Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fidel y Chávez se abrazan de nuevo en La Habana



Granma

La Habana, miércoles 31 de enero de 2007.

Cargado de sentimientos y generosidad, el Presidente Hugo Chávez llegó de nuevo a La Habana para encontrarse con Fidel, saber de su salud y compartir visiones y esperanzas.

Durante dos horas conversaron en la tarde del lunes estos hermanos de ideales y batallas, en un emotivo encuentro donde se habló de los derroteros de Venezuela y Cuba, de los nuevos acuerdos recién firmados, del ALBA que se fortalece, de la revolución energética y el cambio climático, de América Latina y del mundo convulso que vivimos, lleno de guerras y de amenazas a la existencia misma de la especie humana.

Chávez trajo el abrazo y los sentimientos de los millones que quieren a Fidel. El Comandante en Jefe le recibió con todo el cariño y la amistad que alberga para el pueblo bolivariano y su líder. Al amparo de Bolívar y Martí volvieron a juntarse dos pueblos, dos hermanos.

Al final del encuentro, el presidente venezolano dijo haber visto a Fidel con buen humor, buen rostro, buen ánimo y claridad como siempre en las ideas.

En la mañana del martes, Chávez regresó a su Patria emocionado y feliz. Trajo y se llevó alegría, proyectos, ideas, convicciones. Así dijo a los que le despidieron, encabezados por el General de Ejército Raúl Castro, quien le agradeció la solidaridad y el gesto generoso del amigo.

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Destacan agencias de prensa encuentro de Fidel y Chávez

El nuevo encuentro de Fidel Castro con el presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez, en la capital cubana, fue destacado por numerosas agencias internacionales de noticias, cuyos despachos aparecen hoy en importantes diarios, espacios informativos de la radio y televisión, y sitios digitales del planeta.

La agencia francesa AFP comentó que Fidel Castro apareció, más vital, sonriente y de pie, junto al presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez en un video transmitido este martes por la televisión cubana, y precisó que el líder cubano "vestido en traje deportivo con los colores de la bandera cubana -rojo, azul y blanco-, mostró buen color en el rostro, conversó de pie y tomó un refresco con el mandatario venezolano".

Por su parte, la agencia española EFE señaló que el presidente venezolano elogió la fuerza de la voz del líder cubano, de quien dijo que hablaba "más fuerte que hace 48 años, cuando fuiste a Caracas".

También la estadounidense AP citó palabras de Chávez al encontrarse con Fidel: "Este abrazo es de millones, te queremos, te admiramos, te seguimos paso a paso", agregó siempre sonriente el gobernante venezolano, palmeando a su amigo y al asegurar que lo ve mejor que en ocasiones anteriores.

Más adelante AP refirió que en este encuentro realizado en "un cuarto decorado con retratos del prócer venezolano Simón Bolívar y el independentista cubano José Martí, ambos líderes pasaron dos horas hablando, entre otras cosas, sobre la integración latinoamericana y la situación energética, según comentó Chávez".

Asimismo la mexicana NOTIMEX dijo que "el líder cubano, de 80 años, lucía ropa deportiva azul y rojo, al igual que en el anterior video televisivo transmitido el 28 de octubre del año pasado cuando desmintió una versión de la inteligencia de Estados Unidos de que estaba moribundo".

La alemana ANSA subrayó que "(Fidel) Castro apareció en el video, de poco más de cinco minutos, con un aspecto convaleciente pero con un buen semblante y mejor color, con su tradicional fuerza en la voz, vistiendo ropa deportiva con los colores de la bandera cubana.

Citó palabras de Chávez, quien durante el diálogo con Fidel dijo que "te mandaron muchos saludos, mucha gente, entre ellos (Oscar) Niemeyer, el arquitecto brasileño", y cuando explicó luego: "conversamos dos horas de distintos temas. Buen humor. Buen rostro. Buen ánimo. Mucha claridad en la información, en las ideas, en el análisis de los problemas mundiales, el problema de la energía", preciso el político venezolano. (AIN)

FACTBOX: Six aides assisting Cuba's Raul Castro

31 Jan 2007 13:39:28 GMT

Source: Reuters

Jan 31 (Reuters) - The following are profiles of the six top Cuban officials picked by ailing leader Fidel Castro to assist his brother Raul as provisional president when he delegated power on July 31. They are all members of the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party.

CARLOS LAGE

Vice President Carlos Lage, 55, is a doctor who in 1993 became the chief architect of limited economic reforms that allowed small private businesses and opened Cuba to foreign investment after the demise of Cuba's benefactor, the Soviet Union. The reforms are credited with saving Cuba from economic collapse.

Cuba watchers see Lage as a possible future president. Castro put him in charge of Cuba's energy programs, from saving electricity at home to cooperating with other countries, mainly chief oil-supplier Venezuela.

MACHADO VENTURA

Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 76, is a hard-line orthodox communist who heads the Central Committee's organization department. He is responsible for supervising Cuba's international education programs. He represented Cuba at the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in January.

JOSE RAMON BALAGUER

Jose Ramon Balaguer, 74, is minister of health and an old-guard communist hard-liner. Fidel Castro picked him to run one of his pet projects, Cuba's international health program, which has sent thousands of Cuban doctors to work in poor countries and trains foreign medical students free of charge.

ESTEBAN LAZO

Esteban Lazo, 62, is an economist who heads the Communist Party's ideology department and was also put in charge of education programs. Lazo, Cuba's most powerful black leader, headed Cuba's delegation to the U.N. General Assembly in September [2006].

FRANCISCO SOBERON

Francisco Soberon, 62, is president of Cuba's Central Bank and the holder of the purse strings to Cuba's state finances. Castro made him responsible for the funding of the energy, health and education programs, along with Lage.

FELIPE PEREZ ROQUE

Felipe Perez Roque, 41, is Cuba's boyish-looking foreign minister and Castro's former chief of staff. He is said to be the ailing leader's closest aide. Castro made him responsible for the funding of international aid programs along with Soberon and Lage.

AlertNet news is provided by Reuters

Six Months: Peaceful Succession Accomplished in Cuba

Today we reach the six months milestone since Cuba’s President Fidel Castro transferred power to his designated successor, Defense Minister Raul Castro and other high level officials.

The exiles in Miami danced on the streets of Calle Ocho on July 31, 2006. The Cuban population inside the island went about their normal daily life. There were no mass uprisings, there were no demonstrations demanding the return of made-in-USA capitalist democracy.

In other words: the designs and hopes of American imperialism were thwarted one more time.

Cuba will continue improving its system and defending its independence and national sovereignty.

During those six months, the American people went to the polls and handed the Republican Party and President George Bush an ignominious defeat, turning over both houses of Congress to the Democratic Party. The prospects for reform and changes to our failed Cuba foreign policy appear bright.

The big losers are the South Florida promoters of hate.

Cuba released last night a new video of a healthier looking President Fidel Castro.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The City of Miami Sets the Record Straight About Reports Regarding Castro Event

The City of Miami

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

(Miami, FL.)- In light of the most recent report in the Miami Herald titled “When Castro Dies, The Party’s On”, it is the City’s intention to set the record straight. At no time has the City of Miami agreed to be the organizer and/or sponsor of any event coordinating a party to celebrate Fidel Castro’s death. However, the City is taking any and all necessary precautions to be prepared should any demonstrations or street crowding occur.

Our past experience has shown us that the local community has strong emotions tied to any significant issues relating to Fidel Castro. The City of Miami wants to be in the best position to be able to contemplate and address any issues as they may arise. Specifically, the Orange Bowl has been designated by the County, as well as the City of Miami, as a possible site for people and community leaders to gather peacefully, if necessary. As such, no City tax dollars will be spent on this event other than to address public safety needs. The City’s administration will continue to plan and ensure that the community is provided a venue to be able to express themselves in a safe and appropriate environment.

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· Kelly Penton, Director · kpenton@miamigov.com · Telephone: (305) 416-1440
444 S.W. 2nd Avenue, 9th Floor , Miami, FL 33130 · Fax: (305) 416-1441

Castro looking stronger in new TV images


Reuters

HAVANA (Reuters) - Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro was shown on state television on Tuesday for the first time in three months, meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Havana.

Castro, 80, looked stronger but still frail in images of the two-hour meeting with Chavez on Monday.

The Cuban leader dropped from public view six months ago after undergoing emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding. His illness is a state secret.

Castro relinquished power for the first time since his 1959 revolution when he handed over government duties temporarily to his brother, Defense Minister Raul Castro, on July 31.

Fidel Castro was last seen on an October 28 video clip looking very frail and walking with difficulty.

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Castro up and talking in new Cuban video

POSTED: 8:08 p.m. EST, January 30, 2007

HAVANA (CNN) -- Cuban television Tuesday broadcast scenes of what it said was ailing leader Fidel Castro meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The only indication of a date on the video was a copy of Saturday's edition of the Argentine newspaper Clarin, which Chavez carried.

The 80-year-old Castro, who has ruled Cuba since the 1959 communist revolution he led, ceded power to his brother Raul in late July before undergoing intestinal surgery.

