Friday, July 30, 2010

Private prisons, vigilante groups and the U.S. Homeland Security Department all feed on the racist hysteria of Arizona's SB 1070

Read NACLA's report at: https://nacla.org/node/6681

Cuba defeats USA 3-2 in Junior Baseball Quarter Finals

In a baseball game that was extremely important to Junior Team Cuba, they defeated the United States in a Quarter Final game at the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship, in Thunder Bay Canada.

Cuba won the game because of the stellar performance by Cuban pitcher Omar Luis Rodriguez, who went the full nine innings and struck out five, while allowing two bases on balls. The Americans hit well, collecting ten hits.

Cuba only had six hits. Aviles, Jimenez and Hernandez each had a run batted in.

Check this post later on to find out who are the criollos playing next.

Boxscore

Arizona replaces Alabama and Mississippi as the most racist state in the USA

Racism toward Hispanics, xenophobia and plain arrogance are kings in the USA today. How sad it is to see what this country has become. Today, we are emulating Nazi Germany.

Here is what the Associated Press reported today:

Joe Arpaio, a 78-year-old ex-federal drug agent who fashions himself as a modern-day John Wayne, launched his latest sweep Thursday afternoon, sending about 200 sheriff's deputies and trained volunteers out across metro Phoenix to look for traffic violators who may be here illegally.
Deputy Bob Dalton and volunteer Heath Kowacz spotted a driver with a cracked windshield in a poor Phoenix neighborhood near a busy freeway. Dalton triggered the red and blue police lights and pulled over 28-year-old Alfredo Salas, who was born in Mexico but has lived in Phoenix with a resident alien card since 1993.

Dalton gave him a warning after Salas produced his license and registration and told him to get the windshield fixed.

Salas, a married father of two who installs granite, told The Associated Press that he was treated well but he wondered whether he was pulled over because his truck is a Ford Lobo.
"It's a Mexican truck so I don't know if they saw that and said, 'I wonder if he has papers or not,'" Salas said. "If that's the case, it kind of gets me upset."

Win or gome home!

Omar Luis Rodríguez will pitch today for Cuba

Cuba will play today what may be a most difficult game at the Quarter Finals of the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship. It will play against perennial foe USA, who won five consecutive games in the preliminary round-robin phase.

GOOD LUCK CUBA!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

American Ballet Theater Company sets a trip to Cuba

Jose Manuel Carreo, Alicia Alonso and American Ballet Theater artistic director Kevin McKenzie at American Ballet Theatre's salute to Alonso's 90th Birthday in June at Metropolitan Opera House. Photo: Gene Schiavone

Wall Street Journal

JULY 30, 2010

By PIA CATTON

American Ballet Theater announced Thursday that it will travel to Cuba to dance in the International Ballet Festival of Havana in November. The company last visited Cuba in 1960, at which time ABT was celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The upcoming festival is in honor of the Cuban-born dancer Alicia Alonso, the director of the National Ballet of Cuba, who danced with ABT in the 1940s. Ms. Alonso visited New York this spring to celebrate her 90th birthday with ABT, which held a tribute performance during its 2010 spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. The company's invitation to the Havana festival came from Ms. Alonso.

"ABT has for many years seen itself as a cultural ambassador, bringing American ballet to the world," executive director Rachel Moore said. "Alicia is part of our past, and remains part of our family. There is a special tie with the National Ballet of Cuba."

The New York dance community has made consistent efforts to strengthen ties with Cuba. This will be a return trip for ABT's artistic director, Kevin McKenzie, who traveled to Cuba in 1986. Since the mid-1970s, dancers from ABT, New York City Ballet and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater have made visits to the country.

More...

Why we may have a double-dip recession

I am no economist and do not consider myself a real estate expert, but I think the U.S. may be heading for a double dip recession.

Here is the latest "encouraging" sign:

Reuters: Foreclosures up in 75 percent of top U.S. metro areas

Foreclosures rose in 3 of every four large U.S. metro areas in this year's first half, likely ruling out sustained home price gains until 2013, real estate data company RealtyTrac said on Thursday.

Unemployment was the main culprit driving foreclosure actions on more than 1.6 million properties, the company said.

"We're not going to see meaningful, sustainable home price appreciation while we're seeing 75 percent of the markets have increases in foreclosures," RealtyTrac senior vice president Rick Sharga said in an interview.

Foreclosure actions -- which include notice of default, scheduled auction and repossession -- in the first half rose in 154 of the 206 metro areas with populations 200,000 or more.

Cities with the 20 highest foreclosure rates were all in Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona.

JG: Things will start getting worse and worse, and pretty soon the big R will become big D #2. I am seeing deflation every time I go out and take a drive in my car. I hope I am wrong. Americans had been living beyond their means, and now, the chickens are coming home to roost. The debt house of cards is coming down.

Rookie Republican U.S. Representative comes close to assuring us that Raul Castro is about to fall

I have heard it all before. For 51+ years I have been hearing tall tales from right wing Republicans and Democrats about how Fidel or Raul's regime was about to fall.

We have a rookie Republican, U.S. Rep. Tom 'Baby Face' Rooney, from filthy-rich Palm Beach County, Florida, who today gave us the following beauty: “the Castro regime is in dire financial trouble. The state-run economy is in crisis, foreign trade declined ty a third this past year, the tourism industry is declining and the government is several billion dollars in debt to foreign lenders. Meanwhile, Venezuela — where despot Hugo Chavez is usually happy to help out Fidel and Raul Castro — is unable to provide much assistance due to the failings of its own communist rule.”

This is the same shit that the Diaz-Balart brothers and Ileana 'La Loba Feroz” Ros-Lehtinen have been parroting for 20 years.

Go ahead, Tommy. If it makes you feel better, JUST DO IT! It is probably much better than a trip to your psychiatrist. Neither sticks and stones, nor bits and bytes, will accomplish much for the failed Cuba policies of the Yankee imperialists.

H.R. 4645 continues to garner more co-sponsors

This July, H.R. 4645, the Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act has obtained the following five co-sponsors:

Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] - 7/14/2010
Rep Boozman, John [AR-3] - 7/21/2010
Rep Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14] - 7/26/2010
Rep Markey, Edward J. [MA-7] - 7/26/2010
Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] - 7/26/2010

The bill currently has 71 co-sponsors.

Cuba plays USA tomorrow

The schedule page at the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship shows that Cuba and the USA will play tomorrow at 14:00, local time at Thunder Bay, Canada.

We will bring you results as soon as they are published. Game Track does not seem to be working.

Top Five Social Security Myths

Rumors of Social Security's demise are greatly exaggerated. But some powerful people keep spreading lies about the program to scare people into accepting benefit cuts. Can you check out this list of Social Security myths and share it with your friends, family and coworkers?

Myth: Social Security is going broke.

Reality: There is no Social Security crisis. By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a 'T'). It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever.1 After 2037, it'll still be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits--and again, that's without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers retirement decades ago. Anyone who insists Social Security is broke probably wants to break it themselves.

Myth: We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer.

Reality: This is red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts. Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people die as children than did 70 years ago.3 What's more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly--since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half.4 But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit cut.

Myth: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security.

Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share. If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come. Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income. But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.

Myth: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs

Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market--which would have been disastrous--but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.

Myth: Social Security adds to the deficit

Reality: It's not just wrong -- it's impossible! By law, Social Security funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.

From Move On via Hullabaloo.

Cuba: Deficit lower than expected for 2010

By WILL WEISSERT (AP) – 07/29/2010, 2:00 P.M.

HAVANA — Cuba says its budget deficit came in far below forecasts in the first half of 2010, evidence that tax increases and deep spending cuts on food imports may be helping the communist government weather a severe economic crunch.

Cuba reported on Thursday a deficit of nearly $410 million for the six-month period, less than a quarter of the $1.7 billion that central planners originally predicted.

Lina Pedraza, minister of finances and prices, said Cuba generated a bit more than $21.2 billion. Over the same period, it spent $21.6 billion — creating the smaller-than-expected shortfall.

The figures were made public in the Communist-party newspaper Granma. They were approved by the nation's Economic Affairs Commission, a slate of lawmakers that huddled prior to a full session of parliament Sunday.

Cuba has slashed imports to deal with its economic problems, particularly in the areas of food and agriculture.

More...

Cuba's Orquestra Aragon celebrates their 70th Anniversary


They will be having a celebration concert at the Zellerbach Hall of the University of California at Berkley, on August 13, at 8:00 p.m.

