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Daily Archives: April 30, 2007

El gobierno autoriza importación no comercial de equipos de video

El gobierno autoriza importación no comercial de equipos de video

Agencias

lunes 30 de abril de 2007 19:31:00

AFP/ La Habana. El gobierno cubano autorizó a partir del 1 de mayo la importación no comercial "de equipos de video de cualquier tipo", prohibida desde julio de 2002, según una resolución del Ministerio de Finanzas y Precios publicada este lunes en la Gaceta Oficial digital.

"Resulta conveniente eliminar la prohibición", dice el breve texto firmado por la ministra Georgina Barreiro, para "las importaciones que sin carácter comercial se realizan por viajeros y mediante envíos".

Añadió que esa resolución que deroga la prohibición "entra en vigor a partir del primero de mayo de 2007".

En Cuba no se comercializan equipos de video en ninguna de las dos monedas en curso (peso cubano y peso convertible) y los existentes de propietarios particulares han sido importados bajo franquicia.

En el mercado negro pueden adquirirse esos equipos por hasta cuatro veces su valor real.

http://www.cubaencuentro.com/es/encuentro-en-la-red/cuba/noticias/el-gobierno-autoriza-importacion-no-comercial-de-equipos-de-video/(gnews)/1177954260

La Habana prevé un crecimiento económico del 10% en 2007

La Habana prevé un crecimiento económico del 10% en 2007

El gobierno considera que ese crecimiento 'tiene mucho que ver' con la exportación de servicios —como los médicos—, que representó un 76% del PIB.

Agencias

lunes 30 de abril de 2007 15:01:00

El gobierno cubano prevé que la economía de la Isla crezca un 10% este año, impulsada sobre todo por la exportación de servicios como los médicos, dijo este sábado el ministro del sector, José Luis Rodríguez, informó la AFP.

"Cuba tiene una perspectiva de 10% de crecimiento este año" y "esto tiene mucho que ver con el crecimiento de los servicios y el crecimiento de la valorización de esos servicios como bienes exportables del país, cosa que no existía anteriormente", dijo Rodríguez en conferencia de prensa.

"Sin duda han dado un impulso muy importante a la economía", apuntó tras señalar que los servicios médicos y de otras profesiones que presta Cuba a países como —principal aliado económico y político— representaron un 76% del PIB en 2006. Eran de apenas 10% en 1989.

Rodríguez dijo que Cuba reporta desde 2000 una tasa de crecimiento promedio del 6% contra un 3,5% de América Latina, y que "las perspectivas de crecimiento son muy buenas" para la Isla.

Además, "hemos tenido una recuperación en la producción de níquel", actualmente de 75.000 toneladas —era de 27.000t en 1994—, con "la diferencia de que los precios han alcanzado niveles inimaginables", dijo el ministro.

Desde hace tres años, con crecimientos del PIB de 5,4% (2004), 11,8% (2005) y 12,5% el año pasado, de acuerdo con los datos oficiales, Cuba adoptó un método de medición de la economía que contempla los gastos sociales y subsidios, y ha generado críticas en la región.

"No estamos inventado nada que exagere el PIB", señaló Rodríguez, al subrayar que muchos países, incluso de la región, incluyen modificaciones al método tradicional de medición, y destacó que, sobre el tema, el gobierno de Isla "ha ido llegando a puntos de entendimiento" con los expertos de la Comisión Económica para América Latina (CEPAL).

El director adjunto para Centroamérica de ese organismo, Jorge Mathar, declaró al diario oficialista Juventud Rebelde que la CEPAL aprecia "muy positivamente" el "dinamismo" que exhibe la economía de Cuba.

"Entendemos que las relaciones internacionales de Cuba con nuevos socios comerciales están favoreciendo este dinamismo de su economía, aunque algunos otros sectores a lo mejor no lo sean tanto", añadió sin hacer precisiones.

