Published on 1 July 2015 by ACN
Cuban News Agency reproduces the statement issued by the Revolutionary Government of the republic of Cuba regarding the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America,
After re-establishing diplomatic relations with the United States, the lifting of the blockade, among other aspects, will be indispensable for the normalization of relations.
On July 1st, 2015, the President of the Councils of State and of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, and the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, exchanged letters through which they confirmed their decision to re-establish diplomatic relations between the two countries and open permanent diplomatic missions in the respective capitals as from July 20, 2015.
Published on 19 June 2015 by L'humanite
News From Cuba : “We’re Not a Bit Afraid,” Declares Ulises, General Secretary of the Workers’ Central Union
Ulises Guilarte De Nacimiento, aged 50, started working in 1987 as a building engineer: a union activist, he became secretary of the Building branch, was then elected general secretary at the Union’s 20th congress in 2014. Parallel to this, he joined the Communist party’s Central Committee in 2011. Now First secretary of the Communist party in Artemisa, he is a member of the National assembly and of the State Council.
The following interview was published by l’Humanité Dimanche on June 11.
HD: Change is the motto in Cuba now. What’s the method? And what’s the ambition?
ULISES GUILARTE DE NACIMIENTO: When we passed the law on foreign investment last year, some of our friends were really concerned: are you going to liberalize the labour market? And sell off industrial sectors to foreign capital? Our objective is to update our socialist society, to ensure its prosperous and sustainable development. We remain in full control of our social project (health, education), of our defense (with the people’s army) and we alone define our needs.
Published on 29 June 2015 by ACN
Cuba´s Etecsa Telecom Company has announced that the infrastructure for public WiFi connection to the Internet is ready in fourhotspots in Central Ciego de Avila province.
WiFi project coordinator Laudel Broche told local reporters that between 20 and 30 users in each four sites, located in the main city Ciego and in Moron, will be able to connect to the Internet during all 24 hours of the day.
The connection speed is one megabit and clients need to have a local Nauta navigation account in cell phones, laptops or tablets. To access the service, clients must purchase a code card whose cost is 2 pesos (similar to dollars) the hour.
Published on 26 June 2015 by TeleSUR English
Supporters of the Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa rallied in the capital Quito Friday as a response to opposition protests the day before, when opposition supporters chanted “Out, Correa, Out.”
“The debate that Correa is proposing is what type of society we want, how do we change it?” one person at the rally told teleSUR. "We want the opposition to reflect and not to seek the removal of the president … We mobilized to support the president peacefully, so we are ... happy," Andrea Benavides, who left work to join the rally, told the national El Telegrafo newspaper.
Nathaly Molina says she is convinced that Correa had done important work for the country and thus she did not agree with the opposition mayors of Quito and Guayaquil in their effort to "confront the government that cares about the disadvantaged sectors of the country." "I come to defend the democratic process, because I do not agree with few people who want to get rid of the president for their own convenience," said Esteban Cordova, who at the pro-Correa rally.
Demonstrators said they were planning to stay outside the palace until late Friday night, after the opposition march yesterday tried to break through police cordons to reach government supporters and the palace.
Published on 13 June 2015 by TeleSUR English
Despite claiming to be taking steps to normalize relations with Cuba, the U.S. has allocated funding for the NED. The US Committee on Appropriations approved on Friday US$30 million for “programs to promote democracy and strengthen civil society in Cuba, of which not less than US$8,000,000 shall be for NED,” as quoted from the committee report.
The NED is the National Endowment for Democracy, a fund used by the U.S. to undermine left-wing and socialist governments and support opposition groups by supposedly promoting “democracy.”
“The Committee directs that funds shall only be used for programs and activities pursuant to section 109(a) of the Cuban Liberty and Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 and section 1705 of the Cuban Democracy Act (CDA) of 1992, and shall not be used for business promotion, economic reform, entrepreneurship or any other assistance that is not democracy-building,” the report states.
More than half a century ago, Fidel Castro and John F. Kennedy conducted secret negotiations aimed at normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba. Robert Kennedy Jr., nephew of the assassinated President, recounts these events and praises Obama’s policy of rapprochement, which is making his uncle’s “dream” a “reality”
1. After the October 1962 missile crisis, a conflict that almost led to a nuclear disaster, and its resolution that included the withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba and US missiles from Turkey, President John F. Kennedy decided to undertake a process of normalization of relations with Cuba.
