Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Condoleezza Rice the Warmonger

Reuters - 43 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is keeping "all options", including a military one, on the table against Iran and the resumption of diplomatic ties is not under consideration, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday. ...

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Dios los cria y el diablo los junta.

The Cuban Chess Team


The Cuban chess team is on the right. They were playing Armenia, who after eight rounds, is leading the World Chess Olympiad by two points.

Photograph is courtesy of Chess Base.

Cuba Jumps to Third Place at Chess Olympiad



Overview of the Cuban Team

World Chess Olympiad Web Page

Nation News, Barbados

Published on: 5/30/06.

CUBA led the charge as Caribbean teams put in another creditable performance in seventh-round action of the 37th World Chess Olympiad, being played in the futuristic Lingotto Oval in Turin, Italy.

The Cubans, who seemed to be finding their form, turned back Indonesia 3 1/2 to 1/2 to jump to third position in the Olympiad standings on 19 1/2 points.

Full Story

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Failure of Bush strategy emphasized

Granma International

Havana. May 29, 2006

• Outgoing head of the U.S. Southern Command recommends review of policy on Cuba

General Bantz Craddock, outgoing head of the U.S. Southern Command, urged the U.S. government to review its failed policy on Cuba, and criticized the ban on contact between military officers of the two nations.

Craddock said the time had come for a "stem-to-stern" review on U.S. regulations, including the ban on meetings between the two countries’ militaries outside of traditional talks along the fence surrounding the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo.

"One of the things that we as a government probably don't do well is to review our policies and our laws routinely, based upon the conditions in the world changing (...) My judgment is we need to re-look laws, policies more often to ensure that they still make sense, given the changing conditions in the world," he said, adding, "I don't want to make a judgment on whether or not to change [the Cuba policy], but I think it needs to be re-looked."

Other former chiefs of the Southern Command have criticized the lack of bilateral meetings between the two nations’ armed forces. One of them, General Charles Wilhelm, said in September 2002 that Cuba was a "47,000-square-mile blind spot in [our] rearview mirror."

The statements by General Craddock come at a time when the Bush administration is planning to strengthen sanctions on Cuba with the publication of a new report by the so-called Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, sponsored by the State Department but backed by other government agencies.

The intentions of that commission and the recent compendium for preparing and accelerating "transition" in Cuba were strongly condemned by a number of U.S. social organizations, including the Center for International Policy, the Latin American Working Group, the Washington Office on Latin America, and the National Council of the Churches of Christ.

Those organizations emphasized the failure of policy on Cuba, and its attempt to implement a "new democracy" after the death of Cuban President Fidel Castro, and they predicted a true fiasco for any further attempts to strengthen that policy.

Any proposals by the commission "will have no vital effect," stated Wayne Smith, an expert with the Center for International Policy, comparing the latest plans to that created in 2004 by President George W. Bush.

Travel To Cuba

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board
Posted May 30 2006

ISSUE: Bill bans Florida scholars from going to Cuba.

Now that Florida is pursuing its own anti-Axis of Evil foreign policy, which countries should it target in the next round?

Perhaps the state should ban all imports reading "Made in China." After all, the People's Republic is a communist country and there are plenty who accuse the Beijing government of human rights abuses, not to mention playing economic hardball as well.

Ridiculous and foolish, yes, but one is tempted to think the real reason it won't happen is because China isn't the communist nation 90 miles from our shores. It's Cuba.

So Gov. Jeb Bush is ready to sign a counterproductive bill forbidding professors and students at public universities and community colleges from using state or non-state funds to travel to Cuba.

The bill applies to Cuba and four other countries, including Iran and Sudan, which stand accused of supporting terrorism. But it's hard not to conclude Cuba is the main target.

Cuba is on the State Department's list of terrorist-supporting states, and has been for years. But the U.S. government has never made a publicly convincing case for putting Cuba on the list.

There's much suspicion the decision is a politically motivated anti-Fidel Castro one, and that hurts U.S. credibility. But it makes for good politics in the Sunshine State, and now we have the Tallahassee bill banning academic travel to Cuba.

The bill is an infringement on academic freedom, and its prohibition on use of "non-state" funds is over-reaching.

Too much scholarship on Cuba is of dubious quality because the island tends to attract researchers who are sympathetic to the regime and don't pursue critical analysis. However, this legislation will encourage more such studies and reports.

The goal, therefore, ought to be for a full-court press to relax rules so that a broader collection of scholars could travel to Cuba, thus producing a more complete and accurate picture.

BOTTOM LINE: The bill will produce more sympathetic analysis on Cuba.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Off-coast drilling will happen; let's get in game

South Florida Sun Sentinel

By Larry Craig
Posted May 26 2006

Last week I, along with nine other Republican senators, including the chairman of Energy and chairman of Intelligence, and three influential Democrats, introduced the Western Hemisphere Energy Security Act. In light of our current energy crunch, this bill would allow U.S. companies and producers the opportunity to compete with the likes of China, India, France and others who are exploring and extracting oil resources 50 miles off our southern coast in some potentially lucrative waters in the north Cuban basin.

Under current law, U.S. companies cannot drill in these international waters. Congress seeks to change that as Americans have had enough of dependence on foreign sources of oil and $3 gas.

First, the public wants our country to diversify our resources and become less dependent on Middle East oil. Second, experts in Latin American politics make a strong case that our disengagement policy toward Latin America is having serious consequences for U.S. economic, national security and resource interests in the Western Hemisphere. In particular, the names of Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia are becoming common in public discussion, and we have seen a radical change in Latin America, where countries are turning to leftist and socialist governments.

These developments do not serve our economic or national security interests, with the nationalization of industries in several Latin American countries. However, they do serve the very interests of countries around the world with similar governments and policies. In particular, China is aggressively exploiting these developments right on our doorstep.

Just recently the Bush administration's National Security Strategy has pointed to China's extreme resource hunger with concern, because China is "acting as if they can somehow lock-up energy supplies around the world or seek to direct markets rather than opening them up."

I could not agree more, especially as Chinese oil drills are about to be planted 50 miles off our coast and Venezuela purchases 18 oil rigs from China. In fact, Chávez has stated numerous times that he seeks to divert his oil exports away from the United States to China. Should this ever occur, it goes without saying that it could have devastating impacts on our economy.

So today, we must re-evaluate our failed policy of disengagement, which limits our ability to diversify our resources and compete with China, India and others. Disengagement also dooms the governments of Latin America to repeat their failed history, rather than join the community of modern and progressive democracies.

Anyone who fears the small island of Cuba shows no faith in the great concepts of America, capitalism, the power of engagement and a human's will to be free.

Clearly, those who do fear Cuba, Venezuela and others must understand that such isolation has only resulted in creating a vacuum, which China has eagerly stepped in to fill. I, for one, can no longer stand by and let fear dictate our foreign policy. Sitting on the sidelines promotes stagnation, not change, and only diminishes our influence in the region.

Practically speaking, Cuba is an irrelevant factor in the world of foreign and global affairs. This may be why consecutive administrations and Congresses have allowed a small group of people with a special grudge against Cuba, legitimate or not, to have free rein on U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba for domestic political purposes.

For the sake of our national and economic security, this is wrong. Enough is enough, and that is clearly evident by the quick, diverse and vast support in the Senate for my bill.

It isn't as if Cuban oil won't be extracted if U.S. producers do not participate. It will be; there is no debate.

So if this is to happen, Floridians ought to demand it be done by the best, most environmentally responsible companies in the world. China's inexperience in this area and poor environmental record is troubling at best.

As President Bush said recently, "China is not our enemy." He is absolutely right. China isn't our enemy; we are our own worst enemy. While we debate endlessly about energy independence and diversification, China is locking up oil plots right off our coast. Let's get in the game, so the job is done right.

U.S. Sen. Larry Craig is a Republican from Idaho.

Nobody has the right to tell me who is my family and who is not


“They pick who is my family!”

Roberto, 66
Radio journalist
Miami, FL/Tortora

Roberto came to the U.S. with his wife and son in 1980. His two other children stayed behind, a son who is now 54 and a daughter who is 42. He has three grandchildren in Cuba.

As a journalist Roberto can legally travel to Cuba. He visits his family while there. He volunteers at a Miami radio station in part to maintain access to his family. Still, the restrictions bother him deeply. As an outspoken critic of the restrictions, he fears that if he applied for the license required to make a family visit he might be denied because of his political views.

Roberto is offended at the thought of having to ask permission to go to his own county. “If my granddaughter is going to be 15 and the party is in Havana, it is my right to go. That’s the way I see it.”

He also objects to the government’s deciding who is family. ”I cannot send a belt to a cousin because a cousin is not family… I am very upset because they pick who is my family and who is not. My family is my family! Nobody has the right to tell me who is my family and who is not.”

Source: Latin America Working Group

The picture is one in the exhibit Love, Loss and Longing that opened this month in Washingto, D.C. You can view all the pictures at the LAWG website.

Carta de la Oficina de Inmigración a Luis Posada Carriles: Usted es un peligro para la Seguridad Nacional

Traducción Cubadebate

22 de marzo de 2006 04:09 p.m.
De: T-041 P.04/07 F-831

Oficina de Detención y de Operaciones de Retiro
Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los Estados Unidos
1545 Hawkins Blvd
El Paso, Texas 79925

Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduana de Estados Unidos
70/45
A12 419 708

Luis Clemente POSADA-Carriles
C/O El Paso Processing Center
8915 Montana
El Paso, Texas 79925

Estimado señor Posada Carriles:

Decisión provisional de continuar la detención

Por la presente carta le comunicamos que su condición de detenido ha sido objeto de análisis y se ha determinado que, en estos momentos, no será liberado de la detención por parte del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduana de Estados Unidos (ICE), porque, tal como se especifica más adelante, usted continúa siendo un peligro para la comunidad y un riesgo para los vuelos. Esta decisión provisional se fundamenta en el análisis de su caso y el examen de la información que usted y su abogado presentaron a los funcionarios del ICE encargados del examen.