Concert Website

Portland, Oregon is manufacuring streetcars again


American-made Streetcars: Portland Company Rebuilds Lost Industry

September 8, 2009
By Jacob Wheeler
Apollo News Service


United Streetcar, a union company in Portland, Ore., and wholly owned subsidiary of Oregon Iron Works, has built the first American-made streetcar in over half a century, with the help of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. United Streetcar has a deal in place to build six streetcars for the city and is on the verge of signing a $26 million contract to build seven more for Tucson, Ariz.

The initial streetcar was unveiled on July 1 in a ceremony attended by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who called Portland the transportation, streetcar and livable community capital of the United States. Union workers from Oregon Iron Works flanked LaHood as he lauded the successful partnership between the city and the transit operator, calling it “exactly the kind of synergy we need in the United States of America today.”

“I believe this is the dawn of a new era for public transportation in the United States,” said LaHood. “A new opportunity to claim ‘Made in America.’ It’s a chance to generate good-paying union jobs right here in the region.”

LaHood also announced the allocation of $360,000 in ARRA funding for the East Side Loop extension of the Portland streetcar system, which is what has created the demand for additional streetcars in Portland. The Federal Transit Administration has also awarded the East Side Loop extension $75 million in Small Starts funds.

United Streetcar, LLC was formed in 2005 after Chandra Brown, the company’s president and a vice president at parent company Oregon Iron Works, made the startling discovery while talking to friends that modern streetcars were not manufactured in the United States – or at least not by American companies – and hadn’t been for 58 years. Given the variety of complex products that Oregon Iron Works has manufactured since 1944, Brown was sure that the company could handle streetcars as well.

For 65 years Oregon Iron Works has manufactured metals and complex machines, including hydropower equipment, plate fabrications, bridges, aerospace ground equipment, nuclear containment work, specialized boats, and wave energy.

United Streetcar’s ultimate goal is to provide modern streetcars to cities nationwide. Portland and Tucson are just the start.

“Knowing the huge success of the Portland streetcar line, we were positive that streetcars were on the brink of exploding into a large and extremely viable market,” said Brown, a 15-year veteran of Oregon Iron Works. “We thought that a separate website and company specific to streetcars would be the best way of reaching out around the country in this new marketplace.”

Brown added that more than 65 U.S. cities are currently looking into implementing streetcars. Portland, though, is leading the way in public transportation.

The streetcar that United Streetcar recently unveiled — and hopes to put into operation this fall — is truly an American-made product. To meet “Buy America” requirements, at least 60 percent of the components had to be domestically produced by American companies. Brown claims that United Streetcar’s product is approximately 70-percent U.S.-made, with components coming from vendors in more than 20 states. The steel streetcar shell was fabricated in Portland; a company in Pennsylvania finished the trucks; a company just down the freeway from Portland provided the fiberglass; and the seats came from Michigan.

“We truly consider the streetcar project the creation of an industry,” said Brown. “It has opened doors for vendors across the nation. Specialized companies who have never had the opportunity to work in the streetcar arena now find themselves with new work in their shops.”

The propulsion system, one of the few foreign-made parts, comes from Skoda in the Czech Republic, with which Oregon Iron Works has an exclusive license agreement. While United Streetcar wanted to manufacture its own vehicles, it didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, explained Brown. So the Portland company evaluated European companies that had experience and credibility in the streetcar fabrication industry, and settled on Skoda.

Portland currently has 10 streetcars in operation, not including United Streetcar’s new prototype. The six new cars will service the Portland East Side Loop extension. Brown said that the city’s next expansion will likely be a seven-mile extension to Lake Oswego, which will necessitate 10 additional cars. Portland’s streetcar plan envisions many extensions of service throughout the city. In a decade, Brown believes, there could be as many as 30-40 cars.

The last streetcar made by an American company and assembled on U.S. soil was completed in 1952 by the St. Louis Car Company, which specialized in PCC (Presidents’ Conference Committee) streetcars — vehicles that were popular in the 1930s but faded after the Second World War when the U.S. stopped expanding its transit networks, says Rick Gustafson, director of Portland Streetcar, Inc. Unlike the PCC cars, United Streetcar’s new models are low-floor vehicles that make it easy for wheelchairs, senior citizens and baby strollers to enter and exit, thus complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. United Streetcar also provides air conditioning and a heating system, energy efficient lighting, and regenerative braking.

Brown added that Portland residents have wholeheartedly embraced this unique public-private venture. The streetcars boost the city’s reputation as a public transportation pioneer, and they provide good-paying union jobs. Oregon Iron Works employs a total of 400 workers. The shop workers are represented by Ironworkers Local 516, and the electric workers who perform the streetcar’s electrical outfitting are under IBEW Local 48. Those working on streetcars perform dual roles: they may build streetcars one day and then move to another of the parent company’s activities the next day.

“Instead of outsourcing jobs, we are ‘insourcing’ jobs, bringing them back to the States,” Brown said. “This is key to keeping Portland’s manufacturing industry thriving, as well as promoting American-made products.”

Contact:
Chandra Brown
President, United Streetcar
Vice President, Oregon Iron Works
9700 S.E. Lawnfield Road
Clackamas, Oregon 97015
cbrown (a) unitedstreetcar.com
(503) 653-6300

----

JG: I am so proud of Portland, Oregon. I went to Lincoln High School and Portland State College there. I got married there and my two healthy and smart sons were born there. Building environment-friendly eco-green streetcars is a great accomplishment. YOU GO PORTLAND!

July 26, Cuba: absolved by history


By: PW Editorial Board

July 26 2010

On July 26, 1953, a small band of Cuban revolutionaries launched an armed attack on the Moncada Barracks in the city of Santiago. The attack was intended to start a revolution against the corrupt dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, and was led by a young man named Fidel Castro, who had been an activist student at the University of Havana.

The rebels did not succeed on that day. Some were killed and many others became prisoners, some of whom were murdered by Batista's goons. But eventually a mass campaign led to the amnesty of Castro and other remaining prisoners.

But the 26th of July was the beginning, not the end. Moncada led to the formation of the 26th of July Movement, which became the central organizing force of the Cuban Revolution. The seeds sown on July 26, 1953, germinated on January 1, 1959, as the victorious July 26th movement marched into Havana as the last of Batista's top cronies fled for Miami.

On trial, Fidel Castro famously said "history will absolve me." That turned out to be an understatement. Not only has the Cuban Revolution survived 10 hostile U.S. presidencies, it has been a beacon of hope to the oppressed worldwide.

Besides transforming Cuba, it has contributed mightily to ending colonialism in many parts of the world, and especially to putting an end to the odious apartheid regime in South Africa.

Today, the Cuban Revolution, through its medical and other aid projects, has extended a hand of help to earthquake victims in Haiti, people with hearing and vision problems in the Andes, and many thousands more around the globe. Cuba's leaders, including Fidel, continue to speak out fearlessly on every topic, from peace to global warming.

It's in the American and Cuban people's interests for us to fight harder than ever to abolish the 50 year trade blockade against the island. We can start by getting our congressional representatives to support HR 4645, a bill to end the restrictions on travel to Cuba, which will also loosen restrictions on food sales to Cuba.

And let us not forget that five dedicated Cuban patriots are serving outrageously unjust jail sentences in U.S. prisons for the "crime" of working to stop terrorist attacks on Cuba. Let us resolve to celebrate July 26 by intensifying our work for the freedom of the Cuban Five!

Photo: The Moncada Barracks in Santiago is now a 26 of July Historical Museum. (GNU)

Washington is Responsible for Weakening Health of Cuban Prisoner, says Cuba's Parliament President

South Journal—The president of the Cuban Parliament Ricardo Alarcon said that Washington is responsible for the weakening health of Cuban prisoner Gerardo Hernandez, one of the five antiterrorists held for 12 years in US high security prisons and known as the Cuban Five.

Gerardo´s health is at risk and the US administration is responsible for that situation, Alarcon said at Havana´s Convention Palace, host to the current sessions of parliamentarian commissions, prior to the fifth session of the seventh legislature of parliament.
Justice is being obstructed in the case of Gerardo after he has been confined to the hole at the Victorville prison in California, without having had any undisciplined behavior, Alarcon pointed out.

For the president of the Cuban parliament this is a very serious situation not only because the inmate is in being kept in the hole, but also under a punishment submitting him to a very small cell space, without enough ventilation, only a small vent high on the wall.

The government of the United States is aware of Gerardo´s physical complaints and that he has been requesting medical examination since last April, said Alarcon, who noted that the inmate was only allowed to see a doctor last July 20.

