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Daily Archives: March 3, 2010

Cuban dissident hunger striker rushed to hospital says ready to die

Cuban hunger striker rushed to says ready to dieAFP

HAVANA (AFP) – Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas, who has been on hunger strike since last week over a 's death, was hospitalized Wednesday after fainting, a spokeswoman said.

"He fainted and we decided to take him by car to the hospital. He was suffering from hypoglycemia," said Lisset Zamora, a spokeswoman for Farinas, who was in the central city of Santa Clara.

Farinas, 48, had begun his 23rd hunger strike, refusing all and drink since learning last Tuesday of the death of political Orlando , who died 85 days into a hunger strike to protest conditions in the Americas' only one-party communist regime.

Zapata's death drew international outrage, with rights groups calling on Cuba to release all political prisoners.

Farinas, in an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais Tuesday, defiantly vowed to press on with a hunger strike "until the final consequences" to demand the release of sick political prisoners.

"Yes, I can die. The time has come for the world to realize that this government is cruel. There are moments in the history of a country when there must be martyrs," Farinas told El Pais.

Farinas was visited Monday by two doctors and a nurse from the government who found him to be very dehydrated, but he had refused treatment.

Former Cuban and revolutionary icon has rejected international condemnation of Zapata's death and insisted there was no repression or torture in Cuba.

said last week in a rare official statement that bordered on an apology that he "regrets" Zapata's death, but denied all charges of repression.

Zapata's mother has charged that her son was tortured and called his death "premeditated murder."

"I think the government will not change. I am not hopeful. The Cuban government is clinging to power, it is facing a difficult moment, they are not going to change until there are 50 opponents on a hunger strike, that would be a problem for the whole society," Farinas told El Pais.

Cuban dissident groups say there are more than 200 political prisoners, of whom 65 are deemed prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International. Cuba denies that there are political prisoners and calls dissidents "mercenaries" in the pay of the United States.

Cuban dissident hunger striker rushed to hospital says ready to die – Yahoo! News (3 March 2010);_ylt=Aj9CjfJKoJmkJQB0XRZEPjqQOrgF;_ylu=X3oDMTMzYnJ0NG0wBGFzc2V0A2FmcC8yMDEwMDMwMy9jdWJhcG9saXRpY3NyaWdodHNkaXNzaWRlbnQEcG9zAzI1BHNlYwN5bl9wYWdpbmF0ZV9zdW1tYXJ5X2xpc3QE

No damage reported after high waves engulf key Havana streets

Jellyfish litter 1st Avenue:No damage reported after high waves engulf key Havana streetsBy Associated Press2:12 p.m. EST, March 3, 2010

HAVANA (AP) — Heavy winds sent waves from the Caribbean Sea crashing over Havana's storied seawall Wednesday, flooding streets in the Vedado area with foamy saltwater.

There were no reports of major damage, but hundreds of capital residents spilled out of their homes to watch the waves turn more than a mile of the coastal Malecon boulevard into a giant puddle.

The water left jellyfish, seaweed and other marine debris littering streets more than a block from the ocean. It also snarled traffic. Some drivers tried to plow through were stuck in water up to their doors, forcing others scrambling to find detours.

"It's been years since I've seen something like this, especially since we're not in hurricane season," said Maria Hernandez, a security guard who watched 6-foot (2-meter) waves crash into the street outside her building on the Malecon.

Cuba's Metrology Institute issued a televised statement warning Cubans and boats to stay out of the water.

Jellyfish litter 1st Avenue: No damage reported after high waves engulf key Havana streets – South Florida (3 March 2010),0,481093.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sun-sentinel%2Fnews%2Fnationworld+%28Nation+%26+World+News+%2F+South+Florida+Sun-Sentinel%29

Cuba’s Burnt Bridges

Cuba's Burnt BridgesMarch 3, 2010Fernando Ravsberg

HAVANA TIMES, March 3 — To emigrate is a painful process in general, but in the case of Cubans it also means taking a trip with no return. As if they've committed a serious crime, the State robs them of all their belongings.

