely policed.

"They shared everything: women, men, food and pills," said Jorge Perez,
a doctor and the former director of an AIDS sanatorium in Havana.

Cuba plunged into poverty after the allied regime in the Soviet Union
fell in 1989, and as the AIDS pandemic unfolded.

Amid such misery, a state-run AIDS clinic was a haven.

"It was the best of all possible worlds for them," says Maria Gattorno,
director of the Cuban Rock Agency, a state music promotion body.

"They had everything guaranteed there: they had medicine and great food
and were looked after."

Govea says he infected himself so that he could get in a clinic and
avoid the police harassment he suffered for being a "friki."

Others infected themselves "so that they could be with the person they
liked" who already had the disease, he says.

- AIDS in Cuba -

Cuba's first case of AIDS was in a soldier returning from Africa, where
the country supported various sides in proxy conflicts during the Cold War.

Just over 3,800 people died of AIDS in Cuba between 1986 and 2015,
according to the government. Some 20,000 were living with HIV at the
last count.

It is not known how many "frikis" the island has had, nor how many of
them willingly got infected.

Gattorno reckons those who infected themselves "miscalculated," thinking
a cure for AIDS would quickly arrive.

"They went to live in the sanatoriums, but naturally a lot of them died
very quickly."

Gattorno has mentored frikis, helping them find rehearsal space and
arranging gigs in sanatoriums.

Govea himself set up a band in the clinic. But their illness prevented
them from playing in public.

"When one of us felt alright, another would be in bed sick," he said.
"When they were, it meant they were dying."

- Gettin' freaky -

Antiretroviral drugs slowed down the killer impact of AIDS. Cuba's
internment clinics closed in 1994.

But Govea and Cardoso in her wheelchair still live in the west of the
island in the house that once was the Pinar del Rio sanatorium, where
they met in 2000.

On top of a small state allowance, Govea earns a living selling manicure
products.

When they have time, the couple go out and "get freaky," singing and
headbanging with other young rockers near their home.

The house is filled with posters of punk bands such as the Sex Pistols
and The Ramones.

The state let them keep the place and continues to give them their
medicine for free.

"They lived better in the sanatorium" than outside it, says Perez, who
wrote a book about his work.

"What's more, they were scared to leave."

Source: 'Freak': meet Cuba's last self-infected HIV punk rebel -
http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/freak-meet-cubas-last-self-infected-hiv-punk-rebel/ar-BBBANXW Continue reading
… with Collin Laverty who runs Cuba Educational Travel. Van Cleave: “Did … number of flights to several Cuban cities, and JetBlue will move … is dropping all service to Cuba starting today. CBS News reports … two million Americans to visit Cuba annually by 2025, but a … Continue reading

La inglesa Debbie Wood viajó en marzo a la Isla junto a sus tres hijos y su exmarido y definió sus vacaciones como "una pesadilla".

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U.S. Lawmakers Want to End Cuba Travel Restrictions, But May Face Trump
Opposition
Reuters • Newsweek May 26, 2017

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators reintroduced legislation on Thursday
to repeal all restrictions on travel to Cuba, this time attracting far
more co-sponsors in a sign of growing support for U.S.-Cuban detente
even as its future looks uncertain.

The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act was introduced in 2015 by eight
Republican and Democratic co-sponsors but never made it to the floor.
The latest measure attracted 55 co-sponsors.

While efforts to ease the decades-old U.S. embargo against Cuba have
been gathering strength and 55 votes would be a majority in the
100-member Senate, that number falls short of the 60 needed to advance
the legislation. There was no indication the chamber's Republican
leaders would allow the measure to come up for a vote.

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Kong in Return for Ice Cream

Republican President Donald Trump threatened during his 2016 election
campaign to reverse a normalization of ties with the Communist-run,
Caribbean island initiated in 2014 by Democratic President Barack Obama.
Trump's administration is reviewing U.S. policy toward the country's
former Cold War foe.

Obama eased trade and travel restrictions, fueling a boom in American
visits to Cuba, although tourism was still not officially allowed.

Cubans walk near the Manzana Kempinski Hotel, the first luxury five star
plus tourist facility in Cuba, on May 22. Former U.S. President Barack
Obama restored diplomatic ties with Cuba, but President Donald Trump has
threatened to reverse the move. YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty

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On Wednesday, more than 40 U.S. travel companies and organizations urged
Trump not to roll back expanded U.S. travel to Cuba.