The next day, however, he was taken back to the hole; it is a two-meter long by one-meter wide cell where temperature is above 35 degrees Celsius, despite he was diagnosed several health problems which have not yet been treated.

It seems that Gerardo is having problems connected to a bacterium that, according to the doctor who assisted him, was circulating among the penal population with some very serious cases, although we do not know for sure if it is also the situation of the Cuban prisoner, because he has not been given any medical check-up.

Gerardo seems to also suffer from unbalanced blood pressure. He is a young man, just turned 45, but he has spent 12 years under really difficult and stressing conditions, Alarcon pointed out and expressed his concern for the health of the Cuban antiterrorist because he is not receiving medical attention.

Thus far, we have put our claims to the State Department, but we have received no reply. The problem is not only that he is in the hole, but also that he is being punished in the hole, he said. Gerardo has no communication with his lawyers, precisely when an appeal is in the works, a situation that was repeated during the whole legal process.

Gerardo was supposed to be working with his defense attorneys in preparing the habeas corpus. This is well known by the US government and happens that at this moment he is deprived of any communication with his lawyers, of receiving any letters, he is isolated and on top of that he is sick and with his health at risk, the Cuban parliament president pointed out.

http://realcuba.wordpress.com/

Cuba Libre


The Cuba Libre (Spanish for Free Cuba) originated around 1900 in Havana, Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Patriots aiding Cuba often toasted the West Indian Island and its freedom with this rum, cola, and lime cocktail.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

* 1-1/2 oz. dark or white rum
* Juice of half a lime
* Ice
* Cola

Preparation:

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the ingredients. Stir and garnish with lime wedge.

Source: About.com

Cuba Libres, Mojitos and Daiquiris (made with Havana Club Rum) will ensure that when you visit Cuba you will have a GREAT TIME!

Varadero and Cayo Coco

Varadero, Cuba

Cayo Coco, Cuba

See what Uncle Sam does not let Americans visit!

Photos: The natural beuty of Las Cuevas de Bellamar in Cuba


A great gallery of Cuba's beautiful Las Cuevas de Bellamar.

Melba Hernandez celebrates her 89th birthday


The heroine of the attack on the Moncada Barracks, Melba Hernandez, has celebrated her 89 birthday. Photo by: Calixto N. Llanes

Las flores del cariño para Melba Hernández

Como lo que son, sus hijos, niños y jóvenes le llevaron un beso a la Heroína del Moncada en su 89 cumpleaños.

Ana María Domínguez Cruz
digital@juventudrebelde.cu
28 de Julio del 2010 21:23:07 CDT

El hogar de Melba Hernández se llenó este miércoles con flores, canciones y abrazos de integrantes del Coro Diminuto de la Escuela Elemental de Música Alejandro García Catarla. Es el cariño que honra 89 años de una vida dedicada a Cuba.

Al felicitar a Melba, Yamilé Ramos Cordero, presidenta de la Organización de Pioneros José Martí, le dijo que todos los pioneros y jóvenes cubanos también son sus hijos.

¡Cuba, qué linda es Cuba!, Dame la mano y danzaremos y algunos temas premiados en el Festival de la Canción Infantil Cantándole al Sol fueron algunos de los regalos que recibió la Heroína del Moncada.

«Me siento muy feliz de tener a mi lado a los niños regalándome danzas y canciones. Ellos son los continuadores de esta Revolución y sé que Fidel puede contar con su alegría y energía», expresó emocionada.

Representantes de la embajada de Vietnam en Cuba también asistieron al sencillo homenaje a quien fuera presidenta del Comité Cubano de Solidaridad con esa nación y embajadora de la Isla allí.

JG: We wish her many more happy celebrations.

Bruzón and company are leaders in chess tournament in San Juan, Spain

Cuban Grand Master Lázaro Bruzón

Three of the six leaders of the strong open chess tournament in Spain's city of San Juan are Cubans, reports Granma. They are Grand Master Lázaro Bruzón, from las Tunas, and Omar Almeida and Yuri González from Havana.

The face of institutionalized U.S. racism: Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio


“I will continue harassing the immigrants” says Joe Arpaio. The hatred in his declarations are there for all the world to see. He represents the bad side of a good country. This soul brother of the Ku Klux Klan has issued a warning to those who are going to protest today in front of of his dungeon.

The racism of scummy George Wallace ended up in the garbage bin of history. So will you Joe!

Alabama and Mississippi's racism was defeated in the 1960's. The people united will slap the face of Arizona's modern brand of a despicable proposition.

Joe Arpaio is under federal investigation on allegations of civil rights violations reports the Associated Press.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cuba's Economy

The economy of Cuba is a largely state-controlled, centrally planned economy overseen by the Cuban government, though there remains significant foreign investment and private enterprise in Cuba. Most of the means of production are owned and run by the government, and most of the labor force is employed by the state. In the year 2000, public sector employment was 76% and private sector employment was 23% compared to the 1981 ratio of 91% to 8%. Capital investment is restricted and requires approval by the government. The Cuban government sets most prices and rations goods to citizens. In 2009, Cuba ranked 51st out of 182 countries on the Human Development Index with an HDI of 0.863; remarkably high considering its GDP per capita only places it 95th. Cuba also significantly outperforms the rest of Latin America in terms of infant and child mortality, morbidity, educational attainment and an array of other social and health indicators.

In the 1950s, Cuba had a vibrant but extremely unequal economy, with large capital outflows to foreign investors. The country has made significant progress since the Revolution towards a more even distribution of income. Despite the economic embargo by the United States, the economy grew at a rate higher than the rest of Latin America until the collapse of the Soviet Union, its main trading partner. Between 1990 and 1993, Cuba's GDP declined by 33%. Yet Cuba has managed to retain levels of healthcare and education, and since 2000 the economy is rapidly recovering. Cuba has a highly-developed service industry with one of the largest professional workforce in the world. Its number of doctor per capita is ranked #1 in the world.

Cubans receive low housing and transportation costs, free education, and health care and food subsidies. Corruption is common, though far lower than in most other countries in Latin America.

History

Cuba prior to the Revolution had a one-crop, backward economy whose domestic market was constricted. Its population was characterized by chronic unemployment and deep poverty. United States monopolies like Bethlehem Steel Corporation and Speyer and Company gained control over Cuba's national resources, from which they made huge profits. The banks and the country's entire financial system, all electric power production, and most industry was dominated by US capital. US monopolies owned 25 percent of the best land in Cuba, and more than 80 of all farm lands were occupied by sugar and livestock-raising latifundia. 90 percent of the country's raw sugar and tobacco exports was sent to the USA. Before the Revolution, most Cuban children were not included in the school system. There was almost no machine-building industry in Cuba.

87 percent of urban homes had electricity, but only 10 percent of rural homes did. Only 15 percent of rural homes had running water. Nearly half the rural population was illiterate, as was about 25 percent of the total population. Poverty and unemployment in the rural areas forced desperate residents to migrate to Havana, where there was high levels of crime and prostitution. More than 40 percent of the Cuban workforce in 1958 was either underemployed or unemployed. Schools for blacks and mulattoes were vastly inferior with those for whites. Afro-Cubans had the worst living conditions and held the lowest paid jobs.

Although Cuba ranked ahead of other countries in Latin America purely in average GDP, a third of the population lived in poverty. Cuba's large income disparities were a result of the fact that Cuba's unionized workers enjoyed perhaps the best privileges in Latin America, "obtained in large measure at the cost of the unemployed and the peasants".

Cuban Revolution

Following the Cuban Revolution, the country made economic progress. In the period 1960-85, real income growth per capita averaged 3.1 percent per year, compared to 1.8 percent in the rest of Latin America. As a result of this growth, Cuba's per capita income in 1987 exceeded $3500, compared to only $2200 in the rest of Latin America.

Unemployment in Cuba is minimal. Basic services for Cuban citizens have been maintained and improved. Lower income groups have experienced a rise in their wages and state-set prices have remained stable for Cubans.

The share of agriculture in the GDP fell from 25 percent to only 10 percent in 1985. The country has had immense industrial growth, with manufacturing's share in the GDP rising from 23 to 36 percent. In the 1980s, with the exception of Argentina, Cuba's manufacturing share was the highest in Latin America. Branches of industry such as machinery and transport equipment have had significant growth, as their share of manufacturing output rose from under 2 percent in 1961 to over 20 percent in 1986.

Between 1980 and 1985, Cuba introduced over 100 new products for export and had significant growth in exports of citrus fruits, steel products, gas stoves, paper products, transport material, radios, batteries, among others.

