Saturday, September 30, 2006

Never before in the US

Miami, Sep 30 (Prensa Latina) Last Saturday in Washington DC, two memorable events took place in the development of a campaign for the release of the Cuban five, unjustly imprisoned in the United States for fighting terrorism: Gerardo, Ramon, Antonio, Fernando and Rene.

The solidarity movement for the five Cubans has never before been able to gather so many people in one event to demand their immediate release and to condemn the U.S. policy that has promoted terrorism against the Cuban people for more than 40 years, while at the same time providing protection and immunity for terrorists who plan and engage in these malevolent acts from U.S. territory.

More than 600 people from around 30 U.S. cities and states and from Canada, gathered in the federal capital in response to a call from the U.S. Free the Five National Committee. In addition to Washington D.C. demonstrators came from the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Providence, Albuquerque, Detroit, Chicago and Fort Lauderdale and from the states of Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, Tennessee, Kentucky, Connecticut and Maine.

Fifty-one participants were Cuban immigrants from Miami, members of organizations that make up that city´s Alianza Martiana, along with two Cuban immigrants from Key West and another two from Tampa. In total 54 Cubans residing in Miami.

Each of these individuals paid for their own travel and expenses in Washington and forfeited their wages for the missed days of work, which for many was a significant sacrifice. If we consider an average cost of $300 per person, the total for 51 who came from Miami would be more than $15,000, a respectable amount for working people, students and retirees of our group from Miami. Similarly one can estimate the cost of others who participated in the activities in Washington.

Never before has a noisy demonstration of more than 600 people marched, carrying posters and banners, three kilometers through the downtown streets of Washington demanding the release of the Cuban Five. Never before have so many people congregated in front of the White House railings chanting slogans demanding the liberation of the Five and condemning the U.S. terrorist policy against the Cuban people.

Never before has a panel included speakers from such dissimilar political and ideological backgrounds who came together to demand the liberation of the Five and to condemn terrorism against Cuba, as was the case with the symposium which, attended by some 300 people, took place in the George Washington University in that capital at the end of the march.

The panel of speakers was made up as follows: Francisco Letelier, the son of Orlando Letelier, the former foreign minister of the Chilean government headed by Salvador Allende and a principle opposition figure at the time of his assassination, ordered by the dictator Augusto Pinochet and executed by terrorists from the Cuban ?"American ultra-right in that same city of Washington exactly 30 years ago on September 21, 1976. Livio Di Celmo, the brother of Fabio Di Celmo, the Italian killed by a terrorist bomb in the Copacabana Hotel in Havana in September 1997, on the orders of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. Leonard Weinglass, a lawyer from the Five ?Ts defense team; Akbar Mohamed, international representative of the Nation of Islam, a powerful African-American institution in the United States. Wayne Smith, former head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, who has advocated a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba for many years; Heidi Boghosian, president of the National Lawyers Guild. Saul Landau, politico and aut hor of the book Assassination on Embassy Row, on the assassination of Orlando Letelier. Jos Pertierra, lawyer for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the case of that country ?Ts extradition application for terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to face charges of sabotaging a Cuban Aviation passenger plane in which 73 innocent civilians were killed 30 years ago this October 6. Peta Lindsay, university student and representative of the ANSWER anti-war coalition; Cheryl Labash, representative of the U.S. Solidarity with Cuba National Network; Gloria La Riva, coordinator of the U.S. Free the Five National Committee; and myself, representing the progressive sector of the Cuban migr community in the United States.

Never before has a select group of experts talked so clearly and eloquently on the issue as this one. It was an event that moved everyone present.

Once again the innocence of the Five, charged with committing espionage against the United States was demonstrated, as was the crime committed against them by the U.S. government by keeping them arbitrarily incarcerated for more than eight years. Likewise demonstrated once again was the responsibility of the U.S. government for promoting a state terrorist policy against the Cuban people, and for offering protection and impunity to terrorists from the Cuban-American ultra-right located in Miami and responsible for executing that policy.

Hopefully for the peace and tranquility of the world, the sentence “States that harbor and assist terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists and they will be held to account,” included in a document published by the White House on September 5 entitled Strategy of the National Security of the United States, will soon be carried out.

( ) Posted by on September 28, 2006.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Cuba denounces at the United Nations the double standard of the U.S. in regards to terrorism

United Nations, September 28 – Cuba’s ambassador to the United Nations, Rodrigo Malimierca, denounced this Thursday at the U.N. Security Council, that it is impossible to eliminate terrorism, if certain terrorists’ acts are condemned while others are silenced, are tolerated or are justified.

Read the complete Juventud Rebelde article in Spanish.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Timba - New Styles in Afro-Cuban Popular Music

JG: Very good article about Cuban music.

Click on the link below.

Russia to grant Cuba $350 million credit

Acting Cuban President Raul Castro, right, smiles with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov during a ceremony for the signing of a bilateral agreement at the Revolution Palace in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2006. (AP Photo/ Javier Galeano)

Thursday, September 28, 2006 · Last updated 2:45 p.m. PT


HAVANA -- Russia agreed on Thursday to grant Cuba credit worth $350 million and restructure some of its recent debt during a visit by Russia's prime minister, officials said. The two countries also signed a military cooperation agreement.

Cuban Defense Minister Raul Castro, who is acting president while his elder brother Fidel recovers from intestinal surgery, gave red-carpet treatment to Mikhail Fradkov, the highest-ranking Russian official to come to Cuba since a visit by President Vladimir Putin in 2000.

Wearing a gray suit instead of his customary military uniform, Castro escorted Fradkov through the halls of Havana's Palace of the Revolution, past rows of soldiers playing Cuba's anthem.

The two met privately and did not speak to the press about the encounter.

But Alexander Bochanov, the press liaison at the Russian Embassy in Havana, said that Russia had agreed to restructure some $166 million of debt acquired in recent years.

The $350 million line of credit will be used to buy Russian goods and services. It is a 10-year loan with annual 4-percent interest, according to Russia's RIA Novosti news agency, which reported that Fradkov said the credit would be used to help modernize Cuba's energy sector and transportation system, reconstruct water conservation facilities and railroads, and design and deliver air navigation systems.

Under an ideological and economic alliance that lasted three decades, Cuba once relied on Soviet Union subsidies for about 20 percent of its gross national product. Its economy has since become more self-sufficient, though it now benefits from strong relations with Venezuela, its current leading trading partner.

Bochanov said Raul Castro and Fradkov did not discuss Cuba's Soviet-era debts with Moscow, which Russian media reports have estimated at more than $20 billion. Havana puts the amount at closer to $11 billion.

Fradkov arrived in Havana late Wednesday as the head of a delegation looking to increase business with Cuba in the aviation, transport and energy sectors.

The group will visit Russia's pavilion at the International Transport Fair taking place in Havana through Saturday. Fradkov will also go to the island's Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, and is scheduled to meet Friday with Parliament Speaker Ricardo Alarcon.

Relations between Russia and Cuba chilled after the Soviet Union's collapse but warmed with Putin's visit in 2000.

The Caribbean island exports sugar to Russia, as well as vaccines and other products from its advanced biotech industry.

Fidel and Cuba are inseparable

RIA Novosti

19:25 | 26/ 09/ 2006

Print version

MOSCOW.(Vitaly VOROTNIKOV's RIA Novosti interview) - Cuban leader Fidel Castro Ruz, who marked his 80th birthday last month, has been and remains a bright political figure.

He leaves neither his friends nor foes indifferent. What kind of man is Fidel? Why has he attracted millions of supporters and followers? Former Soviet Ambassador to Cuba and Chairman of the RSFSR Council of Ministers (1983-1989) Vitaly VOROTNIKOV gave an interview about Fidel Castro to RIA Novosti defense commentator Viktor LITOVKIN.

Question: As you know, I asked you for an interview about Fidel Castro in connection with his 80th birthday and his illness. Let's wish him a speedy recovery. You worked with him for many years, met him often, and discussed different subjects. When did you first see him? What impression did he produce on you?

Answer: It is both easy and difficult to answer this question. It is easy because I've already written several books about Fidel Castro and am now finishing another one. I know a lot about him and met him often. But it is difficult to describe him in a medium as laconic as an interview. Moreover, it is impossible to talk about him without talking about Cuba's relations with the Soviet Union and Russia. Fidel and Cuba are inseparable... But let's try.

We met for the first time in Voronezh in 1972. I was the first secretary of the city's regional Party committee. Fidel was in the Soviet Union on an official visit and arrived in Voronezh to see the performance of the nuclear power plant. He was planning to build one in Cuba and to launch an electronics industry. Voronezh was the right place. Fidel could see the first units of the nuclear plant - both low-power ones and units with huge capacities, up to a thousand megawatts. He was accompanied by Alexei Kosygin, chairman of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers, and Konstantin Katyshev, who was the secretary of the Party's Central Committee on cooperation with the socialist countries. This is how we met.

Fidel produced on me, as on many of my friends, a very strong impression. Probably, one of the factors was the evaluation of his personality, which we had already heard about. He had had a special aura around him since the 1960s. He had been to the Soviet Union before his trip to Voronezh, and we knew about his complicated relations with Nikita Khrushchev, who was then the first secretary of the Party's Central Committee. Their relations were unequivocal. On the one hand, Khrushchev praised him to the skies, but on the other, he took quite a few steps which did harm to Cuba, our relations with it, and its leader...

Q: Could you be more specific?

A: I'm sure you remember the Caribbean crisis in 1962 and its resolution. In addition, our advisers flooded Cuba. They were not very considerate, interfering in Cuba's domestic affairs and imposing their decisions on Cuban experts, decisions which had nothing to do with the established way of life or local traditions. This lasted for quite a long time.

