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Daily Archives: March 30, 2010

Health of hunger-striking Cuban dissident worsens: mother

of hunger-striking Cuban worsens: motherAFP – Monday, March 29

HAVANA (AFP) – – Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas, who has been on a full hunger strike for 28 days, has a staph infection and is in the early stages of a battle against septic shock that could kill him, his mother told AFP Sunday.

Farinas is the second case of a recent strike by a political dissident in Cuba, the Americas' only one-party communist regime.

The fate of dissidents has brought an international outcry from Europe and the United States as well as from groups.

"My son is on the verge of a major complication that will put his life in danger. He is very unwell and could go into septic shock," said Farinas' mother Alicia Hernandez, 75, who is a nurse, from her home in Santa Clara 280 kilometers (168 miles) east of Havana.

An independent news and psychologist by training, Farinas, 48, launched his fast the day after Orlando died on the 85th day of his own hunger strike.

Farinas has been protesting the treatment of 26 political prisoners needing medical attention in Cuba; he wants the prisoners freed.

His mother, who does not back his strike or ideological stand, said doctors treating her son in the provincial in Santa Clara are trying to help him with antibiotics "but he is very frail, has pain in his arms and legs, and fever."

"I am afraid he will not achieve a thing, but he is hanging in there," she said.

Meanwhile, wives and mothers of numerous political prisoners have held an unprecedented week of protest marches in Havana in defiance of the authorities to press for the release of the dissidents, some of whom have been held for seven years.

Havana insists it keeps no political prisoners, branding the dissidents in jail as "mercenaries" in the pay of the United States.

On Wednesday US Barack Obama slammed Cuba for its continued political and human rights repression and called for an end to the Communist regime's "clenched fist" policy against its people.

"I join my voice with brave individuals across Cuba and a growing chorus around the world in calling for an end to the repression, for the immediate, unconditional release of all political prisoners in Cuba, and for respect for the basic rights of the Cuban people," he added.

US Agricultural Exports to Cuba Fall

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

US Agricultural Exports to Cuba FallCUBA – Agricultural exports to Cuba declined by more than $180 million in 2009, down from a record $715 million in exports set in 2008, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service economist.

The decline was a result of a number of factors, including the U.S. recession, which restricted money flowing from Cuban Americans back home, lower nickel prices, a slowdown in to Cuba and restrictions on payment terms used by US exporters, said Dr Parr Rosson, AgriLife Extension economist and director of the Center for North American Studies at Texas A&M .

"The lack of money being sent back home to Cuba resulted in less purchasing power and a big drop off in exports to Cuba," he said.

"As a result, the Cuban government has decided to try to revitalize production of and milk."

US exports to Cuba included corn, wheat, soybeans, oil, meal and frozen broilers. Texas-grown commodities exported to Cuba included cotton, wheat and broilers, according to Dr Rosson.

"The decline is a result of a combination of factors," Dr Rosson said.

"Weak economies across the globe and a reduction in expenditures by tourists. That decline accounted for about 15 percent compared to 2008. The collapse in world nickel prices was also a big factor. The nickel price dropped from $24 per pound in the 2007-2008 to $7 per pound earlier this year."

Tourism accounted for a large portion of money flowing into the Cuban , with Canadians among the most popular to frequent the country. Approximately 933,000 out of 2.4 million tourists visiting Cuba in 2009 were Canadian.

"The beaches are a big draw during the wintertime," Rosson said. "(From ) there are direct flights and all-inclusive packages at the major beach resort, Varadero."

Agricultural commodities imported into Cuba that support the tourism industry include beef steaks, chicken and pork, Dr Rosson said.

However, exports to Cuba could recover somewhat in the future. The country's vegetable crops were wiped out by three hurricanes in 2008 and are struggling to recover, and US payment terms have been revised, allowing US exporters to be more competitive, Dr Rosson said.

"That's why Cuba had such a large import bill in 2008," he said.

