Archive for July, 2011

Cuban Media Battle Crucial

July 30, 2011
Escrito por Martin Hacthoun   
sábado, 30 de julio de 2011
Imagen activa

 (Prensa Latina) The media battle currently waged by Cuba in defense of the truth about its situation against continuous defamatory campaigns promoted abroad was considered crucial by members of the 22nd US-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan.

  In a panel held at the Havana-based House of Friendship titled “The Role of Youth in the Media Battle,” members of the solidarity group agreed that 99 percent of information worldwide is controlled by big Western media corporations.

They highlighted efforts made by Cuba in order to broaden access to new information technologies, though this endeavor is also a target of attacks from known power circles interested in distorting the real situation in the country.

Some members criticized the US media in particular and said that most information is distorted to the point that what is good is bad, and what is bad is presented as good.

They warned of the danger faced by Cuban youth, as the United States wants to take it hostage through the Internet, and it would be a form of domination, something impossible thanks to the culture and education the Cuban people have nourished.

Participants also congratulated Cuban alternative media, including Cubadebate website, which keep many people in the United States and the world informed about reality in the Island.

Chief correspondent of Juventud Rebelde newspaper Yailin Orta, also a member of the panel, said that young journalists have the tools of new technologies and use them in their daily work, always with a discourse characterized by plurality and a strong spiritual force.

Director of Juventud Rebelde website Yurisander Guevara said that the country is seeking to develop infrastructure to guarantee Internet service, but he recalled the US stand on this issue.

“Thanks to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, Cuba has a cable of optical fiber linking it with Venezuela,” he said.

“When we try to post a message with Cubaâ�Ös reality, we are immediately tracked and attacked; hence this media battle is waged in a hostile, tense atmosphere,” noted Guevara.

Cuban panel members agreed that the main objective is to develop the youthâ�Ös analytical capacity, so they are no longer passive observers, and motivate them to be involved in forming public opinion based on reflection.


Concern in Cuba over Likely Probation for One of the Cuban Five

July 29, 2011

( René’s wife Olga, daughter Yvette and insert of René )

The mother of the Cuban antiterrorist fighter imprisoned in the US Rene Gonzalez, Irma Sehwerert, expressed on Thursday her concern over a likely enforcement of a probation ruling for her son to be served in Miami, once he has totally served his sentence in the United States.

Rene would be at a higher peril in the streets of Miami than in jail, said his mother during a meeting with members of the 22th US-Cuba Friendship Caravan who are in Cuba until July 31.

“Imagine, Rene living in Miami for three years. We would not be at ease for one minute,” said Sehwerert when referring to the legal situation of one of the five Cuban anti terrorist fighters imprisoned in the US since September 1998.

Due to this, his release after 15 years in prison is a cause of concern for all Cubans.

Irma Sehwerert mentioned the efforts of defense lawyers for returning her son to Cuba once he is released from prison.

“If not, we will keep you informed (Caravan members) to see what you can do to protect him,” said Rene Gonzalez’ mother in presence of other relatives of the Cuban Five, as the antiterrorist fighters are known in the international campaigns for their release. The leaders of the Caravan met with Sehwerert and another three relatives of Ramon Labañino and Fernando Gonzalez, who along with Gerardo Hernandez and Antonio Guerrero are serving up to double life imprisonment sentences in the US.

( prensa latina )


Relatives of the Cuban Five Met with Members of the U.S.-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan

July 29, 2011

(acn) The relatives of the five Cubans imprisoned in
the U.S. for fighting terrorism met on Thursday in Havana with the members
of the 22nd U.S.-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan.

Among some of the relatives present in the meeting held at the
headquarters of the Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP) were Rosa Aurora
Freijanes, wife of Fernando Gonzalez; Irma Sehwerert, mother of Rene
Gonzalez; Ailí Labañino, daughter of Ramon Labañino; and Candido Rene
Gonzalez, father of Rene Gonzalez.

Irma Sehwerert, mother of Rene Gonzalez, said that they will always
remember Rev. Lucius Walker because he was a tireless fighter for the
release of the five antiterrorist fighters.

