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.
Published on 26 May 2015 by TeleSUR English
Cuban officials with the Center for the Study of Population and Development, known as CEPDE, revealed Monday that life expectancy in Cuba, already one of the highest in the world, now reaches 78.45 years. Juan Carlos Alfonso Fraga, director of CEPDE, said the figure represents an increase of nearly half a year over the previous study of life expectancy on the island. He added that the bump was seen throughout all the provinces of Cuba and not just confined to urban areas, where medical attention tends to be of better quality.
Life expectancy for women was slightly higher at 80.45 years, with the life span for men at 76.50 years. Cuba is in the top 25 countries in the world for life expectancy, which is considered an important indicator of human development and quality of healthcare. Despite its status as a low-income country, Cuba's medical system is recognized as one of the best in the world.
Published on 14 may 2015 by Granma
Two days of fruitful debate in the 5th CIMAvax-EGF International Workshop on the first registered therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer, confirmed that after two decades of clinical experience in the use of this vaccine, the treatment has been proven safe and effective given the positive reaction of patients, the increase in survival rates and improved quality of life.
An excellent prognosis in a context where lung cancer, according to the Annual Health Statistics report 2014, is among the top causes of death for both men and women in the country, and is one of the illnesses showing the greatest increase in both genders.
The Workshop, organized by CIMAB S.A - biopharmaceutical entity dedicated to the development and commercialization of cancer medicines, affiliated with the Molecular Immunology Center (CIM) - was the ideal place to present the final results of the study confirming the effectiveness of CIMAvax-EGF in treating advanced pulmonary cancer; the use of the vaccine in treating lung cancer at a primary healthcare level; its global safety accreditation; biomarkers to predict patients’ response to the vaccine; post-registration experiences in other countries; CIMAvax-EGF in the context of therapies directed toward patients with lung cancer; and its use in treating prostate cancer.
According to information presented during the event, more than 3,000 patients, the majority Cubans, have benefited from the vaccine. Dr. Giselle Suárez, expert at CIM’s commercial office, reported to the press that since 2015, the vaccine has been included in the country’s basic catalogue of essential medicines, and is available across all levels of the national health system.
Published on 13 May 2015 by Granma
On April 14, President Barack Obama notified the U.S. Congress of his decision to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. From that date, the government must allow a period of 45 days for Congressional and public comment, before Cuba’s removal from the list becomes effective.
Two weeks ago, Cuban-born Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican-Florida) introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to reverse the President’s decision. However, her efforts met with resounding failure, and she was forced to withdraw the bill. In doing so, she misleadingly claimed there were no legislative mechanisms which allow for the repeal of the de-listing of Cuba, which is not true, as Congress has the necessary procedures to maintain the designation of a country as a state sponsor of terrorism.
The reality is that the anti-Cuban Congresswoman failed to garner the required support, even among members of the Republican Party, which currently holds the majority in both houses of Congress, to pass a law that would override Obama’s decision and survive a possible presidential veto.
This means that once the 45 days established by law have passed, on May 29, the inclusion of Cuba as a terrorist state will end.
This constitutes an act of historical justice for the Cuban people.
For 33 years the U.S. government unjustifiably kept our country on an ignominious list, on which it never should have been included, as a country that was victim to hundreds of terrorist acts which killed 3,478 people and incapacitated 2,099 Cuban citizens. Cuba has always condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, as well as any action that seeks to provide encouragement, support, financing and concealment of acts of this nature. As a sign of its international commitment, the Cuban state has ratified all conventions and protocols on combating terrorism promoted by the United Nations.
A positive outcome of the presidential decision on Cuba in the legal field, will be the eradication of the possibility of further spurious claims against the Cuban government, as filed in the past by unscrupulous people who, protected by U.S. anti-terrorism laws and with the complicity of courts, especially in Miami, won compensatory damages that allowed them to seize assets frozen in the United States belonging to Cuban state entities, by virtue of our designation as a sponsor of terrorism.
However, the definitive exclusion from this list does not imply any relief from the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba. This is because most of the laws and regulations which established the blockade policy were approved before 1982, when Cuba was declared a state sponsor of terrorism. The sanctions and restrictions that this designation implies were therefore already in place as part of the blockade.
