Posts Tagged ‘cuban citizens’

And what about Washington’s terrorists in Miami ?

May 22, 2015


Andrés Gómez talks with Ricardo Alarcón

by Andrés Gómez, director of Areítodigital

Miami —Everything seems to indicate that once Cuba is removed from the U.S. List of States Sponsors of Terrorism at the end of May — given the prohibitions imposed on the countries on that List— a major stumbling block to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana will be overcome.

Another major obstacle that impedes the reestablishment of those relations is the reluctance of the U.S. government — once relations are reestablished — for its diplomats in Cuba to adhere to the functions permitted to any diplomat accredited in a given country, according to the regulations established in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, the international treaty regulating such functions to which both countries are signatories.

With the renewal of diplomatic relations will then begin a long, controversial and harsh negotiating process between both governments, towards achieving the long-awaited normalization of relations between both nations, between both peoples.

Long, controversial and harsh, to put it mildly, it will be if the United States government maintains the announced objectives of its new policy towards Cuba. According to Roberta Jacobson, Assistant United States Secretary of State, presently the highest-level official in charge of these issues: “My country is changing its tactics or the form of implementing its policy, but it has not abandoned its goals.”

What process of normalization of relations is possible between both countries if this is the supposed new U.S. policy towards Cuba?

In a negotiating process of “give and take” between the United States and Cuba, what can Cuba give to the United States in exchange for the U.S. government to eliminate the Helms-Burton law and all the regulations that make up the genocidal policy of Embargo? What can Cuba give the United States government so that it eliminates the equally genocidal Cuban Adjustment Act? What can Cuba give the United States for that government to return the illegally and forcibly occupied territory in Guantánamo bay where for more than a century the U.S. has had a naval and military base, and in recent years, it also maintains an infamous concentration camp? What can Cuba give the United States for Washington to end and condemn its policy of State Terrorism maintained against the Cuban people since 1959?

What can Cuba give the United States, for it to bring to trial the Cuban extreme right wing terrorists living in the United States who are responsible for countless and odious crimes, who are the executioners of this policy of State Terrorism?

What can the Cuban people give to the United States government so that it ends the policy of permanent aggression against Cuba that Washington has maintained since the revolutionary triumph in 1959?

What can the Cuban people give the United States government in such a negotiating process, if not its sovereignty, its right to self-determination, its independence, its socialist revolution, all its rights and freedoms, its exceptional gains, its enormous sacrifices, its spilled blood and its dead of more than 56 years of aggression?

Is this the negotiating process that the government of the United States is offering the Cuban people to achieve a normalization of relations between both countries?

The only thing that the U.S. government can sensibly do to really normalize relations between both peoples is to unilaterally and unconditionally dismantle all the framework of war that it has had in place for the last 56 years against the Cuban people; all the structure that has constituted its policy of permanent aggression against the freedoms and rights of the Cuban people, against the inalienable right of Cubans to live and develop in peace.

But now, how is the U.S. government — in this process of normalization of relations between both countries — not just terminate and condemn its policy of State Terrorism against the Cuban people, but rather, how will it bring to justice those terrorists of Cuban extreme right wing organizations before the courts and try them for their crimes? These are indispensable decisions that have to be achieved for the normalization of relations between both countries be attained. It will not be easy for Washington to achieve justice as the victims, their relatives and the rest of the Cuban people demand.

How many victims of that policy of terrorism have there been in Cuba? According to official figures there have been 3,478 people killed and 2,099 maimed. Given the horror that has resulted from the imperial policies of aggression and war against other peoples around the world in the last decades, perhaps the number of Cubans killed and maimed as a result of those years of a sustained terrorist campaign doesn’t seem to be so terrible…

Fidel knew how to place it in the proper context in a memorable speech on October 6, 2001, on remembering the 73 victims of the infamous attack, perpetrated by those same beasts, against a civilian airliner of Cubana de Aviación, on October 6, 1976.

