Apr 25, 2007 4:23 pm US/EasternUS Fugitive Expelled From Cuba After 42 YearsConvicted Of Mail Fraud In Central Florida In 1964Brian AndrewsReporting
(CBS4) MIAMI A convicted criminal who fled to Cuba in the mid 60's to avoid prison for crimes in Florida was returned to Miami Wednesday, after he was kicked out of the country by Castro's government, an almost unprecedented action by a country that has been a haven for fugitives from US justice.
70-year-old Joseph Adjmi arrived late Wednesday morning on a routine commercial charter flight from Havana to Miami International Airport, and was immediately taken into custody by agents of the US Diplomatic Security Service. He was put aboard by officials in Havana shortly after he was released from a Cuban prison, where he had been serving time for crimes committed there
"You can run, but you can't hide," DSS agent Ed Moreno told CBS4's Brian Andrews as Adjmi arrived at the airport.
Adjmi last saw Florida in 1964, shortly after he was convicted of mail fraud in the US District Court for Central Florida. US officials say Adjmi was released on bond prior to the start of his person term, but he never arrived at his final court appearance.
Adjmi was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but he fled to Cuba using forged documents, US officials say, and was allowed to stay by Castro's government.
However, during his stay Cuban officials say he committed crimes that landed him in a Cuban prison.
In 2006, officials at the US Interests Section in Havana were contacted by Cuban officials, who said they had Adjmi in custody and were preparing to release him from prison, at which time they planned to expel him from Cuba.
US officials were asked to take him back, and agreed, resulting in Wednesday's flight.
Adjmi had to be carried from the plane and into a US vehicle. He was transferred to a Miami-Dade fire rescue ambulance after complaining of chest pains, and was taken to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson memorial Hospital.
The extradition of Adjmi is a highly unusual event. The US State Department notes Cuba is known for harboring US fugitives. " In previous years, the government responded to requests to extradite U.S. fugitives by stating that approval would be contingent upon the U.S. returning wanted Cuban criminals," the State Department says on its website. "U.S. fugitives range from convicted murderers, two of whom killed police officers, to numerous hijackers. Most of those fugitives entered Cuba in the 1970s."
One famous US fugitive still in Cuba is Robert Vesco, a US financier in the 70's who was investigated for securities fraud. Vesco tried to make the investigation go away by making an illegal campaign contribution to the campaign of Richard Nixon, but the scheme backfired and he fled the country in 1973.
A decade later, after stops in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Vesco was allowed into Cuba for medical treatment, but ran afoul of Cuban authorities after he became involved in AIDS drug scheme. Vesco was convicted in 1996 to 13 years in custody, where he remains.
It's not known if Vesco could face the same fate on his release from Cuban prison in 2009.
Click to read the original indictments and warrants (PDF)http://cbs4.com/misc/local_file_115162440
Cubans brighten up Nevis
Despite the minor setback of a delayed shipment of supplies from their homeland, a number of visiting Cuban social workers began their task of replacing thousands of incandescent bulbs in households on Nevis to energy saving bulbs, a project Junior Minister Hon. Carlisle Powell responsible for Utilities said would save the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) a total of US$1.4 million annually.
Mr. Powell said the project which is referred to as the Incandescent Bulbs Replacement Programme is part of a goodwill gesture by the Cuban government extended to select islands in the Caribbean.
"Based on the report done for us by the Cubans, it could mean saving the island up to a total of US$1.4 million per year and this divided between savings on fuel and electricity consumption. The Cubans are looking at changing approximately 54,000 light bulbs during this period. I think that it is a significant undertaking by the Cubans.
"The saving is significant because it means not investing that money in electricity for the government and from the Nevis Electricity Company Limited's (NEVLEC) point having that money to invest in other areas to improve the company. For the householder it obviously means savings because they would be able to save this money from utility bills and invest that money in other ways of improving the family," he said.
He added that the savings would enable government to keep a reserve which would be used to improve other aspects of life on Nevis.
Mr. Powell said in an effort to assist with the effective implementation of the programme, the Administration had been requested to provide accommodation in the form of a community centre, meals for 30 persons, transportation to move the workforce and transport the bulbs and a total of 30 local volunteers. The workers have been placed at the community centre on Hanleys Road.
The minister disclosed that the Cubans were looking to replace an estimated 54,000 bulbs over a period of 15 working days. Each social worker is expected to visit 10 housing units daily to replace an average of 120 incandescent light bulbs. The teams work schedule ranges from 2 pm to 7 pm from Mondays to Fridays and from 8 am to 6 pm Saturdays.
