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News on Cuba - January 18, 2011 Print E-mail

Raul Castro, Brazilian FM Talk on Rousseff's Visit

Havana, Jan 18 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Raul Castro and Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota talked about the preparations for President Dilma Rousseff's visit to Cuba.

During a meeting on Tuesday morning, Castro and Patriota also highlighted the excellent relations between Havana and Brasilia, Cuba's nightly TV news program reported.

Antonio Simoes, Brazil's undersecretary-general for South America, Ambassador Jose E. Martins Felicio and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez also attended the meeting.


International Campaign for the Cuban Five Steps Up

Washington, Jan 17 (Prensa Latina) The International Solidarity Committee to Free the Cuban Five confirmed on Tuesday the setting in motion of a new campaign based on sending postcards and posters to U.S. President Barack Obama demanding the liberation of the five antiterrorists.

With the support of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the French Press Workers' Union we will have 50,000 postcards in English and Spanish, the solidarity group noted in a communique.

The campaign is dubbed Obama...Give me Five! The main designer of the logo was Jorge Martell, an experienced Cuban graphic and plastic artist.

The Venezuelan International Institute of Political Studies Five Heroes will guarantee the edition of 10,000 posters, according to the organizers of the campaign.

While the possibilities for legal recourse for the Cuban Five are running out without obtaining justice, the denunciation and solidarity campaign grows all over the world and is now more necessary than ever, underlined the International Committee supporting René González, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino and Fernando González.

Last Thursday, this organization corroborated that Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five, was moved to Marianna Prison in Florida.

Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchú, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, José Saramago, Harold Pinter, Zhores Alfiorov, and Günter Grass are some of the Nobel Prize winners supporting the cause of the Five.


Russia Repeats Criticism of US Detention Center in Guantanamo

Moscow, Jan 17 (Prensa Latina) In a special report, the Russian Foreign Ministry repeated on Tuesday its criticisms for the difficult human rights situation of those detained at the illegal U.S. naval base of Guantanamo Bay, eastern Cuba.

The document recalls that of 779 people detained in that facility without trial or appeals, 600 were released, eight died there, six were condemned by military commissions and 171 are still there.

The report of the Russian Foreign Ministry notes that the legal vacuum created at that U.S facility is unprecedented in modern history and is an indication of similar situations in other regions such as Afghanistan.

The text also notes that in the prisons operated by the Pentagon in Afghanistan, about 3,000 persons are held in very similar conditions to those of the base on the usurped Cuban territory, a flagrant violation of international law by Washington.

The report criticized U.S. President Barack Obama, who signed last December 31 the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows the military to detain people indefinitely without charges or rights to trial.

The Russian Minister also notes that the law is very dangerous, because it does not establish geographic or time limits to make detentions and it can be used by future presidents to allow the military to continue this practice beyond the battlefield.

In its preamble, the document states that the human rights situation in the USA is far from the ideals professed by its government.


FAO to Keep Aiding Cuba on Import Substitution

Havana, Jan 17 (Prensa Latina) The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will keep on aiding the government of Cuba in 2012 in the production of food and import substitution.

According to a document released by the FAO office in Havana, the organization will continue backing Cuba's goal of attaining greater efficiency in the agricultural sector.

FAO 2012 plans include the fulfillment of the National Priorities Framework 2012-2015 and the holding of an international workshop on urban and suburban agriculture as well as the preparation, along with other UN agencies, of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) from 2014 to 2018.

FAO plans to set up a milk processing plant in Pinar del Rio as part of the UNDP/CUB/014/SPA Joint Program.


Venezuela: Hard Evidence against Terrorist Posada Carriles

Caracas, Jan 16 (Prensa Latina) Hard evidence like the Cuban mid-air aircraft blast in Barbados and the killing of Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo in Cuba were included in the documentary film "Posada Carriles. Terrorism Made in USA", directed by Venezuelan moviemaker Angel Palacio and broadcast by Telesur on Sunday night.

The second and last part of the film consists of testimony on the unquestionable record of CIA aggressions and attacks in Latin America, namely those by Cuban-born international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles and his thick criminal record of services for the CIA.

Palacio recalls the felonies that Posada Carriles used to brag about, like the mid-air blowing up of a Cubana de Aviacion plane off Barbados on October 6, 1976, killing all 73 people on board. The brains behind the sabotage were Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch, Hernan Ricardo and Freddy Lugo.