"That, coupled with the decline of tourism and lower nickel prices means the government is having difficulty importing foods. As a result, US corn, wheat and soymeal exports to Cuba were all off by at least 50 per cent for the first two months of 2010 compared to 2009."

New chill enters US-Cuba relations after Obama’s brief thaw

New chill enters US-Cuba relations after Obama's brief thaw

Obama has made several goodwill gestures toward Havana, giving US businesses the hope that Cuba relations could improve. But the Castro regime appears unwilling to compromise.

By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer / March 30, 2010Washington

US business is setting its sights on Cuba, but the interest comes just as President Obama is stepping back from his policy of engagement with the Castro regime.

With more Cuban-Americans traveling to the island country as a result of loosened US restrictions aimed at improving Cuba relations, Cuban oil, agriculture, and infrastructure are beckoning as promising markets for American investors and farmers.

But the opening of Cuba's totalitarian political system – the sine qua non of increased American ties – is nowhere in sight, Cuba economic experts say, meaning the perennial hopes of US business are likely to be dashed once again.

"The Cubans are being very clear that they will accept absolutely no conditions in terms of normalization with the United States – none," says Anna Szterenfeld, Latin America editor of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Mr. Obama seems to have come to the same conclusion. Last week he released a statement suggesting disappointment in the Cuban regime's response to the gestures he made last year as part of what he envisioned as a mutual warming.

"Instead of embracing an opportunity to enter a new era, Cuban authorities continue to respond to the aspirations of the Cuban people with a clenched fist," Obama said.Cuban crackdown

The immediate cause of the presidential statement was the very public repression in Havana days earlier of a protest by the so-called Ladies in White, the relatives of Cuba's political prisoners. Video circled the globe of government-affiliated counterdemonstrators heckling and attacking the marchers, who included the mother of Orlando Tamayo, an imprisoned who died in February after a prolonged hunger strike.

Mr. Zapata's death set off a round of hunger strikes by other political prisoners that have evoked strong condemnation from other normally friendly governments, such as Mexico and . "I join my voice with brave individuals across Cuba and a growing chorus around the world in calling for an end to the repression," Obama said.

It is in this unlikely atmosphere that signs of interest in US in Cuba have blossomed. Proposals await in Congress for ending the travel ban on Cuba – the Obama administration last year eased restrictions on Cuban-Americans returning to visit family. US farmers would like to see further easing of conditions on sales to Cuba. Last week, US business representatives met with Cuban officials in Cancun, Mexico, to discuss investment opportunities on the island.

So why the interest?US and Cuba need each other

The US and Cuba have mutual economic interests, Cuba experts say. The US is attracted to the very sectors Cuba is interested in developing, like the island's significant offshore oil deposits and other raw materials like nickel. And, ironically, Cuba now finds itself overly dependent on one patron government – – much as it was dependent on the Soviet Union before its fall.

"Cuba is in a desperate situation so I think they will be required to introduce more market reforms," says Teo Babún, president of Cuba-Caribbean Development and author of The Business Guide to Cuba. At the same time, he adds, "Many of their products are needed in the US." And as a result, he says, "[Eventually] we're going to find the right formula between the two."

Mr. Babún was participating in a panel discussion, sponsored by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas in New York, that drew more than 100 participants either on site or via webcast Tuesday.

The turnout suggested, as Americas Society senior director of policy Christopher Sabatini noted, "There's a lot of interest in Cuba."

The question is whether that perennial interest will meet the conditions for a real relationship any time soon."

Cuba’s food woes worsen

Cuba's woes worsenBy: The Economist29/03/2010 1:00 AM

Two years ago last month, formally took over as Cuba's from his convalescent elder brother, Fidel. The switch raised hopes of reforms, especially of the communist country's long dysfunctional agriculture. But change has been glacial.

Official figures show that in the first two months of this year, deliveries to the capital's food markets were a third less than forecast. Nobody starves, but hard-currency supermarkets go for weeks without basics such as milk and bread.