Los principales socios comerciales de la Isla son actualmente Venezuela y , con los que tuvo intercambios comerciales de 2.700 y 2.000 millones de dólares en 2006, respectivamente.

Mathar dijo que la CEPAL mantiene "una relación muy profesional" con Cuba, el único país de la región con que trabaja la entidad que "no pertenece ni al Banco Mundial (BM), ni al BID (Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo), ni al Fondo Monetario (Internacional), ni a la OEA (Organización de Estados Americanos)".

Según Juventud Rebelde, el experto realizó una visita de una semana a la Cuba para recopilar datos para el informe que la CEPAL rinde cada año sobre el estado de la economía latinoamericana y caribeña, y conocer "el quehacer de la Isla en materia ambientalista".

http://www.cubaencuentro.com/es/encuentro-en-la-red/cuba/noticias/la-habana-preve-un-crecimiento-economico-del-10-en-2007/(gnews)/1177938060

Castro’s recovery viewed as setback for reform in Cuba

Castro's recovery viewed as setback for reform in CubaBy Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times | April 29, 2007

MIAMI — Nine months after falling victim to an illness that many US analysts assumed would prove fatal, appears to have come back from death's door to resume some leadership responsibilities and rein in Cuba's would-be reformers.Article Tools

He's receiving visiting dignitaries, not just friends such as Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Hugo Chávez of but official delegations, including one led earlier this month by a senior figure in the Chinese Communist Party, Wu Guanzheng.

Castro's name is again attached to editorials for Cuba's state-run media, ones in which the US government is lambasted for freeing an accused terrorist and Brazil is criticized for using crops for ethanol production when they could be feeding poor people.

And, to the alarm of veteran Cuba-watchers who sensed a new degree of openness to economic change during Castro's absence, the apparently reinvigorated revolutionary is now believed to be blocking moves to let Cubans open small businesses.

US analysts of Cuban developments acknowledge they know little about Castro's illness or the degree of his recuperation. His personal secretary said he was suffering from intestinal bleeding when he handed over power in the summer to his brother Raúl.

US intelligence sources have speculated he has cancer. But the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported the most plausible version of his prolonged medical attention, citing unidentified doctors familiar with Castro's case. The newspaper said the Cuban president had undergone three surgeries to remove infected intestinal tissue and became gravely ill when the incisions failed to heal and the infection spread to his stomach.

In , President Evo Morales said he was sure Castro would resume power during May Day celebrations in Havana, the private Unitel television network reported yesterday. "I'm sure, my Cuban brothers, that on May 1 comrade Fidel will return to governing," he said, adding that he had not received any official word from Cuban authorities.

President Bush yesterday called Cuba's communist government, a "cruel dictatorship," but he predicted that democratic change was near.

Bush said in a commencement speech at Miami Dade College in Florida that many Cubans were dreaming of a better life. "Some of you still have loved ones who live in Cuba and wait for the day when the light of liberty will shine upon them again," the president said. "That day is nearing."

Since Raúl Castro, the defense minister and first vice president, took over for his older brother July 31, state-authorized media exposés on rampant corruption and the younger Castro's public criticism of shortages in food, transportation, and have hinted at internal review of Cuba's political and economic system, said Phil Peters, vice president of the Lexington Institute near Washington and a veteran analyst of Cuban affairs.

Raúl Castro has a reputation for pragmatism about private enterprise within the state-run , having inaugurated many of the island's most successful hard currency-earning joint ventures in in the early 1990s, when the country was reeling from the sudden cutoff of Soviet aid.

During the fall, when Fidel Castro was too sick even to make an appearance at the September summit of the Non-Aligned Movement or his delayed 80th birthday celebrations in December, the government announced a thorough review was under way to identify, and presumably correct, flaws in the communist ideology guiding the country.

"Now it looks like cold water's getting poured over all that," Peters said. "That, to me, is the clearest sign that Fidel Castro is getting better and getting closer to coming back to office."

