¿Padece la Cruz Roja Internacional de sensibilidad selectiva?2007-4-2
París, 30 de marzo de 2007.
que el Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja (CRI) se preocupe por los prisioneros del Campo Delta ubicado en la base militar estadounidense de Guantánamo, es lo más normal del mundo.
Que estos señores de la prestigiosa organización con sede en la civilizada Suiza, hayan podido pasar 33 semanas entrevistando a los prisioneros y verificando las condiciones de alimentación, ejercicios y hasta del aire fresco que disfrutan, es parte de su trabajo.
Que declaren que gracias a ellos han logrado transmitir más de 3,300 mensajes personales de los ex coñbatientes hacia el mundo entero, es normal y humano.
Pero, yo quisiera saber:
¿Cuántas semanas los señores inspectores de la Cruz Roja Internacional han podido pasar en las cárceles cubanas para entrevistar a los prisioneros políticos o comunes que sufren bajo el régimen del Sr. Fidel Castro?
¿Cuándo han podido verificar la alimentación, los ejercicios o el aire fresco que disfrutan los presos comunes o políticos cubanos?
¿Cuántas cartas han logrado transmitir a los familiares desde las mazmorras de Boniato, el Combinado del Este, Nuevo Amanecer o Taco Taco, por sólo mencionar algunas, en estos 48 años?
¿Sufrirán estos señores de una sensibilidad selectiva ? Espero que no sea así.
Los miles de cubanos que sufren en las cárceles del régimen cubano, también tienen el derecho a que la Cruz Roja Internacional exija justicia verdadera y trato humano.
Distinguidos señores de la CRI, nunca es tarde para hacer un gesto por los que tanto siguen padeciendo en la Isla del Dr. Castro.
Mi querida Ofelia, espero que si alguno de esos distinguidos señores lee esta carta, pueda reflexionar sobre el drama de los presos cubanos.
Un gran abrazo desde estas lejanas tierras allende los mares,
Félix José Hernández.
Dissident coalition in Cuba pushes for release of political prisonersPublished on Saturday, March 31, 2007
HAVANA, Cuba (AFP): A newly organized dissident coalition in Cuba launched a campaign Thursday to free political prisoners, promising to take its fight to international courts.
The National Constitutionalist Alliance groups 225 organizations with a total of some 3,000 members, according to its director Angel Polanco.
Polanco said the campaign would seek to gather 250,000 signatures in the only one-party communist nation in the Americas, and pass them on to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.
He also said that if the Cuban government rejects the request, the group would call for a day of peaceful civil disobedience across Cuba, something that has never happened in almost half a century of communist rule.
The outlawed but officially tolerated Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission says there were 283 political prisoners at the end of 2006, 50 fewer than the previous year.
After almost five decades under the tight grip of Fidel Castro, 80, who called them "mercenaries" at the service of the United States, government opponents initially kept a low-profile when the ailing strongman handed over to his younger brother Raul Castro, 75, on July 31, four days after undergoing intestinal surgery.
Dissidents have since become increasingly vocal, distributing statements to foreign media, politicians, governments and human rights groups.
And the death on January 10 of political dissident Miguel Valdes Tamayo, who had been released from prison in 2004 for medical reasons, has helped galvanize opposition.
But they also remained cautious, and pessimistic of significant reforms under the younger Castro, who has stressed the Communist Party, is the true successor to his older brother.
Oswaldo Paya, a Cuban dissident who won the European Union's Sakharov Prize in 2002 for his efforts to achieve peaceful democratic opening, unveiled a new plan almost a year ago called "All Cubans," seeking a democratic and legal transition in Cuba.
Inspired by the Varela Project he spearheaded earlier, the plan calls for a Cuban transition that would begin from within the current system, with a referendum vote.
Many other Cuban dissidents support change only outside the existing system.
The referendum Paya is promoting calls for amendments to the existing constitution and other laws, to pave the way for peaceful transition in Cuba.
Paya's earlier attempt for a referendum saw thousands of supporters' signatures delivered to the National Assembly in a bold move that was the first of its kind in decades in Cuba.
Fidel Castro's government rejected that effort.
Delaware businesses see future in CubaDelegation travels to Caribbean island seeking trade partnerBy LULADEY B. TADESSE, The News JournalPosted Sunday, April 1, 2007
After traveling to Cuba earlier this month, Delaware officials predict plenty of opportunities to export agricultural products there.
