Archive for May, 2015

EE.UU., Cuba y el terrorismo: ¿Quiénes son los patrocinados?

May 31, 2015

La pupila insomne

Iroel Sánchez

torture390-9e89dEste 29 de mayo de 2015 concluye el plazo que la legislación estadounidense da al Congreso para oponerse a la exclusión de Cuba de la lista de países patrocinadores del terrorismo que cada año elabora el Departamento de Estado.

Como es conocido hace semanas, el grupo de congresistas que se opone a esa decisión reconoció, en voz de la representante por el estado de la Florida Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, su incapacidad de impedir esa modificación.

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Cuba finally removed from list of state sponsors of terrorism

May 30, 2015

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signed the final order to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, effective today, May 29

Source:  Granma

May 29, 2015

Washington, May 29; a Press Statement by U.S. State Department spokesman, Jeff Rathke, informed of Cuba’s official removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

In the official statement, the State Department spokesman noted that “The 45-day Congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the Secretary of State has made the final decision to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, effective today, May 29, 2015.”

Cuba has been included on the unilateral list drawn up by Washington since 1982.

In the statement he also noted that “While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism…

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Int’l conference in Cuba: ‘Step up fight to end US embargo’

May 27, 2015

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photo by Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate Gerardo Hernández addresses international solidarity conference in Havana, May 2.

BY BEVERLY BERNARDO
HAVANA — More than 1,000 delegates from 70 countries participated in this year’s international conference in solidarity with Cuba here May 2. The gathering called for stepping up worldwide actions to protest the continued U.S. economic, financial and commercial embargo of Cuba. Many delegates had joined in the million-strong International Workers Day march on May 1.

A high point of the gathering was the closing remarks given by Gerardo Hernández, which are reprinted on page 7.

Ulises Guilarte, general secretary of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers (CTC), which sponsored the conference, thanked participants for their role in the worldwide campaign to win the freedom for the five Cuban revolutionaries — Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González — who spent a decade and a half in U.S. prisons for their actions defending the Cuban Revolution. The delegates represented 205 trade unions, political parties and Cuba solidarity groups. A majority came from across Latin America; others were from the United States, Canada, European countries, and as far away as South Korea. There were 200 union delegates from Cuba.

The purpose of this year’s gathering, larger than in previous years, was building on the victory won Dec. 17 with the return home of Hernández, Labañino, and Guerrero. They joined with Fernando González and René González, released earlier from U.S. custody after serving their entire sentences. All five participated in the conference.

Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Ana Teresita González Fraga told the audience that the beginning of Cuban-U.S. talks on re-establishing diplomatic relations — unilaterally broken off by Washington in 1961 — is a victory that registers the strength and dignity of the Cuban people and their revolutionary government.

However, normalization of relations is not possible without the U.S. government ending its more than 50-year-long economic war against Cuba, she said, compensating Cuba for the economic and social damage it has caused, returning the territory it occupies at the Guantánamo naval base, and ending its subversive action programs aimed at Cuba, including its hostile radio and TV broadcasts. “It will be a difficult, complex and lengthy process,” González said, adding that Havana is engaging in these talks with full awareness of “the profound differences” between the two governments.

Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), called on the international delegates to continue to tell the truth about the Cuban Revolution — including its exemplary record in defense of human rights — and to “multiply your efforts in the struggle to end the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the U.S.” Serrano urged participants to build coordinated actions around the world Sept. 16-19 protesting the U.S. embargo.

Serrano underscored Cuba’s unwavering defense of the Venezuelan government in face of U.S. sanctions and other attacks on that country’s sovereignty. She noted that the Obama administration’s announcement that it intends to remove Cuba from Washington’s list of “state sponsors of terrorism” was a step forward, but added, “We oppose the U.S. government’s unilateral placing of any country on such a list. They have no right to do so.”

Some 30 delegates from unions, solidarity groups, political organizations and individuals took the floor during the discussion period.