Castro has not been seen in public or on video since October, and the Cuban government has maintained secrecy about his condition, giving rise to widespread speculation about his fate.

Chavez told the Cuban state television program "Roundtable" that Castro was in a good mood and looked well Monday during their meeting.

The scenes that aired Tuesday showed Castro, dressed in a track suit, talking with Chavez, a close ally. The Cuban leader was shot from the waist up and could be seen standing but not walking.

Chavez said they spent two hours discussing various topics, including "the threats of the empire" -- a reference to the United States.

Earlier this month, the Spanish newspaper El Pais quoted unnamed medical sources saying Castro was in grave condition.

A Spanish surgeon, who had visited Castro in December and works at the same hospital as the sources, dismissed the report and said Castro's current condition shows "some progressive improvement."

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Cuba TV shows Castro meeting with Chavez

By ANITA SNOW Associated Press Writer
2007 The Associated Press

HAVANA — Cuban state television on Tuesday showed a video of a healthier looking Fidel Castro meeting and speaking with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the first images of the ailing leader shown in three months.

The report said the 10-minute video clip was taped on Monday during a in a two-hour private meeting in Havana that was not previously publicized.

The newest images seemed to be aimed at knocking down the most recent round of reports about Castro's health, including a report in the Spanish newspaper El Pais earlier this month that described his health as "grave."

Both leaders appeared to take pains in the video to make clear when the session occurred. Chavez could be heard saying that it began at 3 p.m. on Jan 29. Castro read aloud a headline of an article dated Saturday from the Argentine newspaper Clarin.

Castro, who was standing, more looked alert and heavier than in previous images that had showed him much more thin and frail. Dressed in a red, white and blue track suit, the 80-year-old was also shown sitting and drinking orange juice.

"Fidel has said that we have not lost this battle," Chavez said in the video. "I'll say something more: we have won it."

The broadcast came six months after Castro's July 31 announcement that he had undergone intestinal surgery and was provisionally ceding power to his younger brother Raul. Castro had looked thinner and frailer in the last video images, which aired on Oct. 28.

Chavez said in Tuesday's video that he found his friend to be "of good humor, with a good face and in good spirits." He said the pair discussed a variety of issues, including the world's energy crisis and that Castro showed "much clarity, as always in his ideas and analysis."

Castro stunned the nation six months ago when he temporarily stepped aside for his younger brother, the 75-year-old defense minister. Since then, Raul Castro has led the nation at the head of a collaborative leadership that has kept the government running calmly in his brother's absence from public life.

Chavez said he felt "happiness, jubilation, to find Fidel as I have found him" and thanked "everyone: the relatives, comrades, doctors, nurses for the great effort they are making."

A U.S. Senator that talks out of both sides of his mouth

12-30-2007

Five days ago U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) was quoted by the Congressional Record as saying the following:

"George Smathers, as a young Congressman, met Fidel Castro in 1948. Fidel Castro told him that he was going to take over Cuba . That was 11 years before Castro ousted the hated dictator Batista. Smathers was always leery of Fidel Castro, and he often warned people, before Castro took over and, in fact, after Castro was in. When so many in the world thought he got rid of the hated dictator Batista, Smathers said: Watch out, he is going to consolidate power and he is going to become a problem. He was prophetic. That is exactly what happened."

Here we have Senator Nelson talking about "the hated dictator Batista." What he did not say in his remarks is that he is a very good friend of those in Miami that are buddies and collaborators of "the hated dictator Batista." What he did not say either is that in 2006 he received $10,000 from ultra right wing Political Action Committees that are controlled by buddies and collaborators of "the hated Dictator Batista."

When it comes to having to choose between principle and money Senator Nelson always says: "Show me the money!"

Cut and Run on Katrina

www.telegraph.co.uk

By Alex Massie in Washington
2:01am GMT 30/01/2007

Barack Obama, the Democrat presidential hopeful, used a visit to New Orleans yesterday to contrast President George W Bush's stubborn determination to persevere in Iraq, and his apparent unwillingness to do the same in the rebuilding of the hurricane-hit city.

During a special hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee in the city, Mr Obama said the President had broken his promises to the people of Louisiana by failing to do more to rebuild the city after it was hit by Katrina 18 months ago with the loss of at least 1,695 lives.

John Edwards announced his own presidential campaign against the backdrop of the city's battered Ninth Ward last month.

Mr Edwards used the city's plight to illustrate his populist message that America is increasingly divided along economic as well as racial lines.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Fidel Castro recovering actively – Cuba Deputy FM

Itar-Tass

29.01.2007, 07.29

MEXICO, January 29 (Itar-Tass) - Fidel Castro “is recovering actively” after a stomach operation he underwent half a year ago and will assume the powers of the head of state again as soon as his doctors permit him to do it, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said in Guatemala on Sunday.

“I can only say that his state of health has improved noticeably,” he told local journalists.

According to Rodriguez, Castro keeps observing strictly medical advice and “will assume his full powers again after they give a permission to him.”

Before the operation Fidel Castro passed temporarily to his brother Raul Castro the powers of the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, the President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Chairman of the National Defence Council.

Reabren antiguo Colegio Dolores


Vista del preuniversitario Rafael María de Mendive, antiguo Colegio Dolores

Juventud Rebelde

La instalación, donde estudiaron Fidel, Raúl y Ramón Castro, junto a otros valiosos jóvenes de la Generación del Centenario, fue reinaugurada después de una reparación general como regalo a José Martí, en el aniversario 154 de su natalicio

Por: Odalis Riquenes Cutiño

Correo: digital@jrebelde.cip.cu

28 de enero de 2007 01:13:13 GMT

SANTIAGO DE CUBA.— El instituto preuniversitario Rafael María de Mendive, antiguo Colegio Dolores, fue reinaugurado después de un proceso de reparación capital, como regalo santiaguero al Héroe Nacional José Martí, en el aniversario 154 de su natalicio.

Durante cuatro años, según trascendió en el acto de reapertura, fuerzas del contingente Héroes del Moncada, junto a empresas constructoras locales, la Oficina del Conservador de la Ciudad y el apoyo del pueblo santiaguero, laboraron en el reforzamiento estructural y rehabilitación general de la nonagenaria instalación, hondamente ligada a los valores patrios, pues allí cursaron estudios los hermanos Fidel, Raúl y Ramón Castro y otros valiosos jóvenes como Renato Guitart, mártir del Moncada.

Durante la ceremonia, presidida por las máximas autoridades del Partido y el Gobierno en la provincia, se dio a conocer que el plantel, con una matrícula de 1 447 estudiantes, recibe con la nueva inversión, además de una edificación que es un verdadero monumento a la creación, todas las condiciones para impulsar desde sus aulas las transformaciones de la Revolución educacional.

El remozado centro, explicó Raúl Manuel Arteaga, su director, cuenta con 22 aulas, laboratorios de Biología, Física y Química con su mobiliario, televisores y videocaseteras, cuatro laboratorios de Computación, una biblioteca, teatro y áreas para el desarrollo del juego, opciones todas que se complementan con un claustro en el que figura un alto número de licenciados en Educación, aspirantes a Máster y 70 maestros en formación.

La instalación que ocupa la escuela, se comenzó a construir en 1907, y se inauguró como colegio Dolores de los Jesuitas, en agosto de 1913. En 1961, con la nacionalización de la educación en Cuba, pasó a ser una secundaria básica, hasta el curso 1977-1978, en el que se convirtió en preuniversitario. Desde entonces ha graduado a más de 15 000 estudiantes.

A Guantanamera with a real feeling of hope

Progreso Weekly

Week of January 25 to 31, 2007

By Alvaro F. Fernandez

alfernandez@the-beach.net

It felt good walking the halls of Congress last week. This optimism comes from a feeling that 2007 might be the year that the new congress, with a majority of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, is ready to change the cruel travel measures imposed on the Cuban family by the Bush Administration in June 2004. Restrictions which allow a Cuban-American to visit family members on the island only once every three years -- no exceptions, not even for family emergencies. Adding insult to injury, at the time the new restrictions were imposed family members were also defined: cousins, for example, are not included.

It is one of the reasons that about 20 Cuban Americans from as far as the states of Washington, Wyoming and California, and others like Tennessee, New York, and of course Florida, visited the capital last week. We were on a mission of hope. One we expect will result in change of what we consider anti-American regulations.

Support, planning and scheduling were provided by Washington, D.C.-based groups like the Washington Office of Latin America (WOLA) and the Latin America Working Group (LAWG). Organizations that have been at this work for years and deserve much gratitude and respect.

But the star of the three days in D.C. was Sergeant Carlos Lazo. Carlos is the Cuban American medic who won the Bronze Star in Iraq. During his two week period of R and R (rest and recreation), and while in Miami, he was denied the right to visit his two sons -- then still in Cuba -- a day before the restrictions went into effect in June 2004. He wanted to visit and hold his children one more time before returning to the war and what turned out to be the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq.

I had the opportunity to spend a number of hours speaking and interchanging ideas and stories with Carlos on the airplane to D.C. and while there. He is one of those persons you cannot help but like; his enthusiasm contagious. And on the issue of Cuba and the separation of families, he exudes passion, a sense of urgency, and a dynamism that over three days translated to action and results with those whose paths he crossed.

