Argentina is facing the potential of a new financial crisis after it defied legal attempts to force it to repay US$1.33 billion in debt owed to the so-called “vulture” funds that have pursued the country for more than a decade. Over the weekend the Argentine government proceeded with a $US539 million payment to creditors that had agreed to restructured debt terms following the country’s 2002 default.
But it has ignored a US Supreme Court order to pay out a group of mainly New York-based “hold out” hedge funds. These had refused the country’s restructured terms and are demanding a payment of $1.33 billion. US Supreme Court Judge Thomas Griesa described Argentina’s payment to the restructured debt holders as illegal and “explosive”, ordering the Bank of New York Mellon to return the money to Argentina. The judge has pleaded with Argentine authorities to negotiate with the hedge funds to avoid a technical default. Argentina argues that paying both classes of creditor would also cause it to default.
A brief history of debt
The Cuban people and government pay tribute today to Reserve Army Corps General Sixto Batista Santana, who passed away Sunday in Havana from a painful disease.
According to Granma newspaper, the remains of the outstanding revolutionary will be buried at the Veterans' Pantheon in the Colon Cemetery.
Batista Santana was born March 28, 1932 to a poor family in the western province of Santiago de Cuba. He joined the Rebel Army headed by Fidel Castro at a very young age and he assumed different responsibilities during the revolution, such as Chief of the Political Staff of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and Coordinator of the Revolution's Defense Committee.
Batista was a founding member of the Cuban Communist Party's Central Committee and he was also member of the Cuban Council of State.
The Bacardi Corporation has launched a new deep saturation advertising campaign, with vibrant videos and colourful images. The adverts brandish the Cuban flag, with slogans such as ‘we survived exile from our own country’ and ‘we thrived during Prohibition’. Bacardi, the richest family-owned business in the world, has an army of lawyers and marketing and public relations professionals to clean up their murky past and obscure their right-wing agenda. Scratch the surface, however, and the truth is there.
Bacardi began leaving Cuba long before the revolution, back in 1910 when they moved their bottling to Barcelona, Spain. Later in the 1930s they opened facilities in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Bacardi boasts about how they benefited from the abuse of Cuba as a colonial playground for wealthy Americans during the Prohibition years. However, they also claim that their assets were ‘illegally confiscated without compensation’ by the Cuban government in 1960. In fact, they were offered compensation by the revolutionary government, a sum based on the value of the assets they had themselves declared for tax payment purposes. Pepin Bosch, head of Bacardi at the time of the Cuban Revolution, a man referred to as ‘the saviour’ on Bacardi’s website, was linked to the CIA and exiles groups actively involved in attacking revolutionary Cuba.
Later, he and other members of the Bacardi family helped set up the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF). Membership was initially granted to Cuban exiles whose businesses were worth more than $50,000 when they were nationalised by the Cuban government. This exclusive club used their wealth to buy power, cultivating the support of influential right-wing US senators. The fruit of this partnership was the Helms-Burton Act in 1996, which penalises any country trading with Cuba. Even the European Union questioned the legality of the Act, but CANF lawyers fought off every objection.
In April and May 2014, news about two US-based attacks on Cuba hit international headlines, demonstrating that as the capitalist crisis intensifies, imperialist attempts to destabilise the popular and revolutionary government of socialist Cuba continue. Louise Gartrel reports.
On 3 April, following a thorough investigation, Associated Press (AP) exposed a US government-funded covert programme to develop a social media network in Cuba as a tool to promote an uprising against the government. The mobile phone network was called ‘Zunzuneo’, which is Cuban slang for the hummingbird’s ‘tweet’; hence this project was referred to as the Cuban ‘twitter’. Then on 7 May, the Cuban government announced that four Cuban exiles from Miami had been arrested on 26 April on entering the country with the intention of carrying out terrorist actions against military installations. As living conditions worsen for the majority in the capitalist countries, and as repression, racism and exploitation increases, Cuba represents a viable alternative which threatens the rotten neoliberal system. This has provided the impetus to ratchet up attacks on Cuba.
The Cuban government strongly rejected on Saturday the blacklisting of the island by the US State Department in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report.
The Cuban government strongly rejected on Saturday the blacklisting of the island by the US State Department in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report by calling it a groundless unilateral practice and an offence against the Cuban people.
A statement issued by the general director of the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s United States Division, Josefina Vidal, reads that on June 20, the US Department of State decided to again include Cuba on the worst category of its annual report on countries that do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons and that do not make significant efforts to do so.
Washington took the decision disregarding the high recognition and prestige of Cuba for its outstanding role in the protection of its children, youths and women.
The statement reads that Cuba has not asked any evaluation from the United States nor it needs any recommendations from that country, which is facing some of the worst problems related to the trafficking in children and women around the world.