It doesn't matter that these were legally acquired goods; everything will be confiscated, from one's house and car to even the furniture. If you refuse to turn them over, you will not receive your "Permiso de Salida" (Exit Permit) from the all powerful Office of Immigration.

Therefore, there's no remedy other than "going through the hoops" and giving them everything the family was able to accumulate over a working life. The inspectors swoop down like birds of prey in search of whatever can be taken – one part for the State, the rest for themselves.

No one escapes, not even children. From the grandmother of a 13-year-old teenager who traveled to meet his mother, they demanded all of the titles of the home appliances, looking for anything in the name of the boy in order to confiscate it.

A good friend —very revolutionary— who emigrated for family reunification, explained to me indignantly how they snatched everything from her. She had to give them the automobile that the family had bought with a thousand sacrifices, as well as the television, refrigerator and even their home.

When the inspection was completed, they sealed off the apartment and left her and her daughter standing in the street waiting for the airplane to take off… three days later. The corruption is so miserable that, in front of their eyes, an inspector removed the door lock and hid it in her handbag.

I spoke about this issue with an intellectual who had been forced to pay for his own house after his parents left to live in Miami. They hid behind a strange "law" that ignored the fact that the house had already been purchased and that he had always lived there.

I will explain it slowly for non-Cubans. When someone emigrates and is recorded on the title of a family home, those who remain in the property must re-purchase it from the State, even if it had been previously paid off. It is a well thought-out policy of punishment…against those who choose to stay.

This intellectual didn't want to yield, but they explained to him —politely— that if he didn't make the payments they would never put the property in his name, which would make him run the risk of losing the property to some corrupt official who might take the listing out of the inventory so as to traffic it on the black market.

Of course the Cuban public is astute and has learned how to deal with the "paternalistic State," which flies into rage every time one of its children leaves home. The inspectors immediately collect the remains of what cannot be given away or sold.

Months and even years ago, those who are leaving would indicate a nominal new "resident" of the house, which could be legalized by faked marriages and "proof" of family relationships. This person would still have to re-purchase the house, but generally it was not possible for the State to remove them.

When someone is forced to give up their property to the State, automobiles lose all of their "sellable" parts before being turned over, the Japanese television is changed for a Russian black and white one, the Korean refrigerator for a Chinese one, the air conditioning unit disappears and the hole is sealed without leaving a mark. Even the mattresses vanish.

Undoubtedly this is noticed, but no one can prove it. Moreover, it's sufficient to allow the inspectors to steal the spoils (a lock or a pair of hinges) for them to sign the OK so the family can leave the country. But all that is just a small act of revenge by the people.

In any case, it's a bitter hour. When they seal the entrance of the person's home, it's as if they have "burnt their bridges," impeding any return. At this point, nothing material is left on Cuban soil, not even the possibility of return, because they'll never again be allowed to reside in the country.

In fact to say "never again" is inexact. This "law" stipulates a single macabre exception: it respects property rights over vaults at the cemetery. The reason is simple, after dying those who have emigrated recover their right to return, to be buried in the earth of their homeland.

An authorized translation by Havana Times (from the Spanish original) published by BBC Mundo.

Cuba's Burnt Bridges – Havana (3 March 2010)

Cuba won’t say if UN can investigate its prisons

Cuba won't say if UN can investigate its prisonsAssociated Press2010-03-04 01:21 AM

The Cuban foreign minister won't say if a U.N. torture investigator can examine Cuba's prisons, despite an international outcry over a jailed 's death.

Bruno Rodriguez says Cuba has invited the U.N. official but wants to negotiate conditions for his visit.

U.N. investigators reject restrictions on whom they can talk to and what prisons they can see. That has blocked them from probing Russia and the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay.

Rodriguez called the late Orlando Tamayo a common criminal. He refused to utter the 42-year-old construction worker's name, but told journalists in Geneva the inmate was treated humanely.

Zapata Tamayo died Feb. 23, having refused since December. His death provoked international criticism.