2. During his trip to the Soviet Union in 1962, Fidel Castro spoke at length with Nikita Khrushchev about Kennedy. According to the former president’s nephew, “Castro returned to Cuba determined to find a path to reconciliation” with the United States.
3. In 1962, Kennedy commissioned James Donovan, a New York lawyer, and John Dolan, an advisor to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to negotiate the release of the 1500 Bay of Pigs invaders held in Cuba. During his meeting with the Washington emissaries, Fidel Castro made clear his desire to normalize relations with the United States and maintain links based on sovereign equality, reciprocity and non-interference in internal affairs. “My father Robert and JFK were intensely curious about Castro and demanded detailed, highly personal, descriptions of the Cuban leader from both Donovan and Nolan. The US press had repeatedly caricatured Fidel as drunken, filthy, mercurial, violent and undisciplined. However, Nolan told them: “Our impression would not square with the commonly accepted image. Castro was never irritable, never drunk, never dirty.” He and Donovan described the Cuban leader as worldly, witty, curious, well informed, impeccably groomed, and an engaging conversationalist.”
Published on 25 June 2015 by Granma
Robben island, South Africa - A sign in English and Afrikaans announces arrival on Robben Island, situated off the coast of Cape Town, a site which encompasses a painful history, thankfully now past for South Africans.
The island of dry sand and strong winds, surrounded by sharp reefs and the unique sound of the thousands of birds that fly overhead, is today a symbol of freedom.
To get there, you have to board a boat at the Nelson Mandela memorial located in the commercial and tourist district of Waterfront.
The journey is about 12 kilometers, a half hour boat ride, enough to reflect on the triumph of human spirit over adversity encompassed by this historical site.
Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, the Five Cuban anti-terrorists who themselves were greatly inspired by the spirit of resistance of Prisoner No.46664, Nelson Mandela, during their imprisonment in the U.S., traveled to the island as part of their tour of South Africa.
Published on 1 June 2015 by www.revolutionarycommunist.org
On 19 April, just before the brigade arrived in Havana and two weeks before the British general election circus, Cuba held nationwide municipal elections. The Municipal Assemblies of people’s power represent the dynamic base of the revolution. We met with Osmani Castro from Havana’s Provincial Assembly who explained how the process works; ‘In Cuba, nobody is without protection. We have a system of civic protection and social assistance from the state and in this system, the municipal delegate is the core of all decisions large or small. It is up to the delegate to analyse the situation of people who are ill, are alone, or are very old, and ensure these people receive the care and attention they need. So if my house is on fire or hit by a hurricane, I am not alone, I am not going to live under a bridge. Cuba is a safety net. It is the responsibility of the delegate, not personally to solve everything for people, but to gather the community and try to involve them in the process of finding a solution.’
Published on 1 June 2015 by www.revolutionarycommunist.org
On our 2015 brigade visit to ICAP, we spoke to Kenia Serrano who, as a member of the UJC in 2002, participated in Rock around the Blockade’s speaking tour across Britain. More recently, in March 2014 and in her current post as President of ICAP, she spoke at RATB’s rally for the Cuban Five in Trafalgar Square, London, which was organised in support of the International Committee of Inquiry into the case of the Cuban Five. Kenia told us:
‘The significance of international solidarity is something that constitutes a principle for the Cuban revolution. To see that people all over the world are in solidarity with the Cuban revolution is something that really constitutes a commitment for us, we are committed to continue in solidarity with other peoples because Cuba has been a recipient of world solidarity actions…
Published on 1 June by www.revolutionarycommunist.org
Between 20 April and 5 May, Rock around the Blockade (RATB), the Revolutionary Communist Group’s campaign in support of socialist Cuba, sent its 13th solidarity brigade to Havana for two intensive weeks of exchanges and visits. The Cuba Vive 2015 brigade was there to stand in solidarity with Cuban socialism, gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and achievements of 56 years of revolution and explore the implications of recent changes in Cuban-US relations.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of RATB’s foundation and of our first brigade, which visited Ciego de Avila in 1995. That was one of the worst years of the ‘Special Period’, Cuba’s deep economic crisis resulting from the loss of 35% of its GDP and 85% of its trade following the collapse of the Soviet bloc. All of our brigades have been hosted by the Union of Young Communists (UJC).
