Archive for January, 2014

February-letter to President Obama / carta para Sr. Obama

January 30, 2014

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Mr President Obama February first, 2014
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington DC 20500 (USA)

Mr President,

Personalities from every continent were present in South Africa last December, to pay their last respects to Nelson Mandela. The entire world had their eyes riveted on the franc and warm handshake you exchanged with President Raúl Castreo, in Soweto. The Cuban president presented himself to you in these terms – “Mr President, I am CASTRO!
The name Castro is so symbolic during these ceremonies paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, the adulator of the struggle against the apartheid system. In fact, this struggle would not have succeeded without Cuba’s help and that of its president, Fidel Castro. Cuba’s intervention was decisive during the civil war in Angola, routing the racist South American and Zairian troops, who were fighting alongside Angolan mercenaries, organized and armed by the United States. Angola’s independence tolled the bell for the apartheid system, enabling afterwards Namibia and then South Africa to do away with their racist regimes.
Cuba and the United States did not quite play the same roles! Two thousand six hundred Cubans gave their lives in the struggle against apartheid, during which the United States were giving arms to maintain it. It was not a coincidence if a year after his liberation, after 27 years in prison, Cuba was the first country that Nelson Mandela, just after having been elected president of the A.N.C., visited. It is not a coincidence either, if Thenjiwe Mtintso, when she was the South African ambassador for Cuba, declared in December 2005, “Today, South Africa has a number of new friends. Yesterday, these friends treated our leaders and our combatants as terrorists, and, safely in their countries, they harassed us while supporting apartheid South Africa. Today, these same friends want us to lay blame on Cuba and to isolate it Our response is very simple – it is the blood of the Cuban heroes and not that of those friends that is profoundly irrigating African grounds and reviving the tree of liberty in our homeland”.
The highest honor that you can give to Nelson Mandela, Mr President, is to liberate the four Cubans who are still imprisoned in the United States. Mandela, who holds the Nobel Peace Prize, was very touched when, on March 8th 2005, Jorge Risquet, an exceptional actor of Cuba’s role in Africa, handed over to Maputo a collection of poems from Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five. Nelson Mandela, at that time, manifested his desire to correspond with the Cuban Five.
The lives of the five Cuban patriots, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, René González and Ramón Labañino, who were arrested in Miami more than fifteen years ago, present numerous similarities with that of Nelson Mandela. His example helped these five men, particularly when they were kept in solitary confinement for almost a year and a half at a Miami prison, under extremely hard conditions. It was during this time that Antonio Guerrero wrote the poems that were later published under the title “Desde mi altura”.  
So, after having shaken hands with President Raul Castro, you can understand that our hopes were grand, that it was as if you had, without it being noticed, slipped into his hands, the jail keys to the United States lockups where Fernando, Ramón, Antonio and Gerardo are being held. We are waiting for these keys, either in the form of a humanitarian exchange with Alan Gross, or in the form of a presidential grace during the New Year’s celebrations. We are coming into February, and the four Cubans are still imprisoned. What’s more, during the last two months of 2013, Gerardo, in his prison in California, lived through weeks of solitary confinement in his prison cell; this happened three times. This collective punishment, called “lockdown”, is extremely hard on the prisoners, who cannot leave their cell, cannot even shower and have, for meals, a cold, paltry sandwich.
You declared, Mr President, during a precedent stay in South Africa, when Nelson Mandela was gravely weakened, that he was “a source of personal inspiration and a source of inspiration for the world”. Mr President, let yourself therefore be guided by this source of inspiration, and liberate the Cubans. You will be thusly acting in the sense of justice, and you will make possible new relations between your country and Cuba.
Please receive, Mr President, the expression of my most sincere humanitarian sentiments.

Jacqueline Roussie
64360 Monein (France)

Translated by William peterson

Copies sent to: Mrs. Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kathryn Ruemmler and to Mr. Joe Biden, John F. Kerry, Rand Beers, Harry Reid, Eric Holder, Denis MacDonough, Pete Rouse, Rick Scott, and Charles Rivkin, United States Ambassador in France.