Cuba won't say if UN can investigate its prisons – Taiwan News Online (3 March 2010)

Bacardi’s fight to retain Havana Club name resurfaces in Congress

Posted on Wednesday, 03.03.10Bacardi's fight to retain Havana Club name resurfaces in CongressBY LESLEY CLARK

WASHINGTON — A years-long battle over the rights to a coveted brand of rum returned to Capitol Hill Wednesday as Miami-based Bacardi urged a House committee not to repeal a 1998 provision that gave it the U.S. rights to the name.

The provision — better known as Section 211 — has been under fire from the World Trade Organization, which in 2001 ordered the United States to revise the law.

Bills have been introduced that seek to satisfy WTO rules and would tweak the provision, but critics say the entire provision should be scrapped because it benefits a single company and could hurt the ability of other U.S. companies to protect their trademarks.

“In order to live up to our treaty obligations, and indeed honor our reputation andhistory of leadership when it comes to defending intellectual property rights andthe rule of law,'' the provision should be repealed, Mark Esper, vice of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center, told the House Judiciary Committee.

But Bruce Lehman, a former assistant secretary of commerce and expert counsel for Bacardi, told lawmakers that the provision is “easily correctable'' and that repealing it would “send a terrible signal to those throughout the world who wish to devalue intellectual property rights.''

At issue is the right to the Havana Club name. Bacardi says it bought the rights to the name in 1997 from the rightful owner, the Arechabala family, who had the trademark seized from them without compensation when took power in Cuba.

But Cubaexport, a Cuban government company that partners with the French liquor giant Pernod Ricard, argues it has title. It sells rum under the Havana Club name in Cuba and around the world — but not in the United States because of the trade against Cuba.

The tussle dates back more than a decade: Bacardi scored a major victory when former Florida Republican Sen. Connie Mack tweaked a spending bill to include language that essentially grants the company the U.S. rights to the name by preventing U.S. courts from enforcing trademarks confiscated by the Cuban government.

But after the French government complained, the World Trade Organization objected. The latest legislation, sponsored by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, is aimed at addressing WTO rules by not applying solely to Cuban firms.

Committee chairman John Conyers, D-Michigan, acknowledged the history of the controversy as he opened the hearing.

“This is a fascinating subject,'' he said, noting it spans Castro's rise to power and more recently entangled former House Speaker Tom DeLay of Texas, who dismissed accusations from critics that he accepted a $20,000 contribution from Bacardi to one of his political action committees in exchange for supporting its position.

Lehman told lawmakers that opponents of the embargo against Cuba have seized on the issue. The bill that would do away with the Bacardi provision is sponsored by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, who supports and trade with Cuba.

“The debate on the embargo centers on whether it helps or hinders Cuba's transition to a free-market ,'' Lehman said in prepared remarks to the committee. “This goal is not advanced by giving effect to Cuban confiscatory measures in the United States.''

Bacardi's fight to retain Havana Club name resurfaces in Congress – Business Breaking News – (3 March 2010)

Flooding makes Havana’s Malecon a giant puddle

Posted on Wednesday, 03.03.10Flooding makes Havana's Malecon a giant puddleThe Associated Press

HAVANA — Heavy winds sent waves from the Caribbean Sea crashing over Havana's storied seawall Wednesday, flooding streets in the Vedado area with foamy saltwater.

There were no reports of major damage, but hundreds of capital residents spilled out of their homes to watch the waves turn more than a mile of the coastal Malecon boulevard into a giant puddle.

The water left jellyfish, seaweed and other marine debris littering streets more than a block from the ocean. It also snarled traffic. Some drivers tried to plow through were stuck in water up to their doors, forcing others scrambling to find detours.

"It's been years since I've seen something like this, especially since we're not in hurricane season," said Maria Hernandez, a security guard who watched 6-foot (2-meter) waves crash into the street outside her building on the Malecon.

Cuba's Metrology Institute issued a televised statement warning Cubans and boats to stay out of the water.

Flooding makes Havana's Malecon a giant puddle – Americas AP – (3 March 2010)

Cuban hunger striker unconscious, hospitalized

Posted on Wednesday, 03.03.10Cuban hunger striker unconscious, hospitalizedThe Associated Press

HAVANA — A Cuban who has spent a week on a hunger strike has been rushed to a in central Cuba after losing consciousness, a family spokeswoman told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Guillermo Farinas, a who files dispatches in defiance of state control of nearly all domestic media, has held at least 24 hunger strikes since 1997 but said this time he was prepared to go until he dies to honor Orlando Tamayo, a construction worker who died on Feb. 23 after refusing for weeks.