Usted es oriundo de Cuba y ciudadano de ese país y de Venezuela. El 17 de mayo de 2005, fue detenido por agentes del ICE. El 25 de julio de 2005, el Juez de Inmigración (JI) le denegó la fianza al sostener que usted estaba sujeto a detención obligatoria por haber cometido un delito que entrañaba vileza moral y considerar que usted constituía un peligro para los vuelos. Durante los procedimientos relacionados con su traslado, el JI consideró que podía ser trasladado en virtud de los dos cargos presentados en el Aviso de Comparecencia, en cumplimiento de INA § 212 a) 6) A) i) (presente sin inspección) e INA § 212 a) 7) A) i) I) (inmigrante que no posee visa de inmigrante válida). Además, usted admitió que no reunía las condiciones exigidas para retener el traslado por haber cometido un delito no político grave fuera de los Estados Unidos. El 26 de septiembre de 2005, el JI ordenó su traslado, pero accedió a la postergación del traslado tanto a Cuba como a Venezuela.

Su historial de participación en actividades delictivas, de vínculos con personas involucradas en actividades delictivas e intervención en actos violentos, indica que usted hace caso omiso de la seguridad del público en general y que es propenso a participar en actividades proscritas en las disposiciones de INA § 212 a), las cuales constituyen un riesgo para la seguridad nacional de los Estados Unidos. Además, ha mostrado una actitud displicente hacia la repercusión que sus acciones han tenido para la seguridad y el bienestar de las personas y sus bienes. Las informaciones provenientes de fuentes abiertas y sus propias declaraciones lo vinculan a la planificación y coordinación de una serie de acciones de colocación de bombas en hoteles y restaurantes, que tuvieron lugar en Cuba durante un período de varios meses en 1997. Por otra parte, el 20 de abril de 2004, usted fue declarado culpable en Panamá de cometer Delitos contra la Seguridad Nacional y Falsificar Documentos Públicos, por lo cual fue condenado a siete años y un año de privación de libertad, respectivamente. Aunque posteriormente la Presidenta de Panamá le concedió indulto por esos delitos, el indulto foráneo, en sí mismo, no tiene efecto alguno en relación con las leyes de inmigración de los Estados Unidos. Un análisis de su detención y su historial delictivo muestra que, a raíz del juicio y de la absolución por las acusaciones criminales formuladas en Venezuela, su absolución fue anulada en la apelación y que, mientras estaba pendiente de un nuevo juicio por las acusaciones, usted hizo varios intentos de fuga y, finalmente, logró escapar de prisión. Debido a su largo historial de actividades delictivas y actos de violencia, que provocaron la muerte de civiles inocentes, liberarlo de la detención plantearía un peligro para la comunidad y la seguridad nacional de los Estados Unidos.

Usted afirma haber entrado por última vez en los Estados Unidos sin inspección al cruzar de forma ilegal la frontera mexicana el 26 de marzo de 2005. Posteriormente admitió que poco después de su entrada, mintió a un agente de la Patrulla Fronteriza de los Estados Unidos, alegando que usted era viejo y olvidadizo y había dejado sus documentos de inmigración en casa. Desde el momento de su entrada ilegal en los Estados Unidos hasta su detención, usted fue refugiado ilegalmente por sus asociados de Miami. Por lo menos dos de estos asociados, Santiago Álvarez y Rubén Darío López Hernández, alias Rubén Darío López-Castro, tienen antecedentes penales. Mientras usted se encontraba escondido en los Estados Unidos, presentó una solicitud de asilo a los Servicios de Inmigración y Ciudadanía de los Estados Unidos, pero no compareció en la entrevista programada, alegando que estaba enfermo. Sin embargo, antes de que terminara ese mismo día, apareció en un lugar no revelado para conceder una conferencia de prensa, acompañado de varios de sus asociados radicados en Miami, incluido Santiago Álvarez, quien hizo de moderador de la conferencia de prensa y le sirvió de intérprete. En su conferencia de prensa, usted declaró públicamente haber vivido de forma clandestina durante más de treinta años. Usted reconoce, además, haber asumido una serie de identidades diferentes durante toda su vida y utilizado pasaportes y otros documentos de identidad provenientes de varios países diferentes, a fin de moverse libremente por toda América Central. Como ya se señaló, su pasado también incluye la fuga de una cárcel venezolana, lo que se consumó tras diversas tentativas en las que utilizó amenazas de fuerza, explosivos y subterfugios. Cuando usted fue aprehendido por el ICE, portaba un bolso marinero que contenía sus medicinas y su ropa. Según se cita en un artículo publicado en el Miami Herald, el 4 de junio de 2005, Santiago Álvarez, quien es considerado su “principal benefactor”, declaró que usted estaba “haciendo una última parada a fin de recoger las pertenencias personales en casa de un amigo, la cuales [estaban] en [su] camino para abandonar el país cuando los agentes lo detuvieron a [usted]”. Recientemente, las autoridades estadounidenses detuvieron y acusaron a Santiago Álvarez de poseer armas automáticas, cuyos números de serie en algunos casos estaban borrados, y de poseer pasaporte falso.

Aunque usted devino residente permanente legal de los Estados Unidos en 1962, posteriormente abandonó esa condición. Desde 1965, no ha vivido en los Estados Unidos durante períodos prolongados y, de hecho, se convirtió en ciudadano venezolano y trabajó para el Gobierno de Venezuela con carácter oficial. Antes de su más reciente entrada ilegal en los Estados Unidos en 2005, había entrado por última vez en ese país en 1974. Usted señaló que, de 1985 a 2005, había vivido en América Central, principalmente en El Salvador.

Usted sigue siendo objeto de una solicitud de extradición formulada por el Gobierno de Venezuela, la cual se sustenta en su presunta participación en el atentado con bomba contra un avión de pasajeros de Cubana de Aviación. Esta cuestión continúa siendo examinada por el Departamento de Estado y el Departamento de Justicia de los Estados Unidos.

Usted ha sido conocido por los alias siguientes: Bambi o Bamby, Juan José Rivas, Ramón Medina, José Ramón Medina, Basilio, Bebe, Franco Rodríguez Mena, Juan R. Medina, Ramón Rodríguez (Medina), Ramón Medina (Rodríguez) y Franco Rodríguez (Mena), Solo, Lupo, Louis McClaud y Juan José Rivas López.

Su pericia para asumir identidades falsas, su desestimación de las leyes de inmigración de los Estados Unidos, sus antecedentes de fuga y la presencia de la solicitud de su extradición internacional pendiente, demuestran que usted representa un riesgo de fuga considerable, si resulta liberado de la detención.

Al adoptar su decisión, el ICE examinó la carta y la documentación probatoria presentada por su abogado. Se analizó la información presentada, incluidos sus vínculos familiares en los Estados Unidos, su edad y estado médico, sus servicios militares y gubernamentales en los Estados Unidos, su explicación sobre la participación en actividades anteriores, y su disposición de cumplir cualesquiera condiciones de libertad propuestas, tales como el monitoreo electrónico. Si bien usted afirma no ser un peligro para la comunidad ni un riesgo para los vuelos, y que su edad y su salud pueden atenuar esos riesgos, en este momento no podíamos dar crédito a sus afirmaciones tras ponderar la totalidad del expediente.

Según proceda, el ICE seguirá examinando su detención teniendo en cuenta la información adicional que usted presente, los sucesos colaterales y los esfuerzos dirigidos a trasladarlo a otros países. Entretanto, como ya se señaló en la Notificación de Análisis de Detención que se le entregó, las leyes de inmigración estipulan que usted debe facilitar su propio traslado de los Estados Unidos, así como acatar las gestiones del Gobierno estadounidense para trasladarlo. En su testimonio, usted indicó haber vivido en América Central durante un período de 15 años (de 1985 a 2000), en países tales como Panamá, El Salvador, Honduras y Guatemala entre otros, enumeró diversos asociados, amigos y otros contactos potenciales en esos países y señaló que, durante su empleo como asesor policial en El Salvador, sostuvo numerosos contactos y “fraternizó con altos funcionarios gubernamentales en almuerzos, cacerías y otros”. Asimismo, indicó haber solicitado a uno de sus contactos en Honduras que obtuviera un documento de viaje a ese país a su nombre y que éste respondió que el Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores no estaba dispuesto a abordar el asunto porque “el Gobierno estaba cambiando”, y que “tal vez esto podría resolverse con el nuevo Gobierno”.

La información precedente, así como la información que se indica en más detalle en su testimonio y las iniciativas diplomáticas de los Estados Unidos, han proporcionado múltiples perspectivas de efectuar su traslado de los Estados Unidos, de tal manera que el ICE considera que su traslado de los Estados Unidos es razonablemente previsible. Adjuntas a esta decisión figuran preguntas complementarias derivadas de la información que usted ha suministrado y que guardan relación con otras estrategias y vías de comunicación que contribuyen a facilitar su traslado de los Estados Unidos.

