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Cuba in the News
Archive: 7/14 - 12/14

Asaltan con armas de fuego dos cafeterías habaneras  12/31/2014 CubaNet: "Un dependiente de El Rápido, que pidió declarar bajo anonimato, dijo: “Se llevaron todo el dinero de la caja. Se lo llevaron todo, aquí nadie quiere decir nada, porque ahora todos estamos sujetos a investigación. Nos estudiaron y dieron el golpe. Lo jodido, es que no descartan que después del robo, los que estuvieron en el turno hayan cogido algo también, ahora hay mucha desconfianza”."

The Seeing Eye is the Organ of Tradition  12/31/2014 EthnoCuba: "This simple exchange highlighted an overlooked if obvious point: all of this U.S. themed clothing is imported not in official state shops (duh!), but is hand-delivered by close family or friends abroad. In other words, wearing it also marks one as having familia en exterior, family abroad. As I have argued elsewhere, beyond symbolizing the United States, since the 1990s wearing Stars and Stripes apparel in Cuba is a marker par excellence of one’s privileged access to increasingly important transnational remittance circuits."

Cuba Invests More in Education than Any Other Country: Survey  12/31/2014 Periodico 26: "The report, which looked at public expenditures in education as percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2009-2013, found that the Caribbean island allocates the highest share of its GDP to education, with 13 percent. Cuba was followed by the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor) with an 11.3 percent, then Denmark with 8.7 percent and Ghana with 8.1 percent."

Cuba Reports 3 Million Foreign Tourists in 2014  12/31/2014 Radio Havana: "Cuba´s Tourism Ministry announced that the total figure of foreign tourists to Cuba reached 3 million on December 30, standing for a 5.3 percent growth when compared to last year. A news release by the ministry explains that despite 2014 has been a year marked by crises in several major tourist markets and the limitations imposed by the US blockade on the island, which bans American citizens from freely traveling to Cuba as tourists, the expected figure was reached, also thanks to the work of travel agencies, hotel chains, airlines and tour-operators."

United States Cuba Relations: A Transformative 2014 and the Promise of 2015  12/31/2014 US Cuba Politics: "For this end of year posting we interviewed Antonio C. Martinez II., Attorney, Political Consultant, and Editor of to discuss the historical moments of December 2014 and what bodes next for Cuba policy in the U.S. Congress, the Obama Administration, and the 2016 elections on the horizon:"

A New Thesis about Cuba’s Weekly Package (Part II)  12/29/2014 Havana Times: "The Cuban State has more than enough qualified personnel, trained at the country’s well-stocked technical and military academies and the University of Information Sciences (UCI), to develop a project as wide-encompassing and complex as the “weekly package.”"

Everyone in Cuba is Talking About the Same Thing  12/29/2014 Havana Times: "Everyone is talking about the same thing: the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States. Though some are optimistic and others skeptical, the truth is that the news has stirred everybody up."

The Forgotten History of U.S.-Cuba Friendship  12/29/2014 Huff Post: "Black Americans have demonstrated a special interest, extending all the way back to Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., forcing the Eisenhower Administration to embargo arms shipments to Batista in 1958. Throughout the 1960s, many leaders in the civil rights and Black Power movements visited Cuba, to see for themselves how it overcame widespread poverty and discrimination, followed later by leading black Members of Congress. Even in the 1990s, Fidel Castro packed out Harlem's most famous church, Abyssinian Baptist. African Americans knew well what Mandela had said: that the 1988 defeat of white South Africa's vaunted army by Cuban troops backing the revolutionary Angolan government was a decisive blow against apartheid."

Will it be the end of USAID´s spells?  12/29/2014 On Cuba: "Curiously Los Aldeanos didn’t need be “bought” to be critical. For years their songs questioned the Cuban reality without mincing words, making their messages to have enough weight in certain sectors of youth. But USAID polluted them with their money and although they did not know where it came from, that shadow will inevitably create doubts about the integrity of Los Aldeanos and the honesty of their criticisms, reducing the influence of their messages."

¿El año de la informatización?  12/29/2014 Progreso Semanal: "Pero desde este presente pedregoso se hace imperativo mirar hacia el futuro: la alta escolarización y capacidad intelectual acumulada por los cubanos se puede ver afectada de un modo drástico si no se impone una voluntad económica y política de superar las actuales condiciones con que debemos lidiar. Del mismo modo, la transformación y modernización económica del país no puede hacerse sin los recursos de la informática, o con un deficiente y limitado uso de ellos."

The year of computerisation?  12/29/2014 Progreso Weekly: "But from this present full of obstacles it is imperative to look toward the future: the high education and intellectual capacity accumulated by the Cubans can be affected drastically if an economic and political will is not imposed to overcome the current conditions we have to deal with. In the same way, the country’s transformation and modernisation cannot be carried out without the resources of computer science, or using them in a deficient and limited way."

Blacks Should Support Normalizing Relations with Cuba  12/29/2014 The Skanner: Written by Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., NNPA Columnist

Barack Obama busca apoyos de la derecha  12/28/2014 Progreso Semanal: "De ahí que dos de los lobbies más activos en favor del deshielo sean la Cámara de Comercio de EE UU y la Federación de Oficinas Agrícolas Americanas. La primera es el principal lobby empresarial, enfrentado a Obama en cuestiones como la reducción de las emisiones contaminantes y la reforma sanitaria. La segunda es el lobby rural, y su aplauso al presidente refleja la esperanza de que la nueva etapa permita aumentar las exportaciones de productos agrícolas. No es casualidad que sea en el Medio Oeste, el granero de EE UU, donde la iniciativa del presidente cuente con mayores complicidades."

Denuncian en Cuba el envío de mensajes subversivos a celulares  12/28/2014 Progreso Semanal: "Desde el pasado 21 de diciembre se han detectado mensajesque llaman a la población a concentrarse en plazas del país y “apoyar una provocación” convocada para este 30 de diciembre, aseguran altos cargos de la empresa, según el blog ‘Cambios en Cuba’. ETECSA sospecha que los mensajes provienen de una plataforma ubicada fuera de la isla que funciona de manera similar a proyectos financiados por la agencia norteamericana USAID, como ZunZuneo y Martí Noticias."

Why travel to Cuba?  12/28/2014 Progreso Weekly: "Forget about rum and cigars. The art and music is what makes Cuba such a fascinating place, she says. “I think a lot of the mystique and excitement of going there is the art and music,” she says. “When you hear the music, your foot starts to tap.” There’s no one type of Cuban music. The music and instruments are influenced by Cuba’s African and European traditions. Walk into a bar or club and you may hear salsa, merengue, rumba, jazz, or any other number of genres."

Where to go in 2015  12/27/2014 Boston Globe: "At the moment, no one is sure how or when the current travel restrictions to Cuba will change, which require that visitors (without family ties to Cuba) travel for professional, religious, or educational purposes. Major tour operators, such as Grand Circle, Globus, Tauck, and Abercrombie and Kent, offer highly-structured people-to-people tours, under special licenses."

The US-Cuba agreement in five major economic issues  12/27/2014 On Cuba: "Part of Obama´s reforms will allow US telecommunications firms to start working with Cuba to expand its communications infrastructure, which will help Cuban economy and will set the basis for financial transactions more sophisticated in the future."

Big changes coming to Cuba tourism with us opening  12/27/2014 Progreso Weekly: "The new Treasury Department rules have not yet been released, but a White House statement suggests that educational travel to Cuba will now be covered by a “general license,” which means tour operators – and perhaps individuals, depending on how the regulations are written – will be able to head to Cuba and simply give the U.S. government their word that they’re not engaging in ordinary tourism."