What has gone wrong? Cuba's state-owned farms are massively inefficient and rarely provide more than 20 per cent of the country's food needs. Three hurricanes in 2008 made matters worse.

Raul Castro has acknowledged the problem and introduced some changes. Idle state land has been leased to private farmers. The government has raised the guaranteed prices it pays for produce. Farmers can now legally buy their own basic equipment such as shovels and boots without having to wait for government handouts.

But farmers say the reforms have been too piecemeal to be effective. In meetings across the country they have called for more. They want to buy their own fertilizers and pesticides, and to control distribution.

The government still supplies almost everything and does it badly. Much of last year's bumper crop of tomatoes rotted because government trucks failed to collect them on time.

Significantly, the state-owned media have reported the farmers' complaints in some detail. They have also announced that 100 of the most inefficient government farms will be closed.

Officials are launching a pilot plan to set up market gardens close to cities. And reports from eastern Cuba suggest that food shortages there are less acute than in the capital.

But Raul continues to move very cautiously. So Cuba will buy much of its food from foreign suppliers. Foreign exchange, never abundant — partly because of the American economic — is again in short supply. The world recession cut Cuba's earnings from nickel and last year. Imports fell last year by almost 40 per cent.

A foreign businessman in Havana says there have been signs of a further squeeze this year. Transfers abroad by foreign businesses have been blocked, or delayed, for months.

The Spanish owner of Vima, a food importer that supplied many hotels and state-run restaurants, made the mistake of publicly criticizing delays in getting paid. His contracts were promptly revoked.

Foreign companies have been warned the government may stop selling them staples, such as meat and , for their staff canteens.

"They told us bluntly that their priority is feeding the general population, that the situation is very serious, and that we should make our own arrangements," says a manager of one joint venture.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 29, 2010 A10

A welcome word among Cuban exiles: `Unity’

Posted on Tuesday, 03.30.10A welcome word among Cuban exiles: `Unity'By Daniel Shoer [email protected]

He had neither bathed nor eaten since Saturday, March 20.

That day, angry and frustrated, Sergio Rodríguez Lorenzo dressed in white, climbed into the bed of his '98 Silverado pickup truck, and asked his son to drop him off in front of the 2506 Brigade Memorial on Calle Ocho in Little Havana.

He opened his cot, slept under the stars and, quietly, began a hunger strike in solidarity with Guillermo Fariñas, a former colleague in Cuba, and with the , the mothers, wives and daughters of Cuba's political prisoners.

A group of exiles, who saw Rodríguez Lorenzo dozing, set up a makeshift tent the next day. They brought flags of Cuba and posters with the image of Orlando Tamayo, who died last month in Cuba after a hunger strike.

Inside the tent hung a painting of a solitary flower that wept tears onto a dark night.

“The strike has been successful,'' Rodríguez Lorenzo told me Thursday, on the same day that thousands marched in Little Havana for and in Cuba. The 46-year-old handyman was imprisoned during the Black Spring of 2003, but was not part of the case of the 75 dissidents. “Thousands of people have passed through here, the press has interviewed me and the tourists get off the to take photos of me.''

Initiatives like his strike and others of greater magnitude, such as the march for freedom organized by Gloria Estefan, have flourished in South Florida in recent weeks, buoyed by an unusual twist — international support for Cubans seeking democracy.

It is not unusual for the exile community to protest human rights violations and the lack of civic freedom on the island. But this time, sectors and groups that are usually fighting among themselves to defend their views on how to achieve democracy have come together under one voice.

It is a voice of love of country — and of never giving up.

“Unity among us is very difficult. . . . But there are points on which we agree: such as [the plight] of prisoners and the brave attitude of the Damas de Blanco, because you have to be courageous to take the pressure of the mob around them,'' wrote Marta Beatriz Roque, a prestigious figure in Cuba's opposition movement, by e-mail. “You have to show the world that the Cuban nation . . . lacks freedom.''

