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Archive for January 16, 2008

Castro admits he is still ill

Castro admits he is still ill

The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

HAVANA: said Wednesday that he was not yet healthy enough
to speak to Cuba's masses in person and could not campaign for
parliamentary elections on Sunday.

"I am not physically able to speak directly to the citizens of the
municipality where I was nominated for our elections next Sunday,"
Castro, 81, wrote in an essay published Wednesday by state news media.

Castro's latest essay was dominated by a harsh assessment of
George W. Bush, but it also included references to the Cuban leader's

The essay was published on the front pages of state-run newspapers a day
after Castro met for more than two hours with President Luiz Inácio Lula
da Silva of Brazil.

Da Silva said Castro appeared to him to be healthy enough to return to
politics. "I think Fidel is ready to take over his historic political
role in this globalized world, in humanity," da Silva said as he left
Cuba Tuesday.

Photographs of the meeting were given to reporters Tuesday as da Silva
departed after a 24-hour visit. They were the first pictures of Castro
since October, when he met his friend Hugo Chávez, president of .

Castro has not been seen in public since July 2006, when emergency
intestinal surgery forced him to cede power to a provisional government
headed by his younger brother, Rául, five years his junior.

"My feeling is that Fidel is in very good health, that he's as lucid as
he's ever been," da Silva said.

Castro expressed frustration in his essay: "I do what I can: I write.
For me, this is a new experience: Writing is not the same as speaking."

Castro remains head of the Council of State. Re-election to the National
Assembly is a necessary step if he is to continue to run the council.

Colombian hostage seeks Castro’s help, jail in Cuba

Wednesday 16th January, 2008

Colombian hostage seeks Castro's help, jail in Cuba
IANS Wednesday 16th January, 2008

An ailing former Colombian senator held hostage by leftist rebels since
2002 has asked Cuban to intervene on his behalf,
saying he would be willing to remain a in Cuba in order to
receive medical treatment.

Jorge Gechem's request comes from a letter made public Tuesday.

Former legislator Consuelo Gonzalez – released last week after more than
six years as a hostage of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC) – Monday handed letters and photographs to the families of Gechem
and seven other hostages.

Lucy de Gechem, wife of the former senator – who was kidnapped on Feb
20, 2002 – told Colombian radio that he has a stomach ulcer, which often
bleeds, and heart problems that have already caused him five pre-heart
attack scares.

The politician reportedly asked his wife to beg Castro 'on bent knees'
to intercede with FARC for him, and offered to remain a prisoner in a
Cuban jail instead of the Colombian jungle.

Released hostage Gonzalez handed over letters and photographs of Gechem,
former legislators Gloria Polanco and Orlando Beltran, former governor
Alan Jara, Lt. Col. Luis Mendieta, Captains Enrique Murillo and William
Donato and Sergeant Harvey Delgado.

Relatives of the hostages read out to the media fragments of the
letters, telling of their suffering in captivity.

One of the most shocking testimonies was that of Lt. Col. Mendieta,
kidnapped nine years ago, who says rebels sometimes force him to
defecate in the pot from which he eats.

In tears, his wife Maria Teresa de Mendieta asked Colombian President
Alvaro Uribe to reach an agreement with FARC soon for the exchange of
hostages for imprisoned rebels.

'It is not physical pain that stops me, nor the chains on my neck that
torment me, but the mental agony, the bad guy's evil and the good guy's
indifference, as if we were worth nothing, as if we did not exist,' the
officer said in a letter read by his sobbing daughter Jenny.

Mendieta said illness had left him unable to move his legs, so he has
had to drag himself in the mud to move amid the indifference of his guards.

'At the beginning of the illness I walked with a piece of wood that
functioned as a stick. Then I had to walk with the help of two brackets
that functioned as crutches. What painful journeys! I had to drag myself
to the bathroom through the mud just with the help of my arms because I
could not get up,' the policeman said in his letter.

Mendieta added that many times his captors carried him on a stretcher
since he could not walk.

After her release, Gonzalez said she was committed to seeking an
exchange in order to secure the release of fellow hostages she left
behind in the jungle.

The former legislator said military and officers suffer the most
in captivity and are in chains 24 hours a day.

In remarks published by Colombian media Tuesday, President Uribe offered
to remove leftist rebels from lists of terrorist organizations if a
peace process was initiated.