Americans are eager to visit Cuba, but changes to U.S. rules may come slowly  12/27/2014 WaPo 

Cuba Will Not Renounce Its Ideas  12/26/2014 CounterPunch: by Raul Castro

What Are Young Cubans Saying about US-Cuba Relations?  12/26/2014 Havana Times: "Though opinions on this differ, the truth is that the vast majority of young people in Cuba are optimistic. The first thing many friends and acquaintances thought was: “the island is going to fill up with gringos!” Evidently, young people in Cuba do not feel any particular resentment towards the people or culture of the United States. The relief that this will mean for our depressed economy is, without a doubt, something people anxiously await. The possibility of US investors settling in Cuba and offering a broader scope of jobs and higher wages is something most hope for."

Cuba’s Reforms Fail to Reduce Growing Inequality  12/26/2014 IPS: "To ease the recession in the 1990s, the government of Fidel Castro (1959-2008) opened the doors to foreign investment, fomented tourism, legalised the dollar, and created the “foreign currency recovery stores”, among other measures whose economic benefits also came accompanied by greater social inequality."

Why real change in Cuba won't come easy or fast  12/26/2014 LA Times: "Republicans are also threatening to block Obama's policy by attaching Cuba amendments to must-pass appropriations bills. That strategy won't become available for almost a year, however, when the next appropriations bills come up. By then, the new relationship with Cuba may be so well established that even Republicans would be loath to turn back the clock."

Cuba returns properties to the Church  12/26/2014 On Cuba 

‘Offended,’ Israel won’t publicly support Obama’s initiative  12/26/2014 Progreso Weekly: "Although some observers blame the recent deterioration in relations between the U.S. and Israel as a reason behind Benjamin Netanyahu’s government withholding its Cuban endorsement, Israeli media point to Tel Aviv’s wariness of alienating Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, who are opposed to Obama’s diplomatic overtures with the communist-ruled country. Those opposed to the pro-Cuban stance in Congress – primarily in the Republican Party – are viewed as “being closer to Israel than are the supporters of Obama’s opening to the communist island near Florida,” Haaretz observed."

Marco, Ted and Bob: Fishes out of water  12/26/2014 Progreso Weekly: "History has passed judgment on them and has tossed them overboard. Like fishes out of water, Rubio, Cruz, Menéndez and others like them can do nothing but gasp desperately for breath to keep from dying."

$11 million in Cuba grants up for grabs  12/25/2014 Along the Malecon: "The State Department on Wednesday announced that it is looking for U.S.- or foreign-based organizations interested in running programs aimed at boosting civil, political and labor rights in Cuba. The department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor expects to award up to $11 million in grants, ranging from $500,000 to $2 million each. Statements of interest from organizations hoping to receive funds are due Feb. 5, 2015. The bureau's announcement says it will give priority to proposals that "emphasize the role of Cuban partners in developing and achieving programmatic objectives.""

How travel to Cuba might change  12/24/2014 Boston Globe: "What is the hotel room/accommodation situation in Cuba now? “There is a lot, but at the high end, there are only a couple of good properties,” Diaz said. “People don’t go to Cuba for the luxury — they go for the music, culture, and arts scene.” But if Cuba opens up to US tourists and their penchant for luxury accommodations, “you’re going to see American hoteliers doing their best to find potential properties in Cuba,” Loucks said."

Reflections from Former Chief of U.S. Interests Section  12/23/2014 CIP Americas: by Wayne S Smith - "As the announcement of restored relations came through Wednesday morning, there was utter joy and elation among the Cuban people in the streets, there were cheers and applause – this is what they have been waiting for, too. This change came at a critical moment. The Obama administration had to come to it or risk a further deterioration of relations with the rest of the hemisphere. There were questions in Latin America about our relations with Cuba and what that said about our policy in the hemisphere. Now those questions have been set aside and we can move forward to focus on improved relations with all."

Rosita: Una mujer con el emprendimiento en los genes  12/23/2014 Negra Cubana: "Si las circunstancias históricas, políticas e ideológicas (la revolución marxista-leninista, la caída del campo socialista), si la situación económica (mejoramiento durante épocas, empeoramiento en otras), o el nivel de instrucción (que se mantiene elevado desde 1959) no consiguen justificar completamente la persistencia de desigualdades raciales en Cuba, ¿dónde hallar explicaciones a este fenómeno? "

New poll: Majority U.S. support for change in Cuba policy  12/23/2014 Progreso Weekly: "Even republicans, who not long ago were against the measures, now support allowing trade and travel. “In 2009, 36 percent of Republicans said the United States should end the trade embargo and 40 percent favored an end to travel restrictions,” reported Clement. But those numbers have skyrocketed in favor with 57 percent now supporting trade with Cuba and 64 percent supporting travel between the countries. “Republicans continue to split on establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba overall, with 49 percent supporting and 47 percent opposing the idea — a similar split to 2009,” said Clement."

Seoul provides Cuba with Ebola protective suits worth US$1 mln  12/23/2014 Yonhap: "South Korea has provided protective suits worth US$1 million to Cuba in a bid to help doctors of the Latin American country do humanitarian work in Ebola-hit West Africa, a Seoul official said Tuesday. Via the World Health Organization, Seoul has offered the Ebola protective suits to Cuba, which has sent hundreds of medical workers to Ebola-hit West Africa, said the official at Seoul's foreign ministry."

Historic Turn on Cuba. Professors Ruth Behar and María Isabel Alfonso in Radio Bilingüe.  12/22/2014 Café por Cuba 

America's Cuba  12/22/2014 CounterPunch: "In the United States, events like the Bay of Pigs invasion are typically portrayed as reactions to Cuban instigation, but the chronology belies this framing. In fact, the causality runs in almost exactly the opposite direction: US hostility wasn’t a response to Cuba’s Communist ties; Cuba’s Communist ties were a response to US hostility."

Who Was Alan Gross Working For?  12/22/2014 CounterPunch: "According to DAI CEO Jim Boomgard, Gross was in Cuba running a US government program called “Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program”. In an August 2008 meeting, officials from this program told DAI representatives that “USAID is not telling Cubans how or why they need a democratic transition, but rather, the Agency wants to provide the technology and means for communicating the spark which could benefit the population.” The program, the officials said, intended to “provide a base from which Cubans can ‘develop alternative visions of the future.'”"

TV Martí Blew Its Coverage of Historic U.S.-Cuba Moment  12/22/2014 Miami New Times: "Yet when the biggest Cuban-American story in a half-century broke -- Barack Obama and Raúl Castro's announcement that they'd move to normalize diplomatic relations -- the Miami-based network was caught in utter disarray, employees tell New Times, exposing the systemic disorganization and poor leadership that have blighted the network for years."

A la espera de otra invasión gringa  12/22/2014 Progreso Semanal: "La ciudad capital, más otros sitios dispersos por la geografía insular en la que algunos cubanos rentan sus viviendas a extranjeros, se encuentran todos desde ya en sus máximas capacidades de alojamiento. Hoy mismo hay muy pocas posibilidades para esos visitantes que, como electrones libres, buscan un techo criollo y no el de una instalación turística donde pasar Navidades y Año Nuevo con un agradable clima y un entorno social como para recordar."

Editorial del New York Times: La evolución del movimiento gay en Cuba  12/21/2014 Afromodernidades: " En Cuba, históricamente las marchas han sido eventos orquestados por el gobierno o protestas de disidentes, que las autoridades suelen suprimir con rapidez. Así que llamó mucho la atención cuando, en mayo de 2007, la sobrina de Fidel Castro salió a la calle con un pequeño ejército de travestis, armado con banderas de orgullo gay."