He noted that while the programme intended to change every light bulb in households throughout Nevis, bulbs would be made available for replacement purposes.
"The programme is not only a programme of exchanging light bulbs but from discussions with the Cuban they are also bringing in some extra light bulbs that we will be able to have available for people at a cost. The initial exchange is free.
"I am sure that people will take the opportunity to ensure that they have those replacement bulbs. We [NIA] will have to make sure that the bulbs are available for the people, so that when they want to change their bulbs they would be there. If we don't people will go back to the cheaper light bulbs which they are accustom to and we will defeat the purpose," he said.
The Incandescent Bulbs Replacement Programme concluded in St. Kitts recently before the team headed to Nevis.
Havel, his committee call for human rights support in Cuba
Berlin- Former Czech president Vaclav Havel called for greater international solidarity for the benefit of freedom and human rights in Cuba, at the start of a two-day meeting of the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba (ICDC) in Berlin.
Havel addressed his appeal mainly to the European Union.
"Everything that serves human rights and freedoms must be paid attention," Havel said.
He stressed the importance of international support, referring to his personal experience from opposition to the former regime in Czechoslovakia.
The ICDC brings together politicians and intellectuals. It was created on Havel's initiative four years ago. Its members include former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar and Nobel Literature Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa from Peru.
He clearly pointed to the EU's years-long disunity on the totalitarian regime in Cuba.
The Czech Republic and some other post-communist EU member countries are among the major critics of the Cuban regime and refuse to cooperate with it while some western countries are more accommodating towards the regime of Fidel Castro.
"The policy the EU pursues seems to me to be rather cautious," Havel told journalists.
He said this concerns human rights in other countries as well. He mentioned Belarus, Burma and north Korea.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg will speak at the conference tomorrow.
Charity plays big role in Cuba visitPosted: Wednesday, April 25, 2007 7:53 AM EDTBy Nathaniel Hoffman
For the Idaho Press-TribuneHAVANA, Cuba — Mixed in among the 34 farmers, academics and food exporters who joined Gov. Butch Otter on his recent trade mission to Cuba was Liz and her case of medical supplies.
Murtland, who runs the Nampa-based Hands of Hope Northwest, Inc., a faith-based organization that donates needed medical supplies across the world, learned firsthand how difficult it is for Americans to trade with Cubans.
Even when it's for charity.Murtland could only bring $200 worth of health supplies — bandage material, catheters and respiratory equipment, among other items. The limits are part of a U.S. embargo against the communist Caribbean state 90 miles off the Florida coast.
"Our intentions were to take more than that," Murtland said, "but we didn't want to break the law."
Murtland had $1,800 worth of supplies slated for Cuba. But she was only able to bring the $200 worth of items herself. A mission participant from the Idaho Department of Commerce carried another $200 worth, on behalf of the organization.They delivered the supplies to the April 19 clinic, a busy, tree-shaded general medical office in southern Havana where many Cuban medical students train.
Murtland presented the modest set of supplies to doctors at the clinic, where the Idaho delegation gained some insight into Cuba's heath system.
"Because we all care about health care, we wanted to share something with them from the state of Idaho," Murtland said.Cubans are proud of their universal health care system, and Cuban doctors work in developing countries across the world. Murtland said she still has some questions about the level of care provided in Cuba, but that she appreciated all of the time that Cuban medical officials spent with the Idaho delegation.
Otter's first trade mission as governor has resulted in some pledges from Cuba's food import agency, Alimport, to buy Idaho meat and possibly some other products.
Murtland said the group that traveled with the governor will meet again and follow up on the contacts they made on the island.This week, Hands of Hope shipped 17,000 pounds of medical supplies worth $230,000 to Kenya. The group has sent containers of supplies to the Philippines and to Pakistan recently as well.
Otter praised Murtland's role in the Idaho delegation several times while in Cuba.
"We have a great organization in Idaho that is capable of delivering about a million and half, $2 million a year worth of needed medical supplies free of charge," Otter told reporters in the lobby of the Hotel Nacional, Havana's flagship hotel."They look forward to increasing the donations to the medical needs in Cuba."
Nathaniel Hoffman is an independent journalist in Boise and a former reporter for the Idaho Press-Tribune.
Publicado el miércoles 25 de abril del 2007
Rigondeaux insaciable en boxeoPor ANNE-MARIE GARCIAThe Associated Press
LA HABANA –El boxeador cubano Guillermo Rigondeaux espera prolongar su cadena de 95 victorias cuando inicien el sábado los Juegos del ALBA en Venezuela.