I had to deal with these problems as early as 1979, when I went to Cuba as ambassador. On the eve of my departure, Alexei Kosygin advised me to think about how we ought to develop economic relations. Cuba was growing strong, we could not treat it as an incapable country and impose our decisions on all the problems it was facing. We shouldn't have tried to carry out what we advised. Quite often, our instructions did not correspond to the local climate, Cuban traditions, or the economic situation...

Of course, our consultants were using Soviet experience, but it did not always apply.

Q: What did they advise?

A: They advised, for instance, that Cuba should be fully self-sufficient in food. But this was simply impossible. Cuba cannot grow grain because it's too hot there. What could it do with Russian seeds in a tropical climate? To use a metaphor, on Cuba these seeds immediately fatten up, get sick and rot. My wife and I also tried to grow radishes, lettuce and other vegetables, which we were used to at home, but nothing good came of it. They grow tall, but there are no roots.

Our specialists made many mistakes in land amelioration and construction. On one occasion I had to send a chief adviser home to the U.S.S.R. He was the former deputy chairman of the State Committee for Construction. He had arrived in Cuba with Soviet building standards and rules, which were based on our climate - for dwellings with thick walls, heating and so on... When I asked him why, he said that he was planning to build in the usual way, as he did at home. Naturally, this was expensive, ineffective, and unnecessary for Cuba. But our advisors were not embarrassed in the least.

They did not understand that the Cubans would do much better if they grew sugar cane, sold sugar, and bought grain and all other vegetables they could not cultivate locally, like tomatoes and cucumbers. By the way, those were only on the tables of the elite, which brought them from the U.S. and Canada, while common people ate local products. Cuba's nature is bountiful and allows a diet with vitamins and many other tasty things.

Q: Bananas and pineapples?

A: Bananas and pineapples are the least important. There are many other kinds of fruit in Cuba. I don't remember all the names but papaya and mango are more useful and tasty.

These contradictions were piling up during Khrushchev's rule. He was angry when advisors came back and reported: "We are telling them what to do but they are not listening." They did not listen with good reason. But the approach was the same even when I was there, 10-15 years after Khrushchev.

Talking about my first meeting with Castro in Voronezh, I can say that we were full of admiration for him. People gathered in the streets. Fidel was very different from other foreign visitors in his manners, attitude to people, erudition, curiosity, and even his looks. We went to the aviation plant, which produced the Tu-144, a passenger jet similar to the Concord. By the way, Fidel liked the plane very much. But he is one of those who do not trust words and demand that they be backed by real indicators - economic or political ones.

When we entered the plane and took our seats, and Alexei Tupolev (son of the famous aircraft designer) started talking about the jet's high quality, speed, and comfort, Fidel showered him with specific questions: "What is the flying range? How much fuel does it need? What is its noise level?" Alexei quoted the figures. Fidel took a napkin and started doing calculations. After a while he replied: "No, it doesn't suit us. It's expensive and noisy." Indeed, the jet was very noisy, and this was one of the reasons why it was given up. "Besides, it won't reach Cuba without refueling, and a stopover will make it even more costly. You are hoping to get a range of 6,000 km, but right now it is only 4,000 km. You still have to work on it a lot. But we congratulate you on such an interesting aircraft, and hope that you have enough specialists to make it fly to Cuba without refueling. In that case, we'd buy it."

We then went to the Elektronika plant, where Fidel was particularly interested in all processes linked with semi-conductors.

Q: Is that the plant which produced the first Soviet videotape recorders?

A: It did, but they were of little importance. The plant primarily worked for the military. Later on, its General Director Vladislav Kolesnikov was appointed Minister of the Electronic Industry and retained this position until his death.

We visited the nuclear plant, too. Fidel stuck his nose into every hole, including the reactor of the units under construction. Some units were operational, while others were being put into operation. The workers gave him a very hearty welcome. I still have the photos. Then we went to some sugar beet plantations.

I told him how sugar beet is grown, and how sugar is made from it. He was very surprised that the production technology was so complicated and did not believe that beets may contain as much sugar as cane. The beets were still rather small, but we took some, he cleaned them, tasted, and said: "Indeed, it is sweet. But I don't believe it is 15% sugar." But beetroot is in fact 15% sugar. The problem is that we have to process it rather fast, while they cut their sugar cane and can work on it all year round. There is no rush, whereas we have to do it in two or three months and make quite an effort. As a result, we'll get a yield of merely 11%-12% sugar, which is the average output of sugar cane.

Later on we had lunch. This was also very important, and our Moscow bosses were quite pleased with us. The lunch took place at my dacha, which was helpful. At that time people did not have rich homes as some do now and there was hardly any place where Fidel could stay. I had a three-room house on the banks of the Usmanka, a small river, but it could not accommodate all the guests. We put tables right on a glade in front of the house, and arranged a "small feast." This was in June, the summer of 1972 was very hot and dry...

Q: This was when the turf was burning in the Moscow suburbs...

A: Yes, indeed. Our lunch lasted for about four hours. Kosygin and Fidel had a very interesting and serious conversation. At that time Fidel was leaning strongly towards China. But the situation in China did not give him many opportunities to get help. Alexei Kosygin apologized to Castro for our mistakes in relations with Cuba and explained what opportunities we had for further cooperation. He was very convincing, and Fidel obviously admired him. Kosygin felt the same about Fidel. Later on a resolution of the Party's Central Committee described Castro's trip to Voronezh as very important, interesting, and well organized. I even received an acknowledgement of thanks for it. Up to Kosygin's illness and death, Fidel was asking me when I was in Cuba: "How is Kosygin? How is he doing? What can we do to help him?"

Even at that time, not to mention today, Cuba had very high standards of medical care. When Kosygin died, Fidel sent a long letter to the party Central Committee and to Brezhnev personally, expressing his deep condolences to all of the bereaved relatives and friends, and conveying his heartfelt gratitude for his lavish aid to revolutionary Cuba. This was in 1980.

After the meeting in Voronezh I was promoted to a job in Moscow. In 1975, I was appointed first deputy chairman of the RSFSR Council of Ministers and started working in Moscow. To be honest, it was not easy for me to adapt myself to Moscow traditions. When I worked in Kuibyshev, Samara, and later Voronezh, I was an independent man and did what I saw fit. Of course, there were many problems; I had to coordinate my decisions with my superiors and was responsible for my actions. But this responsibility allowed people who wanted to do something meaningful to show their potential. I'd say that I did really well in Voronezh. For me this was the most fruitful period. In Moscow, everything proved to be much more complicated. But at long last, I got used to it. I'm a mechanical engineer by training, and I started working at a plant at 16. I didn't have a bent for ideological, propaganda, or party work, and I was much better versed in economic matters or bodies of executive authority. Up to this day I don't know whose initiative it was, but in 1979 I was sent to Cuba as ambassador. This was a bolt from the blue. I was told that Fidel remembered his trip to Voronezh, and when he looked at a list of candidates, he asked for my appointment.

I don't quite believe this explanation because at that time I had problems in my relations with the Chairman of the RSFSR Council of Ministers Mikhail Solomentsev, and the Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Suslov, who was also supervising the Foreign Ministry. He talked to me before my departure for Havana. I said: "Why should I go? I'm 53, I'm already old, not very healthy, and the tropical climate won't be good for me." But at that time it was not possible to refuse - if I was told to go, I had to go.

Q: According to the principle: "If the Party says jump, the Komsomol says how high?"

A: Exactly. But I have to say that eventually this proved to be a very good option for me, and Cuba lived through a very interesting period. Working as a diplomat, I gained new and useful experiences. I met not only Fidel and other Cubans, but also foreign diplomats and spokesmen for the department of U.S. interests in Cuba.

Q. But at that time, the United States did not have any diplomatic relations with Cuba.

A: No, and the department of U.S. interests worked at the Swiss Embassy. The Embassy was located in a small house, while the department occupied a huge building on the most prominent place on the coast of the ocean in downtown Havana. It had hundreds if not a thousand of American specialists. True, we were not lagging behind, either.

I got on well both with Fidel and his brother Raul, with whom I made real friends, as well as with other Cuban leaders. I tried to do things that would be interesting and useful for Cuba and for us, of course. I didn't want our interests compromised. I tried to enforce discipline and make sure that we didn't leave a bad impression on Cuban specialists. I traveled a lot about the island, visiting construction sites, plants, and military units. We had about eight to nine thousand specialists in Cuba.

Q: Were they only civilian or also military?

A: Both. We had a big group of army consultants and a military unit. It helped establish the Cuban army, to train officers and men. In effect, Castro's army was a guerilla force. It had heroic exploits to its credit, but it also committed many mistakes during the hostilities in the late 1950s.

(to be continued)

Second US Military Occupation of Cuba: Untold Corruption

By Yoel Cordovi Nunez

Researcher of Cuba’s History Institute

ACN Special Service

On September 19, 1906, a US naval war ship accompanied by part of the Atlantic fleet made its way to Havana. On board was a peace commission, made up of War Secretary William Howard Taft and the Under Secretary of State Roberto Bacon.

The obstacles found in their efforts to negotiate with the government of Tomas Estrada Palma from the Moderate Party —and in his re-election bid and the consequent clash with the liberal faction of General Jose Miguel Gomez— set the basis for the second military occupation of the island. On the September 29, Taft announced in a proclamation to the Cuban people, the decision of his government to create a provincial government in Cuba. That responsibility was left for Charles E. Magoon, who had been minister in Panama and governor of the Canal Zone. He began his government in Cuba on October 13, 1906, almost 100 years ago.

By that date the treasury had significant surpluses from the Estrada Palma administration, yet after the US occupation of the island a debt of some 11 million dollars was left behind. Magoon’s administration was characterized as the most corrupt in history.

