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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Alan Gross Deep in Depression

Cuba: Alan Gross Deep in Depression
July 30, 2014
Refuses to Receive Most Visitors in Cuba
Wilfredo Cancio Isla (Café Fuerte)

HAVANA TIMES — Alan Gross, the US citizen sentenced to 15 years in
prison in Cuba, has lost the use of his right eye and refuses to receive
most visitors owing to a profound state of depression.

"Alan's situation is grave," said attorney Scott Gilbert in his
statements to CafeFuerte. "The governments of the United States and Cuba
have to resolve this situation very soon or Alan will die in prison."

Gilbert explained that 65-year-old Gross has already lost sight out of
his right eye and that his hips have deteriorated to such an extent that
he has been unable to do any type of exercise in the past two months.

"He has suffered a lot recently thinking about his mother's death,
having been unable to see her before her death or be with his family in
this time of grief," said Gilbert. "Because of his emotional state, he
has refused to receive most visitors."

Evelyn Gross died of cancer at 92 this past June 18 in Texas. Despite
the family's petitions to Raul Castro's government, asking that Gross be
permitted to attend the funeral, Cuban authorities turned down the request.

On April 2, Alan Gross began a hunger strike which he interrupted 11
days later at the request of his aged mother. The aim of the hunger
strike was to protest over the lack of a solution to his case.

At the close of June, Gilbert and Judy Gross, Gross' wife, visited him
in his cell at the Carlos J. Finlay Military Hospital in Havana, where
the prisoner is currently confined. During the visit, Gross' family
revealed that the US contractor had lost all hopes of returning to his
country and was planning on ending his life.

Gilbert affirms that the situation has worsened and lays the blame for
the tragic unfolding of the case on both Havana and Washington.

The Cuban government claims it is willing to find a "humanitarian"
solution to the case, but only by negotiating the exchange of Gross for
the three Cuban agents currently imprisoned in the United States [since
1998]. Washington has turned down this offer, alleging that the cases
are entirely different.

Negotiating with Raul Castro

Recently, there was news that businesspeople Elon Musk and Shervin
Pishevar, two magnates of the world of new technologies and faithful
supporters of President Barack Obama, had accompanied actor Sean Penn to
Havana at the beginning of last year to negotiate the release of Gross
with the high spheres of government, to no avail.

Gilbert said he had no knowledge of that negotiation or its outcome.

The Gross case has become the bone of contention between Cuba and the
United States, making it impossible for the Obama administration to make
further progress in terms of bilateral relations with the island.

The December 3 will mark five years since Gross' arrest in Cuba. He was
detained in a hotel in Havana on the eve of his return to the United
States, after delivering Internet communication technology to members of
the island's Jewish community.

A Cuban court tried and convicted Gross in March of 2010 on charges of
undermining national security.

Source: Cuba: Alan Gross Deep in Depression - Havana Times.org -
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=105205

Cuba Sees Slowdown in International Tourism

Cuba Sees Slowdown in International Tourism

HAVANA – Foreign tourist arrivals are continuing to slow, declining 1.4
percent last month compared with June 2013, Cuban official media said on
Wednesday.

Last month, 181,269 international visitors arrived on the island, 2,588
fewer than in June 2013, according to the National Statistics Office,
which says that during the first quarter of the year, foreign tourist
arrivals increased compared with the same period a year earlier.

"After an optimistic beginning of the year, the arrival of international
travelers to the country continued to decelerate," official daily
Juventud Rebelde acknowledged.

During the first six months of 2014, foreign visitors to Cuba increased
by 3.7 percent to 1.66 million, compared with 1.59 million during the
same period last year.

However, even with this growth rate it is improbable that Cuba will
achieve its objective of welcoming more than 3 million foreigners during
the year, Juventud Rebelde said.

The Cuban government acknowledged recently that the damaged national
economy this year is in a deceleration phase and that the tourist sector
is one of those that has fallen short of achieving its goals.

In an article published this week in online media, Jose Luis Rodriguez,
Cuba's former economy minister, said that the government of Raul Castro
had forecast an increase of 10.4 percent in the number of foreign
visitors for 2014.

Given the figures for the first six months of the year, however,
Rodriguez said that "it will require an extraordinary effort" in the
second half of the year to get to the 3 million visitor threshold.

He also noted the "elevated level of competition based on price" the
island is facing in the Caribbean region compared to the Dominican and
Mexican markets.

In 2013, 2.85 million travelers visited the island, a modest increase of
0.5 percent over the prior year.

International tourism brought in some $1.8 billion for Cuba in 2013,
according to official figures.

Source: Latin American Herald Tribune - Cuba Sees Slowdown in
International Tourism -
http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2345770&CategoryId=14510

