Archive for September, 2010

Cuba an Example in Achieving Millennium Development Goals

September 30, 2010

José Juan Ortiz Brú presented the Children’s Progress report whose central theme is reaching the Millennium Development Goals. The UNICEF official said that Cuba has always prioritized children, even during its most difficult times during the Special Period that followed the collapse of the Eastern European Socialist Camp
By: Ana María Domínguez Cruz – JR

“Cuba is an example of how much can be done with limited resources, when there is a high degree of determination to prioritize the future of our nation, the children, adolescents and young people,” said the representative for the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Cuba, José Juan Ortiz Brú, on Tuesday in Havana.
José Juan Ortiz Brú presented the Children’s Progress report whose central theme is reaching the Millennium Development Goals. The UNICEF official said that Cuba has always prioritized children, even during its most difficult times during the Special Period that followed the collapse of the Eastern European Socialist Camp.
“Cuba has been able to do this through political will, more than because of technological development or monetary wealth; always aware that the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are within our own hands,” said Ortiz Brú.
During the meeting, it was noted that after a decade since the MDG’s were first approved and with only five years left in the time frame it sets out, the world is a far way from achieving them and public policy has not shifted their focus on the more vulnerable sectors of society.
“To speak of equity implies doing so based on social development policies that prioritize citizenship, and the wellbeing and participation of citizens in the building of their project. What worth does technology have if millions of children and adolescents remain outside the education system and the most basic healthcare services?” said Ortiz Brú.
The UNICEF official said that the situation that faces governments is critical with the new generations representing the largest sector of society that suffer from poverty, hunger and illnesses.
“It is not only a question of singling out the most affected regions in Africa or Latin America, but also of singling out those countries that have in their hands the power to make decisions that would close the gaps in the dominant economic system that has shown itself not capable of generating equality or of building a sustainable world.”
 

The Cuban People Have Chosen Sovereignty

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla’s address at the 65th period of sessions of the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2010

Mr. President,

The first speech in this hall by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro took place exactly 50 years ago yesterday, with that memorable phrase: “Erase the philosophy of dispossession and the philosophy of war will be erased!”

Mr. President,

Sixty million people had to die in World War II so that the leaders at that time created the United Nations with the objective of “protecting future generations from the scourge of war.”
Today, the children and grandchildren of that generation realize that the human species is in risk of disappearing. In a few decades, the degradation of living conditions on the planet will be irreversible. The same thing would occur in a few hours if only a small part of the nuclear arsenal was used.
Those who met in San Francisco to write the UN Charter could not even imagine the threat of global warming or the nuclear winter.
While we debate here, as comrade Fidel has warned, powerful and influential forces in the United States and Israel are preparing the scenario for a military attack against the Islamic Republic of Iran. For its part, the Security Council, possibly with the hope of preventing it, advances in the implementation of sanctions against that country, which, together with those of a unilateral nature illegally established by a group of states, are attempting to strangle the Iranian economy.
The recent and politically biased report by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency has contributed to add tensions and contributed pretexts for a warlike escalation.
If the aggression is carried out, it would constitute a crime against the Iranian people and a charge against peace and international law, which will detonate a conflict that will almost certainly reach nuclear dimensions. The cost will be millions of lives, and the impact for the world environment, economy and stability, incalculable.
Who, and on the basis of what guarantees, could assure the opposite? How can someone argue that current actions move the planet away from a war in the Middle East?
We’re talking about a threat that is too serious to trust on the ability of the Security Council, where the principal responsible for the crisis has had the capacity to impose its plans.
The wars against Iraq and Afghanistan show that we shouldn’t entrust to a single government or to a few governments the power to determine –once all diplomatic ways to prevent a war have been exhausted- when the use of weapons is irremediable, when the death of hundreds of thousands or of millions of people is inevitable and the destabilization of a large region of the planet or of the entire planet.
Sanctions, siege and confrontation are not ways to preserve international peace and security. On the contrary, talks, negotiations and acting in accordance with the principle of the sovereign equality of the states are the only ways to prevent a war.
Cuba praises and encourages the efforts of countries like China, Russia, Brazil and Turkey, which insist on finding a peaceful solution, and call on the international community to support these initiatives. It’s the duty of this General Assembly to formally back those attempts.
A radical reform of the United Nations and the reestablishment of the powers of this General Assembly is urgent.  It’s indispensable to re-found the Security Council.  It’s necessary to reiterate that the UN Secretary General and all the top officials of international organizations, including the IAEA, have a duty to the will of all member states, expressed in clear mandates and adopted in accordance with the Charter and procedural norms.
The serious dangers posed by nuclear weapons will be solved only by their total elimination and by establishing an absolute prohibition of them. Manipulations about non-proliferation, based on double standards and political interests, on the existence of a club of privileged people and on the denial to countries of the South of their right to a peaceful use of nuclear energy, should cease.
We urge the United States, the main nuclear power, to stop opposing negotiations of binding accords that make it possible to get rid definitively of such a threat in a predetermined period.
To advance in this endeavor, the Movement of Non Aligned Countries has made a proposal that has not been considered, which includes a plan of action with the creation of nuclear weapon-free zones. It’s urgent to establish it in the Middle East, where Israel is the only country opposing it. To achieve this would represent a real contribution to abolish the threats of war and of nuclear proliferation, and achieve lasting peace in that region.
Given the huge lethal nature and the constant development of conventional weapons, it will also be necessary to struggle for general and complete disarmament.

Mr. President,

The floods that hit Pakistan, Central America and many countries in the most diverse latitudes and the droughts and extreme temperatures that have devastated Russia are a dramatic reminder of the dangers of climate imbalance.
In the face of such a serious risk, mean interests and limited political agendas preventing the adoption of concrete and binding accords in the next Conference of the Parties of the UN Draft Convention on Climate Change should not prevail. Developed nations, the main countries responsible for global warming, should accept more ambitious goals for the reduction of emissions of greenhouse effect gases and give up the pursuit of their objective of destroying the orderenance established by the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.
It would be a lack of responsibility that the governments of industrialized countries ignored the rightful demands of non-governmental organizations and social movements, brutally repressed in Copenhagen, which met in Cochabamba scarcely five months ago in defense of Mother Earth; or that they tried to deceive public opinion once again, blaming emerging economies.

