Published on 25 July by www.counterpunch.org W.T. Whitney Jr
In Cuba recently press conferences and new reports celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Operation Miracle, known also as “Mision Miracle,” which occurred on July 8. This internationalized project aimed at restoring vision on a massive scale took shape within the context of ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.
Cuba and Venezuela launched ALBA in late 2004. Latin American and Caribbean nations belonging to ALBA engage in mutually beneficial trade-offs of educational and medical services, scientific projects, even commodities. They are referred to as solidarity exchanges. ALBA exemplifies Cuba and Venezuela’s central role in promoting regional integration.
Under Operation Miracle, Cubans and Venezuelans benefit from surgical eye care, as do tens of thousands of foreign nationals who’ve traveled to Cuba for treatment. Cuban ophthalmologists serving in Venezuela took the lead in establishing 26 eye care centers throughout that national territory. Staff consisting of eye surgeons, nurses, technicians, and other physicians have served Venezuelans and also vision- impaired people from 17 Latin American countries plus Italy, Portugal, and Puerto Rico. More recently organizers established centers in 14 Latin American and Caribbean nations. Ten years after its start the project operates in 31 countries, some in Africa and Asia.
Published on 26 July 2014 by Granma International
We have arrived thus far thanks to the unity of the people and their confidence in the Revolution, said Comandante de la Revolución Ramiro Valdés, July 26 in Artemisa
President Raúl Castro led the event commemorating the 61st anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons, July 26, National Day of Rebellion, held in the provincial capital of Artemisa, west of Havana.
The Cuban people’s determination to guarantee the continuity of the Revolution and socialism was emphasized by Comandante de la Revolución Ramiro Valdés Menéndez – a participant in the historic 1953 assaults led by Fidel against the Batista dictatorship – who presented the principal remarks at the national celebration.
We have no alternative other than continuing to struggle every day for the homeland, the Revolution, and socialism, said Valdés, also a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers.
Published on 23 July 2014 by Cuba News
Cuba prioritizes actions to develop its recycling industry through the purchase of modern technology, the study of its potentials and the adoption of new legislation in the sector.
In tune with a new recycling policy adopted in 2012 by the Cuban Council of Ministers the performance of the sector is being reviewed and will be complemented with a new recycling law, currently in the works, plus the setting of prices that encourage the collection and recovery of recycling materials.
The new policy stipulates the development of industrial processing through the introduction of new technology and of course encouragement of foreign investment in the sector.
According to the general vice-director of the Cuban Recycling Industry Marilyn Ramos, actions have thus far included the study of the country's potential output of recycling materials, the installed capacity for industrial processing and the opportunities that the sector can offer foreign investors to create new recycling capacities.
The plan includes the purchase of new equipment to disassemble large and idle industrial facilities that possess large volumes of metal scrap; important enough is an investment in a local ship disassembling plant in western Cuba, aimed at increasing capabilities and work on all boats abandoned along Cuban coasts.
Actions also aim at setting up a new recycling plant of plastic materials in the central-southern province of Cienfuegos.
However, the sector reported the recycling of over 420 thousand tons of materials in 2013 , which translated into the saving of 220 million dollars, if the country had to import such raw materials, officials said.
Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, on July 5, 2014, Year 56 of the Revolution, during the National Assembly of People’s Power 8th Legislature’s third period of ordinary sessions, in Havana’s Convention Center
Compañeras and compañeros:
Over the last few weeks, we have held important meetings, among them the June 21 Council of Ministers and the 8th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, last Thursday. Information about both events, especially the Council of Ministers, has been broadly reported in the media.
Likewise, since Wednesday, deputies have discussed in depth, in their respective commissions, the principal issues affecting the nation’s work. My remarks will therefore be brief.
As has been reported, during the first half of the year, the Cuban economy continued to grow modestly; the Gross Domestic Product (GNP) increased by 0.6%, indicating a deceleration in the growth rate as a result of shortfalls in external income; the negative effects of weather conditions; as well as the persistence of internal economic management deficiencies.
Despite growth in the areas of transportation, communications, agriculture, the sugar industry and tourism, decreases were registered in mining and industrial production, the latter as a result of difficulties with financing and the consequent late delivery of imported raw materials.
Likewise, the negative effects of the world economic crisis continue, while the U.S. blockade has been tightened, especially with respect to the persecution of financial entities which maintain ties with our country, a topic I will address again later.
In these undeniably difficult circumstances, we have met in a timely fashion our financial obligations resulting from the restructuring of debts with our principal creditors, a fact which favors the continuing recuperation of our economy’s international credibility.
At the same time, internal monetary equilibrium has been maintained, both within the population’s sector and in the economy as a whole. The tendency toward recovering financial discipline, in terms of accounts payable and receivable, has been consolidated, as well.
To achieve a growth of 1.4% in the GNP by the end of the year, more and better work is required during the second semester, and the utilization of untapped sources of efficiency must be strengthened.
We are not satisfied with the results achieved, but neither are we discouraged, in the least. Faced with these difficult circumstances, our spirit of struggle, determination and optimism must prevail, to reverse the situation and regain the rate of growth needed to assure socialist development, based on sustainable and irreversible foundations.
"These policies defy reason: there are dozens of countries we call our allies and we are free to travel to that present much worse threats and concerns to the US than Cuba does in this decade. ", said the President of Google, Eric Schmidt in an article he posted on his personal website about his recent visit to the island.
During the trip Schmidt was accompanied by Google directives Jared Cohen, Brett Perlmutter and Dan Keyserling.
In his article he included several pictures he took in Havana and said that "the Cuban people, modern and very well educated define the experience with a warmth that only Latin cultures express: tremendous music, food and entertainment (most of which we were not able to sample, more about that visa in a minute.)"
"The two most successful parts of the Revolution, as they call it, is the universal health care free for all citizens with very good doctors, and the clear majority of women in the executive and managerial ranks in the country. Almost all the leaders we met with were female, and one joked with us that the Revolution promised equality, the macho men didn't like it but "they got used to it", with a broad smile," Schmidt noted.
Cuba's rehabilitation services are present in 36 nations, informed on Thursday Maritza Leyva, head of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Program of the island's Public Health Ministry.
While addressing participants in the opening of the 1 st Workshop on Medical Equipment, as part of the International Convention of Cuban Industry (Cubaindustria -2014), Leyva pointed out that working in these nations are physicians, physical therapists and highly qualified technicians, while in many places there are only promoters.
Various specialties, such as physical medicine and rehabilitation, logopedics, defectology, podiatry, occupational therapy, natural and traditional medicine and physical education are incorporated to contribute to the rehabilitation of disabled persons, specified Leyva.
New Cuban equipment made by the country's medical industry were presented during the workshop.
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.