The death of Zapata Tamayo, considered a "" by Amnesty International, has energized the island's small political opposition community. Farinas was one of five dissidents – four of whom are in – to stop eating in his honor.

Farinas was taken to a hospital near him home in the central city of Santa Clara around midday, said Licet Zamora, who is the family's spokeswoman.

Farinas said his hunger strike was also to demand the release of 33 political prisoners who are in poor .

Cuban hunger striker unconscious, hospitalized – Florida AP – (3 March 2010)

Radio, TV Martí fight for freedom

Posted on Wednesday, 03.03.10Radio, TV Martí fight for BY PEDRO ROIG

The tragic death of political Orlando Tamayo has touched off profound revulsion in Cuba against the brutal tyranny of the Castro brothers. Thousands of Cubans have raised their voices to protest the Cuban dictatorship's criminal inaction in the death of this humble and heroic man who sought respect for through his hunger strike.

From day one, Zapata Tamayo's death was broadcast live by Radio Martí. That is why we were surprised to see Francisco “Pépe'' Hernández utilize this latest Castroite crime as a platform to engage in a tirade against Radio and Televisión Martí, a U.S. government agency that provides accurate, objective and balanced radio and TV programming.

As a citizen of a free country, Hernández is entitled to his critical opinions, but such opinions must be based on facts, which is the essence of our struggle for liberty.

If he had bothered to conduct adequate research before submitting his Feb. 25 Other Views column Encourage change from within to The Miami Herald, he would have learned that Radio Martí — in an unprecedented move — was able to broadcast live via cellphone all the drama that surrounded the burial of this new Cuban martyr, including the cries of “Liberty'' and “Down with the dictatorship'' during the interment in the town of Banes. Radio Martí's microphones were there for Reina Tamayo, the martyr's mother, and dozens of Cuban dissidents to speak to Cuba and the rest of the world without censorship.

The statement that Radio Martí has canceled programs where opponents of the regime participated is false. On a daily basis, newscasts such as Contacto Cuba, Sin Censores,, Las Noticias Como Son, La Mujer y la Noticia and Primera Plana open Radio Martí's microphones to Cuba's growing civil society. Day after day, the Cuban movement from across the island resorts to the uncensored waves of Radio and Televisión Martí to speak their truth.

Another falsehood is to proclaim that Televisión Martí has canceled its newscasts. All our programs carry news of interest to Cuba, at half-hour intervals, in a manner that increases the audience's access. Televisión Martí also offers three half-hour programs: Cuba al Día, Nuestra América and Washington al Día, each carrying news and views on the island's happenings.

When I took over as director of Radio and TV Martí, the only way we could broadcast to the island was using an aerostatic balloon anchored in the Florida Keys. We have come a long way since then, significantly expanding the platforms used to beam the signal of Televisión Martí to the island.

We now employ four broadcast platforms: The Direct TV satellite (Channel 8); the Hispasat Spanish satellite; the “Aero Martí'' aircraft, which flies over the Florida Keys transmitting simultaneously in VHF (Channel 13) and UHF (Channel 20); and our digital webpage, available to those Cubans with secret access that's banned by the government.

This has been a difficult year for the budget of Radio and TV Martí. It is distressing that certain influential Cubans, with access to the U.S. Congress, kept silent and did not join the efforts of those who fought to prevent the drastic $7-million budget cutback slammed on the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB).

For the past 6 ½ years, as the head of Radio and TV Martí, I have dutifully carried out OCB's critical mission and have had several inspections by the General Accounting Office and the Inspector General. The conclusions of their respective reports were generally positive.

I have chosen to remain silent throughout the years, but recent ill-intentioned statements have forced me to respond, particularly because those statements have come from a member of the Cuban exile community.

