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Raul Castro: Communist Party Leaders Must be at the Forefront of the Struggle against all Difficulties
HAVANA, Cuba, July 3 (acn) Communist Party leaders must face the problems and foresee the future scenarios, said the first secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party Raul Castro Ruz as he gave the closing remarks of the 7th plenary session of the political organization on Monday, June 1st.

“We must be at the forefront and look into each difficulty that may surface in order to find its causes,” said Raull as he insisted that it is crucial to involve the people in solving problems. “This is one of the major tasks of the Party,” he pointed out.
Raul Castro made his reflections as he referred to manifestations of indiscipline taking place in Cuban society, and he added that he will further address the issue at the upcoming 7th session of the National Assembly.
The Communist Party plenary session agreed to release some members of the Central Committee, including Ricardo Alarcon, who chaired the National Parliament till February 2013; Jose Miguel Miyar Barruecos, former Science and Technology minister till March 2012; Misael Enamorado Dager, who was member of the Party’s Secretariat; Orlando Lugo Fonte, former president of the Small Farmer’s Association, and Liudmila Alamo, former first secretary of the Young Communist League.
Addressing the changes carried out, considered a natural process, Raul recalled that the First National Party Conference agreed that the members of party committees at all levels must present their resignation to their posts when they consider that the reasons for which they were elected do not exist anymore, and this does not constitute a reproachable attitude or a demerit, Raul pointed out.
Raul Castro submitted a report on the performance of the Political Bureau between December 2012 and July 2013 and he explained that major tasks included the adoption of the specific rules of the Central Committee, provincial and municipal committees, policy of cadres, as well as the implementation of the objectives adopted of the First Party Conference.
Second Communist Party Secretary, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, addressed the work of the secretariat and the auxiliary staff of the Central Committee in the implementation of the social and economic guidelines adopted by the political organization.
In his report, the second secretary said that major and recurrent issues debated at party meetings include the economic plans, the budget performance and the accords adopted by the 7th Party Congress. The document also stresses the need to improve the action of administrative and political leaders and decrease the large number of unnecessary meetings and bureaucratic methods, to really achieve a change of mindset as called by the Communist Party Congress and Conference.
Economy and Planning minister Adel Yzquierdo addressed the economic plan and the budget performance for the first half of the year, and Marino Murillo, who heads the commission for the implementation of the social and economic guidelines, referred to the work carried out over the past six months. These two reports were approved by the most recent meeting of the Council of Ministers for their further presentation for debate at the upcoming session of the National Parliament.

Cuba Rejects Permission Cancellation for Bolivian Presidential Plane

Havana, Jul 3 (Prensa Latina) Cuba described today as unacceptable and arbitrary action the denial or cancellation by several European governments of permissions for the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales to overfly their airspace or land.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the island said in a statement that the stance of those countries offends all Latin America and the Caribbean.

France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal refused yesterday night to allow the flight of the Bolivian presidential airplane by their respective airspace, based on the alleged presence in the apparatus of former agent of the U.S. National Security Agency Edward Snowden.

Morales returned to his country after attending in Russia a Forum of Gas Exporting Countries, and his aircraft had to make an emergency landing in Austria.

The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalls that a few days ago, the United States threatened Ecuador with coercive economic measures, saying that "this action can not be tolerated for any reason, injures all our America, and deserves international condemnation."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs follows with serious concern the events of recent weeks, related to Snowden's relevant complaints.

The note states that such revelations "confirm the existence of a global spying system by the United States government in violation to the States sovereignty and the rights of the people."

Cuba calls the international community to mobilize against these violations of International Law and human rights, the document concludes.

Cuban Parliament Commissions Open Sessions this Week

HAVANA, Cuba, July 2 (acn) The ten permanent commissions of the Cuban National Assembly of People’s Power will open working sessions Thursday and Friday, this week, prior to the First Session of the Eight Legislature to take place Saturday at Havana’s Conventions Center.

According to Granma newspaper, the commission will consider the results of the latest internal control process carried out by the General Comptroller’s Office and they will also address their working plans according to their priorities for the second half of the year.