Reporters, relatives of journalist Brenda and Marlene Esquivel, and torture victims of Posada Carriles (known as Captain Basilio when he served the Police General Directorate (Digepol) in Venezuela in the 1970s were interviewed for the film.

As key highlights are attacks on Latin American leaders, like the failed attempt to kill then Cuban President Fidel Castro in Panama on November 16, 2000, during a speech at the University of Panama.

Salvadoran mercenary Raul Ernesto Cruz Leon, who was recruited by Posada Carriles, was behind several attacks, including the one in which Italian tourist Fabio di Celmo was killed at the Copacabana Hotel, in Havana, on September 4, 1997.

The documentary also denounces that Posada Carriles was pardoned by then Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso in August 2004.

The film exposes the U.S. justice system that released Posada Carriles on bail on April 19, 2007, and granted him asylum, playing a deaf ear to international calls to try him for his crimes and extradite him to Venezuela.


Cuba is not Alone, Say Solidarity Activists in Madrid

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 17 (acn) Solidarity-with-Cuba organizations in Madrid will begin on January 20 the campaign “Cuba is not alone,” in response to defamatory actions carried out by right-wing groups in Spain and the United States.

The crusade also rejects the visit to the Spanish capital around the middle of the year of a delegation of the Alpha 66 terrorist organization, located –with Washington’s consent- in the United States, the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) told ACN on Tuesday.

Angeles Diaz, a professor with the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, will be one of the speakers during the presentation of the campaign at the Friends of UNESCO Club.   Diaz will speak about the information and disinformation of the Spanish mainstream media with respect to Cuba.

Francisco Calderon, general coordinator of the organization Solidarity for Development and Peace (SODEPAZ), will present the subject “The Policy of the Popular Party (PP) towards the Cuban Revolution.”

The Solidarity-with-Cuba State Coordinating Committee and the Bartolome de las Casas and Pablo de la Torriente Brau Friendship Associations, along with the Estrella Roja Group, among other organizations of Madrid, sponsor this campaign, pointed out the ICAP.

Covering the event will be the following media outlets: Diario Publico, Cubainformacion TV, Prensa Latina, Diagonal and Tele K.   In addition, actions will be immediately spread by way of social networks, mainly Facebook  and Twitter.


No Deaths by Cholera in One Year, Cuban Medical Brigade in Haiti Announced

HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 18 (acn) The Cuban Medical Brigade in Haiti announced that since January 18, 2011, no deaths caused by cholera have been reported in the health care centers where Cuban professionals are making their contribution in that Caribbean nation stricken with an epidemic ofthis disease.

According to Granma newspaper, the Cuban health care personnel continue working in 34 centers where they develop a program to educate people and promote measures on the control and eradication of cholera.

The only case of infection reported this week was in the southern region of the country, the last one affected by the epidemic, which began nine months after the devastating January 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti.

Since then, the Cuban Medical Brigade has prioritized the attention of those infected by cholera and they maintain a close watch to detect and treat eventual cases of infection.


Cuba to Host International Meeting on Plant Biotechnology

Havana, Jan 18 (Prensa Latina) The 10th International Symposium on Plant Biotechnology will take place in Cuba in April to contribute to implementing the achievements in that field of science and increasing food production, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) office here.

The meeting will be held on Cayo Santamaria, in the Cuban central region, from April 17 to 19, according to FAO.

The symposium will be sponsored by the ministries of Agriculture, Science, Technology and Environment, and Higher Education, and the University of Rostock, in Germany.

The meeting, which will also contribute to the exchange of knowledge and experiences among experts, will coincide with an international event on agricultural development and sustainability, in the framework of the 20th Symposium of the International Scientific Center of Fertilizers (CIEC 2012).

From November 28 to December 3, 2011, Cuba hosted a global meeting on biotechnology at the service of agriculture and food.

On that occasion, participants noted that Cuba, with 150 patents, has the most advanced biotechnological industry in the developing countries.


Cuba Calls Annual Scientific Meeting on Neurology

Havana, Jan 18 (Prensa Latina) The Havana-based Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery will hold its Annual Scientific Meeting from January 23 to 27, as part of festivities on the 50th anniversary of that institution.