His most trusted sidekick is his guitar, which he seems to have it with him at all times. He’ll also play you a tune at the drop of a hat. Indeed, he did, several times, while visiting congressional offices. Yes, his guitar and a mission of family reunification served us all well in Washington. His energy permeated all of us as we went about our business visiting legislators, some who were not even on our appointment schedules, with an assured feeling the issue provides us: Who, I dare ask, can be against uniting families?

In the end, we all came away from those days with real hope that there is a possibility for change sometime this year. The hope of success also leads me to offer some observations and a word of caution to go with my optimism.

First, while in Washington, I noted persons with a strong urge to tackle all travel restrictions to the island from the onset. A “strike while the iron is hot” philosophy. Although I agree that travel is a basic right belonging to all Americans, I feel this would be the wrong tack to take on the Cuban family travel restrictions. We should not mix the two, and our first course of action should be, without a doubt, the immediate lifting of any restriction on travel imposed on Cuban Americans. At this point in time, it has the best chance of passing – and passing big – in both chambers of congress. And a victory now will open the gates for bigger and better results down the line. Anyway, I feel we are in a state of emergency on this issue and can’t risk the chance of a setback. The cruelty of family separation imposed by the Bush Administration is something that needs repair immediately.

Another observation: there were those I heard willing to settle for rolling back to the way things were before June 2004. I disagree. Although most of us would not travel more than once a year, I feel no one has the right to tell us how often we deem fit to visit our families.

Finally, we cannot let our guard down. The enemy is powerful and with resources far greater than ours. We have ‘right’ on our side; they have money. In politics, sadly, money wins too often these days. So let us not rest until we have won.

In the meantime, Sergeant Lazo might want to continue playing his Guantanamera to keep us focused on the issue at hand.

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JG: It is imperative the we all contact our Members of Congress to lobby on this important issue, even if the member does not agree with our position. Lets keep the pressure on!

Cuba: Letters to the Editor

Cayman Net News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dear Sir:

It never ceases to amaze me just how close minded and narrow people can be. There definitely is a need to respond to the negative and often incorrect ‘facts’ many Caymanians have about Cuba. Cuba is a vast country of much beauty and immense resources. The Cuban people are vibrant and cultured; healthy and well educated too. Do people really think that Cuba would benefit if Americans started landing the second their great leader, Fidel Castro passes?

Quite frankly, Cubans are far better off than the vast majority of people in this world, and certainly far better off than us in the Caribbean. Cuba has greater economic potential than any island nation in the Caribbean, supplemented by the largest and most highly educated workforce.

Cuba has managed to maintain the most diversified and stable economy in the region. What makes Cuba’s economic reality even more interesting is that it is also the region’s fastest growing and ranks high on world charts of economic growth. While other island nations struggle to stabilize and diversify shattered economies, Cuba has managed to build an economy that has quickly become the darling of the region. Nations like St Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, and Jamaica are all floundering economically and could learn from Cuba.

Cuba’s booming economy requires a large, well educated workforce in order to survive. Not only does Cuba possess such a workforce, but they actually have many more workers than their own needs dictate. Cuban professionals are considered the most efficient, talented, and reliable in the region, and Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Many Cubans can speak two, three, or even four languages. Can Cayman boast anything close to this? Certainly not. And Cuba does not hoard its good fortune and talent as the rest of us do! Cuban doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, accountants, social workers, and athletes can be found in every Caribbean country, rich or poor.

Cubans have also been present in great numbers in Haiti since the recent elections: helping to reform the justice systems, rebuild the medical centres and hospitals, and develop the educational policies of the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation. Caribbean nationals are also regular patients in Cuban hospitals, and regular students in Cuban schools and universities. Cayman, one of the wealthiest countries in the region, can scarcely spare a meagre sum for our neighbour’s benefit.

I also feel it is important to address the concerns people have voiced about President Fidel Castro. Far from a ruthless dictator or a power hungry communist, Castro has lived his life as an example to other Caribbean leaders. Is he perfect? No. There are definitely faults, such as some major violations of human rights, for which he is responsible. That said, Fidel has lived his life in the service of his people. I challenge every reader to research the improvements made in Cuba since the beginning of his administration. Again and again, his actions illustrate concern for the poor and interest in the common man. Maybe our own leaders can take a page out of Fidel’s book! Although I am very young, I can almost guarantee that older Caymanians can recall few local political figures that have done such a service to their people as Fidel has done to his! Even in Cayman, we have poor and distressed residents, but the greed that has engulfed our people has begun to cloud the concern and love for our fellow man that used to be part of our nature!

Needless to say, I am angry with those of you who insist that Cuba is a backwards society that can only benefit from the demise of their dictator and the establishment of American economic imperialism. I am praying that Cuba will remain sovereign and truly free, and above all true to its people.

Donovon Kellyman

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Anachronistic and Outmoded U.S. Cuba Policy

Contra Costa Times

Sunday, January. 28, 2007

Original Title: Bush, Congress must take new approach with Cuba

By Dan Restrepo
COMMENTARY

WITH FIDEL Castro seemingly teetering on the edge of death for the last six months, those within his regime seeking continuity have found the oddest of allies in their endeavor -- the U.S. government.

Consistent with an outmoded policy based on anachronistic laws, the United States has done exactly nothing to adapt to the evolving new reality in Cuba. Faced with a leadership group in Cuba that has never before had to think or act independently, the United States has not attempted to change the playing field on them in any way.

Unfortunately, true to the counter-productive course of U.S.-Cuba policy during nearly five decades, more of the same from the United States helps perpetuate more of the same in Cuba. Such a result should be unacceptable to anyone who longs for the day when the 11.3 million people in Cuba enjoy the freedom that is their God-given right.

Instead of continuing to engage in the parlor game of trying to determine what exactly ails Fidel Castro and when he will die, the Bush administration and Congress should get about the business of correcting what ails U.S.-Cuba policy.

Without waiting for Congress, the Bush administration should recognize the folly of its ways and alter its heartless 2004 decision to restrict Cuban-American family-based travel and remittances to Cuba. The maneuver, which is opposed by broad swaths of those Cuban-Americans most likely to have relatives still in Cuba, defies logic and simply adds to the hardship of those separated from loved ones to no productive end.

Congress should take the process of opening up interaction between the United States and the Cuban people one large step further by bringing to an end the restriction on the right of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. A greater exchange of people and ideas between the United States and Cuba would serve as a bulwark for freedom and openness if Raul Castro and those around him opt for repression in the face of inevitable change.

Changing travel policies, however, is not enough. Fundamental change requires bold congressional action. The heart of the failed approach to Cuba lies within the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996, aka the Helms-Burton Act. Despite its lofty official title, Helms-Burton does nothing to promote liberty or democracy in Cuba. It should be repealed.

Gone should be the Helms-Burton codification of the U.S. embargo against Cuba. Such an action would not, in itself, lift the embargo; nor should it. It would, however, hand the president far greater flexibility to deal with what could be a fluid situation in Cuba after Fidel's ultimate demise.

A successful transition away from the failed, command economy of the repressive Castro regime will require an orderly and transparent means of resolving property disputes. To make that possible, the Helms-Burton provisions that purport to place Cuban property disputes in the hands of U.S. federal courts must be relegated to the dust bin.

Long-standing property claims by U.S. citizens and companies should be handled in the usual course through the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949. Property claims by Cuban-Americans who were not U.S. citizens at the time their property was confiscated must be resolved through a process that is of, by, and for the Cuban people, and not through one that is a creature of the United States.

Although the future of Cuba must be decided by the Cuban people on the island, the United States should be in a position to assist them along their path to freedom and democracy. Unfortunately, the current Helms-Burton restrictions on U.S. assistance require that the United States wait for the Cuban people at the finish line. In place of those restrictions, Congress should adopt an approach more akin to that which marked U.S. assistance to Eastern European countries in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall that geared assistance toward fostering and reinforcing change.

In short, swift action is needed to prevent the United States from handing Fidel Castro the ironic and tragic ultimate parting gift of a policy paralysis that does more to perpetuate his decrepit regime than he could have ever imagined possible.

Restrepo is the director of the Americas Project at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington.

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JG: One thing that the writer forgot to say in his excellent critique of our Cuba policy, is to remind his readers that the U.S. Government has NO RIGHT to stick its nose into the internal affairs of the Cuban people.

The decisions will be made by the Cuban people and not by Washington, D.C. bureaucrats.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Human Capital is Cuba's Biggest Treasure

Havana, Jan 26 (ACN) "Our biggest treasure is contained in the rich human capital created by the Revolution, a term that means not only knowledge but ethics, solidarity and heroism as well as the unique capacity to do a lot with little," said Cuban Economy and Planning Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez in his closing address, Thursday, at the 15th National Science and Technology Forum.

Rodriguez said that the forum has become the most important event to mobilize the potential of "our society and the talent of an entire population, from grade school children to retirees."

Dr. Ismael Clark, president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences and member of the forum's jury, announced the eight papers that received the event's highest award and a further 37 that won notable distinctions for their social and economic benefits, technical innovativeness and energy efficiency, Granma daily reported.

