News on Cuba - January 6, 2012 Print

Fidel Castro Sends Wreath in Honour of Martha Voisin

Paris, Jan. 6 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro sent a wreath in tribute to Martha Rosine-Voisin, widow of scientist Andre Voisin and close friend of Cuba, who will be buried today in the town of Arches The Bataille.

Through the Embassy of Cuba in France, Fidel Castro also sent his heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of Mrs. Voisin, who died at the age of 105 years.

Invited them by the revolutionary leader, Andre and his wife Martha arrived in Havana on December 3, 1964, where the scientific gave a lecture series.

Unfortunately, the French scientist died of a heart attack a few days later, on December 21, 1964, while providing their valuable cooperation.

Thereafter, the widow of Voisin began an enduring friendship and love with Cuba.

With advanced age in 2003 she attended the organized events to commemorate the centenary of the birth of his co-worker and husband, creator of the grazing system universally identified with his name.

Cuban Ambassador in Paris, Orlando Requejo, recalled the constant esteem of Martha and her husband by Cuba in the most difficult moments of the struggle for independence and sovereignty.

"With her passing we also lose one of the most beautiful pages in the history of friendship and solidarity between the peoples of Cuba and France", Requeijo said.


Amnesty International's 2011 Report on U.S. Calls Cuban Five Trial "Unfair," Spotlights Paid Journalist Issue

Amnesty International has released its 2011 report on human rights around the world. In its chapter on the United States, the section entitled "Unfair Trials" lists just one - the trial of the Cuban Five.

The writeup spotlights the issue which has been the focus of the work of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five for more than a year, and which forms a central part of the current round of appeals of the Five - the U.S. government-paid journalists who helped poison the atmosphere during the trial.

In June, a new appeal was filed in the case of Gerardo Hernández, one of five men convicted in 2001 of acting as intelligence agents for Cuba and related charges. The appeal was based, in part, on evidence that the US government had secretly paid journalists to write prejudicial articles in the media at the time of trial, thereby undermining the defendants' due process rights. In October, Amnesty International sent a report to the Attorney General outlining the organization's concerns in the case.

On October 2010 Amnesty International had published a Report on the case of the Cuban Five concluding that:

"The organization believes that the concerns outlined above combine to raise serious doubts about the fairness of the proceedings leading to their conviction, in particular the prejudicial impact of publicity about the case on a jury in Miami. Amnesty International hopes that these concerns can still be given due consideration by the appropriate appeal channels. Should the legal appeals process not provide a timely remedy, and given the long prison terms imposed and length of time the prisoners have already served, Amnesty International is supporting calls for a review of the case by the US executive authorities through the clemency process or other appropriate means."

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Messages Demand Obama to Free Cuban Five

Washington, Jan 5 (Prensa Latina) Sending an e-mail, fax or making a phone call to the U.S. President Barack Obama will be the new way to demand on Thursday the release of the five Cubans unjustly held in that country.

From any corner of the planet, send a message to Obama to demand him to immediately free Gerardo, Ramon, Antonio and Fernando and allows Rene to return to Cuba back to his wife and daughters, according to the International Committee to Free the Five, as they are known worldwide.

President Obama knows that the Five are innocent as he has been told by intellectuals, religious people, union members, students, actors and artists , lawmakers, Nobel prize winners and thousands of honest people all over the worlds, the appeal notes.

He can and must end 13 years of injustice so that Washington can regain the respect of the international community, who waits that its humanitarian action allows the immediate return of the Five to Cuba, the Committee's communiqué underlines.

We invite you to begin 2012 with a simple collective action for the Cuban Five that will be much more effective if we carry it out on the fifth day of the month and from every part of the world, the communiqué says.

Worldwide, there are committees to free the Five and groups supporting the cause of Fernando Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero and that closely follow the situation of Rene Gonzalez during his three-year probation.


On the 5th for The Five: Italian Association Sends Messages to Obama

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 6 (acn) The Italy-Cuba National Friendship Association sent on Thursday  letters, e-mail messages and a large number of texts by way of social networks to US President Barack Obama, in favor of the five Cuban heroes unfairly condemned in that northern country.

We expect that 2012 will be the year of the return of these patriots to their homeland and families, the organization’s secretary, Marco Papacci, told ACN.

On the fifth day of every month, under the premise of peace and justice for all, we’ll continue joining the call of the International Committee for the Freedom of The Five, and reminding Obama that they’re innocent, stressed the activist via e-mail.

The communique of the International Committee ratifies that intellectuals, religious people, trade unionists, students, actors, artists, parliamentarians, Nobel Prize winners and thousands of honest people from all parts of the world support this cause.

All of them have told the US head of state that he can and should put an end to injustice if he releases Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Hernandez and allows Rene Gonzalez –currently under supervised release- to return to Cuba.

The Five were condemned in the United States for warning their country about terrorist acts planned in south Florida.

The solidarity movement in favor of the immediate return of The Five to their country is present in 113 nations with over 300 committees, said Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples, during a recent press conference in Havana.


Nordic Brigade of Solidarity Visits Cuban Town

Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, Jan 4 (Prensa Latina) Members of the Nordic Brigade of Solidarity with Cuba on Wednesday visited Trinidad, a town declared World Heritage by UNESCO.

