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News on Cuba - June 19, 2013 Print E-mail

Raul Holds Talks with African Statesman

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 17 (acn) Army General Raul Castro, President of the councils of State and Ministers, met on Monday afternoon with Manuel Pinto da Costa, President of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, who is on an official visit to Cuba.

The two heads of state referred to the relations of friendship and cooperation existing between the two countries and expressed their interest to strengthen bilateral bonds. Likewise, they spoke about topics on the international agenda.

The distinguished visitor was accompanied by Natalia Pedro da Costa Umbelina Neto, Minister of Foreign Business and Communities. Cuba was also represented at the meeting by Salvador Valdes, Vice-president of the Council of State, and Bruno Rodriguez, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Cuban Vice-President Begins Official Visit to China

HAVANA, Cuba,  June 17 (acn) Cuban first vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel and China’s vice-president Li Yuanchao affirmed in Beijing on Monday the excellent level of bilateral political, economic and social relations between China and Cuba and they reiterated their willingness to further expand those links.

The top government Cuban official began a visit to China as the first leg of an Asian tour that includes Vietnam and Laos. Diaz-Canel was welcomed at the Grand People’s Palace in the heart of Beijing.

During his meeting with Li Yuanchao, the Cuban first vice-president said that Cuba has China as reference for the achievements of its objectives, with the particularities of each country. He said these meetings affirm the high level of agreement between the two nations.

The two leaders addressed the advancement of Chinese cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the role of Cuba as pro-tempore president of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

Diaz-Canel underscored the exchange of experience with China about the construction of socialism in the two countries and the interest of Havana in keeping and prioritizing such exchange.

Li Yuanchao described China-Cuba relations as an example of links that must continue to exist and prevail among developing nations. He also recalled his visit to the island last December as special envoy of President Xi Jinping, and his meetings with President Raul Castro and other Cuban officials.

Li also stressed the detailed explanation given by Diaz-Canel about the ongoing update of the Cuban economic model.

The Cuban first vice-president reiterated his country’s support to the single China policy and its rejection of foreign interference in the domestic affairs of the Asian nation, which are related to Taiwan and Tibet. He also thanked Beijing for its support of the island’s struggle against the US economic blockade.

Li and Diaz-Canel attended the signing of three accords, consisting of a donation, two credit lines for Cuba, one of them to purchase machinery and agriculture equipment. The documents were penned by Cuban ambassador Alberto Blanco, Chinese deputy trade minister Wang Chao, and the president of the financial entity Eximbank, Li Ruogu.

The Cuban first vice-president is also scheduled to hold talks with president Xi Jingping and Premier Li Kegiang.

The Cuban Parliament Convenes Ordinary Period of Sessions

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 16 (acn) According to the powers conferred to him, Esteban Lazo, President of the Cuban National Assembly of the People’s Power (Parliament) has convened on June 16 the First Ordinary Period of Sessions of the Eighth Legislature of this body, in accordance with Article 81, paragraph b of the Constitution of the Republic.

The First Ordinary Period of Sessions will begin on July 6, 9:00 a.m., at Havana’s Convention Center. The call for the Parliament’s Ordinary Period of Sessions recommends the publishing of the announcement in the Official Gazette, for general knowledge.

World’s First Astronaut Sends Greetings to Fidel and Raul Castro

HAVANA, Cuba, June 17 (acn) Valentina Tereshkova, the world’s first woman astronaut sent her warmest greetings to the Cuban people, and their leaders as she marked the 50th anniversary of her outer space visit, in Russia.

Speaking to PL news agency, Tereshkova said she wanted to take the occasion to send her fraternal and warmest greetings to the Cuban people, and Commanders Fidel and Raul.

“We will always love the Cuban people and we highly value our bilateral friendly relations,” said the Heroine of the Soviet Union.

Human Rights Council Adopts Cuba-sponsored Resolutions

HAVANA, Cuba, June 18 (acn) The UN Human Rights Council adopted four Cuba-sponsored resolutions during its 23rd session, held May 27 to June 14 in Geneva.

The documents, which found large co-sponsoring support, focus on the promotion of cultural rights and diversity; human rights and international solidarity; the negative impact by the foreign debt on the enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights; and the promotion of the right to peace, the Cuban Foreign Ministry reported.

The resolution on the right to peace was presented by Cuba on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), a significant event, given the fact that this is the first time that the regional integration bloc presents a joint resolution at the United Nations.