'The moment FARC show good faith, the government is willing to grant
them full benefits in accordance with the constitution, to facilitate
that peace process,' Uribe said in Guatemala City late Monday.

'And the moment peace with FARC advances, the Colombian government would
be the first to stop calling them terrorists and the first to ask the
world to cease calling them terrorists as a contribution to peace,' he said.

He had earlier said that, at the moment, Colombian rebels could not be
referred to as anything other than terrorists.

'Colombia's violent groups are terrorists because they recruit and
mistreat minors, attack pregnant women and elderly people, hurl bombs
against the civilian population and deal in drugs,' Uribe said.

It was the Colombian president's first comment since Venezuelan
President Hugo requested last week that the international
community stop calling FARC terrorists. Uribe did not mention Chavez by

FARC are estimated to hold more than 750 people hostage, including
around 50 they consider politically relevant and they hope to exchange
for at least 500 imprisoned rebels.

California agriculture officials seek to expand Cuban market

California agriculture officials seek to expand Cuban market
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
(01-16) 13:20 PST SACRAMENTO, (AP) –

California agriculture officials will head to Cuba this month in a bid
to sell more farm products to the Cuban government.

California exported about $735,000 worth of commodities to Cuba in 2006.
The state Department of and Agriculture estimates that Cuba imports
$180 million worth of products that could be supplied by California
farmers and ranchers.

The Jan. 21-24 mission will be led by California Food and Agriculture
Secretary A.G. Kawamura.

He will be joined by representatives of the California Farm Bureau
Federation and 10 companies, including those that produce cheese, nuts,
figs and other products.

Federal law changed in 2000 to allow such agricultural trade missions.

State agriculture spokesman Steve Lyle says U.S. farmers can export to
Cuba, but the federal government prohibits Cuban imports. That rules out
a reciprocal agreement to bring Cuban products to California.

A-G says $92m worth of bulbs ‘missing’

Bulb saga deepens
A-G says $92m worth of bulbs 'missing'
BY ALICIA DUNKLEY Observer staff reporter [email protected]
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

THE Auditor General's Department has presented a damning assessment of
the Jamaica/Cuba Light Bulb Project which has widened the margin of
blame, taking some of the heat off former junior minister Kern Spencer.

According to Adrian Strachan, who completed the report just before his
retirement at the start of this month, about 176,380 of the four million
bulbs, costing approximately $92 million, could not be accounted for,
while there was an absence of an effective system of budgetary control
resulting in the making of payments and the incurring of unpaid
obligations of $185.3 million over the approved financial support of the
Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.
Kern Spencer (left), the junior minister in the Ministry of Industry,
Technology, Energy and Commerce in the previous PNP Government, as well
as his senior minister, Phillip Paulwell (top right), follow Energy
Minister Clive Mullings' presentation in Parliament yesterday. At right
is PNP parliamentarian Ian Hayles. (Photos: Joseph Wellington)

Strachan said there was needless expenditure of $1.4 million in relation
to the sale of carbon credits. He also reported that the purchase of
computer equipment costing $850,500 was still to be accounted for, as
well as the apparent overpayment of $2.1 million for management fees and
an outstanding advance of $2.3 million.

Spencer, who was the junior minister with responsibility for the light
bulb project under Phillip Paulwell's Ministry of Industry, Technology,
Energy and Commerce in the previous People's National Party Government,
shouldered much of the blame for the discrepancies and alleged over
expenditure of approximately $114 million for the bulbs, which were
given as a gift from the Cuban Government.

The matter was first made public by the new energy minister, Clive
Mullings, in October last year.
Energy Minister Clive Mullings tabling the auditor-general's report on
the Cuban light bulb issue in the House of Representatives yesterday.
(Photo: Joseph Wellington)

In a report tabled in the House of Representatives yesterday, Strachan
called on the former energy ministry and the Petroleum Corporation of
Jamaica to provide explanations regarding several aspects of the project.

Strachan said it was clear "that the project under which four million
free light bulbs, courtesy of Cuba, were to be distributed to Jamaicans
was not planned and implemented in a satisfactory manner".

