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Cuba in the News
Archive: 1/08-3/08

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke on Cuba  3/31/2008 AfroCubaWeb: "Removing the embargo on Cuba would provide and new and valuable market to United States businesses and farmers. I also believe it is in our country’s best interest to promote greater diplomatic ties with Cuba. And Americans, as free citizens, should be able to travel freely, including to Cuba. As such, I cosponsored H.R. 624, the Free Trade with Cuba Act, which would end the trade embargo with Cuba. It is my hope that with the new leadership in Cuba, Congress will address the Cuban embargo issue and usher in a new era in U.S.-Cuba relations."

A 'Splendid' War’s Shameful Side - The finale of the Spanish-American war, rooted in misunderstanding and racism, still reverberates.  3/31/2008 Newsweek: "Thanks to Cuban insurgents, the Americans landed unopposed in Cuba and Spanish relief columns were pinned down and kept from the fight. But the Americans gave the Cubans little credit for the ultimate victory against the Spaniards. Incredibly, the American commanders barred the rebel army from attending the Spanish surrender ceremony in Santiago. Ostensibly the reason was to safeguard against reprisals, but the greater motivation, revealed by letters and diaries of the time, appears to have been the disdain with which the Americans regarded the Cubans as a mongrel army. The Spaniards (an all-white force) wanted to preserve their honor by surrendering to the Americans in Santiago. In the end most of the Spanish soldiers scattered elsewhere around Cuba, where there were no American forces, surrendered to the Cuban rebels without suffering recrimination. The vanquished Spanish soldiers were allowed to keep their arms and embark for Spain. But the Americans disbanded and disarmed the victorious Cuban army. America refused to end its occupation of Cuba until 1902, not until the American commanders were satisfied that the Cubans were sufficiently "civilized" for self-rule. (But the republic's constitution allowed Washington to send in American troops at any time.) Black officers and leaders were purged as uneducated and uncultured. Slavery had been abolished only in 1886, and blacks had not attained the social standing of whites, despite the egalitarian philosophy of rebel heroes like José Martí, who preached that there was no such thing as race, only humanity. Eager to appease the Americans (and get them out of the country), many Cubans became embarrassed and confused and lost sight of their own progressive principles. Before long, the Cuban leaders were guilty of their own racial prejudice, violently suppressing a political party formed by discarded and disenfranchised black veterans in 1908."

Commentary: Afro-Cubans could influence an anti-Bush vote in Fla.  3/30/2008 Black America News: by Tonyaa Weathersbee, published 10/04, still topical

CUBAN DEMOCRACY GRANTS - U.S. shifting funds away from Miami anti-Castro groups  3/30/2008 Miami Herald: "The funds are to be awarded via competitive bids and officials are urging Eastern European and Latin American groups to apply. The administration is especially eager for proposals that would provide communications technologies to activists in Cuba. Officials say Internet access, YouTube videos and cellphone text messages propelled movements to challenge governments in places like Tibet and Burma. Access to these technologies is restricted by the communist government, although on Friday, Havana announced cellphones would be made more widely available. Earlier, the government has also said computers would be sold to all Cubans. ''We are not . . . excluding anybody from the process,'' said José Cárdenas, the deputy assistant administrator for South America and Cuba at USAID, ``but with the tremendously escalated resources, definitely we want new participants in the program. ''We would love to see more former East European bloc groups and individuals,'' he added, ``and we would love to see more private interest and activity from Latin America.'' Until now, the bulk of the grants have been funnelled through Miami groups. Critics said the programs placated Cuban-American groups but did little to bring democracy to Cuba. Havana routinely calls Cuban recipients of U.S. aid programs ``mercenaries of the empire.''

Cuba lifts curbs on mobile phones  3/28/2008 BBC: "Cuba's rate of cell phone usage remains among the lowest in Latin America. Now Cubans will be able to subscribe to pre-paid mobile services under their own names, instead of going through foreigners or in some cases their work places. However, the new service must be paid for in foreign currency, which will restrict access to wealthier Cubans."

Small African Encyclopaedia - From the African presence in Cuba  3/28/2008 MINREX: published April, 2007.

