Archive for January, 2012


January 30, 2012

By Manuel E. Yepe

A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.

Whoever wants to find the reason for the time chosen to launch the recent propaganda manipulation on the death of a convict in Cuba, must consider the facts in the light of the growing difficulties the US extreme right is finding to justify its hostile policy against Cuba, given the present conditions on the island and the region as a whole.

The truth is that there has been a concurrence of promising circumstances that provide an exceptionally positive atmosphere for governability in the country.

Thus, the political moment in which Cuba is living after the formulation of the program of reforms passed in the latest Congreso del Partido Comunista [Congress of the Communist Party], some of which are already being implemented, has created in the population an optimistic feeling of trust in the capacity of the country to overcome the difficulties with the same determination it has demonstrated for more than half a century.

The economy is showing the impact of the accelerated growth of foreign tourism which has made the present season one of the best in a long time, and has even tested the capacity of Cuba to deal with such a demand.

“The hotels are full and Habana Vieja [Old Havana], the historical center of the capital city, is bursting with tourists from all over the world, who enjoy the warm winter sun in open air cafes or strolling along its narrow colonial streets,” as the British news agency Reuters correspondent in Cuba described.

On January 22nd, the New York Times ranked Cuba 10th, for its cultural and tourist options, in a list of the 45 most-recommended cities for US tourists in 2012. This is despite the prohibition against travel to Cuba imposed on United States citizens by the US blockade of the island.

The adversaries of Cuba are also frightened by the announcement of the visit Pope Benedict XVI will make to the Caribbean country this coming March 26th, considering how much the visit of John Paul II, in January 1998, contributed to the prestige of Cuban diplomacy.

In January 2012, platform Scarabeo 9, made in China and Singapore, arrived in the sea north of Havana to carry out drilling and prospecting work to determine gas and oil potentials in the Cuban economic exclusion zone in the Gulf of Mexico. This work, within an agreement between Cuban company Cupet and Spanish Repsol, is so significant for the economic future of the island that in the United States Congress, legislators of Cuban origin, who are fierce enemies of the Cuban Revolution, with the support of the American extreme right, launched a strong campaign against it.

These scenarios with a reserved forecast for the enemies of the Cuban Revolution alltogether with others in the hemisphere such as the progress and achievements of governments pro-independence, solidarity and Latin American unity, and the emergence of new regional organizations that exclude the United States all must have advised the launching of the “Goebbelsian” manipulation of the death of a supposed political prisoner who died on a hunger strike in Cuba, when in fact there had been neither the first nor the second.

It was easy to prove that the dead man was not a political prisoner, but just a common criminal. It all is even easier to demonstrate there had been no hunger strike, as the aim of a hunger strike is denunciation and the corporate press had no inkling of such, or reported on it, as it systematically does when the events take place in countries that do not enjoy the favor of the US. There was no need to explain that the inmate received all the required medical care, because Cuban prestige in this area rendered it unnecessary.

As Basque born Dominican poet, playwright, and brilliant journalist Koldo Campos Sagaseta, wrote in his column Cronopiando for El Nacional newspaper, the dead man was, “convicted of male chauvinistic violence who believed he could get away with his crime if he posed as a peaceful democrat unjustly incarcerated. With this posture he would receive the complicity of the big media and was made to believe his chances of avoiding jail time depended upon turning the infamous crime of abusing his wife into the civic right of demanding democracy.”

And so it was that the mercenary fanaticism against the Cuban Revolution added one more casualty to its long homicidal history. There were other victims: those who out of disinformation or for money joined the uncouth campaign against Cuba.

…learn how to count…

January 29, 2012



from magazine of cubainformación

A Consensus to Safeguard the System Exists Within Cuban Society

January 29, 2012

Salim Lamrani
PROGRAM: La Tarde se Mueve (Miami. 14.50 AM, 5:00-6:00 PM)
JOURNALIST: Edmundo García
GUEST: Prof. Salim Lamrani
DATE: December 29, 2011

BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: Salim Lamrani is a French professor, writer and journalist.
He holds a doctorate from the Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires des
Mondes Ibériques Contemporains (CRIMIC), University of Paris (Sorbonne). A media
specialist, he speaks authoritatively on Cuban and American relations, having
studied Cuba not only academically but also through his regular visits to the
island. He spoke recently in Miami on the role of media and their treatment of
Cuban reality. As a journalist, he has interviewed not only prominent figures in
Cuban government and culture, but also dissident members of that society. He is,
in a word, an expert on our country.

EDMUNDO GARCIA: Salim Lamrani, during the conference you gave at the Alianza
Martiana, you were quite critical of the role of the media. You cited Cuba as an
example of media misuse of facts by quoting information and statistics provided
by Amnesty International. You spoke of how these data have been distorted by the
media. I believe we might begin our conversation, this interview, by addressing
this issue.

SALIM LAMRANI: We should begin with the following assumption: The corporations
and financial institutions of the world control the press. The role of the media
is no longer that of providing the reader with accurate and verifiable
information, or of informing public opinion, but rather that of controlling the
marketplace of ideas and defending the established order. Media objectivity is,
therefore, a myth, because in fact its function is simply to defend special

You mention the issue of human rights, which is without a doubt the principal
concern that is raised when we talk about Cuba. Well, do not look to me to tell
you that no violations of human rights occur in Cuba. But if I wish to express a
truthful and verifiable opinion on the situation of human rights there, assuming
that enough accurate data exists to compare Cuba to the rest of the world, I
have only to consult a single international source, Amnesty International, which
publishes an annual report detailing the state of human rights in Cuba. Now, the
media assumes the following: “Cuba is a country that violates human rights,
thereby differentiating itself from the rest of the American continent precisely
by these human rights violations.” We can compare this basic assumption with
factual data by referring to the report. According to the April 2011 Amnesty
International report on the American continent, one of the countries that
violates human rights the least–without doubt the least of all–or which
respects them the most, is in fact Cuba. You don’t have to believe what I am
telling you, check out the Amnesty International Web site and consult the report
itself which is available in three languages: French, English and Spanish. Now,
Amnesty International is hardly an organization that one could qualify as
pro-Cuban and this for the following reason: It broke off diplomatic relations
with Cuba in 1988. So in conclusion, we see that there exists a wide gap between
media rhetoric and fact based reality. You can, of course, argue against this by
pointing out that Colombia or Honduras are hardly shining examples of respect
for human rights, and that a comparison therefore may not be very specific.