“Lucius will always be among us,” she said and added that he was always
disseminating the truth about the case of the Five in the U.S.,
“attempting to break the wall of silence”.

Irma said that little by little “with everyone’s help, we will get the
people in the U.S. to know about the truth behind Rene, Gerardo
(Hernandez), Fernando, Ramon and Antonio (Guerrero)”. “There is a crack on
that wall and it will soon be broken”, she added referring to the silence
on the case.

The father of Rene Gonzalez, Candido, said that one of the problems in the
U.S. is that the mass media has never reported the truth. “The trial in
Miami,” said Candido, “was manipulated by the press. We learned that
journalists in Miami were paid by the U.S. government to report against
the Five”.

Rosa Aurora Freijanes, wife of Fernando Gonzalez, said that 13 years is
enough.  She stressed that Adriana, wife of Gerardo, and Olga Salanueva,
Rene’s, have not been able to visit their husbands in prison because
Washington continues to deny them entry visas.

A caravanista asked the relatives of the Cuban Five what can they do as
solidarity activists to help get their release since practically all of
the legal aspects of the case have been carried out. Rosa Aurora said that
only with the help of international solidarity can the Five be released.
She recalled that this is a political issue and it’s been very hard for
U.S. solidarity activists to break the silence on the case, but stressed
that President Barack Obama has the executive power to pardon the Five.

Many people, she added, have written to the U.S. president and his wife
Michelle Obama. Rosa Aurora pointed out that Barack and Michelle are both
attorneys and enough pressure from the people of the U.S. can get them to
understand the injustice and violations to U.S. and international law
regarding the antiterrorist fighters.

Many caravanistas pledged to continue working in favor of the Cuban Five.
 Many of them are activists in the International Committee to Free the
Five and others belong to the U.S. committee.  Reverend Tom Smith,
Director of the Board of the Inter-Religious Foundation for Community
Organization (IFCO) said that in honor of Rev. Lucius Walker “we must
continue to fight harder and not stop until our brothers are released and
back home with their relatives”.


Send a birthday greeting to: René González and Fernando González!

July 28, 2011
Fernando, Rene 08 B-day ENG

Two of the Cuban Five have birthdays in August. Be sure to send them a birthday greeting!You can write to them directly at the prison (addresses below) or transmit a greeting via our email address below. We will mail them the greeting that you send us.

René González was born August 13, 1956.
His address is:
René González, #58738-004
F.C.I. Marianna
P.O. Box 7007
Marianna, FL 32447-7007

Fernando González was born August 18, 1963.
He is registered in prison as Rubén Campa, so you have to address the envelope as:
Rubén Campa, #58733-004
F.C.I. Terre Haute
P.O. Box 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808
Then inside the cards and letters, you can write to him as Fernando.

Contact Us:


phone: 415-821-6545



Amnesty International Declares to be in Favor of Cuban Five

July 27, 2011

Mexico (acn)

Amnesty International (AI) issued a report
which reflects serious concerns about the fairness of the trial of the
five Cubans unjustly imprisoned in U.S. jails.

There are fears about serious injustices and a real concern that the
Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal, which violates Article 10 of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reads the report cited by
Mexican news outlets.

AI questions how much access the defense lawyers had to evidence, and even
the validity and soundness of these, so it calls on Washington to
reconsider the case and take appropriate action to remedy such arbitrariness.

After discussing the matter in detail, the report concluded that the
process was surrounded by anomalies and considered punishment that was
imposed disproportionate.

The text was presented on Monday by Alfonso Anaya y Maricarmen Montes,
from the Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero International Christian Service of
Solidarity with Latin America and the Caribbean, along Daniel Zapico, from
AI, and Peter Gellert, director of the Solidarity-with-Cuba Movement in

Activists insist on reviewing the cause of Fernando Gonzalez, Gerardo
Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero and René González, who are
serving unjust sentences, for fulfilling the sacred patriotic duty to
protect their nation from the activities of Florida-based terrorist groups.

