Archive for July, 2012

Granma Newspaper Exposes Subversive Actions against Cuba

July 31, 2012

In an editorial published on Tuesday under the title “Truth and Reason,” Granma daily newspaper exposes some of the most recent plans and actions aimed at subverting Cuban constitutional order, including similar purposes of a trip to Cuba by a Swedish and a Spanish citizen, who were involved in a car accident that was the target of manipulation against the island.

The editorial explains that since last July 22, over 900 press articles and 120 thousand social network messages have addressed the regrettable car accident that resulted in death of two so-called “Cuban dissidents”, while one Spanish and one Swedish citizen were injured.

Some of the most vociferous elements of the Miami-based mob accused Cuba of having committed a political assassination, the editorial reads and adds that the US Republican candidate. The US State Department and curiously, the spokesperson of Chile’s President were among the slanderous handful of people who demanded “a transparent investigation.”

A July 27 release by the Cuban Interior Ministry strongly countered the infamous insinuation by giving unquestionable testimonies of experts and eye witnesses, including the two foreigners involved in the accident.

But the in the large international media coverage of the events few asked what two European politicians were doing in Cuba, since the two foreigners involved in the action were Angel Carromero Barrios, deputy secretary general of “Nuevas Generaciones,” the youth wing of Spain’s “Partido Popular” and Swedish Jens Aron Modig, leader of Sweden’s Christian Democrats, and president of that party’s youth sector.

Both European politicians entered Cuban territory on July 19 on tourist visas and later, in violation of their migration status, got involved in political actions against Cuba’s constitutional order, as part of an operation organized by the head of the foreign affairs section of Sweden’s Christian Democrats party, Anikka Rigo, Granma explains.

Their objective was brining money to the small counterrevolutionary “Movimiento Cristiano de Liberacion” led by Oswaldo Paya, one of the two Cubans who died in the car accident, and advising the setting up of a youth organization linked to that group, the editorial noted.

With this purpose, Spanish Partido Popular deputy Pablo Casado Blanco, former advisor to ex-chief of the Spanish government, Jose Maria Aznar, gave instructions to the other visitor, Carromero, to contact Spanish citizen Cayetana Muriel in Sweden, also a member of the Christian Democrats, who gave him the money and the instructions, plus a cell phone programmed with all necessary numbers. Carromero later contacted Modig on Facebook and met in a Madrid restaurant.

Modig had previously come to Cuba with the same purpose in 2009, under instructions of Victor Omedo Capdepon, leader of Sweden’s Christian Democrats Party and editor-in-chief of the Stockholm-based anti-Cuba magazine “La Primavera de Cuba.”

Having delivered the money and given advice on the creation of a youth organization, Modig and his three companions headed for eastern Santiago de Cuba on their subversive agenda, when the accident took place.

The two foreign citizens received consular advice. Spain’s Angel Carromero is being charged with homicide in the event of driving a vehicle on the public roads. Modig was allowed to return to his country despite his illegal activities and the violation of his migration status.

The operation described above is one in many others, particularly organized in the US city of Miami and also in Madrid and Stockholm.

The Granma editorial also exposes other subversion-oriented actions like the visit to Cuba by eight Mexican youths, just days before Pope Benedict XVI arrived on the island. The Mexicans, who came on tourist visas, tried to incite protests on the streets and the storming of churches, the distribution of counterrevolutionary leaflets and disorder in activities scheduled during the Papal visit.

Four Mexicans were arrested and they admitted to have been paid and trained by Orlando Gutierrez Boronat, from the Miami-based Directorio Democratico Cubano organization for propaganda operations. They said the operation chief in Mexico was Rene Bolio Hollaran, former senator for the Partido de Accion Popular (PAN), with close links to the mafia based in the US state of Florida, the editorial explains.

Before the operation took place a Facebook site titled “Por el levantamiento popular en Cuba” (For the people’s uprising in Cuba) had been opened with 13 civil disobedience projects.

Other projects have been aimed at fabricating virtual “opposition” leaders by providing them with Internet access, PCs and other technical means, with the expressed political purposes.

The US Interest Section in Havana, with openly subversive objectives, provides these persons with illegal connections to the Internet, conspiracy-oriented courses in violation of national laws and the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations, the editorial reads.

The US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have received a 75-million-dollar budget to undertake subversive plans against Cuba, while other US and European agencies allocate funds with the same purposes, the editorial notes by citing their names.