The Commission on Constitutional and Legal Issues and Attention to Services will analyze and approve a draft document to be submitted to the Parliament about the Bill on Maritime, River and Lake Navigation, which will be debated by the parliamentary session.

The Commission on Economic Issues will address the report on the 2012 Budget, which will be presented by the Finance and Price Ministry.

As announced by last Friday’s Council of Ministers, the Assembly will also consider reports on the performance of Cuban economy and the budget for the first half of the year.

The National Assembly’s Eight Legislature was set up last Februry 24 with 612 deputies, who represent 168 municipalities. The lawmakers were elected by direct and secret vote by over 7.8 million voters.

Cuba Highlighted as a Key Element for Caribbean Studies

Havana, July 2 (Prensa Latina) Rector of Quisqueya University, Haiti, Jacky Lumarque, said here today that Cuba is a key element for studies about the Caribbean.

In our opinion, the University of Havana is one of the best as it constitutes a model in the universalization of thinking not only limited to this region, but to the world in general, Lumarque told journalists.

Cuba is essential for us, and though it seems to be tiny, it is a great nation, he said.

Cuba has the virtue and culture to share what it has, highlighted the leader of the Regional Conference of Rectors, Presidents and Principals of University Institutions and Members of the University Francophonie Agency in the Caribbean (CORPUCA), which is holding its 11th Conference in the Jose Marti Studies Center, in this capital.

"Our objective is to get closer, be more in touch with the University of Havana; in fact, today we will sign an agreement to use better the available resources," he said.


Caribbean Festival Opens Today in Santiago de Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, July 3 (acn) The 33rd Caribbean Festival opens on Wednesday at its usual venue in the western Cuban city with an artistic gala. The event is dedicated this year to the Colombian Caribbean people and their culture.
The Festival, underway July 3-9 at the Heredia Theater, is considered the most important event of its kind in the region given its features and large participation over the past three decades.
Guests from Colombia, Venezuela, Curacao, Mexico, Argentina, the Dominican Republic and other nations will enjoy an attractive program of activities, including a photo exhibition recalling the passage on Santiago by hurricane Sandy and the efforts by the people to recover from the huge damage inflicted by the storm.
The Festival of Fire, as the event is also known, gathers intellectuals, researchers and artistic groups that will expose the cultural richness of the Caribbean region.


European Solidarity Brigade Arrives in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, July 1 (acn) Some 120 members of the 43rd European Solidarity-with-Cuba Brigade were welcomed on Monday by Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP) officials at the Julio Antonio Mella International Camp, in the western province of Artemisa.

The activists come from Sweden, Spain, Italy, Greece, the U.K., Denmark and other nations. They will meet an agenda until July 19, which includes voluntary work at agricultural fields and visits to education and historic centers.

In welcoming the brigade, ICAP vice-president Elio Gamez said that over 2 thousand organizations from 152 countries of the world maintain friendly and solidarity relations with Cuba. He thanks the activists and underscored the first visit to the island by some of them.

Italian activist Maria Ivona Tamburello told reporters that she feels at home in Cuba, where she has visited more than 15 times to express her support, and Arvonihs Stowatis, from Greece, praised the Cuban education system which, he said, is quite different from that one in his country.


Cuba Adopts Cooperative Formula to Boost Economic Development
HAVANA, Cuba, July 1 (acn) As part of the strategy to implement the update of the Cuban economic model, 124 new cooperatives began operations on Monday in the sectors of construction, transportation, recycling and produce marketing.
In statements to Granma daily newspaper, the head of the Entrepreneurial Group with the Guidelines Implementation Commission, Grisel Trista Arbesu, said that the initiative aims at trying cooperative management in activities that former stage formulas were not efficient.
A group of 99 out of the 124 new cooperatives operate farmer markets in the western provinces of Havana, Artemisa and Mayabeque; two work in the recycling sector and 12 are linked to construction activities.
There are six cooperatives offering vehicle maintenance services and others supporting passenger transportation, operating as taxi cabs, and school buses.
Even when transportation prices are determined by offer and demand, some activities and products maintain topped prices, such as staples like rice, potatoes and green peas, as well as passenger transportation tickets.
The cooperatives will play an important role in the country’s economy, though the main task is to be carried out by state companies, said Ruben Toledo, member of the Commission for the Implementation and Development of the Guidelines adopted by the Communist Party. He noted that the cooperatives are not the result of privatization, but of a process in which they will manage state property that belongs to the people. (RHC)