Como ya se explicó, usted permanecerá bajo la detención del ICE en espera de su traslado de los Estados Unidos. Se le comunica que debe demostrar que está haciendo esfuerzos razonables para cumplir la orden de traslado y cooperando con las gestiones de la ICE para trasladarlo actuando tal como el ICE solicite para efectuar su traslado. Asimismo, se le comunica que el hecho premeditado de no solicitar oportunamente de buena fe los documentos de viaje u otros documentos necesarios para su salida o la negativa premeditada a hacerlo, o la conspiración o las acciones dirigidas a impedir su traslado u obstruir la expedición de un documento de viaje, podrán someterlo a enjuiciamiento penal en virtud de la Sección 8 1253 a) del Código de los Estados Unidos.

___(firmado)_______________________ 27/3/06______

Robert E. Jolicoeur, Director de la Oficina Local Fecha



____________________________________________________

PRUEBA DE SERVICIO

1) Servicio Personal (funcionario encargado de llenar los incisos a) y b) infra).

a) Yo, _Roy Hernandez SDDO ____________________

Nombre del funcionario del ICE Cargo

certifico que entregué a Luis POSADA Carriles copia del presente

Nombre del detenido

documento en el Centro de Procesamiento de El Paso el __________

Institución Fecha

a las 2:08 p.m.

Hora

b) Certifico que entregué al custodio Alfredo Campos

Nombre del funcionario OIC en el Centro de Procesamiento de El Paso, el __________

Cargo Institución Fecha

copia del presente documento.

O

2) Servicio por correo certificado, comprobante de devolución. (Copia del comprobante adjunta)

Yo, _____________________________________________,

Nombre del Funcionario del ICE

certifico que entregué a __________________________________,

Nombre del detenido

y al custodio ___________________________________________

Nombre del funcionario

copia del presente documento por correo certificado en _______________ el ___________________________________.

Institución Fecha

(X) cc: Ab

Anexo No. 1 a la decisión provisional de continuar la custodia

Requisitos suplementarios para contribuir al traslado de Luis Clemente Posada Carriles (A 12 419 708)

Las solicitudes adicionales siguientes emanan de su respuesta al documento inicial y de las solicitudes de información formuladas el 23 de diciembre de 2005. Cada solicitud original aparece en letra cursiva, seguidas de la información suplementaria requerida:

1) el nombre de cualquier país donde, durante cualquier período de tiempo, usted ha residido, entrenado, viajado, ha sido empleado o ha poseído o actualmente posee familia, amigos, negocios, asociados militares, gubernamentales o de otra índole;

Respecto del período de 15 años (1895-2000), usted indicó haber residido en América Central (incluidos, entre otros países, Panamá, Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador), indique cada lugar (país, ciudad, dirección) donde residió durante cualquier período de tiempo, las fechas de su residencia en esos lugares, las circunstancias en torno a la reubicación, incluidas las razones profesionales y/o personales, y las personas con quienes haya sostenido contactos con respecto a la reubicación.

Incluya en su respuesta una descripción de su detención y los procesos penales en primer tipo de transacción o comunicación, incluya fecha de nacimiento, nacionalidad, dirección y número de teléfono.

Usted indicó haber recibido asilo temporal en la embajada chilena en Venezuela a raíz de su primera fuga de la detención en ese país. Sírvase indicar las personas que organizaron y proporcionado tal asilo temporal, incluidos las personas de Chile.

Usted indicó los miembros de su familia que residen en la Florida y California. Sírvase enumerar los familiares (incluidos los familiares de su esposa, o de cualquier otra cónyuge, si contrajo matrimonio anteriormente) que tiene fuera de los Estados Unidos, como hijos, hermanos, hermanas, tíos, tías y parientes políticos. Enumere los bienes o bienes raíces (excepto el terreno en “Poinciana Gardens”) que posee dentro o fuera de los Estados Unidos, o en que tenga un interés directo, parcial o beneficioso, o que haya transferido a otras personas o estén en posesión de su esposa, cualquier familiar u otra persona en su nombre o a instancias suyas.

2) los nombres y la información de contacto relativa a las personas consideradas en la pregunta anterior, incluidos las fechas de nacimiento, las nacionalidades, las direcciones y los números de teléfono y, en particular, las personas que residen en México, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panamá, Canadá, Honduras y cualquier otro país de América Latina, o cualquier otro país;

En lo referente a los nombres y la información de contacto suministrados en respuesta a esta solicitud, respecto del país extranjero en el que esa persona reside o anteriormente fue residente o nacional, sírvase proporcionar información detallada y las copias de cualquier correspondencia, que refleje las peticiones, si las hubiere, que usted haya hecho a esas personas para que lo ayudaran a obtener el permiso para entrar en el país extranjero.

Indique los nombres y la información de contacto sobre las personas consideradas en la solicitud suplementaria anterior (#1), incluidos las fechas de nacimiento, las nacionalidades, las direcciones y los números de teléfono.

3) teniendo en cuenta su experiencia, sus empleos o servicios anteriores en los Gobiernos de Guatemala y Venezuela o en representación de estos, indique los nombres y la información de contacto sobre las personas que están actualmente o estuvieron con anterioridad en esas instituciones gubernamentales;

Usted vivió en Venezuela durante 18 años (1967-1985), alcanzando una elevada posición en los servicios de seguridad gubernamentales, pero afirma conocer a sólo tres personas, quienes están actualmente o estuvieron con anterioridad en el Gobierno. Suministre información adicional sobre la respuesta o explique por qué no puede hacerlo.

4) el nombre y la información de contacto sobre cualquier persona

de los Estados Unidos con quien haya sostenido contacto y que lo haya ayudado, directa o indirectamente, a comunicarse con cualquier persona en cualquier país, o lo ayude en cualquier momento a lograr la entrada u obtener el permiso para entrar en cualquier país;

Indique los nombres, las direcciones y los números de teléfono de las personas que lo ayudan a cumplir las solicitudes originales y suplementarias que se reflejan en el presente documento.

5) Cualesquiera y todos los documentos u otros materiales que constituyan o reflejen la existencia de comunicaciones de cualquier tipo (o una descripción detallada de cualquiera de esas comunicaciones) entre funcionarios gubernamentales de El Salvador, Panamá, Guatemala, Costa Rico, México u otros lugares, o entre personas que trabajan al servicio de esos funcionarios gubernamentales, los representan o actúan de canal de información entre esos funcionarios gubernamentales;

Sírvase enumerar las comunicaciones, las cartas y los países considerados en su respuesta a esta solicitud, donde usted indicó: “Puedo obtener cartas personales provenientes de diversos países, de ser necesario”. Sírvase obtener cualesquiera de esas cartas y suministrárselas al ICE, tal como usted indicó, así como cualquier prueba o explicación de esos esfuerzos.

6) Usted indicó anteriormente la posesión de múltiples pasaportes u otros documentos de viaje, con los cuales ha logrado ingresar en numerosos países. Presente esos pasaportes o documentos de viaje (de cualquier tipo, estén vigentes o vencidos, y si están a su nombre o contienen cualquier otro nombre o identidad) al DSN (Departamento de Seguridad Nacional. Si actualmente no posee ninguno de los citados documentos, describa en detalle la naturaleza de cada una de ellos, incluidos el país y la identidad del portador al que están asociados, así como los permisos relacionados con los viajes, las visas u otras anotaciones gubernamentales (ya sea que usted las considere válidas o no en la actualidad) indicadas en el documento.

Usted señaló que los documentos relacionados con esta solicitud fueron destruidos a su vencimiento. Sírvase confirmar si ha conservado el original o copias de cualquiera de estos, o si se puede obtener copias de tales documentos.

Usted ha obtenido pasaportes falsos y otros documentos de viaje en Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador y República Dominicana y ha explicado las circunstancias en que obtuvo esa documentación sólo con respecto a El Salvador. Suministre información en cuanto a cómo obtuvo documentos de viaje en los demás países y sobre las personas que lo ayudaron a hacerlo.

Suing for Access to Cuba

Inside Higher Education

May 26

A group of students and professors announced plans Thursday to sue federal officials to make it easier for scholars to teach and learn in Cuba. The suit, to be filed next week in federal court, contends that travel regulations implemented by the Bush administration in 2004 have impeded academic freedom. It will name U.S. Treasury Department Secretary John W. Snowe as a defendant, since his department is in charge of enforcing embargo rules set forth by the administration.
Related stories

Co-plaintiffs include a group of about 450 academics in 45 states, known as the Emergency Coalition to Defend Educational Travel, along with Wayne W. Smith, an adjunct professor of Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins University; John W. Cotman, a professor of political science at Howard University; and two undergraduates at Hopkins, Jessica Kamen and Adnan Ahmad.

“Academic exchanges and the research they embody have been virtually cut off,” Smith said Thursday at a National Press Club briefing, during which the lawsuit was announced. “Really, there’s been a devastating effect on the freedom of American scholars to go to Cuba and do research.”

While some notable past lawsuits challenging U.S. travel embargo rules have failed, Robert L. Muse, the attorney representing the parties, is confident that focusing on academic freedom adds a unique strength to the argument. He said that several regulation changes made in 2004 by officials with the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, violate what Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter called the “four freedoms” of a university — the freedom to determine who may teach; what may be taught; how it should be taught and who may study.

Muse also cited a May 19 Miami Herald article, which indicated that the Bush administration may be considering tighter restrictions on trips made to Cuba by U.S. academic and religious groups. Some policymakers have argued that such restrictions are necessary to limit American spending in the Communist nation.