Mr. President,

For Venezuela, a country that is struggling, we ask for all the solidarity of the international community. The victory in yesterday’s parliamentary elections shows the majority support of the people for President Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution, which is facing US interference and the campaign of lies and disinformation of oligarchic groups and media empires.
Now that television cameras have left Haiti, we demand the materialization of the promises of international aid. The noble Haitian people needs resources for reconstruction and resources for development.

Mr. President,

The US government is aware of Cuba’s willingness to coexist in a climate of peace, respect and sovereign equality, which we have informed in an expressed way through official channels and that on behalf of President Raúl Castro I reiterate here.
I’m convinced that the development of bonds based on international law and the purposes and principles of the United Nations would allow Cuba and the United States to deal with many of their differences and resolve others; it would contribute to create a favorable atmosphere to try to solve the problems of our region and, at the same time, it would make a substantial contribution to the interests of our respective peoples.
The agenda for talks and the initiatives for bilateral cooperation presented to the government of President Obama on July 14, 2009, which I made public in this hall exactly a year ago, has not yet been responded to.
The US government has not shown its willingness to tackle the essential matters of the bilateral agenda, so the official talks held, without any major progress, have been limited to specific issues.
Contrary to expectations created, even inside the United States itself, his government doesn’t seem to be willing to even rectify the most irrational and universally condemned aspects of its policy against Cuba.
The basic element in the bilateral relations is the economic, commercial and financial blockade the US government imposes on my country, directly and by way of the extraterritorial implementation of its laws. It has been the object of 18 resolutions that, with the almost unanimous support of member states, have strongly demanded its elimination.
However, over the last two years that policy of blockade and subversion against Cuba has remained intact, even though it is known that the president of that country has enough prerogatives to produce a real change, for which he has the majority consensus of the US people.
For US citizens or for foreigners living in that country, traveling to Cuba continues to be illegal.
It’s not possible to sell Cuban products, or products having Cuban components or technology to the United States.
It’s forbidden to purchase there or in third countries products having a fraction of US elements or technology, with very limited exceptions.
Financial transactions made in US dollars and are somehow related to Cuba, are the object of confiscation or freezing and banks carrying them out are sanctioned.
Multi million fines on US and foreign companies for violations of the venal laws of the blockade continue to be applied.
In addition, in an open disrespect of international norms, Cuba’s radio space continues to be violated and radio and television broadcasts with subversive purposes continue to be used, while millions of federal funds continue to be devoted to cause political destabilization in my country.
Part of Cuba’s territory is seized and a military base in Guantánamo is imposed on the country, a base that has become a center for torture and of exclusion of humanitarian international law.
The US migratory policy towards Cuba, based on the “Cuban Adjustment Act,” is a politically motivated exception encouraging illegal emigration and costing human lives.
It’s profoundly immoral that the United States arbitrarily places Cuba on the spurious list of states sponsoring international terrorism. Our demand and the universal call for the immediate release of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters incarcerated in that country for 12 years now is well known. That would be an act of justice that would allow President Obama to show a real commitment in the combat against terrorism in our own hemisphere.
The President of the United States still had the opportunity of making the historic rectification of a criminal policy, a remainder of the cold war and totally unsuccessful, which has lasted fifty years. It would be an act of determination that could only have the support of those who elected him for change and of the community of nations voting for it every year.
In any case, the Cuban Revolution will maintain, unyielding and determined, the path our people have chosen in a sovereign way and will not cease in its determination, following the ideas of Marti and Fidel, of “achieving total justice.”

U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet

September 29, 2010

-By CHARLIE SAVAGE – NYT

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.
Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.
The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.
James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.
“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”
But law enforcement officials contend that imposing such a mandate is reasonable and necessary to prevent the erosion of their investigative powers.
“We’re talking about lawfully authorized intercepts,” said Valerie E. Caproni, general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “We’re not talking expanding authority. We’re talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security.”
Investigators have been concerned for years that changing communications technology could damage their ability to conduct surveillance. In recent months, officials from the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the National Security Agency, the White House and other agencies have been meeting to develop a proposed solution.
There is not yet agreement on important elements, like how to word statutory language defining who counts as a communications service provider, according to several officials familiar with the deliberations.
But they want it to apply broadly, including to companies that operate from servers abroad, like Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of BlackBerry devices. In recent months, that company has come into conflict with the governments of Dubai and India over their inability to conduct surveillance of messages sent via its encrypted service.
In the United States, phone and broadband networks are already required to have interception capabilities, under a 1994 law called the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act. It aimed to ensure that government surveillance abilities would remain intact during the evolution from a copper-wire phone system to digital networks and cellphones.
Often, investigators can intercept communications at a switch operated by the network company. But sometimes — like when the target uses a service that encrypts messages between his computer and its servers — they must instead serve the order on a service provider to get unscrambled versions.
Like phone companies, communication service providers are subject to wiretap orders. But the 1994 law does not apply to them. While some maintain interception capacities, others wait until they are served with orders to try to develop them.
The F.B.I.’s operational technologies division spent $9.75 million last year helping communication companies — including some subject to the 1994 law that had difficulties — do so. And its 2010 budget included $9 million for a “Going Dark Program” to bolster its electronic surveillance capabilities.
Beyond such costs, Ms. Caproni said, F.B.I. efforts to help retrofit services have a major shortcoming: the process can delay their ability to wiretap a suspect for months.

Moreover, some services encrypt messages between users, so that even the provider cannot unscramble them.
There is no public data about how often court-approved surveillance is frustrated because of a service’s technical design.
But as an example, one official said, an investigation into a drug cartel earlier this year was stymied because smugglers used peer-to-peer software, which is difficult to intercept because it is not routed through a central hub. Agents eventually installed surveillance equipment in a suspect’s office, but that tactic was “risky,” the official said, and the delay “prevented the interception of pertinent communications.”

Moreover, according to several other officials, after the failed Times Square bombing in May, investigators discovered that the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, had been communicating with a service that lacked prebuilt interception capacity. If he had aroused suspicion beforehand, there would have been a delay before he could have been wiretapped.
To counter such problems, officials are coalescing around several of the proposal’s likely requirements:
¶ Communications services that encrypt messages must have a way to unscramble them.
¶ Foreign-based providers that do business inside the United States must install a domestic office capable of performing intercepts.
¶ Developers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication must redesign their service to allow interception.