During the 9 th Session of the Cuban Parliament, President Raul Castro said that the United States continue with their effort to raise a fifth column on Cuban soil, and to use modern technology with subversive aims.
Cubanews/lcg/lcg/ 07-31-12

Full text editorial (Spanish) http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2012/07/31/nacional/artic06.html,
Editorial de Granma: La Verdad y la Razon

Car crash Cuba : mystery resolved

July 31, 2012

Sweedish Man Brought 4,000 Euros for illegal organization in Cuba

by Raquel Maria Garcia Alvarez

Swedish young man Jens Aron Modig, involved in a accident that resulted in the death of two people, revealed today that he had brought 4,000 euros for an illegal organization in violation of Cuban laws.
“We don´t make such funding to organizations in other countries,” Modig admitted in remarks to reporters at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Interior Ministry.
As he explained that this was his second trip to Cuba, Modig, who is the president of the Social Democratic Youth of the Christian Democratic Party of Sweden, said he made the two trips under instructions of
the party´s international department.
He added that objectives of his trip included meeting with Oswaldo Paya, a leader of an illegal organization who died in the accident in Granma province, eastern Cuba, some 800 km from Havana.
He was also supposed to meet with members of Paya´s movement and support and accompany him in any trip he wanted to make.
“I would like to apologize for coming to this country to carry out illegal activities,” said Modig, who, questioned by journalists on this regard said that his apologies were sincere.
“In this case my apologies are sincere; all the Cubans I have met have been kind to me and have treated me well. This is my answer,” he stressed.
I understood how serious the activities carried out were when I talked with the police officers, said the politician, who had given money and equipment already to counterrevolutionary journalists in 2009,
according to his own words.
Referring to the car accident on July 22, he said he did not recalled any other car involved in it.

Spanish Asks to Avoid Political Use of Car Accident in Cuba

Spanish young man Angel Carromero asked international public opinion to avoid using for political purposes the car accident he was involved in, resulting in two deaths.
“I would like to ask the international community to focus on taking me out of here and not using the car accident, which could have happened to anyone, for political purposes,” said Carromero in a video
shown to reporters here.
During the interview, the youth leader of the People´s Party of Spain denied that any other vehicle hit the rear of the car on July 22, when Cubans Harold Cepero and Oswaldo Paya, members of an illegal
organization, died as the car rammed into a tree.

Carromero´s remarks coincided with the version given by Cuban police detectives and eye witnesses, who established high speed as the cause of the accident.
“The last time I looked we were at 80 km/h,” said the driver of the car as he explained that he failed to watch the speedometer when he had the accident some 800 km from Havana, where he arrived on July
19 on a tourist visa.
“I was simply driving, I noticed a pothole and took the precaution to use the brake, lost control and I can´t remember to have seen any traffic sign, he explained in the little over five-minute footage.

Meanwhile, his companion, Sweedish Jens Aron Modig, said to have only vague memories of the accident because he was sleeping during part of the trip.
“The first memory I have of the accident is that the car had got out of control and was heading for a tree, and my mind went blank from then on”, he said.
“In the second flash of memory, I was in an ambulance and the third I got to the hospital,” he added.
“I saw a cloud of dust and then a car passed at very high speed,” said Jose Antonio Duque, who added that he realized there had been an accident as he entered his rice plantation.
“I run, left the bicycle on the floor and helped take out the wounded, said Duque, a worker of the National Water Resources Institute.

(Prensa Latina)

Robert Fisk: Syrian war of lies and hypocrisy

July 31, 2012

 

The West’s real target here is not Assad’s brutal regime but his ally, Iran, and its chemical weapons

Robert Fisk – The Independent

Has there ever been a Middle Eastern war of such hypocrisy? A war of such cowardice and such mean morality, of such false rhetoric and such public humiliation? I’m not talking about the physical victims of the Syrian tragedy. I’m referring to the utter lies and mendacity of our masters and our own public opinion – eastern as well as western – in response to the slaughter, a vicious pantomime more worthy of Swiftian satire than Tolstoy or Shakespeare.

While Qatar and Saudi Arabia arm and fund the rebels of Syria to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite/Shia-Baathist dictatorship, Washington mutters not a word of criticism against them. President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, say they want a democracy in Syria. But Qatar is an autocracy and Saudi Arabia is among the most pernicious of caliphate-kingly-dictatorships in the Arab world. Rulers of both states inherit power from their families – just as Bashar has done – and Saudi Arabia is an ally of the Salafist-Wahabi rebels in Syria, just as it was the most fervent supporter of the medieval Taliban during Afghanistan’s dark ages.

Indeed, 15 of the 19 hijacker-mass murderers of 11 September, 2001, came from Saudi Arabia – after which, of course, we bombed Afghanistan. The Saudis are repressing their own Shia minority just as they now wish to destroy the Alawite-Shia minority of Syria. And we believe Saudi Arabia wants to set up a democracy in Syria?

Then we have the Shia Hezbollah party/militia in Lebanon, right hand of Shia Iran and supporter of Bashar al-Assad’s regime. For 30 years, Hezbollah has defended the oppressed Shias of southern Lebanon against Israeli aggression. They have presented themselves as the defenders of Palestinian rights in the West Bank and Gaza. But faced with the slow collapse of their ruthless ally in Syria, they have lost their tongue. Not a word have they uttered – nor their princely Sayed Hassan Nasrallah – about the rape and mass murder of Syrian civilians by Bashar’s soldiers and “Shabiha” militia.

