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Archive for September 2006

Mensaje de Las Damas de Blanco a la 62 Asamblea General de la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa

Mensaje de Las a la 62 Asamblea General de la Sociedad
Interamericana de Prensa
2006-09-30

La Habana, 29 de Septiembre de 2006. Reciban nuestro fraternal saludo y
profundo agradecimiento por la permanente demanda de los miembros de la
SIP de que los periodistas independientes actualmente prisioneros de
conciencia en Cuba sean liberados inmediata e incondicionalmente. La
brutal represión durante la Primavera Negra del 2003, los
encarcelamientos posteriores y las terribles condiciones de prisión
constituyen evidencias elocuentes de la violación de los derechos
humanos fundamentales, notoriamente de los derechos a la de
opinión, expresión y asociación.

Los periodistas independientes realizan su labor en muy difíciles
circunstancias, bajo severa vigilancia y hostigamiento, que también se
aplican a los defensores de los y opositores en
general. Nuestras mujeres, hijos y ancianos están sometidos a
y tortura psicológica.

Agradecemos la solidaridad expresada por Ustedes y confiamos en que los
medios de prensa de Las Américas reflejen cada día más las
arbitrariedades a que está sometido el pueblo cubano.

DAMAS DE BLANCO

Enviado por Miriam Leiva

********

Nota de Misceláneas de Cuba: Enviado a esta redacción por Mayda Cardín.

http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/article.asp?artID=7136

El Pijama de Fidel

El Pijama de Fidel
2006-09-30
Pilar Rahola

Podría ser una imagen entrañable. Al fin y al cabo, un abuelito de 80
años, convaleciente de una grave enfermedad, que se enfrenta a las
contingencias con voluntad y fuerza, despierta nuestros instintos más
maternales. Pero cuando, detrás del inocente pijama con zapatillas se
esconde el último de la vieja hornada, amigo, a la vez, de
todos los aprendices de dictadores de la actualidad, la cosa ya no
resulta tan simpática.

Es posible que quede poco de aquel Fidel de voz atronadora que encarnó
los sueños ingenuos de todo el izquierdismo reaccionario, pero lo que
aún queda continua dominando tiránicamente los destinos de su gente,
tanto que da la impresión de que intentará gobernar Cuba
incluso desde la tumba. No se trata, pues, de un abuelito encantador y
tierno, sino de un viejo dictador que aún viste, bajo el pijama, el
uniforme verde aceituna con el que ha dominado implacablemente el
destino de millones de personas.

Ejemplar único de una vieja raza de dinosaurios despóticos y demagogos,
su decadencia podría ser la esperanza de su pueblo. Dicen los más
informados que ya no volverá, y las perspectivas de no parecen
buenas. Sin , el fin de Castro significará el fin del castrismo?
Hace algunos años habría respondido afirmativamente sin demasiadas
dudas, no en vano un régimen personalista como éste hace bueno el dicho
popular: “muerto el perro, muerta la rabia”. Pero, con la aparición en
la escena internacional de Hugo Chávez y de algunos de sus buenos
amigos, entre ellos Evo Morales y Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, la respuesta es
más compleja y más inquietante.

Estos días hemos podido asistir, con luz y taquígrafos, al encuentro de
los no alineados, movimiento que nació en plena Guerra Fría y que, desde
sus inicios, fue tan “independiente” y tan “credible”, que fue presidido
inauguralmente por el dictador comunista Josip Broz Tito. Durante
décadas este movimiento se significó por un antiamericanismo feroz, por
la exaltación permanente de algunas de las dictaduras más impresentables
del momento, y por el clásico antioccidentalismo que define a la
izquierda antimoderna.

Títere de la Unión Soviética, su pretendida no-alineación se convirtió
en una forma más digerible y opaca de vender la propaganda estalinista.
Después, la caída del Muro los dejó huérfanos de excusas, y durante años
parecían un cadáver en busca de epitafio. Pero han resurgido y el último
espectáculo en la Habana, con un Chávez paseando el palmito fascista de
Ahmadinejad por las televisiones del mundo, nos da la medida del desastre.

