Cuba

  • Published on 3 May by Granma

    granma founder

    On Sunday, May 1, Susana Lee López, a founder of Granma, passed away 

    She was one of the intrepid and committed young people who didn’t hesitate to sign up for the literacy campaign following the triumph of the Revolution. She worked as a journalist for over 50 years. She began in the profession without prior training, in May 1962, when she was still a high school student at the Institute of Secondary Education in Havana. Her first steps were taken in the paper Hoy, where she evolved as a dedicated reporter of youth and women’s issues. Her first teachers were seasoned professionals of the pen, such as Ricardo Sáenz, Juan Marrero, Gabriel Molina, Raúl Valdés Vivó, sub-editor, and Blas Roca, editor of the paper.

    Between 1972 and 1976, she undertook a degree course for workers, graduating in Law, a profession she never practiced as she devoted herself completely to her vocation as a journalist. She was a founder of the papers Juventud Rebelde and Granma, in which she left her mark as a reporter. In the former, she worked for 15 years from 1966, when the paper was founded as a merger of the publications La Tarde and Mella. She worked as head of her team and information.

    In the following decade, her daily work was linked to historic moments and issues, such as the constitution of People’s Power. By 1981, following a proposal from then editor Jorge Enrique Mendoza, she returned to Granma, and four years later became head of information. Thousands of articles, interviews, and even reports personally commissioned by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro, are the legacy of her long and productive time at the paper, the example of a journalist who won deserved acclaim amongst her peers.

  • Published on March 14 2016 by Granma.

    Syrian Ambassador

    Dr. Loai Aloja, chargé d'affaires of the Syrian Arab Republic in Havana, described the fraternal relations between his government and Cuba as those of sister nations, exemplified by the island’s support for independence causes in the Arab nation.

    Speaking with national media in Havana, the diplomat referred to Cuba’s continued support in defense of the anti-colonial struggles of underdeveloped countries. He noted that the leaders of the Revolution, the Communist Party of Cuba and institutions, have never held back on providing political support for movements fighting for national sovereignty.

    With regard to Syria and the Ba'ath Party, he stated that Cuba has denounced military aggression promoted from abroad, and the interventionist pretensions of Western powers in the country, in international forums. “Cuba presents its opinions in an open manner and without shying away, based on a position of internationalist principle,” he said.

  • Published on 30 March 2016 by Granma.

    obama speech

    Much more is revealed by what Obama didn’t say in Havana, than the little he did, no matter how choice his words. This is the same Obama who could do much more given his Presidential powers and yet has not. Dario Machado reports.  

    Like many others, I followed the visit by Barack Obama to our country and experienced mixed feelings: on the one hand, the healthy patriotic and revolutionary pride of witnessing a U.S. president rectifying the policy toward Cuba and repeating on our own soil that the blockade must be ended, reaffirming respect for our sovereignty and independence, which we Cubans have earned with our sacrifice, our sweat, our blood, our history; and on the other hand, the danger posed by those who believe that with these lukewarm changes, the contradiction between the interests of U.S. imperialism and the Cuban nation has disappeared. But it was only after listening to his speech that Tuesday morning that I decided to write this, because, as Fidel warned over half a century ago, from now on everything will be more difficult.

    Who could doubt the enormous complexity of U.S. society, where black and white analysis is of little value?

  • Published on 29 September 2015 by  for Jacobin Mag

    chavez-confetti

    Earlier this summer, the world watched Greece try to resist a disastrous neoliberal diktat and get a painful thrashing in the process.

    When Greece’s left government decided to hold a national referendum on the troika-imposed austerity program, the European Central Bank retaliated by restricting liquidity for Greek banks. This triggered a prolonged bank closure and plunged Greece further into recession.

    Though Greek voters ended up massively rejecting austerity, Germany and the European creditor cartel were able to subvert democracy and get exactly what they wanted: complete submission to their neoliberal agenda.

