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Daily Archives: September 12, 2009

Resolution on Internet service

Resolution on service

From the June 29 Gaceta Oficial, the resolution on Internet service:


RESOLUCION No. 99/2009

El Decreto-Ley No. 204 de fecha 11 de enero de 2000, cambio la denominación del Ministerio de Comunicaciones por la de Ministerio de la Informática y las Comunicaciones, que desarrollará las tareas y funciones que hasta el presente realizaba el Ministerio de Comunicaciones, así como las de Informática y la Electrónica que ejecutaba el Ministerio de la Industria Sidero-Mecánica y la Electrónica.

POR CUANTO: El Consejo de Estado de la República de Cuba, mediante Acuerdo de fecha 30 de agosto de 2006, designó al que resuelve Ministro de la Informática y las Comunicaciones.

POR CUANTO: El Acuerdo No. 2817 de fecha 25 de noviembre de 1994, del Comité Ejecutivo del Consejo de Ministros, faculta a los jefes de los organismos de la Administración Central del Estado; dictar en el límite de sus facultades y competencia, reglamentos, resoluciones y otras disposiciones de obligatorio cumplimiento para el sistema del organismo; y, en su caso, para los demás organismos, los órganos locales del Poder Popular, las entidades estatales, el sector cooperativo, mixto, privado y la población.

POR CUANTO: El Acuerdo No. 3736, de fecha 18 de julio de 2000, adoptado por el Comité Ejecutivo del Consejo de Ministros, establece que el Ministerio de la Informática y las Comunicaciones, es el organismo encargado de ordenar, regular y controlar los servicios informáticos y de telecomunicaciones, nacionales e internacionales y otros servicios afines en los límites del territorio nacional, así como de conjunto con las organizaciones correspondientes, el Acceso a las Redes de Infocomunicaciones con Alcance Global.

Además, está encargado de evaluar, proponer y otorgar la expedición y revocación de concesiones, autorizaciones, permisos y licencias a operadores y proveedores de servicios informáticos y de telecomunicaciones, privados o públicos, velando por su cumplimiento en el marco de su autoridad.

POR CUANTO: La Resolución Ministerial No. 179 de fecha 7 de octubre de 2008, ordena en el país todo lo referente a los Proveedores de Servicios de Acceso a Internet al Público.

POR CUANTO: La Empresa Correos de Cuba, cumpliendo con lo dispuesto en la Resolución Ministerial No. 179/2008 antes mencionada, ha solicitado autorización para la prestación de Servicios de Acceso a Internet al Público.

POR TANTO: En el ejercicio de las facultades que me están conferidas,

R e s u e l v o :

PRIMERO: Autorizar a la Empresa Correos de Cuba, como Proveedor de Servicios de Acceso a Internet al Público, los cuales deberá prestar a personas naturales en el territorio nacional a través de sus áreas de Internet.

SEGUNDO: La Empresa Correos de Cuba, brindará los servicios autorizados, conforme se estipula en la Resolución Ministerial No. 179/2008, que establece las normas para la organización, funcionamiento y obligaciones del Proveedor de Servicios de Acceso a Internet al Público.

TERCERO: La Agencia de Control y Supervisión del Ministerio de la Informática y las Comunicaciones, queda encargada de controlar el cumplimiento de lo que por la presente se dispone.

NOTIFIQUESE al de la Empresa Correos de Cuba.

COMUNIQUESE a los viceministros, a la Agencia de Control y Supervisión, a las direcciones de Regulaciones y Normas, Economía, Oficina de Seguridad para las Redes Informáticas, a la Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A., así como a cuantas personas naturales y jurídicas deban conocerla.

ARCHIVESE el original en la Dirección Jurídica del Ministerio de la Informática y las Comunicaciones.

PUBLIQUESE en la Gaceta Oficial de la República de Cuba.

DADA en La Habana, a los días 17 del mes de junio de 2009.

Ramiro Valdés Menéndez

Ministro de la Informática y las Comunicaciones

The Cuban Triangle: Resolution on Internet service (12 September 2009)

Quality Seeds Needed For High-Yield Agriculture

Cuba: Quality Seeds Needed For High-Yield

HAVANA, Sep 10, 2009, 2009 (IPS/GIN via COMTEX) — Cuba is facing the challenge of boosting agricultural output under difficult climate conditions and on soils badly deteriorated by erosion, salinity and other problems. Scientists have a strategic role to play, provided they get out into the fields where the action is.

"To do real science you have to be out there where the crops are growing," said Sergio Ramirez, the son of a farmer who for the past 18 years has directed a research center that is vital to meeting the challenge of securing Cuba's supplies, however adverse the climate conditions. In his view, the main thing is to be prepared for climate change, look for solutions, and bring together the experience and know-how of small farmers with the theoretical knowledge of researchers, in order to be forearmed to face the coming difficulties.

"Cuba possesses a potential range of species and varieties that allow cultivation of specific foods under particular climate conditions," said Rodriguez, the head of the National Research Institute of Tropical Root Vegetables (INIVIT) in the central province of Villa Clara. The expert told IPS over the telephone that many tropical countries like Cuba must plan food production around two completely opposite sets of probable conditions: severe drought and hurricanes. Three hurricanes devastated the island's crops in 2008.

It is no secret that 76 percent of the country's farmland is relatively unproductive, with nearly 15 percent being affected by soil salinity and another 14 percent with low organic matter content, due to soil exhaustion and other reasons, Rodriguez said.