Incluso hemos tenido nuestros momentos de humor negro, cuando los
reunidos han defendido apasionadamente, el derecho de Irán a la energía
nuclear por motivos “pacíficos”. Y esto lo decían en una reunión donde
había revolucionarios violentos, tiranos teocráticos y dictadores de
todo pelaje. Lo mejor de cada casa. Sin duda, Chávez es el nuevo Castro
de la demagogia, pero, de la mano de un Irán fundamentalista, se ha
convertido en payaso peligroso. Antes era gracioso, ahora ya es tétrico.
Y, por supuesto, peligroso.

Sin embargo, ¿resulta extraño que se haga tanto caso mediático a una
reunión donde se encuentran, en la capital de una dictadura, y en bonita
barbacoa, los dirigentes de Corea del Norte o de Siria, con Chávez o
Morales, pasando por el totalitario Ahmadinejad? Y, sobre todo, ¿es
normal que algunos grupos de izquierda consideren referencial el
movimiento? Personalmente no me parece extraño, dada la biografía
clínica de muchos de estos movimientos, algunos tan furibundamente
antioccidentales que se han convertido en genuinamente reaccionarios.

El reciente ejemplo del grupo de extrema izquierda argentino Quebracho,
impidiendo la manifestación de un grupo de jóvenes judíos en contra del
terrorismo, y blandiendo banderas de Irán, sería la metáfora de esta
imbecilidad genética que caracteriza a algunos totalitarios de
izquierdas. De hecho, la misma imbecilidad que durante décadas justificó
la tiranía de Castro, en nombre de la .

Si añadimos a todo ello, el papel que durante estos años ha tenido la
ONU, donde todas las dictaduras impresentables, terribles y malvadas del
planeta, se han tuteado en igualdad de condiciones con las democracias,
la inversión de valores queda completa. Solo hacía falta ver el
espectáculo cabaretero de Chávez montando el numerito antiimperialista
en Naciones Unidas.

Él, que es el defensor number one de todos los terroristas con estado…
Inversión de valores, en una sociedad que practica un relativismo moral
tan agudo, que ya no conoce ni los límites de la decencia. Y así, en el
imaginario de algunos pancartistas, y sus intelectuales orgánicos,
Ahmadinejad es un liberador, Chávez un intelectual y las democracias
occidentales, el puro infierno.

Ahora que se va Kofi Annan (puente de plata…), estaría bien preguntarnos
por la herencias que nos deja. Entre otras, el blanqueo de dictaduras
que sistemáticamente ha significado la ONU. Y, por supuesto, la larga
lista de resoluciones impresentables que ha firmado, en nombre la
legalidad internacional. La legalidad de los ilegales. Annan es como el
pijama de Castro. Parece entrañable, casi emotivo y, sin embargo, el
suyo es el pijama inocente de una biografía culpable.

**********

Nota de Misceláneas de Cuba: El artículo anterior ha sido distribuido
por LiberPress – Contenidos & Noticias, [email protected]

http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/article.asp?artID=7124

Manifiesto: Libertad para Cuba

Manifiesto: para Cuba
2006-09-30
Contacto: Jacobo Machover, escritor, catedrático universitario (París)

Contra el reconocimiento de la Sucesión Dinástica, por la ingerencia
Democrática

Desde el anuncio, el 31 de julio de 2006, de la hospitalización de Fidel
Castro y del traspaso (provisional) de todos sus poderes a su hermano
Raúl y a los miembros de una especie de Junta compuesta por seis
militares y civiles, la población cubana y la opinión pública
internacional están supeditadas a los partes médicos redactados con la
más absoluta opacidad y a unas puestas en escena tan ridículas como
manipuladas para hacerles creer que la del Comandante en Jefe está
mejorando y que puede volver a gobernar.

La evidencia es otra: ya no está al frente del poder que ha
dirigido con mano de hierro durante cerca de medio siglo. Pero sigue
allí, con una presencia casi fantasmal, para permitir la organización de
su sucesión dinástica y evitar un cuestionamiento de la dictadura por un
pueblo que ya no aguanta más la falta de libertad, las privaciones y la
propaganda a ultranza. ¿Qué clase de revolución es ésa, cuyo final
desemboca en el establecimiento de una monarquía castrista? ¿Qué clase
de soberanía sigue proclamando el régimen de facto, cuando uno de sus
herederos políticos, el ex-militar golpista Hugo Chávez, se permite
hacerse el portavoz de los deseos del pueblo no sólo venezolano sino
también cubano, pretendiendo además ser designado « vitalicio
», a imagen y semejanza de su guía espiritual?