Happy Birthday Assata Campaign  3/28/2008 Scheme: "On November 2 2006, Mos Def, Sonia Sanchez and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement helped to kick off the Happy Birthday Assata Campaign, a national mobilization effort to commemorate the revolutionary icon’s 60th birthday. Well over one hundred supporters gathered at SEIU 1199 in midtown Manhattan to rally support for Assata and for the many political prisoners detained throughout the United States and abroad."

Cuban govt to help [Niger] Delta on malaria  3/28/2008 Vanguard, Nigeria: "The Cuba goverment has promised to assist the Delta State Government in the fight to eradicate the dreaded malaria fever by supporting the massive plantation of a special plant that kills mosquito anywhere it is planted. The Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Elio Savon, made this promise, Wednesday, in Warri during the occasion of the country first official visit to Delta State to seek ways of partnering with the DESOPADEC in its effort to bring smiles to the face of the long suffering oil bearing communities."

Letter from Assata on her 60th Birthday Celebration  3/27/2008 HOA: "I am 60 years old and I am proud to be one of those people who stood up against the ruthless, evil, imperialist policies of the U.S. government. In my lifetime I have opposed the war against the Vietnamese people, the illegal contras – war in Nicaragua, the illegal coup in Chile, the invasion of Haiti and of Granada, and every other illegal, immoral and genocidal war the U.S. government has ever waged. I have never been a criminal and I never will be one. I am 60 years old and in spite of government repression, in spite of the media’s lies and distortions, in spite of the U.S, government’s COINTELPRO Program to criminalize and demonize political opponents, I feel proud to count myself as someone who believes in peace and believes in freedom. I am proud to have been a member of the Black Panther Party although the U.S. government continues try to distort history and continues to persecute ex-members of the Black Panther Party. Just recently, the U.S. government has indicted and arrested 8 ex-Black Panthers in a case that was dismissed 30 years ago. The case was dismissed some 30 years ago when it became obvious that the most vicious forms of extreme torture were used to extract false confessions from some of the so-called defendants."

Lest We Forget: An open letter to my sisters who are brave.  3/27/2008 The Root: Alice Walker on Obama - "True to my inner Goddess of the Three Directions however, this does not mean I agree with everything Obama stands for. We differ on important points probably because I am older than he is, I am a woman and person of three colors, (African, Native American, European), I was born and raised in the American South, and when I look at the earth's people, after sixty-four years of life, there is not one person I wish to see suffer, no matter what they have done to me or to anyone else; though I understand quite well the place of suffering, often, in human growth. I want a grown-up attitude toward Cuba, for instance, a country and a people I love; I want an end to the embargo that has harmed my friends and their children, children who, when I visit Cuba, trustingly turn their faces up for me to kiss."

Assata Shakur  3/26/2008 Gazette, Langston University: "On Common's "Like Water for Chocolate" album, released in 2000, there is a song titled "A Song for Assata," which shines light on Shakur's life. There are also many videos available on that depicts this strong, yet unheard of woman whose resilience led to her freedom."

Cuban Authorities Blocked Access to Top Blog  3/25/2008 Devicepedia 

Espionage to proceed under Raul Castro, sources say  3/25/2008 Washington Times: "Juan Manuel Reyes-Alonso, a former Cuban intelligence officer living in the U.S., said that during the latter years of Fidel Castro’s presidency, Cuba would place at least one intelligence officer at its Washington and U.N. missions. Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a Latin-America-focused think tank in Washington, denounced the notion, saying Cuba’s diplomatic personnel don’t go “spooking around” on behalf of Cuban intelligence."