In their opinion all the legal avenues in the case are not yet completely
closed and they see as imperative the possibility of a pardon by the
Barack Obama Administration.

As part of this campaign, Zapico announced during a press conference, a
march of solidarity with Cuba on Tuesday in the Federal District, with the
participation of over 100 social and civic organizations.

The mobilization, which will start from the floor dedicated to the
independence hero Benito Juarez (the Benefactor) to the U.S. Embassy, aims
to salute the 58 anniversary of the assault on the Moncada and Carlos
Manuel de Cespedes, reported La Jornada newspaper.


Truth Held Hostage

July 27, 2011

by Ricardo Alarcón

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed,
or hidden that will not be made known.” (Luke 12:2)
 The following talk was delivered by Ricardo Alarcón at the Cuban University of Information Sciences (UCI), Havana, July 20, 2011.
To start out, from a juridical standpoint the case of the Cuban Five has run its course. We’re now turning to an extraordinary proceeding called Habeas Corpus, which is an opportunity that is available only once to convicted persons after they have exhausted all appeals. Here we have to take into account that historically the chances of our compañeros being freed this way are extremely remote.

However, we’re taking this step for two basic reasons. First of all, it’s a matter of principles: We have to wage this battle on every front that we can, because these are five innocent men who are suffering cruel and unfair imprisonment. Second, because only in the case of judicial decisions has it become possible, even partially and in a limited manner, to break through the iron-clad censorship that the mass media have imposed on this case.

I could have also begun this talk by saying that the present situation of the Five is identical to that which they faced thirteen years ago. There’s no news about them. They are suffering a double imprisonment: That imposed by their jailers, and that imposed by journalists.

The first thing we have to ask is why the media silence? Is it that Cuba, its Revolution, its problems, have been of little or no media interest? As you well know, it is very much to the contrary. Our country has received and keeps receiving attention incomparably greater than that given to other countries of this continent. They analyze us day and night under powerful spotlights and magnifying glass, almost always distorting the most diverse aspects of our reality. So, why do they hardly ever say anything about this case? If the Five had committed a crime, if any one of them had done, or tried to do, something against the American people, does anyone have the slightest doubt that they would have been a constant topic in the anti-Cuban propaganda?

The truth is that the Five are completely innocent and are literally, without exaggeration, heroes who have sacrificed their lives to save ours, showing an unsurpassed altruism. This is not an exercise in rhetoric.

This truth is proven in official U.S. government documents and in its courts. Their mission to try and discover terrorist plans against Cuba is plainly stated in numerous official documents ranging from the initial indictment brought against them and the prosecution’s various motions at the commencement of the trial and throughout its development, to the sentences that were imposed on them upon conclusion. That the U.S. government’s aim was to protect the terrorists was also acknowledged in those documents and in the prosecution’s repeated statements, all of which is recorded in the court transcripts.

The big problem that we face is that the Empire has managed to keep this information from reaching the people. Its success has been remarkable. They have been able to hijack the truth with impunity. I’m not talking about secret texts or confidential documents. I’m talking about documents which have been and are available to anyone who goes to the official website of the Federal District Court for south Florida and looks up the case of “United States vs. Gerardo Hernandez et al.” But this is only done by some specialists or particularly interested individuals.

The general public finds out about what happens in the court system through whatever versions the so-called “news media” want to give. And about this trial, the longest Federal trial in the history of a nation that has, among other things, several TV channels dedicated exclusively to the courts, nothing was said outside the city of Miami. …

As I said, right now we’re engaged in the Habeas Corpus petition. The most difficult case is that of Gerardo, to which I’ll refer later.

But there is a common element in all their appeals, regarding the conduct of the press. While in the rest of the world it was completely ignored, in Miami the trial received overwhelming and strident coverage from the local media that promoted a climate of hatred against the defendants. There were even threats and provocations against jurors, attorneys and witnesses. The judge herself repeatedly complained and asked the government to put an end to a situation that clearly violated due process norms. This was one of the factors behind the unanimous decision in 2005 by the Appeals Court panel to toss out the whole farce and order a new trial, a just decision that was later reversed under pressure from the Bush Administration.

