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Nicolas Maduro says Meeting with Fidel was Historic

HAVANA, Cuba, July 28 (acn) Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said the meeting he held in Havana with Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro was historic.

During the meeting, Maduro presented Fidel with a painting made by Bolivarian leader Hugo Chavez during his days in hospital, in the Cuban capital. He also gave Fidel a book by author Ignacio Ramonet containing an interview granted by Chavez to the French writer.
Fidel and Nicolas recalled chapters of the Cuban revolutionary struggle and the assault on the Moncada garrison in particular, and they also recalled Hugo Chavez and his colossal work aimed at Latin American unity, which was the dream of The Liberator Simon Bolivar.
The Venezuelan president and the Cuban leader exchanged views on current challenges facing the region and the world, such as food security, the preservation of peace and climate change. Fidel expressed concern about the threat posed by climate change on humanity and he alerted that the ocean level could increase by 70 centimeters in just few years, bringing with it serious consequences.
Fidel Castro handed over to Maduro a letter addressed to all heads of state and government that assisted to national commemorations for the 60th anniversary of the attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Garrison.

Fidel Castro Sends Letter to Heads of Delegations at July 26 National Commemorations
HAVANA, Cuba, July 28 (acn) Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro sent a letter to the heads of the delegations that attended July 26 commemorations in Cuba, in which he recalled passages of the attacks on the Moncada and he pays homage to Bolivarian leader Hugo Chavez.
In his letter, published July 28 by Cuban television, Fidel Castro said he would not be able to attend the national ceremony, held in Santiago de Cuba to mark the historic date, because he had to abide by his doctors’ suggestions. However he said he could recall moments and transmit ideas.
Fidel said that the July 26, 1953 action undoubtedly was a courageous demonstration of the people’s capacity to undertake any task from the very beginning. He said the 160 men, who were selected to carry out the action were picked out of 1200 young combatants from Havana and western Pinar del Rio province.
After recalling specific moments of the attack on the Moncada garrison, Fidel Castro said that some recently tried to slander the Cuban Revolution by alleging that the Cuban president had deceived the United Nations and other heads of state with a double-standard behavior.
Fidel says he is not hesitant in assuring that for years the Cuban government refused to sign accords on the prohibition of nuclear weapons because they did not agree with granting such prerogative to any state; however, he said Cuba would never try to build a nuclear weapon.
The Cuban leader stressed Cuba’s position against all nuclear weapons. He noted that no nation, either big or small, should have such extermination instrument, which could wipe out human existence from the planet.
He added that at present, it is not only nuclear weapons but also climate change constitutes the most imminent danger that could make human existence impossible on the Earth in less than a century from now.
Fidel concluded his letter by paying tribute to Hugo Chavez, a Latin American and World leader, that made much for Cuba and other nations in the Caribbean area and the world. “He would be here today, among us, hadn’t he fallen in his brave fight for life; like us, he did not fight to live; he lived to fight.” 

First Vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel Pays Tribute to Bolivarian Leader Hugo Chavez
HAVANA, Cuba, July 28 (acn) Miguel Diaz-Canel First Vice-president of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez paid tribute on Sunday to Bolivarian leader Hugo Chavez on the 59th anniversary of his birth.
The two top government Cuban officials laid a wreath at the Venezuelan embassy in Havana, which opened its doors to all those who wished to pay homage to the Bolivarian president. Sports figures and personalities in the world of culture as well as citizens from all walks of life paid tribute to Hugo Chavez at the diplomatic mission.
First vice-president Diaz-Canel wrote on the visitors’ book that “we commemorate the 59 birthday of our big brother, a Latin American and world leader, an extraordinary revolutionary and faithful friend of Fidel, Raul and the Cuban people...”
Cubans came in with poems, drawings, songs, flowers and letters as an expression of affection towards the man that led the social transformation process in Venezuela.
Venezuelan ambassador Edgardo Ramirez expressed his gratefulness to the Cuban people for their expressions of affection towards Chavez and he announced the setting up by president Nicolas Maduro of a center of study on Chavez’s ideas in Barinas, his hometown.