¿Quién gobierna realmente en Cuba hoy día?

La comunidad internacional no puede acatar a ese sucesor ilegítimo que
es Raúl Castro, designado como tal por el Partido comunista y una
Constitución absolutamente anti-democrática, un hombre tan cruel como su
hermano mayor, responsable de los primeros fusilamientos masivos en
Cuba, culpable del asesinato de decenas de opositores, jefe de unas
fuerzas represivas y militares que han sembrado destrucción y muerte en
los cuatro puntos cardinales bajo pretexto de «solidaridad
internacionalista». La apertura en Cuba no puede venir ni de él ni de
los hombres que están a su alrededor, todos ellos con un pasado de
complicidad en la opresión de los cubanos, ni tampoco de los militares,
que siempre han acatado la represión y hoy se encuentran al frente de
una economía devastada.

Los países democráticos del mundo, particularmente los integrantes de la
Unión Europea, los y Canadá, así como las naciones
latinoamericanas que no estén sometidas a la política castrista, deben
negarse a reconocer a un nuevo gobernante y a un equipo que no tengan
ningún reconocimiento popular. Todos tienen un deber de ingerencia
democrática en una isla que ha batido todas los marcas en materia de
negación de los derechos más elementales y en el culto de la
personalidad a un hombre que sólo ha logrado mantenerla en la mayor
inseguridad en cuanto a su futuro. Otro porvenir es posible,
contemplando la liberación de los presos políticos, el restablecimiento
inmediato de las libertades democráticas, la organización de elecciones
libres, el derecho al retorno de los exiliados, la posibilidad para
todos los cubanos de viajar según sus deseos y la justicia por todos los
crímenes y atropellos cometidos durante la dictadura. La opinión pública
internacional estará dispuesta a apoyar, de eso estamos seguros, a las
fuerzas de la disidencia interna y a las organizaciones democráticas del
exilio, sin exclusión.

El pueblo cubano tiene derecho a la transparencia, a la verdad y a la
libertad. ¡Para Cuba, ya es hora!

Primeras firmas :
Jacobo Machover, escritor, catedrático universitario (París)
Zoe Valdés, escritora (París)
Jesús Zúñiga, periodista independiente (París)
César L. Alarcón, Dr.h.c. (MCUD) (Baltimore)
Lázaro González, ex- de conciencia (SOS Justicia) (Estados Unidos)
Dariel Alarcón Ramírez, (« Benigno »), escritor, ex-guerrillero (París)
Laurent Muller, Asociación Europea Cuba Libre. (París)

Contacto: [email protected]

http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/article.asp?artID=7122

Cuban national’s widow is granted U.S. residency

Posted on Fri, Sep. 29, 2006

IMMIGRATION
Cuban national’s widow is granted U.S. residency
In a case that could open doors for Cuban nationals’ spouses, a widow
whose husband had a heart attack during an immigration interview was
issued a green card.
BY CASEY WOODS
[email protected]

The widow of a Cuban man who had a heart attack during an interview with
a Miami immigration officer was granted U.S. residency on Thursday,
based on a broad interpretation of new legislation that may affect
hundreds of spouses of Cuban nationals in the future.

”I’m happy in one way because I have my residency, but at the same time
I’m sad for the death of my husband,” said Maritza Hernández, 53, the
widow of Juan Hernández, who had a heart attack during an Aug. 10
immigration interview. “That’s always there.”

In that interview, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials
were trying to determine whether the marriage between Maritza, from the
Dominican Republic, and Juan, a Cuban immigrant with a green card, was
legitimate.

Juan, 50, suffered a heart attack when the immigration officer asked him
when he proposed to Maritza, but he couldn’t remember. He lost
consciousness and was pronounced dead later at a .

Because Juan had obtained his green card under the Cuban Adjustment Act,
Maritza would be eligible for a green card, too, if the marriage were
deemed legitimate.

Thursday’s ruling on Maritza’s case was based on a recently modified
section of the Cuban Adjustment Act, a change that came from the
Against Women Act.