"It is Americans who are penalized by our travel ban, not the Cuban
government," said U.S. Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who with
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy led the group that co-sponsored the bill.

Flake added that lifting the ban would give Americans more freedom but
also benefit the Cuban people.

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"This is certain to have positive benefits for the island's burgeoning
entrepreneurial and private sector."

The number of U.S. visitors rose 74 percent last year, boosting business
for Cuban hotels, BnBs, restaurants and taxis but also U.S. cruise
operators and airlines that entered the market over the past year.

"We applaud Senators Flake and Leahy for their leadership in supporting
the American and Cuban people by eliminating archaic, outdated policy,"
said James Williams, president of the Washington-based Engage Cuba group.

There is still strong congressional opposition to any ending of Cuba's
isolation, led by anti-Castro Cuban-American lawmakers including
Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Robert Menendez.

They say the United States should not make travel to Cuba easier before
the Havana government moves toward democracy.

Source: U.S. Lawmakers Want to End Cuba Travel Restrictions, But May
Face Trump Opposition -
https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-lawmakers-want-end-cuba-071810787.html Continue reading
Obama has no shame
By Ed Rogers May 26

In the age of President Trump, liberals love nothing more than to pine
for the glory days of President Barack Obama. But Obama was always
better in theory than he was in reality. His recent trip to Europe
reminded us all of that phenomenon. Still, liberals would have you
believe that today's problems began on Jan. 20, 2017, with Donald
Trump's inauguration — as if the plague of Obama's foreign policy
blunders and failed economic initiatives had never occurred. And so the
story goes, with Obama retired from the White House, the liberals and
their allies in the media are trying to recapture the near-godlike
status he had attained during the summer of 2008.

But some things never change. Obama continues to hold himself in high
regard. He still loves the sound of his own voice, and his
self-congratulatory ramblings mirror the inescapably pretentious tone of
his campaign and presidency. Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, Obama's
supporters continue to swoon behind him — seemingly blind to the chaos
caused by the past eight years of mishaps, inaction and distorted truths.

Former president Obama has no shame. After all, it was Obama's
arrogance, inexperience and misguided worldview that fractured our
relationship with key allies. It was Obama who retreated from the world
stage at a time of increasing conflict and uncertainty. As Israeli
President Reuven Rivlin asserted this week, under President Trump's
leadership, "America is back again." For Obama and his supporters, that
has got to hurt.

And it was Obama who capitulated to Iran, saluted Cuba, and walked back
on the American promise to retaliate against the Assad regime's barbaric
use of chemical weapons in Syria. It was Obama who undermined U.S.
leadership and signaled to our allies that America was not the reliable
actor they previously knew. But even with the benefit of hindsight,
Obama has not come to terms with the impact of his foreign policy
blunders. Rather than remain silent and humbly accept the consequences
of his misguided actions, Obama incredibly announced in a recent
interview, "the issue that required the most political courage was the
decision not to bomb Syria after the chemical weapons use had been
publicized." In his mind, reneging on a commitment made to the world
should be glorified as an act of political courage. And perhaps most
chillingly, the truth is neither Assad's refusal to turn over his entire
supply of chemical weapons nor the fact that he took a green light from
Obama to continue slaughtering his own people seem to have made any
impression on the former president.

And here at home, Obama has contrived notions of reality that serve to
build only the facade he desperately wants us to see. Rather than remain
on the sidelines for a gracious period of time like most other former
presidents, Obama is taking shots at his political opponents. While
cozying up with a host of euro-elites in Berlin yesterday, Obama
pronounced in a pompous and self-righteous fashion, "We can't hide
behind a wall." Thankfully, the homeland security secretary, retired
Gen. John F. Kelly, pushed back against Obama's childish jab, arguing,
"We're not hiding behind a wall, and you can't defend anything by hiding
behind something."

With a flock of unquestioning liberal enablers cheering on his every
word, Obama can continue to obfuscate reality and advance the narrative
that all was good and well under his reign in the White House. But Obama
invited mayhem around the world, fostered a depressed, crippled economy
at home, created racial divisions, and imposed a PC culture that hangs
like a dark cloud over Middle America. Remember, Obama did more to make
the conditions ripe for a Trump presidency than anything Hillary Clinton
did.

Regardless of what happens at home or abroad, our former president can
hop on his private jet and escape the unfortunate realities of today's
crises. Obama can bask in self-delusion and embrace the collective
amnesia of his pious followers while living the life of a .01 percenter,
but feeding his own ego does not help solve any of today's problems.
Obama can afford to walk away from his blunders, but the rest of us can
only hope that today's leaders do a better job than he did.