Peter F. Paul  3/24/2008 Wikipedia: "Peter Paul was a lawyer in Miami, Florida, representing foreign governments and political leaders in South America and the Caribbean.[citation needed] He also served as President of the Miami World Trade Center[3] and was the original owner and operator of the largest[citation needed] Foreign Trade Zone in the U.S., Miami Free Zone Inc.[2] As a result of what Paul described as anti-Communist and anti-Castro political activities,[4] he directed a fraud on the Cuban government of $8.75 million dollars by selling agents of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro nonexistent coffee. The plan apparently also involved sinking the ship that was to deliver the nonexistent coffee to hide the fraud from Castro and, according to TIME Magazine, to defraud its insurer, but the ship was abandoned in Costa Rica and never sunk.[2][5] Paul pled guilty to federal conspiracy charges. When his home was raided by the police in connection with this crime, they found cocaine in his garage, and Paul also pled guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to distribute.[2] … Paul emerged in 2000 as the largest contributor to Senatorial candidate Hillary Clinton. Paul and his attorneys have at various times offered two explanations for this. First, that he was trying to attract her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, to serve on the board of Stan Lee Media after leaving office. Second, that he hoped to negotiate a pardon for his previous criminal convictions.[29][30] Paul produced and underwrote what he described as the largest fund raising event ever held for a federal candidate [31], in Los Angeles, days before the 2000 Democratic Convention began."

Afro-Cubans keep close watch on island politics  3/23/2008 LA WAVE: WAVE is a Black paper in Southern California with a circulation of 9.5 million - "On the face of it, Alberto Nelson Jones shouldn’t be one of Fidel Castro biggest fans."

Cuba : Transitions without End  3/21/2008 Global Research 

Letters to Granma new form of expression in Cuba  3/21/2008 Reuters 

Cuba, Venezuela Rap US in Terrorism Case  3/19/2008 AP: "Cuban Ambassador Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz called the 80-year-old Posada, a militant opponent of Fidel Castro's communist regime, "the most notorious terrorist of the Western hemisphere." He said there is sufficient evidence linking Posada to "some of the most infamous crimes of the 20th century" including the bombing of the Cubana de Aviacion jet over Barbados that killed 73 people, the Iran-Contra scandal and the bombings of Havana hotels in 1997. Deputy Venezuelan Ambassador Aura Rodriguez de Ortiz accused the United States of ignoring a request made nearly three years ago for Posada's extradition, calling him "a known international criminal and terrorist and fugitive of Venezuelan justice." The United States, she said, is bound not only by the 1922 U.S.-Venezuelan extradition treaty but by international treaties on terrorist bombings and the safety of civil aviation "to extradite or submit his case for prosecution without any exception."

Cuba and Iran slam U.S. in U.N. terrorism debate  3/19/2008 Reuters 

Cuba lifts ban on farmers buying supplies  3/17/2008 Reuters: "Communist Cuba has lifted a ban on some farmers buying supplies in the latest sign that new President Raul Castro is looking to individual initiative to stimulate food production. Agricultural sources told Reuters on Monday that Cuba will soon open stores for farmers to buy tools, herbicides, boots and other supplies for the first time since the state took over all the country's shops in the 1960s. "It's like a birthday party around here. All the members of the cooperative are very happy," the wife of a dairy farmer said in a telephone interview."

Viejo periodismo  3/16/2008 Juventud Rebelde: "Fue así que se enteró del contenido de un informe del jefe de la Secreta al ministro de Gobernación en el que daba cuenta de que el millonario periodista Antonio San Miguel, el norteamericano Frank Steinhart, propietario de la empresa de los tranvías habaneros, y Juan Gualberto Gómez estaban detrás de la insurrección de los Independientes de Color, capitaneada por Estenoz e Ivonet, y habían financiado el alzamiento."

Can Afro Cuba Survive After Fidel?  3/15/2008 Amsterdam News: published 12/05 - "Black Cubans continue to lag behind white Cubans,” notes the journalist and activist, Willie Mack Thompson. “Pres. Castro has spoken to this … but this is especially frightening in an anticipated leadership transition. “My concern is that if Black Cubans enter into this transition with less resources and income – less status – they will not be able to compete and will thus be relegated to their pre-Revolutionary status. It will be a class struggle based on status.”

Cuba lifts ban on computer and DVD player sales  3/13/2008 Reuters: "Communist Cuba has authorized the unrestricted sale of computers and DVD and video players in the first sign that its new president, Raul Castro, is moving to improve Cubans' access to consumer goods." [While the Internet remains scarce due to controls and the size of pipes, an alternate distribution mechanism is forming via thumb drives and other means.]