Cuba also has succeeded in reducing poverty and equalizing the distribution of wealth. According to the United Nation's Economic Commission for Latin America, the decile ratio (share of total income for the top 10 percent of wage earners divided by the bottom 10 percent) in Latin America was 45 to 1, while that of Cuba was only 4 to 1. Cuba's income distribution was more than 10 times more equal than the rest of Latin America in the 1980s. Before the Revolution, Cuba's decile ratio was 65 to 1.

During the Revolutionary period, Cuba was one of the few developing countries to provide foreign aid. Foreign aid began with the construction of six hospitals in Peru in the early 1970s.

Foreign aid expanded later in the 1970s to the point where some 8000 Cubans worked in overseas assignments. Cubans built housing, roads, airports, schools, and other facilities in Angola, Ethiopia, Laos, Guinea, Tanzania, and other countries. By the end of 1985, 35,000 Cuban workers had helped build projects in some 20 Asian, African and Latin American countries.

For Nicaragua, Cuba pledged to provide over $130 million worth of agricultural and machinery equipment, as well as some 4000 technicians, doctors, and teachers.

Some have attributed the Cuban economic success to Soviet subsidies. However, comparative economic data has shown that the amount of Soviet aid is comparable to that received by U.S.-backed regimes in the rest of Latin America, such as Chile under Augusto Pinochet.

Special Period

The Cuban economy is still recovering from a decline in gross domestic product of at least 35% between 1989 and 1993 due to the loss of 80% of its trading partners and Soviet subsidies. This era was referred to as the "Special Period in Peacetime" later shortened to "Special Period". A Canadian Medical Association Journal paper states that "The famine in Cuba during the Special Period was caused by political and economic factors similar to the ones that caused a famine in North Korea in the mid-1990s. Both countries were run by authoritarian regimes that denied ordinary people the food to which they were entitled when the public food distribution collapsed; priority was given to the elite classes and the military." Cubans had to resort to eating anything they could find, from Havana Zoo animals to domestic cats. Because of the collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union and other countries of the Eastern bloc, Cuba experienced economic difficulties, which led to a drop in calories per day from 3052 in 1989 to 2600 in 2006.

The government has undertaken several reforms in recent years to stem excess liquidity, increase labour incentives, and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. To alleviate the economic crisis, the government introduced a few market-oriented reforms including opening to tourism, allowing foreign investment, legalizing the U.S. dollar, and authorizing self-employment for some 150 occupations. (This policy was later partially reversed, so that while the U.S. dollar is no longer accepted in businesses, it remains legal for Cubans to hold the currency.) These measures resulted in modest economic growth. The liberalized agricultural markets introduced in October 1994, at which state and private farmers sell above-quota production at free market prices, have broadened legal consumption alternatives and reduced black market prices.

Government efforts to lower subsidies to unprofitable enterprises and to shrink the money supply caused the semi-official exchange rate for the Cuban peso to move from a peak of 120 to the dollar in the summer of 1994 to 21 to the dollar by year-end 1999. Living conditions in 1999 remained well below the 1989 level. New taxes introduced in 1996 have helped drive down the number of self-employed workers from 208,000 in January 1996.

Havana announced in 1995 that GDP declined by 35% during 1989-93, the result of lost Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies. The drop in GDP apparently halted in 1994, when Cuba reported 0.7% growth, followed by increases of 2.5% in 1995 and 7.8% in 1996. Growth slowed again in 1997 and 1998 to 2.5% and 1.2% respectively. One of the key reasons given was the failure to notice that sugar production had become dramatically uneconomic. Reflecting on the Special period Cuban president Fidel Castro later admitted that many mistakes had been made, “The country had many economists and it is not my intention to criticize them, but I would like to ask why we hadn’t discovered earlier that maintaining our levels of sugar production would be impossible. The Soviet Union had collapsed, oil was costing $40 a barrel, sugar prices were at basement levels, so why did we not rationalize the industry?"

Recovery

Due to the continued growth of tourism, growth began in 1999 with a 6.2% increase in GDP. Growth in recent years has picked up significantly, with a growth in GDP of 11.8% in 2005 according to official Cuban information. In 2007 the Cuban economy grew by 7.5%, below the expected 10%, but higher than the Latin American average rate of growth. Accordingly, the cumulative growth in GDP since 2004 stood at 42.5 %.

Post-Fidel reforms

In 2007, Raúl Castro's administration hinted that the purchase of computers, DVD players and microwaves would become legal. However, monthly wages remain less than 20 U.S. dollars. Mobile phones, which have been restricted to Cubans working for foreign companies and government officials, have become legalized. The new program could put phones in the hands of hundreds of thousands of Cubans.

Energy production

Due to the reliance on declining Soviet era electricity generators, many areas of Cuba suffered frequent blackouts and brownouts for extended periods, creating additional pressure on society. To counter these problems, the government has put Cuba through an "Energy Revolution", which has placed increased emphasis on the efficient use of electrical energy and more efficient, small-power generators linked in a synchronized network. The country has increased the number of solar- and wind-powered generators. Though development was hampered by large-scale damage created by Hurricane Dennis and Hurricane Wilma, which cut Cuba's electricity generation capacity by half in the areas most affected, Cuba now exceeds the government set demand in electricity production. Raul Castro told Cubans in his July 26 speech in 2007, that the Special Period is not yet over.

Government policies

Rationing in Cuba refers to the system of food distribution known in Cuba as the Libreta de Abastecimiento ("Supplies booklet"). The system establishes the rations each person is allowed to buy through that system, and the frequency of supplies.

On top of rationing, the average wage at the end of 2005 was 334 regular pesos per month ($16.70 per month) and average monthly pension was $9.

A person can get more jail time for killing a cow (10 years in prison) than killing a human. Those who sell beef without government permission can get three to eight years in prison. Eaters of illegal beef can get three months to one year in prison.

After the 1959 Cuban Revolution, citizens were not required to pay a personal income tax (their salaries being regarded as net of any taxes). However, from 1996, the State started to impose income taxes on Cubans earning hard currency, primarily the self-employed.

In their book, Corruption in Cuba, Cuban American authors Sergio Diaz-Briquets and Jorge F. Pérez-López claim that the Communist regime institutionalized corruption; "Castro's state-run monopolies, cronyism, and lack of accountability turned Cuba into one of the world's most corrupt states". On the other hand, the Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Cuba 65th (from best to worst) out of 180 countries, better than most other countries in Central or Latin America.

As in other former socialist countries, few citizens do not hesitate to steal from the government when given the opportunity. Since the vast majority of people are in state jobs, and the state makes up much of the economy, petty crime is widespread.

Sociolismo also known as amiguismo meaning "friend-ism" or "partner-ism" is the informal term used in Cuba to describe the reciprocal exchange of favors by individuals, usually relating to circumventing bureaucratic restrictions or obtaining hard-to-find goods. It comes from the Spanish word socio which means business partner or buddy, and is a pun on socialismo, the Spanish term for socialism. It is analogous to the blat of the Soviet Union.

The term is particularly associated with the black market economy, and perceived cronyism in Cuba’s state controlled command economy. Socios can be black market operators who "facilitate" (steal) goods that are officially reserved for the state. They can also get someone a job or obtain paperwork.

Agriculture

As a result of inefficient state-run agriculture, Cuba imports up to 80% of the food it rations to the public. After coming to power, Raúl Castro, Fidel Castro's brother, has ridiculed the bureaucracy that shackles the agriculture sector.

Before 1959, Cuba boasted as many cattle as people. Today meat is so scarce that it is a crime to kill and eat a cow without government permission. Cuban people even suffered from starvation during the Special Period.

Industry

In total, industrial production accounted for almost 37% of the Cuban GDP, or US$6.9 billion, and employs 24% of the population, or 2,671,440 people, in 1996.[citation needed]

More recently Cuba's world-class biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry is gaining in its importance to the economy. It has been claimed that soon it will become Cuba's main source of foreign exchange. Among the products sold internationally are vaccines against various viral and bacterial pathogens, and promising anti-cancer vaccines are undergoing exhaustive clinical trials. Some Cuban scientists, like V. Verez-Bencomo, have been awarded international prizes for their contributions in biotechnology and Sugar Cane. Cuban vaccines are sold, among other countries, in Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and several Latin American countries.