In the decision, immigration officials cited a passage that states the
spouse of a deceased Cuban resident retains spousal rights for two years
after the person dies. Until Thursday’s decision, it was unclear whether
that section applied only to the spouses of Cuban nationals who had
suffered domestic abuse in their marriage, said Maritza’s lawyer, Jorge
Rivera.

”After Maritza’s case, many widows of Cuban nationals will be able to
request residency,” Rivera said. “This is a precedent-setting case.”

Rivera had requested Maritza’s residency on other grounds. He argued
that immigration officials were poised to give her a green card that
would say she was admitted for residence in 2001, when she arrived as a
and overstayed her visa — so her husband’s death shouldn’t
matter for her green card.

Rivera said he had been planning to use the new provision about the
spouses of Cuban nationals if his initial argument was denied by
immigration officials.

Ira Kurzban, an authority on immigration law, had previously told The
Miami Herald that he believed Maritza could obtain residence because of
that provision.

”This is a significant decision that is one of the first
interpretations of a very new law,” Kurzban said.

Maritza came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 2001 on
a tourist visa, but she overstayed and became undocumented. She married
Juan in 2004.

His body will be sent to Cuba for burial on Wednesday.

”I miss him so much, but I know he is happy, because this is what he
wanted,” Maritza said.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/front/15635107.htm

Cubans try to leave illegally

Cubans try to leave illegally

Friday, September 29, 2006

A suspected incidence of human smuggling was thwarted when three Cuban
nationals trying to leave the Cayman Islands illegally attempted to
board the wrong aircraft, sources have informed Cayman Net News.

According to one source, an employee of Cayman Airways Limited has
allegedly been suspended following this incidence and is suspected of
helping the Cubans try to leave by air.

The men, who did not speak English, became confused at the and,
with several planes on the tarmac, they tried to board the wrong one and
were subsequently apprehended, Net News was told.

Cayman Airways CEO, Mike Adam, declined to comment on whether a member
of his staff had been suspended in regards to this incident, explaining
that the matter was under investigation by immigration.

Assistant Chief Immigration Officer Jeannie Lewis confirmed that three
Cuban nationals have been remanded pending an investigation, although
she declined to comment on whether a CAL employee was also under
investigation.

She said that the three Cubans – all men – were legally resident on the
Island as visitors. They have been in custody since the incidence and
will appear in court again on 10 October.

Ms Lewis indicated that they were not aware of incidents in the past of
Cubans trying to leave illegally by air.

Several Cuban migrants have “disappeared” from the Cayman Islands this
year, however. On 22 March, twenty-eight Cubans – eleven females, ten
males and seven children – escaped from Grand Cayman, while waiting a
decision on an application for political asylum, and reached the US in
April.

While details of the escape from the Cayman Islands were never revealed,
newspaper reports in Honduras indicated that they arrived there by boat
on Thursday 23 March.

The Cubans told Honduran authorities that they left from CamagŸey in
Cuba on the 12 of March. They were given a visa for 30 days to remain in
Honduras, but headed north to the US.

There were no reports in the Cayman Islands about how the Cubans managed
to find passage or purchase a vessel to leave this country.

One of the escapees, Juan Guerra, was later asked by Net News if it was
difficult to apply for asylum.
“The immigration officers always try by any means to make sure that you
do not apply for political asylum,” he replied.

“Once I applied for political asylum, they told me that my time had
expired to apply when, in fact, they had never given me the opportunity
to apply at the beginning or have an interview with any immigration
officer.”

However, Mr Guerra’s family in New York, who knew the political problems
he had in Cuba, found a lawyer that would represent him. When he was
interviewed for refugee status, his lawyer, James Austin Smith from
Walkers, was present.

“The proper treatment needs to be given to the Cubans when they want to
apply for political asylum,” said Mr Guerra.

He claimed that, on occasions, the Cubans to Cuba are
incarcerated for very long times simply because they don’t have a lawyer
to represent them in the Cayman Islands.

[email protected]

http://www.caymannetnews.com/cgi-script/csArticles/articles/000063/006377.htm

In Rural Cuba, a Slow Road to Progress

In Rural Cuba, a Slow Road to Progress
Outside Havana, Scarcity of Cars Makes Horse-Drawn Buggies the Way to Go

By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, September 28, 2006; A14

CASILDA, Cuba — Tiny flames jump and sputter in the night here,
suspended above the roadbed as if held by an invisible wand.