Afro Cubans and Race  3/8/2008 Democracy Now: published 4/00 - "Democracy Now! producer Maria Carrion recently spent time in Cuba and recorded a series of conversation by Afro-Cubans on race and racism."

Getting Smart About Cuba  3/8/2008 Foreign Policy in Focus: "Beyond the blood ties, there is a more subtle and significant architecture that supports the status quo. It’s a taxpayer-funded “embargo industry” that employs hundreds, if not thousands, whose livelihoods depend on Cuba remaining, well - Cuba. It began during the Reagan years with appropriations for Radio and TV Marti that today top $500 million to beam U.S. propaganda into Cuba. In the case of TV Marti, even $225 million can’t buy Cuban viewers since the Cuban government jams the signal. But a half a billion bucks does buy jobs, contracts and political loyalties. Almost simultaneously, hardliners helped create the National Endowment for Democracy. One of the agency’s first grants went to the powerful Cuban American National Foundation - a group that delivered the first Cuban-Americans to Congress. Since 2000, NED has provided at least $4.9 million to Cuba related pro-democracy programs. The windfall from these first programs emboldened the hardliners to write more legislation funding more work for Cuba democracy-builders, that is - embargo supporters - in Miami and worldwide. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grants to “support political transition in Cuba” totaling more than $40 million have gone primarily to Miami-based groups since they were first doled out in 1996."

Cyber-Rebels in Cuba Defy State’s Limits  3/6/2008 NYT: "A growing underground network of young people armed with computer memory sticks, digital cameras and clandestine Internet hookups has been mounting some challenges to the Cuban government in recent months, spreading news that the official state media try to suppress."

Back to the Past in Cuba  3/4/2008 Lew Rockwell: "French intelligence sources tell me there is a growing risk of major street violence by poor blacks, who make up 60% of the population and live in slums ringing Havana. Army units have been deployed around the capitol." [The 60% is a reasonable figure, much more so than the dubious 2002 census.]

A Wave of the Watch List, and Speech Disappears  3/4/2008 NYT: "The sites, in English, French and Spanish, had been online since 1998. Some, like, were literary. Others, like, discussed Cuban history and culture. Still others — and — were purely commercial sites aimed at Italian and French tourists. “I came to work in the morning, and we had no reservations at all,” Mr. Marshall said on the phone from the Canary Islands. “We thought it was a technical problem.” It turned out, though, that Mr. Marshall’s Web sites had been put on a Treasury Department blacklist and, as a consequence, his American domain name registrar, eNom Inc., had disabled them. Mr. Marshall said eNom told him it did so after a call from the Treasury Department; the company, based in Bellevue, Wash., says it learned that the sites were on the blacklist through a blog. Either way, there is no dispute that eNom shut down Mr. Marshall’s sites without notifying him and has refused to release the domain names to him. In effect, Mr. Marshall said, eNom has taken his property and interfered with his business. He has slowly rebuilt his Web business over the last several months, and now many of the same sites operate with the suffix .net rather than .com, through a European registrar. His servers, he said, have been in the Bahamas all along. Mr. Marshall said he did not understand “how Web sites owned by a British national operating via a Spanish travel agency can be affected by U.S. law.” Worse, he said, “these days not even a judge is required for the U.S. government to censor online materials.”"

Raúl Castro, Team Work and the Search for the Spirit of Capablanca - Cuba After Fidel - By Nelson P. Valdez  3/1/2008 Counterpunch: "José Ramón Machado Ventura, Carlos Lage and others will have a lot of work before them. All the talk about hardliners setting the tone of the new Raúl Castro administration is too simple and naive. In fact, the revolutionary regime confronts a variety of problems to address and as everyone in the leading positions acknowledges, it will be necessary to have diverse approaches depending on the difficulty to be solved and its complexity Raúl Castro has made clear, in numerous speeches, that his administration intends and will insist on airing differences and arriving at consensual decisions. That is neither the mentality nor approach of a phalanx of troglodytes. There is a collegial system in place. It will be further elaborated and institutionalized. The question, in the final analysis, is not what role each person plays, but in what direction the Cuban revolutionary state moves. Such tasks will not depend on just a few individuals but in their interconnections and effectiveness."