Roque welcomed the exile initiatives. “We support them and especially if they come from people like the Estefans, who have Cubans' affection,'' she said. “It needs to be successful and, also, it can launch other efforts to help those of us here who are trying to do our part — and those who are losing their life.''

The impressive Calle Ocho demonstration sparked similar efforts in New York, Los Angeles and European cities. During the Miami march, I walked alongside the group Exilio Unido Ya (Exiles Now United), formed four months ago on Facebook. The group, which supported Lorenzo Rodríguez during his recently culminated strike, has more than 600 members. You don't have to share an ideology or belong to a political organization to be part of it.

One of the founders is Vicente Díaz, 35, who was exiled in 2000. His goal was to mobilize young people — and not so young — in a single movement.

“Exiles are going through a transitional stage of disorganization,'' said Díaz, who was wearing a bracelet from the maternity ward at Baptist. Díaz left his newborn son briefly at the to be a part of the march, a historic milestone.

“All organizations pull for their own interests and that sometimes weakens the fight against the real enemy,'' he added, stressing that for him there is no difference between the new generation and those from the “historic'' exile who arrived in the 1960s and '70s. Both are political, not economic, exiles, emphasized Díaz, who said he would not set foot in Cuba until the Castro regime “is completely swept away.''

I left him to approach Nancy Rodríguez, 70, who was screaming euphorically, “We are united,'' while crying inconsolably. “We needed this,'' she said. “It's been a long time since I have seen such shared feeling.''

That's precisely what I felt the most.

Who really jailed Alvarez Paz?

Posted on Tuesday, 03.30.10Who really jailed Alvarez Paz?BY CARLOS ALBERTO

Oswaldo Alvarez Paz is imprisoned in Caracas, but the tip of the chain is in Havana. He is in a cell of the political , denied the right to bail.

The matter is serious. He may be the living Venezuelan politician most respected outside his country. The international clamor against this abuse has been enormous, and the price Chavismo is paying is high. Even the White House has issued a statement in protest.

Now 67, this Christian Democratic lawyer with a well-earned reputation as an honest man, has been everything in , except . He headed the Chamber of Deputies, was governor of Zulia and, in 1993, lost the presidential election by a narrow margin against Rafael Caldera, his former mentor and fellow party member.

The excuse made for jailing him is ridiculous. He is accused of conspiring against the security of the nation, instigating others to disobey the law, disseminating false information and encouraging others to commit crimes.

On what basis? According to his jailers, on a popular program on Globovisión directed by Leopoldo Castillo, Alvarez Paz commented that the image of the Venezuelan government has been seriously tarnished by its alleged links to the FARC narcoterrorists and the ETA terrorists, while the country sinks amid the murderous of the criminals, the corruption of many officials, and the almost astounding inefficiency of the public sector.

In other words, exactly the picture described by almost all the international organizations, investigated by the Spanish judicial apparatus, and the target of the complaints of millions of Venezuelans every day.

Why did Hugo Chávez order such a stupid step? The answer may have been provided by Roger Noriega, former U.S. ambassador, a great expert on Latin America, and a person with access to information that few people possess. Because of the denunciation made by Alvarez Paz about the presence in Venezuela of Gen. Ramiro Valdés, a document in which the Christian Democratic leader foretold the possible “arrival of regular troops from Cuba to reinforce the defense of the Chavista revolution.''

Alvarez Paz touched a sensitive nerve.

In reality, Oswaldo Alvarez Paz is a of the Cubans. In Venezuela, the orders are issued by the intelligence apparatus operating from the third floor of Castro's embassy in Caracas.

Years ago, Chávez realized that his permanence in power depends on Cuban support and has delivered himself, bound hand and foot, to Havana. Cuba is the metropolis that commands and plunders, and Venezuela is the colony that obeys and pays.