Regulations have already dramatically hampered student academic freedoms, according to the plaintiffs. For instance, the office required that educational programs in Cuba could in “no instance include fewer than 10 weeks of study in Cuba.” Many travel abroad intersessional programs are much shorter, often lasting less than three weeks.

Kamen, who expects to graduate in 2007 from Johns Hopkins with degrees in political science and Spanish, is currently taking a class taught by Smith, called “Cuba and U.S. Decision-Making.” She had planned to take a for-credit course in Cuba before the 2004 rules, but now, if she is to graduate on schedule, she will not be able to do so.

The Treasury Department also placed restrictions on the types of professors who could teach Cuban programs, with only “full-time permanent employee[s]” of OFAC licensed academic institutions being able to legally do so. OFAC issues long-term licenses to U.S. institutions on a case-by-case basis. Some academics have questioned this process and have requested more information on how the office makes its decisions. The regulation also bars a professor at one university from teaching a course in Cuba offered by a different university.

“Howard University has been negatively impacted,” Cotman said Thursday. “We used to have at least four strong programs on Cuba that can’t operate anymore.” Cotman has conducted extensive research on Cuba’s foreign relations as they involve regional integration efforts in the Caribbean.

Cotman added that educators at the Howard University of Law had been developing a partnership with the University of Havana that was quashed by the new regulations.

Although Smith had worked for decades in a number of capacities with governmental programs pertaining to Cuba, he can no longer teach Cuban exchange courses at Johns Hopkins because he’s an adjunct. He continues to direct the exchange program.

“It’s a blatant violation of my academic freedom,” said Smith, who also chairs Emergency Coalition to Defend Educational Travel. “I want to get back there and teach.”

An official with the Department of Treasury said not to expect comment on the lawsuit until it is officially filed. He said that it is unknown at this point whether OFAC regulations will be further tightened.

— Rob Capriccioso

Thursday, May 25, 2006

"Kenny Boy" Lay, Golden Icon of Capitalism's Excessive Greed, Found Guilty of Fraud

I hope that they sentence him to 100 years in prison. Two billion dollars of working-class people's pensions evaporated because of his financial schemes.

This type of Capitalist SCUM is never happy with the money he makes fraudulently.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More of the same failed US policy

The Washington Post

Report to advise Bush on post-Castro Cuba

By Saul Hudson
Reuters
Tuesday, May 23, 2006; 4:18 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. commission is preparing to advise President George W. Bush on how to inject democracy into a post-Castro Cuba, but critics say Washington's 40 years of isolating the island may limit its chances of heading off a communist succession.

The report by the Commission on Assistance to a Free Cuba, expected in the next few days, will suggest ways Washington can influence Cubans to turn away from communism and move to democracy and a free-market economy when veteran President Fidel Castro exits, U.S. officials said.

Critics of the U.S. policy, whose cornerstone is a four-decades-old embargo which failed in its aim of forcing the collapse of Castro's government, say Bush's focus ironically has left Washington, not Havana, isolated.

This was reflected in a 182-to-4 United Nations vote last November condemning the embargo, which has failed to unseat Castro, 79, despite tougher enforcement under the Bush presidency.

Bush followed recommendations in the commission's first report in 2004 and severely restricted travel to the island and remittances from Cuban Americans, ignoring calls from some that opening contacts would hasten communism's downfall.

The second report was expected to recommend some tightening of the embargo and emphasize stricter enforcement but officials said it was not likely to include drastic moves. Its focus would be on preparations for the day Castro leaves office.

Bush critics, including some U.S. Congress members, foreign governments and political analysts, say Washington should engage Cuba to encourage better human rights and political change, as with other communist-run countries like China.

The head of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, said it was valid to wonder why Bush had created the office of the Cuba transition assistance coordinator, who writes the report.

"There's no transition and it's not your country," he said.

Bush's hardline policy on Cuba was partly aimed at shoring up support in the Cuban exile community in Florida, a key political state.

IDEOLOGICAL FOES

Reps. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, and William Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat, who head a 50-strong bipartisan group in Congress opposing the U.S. policy, offered preemptive criticism of the report.

"Any hope that an ever-tightening American embargo could force political change has been wiped away," they said in a statement.

"No one can predict how Cuba's political future will evolve. But we can predict that regardless of America's size and economic weight, our deliberate lack of contact and communication will reduce American influences," they said.

With the American food industry allowed to export to Cuba, Flake has proposed legislation that would further loosen the embargo by permitting energy companies to partner with Cuba to drill in the waters of an island roughly 90 miles from the United States.

The Bush administration wants to hold firm against its ideological foe.

"The purpose of the embargo is to prevent Fidel Castro's dictatorial regime from using commerce and trade to fund and strengthen his regime so that he keeps his hold on the Cuban population," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week.

But Philip Peters, of the Virginia-based thinktank the Lexington Institute, said U.S. ambitions for an overhaul of the political and economic systems are counterproductive because they heighten fears in Cuba of turmoil after Castro.

"Cubans want change but they don't want revolution," Peters said.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

COHA: Cuba on the “Terrorist” List: Miami Rides Again

Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

* Cuba finds itself once again included on the State Department’s list of “terrorist-sponsoring” states, despite an appalling lack of evidence to support such a charge

* Compilers of the Cuba terrorism document are stand-ins for P.T. Barnum, rather than ethical researchers

* This archly political “terrorist” classification only further damages the credibility of the annual certification reports, which already have been widely discounted as little more than rightwing weapons to achieve the Bush administration’s ideological goals

* In Cuba’s case – unlike the far more benign position in which Moammar Qadhafi now finds himself as a result of the State Department’s oil-driven policy towards the Libyan strongman of forgive and forget – the Miami exile community has successfully wielded its congressional influence in order to ensure that Havana is never left off any list of miscreant nations, even if Fidel Castro manages to consort with the angels.

Selling a Foreign Policy to Miami Fat Cats

In the State Department’s near-universally discredited series of annual certification reports, Cuba found itself once again lumped in with Iran, Libya (only briefly), Syria, North Korea and Sudan as a “state sponsor of terrorism.” Yet logic and a sense of proportionality seems to have once again been trampled by raw ideology, and the charges reveal the alarming extent to which Condoleezza Rice and the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs has allowed a Miami-based cabal of Cuban-American extremists to continue their de facto control over U.S. policy towards the island. Cuba, which originally was included in the listing of state-sponsors of terrorism in 1982, as a result of its purported support for guerrilla insurgencies around the world, in any case has done nothing to merit such a designation today, even if you use the State Department’s own definition of the concept. Removing the island from the Bush White House’s list of rogue nations would require a certain degree of political integrity (or a suicidal personality) sure to irritate the digestive tract of the powerful South Florida anti-Castro bloc: simply put, there is no prospect that this will happen. In fact, the State Department, knowing that it had no hard case, had tried once before to drop Cuba from its terrorist list, but hurried back to its desk to reinvent the document after Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen and her Miami colleagues raised the roof over its legitimate finding.

Making a Fake Case

The State Department has now sought to justify its archly politicized designation of Cuba as a rogue state by pointing to contrived allegations – both recent and ancient – which were even then usually more apparent than real, if not downright phony. For example, the State Department will tell you that Castro has provided hospitality to several FARC and ETA (Basque) guerrillas, but doesn’t bother to inform you that the invitation specifically came at the request of the Colombian and Spanish governments to Havana authorities in order to resolve hostage situations back in their countries on neutral grounds. Castro was only assisting in a solution to problems not of his own, which, in fact, Washington was covertly backing.

Getting down to the State Department’s pitiful collection of zircons being passed off as diamonds, it is true that Cuba has harbored members of various terrorist groups such as ETA and FARC, as well as maintained links with North Korea and Iran, but so what? Washington had no difficulty the other day rehabilitating Moammar Qadhafi, who had ordered the downing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie which killed scores of Americans. Fidel Castro, on the other hand, has never committed a comparable crime against this country in his entire history.

While Washington is correct in claiming that Cuba invests heavily in biotechnology, even the State Department now admits that it has no evidence to substantiate the totally invented charges of former high official (now U.S. ambassador to the UN) John Bolton, regarding Cuba’s alleged bioweaponry exports to its sister “rogue” nations, acknowledging that “there is some dispute about the existence and extent of Cuba’s offensive biological weapons program.” That Washington, after first disowning it, has now managed to rouse the temerity to use Bolton’s characteristic prevarications to support part of its hardscrabble case against Cuba, is tantamount to tacitly admitting that that its annual terrorism document is a massive fraud, and well deserves its moon begotten reputation. Additionally, it should be noted that Washington has done the Colombian peace process no real service by supporting a discredited and scandal-ridden paramilitary demobilization formula in which it was forced to give up its coveted ability to have Colombian authorities extradite indicted local drug traffickers to the U.S. where they would stand trial. Cuba, however, was serving Bogotá in a much more helpful manner. It did this by accepting the invitation of both sides several years ago to serve as a site for negotiations between Bogotá’s rightist government and Colombia’s leftist guerrilla force, the ELN.

Feigning Ignorance

Equally stunning is Washington’s pharisaic attempt to wield an anti-terrorism truncheon against Havana at a time when no major nation is more systematically being condemned as a global moral leper than the United States – another State Department achievement. Speaking of terror, since torture is generally viewed as at the core of terrorism, it must be acknowledged that torture is practiced in Cuba, but not necessarily by the Castro regime. Rather, as has just been charged by the United Nations’ Committee Against Torture, the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo, on Cuban territory, has been the site for torture and should be immediately shut down. As the Bush administration patches together a series of illusions and fantasies about Cuba’s spurious ties to terrorist groups, Washington perpetuates an outrageous double standard of condoning, or worse, ignoring, the anti-social actions of a number of Miami anti-Havana plotters and terrorist agents, while harshly punishing those who had attempted to prevent such assaults because the Bush administration refused to do so.

