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Daily Archives: November 19, 2009

Rumours that Cuban leader is dead are disproved

'dies from nephelococcygia'Rumours that Cuban leader is dead are disprovedThursday, November 19, 2009

Rumours that Fidel Castro is dead after seeing shapes in clouds – nephelococcygia – have been disproved.

It had been claimed the former communist leader died due to oxygen starvation because he failed to breathe while trying to make out fellow revolutionary Che Guevara in cloud forms.

Castro – who was replaced by his younger brother Raul as Cuban leader – is now reported to be alive and well.

He is a fan of nephelococcygia – the art fo seeing shapes in clouds – and apparently keeps a diary of his cloud observations.

Fidel Castro 'dead from nephelococcygia' | Metro.co.uk (19 November 2009)http://www.metro.co.uk/news/world/article.html?Fidel_Castro_dies_from_nephelococcygia&in_article_id=773346&in_page_id=64

Cuba to buy less US food

Cuba to buy less US Published: Wednesday | November 18, 2009

Cuban purchases of food from the United States will fall by at least a third this year as the island slashes imports to stabilise an ever-weak further hammered by the global economic crisis, a top trade official said Monday.

Igor Montero, head of the state import company, Alimport, calculated that the communist government would spend less than US$590 million on American food in 2009 once banking, shipping and other transaction costs are included. That's down at least 32 per cent from last year's US$870 million.

Montero blamed the economic crisis but also took a swipe at Washington's 47-year-old trade , even though it exempts food, arguing that America should begin buying Cuban products and allowing its citizens to visit the island as tourists.

"If we aren't given more possibility to generate revenue through Cuban exports to the United States, or an exchange of visitors," Montero said, "it's going to be very difficult to continue to reach the levels of trade we've grown accustomed to."

He said 2009 will mark the first year American food imports to Cuba have not increased since the US Congress authorised direct sale of agricultural products to this country in 2000.

Because of a dispute over financing, Cuba refused to import even a single grain of until a hurricane caused food shortages in November 2001.

After that, the US quickly became Cuba's top source of food and will retain that title in 2009, despite falling sales.

Cuban officials have begun a campaign to increase domestic food production as falling imports have squeezed product supplies at the country's farmers and supermarkets. But so far, those efforts have led to little increased output.

Last year Cuba spent a record of more than US$710 million for US agricultural products of all kinds – a figure lower than the one Montero gave because it does not include transaction costs – according to the New York-based US-Cuba Trade and Economic Council. That was 61 per cent more than in 2007, the council reported.

The spike came as Cuba stockpiled food in the face of rising commodity prices, a strategy that backfired when three hurricanes hit the island, damaging many of the warehouses where perishable items were stored.

Minister of Foreign Trade and Rodrigo Malmierca said that foreign imports as a whole were down 36 per cent to about US$10 billion so far this year, and that about 80 per cent of that was food.

Trading partner

Some 51 per cent of imports comes from the United States, he said, though Cuba's top trading partner remains , led by socialist ally Hugo , followed by , Russia, and Brazil.

In a speech kicking off a foreign trade fair east of Havana on Monday, Malmierca said "complex economic factors" have forced Cuba to delay payments to many of its foreign suppliers. But he said that the island "is ready to hold dialogues to fix that."

Thirty-five US businesses, most of them food, or shipping companies, brought about 200 representatives to Cuba for the fair. Among those here were state agriculture officials from Maryland, Virginia and Georgia, Montero said.

Terry Coleman, Georgia's deputy commission of agriculture, said the White House should push to modify banking regulations so that Cuba can transfer payments from its banks to American ones without having to go through financial institutions in third countries.

"We are hoping and praying for a real approach to trade," he said. "Normal trade is direct. You buy, you send the products to the ships and there's no middleman."