The following year, in 2006, it came out that these Miami “journalists” were in fact being paid by the government to carry out this sleazy job. For five years now, American private groups have been demanding that the authorities reveal everything that they are still concealing about the scale of this million-dollar operation—how much was paid, to whom, and for that—in a cover-up that would be more than sufficient to declare the whole legal process against our comrades null and void.

Against Gerardo there was an additional charge, an infamous slander for which he was sentenced to die twice in prison: They accused him of “conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.”

However, here I have a document dated May 30, 2001 from the U.S. Attorney’s office. Here they state that the charge could not be proven, and therefore they requested to withdraw it at the last minute. In spite of this, Gerardo was found guilty of a non-existent crime that was impossible to prove, and moreover, for which he was no longer accused.

But, what does it matter that this document exists if nobody talks about it?

Gerardo was falsely accused of having participated in something that he had absolutely nothing to do with: The Feb. 1996 downing of 2 aircraft over Cuban waters, belonging to a terrorist group which systematically dedicated itself to violating Cuban territory, announcing each violation and shamelessly bragging about it in the Miami media. Independent of the fact that this document is irrefutable proof the accusations were unsustainable, there is another very important fact that illustrates the transgression of the American authorities.

In order to claim legal jurisdiction over the incident, the United States had to prove that it had occurred outside of Cuban airspace. Cuban radars recorded the incident inside our territorial waters very close to the city of Havana. The U.S. radars offered confusing and contradictory data. An International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) investigative mission requested images taken by U.S. satellites, but Washington refused to release them. During the Miami trial the defense reiterated this request and the government once again refused. Now, Gerardo is again requesting this information for his Habeas Corpus, and Washington is again refusing to allow anyone to see these images. It’s now more than 15 years of cover-up, which clearly proves the fraudulent nature of the U.S. government charges. But Washington has succeeded in not being denounced by anyone, allowing it to continue deceiving many.

Information is key to freeing Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, Fernando González Llort and René González Sehweret. In order to win this battle we need to mobilize many people, millions of people, and deploy a truly broad-based and effective solidarity movement

Yet any even minimally objective approach to this problem must recognize that we are still very far from this goal.

It is a proven fact that the giant media corporations have imposed an absolute silence around this case, that is especially rigorous within the United States itself, where the vast majority of the population knows absolutely nothing about the case. The complete lack of reporting on this theme does not reflect any professional incompetence on the part of journalists, but rather obeys precise instructions, a political decision to silence it, made at the highest levels in Washington.

To hope that these censors will change their attitude is senseless illusion and would be an exercise in self-deception. To denounce them over and over is right but it is not enough, because our repeated denunciations have barely had any effect at all.

But there is much, much more that we can and must do.

First of all, we have to objectively take into account the reach that it has today – what we should call by its proper name: the global media tyranny.

We’re not only talking about what leading newspapers say or cover up, the big TV networks or the news agencies that decide what news will be broadcast around the world. All of them, united in enormous monopolies, control and manipulate information and their influence even extends to would-be alternatives to this global dictatorship, including media that defines itself as revolutionary.

There are many people in this world who strive to speak out and to be heard with very limited resources, and who have occasionally penetrated the wall of disinformation and deception. Our resources are much greater, those of the Cuban universities, the professors and students.

Let’s do as the children of “La Colmenita” (“The Little Beehive,” a Cuban fairy-tale) and ask “What more can we do?”

Translation by Mara Ochoa


Turn words into deeds

July 27, 2011
Wednesday 27 July 2011
by Rob Miller

Cuba and the United Kingdom signed, this month a formal declaration to strengthen bilateral co-operation.

The agreement champions “closer dialogue and economic, scientific, technical, educational, cultural and sporting links between the two countries” and highlights key areas for collaboration including environmental issues, biotechnology, trade and investment, regional security, child protection and disaster preparedness.