Source: Obama has no shame - The Washington Post -
https://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2017/05/26/obama-has-no-shame/?outputType=accessibility&nid=menu_nav_accessibilityforscreenreader Continue reading
Trump weighs shift on Cuba
BY MELANIE ZANONA - 05/31/17 06:00 AM EDT 70

President Trump is weighing whether to take a harder line with Cuba,
potentially risking the thaw in relations started by the last
administration.

But it's unclear just how far Trump is willing to go in reversing former
President Barack Obama's historic opening with the island nation — an
effort that has been widely popular with the U.S. business community and
a growing number of GOP lawmakers.

The White House is vigorously debating how to approach its policy with
Cuba. Trump is facing pressure from Cuba hard-liners in Congress to
scale back Obama's policies, but there are divisions in the
administration about what to do, according to two sources familiar with
the matter.
The Trump administration said it is near completing a review of Cuba
policy and that an announcement will likely be made in the "coming
weeks," but emphasized that a decision has not yet been finalized.

"As the President has said, the current Cuba policy is a bad deal. It
does not do enough to support human rights in Cuba," a spokesperson for
the White House said in a statement.

"We are in the final stages of our Cuba policy review. However, a final
decision on a path forward has not yet been made. We anticipate an
announcement in the coming weeks, but do not have a date for any
specific announcements."

Since Obama opened diplomatic and commercial ties with Cuba in 2014, the
U.S. has carried out a string of regulatory changes aimed at bringing
the two countries closer together.

Embassies in Havana and Washington reopened, and the U.S. removed Cuba
from a list of state sponsors of terror while resuming commercial air
service with the island for the first time in more than 50 years.

U.S. tourism to the island is still banned, and the trade embargo has
not been lifted, but the U.S. has also removed or lessened most
licensing requirements for permitted travel to Cuba, authorized U.S.
individuals and businesses to have bank accounts on the island and
allowed Cuban textiles, coffee and pharmaceuticals to be imported to the
U.S.

But Trump has threatened to reverse Obama's opening with Cuba if the
communist government doesn't adopt changes.

A source in touch with the administration on the issue described an
internal struggle in the Trump administration between "policy and
politics" when it comes to Cuba normalization.

During an interagency deputies meeting involving all the relevant
departments, some agency officials expressed support for keeping the
current policies intact, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Another source said Trump's economic team is likely aware of the
potential growth and business opportunities associated with Cuba and
pointed out that some Trump officials have close ties to major U.S.
business CEOs. The president's national security advisers, meanwhile,
may be warning Trump about the danger of driving Cuba back into the arms
of Russia.

But there are other competing voices in the administration that want to
take a harder line with Cuba. Mauricio Claver-Carone, the executive
director of Cuba Democracy Advocates and an outspoken Cuban government
critic, advised the Trump administration when he was on the transition team.

Adding another wrinkle to Trump's Cuba decision is an apparent
behind-the-scenes effort from members of Congress to pressure the White
House into rolling back Obama's Cuba policies in exchange for their
support in other areas.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — two
lawmakers staunchly opposed to normalizing Cuba relations — have sought
assurances from the administration on Cuba, according to two sources
familiar with the matter.

Diaz-Balart's office said he never received any written promises from
Trump on Cuba but added that the lawmaker has raised the issue directly
with the White House.

"It is my duty to advocate for the issues that are important to my
constituents, and I will not apologize for using every available avenue
to effectively resolve them," Diaz-Balart said in a statement. "I am
grateful that, unlike the previous administration, senior members of the
current administration are responsive and willing to work with Members
of Congress."

"I will never waste an opportunity to fight for the interests of our
community and our country," he added.

Diaz-Balart was on the fence about supporting the House's healthcare
legislation but ultimately voted for it last month after an intense
lobbying effort from the White House.

One change that Trump seems likely to make is restricting the financial
transactions that benefit Cuban military entities, according to two
sources and the nonpartisan U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council

Rubio has been vocal on that issue in particular, having introduced
legislation in the past that would prohibit U.S. financial transactions
with Cuban military and security services.

An opponent of the Cuban trade embargo says Trump might reverse Obama's
policy that made it easier to travel to Cuba for 12 permitted reasons
under a general license.

The new policy could also include tougher language on human rights and
stepped up enforcement to ensure U.S. visitors to Cuba are traveling
there legally, according to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.