Cubans and Venezuelans Pay Tribute to Bolivarian Leader Hugo Chavez

HAVANA, Cuba, July 27 (acn) The Venezuelan embassy in Havana will open its doors on July 28 to all those citizens that wish to join the tribute to be paid to Bolivarian leader Hugo Chavez on the 59th anniversary of his birth, said ambassador Edgar Ramirez while announcing the activities for the occasion.

Ramirez said that all those who want to bring a flower, a poem, a painting to pay tribute to Comandante Chavez will be welcomed at the diplomatic mission.

The Venezuelan embassy along several Cuban institutions are sponsoring a series of activities until August 4th to mark Chavez's birthday and the 230th anniversary of the birth of Simon Bolivar on July 24.

The agenda includes the opening at Havana's Revolution Square of a visual arts exhibit dedicated to Hugo Chavez, a cultural and political ceremony at the Simon Bolivar Museum in Old Havana and tributes at the Bolivar Square.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Visited Housing Project in Santiago de Cuba

Havana, July 27 (RHC) Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patiño toured a housing project in eastern Santiago de Cuba, that includes the construction of over 1 thousand homes by the Ecuadorian army's engineering forces.
The action is a sample of the international support received by the eastern Cuban territory after the ravaging passage last October of hurricane Sandy.

The Ecuadorian foreign minister said that they came to reciprocate for the large support given by the Cuban Revolution to the Ecuadorian people. He added that the construction effort is part of a project for bilateral collaboration between the two sister nations.

The Ecuadorian initiative includes the donation of 1600 home roofing tiles and the rehabilitation of facilities at the Santiago de Cuba Medical University, where Ecuadorian youths are taking their courses.

The top government Ecuadorian official headed his country's delegation to national celebrations in Santiago on July 26 for the 60th anniversary of the attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes garrisons.

Mexican Social Organizations Call March in Support of Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, July 27 (acn) Over 50 political and social organizations in Mexico called a march on Saturday up to the US embassy in the city capital to demand the lifting of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.

The demonstration will also mark the 60th anniversary of the attacks on the Moncada Garrison, which Cubans commemorated on July 26 with a national ceremony in eastern Santiago de Cuba in the presence of several Latin American and Caribbean leaders.

“We will again take to the streets to express our affection and admiration for the Cuban people and give them our solidarity, since the Caribbean nation has been under permanent US aggression over fifty years of economic blockade,” the call to the demonstration pointed out.

The protest march will demand the lifting of the blockade and the release of the anti-terrorist Cubans held in US prisons since 1998.

Some of the organizations participating in the protest march include the Mexican Solidarity-with-Cuba Committee, the Mexican Solidarity-with-Venezuela organization, the Alliance of Social Organizations, the Monsignor Romero Committee, the Communist Revolutionary Youth, the Mexican Communist Party and many others. (rhc)

Cubans Pay Tribute to Martys of the Revolution

SANTIAGO, Cuba, July 30 (acn) The Cuban people paid homage on Tuesday to the martyrs of the Cuban Revolution by laying wreaths in different historic sites in eastern Santiago de Cuba city.

Revolutionary veterans Parmenia Suarez and Francis Velasquez laid wreaths on behalf of the Cuban people at the place where July 26 movement leader Frank Pais and his compatriot Raul Pujol were murdered on July 30, 1957 by henchmen of the Batista dictatorship.

Similar homage was paid at the Martyrs' Square, scenario of meetings of heroic youths, where 20 students and workers received their membership cards of the Young Communist League.

In statements to the Cuban News Agency, Luis Zamora, an Optometry and Optics student, stressed the pride felt by today's youths in following up on the ideas of those who gave their lives a day like today for the defense of their homeland.
Vet Manuel Mateo, who fought at the orders of Frank Pais, stressed the personal values of the 23-year-old revolutionary and his skills as a leader, which made him the organizer of the militias with the July 26 revolutionary movement to fight the bloody Fulgencio Batista dictatorship. 