Señor Preside Obama Febrero 1ro, 2014.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington DC 20500

Personalidades de todos los continentes estaban presentes en Sudáfrica en diciembre pasado, para un último homenaje a Nelson Mandela. El mundo estaba clavado en su sincero y cálido apretón de manos intercambiado en Soweto con el presidente Raúl Castro. El presidente cubano se presentó en estos términos: “Señor Presidente, yo soy CASTRO!”.
Cuán simbólico es en efecto el nombre de Castro en esas ceremonias de homenaje a Nelson Mandela, que encarna la lucha contra el apartheid. De hecho no se hubiera podido ganar esta lucha sin la ayuda de Cuba y de su Presidente Fidel Castro. La intervención de Cuba fue decisiva en la guerra civil de Angola en la derrota de las tropas racistas de Sudáfrica y Zaire que lucharon junto a mercenarios angoleños, organizadas y armadas por los Estados Unidos. La independencia de Angola selló la sentencia de muerte del apartheid permitiendo entonces a Namibia y Sudáfrica de acabar con los regímenes racistas.
El papel desempeñado por Cuba y los Estados Unidos no fue el mismo! Dos mil seiscientos cubanos dieron su vida en la lucha contra el apartheid, mientras que los Estados Unidos entregaron armas para su mantenimiento. No es una coincidencia que un año después de su liberación tras 27 años de prisión, Cuba fue el primer país a que Nelson Mandela, apenas elegido Presidente de la ANC, ofreció su visita. Tampoco fue una coincidencia cuando Thenjiwe Mtintsola la entonces embajadora de Sudáfrica en Cuba, dijo en diciembre de 2005: “Hoy, Sudáfrica tiene muchos nuevos amigos. Ayer, esos amigos hablaban de nuestros dirigentes y nuestros combatientes como terroristas, y nos acosaban desde sus países apoyando a la Sudáfrica del apartheid. Hoy en día, estos mismos amigos quieren que acusemos y aislemos a Cuba. Nuestra respuesta es muy simple: es la sangre de los Héroes cubanos y no la de esos amigos la que irriga profundamente la tierra africana y revitaliza el árbol de la libertad en nuestra patria”.
El mejor homenaje que usted puede rendir a Nelson Mandela, señor Presidente, es liberar a los cuatro Cubanos que siguen encarcelados en los Estados Unidos. Este premio Nobel de la paz, fue muy emocionado el 08 de mayo de 2005, cuando Jorge Risquet, actor privilegiado del papel de Cuba en África, le ofreció en Maputo un libro de poemas de Antonio Guerrero, uno de los Cinco. Nelson Mandela luego, expresó su deseo de cartearse con los Cinco.
Las vidas de los cinco patriotas Cubanos Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González y René González, quienes fueron arrestados en Miami hace más de quince años, tienen muchas similitudes con la de Nelson Mandela. Su ejemplo ayudó a estos cinco hombres, especialmente cuando fueron confinados cerca de un año y medio en celdas de aislamiento de la prisión de Miami, en condiciones de una extrema dureza. Fue entonces cuando Antonio Guerrero escribió sus poemas publicados más tarde con el título: “Desde mi altura.

Entonces, después de su apretón de manos con el Presidente Raúl Castro, usted comprenderá que nuestra esperanza fuera grande que le pusiera usted en su mano, guarida, la llave de las cárceles de Estados Unidos de Fernando, Ramón, Antonio, y Gerardo. Esta llave la esperábamos en la forma de un canje humanitario con Alan Gross, o de un indulto presidencial con motivo de las festividades del fin de año. Estamos en febrero, y los cuatro Cubanos todavía están encarcelados. Además, durante los dos últimos meses de 2013, Gerardo, en su cárcel de California, ha vivido tres veces una semana de confinamiento en su celda. Este castigo colectivo llamado “lock down” es muy difícil de vivir por los presos que no pueden salir de su celda, están privados de ducha, de visitas y solo para comida comen un pequeño sándwich frío.
Usted declaró, señor Presidente, durante su anterior visita a Sudáfrica, cuando Nelson Mandela ya estaba muy débil, que era este hombre “una fuente de inspiración personal y una fuente de inspiración para el mundo. “. Señor Presidente, déjese guiar por esta fuente de inspiración y libere a los Cubanos. Actuaría así en el sentido de la justicia y haría posible nuevas relaciones entre su país y Cuba.