Afterward, Hernández, Labañino, Guerrero, Fernando González, and René González were awarded the CTC’s 75th anniversary medal for their outstanding contributions to the defense of the country. Each of the five, on behalf of the CTC and ICAP, presented certificates to nearly a dozen individuals representing trade unions, solidarity organizations and others in several countries whose contributions to the fight to free the Cuban Five deserved special recognition.

from The Militant

Update on Proposed U.S. Legislation Supporting U.S.-Cuba Reconciliation

May 26, 2015

dwkcommentaries

There are 13 pending measures in this Session of Congress that are supportive of U.S.-Cuba reconciliation, but as of May 25th no substantive action has been taken on any of these measures. Details on these measures can be found on the Library of Congress THOMAS service.

 Ending the Embargo.

There is one Senate bill to end the U.S. embargo of Cuba: S.491“Freedom to Export to Cuba Act of 2015” authored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (Dem., MN) with 10 cosponsors, it was assigned to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. A prior post discussed this bill and erroneously stated that it also was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

The House has three similar bills: H.R.274“United States-Cuba Normalization Act of 2015” authored by Rep. Bobby Rush (Dem., IL) with no cosponsors; H.R.403“Free Trade with Cuba Act” authored by Rep. Charles…

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Cuba-The United States : Seven key points

May 26, 2015

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Although talks between the U.S. and Cuba are in themselves a milestone for two countries which have lacked formal ties for more than 50 years, they only mark the beginning of a much longer and complicated process. Granma shares with its readers seven key points which clarify the dimension of what is happening between Havana and Washington and the coming stage.

Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez | granma

It has been five months since Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced on December 17 their intention to open a new chapter in relations between the United States and Cuba.

After an historic meeting between both leaders at the 7th Summit of the Americas, on May 21, the third round of conversations began in Washington, with the goal of advancing toward the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in both countries,.

Although talks between the U.S. and Cuba are already, in themselves, a milestone for two neighboring countries which have lacked formal ties for more than half a century, they only mark the beginning of a much longer and complicated process.

Inaccuracies and distorted information have accompanied this process from the beginning. Granma shares with its readers seven key points which clarify the dimension of what is happening between Havana and Washington and the coming stage.

1. The two Presidents made a decision, now comes the implementation.

On December 17, among other decisions of importance to both peoples, Raúl Castro and Barack Obama simultaneously announced their intention of reestablishing diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, severed more than half a century ago.

However, in order for this step to be realized, the Presidents’ decision must now pass through the official channels of their respective countries.
This process is being advanced by the delegations which met in Havana and Washington for various rounds of conversations and technical encounters.
These meetings are important as they establish the bases on which diplomatic relations will operate, so as not to repeat past mistakes.

2. Neither party has imposed conditions for the reestablishment of relations.

One of the mass media’s main lines of attack against the conversations has been to talk of “conditions” imposed by the two parties.

Both the Cuban and U.S. diplomats have clearly stated that the work environment has been marked by respect and professionalism, with conversations taking place in a climate of reciprocity and free from interference.
What Cuba has done since the beginning of this process is highlight aspects which would must be resolved before further progress can be made; including the end of the country’s unjust inclusion on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and the restoration of banking services for its mission in Washington, which has been without these services for more than a year.

Reports indicate that both issues are in the process of being resolved.

U.S. representatives have questioned restrictions on the mobility of their staff at a future embassy in Havana (the movements of Cuban diplomats in Washington is currently limited), as well as Cubans’ access to their facilities.

In this regard, Cuba has insisted on the importance of adhering to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, which establishes the importance of observing the laws of the host country and not interfering in its internal affairs.

Members of a mission must be able to interact with citizens of the host country, but also respect local norms, a Cuban diplomat recently explained.

3. Reestablishment of relations is not the same as normalization of relations

Another common mistake often made, is confusing the process of reestablishing diplomatic relations with the normalization, which is a longer and more complex process.

