Published on 23 July 2015 by Granma
The Cuban International Commerce Bank (Bicsa) and the Florida-based Stonegate Bank have signed an agreement to establish a correspondent account, reported bank authorities in Havana, yesterday, July 22.
Established was an understanding on correspondence, a standard practice between banks to facilitate transactions.
Sources noted that, in this specific case, existing restrictions imposed by the U.S. blockade must be taken into consideration.
Stonegate CEO Dave Seleski, described the event as the first important financial accord to be signed since the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. on July 20.
The executive explained that the agreement with Bicsa will facilitate transactions for U.S. companies doing business in Cuba, given that the correspondent accounts will allow for international operations, including the transfer of funds between clients.
Stonegate, founded in 2005, has 21 branches in the state of Florida, while Bicsa was created in 1993, and currently maintains correspondent relations with 600 agencies around the world.
Published on 4 May 2015 by Granma Internacional
In his final comments at the International Solidarity with Cuba Conference in Havana, Gerardo Hernández of the Cuban Five asserted that the freedom of the anti-terrorists would not have been won without the efforts of all present
“Thank you brothers and sisters of the world, you should know that when we say thank you, it is not a formality. Deep within our hearts we know that if we are here, it is due, in large measure, to the efforts of friends like you around the entire world, who did not rest until they saw us here. This is how I begin my words of gratitude,” Gerardo said.
“You are representative of a broader group of brothers and sisters who could not all be here, but convey our gratitude to them, everyone was important to the unity of forces which allowed us to be here today, with our families and people.
Published on 19 April 2015 by www.vivavenezuela.co.uk
Following an international initiative for a global day of action in solidarity with Venezuela, branches of the Revolutionary Communist Group responded with solidarity actions around the country. 19 April 2015 marks the 205th anniversary of the first declaration of Venezuelan independence from Spain in 1810. The global actions coincided with marches and rallies across Venezuela, declaring their defiance against imperialist intervention, the US decree and the latest round of US sanctions.
In Lewisham, anti-austerity and anti-cuts campaigners from South London RCG held a street stall in solidarity with Venezuela.
Published on 21 March by TeleSUR English
As Palestinians continue to face economic hardships and services and housing shortagtes after the Israeli bombardments last year, dozens of Gazans joined a rally on Saturday morning in solidarity with Venezuela.
teleSUR’s correspondent in Gaza, Noor Harazeen reported from the rally that attendees were calling for the U.S. to keep its hands off Venezuela. The event was organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), and several Palestinian officials attended, including Sami Abu Zuhri from Hamas.
“In light of the terrible threats that the government and people of Venezuela have received from the U.S. government ... all sorts of people have mobilized in support of the Venezuelan people ... The only threat to humanity is the government of the United States and its allies ... And the people of Gaza, are showing their love today in the streets, their support for Venezuela,” Valeria Cortes, one of the organizers, told teleSUR.
Several PLFP leaders gave speeches at the rally, and Luis Fernandez, the Venezuelan representative to the Palestinian Authority, addressed the rally by phone from Ramallah. Palestinians waved Venezuelan flags and pictures of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and former president Hugo Chavez.
Published on 28 January by Manuel E. Yepe. A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
It seems that some major media in the United States, so tightly controlled by the powers of the "Establishment", have timidly begun to tell the truth about somesensitive issues regarding relations with Cuba prior to December 17, 2014.
Thus, under the title "The real story behind the work of Alan Gross in Cuba, "JohnStoehr, editor of The Washington Spectator and contributor to The Hill ofWashington, DC, offers a version different from the official –and the only one USreaders had– about the activities of the US agent which prompted his arrest,conviction and imprisonment in Cuba.
“If you didn’t know anything about Alan Gross other than what you saw on television, you probably thought it was appropriate for him to sit next to First Lady Michelle Obama as a guest of honor at this year’s State of the Union address,” said Stoehr .
Of Gross it was only said that he was a humanitarian activist unjustly jailed in 2009 by a repressive Communist regime for the alleged crime of promoting internet access to Cuba’s small Jewish community.
According to The Spectator, even after his release from prison and return to the United States in December as part of President Obama’s plan to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba after half a century of regime-change policy in the United States, the official narrative with bi-partisan support exonerated him from guilt.
Nothing had been said about the fact that in 2009, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) paid Alan Gross, through a third party specialized in installing computer electronics in remote areas, almost $600,000 to go to the island nation to install military-grade internet equipment in Jewish synagogues which could not be detected by the government in Havana.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the United States government has spent more than $200 million since 1996 on so-called “democracy-promotion programs” meant to destabilize the Cuban government from the inside.
Published on 15 January 2015 by Cuba News Agency
Cuban doctor Felix Baez, who overcame the Ebola virus, which he got in Sierra Leone, returned to that Western African nation to continue fighting the disease along his comrades with the Henry Reeve international medical brigade.
Cubadebate website published a series of photos of the doctor along his comrades in Sierra Leone announcing his return.
An internal medicine specialist, Baez announced in December 2014 that he would return to the African nation to finish the job he started, once he fully recovered from the disease.