Providers that failed to comply would face fines or some other penalty. But the proposal is likely to direct companies to come up with their own way to meet the mandates. Writing any statute in “technologically neutral” terms would also help prevent it from becoming obsolete, officials said.
Even with such a law, some gaps could remain. It is not clear how it could compel compliance by overseas services that do no domestic business, or from a “freeware” application developed by volunteers.
In their battle with Research in Motion, countries like Dubai have sought leverage by threatening to block BlackBerry data from their networks. But Ms. Caproni said the F.B.I. did not support filtering the Internet in the United States.
Still, even a proposal that consists only of a legal mandate is likely to be controversial, said Michael A. Sussmann, a former Justice Department lawyer who advises communications providers.
“It would be an enormous change for newly covered companies,” he said. “Implementation would be a huge technology and security headache, and the investigative burden and costs will shift to providers.”
Several privacy and technology advocates argued that requiring interception capabilities would create holes that would inevitably be exploited by hackers.
Steven M. Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor, pointed to an episode in Greece: In 2005, it was discovered that hackers had taken advantage of a legally mandated wiretap function to spy on top officials’ phones, including the prime minister’s.
“I think it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” he said. “If they start building in all these back doors, they will be exploited.”

Susan Landau, a Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study fellow and former Sun Microsystems engineer, argued that the proposal would raise costly impediments to innovation by small startups.
“Every engineer who is developing the wiretap system is an engineer who is not building in greater security, more features, or getting the product out faster,” she said.
Moreover, providers of services featuring user-to-user encryption are likely to object to watering it down. Similarly, in the late 1990s, encryption makers fought off a proposal to require them to include a back door enabling wiretapping, arguing it would cripple their products in the global market.
But law enforcement officials rejected such arguments. They said including an interception capability from the start was less likely to inadvertently create security holes than retrofitting it after receiving a wiretap order.
They also noted that critics predicted that the 1994 law would impede cellphone innovation, but that technology continued to improve. And their envisioned decryption mandate is modest, they contended, because service providers — not the government — would hold the key.
“No one should be promising their customers that they will thumb their nose at a U.S. court order,” Ms. Caproni said. “They can promise strong encryption. They just need to figure out how they can provide us plain text.”

Berman Postpones Cuba Vote, Senate Weighs in – Where’s the White House?

September 29, 2010

Anya Landau French 

Yesterday afternoon, the House Foreign Affairs Committee postponed a much-anticipated vote on legislation that would end the Cuba travel ban and ease restrictions on food exports to the island.  In a statement Committee Chairman Howard Berman said:
“The Committee had been scheduled to consider this legislation tomorrow, but it now appears that Wednesday will be the last day that Congress is in session before an extended district work period. That makes it increasingly likely that our discussion of the bill will be disrupted or cut short by votes or other activity on the House floor. Accordingly, I am postponing consideration of H.R. 4645 until a time when the Committee will be able to hold the robust and uninterrupted debate this important issue deserves. I firmly believe that when we debate and vote on the merits of this legislation, and I intend for it to be soon, the right to travel will be restored to all Americans.”
Unfortunately, Berman simply ran out of time.  Which is all the more disappointing when you take into account the leviathon coalition put together by the bill’s main sponsor, Collin Peterson, and then expanded by Berman in the months following Peterson’s June markup of the bill.  In the 48 hours before the expected vote alone, supporters were everywhere at once.  Tuesday, a group of retired high-ranking military officials sent a letter to the Committee urging it to repeal the travel ban, the National Farmers Union reminded the Committee of its support for the bill, and human rights watchdogs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – whom you might expect to take the opposing view – sent appeals to the Committee in favor of the bill.  Yesterday, General Paul Eaton (ret.), a senior advisor to the National Security Network, penned a pro-travel rights commentary for The Hill, and Cuba Study Group Chairman Carlos Saladrigas of Miami authored a stirring opinion in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (the paper read by new Rep. Ted Deutsch and his constituents).  And General John Adams (ret.) penned a persuasive column in today’s Rockford Register Star (the hometown paper of one of the committee’s members).  And those are just the endorsements that I came across.
So where does all that momentum go from here?  Two thoughts.  On a conference call with bloggers two weeks ago, Berman acknowledged he was running up against the clock by trying to bring the bill through his committee before the elections.  He also acknowledged that depending on the outcome of the midterm elections, Cuba action could get lost in the rush to pack up, move out and move in new members.  But he also posited that with the election pressures past them, the outgoing Congress could yet put Cuba on the docket during the lame duck session in November/December.  It’s hard to imagine, but then again, I never thought I’d see a markup in the Agriculture Committee the summer before the elections, either.  Berman clearly understands there’s a window of opportunity here on Cuba, and wants to take advantage of it.  So, we’ll have to wait a few weeks to see whether Berman can bring the bill back to life.
But, with Berman’s postponement eyes – and pressure – will surely turn back to the White House, where it’s rumored new rules to re-institute Clinton era Cuba travel rules are stuck.  Yesterday, led by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, 24 senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to use his authority to allow broader people-to-people travel to Cuba, and to fix two rules that add cost and delay to U.S. food exports to Cuba (Baucus has a bill that, like the Peterson bill Berman was planning to consider in his committee today, would fix the rules and lift the travel ban).  With so much news coming out of Cuba, it’s truly inconceivable that the United States has not responded in any meaningful way to the very changes our President and our policymakers in Congress have been demanding Cuba start to make.

Attachments on http://thehavananote.com/2010/09/berman_postpones_cuba_vote_senate_weighs_wheres_white_house,
092710 US Military Leaders Letter to HFAC.pdf 69.02 KB
092710 NFU Support Cuba Trade_House Foreign Affairs.pdf 36.87 KB
baucus.jpg 86.91 KB
berman.jpg 8.46 KB

Fidel Calls On Cubans to Lead with their Hearts and Heads

September 29, 2010

In the long run, the easy path does not lead to the greatest fruits; the hard paths are the ones that are worth the effort, which has been the essence of the Cuban Revolution. Nobody believes that the coming years are going to be peaceful ones,” said Cuban leader Fidel Castro during the celebration for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Committees in Defense of the Revolution (CDR)

