News on Cuba - April 10, 2013 Print

New Injustice in the Case of the Cuban Five

HAVANA, Cuba, Apr 9 (acn) Authorities of the penitentiary of Victorville, California, forbid renowned actor Danny Glover to pay a scheduled visit to Gerardo Hernandez, informed a communique of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Five.

The prison’s authorities told Glover, who has met with th4 Cuban antiterrorist nine times since 2010, that he was not going to be received because they had no knowledge about the visit, the Granma newspaper reported.

This is an absolutely arbitrary decision on the part of the prison, since any person included on the list of visits of an inmate has the right to visit that inmate, recalls the note of the Committee.

Likewise the text thanks Danny Glover for his continuous efforts to support Gerardo and his four brothers in struggle also imprisoned in the United States.

For almost 15 years now, it has been a pattern of the U.S. government to try to isolate Gerardo from his relatives and friends. During that period, the U.S. government has repeatedly denied entry visas to Adriana Perez to visit her husband Gerardo in prison.


University Students in Cuba Send Messages to Barack Obama

HAVANA, Cuba.- University students in the central Cuban province of Villa Clara sent US President Barack Obama email messages demanding the release of the five anti-terrorist fighters held in the United States since 1998.

Cuban Friendship Institute official in Villa Clara, Iris Menendez, told the Cuban news agency that the members of the local organization in solidarity with Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and René González, meet every month and send messages to Obama.

The idea is to maintain a permanent struggle for the release of the five heroes and with this objective the group is joined by university students and members of grassroots organizations from all 13 municipalities in the province.

The president of the Council of Nationalities at the Medical University in Villa Clara, Norvin Gonzalez, said that they organized the meeting in coordination with the University Student Federation in support of the international campaign for the freedom of the Cuban Five.

Franco Arzamendia, member of the Ernesto Che Guevara Solidarity Brigade at the university expressed his wish for justice to be made in the case of the five heroes, who prevented US-based violent organizations from carrying out terrorist actions against Cuba.

Other similar groups of foreign students in Cuba keep informed on the case of the Cuban Five in order to spread in their countries the truth of the case through messages, letters and phone calls.

The Medical University of Villa Clara has a registration of over 1 thousand students from 60 countries of the so-called Third World.


First Vice-President Meets Students and Professionals in Ciego de Avila Province

HAVANA, Cuba, April 10 (acn) Cuba first-vice president Miguel Diaz-Canel met on Wednesday with students, intellectuals, scientists, athletes and journalists during a tour of several centers in central Ciego de Avila province.

According to Granma newspaper, Diaz-Canel was accompanied by Communist Party first secretary in the province Felix Duarte Ortega and by provincial government president Raul Perez Carmenate.

During a meeting with students at the La Edad de Oro senior high school Cuban first-vice president was interested in learning about the ongoing preparation of 12 graders for upcoming exams to enter university courses and about the number of students applying for pedagogical courses.

The meeting also focused on international issues, as the students commented on upcoming presidential elections in Venezuela, the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula and the US blockade of Cuba.

“Perhaps you it will be up to you to find solutions tomorrow to many of the satisfactions you have today from your own work centers or according to the functions you will develop; that’s is why you must prepare so you can assume that task with responsibility,” said Diaz-Canel.

The Cuban vice-president also visited the Maximo Gomez University, where he said that political dialog must be present in each and every classroom in order to contribute to the formation of competent professionals, committed to the Revolution and determined to build a prosperous socialist society, as it has been reiterated by President Raul Castro.

Diaz-Canel also visited a scientific center where he learned that the results of dozens of research studies have already been contributed to the country’s economy, particularly in agriculture, healthcare, the environment, animal feed and water saving efforts.

Speaking with local reporters, he called for the improvement of media work from a scientific, innovative, revolutionary perspective in the face of the challenges posed by ideological subversion unleashed by the enemies of Cuba.

After visiting several cultural centers in the city, Diaz-Canel shared views with members of the Cuban Writers and Artists Association and the Hermanos Saiz Arts Organization on major problems facing the performance of both groups.

And he finally during a meeting with sports directives in Ciego de Avila, Diaz-Canel insisted in the appropriate training of future athletes.