Despite is observer status at the Council, Cuba continues to be a main actor in the works of the UN entity and has been largely acknowledged for its active participation. The Caribbean nation expects to become a full member of the Council in the 2014-2016 period, following the 2013 summer elections that are expected to take place during the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

Brazilian Activists Demand Closing of Illegal U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 15 (acn) Participants in the 21st Brazilian Convention of Solidarity with Cuba, held in the city of Foz de Iguazu, demanded on Friday the closing of the illegal naval base the United States maintains in Guantanamo, in the southeast part of the Caribbean island.

Socorro Gomes, of the Brazilian Center of Solidarity with the Peoples and Struggle for Peace explained the need to consolidate Latin American unity to demand with more strength the handing over of that piece of Cuban territory to its people and the suspension of the hostile policy of the White House towards the island.

He asserted that, in spite of the criminal blockade imposed by Washington on Cuba for over 50 years now, the small nation shows significant results in the social sphere, the Prensa Latina news agency reported.

The challenges of the Latin American integration process and the experiences of solidarity movements were among topics debated during the final session of the Convention, held at the House of Councilmen of Foz de Iguazu, a city that has borders with Argentina and Paraguay.

The over 400 delegates of solidarity groups and Jose Marti associations of Brazil that attended the forum also tackled the results of primary health care in Cuba and international cooperation in this sector.

The meeting wound up on Friday with the approval of the document called Carta de Foz de Iguazu (Letter of Foz de Iguazu), in which measures and actions to be promoted, in defense of Cuba, are included.

Rene Gonzalez Pays Tribute to Che Guevara

HAVANA, Cuba, June 18 (acn) Cuban hero Rene Gonzalez paid homage on Monday to Cuban-Argentinean guerrilla fighter Ernesto Che Guevara at the memorial that treasures his mortal remains in the central city of Santa Clara.

Gonzalez is one of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters, who were arrested in 1998 and given unfair and extremely long sentences in the United States after they monitored Florida-based ultra-right organizations that planned terrorist actions against the island.

He returned to Cuba after having met his 13 year-prison sentence and following the approval by US authorities to modify his supervised freedom conditions in exchange for the renouncing of his US citizenship.

At the mausoleum, Gonzalez and his family paid honors to Che and his compatriots killed in Bolivia.

Paying tribute to the Heroic Guerrilla is a compromise with his legacy, said Gonzalez.

Yudi Rodriguez, member of the Communist Party Central Committee and Jorgelina Pestana, president of the provincial government welcomed the Gonzalez family as they arrived at the Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara Revolution Square, a complex that includes the mausoleum.

During the ceremony in front of the niche that treasure Che’s remains, Gonzalez said that Guevara will always live as far as there are people like the Cubans who, Che and his four compatriots still held in US jails belong with.

Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino are the four anti-terrorists who, along Gonzalez, are internationally known as the Cuban Five.

The hero recalled that he had the chance to shake Che’s hand when he was still a child, an event that left an imprint as strong as the news about his death in Bolivia.

Che is the reason for daily renewal, and in this historic stage, he continues to be a crucial example, said Rene meaning that Cubans must resort to Che’s critical thinking and ask themselves if what has been done can still be improved.

The saddest thing is that my four brothers are still in jail; every single day in prison is a crime committed against them, because there is no reason for people like them to be under such conditions, he pointed out.

Nicolas Maduro Praises Cuban Medical Assistance

HAVANA, Cuba, June 18 (acn) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stressed in Rome the supportive work and assistance being offered to his people by Cuban doctors and other professionals.

Maduro, who met with representatives of social organizations in the Italian capital, said that the Cuban people are giving real love to their Venezuelan sisters and brothers.

The Cuban professionals are supporting ongoing programs in the sectors of health, sports, education and the assistance to citizens in need, said Maduro as he rejected recent campaigns launched by the Venezuelan opposition against Cuba.

The Venezuelan head of state explained that every Cuban doctor offers free-of-charge medical services with all necessary equipment to anyone who needs such assistance from eight in the morning to five in the afternoon, a fact which is really amazing, he noted.

After five pm in the afternoon, the Cuban doctors visit the homes of the humblest people needing medical services, such as senior citizens who cannot walk out of their places. “And they cure their patients with the most powerful medication in the world, which is love,” he pointed out.