Tourism

In the mid 1990s tourism surpassed sugar, long the mainstay of the Cuban economy, as the primary source of foreign exchange. Tourism figures prominently in the Cuban Government's plans for development, and a top official cast it as the "heart of the economy". Havana devotes significant resources to building new tourist facilities and renovating historic structures for use in the tourism sector. Cuban officials estimate roughly 1.6 million tourists visited Cuba in 1999 with about $1.9 billion in gross revenues. In 2000, 1,773,986 foreign visitors arrived in Cuba. Revenue from tourism reached US $1.7 billion.

The rapid growth of tourism has had widespread social and economic repercussions in Cuba. This has led to speculation of the emergence of a two-tier economy and the fostering of a state of tourist apartheid on the island. This situation was exacerbated by the influx of dollars into the Cuban economy during the 1990s, potentially creating a dual economy based on the dollar (the currency of tourists) on the one hand, and the peso on the other. Scarce imported goods - and even some of local manufacture, such as rum and coffee- could be had at dollars-only stores, but were hard to find or unavailable at peso prices. As a result, Cubans who earned only in the peso economy, outside the tourist sector, were at an economic disadvantage. Those with dollar incomes based upon the service industry began to live more comfortably. This widened the gulf between Cubans' material standards of living, in conflict with the Cuban Government's long term socialist policies.

Retail

Cuba has a very poorly developed retail sector. There are no large shopping centers and the commercial districts that existed before the revolution are largely shut down. Those that remain carry few and poorly made products that are priced in dollars and are too expensive for the average Cuban to purchase. The majority of the stores are small dollar stores, bodegas, agro-mercados (farmers' markets) and street stands.

Poverty

Typical wages range from factory worker's 400 non-convertible Cuban pesos a month to doctor's 700. That is only around 17-30 U.S. dollars a month. However, the Human Development Index of Cuba still ranks much higher than the vast majority of Latin American nations. After Cuba lost subsidies in 1991, malnutrition resulted in an outbreak of diseases and general hunger. Despite this, Cuba's poverty level is one of the lowest in the developing world, ranking 6th out of 108 countries, 4th in Latin America, and 48th among all countries. Pensions are among the smallest in the Western hemisphere at $9.50. In 2009, Raul Castro increased minimum pensions by 2 dollars, which he said was to recompense for those who have "dedicated a great part of their lives to working... and who remain firm in defense of socialism".

International trade

The Netherlands receives the largest share of Cuban exports (24%), 70 to 80% of which go through Fondel Finance, a company owned by the Van't Wout family who have close personal ties with Fidel Castro. Currently, this trend can be seen in other colonial Caribbean communities who have direct political ties with the global economy. (e.g. British West Indies, United States Virgin Islands, French outer-territories, etc.) The second largest trade partner is Canada, with a 22% share of the Cuban export market.

Foreign investment

Since the Special Period, Cuba has actively courted foreign investment. All would be foreign investors are required to form joint ventures with the Cuban government. The sole exception to this rule are Venezuelans, who are allowed to hold 100% ownership in businesses due to an economic agreement between Cuba and Venezuela. Cuban officials said in early 1998 that there were a total of 332 joint ventures. Many of these are loans or contracts for management, supplies, or services normally not considered equity investment in Western economies. Investors are constrained by the U.S.-Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act which provides sanctions for those who "traffic" in property expropriated from U.S. citizens. As of March 1998, 15 executives of three foreign companies have been excluded from entry into the United States. Over a dozen companies have pulled out of Cuba or altered their plans to invest there due to the threat of action under the Libertad Act.

US Dollar

In 1993 the Cuban Government made it legal for its people to possess and use the U.S. dollar. From then until 2004, the dollar became a major currency. To capture the hard currency flowing into the island through tourism and remittances - estimated at $500–800 million annually - the government set up state-run "dollar stores" throughout Cuba that sold 'luxury' food, household, and clothing items, compared with basic necessities, which were bought using the Cuban peso. As such, a gap in the standard of living developed between those with access to dollars and those without. Jobs that could earn dollar salaries or tips from foreign businesses and tourists became highly desirable. It was common to meet doctors, engineers, scientists, and other professionals working in restaurants or as taxicab drivers.

However, in response to stricter economic sanctions by the US, and because the authorities were pleased with Cuba's economic recovery, the Cuban government decided in October 2004 to remove the American dollar from circulation. In its place, the Cuban convertible peso is now used, which although not internationally traded, has a value pegged to that of the dollar. As a source of additional revenue, a 10% surcharge is levied for conversions from US dollars to the convertible peso; this surcharge does not apply to other currencies, so it acts as an encouragement for tourists to bring currencies like Euros, pounds sterling or Canadian dollars into Cuba. Indeed, an increasing number of tourist zones now also accept Euros directly for many transactions.

Self-employment

To provide jobs for workers laid off due to the economic crisis that the government was having difficulty providing, and to try to bring some forms of black market activity into legal, and regulated, channels, Havana in 1993 legalized self-employment for some 150 occupations. The government tightly controls the small private sector, which has fluctuated in size from 150,000 to 209,000, by regulating and taxing it. For example, owners of small private restaurants (paladares) can seat no more than 12 people and can only employ family members to help with the work. Set monthly fees must be paid regardless of income earned and frequent inspections yield stiff fines when any of the many self-employment regulations are violated. Rather than expanding private sector opportunities, in recent years, the government has been attempting to squeeze more of these private sector entrepreneurs out of business and back to the public sector. Many have opted to enter the informal economy or black market. In recent years there has developed what is called "urban agriculture", production which takes place on small parcels of land in the cities. Growing organopónicos (organic gardens) in the private sector has been attractive to city dwelling small producers who get to sell their products in the same place where they produce them, avoiding taxes and enjoying a measure of government help from the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) in the form of seed houses and advisers.

Connection with Venezuela

The relationship cultivated between Cuba and Venezuela in recent years has resulted in agreements in which Venezuela provides cheap oil in exchange for Cuban "missions" of doctors which aid and the Venezuelan health care system. Cuba, with the second-highest per capita number of physicians in the world (behind Italy), sends tens of thousands of doctors to other countries as aid, as well as to obtain favorable economic terms of trade.

Other statistics

Electricity - production: 16.89 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 89.52%
hydro: 0.65%
nuclear: 0%
other: 9.83% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 13.93 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production: 62,100 bbl/day (2008 est.)

Oil - consumption: 176,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)

Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - imports: 104,800 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - proved reserves: 197.3 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)

Natural gas - production: 400 million cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 400 million cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 70.79 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)

Agriculture - products: sugarcane, tobacco, citrus, coffee, rice, potatoes, beans, livestock

Annual budget: revenues: $47.08 billion expenditures: $50.34 billion (2009 est.)

Public debt: 34.6% of GDP (2009 est.)

Current account balance: $513 million (2009 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $4.647 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Source: Wikipedia

The Netherlands defeats Cuba 9-8

In their second consecutive defeat at the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship, the Netherlands defeated Cuba by the score of 9-8.

Cuba is currently in third place of Pool B.

I am not 100% sure, but in the quarter finals, Cuba may be playing Chinese Taipei. USA may play the Netherlands in that round.

Boxscore

Holanda dejo al campo a Cuba.

Judge blocks controversial parts of Arizona law

MSNBC is reporting that "a judge has blocked the most controversial sections of Arizona's new immigration law from taking effect Thursday, handing a major legal victory to opponents of the crackdown."

More from the Los Angeles Times

Cuba suffers first defeat at the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship.

Yesterday the nine-squad of the Greater of the Antilles suffered their first defeat at the games of the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship.

South Korea prevailed against Cuba by 5-3. They are the current World Junior Baseball Champions.

In pool A, Canada, Cuba and South Korea have each three victories and one defeat. In pool B, USA has five victories and no defeats. The finals promise to be very good.

Boxscore

Cuba will play the Netherlands today.

Para mis amiguitos, los gusanitos de Miami y New Jersey!

Do I look Illegal?



The passage of SB 1070 represents nothing less than a manmade disaster of enormous proportions in the Hispanic community, not just in Arizona, but nationwide. The legislation will inevitably increase racial profiling and other forms of discrimination against Latinos and others perceived to be “foreign.” Purportedly designed to improve enforcement of immigration laws, SB 1070:

* Criminalizes being an undocumented immigrant, much like the infamous Sensenbrenner legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006

* Requires law enforcement officials to demand papers proving lawful presence in the U.S. of anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being undocumented

* Permits anyone to sue Arizona law enforcement agencies if they believe the law is not being enforced

* Inoculates law enforcement in Arizona against lawsuits from victims of racial profiling or discriminatory enforcement

* Inspires copycat legislation in nearly one dozen other states

Because this disastrous public policy demands an extraordinary response, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and 51 other civil rights and social justice organizations have called for a formal boycott of conventions, conferences, and other special events involving significant travel to Arizona from out of state.