The uninitiated must pull up close on these unlighted roads to realize
that the flames are leaping from small buckets that dangle from wires on
the backside of horse-drawn buggies. In the near absence of passenger
cars, these buggies serve as taxis and local buses in rural areas of
Cuba, and the flaming buckets function as homemade taillights.

Countless chroniclers of Cuba have observed that the vintage American
cars in Havana — the fabulous, hulking Buicks and finned Chryslers —
make the capital feel like a city frozen in the 1950s. But outside
Havana, in the vast expanse of the Caribbean’s largest island, the
ambiance often leans more toward the 1850s.

The roads are there. It’s just that the cars aren’t.

In the 4 1/2 decades since ’s 1959 victory, small-town
Cubans have watched the cars that once lined their avenues cough and
gasp and eventually die, not to be replaced. What remains are mostly
vehicles that Castro’s government considers essential to the country’s
development — heavy trucks to haul workers and equipment to state-run
farms and tractors to till the fields and drag bundles of cut sugar cane.

Transportation is a huge problem throughout the island, even in Havana,
where many of the vehicles still on the road are connected to state-run
or government activities. Hitchhikers are everywhere, and people
wait hours to ride oversize buses that seem to break down as often as
they run.

Supporters of Castro blame the U.S. trade for the transportation
woes and especially for the dearth of personal cars. Cuba makes no cars
of its own. Non-U.S. automakers that might normally be eager to ship
vehicles and replacement parts to the island are hampered because of
U.S. trade rules. Ships are prohibited from entering U.S. ports for six
months after making deliveries to Cuba, effectively blocking access for
those companies to the world’s largest market.

Castro’s critics view the situation differently, blaming the failings of
Cuba’s economic policies after years of communist rule. The government’s
weak financial position makes it impossible for it to place large enough
orders to overcome the limitations created by the trade embargo.

Either way, the result is that Irela Estela, a dermatologist who might
have glided home in a sleek European sedan in another country, waited
under a shade tree one recent afternoon for the clop-clop of horses’
hooves. Estela, who says with a wink that she is “thirty-something,” is
among the growing number of Cubans who were born after Castro’s
revolution 47 years ago and know no other Cuba. Like so many of her
contemporaries, she has never owned a car, and she seldom rides in one.

Her eyes tilted upward at the familiar crack of a rein on horsehide, a
sound that meant she could finally start home for lunch. Up the street,
in the humid shimmer of a scorching afternoon, a brown Creole nag bobbed
toward her.

The nag plodded so slowly that a youth on a bicycle buzzed past. Estela
waited, arms crossed, for the sleepy-eyed horse. Its name, curiously,
was Speedy.

The 1 1/4-mile ride to Casilda from Trinidad, a beautifully preserved
colonial-era town about five hours southeast of Havana by car, costs
Estela about 5 cents. Not much, yes. But then again, the government pays
her only about $30 a month for her work, treating the sunburns and bug
bites that afflict European and Canadian tourists at nearby beach resorts.

Speedy seldom hauls the tourists. His owner, a part-time pig farmer
named Ernesto Vuelta Ortega, sighs when he sees tourists whiz past on
funny, chauffeur-driven scooters covered by bright yellow, egg-shaped
shells. The scooter ride from the beach into town costs almost $5 — a
pittance for vacationers but a fortune for the average Cuban.

“Yes, that’s for the rich folks,” Vuelta Ortega said.

He said he remembers gazing at the big cars in Trinidad when he was
growing up in the early days of Castro’s rule. He was sure he’d own one
someday. But it never happened. The cars slowly disappeared, and Vuelta
Ortega just laughed when he grew up and people tried to sell him barely
functioning, or even inoperable, antique vehicles for $10,000 or more —
the average amount a Cuban would earn over 27 years.

A new car was out of the question. Cubans need government permission to
buy new cars, which usually go to government agencies or to people
involved in tourism and development, and almost no one outside those
lines of work can afford one if they could get permission.

Vuelta Ortega long ago veered toward the horse and buggy. Today, years
later, he knows everything that happens in Casilda. His passengers chat
with him as he takes them to weddings and funerals, scoops them up
sobbing and red-faced after lovers’ quarrels or deposits them at work.