"The basic rudiments of good public sector project management were
absent," added Strachan. "There were wholesale breaches of the
Government's procurement and disbursement rules."
He added that weak or absent documentation undermined the accountability

"In the circumstances, I am not convinced that this project was
implemented in an efficient and cost-effective manner," he said.
Among the "major inadequacies" identified by the auditor-general were
the non-presentation of any written agreement between the Jamaican and
Cuban governments on the numbers of bulbs supplied and the number of
Cuban volunteers, as well as whether expenses in relation to their stay
would be met by either government.

Spencer, immediately reacting to the report yesterday, said he felt
somewhat vindicated, saying he had been cleared of the blame placed on
him by the initial disclosures related to the issue. He thanked Prime
Minister Bruce Golding for commissioning the report and the
Auditor-General's Department for carrying out the
task assigned.

"This report is completely different from the initial report which gave
the impression that payments were made without any work being done or
without consideration. It shows that there were board approvals of the
expenditure," Spencer said.

According to the former junior minister, the "initial allegations were
that the ministry was not integrally involved in the process" but
Strachan's report showed that the ministry was not on the 'periphery' as
then implied and showed that the PCJ was involved in the process".

"I am prepared to give my account to Jamaica and the PCJ must give an
account as well, and the other officials should speak and explain that
there was no wrongdoing but that there were some challenges," Spencer
told the Observer.

He said he would be looking at the report in detail and would be
responding under Section 18 of the Standing Orders of the House.

Regarding the 'missing bulbs', Spencer said the Cubans would better be
able to say. "If bulbs are missing, ask the Cubans; they were the
custodians, we could not move the bulbs without asking them."

Spencer, during a November meeting of Parliament, wept openly after
Minister Mullings told the House that the Fraud Squad and the
auditor-general would be asked to investigate the project.

Lula to Offer $500 Million in Financing to Cuba

Lula to Offer $500 Million in Financing to Cuba, Valor Reports

By Adriana Brasileiro

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) — Brazilian Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
plans to offer more than $500 million in financing to Cuba during his
visit this week, Valor Economico reported, without saying where it got
the information.

Lula is expected to announce agreements allowing Petroleo Brasileiro SA
to explore oil in areas in the Gulf of Mexico that are controlled by
Cuba, where Petrobras will build a lubricant factory, the newspaper said.

The Brazilian president is scheduled to arrive in Cuba today and leave

Castro ‘unfit to speak publicly’

Castro 'unfit to speak publicly'

The Cuban leader, , has admitted he does not have the
physical strength to speak publicly as part of campaigning for upcoming

In an essay for state media, the man once famed for marathon public
speeches said: "I do what I can: I write."

Video footage released later showed Mr Castro looking thin but lucid
receiving Brazil's on Tuesday.

The 81-year-old Cuban leader has not been seen in public for more than
17 months since stomach surgery.

In July 2006, he "temporarily" handed power over to his brother, Raul,
but must be re-elected to the national parliament in Sunday's national
poll if he is to remain president of the Council of State.

The 614 deputies chosen in the January elections will select the 31
members of the Council of State, whose president is head of state.

Mixed messages

The President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, startled some
observers when he told reporters on his way home from Cuba that Mr
Castro was in "impeccable " and ready to resume his political role
in Cuba.

In the video footage aired on state media on Wednesday, Mr Castro
appears wearing his now-trademark tracksuit.

In the footage – the first seen since mid-October – he looks gaunt but
alert, telling President Lula: "I have felt quite well."

But in an essay printed in the state newspaper Granma on Wednesday, Mr
Castro says his health prevents him from going out to campaign in the
neighbourhood which has put him forward as its representative in
upcoming elections.

"I am not physically in a condition to speak directly to the citizens of
the municipality where I was nominated for our elections next Sunday,"
Mr Castro says.

"I do what I can: I write. For me, this is a new experience: writing is
not the same as speaking. Today, when I have more time to inform myself
and to meditate about what I see, I have barely enough time to write."

Mr Castro spends only a few sentences discussing his state of health,
using most of the rest of the article to criticise the US President
George W Bush.

He condemns capitalism as a "tree with rotten roots, from whence only
the worst forms of individualism, corruption and inequality sprout".

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/01/16 19:00:00 GMT

Brazil, Cuba sign oil pact

Analysis: Brazil, Cuba sign oil pact
Published: Jan. 16, 2008 at 1:22 PM
UPI Energy Correspondent

MIAMI, Jan. 16 (UPI) — Brazil has signed a deal with Cuba to begin
exploring its potentially oil-rich waters in the Gulf of Mexico in
exchange for a multimillion-dollar aid program.