How to view a changing Cuba

How to view a changing Cuba
By Kevin O'Donnell

GPS intern Kevin O'Donnell speaks with Jorge Dominguez, professor of
Mexico studies at Harvard University, faculty associate of the David
Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the author of numerous
books on Cuba, about relations with the United States. The views
expressed here are his own.
It seems discussion about Cuba in the United States rests on some
outdated assumptions. What assumptions do you believe Americans need to
challenge when we talk about Cuba?
I think the main point to bear in mind is that it's changing. When Fidel
Castro was president, there were moments when things seemed to be
changing in two important ways, and both times he reversed them. In the
late 1970s and early 80s, the Cuban government opened up the possibility
of allowing farmers to sell their goods at market prices. But he
cancelled that and prohibited those sales in 1985.
In the early 1990s, he authorized self-employment for the first time. I
could become a plumber in private practice, I could become an ice cream
vender, I could have a restaurant in my living room. But then, in the
early years of the last decade, regulations became more onerous and
taxes became very high, and the number of people who could afford this
kind of work actually declined.
This time, under Raul Castro, it looks as if these same changes will
stay, so now farmers can sell their products at market price. Now about
half a million people have self-employment licenses in a population of
just over 11 million people.
It's a significant fraction of the work force working in the private
sector. But also, Raul Castro talks the talk – these are changes he
values. So the alignment between the policy changes and what the top
leader thinks for the first time in over a half century now clicks. That
is a significant change.
It's difficult in the U.S. to grasp this because the changes are very
slow. The government has insisted on authorizing activity-by-activity.
So you can be a music teacher in the private sector, but you can't be a
math teacher in the private sector. You can play music in the private
sector from the 1940s and 50s for tourists, but you can't have a band in
the private sector that performs contemporary music that Cuban teenagers
like. So it really is category-by-category.
The Cuban government is very proud that there are nearly 200 categories
where private activities are authorized, but this way of doing it is
madness. You can have someone who sews shirts and sells them, but you
cannot bring a shirt from your cousin in Miami and sell that one. So
there are those kinds of distinctions, and it's very easy to imagine
that nothing is happening, that everything is petty (and it's true some
of this is petty), but the general trend is toward opening.
How has the regime endured so long? Is that because of this slow opening
you're talking about?
I think the slow opening matters politically. It tells people things are
changing in ways they can experience in their own lives. They can get a
variety and quality of foods they couldn't get before. They can now earn
income with one of these self-employment licenses.
But some of the more politically active groups in Cuban American Miami –
radio stations and some of the Spanish-language newspapers – do create
in enough Cubans a sense of fear that some of the things they value
would be lost with change. That fear has been one of the constraining
effects
Do you think Cubans have reason to fear that some of the more successful
programs like education and healthcare, which has become part of Cuba's
economic backbone, would be weakened with privatization? Are they
compatible with private enterprise?
At some broad level, Cuba's fairly successful education and healthcare
systems will continue. The healthcare system is one likely source of
exports for any Cuban in the future – it doesn't matter what the
political regime is or the name of the president. Cuba can export
healthcare personnel to other countries. It can have medical tourism –
they already have some of this. And if they were to do it on a more
commercial basis it would actually earn a lot more than they do now. And
no government would want to prevent the healthcare system from working
well if the system can then pay for itself.
Similarly, you could imagine [private practice] on the school side.
Cubans have much, much better results on international tests in
mathematics than do others in Latin American countries. You could
imagine running summer schools or bringing kids for special training or
sending teachers to other countries in the Spanish-speaking world,
because Cuban pedagogy happens to be more effective. And that would help
to pay for the school system.
The fear for Cubans (and this isn't unfounded) is that they'll have to
pay for these services that they have gotten for free. That would either
be through increased taxes or copays – the kinds of things that are
familiar in other healthcare systems. But those are systems that remain
to be invented in Cuba, and any discussion about a privatization of
either the schools or the healthcare system makes Cubans very anxious.
Not a lot of things have worked well in Cuba, but these have.
Cuba now exports healthcare personnel to Venezuela, it's begun to export
healthcare to Brazil, and they feel pretty good about this. It's
difficult to communicate to Cubans when you hear some of the hostile
rhetoric coming out of the United States or part of Cuban-American
Miami. I would say, relax Cuba has these assets. No one who wants to
govern Cuba would want to destroy the assets you've built. But the
financing of these activities would no doubt be reexamined.
The Castro administration is reigniting talks with China over
investments that fell through a few years ago. Why have those
investments failed in the past, and what will Cuba have to change to be
able to hold onto those?
I think it's ironic that one of the main advocates for market-oriented
changes in Cuba is the Communist Party of China. The Chinese message to
the Cubans is very simple: "Look, communist, single-party political
regimes can survive and prosper provided you change how you run the
economy." And the Cubans are very slowly coming to understand this and
do something about it, but they have lagged vastly behind China and
Vietnam in this respect.
So when Chinese and Cuban officials in Havana have these conversations,
it's all on the basis of, "Yeah we're prepared to work with you, but
we're talking about investments, right? We're not talking about
bailouts, right? We're not talking about charity, right?"
One of the trends in trade between China and Cuba is that Cuba's exports
to China have been declining, whereas Cuba's imports from China have
remained very high. That means the Chinese are in effect financing a
Cuban trade deficit. And that's not a good starting point for a
discussion about market-based investment relations.
What do you think could bring them onto a more equal playing field?
If I were Chinese, I'd say, "Look, I'm prepared to invest in nickel
mines in eastern Cuba if you let me run this mine my way, full stop."
So what's the risk of setting up a situation much like the inequality in
the 1950s that led to the Cuban Revolution?
The particular risk is less that, and more that it might end up like
Chinese investments in Africa where the Chinese have gone without
thinking through in sufficient detail about the social side effects of
some of their investments, resulting in some nasty episodes. Cuba does
have significant mining resources, principally nickel, some others as
well, so that would be perfectly attractive for China.
With Russia reopening one of its bases in Cuba, does it look like the
shift toward a more open economy will lead them closer to China and
Russia and further away from the United States?
Having Cuba connect with China doesn't necessarily move it further from
the United States. The Chinese do say that U.S. policy should change and
should remove all sanctions from Cuba, but they're not trying to pick a
fight with the U.S. The changes toward a more market-oriented Cuban
economy actually go in the direction that Obama, Bush, and Clinton said
they want.
Putin has been pursuing for some time to reestablish Russia as a
significant player worldwide, and that certainly takes him back to Cuba.
The Cubans got one valuable thing out of it two years ago – the Russian
government forgave the Cuban debt to the old Soviet Union that Russia
had inherited. They didn't forgive all of it, they forgave 90 percent,
but that's a huge amount of money. On a clearing-the-books basis, this
was good for Cuba.
Two footnotes to this: One is that Cuba will now have to start paying
Russia something. Cuba hadn't paid Russia a penny for the last 25 years,
so they need to pay something on the remainder.
The other footnote is that in order to pay something on the remaining 10
percent of the old Soviet debt, it assumes that the Russians and the
Cubans will find economically productive activities to generate the
revenue to pay for it, and they haven't done it for 25 years. Unlike the
Chinese, who have demonstrated that they can make the economy grow in a
variety of sectors, the Russians have demonstrated they can only run one
sector of their economy reasonably effectively and that's petroleum and
natural gas.
Yes, they have been prospecting for petroleum and natural gas around
Cuba, but Russian firms haven't succeeded in finding meaningful
quantities. So I'm a little skeptical that there can be enough economic
activity between Russia and Cuba.
The U.S. has tried to negotiate with Cuba to ease treatment of
dissidents, but it seems Europe has been more successful in these
attempts. What are we doing wrong?
No one has been successful at this. The changes in relations between
dissidents and the Cuban government for the most part have been almost
wholly unaffected by international actors. In the release of some
prisoners who wound up in Spain, the heavy lifting was done by the Roman
Catholic Archbishop of Havana.
So the international impact on these matters has been very modest. The
trend line, though, is now the number of political prisoners is
effectively zero. The Cuban government changed its strategy to deal with
dissidents away from locking you up and throwing away the key. The new
strategy is they will arrest you and hold you for a week and release
you. Then if you do something they don't like they'll arrest you again
and hold you for 72 hours. So the number of people who get arrested is
now much higher; the number of people who spend a long time in prison
has pretty close to vanished. Similarly, Cuba no longer applies the
death penalty. The death penalty hasn't been applied in Cuba in about
ten years
We know about dissent coming from Cubans in the United States. What kind
of dissent is there within the country? You don't seem to hear about
that often.
It all depends on what the word "dissent" means. If by dissent one means
people who are out on the streets demanding a change in the political
regime, there's a lot more than there used to be in the 1980s and 1970s,
but there's not a lot. If by dissent one means they disagree with the
policies of the Cuban government on topic x, y, or z and are prepared to
say so, that actually happens now with increasing regularity.
On election day for the National Assembly, the number of candidates
equals the number of posts to be chosen, so you're not quaking if you're
a candidate. In any one district the party wants you to vote for
everybody, but you actually have the option of voting for candidate A
but not for candidate B. Candidate B will still be elected because the
number of candidates equals the number of seats. But the proportion of
votes that each would get would differ. So you're not doing what the
communist party wants you to do, and if voting blank or voiding your
ballot, scribbling, you are also not voting the way the communist party
wants you to.
In the election a year ago, 24 percent of voters cast a non-conforming
ballot. Are they dissenters? Well, not in the way the U.S. thinks of
them, but yeah, they are indicating that they disagree with some
important topic. So you do get an array of opinions and views and
disagreement, people who criticize the slow pace of changing government
policy. All of that is in the works, and there's much more of it than
before.
Some have suggested the U.S. should shift away from a policy of regime
change to one of reform and human rights. What kind of credibility does
the U.S. have in doing this with Cuba?
The U.S. government doesn't have much credibility on topics of regime
change, because the Cuban government thinks that the only policy our
government is interested in is whether the Democrats or Republicans
control the White House – effectively, to overthrow them. And if I were
a Cuban official looking at Washington under Obama, Clinton, Bush, or
Reagan, I would come to the same conclusion.
The other thing to bear in mind is that the U.S. has no particular
incentive to do anything differently because, on the things the U.S.
cares the most about, relations with Cuba are excellent. On the only
land boundary between the U.S. and Cuba, which is around the U.S. base
in Guantanamo, the two armies collaborate because the U.S. doesn't want
prisoners to get out and Cuba doesn't want the prisoners to get in. So
the two commanding officers meet at the border, salute each other,
coordinate, and that's fine.
Similarly, on the Straits of Florida, the two coast guards collaborate
because Cuba doesn't want the kind of massive undocumented immigration
of the sort that brought down the East German communist government, and
the U.S. doesn't want massive undocumented entry from Cuba. If you think
about that idea, it means the U.S. has a stake in the continuation of an
authoritarian regime in Cuba, because no future Cuban political regime
will have the will and the capacity to cooperate with the United States
to prevent Cuban people from leaving. The Mexican government certainly
doesn't do it, and nobody else does it.
So the U.S. gets what it wants, the Cuban government gets what it wants.
Even with regard to trade there's a gigantic loophole that allows
western states to export agricultural products to Cuba – and Cuba pays
cash. No other country does that. So as long as you don't believe the
words about regime change, U.S.-Cuban relations are just great.

Source: How to view a changing Cuba – Global Public Square - CNN.com
Blogs -
http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/30/how-to-view-a-changing-cuba/

Cuba escapes UN sanctions in North Korean weapons transport scheme

Posted on Tuesday, 07.29.14

Cuba escapes UN sanctions in North Korean weapons transport scheme
But it puts a North Korea ship-operating company on its sanctions list.
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
JTAMAYO@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM

The United Nations has sanctioned a North Korean shipping company but
spared Cuban entities in connection with a Cuban weapons shipment seized
aboard a Pyongyang-bound freighter in violation of a U.N. arms embargo.

Ocean Maritime Management Company, Ltd., a North Korean company that
managed the freighter Chong Chon Gang when it was seized in Panama last
summer, was added Monday to the list of violators of the embargo.

The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) committee that enforces the embargo
said the company "played a key role in arranging the shipment of
concealed cargo of arms and related materiel from Cuba." Inclusion in
the list carries banking and travel sanctions.

But the committee did not add to the list any of the Cuban enterprises
or individuals involved in the shipment of 240 tons of Cuban MiG jet
engines, anti-aircraft missile systems and munitions found aboard the
Chong Chon Gang.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said in a statement that there were
"irrefutable facts that clearly prove Cuba and (North Korea's)
intentions to violate sanctions by employing highly sophisticated
deception and obfuscation techniques."

"The United States remains concerned about attempts by North Korea to
circumvent international sanctions, and strongly condemns any efforts by
nations such as Cuba to assist in the illegal evasion" of the arms
embargo, Power added.

Powell did not explain why no Cuban entities were added to the sanctions
list, and her press office did not reply to El Nuevo Herald's requests
for comment.

Latin American diplomats at the U.N. had predicted earlier this year
that Cuba would escape sanctions because Russia and China, which have
vetoes on the Security Council , are close allies of Cuba.

"It's unacceptable that even as the (UNSC) sanctioned the North Korean
firm that operated the vessel carrying illegal arms from Cuba, it failed
to similarly hold the Cuban regime accountable for its role in this
flagrant violation of U.N. sanctions," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in
a statement Tuesday.

UNSC experts on the arms embargo reported earlier this year that the
shipment violated the embargo, even though Cuba claimed that the weapons
were not being "transferred" to North Korea because they were to be
serviced and returned to Havana.

The experts also reported that Cuba had refused to identify the Cuban
entities and individuals involved in the shipment, saying the contract
with Pyongyang required business privacy.

Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican indicated last week that Power knew the
identities of the Cubans involved and urged the ambassador to push the
UNSC sanctions committee to include them on the blacklist of
"designated" entities.

One of the Cubans allegedly involved is Brig. Gen. Luis Alberto
Rodríguez López-Callejas, in charge of several military enterprises and
the port of Mariel, where the weapons were loaded on the freighter. He's
also a son-in-law of Cuban ruler Raúl Castro.

The Chong Chon Gang docked in Havana June 4-9 of last year to unload
cargo, then loaded the weapons aboard in Mariel and later sailed east to
Puerto Padre to load a cargo of sugar that hid the arms. Its automatic
location reporting system was off during most of its Caribbean sail.