The 43-year-old doctor returned to Cuba after having been released from the Geneva-based Cantonal University Hospital, where he received treatment against Ebola.
In response to the World Health Organization call to fight Ebola in Africa, Cuba sent three brigades to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to fight the virus.
According to the World Health Organization over 8 thousand 800 people have died from the Ebola virus in Africa.
Published on 16 January 2015 by TeleSUR English
The U.S. government lifted large portions of its blockade against Cuba Friday, significantly loosening restrictions on American trade and investment. The U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday modifications to trade limitations with Cuba and the travel restrictions to the island for U.S. citizens.
Cuba–U.S. relations took a historic turn on Dec. 17, when three Cuban political prisoners — unjustly held by the United States for more than 15 years — were released, and the White House announced numerous policy shifts toward the Caribbean nation. President Barack Obama admitted that his country's half-century attempt to defeat Cuba had failed.
United Airlines said Thursday it planned to serve Cuba from Houston, Texas, and Newark, New Jersey, subject to government approvals. Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways said they would also look into adding services. Leading online travel company Orbitz Worldwide welcomed the Department of the Treasury's amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, which will facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes and facilitate the provision by travel agents and airlines of authorized travel services.
However, general tourism to Cuba remains banned.
Robert Muse, a Washington-based lawyer and expert on Cuban legal issues, told Voice of America that hefty fines remain for those involved in unauthorized travel.
“It is US$100,000 per infraction. So if you have 20 people in a group traveling to Cuba and the organizers violated the rules, you are looking at a US$2 million penalty,” he said.
Meanwhile, the details of the new amendments provide opportunities for U.S. businesses to export certain goods to Cuba, including telecommunications equipment and building materials for private residents and small businesses.
Senior administration officials plan to travel to Cuba later this month to discuss additional migration issues, as well the logistical considerations surrounding the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba.
Only the U.S. Congress can lift the blockade that has been in place since 1960. However, several U.S. lawmakers have vowed to block any attempts to restore diplomatic relations.
The United States is home to over 2 million Cubans.
17 December 2014, was an historic day for Cuba. On that morning, the three remaining Cuban Five members in U.S. prison flew home to freedom. At the same time, Alan Gross, an American who was arrested in Cuba 5 years ago, and convicted for illegally bringing into Cuba undercover communications equipment, was returned to the United States.
This was announced on December. 17 at 12 noon, simultaneously by Cuban President Raul Castro on Cuban Television and by President Obama in Washington.
Both announced that for the first time in more than 50 years, U.S. and Cuban embassies will be opened in each respective country. This means the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.
Up to now, a quasi-diplomatic relationship has been maintained by what are called “Interests Sections,” essentially diplomatic missions that are hosted by the Swiss government in both countries.
To give you a sense of what it means for the Cuban people, I have here an excerpt of what that day was like, from Michael Krinsky, a progressive New York attorney who has represented the Cuban Government in the U.S. for more than 30 years.
He was in Cuba for a seminar, and on New York City’s WBAI radio station last week he said that when Raul Castro spoke to the Cuban people on Television at noon and announced that the Five were now home:
“There was pandemonium. Unbelievable joy. Then when Raul announced that both governments agreed to establish normal relations, there was stunned silence. Then tremendous commotion and applause. There is a sense of triumph, for the person on the street, that after 55 years of holding on, despite the Bay of Pigs invasion, economic blockade, the special period when trade with the Soviet Union ended, they had held on. The feeling was, the U.S. came to us. It was a tremendous sense of vindication and triumph, you could see it in the streets, in the restaurants, they would congratulate each other, it was quite a moment.”
It is a very important development for the Cuban people and the Revolution, who have been besieged for more than 55 years by U.S. imperialism, blockaded, invaded, attacked by terrorism, to see that one small part of this cruel policy is being lifted.
But, the U.S. blockade remains in place.
After 53 years without diplomatic relations, the governments of the United States andCuba announced their willingness to resume them and start a process aimed atnormalizing bilateral relations.
The most immediate effect of this agreement was an exchange of prisoners that allowedCuba to recover three of the five heroic fighters against terrorism who had remained in US prisons after the other two had completed their long and unjust sentences and had already returned to their homeland.
"The Five" infiltrated the ranks of Cuban counter-revolutionary organizations based in south Florida and controlled by the CIA. Aware of the risks that this meant for their lives, they were there to monitor the pernicious terrorist plans of these groups and to officiallyinform the government of the United States through the Cuban government, given theinaction of the local and federal law enforcement.
For its part, Cuba freed a mercenary who had been captured in 2009 when –at the service of an American contractor agency for intelligence and subversion missions– hecarried out repeated infiltrations into Cuban territory and engaged in criminal act. He had been given a 15-year prison sentence. An spy for the United States who had spent nearly 20 years in prison and other criminals in Cuban jails whose release was of interest toWashington were also freed.
Obviously, all Cubans, including many living abroad who love their country, received the news joyously. It suggested the end of the most acute period of violent confrontationbetween the superpower and a rebellious people. Cubans have shown that they wouldnever yield to threats or reprisals in the struggle for their sovereign rights.