Prestigious Cuban and foreign professionals will give pre-meeting updating courses and conferences, and researchers will present their works, said the announcement.

It will be a significant opportunity to exchange experiences, learn about the Institute's scientific and technical breakthroughs and plan join projects between neurology and neurosurgery centers, which contribute to boost scientific research and improve health care.

Cerebral-vascular, neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases, movement disorders, epilepsy, pediatric neurology, neuroimaging, clinical and genetic neurophysiology and neurological disorders, among other prominent issues, will be debated at the meeting.


2011: A Good Year for Cuban Tourism; 2012: Will be Even Better

(By Luz Marina Fornieles Sánchez   January 18, 2012)

Cuban tourism sailed with a good wind in its favor in 2011 and a tendency which local authorities predict will increase in 2012.

The predictions of 2.7 million visitors in these last 12 months was achieved without any problem; now the forecast for the upcoming year is 2.9 million.  The 3 million mark is not far in the horizon.

Due to its vitality and capacity of resisting the effects of the crisis, tourism continues to be a permanent interest among the international community.  Cuba is not an exception and much less in the current period when tourism has recovered its optimism.

Among the predictions for the high season (November-April) an increase of 10 percent is expected with an improvement in the sector for 2012.

The main markets continue to be Canada ranked first with a record number of one million vacationers; followed by Britain, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Argentina, Russia and Mexico among others.

Cuba is currently prioritizing the rehabilitation, reanimation and revitalization of a group of hotel and extra hotel installations located in its main tourism complexes aimed at improving the quality of its service and in correspondence with the preservation and protection of its environment.

The Caribbean island is also planning on the diversification of its product, an increase of the comfort of its rooms and reinforcing its cultural and historic activities in tone with the needs of a sustainable tourism making the sector healthier, demanding and rigorous.

The sector continues centering its priorities in quality, professionalism of its employees and economic efficiency aimed at an increase of tourists and more earnings due to the country´s need of hard currency.

The Cuban Tourism Ministry expressed its satisfaction for the favourable results of the industry this past year and the important potential for 2012.

An official report revealed that this past year was prosperous for the island with an 8 percent increase at the end of 2011.

The report added that Cuba was rated among the top islands in the Caribbean as a favourite destination for vacationers.

The document pointed out that in less than 10 years; the country became the third tourism destination in the Caribbean, “despite not having 50 percent of the US market”.

Among the favourite tourism complexes on the island are Varadero Beach Resort (one million vacationers visited this region for the fourth consecutive year); Havana, Holguin and the keys to the north of Villa Clara, Jardines del Rey, Cayo Largo, Santiago de Cuba and Santa Lucia Beach.

The country currently has 60 thousand hotel rooms.

The Cuban Tourism Ministry stressed that some of its projections for 2012 will be to implant an Integral Development Plan and short and medium term programs for the sector that includes refurbishing and revitalizing the current installations.

There are important advances which include the construction of two hotels in the eastern city of Holguin and Cayo Coco in Ciego de Avila province, among other important investments and by the end of 2011 another hotel was announced for Cayo Santa Maria managed by the Sirenis hotel chain with 769 rooms.

Among the priorities in the tourism sector is the increase of cruise ships visiting the island and the construction of golf courses, in addition to a hike in the offers linked to recreational water activities, events and incentives and nature and health tourism.

An important event to be held this year once again is the International Tourism Fair to be held on May 11th in Cayo Santa Maria north of the central province of Villa Clara.  The fair will have Argentina as its guest of honor and will be dedicated to family tourism given the broad possibilities of tourism development both on the island and the rest of the Caribbean.

A new milestone in the Cuban tourism industry was marked with the figure of over 2 million vacationers for the 8th consecutive year taking into account that the island is a relatively young destination and geographically small in welcoming so many tourists in a 12 month period, making the island the people’s preference amidst a complex international scenario.

This is also an example of the increase of our competitiveness sustained not only by the quality and diversity of the tourism product but also the stability and security offered to the clients.

The potential of tourism on the island supported by its offers and values contributes to a larger and systematic contribution to the development of Cuban society.

Cuba also has many challenges, the world economic crisis, the increase of oil prices and airfares and Washington’s economic, commercial and financial blockade against the island.

Despite this, 2011 was a good year for tourism, and 2012 will be even better.


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