Reciba Señor Presidente, la expresión de mis sentimientos humanistas más sinceros.

Jacqueline Roussie
64360 Monein (France)

Copias a: Señoras Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Kathryn Ruemmler. Señores Joe Biden, John F. Kerry, Rand Beers, Denis MacDonough, Harry Reid, Eric Holder , Pete Rouse, Rick Scott, y Charles Rivkin, Embajador de EEUU en Francia.

CELAC: voluntades hacia la integración #infografia

January 30, 2014

Café Mezclado

CELAC: voluntades hacia la integración #infografia

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Fernando González to leave prison soon! Fernando saldrá de prisión !

January 30, 2014

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Cuban Five hero Fernando González to be freed from U.S. prison on Feb. 27, 2014
Important that we remain alert and ready to act to assure Fernando’s return home to Cuba

On February 27, 2014, when Fernando González is released from Safford federal prison in Arizona, he will have completed
15 years, 5 months and 15 days of an unjust imprisonment imposed after a U.S. government political prosecution.
Each day has been a cruel punishment for Fernando and his Cuban Five brothers, who courageously sacrificed their well-being to defend their homeland and people of Cuba from the scourge of terrorism that emanates from Miami, with the full knowledge and protection of Washington.
But Fernando will not simply walk out of Safford on Feb. 27. As one of his appeals attorney Richard Klugh explains, since Fernando is not a U.S. citizen, he will be detained temporarily by Immigration authorities.
“In order to facilitate his immediate return to Cuba, he has quashed any pending appeal or Habeas proceeding, so that it cannot be used as a basis to keep him here. And he has waived any right to contest his deportation to Cuba. Fernando has that paperwork completed and negotiations are taking place for what we hope is an immediate return to Cuba and his wonderful family.”
Fernando’s sentence was reduced to 17 years from the original 19-year term, after his resentencing in 2009, and 13% credit reduction is given for good behavior in federal prison. “Fernando has been a model prisoner in everything, he has never had any incident whatsoever.”
As Fernando’s freedom approaches, Klugh says, “Everyone on the defense team has always had strong feelings and a bond with Fernando. He is an extremely sensitive and caring person, extremely mild-mannered, strong and honorable.”
We are hopeful for the return of Fernando to his family and to Cuba. We honor his integrity and the commitment to the freedom and security of his people. We pledge to keep fighting to ensure that justice is done and that Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio can join Fernando and René and return to their families in Cuba as soon as possible.

Organize a rally or other action on Wed. March 5!

The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five is urging all Five supporters to organize public actions for Wed. March 5, especially at this time following Fernando’s release from U.S. prison. If he is home in Cuba by then, the rallies will celebrate his return, and highlight ever more the urgent need for Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio to be freed immediately. If Fernando is still in the United States,
March 5 rallies will contribute greatly in demanding that the U.S. government allow Fernando to return home to Cuba right away.

The Vancouver Free the Cuban Five Committee will celebrate its 100th protest at the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver on March 5 calling for the Cuban Five’s freedom. Let’s join our Vancouver friends with actions in the United States and worldwide! March 5 will give special attention as well to the International Commission of Inquiry in London, March 7-8.

Send us your action information to info@freethefive.org and we will post on our calendar!
National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
Email: info@freethefive.org * web: http://www.freethefive.org * Tel: 415-821-6545

Fernando González, Héroe de la República de Cuba, saldrá de prisión el próximo 27 de febrero de 2014
Mantengámonos en alerta para asegurar su pronto regreso a Cuba