The so-called Petition Committees were famous, cradles of the most fervent public hunters, as well as what was called the “botella,” where people were given jobs without the proper qualifications. These were old colonial practice imposed by Charles Magoon. The public knew of the enrichment of the governor and his followers at the cost of the kilometers of poorly constructed roads with prices well above the market price.

Magoon took advantage of his executive position for a short period. He did not have much time, as President Theodore Roosevelt felt internal and external pressures that would affect his electoral interests and wanted to end the intervention. The president considered guaranteeing the control of the island to be unnecessary.

While he enriched himself without scruples; he was preparing for the re-establishment of the Republic of Cuba, addressing the contradictions among the political parties. We must highlight the work at the time of the Consultative Commission, headed by Colonel E. H. Crowder and prestigious Cuban figures like Juan Gualberto Gomez, Mario Garcia Kohly, Rafael Montoro and Francisco Carrera Justiz. The Commission was destined to draft a municipal law, an electoral law, the law for the organization of judicial power and the Civil Services law.

All these legislation was announced by the Magoon government throughout 1908, and as an electoral prerequisite a general population census was held in 1907. Once the electoral law was approved the struggle for the political power began between the parties with the victory going to the Liberal Party. That way on January 28th, 1909 the second military occupation ended and the four years of the government of General Jose Miguel Gomez government began.

Cuba, the embargo and the Church meet in Manhattan

Episcopal News Service

By Dan Webster
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

While the rest of world was reacting to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez calling President Bush 'the devil,' the Cuban delegation to the United Nations found a warm reception inside a northern Manhattan Episcopal church last week.

"This parish is part of the Episcopal Church which has long opposed the blockade of Cuba," said the Rev. Gerald Keucher, vicar at Intercession-Washington Heights, which drew unanimous applause.

Speaking in both Spanish and English, Keucher welcomed nearly 500 people who filled almost every chair in the vaulted ceiling nave. Many had waited in long lines for hours outside the church on Broadway at 155th Street before passing through metal detectors and the watchful gaze of U.S. Secret Service and New York police officers.

Keucher quoted Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold who preached a sermon during a visit to Cuba last February.

"During my visit here I have been moved greatly by the faithfulness and vibrancy of your Church," Keucher said quoting Griswold's sermon. "Also, I have been saddened to see the suffering caused by the policies of my country's government. The Episcopal Church in the United States strongly opposes the Blockade against Cuba. In the four decades of its existence, the Blockade has done little except exacerbate the suffering of the Cuban people. Reconciliation must begin, and people of faith must lead the way."

Keucher concluded his welcome by inviting the crowd to come back often. The audience included city council members, civic leaders, actor Danny Glover, and Ramsey Clark, the former U.S. attorney general. The event was sponsored by Pastors for Peace and the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO).

Felipe Perez Roqué, foreign minister of the Republic of Cuba, announced that Cuban President Fidel Castro is "getting stronger every day." Speaking through an interpreter, Roqué said Cubans live everyday with the fear that the Bush administration has preemptive war plans against their country, but he predicted "one day there will be normal relations between our two countries."

"Since we are in an Episcopal Church," said the Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., executive director of IFCO, "we're going to do something they call Prayers of the People." For several minutes Walker made statements and invited the audience to respond, "We give you thanks, Cuba."

The call and answer style was picked up by Esteban Lazo Hernandez, vice president of the Cuban Council of State and leader of his country's delegation to the U.N. Also speaking through an interpreter, Hernandez asked members of a youth group, who had presented him with flowers, several questions about Cuban history and accomplishments. The answer to each was, "Fidel," which eventually captured the voices of all in the historic gothic church.

Hernandez told the assembled of full employment, free health care for every citizen and the plan to train more 100,000 doctors from underdeveloped countries over the next 10 years.

He also told the young people that he recognized some of the faces in the crowd and acknowledged it as an act of solidarity with the people of Cuba.

"There is so much value in solidarity, not just in words but in deeds," said Hernandez. It was reminiscent of the words read in that same church just three days prior at Sunday Holy Eucharist from the Letter of James: "So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead."

For nearly three hours, the 90 miles between Cuba and the U.S., and the reconciliation of members of the Body of Christ, seemed bridged on one late-summer evening at a church in northern Manhattan.

-- The Rev. Dan Webster, a member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, is editor of the National Council of Churches USA's news service.

Cuba, the embargo and the Church meet in Manhattan

Episcopal News Service

While the rest of world was reacting to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez calling President Bush 'the devil,' the Cuban delegation to the United Nations found a warm reception inside a northern Manhattan Episcopal church last week.

"This parish is part of the Episcopal Church which has long opposed the blockade of Cuba," said the Rev. Gerald Keucher, vicar at Intercession-Washington Heights, which drew unanimous applause.

Speaking in both Spanish and English, Keucher welcomed nearly 500 people who filled almost every chair in the vaulted ceiling nave. Many had waited in long lines for hours outside the church on Broadway at 155th Street before passing through metal detectors and the watchful gaze of U.S. Secret Service and New York police officers.

Keucher quoted Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold who preached a sermon during a visit to Cuba last February.

"During my visit here I have been moved greatly by the faithfulness and vibrancy of your Church," Keucher said quoting Griswold's sermon. "Also, I have been saddened to see the suffering caused by the policies of my country's government. The Episcopal Church in the United States strongly opposes the Blockade against Cuba. In the four decades of its existence, the Blockade has done little except exacerbate the suffering of the Cuban people. Reconciliation must begin, and people of faith must lead the way."

Keucher concluded his welcome by inviting the crowd to come back often. The audience included city council members, civic leaders, actor Danny Glover, and Ramsey Clark, the former U.S. attorney general. The event was sponsored by Pastors for Peace and the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO).

Felipe Perez Roqué, foreign minister of the Republic of Cuba, announced that Cuban President Fidel Castro is "getting stronger every day." Speaking through an interpreter, Roqué said Cubans live everyday with the fear that the Bush administration has preemptive war plans against their country, but he predicted "one day there will be normal relations between our two countries."

"Since we are in an Episcopal Church," said the Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., executive director of IFCO, "we're going to do something they call Prayers of the People." For several minutes Walker made statements and invited the audience to respond, "We give you thanks, Cuba."

The call and answer style was picked up by Esteban Lazo Hernandez, vice president of the Cuban Council of State and leader of his country's delegation to the U.N. Also speaking through an interpreter, Hernandez asked members of a youth group, who had presented him with flowers, several questions about Cuban history and accomplishments. The answer to each was, "Fidel," which eventually captured the voices of all in the historic gothic church.

Hernandez told the assembled of full employment, free health care for every citizen and the plan to train more 100,000 doctors from underdeveloped countries over the next 10 years.

He also told the young people that he recognized some of the faces in the crowd and acknowledged it as an act of solidarity with the people of Cuba.

"There is so much value in solidarity, not just in words but in deeds," said Hernandez. It was reminiscent of the words read in that same church just three days prior at Sunday Holy Eucharist from the Letter of James: "So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead."

For nearly three hours, the 90 miles between Cuba and the U.S., and the reconciliation of members of the Body of Christ, seemed bridged on one late-summer evening at a church in northern Manhattan.
-- The Rev. Dan Webster, a member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, is editor of the National Council of Churches USA's news service.

Benny Moré: 'El Bárbaro' of Rhythm

Progreso Weekly

By María de la Soledad

The Cuban film "El Benny," about the life of the great musician Benny Moré, known as "El Bárbaro del Ritmo" (The Wild Man of Rhythm), has been seen in Cuba by more than 400,000 moviegoers in only one month. And that's natural: among his compatriots, Moré is one of the most loved and admired artists of all time.

Director Jorge Luis Sánchez, has said that his film "is not a musical but the tragedy of a man who was a musician," and shows us much more about the singer's personal than professional life. Given Benny's troubled private life -- filled with booze, women and lack of discipline (without forgetting his extraordinary personal charm) -- the choice of stressing that personal life has disappointed some spectators, who are always eager to see their idol as a god.

The songs are done by a singer from Santiago de Cuba, Juan Manuel Villi, whose voice is very similar to Moré's. It was impossible to use Moré's original recordings, both because they were in monaural sound but also because the producers could not obtain the rights of the songs that were selected ("Santa Isabel de las Lajas," "Soy güajiro," "Bonito y sabroso," "Vida" and others.)

The actor who plays Benny is newcomer Renny Arozarena, who plays the part convincingly. Enough to say that he received the Boccalino Award presented by film critics at the International Cinema Festival in Locarno, Switzerland. Moviegoers should not the excellent dubbing of the songs and Villi's body movements, particularly when he leads the band.

A DVD is being prepared, along with a "The Making of..." feature. It will be released in Havana in December, on the occasion of the Festival of New Latin American Cinema.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Russia's prime minister to visit Cuba, meet with acting president Raul Castro

International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press

Published: September 27, 2006

HAVANA Russia's prime minister was to arrive to Cuba Wednesday to sign economic agreements and meet with acting President Raul Castro, state-run media reported.

Mikhail Fradkov, the highest-ranking Russian official to come to Cuba since a visit by President Vladimir Putin in 2000, was heading a delegation of Russian business leaders attending an international transport fair in Havana, the Communist Party daily Granma said.

Some 70 representatives of companies from both countries would also be meeting Friday as part of the Russian-Cuban Business Council.

Granma said the trip will let Fradkov "review the actual state of relations between both countries, as well as identify new areas to be amplified and strengthened," the newspaper said.

His official meetings were to take place Thursday and Friday, according to Cuba's Prensa Latina news agency. It was not clear whether international media would have access to the visit. Media reports did not say if he would meet with President Fidel Castro, who is recovering from intestinal surgery.

The Caribbean island exports sugar to Russia as well as vaccines and other products from its advanced biotechnology industry. It is also interested in promoting exchange in the automotive, transportation, aviation and tourism industries.