Cuba: Open-Armed Policy by Cindy Sheehan  3/1/2008 Global Research 

Vatican: Cuba would swap dissidents for 5 U.S.-held spies  3/1/2008 McClatchy: "New Cuban leader Raul Castro would consider exchanging dissidents held in Cuban jails for five Cuban intelligence agents imprisoned in the United States as spies, a top Vatican official said in an interview."

‘We haven’t heard the last of Fidel’  3/1/2008 SF Bay View: Willie Thompson reports on Fidel, Rev Lucius Walker

Venezuelan activist lectures on social issues  2/29/2008 Daily Collegian: ""I'm not Chavista, I'm not Bolivarian, I'm a revolutionary," Garcia said. According to Garcia, this social movement evolves around racial and economic inequality in Venezuela. "The problem of racism [in Venezuela] is that is under the veil of racial mixture," Garcia said. Education, according to Garcia, is the solution to the country's problems. That is why the Afro-Venezuelan movement has made it a priority to implement more African elements in the school curriculum. "We went to the ministry of education to demand our participation," Garcia said. These demands were discussed with Cuban instructors that came to Venezuela to implement a new school agenda. Garcia admitted that the Cuban instructors had strategies, methods and objectives that should be included in the Venezuelan school system. However, when the question about the content that should be taught came up, disagreements arose. "The Cubans thought the issue of racism should not be included," Garcia said. After a month and a half of deliberations, Garcia said that they had won their petition. Garcia expressed that the Afro-Venezuelan contributions needs to be included because, "[Professors] are the first reproducers of racism," according to Garcia. According to Garcia, one of the mistakes made during the Cuban revolution was ignoring of the racism issue."

Cuba: Vatican envoy says Raul Castro has promised more press freedom  2/27/2008 AKI, Italy 

Cuban-Americans press Bush administration to indict Fidel Castro  2/27/2008 McClatchy: "In a case that puts the Bush administration in a legal dilemma, Cuban-American groups demanded Tuesday that the Justice Department indict Fidel Castro — who no longer enjoys immunity as head of state — for the 1996 downing of two airplanes over international waters."

Raúl Castro Hints at Change, but Cuba Remains Wary  2/27/2008 NYT: "Mr. Castro, who is 76 years old, is hardly a fresh face to Cubans, having served as the defense minister for the past half century. Many people doubt that he intends to upend his brother’s legacy. Yet he does seem inclined to govern more pragmatically than his more doctrinaire and romantic brother, who ran this country for 49 years as if it were his own business, signing off on almost every government decision. Raúl Castro has said the government needs to shrink and become more compact. He has promised “structural changes” and “big decisions.” “We have to make our government’s management more efficient,” he said Sunday, adding, “We have to plan well, and we cannot spend more than we have.”"

Seize moment in Cuba to change U.S. policy  2/27/2008 Oakland Tribune: by Congresswoman Barbara Lee - "On a visit to Cuba in January 2000 with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, I reached out to Cuba's government to create a program to provide free scholarships for American students to attend the Latin American Medical School in Cuba in exchange for a commitment by the students to work in medically-underserved communities in the U.S. We achieved this without spending a single dime of our tax dollars. Today over 100 students are enrolled at the medical school in Cuba. The success and growth of this scholarship program will also have a tremendous impact on the perceptions of countless Cuban people who will receive free medical care at the hands of American medical students and these students will share their understanding of the Cuban people when they return to fulfill their commitment here at home."

Washington v. Cuba After Castro  2/25/2008 Global Research 

New Cuban leader adds military loyalists to his team  2/25/2008 McClatchy: "Cuba's new leader has placed two top army generals in key positions in his new government, giving the armed forces an even bigger grip on the civilian power structure. The country's National Assembly also filled the government's No. 2 position — first vice president of the ruling Council of State — with 77-year-old José Ramón Machado Ventura, regarded as a very hard-line communist ideologue. Retired CIA Cuba analyst Brian Latell said Sunday's changes in the Council of State — no doubt orchestrated by Raul Castro — resemble the Soviet Union in the early 1980s, when ``old men were replacing very old men.'' ''This is a gerontocracy,'' Latell added, noting that Castro's inner circle is now dominated by people well into their 70s. Only 56-year-old Carlos Lage, who has been supervising the economy, represents a younger generation in the upper echelon of power."