Fernando saldrá de la prisión federal de Safford, en Arizona, después de cumplir su injusta condena de 15 años, 5 meses y 15 días, resultado de un amañado procesamiento y juicio por parte del gobierno estadounidense. Fernando, al igual que sus otro cuatro hermanos: Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio y René, los Cinco Cubanos, sacrificaron sus vidas para defender al pueblo cubano de una infame campaña terrorista llevada a cabo por terroristas de la extrema derecha cubanoamericana radicados principalmente en Miami, con el conocimiento y la protección de Washington.
Ya que Fernando no es ciudadano estadounidense, las leyes, según nos explica su abogado, Richard Klugh, requieren que al finalizar su condena Fernando pase a la jurisdicción de las autoridades de Inmigración.
Según explica su abogado: ¨Para facilitar su pronto regreso a Cuba, Fernando ha desistido de continuar siendo parte del proceso de apelación extraordinaria, llamado de Habeas Corpus, junto con sus otros tres hermanos que permanecen en prisión, Gerardo, Ramón y Antonio. Como también ha renunciado a impugnar su deportación a Cuba. Fernando tiene todos los trámites en orden y hay negociaciones con las autoridades pertinentes para lograr su inmediato regreso a Cuba y a su maravillosa familia.”
En 2009, por orden del Tribunal de Apelaciones del Onceno Distrito, su condena original de 19 años fue reducida a 17 años. De acuerdo a las regulaciones del sistema federal de prisiones, los presos en sus cárceles reciben una reducción de un 13% del total de las mismas por buen comportamiento. Su abogado Klugh mantiene que “Fernando ha sido un preso ejemplar en todo, nunca tuvo ningún tipo de incidente”. Continúa Klugh, “Todos los abogados que hemos participado en la defensa de los Cinco siempre hemos tenido un fuerte sentimiento de afinidad con Fernando. Es una persona extremadamente sensible, gentil, fuerte y honorable.”
Nos sentimos aliviados con el regreso de Fernando a su familia y a Cuba. Reconocemos su entereza y compromiso con la libertad y la seguridad de su pueblo al igual que siempre lo han hecho sus otros cuatro hermanos. Nos mantendremos luchando hasta lograr que se haga justicia y que Gerardo, Ramón y Antonio también puedan regresar lo antes posible a su familia en Cuba.

El 5 de marzo: ¡Organicen mítines en apoyo a los Cinco!

El Comité Nacional para la Libertad de los Cinco les urge a todos los comités y amigos solidarios con los Cinco a que organicen acciones públicas para el miércoles, 5 de marzo, especialmente en los días después de la salida de Fernando de la prisión. Si él esté ya en Cuba, será celebración de su regreso y evento para exigir la liberación inmediata de Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio. Si Fernando todavía esté en Estados Unidos, las acciones serán importantes para exigir que el gobierno de EEUU permita a Fernando regresar sin más demora a Cuba.

También, el comité Vancouver Free the Five realizará su protesta número 100 frente al consulado estadounidense en Vancouver, exigiendo la libertad de los Cinco. Es buen tiempo para unirnos con nuestros amigos y amigas de Vancouver, con acciones en Estados Unidos y por todo el mundo! El 5 de marzo dará atención a la Comisión Internacional de Investigación en el Caso de los Cinco, en Londres, 7 a 8 de marzo.

Envíenos la información de su acción y ¡lo pondremos en nuestro calendario!
Comité Nacional por la Libertad de los Cinco
Email: info@freethefive.org * web: http://www.freethefive.org * Tel: 415-821-6545

My mon and I demand FREEDOM of the 5 / Mi mamá y yo exigimos la libertad de los 5

January 29, 2014

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Jane Franklin: CELAC has displaced de OAS as the Western Hemisphere´s main summit.

January 28, 2014

NYC Havana Blog

     

     CELAC has displaced the OAS as the Western Hemisphere’s main summit.  This is a huge paradigm shift.  Instead of the OAS’s 35 members with Cuba suspended, CELAC has all 33 Latin American and Caribbean states with the United States and Canada excluded.
     The New York Times so far has studiously avoided any mention of the CELAC Summit events that started this past weekend.  Simon Romero and Jonathan Gilbert have an almost comical article in today’s Times, saying that Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner “remains largely absent from the public eye” following surgery.  But President Kirchner was the first hemispheric leader to arrive in Havana and had lunch with former President Fidel Castro on Sunday.  There are some 700 reporters covering the Summit in Havana so maybe the Times will be forced to mention it before it ends.  
     Meanwhile, today’s Wall Street Journal mentions the CELAC…