I have no intention of engaging in debates. Today, as the head of Radio and Television Martí, or tomorrow, as an attorney, historian and grandfather, you will always find me engaged in the struggle we began more than 50 years ago to ensure the right of all Cubans to speak without the fear of reprisals.

That remains our patriotic obligation — and the best tribute to all those who, like Orlando Zapata Tamayo, sacrificed their lives for the liberty of Cuba.

Pedro Roig is the director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.

Radio, TV Martí fight for freedom – Other Views – (3 March 2010)

A new poll finds no clamor for change in U.S. Cuba policy

Posted on Wednesday, 03.03.10A new poll finds no clamor for change in U.S. Cuba policyA new poll found that there is little clamor for change in the U.S. on Cuba.BY JUAN O. [email protected]

Forty percent of Americans say the Cuba embargo should remain in place while 36 percent want it ended, and nearly half say they wouldn't visit the island even if allowed, according to a BBC/Harris Poll released Tuesday.

Nearly three in 10 Americans believe Barack Obama's gestures toward Cuba have not been enough, 35 percent believe they went far enough and 10 percent say they went too far, the poll showed.

The survey came as Congress considers several proposals to ease U.S. sanctions on Havana, including allowing unrestricted U.S. to the island and making it easier for Cuba to buy U.S. agricultural products.

Harris Interactive said it surveyed 2,050 American adults online Jan. 13-15 for itself and the British Broadcasting Corp. Harris said it doesn't report margins of error because they can be misleading.

While 23 percent of Americans said the Cuban government was an enemy of Washington, 63 percent said Havana is unfriendly but not an enemy, 12 percent said Cuba is a friend but not an ally and 2 percent believe Havana is “a close ally,'' the poll showed.

Recalling the Bay of Pigs and missile crisis confrontations in the 1960s, the poll showed older Americans tend to hold more negative views than younger Americans. Thirty-five percent of those 55 and older believe Cuba is an enemy, while only 10 percent of those aged 18-34 agree.

“Fifty years is a long time, but these findings suggest that at least for older people, memories of the Cuban Missile crisis last. Attitudes on many issues on Cuba are very different depending on if one is over or under 55 years old,'' Harris Interactive said.

“One issue that is also splitting Americans is the embargo, as two in five (40 percent) say the embargo towards Cuba should remain in effect and 36 percent say it should not,'' the company added.

“It's interesting that the Harris survey mirrors a lot of the dynamics we're seeing within the Cuban American community — no mandate for a change in [U.S.] policy,'' said Fernand Amandi of Bendixen & Amandi, a Miami-based firm that regularly polls Cuban Americans.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said it was too early to restore normal relations with Cuba and 38 percent disagreed, while 75 percent said the U.S. relationship with the island is important and 25 percent said it's not.

Nearly 50 percent said Obama should visit the island at some point in his presidency, while 25 percent said maybe he should visit after Fidel Castro dies and 26 percent said never, the poll showed.

A new poll finds no clamor for change in U.S. Cuba policy – Cuba – (3 March 2010)

El asesinato de Orlando Zapata

Publicado el miércoles, 03.03.10El asesinato de Orlando By NICOLAS PEREZ DIAZ-ARGÜELLES

Una huelga de hambre es una decisión que no se medita, aceptarla como método de lucha es cuestión de segundos. No se razona, es pura emoción. Y se adopta cuando el enemigo te tiene tan acorralado que no tienes otra opción que tomar. Cuando vas a una huelga de hambre has agotado las posibilidades de seguir sintiéndote un ser humano.

Al inicio sientes hambre, te levantas poco de la cama, lo esencial, piensas que mientras menos te muevas estarás más fuerte para resistir. Y al tiempo el hambre desaparece, y es que lo ignoras, pero el cuerpo comienza a apoderarse de tus reservas vitales, y es entonces, cuando sin tú saberlo comienzas a morir.

Pero tu cerebro está claro, agudo, y te recriminas. Te lanzaste a una muerte lenta con una serie de peticiones que si no se cumplen no probarás una gota de alimento. Pero no es posible dar marcha atrás. En una huelga de hambre no es recomendable pensar, sólo tener la mente fija en la decisión de no transigir.