What the Cuba embargo teaches us about economic sanctions  12/21/2014 News, Australia: "There are cases when sanctions are effective, but circumstances are important. Sanctions like the Cuba embargo, which aimed to foment a revolution or topple a regime, aren’t successful very often. “When they do have a better track record is when you’re asking for more tangible concessions,” Daniel Drezner, a political scientist at Tufts, prolific foreign-policy blogger, and author of The Sanctions Paradox, told me. He points to the US sanctions on Iran, which have clearly played a role in pushing Tehran to the nuclear negotiating table, and are likely more effective because it’s “clear [the Obama administration] isn’t looking for regime change.”"

How Barbara Lee’s 30-year Cuba campaign paid off  12/21/2014 SF Chronicle: "Lee and her delegation met that day for five hours with President Raul Castro in the first face-to-face session between U.S. lawmakers and Cuban leaders in at least five years. Both brothers, Lee recalled, expressed hope that the newly elected President Obama would change history and restore ties between the two countries. Last week, as she touched down on U.S. soil from another trip to Cuba — her 21st — the Oakland Democrat got the call: Obama was announcing a thawing of relations, an exchange of prisoners and the freeing of American Alan Gross, whom Lee had visited several times during his five-year Cuban captivity."

How Barbara Lee’s 30-year Cuba campaign paid off  12/21/2014 SFGate: "She developed a connection to the island’s Afro-Hispanic culture and the people whose economic struggles were intensified by the U.S. trade embargo, she said. The trips and her introductions to many average Afro-Cubans — “who looked just like me, who acted just like me” — cemented her belief that the embargo was an unjust burden on the people of the island nation."

Do Cubans Really Want US Style Internet Freedom?  12/21/2014 Sujatha Fernandez: "For all the talk about bringing Internet freedoms to Cuba, could it be that Cubans have themselves created an alternative to the corporate-driven World Wide Web by coming up with their own alternative networks for consuming and sharing information? In contrast torecent depictions of Cuba as a technological backwater, frozen in time, deprivation has yet again spurred Cubans to new creative heights. When considering the enormous opportunities that will be created by Obama’s announcement of historic policies, it will be important to keep in mind what Cubans want and need—and not what we think they do."

A Chance to Breach Divide for Young in Cuba and US  12/20/2014 ABC: "For Cubans like Martinez, it may mean that becoming a doctor won't limit her to a meager state salary. For others, there is the hope of Internet access and an end to the desperation that leads thousands to migrate each year. Cuban-Americans, meanwhile, see the possibility of starting businesses in their homeland, connecting with their roots and putting aside the bitterness of parents and grandparents who were arrested, exiled or had property seized in the revolution."

Cuban Tourism in the Age of Détente  12/20/2014 New Yorker: "Under the new rules, people will still have to travel for one of twelve pre-approved purposes, but these, including educational trips, will all be covered by general licenses. It’s unclear exactly what this will mean for travellers—the Obama Administration has said that it will be weeks before the details become available—but Popper and others expect that, at the very least, it will open up travel to Cuba to more Americans."

Advice over Plans to Visit Cuba for the First Time  12/20/2014 Radio Havana: "Words of advice for our listeners who may be planning a trip to Cuba for the first time. The high seasons for Cuba tourism are from mid-November to mid-March and in July and August. Prices for hotels, flights, and other expenses are higher during peak times."

Castro insists Cuba won’t abandon communism despite deal with U.S.  12/20/2014 WaPo: "“This makes it so much easier for the U.S. to relate to its allies and friends in the region,” said Christopher Sabatini, senior director of policy at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas."

The “Pure Evil” Hypocrisy - Marco Rubio’s Rabid Campaign Against Cuba  12/19/2014 CounterPunch: "Rubio called these developments “another concession to a tyranny” rather than “a defense of every universal and inalienable right that our country was founded on and stands for.” But, how exactly does continuing the embargo and maintaining a supercilious, egotistically aloof distance from Cuba sound an “American” defense of its values abroad? Rubio averred, in sum, that “these changes…will significantly set back the hopes of freedom and democracy for the Cuban people.” To dismiss the revolutionary successes, though, to outright deny the bravery, the endurance, the incredible struggle, and epic human perseverance of the Cuban people in the face of one of history’s greatest instances of adversity reeks of disrespect and unawareness. Ultimately, it gives voice to the pure evil of Rubio’s anti-Cuban hypocrisy."

The US and Cuba: What Really Happened, What Will Change?  12/19/2014 CounterPunch: "It isn’t full normalization. It isn’t completely free travel to Cuba that is promised to all US citizens by our constitution. It isn’t the lifting of a policy of economic strangulation decried universally every year at the UN. It doesn’t allow unlimited investment in Cuba’s nascent private sector or completely remove limits on remittances sent to family and loved ones on the island. At least, not yet."

Pope Benedict Helped Free American From Cuba  12/18/2014 AP: "Pope Francis rightly got credit for helping bring the U.S. and Cuba together and free U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross. But it was Francis' predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who made the first high-level Vatican manoeuver to release Gross, spurred in part by an unlikely group of papal lobbyists."

This Is What Cuba Really Looks Like These Days  12/18/2014 Mother Jones: photos

Speech by Cuban President Raul Castro on re-establishing U.S.-Cuba relations  12/18/2014 Progreso Weekly 

DeWayne Wickham: Obama action on Cuba burnishes legacy  12/17/2014 Baxter Bulletin: ""We think the best way to bring Cuba into the 21st century is through openness, not isolation," National Security Adviser Susan Rice told me moments after Obama announced his decision to gut the embargo, which can only be formally ended by a vote of Congress."

President Obama's new Cuba policy: What we heard, and what we didn't  12/17/2014 The Havana Note: "What’s interesting about today’s announcement is what we didn’t hear. We didn’t hear a president constrained by political calculations. President Obama said he looks forward to an “honest and serious” debate with Congress about lifting the embargo – a not so subtle hint about what the debate has largely lacked so far. And while he acknowledged the contribution to our country and the “passion” of Cuban exiles who might not like his policy changes, the wide-ranging – and long-awaited - moves announced today were clearly decided without a fear of political retribution."

My Take on Cuba’s “Weekly Package” (Part I)  12/16/2014 Havana Times:  I buy Cuba’s weekly TV series, music and software package on a regular basis. In my opinion, some of its contents are valuable in more than one sense. That said, there are a series of factors behind this phenomenon that have truly piqued my curiosity."

Why USAID Could Never Spark a Hip Hop Revolution in Cuba  12/16/2014 Sujatha Fernandez: "The documents secured by the AP reveal a frightening level of manipulation of Cuban rappers by USAID. Like with ZunZuneo, the failed Cuban twitter project also engineered by USAID, the actions of this agency put Cubans at risk of state repression and threatened a closure of the critical spaces that rappers had already built and defended. USAID realizes the power of culture to provide a powerful political voice for young people. What it doesn’t realize is that in a society shaped by successive generations of revolutionary projects, any attempt to engineer a U.S.-affiliated movement from above is destined to be revealed for the farce that it is."

GRADUAL AVANCE DE LA TELEVISIÓN DIGITAL EN CUBA  12/16/2014 UNEAC: "La Televisión Digital en la Isla avanza con paso firme hacia el objetivo final de lograr que, para e 2021, se produzca el Apagón Analógico. De esta manera el Instituto de Investigaciones y Desarrollo de Telecomunicaciones (LACETEL) dio a conocer los planes y proyectos que para 2015 se prevén implementar en aras de lograr una mejor optimización de esa señal en todo el país."