But while questions remain about Trump's Cuba policy, lawmakers in favor
of engaging with the island are already going on offense.

Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) reintroduced a bill
last week that would allow Americans to travel to Cuba for tourism purposes.

The legislation has a total of 55 co-sponsors, including 10 Republicans.
When the bill was introduced in the last session of Congress, it had
eight original co-sponsors.

James Williams, president of Engage Cuba, hopes the swell of support
ramps up pressure on the administration to reconsider cutting commercial
and diplomatic ties to the island nation.

"This could not be sending a stronger signal that a bipartisan majority
in the U.S. Senate not only doesn't want Trump to roll back [Obama's
Cuba policies], but to even go further and fully lift travel
restrictions," Williams said in a telephone interview last week.

"As the Trump administration continues to think about what it's going to
do, it would be pretty shocking they would thwart 55 bipartisan senators."

Source: Trump weighs shift on Cuba | TheHill -
http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/335714-trump-weighs-shift-on-cuba Continue reading
Reagan: Won't visit Cuba until people are free
May 30, 2017
Michael Reagan Perspective

Expedia is now booking hotels in Cuba.

American Airlines is flying American tourists from Miami to Havana.

For more than a year American-owned cruise lines have been hauling U.S.
citizens by the thousands to the Castro brothers' beautiful socialist
paradise 90 miles off the tip of Florida.

Thanks to President Barack Obama's decision to liberalize relations with
Cuba in 2015, the island is now open to direct visits by American tourists.

I can't believe how excited so many Americans are to get a chance to see
some '57 Chevys and Buicks and visit a country that has been wrecked and
essentially frozen in time by a dictatorship since JFK was president.

I'd love to see Cuba, too. Its people, culture and beaches are
beautiful. Its pre-Fidel history and Spanish heritage are rich.

My wife is in the travel business, so I could go on a cruise to Havana
for peanuts anytime I wanted.

But as long as Raul Castro and the other thugs in the Communist Party
remain in power in Cuba, I promise I'll never go there.

Half a century of Castros-style Communism turned Cuba into a backward,
open-air gulag that American liberals unconditionally adored or made
excuses for because everyone in the country got free education and free
health care.

Meanwhile, it didn't matter to most liberals that Cubans were also kept
dirt poor and had no free speech, no free vote, no free press or access
to the Internet, no freedom to start a business and no freedom to travel.

Since the Obama administration's liberalization efforts and the invasion
of American tourists, things have not improved for the average Cuban.

Their country is still run by a socialist communist dictatorship, and
they're still third-class citizens.

They still can't go to the fine tourist hotels or pricy tourist shops.
They can't go to the tourist beaches. They sure can't afford a new car
or even a motorbike on their $25 a month, which is about the national
average income.

To this day, Cuba's oppressive government continues to treat 11 million
human beings like animals in a rundown socialist zoo.

And if you go there as a tourist from New York or London, all you're
doing is putting hard currency into the coffers of Raul and the other
zookeepers.

The Americans who cruise to Cuba with their dollars and debit cards
don't understand, or don't care, that they are propping up a despotic
government, and the liberal and conservative media aren't making a stink
about it.

You'd think the free Cuban community in Florida would be making a bigger
deal out of American tourist money being used to keep their family
members in a large cage called Cuba.

But they aren't saying much, either.

As for me, I will never visit Cuba until its people are truly free. I
hope it doesn't take too long.

But until I can go to Havana, befriend an ordinary Cuban and be able to
buy him a plane ticket so he can visit me in Southern California, I
won't spend a dime to help pay for the upkeep of the Castro brothers'
human zoo.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political
consultant and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution."

Source: Reagan: Won't visit Cuba until people are free | Columns |
trib.com -
http://trib.com/opinion/columns/reagan-won-t-visit-cuba-until-people-are-free/article_7d0d7e84-ec0e-5d4a-ae57-48bc3f52db7b.html Continue reading
'It's Not Charity': Russia Questions Cuba's Ability to Pay for Russian
Oil to Replace Venezuela's
by FRANCES MARTEL 29 May 2017

The government of Russia has expressed skepticism that the communist
regime controlling Cuba would be able to afford oil shipments from its
former patron to replace the free shipments from Venezuela that have
largely ended as that nation descends into socialism-driven poverty and
chaos.
While Cuba has turned to Russia to purchase oil following an end to the
copious free shipments of Venezuelan fuel, a report in Russia's TASS
news agency quotes the nation's Minister of Energy as confirming the
demand for Russian oil, but not the ability to pay for it.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters Russia is willing
to sell the oil if they are properly compensated for it. "Cuba really
wants more supplies, but the question is in financial sources. If
financial resources are found – the companies will deliver," he said.