More than 8,000 people have died as a consequence of the earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015. Over 16,000 people have been injured and hundreds-of-thousands left homeless. Those figures will rise further in the coming days as substantial damage and destruction – inflicted on an already insufficient healthcare system – has meant hospitals are turning patients away due to lack of supplies or capacity. In the capital, Kathmandu, with a population of over one million, the city’s maternity hospital has just 150 beds available due to partial destruction. The response of the so-called ‘international community’ has been typical. Whilst aid agencies such as the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières have deployed much-needed emergency workers, few governments have gone further than pledges of money, food or supplies by committing to provision of the necessary medical aid.
It is in this context that in the early morning of Friday 8 May a team of forty-nine Cubans, part of the prestigious Henry Reeve International Brigade (a ten-thousand-strong band of Cuban health professionals specialising in disaster response) departed for Nepal. On arrival the team will establish a field hospital equipped with surgery and intensive care units, diagnostics, consultation areas and recovery services – all provided by Cuba’s socialist government. From the moment the disaster struck, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nepal investigated the unfolding situation and began to make the necessary preparations for an effective, long-term medical intervention.
Published on 4 May 2015 by Granma Internacional
In his final comments at the International Solidarity with Cuba Conference in Havana, Gerardo Hernández of the Cuban Five asserted that the freedom of the anti-terrorists would not have been won without the efforts of all present
“Thank you brothers and sisters of the world, you should know that when we say thank you, it is not a formality. Deep within our hearts we know that if we are here, it is due, in large measure, to the efforts of friends like you around the entire world, who did not rest until they saw us here. This is how I begin my words of gratitude,” Gerardo said.
“You are representative of a broader group of brothers and sisters who could not all be here, but convey our gratitude to them, everyone was important to the unity of forces which allowed us to be here today, with our families and people.
Published on 6 May 2015 by Granma Internacional
The 8th Cuban Day against Homophobia and Transphobia began this Tuesday with a press conference and the inauguration of the photo exhibition Continuing Forward by U.S. artist Byron Motley at the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex) headquarters, which along with the Cuban Workers’ Federation has organized an extensive program of activities, which will continue through May 23 across the provinces of Havana and Las Tunas.
Mariela Castro Espín, director of Cenesex, highlighted the importance of informing and educating the Cuban population in the need to accept and respect free and responsible sexual orientation and gender identity, rights which when not respected by all, become a problem which generates suffering and exclusion.
In this regard she noted that this year Cenesex has launched a new campaign as part of its ongoing communicative and sex education strategy, which aims to promote, under the banner of “count me in,” homophobia or transphobia free work spaces.
2 May 2015 by Juventud Rebelde written by Enrique Milanes Leon
Translation by Rock Around the Blockade. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
A young communist from Britain, coordinator of the Cuba Vive solidarity brigade, talks to JR about the struggle ‘in the belly of the beast’ and confesses her admiration for the island that gives hope, even in her country.
To overcome the 7,493 kilometres that separate London from Havana, for the third time, young Samantha Cordery had to make sacrifices. She even participated in a 25,000 metre race looking for sponsors who would understand that she was a special competitor, collecting donations because her real "goal" was much further away, in Cuba.
April 24, 2015 by Granma
Author: Lino Luben Pérez/AIN
The Cuban medication Itolizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody for the treatment of severe psoriasis, was awarded a Gold Medal by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel attended the ceremony held at Havana’s José Martí Memorial.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) awarded its Gold Medal to the Cuban medication Itolizumab, in a ceremony attended by Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers Miguel Díaz-Canel, held at Havana’s José Martí Memorial.
The humanized monoclonal antibody was developed in Cuba for the treatment of chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, which affects some 125 million people worldwide, according to María de los Ángeles Sánchez Torres, director of the country’s Industrial Property Office.
The medication is being used in Cuba, as well as China and India, via a joint production company.
Nuno Pires de Carvalho, acting director of Intellectual Property and Competition Policy Division within the WIPO presented the award to Dr. Kalet León Monzón, deputy director for research and development at the Molecular Immunology Center, who accepted the honor in the name of its five principal inventors.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the United Nations’ 17 specialized agencies.
29 April 2015 by Cuba News
HAVANA, Cuba, Apr 29 (acn) In Cuba there are more than two million people over 60 years of age, 19 percent of the total population, and is the first Latin American country with the oldest population, announced an expert in this capital on Tuesday.