So, let’s take the following example: A comparison of human rights in Cuba and
in the heart of the European Union itself. Why the European Union? Since 1996,
the European Union has imposed a Common Position on Cuba because of what it sees
as the human rights situation there. This EU Common Position, the basic pillar
of Brussels’ foreign policy towards Cuba, limits diplomatic, political and
cultural exchanges. It is truly curious that Cuba is the only country on the
American continent to be the target of an EU Common Position when Amnesty
International finds Cuba to be the very country where human rights are least
violated. This is the first contradiction. Now, it is of course appropriate to
assess the legitimacy of the European Union’s right to set itself up as judge
and jury on the issue of human rights, because before one stigmatizes a country
on that subject, one’s facts should be beyond reproach.

So what did Amnesty International have to say? According to the April 2011
report, freely available on the Internet, 23 of the 25 European Union countries
that voted for political, diplomatic, and cultural sanctions against Cuba in
2003–there were 25 then and not 27–had, according to Amnesty International, a
worse human rights record than Cuba. Let’s look at the case that concerns me the
most, that of France. Here we are the homeland of human rights. Nonetheless, I
invite all of our listeners to go to the Amnesty International Web site and
check both the report on Cuba and the report on France, compare the two, and
then draw their own conclusions. This is an excellent example of media
manipulation. At the same time, and I repeat, Cuba does not have a perfect
record, a clean record, on the question of human rights. Amnesty International
raises several questions concerning freedom of expression, freedom of
association, etc. But when we compare that with the reality that exists on our
own as well as on the American continent, we find that there has been an
enormous manipulation of reality.

EG: Could you cite examples, facts that are known within the European Union,
even as Cuba is subject to an EU Common Position?

SL: Let’s look at a few representative examples. In Cuba, Amnesty International
has never reported a killing by the police forces, something that is not the
case in Great Britain and other countries. Nor has it found cases of forced
sterilization of ethnic minority women; torture in the prisons; violent massive
repressions of public protests with tear gas, etc.; or discrimination against
children of ethnic minorities as is the case in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
I could go on to cite other grave examples.

ED: And in Austria? I heard you remark during a conference that there had been a
problem with minorities there.

SL: Very serious violations of human rights are occurring in Austria, for
example, assassinations by the forces of order and brutality against minorities.
Of course, the President of the French Republic has also made discriminatory
remarks targeting Rom minorities. All of this points to the fact that the EU
Common Position is completely hypocritical. In fact, what really upsets the
European Union is not so much the question of human rights, but rather Cuba’s
political, economic and social system.

EG: Salim Lamrani, I would like you to address the question of migration between
Cuba and the United States and to make a comparative analysis, as one might for
Amnesty International, with the other countries of Latin America.

SL: The problem of migration is politicized immediately when the discussion
turns to Cuba. I always read in the media the following assumption: “The
massive Cuban migration toward the United States illustrates the failure of the
Cuban economic, political and social system”. Nonetheless, this assumption, this
affirmation, has never been corroborated by facts and statistics, even though
these exist for Cuban immigration to the United States for the period of 1820
through 2010.

Let’s look briefly at what was the reality of Cuban emigration towards the
United States in 1959. Cuba, a small country of six million inhabitants,
occupied second place on the American continent in terms of immigration to the
United States. For obvious historical, geographic and demographic reasons, first
place had always been held by Mexico. Thus Cuba, a small nation of six million
inhabitants, had a migration rate higher than that of all of the countries of
Central America combined, higher than that of all of the nations of the
Caribbean combined, almost higher than that of all of South America. Here we see
a small Latin American country with an immigration rate higher than the total of
some fifteen other Latin American countries combined. You can find these
statistics, which are easily accessible, on the Web site of the U. S. Bureau of
Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Then, beginning in July 1960, the United States, or more precisely the
Eisenhower administration, began imposing economic sanctions on Cuba, something
that was key to inciting both legal and illegal emigration from Cuba because the
sanctions had made the economic situation there more difficult and, of course,
because the United States welcomed the emigrants. In 1966, the United States
Congress adopted what is known as the Cuban Adjustment Act. What is the Cuban
Adjustment Act? It is a short two-page piece of legislation–a page and a half
in fact–that stipulates that after the first of January 1959 any Cuban who
emigrates legally or illegally, peacefully or violently will, after a year’s
time in the United States, automatically obtain the status of permanent
resident. This is a law that is unique in the world and one that contributes to
inciting both legal and illegal immigration. We need to underscore the date of
the Act in order to understand its political substance: The first of January
1959. This means that the Cuban who arrived the 31st of December 1958 or before
is ineligible to benefit from the Cuban Adjustment Act. The political intent of
this Act is transparent. It was clearly a weapon to be used against the Cuban
revolutionary process.

Let’s take a look at the latest statistics. Those that I consulted were from
2003. I would rather not refer to the 2010 statistics because I do not have the
exact figures in mind. We might imagine, or suppose, that given the 1959
migration rate–second highest on the American continent–and adding to that the
economic sanctions, as well as the Cuban Adjustment Act, both of which
encouraged emigration, that Cuba might well overtake Mexico for first place in
emigration to the United States. But, this is not the case. In terms of
emigration to the United States, Mexico is still in first place but Cuba no
longer occupies second place, nor fifth place, but comes in only at tenth place.

I repeat, these sources, these figures from the United States Immigration
Service are available on the Internet. There we see that in Latin America, in
2003, nine countries had a higher emigration rate than that of Cuba. Still, the
medias have never used these facts to denigrate, for example, the governments of
El Salvador, Mexico, Jamaica or the Dominican Republic.

One might respond that you cannot compare the emigration rate of a country like
Mexico, with its more than 100 million inhabitants, to a small country like Cuba
which has today only 11 million inhabitants. And this is a reasonable critique.
Therefore, let’s compare the emigration rate of Cuba in 2003 with that of El
Salvador, which has 5.75 million inhabitants, fewer than six million. In 2003,
El Salvador had a migration rate three times higher than that of Cuba and, at
the same time, this high level of emigration has never been used to denigrate
the neoliberal political and economic system or government of El Salvador.
Therefore, it once again becomes clear that this is yet another discriminatory
stigmatization. If we wish to construct a political argument or use emigration
as a measure of a government or a system’s legitimacy, if we refer to facts, if
we start with the assumption that emigration is illustrative of the good
functioning or not of a system, we can only arrive at a single conclusion: The
Cuban government and political system are among the most legitimate on the
American continent.