"The situation is improving with the use of farm animals to work the land, and organic fertilizers and biological control methods instead of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. I would say we are moving towards a low-input, economically sustainable agriculture that is less harmful to the environment," he said.

To mitigate adverse climate factors, in Rodriguez's opinion the key is to diversify agriculture, in order to ensure there is sufficient food after a hurricane or a lengthy drought. "Growing a wide variety of crops will also help satisfy consumer demand," he added.

He mentioned the advantages of planting sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) and pumpkin or squash (Cucurbita moschata), for instance, two creeping plants that are resistant to high winds. The same is true of taro (Xanthosoma and Colocasia esculenta) because it is a low-growing plant and has firm root anchorage, he said.

"During times of severe drought we can grow cassava (Manihot esculenta) and plantains (Musa paradisiaca), which can survive long periods without water. When crops are diversified, an answer can be found to everything," said Rodriguez. Many species of roots and tubers are particularly appreciated by Cubans as staple foods.

According to Rodriguez, INIVIT has these varieties available and is constantly seeking others. "At present we are experiencing a period of high temperatures in Cuba and we have to design varieties resistant to these conditions," he said.

The research center maintains a germplasm bank containing 650 varieties of sweet potato, 512 of cassava, 327 plantain and banana varieties, 120 of yam and 152 taro species. "These genetic resources are one of the country's major strengths," he said.

According to Rodriguez, the germplasm bank is "a living museum, containing the genes necessary to cross plant lines and construct new varieties with the ability to resist or adapt to adverse conditions." To preserve this genetic wealth is "to conserve biodiversity, which makes it possible to select the most suitable characteristics for every possible set of conditions," he said.

Science – from the ground up

The means of communicating crop science from the laboratory to the field need to be improved, Rodriguez acknowledged. "Agricultural extension," the process by which new farming technology is introduced into a rural community, is an unresolved problem. "We have made progress, but there is still a lot to be done," he said.

INIVIT has created a "national root vegetables group" made up of research scientists who visit every municipality in the country where these crops are grown, once every three months, in order to present scientific results and help with technology transfer, or the distribution of varieties created by the producers themselves.

"There is a lot of science at ground level: we find many farmers who develop their own cultivation techniques and are willing to share with others what they have learned from experience. We disseminate those achievements, giving credit to the farmers, of course," said Rodriguez.

The expert said training is also essential, because access to crop varieties and resources is not enough.

"If we don't farmers to make the most effective use of inputs and plant the vegetable varieties at the right time and place, there won't be a good response in terms of productivity," he said.

To this end, Rodriguez said it is necessary to continue to "study in depth" the issue of agricultural extension to foster sustainable, ecofriendly farming methods.

"This is not just a Cuban problem; there is generally an enormous gulf between what is known in research centers and what reaches the farmer in the fields," said Rodriguez. Another extremely important issue is to have an adequate supply of high-quality seeds, without which no agricultural system can operate efficiently, he added.

According to official statistics, national production guarantees the seed supply for 94 percent of the farmed area on the island, while seeds are imported for six percent of the farmland, mainly to grow vegetables and potatoes.

Rodriguez estimates that Cuba could potentially produce up to 40 million plants a year, of different species, using in vitro (test tube) propagation methods, an ambition that has been thwarted by lack of funds.

This technique is used in the laboratory to multiply seedlings faster, so that they can be distributed to farmers.

The 11 molecular biology facilities in Cuba, where biotechnological research, development and production are under way, are a national asset whose potential is not being sufficiently exploited, according to the 62-year-old Rodriguez, who has a doctorate in agricultural sciences and has worked in his field for over thirty years. "High-yield agriculture cannot be achieved without high-quality seeds," he said.

Cuban scientists warn that climate change poses a threat to sustainable development in the country, and point to the increased force of hurricanes, more frequent droughts, more tornadoes and heavy rainstorms, and changes in the patterns of crop growth and yields, among other meteorological signs.

RBC Wealth Management (12 September 2009)

Cuba’s Battle to Replace Imports

Cuba's Battle to Replace ImportsSeptember 11, 2009

HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 10 (IPS) – Cuban authorities have been working for some time now to reduce imports of all products that can be produced domestically at a lower cost. However, this effort has had a hard time making headway.

The government has made it obligatory for all companies to focus on reducing imports in their production plans and as such gradually increase domestic production in all areas possible, whether in industry or .

Insufficient production on farms and at industries forces the country to import more than US$ 2 billion in food per year, some of which can be produced in Cuba.

Efforts to replace some imports, such as milk and pork have shown encouraging results, nevertheless, Cuban agriculture is far from meeting the demand with its own efforts.

Adding to the rising costs of food imports are high transportation costs due to increased oil prices.

In the industrial sector there has also been problems leading to instability of products, which in turn causes a lack of confidence and a downward spiral.

Cuban Spark Plugs and Tires

The steel and mechanics industry, which has real possibilities to increase its production, has a considerable way to go to help reduce the country's imports. Among the obstacles faced over the last few years is a failure to return to production levels existing before the economic crisis, limited development of new products, prolonged procedures to obtain raw materials, and technological backlog.

NGK, Peugeot and Taino are among the sparkplugs marketed on the island, but only Tainos are made in Cuba. Nowadays, the only factory of this type in the island produces 70 percent of the 1 million spark plugs used in Cuba, as a response to the governmental call to replace imports.