Panama authorities stopped it on July 15, as it prepared to cross the
Panama Canal on a trip to Pyongyang, on suspicion that it carried drugs.
Instead, they found what the UNSC experts described as the single
largest weapons shipment ever seized for violating the embargo slapped
on Pyongyang in 2006 because of its nuclear weapons and long-range
missile development programs.

The freighter and 32 of its crew were released in February after payment
of a $700,000 fine for failing to declare the weapons in its cargo. The
captain and two other officers were freed in June. The weapons remain in
Panama and the sugar is up for sale.

A second North Korean freighter that ran aground off the eastern coast
of Mexico earlier this month after a stop in Havana, meanwhile, was
pulled off the Tuxpan reef on Saturday, according to Mexican news reports.

The 430-foot Mu Du Bong had raised eyebrows because its Caribbean sail
had paralleled somewhat that of the Chong Chon Gang — with stops in
Havana and Mariel and periods when its automatic locator was not working.

The freighter was empty when it ran aground near the entrance to the
port of Tuxpan, one of Mexico's main sugar-exporting ports, according to
Mexican news reports.

Its automatic locator reported that it was near Mariel on June 25 and in
Havana June 29-30, but then went silent for nine days. It started
working again July 10, when it showed the freighter was in Havana and
later that it was sailing west in the Gulf of Mexico.

Source: Cuba escapes UN sanctions in North Korean weapons transport
scheme - Cuba - MiamiHerald.com -
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/29/4261577/cuba-escapes-un-sanctions-in-north.html

Independent Cuban journalists in Miami for training

Posted on Wednesday, 07.30.14

Independent Cuban journalists in Miami for training
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
JTAMAYO@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM

The nine independent Cuban journalists said that authorities have
detained them a total of more than 400 times, usually for reporting news
that the Cuban government tries to hide from the island nation's 11
million people.

One said he uses eight home printers to publish his newsletter, but only
two are currently working because ink cartridges are so expensive.
Another said he boldly delivers his newsletter to his local Communist
Party and government authorities.

They are part of a group of 12 independent Cuban journalists in Miami
for three weeks of training on multimedia journalism and the use of
smart phones to add quality photos and videos to their reporting. On
Wednesday, the nine visited El Nuevo Herald.

With the Cuban government controlling all mass media, including
newspapers, television and radio stations, independent or dissident
journalists are technically working illegally and are regularly detained
and harassed by State Security officers.

Among the nine were a dentist, a man who studied law, a nurse, a
chemist, a former worker at a printing plant and even a former
lieutenant colonel in the Interior Ministry, in charge of domestic security.

They publish newsletters on paper or digital memories such as USB flash
drives, or send their reports to webpages based abroad, where island
residents can read them. Supporters also can send the reports back to
Cuba on flash drives, CDs and DVDs.

Roberto de Jesus Guerra, 35, said he spent three years in prison and has
been detained more than 180 times for his work as founder and director
of the Hablemos Press news agency in Havana, which focuses on denouncing
government abuses.

The agency also prints 400-600 copies of a newsletter with four to eight
pages twice a month, and distributes them around Havana. Three of his
contributors also have spent time in prison, added Guerra, who said he
milked cows before turning to journalism.

Raul Luis Risco Perez said he served as a lieutenant colonel in the
Interior Ministry and fought in Angola before joining the opposition
Alianza Democrática in Pinar del Rio province. He has been briefly
detained about 200 times, Risco said.

His newsletter focuses more on "social journalism," he said, and he
delivers it to Communist Party and government officials in the province
to show that he is working above-board, if illegally.

Cuba's government has alleged that all such programs are designed to
undermine its communist system and branded dissidents as "mercenaries"
hired to attack the Castro revolution.

Source: Independent Cuban journalists in Miami for training - Cuba -
MiamiHerald.com -
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/30/4263568/independent-cuban-journalists.html

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cuba June Tourist Arrivals Fell 1.4% From Year Ago

Cuba June Tourist Arrivals Fell 1.4% From Year Ago
By Ainhoa Goyeneche Jul 29, 2014 10:36 PM

Following is a summary of Cuba's June tourist arrivals from the National
Statistics Office in Havana:

===============================================================================
June May April March Feb. Jan.
2014 2014 2014 2014 2014 2014
===============================================================================
Monthly Visitors 181,269 195,910 287,186 359,456 316,165 320,069
Annual Change% -1.4% 2.5% 4.8% 1.4% 5.2% 9.3%
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
YtD Visitors 1,660,055 1,478,786 1,282,876 995,690 636,234 320,069
Annual Change% 3.9% 4.6% 5.0% 5.0% 7.2% 9.3%
===============================================================================
SOURCE: Oficina Nacional de Estadisticas

Source: Cuba June Tourist Arrivals Fell 1.4% From Year Ago - Bloomberg -
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-29/cuba-june-tourist-arrivals-fell-1-4-from-year-ago-table-.html

Cuba escapes UN sanctions in North Korean weapons transport scheme

Posted on Tuesday, 07.29.14

Cuba escapes UN sanctions in North Korean weapons transport scheme
But it puts a North Korea ship-operating company on its sanctions list.
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
JTAMAYO@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM

The United Nations has sanctioned a North Korean shipping company but
spared Cuban entities in connection with a Cuban weapons shipment seized
aboard a Pyongyang-bound freighter in violation of a U.N. arms embargo.

Ocean Maritime Management Company, Ltd., a North Korean company that
managed the freighter Chong Chon Gang when it was seized in Panama last
summer, was added Monday to the list of violators of the embargo.

The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) committee that enforces the embargo
said the company "played a key role in arranging the shipment of
concealed cargo of arms and related materiel from Cuba." Inclusion in
the list carries banking and travel sanctions.

But the committee did not add to the list any of the Cuban enterprises
or individuals involved in the shipment of 240 tons of Cuban MiG jet
engines, anti-aircraft missile systems and munitions found aboard the
Chong Chon Gang.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said in a statement that there were
"irrefutable facts that clearly prove Cuba and (North Korea's)
intentions to violate sanctions by employing highly sophisticated
deception and obfuscation techniques."

"The United States remains concerned about attempts by North Korea to
circumvent international sanctions, and strongly condemns any efforts by
nations such as Cuba to assist in the illegal evasion" of the arms
embargo, Power added.

Powell did not explain why no Cuban entities were added to the sanctions
list, and her press office did not reply to El Nuevo Herald's requests
for comment.

Latin American diplomats at the U.N. had predicted earlier this year
that Cuba would escape sanctions because Russia and China, which have
vetoes on the Security Council , are close allies of Cuba.

"It's unacceptable that even as the (UNSC) sanctioned the North Korean
firm that operated the vessel carrying illegal arms from Cuba, it failed
to similarly hold the Cuban regime accountable for its role in this
flagrant violation of U.N. sanctions," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in
a statement Tuesday.

UNSC experts on the arms embargo reported earlier this year that the
shipment violated the embargo, even though Cuba claimed that the weapons
were not being "transferred" to North Korea because they were to be
serviced and returned to Havana.

The experts also reported that Cuba had refused to identify the Cuban
entities and individuals involved in the shipment, saying the contract
with Pyongyang required business privacy.

Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican indicated last week that Power knew the
identities of the Cubans involved and urged the ambassador to push the
UNSC sanctions committee to include them on the blacklist of
"designated" entities.

One of the Cubans allegedly involved is Brig. Gen. Luis Alberto
Rodríguez López-Callejas, in charge of several military enterprises and
the port of Mariel, where the weapons were loaded on the freighter. He's
also a son-in-law of Cuban ruler Raúl Castro.

The Chong Chon Gang docked in Havana June 4-9 of last year to unload
cargo, then loaded the weapons aboard in Mariel and later sailed east to
Puerto Padre to load a cargo of sugar that hid the arms. Its automatic
location reporting system was off during most of its Caribbean sail.

Panama authorities stopped it on July 15, as it prepared to cross the
Panama Canal on a trip to Pyongyang, on suspicion that it carried drugs.
Instead, they found what the UNSC experts described as the single
largest weapons shipment ever seized for violating the embargo slapped
on Pyongyang in 2006 because of its nuclear weapons and long-range
missile development programs.

The freighter and 32 of its crew were released in February after payment
of a $700,000 fine for failing to declare the weapons in its cargo. The
captain and two other officers were freed in June. The weapons remain in
Panama and the sugar is up for sale.

A second North Korean freighter that ran aground off the eastern coast
of Mexico earlier this month after a stop in Havana, meanwhile, was
pulled off the Tuxpan reef on Saturday, according to Mexican news reports.

The 430-foot Mu Du Bong had raised eyebrows because its Caribbean sail
had paralleled somewhat that of the Chong Chon Gang — with stops in
Havana and Mariel and periods when its automatic locator was not working.

The freighter was empty when it ran aground near the entrance to the
port of Tuxpan, one of Mexico's main sugar-exporting ports, according to
Mexican news reports.

Its automatic locator reported that it was near Mariel on June 25 and in
Havana June 29-30, but then went silent for nine days. It started
working again July 10, when it showed the freighter was in Havana and
later that it was sailing west in the Gulf of Mexico.

