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News on Cuba - November 21, 2012 Print E-mail

ALBA Ambassadors Attend Colloquium for the Cuban Five

HOLGUIN, Cuba, Nov 20 (ACN) Ambassadors from all Spanish-speaking countries with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas, plus Haiti, will participate at the 8th International Colloquium for the Freedom of the Cuban Five and against Terrorism, to take place from November 29 to December 1 in this eastern Cuban city.

The forum gathers friends from several countries that support the cause of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters held in the United States since 1998 for having prevented terrorist actions against the Cuban people.

Cuban Friendship Institute delegate in Holguin Amaury Torno told reporters that the meeting will be attended by the ambassadors of Haiti, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas, known by its acronyms ALBA, is also made up of Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The official said that over 340 delegates from 47 countries from around the world have confirmed participation at the colloquium, with the largest delegations coming from Russia, Bulgaria, Italy, Venezuela, Canada, Spain and the United States.

Like in previous occasions, the forum will become an international scenario to denounce the injustice committed against Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando Gonzalez, René Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino, internationally known as the Cuban Five.

The five antiterrorist fighters, heroes of the Republic of Cuba, were submitted to a biased Miami trial that gave them extremely long sentences after they monitored Florida-based ultra-right organizations that have planned and undertaken terrorist actions against Cuba over the past five decades.


Cuba Condemns Israeli Aggression against the Palestinian People

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 17 (ACN) The Cuban Foreign Ministry reiterated its strongest condemnation of the most recent Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and called on the international community to take action in order to stop the military escalation.

In a statement published on Granma newspaper, the Cuban Foreign Ministry says it follows with deep concern the new escalation of violence and death that Israel’s military forces are unleashing against the Gaza Strip.

Once again, Israel imposes its technological and military superiority to brutally attack the Palestinian population, killing innocent civilians and inflicting huge material damage, which worsens even more the living conditions of the population in that small territory under siege.

In the face of this new aggression against the Palestinian people, Cuba reiterates its most energetic condemnation and calls on the international community to urgently take all necessary measures to stop this criminal act, the statement reads.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry ratifies its strongest support of the fair cause of the Palestinian people and their inalienable rights, which include the setting up of an independent state with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital city, the statement concludes.


Cuban Peace Movement Blasts Israeli Attacks on Gaza

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 20 (ACN) The Cuban Movement for the Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples reiterated on Monday its condemnation of Israel’s brutal escalation of violence and death against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement published by the local media, the non-government organization expressed its most energetic rejection of such criminal acts and alerted that this aggression could become as lethal as Operation Cast Lead, which killed 400 people, most of them civilians, just four years ago.

The movement urged US  President Barack Obama to withdraw his government’s support of the actions unleashed by Israel, which are particularly being promoted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel reinforced its attacks on Gaza with bombings that caused a building to collapse , whose debris buried an 11-member family, including four women and four kids, according to PL news agency.

The latest reports say that the death toll has reached 70 over the past five days, while the number of wounded people has surpassed 400.


US Catholic Organizations Send Humanitarian Aid to Cuba

SANTIAGO, Cuba, Nov 19 (ACN) A humanitarian aid cargo sent by US Catholic organizations reached this city on Monday in a gesture of solidarity with the Cuban citizens affected by the ravaging passage of hurricane Sandy.

Foreign Trade and Investment Ministry delegate in the province, Maria Luisa Bueno, received the assistance brought in by a Conver 440 plane, which operates in the Caribbean area.

Humanitarian aid has also been sent to the eastern Cuban territories from Venezuela, Bolivia, Russia, Ecuador, Japan, Qatar, Mexico and Suriname.


Cuban Women Federation Leader Visits Areas Hard Hit by Sandy

HAVANA, Nov 20 (ACN) The general secretary of the Cuban Women’s Federation, Teresa Amarelle, visited  Santiago de Cuba province, where she could see the efficient recovery actions underway since hurricane Sandy ravaged that eastern Cuban territory in late October.

In conversation with federation members in Santiago, Amarelle was briefed about the women’s reaction to the passage of the storm as they immediately joined recovery actions to clean the damage with brooms, hoses and buckets, according to an article posted on Mujeres Magazine.

The women’s leader also learned of the work of the commission to attend to citizens affected by the natural phenomenon. The commission is made up of representatives of the Labor and Social Security Ministry, the Bank and the Ministry of Finance and Prices, and the Housing Institute.

Amarelle acknowledged the outstanding attitude of federation members who offered their homes as shelters for neighbors whose homes were affected, and joined evacuation and food distribution tasks.