It is the Cubans who decide whom to arrest, whom to intimidate and who should conveniently be removed from the country. It is they who design the political and police strategy of expanding social control.

It is they who spy on the opposition, the military brass and functionaries, the ones who tap their phones and film them, the ones who compile compromising information to neutralize or blackmail them. It is they who set the pace for the growing construction of a totalitarian state copied, more or less, from the Soviet-Cuban model.

There are Cuban advisers in all institutions, but the most sensitive zones of intervention are the and the political police. Simultaneously, hundreds of Venezuelan youngsters are being taught in Cuba the techniques of social repression and political control that the Cubans learned from the KGB and the East German Stasi. The training lasts from six months to a year, and they will be given the task of managing the totalitarian state once the cage has been completed.

The Cuban government is intent on accelerating the creation of the totalitarian state. Chávez is in agreement. The information conveyed by the Cuban agents to the Castro brothers indicates that popular support for Chávez is swiftly collapsing. If the partial elections in September are true and transparent, he would suffer a crushing loss.

The Cubans' suggestion is to “rapidly deepen the revolution,'' which implies eliminating any vestige of democracy and that remains in the country. They may even find some excuse to suspend the election. That is why they detained Oswaldo Alvarez Paz. He was an obstacle to the Cuban plans.

ONU pide respeto a derechos humanos de los cubanos ante gravedad de Fariñas

Publicado el 03-30-2010

ONU pide respeto a de los cubanos ante gravedad de FariñasNACIONES UNIDAS (EFE)

El secretario general de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon, pidió que se respeten los derechos humanos de los cubanos ante el agravamiento de la del Guillermo Fariñas, en huelga de hambre desde hace más de un mes.

El portavoz de Naciones Unidas, Martin Nesirky, explicó que el organismo "sigue con preocupación" la situación en la isla debido al "inquietante" estado de salud de Fariñas y la muerte el pasado febrero del político Orlando Tamayo tras otro ayuno como protesta de 85 días.

"El secretario general subraya la importancia de respetar los derechos fundamentales de los ciudadanos cubanos contenida en la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos", dijo Nesirky en respuesta a preguntas de la prensa.

El estado de este sicólogo y periodista opositor, de 48 años, ha empeorado por una "infección severa" con "estafilococo aureus" que contrajo en el por el catéter por el que era alimentado, dijeron el domingo a Efe en La Habana fuentes de su familia.

El disidente inició su ayuno el 24 de febrero, tras la muerte de Zapata Tamayo tras 85 días de huelga de hambre, con el fin de pedir al de Cuba, Raúl Castro, la excarcelación de los presos enfermos.

Zapata Tamayo, uno de opositores condenados en 2003 en la llamada "Primavera Negra", reclamaba con su acción que las autoridades cubanas lo trataran como un "prisionero de conciencia".

La muerte del reo político, que cumplía una pena de 36 años, ha suscitado una amplia condena internacional, particularmente en Europa y .

El Gobierno cubano acusa a Zapata Tamayo y Fariñas de ser delincuentes comunes y "mercenarios" al servicio de Washington.

Insulza de OEA insta a Cuba a evitar muerte de otro disidente

Insulza de OEA insta a Cuba a evitar muerte de otro

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – El secretario general de la OEA, José Miguel Insulza, pidió el martes a Cuba buscar una "solución humanitaria" para evitar la muerte de un segundo disidente en huelga de hambre que, de suceder, pondría otra vez a la isla de Gobierno comunista bajo escrutinio internacional.ADVERTISEMENT

El diplomático llamó a que el Gobierno de Raúl Castro acceda a liberar a 26 presos enfermos, como reclama con su ayuno voluntario el disidente Guillermo Fariñas, quien rechazó el lunes por tercera vez ser trasladado a España para atender su débil estado de .

