Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category
April 19, 2011
Dear Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz:
On the occasion of the successful closing of the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, I am writing to you to express, on behalf of the Central Committee of China’s Communist Party and in my name, my most sincere respect and most cordial greetings.
The 6th Congress of Cuba’s Communist Party, which marked the 50th anniversary of the declaration of the socialist character of the Cuban Revolution, has been a Congress that inherits the past and looks forward to the future. Over the past 50 years, as founder and promoter of the revolution and construction of Cuba, You, without fearing any foreign pressures, have led the Cuban people in the safeguarding of national sovereignty and dignity, in firmly defending the socialist path, and achieving goals in the construction of socialism, which have called the attention of all. For all this, you have not only won the respect and support of the Cuban people, but also the admiration of the nations of the world.
You are an illustrious revolutionary, ideologist, strategist and statesman. Some 51 years ago, in a meeting attended by one million Cubans in Havana’s Revolution Square, you firmly declared the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the People’s Republic of China, which made Cuba the first country in Latin America to have had such relations with China, thus opening a new era for Sino-Cuban and Sino-Latin American links.
You have always been deeply involved in the promotion of Cuba-Chinese friendship; you closely follow the development process of China and have offered us friendly assistance and support, by making important contributions to the permanent unfolding of friendship and cooperation between both parties and nations. Today, we are pleased to state that the Sino-Cuban friendship, which was jointly initiated and enhanced by comrades Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, You and Raul and other leaders, has deeply rooted in the heart of our peoples and has started a new period of comprehensive development.
At present, both China and Cuba are undergoing a crucial development stage. I am convinced that, under the leadership of Comrade Raul Castro Ruz, the revolution and the socialist construction of Cuba will undoubtedly reach new success. I’d like to take this opportunity to reiterate that whatever the changes in the international situation, China’s Party and government will persist in the lasting friendship with Cuba; we will support, as always, the Cuban people in their fair struggle for the safeguarding of national sovereignty and against foreign intervention; we will support Cuba in exploring the path to social and economic development within our reach, and we will boost friendly and cooperation relations between both Parties and countries.
Wishing you much happiness and good health,
General Secretary of the Central Committee of China´s Communist Party
From Monthly Review
The Trial is a Documentary by Rolando Almirante, narrated by Danny Glover and presented by ICAIC and Telesur. You can view the entire documentary below. Also click here for articles by Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada about the Cuban 5.
The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related charges. They were involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba.
“I believe that there is no reason to keep the Cuban Five imprisoned, there were doubts in the U.S. courts and also among human rights organizations in the world. Now, they have been in prison 12 years and I hope that in the near future they will be released to return home” – Jimmy Carter
More information on the Cuban Five is available at FreeTheFive.
America’s ‘backyard’ has never been so united and independent of U.S. influence.
Steve Ellner, In These Times, April 14, 2011
In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama pressed for quick passage of a free trade agreement with Colombia, and since then has followed up on the proposal. In doing so he has delighted Republicans who had been accusing him of failing to prioritize the issue. In his January speech, Obama made no reference to his unequivocal concern over human rights violations which he had raised in his third presidential debate with McCain.
Since 2008, little has improved to justify Obama’s reversal. Human Rights Watch has reported a 41 percent increase in the number of victims in 2010 over the previous year, including the murder of 44 trade unionists. In the first six weeks of 2011, death squads assassinated three more labor activists.
In an attempt to assure members of U.S. Congress that progress is being made, on April 7 Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Obama announced from the White House the approval of an “Action Plan,” whereby the Colombian government pledged to take stringent measures to curb abuses. Many Colombian trade union leaders, however, refused to buy into the arrangement and expressed skepticism about their government’s resolve. Tarsicio Mora, president of the Unitary Workers Confederation (CUT), objected by saying, “It just can’t be that respect for a basic right established in the constitution, such as the right to life, has to be required by a commercial transaction.”
Obama’s new stand has also failed to win over U.S. trade unionists. In January, Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen argued against the agreement by pointing out that 15 million Colombians representing 82 percent of the working population are not recognized as workers and thus under the law “have no rights.”
Obama’s change–from opposition to the free trade agreement with Colombia, to lukewarm endorsement of it, to vigorous support–is just one example of his turnabout on Latin American policy. His modified stand distances Washington from an important bloc of Latin American governments and contributes to the decline of the U.S. leadership position in the hemisphere.
Peter Kornbluh on Acquittal of Alleged Cubana Airline Bomber Luis Posada Carriles
From Democracy Now!
Democracy Now! interviews Peter Kornbluh, the director of the National Security Archive at the George Washington University and the Cuba Documentation Project, about the case of Luis Posada Carriles.
Catch him if you can
A Texas court acquits an alleged right-wing Cuban terrorist
The Economist, April 14, 2011
ONE of the Cuban government’s most legitimate criticisms of the United States involves its handling of Luis Posada Carriles. A Havana-born Venezuelan citizen, Mr Posada helped organise the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. He later worked for the CIA to undermine Fidel Castro and assist Nicaragua’s right-wing Contra guerrillas. In 1976 two of his employees blew up a Cuban aircraft, killing 73 people, including the country’s national fencing team. Over 20 years later he was implicated in bombings of Havana hotels.