Hopes of an expansion in self-employment were buoyed in the fall when Raúl Castro began speaking out in interviews and speeches about the government's inability to properly provide for its 11.2 million citizens.

Those hopes were dashed, at least for the short term, this month when Vice President Carlos Lage, architect of the early 1990s reforms, parroted Fidel Castro's condemnation of "social distortions" in a speech to a Communist youth group.

http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2007/04/29/castros_recovery_viewed_as_setback_for_reform_in_cuba/

MANIFESTACIONES DE EXCLUSIVIDAD RACIAL SON ADOPTADAS POR LA TELEVISIÓN CUBANA

MANIFESTACIONES DE EXCLUSIVIDAD RACIAL SON ADOPTADAS POR LA TELEVISIÓN CUBANA2007-04-30.Miriam Herrera Calvo, Periodista Independiente

No existen dudas que todos los medios de difusión masiva, son los mejores cronistas y narradores que existen; sus efectos van mas allá de líneas divisorias entre países, diferencias de idiomas, culturas y actitudes políticas de quienes los disfrutan.

La televisión es la más apreciada por los cubanos y ocupa un peculiar lugar en la familia, por lo que sus imágenes y mensajes ayudan a modificar y cambiar conductas personales y sociales. Además, elevan y solidifican la cultura integral de las personas. No en pocas ocasiones muchos escapan de la realidad y con la ayuda de la tele viven sueños no siempre realizables.

Los dramatizados, telenovelas, policíacos, aventuras, programas infantiles, informativos de opinión excluyen a protagonistas afrodecendientes y cuando están presentes en roles secundarios siempre adulteran sus proyecciones e imágenes.

El Gobierno actual de la Isla desde sus inicios en 1959 proclamó, la igualad de personas. Dentro de estos cambios no escapó la racial, pero ésta no ha dejado de existir unas veces con más o menos fuerza pero siempre latente, visible para la mayoría de los pertenecientes a la raza negra y aceptada o rebatida por los blancos. Pero no perceptible para la dirección gubernamental del país, que en etapas anteriores ha tratado de solucionar el problema mediante campañas, las que no han dado los resultados esperados.

Los creadores de programaciones televisivas se han unido a las inexactas creencias que los negros son pocos inteligentes y salvo pocos casos, carecen de atractivos faciales y corporales, disminución de cualidades histriónicas.

De tal manera y con funciones terrenales y espirituales similares, de continuar distorsionándose el actuar y el espacio de las personas pertenecientes a la raza negra, estarán las nuevas generaciones de cubanos unidas a las actuales atentando contra sus propios orígenes.

Las verdaderas diferencias entre los hombres es el sentir o no respeto por los demás. La especie humana es un "todo" a pesar de sus matices, casi siempre diversos y abismales.

http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/article.asp?artID=10024

ENTREVISTA CON FRANK WALTER STEINMEIER, MINISTRO DE ASUNTOS EXTERIORES DE ALEMANIA:"La UE está dispuesta a apoyar el cambio en Cuba"

29/4/2007ENTREVISTA CON FRANK WALTER STEINMEIER, MINISTRO DE ASUNTOS EXTERIORES DE :"La está dispuesta a apoyar el cambio en Cuba"GONZALO CÁCERESBERLÍN

EDAD 50 AÑOSLUGAR DE NACIMIENTO DETMOLD (RENANIA DEL NORTE-WESTFALIA)FORMACIÓN DOCTOR EN DERECHO Y CIENCIAS POLÍTICASFILIACIÓN POLÍTICA SPD, SOCIALDEMÓCRATACARGO ANTERIOR SECRETARIO DE ESTADO RESPONSABLE DE LOS SERVICIOS SECRETOS

Los últimas encuestas confirman que el ministro de Exteriores alemán, el socialdemócrata Frank Walter Steinmeier, es junto con la cancillera Angela Merkel uno de los políticos mejor valorados por sus conciudadanos. Se habla incluso de que podría convertirse en el candidato a canciller de su partido en las próximas elecciones. Steinmeier ha conseguido mejorar las relaciones de su país con todo el mundo, incluso con EEUU después del distanciamiento provocado por la guerra de Irak. El actual del Consejo de la Unión Europea (UE), que privilegia las relaciones con España, conversó con EL PERIÓDICO tras su última gira por América Latina.