Boycott_Intolerance_Org

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fidel Castro to publish a book called 'Strategic Victory' in August

CNN reports that Cuban Revolutionary leader Fidel Castro will publish a book in August of this year which will be titled "Strategic Victory."

The Cuban leader said that "the 25 chapters contain photos, maps and illustrations of the weapons used during a series of battles that lasted 74 days in 1958 and paved the way for his bearded revolutionaries to declare victory on January 1, 1959."

"The enemy suffered more than 1,000 losses, more than 300 of them deaths and 443 taken prisoner," Fidel wrote.

"Castro said he would now start work on a book covering the second half of the fighting, called "The Final Strategic Counteroffensive."

Reflecciones del compañero Fidel: La victoria estratégica

In Spanish: Speech of Jose Ramon Machado Ventura on the 57th anniversary of the 26th of July

Continuaremos el estudio, el análisis y la toma de decisiones que conduzcan a superar nuestras insuficiencias en todos los órdenes

Discurso pronunciado por el compañero José Ramón Machado Ventura en el acto por el Aniversario 57 del asalto a los cuarteles Moncada y Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, celebrado en Villa Clara el 26 de julio de 2010, Año 52 de la Revolución


Compañero General de Ejército Raúl Castro Ruz, Presidente de los Consejos de Estado y de Ministros.

Compañeros Rafael Ramírez y Ricardo Menéndez, Vicepresidentes de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela y demás Ministros y miembros de la delegación de esa nación hermana que nos honra hoy con su presencia en este acto.

Compañeras y compañeros de la Dirección del Partido, del Estado y el Gobierno, de la Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas y las organizaciones de masas, de la Asociación de Combatientes de la Revolución Cubana, las gloriosas Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias y el Ministerio del Interior.

Asaltantes y familiares de los mártires de los cuarteles Moncada y Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y de nuestros Cinco Héroes, injustamente condenados y detenidos en las cárceles del imperio yanki.

Caravanistas de Pastores por la Paz orientados y dirigidos por el reverendo Lucius Walker que durante veintiún años han enfrentado y vulnerado el bloqueo contra nuestra Patria y una vez más dan, con su asistencia a este acto, muestra de su amor por la Revolución Cubana.

Compatriotas:

Como fue informado, la Dirección de nuestro Partido decidió dedicar este 26 de Julio a El Libertador Simón Bolívar, en el 227 aniversario de su natalicio, y también al Bicentenario de las luchas independentistas de los pueblos de Nuestra América.

El compañero Hugo Chávez había previsto estar aquí junto al pueblo de Cuba y hablar en este acto. No ha podido ser, pero sabemos que él comanda hoy al heroico pueblo venezolano que se apresta a responder, como denunció en la tarde de ayer, a las amenazas del imperio contra la seguridad nacional y la soberanía de Venezuela y contra su propia vida.

Reiteramos, una vez más, nuestra inquebrantable solidaridad con Venezuela y la condena al despliegue de bases militares norteamericanas en Colombia, que pone en peligro la paz en la región.

Ante las amenazas y provocaciones, Venezuela tiene todo el derecho a defenderse y contará siempre con el firme respaldo de todos los cubanos.

Presente en esta tribuna, en representación del presidente Chávez y del pueblo venezolano, se encuentra la Delegación de ese hermano país a la Primera Cumbre Cuba-Venezuela, integrada por los dos Vicepresidentes ya mencionados, seis Ministros y otros compañeros.

Esta Cumbre tiene como principal objetivo avanzar hacia un nivel más alto de nuestros vínculos, consolidar la unión económica entre Venezuela y Cuba, chequear la ejecución de los proyectos acordados e iniciar otros, en beneficio del bienestar de ambos pueblos.

Nos inspiran las ideas, aún por realizarse, de una gran nación de Repúblicas, de Bolívar y de Nuestra América, de José Martí.

Nuestro Héroe Nacional, inspirador de la generación que hace exactamente 57 años asaltó los cuarteles Moncada y Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, sintió una profunda admiración por Simón Bolívar. Todos conocemos el célebre pasaje de La Edad de Oro en que narra con singular devoción cómo, sin quitarse el polvo del camino, rindió tributo emocionado ante la estatua ecuestre de El Libertador en Caracas.

Con su verbo elocuente, dedicó a Bolívar medulares escritos y apasionados discursos. En uno de estos, Martí hacía énfasis al decir: "¼ ¡porque lo que él no dejó hecho, sin hacer está hasta hoy, porque Bolívar tiene que hacer en América todavía!".

Nunca como hoy, aquellas proféticas palabras del Apóstol de Cuba tienen tanta vigencia. Ellas marcan el camino de la unidad, por el que ya avanzamos decididamente en la Alianza Bolivariana de los Pueblos de Nuestra América.

Cuando en toda América Latina se conmemora el Bicentenario del inicio de las luchas por la independencia, cada vez con más fuerza los pueblos se levantan para llevar a término la obra inconclusa, y hacer realidad las aspiraciones de libertad y justicia por las que lucharon Bolívar y tantos otros héroes eternos.

El Comandante en Jefe rindió este sábado, en el Mausoleo de Artemisa, homenaje a los mártires del 26 de julio y a la lucha sin tregua de nuestro pueblo por su independencia. Reiteró en su mensaje a los combatientes revolucionarios de Artemisa y de toda Cuba, que su pensamiento revolucionario partió de la idea martiana de que "Patria es Humanidad" y que nuestra lucha constituye una prueba de lo que puede lograr un pequeño país frente al gigantesco poder del imperio.

Fidel, cuya visible recuperación es motivo de profunda alegría para los revolucionarios cubanos y para los hombres y mujeres progresistas más allá de nuestras fronteras, está presente y combatiendo en este día que tanto significa para él y para todos nosotros.

El propio Fidel ha plasmado reiteradamente su admiración infinita por Bolívar. En el libro Un grano de maíz, el líder de la Revolución Cubana apuntó: "Yo he leído mucho sobre Bolívar y no me canso nunca de leer sobre Bolívar, sobre cada uno de sus minutos, cada una de sus tragedias, cada uno de sus éxitos. Tengo una simpatía extraordinaria por Bolívar como no la tengo, digamos, por ningún otro personaje de la historia¼ ".

Eso fue dicho precisamente en 1992, el año en que Chávez encabezó al pueblo venezolano en el alzamiento del 4 de febrero; valiente y patriótica acción lanzada para hacer revivir, dar continuidad y llevar a la práctica los sueños de El Libertador.

Como el asalto al Moncada abrió el camino a la etapa definitiva de la Revolución Cubana, la sublevación de los militares patriotas comandada por Chávez, fue precursora de la pujante e invencible Revolución Bolivariana.

Son los mismos sueños que inspiraron al Che y a sus heroicos compañeros de la gesta internacionalista en Bolivia, cuyos restos son custodiados celosamente por los hijos de esta aguerrida tierra villaclareña, que vio combatir al Guerrillero Heroico y acompañarán siempre a nuestro pueblo, como glorioso Destacamento de Refuerzo, en las luchas de hoy y de mañana. Che estaría orgulloso de este acto de reafirmación patriótica y latinoamericanista, de cuya causa fue un paladín.

Queridos compatriotas:

En el afán por obtener la sede del acto central por el Día de la Rebeldía Nacional, tienen un mérito particular las provincias que resultaron ganadoras: Ciego de Ávila, Granma y Ciudad de La Habana, que obtuvieron la condición de Destacadas, y Villa Clara que mereció ser la sede conmemorativa. No se trata de una emulación triunfalista, de fanfarrias y grandes actos, sino de premiar el esfuerzo, los resultados y el modesto cumplimiento del deber.

Villa Clara ha mantenido una gran estabilidad en los últimos 12 años, con avances en los principales sectores socioeconómicos del territorio, que incluyen la industria, la producción agropecuaria y el desarrollo de un importante polo turístico, unidos a sus logros en la esfera social, en la educación, la cultura y la salud.

Estas son razones suficientes para felicitar particularmente al pueblo villaclareño, protagonista indiscutible de esos resultados, y a la Dirección del Partido y del Gobierno de la provincia, que ha alcanzado una labor cohesionada, y ha sido cantera de importantes cuadros para otros territorios y frentes de la Revolución.