Fidel explained: Comparing the population of Cuba [on October 6, 1976) with that of the United States last September 11, it is as if 7 U.S. planes, each one with 300 passengers onboard, had been downed the same day, at the same time,… And if we estimate the same proportion of the populations, the 3,478 Cuban lives lost due to those terrorist actions that originated in the United States, it would be as if 88,434 people had been assassinated in the United States from terrorist activities, the equivalent of the number of U.S. soldiers who died in the wars of Korea and Vietnam.”

Endless has been the experience and terrible the result of the U.S. State Terrorist policy against the Cuban people. And, obvious differences aside, it has also been hard for us Cubans who for decades have defended the rights of Cuba in the same places where those monsters live and thrive.

Last April 28 marked 36 years since the assassination of our comrade, member of the National Committee of the Antonio Maceo Brigade (Brigada Antonio Maceo), Carlos Muñiz Varela, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His assassins, all Cuban extreme rightwingers residing in Miami and Puerto Rico, have still not been brought to justice before the courts. The federal authorities in charge, mainly the FBI, are to blame for the fact that justice has not been achieved. They refuse to reveal the proofs in their possession that prove the guilt of the murderers.

But in Puerto Rico the family members and comrades of Carlos, Cubans and Puerto Ricans alike, led by his son, Carlos Muñiz Pérez — today older than his father was in 1979 when he was assassinated at 26 years of age — and our comrade Raúl Álzaga, have not ceased in their efforts to achieve justice for him and for Santiago Mari Pesquera, a young Puerto Rican independence fighter.

So then, what of Washington’s terrorists in Miami, Puerto Rico and other places, the ones who’ve carried out the U.S. policy of State Terrorism that has cost the Cuban people so much blood and suffering all these long decades?

They are here in Miami, still alive. Some of them are: Félix Rodríguez, Luis Posada Carriles, Pedro Remón, Frank Castro Paz, Santiago Álvarez Magriñat, Osvaldo Bencomo Robaina, Sergio Ramos Suárez, Secundino Carrera, Ramón Saúl Sánchez, Guillermo Novo Sampol, Antonio de la Cova, Virgilio Paz Romero, Héctor Fabián, José Dionisio Suárez Esquivel and Luis Crespo. Not many of them are named here, this is only a sample, but many are their hateful crimes.

In these times of change those terrorists ought to feel very vulnerable. The bosses who have protected them, if still alive, are very old and without the power they once enjoyed. The assassins know that many, many, things are changing. As Roberta Jacobson maintains, her government has not abandoned the objectives of its policy with respect to Cuba, but has changed its tactics, the form of implementing its policy… Now anything is possible.

Those terrorists, lackeys of the worst of imperialism, know that imperial powers throughout history, the United States in particular, have shown that they don´t have friends; what they have always shown is that they only have interests. Self interests.

Do these terrorists realize that maybe their days are truly numbered?