– ¿Cuál es el primer balance después de cuatro meses de presidencia alemana de la UE?– Creo que podemos estar satisfechos con lo logrado en la primera mitad de la presidencia, y lo digo no solo por los resultados concretos. También porque me acuerdo muy bien de la fase de estancamiento con la que comenzamos y de las enormes dudas que había sobre las posibilidades de poner nuevamente en marcha los asuntos europeos. Lo conseguido no es un éxito solo de la presidencia alemana, ya que en estos cuatro meses ha crecido la conciencia de que no podíamos seguir como estábamos y de que necesitábamos capacidad de maniobra para seguir consolidando la Europa de los 27 y afrontar los desafíos del siglo XXI.

– ¿Cuáles son esos desafíos?– Varios, pero yo destacaría las cuestiones relacionadas con la política energética y el cambio climático. La cumbre europea mostró que se podía avanzar y hemos adoptado decisiones valientes en el Consejo Europeo. Incluso diría que podemos hablar de decisiones que marcan pauta, por ejemplo, sobre la reducción del CO2. Detrás de todo ello hay una posición central que muestra a Europa en una situación de avanzada en la protección del clima. Soy consciente de que tenemos todavía por delante enormes y difíciles tareas, por ejemplo la reforma institucional de la UE.

– Acaba de regresar de América Latina y allí España ha dado un paso importante al reabrir sus relaciones con Cuba. ¿Se distancia España de Europa, o es el primer paso para una nueva política europea hacia la isla?– El paso que ha dado el ministro Moratinos no es una afrenta a la UE en general o a la presidencia en particular. España entiende que tiene una relación especial con los países latinoamericanos y eso se justifica por su vínculo histórico con la región. Espero el informe sobre la cuestión que entregará España a los demás países europeos.

– Cuba acapara nuevamente la atención internacional. ¿Cómo ve usted el futuro de la isla?– Creo que Cuba necesita una apertura y, cuando se discute sobre la efectividad de mantener un boicot, quiero decir que, por parte de la UE, no hay tal boicot. Lo que hay es el deseo de que quienes tengan la oportunidad de mantener conversaciones políticas en Cuba también puedan hablar con representantes de la minoría y de la oposición, y esto no resulta muy fácil.

– ¿Cuáles son sus deseos en relación con Cuba?– Deseo fervientemente que haya un mayor desarrollo que el conocido hasta ahora. Podría ser que las jóvenes generaciones de políticos cubanos, que han tenido acceso al poder, orienten el país hacia la apertura. Hay algunos signos en esa dirección. Sin esa apertura, Cuba no podrá impulsar el desarrollo económico que necesita para el bienestar de su gente. Vamos a estudiar el tema en el próximo Consejo de la Unión Europea, antes de junio, teniendo en cuenta las experiencias de nuestro colega Moratinos, y estoy seguro de que adoptaremos acuerdos en los que quedará claro que la UE, como organización, está dispuesta a apoyar el cambio.