Es un grave error suponer que un muere en una huelga de ayuno en Cuba porque esa fue su voluntad. No es así. El preso siempre es asesinado. En el 90 por ciento de los casos te provocan para que te lances a la huelga lastimándote donde más te duele, unas veces en tu cuerpo, otras en tu espíritu, y al huelguista lo siguen atormentando cuando comienza a morirse, y el carcelero encargado del crimen no le da opciones para que deponga su actitud y lo va empujando día a día, hora tras hora, con fría crueldad hacia una muerte irremediable. El gobierno puede resolver el problema y no mancharse las manos de sangre con tan solo tres palabras: “Concedo la demanda''. Pero no las dice. Y el carcelero sin disparar un tiro, sin ahorcarte con sus propias manos, te asesina del modo más brutal e inhumano que se puede asesinar a un hombre. Y siempre en casos como este que tienen repercusiones internacionales, siguiendo órdenes de la más suprema instancia. Es infantil pensar que Raúl Castro lamentó la muerte de Orlando Zapata, nadie lamenta la muerte de la persona que uno mismo ha mandado a matar. En el acto, hizo una declaración sobre el incidente; no podía permitir que Raúl se llevara sólo la gloria de este crimen.

Esta huelga de hambre me recuerda otra, la del canciller de Nicaragua Miguel D'Escoto, sobre la que en este mismo periódico, cuando se llamaba El Miami Herald, hace más de 20 años, escribí: “El canciller fue visitado por el Daniel Ortega que aprobó su actitud. El anuncio fue hecho en la iglesia de Monseñor Lezcano ante la prensa nacional e internacional. Estaban presentes un ministro de Educación y otro de Cultura, así como intelectuales, políticos e internacionalistas''. Antes de comenzar el ayuno protestando por la ayuda de EEUU a los enemigos del régimen sandinista, D'Escoto dijo: “Continuaré mi ayuno hasta que una insurrección evangélica se encienda en Nicaragua y hasta que esta chispa se mutiplique por todo el mundo''. Hizo sus dramáticas declaraciones rodeado de presidentes, líderes mundiales y decenas de cámaras de televisión y micrófonos de radio. Como contrapartida, Orlando Zapata, desde una celda de castigo sin una gota de teatralidad, no anunció su ayuno a nadie y pidió a sus victimarios, sólo como un Cristo, “un trato más humanitario''. Sin cámaras ni micrófonos, sin el apoyo de presidentes, ministros ni intelectuales, rodeado de enemigos, y murió sin retroceder un milímetro. En el caso del canciller de Nicaragua no se produjo ninguna insurrección evangélica y D'Escoto abandonó la huelga horas después de iniciada. Es la diferencia entre el héroe Orlando Zapata y el farsante Miguel D'Escoto, entre un hombre repleto de dignidad y un payaso.

¿Les digo algo? Hacía rato no me emocionaba tanto un suceso de esta epopeya por la de Cuba. La humanidad no está perdida, han cambiado los tiempos. Hubo una época en que murieron en huelgas de hambre Roberto López Chávez, Luis Alvarez Ríos, Carmelo Cuadra Hernández, Pedro Luis Boitel, Reinaldo Cordero, José Barrios, Santiago de Jesús Roche Valle, Nicolás González Regueiro, Miguel López Santos, Enrique García Cuevas y aquel negro, Olegario Charlot Spileta, que se ganó mi respeto y simpatías por el brillo recio de sus ojos, su terco silencio y su humildad. Pero por entonces “nadie escuchaba'', y hoy el no ha sido en vano, el mundo escucha. Murió un titán y los tiranos están desnudos. Les importa un bledo. Se ríen de España, se ríen de y del mundo, sólo les interesa mantenerse en el poder aunque sea sobre un río de sangre. Pero la historia los va a hacer trizas.

En los asuntos de patria, hay muertos que despiden esplendor y fuego, y como las campanas, repican. El martirologio de un obrero, albañil y negro, el típico cubano sencillo y modesto, ha provocado estupor. Ya hay cuatro presos políticos y un en huelga de hambre. La Cuba de hoy es radicalmente diferente nacional e internacionalmente hablando, 24 horas después de que Fidel y Raúl Castro ordenaran el asesinato de Orlando Zapata. Así se escribe la historia.