    In the last decade and a half, a similar fight against neoliberalism has been waged across the breadth of an entire continent, and mostly outside of the public eye. Although Washington initially sought to quash all dissent, often employing even fiercer tactics than those used against Greece, Latin America’s resistance to the neoliberal agenda has in large part been successful. It’s an epic tale that’s gradually coming to light thanks to continued exploration of the massive trove of US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

    Neoliberalism was firmly implanted in Latin America long before Germany and the eurozone authorities began force-feeding structural adjustment to Greece and other indebted, peripheral countries. Through coercion (e.g., conditions attached to IMF loans) and indoctrination (e.g., the US-backed training of the region’s “Chicago Boys”), the US succeeded in spreading the gospel of fiscal austerity, deregulation, “free trade,” privatization, and draconian public sector downsizing throughout Latin America by the mid-1980s.

  • diaz canel resized

    By Will Harney | FRFI

    On 19 April 2018 Cuba inaugurated its new Council of State, including the new President, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez. He is the first leader of Cuba’s government to be born after the revolution of 1959. At this event which concluded the six-month long general election, outgoing leader Raul Castro addressed the National Assembly of People’s Power, expressing optimism about the suitability of the country’s new leadership to continue the programme of economic, social and political reforms, as well as the significant progress made in rejuvenating and diversifying the National Assembly so that it reflects the demographics of the nation it serves. Raul also expressed his hope that Diaz-Canel would succeed him as First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party, indicating that the ties between the Party and the government of Cuba will remain strong in the years to come. Will Harney reports.

    The transition to the next generation

    Raul stepped down this year after two terms in office, in accordance with the term limits agreed in the Communist Party of Cuba’s programme of updates to the socialist model, which were approved at the 6th Congress in 2011 and consolidated at the 7th Congress in 2016. Guidelines for economic, social and political reforms were drafted, modified and agreed in 2010-11, in consultation with the people through a participatory democratic system (FRFI 221). Included in the programme are gradual changes to improve efficiency and productivity in Cuba’s economy, with a greater role for non-state enterprises, introduction of a housing market and incentives for greater foreign investment with the state retaining control over central planning. The guidelines also stipulate that no one over 70 will assume a leadership position in the Party, effectively guaranteeing that the country’s leadership will transition to a new generation.

  • cuba facebook

    By Seamus O’ Tuairisc | FRFI

    The US has plans to make use of Facebook and other social media in order to generate political dissent in Cuba. The US government has charged the Miami-based network Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) with the task of overseeing the spread of propaganda and disinformation through social media. The OCB is a subsidiary of the state-owned Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an agency which owns and supervises other networks that broadcast pro-US propaganda overseas, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.

  • U.S. insurance company American International Group (AIG) became the latest victim of the arbitrary policy, after being fined over 148,698 USD

    Published 28 June 2017 by Granma

    officeofforeignassetsandcontrols

    So far this year the U.S. Department of the Treasury has imposed four fines on national and foreign companies for allegedly violating the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.

    The latest victim of this over 55 year old policy is U.S. insurance company American International Group (AIG), which was fined more than 148,698 USD.

    According to the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the company committed 29 blockade violations after providing coverage for several goods shipments to or from Cuba, or linked to an entity on the island. 
    This is AIG’s second penalty in three years after the U.S. government accused its Canadian subsidiaries, in May 2014, of violating blockade regulations 3,560 times from January 2006 through March 2009.

    Since the arrival of President Donald Trump to the White House last January 20, Washington has issued three sanctions related to the blockade of Cuba, two of these in the month of June.

  • Published on 16 February 2016 by Granma

    tractor

    Without even touching Cuba soil, tractors manufactured by the U.S. company Cleber LLC are already making their mark on international public opinion and relations between Washington and Havana.

    This small company founded last year by a businessman of Cuban origin, Saul Berenthal, and Horace Clemmons, are looking to lead the way across the Straits of Florida, to set up shop in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM), Cuba’s most important investment site at this time.