Let’s ask the following question: What would happen if tomorrow the United
States government passed a Mexican Adjustment Act? Of course, it hasn’t happened
in the past 40 or more years, 1966 to 2011 is 45 … 46 years, nor during four
years, four months, or even four days. But ask yourself the following question:
If the United States government were to adopt a Mexican Adjustment Act for even
four hours, no more or no less, what would happen in Mexico, in your opinion? I
leave it to you to imagine the result.

EG: Salim Lamrani, I would like to hear your opinion of the relationship between
the United States and Cuba in terms of commercial matters. I would like to know
your opinion of the economic balance sheet between Cuba and the United States
during the first three years of the Obama administration.

SL: It is useful to recognize that the Obama government differs from the earlier
Bush administration only in style, not in content. Obama is a cultivated,
intelligent man who brought a new perspective to the table. During his campaign
he made the following observation: United States policy towards Cuba has failed.
Fifty years of economic sanctions against Cuba, the objective of which was the
overthrow the Cuban government and the imposition of regime change has been a
complete failure. Now, the economic sanctions against Cuba are the primary
obstacles to the development of the island. They are anachronistic because they
date back to the Cold War. They are cruel because they affect the most
vulnerable sectors of the Cuban society: women, children and the elderly. They
are also ineffectual because they have not achieved their goal of ending the
revolutionary process. Obama made a lucid statement that demonstrated his
intelligence and his wisdom. Nonetheless, we must judge Obama on his actions,
not on his rhetoric. He has, of course, struck down the restrictions on trips to
the island by members of the Cuban community within the United States. We know
that between 2004 and 2009, Cubans in the United States, under the best of
circumstances and only if they had obtained proper Treasury Department
authorization in advance, were allowed to go to Cuba and then for only fourteen
days every three years. In order to obtain the necessary permission, they had to
prove that they had an immediate family member in Cuba. Now for everyone, a
cousin, an uncle, an aunt or a nephew are immediate family members. But not for
the Bush administration. It gave a new definition to family, a definition that
applied only to Cubans. Family members consisted of grandparents, parents,
wives, children and grand children only. This was a cruel political policy that
divided families. Obama, a lucid man, eliminated these restrictions, but
unhappily we must realize that the Obama administration has maintained the
strict application of economic sanctions and the imposition of fines on foreign
enterprises, European enterprises for example, that violate the rules of

I have already mentioned that the EU Common Position was adopted in 1996. The
date is not a trivial matter. Why was it adopted then? Because it was in 1996
that the United States Congress adopted the Helms-Burton Act, a law that has
extraterritorial application. Now, one country’s laws cannot apply to other
countries. For example, French law cannot be applied in Italy and English law
cannot be applied in Germany. Nonetheless, this new law, aimed at Cuba, applied
to France, to Switzerland, and so on. Recently, the Swiss bank USB was forced to
pay a fine of 100 million dollars for having opened a dollar account in Cuba.
There we see an extraterritorial application of sanctions against Cuba that
continue under Obama. I repeat, there is a contradiction between his rhetoric of
“change” and the factual reality of his use of a 1917 law, the Trading with the
Enemy Act, in order to prolong the siege against Cuba.

EG: I would like to speak with you, Salim Lamrani, about a point of view that
you have elaborated in your research. It concerns the media’s treatment of the
policy of economic sanctions, not as a political and economic problem, but as an
element in advertising and an ideological ploy.

SL: There is a very revealing incident. Throughout the history of the votes
taken in the United Nations, the resolution that each year receives the highest
level of support is the resolution against the economic sanctions imposed on
Cuba. In October 2011, for the 20th consecutive time, an immense majority of the
international community, 185 countries in all, voted to lift economic sanctions
against Cuba. Nonetheless, this media-worthy fact has been suppressed, censured,
ignored by the press. The Western press speaks a great deal about economic
problems in Cuba, and indeed grave problems do exist, but at the same time, I
repeat, they never bring up the fact that the principal obstacle to the economic
development of the nation is the economic embargo, or blockade, call it what you

A few facts: Cuba is absolutely forbidden to sell its products to the United
States. And Cuba has only been allowed to buy basic foodstuffs from the United
States since 2000, although even then, numerous restrictions were imposed. We
need also to bear in mind that Cuba’s historical and natural trading partner
always has been the United States. In 1959, 73% of Cuban exports went to the
United States and Cuba imported 67% of what it consumed from the United States.
The unilateral commercial rupture between Cuba and the United States thus
constitutes the principal obstacle to (the island’s) development.

What is more, these economic sanctions have an extraterritorial application.
I’ll give a few precise examples. If a French pastry company wished to export
cakes to the United States because the U.S. is the world’s top economy–you know
that French pastries are succulent–it would need to demonstrate to the U.S.
Treasury Department that these cakes do not contain a single ounce of Cuban
sugar. We know that Cuba is restricted from selling anything to the United
States, however in the case of the French pastry company, Cuba is also prevented
from selling sugar to France. Let’s take another example, Mercedes-Benz, the
German company that manufactures what is without doubt the finest automobiles in
the world. In order for Mercedes-Benz to export cars to the United States, it
must prove to the Treasury Department that its automobiles do not contain a
single gram of Cuban nickel. Thus, Cuba not only cannot sell its nickel to the
United States, it cannot sell it to Germany either. These are clear examples of
the impact of the economic sanctions.

EG: But in the press, how is this reported, Salim Lamrani?

SL: There is a total blackout of these facts. Are the effects of the economic
sanctions well known to readers, is public opinion informed? Why are there 185
countries that vote against these economic sanctions? It is surely not because
there are 185 countries that are friends of Cuba. Cuba has many friends in the
world, but not all. For example, all of the countries of the European Union
voted against these sanctions, yet the European Union maintains a hostile
attitude toward Cuba. The reason is that the international community understands
the dramatic impact these economic sanctions have on the Cuban population. The
sanctions don’t just affect the leadership, they affect the people. It is,
therefore, difficult for me to understand the logic that leads to the
maintenance of the sanctions. I understand that others may have an opinion that
is different from that of Havana. I can understand that one might think
differently about the Cuban government, but if what is truly important to us is
the well-being of the Cuban people, we have no choice other than to
unconditionally condemn the economic sanctions against Cuba.

EG: Salim Lamrani, the Obama administration has publicly stated that the United
States cannot normalize its relations with Cuba because the Alan Gross affair.
Gross, the American subcontractor held in Cuba, constitutes an obstacle to
normalization. We get the impression that if Gross were liberated everything
would return to normal. How do you interpret this new pretext that has been
advanced by the North American administration to avoid advancing the dialogue?