It is no secret that Miami has often been used as a launching pad for a variety of anti-Castro exile sorties against the island. Such endeavors, which have ranged from intentionally provocative propaganda campaigns to outright acts of terrorism and violence – at times with Washington’s complicity – have resulted in the deaths of which scores of Cuban civilians, as well as foreigners. Washington, cognizant of these outrightly illegal initiatives, chose to accommodate, rather than confront, them, largely because of the oversized influence wielded by Miami zealots in Congress, the State Department, and the White House.

Such support for U.S. initiatives that do not in any way aid the war against terrorism, has included the White House’s refusal to extradite – to either Cuba or Venezuela – an acknowledged terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, whose huge dossier of violence includes the 1976 bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 civilians. Posada currently remains detained in El Paso on immigration-related charges, and since no other country has come forth to offer him asylum, it is unlikely that Washington will get around to prosecuting him for more serious offenses. In fact, there is every reason to believe that on some slow news day – likely on a rainy weekend – the Bush administration (just like the first President Bush did with Posada’s compadre Orlando Bosch) will release him into the general public.

Bosch secured sanctuary in this country as a result of a presidential pardon partly at the behest of then U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, Otto Reich, with undoubtedly an assist from anti-Havana ultra Jeb Bush – both of them tireless advocates on the terrorist’s behalf. Once back in the U.S., Bosch lived the life of a free man, even though he continued to plot against Cuba. As for Posada, he was one of the self-acknowledged leaders in a lethal scheme to cripple Cuba’s all-important tourist industry by commissioning bombing and machine gun attacks on tourist destinations in downtown Havana. Other exile sorties included repeated attempts to infiltrate the island in order to assassinate Castro or propagate other acts of violence. While, on rare occasions, U.S. authorities assisted in blocking the plans, the authors of these plots were never indicted. The reason for this was that they had been granted a virtual immunity from prosecution by the White House. So much for Washington’s hubris over sanctioning other countries for not being faithful enlistees in the War Against Terrorism, when itself was a faithless servitor of its cause.

A Disgraceful Double Standard: The Sad Case of the Cuban Five

Washington’s selective indignation when it came to Cuban issues has always been on display. This led Havana to come to a fateful decision to attempt to check these repeated U.S.-sanctioned or tolerated acts of terrorism from its territory by sending five agents to South Florida to monitor and report back to Havana the plots about to be hatched by extreme members of the Cuban community. These men were not counter-espionage professionals and their activities did not include attempting either to acquire classified information or penetrate secure government facilities. Rather, their mission was to prevent future attacks on the island from the exiles’ safe havens on the U.S. mainland.

Their punishment was hardly commensurate with their relatively mild offenses. Their draconian treatment began with a patently biased and grossly incompetent Dade County judge, Joan Lenard (who was later overruled), who presumably had concluded that the right ruling could further her career. She therefore proceeded to hand out unprecedented sentences that added up to four life sentences and 75 additional years (one defendant received 2 life terms, another, life plus 18 years, a third, life plus 10 years, one simply 19 years, and one received 15 years). Lenard’s service to Miami’s politicos extended to the degree that she also denied them standard family visiting privileges. All of this was based on a crime – operating as a foreign agent without notifying the government – which at worst would have merited deportation, as had been the case for other crimes in this category. Yet when it comes to Castro Cuba, terrorism is defined not necessarily by its misdeeds, but by Washington’s political rant of the day.

The relationship between the U.S. and Cuba exemplifies the grossly unprofessional behavior of State Department diplomats – Otto Reich, Roger Noriega, James Cason, and Michael Parmly. Tom Shannon, who, for a few brief moments after being appointed to the State Department’s chief Latin America position, seemed to be relatively immune to tawdry policy making, like the others, got in line to be an enthusiastic and loyal Bushista. This can hardly provide a source of pride for those who have committed their careers to seeking a rational and high-minded role for U.S. diplomacy regarding this hemisphere. Historically, the reason for such an illogical policy is that both Democrats and Republicans tried to outbid each other in pandering to Miami’s extremist exile leadership, both for campaign donations and electoral support. The State Department confesses that it is “not aware of specific terrorist enclaves in [Cuba].” However it cannot make the same claim about the ones operating out of Miami.

This analysis was prepared by COHA Director Larry Birns and Research Fellow Michael Lettieri
May 23, 2006

Castro healthy enough to live till 140 years old: doctor


Yahoo! News

Fri May 19, 4:46 PM ET

HAVANA (AFP) - Cuban President Fidel Castro, who turns 80 this year, enjoys vibrant health and will live to 140, his chief doctor said.

Doctor Eugenio Selman-Housein, who heads Castro's medical team, denied that the longtime leader has Parkinson's disease, as the CIA reportedly believes.

"Every day they invent a new one," Selman-Housein said. "He will live 140 years."

Castro's health, once a taboo subject in the communist-led island, has become a topic of discussion since he fainted in public in 2001 and slipped and fell before television cameras in October 2004.

Castro, who quit smoking his trademark cigars in 1986, has led Cuba since 1959. He turns 80 on August 13.

--------------------------

JG: Pobrecitos los gusanitos de Miami.

Still in the grip of American sanctions, Cuba makes its own opportunities.

www.theage.com.au

Dateline

By Judy Adamson
May 24, 2006

If you were asked which neighbour of the US had a lower infant mortality rate - and exported vaccines (for reasonable prices) to poor countries - you'd probably be hard pressed to come up with the answer.

Still in the grip of American sanctions, Cuba has had to make its own opportunities. Pharmaceutical companies won't sell vaccines there so the country manufactures its own and, with little high-tech medical equipment, the Cubans do a pretty impressive job.

It's confronting to watch a woman undergo plastic surgery with a local anaesthetic, but she's perfectly happy - as is the man whose doctor is paying a house call to his diabetic wife. He has seen medical care in the US, he says, and "if you go to a hospital there and you have no money, you just die".

The downside is that Cuban doctors earn just $10 a week and the US has accused the country of buying UN votes with the doctors it trains. Otherwise, it seems Cuba is using its resources wisely and well - and it's a wonderful irony to hear a US diplomat complain that the Cuban health system is only about "cold, hard business".

Monday, May 22, 2006

Alleged Alpha 66 Member Indicted on Five Federal Counts Over Weapons Cache

Los Angeles Times

By Ashley Powers, Times Staff Writer
May 20, 2006

A Cuban exile who said he stashed nearly 1,400 machine guns, grenades and rifles in his Upland home to help a paramilitary group overthrow President Fidel Castro was indicted this week on federal weapons charges, officials announced Friday.

Robert Ferro, 61, faces five felony counts for allegedly storing the weapons, some of which were unregistered. Each count carries up to 10 years in prison. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office said additional charges could be filed.
A retired Army Special Forces officer, Ferro told The Times that the weapons, which included a rocket launcher, were being stowed for Alpha 66, the Florida paramilitary group that has long plotted Castro's ouster.

The group has disavowed any connection to Ferro. His attorney, Wayne M. Rozenberg, has said that the group takes that stance because it operates in a secretive manner.

Rozenberg did not return calls Friday seeking comment.

Castro mentioned Ferro in a May 1 speech in Havana, saying the exile "had as many arms as the mercenaries brought with them to Giron," a reference to the disastrous 1961 U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, the Associated Press reported.

Authorities discovered the weapons in Ferro's home last month while investigating a La Verne man accused of shooting his wife and a Glendora police officer. The man had once lived at a house Ferro owned in Rancho Cucamonga.

In 1992, Ferro was sentenced to two years in prison for possessing an explosive device. Authorities found 5 pounds of C-4 on his Pomona chicken ranch, where he had been training mercenaries to topple Castro.

Ferro is being held without bail at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. He is to be arraigned Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Riverside.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Cuban Baseball Final: Industriales Defeat Santiago de Cuba

Sat, 20 May 2006 10:58:29 -0700

SIGFREDO BARROS

Via Cuba News at Yahoo Groups

SANTIAGO DE CUBA. - Havana's Industriales will leave Santiago de Cuba city with the satisfaction of having beaten their opponents in the first game of the finals. They defeated the Santiago "Wasps," aided by some very productive offensive work, with an astonishing performance by right-handed pitcher Frank Montieth, in a match that didn't complete the nine innings because of rain.

The game concluded 8-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs.

After a 48 hour break because of the torrential rain in the region, the game was restarted from the same point as it was interrupted: one out, two runners on base and Santiago's Rolando Merino at bat, with two balls and no strikes, in the first inning.

In the end, Merino -Santiago's fourth batter- was walked, loading the bases, but Montieth managed to get the next two batters out with a couple of flies.

It was a disheartening zero for the home team, who witnessed the baseball axiom which says "if you don't score, your opponents will." That's what Industriales did; the "Lions" from the capital did score another run in the second inning, with three hits by Alden Mesa, Rudy Reyes and Enriquito Diaz.

Despite the pressure, Santiago's starting pitcher Alberto Bicet carried on working with an average speed of 88 MPH, throwing more straight balls than curves (57 - 15) during the first five innings. Industriales' Montieth also threw a number of fast balls (his fastest was 91 MPH), but he made better combinations: 44 straights and 32 curves, many of them sliders.