Serious legal questions loom for Posada  2/25/2008 Miami Herald: "Luis Posada Carriles, the anti-Castro Cuban militant, celebrated his 80th birthday this month at an undisclosed location in Miami, but many serious legal and political questions about his alleged crimes as a younger man still loom as large as ever. In New Jersey, Posada is the ''target'' of a federal grand jury investigation into the series of 1997 tourist-site bombings in Havana, his attorney Arturo Hernandez confirmed to The Miami Herald. Posada has long denied any involvement in the bombings. In Washington, Posada's alleged role in the bombing of a 1976 Cuban airliner that killed 73 people is being revisited by a Democratic lawmaker from Massachusetts who plans to hold congressional hearings on the matter in the spring. And Posada's immigration status remains an issue with the Justice Deparment, which is pressing its appeal of a Texas judge's decision to dismiss an indictment that charged the Cuban with lying about his 2005 entry into the United States."

The U.S. Should Consider Talking to Raul Castro, Sen. Biden Says  2/24/2008 ABC News: "ABC News' Mary Bruce Reports: Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., said this morning that the U.S. should consider opening relations with Cuba. When asked in an exclusive "This Week" interview if the U.S. should consider talking to Raul Castro, Biden explained "yes, probably. The end of the Castro era is in we should be preparing what that transition is going to look like." Fidel Castro's brother Raul is poised to take over as the head of the Cuban government today. "We should be taking independent moves now, from establishing mail service to allowing more frequent family members, et cetera, but not lifting the embargo until there is a response to political prisoners, all the things that are wrong with this Castro administration," Biden said."

When the Terrorists Were 'Our Guys'  2/22/2008 Consortium News: "Recently obtained internal FBI records and notes of a U.S. prosecutor involved in counter-terrorism cases make clear that the connections among Bush’s CIA, DINA and the Cuban Nationalist Movement (CNM) – which supplied the trigger men for the Letelier bombing – were closer than was understood at the time. DINA provided intelligence training for CNM terrorists who acted like a “sleeper cell” inside the United States; federal prosecutions of right-wing Cuban terrorists were routinely frustrated; and the CIA did all it could to cover for its anticommunist allies who were part of a broader international terror campaign called Operation Condor. Beginning in late 1975, Operation Condor -- named after Chile's national bird -- was a joint operation of right-wing South American military dictatorships, working closely with U.S.-based Cuban and other anticommunist extremists on cross-border assassinations of political dissidents as far away as Europe."

Republican McCain hopes Castro to 'meet Marx soon'  2/22/2008 Reuters 

Clinton: Obama 'change you can Xerox'  2/21/2008 AP: "They disagreed on the proper response to a change in government in Cuba in the wake of Fidel Castro's resignation. Clinton said she would refuse to sit down with incoming President Raul Castro until he implements political and economic reforms. Obama said he would meet "without preconditions," but added the U.S. agenda for such a session would include human rights in the Communist island nation."

US Awaits Its Own Transition to Review Cuba Policy  2/20/2008 AntiWar: "Despite Tuesday's historic announcement by President Fidel Castro that he is retiring from public office, U.S. citizens must await the departure of their own sitting president 11 months from now before Washington's nearly 50-year hostility toward the Caribbean island is likely to be reviewed. Even then, change is not guaranteed. That was the consensus of all Cuba analysts in Washington who rated the chances of any conciliatory gesture by the U.S. toward any new Cuban leader – and particularly one headed by Castro's brother Raul – while George W. Bush remains in office as virtually nil."

Four possible successors to Fidel Castro  2/20/2008 LA Times: Raoul Castro, Carlos Lage, Ricardo Alarcon, or Felipe Perez Roque.

Castro Circle Likely to Hold Power After His Resignation  2/20/2008 NYT: "Raúl Castro has talked about bringing more accountability to government and possibly working to improve relations with the United States. But since taking over temporarily in the summer of 2006, he has largely operated in his brother’s shadow, and, except for facilitating huge investments by Canadian and European resort developers here, he has brought about little change."