Far from complaining, many of his passengers seem to have embraced their
1800s-style transportation system. The leisurely ride fits the slow
tempo of their lives, even though most say they would jump at the chance
to own a car.

“This ride always clears my mind,” a paunchy man named Sergio Ramirez
said as he shuffled bags at his feet.

Behind Vuelta Ortega, the passengers sat on the wooden benches beneath
his buggy’s sun screen. A man with a lined face showed off a bag of
flip-flops that he had picked up in town for 3 cents apiece. Another
flipped a banana tree stalk that he’d found on the side of the road and
was planning to feed to the pig that lives in his back yard.

A few minutes later, a woman at the side of the road waved one hand
frantically at Vuelta Ortega as she clutched a young daughter’s hand
with the other. Maria Rodriguez Valdepena hopped aboard, rubbing her
scraped right elbow.

A few weeks ago, she was going to splurge on a ride in a car taxi —
simply la maquina , or the machine, in local parlance. But the only one
that runs to the nearby town of Sancti Spiritus — the one that leaves
just once a day — was broken down as usual. She hitched a ride on a
flatbed truck, but the railing broke halfway there and she tumbled to
the roadside.

No more transportation involving engines for her, she said. From now on,
she’ll stick with Speedy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/27/AR2006092701878.html?nav=rss_world

Transport Fair opens in Cuba

Thursday September 28, 02:32 AM

Fair opens in Cuba

HAVANA (AFX) – Cuba’s International Transport Fair opened Wednesday with
the goal of improving the island’s ailing transport sector with the
purchase of buses from Belarus and and a new railroad deal with
, state-run media reported.
Representatives from 40 countries have exhibitions at the event, which
runs through Saturday. Venezuela, China and Russia rented out entire
pavilions, and Iran is attending for the first time, according to
Transportation Minister Carlos Manuel Pazo.
Pazo told the government’s business weekly Opciones that the event will
try to ease transportation woes on the island but warned Cubans not to
have ‘false hopes.’
Cuba’s internal transport system steadily deteriorated after the
crushing economic crisis of the early to mid-1990s caused by the
collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba’s longtime backer. Cubans often spend
hours waiting for buses that never come, or are already full when they
arrive.
The government stepped up recovery efforts early last year, importing 80
buses from China. It also repaired some 60 locomotives and 1,800 railway
cars for transport across the island.
The transportation minister said Cuba will sign an agreement with
Venezuela this week to form a joint-enterprise company to deal with
railway development. A plan to purchase 100 buses from Belarus will also
be announced, he said.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://uk.biz.yahoo.com/060928/323/gncab.html

Panelists focus on Raul’s role

Posted on Fri, Sep. 29, 2006

CUBA
Panelists focus on Raúl’s role
Experts agree that the Cuban succession has occurred, but the future for
political and economic events is a big question mark.
BY JANE BUSSEY
[email protected]

Experts say economic reforms should be priority for Cuba’s new

The emerging government in Cuba will have its work cut out as it tries
to match the rising expectations from military brass, the ruling elite
and budding consumers, a panel of experts agreed at a Thursday seminar.

In a city used to abundant Cuba conferences, what was remarkable about
the seminar — ”You Only Live Once: The Outlook for Economic Reforms in
a Post-Fidel Cuba” — was that while the future of Cuba is still up in
the air, participants are now speculating on what acting President Raúl
Castro will do — and not about the actions of his ailing brother Fidel
Castro.

The seminar — sponsored by INTL Consilium, a Fort Lauderdale-based fund
manager — played to a packed house at the Conrad Hilton in Miami.

The morning event underscored agreement among pundits and analysts that
the absence of the elder Castro has not brought about an abrupt change
or a transition to a new style of government. announced on
July 31 that he was ceding power to his brother while he recuperated
from surgery.

”Succession has taken place,” said Jaime Suchlicki, director of the
Institute of Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the of
Miami. “It is an individual succession. It is also an institutional
succession.”

Suchlicki said that he did not expect Fidel Castro to fully resume his
former position, possibly returning in a “policy capacity.”

Frank Mora, of the National Defense University in Washington, spoke of
the deep divisions within the military, particularly after its ranks
were culled to 40,000 to 50,000 from 250,000, with many former officers
now running state-owned companies. ”What unites this elite,” Mora
said, “is the fear of the future, the fear that they could lose it all
if they start bickering.”