According to Hugo Vidal, head of the Neftalí Martínez Company, located in the city of Sagua la Grande, Santa Clara, the factory's installed capacity could meet the remaining 30 percent of demand, although production levels depend greatly on the raw material received.

In statements to the local press, Vidal said that production costs are lower cost than the import price.

The Taino Especial and Prisma spark plugs were certified by the ISO 9001 System of Quality Management in 2008 and are also backed up by international security and regulations. These products have added nickel and copper electrodes, which greatly increase conductivity and efficiency, making them more competitive on the market, Vidal said. The Neftalí Martínez Company was founded in 1964 by Argentine-Cuban Ernesto 'Che' Guevara.

One of the most outstanding features of the Cuban sparkplugs is that they are good for some 15,000 kilometers. "The country only imports sparkplugs that have different igniters which the company still cannot produce," Vidal explained.

Even in the middle of serious economic difficulties, worsened by the global crisis, the Cuban authorities have their eyes set on the recovery of the island's .

Recently, the country has increased the purchase of public transportation vehicles and those in the construction, hydraulic resources and agriculture sectors.

There is also a process aimed at increasing the number of trucks and tractors. All of this also leads to the need of more tires.

Although a considerable amount of tires are still being imported, the production of several types of tires for agricultural equipment, trailers, freight cars and vehicles is increasing at the Nelson Fernández Tire Company, located in the municipality of San José de las Lajas, as a way to contribute to the replacement of imports and advance in several economic programs of the country.

The Nelson Fernández Tire Company currently produces 240 tires daily, with a forecasted 4,000 per month, and 14,000 in 10 months, which would save more than US$ 1 million on imports.

Company director Eduardo Remis says that the majority of tires are distributed to the agriculture sector, sugar industry, and internal trade.

"Although the technology we use is more than 60 years old, the products are of high quality and efficient," said Remis.


The replacement of imports has more than one benefit. It not only allows the country to save money, but also generates work for hundreds of workers.

The domestic production of can generate significant savings. For example, from 2008 to date, the Quimefa Pharmaceutical Corporation has saved the country more than US $2.5 million in their production of 16 medicines that were imported before.

According to local reports, 96 percent of the basic medicines needed by the population and sold at subsidized costs were provided in the form of 562 domestically produced products and 307 imported.

The Director for Quality Control and Development at Quimefa, Ramón Arango, said that the replacement of imports in the sector is mainly aimed at increasing the availability of medicines in the market and reducing costs.

Cuba began the process of replacing imports in this area in 1991 and from that time on has developed some 400 products.

Arango said that the five-year plan for 2007 to 2012 includes incorporating 73 new products, 31 of which replace imports and 42 new products.

These medicines include antibiotics; treatments for the eyes, heart and blood system, and the skin; and anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic and anti-parasitic medicines.

"The raw materials and resources are not always available. And this is exacerbated by the [US] blockade and the effects of the global crisis, in addition to copyright restrictions. These factors and others of a productive nature lead to occasional shortages," said Arango.


One of the most notable advances in the replacement of imports is the national production of cleaning and personal hygiene products. For more than a decade Cuban factories have been producing soaps, colognes, perfumes, shampoos, and other items.

The Suchel Union, belonging to the Ministry of the Light Industry, produces toiletries, and cleaning and cosmetic products. Suchel produces competitive products both in quality and price, although there have been some complaints from retail buyers.

According to the director of production and development at the Ministry of Light Industry, Juana Iris Herrera, last year the country imported 26,000 tons of the raw material used to make soap and can produce 16,000 tons a year domestically.

New investments are aimed at producing all the raw material used to make soap by 2010. According to Herrera, "so far this year more than 1.5 million CUC has been saved in import costs of this raw material."

The Suchel Union also produces plastic bottles for creams, shampoo, and toothpaste.

One of the achievements that have had the greatest impact within the organization is the production of disposable glasses used by Cubana de Aviación airlines. The Institute of Civil Aeronautic of Cuba (IACC) uses some 6 million units a year, 5 million of which have been produced locally.

It has been foreseen that in 2010, the industry will produce 8 million high quality disposable glasses.

Suchel also produces plastic baskets, vinyl rope, laundry detergent, toilet and household soap, toothbrushes, deodorant, brooms, buckets, dustpans and several other articles.

Although there are several other good examples of successes, Cuba is still far below the objectives set out by the government to replace imports in times of reduced available financial resources.

Cuba's Battle to Replace Imports – Havana (11 September 2009)

Cab capitalism: Cuba allows new private taxis

Posted on Friday, 09.11.09Cab capitalism: Cuba allows new private taxisBy PAUL HAVENAssociated Press Writer

HAVANA — Jose Obdilio Duran's '57 Chevy has holes in its mottled floor, a passenger window that can't be rolled up and no inside panels on its doors. But the 71-year-old retiree wants to put the old car to work – applying for one of the first taxi licenses this communist country has granted in a decade.

About 60 would-be taxi drivers lined up early Friday at a Ministry office in central Havana to fill out forms for permission to use their own cars as taxis – a rare dose of the free market on an island whose is dominated almost entirely by the state.

The new, private taxis are meant to help alleviate chronic transportation problems. In the capital, many people have to hitchhike to work in the morning. Things are so grave in the countryside that entire families wait by the highway for hours for transportation from one town to another.