For many years, RATB raised thousands of pounds to buy and donate sound systems and disco equipment for Cuban youth. The request for entertainment came from the UJC itself, which explained the importance of young people being able to enjoy themselves during a time of shortages and sacrifices, keeping them engaged with the socialist process at a decisive time for the revolution. It is notable that the economic and social crisis did not transform into a political crisis. This year we donated over £1,000 worth of ballet shoes and boxing gloves for youth training schools. We took the boxing equipment to Havana’s ‘Escuela de Boxeo’ (Boxing School) which trains hundreds of youth across the capital and was the training ground for legendary boxers, Teofilo Stevenson and Felix Savon. We took the ballet shoes to the Cuban National Ballet School, which has produced world famous dancers such as Carlos Acosta, under the guidance of Alicia Alonso. The donation was made in recognition of Cuba’s remarkable achievements in promoting and democratising sport and culture.
During the brigade, we met with a broad range of Cuban society: political, social and cultural organisations, community centres, neighbourhood organisations, academics, family doctors, maternity homes, farms and factories, a children’s home. We met representatives of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC), the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), and the National Association of Economists and Accountants. We were privileged to meet Fernando Gonzalez, one of the Cuban Five, five Cubans who were incarcerated in the United States since 1998 for defending Cuba from terrorist attacks – Fernando was released after 16 years; Kenia Serrano, President of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the People (ICAP); and Mariela Castro, LGBT activist and Director of CENESEX. She is the daughter of President Raul Castro and Vilma Espin, revolutionary fighter and founder of the FMC.
RATB fundraised for a year to help cover the cost of sending 16 activists, many of them unemployed and facing the harsh end of austerity, from campaigns across Britain for social housing, against cuts to children’s services, in defence of the right to protest and in support of Palestine. We took a message of resistance and solidarity, sharing our realities of austerity and inequality in imperialist Britain with Cuban youth, holding our banners high in Revolution Square during the May Day celebrations. The Cuba Vive brigade returns with a renewed commitment to building resistance here in Britain. The Cuban revolution shows that socialism – a system that puts human need before private profit – is a real alternative to capitalist austerity and imperialist barbarism. ‘Un mejor mundo es posible’ – a better world is possible!
Socialist Cuba: ‘Revolution is permanent change’
‘I was born after 1962. When I opened my eyes the blockade existed. We have suffered more than 50 years of blockade, of attacks, deaths, injuries, all these tactics to try and destroy us for wanting to be the owners of our destiny. We know what kind of relations we want with the US; Cuba is not gullible. We will not fall into a trap set by the US government. We will continue to defend our independence, our sovereignty, and our control over our own destiny. We will not allow another country to tell us what to do, even if it means 50 years more blockade.’ Gilda Chacon, National Committee, CTC.
Published on 16 June 2015 by Granma
Since this past June 8, the government of Ecuador, led by President Rafael Correa Delgado, has faced, in several cities, acts of violence and calls for the overthrowal of the Citizens’ Revolution government.
Oligarchic groups, supported by the media, Internet social networks, and the transnational press are attempting to discredit the legitimately constituted government, generate a crisis, and unleash violence in a stable, peaceful country.
President Correa and other leaders of the Alianza País movement have energetically denounced this new coup attempt, and have taken the lead in popular mobilizations in defense of the Citizens’ Revolution, and rejected a plan, which according to reports, could be receiving support from abroad.
Given the events, which appear to be following the same destabilization script used against other progressive governments in the region, the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba expresses its firm, unconditional solidarity and support to the sister people of Ecuador, to the government of the Citizens’ Revolution, and its leader, compañero Rafael Correa Delgado. At the same time, we insist on respect for Ecuador’s legal order, and energetically reject any interference in the country’s internal affairs, in accordance with the principles established in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.