- AP

Jamaica Gleaner News – Cuba to buy less US food – Business – Wednesday | November 18, 2009 (18 November 2009)http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20091118/business/business6.html

Charting the Cuban blogosphere

Charting the Cuban blogosphere

They number just a few dozen and hardly anyone can read them – but Cuba's government has already decided it does not like blogs

They are new, number just a few dozen and hardly anyone can read them – but Cuba's government has already decided it does not like independent blogs.

The island's blogosphere is tiny but represents a threat to authorities who have spent half a century censoring and controlling information.

About a third of the island's estimated 300 blogs operate without official approval, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. They range from outspoken political forums such as Voz Tras Las Rejas (Voice From Behind Bars), which includes posts dictated by Pablo Pacheco, who has been jailed since 2003, to wry, whimsical observations about life under tropical communism.

Fewer than 2% of people in Cuba are estimated to have access, with cybercafes limited largely to serving foreign tourists. Cuba appears to block fewer sites than and relies more on prohibitive cost to curb bloggers' access and impact.

Bloggers publish their work through back channels‚ saving documents on memory sticks and uploading entries through connections, according to a Watch report published today.

"Because an hour of internet use costs one-third of Cubans' monthly wages and is available exclusively in a few government-run centres, only a tiny fraction of Cubans have the chance to read such blogs‚ including, ironically, the bloggers themselves."

Even so, bloggers have used tweets, texts and posts to co-ordinate several recent protests. "It's a matter of trying to grease the machinery for online protests," said Yoani Sánchez, the highest profile . The 34-year-old, who has won a large following off the island, was briefly abducted and beaten last week by suspected state security agents.

With her husband and fellow blogger Reynaldo Escobar, she trained would-be bloggers in the first Bloggers Academy of Cuba session in her Havana flat.

The authorities have made cautious forays into online interaction. The state newspaper Juventud Rebelde now has a comments section and some computer students are reportedly paid to write pro-Castro comments on blogs.

The government blames internet restraints on a US , which blocks an underwater cable from the United States. Although the US recently dropped the cable ban, Havana has said it will build a cable from .

Charting the Cuban blogosphere | World news | The Guardian (18 November 2009)http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/18/cuba-blogs-blogosphere

Sides gear up for fight over U.S. ban on travel to Cuba

Sides gear up for fight over U.S. ban on to CubaWide support for repeal is countered by demand for political reformsBy Mary Beth SheridanWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, November 19, 2009

A battle over Cuba policy is escalating in Congress, with proponents saying they have their best chance in years of repealing the ban on U.S. travel to the island.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing Thursday to galvanize support for scrapping the ban as opponents rally to block any changes. Proponents have lined up a powerful and diverse roster of supporters, including U.S. farmers, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Cuban American veterans of the Bay of Pigs and the Iraq war. The travel site Orbitz has collected over 100,000 signatures on a petition to eliminate the ban.

The congressional maneuvering comes as the Obama administration makes small-scale efforts to engage the Cuban government. Obama in April removed limits on Americans' visits to relatives on the island and allowed U.S. telecommunications companies to operate more freely there. But Obama has insisted that Cuban democratic reforms precede normalized relations.

A report issued Wednesday by Watch said there had been little change in Cuba's repressive policies since relinquished power to his brother Raul three years ago, with scores of Cubans detained as political prisoners in that period.

Travel to Cuba by Americans was effectively banned in 1963. In 1977, the Carter administration eliminated most travel restrictions, but many were reimposed by subsequent administrations. A growing number of lawmakers have argued in recent years that the sanctions have not been successful. But President George W. Bush threatened to veto bills softening the sanctions and tightened travel regulations.ad_icon

In recent months, a bill ending the travel ban sponsored by Reps. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has picked up 178 co-sponsors — approaching the 218 votes needed for passage. With Democrats controlling the White House and holding a significant majority in Congress, proponents say they think their moment has come.

"There's a better chance of passage than ever before," said Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

But supporters of the ban have fought back and say they think they can block the bill. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this month signed by 53 Democrats opposing any loosening of sanctions.