Cubans are interested in buying a variety of products from Delaware, including frozen poultry, apples, wheat, potatoes and soybeans.
Led by Delaware's Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse, about a dozen people including politicians, private sector and nonprofit representatives, went to Cuba to establish trade relations.
The U.S. trade embargo against Cuba forbids exports of most products, but there are exceptions. Trade in agricultural and some medical products is allowed.
Last year, Cubans purchased $560 million in food and agricultural products from the U.S. Thirty-seven states currently ship cargo to Cuba, mainly using ports in Gulf states and Florida.
"It's important that Delaware gets in there and doesn't get left behind," said Rebecca C. Faber, executive director of World Trade Center Delaware, who helped initiate the trip to Cuba.
Two poultry companies in Delaware, Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods, already export chicken to Cuba from other states. But there are no other companies in Delaware that use the Port of Wilmington or directly trade with Cuba.
"One of the things we have been trying to do as a port is to get more agricultural products moving across the Port of Wilmington from our downstate people in Kent and Sussex," said Tom Keefer, deputy executive director of the Diamond State Port Corp., which manages the Wilmington port.
Delaware farmers already grow chicken, grain, fruits and vegetables that Cubans need. And the Port of Wilmington, which has one of the largest dockside refrigerated storage facilities of any port, is capable of handling fruits, vegetables and poultry.
The port can handle shipments of 5,000 tons to 10,000 tons of frozen chicken a month depending on the season, Keefer said. The port also would be able to handle containers of wheat and other grains, he added.
The Port of Wilmington receives dozens of ships throughout the year from Central America and South America carrying refrigerated grapes, bananas and other fruits. Trade with Cuba would allow some of these ships, which often return to South America almost empty, to carry products to Cuba.
The challenge is convincing local growers and companies to trade with Cuba, and the shipping companies to make it cost effective for Cubans to use the Port of Wilmington.
"There is more and more interest and we believe that there are some real possibilities for some Delaware products to be sold into Cuba," Scuse said.
Scuse said he has begun talking to some farmers about sending a container of wheat to Cuba. The state sells most of its 45,000 acres of wheat to mills in Pennsylvania. But most of those mills are at capacity and farmers don't have nearby markets to sell the wheat.
"It's important to have more outlets for Delaware farmers as far as any product that we have," said Bruce Walton, first vice president of the Delaware Farm Bureau, which represents about 3,000 growers. He said trade with Cuba would be a plus.
Mountaire Farms, a local poultry company that sent a representative on the trip to Cuba, is negotiating a deal to ship chicken there through the Port of Wilmington.
In addition to Mountaire, Delaware's delegation included Port to Port, a Wilmington-based company that charters ships and sells used cars in Central America. Port to Port also is interested in exporting wheat.
Another company, Delaware River Stevedores, which hires the labor for loading and unloading shipments at the Port of Wilmington also went on the trip to Cuba.
Trading with Cuba has its advantages.
The island nation is close. The Cuban government is eager to do business. And, importantly, the U.S. government requires Cuba to pay American companies before the shipments arrive.
"There is no risk of not getting paid," said John Pastor, a Delaware trade representative at the Office of Management and Budget.Contact Luladey B. Tadesse at 324-2789 or [email protected]
Tourists sprinkling cash into Cuba
Trinidad's old sugar mills still interest visitors.
By Doreen HemlockSouth Florida Sun-SentinelPosted April 1 2007
In its heyday in the early 1800s, when sugar was king in the Caribbean, the sugar mill valley in central Cuba boomed with wealth, dazzling visitors with sprawling hacienda homes and even a watchtower rising nearly 15 stories high.
But Cuba's wars of independence in the late 1800s ruined local business, shifting sugar production to other regions and leaving the adjacent town of Trinidad stuck in a colonial time warp, with its cobblestone streets, courtyard homes and impressive Baroque churches.
Now, Cuba's communist government seeks to revive the once sugar-rich zone through tourism, capitalizing on the U.N.'s designation in 1998 of the valley and town as World Heritage Sites.
Locals feel proud that their former backwater now draws a steady stream of foreign visitors, helping homeowners who rent rooms to tourists, residents who find jobs in restaurants and shops, plus artisans who make paintings, tablecloths, drums, pottery and other souvenirs. And officials cheer that income from tourism helps restore cultural treasures, from decaying hacienda homes to colonial art — two things that have languished for lack of cash.