The move should be welcomed as a positive step, not just by those supporting the Cuban people but also by those looking to expand British trade relations in Latin America.

In order to make tangible change, however, the agreement must be substantiated by positive action, something which has been lacking in previous British policy towards Cuba.

Britain is the sixth largest economy in the world and the third largest economy in the European Union.

It is the seventh largest importer and the eleventh largest exporter in the world.

Yet the level of trade between Britain and Cuba is derisory.

Exports to Cuba totalled an abysmal £8.9 million in 2009 whilst imports came to a tiny £9.8m.

These figures represent a decrease since 2008 of 36 per cent and 12.7 per cent respectively.

Back in September 1958 the UK government exported 25 fighter jets to General Batista’s dictatorship.

The equivalent value today of around £40m a plane would equate to an annual UK export to Cuba of around £1 billion.

Some, including the British government, have tried to explain away these derisory trade levels by blaming Cuban bureaucracy and inefficiency.

Indeed, the Department of Trade and Investment’s report Doing Business with Cuba states: “Perhaps the greatest hurdle to doing business in Cuba is painfully slow decision making.”

Yet this hasn’t hindered other European countries, including Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands.

In 2009 Spain imported around 10 times as much as Britain, the Netherlands 15 times as much.

Germany exported 18 times, Italy 22 times and Spain 52 times as much as Britain exported to Cuba that year.

Looking at the trade figures makes it clear that Britain’s trade with Cuba is being stifled by an unwillingness to challenge the ongoing US blockade.

Levels of trade are a direct consequence of policy adopted by consecutive British governments. In particular, the Blair government, as a result of closer ties with the US administrations, took an increasingly aggressive and hard-line stance against the island.

Britain was a keen advocate of the discriminatory EU Common Position, which suppresses trade and exchange with Cuba, while in 2003, Britain was instrumental in blocking Cuba’s entry into the Cotonou Agreement which gives trade preferences to former European colonies.

In theory, the Protection of Trade Interests Act (1996) makes it illegal for British companies to comply with extraterritorial US Helms-Burton legislation but, in practice, the government does nothing to protect British companies from direct US interference in trade issues.

Transactions cannot take place in dollars as all international dollar transactions are funnelled via the US and this risks funds being confiscated by the US banking system.

The risk of US sanctions creates uncertainty and banks, businesses and companies can get caught between conflicting legal requirements.

For instance, in August 2010, Barclays Bank was fined $298m (£190m) by US Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) for handling transactions with banks in Cuba.

Lloyds Bank was fined $350 million after admitting breaking US rules on dealing with sponsors of terrorism.

Lloyds now regularly writes to customers who have Cuba connections.

In one recent case the bank blocked a transfer of funds between the National Westminster bank account of a UK charitable trust and a Lloyds bank account of a UK-based travel company which has the word “Cuba” in its company name.

The threat of US sanctions legislation is real and in this case is even blocking transfers between two UK banks.

David Cameron has spent much of his tenure attempting to expand British markets abroad in places such as China, India and the Middle East but Cuba’s potential remains untapped.

Cuba’s geographical location, as both a Caribbean and Central American nation, represents a strategic advantage whilst the Cuban market offers various long-term benefits.

Cuba has a highly educated and literate population and there is an abundance of experienced and qualified employees.

Brazil has already recognised the business potential of Cuba and has invested heavily to develop the Mariel port outside Havana into the largest shipping container port in the Caribbean.

Britain should be applauded for repeatedly voting against the US blockade at the United Nations but further action is required to normalise relations with Cuba and develop real, discernible trade and co-operation between our countries.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign and the British trade union movement have worked tirelessly to promote the normalisation of relations and it is clear that real political will does exist.

Early day motion 1171 supporting the strengthening of ties between Britain and Cuba was signed by 248 MPs while over 92 per cent of candidates in the 2010 general election supported better relations.

The examples of various EU countries, including Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands, demonstrate that the debilitating effects of the EU common position can be circumvented if perceptible political will exists.

It is now crucial that we harness the political will within Britain to turn this “paper” agreement into something more concrete.