The general secretary also met with locals in different areas to learn about their experiences and oversee the resumption of usual activities, such as the school year in the territory where the storm made landfall.

In such a scene where destruction and recovery efforts confront each other in every corner, the commitment and patriotism of Cuban Women Federation members will always prevail, said the women’s leader.


Perceptible Tremors in Central Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 20 (ACN) The network of stations with the Cuban Seismological Service registered a 3.3 tremor Monday evening at 19:19 local time to the north of the Encrucijada municipality, central Villa Clara province.

The tremor was located at 22.75 North and 79.72 West, at a 10.0 kilometer depth.

An aftershock of the first tremor was detected at 20:12 local time, and at the same coordinates. The movement was registered as a 2.7 tremor on the Richter scale.

The two tremors were perceived in five municipalities in the central Cuban province with no reports of material or human damage.


The FARC-EP Announces Ceasefire and Urges Santos to Reciprocate

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 20 (acn) The insurgent Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejercito del Pueblo (FARC-EP) (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army) ordered a unilateral ceasefire on Monday, to facilitate the peace talks with their country’s government that began on Monday in this capital.

After his arrival to Havana’s Convention Center, Ivan Marquez, head of the negotiating team of the FARC-EP, read a communique, by way of which the secretariat of the General Staff of that guerrilla informed about the decision of suspending offensive military operations against the police, as well as the acts of sabotage.

This initiative, in force for two months as of Tuesday, November 20, is a contribution to strengthen the necessary climate of understanding, so the parties holding talks achieve the objective wanted by all Colombians, reads the document.

It also urges the government of President Juan Manuel Santos to declare a ceasefire and the cessation of hostilities, taking advantage of the Christmas spirit.

The text asserts that the decision made is a demonstration of the willingness of that rebel force to create a favorable environment so as to achieve the progress of negotiations and reach a real Peace Treaty that puts an end to the social and armed conflict that South American country is living.


Raul Castro Receives President of Surinam

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 19 (ACN) The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Government, Army General Raul Castro met on Sunday with the President of the Republic of Suriname, Desire Delano Bouterse, who paid a working visit to Cuba.

During the meeting, the Army General expressed, on behalf of the Cuban government and people, his thankfulness for the solidarity of Suriname in the aftermath of the passage on Cuba by hurricane Sandy. The two heads of state also expressed their satisfaction for the development of bilateral cooperation and friendship relations between their nations, and they also exchanged views on issues of regional and multilateral interest, according to Granma newspaper.

The Surinamese President was accompanied by his country’s foreign minister Winston Guno Lackin; the secretary of the Council of State and Foreign Ministry director Michel Kerpens, as well as by Suriname’s ambassador to Cuba Ike Desmond Antonius.

On the Cuban side were Vice-president Esteban Lazo; acting foreign minister Marcelino Medina and Cuban ambassador to Suriname Julio Solis Ferreiro.


Cuba has Done a Lot for the World, says Surinamese President

SANTIAGO, Cuba, Nov 18 (ACN) Suriname’s President Desire Delano Bouterse said, upon his arrival in this city on Sunday, that Cuba has done that much for the world and that his small country needs to reciprocate its solidarity with the Cuban people.

In statements to reporters at the Antonio Maceo International Airport  Delano Bouterse said that his people closely followed what happened in Cuba during the passage of hurricane Sandy on October 25, and he wished a fast recovery from the damage inflicted by the storm.

The First Secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party in Santiago de Cuba, Lazaro Exposito, submitted the Surinamese President a report with information and images of the huge damage inflicted by Sandy and he noted that the eastern province will recovery from the destruction.

Delano Bouterse also met with a group of Surinamese youths who are taking medicine courses in Santiago de Cuba. At present 65 students from that sister nation are taking higher education courses on the island.


Municipal Elections Held in Eastern Territories Hit by Sandy

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 19 (ACN) The municipal vote originally postponed in three municipalities in eastern Santiago de Cuba, hard hit by hurricane Sandy in late October, were carried out Sunday as expected, said the National Electoral Commission (CEN).

CEN secretary Ruben Perez Rodriguez said that 75 percent of the over 100 thousand voters had already cast their ballots one hour before all 332 voting stations closed on Sunday.

On this occasion 88 constituencies held the second round of elections, which were described by Perez as satisfactory, having in mind that the territories were the hardest hit by the storm.

The official acknowledged the work carried out by electoral authorities and the support personnel who contributed to the successful vote.


Peruvian Ambassador Receives Flight with Aid for Hurricane Victims in Santiago de Cuba

SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba, Nov 16 (acn) Victor Mayorga, ambassador of Peru to Havana, reiterated in this city his country’s solidarity and that of President Ollanta Humala with the people of Santiago de Cuba, the victims of the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy.