SL: First, I think that we need to lay out the correct basic premise. When the
Obama administration states that “we are waiting for signals or reciprocity in
order to normalize relations”, this is a mistaken assumption. Why? Because Cuba
is not imposing economic sanctions on the United States. Cuba does not occupy a
part of American territory by force, as is the case with Guantanamo. Cuba does
not finance an internal opposition with the intent of subverting the established
order. The aggression, the hostility, the state of siege, I repeat, are all
unilateral. Cuba does not have concessions to make to the United States. We can
speak about human rights. And once again, I repeat, I invite our listeners to
glance at Amnesty International’s report on human rights in the United States
and compare them with their report on human rights in Cuba. I suggest that it is
all rhetoric, an argument that has no merit because the United States has no
moral authority to lecture anyone on the issue of human rights.

Let’s talk about the case of Alan Gross. Alan Gross is a subcontractor who
developed a USAID program designed to undermine the Cuban government with the
professed objective of regime change. He furnished dissidents highly
sophisticated materials such as satellite telephones. These are regulated in
Cuba. You can’t be admitted to Cuba with a satellite telephone. Why? Because
Cuba is a country that has been the victim of 50 years of terrorism. Satellite
telephones are capable of providing geolocations that could allow someone to
detonate a bomb or who knows what. Washington maintains that Gross went to Cuba
solely in order to aid the small Jewish community there. Fine, but let’s listen
to the version of the Jewish community itself. What does it say? The principal
Jewish communities in Cuba have repeated numerous times that they had absolutely
no contact with Alan Gross and that, in any case, they had no need of his help
since they maintain excellent relations with the Havana government as well as
with Jewish communities in the United States and the rest of the world that
provide them with what they need. In truth, Gross was part of a program,
although perhaps he had not fully understood the risks he ran, but the reality
is that Gross violated the law, he committed a serious crime for which, in
France, one could receive a 30 year prison sentence.

I believe that this case, in addition to being political, is also a humanitarian
case and reciprocity is important. But it is possible to find a solution to the
Alan Gross affair. If the United States liberated the Cuban Five political
prisoners–one is out of prison, but remains under house arrest. I’m referring
to those Cubans who secretly infiltrated certain violent Cuban exile groups in
order to stop terrorist attacks on the island and who were condemned to
sentences ranging from 15 years to two life sentences. I think that if the Obama
administration, and it is I repeat, an enlightened administration in comparison
to the administration that preceded it, wished to resolve this problem, it could
effectuate an exchange of prisoners by releasing the Cuban Five. I am convinced
that the Havana government would do the same for Gross. I do not think that we
should expect a unilateral action on the part of either party. Only dialogue and
negotiation can lead to a positive outcome.

EG: Do you think that the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba can contribute to
resolving the Alan Gross problem and that of the Cuban Five? Perhaps we also
take into account the American electoral process. Do you think that that this
papal visit might contribute to finding a solution?

SL: I believe that the visit of his Holiness, the Pope, will be beneficial not
only for Cuba but also for relations between Havana and Washington. Several
members of the American Catholic church, eminent members, published only two or
three weeks ago, a declaration favorable to the liberation of Alan Gross and the
Cuban Five for humanitarian reasons. The voice of the Vatican is an important
voice on the international scene. I am convinced that the Havana government will
pay close attention to it and I hope that the Obama government will do the same.
The tensions that exist between the two countries for the last 50 years may
thereby be lessened.

EG: Professor Salim Lamrani, you interviewed Yoani Sanchez, someone who has
received innumerable prizes. You published an interview that has been widely
circulated in the press. Yoani Sanchez has stated that the interview had been
manipulated by you. Afterwards, we learned that another interview that she
claimed to have done with President Obama had been falsified, that it was in
fact Jonathan Farrar, the American ambassador to Cuba, who had written both the
questions and the responses. Yoani also maintained that she had sent questions
to President Raul Castro, but later we learned through documents released
through Wikileaks that, in point of fact, she had never sent the document to
him. She has said that she will demonstrate that you falsified the interview,
but nothing more has been forthcoming. I would like to have your opinion on this
subject and on her declarations, because Yoani Sanchez has an incredible ability
to surprise us.

SL: In what concerns the interview that I conducted with her, Yoani Sanchez has
put out three different versions. The first version that she published on her
blog declared that our conversation had been both constructive and agreeable.
The second version said that the interview had been distorted. The third version
maintained, on the contrary, that I had invented her responses. So I challenged
Yoani Sanchez, and I challenge her again today, to publish on her blog the
responses she maintains I invented. If I do not then make public the recordings
of the interview, it will be clear that she was correct. I read carefully what
Yoani Sanchez published and I came to realize that she had denied several
precise points on the embargo as well as on Batista that she had made in the
interview. She also denied mentions of the Cuban Five. So I published an article
under the title “United States diplomacy and Cuban dissidence. In it I published
the exact audio versions of what she has denied saying. Therefore, I invite her
once again to continue to deny certain precise points in the interview. If I do
not make public the recorded version, that will mean that she is correct.

EG: What is certain is that the press seems to have adopted a common position,
and this in addition to all of the prizes she has won, that no one may publish
anything critical of Yoani Sanchez. It’s as if she was the prodigal son, the
Saint Madeleine, or who knows what. The press clearly censors anything critical
of Yoani Sanchez.

SL: I am without a doubt the only journalist who has conducted an uncompromising
interview with her. In it I gave her the right to express her points of view.
There are many contradictions in the history of Yoani Sanchez, which any honest,
professional journalist ought to point out. For example, Yoani Sanchez describes
Cuban reality in apocalyptic terms. When you read her blog, you have the
impression that it is the gateway to hell. This is a terrible distortion of
reality. Now we learn that she has travelled to Switzerland, the pearl of
Europe, one of the richest countries in the world, that she in fact stayed there
for two years before deciding to return to Cuba. Now, there are two
possibilities: Either Yoani Sanchez is not in possession of all of her
faculties–something that is not the case–or the reality she purports to
describe is not as dark as she pretends. I also wonder how, in so little time,
from 2007 to today, she has managed to obtain so many prizes, which from an
economic standpoint are worth some 300,000 euros. This is a startling figure
that represents 22 years of minimum salary in France and 1,487 years of minimum
salary in Cuba. I do not believe that all this is happening by chance. I believe
that there are powerful interests behind Yoani Sanchez.