For more info visit,


Haiti’s Reconstruction Still an Uphill Battle

July 27, 2011

Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 26 (IPS) – As Haiti struggles to recover from the deadly January 2010 earthquake that killed over 200,000 people and forced nearly 1.5 million into camps, international funding is failing to keep pace with the generous pledges made last year, and in- fighting in Haiti’s new government is hindering the disbursement of aid.

“The amount of debris still littering the streets could fill 8,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools,” the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) said in a study released here.

Most of the rubble is still clogging the capital, Port-au-Prince, preventing people from moving back to their homes, resuming their lives and allowing the recovery process to truly take hold in Haiti’s capital city.

The estimated cost of rebuilding Haiti is a hefty 11.5 billion dollars “and the organisations working in the country need continuous support,” says UNDP.

In March 2010, U.N. member states pledged more than nine billion dollars to rebuild the country, including 5.3 billion for 2010-2011. Just 352 million dollars have been delivered to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund to date, with 237 million of that sum disbursed for 14 reconstruction projects, according to the fund’s first annual report released on Jul. 22.

At least 600,000 people still live in tent camps, and more than 5,500 have died from the cholera epidemic that broke out last October.

Reconstruction efforts in Haiti are being led not only by donors from rich and poor nations but also by international organisations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank and IBSA, the coalition of three emerging nations in the developing world: India, Brazil and South Africa.

Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri of India, an active member of IBSA, told IPS his country had made a “modest contribution” of five million dollars in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake followed by 500,000 dollars to the U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

“We have also pledged to reconstruct one of the government ministries to be identified by the government of Haiti,” he added.

Additionally, IBSA is planning to expand its joint Trust Fund waste management project to provide other basic amenities, such as shelter, drinking water and sanitation.

Currently, the three countries are spending over two million dollars in this effort, and also in the reconstruction of a community health centre in Haiti.

Meanwhile, the Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF) – created in June 2010 by the government of Haiti, the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations, the World Bank and donor nations – has disbursed about 71 percent of the 335 million dollars received by donors.

In its annual report released last week, HRF says strong financial support is essential to ensure that the reconstruction process addresses Haiti’s key priorities, including agriculture, job creation, investments, shelter and education.

Asked about the progress made so far, Josef Leitmann, manager of the HRF, told IPS, “We have to be realistic and recognise that reconstruction under these exceptionally hard circumstances takes time.”

He cited the difficulty of rebuilding Aceh, Indonesia, for example, the closest point of land to the epicentre of the massive 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and subsequent tsunami, and noted that recovery was slow even in the United States following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. And both those nations had well-functioning central governments.

“The 2010 earthquake exacerbated Haiti’s existing development challenges: weak government capacity and lack of economic and physical infrastructure and services,” Leitmann said.

The human, economic and institutional toll makes reconstruction a long-term endeavour, he stressed.

By the same token, he said, “We have made important progress in key areas: housing reconstruction, debris removal and education.”

“This progress in building back better is, and has been possible, when the government, the international community, the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) work together putting people first,” he added.

Brazil was the first donor to the HRF with a contribution of 55 million dollars, while the United States remains the largest single donor with 120 million dollars, followed by Canada, Japan, Norway and Spain, contributing at least 30 million dollars each.

But contributions have also come from developing nations and from non- Western donors, including Colombia, Nigeria, Oman, Thailand, Cyprus, Estonia and Latvia.

When the United Nations Security Council recently urged the international community to increase its assistance towards the long- term recovery and reconstruction of Haiti, the outpouring of support was reflected in the commitments both from rich and poor nations.

Perhaps one of the biggest collective pledges – a reflection of what the United Nations describes as “South-South cooperation” – came from the 12-member Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) which is providing some 100 million dollars in financial support to Haiti.

And at least 65 percent of the funds has already been disbursed and coordinated by a newly-created UNASUR office in Port-au-Prince.

Cuba, in conjunction with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, is rebuilding Haiti’s national health services, which is treating over two million patients in 23 community hospitals, 30 rehabilitation wards and 13 health centres throughout the country.