While receiving at the Antonio Maceo International Airport of this city the first airplane from his country with humanitarian aid for that territory on Thursday night, the diplomat ratified the good state of bilateral relations.

On behalf of Peruvians, he thanked Cubans for the fraternal help given to his country in dramatic conditions, like on the occasion of the earthquakes that occurred in 1970 and 2007 in that country.

The cargo, pertaining to the Peruvian Air Force and organized by the Peruvian Institute of Civil Defense, includes different materials and implements estimated at some 80,000 dollars.


Cuba Kicks off National Vaccination Campaign

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 19 (ACN) Cuba will start a national vaccination campaign against seasonal flu from November 20 to December 15, which includes over half a million people.

The immunization includes persons over 85 years and of other ages, who are part of what is know as highly vulnerable population groups. The vaccine protects the people from the viruses causing Influenza A and B, which have affected the Cuban population this year.

According to Granma newspaper, the injection dose will be administered to over half a million people, including vulnerable population sectors, senior citizens in elderly homes, the physically impaired, patients with chronic diseases in psychiatric hospitals and those suffering from kidney conditions.

Also included in the vaccination campaign are people over 18 years who suffer from cystic fibrosis and infant cerebral paralysis, as well as those suffering from asthma and diabetes from 15 to 24 years of age, and the women in the second and third quarter of pregnancy.

The health personnel assisting patients in serious conditions and working in respiratory hospital wards and in labs will also be administered the dose.

Meanwhile, particular vaccination strategies will be adopted in the provinces hard hit by hurricane Sandy, according to the prevailing situation in each area. People currently in shelters will be included in the vaccination campaign.


Cuban and Guadeloupe Considering Joint Agriculture Project

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 19 (ACN) Cuba and Guadeloupe are currently analyzing a bilateral cooperation project aimed at rehabilitating Cuban agricultural areas severely affected by the recent passage of hurricane Sandy.

The director of Guadeloupe’s STCI Development Company, Narcise Therese, told ACN news agency that the project includes the construction of temporary and permanent homes, which are highly resistant to quakes and hurricanes.

Therese said that under the initiative Cuba would acquire modern technology to develop different crops, while the project would also allow for the exchange of expertise with local farmers in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba (east) and Pinar del Rio (west).

The executive praised Cuba’s experience in the implementation of environment-friendly technologies and the existence here of specialized scientific centers and highly skilled personnel.

The project also stipulates the training of workers from Guadeloupe in the management and use of lands, as well as in the diversification of agricultural production for its commercialization.

Hurricane Sandy severely damaged thousands of hectares of lands planted with plantain, citrus fruits and other crops.

Guadeloupe has scarce cultivable lands because its soils present high salinity levels, while there’s an increasing aging trend in the population sector dedicated to agriculture.


Old Havana Keeps Under Restoration, Historian Says

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 16 (ACN) Ongoing restoration works continue to benefit the old section  of Havana, said city historian Eusebio Leal at the ceremony marking the 493rd anniversary of the founding of the Cuban capital.

At present, the restoration process is targeting a series of monuments and streets, including theaters, the university and the Colon Cemetery, said Leal as quoted by PL news agency.

The historian praised the efforts by so many persons involved in the restoration of the old city’s heritage and he dedicated the celebrations to the eastern Cuban provinces h


Cuba Convenes Online Forum on Cuban 5

Havana, Nov 21 (Prensa Latina) An online discussion forum on the case of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters convicted in the United States will take place on November 26, Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced.

Convened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the exchange will be held between 10:00 and 12:00 local time (15:00 to 17:00 GMT), with a panel made up of the relatives of the Cuban Five "as they are known internationally" and members of the International Committee working for their release.

As of Thursday, November 22, Internet users can post their questions or comments at the e-mail address http://foro.cubaminrex.cu/.

The forum will begin with a panel presentation to be broadcast live via Internet, which can be seen from the websites Cubaminrex, and Nation and Emigration.

Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Ramon Labañino were detained in 1998 for monitoring Miami-based terrorist groups.

Four of them remain imprisoned in U.S. jails, while Rene Gonzalez is serving three years of supervised release in that territory, despite having completed his prison term. Gerardo's defense recently filed legal documents that reveal the payment of large sums of money made by the U.S. government to thousands of journalists, with the aim of influencing the jury and the Miami community, venue of the trial held in 2001.