Brazilian Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met with acting Cuban
leader Tuesday in Havana to ink the deal that would give
Brazil's Petrobras access to Cuban waters, where it hopes to begin
drilling in the next two years.

Joining Lula on his trip was Petrobras chief Jose Sergio Gabrielli.
While Petrobras and Cuba already have a longstanding relationship,
Tuesday's agreement marked the first time the Brazilian company would be
granted access to the gulf area coveted by several nations, including
and India.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, some 4.6 billion barrels of
crude oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas may well be lurking
below the ocean floor of the Northern Cuban basin. The reserves are said
to possibly rival the estimated reserves in Alaska's Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge.

That kind of crude would more than meet Cuba's daily oil intake — about
205,000 barrels per day — and provide enough excess to transform the
country from being dependent on the largesse of 's Hugo
to a global player on the oil market.

Several nations are already banking on Cuba's oil potential. China has
invested an estimated $1 billion with the intention of exploring its
offshore deposits, and India's state-run oil company has penned a deal
with Cuba to explore offshore as well.

Said Cuban state oil President Fidel Rivero: "Important potential exists
in this zone, and the idea is to study it."

Rivero noted Brazil was among those nations that have shown a commitment
to Cuba by way of investments over the years and praised the South
American nation for the deal signed Tuesday whereby Brasilia promised
, infrastructure, and other essentials in exchange for
drilling rights.

Some analysts are skeptical of Cuba's potential oil wealth.

"Cuba's oil potential is just that, potential," Larry Birns, director of
the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs think tank, told
United Press International.

That skepticism hasn't been enough, however, to dissuade nations from
wanting to enter the Cuban petroleum race.

Last month Chavez traveled to Cuba for the grand reopening of a
Soviet-era oil refinery.

The refinery has been dormant since the late 1980s, though with the help
of Venezuela and some $136 million in repairs funded by Caracas, the
plant is expected to go online Friday, according to Cuban state media.

The plant will reportedly be able to process some 65,000 bpd. Venezuela
meanwhile sends about 100,000 bpd to Cuba as a discounted price, part of
Chavez's Petrocaribe agreement for Caribbean nations.

Brazil’s Lula offers Cuba oil knowhow, credit

Brazil's Lula offers Cuba oil knowhow, credit

By Anthony Boadle Tue Jan 15, 4:55 PM ET

HAVANA (Reuters) – Brazilian Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva offered
Cuba millions of dollars in credit on Tuesday and committed Brazil to
help the communist-run country explore for oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

But it was not immediately clear whether the leftist former labor leader
achieved his cherished goal of meeting ailing Cuban leader
during a 24-hour visit, his second to Cuba as president of Latin
America's largest nation.

The 81-year-old Castro has not appeared in public since undergoing
stomach surgery that forced him to hand over the running of Cuba to his
brother Raul in July 2006.

Brazilian officials said Brazil has the resources, technology and
diplomatic clout to help Cuba as it approaches a crucial moment of its
history without Fidel at the helm.

Lula dined with acting President after arriving in Havana on
Monday night and met on Tuesday at the Palace of the Revolution
government house where the two countries signed a slew of agreements to
bolster economic ties.

Brazil's export financing agency COFIG announced approval of credit for
purchases and for the expansion and overhaul of the Che Guevara
nickel mine, one of three that produce Cuba's main export commodity.

Brazil is offering Cuba up to $1 billion in credit lines to pay for
Brazilian goods and services in such areas as road building, the sugar
industry, the biotechnology and hotels.

That includes $600 million for road building.


Cuba secured the commitment of Brazil's state oil company Petrobras to
explore for oil in the deep-sea Cuban water of the Gulf of Mexico where
six foreign oil firms have already contracted 24 of 59 blocks.

Petrobras president Jose Sergio Gabrielli told reporters the Brazilian
giant, a world leader in off-shore drilling, was acquiring and analyzing
seismological data and had yet to identify which blocks it would sign
risk contracts for.

Petrobras and the Cuban state oil company CUPET agreed to study the
formation of a joint venture to build a lubricants plant in Cuba, a
project that has been discussed for years.