Source: Cuba escapes UN sanctions in North Korean weapons transport
scheme - Cuba - MiamiHerald.com -
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/29/4261577/cuba-escapes-un-sanctions-in-north.html

Cuba: HRF asks U.N. to inquire into attack on journalist

Cuba: HRF asks U.N. to inquire into attack on journalist
[30-07-2014 11:13:48]
The Human Rights Foundation,

(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- NEW YORK. —The Human Rights Foundation
(HRF) has submitted a petition to the United Nations Special Rapporteur
on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and
expression (U.N. Special Rapporteur), requesting that he send an urgent
appeal to the government of Cuba regarding the brutal assault of Cuban
journalist Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez on June 11, 2014, and the
repeated threats on his life. Guerra, who is the founder and director of
the independent news agency Centro de Información Hablemos Press
(CIHPRESS) in Cuba, was attacked solely for exercising his right to
freedom of opinion and expression.
"In Cuba, there is a widespread pattern of repression, persecution, and
imprisonment of journalists who represent an alternative to the media
monopoly of the dictatorship, which is mainly devoted to government
propaganda. The case of Roberto Guerra is emblematic of these types of
systematic human rights violations," said Sarah Wasserman, COO of HRF.
"For years, Guerra and the journalists at Hablemos Press have bravely
reported on these abuses, either through their modest website or by
distributing press releases they manage to print in the most rudimentary
form," said Wasserman.

HRF's petition includes an account of the attack on Guerra, points to
strong indications that the attack was ordered by Cuban government
agents, and documents the latest threats against other journalists at
CIHPRESS, including Guerra's wife. The petition calls on the U.N.
Special Rapporteur to request that the government of Cuba "adopt
immediate measures to protect the right to life, security and physical
integrity of Roberto Guerra and that of his family." It also asks the
rapporteur to request the government of Cuba "to take all necessary
measures to ensure the cessation of physical and verbal attacks on
Guerra, as well as to offer assurances and guarantees of non-repetition
with regards to these attacks."

"These journalists have committed the ultimate offense in a totalitarian
state, which is to dare to report on facts that the Cuban dictatorship
has tried to hide for years. Those are, to name a few, the dreadful
state of public healthcare and education, the arbitrary arrests of
peaceful dissidents, malnutrition, lack of food safety, and the
continuous outbreaks of cholera and other diseases," said Wasserman.
"These reports are deadly blows for a Latin American dictatorship that
has historically excelled in its ability to sell myths, like the ones
that praise Cuba for its 'excellent' public healthcare," said Wasserman.

Retaliation against independent journalists is a common occurrence in a
country that ranks only "behind Iran and China as one of the world's
biggest prisons for the media." In 2012, in the infamous case of Calixto
Ramón Martínez Arias, the Cuban government arrested and imprisoned a
CIHPRESS journalist for seven months for reporting on the existence of a
cholera and dengue outbreak that the government attempted to conceal.

"The Cuban regime is required to comply with the rule of general
international law that establishes the obligation of 'cessation and
non-repetition' of acts or omissions that constitute internationally
wrongful acts. This means that Cuba must guarantee that attacks against
Guerra stop, and ensure that they never happen again," said Javier
El-Hage, HRF's general counsel. "Cuba may not be a state party to the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but as a member of
the U.N., it can be held accountable for violations to the right of
freedom of expression of its citizens. This right is enshrined in
article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a binding
instrument of customary international law signed by Cuba in 1948," said
El-Hage.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit
organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a
focus on closed societies. We believe that all human beings are entitled
to freedom of self-determination, freedom from tyranny, the rights to
speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and
enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded
equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity
to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF's ideals
likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have
the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from
interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support
nor condone violence. HRF's International Council includes human rights
advocates George Ayittey, Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Garry
Kasparov, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.

Contact: Jamie Hancock, (212) 246-8486, jamie@thehrf.org

Source: Cuba: HRF asks U.N. to inquire into attack on journalist -
Misceláneas de Cuba -
http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/Article/Index/53d8b74c3a682e0bfc5062ea#.U9kBgPmSwx4

The Latell Report - More About Cuban Spy Ana Montes

The Latell Report
[30-07-2014 08:58:45]
Cuba Transition Project

(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- The Latell Report analyzes Cuba's
contemporary domestic and foreign policy, and is published periodically.
It is distributed by the electronic information service of the Cuba
Transition Project (CTP) at the University of Miami's Institute for
Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS).

More About Cuban Spy Ana Montes

For sixteen years Ana Belen Montes spied for Cuba from increasingly
responsible positions at the Defense Intelligence Agency. If Havana has
ever run a higher level or more valuable agent inside the American
defense establishment that has never been revealed.

When she was arrested in late September 2001, Montes was about the
equivalent in rank to a colonel. She had access to sensitive
compartmented intelligence. Strangely, for one so openly enamored of
Fidel Castro, her superiors considered her one of the best Cuba analysts
anywhere in government.

Despite the importance of her case, some of the most tantalizing
questions about her spying have never been publicly answered. Could the
calamity of her treason have been avoided? What was learned about Cuban
intelligence tradecraft? How was she discovered? And, of enduring
concern, did she work with other American spies thus far undetected or
not prosecuted?

Thanks to researcher Jeffrey Richelson and the National Security Archive
new light has finally been shed on the Montes case. Because of their
efforts, a 180 page study completed by the Department of Defense
Inspector General in 2005 has recently been declassified. It is heavily
redacted; many pages–including the CIA's extensive comments—blacked out.
Yet, a quantity of surprising new details are now on the public record.

Montes's decision to spy for Cuba was "coolly deliberate." Enticed by a
Cuban access agent in Washington, they traveled together to New York in
December 1984. Montes met with intelligence officers posted under cover
at the Cuban mission to the United Nations.

She "unhesitatingly agreed" to work with them and to travel to Cuba
clandestinely as soon as possible. The following March she went there
via Spain and Czechoslovakia. The Pentagon report does not state the
obvious: while there she must have received specialized training in
intelligence tradecraft.

Then, with Cuban encouragement, she applied for a job at DIA. A standard
background investigation was conducted, but we now know that serious
concerns about her suitability were raised. Without elaboration, the
Pentagon report indicates that they included "falsification of her
Master of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins (University) and her
trustworthiness." DIA did not require applicants to submit to a
pre-employment polygraph exam. So, a trained Cuban espionage agent with
a problematic past was cleared and hired. She began work in September 1985.

After her arrest Montes insisted that she did not work for Cuba, but
with Cuban officials she enormously respected. They felt "mutual respect
and understanding;" they "were comrades in the struggle." She believed
that the Castro government "does not hurt people" and that she had the
"moral right" to provide information to Cuba.

Her handlers apparently were skilled in manipulating and controlling
her. She said they were "thoughtful, sensitive to her needs, very good
to me." They went to "special lengths to assure her they had complete
confidence in her." They allowed her a long, loose leash, easier because
they were not paying for her extraordinary services.

Initially in New York, and later at her request in the Washington area,
she met with her handlers as often as once every two or three weeks,
usually on weekends. Everything about her second covert trip to Cuba is
redacted in the Pentagon report. Perhaps it was for training in
polygraph countermeasures, because, according to the report, she later
"encounters and beats the polygraph."

In 1991 Montes underwent a seemingly routine security reinvestigation.
She was asked about foreign travel, and lied. Questioned about
inaccuracies in her original application for employment, she confessed
that she had misrepresented an incident in her past. Feigning innocence,
Montes claimed that she "did not understand the seriousness of being
truthful and honest at the time."

Her questionable case was then reviewed at a higher level. The
adjudicator reported that "while Montes seemed to have a tendency 'to
twist the truth' to her own needs and her honesty was still a cause of
concern, adverse security action was unlikely." Again, she had slipped
through. Her high level clearances were recertified.

Brazenly, she submitted a freedom of information request for her own
government records. She must have been concerned that something adverse
had been discovered. Investigative material was released, going back to
her previous employment at the Department of Justice. She gave the
surprised Cubans copies of the released documents.

None of this seems to have contributed to her eventual unmasking. But
how was she discovered? Surprisingly revealing information seeps through
the Pentagon's report. "We got lucky," a counterintelligence official
observed. An entirely blacked-out section entitled "Serendipity"
suggests the same.

By April 1998 a coordinated search for a Cuban spy was underway,
according to the report. At first it was thought most likely the quarry
was a CIA employee. But soon investigators were following a crucial
clue: the unknown spy had apparently traveled to the Guantanamo naval base.

The breakthrough had seemingly come earlier, however. According to the
Pentagon report, Montes was informed shortly after her arrest that
investigators "had information from a senior official in the Cuban
intelligence service concerning a Cuban penetration agent that
implicated Montes." It seems that this information propelled the
investigation that resulted in Montes's arrest and incarceration.

Did she work with other American spies? The report is ambiguous; it
states that after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 pressure
rose to arrest Montes. The FBI preferred to wait, however, in order "to
monitor Montes's activities with the prospect that she may have
eventually led the FBI to others in the Cuban spy network."

Was this judgment the result of careless drafting and editing? Or did
government censors let a critical bit of information slip through? If
there was evidence of a larger Cuban spy apparatus operating at that
time it may be a long time before more is known.

It is clear now, however, that Montes's apprehension was not just the
result of excellent intelligence work. American prosecutors were lucky.
She told investigators after her arrest that a week earlier she had
learned that she was under surveillance. She could have decided then to
flee to Cuba, but said delphically that "she couldn't give up on the
people (she) was helping." She is serving a 25 year prison sentence.

_____________________________

Brian Latell is the author of Castro's Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, the
CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy (Palgrave Macmillan,
2013). A former National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, he is
now a senior research associate at the Institute for Cuban &
Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami.

Source: The Latell Report - Misceláneas de Cuba -
http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/Article/Index/53d8cfe53a682e11b09c79ea#.U9kBmPmSwx4

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Legislators meet with Cuban activist's wife

Posted on Tuesday, 07.29.14

Legislators meet with Cuban activist's wife
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MIAMI -- South Florida's Cuban-American congressional delegation will
meet with the wife of a Cuban democracy activist.