Compañeras y compañeros:

Con posterioridad a los severos daños que nos ocasionaron los tres devastadores huracanes que nos azotaron hace cerca de dos años, nuestro pueblo ha debido realizar un intensa labor, en medio de un entorno internacional especialmente adverso como resultado de los efectos de la actual crisis económica global, en cuyo surgimiento no tenemos la más mínima responsabilidad, pero que junto a otros pueblos sufrimos las consecuencias; se suma a ello el anacrónico bloqueo que se empeña en mantener la administración norteamericana desde hace 50 años, y los efectos cada vez más visibles de los cambios climáticos.

En estas complejas circunstancias, como señaló Raúl en la clausura del Congreso de la Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas, "la batalla económica constituye hoy, más que nunca, la tarea principal y el centro del trabajo ideológico de los cuadros, porque de ella depende la sostenibilidad y preservación de nuestro sistema social" (fin de la cita).

No es ocioso insistir en que la producción de alimentos continúa siendo un frente esencial de la batalla económica, de ahí que debemos continuar dándole la máxima prioridad. En el Congreso de la Asociación Nacional de Agricultores Pequeños, celebrado hace apenas dos meses, se discutió lo relacionado con este estratégico sector, que demanda consolidar el proceso de entrega de tierras en usufructo y avanzar sostenidamente en el programa de la agricultura suburbana.

El ahorro, la reducción de gastos y la máxima racionalidad posible de fuerzas y recursos son una imperiosa necesidad en todos los sectores. En la educación se ha demostrado que pueden ejecutarse profundas transformaciones en el proceso docente-educativo, dirigidas a elevar su calidad, y disminuir al mismo tiempo los costos. Algo similar puede decirse de los servicios de salud, donde tenemos mucho que avanzar para eliminar derroches y gastos superfluos.

Otra tarea en la que no se puede bajar la atención ni un instante es la referida al ahorro de energía. El chequeo sistemático, la exigencia y la disciplina son indispensables para la consecución de los objetivos trazados.

Es oportuno destacar que continuaremos el estudio, el análisis y la toma de decisiones que conduzcan a superar nuestras insuficiencias en todos los órdenes, y perfeccionar nuestra sociedad. Actuaremos sin soluciones populistas, demagógicas o engañosas.

No nos conduciremos por campañas de la prensa extranjera. Proseguiremos con sentido de responsabilidad, paso a paso, al ritmo que determinemos nosotros, sin improvisaciones ni precipitaciones, para no errar y dejar atrás definitivamente errores o medidas que no se avienen a las condiciones actuales.

Nuestro pueblo ha dado sobradas pruebas de la confianza en la dirección de nuestro Partido y Gobierno, y confía en la irrevocable voluntad que nos anima en la solución de los problemas.

No tememos a los difíciles retos que tenemos por delante, contamos para ello con la fuerza invencible de nuestro pueblo, que como dijera Fidel en ocasión de la conmemoración del vigésimo aniversario del 26 de Julio, "¼ si aquel día éramos un puñado de hombres, hoy somos un pueblo entero conquistando el porvenir".

Los mártires heroicos de aquella gesta no cayeron en vano. Su sacrificio hizo posible el triunfo del primero de enero de 1959. Ellos nos han acompañado en los momentos más duros de la lucha: en Girón y la Crisis de Octubre, en las gloriosas misiones internacionalistas, en los días en que desaparecía el campo socialista, se desintegraba la Unión Soviética y el imperio y sus lacayos se frotaban las manos proclamando el fin de la Historia y augurando las horas finales de la Revolución.

¡Hoy ratificamos el compromiso ante ellos de ser fieles a los ideales por los que dieron su vida, cambiando lo que deba ser cambiado en este momento histórico, pero sin aceptar jamás presiones externas ni menoscabo alguno a nuestra soberanía, y sin renunciar ni a uno solo de nuestros sueños de justicia para Cuba y para el mundo!

De esa fidelidad y firmeza, nuestro pueblo ha dado prueba durante más de cinco décadas, y ese compromiso patriótico es hoy más alto que nunca, frente a los retos, las amenazas e intentos de chantaje.

¡Que vivan por siempre los héroes y mártires del 26 de Julio!

¡Viva la indestructible hermandad entre Cuba y Venezuela!

¡Vivan Fidel y Raúl!

¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

Cuba backs Venezuela's right to self-defense: Raul Castro

English.news.cn 2010-07-27 15:01:41

HAVANA, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Cuba's leader Raul Castro on Monday supported Venezuela's right to defend itself against threats and provocations in its spat with Colombia.

Towards the end of a meeting between Cuban and Venezuelan leaders, Castro commented on the claims made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during the weekend that the United States and Colombia were preparing for an attack on Venezuela.

"We are fighting for peace and harmony between our kindred peoples. Our efforts will always have this goal, but no one should have the slightest doubt on whose side Cuba would stand," Castro said.

Venezuela broke off relations with Colombia on Thursday after Bogota accused Caracas of harboring 1,500 Colombian guerrillas in its territory.

"We live in a difficult international situation, in which political instability, economic and the environmental degradation are added to the danger of further military adventures in different parts of the world," Castro said.

He criticized the U.S. military presence in Colombia, which he believes poses a serious threat to the regional stability and sovereignty of neighboring countries.

Colombia and the United States signed a military cooperation agreement on Oct. 30, 2009, allowing the presence of U.S. troops in at least seven Colombian bases. This move met with strong opposition from Colombia's neighboring countries Venezuela and Ecuador.

Editor: Lu Hui

Granma International: Cuba expresses unshakeable solidarity with Venezuela

Fidel Castro emerges from four years of seclusion as Cuba hits out against its old foe the U.S.

Castro returns: Former Cuban president Fidel Castro during a meeting with artists and intellectuals in Havana yesterday

Out and about: Fidel Castro shakes hands with U.S. Reverend Lucius Walker, founder and executive director of Pastors for Peace, during a meeting in Havana yesterday

In this photo released by the state media Cubadebate website, Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro looks on during a meeting with artists and intellectuals at the Jose Martí Memorial in Havana, Cuba, Monday, July 26, 2010. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

Daily Mail, United Kingdom

By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 10:57 AM on 27th July 2010

After fours years hiding away from the cameras, spotted occasionally looking tired and wearing a tracksuit, Fidel Castro gave Cubans a reason to celebrate Revolution Day yesterday.

Castro has stepped out after years of seclusion, wearing a dark green shirt much like his iconic battle fatigues and making a number of public appearances during Cuba's most important national holiday.

He made a string of impromptu Revolution Day appearances by laying a wreath at a memorial to Cuban independence hero Jose Marti at Havana's Revolution Plaza and later met with Cuban artists and intellectuals.

His brother Raul, who became President when Fidel's health waned in 2006, appeared on Venezuelan and Cuban television discussing new economic ties with Venezuela and saying Cuba stands with its ally in its dispute with Colombia.

But the former leader, famous for his opposition to the United States, passed up the chance to speak at an anti-U.S. rally, where Cubans criticised the superpower for everything from drug consumption to the war in Iraq and its military support of Columbia.

Raul was present but did not address the crowd, the first time in years that neither Castro brother addressed the Cuban people on Revolution Day.

The Castros often use the day to set the agenda for the coming year and announce major changes.

A spate of public appearances by the 83-year-old Fidel after years of seclusion fuelled speculation he would be onstage with his younger brother and possibly even address his compatriots.

Tens of thousands of people filled the plaza in the central city of Santa Clara in front of a huge bronze statue of gun-toting revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. Many in the crowd wore red T-shirts bearing his likeness or other homages to the revolution.

Vice-President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura gave the main speech, saying Cuba must tighten its belt and make changes to the closed economy - but will not be pushed to move too quickly.

'Savings, reduction of costs and the maximum rationing of energy and resources are our urgent needs in all areas,' he said, adding that the country is taking a step-by-step approach to transforming its economy. 'We will never accept outside pressure.'

At Santa Clara, Mr Machado hailed the re-emergence of Fidel as giving his countrymen hope.

'The visible recovery of our commander in chief is a point of pride and makes all revolutionaries happy today,' he said.

Xinhua: Fidel Castro marks Cuban Revolution Day

Periodico 26: Cuba Celebrates 57th Anniversary of National Rebellion Day Uniting its own Voice with the Peoples of America

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cuba, Venezuela sign over 100 cooperation agreements

English.news.cn 2010-07-27 10:26:34

HAVANA, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Cuba and Venezuela signed 139 bilateral cooperation agreements on Monday in northeastern Cuba.

