CUBA STANDARD — In a move that considerably broadens Cuban health service exports and generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues, the Brazilian health ministry and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) agreed Aug. 21 to contract 4,000 Cuban doctors as a backbone for a fast-expanding medical program in needy regions of Brazil.
**Rock around the Blockade(RATB) is a campaign of the Revolutionary Communist Group. It defends socialist Cuba and uses its example as part of the struggle for socialism here in Britain. Here we re-post an important article from the website www.ratb.org.uk about a recent block on RATB’s PayPal account as a result of the US blockade of Cuba.**
Rock around the Blockade has fought off an attempt to use the US blockade to obstruct our work in solidarity with socialist Cuba. Without consultation or warning, the US-based company PayPal blocked our website payment account citing ‘possible trade with Cuba’.
RATB uses PayPal to process payments and donations via our website, www.ratb.org.uk. The money goes towards our activities in Britain (political meetings, educational discussions, film showings, street rallies, cultural celebrations and so on). We do not use PayPal to make financial transactions to Cuba (which is anyway impossible because of the US blockade) and the merchandise we sell is not sourced there.
On 26 May 2013 we received an email stating, ‘PayPal’s Compliance Department has reviewed your account and identified activity that may be in violation of United States regulations administered by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)’.
After numerous emails and telephone calls we were able to confirm that this meant there was a ‘potential violation regarding possible trade with Cuba, a country that is sanctioned’. We were told that ‘PayPal can't benefit a sanctioned country or anyone in it.’
Eventually, by providing details of our ‘business model’, the recipients of PayPal accrued funds and a list of our products and services offered via PayPal we were able to get the block on our account lifted.
The fact that the account of RATB, a small not-for-profit solidarity campaign, was blocked before any questions were asked shows how strictly the blockade is enforced and how scared US companies are of violating it. PayPal has recently been clamping down on any activity related to Cuba, for example, in August 2011, shutting down the PayPal account of a British foundation that accepts donations to support students to study medicine in Cuba.(http://www.theguardian.com/money/2011/mar/12/paypal-cuban-connection)
Indeed, PayPal has good reason to be scared. Over the past few weeks OFAC has intensified enforcement of the blockade. On June 28, Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A, was fined nearly $3 million USD for processing 53 transactions with Cuba between 2004 and 2008.
On July 22, OFAC issued a fine of $5,.2 million to American Express Travel Related Services Company– the fifth and largest fine so far this year. OFAC asserts that the company’s foreign subsidiaries and offices abroad sold 14,487 airline tickets to travel to Cuba from countries other than the US. Both these examples illustrate the extra-territorial nature of the blockade: regulations are routinely applied to prevent Cuba trading with countries around the world, not just the US; in violation of the sovereignty of the rest of the world.
Since 1960 the blockade has cost the Cuban economy an estimated $1 trillion USD. For 21 consecutive years the General assembly of the UN has voted overwhelmingly to condemn the blockade. In the 2012 vote, 188 countries voted for the lifting of the Blockade, with just three(the US,Israel and Palau) voting against and two (the Marshall Islands and Micronesia) abstaining. It is time to end this unjust and overwhelmingly unpopular economic bullying. The Cuban people have the right to chose socialism and to live without fear of the US government punishing them for doing so.
See: US blockade ‘attempted genocide’ from the current issue of FRFI for more details about the history and scope of the US blockade.
Opening the door for Cuba’s pharmaceutical and medical industry to a common market of 70 million people with a GDP of $636 billion, the members of the ALBA bloc officially announced the launch of ALBAmed, a multinational body that includes a regulatory institution and a central registry for pharmaceutical and medical products.
ALBAmed is expected to trigger concerted regional planning for pharmaceutical production and save participating governments — Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua — between 20 and 50 percent in medical purchases, an Ecuadorian foreign ministry official told Spanish news agency efe.
More than three million patients have recovered vision thanks to the Operation Milagro. The second phase will expand the attention to the African peoples without decreasing the number of operations on patients from Latin America and countries of ALBA
Cuba began construction of the third of three biotech plants in West Africa this week, as part of a trilateral program funded by Venezuela to battle malaria in the region.
Ahead of a groundbreaking ceremony in the capital of Ghana on Aug. 5, officials of Cuba, Venezuela and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met to discuss feasibility, cost, and investment architecture of the program, ECOWAS said in a press release. Another meeting is planned for Venezuela.
8 August Presna Latina
Hundreds of new doctors graduated in Cuba will return to Bolivia starting this weekend to start offering medical attention in their country's rural areas.