Those willing to brave long lines at stops and endure sardine-like conditions can squeeze aboard former Soviet-bloc coaches that still list destinations such as East Berlin. Cuba has used credit to buy thousands of new buses from , but they are mostly used to carry tourists and have not been enough to meet Cuban demand.

"This is one of the best decisions the state has ever made," said Luis Pozo, 67, another retiree seeking a license for his Russian-built 1988 Moscovich. Pozo said he didn't think the small free-market opening was out of step with the ideals of Cuba's revolution.

"It's not like anybody is going to get rich from this," he said.

The license gives drivers the right to ferry fellow Cubans – but not foreigners – for a monthly fee of $21.50 a month. They must pay that quota whether they make the money back or not.

The government says it will set price ceilings, but has yet to provide details. Most of those applying for licenses said they hoped to charge 10 pesos – about 50 cents – for standard trips. A separate fleet of modern cabs caters to tourists and they can charge up to $30 for a single trip through Havana.

Cuba stopped granting new licenses for private taxis in October 1999, but lifted the restrictions in January. Authorities started handing out taxi permissions in May, but were so inundated with requests that they quickly suspended the program in Havana, and only resumed in earnest on Friday.

The government has not said how many licenses it will grant. Thousands of Cubans already use private cars, either classic or modern, to give black-market rides. But they risk steep fines and even having their cars seized by the state if caught.

To an outsider's detached eye, Duran's brown Bel Air looks as if it could come apart at any minute, but he sees it differently.

"It's a beautiful car," he said proudly, before slowly puttering away. "The motor is old, almost as old as me, but it works well. It is still going strong, just like me."

Duran says once he gets the license – wait time is supposed to be about a month – he hopes to drive part-time to supplement his monthly pension of $13. He and others waiting to get the licenses said they figure they will be able to pull in about $10 a month after taxes and maintenance costs, often driving their cars along set routes where many Cubans wait for a lift.

While getting new taxis on the road will be some comfort to commuters, not everyone is thrilled.

"This is going to mean more competition," said 35-year-old Manolo Rodriguez, one of about 50 already-licensed taxi drivers waiting under the shade of a tree-lined street next to Cuba's majestic capitol dome, a slightly taller replica of the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Rodriguez says he spends most of his 12-hour day waiting his turn in line behind other taxis, since cruising for fares uses up lots of fuel. He said he usually only carries four passengers each shift on a set route to the remote suburb of El Cotorro.

Still, that's enough to make more on a good day than Rodriguez used to earn in a month working at a cracker factory – about $15.

"If they keep giving out licenses I may only be able to get three trips a day, and that will really affect my income," worried Rodriguez, standing next to a hulking '53 Oldsmobile whose faded coat of powder blue paint had seen better days.

The loosening of taxi rules is one of a small number of limited reforms taken by 's government. But it seems to expressly defy the policies of his brother Fidel, who singled out private taxis as seeking "juicy profits" and fomenting a black market for state-subsidized gasoline.

Raul took over Cuba's presidency in February 2008 and has spoken publicly about the need to address dire daily life problems like transportation, and shortages. But he has largely failed to solve them, and the global financial crisis has taken a toll on the island's ever-weak economy.

Another hopeful new taxi driver, Rigoberto Lamyser, said he plans to use his Czech-made Skoda sedan on weekends to earn extra cash while keeping his full-time job as a hydraulic engineer.

Vehicle ownership is strictly controlled, and most Cubans can only have cars built before 's revolution on New Year's Day 1959. But the 60-year-old Lamyser said he was able to buy a modern car because his job took him overseas, making him eligible for a special license.

He said he would charge 50 cents a trip unless a passanger is desperate enough to pay more.

"The market decides," said Lamyser. "It's supply and demand and even Cuba can't resist it."Associated Press writer Will Weissert contributed to this report.

Cab capitalism: Cuba allows new private taxis – World AP – (11 September 2009)

Cuba’s Juan Almeida Bosque dead at 82

Posted on Saturday, 09.12.09Cuba's Juan Almeida Bosque dead at 82By WILL WEISSERTAssociated Press Writer

HAVANA — Juan Almeida Bosque, a comrade-in-arms of since the start of his guerrilla struggle in Cuba more than a half-century ago, has died of a heart attack at age 82.

A statement read in government media said Almeida died Friday but will "live on forever in the hearts and minds of his compatriots."

Almeida had been among only three surviving Cuban rebel leaders who still bore the honorary title "Commander of the Revolution."

A bricklayer who began working at age 11, Almeida was once among the most important and decisive voices in the battle to overthrow Cuban Fulgencio Batista, as well as in the early years following the Jan. 1, 1959, triumph of the revolution.

Born Feb. 27, 1927, Almeida was often seen at public events in his uniform alongside the Cuban leader until Castro fell gravely ill in the summer of 2006 and finally resigned the presidency for good in February 2008. Almeida Bosque then became a mainstay beside Castro's younger brother and successor, .

With his full head of white hair and mustache, Almeida was a highly visible member of Cuba's ruling elite, sitting on the Communist Party's politburo and serving as a vice presidents on the Council of State, the country's supreme governing body.

His duties included welcoming new foreign ambassadors to Cuba and greeting other visiting dignitaries.

Almeida cut back on public activities in December 2003, announcing he was suffering from heart problems.

Cuba's Juan Almeida Bosque dead at 82 – World AP – (12 September 2009)

Fidel Castro’s new `tropical business casual’ look is a signal — but of what?