The agreements were signed during a meeting between Cuban leader Raul Castro and Venezuelan Vice President Rafael Ramirez in Cayo Santa Maria, 350 km east of the Cuban capital of Havana, the official news channel NNTV said.

The cooperation projects, which focus on food, energy, mining, healthcare and light industries, will be launched immediately.

Trade between Venezuela and Cuba reached 3.138 million U.S. dollars in 2009, according to Cuban figures. Caracas supplies Havana with 100,000 barrels of oil daily, while receiving services from about 30,000 Cuban doctors and specialists in other branches.

Castro and Ramirez also attended a ceremony in Santa Clara Monday morning, commemorating the assault led by former Cuban leader Fidel Castro on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba on July 26, 1953. The date marked the beginning of the armed struggle against the regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Ramirez was representing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during the meeting with Raul Castro. Chavez canceled his planned trip to Cuba on Sunday because of a diplomatic spat with neighboring Colombia.

Venezuela broke off relations with Colombia on Thursday after Bogota accused Caracas of supporting 1,500 Colombian guerrillas in its territory, a claim rejected by Venezuela.

Editor: Xiong Tong

For sake of farmers, lift Cuba ban

Houston Chronicle

By BOB STALLMAN
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
July 25, 2010, 10:40PM


This scene remains a hopeful vision for America's farmers and ranchers: American tourists strolling down the paving-stone streets, browsing the colorful shops and enjoying the rustic cantinas of Old Havana. Why, you may ask, would a Texas rice and beef producer care? The answer can be summed up in three words — enhanced agricultural trade.

A bill moving through the U.S. House would lift America's last travel ban on Cuba, and in the process, lead to more agricultural exports to the island.

Travel to Cuba by Americans, barred for more than four decades, has a direct and indisputable connection to increasing the sale of U.S.-grown food to Cuba. To understand the growth potential, it's important first to understand what's holding U.S. exports to Cuba back.

Due to our own regulatory hurdles, Cuba must pay cash in advance, through a third-country bank, before goods can even be shipped. These hurdles introduce uncertainty, delay and, of course, cost to U.S. exports, which should be the first choice to meet Cuba's food needs.

Add to these obstacles the fact that Cuba faces a liquidity crunch. That means it has less cash to buy food for the Cuban people, and much of what it does buy is now sourced from our foreign competitors who offer Cuba credit. U.S. food exports to Cuba were down by a quarter in 2009, and down by another 50 percent in the first quarter of 2010 alone.

But it doesn't have to be this way for the Cuban people, or for American agriculture. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, before the worldwide economic downturn the value of Cuban agricultural imports more than tripled, from approximately $500 million in 2000 to more than $1.8 billion in 2008. Economists at Texas A&M University estimate that passage of this Cuba trade bill would boost U.S. agricultural sales to that nation by $365 million per year, with an additional $739 million in additional business activity, creating approximately 6,000 new American jobs.

This is because lifting the ban on Americans' travel to Cuba would boost Cuban demand for U.S. food, due to increased tourist-driven food consumption. These gains will also ensure that Cuba has the cash it needs to pay for American foodstuffs. Without the increased revenue from U.S. travel to the island, Cuba will only further decrease its imports from us, turning instead to allies prepared to extend and renegotiate further credits.

Our farmers and ranchers are not just focused on Cuba. Increasing foreign trade remains a key to the success of American agriculture. We are also pushing free-trade agreements for Korea, Panama and Colombia. While each trade bill is important, the key distinction is that the Cuba bill is alive and kicking in Congress this summer.

Presently, the only thing holding us back from taking advantage of our competitive prices, higher quality products and proximity to Cuba is our own self-imposed government policy. Most Americans are ready to move forward. Last year, polls (Ipsos, Bendixen, April 2009) showed more than two-thirds of Americans believe the United States should end the ban on travel to Cuba.

We understand that some members of Congress worry that restoring Americans' right to travel to Cuba would unintentionally help the Cuban government. We take to heart, however, the words of Cuba's most noted dissidents and political prisoners who believe American travel will help the people more than it helps the Cuban government. In a recent letter urging Congress to pass this legislation, the dissidents rightly contend that "the supportive presence of American citizens … would not be an abandonment of Cuban civil society but rather a force to strengthen it."

America's farmers and ranchers believe, like those brave Cuban activists, that "rights are protected with rights." America cannot credibly argue for greater respect for Cubans' rights by abridging the rights of our citizens to travel there. In the process, in addition to a new-found taste for American food, one very important American export to Cuba could turn out to be a taste for freedom not seen along the paving-stone streets of Old Havana in decades. America's farmers and ranchers stand ready to help increase the export of both.

Stallman, a rice farmer and cattle producer from Columbus, Texas, is president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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JG: We can trade with China, but not with Cuba? Only the Batistianos and the conservative right wingers in Miami and New Jersey are in favor of that! Write to your Congressman/Congresswoman and ask them to vote YEA when H.R. 4645 comes to a vote in the 111th Congress.

Staff person for U.S. Rep. Debbie 'Dubbya' Wasserman-Schultz says that Jean-Guy Allard of Cubadebate is publishing incorrect information

Jonathan Beeton is a person who says that he is the Communications Director for Congresswoman Debbie 'Dubbya' Wasserman-Shultz, and he is saying that Diana Wasserman-Rubin, recently arrested in Broward County for political corruption, IS NOT DEEBIE'S MOTHER. I have no reason to doubt his honesty or the veracity of what he is saying.

The original story was published by Mr. Jean-Guy Allard of Cubadebate. Neither Mr. Allard nor Cubadebate has an email address to where I can write.

In all honesty and in fairness to Mr. Beeton and the Congresswoman, I have to say that in the past Mr. Allard has published information which was erroneous. That happens to many journalists.

I am not a journalist, I am just a Cuban-American who is strongly opposed to U.S.-Cuba policy as practiced by both George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama.

In the past Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has consistently voted with the three ultra right-wing Republican Representatives from Miami-Dade County, Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz can not have her cake and eat it too! If you are helping those three Reps from Miami-Dade, I have a right to say that she should not call herself a "progressive," because SHE IS NOT!

I will call Ms. Wasserman-Shultz a "progressive" when she votes against the Cuba embargo and in favor of ALL AMERICANS having the right to freely travel to Cuba.

If she supports and votes in favor of H.R. 4645, I may change my opinion of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

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Photo published by the Broward Palm Beach New Times on July 5, 2010 by Bob Norman


The caption that Mr. Norman used for this photo was: Wasserman-Rubin with some political friends.

The second from the left is U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and next to her is President Barack Obama. No identity was given for the other two ladies, but one can assume that one of them is Diana Wasserman-Rubin.

The question is: Are Wasserman-Shultz and Wasserman-Rubin friends and political soul-mates?

The changes will be 'Made in Cuba' and not 'Made in Washngton D.C. or Miami'

The speech given by Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, first Vice President of Cuba's Council of State, during the celebration for the 57th anniversary of the Moncada attack, was a very good one. I am sure that Barack and Hillary will not like it, because these two persons are living in an 'Uncle Sam in Wonderland' fairytale. They continue thinking, wrongfully, that they have a right to stick their noses in the internal affairs of other countries. HOW WRONG THEY ARE! Might makes right is the policy that the Roman empire followed. Where are they today? The United States continues to lose friends around the world. No one likes the company of a bully!

General Fulgencio Batista used to kiss the ass of Uncle Sam every day of the week. When the imperialists talk about a "transition" in Cuba, that is the kind of government they would like the Cuban people to go back to. NEVER AGAIN!

The few, the proud, the Marines. Add to that: the murderers.

Read the report by the Guardian in the U.K: Afghanistan war logs: How US marines sanitised record of bloodbath

No wonder why the U.S. is losing the war in Afghanistan. When you commit war crimes, as the U.S. did in Vietnam, we are bound to lose the support of the people.

Daniel Ellsberg describes Afghan war logs as on a par with 'Pentagon Papers'

Machado Ventura: “Cuba will change what needs to be changed, at our own pace, without bowing to any external pressures


Cuba's first Vice President, José Ramón Machado Ventura, was the principal speaker at the act which took place this morning in Santa Clara, Cuba, to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the attack to the Moncada barracks by Fidel and Raul Castro and their followers on July 26, 1953.

He declared that: “We will change, in this historical moment, everything that needs to be changed, without accepting external pressures, without detriment to our sovereignty, and without renouncing to our dreams of justice for Cuba and for the world.”

Juventud Rebelde article in Spanish.

Gallery of pictures from 'Along the Malecon'