The eight top awards went to the following papers: Development, registering and the application of the pentavalent vaccine; Bifasic Defibrillator-Monitor Cardiodef-2; Substituting city gas for methanated air in the capital city; Using of pressed paper; Electrical project for setting up field hospitals in Pakistan; Automating the weather radar network; and Educational software in the context of the Ministry of Education; and a paper presented by the Ministry of the Interior.

Eugenio Maynegra, president of the Organizing Committee, presented the forum's Highest Honors Award to Commander in Chief Fidel Castro for initiating the Energy Revolution and a public recognition to Pedro Miret for his contributions to the development and promotion of this science and technology forum from its beginnings.

The closing ceremony was presided by Political Bureau members Esteban Lazo Hernandez, Carlos Lage Davila, Yadira Garcia Vera, Jorge Luis Sierra, Concepcion Campa Huergo and Ulises Rosales del Toro; and Central Committee members Lazara Mercedes Lopez Acea and Roberto Lopez Hernandez.

Cuba's Best Chess Players Face off for National Title

Periodico 26

By Maryla García Santos

Santa Clara, Cuba, Jan 26 (P26) For the third consecutive year, Grand Masters Leinier Dominguez and Lazaro Bruzon will face each other for the national crown after downing their respective rivals in the semifinals of the Cuban national chess championship that is underway at the "ECO" sports hall in Santa Clara, central province of Villa Clara.

In 2005 Bruzon grabbed the cup, while Dominguez became national champion last year. On both occasions it was necessary to play quick games to decide on the winner.

Most sportswriters bet on Domínguez' win this year, taking into account his excellent performance in 2006, which took to the 30th place in the FIDE's ranking list. He now has an ELO rating of 2677.

In the meantime, Bruzon, with a current ELO of 2614 went down bellow the first 100 players. However, some people trust in his talent.

Nevertheless, the history of the matches played between the two chess whizzes is enough to foresee a hard final at the 2007 National Chess Championship.

In 2005 they ended both classic games in draws, and so occurred in the first 25-minute quick game. Bruzon beat Dominguez in the second quick game, thus concluding the match 2.5-1.5.

Last year, they played four classic games, which concluded in a win and and draw for each one. Also the rapid 25-minute games ended in draws, and the same occurred in the first five-minute game. Leinier won the title in the second five-minute quick game.

The first game of the final match takes place on Friday afternoon at 15:00 hours( local time).

Friday, January 26, 2007

Venezuela joins Cuba in search for Gulf of Mexico oil

International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press

January 26, 2007

CARACAS, Venezuela: The state oil companies of Venezuela and Cuba will join in hunting petroleum in Venezuela's Orinoco River belt as well as Cuba's part of the Gulf of Mexico, the government announced on Friday.

The deal between Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., or PDVSA, and Cubapetroleo, or Cupet, appears to bolster a growing oil industry in Cuba, where a lack of petroleum caused dire hardships following the collapse of Soviet aid in the early 1990s.

It also further expands President Hugo Chavez's relationship with President Fidel Castro's communist government in Cuba. The deal was one of 16 agreements signed by Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage during a trip this week to Caracas.

Under the announced accord, PDVSA and Cupet will jointly explore in the Orinoco's Boyaca Norte block in Venezuela, as well as in blocks N53, N54, N58 y N59 in Cuba's part of the Gulf of Mexico.

Venezuela already has been selling Cuba almost 100,000 barrels of oil a day under preferential terms, while Cuba has thousands of volunteer doctors to Venezuela who offer free care to the poor.

PDVSA last year also signed an agreement to revive Cuba's Cienfuegos refinery.

Cuba's own oil production has increased steadily over the past 15 years, aided by companies from Canada, Spain and other nations.

Oil specialists believe Cuba's waters in the Gulf of Mexico could contain large quantities of crude, although explorations so far have turned up only modest discoveries.

In September, Cuba signed a deal giving ONGC Videsh Ltd., of India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp., exploration rights to other blocks in the Gulf of Mexico.

ONGC Videsh also is cooperating with Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF and Norway-based Norsk Hydro ASA in other exploration efforts in Cuban waters.

The U.S. government embargo of Cuba blocks U.S. companies from participating in such exploration.

Cuba Overheard

UCLA International Institute

January 25, 2007

By Angilee Shah
AsiaMedia Managing Editor

Cubans don't want capitalism and private property. At most they're looking for job security.

America's got it all wrong on Cuba, says University of Southampton professor of Latin American Studies Elizabeth Dore.

After two years and 100 interviews -- some lasting as long as 30 hours -- with Cubans of diverse backgrounds, mostly in Havana, Dore has concluded that popular American notions about Cuba and a foreign policy partly based on them are misguided.

"Most Americans think that Cuba is a gulag," she said, after speaking at UCLA on Jan. 12, 2007. But, according to the oral histories she has collected, Cuba's political system operates with "probably more consent than coercion." Dore talked about some of the surprising results of her research, as well as some of the constraints she faced while under contract with the Cuban government.

Her research, called Voces Cubanas, is an oral history project conducted by two UK-based and eight Cuban researchers. Dore talked about the project at the first event of the UCLA Cuba and the Caribbean Working Group, which is funded by the UCLA Latin America Center. Other sponsors were the UCLA Center for Oral History Research and the UC-Cuba Academic Initiative, a multi-campus group in its first year of existence.

It's been close to 50 years since Cuban President Fidel Castro led the movement to overthrow the military regime of Fulgenico Bautista and create what is now called the Communist Party of Cuba. News reports this week about Castro, now 80 years old, indicate that his health is declining, and speculations that he will not return to power are bringing Cuba, and particularly U.S. policy toward Cuba, into focus.

The current U.S. policy on Cuba, according the website of the U.S. Department of State, is to undermine Castro's regime and support the advancement of democracy, particularly in the event of Castro's death. It is a policy that seeks to isolate Cuba both financially and from international bodies. But Dore says that this policy is misguided.

"Cubans don't want capitalism and private property," she explains. "At most they're looking for security of tenure" at their state-provided jobs. While her interview subjects expressed frustrations with censorship and government surveillance, Dore says these critiques "do not translate into Cubans wanting U.S.-style elections."

The goal of Voces Cubanas, which is sanctioned by the Cuban government, is to trace the ways men and women in Cuba remember political life in the revolution. Official histories are generated in Havana and counter-histories are put forth by Cubans in exile in Miami -- but Cubans on the island have not been given sufficient space to tell their own stories, Dore contends.

The UCLA audience raised questions about the methodology and results of the interviews. Because the project is backed by the government, many were concerned that interview subjects were vetted or too intimidated to speak freely. Dore did not deny that this might be the case. She said that she is in ongoing negotiations with the Cuban government on selection criteria for interviewees and other matters, but stressed that she has been encouraged by the wide "spectrum of views" that researchers have been able to collect. Interviewees did not always retell the official history of Cuba's revolution. Rather, they told more complex stories with what Dore calls "contrapuntals."

Oral histories have their strengths and some inevitable limitations. "In oral history, it's definitely not truth-telling," Dore explains. Rather, it's examining the way people remember their lives and bring the critical thinking of social science to those memories.

Dore's most recent book is Myths of Modernity: Peonage and Patriarchy in Nicaragua. She is on the editorial boards of Report on the Americas, the bimonthly magazine of the North American Congress on Latin America, and the scholarly journal Latin American Perspectives. Dore is working her way through the audio recordings Voces Cubanas has amassed and expects to publish a book about the people interviewed and her findings in the next three to four years.

Top aide: Castro recovering, not out of the picture

Reuters, UK

Fri 26 Jan 2007 3:25:47 GMT

HAVANA, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who dropped from public view six months ago after undergoing emergency surgery, is recovering and is still in charge of Cuba, a senior government official said on Thursday.

"He is still at the helm," Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly, told reporters.

Alarcon said the 80-year-old Cuban leader was out of sight because he was following strict doctor's instructions for his recovery "which is going very well."

Castro relinquished power for the first time since his 1959 revolution when he handed over government duties temporarily to his brother, Defense Minister Raul Castro on July 31.

Alarcon said the timing of Fidel Castro's return to public life would depend on his recovery and indicated that skeptics were in for a surprise.

Alarcon dismissed as "speculation by gossip mongers" a Spanish newspaper report that Castro had had a series of three failed operations on his large intestine since last July that caused severe infection.

El Pais newspaper, citing medical sources close to a Spanish surgeon who examined Castro in December, reported last week that the Cuban leader's prognosis was "very grave" because his surgery ran into complications after he chose a riskier operation to avoid a routine though uncomfortable colostomy.

Castro underwent initial surgery to stop intestinal bleeding caused by working too hard, the government said. Details of his condition are a state secret.

U.S. officials have said they suspect he has terminal cancer. But El Pais said he had surgery for diverticulitis, pouch-like sacks in the intestine that can become inflamed and infected.

Castro's main ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said last week that his Cuban mentor was "fighting a battle for life."

On Wednesday, Chavez read a letter from Castro to the media, displaying Castro's signature as evidence that reports he was dying were false.