Industriales' Yoandry Urgelles opened the sixth inning with a double between the leftfield and the centerfield. Two more walks and a single by Rudy Reyes, plus Urgelles' out at home to avoid a potential double play, resulted in pitcher Bicet being pulled and substituted by Angel Puig, from whom Carlos Tabares batted a fly, producing another run.

Then manager Antonio Pacheco did the right thing bringing on southpaw Leodanis Menendez, in order to try to dominate Industriales' left-handed batters. But Yasser Gomez and Mayeta spotted the movement of his pitches, and connected a couple of hits, completing another four run flurry that definitely sealed the game.

In the bottom of the sixth, with two outs, it began raining again in the Guillermon Moncada Stadium, and it was not possible to restart the game, but with such an overwhelming score difference it was evident who the winners were.

The second match of the finals will be today at 8:35 p.m. Right-handers Osmel Cintra and Deinys Suarez are the likely starting pitchers.

Cuba donates Hemingway papers to the Library of Congress


BBC News

Last Updated: Saturday, 20 May 2006, 01:51 GMT 02:51 UK

Hemingway papers link Cuba and US

Ernest Hemingway lived in Cuba on and off for more than 30 years

Cuba is sending the US copies of more than 20,000 papers relating to the Nobel Prize winning American writer Ernest Hemingway.

The move is part of a deal on restoring Hemingway's legacy that, correspondents say, has united the usually feuding governments of Havana and Washington.

The papers sent to the US Library of Congress include copies of Hemingway's letters and some of his famous novels.

Hemingway spent much of his time living in Cuba between 1939 and 1960.

Marta Arjona, the head of Cuba's National Heritage Council, said the documents being sent to the US amounted to an "invaluable" gift relating to that period.

She told Cuba's Communist Party newspaper Granma that the move was part of an agreement, reached in 2002, to restore and digitalise some 11,000 documents relating to Hemingway.

The documents sent include copies of letters in which Hemingway outlines his stance on World War Two and the Spanish Civil War.

Copies of his novels, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea - inspired by his time in Cuba - have also been sent to the US.

The originals are expected to remain at a museum at the writer's former house in Havana, Cuba.

Under the agreement, US experts have travelled to Cuba to help restore the museum, Ms Arjona said.

But she pointed out that Cuba had met all the costs of the restoration.

The museum, the Museo Ernest Hemingway, is in the house where the novelist lived while he was in Havana.

Established in 1962, it houses the writer's furniture and personal possessions, as well as works of art and books.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sarah Stephens: Fidel's Future

The Huffington Post

George Bush and Fidel Castro finally have one thing in common: both are making plans for the future of the Cuban people. But, as we've seen, transitions dreamed up and imposed by Washington without local consultation don't always pan out. And people who have suffered from U.S.-imposed sanctions aren't always eager to follow our lead.

In the run-up to our 2004 election, George Bush got excited about accelerating Fidel's departure from power. He tightened economic sanctions. And he created an inter-agency group, The Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, charged with hastening Cuba's transition to democracy and recommending new economic and civic arrangements for Cuba that would mirror ours in the United States.

Of course, President Bush forgot to ask actual Cubans how they would like to move to a more open society. So, I thought we should. With the 2006 commission days away from giving Bush a second report, containing new ideas for squeezing Cuba, I traveled to visit the "squeezed," to ask average Cubans how they liked the first plan and to gauge the impact of our broader policy on Cuba's government and society.

The message I took from this trip was loud, clear and entirely understandable: Cubans don't [like]the Bush plan, the policy can't work; and the administration's arrogance puts our nation squarely on the wrong side of the debate now raging in the region about who will determine Latin America's future.

We did pull-aside interviews with Cubans in Havana and in nearby Pogolotti, a working class neighborhood. We got a number of Cubans to speak candidly to us about their sense of deprivation, and their desire for a better life. Cubans are dissatisfied with their economic circumstances. They do not solely condemn the United States or hold their own government harmless.

But Cubans of every political stripe oppose restrictions that hurt them economically and, without fail, they resent Washington's effort to manage the Cuban transition as an assault on their nation's sovereignty.

One Pogolotti resident succinctly summed up Cuba's attitude towards the Administration and its current policies: "who asked Mr. Bush to interfere in our lives? We do with our own lives what we want. Nobody from the outside has the right to interfere with our business."

As one woman said of President Bush, "he should be more intelligent and have a softer heart. We want peace in Cuba. We should have better relations, and not make things worse."

Another came out of her home in Old Havana to tell us: "The restrictions are a bad thing because they affect Cubans who really have needs. There should be some agreements between the two governments, but both countries are too stubborn to agree on anything. In the end, it is the common people who are affected."

As a practical matter, Cubans just can't understand why a United States that claims to want them prosperous and free would stop their families from visiting them in Cuba or from sending them money to buy medicine or bread.

The Cuban government exploits this resentment by attacking el Plan Bush and asking with billboards, brochures, and television programming what else the United States intends to take away.

But el Plan Bush is doomed not by Castro, but by our own inability to join the rest of the world in putting the Cold War behind us. Try as we might to tighten the economic noose with our embargo, trade and cash from around the world continue to flow freely in and out of Cuba.

Foreign tourism on the island is growing. Cuba has access to cheap credit courtesy of China. Cuba is not paying $70+ for imported oil; 80,000 plus barrels of subsidized oil comes from Venezuela every day. And Cuba is getting cash in return for the services of the doctors, sports trainers, and others they've sent to Caracas and beyond.

They are taking this money and making long-overdue investments in the island's transport system and electrical grid. While much of the world trades with Cuba, travels to Cuba, and has diplomatic relations with Cuba, our sanctions isolate us. They are not harming Cuba's government, they are not helping Cuba's people...and they are not positioning us to influence Latin America's future.

My stay in Cuba coincided with the summit held by the Presidents of Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia, where they signed the ALBA trade and integration agreement, designed to resist the economic influence of the United States in Latin America. I attended a public event where Castro was feted by Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, two regional leaders who will carry Castro's message and his ideas into well into the 21st century.

With the leaders on the podium, and a cheering audience in the Plaza of the Revolution before him, Castro was literally surrounded by his future. While Washington's transition commission plans a future for Cubans that even its intended beneficiaries disdain and reject, Castro is creating a foreign policy that will leave an imprint in Latin America for generations. He is presiding over a recovering economy even as he centralizes more power and planning authority within the government. His transition plan is visible and in place; at home and abroad, he has a legacy that will outlast his remaining time in office.

The shame of it is that we could offer a lot more to Cuba and Latin America than stale sanctions based on Cold War nostalgia. Americans could be traveling to Cuba with their ideas and powerful idealism. We could be competing not only for Cuba's business but for the aspirations of its people. We could be signaling the entire region that we are genuinely hearing their concerns about us. If only we had something more to say.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Statement of the Cuba Working Group of the U.S. House of Representatives

Principles for a sound Cuba policy

The Cuba Working Group
Friday, May 19, 2006

As the Administration’s Commission on Assistance to a Free Cuba prepares to issue a second report, and as founding members of the House Cuba Working Group, we offer a statement of principles for policies to serve American interests and values.

The embargo is a spent force, at odds with America’s strategic and diplomatic interests and our nation’s values.

Any hope that an ever-tightening American embargo could force political change has been wiped away by Cuba’s successful economic adjustment to the post-Soviet world. Cuba is not prosperous, but economic relations with Asia and Latin America, remittances from Cubans abroad, and development of the tourism, minerals, and energy industries have restored growth and ended the crisis of the early 1990’s.

By barring a free flow of people, commerce, and ideas, the embargo blocks contacts that would expand American influence in Cuba, including among those Cubans who will set their nation’s course after Castro leaves the scene.

The embargo is the precise opposite of the principled policies that we and the Western democracies pursued toward the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe through the Helsinki accords and other measures.

By deviating from those principles of engagement in the case of Cuba, even as we uphold them with regard to China and Vietnam, our policy blocks an international consensus on Cuba policy and mires the United States in a perpetual quarrel with countries with which we should be cooperating.

U.S. policy toward Cuba should uphold American humanitarian values.

Congress and the Administration are right to stand up for human rights in Cuba and to defend victims of human rights abuses. However, opposition to the Cuban government’s conduct should not lead to policies that hurt the Cuban people.

The new sanctions that limit or eliminate the ability of Cuban Americans to visit or assist their loved ones in Cuba are the first U.S. economic sanctions that directly target the well-being of families.

It serves no purpose in our foreign policy to send Cubans the message that reduced contact and fewer acts of charity among Cuban families will help solve their country’s political problems.

These measures place our values in question and have no strategic consequence. The Administration estimates that the new sanctions block the flow of $500 million annually in an economy that is growing, by Administration estimates, at a rate of 5.5 percent, or $2 billion per year.

American policy should heed Cuban history and respect Cuban sovereignty.

Just because Fidel Castro invokes the causes of Cuban sovereignty and nationalism does not mean that these values are not dearly held by the Cuban people. Indeed, they are deeply rooted in the island’s history, where the struggles for freedom from domestic oppression and foreign domination have been closely linked.

By declaring that “there will not be a succession” after Castro, naming a “Cuba transition coordinator” in the State Department, and issuing a detailed transition plan for nearly every aspect of Cuba’s public affairs, the Administration has led many Cubans to believe that it wants to design Cuba’s future. Cuba’s Catholic bishops stated that the Administration’s 2004 report “threatens” the Cuban nation, and nearly all dissidents expressed similar sentiments.

American policy should send signals that cause Cubans to welcome change rather than fear it.