Then we have the heroes of America – La Clinton, the Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, and Obama himself. Clinton issues a “stern warning” to Assad. Panetta – the same man who repeated to the last US forces in Iraq that old lie about Saddam’s connection to 9/11 – announces that things are “spiralling out of control” in Syria. They have been doing that for at least six months. Has he just realised? And then Obama told us last week that “given the regime’s stockpile of chemical weapons, we will continue to make it clear to Assad … that the world is watching”. Now, was it not a County Cork newspaper called the Skibbereen Eagle, fearful of Russia’s designs on China, which declared that it was “keeping an eye … on the Tsar of Russia”? Now it is Obama’s turn to emphasise how little clout he has in the mighty conflicts of the world. How Bashar must be shaking in his boots.

But what US administration would really want to see Bashar’s atrocious archives of torture opened to our gaze? Why, only a few years ago, the Bush administration was sending Muslims to Damascus for Bashar’s torturers to tear their fingernails out for information, imprisoned at the US government’s request in the very hell-hole which Syrian rebels blew to bits last week. Western embassies dutifully supplied the prisoners’ tormentors with questions for the victims. Bashar, you see, was our baby.

Then there’s that neighbouring country which owes us so much gratitude: Iraq. Last week, it suffered in one day 29 bombing attacks in 19 cities, killing 111 civilian and wounding another 235. The same day, Syria’s bloodbath consumed about the same number of innocents. But Iraq was “down the page” from Syria, buried “below the fold”, as we journalists say; because, of course, we gave freedom to Iraq, Jeffersonian democracy, etc, etc, didn’t we? So this slaughter to the east of Syria didn’t have quite the same impact, did it? Nothing we did in 2003 led to Iraq’s suffering today. Right?

And talking of journalism, who in BBC World News decided that even the preparations for the Olympics should take precedence all last week over Syrian outrages? British newspapers and the BBC in Britain will naturally lead with the Olympics as a local story. But in a lamentable decision, the BBC – broadcasting “world” news to the world – also decided that the passage of the Olympic flame was more important than dying Syrian children, even when it has its own courageous reporter sending his despatches directly from Aleppo.

Then, of course, there’s us, our dear liberal selves who are so quick to fill the streets of London in protest at the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians. Rightly so, of course. When our political leaders are happy to condemn Arabs for their savagery but too timid to utter a word of the mildest criticism when the Israeli army commits crimes against humanity – or watches its allies do it in Lebanon – ordinary people have to remind the world that they are not as timid as the politicians. But when the scorecard of death in Syria reaches 15,000 or 19,000 – perhaps 14 times as many fatalities as in Israel’s savage 2008-2009 onslaught on Gaza – scarcely a single protester, save for Syrian expatriates abroad, walks the streets to condemn these crimes against humanity. Israel’s crimes have not been on this scale since 1948. Rightly or wrongly, the message that goes out is simple: we demand justice and the right to life for Arabs if they are butchered by the West and its Israeli allies; but not when they are being butchered by their fellow Arabs.

And all the while, we forget the “big” truth. That this is an attempt to crush the Syrian dictatorship not because of our love for Syrians or our hatred of our former friend Bashar al-Assad, or because of our outrage at Russia, whose place in the pantheon of hypocrites is clear when we watch its reaction to all the little Stalingrads across Syria. No, this is all about Iran and our desire to crush the Islamic Republic and its infernal nuclear plans – if they exist – and has nothing to do with human rights or the right to life or the death of Syrian babies. Quelle horreur!

Venezuela: A Threat to Washington?

July 30, 2012
( Chomsky and Chavez )
By Eva Golinger

From the first time Hugo Chavez was elected President of Venezuela in 1998, Washington and its allies have been trying to undermine his government. When Chavez was just a presidential candidate, the US State Department denied his visa to participate in television interviews in Miami. Later, when he won the presidential elections, Ambassador John Maisto called him personally to congratulate him and offer him a visa. The following months were filled with attempts to “buy” the newly elected President of Venezuela. Businessmen, politicians and heads of state from Washington and Spain pressured him to submit to their agendas. “Come with us”, urged Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, trying to seduce him with offers of wealth and luxury in turn for obeying orders.

When Chavez refused to be bought, he was ousted in a coup d’etat April 11, 2002, funded and planned by Washington. When the coup failed and Chavez’s supporters rescued their democracy and president in less than 48 hours, attempts to destabilize his government continued. “We must make it difficult for him to govern”, said former US State Department chief Lawrence Eagleberger.

Soon, Venezuela was overrun with economic sabotage, oil industry strikes, chaos in the streets and a brutal media war that distorted the reality of the country on a national and international level. A plan to assassinate Chavez with Colombian paramilitaries in May 2004 was impeded by state security forces. Months later, the US-backed opposition tried to revoke his mandate in a recall referendum, but again, the people saved him in a 60-40 landslide victory.