 Fidel Castro delivered a speech at the ceremony for the 50 anniversary of the creation of the CDR.
“The world is gaining a better understanding of us, of the history we have made. We are an idea, a hope, an example,” said Cuban leader Fidel Castro during the celebration for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Committees in Defense of the Revolution (CDR).
Thousands of CDR members came out for the celebration held outside the former Presidential Palace where Fidel made the call on September 28, 1960 to create what would become the largest grassroots organization in the country. Currently, more than 8.8 million Cubans belong to the CDR.
Fidel Castro urged Cubans to take each step carefully with intelligence and courage, leading with their heads and hearts.
“In the long run, the easy path does not lead to the greatest fruits; the hard paths are the ones that are worth the effort, which has been the essence of the Cuban Revolution. Nobody believes that the coming years are going to be peaceful ones,” said Fidel.
Commander in Chief Fidel Castro said that the Cuban Revolution did not end on January 1, but rather this was the beginning. “As such the tomorrow’s victory depends on the efforts made by each and every one of us. Every Cuban will have a role in this struggle that will be long and hard,” said Fidel Castro.
For half a century, the Cuban Revolution has confronted and withstood the world’s most powerful empire, both in economic and military terms, said Fidel. “A small country like Cuba has waged an honorable fight for its sovereignty and destiny against anyone who attempts to stop our revolution and our development,” Fidel assured.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro spoke about the events that led to the founding of the Committees in Defense of the Revolution (CDR) at the celebration for the 50th anniversary of what was to become the largest grassroots organization in the country.
Thousands of CDR affiliates in representation of the millions of members nationwide gathered outside the former Presidential Palace in Havana where Fidel made the call on September 28, 1960 to create the CDRs.
Fidel Castro recalled that on that day in 1960, he had just come back from a United Nations meeting in New York where he had met with some of the most important leaders of the socialist camp, including the then president of the USSR, Nikita S. Jrushov.
“I had a unique experience in that country, which led me to make the decision to address the General Assembly with complete frankness,” Fidel recalled.
He said that his UN address was a continuation of the ideas that he had expressed during his trial for the Moncada Barrack attack, and a response to the appalling vassalage taking place in the world.
Prior to Fidel Castro’s address, singer Haila María sang Andar andando, a son that is a call for peace and pacific coexistence in the world. Poet and journalist Yoelvis Quesada recited a décima that also called for peace on earth and freedom for the five Cuban antiterrorist who have been unjustly incarcerated in US prisons for more than 12 years.
( Juventud Rebelde )

“Path of Terror” (Second Part)

September 29, 2010

In video, “Path of Terror” (Second Part)

Cubavision and Cubavision International (in English) presents the the second chapter of the documentary “the terror route” with declarations by the terrorist Francisco Chávez Abarca who is now in prison in Havana after being extradited from Caracas.  His declarations relate to terrorist acts in Venezuela by opponents of the Bolivarian government.


http://www.cubadebate.cu/especiales/2010/09/28/in-video-path-of-terror-second-part/,

International intellectuals and artists sign the U.S. actors’ petition to release the Cuban Five

September 28, 2010

-Yenia Silva Correa

TWELVE years have passed since Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and René González were imprisoned in U.S. penitentiaries for defending Cuba against acts of terrorism organized in that country and perpetrated against the island.
After more than a decade of struggle to win justice in the cause of the Cuban Five, a group of U.S. artists and intellectuals are calling on President Barack Obama to release the Cuban prisoners.
The letter, sent to the U.S. head of state on September 12 asking for the release of the anti-terrorist activists, is an initiative of Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban Five, headed by Danny Glover and Ed Asner.
Film world icons such as Oliver Stone, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen and Elliot Gould immediately supported the petition.
On a global level, response to the letter was quick in arriving. Scarcely two days later, it was supported by Nobel Peace Prize winners Mairead Maguire (Ireland) and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Argentina). Friends of Cuba and defenders of the Five like Noam Chomsky from the U.S, Eduardo Galeano from Uruguay, Franco-Spaniard Manu Chao, and Puerto Rican Danny Rivera immediately responded to the U.S. artists’ demand.
Singers Daniel Viglietti (Uruguay), Víctor Heredia (Argentina) and Roy Brown (Puerto Rico) did likewise. Meanwhile, recognized media commentators in Chile such as Pedro Lemebel, Manuel Cabieses and Ariel Dorfman are also backing the missive.
To date the demand for justice has been joined by the Nobel Literature Prize winner, Nigerian Wole Soyinka; Olga Tañon, Puerto Rican singer; Miguel Bosé, Spanish singer and actor; Rodrigo Santoro, Brazilian actor; Cynthia MacKinney, former U.S. congresswoman.
Appealing to the executive faculties in the hands of Barack Obama to finally close the case of the Five, well known actors Benicio del Toro (Puerto Rico) and Sean Penn (U.S.) have shown their solidarity with the petition.
Playwright and anti-fascist fighter Alfonso Sastre (Spain), sociologist Immanuele Wallerstein of the United States; Frei Betto, Brazilian priest and writer; Hildebrando Pérez, Peruvian poet and winner of the Casa de las Américas Prize, together with filmmaker Tristán Bauer of Argentina, are also adhering to the cause.
The motion directed to President Obama is also affirmed by Belgian singer Lady Linn, who gave a concert supported by the Belgian Committee for the Liberation of the Five.

Solidarity with the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters brought together at the Brussels Palace of Justice actors Joke Devynck and Dirk Tuypens, filmmaker Jonas Geirnaert; deputies Sven Gatz, Celine Delforge, Zoé Genot and Sfia Bouarfa.

The demand for the release of Gerardo, Antonio, René, Fernando and Ramón, initiated by outstanding U.S. figures in the movie world, has also been seconded by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.
In just one week the network of solidarity that has emerged in the United States demanding justice for the Five was joined by Chico Buarque de Hollanda, an emblematic voice in Brazil.
Highly regarded African-American intellectuals such as Alice Walker and Amiri Baraka (Leroy Jones), and Europeans Istvan Meszaros, Armand and Michelle Mattelart and Luca Barbarossa have also added their names.
Gerardo, Antonio, René, Fernando and Ramón were handed down excessive and unjustified sentences in September 1998. This U.S. artists’ initiative with broad international support is a new and forceful demand to the president of the United States to finally bring about justice.

ALICIA ALONSO DEMANDS JUSTICE FROM OBAMA
In Havana, prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso, together with other Cuban intellectuals and artists, are demanding of President Barack Obama the release of the Five.
During a meeting at the Muro por la Paz (Peace Wall), the director of the Cuban National Ballet advocated art as a language of understanding among nations and called on the U.S. people to be aware of the danger of a nuclear war that could extinguish the human species.
Miguel Barnet, president of the Cuban Union of Artists and Writers, thanked the U.S. cultural figures who signed a letter calling for the liberation of the anti-terrorists.
“We hope that President Obama has the good sense and courage to exercise his authority so that the Five can return to their country, their homes and their families,” he added.
In a symbolic act, visual artist Alexis Leyva (Kcho), another of the panelists, released five doves representing the incarcerated heroes and declared that until they are released, Cuban art will be there at the Muro por la Paz.