The one concrete agreement to emerge from Lula's visit was the licensing
of Cuban interferon to Brazil's Oswaldo Cruz Foundation for tropical
medicine research.

Lula planned to meet later Tuesday with some of the 600 Brazilians
studying to be doctors in Cuba. The Cuban degree is not recognized in
Brazil, but his government will set up additional courses and exams at
Brazilian universities to allow the Cuban-trained doctors to practice
when they return home.

The influential Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper praised the credit splurge
for Cuba in a editorial, saying it would pave the way for Brazilian
companies to take part in Cuba's necessary modernization and reform process.

A Brazilian foreign ministry official said Brazil, Mexico and
countries with good ties to the United States yet critical of its trade
against Havana — could ease a painful process of change
expected in Cuba.

"We want to see Cuba back in the fold and can provide the Cubans with a
level of comfort in the transition ahead by not being confrontational
like the United States," he said.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle, Editing by Philip Barbara)

Cuba rights abuses continue but fewer prisoners: group

Cuba rights abuses continue but fewer prisoners: group

Wed Jan 16, 1:55 PM ET

HAVANA (Reuters) – The number of Cubans in for political reasons
dropped in 2007 but Communist authorities continue to arrest people
arbitrarily and deny basic civil rights, the country's main rights
watchdog said on Wednesday.

There were 234 political prisoners in Cuba at the end of 2007, down from
283 a year earlier, the Cuban Commission for and National
Reconciliation said.

However, it reported no improvement in Cuba's human rights record since
ailing leader handed over power to his brother Raul due to
illness in July 2006.

"This sort of provisional government has done nothing to change the very
bad situation of civil, political and economic rights that has exited in
Cuba for more than four decades," the commission said, adding that
authorities still deny of , assembly and .

Headed by veteran rights activist Elizardo Sanchez, the group is
but is tolerated by the government. It is the only source of independent
information available on arrests in Cuba.

The government denies there are any political prisoners and labels all
dissidents as "counterrevolutionary mercenaries" on the payroll of its
arch-enemy, the U.S. government. It does not allow the International Red
Cross access to its jails.

Sanchez's group said there were at least 325 political arrests in Cuba
last year and most of the detainees were released after a few hours or
days without charges.

"Through its enormous repressive apparatus, the Cuban government
continues to silence voices and employs all forms of
intimidation against militant opponents or ordinary citizen who speak
out," the group said.

It welcomed Cuba's decision to sign the U.N. International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights and a similar pact on economic and social
rights by March next year.

"Despite the delay and the lack of credibility of the Cuban government,
this decision could be positive if Cuba is prepared to comply with the
two pacts," it said.

Cuba had long refused to sign the pacts, which were adopted in 1976 at
the height of the Cold War. The policy change means Cuba will open its
doors to regular monitoring by the newly created U.N. Human Rights Council.

Cuba refused visits by a special rapporteur appointed by the previous
body, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which Havana said was
manipulated by the United States.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Kieran Murray)

Castro says he’s not healthy enough to campaign for elections

Castro says he's not healthy enough to campaign for elections
Associated Press
11:10 AM EST, January 16, 2008

HAVANA – said Wednesday he is not yet healthy enough to
speak to Cuba's people in person and can't campaign for Sunday's
parliamentary elections.

“I am not physically able to speak directly to the citizens of the
municipality where I was nominated for our elections next Sunday,'' the
ailing 81-year-old wrote in an essay published Wednesday by state news

Castro's latest essay focused on blasting U.S. George W. Bush,
but included references to the Cuban leader's .

It was published on the front pages of state-run newspapers a day after
Castro met for more than two hours with Brazilian President Brazilian
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who said Castro appeared healthy
enough to return to politics.

“I think Fidel is ready to take over his historic political role in
this globalized world, in humanity,'' Silva told reporters as he left
Cuba late Tuesday. He did not suggest what role that might be.

Castro, however, expressed frustration in his essay: “I do what I can:
I write. For me, this is a new experience: writing is not the same as

Castro has not been seen in public since July 2006, when emergency
intestinal surgery forced him to cede power to a provisional government
headed by his younger brother Raul, five years his junior.

addressed a crowd of voters on Dec. 24 in the brothers' home
district in the eastern city of of Santiago, saying he was filling in
for his brother. But Wednesday's essay was the first time the older
Castro has acknowledged he is not well enough to campaign for himself.