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Your 2014 Guide to the Scandals Surrounding Senator Bob Menendez

January 27, 2014

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Image Associated Press
Associated Press

New Jersey’s reputation for political wrong-doing predates the Christie administration’s futzing with bridge traffic. Last year, the politician under fire was Sen. Bob Menendez, accused — deservedly and not — of inappropriate behavior involving hookers, influence, and cash. On Thursday, new allegations against Menendez emerged.

The new allegations

Menendez, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 2006, is being investigated by the FBI for having perhaps intervened on behalf of two accused criminals from Ecuador in exchange for campaign contributions.

The details of the investigation are sketchy as outlined by NBC, but go something like this. William and Roberto Isaias of Ecuador were convicted by that country’s government of embezzling millions of dollars from a bank that they ran as it collapsed. The two moved to the United States, but the country hasn’t determined that the evidence of their guilt is substantial enough to warrant extradition back…

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Havana hosts important regional summit

January 27, 2014

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By Helen Yaffe*
On 28-29th January 2014, Havana hosts the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC in Spanish), with the participation of the heads of states, chancellors and other representatives of all 33 independent nations in the region. The Summit rounds off Cuba’s one-year presidency of CELAC, which focussed on combating regional poverty, hunger and inequality. Cuba is part of CELAC’s three member troika, along with Chile, which held the presidency in 2012 and Costa Rica which takes over in 2014. Over 30 documents are being drawn up for discussion and analysis, including a Plan of Action, and standards and principles which will govern cooperation. The Summit was preceded by two days of discussions by national experts on 25-26 January and a meeting of chancellors on 27 January. The Summit is expected to emit specific statements, for example, demanding that Britain return Las Islas Malvinas (the Falkland Islands) to Argentina and that the US blockade of Cuba be lifted.

CELAC was launched with the Declaration of Caracas in December 2011. It is the first organisation in 200-years, since Latin America’s formal independence, to integrate the sovereign nations of the region without either being convened (or attended) by the United States, or other foreign powers, and without excluding Cuba. Indeed, the insistence on Cuba’s inclusion is a principal motive for CELAC’s foundation. CELAC stands as a rejection of, and alternative to, the Organisation of American States (OAS), set up in 1948 with its headquarters in Washington. In 1962 Cuba was expelled from the OAS because Cuba’s revolutionary government, it stated, had ‘officially identified itself as a Marxist-Leninist government, [which is] incompatible with the principles and objectives of the inter-American system.’ As Cuban academic Luis Suarez Sálazar pointed out to BBC Mundo: ‘the restoration of relations with all nations of the region and the presence in this gathering of their Heads of State demonstrates clearly that the US failed in its policy of isolating us.’

In 1994, following the collapse of the soviet bloc when neo-liberalism went on its triumphant offensive, the OAS held its first Summit of the Americas. It was a political forum for the US to pursue its economic agenda: the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), a neo-liberal treaty that would undermine national sovereignty and facilitate the pillaging and looting of resources by US and international capital. The Spanish acronym for the FTAA was ALCA. Direct opposition to this led then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to propose an alternative ALBA (which means dawn in Spanish); the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (see http://tinyurl.com/pntnwbt). While the 2005 deadline for the implementation of the FTAA came and went, US imperialism witnessed rebellion in its ‘back-yard’. At the last Summit of the Americas in Colombia in 2012, the final declaration draft demanded an end to the US blockade of Cuba and Cuba’s expulsion from the hemispheric events. This was vetoed by US and Canada so no agreement was reached.

CELAC’s other distinguishing characteristics are that it binds the Caribbean with Latin America, realising the vision of independence heroes such as Simon Bolivar and Jose Marti for ‘Our America’, and that it is not constituted as an narrowly economic mechanism for establishing free trade between member states. The general function of CELAC is to promote sustainable development, social and environmental investments, and create a ‘zone of peace’ where differences are resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. Securing the latter would not only benefit the regions nearly 600 million inhabitants, it would also undermine the ability of imperialist powers to provoke confrontations in their own interests. In the last few years, tensions between the governments of Colombia, a strong, right-wing ally of the US, and the Bolivarian socialist government of Venezuela have almost led to military confrontation.