Yet there's a long way to a boom here, with tourist income still too little to revive the flagging region. And many residents also worry that tourism is stoking inflation and social tensions.
Only two hacienda homes in the sugar mill valley have been restored for tour groups to date, with work slowly under way on a couple more, said Victor Echenagus–a, 62, a painter and museum specialist at the Office to Conserve the City.
"We have the will, politically and technically, but sometimes what delays us is economics," Echenagus–a said.
Cuba now produces a fraction of the sugar it once did — perhaps 1.5 million tons this past harvest season, down from about 8 million tons a year in the 1970s. In the past decade, tourism surpassed sugar as a source of foreign currency, and dozens of old and inefficient sugar mills were permanently closed.
But in Trinidad, the former riches from sugar and the potential for tourism merge, with the nearly 15-story watchtower at the former Manaca Iznaga plantation as a visitor magnet.
Decried by some in its day as ostentatious, the tower stood as a lookout for the Iznaga family. Originally from Spain's Basque resion, the Iznagas could climb to the top and see the vast sugar lands and some 15 of the valley's 57 mills, said Ramon Conrado, a bartender and resident historian at the family's former estate.
Three bells in the tower, each with a different sound, rang out messages. The large bell signaled the start and end of work; the medium one, a holiday; and the small one, Easter week. The large and medium ones rung together told of a slave escape; the large and small together, a slave rebellion; and all three at once meant an invasion by pirates or other intruders and a call to defend the zone against ransacking and pillaging.
From atop the tower, visitors still can see the undulating hills of the valley, some planted in sugar and other crops, some with cattle. Below stand former warehouses and slave quarters.
Some days, more than 1,000 people stop at the Iznaga plantation. The majority are Europeans and Canadians; a few Americans visit, though most are banned from Cuba under Washington's decades-old embargo.
Conrado likes that foreigners come to experience his homeland and learn its history, but he worries about the influx, too. He said that Castro would never have embraced tourism were it not for the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of Soviet subsidies that sent Cuba's economy crashing a decade ago into an era of shortages known as the "Special Period."
"The Special Period brought us so many problems that we had to turn to tourism to keep the socialist revolution alive," Conrado said. "But tourism in some ways increases inequality. I can make perhaps $10 in tips in a day at this tourist restaurant, while a cane cutter makes maybe 40 cents a day. Socialism seeks equality for all."
Yet residents of this colonial area of roughly 75,000 people see no return to the heyday of sugar centuries back.
"Sugar is expensive to make. In tourism, you invest less and gain more," said artisan Juan Alberto Santander, 49, one of a well-known family of clay craftsmen in Trinidad who have benefited from the recent tourist surge. "And at least here, we have sugar history as a visitor draw."
Doreen Hemlock can be reached at [email protected]
Dancers take to the streets in HavanaApril 02 2007 at 02:13AM
Havana – Havana's Plaza de la Revolucion on Saturday became probably the "biggest ballroom of the world" when thousands of Cubans gathered for a mass dance.
After the traditional "catonazo", the canon shot fired every night at Havana's port at exactly 9pm, 600 young dancers divided into "ruedas" or groups of six couples started dancing the traditional "casino", as Cubans call the salsa dance and competed for the title of best Best Dancing Group.
An estimated 200 000 people gathered to watch the dance and listen to the music of Cuba's most popular artists including Adalberto Alvarez y su Son or Pupy y los que Son Son, press reports said.
Celebrated every year to mark the anniversary of the Young Communists Union as part of the "healthy, useful and cultural amusement this organisation promotes", this year's event was held in an unusual place.
Revolution Square is one of the main spots of revolutionary Cuba and has witnessed some of the most important political speeches and military parades by the Revolutionary Army Forces in the past decades.
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans have paraded there over the years, marching past the memorial to national hero, Jose Marta?, and under the watchful eyes of Fidel Castro.
The Palacio de la Revolucion where some say ailing Fidel Castro has been recovering from surgery that forced him to delegate his powers temporarily eight months ago, is one of the main buildings on the square.
It was also here that late Pope John Paul II celebrated mass attended by a huge congregation during his historical visit to Cuba in 1998.
But although the dancing event had a political background, the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Young Communist Union (UJC), politics was not on the minds of most dancers.
"We are having fun because we love dancing", Zuleita, a dancing contestant, told reporters.