"Lo que uno tiene que hacer es pedirle a las autoridades cubanas que definitivamente resuelvan esta crisis. Lo que no les conviene, desde luego, es que esta persona muera igual que como sucedió con el anterior", dijo Insulza tras reunirse con el chileno, Sebastián Piñera.

Fariñas ha perdido unos 13 kilos de peso durante los 35 días que lleva de huelga de hambre y está internado en un de Santa Clara, a unos 270 kilómetros al este de La Habana.

El antiguo militar y sicólogo de 48 años inició su ayuno el 24 de febrero para pedir la liberación de 26 presos por motivos políticos que están enfermos y motivado por la muerte en cautiverio tras 85 días de huelga de hambre del dirigente Orlando .

El fallecimiento de Zapata fue duramente criticado por Europa y Estados Unidos.

"Pido formalmente a las autoridades cubanas que dejen salir a las personas que están enfermas y, con eso, es una solución humanitaria a la crisis. Creo que el hacer un gesto de este tipo no debilita a nadie", afirmó Insulza.

Cuba fue suspendida de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) en 1962 por presiones de debido a su sistema comunista.

El año pasado, el organismo abrió de nuevo las puertas a un eventual retorno de Cuba, lo cual fue rechazado por el Gobierno de Castro.

(Reporte de Bianca Frigiani, escrito por Fabián Andrés Cambero. Editado por Silene Ramírez)

Cambios en Tiempos de Crisis

Cuba: Cambios en Tiempos de CrisisMartes, 30 de Marzo de 2010 12:13 Patricia Grogg – La Habana – IPS

Los anunciados cambios para mejorar la economía de Cuba van a un ritmo que no satisface las expectativas de la población y parecen haber quedado enmarañados bajo el peso de la crisis financiera internacional y las dificultades internas para afrontarla. Economistas coinciden en que las transformaciones adoptadas hasta ahora, algunas desde la esfera institucional y otras con un carácter más estructural, no cubren todas las necesidades del país ni representan una modificación substancial del modelo económico cubano. "Qué pasa con los cambios es la pregunta que siempre nos hacen colegas de otros países", comentó a IPS un académico que pidió no ser identificado. En su opinión, la economía requiere eliminar una serie de restricciones y liberar las fuerzas productivas, pero las autoridades no se muestran dispuestas a apurar el paso.

El propio de Cuba, Raúl Castro, alimentó las esperanzas cuando en julio de 2007 anunció que habría "que introducir los cambios estructurales y de conceptos que resulten necesarios" para hacer producir más la tierra, luego de reconocer que la alimentación y bajos salarios figuran entre las principales preocupaciones de la gente.

Tras pasar desde la presidencia interina, en reemplazo de su hermano , al ejercicio pleno del cargo en febrero de 2008, una de sus medidas más importantes en el campo de las reformas estructurales fue ofrecer tierras ociosas en usufructo a personas del sector privado y cooperativo.

Hasta fines del pasado año se habían entregado a más de 100.000 beneficiados un total de 920.000 hectáreas, que equivalen a 54 por ciento de las áreas aptas y sin cultivar del país. Pero el proceso marcha lento y con dificultades, en parte por el "exceso de papeleo y burocracia" y la falta de medios de labranza, según investigadores.

"Se ha cambiado la propiedad, pero no se ha permitido un entorno de mercado para la adquisición de insumos, equipamiento o tecnología, para financiamiento, la compra de divisas y la comercialización final", comentó el economista cubano Pável Vidal en un artículo sobre el tema.

Vidal y otros expertos coinciden en que uno de los elementos fundamentales que conspira contra los resultados agrícolas es el control estatal de la comercialización final y la forma ineficaz en que ésta se ha llevado a la práctica mediante la empresa estatal nacional Acopio.

Ese mecanismo centralizado de comercialización establece a los productores el compromiso de entrega al Estado de hasta 70 por ciento de la producción a precios excesivamente bajos, dejando en algunos casos sólo 30 por ciento para su comercialización en los mercados agropecuarios.