The more popular Chavez became, the more millions of dollars flowed from US agencies to anti-Chavez groups to destabilize, descredit, delegitimize, overthrow, assassinate or remove him from power by any means possible. In December 2006, Chavez was reelected president with 64% of the vote. His approval rating grew in Venezuela and throughout Latin America. New governments in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Uruguay and several Caribbean nations joined regional initiatives of integration, cooperation, sovereignty and unity, encouraged by Caracas. Washington began to lose its influence and control over its former “backyard”.

The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), PetroCaribe, PetroSur, TeleSUR, Bank of ALBA, Bank of the South and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) were created. Washington isn’t included in any of these organizations, nor is the elite that previously dominated the region.

In January 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Chavez was a “negative force” in the region. In March, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) placed Venezuela on their list of “Top 5 Hot Spots”. A few months later, Reverend Pat Robertson publicly called for the assassination of Chavez, claiming it would cost less than “a $2 billion war”. That same year, when Venezuela suspended cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) because it was found committing acts of espionage and sabotage, Washington classified Venezuela as a nation “not cooperating with counter-narcotics” efforts. No evidence was presented to show alleged Venezuelan government ties to drug trafficking.

In February 2006, Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte referred to Venezuela as a “dangerous threat” to the US. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfled compared Chavez to Hitler. That same year, Washington created a special intelligence mission dedicated to Venezuela and Cuba, increasing resources for operations against them. In June 2006, the White House placed Venezuela on a list of countries “not cooperating sufficiently with the war on terror”. The classification included a sanction prohibiting the sale of military and defense equipment from the US and US companies or those using US technology to Venezuela. No evidence was ever shown to back such serious claims.

In 2008, the Pentagon reactivated its Fourth Fleet, the regional command in charge of Latin America and the Caribbean. It had been deactivated in 1950 and hadn’t functioned since then, until Washington decided it was necessary to increase its presence and “force” in the region. In 2010, the US established an agreement with Colombia to set up 7 military bases in its territory. An official US Air Force document justified the budget increase for these bases in order to counter the “threat from anti-American governments in the region”.

International media call Chavez a dictator, tyrant, authoritarian, narco, anti-American, terrorist, but they never present proof for such dangerous titles. They have converted the image of Venezuela into violence, insecurity, crime, corruption and chaos, failing to mention the incredible achievements and social advances during the last decade, or the causes of the social inequalities left behind from previous governments.

For years, a group of US congress members – democrats and republicans – have tried to place Venezuela on their list of “state sponors of terrorism”. They claim the relationships between Venezuela and Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, and even Venezuela and China evidence the “grave threat” represented by the South American nation to Washington.

They say again and again that Venezuela and Chavez are threats to the US. “He must be stopped”, they say, before he “launches Iranian bombs against us”.

In an interview a few days ago, President Barack Obama said Chavez was not a threat to US security. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he was. The ire of the Miami Cuban-Venezuelan community came down upon Obama. But they shouldn’t worry, because Obama increased funding to anti-Chavez groups this year. More than $20 million in US taxpayer dollars have been channelled from US agencies to help fund the opposition’s campaign in Venezuela.

Is Venezuela a threat to Washington? In Venezuela, the only “terrorists” are the groups trying to destabilize the country, the majority with political and financial support from the US. The drug traffickers are in Colombia, where the production and transit of drugs has increased during the US invasion disguised as Plan Colombia. Relations with Iran, Cuba, China, Russia and the rest of the world are normal bilateral – and multilateral – ties between countries. There are no bombs, no attack plans, no sinister secrets.

No, Venezuela is not that kind of threat to Washington.

Poverty has been reduced by more than 50% since Chavez came to power in 1998. The inclusionary policies of his government have created a society with mass participation in economic, political and social decisions. His social programs – called missions – have guaranteed free medical care and education, from basic to advanced levels, and provided basic food items at affordable costs, along with tools to create and maintain cooperatives, small and medium businesses, community organizations and communes. Venezuelan culture has been rescued and treasured, recovering national pride and identity, and creating a sentiment of dignity instead of inferiority. Communication media have proliferated during the last decade, assuring spaces for the expression of all.

The oil industry, nationalized in 1976 but operating as a private company, has been recuperated for the benefit of the country, and not for multinationals and the elite. Over 60% of the annual budget is dedicated to social programs in the country, with the principal focus on eradicating poverty.

Caracas, the capital, has been beautified. Parks and plazas have turned into spaces for gatherings, enjoyment and safety for visitors. There’s music in the streets, art on the walls and a rich debate of ideas amongst inhabitants. The new communal police works with neighborhoods to battle crime and violence, addressing problems from the root cause.