Ricardo Alarcón, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power, also spoke at the event, as did poet Nancy Morejón, who read out a poem dedicated to the Five.

 

US generals urge U.S. to lift Cuba travel ban

September 28, 2010

Nine retired U.S. military officers are urging that the U.S. travel ban to Cuba be lifted.


In a letter ( http://spi.typepad.com/files/us-military-leaders-letter-to-hfac-cuba-travel-ban-092710.pdf, ) to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.), retired generals Paul Eaton, Robert Gard, John Castellaw, John Hutson, David Irvine, John Johns, Stephen Xenakis, and retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson argue that Cuba does not pose a threat to the security of the United States. Eaton currently serves as a senior advisor to the progressive National Security Network, and Wilkerson was an advisor to former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
“We have already seen how the loosened travel restrictions for families visiting relatives in Cuba have begun to build good will and change from within in Cuba,” the retired U.S. military officers write. “Lifting the overall travel ban would extend this cultural and economic engagement and … [enhance] our security by removing unnecessary sources of discontent in a country so close to the United States.”
Berman’s committee is scheduled to hold a markup of legislation on the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act (H.R. 4645) Wednesday at noon.
With Cuba having recently released political prisoners and trying to build a private sector of Cubans leaving state payrolls, “the right thing for Congress to do is affirm and support these reforms by loosening restrictions on travel for all Americans,” the Center for Democracy in the Americas’s Sarah Stephens said. “If there were ever a time to remove them, this would be it.”
Separately, Judy Gross, the wife of a USAID subcontractor being detained by Cuba Alan Gross, was permitted to visit him in Cuba in August, the State Department confirmed last week.

Cuba’s CDRs Celebrate 50th Anniversary with Fidel Castro

by Pastor Guzmán — Escambray
Presided over by Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro, the 50th anniversary of the Committees in Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) constitution was marked this morning in Havana. Also present at the rally were guest personalities from different countries as well as the relatives of the Cuban Five antiterrorist fighters unfairly kept in US for 12 years now.
Juan José Rabilero, coordinator of the Committees in Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) in the island was the first to take the floor in the meeting also attended by representatives of the Cuban Party, government, political and grassroots organizations.
Rabilero highlighted the development of the Cuban organization during the last fifty years in defense of the Cuban socialist Revolution. CDR members have been always on the alert against enemy aggressions encouraged by the US government and Cuban origin terrorist groups
Young Cuban poet Yoelki Sánchez put his speech into verses to highlight the glorious history of the CDRs, the recent victory of the Venezuelan Socialist Party and the battle we must fight for peace and against the war menace that threatens humankind due to US and its allies’ irresponsible actions.
Fidel Castro is privileged for having the opportunity to address the Cuban people like he did fifty years ago in 1960 exactly in the same location where the CDR organization was founded.
Also present at the rally were guest personalities from different countries as well as the relatives of the Cuban Five antiterrorist fighters unfairly kept in US for 12 years now.
 

Cuba’s CDR Members Will not Yield an Inch of Ground
       

Camagüey, Sep 28 – Addressing a crowd that cried the name of Fidel, the celebration rally marking the 50 anniversary of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) began. Excerpts of the historical speech delivered by the Commander-in-Chief on September 28, 1960, recalled the moments when Cuba’s largest grass-root organization was founded.
National Coordinator of the CDR Juan José Rabilero was the first that took the floor. He emphasized on the need to strengthen the organization each day and acknowledged the decisive role that it has played in each tasks of the Revolution. Rabilero also pointed out that “the battles in which we have been engaged and those that will come, would be more difficult to win if the CDR did not exist”.
In his speech, Rabilero thanked Fidel Castro, on behalf of the Cuban people, for the possibility he gave them to defend the Revolution in each street and block, and insisted on the fact that the CDR members will not yield an inch of ground. Besides he urged the people to preserve the conquests of the Revolution.
When the country is adopting critical economic reforms, the mission of the CDR members is to support the urban agricultural movement and the reorganization of the labor force. In addition, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution must strengthen the nighttime guard duty and vigilance to fight the lack of discipline within the society and the counterrevolutionary actions.
The CDR National Coordinator took this opportunity to warn those who try to destabilize the country, that the CDR members are still on alert and ready to defend the bequest left by our heroes and martyrs. “We belong to the lineage of those who fight to overcome the obstacles”, he stressed. (Arailaisy Rosabal García / Radio Cadena Agramonte).
 

Under the Sign of Terror

September 28, 2010

 

–  Deisy Francis Mexidor, Marina Menéndez

videos: http://www.cubadebate.cu/especiales/2010/09/28/under-the-sign-of-terror/,

Luis Posada Carriles is still at large in the United States where he’s only being accused of migratory transgressions. However, the detention last July 1st of one of his paid terrorists, Salvadoran Francisco Chávez Abarca, El Panzón, must be a source of concern to him because of what this man knows and what he has done.
Wanted by INTERPOL, Chávez Abarca was trying to get into Venezuela. What for? asked President Hugo Chávez when he made his denunciation before the TV cameras in Venezuela.
The terrorist has confessed: he wanted to reproduce in that country a sinister plan which had already had “results” in Cuba in the 1990s, when a string of violent actions against hotels in the island nation, aimed at discouraging tourism, caused one fatality, several injured and great devastation. It was intended by the Miami rightwing sponsored by the various US administrations as a “master coup” to destroy a revolution that from 1959 has endured numerous criminal conspiracies intended for its obliteration.
Chávez Abarca was a major piece. He not only set up three of those explosive devices but also hired Central American mercenaries for similar missions.  Last July, 13 years later, he resurfaced in Caracas, near the onset of the campaign for the legislative elections to be held this September 26 in Venezuela. The person behind his plans to undertake criminal actions and destabilize that country was the same: Luis Posada Carriles.
Transferred to Havana to face the charges brought against him, which had led to his inclusion in the Cuba INTERPOL red alert, Chávez Abarca has spared no details during the investigation and confirmed that in both countries the terrorists and the plans are quite the same.
According to his own confession, months before his arrival in the Maiquetía airport he had received instructions from the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) and Posada to destabilize Venezuela.
They were excited over the coup d’état on José Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, on June 29, 2008, and toyed with the idea of a successful plot against Venezuela. They thought that “the left would be weakened because this was the country with the highest economic capability” in Latin America.
He says that during various meetings they brought up the need to embark on violent and destabilizing actions in Venezuela to try influencing the result of the elections. These included arranging demonstrations, burning tires, and assaulting National Assembly candidates and even President Hugo Chávez. He was also told that there was much money involved.
In the opinion of José Luis Méndez, an academic with the State Security Center for Historic Investigations (CIHSE), this tells us “that the terrorists are active and doing things; it sounds an alert.”
On the other hand, thorough researcher Eva Golinger thinks that subversion and aggression against Venezuela by such CIA front organizations as USAID and NED have intensified in light of the consolidation of the Bolivarian Revolution and its impact on other countries like Bolivia and Ecuador.