U.S. Blockade Violates Cubans' Human Rights

Havana, Apr 9 (Prensa Latina) The economic, commercial and financial blockade the United States applies against Cuba is a violation of human rights of its inhabitants, according to some opinions collected in this capital.

For lawyer Maria Seibanes, "that policy of hostility violates the right to life, as it denies even medicines and health technologies."

Osvaldo Hernandez, who is a barber by trade, notes that most of Cubans were born under the punishment of the blockade. "So it happens with my children and grandchildren."

The local press remembered yesterday a memorandum dated on April 6, 1960, in which Lester D. Mallory, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, referred to the purpose of the sanctions.

The economic damage caused by the blockade exceeded 108 billion dollars until December 2011, according to conservative data from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The figure is much higher if we take into account the depreciation of the dollar against the value of gold in the international financial market.

A resolution against the blockade has been supported each year, by an overwhelming majority, at the UN General Assembly.

Other regional groups, such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), among others, also reject that measure of pressure against Cuba.


Cuban Penitentiary System Bets on Saving Human Beings

Havana, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) Preventing recidivism among those who have committed criminal offenses and achieving their full reinsertion in society are major objectives for the Cuban government, says Colonel Osmany Leyva, Assistant Chief of the Directorate of Penitentiary Facilities of the Ministry of the Interior.

In an interview with Prensa Latina during a tour of Havana's penal facilities, the high ranking official stated that the country is advancing toward these goals through three channels, consistent with a work-study plan applied to inmates.

Socially useful work, an increased cultural level, and apprenticeships are key for the social inclusion of inmates, as well as in preventing criminal recidivism, he said.

According to Leyva, this concern for skills training and knowledge is what allows for inmates' reinsertion.

That's why we are promoting multiple voluntary programs of work, study and training, said the Interior Ministry colonel, who confirmed that the island's prison population is around 50,000 people, 4,000 of whom are women.

Official figures state that about 27,000 inmates are involved in various educational options, while more than 20,000 are carrying out paid work, with many of them combining both activities.

Regarding the principles governing prison work in Cuba, Leyva mentioned first and foremost, respect for human rights.

The assistant chief said that family ties are expressed through visits, phone calls, conjugal visits, and inmates' departure for hospital or home, depending on the complexity of their health situation.

The situation in the prisons, the results of different programs and projections are reflected in the Cuban report for the Universal Periodic Review of the Council of Human Rights, to be presented on May 1 in Geneva, Switzerland, and in which all U.N. member countries must participate.


Zambian Official Satisfied with Visit to Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, April 9 (acn) Zambia’s minister of Sports and Youths, Chishimba Kambwili, described his visit to Cuba as fruitful and excellent. As part of his working agenda, which concluded on Tuesday, the Zambian official signed a cooperation accord in the sports area.

Before returning to Zambia, Kambwili said that the accord he signed in Havana will help the African nation, which needs to learn from the Cuban experience in the fields of high-performing sports, physical activity programs at schools and communities and the sports for all project.

The top government Zambian official said he was quite impressed with the community-oriented sports program, the assistance to pregnant women, mothers and their children and the senior citizens.

“We thank Cuba for its willingness to accept our request that a group of Cuban trainers help develop sports in Zambia, as well as our petition for an increasing number of scholarships for our youths,” said the Zambian minister.

Thirteen Zambian professionals graduated from Cuban higher education institute, while another seven are currently taking courses at the International Physical Education and Sports School, in the western province of Mayabeque.


Cuba Celebrates 52nd Anniversary of Childcare Centres

Havana, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban childcare centres are commemorating their 52nd anniversary today, celebrating the period in which they have worked to ensure an appropriate educational services for children of pre-school age, says expert Maria de los Angeles Gallo.

According to the national director of pre-schools at the Ministry of Education, the functioning of these institutions is based on the evidence that a human beings who are well prepared in their first six years of life more easily develop skills and abilities to face the future school setting.

It is proven that good pre-school stimulation leads to better results in the student achievement, because for example, the rate for repeating a year in the first and second grades has declined in recent years from 8 percent to 1.8 percent, he said.