"This is beautiful. It's something different for the youth," said Maria, an older woman watching the competition and dancing with her partner.
After the competition, the contestants and the public merged into a huge dancing crowd and danced the night away until Sunday. – Sapa-dpa
Spanish Foreign Minister in Cuba
The Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, is in Cuba ahead of a decision by the EU on whether to lift sanctions against the island. Spain has spearheaded calls for the sanctions, imposed in 2003, to be lifted. The EU must decide this June whether to prolong them or not.
Moratinos was met by his Cuban counterpart, Felipe Perez Roque. Tomorrow he hopes to meet President Fidel Castro. It's a controversial visit. He's the first EU minister to visit since sanctions were imposed and the Spanish conservative opposition is deeply against it. Moratinos insists this is an important moment for Cuba.
Posted on Mon, Apr. 02, 2007
WASHINGTON –A new poll released Monday shows that growing numbers of Cuban Americans in Miami-Dade oppose U.S. restrictions on travel to the island and favor more contacts with Havana.
The survey showed 55.2 percent of those polled favor ''unrestricted'' travel to Cuba, though a majority of those registered to vote opposed the option, and support for the embargo was at the lowest level since the survey was launched in 1991.
The results also show a community divided in opinions on Havana depending on the year of arrival, skeptical that a quick change will happen on the island, and attitudes that seem contradictory: A narrow majority favors a U.S. invasion of Cuba, but a bigger majority supports a restoration of diplomatic ties between Havana and Washington.
The latest poll was conducted by Florida International University, with funding from the Cuba Study Group, a moderate Cuban-American group based in Washington, and FIU's own Cuban Research Institute. The Brookings Institution, a Washington nonpartisan think tank, was part of the organizing team.
The FIU poll is unique because it is the eighth such poll in 16 years, and organizers have tried to ask questions consistent over time to get a clearer picture of how attitudes are evolving.
The latest survey also is the first since the Democratic Party seized control of Congress, which is expected to tackle several initiatives to ease U.S. sanctions on the island before its August summer recess. The poll also comes as the presidential race for 2008 is off to an unusually early start, with candidates beginning to define their position on Havana with an eye on the crucial South Florida constituency.
Carlos Saladrigas, co-chairman of the Cuba Study Group, called the timing of the survey “critical.''
The Cuba Study Group has been doing its own separate polls of the community since 2002 but decided to work with FIU this time. ''By polling, we have given a voice to the broader Cuban-American community not necessarily heard through self-appointed spokespersons in the past,'' Saladrigas told reporters at a briefing ahead of the poll's release.
Several previous polls also have shown that Cuban-American attitudes are changing, especially among the more recent arrivals from Cuba, compared to the older exiles who generally favor stronger sanctions.
''People are seeing and recognizing the need to take a new path,'' said Carlos Pascual, the vice president and director of foreign policy studies at The Brookings Institution.
By unveiling the numbers in Washington, the group hopes to target U.S. government officials and other opinion leaders.
''This is a national policy issue . . . with much of the work that needs to be done here in D.C.,'' Brian Cullin, a spokesman for The Brookings Institution, said in an e-mail.
Brookings is organizing several private and public discussion groups on the poll, with the head of the Organization of American States José Miguel Insulza and the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America Thomas Shannon expected to attend the private sessions.
FIU surveyed 1,000 Cuban Americans in the Miami-Dade area for the poll, which has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points. Two out of every three Cuban Americans polled are U.S. citizens, and of those, 66 percent identified themselves as registered Republicans.
The results were criticized by supporters of the sanctions as a ''push poll'' where the questions are phrased to influence results.
Ana Carbonell, the chief of staff of Miami Republican Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart, said her office has other surveys that show a majority of Cuban Americans only support lifting sanctions if Havana meets some minimal conditions in return, like scheduling free elections and freeing political prisoners.
'This is another one of those annual `push polls' done by those who want to unilaterally ease sanctions to benefit the Castro regime, with a business interest,'' she said.
But the poll's organizers say the FIU questions have been broadly the same since 1991, so the trends are relevant.
The embargo is still backed by a 57.5 percent majority, but less than the 66 percent who backed it three years ago. Twenty-nine percent said they favored lifting the embargo without any preconditions, 8 percent would only do so after Fidel Castro died, and 11 percent would hold out until both Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl are gone. Thirty-five percent would wait and until the political and economic system changed in Cuba.