Republican legislators Mario Diaz Balart and Ileana Ros Lehtinen, as
well as Democrat Joe Garcia, will meet Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera
Tuesday in Washington.

Perez Aguilera is married to Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, known by his
nickname "Antunez."

Antunez spent nearly two decades in prison for his activities, and both
he and his wife have been subsequently detained for their work.

Source: MIAMI: Legislators meet with Cuban activist's wife - Florida
Wires - MiamiHerald.com -
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/29/4260479/legislators-meet-with-cuban-activists.html

Cubans get assistance and rest

Cubans get assistance and rest
Posted By Mona Tatum
Monday, 28 July 2014 8:01 pm

Immigration officials confirm a boatload of Cuban migrants passed by
Cayman Brac today (28 July). The 18 men anchored off-shore for most of
the day.
It is rumoured the men received assistance in the form of food, water
and fuel from a passing tugboat around 25 miles off of the sister island
before they were spotted in Cayman Islands' waters around 11:30 a.m.

The men continued their journey, leaving around 4 p.m.

Source: Cubans get assistance and rest - Cayman 27 -
http://www.cayman27.com.ky/2014/07/28/cubans-get-assistance-and-rest

U.S. report says religious freedom in Cuba is bad but getting better

Posted on Monday, 07.28.14

U.S. report says religious freedom in Cuba is bad but getting better
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
JTAMAYO@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM

Cuban government restrictions on religion remain severe although they
have been eased on several fronts over the past year, according to the
U.S. State Department's annual report on freedom of religion around the
world.

"In China, Cuba, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, religious
activity was only lawful if explicitly authorized by the state," said
the executive summary of the country-by-country report, made public on
Monday.

The report confirmed a recent trend toward expanded freedom on the
practice of religion in Cuba — officially atheist from 1962 to 1992 —
alongside continued tight controls in those places where religion
intersects with politics.

"This report parallels what I have been hearing from Cuba — more freedom
but no politics … unless they agree with the government," said Marcos
Antonio Ramos, a retired Miami pastor and historian of religion.

Most of the religious groups on the island reported reduced government
interference in attracting new members, conducting services, importing
religious materials and receiving donations from overseas, the State
Department reported.

They also found it easier to conduct charitable, educational and
community service projects, it added, including health and nutrition
assistance to the elderly and after-school classes for children.

Government officials made it easier to bring in foreign religious
workers and restore houses of worship, and returned several church
properties confiscated in the 1960s, according to the report.

However, the Cuban Communist Party, through its Office of Religious
Affairs (ORA), "monitors and regulates almost every aspect of religious
life," the report said.

Government officials "harassed outspoken religious leaders, prevented
human rights activists from attending religious services, and in some
cases employed violence to prevent activists from engaging in public
political protests" after services, it added.

The government also routinely detained members of the dissident group
Ladies in White to prevent them from attending Catholic Mass on Sundays,
especially in the provinces of Matanzas, Holguin, Villa Clara, and
Santiago de Cuba, according to the report.

"Most religious leaders reported they exercised self-censorship in what
they preached" out of fear of government reprisals, it said. And some
groups said the government seized and distributed assistance sent to
them for victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

A national TV program on Nov. 12 called evangelical churches "subversive
organizations" and "part of a grand plan by the U.S. government to
undermine the Cuban government," according to the report.

Some religious groups, including Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are not officially recognized, and
members are subject to "pervasive monitoring of their movements,
telephone calls, visitors, and religious meetings."

Most of the so-called "home churches" established because of a lack of
buildings have never been officially recognized but operate with little
or no interference from the government, the report said.

The Roman Catholic Church runs two seminaries and the island nation has
several interfaith centers for educating pastors, it said, but Cuba does
not allow religious grammar or high schools or universities.

The State Department said the Roman Catholic Church claims that 60
percent to 70 percent of all Cubans were baptized and estimated
membership in Protestant churches at 5 percent of the country's 11
million population, with Baptists and Pentecostals likely the largest.

Many Cubans also practice religions rooted in Africa but mixed with
elements of Catholicism, such as Santeria, making it difficult to
estimate membership, the State Department reported.

Source: U.S. report says religious freedom in Cuba is bad but getting
better - Cuba - MiamiHerald.com -
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/28/4259985/us-report-says-religious-freedom.html

Monday, July 28, 2014

Angel Santiesteban is Being Held at the Acosta and Diez de Octubre Police Station

Angel Santiesteban is Being Held at the Acosta and Diez de Octubre
Police Station / 14ymedio
Posted on July 28, 2014

14YMEDIO, Havana, 28 July 2014 – Since July 23 Angel Santiesteban's
family has denounced his disappearance from the Lawton Prison
Settlement. That day the prize-winning author was taken from the place
where he was serving a five-year sentence for an alleged crime of
violation of domicile and injury. Until this morning his whereabouts
were unknown.

This newspaper investigated, calling 18806, the police service number,
and learned that Santiesteban is currently detained at the Acosta
Station on Avenues Acosta and Diez de October. The duty officer there
told 14ymedio that the writer is accused of the crime of "escape."

The family has denied this accusation and his sister, Maria de los
Angeles Santiesteban, in a statement to Diario de Cuba said, "My brother
has never had an idea like that. He never agreed to leave Cuba and he
had the opportunity, he was in the United States three times and he
traveled the world."

This coming Wednesday morning Angel Santiesteban may receive visits from
relatives, according to what14ymedio learned. Today, however, they did
not allow a fellow journalist to deliver a package personal hygiene
products.

Ángel Santiesteban has received major literary awards, including the
Casa de las Americas Prize in 2006. Just two days ago his novel The
Summer God Slept was presented in New York, and he won the Franz Kafka
Prize for Fiction 2013.

Source: Angel Santiesteban is Being Held at the Acosta and Diez de
Octubre Police Station / 14ymedio | Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/angel-santiesteban-is-being-held/

Spanish police smash network trafficking Cubans to US

Spanish police smash network trafficking Cubans to US
mySarawak | 28/07/2014

MADRID: Spanish police said yesterday they had smashed a ring suspected
of trafficking people, mainly Cubans, from Spain to the United States
through Mexico, with the arrest of 14 people.

The group, based on the Spanish resort island of Tenerife, charged
1,000-1,500 euros (US$1,350-2,000) for fake Spanish residence permits
which allow the holder to enter Mexico without a visa, police said in a
statement.

"Once in Mexico the clients used the group's contacts in the north of
the country to try to illegally cross the border with the United States,
and once there seek residency under the Cuban Adjustment Act," it said.

Under the so-called "wet foot/dry foot" policy of the Cuban Adjustment
Act, Cuban migrants who make it onto United States soil are allowed to
remain while those intercepted at sea are returned to their home or a
third country.

The group solicited clients for its services from a travel agency which
it ran in Tenerife, the largest and most populous island of the Canary
Islands located off the west coast of Morocco.

Police detained 11 Cubans and three Spaniards as part of the
investigation and seized 12 fake Spanish residency permits as well as
13,000 euros and US$3,250 in cash. — AFP

Source: Spanish police smash network trafficking Cubans to US : my
Sarawak – News coverage around Sarawak, Sabah and Malaysia -
http://www.mysarawak.org/2014/07/spanish-police-smash-network-trafficking-cubans-to-us.html

CNPC and CUPET ink cooperation agreements

CNPC and CUPET ink cooperation agreements
2014/7/25 10:56

On July 22 in Havana, Capital of Cuba, in the presence of Chinese
President Xi Jinping and Cuban President Raul Castro, CNPC Vice
President Wang Dongjin and General Director of CUPET Juan Torres Naranjo
signed a framework agreement on increasing crude output and production
sharing, and a cooperation agreement on drilling services.

Under the agreements, CNPC will help CUPET to lower operation cost of
some existing oilfields and enhance the crude production and recovery,
and meanwhile provide 9,000m drilling rigs and supporting services to
facilitate the exploration and development of Cuba's offshore oilfields.

Source: CNPC and CUPET ink cooperation agreements -
http://classic.cnpc.com.cn/News/en/press/newsreleases/201407/20140725_C1592.shtml?COLLCC=835820107&

Guards rape patients at Cuban psychiatric hospital

July 27, 2014

Report: Guards rape patients at Cuban psychiatric hospital

The surest way to judge a society is to examine how it treats its most
unfortunate, its most helpless. That's even true in a pit like Cuba,
where drawing distinctions among those suffering the misery wrought by
the Castro dictatorship can be difficult.

Cuban blogger Yusnaby Perez on Sunday reported on an especially
horrendous example of how the Castro regime treats the most unfortunate
of the unfortunate, the mentally ill at a psychiatric hospital in Havana
(my translations):

Independent journalist Vladimir Turró reported from Havana that several
patients of the Mazorra psychiatric hospital Mazorra in the Rancho
Boyerons municipality in the city of Havanahave been sexually abused and
raped by hospital workers, explained Humberto Vial Marrero, an assistant
at the hospital told the journalist.

Vial Marrero said the rapes are carried out in the Castilian room by
Interior Ministry officers who guard inmates convicted of various
crimes. According to Marrero, first they injected them with drugs to
leave them stunned, violated them and then applied electroshock to erase
their recent memories.

The hospital official told another recent visitor that guards beat the
patients to silence their screams, and that the food provided to them is
of very poor quality.