Peru is providing some 10 million dollars towards the UNASUR special fund for Haiti.

Venezuela has not only forgiven Haiti’s debt to Petrocaribe Oil, amounting to over 400 million dollars, but also given an initial contribution of 20 million dollars to the Cuban medical mission and an additional 50 million dollars to a humanitarian fund.

The Mexican government, which airlifted some 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid immediately after the earthquake, has set up a ‘Mexico Alliance for Haiti,’ described as a joint public-private sector initiative for institution building in the fields of health and education.

The funds include about three million collars from private foundations in Mexico.

The West African nation of Gabon has provided a million dollars to Haiti primarily towards its reconstruction efforts.

Meanwhile, after a meeting last May, the U.N. Security Council urged Haiti’s new government, headed by President Michel Martelly, to focus on the critical tasks of rebuilding the country and ensuring stability and rule of law in the Caribbean nation.

However, Martelly has been locked in a stalemate with Parliament over his choices for prime minister, leaving the country without a working government.


Dutch bancassurer ING Group NV repeated that it could face “significant” fines due to a U.S. investigation

July 27, 2011

(Reuters) – Dutch bancassurer ING Group NV repeated that it could face “significant” fines due to a U.S. investigation of operations in countries which are under sanctions by U.S. authorities, such as Iran and Cuba.

The United States imposes economic sanctions and export controls on Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, viewing them as state sponsors of terrorism and limiting the scope for companies to do business there.

“We don’t know how the investigations in the U.S. will pan out and cannot estimate what the fines, if any, will be. Fines could be significant. We are co-operating fully with U.S. authorities,” an ING spokesman said.

The fine could be for several hundreds of millions of dollars, Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad reported, citing a source close to the Dutch bank.

ING said in its 2010 annual report, published in March, that it was in discussions with the U.S. authorities, including the Office of Foreign Asset Control, the U.S. Department of Justice and the New York County District Attorney’s Office, and that fines, if any, could be significant.

A U.S. judge last August approved a $298 million settlement by British bank Barclays Plc over charges that it had violated U.S. trade sanctions by doing deals in Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Myanmar.

Credit Suisse Group AG , Lloyds Banking Group Plc and ABN AMRO have agreed to U.S. settlements ranging between $350 million and $538 million due to charges of violating U.S. sanctions


International Labor Movement Stands up for Human Rights

July 22, 2011


International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

International Labor Movement

Stands up for Human Rights

The Cuban Five are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, René González, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González. They are sons, husbands, brothers, poets, pilots, college graduates and artists. To the 11 millon Cubans they are considered heroes. They were arrested in 1998, and are currently serving long sentences in five different prisons across the United States. They never killed or threatened anyone, their mission was to infiltrate and monitor the activites of violent groups within the Cuban exiles who have been responsible for the deaths of 3,500 Cubans since 1959. 

As the Cuban 5 case continues to be known in the United States, leaders of the international labor movement will gather in Los Angeles to bring this important case to their membership.  This event coincides with the birthday of Rene Gonzalez, one of the Cuban 5 who is currently serving his sentence in Marianna Florida.  



 SEIU Logo UNITE    

Saturday August 13

6pm (Program will start at 7pm)

 SEIU-USWW Hall 828 W. Washington Blvd, Los Angeles

Free admission 



FronteraHumor from my PenAn exhibition of political cartoons by Gerardo Hernandez. Herandez is one of the internationally known Cuban 5 political prisoners held in US Prisons since 1998. He is currently serving two life sentences in Victorville, 100 miles away from LA.


Live Music 


Brief Video of Danny Glover on the Cuban 5


Presentations by

Mike Garcia, President of SEIU-USWW


Cristina R. Vazquez, Workers United, Western States Regional Joint Board, International Vice-President, Regional Manager
Tony Woodley, Unite – Britain’s largest trade union Former National President and lead officer on the Cuban Five for UK unions


Alicia Jrapko, US coordinator, International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
For more Info: 213-284-3808 

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