Posted on Saturday, 09.12.09NEWS ANALYSIS's new `tropical business casual' look is a signal — but of what?Fidel Castro, known for being deliberate with his image, might be signaling new with his new look — but his motive is the source of much speculation.BY JUAN O. [email protected]

What does it mean when Fidel Castro, known for carefully managing his image, appears in recent photos wearing not his usual track suits but shirts that one observer called “tropical business casual.''

Perhaps nothing, Cuba analysts say. But perhaps, they add almost in the same breath, Castro is signaling that he's done rehabilitating from his health crisis and is ready to wield more influence over Cuba affairs.

Truth is, no one really knows, outside of a handful of very senior officials in Havana. But that has not stopped Cuba-watchers from speculating about Castro's possible return to a much move active and powerful role in the island's future.

“He is the most aggressive back-seat driver in the world . . . and could grab the wheel at any time'' from his brother Raúl Castro, said Dan Erikson, a Cuba expert at the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington.

Recent images of the 83-year-old Castro show him looking healthier than at any time in many years. Photographs show he has regained some weight, and he appears to speak cogently in a 24-minute video of a recent meeting with Venezuelan graduates. He's also been unusually busy writing his columns, known as reflections, and meeting with foreign visitors, from heads of state to the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus.

Castro has made no public appearances since undergoing a still-unexplained emergency surgery in 2006 that forced him to hand over some of his powers to Raúl. But he has clearly retained much of his influence, and now his curious shift to dressy, short-sleeved shirts has raised questions about his future plans.


Emilio Ichikawa, a Miami essayist who left Cuba in 2000, said the new shirts would be meaningless if one believes that they reflect “the total improvisation that marks Cuban society.'' But he doesn't think so. “If the premise is that his images are millimetrically planned — and I believe it — then you have to do a thorough analysis.''

The Castro of the early 1960s wore olive green combat uniforms, Ichikawa noted. As his rule grew institutionalized in the 1970s and 1980s, he favored more formal military uniforms, though still olive green. In 1992, as Cuba opened itself to foreign investments, he occasionally donned blue suits. And after surgery in 2006, he was shown in track suits in the red, white and blue colors of the Cuban flag.

Ichikawa noted the irony that Castro at first always wore track suits with the Adidas brand, but later was seen in some photos wearing the Puma brand — athletic-wear powerhouses started by rival brothers in .

And now the shift to the shirts that Erikson called “tropical business casual'' — one that seemedwhite linen, another blue with white lines — signal that his health has improved and he's ready to become more active, analysts told El Nuevo Herald.

“The athletic wear signaled that he was doing his exercises, doing his rehabilitation,'' said Max Lesnik, a Cuban in Miami who travels often to Havana. “Now, his civilian clothes mean that he's returning to more activities — but not to power. I don't think so.''

Ichikawa and Erikson agreed that the dressy shirts may signal that Castro is done with his exercises and recuperation, but they are less certain that Castro would stop short of a full return to power.

“To me, he looks better than before he got sick in 2006,'' said Ichikawa. “He could become more visible. Maybe an appearance in the Palace of Conventions (where the national legislature meets). That would be spectacular. Maybe a public appearance in case of a natural catastrophe, or if Raúl were to die.''

Erikson said that whatever Fidel Castro does from now on, his improved health likely will impact Raúl Castro's efforts to reform a highly centralized and inefficient as well as Barack Obama's efforts to improve relations.

“This is not a situation that anyone anticipated in 2006,'' he said from Washington. “Castro has carved out a much more sustained presence in Cuban politics than anyone expected.''


After Castro underwent surgery, many analysts argued that the more pragmatic Raúl Castro had seamlessly assumed control of the government and would soon embrace significant political reforms.

“But if Raúl is truly more pragmatic, he's been unable to demonstrate that,'' Erikson said. “Was that a miscalculation about Raúl, or does Fidel remain a blocking factor that may grow stronger as his health improves?''

As for Obama's efforts to engage Cuba, he added, Fidel's increased activity “complicates everything. It makes the Cuba situation not clear at all — who is your negotiating partner, Fidel or Raúl?''

“Fidel has long been extremely skeptical of rapprochement with the U.S.,'' Erikson said. “It's not something he's likely to push for.''

Miami radio and TV personality Ninoska Pérez Castellón agreed Castro looks healthy these days but said she's not convinced that he's all that sharp mentally and that the images were likely for domestic consumption.

To Cuba's rulers, she said, “a Fidel alive represents stability. To them, the images are just a guarantee that Fidel is still here, that we're fine, that we're good.''

Fidel Castro's new `tropical business casual' look is a signal — but of what? – Cuba – (12 September 2009)

Fallece Juan Almeida Bosque, comandante de la revolución cubana

Publicado el sábado, 09.12.09Fallece Juan Almeida Bosque, comandante de la revolución cubanaPor ANDREA RODRIGUEZThe Associated Press

LA HABANA — Juan Almeida Bosque, uno de los pocos "comandantes de la revolución" cubana que quedaban vivos y quien profesó una férrea lealtad hacia fraguada al calor del campo de batalla, falleció el viernes debido a un paro cardiorespiratorio. Tenía 82 años.

Medios de prensa cubanos informaron sobre el deceso y el Consejo de Estado decretó duelo nacional en todo el país con la bandera a media asta.

