Published on 12 December by Granma Internacional

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According to an investigation by the Associated Press, the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, attempted to infiltrate the Cuban hip-hop movement as part of a covert project to destabilize the country.

Documents obtained by AP indicate that USAID hired a group of rappers to develop a youth movement in opposition to the Cuban government. The covert plan was implemented over more than two years, with the aim of using Cuban musicians to establish a network to agitate for social change on the island, PL reported on Thursday.

The Huffington Post website published a chronology of USAID covert operations in Cuba, detailing the activities of Rajko Bozic, a Serbian national who presented himself as a musical promoter and arrived in Cuba with instructions to involve Cuban rappers such as the Aldeanos duo in the covert hip hop program, to promote an opposition movement.

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Cuba has urged the UN Security Council to play an active role in stopping Israeli abuses of international law. It has also repeated its support for the Palestinian bid to be a full member of the UN, and criticised those countries who refuse to support it. In making these calls, Cuba shows its solidarity with the oppressed around the world. During a UN debate on the Middle East on 18 January, UN representative for Cuba, Pedro Nunez Mosquera demanded change, whilst at the same time exposing the limitations of these channels, dominated by the interests of the imperialist powers.

Mosquera denounced Israel's increasing demolition of Palestinian homes, which leaves families homeless and often having to pay for the demolition themselves. Despite the demolitions contravening UN international law, 2011 has been a record year for demolitions, with 622 Palestinian structures destroyed. Mosquera drew attention to the expansion of national park space in East Jerusalem, an area where settlement growth and house demolitions combine to create rapid expansion of the racist and brutal occupation. He also spoke of a 40% increase in settler violence. Mosquera not only denounced Israel's actions, but criticised the apathy of the UN Security Council, urging them to play an active and practical role in preventing abuses of International law.

Mosquera used the opportunity to reiterate Cuba's support for full recognition of Palestine at the UN. Cuba and the ALBA countries of Venezuela, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda, have repeatedly criticised the countries including the US and Britain, that have vetoed or remained silent on the bid for statehood.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez argued in an open letter to Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General in September 2011:

'It is impossible to ignore the crisis in the United Nations. In 2005, before this very same General Assembly, we argued that the United Nations model had become exhausted. The fact that the debate on the Palestinian issue has been delayed and is being openly sabotaged reconfirms this. For several days, Washington has been stating that, at the Security Council, it will veto what will be a majority resolution of the General Assembly: the recognition of Palestine as a full member of the UN. In the Statement of Recognition of the Palestinian State, Venezuela, together with the sister Nations that make up the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), have denounced that such a just aspiration could be blocked by this means. As we know, the empire, in this and other instances, is trying to impose its double standard on the world stage: Yankee double standards are violating international law in Libya, while allowing Israel to do whatever it pleases, thus becoming the main accomplice of the Palestinian genocide being carried out by the hands of Zionist barbarity […] Long-live free, sovereign and independent Palestine!'

As well as calling for solidarity with Palestine, Cuba exposed the imperialist role the UN plays in the Middle East whilst powerful countries hold court. Countries which have the right to veto hold overwhelming power, and use it in their interests; Mosquera described their ability to manipulate the Council, drawing attention to recent UN resolutions 1970 and 1973 (2011) on Libya. The resolutions condemned violence and resolved to ‘use all means necessary short of foreign occupation to protect civilians’ yet in reality, these resolutions meant NATO bombs, military intervention and the massacre of over 60,000 Libyans. Mosquera argued that the same 'recipe for pressure' was being placed on Syria, as competing countries repeat the preparations for intervention so recently practiced in Libya. 

Cuba's call for the UN Security Council to uphold international law, and its support for the Palestinian bid for full recognition at the UN, raises public attention and challenges countries to act in solidarity. Cuba is clear in its demand - the illegal occupation of Palestine, and violent and racist settler expansion, will not be tolerated. Mosquera’s intervention critically explains the role that is currently being played in the Middle East by the powerful, imperialist players - the same that call for war, exploit resources around the world, and that consistently refuse to support Palestine. 

Full self determination for nations!

Freedom for Palestine!

Viva Cuba!