Bolivian director of health services, Ruben Colque said that 780 new physicians, who graduated at the Havana-based Latin American School of Medicine are returning home to first offer an initial land compulsory service in rural areas before they get to their final places of work. The preliminary stage, known as social service, will be coordinated with regional health offices in different departments, Colque said.
Video highlights produced by Cubanos en UK from the successful celebration of the 60th anniversary of the attack on Monaca Barracks which sparked the Cuban revolution in 1953. The event at Bolivar Hall, London, was organised by Rock around the Blockade and Cubanos en UK and supported by the Cuban embassy, along with other Cuban artists in Britain.
In what is a usual democratic practice in Cuba, workers in different economic sectors began debating a new labor code recently proposed to the Cuban Parliament, which the lawmakers forwarded for the workers' consideration before its final approval by the top legislative body.
On Saturday 20 July, Cubans resident in Britain were joined by other supporters of the Cuban Revolution in a vibrant celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of the attack on Monaca Barracks which sparked the Cuban revolution in 1953. A diverse audience, from babes to pensioners, packed into Bolivar Hall, the cultural venue of the Venezuelan embassy for an afternoon of cultural entertainment.
The event was organised by Rock around the Blockade and Cubanos en UK and supported by the Cuban embassy, along with other Cuban artists in Britain.
There were free mojitos for the early-comers, kids’ games, face-painting and Cuban-style beef sandwiches. Before the performances, the event was officially opened by Counsellor Alvaro Sanchez, speaking on behalf of the Venezuelan embassy. Next Ricardo Lamas from the Cuban embassy emphasised the importance of the event. A speaker on behalf of Rock around the Blockade emphasised the importance of Cuba’s socialist alternative at a time of class war against the poor here in Britain. Two speakers for Cubanos en UK, said that contrary to the media portrayal, there are many Cubans who emigrate from Cuba to Britain for various reasons and remain as supporters of the revolution and all it has achieved. Their contributions made the event possible.
Cubans are well known to enjoy a good party and this July sees special festivities across the island. On 26 July Cubans will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the ill-fated military uprising, led by the young lawyer Fidel Castro which, despite ending in disaster, marked the beginning of the end of the Batista dictatorship. A group of Cuban musicians, artists and photographers living in Britain are bringing the party to London on Saturday 20 July.
In March 1952, Fulgencio Batista carried out a coup, one month before elections were due to be held, to seize control of Cuba for the second time. Fidel Castro, who was among the frustrated electoral candidates, saw the democratic path to change closed and set up a clandestine network of activists to carry out a military uprising. On 26 July 1953, 135 rebels attacked the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba while another 40 hit at the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Barracks in Bayamo. Their plan was to take control of the military installations and distribute armaments to the Cuban people to spark a revolution.
Unprecedented in the history of international relations, the governments of four European countries - France, Spain, Italy and Portugal - have closed off their airspace this week to the Bolivian president’s airplane. Is this a case of strict compliance with international laws or further proof of the servility of European ’powers’ towards Washington? To better answer this simple question, French pundit Salim Lamrani sets out a list of 25 facts.
Agencies in Cochabamba, July 5 Bolivia' s president, Evo Morales, has warned he might close the US embassy in his country, as South America' s leftist leaders rallied to support him over the rerouting of his presidential plane.
Morales again blamed Washington for putting pressure on European countries to refuse to allow his plane to fly through their airspace on Tuesday, forcing it to land in Vienna, in what he called a violation of international law. He had been returning from a summit in Russia during which he had suggested he would be willing to consider a request from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for asylum.
"Being united will defeat American imperialism. We met with the leaders of my party and they asked us for several measures and if necessary, we will close the embassy of the United States," Morales said. "We do not need the embassy of the United States."
Imagine the aircraft of the president of France being forced down in Latin America on "suspicion&quo t; that it was carrying a political refugee to safety – and not just any refugee but someone who has provided the people of the world with proof of criminal activity on an epic scale.
Imagine the response from Paris, let alone the "international community" , as the governments of the west call themselves. To a chorus of baying indignation from Whitehall to Washington, Brussels to Madrid, heroic special forces would be dispatched to rescue their leader and, as sport, smash up the source of such flagrant international gangsterism. Editorials would cheer them on, perhaps reminding readers that this kind of piracy was exhibited by the German Reich in the 1930s.
The forcing down of Bolivian President Evo Morales' s plane – denied airspace by France, Spain and Portugal, followed by his 14-hour confinement while Austrian officials demanded to "inspect" his aircraft for the "fugitive" ; Edward Snowden – was an act of air piracy and state terrorism. It was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world and the cowardice and hypocrisy of bystanders who dare not speak its name.