"El nombre del Comandante de la Revolución Juan Almeida Bosque permanecerá por siempre en el corazón y la mente de sus compatriotas, como paradigma de firmeza revolucionaria, sólidas convicciones, valentía, patriotismo y compromiso con el pueblo", expresó un comunicado oficial.

El comandante fue además un cercano colaborador y amigo personal de Fidel y Raúl Castro, este último actual luego de reemplazar a su hermano.

"Con profundo dolor, la Dirección del Partido y del Estado comunica a nuestro pueblo que el Comandante de la Revolución Juan Almeida Bosque, miembro del Buró Político y Vicepresidente del Consejo de Estado, falleció en esta capital a las 11: 30 de la noche de ayer 11 de septiembre, como consecuencia de un paro cardio-respiratorio", expresó la nota oficial.

Atendiendo a la voluntad del dirigente, sus restos mortales no serán expuestos y se lo inhumará con honores militares "en fecha que se anunciará posteriormente", manifestó el comunicado.

Paralelamente, el domingo desde las ocho de la mañana y por 12 horas será decretado el duelo oficial para ese día y se realizarán homenajes en su honor para que la población pueda darle su último adiós.

Para este fin estarán disponible el Memorial José Martí de esta capital, la base del monumento a Antonio Maceo de Santiago así como otros lugares determinados en las capitales de todas las provincias, incluyendo la Isla de la Juventud, donde el dirigente guardó prisión tras su participación en el asalto al cuartel Moncada en 1953.

La mayor de las obligaciones públicas oficiales de Almeida, como uno de los cinco vicepresidentes del Consejo de Estado, era la de recibir las cartas credenciales de los nuevos embajadores acreditados en La Habana, pero salvo en esas ocasiones realizaba escasas actividades donde se lo pudiera ver.

Hubo un tiempo, sin , en que Almeida, un albañil de raza negra que comenzó a trabajar a los 11 años, estuvo entre los más cercanos y determinantes colaboradores de la lucha guerrillera y en los primeros años del gobierno revolucionario.

Tanto así que junto a Ramiro Valdés y Guillermo García, era de los pocos en ostentar la distinción de "comandante de la revolución", reservada sólo para quienes comenzaron con Castro en la década de los años cincuentas el combate rebelde, pero además permanecieron fieles al proceso isleño.

Nacido en La Habana el 17 de febrero de 1927, se incorporó a la lucha rebelde al conocer en marzo de 1952 en la de La Habana a un alumno de la facultad de derecho y quien cambiaria su destino: Fidel Castro.

Un año después, en julio de 1953, Almeida se integraría el centenar de jóvenes que encabezados por Castro asaltó el cuartel Moncada en Santiago de Cuba, al oriente de la isla, en una acción que fue el detonante para el inicio de la lucha contra la dictadura de Batista.

Detenido, al igual que Castro y los sobrevivientes del fallido asalto, Almeida fue condenado a 10 años de prisión, sentencia que quedó sobreseída en mayo de 1955 por una amnistía a los jóvenes atacantes. Almeida, entonces, salió exiliado junto a Castro rumbo a México y desde donde solo regresó a bordo del yate "Granma".

El bote sobrecargado con 82 pasajeros desembarcó en diciembre de 1956 en las costas cubanas para iniciar la lucha contra Batista, pero de inmediato fue descubierto por las tropas oficiales. La mayoría de los llamados "expedicionarios" del Granma murió o fueron capturados.

Sólo 16 salvaron sus vidas, entre ellos los hermanos Fidel y Raúl Castro, Almeida y el legendario guerrillero argentino, Ernesto "Che" Guevara.

Fue entonces cuando nació una de las consignas políticas cubanas más utilizadas: "Aquí nadie se rinde", frase gritada por Almeida al Che Guevara, quien yacía herido levemente en medio del intenso cerco tendido por las tropas oficiales a los expedicionarios del Granma.

Ese expediente de Almeida le valió su ascenso en la comandancia rebelde y tener su propio frente de operaciones, el número tres, ubicado al oriente de la isla.

Batista huyó de La Habana el 1 de enero de 1959 y los revolucionarios de Castro llegaron triunfantes al poder, entre ellos Almeida.

De inmediato, se le encargaron misiones militares, desde jefe de unidades motorizadas, hasta su membresía en del estado mayor de las Fuerzas Armadas.

También fue miembro del Comité Central del Partido Comunista de Cuba desde su creación en octubre de 1965. Para fines de la décadas de los años 80 y comienzos de los 90, Almeida era un respetable miembro del aparato, pero con escaso poder en la toma de decisiones.

Los cubanos también recordarán a Almeida como un compositor de música criolla, que se deja escuchar en las emisoras estatales, y escritor de libros a partir de 1985, entre ellos narraciones sobre sus años en las montañas como guerrillero, su encarcelamiento y exilio en México.

Fallece Juan Almeida Bosque, comandante de la revolución cubana – América Latina AP – El Nuevo Herald (12 September 2009)

Ex pelotero cubano que juega para España a punto de lograr hazaña contra Puerto Rico

Publicado el viernes, 09.11.09Ex pelotero cubano que juega para España a punto de lograr hazaña contra Puerto RicoPor SERVICIOS DE EL NUEVO HERALD

BARCELONA — Barcelona, 11 sep –(EFE)– La selección española de béisbol estuvo hoy a un paso de haber podido ser segunda en el Grupo B de la primera fase de la Copa del Mundo 2009, pero perdió ante Puerto Rico por cinco carreras a tres en un choque marcado por los errores de los receptores españoles, que fueron determinantes.