Under an ideological and economic alliance lasting for three decades, Cuba once received about 20 percent of its gross national product from Soviet subsidies. Its economy has since become more self-sufficient, though it now benefits from strong relations with Venezuela, its current top business partner.

Venezuela predicts trade with Cuba will reach US$1.8 billion (€1.4 billion) this year, including shipments of some 98,000 barrels of oil a day sold under preferential terms including deferred payment. Meanwhile, thousands of Cuban doctors are treating poor Venezuelans for free.

Relations between Russia and Cuba chilled after the Soviet Union's collapse but warmed with Putin's visit in December 2000.

Cuba: WBC Shouldn't Substitute for Games

Thw Washington Post

The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 27, 2006; 6:40 PM

HAVANA -- The World Baseball Classic was an important step in baseball's international development but is no consolation for the elimination of the sport from the Olympics, the president of Cuba's Olympic Committee said.

Jose Ramon Fernandez urged the International Baseball Federation to unite all its forces in the fight to get baseball back on the Olympic roster.

"The Classic can not be a substitute for baseball in the Olympics," Fernandez, also a vice president in Cuba, told The Associated Press on Tuesday in an interview at the Council of Ministers headquarters.

The International Olympics Committee eliminated baseball and softball from the 2012 London Olympics during a vote last year. Cuba, which considers baseball its national sport, vigorously protested the decision to drop baseball from the Olympic program.

The committee will review baseball's success during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the next World Classic when it meets in 2009 to decide if baseball will return to the 2016 Olympic program.

Cuba won the gold medal for baseball in the Olympic Games in 2004, 1996 and 1992. It fell to Japan in the final of the inaugural World Baseball Classic in March.

The island is "taking the initial steps to negotiate" its participation in the next edition of the Classic in 2009, Fernandez said.

But the island's powerhouse baseball program recently received "a wake-up call," Fernandez said, with high-profile defeats to the United States in the Americas qualifier for the Olympics and a youth world championship, both held in Cuba.

"We have weaknesses in pitching ... and many other things, and we know we have to work a lot harder," he said. "But the team is good, and there are young people who are already great ball players. For this reason we will keep aspiring to all the baseball titles."

World Musicians to Converge in Cuba

Havana, Sep 26 (Prensa Latina) Singer and songwriters from various countries, most of them young artists, will converge from September 30 to October 8 in Havana to participate in the 21st Contemporary Music Festival.

Organized by the Cuban Institute of Music and the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists the festival will be preceded by the opening of an exhibit of Russian cartoons to take place on September 29.

The opening concert to be held at the Minor Basilica of the San Francisco de Asis Convent will pay homage to the Cuban chamber music composed for different vocal and instrumental formats and to the centenary of maestro Alejandro Garcia Caturla.

The House of the Americas will become venue of these presentations which will show the very best of the world contemporary music with emphasis on the Latin American development this time present through outstanding artists from Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Puerto Rico.

Similarly, the host singers and songwriters will share stage with representatives of France, Italy, and Canada.

Workshops, conferences and views exchanges will take place as part of this musical event opening its doors to world artists since 1984.

Russia to offer tied loan to Cuba

RBC, 27.09.2006, Moscow 10:23:20.An intergovernmental accord will be signed during Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov's visit to Cuba on September 28-29 to provide a state loan worth $355m to finance purchases of Russian goods and services, RBC was told by a source within the Russian delegation accompanying the PM on this visit.

This agreement was approved for signing at a Russian government meeting on September 14, and the Finance Ministry was instructed to facilitate the required funds for this purpose.

This will be a tied loan to be used towards purchasing Russian automobiles and equipment, and thus it will support Russian exports, the source explained. "This is a pilot project aimed at supporting Russian exports. If it goes well, this practice may be expanded through offering tied loans to other countries," he said.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


If you are like me, and would like to see a change in the failed foreign policy toward Cuba of the Bush Administration, then you owe it to yourself to run to the nearest magazine store and buy the current issue of The Nation [October 9, 2006] to read the excellent article by Ned Sublette titled Fidel Lives and so does the Cuban Revolution.

It is, without a doubt, one of the best articles about Cuba written from a leftist perspective during the last twelve months.

Here are some excerpts:

"They really want him dead in Miami, where he is deeply hated in an extraordinarily personal way. For decades the headlines there have read: Castro will fall in six months. Castro has cancer. Castro has Parkinson's, he fainted, he's dying. He's turning 60, he's turning 70, he's turning 80"

"On December 31, 1958, Fulgencio Batista remained in the presidential palace in Havana as tanks slice through the lines of Fidel Castro's insurgent forces at Santa Clara, smashing them and killing 3,000. At least, that was the lead international story on the front page of the Chicago Tribune the following day. In reality, no such thing had happened. Batista had fled, leaving behind an empty treasury."

"Now is the time to strengthen the embargo, the Cuban-American right has insisted for decades, with the power of popular hatred at their backs and sacks of money to drive the point home. Squeeze Castro harder, and the regime will crumble. The rightful owners will return. Anyone who wants to do business in Cuba will have to talk to us. Our experts in Florida stand ready to show the Cubans how Freedom™™ and Democracy™ work. We will support our preferred electoral candidate with money, media and message. Our liberators will be welcomed with flowers by a greatful people."

JG: In your dreams!

Cuba criticizes U.N. Human Rights Commision

U.N. Watch

UN Human Rights Council Debates Violations in Cuba, Somalia, Palestinian Territories

Geneva, Sept. 26, 2006 — Today the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva debated reports delivered by its human rights envoys for Somalia, Cuba and the Palestinian territories. UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization that monitors the world body’s human rights activities, welcomed the reports and issued the following statement.

Report on Cuba: UN Watch applauds Ms. Christine Chanet, the Council expert on Cuba, for her persistent work under difficult circumstances, given the Cuban government’s refusal to allow her to visit the country or to otherwise cooperate. We fully endorse her call on the Cuban government to stop prosecuting citizens, and to free those already imprisoned, for exercising their basic civil and political rights—such as the 60 pro-democracy activists still sitting in jail from the government’s March 2003 crackdown. UN Watch also endorses Ms. Chanet’s calls for the Castro regime to end restrictions against non-governmental organizations, to allow for dissenting views in trade unions, press, and political parties, and to lift the travel ban that prevents Cubans from leaving the island without permission.

UN Watch condemned the Cuban ambassador for resorting to personal insults against Chanet. “We will send your report to the same place as your previous reports, i.e., to the circular file," he said. "Among your many occupations, Ms. Chanet, this is not one of your honorable jobs. No one will remember your illegitimate mandate. There is a significant contribution that you might make—by quitting.” Referring to the U.S., Cuba said “we struggle for survival as a nation against the most powerful and aggressive empire in history, this fascist clique trying to destroy us.”

“That Fidel Castro’s Cuba, one of the world’s most repressive regimes, is a member of the Human Rights Council is an outrage,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “Cuba uses its Council seat not to promote human rights, but to shield itself and fellow dictatorships from criticism. For months, council delegates have been subjected to Castro-style political theater, with Havana’s ambassador lambasting its political enemies, such as the U.S. and the E.U., and standing in the way of needed reforms. Cuba’s refusal to cooperate with Ms. Chanet is just another example of its obstructionist policy vis-à-vis the Council.”

US Move to Hinder Cuba Medical Aid

Havana, Sep 26 (Prensa Latina) Cuba denounced Tuesday that the US government is trying to thwart its efforts in international health cooperation, after preventing its health minister from attending a Pan-American Health Organization meeting.

Cuban Public Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer had planned his stateside attendance at the 47th PAHO Directive Board meeting September 25 and 29, but the US denied his visa for second time, Granma daily informed today.

The PAHO directive board meets once a year, with the participation of the member countries health ministers. Cuba, a founding member of that organization and currently affiliated to its Executive Committee, had always been represented at such forums by its health minister, the daily recalls.
When speaking at the Council meeting yesterday, the head of Cuba s Interest Section in Washington, Dagoberto Rodriguez, called the incident a US mockery of its duties as headquarters of an international organization.

"It is a flagrant violation of the PAHO principles, and the rights of a member state," Rodriguez stated, while calling for the meeting to condemn the new US action against Cuba.

"If the US government s intention is to silence Cuba and hinder its efforts to extend international medical aid, it is wrong," the diplomat affirmed.

"Cuba will continue supporting the PAHO and member countries, and improving other peoples health," he asserted.

Bush's Record: Bombs, Secret Prisons, Torture and Illegal Wiretaps

The record of President George W. Bush during the past six years is one of accomplishments in subverting the Constitution of the United States. He started his reign by being appointed by the Supreme Court after electoral fraud in Florida.

Immediately, he surrounded himself with war-mongers and right-wing fanatics and took this country to war in Iraq based on the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. His unpopular war has not brought stability to Iraq. It has provided one of his cronies, VP Cheney, with millions in profits which are based on no-bid contracts.

But the American people are not fooled with his weapons of mass deception. He has consistently violated the Constitution of the United States with secret CIA prisons, tortures at the illegally occupied Guantanamo base in Cuba and illegal wiretaps in violation of our laws. Like the infamous McCarthy during the cold war, who saw a communist under every bed, Bush sees a terrorist under every bed, and uses that as an excuse to undermine and replace our democracy with a corporate-run fascist state.

Wake up America before it is too late. We have a chance this November to replace the GOP culture of corruption in Washington, D.C.

Send them a message with your vote.

Prospects for black gold putting Cuba in suitors' sights

Posted on Tue, Sep. 26, 2006

By Gary Marx

Chicago Tribune


HAVANA, Cuba - Known more for cigars and rum than oil rigs, this socialist nation has become the latest country drawn into the frenzied hunt for oil, hoping that a gusher in its Caribbean fields will ease its energy dependence and kick-start its economy.