After embassies have been opened in both capitals, the challenging search for “normality” between both countries, which share a tumultuous history, will begin.

Cuban authorities have highlighted various points which they consider to be vital to addressing normalization: the lifting of the blockade; the return of the illegally occupied Guantanamo Nalval base territory, an end to subversive radio and television broadcasts; the cancellation of U.S. plans to promote regime change; and compensation for the damages caused to the Cuban people over half a century of aggression, among others.

It has never been stated that these issues need to be resolved in order to open embassies, as some media agencies have erroneously stated, although U.S. authorities have recognized Cuba’s position.

“Completely normal relations do not include an economic embargo, or economic sanctions,” a U.S. State Department official – who asked to remain anonymous – recently stated.

Without a doubt, this new stage includes discussion of other important issues for both countries. But Cuba has clearly expressed that it can not be expected to “give something in exchange.” Cuba does not apply any sanctions on the United States, nor does it have military bases in U.S. territory, or promote regime change.

Likewise, Cuba has said that the U.S. can not demand that the country renounce its ideals of independence and social justice, nor cede a millimeter in its defense of national sovereignty.

4. Washington’s change of policy is a victory for the Cuban people and Latin American integration

It wouldn’t be conceited to recognize, as the majority of the international community has, that Cuba has arrived at this point as a result of almost half a century of heroic struggle and loyalty to its principles.

Likewise, it wouldn’t be possible to analyze a policy change of this magnitude without understanding the new era our region is experiencing, and the firm and courageous demand made by the governments and people of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

In the 2nd CELAC Summit held in Havana, an unprecedented regional document was signed: the declaration of the hemisphere as a Zone of Peace, which recognizes “The inalienable right of every state to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, as an essential condition to guarantee peaceful coexistence among nations.”

5. The United States has changed its methods, not its objectives

One of the greatest questions which has followed this process is what does the U.S. policy change entail and how far does it go. There is no easy answer and perhaps it is too early to carry out a thorough analysis.

When President Obama made his announcement, he said that after 50 years of a failed policy, it was time to try something new.

Obama speaking in Panama noted – in reference to Cuba – that “The United States will not be imprisoned by the past – we’re looking to the future.”
However, U.S. authorities have stated on various occasions that its methods, not its objectives, are changing. These objectives have been – since January 1, 1959, to overthrow the Cuban Revolution.

In his speech during the 7th Summit of the Americas, Obama commented, “We’re not in the business of regime change,” remarks which filled many with hope.

However, millions of dollars are still being openly channeled toward financing subversion in Cuba, to which must be added other undeclared funds.

For their part, Cuban authorities have never demonstrated naivety. “No one should dream that the new policy announced means acceptance of the existence of a socialist revolution 90 miles from Florida,” said Raúl in his speech during the 3rd CELAC Summit.

6. Obama can do more

In addition to the December 17 announcement, Obama also implemented a group of measures modifying a small number of blockade regulations, although the aggressive policy remains in force.

Cuba has recognized Obama’s decision to engage in a debate with Congress in order to put an end to the blockade, something no other U.S. president has done.

Nonetheless, reports by the media that the President “has done everything possible,” are false.
If he is determined, Obama can use his broad executive powers to substantially modify the application of the blockade, even without the approval of Congress.

He could – for example – permit, in other sectors of the economy, all that he has authorized in the arena of telecommunications, with evident objectives of political influence in Cuba.

7. The issue of sovereignty is no longer off-limits

One of the lessons of the last five months – and perhaps the last year and a half of discreet conversations – has been that Cuba and the U.S. can address any issue as long as it is done within a framework of respect.

Cuba has demonstrated its willingness to discuss topics which have historically been used and manipulated to attack our county, such as democracy, free speech and human rights, about which the nation has much to show and contribute.
Perhaps the most important point of all, and that which summarizes this article, is that the greatest challenge facing Cuba and the United States is establishing a relationship of civilized co-existence based on respect for their profound differences.