Havana, June 15, 2015
Year 57 de la Revolution
Published on 13 June 2015 by TeleSUR English
Privileged and right-wing sectors in Ecuador have been holding anti-government protests across the country since last Monday. Since June 8, right-wing opposition demonstrators have protested daily outside the headquarters of the Ecuador’s governing party in Quito. The protesters initially came out in the streets in response to proposed revisiones to legislation on inheritance and capital gains taxes, which would see the wealthy and upper middle classes paying more. However, the right-wing protesters are now openly calling for the ousting of the elected government of President Rafael Correa. Correa was elected in a landslide victory in 2013 with 57 percent of the vote. Meanwhile activists who support the Citizens revolution in Ecuador have mobilised to defend Correa and the social achievements gained under his presidency. (pictured)
For up to date info and breaking news see TeleSUR's page 'Right-wing attack on Ecuador's democracy'
1. This is a Rebellion of the Wealthy
Published on 12 June by Granma
The final declaration of the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union (EU), which concluded June 11 in Brussels, rejected the U.S. blockade against Cuba and its extraterritorial impact. The 2nd CELAC-EU Summit was held over two days in the Justus Lipsius building, headquarters of the European Council, and saw the participation of more than 40 heads of state and government and high level delegations from 61 countries throughout the two regions.
The document highlighted that laws contained within the Helms-Burton Act cause human damages to the Cuban people and negatively impact the development of economic relations between the island, the EU and other countries. The unilateral coercive measures are a violation of international law, the text added.
The document also acknowledged CELAC’s Special Declaration opposing unilateral measures against Venezuela, adopted January 29, and its statement expressing solidarity with the country, approved on March 26. Likewise, the final declaration of the Summit praised the declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace and the decision to resolve differences through peaceful means.
Furthermore, it welcomed the announcement made on December 17, 2014, by the Presidents of Cuba and the United States, Raúl Castro and Barack Obama, to advance toward re-establishing bilateral relations. The document noted, “In this context we expect all necessary steps to be taken towards an early end to the embargo [blockade].”
May 29, 2015 marks 32 years of imprisonment for Puerto Rican patriot Oscar Lopez Rivera, who is held as a political prisoner in US jails. During twelve of these 32 years he endured confinement in two control units of a program known as Super Max, located in Marion, Illinois and Florence, Colorado. In 1998 he was transferred to the maximum security prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he remains.
Lopez Rivera, now 70 years old, is the Latin American political prisoner who has served the most years in US prisons.
A veteran of the Vietnam War and decorated for valor in combat, Oscar Lopez Rivera was arrested in 1981 because of his struggles in defense of human rights and his affirmation of Puerto Rican national identity. He was sentenced to seventy years in prison.
This Puerto Rican patriot rejected the possibility of obtaining a parole offered during President Bill Clinton’s administration. Clinton pardoned most Puerto Rican prisoners who by then had served nearly 20 years in prison. Lopez Rivera did not accept his parole in solidarity with his fellow comrades Haydee Beltran and Carlos Torres who remained incarcerated at the time and are now out of prison.
Public outrage over the case of López Rivera is beginning to be the source of great protests. The colonialist authorities fear new demonstrations revealing how strongly Puerto Ricans uphold the idea of independence, despite the systematic and violent colonial coercion the US has been applying against that people since the early twentieth century.
Published on 11 May 2015 by Wired
Cuba has for several years had a promising therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer. The 55-year trade embargo led by the US made sure that Cuba was mostly where it stayed. Until—maybe—now.
The Obama administration has, of course, been trying to normalize relations with the island nation. And last month, during New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s visit to Havana, Roswell Park Cancer Institute finalized an agreement with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology to develop a lung cancer vaccine and begin clinical trials in the US. Essentially, US researchers will bring the Cimavax vaccine stateside and get on track for approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
“The chance to evaluate a vaccine like this is a very exciting prospect,” says Candace Johnson, CEO of Roswell Park. She’s excited, most likely, because research on the vaccine so far shows that it has low toxicity, and it’s relatively cheap to produce and store. The Center for Molecular Immunology will give Roswell Park all of the documentation (how it’s produced, toxicity data, results from past trials) for an FDA drug application; Johnson says she hopes to get approval for testing Cimavax within six to eight months, and to start clinical trials in a year.
How did Cuba end up with a cutting edge immuno-oncology drug? Though the country is justly famous for cigars, rum, and baseball, it also has some of the best and most inventive biotech and medical research in the world. That’s especially notable for a country where the average worker earns $20 a month. Cuba spends a fraction of the money the US does on healthcare per individual; yet the average Cuban has a life expectancy on par with the average American. “They’ve had to do more with less,” says Johnson, “so they’ve had to be even more innovative with how they approach things. For over 40 years, they have had a preeminent immunology community.”