NICOLAS PEREZ DIAZ-ARGÜELLES: El asesinato de Orlando Zapata – Opinión – (3 March 2010)

Los logros de Radio y TV Martí

Publicado el miércoles, 03.03.10Los logros de Radio y TV MartíBy PEDRO ROIG

La trágica muerte de Orlando Tamayo, asesinado en prisión por la dictadura, ha generado un profundo repudio en Cuba contra la brutal tiranía de los hermanos Castro. Miles de cubanos dentro y fuera de la Isla, han levantado sus voces de protesta ante el asesinato de un hombre humilde y heroico que murió exigiendo el respeto de sus .

Desde el primer día Radio Martí transmitió, en vivo, la trágica muerte de Zapata Tamayo. Es por eso que resulta sorprendente que Francisco (Pepe) Hernández utilizara este crimen del castrismo como plataforma para lanzar ataques contra Radio y Televisión Martí, una agencia del gobierno de , cuya misión es llevar a Cuba la verdad de lo que ocurre en la isla y el mundo en una programación veraz, objetiva y balanceada. Hernández tiene derecho como ciudadano de un país libre a expresar sus opiniones críticas, pero deben estar fundadas en datos sólidos, esa es la esencia de nuestra lucha por la . Si en su artículo publicado en El Nuevo Herald el 26 de febrero hubiera hecho una adecuada investigación, sabría que Radio Martí, en un hecho histórico sin precedentes, logró transmitir en vivo, entre gritos de “Libertad'' y “Abajo la dictadura'', el entierro del héroe cubano. Con extraordinario profesionalismo, los periodistas de Radio Martí coordinaron, mediante el uso de varios teléfonos celulares, la transmisión en vivo desde la ciudad de Banes. Por los micrófonos de Radio Martí, Reina Tamayo, madre del héroe de la libertad, y docenas de disidentes cubanos le hablaron a Cuba y al mundo.

Es falsa la afirmación de que Radio Martí ha eliminado programas con la participación de disidentes y opositores al régimen. Diariamente noticieros como Contacto Cuba, Sin Censores,, Las Noticias Como Son, La Mujer y la Noticia y Primera Plana abren los micrófonos de Radio Martí a la creciente sociedad civil en Cuba. Todos los días, la disidencia cubana, a lo largo y ancho de la isla, habla por las ondas de Radio y Televisión Martí.

Es también falsa la afirmación de que Televisión Martí ha eliminado las noticias. La verdad es que cada media hora, en todos los programas, se incluyen noticias de interés para Cuba, aumentando de esa manera la frecuencia y el acceso de la audiencia. Además, Televisión Martí ofrece tres programas de media hora: Cuba al Día, Nuestra América y Washington al Día, con noticias y análisis de expertos en temas del acontecer diario.

Cuando asumí la dirección de Radio y TV Martí la única forma de transmisión de la televisión era un globo aerostático anclado en los Cayos de la Florida. Desde entonces hemos ampliado significativamente las plataformas de transmisiones de la señal de Televisión Martí. Hoy tenemos 4 plataformas de transmisión: el satélite de Direct TV (canal 8), el satélite español Hispasat, el avión AeroMartí, que vuela sobe los Cayos de la Florida y transmite, simultáneamente, por VHF canal 13 y por UHF canal 20. Nuestra página electrónica digital sirve a los cubanos que pueden ver Televisión Martí y escuchar Radio Martí, en vivo, las 24 horas del día.

Este ha sido un año difícil para el presupuesto de Radio y Televisión Martí y es penoso que algunos cubanos con influencia y acceso al Congreso de Estados Unidos se mantuvieron en silencio y no se unieron al esfuerzo de los que sí lucharon por evitar el drástico corte de $7 millones que golpeó a la Oficina de Transmisiones para Cuba (OCB).

Por 6 años y medio, al frente de Radio y Televisión Martí, me he dedicado a cumplir la importante misión que se me encomendó. Durante este tiempo he recibido críticas y elogios, incluyendo varias inspecciones de la Oficina de Contaduría General del Congreso (GAO) y del Inspector General (IG). Las conclusiones de los informes fueron en general positivas.