Tensions between left, centre and right governments within CELAC are evident and are constantly aggravated by US machinations, for example the recent push to create the Alliance of the Pacific, so far formed of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru; right-wing governments allied to the US. However, CELAC aims to undermine divisive manipulation through open democratic discussion in which each participant’s views have equal weight. Cuban Foreign Minister, Burno Rodriguez Parrilla told a press conference on 24 January that during the Summit in Havana: ‘Decisions will be taken on the basis of full, participative and democratic process of debate and negotiation, which has been happening over many months and will conclude the in the next few days.’

Rodriguez also said that deliberations at the Summit would focus on strategies and policies to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger and provide access to free health and education.’ In this, Cuba is the regional leader par excellence. Its achievements are not just domestic. In Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine thousands of students from the region study for free. Millions of people have benefitted from its literacy programme, ‘Yes I can’. Through Cuba’s Operation Miracle, set up with Venezuela, between 2005 and 2011 two million people in Latin American and Caribbean had their eye-sight restored in 60 eye hospitals which Cuba had donated to 35 countries. Cuba therefore has the moral authority and practical experience to set the CELAC agenda.

The importance of the goals set out for the Summit cannot be underestimated. Despite recent progress, Latin America remains the most unequal region in the world. This reality, and the suffering which accompanies it, is especially brutal given the abundance of mineral, forestall, water and agricultural resources. Within CELAC are the world’s greatest supplies of mineral resources: copper (Chile), Iron (Brazil), Silver (Mexico) tin (Bolivia and Peru). Venezuela has the world’s greatest proven oil reserves, 18% of the total. And the Guarani Aquifer, located beneath the surface of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, is one of the world’s largest aquifer systems and sources of fresh water. Latin America and the Caribbean produce more food than required by their populations, and yet 8% of Latin Americans and 18% of Caribbeans suffer from malnutrition. The question is who controls the resources and in whose interests.

Luis Suarez Sálazar states that Cuba ‘was the first country in Latin America that included the goal of integration in its Constitution’. He sees CELAC as ‘the result of the existence of leftwing governments that seek to solve social problems and achieve more autonomy.’ There are multiple, overlapping and conflicting trade and cooperation agreements in Latin America and the Caribbean. ‘The great contribution of CELAC is that everyone could now converge in the same forum’, says Suarez. At CELAC’s invitation, the event will be attended by OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza. This will be the first visit to Havana by the holder of that office since before Cuba was expelled from the OAS.

*Dr Helen Yaffe, completed her doctorate in Cuban economic history at the London School of Economics. She is the author of Che Guevara: the economics of Revolution, first published by Palgrave MacMillan in English in 2009 with subsequent editions appearing in Spanish, Korean, Indonesian and Turkish. In 2009 she interviewed Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa about the procress of Latin American integration and the Citizens’ Revolution in Ecuador. In 2013 the Ministry of Communes in Venezuela invited her for consultations about the Communal Economic System and to give a series of lectures about Che Guevara and the transition to a socialist political economy.
(http://palgrave.typepad.com/yaffe/,)

Rene Gonzalez and Olga Salanueva: “It’s simple: until now and for life”

January 26, 2014

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The way how did a beautiful love story, simple but apparently taken from the pages of a novel, reveals the greatness of spirit and noble feelings of two human beings then subjected to the hardest tests imposed by the line of duty.

By Waldo Barrera Martínez

On November 28 last, journalists Javier Salado and Graciela Ramírez, correspondent of the Cuban edition of Latin summary, I conducted an extensive interview with the Hero of the Republic of Cuba, René González, who at the time, accompanied by his wife, divulged many Details of their random lives.

On that occasion, two partially revealed to interviewers how did a beautiful love story straight out of the pages of a novel, revealing the greatness of spirit and noble feelings of two human beings then subjected to the hardest tests imposed by the of duty.