– ¿Qué importancia tiene América Latina para los europeos?– Por diferentes razones, se ha convertido en un interlocutor muy importante, y esa proximidad es buena. Constituye un punto de partida para pensar cómo podemos intensificar nuestras relaciones en el futuro. Nos necesitamos en este mundo cambiante desde la perspectiva de la globalización, en la que ningún país, incluso ningún continente, puede afrontar por sí solo problemas como el cambio climático, la desertización o los movimientos migratorios. A ello se añade el punto de vista económico, ya que Europa, y Alemania como parte de Europa, vive sobre todo de su economía de exportación. Por el momento, podemos estar satisfechos y agradecidos de que muchas regiones en el mundo atraviesen fases de crecimiento, y tenemos interés en que este desarrollo se estabilice. Y por eso, deberíamos aprovechar precisamente la fase actual para contactar con aquellas economías, como la latinoamericana, que muestran su interés por nosotros.

http://www.elperiodico.com/default.asp?idpublicacio_PK=46&idioma=CAS&idnoticia_PK=400953&idseccio_PK=1007

US baseball makes big pitch for Cuba

US baseball makes big pitch for CubaMICHAEL S SCHMIDT

ULTIMATELY it is only a game, but baseball is helping to thaw relations between Cuba and the United States.

Major League Baseball officials are quietly preparing to re-establish a link with Havana if the US lifts its trade .

, 80, has had serious problems, and his brother Raul is Cuba's interim , which has prompted speculation about the country's future. Baseball officials began discussions a year and a half ago about how to approach the possibility of normalised relations with Cuba.

A strategy is being considered for US teams to sign Cuban players and to create an orderly system for acquiring talent from the island, according to three baseball officials and a scholar who was briefed on the plans.

"There may not be any significant changes with our relationship with Cuba in the near term, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't think about these things," said Joe Garagiola Jr, the senior vice president for baseball operations. "We are thinking about them, and that is probably the extent of what we can say at this point."

Baseball officials are also considering moving a minor league team to Cuba and building training academies similar to those that teams have in the Dominican Republic, according to a report earlier this month by Fortune magazine.

Major League Baseball has stepped up efforts to expand internationally in the past year. In March 2005, it and the players' union organised the first World Baseball Classic, a 16-team international tournament designed to broaden interest in the sport. Baseball began expansion initiatives in Asia and Africa this past off-season.

But Cuba, which is 90 miles off the Florida coast, has a rich baseball history and is considered a future source of players, fans and revenue. The first Cuban players arrived to play professional baseball in the US in the early 1900s. In 1946, the Washington Senators established a minor league team in Cuba, and the Brooklyn Dodgers sporadically spent spring training there in the 1930s and 1940s.

Castro took power in 1959, and the US imposed sanctions in 1961. Some of the Cuban players who have since reached the majors have been defectors. Overall, Cuba has produced 152 Major League players.

Outside the US and , only , Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have produced more players. The highest number of Cuban players was 30 in 1967, and there were nine last year.

In 1999, Baltimore Orioles played a home-and-home series with Cuba. But baseball, in accordance with US law, prohibits clubs from scouting in Cuba and much remains unknown about baseball on the island. It is unclear how deep the talent pool is or how developed the youth leagues are.

Cuba has a 16-team national league that plays a 90-game season. Players such as second baseman Yulieski Gourriel, who awed scouts at last year's World Baseball Classic, are believed to be talented enough to play in the majors. But the overall competition is considered to be two steps below the majors.

Baseball officials have reached out to business executives, professors and Cuban-born players to learn more about the intricacies of baseball, and life, there.

Discussions between baseball officials and the State Department could soon take place, but a State Department spokesman said there would be no comment on a hypothetical diplomatic situation such as US relations with a post-Castro Cuba.

Cuban-born Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, a professor of literature at Yale University and the author of The Pride Of Havana: A History Of Cuban Baseball, said he was informally advising Joe Garagiola and had the impression that baseball officials wanted to work with Cuba, but warned it could lead to an exodus of Cuban talent.

"Joe has said they want to respect the league, but the moment that Major League teams can sign Cuban players, they are all going to want to leave," Echevarria said. "Would the players rather play in an impoverished country or play minor league baseball in America in the hopes of making it to the majors?"

http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=495&id=659962007

Cubans, Cayman in limbo

Cubans, Cayman in limboBy Brent Fuller, [email protected] 29th April, 2007 Posted: 16:13 CIT (21:13 GMT)

Cayman Islands Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson said last week that an agreement which allows for the repatriation of Cuban migrants to their home country does not dictate Cayman's immigration policies.