"Dar lo mejor en el cuadrilátero para ganar es la prioridad. Entrené muy fuerte y cuando uno asimila la preparación no hay rival difícil", afirmó Rigondeaux a la AP.
El bicampeón campeón olímpico y mundial de los pesos gallo encabeza la delegación de boxeo de Cuba en los juegos regionales.
"Este torneo viene como anillo al dedo con vistas a los Juegos Panamericanos de Río donde quiero retener el título que gané hace cuatro años", comentó.
Pero además el púgil de 26 años que hilvana una cadena de 95 victorias consecutivas iniciada en el 2003, tiene la meta de superar los 144 triunfos que alcanzó entre el 2000 y el 2003.
"No me quiero presionar, las cosas se logran paso a paso", afirmó.
Considerado como un boxeador muy técnico y ágil en el ring, se convirtió en el boxeador, insigne de Cuba después del retiro del ligero Mario Kindelán en el 2004. Además a finales del año pasado los campeones olímpicos Yan Barthelemy, Yuriolski Gamboa y Odlanier Solís desertaron en Venezuela.
En la cita olímpica de Beijing el año que viene, Rigondeaux buscará su tercer título, una hazaña que sólo lograron los cubanos Félix Savón y Teófilo Stevenson, así como el húngaro Laszlo Papp.
Junto con Rigondeaux competirán en el ALBA, el subcampeón mundial Andry Laffita (48 kilos), Alexeis Collado (51), Iván Oñate (57), Rosniel Iglesias (60), Richard Poll (64), Carlos Banteur (69), Luis Enrique García (75), Yordanis Despaigne (81), Yunier Dorticós (91) y Michel López (más de 91).
Alarcón pone en duda que Castro reaparezca en el acto del 1 de mayo
'Una cosa es estar bien, pero estar ahí dos horas viendo un desfile… prefiero verlo por televisión. Se ve mejor por televisión', dijo Alarcón.
miércoles 25 de abril de 2007 16:54:00
Fidel Castro debería reaparecer en televisión antes que en el desfile del 1 de mayo, aunque está "muy bien" y lejos de ser "un hombre liquidado", dijo el presidente de la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular, Ricardo Alarcón, informó la AFP.
"Una cosa es estar bien, pero estar ahí dos horas viendo un desfile… prefiero verlo por televisión. Se ve mejor por televisión", dijo Alarcón en una recepción el martes por la noche, al ser consultado sobre si Castro, de 80 años de edad, aparecerá en público el Día Internacional de los Trabajadores.
El funcionario cubano afirmó que Castro —tras convalecer casi 10 meses de una severa crisis intestinal— está "muy bien", ocupado en varios asuntos y se comunica por teléfono "varias veces al día" con sus colaboradores.
"Está muy al tanto de las cosas principales, siguiéndolas con mucho interés, con mucha atención. No tiene nada que ver con un hombre liquidado (…) Sé de algunos temas que está siguiendo, los que tienen que ver con eso me dicen que les llamó", dijo Alarcón en declaraciones en la nunciatura, en La Habana, en ocasión de la celebración del segundo aniversario del pontificado de Benedicto XVI.
Comentó, además, que es notable la mejoría que se observa en Castro en las tres últimas fotos publicadas por la prensa oficialista cubana, este sábado, donde se le ve con más peso, en un encuentro de una hora con Wu Guanzheng, alto dirigente del Partido Comunista Chino.
"Francamente hubo algunas fotos, algunas tomas (anteriores) que no fueron muy felices, pero estas no. Yo vi a Wu y le pregunté (cómo lo vio) y estaba impresionado; me dijo: 'Está muy fuerte'".
Castro cedió el poder temporalmente a su hermano Raúl, de 75 años, el 31 de julio pasado, cuatro días después de sufrir una compleja cirugía, y desde entonces sólo ha aparecido en videos y fotos, y ha publicado mensajes y tres artículos de prensa.
En el último artículo, el 11 de abril, sugirió que la tradicional marcha que convoca el régimen el 1 de mayo se convierta en una protesta por la liberación bajo fianza en Estados Unidos del anticastrista Luis Posada Carriles, lo que hizo pensar a muchos en que podría reaparecer ese día en la Plaza de la Revolución.
"No tengo la menor idea de quiénes son las personas que van a estar en el acto. Está invitado (Castro) como todo el mundo, si va o no va…", dijo Alarcón.
Según un reporte de ANSA, el funcionario pidió "paciencia" en cuanto a la reaparición de Castro.