Doctor Alberto Fernandez, head of the National Group for the Care of the Elderly, of the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) told ACN in an exclusive interview that the rapid population aging is largely due to the low birth rate, the increase of life expectancy and social development.
Published on 17 December 2014 by www.revolutionarycommunist.org
After 16 unjust years of imprisonment, on 17 December 2014, Ramón Labañino, Gerardo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero, the three remaining members of the Cuban 5, returned to Cuba following their release from US gaols. This is a defeat for the corrupt US justice system and massive victory for Cuba, particularly for anti-terrorist Gerardo Hernandez who was serving two life sentences plus 15 years.
The five Cuban heroes were arrested in 1998 and tried in Miami in 2001, in the midst of a hostile media storm whipped up by journalists in the pay of the US government. Denied a fair trial, they were found guilty of charges ranging from spying to conspiracy to commit murder and endangering the security of the United States. These men had been working to foil the persistent attempts by right-wing counter-revolutionary groups in the United States to commit acts of sabotage and terrorism against Socialist Cuba. These attacks included 78 bombings, 61 hijackings of planes and boats, biological attacks of dengue and swine fever, and 58 attacks from the sea, killing at least 3,478 people in total. The Cuban 5 were guilty of nothing more than peacefully trying to protect their country against terrorism. Their case Illustrates the hypocrisy of the US ‘War on Terror’.
Wednesday 17 December will be recognised for decades to come as a crucial date for Cuban history when, following years of campaigning, the Cuban 5 were finally free. Ramon, Gerardo and Antonio now join Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Hernandez, who served their full sentences and were released in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
Published on April 21 2015, Granma
Author: Livia Rodriguez Delis
Some 88.3% of eligible voters cast ballots during the first round of mid-term elections, on April 19, to select delegates to Municipal Assemblies of People’s Power.
This April 19, Cubans participated in another historic event reflective of the times. More than 7.5 million voters, 88.3% of eligible voters, exercised their right to vote to reaffirm their commitment to the future of the Revolution, on a day when the country also celebrated the 54th anniversary of Cuba’s victory over the U.S. backed invasion at Playa Girón, on the Bay of Pigs.
Published on 19 April 2015 by www.vivavenezuela.co.uk
Following an international initiative for a global day of action in solidarity with Venezuela, branches of the Revolutionary Communist Group responded with solidarity actions around the country. 19 April 2015 marks the 205th anniversary of the first declaration of Venezuelan independence from Spain in 1810. The global actions coincided with marches and rallies across Venezuela, declaring their defiance against imperialist intervention, the US decree and the latest round of US sanctions.
In Lewisham, anti-austerity and anti-cuts campaigners from South London RCG held a street stall in solidarity with Venezuela.
Published on 14 April 2015 by teleSUR English
U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he intends to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism list. In a brief statement, the White House said it no longer considers Havana a state sponsor of terrorism. “The Government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding 6-month period; and ... the Government of Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future,” the statement reads.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest commented that Obama's decision is in line with U.S. “interests and values.” “We will continue to have differences with the Cuban government, but our concerns over a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions fall outside the criteria that is relevant to whether to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” he said.
Published on 13 April 2015 by venezuelanalysis.com
Regional leaders flocked to Panama City this past weekend for the VII Summit of the Americas, which has been widely hailed as a victory for left-leaning and progressive forces in the region, particularly Venezuela and Cuba.
The summit was marked by the historic presence of Cuba whose president Raul Castro addressed his counterparts and held face to face talks with Barack Obama, the first Cuban leader to do so since the socialist nation's US-imposed expulsion from the Organization of American States in 1962.
However, the much anticipated rapprochement between the two nations was largely upstaged by regional leaders' near uniform rejection of President Obama's March 9 Executive Order labeling Venezuela a "national security threat", which has been condemned by all 33 nations of the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and other regional bodies.
While positively noting the steps taken by Obama to reestablish bilateral ties with Cuba, Castro nonetheless criticized the US president for his aggressive measures against Venezuela.
"Venezuela is not and could never be a threat to the national security of a superpower like the US," declared the Cuban leader, calling on Obama to "repeal the Executive Order" and "lift unilateral sanctions".