The United States has no moral to certify Cuba or to suggest any kind of plans when, according to estimates, nearly 200 thousand US citizens are victims of trafficking inside the US territory, where labor exploitation is the most expanded modality of trafficking in persons with 85 percent of legal processes on the issue are related to sexual exploitation and with over 300 thousand children, out of one million who leave their homes, are subject to some kind of exploitation, the statements notes.
The Government of Cuba strongly rejects the unilateral US practice, for considering it groundless and an offence against the Cuban people, reads the statement and adds that the inclusion of Cuba on the US list is due to political interests, as it is the certification of the island as a state sponsor of international terrorism, which is a pretext to justify the financial sanctions imposed and increasing stiffened by the US government against Cuba, thus severely affecting Cuban children, youths, women and all the people, concludes the statement issued by the general director of the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s United States Division.
Haiti opened on June 11 its third community hospital with the support of Cuba and Brazil, after the earthquake that hit the nation in January 2010.The medical facility was inaugurated by President Michel Martelly at the Carrefour neighborhood, west of the capital Port au Prince and it will benefit a population of more than 60 thousand, according to PL news agency. Martelly stressed the importance of Cuban cooperation in the health sector and in other areas, such as education, fishing, construction and agriculture. Meanwhile, Cuban ambassador to Haiti, Ricardo Garcia, said that the facility, in which Cuban medical specialists will also work, will contribute to the strengthening and reconstruction of the Haitian health system in order to improve the people’s quality of life
Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patiño said in Quito that without Cuba's full participation there will be no Summit of the Americas in Panama next year.
In a press conference on Wednesday, the foreign minister said that there is regional consensus on the Cuba issue as was evidenced at the recent meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), held in the Galapagos Islands and at the Forum of the Organization of American States (OAS), in Paraguay.
Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa recently stated that his country will not go to the Panama Summit of the Americas if Cuba is not there.
It is unacceptable holding a Summit of the Americas without Cuba, as it is also unacceptable the existence of the Organization of American States without Cuba, and Latin America cannot tolerate this situation, said Correa.
Ecuador did not attend the 2013 Summit of the Americas in protest against Cuba's absence.
Milagro de la Caridad Pérez Caballero, a member of the National Secretariat of Cuba's CTC labor federation (Cuban Workers' Central), began a speaking tour in Spain on April 14. Spain's Coordinating Organization for Solidarity with Cuba organized her trip. Her interview with journalist Enric Llopis appeared May 29 on rebelion.org. The link is:http://www.rebelion.org
The opening for emerging sectors like self employed workers or cooperatives, or the arrival of foreign investment in Cuba doesn't mean enterprises of the socialist state will no longer predominate in the country's economy. To the contrary, "That sector assumes the major burden for developing the economy," says Milagro de la Caridad Pérez Caballero, deputy of the National Assembly of People's Power and member of the National Secretariat of the CTC. The labor leader participated in a discussion of "New labor relations and Cuban unionism in the context of updating socialism," organized by the José Martí Cuba Friendship Association of Valencia.
Question: The 20th Congress of the Cuba Workers' Central (CTC) was held in February. What were the main conclusions?
The production-sharing agreement for the Puerto Escondido/Yumuri oil field will now sunset in March 2028. During the new 10-year term, Sherritt — currently Cuba’s only independent oil and gas producer — must drill a minimum of seven additional wells within an initial two-year period following the effective date in 2018.
In the same press release, the Toronto-based company said it was awaiting final approval by the Cuban government for four new exploratory production-sharing contracts, after having completed negotiations.
“After more than two decades in the country, we have developed a great relationship with the government of Cuba,” said David Pathe, president and CEO of Sherritt. “We are pleased to announce this extension as an important milestone towards continuing long-term oil production in Cuba.”
Sherritt currently works under two production-sharing contracts in three commercial oil fields, which contributed an average of 20,042 barrels of gross working-interest oil production per day in 2013.
Sherritt invested US$67 million in oil and gas during the first quarter, most of it in Cuba.
Hugo Moldiz Mercado Granma International
In a tactical shift toward Bolivia, the U.S. State Department has sent Jefferson Brown to the country, indicating a likely increase in subversive activity against the Morales government. He was apparently sent to clean house, and replace all embassy personnel in preparation for the July arrival of a new attaché, Peter Brennan, an uncommon diplomatic practice.
It appears that the White House has decided to make a turn - for the worse - in its relations with Bolivia. After removing Larry Memmott, considered a dove in U.S. secret services circles, the State Department has sent Jefferson Brown, as interim business attaché, who will remain on the job only through June, before handing over the position to the much more experienced hawk, Peter Brennan.