The delegation, made up of about 60 members of friendship groups from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and other nations, will stay in Trinidad until Thursday.

They plan a farewell meeting with members of the Association of Cuban Revolutionary Fighters at the Camilo Cienfuegos Historic Complex in Yaguajay.

The contingent will return on Thursday to the Julio Antonio Mella International Camp, in the western Cuban province of Artemisa, where the group arrived in December.


Venezuela to Premiere Film on Terrorist Posada Carriles

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 5 (acn) The State Villa del Cine Foundation of Venezuela will premiere in March the film Alias Bambi C-4, which reveals the activities in Latin America of terrorist  Luis Posada Carriles, protected by Washington.

The feature film, directed by Eduardo Barbena and with a script by Gustavo Michelena, includes the performances of Cubans Carlos Padron and Patricio Wood, who play the role of the self-confessed criminal.

Also appearing in the film are actors Carlos Ever Fonseca (Cuba), Gioia Arismendi and Gabriel Blanco (Venezuela) and Anibal Grunn (Argentinean-Venezolan). The music (Latin American rhythms, most of them Cuban) was composed by Jesus Bello and Victor Pratt, the Web site reported.

With an abundant record of services for the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States, Posada Carriles presently enjoys freedom in that country, after a judicial farce in Texas for his illegal entry in the US in March, 2005.

There, in April, 2011, a jury found him innocent of 11 charges of perjury, migratory fraud and obstruction to proceedings, ridiculous charges compared to the magnitude of his criminal record.

The court has ignored irrefutable evidence existing about his participation in the chain of attacks with bombs perpetrated in 1997 in Havana, as well as his responsibility in the blowing of a Cuban civil aircraft in mid air in 1976 –which caused the death of all 73 people on board- and his plans to assassinate Commander in Chief Fidel Castro.

Posada Carriles has a legal process pending in Venezuela –for the Barbados Crime-, since he escaped from a prison of the South American country in 1985, thanks to the support of the Cuban-American extreme right.

Caracas has requested his extradition, to which Washington turns a deaf ear.


U.S. Educator Criticizes Travel Restrictions to Cuba

Cienfuegos, Cuba, Jan 5 (Prensa Latina) Lenore Gallin, a professor at the Diablo Valley College in California, on Thursday criticized the long-standing travel regulations of her government against Cuba, which restrict the rights of her fellow citizens.

After staying in Cuba along with thirty teachers and students of that university, Gallin told Prensa Latina that she gets a little courage (for irritation) after seeing how the policy of successive U.S. administrations has complicated the Cuban revolutionary process for more than half a century.

According to Gallin, it is an upsetting feeling that U.S. citizens cannot come to Cuba without completing many requirements, in reference to the licenses they must obtain to visit the neighboring Caribbean nation.

U.S. citizens should work harder to help break the government stigma on Cuba, said Gallin, a professor of anthropology at the Diablo Valley College, a community college founded in 1949 in Pleasant Hill, in the San Francisco bay area.

This was the sixth time that a representation of that educational center, with an enrollment of more than 25,000 students, visits Cienfuegos, 250 kilometers southeast of Havana, said Gallin, adding that the last visit dates back to 2005, a year when former President George W. Bush suspended the academic exchange programs.


Cuba, Pakistan Hold Political, Diplomatic Consultations

Havana, Jan 5 (Prensa Latina) Cuba and Pakistan held a meeting of the mechanism for political consultations between their foreign ministries in Havana on Thursday to analyze international issues.

The meeting at the Foreign Ministry headquarters was attended by Pakistani Deputy Foreign Minister Alamgir Bashar Khan Babor and his Cuban counterpart, Marcos Rodriguez.

According to an official communique, the visitor highlighted the importance of such meetings as a channel for permanent dialogue between diplomats from both countries.

Rodriguez appreciated Pakistan's longstanding support for the struggle of the Cuban people against the 50-year-long U.S. economic blockade.

Cuba and Pakistan established diplomatic relations on October 28, 1955, and have excellent bilateral ties since then, according to authorities from both countries.

A Cuban medical brigade of some 2,500 professionals went to Pakistan in the wake of the quake in October 2005, and Pakistan sent assistance to Cuba after three hurricanes hit the island in 2008.

In November 2009, the two countries signed in Islamabad their first agreement on economic cooperation and bilateral investment, including the creation of a Joint Governmental Commission to strengthen ties in areas of mutual interest.


Special Education, a Major Cuban Achievement

Havana, Jan 4 (Prensa Latina) The National director of Special Education, Moraima Orozco, said on Wednesday that the creation of that network in 1962 constitutes a major gain of the Cuban Revolution.

We achieved attention from early ages, early scientific and personalized diagnosis, besides an efficient work with the family, said Orozco during a ceremony on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of that educational modality in the country, in the presence of the Minister of Education Ena Elsa Velazquez.

She also highlighted what has been achieved in work and professional training of the disabled with the aim to send them later to general schools or reintegrate into society.

Cuba currently boasts some 375 such centers to train the disabled.