"Realmente no sé (cuando reaparecerá), yo le dejo la especulación a ustedes (la prensa), a mí no me gusta especular y no quiero ser poco serio en esto", añadió.
provo, utah – Two recent events in Cuba underline the uncertainty that swirls around a post-Castro regime.
On Friday, a hospitalizedFidel Castro met with a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo, Wu Guanzheng. It may be no coincidence that Mr. Wu’s specialty is Communist Party discipline.
About a week earlier, opposition parties, Catholics, Social Democrats, and liberals, in a rare and usually dangerous kind of dissent, issued a “unity agreement,” pledging to work for free elections and the democratic selection of a new leader for Cuba. Such actions usually bring sharp reaction from Cuba’s ruling Communist Party.
All this is taking place amid continued speculation inside and outside Cuba about Mr. Castro’s ability to return to power, temporarily transferred to his brother Raúl during his months-long hospitalization. Raúl Castro is a reliable bureaucrat but lacks the charisma of his brother.
Granma, the official party newspaper in Cuba, carried a picture of Castro and Wu, presumably shot in the hospital. Castro is dressed in a track suit and is standing. Party officials claim that his recovery is going well and that he will be back to work soon.
However, there has been no indication of whether Castro will be present at the big annual May 1 celebration, where he traditionally has delivered one of his four-hour speeches. Cuban observers in the United States point out that since his hospitalization, there have been no pictures of Castro walking, nor has his voice been heard on radio or television. Messages from him have supposedly been written by him, but they have been delivered by party officials. Speculation is that the messages are going through a filter to ensure that there is no deviation from the tough party line.
Meanwhile, Cuba’s rickety economy is beset by continuing problems. This year’s sugar harvest was well below normal, and tourism is down by 7 percent. Cuba faces a continuing shortage of oil and has been existing on deeply discounted shipments from Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chávez, sees Castro as a leftist brother in arms. Cuba’s own oil is heavy with sulphur, which is highly corrosive.
Some power plants have been shut down as a result of using the damaging Cuban oil. Oil from Venezuela was intended for Cuban domestic use but the Cuban regime is selling some of it for badly needed cash to solve some of its financial problems.
While Venezuela’s Mr. Chávez idolizes Castro, nations such as Spain that may once have been friendly to the Cuban regime are expressing concern about its continuing clampdown and imprisonment of dissidents and would-be reformers.
Two former Polish presidents, Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski, issued a letter in March to the Cuban people, drawing on Poland’s experience of abandoning communism for democracy. Published in the Miami Herald, the letter said Poland’s example was a “testimony to the victory of agreement over conflict, dialogue over quarrel, good over evil.”
The letter said the “time of change is imminent. The breath of awakening democracy in Cuba can be felt even … in Poland. Be persistent and in solidarity, be patient and indomitable, ready to construct common future for all Cubans, so that your beautiful country can become a friendly home to all those of your citizens who today inhabit the island and those who have been forced to abandon it.” That last phrase is an obvious reference to the large Cuban exile community in Miami.
In a trenchant challenge to the Castro regime, the letter reminded it that “the time of tyrants and running the country while following ‘the only right line’ is coming to an end. A triumphant march of democracy cannot be stopped. We in Poland know this better than anyone else.”
The letter was timed for the fourth anniversary of a Cuban crackdown on dissenters called the “black spring,” an event that the letter called “yet another blow against the democratic opposition.”
Unless Cuba remains a startling exception to communism’s march to democracy elsewhere, change will come to a post-Castro era. Cuban expert Julia Sweig argued in “Foreign Affairs” earlier this year that power in Cuba has already been successfully transferred to a new set of leaders “whose priority is to preserve the system while permitting only very gradual reform.” “[T]he pace and nature of that change will be mostly imperceptible,” she forecasts.
We must see how the vigor and determination of Cuban dissidents measures up to the vigor and determination with which Castro has imposed communism on Cuba for almost 50 years.
• John Hughes, a former editor of the Monitor, is currently a professor of communications at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
CUBACastro migrates to elder-statesman role in CubaBy Pablo BacheletMcClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – Fidel Castro’s health is improving and the 80-year-old leader increasingly is involved in Cuba’s foreign affairs, but he’s unlikely ever to take full command again, a senior U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday.
The comments suggesting that Castro is settling into an elder-statesmen role come after China’s Xinhua news agency reported that Castro was in a hospital when he met Friday with a top Beijing delegation.
The Cuban government released photos of Castro at the meeting, looking healthier than in previous appearances and wearing a track suit. But Xinhua’s mention of the hospital suggested that Castro’s health is still precarious after his announcement last July 31 that he’d undergone surgery for an undisclosed intestinal ailment.