The awakening in Venezuela has expanded throughout the continent and northward into the Caribbean. The sensation of sovereignty, independence and union in the region has buried the shadow of subdevelopment and subordination imposed by colonial powers during centuries past.

No, Venezuela is not a threat to US security. Venezuela is an example of how a rising people, facing the most difficult obstacles and the brutal force of empire, can build a model where social justice reigns, and human prosperity is cherished above economic wealth. Venezuela is a country where millions once invisible are today, visible. Today they have a voice and the power to decide the future of their country, without being strangled by foreign hands. Today, thanks to the revolution led by President Chavez, Venezuela is one of the happiest countries in the world.

That is the threat Chavez and Venezuela represent to Washington: The threat of a good example.

Cuban police report on traffic fatality involving Oswaldo Paya

July 30, 2012

Rightist militants all over the world, including Carl Gershman, the head of the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, which funds the opposition inside of Cuba today are continuing to spread the story that Paya and his colleague were killed somehow by the Cuban government.

None of those people, including the family of Paya, not to speak of the opponents of the Cuban government here in the United States were in any position to assess the events.  They simply weren’t there. I wasn’t there, either.  Cuba’s government has and had no interest in ending Paya’s life.  It had nothing to gain from it beyond more bad publicity.

Here is an English translation of the Cuban police report on Paya’s death. Read it carefully and draw your conclusions.


– http://www.cubadebate.cu  –

Official Note from the Ministry of the Interior on the accident that occurred on July 22 (+ Computer Graphics and Video)

Published on July 27, 2012 in News, Politics

http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs3498.html
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
(Photo) Car involved in the accident

As reported by the newspaper Granma, on July 22 at 13:50 hours, a Hyundai Accent tourist car, registration T31402, went off the road and hit a tree in a stretch of Las Tunas-Bayamo road in the town of Las Gabinas, Granma province.

In this unfortunate accident, Cuban citizens Oswaldo José Paya Sardinas and Harold Cepero Escalante were killed, while foreigners Angel Francisco Carromero Barrios and Jens Aron Modig, Spanish and Swedish citizens, were slightly injured.

The investigative process established that the vehicle had left Havana at 06:00 pm that day, driven by Angel Carromero, heading to Santiago de Cuba. Jens Aron was traveling in the right front seat, Oswaldo Paya was in the left rear seat next to Harold Cepero. The latter two were not wearing seat belts.

The stretch of road where the accident took place is under repair and for about a mile the road surface is not paved, making it a sort of dirt road with plenty of gravel and therefore is quite slippery. The forensic analysis revealed that the place is a straight path that has good visibility and there was a signal indicating the presence of men working in maintenance, preceded by similar ones warning drivers of the sections under repair.

In this regard, paragraph two of Article 127 of Law 109 on Road Safety, states that “no one should drive a car at speeds over 60 kmph on dirt roads” and Article 128 states that “Without prejudice to the preceding articles, in relation to the general speed limit, the driver of a vehicle or animal in a road must have full control of its movement and is forced to slow down and if necessary stop whenever circulation, the state of the road or visibility demands it, “especially” when the surface is slippery due to water, grease, sand, mud or other substances or these may splash vehicles and pedestrians. ”

The expert analysis and the testimony of three eyewitnesses to the accident: Jose Antonio Duque de Estrada Pérez, Lázaro Miguel Parra Arjona and Wilber Rondon Barrero, established that the car entered the dirt road at great speed. In this regard, Captain Jorge Fonseca Mendoza, expert examining  the crime scene (with 12 years of experience), said that the driver applied the brakes abruptly, eighty meters after entering the dirt road, the vehicle lost control and the car turned on its left side sliding for about 63 meters, with the front toward the ditch and the trunk to the center of the lane until it hit a tree on the right edge of the road. This confirms the extreme speed it was travelling at.

Jose Antonio Duque de Estrada, a worker at the National Institute of Water Resources (INRH), who lives in the town of Rio Cauto, Granma and was riding a bicycle near the place where the accident happened, told the Investigating Unit:

“The car passed me at high speed; it was certainly doing more than 100 kilometers per hour. It overtook a tractor that was going in the same direction and then I saw a tremendous cloud of dust as it entered a bad stretch of the road. As I approached, with less dust, I saw the car had hit a tree in the ditch. In my opinion, the clearest reason I see for the accident is speeding. Driving on a dirt road is not the same as on the pavement, brakes proved to be useless, the car did not hold, it slid and struck the tree. ”

Meanwhile, Lazaro Miguel Parra Arjona, INRH tractor operator and resident in La Sal in the municipality of Yara, confirmed this version: “The car passed me at high speed, then I saw a dense dust cloud and when it subsided I saw the car had hit the tree in the ditch.”

Both Jose Antonio and Lazaro were going in the same direction as the car, but Wilber Rondon Barrero, a farmer in Rio Cauto, was coming from the opposite direction and was a few hundred meters away from where the incident occurred. “As I approached I saw the car losing control and slamming into a tree in the ditch,” he said.