Mora suggested that Raúl Castro would have to create his own legitimacy
as a leader by coming up with a new model to combat “deep frustration
about the standard of living.”

Phil Peters, of the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va., also
predicted that the new leaders would have to grapple with satisfying
growing frustration, particularly among young people.

”To me, some measure of economic reform is going to make some sense to
them,” he said.

Damian Fernandez, director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida
International University, predicted that political change would be more
difficult than economic reforms in a population tired of revolutionary
politics.

”There is an atomization and a fragmentation of civil society,”
Fernandez said. “After 40 years of forced participation, there is a gap
between economic expectations and political ones.”

The seminar attracted a high-powered crowd. In attendance were Carlos de
Cespedes, chairman of Pharmed; Andy Fernandez, president of Bacardi
Latin America; Sergio Masvidal, president of American Express Bank;
Jacobo Gadala-Maria, president of EFG Capital; Simon Amich, American
Express Bank’s Western hemisphere chief; and British Consul Keith Allan.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/business/15634676.htm?source=rss&channel=miamiherald_business

Chavez’s anti-US campaign

Chávez’s anti-US campaign

By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor Fri
Sep 29, 4:00 AM ET

WASHINGTON – Venezuelan Hugo Chávez may be best known these
days for vividly undiplomatic language about
President Bush. Yet throughout his consolidation of power at home, the
blunt-tongued Latin leader has been driven by a quest to build a bloc of
like-minded countries united in opposition to the American superpower.

At first focused on South America, his vision has grown to embrace the
world – in particular other energy-rich countries such as
Iran and Sudan.

When Mr. Chávez called Mr. Bush “the devil himself” before the UN
General Assembly last week, his remarks generated giggles, even
applause. But can he form an alliance against American power?

The next test of his ambition will come next month, when the General
Assembly is to decide if will be among the next five countries
to hold two-year seats on the
United Nations Security Council.

“Chávez wants to be a global player taking a part in the big issues of
the day – like Iran’s right to a nuclear program – and he realizes the
[Council] is the perfect platform for him to play that role,” says
Michael Shifter, vice president at the Inter-American Dialogue in
Washington.

Although UN diplomats and analysts say that other criteria, including
regional ties and economic relations, figure in how countries vote for
the coveted Security Council seats, they also acknowledge that the
Chávez factor will play a role.

One country that supports Venezuela’s campaign is , which is
perhaps not enthralled with the Chávez rhetoric but is lured by the idea
of more countries holding its worldview on the Council. China has not
been shy about its preference to see greater respect in Security Council
deliberations for nation-states’ rights, and less attention to
individuals’ universal rights – ideas implicit in Chávez’s discourse.

China also wouldn’t mind beefing up the bloc of Security Council
countries willing to stand up to the United States, analysts say. Others
point out that Venezuela’s competition for the open Latin American seat
is Guatemala, which has opened diplomatic relations with Taiwan – a move
China is keen to discourage.

Some “fence-sitting countries” might be “sympathetic to the notion that
some counterweight to American power could be a good thing,” says one UN
diplomat who asked to remain unnamed because his position in dealing
with UN members demands neutrality. “But imagine the pressure that could
follow a vote for someone who just called the US president the devil.”

Of course the Chávez campaign, joined most publicly by Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is not the first time countries have joined to
check American power, as some foreign-policy practitioners note.

“It’s been this way at the UN for quite some time,” said John Danforth,
former US ambassador to the UN, commenting at a Monitor breakfast this week.

Iconic figures of the cold-war era, from Nikita Khrushchev to
, also rose to the UN dais to challenge the US. One
difference with the Chávez effort is that it is backed by Venezuela’s
oil wealth and Chávez’s willingness to use his petrodollars to further
his cause.

Even countries in the developing world with good relations with the US
are not deaf to Chávez’s siren song, some experts say. “Across the
developing world, there’s no doubt that in their view, the US has
hijacked the actions of the Security Council,” says Jeffrey Laurenti, a
UN expert at the Century Foundation in New York. “To their eyes, special
allies are protected – that means
Israel – and others who get in [the United States'] way are labeled as
rogues.”