However, he said delays in repatriation have caused substantial problems, and he said there's not much Cayman can do about it.

"Right now, we're at their mercy," Mr. Manderson said in a Thursday press briefing.

According to immigration officials, 74 Cuban migrants have arrived in the Cayman Islands since 1 January. Fifteen have chosen to continue on with their journey, and another nine have been repatriated.

Fifty are still in the Immigration Detention Centre awaiting repatriation.

Some of those migrants have been here for as long as 60 days, even though the Memorandum of Understanding – MOU – with Cuba states repatriation should occur within 21 days.

Mr. Manderson said in previous years the problem has been worse. In 2004, he estimated 400 Cubans were temporarily being kept in Cayman. A decade earlier in 1994 there were more than 1,000.

"How do we end this?" Mr. Manderson asked rhetorically. "Through diplomatic means? Does it mean us going to Cuba and negotiating this MOU better, or asking for it to be just simply abided by? That's something we're considering."

Mr. Manderson said another diplomatic route would involve the British Embassy meeting with Cuban officials, but he said Cayman doesn't control that option.

"We don't have a direct contact from immigration to immigration. Basically, we can only deal from diplomat to diplomat," he said.

As repatriation delays grew longer, Cayman saw three escapes from its Immigration Detention Centre within 10 days of each other in April. The final incident turned into a public protest with about 30 Cubans marching through the streets of George Town.

Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Dennis Brady said some measures to step up security at the centre have been taken, and others are being considered. He declined to give specifics.

"We cannot say that it will never happen again, but we have taken steps to prevent future escapes," Mr. Brady said.

Mr. Brady said there's no evidence the 30 or so migrants who escaped the detention centre on 14 April were aided in their initial escape.

"But we do have confidential sources which indicate that once they're out, they do get assistance," Mr. Brady said.

Immigration officials said rendering that assistance to immigrants can bring fines and sentences to those who are convicted of such offences.

Mr. Manderson has repeatedly said he does not support the general public even giving and water to Cubans who show up on Cayman's shores because he believes it will encourage illegal immigration.

"How would we feel if 600 Haitians landed in Jamaica and they said 'here's some food, water and a boat…try Cayman?' We would be a bit upset about that."

http://www.caycompass.com/cgi-bin/CFPnews.cgi?ID=1021778

Bush predicts change is near for Cuba

Monday, April 30, 2007Bush predicts change is near for Cuba

MIAMI: George W Bush took fresh aim on Saturday at Cuba's communist government, calling it a "cruel dictatorship" and predicting that democratic change was near. The US president's comments came amid signs that Cuban leader was recovering from an intestinal ailment that has kept him out of the public eye for the past nine months and may soon resume some government duties. Bush, who has tightened economic sanctions on Havana and boosted aid to dissidents with a goal of hastening the end of Castro's grip on power, said in a commencement speech at Miami Dade College that many Cubans were dreaming of a better life. "Unfortunately, those dreams are stifled by a cruel dictatorship that denies all in the name of a dark and discredited ideology," Bush said, noting that many people at the graduation had roots in Cuba, which is just 90 miles (140 km) from Florida. "Some of you still have loved ones who live in Cuba and wait for the day when the light of liberty will shine upon them again," Bush said. "That day is nearing". Since Fidel Castro, 80, handed over power temporarily to his brother in July, he has since been seen only in videotaped footage and in photographs. reuters

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007\04\30\story_30-4-2007_pg4_3

Castro ‘poised for Mayday return’

Castro 'poised for Mayday return'Bolivian Evo Morales has said he thinks Cuban leader Fidel Castro will return to the public eye on 1 May after a long recovery from illness.