For example, she who is so expressive on her blog, who presents herself as
transparence personified, has never published the fact that she met, in secret
in her apartment, with Bisa Williams, the highest functionary in the Obama
administration, when Williams came to Havana. Nor has she mentioned–you spoke
of it earlier–the Obama interview, and this also casts a shadow of suspicion.
In reality, I am not surprised that Farrar may have written the responses, it is
always high placed officials who respond for the president who then signs off on
them. But it is a fact that she never sent questions to President Raul Castro.
Nonetheless, she publicly stated that she had done so, and she told me in our
interview that he had never deigned to respond. But she admitted to Jonathan
Farrar, who cited this admission in a memorandum made public by Wikileaks, that
in fact she had never sent the questions. All this, I regret, casts a shadow on
her credibility.

EG: If there is a topic that your background prepares you to comment upon, you
are of French and Algerian origins, it is “the Arab Spring” that began in North
Africa. This is a question that I have posed to others: What is your perspective
on these events? At the same time, and this has been a surprise for certain
persons who also expected a Cuban Spring, why nothing of the sort has happened
in Cuba?

SL: I think that it is difficult to explain major historical trends in the Arab
world so soon after the events themselves. But to summarize, in all of these
countries, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, there have been for decades dictatorial
governments allied to the Western world, always protected by them, that imposes
an economic model that has oppressed their people. The social and economic
situation has become so difficult that people’s despair is being expressed
through the Arab Spring.

Certain people, and you have underscored this, ask themselves why the same thing
is not happening in Cuba. For a simple reason: The Cuban Spring happened in
1959. This is not to say that there are not certain sectors of the Cuban
population that are dissatisfied, but these sectors know that change–which is
due–should come from within the country itself, not through foreign
intervention. The Cubans know equally well what they have to lose. They live
under conditions that, despite their modest nature, despite all of the
vicissitudes of daily living, are quite exceptional if one takes into account
the problems of the third world. Cuba has a life expectancy of 78 years, one of
the highest, if not the highest, in the third world; an infant mortality rate of
4.8 per 1000 births, the lowest on the American continent, even including the
United States and Canada, and the lowest in the third world. Cuba has a human
development index significantly higher than that of the rest of the third world.
These comparisons demonstrate that popular assumptions about the nature of the
Cuban government are mistaken.

Were the Cuban government a government that imposed its authority by force, the
Cuban people would have revolted long ago. Cubans are not a cowardly people. You
need only to read Cuban history to understand this. The Cuban people rose up
against the Spanish empire, against the Machado and Batista dictatorships. A
consensus to safeguard the system exists within Cuban society, a system that
needs to be improved through the elimination of excessive restrictions and
prohibitions, but nonetheless within the system. Cubans are not asking for a
change of system, but only for improvements within the existing one. That is the
great difference between a popular government such as exists in Cuba and
military dictatorships such as in Egypt.

We have been watching for weeks now the terrible repression that is occurring in
Egypt. What has been the position of the United States? They express their
concern, “concern”. Imagine if this had happened in Cuba. I am absolutely
convinced that even Luxembourg would be calling for an immediate military
invasion of the island.

Injustice=Case of the Cuban Five

January 29, 2012

Actor Danny Glover talks to the You Tube press about the injustice of the case and incarceration in U.S. prisons of the Cuban Five. These men have now spent more than a decade behind bars. See for yourself:


subtitled in spanish !

Miami-based Cuban Journalist Denounces Threats

January 27, 2012

(Prensa Latina) Cuban journalist Miguel Fernandez, a Miami resident, reported on Thursday that he received numerous threats after publishing an article critical of the most right-wing Cuban emigrants.

According to Fernandez, after reviewing the statements of the mother of Orlando Zapata, a common prisoner who died in Cuba, on his blog La Isla Infinita, he has been the victim of intimidation “that can range from insults to violence.”

Fernandez recalled that the intolerant fanaticism of those in exile in Miami led to the murder of Luciano Nieves, on February 21, 1975 of Carlos Muniz, on April 28, 1979, in the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and of activist Eulalio Jose Negrin, also in 1979.

The article does not exceed the limits of the statements made by Reina Luisa Tamayo, and many of its paragraphs quote almost textually the testimony filled with nostalgia, grief and resentment against groups and individuals who manipulated his stay in Miami, said Fernandez.

The text, published by several Cuban and international media, summarizes expressions of discontent of Tamayo, who said she felt betrayed by those who encouraged her to go to the United States, where she now makes a living cleaning houses and caring for the elderly.

Referring to the threats against him, Fernandez said he does not doubt any of those who lend themselves to this dirty work, because there is “a long history of fatalities for thinking differently from the extremist faction that tries to impose its thinking on Cuba and its people.”

Mariela Castro: “U.S government is concerned about LGBT movement in Cuba”