"Cuba has not even come close to warranting a change in their relationship with the United States," the congresswoman said. Her letter said loosening sanctions "would send a devastating message to Cuba's opposition movement and legitimize an ailing dictatorship."

Worried about the split in the Democratic caucus, some lawmakers are now looking to a bipartisan bill being drafted by Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) and others that could pick up extra votes by both abolishing the travel restrictions and reducing barriers for U.S. farm exports to Cuba. No action on the travel ban is expected before early next year.

While the House could muster the votes to lift the travel ban, it faces a tougher fight in the Senate, where a prominent Cuban American — Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) — has indicated that he will try to block it.

Pro- groups have dramatically shifted their campaign contributions to Democrats since the party took control of Congress in 2006, according to a study released this week by Public Campaign, a nonprofit group. For example, the U.S.-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee gave 76 percent of its donations to Democrats in the past year, the study found. During the 2004 election cycle, the anti-Castro group overwhelmingly supported Republicans, according to the study.

Overall, the study found that embargo supporters have contributed more than $10 million to federal candidates since the 2004 election cycle. The group also identified more than a dozen lawmakers who changed their position on easing the embargo within months of receiving money from anti-Castro groups.

Mauricio Claver-Carone, a board member of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, said such contributions are "a laughable fraction" of the resources of agricultural and business groups who are pushing to relax sanctions.

Staff writer Dan Eggen contributed to this report.

Sides gear up for fight over U.S. ban on travel to Cuba – washingtonpost.com (19 November 2009)http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/18/AR2009111801523.html?wprss=rss_world/centralamerica

Critics of Cuba travel seek return of fugitives

Critics of Cuba seek return of fugitivesThursday, November 19, 2009BY HERB JACKSONThe RecordWASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

Critics of relaxing travel restrictions to Cuba said Wednesday that the Castro regime first has to agree to return criminal fugitives, including a woman who murdered a New Jersey state trooper in 1973.

"Cuba has insulted not only the state of New Jersey but also the entire justice system of the United States," Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, said at a briefing for members of Congress and aides arranged by a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "Normalization cannot come without concessions from the Cuba regime."

The committee is holding a hearing today on whether to lift the trade and travel restrictions that were imposed on Cuba after seized power.

Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the state , told the briefing he still has two detectives assigned to the case of Joanne Chesimard, a member of the Black Liberation who killed a trooper after a traffic stop on the New Jersey Turnpike and was broken out of a state in 1979.

"She enjoys rock star status in Cuba," Fuentes said.

Now known as Assata Shakur, she has unrestricted access to the island, a car, and free in exchange for being an anti-American "propaganda specialist for the Castro government," Fuentes said.

"We simply need to get her back on U.S. soil. Until that point, the pressure is not going to cease from our delegation," he said. The state has offered a $1 million reward for her capture and return.

New Jersey lawmakers are largely united across party lines in demanding Cuban concessions, but several at the briefing were concerned some colleagues in the House were willing to look the other way over fugitives and violations.

Reps. Chris Smith, R-Mercer, and Albio Sires, D-West New York, both criticized a delegation from the Congressional Black Caucus that visited Cuba earlier this year and failed to raise either issue.

"The fact that Joanne Chesimard remains free in Cuba after having brutally gunned down a state trooper … is an outrage beyond words," Smith said.

Smith, a longtime human rights crusader, said he has tried repeatedly to get permission to travel to Cuba because he wants to visit prisons and ask to see political prisoners. His requests have been ignored, he said.

Critics of relaxing travel restrictions to Cuba said Wednesday that the Castro regime first has to agree to return criminal fugitives, including a woman who murdered a New Jersey state trooper in 1973.

"Cuba has insulted not only the state of New Jersey but also the entire justice system of the United States," Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, said at a briefing for members of Congress and aides arranged by a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "Normalization cannot come without concessions from the Cuba regime."

The committee is holding a hearing today on whether to lift the trade and travel restrictions that were imposed on Cuba after Fidel Castro seized power.

Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the state police, told the briefing he still has two detectives assigned to the case of Joanne Chesimard, a member of the Black Liberation Army who killed a trooper after a traffic stop on the New Jersey Turnpike and was broken out of a state prison in 1979.

"She enjoys rock star status in Cuba," Fuentes said.

Now known as Assata Shakur, she has unrestricted access to the island, a car, and free housing in exchange for being an anti-American "propaganda specialist for the Castro government," Fuentes said.

"We simply need to get her back on U.S. soil. Until that point, the pressure is not going to cease from our delegation," he said. The state has offered a $1 million reward for her capture and return.

New Jersey lawmakers are largely united across party lines in demanding Cuban concessions, but several at the briefing were concerned some colleagues in the House were willing to look the other way over fugitives and human rights violations.

Reps. Chris Smith, R-Mercer, and Albio Sires, D-West New York, both criticized a delegation from the Congressional Black Caucus that visited Cuba earlier this year and failed to raise either issue.

"The fact that Joanne Chesimard remains free in Cuba after having brutally gunned down a state trooper … is an outrage beyond words," Smith said.

Smith, a longtime human rights crusader, said he has tried repeatedly to get permission to travel to Cuba because he wants to visit prisons and ask to see political prisoners. His requests have been ignored, he said.

NorthJersey.com: Critics of Cuba travel seek return of fugitives (19 November 2009)http://www.northjersey.com/news/70441952.html

70 percent of Cuba’s farmland under threat

70 percent of Cuba's farmland under threatMalaysia News.NetThursday 19th November, 2009 (IANS)

Seventy percent of Cuba's land under cultivation is being affected by erosion, salinity and acidity, ministry officials said.

The director of the Soil Institute, Dagoberto Rodriguez, said Wednesday at a press conference in Havana that only half of Cuba's 6.6 million hectares (16.3 million acres) of arable land is under cultivation.

He said the cultivated land in Cuba is affected by problems like erosion, salinity and acidity, all of which contribute to the low fertility index.

The government since 2001 has been pushing a programme to conserve the soil, a key issue on the communist-ruled island since Raul Castro decided to give priority to the rejuvenation of agriculture and increase production.

, who succeeded ailing older brother Fidel, has complained on several occasions that half of Cuba's arable lands were not being utilised, and so in 2008 he decreed that idle lands would be turned over to individual farmers and cooperatives.

One of the basic approaches of his government has been 'to look to the land more', but amid the economic crisis on the island the state has to import more than 80 percent of the food consumed by Cuba's 11.2 million people.

The programme to conserve the land so far has benefited about 600,000 hectares and the country also has been making efforts to increase the extent of its forests.

It is estimated that when the island was discovered by Europeans in 1492, 89 percent of its land area was covered in forests, but by 1900 that had dropped to 50 percent and by 1960 only 13 percent of Cuba's land was still forested.

The director of the ministry's forestry division, Carlos Diaz, said that the reforestation plan had resulted by 2007 in 25.3 percent of the country's land area being forested, but he added that the commitment made by Cuba at the 1992 Rio climate summit was to get to the 29 percent level by 2015.

The degradation of the soil and the loss of woodlands are two of the main environmental problems the island is facing, along with the loss of biological diversity and the lack of water, experts say.

70 percent of Cuba's farmland under threat (19 November 2009)http://www.malaysianews.net/story/567071

Donated dental items find new home in Cuba

Donated dental items find new home in CubaCaring Partners to ship equipment this weekBy Rick McCrabb, Staff Writer 12:49 AM Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FRANKLIN — Jim Walsh, of Ross Institute of Medical and Dental Technology, is a believer in Caring Partners International.

"In a world full of negativity," Walsh said, "I see nothing but positives here. There may be something negative, but if there is, I'm missing it."

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, Walsh toured CPI, a Franklin-based organization that provides medical equipment and supplies to Third World countries.