Despite decades of economic sanctions, Fidel and Raul Castro made biotechnology and medical research, particularly preventative medicine, a priority. After the 1981 dengue fever outbreak struck nearly 350,000 Cubans, the government established the Biological Front, an effort to focus research efforts by various agencies toward specific goals. Its first major accomplishment was the successful (and unexpected) production of interferon, a protein that plays a role in human immune response. Since then, Cuban immunologists made several other vaccination breakthroughs, including their own vaccines for meningitis B and hepatitis B, and monoclonal antibodies for kidney transplants.
Published on 30 May by Prensa Latina
The removal of Cuba from a U.S. list of nations that sponsor terrorism was among the most significant news in the United States this week.
Spokesman for the State Department, Jeff Rathke, said that the 45-day notification of Congress expired and Secretary of State John Kerry decided to remove Cuba from such a list. For its full implementation, the step must be published in the official U.S. journal Federal Register, though Rathke said it is in force.
According to the release, Cuba has not given support to international terrorism in the past six months and gave guarantees that it won't back any such act in the future.
Yesterday, The New York Times described the White House step as crucial, as it leaves behind the Cold War hostility that for many years characterized the relatopns between the United States and Cuba. Though the Cuban authoriies did not raised this issue as a precondition to advance towards a resumption of links between the two nations, they reiterated that the Island should have never been in such a list in the first place, which they attributed to political motives.
This step is in line with pronouncements by Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama, who on Dec. 17 informed their decision to resume those links and open embasises in both capitals.
Sources from the Cuban Foreign Ministry have reiterated that the main hurdle to a normalization of USA-Cuba relations is atill in force: the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba for over half a century, causing the Island billions of US dollars in losses.
Many U.S. legislators who have visited Cuba in the past few weeks agree in saying that there is bipartisan consensus in Congress for lifting the blockade.
But as Congress decides on the issue, Obama is in capacity to use its executive powers and, according to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, he can eliminate most of the restrictions of the blockade against Cuba.
On 28 April 2015, Kenia Serrano, President of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples, met with Rock around the Blockade's 'Cuba Vive' brigade, our 13th solidarity brigade to Cuba. She discussed the impact on Cuban society of changes in Cuban-US relations, the revolution's younger generation of leaders and the challenges faced by Cuba. This year represents 20 years of brigades organised by Rock around the Blockade, a campaign in solidarity with socialist Cuba set up by the Revolutionary Communist Group in Britain. Read more about the Cuba Vive brigade here
Published on 25 May by Granma
It has been five months since Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced on December 17 their intention to open a new chapter in relations between the United States and Cuba.
After an historic meeting between both leaders at the 7th Summit of the Americas, on May 21, the third round of conversations began in Washington, with the goal of advancing toward the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in both countries,.
Although talks between the U.S. and Cuba are already, in themselves, a milestone for two neighboring countries which have lacked formal ties for more than half a century, they only mark the beginning of a much longer and complicated process.
Inaccuracies and distorted information have accompanied this process from the beginning.Granma shares with its readers seven key points which clarify the dimension of what is happening between Havana and Washington and the coming stage.
Published on 25 May by Granma
One month has past since the devastating April 25 earthquake in Nepal, and two weeks since the powerful May 12 aftershock, the same night Cuba’s Henry Reeve Medical Brigade arrived in the country. Forty-nine Cuban medical professionals are taking on the population’s needs, defying the damage, fear and grief around them.
Cities lie in ruin and the number of victims has surpassed 8,600. Anxiety remains fixed on faces, since the country continues to experience aftershocks.
On the night of May 12, the same night a severe aftershock hit the nation, 49 members of the Henry Reeve International Contingent Specialized in Disasters and Large Epidemics Brigade No.41 arrived in Katmandu.
“The landscape was disheartening, Dantesque, I would say. The country didn’t need nature to punish it this way. Those who managed to save their lives in the most affected areas have lost practically everything, including their most cherished loved ones,” Dr. Luis Orlando Oliveros Serrano, head of the Brigade, told Granma.