After years of boasting about its energy potential but seeing few results, Cuban authorities received good news last year when the U.S. Geological Survey estimated Cuba's northern offshore basin contains 4.6 billion barrels of oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The amount of oil is roughly half the estimated reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which President Bush wants to open for drilling, and could provide Cuba daily production of about 300,000 barrels.

"Cuba is not Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, but it could become a major oil and gas player in the region," said Jorge Pinon, former president of Amoco Oil in Latin America and now a senior research associate at the University of Miami.

Already, oil companies from Canada, Spain, Norway, Malaysia and India have signed agreements with Cuba's state-owned company, CUPET, to begin exploring in Cuban waters more than 6,000 feet deep.

Earlier this month, India's state-run petroleum company raised its stake in Cuba's oil sweepstakes by signing a deal to join CUPET in exploring a 1,660-square-mile area off Cuba's northwestern coast.

R.S. Butola, a top Indian oil executive, said geological studies of the area are promising. The initial exploration is expected to last several years and cost tens of millions of dollars.

Bringing a deep-water oil well on line would take many more years and cost $1 billion or more.

"It's a question of prospecting and doing a lot of work," said Butola, managing director of ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of India's state-owned oil company.

Venezuela's state-run oil giant, Petroleos de Venezuela, along with Brazilian and Chinese companies, also are interested in exploring for high-quality crude in Cuba's 43,250-square-mile offshore zone.

American oil corporations are barred from participating because of U.S. trade sanctions against the island. The sanctions also would prohibit the United States from importing Cuban oil.

Embargo opponents and oil industry insiders argue that the United States should grant an exemption to American petroleum companies, much like the law already allows for U.S. agricultural and medical exports to Cuba.

"We need all of the increased crude oil and natural gas that we can get our hands on," said Charles Drevna, executive vice president of the Washington-based National Petrochemical & Refiners Association.

"It makes both economic and national security sense to develop those resources either in our own waters or as close to our own waters as possible," Drevna said.

The hope of a major strike in Cuban waters was buttressed this month by the announcement that as much as 15 billion barrels of oil was discovered in ultra-deep waters northwest of Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico. It could be the largest U.S. oil discovery in decades.

"There has to be oil," Jose Luis Rodriguez, Cuba's minister of economy and planning, said last week. "The form of the structures in the Caribbean basin, in Cuba's waters, have the same structure as the oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico, as much for the Mexican part" as the U.S. part.

In February, executives from ExxonMobil Corp. and other American corporations met with Cuban officials in Mexico City to discuss oil exploration in Cuba's gulf waters, which extend to within 50 miles of the Florida coast.

But the meeting was disrupted after an American-owned hotel expelled the Cuban officials under pressure from the U.S. Treasury Department, which argued that housing the Cubans violated the U.S. trade embargo against the island.

Cuban and Mexican authorities reacted with anger to the expulsions and accused Washington of interfering in other countries' internal affairs.

One Cuban official who took part in the meeting was Manuel Marrero, senior petroleum adviser at Cuba's Ministry of Basic Industry. He said that only 16 of Cuba's 59 offshore oil blocks have been auctioned, leaving plenty of opportunity for U.S. companies.

"We have 43 more blocks available for negotiation," Marrero said. "We know U.S. companies are considering it. The ball is in the U.S. court."

So far, American multinationals haven't thrown their weight behind the Cuba effort because the potential amount of oil at stake, while impressive, is not yet worth the political battle and financial risk, experts say.

Instead, American executives are focused on getting legislation passed that would open millions of acres to oil and gas drilling in U.S. territorial waters.

The U.S. House and Senate recently approved separate bills to ease drilling restrictions in the Gulf of Mexico and other offshore areas despite opposition from environmental groups. It is uncertain whether a compromise can be reached before the end of the legislative session.

President Bush and influential Cuban-American legislators oppose U.S. participation in oil exploration in Cuban waters, because, they argue, it would strengthen the island's authoritarian government.

Rep. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who introduced a bill in May allowing U.S. companies to bid on oil exploration leases in Cuban waters, said the political climate in Washington could change if Democrats score big gains in upcoming congressional elections.

A strong opponent of the embargo, Flake said Democrats generally have been more supportive than Republicans toward easing U.S. travel and trade restrictions to Cuba.

Analysts say a major discovery that turns Cuba into an oil exporter also could spur American business groups to lobby for a change in policy.

"Most U.S. companies don't care about Cuba because it doesn't have money to buy American products," said one Havana-based diplomat who asked not to be identified. "If they could buy the products, the pressure (that) industry would exert would be far more than the pressure in Miami to keep the embargo. The U.S. embargo would go away very quickly."

Energy has long been an Achilles' heel for Cuba.

After the 1959 Cuban Revolution, the Soviet Union provided discounted oil to the island nation as part of a huge assistance program. The Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 ended the fuel shipments and sent the Cuban economy into a tailspin as bicycles replaced cars and blackouts plagued the nation.

To ease the crisis, Cuba opened the oil sector to foreign investment in 1999. Since then, Sherritt International Corp. and a second Canadian company have helped the island's oil production increase to about 70,000 barrels a day.

But that amount covers less than half of Cuba's daily consumption, and the poor quality oil retrieved beneath shallow waters is expensive and difficult to refine, diplomats and analysts say.

Cuba gets about 98,000 barrels of high-quality discounted crude a day from Venezuela. Cuban authorities believe even a modest strike could ease the island's energy dependence and chronic economic woes.

"I am 100 percent convinced that in the next five or six years, Cuba will be developing its deep-water sector," Marrero said. "We can expect big results."

The efforts up to now have been inconclusive.

In 2004, the Spanish company Repsol YPF spent an estimated $50 million drilling a test well 18 miles off Cuba's northern coast. Company officials said they discovered high-quality oil but not in an amount that was commercially viable.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Cuba fires telecoms, computing chiefs in shake-up


Mon Sep 25, 2006 2:19pm ET

By Marc Frank

HAVANA, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Cuba has fired the heads of two of the country's most influential companies in a bid to bring the computing and telecommunications enterprises back under firm state control amid a national anti-corruption drive, industry sources said on Monday.

Information Technology and Communications Minister Ramiro Valdes, 74, a former revolutionary hero, took over the sensitive sector that controls communist Cuba's communications, computing, Internet and software development late last month.

His was acting president Raul Castro's sole ministerial appointment since he took over temporarily from his brother Fidel Castro on July 31 after the latter underwent intestinal surgery.

The shake-up at the companies did not appear to be aimed at opening up the sector to foreign capital or to information and entertainment from outside the country, said the foreign and local sources, all of whom wished to remain anonymous.

They said Valdes was unhappy with the independence shown by some company directors and their inability to rein in subordinates despite an ongoing drive to increase state control over the economy, improve efficiency and fight corruption.

Cuban President Fidel Castro declared war on corruption a year ago, warning it could undo his 1959 revolution. Together with his brother Raul, Castro mobilized youth and Communist Party stalwarts to root out corrupt practices within the state bureaucracy, leading to widespread sackings in recent months.

Valdes fired the president of Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA (Etecsa), Jose Antonio Fernandez, and the vice minister for information, Nelson Ferrer, for failing to control the fixed-line and mobile services monopoly, the sources said.

Etecsa, with revenues of more than $400 million in 2005 and in which Telecom Italia has a 27 percent interest, is one of the most powerful and visible companies in the country.

Valdez also fired the president of the powerful state-run Copextel corporation which imports, assembles and distributes advanced communications, computing and other technology, the sources said.

Copextel, with annual revenues of more than $200 million, has been caught up in recent corruption scandals involving kickbacks from foreign companies.

Etecsa's new president, Maimir Mesa Ramos, and Copextel's new boss, Antonio Orta Rodriguez, were both promoted from within the ranks.

International studies have found that Cuba occupies last place in Latin America for both mobile phone and Internet penetration, and is fifth from last in terms of its number of fixed telephone lines.

The government blames the four-decade-old U.S. trade embargo for its poor communications infrastructure.

But Cuba's 11 million people cannot buy a computer or subscribe to the Internet without a government permit, satellite television is prohibited, and mobile phones are available only for hard currency. (Additional reporting by Anthony Boadle)

USA defeats Cuba at XXII Juvenile Baseball Tournament

XXII Mundial Juvenil

Beavan y Domínguez dan pase a EE.UU.

México y Sudcorea, también semifinalistas. Hoy, Canadá vs. Panamá por la cuarta plaza

Sigfredo Barros

El derecho Blake Beavan, con un excelente trabajo en el montículo, y el antesalista Matt Domínguez, autor de un cuadrangular decisivo, fueron las piezas clave en el éxito de Estados Unidos sobre Cuba con pizarra de 4-0, con el cual los norteamericanos se convirtieron en semifinalistas, junto a las escuadras de México y Sudcorea. La cuarta plaza la discutirán hoy Canadá y Panamá.

Como ha ocurrido en más de una ocasión, la llamada muerte súbita se enseñoreó con uno de los poderosos, en este caso el equipo que mejor bateó y lanzó durante toda la etapa clasificatoria, único invicto de los doce participantes, superado ayer por un conjunto que perdió sus dos primeros partidos y estuvo a punto de la eliminación.

Pero no se le puede restar méritos a la selección estadounidense, que jugó mejor, con un lanzador como Beavan, dominante en todo momento, poseedor de un control excelente en las esquinas y de una recta que osciló entre las 90 y las 93 millas, armas con las cuales ponchó a 11 rivales y regaló un solitario boleto. Permitió 7 indiscutibles, de ellos 4 por dentro del cuadro y el batazo más largo que toleró, de Dayán Viciedo, fue degollado por el jardinero izquierdo Mike Moustakas.