Members of the Forensic team: Lt. Col. Misael Fontes Perez, from the Damages, Explosions and Fires Unit (19 years of experience as an expert), Lieutenant Colonel Inardi Reyes Uriarte, Chief of the Granma Provincial Forensic Team (11 years of experience as an expert), and Captain Jorge Fonseca together with Fidel Nunez Guevara, Chief of Traffic Engineering in Granma province (9 years of experience as an expert), concluded categorically that the driver was speeding and that the vehicle had a dent 67 inches wide and 45 inches deep on the rear left side, perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the car (where the deceased were traveling) as a result of a blow that substantially deformed the body and roof of the car; these characteristics and dimensions correspond to the aforementioned tree.

The medical forensic report indicates that Oswaldo Paya died instantly as a result of head trauma caused by the heavy impact he received, while Harold Cepero died in the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Surgical and Clinical Hospital in Bayamo city, due to acute respiratory failure as a result of a pulmonary thromboembolism in the upper lobe of the left lung, caused by the fragmented fracture of the left femur.

Angel Carromero told the investigating unit that he could not remember having seen the signs warning about the state of the road. He added that he entered the dirt road at a speed he cannot determine because he had not looked at the speedometer and that when he realized he was driving on gravel he tried to slow down by braking suddenly and the car began to slide sideways until it hit a tree. Jens Aron said he was asleep when he felt the sudden brakes and lateral movement of the vehicle; then he lost consciousness.

From the logical analysis of the travel time (about eight hundred kilometers in less than eight hours, with three stopovers), the statements of the witnesses and the forensic study of the scene and the vehicle, the research team concluded  that Angel Francisco Carromero Barrios must have been driving at an average speed of over 120 kmph [74.6 mph], and that his careless driving, excessive speed and incorrect decision to apply the brakes violently on a slippery surface, were the causes of this tragic accident with the loss of two lives.

The investigation and the legal process continue according to Cuban law.

Cuba – USA : Dialogue, on what terms?

July 28, 2012

OPINION

Raul Castro confirmed on July 26, at the celebration of Cuba’s Day of rebellion, that Cuba was ready to establish an open dialogue with the United States, but as equals.

“The day they are ready, the table is set, and this has been communicated through the regular diplomatic channels. If they want to hold a discussion we will do so, but on equal terms, because we are no-one’s subjects, nor a colony, nor anyone’s puppets,” he said.

The State Department responded on the same day, as reported by the Australian Associated Press:

Later on Thursday, Mike Hammer, assistant secretary for public affairs at the US State Department, said that before there could be meaningful engagement, Cuba must institute democratic reforms, improve human rights and release Alan Gross, a Maryland native serving 15 years for bringing satellite and other communications equipment into Cuba illegally while on a USAID-funded democracy-building program.

“Our message is very clear to the Castro government: They need to begin to allow for the political freedom of expression that the Cuban people demand, and we are prepared to discuss with them how this can be furthered,” Hammer said.

This came from the same Obama administration that protected the coups against the elected presidents in Honduras (2009) and Paraguay (2012) and that maintains close political and military ties with countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain; that has taken no action to hold accountable those responsible for the illegal war against Iraq, in which widespread torture became standard procedure; and that keeps in prison the Cuban Five –in one case, under probation, after serving a full sentence–, who were first jailed in 1998 and then sentenced in 2001.

Yesterday was not the first time that Raul has declared a willingness to open talks on any subject. He delivered a major speech at the Fifth ALBA Summit in Cumana, Venezuela, on April 16, 2009, in which he stated:

We’ve said to the North American government, both privately and publicly, that we’re ready whenever they are, to discuss everything: human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners, everything, everything, everything that they might want to discuss, but on equal terms, without the slightest infringement of our sovereignty and without the least violation of the Cuban people’s right to self-determination.

President Obama said then that he wanted to see “signals” from Cuba on issues such as freeing prisoners whom he considered to be political and improving human rights before moving to normalize relations.

Thirteen days after the ALBA summit, speaking at a meeting of ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement, Raul restated the offer:

We have reiterated that we are willing to talk about everything with the United States, in equality of conditions, but not to negotiate our sovereignty, nor our political and social system, the right to self-determination, nor our internal affairs. Cuba has not imposed sanctions against the United States…and therefore it is not Cuba that has to make gestures.

Two months later, on June 28, 2009, the coup in Honduras took place. At the time, the US had a major Air Force base in Honduras. After the coup, the US was granted two more military bases.

Yesterday, Prensa Latina reported that some 1,000 state employees in Paraguay have been fired for political or ideological reasons.

Cuban American Alliance Education Fund
http://www.cubamer.org,

US Anti-Cuba Legislators Design Initiatives to Reinforce Economic Blockade

July 26, 2012

US anti-Cuba legislators continue to promote actions to reinforce Washington’s hostile and aggressive policy against Cuba and to prevent the normalization of bilateral relations, said the director of the United States Division at the Cuban Foreign Ministry Josefina Vidal.