The recommendations in the Commission’s 2004 report told Cubans that when change comes, they could be evicted from their homes by the former owners, they may have to pay for health care services, and retirees may have to return to work.

It is counterproductive for the United States to state opinions on these and other policies that Cubans alone will have to decide. These statements feed the perception that the United States is challenging Cuban sovereignty, and they increase fears among Cubans that “transition” implies loss and dislocation in their personal lives. The only ones who benefit are the Cuban propagandists who publicize these statements in articles, television spots, and billboards.

Current policies to promote “transition” place the United States at a strategic disadvantage.

Our influence in Cuba, as elsewhere, depends on communication. Greater contact with American diplomats, American ideas, and American society is a key element of the “transformational diplomacy” that Secretary of State Rice espouses.

Yet the Administration has progressively reduced communication between the United States and Cuba, in spite of its goal of influencing Cuba toward a complete political and economic transformation. This is precisely the wrong course. The Administration should encourage, rather than restrict, travel for religious and humanitarian programs, family visits, and academic and people-to-people contacts. Engagement does not equate with moral approval.

We would do well to emulate policies followed by friends and allies such as Canada, Mexico, Britain, and Spain. All stand firm on human rights while building contacts throughout Cuba’s government and society.

No one can predict how Cuba’s political future will evolve. But we can predict that regardless of America’s size and economic weight, our deliberate lack of contact and communication will reduce American influence. The time to remedy this problem is now.

Jeff Flake, William D. Delahunt, Jo Ann Emerson, and James P. McGovern, Members of Congress

Source: www.cubacentral.com

A Tribute to my Favorite Group, Abba: THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC!


Im nothing special, in fact Im a bit of a bore
If I tell a joke, youve probably heard it before
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing
cause everyone listens when I start to sing
Im so grateful and proud
All I want is to sing it out loud

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs Im singing
Thanks for all the joy theyre bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music

For giving it to me

Mother says I was a dancer before I could walk
She says I began to sing long before I could talk
And Ive often wondered, how did it all start?
Who found out that nothing can capture a heart
Like a melody can?
Well, whoever it was, Im a fan

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs Im singing
Thanks for all the joy theyre bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

Ive been so lucky, I am the girl with golden hair
I wanna sing it out to everybody
What a joy, what a life, what a chance!

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs Im singing
Thanks for all the joy theyre bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

May 18, 1895: Letter of José Martí to Manuel Mercado

Dos Rios Camp, May 18, 1895

Mr Manuel Mercado

My dearest brother: Now I can write, now I can tell you how tenderly and gratefully and respectfully I love you and that home which I consider my pride and responsibility. I am in daily danger of giving my life for my country and duty for I understand that duty and have the courage to carry it out-the duty of preventing the United States from spreading through the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence, and from empowering with that additional strength our lands of America. All I have done so far, and all I will do, is for this purpose. I have had to work quietly and somewhat indirectly, because to achieve certain objectives, they must be kept under cover; to proclaim them for what they are would raise such difficulties that the objectives could not be attained.

The same general and lesser duties of these nations-nations such as yours and mine that are most vitally concerned with preventing the opening in Cuba(by annexation on the part of the imperialist from there and the Spaniards) of the road that is to be closed, and is being closed with our blood, annexing our American nations to be brutal and turbulent North which despises them-prevented their apparent adherence and obvious assistance to this sacrifice made for their immediate benefit.

I have lived in the monster and I know its entrails; my sling is David's. At this very moment-well, some days ago-amid the cheers of victory with which the Cuban saluted our free departure from the mountains where the six men of our expedition walked for fourteen days, a correspondent from the Herald, who tore me out the hammock in my hut, told me about the annexationist movement. He claimed it was less to be feared because of the unrealistic approach of its aspirants, undisciplined or uncreative men of a legalistic turn of mind, who in the comfortable disguise of their complacency or their submission to Spain, half-heartedly ask it for Cuba's autonomy. They are satisfied merely that there be a master- Yankee or Spanish- to support them or reward their services as go-betweens with positions of power, enabling them to scorn the hardworking masses-the country's half-breeds, skilled and pathetic, the intelligent and creative hordes of Negroes and white men.

And that Herald correspondent, Eugene Bryson, told me more: about a Yankee syndicate, endorsed by the customs authority who are too closely associated with the rapacious Spanish banks to be involved with those of the North, a syndicate fortunately unable, because of its sinewy and complex political structure, to undertake or support the idea as a government project. And Bryson continue talking, although the truth of his reports could be understood only by a person with firsthand knowledge of the determination with which we have mustered the revolution, of the disorganization, indifference, and poor pay of the untried Spanish army, and of Spain´s inability to gather, in or out of Cuba, the resources to be used against the war, resources which it had obtained the time before from Cuba alone. Bryson recounted his conversation with Martinez Campos at the end of which Martinez Campos gave to understand that at the proper time, Spain would doubtless prefer to come to terms with the United States than hand the island to the Cubans. And Bryson had still more to tell me: about an acquaintance of ours whom the North is grooming as a candidate from the United States for the presidency of Mexico when the term of the president now in office expires.

I am doing my duty here. The Cuban war, a reality of higher priority than the vague and scattered desires of the Cuban and Spanish annexationists, whose alliance with the Spanish government would only give them the relative power, has come to America in time to prevent Cuba's annexation to the United States, even against all those freely used forces. The United States will never accept from a country at war, nor can it occur, the hateful and absurd commitment of discouraging, on its account and with its weapons, an American war of independence, for the war will not accept annexation.

And Mexico, will it not find a wise, effective, and immediate way of helping, in due time, its own defender? It will indeed, or I shall find one for it. This is a life-and death matter, and there is no room for error. The prudent way is the only way to worth considering. I would have founded and proposed it. But I must have more authority placed in me, or know who has it, before acting or advising. I have just arrived. The formation of our utilitarian yet simple government can still take two more months, if it is to be stable and realistic. Our spirit is one, the will of the country, and I know it. But these things are always a matter of communication, influence and accommodation. In my capacity as representative, I do not want to do anything that my appear to be a capricious extension of it. I arrived in a boat with General Máximo Gómez and four others. I was in charge of the lead oar during a storm and we landed at an unknown quarry on one of our beaches. For fourteen days I carried my rifle and knapsack, marching through bramble patches and over hills. We gather people along the way. In the benevolence men's souls I feel the root of my affection for their suffering, and my just desire to eliminate it. The countryside is unquestionably ours to the extent that in a single month I could hear but one blast of gunfire. And at the gates cities we either won a victory, or reviewed 3 000 troops in the face of enthusiasm resembling religious fervour. We continue on our way to the center of the island where, in the presence of the revolution which I instigated, I laid aside the authority given me by the settlements abroad and acknowledged by the island, and which an assembly of delegates form the Cuban people-revolutionaries in arms-must replace in accord with the new conditions. The revolution desires complete freedom in the army, without the obstacles previously raised by a Chamber without real sanction, without the distrust of its republicanism by a suspicious faction of the young, and without the jealousy and fears, which could become too great a threat in the future, of a punctilious or prophetic leader. But at the same time the revolution is eager for a concise and respectable republican representation-the same decent spirit of humanity, filled with a desire for individual dignity in representing the republic, as that which encourages and maintains the revolutionaries in this war. As for me, I realise that a nation can not be led counter to or without the spirit that motivates it; I know how human hearts are inspired, and how to make use of a confident and impassionate state of mind to keep enthusiasm at a constant pitch and ready for the attack. But with respect to forms, many ideas are possible, and in matters of men, there are men to carry them out. You know me. In my case, I defend only what I consider a guarantee of, or a service to, the revolution. I know how to disappear. But my thoughts will never disappear, nor will my obscurity leave me embittered. The moment we take shape, we will proceed; trust this to me and the others.

And now, having dealt with national interests, I will talk about myself, since only the emotion of this duty could raise from a much-desired death the man who, now that Nájera does not live where you can see him better and cherishes as his heart's delight that friendship with which you fill him with pride.

I know his silent gestures of annoyance, after my voyage. And however much we told him, from the bottom of our hearts, there was no response! What a fraud he is, and how callous that soul of his, that the honor and tribute of our affection has not moved him to write one more letter on the paper of the maps or newspapers that fill our day!

There are affections of such fragile honesty.

Source: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de la Republica de Cuba

José Martí and Ralph Waldo Emerson

By: Pedro Pablo Rodriguez

February 08, 2006

Havana, (Cubanow).- Already knowledgeable about his work, José Martí wrote an article on Ralph Waldo Emerson nine days after the death of the U.S. philosopher on April 27 th 1882.

According to Martí scholars, the Cuban only familiarized himself with Emerson’s ideas upon his arrival in New York in 1880. Nonetheless, the article at Emerson’s death indicates that in a very short time he had read and grasped a great part of the philosopher’s work being attracted to it by his own philosophy of harmony between man and nature, as well as his love for human freedom and social justice.

In his article devoted to Emerson, Martí gave much space to the work Nature - probably the most significant to illustrate Emerson’s philosophy.

“Nature is the title of his best book”, wrote Martí, “In it he abandons himself to exquisite delights; recounting those wonderful walks; turning with magnificent vigour on those who, forgetting they have eyes, cannot see. He sees the noble human being, the Universe soft and humble, and everything alive emerging from the womb and returning to the womb; and most of all those who live in the spirit he lived, with humankind in their arms.”