"I must reaffirm all of our loyal and resolute support for the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, for the legitimate government and civil-military union headed by President Nicolas Maduro."
Published on 10 April 2015 by teleSUR English
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Thursday that he would extend the suspending of air raids on camps used by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia for an additional month. President Santos originally issued the suspension of bombings of FARC camps on March 10, stating at the time that it was a temporary measure to help de-escalate the more than 50-year conflict in the country and help move the peace negotiations forward.
The FARC implemented a unilateral cease-fire in December 2014, which has been independently verified by human rights defenders. Santos added that the Ministry of Defense had also confirmed that the FARC was abiding by the unilateral cease-fire. “For this reason, I have decided to extend the suspension of bombings for one more month, I will continue to do so into the future,” said Santos.
However the decision to suspend bombings does not preclude the Colombian government from engaging in combat on the ground, which the FARC has warned threatens the peace process.
Published on 9 April 2015 by www.venezuelanalysis.com
Caracas has joined Havana in withdrawing its delegation to the Civil Society Forum at the 7th Summit of the Americas this week, after Cuban delegates broke the news that at least 20 counter-revolutionary Cuban “mercenaries” had also been invited to participate in the event.
Among the highly controversial figures set to participate in the forum are the radical anti-Cuban government dissidents, Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Elizardo Sánchez and Rosa María Payá, as well as members of the Cuban exile community. All are known to have financial ties to U.S. funding agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and have a history of trying to subvert the Cuban government. Ex-CIA agent, Félix Rodríguez Mendigutía, better known for his role in the assassination of Argentinian revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, is also participating in the summit.
Published on 10 April 2015 by www.venezuelanalysis.com
The Venezuelan Committee for the Victims of the Barricades have branded a decision to deny them entry into a Summit of the America’s Forum as a “premeditated” attempt to silence them.
The victims of last year’s barricades, which were headed by Venezuelan opposition figures Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado, had travelled out to Panama earlier this week to participate in the Civil Society and and Social Actors Forum, as well as in the “People’s Summit” - an accompanying event to the Organisation of American States (OAS) 7th “Summit of the Americas”.
“This is no coincidence, they want to silence our voices so that we can’t tell the stories of our family members who are now dead, thanks to who they are calling political heroes like Leopoldo Lopez,” said Yendry Velasquez, whose soldier husband was killed in the violence.
The exclusion of the committee, which was formed last year in a bid to highlight the stories of the 43 people who were killed and the hundreds who were injured in last year’s violence, is just one of many recent attempts to silence the group. They say that they have been discriminated against by the largely privately owned Venezuelan media and its international counterparts, which have prevented them from telling their stories.
“They want to shut us up, they don’t want us to tell the truth,” said Desirée Cabrera, whose infant daughter almost died in an arson attack during the barricades.
As part of its awareness raising work, the committee has submitted official documentation of their experiences to bodies such as the Spanish and U.S. embassies in Venezuela, as well as to a U.N. mission in Caracas. To date, they have received little in the way of a response.
Published on 2 April 2015 by ACN
Experts of the Pan-American and World Health organizations praised the results of the program of eastern Santiago de Cuba province to prevent and eliminate the mother-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and syphilis.
Doctor Maria Dolores Mafran, responsible of the Department for Prevention and Control of Infections by Sexually Transmitted Diseases/HIV-AIDS in the territory, told ACN that the specialists visited health centers as part of actions to validate the vertical elimination of these diseases in Cuba.
Likewise, she pointed out, they showed interest in the structures of these centers, at the level of doctor's offices, in which they verified prenatal care from Primary Health Care, serology for syphilis and HIV in pregnant women's registers, and the experience of the staff in communities.
Exchanges with civil society were significant, underlined Mafran, represented in members of the Federation of Cuban Women, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, transsexual and homosexual persons living with HIV, and in the project of youngsters and adolescents promoting health care.
Mafran conveyed the opinion of Adele Benzaken, co-president of the Regional Committee of Experts that visited the country, who, during her visit to Santiago de Cuba expressed that the assessment was yet another opportunity to know more about eh island's public health system, in addition to the hospitality, transparence and dedication to work of specialized staff. The verification exercise was also carried out in the provinces of Havana and Villa Clara, and results will be presented in Geneva, headquarters of the WHO.