Changes at the U.S. embassy in La Paz are not limited to replacing the business attaché, the highest ranking official present in the country since President Evo Morales expelled Ambassador Philip Golberg in 2008, for engaging in subversive activity in conjunction with hard-line opposition forces in the city of Santa Cruz. All indications point toward the replacement of the entire staff, giving greater weight to secret services and an increase in efforts to destabilize the Morales government, within the framework of a regional counter-offensive.
Enemigo by Raúl Capote, Editorial Jose Marti, 2011 (in Spanish)
Review by Raidel López
In Enemigo (Enemy), Cuban writer and university professor of history, Raúl Capote, reveals his life as a double agent; agent Pablo for the CIA, and agent Daniel for Cuban intelligence. This is not a work of fiction or a classic spy novel. It is the real experience narrated by the protagonist about plans by the CIA and its allies to destroy the Cuban Revolution. His story reveals one of the many facets of the US war against Cuba. For over half a century plans of espionage, sabotage, terrorist attacks, assassination, subversion, military, economic and political aggression, have been made and executed from the US. Most of these plans have failed, thanks to the work and sacrifice of men like Capote.
The US is seeking more than €7.4 billion ($10 billion) to resolve a criminal probe into allegations that the French bank evaded US sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
BNP – the largest publicly traded French bank – is seeking to pay less than $8 billion, the newspaper reported citing people familiar with the case.
Still, the multibillion dollar figure would put the fine among the largest penalties ever imposed on a bank and is far higher than what BNP has provisioned for.
A $10 billion settlement figure would represent a "hit" of around 5 percent to the bank's tangible book value and result in a €5 per share impact on the fair value of BNP Paribas stock, Citigroup analysts said.
The US Justice Department and BNP are reportedly currently discussing whether the French banking giant, as part of its punishment, would be temporarily denied the right to transfer money into and out of the United States – a central part of any foreign bank's business dealings in the US.
By Manuel E. Yepe
A CubaNews translation.Edited by Walter Lippmann.
In light of the recent and ongoing military activities of the United States in Latin America and the Caribbean, there are increasing reasons to question the claim that --because of the crisis over Ukraine, Syria and the suspension of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians-- the region has lost importance in the imperial strategic design of the superpower.
U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has just visited Guatemala after participating in the Second Conference of Defense Ministers of North America which was held in Mexico.
Mexico's armed forces had been hosting the "Chimaltlalli 2014," international competition, a military training contest for cadets of the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico held on the premises of the Heroico Colegio Militar de México.
With advice from the U.S. Southern Command, special force units of the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Forces held an air and sea military simulation assault exercise on the supposed headquarters of a drug lord. It was announced that this exercise was part of a larger month-long training exercise designed to strengthen the response capability of the local authorities against terrorist activities.
The "Bravo" joint assault force of the Southern Command, based in Honduras, along with the U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group, executed a very peculiar training session at Lake Yojoa. While the helicopter pilots practiced their overwater operations exercising their capacity to operate at low altitude, the members of the strike force practiced jumping from helicopters at a height of ten feet above water.
Tube: Warren Street
Their fight is our fight - Come to this meeting to help break the media blockade and join the fightback.
ACN 23 May
Cuban medical cooperation, which began over half a century ago, has been present in about 120 countries with 135,000 voluntary workers, pointed out Roberto Morales, member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) and minister of this sector.
Morales chairs the 67th World Health Assembly under way this week in Geneva, Switzerland, where he said that at present over 50,000 health professionals are offering their services in 65 nations, 25,000 of which are physicians.
Doctor Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) praised in that meeting the medical cooperation that has increased health indicators in various peoples, in the presence of the 194 representatives of the same number of nations that are members of that international organization.
In statements to ACN, Doctor Jose Luis Di Fabio, representative to Cuba of the WHO and the Pan-American Health organizations, praised these contributions and also described as invaluable the training of human resources, not only for the Cuban people but also for nations in need.
He underlined the training at Havana's Latin American Medical School, free of charge, of some 15,000 physicians coming from the most vulnerable populations of various parts of the world, who after graduation return to their countries to serve their communities
Following the release of '14ymedio' the new online newspaper published by the infamous internationally funded blogger Yoani Sanchez, RATB reposts an opinion article from La Alborada 27 May
For more information on Yoani Sanchez see Salim Lamrani's excellent '40 questions for Yoani Sanchez'
Vice-president Joe Biden gave Yoani Sanchez an interview (exclusive!) in time for her new venture's debut. Or so it's said: she once published what she said was an on-line interview with President Barack Obama, but it turned out that both questions and answers were prepared at the US Interests Section in Havana and subsequently attributed to Obama, who never was interviewed by Sanchez. The Biden interview may have followed the same route. It's hard to believe the internet maven.
It's not fresh news, either, because, according to Sanchez, the interview took place in April, at least 28 days ago, while she was in Washington. She was saving the article for yesterday.