Por Cuba Juan Yasser Serrano fue todo el tiempo un digno rival, colgando seis ceros consecutivos, con 5 estrucados y sin otorgar pasaportes gratis. En el séptimo el receptor Medica le abrió con tubey y el alto mando cubano optó por traer a Vladimir García —había permitido un solitario jit en 5 innings de actuación—, con la esperanza de colgar el cero. Pero no era la noche de Vladimir, quien permitió jit de Moustakas y el jonrón decisivo de Domínguez sobre una recta en 3 y 2.

Hoy, Estados Unidos jugará versus México en el Huelga y Cuba vs. Holanda en el Sandino, por los puestos del 5 al 8. Sudcorea esperará por el ganador del choque Canadá-Panamá, suspendido a causa de la lluvia.

Cuba wages war on tiny enemy

Independent Online - South Africa

September 25 2006 at 01:15AM

Havana - Fidel Castro isn't the only one ailing in Cuba, where authorities are on the charge, spraying from aircraft and military trucks in a war on a great big, tiny enemy: the mosquito that spreads dengue.

The communist government has summoned everyone from military troops to ordinary workers, to young people doing their military service and school kids, to pitch in in the fight against dengue, which in its hemorrhagic form can be deadly.

Thick clouds of white fumigation chemicals have become an everyday sight in Havana and around the country, day and night. Cuban health officials have not confirmed or denied cases of dengue.

"We cannot speak of an epidemic, but there are people who have dengue," a physician, 35, told reporters on condition that he not be named.

In the hot rainy summer season "there are a lot of smaller outbreaks of diseases; prevention is health policy in Cuba, and extreme measures are taken to avoid epidemics," the doctor added.

Though dengue is a concern across the Caribbean and most of Latin America, it is arguably more sensitive an issue in Cuba where health care is a top achievement of the Americas' only communist government.

And Cuba is now in unchartered territory as Fidel Castro, 80, ceded power in July for the first time in almost 48 years to his brother, Raul Castro, 75, after intestinal surgery.

"I was quite ill, I had been bitten by a million mosquitoes, I had some bleeding, but now I am doing well, I have been recovering; they gave me vitamins and they have been here to spray," one woman, 43, a resident of Havana's El Vedado neighbourhood, said privately.

She wound up in intensive care for four days at Havana's Salvador Allende Hospital. "I had 22 intravenous treatments in the total 12 days that I was in the hospital," she explained.

The Offensive Against The Enemy (the Aedes Aegypti mosquito known for its striped legs) campaign kicked off a month ago in official media, urging Cubans to work to eliminate any standing water where the bug can breed.

Armed with spray cans of chemicals, young people doing their military service make spritzing rounds to Cuban homes each day. Backing them up are workers at restaurants, businesses and government offices.

High school students, decked out in red T-shirts and waving little flashlights, make their own rounds in the dark of night on Saturdays led by teachers, hunting for any existing or potential mosquito breeding grounds.

Vehicles that come from central and eastern Cuba to the capital in the west are stopped and sprayed.

Tuesday, General Jose Carrillo Gomez warned that it was necessary to "make the campaign stronger" adding that "we must all join the work, which is decisive for the Revolution".

Fidel Castro, as he recovers in an undisclosed hospital-like facility, is closely following the details of the battle, his brother Raul told the official newspaper Granma on Saturday. Raul Castro and Politburo members meanwhile met with provincial party leaders in Havana on gearing up the fight, Granma said.

The only way to fight dengue, according to the World Health Organisation, is to fight the bug that transmits it, which breeds in standing water as small as a puddle.

Dengue's common symptoms are high fever, muscle aches, and headaches. The hemorrhagic form of the disease can be fatal if left untreated.

Cuba, Chile and Uruguay are the only countries in Latin America that do not have endemic dengue problems. Between 1977 and 2002, however, Cuba had four epidemics and one small outbreak.

The most recent epidemic in Cuba was between June 2001 and March 2002, with 14,524 cases recorded, 81 of them hemorrhagic, of whom three people died, all in Havana, a study found. - Sapa - AFP

U.S. Companies Flock To Cuba

CBS Evening News

(CBS) Life for most Cubans is a bare bones existence. The average wage is about $13 a month. But health care and education are free, and no one goes hungry because every Cuban receives a food ration.

There are open-air markets all over Cuba with mostly home grown products. But the truth is that Cuba doesn't come close to producing enough food for its people, reports CBS News correspondent Russ Mitchell. Up to thirty percent of the food Cuba imports comes from the United States — that's more than from any other country.

Despite the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo, today U.S. companies are flocking to Cuba — all because of a loophole Congress approved in 2000 that allows for the sale of American food to Cuba. What started as a trickle has turned into a half billion dollar flood of sales each year.

"I think it's substantial," said Kirby Jones of the U.S.-Cuba Trade Association, in response to a question about U.S. food sales to Cuba. "I think in the $100's of millions or billions of dollars."

Jones, a lobbyist and deal-maker, represents dozen's of U.S. companies in Cuba.

"The impression in the United States is that Cuba is stagnant — locked into some rigid communist ideology and structure," said Jones. "Cuba is totally different, hundreds of companies do business with Cuba."

Three years ago Cuba was purchasing about $1.7 million in poultry from the United States, according to Ron Sparks, Alabama's Commissioner of Agriculture. "Now they are purchasing about $57 million of poultry and 40 to 50 percent of that comes out of Alabama," says Sparks.

And it's not just Alabama. There are 37 U.S. states that export food to Cuba, according to Pedro Alvarez, who oversees the importing of food to Cuba. Alvarez thinks that U.S. food imports to Cuba would skyrocket if trade was normalized between the two countries.

"In the first five years, trade and services would be more than 20 billion dollars," Alvarez told Mitchell.

"The Cuban dictator has spent a considerable amount of money making agricultural purchases to try to influence the Congress to get what he really wants, which is mass U.S. tourism," said Florida Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

[JG: Typical garbage from apátrida Diaz-Balart.]

Diaz-Balart, like other critics of Castro, charges Cuba is hoping U.S. politicians, eager to boost their state's economies, will pressure Congress to lift the trade embargo.

"The political prisoners in Cuba ask us — keep the embargo until we are freed, until political parties are legalized and elections are scheduled in Cuba," said Diaz-Balart.

But two Cuban dissidents who spoke to CBS News say trade with the United States could be beneficial to their cause.

"I agree with companies of United States here in Cuba because investment comes with people, and people have ideas," Oscar Espinosa Chepe told Mitchell. "These will be injections of ideas, democratic ideas."

In 2003, Espinosa Chepe was charged with sedition and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was recently released because of poor health. His wife, Miriam Leiva, is a journalist.

"I think little by little this could bring about democracy in Cuba," said Leiva.

[JG: The Cuban goverments accuses the so-called dissidents of being paid by the U.S. Goverment. I tend to agree. The Bay of Pigs was financed and directed by the CIA. Recently ten "journalists" in Miami were uncovered as receiving U.S. goverment money in exchange for slandering Cuba.]

FREE THE CUBAN FIVE! September 23, 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Posada Carriles´ Victims Not Forgotten

Terrorist Luis Posada Carriles

José Pertierra (*)

In less than two weeks, we will solemnly observe the 30th anniversary of the cold blooded murder of 73 innocent men, women and children over the waters of Barbados.

Too often we speak about terrorism in general terms, as if it were something that involves issues-rather than people, and I suppose that this makes it easier to swallow the U.S. government's double standard in its so-called war on terrorism.

But we should never forget that terrorism is principally about the victims and that the memory of lives cut short by bombs or bullets ought never be forgotten.

The most notorious terrorist of the Western Hemisphere, Luis Posada Carriles, stands on the verge of being released from immigration custody by the Bush Administration. This terrorist is wanted in Venezuela for seventy-three counts of first degree murder in relation to the downing of a Cubana de Aviación passenger plane on October 6th, 1976.

Aboard CU-455 were 73 persons. 57 of the passengers were Cubans. 11 aboard were Guyanese, including a little nine year old girl named Harry Paul. The remaining five passengers were Koreans. Those on board averaged only 30 years of age.

Traveling with the group were 24 members of the Cuban fencing team, many of them teen-agers, fresh from gold medal victories at the Youth Fencing Championship in Caracas. One of the young fencers, Nancy Uranga, was only twenty-three years old and pregnant. The athletes proudly wore their medals dangling over their clothes, as they boarded the aircraft. Cubana de Aviación 455 stopped first in Trinidad at 11:03 AM, and then touched down again in Barbados at 12:25 PM.

Nine minutes after take-off from Barbados, two bombs made of C-4 exploded and the plane caught fire. The passengers on board who survived the explosions then lived the most horrifying ten minutes of their lives, as the plane turned into a scorching coffin.

The cockpit voice-recorder captured the last terrifying moments of the flight at 1:24 PM: "Seawell! Seawell! CU-455 Seawell...! We have an explosion on board.... We have a fire on board."

The pilot, Wilfredo Pérez (affectionately known as "Felo"), asked Seawell Airport for permission to return and land, but the plane and its passengers were already doomed.

As the plane approached the shore, it was rapidly losing altitude and control. "Hit the water, Felo, Hit the Water," said the co-pilot.

Rather than crashing into the white sands of the beach called Paradise and killing the beachgoers, Felo courageously banked the plane toward the water where it crashed in a ball of fire one mile north of Deep Water Bay.

Pieces of bodies were slowly recovered from the sea. Most of them too grotesquely disfigured to be identified by their family members.

There were no survivors.

The forensic report performed by the coroner describes the condition of the bodies recovered from the sea. I read to you the part that describes the remains of Harry Paul, the nine-year old Guyanese girl who was traveling with her family to Cuba: "Body of a girl around 9 years of age . . . . Brain missing, only facial bones, scalp and hair remaining. Lungs and heart destroyed. Liver and intestines shattered.