"We are really pleased, Fidel, with the news that we have received about your recovery," Chavez said.

Sarah Lawrence students witness history in Cuba.

The Journal News

By ERNIE GARCIA
THE JOURNAL NEWS

January 26, 2007

YONKERS - A fall semester abroad became a front-row seat to history for Sarah Lawrence College students, who recently returned from Cuba.

The group of 18 students spent four months at the University of Havana, arriving 18 days after ailing Cuban President Fidel Castro's July 31 transfer of power to his brother Raul. The news set off international speculation - which continues today - over whether Castro, who has ruled the island nation for 47 years, was near death.

"People were on edge. They talked about it, and it was an uncomfortable topic," said junior Jessica Arco, referring to reports of Castro's illness.

The students shared their experiences and observation on Cuban life, society and politics during a presentation at the college on Tuesday.

While some students felt Cubans appeared anxious about the transition to a post-Fidel government, they didn't necessarily expect the demise of Cuban socialism. Fidel Castro transferred power as he underwent intestinal surgery, but the 80-year-old leader has not returned to his duties.

Contrary to televised images in the United States of Cuban-Americans dancing in the streets in early August, Cubans did not outwardly celebrate or even see such images, said junior Sarahli Norum-Gross, 20.

"I felt that there wouldn't be a big change," she said.

The students participated in an exchange program with the University of Havana that Sarah Lawrence College has run for six years. Students took four classes in the university according to their academic interests.

The U.S. government restricts travel to Cuba under sanctions first imposed in 1963. Accredited U.S. colleges and universities may receive embargo exemptions to send students to Cuban educational programs.

Visitors from the United States to Cuba typically travel through a third nation. The Sarah Lawrence students traveled to Cuba on regular commercial flights.

Despite the travel ban, Cuba is not closed off to the world. The island received 2.32 million tourists in 2005, the country's biggest income source, according to the U.S. State Department.

Cuban police discourage contact with tourists, and Cubans can be detained for fraternizing with foreigners, some of the students said.

The students also described a country where people take pride in their free education, health care and housing, though the quality of housing is not very good in cities. Most Cubans live on $10 to $15 a month, which means that most Cubans live in meager conditions, students said. The students recalled that some Cubans asked them for items like soap.

Cubans want an end to the U.S. embargo against their country, the students said. For example, products manufactured in China might be tied to U.S. investments, so Chinese companies won't sell to Cuba.

"The effects are far-reaching," said Vail. "It affects their access to computers and medicine."

Sarah Pepin, 21, a senior, went to Cuba to see the country's accomplishments and shortcomings for herself. She was criticized for traveling to a country considered an enemy of the U.S. government.

"Partially it's due to press coverage," Pepin said of negative perceptions about Cuba. "There are people who think anything related to communism or socialism is bad."

Reach Ernie Garcia at elgarcia@lohud.com or 914-696-8290.

Chickens for Cuba

Cuba and Dixie

Jan 25th 2007 | MOBILE

From The Economist print edition


Southern states are eager to boost trade with Cuba

THE docks in Mobile, Alabama's only seaport, are crammed with lumber, steel coils, frozen chickens, coal and much else. But few of these products are bound for Cuba, just 550 nautical miles (1,000km) away. The state port authority's director, James Lyons, hopes this will change. “We're trading with Vietnam, we're trading with China. These are both communist states,” he says. “It's silly to have tense relations with a neighbour that close.”

Mr Lyons is hardly the only Southerner who would be glad to see the end of America's 45-year embargo on trade with Cuba. Trade delegations from Alabama, Mississippi and other Gulf states have been descending on Cuba in recent years, hoping for a slice of a potentially lucrative market. Currently only agricultural products and medicines may be exported from America (with no Cuban imports permitted). Before 2000, when the embargo was loosened, nothing was allowed.

In 2005 Alabaman companies did roughly $140m in trade with Cuba, according to Ron Sparks, the state's agricultural commissioner, who is aggressively pursuing Cuban business. “We've sold cotton, we've sold cookies, crackers, fruit juice, mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressing—a lot of processed foods,” says Mr Sparks. Over half of all chickens exported from America to Cuba come from Alabama, along with almost all the (wooden) telephone poles. The owner of one Alabaman pole-making business, which first shipped utility poles to Cuba after Hurricane Charley in 2004, says that competition is fierce for the Cuban business, especially since a large-scale electrification project in Cuba has boosted demand. Helpfully, Alabama has no powerful pro-embargo lobby of Cuban exiles like the one in Florida.

Volume would be higher still if the embargo were lifted. In Mobile, the port's trade with Cuba amounts to only a few thousand tons a year—a fraction of its 50m ton (45m tonne) annual average. Just one or two ships a week leave for Cuba, as against six or seven in the pre-Castro days. “There's all manner of things that could be exported,” says Mr Lyons—roofing materials, machinery, cars, even paint, none of which is currently allowed. Exports from America, it is reckoned, could easily treble from the current $350m or so a year.

More agricultural goods could also be shipped, but “there are a lot of people who just don't want to fool with all the paperwork,” says Mr Lyons. Many extra hassles complicate trade with Cuba. Americans cannot travel there freely, so many businessmen attach themselves to state officials as part of a delegation (and still must get permits from Washington). Payment is also an issue. Americans cannot accept money from Cubans directly, so setting up a third-party payment procedure is necessary. The transaction must be in cash (which some Americans regard as a plus). Ships cannot head directly from Cuba to the United States, though sometimes extra paperwork can circumvent this.

Even if the embargo were to be lifted tomorrow, Mr Lyons cautions that trade would not boom immediately. “They don't have the currency to buy what they need,” he says. But trade works both ways—so how about some Cuban cigars and rum for America?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

US Legislators Urge Lifting Cuban Trade, Travel Embargoes

www.huliq.com

Ten U.S. lawmakers who just returned from a trip to Havana are calling for engagement with Cuba in place of the trade and travel embargo the United States has imposed on Cuba for years. The House members say six months after ailing President Fidel Castro gave governing power to his brother Raul, it is apparent that little in communist Cuba will change unless U.S. policy does. VOA's Marissa Melton reports from Washington.

Members of the bipartisan Cuba Working Group have proposed legislation to lift economic restrictions on Cuba. They have been explaining to Washington audiences why they back the normalization of relations with the poor island nation.

Democrat William Delahunt of Massachusetts told the InterAmerican Dialogue research center the trip itself showed that many in Congress disagree with existing U.S. policy on Cuba.

"I would submit that our paramount motive in going to Cuba was to demonstrate just simply by our physical presence, given the size of our delegation, that many in this country, particularly in the U.S. Congress, want dialogue," he said. "And that obviously is not the position of the administration."

Washington forbids U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba or spend money on Cuban products. The two countries do not have diplomatic relations

Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona said U.S. policy of shutting Cuba out has not worked to oust the island's communist government or end human rights abuses. He said Washington should instead try focusing on engaging Havana with trade and dialogue.

"We're losing influence," he said. "We could have influence in Havana, but we are very much on the sidelines while this transition is taking place."

A few blocks away, Democrat Jim McGovern of Massachusetts expressed a similar opinion to an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations. He said better relations with Cuba would help some political dissidents.

"My own view is that if you could normalize relations, lift the travel restrictions, have better relations with the country, you'd remove an excuse the Cuban government uses to justify the arrest of these political dissidents," he said.

We need to rethink Cuba before it is too late

The Daily Times - Salisbury, Md.

Fidel Castro may be dying or may have died -- who knows?

One way or the other, time for the U.S. to change its attitude toward Cuba is running out. As someone old enough to remember Russian missiles aimed at us from the island nation 90 miles off our coast in the fall of 1962, I sure would like to see someone begin to make friendly overtures to Fidel's brother Raul who is running things down there now that the bearded one is ill.

"Blasphemy!"

I can hear the screams from the far right now -- how dare anyone suggest un-rattling the sabers we've had poised over those pinkos all these years?

I guess the right-wingers are having a field day by now thinking I must surely be advocating a commie point of view. Sorry to disappoint. What hypocrisy it is for the U.S. to get so overwrought about Castro's communism when we coddle China -- the biggest communist nation of them all. What stupidity allows us to perpetuate the insane trade imbalance we've got going with China?

We carry on about how brave Chinese dissidents are to speak out. Then we fill our stores' shelves with cheap goods stamped "Made in China."

The U.S. does next to nothing about China's crimes against human rights, but we say we can't deal with Cuba because of theirs?

Explain again how it is that we "lease" that place called Guantanamo?

Not only have we ignored every opportunity to clear the way for future trade negotiations with Cuba, we interfere with other countries that want to trade with them. If we ordinary American citizens thought our 35-year-old economic embargo would drive Cuba to overthrow Castro, we've been living in a dream.

Cubans have managed to limp along, driving patched up 1950s American cars and making economic deals with countries not friendly to the U.S. for a long time.

Last week, one of those countries formed an alliance with another one of those countries and from what their leaders are saying, we'd better hope they don't go to Cuba's rescue before we have a chance to make amends.