In statements to the ACN via the Internet, Vidal said that republican representative for Florida, David Rivera, is pushing forwards the modification of the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which could deprive Cuban immigrants from their benefit over other emigrants in the U.S., if they travel to the island before getting their US citizenship.

The initiative intends to coercively turn Cuban immigrants into hostages and accomplices of the counterrevolutionary policy maintained by the extreme-right US policy, the official pointed out.

Rivera’s project, which has not yet been submitted to the vote of Congress, has been rejected by the Cuban emigration in the United States and by other US civil society organizations, which support a change of attitude towards Cuba, Vidal said.

Another proposal by Rivera is an amendment to the draft bill of the National Defence Authorisation Act for fiscal 2013, whose aim is imposing new penalties of extraterritorial nature against entities from third countries with links to Cuba.

The republican legislator justifies his intentions with the blacklisting of Cuba by the State Department, though he does not mention Cuba, in order to hide his real purpose. This proposal could be submitted to the US Senate by one of the anti-Cuba legislators and they might use spurious maneuvers to have it passed into law, Vidal said.

If such projects are approved, they would directly affect the people by limiting visits by relatives living in the U.S. and this would have a negative impact on family relations on both sides of the Florida Straits.

The Cuban government official explained that such approval would also increase hurdles on commercial and financial relations of third countries with the island, and this would further increase the cost of the financing of social and economic development.

For specific cases, some investment projects would not be possible to implement thus having a direct impact on the immediate needs of the Cuban population in terms of healthcare, food, education, culture and sports.Vidal said that such anti-Cuba measures would even thwart the country’s advancement in the fields of livestock, industry, technology and scientific research.

The Cuban official reiterated the island’s position favoring dialog on equal grounds, but she warned that Cuba will not stop rejecting and denouncing the US hostile policy, or fighting for the progress and wellbeing of its people, and this includes all actions that may be designed to counter such aggressive escalation.

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Shouts and detentions

July 26, 2012

By the staff of Progreso Weekly/RPA

HAVANA – After the Mass in homage to oppositionist Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, said by Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, a group of oppositionists began to shout “Freedom! Freedom!” outside the small and narrow church of San Salvador.

The police arrived at the site, some to open a path for the funeral van and the attendees at the religious service. Other police officers began to tussle with the people who were shouting.

“Yes, there was pushing … a brouhaha, and some people were taken away,” said Caridad Pérez, a resident of Calzada del Cerro, a busy boulevard a few yards from the church. From the almost centenary portals on that street, curious observers watched the departure of the funeral cortege, as well as the struggle between protesters and police.

“I climbed to the balcony of this house to watch the vehicles and everything that happened down there … I didn’t see any blows, only a tumult and people pushing,” said Liuba, a 14-year-old girl who said she lives in that barrio.

Sources in the dissident movement told of the detention of between 40 and 50 oppositionists, some of them arrested before arriving at the church. Among these was Guillermo Fariñas, a psychologist who received the Sakharov Prize in 2003.

According to the dissident sources, most of the detainees were later released.

Auto siniestrado - Oswaldo Paya

While this happened in Havana, the Spanish daily El Mundo reported that Ángel Carromero, leader of the New Generations of the Spanish Popular Party (PP), remained under detention in the city of Bayamo. Carromero drove the car that crashed, killing Cubans Payá Sardiñas and Haroldo Cepero. Injured were Carromero and Swedish political activist Jens Aron Modig, both associated with the Christian Democrat movement.

“According to Carromero’s statement, he did not see a traffic sign that ordered a reduction in speed. For this reason, he lost control of the vehicle and fell into a ditch.” (El Mundo, Ana Romero, EFE, 24/07/2012).

This statement by the driver goes against the opinions of those who said that the accident was no accident but a political crime.

For his part, the chairman of the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and former political prisoner Elizardo Sánchez said that, according to Commission emissaries who went to the site of the accident, the road conditions were deplorable. The road was full of potholes.

Echoing those statements, the Spanish conservative daily ABC says in its report: “Two collaborators of the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) who visited the site of the accident where Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero died have stated categorically that the vehicle suffered “a brutal impact” and have ruled out that any other vehicle was involved in the disaster, according to the CCDHRN’s spokesman, Elizardo Sánchez.”

ABC said that the two collaborators of the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation traveled to the province of Granma (in southeastern Cuba) to verify the conditions in the area. Both activists confirmed that the vehicle suffered “a brutal impact” and found no proof of the involvement of any other vehicle in the accident.

When asked by the activists, “area residents assured them that no other vehicle was on the road when the crash occurred.”