Earlier, Ross donated a used dental operatory from its Cincinnati campus to CPI that will be shipped to Havana, Cuba, on Thursday, Nov. 19, said Roy Cline, president of CPI. The equipment will arrive in Cuba by the middle of December and be set up for permanent use by citizens in the surrounding area of Cotorro, Cuba, he said.

"This is a time of celebration," Cline said while standing near the crates destined for Cuba. "We're abundantly blessed."

He called the equipment "an interesting donation" because typically CPI doesn't receive a complete dental office.

When Ross purchased Cincinnati's Institute of Medical and Dental Technology last year, officials replaced the existing dental equipment with a new operatory suite for its dental assistant program.

There was just one problem — what to do with the used equipment?

"We're the ultimate recyclers," Cline said with a smile.

Staff members from Ross were referred to CPI, which has conducted international medical missions work though local churches for 17 years and has traveled to Cuba since 1997.

Upon arrival in Havana, the equipment will be inspected by the Ministry of and installed at the Baptist Retirement Home in Cotorro by January 2010.

Residents of the home, in addition to the neighboring community of 10,000 residents, will be able to take full advantage of the new operatory suite.

In May 2010, a CPI team will be dispatched to inspect the installation of the suite.

"That's a sight I'll never want to leave my mind," Walsh said of the equipment being used in Cuba. "It's a great honor to give this when you realize how it will be received. A need is met."

Contact this reporter at (513) 705-2842 or

Donated dental items find new home in Cuba (19 November 2009)http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/middletown-news/donated-dental-items-find-new-home-in-cuba-407792.html

Brazilian doctors trained in Cuba demand diploma validation

Brazilian doctors trained in Cuba demand diploma validation10:10, November 19, 2009

A group of 30 Brazilian doctors trained in Cuba on Wednesday urged Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to validate their diplomas, a process that had been delayed in Brazil and prevented them from practicing.

When talking with the doctors, who carried a flag of the Caribbean country outside his office at the Bank of Brazil Cultural Center in Brasilia on Wednesday, Lula assured them that he would discuss with the Ministry of and urged it to speedup the recognition process.

According to the National Commission of Doctors Trained in Cuba, the ministry has set a series of requirements when accepting new doctors, such as passing tests that are conducted twice a year and getting proof from all public universities participating in the project.

The recognition of Cuban diplomas was passed by the Brazilian Congress in 2007. However, their validity was rejected by medical schools and the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) of Brazil, which claimed incompatibility in the curriculum of studies.

Source: Xinhua

Brazilian doctors trained in Cuba demand diploma validation – People's Daily Online (19 November 2009)http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90852/6817594.html

Cuba travel ban to be discussed in Washington

Posted on Thursday, 11.19.09Cuba ban to be discussed in WashingtonBY LESLEY CLARK

WASHINGTON — Proponents of lifting the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba will make their case Thursday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The hearing comes as proponents of greater engagement with Cuba say they've got their best shot at success in years. The panel's chair, Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., has already endorsed lifting the ban, calling it a throwback to the “chilliest periods of the Cold War.''

In a Miami Herald opinion piece, Berman suggested that contact between Cubans and “ordinary Americans'' could “help break Havana's chokehold on information about the outside world.''

The list of witnesses reflects Berman's interest: Those testifying in support of lifting the ban include retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the former U.S. drug czar and commander of the U.S. Southern Command; Miriam Leiva, a founding member of the Cuban opposition group Ladies in White; Ignacio Sosa, a board member of Friends of Caritas Cubana, a Massachusetts nonprofit; and Phil Peters, a Cuba analyst at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va.

Those opposed include James Cason, former chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and of the Center for a Free Cuba, and Berta , the sister of former Jorge Luis Garcia Perez.

Proponents say the hearing is a first — efforts to lift the travel ban have cleared the House in the past, but only tucked into larger spending bills. This time, a bill to repeal the decades-old ban has attracted nearly 180 supporters. The committee won't vote on any legislation, but supporters said they hope the hearing is a first step.