Bacardi recently launched their latest deep saturation advertising campaign, with videos on TV, cinema, and YouTube and bill hoardings in train stations and tube stations and bus stops. The adverts brandish the Cuban flag, with slogans such as ‘we survived exile from our own country’ and ‘we thrived during prohibition’. Bacardi, the richest family-owned business in the world has an army of lawyers and marketing and public relations professionals, to clean up their murky past and right-wing agenda. Scratch the surface, however, and the truth is there.
Bacardi began leaving Cuba long before the revolution, back in 1910 when they moved their bottling to Barcelona, Spain. Later in the 1930s they opened facilities in Mexico and Puerto Rico. This information can found on Bacardi’s own website. Bacardi boasts about how they benefited from the abuse of Cuba as a colonial playground for wealthy Americans during the prohibition years. However, they also claim that their assets were ‘illegally confiscated without compensation’ by the Cuban government in 1960. In fact, they were offered compensation by the revolutionary government, a sum based on the value of the assets they had themselves declared for tax payment purposes. The figure didn’t take into account the international holdings the family held. Pepin Bosch, head of Bacardi at the time of the Cuban Revolution, a man referred to as ‘the saviour’ on Bacardi’s website, was linked to the CIA and exiles groups actively involved in sabotaging and attacked revolutionary Cuba. Later, he and other members of the Bacardi family helped set up the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF). Membership was initially admitted to Cuban exiles whose businesses were worth more than $50,000 when they were nationalised by the Cuban government. This exclusive club used their wealth to buy power, cultivating the support of influential right-wing US senators. The fruit of this partnership was the Helms-Burton Act in 1996, which penalises any country trading with Cuba. Even the European Union questioned the legality of the Act, but CANF lawyers found a loophole around this.
The establishment of the campaign Rock around the Blockade (www.ratb.org.uk), set up by members of the Revolutionary Communist Group, coincided with this period. One of RATB’s most prominent campaigns was to expose and oppose the Bacardi corporation highlighting their involvement in the illegal blockade and terrorism against Cuba and progressive movements in Latin America. We did Bacardi bar busts, street theatre, subvertising and appealed for conscientious drinkers to choose Havana Club, real Cuban rum, whose profits are invested in Cuban society. A really useful source of information about Bacardi’s history was the book Bacardi: the Hidden War (Bacardi: La Guerra Oculta) by Colombian journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina. This review of the book appeared in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in 2001 http://tinyurl.com/ldlawu3 . The following year the book was published in English with a forward from James Petras.
Rock Around the Blockade photos from our previous Boycott Bacardi campaign.
www.freethefive.org National Committee to Free the Cuban 5
Yesterday morning, the Cuban Ministry of the Interior (MININT) announced that on April 26, four terrorists who live in Miami were arrested for plotting terrorist attacks on Cuba soil. Their names are José Ortega Amador, Obdulio Rodríguez González, Raibel Pacheco Santos and Félix Monzón Álvarez.
According to the MININT report, the men have admitted that they planned to attack military installations and they had entered Cuba several times since 2013 to plot their actions.
Santiago Álvarez, Osvaldo Mitat, Manuel Alzugaray, collaborators with terrorist Luis Posada Carriles,were directing the plotters
The four men who are now detained in Cuba have admitted to Cuban authorities that Santiago Álvarez, Osvalto Mitat and Manuel Alzugaray were directing their actions.
Granma Lisandra Fariñas Acosta
Opening minds and breaking new ground
For the first time, Cuba will host the VI Regional Conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGALAC), to be held in tandem with the VII Cuban Workshop against Homophobia.
The VI Regional Conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGALAC) will be held in Cuba for the first time, on this occasion in parallel with the VII Cuban Workshop against Homophobia.
From May 6 thru 9, Matanzas city’s Plaza América Convention Center will be the venue of this event organized in favor of the recognition of sexual such as freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity as human rights.
National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) director Mariela Castro Espín said in a press conference that the ILGALAC meetings reflect the increasingly stronger and closes links of fraternity and respect of diversity in the region. “If we fail to develop bonds based on our views to have the political influence we need, we will not make any progress”.
One of the most significant presentations made at the International Commission of Inquiry in London in the case of the Cuban Five was by Angela Wright of Amnesty International. A.I. has now released its full report, which you can read by clicking here.
A.I.'s thorough investigation reviews the legal history of the case, noting for example that the 3-judge Appeals Court panel, which ordered a new trial for the Five (later reversed by the full Court), decreed that the evidence submitted in support of the motion for a change of venue was "massive".
A.I. puts the spotlight on the fact that Miami reporters who reported on the Cuban Five prosecution in a highly biased and inflammatory manner were on the U.S. government payroll, an outrageous situation entirely unknown during trial.