Miami meeting denounces latest prison harassment of Cuban 5

July 23, 2012

THE MILITANT
Vol. 76/No. 28 July 30, 2012

Miami meeting denounces latest prison harassment of Cuban 5
(front page)

BY NAOMI CRAINE
MIAMI—Some 60 people gathered here July 15 to denounce new violations of the
constitutional rights of five Cuban revolutionaries imprisoned by Washington and
to express solidarity with their ongoing fight for freedom. The meeting was
called by the Alianza Martiana, a coalition of Cuban-American organizations.

Prison officials have been denying legal and consular visits to one of the five,
Gerardo Hernández, who is serving a sentence of double life plus 15 years on
trumped-up charges of conspiracy to commit espionage and conspiracy to commit
murder.

The Cuban Five, as they are widely known around the world, includes Hernández,
Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González. They were
arrested in 1998 and convicted in 2001 on various frame-up conspiracy charges.

The five were living and working in Florida where they were monitoring and
informing the Cuban government of plans by counterrevolutionary organizations
with a long history of violent attacks against the Cuban Revolution and its
supporters.

On July 9 prison officials refused to allow Hernández a legal visit from
attorney Martin Garbus, a new member of his defense team, Andrés Gómez,
president of the Antonio Maceo Brigade, told the meeting.

“This case has been marked from the beginning by violations of due process,
beginning with the 17 months before their trial during which [the five] were
held in solitary confinement,” said Gómez.

Among other violations of constitutional rights that marked the trial, the five
were denied a change of venue from Miami, where residents were bombarded with
negative media coverage on the case and intimidating actions organized by
Cuban-American counterrevolutionary forces.

According to a statement issued by Cuba’s foreign ministry, when Garbus arrived
for a scheduled visit at the federal prison in Victorville, Calif., he was
turned away on the pretext that the paperwork wasn’t at the reception desk.

Two days earlier, according to the statement, “Cuban officers who had been
already authorized by the State Department to carry out a consular visit to
Gerardo were not able to fulfill it” with a similar excuse.

Hernández “was supposed to review documents with his lawyer,” Gómez noted, and
prepare oral arguments to be presented in court in connection with a new stage
in the habeas corpus motion he filed two years ago asking for a hearing to
present new evidence that came to light after his conviction in 2001.

“This is not the first time events like this one occur,” explained the Cuban
statement. “They have taken place systematically during every key moment of
Gerardo’s legal process.” In 2010, as he was preparing his habeas corpus motion,
“the penitentiary authorities denied Gerardo the possibility to be visited by
his lawyer Leonard Weinglass in two occasions, and deliberately delayed the
delivery of his legal mail, which prevented his participation in the reviewing,”
said the statement.

On July 6 the government’s attorneys asked the court to dismiss Hernández’s
motion for discovery and oral argument in relation to one aspect of his habeas
motion—that some of the journalists who wrote false and inflammatory articles
about the case during the trial were at the time on the U.S. government payroll.
Labañino, Guerrero, and Fernando González have also filed appeals on similar
grounds.

In its reply, the government argued that Hernández’s motion is a “fishing
expedition” and that the 11th Circuit Court already determined in a 2006 ruling
that the five “received a fair trial.”

Garbus was finally able to meet with Hernández, but only as a regular visitor,
Gómez said. “He was not allowed to bring in the documents for the case, or even
paper and a pen.”

According to attorney Richard Klugh, another member of Hernández’s legal team,
Hernández has until Aug. 20 to reply to the government’s response to his motion.

Gómez reported that René González, who has been on “supervised release” since
last October, after 13 years of incarceration, filed a new request June 22 to
return to Cuba. (See “René González Again Requests Return to Cuba” in July 16
issue.) Judge Joan Lenard refused a similar motion before Gonzalez’s release,
claiming it was “premature.”

Freedom of the Cuba Five is a priority for the Cuban Parliament

July 22, 2012

The release of the five Cuban antiterrorists serving unjust sentences in the U.S., was ratified as a priority for the international work of the Cuban National Assembly of the People’s Power (ANPP by its Spanish acronym).

In the Havana’s Conventions Center, Ramon Pez Ferro, president of the Foreign Relations Standing Commission of the Parliament, stressed that to get Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez back to the homeland, is in the center of the efforts of that body, and the rest of the Cuban legislature.

After being released in October last year from jail after serving an over-a-decade long sentence, Rene Gonzalez is still being held in the US under “supervised release”.

The lifting of the US economic, commercial and financial against the island and to fight anti-Cuba media campaigns orchestrated by the enemies of the Revolution, were also mentioned by Pez Ferro as permanent labor guidelines of the commission which he presides.

In reviewing the work of the committee during the first day of meeting of the 12 standing commissions of the legislature, the deputy also reported that the ANPP contacts with parliaments of other nations and individuals was considerable in the first half of the current year.

He stressed that at so far this year, his Commission held meetings with leaders of 69 countries and now it has close links with 98 friendship parliamentary groups.

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