I'm talking about the visit of Iran's leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

They've started a fund -- with an initial joint investment of $2 billion -- for the express purpose of helping countries that don't get along with the U.S.

"[The fund] will permit us to underpin investments ... in those countries whose governments are making efforts to liberate themselves from the U.S. imperialist yoke," Chavez said.

We reap what we sow. We've sown mistrust and discord throughout Latin America for a long time.

It's no accident that the phrase most often directed toward the U.S. in that region is "Yanqui Go Home."

I hope it is not too late to start talking with Cuba.

It well may be too late.

Last summer, George W. Bush, through the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, co-chaired by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, called for "cessation of licensing for humanitarian agencies" that would provide aid to the people of Cuba.

If Iran and Venezuela -- both members of OPEC with oil dollars to spare -- help Cuba, the U.S. won't be needed.

The next crisis off the coast of Florida could make October 1962 look like a dress rehearsal.

Joyce Mullins has worked for newspapers in Delaware for more than 30 years. Send feedback to jmullins03@comcast.net.

Unnecessarily punitive -- Amnesty International calls for temporary visas to be granted to two wives of the ‘Cuban Five’

Amnesty International

Public Statement

AI Index: AMR 51/013/2007 (Public)
News Service No: 010
17 January 2007

Amnesty International is once again urging the US authorities to stringently review its decision to deny temporary visas to the wives of two Cuban nationals serving long federal prison sentences in the USA, and, in the absence of reasonable and conclusive evidence for continuing for them to be withheld, to grant them temporary visitation visas so that they may visit their husbands in the US.

The men, Gerardo Hernández and René Gonzáles were convicted in 2001 of acting as unregistered agents of the Cuban government. Adriana Perez has not been permitted to visit her husband Gerardo Hernández since his arrest in 1998, while Olga Salanueva, wife of René Gonzáles, and their eight-year-old daughter, have not seen him since the eve of his trial in 2000.

Since 2002 the US government has denied the wives’ applications for temporary visas for different reasons relating to terrorism, espionage and issues of national security. Yet, neither woman has faced charges in connection with such claims, nor have their husbands been charged with, or convicted of terrorism.

Adriana Perez and Olga Salanueva have made representations to Amnesty International in which they deny being a security risk to the US, while their husbands are currently held in ‘general population’ within prison which suggests that they are not considered to present a security risk to the country.

Amnesty International is not in a position to judge the evidence on which the government has made the decision to deny the women temporary visas for visitation purposes. However the organization has repeatedly raised the issue with the US authorities since 2002 because it believes that denying the men visits from their wives (and in one case, also his child) is unnecessarily punitive and contrary to standards for humane treatment of prisoners and states’ obligations to protect family life.

The organization believes that this deprivation is particularly harsh given the length of the men’s sentences (René Gonzáles has been sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment and Gerardo Hernández to life imprisonment) and the questions that have been raised about the fairness of the men’s convictions.

Background Information on challenges to the convictions of the Cuban Five

In May 2005, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) issued an opinion finding that the USA had failed to guarantee the Cuban Five a fair trial. The WGAD opinion was based on information provided by the prisoners’ families, and included concerns about the trial venue, use of classified evidence and the fact that the defendants were kept in solitary confinement for months before trial, making access to evidence and communication with their attorneys reportedly more difficult.

In August 2005, the convictions of all the Cuban Five were overturned by an appeals court and a retrial was ordered, on the ground that pervasive hostility toward pro-Castro Cubans in Miami (where the trial was held) was prejudicial to the accused. This decision was reversed on 9 August 2006 by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on a finding that no such prejudice had been shown in the selection of the trial jury.

AI has not reached a conclusion on the fairness of the proceedings, many of which have still to be raised on direct appeal. However, it continues to seek further information on this issue.

Bush's Cuba policies are based on extremism and hate

Thursday, January. 25, 2007

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Original Title: U.S. bars trade group from going to Cuba

The United States rejected the World Trade Center Palm Beach's application for permission to travel to Cuba for humanitarian purposes and an exchange of information.

BY MARTHA BRANNIGAN
mbrannigan@MiamiHerald.com

The U.S. Treasury Department shot down the World Trade Center Palm Beach's plan for a humanitarian, educational and information-exchange trip to Cuba in June.

The WTC Palm Beach, a not-for-profit trade group affiliated with 278 similar organizations around the globe, unveiled plans to take about 30 South Florida professionals to the island last month .

The Palm Beach group said it wanted to discuss ideas and technology related to food, water and medicine with nongovernment agencies and private citizens in Cuba. It said the delegation didn't intend to conduct business or to meet with Cuban government officials.

The group was coordinating the mission with its counterpart, the World Trade Center Havana.

---

JG Opinion: One more time the Sieg Heil! brigades of the Bush mis administration are busy at work.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cuba, Venezuela extend ties despite Castro's illness

The Washington Post

By Brian Ellsworth
Reuters
Wednesday, January 24, 2007; 8:00 PM

CARACAS (Reuters) - Cuba and Venezuela extended their ties on Wednesday with a raft of economic accords, including an underwater fiber optics cable plan meant to bypass a U.S. embargo, despite President Fidel Castro being sidelined by illness.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Vice President Carlos Lage signed deals to develop a range of production projects involving nickel, electricity and rice as well as the construction within two years of the cable between the two Caribbean nations.

In his absence, the two officials still sought to give Castro center stage.

At the signing ceremony, Chavez from a letter he said his mentor Castro wrote to him this week about the countries' integration deals, which sustain their anti-U.S. alliance.

He showed the Cuban leader's signature and said it was evidence that reports Castro was dying were false. Spanish newspaper El Pais reported this month Castro's recovery has been complicated by a series of failed surgeries.

"We are really pleased, Fidel, with the news that we have received about your recovery," Chavez said. "Lage told me Fidel walked for I don't know how many minutes yesterday (Tuesday). And he's walking more than I am, almost trotting."

Lage said Castro would be around for "a long time to come" and joked he would outlast his younger brother Raul Castro, who has been in charge of the communist-run island after Fidel had stomach surgery last year. Despite U.S. pressure, the country remained united during Castro's illness, he added.

Castro, who took power in 1959, has not been seen in public since July.

Chavez, who opposes Washington on policies ranging from oil price to free trade to democracy, increasingly favors ideological allies such as Iran and Cuba in economic deals and is seeking to strip managing stakes away from Western giants such as Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

Economists say Chavez's cheap oil props up the Cuban economy the way the Soviet Union did before its collapse.

Venezuela's opposition regularly accuses Chavez of seeking to build a second Cuba in Venezuela, citing his plans to create a single party and nationalize major utility companies.

Although Chavez this month described himself as a communist after years of denying it, he has also said he does not want to follow a Cuban model and that he will tolerate criticism and stand aside if he loses an election.

"Cuba and Venezuela, our countries are in the vanguard," he said, referring to the swing to the left across Latin America.

U.S. Senate committee repudiates Bush’s war plans


1.24.2007

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee today voted 12-9 to repudiate the plans of President Bush for a new escalation of the Iraq war. In his typical Orwellian mode of speech he calls it a ‘surge.’

The committee voted that the plan is "not in the national interest of the US."

Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska joined the 11 member Democratic majority in the committee. He declared "There is no strategy. This is a ping pong game with American lives."

Cuba’s Bin Laden Gets Miami Podium

By Circles Robinson*

Osama Bin Laden need not look to Arab media outlets to broadcast his reasoning for waging war on the US. The Nuevo Herald, the Miami Herald’s sister Spanish language daily, would probably be more than willing to host his messages and maybe even pay him to boot.

Last week, the Herald gave unrepentant terrorist Orlando Bosch space to defend Luis Posada Carriles, another self-exile from Cuba the FBI once called the most dangerous terrorist on the continent. The newspaper did not say whether Bosch is being paid for his column.

The Miami Herald was immersed in another ethical scandal last fall after it admitted having paid US government agents doubling as reporters and columnists. The matter ended when Jesus Diaz, the publisher who recognized the conflict of interest, was he himself forced to resign while the dismissed “journalists” were welcomed back.

Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch are not your everyday pistol-toting gang members. They have bragged about blowing up a plane full of people, placing bombs in hotels, murdering diplomats and other juicy crimes. In her book “We placed the bomb and So What!” Venezuelan journalist Alicia Herrera allows Bosch and company the chance to volunteer their long list of deeds.

Bosch is free in Miami because the president’s father George H. Bush gave him a presidential pardon and residency in 1990 that washed over his life-long record of terrorist activities in the United States, Cuba and a host of Latin American and European nations. Logically, he believes his buddy Posada deserves the same treatment.

Posada is currently being protected by the US Immigration Service from extradition to Venezuela where he was a naturalized citizen. As a smokescreen, he faces a seven-count indictment on lying about how he “snuck” into the United States, which could actually lead to his release from custody.

Like Posada Carriles, Bosch is seen as a God in the Republic of Miami by diehard exile groups and a spider web of others reaping the benefits of hundreds of millions of US taxpayer’s dollars flowing to those who slander, lobby against and conspire to commit violent acts on neighboring Cuba.