Tribute was paid to former Minister Armando Hart, who created special schools in 1962, and also to a group of founders of those facilities, according to a Cuban News Agency report.

Beneficiaries of special education went from 40,176 in the 2010-2011 school year to 39,618 in the current school year, according to figures released by Orozco and the National Statistics Office.

Orozco said the fall is due to early detection of cases with some disability, as special education guarantees studies to all who need it in Cuba.

More than 700 children with disabilities also receive lessons at home by professionals and technicians, she said.


Cuban Jazz Maestro Chucho Valdes on Tour around the U.S in January

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 6 (acn) Cuba’s multi-Grammy Award winner Chucho Valdes and his band —the Afro-Cuban Messengers— will begin in January a touraround the United States that includes performances in New York City and Philadelphia.

The renowned pianist and composer and his band are set to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Saturday, January 21, 2012, when they will be joined by Spanish jazz singer Buika.

It will be Chucho Valdes’ first concert on Carnegie Main Stage since the 1978 debut of his former jazz fusion band, Irakere. It will also be the first time that Valdes will perform with Buika in the United States. Her 2010 collaboration with Valdes, El Ultimo Trago (The Last Drink), won a 2010 Latin Grammy for “Best Traditional Tropical Album.”

Chucho Valdes and his Afro-Cuban Messengers will be performing music from the album ‘Chucho’s Steps’, which won the Grammy for “Best Latin Jazz CD”. It features musical tributes to American and European jazz artists such as Cole Porter, Joe Zawinul, Art Tatum, John Coltrane, and Branford Marsalis.

Accompanying Chucho Valdés in the Tour are Juan Carlos Rojas Castro(drums), Lazaro Rivero Alarcon (bass), Yaroldy Abreu Robles (percussion), Carlos Manuel Miyares Hernandez (tenor saxophone), and Reinaldo Melian Alvarez (trumpet), among others.

On January 26, they will perform at the Merriam Theater of Philadelphia.

Chucho Valdes’ 2011/2012 touring schedule is one of the busiest ever, with performances programmed for Angola, Macao and Taipei, and large tours throughout South America, Europe and North America.


University of Havana Celebrates its 284th Birthday

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 5 (acn) The oldest in Cuba and one of the first of the Americas, the University of Havana celebrated on Thursday its 284th birthday in a solemn ceremony in its original location in Old Havana.

The Historian of the City of Havana, Eusebio Lean Spengler and Maestro Mayor of the San Geronimo College based in Old Havana –site of the celebration- characterized the opening of the educational center on January 5, 1728 as a great event and assured that it contributed to the difference of Cuba in the colonial reality of the continent.

He added that the university is seen as one in the country and highlighted the influence and importance of the center as the birthplace of thinking, ideas and space for national rebelliousness.

Leal Spengler recalled the figures that left their imprint in the country´s historic heritage, among them 8 medical students who were assassinated by Spanish colonialism accused of crimes that were not committed.

He also praised Julio Antonio Mella, symbol of the aspirations of the time and charismatic leader of the University Students Federation, Jose Antonio Echeverria who died at the hands of the Fulgencio Batista tyranny.

During the commemoration, Eusebio Lean was awarded the 280th Anniversary Plaque of the University of Havana by the Cuban Writers and Artists Association, UNEAC, for promoting cultural knowledge.

Gustavo Cobreiro Suarez, Rector of the University of Havana awarded Miguel Barnet, President of UNEAC with a distinction thanking him for his contribution to Cuban identity.

The University of Havana, was originally founded as the Real and Pontificia University of San Geronimo of Havana which currently has an enrolment of 60 000 students, distributed in 32 degrees.


Latin America: New Era

With fresh, open and transparent speeches which characterize the majority of the new popular leaders in Latin America, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa recently recalled in an interview that the region has said no to the neo-liberal model and have taken on their own destiny.

In statements to Russia Today news agency, the Ecuadoran Head of State explained that the decision is not the work of an illuminated or divine being.

On the contrary, it comes from a collective consciousness generated south of the Bravo River and which has been extended to millions of people that have realized that there is no future under the excluding and exploited systems.

In fact, he recalled that the majority of the South American governments are currently identified with left wing tendencies which can be characterized as a transition to the new era in the region.

Latin America turned into an imperial laboratory in the early 1970´s with neo liberal economic recipes and which were denounced in its time by oppressed popular movements and the most prominent progressive figures.

These destructive tendencies were confronted not only from Cuba where there were special moments during continental meetings on issues of the time like the regional foreign debt.

There were the times where Argentina or Chile had privatized local sources like water, pensions or simple highways in an attempt to make the people believe that the free market actions would benefit the almost 45 million poor people in the area.

Washington worked at the time to go forward with the so called Free Trade Area of the Americas, FTAA, as its economic imperial dictatorship which was aborted years later by the firmness of the first regional progressive governments.

The path towards the new era proclaimed by Rafael Correa in many of his speeches on the current reality of Latin America is a product of the history of struggle of our nations and the contributions of its progressive and revolutionary forces.

Correa highlighted Cuba´s historic struggle against foreign capitalist powers permanently generating poverty, inequality and hostility.