International Red Cross Extols Cuban Response to Hurricanes

Santiago de Cuba, Jul 2 (Prensa Latina) Santiago Luengo, delegate of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation for the operation to help on the effects of Hurricane Sandy in Cuba, extolled here the social response of Cuba before these events.

Luengo talked about the communitarian actions, to the social approach, and said that they are impressive and worthy to be recognized, in addition to a support of great value for the work of those institutions. He alluded to a workshop made in recent days with representatives of the five Eastern provinces of Cuba, to enable to obtain safer houses and ceilings, as part of the contribution to face natural catastrophes better.

"The volunteers of the Red Cross and Red Crescent should prepare the communities to detect vulnerabilities in the surroundings and risks in the houses and create the capacities to alleviate or solve those problems," said Luengo.

Also he emphasized in the use of a tape in the covers, as a new tool in Cuba and of proven effectiveness in other nations in similar circumstances, with his mouldable stainless steel structure that increases to the resistance before winds and intense rains.

Fidel Castro Granted Honoris Causa in Military Sciences

HAVANA, Cuba, July 3 (acn) Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro was granted in Havana the title Honoris Causa in Military Sciences by the Academy of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

President Raul Castro received the title during a ceremony in which, Military Academy director, General Urbelino Betancourt, stressed the outstanding contribution by Fidel Castro to the creation and development of the Cuban military doctrine and his commitment to the defense of the people and the humblest causes.

Also acknowledged was Fidel’s strategic role in internationalist missions in Africa, during the October missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion, PL news agency reported.

The granting of the title was part of ongoing activities marking the 50th anniversary of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces.

Morales: Authorization Denial Was no Mistake or Coincidence

La Paz, Jul 4 (Prensa Latina) Bolivian President Evo Morales assured today the last days' event was no mistake or coincidence, but an action part of the imperial policy against the Bolivian people.

When referring to the denial by European countries of allowing his plane to fly over their air spaces after returning from Russia, Morales stressed that apologies are not enough.

"Our crime is being indigenous and anti-imperialist", underlined the leader during a governmental ceremony referring to the stance adopted by Portugal, Italy, France and Spain, that countries that denied the overflight authorization.

Such prohibition emerged because U.S. ex NSA agent Edward Snowden, pursues by Washington for leaking confidential information, was aboard the presidential plane.

The United States and the involved European countries were aware that the ex agent was not aboard the plane since they have enough means and their own intelligence structure, Morales noted. "An apology is not enough", reaffirmed the leader, assuring he will demand the international treaties and regulations be respected.

"We have learned, along with the people, to defend the sovereignty and dignity" stressed Morales, who arrived in Bolivia on Wednesday after being stranded in Vienna for many hours, a situation he considered a kidnapping.

In the afternoon, Morales will meet his counterparts of the Union of Southern Nations (Unasur), after arriving to Bolivia from Russia and the unusual and criticized event.

On the other hand, the Bolivian government gave back to the U.S. embassy an extradition request of ex NSA agent Edward Snowden presented on Wednesday, for considering it illegal and groundless, the Foreign Ministry reported today.

A foreign Ministry communiqué also reaffirmed Snowden never met President Evo Morales in Russia and he did not get on the presidential plane, a rumour that brought about the suspension of the overflight authorization when the leader returned from Moscow.

Bolivia Calls UN for Condemnation of Attack on President Morales

United Nations, Jul 4 (Prensa Latina) Bolivia called United Nations today to prevent that the actions carried out by France and Portugal against the plane of president Evo Morakes remain unpunished.

In a letter delivered to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, the government of the South American country urged to prevent that it would pave the way to a harmful precedent that could affect other dignitaries and endanger peaceful coexistence between states.