We now consider our readers an excerpt from that meeting where release this simple and touching story, spent in the Cuba of the early 80s, with the carefree mood of freshness and two young men of his time.

“You ask me to talk about what it has meant to me Olga. You need to remember how we met. Olga was a colleague of the wife of a school instructor in San Julian [*] , this couple – and she died, Marisol match-they loved people, even Marisol’s sister ended up marrying my instructor, Salas . In all that room, they insist that I meet Olga and begin to talk a girl as pretty, as seriecita, in short, to talk wonders of Olga.

Finally I agreed and we know we were going to meet the February 14, 1982. They organized a party at someone’s house and we were going to meet there, but what about: a week earlier on Monday above twist of fate-had said in the aviation school that they caught knocking coconuts, what they would bounce from school. In San Julian, had a very large coconut groves and always the stories and tales of San Julián it humorously were linked to the struggle of students for stealing coconuts and administration to stop it. Stories are anthology. Persecutions, atrocities did the students not the cogieran, etc. ”

René tells how chance and help some workers, is caught red-handed on top of a coconut tree. The adventure ended two months without a pass, which only helped to lengthen the time of encounter. But that’s another story, we suppress that part not to tire our readers. Continue the story:

So I stayed two months at San Julian and my friends kept saying, “too bad, you’re so pretty girl.” Olga was already dreaming without knowing it, sometimes I would start exercising and doing sit-ups, I thought, how is OlgaTime passed, and he met the two months in the first half of April’m on the first pass, that Saturday was April 10. I lived on the beach of 16 and would not ever Santa María del Mar, it seemed a waste of time to catch the bus to Santa Maria and start taking the beach there, on hand, with my environment.

I remember Marisol and husband tell me that Saturday would be on the beach in Santa Maria, and insist that I go and meet Olga. In the morning I go to the beach of 16 and I’m with my friends; think much to go to Santa Maria, take a bus. But they had told me to call at each house Marisol to know exactly where they would be: I leave the peole from 16 to 11:30, take a bath and all are thinking, “pussy but starting to Santa Maria “. I decided to try it to see what happened, I’m on the corner, i phone and tells me Mom Marisol, they were in Boca Ciega, it was there. I was filled with value, I take the panties and pulled up there. I arrived and got off the wooden bridge that no longer exists, and when I got off, the group received me and left the “Mermaid” from the sea. Since I saw her I said to this girl is pretty.

That Saturday we talked on the beach, play with peersAfter the trip to Havana we did “backwards”, something that many people did: they went to the terminal before returning Guanabo sitting. The trip we did in the last seat, “in the kitchen” Girón screaming because a lot of noise, we were talking and then I realized I had conversation, had seen that was nice, tremendous big eyes, a cute laugh, the lips … in short, had all the features. That Saturday I accompanied her to her home and the next day went for a walk, we went to Coney Island and a movie. It was Sunday April 11. I had to go back to school, so when I leave the house I said, “next week I love you” and she looked at me as if to say do it now, but I had to give me my place.

I went to San Julian, for flight school. That week I spend thinking about it, then yes every day, and say, “cute girl pussy, I have to Love”. By next Saturday, April 17, we agreed the same group and went to “The Strings” which at that time was a nightclub, most enjoyable it was. There, I do not know if the music of Roberto Carlos, the atmosphere, was ready to throw a “descarguita” but when I go to throw the discharge look like me with those eyes … and nothing, and I kissed ya, so far . So simple, so far and for life. ”

The marriage, despite the abrupt separation of many years of cruel and unjust removal, after more than three decades, remains intact and visibly stronger and more solid than ever. A couple distinguished by simplicity and humility, which may well go unnoticed in his walk through the streets of any Cuban neighborhood if not for the recognition enjoyed by all our citizens.

Olga today is the eternal companion. We see the arm of her husband in all areas inside and outside of Cuba, at all times, pinned Rene as yellow bracelet worn on one wrist, fighting tirelessly beside him, at any time, by return home of his four brothers, still separated from loved ones and all the people that claimed grateful.