Maduro said that Venezuela expects to form 60 thousand physicians by 2018, while 14 thousand medical doctors have already graduated thanks to  the support of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, President Raul Castro and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our Americas.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Thanks Cuba for Cooperation

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 17 (acn) Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Konstantin Grishchenko thanked Cuba for its medical cooperation on the occasion of the nuclear accident of Chernobyl, in 1986, y and highlighted historic bilateral bonds.

Grishchenko issued his statements in this regard during the 1st International ABC Business Conference: Ukraine and Partners, where Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, and all of the country’s deputy ministers and ministers, together with over 2,000 delegates, participated, the Cubaminrex Web site reported.

European Solidarity Brigade to Arrive Cuba Soon

Havana, Jun 18 (Prensa Latina) More than one hundred members of the Jose Marti European Solidarity Brigade will soon arrive in Cuba, to complete an intensive program to promote awareness of the reality of this country, the ICAP announced.

According to the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), the 43 contingent of the group, whose agenda will run from July 1 to 19, is composed of members from 13 nations, among them Italy, Spain, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, and Belgium.

Among the activities are a meeting with relatives of the five anti-terrorist fighters of the island unjustly held in the United States, and members of the International Committee for their release.

The Brigade will also visit centers of historical and cultural interest in the capital and several provinces, and participate in lectures on updating the Cuban economic model, the impact of the U.S. blockade to the island, among other topics.

As part of the program's objectives is to foster a deeper understanding of the reality of this Caribbean country, "distorted by large media," and serve as a bridge of friendship to those interested in having a more objective view of Cuba, the ICAP stated.

Greece to Participate in European Solidarity Brigade with Cuba

Athens, Jun 18 (Prensa Latina) A group of Greek people will be part of the Jose Marti European Solidarity Brigade with Cuba, who will arrive in the island soon. promoters of the initiative in this capital told Prensa Latina.

The Greek delegation will be composed of ten people and their agenda of activities will take place between July 1-19, in coordination with the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Vangelis Gonatas stated.

Moreover, the movement of friendship with Cuba set some few days ago the denominated Greek Solidarity Network that brings together 48 websites across the country.Its objective is to coordinate an alternative agenda for information on Cuba and Latin America through Internet.

Gonatas, who is also an editor of the Rebel Press blog, stated that the vision offered by the corporate media about Cuba fit the pattern imposed by Western governments.

Cuba Defends Puerto Rican Self-Determination at UN

United Nations, June 17 (Prensa Latina) Cuba presented today at the United Nations a draft resolution that reaffirms Puerto Rico's inalienable right to self-determination and independence. The text was put to the consideration of all 29 member countries of the UN decolonization committee by Cuban permanent representative to the UN, Rodolfo Reyes.

The Cuban diplomat recalled that the Puerto Ricans' right has been recognized since 1972 in 31 UN resolutions and decisions.

However, he lamented the little progress registered for a final solution to the colonial situation, so that the Puerto Ricans can freely determine their political status and materialize their political, economical, social and cultural dreams.

He said, though, that so many years of colonial dominations have not been enough to snatch from the people their culture, identity and national emotions.

"This shows the Puerto Rican people's unwavering vocation of independence," said Reyes.

Cuba Ratifies Commitment to Fight Terror

Geneva, June 14 (Prensa Latina) Cuba ratified today the commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and expressions, and proposed to adopt an international convention of general scale to face the scourge.

In her speech during a two-day conference here on the topic, Cuban delegate Lilianne Sanchez reaffirmed her country´s support to multilateral and bilateral cooperation to fight terrorism. Sanchez said that Cuba is a signatory of 14 agreements on the matter and it has implemented internal legislative, administrative and institutional measures to complement prevention, detection and repression of all activities of this nature.

"The Cuban territory has never been used or will never be used to organize, fund or execute terrorist actions against any other country," said Sanchez, who recalled that the Cuban people have been a victim of terrorism organized and funded from US territory, as a result of which 3,478 people have been killed and another 2,099 were maimed for life.

The Cuban delegate strongly criticized the US double standard by sheltering international terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles from justice and giving harsh sentences to anti-terrorist fighters Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez, internationally known as The Cuban Five.

Sao Tome and Principe Thanks Cuba for Training of Physicians

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 18 (acn) Manuel Pinto da Costa, President of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, thanked Cuba on Tuesday for training youngsters from his country as physicians, with high professional, ethical and human quality.

While visiting the Latin American Medical School (ELAM) in this capital, where youngsters from 98 countries from all parts of the world are studying, the head of state highlighted Cubans’ contribution in the training of human resources of Sao Tome and Principe in other areas.