The teacher stated that the main working premise is to maximize the overall development potential in every child, and give special attention to the individual requirements derived from the fact that everyone progresses at their own pace.

In this sense, the country is carrying out some activities aimed at physical skills, the promotion of socio-moral values, and issues relating to food and hygiene, among others, the teacher explained.

There are currently 1,086 childcare centres nationwide, with 24,000 experts in Pedagogy, trained to educate children from one to six years old.


Cubans Pay Homage to Heroes of Historic 1958 General Strike

SAGUA LA GRANDE, Cuba, April 9 (acn) Cubans are marking in this central city the 55th anniversary of the historic general strike waged by young revolutionaries against the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship in 1958. Sagua la Grande was one of the scenarios throughout the country  where the revolutionary action had huge repercussion.

Pioneer children will recall the date by symbolically remaking the action, which included the assault by the revolutionaries of crucial economic entities and held control of the city during 24 hours.

Participants at commemorations will pay tribute at the local cemetery to the revolutionaries murdered by the tyranny during the heroic deed on April 9, 1958. They will also honor others who were also killed during that event in other parts of the country.


Cuba Willing to Turn Over Four U.S. Citizens

Havana, Apr 9 (Prensa Latina) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Minrex) expressed the willingness of the government of Cuba to turn over to the United States (U.S) authorities two citizens of that country and their two children.

According to a note released here, from press releases that associated Joshua Michael Hakken and his wife Patricia Sharyn Hakken with child kidnapping, the Foreign Ministry informed yesterday the Washington Interests Section in Havana and the U.S. Department of State the presence here of the couple and their children.

The statement adds that the Hakken, accompanied by small Julian Chase Hakken and Travis Cole Hakken, arrived in the island last April 7 at the Hemingway Marina in Havana, on board the yacht SALTY PAW, U.S. flag.

According to Johana Tablada, U.S. deputy director in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, who signed the text, the boat came under unfavorable weather conditions for sailing.

She said that from the first moment authorities exchanged diplomatic notes and there has been a maintained a professional and permanent communication between Minrex and the Interests Section of U.S. in Havana, to ensure the integrity and welfare of children


Canadian Communist Party Reaffirms Solidarity with Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, April 10, (acn) The 37 National Convention of Canada’s Communist Party, held April 5-7 in Toronto, Ontario, reaffirmed its support of the Cuban people and its revolution.

According to PL news agency, the Canadian Convention adopted a main document stressing the “historic solidarity with the people and government of the island and its support of their efforts in the current updating of Cuba’s economic model and the safeguarding of the socialist character and achievements of the Revolution.

The Canadian communists also affirmed their support of the Cuban people’s claim for the return to the island of the five anti-terrorist fighters held in the U.S and against their demand for the lifting of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of the island.

The forum received a message of solidarity from the Department of International Relations of the Cuban Communist Party Central Committee. The Canadian Communist Party was founded 92 years ago.


U.S. Blockade Against Cuba Hinders E-Commerce

Geneva, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) Cuba denounced in this capital the impeded access to information technology (IT) and communications caused by the U.S.-imposed blockade which as a result limits the use and development of e-commerce applications.

Cuban Deputy Minister of Communications Wilfredo Gonzalez, showed the discriminatory nature of the unilateral and extraterritorial dimension of Washington, which are contrary to the guidelines of the work program of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

To overcome these obstacles, the deputy minister raised the need to establish cooperative agreements that favor the development of IT solutions, and create hubs for regional traffic exchange in order to lower the costs of internet access and provide better service quality.

Gonzalez attended a workshop on e-commerce, development and the role of small and medium enterprises at WTO headquarters, organized at the initiative of the permanent missions of Cuba and Ecuador attending to the international organizations located in Geneva.

A group of member countries and experts invited to the meeting expressed their solidarity with Cuba against the unjust U.S. blockade, maintained for more than 50 years now.


Venezuela Denounces Opposition Plans to Ignore Elections

Caracas, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) The First Vice President of the Venezuelan United Socialist Party (PUSV), Diosdado Cabello, denounced opposition plans today to disregard the results of April 14 presidential election.