January 27, 2012
Written by  Aday del Sol Reyes
The 6th Congress of Sexology will take place in Havana, January 23rd-26th, in its usual venue of the Convention Palace under the slogan “Sex education in the process of social transformation”.
Mariela Castro Espin, director of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), grants an exclusive interview to CubaSi where she explains the educational work carried out by this institution.
Bachelor of Psychology-Pedagogy and Master of Sexuality, Mariela Castro is known internationally as a champion of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights in Cuba.joined social networks and created an account on twitter, @CastroEspinM and the blog in order to dismantle the prejudices that have been historically established and banish homophobia.
– You said “the Revolution has changed not only the lives of Cubans but also their sexuality” in a meeting with U.S. students last November. Why?
The Cuban Revolution meant not only the achievement of the long-awaited national sovereignty, but also a complex process of creating and implementing the project of justice, social equity and solidarity that has been built and defended during these 53 years.
This scenario led to the confrontation and dialogue between generations, cultural patterns, classes and social strata. Old paradigms of power based on domination and exploitation, inherited from Spanish colonial system and the U.S. neocolonialism, were questioned.
Undoubtedly, this process has generated radical and deep changes in our culture, our prejudices about sexuality, in the relation of domination of men over women, in the reconfiguration of courting, in sexual politics that privilege heterosexual relationships and exclude other forms of erotic and love relationships between human beings, which deny certain rights to those who do not meet these parameters.
Cuban cinematography and other artistic expressions have portrayed from a very creative point of view the vicissitudes of men and women for the development of these changes. For example, the overrated criteria of virginity and its contributing factor to marriage have been transformed. The same has happened with the imposition of a couple for the rest of our life, the sole responsibility of men as head of family, the loyalty standard of women and infidelity in men, the rejection of race relations, the myths of menstruation, the disqualification for single mothers and single women, women’s rights, a disapproval to transgender people, gay and bisexual, among others.
– What is the status of the analysis of the bill calling for the legalization of gay marriage? Would the new Family Code recognize their property and personal rights besides allowing transsexuals’ change of identity?
At present, the draft bill proposal to amend the Family Code is being subjected to the criterion of specialists from the Ministry of Justice and professionals affiliated with the National Union of Jurists of Cuba. According to the Minister of Justice, its discussion in our Parliament is included in the legislative plan of 2012. I believe that the Party Conference may help to define a policy explicitly prohibiting discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity and, in turn, help to dismantle the prejudices that hinder its adoption. The purpose of these proposals corresponds to the need to recognize and protect the rights of our population.
With regard to facilitating the legal identity change for transgender people without surgical intervention (as it happens now), we presented, through the Federation of Cuban Women, in 2008, a draft decree-law of Gender Identity to the President of the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs of the People’s National Assembly. There is no information on the development of this legislative initiative yet.
The proposal has an inclusive character for all transgender persons, identified by a specialized Commission of the Ministry of Public Health, since not all can be performed a surgery because of their health or personal decisions.
On occasion of your visit to Holland, you wrote on your twitter account @CastroEspinM “There exists in Cuba an explicit policy of care not only over prostitution but also over transactional sex, which is individualized”. Could you explain this?
Regarding prostitution topic, I start from the conviction that the autonomy over the body of all persons should be respected as a right. However, sex market has not disappeared thanks to the prevalence of forms of social organization based on patriarchal and class exploitation systems among human beings.
Some of its expressions are hard to make visible because the efforts of governments are focused on the most traditional and explicit interpretations, such as prostitution and human trafficking. These cases include transactional sex that refers to women and men who get some benefit from sex practice, which is not necessarily money. It has always existed, but it is only now that we talk about this phenomenon and in Latin America it is closely related to sex tourism, which has an own logic.
In Cuba, since 1959, the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) led the attention to the problems generated by prostitution as a form of exploitation, mainly toward women, who were also underprivileged not only for their gender status, but for race and social class reasons as well.
It is known that there were more than 100,000 prostitutes in very precarious and humiliating conditions, who have expressed in public testimonies, how the Revolution changed their life, by benefiting them and favoring their prominence within a great liberating process which contributed to dignify them.
The work done by the Revolution to eradicate prostitution is a matter of national pride. The crisis that began in 1990 favored its reappearance as a social problem with new characteristics, especially linked to the development of international tourism and a consistent presence of customers who pay for sexual services and generate this market. Therefore, she praised the Swedish experience of penalising the customer, which has proved effective in the reduction of sexual exploitation.
-How many sex change operations have been performed in Cuba so far and in response to what requirements is the selection made?
There have been 15 sex reassignment surgeries. The first was carried out by Cuban specialists in 1988. But it was not until 2007 that this procedure was retaken by the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP).
There exists a National Commission for Comprehensive Care of Transsexual People that has received 175 requests from trans population since 1979 and they are assisted according to internationally agreed parameters. As long as we divulge these services in the media, there will come more people who experience the conflict and do not know they can receive help.
Until now, trans people should go through a two-year follow-up period in which they are accompanied by specialists, along with a personalized hormone treatment, during the transition to the gender with which they identify themselves. At the end of this process, the Commission endorses the people who are eligible and are apt for the sex reassignment surgery (popularly known as “sex change”) and for the legal change of identify.
This surgery is not an aesthetic whim, but a procedure scientifically agreed on worldwide, which shows a considerable benefit for the welfare of trans people. The surgical procedure contributes to ease the permanent anguish that these people have lived since their early childhood, as a result of the prejudices that lead to incomprehension and discrimination.
– What’s your opinion on the confirmation by WikiLeaks on the financing ($300. 000) the U.S government has established for the subversion of the LGBT project in Cuba?
In the first place, this explicit reaction on behalf of the U.S. government demonstrates that the work carried out in Cuba for the  rights of the lesbians, gays, bisexual, transsexual, and intersex (LGBTI) worries and occupies them, in time and resources. Why? Because it shows the Cuban government’s political will to face homophobia and transphobia as forms of discrimination, which are not consistent with the emancipating project defended by the Cuban revolution.

What we are doing tears apart the worn-out media campaigns to discredit the spirituality of the revolutionary project and makes evident the resources of North American taxpayers dedicated to lie, slander, demonize, and collapse this changing experience and its leaders.
They have set their efforts in giving privilege to a few unauthentic voices, repeating them in traditional media, blogs and social networks that follow a spiteful misleading program with a pre-established script.
Strong evidences have been presented on the orders received by these mercenaries, on behalf of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana. Some of these evidences were published by WikiLeaks.
Many people who have been eye witness of the facts and later read the news which have been broadly spread can appreciate the gross way of manipulating the international public opinion in largely influential press media like the Spanish CNN, El País, Der Spiegel, Radio Nederland, among others.
– Several steps have been taken in Cuba to promote the respect to the free and responsible sexual orientation and gender identity, however, these are not enough yet.  In your opinion which is the path to follow to get to the hearts of all Cubans and banish, once and for all, the homophobia in our country.
The first steps were taken by the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), with the creation of the National Group of Work on Sexual Education in year 1972, forerunner of CENESEX.
The FMC also propitiated a public debate on these topics. A landmark moment was the publication of the book “Man and Woman in Intimacy” (Sigfred Schnabel, 1979), in which a scientific voice argued, for the first time in Cuba, why homosexuality is not considered a disease.

Many homosexual people have told me the benefits these messages meant to them, against stigmatizing burden society imposes on them.
Exactly after assessing the actions we have carried out are not enough, in year 2007 we joined the initiative of the French activist Georges Tin of celebrating the International Day against  Homophobia on May 17, because in that date of 1990 the World Health Organization (WHO) eliminated homosexuality from its  manual of classification of mental illnesses.
From this experience in 2008 we begin to work with an educational strategy, with the support of the media, for the respect to the free and responsible sexual orientation and gender identity.
These activities have been supported by several state institutions and organizations of the civil society, with the support of the Ideological Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, and they have contributed to create a LGBTIH movement, with the peculiarity of including heterosexual people who actively participate in this cause.
Why do we choose an educational and communicative strategy?
Because it’s about a deep process of cultural transformation, of contributing with analysis elements to dismantle the prejudices that have been established historically to dominate people, their sexualities and their bodies. The change in the social awareness is really complex and takes a lot of time, but there must be a political will to enable the change, otherwise we would be repeating the ways of thinking of the exploitative societies before us.
– How much of Vilma is there in Mariela?
The permanent opposition to all expressions of social injustice. The commitment with the revolutionary process that has been generated since the first emancipating reactions of our people which became mature in the struggle for the definitive independence of the Cuban nation. The sincerity, the dissent, the humility, and the persistency.
Cubasi Translation Staff

January 26, 2012

Cuba: Looking back and ahead

January 26, 2012

By Saul Landau and Nelson P. Valdés

(First of two parts.)