Las cosas no comenzaron con buen pie para el combinado español que se encontró con un 0-4 en contra al final de la tercera entrada, en la que la defensa española, tras cometer varios errores, encajó tres carreras.

El cambio del lanzador inicial, el joven jugador de los Houston Astros Manuel Noguera, primero por Manu Olivera y posteriormente por el experimentado y veterano Remigio Leal, de 45 años, cambió el panorama del partido y frenó la eficacia de los bateadores portorriqueños.

Además la línea de ataque española empezó a mostrarse más segura y un 'home run' de Wiliam Domero sirvió para que él mismo y Luis Pérez recortasen distancias con dos carreras (4-2) en la cuarta entrada.

El marcador se apretó al máximo tras una carrera de Daniel Martínez en la quinta entrada (4-3) e incluso España pudo haber dado la vuelta al marcador al llegar a tener tres bases llenas, pero el acierto del lanzador portorriqueño Miguel Santiago impidió que España pudiese completar el cuadro.

En la octava entrada el jugador de los New York Mets Rhiner Cruz relevó a Leal en el montículo español para frenar el bateo rival, pero una jugada desgraciada de la defensa española, en la que Luis Pérez que no se entendió con un compañero para recoger una bola bateada por Alex Cintron, permitió a Carlos Rivera ampliar de nuevo la ventaja de Puerto Rico y sentenciar a España.

España se enfrentará hoy (11:00 horas/9.00 GMT) a Cuba en el tercer y último encuentro de este Grupo B y estará a la espera de saber si accede a la segunda ronda como tercero de grupo (pasan los cuatro mejores terceros de los cinco grupos de esta fase), aunque parece que España estará entre los cuatro mejores.

Ex pelotero cubano que juega para España a punto de lograr hazaña contra Puerto Rico – Béisbol – El Nuevo Herald (11 September 2009)

Oposición moderada busca expandirse y promover el diálogo en Cuba

Publicado el 09-11-2009Oposición moderada busca expandirse y promover el diálogo en CubaLA HABANA (AFP)

La disidencia moderada cubana convocó a un congreso para 2010 como cierre de un proceso de diálogo amplio sobre reformas económicas, políticas y sociales que necesita el país, anunciaron este jueves sus dirigentes.

El socialdemócrata Partido Arco Progesista, que fijo su primer congreso para septiembre de 2010, busca "abrir espacio al ciudadano" en busca de una "alternativa política", afirmó Manuel Cuesta, dirigente de la agrupación .

En rueda de prensa, Cuesta precisó que bajo el lema "Arco a la calle" los activistas distribuirán una hoja -mano en mano- en que se consulta a los cubanos "cuáles serían sus tres aspiraciones políticas básicas para Cuba" y convocó a académicos y estudiosos a analizar la situación actual y futura del país.

"Debemos definir y apoyar demandas políticas, por ejemplo en materia de propiedad, , para que haya cambios concretos que la gente quiere, desde abajo", comentó.

Cuesta precisó que su partido, según él apoyado por unas 1.000 personas, inició un proyecto de "institucionalización" con la promoción de sus ideas a nivel de municipal. "Vamos a construir un bastión socialdemócrata", expresó.

"Para organizaciones de esta naturaleza de corte moderado hay tolerancia. Trabajando con prudencia, con cautela, pienso que se puede. En la vieja hostilidad hay un deshielo favorable que no permite usar el conflicto internacional como tapadera para cerrar espacios aquí", dijo a la AFP.

La Constitución cubana, que establece que el sistema socialista es irrevocable, define al gobernante Partido Comunista, único legal, como la "fuerza dirigente superior de la sociedad y el Estado", en tanto que el gobierno considera a los opositores mercenarios de .

Diario Las Americas – Oposición moderada busca expandirse y promover el diálogo en Cuba (11 September 2009

Afirman que destacado pelotero dejó Cuba y se encuentra en México

Afirman que destacado pelotero dejó Cuba y se encuentra en México Notimex(11 de septiembre de 2009, 02:07 PM)

Miami, 11 Sep. (Notimex).- El primera base cubano Leslie Anderson, que participó en el II Clásico de Béisbol, abandonó Cuba y se encuentra en México para lograr la agencia libre y un contrato de Ligas Mayores, informó hoy El Nuevo Herald.

"Ya hemos iniciado las conversaciones pertinentes para poder representarle", dijo al diario un agente de peloteros, cercano al caso.

La fuente aseguró que la salida del inicialista "no tuvo nada que ver" con la del pitcher Yunieski Maya, cuya salida de la isla anunció el mismo diario el pasado miércoles.

"El hecho de que ambos hayan escapado casi a la misma vez es pura coincidencia", aseguró el agente.

Según el cotidiano al igual que la salida Maya, la de Anderson estuvo precedida una detención de las autoridades cubanas al descubrirse su intentos de abandonar la isla.

Anderson fue detenido a fines de agosto al descubrirse que preparaba su fuga durante el campeonato mundial que en estos momentos se desarrolla en varias ciudades de Europa.

Los casos de Maya y Anderson aprovechó un torneo en Rótterdam, Holanda, en julio pasado, para abandonar la selección y aún se encuentra en Europa, indicó el diario.