"It's not charity," he added.

For decades following the Cuban Revolution, the island nation depended
on the Soviet Union for much of the stability of its meager communist
economy, particularly for oil. As the Soviet Union approached collapse,
its ability to maintain colonies like Cuba began collapsing, ushering in
what Cubans know as the "special period," when the government could no
longer rely on the Soviet Union for its necessary goods and basic food
supplies became hard to come by. Cuba was economically devastated, with
the "special period" rivaled only by its North Korean analog, the famine
known as the "arduous march."

The "Bolivarian revolution" of late dictator Hugo Chávez in Venezuela
largely contributed to the Castro regime's survival at the tail end of
the decade. Venezuela, which boasts the world's largest known oil
reserves, began buying allies throughout the continent, from the
socialist leaders in Argentina and Bolivia to the smaller Anglophone
Caribbean island states. Few nations benefitted from Venezuelan crude
oil the way Cuba did, however, trading diplomatic support on the
international stage and its alleged medical expertise for oil. Cuba also
refined the Venezuelan oil, reselling it at a profit.

While the strict price controls, food rations, and oil giveaways to
fellow "Bolivarian" nations had sealed the fate of the Venezuelan
economy long before Chávez's death, the result of these destructive
policies began to snowball under successor Nicolás Maduro.

According to a recent Forbes piece, Petróleos de Venezuela (PSVSA), the
state oil company, has seen its revenue drop $55 billion between 2014
and 2017. Maduro has largely blamed the United States for Venezuela's
economic woes, accusing the Obama administration of waging an "economic
war" against socialism.

Venezuela has had to rely on the United States in part, however, as
Maduro was forced to import American oil last year due to PDVSA's
inability to harness Venezuela's oil reserves at a speed to satisfy demand.

The result has been a steep decline in the amount of oil Venezuela can
ship to Cuba and a sharp decrease in the profit Cuba could previously
generate from refining it. In May, Miami's El Nuevo Herald reported that
Cuba had experienced a 97 percent decline in exports of refined oil,
representing hundreds of millions of dollars. A particularly important
oil refinery in Cienfuegos, Cuba, was forced to cut its production in
half in October 2016 after Venezuela failed to ship oil to the communist
country for eight months.

The Cuban government filled the void by returning to its original patron
state: Russia. Cuba received its first shipment of Russian oil in the
post-Soviet era in May 2017, part of a larger deal with the Russian oil
company Rosneft to purchase $105 million worth of oil. Rosneft has also
filled a void in Venezuela, buying PDVSA assets and offering Venezuela
loans to maintain its facilities open.

Source: 'It's Not Charity': Russia Questions Cuba's Ability to Pay for
Russian Oil to Replace Venezuela's - Breitbart -
http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/05/29/its-not-charity-russia-questions-cubas-ability-to-pay-for-russian-oil-to-replace-venezuelas/ Continue reading
Cuba to close 2017 cigar harvest with nearly 30,000 tons of tobacco leaves
Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-30 11:27:02

HAVANA, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Cuba will conclude its current tobacco
harvest with almost 30,000 tons of leaves, which is expected to increase
incomes of one of the island's main exports and have a positive impact
on its economy.
The state-owned Tabacuba business group on Monday reported a "favorable"
harvest as all cigar companies in the country fulfilled the plantation
process. However, not all of them will complete the scheduled productions.
Gonzalo Rodriguez, agricultural director of Tabacuba, said to local
media that the western province of Pinar del Rio, where the best leaves
are planted, contributed about 70 percent of the national production and
will try to reach 19,000 tons.
"We'll advance on a project to promote tobacco plantations in the
eastern and central areas of the island in order to supply the Holguin
cigar factory which has a demand of more than 8,000 tons of leaves," he
said.
Rodriguez highlighted the "significant" increase in "covered tobacco,"
which is a method to grow the crop inside a cloth covered house that
filters sunlight and retains the heat allowing bigger and thinner leaves.
"These thin leaves collected at these plantations are used to cover the
outside layer of premium cigars to give them the finest taste of all,"
he said.
In addition, he said the island hopes to complete the harvest in
mid-July and then start planting seeds for the next tobacco campaign.
Last year, Cuba reached 24,000 tons of leaves during its tobacco
harvest, according to official data provided by Tabacuba.
Tabacuba runs 96 cigar factories in the nation, 46 of which are
dedicated exclusively to producing cigars for exports and are entirely
rolled by hand.
This industry employs about 200,000 workers in the island, and the
figure rises to 250,000 at the peak of the harvest.
Cigar exports are the fourth source of revenues to Cuba's gross domestic
product, which reached 445 million U.S. dollars in 2016.
Currently, the main clients of Cuban cigars are customers in Spain,
France, China and Germany.