En estos años he guardado silencio. Sin , el nivel de desaciertos me obliga a responder especialmente cuando provienen de un viejo compañero de lucha.

o pienso, por ahora, entrar en debates. Ya tendré tiempo para eso. Lo que sí les aseguro es que hoy al frente de Radio y Televisión Martí y mañana, ejerciendo mi profesión de abogado, historiador y abuelo, me encontrarán junto a mi pueblo en la lucha que iniciamos hace más de 50 años para que se respete el derecho de todos los individuos a hablar sin temor a represalias.

Esa es nuestra obligación y el mejor homenaje a los que como Orlando Zapata Tamayo sacrificaron sus vidas por la libertad de Cuba.

Director de la Oficina de Transmisiones a Cuba.

PEDRO ROIG: Los logros de Radio y TV Martí – Opinión – (3 March 2010)

Gobierno cubano reconoce escasez de víveres y que reformas no dan resultados

Publicado el 03-03-2010Gobierno cubano reconoce escasez de víveres y que reformas no dan resultados


Los mercados agropecuarios estatales de La Habana recibieron en enero solo el 60 por ciento de los alimentos esperados y en febrero 64 por ciento, revela hoy el diario oficial Granma, y añade que las reformas del campo que impulsa el Raúl Castro aún no han dado resultado.

Granma, órgano portavoz del gobernante Partido Comunista, asegura que la escasez de plaguicidas y combustibles "originó costosos daños", y que hubo problemas de suministros y comercialización, pero que los campesinos opinan, además, que los cambios en el sector "no son aún todo lo beneficiosos que se esperaba".

"A veces el exceso de trabas y prohibiciones constituyen fuentes para el delito y el soborno", afirma el periódico, y detalla excesos de burocracia, descoordinación y rigidez en la producción y distribución de alimentos.

Según Granma, "hay un planteamiento casi general de los productores: concurrir, sin escalones intermedios, a los mercados de Ciudad de La Habana".

Acepta que "es difícil entender" el desabastecimiento cuando ha habido medidas estratégicas, de reorganización y de control del sector agropecuario adoptadas en los últimos años por el Gobierno del general Castro, quien ha dicho que la producción de alimentos es asunto de "seguridad nacional".

"Muchos (…) esperaban en enero y febrero un escenario diferente dado que el aumento de precios beneficia a los productores, junto a otros factores como la explotación de tierras ociosas entregadas en usufructo, la creación masiva de fincas y el uso más racional y disciplinado de las fuerzas y medios técnicos", añade el informe.

Entre las causas del desabastecimiento, señala que los sectores cooperativo y campesino, responsables del 70 por ciento de los alimentos que llegan a los mercados agropecuarios estatales, "no recibieron en el último trimestre del 2009 fertilizantes y productos químicos para proteger sus plantíos".

La actual crisis cubana, la mayor desde que hace dos décadas se hundió la Unión Soviética y se acabaron sus subsidios, ha forzado al Gobierno del general Castro a mermar en un tercio las importaciones, sobre todo las de alimentos, que cubrieron el 80 por ciento de lo que llegaba a las mesas de los cubanos.

Las autoridades culpan al bloqueo económico estadounidense, en vigor desde 1962, a los huracanes que azotaron la isla hace dos años y a la crisis financiera global, entre otros factores, mientras la oposición acusa de ineficacia crónica al único Gobierno de América que se declara comunista.

Según el economista , "las medidas económicas tomadas aisladamente y llenas de contradicciones, en un contexto que hacen imposible su funcionamiento, han sido más que insuficientes".

"Los problemas siguen aumentando y la crisis no sólo tiene tintes económicos y sociales, sino que se acrecienta el disgusto de la población por el impactante empeoramiento del nivel de vida", dice Espinosa, uno de opositores apresados en 2003, ahora excarcelado por razones de .

Diario Las Americas – Gobierno cubano reconoce escasez de víveres y que reformas no dan resultados (3 March 2010)

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