Sostiene Antonio Guerrero encuentro con Intergrupo del Senado italiano

May 26, 2015

Los Cinco Héroes Cubanos

Foto: Asociación Nacional de Amistad Italia-Cuba.El héroe de la República de Cuba, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, acompañado por la Embajadora de Cuba Alba Soto Pimentel, sostuvo un encuentro en la sede del Parlamento Italiano con la Senadora Daniela Valentini, quien preside el Intergrupo, que fue fundado para la lucha por la liberación de Los Cinco.

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Nepal: Cuban Doctors Have Treated More Than 2,000 Patients

May 26, 2015

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Source: Escambray

May 25 2015

One month has passed since the devastating April 25 . Cities lie in ruin and the number of victims has surpassed 8,600. Anxiety remains fixed on faces, since the country continues to experience aftershocks.

nepal second earthquakeOn the night of May 12, the same night a severe aftershock hit the nation, 49 members of the Henry Reeve International Contingent Specialized in Disasters and Large Epidemics Brigade No.41 arrived in Katmandu.

“The landscape was disheartening, Dantesque, I would say. The country didn’t need nature to punish it this way. Those who managed to save their lives in the most affected areas have lost practically everything, including their most cherished loved ones,” Dr. Luis Orlando Oliveros Serrano, head of the Brigade, told Granma.

The day after setting foot in Nepal, the Cuban medical brigade moved quickly to the area occupied by the National Center for the Study of Ayurvedic…

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“Soy hijo de la Revolución Cubana”, afirma René González en Universidad Pedagógica de #Holguín (+Fotos)

May 25, 2015

Visión desde Cuba

Por Luis Ernesto Ruiz Martínez. Así expresó René González durante su visita este viernes a la Universidad de Ciencias Pedagógicas de Holguín. Hasta esa prestigiosa institución docente del oriente de Cuba llegó a acompañado de su esposa Olga Salanueva para sostener un intercambio con trabajadores y estudiantes de esa institución en la mañana de este viernes. No hacían falta protocolos, ni refinadas pretensiones, bastaba la historia de los 16 años de injusto encierro para convocar a los participantes.

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René y Olguita

May 25, 2015

Visión desde Cuba

Por Anabel Naranjo Paz. La historia de mi patria me llegó de niña de diversas maneras, quizás fueron los dibujos animados de Elpidio Valdés mi primera referencia. Escuchar el Himno Nacional y en posición de respeto saludar la bandera de la estrella solitaria lo aprendí en casa, así como identificar los héroes.

El paso por la escuela me permitió seguir descubriendo mi identidad, de dónde vengo, quién soy y por supuesto mi futuro. Ante mí surgió Hatuey quemado por su rebeldía, me sentí discípula de Félix Valera, de José de la Luz y Caballero y aún lloro cuando leo el Presidio Político en Cuba de nuestro Héroe Nacional José Martí o estallo de emoción ante las palabras de Ana Betancourt hablando por las mujeres.

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U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Holds Hearing About Cuba

May 23, 2015

dwkcommentaries

On May 20th the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing, “U.S.-Cuban Relations—The Way Forward.”[1]

 Chairman Corker’s Opening Statement

Senator Bob Corker Senator Bob Corker

The Committee Chair, Bob Corker (Rep., TN) opened by stating that the hearing would focus “on the strategy behind the President’s significant shift in U.S. policy towards Cuba.” Even though this shift “has been welcomed in Latin America and the Caribbean . . . significant differences of opinion exist in the [U.S.] over the extent to which this change in policy will advance U.S. interests and improve circumstances for the Cuban people.”

Therefore, according to Corker, the strategic issue was “how our nation can best engage strategically with the region and beyond to help Cuba rejoin the mainstream of the Americas and offer its citizens the same rights and freedoms enjoyed by citizens of other countries in the region.”

Ranking Member Cardin’s Opening Statement

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