Forum of Solidarity with Palestine to Be Held in Cuba

Havana, Nov 21 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban Chapter of the World Social Forum-Free Palestine will be in session in Havana on November 23 aimed at multiplying actions in solidarity with the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people, organizers announced.

The meeting will be held prior to the world event in Porto Alegre, Brazil, scheduled for Nov.28-Dec.1st.

According to the call, the forum is also aimed at raising awareness about the dramatic humanitarian situation the Palestinian population is going trough and join the struggle for its recognition as a State before the United Nations.

The initiative in Cuba is joined by numerous institutions, including the Martin Luther King Memorial Center, the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, the Cuban Movement for Peace and the ALBA Cultural House.

Last week, Israel launched a new offensive against the Gaza Strip, worsening conflict and killing more than one hundred Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children.

From Cairo, Egypt, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel yesterday to respect international law, and warned of the danger that the conflict spreads to neighbouring countries.


Cuban Parliament President Visits El Salvador

San Salvador, Nov 20 (Prensa Latina) The President of the National Assembly of Cuba's People Power began an oficial visit to El Salvador invited by his peer, Sigfrido Reyes.

Alarcon arrived Monday night to this capital for a week's visit, confirmed sources of the Cuban embassy in this capital.

In his first activities in the country, the Cuban parliamentary leader was interviewed by local TV and later deposited a flower wreath at the tomb of Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, in the cript of the Metropolitan Cathedral.

After that he went to the cemetery Los Ilustres to render tribute to the historic leader of the Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), Schafik Handal.

The morning program ended by putting a flower wreath before the monument of Cuban National Hero Jose Marti in the square bearing his name and near the San Salvador historic center.

Alarcon will receive next Thursday in a plenary session of the Legislative Assembly, its maximum award "Noble Friend of El Salvador", top distinction given to foreign personalities.

The award was proposed by the FMLN and approved by parliament majority last Wednesday.

Alarcon will also hold meetings with political, social and solidarity with Cuba organizations before returning to his country next Saturday.


Chinese Plane with Aid Arrives in Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba, Nov 21 (Prensa Latina) A plane from the Republic of China arrived in this city's Antonio Maceo airport today, with aid to help repair the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy almost a month ago.

The plane departed from the city of Shanghai with a 100 ton load, including power generating plants, water purification, communications equipment, medicine, and tents, among other resources.

Chinese Ambassador to Cuba Zhang Tuo highlighted this gesture after 155 years of the arrival of his compatriots to the island, with which his nation maintains close diplomatic relations and solidarity.

"I hope this cargo encourages recovery in face of the disaster left by the storm," he said, recalling that right after the 2008 earthquake in China, Cuba sent a medical team to care for those affected.

This humanitarian contribution from the government and the Chinese Red Cross joins another donation also sent by air to the city hardest hit by Sandy, where recovery is underway with remarkable resources provided by the national budget.

Venezuela was the first country to respond to the disaster, with an airplane arriving on October 27, followed by Russia and other Latin American countries, as well as three boats from that first country and one from Mexico that arrived through the Guillermon Moncada port.


Cuba to Set Up Municipal Assemblies

Havana, Nov 21 (Prensa Latina) Cuba's State Council called for the initiation of the municipal assemblies of People's Power by Sunday, November 25, in a new mandate that will run for two and a half years, national media reported today.

According to the Constitution of the Republic and the Electoral Law, the 14,537 delegates elected in the first stage of the general elections will make up 168 assemblies and take up their responsibilities.

The first round of those elections was held on October 21, with more than 8,700,000 voters participating in the polls, surpassing 94 percent of the Cuban electorate.

That day, about 13,127 delegates were elected, while in 1,410 districts, there were ties or no candidate achieved more than 50 percent of the valid votes, so a runoff was held, scheduled for the following Sunday, November 28.

However, eastern Cuba was the hardest hit early October 25 by Hurricane Sandy, which caused substantial damage, mainly in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Holguin.

Due to the situation caused by Sandy, the country decided to postpone the runoffs on the island, and gradually conducted them throughout the country when conditions allowed.

The last runoff occurred last Sunday, November 18, in the municipalities of Santiago de Cuba and Palma Soriano, the hardest hit by the storm.

It was also necessary to hold a third round in two districts of the country due to repeated ties: one in the municipality Manati, Las Tunas province, and one in the Santiago municipality of Segundo Frente.

National Electoral Commission Secretary Ruben Perez gave special recognition to the Santiago de Cuba population for their behavior, as well as electoral authorities and institutions that contributed to the completion of the elections despite the damages caused by Sandy.

Once this elections stage has been completed, the election of delegates to the provincial assemblies and members of Parliament of the nation will begin.


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