Santiago citizens paid tribute at Frank Pais at his former home, now a museum in the eastern city, and in all work centers named after martyrs of the Revolution.

A march will take place from downtown Santiago up to the Santa Ifigenia cemetery on Tuesday afternoon to recall the funeral of Frank Pais and also to pay homage to all revolutionaries killed in action during the revolutionary struggle. At the cemetery, the people will lay wreaths at the tombs treasuring the remains of the martyrs.

Cuban Socialism on the Way to Consolidation

HAVANA, Cuba, July 30 (acn) Socialism in Cuba advances towards its consolidation, while the island will prevail as example of solidarity,  said the vice-president of Cuba's Councils of State and Ministers Jose  Ramon Machado Ventura in Ecuador.

During a meeting with Cuban health workers in the sister Latin  American nation, Machado addressed the most recent developments  related to July 26 commemorations on the island.

The leaders who spoke at the national ceremony for July 26 stressed  Cuba?s countless gestures of solidarity with the rest of the countries  of the region and the world.

He said that economic transformations underway on the island are on  their way to consolidation and with it favor the strengthening of the  Revolution and the socialist project. Cuba needs to develop  sustainable socialism, Machado Ventura stressed.

The top government Cuban official praised the work of Cuban  collaborators in Ecuador, who constitute an example of solidarity and  support through regional organizations, such as the Bolivarian  Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas.

The Cuban vice-president traveled to Guayaquil on Monday to take part at the 12th Summit of the regional integration bloc, which is made up  of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Ecuador, Saint  Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Lucia.

Alba Summit Focuses on Regional Integration

HAVANA, Cuba, July 30 (acn)The Summit of heads of state and government of the countries making up the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA), underway in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil, is focusing on the bloc's foreign policy in an effort to expand the integration of nations.
In a communique issued on Tuesday, the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry announced the presentation at the summit of issues related to what was described as inclusive and participatory integration; based on respect for human dignity, economic development and the right of nations to self-determination, their defense of sovereignty, according to a report by PL news agency.

The expansion of the bloc's currency SUCRE, a regional and unitary compensation monetary system, the Comon Fund of Reserves and the strengthening of social programs are among the major topics on the Ecuadorian agenda for the summit.

The ALBA leaders are meeting at the Milton Colon hotel Tuesday morning, and they will continue their debates at the Voltaire Paladines Polose Coliseum in the afternoon, where they will share with members of social organizations.

The Guayaquil summit gathers the heads of state and governments and representatives of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Lucia. Meanwhile, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Surinam, Guayana and Haiti are guests to the meeting.

Uruguayan President Stresses Meeting with Fidel and Raul

HAVANA, Cuba, July 29 (acn) Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica briefed his country’s Council of Ministers about his visit to Cuba and he stressed his meetings with head of state Raul Castro and Revolution leader Fidel Castro.

President Mujica and foreign minister Luis Almagro reported on their visit to Cuba to attend July 26 celebrations. 

In his report, Mujica said he intends to increase the exchange with Cuban in some areas and added that over the past few years, Cuba maintained intense collaboration with Uruguay. The head of state referred to the signing of a document to expand scientific and technical cooperation with Cuba.

According to the Uruguayan Communication’s Department, Cuba needs to enrich expertise on milk production and Uruguay can offer advice in that field.

At present, Uruguay counts on over 400 doctors graduated in Cuba, while a group of new 40 physicians return after graduation to offer their services in Uruguay.

Pastors for Peace Tour Cuba and Demand End of US Blockade

HAVANA, Cuba, July 30 (acn) The activists with the 24th US Pastors for Peace Friendship Caravan to Cuba visited the central province of Sancti Spritus, where they reiterated their unyielding position against the US blockade of Cuba.

Daniel Sanchez, a 32-year-old US activist with the group told the Cuban News Agency that the island's reality is quite far from what is being said about Cuba in the United States. He stressed the hospitality and warmth of the people.