Rafael Gonzalez, rector of the ELAM, gave the visitor details of the work of the institution, founded in 1999 by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro.

Jorge Lopes Bon Jesus, Minister of Education, Culture and Training of Sao Tome and Principe, expressed his government’s interest in expanding bilateral cooperation, so youngsters from his country study clinical and surgical specialties in Cuba.

The dignitary arrived in Havana on Saturday on an official visit, which ends on Wednesday.

Cuba Urges at FAO Global Food System Changes

Rome, Jun 19 (Prensa Latina) Cuba said today that deal with food insecurity requires, besides a strong political will, a systemic and multisectoral approach that involves changes in the global health and education food systems.

Cuba's ambassador to Italy and the International Organizations based in Rome, Milagros Carina Soto, advocated in the FAO Summit for implementing policies of social inclusion that ensure, alike, the access to resources, the improvement of diets, and nutrition.

So far, we can only speak of modest advances, because those who suffer and die from hunger and those suffering the consequences of malnutrition still represent alarming and painful figures for those who aspire a better and more just world, he said.

Soto stated that the Caribbean nation is honored to have been recognized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the results achieved on food safety.

Our indicators are the result of the systemic approach the Cuban government has implemented since the revolutionary triumph in 1959, with policies that guarantee equal opportunity and free and universal access to health and education, she remarked.

These results were achieved despite the outdated and criminal economic, financial and trade blockade the United States has imposed to the island for more than five decades, the diplomat noted.

She also stressed that as a president pro-tempore of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Cuba makes clear the commitment of this community in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, as well as support the Latin American and the Caribbean without Hunger 2025 Initiative.

Nicaragua to Boost Parliamentary Cooperation with Cuba

Havana, Cuba, Jun 19 (acn) Deputy Rene Nuñez, president of the National Assembly of Nicaragua, declared on Tuesday in this capital his country’s interest in "knowing Cuba again" from its current changes, and boost cooperation mechanisms between the two countries’ parliaments.

We have come to encourage daily change, particularly now that this fraternal nation is living a period of changes, and to learn from these positive experiences, expressed the assembly member in statements to the press.

Invited by the National Assembly of the People’s Power, Nuñez was received by Esteban Lazo, member of the Politburo of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) and president of the parliamentary body.

The visitor described the Caribbean country as an example and a point of reference, and underlined the unconditional support it has given his country in the educational and medical spheres.

He referred to the case of the five Cuban antiterrorist heroes, the victims of harsh sentences in the United States, and referred to his country’s interest in having the Nicaraguan people know more details about injustices committed so it spreads and defends the cause everywhere.

With regard to cooperation prospects, he revealed the interest of a group of Nicaraguan entrepreneurs to explore the Cuban market and to give fresh impetus to bilateral trade.

The representative of the Sandinista National Liberation Front ratified Nicaragua’s willingness to consolidate the historic bonds of fraternity existing between the two peoples.

Lazo, for his part, said that thus visit is a good opportunity to share experiences and boost national and parliamentary bonds even more, and sent greetings to President Daniel Ortega.

Peruvian Congress Leader Defends Cuba’s Truth and Reality

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 18 (acn) Victor Isla Rojas, president of the Peruvian Congress, who visits this capital for the first time, declared himself to be a friend and a champion of the truth and reality of Cuba.

The parliamentarian spoke with the press on Monday after the cordial meeting held with Esteban Lazo, member of the Politburo of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) and President of the National Assembly of the People’s Power (Parliament).

Isla Rojas stated that relations between the two countries as “very solid and respectful,” and asserted that his three-day stay in Havana –which will end on Wednesday- will allow him to see firsthand the country the peoples support and love.

The distinguished visitor sent greetings to President Raul Castro and his respects to Fidel Castro, leader of the Revolution.

He acknowledged Cuba’s contribution to Latin American and Caribbean integration, which he described as necessary and as “a lesson” for the region and the rest of the world.  He highlighted health and education as the main cooperation sectors, although –he admitted- it can be expanded as much as possible, for mutual benefit.

For his part, Lazo highlighted the significance of this visit, as timely contribution to the strengthening of commercial and parliamentary exchanges.

FM of Gambia Condemns U.S. Blockade of Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 18 (acn) Susan Waffa-Ogoo, Minister of Foreign Relations of Gambia, reiterated his government stance in favor of the lifting of the blockade the United States maintains on Cuba, during a meeting held on Tuesday with Cuba’s ambassador to that African nation, Ines Fors.