Dems: Be ready to respond to Cuba  2/19/2008 AP: "Current policy sets specific benchmarks that Cuba must meet, but Democratic Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. should think about responding if Cuba's new regime indicates even a willingness to change. Castro's brother Raul, who is likely to assume control on Sunday, has raised expectations for modest reforms since he took over as acting president last year. Obama went the furthest, saying: "If the Cuban leadership begins opening Cuba to meaningful democratic change, the United States must be prepared to begin taking steps to normalize relations and to ease the embargo of the last five decades," he said in a statement."

The Moment Has Come By FIDEL CASTRO  2/19/2008 Counterpunch 

Castro: Made in America  2/19/2008 Guardian: "Guevara recounted how CIA operatives had taken advantage of Guatemala's political openness to bribe newspaper editors, encourage opposition groups and build influence within the armed forces. That led Guevara to a transcendent conclusion. It was not possible, he told Castro, to impose a reformist political programme in any Latin American country within the framework of democracy, because the US would crush it. The only way to do so, the two men agreed, was to establish a dictatorship in which no opposition groups were allowed to function. After Castro seized power in 1959, with Guevara at his side, this is the course on which he led Cuba. The repressive rule he imposed on Cubans sharply restricted their civic and political freedoms. It also made his long survival possible. The CIA coup in Guatemala was not the only American intervention that shaped Castro's worldview. Like countless Cubans over the span of two generations, his political consciousness was decisively influenced by the legacy of the Spanish-American war of 1898. Cuban revolutionaries welcomed American soldiers who came to help them in that war because the US Congress had promised that after Spanish rule over Cuba was ended, American troops would withdraw and "leave the government and control of the island to its people". Once the Spanish were defeated, however, the US changed its mind and decided to turn Cuba into a protectorate. Cuban patriots never forgot that betrayal."

U.S. Cuba policy could get new look  2/19/2008 USA Today: "But some in Congress, including members of both parties, say the change could represent an opportunity for progress on human rights in Cuba and that changes in U.S. policy and attitude could help bring about such a transition."

Cuba in Transition II  2/16/2008 Stabroek, Guynana: "Last week in Cuba, in a government-sponsored debate that touched mainly on social issues, but which was really very political, given the nature of the Cuban system, the Culture Minister, Abel Prieto, took the lead in voicing criticism of some of the controls imposed by the Communist regime. In calling for change, Mr Prieto went so far as to state his support for gay marriage, in a country notorious for repression of homosexuals."

The Uncertain Future of Cuba  2/14/2008 CubaNet, Miami 

Desafíos de la problemática racial en Cuba  2/13/2008 Jiribilla: "La aparición del libro Desafíos de la problemática racial en Cuba (Fundación Fernando Ortiz, 2007), del economista y politólogo, Esteban Morales Domínguez, constituye de por sí un hecho trascendente dentro del campo de las Ciencias Sociales cubanas de hoy. El retraso de un estudio que, además de la perspectiva histórica, incluyera un análisis de la cuestión de la raza en la Cuba revolucionaria, ha postergado un debate que se ha realizado mayormente fuera de la Isla o hacia el interior de nuestra sociedad civil. Esta aproximación científica contribuye a legitimar la importancia de asumir el tema racial dentro de las agendas investigativas institucionales y dentro del diseño y puesta en práctica de las políticas sociales y culturales en el país."

Fidel Castro's "Life" - La Lucha Continua  2/12/2008 Counterpunch 

Arbour sees 'unprecedented' commitment from Cuba on human rights  2/8/2008 Earth Times: "Cuba is showing "unprecedented positive engagement" with the United Nations in the field of human rights, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said Friday. Speaking at the end of a 4-day visit to Mexico, Arbour told reporters that recent moves by Cuba were significant. She noted that Cuba invited the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Jean Ziegler last year, and that the communist island announced in December that it intends to sign international agreements on civil and political rights and on economic, social and cultural rights."