Last Friday, a Free Posada demonstration took place in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana. When a peaceful group of counter demonstrators unveiled their banner calling Posada a terrorist, they were brutally attacked by members of the angry crowd.

On numerous occasions these same groups have threatened and used violence and intimidation against anyone from business owners to jury members and journalists who oppose their hard-line stance on Cuba. That’s their brand of American democracy and they get away with it in Miami-Dade County.

According to Bosch in his Herald column, the charges against Posada for false testimony don’t compare with “the services Luis has given to this great nation during the Cold War,” which merits his being allowed to walk.

If that logic is allowed to stand, Osama Bin Laden has no reason to fear being captured. He like Posada was a close collaborator of the CIA and the US Armed Forces and he too fought communism tooth and nail. Doesn’t he deserve the right to retire in a condo on Miami Beach?

Bosch went on to give his view on the US occupation of Iraq: “When you act with justice, the dogs of hell bark and the United States should not fear this, much less the government of President George W. Bush who decided to go to war in Asia to free a people.”

The administration couldn’t have a better defender of its “war on terror.”

*Circles Robinson is a US journalist living in Havana. His articles and commentaries can be read at: www.circlesonline.blogspot.com

Cuban army weighs in on economic policy debate

Reuters Foundation AlertNet

23 Jan 2007 21:28:01 GMT

By Marc Frank

HAVANA, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Cuba's armed forces, which run the Communist country's most efficient companies, joined a nascent public debate on future economic policy on Tuesday and appeared to take a stance opposed to full free-market reforms.

The debate, said to be prompted by acting President Raul Castro while his ailing brother Fidel Castro recovers from surgery, is aimed at finding solutions for the most glaring problems of an economy 90-percent owned by the state.

Col. Amando Perez Betancourt, the head of the Cuban military's effort to make state-run companies more profitable, said profits, wages and productivity had been raised in more than 800 companies by applying methods known in Cuba as "perfeccionamiento empresarial" -- roughly translated as perfecting of the (state) company system.

"If you ask me what the most important task facing the state companies is, I would say it is better organization and the way to do that is through perfecting the state company system," Perez told the Communist Party newspaper Granma.

"The numbers speak for themselves," he said of the business management system introduced by the armed forces two decades ago to help the economy get through the collapse of the Soviet Union while avoiding privatization and market economics.

Col. Perez's comments contrasted with those of more reform-minded Cuban economists who believe greater opportunity for private initiative is the way forward for Cuba as Fidel Castro fades slowly into the background.

BETTER FOOTING

Some Cuban economists believe that only by adopting China's model of a capitalist market under Communist political control, or at a minimum by decentralizing and developing private cooperatives in nonstrategic sectors, can internal production be improved.

"'Perfeccionamiento empresarial' is not a free-market reform and it is not privatization. But it would benefit Cuba's economy to carry out the process fully," said Phil Peters, an expert on Cuba at the Lexington Institute in Virginia.

Col. Perez said productivity at more than 800 companies under the new management system was 42.4 percent above that of other state companies and wages were 22.5 percent higher than average. Only 7 percent operated at a loss in 2006 compared with 38 percent in the economy as a whole.

Cuba's economy is now on a better footing than it was when the armed forces -- under Raul Castro -- first introduced the modern management methods to boost their revenues.

Revenues are relatively strong due to the export of medical and other services, mainly to Venezuela, high nickel prices, soft Chinese credits and preferentially financed Venezuelan oil.

Nevertheless, the state has run into problems investing the revenues through its more than 3,000 state-run companies. The economy suffers also from chronic disorganization, poor accounting, low quality, lax discipline and graft.

Raul Castro, who took over when his older brother underwent intestinal surgery in late July, has urged the official media to be more critical of state companies. He has told academics to study socialist economic problems and voiced frustration over inefficiencies.

"We are tired of excuses in this revolution," Raul Castro snapped during a discussion of economic matters at a parliament session in December.

"There is no question Raul wants improvements, but that does not mean he will go outside the existing system if he thinks it can work better," a Cuban economist said, asking not to be named.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

US lawmakers urge easing of Cuba embargo

MSNBC

January 23, 2007 7:53 p.m. EST

By Guy Dinmore in Washington
FT.com

Members of Congress who believe Cuba is making a smooth transition of power said on Tuesday they would propose legislation to ease US embargo and travel restrictions.

"Contrary to the notion that once Fidel Castro was gone there would be uproar and the Americans would come marching in, I didn't sense that at all," said Jo Ann Emerson, a Republican representative for Missouri who visited Cuba last month as part of a delegation of US lawmakers.

Ms Emerson and James McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, said the House Cuba working group, equally represented by both parties, was agreed on the need to remove travel restrictions and loosen the embargo. This was the "mainstream view" in Congress, Mr McGovern said.

Previous initiatives have failed in committee, but with both houses of Congress under Democratic control for the first time in 12 years, President George W. Bush may be forced to use his veto if he is to keep his hardline Cuba policy intact.

"Our policy to Cuba has done more to keep Castro in power than anything else," Mr McGovern told a seminar hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank. He said the Cuban people were taking the demise of Mr Castro in their stride, and that the Bush administration was starting to accept this "reality".

John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, said the Cuban "regime" was trying to create a "soft landing" while transitioning power to Raúl Castro. "We don't want to see that happen," he told the Senate intelligence committee. "But what is not known is whether people are holding back. Maybe we're not seeing the kind of ferment yet that one might expect to see once Mr Castro has definitively departed the scene."

Julia Sweig, analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, says Washington must "finally wake up to the reality of how and why the Castro regime has proved so durable, and recognise that, as a result of its wilful ignorance, it has few tools with which to effectively influence Cuba after Fidel has gone."

The official Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, whose recommendations have been accepted by Mr Bush, has proposed maintaining economic pressure on Cuba to undermine its succession strategy. A big humanitarian relief operation is ready to be mounted – once a new Cuban government asks for it. "Our Cuba policy hasn't changed," the State Department said.

Thomas Shannon, assistant secretary of state, on Tuesday spoke of 2007 being the year of engagement and listening in the region for the US. He spoke positively about efforts to get a dialogue going with Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez, but made no mention of Cuba in more than an hour speaking to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Copyright The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved.

Cuban Vice President Says Castro Recovering, All Is Normal

NBC6.net South Florida

Cuba's vice president said Monday that Fidel Castro continued to recover from intestinal surgery and the country was operating normally in his absence.

Vice President Jose Ramon Fernandez indicated the leader is recovering and added that after six months of his convalescence the nation is functioning with normality, the official Prensa Latina news agency reported.

Complete Story

Posada Carriles case continues to be put off

Juventud Rebelde (in Spanish)

January 23, 2007 02:11:55 GMT

Judge Phillip Martinez has set next February 1 as a limit date for the Homeland Security Department to present proof that justify the arrest of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

Mail to: digital@jrebelde.cip.cu

TEXAS. -- Despite proof that confirm his entrance to the United States in the yacht Santrina, terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, accused here only of migratory crimes, declared himself innocent of fraud and false declarations in his naturalization process, and declined, for the moment, to ask for release under bail, in his appearance before the judge.

Two weeks ago, the American authorities admitted that Posada had entered the country by sea and not by land like he declared when he requested naturalization. He was charged with seven counts of fraud and for lying under oath.

"There is no case for asking for his release under bail at this time, because Posada's penal case is augmented by the migratory charges, which would maintain him under the custody of the North American authorities," explained to news agency EFE, Felipe Millan, Posada's attorney in Texas.

In a previous court appearance before magistrate Norbert Garney, Santiago Alvarez and Osvaldo Mitat, were charged with disobeying a judicial order to testify about the entry into the U.S. of Luis Posada Carriles. The attorney for both men asked for time to familiarize himself with the case, and both the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney decided not to ask for a bail hearing, it was reported by the news wire.

JG Translation

Discreet political transition underway in Cuba

www.dnaindia.com

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 13:51 IST

HAVANA: Six months after Fidel Castro handed over the reins of power to undergo major surgery, the Cuban president's condition remains shrouded in secrecy, but a discreet political transition appears to be underway.

Dashing hopes in Washington and among anti-Castro exiles, there has been no massive clamor in the communist-run island for rapid reforms toward a market economy since Castro transferred power to his younger brother, Defense Minister Raul Castro in July.

As they get used to the idea that the bearded revolutionary who has led the country for five decades may soon no longer be with them, Cubans have been going about their daily routines as usual.

"Fidel has to die one day, but life goes on and the revolution continues," said retired factory Ivan Perez, 71, who professes deep admiration for Castro.

Complete Article

Monday, January 22, 2007

Dominicans Expose US Plans, Support Cuba

Escambray

Santo Domingo, Jan 22 (Prensa Latina) A Dominican solidarity group denounced on Monday the disinformation orchestrated by the United States against Cuba.

"Some days ago we learned from the press that Mr. Caleb MacCarry, who is part of the Bush Plan for the annexation of Cuba and what they call a government of transition, was in our country", states a release.

"It is", the campaign members express, "an unprecedented act of interference in the 21st century against a sovereign nation, to dismantle all the political, economic and social system on that island".