Mr Morales made the remarks ahead of a summit in , adding that he had not spoken to him in person but heard the news from Cuban officials.

"I am certain that, on May 1, comrade Fidel will resume his role leading Cuba and Latin America," Mr Morales said.

Mr Castro has been out of the public eye for the last nine months.

"We all would like for his swift recovery to be even faster" Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez

Last week the 80-year-old Cuban leader held talks with a top delegate from in what is thought to be his first official act since his illness last year.

Mr Castro's , which remains a state secret, came under close scrutiny by international media after he had stomach surgery last July.

Some six million Cubans are expected to take part in 1 May celebrations across Cuba on Tuesday. The day marks International Labour Day.

For most of the last 47 years of his rule, Mr Castro has marked the occasion with a lengthy speech in Havana's revolution square.

"We all would like for his swift recovery to be even faster and for him to be with us," Economy Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez told reporters on Saturday, the AFP news agency said.

"That recovery is coming along well, but it is going to take the time that necessary medical steps take, and we are going to have to respect whatever is necessary to do in that case."

Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/6605723.stm

Published: 2007/04/29 14:58:01 GMT

Europe willing to ‘support change’ in Cuba, says EU presidency

Europe willing to 'support change' in Cuba, says presidencyPublished on Monday, April 30, 2007

MADRID, (AFP): The is "willing to support change" in Cuba, a Spanish newspaper quoted German Foreign Minister and current EU Frank-Walter Steinmeier as saying on Sunday.

Steinmeier told Catalan daily El Periodico the issue of future EU relations with Cuba would be raised at the next Council of the European Union meeting.

Spain, which has spearheaded efforts to revive EU-Cuba relations hurt by Havana's jailing of 75 dissidents in 2003, decided to renew its ties with the island earlier this month.

"This step forward … is not an affront to the EU in general and the German presidency in particular," Steinmeier said, adding that Spain would write up a report on the subject for its European partners.

"I am convinced that we (the EU members) will adopt agreements where it will be clear that the EU as an organisation is willing to support change" on the island, Steinmeier said.

"It is possible that the young generations of Cuban politicians, who have had access to power, will move the country towards opening. There are some signs in this direction," he added.

http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-1234–5-5–.html

Cuba’s Long Lie Expectancy

Cuba's Long Lie ExpectancyINVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILYPosted 4/27/2007

Media: Communist regimes are known to falsify and distort statistics, but they rarely get away with it unless Western media play along. They scored a big hit recently with data about Cuba's storied life expectancy.

In a widely distributed news story, the Associated Press last week explained why Cubans were living such long, healthy lives under their 47-year totalitarian dictatorship. Taking the word of Cuban officials, it credited the island's "mild climate," "free medical care" and "low-stress Caribbean lifestyle." Right on cue, CBS gave "thanks to the socialist island state's free -care system" that's there so "fortunately."

But media claims that socialism lets Cubans live longer makes no sense. Cuba's living conditions portend anything but a long life. The media reports, moreover, often misinterpret the data. "The average Joe reading these stories doesn't have all the background, and can be fooled by propaganda," says Cuban author Humberto Fontova.

Life expectancy at birth, as defined by Oxford demographers, is how many years a baby would live if patterns of mortality at the time of his birth remain steady through his lifetime. It correlates closely with infant mortality, because the longer a person lives, the longer he can expect to advance past the average.

According to 2007 CIA World Factbook cited by AP, Cubans live an average of 77.08 years, with men at 74.85 and women at 79.43. But in its praise-filled report, the AP missed that this actually represents a decline in life expectancy. The year before, the average was 77.41 with men at 75.11 and women at 79.89.

This may reflect that Cubans aren't living in steady conditions through their lifetimes. With a 1990 cutoff of aid from the Soviet Union, there has been a huge decline in living standards, according to University of Pittsburgh professor Carmelo Mesa-Lagos, who is recognized as a leader in Cuban demographics.