“A new policy toward Cuba early in 2010 would have an impact well beyond Cuba; it would send a strong signal to our South and Central American neighbors that a new day has dawned in the United States in relation to Latin America as a whole,'' said Mavis Anderson, senior associate at the Latin American Working Group, which backs lifting the ban.

But Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, who supports keeping the ban until Cuba embraces democracy, said she's confident backers of the ban have the votes. “I don't think the votes have shifted,'' Ros-Lehtinen said Wednesday at a briefing she convened to suggest Cuba is a security threat to the United States. “I feel confident we can beat it back.''

Cuba travel ban to be discussed in Washington – Cuba – MiamiHerald.com (19 November 2009)http://www.miamiherald.com/news/americas/cuba/story/1341647.html

Stand firm, America

Posted on Thursday, 11.19.09CUBAStand firm, AmericaBY BERTA PERNET

Afew weeks ago, Cuban State Security agents beat up on the streets of Havana the internationally known Cuban writer and Yoani Sánchez. The international community condemned the attack.

Some wonder why the Cuban government would attack Yoani at a time when the government of the United States is easing its restrictions, trying to normalize aspects of the relation between the two countries and urging the Cuban government to signal that it respects and political freedoms so that the U.S. government can revisit its trade embargo — an embargo that does not include or medicine.

I want to explain the realities of Cuba to those who question: “Why?'' I do so as someone who was born and has lived most of my life in Cuba, as someone who is the sister and niece of political prisoners, and as an activist trying to do as much as possible to win the release of Cuba's political prisoners.

The attack on Yoani Sánchez was no fluke. It was part of the dictatorship's strategy of constant arrests, harassment, kidnappings, beatings, extra-judicial killings that have been employed against Cuba's pro-democracy movement, especially since the mass arrests of March 2003. Those arrests also resulted in worldwide condemnation of the regime.

The Cuban government has since been waging low-profile, high-intensity warfare against Cubans who peacefully advocate change. For a while the Cuban dictatorship hoped to be able to increase its repression and avoid condemnation. Now the Castro brothers' regime feels emboldened by the half-dozen Latin American heads of state who have traveled to Havana to cozy-up to the world's longest reigning and among its bloodiest dictators.

The regime is emboldened by 's new policy of engagement with the dictatorship, and the increasing influence of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez throughout Latin America. Yet the regime is also frightened by the Cuban people's increasing defiance and refusal to cooperate. Perceiving division among the world's democratic governments, the regime is slowly raising the visibility of its repressive war against the Cuban people. The assault on Yoani is the clearest indicator.

My brother, Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez,'' was released after 17 years of imprisonment for peacefully advocating for change in Cuba, and has remained in Cuba to continue the civic struggle for democratic change.

He has been frequently , beaten and harassed by Castro's apparatchiks. As the Castro regime receives unilateral concessions from democracies around the world, Jorge Luis has seen the regime grow bolder in its repression of the Cuban people.

In April he wrote members of the U.S. Congress that it is a “powerful attention getter that, while the Castro regime increases repression and mistreats our compatriots, certain sectors [in the United States] seek engagement with the oldest and most repressive dictatorship in the hemisphere.

“For Cubans, freedom, dignity and respect for human rights are much more important than any possible economic advantages that might be gained from and associated revenues that will be used to finance the cruel tyranny oppressing the Cuban people.''

All my life I have had to deal with the true face of the Castro regime: its thugs, its interrogators and its prison guards. As a result, my brother, my family and I do not fall under the spell of the regime's sophisticated diplomats, its well-placed agents of influence, and its propagandists.

It's ironic to hear some argue that the Castro regime is repressive only to avoid engagement with the United States, as if a 50-year-old dictatorship is full of closet reformists kept in check by their fear of the “evils'' of U.S. imperialism. No, I come from deep inside Cuba and I know how the regime treats us Cubans and what it really thinks of us, especially if we happen to be black.