Rachel Francis for Rock Around the Blockade

Published on 10 November by Prensa Latina

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For the fifth time in less than a month, The New York Times published a long editorial on Cuba, in which it listed the countless destabilizing efforts by the United States to overthrow the Cuban government.

In an article entitled "In Cuba, Misadventures in Regime Change", the Editorial Committee of the influential New York-based newspaper on Sunday reviewed Washington's countless plans against national stability in Cuba since the approval of the Helms-Burton Act in 1996 to date.

The New York Times notes that these subversive plans only served as the foundation for the US government to spend 264 million dollars over the past 18 years, in an effort to instigate alleged democratic reforms on the island.

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First published on 20 October 2014 by New York Times

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Cuba is an impoverished island that remains largely cut off from the world and lies about 4,500 miles from the West African nations where Ebola is spreading at an alarming rate. Yet, having pledged to deploy hundreds of medical professionals to the front lines of the pandemic, Cuba stands to play the most robust role among the nations seeking to contain the virus.

Cuba’s contribution is doubtlessly meant at least in part to bolster its beleaguered international standing. Nonetheless, it should be lauded and emulated.

The global panic over Ebola has not brought forth an adequate response from the nations with the most to offer. While the United States and several other wealthy countries have been happy to pledge funds, only Cuba and a few nongovernmental organizations are offering what is most needed: medical professionals in the field.

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Cuban-doctors-and-health--012Published on 12 October by The Guardian

The island nation has sent hundreds of health workers to help control the deadly infection while richer countries worry about their security – instead of heeding UN warnings that vastly increased resources are urgently needed

As the official number of Ebola deaths in west Africa’s crisis topped 4,000 last week – experts say the actual figure is at least twice as high – the UN issued a stark call to arms. Even to simply slow down the rate of infection, the international humanitarian effort would have to increase massively, warned secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

“We need a 20-fold resource mobilisation,” he said. “We need at least a 20-fold surge in assistance – mobile laboratories, vehicles, helicopters, protective equipment, trained medical personnel, and medevac capacities.”

But big hitters such as China or Brazil, or former colonial powers such France and the UK, have not been stepping up to the plate. Instead, the single biggest medical force on the Ebola frontline has been a small island: Cuba.

That a nation of 11 million people, with a GDP of $6,051 per capita, is leading the effort says much of the international response. A brigade of 165 Cuban health workers arrived in Sierra Leone last week, the first batch of a total of 461. In sharp contrast, western governments have appeared more focused on stopping the epidemic at their borders than actually stemming it in west Africa. The international effort now struggling to keep ahead of the burgeoning cases might have nipped the outbreak in the bud had it come earlier.

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Published on 27/09/14 by Prensa Latina 

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An international workshop on the development of renewable energy sources, mainly gasification of forest biomass, will be held on Oct. 6-8, said organizers.

It is the most important project implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) in Cuba, ongoing in the special municipality of Isle of Youth, explained in a press conference Maria Tomas, commercial specialist of energy, research, development and services.

Jorge Luis Isaac, a specialist of public service firm Union Electrica de Cuba, said that the project includes the use of wind energy and the technology of gasification of forest biomass in the Isle of Youth, considered for its size as a very climate change-related vulnerable site with difficulties for energy supply.

This technique means the conversion of forest industry wastes into fuel gas through a thermochemical process to generate electricity or heat for the industry. At least 1.5 kg of biomass is needed to produce 1 kilowatt.

The project was signed in 2005 and went through several phases up to now, including the training or staff, the creation of firms to promote renewable energy sources and the transfer of technologies for the design, production and operation of forest biomass gasifiers.

To introduce this technology in Cuba, Unido donated a forest biomass gasification plant, located in Cocordilo town, in the Isle of Youth, to supply energy to a community of 80 houses and 230 inhabitants from waste generated by cleaning the forest.

The project, worth some 5.3 million USD, is supported by the Global Environment Fund under the United Nations Environment Program to implement actions to mitigate the effects of climate change and develop renewable energy sources.