In an interview with IBD, he explained that Cubans often do live long lives, but not because of balmy weather, good health care or any other reasons cited by Cuba's propagandists.

From sanitation to , "Cubans have experienced deterioration in all health indicators," Mesa-Lagos said. As a result, Cubans have seen an uptick in diseases such as hepatitis and acute diarrhea. The increase of water-borne diseases does not correlate with long life spans anywhere else in the world, he said.

and critical vitamin shortages, meanwhile, were also major problems in Cuba, notes Andy S. Gomez, assistant provost of the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. "A deficit of Vitamin C and a lack of appropriate diet has caused Cubans to suffer eye diseases," he said.

Mesa-Lagos agreed, saying that a few years ago, elderly Cubans experienced an epidemic of sudden blindness due to vitamin shortages. Worse yet, a third of Cuban doctors had been shipped to , leaving many with no access to any health care at all, he added.

The only area in which Cuba's data are in line with the rest of the world is infant mortality, Mesa-Lagos said. Low readings there normally correlate with longevity, and Cubans' long average life span is technically in line with its low infant mortality, he said.

"But how do you achieve this?" Mesa-Lagos asks. Countries differ, for example, in how they count births. If a newborn doesn't live more than 24 hours, it often doesn't show up in infant mortality statistics. The figure is depressed even further by abortion, he said, noting that Cubans are often pressured into abortions if there is a chance a baby might require extra medical care.

At seven in 10 pregnancies, Cuba's abortion rate is Latin America's highest, said Fontova. Cuba also has one of the world's highest suicide rates, which also doesn't show up in expectancy data.

Gomez said Cuba's sunny life span numbers seem to conceal a larger issue — the country's rapidly aging population. It has 11.2 million people, and only 2.2 million were born after 1992. If its young people emigrate, Cuba's statistical average life expectancy could be even higher, he said. And that's nothing to brag about.

http://www.investors.com/editorial/editorialcontent.asp?secid=1501&status=article&id=262566217710949

Chavez pledges oil, money for leftists

Posted on Mon, Apr. 30, 2007

pledges oil, money for leftistsBy LESLIE MAZOCHAssociated Press Writer

BARQUISIMETO, Hugo Chavez said Sunday that Venezuela hopes to gradually sell off its refineries in the United States and build a new network of refineries in Latin America, part of a plan to offer his leftist allies in the region a stable oil supply.

Chavez also raised the idea of issuing a regional bond to raise funds for social spending as he hosted a summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA, a leftist bloc and trade group that includes Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

"I proposed that we issue an ALBA bond. I hope that we can do it…. And that we issue it here in Venezuela, like we did with Argentina, and bring in $1 billion," said Chavez, addressing leaders Sunday on final day of their talks. Chavez said the money acquired would be put in a fund to provide credit for ALBA nations.

Chavez and other leaders signed accords for Venezuela to supply fuel under preferential terms and join up with other countries for cooperative projects in , telecommunications, mining and other areas.

He said Venezuela will guarantee to supply 100 percent of the energy needs for ALBA members as well as Haiti. ALBA was created in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela as a counterproposal to U.S. backed free-trade plans.

Chavez said Venezuela eventually plans to help build a network of refineries in Nicaragua, Haiti, Ecuador, Bolivia and Dominica, as well as refurbishing Cuba's Cienfuegos refinery, to provide a stable supply of oil – and the earnings it generates – to countries in Latin America.

He noted that Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp. has seven refineries in the U.S. and said that "part of our plans is to sell those refineries."

Under special oil deals offered by Venezuela, ALBA member nations will be able to finance 50 percent of the bill for fuel under low-interest loans, and 25 percent of the total bill will go into a special "ALBA Fund" to support local projects through loans, he said.

Leaders attending included Haitian President Rene Preval, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage, as well as officials from Uruguay, Ecuador, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

http://www.miamiherald.com/915/story/91058.html

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