[*] This refers to the aviation school of San Julian in the province of Pinar del Pinar del Rio, where René studied between 1979 and 1982, graduating agricultural pilot.

On the Horizon – A United States of Latin America?

January 25, 2014

CELAC_Cuba_1_Amelia Pardo

by S. Wilkinson
(International Istitute for the study of Cuba)

It might be a little far-fetched to imagine that there will ever be a federation of the states of Latin America of a kind that Simón Bolívar dreamed, but the meeting in Havana at the end of this month of the CELAC, the recently established Community of the States of Latin America and the Caribbean, is nonetheless an historic event with portentous implications for the future.

For one thing, this meeting brings together the heads of governements of all the countries in the western hemisphere except the United States, Canada and those entitities that are still under colonial control by European powers. Thus, simply by its exclusive membership, the CELAC is a counter hegemonic grouping that challenges the historic domination of the region by the developed powers.

Secondly, it has been announced that the meeting will be attended by the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States, José Miguel Insulza, who will become the first holder of that office to visit Havana since Cuba was expelled from the OAS in 1962. Given that within CELAC there is a sub-group of the ALBAcountries (Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela being chief among them) who have vowed not to attend the next OAS summit if Cuba is not admitted, the symbolic significance of Insulza’s accepotance of the invitation should not go unnoticed.
Connected to this is the weird timing of his visit because it coincides almost exactly with the breaking off of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the rest of the region 50 years ago. The timing therefore is ironic and serves to focus on both the potential integrationist power of the CELAC and the significance of having Cuba involved in the centre of the process.

Speaking to BBC Mundo and translated by the Cuban blog The Havana Times a Cuban specialist on the CELAC, Luis Suarez, says: “It is highly symbolic for Cuba. No other organization in the history of the region has joined so many nations.”
“the restoration of relations with all nations of the region and the presence in this gathering of their Heads of State demonstrates clearly that the US failed in its policy of isolating us.” – See more at: http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=101429#sthash.7EXb0b4h.dpuf

The restoration of relations with all nations of the region and the presence in this gathering of their Heads of State demonstrates clearly that the US failed in its policy of isolating us.”
Suarez points out that Cuba, “was the first country in Latin America that included the goal of integration in its Constitution. That vocation comes from the war for independence, when we had the support of citizens of several countries on the continent.”
Suarez says that “the worst external and internal enemies of the CELAC are those who do not want that we found a separate organization that allows us to reach the world with an agreed position. And the closest is the U.S. Pan-American policy.”
In this sense he believes that “the future of the regional organization will depend on political consultations that are achieved for concrete action to reach the ordinary citizen in the social field, in areas such as health or education, for example.”
In these and other subjects such as coping with natural disasters, Cuba could play a key role. “The country has a vast experience in these areas and also has the necessary human resources to support such initiatives.”
“We even have a Latin American School of Medicine, Operation Miracle that has restored sight to millions of people of the continent and we have created the “Yes I can” literacy mtehod that has taught more than three million illiterates to read and write,” explains Suarez .
The agenda in Havana falls squarely on social issues and aims to declare Latin America a “Zone of Peace,” an agreement that the Cuban specialist considers “extremely important because it implies that governments undertake to seek political and negotiated solutions, avoiding the use of force in the region.”
Furthermore, he says, it would “prevent others from using our conflicts to divide us, as they have done many times in the past.”
Suarez believes that to achieve greater practical effectiveness CELAC should “integrate regional institutions such as SELA , the Latin American Energy Organization , LAIA , dedicated to the integration , the Pan American Health Organization or ECLAC Latin American Economic System.”

A few years ago, even in the present century the US had ambitions to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas, a project that would have ensured its domination of the commerce of the continent to its own advantage. Not only has that ambition been thwarted but also in its place the CELAC has emerged. As recently as 2004, no one would have imagined that such a switch of power from North to South could have occurred. Even though the CELAC for the moment is a consensual body based upon dialogue and voluntary agreeement, when you take the speed at which geopolitical change has taken place, Bolívar’s dream of a United States of Latin America may not seem so far-fetched after all.

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