That view has been exacerbated by a “perfect storm” of actions in
Washington, he says – including disregard for some international
treaties – that leads some countries to nod in approval “at the notion
of the US as a superpower rogue.”

Despite that, Mr. Laurenti says that Chávez “may have a price to pay”
for his attacks when it comes time for the vote on Council seats, set
for Oct. 16. “Before the speech, I would say Venezuela had a substantial
lead,” he says. “But there’s also a sense that you don’t want to have
two years of constant invective in the Security Council.”

Venezuela’s bid for a seat is dividing Latin America, as countries
consider what profile Chávez would give the region against that of
Guatemala – which has US support. Regions often submit consensus
candidates for the rotating Security Council seats, but last year Latin
America was also the focus of the only contested election – which ended
with Peru prevailing over Nicaragua.

The divisions fed by Chávez’s rise is one reason for Latin America’s
lack of consensus, Mr. Shifter says, but so is the proximity and
historic influence of the US. “The asymmetry of power between the US and
Latin America continues to be a unique and defining factor of politics
in this hemisphere,” he says. “Chávez knows that and is trying to
exploit it.”

Still, Laurenti says that history suggests Venezuela’s presence would
not disrupt the Security Council, which remains dominated by its five
permanent members. Noting that Cuba was on the Council in 1990-91 when
the UN sanctioned the
Gulf War, he says, “We could expect some bearbaiting in public, but
behind closed doors Venezuela would be just as businesslike” as Cuba was.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20060929/ts_csm/arenegades_1

Russia Grants $355M Credit to Cuba, Restructures Recent Debts

Russia Grants $355M Credit to Cuba, Restructures Recent Debts

Created: 29.09.2006 11:56 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 16:01 MSK, 4 hours 17
minutes ago

MosNews

On Thursday, Sept. 28, Russia agreed to grant Cuba credit worth $355
million as well as to restructure some of its recent . The decision
was made during a visit by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

Fradkov said that Russia will provide Cuba with a 10-year $355 million
loan with interest at 4 percent per year. The credit will be used to
finance the delivery of Russian goods and services to Cuba in 2006-08.

The Russian official said the intergovernmental agreement signed by
Russia and Cuba identified seven areas in which the credit will be used:
cooperation projects, modernization of Cuba’s energy sector,
reconstruction of water conservation facilities and railroads, the
design and delivery of air navigation systems, and the modernization of
the transportation system.

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

The press liaison at the Russian Embassy in Havana Alexander Bochanov
said Russia had agreed to res

http://www.mosnews.com/money/2006/09/29/cubadebt.shtml

Russia: Buying a Military Cooperation Agreement with Cuba

Russia: Buying a Military Cooperation Agreement with Cuba

September 28, 2006: Russia and Cuba signed a military cooperation
agreement, which will allow Russian forces to use Cuban bases for
intelligence collection, and other purposes. The Russians paid for it by
providing Cuba with a $350 million line of credit (for the purchase of
Russian goods.) Cuba has not been able to get credit for years because
they have defaulted on so many debts. Currently, Cuba owes Russia over
$20 billion for past purchases.

http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/russia/articles/20060929.aspx

Iranian transportation companies in Cuba for the first time

Iranian transportation companies in Cuba for the first time

Service: Economy
1385/07/07
09-29-2006
16:33:13
News Code :8507-04325

ISNA – Tehran
Service: Economy

TEHRAN, Sep. 29 (ISNA)-Two Iranian transportation companies take part in
the International Transportation Exhibition held in Cuba, for the first
time.

For the first time the Wagon Pars Co. displays Iran’s ability and
achievements in Rail Road constructions such as wagons, Locomotives and
other various pieces and the Industrial Export development Co. of Iran
also displays the productive abilities of great car manufacturing
companies of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the International
Transportation Exhibition held in Cuba.

Also Iran’s trade board and Cuba’s transportation minister met in the
margin of the exhibition.

The two sides discussed the methods of quickening the appliance of
contracts regarding the export of various cargo wagons, cement and tank
and passenger transportation.

Cuba recognized Iran’s presence among the 52 taking part countries in
the exhibition as the guest of honor and evaluated it as a positive step
to the development of the two country’s transportation ties.

http://www.isna.ir/Main/NewsView.aspx?ID=News-797992&Lang=E

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