The Mazorra hospital is the same facility where on Jan. 11-12, 2010, 26
patients died of hypothermia. Several doctors, nurses and other
officials -- but notably, no officials with the Ministry of Health --
were accused of negligence and sentenced to prison, according to blogger
Perez.

Source: Uncommon Sense: Report: Guards rape patients at Cuban
psychiatric hospital -
http://marcmasferrer.typepad.com/uncommon_sense/2014/07/report-guards-rape-patients-at-cuban-psychiatric-hospital.html

Routine and the Past Star in this 26th of July

Routine and the Past Star in this 26th of July / 14ymedio, Ignacio Varona
Posted on July 27, 2014

14yMEDIO, Ignacio Varona, Camaguy, 26 July 2014 – Very early this
Saturday many of us observed a new event for the 26th of July. The
strict codes of ritual demanded that the commemoration of the 61st
anniversary of the assault on the Moncana Barracks in Santiago de Cuba
and of the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Barracks in Bayamo, be celebrated
this year with moderate pomp. If the "important" anniversaries are
commemorated in style, in Santiago de Cuba or Havana, the intermediate
ones happen in provinces with fewer resources.

The choice of the newly created province of Artemisa to host the main
event, obeys the fulfillment of this liturgy. Also an experiment has
been developing in it to streamline the administrative functions which
it has taken on because the Port of Mariel megaproject is in its territory.

In the era in which Fidel Castro had the capacity to stand for four to
six hours in front of a microphone, those events were anticipated as
time to summarize accomplishments and to announce the news. In 1989, in
one of his long speeches he warned of the possible disappearance of the
Soviet Union. The last great surprise on the 26th of July was the day in
1993 that the Commander in Chief announced the dollarization of the
Cuban economy. Since then, especially after 2007, his brother Raul has
had very little to promise and has delegated the speech on several
occasions to Mr. José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the
Communist Party.

This time the opportunity was given to Ramiro Valdes who, besides being
a native of Artemisa, is a member of the Politburo, vice president of
the Councils of State and Ministers, Hero of the Republic of Cuba, and
the only survivor of the Moncada attack who holds high positions in the
party and the government with Raul Castro. It's enough to know the name
of the main orator, the hypothesis of a "half-baked" 26th of July was
confirmed. Plus the fact that there were no festivals in Havana on the
eve of the event, no commemorations in every neighborhood, not even the
typical soup that was served on other occasions. Routine has ended up
destroying all the excitement around the event.

A speech without surprises or charm, larded with slogans without any
news, revelations of critiques

Ramiro Valdez read a speech—badly, of course—based exclusively in the
past. He repeated the thesis of the calamitous yesterday that won't
return and declared that in his "vocabulary, the word 'defeat' is
erased." A speech without surprises or charm, larded with slogans
without any news, revelations of critiques. The man who once called for
"taming the wild pony of technologies," dedicated today to a new
diatribe against them, asserting that "the new technologies are used as
an element of subversion."

After the ceremony, when the official announcer for national television
said that the cameras and microphones were returning to the central
studios in the capital, most of the audience immediately returned to
their provincces, while the rest of the citizens, TV viewers or not,
regretted that this Day of National Rebellion had fallen on a Saturday,
so that one of the few opportunities for a holiday was lost.

26 July 2014

Source: Routine and the Past Star in this 26th of July / 14ymedio,
Ignacio Varona | Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/routine-and-the-past-star-in-this-26th-of-july-14ymedio-ignacio-varona/

Remembering the Tugboat Massacre of 1994

Remembering the Tugboat Massacre of 1994 / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo
Posted on July 27, 2014

During the summer of 1994, death ruled with impunity in my country.
During that period, Cuba, which had been a civilian graveyard for
decades, more closely resembled the gallows.

In the early hours of July 13, the whirlwind of violence to which the
Cuban state was subjecting its citizens came to its criminal climax. The
Revolution needed to prevail over the people through blood and fire.
Raúl Castro summed it up in a televised speech from the Colon Cemetery:
"He who lives by the sword dies by the sword."

We were in the middle of the so-called Special Period in the Time of
Peace. The repression was ferocious, but so too was the people's
resistance. So too was the corruption of public servants. So too was the
vandalism. There were robberies and grisly killings on every block.
Family men went mad and wound up murdering their loved ones. Electricity
was a luxury that we enjoyed for just a few hours a day. It was vox
populi that the police had been ordered to shoot to kill. So too had the
paramilitaries of the Rapid Response Brigades who wielded clubs rather
than firearms.

On the early morning of July 13 a stolen tugboatfull of civilians
attempted to escape the Bay of Havana. The boat was named the March 13.
It was a state-owned boat, but no violence took place during the theft.
In fact, it was the port workers themselves who took the boat and headed
for the US.

Just a few miles off the coast, the March 13 was rammed by four other
boats that had pursued it out of the harbor. Both civilians and the crew
were swept off the decks by jets of water fired from the other boats.
Once the March 13 was sunk, the survivors weren't offered any immediate
aid. The perpetrators wanted as few witnesses as possible. Only when a
Greek boat arrived did they proceed to rescue those who were still
afloat in the water. Out of a total of 72 people on board, 37 died,
including a dozen children and babies.

As usual, the state press placed the blame for the tragedy on the
victims. Thesurvivors were pressured by State Security forces, several
were put on trial, all were stigmatized, and in the end they were
ostracized and forced into exile. Since then some claim that they've
been attacked by motor vehicles or that they have been subjected to
medical torture in an attempt to wipe their memories. Fidel Castro
himself decreed that the workers had the right to defend their means of
production. It was a warning to anyone else in Cuba who had any
intention of running away from him. In fact, a month later more than
30,000 Cubans escaped en masse when the government stopped patrolling
the coastline, thus opening a pressure valve which would avoid the
impending social unrest.

Twenty years have passed since the massacre. The men who rammed the
March 13 have never been brought to justice. Nobody ever tried to
recover the bodies (or else they did it in secret and later destroyed
them). At least let me pull those 37 names out of the macabre anonymity
to which Castroism has condemned them in Cuba.

1. Hellen Martínez Enríquez, 5 months

2. Cindy Rodríguez Fernández, 2

3. Ángel René Abreu Ruiz, 3

4. José Carlos Nicole Anaya, 3

5. Giselle Borges Álvarez, 4

6. Caridad Leyva Tacoronte, 5

7. Juan Mario Gutiérrez García, 10

8. Yasser Perodín Almanza, 11

9. Yousell Eugenio Pérez Tacoronte, 11

10. Eliecer Suárez Plasencia, 12

11. Mayulis Menéndez Tacoronte, 17

12. Miladys Sanabria Cabrera, 19

13. Joel García Suárez, 20

14. Odalys Muñoz García, 21

15. Yaltamira Anaya Carrasco, 22

16. Yuliana Enríquez Carrazana, 22

17. Lissett María Álvarez Guerra, 24

18. Jorge Gregorio Balmaseda Castillo, 24

19. Ernesto Alfonso Loureiro, 25

20. María Miralis Fernández Rodríguez, 27

21. Jorge Arquímedes Levrígio Flores, 28

22. Leonardo Notario Góngora, 28

23. Pilar Almanza Romero, 31

24. Rigoberto Feu González, 31

25. Omar Rodríguez Suárez, 33

26. Lázaro Enrique Borges Briel, 34

27. Martha Caridad Tacoronte Vega, 35

28. Julia Caridad Ruiz Blanco, 35

29. Eduardo Suárez Esquivel, 38

30. Martha M. Carrasco Sanabria, 45

31. Augusto Guillermo Guerra Martínez, 45

32. Rosa María Alcalde Puig, 47

33. Estrella Suárez Esquivel, 48

34. Reynaldo Joaquín Marrero Álamo, 48

35. Amado González Raíces, 50

36. Fidencio Ramel Prieto Hernández, 51 años.

37. Manuel Sánchez Callol, 50 años

From Sampsonia Way — Original in English

21 July 2014

Source: Remembering the Tugboat Massacre of 1994 / Orlando Luis Pardo
Lazo | Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/remembering-the-tugboat-massacre-of-1994-orlando-luis-pardo-lazo/

Putin Restores a Cuban Beachhead

Putin Restores a Cuban Beachhead
The Kremlin and the Castros are chummy again, and Moscow is offering
military aid.
By MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY
July 27, 2014 5:33 p.m. ET

Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes was the highest-ranking Pentagon intelligence
analyst ever to be busted for working for the Castros. What's also
notable, in light of Vladimir Putin's visit to Havana earlier this
month, is that she was nabbed in 2001, long after the Cold War ended.

Besides leaking classified material and blowing the cover of covert U.S.
intelligence agents, Montes seems to have been charged by her handlers
with convincing top brass in Washington that Fidel Castro —who had
wanted the Soviets to drop the bomb on this country during the 1962
missile crisis—no longer presents a threat to the U.S. Montes, who rose
to become the U.S. military's resident intelligence expert on Cuba,
partly accomplished that mission. The Pentagon's 1998 Cuba threat
assessment played down its military and intelligence capabilities.

The best Cuba watchers were less sanguine. The Castros remain as
paranoid, power-hungry and pathological as ever. They may be economic
fools, but they run a good business making the island available to
criminal governments, like Iran and North Korea.

Mr. Putin's Cuba trip reinforces the point. The old Cold War villains
are up to no good one more time.

Russia's president is trying to rebuild the Soviet empire. Eastern
Europe won't cooperate and in Asia the best he will ever be is China's
junior partner. But in Latin America Mr. Putin's KGB résumé and
willingness to stick his thumb in the eye of the U.S. gives him
traction. Colonizing Cuba again is an obvious move.