Mr Posada has largely evaded punishment for these crimes. He escaped from a Venezuelan prison while awaiting a trial for the aircraft attack, was recaptured and held for eight years without being convicted, and then escaped again.
In 2000 Panama jailed him for plotting to kill Mr Castro during a summit. But Mireya Moscoso, Panama’s president, pardoned him shortly before leaving office in 2004.
A year later Mr Posada sneaked into the United States and asked for asylum. When Venezuela sought his extradition, he withdrew his asylum request and was arrested. However, a judge refused to deport him on the grounds that he might be tortured in Venezuela—a claim many Cubans might find ironic, given the presence of Guantánamo Bay on their island.
Since then, Mr Posada has been in legal limbo. He was transferred from jail to house arrest in 2007 and indicted only in 2009. However, rather than prosecuting him for the bombings, the government charged him with lying about his part in them and about how he entered the United States, and for obstructing its investigations. His trial began in January in Texas.
AP, April 5, 2011
Cuba and partner companies will begin drilling five oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico this summer in hopes of locating enough crude to justify the costly exploration, an official said Tuesday.
“The prospects are very promising” of finding valuable reserves, said Manuel Marrero, an official with the Ministry of Basic Industry.
Cuba’s domestic production is exclusively heavy oil with a high sulfur content. Its offshore Gulf waters could contain large quantities of lighter, sweet crude, although a test well in 2004 turned up only modest deposits.
Studies since then have pointed to “oil traps” in the marine floor, persuading partner companies to take on the expensive task of exploration in deep water, Marrero said during an earth sciences convention.
The drilling is expected to run through 2013.
The Cuban government has designated 59 blocks in Gulf waters encompassing 43,200 square miles (112,000 square kilometers) where private energy companies have said they could drill deep-water test wells.
The area opened for international investment in 2000, and currently a half-dozen companies, including Spain’s Repsol-YPF, have contracted for 22 of the blocks.
None of the companies are American — due to Washington’s decades-old ban of U.S. business dealings with the communist-governed island — although some U.S. firms have expressed interest in the past.
Marrero repeated Cuba’s position that it would be open to partnering with U.S. companies. “Any company could participate under Cuban laws,” Marrero said.
Since the military coup, Honduras has been converted into a laboratory for conspired war and media terror where military occupation forces conspire with Pentagon forces, Colombian military and police, hired security guards private, national and international intellectual sponsored by the U.S., European and Latin American extreme right.
The plan is to abort any process of democratization and freedom, in order to transform our country into a political and ideological platform for military aggression against the people of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and any country aligned with ALBA.
Following the call to a National Strike for March 30, by the National Front for Popular Resistance (FNRP), peasant organizations, workers, women, feminists, the community for sexual diversity, artists, students, teachers, university professors, and various resistance movements protested in solidarity with the national teacher´s organization and protested against multinationals that have been behind the coup forces.
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Peter Kornbluh, The Nation, March 30, 2011
“I hope we can contribute to better relations between the two countries,” Jimmy Carter said describing his mission in visiting Havana this week. At a remarkable press conference as he left to return to the United States today he issued a powerful, resounding, call for major changes in US policy toward Cuba.
Briefing reporters at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana, Carter touched on virtually every key aspect of US-Cuban relations: the embargo, the case of imprisoned AID contractor Alan Gross, the Cuban Five, Cuba’s inclusion on the terrorism list and the need for greater freedoms—not only for Cubans but for American citizens who are restricted from traveling to the island.
“I think one serious mistake that my country continues to make is the trade embargo,” Carter stated bluntly. The economic restrictions on commerce were “damaging to the well-being of every citizen in Cuba,” and “impeded rather than assisted” reforms that he hoped would be made on the island under Raul Castro’s leadership. “We should immediately lift the embargo,” Carter said, as well as all restrictions on travel to Cuba.
When the Carter trip was announced last week, many analysts believed he intended to bring imprisoned AID contractor Alan Gross back to the United States. Arrested in December 2009, Gross was prosecuted and convicted earlier this month for illegally distributing satellite communications gear to religious groups inside Cuba—part of a US government “democracy-promotion” program intended to undermine the Cuban regime. According to State Department officials, his arrest, conviction and sentence of fifteen years in prison has become a major stumbling block in improving US relations with Cuba.
But Carter made it clear that the Cuban government had warned him in advance not to expect Gross to be freed at this time. After visiting Gross at an undisclosed location this morning, Carter addressed the need for him to be released “because he is innocent of any serious threat to the Cuban people.” Gross’s conviction should be overturned by Cuba’s Supreme Court on appeal, Carter forcefully opined, or Raúl Castro should pardon him, or soon release him to his family on humanitarian grounds.
In perhaps his boldest—and riskiest—statement as a former US president, Carter also called for the release of the so-called Cuban Five, a handful of Cuban counterterrorism agents arrested by the FBI and convicted of spying against violent exile groups and other US targets in 1998. Carter noted that the five agents had been in US prisons for more than a dozen years and characterized their further incarceration as “unwarranted.”
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