One of the poll's key results involves the restrictions on travel to Cuba. In 2004, the Bush administration cut back Cuban-American visits to the island to once every three years instead of once a year. The administration also has stepped up enforcement of the ban on U.S. tourist travel to Cuba.
Sixty-four percent of respondents said they would like to return to the travel rules before 2004, and 55.2 percent said they favor ''unrestricted'' travel to the island — a reversal from 2004, when 53.7 percent said they opposed unrestricted travel to Cuba. The phrasing of the question included all U.S. nationals as well as Cuban Americans.
But among those registered to vote, 57.7 percent opposed allowing unrestricted travel, though a 52 percent majority favored returning to the way things were before 2004.
In keeping with other surveys, the responses vary widely depending on how long those polled have lived in the United States. For instance, only 34.4 percent of those who arrived 1974-1984 favor unrestricted travel, against 67.1 percent of those that arrived 1985-1994.
Older arrivals are more likely to be U.S. citizens and therefore more likely to vote. Throughout the survey, registered voters tended to favor a tougher stance toward Havana.
Overall, 62 percent said they back food sales to the island, up from 54.8 percent in 2004.
U.S. food exports to Cuba have been allowed since 2001, and the United States is now the fourth-largest exporter to Cuba. Similarly, slightly more than half — 51.3 percent — of those polled say they want to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. Havana and Washington have only ''Interests Sections'' that act as quasi embassies.
Few Cuban Americans believe the island will see a rapid transition toward a democracy. Only 17 percent said changes will happen in less than a year and 45.9 percent expect changes in the 2-5-year period.
Two out of every three Cubans also favor establishing a national dialogue between the Cuban government, dissidents and exiles.
In 1991, slightly fewer than half favored such a dialogue.
Posted on Sun, Apr. 01, 2007
CUBAN COMMUNITYTravel to Cuba debate divides exile communityA debate in Little Havana about the U.S. travel ban to Cuba elicited passionate discussion, peppered with shouts, applause and booing, and marked a trial run for what's to come in Congress.BY LAURA [email protected]
The U.S. travel ban to Cuba incites passions at both ends of South Florida's political spectrum. But having U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, who hard-line exiles consider an adversary, sitting on a stage in the heart of Little Havana Saturday marked a first.
Flake, a libertarian Republican from Arizona who has traveled to Cuba four times and has pushed Congress for years to end the travel ban, took part in a debate over the travel ban Saturday at the Tower Theater. He sought to make a case that banning travel to the communist island is counterproductive and against America's democratic ideals.
Two prominent Cuban Americans — radio host and University of Miami professor Paul Crespo and Hialeah City Council President Esteban Bovo — countered that opening Cuba to American tourists and allowing Cuban Americans to visit family on the island more often than once every three years would only strengthen Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl's control.
The mood in the jam-packed Tower Theater was reminiscent of the many decades of demonstrations and discussions about U.S. relations with Cuba: tense, heartfelt and often loud.
Tempers flared here and there, and moderator Michael Putney of WPLG-Channel 10 and several panel members had to remind the crowd to keep calm.
The debate, hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union, foreshadowed what could be a battle in the Democrat-controlled Congress over proposed legislation to ease restrictions.
Crespo said travel isn't the issue. ''It's about the embargo against Castro. We want to keep that money out of Castro's hands,'' he said of tourist dollars, adding that most people will travel there for leisure and not academic or humanitarian reasons.
Bovo agreed, saying that the conditions that drove so many from Cuba are still present. ''Castro has ignored pleas from the left and right to open that society,'' he said.
Pérez argued that a policy which keeps families separated is ''morally reprehensible,'' and that it just doesn't work.
Flake said that while any travel, from anywhere, would inevitably send some funds Castro's way, it would also do good by making it harder for him to isolate his society. ''I think Cuban-American families are perfectly capable of making these decisions for themselves without the intervention of Congress,'' he added.
During a question-and-answer period Miguel Saavedra, founder of the anti-Castro group Vigilia Mambisa, asked Flake if, during any of his four trips to Cuba, he brought up the issue of human rights.
''Every time,'' Flake replied.
“Either verbally or in writing, I've asked them to release prisoners.''
During the question-and-answer period two audience members became so angry and disruptive they had to be escorted out by police.