The also president of the National Assembly said that the right-wing is becoming increasingly desperate as their election defeat approaches and are as a result moving on to another agenda.

In that sense, he revealed the existence of an alleged Patriotic Junta that has already issued documents aimed at not recognizing the work of the National Electoral Council (CNE).

Cabello said that opposing candidate Henrique Capriles had made a political calculation and decided not to run for election, taking into account the likely negative toll on his aspirations.

Nevertheless, he traveled to New York (USA) and returned as the candidate for the so-called Democratic Unity Table (MUD), he added.

In the current situation, he said, the right-wing is far from obtaining victory in the elections and is therefore turning to the option of violence.

"As a result, we are denouncing this situation, to prevent that violence and see if they will come to their senses, because if they believe in democracy, they must realize that elections have winners and losers," he said.


Belarus Praises Cuban Collaboration in Vaccine Production Field

HAVANA, Cuba, April 9 (acn) Belarus’ first deputy health minister Dmitri Pinevich described as valuable the cooperation between Cuban and Belarusian scientists in the production of vaccines against different diseases.

Pinevich met in Minsk with Cuban ambassador Alfredo Nieves to consider bilateral relations in the vaccine area, and he called for efficient work in the pharmaceutical program, which is the subject of bilateral exchange.

The Belarusian official said that bilateral collaboration will empower the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries in both countries.

According to PL news agency, during the meeting at Mink’s Health Ministry, the two parties considered the implementation of joint projects to encourage the production of new pharmaceuticals for the Belarusian market.

The Cuban ambassador stressed the efforts by the Cuba and the Belarusian governments to foster the production and expansion of products that benefit human health.

“We give much importance to cooperation in this area, and particularly the use in Belarus of products from the Cuban pharmaceutical and medical industry,” said the diplomat.

The meeting was attended by deputy health minister Guennady Godovalnikov, the director of the Scientific and Practical Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and representatives of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, as well as Cuban charge d’ affairs Natacha Diaz.


Reporters Visit Cuban Prisons

HAVANA, Cuba, April 9 (acn) Cuba’s Interior Ministry invited local and foreign reporters to visit Havana penitentiaries on Tuesday so that they take a first-hand look at prison conditions of inmates in those facilities.

Among the penitentiaries on the list is the largest of five such facilities in the country, known as Combinado del Este, located in the Havana municipality of Guanabacoa.

According to Interior Ministry sources, the reporters will tour the areas of the penitentiary and will corroborate the living and working conditions of inmates, as well as the attention given to visiting relatives.

The national and international journalists will also visit a work center and educational facilities at La Lima women’s penitentiary, in the locality of El Guatao, also in Havana province, as well as juvenile penitentiary at the town of San Francisco de Paula, in another Havana municipality.


LatAm Caribbean Unity on Malvinas Islands Demonstrates Integration

Havana, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) The solidarity and understanding of Argentina's position on the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands is an expression the maturity of Latin American and Caribbean integration, Argentinian Ambassador to Cuba Juliana Marino said today.

Marino commented on the recent meeting between U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and representatives of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR).

The representatives of those organizations expressed Latin American and Caribbean support for Buenos Aires' call to London to negotiate over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, the ambassador noted.

"I think it is a moment of extraordinary awareness and commitment. Prominent figures led the representation at their (respective) forums," the ambassador said in exclusive statements to Prensa Latina.

Marino described the meeting with the U.N. Secretary-General as unprecedented and extremely important, where the request was made once again to resolve the conflict through dialogue. The support is extraordinary in light of the illegal referendum Great Britain is holding in the Malvinas Islands with the objective of confusing the international community about the nature of the conflict, he said.

This does not concern the self-determination of a people, because this is not a pre-existent population, but one transplanted by a power that usurped that territory in 1833, the ambassador said.


Nicaraguan Business Mission to Visit Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, April 8 (acn) A group of Nicaraguan entrepreneurs will visit Cuba in May to explore business opportunities, based on the benefits contributed by the use of the new regional currency known as SUCRE.