Obama's Historic Move  12/15/2014 "Some, to be sure, have felt that such delicate means are not enough, for example, Nixon cabinet member Alexander Haig, who asked the president to "just give me the word and I'll turn that f--- island into a parking lot." His eloquence captured vividly the long-standing frustration of US leaders about "That infernal little Cuban republic," Theodore Roosevelt's phrase as he ranted in fury over Cuban unwillingness to accept graciously the US invasion of 1898 to block their liberation from Spain and turn them into a virtual colony. Surely his courageous ride up San Juan Hill had been in a noble cause (overlooked, commonly, is that African-American battalions were largely responsible for conquering the hill)."

Los ajustes económicos del Gobierno agravan la marginación de negros y mestizos, advierten activistas  12/15/2014 Diario de Cuba: "Los negros y mestizos cubanos han quedado marginados en las reformas económicas puestas en marcha por el Gobierno de Raúl Castro y su situación en un eventual escenario de transición podría ser, una vez más, la menos favorecida. Estas fueron dos de las alertas lanzadas por los participantes en la cuarta edición del "Foro Raza y Cubanidad. Cuba, pasado, presente y futuro", auspiciado por el independiente Comité Ciudadanos por la Integración Racial (CIR) y celebrado en La Habana entre el 11 y el 13 de diciembre."

Cuban Interest Section Extends Provision of Consular services in Washington  12/10/2014 On Cuba 

EU-Cuba talks delayed by dispute over cultural event  12/9/2014 Reuters: ""It seems like a pretext because Cuba feels it is not ready for the next round of talks," said one person who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. "It would see both sides enter more delicate issues like cooperation in the area of human rights, democracy and human rights."

Why Are Cuba Embargo Lobbyists So “Obsessed” With The New York Times? - See more at:  12/6/2014 Capitol Hill Cubanos: "Is it just me or is getting a little weird that Cuba embargo lobbyists keep using the word “obsessed” when talking about the New York Times and Cuba? The criticism is that it’s somehow strange for the most influential paper in the world to care at all about US-Cuba policy. With that logic, are they basically saying Cuba isn’t important and shouldn’t be discussed by such an influential publication?"

At home and cured of Ebola, Cuban doctor vows return to Africa  12/6/2014 Reuters: "A Cuban doctor who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone and was cured after experimental treatment in a Swiss hospital vowed on Saturday to return to West Africa and continue treating patients. "I will finish what I started. I am returning to Sierra Leone," Felix Baez, 43, told reporters at Havana's Jose Marti airport shortly after landing, the official website Cubadebate reported."

This petition will be delivered to: Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen  12/5/2014 Progreso Weekly: "This is why we are again calling attention to the report by the Tampa Bay Times that Sally Canfield, Deputy Chief of Staff to Rubio, and Arthur Estopinan, Chief of Staff to Ros-Lehtinen, visited China on a Congressional staff trip run by the U.S.-Asia Institute, but funded by China’s government. Senator Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are two of the biggest opponents in Congress to lifting the travel ban and changing U.S. policy."

Cuba’s extraordinary global medical record shames the US blockade  12/3/2014 the Guardian: "Four months into the internationally declared Ebola emergency that has devastated west Africa, Cuba leads the world in direct medical support to fight the epidemic. The US and Britain have sent thousands of troops and, along with other countries, promised aid – most of which has yet to materialise. But, as the World Health Organisation has insisted, what’s most urgently needed are health workers. The Caribbean island, with a population of just 11m and official per capita income of $6,000 (£3,824), answered that call before it was made. It was first on the Ebola frontline and has sent the largest contingent of doctors and nurses – 256 are already in the field, with another 200 volunteers on their way."

Leaving Cuba Alone a Sound Policy  11/27/2014 Havana Times: "During a recent meeting at OnCuba magazine in Havana, Ernesto Londoño, member of The New York Times editorial staff, asked young Cuban journalists what the United States could do to hasten changes on the island. They answered that the best help consisted precisely in doing nothing."

The sad story of Cuban transportation  11/24/2014 On Cuba: "There are few sectors in Cuba that have accumulated so much inefficiency for many years as the public transportation. Things didn’t work well even in the time of plenty, when Soviet aid was counted by billions and oil was paid with sugar. Even the humor reflects this. Before Cuba entered the crisis of the 90s already a banner showed the painting of a Cuban bus packed with scenes of Guernica, Pablo Picasso´s painting representing chaos in a Basque village after the bombing of Nazi aviation."

Cuban doctor in Sierra Leone tests positive for Ebola  11/19/2014 Reuters: "A Cuban doctor treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone has tested positive for the disease and was being sent to Geneva for treatment, officials said, the first Cuban known to have contracted the potentially deadly hemorrhagic fever."

Académicas feministas se reúnen en Cuba  11/17/2014 Semlac: "La obra de artistas y escritoras de habla hispana de todos los tiempos fue tema de análisis para más de 160 profesionales de la academia provenientes de una decena de países, durante el XXIV Congreso de la Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica (AILCFH), celebrado del 10 al 14 de noviembre en el Hotel Nacional de esta capital."

Comienza en Cuba primer curso internacional sobre el ébola  11/10/2014 Sierra Maestra: "El primer Curso Internacional para la prevención y el enfrentamiento al virus del Ébola en la región de las Américas, comienza hoy en el Instituto de Medicina Tropical Pedro Kourí, en La Habana. La iniciativa es resultado de la Reunión Técnica de especialistas y directivos para la prevención de esa epidemia, que sesionó en Cuba los días 29 y 30 de octubre últimos con la participación de 278 especialistas y directivos de 34 países del área geográfica. El encuentro, contó además con la participación de representantes de las organizaciones Mundial y Panamericana de la Salud, y otras instituciones internacionales y regionales."

OnCuba presented its communication platform in FIHAV2014  11/8/2014 On Cuba: "The richness of Cuban culture, events that mark the history of the country, the economic, the daily life and traditions, are topics of interest for OnCuba that continues to put its eyes on Cubans. More than just magazines, OnCuba is a communication platform that functions as a sort of bridge between the so-called two shores. During the afternoon yesterday in FIHAV 2014, in the Business Round Room at Expocuba Fairground, the presentation of the communication platform and exhibition of projects and updated statistics from its president Hugo Cancio, took place."

Cuba unveils foreign-investment portfolio  11/7/2014 Progreso Weekly: "The big news at the 2014 Havana International Fair was the launching of the Portfolio of Opportunities for Foreign Investment. During the process of approval of Law 118 [on Foreign Investment], the authorities stressed the pertinence of that document, explaining that in the past any foreign businessman could come and tell us what he wanted, without a well-defined counterproposal. The principal benefit of the Portfolio is that it indicates a truly proactive stance on the part of Cuba, indicating clearly where and how investments should be directed."

Corruption and its Weeding Out  11/6/2014 On Cuba: "The Comptroller’s Office is making a huge effort, but it is pitted against a silent army of corrupt and/or inept officials united by common financial interests. They protect and rescue one another as they are “busted.” This is why the Comptroller’s Office complains that some of the inept officials who are dismissed reappear six months later as managers in just another company. Their mutual aid network reaches far back in history, having emerged as a means of skirting regulations against nepotism. Official X cannot give his son or wife a good job where they work, so official Y gives them a good position in his place of work. In exchange, X repays Y by hooking up his relatives and friends with jobs where one can get one’s hand on hard currency, trips and gasoline."

Cuban Medical Services presents seven lines of business at FIHAV  11/6/2014 On Cuba: "The Distributor of Cuban Medical Services Company (SMC by its Spanish acronym) gave an updated account of its operations during the past year during FIHAV 2014 event where it is participating for the fourth consecutive year. The seven lines of business that give prestige to the company responsible for the promotion of health services in Cuba in the world were exposed by Dr. Exposito Lliliam Jimenez, president of the organization. The doctor explained that the business portfolio is based on sustained success for decades of the Cuban health system as a result of principles and values of humanity, solidarity and a fundamental concern for having the highest ethical and scientific standards for workers, who constitute the fundamental bulwark of Cuban medicine."