Durante sus dos años de mandato, Raúl Castro también eliminó las restricciones para que residentes cubanos puedan alojarse en hoteles reservados al internacional y tengan acceso a la telefonía móvil.

Casi simultáneamente se abrió el mercado estatal a la venta de artículos cuya importación y comercialización interna estaba prohibida a particulares.

Esa medida benefició especialmente a sectores de mayores ingresos y en divisa libremente convertible. "Sin , el desarrollo del mercado interno puede terminar favoreciendo a la economía nacional al impulsar la producción y el empleo", escribió Vidal.

Según algunos testimonios, experiencias locales de libre comercialización están dejando buenos resultados y podrían ampliarse este año.

"Se mantienen como los mercados de consumo con mayores regulaciones los relacionados con la compra-venta de casas y automóviles", indicó Vidal en su artículo.

Es que "han corrido rumores sobre la modificación de estas regulaciones, pero hasta la fecha no hay ningún cambio", añadió.

En materia de empleo se avanzó muy poco, pese a la vigencia de una resolución que puso en marcha el sistema de pago por resultados y eliminó el techo salarial para que los ingresos de los trabajadores dependan directamente de la productividad y el desempeño individual.

No ha tenido mejor suerte la disposición sobre el pluriempleo, que permite la contratación formal de una persona en más de un puesto. El contexto externo e interno no favorecen estas políticas de flexibilización, que parecen estar fuera de lugar en medio de la centralización y baja autonomía empresarial.

Por otra parte, la crisis económica afecta el funcionamiento, las disponibilidades de insumos y, en sentido general, la rentabilidad de las compañías. En períodos de recesión "aparecen nuevas dificultades en las empresas para disponer de rentabilidades positivas que les sirvan como sustento del nuevo sistema salarial", indicó el especialista.

Según fuentes oficiales, Cuba continúa afrontando dificultades para acceder al financiamiento internacional, situación agravada por la reducción de los precios de sus principales productos de exportación. Ese impacto de la crisis global obligó al país a reducir en 37 por ciento sus compras el año pasado.

La iliquidez llevó además a la falta de pago de deudas y a la retención de fondos en cuentas bancarias de socios extranjeros con negocios en la isla. Sin embargo, en una reunión en La Habana, realizada a mediados de este mes, empresarios españoles recibieron seguridades de que Cuba cumplirá sus compromisos.

"No es un secreto que la situación que afrontamos con las retenciones en bancos se han ido aliviando en los últimos meses y puedo asegurarles que se trabaja de manera permanente en la solución de este problema", dijo el ministro de Comercio Exterior e Inversiones Extranjeras, Rodrigo Malmierca.

España es el tercer socio comercial de Cuba, después de y . Pequeñas y medianas empresas de esa nación europea se han visto particularmente afectados por esos problemas financieros."

Llegada de turistas a Cuba cayó 3,4% en enero y febrero pasados

Llegada de turistas a Cuba cayó 3,4% en enero y febrero pasados30 de marzo de 2010, 04:51 AM

La Habana, 30 mar (EFE).- La llegada de turistas a Cuba en enero y febrero de 2010 cayó 3,4 por ciento respecto a igual periodo del año pasado, según datos publicados hoy por la Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas (ONE).

En esos meses llegaron 513.087 visitantes, 18.013 menos que en 2009, cuando arribaron 531.100, precisa la ONE.

Canadá, Italia, Inglaterra, y España se mantienen como principales emisores de visitantes.

Cuba recibió 2,43 millones de turistas en 2009, 3,5% más que en 2008, pero los ingresos del sector cayeron 11%, según la misma fuente oficial.