The letter, which Prensa Latina had access, was signed by Bolivia's permanent representative to the world body, Sacha Llorenti, and details the actions of the French, Portuguese and Spanish authorities against the presidential ship.

The text describes the behavior as flagrant violation of international law and personal security and freedom of Bolivian president.

He has committed a breach of the most basic rules of diplomacy to which states are bound, underlined the text.

An unjustifiable aggression on the constitutionally elected President by virtue of his political position, which certainly bothers global powers who believe they still have imperial authority over the nations of the world, it added.

Bolivia's letter asks the UN chief to report to the international community to avoid that what happened remain unpunished and prevent dangerous precedent that could affect other head of States.

And to pronounce himself against that action that clearly prove that the freedom and most basic rights can be subjected to the interests of the few at the expense of the majority.

Morales was traveling on Tuesday back to La Paz after participating in Moscow at a meeting of the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries when in full flight, authorities in France, Spain and Portugal withdrew the previously granted permission to fly through their airspace.

Pastors for Peace On the Road again to Challenge US Blockade of Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, July 3 (acn) Nearly 100 activists from across the United States, Canada and Mexico will travel to Cuba onboard the 24th Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan, which will first tour 35 cities in the US Canada and Mexico to collect humanitarian aid and expose the effects of the over-50-year US economic, commercial and financial blockade of the Caribbean nation.

According to a news release by the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO)-Pastors for Peace, the action is taking place this month in open defiance of the US government by not requesting a license to travel to the island and bring humanitarian aid to the Cuban people, as it has been the case over the past 23 previous caravans that visited the island over the past years.

The activists will take their continental tour until July 15 to educate local constituencies about the devastating effects of the US’s anti-Cuba policy, the release explains.

Washington’s Cuba policy “bans freely traded commercial transactions, which stifles Cuba’s ability to get basic medicines, it bans US citizens from traveling freely to Cuba, and puts Cuba on the list of state-sponsors of terrorism, said Gail Walker, Co-Director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace.

IFCO chooses to deliver its humanitarian aid without a government license because it believes that the government uses licensing to maintain control over the flow of aid for its own political purposes, the release points out.

The humanitarian aid to be brought to Cuba includes insulin, the majority of which is made by US companies and therefore difficult for Cuba to import; construction tools and supplies to help in the reconstruction efforts in Santiago de Cuba, the eastern end of the island which was severely affected by Hurricane Sandy.

“Many communities of color in the Northeastern US are also recovering from Hurricane Sandy and we see this as an opportunity to show our solidarity and to learn from Cuba’s tremendous knowledge and experience in climate change preparedness,” said local New York City environmental activist Julien Terrell, who will participate in the caravan for the first time.

Caravanistas will travel to Cuba for nearly two weeks on July 18th for nearly two weeks of educational and faith-based activities.

IFCO/Pastors for Peace have brought humanitarian caravans to Cuba since 1992, led by renowned late Revered Lucius Walker, who was widely known and admired by the Cuban people. The organization has worked for racial, social, and economic justice since 1967.

Cuban Legislators Debate on General Comptroller

Havana, Jul 4 (Prensa Latina) Legislators to the Cuban National Assembly of People's Power are debating today in this capital about the functions and work of the General Comptroller of the Republic (CGR), during the first session of the 10 Cuban Parliament committees.

About this issue, the CGR acknowledged that among the challenges under discussion are the inexperience and insufficient implementation of control mechanisms.

Representatives of the General Comptroller office stated that Cuba needs to work "with order, discipline and exigency" to come true the working lines approved during the Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, known as Guidelines.

In recent years, the Cuban government has promoted policies for the preservation of finance and the economic and administrative control.

The correct and transparent management of public heritage, and the prevention and fight against corruption are the CGR tasks presented and discussed here today.

During the session, legislators urged to use the statistical economic information for decision making and accountability, in search for an efficient and effective enterprise. In the first ordinary session of the 8th Legislature, convened for Saturday, July 6, the Draft Bill of Maritime, River, and Lake Navigation, among other, will be discussed.


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