CLOSING THE CIRCLE
The onset of the investigation that will put Chávez Abarca on trial in Havana is not only shedding light on the dirty plans on Venezuela but it will also mark the continuation of the 1999 trials against Salvadoran mercenary Raúl Ernesto Cruz León and Guatemalans María Elena González Meza, Nader Kalam Musalam Barakat and Jazid Iván Fernández Mendoza, the people he recruited to sow terror in our country.
Identified by León during his trial as “the man who recruited him,” Abarca has since then been proven guilty albeit he had yet to be brought to a court and before the Cuban people.
His actions against our country are part of the escalation of criminal actions carried out in the second half of the 1990s, when the type of terrorism that has characterized the anti-Cuban policy pursued by the US and the Miami Mafia materialized in a wave of brutal actions against Cuban tourist facilities.
Such actions would have the additional effect of selling to the world the image of a restless and combative opposition. The bomb blasts and arsons, which were the main features of sabotages in Cuba in the 1960s, were replaced by lethal devices that the terrorists assembled themselves before setting them up in places with a high concentration of tourists. Such devices could be programmed several days in advance.
They only needed a simple pocket calculator, a watch, a detonator, some wires and C-4, a powerful explosive looking like Plasticine, introduced in Cuba by the criminals in apparently harmless toothpaste tubes and flasks of deodorant or shampoo, as they pretended to be tourists. Actually, some of those C-4 caches seized could have blown up two flying planes. It was the same substance that Posada Carriles and his accomplices Guillermo Novo Sampol, Gaspar Jiménez Escobedo and Pedro Crispín Remón would try to use later to assassinate Commander in Chief Fidel Castro during the Ibero American Summit in Panama, in 2000.However, the people in charge of setting up the explosives in Cuba at that stage would not be Cubans, nor would they be coming from the United States. They would be mercenaries recruited in a third country, basically from the Central American region, where a ring of mercenaries paid by the CANF in Miami established their base.
One of their main leaders in Panama would be Posada Carriles, then a resident of El Salvador under such names as Ignacio and Ramón Medina, and Arnaldo Monzón Plasencia, a.k.a. El Joyero, a CANF director who, from that position, funded terrorist groups such as Alpha ‘66 based in Florida.
Then, around the years 1995 or 1996, Chávez Abarca met Posada at the Moldtrock car workshop owned by José Ramón San Feliú Rivera’s brother in the Salvadoran capital. There could be no better place since San Feliú was close to Posada Carriles, and just like his father, Ramón San Feliú Mayoral, he had close links with the rightwing party ARENA.
In that first meeting, Posada proposed to bring explosives into Cuba, but later “he showed me everything, how to make a bomb.”
“He took care of the travel tickets, the accommodation, everything; I only had to give him my passport,” he says, and “he indicated that I could stuff the explosive in a pair of brown boots.”
He would be paid $2,000 for every bomb blast. He set up three but only one of them exploded. Still, the devastation at the Meliá Cohíba Hotel’s disco earned him congratulations from such people as Arnaldo Monzón, El Joyero; Guillermo Novo Sampol, Pedro Crispín Remón and Posada. “They wanted Cuba to be included in the list of countries ‘dangerous’ for tourists […] There, I met Raúl Ernesto Cruz León and described the plans clearly to him, what was going to be done and where, and I said that he could decide whether it was possible or not, if he would do it or not, and he said yes, he said that if everything was OK he agreed to do it,” says Chávez Abarca during the investigation. “Then we buy Raúl a pair of boots to carry the explosives, the felt-tip pens to hide the detonators, and a clock -as an option-because you couldn’t bring in the batteries. Posada prepares everything for Raúl and gives it to me.”
“I don’t have good memories of Posada,” he says, for he deals with people “as if they were expendable objects.” It was he who said “that we had to go on setting up bombs.” Then, Abarca placed another one in Cuba’s commercial offices in the Mexican capital.

SUBVERSION AND TERRORISM ARE SYNONIMS
The story is well known: a young Italian tourist, Fabio Di Celmo, lost his life and various people were wounded during that wave of terrorism.
But the latest statements by Novo Sampol confirm that the criminal plans are not a thing of the past. On June 26, this partner of Posada Carriles, encouraged by the tolerance of the US administration said in an interview that he was not repentant of what he did in the past.
This terrorist, who justified the string of sabotages in Havana’s hotels, said in the same interview that his “friend” Posada “is very excited; he’s a very joyful man.”
This man and Posada, together with Jiménez Escobedo and Crispín Remón, were arrested in Panama in 2000, during the preparations of an assault on Fidel’s life that they planned to implement at the 10th Ibero American Summit in that country.
The four terrorists were pardoned in 2004 by President Mireya Moscoso, and they continue to hatch new plans with the impunity granted by Washington.
The victory of the Cuban Revolution on January 1st, 1959, drove the US hegemony in the Latin American continent into a crisis.
The political basis of the imperial system of domination based on the notion of National Security could not accept a different social system that transcended the scenarios of the decision-making centers of power. This is perhaps the premise to understand why subversion and terrorism were incorporated into the policy promoted against the island nation.
It’s no secret that after the fiasco of the mercenary invasion by the Bay of Pigs, in April 1961, the White House was forced to deal with a new reality: the Island could not be crushed through domestic or external coups d’état backed by propaganda campaigns and the manipulation of regional organizations, a method pursued until that moment to confront the Latin American revolutionary movements, as indicated by PhD Jacinto Valdés-Dapena Vivanco from CIHSE.
It was from Washington that intelligence operations were fostered to measure the content of the actions of the revolutionary forces, their prospects and projections; to establish rings of agents to carry out espionage, terrorism, sabotage and subversive propaganda; to systematically develop smear campaigns to discredit the Revolution’s political program and to create social and economic conditions in the country conducive to a counterrevolutionary political climate.
The United States then tried to isolate the Cuban Revolution diplomatically; to deploy the instruments of the economic warfare to thwart our social development and to fabricate, through covert means, the groups of so-called “dissidents” to offer the international public the image of a domestic political opposition as an alternative to the revolution.
A number of terrorist groups sponsored by the CIA have played an outstanding role in this dirty war against Cuba that started in 1959. Most of them chose to act towards the physical removal of Fidel, but their every plan has been dismantled and defeated.