The survival of the Cuban food ration card

April 3, 2015
A 52-year old ration card that guarantees a limited amount of staples for the peoples’ basic food basket at highly subsidized prices is still considered as necessary given unstable presence of certain products at the offer-and-demand domestic market and their very high prices, which most pockets cannot afford.
Every January, all Cuban families receive a new card containing 12 pages according to the months of the year in which the products are allocated at grocery stores in charge of distributing a series of staples like rice, beans, cooking oil, sugar, coffee, eggs, bread, powder milk, chicken and others, in a limited amount which must be complemented with purchases at other market modalities on the island.
This historic state subsidy, which also includes special diets for the sick and pharmacy products, translates into over one billion dollars spent by the country each year to at least guarantee the equalitarian distribution mechanism.
Though, the Cuban government has been applying a policy to eliminate unnecessary subsidies for some years now, the ration card continues to be a savior for many Cubans, despite the fact that it was largely criticized for being obsolete and a symbol of this egalitarianism that characterized Cuban socialism in its first decades. The ration card was the target of jokes on the streets and the media and it still has its detractors.
For those who are not very acquainted with this issue, I would say that Cuban society has lived on many subsidies, unbelievable ones for many around the world and this has brought a heavy burden on the state, which has to buy products at high cost at the world market. I could just cite examples like the tariffs on water and phone services , the cost of a home, and other services like sewage, gas, electricity; all of them so highly subsidized that not everyone understand, unless you touch it with your hand.
Now if we look at some vivid examples, Amanda a 57-year-old woman and worker says that for her, buying a pound of rice at five Cuban pesos (twenty five cents of a dollar) is a problem, on the ration card a pound of rice is just few cents of a Cuban peso.
Amanda buys rice at five pesos by the end of the month at the offer-demand market after she consumes her ration quota, but she says that “I could not afford that rice during the whole month. For me the ration card is a big relief, actually.
According to studies, the staples that Cuban families purchase on the ration card guarantee about 36 percent of the daily calories every person needs during 12 days, while proteins cannot cover more than 10 days, fats and oils only nine days.
A UN document issue by the United Nations Assistance for Development in Cuba says that the access to that rationed food basket is a right guaranteed to all citizens.
The ration card that still survives today in Cuba is quite different from that that existed in the 1960s, since in those times it provided many more products. It cannot either guarantee a full provision of food for the whole month, but many it is an important means to access food.
Although the gradual elimination of the ration card was officially announced in December 2010, many Cuban still defend that familiar distribution mechanism, since they say that if it disappears they will face more problems and lose benefits.
In Cuba there are several market modalities, some work on offer-demand, intermediaries in between, and prices very high. Others are linked to cooperative farms with lower prices and other with topped prices managed by the army, which dedicates part of their forces to producing food for the population. State markets, which have the poorest supply, also sell at very low prices.
Some experts think that its elimination is possible, while subsidizing persons and not food as part of a systematic process, but I insist, there are many Cubans that cannot imagine their everyday life without that 52-year old friend, La Libreta or the ration card.
Abel González Alayón
Chief-Editor Language Department
Cuban News Agency

Cuba is hardly a ‘state sponsor of terror’

June 6, 2013


The U.S. government continues to put Cuba on its international terrorism list because of flawed rationale and historical prejudice

By Keith Bolender – From

While an attentive US audience watched President Obama outline his plan to wind down America’s long war on terror last week, officials in Havana were shaking their heads in bewilderment and anger over how the issue of terrorism continues to be cynically manipulated against the island nation. What raised their ire was the recent announcement that Cuba would remain on the State Department’s controversial list of states that sponsor terrorism.

The long-awaited annual report on international terrorism from the State Department was released Thursday, and confirmed what officials had already indicated – that Cuba is staying on the list along with Iran, Sudan and Syria. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell confirmed the administration “has no current plans to remove Cuba”. The decision came as a disappointment for those who were expecting new Secretary of State John Kerry, a long-time critic of America’s counter-productive policy against the Castro government, might recommend Cuba’s removal. The fact he hasn’t demonstrates how difficult it is to change the dynamics of the antagonistic relationship between these two ideological adversaries.

Cuba was originally included on the list in 1982, replacing a then-friendly Iraq. The designation levies comprehensive economic punishments against Havana as part of the overall strategy of regime change that includes a decades-long economic embargo, unrelenting propaganda, extra-territorial application of American laws.

For it’s part, Cuba calls its continued inclusion on the list “shameful” and pandering to a small community of former Cuban citizens who now live in Florida. Cuba also asserts that the US has actually undertaken actions on the island that have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians.

An official of the country’s foreign relations department, MINREX, who asked to remain anonymous, complained:

“It is ridiculous that the United States continues to include Cuba on an arbitrary list of states that sponsor terrorism, while it is Cuba that has suffered so much from terrorism – originating from the United States.” The so-called terrorism against Cuba began shortly after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959. In the early 1960s a covert CIA program known as Operation Mongoose led to the killing of teachers, farmers, government officials and the destruction of agricultural and non-military industrial targets. Other incidents involved attacks on villages, biological terrorism including the introduction of Dengue 2 that resulted in the deaths of more than 100 children in 1981, and a 1997 bombing campaign against tourist facilities in Havana and Varadero that killed Canadian-Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo and injured dozens.