Buttocks missing on right lower limb. Compound fracture of tibia and fibula . . . "

Declassified documents from the U.S. government's own files tell us who the mastermind of the worst act of terrorism perpetrated on a civilian airliner at the time. According to the CIA's own documents from 1976 posted by the National Security Archive of George Washington University, Luis Posada Carriles spoke of his plans to "hit" a Cuban airliner only days before CU-455 was blown out of the sky on October 6, 1976.

The CIA document described a $1000-a-plate fundraiser in Caracas held between September 22 and October 5, 1976, to support the activities of Orlando Bosch, the head of CORU, which the FBI has described as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization." Bosch was overheard stating: "Now that our organization has come out of the Letelier job looking good, we are going to try something else." Several days later, Posada was reported to have stated that "we are going to hit a Cuban airplane" and "Orlando has the details."

Listen to Orlando Busch's own words during an interview he gave to Barcelona's La Vanguardia newspaper last month. Speaking of the murder of the 73 passengers aboard CU-455, Bosch has no misgivings: "for me it is a target of war. There are many things that I cannot say. But they were actions of war. We had agreed in Santo Domingo (when CORU was formed in 1976) that everything that comes out of Cuba and gives glory to Fidel would run the same risk as those of us combating the dictatorship."

Bosch has been running his mouth to reporters in recent weeks. In early April of this year, he gave an interview to a television reporter in Miami and said of the passengers aboard that plane: "We had decided in Santo Domingo (at the Bonao meeting of CORU) that every one who comes from Cuba to glorify the tyrant had to run the same risks as those men and women that fight alongside the tyranny."

He said that he had been particularly peeved at the young Cuban fencers when he listened to one of them on television say that the team dedicated their triumph to the Cuban revolution and "gave a speech filled with praise for the tyrant."

Regarding the murder of Favio Di Celmo in Havana in 1997, Bosch said last month: "Luis Posada did that. He paid a Salvadorean and a Central American. Because they're half starving, you give them $100 and they'll do anything. This one entered Cuba, carried the material in a television. He planted three bombs, one in a hotel that killed an Italian; another in the Bodeguita del Medio."

Mr. Bosch, that "Italian" that Posada Carriles killed had a name. He was Favio Di Celmo. He had a family that loved him and will forever live in pain because of his loss. Favio also had a brother (Livio) who is here with us today, working with all of us to free the Five in memory of his brother.

President Bush said this week that he would "absolutely" order military operations inside Pakistan if Osama bin Laden or other top terrorists were found to be hiding there. The Bush Administration's pursuit of terrorists is widely publicized, as the United States military invades countries, detains suspects without charges, tortures and disappears them at will. Virtually everything is permitted in the American War on Terrorism. It is a battle for freedom, Bush says, and the U.S. is winning.

All over the world, said President Bush at the United Nations last week, "people are choosing freedom." Mr. President, among those choosing freedom, do you include terrorists such as Orlando Bosch, Guillermo Novo Sompol, Pedro Crispín, Remon Hernández, Gaspar Jimenez Escobedo and so many others whose "freedom" was negotiated by the United States government, so the terrorists could live in freedom and receive a parade in Miami? Mr. President, why does the U.S. government choose freedom for its terrorists of choice? Mr. President, you don't have to go to all the way to Pakistan to find terrorists. Many of them live freely in Miami. You and your predecessors have set them free.

Luis Posada Carriles, the Osama Bin Laden of Latin America, now stands on the verge of freedom, Mr. President. Thanks to you.

From the moment that Luis Posada Carriles arrived in the United States last year, the United States government has preferred to shelter rather than prosecute this terrorist. Under instructions from the White House, the Department of Justice has ignored Venezuela's request for extradition and instead charged Posada as an undocumented immigrant. We have sent countless diplomatic notes, made countless telephone inquiries and had high level meetings with State Department officials regarding the extradition case - only to be told in November of last year that "soon" Venezuela would receive "questions" that the Department of Justice had formulated. "Soon" has never arrived, and the White House has now chosen to mock its international legal obligations to extradite or prosecute this terrorist.

During the immigration proceedings, the United States offered no witnesses and no evidence. During the habeas corpus proceedings, the United States again offered no witnesses and no evidence. Is that the way this government fights a war on terrorists?

On September 11 (an ironic date for such a decision), Magistrate Garney recommended that Posada Carriles be released from immigration custody. We don't blame Magistrate Garney. Judges and Magistrates do what the evidence tells them to do. Magistrate Garney pointed out, in a carefully worded 23 page decision, that the prosecutor offered no evidence or witnesses to show that the detainee is a terrorist. The prosecutor, continued the Magistrate, failed to certify (as the regulations require) Posada as a terrorist, and the prosecutor failed to make a motion that the Immigration Judge continue to detain him as a danger to the community. In the face of such inaction by the government, the Magistrate had no choice but to recommend his release. He gave the government ten days to rebut the findings, a deadline that the government has asked to extend to October 5. It is evident that the government is not interested in extraditing, prosecuting or even detaining Luis Posada Carriles. Although he is a terrorist, he is the government's terrorist of choice.

All terrorists are criminals. Their political ideology makes no difference. Even war has rules. To blow innocent passengers out of the sky is terrorism. To murder innocent tourists in a hotel is terrorism. Those who perpetrate terrorism ought to be tried (not rewarded) for their crimes. They should never be set free to live in our communities and to appear on late television in Miami.

Mr. President: we don't want to see Luis Posada Carriles living comfortably in Miami, while his crimes go unpunished. We don't want to see him exhibit his fourth-grade quality paintings in a Miami gallery again. We don't want to see him again on Miami television as an honored guest, pontificating about his warped version of freedom.

We want to see him punished. For the sake of Harry Paul, the little nine year old girl whose body was blown to pieces by his bombs, we want him punished. For the sake of Nancy Uranga, a pregnant 22 year old fencer from Cuba, we want him punished. For the sake of the families of the 73 passengers aboard Cubana de Aviación 455, we want him punished. For the sake of Livio Di Celmo (who is here with us today) who lives with the pain of losing his brother Favio to one of Posada Carriles´ bombs, we want him punished.

For Carlos Alberto Cremata and his brothers who were mere teen-agers when they lost their father, their inspiration and their friend, Carlos Cremata Trujillo. For Margarita Morales who lost her father, Julio-the fencing team's trainer. For Odalys Pérez, whose father Wilfredo bravely piloted the doomed plane away from Paradise Beach to avoid crashing it into the beachgoers on shore. For Camilo Rojo, whose memories of his father, Jesús, are the incomplete memories of a toddler.

For their sake, and for the sake of the pain they have endured for the past thirty years. For the pain of growing up without a father or a mother or a brother or a sister or a spouse, we want him punished.

In Caracas, in Washington. It doesn't matter where, we want him punished.

We want this terrorist punished for his crimes. We will not forget the victims. Venezuela will not let them be forgotten. Cuba will not let them be forgotten, and neither will all of you here today. Their memories will live long after we are gone from this planet.

Compañero, Orlando Letelier - presente.

Compañero, Fabio Di Celmo - presente.

Compañero, Carlos Alberto Cremata - presente.

Compañero, Jesús Rojo - presente.

Compañero, Julio Morales - presente.

Compañero, Carlos Múñiz Varela - presente.

Compañerita, Harry Paul - presente.

Compañera, Nancy Uranga and her unborn baby - presente.

All of the compañeros who were murdered aboard Cubana de Aviación 455 - presente.

(*) Presentation on September 23, 2006 at George Washington University in Free the Five Forum

Source: Prensa Latina

Fidel Castro calls detention of Venezuelan official in New York a 'vulgar provocation'

International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press

Published: September 24, 2006

HAVANA Fidel Castro, in his role as president of the Nonaligned Movement, decried the detention of Venezuela's foreign minister at a New York airport, calling it a "vulgar provocation."

A statement issued late Saturday said the Cuban leader reacted "with indignation" upon hearing that Nicolas Maduro was detained for 90 minutes at John F. Kennedy International Airport. He said the incident was an "unacceptable violation" of international norms regarding diplomats.

Castro "extends his most vigorous protest of this vulgar provocation, which could take place again against any member of the Movement," the statement said.

The Venezuelan official was detained Saturday while attempting to fly home to Caracas via Miami. He accused airport officials of treating him abusively by trying to frisk and handcuff him and ordering him to be strip-searched, which he refused.

U.S. officials called Saturday's incident regrettable and said they had apologized to Maduro. Maduro called that insufficient and said Venezuela would seek a legal challenge through the United Nations to what he called a "flagrant violation of international law" and his diplomatic immunity.

Cuba took over the leadership of the Nonaligned Movement Sept. 15. Its 118 members comprise two-thirds of the world's nations, most of which are developing countries. Castro, recovering from intestinal surgery, did not attend the movement's summit in Havana this month but received several world leaders in private meetings.

Venezuela rejects U.S. apologies after foreign minister detained

JG: It is apparent that Bush's thugs have started a new campaign of harassment of Venezuelan officials. They can't stand Fidel and Hugo being good friends.

Venezuela rejects U.S. apologies after foreign minister detained
Last Updated Sun, 24 Sep 2006 11:52:40 EDT
The Associated Press

Venezuela has complained to the United Nations after its foreign minister accused officials at a U.S. airport of illegally detaining him and then trying to frisk, handcuff and strip-search him.

U.S. officials called Saturday's incident at John F. Kennedy International Airport regrettable and said they had apologized to Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro called that insufficient and said Venezuela would seek a legal challenge through the UN to what he called a "flagrant violation of international law" and his diplomatic immunity.

He said Venezuela has lodged a protest with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and demanded that the incident be investigated so that those responsible are punished.

"We were detained for an hour and a half, threatened by police with being beaten," Maduro told reporters at Venezuela's mission to the UN in New York. "We hold the U.S. government responsible."