The regime represses us because it can. It brooks no dissent and tolerates no opposition. It can't because it knows that the majority of Cubans want their freedoms restored.

Giving a regime that is nearing its end, a unilateral windfall of tourists' dollars, will only reinforce its bloody repression. It is the wrong signal to send to a youthful and growing resistance movement that eventually will prevail over a decrepit totalitarian state. For the sake of the Cuban people, America should continue to stand as a pillar of moral clarity.

Berta Antúnez Pernet is a Cuban pro-democracy activist scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Stand firm, America – Other Views – MiamiHerald.com (19 November 2009)http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/other-views/story/1341021.html

Making candy leads to charges against human rights advocate

Making candy leads to charges against advocateCUBANET

HAVANA, Cuba, Nov. 18 (Juan C. González Leiva / www.cubanet.org) – Human rights advocate Edey Sánchez says he was by national agents following a five-hour search of his home that turned up an oven, a mixer and trays for making candy.

Sánchez, who lives in Cumanayagua in the province of Cienfuegos, was held by police for seven days and charged with illicit economic activity. The stove, mixer and trays were confiscated.

He was released pending trial after posting a 1500 peso bond.

Making candy leads to charges against human rights advocate – Cuba Dissidents – MiamiHerald.com (18 November 2009)http://www.miamiherald.com/1447/story/1339513.html

Permitir viajes sólo fortalecerá gobierno de Cuba, dicen en EEUU

Publicado el miércoles, 11.18.09Permitir viajes sólo fortalecerá gobierno de Cuba, dicen en EEUUPor GILBERTO CABRERAThe Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Permitir los viajes de estadounidenses a Cuba sólo fortalecerá al régimen comunista que gobierna la isla y va en contra de los intereses de , sostuvo el miércoles una influyente legisladora republicana.

Al tiempo que crece el número de voces que pide a la Casa Blanca que levante por completo las restricciones que prohíben a los ciudadanos estadounidenses visitar a Cuba y que levante el contra la isla, Ros-Lehtinen sostuvo que iniciativas como esa, "socavan los intereses y prioridades de política exterior de Estados Unidos, no llevarán a la isla y sólo perpetuarán el poder de la dictadura".

Ros-Lehtinen hizo sus declaraciones en una sesión informativa para los miembros del Comité de Asuntos Internacionales de la Cámara de Representantes, "con el fin de analizar las maneras en que los intereses de seguridad de Estados Unidos continúan siendo amenazados y son aún blanco del siniestro régimen cubano".

Durante la sesión informativa, antesala a una audiencia que Ros-Lehtinen llevará a cabo el jueves para analizar el tema de las relaciones con Cuba, el ex agente de contraespionaje Chris Simmons, quien trabajó para la Agencia de Inteligencia para la Defensa, sostuvo que levantar las restricciones de viajes a Cuba sólo ayudará al régimen cubano a fortalecer sus labores de espionaje.

Aduciendo que alrededor del 80% de la industria turística cubana es propiedad del estado y que buena parte de sus utilidades son destinadas al presupuesto de labores de inteligencia, "si se permite a los estadounidenses viajar como turistas a Cuba, enriqueceremos su servicio de inteligencia, facilitaremos que se apropien de secretos de estado y fortaleceremos el control que ejercen sobre el pueblo cubano", expresó.

Por otro lado, el representante por Nueva Jersey Chris Smith criticó severamente el pobre récord de de Cuba, acusó al gobierno de La Habana de asilar a por lo menos 80 delincuentes buscados por las autoridades estadounidenses y exhortó al Barack Obama a hacer caso omiso de los elogios que en el pasado reciente le profirió .

"No le crea, señor Presidente, y hable en nombre de los oprimidos de Cuba", expresó Smith.

Permitir viajes sólo fortalecerá gobierno de Cuba, dicen en EEUU – Estados Unidos AP – ElNuevoHerald.com (18 November 2009)http://www.elnuevoherald.com/noticias/estados-unidos/estados-unidos-ap/story/590504.html

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