Cuba: Emprendedoras rurales intercambian saberes  11/5/2014 Semlac: "Desde cómo organizar un negocio hasta trucos para la artesanía, la siembra de hortalizas, cría de animales y cultivo de plantas exóticas compartieron mujeres emprendedoras durante la "Jornada Internacional de Economía Rural y Derechos Económicos de las Mujeres", celebrada en el hotel Panorama, en La Habana, del 27 al 29 de octubre."

CAFE's Communiqué about Cuban-American Congressmen and the Ebola Crisis  11/3/2014 CAFÉ: "The position of these politicians in this issue against Secretary John Kerry's goodwill gestures demonstrates their lack of understanding of the challenges United States face in the world and their subordination of American national interests and values to an agenda of resentment and hate."

U.S. and Cuba Come Together Over Ebola, Infuriating Republicans  10/31/2014 NYT: "After some initial hedging, the United States seems to have embraced the idea of working closely with Cuba on the global response to the Ebola epidemic. A mid-level official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attended a regional summit in Havana on Wednesday hosted by an association of left-leaning Latin American nations."

Diaz-Balart: Disgraceful that U.S. Sent CDC Official to ALBA Meeting in Havana and Condoned Exploitation of Cuban Doctors  10/30/2014 Diaz-Balart: ""It is a disgrace that the United States sent a representative to an ALBA meeting in Havana and praised the Cuban dictatorship for sending forced medical labor to Western Africa. “ALBA, the brainchild of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, was created solely to oppose U.S. interests in our hemisphere. It enjoys the support of other anti-American regimes such as Syria and Iran. That the U.S. would send a representative to such a meeting is by itself ludicrous."

The New York Times Examines Impact of Cuba in US Elections  10/26/2014 Periodico26: "The editorial published today, and signed by the Editorial Committee, headed by Andrew Rosenthal stresses that the policy has dramatically changed in recent years, as Cuban immigrants in South Florida have spoken in favor of fostering close ties with their country of origin. "Cuba continues being an important political issue in Florida and even nationally extended. But the issue has become much more complex," emphasizes the newspaper."

The Shifting Politics of Cuba Policy  10/25/2014 NYT: "For generations, among Cuban-Americans, once a largely monolithic voting bloc, the embargo was a symbol of defiance in exile — more gospel than policy. That has changed dramatically in recent years as younger members of the diaspora have staked out views that are increasingly in favor of deepening engagement with the island. Cuba still looms large in Florida politics, and to an extent nationally. But it is far from the clear-cut issue it once was."

Recorren miembros de televisora Panárabe Almayadeen sitios de interés de Santiago de Cuba  10/24/2014 TV Santiago: "Con la finalidad de favorecer y aumentar los nexos de comunicación y fraternidad entre los países árabes y el continente latinoamericano, integrantes de la televisora Panárabe Almayadeen, con sede en el Líbano, visitaron varias provincias del país. En su recorrido por Santiago de Cuba, el Telecentro Provincial Tele Turquino estuvo entre los destinos escogidos, pues conocer las producciones televisivas que se realizan en nuestro país, fuera de su capital, es también uno de los objetivos de esta visita."

Principios generales del plan para Cuba de prevención y enfrentamiento al virus del Ébola  10/22/2014 IPS 

The U.S. Will Collaborate With Cuba … on Ebola  10/22/2014 NYT: "After wrestling for days with the diplomatically awkward reality that Cuba could turn out to be America’s best ally on the effort to stem the Ebola epidemic, the Obama Administration has belatedly come around to a sensible conclusion: It’s willing to coordinate with the Cuban medics dispatched to treat patients in West Africa."

Colombia lidera nómina de delitos informáticos en América Latina  10/21/2014 Radio Cadena Agramonte 

Respuesta solidaria de Cuba en la lucha contra el ébola asombra a Estados Unidos  10/20/2014 La Jornada: "Desde la semana pasada, el gobierno de Obama expresó su admiración por la contribución cubana. El secretario de Estado, John Kerry, comentó el viernes ante diplomáticos extranjeros que "ya estamos viendo a naciones grandes y pequeñas presentándose de maneras impresionantes para hacer una contribución en las primeras líneas. Cuba, un país de sólo 11 millones de personas, ha enviado 165 profesionales de salud y tiene planes para enviar casi 300 más". Fue una de las contadas veces que Washington ha ofrecido palabras positivas en público hacia Cuba en más de medio siglo desde que Estados Unidos ha intentando aislar y cambiar el régimen político de la isla."

Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola  10/19/2014 NYT: "In a column published over the weekend in Cuba’s state-run newspaper, Granma, Fidel Castro argued that the United States and Cuba must put aside their differences, if only temporarily, to combat a deadly scourge. He’s absolutely right."

Raul Confers Antonio Maceo Order on Granma Naval Academy  10/17/2014 Adelante 

Obama’s Cynical, Stilted Response to Ebola vs. Cuba’s Magnificent Mobilization  10/15/2014 Black Agenda Report: "Billionaire Bill Gates and other rich NGOists deploy their capital to push the public health sector to the barest margins of existence. As Professor Pollock explained, “conditions are being set by large, global NGOs such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation” that are not rooted in public health systems, but in corporate health services for profit. “They drain off indigenous doctors into for-profit health care, while corporate global institutions force less-developed nations to strip away what public health services they have.”"

Getting closer to Nicolás Guillén  10/14/2014 Adelante: "Camagüey.- Tomorrow kicks off in this province the IVth Symposium in homage to our National Poet, that with biannual character organizes the Camagüeyan subsidiary of the Center of Studies Nicolás Guillén with the target of socializing the researches that on the writer are realized in the whole country."

Los cubanos queremos jugar un béisbol libre  10/14/2014 Nuevo Herald: "Orlando “El Duque’’ Hernández no parece haberse retirado hace unos años. Por el contrario, tal parece listo para comenzar a lanzar con los Yankees o los Industriales, porque se mantiene físicamente mejor que muchos jóvenes."

Obama Should End the Embargo on Cuba  10/11/2014 NYT: by the New York Times Editorial Board - "Given the many crises around the world, the White House may want to avoid a major shift in Cuba policy. Yet engaging with Cuba and starting to unlock the potential of its citizens could end up being among the administration’s most consequential foreign-policy legacies. Normalizing relations with Havana would improve Washington’s relationships with governments in Latin America, and resolve an irritant that has stymied initiatives in the hemisphere. The Obama administration is leery of Cuba’s presence at the meeting and Mr. Obama has not committed to attending. He must — and he should see it as an opportunity to make history."

Tiempo de Acabar el Embargo de Cuba  10/11/2014 NYT: Por EL COMITÉ EDITORIAL - "Dada la cantidad de crisis a nivel mundial, es posible que la Casa Blanca considere que darle un giro sustancial a su política respecto a Cuba no es una prioridad. Sin embargo, un acercamiento con la isla más poblada del Caribe que incentive el desbloqueo del potencial de los ciudadanos de una de las sociedades más educadas del hemisferio, podría representar un importante legado para la administración. También ayudaría a mejorar las relaciones de Estados Unidos con varios países de América Latina y a impulsar iniciativas regionales que han sufrido como consecuencia del antagonismo entre Washington y La Habana."