The most infamous act of terrorism occurred with the bombing of Cubana Airlines in 1976, killing all 72 on board. One of the two recognized masterminds, former CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles, has a long history of suspected terrorist activities against his former homeland; at one point bragging to the New York Times of his involvement in the hotel bombings. Posada continues to live a quiet life in Miami, considered a hero among many of the first generation exiles whose anti-revolutionary fervor has yet to diminish. The other architect of the Cubana Airlines bombing, Orlando Bosch, died peacefully in Miami a few years ago. As a result of these terrorist activities, the Cuban government sent intelligence officers to Florida in the 1990s to infiltrate Cuban-American organizations in an effort to thwart further acts. The agents, known as the Cuban Five, were uncovered by the FBI and are serving long prison terms.

While Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism remains unchanged, other countries that might be considered more deserving, such as North Korea and Pakistan, aren’t on the list. What makes it all the more galling for the Castro government are the arguments the United States has advanced to justify Cuba’s inclusion – the most egregious stemming from the charge Cuba was not sufficiently supportive of the US war on terror or the invasion of Iraq, and was unwilling to help track or seize assets allegedly held by terrorists. A 2004 State Department report asserted that “Cuba continued to actively oppose the US-led coalition prosecuting the global war on terrorism.” In reality, the Cuban side has consistently denounced all forms of terrorism, including the recent Boston Marathon bombings that brought quick condolences from the island leadership.

Other rationales over the past 30 years to keep Cuba on the list have ranged from its support for left-wing rebels in Latin America, its relationship with the former Soviet Union, treatment of political prisoners and allowing members from alleged terrorist organizations such as Columbia’s FARC and Spain’s separatist Basque movement ETA to reside on the island. Even when those issues were resolved, including the dissolution of the Soviet Union more than 20 years ago, Cuba found its unmerited designation had not changed.

One long standing reason, that Havana permits refugees from American justice to find safe haven on the island, was re-invigorated with a ruling that was timed almost perfectly with the announcement that Cuba would not be taken off the terrorist list. Assata Shakur, accused of killing a New Jersey state trooper 40 years ago, was suddenly labeled as a most wanted terrorist by the FBI, with a $2m price tag on her head. Shakur, who fled to Cuba in 1979 and was given political asylum, has consistently maintained her innocence. Categorizing Shakur as a terrorist could potentially endanger her life from those wanting to collect the bounty, and has led State Department officials to utilize her changed status as justification to keep Cuba on the list.

There is no legitimate reason to use the arbitrary terrorism list as a political weapon against Cuba. To continue to do so simply exposes the State Department to charges of hypocrisy and manipulation of a serious threat based solely on ideological differences. Most importantly, it gives insult to all those who have been actual victims of terrorism.

Cuba Confirms Readiness to Talk to the U.S. on Alan Gross Case

May 7, 2013


Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez confirmed on Monday in Brasilia that Cuba has expressed to the United States its willingness to begin serious and respectful talks to try to find a solution around the case of Alan Gross.

In this regard, Rodriguez emphasized that exchanges should take into account the reciprocal humanitarian concerns of his country in the case of other Cuban citizens serving sanctions in the United States, as it’s the case of the four antiterrorist fighters unfairly incarcerated there.

Accompanied by the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Patriota, with whom he held talks on Tuesday at the Foreign Ministry, the Cuban FM ruled out any comparison between the cases of Rene Gonzalez and Alan Gross.

He recalled that antiterrorist Rene Gonzalez was unfairly condemned in the United States, served his 13 years of imprisonment, suffered a long period of time in solitary confinement and lacked the guarantees of due process.

The U.S. law foresees that a person in that situation, after serving his sentence, receives a period of probation, which in the case of Rene Gonzalez constituted an unfair and additional punishment, since from the start the return to his country was denied to him, in spite of his willingness to relinquish his U.S. citizenship, highlighted Rodriguez in statements to the press in Brasilia.

On the other hand, he stated, Gross is serving a sentence in Cuba, sanctioned for violating national laws as an agent of a foreign power, while trying to create networks with the use of non-commercial technology to cause a breach of the Caribbean island’s constitutional order. It’s a concept also defined in the U.S law as a crime, he asserted.

The Cuban Minister said that the Judge of the case has allowed Rene Gonzalez to stay in Havana for the rest of his supervised release, after reiterating his willingness to relinquish his U.S. citizenship.

HAVANA, Cuba, May 7 (acn)

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