Cuba: Looking back and ahead-Saul Landau y Nelson P. ValdésIn 2012, the White House will focus on the most important of international and national issues: the re-election of the President. U.S.-Cuba policy will fall into “Next Year’s” box – or the year after that. The National Security staff reverts to its familiar positions on relations with that troublesome island: ignorance and arrogance.

Few Americans even in the Foreign Service know the Cuban revolution began in the 1860s as a war of independence against Spain.

Spain prevailed in the 1860s war, as did Cuban slavery until 1886. Unlike the 1776 war for independence, the struggle in Cuba confronted a major social issue, which U.S. Founding Fathers had finessed – until the Civil War in 1861.

In January 1959, after almost 100 years of on-and-off combat, the 26th of July guerrillas marched into Havana as winners of the decisive round. The revolutionaries carried another ancestral platform: social justice and equality.

Cubans knew well how Washington had acted as their destiny blocker. By 1898, Cuban “independentistas” had almost defeated Spain. The United States intervened to thwart that goal. Washington imposed the Platt Amendment on Cuba’s constitution, giving itself the right to intervene in Cuban affairs, and a naval base in Guantanamo – now a prison and torture chamber. The United States intruded several times in the 20th Century to alter the island’s fate, including in events following the 1933 overthrow of the Machado dictatorship: to prevent revolutionaries from acquiring sovereignty.

That political-military exercise led to the Fulgencio Batista era (1934-1958) – in which the new U.S.-trained and bonded military held sway.

In 1958, however, Washington lost confidence in Batista’s ability to stop social revolution, and began plotting unsuccessfully with a clique of high military officials to replace Batista with a junta – ala 1934.

The revolutionaries’ victory in 1959 changed Cuba’s destiny. In 1960, after consolidating power, they made “Patria o Muerte” (homeland or death) the national slogan, referring to the long-sought goal. 1930s revolutionaries joined the 1950s rebels in a unity program: build a proud, healthy and literate nation, bound by ideals of social justice, equality and sovereignty.

Cubans were offered the chance to become actors on the stage of their own history. Millions left their homes to teach literacy, or joined militias, and voluntary associations to transform the island from dependency and underdevelopment into healthy development.

Cuba’s revolutionary tradition assumed that a sovereign nation would use its resources to benefit its people. Rich soil and industrious workers would provide everyone with a decent living standard. Poverty, most assumed, derived from foreign or domestic exploitation.

Early laws restricting landlords and large foreign and Cuban property owners allowed the government to distribute resources and services to the population, which won more legitimacy for the revolutionaries. But Cuba’s accumulated wealth would prove superficial compared to its needs.

Over the first decades, children of illiterate Cubans earned PhDs, and became doctors and soldiers who volunteered to go abroad to help change destiny in Africa and Latin America. Others volunteered for arduous tasks of construction and agriculture. By the mid 1970s Cuba had become literate and healthy.

To accomplish the overwhelming tasks of development revolutionary leaders had accepted Soviet help. This uneasy, but convenient marriage from 1972-1985 included adopting the Soviet economic and administrative models.

For Cuba the deal meant soft loans, technical assistance, secure supply lines and a high-paying market for its products. While most third world countries transferred capital to developed countries, the Cuba-Soviet agreement reversed the pattern, permitting the island to have sovereignty, social justice and relative equality. Cubans also became world-renowned artists, writers and athletes.

For the Soviets, Cuba became a legitimizing instrument to maintain credibility among third world peoples, playing a broker-like role for Soviet positions at third world meetings.

On July 26, 1989, however, Fidel Castro warned of the impending demise of the Soviet bloc. Cubans had to prepare. The enemy 90 miles away loomed as a constant threat to the revolution’s goals.

In 1991, the Soviet Union died. Without Soviet aid and trade, could Cuba’s economy survive? The unthinkable alternative, surrender to Washington, led Cuban leaders to design the “special period” – a daily juggling for survival. Euphoria prevailed in Washington. Scholars announced “the end of history,” capitalism had won – well, if one ignored the cyclical disasters. Computers and the Internet would remake the world. China and Vietnam had already abandoned communism – in all but name.  Cuba remained the “Jurassic state”.

Without even major trade partners, Cuba’s leaders at first relied on abstractions: national honor, patriotism and shared sacrifice, hardly adequate weapons to fight a 32% GNP drop in one year.

Circumstances dictated that Cuba earn money from foreign tourists, who required a service oriented labor force – including prostitution. Cuba permitted remittances, which created inequality. Working Cubans earned less than non-workers who got rewarded by family members abroad.

Cuba began earning dollars for doctors’ and educators’ services abroad. In turn, this reduced the breadth and quality of education and health care at home.

Living standards fell. Theft, black markets and corruption tied to bureaucracy grew. Those too young to experience the days of subsidized consumption became pessimistic – even cynical – and desperate about their future. Complaining reached theatrical height. As leaders repeated old slogans teenagers passing below signs of Che Guevara reading “Como el Che,” would often say “Si, asmático.” (Like Che … yes, asthmatic.) Some opted for rafts to Florida.

Meanwhile, the revolutionaries maintained political power and withstood two decades of counter revolutionary efforts from abroad. By 2001, Cuba’s economy and administrative structures had begun to fall into dysfunction. Corruption levels became intolerable; the once exciting revolutionary script sounded trite.

When Hugo Chavez became president of Venezuela, he provided Cuba with aid and political alliances. Additionally, Latin America accepted Havana as a full partner, ending Cuba’s isolation

Recently, Cuba’s Communist Party reviewed the economy. A new script began to emerge as a series of guidelines (lineamientos). Changes have begun to affect property rights, domestic trade, employment practices, and investments.

In 2012, Cuban leaders could forge a new mission, to remake Cubans as the inspiration – if not saviors – of human life on the planet. Part of Cuba’s population still vibrates with desires to act on the world stage with a script the world’s people need.