EXAMPLES OF THE WAVE OF TERRORISM AGAINST CUBA IN THE LATE 1990′S
March 1995.- A bomb is set up in Varadero; Cuban terrorists Santos Armando Martínez Rueda and José Enrique Ramírez Oro are captured.
April 12, 1997.- A bomb explodes at the Meliá Cohíba Aché disco. The explosive was set up by Salvadoran terrorist Francisco Chávez Abarca.
April 30, 1997.- An explosive device is found and defused on the 15th floor of the Meliá Cohíba hotel. It was set up by Chávez Abarca.
July 12, 1997.- Bombs explode in the Capri and National hotels. They were set up by Otto René Rodríguez Llerena.
August 22, 1997.- Explosion at Sol Palmeras hotel in Varadero.
September 4, 1997.- Bomb blasts in the Copacabana, Chateau-Miramar and Tritón hotels and in the Bodeguita del Medio restaurant. The bombs were set up by Cruz León.
March 4, 1998.- Guatemalans María Elena González Meza and Nader Kalam Musalan Barakat are detained at the José Martí International airport as they try to introduce explosives in the country.
June 10, 1998.- Salvadoran Otto René Rodríguez Llerena is detained at the airport in his second trip to Cuba.

-doc in pdf : http://www.cubadebate.cu/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/editorial_terrorismo_1_ingles.pdf,

! AND WHAT ABOUT OLGA AND ADRIANA ?

September 27, 2010

Wife of detained US contractor visits him in Cuba
By WILL WEISSERT and PAUL HAVEN (AP)
HAVANA — The wife of an American contractor detained in Cuba for nine months on suspicion of spying has been allowed to come to the island and visit him, two people familiar with the case said Thursday.
Alan and Judy Gross met in mid-August, apparently at a beach home provided by the Cuban government. The sources spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case and the fact they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Neither source would provide any additional details on the meeting or say where exactly it took place or how long it lasted. American officials have described Gross as having lost weight since his incarceration, but have also said he is being treated well.
Gross’s family had no comment, nor did the Cuban government. Gloria Berbena, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, which Washington maintains instead of an embassy, would say only that American consular officials meet with Gross monthly.
Gross, 60, a native of Potomac, Maryland, was working for a firm contracted by the U.S. Agency for International Development when he was arrested Dec. 3 and sent to Havana’s high-security Villa Marista prison. He has not been charged, but Cuban officials including President Raul Castro have accused him of spying.
The U.S. says Gross committed no crime and his wife has said he brought communications equipment intended for island Jewish groups, not for political use.
It was not clear if Judy Gross’ visit signaled that the case is any closer to resolution. Gross’ long detention has been held up as a key stumbling block to improved U.S.-Cuba relations.
In July, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took the unusual step of urging Jewish groups to join the campaign to persuade Cuba to release Gross.
“Alan was providing information and technology that would assist this community to be better connected,” Clinton said at a State Department reception.
Visiting New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said during an Aug. 26 trip to Havana that he appealed to Cuban authorities to treat the detention as a “humanitarian case,” and that he thought he had made some inroads.
Julia Sweig, a Cuba expert at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations who met with Fidel Castro and other officials during a recent visit, also said she got the sense Cuba would like to see the case resolved.
Judy Gross’s visit comes amid rumors that the Obama administration might loosen travel restrictions to allow more students, researchers and educators to come to the island.
America has maintained a 48-year embargo that chokes off nearly all trade to Cuba, and prohibits American tourists from coming here. The project Gross worked with was part of a $40 million a year USAID program to promote democracy and political change on the island.
U.S. officials defend it, saying they will never give up on pushing for democracy and openness in Cuba, but the program has been criticized by detractors as ineffective and counterproductive.
Cuban officials have been clamoring for more family access to five Cuban agents serving long sentences in the United States for infiltrating anti-Castro groups. Cuba considers the men heroes.
Some have speculated Gross’ release could be part of an exchange that would see one or more of the Cuban agents come home, though Washington has repeatedly denied such plans are in the works.