Luis Zúñiga, a Radio and TV Martí executive and former political prisoner, reminded Flake and Pérez that, even if the travel ban were lifted, ''the regime has the power to decide who will travel to Cuba'' and that many, such as himself, still won't be able to go.
''If they put restrictions, that's their problem,'' Flake said, adding that it should be beneath the United States to restrict Americans' freedoms.
Pérez agreed. “Let's not put U.S. policy at the level of the Cuban government.''
After the debate, Flake attended a luncheon and campaign fundraiser where the board of directors of the Cuban Committee for Democracy awarded him the Juan Gualberto Gómez Award.
Several recent polls have shown that Cuban Americans are split on whether to end Bush's three-year limit for family travel, a limit that has drawn fire from some in the religious community.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently issued a statement urging Congress to end travel restrictions to the island.
Orlando bishop Thomas Wenski, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' committee on international relations, commended lawmakers who seek to lift the restrictions.
''No one should be prevented from visiting a dying relative or attending a loved one's funeral simply for having traveled to Cuba once in the previous three years,'' Wenski said in that statement, adding that the policy does no honor to the country.
Publicado el lunes 02 de abril del 2007
Los altos índices de alcoholismo y tabaquismo en Cuba están provocando más casos de cáncer en la isla, donde el año pasado fallecieron por la enfermedad 171.5 personas por cada 100,000 habitantes, cifra 1 por ciento superior a la del 2005, informó ayer una experta local.
La jefa de Ensayos Clínicos y de Quimioterapia del Instituto Nacional de Oncología y Radiobiología (INOR) de Cuba, Marta Osorio, señaló que “la incidencia de cáncer está aumentando en el país donde ya hay provincias en que los tumores malignos constituyen la primera causa de muerte, por encima de las enfermedades cardiovasculares y cerebro vasculares''.
''Si contamos los accidentes del tránsito en primer lugar, el cáncer en Cuba ocupa la tercera causa de muerte'', precisó Osorio, citada por el diario Juventud Rebelde.
Subrayó que en la isla ''el presupuesto dedicado a la Oncología –solo para adquirir medicamentos citostáticos– se ha triplicado'', y mencionó al ''alcoholismo y el tabaquismo, como dos grandes problemas sociales y de salud'' que “están contribuyendo a una mayor incidencia del cáncer''.
La especialista también señaló que ''el cáncer de pulmón es la primera causa de muerte no solo en hombres, sino también en mujeres'' en Cuba, donde “en el 2002 murieron más de 4,000 personas.
Publicado el lunes 02 de abril del 2007
Canciller español Moratinos llega a Cubaar dzThe Associated Press
LA HABANA –El canciller español Miguel Angel Moratinos llegó el domingo por la noche a esta capital para una visita oficial, que se extenderá hasta el martes y en la cual no se descarta una entrevista con el presidente interino, Raúl Castro.
El funcionario y su delegación fueron recibidos por el canciller cubano, Felipe Pérez Roque en el aeropuerto José Martí.
Este es el primer encargado de asuntos exteriores ibérico en viajar a la isla tras una disputa entre Cuba y la Unión Europea, luego de que esta última impusiera sanciones en temas de derechos humanos a La Habana.
Según la nación caribeña, el bloque comunitario tomó una decisión politizada para quedar bien con Estados Unidos, pues en contrapartida hizo oídos sordos a una petición isleña de condena a Washington por las irregularidades cometidas en la cárcel de Guantánamo.
Un programa distribuido por la cancillería local indicó que Moratinos iniciará sus jornadas oficiales el lunes con la colocación de una agenda floral al héroe José Martí.
También mantendrá conversaciones con su anfitrión Pérez Roque y el vicepresidente Carlos Lage, entre otros funcionarios.
Paralelamente hará un recorrido por La Habana vieja y verá la exposición permanente del pintor español nacido en el siglo XIX, Joaquín Sorolla.
Aunque no está inscrito en el programa -nunca se incluye- es posible un encuentro con Raúl Castro, quien está a cargo del ejecutivo desde julio tras una operación sufrida por el presidente Fidel Castro.
Publicado el domingo 01 de abril del 2007
Jóvenes cubanos participan en competencia de 'casino'ar/jptThe Associated Press
LA HABANA –Miles de personas se dieron cita en la Plaza de la monumental Revolución el sábado por la noche para ver en acción a 51 grupos de ruedas de casino, un popular baile que puso en competencia a unas 700 personas.