Source: Cuba to close 2017 cigar harvest with nearly 30,000 tons of
tobacco leaves - Xinhua | English.news.cn -
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-05/30/c_136325561.htm Continue reading
La Isla tiene 2.153 centenarios AGENCIAS | La Habana | 31 de Mayo de 2017 – 18:36 CEST. Cuba, con alrededor de 11,2 millones de habitantes, cuenta en su población con 2.153 personas que superan los 100 años y de las que al menos tres tienen entre 113 y 115 años, según datos oficiales correspondientes […] Continue reading
‘Nos toca explicarle a los clientes extranjeros que deben ahorrar el agua’ ADRIANA ZAMORA | La Habana | 31 de Mayo de 2017 – 18:49 CEST. Aunque el problema de la falta de agua no es nuevo en La Habana, la reciente rotura de un vía de distribución principal en la conductora Cuenca Sur ha […] Continue reading
Trump podría endurecer ‘significativamente’ las condiciones para el comercio y los viajes de estadounidenses a Cuba AGENCIAS | Washington | 31 de Mayo de 2017 – 12:09 CEST. El presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, planea anunciar pronto en Miami una serie de cambios a la política hacia Cuba que podrían endurecer “significativamente” las condiciones […] Continue reading
‘Hollywood quiere filmar en Cuba y no puede’ DDC | La Habana | 31 de Mayo de 2017 – 16:51 CEST. “Hollywood quiere filmar en Cuba y no puede”. Según un artículo publicado por el blog oficialista La Joven Cuba y replicado por Segunda Cita, de Silvio Rodríguez, “desde el segundo semestre del pasado año […] Continue reading
El INDER dice que la contratación de deportistas en el extranjero ‘es un medio, no un fin’ DDC | La Habana | 31 de Mayo de 2017 – 14:53 CEST. El Gobierno tiene arreglados hasta hoy 46 contratos, en siete disciplinas en 11 países, “como parte de una política que desde septiembre del 2013 ha […] Continue reading
Sancti Spíritus registra un aumento ‘preocupante’ de los delitos con armas blancas DDC | Sancti Spíritus | 31 de Mayo de 2017 – 11:10 CEST. La provincia de Sancti Spíritus experimenta un “comportamiento preocupante” en torno a los delitos de portación y tenencia ilegal de armas, “constatable en las 68 denuncias registradas en lo que […] Continue reading
La MUAD, Otro18 y COPE piden ser recibidos por la UE, los gobiernos de América Latina y Washington DDC | La Habana | 30 de Mayo de 2017 – 22:44 CEST. La Mesa de Unidad de Acción Democrática (MUAD), la plataforma ciudadana #Otro18 y Ciudadanos Observadores de Procesos Electorales (COPE) pidieron este martes ser recibidos […] Continue reading

Todas las mañanas mujeres de cabellos canosos hacen cola pacientemente frente a la puerta de un asilo de ancianos de Dresde y cuando finalmente ingresan, vuelven atrás en el tiempo, seis décadas, al pasado comunista de Alemania Oriental, reporta AP.

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Aunque el problema de la falta de agua no es nuevo en La Habana, la reciente rotura de un vía de distribución principal en la conductora Cuenca Sur ha causado revuelo y concentrado la atención de los habitantes de la capital.

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Cuba, con alrededor de 11,2 millones de habitantes, cuenta en su población con 2.153 personas que superan los cien años y de las que al menos tres tienen entre 113 … Click to Continue » Continue reading
‘Reflexiones sobre la libertad’ fue escrito por José Azel Continue reading
Sus hijos siguen esperando para poder entrar a los círculos infantiles del Estado
… . Two sources involved directly in Cuban policymaking told TheDC about Diaz-Balart … monument in Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba, March 21, 2016. AP TheDC … opening with Cuba is fine,” but has since sided with Cuban policy … double-digits, a hard-line Cuba policy guarantees a crowd of Cubans in “Make … Continue reading