    Just recently, Cleber LLC, with headquarters in the state of Alabama, took a step forward, drawing closer to its objective.

    The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), one of the entities which tightly controls U.S. trade with Cuba, awarded the company an unprecedented license to erect a manufacturing plant in the country, to produce up to 1,000 small-sized tractors annually.

    Cleber had previously obtained a permit from the Commerce Department, which along with the Treasury are responsible for the implementing executive decisions made by President Obama to modify the application of the blockade, which remains in full force.

  • Published on 13 July 2016 by teleSUR.

    cuba and us flags

    Legislation passed this week aims to reverse President Obama's policy of normalizing relations with the blockaded island nation.

    The United States House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a number of clauses that seek to toughen U.S. sanctions on Cuba in the budget bill for 2017 financial services and general government services.

    The new measures are at odds with U.S. President Barack Obama's policy of thawing relations with Cuba, which has been under a U.S. blockade for more than 50 years. To become law, the measures still need to pass the U.S. Senate and receive President Obama's signature, neither of which is guaranteed.

  • Published on 18 February 2016 by Granma

    obama cuba

    The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations Director General for the United States, Josefina Vidal, confirmed during a press conference in Havana this Thursday, February 18, that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, will visit Cuba March 21-22.

    The president will be welcomed by the Cuban government and people with the hospitality that characterizes us, Vidal said.

    “It will be an opportunity for President Obama to appreciate the Cuban reality and continue to discuss the possibilities of expanding bilateral dialogue and cooperation on issues of mutual interest to the two countries,” she added.

    Vidal also noted that the visit marks a further step toward improvement in relations between Cuba and the United States.

    The Foreign Ministry official stressed that the normalization of bilateral relations is dependent on the resolution of key outstanding issues, including the lifting of the blockade, and the return to Cuba of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base.

  • Published on 7 April 2017 by Granma International

    cement

    Punta de Maisí, Guantánamo.– Orfelina Matos Legrá struggles to keep back the tears as she speaks about the New, Tricolor Neighborhood Mission. And it’s understandable, given that her home is one of the over 150 which, through this collaboration project with Venezuela, have been restored thus far in Punta de Maisí, following damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.

    “I’m so grateful for the presence of the New Neighborhood initiative here… How could I not be, look at my little house, if you saw what it, and many others, looked like after the hurricane, it would have given you a fright. Now it’s got a new roof, it’s been brightly painted inside and out, with a new bathroom, and nicer doors and windows, all donated by Venezuela!”

    The 60-year-old campesina also expressed her gratitude to the Cuban state, which supplied additional resources totally free of charge, such as cement, sand, gravel, building blocks, and tacks, as well as transportation to deliver the supplies donated by Venezuela.

    “Matthew seriously impacted the vast majority of homes in the area. Everything was destroyed, however, the destruction quickly turned into well-being thanks to the Revolution and international aid. Look how lovely this row of houses is with their red roofs, and each painted three different colors. They are prettier than before the hurricane hit. My neighborhood looks like new, it’s much better and a lot more colorful,” states Orfelina, pointing to several newly restored homes to her right.

    This sense of gratitude is also shared by José Rodríguez Azahares, Carlos Rodríguez Paumier, and other residents whose homes have benefitted from the New Neighborhood project.

    José notes that small brigades of neighbors were formed to help each other repair and rebuild their homes, and help with the most difficult tasks such as replacing roofing.

    “Thanks to the resources Venezuela and the Cuban government have been providing since mid-January, I was able to repair my house. My neighbors and brother-in-law helped me,” states Carlos, who works as a security guard at the coffee processing plant in Punta de Maisí.

    A COMMUNITY PROJECT

  • Published on 31 October by Telesur English

    barrio adentro

    Close to 20 million Venezuelans have received free healthcare from the government's Barrio Adentro program, President Nicolas Maduro said Friday.

