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News on Cuba - February 21, 2013 Print E-mail

Raul Receives Visiting Uruguayan Foreign Minister

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) Army General Raul Castro, President of the councils of State and Ministers, greeted on Wednesday afternoon Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro Lemes, who is on an official visit to the island.

Raul and Almagro expressed their mutual satisfaction for the positive state of bilateral relations and spoke about the processes of integration in the region, particularly the prospects of the CELAC and the MERCOSUR, the pro tempore chairmanships of which are in the hands of Cuba and Uruguay, respectively.

Accompanying the distinguished visitor were Ariel Bergamino, ambassador of Uruguay to Havana, and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.


Raul Holds Meeting with Iranian Special Envoy

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) Army General Raul Castro, President of the councils of State and Ministers, received the Special Envoy of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Doctor Ali Saeidlo, Vice-president for International Relations, who is on a visit to Cuba.

During the meeting, held on Wednesday afternoon, the Iranian Vice-president conveyed a message from Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadineyad to Raul.

The two leaders spoke about the excellent state of bilateral relations and the willingness to work for the strengthening of economic and commercial bonds and the bonds of cooperation existing between the two countries.


Cuban National Assembly will be Set up on February 24

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) The National Assembly of Peoples’ Power (Cuban Parliament) will be set up on February 24 for its Eight Legislature, at Havana’s Conventions Hall.

According to Granma newspaper, all 612 Cuban deputies, who were elected by the people on February 3, have been called to participate at the solemn session that will inaugurate the top state power body for the next five years.

The deputies will first elect the Parliament president, vice-president and secretary through secret vote. They will also elect the Council of State, made up of the president, first vice-president, five vice presidents, a secretary and another 23 members.

The daily newspaper stressed the significance of this event amidst the deep transformations underway in the country to update the economic model and improve the socialist system.

These objectives are closely related to the analysis and accords  by the legislators who will represent the Cuban people as of February 24, a date that marks the 118th anniversary of the start of the last independence war against Spanish colonial rule.


Iran Wishes to Increase Economic and Commercial Bonds with Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) Ali Saeidlo, Vice-president of Iran, on a visit to Cuba and special envoy of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, pointed out in Tuesday in this capital that his government wants to increase bilateral economic and commercial bonds at the same level of political relations.

During a meeting with Ricardo Cabrisas, Vice-president of the Cuban Council of Ministers, Saeidlo said that he’s accompanied by a large delegation to begin a relaunch of bonds based on the capacity of the two countries for their development.

Saeidlo arrived in Havana on Monday afternoon to meet with Cuban authorities and carry out other activities in this, his second trip to the island in less than a year.

In May, 2012, the Iranian Vice-president spoke with his Cuban counterpart Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and ratified the "excellent" state of bilateral relations and “their willingness to continue strengthening bonds of friendship and cooperation.”

The two states maintain close political bonds, fostered with the visit of President Ahmadinejad to the island on January, 2012.

Havana supports Iran’s right to the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, like scientific use and in the generation of electricity, while Teheran condemns the blockade imposed by the United States on the island for over five decades now.


Canadian Adolescents Visit Mausoleum in Artemisa

ARTEMISA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) More than 70 students of secondary level from Quebec, Canada, visited on Tuesday the Mausoleum to the Martyrs of Artemisa, as part of an agreement of community aid between the non-governmental organization Aro Internacional and Cuba.

These students are part of the first group that visit the island following the agreement, by their own choice, attracted by its culture, history and safety and to carry out a program that includes agricultural work and exchanges with youngsters of the municipality of Guira de Melena, Lourdes Sousa, member of Aro Internacional, told ACN

Canadian Tommy Lauthier, 16, referred that he would like to return to Cuba because the experience he has lived is fabulous, after deepening in its history and take a closer look at dances, customs, places and educational centers.

The delegation of Quebec, staying at the Training School of the National Association of Small Farmers, included in its agenda, activities like potato harvesting, repair of books, sports meetings, donations of school materials, visits to museums, historic places and the Cuban capital, among others.

Aro Internacional is a non-governmental organization with no profit motive, directed by Canadian Colette Lavagre, president in her region of the Committee of Coordination and Solidarity with the Five Cuban Heroes unfairly condemned in the United States for fighting terrorism.


Cuban Pharmaceutical Turns a Hope for Diabetic Patients in Seychelles

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) A demonstrative study on the Cuban pharmaceutical to treat diabetic foot ulcers, known as Heberprot-P, concluded in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Seychelles with positive results and a hope for diabetic patients in that country.

According to a PL news agency report from the capital Victoria, the research study counted on the advice of Cuban expert Manuel Raices, from Havana’s Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center, and it was led by Cuban angiologist Neobalis Franco.

The study allowed confirming the positive progress of 10 patients whom were administered the Cuban medication, in comparison to another 10 persons, who kept on traditional treatment.

The patients on the Cuban medication did not suffer from adverse reactions and showed promising healing of their tissues, including those who had suffered from the disease for more than 10 years.

Seychelles has a large number of diabetic patients who, with the Cuban pharmaceutical at home, harbor the hope that their lower limbs will not be amputated and that they will enjoy better quality of life, according to local media.

Herberprot-P is a pharmaceutical exclusively produced by Havana’s Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center (CIGB) on the recombinant human growth factor, which favors the healing of diabetic foot ulcers thus avoiding feared amputations of lower limbs.

The World Health Organization reported that diabetes is currently affecting over 300 million people on the planet, while diabetic foot ulcers constitute one of its worst complications implying the largest use of resources for the health systems in different countries.