Obviously, Martí recognizes himself in Nature: “(Emerson) sees nothing but analogies; he finds no contradictions in Nature; he sees that everything in it is a symbol of humankind, and everything which is in humankind is also in Nature.”

Neither did Martí ignore Emerson’s poetic creativity, saying that it “thrashes and foams, as does the sea.”

Experts on Martí’s works say that this article on Emerson paraphrases the philosopher’s words so well that they became organically integrated in Martís own body of ideas.

José Martí’s article on Emerson is considered to be one of his main essays – almost certainly the first profound analysis on the philosopher published in the Spanish language.

“Emerson has died”, wrote Martí, “and the eyes are filled with sweet tears.”

Source: www.cubanow.net

Cuba, New Web Site Honors José Martí

Thu, 18 May 2006 23:13:08

Havana, May 18 (Prensa Latina) Web surfers will accede to the life and work of Jose Marti, known as the most universal Cuban, through the digital site www.josemarti.cu opened Thursday in the context of the international meeting "Jose Marti's Anti Imperialism".

Doctor Mario Valdes presented the new publication during the important event taking place in the Cuban capital and attended by experts and investigators from Costa Rica, Mexico, Venezuela, the US, France, Italy and Cuba.

A directory of celebrities and institutions, news sections, works, chronologies, virtual visits to historical places and official announcements will be some choices of the web site conceived thanks to the joint effort of some institutions devoted to the study and research on Jose Marti's life and work.

The site will offer views and opinions of the Cuban investigators with the objective to counteract some others issued by individuals with a limited knowledge on the life of the Cuban National Hero, Valdes highlighted.

hr/isn

Cubans talk on the street about alleged Fidel Castro "fortune"

www.progresoweekly.com

PROGRESO WEEKLY
May 18, 2006
Cuban Radar

A service of Radio Progreso Alternativa’s Havana Bureau

The Round Table, where President Castro challenged Forbes magazine to present any evidence that he has bank accounts abroad, was watched by practically the entire country.

What do Cubans think? Do they relieve that their president has become a wealthy man?

“Yeah, he’s an honest man, but he has a defect: he sees money as something bad, evil… and well, hoarding too much of it is not right, but you have to live... but no, I don’t believe what that magazine printed.” Those were the words of Juan Peña, 61, a retiree, while we sought refuge under a balcony from the first downpour of May.

“He wants to go down in history as one of the greats, and you can’t achieve that with money,” says Pedro Fernández, 23, a refrigeration technician. “Look at Jesus, always poor. I’m not a believer, but people still worship him.”

“I have nothing to say, I’m not with him (Castro) or with Socialism. All I want is a small business of my own and I can’t have it,” he answers with a grunt. He doesn’t mention his name and goes his way under the downpour. Maybe he hopes the May rains will improve his life – or at least his mood.

“He loves glory, that’s why he doesn’t care about money. Look at Martí, always poor and there he is,” says Gloria, a waitress at the cafeteria where we are sheltered from the rain.

“Listen, that man has flaws, like anybody else, but a crook? No way!” says Roberto Espinosa buying a pack of cigarettes. He offers me one and while he waits for the rain to stop, he says that he “saw the whole program and I was moved by Eusebio Leal and his comments.”

Espinosa mentions the story told by City Historian Eusebio Leal that in ‘91 and ‘92 Fidel Castro gave away all the presents he had received, some 11,000 of them.

“I don’t care about that. I only want to live,” says a man who refuses to give his name while improvising an umbrella with a Granma newspaper. “You see? There are no raincoats and no umbrellas, and if I want to buy them I need ‘chavitos’ (convertible pesos).”

“What do you think about last night,” I insist.

“F…, man, don’t press me… OK, well, I don’t think that he has money. I’m not with this, but that’s not his thing.”

“What about Che?” interrupts a Black man that has made a rain hat out of a nylon bag. “Those people are different, they don’t steal.” He goes out in the rain.

While May’s waters break, which we need badly, Cubans comment about the stories that they heard on TV the previous night for the first time.

--------------------------------------------------------------

I don't pay much attention, or give much credence, to what Forbes magazine wrote. In that hyper-capitalist rag sheet of the worst kind, if you don't have lots of money you are a 'nobody.' Jesus of Nazareth and Ghandi were very poor. Their philosophy has accomplished more that is good, than Steve Forbes ever will.

And let us not forget that Jose Marti said "With the poor people of this earth I want to share my fate."

This is probably another misinformation campaign paid by our taxpayer's money, via a CIA check. They think that if they repeat it thuosands of times, some of the gullible crowd that lives in Miami will propagate it and repeat it.

They hate the big [bleep]nes that Fidel Castro has.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Funds link Martinez, Abramoff

The Miami Herald

Posted on Thu, May. 18, 2006

MIAMI HERALD EXCLUSIVE | U.S. SENATE

U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, who returned a $2,500 donation he believes was tied to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is not giving up $250,000 raised at an Abramoff-led event.

BY DAN CHRISTENSEN
dchristensen@MiamiHerald.com

When U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez shed $2,500 in January that his campaign took from an Ohio congressman tied to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a spokeswoman said the Florida senator wanted no contributions with ``even a hint of impropriety.''

But Martinez continues to hold on to $250,000 that his 2004 campaign collected at a Washington kickoff fundraiser that was co-chaired and attended by the now disgraced lobbyist.

Abramoff pleaded guilty in January in Miami and Washington to a variety of fraud, tax and corruption charges.

The $1,000-per-person reception at the Ronald Reagan Republican Center was held Feb. 10, 2004 -- two months after Martinez stepped down as President Bush's secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

At the time, Martinez told The Miami Herald he didn't recognize any lobbyists in attendance who had done business at HUD.

But U.S. Senate lobbyist disclosure records show that Abramoff was registered to lobby at HUD for the Michigan-based Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe during much of Martinez's tenure. The Chippewas are among more than a half-dozen tribes Abramoff has admitted to bilking out of millions of dollars in bogus fees.

The fundraiser, and Abramoff's prominent role in it, was widely reported at the time. This week, though, Martinez spokesman Ken Lundberg said the senator would keep the $250,000 because ``it has nothing to do with Jack Abramoff.''

''His name might have been on some list, but he did not host the fundraiser for the senator and he did not write the senator a check. He didn't do anything for the senator at that fundraiser,'' he said.

PARAMOUNT ROLE

But University of Virginia political science Professor Larry Sabato said co-chairs play a paramount role.

''Co-chairs are really the ones responsible for the success of meeting the [dollar] target,'' Sabato said. ``Almost certainly, [Abramoff] has raised money for that individual and has probably gotten other people to give, too.''

News accounts at the time said the fundraiser attracted a dozen Republican senators, along with key Republican supporters like Abramoff and fellow co-chairs Scott Reed, a former Bob Dole campaign manager, and lobbyist Dan Murphy, Martinez's former chief of staff.

Reed said this week he believed Abramoff had little to do with the fundraiser. Murphy declined to comment publicly.

The pots of HUD money that Abramoff sought to tap for the tribe, if any, aren't identified in the Senate records. A department spokesman, however, said that from 2002 to 2004, HUD awarded the casino-wealthy tribe about $4 million, including $400,000 earmarked in 2003 for facilities for a crime-victim program.

Through a spokesman, Abramoff declined to comment about his lobbying efforts at HUD. A HUD spokeswoman said the department was unaware of any lobbying there by Abramoff or his former associates at the Miami-based Greenberg Traurig law firm. Lundberg said Martinez may have met Abramoff once in Orlando during the campaign, ''but that was it.'' He said Martinez never met Abramoff while heading HUD or as a senator.

Court papers filed last week by federal prosecutors in Washington said Abramoff enlisted U.S. Rep. Robert Ney, an Ohio Republican, in a January 2003 effort ''to influence the decisions and actions'' of then-HUD Secretary Martinez. At the time, Ney was the incoming chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees HUD.

The statement made no allegation that Martinez did anything improper. Ney has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged.

UNDER SCRUTINY

Still, Ney is among a number of lawmakers under scrutiny in the Abramoff scandal.

Ney's notoriety peaked in January with Abramoff's admission to crimes that included allegedly bribing Ney with gifts and cash. The outcry prompted Martinez to give the $2,500 he received from Ney's political action committee in 2004 to charity.

''The senator wants to make it crystal clear to his constituents that he is not interested in any campaign donations that have even a hint of impropriety in this matter,'' Martinez spokeswoman Kerry Feehery told The Miami Herald on Jan. 13.

Ney, Martinez and Abramoff were linked publicly again on May 9 when Ney's former chief of staff, Neil Volz, pleaded guilty to corruption conspiracy.

Like Abramoff, Volz also implicated Ney in corruption.

Volz, who quit Ney's staff in February 2002 to join Abramoff's lobbying team, said in a statement filed with the court that Ney met with Martinez in early 2003. Ney's purpose was ''to assist Abramoff's clients'' by telling Martinez that Ney's upcoming priorities would include ''housing for Native Americans,'' it read.

How the Ney-Martinez meeting was intended to help any of Abramoff's Indian clients was not made clear. But Senate records show that only one tribe -- the Saginaw Chippewas -- retained Abramoff to lobby HUD.

Martinez said last week that he did not recall the meeting, but added, ``I assure you we did not do anything special or specific as a result of any request like that.''

A spokesman for the Saginaw Chippewas declined to discuss Abramoff's work for the tribe. Kersten Norlin, a spokeswoman for Greenberg Traurig, would not comment on Abramoff or disclose the terms of the firm's settlement with the tribe.

Miami Herald staff writer Lesley Clark contributed to this report.