The U.S. intelligence official said the photos themselves suggested that while Castro may indeed be recuperating, he’s not out of the woods.
“An 80-year-old man who’s gone (from public appearances) nine months and still wears a track suit when he meets with foreign dignitaries suggests this is an extremely serious illness still,” the official said in a briefing for two journalists who cover Cuban issues.
The official, who spoke anonymously as a condition for the briefing, which is customary for intelligence matters, gave the most complete assessment of Castro’s health since then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte said in December that Castro had “months, not years” to live.
The intelligence community thinks that Castro may suffer from multiple ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease, an inflammation of the digestive tract.
Castro, according to the official, underwent a botched operation for diverticulitis – an inflammation of the colon – before July 31. The intelligence community initially thought that Castro had cancer because his recovery was taking longer than is usual for a diverticulitis episode, according to the briefer.
CIA doctors long have thought that Castro has Parkinson’s disease, which “adds to the larger picture of how much he can recover,” the official said. And amid the “barrage of reporting” on Castro’s health there was a “suggestion” that he may have Crohn’s disease.
“All these possibilities are not mutually exclusive,” the official said.
“What seems obvious is that over the past couple of months, Castro’s health seems to be on the upswing,” he said. “He seems to be following, particularly foreign affairs, very carefully.”
But he added: “It still seems unlikely, at least to me, that he’ll regain the full range of control he had before the end of July.”
Cuba has been run since August by a collective leadership headed by Fidel’s younger brother Raul and six other trusted aides.
“I think they’ve been very careful to hide cracks,” the official said. “One assumes there are differences within the regime on a variety of lines: civilian-military being one, generational is probably another and perhaps geographic. We get hints once in a while . . . that’s happening, but I would say the senior level of regime know they hang together or hang separately.”
Fidel’s continuing presence is holding back Raul and others from embarking on any reforms, the official noted, though he doubted reports that Raul would enact ambitious political or Chinese-style economic reforms. “I think that’s really strongly against Raul’s basic instincts.”
There were reports that Raul didn’t have as close a friendship with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as Fidel did, but the official predicted that “they would find a way to cooperate, as both sides had so much invested in that relationship.”
Chavez provides Cuba with about $2 billion in oil subsidies every year.
DOVER, Del. (AP) -A Delaware poultry business has signed an agreement with Cuba to ship its products there.
Mountaire Farms will begin shipping containers of chicken to the country in May.
The company’s president, John Wise, says he worked with Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse. He said it was a challenge that required negotiating and building relationships with Cuban officials.
He said Cuba is a natural customer since it has 11 (m) million people living nearby.
Scuse said a March trip to Cuba was very helpful to find other avenues for exporting Delaware goods to the country. 38 other states export goods to Cuba.
If you’re interested in doing business with Cuba, the Texas-Cuba Trade Alliance has a seminar for you.
The conference is Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Infomart, 1950 Stemmons Freeway.
The target audience includes producers, ranchers, export service providers and government officials, who will learn about how to export food and other agricultural products. Speakers include Victor Cannon of Texana Rice Inc. in Louise, Texas, and attorney Robert Muse, who will discuss compliance and licensing.
It’s is sponsored by the alliance; the International Trade Center Small Business Development Center-Dallas, a division of the Dallas County Community College District; and the Texas Cooperative Extension.
Admission is $75, which includes lunch. Call Elizabeth Harris at 214-747-1300 or e-mail .
Havana, Cuba (AHN) – The Cuban government has released several political prisoners who have been behind bars for years after being labeled “dissidents” against the communist regime.
However, as reports of at least seven political prisoners being set free come in, there are also reports that two more dissidents have been sentenced to prison terms, including one for 12 years.
According to the BBC, who has a reporter in Havana, Jorge Luis Garcia was one of those released, after serving a 17-year sentence.
Still, international human rights groups say many more dissidents remain in prison in Cuba. Including, Rolando Jimenez who has been behind bars for over a decade for simply writing anti-Castro slogans.
The Cuban government alleges that political freedom is a reality on the island, and those jailed are paid by the U.S. government to undermine the revolution.
Selbyville-based Mountaire Farms signed a trade agreement with Cuba, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner’s office said Monday.
The poultry company went on a trade mission to Cuba in March with several state officials, including Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse.
According to the contract with Alimport, Cuba’s purchasing agency for farm and food products, Mountaire will begin shipping container loads of chicken to Cuba in May.
Mountaire officials were unavailable for comment. Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods already export chicken to Cuba from other states.