El es una de las principales fuentes de divisas del Gobierno cubano, que padece una profunda crisis económica y una aguda falta de liquidez. EFE

Andy García: "Ha llegado el momento de la causa cubana"

"Esto no es un asunto cubano, es un asunto humano"

Andy García: "Ha llegado el momento de la causa cubana"

"Caminaremos en silencio, vestidos de blanco para demostrar nuestra solidaridad a la gente cubana, y especialmente a las que sufren los abusos e injusticias perpetuadas por el gobierno represor cubano", aseguró el actor, quien afirmó que había llegado "el momento de la causa cubana".Redacción Mundo – 29-03-10

Antes de que la marcha en solidaridad con las Damas de Blanco en Los Ángeles se iniciara en Echo Park, en el noroeste de la ciudad, una multitud de unas 5,000 personas escuchó los discursos del actor cubanoestadounidense Andy García, el comediante George López y el Pérez Hilton.

"Hay que mirar a la situación de los en Cuba'', dijo García ante los manifestantes. "Es algo que se ha ignorado durante 50 años. Los hermanos Castro han estado en control de la información, pero con la tecnología, los blogs y los tweets han perdido el control y la gente está ahora en las calles'', agregó García, nacido en Cuba

"Caminaremos en silencio, vestidos de blanco para demostrar nuestra solidaridad a la gente cubana, y especialmente a las Damas de Blanco que sufren los abusos e injusticias perpetuadas por el gobierno represor cubano", aseguró García, quien afirmó que había llegado "el momento de la causa cubana", según citan agencias de noticias.

El actor nominado a un Óscar por "El Padrino: Parte III" (1990) agregó que gracias a las nuevas tecnologías el gobierno de la Isla "ya no puede controlar la información" que se genera desde allí, lo que ha permitido que "el mundo conozca lo que muchos de nosotros ya sabíamos pero mucha gente no creía".

La manifestación tuvo como lema "Esto no es un asunto cubano, es un asunto humano".–andy-garcia-ha-llegado-momento-causa-cubana-153720-1

Cuba estudia ‘abrir’ la producción de azúcar a los inversores extranjeros

Año XII – Madrid, Martes 30 de Marzo de 2010

Cuba estudia 'abrir' la producción de azúcar a los inversores

Por primera vez desde el inicio de la revolución en Cuba en 1959, La Habana estudiará abrir la producción de azúcar a los inversores extranjeros, en su intento de frenar el declive de la industria en la Isla. Según han asegurado algunos expertos a la agencia de noticias Reuters, el Gobierno cubano ya ha comenzado a mantener reuniónes con posibles inversores. Aunque estas fuentes afirman que estas conversaciones han tenido escasos resultados.

El de Cuba, Raúl Castro, ha optado por abrir este mercado, tras ver que la Isla tiene previsto producir tan sólo 1,3 millones de toneladas de azúcar en bruto durante esta temporada, además, los problemas de las molineras y el bajo rendimiento han producido un déficit de más de 100.000 toneladas hasta la fecha.

Con esta zafra, que finaliza el próximo mes de mayo, la Mayor de las antillas está en peligro de llegar a su cifra más baja desde 1908, cuando se produjeron 1,2 millones de toneladas de azúcar.

Los expertos consultados por Reuters han indicado que ante esta situación las autoridades cubanas han visto en las inversiones extranjeras una ayuda para reanimar la industria azucarera que se ha desplomado, entre otras cuestiones por la negligencia y la descapitalización de las fábricas y plantaciones en la Isla.

Un gran obstáculo en este asunto es EEUU y su ley Helms-Burton, que penaliza a los empresarios estadounidenses que invierten en la Isla.

Pero a esto se añade otro gran problema para los empresarios extranjeros que deseen invertir en la Mayor de las Antillas y es que La Habana prohíbe que estas empresas obtengan el derecho de propiedad de las tierras o de los molinos.

Cuba fue el mayor productor de azúcar del mundo, con unos 8,1 millones de toneladas durante el año 1989, pero la industria entró en declive después de que su principal aliado durante 30 años, la ex Unión Soviética, se derrumbó en el pasado año 1991.

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