The self-employed sector, Much more than an alternative

-Leticia Martínez Hernández

This past August 1 President Raúl Castro Ruz announced to the National Assembly the decision to extend the self-employed sector and use it as an another option for workers seeking alternative jobs after the necessary process of reducing the country’s inflated employment registers in the public sector. In the Assembly session it was made known that various current restrictions would be eliminated in order to allow the authorization of new licenses and the marketing of certain products, in addition to providing greater flexibility to hire a workforce within certain activities.
Since then many people have been awaiting a solution that, far from being improvised or ephemeral, makes it possible to increase the availability of goods and services, while assuring an income to those who decide to do this work. It will contribute to the state being relieved of the burden of excessive subsidies, while placing in non-state hands goods and services which it has provided for years in spite of a difficult economic context.
Increasing the opportunities for self-employment is one of the decisions which the country is making in terms of restructuring its economic policy, in order to increase levels of productivity and efficiency. It is also an attempt to offer workers another way of feeling useful in terms of personal effort, and to distance ourselves from those concepts that almost condemned self-employment to extinction and stigmatized those who decided to legally join that sector in the 1990s.
On August 1, the approval of a tax system of taxation for the self-employed sector was also made public, in line with the nation’s new economic scenario. Whoever contributes more, will receive more is the principle of the new tax regime that will help to increase sources of income to the state budget, and achieve an adequate redistribution of that income to society.
178 new categories of self-employment have been authorized. Photo: Ismael Batista
 But, how is the self-employed sector to be extended? What activities are included in it? What restrictions are being eliminated? How is it to be organized and regulated? What taxes are to be paid? Granma went out to seek the answers to these and other questions by consulting specialists from the Ministries of Economy and Planning, Finance and Prices; and Labor and Social Security, which are preparing the regulations for self-employment, to be implemented from this October.
Self-employment, not another’s
Admi Valhuerdi Cepero, first deputy minister at the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, explained that there will be178 categories of self-employment, within which 83 may hire additional employees who do not have to be members of the same household or relatives of the business owner. “Authorizations are to be given for 29 new activities that, while they are currently exercised, were not given re-authorization a number of years back.” Among them she mentioned food vendors of various categories, winemakers, saw operators, stonemasons, engine and ignition coilers, wreath and flower sellers, panel beaters, sports trainers (except martial arts), refuse recycler, masseurs, etc.
 Seven activities have been added to the existing categories, which include bookkeeping, with the exception of accountants and bookkeeping working in that specialty; park and public place restroom attendants; subject revisers, excluding active teachers; casual agricultural workers; roadside stand or cart vendors of agricultural produce in sales outlets or highway kiosks; and travel assistants, referring to those people who organize passengers with private taxis at the terminals.
Valhuerdi also explained that the granting of new authorizations for self-employed work would remain limited for now to nine kinds of work, because there is no licit market for raw materials, although viable alternatives are being studied. They are: auto body workers, marble and granite carvers and vendors; sellers of soap, shoe polish, dyes, ropes and similar items; smelters and blacksmiths; flame cutters; vendors of aluminum items; floor waxers; and vendors of non-iron cast metal items.
Concerning the market for these activities, Marino Murillo Jorge, minister of economy and planning, explained, “We are designing within the economic plan for the coming year, what we have to incorporate bearing in mind the new changes which will demand hardware stores and kitchen equipment which is not are currently not on sale. We have to manage the plan to fit in with what has been done. The ideal is a wholesale market with different prices for the self-employed. But we are not going to be able to do that in the next few years. Right now we have to find a market where they can buy what is necessary although without differentiating retail prices.”
Valhuerdi commented that, when the resolution comes into force it will allow up to 20 seats in “paladares,”(independently owned house restaurants) where places were previously limited to 12; it will allow the sale of food products made from potatoes, seafood and beef. It will also abolish the requisite of being retired or having some workplace link in order to have access to this form of employment.
With these regulations university professionals and technicians who graduated before 1964 may continue to work for themselves. In this way the work undertaken for more than 40 years by a small number of people registered in the Taxpayers Registry has been respected.
 In creating greater flexibility in the self-employed sector an extension in the rental of housing has been borne in mind, which eliminates the old restrictions that involve a “highly visible” network of infractions. Those prohibitions, which at one point fulfilled a function, now constitute an obstacle in the difficult problem of housing. Therefore new regulations authorize people who have authorization to live abroad (PRE) or those who, while living in Cuba, leave the country for more than three months to rent their residences. Similarly, and to support self- work, they provide the possibility of renting homes, rooms and spaces for exercising their work.
It is worthwhile to note that the homeowners can appoint a representative to request a license to rent, to facilitate those who are not in the country and who wish to rent their homes. The approval will be in all cases, up to the municipal director of housing. The same situation will apply to transportation providers who decide to work in a self-employed capacity. Those who have authorization to live abroad or travel for more than three months may also name a representative to rent their vehicles.
When these new regulations come into effect, those linked to the self-employed sector, and those who join it, will be obligated to pay taxes on personal income, on sales, on public services, and for utilizing a workforce, as well as making in Social Security contributions.
A special mention should be made to self-employed workers’ Social Security contributions, because in order to offer them protection for old age, total disability, maternity or, in the case of their death, to their family, a special scheme has been organized that these workers are required to join, with the exception of those also working in the state sector, who are retirees, receiving a pension or who are beneficiaries of another Social Security program.
All of these measures related to self-employed work, which Granma is to continue detailing in upcoming issues, will make it possible for this form of employment to provide another alternative, under the vigilant eye of the state which, as the representative of the people, is mandated to seek solutions to improve the standard of living of Cubans, while always respecting the socialist principles that govern our constitution. As the president stated at the 3rd Ordinary Sessions of the 7th Legislature of Parliament on August 1, 2009, the objective is to defend, maintain and continue improving socialism, not to destroy it. That is the road along which Cuba continues to travel.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS) regulation on the extension of self-employed work lays down that those in this sector can engage in more than one activity, within their municipality of origin or in any part of the country, as long as they meet the regulations established by the Administration Councils. Thus they will have the possibility of undertaking work at home or in any other rented premises or space. The document lays down that workers can market their good and services to state agencies within the financial limits that these have.
At the present time discussions are underway with the Central Bank of Cuba on how to facilitate bank credits for persons deciding to become self-employed in order to set up the activity they have chosen.
Officials at the National Institute of Housing have announced, from October of this year, the abolition of the prohibition on renting out entire houses in CUC; time-limited renting; and renting out buildings assigned by the state after 2001, and in those in which construction work has been carried out in recent years. These measures have been approved without exception in all of the national territory. The new regulation permits owners who rent to hire a workforce and undertake other self-employed activities.
-Translated by Granma International

Continuation of Terrorist Plans from the US

September 24, 2010

The statements of Francisco Chávez Abarca and the plans against Venezuela expose the continuation of the terrorist actions against Cuba and raise new questions on the complicity of the CIA, CANF, Posada Carriles and the anti-Cuban members of Congress.

As news were published that Luis Posada Carriles and various extremist organizations based in the US intend to carry on their plans of violent and paramilitary actions against Cuba, international terrorist Francisco Antonio Chávez Abarca was arrested in Venezuela last July 1st. He is one of the main links of the Central American connection employed in violent actions against Cuba by the notorious criminal, the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) and some of its former members that currently make up the Council for the Liberation of Cuba (CLC).

http://www.cubadebate.cu/especiales/2010/09/24/continuation-of-terrorist-plans-from-the-us/,

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Ban Ki-moon Praises Cuba’s Efforts to Fulfill MDGs

Víctor M. Carriba

UNITED NATIONS

The recognition was made at a meeting held by Ki-moon with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, who was attending the MDG Summit that concluded on Wednesday.

The MDGs, the officials agreed, depend on the strengthening of the political will of governments for their fulfillment, as this organization pointed out in an official press release.

At the meeting, Ban Ki-moon spoke highly of the impressive advances made by Cuba with regards to the MDGs, and expressed his appreciation of the assistance provided by Cuba to Haiti following the January 12 earthquake that destroyed that island nation.

According to the communiqué, the officials discussed other issues, such as humanitarian aid and climate change.

(PL)


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