    "It's the largest and most powerful humanitarian mission ever conceived in Venezuela – perhaps in the world,” Maduro said, referring to Barrio Adentro (Inside the Neighborhood). The program provides free healthcare to the public, with a focus on aiding poor and rural regions.

    Celebrating the 15th anniversary of a bilateral agreement with Cuba that led to the creation of Barrio Adentro, Maduro said the health program has provided over 731 million consultations. This means on average, the mission is helping over 6000 people an hour.

    Just under 2 million surgical procedures have been conducted by Barrio Adentro, and over 1 million Venezuelans have been treated for vision problems by another health initiative, Mission Milagro (Miracle Mission).

    Overall, Barrio Adentro has now directly provided care to two thirds of Venezuela's population of 30 million, according to official figures.

  • Written by Salim Lamrani on 29 December 2015 - Translated by Rédacteur

    wet-foot-dry-foot

    Nearly 6,000 Cubans wishing to emigrate to the United States, are stuck in Costa Rica, without opportunity to continue their journey North. After reaching Ecuador, the only country in Latin America not to require visas to Cubans, they undertook a long journey across the continent to travel mainly to Miami. But their way stopped in Costa Rica. Indeed, the countries of Central America, Nicaragua, Mexico, refuse to let migrants, target of criminal networks, and require a policy response from Washington, primarily responsible for this situation [1].

     Indeed, Cubans who enter the United States illegally are welcomed with open arms, while illegal immigrants from other nations are immediately arrested and deported to the country of origin. This specificity is due to the historical commitment of the United States to use the migration issue as a weapon to undermine the Cuban Revolution [2].

    In 1959, the United States expressed their hostility to the government of Fidel Castro. They opened their doors to the heirs of the former military regime of Fulgencio Batista, including the security forces involved in violent crimes. Washington also welcomed the country's economic elite and favored the departure of highly qualified personnel in order to destabilize its society.

    The impact on Cuba was hard. Indeed, in such a vital sector as health, nearly half of Cuban doctors, i.e 3000 of them had responded to the US Sirens who promised them a better life. This episode has plunged the country into a serious health crisis. Other highly skilled professionals were also encouraged by US authorities to leave the island for more lucrative economic opportunities in Florida [3].

    In its war against Cuba, Washington had decided to use the migration issue to destabilize the country. In 1966, Congress-passed Cuban Adjustment Act is unique in the world : it states that any Cuban who immigrated legally or illegally, peacefully or by force, on 1 st January 1959 or later automatically obtains permanent resident status after a year and a day, as well as various social benefits (housing, work, medical care, etc.) as well as the possibility of obtaining the U.S. citizenship after five years [4].

    Now, that was a great tool for inciting illegal emigration. Since nearly 50 years, the richest country in the world has opened its doors to the population of a small poor country of the Third World, with limited resources and victim, in addition, to extremely severe economic sanctions. In this logic, the U.S. Embassy in Havana had to concede a visa for all applicants for emigration under this law. But that was not the case. Instead, Washington severely limited the number of visas granted to Cubans each year to stimulate the illegal and dangerous emigration and exploit crises for political purposes. Thus, visaless Cubans wishing to emigrate to the United States were compelled to put their lives on makeshift boats, hoping not to be intercepted by the Coast Guard, or make long journeys across the continent, at the mercy of the people smugglers and criminal gangs of all kinds.

  • Published on 8 March 2016 by Granma

    young americans studying medicine in Cuba

    Young people from the U.S. studying medicine in Havana welcomed news of the visit by President Obama to Cuba, and hope that the rapprochement between the two countries is mutually beneficial.

    “I hope that during this visit March 21 and 22, there is an open and sincere dialogue, with agreements that are good for the two peoples,” Jontay Darko, a 5th year medical sciences student at the Salvador Allende Faculty in Havana, told Granma International. The faculty forms part of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), which has graduated more than 24,000 health professionals from 84 countries, in its over 15 years of existence.

    Jontay is from the city of Chicago, and describes Cubans as kind, friendly, warm and communicative in their interpersonal relationships.