For several years and at different international forums Gambia has condemned the unfair U.S. policy towards the island, explained the African foreign minister.

She referred to his country’s stance in favor of the Resolution that champions the lifting of the blockade, presented every year in the ordinary period of session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Cubaminrex Web site reported.

In this regard, she underlined her country’s support for the declarations that on the issue have been adopted within the context of the Summits of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.

Gambia, one of Africa’s smallest nations, maintains diplomatic relations with Cuba since May 19, 1979.

Experts Discuss Ernest Hemingway in Havana

HAVANA, Cuba, June 19 (acn) The 14th Ernest Hemingway International Colloquium opens doors in Havana, in an initiative called by the Museum Finca Vigia, the former residence of the US writer in Cuba.

The forum, which will run till June 23, pays homage to Hemingway’s first published work Three Stories and Ten Poems 90 years ago. The event also marks the 60th anniversary of his Pulitzer Prize for the novel The Old Man and the Sea.

More than 20 researchers from different countries will take part at the colloquium to share their visions on the author of For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Some of the activities at the forum include a key-note lecture on Ernest Hemingway by Cuban writer Enrique Cirules and the presentation of the Project Live Journal of Hemingway, by Finca Vigia director Ada Rosa Alfonso.

Cuba Develops Lead and Zinc Mining

HAVANA, Cuba, June 19 (acn) With the aim of exploiting metal reserves in the localities of Santa Lucia and Castellanos, western Pinar del Rio province, a project for a metal processing plant is in the works, which will allow producing some 95 thousand tons of zinc concentrate and 50 thousand tons of lead.

According to Juventud Rebelde newspaper, the investment is calculated at about 180 million dollars. The project began implementation in October 2012 and it is expected to conclude in the second half of 2015.

The initiative includes viability studies with complementary geological analyses of the two reserves, plus additional technological tests, mine design, and the engineering of necessary facilities at the plant.

Mining operations chief in the western territory, Eusebio Hernandez said that the new plant will have capacity to process nearly 4 500 tons of metal ore a day.

The two metal reserves at the municipality of Matahambre, 220 kilometers from Havana, have enough raw materials for the plant to operate for over 20 years.

Once the sales of the metal pay back the investment, the plant will contribute significant economic benefit to the country, said the expert.

The plant will also become an important source of employment in the zone. Only in its construction stage, the project will employ some 1 200 workers, while mining operations will take another 480.

Plant from Cuban-Chinese Joint Venture Opens in Jilin Province

Beijing, Jun 19 (Prensa Latina) A modern plant from the Cuban-Chinese joint venture ChangHeber opened today in Changchun to produce the Hib vaccine, in which Cuban spokesmen consider an example of the bilateral cooperation in the field of biotechnology.

The ceremony at the headquarters located in the capital of Jilin province was attended by Cuba's First Vice President Miguel Diaz Canel, who began Monday, June 17, an official visit to China that will conclude today. The accompanying delegation comprises Leonardo Andollo, deputy chief of the Permanent Commission for the Implementation and Development, and Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra Diaz.

The ChangHeber was opened in 2003, and currently produces more than 180 biotechnological products, including interferon.

The new facility is related to the production of the vaccine against Haemophilus influenzae, a bacterium that produces serious infectious diseases in the first years of life, mainly in brain and lungs.

This joint entity includes Cuban Heberbiotec SA, the Chinese Institute of Biological Products in Changchun, and the Jilin Boyce Technology Company.

Its fundamental objectives were to produce in China, through a total transfer of technology, a homogenous recombinant interferon alpha 2B, of demonstrated superior quality, which would be the first liquid formulation, free of human albumin produced in that Asian country.

This is the second joint venture with technology that produces products with Cuban biotechnological technology in China, the first of which BIOTECH Pharmaceutical Co. LTD (BPL), of the Molecular Immunology Center, with 10 years of existence.

Habanos Cigars Launches New Shape into Domestic Market

HAVANA, Cuba, June 19 (acn) As part of a far-reaching promotional and production diversification strategy, Habanos Cigar Corporation launched a new cigar shape into the local market.  The launch of the “Rey del Mundo” shape took place on Tuesday at the Habanos Cigar shop at the Habana Libre Hotel in downtown Havana in the presence of participants at the 22nd Workshop on Cigar Marketing and Sales, and representatives of the cigar shop chain.

The new shape will be available over the next few weeks at cigar shops in Cuba.

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