Imagine Cuba leading a green revolution for survival! They have the science, experience and organization. Will the leadership pass the torch to those who have the energy and will to carry it out?

Next week: how Fidel Castro laid the groundwork for an environmental mission.

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP plays at Smith College, Feb 16. Nelson Valdés is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico and director of Cuba-L. 

source : progresoweekly

Essence, La Colmenita in the United States (Español/ English) complete film

January 26, 2012,


Cuba’s truths

January 24, 2012

January 23, 2012

Cuba’s truths

OVER the last few days, the media and representatives of certain governments traditionally committed to anti-Cuba subversion have unleashed a new campaign of accusations, unscrupulously taking advantage of a lamentable event: the death of an ordinary prisoner, which possibly only in the case of Cuba, is converted into news of international repercussion.

The method utilized is the same one as always: fruitlessly attempting, through repetition, to demonize Cuba, in this case through the deliberate manipulation of an incident which is absolutely exceptional in this country.

This so-called political prisoner was serving a four-year sentence after a fair legal process during which he was at liberty and a trial in accordance with the law, for a brutal physical attack on his wife in public and violent resistance to arrest by police agents.

This man died from multi-organ failure due to an acute respiratory infection, despite having received appropriate medical attention, including specialized medication and treatment in the intensive care room of Santiago de Cuba’s principal hospital.

Why did Spanish authorities and certain members of the European Union hasten to condemn Cuba without any investigation into the incident? Why do they always utilize pre-fabricated lies in the context of Cuba? Why, in addition to lying, do they censor the truth? Why is the voice and truth about Cuba openly denied the smallest space in the international media?

They are acting both cynically and hypocritically. How would they describe the recent manifestations of police brutality in Spain and a large part of “educated and civilized” Europe against the indignados movement?

Why is there no concern over the dramatic situation of overcrowding in Spanish jails with a high immigrant population – in excess of 35% of total prisoners in the country – according to the most recent report by the ACAIP prison union, dated April 3, 2010?

Who has made any effort to investigate the death in July of 2011 in the Spanish penitentiary of Teruel, of Tohuami Hamdaoui, an ordinary prisoner of Moroccan origin after a hunger strike of several months? Who has reflected the fact that he has insisted he is innocent?

Has the Chilean spokesperson slandering us by asserting that the dead man was a political dissident on his 50th day of hunger strike lost his memory and sense of reality? He must remember his days as a student leader linked to Pinochet’s troops, who massacred Chileans and instituted disappearances and torture throughout the Southern Cone via Plan Condor, while there have been no statements about the harsh repression of students peacefully demonstrating in defense of the human right to universal and free education. Is he one of those who supported re-labeling the Pinochet dictatorship a military regime in school textbooks? Has he made any statement about the repressive and arbitrary Anti-Terrorist Law implemented against Mapuche prisoners on hunger strike?

The United States government, the principal instigator of any effort to discredit Cuba in order to justify its policy of hostility, subversion and the economic, political and media blockade of Cuba, could not be missing from this campaign.

The hypocrisy of spokespersons for the United States, a country with a poor human rights record at home and abroad, is staggering. The UN Human Rights Council has acknowledged frequent serious violations in this country of women’s rights, in the treatment of persons, racial and ethnic discrimination, inhuman conditions in prisons, neglect of inmates, a differentiated racial standard and frequent judicial errors in imposing capital punishment, and the execution of minors and the mentally ill. This is compounded by abuses of the migratory detention system, deaths along the militarized southern border, atrocious acts against human dignity and the killing of innocent civilians by U.S. army troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries, not to mention arbitrary detentions and acts of torture perpetrated in the illegally occupied Guantánamo Naval Base.

It is barely known that three people died in the United States last November 2011 during a mass hunger strike of prisoners in California. According to testimonies from prisoners in adjoining cells, prison guards offered no assistance whatsoever and ignored their cries for help, as opposed to the abusive practice of force feeding hunger strikers.

A few weeks previously, African American Troy Davis was executed despite a large body of evidence demonstrating legal errors in his case. The White House and the Department of State did nothing about this case.

A total of 90 prisoners have been executed since January 2010 to date in the United States, while a further 3,220 remain on death row. The government frequently brutally represses those who dare to expose injustices within the system.

This new attack on Cuba is clearly politically motivated and has nothing to do with legitimate concerns for the lives of Cuban men and women. It is fuelled by the complicity of the financial-media corporations such as the Prisa Group and the corporation running CNN en Espanol, in the finest style of the Miami Mafia. It is irrationally accusing the Cuban government without having made any investigation into the facts. Condemnation and judgment are made a priori.

It is apparent from the immediate and crude response of authorities and the apparatus in the service of media aggression against Cuba that they did not even take the trouble to confirm the information. The truth is unimportant if the intention is to fabricate and sell a false image of alleged flagrant and systematic violations of civil liberties in Cuba which could one day justify an intervention in order to “protect defenseless Cuban civilians.”

The attempt to impose a distorted image of Cuba meant to indicate a notable deterioration in human rights, to construct an allegedly victimized opposition dying in prison, where health services are denied, is evident.

The humanist vocation of Cuban doctors and health personnel, who spare no effort or the country’s scant resources – to a large extent the result of the criminal 50-year blockade imposed on the Cuban people – to save lives and improve the health standards of their own people and in many other nations is well known.

Cuba is respected and admired by many peoples and governments who recognize its social undertakings at home and abroad.

Deeds speak louder than words. Anti-Cuban campaigns will not inflict any damage on the Cuban Revolution or the people, who will continue improving their socialism.

The truth of Cuba is that of a country in which human beings are most valued: a life expectancy rate at birth of 77.9 years; free health coverage for the entire population; an infant mortality rate of 4.9 per 1,000 live births, a figure exceeding that of the United States and the lowest on the continent along with Canada; a literate population with full and free access to all levels of education; 96% participation in the 2008 general elections; and a democratic process of discussion of the new economic and social guidelines prior to the 6th Congress of the Communist Party.

The truth of Cuba is that of a country which has taken its universities and schools to penitentiaries holding inmates who had fair and impartial trials, who receive the same wages for work undertaken, and enjoy high levels of medical attention without any distinction in terms of ethnicity, gender, creed or social origin.

It will be demonstrated yet again that lies, however much they are repeated, do not necessarily become truths, because, as José Martí stated, “A just principle, from the depths of a cave, can do more than an army.”

Translated by Granma International

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