A UN diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said Maduro's trip was delayed because he had showed up late without a ticket, prompting extra screening.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke denied that Maduro was mistreated at the airport when he was selected for an added security check.

"He began to articulate his frustration with secondary screening right after he went through," a metal detector, Knocke said. "Port Authority officials confronted him when the situation became a ruckus."

Maduro said when one official ordered him to go to another room for a strip-search, he refused. He told CNN en Espanol that the official pushed him and yelled at him.

He told reporters the situation only worsened when he explained he was the Venezuelan foreign minister and presented his diplomatic passport.

Maduro said authorities at one point ordered him and other officials to spread their arms and legs and be frisked, but he said they forcefully refused. He said officers also threatened to handcuff him.

He said the incident prevented him from flying home Saturday.

U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said it was a "regrettable incident" for which "the U.S. government has apologized."

Venezuela is among the top five suppliers of crude oil to the United States, but relations soured in 2002 after the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush swiftly recognized leaders who briefly ousted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in a coup. U.S. officials often call the outspoken leftist leader a threat to democracy.

The relationship took a particularly confrontational turn last week, when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, speaking at the opening session of the UN General Assembly, called Bush "the devil."

“Outlaw regimes” and the harboring of terrorists: the case of Posada Carriles

World Socialist Web Site

By Bill Van Auken

23 September 2006

In the run-up to the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, President George W. Bush delivered a series of speeches aimed at recouping the fading credibility of his “global war on terrorism” and reversing the stunning growth in popular sentiment against the war in Iraq.

Similar phrases appeared in every speech. One theme that was monotonously repeated was the vow, made after 9/11, that states that harbored terrorists would be treated the same as the terrorists themselves.

On September 5, Bush declared: “We’re determined to deny terrorists the support of outlaw regimes. After September the 11, I laid out a clear doctrine: America makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those that harbor and support them, because they’re equally guilty of murder.”

In another speech on September 9, the US president said, “After 9/11, I set forth a new doctrine: Nations that harbor or support terrorists are equally guilty as the terrorists, and will be held to account.”

And in his televised address to the nation on September 11 itself, Bush stated: “On September the 11th, we resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies, and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor or support them.”

In the aftermath of 9/11, this “principle” was invoked to justify not only the imminent invasion of Afghanistan, but also the subsequent attack on Iraq, for which the administration manufactured a phony connection between Al Qaeda and Baghdad. In the present situation, it is being used to prepare for military aggression against Iran, where, once again without any evidence, the administration is proclaiming an Al Qaeda link.

Given this pervasive theme, it is all the more extraordinary that the national media ignored an event on the day of the 9/11 anniversary that touched directly on the harboring of terrorists by a national government—in this case, the government of the United States.

Because of the Bush administration’s refusal to either deport or bring charges against a terrorist who organized the bombing of a civilian airliner in which 73 people were killed, a federal magistrate in Texas ruled that he should be set free. A federal judge must render a final decision, but if normal procedures are followed, within 30 days this mass murderer will be walking the streets of the US, a free man.

The October 1976 airline bombing—one of the worst acts of terrorism committed in the Western Hemisphere before 9/11—is only the most infamous in a series of terrorist crimes carried over the past 30 years by Cuban-born Luis Posada Carriles.

Barely two years ago he was released from a Panamanian prison in an extra-legal pardon by the country’s outgoing president, Mireya Moscoso. The pardon was widely believed to have been issued as a result of either official US pressure or bribes from Cuban exile groups, or both. Posada Carriles had been in prison there for nearly four years for plotting to kill Cuban President Fidel Castro and potentially hundreds of others by bombing a public conference held in conjunction with the 2000 summit of Latin American leaders.

He freely acknowledged his role in a 1997 bombing campaign against hotels and restaurants in Cuba, which claimed the life of an Italian tourist.

He helped organize the 1976 assassination of Orlando Letelier and his aide Ronni Moffit. Letelier, a former Chilean defense minister in the government of President Salvador Allende, who was at the time one of the most prominent opponents of the US-backed military dictatorship in Chile. The car-bomb assassination on Washington’s Embassy Row was then considered one of the worst acts of terrorism ever carried out in the US capital.

He has been linked to numerous other plots and acts of violence that extend right up to the present. On September 11, the same day that the magistrate in Texas issued his ruling, a wealthy south Florida developer and Cuban exile who served as Posada Carriles’s chief spokesman and paid his expenses pleaded guilty to a single conspiracy charge in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. The plea bargain arrangement stemmed from the police seizure last year of an arsenal of automatic weapons, ammunition, hand grenades and military explosives from an apartment complex he owned in south Florida

The New York Times—America’s “newspaper of record”—carried not a word on the extraordinary decision by the US magistrate in Texas to set free an infamous international terrorist—a ruling announced on the very day that the government and the media were focusing national attention on terrorism in conjunction with the 9/11 anniversary.

A terrorist trained by the CIA and the US military

The reasons are clear. As far as the US ruling establishment is concerned, Posada Carriles may be a terrorist, but he’s “our terrorist.” As a right-wing exile from the Cuban revolution of 1959, he was recruited by the CIA for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. He was subsequently trained by the US Army in intelligence.

There is documentary evidence that Posada Carriles stayed on the CIA payroll into the late 1960s, and ample indication that he remained one of the agency’s “assets” for decades afterwards.

In the early 1970s, he moved to Venezuela, became a citizen of that country, and was appointed by the right-wing regime of President Carlos Andres Perez as head of DISIP, the country’s secret police, where he directed the murder and torture of left-wing oppositionists. After Perez’s fall, he headed a private security agency, from which he plotted the bombing of the Cuban airliner.

Arrested for the bombing, Posada Carriles escaped in 1985, thanks to bribes provided by the Cuban American National Foundation. He went to El Salvador where he directed the covert and illegal operation to supply the Nicaraguan contra terrorist army under the direction of Lt. Col. Oliver North, a Reagan White House aide who held the title of “counter-terrorism coordinator.” Posada Carriles has been accused of using the supply operation in El Salvador as a conduit for shipping cocaine into the US.

After his release from the Panamanian prison, Posada Carriles hid for a time in Central America and then returned to the US, sneaking into the country without a visa. Hours after he held a press conference in south Florida in May 2005, he was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and has been held in detention ever since.

While the normal procedure would have been to seek his deportation, no countries will accept Posada Carriles outside of Venezuela, where he is a citizen and is wanted for trial on the airline bombing, and Cuba, where he was born and is wanted in connection with that and other terrorist crimes.

While Venezuela has pressed for extradition, Washington has flouted its treaties with the country, whose president it sought to overthrow in an abortive 2002 coup. The US has defended its actions on the spurious grounds that if Posada Carriles were extradited to Venezuela, he would face torture. The savage irony of this pretense is twofold. First, while there is no evidence of government-sanctioned torture under the current Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chavez, the former CIA agent himself directed the torture of political dissidents while serving the same elements who now seek Chavez’s overthrow. Second, the Bush administration is notorious for kidnapping alleged terrorists and sending them to foreign governments that practice torture, a practice known as “extraordinary rendition.”

When the US government detained Posada Carriles, it decided to charge him only with a simple immigration violation—not with the myriad crimes he has committed around the world. Nonetheless, government officials clearly recognized his criminal past as a primary reason for keeping him behind bars.

In a letter to Posada Carriles obtained by Time magazine, an official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement explained why the agency wanted to continue detaining him:

“You have a history of engaging in criminal activity, associating with individuals involved in criminal activity, and participating in violent acts that indicate a disregard for the safety of the general public and a propensity for engaging in activities... that pose a risk to the national security of the United States.”

Making a reference to the 1976 bombing of the Cuban passenger plane, the official continued, “Due to your long history of criminal activity and violence in which innocent civilians were killed, your release from detention would pose a danger to both the community and the national security of the United States.”

While all this is acknowledged by the government, the Bush administration’s Justice Department chose not to make such a case or present any evidence of Posada Carriles’s crimes in court, which would allow his indefinite detention as a terrorist suspect.

Lawyers for the terrorist have pressed for his release. Under a 2001 Supreme Court ruling, the government is not allowed to detain foreign nationals who cannot be deported for more than six months.

The ruling of the federal magistrate in Texas was based on this ruling and on the fact that the White House and US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have elected to do nothing to certify, as required by law, that Posada Carriles is a terrorist or a “threat to the community,” or to detain him under terms of the USA Patriot Act, something that has been done repeatedly in the case of Middle Eastern immigrants not charged with any acts of terrorism.

In the end, Washington refuses to either charge Posada Carriles as a terrorist or abide by international law and extradite him to face pending charges in Venezuela because the US government is a full accomplice in his crimes. It knows that were he to be placed on trial, further evidence would emerge of US state-sponsored terrorism.

The Bush administration’s protection of a mass murderer, airline bomber and assassin places it squarely within the category of an “outlaw regime” that “harbors and supports terrorists.”

Nor is this a matter merely of the right-wing Republican ideologues in the White House. The silence of the media on the Texas magistrate’s decision was in sync with the silence of the Democratic Party. Not a single major Democratic political figure has denounced the Bush administration’s illegal protection of Posada Carriles or demanded his extradition to Venezuela.

The former CIA agent and asset, it should be recalled, carried out his crimes under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Moreover, the Democrats have increasingly sought to compete with the Republicans for the allegiance of the anti-Castro Cuban-American lobby, particularly the Cuban American National Foundation, which Posada Carriles once identified as one of his paymasters.

See Also:

Posada Carriles to stay in US: Washington shields CIA terrorist from prosecution
[29 September 2005]

Venezuela demands US hand over CIA terrorist for triall
[17 June 2005]

Bush silent as top terrorist seeks US asylum
[14 April 2005]