The caravan previously visited Santiago de Cuba, where the activists attended July 26 national commemorations and they will now kick off their trip to the capital Havana.

The group was welcomed in Sancti Spiritus by the director of the Guayabera shirt museum, Carlo Figueroa, who briefed the visitors about the local cultural promotion center. He said the place treasures over 150 Bera shirts donated by different personalities, including one that belonged to Pastors for Peace founder, Reverend Lucius Walker.

The caravan includes activists from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Germany. The humanitarian project is organized every year by the US Inter-religious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) and Pastors for Peace in open defiance of the US economic blockade of Cuba.

Cuba Denounces Reinforcement of US Blockade

HAVANA, Cuba, July 29 (acn) The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced on Monday that Washington has reinforced its economic blockade of the island this year by using its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as a spearhead.

According to the Foreign Ministry, on June 28 the OFAC forced Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo S.P.A Bank, one of the most prominent financial institutions in that European country, to pay a fine of up to two million 949 thousand 030 dollars.

According to an OFAC investigation the bank carried out 54 money transfers in favor of Cuba between 2004 and 2008.

The Cuban government says that the extraterritorial enforcement of that sanction reveals the shamelessness of the United States in dealing with its European partners and sets a negative precedent for other institutions that maintain commercial relations with Cuba.

And if that were not enough, adds the Foreign Ministry, on July 22 OFAC also fined another entity for breaching the blockade of Cuba with five million 226 thousand 120 dollars, which is the largest sum reported this year. The victim was American Express Travel Related Services Company, one of the main US tour operators.

This has been the second fine imposed by OFAC in less than a month and the fifth such measure this year, the Foreign Ministry explains in an official release posted on its website.

OFAC announcedthe latest sanction following a detailed investigation that reflects the US obsession of preventing American citizens from freely traveling to Cuba, at all costs.

According to the US office, foreign subsidiaries of American Express and its branch offices overseas allegedly sold 14 thousand 487 air tickets to travel to Cuba from third countries out of the limited people-to-people exchange license that the company is allowed to process.

With these sanctions, the US administration once again makes concessions to the detractors of a policy change towards Cuba, by turning a deaf ear on the large claim to lift the Cuba travel ban, the Cuban Foreign Ministry points out.

At the same time, the US government reinforces the extraterritorial enforcement of its blockade of Cuba by imposing fines on foreign and US companies for their operations in third countries. The main objective of the criminal and inhumane US policy continues to be that of inflicting damage and suffering on the Cuban people, the official release concludes.

Guayana Grateful to Cuban Collaboratioin

HAVANA, Cuba, July 29 (acn) Guyana’s Health Minister Bheri Ramsaran thanked Cuba for its assistance in training doctors, who will contribute to improve the quality of life of the Guyanese people.

Guyana’s official GINA news agency reported that during a meeting with a group of Guyanese youths, who recently graduated from Cuban universities, Ramsaran stressed that bilateral collaboration with Havana will have an important impact on the improvement of his country’s health services.

“We want to welcome you and let you know that those who came before you have made a good job,” the minister told the new graduates.

Hundreds of Guayanese professionals graduated from Cuban higher education centers over the past few years, GINA news agency reported.

First Life-Size Statue of Jose Marti in Germany

HAVANA, Cuba, July 29 (acn) The first life-size statue of Cuban National Hero Jose Marti to have been set up in Germany was unveiled Monday in Berlin to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1953 attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes garrisons.

The work, which was made by Cuban artist Felix Madrigal, was set up on a park in the Berlin municipality of Pankow to mark the 160th anniversary of Marti’s birth.

First secretary at the Cuban embassy in Germany, Daciel Alfonso, stressed the historic value entailed by a work like this, which will be a meeting point for Cubans and Latin Americans and he thanked local authorities for having the statue at the park.

The statue was unveiled by Cuban ambassador Raul Becerra, who was accompanied by Chistine Kiel from the Pankow’s mayor office and the president of the Association of Cuban residents in Berlin Jose Conde.

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