 

Published 11 September by Prensa Latina

(Editors note - Cuba's commitment been reported in mainstream media, including even Forbes Magazine)

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Given the history of Cuban international collaboration, particularly in the health field, we have been asked to join the group of countries that will give initial response to an urgent call against Ebola in Africa, said Cuban Health Minister Roberto Morales after a meeting in Geneva with World Health Organization director general Margaret Chan.

Minister Morales visited Geneva in response to a call by the World Health Organization and the United Nations to fight Ebola, according to PL news agency.
 
At present, Cuban health workers, including over 2 500 doctors, are offering their services in 32 African countries, said Morales and added that Ebola must be fought in a comprehensive manner, under the coordination of the World Health Organization, to achieve a significant impact on the affected regions.
 
The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the worst ever in the world so far with nearly 4 thousand cases and over 2 thousand deaths.
 During a working session, Margaret Chan expressed the need to learn from the Cuban experience in the treatment of emergency cases and thanked President Raul Castro because Cuba has been the first country to respond to the UN and the WHO call to fight Ebola in Western Africa

www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk

Rene-Gonzalez-visa-deniedsmallOn 27th August Rene Gonzalez was again denied a visa to visit the UK. This decision was taken despite the fact that 29 MPs had invited him to speak at a meeting at the Houses of parliament on September 10th. On 5 September, he suffered a further miscarriage of justice when the British courts failed to overturn the decision.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign has launched a letter writing campaign which you can join here

Olga Salanueva, wife of released Miami Five prisoner René González, will speak at emergency meetings on 8-10 September to protest at the British government’s denial of an entry visa for her husband.

René, the first of the Miami Five to be released, was due to speak at meetings in Liverpool and London to mark the 16th anniversary of their arrests. Despite an invitation from 29 British MPs to address a meeting in parliament and by the TUC to address their Congress in Liverpool, the British government has refused three legal appeals to overturn their decision to deny him entry to the country.

Rene is currently in the middle of visits to Portugal and France, both countries having granted him a visa without issue.

Emergency meetings with Olga Salanueva

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Published on 1 September 2014 by Workers World

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“The banks are a tool of Wall Street rule!” Is this political accusation just an abstract, educational slogan?

Not in the case of Cuba. On July 3, The Irish Independent reported that international transactions to or from Cuba would no longer be processed by the Bank of Ireland. The announcement coincides with the largest bank in France — BNP Paribas SA — agreeing to pay a negotiated settlement nearing $9 billion for violating international sanctions unilaterally imposed by the United States on third countries, including handling $1.75 billion for Cuba.  (bloomberg.com, July 9)

But even according to the governor of the Bank of France, BNP Paribas “had broken no European or French rules.” (Financial Times, June 2 )

Neither did the Bank of Ireland. So what is the problem? The “Single European Payment Area” is a financial system to facilitate and standardize the electronic flow of capital across European borders to be fully in place by Aug. 1. But SEPA is not isolated from the global flow of money.

The Bank of Ireland claims it depends on an overseas bank to process transactions under the SEPA umbrella. On Aug. 25, the Irish Times quoted a bank spokesperson’s explanation, “‘As it happens, [the bank which processes] all Sepa transactions is a leading U.S. bank who must comply with its own regulatory requirements and obligations and to avoid a possible exposure to regulatory sanctions and penalties.’ Because of this the Irish bank says it is ‘not in a position to process such transactions’” to Cuba. In other words, it faces the specter of a BNP Paribas type fine.

Since 1992, the United Nations General Assembly has annually and overwhelmingly passed resolutions condemning the U.S. blockade of Cuba. All European Union representatives and Ireland supported these resolutions.

Simon McGuinness, the national coordinator of Cuba Support Group Ireland, said, “On the one hand we have the EU voting as a single bloc against the blockade and on the other they introduced financial regulations which facilitate it.” (irishtimes.com, Aug. 25)

The globalization of U.S. imperialism’s financial network relies increasingly on technology for the split-second transfer of capital to every corner of the earth. It is a shadowy weapon against sovereignty and independent development for formerly colonized areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Bank of Ireland’s decision to eliminate transfers to and from Cuba is an example of how unelected proponents of imperialism in the corporate and financial boardrooms shape financial regulations to enforce their political goals — while giving the illusion of objectivity.

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