CIA continues to manage Miami terrorist groups  2/8/2008 Granma: ""The terrorist organizations in Miami intensified their operations against Cuba in the 1990's with attacks from the sea and hotel bombings, one of which killed an Italian tourist in 1997. These terrorist activities were violations of U.S. law, but U.S. law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, did not stop them," Agee said. "Why?" he asked, and then went on to explain, "In my opinion it's because the CIA has never ended its involvement with these terrorist groups. In Miami the Agency has close liaison with the FBI and local police, and all they have to do is ask for hands off these organizations and nothing will be done. For me there is no other explanation for the impunity with which these terrorists have broken U.S. law over so many years and continue to do so," Agee continued, citing the cases of Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles."

Cuban students speak out on the Internet  2/7/2008 UPI: "A video of Cuban students questioning a top government official about the communist island's repressive laws has attracted a wide audience on the Internet. ''I've never seen anything like that before,'' said Phil Peters, a Cuba expert with the Lexington Institute, an Arlington, Va., think-tank, The Miami Herald reported Thursday."

Hawks push to maintain embargo against Cuba  2/6/2008 Final Call: "Right-wing hawks are mobilizing against any possibility that Washington might ease its 46-year-old trade embargo against Cuba. Hawks are particularly concerned that the recent rise in realists’ influence over the Bush administration’s foreign policy might begin to affect U.S. policy toward the Caribbean nation."

Israel trades barbs with Cuba at UN  2/6/2008 Jerusalem Post: "Following a failed attempt by the Non-Aligned Movement to condemn Israel over the situation in the Gaza Strip last week, the Israeli Mission to the United Nations, encouraged by the subtle victory, has continued to stake out the country's right to defend itself in a series of exchanges with the permanent representative of Cuba to the UN."

New book focuses on racial issues in Cuba - Its author, Esteban Morales, scrutinizes the topic of race relations in the island from colonial times to present day.  2/4/2008 Cuba Now: "Economist, political scientist and essayist Esteban Morales Domínguez has repeatedly stated, in several articles and interviews, that lack of cultural knowledge and ignorance, among other factors, have played an important role in helping silencing and omitting racial issues in Cuba, rendering the topic unworthy of public debate. The publication of his book, Challenges posed by racial issues in Cuba, recently launched at Fernando Ortiz Foundation in downtown Havana, has opened one more space to fight back apathy and indifference, thus promoting awareness among those who still consider that the Negro issue does not call for assessments or scrutiny."

Felipe Perez Roque Admits that the Dual Monetary System is Unjust  1/24/2008 CubaNet, Miami: "The Cuban Minister of Foreign Relations, Felipe Pérez Roque, stated in front of some 60 people that the circulation of the two types of currency on the island prevents citizens from acquiring basic necessities. The encounter took place in the neighborhood, El Moro, in the municipality Arroyo Naranjo, with the objective of motivating the locals to exercise a united vote in the elections of January 20th that turned into an event where the Foreign Secretary made his critical statements about the problematic nature of having the dual monetary system in the country. “The dual monetary system is unjust because it makes it so that those who don’t have access to foreign currencies can not afford to buy articles of basic necessity, because the salaries have not risen to meet people’s expenses…and that it causes nutrition and housing problems amongst other things” states Pérez Roque."

US Remains Cuba's Top Food Supplier  1/21/2008 AP: "The United States remained Cuba's main supplier of food and farm products in 2007, selling the communist-run island more than $600 million in agricultural exports despite its trade embargo, a top official said Monday. Cuba imported roughly the same amount of agricultural products as it did in 2006, but rising production and transportation costs forced it to spend $30 million more than the $570 million it paid two years ago for the same goods, said Pedro Alvarez, chairman of Cuba's food import company Alimport."

The Coddled "Terrorists" of South Florida  1/19/2008 Salon: "We have what it takes," Bacallao adds, extending his hands as if he were holding a couple of melons. "Cojones."

Miami: terrorists provoke aggression against pacifists demanding Posada’s arrest  1/14/2008 Granma 

Apparent Calm  1/11/2008 CubaNet 

Renegade CIA agent Agee dies  1/9/2008 Guardian 

Medical School Scholarship Program at the Latin American School of Medical Sciences, Havana, Cuba  1/5/2008 IFCO 


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