Trabajo comunitario cubano se abre al enfoque de derechos  10/7/2014 IPS: "Los llamados "llega y pon", observados al menos en Holguín, Santiago de Cuba y Matanzas, son la expresión más dura de la persistencia y crecimiento de la pobreza en Cuba, que califica de "con amparo" porque el gobierno socialista garantiza acceso gratuito a la salud y educación junto a otras asistencias sociales."

World Bank: Cuba Has the Best Education System in Latin America and the Caribbean  10/4/2014 Repeating Islands: "According to the international organization, Cuba is the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean to have a high quality education system. Here are excerpts from the article by Salim Lamrani, a lecturer at the University of La Réunion, and a journalist specializing in relations between Cuba and the United States. [Article translated from the French by Larry R. Oberg.] Lamrani is author of The Economic War against Cuba (2013)."

World Bank: Cuba Has the Best Education System in Latin America and the Caribbean  10/3/2014 Huff Post 

Great Teachers = How to Raise Student Learning in Latin America and the Caribbean  10/3/2014 World Bank 

Cooperative Farm in Camagüey, the First in Cuba to Deliver 1 m. Liters of Milk in 2014  10/2/2014 Radio Cadena Agramonte: "Small farmers at the “Niceto Pérez” Credit and Service Cooperative (CCS) farm near the village of Camalote, in northern Camagüey, were the first in Cuba who delivered one million liters of raw milk to the industry in 2014, a figure that they have reached for eight consecutive years."

KISSINGER CONSIDERED ATTACK ON CUBA FOLLOWING ANGOLA INCURSION  10/1/2014 National Security Archives: "In the March 24 meeting with an elite national security team known as the Washington Special Actions Group, Kissinger expanded on the domino scenario. "If the Cubans destroy Rhodesia then Namibia is next and then there is South Africa," Kissinger argued. To permit the "Cubans as the shock troops of the revolution" in Africa, he argued, was unacceptable and could cause racial tensions in the "Caribbean with the Cubans appealing to disaffected minorities and could then spillover into South America and even into our own country."

Kissinger was planning attack on Cuba in 1976  10/1/2014 Progreso Weekly 

SECRET DIPLOMACY TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS WITH CUBA - Clandestine U.S. Back-Channel History with Fidel and Raul Castro Revealed in New Book  9/30/2014 National Security Archives 

Cuba sends doctors to combat Ebola in Africa  9/29/2014 The Militant: "When the Ebola epidemic broke out, Cuba kept all of its medical workers in Africa. At the same time, the U.S. government’s Peace Corps evacuated all 340 of its personnel in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, including all health education workers. The Connecticut-based Heartt Foundation pulled out its four U.S. doctors from Liberia after the epidemic began. Boston-based Wellbody Alliance did the same. The Pentagon announced Sept. 8 that it is sending a 25-bed field hospital for treatment of local medical workers in Liberia, not the general population. No U.S. doctors will staff it."

Modern cruise terminal will be built in Cienfuegos  9/28/2014 OnCuba: "The Ministry of Transportation will invest in a modern cruise terminal at the port of Cienfuegos, which is thought of as “something big, something at world level,” announced José Enrique Gonzalez, an officer at the Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR) in the Pearl of the South. In August, more than 30 luxury ships had called at the ports of the center and south of Cuba, which means the largest number of cruise ship arrivals since the start of this type of tourism on the island in 1996."

USINT will implement new appointment system for visitor visas  9/28/2014 OnCuba: "According to a press release issued by USINT, Type B-1, B-2, J, F and P, fiancé (e) (K-1 and K-2) visa applicants may make appointments through site in English:, and in Spanish: or by phone in the United States through the number ( 786) 408-5995."

Cuba Sharply Expands Ebola Medical Mission  9/27/2014 AP: "Cuba is greatly expanding the medical mission it's sending to Africa to fight Ebola. The Health Ministry earlier said it would send 165 health workers to Liberia. Now it's saying the mission will include 461 health workers, and some will be sent to Liberia and Guinea. The announcement came during a public affairs program on state television Thursday night. The health workers will be trained in biosecurity by the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization."

Cuba sends 300 more doctors to fight Ebola  9/26/2014 Al Jazeera: "Cuba says it will send nearly 300 more doctors and nurses to West Africa to help fight the Ebola epidemic. The Cubans will work in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, Regla Angulo, head of the Cuban medical relief agency, said in a statement on Friday. The announcement means that up to 461 Cuban medical personnel would have been sent to help address the epidemic spreading across West Africa. Angulo said the staff were currently undergoing intense training ahead of their deployment, working in a mock field hospital of the kind they expected to find in the region."

¡Llegó la Kwanza! Desenvolvimiento económico en Angola  9/24/2014 Negra Cubana: "Creo que no es difícil para un cubano insertarse en la sociedad angolana; aquí quieren mucho a los cubanos, por los antecedentes de la guerra y por los años de cooperación mutua. Ellos nos identifican como nada y al hablar de nosotros dicen: “ese no es ladrón, no trafica droga, trabaja mucho y sabe mucho”. Ellos tienen un concepto muy alto de los cubanos. Aquí viven muchooooooooos cubanos. Yo ni me imaginaba que existía tantos en Angola y hay personas que llevan viviendo aquí más de 40 años. Ahora lo que dificulta la plena inserción en esta sociedad es el idioma portugués, porque la mayoría de los cubanos solo quieren hablar español o una mezcla de español con portugués que le dicen portiñol."

Cuba approves 498 non-agricultural cooperatives in the last year  9/20/2014 Fox News Latino: "The Cuban government approved 498 non-agricultural cooperatives since the first 124 were created a year ago as a new model of economic enterprise, Cabinet secretary Homero Acosta said. Of the 498 approved, 283 are now in business, chiefly in the sectors of restaurants and related services, Acosta said Friday in the closing speech of an international congress of attorneys held in Havana, according to a report by the official AIN news agency."

Cuentapropistas Refuse to be Deterred  9/17/2014 #CubaNow: "On Monday, an EFE article told the story of how gyms, bars, mobile phone repair shops, real estate, gift stores, photo studios and party organizers are sprouting up as independent small family businesses throughout the island. The article explains that the entrepreneurs behind these businesses are refusing to be deterred by the constraints and arbitrary restrictions imposed by the Cuban regime on ‘cuentapropistas.’ Not only that, but niche businesses like promotions, mobile phone apps, and IT support are all growing to provide services to this sector. As I argued in my op-ed for Diario De Cuba last week, while Castro’s government continues to find ways to tighten its own embargo over the Cuban people, we should be doing everything we can to expand the flow of contacts and resources from the American private sector to all driven and hard-working entrepreneurs, not just those with family abroad."

Cuba to send doctors to Ebola areas  9/12/2014 BBC: "And many consider this medical help to be a central part of Cuba's international relations. One of Cuba's most extensive efforts is an eye surgery programme in Venezuela where thousands of cataract operations have been performed. Hundreds of Cuban medical workers were sent to Haiti during the earthquake in 2010. The country also trains thousands of overseas medical students, many of whom return to their home nations to work."

Cuba commits health workers for Ebola response  9/12/2014 CIDRAP: "If we are going to go to war with Ebola, we need the resources to fight," Chan said in a statement from the WHO today. "I am extremely grateful for the generosity of the Cuban government and these health professionals for doing their part to help us contain the worst Ebola outbreak ever known." Chan added that the donation will make a significant difference in Sierra Leone."

Cuba Responds To Ebola Crisis As Black Market For Convalescent Serum Emerges  9/12/2014 Forbes: "Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, said that the Cuban response was the first since her United Nations visit last week and “international rescue call” by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a scale-up of aid and personnel to combat Ebola in west Africa. Chan said today, “The thing we need most of all is people: health care workers.”"