Al ritmo de importantes orquestas locales desde la tradicional Aragón, pasando por la de Adalberto Alvarez y su Son y hasta NG La Banda, entre otras, los bailarines presentaron sus singulares coreografías.
La "Rueda de Casino" es una formación de varias parejas -hasta 20- que acompañadas por música de salsa suelen hacer figuras y cambios vistosos de singular armonía guiados por un líder.
Aunque entre los expertos no hay acuerdo sobre su origen, algunos aseguran que su espíritu de colectivo se remonta a las contradanzas del siglo XVIII, pero ahora se efectúan con la divertida música de moda.
En esta ocasión la competencia fue una de las varias actividades organizadas por el aniversario número 45 de la Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas, cuyo acto central el 4 de abril será precedido de un programa cultural y político.
A finales de la década de los años 90, las ruedas de casino comenzaron a decaer y los jóvenes a gustar de otros ritmos, pero en fechas recientes tanto los músicos como las autoridades están haciendo esfuerzos por reanimar el movimiento "casinero" como una sana opción recreativa.
"Ellos necesitan lugares para bailar, están locos por hacerlo… por eso queremos crear esos locales que llamamos casinotecas", dijo en una entrevista al periódico Juventud Rebelde, el sonero Adalberto Alvarez, uno de los más importantes promotores del movimiento.
Momento importante para las relaciones entre La Habana y Madrid: MoratinosInicia canciller español visita oficial a Cuba; se entrevistará con Raúl Castro
Cooperación y derechos humanos, entre los temas de conversación, afirma vicecanciller
GERARDO ARREOLA CORRESPONSAL
La Habana, 1º de abril. El ministro español de Asuntos Exteriores, Miguel Angel Moratinos, se entrevistará con el presidente interino Raúl Castro y otros altos dirigentes cubanos, durante la visita oficial de dos días que hará esta semana y que marca un momento de distensión entre Madrid y La Habana tras el conflicto surgido hace cuatro años.
Moratinos, quien es también el primer canciller de la Unión Europea (UE) que viaja a Cuba desde el choque de 2003, tiene previsto reunirse con los vicepresidentes Carlos Lage y José Ramón Fernández y el lider parlamentario Ricardo Alarcón, informó aquí a medios españoles la secretaria de Estado (vicecanciller) para Iberoamérica, Trinidad Jiménez, según confirmó a La Jornada una fuente diplomática.
El ministro español viajaba el domingo y era esperado esta noche en La Habana. El sábado en Alemania, Moratinos dijo a sus colegas comunitarios que la visita es "necesaria, en un momento importante para el futuro de Cuba y el futuro de las relaciones entre Cuba y España".
"España no puede estar ausente de Cuba" y requiere sostener su interlocución, dijo el ministro español. Agregó que la visita "se enmarca en el deseo de tener un diálogo fluido y firme", con el gobierno cubano. "Creemos que en estos momentos hay que dejar a los cubanos que ellos mismos definan su estrategia en el futuro", señaló Moratinos.
El rencuentro oficial entre los dos gobiernos se producirá al iniciarse el noveno mes de ausencia del presidente Fidel Castro de sus funciones, el mismo lapso en el cual su hermano menor, Raúl, ha ejercido provisionalmente el máximo liderazgo.
La cooperación y los derechos humanos estarán entre los temas de conversación con las autoridades cubanas, dijo Jiménez, quien no descartó el contacto de funcionarios españoles con opositores, pero sin precisar el momento.
España es el tercer socio comercial de Cuba. Un canciller español no venía en visita bilateral desde 1998, cuando viajó Abel Matutes, quien volvió al año siguiente con el entonces presidente José María Aznar, aunque por un compromiso multilateral, la novena Cumbre Iberoamericana, en la que también estuvo el rey Juan Carlos.
España ha tenido una actuación decisiva en las relaciones entre la isla y la UE. En 1996, a instancias de Aznar, el bloque comunitario adoptó una "posición común", que condiciona el nivel de relaciones a un cambio en la isla hacia el pluralismo.
En 2003 Aznar promovió en Bruselas un paquete de sanciones diplomáticas, en reacción a los juicios sumarios contra 75 opositores y el fusilamiento de tres secuestradores de una lancha.
Las sanciones fueron suspendidas hace dos años, también a iniciativa de Madrid, esta vez bajo el gobierno de José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Dentro de dos meses la UE revisará la vigencia de esas medidas.