In May 2013 St. Lucia joined fellow OECS member-states Antigua, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the newest member of ALBA (The Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America).
The decision was announced following the VIII Meeting of the ALBA Council of Economic Complementation in Caracas on April 23, which concluded with a seven-point resolution that announced the inclusion of St. Lucia in the regional bloc.
As an Indiana working-class native, I was deeply moved after Haiti’s devastating earthquake of 2010. I was in Cuba at that time in my forth year of medical school at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).
The school sought out a group of Americans from the 2010 graduating class to incorporate into the “Brigada Medica Cubana.” This is a famous brigade that rushes to the aide of neighboring and developing countries after a disaster.
One of these new doctors and 2010 ELAM graduate, Dr. Gregory Wilkinson, still works as a general practitioner in Haiti, servicing the dilapidated communities from tents. He is completing a family practice residency program.
Wilkinson comes from Oakland, Calif., studied at Merritt Community College, and then sociology at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. With Jamaican roots, Wilkinson said he is proud and eager to complete the medical school’s scholarship requirement of working in an underserved community, as he is doing in Haiti.
Dr. Wilkinson shared his story with me about how he adapted to his new home.
On 29 April, José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the United Nations Organisation for Food and Agriculture (FAO), sent congratulations to Fidel Castro, historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, and the Cuban people, ‘for having fulfilled in advance the goal set by the World Food Summit, held in Rome in November 1996, that proposed to halve the number of undernourished people in each country by the year 2015.’ Da Silva adds that Fidel’s speech at that Summit still lingers in their collective memory, especially his conclusion that: ‘the bells that toll today for those who die of hunger every day, will toll tomorrow for humanity if it refused, failed or could not be wise enough to save them.’
Da Silva refers to Fidel’s comment in the subsequent press conference that even if the target were achieved ‘we would not know what to say to the other half of humanity if it would not be freed from the scourge of hunger.’ Da Silva said the FAO conference in June 2014 would finally make the total eradication of hunger its priority. He ended: ‘At that time, we will pay a tribute to Cuba and 15 other countries that have been most successful in reducing hunger’. Meanwhile UNICEF cites Cuba as the only country in Latin America free from child malnutrition.
Since 1959, nearly 3,500 Cubans have been killed and 2,100 permanently maimed as a result of terrorism launched from the United States by groups with links to the US government. Not a single US citizen has been injured or killed by terrorism linked to revolutionary Cuba. The only Cuban terrorists are counter-revolutionaries recruited by the CIA. Most infamous among them is Luis Posada Carriles, who lives freely in Miami. President Obama has excelled in the US practice of state terror: through its occupying armies, support for dictators, rendition flights, torture of prisoners, forced feeding of hunger strikers in Guantanamo prison camp, drone-strike assassinations around the world and repression of internal dissent. Yet in the topsy turvy world of imperialism, the US labels socialist Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism and points to black revolutionary Assata Shakur to prove it. HELEN YAFFE reports.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-935928-89-8. Ebook ISBN 978-1-935928-90-4
Jack Colhoun is a journalist and archive researcher with a distinguished record of investigating US foreign policy in Vietnam, Cambodia and the Middle East and publicising the impact of special interest lobbies on domestic politics like the Obama Healthcare legislation. He was the leader of the draft and military resistance registers exiled in Canada during the Vietnam War.
The author laboured for nineteen years over source material, primarily the US intelligence documents on Cuba from the John F. Kennedy Assassination Collection (JFKAC) at National Archives II in Maryland. This archive collection was created by the President Kennedy Act of 1992, which mandated the declassification of documents with possible relevance to Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963.i The declassified documents offer new insights into US policy making: from Eisenhower’s decision to seek the overthrow of the Cuban revolution in November 1959; to the CIA’s failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961; to Kennedy’s provocative Operation Mongoose in 1962; to the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962; to Kennedy’s covert funding of ‘autonomous’ Cuban exile commando operations in 1963; to back-channel discussions between the Kennedy Administration and Castro in the weeks before President Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963; and President Lyndon Johnson’s de-escalation of US policy in Cuba .
Cuba will expand public internet services during June in some 118 cyber centers operating throughout the country, according to a resolution issued by the island’s Communications Ministry.
The Internet services will be offered in all commercial offices of the Cuban Telecommunications Company ETECSA, which count on Internet rooms. With this aim a total of 118 facilities were set up on the island, particularly in main cities, while other similar facilities will progressively be opened.