Cuba to commit large health corps to Ebola fight  9/12/2014 Science AAAS: "It is the biggest contribution of health care staff by any single country so far to help control the epidemic, noted WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. “This will make a significant difference in Sierra Leone,” Chan said."

Statement on President Obama Renewing Half-Century-Old Embargo on Cuba  9/5/2014 #CubaNow: “Contrary to the President’s directive characterizing this extension as being ‘in the national interest of the United States,’ it has been clear for some time that the U.S. embargo, as codified under the Helms-Burton Act, is anything but. It continues to limit America’s full diplomatic arsenal in responding to developments in Cuba while working against our strategic interests in the rest of the hemisphere. America’s head-in-the-sand approach has created an opening for countries like China and Russia to increase their foothold in this small country just 90 miles off our shores. Short of accomplishing any of its stated objectives, this policy continues to provide the Castro government with its favorite propaganda tool to justify its mismanagement of the country's economy and its violations of human rights. Instead of helping the Cuban people move forward toward a more open and democratic society, it makes it harder for everyday Americans to support them, and has severely hindered our diplomatic efforts to pressure the Cuban regime to release Alan Gross."

FBI: Cuban Intelligence Aggressively Recruiting Leftist American Academics as Spies, Influence Agents  9/5/2014 Free Beacon: "Others are offered lucrative business deals in Cuba in a future post-U.S. embargo environment, and are treated to extravagant, all-expense paid visits to the island." [Sure ;)]

Liberals talk Cuba  9/4/2014 Quotha: "The second panel, on Cuba, predictably began about 10 minutes late, because that's how long it took for all the people to get out of the room and come back in. Ted Piccone from Brookings was the moderator. He gave some opening remarks (I hope this will all be online on video later as a corrective to my transcribed scribbles) asking "Why is Cuba the first panel?" in a conference on US-Latin American relations. Cuba's economy is a small part of the story, he answered, but politically it's bigger. The upcoming Summit of the Americas brings to the fore the tensions—he noted. Also, Calderón's slides said something about Cuba's state of democracy and rule of law (presumably both bad). Piccone began by asking Juan Triana, an economist from the University of Havana, how the reforms were going. Triana responded by saying they have only been in place for 2 1/2 years, and now there are a half million people with private property in Cuba, but it hasn't really made a positive difference. "Se necesita una visión de país," he said, "del socialismo sostenible." (this was subsequently indirectly mocked by almost all present)"

Cuban Intelligence Targeting of Academia  9/2/2014 FBI: "The many individuals, including academics, businesspeople, religious leaders, political leaders, journalists, and students, who are exposed to Cuban officials or are invited to Cuba to participate in events, conferences, and tourism can be presented a crafted image of Cuba that may ultimately be disseminated to the United States by the visitors. Many of these visitors may even be passing on this positive image of Cuba unwittingly based on their one visit. At the same time, recruited Cuban agents will also actively propagate disinformation developed by the Government of Cuba and the CuIS. For instance, the CuIS have also been known to use agents, possibly academics or journalists, to write books or articles that present the GOC in a favorable light."

Gail Reed: Where to train the world's doctors? Cuba. | Talk Video  9/1/2014 Ted: "Big problems need big solutions, sparked by big ideas, imagination and audacity. In this talk, journalist Gail Reed profiles one big solution worth noting: Havana’s Latin American Medical School, which trains global physicians to serve the local communities that need them most."

Cuba's Women Entrepreneurs Are On The Rise  8/29/2014 #CubaNow: "Cuba’s private entrepreneurs, or “cuentapropistas”, are focused on solving everyday problems. An impressive 29% of small businesses in the Island are run or operated by women who are transforming their own lives and their local communities. When compared to the 37% of businesses run by women worldwide, this emerging sector shows how entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly important part of the Cuban reality today--one President Obama and Congress should allow all Americans to support."

Statement on News That Sen. Rubio and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Sent Senior Staff to Communist China  8/29/2014 #CubaNow: “If there was any doubt that there has been a huge shift in the political landscape in South Florida, this trip clearly puts an end to it. America’s foreign policy should not be driven by a head-in-the-sand approach, and we need our leaders in Washington to directly engage with both allies and enemies alike in order to advance our best interests. Despite their responses to the Tampa Bay Times article, Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen’s senior staff trip to China shows that deep down they recognize the value in people to people travel, even when it involves regimes with whom we don’t agree, to promote better relations. We can’t effect positive change if we continue to bench ourselves and stay on Cuba's sidelines. "We particularly welcome the response from Senator Rubio’s office that travel and engagement is ‘necessary in helping advance our advocacy on a host of foreign policy issues.’"

In Cuba, entrepreneurial spirits sparkle  8/28/2014 USA Today 

A Castro breaks tradition with 'no' vote in Cuba  8/19/2014 AP: "Yet another revolutionary tradition has been broken in Cuba: A lawmaker voted "no" in parliament. And it wasn't just any lawmaker. Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raul Castro and niece of Fidel Castro, gave the thumbs-down to a workers' rights bill that she felt didn't go far enough to prevent discrimination against people with HIV or with unconventional gender identities."

Top Florida Republicans Are Nastier And More Vindictive Than You Thought, Tell-All By Ex-State GOP Chair Says  8/18/2014 Altnernet: "Greer says U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is little better than an extortionist, taking fellow Republicans to strip clubs and taking photos to subsequently bribe them. Is it true? Greer wants us to believe him, and recent Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) actions bolster his claims of skullduggery and high-flying Republicans."

The Latest USAID Plot - Will They Ever Leave Cuba Alone? No.  8/13/2014 CounterPunch: "As part of the preparation of these individuals, USAID informed them: “Although there is never total certainty, trust that the authorities will not try to harm you physically, only frighten you. Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them.” It’s most ironic. The US government could not say as much about most of their allies, who frequently make use of physical abuse. Indeed, the statement could not be made in regard to almost any American police force."

With HIV regime-change ruse in Cuba, another black eye for USAID  8/5/2014 CSM: "“I think they are shooting themselves in the foot,” says Geoff Thale, a program director at the Washington Office on Latin America, referring to USAID. The agency runs solid programs focused on health, democracy, and education, he says. “But all of this in Cuba really undercuts that good work.”

5 findings about USAID travelers’ program in Cuba  8/5/2014 WaPo: "The young spies from Costa Rica created an HIV-prevention workshop that they called “the perfect excuse” to recruit political activists, a ruse that could undermine USAID’s credibility in critical health work around the world."

U.S. Government Caught Using Humanitarian HIV Program As Front To Foster Cuban Dissent  8/5/2014 Zero Hedge 

Cuba califica de subversivo plan de EE.UU. de enviar jóvenes a promover cambios políticos en la isla  8/4/2014 BBC: "El grupo #CubaNow -que busca mejorar las relacciones entre Estados Unidos y La Habana- rechazó el programa por estar "plagado de incompetencia y riesgo". "El gobierno de EE.UU. continuó impulsando programas mal concebidos como el revelado este lunes y como ZunZuneo, que sólo reproducen la desconfianza en lo que de otro modo deberían ser iniciativas bien acogidas como la prevención y el acceso a las herramientas de comunicaciones sobre el VIH", dijo su director ejecutivo, Ric Herrero."

Obama Administration Program Secretly Sent Young Latin Americans To Cuba To Gin Up Rebellion  8/4/2014 CBS: "Beginning as early as October 2009, a project overseen by the U.S. Agency for International Development sent Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian young people to Cuba in hopes of ginning up rebellion. The travelers worked undercover, often posing as tourists, and traveled around the island scouting for people they could turn into political activists. In one case, the workers formed an HIV-prevention workshop that memos called “the perfect excuse” for the program’s political goals — a gambit that could undermine America’s efforts to improve health globally."