Enlarge Image

Cuban President Raúl Castro greets Vladimir Putin in Havana, July 11.
Kommersant via Getty Images
After the Soviet Union fell in 1991 and the gravy train to Havana was
cut off, Fidel was furious with the Kremlin. It hasn't been easy to get
back in his good graces. In 2008 the Moscow news outlet Kommersant
reported that Putin friend and Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin got the
cold shoulder when he visited the island to work on "restoring
full-scale cooperation." Kommersant reported that the Castros were
"displeased" that Russia had been talking up a military deployment to
Cuba without Havana's approval.

But it seems that the world's most notorious moochers are willing to
forgive—for the right price. With sugar-daddy Venezuela running into
economic problems in recent years and Mr. Putin itching for a place in
the Caribbean sun, Cuba has decided to deal.

In February 2013 Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev traveled to
Cuba, where he signed agreements to lease eight Russian jets worth $650
million to Havana and proposed some $30 billion in debt forgiveness. Two
months later, Russian Chief of Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov visited key
military and intelligence sites on the island. In August a spokesman for
the Black Sea Fleet announced that the Russian guided-missile warship
Moskva, the fleet's flagship, had set off for Cuba and other ports in
Central and South America.

Fast forward to February of this year. Russian Defense Minister Sergei
Shoigu announced that Russia had engaged in talks to establish military
bases in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. The next day a Russian
intelligence-gathering ship docked in Havana.

In May, Russia's Security Council and Cuba's Commission for National
Security and Defense agreed in Moscow to form a joint working group.
"The situation in the world is changing fast and it is dynamic. That's
why we need the ability to react promptly," Nikolai Patrushev, secretary
of the Russian Security Council, told the press. Cuban Col. Alejandro
Castro Espin, son of Raúl Castro, led the Cuban delegation. In June
Russia signed a space cooperation agreement with Cuba to allow it to use
the island to base its Glonass (Russia's alternative to GPS) navigation
stations.

When he called in Havana this month Mr. Putin flaunted his intentions to
restore a Russian beachhead in Cuba. The shootdown of the Malaysian
Airlines flight on the same day that he ended his Latin American tour
raised the visibility of a trip that was made for both psychological and
strategic reasons. Mr. Putin wants to assure the Free World that he can
be a menace in the U.S. backyard—and he wants a local foothold to make
the threat real.

Mr. Putin officially wrote off $32 billion of bad Cuban debt on his
trip, leaving just $3.2 billion due over the next 10 years. Russia is
looking for oil in Cuban waters, and Mr. Putin signed new agreements in
energy, industry and trade with Castro. Days after the visit he denied
rumors that the Kremlin intends to reopen its old
electronic-eavesdropping facility on the island.

That's cold comfort, even if you believe him. Satellite technology has
made land-based listening posts obsolete in many ways. Far more
troubling is the emergence of Mr. Putin as a Latin American presence.
Tyrants all over the region, starting with the Castros, admire his
ruthlessness and skill in consolidating economic and political power.
They want to emulate him. It's a role model the region could do without.

Write to O'Grady@wsj.com

Source: Mary O'Grady: Putin Restores a Cuban Beachhead - WSJ -
http://online.wsj.com/articles/mary-ogrady-putin-restores-a-cuban-beachhead-1406496813

Sunday, July 27, 2014

VP Ramiro Valdes: Cuba will not Return to the Past

VP Ramiro Valdes: Cuba will not Return to the Past
Juan C. Domínguez Taño / Saturday, 26 July 2014 09:48

Cuban Vice-president Ramiro Valdes Menendez that gave the main speech of
the main rally for Cuba's National Rebelliousness Day, hosted by
province of Artemisa, extolled why the called Generation of the
Centennial attacked the garrisons Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes
July 26th, 1953.

In his speech Valdes Menendez said that "The Republic had nothing to do
with dreams of (Jose) Marti and (Antonio) Maceo, as more than a year
before a dictator had erased the last vestiges of the representative
democracy."

Before 1959 the Cuban people lived repressed by dictatorship of
Fulgencio Batista, which meant illiteracy because not all children and
youths could attend school, hunger hit many homes, there were thousands
of jobless; banks, many sugar mills, the land and the industry were for
the most part in foreign hands, as the people suffered the exploitation
and several other scourges like malnutrition, death by curable diseases,
life span under 60 years of age, children having to work to make a
living alongside with their parents, Valdes Menendez says.

Despite July 26th (1953) affairs did not mean victory, today the country
lives the reverse situation, Cuba has more than one million university
graduates, children's life birth rate is lower than in the US, thanks to
the work of the Cuban Revolution the country keeps its people away from
drugs, prostitution, and live a decent life, Valdes Menendez added.

The also Commandant of the Revolution said that the Cuban people, with
their internationalist vocation, have met their duty with humanity, as
in the struggle for freedom in Angola and Namibia, and the end of
apartheid in South Africa.

Our health staffers, sports trainers, teachers, and experts in different
fields have aided several nations in need, Valdes Menendez praised.

Fidel (Castro) that has always trusted on the people counted on them, as
during the start of the hard days of the Special Period, when the USSR
collapsed and our enemies began packing with the ailing dream of
retaking power and reinstituting the old tyrannical regime, which came
to an end since 1959, Valdes Menendez stressed.

Valdes Menendez went over some of the hurdles the Cuban Revolution had
to face, aggressions of different kinds by the US government and the
collapse of the socialist bloc. On such as sense he said that the same
spirit that moved the July 26 also encourages the present-day
generations, which stick to the commitment of improving the socialist
model and keep up the conquests reached. "Here (in Artemisa), as in all
the country, July 26 will live for ever after," he asserted.

Cuba will not return to the past, today's sovereignty, freedom, peace
and safety will remain as long as the people keep working for the
welbeing of the nation, highlighted Valdes Menendez.

The new provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque continue on with the
restructuring of the state administration, and the Special Development
Zone in Mariel will render wealth and prosperity to the nation, said
Valdes Menendez.

Our people have shown much courage, therefore, we will never stop our
struggle for freedom and until we bring back home all of The Five, this
is a non stop fight in support of them and their family, they are not
alone, Valdes Menendez said in his words.

Valdes Menendez went over some of the hurdles the Cuban Revolution had
to face, aggressions of different kinds by the US government and the
collapse of the socialist bloc. On such as sense he said that the same
spirit that moved the July 26 also encourages the present-day
generations, which stick to the commitment of improving the socialist
model and keep up the conquests reached. "Here (in Artemisa), as in all
the country, July 26 will live for ever after."

In his closing words Valdes Menendez told Artemisa residents and all the
Cuban people: this is the work, the merit, the glory of all our people,
and most of all of the men and women that were killed in action while
seeking the future. However, without the dedication of our heroic
martyrs, nothing of today's achievements would have been possible. Let's
us all pay the deserve tribute to all those that gave theur lives to
make come true the dreams of the (Cuban) Revolution. Inspired on their
example, we have no other choice than continue on with the everyday
struggle until our last breath, with the Homeland, with the Revolution,
and with Socialism.

Source: VP Ramiro Valdes: Cuba will not Return to the Past -
http://www.radioangulo.cu/en/news/cuba-2/24724-vp-ramiro-valdes-cuba-will-not-return-to-the-past

Cuba marks Revolution Day with call for unity

Cuba marks Revolution Day with call for unity
By ANNE-MARIE GARCIA

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba marked the 61st anniversary of the beginning of Fidel
and Raul Castro's revolution on Saturday with a leading official calling
on islanders to be united and to defend the nation's communist system.

President Raul Castro, wearing an olive-green military uniform as he sat
in the front row with other top leaders, ceded speechmaking duties to
Vice President Ramiro Valdes, a former commander in the rebellion.

"We must preserve this unity above all things," Valdes said. "We have no
alternative but to keep fighting every day, until the last breath, for
the country, with the revolution and with socialism."

The Castro brothers' failed attack on a military barracks in the eastern
city of Santiago on July 26, 1953, is considered the onset of the
revolution, which culminated in 1959 when strongman Fulgencio Batista
fled the island.

The date is a national holiday celebrated each year with musical
performances and patriotic speeches. On Saturday, the main ceremony took
place in the provincial capital of Artemisa, west of Havana.

"There is no place in our hearts for discouragement, and the word defeat
has been erased from our vocabulary," Valdes said.

Source: Cuba marks Revolution Day with call for unity - Yahoo News -
http://news.yahoo.com/cuba-marks-revolution-day-call-unity-145628322.html;_ylt=AwrBEiGqrtRTBycAW0rQtDMD

Cuban ballet master gives classes in US

Posted on Sunday, 07.27.14

Cuban ballet master gives classes in US
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A teacher with the National Ballet School of Cuba
credited with launching the careers of some of the island's most famous
dancers is giving classes in Florida.

Ramona de Saa is teaching for the first time in the United States at the
Sarasota Cuban Ballet School. The six-week classes will end with a
performance Aug. 1.

The school was founded in 2012 by two former Cuban National Ballet
dancers who fled and joined the Sarasota Ballet.

The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School teaches the curriculum of the National
Ballet School of Cuba.

The Aug. 1 performance is titled "Open Stage" and will feature elite
young dancers from the Cuban ballet school making their U.S. premiere.

The Cuban National Ballet is considered one of the finest in the world.

Source: SARASOTA, Fla.: Cuban ballet master gives classes in US - People
Wires - MiamiHerald.com -
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/27/4257527/cuban-ballet-master-gives-classes.html

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Putin Robbed Blind in Cuba

Putin Robbed Blind in Cuba
Humberto Fontova | Jul 25, 2014

Russian president Vladimir "Teflon" Putin is on a roll—or so we're led
to believe by the media. The Russian president combines the slick
machismo of James Bond, the cojones of George Patton and the craftiness
of Cardinal Richelieu.