"To implement those terrible plans, Washington through the so-called Bush Plan has publicly destined about $59 million to finance internal subversion in Cuba and pay mercenaries organized into small counterrevolutionary groups.

"It is evident that the designated US Proconsul, chosen to rule Cubas destinations after the Revolution is overthrown, has come here to convince our government to support those horrifying plans", they add.

"According to reports, states the note, this sinister figure met with top authorities of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Government's other officials, as well as some people chosen by the US Embassy".

"The Campaign of Solidarity with Cuba, while repudiating the use of our country to attack Cuba, alerts Dominicans not to allow the Cuban-American Mafia and Washington to attack a neighboring country, which joins us in centuries of brotherhood", emphasizes the document.

Turning the tables on Washington, Cuba says US harbours terrorists


A Cuban in a motorcycle passes by a sign with the images of US President George W. Bush and Cuban Luis Posada Carriles, as devils, in Havana.
AFP PHOTO


Caribbean Net News

Monday, January 22, 2007

by Patrick Moser

HAVANA, Cuba (AFP): Outside the US diplomatic mission in Havana, President George W. Bush is portrayed as a bloodthirsty vampire, on a giant billboard meant to illustrate Cuba's claim that Washington supports terrorism.

Cuba, which for years has figured on the US list of states that sponsor terrorism, has turned the tables on Washington, claiming the United States harbors terrorists responsible for the deaths of dozens of people.

The communist government is waging a major campaign to demand the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, who is accused here and in Venezuela of masterminding the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people.

Posada Carriles is portrayed alongside Bush on the billboard made to look like a movie ad, which advertises "The Assassin - coming soon to a US court near you."

A former CIA operative, he was indicted last week on minor immigration charges in the United States, stirring an angry response from relatives of the 1976 bombing.

"It is an outrage that Posada Carriles is not tried as an assassin, a terrorist, that there is no justice for the victims of this criminal act," said Margarita Morales, 44, the daughter of a Cuban athlete killed when the Havana-bound Cuban jetliner exploded upon take off from Barbados.

"How can they say they are fighting against terrorism while they support Cuban terrorists," she said in an interview with AFP.

The Cuban foreign ministry claimed Posada Carriles' indictment was "a smoke screen to grant him impunity for the serious crime of terrorism."

The United States has refused to extradite Posada Carriles to Venezuela or Cuba, claiming he might be tortured there and found no takers when it suggested sending him to another country.

Havana claims Washington is effectively supporting terrorism, and has compared the Cuban-born Venezuelan to Osama bin Laden, the leader of the Al-Qaeda terror network blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

"If someone had Bin Laden now and instead of extraditing him to face charges of terrorism he were held on visa issues, wouldn't that be scandalous?" parliamentary President Ricardo Alarcon asked in a recent interview with AFP.

Posada Carriles is the best known of several people living in the United States whom Cuba accuses of acts of terror, including bombings in Havana.

Accused of masterminding the 1976 attack, he was jailed in Venezuela, but eventually escaped. He was arrested again in Panama for allegedly planning to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro in 2000. He was pardoned four years later, and made his way, allegedly illegally, to the United States.

While the former CIA operative has turned out to be a hot potato for the US administration, some anti-Castro exiles in Miami consider him a hero, and have staged demonstrations of support, infuriating Cubans who lost relatives in the 1976 bombing.

"It's very sad knowing there are people who continue to support a terrorist," said Morales.

"I would imagine anybody who lost a relative in the twin towers would feel the same way knowing somebody, somewhere is demonstrating to support terrorists," she said in reference to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

"They would be just as outraged," she said, her voice cracking with emotion as she added that more than 30 years on, "I can still feel the pain."

The now ailing Castro condemned the attacks at the time, but also said they were a reaction to what he called US "terrorist methods."

Washington had long accused Havana of actively backing terrorist groups, and still includes Cuba in its list of states that sponsor terrorism, even though Castro had said in 1992 that Cuba's support for insurgent groups was a thing of the past.

In its 2006 "country report on terrorism" the US State Department said Cuba harbored a number of US fugitives, including convicted murderers and hijackers.

But Morales doesn't think much of Bush's "war on terror."

"What terrorism is he fighting against? We too are victims of terror."

Few nations follow U.S. in condemning Cuba

The Miami Herald

Jan. 22, 2007

The Bush administration is campaigning to get more international condemnation of abuses in Cuba. So far, there have been few takers.

BY PABLO BACHELET
pbachelet@MiamiHerald.com

WASHINGTON - Shortly after an ailing Fidel Castro handed power to his brother Raúl last summer, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called her Spanish counterpart, Miguel Angel Moratinos.

With Havana seemingly on the edge of change, Rice hoped the European Union would issue a statement urging Cuba to adopt democratic reforms. As the leader on Latin American affairs within the EU, Madrid had the clout to make such a declaration happen, diplomats familiar with the outreach say.

The Spaniards declined.

To this day, the EU and most Latin American democracies have been conspicuously quiet on Cuba despite a stepped-up U.S. effort to garner those kinds of declarations on Cuba. Diplomats and analysts say the silence shows that many nations are both unwilling to be associated with U.S. policies toward Cuba and reluctant to anger Havana by criticizing its communist government.

''The embargo focus of U.S. policy [toward Cuba] has been ineffective,'' said Kenneth Roth, president of Human Rights Watch, a group critical of both U.S. sanctions on Cuba and the island's repressive ways. ``It's driven away natural allies who otherwise might be willing to help promote human rights.''

A BUSH PRIORITY

Bringing international attention on Cuba was a priority for the Bush administration even before Castro temporarily handed power to his brother and six top aides on July 31. A few weeks earlier, a big interagency policy report on Cuba said that Western democracies ``should take a leading role in guiding Cuba on a path . . . to representative democracy.''

U.S. officials with Latin American responsibilities often discuss Cuba on their trips abroad.

The State Department's Cuba Transition Coordinator, Caleb McCarry has traveled to Spain, Finland -- which then held the EU's rotating presidency -- and Germany, which currently holds it.

Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Thomas Shannon has traveled widely in Latin America as well as China, Spain and Canada. And Kirsten Madison, who among other duties oversees the Cuba desk at the State Department, has been to France, Italy and Belgium.

The State Department says it is not only out to convince others on the merits of U.S. policy on Cuba.

''This is not us giving them information only,'' spokesman Eric Watnik said. ``We want to know what they are doing to help the Cuban people and see if we can work together in supporting a democratic transition.''

So far, the administration has little to show for its efforts. Only a handful of formerly communist nations in Central Europe and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias have called for a democratic transition in Cuba. The Cuban foreign ministry later blasted Arias, a Nobel Peace prize winner, as a ``vulgar mercenary.''

The reluctance of other nations to speak out is dismaying Cuban Americans.

U.S. ambassador to Spain Eduardo Aguirre last month told a group of Spanish reporters that he'd ``like the European Union at some time to make a simple statement, that they'd like to see democracy in Cuba.''

Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said many nations are eager to condemn alleged U.S. violations in the Guantánamo Bay prison but unwilling to speak out on the plight of Cuban political prisoners.

''After almost 50 years of this double standard of silence toward Cuba's lack of freedoms, I am not very surprised by the lack of international support,'' she said.

DELICATE SUBJECT

European diplomats interviewed by The Miami Herald, many of whom declined to be identified because Cuba is a delicate subject, say all its members want democracy in Cuba. But some governments like those in Spain, France and England feel that condemning Havana at this time would prompt the communist government to dig its heels rather than embrace change.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the three Baltic states are pushing for a EU pronouncement, the diplomats say. Hungary's ambassador to Washington, András Simonyi, said Europe is ''edging'' towards a common position on Cuba, which he said is a ''special case'' because of its history and its ``present situation.''

''Hungary has a clear view that we have been through a democratic change and, of course, we would like to see as many countries as possible'' take a democratic path.

In Latin America, most big democracies like Argentina and Brazil have long held that they cannot interfere in the internal affairs of another country. Mexico's new conservative President Felipe Calderón has said he will seek to promote democracy in the region, but so far has not mentioned Cuba.

There's also resentment against the U.S. Helms-Burton Act of 1996, which punishes foreign companies that invest in Cuban properties seized from U.S. citizens, as well as the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

U.S. officials say they understand that other nations oppose Washington's ''tactics'' but that the two sides should work together to achieve democracy in Cuba.

But that's ''not how things work,'' said José Miguel Vivanco, the Americas director for Human Rights Watch. ``They also need to open the whole policy agenda for debate.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

H.R. 217, Cuba Reconciliation Act

January 21, 2007

Seventeen days ago, U.S. Representative Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives H.R. 217, a bill to remove all provisions restricting trade and other relations with Cuba. All prohibitions on exports to Cuba will cease to be active on the date the legislation becomes effective, which is 60 days after the date of enactment.

The Helms-Burton Act and the Torricelli Act would be repealed.

Travel to Cuba for all U.S. citizens and residents would be restored.

JG Comment: I urge all the readers of this blog, to contact their Member of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives to urge them to support and/or become a co-sponsor of this legislation, which would put an end to our failed Cuba policies.