Cuba President Raul Castro Receives US Senator Patrick Leahy

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raul Castro, received on Tuesday the honorable Senator Patrick Leahy, democrat for the US State of Vermont and president pro-tempore of the US Senate and chairman of its Judiciary Committee, who is paying a visit to Cuba.

Senator Leahy is heading a US Congress delegation to Cuba, made up of Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow, of Michigan and Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, of Ohio; Democratic Senator  Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island; Republican Senator Jeff Flake, of  Arizona; Democratic Representative James Mc Govern, of Massachusetts; Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland, and other personalities.

During the meeting, which was attended by Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez, participants addressed issues of bilateral issues. Later, the Cuban president exchanged views with the members of the delegation.

During their stay on the island, the US parliamentarians have met with  the president of the Cuban National Assembly of People’s Power, Ricardo Alarcon, and by foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez.


Wife of Cuban Anti-terrorist in US Jail Denounces Violations

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) The Cuban five have been submitted to many violations of their own rights, even as prisoners; but we are now witnessing one of the cruelest acts ever, said Elizabeth Palmeiro, wife of one of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the U.S. since 1998.

Palmeiro explained about the hard situation facing her husband Ramon Labañino after his prison transfers, as she addressed a meeting in Havana attended by a visiting Uruguayan delegation, headed by foreign minister Luis Almagro.

However, before addressing her husband case, Palmeiro insisted in the sad situation facing Gerardo Hernandez, one of the five Cubans, who was given two life sentences.

“He would never leave the prison and he is being submitted to the additional punishment of being banned from receiving the visit by his wife Adriana Perez,” she said.

Referring to the case of her husband, she said that he has faced reiterated insults since last December, when he was suddenly ordered to get ready to be transferred to another prison, and he waited for a whole month with no access to his own belongings.

Later in January, he was transferred on an alleged mistake to a low-security prison in Miami, which was considered dangerous as admitted by prison authorities, who kept him in the hole to prevent him from running any risk.

Back to the prison in Georgia, thanks to actions by the Cuban government and after the mistake was corrected and even after achieving the visits by his father, his elder daughter and his brother, he faced a locked down upon his arrival at the penitentiary.

His relatives could only visit him three out of eight possible occasions because on top of that, Ramon was again transferred without previous notice again, Palmeiro said.

He does not know when he will be transferred again or what his final destination will be, and although he is expected to be taken to a low-security prison, this does not mean that he will be in better conditions, Palmeiro pointed out.

We should not forget that the Five are political prisoners held in jails full of common criminals, some of them are murderers, she said and recalled that Fernando Gonzalez, for instance, is currently in one of those prisons, where he shares his cell with another nine inmates, without any privacy or safety at all.


Austrian Artist Hermann Nitsch Donates Work to Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 20 (acn) Austrian artist Hermann Nitch, considered to be a world  myth, donated on Tuesday to the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center one of his Works, the fruit of the proposal Aktion 135, which he developed in 2012 in the 11th edition of the Havana Biennial.

Austria’s ambassador to Havana, Andreas Redl, highlighted that Nitsch’s visit to the island, his work and this donation are a significant chapter to concrete the Cultural Memorandum of Understanding signed two months ago between the two countries by ministers Claudia Schmied and Rafael Bernal, respectively.

He stressed that he sees Nitsch’s actions in the Caribbean nation as the most important bilateral cooperation in many years, although not the last one, since already carrying out talks with Cuban authorities to undertake similar projects.

US Publisher Wants Good Neighbor Policy with Cuba

Havana, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) United States publisher and journalist, Gary Heathcott, hopes for a good neighbor policy between the U.S. and Cuba, archipelago he visits every year attracted by his love for habano cigars.

He will attend for the fourteenth time this year's 15th International Habano Festival as a juror in the Habanosommelier contest, significant feature of this smoking feast to open on February 26 and run through March 2, at the Havana Cconvention Center.

Heathcott advanced to Prensa Latina his conviction that once revoked the trade and economic limitations imposed by his government against Cuba, many U.S. tourists will travel to this country.

This business executive has, among the most cherished hopes that the United States and Cuba become good neighbors and the ridiculous economic and failed restrictions imposed by the U.S. disappear.

He would  then, said Heathcott, would feel free to write relevant stories about the Premium Cuban cigars to let his country and the world know about this event.

He writes for important specialized cigar magazines like Life Style. For being a "connoisseur" of the good smokes, the International Corporation Habanos S.A. elected for juror of the Habanosommelier contest.


Cuba Expands Possibilities for Credit Access

Havana, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) Cuban banks are expanding access to credit for private sector workers and people interested in home improvement, according to rules released today in the Official Gazette.

In December 2011, Decree Law 289 came into force. It provides financing opportunities for small farmers, Cuban involved in non-state forms of management, and other citizens, however, those interested had to prove their ability to repay the credit issued.

With the additional provisions released today, people may use other assets as a guarantee, diversifying the options to ensure compliance with incurred debts.

"So far, Cuban financial institutions worked with liquid guarantees, in other words, with money, but becoming accustomed to the new reality in the country, it was decided to study other ways to offer a guarantee, through other assets," official Juana Lilia Delgado explained.

The head of the Macroeconomic Policy Group told Granma newspaper that one consideration was that people do not always have bank deposits, but do have valuables.

Furthermore, additional rules released in the Official Gazette state that state companies can stand as guarantor for private workers who have leased a house, premise, or property from such entities.

The island is experiencing an updating of its economic process in order to achieve greater efficiency and productivity.


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