US Defends Covert Cuba Programs  8/4/2014 Havana Times: “Congress has funded pro-democracy programs in Cuba to enhance access of Cubans to more information and the strengthening of civil society,” said agency spokesperson Matt Herrick in a statement issued. He said that all programs conducted by USAID in Cuba are publicly available on the web “This work is not secret, it is not hidden and is not illegal,” said the spokesman, after the Associated Press revealed a program of the Obama administration starting in 2009 to send Latin American youth to Cuba to provoke political change using as a cover there participation in health and civic programs."

Rabbis urge U.S. action to free American jailed in Cuba  8/4/2014 Reuters 

Institutional Changes of Cuba’s Economic Social Reforms  8/1/2014 Brookings: "Overall, Mesa-Lago concludes that institutional reforms in Cuba are advancing in a positive direction, albeit slowly. The most important of these so far has been the establishment of microcredit, bank accounts and wholesale markets for the non-state sector, and the sale of homes and establishment of inheritance rights for usufructuaries and home owners. However, key structural changes and components are still missing: integral price reform, elimination of monetary duality, a realistic exchange rate and bank system restructuring."

Che Guevara’s daughter urges peoples of Russia, Cuba to unite for struggle  7/30/2014 Itar Tass: "Aleida Guevara meetings with Latin American diplomats, Cuban students, teachers of the Latin America University, and representatives of Russian public associations."

Llama Aleida Guevara en Rusia a unidad por objetivos comunes  7/30/2014 PL: "Aleida Guevara, hija del Guerrillero Heroico, llamó hoy aquí a la unidad de los pueblos por objetivos comunes y para enfrentar las amenazas que representan los intentos de Estados Unidos por el dominio mundial."

Can Cuba save Russia from US missiles?  7/23/2014 Pravda: ""Let's go back to Latin America. Is Putin's visit justified?" "Of course, this military-technical cooperation is extremely important, such as the restoration of the army base in Lourdes. Restoring the old system, in my opinion, makes no sense. We spend enormous amounts of money on creating, maintaining, establishing strategic nuclear weapons. This is one of the important factors that affect safety. What is now happening in Ukraine and the fact that the Americans want to build the missile defense system as close as possible to the Russian border means that they have failed to create a long-range system. The speed of a ballistic missile is high enough to be intercepted. The U.S. has successfully tested several medium-range systems. If interceptor missiles, for example, are located in Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, then they will be able to neutralize Russian nuclear forces. We invest in maintaining our nuclear shield, because this is a guarantee of our security. But we are vulnerable, and we need to obtain more information on the American region - we need to collect data. If the situation develops negatively, but several Latin American countries remain our allies, then it would be possible to deploy elements of the Russian missile defense system there. But I hope that economic cooperation will be the driving force."

Documental: "ANÉCDOTAS DE ANGOLA" de la Periodista Magalys Rodríguez Varona.  7/20/2014 YouTube: "Personalidades y combatientes cubanos que participaron en la lucha por la independencia de Angola narran algunos sucesos de la vida en campaña y experiencias inolvidables de la etapa en que cubanos y angolanos luchaban contra sudafricanos y zairotas por la independencia de Angola. Entre los entrevistados destacan Jorge Risquet Valdés miembro del Comité Central del Partido Comunista de Cuba y el excelentísimo señor José César Augusto "Kiluanji" embajador de Angola en Cuba. Es un documental realizado por Magalys Rodríguez Varona, Periodista del Sistema Informativo de la Televisión Cubana, con la colaboración de la embajada de Angola en Cuba. email:"

Social media program in Cuba under investigation  7/18/2014 AP 

Resoluciones de la Aduana - Las medidas no quieren decir que las personas no puedan importar  7/18/2014 Granma: "Incomprensivas; alejadas de la realidad cubana; injustas, porque abarcan a infractores y a quienes no lo son; demasiado administrativas, por lo cual favorecerían al germen de la corrupción; incluso no acordes con algunas de las medidas implementadas en la actualización del modelo económico, como por ejemplo, el desarrollo de los trabajadores por cuenta propia."

"Maximum Mike" brings down the hammer  7/17/2014 Along the Malecon: "A Florida judge today slapped William Potts with 20 years in prison for hijacking a plane to Cuba in 1984. Potts had asked the court for leniency, saying he already spent 13 1/2 years in prison in Cuba for the hijacking. Prosecutors requested 20 years, but recommended Potts be allowed to go free in as little as seven years given his Cuba jail time. The Miami Herald reported that U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore heard "an emotional plea for mercy from Potts" and then "sided with the prosecution’s recommended sentence, which would allow Potts to seek parole in about seven years." Potts left Cuba and returned to Florida to face justice in November. He said he wanted to spend time with two daughters now living in Georgia."

Inspector probing US 'Cuban Twitter' plan  7/17/2014 AP: "The Obama administration has said ZunZuneo was not covert but "discreet," and that it served an important, non-political purpose by helping information flow more freely to Cubans. But the AP found instances in which organizers drafted or sent politically charged messages, which the State Department said would be "troubling" if confirmed."

Cuba hails Russia's economic support  7/13/2014 Zambia Post: "Receiving his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for official talks at the Palace of the Revolution on Friday evening, President Castro said before Cuba ended up contracting the now cancelled US$35.2 billion debt, the communist island nation survived on financial support from the Soviet Union. He said the US$35.2 billion debt was an accumulation of loans from Moscow during the first 40 years after the triumph of the Revolution "without which the Cuban Revolution could not have survived."

Putin hails Cuba's "strategic" importance for Russia  7/12/2014 EFE: "Castro and Putin also presided over the signing of a package of 10 agreements and memoranda to expand bilateral cooperation, including accords on oil exploration signed by Russian state oil company Rosneft and Cuban counterpart Cupet. Putin later traveled Friday to Nicaragua for a previously unannounced visit, meeting in that Central American country with President Daniel Ortega."

Russia: Hoping Cuba Can Help Spur Trade with Latin America  7/10/2014 EurasiaNet 

Cuba Develops Four Cancer Vaccines, Ignored by the Media  7/7/2014 Tony Seed: "Last but not least, it is important to note that the US economic blockade of Cuba hinders the marketing of Cuban pharmaceuticals in the United States, thus affecting the US people. For instance, a total of 80 thousand diabetic people who undergo toe amputation every year in the United States every year cannot access the Cuban vaccine known as Heberprot-P, which precisely avoids such amputations."

Nigeria, Jamaica set for direct air link - FG  7/6/2014 Nigerian Tribune: "NIGERIA and the Caribbean island of Jamaica are to finalise Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) in order to establish direct flights between Lagos/Abuja and Kingston, Jamaica within the the shortest possible time. The Minister of State (1) for Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri, who disclosed this to the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja, said the agreement will be finalised at the forthcoming third session of the Nigeria-Jamaica Joint Commission. She explained that in view of the almost zero trade and investment statistics existing between the two countries, it is believed that a direct flight from Nigeria to Jamaica will connect the Caribbean region to Africa and unbundle the existing opportunities at both sides."

The new realities of running a business in Cuba  7/2/2014 CSM: "“The Cuban government is afraid of losing subsidies from Venezuela and they are … turning to cooperatives to help fill the gap the state can’t provide,” says Christopher Sabatini, the senior director of policy at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas. “Decentralizing the economy will allow the government to earn money from taxes [from cooperatives], inject productivity into the lumbering, inefficient government, and sop up some of the thousands of employees that were recently let go by the state,” Mr. Sabatini says."

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