Though he stepped aside as Cuba's active president, Castro remains head
of the Council of State. Re-election to the legislature, or National
Assembly, is a necessary step if he is to continue to run the council.

Castro looked frail but upbeat and even playful in official photos of
his meeting with Silva. Wearing a track suit and tennis shoes _ which
have replaced olive-green fatigues as his standard uniform _ Castro is
seen seated and grinning, his beard well-trimmed and his hair combed as
he talks with Brazil's president At one point, he even pretends to snap
pictures with a small camera.

“My feeling is that Fidel is in very good health, that he's as lucid as
he's ever been,'' Silva said.

The Brazilian president said politicians were like athletes who need to
stay active.

Cuba's government has not given details about Castro's illness or where
he is being treated. Tuesday's were the first photos released of Castro
since October, during one of his many meetings with his socialist ally,
Venezuelan President Hugo .

Castro suggested in a letter last month he would not cling to power
forever or stand in the way of a younger generation of leaders. But he
also mentioned the example of a Brazilian architect who is still working
at 100 and has not said when _ or even if _ he will permanently step aside.,0,4921052.story

Brazil offers food, road credits to Cuba

Brazil offers , road credits to Cuba
January 16, 2008

HAVANA TIJUANA, MEXICO – Brazil's offered Cuba credits for
food, drugs, roads and repairs on Tuesday, and signed a deal for
his country's state oil company to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

The accords signed by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva could be a
major step in strengthening ties between Latin America's largest
and the provisional government of , despite Washington's
nearly 50-year-old trade against the island.

Foreign Ministry officials in Brasilia suggested that food credits would
total $100 million, although the agreements did not specify how much
financing Brazil will provide.

Silva described ailing Cuban leader as his friend and met
with him, according to a Silva spokesman. Castro, 81, has not been seen
in public since emergency intestinal surgery forced him to cede power to
his younger brother Raul in July 2006.

"Lula decided this is not going to be a farewell visit to Fidel. It's a
vote of confidence to Raul," said Phil Peters, a Cuba analyst with the
Lexington Institute, a think tank near Washington, D.C. "Brazil is going
out of its way not just to make a visit that conveys political support,
but to put substantial economic resources on the table.",0,5539702.story

Democracia: Latinoamérica tiene 1 país no libre y 7 casi libres

Publicado el miércoles 16 de enero del 2008

Democracia: Latinoamérica tiene 1 país no libre y 7 casi libres
The Associated Press

América Latina sigue teniendo como en 2006 un país "no libre" (Cuba) y
siete "parcialmente libres" (, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras,
Nicaragua, Paraguay y ), según un informe difundido el
miércoles sobre tendencias en la democracia en 2007 en el mundo.

El informe, preparado por la organización conservadora House,
analiza el estado de los derechos políticos y libertades civiles en 193
países. Preparado anualmente desde 1972, suele ser citado en los debates
del Congreso, particularmente por legisladores republicanos, en temas de
política exterior.

Freedom House explicó que el estudio no califica a gobiernos o su
rendimiento sino el mundo real de los derechos y las libertades sociales
que disfrutan los habitantes de un país. Las libertades pueden verse
afectadas por acciones del estado y de actores no estatales como
insurgentes y otros grupos armados.

Pero, mientras en Latinoamérica la situación se ha mantenido estable,
Arch Puddington, director de Freedom House hizo notar que en una quinta
parte de los países estudiados se han producido retrocesos aun cuando no
siempre se ha llegado a considerar a esos país como no libres.

Los casos más graves, dijo, ocurrieron en el Sudeste Asiático, pero
también llegaron a niveles importantes en la ex Unión Soviética, el
Medio Oriente, Africa del Norte y Africa Subsahariana.

En las Américas, el único calificado como "parcialmente libre" entre los
países donde no se habla español es Haití.

"Ninguno de los países considerados no libres ha dado muestras de
mejoría", dijo Puddington en una rueda de prensa para presentar el
informe titulado La en el Mundo.

El número de países considerados libres por Freedom House en 2007 se
mantuvo en 90 o un 46% de la población global total, sin cambio con
relación a años previos. El número de "parcialmente libres" fue de 60 o
18% del total global de habitantes, dos más que el año previo; y de
países "no libres" se redujo de 45 a 43 o un 36%.

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