Actually, in his dealings with Cuba, Putin looks more like Barney Fife.
We're not accustomed to seeing Mr Macho-Cool Vladimir Putin made an
international jackass. But many Cuba-watchers snickered as the hapless
Russian President met with the Castro brothers on July 11th and "wrote
off" their $32 billion debt to the Soviet Union.

"That old thing? I never liked it anyway," Cuba-watchers easily imagine
Putin hissing through gritted teeth. "We will provide support to our
Cuban friends to overcome the illegal blockade of Cuba," is what Putin
actually hissed for the record.

Vladimir Putin rose to the rank of Lieut. Colonel in an organization
that tortured and murdered at roughly TWICE the rate of the Nazi SS. So
his offense at the "illegal" U.S. embargo of a KGB-founded,
terror-sponsoring regime should provoke only chortling and snorting.
Instead it's probably causing a fit of the vapors at the State Dept. and
in faculty lounges nationwide.

Not that Putin left Cuba completely empty-handed. Instead the Russians
reclaimed the Evil Empire's largest foreign spying base, located in
Lourdes just south of Havana. The Soviets built this complex-- capable
of electronic spying on everything from the U.S. Military's Central and
Southern command to NASA facilities-- in 1967 and manned it until 2001.
That year financial problems and pressure from the U.S. forced the
Russians to close and abandon it. Interestingly it was (then) Russian
President Vladimir Putin who felt compelled to lock it up and scurry out.

This re-colonization by the Russians of a spy base on our very borders
is obviously important, but surely a true Russian Richelieu could have
reclaimed the base for less than $32 billion, especially with an Obama
in the White House.

Putin's visit to the colonial outpost his "old" outfit (the KGB) helped
convert from a vibrant capitalist nation swamped with European
immigrants into a vast sewer, slum and prison that repels even
impoverished Haitians disgusted most Cuban dissidents. The loathing of
most Cubans (including many communists) for Che Guevara owed much to
Guevara's groupie-like devotion to the Soviets who infested Cuba and
roundly repelled almost all Cubans.

Putin's fleecing by the Castro brothers provides more proof (if we
actually needed any) that rarely in modern history has any item of U.S.
foreign policy triumphed as patently (or hilariously) as the so-called
U.S. embargo of Castro's Stalinist kleptocracy. Here's a glittering gem
amidst the rubble of so much recent U.S. foreign policy.

Actually the Castros stuck it to Russia years ago, claiming they owed
only an outfit named The Soviet Union, which no longer existed--so
neither did this outfit's invoices. Putin, faced with an offer he
couldn't refuse, simply ratified the rooking. The Castros stuck it to
Mexico just last year, when its state development Bank Bancomex wrote
off almost $500 million Cuba owed them from 15 years back. The Castros
stuck it to Europe back in 1986, defaulting on most of their debt to the
Paris Club. Fifteen years later the Castros stuck it to French taxpayers
again for $175 million.

In 2011 the Castros stuck it even to their old "friends" Nelson
Mandela's South Africa. "The Cuban regime has a long track record of
failing to pay back our loans," lamented South Africa's Deputy Minister
of Trade & Industry as he wrote off almost 2 billion Rand in Cuban debt.

In sharp contrast, thanks to the so-called U.S. embargo of Cuba, the
U.S. taxpayer remains unfleeced (at least at the hands of the Castros,)
even after almost $4 billion in trade over the past dozen years with
Cuba, the world's most notorious deadbeat. "Wanna trade?" says the
current version of the U.S. embargo. "No problemo, Mr Castro. Cash up
front, buddy. The American taxpayer will NOT extend you credit. Comprende?

Enacted by the Bush team in 2001 this cash-up-front policy has kept the
U.S. taxpayer snickering on the sidelines, much as we snickered at
Oliver Douglas dealings with Mr Haney or Steven Spielberg and Larry
King's with Bernie Madoff.

"The problem with Socialism," famously quipped Margaret Thatcher, "is
that you eventually run out of other peoples' money." True enough. But
when the communist Castros run out of one sugar-daddy's money, there's
always another suitor waiting in line. From the Soviets to the Europeans
to the Mexicans to the Venezuelans, etc. the Castro brothers—unlike,
say, Bernie Madoff—possess a singular talent for keeping their scam
running longer than the Energizer Bunny. One born every minute, Mr P.T.
Barnum? Ask the Castro brothers. They'll tell you that ten are born
every second.

Alas, an extremely well-funded campaign to include us among P.T Barnum's
cherished customers (i.e. lift the Cuba embargo) is building steam in
Washington. Fascinatingly, "libertarians"-- those self-described
defenders of the U.S. taxpayer, those self-described champions of
American sovereignty and pocket books against snooty, sneaky and
predatory supranational cabals and elites—these very libertarians now
serve as an echo-chamber for David Rockefeller's Council on Foreign
Relations and George Soros' Open Society Foundation, along with The
Trilateral Commission , the Davos Groups, the United Nations, The Arca
Foundation, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, The Ford Foundation, a KGB
Lieut Colonel, The Brookings Institute, and the Carnegie Endowment for
International Piece (founded by Soviet spy Alger Hiss.)

Today's "libertarians" march arm in arm chanting the anti-Cuba embargo
mantra in perfect rhyme and cadence with every socialist elitist and
every secretive supranational outfit mentioned above. Bedfellows don't
get much stranger. Let's stand back and have a look:

All of the above clamor for an Imperial Democratic President to further
circumvent the U.S. Congress and nullify the work of legendary
conservative Republican legislators Dan Burton of Indiana and Jesse
Helms of North Carolina.

Another name for the Cuba embargo in its current form, after all, is the
Helms-Burton act of 1996, sponsored by these Red-State Republicans and
constitutionally voted upon and passed by U.S. legislative branch.

But today's "libertarian constitutionalists" have signed on to one of
David Rockefeller's longest-running and most cherished labors of love.
All the above clamor for a brazenly imperial President and disciple of
Saul Alinsky to further trash the congressional work of Jesse Helms and
Dan Burton (also a Tea Party stalwart until his recent retirement.) This
trashing would enable U.S. taxpayers to subsidize the Communist
terror-sponsoring regime that stole $7 billion from U.S. stockholders at
Soviet gunpoint and came within a hair of nuking us. This nuking was
barely foiled at the last second by the aghast Butcher of Budapest:

"What?!" Khrushchev gasped on Oct. 28th 1962, as recalled by his son
Sergei. "Is he (Fidel Castro) proposing that we launch missiles from
Cuba?....But that is insane!...Remove them (our missiles) as soon as
possible! Before it's too late. Before something terrible happens!"

Oh, I know…I know, Camelot's court scribes concocted a different version
of why the Russian missiles left Cuba. And naturally this version went
instantly viral in the MSM, Academia and Hollywood.

At any rate, too bad Rod Serling isn't around. This freak- show of
anti-"embargo" lobbying would make a great episode for The Twilight Zone.

Source: Putin Robbed Blind in Cuba - Humberto Fontova - Page full -
http://townhall.com/columnists/humbertofontova/2014/07/25/putin-robbed-blind-in-cuba-n1866263/page/full

Friday, July 25, 2014

From Cyberspace to Moringa

From Cyberspace to Moringa / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar
Posted on July 25, 2014

The signing of 29 documents between the government of Cuba and various
official and business interests from the People's Republic of China on
the occasion of Xi Jinping's visit to the island has awakened great
expectations among Cubans. One of the most striking things was the
television news broadcast of the signing ceremony for the documents,
which could be seen along with all of the boring protocol details. A
parade of ministers and businessmen passed in front of the table placed
in the hall the Council of State, and in the background an enormous
stained-glass titled The Sun of our America stood under the watchful
eyes of the presidents of both countries.

While the television-announcer-turned-master-of-ceremonies was revealing
the nature of the initialed documents and saying the names and titles of
the signatories, it was difficult to take in what was really happening.
What is the difference, many wondered, between a memorandum of
understanding, an exchange of letters, a framework accord, a cooperation
agreement, a commercial contract, and a funding agreement? How could one
discern the hierarchy that distinguishes an exchange agreement from an
executive program? What is the basic difference between a framework
agreement and a memorandum of cooperation?

What everyone did understand was that the Asian giant granted credits
and made donations and investments in very sensitive areas. Examples of
these are cyberspace, communications, digital television, improvements
in the port of Santiago de Cuba, the supply of raw materials for the
production of nickel, oil drilling, and the construction of a building
complex associated with a golf course.

The rest, not wanting to overstate their importance, is filled with
Chinese water meters, young Chinese learning Spanish in Cuba, packaging
lines, office supplies, and transportation.

With regard to what was missing, at least among the 29 documents,
nothing was heard about an increase in tourism, nor was there a single
word about the Port of Mariel megaproject, and there was nothing about
free-trade agreements such as those between China and other Latin
American countries.

By chance—or benevolence—the number 13, a number so significant to the
former Cuban president, appeared at the top of the Framework Agreement
on the Establishment of the Agricultural Demonstration Farm, signed by
the ministers of agriculture of both countries, which had among its
objectives "cooperation on the science and technology of moringa,
mulberry and silk worms." What it said, a mere detail, passed unnoticed.

Source: From Cyberspace to Moringa / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar |
Translating Cuba -
http://translatingcuba.com/from-cyberspace-to-moringa-14ymedio-reinaldo-escobar/