In statements to the Nicaraguan daily El Nuevo Diario,  commercial expert Oscar Aleman said that the visit is likely to take place May 12 to 17 to present offers in 18 economic sectors and talk business with local authorities particularly aimed at strengthening bilateral commercial relations.

At present, Nicaraguan companies are exporting to Cuba textiles, processed meat and sausage, beans, root vegetables, fruits and ceramics, Prensa Latina reported from Managua.

The commercial mission will promote products, such as furniture, coffee, cocoa, bee honey and other items, said Aleman who noted that bilateral relations could further developed based on the use of the new currency.

The Unitary System for Regional Compensation and Payment (SUCRE) operates as a virtual currency at the level of central Banks for commercial transactions in the economic area of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of our America (ALBA).


Haiti is Interested in Expanding Sports Cooperation with Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, April 6 (acn) Haiti’s Youth and Sports minister Magalie Racine expressed her interest in expanding and strengthening cooperation with Cuba in the sports sector.

The minister made her statements in a meeting in the capital Port au Prince with Cuban ambassador Ricardo Garcia, according to diplomatic sources.

The two officials addressed the work by Cuban sports trainers in Haiti, who are supporting the development of children and adolescent at the Croix des Bouquet Sports Talents School, in the Western Department.

A Cuban team of athletes is contributing to the training of the Haitian soccer selection.

The two countries signed a bilateral cooperation accord in the field of sports in 2011.


CELAC Favors Unity and Consensus

HAVANA, Cuba, April 5 (acn) Foreign ministers with the Troika of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) ratified in Havana the bloc’s willingness to serve legitimate collective interests,  regional consensus and unity.

During a press conference on Friday, foreign ministers from Cuba, Chile, Costa Rica and Haiti affirmed their willingness to jointly work by considering the rich diversity prevailing in this region.

Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez described as very positive the meeting held with the participation of Haiti as representative of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Rodriguez announced that the bloc’s plan of action was drawn up focusing on social issues, energy, the reduction of inequalities, finances, the environment, agriculture, science and technology, transport and industrialization.

He also commented about the solid consensus found in relation to crucial issues on the regional and international agendas, and he reiterated the bloc’s full and absolute commitment to the current integration process.

The Cuban government official recalled that, as Fidel and Raul Castro have affirmed, for Cuba the Community is the most significant event in the region over the past century, and he described the bloc as the biggest achievement in the struggle for peace, independence, development and social inclusion.

Chile’s foreign minister Alfredo Moreno labeled as historic the setting up of the bloc, which groups 33 nations, and he said that this is an opportunity to work together.

Meanwhile, Pierre-Richard who is Haiti’s minister of Foreign Affairs and Cult, expressed his satisfaction to have the Caribbean represented at the Troika, and he appreciated the decision declaring his country a priority for the region.

Pierre-Richard call the attention on the characteristics of small Caribbean island states that are part of the bloc and he referred to his government’s efforts to recover the country’s economy and face current challenges.

The Haitian official insisted in the significance of the Community and the importance of reaching consensus to advance common development and social benefits.

Costa Rica’s foreign minister Enrique Castillo expressed his willingness to contribute to the Community’s progress and strengthening. He described as very fruitful the meeting of the Troika on Friday and stressed cooperation and solidarity as priority objectives of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean State.


Cuba to be Represented at International Trade Fair in Panama

HAVANA, Cuba.- (acn) A wide representation of Cuban enterprises will take part in the 31st International Trade Fair EXPOCOMER 2013, to be held from April 17th through the 20th in Panama.

Cuba will have a collective pavilion at the ATLAPA showground of the Panamanian capital, where it will show products and services of over 30 enterprises, with a comprehensive and consistent design.

Habanos S.A.; Labiofam S.A.; Consultoría Jurídica Internacional; Citricos Caribe S.A.; and Corporacion de la Aviacion Civil de Cuba will be among the island’s participating companies.

The most represented categories at the Fair will be food and beverages, accessories, construction, technology and services.

Likewise, from April 10th through the 13th, the Cuban medical-pharmaceutical, tobacco and cigar industries will be present at the International Trade Fair of Vietnam, to be held in Hanoi, the Cubaminrex Web site reported.