Nombres como René Arocha, Liván Hernández, Orlando "El Duque" Hernández, Rolando Arrojo, Ariel Contreras, Kendrey Morales, Yunel Escobar y Yuniesky Betancourt, entre otros, han abandonado Cuba en donde el béisbol es amateur para jugar en el profesional.

Afirman que destacado pelotero dejó Cuba y se encuentra en México – Béisbol | MLB | Grandes Ligas | Noticias | Resultados – Yahoo! En Español Deportes (11 September 2009)

Cuba difunde documental de intervención de Allende por guerrilleros del Che

Cuba difunde documental de intervención de Allende por guerrilleros del Che11 de septiembre de 2009, 02:45 PM

LA HABANA (AFP) – Cuba difundió el viernes partes de un documental sobre la participación del chileno Salvador Allende en el rescate de sobrevivientes de la guerrilla de Ernesto Che Guevara en en 1968, en conmemoración de 36º aniversario de la muerte del líder socialista.

La obra "La Habana-Arica-Magallanes", de la realizadora cubana Ania Ortega y cuyos extractos fueron divulgados en el sitio digital oficialista, reproduce imágenes inéditas de 1968 en que Allende, entonces senador, se encuentra con el grupo de sobrevivientes.

Dos de los tres guerrilleros cubanos rescatados, Harry Villegas, alias "Pombo" y Leonardo Tamayo, "Urbano", relatan la forma en que Allende ayudó en la operación. El tercero, Daniel Alarcón, "Benigno", se exilió en París.

Allende, derrocado el 11 de septiembre de 1973 por un golpe de Estado encabezado por Augusto Pinochet, "tuvo una actuación clave en el silencioso rescate", señaló el portal, donde , ahora retirado del poder por una enfermedad, publica actualmente una columna de prensa.

Según el documental, Allende encabezó las gestiones de organizaciones de izquierda chilenas, a las que Castro pidió ayuda y llegó incluso a establecer un punto en el altiplano chileno para el operativo de rescate, el cual falló.

Los cubanos se entregaron y desde Santiago de Allende hizo gestiones en el Senado para que fueran devueltos a Cuba, e incluso los acompañó en una parte del vuelo que los regresó a La Habana, añadieron.

"Fue fuerte el apoyo de Allende hacia nosotros", dice 'Urbano' en uno de los dos fragmentos -de más de 5 y 7 minutos- del documental, realizado en 2008 por el Instituto de Cine de Cuba (ICAIC).

"Pombo" narra pormenores de la operación y cuando se encontraron con Allende. "Nos dijo que tuviéramos confianza, que estuviéramos tranquilos", relató en la cinta.

El documental incluye partes del discurso del líder cubano Fidel Castro en un discurso pronunciado el 2 de diciembre de 1971 en Chile y testimonios de compañeros y familiares de Allende que cuentan cómo transcurrió su gobierno de mil días (1970-73) hasta el golpe y suicidio del líder de la Unidad Popular.

El presidente chileno había conocido al Che, ejecutado en 1967 en las selvas de Bolivia, cuando realizó un viaje a La Habana en 1960 y "siempre manifestó su gran admiración por el guerrillero", recordó el sitio digital.

Allende se suicidó con un fusil que le había regalado su amigo Fidel Castro, según los testimonios de personas que permanecieron junto a él mientras la sede de gobierno enfrentaba el ataque de los militares alzados.

Cuba difunde documental de intervención de Allende por guerrilleros del Che – Yahoo! Noticias (11 September 2009)

Especulan que Fidel Castro podría volver al poder en Cuba

Especulan que podría volver al poder en Cuba

La notable mejoría del ex y sus recientes apariciones públicas del ex dictador podría significar que prepara un retorno a los primeros planos, de acuerdo con los analistas de la realidad en la isla

Las últimas imágenes de Fidel Castro lo muestran ya sin su habitual juego de ropa deportiva en el peor momento de su enfermedad. Ahora utiliza elegantes camisas tropicales.

Para los analistas de la realidad cubana, el ex mandatario está indicando que "ha terminado la rehabilitación de su enfermedad y está listo para ejercer más influencia sobre los asuntos cubanos", según el diario de Miami El Nuevo Herald.

"Le gusta estar al timón y en cualquier momento se lo puede arrebatar a Raúl'', dijo Dan Erikson, un experto cubano de Diálogo Inter-Americano, una organización de análisis en Washington, D.C.

Emilio Ichikawa, un ensayista cubano que se fue a Miami que en 2000, dijo que las nuevas camisas carecerían de todo significado si uno creyera que sólo reflejan "la proverbial improvisación con que trabaja la sociedad cubana'''. Pero él no está de acuerdo. "Si la premisa es que sus imágenes están milimétricamente planificadas -y yo lo creo así – entonces hay que analizar seriamente el hecho'', consideró el escritor.

El periodista cubano, Max Lenik, quien viaja frecuentemente, destacó que "la ropa atlética señalaba que estaba haciendo sus ejercicios, haciendo su rehabilitación''y "ahora su ropa civil significa que está regresando a más actividades aunque no al poder. No lo creo''.

El ex líder cubano no hacía apariciones públicas desde 2006, cuando una aún enigmática operación, lo alejó de la función pública, para que sea reemplazado por su hermano Raúl.

Especulan que Fidel Castro podría volver al poder en Cuba – (12 September 2009)

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